30 December, 2007

Garmin GPS, fi'zi:k Saddle

Christmas was very good to me, and I found a Garmin Edge 305 GPS/HRM/cyclocomputer under the tree. Really, it wasn't much of a surprise since it would be impossible for anyone to know what I wanted. Still, it was very nice of my parents to get it for me, and it will be a great training tool and fun gadget. I've yet to set up the cadence/wheel speed stuff, but the HRM is working great. I've done as much as acquire satellites for the GPS and walk around, but the GPS will be a lot of fun for mapping courses and plotting elevation profiles with my heartrate, speed, etc.

Also for Christmas I received a gift certificate for my LBS which I promptly spent on a much needed new saddle. I picked up a fi'zi:k Arione Wing Flex which I've been contemplating for awhile. So far it's very comfortable, and I think it will really be great when broken in.

This blog may seem very equipment oriented lately, and there's more of that to come with the SS conversion planned for the Trek and other things for next season. That is fitting as I'm a bit of a gear head, so you'll all have to put up with it until race season gets going next year and I have some reports. I'll try to post some ride reports and training logs through the winter to mix things up.

20 December, 2007

Some product reviews

The 8000 is wearing some new gear, some of which is new to me and worth reviewing after having given it a proper ride. After reading what I wrote below, this is more of a report than a review, but hopefully it gives an accurate idea of what I think of the products.

The new equipment is as follows:

First, the Conti tires: I got a 2.4 front, 2.2 rear in wire bead, which isn't even mentioned on the site. I went for the cheapest ones at the online shop I ordered from, thinking I was getting the 580/670g (for 2.2/2.4 size) folding bead model. I'm not particularly disappointed though since these are my "winter" tires for a bike which I will not likely be racing on next season anyway.

They measure up considerably undersized, even on my wide (Mavic 321) rims, but I was expecting this having read some reviews online before purchasing. The 2.4 at probably closer to 2.3" is plenty in the front, and considering I was running 2.0 f/r before. With a couple rides in snow, I'd say that as far as I can tell these are great tires. They hooked up consistently and cornered well, though I haven't been able to really ride them hard. The sidewalls feel good and the tires were stable at moderate-low pressures (for me anyway: around 30 psi). They were not holding any snow at all, so I feel they should also shed mud well which will be nice when the snow starts to melt. This is consistent with what I've read in reviews of the tires from folks in climates that have mud and not snow right now. The good news is that they roll considerably faster than I thought, considering how knobby they are. They're quick enough that I may get a pair of the lighter folding bead models for the race bike in the spring, switch to a faster tire for the dryer mid/late summer months, and go back to the Mountain King for the end of season mud in the Fall.

Next, the Ripcord housing and cables: The colour may be obnoxious, but the performance is wonderful. This kevlar reinforced compressionless housing comes as a kit with enough housing and cable for one bike as well as multiple termination choices. Jagwire currently makes this housing in "Black Carbon", "Maxxis Orange" and "Hot Pink", though I've also seen it in "DirtRag Brown" and "Merida Green" around the internet (Jagwire makes other models of housing in a greater variety of colours). The black colour was surprisingly elusive, with the team Maxxis Orange and pink colours being easiest to find. I got a good deal on a package of the Brake and Derailleur kit in orange, so I went with that. The derailleur kit did not go on the Trek because it will soon be converted to a singlespeed, so I'll save those cables and housing for my next geared bike.

The housing comes in a single length with special POP ferrules on each end. I have no idea what that means, but it is supposed to aid with compressionless performance. I ran full housing to both brakes, so I simply cut the housing once, distributing extra length between both runs which explains the excess cable up front. When I decide what bar setup I'll be running I'll cut them to length. Installation was easy - cut the housing, file the end square and smooth, place the lever end ferrule on and I was done. The kit includes materials to run semi-interrupted housing along the top tube if you wish. To do this you use the nosed ferrules and cable cover which are supplied to produce a setup that while not full length is almost completely sealed, keeping out dust that usually enters the two ferrule locations at the top tube. The kit came with enough length for a full run, and I have hydro hose guides so I decided to try running full length. The derailleur kit does not have enough length to run full housing to both locations, so I may purchase another kit when I install that on a geared bike, or I may take advantage of the semi-interrupted system described above with the nosed ferrules and cover over the exposed cable run along the top tube.

