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sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets

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(no subject) [Sep. 1st, 2015|11:20 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Man, this bike racing thing is wearing me out.
We have two younger guys -- as in fifteen years younger than me and the two other fast guys -- who have been coming out and getting up to speed. They're still not as fast at long chunks of road but they're blazingly fast in short sprints.
We hauled up a hill near the start. It's only a 4% hill, but it's over a mile long, and we went into it at about 25mph. I think the lead guys held that up the entire climb. The two new guys dropped back and as it was windy and I was thinking about how tired I'm going to be tomorrow, I dropped back a bit too, got them in my draft, and hauled on up the hill. We crossed the top and one of them took a short lead, then said "I think we can catch them!"
Which is pretty much code for "John, I think you can catch them, so get to it."
I tried.
So for the next 15 miles I soloed at as close to my physical limit as I could manage, while still keeping in mind that I needed to actually finish the ride.
I closed the gap, then they'd make a stoplight and we'd get caught by it and lose ten seconds, then we'd repeat the process.
By the end, they were up about thirty seconds on us, and I had to ride up and jam my shoulder against a wall because I didn't have the combination of strength and balance to put my foot down without just falling over.
Heart rate averaged 170 beats per minute for the entire hour-long ride. Long sections in the 180 range. At one point M was following me and yelled up "John, what does a heart attack feel like? because I think I'm having one." I told him to ride faster and he wouldn't be able to feel it anymore.

I think I'm gonna switch to something easier and safer.

Johnathan Frost driving the winning car in the Open Division up the Pikes' Peak Hill Climb to 14,200 feet elevation. The scenery after about 6:00 in is pretty spectacular, especially at 100 mph.
And the car in question is for sale. It's also street-legal and passes all emissions regulations in every state.
I've ridden this climb in a bike race. The dropoff on the outside isn't vertical, but it's thousands of feet before you get to something that'd stop you.
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(no subject) [Aug. 29th, 2015|11:29 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Today I found a giant tan praying mantis in the middle of a bunch of weeds I was about to chop down.
Then we went out walking with Lily in a field near a cultural center where lots of kids hang out. She went for something that looked like mooshed melted candy, and just before her nose got to it, it hopped. She panicked and jumped back, then went for it like she meant it, but I managed to prevent her eating the poor little toad. It wasn't a type I recognize. I shunted it off the concrete path into deep grass, while having to actually pick her up and hold her to keep her from eating it. Usually she'll listen when I tell her to leave something alone, like a baby rabbit. But the toad pushed something deep in her little hunter brain.
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(no subject) [Aug. 27th, 2015|11:27 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Sorry I haven't posted much lately. Stressed and depressed.
Lily just gave me a fat lip when we were wrestling, so that's something.
Plus a nice visit from gows.
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(no subject) [Aug. 22nd, 2015|10:18 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Virginia Beach is quite pretty!
We got to hang out with twoeleven for quite a bit of time, including going to an aviation museum. It was thoroughly cool.
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(no subject) [Aug. 19th, 2015|10:39 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
We went to a restaurant called Aladdin's Lamp.
Somehow I was expecting Mediterranean.
They served Uzbeki food. Delicious Uzbeki food.

Myrtle Beach is an odd place.
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(no subject) [Aug. 19th, 2015|10:10 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Most of the places I've been, the really nice houses are the ones on the beach, and they get cheaper the further you get. In Myrtle Beach it seems to be nearly the opposite: beautiful houses two blocks in, and inexpensive hotels at the beach itself.
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(no subject) [Aug. 18th, 2015|08:11 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Savannah was quite nice. LOTS of cemetaries. The town is organized around squares: blocks that are parks rather than housing. They organize the place nicely. People were friendlier than I expect: men riding by on bikes, seeing that we were clearly from out of town, would say "welcome to Savannah!" We met some people in a park, whilst playing Ingress, who were thoroughly enjoyable to talk to. One had started the Tour Divide race, gotten pneumonia while still in Glacier National Park, and managed to get as far as Steamboat Springs before coughing up blood and repeated visits to hospitals convinced him to quit. That sounds a lot like most Tour Divide experiences.

