Thursday, December 25, 2014

All I Want For Christmas

I know what you're thinking. He's going to wish for some old Italian bike with a classic steel frame and parts you've never heard of. Sorry, not this time.

Watching someone else's grandkids squealing as Santa appears out the living room window was hard. It was supposed to be me in that suit but the fit was just too tight and we had to call in a quick substitute. I'm not sure it would have been any easier behind the fake beard. All night long my thoughts were of what Cullen would be doing if he were there. Running endlessly around the island chasing cousins, giggling until they all ended in a pile. Shyly taking his present from Santa but not quite trusting him. Or sneaking one more cookie while everybody was watching.

I just have to keep reminding myself that it is what it is. They are out there because that's where the work is and their lives are so much better for it.

Yeah, but it still sucks sometimes. Merry Christmas.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, December 22, 2014

Northwood Christmas

The last weekend before Christmas saw most teams missing players and in Brandyn's case it provided a dream come true. Don't ask me why but he wants to be a goalie. He came close to quitting hockey if he couldn't be a goalie but we came to a compromise where he practices with the goalies in the hopes of being prepared to take on the loneliest position in hockey next season.

With far less practice than even he knew he needs, he got his chance to play a game as the team's goalie was away for the holidays. He ended up with 20 saves in 23 shots and a tie, but really wasn't challenged by the older lines. Two breakaways against the older kids saw a nice pad save and a missed call by the ref as the clank off the back part of the net was misread by the ref and not counted. Well they say you have to be lucky to be good...

Sunday saw our annual Christmas party complete with a visit from Santa and Wolfie, the LU Thunderwolves mascot who is always a hit with the kids. A parent donated an iPad to our Shelter House food drive and along with a huge pile of food we collected $225 which will be donated as well. Lots of new people expressed their happiness with the league as we skated and chatted. We've got a few more weekends of regular season games and then the playoffs will kick off in late January. Fore the next few weeks I'm going to enjoy a break from the rink.
lining up to meet Santa

Wolfie might need a new tail

showing off my Hero of Play Team Canada jersey

Friday, December 19, 2014

Year End

As the end of another year approaches with blinding speed, I am trying to get back to actually writing something. Anything. It has been so long and I find I miss it more and more, so beware this will be a lengthy post.

Biking is more or less relegated to the indoor variety. I was trying to continue commuting but the weather actually got too mild. Wet pavement is tough on the studs and they do nothing in slush. Snow takes about four days to be cleared from the bike paths so walking has become my mode of transportation. I really don't mind. I can still ride the trainer and have done so a few times a week. The Sekine MR300 frame I picked up for the 105 parts works perfectly and it's semi-permanently setup in a small bedroom complete with a fan and speakers. Facing the chilly start to a ride in shorts in the basement was a hindrance last year but the bedroom is nice and cozy. Netflix helps pass the time.

On the hockey front, I am enjoying my new role as statistician for Lakehead Minor. No more voting pressures and I still feel I'm contributing. I have learned a lot about spreadsheets from keeping the Novice player stats. As for Northwood our first year with an executive has been challenging. It is far more difficult than I ever imagined. Knowing when to jump in and help or step back and allow people to make rookie mistakes, and there have been a number of those, has caused much stress. The 112 kids are having fun by all reports so despite what's going on in the background, the main priority is being taken care of. One more set of games, $7000 worth of fudge to distribute, a Christmas party and then a nice long break that I am looking forward to. My return to coaching has not been the enjoyable experience I remember. Most of the kids refuse to listen to anything and only working one on one with the youngest players has provided any feeling of accomplishment.

I'm on the down slope of the weight roller coaster currently. The new year can't come fast enough for that battle. A combination of weather (again) and a return of pirifomis syndrome, the literal pain in the ass that feels like sciatica, curtailed a lot of the riding I would normally have done this year. I surpassed 5200 km in 2013 and only managed 3800 this year. I have already started planning some long rides for next year so once the holidays are over the roller coaster will start another trip up the long climb to lose weight.

