Waking up in Phoenix

Waking up in phoenix

The yellow bolt darting across the walls refracted in into a pattern that made the room look like the inside of a lighthouse during a storm and was followed with a clap of thunder but made out of steel.  I rolled over and inhaled a blast of refrigerated air that tasted familiar and abnormal at the same time. I knew it was a trash truck and it’s shift to forward motion would begin as soon at the PTO had fully retracted the machines’ hydraulic cylinders and with a full throttle shift to second the slashing light beams ended and I came to full awake as the sound bounced away.

Being late is always it’s own punishment. You end up with the extra work of thanking and apologizing or conversely screaming and swerving but in the end the personal, internal result of mistakes are usually some type of guilt or shame so it was fine that I woke up with a headache.  I was late for my flight 30 hours earlier and I need a drink of water. We are somewhere near the airport.

It’s the end of summer and ninety degrees but still way before dawn when I crack the door open, which is moderate. I brew a cup of “room stuff”, head outside to the unfiltered mess of small particulates, gasses and last chances that make up predawn Phoenix air. The view outside reminds me of an old cartoon. The background two-dimensional and motionless with just a few things in the foreground moving in their own special pattern  The security guard taps his badge, the perfumed and long legged girls with scissor like cadence fade into the distance and the old man holding the bottle in the far corner of the lot just keeps holding perfectly still, only animated by his labored breathing. I sit cross-legged on a rock and illuminate my face with the screen of my device tapping on the keys and for a little while it’s just us.

The sun appears first cresting it’s natural horizon which although interrupted by a dozen man made structures shows me a tiny slice of virgin profile that has yet to be blocked while viewed from the valley bottom. A generous slice of the mountain range viewed and admired by a carbon spec in the bubbling vat that is Phoenix. Me. It was the injection of life that sent me forth into the tepid waters of Phoenix.

I set out to show Lanie what I knew about Phoenix which was very little at this point so many years past. I did a good job getting us to south mountain for a beautiful morning hike and the desert was so beautiful my god, so beautiful to me because I grew up and lived most of my life breathing the scents of Mesquite,Greasewood and Palo Verde. The food cooking, family and life and blood. We got there before sunrise, clearing travel grit from our eyes.

We chose a “botanical tour of indigenous species”  trail led into the types of trails we like,  learn a few things then head off  and raise the tempo a bit and develop a little pace while watching a beautiful sunrise. We gained elevation and heard what sounded like people sobbing or even whaling or chanting in the distance. I had thoughts about morning treks across the desert in the early hours in the Yeti box van listening to radio broadcasts of drumming.  We  could see a small group on a  distant hilltop and  knew where the sound was coming from.  I made assumptions then just made myself available by existing in the moment and went on. As we progressed  I told Lanie stories of the time I spent living in the area.

When I reflects on events of the distant past, it’s a bit like waking in the the morning. You start the process, draw some lines, make a few efforts to remember certain people or events and before long the color begins to take it’s place and fill between those lines. We continued to climb aligned with the path and directly into the sun which illuminated the valley behind us and began to heat the ground and peel away the final embrace of darkness as we crested the summit.

We had completed the assent and turned to view the awesome scene before us and stood silent for a long moment while I saw the faces, felt the embraces and the twinges of pain that are the result of life lived and waking up in Phoenix.

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The cool of summer.

So I don’t keep up with my blog posts. It’s not like it used to be, with endless free time…


wait a sec, I have the same amount of time I have always had, I’ve just been selfish. I have been going through a bit of a Facebook thing for the past couple of months and it seems to leave me more tired at the end of the day. Anyway, summer is always full of racing and racing bicycles. Since I haven’t been attending races lately or doing anything that smacks of actual socializing, I have to call bullshit on that also.  At least partially. I have been building some really progressive things with 650B designs that my customers have requested including a few more issues of the “CC rider” trail whip for the ups and downs and a new “slack jaw” version that looks like a slalom bike with 27.5 wheels and a longer fork. The type of thing you might carry to the top of your favorite run just so you can have one pristine ride on a brand new set of tires with perfect edges. I can relate.

