Archive for the ‘Spring’ Category

Life used to be so hard

April 22, 2014

two-cats-04212014

Everybody sing!

April fuel

April 19, 2014
The Salsa Vaya takes five underneath a recently renovated bridge above the railroad tracks.

The Salsa Vaya takes five underneath a recently renovated bridge above the railroad tracks.

Y’know what they say about April showers? Well, we should be up to our keisters in May flowers if this weather keeps up. We already have a fine crop of dandelions in the front yard.

Deadlines and various chores have monopolized my attention lately. The House Back East™ has new tenants, and I celebrated by doing a bit of raking and bagging, as the back yard has looked a tad funky since our landscaper vanished mysteriously, leaving a mulching undone and his tools behind. Rumor Control hints at an extended visit with the authorities, but as you know we don’t believe the liberal media here at Chez Dog.

The garage was likewise becoming unmanageable. My half of it, anyway. It looked like the lair of a bike thief who was deeply into the art of stealing but contemptuous of the business end. And so today I tidied up a bit in there, too. Got Herself’s ‘cross bike up on a hook and everything, though there’s still an appalling pile of tires in one corner. And for God’s sake, if you’re a neat freak avert your eyes from the workbench.

In between shifts I took the Salsa Vaya out for a few gentle rides. You know, the usual — city streets, back alleys, pulverized granite paths, single-track, concrete bike path, the works. Everything but I-25, and I’ll get around to that before I’m through.

Today’s Bible lesson is “Thou shalt count the teeth on thy cassette.” That 11-30 cogset ain’t nothin’ of the kind. Big plate on that bad boy has only 28 teeth, which when paired with a 39-tooth middle ring makes me feel my years. Don’t make me use the granny without racks and bags, please, Lord. I’ll quit touching myself and everything.

 

Game of chance

April 5, 2014
Mystery flats forced a tire change for the Soma Double Cross.

Mystery flats forced a tire change for the Soma Double Cross.

The forecast calls for a chance of rain and/or snow through Monday, and I beat the odds with today’s ride — a light drizzle began just as I hit the driveway.

Maybe it’s a good thing I swapped my tires out before I left. I had been running some portly 700×38 Schwalbe Little Bens on the Soma Double Cross, but the rear keeps going flat for no good reason. I’ve replaced tubes, checked the casing and the rim tape, you name it, and the sonofabitch still goes softer than Paul Ryan’s head when parked in the garage overnight.

Anyway, the DC now wears a frisky pair of 700×32 Panaracer Pasela TourGuards, and we’ll see tomorrow whether the garage gremlins treat the Japanese any better than they do the Germans.

Me, I’m being mistreated by allergies. Faugh. Our recent moisture is bringing all the neighborhood trees to hideous life. Look for pix of The House Back East®’s apricot tree in bloom here in a day or two as I gobble Claritin-D tabs like M&Ms.

 

 

Indoor sports

April 3, 2014
Oak Creek Grade, between Cañon City and Weirdcliffe, where a fella is definitely gonna want something lower than 30x30.

Oak Creek Grade, between Cañon City and Weirdcliffe, where a fella is definitely gonna want something lower than 30×30.

The silver maple in the front yard at Chez Dog wearing a thick coat of snowy goodness.

The silver maple in the front yard at Chez Dog wearing a thick coat of snowy goodness.

“Man plans, God laughs,” goes the Yiddish proverb.

So, naturally, as I was contemplating the intricacies,  logistics and amusements of a bicycle tour, Management reminded me that spring is only a word, an arbitrary date on a manmade calendar.

Yesterday I was motoring around Fremont and Custer counties with the windows down, scoping out various back roads between Florence and Weirdcliffe with a Colorado Atlas & Gazetteer in the passenger seat while tugging frequently from a water bottle. Today I awakened to a few inches of heavy, wet snow on the deck, with more on the way.

No complaints here, mind you. Water from on high is water I don’t have to buy from Colorado Springs Utilities. And it sure beats being on fire.

So it looks to be a fine day for hanging around indoors, viewing with alarm. For instance, I notice that the Supremes are trying to make it less onerous for the 1 percent to run the country the way they see fit. And a Colorado judge is intent on making it harder for the 99 percent to catch them at it.

I’m starting to think Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito are deserving of life terms after all. Not on the high court, mind you, but in Leavenworth, making little rocks out of big ones for their crimes against the people.

Stoking the furnace

March 22, 2014
Eat 'em up!

Eat ‘em up!

Temperature? 23, feels like 13. Chance of rain and/or snow? 80 percent.

Springtime in the Rockies? Check.

When whisky is unavailable, what a auld fella wants on a brisk morning such as this is Bob’s Red Mill organic seven-grain pancakes with butter and maple syrup, two eggs over easy, black coffee and tea, mandarin segments and some warm socks (don’t eat that last item unless you’re really, really hungry or in dire need of fiber).

Like a dumb dog, I’m always surprised when spring looks suspiciously like winter, the way eastern Colorado looks like Kansas and Paul Ryan looks like a baboon’s ass. But last year, samey same. And the year before that. Annnnd the year before that.

You get the idea.

One of these days I’ll wise up and move to the desert. Where, naturally, I’ll bitch about the heat.

Strange beverage

March 16, 2014

The sky is crying.

The sky is crying.