Then Charleston.
Just about every time I leave Denver I end up thinking I'm never again going to complain about Denver drivers or traffic. (Except when I go to the Santa Clara area, where I think people drive beautifully.) This goes double for Charleston. No way I'd ride my bike around here, at least not on roads, but I'd also hate driving here on a regular basis. People run red lights constantly. If they want to turn left, they treat it like a stopsign, unless there's actually a left turn arrow, in which case they just keep going until everyone has gone, even if the opposite light has been green for ten seconds. I pulled out once, five seconds after my light had turned green, attempting to go straight, and the guy who almost ran into me looked offended.

And then it flooded. A ton of rain. I can't even tell you. There was a Saturn either stalled or just abandoned in the middle of the street. When I was driving around it I couldn't see the tires, the water was so deep. And let me tell you what, that made people drive even more oddly. Once you're in the water for more than about half a second, the water is as high as it's going to get. If you drive faster, it just splashes up higher in the engine compartment because you make waves. As such, trying to drive really fast through hood-deep water is a terrible idea... but people would drive at walking speed right up to the deep sections and then attempt to blast through at high speeds (and get mad at me for driving slowly, attempting to not drown my car.)

I think Charleston is a pretty city. The parts that aren't underwater were pretty cool.

We walked around The Citadel during a reprieve in the rain. That was kind of odd.

There are flowers everywhere, and animals, tons of animals: crabs, birds, weird bugs. I'm totally unused to this much living stuff.

Pics later.
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(no subject) [Aug. 14th, 2015|07:34 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
I did a bit of emergency lawnmowing tonight because it was truly out of hand.
In the space of four minutes I found both of these.
Mantis 1 had a big black spot on its chest. I think it was sick.

mantis 1

mantis 1

Mantis 2 was bigger, faster-moving, more aggressive, more alert.
mantis 2

I stuck both of them into Tomatoland (on separate plants some distance apart: they don't mind coexisting but I'd rather have more predator coverage.)
mantis 2 in sanctuary
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(no subject) [Aug. 13th, 2015|08:07 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
We went out for dinner, and then over to Arvada Center to play Ingress for a few minutes. Lily went after something in the dark.
It was a Hop Toad.

(actually it's probably a western spadefoot, but it was also a hop toad.)

When we came home, our neighbor told us that she'd seen raccoons climbing on the chainlink fence on our property. They do that to get to the post that allows them access up to the deck.
As a result, Lily was inconsolable last night. Every fifteen minutes she'd have to run out onto the deck and poke around and whine because it smelled like raccoons had been there.
At about four I brought her food in from the deck in case that's what they were after, and sat up with her for about half an hour, which seemed to calm her down, but by then I was pretty much awake. I went into work just after sunrise. Thankfully today was CPR training so I didn't have to be smart, at least in the morning. I only screwed up one or two things in the afternoon.

Home, mopped the upstairs, washed a bunch of things, did a bunch of tidying.

Here's today's tomato stash, that manintheboat picked.

Over the weekend I took Lily out on a 10 km walk around a local park. Something kept tickling my neck and the backs of my arms. I figured it was mosquitoes. But at one point I was walking by a library and saw something big and green on my shoulder.
volunteer praying mantis
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(no subject) [Aug. 9th, 2015|05:41 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Incomplete list of today:
Distributor hooked up.
Clutch slave cylinder attached to transmission. Then removed again because I can't get the clutch hose on with it attached, so I hooked that up, put the slave cylinder back on.
Attached the clutch hard line to the hose, which was a huge pain.
Bled the clutch.
Drained the manual transmission oil.
Resprung the engine mounts and put new locknuts on the mounting bolts, which involved shortening one bolt by 1/4" because there is no clearance between it and the upper a arms when they compress.
Reattached all the carb housing hoses.
Checked all the coolant and oil connections.
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