Wednesday, September 28, 2011


This paragraph took me two hours to construct:
Marshall’s main criticism of the Board of Agriculture's “tourist” surveyors is temporal, but it can be assuaged, in part, by spatial considerations: commissioning a local resident to survey his native county might make up for the haste with which the surveys needed to be conducted. Localism compensates for nationalism when time is of the essence. Stone lends a bit of support to this conceptualization of the efficacy of survey work; granting the major premise of haste in a way that Marshall never does, Stone argues that the surveyor must be local or “a habitual visitor [. . .] when a surveyor has not an oppourtunity of feeling land at different seasons of the year” (xi). Given the abbreviated timeline that the Board imposed on the surveyors’ work, Stone felt that hiring local residents was the only way to ensure accurate and in-depth information: “he would be careful in examining the soil which lies under the surface” (xii).
If one more civilian asks me how much longer until I'm done, I may just rip off his or her head and kick it down the street like a soccer ball. 

My boy William (no, not Wordsworth--the other Bill in my life) has this to say:
We sat together at one summer's end,
That beautiful mild woman, your close friend,
And you and I, and talked of poetry.
I said, "A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow-bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these, and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
The martyrs call the world."

jump to 5:40

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Yeah, Nirvana was important, but.....

I was flabbergasted that none of the "20th-anniversary of Nirvana" tributes mentioned their debt to Husker Du. Here's a survivor of post-punk still blowing people's doors off 30 years after he created the version of Hardcore that made Kurt Cobain possible:

In another cultural milestone, my second favorite band called it quits yesterday. I bought a few crappy records before I discovered "alternative" music, but my first real rock concert was an R.E.M. show. I'll be proud of that fact for the rest of my life. Although I haven't heard their last four albums, from 1987 to 1992, they were the best band in the world. And without IRS and R.E.M., there would have been no Subpop and Nirvana.

"The wise man built his words upon the rocks / But I’m not bound to follow suit"

I just learned that even though this song wasn't released until 20 years later, it dates from the same writing sessions that produced "Life's Rich Pageant." 1986--what an amazing year.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Road Tubeless for Cyclocross? Advice welcome

I have a 28-hole Powertap SL+ hub laced to a rapidly-failing DT Swiss 415 rim. Major cracks are appearing at the drive-side spoke eyelets. I'd like to rebuild the wheel with a road tubeless rim and use it for recreational 'cross training and racing, and then for winter training on gravel roads.


Stan's makes a tubeless-ready 700 CC rim with a 28-hole option. Bryan's not enthused about the durability of such a setup.

I could buy a slightly beefier DT Swiss rim or a Mavic Open Pro rim and use Stan's conversion kit to make it tubeless.  

Again, the rim has to be a 28-hole. I weigh 193 pounds and tend to beat up rear rims--my Mavic Kysrium Elites have lasted a long time, but this DT Swiss rim failed after less than a season of road training.

Tire choices:
Stan's Raven
Hutchinson Piranha or Bulldog 
Or any standard 'cross tire like the Panaracer Cinder-x, a setup CX Magazine tested with good results.

OR, should I just convert my existing Velomax Circuit clinchers to tubeless using Stan's tape, thereby saving the Powertap for road training and racing?

Comments and debate welcome!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September remains a melancholy time for me. It's a time of transition, and we know how well we handle those, don't we?

It's also a time of endings.

I wonder if Donne was right. Maybe, in the end, we'll end up retracing that circle.
Dull sublunary lovers' love
—Whose soul is sense—cannot admit
Of absence, 'cause it doth remove
The thing which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two ;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th' other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th' other foot, obliquely run ;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.

Impressions from the Maah-Daah-Hey

Want to ride 100+ miles of singletrack? Want to spend four days riding point to point cross-country trails with no backtracking? Want someone cool to haul your stuff from campsite to campsite? Want to bed down in a tent and fall asleep with the howling of coyotes for a lullaby?  Then go here:

This is the Maah-Daah-Hey trail, a 100+ mile singletrack trail that bisects the Little Missouri National Grasslands between two segments of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the Badlands of North Dakota.

The route runs over high-desert grasslands, along exposed sandstone ridgelines, and through deep riparian canyons. And despite my impression of North Dakota as really flat, this trail isn't; in four days we climbed 10,000 vertical feet, continually climbing and descending from 1700 feet at canyon floor to 2500 feet atop the ridges. Much of the landscape is pure wilderness.

Due to some mechanical snafus, I rode alone for two of the four days. Aside from the ten minutes when I caught and passed two other guys who shared our shuttle ride, I didn't see another soul the entire time. Imagine that: riding world-class singletrack for four hours in utter solitude. While I missed riding with Blank, I had a lot of time to figure out some stuff.

Blank finished the fourth day strong. Here we are at the end of the trail, with the trusty gear trailer as a backdrop.

We take a week-long mountain bike trip most every Summer, usually to Crested Butte, Lake Tahoe, Downieville, or other world-class dirt destinations. The Maah-Daah-Hey belongs on that list. It's stark, isolated, and demanding.

Maah-Daah-Hey Trail Association

Dakota Cyclery