• One Day On The New Bike…

    …and I am incapacitated.

    I took the bike up to Sals for its maiden voyage, and I managed to catch a tree with the left handlebar — the handlebars are much wider than the ones on my Turner, or any of my other bikes — on a downhill no less, just after the 3 B’s climb, and it dumped me at speed into the rocks. I landed on my right knee, hard enough to see stars, and to literally bounce across the trail and roll down the hill. It took me 10 minutes to even get up, I was convinced I’d broken something, and I had to walk most of the way home. I spent most of the afternoon and evening with ice on my knee, and I will be doing the same today.

    Other than that it was an OK ride, not awesome but OK. The Santa Cruz rides quite differently than the Turner did, and there will be some things I will just have to get used to, and a few things I’ll need to do — suspension adjustments, seat height, possibly change the handlebar length (shorter) and the stem length (longer) — to dial in the ride. I would like for the bike to be a bit more responsive in turns, but that may come with time and those adjustments.

    There are three pieces of new technology, new to me anyway, on this new bike: tubeless tires, an adjustable seatpost, and 1×11 gearing. The tires are probably an improvement, but one — the absence of flats — that I might not really notice, and the seatpost is a cool gimmick so far, but it’ll be a while before it’s really incorporated into my riding; the new gearing is a bit more problematic. I went from 17 effective gears on the Turner’s 3X9 to just 11 here, and it seems like I have less of a high end, and less of a low end, as well as a less fine-grained set of gear choices. This may be the hardest thing to get used to, but there is apparently no going back: triple chainrings, and even doubles, are being phased out on mountain bikes, this is a weight savings for what could be a bigger and heavier bike, and I think the Santa Cruz has a lower bottom bracket, so a smaller, single chainring helps with ground clearance.

    Anyway, the bike seemed to perform well, especially on downhills, though the big crash wasn’t my only one yesterday, and though it seemed both twitchy (the short stem) and hard to turn (the long wheelbase) it did well enough at Sals. Unfortunately, it’ll be a while before I get to ride it again, and even worse, I’m going to have to bail on the Wilderness 101 this weekend.

    That’s right, no W101. We saw Renee last night and I had to give her the bad news. I felt like such a disappointment, but I won’t be walking much, much less riding, in the next week, and even if I could ride, my knee could never handle 100 miles the way it feels now. Timing is everything.

  • Sixteen Years A Turner Man

    Posted on by Don

    Here’s something that I did today: I bought a new mountain bike! (And despite the similarity in titles, I did not get rid of the Turner like I did the Outback.)

    What I got was a Santa Cruz 5010, though I’m not sure of the exact price point and I don’t recognize the components well enough to evaluate them — 11×1 gearing, adjustable seatpost, the Turner was the pride of the new millennium when it came out, but I feel now like I just traded in a stagecoach for a starship.

    Anne and I had gone over to Saucon Valley Bikes for other business, and I thought I would just look at a bike or two, since I was sort of in the market… We got there and there was Renee, who when I last saw her got on my case about getting a new bike. She and Anne both got on me because I obviously was in love with this bike, and we even did a quick singletrack ride from the shop. I came back and said “I’ll take it!” A few things needed to happen but I came back and took possession a few hours later. Tomorrow is the inaugural ride, at Sals, and I’ll make my decision on which bike to ride for the Wilderness 101.

  • Eighteen Years An Outback Man

    Posted on by Don

    Just thought I’d check in with a Subaru update: the engine is shot, there’s nothing short of a new engine that can fix it and a new engine is not worth doing, so I’m scrapping the car. The towing company will actually donate it to a local (Saranac Lake) fire company, and I get a tax write-off — I just have to wait for my new, duplicate title to come from Harrisburg since I lost the original, probably years ago.

    Anne and I were talking about cutting back to having only one car between us, so for now we will not be replacing the Outback, though our original plan was to get rid of her aging Mazda and keep the Outback, so our situation is a bit fluid, and we may end up getting a replacement for the Mazda in the foreseeable, though probably not the immediate, future.

    The question then becomes: what kind of new car? I have had an Outback for about 18 years at this point; the first one lasted 10 years and almost 200,000 miles, while the second did eight years and only 170,000 miles. I suppose I’d consider another Subaru if we could find a used one for a decent price — it still is pretty much the only game in town if you want a 4-wheel-drive station wagon — but the problems I had with the second one were depressingly familiar, almost at the exact same mileage as the first, and though I know every old car will have problems — and I have trouble imagining myself in something that isn’t a 4WD station wagon — I think I’m a little tired of Subaru right now. I guess we have to do a bit of research.

  • Vacation End… Or Is It?

    Posted on by Don

    Today was the last day of our Adirondacks vacation with Anne’s family; we got up early this morning, cleaned the cabin, said our goodbyes and took off in the rain, the only rainy day of the trip. We (Anne and I) got as far as Ray Brook NY, midway between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid — in other words, we’d just barely started our homeward journey — when the car made a “clunk” sound and died. I had just enough presence of mind, and momentum, to pull into a parking space on the side of the road, in what turned out to be the local Post Office.

    Long story short: my timing belt snapped, and there was no oil in the car. I have no idea which came first but both are bad, like possibly “car needs a new engine, which really means I need a new car” bad. We’ll find out Monday, when we also are going to rent a car in Plattsburgh, so we’re here in Saranac Lake until then.

  • Live And Learn

    Posted on by Don

    I’ve had trouble recently with using my email here at donkelly.net: some — not all, but some — networks wouldn’t communicate with mine, emails couldn’t be exchanged, and looking into why that was so, at say, SDF.org I found that they couldn’t even resolve my domain. The domain always resolved on my home computer though, so some DNS was working somehow.