While I did not relish going to the basement in shorts to ride a bike, I do love going down there into my little garage full of bikes. I have rigged up a stand that hangs from the rafters, assembled my tools and fixed a few lights. There are not many repairs or adjustments I can't take on and the lack of a specialty tool or two is the only hurdle I can't get over. I can always borrow something from Petries or just take the stubborn part there to use the tool that is not needed often enough to own. An hour working on one of my bikes passes the time like nothing else, other than maybe riding them. Put on some jazz, brew a cup of coffee and then just tinker for a bit and the afternoon is gone. When hockey induced stress is high, I grab an allen key and search for a bike that needs some attention. It's cheap therapy and I'm running out of things to fix so feel free to drop your bike for a tuneup.

In a few days AJ and Jess will be in town for the holidays. It has been quiet around the house since they moved, not that they were noisy by any stretch, it is just noticeable that Sal and I are on our own for the most part. The 'quiet' is interrupted briefly each week by Brandyn. He's not a loud kid either but having him around breaks things up for everybody. Unbelievably his teenage years are getting closer and some of the attitude that comes with those years seems to arrived a little prematurely. Still not a bad kid, just trying at times. Cullen and Campbell are distant but the magic of facetime keeps them almost close. We see them a few times very week so at least when we do get to Calgary they will know our faces. It gets harder to be this far away as time goes by, especially at this time of year. What I wouldn't give to be able to be sitting in Calgary one morning next week.

What I'm into currently
Beer: Sleeping Giant Brewery's Coffee Vanilla Porter
Bikes: Any and all, but mostly my 1988 Marinoni
Books: Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series, Lee Childs Reacher series
Coffee: Kicking Horse Coffee's 454 Horsepower, fresh ground and brewed in the Aerospress
Music: Rdio online streaming lets me listen to almost anything anytime anywhere

Friday, September 12, 2014

New Energy

After I don't know how long running Northwood on my own and getting help only with bingos and fundraising I have to say I love having an executive. Seeing emails go out to the new coaches rather than having to compose them and forgetting that because they are new they don't know half of what I think they do. Or seeing someone else rework a schedule outline to encompass another team. Seeing so much help at the rink on launch day that I could actually stop and have a conversation. I could get used to this.

We have undergone our first expansion in a decade. Yes there will be headaches but they won't all be mine.

As a result I made the decision to help coach a team. It solves a problem but I'm really looking forward to it.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, September 8, 2014

Minneapolis 2014

We're not grumpy, the sun was in our eyes

We took an end of the summer getaway to Minneapolis over the Labour Day weekend and had a great time. Never stepped foot in the Mall of America or even a bike shop.

What we did was find new places by not using the gps or the freeways. From the south end of town, Bloomington to be more precise, there a at east a half dozen streets the start at American Boulevard and end up downtown. I would crank up Google maps and plan out a route and then with maybe a few lines on a note in my shirt pocket we would head out. Is it slower than jumping onto I35, yes. Do you actually get to see some of the neighbourhoods and small businesses, yes.

Our first run was up Lyndale Ave. to the Lyn Lake area restaurant  It's Greek To Me, turned out to be a great choice. They were closed Sunday and Monday for the long weekend, lots of smaller places close to give the staff a break. I had roast leg of lamb and Sal had a combo with four different dishes. Parked about half a block away right on Lake Street.

Saturday we did some shopping after a quick breakfast in the hotel. We decided to try Culver's which was the only 'fast' food place we even considered. The roast beef sandwiches were very good. We finished shopping and got ready for our night out. We travelled north up Portland Ave. all the way downtown which was very calm on weekends. We had reservations for 112 Eatery at 5pm, right at opening time and parked on the street just outside the front door. The restaurant is located in an old building that has been revamped and both floors filled up fast. We shared a crab salad and scallop appetizers, Sal had a pasta dish and I had a cheesburger with brie. I found a tasty new porter, Great Lakes Breweries (Cleveland OH) "Edmund Fitzgerald'. We added desert and enjoyed our most expensive meal of the trip. Just the right portion size for the evening we had planned and very good from the app to the dessert. I still think for $9 they could have assembled mine.