Matt (my son) and I also did something really neat. Artists, like actual people, age and mature and change throughout their lives and careers. If you enjoy art and have ever had the opportunity to view an entire artists portfolio you can witness this yourself. The artist I am talking about is a metal sculptor by the name of Chuck Genniver. I have worked on some of his pieces in my shop in the past and we have become friendly over the years. Chuck is a pretty particular guy, and may not consider me a friend, but I really like him and like to work with him. He called me a couple of weeks ago and asked me to weld his “signature” on several of his sculptures. His sales agent requested it along with creating names for each of his works.

I wasn’t sure how the process would go, but as soon as we headed up his driveway, you could see his sculptures and we were stunned by the size of his works. Many of them weigh upwards of several tons or more. We stopped a few times along the way to view the fixtures poised as they went across acres of manicured fields that surrounded his studio. I expected to see large powerful machines that could bend and form heavy pieces of metal, but instead it was nothing but some chain blocks and an A-frame structure.  It turns out most of what I had done for him in the past were scale models of his ” real ” work.  He described it to me as “basic lines and planes”.


As soon as I cut the engine, Chuck was out to greet us.  I hadn’t seen him for a while and thought he looked tired.  He looked my my white beard and thought the same thing about me I think.  He was all business and quickly showed us the sculptures that we would start with and my job was to weld over his signature, drawn on with soapstone (a white chalk stick iron workers use to mark metal),  and try to make it legible by following the white line that is only somewhat visible through the light of the arc as I weld.

There were twenty or more smaller pieces lined up and I quickly set up my portable rig and asked for a piece of scrap to practice on. I asked him if I could take photos, he said yes!

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There are some very interesting things about these sculptures that I wasn’t able to capture with the camera. It’s hard to describe.

We entered his workshop through a very old wooden sliding door. Inside was adorned with shelves and tables positioned about the area, with each and every one covered in various interesting pieces of metal.

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He sat down and carefully traced the object in his mind’s eye and then asked me how it looked. I didn’t figure it was my business, but it was simple and pretty like, it was something he had spent some time developing. I couldn’t help but think about how little I knew about his process, as well as how much I could learn about my own.







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We managed to get a few things done in our own shop and here are a few photos of some recent works we accomplished. I threw in a picture of a fuel rail I made for a local guys Saab, while not our usual work it’s nice to switch up the scenery of what we are viewing.


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challenges and choices

Of the many projects that flow into and out of our welding & fabrication shop, some of the projects closest to my heart are for customers who are physically challenged, passionate about their sports, fiercely competitive, and with the persistence and determination to remain in the game.  There are also the parents of children with challenges who ask us to fabricate “a ride” because they have a  desire to share activities and adventures in any way that brings the younger family member joy and exhilaration in spite of their individual challenge, and the objective becomes a mutual cycling experience affording the child safety and security while feeling the winds in their face.  I always love these projects.

I decided to post this particular story today because I recently had to make the very difficult business decision to decline a very special and challenging project for just such a customer.  A young woman who loves racing and who was the victim of a crash that left her body partially paralyzed but left her spirit and competitiveness as fierce and strong as ever.  Sadly, this decision came down to design time, material costs, affordability for the customer, and my own business income needs for continuous cash flow.  Tough stuff…..it bothers me…..haunts my thoughts…..breaks my heart.

In a perfect world, there would be a ready solution for athletes with physical challenges.  There are not. Knowing I have the ability but lack the resources is no solace in the face of disappointment for an athlete who now must look elsewhere.

It is a deep conflict for me, as I learn to accept my own limitations of a different but maddening type.  The fact is I cannot bring this design to reality at a reasonable cost in a reasonable time frame.  I hope this young woman and many athletes like her are able to find solutions that indeed keep them in the race; the flow of living life to the fullest.  Things change and the day may come when I can rise to the challenge.  In the meantime, I am cheering the efforts or all athletes of every variety who have hearts full of passion.



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When someone develops something new it almost always comes on the back of another innovation. Once something has been around a while we tend to take the original version for granted and begin to modify. Pneumatic tires over rubber, gears over fixed ratio, brakes that worked over ones that didn’t. You get the idea.

