Friday, December 31, 2010

The End of the Year

Things are lookin up for the New Year!
Hi All,
Well, welcome to the end of 2010, and a welcome to the new 2011. The new year brings new challenges, new triathlons, new bikes, and a new focus, too.

Play, Play, Play, Play!
We ended this year with joy and happiness as Amy, her husband Jon, and our granddaughter, Andy came and spent Christmas with us here in Palmdale. We had a wonderful few days and spent way too much time playin, and not a lot of time sleepin! Sadly Jon and family are safely back in Marana, and we will count the days until we see them again.

Today, I commenced my spin training regimen on the new 'Tri bike. With the new body position out over aero-bars the bike is a much different animal than I am used to riding. So, with help from my sister, Sue I am now going to spend a few weeks spinning indoors and really getting comfortable on the bike before I launch off on a 20 mile ride. The fact that we are in a very cold and windy time here helps to motivate me to the trainer.
I have also assembled my cold weather gear for commuting to work on the Surly. Gas in Palmdale has passed $3.30 a gallon, and that also motivates me to get off my duff and back into the habit of riding to work.

My Redline Needs a New Home!
Lastly, The fleet currently stands at four bikes, which means one has to leave. There is a three-bike limit here, and since I never have time to ride it the Redline Single-Speed has to go.
Here are the details...
2008 Redline 925 Single-Speed/fixed Gear
Size: 54 Cm
Wheels: 700 x 23.
Price: $250.00
A few minor scratches from commuting warfare on the train along with a few scars from the moving truck, but otherwise the bike runs pure and smooth. If you are interested, drop me a comment here. E mail or cell phone always are fine, too.
Let's get the New Year started!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Like Lafayette, I Have Returned

Sabaka says: "Thanks for stopping by!"
Hi all,
8 months. That’s how long it has been since my last post on this blog. It almost sounds like a confessional, but in this new age of social networking, Twitter, Phone Aps, etc. It is hard to keep up! Add in the fact that I ran out of things to say for a while, and 8 months have passed.
The 2009 Orbea Aletta 'Tri Bike
A lot of things have happened in those 8 months. The grandkids are bigger, the bike fleet is bigger, and my dreams of a second triathlon are bigger. There is almost too much news! So, for now, I will spend a few posts getting you up to speed, and moving forward.
The bike fleet has changed, and the plans for riding that fleet have changed too. The bike fleet is currently thus:

Recumbent: Barcroft Virginia GT. For enjoyable comfortable long rides.
Commuting: Surly LHT (Long Haul Trucker): Steel is Real, and nice saddlebags too.
Racing: Orbea Aletta Triathlon Bike. New to the fleet, a “Black Friday” bargain, composite aluminum/carbon frame. Built for SPEED, and Triathlons
Redline 925-Fixed Gear/Single-Speed. A nice moseying around bike; currently for sale. No time to ride, it, it hangs lonesome in the garage, begging for a ride.
A November rose. Lovely! (Then it dropped to 19 degrees...)
Winter is here in the desert, too. Our gardens from the spring posts have bloomed, grown, and wilted after a heavy freeze here in the Antelope Valley. I now base my workouts on the weather forecast, and the gardening can wait for planting in February.
The Surly ride to work, bike.
So, buckle your seatbelts. A new blog, with a new theme; riding all three bikes, training for triathlons, keeping you up to date on the grandkids, and no politics unless I am desperate to write an opinion. Throw in some of the local flavor of this windy desert place and there you have it. I welcome comments, witty asides, useful training advice, and even just a friendly wave.
It’s nice to be back.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Color in the Desert

The California Poppy Reserve...
I am stuck on flowers these days. Flowers blooming in my back yard, flowers that are blooming in the desert. Now, I could write about the horrific ride yesterday; riding the Redline fixed gear bike home from work into a gale force wind, and I can show you a nice picture of the half-flat tire that made the ride so memorable. But, instead, I will show you pictures of Joshua trees in bloom, and pictures from the California Poppy Reserve 20 miles west of here. Once a year, the whole Reserve blooms to life in poppies and all sorts of assorted wildflowers. Kathy and I enjoyed a lovely outing hiking around the Reserve, enjoying the flowers and the hundreds of folks who came out to just walk and sit in the flowers!
That's it for Joshua Trees.. After this, just scraggly loooking for the rest of the year...

As far as the eye can see...

I can't remember what these are called...
So, once again, skip any pictures of bikes, and enjoy the poppy pictures. Of course, there might be an Andy picture or two here, too.
This cactus flower was in Tucson, where we went to play with...
Andy! So happy in the morning...