We left with about 40 minutes before show time at the Guthrie Theatre and I had to use gps to find the spot just 5 blocks away. :( The building itself was amazing with a large balcony section overlooking the riverfront and the theatre we were in was red velvet everything, curtains, seats and walls. Not that musty old red velvet, new and plush. We had excellent seats in row J and were the first to sit down. Again the place filled quickly and after waiting maybe 15 minutes the show started, a comedy that had a run on and off Broadway and had won several awards including a Tony, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. It started off with a few laughs and by the end of the 2 hour performance you cared what happened to the characters. We drove back through downtown and out Portland to the hotel.

The hotel was a big surprise. We have never used the travel sites that AJ books with but decided it was time to try. I signed up with Trip Advisor and found a room for 4 nights for $362 Canadian tax in through Priceline. It was a Super 8 located right on American Boulevard about 5 minutes from the Mall of America, Ikea, Target, Kohls, REI, Best Buy and so on. It included a king bed, breakfast, 24 hour free coffee in the lobby, a fridge, microwave, and wi-fi with 4 routers to choose from and better reception than we have at home. It was quiet and clean, can't ask for much more.

Sunday we did a little more shopping after trying the Mandarin Kitchen for Dim Sum. It was insanely busy and after circling for 20 minutes looking for parking we got inside and 15 minutes later we heard they served dim sum on Mondays so we mad the choice to leave. We hit a nearby Perkins where most of the seniors residing in Minnesota were having breakfast. We were hungry by then so it did the job. It's hard to mess up omelettes and coffee.

We then headed up Lyndale again and made our way to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. A huge building with a very extensive collection of art and historic artifacts. We spent most of our visit in the Chinese collection and it was very interesting. What did people do before tv and computers? They created beautiful works of art. Some of the carvings and tapestries were enormous and so detailed. It's impossible to imagine how something so impressive could be made by hand from materials also made by hand.

Sunday night we tried to get a reservation at Pizzeria Lola but they don't take them. When we arrived we saw why, no need. A large crowd stood outside the door milling around the 5 small tables where a few lucky groups were eating. I went in and put our name in for a table. An hour wait. We decided to stick this one out. And we were so glad we did. Once inside everything sped up. Drinks arrived and then an amazing salad. I ordered the Hawaii Pie O and Sal had the Sweet Italian. Wood fired just a few feet away and had to be the best we've ever had. We planned to take a few pieces back for lunch the following day but then remembered we were going to try for dim sum again. The pieces never made it to a box. The crust is so thin it just doesn't fill you up,. Strong enough to pick up and eat but almost unnoticeable in your mouth. In honor of one of my bikes I had a Surly Furious beer and then a Surly Bender. Trip Advisor has this place ranked as the number one restaurant in Minneapolis and we would agree.

Monday was a lazy day. We got to the Mandarin Kitchen right at the 10am opening and were eating by 10:05, no crowds on this sunny morning. It wasn't the best dim sum we've ever had but was good. The crab balls were something I haven't had and Sal said she hadn't had one since her dad made them.

We had no other plans so we tried Menards and picked up a few things, then a Super Target. With nothing more planned we chilled at the hotel for a few hours. At about 3 we headed to the Normandale Community College on France Ave. and their Japanese Gardens. A very tranquil and quiet place that we had to share with 3 or 4 others. We also checked out the Wildlife Sanctuary at the far end of American Boulevard. There is a visitor center overlooking the Mississippi Valley but it was closed for the holiday. A sign said that few animals would be seen on summer afternoons especially if it was breezy. It was mid afternoon and windy. Sal did see a few small birds in a birdhouse and then an enormous squirrel, a few chipmunks and a small rabbit so she was happy.

Our last supper of the trip was at Fat Lorenzos on Lake Nokomis. Another excellent find. We shared an Artichoke dip served with garlic toast that was so much better than others we have head, not salty at all and real mozzarella and chunks of artichoke. I had a New Belgian Fat Tire beer and Picanti Grassi, a spicey penne dish with meatball and sausage in every bite. Sal had spaghetti with meatballs, well half of it anyway. The portions were very generous and very tasty. We ordered a cold hoagie for lunch on the way home and enjoyed it at our favourite roadside rest spot just outside Gran Marais, Cut Face Creek.

