My father-in-law had a favorite saying: ‘Owning a house is god’s way of making sure you never have too much time or money’.

So true. The last few nights, the inevitable cycle of clearing and then slowing clogging our bathroom sink drain finally reached the ‘its too clogged to ignore any longer’ stage.

To enlighten those who somehow aren’t aware of this cycle (its more inevitable than “the circle of life”, in my experience), it goes like this:

  • Clean, free flowing drain, a.k.a. nirvana
  • early clog forming stage: if you run the water on full blast it might slowly fill up, but really its not a problem yet.
  • mid-clog: water backs up a bit, but it drains out without too much delay and nothing gross is left behind in the sink.
  • late-clog: water back up a lot, really at this point you should clean it, but its such a pain, so you decide to ignore it a while longer.
  • terminal: doesn’t drain at all or at best only very slowly, the stuff you spit out from brushing your teeth stays in the sink, along with shaving cream and whatever else makes its way into the sink. Time for the liquid plumber.

Julie has a go at it Monday – one or possibly two rounds of drain cleaner, and the sink just laughed at her and said ‘is that all you got? watch this!’ as it went from late-clog to terminal stage, completely ignoring the drain cleaner. Our sink is the Richard Sherman of plumbing. So Tuesday I had a go. Again, our sink was not impressed – two rounds of drain cleaner and it only receded to late-clog stage, so after a couple of candy bars to build up my plumber nerve, I dug out the snake, unpacked everything from under the sink, and had at it. It was a tough fight. I survived, but was left with trembling hands devoid of grip strength. Further, as I finished snaking, I was pretty sure that I’d been defeated. On a whim, I put the drain bend thingie back in place and ran the water just to see if there was any improvement, and I must have loosened things up just enough because there was a gurgle and then suddenly we were back to sink nirvana.

For the rest of the evening and again this morning, I have repeatedly found myself running the sink water and marveling at my plumbing prowess.

Best of all, project cost was < $10 and required no trips to the hardware store.

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Trainer vs. Road

Bicyclists are generally a friendly group, but every so often when out riding I run across a particularly chatty rider.

Such was the case Sunday – I caught up to a guy riding a fixy on the slight downhill stretch of Foothill between Los Altos and Arastradero and we started talking.  After covering the weather and his bike (a nice Surly), we talked about riding indoors in the cold and he said (unattributed), that a 50 minute trainer ride is about the same as a 90 minute road ride.

I’ve thought about this just a bit and I think he’s about right. Or at least I hope so.

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The pain of riding in the garage of light and speedy pedaling

Starting this week, I’ve got the Trek 7500 FX mounted on my newly procured Kurt Kinetic Rock ‘n Roll trainer (what a wonderful green color), and I’ve been pedaling away with tunes playing on my eye-pad. With four rides under my belt, its time for some observations, so in no particular order:

  • Riding the trainer is subtly harder than riding outdoors. No cooling breeze, so sweat really builds up. No changes in terrain, so no gliding on downhills. No stoplights, so no random breaks to do any recovering. And to cap this all off, pushing the trainer fluid reservoir feels a lot like going up a steady 1% (or so) grade.
  • The Kinetic people claim to be able to estimate power based on speed on their trainer (they provide a handy formula), so next week I’m going to do an FTP test and then the week after that I’m going to dive back into a ‘Time Crunched Cyclist’ training block. I’ll try to remember to post back here with information on how that’s going. It certainly paid off last year.
  • While pedaling away in the garage, I’m able to listen to music, and I naturally try to pedal in time to the music. This means that I’ll have to actually build a ‘pedaling away in the garage’ play list, because overly slow or fast songs really mess with my ride.
  • I’ve been posting my efforts on Strava, but I’ve noticed that the titles are beginning to sound a little bit like Jack’s writing efforts from the later stages of ‘The Shining’. I don’t think this is a good sign.
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Should arrive at my LBS this week and be available for me this weekend.

That’s two new bikes this year. It may be that I have a problem.

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So… why is a not even remotely famous biking / husband / dad / high tech worker writing about buffalo?

Mostly because of this article I ran into yesterday and its associated scholarly reference.

I sent Julie a text message that basically said ‘Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo’ without much explanation and then pretty much forgot about it for the rest of the day. When I casually mentioned it to her that evening a lot of hilarity ensued around the subjects ‘am I a total loon?’, ‘I’m going to ask the kids about this ’cause I think you’re nuts’, etc. Amazingly, son Michael (see, that English degree is paying off) had heard of this, although we have a slight difference of opinion as to whether or not it’s 9 or 10 buffalo (note, I’m going with Prof. Rapaport, sorry Michael).

So, if you want to be mildly amused, read the scholarly reference – isn’t the English language an amazing beast?


Categories: Biking | 2 Comments

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