Tuesday, April 28, 2009


This morning on my commute in, some old guy in his car called me asshole because he couldn't turn right while I was stopped in the bike lane at the light (it was red) I told him to lay off the diabetic foot (he was an obese, shabby physical specimen) and to go fuck himself.

We pulled over to the side of the road and a shouting match ensued. I shouted him down, saying "That was a stop light, which you ran, you son of a bitch--" blah blah blah he sputtered back at me that hater car head rant about how bikes should get off the road.

Finally, firmly pointing my finger down the road, I said, "Get out of my site you sorry piece of shit!" And he drove away.

Oh yeah, he had a pit bull or some other kind of big over-weight mutt in the back seat of his car--which snarled at me during this exchange.

I'm trying to calm down, but had I the opportunity to pull him from his jalopy I would have surely ended up beating him to death.

Love, Bruce

Monday, April 27, 2009

Boots on the Ground

My new screen saver for the work computer... Can you believe this Shit? What's up with this painting? Are they hung-over? Air pollution in Mexico City bringing them to their knees? If you, Gentle Reader of This Blog, know the meaning of this iconic master-piece--please let us all know.

Little Egypt is doing a stint with the US Census Bureau. She's out verifying addresses. Her sections involved a few rural areas--some in fact that were quite remote. Some areas were unsafe as they were controlled by Drug Lords from Mexico. Unlike Afghanistan, Little Egypt could not call in artillery support or air assault. She just had to high-tail it back to Dog Mtn.

She made me a Deputy for the weekend and I went out with her to a few of the more remote places in her sections--so she could finish them up and then get into the more civilized sections.

Herein lies a bit of our adventure!

GPS mapping of dwellings for the 2010 Census. We verify that people occupy and live out here.

Many people do not want to be verified.

We go out to a nursery to verify the owner living on the property of his business. This young man was elusive as to where his boss lived. "Way out there--" "Pretty far in the back--" "You can't get there by car--" I was like cut the shit, Dude. How far is "way out there--" Then he said that his boss "Can't leave the State--"

Finally he agreed to drive Agent Egypt out to the spot where his boss lived so she could get a GPS location.

Little Egypt thought about buying some trees and having these fellows plant them for us. I said I didn't think I want a guy who "Can't leave the State--" in my freakin' back yard!

At the little Mexican place that Little Egypt knew, we stop for a breakfast burrito. The salsa squeeze bottle was jammed with whatever--and then it blasted out. All the mex's got a laugh at the expense of the gringo...

Okay, so what's the address?

We are way way out in the desert. I drive, while Little Egypt follows and maps the GPS.

Typical outcome of GPS and Google satellite mapping recon Agent Egypt has done in an attempt to verify an address: a locked gate. She maps the GPS location and we actually meet the rancher who owns the property--driving his truck up to the gate. He has a house in town, so he will receive the 2010 Census information at that address. Even he was a bit elusive at first--not really wanting to say much about his business--but when he realized that we were legitimate, he was quite warm and friendly.

Some of his cheerful cattle.

There is beauty in the desert, as always.

This is remote and rugged land. I love it! Fresh air, birds, bees, lizards--everything is alive and has a purpose.

Little Egypt said some areas reminded her of Afghanistan. She seemed to keep an eye out for Taliban--kind of second nature for her--even after being home for a year now.

Cheers! Bruce

Thursday, April 23, 2009


This morning I made the long commute from home all the way into the office. 26 miles of bliss/intensity as I was determined to get my ass there in less than two hours.

Time to the Desert San from Dog Mtn—exactly one hour and 20 minutes. No photos for you today, Gentle Readers, as I just kept things going as fast as possible.

Things I shouldn’t do—I gave Callie half my breakfast. She got up to see what I was doing ready so early. I’m sure she went back to bed while I charged up Tangerine Rd, burning off my half of breakfast in short order. I was starving on the way to the bike locker! Luckily I had a power bar stashed in my desk for when I got in.

So we had this All Employee Meeting first thing this morning—and I was in there and not able stay awake—plus I was bonking. I needed more calories to replace the ones I burned up coming in.

At lunch I went with Bob to the buffet at our Fu King Chinese Restaurant down the road. It was good this time—a few years ago I went and it was crap. So it was pretty good and I stuffed myself… Most of the day at the desk today, I am sleepy.

One of the cars is in the shop and I will pick it up after work. I drive it home today. Little Egypt will be by and then we’ll go fetch the vehicle. By the way, she backed-up into a post and dented her new car. If I so much as fart in her car—or mine—I never hear the end of it, mes amis!

It will be nice to get home a little early. Callie and I will go to the park and enjoy the evening.

