28 March, 2007

Day 3 Wednesday

(the picture has nothing to do with the blog but it's one i took when i crashed mountain biking at dakota ridge some years back. tasty no?)
naptime! but before naptime and lunch we scored on some books and cds at the library. they are:
devin davis' lonely people of the world, unite! he does a bruce springsteen nebraska where he does all the instruments as well as singing and composing each song. very cool (except it's not as brooding and introspective as the bruceman's). the next cd's mike shinoda's (of linkin park) attempt to rap-which is ahhite at best. it's like g.m. (jay-z's the producer here) owning saab (mike shinoda). there's a wealth of knowledge to tap there but he doesn't take advantage of jay-z's hep. a couple'a cool tracks. it's like flim and the bbs of the rap world. anyhoo it's fort minor's the rising tied. next, if you like the melancholy, manchester u.k. sound (not stone roses, kinda like a morose coldplay) you'll like leaders of the free world by elbow. lastly i checked out the wrens' the meadowlands. as i write this i'm listening to the transfiguration of vincent by cali boy matt ward. excellent cd. i think loss is the theme here accompanied by acousticky, dark sounds and pretty simple lyrics. how his voice gradations sound in each song throughout this cd is what makes transfiguration so unique.
had a parental freakout at the library. while i was checking-out our sonic and textual booty i told the girls they can liberate a bookmark each at the counter. unbeknownst to me there weren't any and they went to the children's wing 'round the corner to get some. so after checkout's done, a whole slew of people walk out the door and i figure the kids are out there too. so once outside, i holler their names. no response. so i go back in and quietly holler their names again. same response as the first. so here i am walking back and forth, from inside to out, calling their names. three picoseconds after i get that sinking feeling inside, team make-daddy-crazy (i.e. maura and maricel) 'round the corner with bookmarks in hand. at the truck i convey to them using my facial/body gestures and voice intonations that i'm highly disappointed in their decision to leave my line of sight without first telling me. i also tell them that there are bad people in the world who take pleasure in taking little kids and that mommy and daddy would be sad if we never saw them again due to those bad people. oh boi i was fuming. so in order for me to not get an aneurysm in the jeffco library parking lot i said to myself, "what would hey-zeus do?" then i became zen-like (like when my students get me fired up, i must exhibit self-control) even though i wanted to scream at them like a loon (which i have done previously!)! it is the parents' worst nightmare to lose a kid in a crowd (or just lose a kid). don't even want to think of it...
funny how one kid waking triggers the others' awakenings. now we're going to patch a hole in our dirt road/driveway living here in booneyville and we're going to the barn to see if we can find my old football cards (it might be worth millions of pesos one day!). all in all a pretty relaxing day. tomorrow, seeing as the forecasted weather was incorrect, i want to cycle while towing mason in the chariot. think: rickshaw except fancier that attaches to the bike's rear, non-drivetrain side dropouts via a modified trailer hitch. even if it's cold, there's a thick, vinyl covering (that's removable) to act as a windscreen/insulator. it's a pretty cool setup if you're the one getting chauffeured.

25 March, 2007

"Can you say 'spring break'? I knew you could..."

