Friday, August 12, 2005

Bay to Breakers picture

I finally checked out the Bay to Breakers website to see if I had any pictures from the race in May. The Bay to Breakers race takes place each year in San Fransisco, and is supposedly the longest running race in the country. (Longest running, as in it's been taking place for the most consecutive years than any other race) Its roots lay in a foot race held to raise moral at the turn of the last century after the great San Fransisco earth quake. In true San Fran style, though, its not your normal race.

Although there are world reknown athletes that run the race, and compete for large purses, there are also lots of people dressed up and many drunk people meandering across the city. Imagine Halloween with 50,000 people. Now imagine them all running 7 miles across the city.

I dressed up in a "Freudian Slip" costume. Surpisingly, the slip was incrediably comfortable, although I woulnd't recommend a polyester one. It doesn't breath very well. The run went better than expect, especially considering what I had done the day before. The race was on a Sunday, and on Satruday, I had done a pretty intense 11 mile trail run, followed by a mt bike around same loop. This lead to huge cramping issues in the calves during the bike, and I was pretty sore aftwards. Following that, It drove to San Fran in the evening to register for the race, and then slept in my car to wake up early the next day for the run. When the race began, I started slowly, intending on going easy, enjoying the atmosphere, just loosening up from the day before. By the time I reached the steep hill in the city, however, I had loosened up a lot, and going up the hill gave me energy to actually start going at a good pace, which I kept up the rest of the race.

Me smiling for the camera while crossing the finish line!

As I mentioned before, many of the people in the back pack are drinking during the race. Shopping carts with kegs are a common sight, although that is really just for the amatures. The real dedicated partiers have carts the size of parade floats, complete with a full bar, roofs over it, ect. These roaming parties have 15-30 people in their group, with it taking 5-6 to be pushing at any given time. This is an all day event for them.

Other attractions inclucde the salmon runners, who dress up in huge foam fish costumes, and run the course "upstream", starting at the finish and going towards the start, squirming and jumping their way through the crowd in a line.

Of course you can't leave out the Bare to Breakers either; those dedicated to doing the entire race donning nothing but running shoes and a number.

One of the more interesting features was the tortilla throwing. The race start was filled curb to curb with people, for many blocks, as one would expect for a race like this. Many people had large bags of tortillas and were wildly throwing totillas like frisbees into the air to land down on the crowd. At one any one point there were dozens of flying flour discs going in random directions. Then I turned the corner. Dozens of tortillas in the air at any given moment? Scratch that. Make it hundreds. As you got closer to the start line, you were walking over one big floury mess covering the pavement. No one I talked knew where the tradition had started, just that it was a tradition.

At the end of the race, there was the typical after race events, with a playing field in a park taken over by vendors. This is usually ok, except in this case, the race planners had not actually provided any food themselves. They were completely relying on the vendors "free samples" as post race snack. Needless to say, this didn't involve fruit or juice. Instead, it was chocolat milk, candy, paper products, and dental floss. This is extremely irresponsible on their part. When I pay $50 bucks for race, part of that money, in my mind, goes to having fruit and bagels at the end of the race. Plain and simple. That's point of organizing a race. Instead, you'd have to stand in a half hour line, to get what ever crap was given away for free.

One of the event stands was from Southwest Airlines, who was hosting a costume contest. They were only keeping the stage open till a certain time, however, which meant that the only people who were eligable, were people who actually "ran" the race. This drastically cut down on the entrants, and I decided to enter. After that, though, I got pretty bored, especially with the lack of food, and decided to head home. Three days later, I got a phone call saying that I had won one of the prizes, an all expence paid trip to Phoenix, AZ. I'm not sure what the appeal is to go to Phoenix, when you all ready live in CA, but it works good for me, since I have freinds there. Unfortunately, I never received the prize, which was supposed to be FedExed to me shortly afterwards. I sent them a letter a few weeks back, and am still waiting for the reply.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

shot down

I tried to bike to work today for the first time in a while.
It was an uphill battle, and all was against me.

