Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Swamp Thing!

I got a phone call from a guy on Monday asking me if I was was the guy who Jason had entrusted the the bicycle co-op with. He told me his name was Joey and that a friend of his named Matt told him to call me. He told me that he had an old Nishiki 10 speed that he wanted to cannibalize parts from it to a frame set (that he had) that was lighter and taller. I told him to bring it on down and I would look at it. The Nishiki, 27" wheels, although ride-able, was indeed a lead weight. The frame-set was a bare bones frame with a mismatched fork 700c size. I thought we were up against the old "Well, for $200.00, we can build you a real nice $50.00 bike" scenario. But then we took a quick walk out to the bone yard and there was the solution. A big old Centurion 10 speed with broken wheels, rusted cranks and handle bars, every cable welded solid in it's housing, everything about it said, "Hi, I've spent the last ten years in a Vernal pond out in the middle of Nowhere!" But then, to my utter amazement, I spun the cranks and found the bottom bracket was smooth as butter and the same thing happened when I tested the head set. Long story short, I took the good stuff from the Nishiki and a crank-set from an old mt. bike and built a fairly sweet ride for Joey and I got to play"Bike Guru" again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Time Trial Suprise!

The final Time Trial of the Redding Velo Time Trial Series was Sunday. Since it was the exact same course that the series opened with, I thought it would be fun to ride a different bike this time. I considered a one speed with a free wheel, I toyed with taking out the "Fixie", but ended up riding "The Worlds Fastest Rockhopper." That crazy little flat barred, MTB with a 29'r forked, road tire front-end. Meanwhile, bringing up the rear is a 26" wheel, shod with a skinny little slick-bald tire at 100 p.s.i. I have always known that that little bike felt fast but now I know for sure. I turned a time only a few seconds slower on it over the 10K course then I did on my "real" road bike. I have been running the tapes over and over, trying to account for what really happened out there. Was it my relaxed, semi-cavalier attitude, knowing that I wasn't going to "set the world on fire?" Was it the fact that since I don't have an enormous set of gears on that bike, I simply had to spin and thus, not completly blowing, I actually had a kick left fot the last mile? Or is it the fact that living in the Magic Kingdom of my mind, I am blinded to the fact that there are guys out there who could do my times on a fargin' Razor scooter and that am losing sight of the fact that I am actually a solid rider of the Recreational Group! Not the the Elite!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Back to school, again.

Riding with others is a great way to learn. I tend to ride alone quite often, siting issues of rider- ego conflicts, lack of individual punctuality and general "Horse Crap" when groups of 2 or more try to go for a ride. Yet somehow, bands of cyclists, of varying elitism, have been regularly gathering and riding for many years here in Redding, without or without my stamp of approval. I rode with about 12 riders yesterday morning out of Joe Gazzigli's place and tore up the Shasta Dam ride like a man possessed. I rode the Red bike and had a blast. Some of those "Old Boys" (60+) are amazingly strong and took me to school (again) on some of the climbs. But, my homework is really paying off and helping me to get to the top of the class. Hopefully I'll be on the honor roll this semester!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Feast of the Assumption

The Catholic doctrine of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven states that Mary was transported into Heaven with her body and soul united. Although the Assumption was only officially declared a dogma by Pope Pius XII in his Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus in 1950, its roots in Catholic culture and art go back many centuries. While Pope Pius XII deliberately left open the question of whether Mary died before her Assumption, the more common teaching of the early Fathers is that she did.[24][25]
An early supporter of the Assumption was Saint John of Damascus (676-794), a Doctor of the Church who is often called the Doctor of the Assumption.[26] Saint John was not only interested in the Assumption, but also supported the use of holy images in response to the edict by the Byzantine Emperor Leo III, banning the worship or exhibition of holy images.[27] He wrote: "On this day the sacred and life-filled ark of the living God, she who conceived her Creator in her womb, rests in the Temple of the Lord that is not made with hands. David, her ancestor, leaps, and with him the angels lead the dance."
The Eastern Church held the feast of the Assumption as early as the second half of the sixth century, and Pope Sergius I (687-701) ordered its observance in Rome.[28]
The Orthodox tradition is clear that Mary died normally, before being bodily assumed. The Orthodox term for the death is the Dormition of the Virgin. Byzantine depictions of this were the basis for Western images, the subject being known as the Death of the Virgin in the West. As the nature of the Assumption became controversial during the High Middle Ages, the subject was often avoided, but depiction continued to be common until the Reformation. The last major Catholic depiction is Caravaggio's Death of the Virgin of 1606.
Meanwhile depictions of the Assumption had been becoming more frequent during the late Middle Ages, with the Gothic Siennese school a particular source. By the 16th century they had become the norm, initially in Italy, and then elsewhere. They were sometimes combined with the Coronation of the Virgin, as the Trinity waited in the clouds. The subject was very suited to Baroque treatment.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Let's get cracking!

Shhh! Nobody say anything but, the year is startin' to get a bit long in the tooth. I went out on a fact finding mission yesterday and here is what I found. I began my day at the stroke of 3 a.m. I got up and walked outside and looked at the sky to the East. There they were, the Pleiades, that famous little star cluster we called the little dipper as kids. I always interpret the wee hour's rising of that constellation (and Orion) as harbingers of Autumn. Now lest you think me as a bonafide old geezer, let me assure you that I then went straight back to bed for a couple of hours worth of creative dreaming! My internal clock is (generally) so incredibly reliable that I rarely use an alarm clock. But the sun played a trick on me and I didn't resurface until around 6:30. The sun has made considerable progress on it's apparent trip south, and it's light is starting to arrive later in the morning and departing earlier in the evening. I have referred to August 15th as the "Crack of the year" for a long time now and I'm here to tell you, she's crackin'!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Squash Hopper

Wow, with this little bit o' monsoon flow and rain, Redding felt like a sweltering terrarium this afternoon. Then I checked the humidity and it read 27%. Can you imagine what folks back East would say if you told them that we were steaming in 90 degree weather with 27% humidity?! They would laugh your little wilted ass all the way back to Redding. Rode early this morning out to Keswick area, again, on the Monohopper, again. I felt like crap for the first couple of miles but slowly got going and was completely delighted by the time I got back. Saute'ed up a bunch o' zucchini and crookneck squash with tofu and Italian herbs for breakfast. Yum!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Feeling Good!

I got a couple of good rides in this weekend. Saturday I hooked up with my bro Tim. I rode my one-speed Mt. bike (Monohopper) and he rode his mechanically-challenged, junk, Mt. bike. We had a nice ride out to Keswick area and rode some dirt, saw Leo,"The Legend" Smith. Then we spun our noggings off coming back. Good times! Sunday I rode with the Gazzigli crew on my Funny-Bike the infamous "World's Fastest Rockhopper" I fixed the pedal problem (from Wednesday night) and rode fairly well. I told Allen Kost that riding that bike makes me feel real fast when I do take my Red Bike out. Allen kindly said, "You are fast on the Red Bike Jim!" Coming from him, I'm honored.