Tuesday, July 31, 2012

race report: short-track, 7/30/12 series finale

I rode part of the way to work, mostly because the bus wasn't on time and I didn't want to be late. Afterwards, I went to the shop, worked a half-shift and swapped in a new front wheel on my race bike; the original front wheel had a bad hop in the rim that wasn't allowing any tire to seat properly on it. From there I made my way to PIR.

I got there early so I could do a decent pre-ride and pick up the number plates for the Team Relay, the final event in the series. Pre-ride showed a promising course, with few really big hills and lots of off-camber transitions (yes-yes-yes-beth-loves-these). I am growing more comfortable with shifting and was able to utilize most of the range of my gears on the various changes in the course. I knew I would enjoy this race a lot. The dirt had been raked and was crunchy and loose and my rear tire slipped around a bit under me during both the pre-ride and the race. By the time of my race, the Cat III's a Juniors had tamped down reasonable lines, which made things nicer for those of us racing later. Still, things got a little slippy here and there. There was one particularly bad line that forced me off the course. When you get off the course you have to re-enter at the same place, so I had to wait until a steady strem of racers passed me before it was safe to attempt to get back on. Finally, I'd had enough and simply ran along the off-camber singltrack with my bike tucked under one arm. As soon as there was room to re-mount I did, and proceeded with my race.

I was still slow as molasses, and because they cut the times shorter (25 minutes instead of the full 30-ish) to make room in the schedule for the relay and the podiums, I had time to finish only two laps before being waved off the course by the checkered flag. I was disappointed; I had another lap in my legs and hadn't needed my inhaler once all evening. But my legs felt like they'd worked pretty hard powering around all those transitions, and my sandwich tasted delicious afterwards. (I ate some of it and saved the rest for after the relay, when I knew I'd want more food.)

Between the end of the last race and the podiums and raffle giveaways, there was the Short-Track Finale Team Relay. 26 teams, ten riders each, each rider takes one lap around a shortened course that utilizes only the moto course, each rider finishing a lap must high-five the next rider in order to send them on their way. In short, it's nuts. And once all the cats of Team Slow were herded together (!) and things got underway, we had ourselves a hell of a fun time. I went first because in the fading sunlight I knew that going later and not being able to see as well would be dicey. It did slow everyone else up as I was the last one back, but I knew that subsequent teammates would all be faster and hopefully make up for at least a little lost time. I slapped Erinne's hand on the fly, pulled off the course and watched each of my teammates tear it up. I was especially impressed by two newcomers ot Team Slow: Kelley rode her first short-track race that evening and then came back for the relay. She looked very comfortable on her mountain bike and I am sure we'll see much more of her out on the race courses. And Nathan was simply a revelation, passing other riders right and left during his very quick relay lap. As we watched him race, Kristin and I thought the same thing aloud: "we have to get this guy on a cyclocross bike because he's so damned fast." This was Nathan's first season of racing.

(Below: Team Slow waiting for the start of the Short-Track Finale Team Relay - thanks to Kelley for the photo)

          My one lap in the relay was shockingly hard; I was surprised at how tired my legs were after already warming up and doing one race. Kristin rode the double one last time (they will make her choose one category next year when she must cat up out of Cat III Women to either Cat II U35 Women or Singlespeed Women) and then did the relay on top of it. I don't know how she does that.

In the end we had a good showing -- amazingly, even with my very slow start we did not finish dead last, which was a cause for cheers and laughter all around -- and a great time.

After all the racing was done, we stayed around to cheer Kristin loudly as she got called up to the Cat III Womens' podium for her 3rd place series overall medal. Not long after that, we began making our way up the hill to the Red Fox. I wasn't planning to ride all the way because my legs were feeling tired (I would've taken MAX partway up the hill if I'd been alone, which I sometimes do when I'm really spent); but Kristin and Ben caught up with me and then stayed with me so we could chat all the way there. It was nice chatting up the hill with them. I found myself pedaling a little harder than I really wanted to and simultaneously enjoying the sensation of still pushing myself a bit, long after my racing had ended. It was my last race of the year, so what the hell?

I stayed for a drink and conversation, and went home around 11.