ah yeauh, raise yo hand if you have spring break right now (dats right! i've been listening to too much rap music, in fact, it's the second kanye west cd late registration, very impressive but kinda on the long side)! my spring break started with at least six inches of snow friday and into saturday. on the way down from evergreen high school, it snowed so much during maricel's gymnastic practice that i took it for granted that it was another weak, spring snow. i was surprised by how much slush accumulated and i was on a downhill tear--in 4wd even!-looking like a 16 year-old driving in snow for the first time! i hit the brakes on the down, and my lame truck tires weren't even grabbing. i had to friction stop on the curb to get my lame-ass to stop, finally getting all perpendicular at the stop sign at the end of the high school. how embarrassing. but after, on our ride home, we saw half a dozen accidents. i felt pretty lucky considering all i hit was curb and not other cars or was sideways in the ditch on colorado highway 73. anyhoo, this is what i woke up to this morning. gorgeous, but not exactly what you want to see before a road ride.
sunday was high in the mid-60s and i rode with christopher, leaving from his place. some good news: his girlfriend kendra (from australia) is coming for a visit in june and he's going to reciprocate come december. he has about a year left to get his master's in m.e. as a treat to himself, upon graduation, he wants an enduro bimmer moto to do a worldwide trek. sounds cool. hope it happens for him. he's a good boy that christopher.
we invited kenny to complete our triumvirate but he was too busy getting his volvo track ready. we rode out to coors. on the way back, stopping in morrison at the break place, cruising by kenny's old house and doing a lap at wash park for some visual therapy. chris yelled at some poseurs for going way too fast on a pretty crowded loop inside wash park. took a pee in the nastiest porta potty. it was like inhaling that chinese, hot mustard wasabe thang, except it was freaking human excrement. ahhhh the olfactory treat it was...
it was a thoroughly enjoyable ride, just at three hours. it truly is an amazing feeling not worrying about having inclement gear on hand on rides. i didn't wear knee warmers but packed the arm warmers. used it near golden when the foothill winds picked up. didn't have to use my fender either. the only standing water was near an overpass on the bike trail near kenny's old joint so that we didn't have to stop at the intersection. riding is mentally relaxing. just shooting the shizzle with christopher and keeping the chain ensconced in the small ring is truly a good way to collect base miles. a mild head wind and sun, sun, sun. can't wait to start piling in the miles for the rest of the week. we were flying the vitamin cottage colors we were. friday, though, i'm helping out maricel's first grade class. should be pretty cool. called my friend alec to see if he was up to a mountain bike ride. think we're going to shoot for tuesday, later in the day
Day 1 Monday: My plan was to go chilly-chill up lookout mountain after riding around bear creek state park and the golf course just to chew up some ride time. While crossing the intersection to go up the "pillar" part of the lookout mountain hillclimb course some hillbilly in his dually gunned his truck while i passed in front of him. i told him manually he was number one, and he yelled a profanity at me, that's when i slapped my right buttcheek and reiterated to him he's still number one. the winds were picking up and it got cold once i started climbing. there was absolutely no one out there, in fact i passed a physically challenged rider doing the handcrank bike. gave her the tiger woods clenched fist cycling sign for solidarity's sake. did i say no one was out there? equation: incoming poseur dude in spandex + plus me (in spandex too, 'cept i look better) = testosterone-fest (i.e. race!) is there a recurring theme here? i beat him to the "post" but as hez-billy would say, "dude, i shot my load." holeee mackerul, mr bonks possessed me quicker than marilyn can rat out a colleague. yeah it was downhill but when i was climbing the road in front of heritage park to get back to my truck, i was dying in the granny gear. the sun was out but i needed a parka, that's how wacked my homeostasis became. i just wanted to lay in the fetal position in the shoulder (i was in front of the lafarge corporation at this point) and sleep. my eyes were so heavy and legs even heavier. it sucked. when i got back i ate my powerbar stash in the glove compartment i save for worse case winter scenarios. it didn't do a thing. i had to buy a mountain dew big gulp just so i could've registered a glycemic index. the trade-off was i now had sugar, but it lowered my body temp. c'mon homeostasis....
Day 2 Tuesday: after alec stood us up, billy and i met at white ranch. this was my first white ranch ride of the year. billy showed me a new trail called whiffletree or whippletree trail. there was absolutely nowhere for my fitness to hide on this trail. the climb was long but not as steep as mount falcon and there were some stiff technical portions on this muthuh. i haven't breathed so hard since i did the deaddog crit in wyoming. on this trail, i felt so inadequate and billy became possessed by hans rey clearing all but the most gnarliest rock abutments. my philosophy of "there's no shame in walking" was the rule today unfortunately and not the exception. once we got back on our 'regular' trail my energy parcel was halfway spent. needless to say it made the ride an exceptionally high intensity one worth noting (here's the note to self, "arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"). billy's fitness is much higher as compared to last year at this time but billy's so humble he just defers any compliment referring to his fitness. i like riding with billy. he has quite a colorful history that doesn't mirror what i think and know and relate of him just by association (professional and homey-esque episodes). he's probably one of the most unassuming, intelligent, and likable fellows i've met. in fact, since i moved to colorado i feel really lucky to have friends like him and kenny and jay (my beeyatch from tx). their intelligence matched by their sense of humor, wit, and loyalty to the inner circle of homies is really quite lethal; and, when we go on rides or skiing or just performing general acts of tomfoolery it's like the icing on the cake of humanity. before the ride i changed out my disc brake pads and replaced my bald-assed rear tire with a sweet, rear-specific kenda. didn't hep me none though, today, walking like i was doing the firecracker fiddee (50, fifty) brah...