And playin in the pool...

And channel surfing...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Before and After...

My first bloomed Ranunculos!
Hi All,
Well, it happened again. A whole month passes without posting. Chalk it up to being busy…again. There is a funny phrase in our house; which is, we’ll get around to something when life settles down. And you blink, and life never settles down!
Gerbera Daisies...
But, today’s post is kind of special. No, it’s not a post about a gripping 50-mile bike race, or a 300 Km Brevet, it’s about how we have been spending our weekends, and the joy of accomplishing something.
The second set of Ranunculos' Will they last in the summer heat?
We have been landscaping on the weekends; propping up the local economy, and keeping Home Depot and Lowe’s in business. The last few weekends we have been very diligent in planting flowers, laying drip line irrigation, raking gravel, and making our back yard pleasant and homey. Here in this post are some pictures of the yard to show you “before”, and “after”. I tell you, it sure made us smile looking at the “before” photos, to see how far we have come. There is a certain sense of joy after 4 weekends of getting filthy, dusty, and sore from working with all the drip lines. Now, there are still jobs to do, creating the walkway, and building the covered patio. So, there are more weekends of work to come.
So, please excuse the lack of posts about riding. I am commuting a few days a week, and trying different bikes in hopes of deciding which bike to ride in the Santa Barbara Triathlon this August. This month, at Kathy’s suggestion, I am commuting on the Redline, with the bike configured as a Fixed-Gear bike.
Sabaka supervises the work...
Riding to work has been a blast. The bike is light, fast, and configured as a fixed-gear, a completely different riding experience. The ride home into the 25 mph westerly winds is the total quad workout. A great ride, but then I walk funny for two days!
Meet our next-door neighbors, Leena and Shaffy...
More news later this week. (No, really!) We are having family visit for Easter, and I hope to have some photographs to share of celebrating Easter with neighbors and family.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Riding to Work in The Desert

Looking east, Technology Drive... 5:45 AM
Hi all,
Now that spring is here, and now that the weather is a bit more palatable, I am able to ride to work a few times a week. We have had some consistent rain the last month or two, and although I will ride in heat, wind, and cold, I am pretty much against intentionally riding in the rain. Now, in the past I have gotten caught out on the bike in unexpected rain (or snow), but if it is rainy, I usually park the bike. But for now, as you enjoy this post, at least photographically, come along for the ride! Enjoy a few pictures from Tuesday’s bike commute in lovely Palmdale.

Gloves and a hat for the chilly morning, and a jersey for the afternoon...

Other 'sundry items that ride in the handlebar bag...
Why do I ride to work? Well, to be honest it’s purely for selfish reasons. Riding twice a week to work gets me 35 consistent miles a week; I get a bit of stress relief from muttering at UNIX at the office; some fresh air (those desert winds, actually); I save a few dollar in gasoline; and most importantly, I get some training miles for the Santa Barbara Triathlon.

At 15th East, I can look across the desert, and see the ARTCC (microwave towers in front of the large hangars...
Wait, did he just say Triathlon? Yes, I did. On August 28th, I hope to enter my first sprint triathlon. My sister, Sue has completed 3 sprint triathlons, and in her own gentle way left the gauntlet at my feet. Of course, I picked it up. It is a great motivator, signing up for an event. Once you put some bucks down, and circle the date, everything changes. And in my case, by purchasing a Synergy Wetsuit, I have committed myself to the event. Also, by purchasing a wetsuit that’s a tad small, I am even more motivated!

North on 25th East, a mile to go, I always sprint hard on this straightaway. The water sitting atop the hardpan after a recent rain...
The Sprint Triathlon will consist of a 500 meter ocean swim, a 6-mile sprint on the bike, and a 2-mile run. With my background in distance freestyle swimming, and 8000 miles in the last 6 years of riding, I feel like I can be successful in at least two of the three disciplines. Oh, but, that running portion…

And I am here! Always a relief when I don't "flat" on the way...

Learning how to run again has been an adventure. And I think I’ll save that horror story for another post. For now, I am learning to do two disciplines as I train. When I ride home from work, I park the bike, change shoes, and either hit the road, or hit the treadmill for two miles of “running”. And as the year progresses, I alternate my workouts by riding two miles to the pool, swim my yardage, and ride home.

Private parking, too!
It’s part of my training plan. You have to have a plan! How to train, when to train, and what goals do I set for the event. I’ll keep you posted as the year progresses, the miles ridden, the yards swam, and hopefully, the pounds shed!