Today at work my legs really felt tired. I'm a little sorry I probably won't be racing anymore this year -- cyclocross is pretty impossible for me with my new work schedule and my knees don't like the cold -- but I'm glad I went out and raced the little bit that I did. I'm looking forward to a fall and winter of more cargo biking -- the side car will be here in September! -- and also figuring out how to train at home (without a gym membership or fancy equipment) for next summer.

Team Slow is awesome -- the best! -- and I am very happy to be part of it.
Last night was a lovely end to my teeny-tiny race season.

Monday, July 30, 2012

the original rivvy is for sale

Sunday morning, I took a short ceremonial ride through the neighborhood, came home and knew that the LongLow won't fit me anymore. So I put it up for sale here:


For many months between September 1998 and August 1999,  Grant peterson and I emailed back and forth to get the sizing right. I sent him my measurements using his Pubic Height system. For added perspective, I sent hime the remains of my crashed Centurion frameset, the one this Rivendell would replace (I'd straightened it on a jig first, and sent it along with cracked lugs and all).

Along the way I learned some things about frame geometry and about Grant's approach to sizing frames. And one of the things I learned is that he liked, in tose days, to put a rider on the biggest frame s/he could safely ride -- this stood in direct opposition to the prevailing ideal of the time which was to put riders on the smallest frames they could safely ride. Bigger frame meant more relaxed geometry and handling -- better for touring -- and a smaller frame meant a faster, more "squirrely" ride more suited for racing.

In the end I was told I'd be getting a 56cm frame with a "custom short" top tube, which would put the frame at almost square (the top tube was supposed to have been 55 cm, which wuld have made sense for short-waisted me). Along the way Joe Starck, the builder, built my frame to specs and then accidentally sawed through it as part of an experiment (he thought he was sawing through a different frame). So he had to make me another frame. When the frame finally arrived almost a year after I'd ordered and paid for it, I was so excited that I didn't measure it, and instead set about building it up right away.

Today, when I took all the parts off and cleaned up the frameset a little, I took some measurements so I could post it for sale. And I was shocked at what I found. The frame was 56 cm center-to-top, as promised; but the top tube was 57cm long center-to-center -- hardly a "short" top tube, and pretty inappropriate for a rider of my size and proportion. This explained why I'd always needed such short stems in order to ride it with drop bars.

If I had measured it upon arrival and found these dimensions I would have sent it back right away.
As it is, it's amazing that I managed to make this frameset work for so long.
I'm fine with it now. The frame and I have had some good years of riding together, and I have no regrets about that part at all. But knowing what I do now, I also have no regrets about selling it.
My stable is on its way to becoming exclusively a 26"/559-wheeled stable of bikes and I'm fine with that, too.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

no hype this week, only heart-pounding reality

It occurred to me on Friday that I did not post a Hype of the Week for my upcoming race.

I pondered the possibility of coming up with something really quick, and ultimately decided that, as I did not feel a ton of pre-race hype for this last race, I would keep it real and not post a Hype of the Week.

The fact is that, with so many things going on this summer, and with my originally having planned not to race at all this year, these three races at the end of the PIR Short-Track series have taken me slightly by surprise. My level of investment is not the same this time around. I am, admittedly, treating them as a lark, a distraction from the multiple stresses of my other goings-on.

Tomorrow night I will go and try to survive for as many laps as they let me log in thirty minutes; and because it's the end of the series I will also race in the relay with my team at the end of the night. I will try to make it as fun as possible, and not worry about how well I do. It's my last chance for playing in the dirt before I need to get serious.

Instead of a traditional Hype, I willinstead share a video of last week's short-track race, shot with a go-cam perched to the helmet of one Mr. Brooke Hoyer. He raced in the Mens' Singlespeed category, at the same time as the Singlespeed Women and the Masters' Men and Women (includng me). This video will give you an idea of how hard this stuff is -- and this is from the perspective of a much younger and stronger racer. The opening lap is a start lap, a slightly shorter lap to begin to spread out the field, and does not count towards your completed laps. At 10:52 into the video you will catch a very fleeting glimpse of me as Mr. Hoyer laps me. I am on the far right of the screen in the black and orange of Team Slow, heading into my second full lap. Mr. Hoyer is starting his fourth full lap. Later on, in his final lap, he passes my teammate Erinne (she's racing Masters' Women U-35) at 13:30.
Mr. Hoyer finishes a spot or two out of the bottom in his category -- which, considering that Mens' Singlespeed is one of the fastest categories out there, should be at least some consolation. (I would end up finishing over three full minutes behind him in Dead Effing Last place for all categories. The point for me was that I finished, and managed to squeeze out an extra lap over the previous week's race.)

