Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

29 November 2010

Happy Birfday Mr. St-John!

I had a heck of a time going to Church on your birfday and letting some light shine...



all up those slushy trails we really shouldn't have ridden (gots to remember the clip-on fenders!). Twisty singletrack, sneaky cut-offs, local lines all lead to one spot:

You are old and crusty, but there ain't no flies on you.

25 November 2010

it's a _______ freak out!



The more things change with the seasons...

what clothes?
It is now officially a Good Idea to carry an extra layer for staying warm during your stops to stand around in the cold with a beer in hand. Down vests are good for this. When it's off the beaten street, I'm currently riding/commuting in Filson wool bibs (and the reason for the 2 buttons at the waist on your overhauls? It is so's you can button the upper button in the lower hole and give the seat a natural pooch- so's it fits just right as you assume the riding position. No small thing, and you're welcome.) but I hope to be riding in this Tin Cloth version soon. I think it'll be a good wet weather/bushwacking option. If I had all my waxed cotton ducks lined up, I'd have sneaky ankle zippers installed so as to make them narrow/more pedal friendly. I also find that I am that much less willing to wear cycling shorts since they require shedding all layers to remove them (and to put them back on again, and plus they are damp and cold- ugh.) so I wear cut-off wool long johns. In thinking about wool, Ibex makes a fantastic liner glove which is super warm while being very light, but does wear out really quickly since it is so thin. Finally- any wool shirt is better than that smelly plasticky garbage promoted as "cycling specific" clothing. Go get yourself a nice Swobo jersey; couple it with some Dead Man's Plaid from the local thrift shop, and you're all set.


The fenders are back on. I also like the fender flaps, which for best clearance with the fat ass tyres should be mounted outside the fender. Reminder: Watch yourself in the woodsy trails with fenders- errant twigs can ruin your day quick. On the recently moustachioed LongHaulTrucker, I reversed the nominal rightness and leftness of the Tektro brake levers and angled them down slightly to allow easier access (swinging the fingers over the top).

All this helped a lot with the finding of the velocache.

24 November 2010

Give Thanks!



Health. MY FAMILY. BOBA FET.Food. clean water. Friends like these. Bikes. Singlespeeding. beer. Fat tires for all my friends. the hunt. warmth. ass. the good stuff... RED. GOLD.GREEN. Fresh Produce. things that are fun. woods. blood, blood, blood- blood and fire. Grace Jones. bikes. humor. HEART. Al Green. strange fascinations. wool. EARTH. fenders. coffee. poaching. THE TOUCH. plaid. the heavy heavy monster sound. clarity. the wind at your back. groundation. John Ford. light. the cool kids. bad roads. dark. moonlight. blankets. the highest region. feathers. bikes. buckles. Viva Terlingua! dogs and cats, living together. steel. the quickness. keeping a weather eye. community. heckling! COTSR. whiskey- corn and/or rye. the secret lair. LIGHTWEIGHT TOURING. sweat. sweet. buttons. HANDS. fiction. friction. LOVE. loooong rides. that swing. sight. ___________. bikes. leather. might as well suffer...

22 November 2010

refuse that!?

You'd be foolish in the extreme.

Rain and rumors of wind all weekend. It was raining like hell one minute and bright and sunny the next. Repeat. Friday was a washout, Saturday too, but Sunday- Sunday was a sneaky jewel.

I'd spent rainy Saturday tinkering in the workshop. Shellacking the cloth tape on a couple of bikes. I like the way the amber shellac deepens the colors. I swapped the upright Northroad bars on the LongHaulTrucker for some moustache bars. I've been feeling like a change for a more aggressive fit on this bike.This required several different dis- and re-assemblies of various setups. It all worked out for the best. I'll stick with this at least through the winter, I think.

Sunday evening proved to be gloriously bright and temperate. The Full Beaver Moon (while not hot! action!) was open wide before us. I heard the owls hooting to each other as I wound my way through the twilight and down Valenzuela- one of the finer twisty roads between me and the Ord. Then we saw at least 4 more owls in the Ord itself. The clouds came and went, threatening and retreating in equal measure until I was just about home; at which point it spit a little and then I was inside and warm, dry and lit from within. To those that rallied- salud! the owl is your totem! To those that didn't- well, unless you broke a rib crashing on the way to Segovia's and are recovering from this, you are the loser whose totem is the lowly skunk with it's head stuck in a jar.


I will again state the obvious: if you are not willing to risk a thorough shellacking from horrible conditions, you will never appreciate how sublime conditions may be. That is a science fact. Here it is as an equation:

(Riding bicycles+drinking beers) Full Moon= win+ x.

Where x is the #ranking of possible weather severity.

