Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

Hammer time

August 3, 2013
My custom Nobilette

The better-than-ever Nobilette.

The weather gods have been toying with me lately.

No matter what time of day I finish my chores, that’s when the rain starts. All I have to do is look at a bit of cycling kit, or envision the door to the garage, and it’s like thunder! Lightning! The way it loves me is frightening! I better knock (bam bam bam bam) on wood. …

But Thor must have been in a meeting or on an early mead break this morning, because I slipped out for a couple of hours and just made it home before he clocked back in and started swinging that soggy ol’ hammer again.

Highway 24

Looking east from Highway 24 near Marksheffel.

I was aboard my only custom bike, the Reynolds 853 Nobilette, which underwent a bit of a transformation on Thursday down at Old Town Bike Shop. I decided to swap out the industrial-looking Race Face compact crankset for a prettier and more functional Sugino XD2 triple, and finally found a handlebar that I like (a wide, short-reach, shallow-drop Torelli). While we were at it I picked out a stem with a little less rise to it than its predecessor.

Everything else remains as is: nine-speed Ultegra with bar-cons; Mavic Open Pros, Ultegra hubs, and Soma New XPress 700×32 rubber (made in Japan by Panaracer);  Paul’s Neo-Retro and Touring cantis with SwissStop Viking pads and Cane Creek levers (reg’lar and top-mounted). The saddle is a Selle Italia Flite, of course. The pedals are Shimano XT. And yes, it will accept a rear rack and fenders.

The next thing is to swap out the Giant stem and Ritchey post for some L.H. Thomson bike jewelry. But that will have to wait for the next time a spare dollar rolls around, if ever.

Meanwhile, the Nobilette is better than ever. I took it out east for a short shakedown cruise that got even shorter when I glanced over one shoulder to gauge the weather. Man, you can see company coming a long ways off from Highway 24. Storm clouds, too.

Strange bedfellows

May 9, 2013
Two cats, one bed

The Turk’ and Mia cuddle up on a damp, chilly May day.

You know it’s a damp, chilly day when Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) and Miss Mia Sopaipilla decide to share the same bed, which just happens to sit on a shelf in Herself’s bathroom, directly under a heater vent.

The Turk can be a troublesome bedmate. Being groomed by the big galoot is like being run over again and again by a Velcro steamroller, and his long, furry carcass generates enough heat to hard-boil an egg.

Mia finally decided she had had enough and shifted quarters to the blanket on top of the bedroom bureau. Turk, meanwhile, relocated to my lap, which goes a long way toward explaining my appalling lack of productivity today.

Hell, you try getting anything done with a 16-pound cat sprawled across your lap. Anything besides paying attention to the cat, that is.

• Addendum: Consigliere Pelkey and I are live-updating the Giro d’Italia again this year. You can catch the act at Live Update Guy or Red Kite Prayer, whichever best floats your gondola.

Storm of the century!

April 9, 2013
Snowpocalypse

I’ve seen bigger blizzards at Dairy Queen.

Or not.

A meteorologist must feel kinship with the Denver Broncos on a day like today. First, the big buildup — and then, the even bigger letdown.

We’ve not given up hope for a little moisture, mind you. The National Weather Service is still predicting snow showers, but the dumper has been dialed back to a dribble. And if this wind keeps up it will all end up in northeastern New Mexico anyway.

Naturally, the schools are all closed. Small wonder the nation’s supply of idiots is constantly on the rise.

When I was a sprout they wouldn’t close the schools if they were on fire and full of serial killers. And we had to walk to school, uphill both ways, in the snow. Real snow! Not this global-warming shit that looks like a drunk redneck took half a can of white Krylon to his plastic Christmas tree.

Unsprung

March 20, 2013
The first day of ... spring?

The first day of … spring?

If this is the first day of spring, well, you can have it, with my blessings.

The weatherpersons have predicted a high of 53, but I think they’re into the MMJ. It’s 1 p.m. and I can still see my breath out there (and no, this is not because I drank my breakfast).

