July 2008 Archives

What the heck?!

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If you're wondering why my site looks so different, it's because I was forced to install a security update, and the update corrupted a template file, which then led to all sorts of fun problems. The quickest and easiest fix was to apply this temporary template. I'll work on modifying it over the next few days so that it looks a little better than it currently does.

That, or I might switch Blog software; this software isn't real good, and they don't offer any support for it.. and, it's pretty clunky to administer. It's great for making entries, but not so fun to "work on."

Stay tuned, and sorry for the layout problems.

The Storm Trooper

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I bit the bullet and bought a new bike. It's a Cervelo R3 - the same model that I demo'd last week and fell in love with. Words can't explain how much better the R3 rides than my Trek; you simply don't feel any road irregularities - bumps, grooves, heaves, expansion cracks, "washboard sections," chip seal, etc - it's all invisible. The bike just glides right over it all without any issue.

That may not seem like a big deal, but when you're riding 60+ miles at a time, you really appreciate that nice smooth ride. :-) It's also appreciated when doing 38-40mph; on the Trek, a good-sized bump at speed would rattle my teeth and scare the life out of me as the bars shook violently. The Cervelo just cruises right over them all.

And, while it provides a very comfortable ride, it's extremely stiff where it counts - in the bottom bracket area. That means that less energy is wasted by the frame and more power is transmitted to the rear wheel.

I took the bike on its maiden voyage last Saturday morning and did 63 effortless miles out at the Pea Ridge park. I could've gone farther, but it was getting hot and I was getting bored. I powered up the hill without any problems, even after 60 miles. It was amazing.

The bike features Shimano Ultegra components (I basically stole these from a bike shop in Chicago who was closing them out; the price was unbelievable), Mavic Kysrium Premium SL wheels (super stiff, relatively light, areo-spoked, and carbon hubs), Deda bars, a FSA stem & seatpost, and a Selle Italia Gel seat. The seat is insanely comfy - it has a pressure relief slot cut in the middle of it, and wow - what a difference that slot makes.

The bike also came with a Funda 3T fork; it's hit or miss as to whether or not a new Cervelo R3 will come with the 3T fork. The 3T is highly desired because it's lighter in weight and more stiff than the Easton that normally comes with it. It's also quite a bit more pricey; I was lucky - mine came with the 3T at no additional charge.

Anyway, I took some pictures of it this evening, just after a rain storm, and just before sundown - so, the lighting is pretty neat. While it's fun to take pictures of it, I can't wait to go out and ride it some more. It's so spectacular.











I need to come up with a name for it; I've been calling it the Storm Trooper because of the contrasting white/black... I chose the white seat, white bar tape, and black wheels - figured they'd compliment the frame nicely (the frame is only available in white). I really like the look of it - at first I wasn't to sure about the white frame, but the more I look at it, the more I love it.

It also doesn't hurt that Cervelo bikes won this year's Tour de France... :-)

And, finally - as if this week couldn't get any better, my iPhone finally came in!


Interestingly enough, it doesn't come with an instruction manual - it's supposed to be intuitive enough to use "as is." I've spent the past few days configuring it and learning the ins-and-outs of it; so far so good.

My only complaint about it is that the "keyboard" is a bit tricky to get used to. My other phone had a wonderful keyboard, but it stunk at everything else, including being a phone. The iPhone has been superb in every respect so far. The internet service on it is phenomenal - I could easily blog from my phone, it's that good.

White Hot

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Quick preface: I updated my Blog software, so it's easier to make cool entries and include URLs... you should see more of them in future entries.

Last night, my friend BJ and I drove down to Little Rock to swap out the Cervelo Soloist (aluminum bike) for a Cervelo R3 (carbon fiber bike). I had originally planned on renting something extremely expensive, like a Colnago or Prince, but changed my mind and decided to rent something more reasonable. I figured why rent something uber expensive if I had no shot at ever buying anything like it?

We had an uneventful drive down to Little Rock - we stopped at Feltner's Whatta-Burger in Russellville. We got the usual - a cheeseburger and small fries, and it was absolutely glorious. It's definitely worth the drive to get a burger from that place.

