Thursday, July 31, 2008

3 Squares @ 3 Squares

Normally we'd all be riding, but due to other circumstances, 3 of us got together at 3 Squares restaurant and had a few Fat Tire Ales. I'm resting my legs, but not my liver for the Firehouse 50 this Sat. Bill is, well, still on vacation and has his own schedule. Madonna looked fabulous in her black top, black pants, and black high heels! Ruff!!! Thank God no non cyclists joined us or they would have been bored to tears. Let's see, we talked about saddles, frames, fittings, handlebars, riding positions, tires, butt butter, clothing fit, saddles (again), racing, mtb, TdF, local riders, Leadville, Breckenridge, Lance, Ricco, Floyd, and other stuff. All cycling related. I'm sure you all understand.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stillwater to Afton to Prescott to River Falls to Hudson back to Stillwater OR the WI Nealerator

Last year, Bob and I rode a very hilly ride with Neil, Dave H, and Mike B. Starting in Stillwater, on to Afton for the hills and then into WI for miles. In preperation for this Saturday's Firehouse 50, Bob, Matt, and I did the same ride this past Sunday.

Bob was the navigator, frequently checking a much folded over yellow legal sheet for directions.
When we got to Neal Ave, we gave it the one finger salute in honor of Neil. The ride thus became the WI Nealerator!

This is in Hudson, at about 60 miles.

Bob with his mouth full.

The Holiday where we stopped in WI. The company I work for makes the donuts that were in the display case. I had a power bar instead. They didn't even charge me for ice!

71 miles, lots of hills. All in all, a great ride. The road construction we ran into last year was completed, so no psycho-cross! Of course, the only way to end a ride is with a cold one! In this case, they were Kokanes from British Columbia.

We're ready for the Firehouse 50!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The wandering Jew returns!

Great ride this morning! Matt spent 2 lovely weeks in China and today was his 1st day on a bike since July 4th. Bob and I showed no mercy, of course. Matt did fine, he'd been back less then 24 hours--he'll have jet lag for the rest of the week. The 3 "original" amigos pedaled together again. Lots of fun, several detours around Lake Sarah, but what the hell. It's Sunday morning and very little wind. What more can you ask for as cyclists? Welcome back, Flash, we missed you!

Next up is the Firehouse 50 on August 2nd.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

3 county Saturday morning ride

Went over to Bob's house at 6:00 AM on Saturday morning. Bob was suffering from LLAA:
Lack of sleep, Lack of food, and Abundance of Alcohol! Of course, that doesn't keep Bob down.
We started out South, Hwy 6 to Watertown. What a great road, wide shoulders, and saw or passed several bikers. From Watertown we took MN Hwy 25 to Montrose. This road is the highway to hell! No shoulder, and very busy. DO NOT RIDE THIS STRETCH!! Very unsafe.
From Montrose to Buffalo, MN 25 is fine. From there we went to Rockford, Hanover, and wound our way back. Ended up with 81 miles, avg 18 mph. Our goal was to be back at Bob's by 11:00, we pedaled in at 11:11. No HH points! From what I hear, Kim was hung over pretty well anyhow.
We visited Hennepin, Carver, and Wright counties. Afterwards, I pigged out on Sarpino's pizza and took a very nice nap......

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Bs: B-24, B-25, B-17 and a P-51

I've always been interested in WW II, especially in the airplanes. I finally went to see some of the classic warbirds from that era at the Anoka County airfield on Friday. The plane pictured above is a B-25J Mitchell. The B-25 is famous for the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo. A raid that did little damage, but American moral soared as it was our first attack on Japan after Pearl Harbor.

These planes were not designed to take off from carriers, but they modified them, revved the engines up full throttle and they managed to barely take to the air.

The B-24J Liberator was the largest mass produced bomber made during the war, over 18,000 were manufactured.
The 2 waist gunners didn't have any protection from the cold air. There were no windows!

The B-17 Flying Fortress is probably the most famous of the heavy bombers. It is an amazing plane to see in person.

This is the ball turret gun pod. How a guy could sit in there for 9 hours I don't know. The guy below showed my how you put your feet onto two small platforms and then you layed back against the strap that you see in the picture. There is a plate that went behind you. The gunner could not get out when the landing carriage was up. So, he was locked in until they finished their mission and the plane landed. You had a glass sight about 2" wide. He told me when you had an enemy plane within the 2 lines on the glass, you fired your guns. The guns automatically led ahead of the plane so you were more accurate in your shooting. I didn't get this guy's name. He told me he was trained to be a gunner in the ball turret. He is 82 years old, but he never saw any action. He told me to find someone who was 84, because they got to shoot their guns "for real." You got to go inside the the 3 bombers. What I found most interesting is how little room there was! More then once I got caught at the hips by the framework of the plane and had to turn sideways to get through.
This is a P-51 Mustang fighter, my favorite plane of the war. These were the first fighters that had enough range to fly with the bombers all the way to Germany and back from England. If you've ever seen these planes in movies or newsreels, they taxi zig-zag. That's because the angle of the plane with the tail down doesn't allow for the pilot to see straight ahead. So they taxied zig-zag to look out on the field to see through the side windows. When you see it in person it's very obvious they can't see the ground in front of them with the tail down.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Preparation H