As a bicycle frame builder my journey has been just a little bit different. Prior to my first “professional” job in the bike business welding Mongoose BMX frames, I worked on bike related projects in my folks garage during the long summer days and endless nights. I started by cutting apart old, used frames and reconfiguring them for my prototype suspension or gear changing systems or whatever was on my mind. Making parts from metal takes time, tools and patience which are in short supply when the smell of sun tan lotion and FM radio waves reformed my priorities and reinforced the notion that you can want more than one thing at a time.

I soon became frustrated with the compromises, limitations, and restriction one places on him (or herself) when relying on components manufactured elsewhere or by other people with different priorities. There are many who prefer to adjust their priorities to fit what others have done before them and others who feel comfortable finding a happy medium and not “over thinking” the task at hand and just doing what was done before, finding the only unique item they have produced is the position of their logo when compared with last week. It’s good being able to nail the same target week after week but it’s really not my goal. One also has to realize that not everyone wants to chop trees on the side of an existing path when we don’t need more room on the sides.

It’s all and none of these reasons that I choose to make bikes in my own style. I don’t always want to make things harder on myself but honestly, it’s hard for me to find a part of your frame that doesn’t deserve my full attention and almost always something better than what can be found elsewhere. Besides, there are so many wonderful things that take priority over something as simple as a vehicle, like finding the source of that wonderful scent and the feeling you get when you find it.

There are times when, for one reason or another, you want something completely unique or there simply is no room for compromise or variation from the plan and it’s those times that it is often all or nothing.

The photo I posted on Instagram is a small story or a series of clues that reads left to right. I started with a bar of standard size, turned it to the correct inside and outside diameter, polished the surfaces, annealed (that is a temp sensing crayon) that will be followed with mitering to fit another tube and then welding. 100% of this frame will be made from scratch. Stay tuned.

Have a happy 2015! FTW and son

Cable Stop

Nice sunrise. The first of 2015

Nice sunrise. The first of 2015


First sunrise of 2015

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The Cowboy. A Christmas fiction story, just for fun.




I hated to take road trips when I was a kid but I liked the stops along the way, I liked to eat new foods and the chances to buy stuff. I wanted “girl watcher” glasses, as my mom called them, with mirrored lenses and metal frames and was able to get some as we passed through Needles in a 1972 Chevy truck. It was the Cheyenne model with dual tanks and a slider rear window.
I rode in the back of the truck with my brother, 18 months younger than me, for the entire trip from the coast of California through Arizona and Utah to somewhere half-way through New Mexico. Today that would be out of the question, putting kids in the back of a pick-up, but this was 1973.  We stopped at the tourist attractions like Stuckeys, the great meteor caverns, and the dinosaur tracks if they were open. I wondered if there was really something called a Navajo Taco but I had one and loved it. Continue reading

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Hey look I’m on TV

Here’s a short documentary made by Jake Gloss, not to toot my own horn but it is an excellent piece of work, Jake did an awesome job and is a true artist. But don’t take my word for it, have a look yourself…grab a beer too.

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The king of storms

The first good summer storm of August arrived in full force and just a few moments ago Lanie and I were enjoying cocktails on the veranda when the winds whipped up and spoiled our party. It was calm as could be at 5:30 P.M. when I finally dropped the first edition of a new 142X12 dropout on the bench and called it a day and thought about fixing the jeep and/or drinking strong ale and it was a short battle tonight.

It was 6:40 before I realized it was past 6:30 and time to shut the compressor off. Earlier the regulator started making a squealing noise that we couldn’t figure out so we just raised the air pressure to 200% of normal operating pressure which is a bit like putting out a car fire by driving so fast that the flames can’t keep up and we all find ourselves in that position from time to time. I keep that in mind when building your bikes.

As I was saying, we were relaxing on the patio when the leaves of our little Aspen tree turned upside down and told us of the immediate future. We talked about the poor guy who cares for our dirt road. It’s somehow satisfying to go over that stuff again and welcome the new contender to the King of Storms.

