Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gila Proven! Tour of the Gila: Stage 2

Dave put up some pics as the Pro men rolled out of town towards Pinos Altos. That last mile into P.A. is a category 3 climb. The total elevation gain from Silver City to Pinos Altos is 1000 feet in 6 miles. Its a good pull. The "W" on the mountain is for Western New Mexico University.

BTW, there are some great mountain bike trails in those hills!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gila Proven! Tour of the Gila: stage 1, part II

A friend just sent this pic. I think his wife took it. Lance Armstrong in Silver City's Gough Park (I used to ride my Stingray there!) at the start of Stage 1! Cool!

I am jazzed, mainly because as a life-long cyclist from Silver City, I know how good I/we have had it for a long time. We had/have some of the best cycling routes in the world (literally) and now with a luck in scheduling the sport's greatest athlete comes to ride the Gila. This is really cool!

Also I am a good personal friend of Jack Brennan, the Tour of the Gila's race director. I know how much work and effort he puts into the race to make it what it is. My hat is off to Jack. The guy is 'top shelf'! Also special recognition needs to go to all the Silver City volunteers that make the race happen! After 20+ years, this race deserves this kind of recognition. It is one of the best stage races in the country.

Looking forward to Stages 2, 3, 4, and 5.

BTW: Check out this site for more pics and info. A great pic here...probably around the town of Gila.

Gila Proven! Tour of the Gila: Stage 1 (updated)

Boy howdy do I wish I was in Silver City right now! The excitement must be intense. A friend who works for the Grant County Search and Rescue (GCSAR) forwarded some pics of the peleton heading up Snake Hill.

photo credit: Rick Moreno

BTW I think I found Lance Armstrong in the crowd.
Update: Local law enforcement and medical/SAR personnel are anticipating over 25,000 people in town (Silver City has a population of about 12,000) for Saturday's downtown criterium race.

Here's a link to a recent news article.

Link to today's results. Levi Leipheimer wins the Pro men! Kristin Armstrong takes the Pro women's race.

Pics from last Sunday

Thought I would post some pics from last Sunday's event.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lance Armstrong is Coming to Town

Hey Lance is coming to town! Too bad I won't be there!
For years, The Tour of the Gila has always had the status of one the best, toughest, most challenging road races in the USA, but never got top billing. Well now Lance and Team Anstana are coming to race! Yeehaw! What a year NOT to be driving Break 1!

photo credit: Silver City Sun-News.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Home Maintenance (updated)

Two years ago, my wife Tania and I bought our first home, a condo 150 meters from the Caribbean Sea. This is the first time I've ever owned anything of this magnitude, therefore I take pride in ownership.

What I am finding out, very quickly is home ownership involves a lot of care and maintenance. There seems to be always a project to do, or something that needs to be fixed or addressed.

Right now we are having our air conditioning rebuilt because the original contractor did not install it properly. Since finding our new air conditioner guy, the unit is working much better, but now he is making some needed improvements, so no a/c this weekend.

The other thing is rust. Being close to the sea, we are experiencing rust, our chrome cabinet hinges are rusting, chrome steel supports on our bar, the stainless steel barstools are rusting, and even on the some of the brushed stainless steel cabinet pulls are rusting. Today I bought some anti-corrosive spray, and sprayed the hinges and wiped down everything else that was metal.

We also need to call a plumber. It seems our kitchen faucet is leaking. Tania refuses to let me try and fix it. I think it just needs a new O-ring.

Update: We had the plumber come and review the faucet this morning. Looks like it is busted and we will need a new one. My theory is that due to the air that gets into the waterlines when the water pump is shut off, puts a lot of stress on the faucet. The air coming out is almost like an explosion. A new faucet will cost about Bs.F 1000+ ($175.00 +) uggh!
I am going to look into adding a water pressure regulator into my water main. 3rd world water pressure is hell on the system.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mousetrap Car Pics

We had our mousetrap car event on Friday. It was a success. All the cars moved at least. The D-Beast went the farthest, about 9 meters...not bad for being made from bamboo skewers, pencils, popcicle sticks, and rubber washers for wheel bearings.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Preview to the 2009 Mousetrap Car Races

Having my physics students build mousetrap powered cars. These are crude, but they work. "Races" tomorrow.
Testing the cars: I liked this photo. I had the camera on the floor on self timer mode. The car is invisible due to the shutter speed. All you can make out is the pencil which is the drive axle on this car.
So...the big "race" is tomorrow and the whole school is invited to watch. Who will win the Big Cheese Trophy?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sunday morning was great!

Made a good breakfast of pancakes and double cappuccinos then went out for an Easter morning ride.

On Sunday's ride, I was feeling great! I helped a guy get his shifter cable back in the cable stops (showed him the little trick in how to do it), I climbed La Falla three times, hammered up Cardon one time, and El Cerro twice. I descended Babylonia without a dab (not counting the entrance...big rock blocking my line), and when descending The Rails I executed a perfect apex turn at castle. The turn just felt perfect when I did it. Hard to describe that feeling. I just felt great!

Overall, it was a great Easter morning ride.