We’re enjoying the usual good news/bad news combo plate this morning. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed into law a package of gun reform legislation, and some person or persons unknown shot and killed the executive director of the state prison system at his home.

I expect a lot of folks are reaching for the old equalizer before answering the doorbell today. If I were a Jehovah’s Witness I think I might take the day off.

Breaking news: It snows in winter

February 20, 2013
Boo and Herself

Banzai Buddy Boo and the Islamic terrorist holding him hostage.

Check this strange beverage that falls out from the sky, as Tom Waits once growled. Snow, and in winter, too. Who knew?

Mister Boo loves the stuff. Herself took him out for a quick trip around the block and “quick” is the operative word here. The Boo took four corners a sight faster than Davis Phinney ever did, and maybe Danica Patrick, too. His Nipponese ancestors must have hailed from the top of Mount Fuji. He looked like a bug-eyed little snowplow bounding up the sidewalk.

Not so Miss Mia Sopaipilla. The little minx slipped through the open door as I was taking a picture and instantly thought better of it, hanging a 180 and jetting back inside to criticize my weather-management skills.

Being a Russian blue, Mia’s family tree may be rooted in Stalingrad, or perhaps Siberia. But just ’cause you’re from there doesn’t mean you have to like it. You don’t see me hanging around Annapolis, after all.

There’s snow in them thar hills

January 29, 2013
Snow? In January? who'da thunk it?

Snow? In January? who’da thunk it?

The weekend was a tad busy, and come Monday I had a minor case of the ass.

I wanted, needed, to go for a ride — especially since I have a couple of bikes that need reviewing in fairly short order — but my usual routes had become yawn-inducing, an affliction that surfaces from time to time, like malaria or herpes.

The weather had mostly been sunny and dry, so I decided to spend a couple hours dicking around on the trails in Palmer Park, and riding a fendered MonsterCrosser® on the bone-dry single-track proved a pleasant change of pace.

Good thing I got ’er done when I did, too. Because we awakened this morning to a heavy wet blanket of snow on the deck. Thus today’s exercise consisted mainly of upper-body work, to wit, shoveling.

I’m not complaining, though. This ongoing drought is no joke — come Thursday, we’re back to another stretch of sunny, windy and 50-something — and I fear for our silver maple, which shades my office window. It takes a lot of water to keep a big tree happy, and an inch or two of snow every couple of years won’t do the trick.

A Rove-ing down memory lane

January 24, 2013
Kona Rove

The Kona Rove is a cyclo-cross-slash-whatever bike, with eyelets for racks and fenders and plenty of clearance for tires forbidden by the UCI.

The departure of the flu coincided with a return of springlike weather, so I’ve been spending some time outdoors of late, searching for my lost legs.

It’s been three weeks since the bug laid me low, and my pipes are still not quite up to snuff — I’m gonna have to refill that albuterol prescription one of these days — but nonetheless it’s been pleasant to be out and about, far from the iMac and its penchant for delivering evil tidings.

The bike of choice lately has been the Kona Rove, which as mentioned in an earlier post is on deck in the Adventure Cyclist hit parade. As usual, I can’t say much about it until the paying customers get theirs, but I will note that it’s not a touring bike — the Sutra fills that particular niche for Kona.

I had to put a little Irish on the front fender's left strut (it's much better than English) to work around the Hayes disc brake.

I had to put a little Irish on the front fender’s left strut (it’s much better than English) to work around the Hayes disc brake.

Nope, the Rove is one of those whatever bikes, which is to say that whatever you feel like riding it will handle without complaint.

It’s been interesting to watch the industry come up with a fresh take on the kind of machinery I rode when we lived up Weirdcliffe way. I tried to get Brent Steelman to build me a drop-bar mountain bike to tackle the wealth of gravel roads, two-track and single-track we had up there, but as I recall he had doubts about welding up such a weirdo.

