Category Archives: bikes

Farewell to Ragsters

About a billion years ago (actually, I think it was in 2010), I bought a pair of Nashbar’s Ragster cycling sandals.

After something like seven years of near-constant use, they finally died this week. They didn’t even die on the bike—one of the rear straps tore when I slipped whilst moving some heavy stuff.

My Ragsters carried me to and fro in all kinds of weather: when it was cold, I wore neoprene diving booties in them; when it was hot, they let my get breathe easy.

A new pair will run me the same $50 or so that the first ones cost. For now, I’m making do with these:

They’re twenty-dolla Swiss Gear sandals, Euro 39.5 because evidently my feet are tiny?

Anyway, this whole post stands as a testament to the quality of Nashbar’s Ragsters. I know a lot of perks swear by Keens, but I wouldn’t have traded my Ragsters for the world.

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ch-ch-changes!

I write a lot more about dance, aerials, and all that stuff than anything else at this point, so I’ve re-structured my menu system.

This means that I no longer have to put each and every post in the “balllet” category to feed it to the front page. Instead, the MyBeautifulMachine page is now specific to bike posts (not to be confused with seatposts).

I’ve also added a page called “The Underpinnings” — in case you haven’t guessed, it discusses my perspective on every dancer/aerialist’s favorite semi-taboo topic, Super-Fancy Underwear™!

You’re welcome! 😀

Lastly, at some point, I plan to make a media page, as much for my own sanity as anything else. I am forever digging through my media catalogue and/or old posts trying to find that one picture from that one time. A media page might allow me to organize all that crap more effectively.

So, there you have it. Blog updates FTW.

We now return to our regularly-scheduled broadcast day.

Danseur Ignoble: A Not-Really-So-Good Bad Day

This morning, we got up and headed out the door on time to make the bus, but when I got out to the garage, I discovered that the side door was wide open and Robert’s bike was missing.

I told him about it (and that I’d be happy to send my mountain bike, which I don’t ride very much, home with him so he can get around), and he took it fairly well: he laughed and said, “Huh. So whoever it was apparently decided to steal the cheapest bike in the garage.”

When I told Denis about it this evening, he mentioned that the neighbors have been having some issues with kids trying to break into their garage, so that it might be the same thing. Denis thinks he probably left our side door unlocked the last time he was working out there, which makes sense — there’s no sign that anyone picked the lock or anything like that. Still, for the time being, I think I’m going to lock up the Tricross in the garage at night.

Anyway, we wound up missing the bus while I was double-checking to make sure nothing else (or, well, nothing else that was obvious; our garage is a bit chaotic right now) was missing, so we didn’t make it to class. I’m going to do both classes tomorrow to make up for it, though of course three classes on three different days is really a better practice strategy than three classes on two different days.

Other than that, though, today was pretty decent.

I took Robert out to a couple of shops to try to find some more comfortable summer going-outdoors clothes. We found him a couple of inexpensive wicking t-shirts as well as a nice, light short-sleeved Henley that was on clearance for $5. All of them should be much more comfortable for him when he’s out and about in the summer.

We had also intended to find him an athletic supporter, since finding a dance belt in his size on short notice is pretty unlikely. However, either Louisville’s entire stock of athletic supporters has been purchased in a the usual back-to-school shopping frenzy (public schools in Kentucky start early), or nobody sells them in regular stores anymore. We didn’t have time to trek out to a sporting goods place, though — I’d be surprised if a place like the Sports Authority lacked athletic supporters.

We figured a pair of compression shorts might work, but back-burnered them for the time being because Robert didn’t particularly like the only ones we found in his size. We’ll figure something out if he wants to try Margie’s class tomorrow.

It’s been nice having Robert around (though, of course, we haven’t managed to accomplish all of our goals yet: we still don’t have our Cooking with ADHD video done). He’s going home on Sunday, so I’ll be back to my usual routine next week.

Conveniently, so will ballet school — the fall semester begins Monday, and with it a new weekly session of Margie’s class and apparently a barre cardio class.