We arrived at Competitive Cyclist just a little bit after 3pm. My new friend Zach was waiting with the R3, and took return of the Soloist. After some measuring and adjusting, he had the fit pretty close. I hopped on the trainer and we made a few more adjustments - it was just about a perfect fit.

I picked up a new set of pedals - Time RXS and we loaded up the bike to head out.

We were sort of hungry and a little bored, so we hesitated for a few minutes while trying to decide where to go. It was still early - around 5pm - and we didn't feel much like driving another 3 hours back home. As we hesitated, BJ noticed two guys fighting - they were across the street from us (on the other side of a busy highway), and apparently quite upset with each other. Fists were flying, and after some time, out came a garden rake. It ended up bent in half. We eventually scored a break in the traffic and were able to skee-daddle before anything really bad happened.

We drove down toward the River Front area, and passed by a few dozen restaurants. Nothing seemed too interesting, so we decided to head over toward Cantrell Road, as I knew of a few good places to eat over in that direction. We eventually settled on the Buffalo Grill, but after we got inside, we decided to just have an appetizer and a drink; apparently their specialty item is the burger, and we'd just had a burger for lunch.

We then walked over to The Pizza Cafe and had a tasty supreme pizza with a couple of beverages. The place was tiny and extremely warm; the pizza was good, but not spectacular. We hung around there for an hour or so, then headed back home. I think it was around 11:30pm when I finally walked in the door and crawled into bed.

I woke up this morning later than I had planned on; my original plan was to be on the bike trail by 8:15am, as today was supposed to be a scorcher. I rolled out of bed at around 9:30am and then went about fitting my new pedals and cleats. I transferred my riding bag, got dressed, took some vitamins, filled my water bottles, and loaded up the bike. It was nearly 11:00am by the time I got rolling. The thermometer showed 91F. Nice.

I hit the trail and was immediately impressed by how the R3 rode. It was buttery smooth. I also immediately fell in love with the SRAM Red DoubleTap shifters - they're super ingenious and incredibly slick. The rest of the components were SRAMs less expensive "Force," and they worked extremely well.

I did five laps on the trail (about 32 miles) and was ready to call it quits - the heat was just too much to take, and my heartrate was once again sky high. I believe it's related to the temperature; last week, I rode three times as many miles without issue; today I was dead after just five laps. Last week, it was 70F.

The good news is the R3 is amazing. I was immediately impressed by it. It climbs without issue, it's silent while riding, it's silky smooth, and incredibly stiff. And, it fits me perfectly. A 100% winner, no questions asked. Even the cheapie Reynolds wheels worked great.

Here are some pictures of the bike:


Look at that beefy down tube - carbon fiber...

Huge bottom bracket = no flex = no wasted energy = strong climber/acceleration

Comparison to my current Trek 2000 SL.

The Cervelo weighs about 1/3 less than the Trek - it's amazing how light the thing is.

I just got back from another quick ride - I went to Bentonville and took it for a 12-mile spin around Memorial Park. It rode so nicely, even over sidewalk cracks and heaves - never even felt them. I think we've found a winner; I'm going to compare this against the Soloist Carbon, but unless the Soloist Carbon is absolutely phenomenal, I think the R3 will find a home in my living room.

We're off to Fayetteville to wish farewell to a coworker - she's moving back to the UK, so she invited a bunch of people out for dinner. Thanks to BJ for letting me use his camera today, mine's still at work.. I really need to bring it home!

I can't win!

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Seriously - I can't. Why? Because my race registration for the St. Louis triathlon was rejected. Apparently it was "oversold" and I registered too late to be accepted. But, the good news is I'm one of the first in line for the 2009 race. UGH!

Unreal. I ordered my triathlon suit today in anticipation for the race. Guess it'll get some quality closet time until the Conway race in September (or whenever it is; I better double-check that my registration is still "good").

Oh, I'm so mad. My heartrate finally got back down to a good number, and I've been riding and running like crazy... even started swimming (or sinking as some might say), and felt really good for next weekend's race. DANGIT!

I may try to find another race somewhere and go do it instead. Man, I'm so mad. ARGH!!!!!!!

Great article by Steve Forbes about the current state of our economy and why we're feeling the pains that we are. Take a few minutes to check it out.