We stopped in Duluth for some wine and Edmund Fitzgerald to bring home. Sal drove home from the rest stop. The roads were quiet and there was no one at the border. We were second in line on the way down. Other than numerous pauses for construction it was a relaxing drive home. All in all a great long weekend before works tarts for Sal and hockey changes into high gear for me.

On the steps of the Institute of the Arts
Fat Lorenzos unmistakable paint
4 dishes in 1 at It's Greek to Me
Sweet Italian at Pizzeria Lola
Hawaii Pie-O at Pizzeria Lola
Cheesburger at 112 Eatery
Appetizers at 112 Eatery
Some assembly required dessert at 112 Eatery
Dim sum at Mandarin Kitchen
Picant Grassi at Fat Lorenzos
Spaghetti & meatballs at Fat Lorenzos

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Our New Program

Paris has Velolib...Montreal and Toronto have Bixi bikes....Minneapolis has Nice Ride.

In Thunder Bay we have Shop and Drop.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Trend Fighter

Seems like every time you turn around someone is creating a new category of bike that we of the bike nerd tribe just have to have. Recently 'fat bikes' have been sharing the headlines with 'gravel grinders'. I tried a fat bike and although it was fun I wasn't ready to part with $2000 for what would be a limited winter ride. Every manufacturer is now on another trend, the 'gravel grinder'. Basically a road bike with slightly relaxed frame geometry and room for bigger tires. They are comfy to ride but again seemed limited and pricey.

I surf the local Kijiji bikes for sale page just about daily and saw an old Trek hybrid 750 Multitrack. At first I ignored it but later in the day came back for another look and started thinking that with a few modifications it could fill the gravel grinder niche. I inquired and ended up with a free bike thanks to one of the Northwood hockey families.

Sophia (Marinoni road bike) recently had some upgrades so I had a spare Shimano 600 7 speed rear wheel, derailleur and shifters. Add a set of drop bars and some re-engineering of the shifters from Molly (1974 Raleigh Citation) that have been on the shelf for 5 years and the poor man's gravel grinder was born. Sophia taught me that a good set of downtube shifters are sweet and so much more reliable. The ride is softer than a road bike, great for commuting on Thunder Bay's crumbling road system. I've riden about 100km this week back and forth to work and with Brandyn to the university where we did some off road excursions near the river. For the price of a set of used handle bars and some spare parts I have another solid ride.

AS shipped from Trek 20? years ago

After conversion

40 year old and still reliable friction shifters

Sunday adventure

Brandyn attempts to damn the river

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Oh Sophia

​I finally got to get back on a bike Sunday evening. Weather and catching up with yardwork when it wasn't raining left no time to sneak out​. It started to rain as I left but I decided to just ignore it. With my own pedals, saddle and a few adjustments Sophia was ready.

Riding the $2200 BMC that I had been pining for all winter had no where near the wow factor that riding this 26 year old beauty did. She's as quiet as a single speed. Shifting with the down tube shifters seems more natural and the gear changes are precise. The ride is everything that steel frames are known for, smooth and road absorbing. But step on the gas and she responds quickly. She passed the no hands test, a sure sign that there are no frame issues. All this without any more attention than pumping the tires and lubing the chain. She truly feels like she was custom made for me. I can't wait to go for a longer ride.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Meet Sophia

After surprising Sal by not buying a heavily reduced Masi Gran Criterium in Vancouver I found a used gem in Calgary. 'Sophia' is a 1988 Marinoni hand made in Quebec by an Italian immigrant who apprenticed under some of the master Italian frame makers.
She has some scratches and a little rust but nothing that can't be worked out. Made from lugged Columbus steel tubing and equipped with a classic Shimano parts group she is a perfect fit for my height.
Maybe it's just a bike geek thing but being able to see the face of the man who welded and painted the frame creates a special feeling somehow. Apparently I can send the frame to Quebec for repainting and decals. A fresh coat of paint would have her looking like new.
I've taken a few short rides and made a few adjustments. Once the old school leather straps are gone from the pedals she'll be ready for some longer rides.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Little boy and a big big truck

Cullen and I took a long ride around the neighborhood going from playground to playground. We came across this extra long load with two articulated trailers. It was making its way around some tight corners with one end on one sidewalk and the other end on the opposite. The crew needed radios to communicate as they made the turn. Cullen soaked it up. There was construction activity all over with dump trucks, cement trucks, dozers and excavators working close to the pathway. Like any two year old he found it all pretty exciting. He snoozed on the return, something he rarely does. An hour and a half and maybe two minutes of it on the road.

