Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I think I should legally change my name to perpetually frustrated because that's all I am.  It never goes away and never gets easier.  There isn't any medication.  Well, some people could debate that, but I'd rather have legal drugs and even those suck the life out of you.   There isn't a support group.  Banging your head against a wall hurts.  People hide when they see you coming.  Throwing the item(s) that make you frustrated only means holes in your walls or a broken window and voids your warranties.  Thankfully I know that and only mentally toss stuff through the window.

Yup.  Being bipolar sucks and I hate having it.  You do indeed live with being perpetually frustrated.  Nothing is easy and everything sets you off.

The good news is that I'm actually LOVING the holidays.  Normally I want to hibernate this time of the year, but for some reason, I'm so excited it's killing me.  I even hit Black Friday.  Oh, not at 3am.  That's when the crazy people are out and those people are dangerous.  DH and I went late afternoon.  We hit JoAnn Fabrics and Best Buy.

JoAnn was having some killer sales that I didn't know about.  Wait for it...I picked up..gasp..a Sizzix BigKick.   Okay..40% off was a huge deal maker and I've wanted to try one to compare it to the Go! cutter.

Err...now what do I do with it?  If ya'll know how to find some dies (JoAnn's had been picked clean) let me know.  Yeah.  It was pure impulse.  Dang Black Friday.   I got several scrapbook paper packs half off for a couple of projects and was glad I wasn't buying fabric.  The cutting line was wrapped around the store.

So..what did I do with scrapbook paper?  Check these out:

Blue and silver are my favorite Christmas colors.  My girls and I made the tree using 4x1.5 inch strips going around a styrofoam cone.  It's itty bitty, only 9 inches high.  It was SO much fun to do this with them.  It really needs a silver star of some kind on the top.  Any ideas?  A pin with a star on it would be perfect.

The other tree was made using my Cricut.  It opens up as a box.  I've discovered I suck at using glue.  My daughters were laughing so hard as I was furious that sections kept coming apart.  I'd finally get one section done to have the rest come undone as I went around the tree.  I hate glue.  Within a few minutes they had the tree put together after I'd spent 20 minutes trying to make the sections stick.

So, why am I so frustrated?

I've spent all weekend trying to get my Blackcat Cougar paper cutter up and running.  It kept sliding the blade across the papers leaving cut marks everywhere.  I couldn't get the blade holders to work.  Then it stopped working altogether.

I installed a trial of Parallels to run my MTC software via the Mac side so I didn't have to boot over.  Of course that's been a pain all weekend.  Windows keeps protesting that it needs activated.  Then it made for needing to install drivers that the computer kept insisting that weren't there.  Now I'm worried I'll lose XP for activating it and lose all my stuff.  Yes, it's backed up, but the thought of having to reinstall everything makes me sick if I have to buy a new operating system.  I hate Windows so much and wish more programs ran on Mac computers.  Dang it, you sewing machine companies, Electric Quilt, Embird,
Make the Cut and other software companies need to get with the times and make your programs work on a Mac.

I've spent all weekend wanting to kill software programs, Windows, and my Cougar Cutter.  I'm about tempted to sell the Cougar cutter.  It works, it's the stupid operator that is dumb.

I think I'm going to uninstall Parallels and gripe about booting over.  It's easier that way.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quilter's Guide To The Nook Tablet Or Kindle Fire

I picked up the Nook Tablet last week and being the electronic nerd I purchased the Kindle Fire last night.  Neither one is better than the other after playing around, but your decision should be based on what you plan on using your Tablet or Fire for.  Everyone in the tech industry seems to go on about the memory, size, and other technical specs, but I'm giving my review as a normal boring person.

My true advice is don't bother with either and go get an iPad.  It's more versatile and truly worth every penny.  That's one purchase I don't regret.  Nothing beats the iPad.  Nothing.

I really have the Nook because my husband picks out better books that I do.  He's into history, politics, sci-fi, and everything else.  I can go into a book store and find myself lost in choices.  He's got 400 books to choose from.

