Thursday, January 30, 2014

You pay it forward, bitch!

Sorry about the asterisks around the word 'you' in the title.  I didn't see a way to do italics in the title section.  Oh wait, hang on, I have an idea ...

Yeah, that worked.  Ok.  Never mind.  I got it.  When I look at the title, I see "<i>You</i> pay it forward, bitch!"  When I look at the last sentence, I see ... Oh never mind.  This could go on forever.  Uh oh, I think I've just proved (entire proof too large to fit in margin) the existence of God.  Dammit.  Now I have to repent and stuff.  Surely there will be plenty of time for that later, though.  Right now, I have a deadline ...

Anyway - what's happening with me today?  I'm ever so happy that you've asked.

Warning:  The following will be about bike shit.  If you came here to read part 2 of about 3 from last week's post, I'm afraid you don't understand how this blog works.

Disclaimer:  I may talk about the dead fish from last week's post later on.  But the rest will have to wait for at least 2 weeks.  Next week's post is already locked in and it doesn't have anything to do with where I wanted to take last week's post.  The good news is that none of this matters at all, because I didn't really leave anything unfinished.  There was just more I wanted to say.

I have a few favorite authors.  Christopher Moore, Conn Iggulden, Ken Follett, Dr. Seuss (inventor of the word 'nerd').  When I've only read one or two books by a certain author, his style or formula isn't necessarily clear.  After about 4 or 5, it becomes almost tedious to read the author because it's relatively easy to guess where the story is going.

As disorganized as this blog is, it may surprise you to learn that I also have a template I follow (attached below):
//TODO: cleverly use foreshadowing device

//TODO:  write stuff for blog.

//TODO: pretend to get attacked by a vampire.

I would like to start off by talking about Rule 12.  Of course everybody knows what rule 12 is, but Munson insists that I spell it out every time I mention a rule, so:
Rule #12
// The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.
You're welcome, Munson.

Last year (late 2013), I raced for the first time since 2007.  Cyclocross.  I entered 4 races in total.  Of all the races I've ever done, these were my favorite 4.  I am not good at it, yet.  After barriers, I basically stop the bike and clumsily get back on.  But I don't care, that's some fun stuff there.

Several weeks ago, Mrs Cube and I put some hanger thingies up in the basement.  They were for my bikes.  I have 3 bikes.  We put up 4 sets of hangers (rule 12 compliance).

Then due to certain state and federal regulations governing all activities, home improvement projects,  and meals, I was legally bound to take a photograph of the hangers (with bikes on 3 of them) and post it to Facebook.

The photo shows that I have 2 road bikes and a cross bike.

Last Summer when the boys were going to the Mountain Bike classes, I started riding on the trails (Tranquility and Swanson) and found my one true love.  Off road cycling.  At the time, I absolutely had to have a hardtail 29er.  I was using my cross bike, which is ok on those courses, but not ideal.

I would still like to get a 29er, and after seeing the Facebook photo, several people suggested it would be the perfect bike for the empty hangers.

Yes and no.  My cross bike weighs 26 pounds and I am going to race cross next year.

I need (want) a new cross bike.

But I'm old.  I spent too much of my earlier life not saving money.  I'm trying to catch up now.  I set aside a certain amount each month now that leaves little for small purchases like "A New Bike."

So I have to save for the new cross bike.  I'm fine with that.  The sooner I cut out other expenses, the sooner I can get the bike.

Fortunately, there are many ways I can tighten up.  One example that seems almost silly is my daily cup of coffee.

For a large coffee, it is somewhere around $2 - $2.50 depending on where you go.  There are roughly 23 work days in a month so that's around $50 a month.  Not much, but I have a coffee maker.  I can make my own coffee.  So that's what I do now.

Except this morning.

I was running late and decided to swing through Crane for a cup.  I was not happy about the $2.42, but I had bought a "Crane card" several weeks ago.  For $25.00, they put $30.00 value on the card.  It still had about $10 left on it, so I figured it was ok to use it just this once (and 3 other times).

Usually when I pull up to the order/speaker thing, I'm the only one there.  This morning, there was a car at the pick-up window and another one at the speaker.

On my morning drive, there's this thing I do.  I also do it when I ride on the keystone.  It is not genuine, but it entertains me.  I pretend like everybody and everything is making me mad.  I am in no way mad.  I just enjoy the harmless game of insulting unknown faceless people in other cars (or on comfort bikes on the trail).

