Archive for December, 2009

Worst Purchase of 2009: Windows 7!

December 10, 2009

To Celebrate Zappadan, the Barking Pumpkin!

Yeah, I know. But, I didn’t buy much cycling stuff, and I stuck to the tried and true necessities. I can’t exactly flip coins and say, hmmm, which do I think was the worst among the Wipperman chains, Ritchey Speedmax, Conti Competitions, or Conti tubes that didn’t make my “Best Purchase”.  In contrast, I’ve only had windows 7 for a few weeks, and I know it sucks!!!

I had two major computer crashes over the summer, and once I got my cash flowing I picked out a system to replace them. Standard dell laptop with some externals to set it up with a keyboard and monitor. Nothing fancy, but not low end, either. I do a lot of heavy computing, with some rather torturous programs like LISREL, HLM, STATA, LEM, along with SAS and SPSS. And, Well I’ll Be Fucked. What do you know. As I sat down to install LISREL and HLM….they don’t work on Windows 7. STATA? NO. LEM is an old dos/windows 95 program, I don’t even have the heart to try it.

Oh, and my workhorse HP 1000 Series printer, the best thing I have ever bought in my life, with the exception of my Pegoretti…..ISN’T SUPPORTED BY WINDOWS 7.

Great. So, Now, I’m just going to have to hope that my four year old XP laptop doesn’t crash (or my office XP machine). And, I’ll have to maybe pray and beg that Stata, Lisrel, and HLM will come out with compatible versions (and that the Dean will buy them for me…that’s not a foregone conclusion here in the minor leagues, unlike at major universities where new machines show up on people’s desks complete with all the new versions of all the software).  And, I’ll have to buy a new laserprinter? There is nothing wrong with my laserprinter!!!!

Ah well. It’s day five of swine flu for me. No Washington Cross to finish the season. I have to do graduation for the Christmas event (and even if I’m ok, I won’t be up for racing). I posted record high temperatures, hitting 105.1!!! Wooooo hoooo! And, on the same theme, Mag’s back!! He actually did a race in California. Good to see him getting out and racing, so he doesn’t act like a jackass on the bike trails. Pretty funny videos on his blog, lots of pre-race angst….

Big Congratulations to Gina Champion, who won the IL cyclocross championship last weekend! And, Big Daddy Mark McGeen took the Wisconsin title. Justin Armstead, Andrew Hines, the Shilling family, Chief Reimbold, Diamond Dave, Gary M also had great races. And, a special salute to Ron Bridal for overcoming an illegal callup of Chicago Mafia Yokels and SMOKING the 3’s race!

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Best Purchase of 2009: Team Mack Waterford R-33 Stainless

December 2, 2009

The Team Mack Waterford Reynolds 953 Stainless

I didn’t buy shit in 2009 because I was on half salary from my sabbatical. But, fortunately, I can live vicariously through my teammate Don Lowe! Wow!! As soon as I finish my book and get the advance, I’m getting one of these! The Waterford R-33 Stainless steel model! Don has his dressed up in full SRAM RED with Zipps. I think I’ll stick with Campy and go 11 speed, and run the American Classic 58mms….those were a great purchase in 2008.

But, I suppose among what little I did buy in 2009, my most amazing purchase was something relatively cheap, the new Continental 4000 Grand Prix’s. I’ve been running Conti’s for training for a long time, with a break when we were on Vittoria (when I ran the Rubino Pro Tech’s, all the other Vittorias SUCK for training).  But, these are a HUGE improvement in durability over ANYTHING ANYONE has produced. I’ve posted record mileage on several sets of these tires, and it saved my ass! I was broke. I didn’t need to be buying more tires, and had only bought a minimum on the team deal. But, I still have three left in the quiver, and I should have been out before the end of summer. The biggest improvement is in the sidewall durability, which has been an Achilles’ heel for Conti’s–particularly for their more expensive 4-seasons model.  But, the new 4000s not only improve on the sidewall, but also in the treadwear. I cannot stress enough how much abuse these tires can take. They don’t really pave roads down here in So. Ill, and we do a lot of gravel sections on top of the bad chip and seal. The earlier generations of Contis were not this tough. I haven’t changed my routes or training  (if anything, I’m just fatter and therefore harder on the tires); these tires have improved considerably. And, they do this while keeping the sticky smooth feel of the more racy 4000 tire. I don’t use these for racing. And, I wouldn’t even if I used clinchers for racing (I’d go with Supersonics).  But, they are fast enough for anything you’d want to do outside of racing, and they are ultra durable….

I’m going to curl up with a picture of Don’s bike now….