Archive for the 'Cycling' Category


2012-06-18 / 23:18 /

So my mountain bike used to be all like
Kristen in the shower

But then it got all like
Kristen cracks her back

So now it’s been replaced with
Kristen 2

Pretty Fuji

MS 75+72+12

2011-10-21 / 15:31 /

Remember when I talked about that awesome adventure I was going to have “real soon now”? Well that was a few months ago, I guess it’s time to let you know how it went.


It was, like, really really hard.

The deets

Saturday, 2011-06-11

Rest stop along the YRTI left about 2 hours late and started riding down to Ohiopyle. This started out great but I was having some ergonomics issues after about 40 miles. It was my first long ride on the new cross bike and I’d also swapped to platform pedals so I could ride in my hiking shoes.

I was a hot mess when I headed into the Connelsville Sheetz (mile 60) to buy a Gatorade.

The last 15 miles to Ohiopyle really sucked. I had to stop a few times because my calves, quads & hip abductors felt like they were full of battery acid (true, given s/battery/lactic/). I was unprepared for my longest ride in about 18 months on a new bike. As I’ve also subsequently learned drinking water was dumb. I should have seeded those bottles with salt & glucose.

Tarp (LHHT mile 10)I rolled into Ohiopyle in the early-mid afternoon-ish and stabled my bike at Wilderness Voyageurs. After smalltalk with the mechanic, I headed towards the start of the LHHT. “Maybe I should get something to eat first?” I wondered. “No, that would be too logical, instead I’ll fuel my muscles with dreams!”

It turns out you also need food to feed your brain which might explain why I forgot to leave my lock with my bike. Instead I left it locked around a tree at mile 0.1.

At mile 2 the storm started.

At mile 6 I hit the trail’s biggest climb and the bottom of my glyocgen reserves. By the time I crested it was clear I wasn’t going to make the PA 653 shelters (mile 18) by nightfall. I set up a tarp at mile 10.

The rain had stopped, the ground was soft and it was dark enough that I thought I had gone blind when I woke up in the middle of the night. It was the best sleep of the trip.

Sunday, 2011-06-12

Breakfast (LHHT mile 10)It was foggy at 7am when I had breakfast and filled my water bottle.

The first hour of hiking was marked by swarms of bugs.

Then next several were unenventful.

Then I got to the bridge. Or rather, the lack of the bridge. The bridge over the turnpike was out, requiring an 8 mile detour. Luckily super-friend Brian had clued me in to a detour. It went a little something like this:

You are standing at the edge of the LHHT. A bridge used to cross the turnpike but now there is just a pile of rocks. There is rusty chain link fence running downhill to the northeast.

> takeoff pack

Finding the culvert 1: peeling off the trail

You put down your pack and rub your shoulders. You sit on the rocks. The sound of cars and trucks comes from below.

> look at turnpike

It's a four lane divided highway running east to west 25 feet below the end of the trail. Cars and trucks are speeding by... you'd never make it.

> look at fence

It's an old chain-link fence. It is rusty and dilapidated. It runs down the hill to the northeast. There is a faint trail running northeast, parallel to the fence.

> ne

You put your pack back on and walk down the faint trail. It is heavily overgrown on both sides. Branches hang down and brush against your face. It continues downward to the northeast.

> ne

The trail creeps closer to the fence, which has a medium sized hole cut into it. Beyond the fence the ground drops away. You can hear running water over the edge. The trail continues to the northeast.

> look at fence

It is an aged chain link fence. It is mounted to metal posts sunk into concrete poured along the edge of the drop-off. The bank is rock and dirt, badly eroded in places. Near a badly eroded spot there are several cuts in the chain link and the fence is peeled back, created a medium-sized hole.

> look at hole in fence

It is big enough for a person to fit through, though the edge of the fence is sharp. Through the hole there is a steep, rocky bank. It drops down about 6 feet to a narrow valley, overgrown with ferns. A small stream flows through the middle of the valley.

