Monday, July 23, 2012

Bloody RAPHA

As much as I hate Rapha and everything they think they know about me, I must doff my hat to them as they at least seem to know where I live. Friggin' hell, but Steida looks good these days.

Rapha Continental in Alberta with the first North American to wear the Yellow Jersey.

A little closer to (current) home... Beautiful shots, but riding in Java is ruined for me now as everyone will think I'm a hipster. WTF is up with the guy chowing down on the rice packet?. YOU HAVE FINGERS MAN... Eat like a civilized person...

And with that I'm off to bed as I have to face THIS in the morning: 130km, 2300m+ climbing, pockets full of snacks and suitcase full of courage!  Yee Haw!

Ciao Ragazzi,

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A sting in the tale...

...if you've ever invited a beautiful rubenesque lady to dinner, only to have her show up with some wafer thin, gristly friend in tow you will know how I feel shuffling along with these...

 Yesterday morning as I was preparing (ok, shaving my legs) for another 5 hours of glorious suffering, I took a step backwards in the shower to steady things up a bit and suddenly found myself wondering why I'd had the extremely poor foresight to have placed a bucket of red-hot rivets just there, where my foot needed to be at that moment.
  In an instant I was struck with the realization that only in Bugs Bunny cartoons are buckets of red-hot rivets left laying about willy-nilly and since I am neither a rabbit or a road runner there was a pretty solid chance that those weren't rivets behind me (although I was growing more animated by the moment).
 Now, where was it that I'd felt this sensation before? As my razor, soap and sanity tumbled to the floor, my mind fanned a flip book full of possibilities; Stepped on a wire? Mmm, nope hurts too much. Tack? Nope, not hot enough. Hot tack? Very funny asshole, but I don't think so. Snake? I bloody well hope not. Wait...I remember something about a garden. Poisonous Centipede? No, that's not it. Head Wasp? No.God! This is bloody going to go on for...what was that last one? Oh, Head Wasp...Tabuan Sira in Balinese. Remember, you got  stung in the leg last year? Swelled up like an Effing sausa...THAT'S IT!!!
 YEARS ago, while waiting in a doctor's office I read an account of a study of perceived pain levels resulting from the bites and stings of various spiders, scorpions, wasps and the like. For the life of me, I couldn't understand why anyone would inflict this amount of pain upon their person as the subjects endured multiple stings in the name of science. The descriptions of the pain and other effects that were experienced by the subjects were as revolting as they were scary and brought to mind some macabre wine tasting..."As vice grips on the effected area-Bold-Uncertain, with a sort of raffish abandon- Finishes in a peaty morose..." 
 Now, I've been around the block a bit and have had my fair share of bee stings, road rash, splinters, stitches, nailed/sawed/cut/smashed/frozen/burned/shocked fingers, broken hearts, malaria, worms and the like. But nothing and I mean NOTHING compares to the soul-searing pain that this little wasp's toxin produces.
 All of this was crashing through my mind at fission speed as I saw that poor little (motherf'ing) wasp crawling away from my foot in the most nonchalant manner, the flash of yellow on its backside making it look as though it were two headed. 
 It was all gelling together as a coherent whole as I pounded that little wasp into paste with a shampoo bottle on the black tiles of the shower floor, now on my hands and knees, slobbering and howling expletives, my wife bursting in with that ,"Oh for fuck's sake, what's he done now?" look plastered all over her long-suffering face...
 People say the honeymoon is over when you begin farting in front of one another. If there is any doubt lingering, It is well and truly Capital  D O N E  when your husband is a naked, slobbering, slippery mess huddled on the bathroom floor as he wields a razor blade on his foot, squeezing blood and stuff all over the place like some newborn calf hell bent on self destruction.
 I know the drill. Cut it, squeeze it, and ice the living piss out of it while keeping the pressure on for as long as possible. 
 As long as possible is about a half an hour. That's when you begin crying.
 I don't know WHAT it is with this toxin (venom?), but the side effects are particularly strange. At about half an hour in, there is a complete emotional tsunami experienced. It's nuts...Imagine being euphorically happy, desperately sad, lonesome, angry, frustrated all in the same moment. I mean, REALLY feeling it ALL at once and crying uncontrollably through the whole mess.
 This subsides leaving you feeling spent so you take to bed with your ice.
 A little while later comes the sensation of hunger. Crazy, ravenous, gotta-eat-half-the-f'ing-fridge-in-one-bite hunger. All the while the pain from the sting is building. A throbbing, sharp HOT HOT HOT pain, So while you are bonking out and wanting to fill your face, you are simultaneously getting nauseous from the level of pain. Like I said, VERY strange sensations.
 For The Record, I have a pretty clean diet, so there simply isn't much crap around the house, except for Kiddo's loot.It was c a l l i n g  me... HARD. Normally, I can't even look at that crap. I avoided it and satiated myself with a big bowl of oatmeal, 2 coffees, 3 bananas, a big slice of papaya 2 eggs and some dates, then hobbled of to bed with a handful of energy paste dime bags out of the freezer. JEEEZUS! 
 At this point I was just totally spent and shivering, so I bundled up in a sweater, wool socks and comforter.  
 Fuck the ice, I just want to sleep. Clock out for an hour and come out of it feeling like my leg has been set on fire. Just like last time, heart pounding like a son of a bitch and all the veins on my leg standing out like Sean Kelly's at a buy two get one free bap sale.
 The next few hours are just an escalating, horrendous pain fest. Short of breath. pissing every 10 minutes, shitting your pants PAIN. All the while feeling disconnected and a little drunk. Drift in and out of sleep. Hot and cold alternating.
  I think that first eight hour period is the worst pain wise and the weird psycho sensations diminish after this period as well.
 The next day the pain is gone save for that produced by swelling, which can be helped with ice and not moving around too much.
 If my last "adventure" around is anything to go by, I'll be able to get the Diadoras back on after 4 days. Anything before this and swelling starts up again.
 Around about the third paragraph I'm sure you thought, "Just go to the doctor for F's sake". Well, last time the advice was to keep my leg up and put cow shit on the stung area... I was thinking maybe more along the lines of cortisone or maybe some nifty anti-histamine or something crazy like that.

