Sunday, June 15, 2008

a quick view...

I flew back to visit a few friends and to take part is an incredible ceremony of seeing Brian get married. It was great and I can't express how truly happy I am for him and Summer.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature decided to also show up in form of a flood. Here's just a few pictures of the last few days back in Cedar Falls...

A short 4 days later...

There are more pictures available of both the wedding and the flood... here, here and here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Where I am going...

So apparently my hometown is big news... unfortunately, the reasons why we ever seem to get real national attention are for the bad... from the tornadoes that struck just north a few weeks back, to the homecoming riots back in the 90's... Here's what NBC News ran tonight:

I'll get a first hand look at this and be sure to show a little bit of a bike tour of the areas hit and potentially hit when I arrive tomorrow.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Rainy Commutes

Now, I'll be the first to admit. There has been a little adjustment that has taken place since selling my car. Thankfully the first week definitely was hot but not rainy. This week, a different story, as no surprise to many of you the Midwest has been experience it's far share of storms lately and Michigan was been fortunate enough to get to partake in said weather.

Today was my first day having to prepare for the weather. When I left for work today, we were between storms, from the radar it looked like I was a least going to experience the beginnings of the next. Somehow the next front missed my area of GR. During work, it looked as if the forecasts were going to be wrong, that was until the late afternoon when the rain hit. Short rain showers that last just enough to get everything good and wet.

Checking the radar and hour-by-hour forecast it sounded like I had a 60% chance that it was going to be raining pretty good when I'd need to make it home. It ended up only being a slight mist but for some reason when it rains Michigan drivers find ways to becoming even worse. I do believe I set a record today with the amount of cars that buzzed my tower.

The beast has been seeing a bit more work these days caring frames and wheels to and from work as I say good bye to one and hello to another. I can't say how much I love my Xtracycle. She'll be seeing a few improvements in the coming weeks which I am really looking forward to. I'm about 90% sure I'll be adding yet another bike to the stable. More on that another day.

Now I've got to begin to prepare for my trip back to Iowa for Bottkes wedding. That's right folks, he's tying the knot this Friday! For sure there will be pictures.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Recap of last Saturday...

... when I still had a car.

Last Saturday, I wrote briefly that I was going to be hitting up a ride with an old roommate, friend and pseudo-coworker, Ryan or R2.

The time couldn't have came at a better time in which we stopped by Founders first, enjoyed a pint or two and then went on our way in what ended up being about a 20 mile ride.

Not bad if I don't say so myself. Going into it I knew we'd cruise around with no real destination in mind and through it I pretty much sure R2 will be getting a new fixie.

Here's a few photos I was able to snap along the way:
As we cruised around Reed's Lake, Ryan switched to Red and took off...

On R2's rig still... Sorry, it's a little easier to take a picture or two when one can coast...
Hopefully tomorrow will bring much of the same enjoyment... I'll be heading downtown GR with some friends for the Festival. I'm really looking forward to it and hopefully it won't let me down.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

That's right folks, if you noticed or not, but the blog no longer has the .blogspot on it. Kind of a big deal, kind of not, but update your links it's now:

A little fun

Stumbled onto this via the Surly blog. Has made me consider getting a few things for Xtracycle aka the Little Idiot aka the beast.... enjoy.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

more like... Can't Drive, Just Ride.

Well, needless to say it's been an interesting last few days. But before we dive into everything, no I did not lose my drivers license.

Let's start back a few weeks ago when I was driving home from Mars. There is a corner record store affectionately called The Corner Record Shop [creative I know], that had an old VW Bus sitting there that had a small for sale sign on it. Like many, that vehicle has always caught my eye and I thought it would be fun to have. But I left it at that, saying that I'm not in the position to buy another car, let alone anything that might be a fixer-uper.

On Sunday a few friends of mine went to play a quick 9 of disc golf and after finishing my roommate and I decided to give the VW a closer look just for kicks. Well, this is where the fun truly began. It looked pretty good, given it was a '79 and you have to consider that. For kicks I decided to put my car on Craigslist without any pictures, just to get a feeler if there was any interest. I did this late last year and had no response. This post was placed at 3:46pm Sunday.