My fancy bike-commuter digs in a portable trailer...
See you next week,

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spring in the Desert!

A lovely Alstroemeria...
Spring. Well, it sure sounds weird to write about spring in February, but here in the desert, it seems like reality. In advance, I apologize to all my winter-bound readers. But, take solace. In July when its 112 degrees and the 40 mph winds are blowing over my trash buckets, you may all write and gloat about the lovely nice summer days where you live.
Yay... Spring in our backyard!
The buds depicted here, are from our new dwarf peach tree. The apple tree is still pondering whether or not it should bloom, but there is rain forecast for the weekend, and perhaps the water will help spur some growth.
These pictures were harder to take than I thought!
As you can also see, we made a trip to Tucson. Andy is growing so fast! She is a wonderfully cheerful girl, and we had a great time layin on the floor, and playing. She is doing great at holding her head up, and next, hopefully she will figure out how to get her legs going to crawl around and check out the world.
Andy K...
Kathy's Favorite Picture...
In cycling news, you will note the change to the countdown timer on the right column. My summer goal is to compete in the Santa Barbara Triathlon on August 28th. To that end, and to spur my commitment to train, I have purchased a new Synergy Wetsuit for the ocean swim portion of the event. Nothing motivates you more, than putting some hard-earned sheckles down to make sure you stay focused!
Cammelias at Nancy's...
So, I am on my way; riding to work a few days a week, doing some running here in the neighborhood, and soon I will incorporate distance swimming into my week. The only question that keeps me thinking, is which bike do I race with? Suggestions? Ideas? Witty comments?
For those of you that care, this is NOT a Sandpiper. It's a Curlew!
See you next week.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

A Month of Posts, All in One!

Ok, more beach trivia: What kind of bird is this?
Hi All,
Well, I blinked my eyes, and almost a month has past since my last entry. I believe that in the their infancy, blogs were supposed to be daily postings, but now with Twitter, Facebook, and all the other available avenues, technology has moved onward. For me, it’s not about technology; it’s about having the time to write, and perhaps that I just didn’t have much to say.

A "Snowstorm" in Palmdale. We had a meeting cancelled for this!
That’s not say a lot of things have happened. I almost don’t know where to start. Here, in the desert, we have had the shoveling of the last of the gravel, citywide flooding after 3 inches of rain, a visit to see Amy, Jon, and Andy, converting the Redline to a fixed-gear configuration, a trip to Santa Barbara for Nancy’s 60th birthday, and all the usual other parts of the day that interfere with writing.
We always hit the beach when we are in Santa Barbara...
I could not resist this snapshot. The gentleman wore a pair of very fancy basketball Nike's...
As I was composing this edition, I realized that if I wrote everything I should have written in the last month, l than this blog would be longer President Obama’s State of the Union Address! So, in the interest of brevity, I am going to just publish a bunch of pictures with long captions. Enjoy!
Soccer Pitch/Catch Basin...three days after this, the water was gone!
Flooding. Yes, we had plenty of that. The desert terrain here is so firm and hard-packed that water just runs off the top. So, just a few inches of rain and there are streets that become rivers, and soccer fields, that become lakes.
Children have such fun at the beach...
Traveling. We have made a couple of trips since my last post; first, to see Nancy, Muhsin, Sue, and Dana, to celebrate Nancy’s 60th birthday. We had a great time as we gathered and spent a great time just being together as family. While we were at it, we managed to start planning a long-awaited trip to Zion national Park this spring.
You're really special if you get TWO birthday cakes!
No caption needed... Happy Andy...
Two weeks later, we drove down to Tucson to spend a few days with Amy, Jon, and Andy. Boy! That little girl will steal your heart. I’m not sure what else can be said here, other that we sure enjoyed spending time with Jon, Amy, and Andy.
I am told it's not the bike, it's the engine riding it! Well... OK then!
The Redline: I recently converted the Redline 925 from single-speed configuration to fixed-gear. What does this mean? Well, it means the bike still rides like a single-speed bike, but now, there is no freewheel, which also means, NO coasting!
I took the fenders off to eliminate some pedal strike on the front wheel...
Want to ride fast? Pedal fast. Need to slow down? Pedal slower! It’s a whole new feel, never being able to stop pedaling. I rode the bike 12 miles today, (back and forth to work) and I am still learning all the techniques that are involved in riding “fixed.” Quite a blast, really! It's been quite interesting, learning in some ways, how to ride all over again!
That's the quick news.. I will try and do a better job of posting..