Monday, October 13, 2014

Whoa, Maybe I'll try this coffeeneuring thing.

I've noticed coffeeneuring as a thing the last couple years. I'm unsure why it took me this long to grab on an give it a try.  Perhaps it has something to do with the timing of grad school and what-not..

It's already weekend #2 by those who started day one.  And I needed to invoke Rule #16 (the Tara rule, aka Columbus Day) to even get going on it.

Anyway, I strapped the GoPro to the handlebars, put it on "take a bunch of photos" mode, and picked a few.  Here goes.

Roll out with T.  Damp dirt riding just to keep me humble.

Extreme leaning.  Ahem.

Whoa, fog!

Roll past MaM.  Always makes me smile.

Out on the lake, Discovery world and tall ship.

And Soup Bros (didn't see an official link).  I consider this a must try place.

But don't try to ride home with the soup.  There was an "incident" and we opted to eat it at the side of the road.  Do not look closely at my wife's fork, or you will see soup.

What a great day of just riding around.  All in all about 17 easy/medium miles.  At the end of the ride, I stopped my my local coffee shop for a mocha and a pound of espresso beans for the house.

Where: Colectivo Shorewood
What: 3 shot mocha and a pound of Toro beans
Bike: Milwaukee Orange one single speed.
Bike Friendliness score : high.  There was a bakfiet parked right behind me in this picture.There are a number of places to lock bikes, and local streets are not strangers to bicyclists.
Mileage: 17.4.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Quick Recipe - "Gambler's French Toast"

I made the title up on the spot, there could be other dishes of the same name, I have done zero research to that end.

Stuff that goes in the dish:

  • a pile of decent bread that will in 1-2 days not be decent
  • some eggs.
  • Milk
  • vanilla, with a large pour spout (important)
  • container which a least appears to contain cinnamon
  • 1 TBsp sugar
  • Some butter for pan lubrication
  • More butter for later.
  • Powdered sugar 

How to make it

  1. turn burner on almost full blast.
  2. find most of the stuff listed above
  3. crack eggs into bowl
  4. add milk
  5. dump in less vanilla than I did.
  6. grab container which appears to have cinnamon, add a bunch of that too.
  7. Look at "cinnamon" container to verify it is actually cinnamon.
  8. whisk or beat with fork.
  9. rub butter on hot pan
  10. dip bread into egg mixture
  11. cook the stuff.
  12. once done cooking, add more butter to the toast
  13. dump powdered sugar on.
Alternate title "Dad in a hurry Toast"

Kid did not complain.  Win!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Self Talk

I'm not the guy that points to left field.
I sign up.  I line up. I go.
I bite off more than I can chew, then take a good solid run at the pile.
From when the gun goes off, until the finish line I'm pushing myself there.

I'm racing no one.
I'm overcoming my own demons and limits.
I'm racing me.

I'm not the guy that writes it all down and tells you how it's going to be.
I'm going to see it my way.
I'm going to soak it up.
I'm going to take what the day gives me.

A good friend once told me:
"Never forget how cool it is to show up, put your toe in the sand, and jump in when the gun goes off. The difference between doing that and driving by and wondering is the difference between living and dying"

I'm no poet.  Does it seem like I've been watching too many Nike commercials?

It ain't really about racing, of course.  It is about picking stuff to do and doing it.  As fate would have it, the thing I picked this weekend is the Fat Tire 40.

See you there!  Look for the tall hairy dude in the 29nSNGL kit. Well, there may be more than one fitting that description.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

This Year's Idea for 100 Miles of Nowhere (work)

If you are reading this you might already know what the Fatcyclist deal is for the 2013 100 Miles of Nowhere.  Short synopsis: sign up, get cool race schwag, and ride 100 miles in some creative way where you don't end up traveling very far or seeing anything interesting (example, around your block 6000000 times or on a trainer / rollers).

I was having trouble coming up with anything more creative than "throw in Lord of the Rings trilogy DVD set and ride on the trainer".  Then I saw this table for bicycles and a light bulb went on.

Why don't I try to do my 100 miles of nowhere while working from home?  Also known as, "why ruin a perfectly good Saturday inside the house".

I work out of the house once in a while and I thought it'd be nice if I could queue up a few "free" miles time wise.

OK sure, I stacked a bunch of odd plastic bins together and made a contraption that I can't in good conscience take a photo of and post online.  Today was a test run of the concept.  I spent an hour on the trainer while working, then rode outside over lunch, and another 45 minutes on the trainer cooling down while working.  I have to say, not having ridden a trainer in a good long while, this is going to be tougher than I thought.