I have a Kindle because I like romance novels and quilting books.  He doesn't want anything like that on his Nook, archived or not.

If you want quilting e-books, get the Fire.  Amazon has so many books to choose from and at much cheaper prices.  Barnes and Noble wanted 32 dollars for a book.  Amazon wanted 21.99.

Both readers play your own movies.  You will need 3rd party software to convert your movies into a readable format.  You need the SD micro card for the Nook to load a movie in.  You use the "Gallery" app on the Fire.  I refused to pay 1.99 an episode for my "Thundercats" TV show via Kindle when I paid a few bucks for the DVD.  It was easy to convert it over and watch on each tablet.  Volume sucks on both readers so it's hard to hear.    

If you want better customizing of your books, get the Nook.

Marvel Comics has worked out a deal with the Nook.  DC has done that with the Fire.  That really sucks if you like comic books like my DH.  I told him I didn't have a problem if he downloaded comic books on my Fire.

User Interface

I tried to get some pics, but the glare wasn't helping.  Once you push the power button the Fire, you get this large bookshelf with oversized apps or books.  It's a truly ugly home page.  You can't scale it down and when I tried to change the order of the books, it just spins through them.  Come on Amazon.  You could have done better than that.

When I clicked on a book and hold it, I have two choices, Add to favorites, or remove from the device.

With the Nook, you push the "N" and it opens up with whatever screen saver you've put in (I have an animated fish tank) and your recent books are stored at the bottom in a nice neat size.  If you hold on one of the books/apps it asks  if you want to open it, view details, recommendations and if you want to remove it from the home page.

Once you get a book loaded, you can go to the menus by tapping.  You can change fonts, size, margins, background color, line spacing.  The Kindle has three background colors, gray, back and Sepia.  The Nook has Day, night, gray, Butter, Mocha, and Sepia.

When it comes to navigating your way through menus, the Kindle is easier because it doesn't have all the menus to go through.  However; when I do need that "N" I know where it is.  Having to tap all the time to go the home menu on the Fire was annoying at times.

I couldn't find shelves on the Kindle.  On the Nook I could add bookshelves, label them and easily move those books into them.


Both are fast and load up nicely.  Buying books are easy on both sites.  Amazon.com is easier to navigate through and the prices are so much better for books.  There are more apps.  Barnes and Noble website can be a pain to find what you want and some books are almost as much as the regular book.

If you are into Facebook, you cannot chat with either device.  That sucks.  I think that's an Android problem, not the devices themselves.  I can't chat on my Droid either.

It's a hard choice because of my needs.  The nook is better with customizing and I like it more than the Kindle.  I like to watch movies, but don't want Hulu+ or Netflix.  I have Amazon Prime and can watch what I like, whenever I want, but the Nook has clearer, more vibrant colors.  I can buy so many quilting books via Amazon and books are cheaper.

Get the iPad if you want the best.  Even if you despise Apple, you really get what you truly want.

*Edited*  You can hack into the Nook without messing with anything to ruin it.  I was able to sideload Amazon's app store and the the Kindle reader.  It's more complicated to get into the Android Market and I don't buy apps that much so I wasn't worried about it.

If you really only want to read books and not deal with the internet, get one of the simple readers that each offer for a great price.  I like e-ink and not dealing with the glare of a glass screen.

I probably haven't helped, but this is my first impressions with both tablets.  Both have really nice features and I wish I could put it all into one tablet.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I got brave and pulled out my Cricut cutter to see if I could make something that wasn't quilty.  I found my"Make The Cut" forum and found a pattern for a birdhouse .  I downloaded it, had it cut out and then wondered what to do with it.  My creativity has improved over the years but once I saw what the other ladies had done with their birdhouses my spirits fell.  Quilting I know.  Paper crafts I do not.

After rummaging through the scrap booking stickers for birds and finding nothing.  How can you NOT have birds?  I picked out butterfly stickers and found some Japanese blossoms.  I picked out some blue ribbon and headed home.