> climb through hole in fence

Finding the culvert 2: into the stream bed

You are facing northeast and standing knee deep in ferns in a shallow valley. There is a shallow rocky stream flowing downhill to the northeast.

> ne

Finding the culvert 3: onto the concrete

The stream bed empties onto a shallow concrete drainage ditch. It continues to run northeast. There is a corrugated drainage pipe on your left. You are standing in very shallow water, your feet are wet.

> look at drainage pipe

It is a small dark pipe. It seems dry on the inside. It smells like rust.

> climb in drainage pipe

You'd never fit!

> ne

Finding the culvert 4: spotting the culvert

You are at the end of the drainage ditch facing north. To the northeast the drainage ditch empties over an edge into a deeper stream that continues to the northeast. To the north there is another concrete drainage ditch that comes out of the hillside and empties into the deeper stream.

> look down

The other stream is about 6 feet beneath you. It's a sheer concrete drop, there aren't many good hand-holds.

> look north

The northern concrete drainage ditch seems to be coming out of a small tunnel. There is a steep grass embankment between you and the tunnel. There is a faint trail traversing the embankment.

> look at embankment trail

It's a very narrow, slightly muddy line along the hillside. Someone must have walked this way before.

> follow trail

You gingerly walk along the trail, clinging to the embankement. You end up on a concrete lip looking into a tunnel facing north. It is about 6 and a half feet square. You can see light at on the other side.

> n

Finding the culvert 5: into the culvert

You are few steps inside a concrete tunnel facing north. You can see light at the end of the tunnel. Water splashes around your feet. There is a roar of vehicles above you. You are underneath the Turnpike!

> n

You are in the middle of the tunnel facing north. You can see a square of light at both the northern and southern end. It is very dark around you. Your feet are wet.

> n

You emerge from the tunnel into bright sunshine. You are standing on smooth stones in a broad flat stream. The bank slopes up gently to the east and west into dense grasses and underbrush. The stream continues north into the woods.

> n

You are on the bank of the stream facing north. You are at the edge of the woods. The stream runs north and south.

> look south

Finding the culvert 6: looking back

You are facing south looking at back at the tunnel. It emerges from a steep hillside. You can see the guardrail of the turnpike on the top of the hill.

> n

The banks steepen. It is darker here since the trees block the sun. The creek continues north to south.

> n

The creek comes to a tributary flowing into it from the west. The main creek continues north.

> look west

The tributary is a small stream. The bank around it is marshy and it lies in a broad, shallow valley.

> w

The small stream winds nortwest. There is a small wooden bridge crossing the stream.

> look at bridge

It is a split log laid across the stream. It connects a trail from the southwest to the northeast.

> ne

You climb onto the bridge and walk northeast. You are on a cleared trail through the woods. It looks like your back on the LHHT!


Actually the real adventure came a few minute after I was back on the trail: I turned the corner and there was a big cat–in the “big cat family” sense not the “large housecat” sense–on the trail. It was 50 feet up the trail facing away from me. It’s shoulders came to the height of the undergrowth, no more than two feet. It had the long swooping tail of a mountain lion, though their existence in Pennsylvania open to debate.

I reached for my camera and it ran into the woods. It crouched behind a log and watched me walk away.

It was a mile more to the Turnpike shelters (mile 38.2)

Monday, 2011-06-13

Wear & tearThe northern end of the trail has less trees which means more UV, also more trekking-pole stopping underbrush. Miserable. I was scheduled to be hiking the same ground the next day on the southbound leg of the trip; the thought was not appealing. I stopped on top of a ridge to call Jeanne. She was going to hike from Ohiopyle to the southermost shelters Friday then hike out with me on Saturday and graciously drive me home. “But maybe” I thought “she would rather meet me at the northern end and still graciously drive me home.” But since I just got her voicemail I had no idea.

I made it to my scheduled stop, the northernmost shelters (PA 56, mile 64.9). It darkened while I was gathering firewood and fireflies came out in force. Their sparks created a beautiful parallax between the layers of trees.