I feel like tonight has potential since we don’t often have a week of perfect weather without a big storm on the other end and we hadn’t seen but one bird since we sat down, that bird was on the ride of his life just trying to get home.
We retreated indoors once the violence began. I went to my room for dry clothes and noticed that the bureau was covered in fresh droplets brought on by the sudden squall so I slammed the window shut and watched the deluge as a spectator.

I remembered riding in a storm like this a couple of years ago on one of the local roads and recall being unable to see a few inches of my front rim as it sliced through the rushing water that covered the road. I carried a thin rain poncho in my saddle bag for a long time after that episode and tonight had a little chuckle at my own expense after being so totally unprepared.

I grabbed a sock out of my top dresser drawer and dried the water from the polished surface after forcing it around a bit. I then opened the drawer below and found the thin plastic garment wrapped in it’s little bag and headed for my bike, I was sure I could find room for it… ah, the storm is passing

The threat of greatness had withdrawn itself and the ground quickly absorbed the moisture that had just fallen. Here, tonight it wasn’t much but, perhaps somewhere else it was the King of Storms.

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Teaching June To Ride

Most of the time, kids are serious business to their parents. I have a couple of my own and I can tell you, it is definitely a serious business. It’s not unusual for me to teach kids how to ride, but when you are teaching another persons child; it can become quite the scene. They either ride or they don’t, there isn’t much else to say. If they don’t learn now, they will surely later when the time is right for them. Generally the kids know the risks, skinned knees or elbows or perhaps a broken arm if the crash is big enough; that was the rumor anyway. Today, with the way life and the electronic environment have commingled themselves, we are now told their may be more to worry about other than bumps and bruises.

At an earlier date I had come across a chicken-scratch written note to me, more of a reminder really. There were two names on the note, one of which seemed familiar to me but the other had me stumped. The name that I had recognized belonged to my neighbor I had an idea of who the other person was and my guess was his daughter June. The half legible reminder included both of their names, as well as a phone number where June could be reached. I wasn’t sure how to respond to orders from a child, although I was impressed by the fact that she had “inked me in” before I had even looked at my own schedule. Marked on my calender for the following Saturday: “Teach June To Ride”.

We connected by phone and made solid plans. I told her that I had found the perfect spot and that she would like having the ability to coast down a gentle hill without the worry of having to pedal to maintain speed. I think I sold the job. It was a big day for me, but she was really excited as well. Win-win scenario in my opinion.

Metal is easy, I don’t have to make myself 3 feet tall to hear it speak. Tiny little June on the other hand was a force to be reckoned with. June was six and had almost ridden a bicycle at one point, but didn’t quite make it. I think a Band-Aid or two may have been involved but I couldn’t get much more information on the outcome at the time, as she had other engagements. June is the daughter of the divorced man I used to live next door from, she had only the weekends with her dad and today was the day.

I had planned out our training day as best I could. A lesson with solid structure would be a good starting point, but knowing kids you just take things as they come. Don’t apply any pressure and don’t expect results, yet embrace whatever results you get.

On the morning of Junes’ lesson, my life Lanie and I had an awesome omelet and plenty of our usual strong coffee. As much as I like to eat all I could think was ‘today is the day! I am finally teaching June to ride!’. We listened to the radio as we waited. June and her father showed up right on time, confirmed by the sticky note left on our fridge that one weekend.

I discussed my objectives with Lanie as we searched for the perfect slope to teach June how to ride. I had envisioned the location ahead of time naturally and I had assumed that I would be able to find it without much difficulty. As it turns out it didn’t end up being so natural after all. As we viewed different areas of potential Lanie described her first experience on a bicycle, it was something of a shock to me. Not unlike any of the “You’ll learn to swim once you hit the water!” type stories you hear friends and family tell.

We finally approached a spot that I had been longing to find. It was a small grassy hill, but not too big of a challenge. It was just large enough that June would be able to get on the bike and glide with very little effort. I wanted to show her the thrills and excitement, what it was like to have the wind in your face. In my experience it’s moments like those that kept me coming back for more and I was hoping it would have the same effect on June.

