Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Cycad Next Door

In my middle school science class, we are covering plants. When looking at the different kind of gymnosperms, cycads are one of the ancient groups. Fossil records show these plants have been around for nearly 300 million years!

To be honest, growing up in New Mexico, I'd never seen a cycad, only in pictures. The textbook has a picture of a cycad tree, and it looked very familiar. Last week, when I am walking from school, back to my apartment, there is a cycad! I took several pictures to add in my PowerPoint presentation for the next day.
Here's some new growth in the middle taken last Thursday on 02/18/10

Today, Wednesday (02/24/10) as I walked by it, I decided I look at it again and the new growth in the middle has grown at least 30 cm in about 6 days! Amazing!

Saddle for Tour Divide

For the past 15 or more years I've been riding WTB saddles almost exclusively. After much trial and error, I found I really liked the SST. Surprisingly it was dropped from their line back about 2004, so I replaced my worn SST with a Pure V.

The Pure V is a great saddle. I find it extremely comfortable, but I am concerned with the seams on the cover over the long haul. I used one of my Pure V saddles on the Katy Trail back in 2008 with mixed results. I rode 95 miles the first day and was pretty chaffed and sore afterwards. The next day I was able to ride fairly comfortably for about 85 miles to our next stop-over. Because of knee problems (not mine) and to prevent further damage, we decided to stop on day 3 and end the trip in Hermann, MO and there catch the train back to Lee's Summit.

A friend, a veteran of many long distance rides, says if my butt is not toughened up, it'll be a short ride. He's probably right. I am really thinking of trying a Terry Liberator saddle. I wish I could get one down here in Venezuela and ride it for a while.

This problem of prepping from 3000 miles away is one of the more challenging things about this ride.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ear Infection

Saturday I had a great bike ride with a friend. Did some climbing, descending, just generally enjoyed the morning. Rode about 12 miles or so. I don't used a cyclocomputer so I never really know unless I sit down and plot it out on Google Earth.

Saturday afternoon I learned that a group was heading up to Los Altos de Santa Fe on Sunday morning. Perfect! A long training ride in prep for the Tour Divide.

Luck would have it, I came down with a sever ear infection Saturday night where the ear canal completely closed up. I was hoping it'd be better by morning, but it wasn't. So instead of going for a 90 km/700+ meters of climbing-into-the-cloud-forest ride, I was at the emergency clinic getting an injection of a broad-spectrum antibiotic in my butt, and prescriptions for more oral antibiotics plus anti-inflammatory med, and ear drops. What a mess!

My ear is doing better, but seemed to have slept on it bad last night and it feels funny today. Can't hear too well out of the sick ear. Ugggh

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Carnival 2010

Enjoying a 4-day weekend of Carnival.

Did a fun bike ride this morning with a couple of teacher friends. We rode around for about 3 hours. I am enjoying the gears back on the Merlin. I am able to climb faster and easier. I think I proved my point with the single speed. Someday I'll do it some more, probably get a bike that is a dedicated single speed, but for now I like this 1 x 9 set up.

Tania and I went for a walk on the beach this evening. We found a nice rock for smashing garlic.

Then we walked to the main street of town and saw a little parade today. Kind of fun.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Tour Divide Prep

I really don't know how to prep for a ride like the Tour Divide except to be in decent shape for it and have some saddle time in. My situation is a bit odd. 1.) I don't live in the USA. I live in a country where it is becoming increasingly dangerous to live in, much less ride a bicycle in. 2.) I commute to work 180 km every Sunday afternoon and return home Friday night. My bicycle stays at home in Lecheria 3.) The town where I work is too sketchy and dangerous to ride [see all of the above...].

So here is what I am doing. 1.) Converted my Merlin back into a geared bike so I can ride farther and faster on the weekends [see pic]. 2.) I ride at least 2 hours each on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturdays I usually have other things to do, honey-do stuff, plus spending time with my lovely wife. 3.) Hitting the gym during the week. I ride the spin bike for 30 minutes, and lift weights. 4.) I am trying to eat better.

I am approaching this more as a tour than a race. I just want to enjoy myself, but that means being prepared. I've done quite a bit of touring in my day, including offroad mtn bike touring. I am buying some new gear, prepping my Litespeed the best I can from 3000 miles away and hopefully staying strong and healthy.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Saints Win!

Geaux Saints! In my 5th grade class picture, I am wearing a Saints windbreaker. I've been a Saints geek most of my life. Wow! Hard to contain my emotion right now considering that the salary of these players makes over $1,000,000 per season. I was born in 1960, and the Saints were born in about 1967 but I'm not exactly sure. I've been with the Saints thick or thin. Kind of weird! Geaux Saints! They win the Super Bowl XLIV ! Its weird to convey the emotions I feel right now. Perpetual losers. We won! Finally! Unbelievable game!

Note: I sniped this photo from MSNBC.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Fresh Fruit

Street vendor fruit stand.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Merlin #3

Took this photo by accident the other day. I like how it turned out.
Also, just ordered my Epic Design packs. Hopefully will firm things up in the next few days.