Monday, February 28, 2011

(These 5 Pounds Brought To You By) The Pot Roast at Gram’s Funeral

I don’t blame Gram for the number on the scale this morning.  It wasn’t entirely her fault.  I don’t mean to sound like a bad seed either.  I loved her very much.  My mother made the arrangements and they couldn’t have been more of a testament to her life.  Pot Roast is the epitome of comfort food and this tasted like Gram made it herself.  However this is the first time I've experienced funeral weight, most likely due to stress, two days spent driving, and, give or take, a week of comfort food.  

I loved her cooking, especially the chicken noodle soup and BLT sandwiches I got as a reward for taking down and washing her storm windows each spring.  It brings back vivid memories of her circa 1950's tiled countertop and the view of laundry hanging outside through the kitchen window of her apartment. 

After the service, we chatted about her 93 years of life over gravy and mashed potatoes.  It was like love on a plate, almost like one last Christmas together.  I had seconds and dessert.  When we got back to my mother’s house, I had thirds and more dessert.  Later that night we treated my mom to dinner at Zafirro's Pizza.  That was a lot of eating.  Gram would’ve liked that.

"Oh Joseph, you're so skinny!"
When I visited in summertime or at the height of cyclocross racing season, she would say in her slightly cracking voice, “Oh, Joseph you’re soo skinny.”  That was more a gauge of my fitness than any scale, wattage number or record hill-climb time.  The last time I saw her, over Christmas, she didn’t say anything about my race face, or lack there of. 

For better or worse, she always told it like it was.  Because of that, the entire family very much respected her opinion.  A non mention of being skinny was her way of saying I was just right.  Believe me; she would’ve said straight out if she thought I looked fat.  She wouldn’t even bother beating around the bush saying that maybe I hit the cheese and Kettle chips hard in the month between the last CX race and Christmas.  Still, I always want Gram to say, “Oh Joseph you’re skin and bones.”

I look in the mirror.  I can see some ribs, skin and bones.  My jeans are a bit saggy.  My winter paunch is there, but not as big as previous years.  I’m starting to feel that fitness feeling again.  I thought I’ve been working out pretty hard adding yoga twice a week and some running to the regular regiment of spin classes and long weekend rides.  I logged 12 ½ hours of workout time since I got back from her funeral on Wednesday.  Just two weeks ago I was 163.  What gives?  Where’d these 5 pounds come from?  The only thing I can assume is that Gram’s looking down right now and saying, “Oh, Joseph you look just fine to me.”

In memory of my Gram: July 8th, 1918 – February 18th, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Practically Fool-Proof DIY Blood Transfusion

Rule #1 before starting your at-home blood transfusion is to realize that it’s easy to get the blood out, the real challenge that tends to send people to the emergency room with small complications like Ricco’s septic shock and kidney failure is putting it back in.  That said, with this almost fool proof technique, there’s no doubt anyone, even you or I, could DIY a blood transfusion.  Just answer these simple questions to see if you’re qualified:

1) Can you operate a band aid? 

2) Does a half gallon of tomato juice in your fridge remind you of only a half gallon of tomato juice and nothing else, not even a scene from the movie Saw 6? 

3)Do you always remember to shut the refrigerator door? 

If you answered yes to these questions, then you too can easily increase your body’s ability to carry oxygen and boost your on the bike performance by performing your very own at home blood transfusion in your kitchen with the following household supplies and three easy peasy fool-proof steps.

1 sharpened stainless steel spoke
Bottle of 151 proof rum
1 set of barbecue tongs
1 bottle of window cleaner
1 roll of paper towel
Large water bottle
1 lube free latex condom
2 Quart pot filled with water
1 Bicycle
1 Trainer
3 sets of latex gloves
2 thick rubber bands from bunches of broccoli
1 reliable refrigerator where you can locate the temperature control
1 oversized syringe & needle paid for with cash at your local pharmacy (throw away receipt)
2 Bulging veins
1 black marker
1 postie note

