Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

There’s snow in them thar hills

January 29, 2013
Snow? In January? who'da thunk it?

Snow? In January? who’da thunk it?

The weekend was a tad busy, and come Monday I had a minor case of the ass.

I wanted, needed, to go for a ride — especially since I have a couple of bikes that need reviewing in fairly short order — but my usual routes had become yawn-inducing, an affliction that surfaces from time to time, like malaria or herpes.

The weather had mostly been sunny and dry, so I decided to spend a couple hours dicking around on the trails in Palmer Park, and riding a fendered MonsterCrosser® on the bone-dry single-track proved a pleasant change of pace.

Good thing I got ’er done when I did, too. Because we awakened this morning to a heavy wet blanket of snow on the deck. Thus today’s exercise consisted mainly of upper-body work, to wit, shoveling.

I’m not complaining, though. This ongoing drought is no joke — come Thursday, we’re back to another stretch of sunny, windy and 50-something — and I fear for our silver maple, which shades my office window. It takes a lot of water to keep a big tree happy, and an inch or two of snow every couple of years won’t do the trick.

A Rove-ing down memory lane

January 24, 2013
Kona Rove

The Kona Rove is a cyclo-cross-slash-whatever bike, with eyelets for racks and fenders and plenty of clearance for tires forbidden by the UCI.

The departure of the flu coincided with a return of springlike weather, so I’ve been spending some time outdoors of late, searching for my lost legs.

It’s been three weeks since the bug laid me low, and my pipes are still not quite up to snuff — I’m gonna have to refill that albuterol prescription one of these days — but nonetheless it’s been pleasant to be out and about, far from the iMac and its penchant for delivering evil tidings.

The bike of choice lately has been the Kona Rove, which as mentioned in an earlier post is on deck in the Adventure Cyclist hit parade. As usual, I can’t say much about it until the paying customers get theirs, but I will note that it’s not a touring bike — the Sutra fills that particular niche for Kona.

I had to put a little Irish on the front fender's left strut (it's much better than English) to work around the Hayes disc brake.

I had to put a little Irish on the front fender’s left strut (it’s much better than English) to work around the Hayes disc brake.

Nope, the Rove is one of those whatever bikes, which is to say that whatever you feel like riding it will handle without complaint.

It’s been interesting to watch the industry come up with a fresh take on the kind of machinery I rode when we lived up Weirdcliffe way. I tried to get Brent Steelman to build me a drop-bar mountain bike to tackle the wealth of gravel roads, two-track and single-track we had up there, but as I recall he had doubts about welding up such a weirdo.

So instead I made do with one of his old CC cyclo-cross bikes. Brent billed the CC as “a 700c mountain bike” — in fact, it may have been one of the earliest 29ers — and in its final configuration before I sold it to a friend its Excell frameset wore 700×40 Ritchey rubber, a triple (46/36/24), a seven-speed 105 drivetrain (12-28) and bar-end shifters.

The Rove comes stock with a set of 700×35 Freedom by WTB Ryders, but it likewise can handle 700×40 tires, and with fenders, too. Go without fenders and you can run tractor tires, if that’s your idea of a good time.

The Rove is considerably burlier than my old CC, in part because it uses Hayes CX5 disc brakes for stoppers instead of a pair of Dia-Compe 986 cantis.

Of course, its rider is considerably burlier than was the old ’crosser who used to race that CC, so I’ll hold my fire in that regard, stone-wise.

And besides, that which does not kill you makes you stronger, right? The flu didn’t get me, and I doubt the Rove will, unless I try to pick it up and run with it. That would be just begging for it.

Showing the colors

January 18, 2013
Turkish working on his tan

The Turk’ suns himself in the living room.

You know what’s even better than not watching Ol’ Whatsisface gnaw through his lower lip while pretending to be sorry for what he did instead of for getting caught at it?

Riding your own damn’ bike for the first time in two weeks on a sunny, 55-degree afternoon, that’s what.