With the new cables in place the brakes feel great - I can definitely tell the difference in the full length run vs. interrupted housing as I've used in the past. The feel is much smoother (more like the front always was) and I'm sure it will also benefit from less dirt contamination over time. The benefit of the compressionless housing is supposedly large, but coming from old worn out and dirty housing and cables it's hard to say accurately if this is true or not. The feel and power however is good enough that I'll buy this kit again as I can't imagine a mechanical brake feeling any better. The cost is higher than bulk housing and generic cables, but compared to other expendable parts (chains, cassettes, etc) this will be cheap given how infrequently the housing will need replacing using a mostly sealed system. I'll probably replace the cable itself a few times before I go with the whole kit however. With the use of Avid's speed dial feature, I get lots of variation in the amount of modulation, so much that I might stick with another set of Avid BB brakes on my next bike.

I have little to say about the Speed Dial SL levers: they're Avid levers, so they work great. The same can be said for the Clean Sweep rotors. I've always used the speed dial levers, and I like the adjustment in mechanical advantage it allows, making the otherwise "grabby" mechanical discs quite nice for modulation. The SL models are as far as I know the lightest speed dial levers Avid has made at 76g per lever (152g pair) - even lighter than the SD Ultimate. I got a good deal on them, so I figured I'd replace the SD3 levers that were getting sloppy in the pivot (but were otherwise going strong, after many crashes - taking advantage of Avids bend zone in the lever blades to bend them back). I'll continue to use Avid levers whenever I am using mechanical brakes on a mountain bike, probably as long as I can. The Clean Sweep rotors are much better than the Roundagon rotors that are currently supplied with BB5 and BB7 brakes. They are stock on the Juicy brakes, and are supposed to dissipate heat better which I'm sure they do, but I also feel they modulate better than Roundagon rotors when used with the same brakes. I also think they look better, which wouldn't change my decision of what to use, but is a very nice thing.

Finally, the brake Pads: I purchased these from eBay user bikefridge who appears to be a representative of DiscoBrakes.com Delivery was prompt, and I can't complain about the price as even after shipping these were well under half of what Avid charges for replacement pads, and are a higher-end compound than the stock Avid pads also. I chose the Ceramic Black Compound, which appears basically to be like the Organic compound that Avid charges more for than even their stock pads. These were twice as much as the semi-metallic pads offered by the seller, but still very inexpensive.

Overall, this stuff all gets a positive review and I'd buy it again. The tires which I expected to be a good mud/off season tire are fast enough that I'm considering them for early/late season racing. The Ripcord housing has impressed me enough that I'm now considering another set of Avid mechanicals instead of hydros for my next bike. The Speed Dial levers have been a favourite of mine, and the new SLs are lighter than the lower end models I was using. The rotors and pads bring a fresh feeling to my 3.5 year old brakes, along with the cables and housing, but are nothing new themselves.

02 December, 2007

Training begins... sort of

Tonight I finally did a fairly structured workout on the trainer trying out some of the strategies I've been reading about. I won't say I've started my base hours for the '08 season since I'm not planning on counting until final exams are out of the way and I no longer have to worry about school for a few months. That said, this is a step toward that from the casual mtb rides and unstructured spins on the trainer I've been doing during my off-season transition.

Tonight I was trying to do some Sweet Spot Training (see: link1, link2), but without a formal way of monitoring heart rate it was fairly approximate. The HRM/cadence abilities I'll have come the new year will help a lot with fine tuning this training, but for now this should be effective. I've come up with a 1h workout to fit into study breaks during finals:

  • 5m warm up
  • 15m high cadence, low power spin (L2) - focus on form, breathing
  • 10m long interval, about L3
  • 5m spin for recovery, L1
  • 15m high cadence spin, L2
  • 5m long interval, high L3
  • 5m wind down
  • stretch on and off bike
That may seem hard for this "early" in the base period, but given the short duration and my intention to maintain fitness until I begin a structured base period it is more appropriate. It felt good, which for now is a good indication as some days on the trainer can certainly feel less than productive.