I have a week or two to build up to the Fatcyclist's 100 miles.  I'll have to ramp up quickly.  The funny thing I'm thinking about is that post mile 80 feeling coinciding with thinking at work.  Can I get 100 free*, healthy miles while outputting good quality work?  This remains to be seen.  How hard can it be ?  Hoping it will give me some extra insights into problem solving at work.

Post setup note.  After all this went down, I got an email from TwinSix saying my race schwag is on it's way.  Woot!  And, OH, I'm not quite ready!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Small Pushes

Skipping a ton of background, I'd like to frame out this whole "Arrowhead 135" desire brewing before rumors are abound.

First, years ago I saw the fat bikes used at Arrowhead (from reading internet) a few years back.  They were using 2 rims laced together to make one wide rim, Pugsleys were maybe just a frame you could buy.. maybe.  And while there was a certain allure to the race, I never thought I'd do it.  It is probably worth mentioning I had an addiction to reading Icebike's website at the time too.

Second, I immediately saw the allure of a fat bike (the bike blogger's equivalent to "I was into Spinal Tap before the movie" for sure).  At any rate, I have long seen the fat bike as a "hey, let's just go ride and have a blast no matter where we end up" kind of bike.  Which fits me (slow guy that attends a few races as social events).

Not sure what order the rest of this stuff all goes in, but last weekend I did the Noque 25km Snow Bike race.  I should probably put up some sort of race report, but will just say at this point it was an all out blast!  Non-stop fun.  Grinning from ear-to-ear.  I am hooked on snow bike races.  And, let's just say I left plenty of room for improvement out there on the course.

Other pertinent information.  I am not a camper.  We love loading up the family in a mini-van and taking a gigantic tent to a state park.  We also love to eat at the local diners when doing so.  So to compare that with loading up a bike with all my supplies and hoping to survive the weekend, I'm a beginner. (let's not mention the 25 below part)

Currently 0F - 20F is "cold" but doable for me.  Northern MN at the end of January is in a different ball game.

So, small pushes.  I would guess the next step is to figure out how to load the bike up with camping gear and go.  Plan to meet the family at a state park somewhere.  Probably I should check out volunteering at Arrowhead 135.  I'm thinking this is some kinda 5 year plan where the culmination is to find out if the Arrowhead is even something I care to do.  I do love the idea though.  It's just as likely I end up with a greater fondness of camping and self reliance, and that would be grand.

Probably should put this on the list.. Find an Arrowhead participant and buy them a beer.  Know anyone?


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bike Shop Review: Angry Catfish

See upcoming post about the Surly Moonlander if you want to read more about the reason I was at the Angry Catfish.


Let me start by saying how lucky I am to live in a city where there are plenty of bicycle shops.  I pass at least 3 on the way to work.  I go to different shops for different items, and I have some clear favorites locally.

There is an interesting dynamic with bike shops.  You must learn who you trust at the shop.  There are few shops that I haven't been in when I was younger only to think "I'm never going in there again".  Now I understand the LBS must be attended with a discerning eye.  Know what you want and talk to the person you click with.  There are some great shop workers, don't let 1-2 bad ones (that probably don't last) color your overall experience.

Given all that, it was difficult for me to pass up all the local shops when I heard the guys at Angry Catfish post about pre-ordering Moonlanders.

I put a few feelers out locally, but no one had the same certainty those guys had.  In hindsight, I may have received my Moonlander a day or 2 early (or not).  But it is all about the crazy desire to own new cool toys first.  And of course, about the stories you can tell.  (We won't segway here to "why the Moonlander is my midlife crisis vehicle")

Also, I want to say that I enjoy buying from a local bike shop.  Occasionally, there are some ridiculously cheap things available on the Inter-webs and I just can not justify buying local at 2x the price.  But such deals are not the norm for me.

Bikes at Angry Catfish

I would be remiss if I suggested this was some sort of in-depth store review.  I went for one thing.  My anticipation level for the product was high.  I took a quick, dazed look around, an headed home.

That said, these guys did many things right.  If you're upset I didn't buy from you, take a few tips.

First, how did I hear about them?  The sell bikes and coffee, what's not to like?  If I recall right, they managed to get my attention via twitter or similar social media.  Most likely via some retweet from Twinsix (more cool bike folks).

Second, they really responded to their on-line requests, and promptly.  Look, how many bike shops have you emailed and gotten in depth, prompt help?  Many, many shops are on-line, but I have been doing this whole "Internet thing" since the mid-90's.  I have developed extremely high expectations of on-line presences.  These expectations may be overblown for bike shops.  It is easy to see how/why a bike shop owner would focus on running the bike shop vs. responding to emails.  I'm here to say though, that for me, the "responding to emails" thing worked.

They had me at, "we'll get you the bike in December."  But they won me over with the consistent, prompt responses.

