All posts by Rick

2014 CAMBr 20 Year Anniversary Jerseys

I was fortunate enough to work with CAMBr in designing some cycling jersey’s to commemorate their 20th anniversary. Originally they were only going to do one jersey but after taking a look at both the designs I submitted they wanted to run them both. I also did a post-ride beer-themed button down shirt as well. The work was pro-bono but I’m happy to support CAMBr.

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Badlands and Black Hills trip

We drove through  South Dakota after my brothers wedding in Colorado this year. It had been awhile since I had been to South Dakota and it was really cool to see something that I remembered as a child.

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Pancho At the Dog Park

I spent some time on Saturday morning playing with my new Sony Nex 5T. I wanted to try and get some motion shots of pancho running around at the Dog park with the 50-200mm zoom lens. I don’t know if I’m a fan of the autofocus. I like having the touchscreen to quickly select a point to focus on but for more detailed shots it was tough to get the right focus point. It will take some getting used to. I think I still prefer manual focus with metering in red. The camera has much better picture quality than I’m used to. All of my older photos tend to look overprocessed in an attempt to cover up for poor image quality and the goal with the new camera is to shoot with a more mature, natural style.

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Vegan black bean soup from dried bean powder

I was inspired by a recipe for refried beans using bean flour so I figured I’d try and make some soup out of bean flour. It turned out good. We decided to pour the soup into edible tortilla bowls and serve it with steamed brussel sprouts.

black bean soup from dried beans (enough for about 4 big bowls)

3/4 cup black bean flour (ground dry black beans)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3 cups warm water
1 8 oz can mexican tomato sauce (I use el pato)
3 roasted poblano peppers seeded and skinned and stems removed diced fine.
1 tablespoon braggs amino acids
3-4 green onions diced
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
handful of vegan cheese

Grind black beans into a fine powder using a coffee grinder (small batches of beans for about a minute per batch)

bring water to a boil and add dry ingredients and braggs and mix well and low boil for about 10 minutes.

Then add the tomato sauce and peppers and cook for another 10-15 minutes. at the end add in the cilantro and green onions.

pour into bowls (we used baked tortilla bowls)

Add some vegan cheese on top.

add salt or hot sauce to taste if you need some  additional seasoning.

Velocity Blunt Tubeless Success

This past weekend I successfully mounted my tires tubeless to my Velocity Blunt Rims. I had been planning on doing this since I got the rims but They were running fine with the tubes so it wasn’t a priority. However, the dry trails have had me wanting more grip that running lower tire pressure can provide. I had everything I needed and since the bike needed a good cleaning and I had some free time on my hands and was a bit too tired to ride I figured I’d start the process.

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I followed most of the instructions that I found on the mountainbikefaq.com website. They specifically have a post dedicated to converting this rim to tubeless. The items I needed to perform the conversion were a set of Bontrager Rim Strips (symetrical) and valves, some Stan’s Sealant and some Slime Sealant (for the 70% stan’s and 30% slime homebrew mixture) and of course an air compressor. After watching the Stans Instructional Video posted on mountainbikefaq.com a few times I was ready to go.

I had been running tubes with the tires I was going to re-mount tubeless for about 6 months so they were pretty worn in but still have plenty of life/tread in them. I have a Maxxis Ardent 2.4 for the front and a WTB Wolverine Race 2.2 for the rear. After installing the rim strips I mounted the tires. I wish I would have had some metal levers because I’m pretty sure I almost broke my park plastic levers. I had a hell of a time getting them on but was able to. After mounting them I wanted to see if they would in fact inflate without any sealant just to make sure the bead would set on the rim. This is where I ran into trouble because for some reason my compressor will not work with presta valve adapters. I’m gonna have to look into getting a new head for my compressor to work with the presta adapter but since I was planning on riding the following day I needed to get these tires filled up. I had a few CO2 cartridges and I thought I could go that route but they didn’t quite provide enough air and the tire quickly deflated before I could fill it in time. So I figured I’d push my luck and I threw in the sealant and stood the tires up in my car and drove down to the gas station to try out their pump. At the gas station I had good luck. I was able to fill the tires no problem. I probably looked pretty goofy shaking the sealant through the rim in the parking lot but I managed to do just fine.