Later there was another set of sparks when steam pressure burst a wet log, showering the inside of the shelter with embers. The only casualty was my map bag.

Tuesday, 2011-06-14

The endIt was a fast 5 mile downhill hike to the northern terminus.

I saw two dogs. Halfway down I turned a corner to find a black lab. She bolted away from me. “That’s Princess” said her accompanying human “he’s my brother’s dog.” I stood well off the trail as he called her. She came back and he held her collar and led her past. She held her head low and gazed up at me nervously.

At mile marker 70, the end of the trail, a German Shepard mix barked loudly. Vince came after her and explained that “[the dog] just liked to talk.” I mentioned I was deciding between hiking back or heading to Johnstown to catch a bus. He offered a drive me to Jonhstown and it was settled.

On the ride he told me about his house in Seward, the floods, his dog–a feral stray they domesticated and the proven existence of mountain lions in Pennsylvania: his dog had chased one into the woods months previous. He dropped me off at Our Sons. I had breakfast steak and eggs and started the walk into Johnstown proper.

Enterprise was out of cars and Amtrak didn’t head westbound until 6, so I settled for the mid-afternoon Greyhound. The delay gave me time to walk to a thrift store for some civilian clothes and then to check out downtown.

Buck's Hobby Craft SuppliesDowntown suffered from flight to the surrounding malls and many of the business were closed. One that was still open was Buck’s Hobby, which was having a moving sale. I walked the aisles slowly and then talked to Buck himself. He had owned the store for [an obscenely high number of] years and was finally retiring.

I had lunch at The Fish Boat and then went outside to wait half an hour for the bus.

The bus was mostly empty so I sat my pack on the ground beside me. My trekking poles stuck up awkwardly. “What are those?” the obese woman across the aisle asked. “Trekking poles” I answered. She went back to sleep.

The next weekend

Since I still needed to get my bike from Ohiopyle and Jeanne still wanted to test out equipment for her upcoming PCT hike, we stuck with the original plan. I rode with her from Pittsburgh to Ohiopyle the next Friday afternoon. A mile away her car made the soft *whump* *whump* *whump* of a flat tire. We stopped at the Cucumber Falls parking lot to take a look. The tires were inflated but badly worn on the inner shoulders: in some places the wire mesh was protruding.

Deciding to deal with it the next day we hiked the 6 miles to the first shelters, arriving right before the rain. We scavenged wood and made a fire. It was great for me in my minimalist quilt, but Jeanne was a sweaty mess in her down bag.

We hiked back out the next morning.

I retrieved my lock and then my bike. I looked for Montana to give him his ice cream prize but he was somewhere down the mighty river, perched on a rock taking capturing awkward pictures of amateur rafters. We got ice cream for ourselves.

There didn’t seem to be any good nearby mechanics so instead used the scissor jack from Jeanne’s flat kit to swap the front and rear wheels on the driver’s side–the more worn side–of the car. We drove a few miles and checked the tires. The driver’s front, the one just rotated from the back, showed no extra wear. We guessed the problem had been going on for awhile and the tires were’t going to explode on the Turnpike. (Jeanne’s mechanic later confirmed that it was the alignment)

We drove back to Pittsburgh.

Final thoughts

I don’t have the patience or mental constitution for out and back hikes. Also I could use a change from Eastern U.S. deciduous forests. And I also need to stop turning every hike into a trail run and instead just enjoy the outdoors. So: find 5-7 day hikes on new terrain and pack a nice camera and a book of local flora and fauna.

Breakfast, lunch, dinnerMy equipment is starting to come together. I think I might move to a larger tarp and ground sheet instead of the tiny tarp & light bivy: much more ground coverage for only a few extra grams. I also need to figure out some good trekking pants and insulated base layers–maybe this is the excuse to finally get down the sewing machine and pay a visit to thru-hiker.

