Vassago Burning

I tried holding a  funeral prye for my long dead Vassago Bandersnatch frame.  A bike I loved so much I couldn’t just take the the scrapyard.

bandersnatch burning

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The Big Pensacola Florida Trip

Shauna and I have been thinking about some kind of camping trip this summer for awhile now, we had a few days last week to make it happen but we had no idea where we were going.  The original idea was Missouri where we could snorkel and float in the clear waters, but temperatures have been really high lately.  The next idea was up North to Lake Michigan but the day before I started comparing temperatures and according to forecasts temps in the Florida gulf were only going to be a couple degrees warmer.  I presented my idea to go to Pensacola and Shauna was all for it.

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There’s a bit of history here, see for the 20 years we’ve been together she’s wanted to go to Florida on vacation, but because of the drive, and the fact that I used to hate water I always vetoed the idea.  It was selfish, but I had ear problems that drove me crazy if I got in the water, so at least there was a medical reason.  Now that’s fixed and I’ve been having a great time snorkeling I was all for a beach trip.  Shauna did not let me forget this easily.

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So since we had the van and it’s not cheap to stay in a room on the beach we were going to camp at Fort Pickens, which is right on the ocean.  There were only a handful of spots left and I got us one for Wednesday and Thursday night.  It was a rough 11 hour drive and we did it nearly non stop to arrive at the campground around 5:30PM.  The first thing we did was take the short walk to the ocean and jump in.

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The next day we woke up before dawn and went to the bayside beach and I took some sunrise photographs.  I planned to do lots of photography on this trip but I wasn’t able to, just not enough time.  By 7 AM we were exploring Fort Pickens which was interesting.  It had many cool passageways, arches, and creepy old architecture.

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Next we went to a beach that google maps recommended for snorkeling.  It was getting really hot and sunny but in the water was really nice, I snorkeled way out and found the barrier reef things and checked them out.  There were lots of people snorkeling and spear fishing.  Everyone was really friendly and I had a great time out there.

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Shauna stayed closer to the beach but I returned and loaned her my mask and she trolled up and down the beach collecting shells and having fun.  After that we went to the Pensacola Beach boardwalk and hung out checking out the boutiques, shops, and considered parasailing.  I think we both wanted to try it but were a bit afraid of the height and definitely afraid of the price.  Before we could decide if we wanted to para-sail a storm rolled in and we went to another beach and watched it.  We returned to our campground at 5:30 PM in a massive storm and sit in the van as our site flooded, luckily we had nothing there.

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Camping that night was a drag as we were pretty much restricted to the van, which was cramped with the two of us, and we were both sunburned from the day at the beach.  We were both more than a little jealous of everyone else’s huge RVs and air conditioning.  The next morning we went swimming again before heading home.

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We stopped in Nashville at Sushi Train, a conveyor belt sushi restaurant like that is popular in Japan.  It was really neat and very delicious.  Since we had barely ate all day we took great advantage of their all you can eat special.  If we were paying regular prices we would have paid nearly 60 dollars worth of Sushi.

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Tour de Pharmacy Review

I like Andy Samtour de pharmacyberg and I was highly anticipating “Tour de Pharmacy” after seeing the trailers for it.  I have to admit that I was kind of let down.  Sure it had some funny bits, but ultimately I just found it kind blah, and don’t think I have a problem with them making fun of cycling.  In fact I laughed the hardest when Jeff Goldblum says, “there are literally hundreds of dollars in prize money, dozens of fans, the stakes a medium,” I couldn’t help but crack up even though I’d already seen that bit.

I suppose my actual problem with the movie is that all too often it jumped over the line from clever to stupid.  I think I would have really found much of the material hilarious 10-15 years ago.  I was expecting something more along the lines of “This is Spinal Tap,” and less like a drawn out R rated SNL sketch.  There is so much that is ridiculous in professional cycling that it shouldn’t be hard to fill a feature film, and “Tour de Pharmacy” is only 50 minutes.

I suppose I went into the film with far to high expectations, I was expecting something like a comedy version of “A Sunday in Hell,” but instead got a series of mostly unrelated “dick and fart jokes” to borrow a phrase from Kevin Smith.

Maybe my love of cycling does tarnish my take on the movie, critics loved it and it has a 92% at rotten tomatoes.  If you get a chance watch it and let me know what you think.

