30 November 2009
Same ride as before, only in daylight.
Winnowing the weak from the shafted, as it were. Come down selector! Trails chosen, trails taken away. (The horses ran roughshod over Fort Ord this Thanksgiving, and wrecked several trails.)
I had some mental breakthroughs this day. Ask me how.
And by now it's looking kinda shaky.
Just so we're clear. The Full Cold Moon is coming at you December 2. From where I sit, thass in 2 days- Wednesday. You know what to do, you know when and where to do it.
Consider yourselfs to have been ranted at with regards to the full moon's value via transience and mysticism and ride quality and Life Quality, and best use of time, and what the hell are you doing with your time on Earth, mortal? OK? Fuck. Just ride your bike for fuck's sake. You know, with no lights save the moon. Fuck.
We took a little recon ride last night, and trust me when I tell you I know eggzackly which corners to lay back on or you'll spill. And where all the grabby sandpits are.
Oh, and also (like it was an afterthought) there will be a (these are rare, so don't blow it) Full Blue Moon on December 31. From where I sit, thass New Year's Eve, and what better way to break the New Year in right. Right? Let it be trails for sure and only that night. No sharing the roads with amateurs and people in a rush.
From the amazing Mr. Mitchell.
And now if I may use this space for my own personal agenda...If I have been a worthless piece of shit to you (recently):
I am trying to get myself together and grow as a person. I truly mean that. It is a process. I'm sorry for being a jerk. I'm riding (again) these days, and that helps.
26 November 2009
Thanksgiving was a full one. I rode out the valley to work, and then rode on further out past the village to a summer camp owned by friends of friends. It was gloriously warm and sunny (shirt sleeves!) early on; then the clouds and wind pushed me ahead of themselves in the later afternoon. There is a surprising (to me) amount of Fall color out that way.
I felt great. It was a perfect meshing of good position, enough rest, excellent conditions, attackable grades, and sufficient legs for the job at hand. It was just hard enough to be felt. It was just easy enough to be dismissed.
It has been a while since I felt that way. It is a Good Feeling.
Here is the temporary replacement stem. Here are the clamshell shifters after I adjusted them mid-ride so as to give me maximum grab area. I lik a lot of hand positions. It occurred to me that having lots of bikes is good for you; in that you are that much less likely to suffer repetitive strain injuries if you spread the use around over different handlebar configurations. Just go with it- it's Science, and Science is something your sweetie cannot deny when you come home with that next bike.
When I arrived at the summer camp entrance I ignored the devil on my shoulder whispering at me to ride out the valley just a little more, and climbed up to join my sweetie (roped in by friends) in the industrial kitchen to help cook for ~80 people. I walked in the door, cracked a beer and mashed some potatoes. Then I sipped at the flask full of rye and washed dishes for several hours, while all around me it was chaos and quickness.
These people are not us. That's some lady and F____- who wanted to talk to me about his army days in Greenland, and would not stop whistling Van Morrison's "Moondance".
We spent the night in one of the cabins...
I hate cots.
Rain prevented the planned ride back in this morning. Instead, I drank lots of coffee and helped cook breakfast for the ~40 people who stayed over. My Big Idea was to use the GIANT bowl of left over mashed potatoes to make potato pancakes (and so prevent them from going to waste). I used leeks to add some texture, threw in some garlic, salt and pepper and browned up 4 giant cast iron skilletfuls. It turned out well.
I wish I had thought to photograph the poor pathetic stuffed bear they have on a mantel in one of the dining halls. You would have loved it. It is the size of a Labrador, and falling to pieces. I have a strange fondness for mangy taxidermy.
25 November 2009
Originally uploaded by Marxchivist
the little things. The BIG Picture. patience, tolerance, humility. bikes and bike riding. My Family. health. employment. things that are funny. the nick of Time (which comes in yet also cuts deep). again- the heavy heavy monster sound. buzz of tires. rush of wind. silence.Blood, blood, blood- blood and fire! pave. canvas, wool and leather. owls. chances- are and taken; both. wisdom, knowledge and overstanding. wind at my back, sun on my face. whichever ride is happening now....
24 November 2009
I got on the Long Haul Trucker for a sunny ride to work this morning. It's been a while. The handlebars felt a little off; like the right side was flexing up more than the left. I eyeballed the set up and it was a little cocked to the left, so I thought I must have knocked it around somewhere down the line...and I'd fix it later.
I flexed the bars back and forth a bunch getting reacquainted with the feel of this bike. Took some turns a little hot. You know. Super fast bumpy drop down the hill. Getting out over the front end. Dropping like a stone.
I wanted to go ride some dirt after work so I pulled out the multi-tool to re-align the stem, but this
was what I saw.
I called the wife for an automobile rescue.
18 November 2009
11 November 2009
J's first ever trail ride!
Which quickly became his first ever trailside crash...
followed by his first ever trailside recovery.
He really tore it up. Especially in light of keeping up on dinky 12" wheels.