Most importantly I’ve got to figure out a better food system. My attempt at ultra-lightweight cold food–2100 kCal of nuts & berries per day–was a failure. I was hungry and craved both sweets and salt, more salted nuts and chocolate chips would have been a good start. It was also far too few calories. In three days I lost 4 pounds and 4% body fat. I also ordered a Bush Buddy: I’ll enjoy cooking more on found fuel; I can always pack a few Esbit tablets for wet days and emergency fires.


More photos

MS 150 + 150

2011-05-25 / 10:13 /

Hey blog people,

I gave you last year off but don’t worry: I’m back! I’m riding the MS-150 again. It’s a fundraiser for the National Mutliple Sclerosis Society, etc. etc. Anyway, it’s a good cause. You can sponsor me online on the MS Society fundraising page or send me a check made out to “The National MS Society” or hand me a big sweaty wad of cash.

Full disclosure: I’m not actually doing the MS-150 route. Instead I’m riding 75 miles from Pittsburgh to Ohiopyle, then hiking the 70 (+8 mile detour) on the Laurel Highland Trail from Ohiopyle to Johnstown then hiking the 78 miles back to Ohiopyle then riding the 75 miles back to Pittsburgh. If you’re having trouble visualizing, it’s:

Cervelo S1, side view


Tent pitching, pitching tent

Some past & upcoming cycling events

2009-08-17 / 10:40 /

At one of the volunteer meetings for podcamp marketing guy Mike Munz said something to the effect of “all blogs are really about marketing.”

I disagreed, and have proved such by forgetting to advertise the mountain bike event I just got finished running. Anyway, if you go back in time, check out A Balmy Heaven 2009:

A Balmy Heaven 2009 flyer

And next Sunday I hope you all make it out to The Pittsburgh Roubaix 2009:

Pittsburgh Roubaix 2009 flyer

Casey’s got bikes for days

2009-07-16 / 17:47 /

Casey's newly green-ified IRO

Casey's clown mountain bike deluxe

Clearly, the white balance is different.

I got new bikes for days

2009-06-11 / 21:34 /

Cervelo, I finally own you

Cervelo S1, side view

It’s no exaggeration to say I’ve wanted a Cervelo for at least 4 years. I’m not sure if it was seeings Jens Voigt riding one or reading about their history but at some point I decided it was all I wanted in a bike: a sexy pro-level frame designed by geeky Canadians. Thanks to the upped 5k limit on IRA contributions, my tax return almost covered the cost of the S1 frameset.

I had Rob at Thick chase & face the bottom bracket and did the rest of the assembly myself. The internal cable routing was not nearly as dreadful as I thought, thanks in part to engineering.

The 3T Funda Pro fork comes with an insert you epoxy into the top of the fork instead of a compression plug. But seeing as how epoxy is forever and I am uncertain, I shelled out the $25 for an FSA compression plug and have a nice stack of spacers above my stem. Someday.

The Cervelo got it’s first ride longer than a mile in the MS-150. In short: it was amazing.

The first thing I noticed was the ridiculously short wheelbase, more specifically the 2.5″ of toe overlap. I noticed this almost falling over as I slow pedaled across the parking lot to get to the start. But once I started moving the handling improved; at speed it’s wonderful. It tracks great through corners which gave me confidence descending.

Cervlo S1, head onI’m not heavy enough to really test the stiffness but it definitely didn’t feel flexy. I could make the chain rub the front derailleur while standing and climbing, so there’s evidence of flexing and/or my excessively tight tolerances for the limit screws.

Similarly the frame (& especially <400 g fork) feel light, but the rest of the components aren't chosen for weight: Ultegra 9 + Dura Ace STI's, 32 spoke wheels, Dimension/Ritchey cockpit. I weighed the complete bike and it was around 18 pounds.

Cervelo's emphasis is on aerodynamics. I don't have much to compare, but in the rare cases where I was descending beside people I found I could pass them without pedaling. That can't be bad, right?