So upon seeing the car waiting at the speaker, my tirade went something like, "Just fuckin' great.  Now it's going to be 5 minutes instead of 10 seconds because you can't go one fucking day without slamming 1000 calories of chocolate whipped cream coffee mocha treat down your fat gullet.  Look at that stupid car you're driving (it was the same make, model and color as mine).  'Oh - I just have to have a Honda so I can go to Crane and get into real people's way.'  Stupid Bitch."

Eventually, it was my turn to order and like every day (that I go to crane) I asked what the special flavored coffee was.  And like every day, I didn't listen to the answer.  I just said, "Yeah - I'll go with the unflavored kind. Black."  and like every day, they said, "Did you need a muffin or scone added to that?"  and like every day, I said, "No thank you."  

But unlike everyday when I got to the window and offered my Crane card to the hippie, he said, "Um actually?"  That's how he said it.  Like a question.  Then he continued to ask me questions in the form of statements.  "Um actually? The lady in the car before this one?  she paid for your coffee."

"Could I have that scone now?"  I said.

Um actually?, I said, "Wow.  Ok thanks."

And I drove off.  I was a little touched by the stupid random gesture, but it was not enough to get me out of pretend rant mode.

"If I find that fucking bitch, I'm gonna thank the hell out of her.  Who does she think she is?  How chicken shit is that?  Pay for my coffee and then just drive off.  Next time, I'll cut in front of her dumb ass and pay for her drink.  See how she likes it."

Then I envisioned how that would have been a much better start to the day.  Just cut in front of the woman while she was still at the speaker.  While she's still fuming at the injustice of my "cuts"  the hippie would ask her that not only did I pay for her drink, but I also paid for extra chocolate and whipped cream and insulin shots.  

As this hilarious (to me) vision faded, I realized I still had 4 more visits to Crane instead of 3 and actually was happy.  The end result of that woman's kindness is that I will be able to get my cross bike roughly 4 seconds sooner now.  That's training time I can't afford to give up.

So remember, next time you are being impatient for entertainment purposes only, the person in front of you is most likely trying to win God's favor for some horrible sin against humanit ...

Hang on, I have to answer this ...

Why hello, lady who bought my unflavored coffee this morning, what on earth are you doing here?  Is that chocolate dripping from your fangs?

Oh no!  Ahhh! Bite. Crunch. Die.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Are you Ready? Part 1 of probably about 3 or so

I was in about first or second grade when I became best friends with my first best friend ever.

His name was Stephen.  There were 2 Stevens in our class and 1 Stephen.  We all decided in about first or second grade that Anderson was Stevie, Thompson was Steve, and Stephen was Stephen.

Stephen and I were 2 of the smartest 3 kids in our class (Jimmy was the other).  We were (in our minds) hilarious.  In everybody else's minds, we were weird.  The word "nerd" wasn't around yet.  Don't tell me about Dr. Seuss or whatever.  Nerd came from "Happy Days" as far as anybody that matters is concerned.  At least that's where we got it from, but Happy Days wasn't there yet.  

Before people were called nerds, at my school at least, they were called "Red."  Red was short for Redneck.  I think it was started by the kids with older brothers/sisters.  It meant you weren't cool.  Like a straight laced, burly farm type.

To adults, "redneck" meant exactly what it does to Jeff Foxworthy.  To the Jr. High (LKA Middle School) students, it meant you didn't smoke dope and were therefore a "narc."  Jr. High Students are stupid.  Often calling each other "narc".  As if there were 2 types of Jr High student; Drug addict and DEA Agent.

But this was elementary school, and "red" simply meant "not cool."  I envisioned the sunburned neck sticking out of a stupid red and white plaid button (or mother-of-pearl snap) down shirt.  This redneck was blond and wore stupid cowboy boots as he hopped into the passenger side of his dad's stupid pickup truck to help his dad pick up some stupid hay or something on their stupid farm.  Stupid redneck.

When "Happy Days" eventually popularized "nerd,"  things made a lot more sense.  Then there were two types of people at school.  Drug addicts and students. As it should be.   

But in elementary school all I knew about drugs was that this one girl's older sister got her name put in the paper for possession of marijuana.  She took a lot of crap for that one.  It was so dumb.  If somebody argued with her, it usually ended like,

"What do you know? Your sister's a pothead." 


Kids are mean.  And don't think for one second that I joined in the reindeer games.  I would never behave like that for one reason.  I was totally in love with that girl.  I thought she was the coolest, prettiest girl in the whole world.  I used to go home and talk to my mom for about an hour or 2 each night about how I was going to marry her some day.