After my sucess at the gas station i went home and proceeded to wipe the rim/tire with soapy water to look for bubbles which would indicate small leaks. With the tire holding most of the air I was able to make minor adjustments with a floor pump and work out any slow leak spots. After keeping an eye on the tires and working out the slow leaks for about 15 minutes they were all sealed up. I mounted them back on the bike and was ready to go. In the morning I checked them and they didn’t lose a pound of pressure! It looked like they were gonna be good so I threw the bike on my roof rack and headed out to Palos for the morning.

Once I got to the trail I dropped the pressure down to just under 20 lbs and was ready to go. After a 25+ mile ride the tires held their air. The trails at palos are pretty smooth and hardpack so I probably would have been ok with a higher pressure but My local trail (saw Wee Kee) is pretty loose and rocky and lower pressures over there have paid off greatly. It’ll be interesting to see how this setup holds up in the months to come but I was relatively surprised by how easy these tires were to seal.

Vegan Tofu Jerky

Tofu Jerky

A food dehydrator is a great investment. You pick one up fairly cheap and there’s so much you can use it for.

Back before I became a vegetarian, I used a dehydrator to make beef jerky quite a bit. After I stopped eating meat I missed the texture and seasonings of beef jerky. I tried quite a few of the vegan jerky products out there and although I enjoyed several of them, they were quite expensive. Even when buying them in bulk I wasn’t able to save much. I figured it couldn’t be that hard to make a jerky substitute at home.

After looking online I was able to combine a few different recipes and cooking methods into what I felt was a pretty good batch of tofu jerky. The method I use here has a similar texture and consistency to the Turtle Island tofurky jurky. The seasonings can be played with quite a bit. I’m not one to get obsessive with measuring spices and I usually just dump in what I guess is a fair amount.

Ingredients:
2 blocks of organic sprouted Extra or Super Firm Tofu
1/2 cup Braggs Liquid Aminos (or if you don’t have then use low sodium soy sauce)
2/3 cup Water
2 T Liquid Smoke
2 T Black Pepper
2 T Tomato Paste
1 T Garlic Powder
1/2 T Onion Powder
1 T Crushed Red Pepper
1 T Chile Powder
1-2 T Agave nectar (depending on desired sweetness)

Start by draining and pressing the tofu using whatever method you prefer. Once the tofu has been drained you can cut it into strips that are about 1/4 of an inch thick. I find that anything thinner can cause the tofu to get crispy and lose it’s chewy consistency. The photo below shows `1 block of tofu that has been cut. If you like you can cut longer strips. I usually cut long strips and then chop them in half so the jerky is easier to pack in small areas like a pocket or bike jersey.

Tofu Jerky Step 1

Once it’s been drained and cut you can combine all of the other ingredients and mix them. Then place the tofu into a pan and pour the wet mixture on top. try and make sure most of the tofu has the wet mixture on top of it. You’re going to let it marinate for about 4-5 hours. It’s a good idea to move the tofu around every hour or so to insure that it’s evenly marinated.

After it’s been marinated you can add the tofu slices to the dehydrator sheets. 2 blocks of tofu should fill up 4 round trays. The slices will shrink down quite a bit after they’ve been dehydrated but it’s best not to have them touching if possible.

Tofu jerky Step 2

Once they’ve been added you can start the dehydrating process. I usually will let them dehydrate for about 8-10 hours at about 135 degrees. I find that anything hotter or longer than that and they start to get too hard and brittle. They will retain a bit of moisture so I usually plan on eating them within a weeks time (if I can keep from eating them that long)

Tofu Jerky

Dekalb Gravel Metric, Hot Hell Ride

Last weekend North Central Cyclery in DeKalb held the Gravel Metric, a 62+ mile ride on mostly gravel and dirt roads. Over 200 riders showed up to compete in the non-competitive ride. It was more of a competition against the 110 degree heat and headwinds.

Dekalb gravel metric 2012 start.

There were probably around 10-15 singlespeed riders and I only saw 2 other fixed gear riders besides myself. I was hoping to finish in around 4 to 5 hours but it ended up being over 6 hours. Even without the heat I don’t think I could have done it in 4 hours on a fixed gear. I chose to run about a 73 GI gearing and something in the mid 60s probably would have been a much better choice.