After coming home and riding around on my steel track bike, I can say the geometry or carbon seatpost on the Cervelo soaks up large bumps well. On the other hand lots of the MS-150 course was over chip & seal roads and the chatter was tiring. I'm not sure how much of that is because of the frame and how much is because chip & seal sucks, especially when you weigh less than 140 lbs.

You’ve filled out in front, Kristen

Kristen gets a big front wheel

That’s not an optical illusion: the front wheel is bigger than the rear. Turns out that Redline 29″ disc wheels are only $80 so I went ahead and tried out this whole 69er thing.

Prognosis: eh…

I test rode it through Schenley & Frick and liked the handling (once I got used to it). But then I rode it at Bavington and strained through the winding sections: the bike just didn’t want to turn. It seems easier to go up and over stuff but some of that is due to the change in position: the taller wheel rotates my weight backwards.

Since she’s in North Carolina for a month, I borrowed Casey’s 26″ wheels. That will let me quickly switch between 29″ and 26″ wheels to get a better comparison. I’ll probably also end up with a 10 degree stem to see how that affects my position & handling.

MS-150 2009 wrap-up

2009-06-09 / 18:00 /

EDIT: if you’re thinking “oh no, I missed my chance to donate!” fear not: donations are open until July 17th. See the original post begging for donations.

Another year down.

Saturday was pretty uneventful. I caught a ride up with Kimberly and we got there early enough that I could get out with the first batch of riders. After pushing through the first weed-out hill I settled into a nice solo pace. I skipped lunch and stopped only at the last rest stop to pee & refill my water bottles (though not at the same time). Somewhere around 5 miles out I was caught by a group of about 5 riders, including two UPMC guys who I see every year (mostly passing me).

I rolled into Edinboro around noon and ate some recovery food and laid around. Finally I got around to setting up my tent and taking a shower. That’s when I found out what I forgot: soap. So I got a handful of soap from the dispensers by the sinks and ran into the shower. Truly classy.

While reading under a tree in front of my tent another camper came and asked if he could share some shade. His name was Greg and it was his first year riding. Going to get some more snacks I ran into Jim (team captain, who snapped a picture) and Kimberly and Jim (not team captain). Kim & Jim got their stuff and met me by my tent to set up their own camps. Jim had a dorm room but had also brought his ultralight camping hammock. He strung it between inverted soccer goal posts and hung out talking. In the meantime Shane–old college buddy & hiking trip planning extraordinare–showed up and pitched his tent in our circle. In conversation it turns out that the Rachel Carson Challenge is already full! Between that, the Pittsburgh Marathon and the Megatransect it seems like this will be a year of near misses.

Dinner was better than past years, with a slightly better array of cafeteria food.

After dinner we met up with Shane again to catch the shuttle to downtown Edinboro. We had some time to kill before the Pens game, so we got some ice cream at Dairy Supreme. Mint malted = awesome.

Next we hit the Edinboro Hotel for a pitcher of Yuengling and some pre-game coverage. But the bar was a little crowded so we ended up at Boro Bar. Boro had a dark wood-paneled interior, Killian’s red, and camp-buddy Greg. Turns out Greg had been there since a little after 6 waiting for the game to start.

The game started well but when it got to 3-0 we decided to head back to campus.

I fell asleep immediately.

Sunday’s breakfast was similarly better than previous years. I was particularly proud of the oatmeal/Cinnamon Toast Crunch suicide.

The team picture was another pleasant success. Not only was I early, but everyone else was on time too. We were done by 7:17.

Then I pushed my way to the front of the pack to avoid getting stuck in the crowd. I promptly almost missed the first right hand turn then hit the road. Again I tried to ride solo but spent some time riding with a rider in a Papa John’s jersey who knew Nathan and Andrew from Vocollect. After yo-yoing in and out of some small groups, I solo’ed past lunch and followed signs. Soon I was on a road that seemed suspiciously busy and poorly marked. I thought I was saved when I saw someone ahead directing bikes, except that the bikers were coming from the other direction. I followed them and ended up at the 2nd rest-stop. Somehow I had gone backwards 15-20 miles. Oops.