18 November 2010

the harder they come, the harder they fall



I swapped out the Jones Bars (titanium) for a Surly Torsion bar (steel, made by Nitto) on the singlespeed. I've been threatening this for some time.
I will now say: whoa.
So much more snap. Way less comfort. But, let's face facts: the SS is built for speed, not the all day ride. So this bar suits it well. And, plus I got to entomb my lucky monkey in this bicycle. That's gotta be good for some Black Cat bone type hoodoo.



Eye opening.


I've been riding alternative needs bars in a form or another since '95, when I was introduced to WTB's 16degrees of sweep Ti bar (which are regrettably narrow, but now adorn my kids' rides for that reason). Straight bars are for saps- it puts way too much strain on your wrist to cock it in and accommodate. Sweep is where it's at. However, I've drifted so far into sweep that it's changed my leverage on the steering in a big way. I just acclimated and forgot that snap possible with a more perpendicular lever (i.e. bar)...until today. On account of I'm a primadonna, I'd like to find the Torsion bar in titanium.



I will be selling that Jones bar and retiring off the proceeds. T___, you were right about the handling in Colorado with the flat bars. Damn it. So, there was that; super fast on the technical stuff, great for climbing. Goodness.










The kids have conference week this week so we took advantage of the 1/2 day schedule to get some time in on the Ord. J took the 20" out for his 2nd real ride on it. He was railing the singletrack, to the point where I bit my tongue and watched him reel it out. Then he overshot a turn and ran into a shrub. That put a little damper on things. Banged his face, cut his eyelid. His response, after the crying, was "Good thing my helmet hit that first."





It also ripped his front brake cable out of the lever and crimped the ferrule onto the housing in a bit of smashed distortion which rendered it unusable. We spent some time attempting to fix this, and did get to use a rock (to pound the ferrule into a useable shape) and the corkscrew on my knife (to pry the smashed ferrule off) for repair work, though. And that's nice.
We hung out at Comanche's Grave, but ghost story telling was dumped in favor of stalking coyotes on the wetland. That paid off with some good viewing.

This is all well post crash...


He's comfortable enough to try and kick any rattly plant he can reach. Just to keep it inneresting.

17 November 2010

reDirected

After all this riding around on the Salsa Fargo, I can say: "Damn it feels good to get back on my custoptimized Black Cat cyclocross bicycle."

That thing is quick, where the Fargo is cumbersome. It is jumpy where the Fargo is sluggish. It is light where the Fargo is heavy. I notice I wish the Salsa Woodchipper bars had a little more bottom. (If only they were just hella flared Nitto Noodles, I'd be so happy.) I notice the front end will get a shimmy, both loaded and un-. People forget. Forget they're hiding. Now don't get the wrong idea- the Fargo is a fine bike, and it will serve it's purpose well. It is nice to spread the riding around so there's more of it to Love.


Anyhow, riding bikes is fun. I been keeping up with the foam rollering and boy howdy! is it making some nice differences. My legs/hips/back feel much better. For real. You should do it.


Also:
In my current neck of the woods, a log across the trail with room to ride beneath is a "trail feature". Once it rots or slips down further, it will become a "trail blockage" and I will remove it. For now, I relish it for it's challenge and interest, and though it beats me every time it is part of the fun.

16 November 2010

straight out a Monterey






Sorry.


Truly.
Sorry. But* that's how it's done here on the peninsula of the newly weds and nearly deads.





*can one of y'all smart computer users let me in on how I can make stuff play whether you like it or not? Please? I'd like to be able to cram this down your ear. Only, because I just have this sneaking suspicion folks are skipping the smooooooth music. That's terrible!

15 November 2010

as for you

If I am riding with someone new to me, and that person hangs out in the left lane on blind corners while riding roads unknown to them...well, I know that person is not someone with whom I want to ride again.

14 November 2010

speak when spoken

This has been stuck in my head since Berg posted the unexpected and killer version by Wayne the Train and Brian Setzer. Who would have put the steel guitar in there? Wow.



Now it can be stuck in yours.




I like this: rew10 is big in Japan, I guess. I like it a lot


Ahem. If you ride around town getting drinky and end up at (or begin) at Alfredo's you're pretty much guaranteed an interesting time. The lights are low, the jukebox is good, and if you purchase the 1st one, you can pour yourself further shots of Wild Turkey under the table from that bottle in your pocket. Watch out though, this will make Segovia's damn hard to get to.


Or, if you'd rather have something else jammed in your ear:


CA uber alles. Suck on winter, you.

10 November 2010

...if everthing passes, what's passed remains.

I been feeling blue. Not riding. It's been rainy. Increasing grumpiness, creeping dis-ease.