Not long after the bike was pulled out the back door of the jeep, June was put on it and the lessons began. With one foot on the ground and one foot on the right pedal, I told her to put her weight down and start to go. She had a look of determination on her brow as she rode away on her first attempt. Sadly she didn’t make it very far before the bicycle and Junes’ tiny body toppled over and she began to sob. Between tears she would peek between her fingers just to be sure there was someone watching.

I can’t recall how I first learned to ride, but it certainly wasn’t anything to cry about. I don’t even remember at all actually, I have been riding for so long that the beginning of it all slips my mind.

I had to get June back on the bike, the lesson had to go on. This may have been one of the “scenes” I brought to your attention before, that pop up when teaching other peoples children. The fall wasn’t that bad, but judging from Junes’ vocal reaction you would have thought otherwise. Luckily I was able coax the tears away and talk her back onto the bicycle. She sat taller this time, her original determination reinforced. Even June knew she had to ride.

We walked back to the peak of the knoll and started again. This time though, the strong willed little June rode all the way to the bottom. The look on her face reminded me of when I taught my kids how to ride. The look of pure excitement and joy, being able to be apart of this first memorable accomplishment in their lives, it was a good feeling.

The next part of our lesson was about to begin. After a few more runs down the hill, without much effort put towards momentum, it was time to learn on flat even terrain. This I felt might be a little more challenging for June. All she had to do before was hop on and go, this however, was going to need focus and patience.

Now on a level surface, I told June to get on the bike like she had done so on the hill; left foot on the ground, right foot on the pedal ready to push off and go. We call this the “ready stance”. As anticipated this portion of the lesson was a tad more challenging. June was having difficulty maintaining her steering and the peddling combined with the chatter all at once. When you are trying to keep a 6 year old steady and moving on a bicycle you must be able to maintain your own balance as well.

I had mentioned before that I was listening to the radio earlier that morning. The hosts were talking about internet security and protecting ones identity. I wondered to myself if June would be at any risk if I posted the photos of the event on my blog. Though my camera doesn’t collect the type of information that can reveal your exact location, I didn’t know if the case were the same with my phone. I didn’t really know what was what when I read about the microphone in my cell phone having the ability to be remotely activated and “tapped” into from a remote source. I couldn’t imagine someone being so bored as to wanting to listen to me ramble and curse at people, but combined with some of the weird in the road there is potential for some abuse.

June didn’t really achieve balance on the bicycle that day. We did have a lot of fun trying to get her “six-year old self” to be less “silly” and abandon her fear of balance, but that would require more silliness. To balance it takes a certain confidence that all variable are accounted for, if not under control. Albert Einstein said that “Life is like a bicycle and to balance, we must keep moving.”.

I didn’t find it difficult to end the lesson with some tumbling on the side of the hill, complete with the plucking and tossing of daisies, given the fact that balance evaded us both that day. She on her bicycle and me with the whole idea of managing ones privacy and protecting the people that I came in contact with.

The “responsibility of my actions” part is still in question. I would like to share some photos of the day because as people, cyclists, and friends, we should be able to share what we know. I have seen photos of your kids and you have seen photos of mine because that is what people do, we build on the foundations that were laid before our arrival. But today, it’s different, and harder to understand. I would imagine that some families now “opt out” on class photos because protecting ones anonymity is becoming something of a priority in today’s society.

June will know that she needs to make her next day on her bicycle more fun than the first. My hope is that she finds it to be less risk than her public profile.



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The next season

railsThe sound of road salt being used as an abrasive against my beautiful rims grates against my nerves, like an old steel file on dried bones.

I reach the bottom of my driveway, where the road changes from down to up and from straight to left. I lean back and pedal hard, hooking my fingers around the brake hoods like the knitted and stuffed curtain monkey with Velcro hands that holds back our heavy winter drapes to reveal the sun at this time of year. Down the road a little ways lies the line between seasons, it seems. A 6 foot band that is, in a way, the separator of newly growing grass and the layer of white that is still serving as a blanket for the ground; the tracks. The rule growing up was not to cross the train tracks, but I never minded that rule much. 5aThere always seemed to be more to investigate and explore on the other side, this set of tracks was no different, only I was.