Alright, I've overcooked the word "prompt".  Let's just say I'm impressed.  In a world of great bike shops, these guys were the right thing at the right time for me.

But wait, there's more.


A little history.  I don't consider myself a coffee snob.  I know what I like.

I started really enjoying espresso drinks around the time that Alterra Lakefront hit the map.  Prior to that, I had enjoyed a Starbucks here and there, but didn't really "get" what the big deal was.

At some point, I was noticing a clear distinction in coffee from the local Alterra.  I chalked it up to personal preference.  One day a friend had sent me some coffee competition links, and I recognized the barista from the local Alterra on the podium.  A-ha!  No wonder.  These guys take it seriously. Side note, all the folks on the podium were either from Alterra or Intelligentsia.

Back to Angry Catfish coffee.   It turns out they serve Intelligentsia coffee.  Cool bikes + the possibility of coffee I will truly enjoy.

Here's how it went down.  I asked if there was something special they made.  AC suggested a "sea salt mocha".   I went for it.  Rule #1 in dining is "order what's in the name of the restaurant".  I wasn't in the mood for catfish, but the corollary is "order the specialty" (but maybe not the special).

Here's where I pull out the "not a coffee snob" bit.  I can't really tell you the nuances of flavor or robustness ratings.  It fit my description for "really good coffee drink".  The sea salt mocha was an interesting change of pace.


If you like bicycles or coffee, and find yourself in the neighborhood, I highly recommend a venture past Angry Catfish.  If you like both, it's time for a road trip!


I wasn't promised anything special for this review.   I just hope it helps a good shop's business.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dusting Off The Old Blog


It has been a while since I have had the time or inclination to write something out here.  I want to say that I have either been too busy to do a writeup of the great things going on, or it has been much of the same. ( in a way, both )

On with it then, I have hit a worthy cause for peeling open the blog again (translation, I'm pumped).  Kick back, this might take a minute.

How Did I get here?

It all started a couple of months years back.  I was going out and reading a bit of   Somehow I ended up looking at pictures of double rimmed Surly bikes at Arrowhead 135. A seed was planted.

Back when I was doing Ironman training, I vividly recall the weekend snow rides I would do in the winter.  A couple days in the basement on the trainer and I would be raring to get outside even if it was just to slide around in the snow for an hour.  It was good for my demeanor.  My mountain bike at the time was only loosely equipped for the job.

Cut to about a year ago.  A whole pile of my buddies who previously had not seen use for a fat bike, went in on a bushel (or some seemingly large quantity) of Pugsley frames and secretly built them up, hidden in their workshops/basements.  Then one day, "look what we found! They are so fun!"

Here's where the timing gets better for me.  At some point this year, Surly announced a Moonlander.  I was immediately hooked by the name, paint, fatness and really just the whole package.  A couple months back I notice Angry Catfish bicycles + coffee says "we can put you on the list" or some such. I put a few feelers out to the local guys, but no one seemed as certain as those guys.  Maybe they know Surly, and maybe they are just good marketers ( apologies in advance if I just offended the Angry Catfish guys by possibly attributing marketing skills to them ).  Anyway, the release date was close enough to a birthday of mine, that I started calling in favors.

... Skip the part about shaking nervously / excitedly for a couple months while waiting ...

Through the magic of the Internet and a really patient shop owner at Angry Catfish, we worked out the painstaking details.  I plan to write a separate post about what a great job they did.  ( We'll skip the pickup / awesome shop experience for now in the interest of - ahem - shortening this post ).

Cut to Sunday.  The extra large Moonlander has pedals, and is ready for it's maiden voyage.  But wait a minute.  Let me just take time out to say that the XL Moonlander is on the order of one of the biggest bicycles I have seen.  I am at least 6'3" and time has long passed since I have gotten on a bike and even considered there was such a thing as "stand over height".  Any pictures you have seen do not do the Moonlander justice.

What did I think? (a.k.a. The Ride - a.k.a. Pics or It Didn't Happen)

We'll skip right over the flat I got (and walk home because I hadn't chosen a bike pump yet).

Do not ask me to compare it to the other fat bikes, I haven't ridden them enough to say.  All I can tell you is it is an incredible joy to ride.  I loved biking already, but this bike puts a smile on your face from the moment you look at it.  Once you are riding, it's difficult not to just laugh out loud.

In my opinion, this bike (or perhaps fat bikes in general) are game changers toward the vein of "just biking".  There was no triathlon to train for, no group ride where I was just trying to hang on.  It was me on a bike riding down the beach in 40 F temperatures in the wee hours of the morning.  I was listening to the waves crash on the beach and just soaking it all in.

Very relaxing.  I am now waiting anxiously for snow.

OK then, one more shot without the flat.

I will try to cajole someone into riding with me so I can get a shot of me on the bike.