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, April 24, 2014

150 Words

Bicycling magazine was running a contest where a parody of one of the writers was required to win a $5000 bike. I entered three times and just finished another submission when I discovered that the contest closed. I never realized how few 150 words really is. Editing the entries became a learning experience. From now on I plan to keep my posts to that max whenever possible. Here's the one that never made it.

There are two types of bike shops. On one hand you have an old school shop which has more bikes on the floor than floorspace. A game of dominoes can result if some ADD 5 year old evades his inattentive parent. The staff is an odd mix of young and old, roadies and downhillers, lean and overfed. They will gladly pump your tire as you sip a free cup, listen to the story of your tour or put your rump on any bike under their roof. They have what you need and will launch a search party immediately.

On the floor of the other shop, five bikes sit inches off the ground under spotlights and “don’t touch” signs, as if the glare of the uniformed staff aren’t enough. Air and advice are never free, coffee is $5 and the part you need is stocked but time to bother is not.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Just Don't Think About It

Three days after God's Zamboni did its thing on the landscape I'm 15 minutes late leaving for work. A light dusting of snow has added camouflage to the layer of ice I am walking on. About 5 minutes in the thought that I haven't fallen during a walk to work all winter pushes past David Gilmour's guitar and into my head. And my next thought is that whenever I have one of those personal streak revealing discoveries, it all goes wrong shortly after.  

I haven't missed the fairway all day, followed shortly by a beautiful banana shaped shot that finds the deepest part of a river on the edge of the next fairway.

I haven't had a flat all ssssssssssssssummer.

One hundred yards from the front door and that thought had left my conscious brain and went right over to the section that controls the mobility department. Down I went, fortunately landing on my hands and knees but in front of three guys out for their morning smoke. David Gilmour in the headphones drowned out any snickers but I could feel the eyes on me.  

This must be what separates the true 'ice in the veins' athletes from the rest of us. That and a heaping dose of physical abilities and dedication.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Walking Back In Time

It's March break 1975 and I'm in the back seat of the family sedan heading for Minneapolis. I've scraped together enough $US to buy the latest Led Zeppelin release, the two album "Physical Graffiti". It wasn't available in Thunder Bay yet, in those days you couldn't just hook up to the internet and be playing the tunes on your phone five minutes later. You had to buy the vinyl record or cassette tape, an actual physical item that you could look at, touch and wear out from repeated play on a turntable with an old needle. Thirty nine years seems like a million years ago and so much has changed in music.

What hasn't changed is how that music still brings back memories. I remember hearing "Kashmir" from that back seat as we got closer to Minneapolis where the radio stations got more current. Radio stations here in Thunder Bay rarely played Led Zep and anything over the standard three and a half minutes was a no no. My ears strained to listen to the eight plus minute long song from the album I had my heart set on. Listening to music on a mid 70's AM car radio from the back seat was like eating filet with a burnt tongue. You know it's good but you just can't feel it. Written while driving through the Sahara in Morocco the song clearly exhibits the mid-eastern influences that vocalist/lyricist Robert Plant was into at the time. Multi-millionaire rockers can travel wherever they wish and much like Beatle George Harrison's delving into everything Indian, Plant's exposure to other cultures found its way into his music. Judged by many as the best song the band ever recorded, it appears on many lists of the best rock tunes ever.