I was riding with another fixed gear rider I met on the course and he went down pretty hard in the loose gravel. Quite a few people ate it on the creek crossing and several people crashed in the first few miles of the course due to difficulty with the gravel. This was not your typical crushed-limestone type gravel that you see on most bike paths. It was more like the loose chunky stuff people used to put down in their gardens in the 80s. The dirt roads were dry and hardpacked but had deep narrow ruts.

I once read an article in Dirt Rag that described 2 types of rides. There are rides that are fun when you are riding, and there are rides that are horrible when you’re riding them but fun the days preceding the ride. This was the latter type of ride. I was hurting bad from heat exhaustion the day of the ride however, after resting, eating, cooling down, and returning to sanity I’m able to look back on this ride and appreciate it with a smile. Looking forward to next years ride and knowing that with cooler temps, knobbier tires, and a lower gear choice I should be able to beat my 6+ hour time no problem.

More details on the ride can be found here

Teko

Teko, originally uploaded by rPawela.

Here’s a shot of Teko from My Canon G7. I did some color adjustments with photoshop got a pretty good light burst by blocking the flash a bit with my finger.

Unfortunately in April Teko was having some health issues and we found out she had cancer in her liver, spleen, kidneys, and lungs. It was too late to do anything so we had to put her down.

Rest in Peace Teko. We Love you so much.

Iguanas in Herzog’s “Bad Lieutenant”

Recently saw Bad Lieutenant, Port of Call. Here’s Werner Herzog Talking about the iguana scene.

There’s the misconception that this is Herzog’s attempt to remake the 1992 Ferrara Bad Lieutenant featuring Harvey Keitel. Here’s what Herzog had to say on the subject:

It is not a remake. I’ve never seen Bad Lieutenant; I don’t know [Ferrara], and I’ve never seen any of his movies. So I think that’s off the table. One of the producers owned the rights to the name Bad Lieutenant, and he thought it would help the profile of the movie to give it the same name. I tried to stop that, but I did not win. Once it was decided that we would not shoot in New York but in New Orleans, the compromise was to call it Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Ferrara has a right to be angry, but this is not a remake. It has a life of its own.

Read more: Werner Herzog on Bad Lieutenant, Singing Iguanas, and Prop Cocaine — Vulture

They Eat Horses Don’t They?

Several groups are pushing to renew the slaughter of horses in the U.S., possibly starting in Oregon.

Proponents are pushing Congress to introduce a bill to allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture to resume inspecting horse meat for human consumption. Until two years ago, as many as 100,000 horses were killed annually in the U.S. for meat for foreign markets. A federal court ruling in 2007 closed the nation’s last horse-processing plant — Cavel International in DeKalb, Ill. — on the heels of two Texas closures resulting from a state decision to enforce a 1949 ban on horse-meat facilities. interesting debate on this subject can be found here

Canon G7 and the CHDK firmware

Just installed the chdk firmware for my Canon G7 and I feel like I have a whole new Camera. The firmware upgrade offers expansions such as Shutter Speed overrides, Time Lapse Video Shooting, the ability to add a battery life indicator on the viewfinder (something I was surprised to find that Canon didn’t automatically include), scripting capabilities, and what I find most useful, the ability to shoot in raw format.

Raw allows users a wider spectrum for editing image color, exposure, and balance. One of the reasons I like editing in Raw is that you can make photos overdramatic or almost appear to look surreal or blended with a painting.

Here’s a few photos I shot and processed from raw images. Most of the processing on these images was made using a few tweaks in Adobe Camera Raw. Click the images to view larger versions.

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teko-chdk

rogue-chdk

Installing the CHDK firmware was a little confusing. There are detailed instructions on how to do so on the chdk wikia site. Another thing worth noting,   I couldn’t open my raw .crw files in photoshop straight off the camera so I had to batch process them into digital negatives (.dng files) using DNG4PS-2, a free raw converter utility that can be downloaded from google code. The files were converted I was able to edit them in Adobe Camera Raw and then bring them into Photoshop.