    But my laptop generally uses the DNS server on whatever wifi it’s connected to, and now, connecting here on Rainbow Lake, whatever DNS server they use wouldn’t resolve my domain — which I took to mean uh oh, there really is a problem with my setup and not just at SDF or whatever.

    I checked my DNS info using third party websites and found that here were some major discrepancies — there were four nameservers listed rather than two, and two of them didn’t work. Turns out the original ones had been retired (by my service provider) but my system hadn’t been updated, and the broken servers were the retired originals, which were the only ones listed in my site’s configuration — I have no idea where/how the correct nameservers got listed. I went in and removed the bad servers, added the good ones to my configuration, gave it a few hours, and now even the formerly broken emails seem to work.

    I could have, and should have, done something about this months ago.

  • Just Checking In

    Posted on by Don
    lake and trees
    Looking out over the lake from the porch.

    Fourth of July, third day of vacation, a bit of a mellow day after yesterday’s hike. Anne and I got up early and went kayaking with Lorraine, Laura and Marie, and we might do a short walk on our dirt road soon, but we just finished lunch and the ladies are carding and spinning wool, and I’m just sitting here watching the lake and trying not to nap…

  • Wharton Esherick Museum

    Posted on by Don

    More on this at another time, but we went to the Wharton Esherick Museum outside Paoli today. Tours by appointment only, we went with Lorraine and Ray and their friends Rob and Barb, and think that this was the coolest home I have ever been inside. (We were only allowed to take photos out-of-doors, sorry.) Afterward we went to Sly Fox nearby for lunch. Another awesome day, even if my entire body still hurts from yesterday.

  • A Long Day!

    Posted on by Don

    I took no photos (whoops!), but yesterday I rode the Rothrock/Tussey Mountain IMBA epic with Renee, as part of our training for Wilderness 101. I was totally whooped by the end, but it was an awesome day:

    The only thing I would add to this is that, though we didn’t have too much trouble with it, we followed this course using a phone app, and speaking now from experience I cannot recommend doing that.

  • Scenes Inside The Lock Tender’s House

    Posted on by Don

    What a fun afternoon! I’d arranged to put in some volunteer time today with the D&L Canal people, so I took off down the towpath just after eleven, on my Iguana, to do some cleanup work inside the Lock Tender’s House at Hugh Moore Park. I’d forgotten how fast and fun the Iguana was on the towpath, but before long I was just flying along effortlessly, and was at the Canal Museum by 12:00. Meet up with archivist Martha, and then we go up to the Lock Tender’s house itself, a place I’d been many times but never inside.

    Then came the  “work” part, mostly vacuuming and dusting, getting the rooms ready for the season opening, but even that was interesting, since I was on the other side of the “do not enter” chain, handling stuff the public can only look at from afar. Actually, the house is not that old, having been rebuilt after a fire in 1928 (possibly an arson job from revenge-minded bootleggers, or so I learned today), and while some of the furniture was obviously ancient and worn, some items in the parlor, the room I mostly worked in, could have easily been mates of things in our living room right now — I’m looking at you, hurricane lantern…

    Anyway, here are a bunch of photos I took inside the house.

  • Stop, Look Around

    Posted on by Don

    Wet day here, and its also a bit of a rest day, waiting for the oven repair man to show up. So, I’m off the bike for the day, and just in time because I’ve been feeling tired. Tomorrow I’ll be riding the towpath (volunteer work day at the Canal Museum), Thursday I’m meeting Renee out in State College to do some of the W101 course, Friday we’re going to the Wharton Esherick Museum, and then this weekend we go off for a week in the Adirondacks! Whew…

    This weekend was a blur. Anne’s mom stayed with us from Thursday, the night of Anne’s concert — by the way, Anne is in a new orchestra, better than the last one IMHO but with the same playful spirit — through Saturday (when we went to a memorial service, and Marie got a ride home from there with Anne’s sister Lorraine). There were many people we knew in the concert audience, including Lorraine and Ray with their grandkids Jonah and Quinn, Toby and Erika with Josiah, Donna and John, and many people from the neighborhood. Afterward, we sat on the porch and sampled our new beer (the Two Hearted Ale clone — verdict: delicious) with John and Donna.

    (By the way, I got in a short Towpath ride while Anne was picking up her mom. I only went to the boat club and back, but I was trying to push my heart rate, and ended up with a 15 mph average, better than any towpath ride this year.)

    Friday was a quiet day, just hanging out, but I did get in a Sals ride, one where I felt pretty good on the trail.

    Saturday was the memorial service for Marilyn, the mother of Anne’s sister-in-law Laura. She’d passed away just recently, and she’d been ill for a long while before that, but before her illness she’d been an incredible woman: vibrant, warm and loving, and a real force of nature and positive force in every life she touched; those were the memories that we celebrated. Afterwards we had a lunch at Joe and Laura’s with much family about, and many friends.

    We went out that evening to catch up for a bit with Doug and Lori.

    Sunday was the Steel City Enduro at Sals, and I went up to volunteer. I ended up running the start, no clue what I was doing but I think everyone survived, then I walked the course and did a little race-course cleanup after the riders went through. I was out of there by noon or so, so I could clean up and stop by John and Donna’s place for a picnic with their family. (Anne was off dealing with other mom-errands.)

    Yesterday I woke up really tired, and it took me a while to actually be awake. Went for a Sals ride anyway, felt pretty good, then came home and took an hour-long nap…