Who are we? We are our stories.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Darwin is 200

There was a nice explanation of "natural selection" in Scientific American this month, celebrating the birth of Charles Darwin. http://tinyurl.com/Darwin-link It has always struck me that most people who argue against evolution really don't understand it, usually because they have never studied it, at least with an open mind. And I'm getting damned sick of them trying to push their crackpot religions into our schools! (Hows that for an open mind?)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Through the Ice

For years they pulled an old car out onto the ice of the gravel quarry pond north of Glenville. They left the chain on the vehicle so it could be dragged out when the ice went out. There was a pool at the local bar on the Spring "break through" date. My classmate Toby's old man had a brilliant idea, that well executed, would pay off handsomely. On his date he left the bar and went out to the pond with a BUNCH of dynamite. He crawled under the car with his explosives, with the intent of blowing a hole in the ice. Somehow he miscalculated something - mistakes were made. There wasn't enough left of the unfortunate man to bury. That was the last year they had the Spring Pool.

The World Shifts...and the Shifting is Indexed!

Two days ago I stopped by the shop of Chris Kvale, a custom bicycle builder. I came away from the experience, frankly shaken. What I knew to be true is now false, what was evil is now good, what was frivolous is necessary. Chris is older, my age, and a person of moderation in all things, slow to change, and slow to embrace the present, say nothing of the future. Much like an Indian, he takes only from the White culture that which makes sense in his world. He once described himself as an analog man living in a digital world. Of course there were rumblings in the distance, hints of the coming change. First, he started using a cell phone...only because his wife gave it to him as a gift, he said. Then a friend set up a website for him. Chris' wife showed him how to use her old computer. The man who didn't know how to turn a computer on, started answering e-mails sent to the address posted on his own website.

But what I saw Wednesday was different. It struck to the very core of what Chris is as a person and a rider. He asked if I would like to see his new bicycle. Well yes! When an artisan wants to share a special project, of course you want to see it. At first glance it was what I expected, a lean spare machine, looking fast just sitting on the stand. Then it registered in my mind - carbon Campagnolo components! A ten-speed rear hub, INDEXED downtube shifters! I was stunned. The world as I knew it had shifted. "Ya, it came in just under 19 pounds. Of course it could have been lighter with lighter tubeset." Chris Kvale, my ultimate arbitrator on all things bicycle, in his older years had become a weight weenie! - a weight weenie with an automatic transmission. He has gone over to the Dark Side.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Art and the Muse

Lugs are the sleeves that join the tubes of traditional steel framed bicycles. On older bikes they are two pieces of pressed steel welded together, the newer lugs are cast iron. The real artisans "carve" them, that is they file the shorelines into graceful shapes, and file them thinner. For instance, my Chris Kvale frame lugs are simple, minimalist outlines filed as thin as a possible - almost as if a Shaker did them. J Peter Weigle's lugs are not really ornate, but tend toward graceful, almost feminine curves. I really like them. If I had more money in my bike account, he would certainly be on my short list. (Thanks Peter W. and Chuck S.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thomas Buttensch√łn

Ad is in Laos. She's traveling with group that includes an Othelloish Danish pop singer. They share an appreciation of the ukulele. I checked Youtube and he's really pretty good. Of course he sings in Danish and my Danish is a little sketchy these days.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Indian Railroads

My mind tends to collect worthless information and statistics. Because my daughter logged a lot of miles on the Indian railroads, this caught my eye this morning:

"Only Bollywood does more to unite India than its railways. The statistics beggar belief: every year, Indians take 5.4 billion train trips, 7 million per day in suburban Mumbai alone. New Delhi Station sees daily transit of 350,000 passengers, which is roughly five times more than New York’s LaGuardia Airport, and enough to make Grand Central look like Mayberry Junction. The railways’ total track mileage rivals the length of the entire U.S. Interstate Highway system, even though the United States is three times the size of India. Among human resource problems, the railways of India are an Everest. Its employees outnumber Wal-Mart’s by a figure comparable to the population of Pittsburgh. The world’s only larger employer is the People’s Liberation Army of China. (The third-largest employer is the British National Health Service.)"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Campagnolo Super Record Seatpost

Add Image

The last major piece of the puzzle has fallen into place for my Chris Kvale bike build up; early 1980s SR post. :-)

Harbingers of Spring

This time of the year we in the Northland tend to start looking for benchmarks that let us realize that, beyond the frozen horizon, Spring is still on the way. A couple of days ago Sally mentioned her hostas under the snow - obviously grasping at straws to maintain her sanity. Robins and crocuses are fine, but they are still two pages down the calender. One of our first harbingers is the ice houses, or lack of them. They are off the ice, by law I suspect, because they seemed to vanish overnight.