And you know what?  

No I was wrong on that one.  Never mind.  We never got married.  I did see her in a neighborhood bar about 20 years later and said "hey!"  She was still pretty, but she like worked in construction or something and chain smoked and had a voice like gravel.  So that was cool.

Anyway, back in elementary school, we thought of all drugs as being pretty much the same thing.  Except LSD.  That was different.  We had seen a film about how if you took LSD, you would think you could fly and then you'd jump out of a window and kill yourself.  Guaranteed.  

I had my doubts about that because I wondered why anyone would want to take a drug that made you "think" you could fly but actually couldn't.  We had all seen Willy Wonka and the Fizzy lifting drink and knew the dangers of overhead fans, but how pointless is a drug that has no effect other than deception.

Anyway - doubts or no - it was enough for me to fend off the dozens of attempts by 4th graders to get me to trip on acid, as it were.

But that's not why I'm here.  I'm here to talk about The Minnesota Vikings, my favorite NFL team.

I mentioned that my first best friend was Stephen.  Like me, Stephen had little or no interest in Pro Football.  He was a college football fan, but we didn't talk about that because his dad had gone to LSU, so he was a fan of the Tigers.

In about 4th grade or so, Stephen and I were still best friends when a new kid (Mark) arrived at our school.  He was also funny like us.  Unlike us though, he was inherently cool. He noticed right away that Stephen wasn't cool.  It took him a while before he noticed I also wasn't cool.

I liked Mark, but he didn't like Stephen. This is a situation that I've always experienced, but never understood.  Eventually, Mark made me choose between him and Stephen.  I didn't want to, but I did (and obviously made the wrong choice).

Maybe I will go into all of that next week.  This week, it's all Vikings!

One day, Mark said to me, what's your favorite football team?  I was like, "Duh. The Huskers!"

The Mark was all, "College football?  God you are so red!  I'm talking about the pros."

"I don't know.  I guess I like the Dolphins ok."

"The Dolphins?  Get real!  They Suck.  I'm a Vikings fan.  Fran is the man!"


"Tarkington!  You really don't know anything do you?"

Well - it was about 3 days later that the student had become the master.  I learned everything I could about the Vikings.  I even learned that the quarterback's last name was "Tarkenton."  I bet Mark still thinks it was "Tarkington."

A few days after that, I asked my dad what his favorite pro football team was.  I was shocked to learn that he was a "Green Bay Packers" fan.  I couldn't see how anybody could be anything but a Vikings fan.

January of the following year saw my favorite team of all time against the Pittsburgh Steelers in The Super Bowl!

Now I'm not sure, but I think people make a bigger deal out of the Super Bowl than they did in 1975.

I watched The Vikings lose while I sat in a house alone petting a cat.

It wasn't my house.  It wasn't my cat.  It wasn't my TV.  I was 10 years old, but I learned a lot that day:

1)  It's true about "too much fish food"
2)  Franco Harris was not an Irish guy named "Frank O'Harris"
3)  When to call it a day

To be continued ...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I found the next one

Warning: The following post was a bit of a rush job.  I have to go to a deal tonight and know I'm not going to want to do this afterward.  I forced words onto the page in such a brutal manner, there ought to be a law.  Say, that reminds me, don't you hate when people say "I'm a libertarian." Yeah, me too.  That's what makes being a libertarian so humiliating.  Because as a libertarian, I do not really think "there ought to be a law."  Libertarians don't believe in laws.  Sort of.  Libertarians are stupid.  Also, don't you hate it when people say "But I digress."  Man I hate that so much.  You know what you should really hate though?  The fact that you've just finished reading the best part of this post. Sorry about that, but I have a deal.


One time, a few (6 or 7) years ago, I gave up cycling.  There's was no conscious decision to give it up.  It just sort of fell away over the period of a couple of years.  While I was drifting away from cycling, I was completely obsessed with golf.  It was my new thing.

I have talked about this thing with my brain and obsession before.  I've always had it.  My parents would complain about it.  I am often humiliated by it, but once I latch on to a desire to have or do some 'thing', I cannot stop thinking about it.

Sometimes it is something I just have to have (skateboard, digital watch).  But usually, it is a skill I want to master (cycling, rubik's cube, pool, darts, Christianity, computer programming,cycling again, weight lifting, poker, cycling again, golf, cycling again and the latest one:  Rocking out on the guitar).