The sound of the little stream beside the road takes my mind away and holds it like a River Runmother holds a child; the gentle rushing of the water keeps me distracted after months of ice. The road rises against me and I am forced to stand and struggle against the few spots on my path that have been softened by the dappled morning sun, then only hearing my heart, I pause. Oh, to cherish and curse the same meter of turf.  I wasn’t used to feeling the sensations, all of them. By sensations, I am referring to those you feel when you ride a bike outdoors on a crisp spring morning.  It’s a lot to take in.

My body was bristling all over when, as I crested the first rise, I startled a raccoon from the middle of the road. He went racing off only to leap into the deep snow on the edge of the road. Better he than I, is what I was thinking, regaining my speed.

Getting on a bike for the first time in months and in such interesting circumstances was almost like I was getting to know myself again, testing my sensors with doses of balance, coordination and temperature limitations. When the snow melt meets my toes for the first Vinestime, I watch my pulse on the digital head unit as it quantifies my effort to reach a compromise between ambition and resources. I think about that monkey and swing from the vines.

I reach the top of the next hill. There is a marvelous sight ahead of me now, the first bit of clean pavement I’ve seen today.  It’s being used by a pick-up truck as a bypass to the highway at the moment, he is driving fast. I watch as it floats by in a delayed response to the irregular surface, caused by the freezing and thawing of the substrata; we call them frost heaves.

As my path heads due south, fully against the angle of the earth and the air that follows the road. That same air that once cooled me in the shade, fills my sails while resisting me at the same time. I try to form the perfect circles I have studied and thought about for the past five months, but my toes point down and my right heel rises against the force by swinging outboard. I feel awkward, I try adjusting my F.T. Weldclothing like it’s going to help. Climbing this hill with no warm-up, my legs feeling like the first taste of cold soup on an empty stomach.  I reach the peak and my heart rate drops pretty quick once the work is over.  Twenty years ago, if you knew me you would laugh today for so many reasons, I digress or remissness or something.

I have to apply the brakes to keep my face from getting too cold, it hurts terribly by the time I had gone a mile. The wind continues to fight me, which is a bit unfair since gravity has sought fit to take a rest and go the other way. I have to stop to warm my fingers. It’s a steep decent, 10-15% and a couple of miles down with another 125M of altitude to be bought back before I hit the highway.  I come home the same way at the end of the day.  Cheers.dunelt3

Once on the highway,  I slip into something comfortable, perhaps a 50/13  and take in a bit of the view. The road is really never level, though it is plenty wide which gives the world a curved appearance when you tilt your head a little the way I do to match the angle of the crosswind, and think about making the best of it in small ways.  It goes on for a while, all the way to Chester, but the wind doesn’t surrender before I do and head back down to Pleasant Valley road. Down into the valley I go, with the wind providing what feels like gravity. I notice I rarely stop pedaling. I laugh to myself because of the hours I have spent over the winter riding a stationary bike for no other reason than to be able to enjoy a day like today, and my legs feel like a couple of kids jumping out of a station wagon after an all-day road trip.farm2

I have the sun in my face and peel off my winter gloves. The road rolls over heirloom farmlands, that have carved and shaped the attendees to the same degree to which they have worked the land.  Warm sweet air delivered from the louvers above a low wooden shack fill my lungs as pedal over a lump  in the road. It wiggles between the old but proud buildings.  Ready with a wave and an experienced opinion, I cruise by the ancient farmer. He is tending to the boiling sap, which he does for several days nearly around the clock during sugar season, equally as hard as any other season. We are both so glad to be on to the next.