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The Hit and Run Video and My Opinion

Cycling has been in the news alot this week, and not for a good reason.  The hit and run on the Natchez Trace that went viral and ended up in just about everyone’s facebook feed has demonstrated the real danger that cyclist face, and the real ironic thing: The danger on a road that is primarily there for cycling and sightseeing.  The Natchez trace is a national parkway, and has special rules for cyclists, such as the fact that they are legally allowed to take up their entire lane and ride two abreast.

I’m not going to post the video, I’m sure you’ve seen it.  I’m at a loss for words after watching it and I just can’t understand, but after watching it something I believe has been reinforced, people do things behind the wheel that they probably wouldn’t do if they weren’t driving, and that society is changing.

The following is just an opinion, it could be wrong but it’s what I think.  I think the cyclist Tyler Noe in that video was stuck on purpose.  I believe that the driver, Marshall Grant Neely, had been held up for a period of time behind two cyclists who were taking up the lane.  I believe the driver probably drove this road on a regular basis and had developed a deep hatred of cyclists, especially those who ride two abreast.

I believe the driver had probably decided that he needed to take action against the cyclists who were, in his mind, ruining his life and the lives of others, by holding him up behind them.  I believe the driver decided he would “bump” the cyclist perhaps knock him down.  The driver then developed a story claiming how the cyclist threw his bike at him, it would be his word against thier word.  Instead he is now on TV.

Now here’s where I’m going to get weird, so bare with me.

I believe that our current society has more or less abandoned the idea of truth and objective morality.  Instead it has devolved into a tribal form of subjective morality.  I believe that society will separate into two camps on almost any issue and construct their own truth about any given situation.  An objective person can see this happening in our politics, society forms two tribes that each completely ignore the flaws of their candidate and develop their own reality of any given situation.

Donald Trump understood this better than anyone, he is a master of manipulating reality.  His obsession with polling and ratings is a dead giveaway.  He understands that truth is only what his tribe will believe.   He realized that to his followers what he said was reality, as long as it sounded even remotely truthful.  He also realized that in our society today consequences for behavior are as subjective as reality has become.

Marshall Grant Neely will face consequences for his behavior, but likely not serious life altering consequences, he will not serve time.  And why should he?  In fact to many he is a a hero, in fact I would estimate if a poll was taken the cyclist would be the one to blame.  In fact a poll was taken, look at the comments in the video, the comments that blame the cyclist are far outvoted then the comments supporting the cyclist.

Here’s a good example.

“clearly this asshole on the bike is riding next to his other asshole buddy just so these piece of shit fag boys can talk. I’m tired of these fucks ruling the roads that built for cars not bikes. Best of luck to the guy in the car, I stand with you. Yes, I am very angry about this. I live near the beach and see this too often. These fucks don’t stop at the stop signs and get away with it just so they don’t have to stop and have to start up again. Fuuuuuu-Q!!!!”

This particular comment was the most highly upvoted comment on that particular video.  In the past I would just write it off as internet trolls, but that is no longer an option.  The internet trolls are now running the country.

So… as cyclists we must understand that we are the minority, and that there are people, a small but likely growing number, who will hit us with their vehicles if we are riding in such a way as they feel is incorrect.

This is my advice.  Treat all cars as if they are driven by poorly designed robots that will run you over if you get in their way.  Do not ride in the robot car’s path, as many robots are lacking empathy programming.  If you are riding two abreast and a car is approaching line up on the edge of the road as fast as possible.

Do not trust that ridiculous 3 feet laws will protect you.  They do not really exist.

Maybe I’m way off, maybe Marshal Grant Neely really didn’t the cyclist, really didn’t notice he’d hit one, and really thought a cyclist threw their bike at his car.

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Happy Birthday from Lance and Willie

Even though I’ve got an awesome photo printer I usually just buy dollar greeting cards, but no more.  My Dad’s birthday was yesterday and I made him a custom card.  I guess I’ve been watching Lance’s STAGES podcast so I’ve got Lance on the brain.  I also included another folk hero, Willie Nelson.

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Tour de Corn / Laserjet 4 / Snorkeling

It’s raining…

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Today’s post is an update about what I’ve been up to so far this week.  Lets start with the cycling.

CORN!!!!!

Last Saturday I went with Luke and Jo-L to Tour de Corn, one of my favorite rides of the year.  Luke asked me when the ride started and I replied 8AM completely sure of myself.  We arrived at Eat Prairie MO at 7:40.  I immediately wondered where everyone was at, maybe the ride stars at 8:30 I thought.  Then it hit me, this ride starts at 7:30.  What an idiot.

