Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Cannon

6 years ago in the late fall of 2003, after a very successful year of Dry Ice Bomb holidays, my mind reached a level of unease. While blowing up random objects with soda bottles filled with dry ice was fun and entertaining, I knew there was more out there.

I knew there was a potential not being reached. So I dreamed. And as a direct result of that dream, harnessing the absolute power of dry ice I bring you....

The dry ice bomb cannon.

Invented by yours truly in 2003 and powered solely by the explosion of a 20oz soda bottle of dry ice it generates enough force to launch a can over a 26 story building. you see here, the power to smash a TV.

After several years of experimentation with multiple brothers involved, the cannon has returned, better than ever.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rah Rah!

On my way to school today I noticed a poorly parked car as depicted in photo A:Photo A

Not only did this car stick halfway out into the road, but it wasn't even straight.
I didn't think much of it until I got a little closer and observed a certain little sticker on the back:

You really can't see it very clearly in the picture, but the sticker says:
"BYU Cheerleader"

I guess they aren't much smarter in college than they were in high school...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"P.H.A.S.T. Dan"

I know you aren't allowed to pick your own nickname (which for the record I didn't pick it, just how to spell it) but from now on I will be P.H.A.S.T. Dan.

This one time I rode my bike fast, so Nails started calling me Fast Dan. I think the "PH" spelling of fast adds some character:


Probably won't catch on, but I thought I'd give it a try.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stupid Zoobies

I rekindled an old flame today. It has been at least a month (probably more) since I have ridden my road bike. Maybe its a good sign that I am finally growing out of that phase of life.

Or maybe I never will.

Despite the fact that my 2009 race calendar ran up a tally of 20+ mountain races, and only 5 on the road, yet I still own a nicer road bike than mountain bike is a sign that I am still clinging on to something.

Which brings us to our first item: A stupid zoobie.

As I was walking out of the PE building with my bike in tow, leaving for a late afternoon ride today, some kid behind me with absolutely zero preliminaries blurts out, "How much did you pay for your bike?"

(Side note: This actually happens all the time. People seem to know that road bikes tend to cost a touch more than the Huffys they rode as kids, and love to hear people say out loud how much they paid. Get a frickin hobby)

I was quite taken aback at first that a complete stranger would ask such a personal question. Was I asking him how old his mom was? Or how much his girlfriend weighed? (standing next to him)

Of course not. I may have my own quirks and quite often show an immense lack of social awareness, but good heavens, even I know where the line is that designates something as "too personal". Why don't you just ask me the size of my jock strap while your at it?

As I stared at the seemingly innocent youth, trying to determine if he was actually sincere, or just playing some kind of sick joke, he added "If you don't mind my asking"

Oh, sure. Just like how old ladies at church can get away with saying ANYTHING about ANYBODY as long as the offending comment is followed by the standard "bless his heart" disclaimer.

In this case the "if you don't mind" comment only solidified his stupidity and persistence. I stalled, stammered, stuttered, and stared back, not sure what to say. A million ideas ran through my head as to how I could respond.

I quickly began to add up all the parts and their respective costs, wondering if I could even come up with any kind of total monetary value. However, the first part I came to was to the saddle, the limited edition SLR. Sure it cost a couple of bucks, but take into account the hours of eBay searching, bidding, waiting, rebidding, stressing, losing, re-finding, bidding, stressing, and finally winning; there was no way I could put a monetary value on it.

And the list went on.

Each and every part was handpicked, scoped, weighed out, saved up for, reviewed, and installed by hand, by yours truly. (And just why don't I race road anymore?) The only thing original left on the bike was the frame, a few logo stickers on the frame, and the shifters.

After running through the options, I finally mumbled something about how the original retail value was something like such and such amount

"Wow" he mused. Yeah, wow is right, I thought to myself, I should have just bought the thing, left it stock, and dumped my money into a fat diamond ring, maybe I'd be married by now.

He then proceeded to tell me how expensive bicycles are, but that you can find really good used ones for $200.

I didn't dare say a word about my seatpost...

Monday, November 16, 2009


So the snow finally hit. However, I refuse to let it keep me inside. So this winter I have resolved on a secret (well not any more) strategy to keep me in shape: Use the snow to my advantage. I am planning on using the following off season tactics to help me maintain the appellation "Fast Dan"
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Snow Shoveling (I happen to know many widows who pay top dollar for selfless service acts)
  • Snow Blowing (I also know many rich widows who own snow blowers and pay even topper dollar to have their drives snow blown)
  • Snowman Building
  • Snowball Throwing
  • Snowcone eating (I like grape)
Any additional ideas are welcomed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Temper Tantrums, Motley Crue, Dancing With Myself, and Last Ride of the Season

4 Items of Business tonight:

I threw a temper tantrum today. Now you may be thinking it was some kind of modified adult version, but no, it was full on 2 year old style anger management.