In any event, you may well wonder the very same thing that my friend Heintz asked me last summer when he came to watch me race: "Exactly what is fun about this for you?"

It's hard to explain, especially in light of the fact that I finish DFL every time and I'm often hard-pressed to complete as many laps as my nearest competitor. I greatly enjoy the cameraderie, of course; that's definitely a highlight of my involvement in racing. But in addition, there is something compelling and even necessary about doing something so physically hard that, for thirty minutes, the whole world goes away and all I am conscious of is the combined sensation of my heart pounding in my ears and my lungs burning on fire. That sensation can be very cleansing when the rest of your life is so full of busy details and stresses. And in the end, that's why I like to make myself do this. Because in some odd way, it's good for me to make myself suffer like this now and then.

See you tomorrow night at PIR.
For more info go here:


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

race report: short-track, 7-23-12

I had doubts about racing this week.

My cycle had begun the day before and I'd hauled a trailer full of music gear across town and abck again for a two-hour show. I was tired and feeling really slow. But I'd already paid my race fee, and I hated wasting the money. Plus, I wanted to go and hang out with my teammates and have a fun evening. And -- another plus -- I would finally get to race on my new [to me] Bridgestone, which was ready to roll. So I loaded my backpack with race gear, filled a water bottle and attached my race plate to the handlebars, and went to work.

It was clear pretty much right away that the cassette cogs selected for the retro-build would be too small for me. I prefer to spin rather than mash my gears, so at work I swapped in a larger set of cogs -- and made sure to set aside an extra set because Shimano is already phasing out 7-speed cassettes and it's always a good diea to buy multiples of something that works against the day the technology is forcibly updated by the bike industry.

(Damn you, Shimano. Damn you to hell.)

After work, I went out to the track. Because I was on my cycle -- if you're a lady you know exactly what I mean and if you're a fella you can either look away nervously or you can admire us for racing when we're on our periods because some of you would never even consider it -- I was feeling slow and a little crampy, but was determined to race. I changed into my race kit and managed to pre-ride about a hundred yards of the course before being shooed off for the kiddie races. I rode around the perimiter of the course during the 6 pm race, cheering on Kristin who was racing the double again (racing Cat III Women at 6, she'd come back and race with the Singlespeed Women at 6:30) and checking out how racers took their lines on an especially twisty-turny course through the cottonwood grove. The cottonwood tufst were thick in the air this evening and I had my inhaler in my pocket in case I needed it.

After warming up with laps in the parking lot, I took my place at the start area, exchanged good-natured banter with the other Masters' women and Singlespeeders, and waited nervously for the call-ups. The fields this year are small enough that even I got called up to the start by name, for earning points after racing only one race this season. I contemplated the huge difference between my overall fitness and racing level last year and this year. Last year I'd been able to utilize a gym membership and had worked out twice a week religiously from January through the end of May, and while my speed hadn't improved, my strength had. I was ablle to climb most of the tallest berms on the course without dismounting -- on a singlespeed bike, mind you -- and felt stronger through the summer and going into the fall. This year, with virtually NO training to speak of and some lapses in bike commuting brought on my the stress of my career transition, I was racing with no real preparation, racing on muscle memory and retained skill alone, with no power to back it up. Last week's two laps were hard-won; a year ago it would've been four. I sighed and told myself that was then, this is now, and all I could do tonight was to give myself some credit for showing up and doing this at all; go out and play in the dirt and have fun -- and don't quit racing until my old, scrawny ass is pulled from the course.

Just then, Ron Strasser passed the back of the ladies start group, slapping high-fives with racers and shouting greetings to racers by name. He called out my name and approached with a huge smile across his face. Ron is in his early 60s, a wiry fellow with a neatly-trimmed light gray beard and a grandfatherly twinkle in his eye. He races in his Masters age group with the delight of a toddler on a scoot-bike in the kiddie race. He hugged me playfully from behind and told me how glad he was to see me racing after all this year. I told him I was going to go out and play in the dirt for thirty minutes, placement be damned. He grinned and nodded and said, "Excellent! Have fun!"