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So Luke and Jo-L went to sign up.  I was suppose to be doing the 100 mile with Luke but was having second thoughts, while they were signing up I went to hit the restroom at the nearby store, they thought I’d already left and went looking for me.  At 8:15 I realized they were already gone so I just started riding, as soon as I turned North I encountered a huge headwind I put my head down, laid my forearms on the tops and I just ground, I ground and I ground. I stopped once for about 20 seconds to grab two cookies.  I never refilled my bottles and I rarely got out of the drops.  I felt like the 60 mile ride was all that I needed.

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For the next 3 hours I worked my way from 45 minutes behind the start of the ride to close to the front.  It was interesting to me.  Despite the big headwind almost everyone was riding in groups of two or three and spread out across the lane.  I eventually got caught by a Wood and Wave group after blowing by the Charleston stop.  I couldn’t outpace the three of them alone though I had no problem lounging in their draft.

PRINTER!!!!

I get attached to things I guess, when I was a kid I nearly cried when we traded in our old reliable TV for a new fancy one with remote control.  I hate to throw things away and I suffer for it sometimes.  Like, take this drawer, its full of cables, power adaptors, network cables and a 8 port switch.  Unless I plan on setting up a computer lab or hosting LAN parties I probably don’t need this crap.

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So I’ve been needing to print some things and I have this great ancient Laserjet 4 Plus printer that was made in 1994.  It has a page count of 379,000 pages.  This is a hardcore printer, like it cost 1500+ dollars when it was new.   I mean this is a beast, in fact just think about how crazy this thing is, it’s 23 years old and it works natively with Windows 10.

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Well I was just about to toss it the other day.  It was printing horribly and jamming alot.  Before chucking it to the curb I decided to try and fix it.  I bought some new exit assembly rollers, and I took it apart cleaning it out.  I took the laser assembly apart and cleaned all the toner and dust off the mirrors.  I came to the realization that the toner cartridge wasn’t working right even though it was almost brand new.   I cleaned the Transfer roller, but still had spotty printing.  New toner cartridges can be purchased for 20 bucks so I tried that.  After all my hard work I’m glad to say it’s printing like brand new.

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Oh and I cleaned out my drawer.

SNORKEL!!!!

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And finally I’ve picked out a new hobby, I bought a Snorkeling set.  Well I bought this ancient snorkeling set from the Salvation Army Store.  The rubber disentegrated in about 15 minutes but, wow, what a great 15 minutes.  I spent about 4 hours researching snorkeling and bought a Snorkeling set from Amazon for 35 bucks.  Wow, what amazing fun.  I’ve always hated swimming, it’s so slow and I usually feel like I’m going to drown.  With these finds and a snorkel I feel like I can swim all day and if I get tired I just lay there in the water and catch my breath.  I’m like AQUAMAN, minus the green tights.

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We’ve been going to Pounds Hollow and I’ve been swimming around the lake.  The other day when we went the beach was full of people, Shauna said many of them were amazed when I passed the roped off area and went across the lake.  “Can he do that,” one person asked.  “Isn’t he going to drown?” another person said.  “That’s where the snakes are,” a kid said.

I’m really looking forward to going snorkeling somewhere where I can see further then 12 inches.

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Mysterious Weakness Strikes Again

I have systematically removed all weakness from my body, so it is rather shocking when I’m struck by a debilitating case of massive weakness.  I rode in the 6th Little Egypt Time Trail last night.  It was a partial gravel ride, starting at Blue Sky and going up the horrible Buffalo Gap road.  While climbing the short mild hill to get to the start line I nearly turned around and went home.  I couldn’t catch my breath, my shoulders were sagging and I had a great deal of tightness in my left arm.  I looked down to see my heart rate was all of 145 beats.

To give a comparison, my average heart rate for a 3 hour ride at the Tour de Corn was a 152.  At no time in that entire ride did I feel as bad as I did climbing up to the start line last night. My average heart rate for the 40 minute TT was 141.

I found it nearly impossible to ride in the drops, my arms and shoulders felt like they were being squeezed.  At several times during the race I just shifted into an easy gear and spun, sitting up.  Seconds into the race I discovered a thirst that would not be quenched.

Several clues lead me to believe I had become massively dehydrate, my blood pressure was very low that entire evening.

 

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