We have Open House days on Wednesday the 12th and Saturday the 15th. So free classes, yeay! If you’re in Louisville, get your hindquarters to Louisville Ballet School on Wednesday evening (I probably won’t be there; I do class in the AM on Wednesdays) or a week from tomorrow (I probably will be there).

Okay. That’s it for now. Tonight, we’re showing Robert Big Hero 6. Yay!

Danseur Ignoble: Instant Mens’ Class Quickie

Feeling a little calmer today, so class notes, huzzah!

We turned into men’s class today.

T., N., and I made up the roster, so Margie gave us extra time (she extended the class to 1 hour 15 mins, same duration as the beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes) to concentrate on turns and jumps.

Margie noticed that I was doing my grand battement without a hand on the barre and suggested that T. and N. try it (didn’t see how they did, because I promptly got all distracted and had to concetrate). During petit allegro, he also gave me my own combination variant with beats (changement, changement, echappe, royale): first time I’ve done beats (except for some lame-tastic cabrioles) since I blew up my tendon, so that was cool. (PS: great explanation of the basic Bag O’ Small Jumps here.)

T. is coming along. He really opened up and asked lots of good questions today — one of the nice perks of being an extra-small class. He’s definitely a cerebral dancer; he thinks about how to do things. It’s interesting to watch him learn. It will be very interesting to see where he is in a year. Right now, his turnout is quite good for a brand-new dancer, but his feet haven’t quite got the memo yet about staying pointed. That will come. He also has natural musical sense, which is good.

N. is just back from a tough period with some health stuff, so it was good to see him back in action.

I’m coming along, too: every week I seem to make strides in terms of musicality and expression. Sometimes I even don’t make faces when doing jumps with beats 😉

For whatever reason, my pirouettes en dedans from 5th were very nice to the right, but weird to the left. My arms just could not even. They were like, “Oh, we do these exactly like to the right,” and I was like, “No, the opposite,” and they were like, “You mean like this?” :::form up for a turn to the right:::

-.-

Arms. Seriously. We have been over this.

But they weren’t squidly. Just backwards. They were just as backwards going across the floor doing grand jetés.

I rode all the way home on the Karakoram. You guys, riding a mountain bike with a rock-hard racing saddle with no pressure relief cutout in a dance belt SUCKS after about 20 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I really quite love the Karakoram … but I’ll be really happy when the Tricross comes home from the shop (reminds me; I need to check our messages).

Today’s ride started out at a moderate speed and slowed down from there. By the time I made it home, I’d pulled down an average of about 10 MPH. There were some long stops, though, because it’s Oaks Day, which means traffic is insane — it took me about 30 minutes to slow-roll through a section near Churchill Downs that normal takes 5 – 10. Most of that time was spent inching my way towards intersections. I don’t mind, though, since that was happening because drivers were letting pedestrians have the right of way.

I really can’t complain. I got to dance and ride the bike in the sun on this, the first day of May. I also ate a ridiculous lunch at Burger King, just because I could (in case you’re wondering, their spicy chicken sandwich is not as good, or as spicy, as Wendy’s). Later I will make chili, or pasta, or something, and ice cream cones, and perhaps we’ll go for a walk.

I’ll be handing in my final, final paper tonight. My really last Undergrad Thing. Then I will officially be Done with my time as an undergrad, and ready to move on to even bigger, even better things (once we sort out our Giant Tangled Mess to a reasonable degree).

Bluh

Just a quick hallo.

Class Friday morning was lovely, though for some reason (probably a bicycular one), my right hamstring was way tight (by my standards, anyway).  On the way home, though, I retrieved my bike from the spot near Family Dollar where I’d locked it, rolled for maybe ten minutes, then went down so hard and fast that I was reflexively getting back up before I really figured out I’d crashed (aside: You can pick out horse people by how fast we pop back onto our feet after a bike crash, and the fact that we tend to instinctively keep one hand on the “reins” — I haven’t had a bike bolt on me yet :D).

This particular spill happened so fast that my tuck-and-roll reflex was useless …  though, the fact that the bike went over flat on its left side didn’t help, either.  You guys, mountain bikes may not be as fast as road bikes in general, but they sure do fall just as fast.

