Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Sunday, 28 March 2010
Now secondly, here's something funny. Don't ask why I was looking for bicycle pirates, it won't really make sense and isn't even that interesting (to add legitimacy to this, I'll just say I had read some article about a few trucks of carbon bikes and associated goodies go missing between Asia and west coast US ports... I'm sure that actually isn't all that rare).
Friday, 26 March 2010
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
I now own a beautiful Ibis Tranny nude carbon frame, size large. It's 3.3lbs of travel packable ultra rigid carbon goodness.
I temporarily purchased it for research purposes to see if it would fit into an S&S coupler bike box from a local shop, and even though I've researched ways of bringing it up less expesively from the US, the fact of the matter is when I'm working until midnight, plus have morning meetings galore (seriously, who has a 6am, 7am and 8am meeting in a single day? how is that normal?) the convenience of "doing nothing" and keeping the frame at home won out vs. returning it and importing another.
I'm not sure when I'll build this, but the goal is to have a sub 20lb, yet repectably robust hard tail racing bike created. The frame feels ultra rigid from a little test ride. I think I'll weight weenie it for fun, plus the S&S coupler boxes are available 2lbs lighter these days too. Building bikes is fun, although not quite as fun as riding them. I don't have a feeling it'll be done very soon, as I also need to do important things like ensuring I have a house to live in reasonably soon.
Sunday, 21 March 2010
Saturday and Sunday have been a mix of cycling and good old investment banking, primarily involving thinking beyond Canada's borders. It's fun actually on both counts. Plus the weather is nice, and I got out for a group ride Sunday... which I could have even been more groupy in if I could have gotten over my edge of the road preference... let's just say headwinds and suffering from inefficient/no drafting worry me less than wider echelons and the whole road and cars thing. Oh well.
As a side token of joy in the spring sunshine, on the way to work, I faced only one stop light - at the bottom of Sarcee before turning onto the turnpike for Crowchild. Usually I just listen to the hum of the M Coupe's engine, but at the light I flicked on the radio. Here's what greeted me:
Needless to say, that turnpike felt good. It's like that feature on cars where the radio turns up when you're going faster, so you can still hear stuff. My car has the inverse feature where Kickstart My Heart appropriately adjusts the throttle.
I was going to test the sizing of an Ibis Tranny frame I have at home to see if it would easily fit into an S&S coupler box, but considering it's 8:45, I'm eating sushi dinner at work, and have a few minutes of waiting for something to proof read, I'm not sure it's in the cards for tonight still.
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Lest I actually slow down for a minute, after buzzing around work this morning, I made it out to Banff for an afternoon of private equity sponsored company presentations at the KERN annual general meeting. It's a tangled web this life - we work for KERN and their portfolio companies regularly as part of our FirstEnergy business, they're a good client and we work hard to earn their business. We help their companies raise money from time to time, or pursue liquidity or other transformational events. On other companies of mutual interest we compete vigorously, or simply have differing views or disagreements. KERN also in return manage the third largest chunk of my portfolio, so material to me... but I'm a drop in their bucket. I ride bikes with at least a few of them, but know the whole team in varying degrees of socially, professionally and personally. I sit next to one of their founding partners at work every day, and we employ the other founding partner's daughter in our research group. Aside from all this there's that chick I like named Tori that's in the middle too...
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Loud, brash, fun. Kind of angst ridden, but it didn't sound like the angst was driven by pitch books or excel models. Many more obliviously youthful souls in audience than I.
In other news, when buying concession snacks (prime healthy ones of course), some fat younger 20 something kid at the cashier next to me just starts unloading on the lady working the till - probably a 40- 45y/o Chinese lady. Not sure why, ostensibly about one less beer or not the right change. He's going apeshit being a total racist asshole with what he's spewing. The girl working on my order stops and stares all slackjawed too, so I tell the girl to get those security guys attention 10 feet away, then ask him to, uhh, "be quiet now please" or something along those lines anyway. He's a bit stunned by interference as drunks only really have the attention of one thing at a time (I've hadn't even finished my first beer at this point before snack break), and by the time he figures out he's mad at me for saying anything, 3 Saddle Dome security guys grab him. Back to the box and focus on fun after, he got shown the door, world doesn't need those kinds of attitudes.
