Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shakedown Ride

I went out for a short shakedown mission with two of my techs yesterday morning, just to make sure that all systems were working. We are good for a launch in the morning. Speaking of launch... we saw something out there out west of town that I am pretty sure the government would prefer we hadn't. "They" have had a security officer out in the Keswick Dam area since 9-eleven and we saw that sucker sound-a-sleep in his truck! Good thing we weren't members of the Velvet Monkey-wrench Gang, 'cause that transformer field was ours!

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Tour of Imagination

Well after months of secret research and development, I am ready to reveal my latest project and mission. Starting on Monday, June First, I will set of on a life-long dream of riding my bicycle up the coast of the Great Northwest Seaboard. I will not declare any ultimate goal or destination at this time. I have the entire month of June to play with so I will simply try to keep ya'll posted and hope for the best. P.S. For those of you who are wondering, my latest haircut is a tribute to Levi Leipheimer!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Speaking of Radishes!

A uniquely Oaxaca expression of the Christmas season is the Noche de Rabanos (Night of the Radishes) on the evening of December 23rd, an evening in which the zocalo becomes the scene of a huge exhibition of figures sculpted from radishes. Often these figures are in scenes of the birth of Jesus or other scenes expressing the history and culture of Oaxacans. A contest is held with everyone vying for the first prize and having their picture in the morning paper.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bring it on!

I am on a mission to create the ultimate Fish Taco. My first attempt was not bad, but I need to make some modifications to the basic fish breading/batter that the recipe I used called for. It was from our local paper's, Food-Section. I love the cabbage-cilantro-red onion-citrus dressing-part, but will leave out the Panko breadcrumb bit for the fish.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Hi kids! I sure hope you're all having a great Memorial Day Weekend! I have been taking lovely early morning bike rides, eating and watching great shows on You-Tube like this!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Evening Thunder!

Last night I rode my Bianchi up to the Holiday Market on Placer St. with the hope of ridin' the vacuum tube* out to Swasey. Unfortunately, I didn't see anybody (12+ last Wed.) so I rode alone out to the sight of tonight's race. There were quite a few people out there doing some re-con riding so hopefully, "Blazing Saddles" will be a huge success. See you there!
*vacuum tube of course refers to sitting on the back of a pace-line of charging Team Owens buffaloes!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

R.I.P. Char Butterfly

"Do you know anything about the world around you?" he asked.
"I know about all kinds of things," I said.
"I mean do you ever feel the world around you?"
"I feel as much of the world around me as I can."
"That's not enough. You must feel everything, otherwise the world loses its sense."
I voiced the classical argument that I did not have to taste the soup in order to know the recipe, nor did I have to get an electric shock in order to know about electricity.
"You make it sound stupid," he said. "The way I see it, you want to cling to your arguments, despite the fact that they bring nothing to you; you want to remain the same even at the cost of your well-being."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"I am talking about the fact that you're not complete. You have no peace."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Learning To Lichen!

Umbilicaria esculenta (Japanese: Iwatake; Korean: Seogi) are collected from cliffs for use in a variety of traditional Korean and Japanese foods. Lichen flour is used by the Tarahumara as an ingredient of Tesguino. These last few weeks have been spent wandering the surrounding areas with a 104 year old friend from Japan. We hope to have gathered enough lichen for all who attend the first race in the Blazing Saddles Series, starting this week (Thursday).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Annual Clown Century Ride

As I crawled over the final summit of the day and tucked in for what I knew would be the fastest and most dangerous descent of the day, I took a quick peek back to see where he was.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What Ever Happened To...

I used to love watching the Team Time Trial at the Tour. I'm not sure why but they haven't run it for about 5 years now.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Resting On One's Laurels.

rest on one's laurels, to be content with one's past or present honors, achievements, etc.: He retired at the peak of his career and is resting on his laurels. I see it all the time. People notice that I have an interest in cycling and the next thing I know, they're launching into a half-hour long tirade about the days when they were "Semi-Pro Riders." Eventually, I end up hookin' up with them for a ride and the chit-chat goes out the window. In the sport of Boxing, another sport I love, there is a saying that goes like this, Let you're hands do the talking! The cycling equivilent is, let you're legs do the talking. Through the years, I have learned that the best do not sit on their laurels, nor do they bore you to tears talking about them.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I See You Out There!