At the time, the crash seemed inexplicable, which is to say I couldn’t remember how it happened, which really freaked me out for much of the day — though, to be fair, I had a mild concussion, which can do weird things to all the feels.  I at least had the presence of mind to call Denis instead of trying to ride home.  Which is good, because today I went out to check on the bike and realized that the rear tire was pancake flat.   I suspect that’s actually what caused the crash — I must have picked up a puncture and rolled the tire.   I haven’t yet had it off the rim to see what flattened it, though.

Anyway, I’m mostly fine, if a bit bruised here and there.  My helmet died an honorable death protecting my skull (and also keeping me face road-rash free).   I have a replacement en route.  I was able to mow the lawn today; should be fine to dance tomorrow.

So this is all by way of explaining this weekend’s radio silence.   Saturday, we went to the final Met Live in HD broadcast for the season; today, we just relaxed at home.

I  should point out that Denis was wonderful all day on Friday: he came and picked me up right away, and then he kept me comfy and hydrated and stuff so I could vegetate on the couch and let my brain rest (and stop crying eventually — oy vey, did this ever kick off the mother of all crying jags, which should’ve been my first clue that it rattled my brain; tears are basically never my first response to physical danger, crisis, or harm).  He bought sundae cones for me on the way home.  He took me out for dinner so I wouldn’t have to cook.  He brought me blankets because I said I was cold, though really I just wanted to hide.

So it turns out that it can actually be kind of nice to let someone else take care of you once in a while.

So that was nice.

Anyway, tomorrow is the official Last Day of Class.  The last hurdle between me and my bachelor’s of science (I kid you not, autocorrupt suggested “seive,” which is roughly how my brain feels at the end of any given semester) degree in Psychology is my final paper in Buddhism, which is adjust written, bar any minor changes.

Soooooooo, yeah.  It looks like I’m doing this graduation thing for reals.

That’s it for now.   More soon, probably with amusing pix of my multi-colored knee.

Getcha Geek On … Getcha Geek On

It’s been a long, long time since I did any serious web programming — about four years, in fact.

Basically, when I left the world of banking, I left the world of web development. I had discovered that WordPress did a perfectly reasonable job creating a framework for whatever content I wanted to throw up on the web (which is different than simply wanting to throw up on the web, period, which is what you might want to do if you spend too much time exploring Vincent Flanders’ Web Pages That Suck).

Since then, I’ve frequently thought about the principles of usability and good web design (in fact, I think about them every time I encounter poorly-designed user interfaces and badly-designed websites!) — but I’ve spent basically no time doing actual web design work.

Along the way, I rather forgot how satisfying I find it.

This isn’t to say that it’s quite as satisfying as dancing or riding a bike — but it turns out that solving web-design problems is still pretty fun.

Today I learned how to pop custom CSS classes into WordPress themes in such a way that they’ll actually work. Theoretically, this shouldn’t be hard if you’re already familiar with CSS classes — but it had been a while since I built a CSS framework from scratch, and I had to think about where to put my classes in the main stylesheet for the theme.

A flash of intuition (“DERP! SEE IF THERE’S A ‘BODY’ SECTION, YOU MORON!”) solved that problem for me, and the result was immediately, immensely, deeply satisfying. I may — MAY — have gotten up and done a little dance. It’s possible that I also sang a ridiculous song about being awesome*.

*As a result of my hubris, I will almost certainly fall down the stairs later, or suffer some other equally ridiculous blow to my ego.

Maybe.

Ahem.

So, anyway. I am surprised by how happy I am to be doing web work again.

Maybe not so happy that I want to do it all the time for the rest of my life (too … much … sitting!), but definitely happy enough to think that I’d like to keep cracking away at it so maybe I can do it part-time while I’m working on my graduate degree or something.

In other news, the Tricross’ rear brake has lost most of its stopping power, so the Tricross will probably go to the shop tomorrow (where it will definitely get a tuneup, new rear brake pads, and a new chain, and possibly get a new rear hub or wheel). While I’m there, I might see about finding some kind of ridiculous swept-back bars for the Karakoram, because Dave just built up a gorgeous Bridgestone with lovely swept-back bars and now I’m riddled with envy or something.