Every time I "get into" something, I fantasize that I will become the greatest at it.  As long as I study the craft, I can see no reason I will not be the best.  I have envisioned outgolfing Tiger, outguitaring Jimi, outlifting Arnold, outplaying Doyle and outhealing Benny.  I mean - I actually entertain these delusions for a remarkably long time.

I've enjoyed cycling off and on my whole life, but it wasn't until golf came along that my love of cycling was actually 'replaced' by a love of something else.  Whatever it is that I get into, it has to be difficult to learn.  I start out overwhelmed by all that needs to be learned.  The time commitment to whatever the new thing is seems impossible.  There are usually years of, "Oh man, I suck at this,"  but it only makes me regroup, reevaluate and try harder.  For whatever sick reason, I like the feeling that I'm improving, followed by the realization that I'm not very good.  That causes me to try to figure out why I'm not good and hunt for a solution.

It's the searching for a solution that keeps me interested.

Eventually though, I become bored with whatever I'm into and go back to cycling.  That's the way it's always been.

When I caught the cycling bug in late 2012, it was worse than ever before.  Strava is partially to blame for this.  I've always enjoyed trying to analyze stuff and Strava offers a bunch of data.  Also, it allows me to be more honest about my ability.  That's a good thing.  I'm particularly negative.  But I can see some decent efforts with all the info laid out.

Anyway, I mostly gave up golf.  I went out about 5 times this year and had  a decent time, but my preference for cycling never waned.

Two years ago, I started playing guitar again.  Over the past 6 weeks, I've been sick 3 times and unable to ride much at all.  I started playing guitar more.  I got into the same mode I do with everything else.  Feeling like I have to play for at least an hour a day.  Mostly I was putting in about 2 or 3 hours while I was not riding.  The first day I was well enough to ride, my time was limited.  I had to make a decision.  I wanted to do both but didn't have time.  One would have to take a back seat.  Then I laughed.  "Are you kidding me?"  I said to myself.  "You are more likely to compete in the Tour de France than be the next Stevie Ray Vaughan or Billy Gibbons."

It was ridiculous.  The thought that I needed to play guitar to attain some expert level.  That could never happen.  I'm far too old.  The important thing is staying in good physical shape.

I surprised myself, but ultimately renewed my vows with cycling.  It's a long road to the Tour de France, but I promise you, I'll get there.  I know you don't believe me.  But that's only because I haven't shared my training plan with you.  It's just a hop, skip and a jump from 50 year old cat 4 hero to world class cyclist.  Also, I have a passport, so getting to France should be "no problemo," as the French say.

Thursday, January 09, 2014


I have a confession to make.  I absolutely can't stand Downton Abbey.  I'm talking about the TV show.  If there's some Abbey named "Downton,"  I don't have any problem with it other than it seems to have inspired a wildly popular TV series.

I first became aware of the show after I read a Ken Follett Book called "Fall of Giants."  I'm a big fan of historical fiction and Ken Follett is my second favorite writer of it.

"Fall of Giants" was about the events leading up to WWI from the perspective of various royalty, peasants and working class folks from all over the world.  Follett ties it all up nice and tidy to make an amazing story out of something I would otherwise have little interest in (WWI history).

So I was telling a drinking buddy about the book.  Since it's a drinking buddy, I was required to preface telling him about the book with, "I know it sounds totally gay, but I was reading this book ..."

After I told him all about it, he said if I liked that, I might be interested in this show called "Downton Abbey."

Well, what he said was, "Ok this is gonna sound really gay, but I've been watching this British series on PBS.  It's FABULOUS!!!"

Well - I was interested after that.  My drinking buddy and I pretty much agree on lots of stuff. He went with me to Pearl Jam. When I asked him if he wanted to go see Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field, it was more of a taunt.  I knew he'd go.

Season One of Downton Abbey was on Netflix, so one night, I sat down to enjoy Episode One of the best show ever.

Eight minutes later, I was done with Downton Abbey.  Forever.  I can hear you saying, "Um Cube, do you really think you gave it a fair shake?  Eight Minutes?"

You - and my wife, who thinks that Downton Abbey is so incredible, she is now forced to watch every single British TV show that comes out - may have a point.  It doesn't matter though.  I'm sure it's truly a fantastic show.  Judging from the people I know who just want to do terrible things to the show, they love it so much, I bet I would also love it if I could get past that one thing.

But I can't.

Over the last few days, I started thinking maybe I'd give the show another chance.  Maybe I overreacted.  Now that a new season is starting, maybe I should at least try.

