It's just me and you anyways, since the blog is a dead art form. I guess I think about a tumblr or a instagram or whatever else is current and next...but at heart I'm a limpet. And sometimes- even though I have gotten more secretive in what I post on account of a lot of stuff is not for public for various reasons involving certain strictures and who wants to post evidence of and leading to, etc- sometimes I like to expound a little bit. There're more and better wastes of time available to you I realize.
They'll tell you you're out of style. I reckon if something works, well you can just keep refining it but the basics are sound so then there you are.
I say again: you can't always be going to ______ or riding across _______, or racing down the ____, etc. so you really must take your kicks where you find them, because they are the best of where you are. Nothing wrong with a small adventure. It's what keeps you ready.
And, as Suga Free reminds us, if you stay ready you ain't got to get ready... even though it was a hasty strap up and roll in order to get to work on time. I thought I'd just ride to work and then keep riding kind of thing.
That's what happened. I waited until closing time to fill the water bag since it's heavy. Then a quick stop for burritos and another for beers. The quickness is slowed down when I reach the edge of town since that's where you stop and drink a beer. I don't think there's much that is nicer than a ice cold beer on the brink of some trail riding.
It was a short trail to the staging area, for another beer and some target practice.
It has been my experience that setting up your camp is best done first, else you risk a soaking. Rig a corner of your tarp, sip a beer, rig another corner, sip a beer, shoot a can, ruminate on how a tent is muuuuuuch quicker to set up it's also a fair bit heavier and bulkier and a little technique being required helps keep it inneresting and adaptable, sip a beer. You might chew on some Bookers, since it's a high-toned affair and all.
(worth watching, if only for the reminder that fine whiskey takes time and effort to create and that is worth some recognition or why bother?...and, plus if you want to hate bike nerds for their nit pickery, you should check out how geeked out whiskey nerds can get)
After a couple three beers, and some pulls on the flask, you will want to ride around (ahem) unloaded.
Fist in glove with the riding of the bikes is the crashing of the bikes. Some will immediately shove a soapbox under their own ass and rail about drinking (see above) as the root cause of said crash, and they have a leg to stand on, sure. If only to shut up a tiresome meddler, I would attempt to sweep that leg out from under with the truism that a crash will come to everyone in time. I like to ride and crashes aren't going to change that. I like to drink and ride, and crashes aren't going to change that, either. I paid my nickles. I also (re)cracked a previously broken rib. Ouches. It's nothing I would not do again, only maybe a leeeeeeetle bit slower in the twisties. A subGenius must have slack. You do what you do because you want to. I do what I do because "Bob" told me to.
I think the raccoons hate that eyesore as much as I do. Nice.
So the low hanging clouds never did drop any moisture, but they did keep the metaphorical lid on things. The night was hushed and it felt like anything might happen and everything was holding it's breath waiting. It was very quiet and still.
In the morning, with a reduced load and a relaxed time table, I
stream-lined the packing. Per usual, I'm struck by the bulk involved in
just an overnight as it relates to multi-day outings (viz. the only
extra(s) is more food...). I'm liking the velo orange porteur rack for
the bulky items. You see there my Zrest (eff a inflatable/failable pad), the shelter tarp, sleeping bag, and Kelly Kettle all wrapped in the ground cloth. The camo thing underneath is my insulated coverall,
which is bulky but warm and light. Can't say enough good things about the Revelate Designs frame bag. Again (over and over) with the Surly Ogre and the 29+ front wheel to good effect. There are things in the works to improve on the set up, but they take time and money...
The trails are dry. Dried out. Tracks from days and days and days and days are right there, in the trail, for all to see. This is concerning when certain trails are (supposedly, hopefully, as much as possible) secret. Well, because entrances are getting blown out. Too much exposure, you understand.
On the other hand, I don't know if it's the extended drought or just timing, but a lot (a lot) of the deadfalls are rotted and dry enough to move off trail. A couple of those log cuts where the trail crew (sucks) didn't do more than just cut out the section blocking trail, and the log is at a diagonal so the cut is an awkward corner- yep, cleaned up. That emergency exit trail is going to be a lot (a lot) faster now.
Meat Life? Meat Life Volunteerism? I'll do some on a trail, in the woods.
J and I put some new meat on the (other) trails. His buddy, _____y, joined us for some kid stuff.
_____y has a clapped out "excitor" 20" dually which needed more love than I could give it then. We did what we could without new cables/housing/long enough seat post. He's got a Xmas request in, and since it's August he just danced with the one that brung him. I can respect that.
His folks don't ride, so he doesn't do this sort of thing. I reckon all children are made of rubber and boundless (OK, easily replenished short burst after easily replenished short burst's worth of) energy, so I don't coddle. We got snacks and we got drinks (sodas, even!) so we got going. He caved mildly about 7.6/8 of the way and was told that he was crazy, which he took in stride, and we rode the rest of the way out.
If you are tired of your usual, I recommend toting a 9 year old's idea of fun out to a rope swing. Shoot some BB gun/soda can skeet and live it up.