After playing around I came up with this:

My daughter said to put a candle in and with the lights off you get this:

I have one problem.  If I tape the roof on, I can't get to the candle (fake one) to turn it on/ off.  Any ideas?

Check out Judy's blog for more Design Wall Mondays.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cardinal Quilt

Argh.  The tape kept coming off the wall and I needed a better view for the blocks so I laid everything out on the floor.  A much better view and it's been easier to put my blocks where I want.  The cats haven't destroyed it and I'm leaving it until morning to put the rest together.  Hopefully I can start sewing blocks and maybe even rows.

I'm really liking how this is turning out.


I got quite the scare this morning when I picked up my bike to put it on the stand and the wheel fell out as it hadn't been tightened in right .  That explains the "thunk" I heard yesterday about 6 miles outside of town.  I'm lucky I didn't crash.  I don't how the bike made it home on the rack w/o losing that tire when DH came to pick me up.

I called up the store and brought the bike up for a check since I couldn't get the gearing to work right.  I had my fingers crossed I hadn't bent the rim or frame.  The guy had to true up the tire (make sure the spokes are in place/tension so the tire spins correctly), bend the bottom part of the frame where the tire sits back into place and we spent about 30 minutes figuring out why the chain doesn't move up/down the cassette (where the smaller gears are in the back).  Turns out there's a tension setting on the bar-end shifter that needed tweaking.

Between the bar-end tension and the bottom tension settings, my bike rides beautifully.  And I only thought tension problems existed with sewing machines.  LOL.  Bike cables stretch as you use them.

BTW, if I have my bike terminology off, I make no apologies.  It took me years to get it right for quilting.   

Note to self:

Always check your bike over before going out and don't forget the cell phone.  You got lucky one of your friend's house is 8 miles away to call DH.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stupid back.  It's aching really bad.  That's what I get for loading up my Fargo onto the rack and putting my Trek Y-11 into the back of the car since it won't fit on the rack.  I'm so excited though!  My Y-11 now has a beautiful view to the outside world as a collector's piece in the shop window instead of being in my garage.  She's still mine, but she'll get more attention at the shop.

My Fargo got an adjustment and is back home waiting for a ride.

I thought I could get more done on my cardinal quilt, but my back finally protested enough to stop.  It's a mess up on the wall, but it really is organized chaos.

The top 4 corners will have the sparrows with the cardinals in the center.  The flowers will be centered around/between the birds.  Masking tape doesn't stick very well as you can see and two cats don't help when they pull at the bottom pieces.

Completely off topic:

If you got this far, I could use some help with tactfully dealing with 4-5 ladies that ruin every time I go to church.  You know the ones.  Usually older ladies that seem to think they are more important than they are and probably without realizing it, disrupt the lessons by their comments.  They are in every organization possible.

I come to church to listen quietly to the lesson and enjoy it.  Last week I'd had enough and it hit me why I'm pretty much inactive in my ward.  It's those ladies.  The sacredness of every lesson is ruined.  When your ward is very small you can't get away from them.

We were talking about keeping yourself unspotted from the world and one lady starts in on how TV is unrighteous and all the shows are evil.  I wanted to answer back with, "Why do you have a TV then?" but I didn't.

Another lady tells us that the commercials are just as bad.  I couldn't resist, "Umm.  Get a  a DVR.  I don't even have to deal with commercials".

Then another goes on about the computer and I almost walked out.  Then Brother "Cough and Hack It Up" decides to have 3 minute attack which doesn't help.  Why can't these people realize it's so gross to listen to and leave for a couple of minutes?

After the lesson, I'd had enough and left to go home.  I quit going to Relief Society years ago after a terrible discussion with these ladies demeaning anyone who was on government assistance.  I have been on government assistance at one time or another and was so disgusted I've never gone back.

It doesn't help that one of the ladies is the teacher and they egg each other on.

Is this normal for other wards if you are LDS?  Or if you are part of another church?