Yesterday as I was walking home a live version of "Kashmir" from Page and Plant's "No Quarter" disc was playing from my phone through my wireless bluetooth headphones. New technology, same still old music. This 1994 album was one of many near reunions for the band, principals Plant and Jimi Page were in, John Bonham had passed and John Paul Jones wasn't invited, miffed and the stumbling block for any future reunion.  Much of the disc was recorded live in Morocco with a full orchestra from Egypt. This live version of "Kashmir" clocks in at over twelve minutes so it got me more than halfway home. The recording features the local flavour and instruments of the orchestra along with Plant's unique vocal style and Page's distinctive guitar riffs soaring in from behind a wall of strings and a variety of tribal percussion. Very moving stuff for an old time Led Zep fan and after listening to local radio all day I welcome the walk home when I get to pick the tunes.

Youtube video of KASHMIR from No Quarter

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Things Are Looking Up

The Northwood league has a full executive as of January 19. The meeting which was seen as a threat, a bluff or my resignation worked. I got some misguided hugs and thankyous. But the meeting saw 20 or so people show up and every spot on the wish list of executive was filled. It feels great to be working as part of a team and not just trying to muddle through on my own. We have lots of plans for getting our numbers back up and possibly even expanding.

Cullen is developing quite the sense of humour. He will go around the room and say hi or goodbye to everyone watching him over the ipad but then just for kicks he'll totally ignore one of his fans, often AJ. And he knows he's doing it because he has that look that says, "yeah I know you're there". Here's a conversation from a recent facetime session:

Mike: "Cullen say MMMMMilk" (he was saying yilk or something similar)
Cullen: "MMMMMilk"
Mike: "Cullen say MMMMMilk"
Cullen: "MMMMMilk"
Mike: "Cullen say MMMMMilk"
Cullen: "NNNNNNNNo"

Saturday, February 1, 2014

More Winter Riding

Today the bug to get out and ride again got me. No fat bike this time, just Louise (named because her frame color reminds me of Lake Louise) in her winter gear. Single speed with studded tires.
And it was a ride more to my liking, 15km in an hour with just a few minutes on the roads. The bike paths are perfect as was the temperature. The tires provide a very solid ride on packed snow or ice. I never feel any slipping and the sound of hundreds of steel studs biting into the ice is reassuring.

Fat Bike Workout

It was still -20 when I got to the Centennial Park parking lot with the Salsa Mukluk 3 hanging from the rack on the back of our Subaru. The temperature proved to be the biggest challenge of the day, but not because I was too cold. 

I started off with 2 layers under my light winter jacket, jeans and Under Armour pants,  2 pair of socks, Banff Ridge boots, a fleece neck tube, my free Mark's gloves and lined hat. 50 feet from the car and I knew the hat was not going to work because of the neckline so I traded it for my warmest toque.

My first impression of the feel of the bike was 'man this is slow going'. The entire hour and a half of riding was mostly the same. I averaged about 6.5kph. I went along the wide and well packed trail next to the frozen Current River, crossed the bridge into Trowbridge and then tried some narrow single track [about 18" wide] for another km. It was twisty and overhanging branches kept me ducking. If the bike strayed from the packed snow trail it was a sudden stop and then a major effort to get rolling again because width of the packed snow wasn't enough to let me stand beside to do a rolling mount.

After 45 minutes and only 5km I headed for the car and was completely soaked. I undid my jacket and stuffed the neck tube in my pack. I didn't want to cool down too much but any wetter and I'd chill and be done for the day.

At the car I took off all my upper layers except the base, had a couple sandwiches and coffee for lunch while frosting every window in the Subaru. I put on my wool sweater, a wind breaker, a lighter pair of gloves, merino neck tube and went out again.

I started with the same trail along the river but then carried on past the bridge on less travelled trail and climbed a very long steep hill. When I first looked at the bike I wondered why the crankset sprockets [22/36] were so small. Halfway up I was wishing they had made them smaller. To keep the front wheel on the ground you have to keep your nose over the handle bars. To maintain traction your butt has to stay back so there is weight on the back tire. Standing does not work at all. Coming down the hill on my return was the only real sense of speed I felt all day but that came with a very chilling self made breeze.