At the rest stop I saw Kimberly and Jim (not team leader). After eating and talking to Rob–Thick Bikes SAG van driver–I rode with Kimbely and Jim to lunch, where it started to rain. There I ate a turkey sandwich with lots of other Team Vocollect riders before heading out solo. On the road Jim (not team leader) passed me. I thought about trying to grab his wheel, but was feeling the extra miles and decided to go alone. Further on I saw an Alcoa jersey on the side of the road and slowed, thinking it might be Jim. Turns out it was someone who looked not at all like Jim, but who did need help. I tried but he needed a schrader-valve compatible pump.

The ride continued into the outskirts of Conneaut where I ran into a guy whose chain had exploded. I stopped and used my chain tool to help him. Twice, unfortunately, since I didn’t realize that he hadn’t routed the chain the first time. Apparently he didn’t do much bike maintenance since the chain was also covered with a 1/8″ layer of black grease which quickly transferred to my hands, jersey, bibs & bartape. Yay.

A few more miles and I was at the lake. Pictures (once again I promptly saw team leader Jim), pizza, etc. etc. I changed clothes and waited a few minutes for Kimberly. We headed up the final hill to load the bikes on the truck and get on the bus back to Moraine.

The bus beat the truck by half an hour, so we waited by the lake. We finally got them loaded on the bike rack and headed back to Pittsburgh. We were both starving and were planning on getting some Kassab’s until we got out of the car and saw they were closed. Kimberly took a shower while I did some research. Turns out Gypsy was open on Sunday so we headed in for some prix fixe. Decent.

Finally Kimberly went to her friend’s chakra dance birthday party while I started to unpack.

I woke up on the sofa around 1 am. I hadn’t yet showered. Gross.

MS-150: boy everyone’s generous this year

2009-06-02 / 14:26 /

Well holy cow.

As of early June, yinz have donated $730! I thought we were in a recession? I’ve had to bump up my fundraising goal about 5 times already. Anyway, thanks everyone.

In other news, did I mention I bought a shiny new bike frame for the ride? Unfortunately this is a back-breaking-ly busy week, so it’s been sitting prettily in it’s cardboard shipping box. Hopefully I can get it together for this weekend, otherwise it’s old faithful.

MS-150 2009: give them your money in my name!

2009-05-20 / 19:49 /

Once again, I’m riding the Escape to the Lake. It’s the 2-day 150 mile fund raiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. It’s the one-time a year when I ask everyone to donate money, unlike all the other times of year when I just try to borrow your car and eat your food.

You can sponsor me using the wizzy online payment system; if you’d rather give me a wad of cash or a check, email me.

PS: and this year I’ll be riding a shiny new bike frame. Oooooh yeah.

This Bike is a Fashion Accessory

2009-05-04 / 11:37 /

Inspired by DHD:

This Bike is a Fashion Accessory

Why not just lock to the meter?

2009-01-28 / 22:56 /

Apparently we might soon have sponsored bike racks attached to parking meters. Great! Except for the titular question. The mini-U is sized to go around meters. It’s true that larger locks aren’t always safe since the bike can be lifted off, but in general an area with meters has lots of other lock targets (trees, signs, fences, railings).

I suspect the main use is as a revenue source; I can only hope the ads are as classy as those above urinals.

I am excited about the expedited process for allowing businesses to install their own bike rack (more about that at Bike Pittsburgh).

Punk Bike, 2008

2008-12-20 / 12:39 /

Muddy Dave after Pittsburgh's Punk Bike Enduro 2008

After years of prodding, I finally rode the Punk Bike Enduro. I was going to try to gather some of the many write-up/photo/video links, luckily awesome guy Rob (though I also sometimes call him 90’s Rob on account of his living colour t-shirts) already did: 2008 punk bike enduro. (He also produced the above photographic proof).