Fun night, fun concert, good group to go with, good music, good crowd.
Monday, 15 March 2010
This week's theme is bike efficiency - from road mountain biking in New York, to riding my Cervelo R3 yesterday, to this beast today, it's such a massive contrast it's hard to believe. This thing is not an "efficient" commuter. Its over 30lbs with that setup, and the mechanical drag of the SON hub, Rohloff hub, and weight of the big 29ers make for a lot of effort. But it does make commuting into efficient training time, as I figure I'm working much harder at any given speed than most of the other bikes I could ride daily. Further, it needs mechanical attention at completely irregular service intervals. I change the hub oil yearly, and when I do that usually adjust the slider to tension up the chain again, and I wash it too sometimes. Awesome!
I happened upon the Moots site just to check what's new these days. If anyone's looking for an enduro racing bike, at least give the new anniversary edition Mooto-X 29er a look. They can be built up super light these days, maybe even try asking the Moots guys if they'll do a big Cannondale head tube - actual forked forks seem like mush to me in the longer format for big wheels, Lefty's are an awesome add and cancel out some pretty decent weight. There's something to be said for a frame that you could stage race on for a lifetime and just replace parts endlessly... something so Mootsygood it makes me want one for every day of the week... if I didn't already have one for every day of the week.
Sunday, 14 March 2010
Saturday, 13 March 2010
A lot of things fit into this trip, which made it a great time. Somewhere between 300 and 350k of riding my mountain bike (on pavement mostly, sounds shorter end, but that's three 5 hour days on average), plenty of client entertainment, plus taking in investor presentations from the best public energy companies in Canada, which gave me some good portfolio tweaking thoughts. Managed to get out for a dinner with cousin Carol and husband Harvey, which was great - both the food and the catching up. Next time is most likely either New York again or Paris this summer, hope we can make either happen.
And last but not least, all of this was with my new french girlfriend, Tori. Biking, conference and entertainment, there's only small bits of it we didn't do together - May or June in France is probably next.
I really enjoy New York. From business to entertainment to dining and even outdoors activity there's always something going on. There was something about sipping an "1860 Manhattan" in the Waldorf lobby bar under 30' ornate ceilings with live piano music background that just summed it up right - the place does a pretty good job of being all things to all people.
Thursday, 11 March 2010
I'm sure there's more serious theatre we could have attended, but a few days into this full throttle, low sleep event needed a simple recipe - and Rock of Ages was the call. Who can't tap their feet to an 80's music musical? It's always fun to see live talent, and talent is plentiful here. Yes, I have no problems admitting I like musicals, if they're that fun. The (scant) costuming was, uhhh, a nice touch too. They gave out little LED light fake lighters to help the concert effect. Plus reading the playbill is like nothing else... who but a broadway musical actor can put "have seen Bon Jovi 9x, Twisted Sister 3x, Night Ranger 2x, Quiet Riot 2x and Poison 3x" or "... would like to thank those three stoners in high school who threw his Trapper Keeper in the urinal for introducing him to Guns N' Roses."
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Today was the full New York thing - suits, presentations, deals, coffees, fine dining, and night clubbing. It was interspersed with the usual taxi attempted rip offs, walking a few blocks on a beautiful afternoon, and an afternoon nap.
Dinner in the meat packing district (cool) was at Spice Market (cool and tasty), left everyone feeling cool and well taste-bud-tastified.
We spent a bunch of the evening at Tao, which featured high priced diva drinks that combine old classics in ways trendy enough to require that more than a $20 bill is needed. Herein was my lesson of the day: Don't pay cash for sex and the city priced sake-tini's when there's a tab going under someone else's name!
At the very least, this helps cover the overhead of the decor (pretty nice) although the urinal being a glass wall with a motion sensor activated rain that falls on it was almost overkill; but to really complete the overkill it was also backlit on the same motion sensor. So basically to take a leak, there's a glowing luminesence on your crotch, but you need to stand back to not get rained on. Seriously.
We flipped from cycling to entertainment on Tuesday afternoon, getting back to our room then cleaned up for dinner in record turnaround time.
