Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Snack vortex

I picked off a whole nest of tent caterpillar babies with the idea of giving the fish an all-natural snack.  As it turns out, guppy mouths are even smaller than baby tent caterpillars, so the remaining hundred or so got to hang out for a couple of days.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

One reason to ride in the evening

In some ways, I really don't like weekends​. I spend so much time during the working week thinking about what I will do with my free time, that when I finally have a whole two days to myself, I kind of freak out. I can't decide which of the million awesome things I will do next and it is painful to sort through. Mostly I just flit between several options unsuccessfully, and then kick myself for indecision and incomplete projects all Sunday night.

Today was just such a day. I had in my head that I was going to do a bike race, but then realized that I had spent all Saturday cleaning out the basement, and had not spent any time with Jennifer. I chose the latter, but was so annoyed that I couldn't do both, that I in turn annoyed the shit out of Jennifer.  Neither of us enjoyed the day.


I finally dragged myself down to the Navy Yard for a bike workout, and was ultimately rewarded with this sunset. A nice way to remind myself that every day comes to a close, and every morning is a new chance to start it over.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017


Steve Tilford, the first real, honest to god, bike racer dude I ever met, died last night in a car crash in Colorado. I remember seeing him hanging out on the couches in the back of Michael's Cyclery, holding court about some bike race deed or other with the guys. He raced for a number of years for Michael in the 80s, and knew my dad well from the scene at the shop. There was always a sort of manic energy about him, like sitting still was a waste of his time. He was a compelling character in the way that many such driven people are, like a little crackle of electricity arcing through the room as he ambled in. There was a newspaper article in the back break area of the shop with a picture of Steve, arm in a sling spinning along on his rollers. The headline said, "Steve Tilford Wants to Race His Bike Badly." Underneath, someone had written And He Does in neat block print.

The last time I saw Steve, he was fuming after some jerk kid from United Health Care chopped his line in a corner of the nighttime crit in the Sands Casino Hotel parking lot at Interbike in 2009. He was talking with my dad, and was obviously still coming down off of an adrenaline rush from what would have been his thousandth crash in a race. My dad always insisted that Steve was likely immortal, because scar tissue doesn't die.

Even if you've never heard of the guy, I'd recommend reading this blog post, which paints a compelling picture of a fairly crazy dude. I'm sure you've seen shades of this guy in the people we know around Philly or in your scene, whatever it is.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Thank God the montage is over

While there is still a little extra bump on my collarbone, things look a lot better than this now. I can even sort of do pushups.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


In the Streets Department they call them breakaway poles, but I would beg to differ.

The good news is that I don't have a zipper on my spine, the bad news is that my bones now number one more than they did Tuesday morning.  Six to eight weeks in a sling, don't know yet if I need surgery.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Looking back

Mom retired this month and has been cleaning out the closets. I am the lucky beneficiary.

Lots of pictures of my awkward teens, but some keepers.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Last year, so hot, so tired.

The day started with shaking hundreds of crickets out of our clothing at the roadside pullout where we camped.  We got water, and a breakfast of some cheese, apples and Dr. Pepper at a gas station and grocery store in Cody, Nebraska.

For lunch, we stopped in Valentine for the best salad I've ever eaten at a McDonalds.  I took a work call because we had cell service for the first time in a long time and then I attempted to rinse the sweat off of my body in the bathroom sink.  It wasn't very effective.

By the afternoon, the 20 mile per hour tailwind from the southwest had turned into a 25 mile per hour cross/headwind from the southeast and we were beat.  We sat by the side of the road for 30 minutes, saw one car, and watched a monarch butterfly flap in vain as it tried to get to Mexico.  We settled down for the night just off of Turbine Road in the one bedroom house that we rented in Springview after 100 long, hot miles. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Lightning bug and I

Both staring at our true loves.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Return home and return home

Jennifer and I spent the last weekend in Ames for no particular occasion.  While I love the fun of being home at CHristmas or Thanksgiving with all the family in place, it was actually really great just to spend some time with my parents, see Jennifer's family and pass some time in lovely Iowa spring weather.

The general routine is to fly in late one night, crash at the McMakens and then spend the next day or so trying to maximize time with my folks.  Saturday morning I ended up working a Bike Rodeo with my dad at the Nevada (pronounced Ne-VAY-da) Police Department's spring safety fair.  A bike rodeo usually consists of a helmet giveaway, safety instruction for kids, and a couple of willing souls from a local bike shop trying to make a bunch of really crummy bikes safe enough to ride.  The Nevada Police auctioned off a bunch of bikes that they'd impounded or recovered over the years and as the morning crept onward it was clear that we were working on a bunch of refuse.  On one hand, it sucks, because people with low expectations purchase a bike for a 'good deal' and then are left with something that barely functions.  Deals are only deals when they are worth more than you paid for them.  I joked with my dad that next year he should head over a day in advance and pay the police $20 bucks to throw about half of the bikes in a dumpster.

On the other hand, this is the type of repair that I am truly excellent at.  My years working on shitty bikes at Michael's Cyclery, Grand Performance, Skunk River Cycles and Trophy Bikes prepared me well for fixing crap and fixing it fast.  I got a surprising amount of satisfaction from quickly identifying the real failings that would keep a bike from moving or stopping and then hosing it down with Tri-Flow and making it do its thing, at least to a small degree.  I am a top-shelf kludge-master.

The remainder of the day was spent hanging out with Claire, who sort of surprised everyone last minute by making the trip from Iowa City.  It was great to spend time with her and have some tasty drinks and catch up on the various craziness that is her life. Her husband is now helping one of their catering customers put together a hydroponic system on his roof in his spare time, which is nearly nil.  I can oddly identify with that.  My people are helping people, even at the expense of their own free time or sanity.

We had an oversized dinner, oversized numbers of beers and other drinks, and then had a small backyard fire in the pit that my dad had constructed from pieces of an old bed frame and the guts of a washing machine. Classic style.