For you people living in more reasonable climes, these shacks in the picture are on the lake. Don't let the tracks laid down by pickups mislead you. When it freezes hard you can drive all over the lakes. Ice houses, or fish houses, are clustered around the lake, usually in groups in front of the "better" homes. They have floors with cutouts for the holes that are chiseled through a foot or more of ice, to allow a fishing line to be dangled down into the water, at east theoretically. In actuality it's a place where men go to drink beer, scratch, spit and fart without being "corrected". It is an example of how far society would slide and deteriorate without women to maintain certain minimal standards. There are no frilly curtains, no "cute" window boxes - just a minimal shack painted with a mixture of the old paint from the top shelf. Both my grandfather and father had ice houses. I don't, and I'm probably the poorer for it.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Evils of Processed Food

From an article in The Economist on human evolution and it's relationship to food, cooked food in particular:

"Another telling experiment, conducted on rats, did not rely on cooking. Rather the experimenters ground up food pellets and then recompacted them to make them softer. Rats fed on the softer pellets weighed 30% more after 26 weeks than those fed the same weight of standard pellets. The difference was because of the lower cost of digestion. Indeed, Dr Wrangham suspects the main cause of the modern epidemic of obesity is not overeating (which the evidence suggests—in America, at least—is a myth) but the rise of processed foods."

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Dog Called Worker

Today I made my periodic trip to the Mayo Clinic. Any time you are really feeling sorry for yourself, a walk through the clinic will help adjust your attitude. There are a lot of people in this world that are really messed up, and a lot of them end up there. As I was leaving I got on the elevator with a young man in a wheelchair leashed to a Golden Lab. I commented on the animal. He said, kind of matter of factually, "Yeah, he pulls me. I need help since I broke my back". I asked what the dog's name was. "Ahh, I dunno, I just call him Worker". The door opened and the kid said, "Let's go." Worker tugged, spun the chair around, and towed him out of the elevator and down the hall - a dog on a mission, pulling deliberate, looking straight ahead. Not a pet, a worker with a job to do.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Addy Report

Addy called this evening. She's back in Thailand after her sojourn into Cambodia. She'll be posting photos of Angkor Wat and maybe the Killing Fields on her blog soon. I'll post a link if and when. Tomorrow she's taking a slow riverboat to somewhere. It was a bad connection and I'd have forgotten it anyway. Anyway, she's doing fine on her backpack through life.


I have a confession to make; I am a Dane. I'm not as Danish is the sweetroll I married, who is full blooded Dane. I'm only half Dane. When the relatives gather, the light glaring off the top of the towheads can sometimes be blinding. On Christmas after the food is eaten, the gifts are exchanged and we can see the end of the good wine, it begins. Slowly at first, even innocently, the strong cheeses appear, then the canned fish. Before long, bottles of Akvavit and Gammel Dansk are fetched from the freezer or back stoop. Then some, particularily the younger men, start throwing down the gauntlet, they begin establishing their "Danishness"; first by eating strong smelly cheeses and canned fish, and then by drinking Akvavit shots. Even Tim from up the street, who I believe is actually Irish, falls victim to the challenges.

Our Akvavit of choice is Aalborg, which is the nearest city to the village where my grandfather was born. Recently a novice from the Coast asked about how to drink Akvavit and I explained it to him, but I shorted him a little on the "ritual". From today's Minneapolis Tribune:

"Aquavit's strange attractions go beyond health. There's a mystical quality to the elixir; it's like a Scandinavian version of communion wine, fraught with ritual. The basic ritual goes like this:
Pour into a frozen aquavit glass (a special shot glass with a stem so your fingers won't warm the contents). Lift glass toward mouth and pause. Stare into eyes of everyone else holding a glass. Say the obligatory Danish toast, "Skaal." Drink -- to empty or not to empty is up to the individual. Look everyone in the eyes again. Set glass down."

The Great Aldo Ross?