Step 1: Get the Blood Out
Bring your bike and trainer up into the kitchen.   Put your pets outside in in another room till you’ve cleaned up.  Ya don’t want pet hair or dander getting in “the good stuff.”  Clean your countertops with window cleaner.  As seen in the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” it is rumored to kill most bacteria and cure many ailments.  Arrange the sharpened steel spoke, bottle of rum, condom, and rubber bands on the counter top.  Start by boiling your water bottle for 10 minutes in the 2 quart pot to sterilize it.  While it’s boiling, hit the trainer and bust out a few hard 1-min on 1-min off intervals.  When finished spinning, using latex gloves and a set of tongs, fish your water bottle out of the pot and set it on the counter with the top open.  Sterilize the spoke with the rum.  Quickly find a bulging vein in your arm or forehead or wherever one’s sticking out.  Jab it with the spoke and let the blood drizzle filling the bottle.  When it’s close to full, take a rubber band and run it up your arm to slow the blood flow.  If you used your temporal vein, put the rubber band around your forehead.  Use a paper towel to apply pressure and sop up the wound.  Once the nastiness is over, cover wound with band aid.

Step 2: Store the Blood
Now, cover the water bottle with the sterile condom and another rubber band.  Stick it in the fridge.  Label it with a sticker that’ll help you identify it and keep others from using it.  I usually call mine tomato juice, nobody in my household likes that stuff and it’ll never get touched.  Set the temperature control to between 4 and 6 degrees Celsius, from what I hear that’s the best temp range to store blood.  If you need to convert that to Fahrenheit, it’s just around 10 degrees above freezing, give or take.  It’s your your own blood, no need to sweat a degree or two.  What’s the worst that could happen?  Close the door and let it chill for 25 days, the approximate time it takes for your body to replace the lost blood.  I’m certain nothing could possibly contaminate it.  Heck, tomatoes last in the fridge for days.  Certainly human blood will keep for much longer than say american cheese or juicy Spanish steaks.  When you’re satisfied with your storage, go lie down and watch Sports Center while you rest.

Step 3: Give Yourself More Blood
When it’s time to get pumped up for your big event, get back on the trainer and find a vein again.  This time when you’re done, put on a set of latex gloves, use the oversized syringe and draw a syringe full of “the good stuff” from the water bottle in the fridge.  If the blood looks like chocolate syrup, don’t worry that’s probably normal.  Heck avocados turn brown on the outside, but they taste just fine when mashed up in guacamole.  Put the needle in the vein and inject the whole thing.  Repeat, using a clean needle each time, till all the blood is back in your body.  Oop.  Maybe I forgot to mention to get more than one needle.  Yep, should’ve been needles with an “s.” My bad.  No worries.  If you only have one, use the bottle of rum to sterilize the needle before reinjecting it.  Clean up, put on another band aid and go out there and kick some ass champ.

Monday, February 7, 2011

U Pull & Save on Used Campy Record 10

At Joe Biker's "You Pull And Save" you can snap up Campy Record 10 Components for cheep cheep! We don't put on the chicken suit for nothing! Best of all we pulled all the parts off the bike for you, so all you have to do is buy 'em for cheep cheep. Get it! It's Campagnolo Record 10, made by an army of meticulous organic Lasagna-fed Italians and christened in 100 percent pure Grappa. Snap it up now for cheep cheep from a reliable mechanic slash bike dork in a chicken outfit slash gosh darn good guy before it goes up on eBay where I will milk it for every penny it's worth and charge astronomical amounts for shipping. Kidding. Here are the pure bike porn goodies:

Campagnolo Record 10 Carbon Fiber Ultra Shift Levers
Ergopower design. Right hand shifter rebuilt in Summer 2010. Clean, smooth working condition, slight cosmetic wear on top of hoods, lightweight. Shifters allow multiple up/down shifts with one throw of lever. Don’t worry about cross gearing, left shifter has multiple trim stops for quiet shifting and multiple gear options. Campy box included.

Asking $200 ($10 Shipping in Continental US Only, Accept Pay Pal or Cash, click here to email for inquiry or more information

Campagnolo Record Carbon 10 Speed Clamp-on Front Derailleur 34.9mm 
Carbon/Ti. Can be shimmed down to 32mm with Ti shims available at your local bike shop to fit and spread clamping force on 32mm carbon seat tube. Campy box included.

Campagnolo Record Carbon/Ti 10 Spd Short Cage Rear Derailleur 
The body is titanium, and the parallelogram and cage are carbon fiber. 189g. Short cage is standard for most road bikes, 57mm axle to axle. Campy box included.