Alas, I am a miserable sinner*... I mean failure! I just can't get out there on my bike and ride it to work. I tried it last year and I ended up missing in action for several days. They finally found me somewhere out in the Platina area eating... wait a minute, you've already heard this one!

Monday, May 11, 2009

700c Schwinn Varsity Carbon Fiber Road Bike!

The wait is finally over! The bike name that I trusted as a boy has rescently re-released the old Varsity model, this time in genuine carbon-fiber-wrapped aluminum? What in the name of... Maybe I should get one just to hang it on the wall with a sign that reads, World's Biggest Joke! Get your's today at WalMart!

I Need A Weekend!

I was running, mowing, cooking and riding all weekend long like some kind of a tachyon. Mother's Day is always busy 'cause my oldest daughter's birthday is May 11. Today she is 21 years old. I made a Grilled Chicken Pasta Caesar Salad for 7 of us last night and it was fantastic! I took 4 bike rides, Friday night (Eve and Allie), Saturday morn (Bro Tim), Saturday p.m. (Eve), and Sunday morn (Gazzigli Gang). What a whirlwind!

Friday, May 8, 2009


This has to be the strangest video ever!

Between The Wheels

Here is an example of yet another wheel I have been known to build. The spokes are Belgian Endive while the hub is toasted walnuts and crumbled bleu cheese. I use white balsamic and olive oil to dress it, sea salt and cracked pepper too! I love wheels!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wheel o' Cheese

Here is what happens when a watch maker builds a wheel.

Bike Blog?

All this month, here at the FILTER, we will be looking into the wonderful world of cheese. This fascinating topic is near and dear to our hearts as lacto/ovo vegetarians. My background as a geologist, has always created a certain conflict of interest, living within a decidedly non-stratified society . We do hope that any students who have tuned into this site for bicycle info are not dissuaded!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Kickin' it with my Homie G-BLOGS.

The Shasta Wheelmen Jamboree appears to have caught a fairly dry break from the rain this weekend. I went out with a few friends and rode the 25 mile loop. We rode at 9 a.m. out Placer Rd. to Texas Springs to Branstetter, up to Freebridge and in, without a drop of rain. I felt like King Kong out there on my 42X18 single-speed road bike, breathing great gulps of wonderfully fresh air, my engine aglow with a bunch of Clif-Products that my amigo Josh at Clif Bar sent me last week. I got home just in time to then ride with my girlfriend of 25 years (and mother of our children) from our house, back down to the Sundial Bridge, out to the Northside River Trail, over the Ribbon Bridge and up to the new Rail Trail connector parking lot. Suddenly, from behind the map board, stepped two of my favorite Bike-Bloggers, Dr. Swiss Mix and The Distinguished, Prof. Chasing Singletrack. We talked briefly and admired The Professor's Rose-Colored Glasses and The Doctor's Hand-Made Bicycle and then we headed back. And then, the skies opened up and we got WET! We just bee-lined home and ate cake and drank tea. Lovely day! P.S. We saw Bear Chain Puller at LTD on Saturday...POST SOMETHIN' HOAGIE!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sudden Lawn Mower Death Syndrome.