01 December, 2007

2008 Race schedule - early thoughts

Yes, it seems early, but we are forced to start now thinking about what our race calendars for the coming year are going to look like. Popular/limited events like the Lifestyles 24h or Crank the Shield are selling out quickly. For the rest where registration is not the concern, they must be chosen to formulate a training plan and to decide which to try to peak for. Budget is also a concern and for me probably the limiting factor. This year I'm making the enduro events my priority and doing XC races (O-Cup and U-Cup) more for fun than anything.

So far on my list of definite events:

With these as strong possibilities:
  • Dukes Epic 8h (tag team) - 24 May - contingent on a teammate and depending on other events
  • 6 Hours of Power (solo) - 27 July - assuming my legs feel ready for the 1200ft of climbing per lap and I can convince people to join me (or at least come to feed me)
  • Paul's Dirty Enduro (60/100km) - Sept?

If I do any O-Cups (see preliminary schedule here), they will be low priority for training; mostly I just want to ride the racecourses in Ontario, and find I enjoy racing even on those rough days when I feel like finishing is enough of a challenge. That said, if I can budget the time and money, I'd love to do all of them as they're set on some great courses that I enjoy, and others that I haven't had the chance to ride but have wanted to (particularly Buckwallow).

29 November, 2007

Dave Zabriskie's mountain bike...

...is a 29er, no surprise!

Niner AIR9, setup with a Dura-ace triple and drop bars - very nice! That's not to mention the mtb equipment of American Classic wheels and the new F29 fork. It's pretty interesting to see what the pro tour riders do with their free time and I know Zabriskie isn't the only one who rides mountain bikes for fun, though he certainly has good taste.

26 November, 2007

Snowy mtb

Following the trail day on Saturday, I felt the urge to get out and ride the cut while it was frozen. The new section of Stinky Girl was looking pretty fun, and it seemed like we weren't going to see better riding weather for some time.

Sunday morning I headed out with a couple of other UWCC'ers, as early as we could bear in order to take advantage of the frozen trail knowing things would begin to thaw later in the day. This proved to be wise as a few exposed areas were indeed getting a bit wet around noon. Other than that, the conditions were great, and riding in the crunchy snow was different than I thought. So enjoyable I've decided I'd like to get some clothing for the colder weather that is to come and keep riding year round. Some insulated booties and lobster gloves as well as a shell jacket and perhaps some pants, and I should be good to go in just about any conditions. I'll be setting the Trek up as a single-speed, with its geared replacement (I think anyway) to be announced later...

Finally, I have to link to the latest post over at Bike Snob NYC which yet again has me laughing at the stereotypes of cycling that are so close to the truth.

24 November, 2007


Last night I traveled to the Forest City Velodrome in London, ON for my first experience with track cycling. Overall, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves save a few more serious crashes. One rider left in poor shape with a potentially broken collarbone, but the rest had at worse a tear in their shorts. I was luckily able to avoid any confrontations with the ground and any rubbing of wheels was done at low speeds with no harm done.

Things did not go at all as I'd have expected though, for my first time riding a track bike. Coming to a stop was the first skill to be learned, and I found it tricky even at a standstill to unclip and put a foot down without rolling. With that out of the way, riding around the apron and controlling speed was no problem. Up on the straights around cones was fine, though the slalom like drill was tricky given the tight spacing of the cones. When it came to getting up to speed and moving up on to the track, it soon became apparent that I was not doing very well. As our instructor pointed out, I was thinking too much. Though I was probably the last to get the hang of just looking forward and going around the turns, I soon caught on and had little trouble from this point forward. I was then able to keep pace with the subsequent drills - following different lines, standing up and maintaining cadence, various hand positions on the bars including one hand behind the back, and finally varying the line though the corners (low-high-low and high-low-high). It was at about this point that riders started to go down and I decided I'd best get off the track when it was safe. After a number of crashes, everyone was mostly ok save one. Back out for some more riding, we got a few more laps in before heading out to some dinner and socializing.

