Saturday, January 31, 2015

January Recap

Despite a cold start to the year I managed to walk to work and back every day except for one ride to a timekeeping assignment for about 90km. I'd much rather the temperature stay cold enough to keep the ice and snow solid. The warm days are sloppy and walking is a matter of picking your way through the puddles and slush. It's much easier to throw on another layer or two and walk in the cold.

On the bikes I cracked last year's total with my ride this afternoon, 256 km. All but 20 on the trainer.

Weight was up and down but ended down 7 1/2 pounds. Not great for the first month but I'll take it.

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, January 30, 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Go Away Already

I love surfing around the net looking at everything to do with bikes. New bikes, old bikes, mountain, road, CX or fat. Doesn't matter, if it has two wheels or bolts onto a frame I'm interested. What I'm tired of is seeing Lance.

Tired of seeing his face in the news. Tired of his excuses, his ridiculous "I would never cheat at golf" statements. He cheated, everybody apparently did. If he had cheated and then just accepted it he would probably be free to do as he pleased after a brief suspension. He might even have a yellow jersey or two that meant something hanging in his basement. But he had to fight it, fight with friends, sponsors, teammates and people who helped him hide the lies. He had to sue his accusers and sponsors. I really hope he loses his $100 million lawsuit. Maybe then he will just go away.

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, January 24, 2015

First Ride of 2015

She's big and ugly. She cost $30. Gert is an old Giant ATX aluminum mountain bike I found on kijiji to hang my single speed parts on. I rode her to work until early December but she's been idle since then. I went on a 2 hour 20 km ride this afternoon and it was like she was the best bike in the world. Sure beats sitting in the bedroom starting at a small screen and pounding out km. But those hours on the trainer paid off as the legs were strong.

Today looked like the weather might be a bit warm creating a sloppy slushy ride but the temperature held just right. Not too cool but enough to keep things from melting and crowds off the pathways.

Using the back lanes and the railroad bridge got me to the paved pathways that are about 75% ice or packed snow and the rest bare pavement. The studs had little to do but it's reassuring to hear them bite as you cruise along. I got as far west as the trail goes and then up to the university. I took a few of the trails along the McIntyre where anyone walking is probably wondering what was screaming in the bush. Just Gert's brakes, which sounded like a seal with its butt in the mouth of a killer whale. I don't use them much on a single speed so the squeal is my bell on the trail. Ring a bell and after maybe three tries people look back and move over. Hit a set of squealing brakes and they move, now. But going down the steep hills they sounded awful. I might have to put the bell on and clean up the pads.

I came across a huge hole in the ice about the size of a hot tub in the river near the university. The sides were about three feet thick and I could see running water in one small hole. I'm not sure how it got there, it was quite a distance from the residence and there were no beer bottles or I would guess students had created it for some kind of college adventure. Meteor?

An hour after getting home it was off to another Leafs practice. I should sleep well tonight.

strange hot tub sized hole in the ice

a little trail riding

Gert, big ugly cheap and FUN
posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Very Long Day

Saturday is my one day where I have the house to myself, well a few hours anyway. I waited all week for the chance to get to the basement and put the new brakes on Sophia but made a promise to myself to clean up paperwork that has been piling up for too long and get in a ride on the trainer.

Twelve bingo reports (I hate bingo reports so they go to the bottom of that pile, repeatedly) and a variety of other small jobs out of the way I decided to tweak the bike attached to the trainer before riding. I added a few links to the chain so that I could use bigger gearing making the effort required to pedal harder. Into the basement with the bike, links added and back to the second story bedroom, hook it all back up and fight skipping gears for 4 km. Back to the basement to adjust the derailleur, up to the second floor to reassemble and then finish another 6km. I think climbing the stairs with the bike was more tiring than riding it.

I had some lunch and then went back to the garage and bolted on a couple of Ultegra dual pivot calipers to Sophia. They will provide much better braking than the originals that were scary going downhill Farzam gave me a great deal for these as he took them from a new bike that went another way. Cash from the sale of my old phone covered it all. I tinkered with a few other things on Lisbeth and Andi and then headed for the Gardens for a Leafs practice.

Carting my hockey gear and camera to take team pictures through the slush, I wonder why does the temperature have to go fake March? On arrival I find the two subject teams are short players so the camera is just another unnecessary weight and worry. Can't leave the Nikon in the unlocked dressing room. Brandyn has decided he is needed as goalie after being told clearly three days earlier he is not to bring his pads. Curtis races home for his other gear and long story short Brandyn never gets on the ice, grrrrr. Ten minutes after the start of practice and the Leafs have no coach even on the ice. Our head coach has no plan so I grab the four youngest players while he takes the older bunch. I keep them moving through every small area ice drill I can remember as we have only the area between one blue line and the red line. In the end I'm sweating and so are the kids, mission accomplished. Two of them learned a two foot stop so that will make a big difference in their games.