"The dumbest, most destructive economic policy of the Bush Administration has been its weak-dollar position--letting the dollar slide in value against the euro, the yen, the pound and gold. The repeatedly disproved theory in operation here is that cheapening your currency will improve your trade balance and that an improved trade balance makes your economy stronger and wealthier. Put aside the meaninglessness of the trade balance as a measure of economic health or sickness--the U.S., after all, has had a trade deficit with the rest of the world for 350 years out of the last 400. A weak-currency policy has disastrous economic and political consequences--most immediately, our tumultuous equity markets.

Look at what's happened since the Federal Reserve began creating excess money in 2004. The already booming housing market was, in effect, shot up with steroids as lending standards were lowered to put all the excess liquidity to work. We are still feeling the effects of the subprime mortgage crisis, as banks tighten up on lending (they don't even want to lend to each other, which tells you something), which in turn has sharply slowed the economy."

Bush's Big Boo-Boo from Forbes.com

iPhone... seriously?

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The new iPhone is out. Or at least that's what they claim. I can only take their word for it, because no one seems to have any, nor do they seem to know when they might receive more. How the deuce can a company hype a product so much and then not have any available for sale?

Case in point: the iPhone launched at 8:00am on Friday, July 11. On Thursday night, I decided to drive past the AT&T stores to see if anyone was standing in line. Sure enough, there were about 20 people already in line at one store - a full 12 hours before the phone would go on sale. Figuring that the store was unlikely to have more than 20 phones, I decided to wait until Monday/Tuesday to check availability.

So I drove to two local AT&T stores today - both were complete zoos. There must have been at least 60 people in the one store; they had a representative lining customers up, having them wait in a certain place, and determining who should help them out. Every single person in front of me asked, "Do you have any iPhones?"

And the answer was, "No. We had some on Friday, but now we're out."

"Do you know when you'll get more?"

"No, we don't have any idea."

"Well, Apple's website says you get shipments every-"

"That's incorrect. We don't know when we'll get any iPhones - they're first come, first served."

So, after overhearing that, I left. But now a new question comes to mind: Why were there so many people in the store on a Monday afternoon (at around 2pm, no less)? Were there really 60+ people in Rogers, AR that needed a regular old phone at that very instant? I just don't understand...

And then I check Apple's website, and they show 5 stores within 10 miles of me that *should* have iPhones, but none of them have any.

I could really use a new phone. I'm lugging around two bricks right now, and the iPhone would replace both of them. It would be so glorious... but, you can't carry what you can't buy, and if the past few days are any indication of things to come, it may be some time before I can get my hands on an iPhone. It sounds like a petty complaint (it really is, now that I think about it), but dang - it's really frustrating.

In other news, I rented a Cervelo Soloist Team bike this weekend from Competitive Cyclist in Little Rock, AR. The Soloist is a "hybrid" bike - part triathlon bike, part road bike. I liked it a lot - put about 100 miles on it this weekend (I rode 89 miles on Saturday and 26 on Sunday), and it sure is smooth, but something about it left me a little under-impressed. As I was riding it, I couldn't justify the extra expense of it over my current bike... I even did a few A-B comparison rides with the Trek, and while the Cervelo felt a lot smoother, it just wasn't a better performer. The wheels that were fitted to it were also quite poor - very flimsy and almost scary at times. I swore I was going to break a spoke or six while climbing steep hills.

Here's what it looks like (my camera is at work.. need to bring it back home)


So, I'm going to return it back to the store on Friday and am going to try a super exotic bike. Something that's way out of my price range... that way, if there is an improvement, I'll know that such a thing exists, and I'll just have to save up/wait to buy such a bike. But, if there's little-to-no improvement, then I'll keep the Trek and will be happy knowing that I really did buy an awesome used bike.

Ta-ta for now.

July 11, 2008

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The new iPhone from Apple comes out on July 11, 2008, and I honestly can't wait for it to become available. I refused to buy the first generation iPhone, but this latest version looks like it'll be the hot ticket. I'll be able to get rid of my BlackBerry and my cell phone, and just have one device - that'll be extremely nice.

The only problem is that I suspect that getting one may be tricky - I'll probably have to wait quite some time before AT&T/Apple have enough in stock to purchase.