By 5ish, I had already received 10 emails, 2 or 3 each wanting to see the car soon. By 7ish, 3 more emails and I had begun to line up a time to get together with a potential buyer. I had to run some errands and hang out for dinner with friends. This person was so interested that they wanted to come over Sunday night at 10:30 to check it out! Crazy! I agreed and at this point I was still trying to figure out exactly what I was going to do.

I get home at 10pm, get a few last thing together. The guy and his daughter come over and take the car out for a drive. In talking with them, he said that he had lost out on two cars earlier that day and was going out of town Tuesday and had to get this settled before hand. After the test drive he asked how firm I was with the price and I said I felt I had a fair price on it and had no need to go lower with the amount of interest I had gotten in such a short time. He agreed and said he'd take it.

Needless to say at about 10:50pm on Sunday I had sold my car. Now this puts me in quite a difficult spot, do I rush out and purchase this VW Bus? I decided to take it for a test ride Monday. It drove fine, has a few issues but for the most part I was sold but I wanted to get it check out Tuesday by a mechanic. Unfortunately, Tuesday was not as glorious. The mechanic wasn't opposed to price I had worked out with the seller but he did bring up a lot of great and valuable information that I had not thought through.

I decided that the smart thing was not to get the VW but now that does leave me vehicle-less. Which is AWESOME! The beast is gone and the crutch has been kicked out and it's time to really step up. I am now needing to be much more creative on getting rides and planning trips, and although not having a car at 26 and being single doesn't really help to solve that problem. It should be a good summer.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Off to the races...just no riding

This past week was spent going to but not racing in any races. This past Saturday was spent as the Tour of Frankenmuth, all in all I am not overly sad about missing this race. The course was flat and final sprint was downhill and only one lane meaning speeds of over 40 mph and not a lot of room to move around, add to that poor traffic control in the last left hand turn and I heard that it wasn't the best race out there. That being said its only their second year and they are already asking for help improving. Leadout racing did pretty well with top 10 finishes from Nick and Lupe. Sunday was the big one, the Tour of Leelanau. One of the few times truly big name riders come to the MIScene. Lining up to take the start were Tony Cruz, Aaron Olsen, Ted King, Ben Jacques-Maynes, Taylor Tolleson, as well as current pros and former Grand Rapids residents Brent Bookwalter and Graham Howard. They through in some amateur teams to "spice" things up and you had the pros dropping the hammer from mile seven on shredding the field and laying waste to any amateur thinking of making a name for himself. Mark, Peter, and I caught the race in a few locations and handed bottles off to Team Giant of Michigan. It looks like a great course to race on just not with the pros that were out there that day, I spend time up in that area a few times a year and next time I am up there need to climb Tower Road, the 20% or more grade to start off followed by an additional 6% climb for 1/2 a mile is about as tough as it gets in Michigan. Monday it was back to EGR for the Gaslight crit. This was also the first day of the weekend I truly struggled to watch the race without resenting my inability to ride. I played cheerleader for the team in a race that was going to be a high priority for the season, it is a hometown race along Reeds Lake and one of the best crits in the state. The 3/4 race was phenomenal with about 8 Leadout Racing riders taking the start. Nick rode awesome staying in the top 5-10 the entire race and Lupe joined him up there for a top 10 finish. Once everyone gets healthy we should really be cooking as both Mark and I have to sit the races out, although Mark is back in the saddle testing his broken arm and thinking that he may be racing as soon as June 23. The 1/2 race was exciting as the come with 2 small breakaways going early eventually melding into one and then Graham Howard and 2 IS Corp riders whittling the break down to 3. Karl Menzies, who is rumored to be a current G. Rap resident, showed up and helped form a decent sized chase group, but couldn't bring them back. In the end Karl took 4th and 1st in the chase group sprint making everyone else look like they were standing still as he flew out of the pack got a gap and easily soft pedaled in. After 3 days of being outside watching races the sun had taken its toll and I was a bit burnt, but nowhere near burnt out on Michigan racing. After a few so so days of work I went out to soak in Grattan, the local race series, and was happy I did as Keith rode super strong in the B's after being frustrated by his finish at Gaslight and ended up second in the sprint by a hair. I might have been jumping up and down and yelling a bit as he neared the finish. It was a great finish for Keith, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him forced up to the A's soon. No definitive news on the knee, but it seems to be getting worse rather than better and the Doctors can't fit me in until June 12 or so. Oh well, all of this is just adding fuel to the fire.