Any solutions?  The ones I've thought of aren't really very nice and the ones that are would still be hard to say publicly in a class.  I just want to go to church and enjoy the day.  Most of the time I hide under the covers and wish Sunday would just go away.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I was bad.  Really bad because I didn't tell DH first, but she's incredible.  She's a 2012 Salsa Fargo.  She's an all steel mountain bike with 29inch wheels, with road bike handlebars and bar end shifters.

When you go into a bike store, no one asks what are the road conditions in your area to help select a bike.  I never thought about it until now when I realized I was spending all summer trying to avoid rocks and being blown over by semi trucks on my Madone.  I never really felt "safe".  The rural roads out here are not meant for a racing bike and I wish I had understood that before buying it.

The other thing that peeved me was last week I looked online at my Madone and realized Trek had dropped the price to 2000 bucks and I paid far more for it.  If you want a 2011 Madone 4.7, get it now as you'll save nearly 700 dollars.  I wanted to puke right there.  I LOVE my Madone, it's just not meant to be ridden down pothole riddled roads.

This bike was amazing going down the road.  The mountain bike tires go over anything, the road bike frame and drop bars make it like a road bike, the softness of steel and it's a rush.  I wish I had found this first.

I'm going to sell my Trek 1.2, my Specialized Sirrus and maybe my Trek Y-11 on Craigslist.  They need much better homes.  I'm also considering selling my Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 870.  She's sat in a box for several years.  I'm getting her tuned up and hope to have her back next week. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A couple of people were asking why I don't like my Accuquilt cutter, so thought I'd answer.

It's really an ingenious idea and truly has revolutionized the quilting world, but it does nothing for people who don't need dies.  Most of my applique is complicated and right now it's "My Tweets" and there isn't a die for that.  The cardinal quilt has 1.75 inch strips and there's no die for that either.

I bought mine hoping to do my nine patch quilt where each square finishes at 1 inch.  Just cut the strips at 1.5, turn the strip around on the Sharpie lines and cut squares.  Umm.  No.  I broke my first one and put nicks in the 1.5 inch die.  Accuquilt was fabulous about fixing the whole problem and sent me a new one and die.

After you cut the 1.5 inch strips, they would stick to the mat or die and fold open making it a pain to put back on to cut squares.  I got tired of refolding strips and it was just easier to use my June Taylor strip cutter.  Flip the ruler to the side, and it cut squares.  No moving of fabric.  Mine is 12x18 making it even faster.

I realized that Accuquilt made a die with 1.5 inch squares on it.  The first one didn't stick to the back of the die and was very kindly replaced.  The die only has six squares and every time I used it, they weren't square.  Even if they were square, it would take forever to cut out enough squares with only six on the die.  I have no room for the Studio version and wasn't going to pay that much just for squares.

I fell in love with the Rose of Sharon blocks from EQ and bought the book and die.  I don't like raw edges for fusible applique and I never get the stupid fusible to work anyway.  That's user error, not the fusible webbing.  I know I'll never get around to it.

While working on "My Tweets" someone had used their electronic paper cutter and software to make freezer paper templates.  That's what I want.  The ability to cut freezer paper templates of anything I desire.  Long story short, within minutes my Cricut can draw or cut out any design I want via my software.  If I need something larger, I have my 18 inch killer duty Cougar cutter.  You can no long use a Cricut and software together.  Provo Craft threw a tantrum and sued the software companies.  You would have to find another cutter so don't go out and buy a Cricut if you want to try this.

This was done on my Cougar Cutter as a test for intricacy.  It's one of EQ's blocks and done 4 times to make one square.  The last part didn't get cut right due to user error, but you can see how it did.  If I wanted to just make one large block for applique, it could easily cut out templates.

What I haven't been able to do is cut fabric with them yet, but haven't really sat down and tried.  It's a stability issue which is why Accuquilt has the top part that goes over the fabric and protects the die.  I'm just happy to have both draw out on freezer paper the custom templates I need.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

I've decided to sell my Accuquilt Cutter and dies.  I don't use them.  I'm not impressed and think they are overhyped and overpriced however; I know lots of people adore theirs.