Cheers! Bruce

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gates Pass, McCain Loop, and Saguaro Nat'l Park

We rode to the top of Gates Pass this last Sunday Morning. We've not been out on that course in sometime. It was a beautiful Spring Morning in the Desert!

John's friend Stan came with us!

You know, mes amis, I stripped down the Raleigh of all the commuting gear--and I am happy to report I rode that heavy steel bike up the Front Side of Gates Pass with no problem! I didn't have the triple ring for climbing like I do on the LeMond.

In Saguaro Nat'l Park and nearing McCain Loop.

The fast rollers on McCain Loop!

Yours, mes amis!

The Wolf... Ride in Peace!

Roger Preskett--Super Randonneur! The 600 Brevet was this weekend and part of our ride was on the course. I was keeping a lookout for the riders--when Roger pulled up at the old watering hole, just off Redneck Road! 50 miles to go to Casa Grande and the finish! Roger is the Real-Deal, Gentler Readers of this Blog--having knocked off a few hundred miles before breakfast!

The tandem sets a fast pace, and we're heading for home ourselves.

The Raleigh holds its own as a touring bike. It fits me well and is comfortable. But I have to work to keep up with John and Kathy on the tandem, and Stan as well.

We are hoping to reserrect our Sunday Morning Ride. If you are visiting Tucson--come ride with us!



Day in the Life of a Bike

Arriving at the bike locker, early in the morning.

In my street clothes, I ride to the bike shop for some repairs.

Phil think my derailleur has finally worn out after 32 years! He makes some adjustments so I can ride home in the afternoon!

Big Sexy has been at the shop on consignment since late November. It might be time to bring the bike back home, fix it up, and start riding the beast!

Riding back to work on my lunch hour through the old post-war neighborhoods of Tucson.

After work, I climb up Swan with a group of young lads. They're too fast for me so I bid them farewell!

I make it back to the YMCA--it was a tough windy afternoon, and the end of a long week. I had ridden the bike four out of five days and logged 130 miles for the week.

I'll drive the nine miles to home. 18 miles driving round trip by car as opposed to 52 miles round trip by driving to work and home.

It takes effort, but commuting by bike is worth it--for my health and my sanity.
Cheers! Bruce

Earth Day 2009

We made a trip to Saguaro Nat’l Park this last weekend, the gang and me. I am happy to report that for now, all is right with the World. This is because The Wolf still circles the Nat’l Park—and the rhythm of the invisible mystery and ancient power still drives him to this task. And drives me, and all of us, I hope—for the better.

Ride in Peace, Mon Ami…
Cheers! Bruce

Friday, April 17, 2009

Racing vs. Randonneuring

Made it to the bike locker in one piece yet again...

The wind was supposed to be gone. Thursday after work it was gusty and it made me work hard. Actually Thursday morning was breezy too—when I succumbed and shifted from my big ring to my second smaller ring, everything was okay. But I could not shift back up the big ring.

You would think that would be okay but I do not ride at a racer’s pace, which is high cadence and spin—I ride rando-style which I would say is bigger gearing over long distance. The cadence isn’t as high.

So I spun and made my way up the ridge and down to my car at the YMCA—but the wind was brutal, mes amis, and it got colder as I neared home. The high cadence was draining on me, Gentle Reader of This Blog.

I left the bike on the car, and shuffled in the house. Little Egypt had dinner ready and that was the best—I sat down without even changing and shoveled dinner into my face.

Coming into work was a repeat of Thursday Night’s high cadence—and again it was exhausting! At lunch today, I'd ridden down to have Phil check things out. Phil says the derailleur is now shot after some 30 years. He believes he has one that will work in the shop and can fix me up—and he got things so that I can ride home. But be careful while shifting because things could jam. I’ll have to bring it in next week for repairs.

When I get home tonight, I will have ridden 130 miles this week, commuting by bike--a small victory in the motivation department. I rode four out of five days to the office. It's been a good week, but I am tired out from all the wind.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Windy Days

This is heading East as the Sun comes up over Pusch Ridge, at the beginning of my commute.

Still a bit chilly in parts of the mountains, and in the river breaks.

I'm about four miles from the office in this image. I'm on the River Parks Bike and Running Route. If I take the River Path, its about 80 per cent of my ride.

The bike stays in the bike locker all day. I take off my bike shoes and slip on an old pair of sandals to walk a block from the locker to the office. That way I don't wear down the clips on the shoes, plus mes amis, you know how hard it is to walk in those things!