  • Leaving a pot of potatoes boiling and falling asleep the night before (this is why all my clothes smell like burnt)
  • Almost eating it on the first hill (photo proof via Chris)
  • When my ankles stopped working during the run-up
  • Coming in one place away from pointing on the run-up
  • Walking back down the run-up (I know my downhill limits)
  • Wearing away half of my brand-new rear brake pads
  • Having to touch my disgustingly muddy bike afterwards


  • Not eating it on the first hill
  • Cleaning the rest of the downhills
  • Having brakes–Chris had basically nothing at the end of the ride while Dan(?) just did without his front brake. But I mean, hey, it’s only the front brake, right?
  • Getting a ride out there with the DORCs in tiger Larry’s Chevy Suburban (I learned to drive in a Suburban)
  • Adam’s Freddie Mercury outfit
  • Adam’s Freddie Mercury outfit w/ faux-shitstains
  • Hanging out with a bunch of peoples, including all the mountain biking people I never see (Justin, Eric, Karen)
  • Potluck goodies
  • Good excuse to take a shower

And now…

…your moment of bike zen:

Kristen in the shower

Moraine State Park

2008-10-14 / 10:21 /

Or a supposedly fun thing I’ll never do again until I get better at mountain biking1

Moraine State Park, Pennsylvania by lemonad

Photo by lemonad

Sometime back in July (or June, or May or maybe August) Jack, Jess, Casey and I went to Moraine State Park. After an hour of walking our bikes over rock we turned around and headed back to the car. Total distance: 2.5 miles.

“Well,” I says to myself, “that was ages ago! Surely I’m a better mountain biker now!” So I borrwed Erin’s car and drove, alone, into the heart of darkness2.

Two guys in the parking lot gave me some tips. One had helped build some of the sections and had brought his friend from State College. He advised going into the woods right away instead of taking the power line cut. “But be careful,” he warned, “it starts with some rock gardens.”

Yup. It looks like this:

Moraine State Park, Pennsylvania by lemonad

Photo by lemonad

…but about a million times worse. I rode the rocks until I bounced off and had to walk until I could find a place I could remount. To be fair, after the rocks there were some really nice switch-backs. The trail split and I went down hill and ended up back on the same power-line crossing trail I had ridden before. Like before it was half awesome and half terrible: uphill rock gardens that sucked up all my momentum.

The next few miles were about the same and I rode/walked until I hit the lake. I was on a fire-road looking for the other half of the trail when the two guys from the start came out of the woods. I talked to them and found that I had taken a wrong turn and was riding the loop backwards. I went up the trail they came down. This was my favorite section: lots of rolling dirt.

Finally I ended up back on familiar trails. Trying to find where I went wrong the first time, I took a turn onto a new trail that turned out to be the most extreme uphill rock section of the entire trail. I guess you normally ride it downhill, but still… holy crap. Anyway, lesson learned: if you turn onto a trail that immediately crosses a long wooden bridge stop, turn around, and go back to the power-line cut.

I hiked the rocks and ended up back on the first wooded section. A brief ride & hike and I was free. Free!

I saw a few people I’d talked to on the trail in the parking lot–one of whom wrecked his ankle in the last half mile–and then the two guys from the start showed up. We chatted for a little, then I drove off. I decided to go north on Mt. Royal to figure out that route.

I got lost.

1. A reference, or belated homage.

2. A reference, or incredible stupidity.

MS-150 2008, a wrap-up

2008-06-10 / 21:17 /

Another year, another 164 miles.

Saturday was 100 miles in ~5.5 hours, Sunday was 64 miles in ~3.25 hours, which puts my times pretty close to last year’s despite being on a road bike. So the road bike didn’t add much speed, but I’ve got to say my joints sure felt a lot better this year. Also last year I did some last minute cramming by riding to Ohiopyle and back (150 miles). This year my cramming was riding the Pittsburgh-Roubaix course, all 40 miles of it. Combined with the mountain biking and step running, my training this year perfectly prepared me for short intense rides, not 100 miles of rolling terrain. Oh well.