From his famous series:
"Buy the Luxors, Feel the Luxors, Be the Luxors"
Subtitled "Seeing life through the eyes of Luxor twin-65's..."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Alan Wolfe on the Dispositions of Liberalism

Clipped from Slate:
"...he argues himself in this engaging new book, The Future of Liberalism, liberalism is more than a temperament; it is also a political tradition with substantive commitments—a body of ideas—and it has, as well, a dedication to fair procedures, impartially administered, legitimated by the consent of the people. Temperament, substance, procedure can all be liberal, and understanding liberalism requires a grasp of all three and of the connections among them. Wolfe's distinctive claim, however, is that the key to liberalism is a set of dispositions, or habits of mind—seven of them, in fact, each of which gets its own chapter.
Four of these dispositions will be quite familiar: "a sympathy for equality," "an inclination to deliberate," "a commitment to tolerance," and "an appreciation of openness." We're used to the portrayal: liberals as talky, tolerant, open-minded, egalitarians. It's not surprising, then, that these types are at home in the garrulous world of the academy—or that bossy preachers, convinced they have the one true story, do not care for them much. But Wolfe's sketch of the liberal adds three unfamiliar elements to the picture: "a disposition to grow," "a preference for realism," and "a taste for governance."

Maria Guadalupe de Reseda

The girl next door (when we were growing up) climbing up the side of the world. Not much else to say except she's still a good friend and it's a great photo.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Kvale Wheel Boy

Lestrud was over last night for a couple of hours helping me drink The Glenlivet 18 year. "Whisskee", as L says. It was a trick. After he was liquored up, Jodie called and left the traditional Valentine's Day message, "When are you going to be coming home!?!". I sent him on his way clutching the Phil hubs, Mavic rims and a bunch of DT Revolution spokes. He can build up tighter, truer wheels than I could ever in my dreams. God bless Dan and God bless The Glenlivet.

Birds at the Feeders

At it's heart Oakwood, as the name would imply, is an oak woods with houses tucked in between the huge, craggy old Burr Oaks, Quercus macrocarpa. The birds don't seem to care that there are houses here. They are just interested in shelter and available food. We have the usual suspects that are here year round - three species of woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, etc. Winter brings flocks down from the boreal forests and northern tundra. There are large flocks of thistle seed eaters - juncos, siskins, common redpolls and hoary redpolls. I'm going through about 20 pounds of niger thistle a week. The only reason it isn't much more is that the birds are limited by peg space at the feeders. I could buy more feeders I suppose, but it's time they learned that we are in tough economic times, even for birds.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Daily Show

The woman I live with and I go to sleep listening to The Daily Show, and on really wild nights, The Colbert Report. I remember reading that over half of all young people get their news from John Stewart. That is crazy; he is a comedian for goodness sake. I am more sophisticated than that. I get most of my news from Doyle Redland.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kvale Saddle

Hey Abe, I scored. A late 1970's Selle San Marco Concor Superleggera. Slightly used by someone with a very soft ass.
Addendum: The previous owner of this saddle read the above. He inquired as to how I knew so much about his soft posterior, and also wondered if my wife was aware of my latent tendencies.
The first I surmised, judging by the saddle's lack of obvious hard-ass scuffing and its almost buffed appearance. And yes, after 40 years, my wife is aware of all of my tendencies, most of which she seems to find extremely frustrating.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Go Liquigas!

(Pronounced "leaky gas"). I have added a new entry on my blog lists at the bottom of the column. Rory, the Cannondale/Liquigas liason, was a friend of a late friend of mine, so I'm backing his boys this year. You West Coast cross boys note that Rory is at least tolerant of cross too - of course he has to be, it's his job. http://rorymasini.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"I am overwhelmed by a sense of humanity here..."

From Adena StarJumper in Cambodia:
"I am too cynical to be one of those people who idealize poverty and human suffering. But at the same time, it seems like there is something so genuine about life here. It seems so real. A part of me feels like such a phony, I write about the realness of Cambodia, when in reality I haven't really experienced it. I am stuck in hippy, backpacker ville. I wonder if the drugged out and drunk backpackers around me realize that what they are experiencing is not Cambodia. And if they do realize this, I wonder if they even care; if they are okay with being numb. Though I guess being numb is probably the easiest way to deal with being an uninvited guest in a country such as Cambodia. So fair enough, I'll remain a bit numb myself, but I will make a concious effort to take a moment to breathe in the shit of true humanity."