I was out mowing the hay in the back yard last Saturday when suddenly, ignoring all the lessons I've ever learned about never edging with a mower, I tipped the machine up on two wheels and began running it down a razors edge of certain doom. As the big 6.5 horse power droned away at full cry, I deftly trimmed an expert line like a pro. My weed eater was in the shop so I figured I would tempt fate just this one time and went for it. Almost immediately I heard (and felt) a sickening SNAP, then dead silence. My mower was dead. Discreetly, I looked around to see if anyone else had heard the unmistakable harbinger of SUDDEN LAWN MOWER DEATH SYNDROME! Thankfully, I didn't see anyone snickering or shaking their head so I thought I would try pulling the engine through and see how bad it was. I noticed a wisp of smoke raising from the super hot engine and with a puff, she fired off. I resumed cutting and it seemed to be o.k. but then, as I got back into the deep hay, I heard the sound of the blade hitting the inside of the deck. I stopped the mower and tipped it up to have a look. The blade was slightly bent from striking the solid steel stake I'd hit but I could see no contact with the deck during a full sweep of it's orbit. I fired off again. A hammering sound pulsed from the motor under a load, sounding like a blacksmith striking an anvil, ringing through the neighborhood. I checked again and again. Then it occurred to me that I had jammed the connecting rod and that was what was making the noise. By now the mower was so hot that I felt it was in danger of melting any aluminum parts it may have. I parked it and said screw it. Chalk-up another lawn mower to stupidity! But then, last night I went out back just to have another look and upon checking the oil I discovered that it wasn't even registering on the dipstick. I added 30 wt. to the proper level and fired it up. Lo and behold, it seems to be fine. I mowed for about an hour with no problem. Conclusion, It was the rod knocking due to insufficient oil. My only saving grace is the fact that I was running 40 to 1 premix gas in my mower and maybe that saved it from seizure.

The American Toy-Bike Syndrome.

Bike riders are unpredictable. Motorists should not have to dodge or be delayed by bicycles. Much more like pedestrians than vehicles, bicycles should not be on the roads at all. If a separate sidewalk or other pedestrian/bicycle path can not be provided, then bicyclists must be kept out of the way of motorists by the use of separate bicycle lanes.
How did this happen, and how does it continue?
The Toy-Bicycle Syndrome began in the 1950's and is based upon the concept of bicycling as children's' play activity, which in fact it largely was in the America of 1950. In the 1970's a fitness-crazed adult American public discovered the modern lightweight 10-speed bicycle and the "bike boom" began. Millions of cyclists took to the roads and panic set in with motorists and transportation planners that had long held the belief that bicycles belonged on sidewalks. Thirty years later, those same concepts prevail and control the American bicycling environment.
Worse than ignorance alone, the American public and transportation establishment base their beliefs and actions on a false foundation. Motorists and the vast majority of bicycle owners have no understanding of the concepts and safety of proper cycling and how easy it is for motorists and cyclists to coexist. Rather than working for the little that is needed to make vehicular cycling safe, easy and practical on every road, American bicycle advocacy, decisions and goals are invariably based on the toy-bicycle syndrome.

Do you feel that 93% of federal funding for bicycle transportation should be used for shared pedestrian/bicycle paths and trails with less than 2% going for such things as education, sharable-width lanes and bikeable shoulders?

Food for thought
The Bicycle Thief

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day

The maypole is a tall wooden pole (traditionally of maple (Acer), hawthorn or birch) erected to celebrate May Day or Midsummer. It may be a semi-permanent feature, standing in position year-round until it has to be repainted or replaced, or it may be a shorter, temporary structure. It may be decorated with several long coloured ribbons suspended from the top, festooned with flowers, draped in greenery, hung with large circular wreaths, or adorned with other symbols or decorations, depending on local and regional variances.

With roots in Germanic paganism, the maypole traditionally appears in most Germanic countries, Germanic country-bordering and countries invaded by Germanic tribes after the fall of the Roman Empire (such as Spain, France and Italy), but most popularly in Germany, Sweden, Austria, England, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Finland in modern times for spring, May Day, Beltane, and Midsummer festivities and rites.

What is often thought of as the "traditional" English maypole (a somewhat shorter, plainer version of the Scandinavian pole with ribbons tied at the top and hanging to the ground) is a relatively recent development of the tradition, probably derived from the picturesque, Italianate dances performed in mid-19th century theatricals. It is usually this shorter, plainer maypole that people (usually school children) perform dances around, weaving the ribbons in and out to create striking patterns.