Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday Bike Ride

I was worried this wasn't going to happen but then two days ago John announced it was on. Unfortunately, John injured his ankle so he couldn't ride. Glen filled in as ride leader. Only three of us showed up: Glen, Joe and me. That made it easy to keep track of everybody.

The trails varied between snow covered, compact snow covered, exposed dirt, exposed rocks, branch covered snow, branch covered dirt, etc. It was a good hard ride. Before I knew it, 3-1/2 hours passed by and we were back at The Scoop and headed to John's house to hang out a bit.

Joe is laid back. Glen looks pensive. 
I'm smiling like I just got away with something.

Glen brought a saw to help clear the trail. But not enough saw for this tree.

 Glen's fat bike tracks.

 Joe in the groove.

More trail clearing.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Liberty Lake Cyclocross

Yeah, this is over a week late. I blame the power outage. And my laziness for not using a bike-powered generator to run the computer.

 Argyle, baby!

As usual, the Liberty Lake course deceives you by looking level when it's actually going up hill. But you are less deceived with each lap. The killer run up was rideable for the strongest racers. So not so much for me. The beach was a blast. I kept my weight back and my hands light on the handlebars and cut through the sand really well. Then we touched on the water and started coming back through the sand. And you could tell it was a climb. But it was fun. I managed a couple of soft crashes in both slick mud and loose dirt. But I stayed upright in the gravel turns. One fellow was not so fortunate and broke his collarbone.

Last hand up and a coast to the finish line.

I donated a bunch of $1 bills for the kids to pick up on the run up. They should get something for pushing bikes that weight almost as much as them up a hill.

The Bike Hub was on hand with beer hand ups and I grabbed one every lap on both races I did. Hydration is very important.

I can still see where I'm going.
All photos by Phyllis Benish.

Liberty Lake Cyclocross from hank greer on Vimeo.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Final Cyclocross Race Of The Season

Sunday was the final day of cyclocross racing in the Inland Northwest Cyclocross Series. And with the power out and what with the weather being so cold, I thought I'd go out with a bang and sign up for as many races as I could. I was thinking I could sign up for single speed at 9:00, mountain bike at 10:00, Men's Cat 4 at 11:00, Men's Masters 60+ at noon, and finally the Men's Cat 3 at 3:00. But when I signed up I was told that since I was Cat 4 I could not race Cat 3. You have to upgrade first. Well, not doing that fifth race turned out to be a good thing.

I did one lap to recon the route and stopped by The Bike Hub tent which was next to the barriers. They're always good for a beer hand up so I asked if they would be offering. They said they would be if I was asking. I told them to put my name on a cup because I was doing four races in a row and stopping here on each. After all, bikes are for doing epic shit, right? They turned out to be my loudest and most energetic cheerleaders during the day.

The route itself was typical for Riverside State Park. The run up was long. There were a couple of new features with some whoop-de-doo stuff and one with an interesting off camber turn through a ditch. Outside of two long straightaways it was mostly a technical course, which I enjoy the most.

The college men raced with us single speeders and they had a one minute head start. I reeled in a couple of them during the 40 minutes of racing even with the beer stop for each lap. And I did stop. I'd dismount, jump over both barriers, come to a complete stop next to The Bike Hub tent and drink my beer. Then I'd thank them and get back on the bike. On the last lap, one of the college guys pushed hard to catch me. Well, that just wouldn't do, you know. So I chugged the last beer and apologized for not sticking around long since I wasn't about to let some college kid catch me. And he didn't.

After the race I downed half of a Gatorade and then got my mountain bike out. The mountain bike was much more comfortable on the frozen ground. But I found the giant handlebars kept me from hugging the turns as tight as I normally can with a cross bike. The dual suspension made up for it--except when it came time for going over barriers. Picking that bike up was awkward. Fortunately, I was not concerned with speed. More beer with each lap. Happy times.

Right after the MTB race, it was time for the men's Cat 4/5. I knew this was going to be a faster race and there would be more participants. So I announced at the start that everyone should pass on my right at the barriers because I was stopping on the left side for a beer hand up on each lap. The race went smooth and I didn't get lapped, which meant I got three five-lap races completed. And more beer.

Still happy during race #3.

I drank more Gatorade and got ready for the men's masters 40+, 50+, and 60+. Since I'll be 60 at the end of the calendar year in which the current cyclocross season ends (2016), I qualify for the 60+ category. There were four of us. But there were plenty in the 40+ and 50+ groups. So I repeated my pass-me-on-the-right-at-the-beer-hand-up announcement. The other races were 40 minutes long. This is 50. The 40+ started followed by the 50+ a minute later followed by us geriatrics 30 seconds after that. I was pretty beat but still able to ride well. And I knew I was going to get lapped by the 40+ leader, which would trim one lap off my race. That was not going to hurt my feelings. So I pressed forward and three laps into it the 40+ leader blasts by me. Yay! One less lap. And to top it off, not only was I getting beer hand ups at the barriers but also at the run up. I was feeling pretty done on my fourth lap so I lingered at the barriers, sipped my beer, and chatted for a bit before continuing. It proved to be just the amount of time needed for the 40+ leader to catch me about 10 feet away from the finish. He double lapped me and I was thankfully done. Nineteen laps and just as many times on the run up was more than enough. It was a good day.

I changed clothes, thanked the Bike Hub guys again, and headed for the run up for the juniors race. I sprinkled the run up with dollar bills on each of their laps. Those little kids work so hard to get their bike up the hill and being able to stuff a buck or two into a pocket helps take their mind off the hurt. A couple of them were so focused that they blocked us out when we would point out the money to them. That's cool to see a nine-year-old that can already deal with the pain of a run up. And no beer! Those are some tough kids.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Things You See On A Bike Ride

First rule of Junk Church - Nobody talks about their junk.