All in all it was a fun way to spend a day off and a great workout. Once I was used to the slow pace and warmed up I enjoyed just getting outside for a ride. The rhythmic cadence that lets my thoughts wander a bit while riding on the road is just not possible on the Mukluk at least not with varying terrain. From spinning wildly in the tiniest gears to go up and then overspinning down a slight slope I was constantly changing gears to try and maintain some kind of even cadence but never seemed comfortable for long.   

In the battle of what kind of bike I'd rather be riding the fat bike loses to the fast bike. I can imagine riding 350 miles as they do in the Iditarod where these bikes first came into prominence, but not at this speed. Add in the gear they have to carry and the additional layers of clothing to handle Alaska in the winter, umm no thanks. I'll stick to feeling like a sausage in my skin tight bike shorts and jerseys.

Thanks to Farzam and Nathan at Petrie's for loaning me the Mukluk and for some guidance on where to pedal the beast.

Mukluk at the gate

At the new bridge to Trowbridge

on the main trail along the Current River


Alien artwork under the highway

Thursday, January 30, 2014


My biggest fear is not the cold or falling in a snowbank, it's possibly getting another bike to drool over. I have a couple of days of holidays remaining from last year and am cashing them in for a 4 day weekend. I arranged a loaner fat bike, a Salsa Mukluk 3 for tomorrow and will head to Centennial Park for a long ride around the groomed trails.

The BMC GF2 that I had my heart set on and have been saving for is a far cry from the Mukluk, in more ways than one. The GF is sleek and fast and weighs less than 20 pounds. The Mukluk is slow, bulky and tips the scale at 35 pounds. The end use of each could not be more different, smooth pavement and warm summer days or the mud and snow of winter. Bouncing around at a top speed of maybe 15kmph or flying at 50 plus. 100 psi in the tires or 10. Decisions decisions.

I don't have enough saved yet for either but...I guess time will tell. Never forget the formula for how many bikes one needs, X+1 (where X=how many you currently own).

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What To Do With A Piece of History

I love the first week of a diet. The weight melts off and skipping food doesn't seem that hard when the results are so positive. It won't last but losing just over 8 lbs. in the last seven days was easy.

The cold we've been having is finally going to break so I'm looking forward to some outdoor riding. Even a few days with warmer temps and no snow would be nice.

Tonight I was invited to a meeting at the FW Gardens about its future use because Northwood is a main tenant. I think it's going to end up as a parking lot for the court house but that's just a guess. Turning it into retail space just doesn't seem realistic when so much of Victoriaville is vacant. Maybe the court house will help revitalize the south core but parking is going to be an issue. Where will Northwood end up if the Gardens is no longer available? I really don't believe we need another venue when we can't fill those that we already have. The Gardens is old but it's home.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back to Work, Back on Track

After a long break over the holidays it was back to work this morning. With -34 on the dial and 23 kmph winds it was Defcon 5 for clothing, ski goggles et al. Only my legs felt any cold and just as I made the last bit straight into the wind. My back was actually sweating where my packsack made contact so one less layer would have worked.

I have reversed the direction my weight was going over the last five days, sticking to the Lose It app and riding as many kms as I did in all of December, 75.

On boxing day our tv box decided to stop working, Shaw tried online to fix it to no avail. They finally came on January 2nd. The tech tried everything I had already been told to try and then advised me that we needed a new $350 cable box. I said I could always call and get two for nothing with a new sign up. Some how everything was working five minutes later after "one more try".  The "one more try" included an ipad and some on screen diagnostics that were not even attempted the first time. Oh the wonders of technology, and competition.

The Northwood season has one more weekend of regular season and then playoffs that are stretched out over more than two months. The Robin's Tournament grabs a whole weekend of our ice and Family Day weekend takes another. We have a meeting scheduled for January 19th to try and get some help for next season. I'm just not going to do this on my own any more.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year, Same Old Challenges

I've started riding in 2014 this morning after slacking off in December. Final number for 2013 is 5275 km. and I hope to top that by at last 1000 for this year.
Wish me luck as I attempt to get under 200 for the first time in I don't know how long. I'm starting the New Year 55lbs. lighter than last year but have paid the price for not riding enough and eating too much in the last month.