My biggest problem is shipping.  I have the original box for the cutter but I have no clue how to ship the 1.5 and 2.5 inch strip dies.  They are long and skinny for those who haven't seen them and don't fit in regular USPS boxes.  I don't have access to a fancy box shop either unless I went to Lincoln.  Would they have something to fit the dies?

I'd like to sell it all together making it easy since I only have the two strip dies, the Rose of Sharon, and the 2 inch square die...oh and the ones that came with the cutter.

I just hate having mine knowing someone would love it more.  I'm not even sure how much to ask for the entire set or if I should put it up on Ebetray w/o knowing how to ship the larger dies.  If someone lived locally within Lincoln, Omaha or surrounding areas we could meet up somewhere.

Any thoughts?

Monday, November 07, 2011

Random Thoughts?

I have been piecing today.  It's been cold and rainy and to keep my mind off those bikes I want, I started working on the cardinal quilt.  It's not working.

I hate random piecing and quilting.  I don't like same fabric pieces touching and it drives me nuts trying to piece and place blocks randomly.  Grrr.

But, here's one layout of this quilt:

Deep down, it really doesn't matter, but sewing and quilting random blocks drives me crazy.  Which is probably why I haven't had this done that fast.  I just need to get over it.


Yup.  I've done my best to forget about bikes today, but it isn't happening.  Stupid Salsa Fargo.  Why didn't I find you when I was looking earlier?  Oh yeah, cause I didn't know what I wanted.  Duh.

I got thinking about what I liked so much about the Fargo and it was the seat post, the shifters and the  handlebars.  If I can't afford the bike, I figured I could get those parts and change my bike around.

Of course it's NOT that easy after I talked to my LBS mechanic.  The handlebars won't fit on my mountain bike and the fancy shifter setup would cost me at least 400 bucks.  I thought about putting the fancy shifters on my Madone but right now I'm not sure I want to put that much money on the bike.

I can put the fancy seat post on my mountain bike.  When I looked it up, it's called a Thudbuster and instead of the suspension going up/down which hurts me, it slides back and forth.

The more I thought about things I realized I wanted that flared handlebar as well.  The mechanic said I could put it on my Madone.  Of course that would be blasphemy to the road cyclists out there.  It's a good thing there aren't any down where I live.  Not that I care.  It's my bike and I can do it the way I want.  I ordered the bars and I hope to see them on Friday.

BTW, here's DH on the recumbent bike he was looking at:

We both tried it out and while lots of fun, not even remotely useful in rural Nebraska.  Hills would take hours to climb.  We got lots of looks though.  It's a Catrike Trail model he's riding.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

I'm at a loss and not sure what to do.  No, it's nothing bad, just confusing.  I'm not really looking for answers.  Just doing some online thinking.

DH and I went to another bike store to look at recumbent bikes today.  We tried out one and he really liked it.  Meh.  I had a good time, but wasn't worried about having one.  He loved it.

As I was looking around they had a Salsa Mukluk that I tried out and really liked.  It's a bike with 4 inch wide tires and rides like a tank over anything.  Perfect for rural gravel roads and the snow.  Then the guy showed me a Salsa Fargo and it was almost love at first ride.  It's a touring bike/mountain bike with 29 inch wheels and has funky drop bars.  I thought I loved the bikes I have, but this was different.


Salsa Fargo:

What's hard about bikes is the same about sewing machines.  You think you know what you want until you start getting better and then realize you may have gotten the wrong machine/bike.

When I first started looking the guy asked "Where do you plan on riding?" and "What kind of bike are you looking for?" "Ummm...dunno.  Just want a bike."  I had no idea so many kinds of bikes existed, touring, mountain, racing, cyclocross, racing, hybrid, time trial, cruisers and whatever else is out there so I just winged it.  Then there are price points between all of those depending on the level of bike.