When I turned 50, it seemed like lots of things happened physically to me. Things that said to me that you are aging and you can't change that from happening. Tinnitus, back pain that I never had before, stiffness in the morning (not the kind you want, anyway), and recently, the bout with the blood clot. However, FWK is a pretty resilient guy. I accept the aging process and will not give in to it. Today, I did something that kind of took me down a peg or two. I bought my first tube of Preparation H. Yup, the stuff you used to see in the medicine cabinet at your home growing up. The yellow and white tube that was in the bathroom drawer or cabinet and nobody talked about. It was just there, next to the visine and alongside a couple of bobby pins. Not having ever bought if before, I went to Target. I kind of circled the pharmacy aisles, not quite knowing what aisle it would be in. I looked at the signs on the end of the rows. None of them said "sore, itchy assholes." Eventually I found it. There really is no competition for Preparation H. There is only Preparation H, and Target brand creams for the same affliction. I decided to go for the original, and best. The yellow and white tube that I remember from my youth. BUT, or maybe I should say BUTT; they have original and Extra Strength! Well now, FWK thought that maybe the extra strength should be the way to go (with 1% cortisone)! I mean, after all, I want to get rid of this shit! (I know, poor choice of words) Plus, the extra strength came with 4 free portable wipes (4 times larger then medicated pads, I'll have you know). Now, these pads have something called "witch hazel" in them. The only Hazel I knew was the one in the TV show from the 60's. If you want to read about witch hazel, click on the link below. I couldn't just buy a tube of the stuff and bring it to the counter, I mean, I didn't want to announce to the world that I needed it. So, I bought a few groceries to mix in the basket. I just smiled at the 17 year old girl as she rang it all up.

Anyways, in closing, there won't be any photographs accompanying this post.

You're welcome.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What the FWK was I thinking!!!

We have 7 trees in our yard, one lilac, and one other bush of unknown name. On Wed, I decided to do a little trimming! Well, after nearly 7 hours of trimming, hauling to the front yard, and then making 4 pick-up trips to the lawn recycle place, I was finished! The photo above shows what I hauled out to the front yard before I put it in the truck. Pretty nuts. I didn't think to take before shots, only after shots. Below are the lilac and two crabapple trees after trimming.
Unfortunatley, the view of the neighbors pickup parked in his back yard is more visible after the trimming.

Electric Bridge Land or Land of 10,000 shocks....

On March 30, I wrote about the new pedestrian bridge near the park where I live. It's a great link for people that live on the South side of Maple Grove to get into the park. Well, it's been closed for a couple weeks. I don't need to ride over it, but I ride by it almost every time I go out, and I've noticed that is blocked off and closed. On Tuesday's ride, I was talking to Tom about it and he said it was because of people getting mild shocks as they rode under the power lines, visible in the above photo. The next day, there was an article in the Star-Tribune on it, re-printed below. Several people that I talked to said they would get wierd sensations as they rode over it, or little stinging feelings when they touched their brake levers! Another guy said it was like there were bees in his shorts! Anyway, the article from the newspaper is below:

Shocking new bridge to reopen

Shocked by the new bridge on the Medicine Lake Regional Trail?
Some bikers were, causing the Minnesota Department of Transportation to shut down a bridge leading into Elm Creek Park Reserve over County Road 81 in Maple Grove. The bridge -- which opened last Fall -- was closed on June 16.
According to MnDOT spokesman Kent Barnard, nobody on the biker and pedestrian bridge was in danger at any point. He said the shocks were minor and only caused some discomfort. The bridge is expected to re-open next week with additional grounding support to prevent shocks.
Three Rivers Park District spokesman Tom Knisely said his office received three complaints about people getting shocked. The first complaint came in early April, another came in mid-May and by the third complaint in early June, the park system sent a specialist to have a look.
After complaints were confirmed on June 13, the park notified MnDOT and re-routed traffic to a nearby crossing. MnDOT officially closed the bridge three days later.
Barnard said work was done via a partnership between MnDOT, Three Rivers Park District and Xcel Energy. He also said that the bridge and nearby power lines were all built within specifications.
Detour signs are now in place advising trail users to cross at the controlled intersection at Fernbrook Lane.