For Jonny and Abe

One Saturday a number of years ago my co-workers, Milo, Jack, Saunders and probably Dick Ressler, went over to the Mississippi to get in a little river fishing. Monday morning I asked Milo and Jack how their luck was. The story jumped immediately past the fishing and went directly the bar afterwards. "There was this minnow eating contest. There were rows of beer mugs, half with beer, the other half with a dozen Crappie minnows in each." (Crappie minnows are as small as possible.) "The idea was to drain off most of the water through your hand, sloosh the minnows into your mouth and chase 'em down with the beer. There was this tall thin kid, he'd take a drink of minnows, hold them in his mouth a while, couldn't swallow, then, putu! putu! putu!, spit 'em all back out. He tried three or four times before he swallowed any. Once he got the hang of it, he swallowed 13 dozen minnows! After he won, he asked what his prize was. The bartender just smiled and said, 'All the beer and seafood you eat!' ." S.A.L.T.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Winnebago

There are some crackpot Californians who claim that this is the "Snow Moon". The only Indians that I knew growing up weren't exactly cool or romantic. They were poor and lived in converted boxcars on outskirts of town. They were probably Winnebago. At least the few Natives left around here are Winnebago. The Winnebago refer to February as the "Fish Running Moon". Hey, it's Minnesota, most of our moons are snow moons.

The Grammys and T Bone Burnett

I love music. But I am neither hip nor cool. I am just an old guy who has accummulated a lot of vinyl and CDs over the years, and I still look forward to each new issue of Rollingstone. I half watched the Grammy presentations last night and was surprised when a couple of things that I actually like received awards. The pudgy English singer, Adele, took a couple of awards, and Robert Plant and Allison Krauss as a duo, received three. I do believe their CD, Raising Sand, is the best thing I've heard in 3 or 4 years. It really was the creation of T Bone Burnett. I'm not saying he's a genius; I'm just saying that if you buy anythnig he's done you will not be disappointed. Oh, and all Rap sucks. All of it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

More Khmer Rouge

From an email from myself to Adena today.
"At the time of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia was sealed and nobody outside of Cambodia knew how bad it was. There were just whispers and rumors. I didn't become aware of the genocide myself until the book and then movie, "The Killing Fields" came out. I guess it was so terribly disturbing that I put in in a dark, awful corner of my memory - the same way I do with the awful things that are still happening in Africa. The thing about the Khmer Rouge that was different than the other breakdowns of humanity, is that they were doing to their own people. Doing it to themselves."

Oatmeal Stout

The genocide of millions of human lives weighs heavy on my mind. I have to move on to something lighter. The best beer I tasted in the past year was an Oatmeal Stout, brewed by the Lake Superior Brewing Company. Unfortunately for me it's only available in Duluth and a handful of pubs up the North Shore of the Lake.

By their description:

Sir Duluth Oatmeal Stout. Our version of the classic English-style Oatmeal Stout, using a variety of dark roasted malts, oatmeal, and our imported ale yeast. The result is a smooth almost-black beer, medium to full-bodied, with chocolate and coffee overtones and a roasty flavor. O.G. 1.056.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go hid in the den and drink the season's last bottle of Schell's Snow Storm.

Killing Fields

My daughter is in Cambodia for a while. I clipped this from her blog http://adenastarjumper.livejournal.com/1189.htmlt

"I feel so ignorant about the genocide that occured here just thirty years ago. How is it that three million people were killed here, by their own government, in more horrific ways than the Holacaust and it was never talked about once during my education. I went to the killing fields, a quiet green space full of trees, butterflies, massgraves, and bone fragments. And was stunned. There was one tree that haunts me, and probably will for the rest of my life. It was labeled "the magic tree". Childrens skulls were smashed against it. Then the bodies were thrown in a pit at the roots of the tree."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Brake Levers

The brake levers were the only items in the partial Campagnolo group I bought last week that were not virtually new. They were scraped up pretty badly. Last night I won a replacement set; cheap - $22.50! They're really nice. They look tough at first glance because the hoods are shot. They all are. Modolo hoods fit well and I already have a set of those.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Toad and the Lama Surya Das

I have reconnected with my old friend Toad. We were college roommates, or more accurately, college dropout roommates. We lived together in one of those times of transition in our lives. I didn't realize how much I missed him until we started communicating again - my Toad who was lost and now is found. Among other things he has a blog devoted to establishing an ethical will, a way of passing on the life lessons and values you have spent a lifetime learning, to the next generation - to save them from the Goddamned pain you have suffered.

This is from his blog http://yourethicalwill.blogspot.com/ taken from the writings of the Lama Surya Das:

  • ~ Take care, stay aware. Watch your step. Pay attention---it pays off.

  • ~ Awaken your mind, open your heart and energize yourself. Learn to see clearly and love generously.