Also because I am unlikely to do any serious off-road riding soon, and the Karakoram mostly lives its life as a grocery-getter.

Still practicing balances all the dang time. My balance à la seconde is starting to come together rather nicely. Boy, does that one work the ol’ turnout.

That’s it for now. Back to work!

Doing Scary Things

I am, in some matters — mostly the ones that involve heights, speed, agility, risk of falling, large animals, stuff like that; physical dangers — a fearless idiot.

In other matters, however — basically, in matter that involve interacting with humans in new ways — I am a giant chicken.

That’s actually kind of insulting to chickens, which can be pretty brave when they need to.

About a week ago, I approached some friends of mine who are members of an online bike-geek community that now spans the globe and asked if they wanted to get involved in a fund-raising thing I was thinking about doing for another friend of ours.

That was surprisingly scary. I thought everyone would say, “What? That’s a terrible idea! Why don’t we just do something through one of the existing fundraising organizations out there?”

Instead, my ideas were met with enthusiasm, and then with more ideas, and from the resulting seven-way brainstorm, Cabal Aid was born.

That was scary, too: taking this idea, and building something around it, and then setting the thing that we’d made together loose in the world in hopes that people would receive it in the spirit of good-hearted meddling that we intented. Heck, just showing the rest of the team my contribution — the WP-based website and Google forms I’d cobbled together in a rather unprecedented storm of productivity — was pretty scary.

We just went live a little while ago, so it’s still scary. I’m afraid nobody else will join our roster of riders; afraid that if people do, they’ll have trouble finding sponsors; afraid that some Great Authority in the Sky is going to come down and tell us to cease and desist.

For what it’s worth, I was even kind of afraid to talk specifically about that project, here. It was one thing to mention it in passing as a theoretical thing; another thing entirely to put up a link that people can visit and, like, judge and stuff (BTW, the purpose of the link isn’t to try to drum up still more support, though if you want to take part, that’s cool, too).

It’s scary and challenging to take a piece of your heart and put it out there for the world to see.

Oddly enough, though, that’s what we all do just about every day in our blogs here.

In a sense, that’s what every adult amateur ballet student does every time he or she sets foot in the studio; what every hopeful grad student does when she or he applies to a much-desired program. The world is full of scary opportunities; perilous places where we pin our hearts to our sleeves and take gigantic leaps of faith.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to observe that bravery isn’t fearlessness — it’s being afraid and doing stuff anyway. Sometimes it starts with having faith that you actually have wings; sometimes it starts with being fed up and feeling like you have to do something, even if it turns out to be wrong.

In the end, we overcome fear by doing scary things.

We start with Small Scary Things, and we work our way up to Bigger Scary Things, and then one day we do something that would once have seemed like a Huge Scary Thing, only it turns out that we’ve grown stronger by doing all those Small Scary Things and Bigger Scary Things and living through them.

The hardest part, it turns out, is finding the first Small Scary Thing that you can do.

For me, the Huge Scary Thing here was actually approaching Scott, who’s going to be the recipient of this month’s fundraising efforts. I really kind of thought he might be offended or something (you never know!). Fortunately, he was cool with our meddling. Because that was a Huge Scary Thing, and because we had a contingency plan in case Scott said no, I left that for last. Well, that and announcing the creation of our new do-gooding wing to the broader membership of the Bike Commuter Cabal.

The Small Scary Things?

I’m not even sure what they were. I can tell you that there were a lot of them, because I had to practice a lot before I was ready to start doing Big Scary Things.

There are more Huge Scary Things on my horizon. Figuring out how to use the next year and a half in a way that creates growth — Huge Scary Thing. Applying to grad school — another Huge Scary Thing. Starting to forge my path forward, now that I kind of want to know where I want to go. Huge. Scary.

I guess as long as we live, we’re going to face Huge Scary Things. Sometimes it will take us a while to be ready to meet them, and that’s okay. Sometimes, we’ll have to practice on a lot of Small Scary Things and Big Scary Things first.

