Sunday, January 07, 2007

Winter(?) cycling, condo shopping, surging

What a gorgeous day for a ride on Saturday. Sunny, mild, must have been warmer than the predicted low 30s - easily upper 30s. This is like Portland winter weather, but with sunshine! What could be more perfect?
__I have to give a shout out to Voler, completely unsolicited. Voler makes custom and semi-custom team clothing, so generally the main selling points of such products are minimum orders, turnaround time, selection of customizable items, etc. Quality and fit aren't generally on the top of the list. It so happens that I got a Voler windbreaker when I bought my first USA Cycling license this spring, since I needed one anyway and they had a decent looking design and proceeds supported junior development. The windbreaker featured vents on the backs of the arms and on the sides of the jacket to keep you from getting clammy. This is a feature that even the expensive Pearl Izumi windbreaker doesn't have, and you get all hot and clammy (or worse, cold and clammy!) in those. Of course I got on their mailing list, and since then I've bought tights, aero booties and thermal booties from them, and I've been very pleased with everything. The tights keep me warm due to a unique inner layer, the jacket keeps the wind out and breathes and the thermal booties work surprisingly well for booties that stretch and fit nicely. All for very reasonable dough. End of advertisement.
__In other news, I've been condo hunting. The market for condo buyers is awesome right now, so it's been encouraging. Finding the right place has been a bit trickier though, as I don't know Minneapolis as well as I'd like. Finding the right neighborhood is very important, of course. So far I'm looking at close-in Minneapolis, close-in NE, and around the lakes. There are good prices to be had in neighborhoods such as Powderhorn, but I'd have trouble selling later on. Also with winters here, finding a garage for the car and the bikes is important. Unlike my place in Portland, I've yet to see anything with a common bike room, alas. Plus I just found out about an attempted credit card fraud on my credit history, which looks bad until I get it cleared up. That sucks, but the wheels are in motion to fix it. I almost forgot what a pain house hunting is.
__The paper this morning reports Bush really is going to do the surge thing. God help us. It's one thing to ignore the people that put him in office, but to ignore the military that has to execute this hare-brained plan? Things are horrible enough over there, why make it worse? I just don't get it.