A few minutes later, we were off. The course was very technical tonight; although they'd left the two tallest berms in, the route to each of them was challenging and made momentum difficult. I was able to pedal all the way to the top of each only a couple of times during the race; the other times I was forced to get off and walk or run up, which made it more exhausting. But having gears made a difference. I was remembering to shift more regularly, and the original [ca. 1988!] Deore LX shifters worked like a charm with the new Stylo crankset.

I had tiny bursts of my old form when climbing the off-camber transitions, and that gave me some hope that perhaps, with some training and coaching next year, I might improve my performance in some small way. Other times, my lack of training and strength was clearly evident; I was simply too slow and tired to handle my bike cleanly in some of the turns and swun wide to let faster riders get around me. Most were perfectly polite, letting me know when they were coming up behind me and what side they'd pass on; but one of the men was especially rude and suggested that I "cat down" to Beginners if I couldn't stay out of his way. I said nothing -- I was too out of breath -- but remembered that passing other riders is part of racing, and if he wasn't able to get around me, that was as much his problem as mine. I brushed it off and chalked it up to an overdose of adrenaline. There were times when I did have to pull off the course to use my inhaler, the cottonwood was so thick it was litterally clogging my lungs and I had trouble breathing. I was in such agony at those moments that I didn't care how it looked and huffed on my inhaler without concern for discretion. Let them relegate me, I thought, I don't care. Everyone rides her own race out here and I am riding mine. And my goal was to finish no matter what. As other women passed me on the course they offered encouragement: "You're my hero, Beth hamon!" shouted Shawn, racing in the Womens' Singlespeed category. "Keep it up, girl!" Although my lungs were on fire and I felt awful, her cheers lifted my spirits and helped me to keep going. Others' shouts and cheers worked similar magic.

I stubbornly hung in there, even as the rest of the racers got further and further away from me and I felt more and more pathetic and alone on the course. Friends screamed my name in encouragement as I passed them on sections of the course. The bell lap became the finishing lap, and the officials kindly allowed me to finish my race, sending off the 7:00 racers as I was rounding the corner into the final straightaway towards the finish. I was so exhausted and out of breath from the effort of scraping out a third lap that I pulled off the course, hung my head over my handlebars, and heaved huge gulps of air for two full minutes before I could take a sip of water and go meet my teammates.

First Name
Last Name

Portland Velo                                  Lake Oswego


Oregon Bike Shop Racing Team         Gresham


Team Rose City                              Portland

Guinness Cycling Team                    Portland

Oregon Bike Shop Racing Team         Portland

Team Slow                                     portland


Approaching a berm, which I think I actually rode all the way to the top on this lap. (Thanks to teammate Kelley for shooting pix during the race.)

Tonight I was very glad for having gears on my bike. 

Sandwiches (from our sponsor, The Peoples' Sandwich) tasted delicious. I sat and ate and watched the next race feeling still quite exhausted, but happy that I'd toughed it out. I finished DFL of course, but was allowed to complete three laps, an improvement over last week. Maybe I'll really knock my brains out next week and go for four.

Friday, July 20, 2012

bikes: in and out

Bridgestone MB-4

The Bridgestone is ready to race. I'm not thrilled with the gearing -- I know how wimpy my legs are -- and may swap in a larger cogset in the rear. That will be easier than finding more appropriate chainrings for up front.

Overall, it's a happy, grin-inducing ride and I'm looking forward to taking it out to play at PIR on Monday night.


In other news, this means I am ready to give up the Rivendell LongLow.

It looks like this.

I had thought of tearing it all down and just selling the frame, but only if I could trade it with someone for an Atlantiz in my size. That seems highly unlikely at this point, and now I am ready to simply sell the bike as it sits. I would prefer to sell it locally, as breaking down and boxing a bike and then figuring out how to haul the box to the UPS depot is real hassle without a car and I'd really rather not bother with all that fuss.

Still figuring out where and how to sell it: on ebay, the Riv list or some other way. I'd really prefer to sell it locally and avoid the hassles of boxing and shipping, which are more annoying without a car. Feel free to contact me if you're seriously interested and we can discuss it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

hype of the week: off the beaten path

There's an awful lot of drumline action out there that has nothing to do with DCI. And I have been remiss in neglecting to share it here at Hype Of The Week. So, in advance of my next race (Monday, 7/23 at 6:30 pm sharp at PIR, for the locals who want to come watch -- it's free!), here's something completely different, courtesy of the Norweigan army. Check out the visuals! They make old school something totally hip and fresh -- even if the tune will make U-Dub alums weep.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

evidence of my participation, and anticipating the next bike

There is photographic proof.