Track cycling wasn't as easy - or should I say natural - as I'd expected, and as such I suppose I could have enjoyed it more with more realistic expectations. That said, I did have a great time and would like to head back for a rec session from time to time. Thanks to Jasmin and the UWCC for organizing this session, and to the Forest City Velodrome for their hospitality!

22 November, 2007

New look for the blog

I changed the template, and so far I think for the better. I picked another stock one and changed around some of the colours to make it a little less green.

15 November, 2007

Reflections on nightime rides

It's getting to the time of year where mountain biking conditions are less than ideal, both with respect to weather and hours of daylight. To ride at all through the week requires lights by the time I get to the trails after class. Last night I rode for what I'm saying is the last time this season, though I said that the time before also. Though trail conditions forced us to end our ride a bit early (hooray for a quick fireroad way out), I realized how much I like riding at night. The silence and the cool air are really refreshing, and the limited light makes you think a bit more which adds dynamic to trails I otherwise know very well. Though it's unlikely I'll post my best time at night, it doesn't mean one has to go slowly either, and a moderate pace by daytime standards can feel a little quicker at night which is great for these off-season rides that don't need to be at a training pace.

Next summer I hope to make up for the fact that I didn't do as much night riding as I'd intended this year. After the 24h in August when I bought my light my teammates and I said we should do some night riding in the fall. It was November before we got around to it, and temperatures are dropping fast. Perhaps I'll start doing weekly night rides as recovery after solid training days midweek :)

12 November, 2007

Life$tyle$ of the Rich & Famou$

It's official - I've registered a team for the 9th Annual Life$tyle$ of the Rich & Famou$ 24 Hour Race, put on by WOW. Previous competitors get first shot at registering, and the remaining spots opened up tonight at 7pm. I don't know how many spots were open, but I'm glad we got in - by 8pm there was 1 team and 2 solo spots remaining. It should be a lot of fun, and a heck of a lot more comfortable than camping. The team, though still without an official 5th member is likely to be all UW Engineering students. We're planning to enter the 24h of Hot August Nights, which was a lot of fun last year and should be really enjoyable with a more competitive team this year. The course for Lifestyles should be a nice alternative to Albion for a 24h event, if my experience with Mansfield at U-Cup #1 this year was any indication, which is one of many reasons I'm happy to be doing these two events rather than both the Summer Solstice and HAN put on by Chico Racing.

28 October, 2007

Equipment: upgrades, changes, needs (desires)

With the end of the season now seems like a good time to talk about equipment - what happened this year, and what is to come.

With an increased (renewed?) interest in cycling this year, I have certainly spent a lot of money on parts, accessories, equipment, nutrition and entry fees. The beginning was the decision to enter the 24h of Hot August Nights, which required me to buy a lighting system. I settled on the new 2008 NiteRider MiNewt.X2 and I'm very glad I did. Hitting stores only a week before the race I was not sure if I'd be able to get it, but with repeated visits to Ziggy's Cycle & Sport in Kitchener I got it with a few days to spare. Performance was exactly as quoted by the manufacturer which is more than can be said for many of the lighting systems on the market. Support by NiteRider at the race was fantastic with quick charging and friendly reps working at their trailer. I would definitely recommend this system, or the much more powerful TriNewt that was released this year as well. They boast lengthy burntimes (which are not at all overstated), fairly quick charging and they look pretty sleek too.

Trek 8000
This fall I've gone through a couple of chains (ask me sometime if you'd like to hear why), a new cassette to match the new chain (the old one was very worn), a new 22T chainring (thanks Jon!) which has remedied much of my chainsuck issues in those gears, as well as much in the way of energy drink and chews. The most recent item was new hubs and having my rims built around them. I got a Hope Bulb (rear) and Pro II (front) from Universal Cycles in Portland, OR and had them built by Dave at True North Cycles, and he did a great job. They ride wonderfully, and the new hubs are a major improvement on my old Deore level Shimano hubs.

My 3 year old Avid mechanical disc brakes will get an overhaul this winter. New pads, rotors and some stainless bolts as well as a general cleaning lubrication should have them feeling good as new for next season.