Today I went for a ride. I performed some beneficial feats of combined engineeringickal thinking and strength to clear trail. I had a beer for lunch.


Shortly after putting wheels to dirt, my head opened up and the problems that had been concerning me were revealed to have other (better) possible responses than I'd been considering. Next, I was able to be right there right then for the skiddy rear wheel drifts all over those bumps and swales on a skinny unfolding of tacky dirt in between trees; right then right there for the point it and rip it. I love riding bikes, and I love big tyres.

When I got home, I rolled my IT bands and worked on the tennis ball.

I feel better now.

That is all.

09 November 2010

Don't dance near the chemicals!

Punk Rock=DIY.



So last weekend was the high school kids' tour from an undisclosed school in W_____ville. I rode out to the Ord in order to cheer them on and provide some small measure of the heraldry requisite for such a fine entourage.




I just think that's so great. These kids (are in the bicycle maintenance class(!), and many of them had put together their own rigs from the frame up. I just think that's so great) aren't using power meters or elecktrinkal shifters and they don't care how PRO your kit may be, they are just riding their bikes a long damn way and doing it for days.


The 2 brave souls chaperoning this trip are fucking heroes. MS, KB- good looking out. For real, guys. It's one thing to take one's own children on kick-ass adventures, but a whole other higher level thing to agree (knowingly) to the inevitable headaches and hassles of shepherding other people's kids on multi-day journeys to bad-assery. Y'all are making the future.








And, plus- speaking of Punk Rock, what with bike touring on the brain lately, these fine bags from Tauro Leather are worth the looking. I like them.

08 November 2010

04 November 2010

we all went up there

In which our merry band had disbanded, leaving our hero bereft of drinking companions and the solace of friendly company. Day 3:


I awoke with the sun, as you will out of doors. It took a while to clear the ridge East of me. I used the time to realize my lack of coffee, to curse the entire group I'd been camping with, and to really freak out. I'd been surprisingly (to me) sorry to see them go the night before, but that changed in an instant. I checked every nook and cranny in my bag(s) multiple times. I vowed to henceforth be even more rigidly accountable with my camping coffee preparedness.

It's a Big Deal.

Then I noticed that I'd been pouring my pee bottle (don't drink out of the clear Joselyn's bottle) just up hill of my shifter in the night. So that really helped my temper.

Then I made a bleak, coffee-less breakfast.



Packed and up the road.







The ridge.

Looking down slope. It was at that point that I realized how J__ had made such a long term wizened choice of rig.

Mid-slope.




This is the spot where I came off. I hadn't really given much thought to crashing (it happens) until I landed down slope with the (heavilyish) loaded rig on top. If those chainrings had been several inches down...that's a lot of potential ugliness. Technical touring is best done with a partner.

This is one of several nice potential camping spots.



Looking back up to the knob. It's a lot of steep drop right away.


Real singletrack.



As you progress, it gets more shaded and Redwooded in the narrower canyons.

Back out into the oaks, and Maritime Chaparral.



Highway 1 and the Pacific.


The whiskey ran out with the final bubble at the trail head.





Whooooooooole lotta this. Highway 1 North.


51 miles to go...


Then those rotten hippies at Esalen wouldn't let me in on account of my super secret squirrel contact wasn't working that day. I was so charming and pleasant- nope. Next time I'm just barging the back gate, and the hippies can try and throw me out if they think they can.


It quickly passed the point of whooping and hollering, at which I settled in to pedaling and pedaling. Just past Andrew Molera State Park, The Wind began in earnest. Pedaling as hard as you can to go downhill type earnestness.
I truly dislike riding in the wind.
Your ass will eventually go numb and then it stops hurting.

By Carmel Highlands I no longer cared about anything but food and being off the bike. I texted my Sweetie and she came and rescued me and had spring rolls and a chimichanga, too!

Good Times.

jazzed up hoodlums

In which our merry band continues on the Birfday Tour 2010. Day 2:





Woke up quick. The sun is a long time getting down in the valley where we'd camped, but the change in light was enough to bring me around. Thankfully, though it was chilly and some middling dew had visited, there was no fog.


I like to have my morning constitutional 1st thing, so it was off into the underbrush for me, right away. Then I took creepy pictures of everone's sleeping set-ups. For future reference.


The Skipper:
I've had passing interest in bivy set ups. Looking at how wet C____ seems to be, my interest is passed. I'd sooner use a tarp in any one of several configurations.



N___ and K____. Peacefully slumbering unawares. Bet y'all feel different, now.