(photos by Shane Young, used with permission.)

My left foot did come off the pedal for a second as I carved too wide a corner, but otherwise racing on flat pedals has not been a problem at all.
I noticed the next day that I had taken a couple of tiny nicks from the pins on that pedal. Tiny core samples from aggressive flat pedals are far better than permanent knee and ankle trouble from clipless pedals. (Clipless lovers, don't pile on, okay? Most of you are roadies anyway.)

Yesterday I took Fritz's bike in to work, stopping for an early morning fitting session on the Bridgestone that will become my geared racing bike. Chris was helpful and explained the process: He'd set my bike up on a trainer so I could pedal in place. I'd get on, pedal, stop so he could take measurements with my foot and knee in different positions (I was asked to wear my racing shoes so the measurements would be accurate). Then we'd repeat the process. The whole thing, including socializing and sips of coffee, took about an hour. Chris will deliver my fitted bike to me later in the week and, for better or worse, my tired un-trained body will climb aboard it and race next Monday night.
I rode Fritz's bike to work and cleaned it up a bit, including wiping everything down and re-lubing the chain. (Halfway through Monday evening, the freewheel had stopped sticking, leading me to guess that the stuck pawls were merely gunked up with dirt and mud from an earlier race. I advised Fritz to pay attention to his worn out rims and drive-train and thanked him for the loan.) I left his bike at the shop for him to pick up and I rode home on my All-Rounder commuter bike.
I was surprisingly more tired the night after the race, and cancelled plans to go hear a friend's band so I could go home and collapse with a plate of mac-n-cheese and a bowl of steamed green beans fresh from the garden. Then I sat and read for awhile, practiced a few songs for my Sunday gig, and went to bed.

One thing I had forgotten is how well I sleep the first couple of nights after a race.

Yeah. Definitely have to find a way to work in some at-home training in the fall and winter for next year's short-track season. Racing seems to be good for me and I would like to continue to do it, even if it's only for eight weeks a year. (Plus, Sweetie likes having a bike racer in the house.)

Pictures of the new build are forthcoming. Happy riding!

Monday, July 16, 2012

race report: PIR short-track, 7-16-12

Remember to shift. You have gears now.

That will be the primary lesson taken home from tonight's short-track race.

Other lessons about training, preparation and such will have to wait until next year. There were, prior to tonight's race,  only three races left in the Portland Short Track Series and my goal was simply to survive and finish each one, placement be damned (because my placement would be whatever number of women showed up to race in my category and I accepted that when I decided to race this year).

When signing up for this race, I agonized briefly over whether to register for Cat 3 women or Cat 2 Master 45's. Technically, OBRA rules state that once a racer turns 45 s/he can pretty much self-select a Category and race there, though sometimes officials do ask a rider to "cat up" (or down) depending on their showing at multiple events. (Sandbagging has been known to happen, though that's not a worry in my case.)

I decided that (a) I knew I wouldn't be fast but I could handle a bike and that ought to come back to me quickly enough; and (b) I didn't really want to share the course with all those Juniors who were still learning how handle their bikes safely and politely. Plus, waiting until 6:30 would mean that I'd be on a course that had been reasonably "broken in" by the previous Categories, another bonus in my book. So I gulped hard and signed up to race my age group.

It was ridiculous and I knew it.

My best lap happened on the pre-ride, when I practiced anticipating shifts so that I could take advantage of the lower gears. For someone who has raced singlespeed exclusively, this will be the biggest part of the learning curve and I will definitely have to practice for next year. For tonight it wasn't bad and I only fumbled a couple of shifts. The other part of the pre-ride that made my night was discovering that, after eight months of not riding off-road, I could still handle a bike in the dirt. I was slow as molasses but I didn't crash (good thing, since I have a gig next weekend!).

Meanwhile, I discovered that multiple gears are a revelation -- and they made it possible for me to race without achy knees, because whenever I needed to take it easy on my knees I could shift down. At the end of the race, I was severely winded and exhausted, but my knees didn't hurt. That right there was pretty cool.

