Thursday, October 30, 2008

Long Days

This is as bad as a trans-Pacific flight! Up at 5:30, to the Roastery by 7 to roast, close up at 4:30, head to the Kinetic Lab, set up the Kinetic Koffee tent, work the Haunted Lab of Horrors until midnight, then go home, go to bed and do it all again the next day. Rinse and repeat for 3 days and nights...
Here's a shot of the tent at the closing of the first night. I shot this with my new camera (Olympus FE-340) and no flash.

Only 3 more nights to go! I'l try to get some shots of the crowds and inside later.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sunrise at the Roastery

Pretty spectacular view from the back door yesterday morning...

Tonight's the first night of the Haunted Kinetic Lab of Horrors. I'll try to get some pics. Everyine has really worked their collective asses off to bring this together - and all volunteers!

It's going to be a long, long rest of the week - working at the roastery from 7-4, then going to the lab and working until after midnight. At least we'll have some Kinetic Koffee to keep us going.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Kinetic Lab of Horrors

We spent most of the weekend at the Kinetic Lab, helping to convert it from an artists' studio to the Haunted Lab of Horrors. This is the fourth year for it, and this year looks to be the best yet. Here's Charlie looking rather stunned in "The Vortex." Imagine trying to walk around in a room like this. Then try it in the dark - with a strobe light. And that's just the beginning of the tour...

See you there?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I LOVE my job!

I just received some sample coffees to roast - An El Salvador and a first for me, an Indian coffee. I will be roasting and cupping them tomorrow. Maybe one will become next month's Special Roast. Yum!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Yesterday is your Birthday!*

Yesterday, I turned a year older - yet again. But you know, it sure beats the alternative...

It was a great day, a beautiful day for a ride, so I went for a ride from home out to the coast and north to Trinidad. I stopped at the old railroad bridge on the Hammond Trail over the Mad River and took this shot:

It was an incredible day; the view of Clam Beach from 101 near the airport towards Trinidad Head was spectacular. Here is my homage to MasiGuy's blog. It was reading his blog that convinced me to give it a try. So blame him (sorry, Tim)...

I rode past Camel Rock, a local landmark, and stopped for a shot of my Merlin, since I didn't get the Masi Gran Criterium I wanted for my birthday...

After the ride, Charlie and I went to a friend's house for appetizers before heading back up the coast to Moonstone Grill, where we had a wonderful dinner, including an excellent 2000 Lambert Bridge Crane Creek Cuvee, watching the surfers and beach walkers while the sun set into the ocean.

A day just doesn't get any better than that...

*a bad, bad play on the Beatles' "Happy Birthday." Sory...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Greg LeMond needs to go away

I am sorry to say that, as I have been a fan of LeMond since his days as a junior rider in Northern California. He was undoubtably one of the best riders of his generation. But this drumbeat of accusations aboot Lance Armstrong is getting, well, boring.

Now, with Armstrong making a comeback to professional cycling after an absence of 4 years, LeMond says that the anti-doping doctor that was hired to assure the public that Armstrong is riding clean isn't good enough for him (LeMond, that is). LeMond now seems to consider himself an anti-doping expert who knows exactly who is doping and who is not - without even needing to see data to back it up. Yes, cycling has been going through a bad doping era, but I see a light at the end of the tunnel, with the new tests for CERA (see Ricco, Schumacher, Piepoli, etc.), the biological passport and other measures. But to LeMond, that light is an oncoming train...

Greg, you disrupted Armstrong's press conference at Interbike, and now you claim that all the sports physiologists are engaging in an "omerta" to save their own skins. So, in your mind, the entire sport is corrupt - except you.

That's just sad, and you need to just shut up and go ride your bike. I suppose that Greg will sue me for defamation now...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another meeting with the Doctor

Yesterday, I had a follow up visit with the Pain Center doctor. The cortisone shots did not help things, so we needed to talk about next steps. He suggested some electrical implants to "short curcuit the pain. Interesting stuff, this. I would get wires attached to my spinal column and connected to a battery under the skin next to the spine. As I understand it, there'll be some sort of control that woudl allow me to turn the stimulator on or off and change the intensity. There's a lot of research for me to do before I even consider this option; it just seems kind of sci-fi to me.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dopers Suck!

I am just disgusted... just announced that Stefan Schumacher and Leonardo Piepoli just tested positive for EPO at the Tour de France. That makes, what, four or five stages out of 23 won by dopers???

I think I'll go for a ride tonight after I finish at the roastery. I really need to clear my head...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bachelor's Weekend

Charlie's gone this weekend, visiting her son, so what do I do? Spend most of the weekend at the roastery, tearing down and cleaning the roaster. Man, I sure know how to party... I did get on my trainer both mornings. If you haven't tried the Kurt Kinetic Rock N Roll trainer, you are missing one of the most realistic riding trainers I have ever experienced.

I had a wonderful coffee from a friend's roastery today - a Kenyan coffee by Drake's Fine Coffee Roasting. John, the owner, also owns a bicycle shop (see a pattern here?), and he was a customer of mine when I was at Specialized. A little smokier than I like, but a nice smooth cupping coffee. I need to see what organic Kenyan is out there for a Limited Edition Roast...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Back Story

It's been a hectic time lately, with the Interbike trade show and appointments with a pain specialist. So, here's the story on my back.

It appears that I have a congenitally weak back. I first had troubles in my teen years when I went through a tremendous growth spurt (6 inches in just over 3 months, finally stopping at 6'5" tall). My first big issue came when I herniated a disc (L5/S1) in 1989 and had a partial laminectomy. The recovery time was about 3 months before I could get back on a bike. The doctors noted that I had rather advanced arthritis in my back for a 35 year old and said that back issues were going to be a long term issue for me. Instead of moping around, I got back on my bike(s), continued to work out and have completed many of my cycling goals in life. I exercised caution when lifting things, and kept my back in pretty good shape for quite a while.

But in the past year or so, the back has gotten much worse. Besides the sharp pains in the lower back, my legs would go numb after only a few minutes of standing and walking became unbearable. There were many visits to my chiropractor, massages, homeopathic remedies, all with no results. Finally, a series of MRIs and X-Rays showed extensive bone spurs, 3 bulged discs, advanced arthitis, and stenosis in 3 vertibrae. I find it increasingly difficult to walk or even stand for any period of time, although I can sit and even ride a bike without pain. The specialist I saw at Cedars-Sinai Spinal Center in LA told me that my cycling has, most likely, kept me out of a wheelchair. We've benn working on a conservative pain relief approach, using cortisone injections to lessen the swelling and the pressure on the nerves, but after three injections and no relief, it's time to look at more aggressive measures, including the option of surgery. I'll be meeting with my local pain specialist this week to discuss what we can do.

So, I ride as much as I can, wear a back brace when I am going to have to stand or walk, keep the weight down (I saw 214 for the first time in years today!), and make preparations for some down time after the first of the year. Being pain free would be really nice; I have a lot of things I still want to do in this life, and most of them require walking or standing...