I like switching between a bunch of different bicycles. There was a time I tried to pick a bike. I expect there is that time for all of us. I guess for some, it sticks and they ride off happily into the sunset. Me, I have come to some more and less comfortable terms with the undeniable fact that I enjoy the shit out of lots of different rides.
Now I will mention, again: one aspect of the goodness of said fact is that the different rides are not only simply fun, a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom, but are complexly inter-related. To wit that the riding of one ride influences the sensation, informs the tactic, and contributes to the fitness (in every sense) with which we ride the other(s).
Think about that. Stare at your stem, drag a big heavy wheel up a solid climb, feel the effortless purring of a skinny tyre down a zippy and sustaaaaaaaaaaaained drop, etc. Don't just feel those contrasts, feel the hell out of them.
Relatedly, unless you are willing to stare into that Abyss, it won't be looking back at you at all. It might check it's phone and casually run you over without a meaning or a ripple, but that is dissatisfying to me. Some folks talk about a "meat life"*- sheeeeit. Meat life ain't coming to you, you got to go look for it. You might find it some dark night, backlit by a driving fog in a tight cone of headlight sound-tracked by heavy breathing. Maybe that's too far fetched. But it's true.
Also, I got a buddy who says he figures folks really love a bike for 5 years or so, and then get a yen for something else. That sounds right, more or less. I figure a great bike is great forever**. Hopefully, you'll get reminders at least every 5 years or so. If you are lucky, perhaps you will get reminders more frequently.
*The term "meat life" scares me and makes me giggle.
** I leave out suspension bikes as individuals, as I consider them throw-away bikes with a finite use window dependent on: material(s) durability, design, the current standards of "useable" travel, planned obsolescence, trends in fashion, your bros' opinions, etc. As a category of bike- they have a place. You may love the shit out of suspension bikes in general, but any particular squishy bike more than mmmmm4.62 years past it's release date seems ridiculous and unenjoyable.
Summer has ended over here. Summer is sticking around, and will likely last through to nearly October, but Summer is done with the first day of school. Schedules and likes being what they are, J and I saw Summer off with a little, small bike camp out.
It is interesting to see the progression. Last week's attempt had him huffing and puffing up the dirt climb pretty quickly. Not so this time. You know how it is, when the route is known it takes some pressure off. You can gauge the required effort better, if nothing else. He was gauging pretty good. He told me it wasn't so hard this time.
We got to the top and he asked if we were going to take the extra dirt climb. I typically skip that with their camping rides, as it is extra effort for not a whole lot of pay-off, and there are currently 2 downed trees and it has lots of poison oak plus those thorny brambly vines.
"This is fun!"
We dropped the bike path connector, with it's buckled root-strewn pave and took the side streets. We stopped at the fruit stand for snacks and a rest. We chilled in the shade at the park. Pretty much a repeat of attempted weeklies past (this is #5 for this version, according to my partner), with small refinements.
An OK sunset preceded a glorious moonrise, some Secret Boys nighttime getting around, burritos, and sleeping in the dirt. Early roll-out for extraction and doughnuts.
I should just go ahead and change the name of this blog. It could also be "stuff I forgot".
I forgot to mention that the CaliRoots Festival happened. I'd been interested in seeing Don Carlos, and Yellowman puts on a good show, but it is Israel Vibration that really moves me (even without Apple). I rode by the fairgrounds after work and the sounds were OK. Rather than spend $ and hassle through the crowd (nowadays I can't do it- the overwhelming throngs of tank-topped bros in it for the weed, etc) I leaned my bike against the fence across the street and had myself a little party. The last 3 or 4 songs were pretty tuff. #dancelikenobodyswatching
I said that to say this: I did see my loveley co-worker, R______, on her way in. She called me a Geezer(!), and meant it in the nicest way you can mean it. She meant it. That was pretty good. It's my 1st, of what I assume to be many. I'm 45, for what it is worth.
Finally, I forgot that I remembered what gravity is like. You know, how it just insists. Constant tug, you can really depend on it when you are swinging the bike through one turn and into the next. Gravity is plumb down. I dig that. Fast descents are another plus.
Going, going, gone. Rolling around this peninsula doing hood rat stuff. Looking for a full moon, finding only fog. Oh sure, it's back lit so there is a strange illumination to be had, but it's juuuust enough to sit in the woods and drink a beer and listen to the sounds. It's not as good as it could be, though what ever is? You appreciate what is there to be appreciated and the contrast gives value to the truly sublime moments. And, plus if you aren't out there looking for them those moments will remain in the shadows anyhow. We only get 12 cracks a year at this full moon stuff so make them count.
Mr. P is living la vida loca these days and reports that the terrain everyplace is not conducive to the full moon experience (viz. letting the front end ride). That is, sadly, a true statement. I forget that not everyplace has white sand trails extending out into scrubby (friendly, bumpering) chaparral. Insert sad trombone here.
Also, if you forget you're riding a fixed gear and try to coast, don't worry. Your bike will remind you what's really going on.