Instead of taking the Bike Path home, I have elected to take the heavy-traffic, bit more dangerous route home. First I make this three mile climb--and I would say it's better to make the left here on Sunrise and Swan, rather than make the very dangerous left on Ina and La Cholla--one of the busiest intersections in my part of Tucson.

Dang! I'm certainly not a fan of cosmetic surgery...

Speed cameras have been installed--so all the twits slow down to 30 mph. The thing here is that the speed limit is 45 mph, and the cameras don't go off until you reach 11 mph over 45--so that means 56 mph. Still, shit for brains car drivers suddenly put on their brakes when they start getting close to this new sign. They advertised in the paper, on tv, and on radio that the signs were not working for months--because they were having electrical problems--and the cameras were not even installed. Driver still put on their brakes and slowed to 30 mph.

After almost being involved in a multiple collision with some fucking idiot screeching to a sudden stop a the sight of a metal pole--I decided that riding the bike would be safer--and smarter. Already a driver lost control from seeing the poles (which were not operating) and she wrapped her mommy van around and took out a power pole. The power pole fell into the street and when I arrived (by bike, gliding past backed up traffic) the fire department and utility crews were lifting the pole our of the road. And all the traffic lights were out for three miles. Police were directing morning rush-hour traffic...

I think Global Warming has burnt out what few brain cells some people in this country have left up there between their ears.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Monday and Tuesday Riding the Bike

I biked Monday and now Tuesday. Friday was the 50 mile round trip—and that was okay but it makes for a very long day. The good thing about Friday was the tailwind going home. Thank God for that! And getting to sleep late Saturday morning…

Monday and this morning, nobody was around to pass me in the bike lane. Being passed by the young bloods as they glide up into the mountains is one thing—especially when they’re riding $6,000 Colongos. Being passed by a scowling, uppity roadie kinda bites.

For a change of pace, I rode on River Rd. River Rd, Gentle Readers, is a smooth rolling alternative to the chug-a-lug climbing up on the ridge of the Catalina Mtns. River has its own challenges, but for the most part, it’s a road to find a groove and spin. I’ve been thinking bout what my friend Paul Layton has discussed about proper pedaling and making a nice circle—being more efficient. River Rd is a chance to work on that, but I will be the first to admit I don’t know what I’m doing.

The legs and breathing are starting to sync, and that, mes amis, just comes from riding more. I did spy I roadie turning onto River and I picked up the pace to meet up with him/her to say good morning, and to have someone to ride with other than the headwind that was picking up.

The rider was a fit young woman and I caught up to her quickly. Although about 60 degrees (so said the radio on the drive to the Y) it was still cold as we were in the river breaks. I wore my most thin layer so I was okay—but this young woman I could tell was uncomfortable. All the other riders I saw out this morning were dressed like me. I had leg warmers, gloves, and my thin long-sleeve under shirt. This woman had on thin girl-type jersey and bike shorts used for summer.

The headwind had picked up and she was freezing—but she did smile and say good morning. I kept going. I might have stayed to chat, or offer to draft the cold headwind—but I find most women roadies just want to be left alone. It’s always nice to have someone to ride with, but there’s a real art to striking up conversation with roadies in Tucson. Tucson cyclists can be smug—unlike Phoenix where I found most roadies are quite friendly.

We’ll see what the afternoon brings—there’s supposed to be lots of wind this afternoon.


Thursday, April 09, 2009


Wake up, Gentle Readers of This Blog!

Made the long-way 26 mile ride into work this morning. It took two hours. This is because I missed a couple of turns—the sun was blinding as it popped up over Mt. Lemmon.

Bon Jour!

I rode past La Canada on Moore Rd, and then had to back-track.

No horsing around in Oro Valley!

I also missed the street on Calle Concordia, the Mt. Lemmon Brevet Course, because I was asleep or something. Had to back-track, because I did not want to ride on Oracle Rd—which is haul-ass busy.

I will head right of the front of the ridge here, and then climb for the morning to the top for the descent into my office.
I pooped around the house and didn't get in the saddle until 6am—that is way too late, mes amis! I should roll by 5:15 a.m. because I’m outta shape and I must climb about seven miles before I reach Oro Valley—then I must climb again up Ina and Sunrise (a steady descent in the foothills of a mountain ridge) then I coast into work.

The hub back on the Raleigh for the long commute...

I should have taken the faster shortcut near my house, but the days of riding on that road are over, so I have to go the long way. Used to be I’d climb the lonely road up Tangerine to Thornydale, 25 to 30 MPH for four miles down narrow Thornydale to the bike lane. All the traffic was coming up the road, and I’d be the only one going down. Now there’s five times, sometimes ten times the amount of traffic. The pavement is crumbling to big chunks. Way too dangerous for my blood.