Over time, Scary Things that were once Huge diminish into the distance. By the ends of our lives, if we work hard, we’ll have grown enough to step over mountains.

Cue Rocky Theme

I’m cautiously optimistic that I’m recovering from this week’s episode of depressolepsy.

I got to sleep without any trouble last night (regardless of the caffeine).   I woke up once at around 01:30 to stumble, zombie-like, to the head, and then to stumble onwards into the kitchen, where I ate one quarter of a baguette because I was starving.

This morning I’m up and about and feeling mostly human: predictably, my ankles are stiff (they always are after I take a break from ballet and then return to class),  but otherwise I’m making it.

I am debating whether I’m ready to jump back into intermediate class tomorrow morning.   It might behoove me to do Saturday’s beginner class instead for a couple of weeks in order to get back on form, even though that will mean following a W/S/S schedule for a bit, which seems a little weird.

In other news, I broke off the Karakoram’s wing mirror yesterday, so I snagged a replacement from Bardstown Road Bicycle Company.  It’s a “Mountain Mirrycle,” and it is hands-down the single best bike mirror I’ve ever had.

So that’s it for now.   Today is for homework, chores, and going on a date with my husband (woot!).

Ballet Squid Chronicles: Saturday Class Notes A La Monday

On Friday night, I went out with the of my bike peeps on what the bike world calls an s24o (edit: that’s short for “sub-24 hour overnight”).

We loaded up or bikes with camping stuff, met up at Great Food Brewing Company at Dundee Loop, then rode across town (back towards my house!) and out to Jefferson Memorial Forest.   There, we made camp and enjoyed beer, camaraderie, and various rehydrated foods (I had a spicy shrimp Bowl Noodle!).

Eventually, we tottered off to our several temporary beds, wherein we shivered for various amounts of time and got more or less sleep.   I actually warmed up fairly fast and slept pretty well,  thanks in part to my Klymit Static inflatable pad, which is super-comfy and harder to roll off of than most.   I didn’t sleep long enough, though.

On Saturday morning, we all made hot drinks (mostly coffee; I did tea), packed up, and rolled back out. I peeled off early to get home in time for ballet class.

Denis and I had an opera in the plans, so we just did Essentials.  Since we’ve just started a new ballet year, class was very basic — which meant it was a great opportunity to really focus on technique.

We were also in Studio 4, which has a wood floor (more slippery than Marley!) and one very tall portable barre (my most favoritest barre ever).

Barre was simple, which was good, because I was bushwhacked from riding bikes and not sleeping very much.   There was definitely a point at which I got the “You can point better than that” tap on my toe and discovered that, in fact, I kind of couldn’t.   The flesh was willing…ish, but the mind was cooked.  My brain just couldn’t even (I should note that I was pointing those toes …  just, you know, not quite as much as usual) .

I did find that, even though I was tired, my core was much steadier during grand battement than it was before I started doing the Plank Challenge.  My extensions during grand battement were also higher, even though I only had a full split on the left on Saturday.

I guess my core strength is improving!

Going across the floor, we just worked on chassé avant.  Margie provided us with a helpful mental image: when your feet meet mid-chassé, you should basically be in a mid-air sous-sous (like you would during soubresaut).

For some reason, I’d never really thought of that before, but it does two cool things!

First, it makes your chassé prettier.

Second, it adds to your momentum, so you travel farther on each chassé.  (Sadly, Studio 4 is tiny, so traveling farther wasn’t necessarily a great idea!)

We also worked on very basic port des bras, so I focused on making mine prettier (that is, neither squidly nor hieroglyphic).

So that’s it for now.  Moar class on Wednesday!

About the Bike: 2013 GT Karakoram 2.0 — and A Bit of Miscellany

First, the Review

I owe a number of longer-term reviews on a number of topics.  I figured I’d start with my most recent major bike acquisition, the 2013 GT Karakoram 2.0 now lovingly dubbed “Mountain Monster.”

