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Yes, I'm still alive.

Posted: May 13, 2018 in Misc

I know what you're thinking. Who the hell spends two of their Saturday mornings writing their own, custom blog code, then stops blogging for two years? Or maybe I'm just thinking that. But yes, I am alive, and I've had a lot of things to write about with no time to write about them.

Since my last post, I've:

  • Bought a new mountain bike (more on that soon. No, I promise),
  • Picked up some new aero hoops for the Emonda,
  • Got a new groupset for the Emonda (hint, it's not Dura-Ace for once),
  • Bought a new car (pics coming soon),
  • Seen a handful of new U2 shows, which I need to create albums for,
  • Traveled to Africa!

Ok, so the Africa trip and the care are the biggest deals here, in that order. A safari was never officially on my bucket list due to the cost, but thanks to some stars aligning, it became more affordable, so I had to go for it. Massive thanks to Thomson Safaris for putting on a first-rate trip and taking perfect care of our group. You can see by the pics that we basically saw every kind of animal that there was. I personally had a list of animals I'd hoped to see, and half that list was checked off by the second day. The most elusive animal on my list was the black rhino, but we did get to see one. No cheetahs in the vehicle though!

The new car is a 2017 Golf GTI. Yes, the Mini is gone. I thought it would never happen, but I wanted something with a few more creature features. This one has Android Auto, XM radio, and heated seats. It has slightly better straight-line acceleration than the Mini, but only just, and it doesn't handle nearly as well, but it has a lot more space, rides comfier, and has a better shifter. I've done a few mods so far, but holy shit, mods for VWs are expensive, and for no apparent reason. So far I've done the cheap things first - a clutch stop, shift linkage, ODB tweaks, and better high beams. And I got the exhaust done for cheap. But other things will have to wait (or not happen at all). I might do springs and/or sway bars, or I might just leave it be.

My new mountain bike is a Trek Top Fuel 8. It was officially a birthday present from Jessica for my 50th, but it took me a year of research and testing to decide which bike (and which wheel size) was best for me. In the end I went with a 29er, and I'm glad I did. In fact that whole year was worth it. On my first time out with the new bike, I hit ten PRs on Strava, and this is at a place I've been riding for over 15 years. And that was without even really pushing it. Since then (and after a tire upgrade), I've been pounding out PRs on almost every ride. Not bad, considering the age (and mileage) on the engine. ;)

The new hoops on the Emonda have been nice. I got a great deal on a pair of Bontrager Aura TLRs (thanks Matt!), which have an aluminum rim with a carbon faring. This allows me to switch between the Auras and the PSImets without having to change brake pads, which is nice. I also re-grouped my Emonda with 11-speed compact Ultegra. Yes, I said compact. No, I'm not getting old (ok, I am getting old), it's that, looking at a gear inch chart, along with the wear patterns on my cassette, I decided that 1) I don't ever really use a 53x12, and 2) I really wanted smaller gaps between gears out on the road. I've been riding the new group for around a year, and I do like it better. Plus, the 11-25 on the back gives me a couple of lower climbing gears than the 39x27. Honestly, my preferred cadence is around 90-95, which is a lot higher than when I was younger, so I probably should've made this change a while ago. Oh, and between the gearing and the new hoops, I was able to knock 15 seconds off of my PR on a local 1.4 mile segment on Strava, so I know it's working. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the time, but I've backed it up several times since, so it's sort of my new normal.

I now have an F1 race to watch. I'll write again soon!

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