Archive for February, 2010

Dave Matthews and flat tires, again

February 26, 2010

Went to see DMB last night, really good show, really strange crowd. Never been to a show where the band is having a really good night and looked around and seen so many unhappy faces. i am not sure what the Italian crowd was expecting, maybe a foam party with a bunch of techno, but they got an energetic show and looked to repay the band with bored faces and naps.

I went down to see the show from the floor of the high school gym, oh I forgot to mention the venue was a high school gym, and was told to sit down. Not sure why I couldn’t watch the show from where I wanted, but whatever. The security also dragged out a few people for having too much fun, yeah really. Love it here, I have never been to a show like last night. Aside from the crazy security and bored looking Italian audience it was a good night and I will be seeing Dave Matthews Band again. We have seen him twice, and both times the shows were worth the money.

My flat…… well what to say, had the right spare tube….. but other than that….. I fought myself the entire ride. I kept on thinking if I keep going I will feel better, I didn’t, but I did keep going.

Three hours into a four and a half hour ride I was descending and an Audi, alway has to be an Audi, was using both lanes of a small road up in the hill around my house. He or she, I couldn’t tell as I was trying to dodge the car, forced me to the extreme right of the road, over a gigantic pot hole with a manhole lid that was raised. I am not sure if the manhole lid or the freaking edges of the crater like pot hole caused me to pinch flat, but I did.

I change the flat with a quickness, but didn’t really have a pump that can fill up a tire fully, again not a good idea but when I flat I normally can get home. I pumped up the tire rolled home and cursed Audis for the next few hours and still am cursing them right now.

DO NOT STAND UP DURING SHOW!!!!! SIT DOWN, WE HAVE TO LOOK TIRED.

Excellent second encore

Flat tires and short valves

February 25, 2010

Had a beautiful day yesterday, the sun was out, temps were warm and I was riding, until I got a flat. No worries, I always carry a spare tube. So I hopped off the bike, thinking this sucks, but I will be off again in a few minutes. Peeling off my tire and look for glass in my tire and find nothing. So, either I pinched the tire or the glass came out.

Okay, lets get this show back on the road. So I pull out the tube and to my terrible shock, it has a very short valve stem. What? Oh no, I have not checked to see what tube I had when I changed the rear wheel. I am stupid.

Again, this will work there are shops everywhere in Italy, EXCEPT between the towns of Monteviale (I think) and Montecchio. I rode from Monteviale to Montecchio, 15k on a flat and had to call Mel.

She came and got me, she is so lovely. I smelled very badly, at least according to her. But that is not he point, what was it again? Oh, I have called her three times for me, once that i won’t tell you about because it is embarrasses me, once because I was very unhappy with my riding partners and once because I flatted yesterday. Well, I hope never again.

I vow to always check my tube before I leave my house from now on, except I will forget in about two hours.

Check your tubes, make sure you have the right one and have a good ride, off to walk Willie. He is going to get very muddy, as he is getting a bath this afternoon.

A bit more than nothing

February 24, 2010

Yesterday began with a deluge and ended with pretty decent weather, which was not predicted. I can tell you exactly why it happened though, care to guess? I made the choice to ride the trainer in the morning instead of riding outside. So what happens next? I suffer for two hours and go two inches and the weather clears off and the roads dry. You guys should thank me.

My very fat leg

A very happy Ed, or not

So today will begin with a ride, outside. Thank the weather gods, and hopefully I will be kind of happy to be out there. As for the rest of my life, you know the one that doesn’t involve riding bikes or walking a very tiny dog, not much is going on.

After the trainer ride comes the good weather!

I need to shop today, which means I get to hear random children screaming that the tops of their lungs and have the moms of said children ignore them entirely. I do love loud screaming children and parents who can tune out the noise their kids make.

Oh speaking of noise, our neighbors thought that something on TV last night was very, very funny, at ten thirty at night. I am not sure what that was, but one of these days, I am not sure what I will do, but it has already worn thin and the strands are fraying. They have no stinking clue and I think could really care less about anything that doesn’t affect them directly. Their mom must have told them they are special, they are not special, they are just freaking rude.

Nothing, that’s what I got, nothing

February 23, 2010

Again, this feels like I am typing the same thing over and over and over and over and….. Yesterday as I typed the rain began to fall in earnest, and I choose to stay home and clean, god forbid, my bikes and build up another. Hopes where high that today would be better and sitting around the house inwardly and outwardly complaining about the weather would somehow make today the better of the two days. I was wrong, I think it was all my inward complaining that got the weather gods all in an uproar.

So that makes today a problem, I don’t have any desire to be wet as I leave for a ride. Personally I believe I will stay dry for at least two minutes, with or without without fenders today, and that prospect is draining all my motivation. But really, what choice is there? I want to ride, I need to do something about fitness and I really don’t feel like sitting here all day long listening to my neighbors make ungodly noises. So I will need to muster up all my reserves and do what?