My pipes felt a tad rusty after the flu, and I wished for a big hit of albuterol, but that would’ve been doping. So I made do with a cough drop and a hefty dose of moral superiority.

Before getting back in the saddle I mounted fenders to the Kona Rove, which is next up in the Adventure Cyclist review queue.

Ever fit fenders to a disc-brake-equipped bike? Me neither. What it takes — for the front wheel, anyway — is a pretty abrupt bend in the left-side fender stay, a long-ass bolt and a spacer of some sort. I used about an inch of the plastic housing from a cheap pen liberated from a motel, which saved me a trip to the hardware store.

After two weeks on the disabled list I resembled a cyclist about as much as Ol’ Whatsisface resembles a penitent, but like him I didn’t care. It was enough to be out there.

The days of wine and hoses

December 27, 2012
Tavel rosé

This Tavel rosé pairs well with food. It’s also pretty damn’ nice all by its lonesome.

We shipped Herself the Elder back to Tennessee this morning, or so we thought.

Her flight out of Bibleburg, slated for 10:45 a.m., didn’t go wheels up until 12:30 p.m. And her connector in Dallas was canceled, so she’s camped in the Dallas airport awaiting another. If she’s lucky she’ll be back in the loving bosom of her cats at midnight.

Meanwhile, Herself the Younger is driving home from Denver in a light snow and cursing like a sailor, because she (a) hates driving in the dark, (2) hates driving in the snow, and (iii) hates driving in the snow in the dark.

Only I am left unscathed to tell the tale, because I have the great good fortune to be unemployable and thus possessed of abundant leisure to motor hither and thither in the daylight, when it is not snowing. Thus did I hie me to the grog shop, fortified by a largish check for making things up, thence to restock the wine rack stripped bare by our Yuletide revelry.

Now I’m sipping a tart Tavel rosé and sifting mentally through the available leftovers: quite a bit of posole; the makings for a short round of tacos de papas con chorizo; some pintos in chipotle chile; the underpinnings for a second round of beef enchiladas on red chile, save the sauce.

Posole, tacos and beans it is. Even a slacker deserves a day off.

Frosty the Snowdog

December 9, 2012
Second snow of fall 2012

This being Zappadan, you are strongly advised to watch out where the huskies go.

Imagine my astonishment when I arose this morning to find a December morning that looked like … well, like a December morning.

The temperature has yet to reach the forecast high of 20 degrees, and there is an evil wind out of the north, which took all the joy right out of snow dispersal. As usual, no shoveling was required; a broom was equal to the task. Or would have been, had the underlying layer of snow not been frozen tight to the sidewalk.

All in all, a fine day for remaining inside, where the whiskey is.

Tonight’s forecast: dark

November 26, 2012
The NWS forecast for the remainder of November

The NWS forecast for the remainder of November (and yes, the headline is a George Carlin/Al Sleet reference).

I don’t like being cold and damp, shoveling snow, or having to wear pants indoors. But neither do I care for the idea of watching the Front Range turn into the Sonoran Desert, only without the great Mexican food.

The local fish-wrapper reported the other day that Bibleburg has enjoyed just a tenth of an inch of moisture this month and for the year to date is eight inches under normal precipitation. This is not a positive development, even for those of us who reach for a cold beer over a glass of water on a summery afternoon. For example, you can’t make beer without water. Unless you’re Coors, which seems to do just fine with Rocky Mountain trout piss.

South of us, in the Land of Enchantment, Elephant Butte Lake is experiencing drought conditions unseen since the year of my birth, which as regular readers know occurred the better part of quite some time ago.

And there’s no relief in sight. Not here, anyway. According to the weather wizards, there isn’t so much as a hint of a whiff of a rumor of a whisper of any precip’ in the Bibleburg forecast over the next 10 days.

What there is, is a parade of 60-and-sunny that will delight me in the short term (I have two bikes to review and more on the way) but gives me The Fear as regards the long term.