Asking: $135 ($10 Shipping in Continental US Only, Accept Pay Pal or Cash, click here to email for inquiry or more information)

Campagnolo Record Titanium 10 Speed Road Brakeset 
Great feeling modulation. Front brake rebuilt with new pads, spring and hardware in Fall of 2010. Clean. Campy box included.

Asking: $90 ($10 Shipping in Continental US Only, Accept Pay Pal or Cash, click here to email for inquiry or more information)

Campagnolo Record Titanium 12-25t 10speed cassette/cogs & Chain 
Practically brand new. New in Summer of 2010. Largest four cogs are Ti. Campagnolo steel lockring. 215g. 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-25T. Includes: Campagnolo Record 10 Chain purchased same time as cassette (pictured at bottom). Campy drilled for super lightness. Cut to fit 50/34-12/25 Compact Gearing. Campy boxes included.

Asking $125 ($10 Shipping in Continental US Only, Accept Pay Pal or Cash, click here to email for inquiry or more information)

FSA Pro Road Chainring 50t Big Ring for Compact Gearing 
New in summer 2010. 10, 9 or 8 speed compatible. Fits FSA, Shimano, Truvativ and other non Campagnolo cranksets. Ramped and pinned for super smooth shifting. CNC black anodized 7075-T6 Aluminum. FSA packaging included.
FSA Pro Road Chainring 34t Inner Ring for Compact Gearing 
New in summer 2010. 10, 9 or 8 speed compatible. Fits FSA, Shimano, Truvativ and other non Campagnolo cranksets. CNC black anodized 7075-T6 Aluminum. 34g. FSA packaging included. 
Campagnolo Record 10 Chain 
Purchased same time as cassette (pictured and included with sale of cassette above). Campy drilled for super lightness. Cut to fit 50/34-12/25 Compact Gearing. Box included. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Eaton Bikes Key West – A New Fave Shop

Eaton Bikes Drawing
Paradise is best on two wheels.  With a slogan like that, we knew we found the best bike shop in Key West.  On vacation in the Florida Keys, we spent a day in Key West, home of Hemmingway, the Southernmost Point in the United States and people dressed in silver catsuits and body paint also known as street performers.  It’s also the home of a very cool bike shop, Eaton Bikes, just a few blocks off the main drag of Duvall Street, where you can also catch a drag show if so inclined.  We opted for stops at Mallory Square, Panini Panini sandwich shop on Duvall and Virginia Streets, Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, the Southern Most Point marker, Higgs Beach, and a wonderful vegan/vegetarian bar/restaurant on Southard Street called simply, “The Café.”  The first stop however, was the bike shop.

Cruise to Southernmost Point
We’ve rented beach cruisers a few years ago in Key West, but I couldn’t remember the shop name.  All I can recall is that the shop had an actual name as opposed to Key Bikes, Bike Key West, Sunshine Cycles or any goofy touristy combination of bike related and tropical related words.  “It’s a real shop name,” I said, “not Key West Bike Rental.”  We binged and googled “Key West Bike Shop” on our phones as we drove down the sliver of Highway 1 that ties the keys together.  We scrolled through the results.  The only bike shop that came up with a normal name was Eaton Bikes, 830 Eaton Street.  “That must be it!”

Mirror in Eaton Bikes Restroom
Every bike shop in Key West rents beach cruisers.  I’m also pretty sure that every bank, bar, sandwich stand and parasailing outfit also rent bikes.  We wanted a real bike shop, run by people into cycling.  I didn’t want to rent from an “activity” center and people more interested in our credit card number than making sure we had good bikes and a great time.  The second the shop door bell clanged overhead, we definitely stepped into the right place.  Wow!

The staff at Eaton was super friendly.  The price was right, $18 for a 24 hour rental.  Being typical fussy cyclists, even with beach cruisers, they spent extra time making sure our saddles and handlebars were set up on our Jamis cruisers where we wanted them.  While they closed at 8pm, they instructed that if we were out late we could lock the bikes to the fence and drop the key in a mailbox.  They even had lights on the bikes.  While they went about setting up bikes for all six of us, I set out in the shop snapping pictures of the hand painted cruiser bikes and interesting bike art.  

Fun Handpainted Goodness
Paul Frank Sockmonkey Saddle

Not Sure If It Honked or Squaked

Key West Headlights

Should've Bought For My Cross Bike

Across from The Cafe'

Token Seagull on Dock Shot

And, The Token Sunset