Everybody stands. There is no kneeling at Junk Church.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Subterfuge Software

In my line of work I often have to remove crap software from computers. Most of the people don't know how it got there, primarily because they're not paying attention when they're updating something or adding something. Java updates are a good example. You always get a screen informing you that a toolbar is going to be installed, but it's not that obvious. You have to uncheck a box and click Next. Most people just keep clicking Next to get the process over with and software manufacturers have been taking advantage of this behavior for many years now.

Here's a different example. I was trying to install CutePDF when I was presented with a screen that was going to change my browser search options. I unchecked the boxes and and clicked Next and got this screen.

I clicked Ok and clicked Next again. And I got the same message to select checkboxes or click Next without selecting the checkboxes. I clicked OK and clicked Next. And got the same damn screen a third time. By now most less-than-savvy users would select a checkbox and click Next just to get past this. But I persevered and this came up next.

Again, most people would numbly click Accept thinking they're clicking Next and then wonder why they have some weather thing loaded up all the time.

Of course, removing local admin privileges nips all this in the bud.

Saved By The Vending Machine

Every once in a while I'll treat myself to a Dr Pepper while I'm at work. Yesterday I saw that something was amiss with the vending machine.

One bottle was leaning forward and another was partially released. "No problem," I thought. "I'll just select a different row."

Which I did. The retrieval mechanism moved to the row I selected but the bottle was not pushed forward like it was supposed to be. Instead it leaned forward. The machine paused. I was about to try to rock it when the retrieval mechanism moved up and down, knocking the bottle out. It fell to the bottom of the machine. Fortunately, the machine had been programmed to recognize that a bottle had not been properly dispensed and it refunded my money.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Final Wild West Series Race - CdA

The weather worked out perfect for me over the weekend. Saturday was nice so I could get yard work done. Sunday was a rainy mess for cyclocross racing. I was in the first and last race and got both bikes equally muddy. Unfortunately, my second race--on the single speed--was cut short. With two laps to go I flatted the rear tire. I don't have a spare so I DNF'd. But it was okay because I got plenty of time in. I didn't take many photos because I focused on making a video this week.

This was the last of the Wild West CX Series. The Inland NW Cyclocross Series has two more weekends of racing. I can't believe the season is almost over already.

Wild West Cyclocross - Coeur d'Alene from hank greer on Vimeo.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sometimes I Just Can't Help Myself

I have a dog. His name is Hoof Hearted*. He's an okay dog. He'll drool on you but he's well behaved most of the time. But everybody loves him and there's really no earthly explanation for how popular he is. I mean, every time people come to the house they want to know Hoof Hearted.

* Name borrowed from the race horse.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

New Hobby

I've been curious about picking locks for many years but I've just never done anything about it. Until now. It's frustrating so it requires patience. It's exciting to have the lock pop open suddenly. I hope to be able to break into my own house some day.

Blind Repair

The cord in one of our Levolor blinds broke. I couldn't find the same type of cord at any hardware store so I emailed the company. They wanted me to mail the blind to them for repair. Well, screw that. Since it's easy to disassemble and reassemble I wanted to do it myself but they wouldn't have it. I later found out that a small drapery and blind company might be able to help me so I called them. They said they could restring the blind for $40 but it would take three weeks since they were backlogged. Well, screw that, too.

But they also sell the cord for $1 a yard. Bingo. I bought 10 yards and used nine. The blind is back in business.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Coeur d'Alene Cyclocross

I went to the race on Halloween. I'm always in costume so no worries there. My single speed race was a blast. Lots of mud to splash through. The course dried out a little during the day so my second race wasn't as messy. But I did have an unusual quasi-mechanical problem. While dismounting at the barriers my mountain bike shorts caught on my saddle and I ripped the butt right out of them. I also wear a liner so there was no danger of inappropriate exposure. I tried to continue but my torn shorts would catch on my saddle at times and I couldn't stand up on the pedals at key times like I needed to. I bottomed out so hard on a short descent that I knocked my saddle out of alignment so the front was pointing upwards. Rather than deal with that discomfort for the last lap I walked to the finish and waited for the leader to cross the line. That way I didn't get a DNF.

My favorite course condition--muddy!

See, they do exist.

I did not realize, nor was I aware of, the significance of this duct-taped costume.

 The run crawl up was especially brutal for the kids.

 This young lady was so stoked to be riding in the mud.

Rolling Thunder Cyclocross

To say I've been remiss in posting is certainly an understatement. I'll blame it on Daylight Wasting Time now that we're saving it so much.

Two weekends ago I went to Missoula to race at Rolling Thunder. There's something different about 'cross races in Montana. More beer for one. Free giant cowbells. Free water, soda, and snacks. And night racing at this venue.

One per family.

This year the event was held at Big Sky Brewery. Unfortunately, the course itself was not as much fun as last year, which was held at a state park if I remember correctly.  The table top, the whoops, the two sets of barriers, and the wood ramp going over the wrecked Subaru were cool. But the long, back-and-forth bumpy flat parts in a field that looked like it had been used for event parking was really hard on the back. More than one of us bailed on racing twice because of it.

I got to hang out with Steph and she took a ton of photos for me. She captured two shots of the scene below before moving out of the way of the poor fellow who crashed in front of her. He tried to pass on my left just after cresting the table top. Unfortunately, the whoops bumps are just as wide as the table top, which means their rounded ends are on the course. It did not go well for the guy. I felt bad for him. We caught up later on and he said it was his bad and that he shouldn't have tried to pass like that. I was relieved he wasn't blaming me but I still felt bad for him. He was a bloody mess.

And here's the video. The women with the prosthetic leg is a bad ass.

Rolling Thunder 10 - Day 1 from hank greer on Vimeo.