  • ~ Find a way to live your own spiritual practice. Develop an ongoing spiritual life, not just a few spiritual experiences.

  • ~ Don't see others' light. Exploit your own innate natural resources for a change. Mine the mind.
  • ~ Freedom is a process, not just an idea or ideal outcome. Progress is more important than perfection.

  • ~ Learn to accept, to let go, and let be. Allow.
  • ~ Lighten up while enlightening up. Cultivate joy. Don't take yourself too seriously, or it won't be much fun.

  • ~ Don't cling to anything. Recognize everything is impermanent and like a dream, a movie, a sitcom. Remember the daily mantra: This Too Shall Pass.

  • ~ Not too tight, and not too loose. Stay attuned to the big picture.

  • ~ Be mindful. Pay attention. Keep your eyes peeled. Be vigilant and intelligent about your experiments with reality.

  • ~ Be here while getting there, every single step of the way.

  • ~ Don't rely on mere words and concepts. Just say maybe.

  • ~ Don't be deceived by ideas and opinions, either others' or your own. You just can't believe whatever you think.

Perpich School for the Arts

My niece Marissa, a dancer, attends the Perpich School for the Arts. It is the crown jewel in Minnesota's K12 education system. It is residential school with departments focusing on literary arts, music, theater, dance, and visual arts. It is our only state sponsored school and serves students from all over the state. The entrance standards are very rigorous, but if the student is good enough their schooling is free. Our "no new taxes" dumb ass Governer has proposed saving 18 million dollars over the next two years by converting it to a charter school. This would mean that it could no longer be a residential school and serve outstate students, and long term, would quite likely not be viable. I realize that times are tough, but things like the Perpich and the Arts in general are the reasons I chose to live in Minnesota, rather than South Dakota or Arkansas. Dumb ass Republican.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Kvale Seat Cluster

For those taggers who are secretly intrigued with the bike build, I thought a little background might be in order. This is not my first Kvale, though it will be my last if my wife has the leverage I suspect she has. Even though the paint is pretty good (it has been refinished by Chris once already), I quite likely will have this refinished before I build it up. The present color clashes with the carpet. Chris does a metallic copper with a pearlescent clearcoat that really is quite nice. I think the copper with maybe a dark red headtube and seat tube panel would be okay, particularly with a honey Brooks Pro seat, and maybe dark red shellaced fabric handle wraps. (Aldo?)

Chris is know for building sweet riding bikes and as the photo shows, very nice details - thin filed lugs and graceful curves. "Art" is probably too strong a word, but they are exquisite viewed up close. Note: in the backround are pieces of tubing painted with some of the colors Chris has painted in the past - all Dupont Imron epoxy, a particularily nasty paint to work with, but tough as nails.

Kvale Via FedEx

A package arrived today. (Please reserve comments on the den carpet, which Addy has advised us, will prevent us from ever sellingthe house.)

Still waiting for delivery of stem and bars. Still looking for appropiate seatpost and saddle.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Phil Wood Hubs

I went over to Dexter's house today - two old guys sitting around talking about bicycles and good people dead and alive; mostly dead unfortunately. The wheelset I was there to purchase turned out to be 27" rims, rather than the now standard 700's. At the asking price I bought them anyway without hesitation, if only for the Phil Wood hubs. 30 years later and the Phils are still as smooth as butter.

One of things I like about Phil Wood hubs, in this day of hype and advertising, there isn't big logos all over them, just a simple "Phil" in small letters. That, gentlemen, is class.

I recall reading that when the company was young, Phil Wood was in Europe, probably pushing his products. While touring the Cinelli factory, maker of some of the finest racing bicycles ever made, Cino Cinelli showed Phil his personal bike. It had Phil Wood hubs. Ne Plus Ultra.

Buddy Holly

When Addy, the Ukulele Kid, was growing up we tried to expose her to as much music (and art) as we could. We dragged her to hear string quartets, made her to listen to scratchy old Delta Blues recordings, tied her to a chair and forced her to memorize the Patsy Cline and Billy Holiday songbooks. As she got older, I took a less draconian approach and just bought tickets for her and various boyfriends to attend concerts. For instance, she got to see Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson play their Midwest smalltown baseball park series, on my nickel. Later it was George Thorogood and the Destroyers at the Surf Ballroom. George at the Surf. Friends and neighbors, it doesn't get more Rock 'n Roll than George Thorogood at the Surf Ballroom.