After today, I realized I don't like racing bikes.  I won't ever race.  My Madone is hard to handle because it's so light and despite several fittings, it just doesn't seem right.  Rural NE doesn't have roads built for light carbon bikes and blowing semi's don't help.  I thought I wanted a racing bike.  Really.  I did.  But the more I ride it, the less enthralled I am.  It's a gorgeous fast amazing bike, but not for where I'm at.  

My Sirrus is a hybrid and I bought it before the Madone.  I was told a hybrid was the perfect match between a racer and mountain bike.  No.  It's crap.  You can't ride the trails and it's not fast enough to race.  Hybrids suck.  Don't bother.

I've realized cruiser and comfort bikes are not my style, but I already knew that.

I LOVE my Mamba 29er.  After doing a real ride yesterday I realized I picked the perfect bike and no regrets.  I regret the Sirrus and Madone purchases and selling them is awfully tempting.

Salsa Fargo

Like I said, it's a touring bike with 29 inch wheels.  I rode it around and it was incredibly fast, agile, light and stable.  Never once did I fall off the bike or feel like I was going too.  I have spent the entire summer falling of that Madone.  I've had bruises that have taken weeks to heal because of it.  Since it's not a racer, I wasn't bent over like a pretzel.  Since it's not a crappy hybrid, you're not stuck sitting upright with straight bars wondering if the ride will ever end.

A touring bike is made for going long distances in comfort.  They are also built to hold luggage and bags while you ride.  I didn't look at them before as I figured I would never get farther than a few miles so why look at them?  I thought they'd be slow and cumbersome, but this wasn't even close when I tried the  Fargo.


If you truly live rurally, you know what the gravel roads are like out here.  I thought my mountain bike would do great, but all you do is control slide the bike over the gravel.  This bike makes going over anything easy.  You can glide over snow from what I've been told.   There are miles and miles of gravel road out there.  Oh, the possibilities.

There are several disadvantages.  It's a tank.  It's not going to handle nimbly around a mountain bike trail unless it's a wide trail and if you have to stop while going up a hill, good luck gaining momentum.  It's huge.  I'm not sure I could take it anywhere and it's really location specific.  People stop and gawk at you as you go by.  While that's not a bad thing, I found that while riding it, people kept coming up and asking about it.  


The shop that sells these bikes is in Council Bluffs.  That's over an hour away if I need quick adjustments.  The shop was fantastic though and almost worth the drive since my store can get cranky.  I'm not sure my bike store could order the bikes in either.  If they could, would it be worth it for easy service?

Anyone who has bought machines through dealers know that dealer availability and help is necessary.  However; a brake adjustment that is 5 minutes makes it hard to drive up that far, even though you like the dealer better.

I'm not sure my shop would let me trade up the bikes I own and I'm not sure how easily I could sell them  myself.

If I had to choose one, it would be the Fargo.  The guy said he was putting together a Fargo that was my size, but a lower model.  He said to come in and check the size for reference as the one I rode was 19 inches after he got it built.
Maybe this post can be a true "First Mountain Bike Ride".  I was talking with my LBS and he metioned a couple of bike trails near Omaha.  Once again, determined to do a real trail before it gets cold, I call up DH and tell him I'm picking him up to take me there.

WOW and WOW when we got there.  We started riding and immediately I fell in love.  The hills, the turns, the descents, dodging trees and being with DH was amazing.  He did awesome for being a part-time weekend warrior despite his protests of thinking he's in the way.

My 29er did beautifully on the trail.  She handled everything that was in her path.  I LOVE this bike.

Go to your local mountain bike park and try out a trail.  Don't worry about feeling inexperienced.  We actually did an "easy" trail which was still challenging, but SO much fun.

I'm in heaven..at least until I hit a tree which brings me back to reality.

Sorry there are no pics.  We only had about a 1/2 hour to ride before it got dark.  Another time I'll find a way to go during the day and explore more.  You really don't want to go by yourself.  