This autumn, for the first time since we’ve lived here, a neighbor declined my offer of the usual dozen or so bags of fallen leaves from our silver maple for use in her composting. She has also downsized her once-elaborate front yard to something better suited to a high-desert climate.

“What’s the point in gardening if it’s never going to rain again?” she asked.

Ain’t nothin’ to it but a Job

October 8, 2012
Mister Boo, the office, Oct. 7, 2012

“Is it dinnertime yet?” inquires the persistent Mister Boo. “How about now? Now? NOW? NOW!!!”

My suffering knows no bounds. Herself is tormenting me from Hawaii with still photos of snorkeling, videos of playing bikini-clad footsie with the Pacific, and tantalizing tales of fresh fish, guacamole made from homegrown avocados and free drinks.

Meanwhile, packed like a sequence of overstuffed Irish bangers into pants, socks and long-sleeved shirt I wrangle Elly Mae’s critters, burn my brand onto some wandering word count and push a whole passel of pixels in the service of what passes for bicycle journalism in these parts. There has been little free time for tomfoolery in the ocean Bibleburg does not border or the eating of the avocados it does not grow.

As novelist Thomas McGuane had a leathery 60-year-old rancher put it in “Nothing But Blue Skies,” “Why does the Lord want me to serve him in this way?”

Who knows? The Lord works in mysterious ways, or so I’m told. So do I, although the mystery lies mostly in why anyone would offer me work. Or marriage, for that matter. As Richard Pryor once said of himself in “Live On the Sunset Strip,” I am no day at the beach, especially when the beach is there and I am here.

We do have sand, however. And before I reapply nose to grindstone this morning I believe I will go out and run on it, or ride in it.

And you needn’t fear that I’ll be doing it in a Big Tex-style banana hammock, either. I ain’t no tri-toad, and anyway, it’s 30 degrees, f’chrissakes. Oh, to be a son of a beach instead of the other thing.

A fine soft day (yeah, right)

October 6, 2012

The green is wearing a bit o’ dew.

The first cold, clammy day of autumn always reminds me of why my forebears fled the Emerald Isle for Americay. It wasn’t so much the Limeys and the Prods as the weather.

Doesn’t help that Herself is enjoying a weeklong vacation on the Big Island with a gal pal. Beaches for her, bitches for me. ‘Tis not at all the same thing.

Of course, last time I went to Hawaii the locals endured a volcanic eruption and a tsunami. Maybe it’s better that I stay put. For them, anyway.

What’s this strange beverage …

September 12, 2012

A summer’s worth of rain, all at once.

… falling down from the sky?

The weather wizards were calling for rain yesterday but we got only a wee dribble, just enough to leave visible craters in the dust coating everything.

Whatever, I thought, and scheduled an oil change at the nearby Brakes Plus for bright and early in the morning. Drop off the rice rocket, stroll home, enjoy a leisurely breakfast.

Or not. I awoke to a pissing-down rain, gutters running like creeks, sidewalks like rivers. A full summer’s worth of rain in one day, is what.

Mind you, I’m not complaining. There’s free wifi at the Brakes Plus, and as breakfasts go coffee and yogurt isn’t so bad.

Besides, now I can look forward to lunch.

Flying Dog, or from fire to flood

July 2, 2012

Took a break from Le Tour today, mostly, though I did lend a hand to Charles “Live Update Guy” Pelkey over at Red Kite Prayer as he followed the stage for fun and profit. You already know what happened: Turns out Cav’ don’ need no steenkeeng choo-choo to win stages.

But first I had to shuttle Herself to the Greater Bibleburg Interdimensional Airport once again. This time she’s trading fire for flood, jetting to Maryland to visit family … kinfolks who only just yesterday got their power back on. So, yeah. Good times, is what. She’ll be sampling some Flying Dog ale straight from the source — who knew the outfit was based in Frederick, Md.? — and will report back to us.

Here’s hoping she won’t need an Igloo and a sack of cubes to keep it cold. I bet they’re running short of that sort of thing in my home state.


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