Thursday, July 31, 2008
We had a slightly raised block patio built up last week in the east end of the garden where the bench sits. Because of its isolated location, poor Tom had to carry two trailer loads of sand down the rough stone steps in 5 gallon buckets. I helped him by doing what I'm best at, which is mostly general kibitzing and offering moral support. This little patio, along with the water feature ( a cow tank) I dragged down earlier this year, pretty much completes the bones of the garden. I thought the cow tank was a nice touch in a Midwestern cottage garden. I helps both me and the garden from becoming too refined - too precious. As I sat on the bench, a smoking a cigar and sipping Glenlivet, generally admiring my handiwork, I thought to myself, "Those perennials I transplanted should fill in nicely in about two years." Oh shit! As I'm not planning on moving anytime soon, this does not bode well for my future health and well being. Damn! - time to update the old will, I guess.
BUT last night I listened as the weather guy says, "Don't be fooled by this apparent cloud cover along the Mississippi. Its not rain, its a mayfly hatch." A mayfly hatch heavy enough to be picked up by satellite photos? Yuck.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
This particular bike hangs from the ceiling of Rydjor Bikes, my local bike shop. It was originally imported and built up by Spence Wolf at the legendary Cupertino Bike Shop. When new, this was somebody else's dream bike. It has all the bells and whistles. Not only does it have the Cinelli Unicantor seat and Cinelli fenders, it has the industries first clipless pedals, the M71 "death pedals"; so called because of the difficulty of disengaging one's feet from them in a panic situation. It also has Cinelli Bivalent hubs, a feature which allowed the front and rear wheels to be interchangeable. The rear derailleur remains attached to the frame when the rear wheel is removed. Yet another feature of this bicycle is a custom Pino Maroni titanium bottom bracket, made at a time when titanium was an extremely exotic material. All the bells and whistles, and obviously ridden a lot and well cared for. Somebody else loved this bike.
I fell in love with it years ago. It is a perfect fit and rides like a dream - of course I only had a chance to ride it around the block one time. Whenever I came into the shop I'd pause, look up at it and ask Dan when he was going to sell it to me - a kind of joke. He never sold one of his collection. Then one day he said, "I'll sell it to you, because I know you'll ride it instead of hanging it on the wall." He said that he wouldn't sell it to me until he had found a replacement Cinelli for it in the collection. A few months went by, and then he died suddenly. At the time a damned bicycle didn't seem very important. As time moved on, I was afraid the collection would be sold and I'd lose the Cinelli. It now seems the collection is more or less permanent. I won't ever own the Ulwelling Cinelli, but I can still stop by the shop anytime I need a Cinelli fix or to remember Dan.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
At first meeting Dan might have seemed to be a simple person. He was quiet and modest, but with a kind sense of humor. As time passed I grew to know him better, and the layers slowly peeled away. It became obvious he was much more complicated, very intelligent with varied interests. He read a lot on many subjects, enjoyed drawing and painting, cabinet making, and racing vintage motocross motorcycles as well as his bicycles.
About five years ago Dan was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was very up front about it, not feeling sorry for himself, but accepting it in his own philosophical way. The form of cancer he had normally would take years to run its course, but 2 1/2 years ago Dan died suddenly, devastating all of us. The shop had a carbon Trek on display that had been a Lance Armstrong bike. It was taken off its stand, pushed back in a corner, and replaced with Dan’s bike - his daily rider, along with his cycling gloves and shoes; a shrine to a lost friend. People stopped by the shop, but it was hard to talk, difficult to put feelings into words. In the evening the line at the funeral home threaded through the chapel, out the door, up the sidewalk and around the corner– all people biding farewell to a “simple” bicycle shop owner. The next day there were probably 600 people at th service at St.Augustine. There were 600 people there only because that was all the little church would hold with people standing at the back and in the aisles. His wife Katie and his children spoke. I just cried. As the service wound down I slowly regained control. It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings...and her last song was "Danny Boy". A cappella. The tears started all over again.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Hats off to the Red Lantern. He is us.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
They are one of those creatures that are magic. Image you have never seen anything other than regular brown bugs. Then you meet this guy that says there are insects that have internal lights, and they can turn them off and on at will, and on certain nights of the year they gather in large numbers and blink off and on in a certain sequence as a precurser to mating. Well, you'd think he was smoking really good dope. Though I'll bet if I could make my fat ass light up like a Christmas tree I could attract females too.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Upon reviewing yesterday's results, I found that while No. 9 Wim Vansevenant, the anchor of the Silence-Lotto team, still has the Lanterne Rouge, No. 123, sprinter Jimmy Casper, a two time Lanterne winner himself, is taking big chunks of time out of his lead. This is the first real threat to Wim by one of the real heady pros of the Tour. While Casper, a sprinter, is falling back, just trying to haul his sorry ass over the hill, Wim has work to do. With teammate Cadel Evans in real contention, the 13 year veteran will have work to do in the peleton. When Wim does fall off the pace, he will have to fall back fast to cover Casper, yet avoid the rolling cut off time. Go Wim!
Monday, July 14, 2008
I see Cadel Evans, my TdF pick, is now firmly in yellow, leading by one second. I haven't had a chance to check on Wim. The pro that he is, I assume he's doing alright in this, his swan-song Tour.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
This year Wim goes for an unprecedented third straight Lanterne, after a second from bottom finish in 2005. May God grant him leaden shoes. Honestly, who would you rather share a beer with, Lance Armstrong or Wim Vansevenant?
I used to follow the daily standings, looking for the names of my favorite laggards. Now there are blogs dedicated solely to these anti-heroes, these backrow slackers. This one is particularly fine: http://tdflr.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Roll on, Columbia, roll on, roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
So roll on, Columbia, roll on.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
It seems to be a period of transition, with lots of young riders in the ranks, and no obvious teams or leaders. As I am apparently expected to make a call anyway, if I was waggering real money I'd pick Cadel Evans. He's not a dark horse stud like Alberto, but a good, consistent cyclist. I hope I'm wrong. If I'm correct, it will make for a long, dull race.