Oh, ’tis a fine soft day in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ninety-three percent humidity is good for the skin after a long day spent drinking watery green beer with a few thousand of your closest friends followed by a nap in a shamrock-colored puddle of pee under the old F-350.

I managed to skirt the no-fly list once again and am squatting in the Charlotte airport awaiting the next pressurized aluminum tube full of viruses bound for Chicago, where I understand the climate is likewise good for preservation, especially of things like wooly mammoths, Ben and Jerry’s, and other frozen goods. Just as well, as I’ll be chilling there for at least a couple of hours before catching a Ford Tri-Motor for Bibleburg and Chez Dog.

Skipped the final day of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, as two days gave us a pretty good look-see at all the touring bikes that weren’t there and I like to rassle my travel arrangements early, especially when I have so little say in how they get made and turn out. If some TSA dude is gonna beat on my kidneys with a mop handle I want to get it over with early, is what.

Meanwhile, Mr. Deme is in Detroit, where he reports he is sipping a Miller Fortune.

“All I can say is we really needed High Life in another package with a bit of Malt Liquor Bull added to it,” he adds.

I recommended a chaser of Listerine, or perhaps some Park Tool chain cleaner.

“That’s next,” he said.

Strange bedfellows

May 9, 2013
Two cats, one bed

The Turk’ and Mia cuddle up on a damp, chilly May day.

You know it’s a damp, chilly day when Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) and Miss Mia Sopaipilla decide to share the same bed, which just happens to sit on a shelf in Herself’s bathroom, directly under a heater vent.

The Turk can be a troublesome bedmate. Being groomed by the big galoot is like being run over again and again by a Velcro steamroller, and his long, furry carcass generates enough heat to hard-boil an egg.

Mia finally decided she had had enough and shifted quarters to the blanket on top of the bedroom bureau. Turk, meanwhile, relocated to my lap, which goes a long way toward explaining my appalling lack of productivity today.

Hell, you try getting anything done with a 16-pound cat sprawled across your lap. Anything besides paying attention to the cat, that is.

• Addendum: Consigliere Pelkey and I are live-updating the Giro d’Italia again this year. You can catch the act at Live Update Guy or Red Kite Prayer, whichever best floats your gondola.

Storm of the century!

April 9, 2013
Snowpocalypse

I’ve seen bigger blizzards at Dairy Queen.

Or not.

A meteorologist must feel kinship with the Denver Broncos on a day like today. First, the big buildup — and then, the even bigger letdown.

We’ve not given up hope for a little moisture, mind you. The National Weather Service is still predicting snow showers, but the dumper has been dialed back to a dribble. And if this wind keeps up it will all end up in northeastern New Mexico anyway.

Naturally, the schools are all closed. Small wonder the nation’s supply of idiots is constantly on the rise.

When I was a sprout they wouldn’t close the schools if they were on fire and full of serial killers. And we had to walk to school, uphill both ways, in the snow. Real snow! Not this global-warming shit that looks like a drunk redneck took half a can of white Krylon to his plastic Christmas tree.

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!

April 8, 2013
Hey, bud!

Hey, bud!

It’s probably a good thing I snapped a pic of our apricot tree this afternoon, when it was still a balmy 60-something and sunny.

Shortly thereafter sprang up from the north a blossom-shredding, sandblasting wind that would have done credit to “Lawrence of Arabia.” I ventured into it, briefly, to take out the trash, and spent the next half hour scouring Wyoming’s topsoil from my nostrils using a melon baller.

Next up is the rain, with snow on deck. Tomorrow should be about 40 degrees less enchanting than today, which is probably just as well, as I have journalism to do and being confined to quarters serves marvelously to sharpen one’s focus on the task at hand.

Glory road

March 29, 2013
Voodoo child.

Voodoo child.

I didn’t get to ride my age this year. Not in miles, kilometers or even minutes.

In fact, the whole first quarter of 2013 has been a little sketchy, ride-wise, thanks to bugs, chores, the natural Irish predilection toward sloth blended with storytelling — say, did I ever tell you the one about the Mighty Dugan?

No, let’s not get started down that particular path. There be dragons.

But today, after wrapping up a bit of video for the folks at Adventure Cyclist, I straddled the Voodoo Nakisi and hit the trails in Palmer Park. It was a casual ride that lasted nearly two hours, which for me these days is something of an expedition.

The afternoon was 60-something and sunny, if a bit breezy, and I must have been just tired enough to not give a shit if I fell over, because I was easily cleaning obstacles that ordinarily confound me.

I stopped at one intersection to pull off the knee-warmers and up rolled a couple of young gents on double-boingers who likewise were having a fine day on two wheels. They professed to be astounded that a gentleman of my years would be riding a cyclo-cross bike on Palmer Park single-track, and I confessed that while it appeared to be your standard unsuspended steel drop-bar bike, it was in fact a stealth 29er with a triple ring and 700×43 tires and thus not so much of a much.

Did the wheels stand the strain? they asked. To be sure, I replied. Built by Brian Gravestock himself they were, using Mavic Open Pros from this millennium and Hügi mountain bike hubs from another. Brian says steel bikes are making a comeback, they confided. I agreed, and with that we went our separate ways.

Back at Chez Dog a neighbor’s landscaper said he’d seen me on the bike and that I looked “like a young man.” He was trying to sell me some yardwork — successfully, as luck would have it — and I forgave him the Good Friday falsehood.


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