At first glance, the Karakoram seems as unlike my Fuji Roubaix (AKA “The Fearsome Fuji”) as it gets.  It is not really all that light (though it’s also not all that heavy).  It’s much more upright.  It has clearance for some pretty big tires.  In short, it’s a mountain bike — and its mountain-bike breeding really shines through when you take it off-road.

That said, some of the qualities that make the Karakoram shine on the trails are qualities it shares with the Fearsome Fuji: sharp handling and the kind of mind-reading feel that make the Roubaix my absolute favorite road ride.

You can absolutely fly this bike by the seat of your pants.  It responds brilliantly to countersteering.  I relish the experience of railing sharp turns on the Karakoram by dropping my weight deep into the outside pedal and then just letting the bike kind of lie down towards the inside of the turn*.  Exceptional balance means you can give it a lot of lean before you begin to feel like you might be risking road rash.

In short, the Karakoram is wildly nimble.  I am far from being an accomplished off-road rider, but during this year’s Death March attempt, I rode the Karakoram through and around and over all kinds of stuff.  At one point, my rear wheel slipped on a branch hidden under some muck and the bike’s responsive handling saved me from careening into a tree.  A better rider would even have made it out of that tight spot without stopping (again, I’m pretty half-baked off-road).  Simply put, the bike is well-balanced and responsive: ideal qualities in any road or off-road ride**.

This nimble handling also translates well to an urban environment.  While I don’t think the Karakoram will ever be my go-to century bike, as an urban on-road commuter, it actually gets the job done with a fair bit of elan.  Road obstacles can be smartly avoided, and the hydraulic brakes’ stopping power comes in mightily handy when oblivious pedestrians or drivers fumble into the road without looking.

That said, in terms of rider experience on the commutes, there’s a trade-off involved: a more upright position offers an awesome visual field and helps keep you visible to drivers, but it also means that you catch wind — lots of it!  Even when tucked down over the bars, I’m still in a more upright configuration than I’m used to, and I definitely feel the air resistance.  In less-aerodynamic winter kit, it can feel like riding in a parachute.

Coupled with Maxxis’ 2.10″ Aspen tires — which are fantastic on trails but can really soak up your effort on the road — this means that the bike is slower to accelerate and slower on the climbs.  Yesterday, on a Karakoram commute, I rode a not-insignificant overpass climb into a stiff headwind and found myself really fighting to maintain a pace above 10 MPH.  Make no mistake — this bike climbs, but it does so slowly, and seems to prefer to do so in tiny little gears.  That said, in the right gear combo, pretty stiff climbs can seem fairly effortless — as long as you’re not pushing for speed.  I suspect the right tires could go a long way towards mitigating this effect if you plan primarily to commute or tour on-road on a Karakoram 2.0.

Commuting-wise, between geometry and fat tires, the Karakoram encourages its rider to spin smaller gears.  That’s good for me, because I remain an inveterate masher, and spinning will indubitably leave more in the legs for ballet class 😛

Coupling a high cadence with a low gear, it’s not difficult to maintain a 14 – 16 MPH pace on the flats on this bike once you’re up to speed.  Likewise, the enormous gearing range means you can basically ride it up a wall, albeit slowly.  Still beats the heck out of walking.  Moreover, the bike descends like a freaking rocket.

Shifting is crisp and responsive (and continues to function, with varying responsiveness, even in mucky conditions).  Braking is nigh miraculous: the hydraulic disc brakes that come stock on the Karakoram 2.0 are both powerful and nuanced.  You can modulate speed with great sensitivity and still stop fast enough to scare the crap out of yourself.

Maintenance-wise, the bike seems to be pretty much “wash-n-wear.”  After the mudfest that was Death March, a good bath and a shot of chain lube got it shifting perfectly again.  Shifting adjustments should be no sweat (I haven’t needed to bother yet; I took the bike in for a full shop tune-up before the race); braking adjustments will be more involved due to the hydraulics.  I plan to pay someone else to mess around with those, for the most part.  There are limits to my expertise, and I’m fine with that.

At around 30 pounds, the Karakoram could be lighter (and, indeed, you can lighten it up considerably with a few easy-but-pricey upgrades: lighter wheels, etc.); however, it doesn’t feel heavy when you’re riding it.