Met with an assortment of clients, spouses and FirstEnergy people at Taboon, Moroccan type restaurant as far as I could tell. Grade A food. Two guys got in late from their flight and do Subway instead. Logistics dictate this is the logical choice, however the FirstEnergy guy's reputation for frugality makes the humor of this notable - taking a CEO client to Subway will further build the legend of his "under control expense reports". Someone earlier had the foresight to realize Alice in Chains was playing the night before our conference, plus the foresight to realize enough guys in the oilpatch would find this a good way to spend the evening.
We walk over to Hanger 5, a three story warehouse building and get in the short entry line. They ID everyone, even the 50+ oil execs, which is kind of pointless, but funny. A few of the guys actually had meetings that day, and the concert was definitely short a few Canali sport coats and Cole Hahn "Nike air" loafers prior to our arrival - it was more of a tank top and tattoo event. Once we're in, one of the poster boys of conservative CEO's, pushes toward the front.
Rest of us walk back into the three story warehouse. A fight breaks out with a bunch of huge dudes, leaving us to hope the clientele made it past that section already; some dude's head met a steel I-beam "vigorously". Turns out they did make it past without incident, leaving a colleague and I to part to let a train of massive goons pass. Wise from a desk jockey perspective.
We find our way to floor 2 which is slightly less sweaty and more open. Women with tattoos and mowhawks serve us cheap beer.
Awesome concert overall, fun and loud. Great people watching. After we do a pub sort of near Times Square and the W bar behind our hotel. It's a warm evening and great for walking. I pull the plug at 1:45 with 4 diehards still going, well representing the 50+ group still.
As it turns out, the bridge from Tarrytown to Nyack doesn't allow bikes to cross. We rode near the bridge, noticed this, then saw the sherrif station right adjacent. I went inside and asked for advice. Bear Mountain bridge is north, but he said roads were busy on this side. Getting back on the train to ride further north would work, but was a 40 minute wait most likely. The trooper then said he'd call the bridge maintenance guy who was his friend and see if he'd give us a ride across in a truck. Sweet!
We got GMC chauffeured across, then rode on 9W past Nyack up towards bear mountain. Stopped for lunch at Titanic Sandwiches (which were surprisingly large) whilst overhearing a few gents discuss the most recent "network marketing" pyramid scheme they were working on, some herbal diet scheme.
The ride back was beauty, we cruised in steady but not blazing to nurse my IT band and Tori's cold.
Monday, 8 March 2010
Tori and I rode to Piermont today, which is picturesque. The air was a beautiful temperature, plenty of cyclists out for a Monday, and the coffee shop we stopped at had a photo of Lance Armstrong and Bart Knaggs in the window from when they found themselves in New York and needing a ride. He commented that the roads were beautiful, the coffee was strong, and the cinnamon scones were unparalleled. I guess we were onto something if the experts agreed. I'll skip the little bit about my IT band being a little perturbed and instead highlight the couple on a WWII motorbike, kitted up with leather helmet replicas and goggles, complete with a big brown chocolate lab with like goggles cruising along in the sidecar. Life is meant to be fun, right?
"Yeah. Card please."
"Uhh, my girlfriend went to some machines with the card to try to work that."
"You mean that white girl over there?"
I turned around and saw Tori gleefully running back with tickets. The ticket counter girl's accent was what made the line, and yes, being a "white girl" was a useful descriptive to single her out in the crowd at this particular theatre. The accent reminded me of one of the best scenes from one of the best movies of all time, dripping with layers of timeless talent (sorry, two parts have survived on youtube, and total side note, my story about literally running into Dan Akroyd in our office the day I was learning to ride a unicycle is humor highlight of my existence):
But this is all really about Alice in Wonderland. The ever increasing ability of Hollywood to make things not real appear as real worlds impresses me. This 3D stuff just might revive theaters till it can be replicated at home, it's awesome. I'm particularly fond of the Cheshire cat, but wonderland as a whole was incredible. For those who get bogged down by such things, this wasn't a word for word repeat of the book, it was an adaptation to convey to the masses "think outside the box and chart your own course". As much as Alice in Wonderland it could be called Tori on Planet Earth (especially if you hear what she observes during a bike ride together) Good stuff, check it.
3D movie equipped New York tourists.
Sunday, 7 March 2010
10. Tori will ride with me tomorrow, so I knew I had to scout some good stuff - having a mission makes it fun (she's waging war on the cold today, plus shopping).
