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Archive: March 1, 2009

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weird disaster recovery!

Sunday,  03/01/09  09:05 AM

I have some fantastic news to report: I have officially recovered from my weird disaster!

Kestrel recovery! - an awesome perfect repair, with a new dropout   
check out this repair - new dropout was machined
and bonded back into the stays
looks really good

Kestrel recovery! - the alignment is perfect   
the axle alignment is perfect
and we have a spiffy new derailleur

Kestrel recovery! - I'm so glad to have it back :)   
a happy Kestrel, ready for the next double century!

Yesterday afternoon I did a great ride up Decker, down Mulholland, up Encinal, and back down Decker.  On my Kestrel.  Which has been repaired.  Successfully.  And most excellently.  YAY.

You will perhaps recall, about six weeks ago I ran over a coat hanger which nearly destroyed my trusty 9-year-old Kestrel road bike.  This prompted me to begin dreamin' Orca (getting a new bike), and I contemplated whether it was lust or love.  I then spent a week test riding new bikes, including a Cervélo, a Pinarello, a Felt and another Pinarello, and then ultimately decided it was lust and not love (i.e. I did not get a new bike).

In the meantime I found RoadRunner Velo, a shop which said they could repair my Kestrel, and mailed off my bike to them.  And through blogging met Brenda Lyons, area rep for Kestrel, who introduced me to Kestrel's new bikes and got me thinking about buying one of them.  Turns out Kestrel are sponsoring the Rock Racing pro cycling team, who would be competing the in Tour of California, and I had a chance to oogle the new bikes (which are not available to consumers yet) while watching the Solvang Time Trials.  And somewhere in there I had a first date with an Orca, which didn't go as well as I'd hoped.

Time will tell whether this repair is truly as strong and stiff as the original, but the early returns are really positive.  The bike felt exactly the way I remembered.  In fact in the course of riding so many other bikes I've become more aware of the various ways bikes differ, and I must tell you it was really great to be back on my bike.  The Kestrel has a soft fork, which makes for a cushy ride, and yet the bottom bracket and stays are stiff, which makes it accelerate quickly.  And it is light, so it is a great climber.  I really appreciate this machine.

One thing I did notice: my time trial bars make for a really heavy handlebar; the steering [now] feels sluggish.  Perhaps it is time for a nice integrated carbon handlebar / TT bar setup.  It would be cool and way cheaper than a new bike :)

So - I have my bike back, and I've learned a lot.  (And had a lot to blog about.)  And the story isn't quite finished, because there are still those new Kestrel RT900s coming out, and I plan to stay in touch with Brenda and ride one as soon as I can.  Who knows...  In the meantime I am excited; there is a 400K next weekend and yes I am planning to ride...  stay tuned!

[Update Sunday 3/1/09: So I rode the bike again today, and really I have to say this repair is perfect.  The bike feels exactly the same, and the craftsmanship is wonderful; you have to look really close to even notice something was done.  And nobody who didn't know could ever tell that the dropout is not original equipment.  My hat is fully off to Edgar Chavez and his team at RoadRunner Velo!]


proud father

Sunday,  03/01/09  09:19 AM

Last night it was my privilege and joy to take Alexis to Oaks Christian School's annual Father / Daughter Dance.  We had a great time; of course the girls dress up for each other, and the dads dress up for their girls, and the whole thing is rather fun.  In addition to dancing they have all kinds of conversation stimulators; little surveys to take ("how much do you know about your Dad?") and activities ("give your daughter an award for ___").  Pretty cool and I had a wonderful time.  If nothing else it was an excuse to have a nice dinner, one-on-one, and then enjoy some time together, but it was much more; we actually got in some real conversation and [I think] learned a few things from each other.

Here's a picture of a proud father and his cool daughter.  I always say everyone thinks their kids are special, but mine really are, and Alexis is amazing :)

Alexis and me



Sunday,  03/01/09  10:56 PM

Mulholland sunsetGetting caught up after a few days...  after my week-long funk I did have a nice weekend...  Friday we had dinner in Marina Del Rey with our friends from Ottawa, and that was fun, and Saturday I got my good old bike back, yay it’s all repaired and everything, and that made me pretty happy.  And Saturday night I took Alex to her school’s father/daughter dance, and that made me really happy.  And today I did a long ride and thought about stuff and reflected on my little world.  (And took a picture of the sunset from Mulholland :)  I keep wondering just how conservative I should be, how careful.  So far I haven’t done anything, I’m just watching the world turn to crap.  Should I be selling everything and moving to a cave in Montana?  No idea.

So I've been blogging for a while now, and one of the things I like about it is being able to see what I was up to a year ago.  And guess where I was?  Eating bison in Denver, getting ready to go skiing with friends while attending a conference.  Wow, was that really a year ago?  I have not yet implemented the ability to see what I will be doing a year from now :)  I can't even guess.

Powerline surveys liberal reaction to the Obama budget: that was then, this is now.

Philip Greenspun notes the stimulus bill is already creating jobs.  "As long as we think that we can grow GDP by having an ever-larger proportion of our best citizens working as full-time lobbyists, it would seem that the stimulus bill is working as advertised."  In all seriousness, boardrooms all over the country are asking what should be done to position for getting stimulus bill money.  It is a strange time.

At least the budget is strong in science funding.  The sums are other-worldly, but I guess this is investment I could support.  If I believed it was the government's job to finance science, which I don't...

FDA application approvals, 2000-2008BTW here is an interesting interactive chart showing FDA application approvals from 2000-2008.  Investing in more resources for the FDA would be a good thing to do, that might really make a difference.

One of the all-time worst practices in implementing websites is emailing passwords back to users after they've signed up.  Today I signed up for TechRadar - a site you would think would know better - and they did this.  Not good.

ancient footprintThe Panda's Thumb notes a brief moment in the magnificent history of mankind.  "It’s an ancient footprint in some lumpy rocks in Kenya…but it is 1½ million years old. It comes from the Koobi Fora formation, familiar to anyone who follows human evolution, and is probably from Homo ergaster."  That's one small step for man...

Scott Adams ("Dilbert"), on Marriage and Economies: "My hypothesis is that places where marriage happens early, by custom or religion, will also be the places with the slowest rate of development. In such places there might be fewer entrepreneurs and everyone would take fewer risks."  Make sense.  In cycling it is said of a timid rider: "he descends like a married man" :)

Levi crash - stage 3 of the AToCSo Levi Leipheimer is married, but he doesn't ride like it; in fact it turns out he broke a bone during stage 3 of the AToC, and rode that way for the next five days, winning anyway.  "Leipheimer said that he had been 'wondering why the pain wouldn't go away.'"  Now that's tough.

triple-nozzle rain showerheadAnd here we have a collection of cool showerheads.  I must confess, I am a shower-lover, and hence a showerhead-lover too.


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