There were moments of panic, in which he forgot the coaster brake and Flintstoned to a stop. There were moments when he used his feet as outriggers and pogoed back and forth down some inclines.
We took the mildest singletracks available. Some fireroads. A very small amount of pave. Not one complaint.
Ostensibly, the plan was to head over to the old Boy Scout Camp and cut the hands off the used-to-be clown-headed swing sets. The heads are long gone. There's one frame/body still standing, but people beat us to it. Those hands are gone now, too. There is one body in the weeds, which location I thought I remembered but could not find. I had stashed the body in the dark of night maybe 4 years ago, after I'd hack sawed the head off. I kept telling myself I'd get around to hauling the body out one of these days. Dang. Who doesn't want a white gloved tube of galvanized steel with chains attached?
Anyhow, we cooked Brown Lunch and fooled around.
J got tired on the way back. We strapped the pink bike (which had been N's 1st bike and then D's, and J's in turn) onto the tail of the Big Dummy and J climbed on board.
We stopped briefly at the stairs, where J decided he wanted to ride the rest of the way himself.
Then we collected some trailside logs for firewood and called it a day.
We should all be so stoked. ~6 miles.
08 November 2009
I hadn't read this piece before, which remains timely and relevant. Go read it, I'll wait.
I would just add that, short of turning into one of those cyclists who make it about self righteousness of one sort or the other (whether it be lycraed out Serious Training, or Planet Saving Commute, or Traffic Law Obeying to the Nth degree as a matter of being an upright example to others, or maybe just some jackass on a computer-ahem), short of being one of them, being on a bike would make just about every example listed in the tedious workday struggle for conscious awareness a little more fun and, so, doable.
The ability to make the choice to step outside oneself and one's "tiny skull sized kingdom" -and man, I wish that line were mine!- is more accessible given the inherent freedom of the bike to take us a step outside the gridlock.
I found the article via Flick Lives!, which is frequently a good read. Thanks for the heads up, Flick.
07 November 2009
Why didn't you think of that?
to help with low back pain by eliminating trigger points in Gluteus Medius (which have a referral pattern up into the low back). I'll move the ball until I find the spot(s) and then rock back and forth letting my body weight work out the knots. Maybe hold on a spot for a maximum of 20 seconds, and then move off. This pushes blood from the area and when the pressure is relieved fresh, oxygenated blood floods back in. I also roll around on my side and work points. It works.
In looking for a reason for this new discomfort, I examined my cleat placement.Look at this!
Wha?!? How did this happen? Am I such a lunkhead that I set the cleats this way initially? I'd like to say :"Oh, surely not!" in a firm and competent tone; but let's face it...it could happen.
While this is a clear indictment of my (overall) competence however we look at it, it almost certainly is the cause of my recent pain in the ass/back. I've now moved both cleats as far back as the slots allow to see how that feels. Ankling? Apparently, we don't have to show you any steenkeen badges.
Hope that helps.
05 November 2009
04 November 2009
for me to patrol?
Alls I can say is: wooden. Head made of wood, heart made of wood, and (most of all) legs made of wood. There is a whole lot of downed wood in the forests right now. I've hit a motivational barricade (feels like solid enough wood) in contemplating the same same rides. Poor me.
Ride in the woods.
I got to get out and ride something different.
03 November 2009
It's just that mine is important.
In part because the opportunities are so limited. 12 possibilities per year to ride out and see the world at it's best. (OK, on average- but your Blue Moon is an even more special circumstance and cannot be ignored) Moonlight changes those favorite rides with new and surprising magic. It is very different from "night riding" with blazing/limiting cones of headlights. Try it, and it'll make sense. I'm just trying to help you help yourself be happier.
Being alone in the woods under a Full Moon can be wonderful. Being alone under a Full Moon in the woods can be scary. Sudden pockets of cold air in the low spots, warm (almost hot last night) air in the open meadows and higher ridge lines. Strangely amplified rustling in the undergrowth. Deer appearing beside the trail from no place; as if from the darkness itself. The sounds of diverging and converging packs of yodel dogs singing to one another. Unidentifiable animal movements- large, and speedy too- which cause the warm rush of adrenaline down the back of your neck and across your shoulders.
This month I wised up and remembered to wear a cap. The visor helps a whole lot with keeping the moon from sneakily blinding you. I rode pretty directly (I've figured out the good line from the old rope towers is turning right at the paved road and then righter at the singletrack down to the open sandy area and the fireroad East towards Comanche's Grave)(also, the singletrack off that to hook under Blair Witch has now been bulldozed and fucked) over to the bluff at the end of Mud Hen Express (moonlit woop de doos!) where I lounged and toasted the moon with Michter's Single Barrel Rye Whiskey (which is an American/actual Rye ) and thought about real deep and fundamental shit which I will keep to myself.
I will say that there are now 9 dewy fresh Easter Eggs, bathed in the magic of Full Moonlight, aging in the shallow caves beneath the caprock there. If you are reading this and know where that is, you are welcome to 1 or 3.
I hope to see you next month for something similar, if a bit chillier. You know, if nothing good is on TV...