 As I sit looking at my mismatched appendages, a couple of things spring to mind;


There are some types of caterpillar here that cause a terrible skin and histamine reaction, but I have an amulet to keep them at bay...

Night All,


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Defunct Re-funked

Sorry, sorry, sorry. Blah, blah, blah. Yadda, yadda, yadda... 

 Ok, forget the sorry part. 
 I've been away.
 I've been riding, 
 I've been inventing/destroying/ fixing shit. 
 I've been a gracious host.
 I've been cooking. 
  I've been mapping new training routes with 10,000 feet of climbing that will kick the piss out of you, believe me...
  I lie..
  I went on the mother of all benders because... RYDER WON THE F**KING GIRO!

 A forum member over at Weight Weenies asked for some further info on my supercalifragilisticexpialidocious travel bike. As I felt a sumptuously decorated, 18+ pound steel bike probably wasn't the thing to beat my chest too loudly about over there (read," off topic due to embarrassing amounts of philately"), I decided that we'd meet over in my rumpus room of a blog and pick it apart in private. Apologies for my judicious use of links...I'm a lover, not a writer.

                                                                This Raysport SuperCorsa

                                                           Started life as This (info here)

                                                  Along the way this happened...

The First build...

All Packed up

Record brake levers, Super Record  derailleurs, retro friction
shifters and a 7 speed block. Note top tube slopes downward.

The Nuts and Bolts...

Mavic 840 RD with 11-28 8 speed.
Mavic 862 FD. 39/48 rings.
If ever a brake needed to be tuned, it's this pig.
Novatec on Mavic Open SUP 28 x Sapim CX Ray.
The ride is plush on Michelin Pro3 Race 25c
FSA Energy & Deda Ti BB. Hollowgram for The Common Man.
 had my doubts about the bearings in this hub, but it's still
buttery smooth.

Campy 10 speed shifters work beautifully with the Mavic 840
to shift an SRAM PC 970 across an 11-28 8 speed cassette.
 The key is to run the cable AROUND the guide on the
bottom of the derailleur. For really severe grades I pack a
Microshift MTB derailleur, Jtek Shiftmate and
11-34  9speed cassette.

In order to correct the geometry,
I had an extended base plate machined.
 I reason that this is viable as there is
a 19mm section of constant diameter
 immediately above the crown.
The Pretty Bits...

Kudos to those of you that cottoned to the frame being a
little tall for me. I had a Rtchey stem to match the seatpost,
but it was too high, so I use this -10 deg ITM stem.
 I sanded and polished the hi lites on the faceplate
to unify things a bit.
I LOVES me some Ritchey two tone action...
Tour de Java 1958! found in the UK.
Postage Due stamps in various denominations.

1954 Mt. Merapi eruption. In Indonesia, the volcanoes
loom as goliaths. Defining, shaping and often destroying
the landscape.
Meterai Tempel are a kind of seal applied to
contracts, receipts, bills-of-sale etc.
They act as a form of taxation as well and give the
right of legal recourse in disputes.
Indonesia, the badminton powerhouse.
Thomas Cup 1967.

This is a simple single color stamp depicting (I believe) Arjuna.
A beautiful style of illustration seen in comic books of the era
depicting the stories of the Mahabarata and many folk
and historic tales from the archipelago's rich history.
Soekarno...Sukarno. Where do I start? Check here. Discuss.
Without getting all Rapha, I love the black reveal
in this section.
Fabulous graphics commemorating the
10th anniversary of the Africa-Asia Conference.