Experienced off-road racers looking for race bikes should probably look elsewhere, but for beginning-to-intermediate mountain bikers, the Karakoram offers a lot of bang for the buck.  Likewise, experienced off-road racers looking for a fun bike for non-racing rides could enjoy the heck out of this machine.

In summary, the GT Karakoram 2.0 is a very solid bike at its price point (especially if you can snag one on clearance, like I did — I paid $500 for mine).  As an entry-level off-road 29er, it’s stellar; likewise, it shines as a slowish-but-steady urban assualt bike.  For gravel racing, I’d reserve it for races with true off-road sectors; drilling away for hours on gravel climbs or flats really asks for a less upright position.

For loaded long-distance touring, I’d say that GT’s Karakoram 2.0 is quite admirably suited (and comes drilled for a rear rack), but if you’ll be any distance from places where you’re likely to find good bike shops, you might want to swap out the hydraulic brakes for a set of mechanical ones***, which are better suited to field maintenance.  Nobody wants to carry around a bleed kit and hydraulic fluid on a backroads tour of anywhere.

The 29″ wheel size could potentially make finding tires and tubes harder in some parts of the world, but the Schrader-drilled stock rims offer flexibility: more retailers carry Schrader tubes than Prestas, and you can inflate them at gas stations, with most readily-available air compressors, and with cheap, widely-available hand- and foot-pumps.  You can also use Presta tubes if you snag a couple of those little converter sleeves to go over the stems.  Though I actually like Presta valves better, my imaginary “world-touring” rig is specced with Schrader-friendly rims for all of these reasons.

If you’re seriously considering the purchase of a Karakoram 2.0, go ahead and pull the trigger.  I doubt you’ll regret it — for the price, you’re getting a reliable, capable bike that can be dressed up for racing or down for touring in rough country, not to mention a metric shedload of fun.

Next, the Miscellany

Things to remember for Saturday’s ballet class:

  • When your heels are on the floor, keep your weight in them.  The idea is that your weight goes in a column straight down to the floor.  This makes you stable. I have a habit of keeping my weight in the balls of my feet all the time.

    This is great when you’re supposed to be on the balls of your feet — like in relèvé, for example — but kind of a bad idea when your heels are supposed to be on the ground. I suspect this is the child of my favored gymnastic discipline — floor exercise — coupled with cycling, though I’m also one of those freaks who run on their toes.  Or, well, jog.  I don’t know if you would call what I do these days “running.”  Anyhoo!  I remembered on Monday (after class, of course ._.) that standing flat-footed with your weight in your toes doesn’t work so well in ballet.

    If your foot is flat on the floor, you want to keep your weight in your heel; it stabilizes the whole column.  If your heel is on the floor but your weight is in the ball of your foot, all kinds of craziness happens, and then you sprain your ankle.

  • Chaines turns, which I grappled with and finally remembered how to do on Thursday: don’t over-rotate.
  • Frappe: it’s not a coffee drink, so don’t do it like you’ve just had five espressos and a shot of cocaine.  Also don’t do it like you’re angry at the floor.  Both of these approaches result in the suede bits on the bottoms of your ballet slippers sort of sticking.  Also, both of these approaches look ridiculous.

Other things to remember:

  • The fact that I’m starting to feel human again is not an excuse to overcommit to a million things and run myself into the ground.  My dance card is currently full to the point of bursting.
  • Fill out FAFSA, zomg.

In other news:

  • I am registered for Fall semester.  I should graduate in December.  THANK G-D.  I love school, and inevitably I will do more school once I’m done with this school, but I am so ready to NOT be an undergrad anymore.
  • I am not taking summer classes.  The plan for this summer can be summarized in one word: ballet.

That’s it for now.  Keep whatever side down is supposed to be down 😛

Notes

*Sure, I’m gonna lose some knee skin this way sooner or later, but the soaring feeling is worth it.

**…Also great qualities in a life partner or best friend.

***You can’t go wrong with Avid’s BB7s.

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