Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's a boy!!!

We welcomed the latest edition to our family Saturday evening February 5th 2011.

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Weighing in at baby clydesdale proportions - 9lbs 7oz, 22 1/4" long

Aaron Cooper Douglas Swanson

Katie, my wonderful wife, I amazed at your strength. I love you. Thank you for the beautiful family.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Makeshift Mechanical tales… ah, p#ss on it!

Riding/training in middle of winter on the highest northern latitude in Wisconsin you can come across shall we say....... challenges, that you don’t always find any other time of the year. Back in December my work schedule forced me to get out for my ride eally early one morning. Temps were in the single digit if not sub zero range. Twenty minutes into the ride I start some technique drills of spinning pedals quickly with good form. All is going well and I’m staying warm. After 5 minutes of spinning, I take a break, begin to coast and take a drink. Upon re-starting my pedaling I find the gear appears to be too easy, so I shift down a few gears. The rear derailleur moves down & into the new gear -- only the pedaling still feels about the same. Too easy. And despite pedaling faster, I’m still not picking up speed. In fact I continue to slow down to the point where if I don’t unclip I’m going to fall over. WTF??

I get off the bike, spin the pedals and the rear cassette is moving just fine… it’s just the rear wheel isn’t!! Yikes, it’s like 5 degree outside I’m 30 minutes (ride time) from home and my cassette won’t engage to pedal my bike. (For the more technically astute, the freehub body that the cassette sits on won’t engage the “prawls”.) Dang, does this suck. I get my cellphone out of my jacket pocket, only it’s a dead because it’s so cold. I have to place it inside my jersey to attempt warm it up. And start walking…. When the phone warmed up enough to turn on, repeated calls to my bailout person of last resort, my wife Kate, go unanswered. Ugh! Very not fun now. 45minutes into my “walk” I’m still only half way home. Finally my phone rings, it’s Kate and she comes out to pick me up.

Now that’s not the end of the story….

As I become conscientiously aware of the temperature limitation of that particular bike (Trek Top fuel 69er) and the current state of it’s freehub body, I’d normally work around it rotating out for a different bike if the temps were too cold. However it’s also my only winter bike fitted with a PowerTap hub that’s so great for monitoring my workouts.

About a week later, I’ve got marginal temps and a workout that requires the Powertap hub. I get 90 minutes into the workout, no problem with the “prawls” freezing up. They get sticky at times but generally engage in a couple pedal strokes, I’d also conscientiously almost never coast so they didn’t have a chance to stick. Well, finally navigating some snow covered ice I needed to coast and that’s all it took for them to lock up.

So there I am in the middle of B.F.E. there is like no houses around for miles and cell phone coverage is spotty at best. I’m standing there trying to figure out how to get out of this predicament, not to mention I’m feeling a strong call for a “nature break” (not to be confused with a Nature Valley granola bar). When inspiration strikes – my freehub body prawls are stuck because they’re frozen… if heated they should engaged. Perhaps a warm liquid substance would sufficiently heat the mechanism to engage the prawls once again…. And wouldn’t you know it? It worked like a charm. Hence if you’ve ever hear the expression… “Ah, piss on it!" It might not always be that bad of an idea..