Thursday, November 30, 2006

Lights and Pizza

The Wednesday night lights and pizza ride was pretty eventful. Chris showed up with the wrong shoes and did the whole ride with street shoes on the speedplays. We started off at a really brisk pace, and except for one small climb I was doing great. At mile 13, I was flying down a hill on Ballenger Creek Pike to gain momentum for the next hill, when I nailed a pothole. I kept control, and thought I had escaped without damage, but as I headed up the hill I heard the hiss of escaping air, and soon was flat on the front. A bit of performance anxiety as I changed tubes for an audience in the glare of the bike lights and we were back on the road.

A bit later along Cap Stine Rd., a critter was wondering across the road. One of the lead two riders called out "'Possum." He was wrong. The trailing group of four suddenly had a worried skunk in their midst. It was close to becoming a repeat of the "Big Skunk Disaster of '05". We zigged, he zagged, and tragedy was averted. Too close for me, thanks. Uneventful riding the rest of the way back to Lukes. I had a pretty good chicken ceasar salad and the rest of the crew did justice to a good looking pizza. 24.03 miles by my GPS.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

R.I.P Capt. John Ryan Dennison

The weather isn't as cold as is usual for this time of year here in Maryland, but the sky is a dark, heavy gray. I didn't know Ryan Dennison, in fact the only thing I see we have in common is that we both served in the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division, although about 20 years apart. Capt. Dennison is in my thoughts today, because his funeral service is happening in the church next door as I type this. I was aggrivated at the parking snarl as I got closer to work, and then I was ashamed of myself as I saw the reason. The walkways outside the church were crowded with soldiers, family and friends. An honor guard from the Patriot Guard Riders was also present. It is easy to be detatched and make judgements about the war and those who serve our country, but occaisionally we are forced to consider things more closely. I think that Ryan Dennison's story puts the lie to that coward who said "If a young fellow has an option of having a decent career or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq," just to score political points. By all accounts, Ryan Dennison was an exceptional young man and natural leader.

God Speed, Capt. Dennison, my thoughts and prayers today are for you and your family, as they lay you to rest. It isn't as cold as usual, but today it feels colder under the somber and leaden sky.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How Green was my Valley

Although family activities kept me from the local club rides over Thanksgiving break, I did a bit of exploring on Sunday. Report Here. The relatives who were visiting seem to have brought the plague with them, so now the whole household is coughing and wheezing. Gaaak. Hope I'm back up to snuff for the Wednesday night ride.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Good Story

Boy has cool bike. Boy goes to Europe. Scumbag steals bike. Cool internet bikers help track down bike. Boy goes though trials and tribulations to get bike back, and finally succeeds. Yea!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pump Track News

Since I couldn't do any riding on Saturday, between family events I got out into the yard to finish the hard part of the pump track. By that I mean the initial digging. I think that it is coming along nicely. Now the main thing will be to ride it as much as possible, pack it down and smooth it out. So far it doesn't flow too smoothly, partly because of it's roughness and mostly because of the rider. If I enter at the top of the 3 bermed curves I can pump down to the fourth curve, but I can't maintain momentum to get back up the grade. I'll be riding and experimenting as much as I can. A cross bike isn't the ideal tool for this job. If anyone has a spare set of isis cranks they want to donate to the cause, I think I can get the diamondback rolling again for backyard duty.
Who wants to come out and give it a try?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Blue Ridge Summit

I had Friday off and was able to take advangtage of a glorious warm and sunny day. There was some misunderstanding with my spouse about my priorities for Friday at first concerning the alleged need for vacuming, but that was easily dismissed in favor of riding.

I started in Emmitsburg and explored several roads that the map showed as going into Pennsylvania. In fact, most of them didn't, but a few did. Soon enough I passed through Sabillasville on the way to Blue Ridge Summit. Plenty of climbing to keep me busy, enough to make me glad I had gears and a freewheel. I rode the residential streets in the Frederick County portion of Blue Ridge Summit, then made my way back over College Mountain to Emmitsburg. 46 hilly miles. A full report with photos at FixingCoasting Frederick.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Night time is the right time.

Last night four of us (Bill S, Corey R, Mike P and yours truly) on the ride took advantage of the continued warm weather to rack up another 25 miles in the dark. The all day rain just managed to clear off by the start time of 6:15 pm. We headed from Lukes over to Jefferson and back over Mar-lu ridge. Umph. That is a pretty good climb. Just before the end, while coming up New Design, Mike hit a brick in the road and got a flat. I thought I heard someting come off his bike and went back to the point of impact and looked around, but I didn't find anything. Turns out his computer bounced off. Bill found it the next day (smashed). Since we were so close to the end Mike just rode shanks' pony back to the parking lot. This was the first ride I remebered not to eat dinner before I rode, so I got to enjoy the pizza too.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Where a passion for homebrewing meets a passion for cycling. Bootleggers Bliss, that is. Kudos go out to DT and Steve for having and running with a fantastic idea. The ride was great (my lungs forgive you), the people were great, the food was great, and the homebrew. What can be said about the homebrew? An amazing variety of tastes and sensations, from a rich dark porter, to ginger mead. Special mention to Mrs. Outlaw's Chocolate Porter pie. Mmmmmm. Pie........

I'd have more pics but for dead batteries, but there are some photos by Butch here.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Geared rhymes with Weird

Shifting and coasting were strange sensations last night, but I could get used to it. There were four of us on the night ride, and although I was still the slowest up the climbs, there was no delay on the downhills. Isn't it great when you do fun stuff!