These poor guys? Read about it here.

More work to be done...

 That's about the limit of the Raysport story for tonight as it's WAAAAAAY past my bed time. I honestly don't know how all this stuff comes together. I love riding. I love bikes of all descriptions. I am into antique bikes as well and through that also interested in Indonesian history. 
 It's sort of like I shook my head too hard and all these seemingly unrelated things stuck together, but I think the result is beautiful, and it puts a smile on my face when I can share a coffee with some old fellow and he fills me in on some aspect of one of the stories contained in the stamps, then another and so on.
 There is another Raysport story too... definitely not a Weight Weenie though.

Night All.

PS. As usual, In preview the formatting looks like crap. My apologies. I'll try to fix it later...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

It Begins...

While I wait, sweaty palmed for the video feed of Omloop Het Niewsblad to begin I thought I'd torture and edify you all with a few shots of my latest fix...

In a previous post I related my hatred of the headset that my Giant is shackled with. Another niggling issue has been with the expansion plug in the carbon steerer that, despite my best efforts with all sorts of unguents and such, will not stay seated well enough to preload the headset bearings when servicing is necessary.

Acchh, the race has started. The Season Proper Begins... a replay of last year's nail biter between Langeveld and Flecha. I'd give my left nut for the ability to speak Flemish right now. I'd give the right one for a 2011 Rabobank Gilet in XXS. I'd give the rest of my junk to be in blustery Ghent for the race. They just asked Flecha where he was going to attack... He should've said, "right here!" and kicked the journo in the raspberry patch...

Annnyways, the problem isn't so much with the expansion plug as it is with the ID of the steerer tube. The OD is perfectly round, but the ID is rather oval. This isn't optimal for the expander to do its job.
The 3T fork on my Cervelo uses a glue in sleeve in conjunction with a star nut to provide a preload anchor point. It's simple, light and effective. So I copied that using a leftover chunk of aluminium steerer material cut from The Ritchey fork on my travel bike.
The mustachioed angels at The Greasiest Machine Shop In The World turned it down to the required OD to allow for a bit of Epoxy in the steerer...

I pushed in the star nut prior to installation as I didn't fancy the idea of pounding the piss out of my carbon fork.
The insert has been roughed up a bit with 240 paper and cleaned with lacquer thinner then alcohol. Ditto the fork ID.

I used a DevCon 2 ton epoxy to bond in the insert.

A bit of tape to locate the insert...

...then invert the fork (away from the kids and pets) until the epoxy begins to cure.

That's it!
The fork can be reinstalled in a few hours (depending on the epoxy used), but don't tension the top cap for 24 hrs.
Back to the race, see you soon.

Monday, February 13, 2012

letter bate then nervar


I fell into a hell-sized hole full of work and responsibility for a while there.


Fact is, when time is slim, I'd rather ride than write.

My whip-crackin', deck-shellacin' friend E was on the island for a few weeks and left the proud new owner of my cyclocross bike. I'm chuffed that he has taken up cycling and elated to see him on the Cannondale. We got in a few great rides along the backroads of Bali and soaked up the swaying palm tree vibe prior to his return to the Lone Star state.

The past week has seen me trying desperately to hold the descending wheel of Mr.S as we fly down from Kintamani. Thank God I can out-climb him, or my fragile weight-weenie ego would be shattered.

Anyways, he turned me on the a cool site called tracks4bikers where one can plot a course using Google maps which is then expressed as a route profile with distance, ascent and gradient info displayed.

I have put up some Bali routes which can be found by entering the term "Bali" into the filter. Check them out. LOTS of climbing!

Other cool stuff... Well, CKUA radio is ALWAYS cool, but when you get to record your favourite show then download it as a podcast to be enjoyed at leisure... does it get any better? The strains of Redneck Alberta drifting across the rice fields of Bali is a start! YEEE HAWWWW! I take back everything...well OK, two of the many nasty things I've said about iTunes.

More cool crap... did you know Cervelo made cruisers? I know, I was shocked too! But there it is-

Even MORE cool stuff? Did you know that Herrera is Jesus is Herrera? Phenomenal/freaky post HERE. Kind of makes a yellow wrist band seem superficial (I Know, whodathunkit?).

Finally, the reason I Started This Blog In The First Place...OCD shit.

I have found a great deal of very useful information regarding bike fit on Steve Hogg's site. One particular nugget regarding cleat placement has been exceptionally helpful in ridding me of knee pain.