The main problem, begins with the fact that I know bring my work laptop home with me on a regular basis. This then requires me to have to bring it back to work also. Although I've biked with both a backpack of clothes and a laptop satchel previously, I have no intentions of doing so on a 25 mile ride, uphill, when I'm aiming to shave any amount of time off the commute I can. This lead me to finally upgrade to getting a pannier setup for my bike. I had been shopping around for a while trying to get the right system. I wanted to get a free hanging rear bike rack with a quick release. That way I'll only need one, and will be able to switch quickly between my road bike, and my fixie once I build it. This will also allow me to take it off when I'm going for a training ride. I also needed panneirs that were big enough to hold my laptop, while inside of its laptop bag. I didn't want to have to bother unloading accessories in and out of my bag every day. I already knew from talking to jojo that the quick release racks don't work as well as you'd like for panniers. They're to high for the panniers to clip to the rear wheel mount, if you're panneirs have a hook even. Regardless, I got the quick release carrier, and panniers. I made them fit by using one of gods great tools, zip ties, to extend the reach of the the hooks. I was fairly sure the ties would hold, and testing them on the way to gym the previous day.

So, I woke up early. I packed my bags, eat a cliff bar as breakfast, got dressed and headed on my way. I got a mile or so away from home when I realized that I had forgotten my badge, and had to turn around. Halfway back, however, there was a clink , bang thunk, and bike wobbled drastically. I looked back to see all my stuff yard saled across the street. Bags, and bike gear laying aorund. Apparently both zip ties had simultanious cataostropic failure.

I picked up my bags, biked home, went to sleep for another hour, and then drove to work. The pannier system needs some adjusting, but it will prevail!!

Its about time I show off my road bike!

So I had finally bought a road bike in the middle of June. I had biked to work once on my mountain bike, and decided that even with the slicks, that's not going to cut it. It worked fine for the 9.5 mile commute from my old place, but the 27 mile each way from my new place is little far. (From now on, I will refer to my mt. bike by it's christened name, "Identity Crisis." It doesn't know what kind of bike it is.)This lead me to search out a place where I could find a used bike. Eventually I found Bike Builders, which was a pretty ghetto place, doing more business in fucktarded pocket motor bikes than bicycles. They did have an ample supply of old bikes though.

I ended up getting a 1989 Peugeot Triathlon for $220. The frame is in good shape, no rust, although the rims had plenty of rust to go around. The handle bars were also a little bent up, but that was easily fixable. The components, Shimano 105's across the board, were in mint condition, except for the pedals which had both toe clips broken off. This was fine since I was going to put spd on anyway. The 105 series is known for being cheap, simple, and reliable. It also has horizontal drop outs, so I can turn it into a fixie once I buy a decent road bike. I was going to do that in spring, but I'm not sure if I can wait that long. (Wait that long to have a fixie for my in town bike, that is.)

I've only ridden it to work once so far though, and that was the first week after I got it. A couple of miles from getting home that night, I hit bump which caused a lout crashing noise. I looked down at the tires as coasted, and they looked fine. Later in the evening, however, when I headed to the Rock Gym, I noticed that I had a front flat. I'm pretty sure I had actually ridden the last 3 miles home on the flat, I just didn visually recognize it, not being used to how thin road tires look. When I took the wheel apart, I discovered what looked to be the original tires, tubes, and rim strips. The plastic rim strips were completely shot, so it's no surpise that I blew a tire. What was a surprise, however, was that I had also completely jacked up the rear rim. A rusted nippke had actually through the rim!!

Jacked up rear tire. Never saw damage like that before.

Because the axle length was an unusual size, I chose to rebuild the wheel with a new rim rather than buy a new one and force it in. That project turned out pretty well. I followed directions online from Sheldon Brown's Webpage. (Sheldon Brown has the most extensive web page I've seen dedicated to everything bicycle.) Instead of using a truing stand, I took a tip from from a guy at the bike shop I frequent, and just used zip ties attached to the frame of my bike. I was to lazy to test vertical trueness, and didn't even have a dish tester, so I just checked out the horizontal. This actually lead to a very nice wheel with no visible wobble.