There's a certain type of humor I really can't stand.  I'm not talking about puns.  I can't stand puns, but that's not really humor, is it (the way this sentence is written is an example of what I hate about Downton Abbey.  So even though I am guilty of the same thing, I can't stand it when the British do it).  

It's the British snobby smart-ass clever humor.  I don't know why, but I want to put a bullet in my head every time I hear it.  And by "my head" I mean "my gun."  I want to put a bullet in my gun, then shoot that stuck-up bastard making his snide remark.

Is "limey" wrong to say?  Because if it is, I won't say it.

Anyway, The thing I'm talking about happens every 12 seconds on Downton Abbey.

I believe within the first couple of scenes on the first episode of Downton Abbey,  There was like some butler or something.  I think he was retiring.  He was talking to some other servant in this house.  

Then one of the people they worked for came in and said some pretty snotty shit.  After she left, The butler raised his eyebrows and said something equally snarky, British and annoying.

It may not have happened like this, but that's how I remember it.

It was something  like, "Hobson, be a dear and fetch me the tea kettle polish, if it's not too much bother." She was being all bitchy.

Then Hobson's like, "Well - I should say if the good lady is in need of some polish, I shall drop everything Lord Python commanded and fetch said polish posthaste.  If it pleases milady, this polish performs most flawlessly when shoved outlandishly far up milady's bum."

"Oh Hobson, by all means, send it up there without delay.  I simply can't stomach the idea of your poor lips spending the entire day up there all alone.  Sniff,"  I'm paraphrasing.

Anyway - like I said, I was thinking of giving the show another chance, but I got home from Jimmy John's tonight and handed out a bunch of sandwiches.  Jill was watching one of her British TV shows.  I wasn't really paying much attention.  I was at the dining room table, but could hear the television and there it was.  That same chalkboard screeching smart-ass British noise I hate so much.  After about 4 minutes I realized this was none other than the latest episode of Downton Abbey.  So much for giving it a chance.

Understand, I'm certain it is an amazing show.  It's just they always do that thing I hate.

By now you may have noticed I don't have anything to say tonight.  That's ok.  Having something to say was never part of the agreement.  

Actually, I do want to briefly talk about something.  It's been on my mind as much as Downton Abbey is annoying.  It has to do with JWait's last post

jwait is a good person from what I can tell.  In his latest post, he hatches a scheme to be nice to people.  So far so good.  What could possibly be wrong with that?

On the surface, nothing.  Granted, being nice to people is a young man's game.  I'm too old for that sort of thing and I admire him for his gumption (old guy word).

But the people he's talking about being nice to.  Sorry.  No thanks.  He's talking about newbies to cycling.

This is not running.  I remember when a certain person (who I promised myself I wouldn't mention by name tonight because I mention him every week) came to cycling from running.  He saw people getting dropped and instigated a buddy system.  He appealed to our something or other and quoted Yoda.  We were all like "Fuck that noise.  You ride slow with them or something."   Good times.     

Anyway - yeah jwait - not that any of the standoffish folks he's talking about are "nice" to me.  In fact some of them are real assholes.

When you're new to a group and you don't understand what you are doing, you're going to get yelled at.  This is because you are potentially putting people in danger.  This is not a game.  Lives are literally on the line. The yelling is partially anger, but it is more instruction during a fast paced ride.  Whispering will not be heard. Waiting to explain until later is unwise.

Ok, I know jwait was talking about the environment at the meetup before the ride being cold and unwelcoming and not about what happens later on the road.  In fact, he then goes on to say the group would be dropping that newbie posthaste on the trace (a section of the ride).  Then they'll all sit up, put in their monocles or pince nez's or whatever and say something like "I say.  Where's that young newbie you were so chatty with earlier?"

then jwait will say, "Egads, you're quite right. I guess he forgot the tea kettle polish."

And sceeeene!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Nice to see you again, Group Ride Omaha.

Last Saturday (12/28/2013) was the first of the Group Ride Omaha Winter Rides.  This was about where I started last year with getting more serious about being on the bike.  And when I say "serious" I mean - get that smirk off your face.

I love these winter rides.  When it is this cold out, I generally have no motivation to ride outside in the dark during the week either before or after a long day of work at the toasty cubicle.

Even on Saturdays - it would be difficult without having others there to share in the suffering.  But last year there were always at least 11 people on the Saturday winter rides, which I think is amazing.  We had some pretty cold ones last year.