Ride the trainer? That is the most terrible idea I have ever had, but it is dry. Go for a run? I run like a wounded buffalo, and not like one with a flesh wound, more like one who lost a leg in a accident with two ground hog holes and a beaver dam, don’t ask, please. Or actually go outside and get all wet.

I vote for none of the above, and really would rather play Mass Effect 2, but I think I will be vetoed. Tomorrow I will let you know what I decided to do, but for now be assured it will not be fun.

Nothing is fun right not, and nothing good is how I am feeling about my options. I must do something, because nothing gets me nothing.

If you look really closely the Armani Factory is in the lower left hand corner. They only hire the best local illegals to work at their factory. From Milan, no way, from the fashion capital of the world, Canova is more like it.

Sweet 16

February 22, 2010

That is how many hours I rode last week, don’t ask how far I went, because I don’t know or really care. It is all about the time, well that and the Benjamins, but I don’t have 16 of those ever.

Out riding around in the “sun” yesterday, really more like cloudy with a chance of sun, I was all about just rolling along, speed was not a priority and neither was fun. It has not been fun to ride around here much lately. I am not sure if it is I have ridden these roads too often or if the constantly deteriorating roads, or the cars that just don’t see me or what, but I am really not into this place right now.

It is nearly impossible to ride different routes around here. There are the same three climbs out of the valley, and then these three climbs lead to two sets of different roads that I get to choose from. Now I can confess, if I wanted to ride 75-150 miles a day, maybe I do maybe I don’t, I could find some different and new roads, but this time of year, I am just happy to get out.

This morning, again, it is beginning to spit rain, and just for some background, it seems to have rained for about 75% of my rides lately. Wet roads have been a constant and these leaky Fiats and Alphas make slippery as all get out so, even descending never really a talent of mine, has become slow and bothersome. Sunny Italy, well, not from what I have seen, at least not lately.

But back to the 16 hours, not bad, and I am still please with that. This week, mostly due to a the fact I won’t be riding this weekend, if I want to match that time, I will have to ride about an hour longer each day. Four hours a day. Not my idea of a good time, at least my bike has fenders. Good thing I lived in WA state, I still have my fenders.

I was hoping for a happier post, but a dog that we have been feeding because his owners seemed to have stopped vanished overnight. Not sure where, but I am a bit bummed by that. I have a ton more animal related rage towards the people who live here in the Veneto, but I will hope that by the end of the day it will be gone. If not, I may write about it tomorrow. I hope I am much happier tomorrow, and if you care, Willie is doing very well.

Get our of my way, I have places to be!

if it weren’t for him, I might never leave the house, I do like the Xbox.

Rain, rain, go away or stay for a few more days

February 20, 2010

Well I need to say, or type really, this day could have been much worse. It rained the entire ride, and then for Willies walk, but aside from that everything is good.

Not that the ride was all that good, it was wet and cold, but at least I was our there doing my thing, not many other folks were. I hope that riding in the rain makes me tougher or something, otherwise I am just dumb for riding out in the rain.

Tomorrow is supposed to be pretty nice, sunny and warmish, but I have seen that before. Those weather forecasters sometimes like to have a laugh at us by giving us hope for sun and in reality they know it will rain all day long. I think they like to get our hopes up and dash them. Hopefully the weather person who did my current forecast isn’t mean and wants me to see some sun.

Other stuff going on includes just about nothing. So I am out of stuff to type. Maybe I will buy another Singular Cycles Swift. I miss that bike. I didn’t ride it much, but when I did it was always really fun. At least the guy I sold it too is riding the wheels off of it. Have a good day, the one person who reads this, oh wait that is me. I already had a good one.

Four year olds on training wheels

February 19, 2010

So there I am riding up a steep climb, and I swear I saw a four year old little girl, with training wheels on her bike pull up beside me and start talking. A few problems with this are I don’t speak four year old, I don’t speak much Italian, and if four year olds on bike with training wheels can catch me up climbs, I think Grandmas on their town bikes are next. Those Grandmas can be fast.

The little girl looks me right in the eye, well she was looking up, but you get the idea and says, in English, “Nice day for a ride.” Well that was a start and how does a thirty eighishughfivorreallythre year old reply to such a well spoken four year old? The only way that felt right, trying to get away from this little terror on wheels who was only serving to prove how slow I have become. Down I shifted and up I stood believing that my power and superior components would save me from the embarrassment of being utterly destroyed by the little girl. Much to my surprise she merely stood up and matched my pace, easily. Oh the shame. Now was the time to distract her by talking to her, so between breaths gasping for air I struck up a conversation ranging from Sponge Bob to Hello Kitty, hoping against hope that she would talk too much and run out of power so I could drop her. No such luck, man she was fast.