Thanks to all those who donated. I raised $155 online, probably around $100 in cash & checks and $400 in matching team funds (which is new this year, normally team funds only go to current employees, not ex hanger-ons like me).

If you didn’t get a chance to donate, don’t worry! Donations can keep coming in until July sometime. Email me or donate online. Thanks!

Money for the MS-150

2008-05-23 / 19:13 /

Hey hey, it’s that time again…. TIME FOR ME TO BEG FOR MONEY! I’m riding the MS-150 in two weeks, and I have to raise $200, but I’m shooting for $300.

“Dave,” you say “why didn’t you start soliciting earlier?”. Well why don’t you just shut that yap of yours, hmm?

Anyway, all donations go to a good cause and are appreciated, both by the MS Society and by me. There’s more information at my MS-150 page.

Are your comments getting borked?

2008-04-11 / 14:58 /

Rob tried to comment got both a rejection by WP-IDS and a nice PHP error message about missing paths. Woo boy.

The error was probably caused by a configuration error that I think I fixed. But I’ve got no idea why the comment was rejected in the first place.

If the same thing happens to me let me know and I’ll try to fix things.

Need a cheap mountain bike?

2008-04-09 / 12:46 /


My friend Jack is selling some bikes. They’re mountain bikes which are super ocol. Plus they’re cheap. Email me if you’re interested and I’ll pass it along to Jack (I don’t want to out his email address on the web).

He says:

The green Kona needs some love, but the steel frame is still in very good condition. I’ll let it go for $50.

Update: 18″ frame. Here are some specs

(click for full-size pics)
1999 Kona Hahanna, picture 1

1999 Kona Hahanna, picture 2

The white GT is in really good shape. Jess took good care of it. It’s got an aluminum frame that was the same frame that GT used on several of their higher-end bikes that year, so it would make a great bike to start with that can be upgraded as fit. It’s ready to go right now for someone looking to get started. We want $100 for it.

Update: 14.5″ frame. specs.
(click for full-size pics)
2000 GT Outpost, picture 1

2000 GT Outpost, picture 2

Kristen, world; world, Kristen

2008-04-01 / 03:00 /

Kristen from the side

Kristen is shown in it’s natural habitat: weather-proofed windows and dying plants.

Despite the big stack of “oh shit” spacers above the stem, I think I’ve finally got Kristen dialed in. The only thing I might change is adding a set-back seatpost, but I’ll have to ride it more before I decide.

Quick take-aways? Mountain biking is fun, Avid makes great brakes & levers, and 2.14 WTB MotoRaptors are way lighter than 2.4″ Ritchey MotoVaders. Oh, and Thomson is solid stuff.

And now for a sexy portrait:

Smile, Kristen, it's your close-up!

Gosh she sure is pretty.

Meta: category clean-up

2008-03-16 / 17:59 /

Since WordPress 2.3 added support for tags, I’ve moved my old categories to tags and created some new ones:

Info about bikes
Link of the day
Everything else
Computer related

Categories will be stable and let you filter down to the posts you care about. So if you find yourself saying “cygwho?”, maybe Programming isn’t for you.

The plan is to add some display of tags later. But man, tag clouds sure are ugly.


Moving the categories around wasn’t too bad using the built-in cat2tag and Rob Miller’s Batch Categories plugin.

Planned outage

2008-02-07 / 12:12 /

Due to continued space and power constraints in our primary data center,
we will be moving the “randy” cluster to one of our newer data centers.
This move will begin Friday, February 8, at 10PM PST, and is expected to
last up to 8 hours, until Saturday, February 9, 6AM PST. All web servers,
mail servers, file servers, and MySQL servers in the randy cluster will be
unreachable during this time.

Fear not, loyal readers! It is only 8 hours.