I was supposed to do intervals today and this road is perfect.  I had done a much greater quantity on the computerized device. The objective wasn’t a frame of mind, but a technical objective. Today it was just for myself, to feel something again like it was the first time. It reminded me of last spring and a time for another chance.

tree2I return home the same way, but I reduce my effort a couple of miles before the final climb. Part of me wished for a delay of the test date because the test date indicates the end of the study period, and the beginning of the reality period.  Part of me wanted a result.  I completed each of the three short, but steep climbs gathering my will and easing my burden on the 10% grades in between.  The easiest gear is the only one I can turn, but at my slow pace I have time to notice that the sun had peeled back the final layer of ice that had been keeping the winter veil before my eyes and I ready myself for the next season, the spring season.

sass12 A

Aluminum 650B

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Aluminum 650B dome welds

sass5 A

Aluminum 650B

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Aluminum 650B drop-out

Aluminum 650B

Aluminum 650B

Aluminum 650B

Aluminum 650B

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Training for days like those

photos 010I haven’t been around for a few months, ‘been workin’. Been working on saving my soul and living in the light.. That’s right, I’ve been training.

It’s not like you can be fit, and accomplish anything else at the same time. So I chose fitness over cleanliness, attentiveness, aggressiveness, beauty  and deeper reflection, all in the interests of total purity. I am bleaching my very personality of all  it’s natural traits, like procrastination and laziness, and  getting right to the task at hand. I am sorry to report what you expected to happen will be delayed until further notice… Or until I need some groceries.

photos 162You may have noted the training log I started several months ago.  I have dedicated myself to collecting data and recording it, just not in a place you will find it.  Much of it has in fact been in secret, but I continue none-the-less, with total regard for only my person.  I haven’t made those statistics available, but the chiding emails have left their impression. I have continued to train and consider the human demand for verification in the mean time.  Perhaps some day.  Hats off to Hunter Allen and Andy Coggin PhD., for writing Training and racing with power (meters) and getting me off to a good start recognizing my own obsessiveness and taking advantage of it.  For the time being, I am looking forward to my first Sunday ride with Russ and breaking his balls.  He doesn’t dabble in the internet, so our secret is safe.

I haven’t introduced you to Russ at any point in the past, but I am sure when I do, you will find him as fascinating as I do.

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We all know that to be able to ride more miles, climb steeper hills or do more gravity runs, we need to condition our bodies for the work.  We need to put time aside from our busy lives and get on a path of continual improvement.  If your schedule includes a career, preparing wholesome food to eat and caring for a family, you may have difficulty finding time.  As for me, I don’t have many interests beyond bicycles and my little circle of humans, so I tend to spend a little less of my time tinkering on old bikes and enriching my historical interest in cycling and a little more time doing what?  I didn’t say riding, I said training.

Riding is really fun. Training on the other hand, not so much. I like all the devices and wires going everywhere a bit. I often think to myself “this must be important, there are wires everywhere”. It’s the same sort of thought with setting up a fan to blow the air in my face while I ride my stationary bike. Sure, I need it to keep from getting heat stroke, but when you add that to the pixel image on Le Moniteur that I am pressing to catch and maybe even pass, it helps me get to a place where the riding seems a bit more “real”. I may not of mentioned I control his pace with a small (+/-) button on my handlebars, but that is the whole point, the distraction. All you need is an imagination.


Or maybe not. Maybe the idea is adding enough distractions and contraptions to get you by until the conditions are more favorable for more miles (not just dressing in warm clothes, and later washing the filth off your bike which I don’t care for) and more adventure.  Sort of the way a phone call or an email keeps you in touch with people you think about, without a huge block of time being spent.

I actually like riding the indoor bike quite a bit. Part of it is my imagination and the ability to put myself in a situation and exist there for a while, though the situation is completely of my own making. If I stop pedaling, I am alone in a spare room, covered in perspiration and going nowhere.  It’s only a temporary situation of my own making that will dissolve instantly in the light of day and blow away like a letter that has already been read.  The real goal is be able to make a small investment when I have a moment to spare now, to enjoy more of the real thing later. Somewhat like the other entanglements we have that are constantly blowing something in our faces.

I have a life outside. Outside the door and outside the view of others.  It’s more dangerous and stressful in certain ways than doing little or nothing, but the majority of time must be spent in challenging conditions to be able to function well in that environment called reality.  You can set up the base miles indoors or toss about words on a screen, but neither will help you balance when your grip is in question or the breeze is blowing the wrong way.  Those are your real training days and I don’t miss them by choice.


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