This guy dropped by a four year old, definitely

This is no little hill, it is a reasonable climb of just under 5k (3.2 miles) and has a grade starting around 9 percent gradually falling to around 5 percent. It was as the grade began to level off that I realized there was no girl and I was all alone in the rain. Sitting up and looking around it seemed impossible that she had not been there, but thinking about all that had happened I knew she had not. Four year olds with training wheels aren’t that fast, no way. I had bonked hard and she was an hallucination, surely. As I grabbed a bit of food from my pocket I glanced up the road to see the intersection, and I swear that there was a very tiny figure on a very small bike turning left….. had she dropped me? I think maybe she did. I hope it was a hallucination, otherwise I am never riding again.

Needless to say, yesterdays ride was not pleasant or productive, except to make me realize I need a day off the bike. Four year olds on bikes, it never happened.

Up Ventoux four times

February 18, 2010

Well, not really, but it felt like it yesterday. I did three hours and as many climbs as I could fit in to my ride and each and every one was killing me. I mean it felt like I was pedaling in mud. For every foot I went up I felt like I was going ten back. That couldn’t been, but it felt bad. I hope today is a bit better, it should be, mostly because of the rain. Instead of thinking how much I suck at riding bikes I will be thinking about how much I suck at riding bikes in the rain. At least I will have fenders.

Aside from the normal day to day stuff, life here has been about as boring and uneventful as possible. Each day begins with a walk, 0600 then I sit around and contemplate going outside for a ride, then go and come home and look at Willie and go for another walk. One might think it is an ideal life, and what can I say, it is most of the time. Some days I just don’t want to walk or ride, but I need to and Willie really likes walking. A tired Willie is a good Willie.

As of today I have three races planned for this year. The 24 hour race in Cremona, 24 hour race in Spokane and the Berryman Epic. Not a big calender year, without knowing my next destination, I don’t want to plan too big. The 24 in Spokane is the biggest reason I will be getting all wet today, I don’t think I have any chance to win, but my goal is 14 laps….I wasn’t going to type that out, whoops, to late. So I need some fitness, just being hard headed isn’t going to get me around the course.

Anyway, enough of me, I will, hopefully, have something happen today that is worth writhing about tomorrow, but right now, all I can hope for is that I am not going up Ventoux four times again today. It was not fun!

Oh, those were the days

After all the hope

February 17, 2010

Well everything aligned in the world to make yesterday a miserable day that I would hate for at least a few weeks, but I said all day to myself, “It will be a good day.” and for the most part it was a not too terrible day. A ride in the morning time for 2:30 hours in the forest around my house should have had me very unhappy, but I did my best to not let it get to me.

We have about 6 miles, or 10k for those of you people who think all Euro and stuff, of good single track around Vicenza, at least we did. They have been cutting down the 2 inch round trees all winter long. I mean everywhere. Trails that used to look like this, don’t even bear a slight resemblance anymore.

I have raged against logging for years now, and I understand it is needed, we use wood for a whole bunch of things, but we only had 6 miles of single track, now we have 4. I love this place. I think it might be time for a change of scenery. The wood that has been cut, just if you are interested, will sit in those piles for the next three or four years and then be forgotten about and left to rot. There are piles of rotting wood throughout the forest here, and I have no freaking clue why they cut it down. I’m sure there is a very good reason, like the government needed to have something for the underemployed in the Veneto (our region) to do. They can’t get paid for doing nothing, right? I hate what they do and I really think I may truly despise people who destroy trails, for any reason.

On a better note, in spite of everything, logging and mud, the bike I rode was pretty okay. Riding rigid is fun and makes some of the stuff here almost a challenge to ride.

Anything else? Willie walking is becoming a longer and longer affair. The little fellow seems to need to walk four miles in the afternoon and around 2 and a 1/2 in the morning, good for him, bad for me as I have to be out there walking with him. Oh yeah, I remember now why yesterday wasn’t a total waste!

And those mean spring is getting close! Spring means a bit more rain, but also a bit more warmth and sun! Last year, these guys were out much earlier than mid February. I like seeing these little guys. Hope your little flowers come out soon too.

What are they doing?

February 16, 2010

My neighbors, and this has been a three year on going problem, thought last night at 11:45 it might be appropriate to do some kind of comedy show. Not a good show, not one that makes any sense, not one that allows all the folks living in our little old apartment complex to enjoy, just one for them. They just forget EVERYONE here gets to hear them. I am not please and a bit tired. I need to move!

Today, well, no rain yet, and I don’t see fog, but that will come in just a little while if the sun comes out. I have, in spite of the fact I slept three hour last night, a good feeling for today. It has to be a good day.

My feeling is due to hoping that today will be my first real mountain bike ride in weeks. Hopefully the trails are no worse than yesterday and I can ride for a little more than three hours. I hope. The only reason not to ride the mountain bike would be that the ground didn’t freeze last night and it is muddy already. Willie walking will tell. In any case I have a good feeling about today. Not the kind that makes me think it will be a great ride or anything, just one of total sleep deprivation that make me a little giddy until I just fall over asleep.

I hope it is a good day, whether it is good on or off the bike, I don’t care, I just want to have a good day. A little mud makes everything just that much better.