Thursday, November 03, 2011

First Mountain Bike Ride

I finally got the courage to head for a true mountain bike ride today.  I called up the local state park and asked if the trails were cleared to get a bike through.  I was told the trails were great and come on down.  I lugged my bike onto the rack and headed out.  I probably shouldn't have gone out by myself, but winter is coming and I wanted at least one attempt at using my bike.

Lady at the front office gives me a map and tells me to use the number 7 trail as it was easy.  I head out, find the trail parking lot and unload my bike.  I grab my stuff and helmet and start my first ever adventure.  I'm doing pretty good getting up/down the first couple of hills and then come across this monstrosity:

Right lady.  The trail is cleared for bikes.  For what?  Monster size bikes like the monster trucks on TV?  Obviously you haven't been out on the this particular trail anytime soon.

I pick up my bike and haul it around the tree. I go a little further down the trail and nearly slide all the way down the hill via the leaves in the rut.  Brakes are NOT helping and I'm praying I don't fall off onto the left side since there's a steep drop-off.

Number 7 trail is EASY?  Lady, who hired you?

I slide down the hill and walk up the next hill.  There is no shame in walking if no one is around.  I start down and realize there's ANOTHER tree about 3/4 of the way down.  It's not as big as this one, but it's there.  I slow down best I can and haul the bike around this tree.

I spent more time hauling my purple 29er over trees than I actually did riding it.

Now that I have 1.5 hours of experience mountain biking I've learned these things:

1.  I need a small backpack that isn't labeled specifically for cycling since those cost 150 bucks to put crap in.

2.  Wool socks are awesome and my waterproof/windproof tights under my jeans worked amazingly.   I really wish they made mountain bike style pants for fall weather.  Jeans are unfcomfortable, but if I fell off I'd have some protection.

3.  The windproof goofy looking beanie hat works great for your ears, lets you put your hair back and fits under my helmet.

4.  Disc brakes ROCK.  If you are looking for a mountain bike get them.  You can slide through mud and other debris much better than if you have rim brakes.

5.  Love my armwarmers.  I can fit them under my sweater and if it gets too hot, I can take them off.

6.  I'm not nearly as bad at this than I thought I would be thanks to reading several books.  I won't be doing anything fancy soon, but I never crashed.

7.  Always look where you want to go, not where your bike goes.  That advice saved me several times while going down some steep hills.

8.  29ers rock at going up hills, not so much going down since they aren't as agile as 26ers.  That will take some practice.

9.  I need to figure out how to work my shocks, or I may be too heavy for the WSD bike shocks.  I kept tweaking it, but it was still too much.

10.  Take a friend.  It's no fun going alone and not having anyone to share the adventure is a shame.

I could really use some more mechanic skills as my brakes were causing problems on the way up the road back to the car.  LBS fixed it after about 5 minutes and there was no way I could have done it by myself.  Make sure your bike is in perfect condition before leaving.

Oh..the nice part?  There was a hunter walking up the road with his crossbow and he was smoking hot.  Very nice view of nature at it's finest.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Bike Fit!

I had another professional fitting for my bikes last week.  Another?  Well, after putting my Madone on a trainer for an hour, everything just started aching.  Something was off and made an appt for a new fitting from another LBS.

After taking several measurements of inseam, thigh length, torso length, arm length, shoulder width, hand size and foot length, he put them in the computer and bam..out comes a picture of how my bike should be set up.  Neato.

He starts fiddling with the magic numbers and sets up my bike.  He raised the saddle up, made it level and moved it closer to the bike.  He dropped the handlebars down a level, and tweaked some more.  He said I might need my cranks smaller but that would be a huge expense and said to wait and see how the bike fits as you use it.

It's AMAZING what a couple of tweaks can do.  It's like getting the tension exactly where you want it for FMQ and the perfect satin stitch.

Of course he does this and the weather turns nasty.  Maybe it's a good time to try out my cold weather clothing?

Here's my bike now.  The changes are small but wonderful:

He also raised the seat post and leveled my saddle for my mountain bike:

Best 45 bucks I've ever spent!