I recently got a pair of Egg Beater SLs and they're absolutely beautiful with the blue ano retention spring. They work very nicely as I've come to expect from Crank Brothers.

Given that I'm planning for a new mountain bike in the spring, the Trek will soon live its life as a spring/fall training bike. This likely means some narrow, knobby mud tires and I'm thinking I'll set it up single speed with drop bars just for fun. I picked up an On One Midge bar from eBay and I'd like to see if it's as ergonomic as it is claimed to be by its almost cult following.

The one thing I will really need for next season is a new pair of mtb shoes, as mine are thoroughly worn out.


Soon I will be logging nearly all my miles on the trainer riding my road bike (Giant OCR2). I plan to start going out on group rides to work on my road skills and fitness next year, which I'm greatly looking forward to. Though it's not quite too cold/wet to ride yet, I'm already anxious for spring. I have interesting things to say about riding in wet autumn weather from this weekend, but I'll save that for another post.

2007 Race season recap

My season of racing ended with the last of the Ontario University Cup races at Boler Mountain in London, ON. This series was very fun, and though all my finishes were near the bottom of the pack in the Men's B division, I learned a lot about what I can work on in the future as well as what kind of competition is out there from other university students. I had significant mechanical issues at two of the races, with only the Mansfield XC and the Boler races going smoothly in that respect. This of course has pointed out what aspects of my bike need maintaining, though most of these issues truly were unavoidable. Plans are underway to upgrade many parts on the Trek 8000 this winter, and depending what the financial situation looks like once I'm working I may consider adding a second mountain bike to my arsenal. All my teammates with their True North 29ers are causing me to really desire one myself.

In any case, I know where my fitness level is at as well as which areas of certain courses suit my riding and allow me to pick up time. This is good knowledge to enter winter training with, and by the end of next season I hope to have set some goals and to have met them.

Aside from the U-Cups this year I participated in the Chico Racing 24h of Hot August Nights, which was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Endurance races are high on my list of priorities for next season and preliminary talk of forming a team for the Summer Solstice and Hot August Nights races has already begun. I'd also like to do the U-Cups again next year, possibly I'll try some O-Cup races.

a change of direction

I've decided this blog is to become a dedicated log of my cycling activities, not because school and bass playing is not still going on or interesting, but because I simply wish to focus and change direction here. This will allow me to keep records of my training and races as well as generally report what is going on with me and the sport.

I think that covers just about all that needs to be said, so look forward to this different direction in the time to come.

17 September, 2007

U-Cup Races!

This update is long overdue, but with school starting and all the things that go with it, I've been busy. One thing that has been occupying my time is the continuing mountain bike racing season, particularly the Ontario University Cup race series which began on the weekend. UW had a good showing, and we captured 2 podium places with Logan Tacoma taking 3rd place in the Men's A division, and Brandon Tulloch 1st in Men's B. Check out him and the awesome new UW kit he's wearing:My results were less eventful with some flats during the crit event, chain suck during the TT and a mediocre performance in the XC race (though the bike held up for that one!) The weather was cold and rainy on Saturday, but we all beared through it. Despite a nice fire to warm ourselves by, the night was rather cold after retiring to our tents. Sunday was nice though, with sun and rising temperatures for the XC race. All said, I had fun and have some pictures of my hilarious crash on a large drop. Here's the before:and after:Next race is this Sunday, 23 Sept. at Hardwood Hills, which I'm currently trying to prepare my body and my bike for.

I've also just had my first shift as a volunteer at the UW Bicycle Centre, which was interesting and a bit crazy as well. I guess I was expecting a lot of people who knew what they were doing to just come in for a place to wrench on their bikes with the luxury of a full shop - instead we get mostly people who have no idea what is wrong, but they have some sort of problem. My shift is weekly from 11:30 to 13:30 on Mondays, so feel free to come pay me a visit. Other hours are as posted, and I'm often going to be there to work on my bike during other hours so just drop in and meet other gearheads if you so choose.