I have friends in the Laundry Dept here at the Desert San!

I am out of shape. I need to simply ride every day and gain that fitness back. That’s the trouble when you’re not a young guy anymore; if you let up on the exercise, the weight comes back on quickly.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Tale Wind


I rode in this morning and didn’t have to use lights (I’m not using the hub) and I took my jacket but did not wear it—I think it was almost 50 degrees…

Slow-going, I believe, because there’s wind coming from out of the South East. That means a rare headwind on the commute into to the office. Since the morning is spent climbing, that extra bit of wind makes the ride strenuous. Oh yeah, and I carried about 15 extra pounds of things in my saddle and handle bar bags that I needed for the office. For one, books from the University Medical Library. I’m doing some research for a physician friend in Texas. My turn to bring coffee so that was a few pounds stowed on board as well. A bunch of left-over spaghetti, apples and oranges—a pair of shoes.

I wish I had more to tell you about the weekend—very windy out here in Tucson with lots of dry and hot dust. It’s not air pollution from cars and such, just dirt and dust from the desert.

Riding into the Sunset on Sunrise Rd...

After work and stepping outside, the wind had my name on it, mes amis! I sailed through a hot sepia-toned sunset to the YMCA. The hour of freedom I live for—you know the feeling, Gentle Readers of This Blog!


Friday, April 03, 2009

Cheesy Grin

Bon jour, mes amis

I commute once more, Gentle Readers—the LeMond frame is still cracked and I’ve not done much about it other than to keep the expense under Little Egypt’s radar. I’m sure the frame can be replaced—but like my friend Dan said, I may have to pay for an up-grade and I may have to make sure the old cranks and other things fit back on the new frame. Will I have to buy a new fork? Will Trek try and nickel and dime me?

I’ll talk to Phil at the bike shop and get his thoughts about the whole affair. For sure I’ll have to pay Phil (rather than the Trek bike shop) to disassemble my LeMond. Then of course I’ll have to pay him to put it back together again. And, I believe I’ll want to repair the old frame—then when I get money and things are right in the world—I’ll get that bike built up into something special.

All my junk...

My commute home—just two miles from leaving the office, I almost got nailed by the infamous Right Hook, where a motorist turns right while you’re going straight—they either run you over or you slam into the side of their vehicle. This almost happened, but the lady driving had all the widows down in her SUV and she heard me yelling at her to “WAIT! WAIT!” She abruptly stopped and we just missed colliding. She looked startled, but I waved and smiled to assure her I was okay—it was a close-call…

This is from inside the Abe Lincoln Memorial looking out toward the Capital. That's the George Washington Monument--Duh...
Oh yeah, its Spring there...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Dreams and Demons

Hey Big Sexy

I flew to another part of the US for a possible employment op—and it turned out to be not so attractive after all. I spent time preparing and making arrangements to travel, just a lot of effort for a job I knew I most likely did not want because the pay would be ridiculously low. But it was worth it to get out there and do my best.

The staff was nice enough—one thing that did catch my attention was the young woman Michele. We all met in the old part of the city, at a very well know and famous restaurant. My flight was delayed by bad weather—bumpy and turbulent I’ll just say. I landed, got a taxi, got to my hotel, and made it to said famous restaurant a few minutes after the appointed time by briskly walking almost a mile down the narrow sidewalks of the old city—they were late.

Cold rain had soaked Michele, one of the three staff I met for dinner. That’s okay. I had an umbrella with me so I was fine. Not good form to show up to this kind of engagement looking like a hay-seed.

Frumpy and portly, this Michele woman—who was on the committee that got me there. The next morning when I met the committee again, she wore the same dingy soaked clothes as the night before at our dinner. You be the judge Gentle Reader of This Blog…

Walking around this prestigious university on the East Coast, I felt like an Alien visitor—with no friends. It was cold, wet, dark, and subdued—I was clean, pressed, fit, and tan. I don’t think that they knew what to make of the likes of me.

After the interview process and the quick tour of the digs—I was lead to the shuttle that would take me to the Metro. The thing was that all of the staff there were so new themselves that they weren’t quite sure where this location was—and I had to insist that they deliver me to this stop. After a good deal of confusion trying to find and print out a map of the campus, I was lead to the right place just as the free student shuttle pulled up.

I felt like trash being left at the curb on garbage day.

I rode the Metro with the masses. That felt much better being with the people and just being myself and not having to perform for a committee.

On the way back to Tucson, weather delayed my flights—I ran to gates and just got on board the planes. While in the air, rough skies made for restless sleep. All that work mentally for one day in the hot seat—10 hours of flying cross country—twice.