9. Since last time I was here, the already good bike path and road laneway system has been markedly improved.
8. The bike paths have signs "respect others" and in a few congested spots, simply "slow". Common sense. None of this path Nazi Calgary "let's over enforce this".
7. Sightseeing: a million pocket dogs in little sweaters, miles of beautiful old houses that are "This Old House" episode material, and yes, hedge fund/banker land. I'm not a super real estate gawker, but when the real estate agent sign in the front drive is Sotheby's, they're usually pretty impressive. I just wouldn't want to shovel the driveway on this one, I think it had 3 switchbacks.
4. Rockefeller center, Times square, Avenue of the Americas, and so much more... awesome. No traffic issues at all, and for the city crossing I did, it flowed well (see below).
3. Thousands of other cyclists. I can count groups of 5's and 15's. I can count many many groups like that, which gets you to the hundreds. When it's 5 hours straight, it adds up.
2. Pulling into the hotel, and the bellman in the black coat that just blew his whistle and aggressively hailed a taxi (aggressive to my perception, probably normal here) looks at me, smiles, and says "man I bet it was just a beautiful day for a bike ride out there" in some sort of deep smiley accent I can only speculate as "Africa somewhere" instead of winding up to say something about not bringing my bike in.
1. 5 hour ride: 8 stoplights. Only one in Jersey, 7 in Manhattan. Kid you not. No rest stops, just uninterrupted pedaling the whole time in the sun. Perfect!
Saturday, 6 March 2010
Ahhh, New York. After landing in Jersey, waiting forever and a day for luggage to unload, taking an $80 cab ride to the Waldorf reminded me that this megalopolis is purely amazing. The activity level everywhere seems high, and people in Manhattan look great for the most part. Glammed up and doing... something, even if they're doing nothing. Bright lights, big city, here I come. I'll wear myself down with a few days riding then it's client entertainment and conference to the max.
Of course in this pinnacle of capitalism, a cabbie only takes greenbacks, not Visa. So I've gotta run into the hotel and load up my pocket.
Up to the room to find Tori snoozing away her cold as best she can. Since apparently the minibar has been discontinued, ruining my plans of an dinner consisting of $12 of mixed nuts, an $8 beer and a powerbar. How do you discontinue a concept like minibars? People are going to be throwing TV's from the 23rd floor at 3am when they can't self serve another Red Bull or Jack 'n Coke. Seriously, this is a Hilton hotel, Paris would flip out (side note: my assistant said she didn't think I had enough Hilton Honours points win a free visit from Paris yet).
Anyway, I figure it's best to order room service so I can put my bike together ASAP. To the Waldorf's credit, this is the best $30 cobb salad I've ever had. Add a side of steamed spinach and a lemonade, plus some room charge, taxes, Visa exchange rate and whatever else, and this isn't the cheapest bike build I've ever done by far. Somebody's gotta keep funding Paris' spending habits I guess. Maybe I should have just bought a new bike instead?! Especially since it seems my promotion since last visit here got the girls who book our stuff to put me in a next-up-the-ladder room. The upside is there's a little hallway and two walk in closets (there's one more to the left of the one pictured, this is the one with the two closets and a pass through door to the neighbour) perfect for bike building (not that the hotel had that in mind). Drawback is from now till the conference it's out of my budget, ouch!
My mountain bike hasn't even been unpacked from Sydney, where I polished it clean before leaving, looks beauty. Man is an S&S coupled bike ever a great tool for my existence. Love it!
Friday, 5 March 2010
and then 5 years later, you don't feel or behave much different, but you've been bombarded lately with engagment announcements, wedding invites, pregnancy announcements, and all your friends houses seem to be full of babies and all that grown up stuff, when either philisophically, or lacking maturity, or just by way of looking for continued outlet, you're not in sync with all that? is there value in being in sync?
crank this shit up, and maybe all your babies will be born naked too.
and whilst interpreting that which came before you, it becomes showered in unmatchable talent like playing it upside down, backwards, with your teeth... yeah I can't claim any real talent in life.
and then that's it. your bright light is over, but legends live on. but your era died, and it died when you died, not the other way around, so you took the harder way of "never growing up".
The important part is I'll remember all forever, or at least till my memory just stops remembering stuff.