To keep this from entirely becoming a cycling blog, I'll mention that school has started, which seems alright - good classes and good professors for the most part. I'll probably have more to say when I'm buried in assignments (which I suppose has started), but most interesting so far seem to be my Metabolism course and Numerical Methods. I still need to see if I can get a copy of MATLAB that will run in OS X... and that I don't have to pay for, of course ;)

More frequent updates should follow, though I won't make any promises. I will hopefully not abandon this though, like I have any time I've tried anything blog-like before.

30 August, 2007

Summer recap

For many of us, school is beginning in a couple of weeks, so this is a good time to summarize the summer's events to set a basis for the things that will become regular topics here.

Last weekend I took part in "24 hours of Hot August Nights", an endurance mountain bike race put on by Chico Racing. The team may not have put forth a competitive effort, but we all rode well, had fun and nobody got injured. Good enough for me to call it successful, and I can't wait to try another next summer with more training and notice to prepare. This has been a decent cycling season for me, the first that I've been training on the road with the aid of my new (at the end of last season) Giant OCR-2. I have a long way to go before I'll be doing road races, but it's enjoyable riding, and has likely helped my legs on the mtb as well. I'm hoping to do a fair bit of mtb racing this fall possibly including the University Cup races and the always-fun Off Road Squeezer put on by Liberty! Bicycles in St. Catharines.

Academics and Work:
This summer I've been working in a (volunteer) research position with Dr. C. Perry Chou, resulting from the fact that I did not find employment through the regular process (those of you from UW know the headaches of jobmine). The term has not been as fruitful as I'd hoped, which left me un-engaged and uncommitted to my work, which in turn has led to sub-par performance on my part. I have learned some useful lab skills for future work in biotech and I now have much more refined ideas about what I am and am not interested in for grad studies and my career. That's enough about that - unfortunately there's not more to say.

I'm looking forward to beginning 3B in the fall, which is known as a tough term but for which I'm trying to prepare by not taking on too much commitment. This has been a problem for me in the past leading to poor marks and nearly failing my 3A term. I say after each bad term that I'll improve, and I never do, but this is the time to do it because if things decline any further I'll be in serious peril academically. For those not in my class, a list of my courses follows:

  • CHE 35 - Transport Processes 4: Mass Transfer
  • CHE 36 - Chemical Reaction Engineering
  • CHE 38 - Inorganic Process Principles 2 (Electrochemistry)
  • CHE 321 - Process Engineering Design: Numerical Methods and Modelling
  • CHEM 331 - Metabolism
The last one is in place of my CSE, which I've taken ahead of time by overloading (which was not handled well, in hindsight). I'll also likely be sitting in on MSCI 311 - Organizational Design and Technology, which I took last term but neglected and ended up failing. I can take the final this term as a suplemental exam and will be granted the credit if I pass that.

This has been a good summer both for my playing and listening experiences. The summer season with orchestra@uwaterloo was alright, though the repertoire wasn't thrilling. I was named Principal Bass which is nice. I performed Schubert's "Trout" Quintet in a chamber music concert which was a fun and challenging experience. This past Monday some colleagues from orch@uw, Wallace Wu (vn) and Jeffrey Quilliam (cl) performed with pianist Cheryl Duvall at KWCMS, showing off some very impressive repertoire and displaying their wonderful abilities on their instruments.

I'm auditioning for music studio this fall, in which I'll be studying with George Grier (Assoc. Principal Bass, K/W Symphony). I'm greatly looking forward to this opportunity. I haven't completely made up my mind, but I think I'll be playing the Largo from the Eccles Sonata and the first page of Mahler 2 for the audition. This is especially interesting as I've just begun tuning my bass in fifths, which for those not aware is not a very common practice. Most basses in current times are tuned in fourths: E-A-D-G from bottom to top. In order to achieve the contra C required by orchestral repertoire, bassists resort to a 5th string below E tuned to B or C which is common in Europe, or as is more common in North America will use an extension which allows the E string to pass up over the scroll providing 4 or 5 more notes down to C or B respectively. A few bassists, however, are tuning in fifths: C-G-D-A, an octave below the tuning of a cello which provides both the contra C, but also some other unique qualities. Fingerings are changed, in some cases making passages more challenging, but in general opening up the instrument to play in a way that is more idiomatic to much of the repertoire we have, especially that derived from other strings such as cello, viola and violin. See the article linked here as well as Joel Quarrington's Website for more info. I'm really enjoying the sound of my bass tuned this way, and also the challenge associated with re-learning the fingerboard.