Earlier this year - I wondered if I was even going to be able to go at all.  Group Ride Omaha was giving me a "You're not special" error.  It would say that it was only open for reading by those permitted to do so and I wasn't one of them.  I thought that was weird if they wanted to ride with a group.  Well - maybe they just didn't want me there, which would be understandable.

Typical conversation on the Saturday Omaha Winter ride:

Costello: What's that Fred's name? (pointing up ahead to me)
Abbott: Fred.
Costello:  Obviously, but what's his name?

 ... and so on.

So for a while, I thought I might have to rely on Brady to help me crash the rides.  You may not know this, but oftentimes I'll be sitting in the basement of my house alone on a Friday night.  I will be facing the cinder block wall in the damp darkness (there could even be a dankness involved), staring off to nowhere in particular.  I will glance at the half-empty brown bottle of Budweiser and take a pull, drinking in the bitter flat warmth that it has become while I'm flooded with a lifetime of matching bitter warm regrets.

I'll sigh heavily and heave my massive barrel chested girth to one side so I can reach into my pocket and grab my cell phone.  It's buzzing with a new text message.  And like most Friday nights, it's Brady letting me know there's a ride tomorrow.

A ride.  That's just what I need to get me out of this funk, I'll think.  I will then typically lick my palm and smooth down a tuft of misguided hair.  I'll straighten the lapels of my stained, white cotton tank top.  Once presentable, I will text back to Brady, thanking him for letting me know about the ride.

That's why some people think that I am only on rides if Brady's there.  The bitter (like flat warm Budweiser) irony of Brady's and my respective cycling histories will hit me like a ton of pungent liquid bricks as I reach from my basement lawn chair and flip the top off of the styrofoam fishing cooler, only to find a dozen or so empty Budweiser bottles.  I will pick up a couple and shake the last of any dregs onto my tongue as I consider the next day's ride with great relish.  At this point, I should mention the awkwardness of the last sentence and ambiguously placed whatsamahoozits is entirely intentional.  Make your own decision about the relish.

But Brady's in Singapore studying ancient methods of coconut puncture or something.  So with Group Ride Omaha's blog safely locked away from my prying eyes, I was left to the fishing cooler, the green and white basement lawn chair, relish dregs, and the cinder block wall.  Good grief.

But it turns out it was some sort of unintended privacy setting at the blog site.  Rafal got it fixed and all who cared to join were once again welcome.

In a way, I was hoping it was personal.  Like most of the country, I am always looking for the next big thing to enrage me.  Just as the "ZZ TOP Duck Call Guy" outrage glow was fading - Exclusion from a local group ride might be just the ticket to fill my outrage void.  But no.  No such luck.

So yeah.  I can see the ride announcements now.  Yay!  Even with Brady in Singapore, I can learn the time and place of local group rides!

And what a fantastic day it was.  It was sunny all day and started out in the mid 30s.  We spent much of the 3-4 hour ride in 50+ temps.  Just great for this time of year.  It was the most wonderful perfectly marvelous ride of the year.  Except for all the assholes.

I'm just kidding.  I mean yes - there were literally exactly the same number of assholes on the ride as there were cyclists, but I think that is always the case.  Before I slide into a "Team America" like diatribe, I'm going to move along and chat about the highlights of the ride from my vantage point.

The first 2 were before I even had a sip of coffee.

The start point for the ride was at Crane Coffee at 60th and Center.

I arrived and sat near a small group of cyclists forming in the northwest corner.  I removed my gloves, helmet, cap and sunglasses.  Leah said, "Wow Fred, I didn't know you ever did anything without Brady!"

I suppose I deserved that.  I mean, I had my bike painted (powder coated) yellow, so ...

After a few hellos and stuff I went up and got a cup of coffee.  I went back to my stuff, but there were more cyclists who had arrived and now no place to sit.  Shim then said, "Hey Cube, we saved you a spot," and pointed across the room.

"I've been dropped already, I see,"  I said.  Good times.

Then we all went riding around for a while where eventually we saw this sign.

Brady took this photo

This photo was taken a few weeks ago, but the sign was the same. After we passed it.  Shim was like, "Uh Fred.  Where's the fun?"

"I don't know,"  I didn't know.

Then Shim said, "You're not very fun.  Here.  Here's a joke to get you started."

Okay that was pretty funny.  I don't remember what the joke was but Shim said his kid just told it to him or something.

And there it is.  The highlights of the first Winter ride.

And Scene.