Recently I got some new shoes that, while comfortable, didn't allow for optimal cleat positioning. Setback plates are available, but I was only looking for a slight advantage and, well, basically I'm a cheap bugger. If I was looking for a huge setback, I would just order the plates and be done with it. A few millimeters? Where did I put that grinder?

Position of upper mounting hole does not allow for full setback of plate...

Meet my little friend Pepe...

Don't forget to remove captive nuts before cutting. Replace them before remounting cleat plates...

Now THAT's better. Come On, does it really make a difference? It certainly seems to, but maybe I'm just being OCD about the whole thing...

Thanks for coming over,


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Exhibit A

Man, it's like Christmas in December this week!!!

I opened my creaking PO Box door yesterday to reveal a lovingly wrapped and almost illegibly addressed package of brainfood, lobbed over the ocean by this man.

Allow me to introduce A, the best machinist/massage therapist his side of the Brantas.

The term "built like a brick shithouse" doesn't quite cover it. He's like an elegantly articulated meatcage whose sole purpose is to sustain and protect a massive, generous heart.

Some of his finer moments include;

Taking and winning my dare, and my $5, to eat a navel orange in its entirety. Skin, wax, seeds, sticker...the lot.
Graciously giving the $5 back when he failed to repeat the stunt with a huge cooking onion.

Sprinting the mandated 50 meters across the weigh scale of a wreckers yard during their annual "all you can carry sale". His precious cargo? An entire Mazda rotary engine and a backpack full of automobile entrails.

He had the ability to take a 6 foot long cut on a bar of stainless, keep it within 5 thou, all the while listening to classical mandolin tracks, reading the latest Richard Dawkins tome and ingesting half a roasted chicken the way most of us would eat an apple, or a cob of corn.

After being told by The Boss to, "stop wasting the company's time", he sauntered over to the punchclock, clocked out, told The Boss to fuck himself, then punched back in and resumed the task at hand. Poetry in motion, our boy.

Some years later, when I was in the position of having the responsibility to receive his letter of resignation. I opened the envelope and read the first sentence which began, "To The Evil Overlords Of _____________ Industries".

I could go on and on boring you with this. Suffice to say he made my day a number of times and has just done it again with his latest gesture.

Thanks, Gundul.

Monday, December 19, 2011

My inner Archie Bunker 1.

For all of you lucky people flouncing around in your winter wonderland in anticipation of the upcoming extravaganza of gustatory delights and material flamboyance that Christmas has become, I offer this small amuse cranium sent by a good friend of a good friend...

Here in LaLa Land it is the rainy season and that means, that's right, rain. There is an old wives' tale that the Inuit have over 100 words for's just snow for chrissakes. So too in the tropics there are an equally large number of variations in the way the water falls from the sky, but in the end the result is the same. It's rain. You get wet.

Holding together a training plan means that you will have ample opportunity to prove the above statement. The alternative is too ghastly to imagine. 6 hours on a trainer? Now, where did I put those booties?

Yesterday, on a tooth rattling, taint bashing 85 km/hr descent in a blinding piss fest, I communed with my inner Archie Bunker. As I age I find him coming to me with increasing frequency. The pleasure of this visit was owing to a little tune in that I had the previous morning.

Kiddo and I had a date called Report Card Day. Normally not a huge deal unless your child is either an idiot or a savant, this meeting took on a whole new trajectory round about the time the outgoing head of the school's advisory board was winding up his speech by dropping (rather proudly) that his son had opened a practice as a... well, really, the only word we have in English seems to be... witch doctor.

Now, one might expect that there would be a bit of a pregnant pause at this point...nope. Just a bunch of people whipping out their Blackberries and tapping away to make sure they got his number and particulars should their child experience falling marks or emotional problems owing to black magic, curses or possession.


Then we all had snacks...

I'm not going to launch into some long drawn out discussion of cultural relativism or the like. At some moments it just really strikes me how different my thought process is from many people around me here. Child has bad marks, call the witchdoctor...Nanny would have offered something more down home that she used to refer to as, "kicking your ass up to your ears". To each their own.

To end this post on a more down to earth note, I picked up a couple of these jerseys from Klaus over at Cycling Inquisition. Now, his only contribution to the whole affair was to make them look drop dead awesome... OK, I guess there was that whole 2 years of blogging thing beforehand that made it all possible, but I digress.

ANNNNNYWAYS, the point is that these Hincapie jerseys have a really weird attribute; dirt doesn't stick to the bloody things! I've got over 20 hours in the rain on this white one and it doesn't show a spot. the shot above is after yesterdays love-in. I just hit it with a little dish soap and faster than you can say SUAVEMOTHERFUCKER, the dirt is down the drain. George better watch his fine self so the Iraqis down "down" and analyze his kit.

Oh, one more thing...

Cassava (yucca) patties with chives and cumin. Feel the love.

Merry Christmas Meatheads,