The only thing adult about it was the language used. For those of you who know I attend BYU, lets just say I shouted a word starting with "D" and ending in "arnit". For those of you who don't know about my affiliation with the religious institution after the order of Brigham, use your imagination as to what came out. You're probably right.

My infantile outburst came somewhere around the halfway point of my ride this evening. I was halfway up between the rock pile and the top of Dry when I hit a steep, loose rocky pitch that has a tendency to make back wheels lose traction and slip.

It wasn't a particularly technical section, not nearly as bad as parts of upper Frank, but add the following factors up and you can maybe see why it happened: A) my rear tire was practically bald from 4 days of Moab, B) My legs are still burnt out from 4 days of Moab C) I lifted weights with my legs yesterday D) I've been in a semi grumpy mood lately, probably a result of the slow but sure onset of the realization that I am going nowhere with my life.

The moment I slipped and had to clip out and put my foot down I became quite outraged. It wasn't even the hardest part of the trail. The bike was promptly thrown into bushes and I began to weave a tapestry of profanity tight enough to hold water. (Ok so I really just said "dangit" but oh, my thoughts of what to say ran wild) Either way my actions resembled that of a young child, attempting to communicate the disappointment associated with not getting a lollipop. It was bad.

Approximately 5 seconds after the event finished I picked up my bike. I came to my full senses at how silly I must have looked, even looked around to make sure nobody saw my tantrum, remounted my bicycle, and proceeded to ride up the rest of the hill. It was an embarrassing event, but apparently not so much as I am now writing about it to tell both of you who read this blog.

The night of the Helloween ride, Aaron Smith shocked and amazed us all by smoking the pipe, at night, and in costume. How was this done? you might ask...well, quite simply, he simply sang "Jumpstart My Heart", by Motley Crue. Since that night I have questioned the powers of 80's rock, but it wasn't until tonight that I attempted to utilize the secret power of the Crue. As I came around to the top of Dry Canyon I found the song on my iPod, cranked it up as loud as I could, and began singing along, as loud as I could. When I arrived at the corner marking the start of the pipe I beheld a middle aged couple (probably just done smoking the pipe themselves, hiker style) staring at the pipe.

I paid no attention to the multitude nor did I give heed to what they thought of me. I continued along my merry way, singing "Jumpstart" as loud as I could and bombed the pipe with all the confidence in the world. NEVER underestimate the power of the Crue. Which brings us to point #3

Blink 182 once covered a song "Dancin' with Myself" and while the implied meanings are completely different (I won't go into what the song is about here, but I am sure you can use your imagination to figure that one out) I found some parallels in my newfound ability to sing and dance, even when nobody else can hear the music. My new lifetime hero, Adam Lisonbee taught me this while on our trip to Moab. Dance, even if nobody else can hear the music. And so I have. I also sing. Its kind of embarassing, but hey, my name is Dan, don't you ever tell me how to live my life.

I think today may have been the last good ride of the season in Utah County. Snow and rain are expected the rest of the week, and once the trails bog down its tough to find them dry till spring. I rode everything I could tonight, (and on a side not woudl strongly recommend a light slightly larger than a MiNewt if you plan on doing much single track in the dark) and just soaked it in, not knowing when the next time I would be able to hit all my favorite trails in the same day again....soon...I hope...

Well, that's all I have to say about that.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Still New to Me

I still consider myself a new mountain biker. After all those years as a roadie, I got used to picking my favorite roads and routes to ride on the road. Now, however, I get to pick from a whole new assortment of trails.

I am still finding new trails, new ways to ride trails, and new ways to connect them. The first year I started calling myself a mountain biker, I rode 4 trails: 1) The old race course 2) Dragon's Back to Frank to the Alter then straight down 3) The Big Springs Lolipop, and 4) Bonneville South at Bridal Veil across Squaw Peak road

That was it. The only 4 trails I rode last year. By combining those 4 routes I rode all I could ever want. I even did multiple 10 hour+ rides on them in preparation for the 12 hours of Sundance race last year by riding the same trail 4 or 5 times, then moving on to the next.

Mountain biking was still so new to me I was fine with it. In fact I loved it. The thrill of bombing down sweet single track was a feeling impossible to capture on a bike with skinny tires and drop bars limited to paved lanes. I could have ridden the same trail every day and still gotten a kick out of it.

Well, over a year later and I'm still fining new trails. It seems like every week I find a new favorite ride. I try new trails I hear about, meet people on trails that show me new places to ride, and even explore a little on my own. And its a blast. This month, up Rock Canyon and down Squaw has been my new favorite ride. I've only done it a few times but am getting better at that stupid rocky climb up Rock Canyon, and faster down the descents. The views are awesome (title picture on the blog is looking out over Utah lake from the Squaw Peak road) and the riding is just the right balance between hard and fun.

Overall it is definitely the ride of the month...until I find a new one next week...


Stole this from Adam. I believe this says it all about the Moab trip this weekend. However, I will write a bit more...later...