On another note, I've entered the Concerto Competition that orch@uw is holding for Winter 2008. I'll be playing the Vanhal Concerto for the committee in January, and hopefully putting forth a good effort. It's certainly motivation to practice. This fall's program for the orchestra is French music: Franck - Symphony in D minor, Debussy - Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, Ravel - Le Tombeau de Couperin, and likely one other piece which will either be new music from a composer here at UW or something else (perhaps Berlioz' Roman Carnival Overture).

In the world of electric bass, this was an uneventful summer for playing. I played in the UW stage band, but probably will not do so again as I'm really not learning much. I'm going to be giving up most/all of my jazz performance for the time being to focus on my double bass study and of course on school - a much needed change. I'd like to play some chamber music this term, either as a recital for my studio course or just a random concert with some friends. I've started thinking about repertoire, but I don't want to get ahead of myself as I have lots on my musical plate for now. As far as I know, my rock band which sort of formed last Winter should be reuniting this Fall after a term where we were scattered across the province on co-op. Next week should see the arrival of my new Roscoe bass, which I ordered about 9 months ago through my dealer, Club Bass in Toronto. Here's a picture of the body in progress from a couple months ago (click for larger):

Current Items
Repertoire/What's on my music stand:
  • Sonata in G minor (Eccles, H.)
  • Complete Double Bass Parts: Mahler Symphonies One though Five
  • Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra (Vanhal, J. B.)
  • Complete Double Bass Parts: Selected Romantic Symphonies (for the Franck)
New Albums/Current Listening:
  • Brahms: Cello Sonatas/Bruch: Kol Nidrei (Jacqueline Du Pre, Daniel Barenboim)
  • "Duke Ellington & John Coltrane"
What I'm reading:
  • The God Delusion (Dawkins)
  • Genetics: From Genes to Genomes
  • My textbooks for the fall
Interesting links (all bass/music for this post, sorry to the rest of you!):
Jason Heath's Double Bass Blog
Perhaps the single best resource for news on the double bass online. Also he publishes a wonderful podcast called "Contrabass Conversations" featuring interviews with many top players.
The largest online community of bassists, and a great place to learn all about bass. It's huge, so things get out of hand from time to time and you have to be vigilant of all you read, but it's well worth it.
"Ken's Corner" Bass Forums
Bassist, Maker of electric basses and Collector/Dealer of double basses Ken Smith has set up a forum for discussion of all things bass here. With a more strict and mature environment, it's different from other forums, which is nice, but it's also much smaller.
Joel Quarrington
A fantastic Bassist, and he's Canadian no less. Joel is one of the most prevalent players tuning in fifths these days, and his website is a great resource for info on this topic.
K/W Symphony
Check out their 2007-2008 season, which includes some great concerts from my quick perusal of their flyer. They have a great deal where students can see all the concerts for $60, something I will most likely be taking advantage of!

Why a blog?

Those of you who know me well enough will be wondering why I would create a blog, and rightly so. I've decided to do this because I've been reading some blogs recently as well as listening to some podcasts, and while I'm late to the game, these internet mediums are very conducive to random information that just might be interesting to someone. As you likely know I'm not really into creativity and expression, so that is not the purpose of this blog. It is mainly a medium for me to share with friends internet content and facts about my daily life in a concise way.

Visually, this blog will be changing in the near future as I make time to customize it. For now, we get this swanky template, which isn't all that bad anyhow.

I have no idea how I will spread the word about this, so if you hear about it and you know someone who might like to read it, please pass on the URL. If nobody ends up reading, so it goes. To keep this from getting very stale, please ask questions about post contents - ask me about the music I'm listening to, what I'm reading, what I'm doing at school, or the repertoire I'm studying.

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