Curtis finishes babysitting the Nikon and drops me at home. Sal is waiting and there's no sign of supper so I'm guessing we are heading out. Off to her mom's to change the batteries in the smoke detector and then for a quick supper at Mama Alfa's where a beer never tasted so good. We get home by 8:30 and I'm dozing by 10. I quit fighting sleep on the couch and am in bed at 10:30. I didn't get up until 9, at least three hours past my normal.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Progress, Slow

Progress on the 30 lbs. I want to drop was very slow early in the month. I just couldn't shake the urges pulling me to the kitchen. Finally this week I have seen consistent small drops thanks tuning out the voices from the fridge, 4km of walking to work and 10km on the trainer just abut every day. I haven't been driven to work yet this year.

While everyone here in Ontario seems to think lower gas prices are just peachy, I fear what this will bring to Alberta and more specifically Calgary. Companies are already cutting and the prices just keep dropping. I think this is Mr. Obama's work, a sure way to bring Putin into line. The Russian economy is even more dependent on selling oil than Alberta. Personally it doesn't make much of a dent either way as we only use a couple of tanks of gas a month.

I'm not surprised by Target's demise in Canada. I am surprised that a company of that size and stature could make such a blunder. If they spent 'only' a million on each store in Canada to renovate and relabel, they just dumped $130 million plus the $70 they are setting up for employees in addition to whatever they poured down the drain while they stumbled through two years. How did they so terribly misread the market? We all wanted Target, that's not what they brought.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Yeah, I'll Get Right On That

In their endless search for faster bikes and riders, Specialized has released a video that claims you can save 19 seconds over 40km simply by shaving your arms. So if I can lose 30 pounds and ride 40km I should be able to go back in time.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Year New Phone

Like it or not a smartphone is something many of us can't function without. For me it's the center of the universe. Whether it be hockey email or website maintenance, music, quick photos, GPS tracking of bike rides, reminders, flashlight, shopping lists, news source, texting or on occasion even a phone call, my phone is with me constantly.

An important tool requires a current tool and my Samsung SIII was getting behind. I was sure I would go with the new version of Sal's HTC but after much reading I went with the LG G3. For $30 I was able to escape my tbaytel contract. The new phone was free with a 2 year sign up. I sold the Samsung for $150 on kijiji in about four hours so I came out ahead and with a major upgrade.

Spec wise everything is double. 32 gig storage, 3mb of memory, 2.5Ghz processor, 13mbpx camera with laser focusing that is 3 times faster than the new Samsung. Ok so it's .2 seconds instead of .6 but it focuses and snaps a picture instantly. And then there's the screen. Quad HD. Must apps don't even take full advantage yet. In just a slightly bigger overall package LG have managed to squeeze a 5.5" screen. It's still comfortable to hold but looks so huge. A larger capacity battery is a necessity with the screen but battery life has not been an issue.

While the Samsung was loaded with software that had to be left taking up precious digital real estate, LG has allowed removal of most built in apps. They leave android very close to stock which is a positive in my mind.

On the Samsung two features failed regularly. Bluetooth was sketchy. Very limited range meant when I turn my head to check traffic when crossing a street the music would often cut out. Both allow the addition of an sd card but the Samsung world kill the card and delete everything every now and again. So far the G3 is happy to have the 32 gig card aboard.

In the first four days of use I am more sure of my decision than before taking the plunge.

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 in the Rear View Mirror

Favourites of 2014

Album, The Trews - Rise in the Wake
Book, Anthony Bourdain - Kitchen Confidential
Purchase, 1988 Marinoni Road Bike on Kijiji
Software, Rdio
Meals, at home - Sal's pasta and sauce, on the road - Kevin's salmon, restaurant - Fat Lorenzo's
Personal Event, another grandson arrives. Campbell
Sporting event, Hockey Olympic Gold x2

For 2015 I really want to get back to riding more seriously. I need to shed about 30 pounds before I can ride aggressively and have promised myself not to take a ride on Sophia (the Marinoni) until I've accomplished that. A century (100 miles in a day) would be a nice challenge and I think the unamed Trek would be the best bike to take that on. The fleet currently stands at six plus a seventh dedicated to indoors, so there should always be a bike or three ready to go. I still get email from Conquer Cancer and am tempted at times to sign up. The focus to be in shape was a great motivator but trying to raise the required donation and the long drive to Toronto while facing another trip west just isn't in the cards. I think the century will be my target.

Next season another team in Northwood would be great for scheduling but with every added player we risk taking on another nutty parent. Going back to six teams might be the smarter move but the league is becoming more well known and that trend should continue. There are times I wish I could walk away, times I wish I was on my own and times I am proud of what the league is and does for the kids. Something tells me I'd be lost without it.

Sadly this year may see the end of the Fort William Americans Little League. Don has had enough and I've only stayed involved to try and give him a hand. But dwindling numbers of players makes continuing seem pointless. There were a few parents that showed some interest at the end of last season but we haven't heard from them since late summer. People just don't realize that even seasonal sports take nearly a year round commitment to keep it all running. Our boys spent ten years in the league and I admit I would rather watch a good 12 year old baseball game than hockey any time. It was great but for now its time has come. We surrender to soccer, summer hockey, xbox and play station. A real shame.

Of course I'm not sure what the upcoming year will bring but I hope for the best and will deal with the rest.

posted from Bloggeroid