Travelling light really pays off. KB was extra crabby upon the early wake up. If I had not been gonna be out for the 2nd night alone, I'd have skipped the weight of a tent my ownself. But sleeping in the woods alone is too scary for me to go tentless if I have a choice.

I'm chicken.



Folks got up and at it well. We had a lot of ground to cover that day. Much of it on the uphill.






I was able to cook on the fire, both the previous evening's dinner and this breakfast. You know how that pleases me.

There was a lot of overlap in people's coffee set ups. This worked both for and against me. I contributed grounds to the general fund, and this earned me several cups with no effort on my part...but ended with someone packing my grounds away with their own and leaving me (gah!) without coffee on my 3rd Day. You know how that affects me. I was not to know this until I'd set up my little ritualized outdoor kitchen the following morning. It took several (increasingly) frantic searches of (all) my gear before this really sunk into my dim bulb. I got angry then.






Back on the road.

Back on the climb.



Big country. Clowns to the left of me.


Looking at the road bed dead ahead. See it? Indians Road is like that all day.



Looking over my shoulder, riding sweep.


Looking down. I saw a lot of this.


And jokers to the right. Ventana Wilderness.




The Spring is just before this slide.


It is a welcome sight. Sure beats the last time I did this, and it was running much better.


You really have to pick your way across that.


No pictures from Hanging Valley. It's not spectacular and I was going way too fast to trifle with documentation. They would have been blurry photos, what with all that speed.



You're looking at me, I'm looking at you.



Around the corner and down to the water again.



Look!
People's touring bikes!

N___. He's a freeborn man. His home is on his back. He knows ever inch of highway, ever foot of backroad, ever mile of singletrack. I tried to convince N___ that he'd have more fun stashing the trailer near the campsite and retrieving it later so he could ride unencumbered by gear he no longer needed, but he wouldn't crack.

The Skipper*. Notice how his bag of HQ is gone? That thing must have weighed pounds. All of his "achievements" are now void because he opted to stash his bag near the campsite to be retrieved later. Asterisk for you.

The incredible lightness of J__. What the?! Did T___ carry all your stuff? I mean, aside from my pillow and my notebook, I had only essentials. I even left the rope swang and BB guns at home.


K____. Seemingly demure, yet filled with __________s.


KB. Now check the suicide front shifter.




Picnic lunch at Indians Campground proper.




Then miles of pedaling through the thankfully mild Fort Hunter Ligget.

Gratuitous water crossing action shots.

SPLASH! POW!! SOckO!



More miles. Picture rolling oaks. Picture oddly burned patches.

Brief stops at the turns.

Miles and miles of this. Kind of hot miles.

We're headed for the back side of that, at roughly the same elevation as the far light blue peak. Now put your head back down and pedal ragged circles, alone.


Penultimately, we passed out of the military's joint (the checkpoint was unmanned for the 1st time in my experience) and began to climb up into some cool continuously contoured climbs. I abandoned my party when it became clear none of them had any more beers in their gears, and thus it was not a party but a loose grouping holding me down. I totally soloed that climb.

That's the only photo I got of that. There are 2 points of false hope on that climb- but I know them for what they are now, and so these days they just encourage me.



The top.
I had stashed the cooler and bag of snacks in semi-hiding when I dropped the racevan off, on Friday night. They were fairly easy to spot, because it was dark and cold and there may have been monsters around when I was there by myself in the dark cold. And also because there really is no good cover at that point. Anyhow, the USFS had found them and left them along with a nice note requesting we remove all our party trash.
Excellent. I have to trust that the majority of folks who make it to places like that are cool enough that they will not wreck our stashes. It's worked so far.

Beers were so cold they hurt your hand. And, plus K____ was handing them up before people could put a foot down.

Solid.


All too soon it was time for the little doggies to get along. Sun don't wait.


They had to get down the pave, as there was not enough day left for them to attempt the planned (Ha! plan.) trail. There's still 5ish miles of no joke fire road from that saddle to even reach the trail head. The racevan awaited them at the base for to take them back home, while I would stay the night on the ridge and ride back the following day.

My plan (Ha! plan.) had been to ride part way down a technical trail, all things working out, and camp at one of the sweet spots. I had been rethinking that one from the start of the day's climb. At this point there was no question of doing that given the light, even if I had still wanted to do it. Honestly, it would have sucked. I could have gotten badly hurt riding that gnarly trail loaded (even with fresh legs), and with no buddy around it would have been foolish in the extreme. I'm not smart but I am dumb, so I decided to find a spot a little ways up the dirt road and hunker down for the night in the trees. By the time full dark had fallen I was relatively comfortable on a small rise, tucked in for the night. I hung my food bag from the center pole, so as to discourage mice from chewing their way into the tent/bag, and went to sleep.