When I was growing up, most of the small towns of the Midwest had ballrooms. The Surf, just 20 miles across the Iowa border, is the only one left around here. The only reason that it's still standing is because it's the last place Buddy Holly played before he died. It has become the monument to him, and the traditional rockers still come to play and pay homage. I was thinking about that today, as we approach the 50th anniversary of the his death.

A long, long time ago...
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And, maybe, they'd be happy for a while.
But February made me shiver
With every paper I'd deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn't take one more step.
I can't remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.
----------------------- -------------------------
But lest we think of Charles Holley's passing in romantic terms, we have to remember, he wasn't a legend when his torn, broken body was in the twisted metal airplane wreckage strewn across a barren, desolate Iowa field. He was someone's young son, someone's husband, someone's baby. Reality:

From the Coroner's Report dated Feb. 4, 1959
The body of Charles H. Holley was clothed in an outer jacket of yellow leather-like material in which 4 seams in the back were split almost full length. The skull was split medially in the forehead and this extended into the vertex region. Approximately half the brain tissue was absent. There was bleeding from both ears, and the face showed multiple lacerations. The consistency of the chest was soft due to extensive crushing injury to the bony structure. The left forearm was fractured 1/3 the way up from the wrist and the right elbow was fractured. Both thighs and legs showed multiple fractures. There was a small laceration of the scrotum.
Personal effects found with the body are listed on a separate sheet in this report.
Fingerprints were taken of the deceased for purposes of identification.
Ralph E. Smiley, MD Acting coroner
Personal effects, Charles Holley
Cash $193.00 less $11.65 coroner's fees - $181.35, 2 cuff links, silver 1/2 in. balls having jeweled band. Top portion of ball point pen.

Campagnolo Gruppo Delivered!

I received a package from Switzerland yesterday, in less than a week after purchasing the parts. They are in remarkable condition. The only parts that show wear are the brake levers which are scraped from a fall.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Fun on the Ice

Last night I heard the drone of snowmobiles out front, taking shortcuts to nowhere across the lake. It brought to memory our version of snowmobiling in the 50's. Usually it involved a young, unlicensed driver behind the wheel of a farm pickup out on Geneva Lake. We would tie a heavy hay rope, the longer the better, from the back of the truck to car hoods salvaged off 1940 to 1950 vintage automobiles, which were vaguely boat shaped. Some of these hoods had evolved enough to have rough grab bars welded in and even padding for our knees. The general idea was for the driver to get up to speed and weave back and fore and generally slide around. Keep in mind that even just sliding a truck sideways on a lake at 50 mph is fun enough. If that was fun, those of us being whip cracked on the hoods, holding on for dear life at breakneck speed, while bouncing airborne, were in ecstasy. Thankful nobody did actually break their neck - though I cannot imagine why.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

1949 Spanish TdF Team

From Aldo Ross' pic of the day:
For the 1949 Tour de France the Spanish National Team included six riders, and one of them, Julian Berrendero, had also been a member of Spain's last Tour team in 1938. But after eleven years away from the Tour, Berrendero and his teammates were ill-prepared for constant attacks and high tempo of the French and Belgian riders during the opening stages. On the first day Bernardo Capo finished outside the time limit and was eliminated. Dalmacio Langarica, Emilio Rodriguez, and Bernard Ruiz abandoned on Stage 5 - the same day Berrendero finished outside the time limit and was also eliminated. And finally, on Stage 6, the sole remaining Spaniard Jose Serra climbed off his bike and abandoned just a few kilometers after the start.1949 would be Berrendero's final racing season. The Spaniards would not field a team again until 1951, with Bernardo Ruiz dominating a mountainous stage 10 and finishing 9th overall in Paris.

Kvale Pre-build Continues

I'm contining to look and bid, trying to assemble a full set of components to build up the "new" Kvale frame. So far I've pretty much found what Chris would have put on it back in the day. In addition to the Campagnolo group I already found, I just won a Cinelli 26.4 mm stem and a set of 26.4 Ambrosio bars. The Ambrosio has nice engraving on the bulge. They are still in business under the name of 3ttt. Why would you replace a beautiful name like Ambrosio for 3ttt? Corporate mergers I assume. The saddle and stem have proven to be the tougher ones. I guess people feel the old Campy stems are worth morethan I do.

Last evening I got a call from a friend. He had a chance to pick up a wheelset of Phil Wood hubs laced to Super Champion Gentleman rims with maybe 500 miles on them. He gave me the man's number. We talked; $50 for the set! Phils last forever. If you have to ask how much, you cannot afford them. Now that is a friend!