Tonight's course was fast by short-track standards; lots of twisty-turny stuff in the trees which turned out to be lots of fun and a fairly straightforward layout in the moto section. If you could get up your speed and lean just the right amount you could carve through the tight turns and on the two occasions I pulled that off it was really enjoyable.

Because I hadn't trained at all -- no gym membership, no interval work, only a few climbs up Overlook since last November and lots of multi-modal trips when wrenching full-time began to take its toll -- well, I was sadly out of shape. I had to walk or run my bike up to the top of the two steepest berms on most passes, pulled over twice to catch my breath (though I did not need my inhaler -- I wasn't wheezing) and managed to eke out three laps while most of the women in my category pulled off five.

On the one hand, it's embarrassing. On the other hand, it's only a little embarrassing because I hadn't originally planned to race at all this summer. Now I'll do the remaining two races, emphasize the fun, and figure out how to renew some semblance of a training regimen without the benefits of a gym membership (because I doubt I can afford that next year). I called Sweetie tonight after my race to let know how it had gone. She asked me if I felt like I wanted to train seriously and race this age group on a geared bike next year. I said yes. So we'll talk about how we can make the training part a little more doable and fit it into my new schedule (when I go to part-time at Citybikes and part-time at temple).

Meanwhile, I have a bike-fitting scheduled for tomorrow morning so I can race the last two weeks of the series on a bike that fits me a little better than the loaner I raced on tonight (thank you Fritz! You rule!).

Cyclocross is already on some folks' minds (the season begins in September); but I know already that I will not race cyclocross anymore. My knees can't handle racing in the cold the way they once did, and now that I will be working nearly every Sunday it will be impossible for me to race at Cyclocross Crusade anyway. There is a smaller race series that takes place on Saturdays but I don't especially want to race on Shabbat, so I doubt I'll do more than just go out to a couple of those races and cheer my teammates on. I'm okay with that.

Feeling pretty mellow after chili and cider at the Red Fox pub.
Also pretty pooped. I imagine I'll sleep pretty well tonight.

(New number plate, post-singlespeed)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

tales from the bike shop

Today a fellow came in with a complaint about a part we'd sold him. He rode an early-80's Japanese road bike with an upright bar conversion. From the wear and tear on the bike it was clear that (a) he carried loads and (b) he put in many miles regularly. His complaint was that there was a significant amount of play in a freewheel he'd purchased from us some six weeks earlier.

While diagnosing the trouble I asked him how much he rode.

"About a hundred miles a week," he replied.

Well, to be fair, he'd purchased the cheapest freewheel we sell, a Chinese-made Shimano affair where the three largest cogs are riveted to each other rather than attached to the freewheel body itself. After some discussion he admitted that he was, in his words, "cheap"; and that he hated spending money to replace bike parts. He'd selected this freewheel knowing it was entry-level, because he knew that he had few other options if he was going to keep running freewheels instead of converting his rear wheel to a cassette hub.

"But you ride a hundred miles week," I said, "and you should be replacing your chain every thousand miles or so."

He was indignant. "You mean I have to replace my chain every three months??!"

"Well, yes, if you ride that much," I answered.

I offered to find him a decent used SunTour freewheel, one of the many I fished out of the scrap metal pile regularly, cleaned and re-lubed. I found a very nice used 6-speed freewheel and when I went to swap it, I discovered his rear axle was bent.

"Again?" he sighed with annoyance. "That's ridiculous. I just replaced it this spring!" He decided to skip dealing with the bent axle for now, but had me swap in the used freewheel.

While replacing the freewheel, I priced out a rough sum of what he could expect to pay for a much stronger custom-built wheel with a cassette hub. He blinked hard. I wrote the numbers down on a piece of paper for him and invted him to come back after thinking about it.

He thanked me for my honesty but allowed that he was still indignant about having to replace parts.
I didn't have the heart to tell him to ride less if he insisted on being so stingy with his cash. Bikes are made of metal and metal parts wear out with use. Sorry, but that's life. Frankly, he ought to just shell out the bucks for a stronger wheelset and be done with it. Hopefully he'll come back, but I don't know.

Sometimes you cannot win.


In other news, here's an example of something that IS built to last: a Randl wallet, made from post-production scraps of RELoad messenger bags some fifteen years ago and still going strong.

If you see one of these babies, snap it up. They aren't being made anymore and they are practically bomb-proof. Of course, they don't get ridden as hard as a bike does...