So instead I made do with one of his old CC cyclo-cross bikes. Brent billed the CC as “a 700c mountain bike” — in fact, it may have been one of the earliest 29ers — and in its final configuration before I sold it to a friend its Excell frameset wore 700×40 Ritchey rubber, a triple (46/36/24), a seven-speed 105 drivetrain (12-28) and bar-end shifters.

The Rove comes stock with a set of 700×35 Freedom by WTB Ryders, but it likewise can handle 700×40 tires, and with fenders, too. Go without fenders and you can run tractor tires, if that’s your idea of a good time.

The Rove is considerably burlier than my old CC, in part because it uses Hayes CX5 disc brakes for stoppers instead of a pair of Dia-Compe 986 cantis.

Of course, its rider is considerably burlier than was the old ’crosser who used to race that CC, so I’ll hold my fire in that regard, stone-wise.

And besides, that which does not kill you makes you stronger, right? The flu didn’t get me, and I doubt the Rove will, unless I try to pick it up and run with it. That would be just begging for it.

Showing the colors

January 18, 2013
Turkish working on his tan

The Turk’ suns himself in the living room.

You know what’s even better than not watching Ol’ Whatsisface gnaw through his lower lip while pretending to be sorry for what he did instead of for getting caught at it?

Riding your own damn’ bike for the first time in two weeks on a sunny, 55-degree afternoon, that’s what.

My pipes felt a tad rusty after the flu, and I wished for a big hit of albuterol, but that would’ve been doping. So I made do with a cough drop and a hefty dose of moral superiority.

Before getting back in the saddle I mounted fenders to the Kona Rove, which is next up in the Adventure Cyclist review queue.

Ever fit fenders to a disc-brake-equipped bike? Me neither. What it takes — for the front wheel, anyway — is a pretty abrupt bend in the left-side fender stay, a long-ass bolt and a spacer of some sort. I used about an inch of the plastic housing from a cheap pen liberated from a motel, which saved me a trip to the hardware store.

After two weeks on the disabled list I resembled a cyclist about as much as Ol’ Whatsisface resembles a penitent, but like him I didn’t care. It was enough to be out there.

The days of wine and hoses

December 27, 2012
Tavel rosé

This Tavel rosé pairs well with food. It’s also pretty damn’ nice all by its lonesome.

We shipped Herself the Elder back to Tennessee this morning, or so we thought.

Her flight out of Bibleburg, slated for 10:45 a.m., didn’t go wheels up until 12:30 p.m. And her connector in Dallas was canceled, so she’s camped in the Dallas airport awaiting another. If she’s lucky she’ll be back in the loving bosom of her cats at midnight.

Meanwhile, Herself the Younger is driving home from Denver in a light snow and cursing like a sailor, because she (a) hates driving in the dark, (2) hates driving in the snow, and (iii) hates driving in the snow in the dark.

Only I am left unscathed to tell the tale, because I have the great good fortune to be unemployable and thus possessed of abundant leisure to motor hither and thither in the daylight, when it is not snowing. Thus did I hie me to the grog shop, fortified by a largish check for making things up, thence to restock the wine rack stripped bare by our Yuletide revelry.

Now I’m sipping a tart Tavel rosé and sifting mentally through the available leftovers: quite a bit of posole; the makings for a short round of tacos de papas con chorizo; some pintos in chipotle chile; the underpinnings for a second round of beef enchiladas on red chile, save the sauce.

Posole, tacos and beans it is. Even a slacker deserves a day off.

Frosty the Snowdog

December 9, 2012
Second snow of fall 2012

This being Zappadan, you are strongly advised to watch out where the huskies go.

Imagine my astonishment when I arose this morning to find a December morning that looked like … well, like a December morning.

The temperature has yet to reach the forecast high of 20 degrees, and there is an evil wind out of the north, which took all the joy right out of snow dispersal. As usual, no shoveling was required; a broom was equal to the task. Or would have been, had the underlying layer of snow not been frozen tight to the sidewalk.

All in all, a fine day for remaining inside, where the whiskey is.