12 March, 2007

DAH-YAM! Spent the Entire Weekend Replacing a Clutch

(if you can name the component, you can sympathize with my hardship! by the way, that's how dry our interior of the bell housing was too, way to go toyota.)
sheeyat! my brother in-law: scotty, my father in-law: bob, my cycling complicitor and homeboy: kenny, and myself spent some quality time under a 2000 4runner this past weekend. here's what I learned: pay the extra whatever to have somebody else have the heartache...naw, it was actually okay. my head hurts from hitting sundry parts of the undercarriage and jack stand. my finger tips and knuckles are pinched and abraded. my hips hurt from the concrete garage floor. i got some sweet, homemade mousse hair-action from clutch fluid, oil, and undercarriage hubris accumulating on my receding hairline. i looked like an asian "spanky" from the subtely racist series our gang. apparently i don't do enough core muscle exercise because my abdomen hurts and my neck muscles hurt too from lifting my hyrdoencephalitic melon for 16+ hours, and we lost an hour of precious sleep due to congress being cheapskates, other than that it was a blast (not)!
kenny to the rescue! scotty and i were about to throw in the towel when the manual suggested we take off the exhaust system and to be ready to use a hacksaw just in case it corroded itself into oblivion. kenny suggested we take another angle in unbolting some pesky bell housing bolts without tackling the removing of the exhaust manifolds. thank-you kenny. oh he also lent us a slide hammer to excise a pilot bearing from the crankshaft. oh the joys of finding more challenges!!!also under his suggestion, we replaced the rear main seal gasket and gasket for the rear plate as well. oh yeah. that was a biggy.
the culprit: melissa my lovely wife and her clutch stompin', coasting ways. for reasons unbeknownst to logical driving practices, she has the habit of depressing the clutch on long, mountain descents or preparing to stop at stop signs (and keeping it depressed rather than placing it in neutral).
here's what we saw: a flywheel's surface area completely glazed with clutch material, a clutch wore almost to the wear groove, an okay pressure plate (that we replaced anyway), an okay throw-out bearing (that we replaced), an okay clutch fork, an okay pilot bearing (that we replaced), no leaks on the rear main seal (replaced that too), and a clean, interior of the bell housing (which incidentally has two bolts at the 1200 and 1:30 position that's a muthuh to get a hold of).
big props to...the previously mentioned homeboys, especially kenny who was creative and had a mad tool selection to pry out the pilot bearing, scotty for being so methodical and level headed and bob for having the third hand and tool selections from hell. we were so happy when the car started and we didn't hear a BANG in the bell housing...i think we goofed on some wiring harnesses in such a way that some of the dash lights don't come on when it's supposed to. i feel more of a sense of relief than accomplishment. i guess that'll come a week later, when we know that melissa hasn't broken down off of 93 or something. in fact, i better call later today to see if she made it to work.
the verdict: major learning curve here. the most mind numbing aspect was torquing the 100 or so bolts down (where on some you had to secure the nuts as well), and torquing them down up to 60 foot-pounds in the most whacked-out angle underneath a car. the next was labeling the wiring harnesses, the last was noticing the orientation of little things you remove can bite you in the butt during installation (i.e. washers go on the nut end of the bolt not the head end of the shaft, man, that sucked, the 4wd selector!). for people who've done this more than once this is probably a pittance, but for a newby participant in the clutch changing world, it was pretty damn technical. the whole installation of the transmission onto the engine block was like playing operation except the tweezers are a 500 pound transmission/transfer case and the organ was a fixed, super tight tolerance engine block. instead of the buzzing sound, you get a messed up pressure plate or a chewed up spline. the thought of being sloppy on an otherwise non-major component which later could potentially have catastrophic effects can drive one mentally ill.