Unfortunately no pics...I forgot to change the battery pack on my camera.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Samana from today

Went for a ride this morning and came across this SUV.
I paused for a minute or two to watch pelicans. Pelicans are cool!

Then around 10:00 I picked up my workmate Matt at the airport. He was in western Venezuela during this Samana Santa break.
In the afternoon we checked out the beach near my condo and I took a few pics.

Crazy beach scene!

This is the Virgin of the Valle.
I like this building. A friend rented a tiny apartment on the top floor for a while. The views were amazing!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Samana Santa...If you lived here, you'd already be home.

Tania and I went for a drive this morning. We got home a little after 12:00 noon. Heading toward the condo, we ran into heavy traffic. We took some back routes and zoomed home fairly easily.
Check out this action just outside our apartment. Nuts!

Traffic snarl in front of our building.

And it stretches up to the beach 1 block away.

And viewing from our apartment, the beach is just as packed. Really nuts!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Samana Santa...Photographic Details

I really like digital photography. I've been interested in photography my whole life but never got into it because of the expense. I still think the best shot I've ever taken was a Polaroid shot of the legendary Steve Garro riding his bike on a dry lake bed in Nevada one late afternoon. Everything just worked in that photograph; the surreal colors of a Polaroid photo, the backlighting with the sun behind a large cumulus cloud, the flash went off, and I captured Steve's intense focus [still the best all around mountain bike rider I've ever seen or ridden with]. He missed my elbow by less than an inch (2.5 cm) when I was laying flat on the lake bed.

Where Polaroids are photography in its pure, raw form - digital photography can be augmented and altered. My little Canon digital ELPH cameras give me the instant gratification of a Polaroid, but also gives me other options like editing and cropping. They are also highly portable, therefore I carry my SD1000 everywhere.

This photograph is of Pedro's descent down the Acuario trail yesterday. I used some software to zoom in and crop a piece of the picture. I also tweeked the contrast a bit, and sharpened the pixels some. I am no expert, but I like the detail of the dust kicked up by the rear tire.

This is the original photograph. It is untouched [other than being resized so it loads faster on this blog]. I like how the camera captured the bouncing of the chain. That something you often hear when riding, but rarely get to see.

Note: click on the pic and it will zoom larger. Hit the back arrow button to return to the blog.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Samana Santa...Pedro Rides Again

Went out for a good ride this morning. It was a nice, cool morning, and I rode about an hour or so alone. As I was starting my second "vuelta" (lap), I ran into Pedro and friends who were going in the opposite I turned around to follow them. We rode for nearly 3 hours...and they had an hour head start on me.

Pedro is a good subject to photograph. His posture/position on the bike is nearly perfect and his facial expressions are always good. He is very focused on the bike. He's becoming an expert at descending the Acuario Trail.

Note: Click on each pic and it'll zoom larger so you can see what I mean about his focused look. Hit the back arrow button to return to the blog.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Updated! Samana Santa (Holy Week) a.k.a. Spring Break [post 1]

My posting might be light this week. It is Samana Santa. We don't have many plans if any. Rode bikes a couple of mornings with my friend Tomas. Not much else. I'll try to post some pics tomorrow.

My ride with Tomas...He also rides single speed. His set-up is sweet! A 19" Vicious Cycles monolith. I like the horizontal dropouts...very simple, light, and elegant. His Spot hubs have an extra large flat nut to cinch everything down. Its a very simple solution. I like it.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Rocky Mountain Vertex

This afternoon I bought a 2008 Rocky Mountain Vertex Team frame and RockShox Reba (100mm). Not sure why, but it was a super good deal...too good to pass up. This frame is super light, about 3.2 lbs (~1.4kg) and made of super strong scandium alloy. I almost have enough parts to build it, except I'd need a disc brake set. I am thinking if I can fit it in a suitcase, no problem, but I might have to use a courier to bring it to Venezuela. It might be my new Venezuela bike and leave my Litespeed in the USA...but I like my Litespeed which I bet is going to be an amazing bike with all the new parts. The Vertex is a super bike though! The one I've ridden is pretty amazing!Update: I've learned that this bike is the last of its type. I knew that the new 2009 Vertex frames are carbonfiber but this particular frame is the last of the scandium alloy Vertexes. The complete bikes, even the upper tier Vertex 70, uses 7005 alloy. Not a big fan of aluminum bikes, but scandium-aluminum alloy has a completely different ride quality...more like steel or titanium.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

New Parts for my Litespeed

I really like my Litespeed Toccoa, however I haven't bonded with it like I have my Merlin. I am thinking with a complete rebuilt/overhaul, it will be completely mine and no longer a used bike set-up by someone else. I've been buying bicycle parts on-line since November and I think I am done. Last night I bought some Avid Ultimate "V-brakes" with titanium bits last night from a friend, and I believe that is my ultimate purchase. The bike will now be completely rebuilt with the only original part will be the front derailleur (for now). I am hoping to get the weight of the bike to the 22 pound (10 kg) range. Currently it is slightly more than 24 pounds (~11 kg).