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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Of Mice and Money

Strangest thing today. I went out to take the back wheel off the bike to remove the tire and check for defects and erosion on the rim. I had moved the bike to the back of the driveway, next to the garage that I have no access to. Moving around and dawdling, I look down and see a dead mouse and a dollar bill, right next to each other.

The rear tire has been leaking slowly for quite some time, a little bit before I put it to rest in December (2007). I decided I didn't want to keep checking it and pumping more air in it, especially since I'd be mostly using it starting at about 6:45am to head to school, after which it would likely have fallen from the 41 psi or so to about 25 psi. Not so good. Not so safe, and certainly not fuel efficient. So I was going to follow the advice of fellow VF500F owners and check to see if there was erosion on the rim where the bead seats. Well, as almost always is the case, working on the bike rarely goes smoothly and timely. So much for going for the bike ride I wanted to go on.
For crying out loud!

It took me about two hours to get the tire OFF the rim. What a pain in the ass that was. Nothing new, but I think I always forget how much a PITA is will be - "oh, it'll only take a few minutes". Stupid.

I get it off finally and sand around the bead area clean up the rim and check the tire for holes or cracks. After some more struggle, I get the tire back on the rim. If you've never changed a tire (not wheel) you might not know that it's not easy to do by hand - using tire irons - versus what an equipped shop would have for this very job.
I crank on the compressor and ready for the seating. It NEVER goes easy. I usually have to bounce the wheel around like a basketball to get the beads to at least move close enough to the seat area such that when I pump in the air, it actually pumps up the tire and doesn't just blow air out the openings.
Well, it didn't go well. It's only a 125 psi compressor, which would be more than fine if the bead set quicker, but noooooooo, never.
As I'm sitting there in the tiny little space at our front entry which doubles as a workshop, yelling and swearing at my wheel and my bad luck, I see something shiny.
There it is. There was some metal thing sticking into my tire. I had to pry it out and all of about 12-13 mm of it were embedded into the tire.

Yeah, that figures. So, I sat there then laid back, angry, steaming quietly, wondering about how I'm gonna deal with this. I try to be self sufficient, but there are times I'm not equipped, and this appears to be one of them.

The tire can likely be repaired (as temporary as that's supposed to be), but for all intent and purposes, it's dead, like that mouse, and it's gonna cost me some money I didn't expect to have to spend, like that dollar bill.

I don't believe in "fate" or "omens" - they are as silly as religion/faith. But sometimes, the irony that life gives is a serious punch in the face.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ready to Roll

OK, only 3 more days will spring break. Man, I've been counting down the days for a little while, but not all that seriously. This week comes and for crying out loud, as expected, the kids are (some) worse than normal... some MUCH worse. Yeah, I know, that's what happens the week before spring break, but honestly, TRUST ME, if you saw how some of the kids were behaving today, you'd give me a shoulder massage. Well, not ACTUAL violence, but I felt like some was potentially gonna happen. One kid will be staying home tomorrow for (one) telling another student "why don't you kill yourself". That's screwed up.

The good, however, was that I got the pole vaulters in the air a little bit yesterday. They are sorely missing access to a proper pit, and therefore missing the opportunity to ACTUALLY vault. This is a screwed up situation. I'm waiting to hear back on some used mats and access to the UVM pit over spring break. First meet of the year tomorrow and supposedly the coach at the home school will let us use the pit to practice after the PV event is done. That would be cool... assuming my vaulters remember to bring some poles. Heh!

I got the bike ready a week and a half ago for the spring release and today I finally took it out. Re-riveted the right can first. Believe it or not, the bike started first try with only about a second of turnover... amazing!! I'd take it to work starting tomorrow, but I made an appointment to get a chip in the Civic's windshield fixed, then Thursday I need to pick Karen up fro work... so grrr... looks like Friday will be the first chance to take the bike to work. It better be a fucking nice day out... hehe, but I'm also guessing there will be more heating over the next two days so the ambient temperature might be up in the morning, which would be nice. It's still chilly in the morning.

So, I'm ready to roll - roll on into spring break, roll on over the crossbar, roll onto the streets and roll away from 12 stress inducing sperm byproducts for a week.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Aim for the sky

Wanted to post a quickie I'll need to add to later when I have time... Westborough MA, Patriot Pole Vault Club coaches... young vaulters and eager coaches, together in the windy cold learning about vaulting, coaching vaulting and camaraderie. Well worth a 240 mile (each way) drive.

I think I'm back in the game... now to find some new pole vault mats to make the kit at school legal.

... again, more later.

Oh, and I got some LAAAAAAAME video footage. If I can get anything useful out of it, I'll see about posting it.