Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

30 April 2011

We've called the roll, neighbors. Now let's GO!



1stly, this is not a music web diary, but- when was the last time you listened to A Tribe Called Quest?



Well, that's too long. Midnight Marauders was on my headphones on this commute, and it sounds fresh and relevant.


Any commute by bike is a good one, but dirt is better. I'm lucky and thankful to have this option.

After repositioning my shifters and brakes, repairing the busted/short chain, replacing the broken Ti B17 with a steel railed stand-in, and reattaching my super dorky yet so practical seat post bottle mounts (I don't like to ride with a pack) I was ready for a full squish dirt commute.

I went into it with nagging hip issues compounded by nagging rib issues; also, a head full of "problems" and low level anger feelings. I ran short of time after stopping to clear several stands of poison oak off the trail, so I took the quick connector down and rediscovered a section of trail that used to be debris strewn and now is rideable. Bonus.

I came out of it with nagging hip issues compounded by nagging rib issues and a whole new outlook. When I arrived at work, I was cheerful and willing. The day went smoothly. I had a dirt commute to look forward to at the end of my shift.

Homeward bound, after checking out a potential neighborhood sneak entrance (denied), I rode sweet singletrack ribbons up and across the hill. On pavement, at the top (the very tip top) I was halted by several wraps of caution tape across the road and downed power lines. This required me to take the paved option back down the entire hill to climb up a different/clear route.

It was fine.

27 April 2011

we don't know quite what we're doing

but we try to have a Good Time. Try to treat everbody right.



Is that right? That's why I ride a bike. I like to ride a bike.

It's certainly why we got out and rode Henry Coe State Park (the largest State Park in Northern California, at 87,000- yes, thousand- acres) recently. I'd only been once before, and I've forgotten what we rode. I remember being well on the rivet, and it being HOT. Folks aren't enthused to ride there, because it gets so hot. And it takes over an hour to drive there.

Anyhow, we parked at the Hunting Hollow entrance East of Gilroy, and rode up to the Coyote Canyon gate. Coit Road (paved) North for a bit. Then it was shaded singletrack climbing up Anza Trail to Jackson Trail to Elderberry Spring Trail (which was fantastic singletrack) to Rock Tower Trail to Domino Pond Trail. At the intersection with Wasno Road, we rolled Easterly to Kelly Lake Trail.

At Kelly Lake, there was a brief nude interlude in the cold water.

Then we got mixed up looking for the grown over Kelly Cabin Trail. To the tune of lots of extra climbing and bushwhacking and turning around several times, before we said eff it:



and climbed a surprising ways up Willow Ridge Road to take Cross Canyon Trail down (totally worth it) to truly hunt and peck the trail (not worth it- we must have crossed the creek at least 20 times) to come back to Coit Road as dirt. Dropping down the other side of Cross Canyon Trail, we blew a turn and mowed down the hillside following other tire tracks until hitting Coit Springs doubletrack.

We got lost several different ways there. As in more than 3.

After saying eff it again, we found the trail we were on was the one we wanted- Grapevine Trail- and man! is it a good one. Then we took Anza Trail back as far as we could to remain on singletrack as long as possible (always the aim) and returned down paved Coit Road to the Coyote Creek Entrance and thence back to the race van. Exhausted and smug.

This is a long winded way of saying: GO! ride Henry Coe no matter what your friends say! It's fun as hell. It was a long haul to get there, but it's worth it. We saw 2 people in total all day. There was a pleasing remoteness. It was really nice singletrack through mostly oaks and grassy meadows. The wildflowers are going karazy right now.

Bring a map and a water filter. The trails are well marked, but it gets confusing if you're dull-witted. There is lots of running water (right now) from which to filter, and you will run out of water.

Also, I pulled 25 ticks (no lie! no exaggeration) off myself, and didn't get one bite- that's witness to the importance of checking early and often. We don't want no kind of Lyme Disease.

25 April 2011

ridicule is nothing of which to be scared

For those of y'all who visit to keep up with the latest in bar styles and hippest music...



you are in luck, Friend.





D_____'s new bar set up on his new ride.



31.8 matte black riser mated to a frame matching white stem is out. Back-swept Nitto Jitensha (too narrow for me) held with whatever stem I had lying in the parts box (in this case Bontrager Race -oooooooh) that would work is in. I also shoved his saddle forward.



Don't hate. Celebrate.

22 April 2011

bike set up

Having just had a house-load of bike folk around and about, I am thinking about bike fit. Yes, again.

I got on the Surly LHT for the 1st time in moooonths (since I installed the Nitto moustache bars, in fact) and it's too long. I want to like those bars (esp. as I have several pair), but unless the bike (and more to the point, the stem) is very short, they just pull me into an uncomfortably splayed lean. I'll be removing them, and replacing with something else; not sure yet, maybe drops, maybe some Albatross/Northroad type.

In looking at D and his new bike, similar observations are highlighted. As per yesterday, he needs some getback. He can dig scrapping. But he can't dig...that...backstabbing.



When I lived in Moab (should I say operated from?) it was common courtesy to loan out-of-towners a bike if they needed one.

Apparently that is not a custom in California?

This led to some inneresting sights as people matched well to the loaner or didn't, but it was a given that a bike could be had within certain circles. It was also a given that the borrower took full responsibility for, and good care of, the loaned ride. You just knew that. I'm not going to get into the dangers of cross-chaining a narrow-assed 9speed drive train, but I will say it might behoove a person to give a different set up a fair trial before adjusting everything (seat height, brake feel, etc) to their familiar ways. Particularly if the borrowed bike is a cross bike, and the familiar set up is all DH/jumpy- keep the saddle up there where you can have some pedaling efficiency!

Hoping your bike fits,
Dick

Example:


It's true. The tower is full of swarming bees.


Somebody needs to do something about this.



My kids say that somebody is me.


We can't use a tower full of bees for kickass adventures, after all. Barring a successful convo with a beetrapper/keeper, I will be getting all covered up and sneaking up after dark to tape cardboard over the holes. I realize this is mass murder, and will attempt to avoid it, but I think the bottom line is them or us. I'm choosing us.

Who wants a piece of this? 20 feet in the air, after dark, facing potentially Africanized bees? What could possibly go wrong?



The goal of the day was adventure. Bicycles. New Stairs. Shady oaks. Brown Lunch.


My favorite one liner ever? "Hold my beer and watch this..."


Prior to firing up the Esbit for some doctored split-pea soup, I handed D my beer and shimmied up the oak until my ribs wouldn't allow anymore and tied up the pirate rope we been using at Arroyo Seco. It worked out well enough that this may be it's permanent home.




The rope swang was enough of a thrill ride, that the boys weren't bothered by waiting for the twig fueled cookout.









Then it was my turn.

Graceful!


J is riding SO well!



First ride for D on the new bike.

26" Rockhopper. I think it's over-the-top, he likes the flash. Whatever gets him stoked. Since I'm back in the shop, this is a good use of my resources. He needed a new bike. The 24" is just too small. He likes the paddle shifters. I like the disc brakes. It's too big (17.5"!), but he's got to use it for several years and he juuust fits it. I will shorten the stem and replace the bars with some swept backs; Mary or the like. Then he will be faster than you.


Hey Lord Hayden, we found your stash in the manzanita, and we tucked it up under the caprock where it'll keep cool.

This has been an example of how to trick your children into a longish bike ride.

20 April 2011

a bawdy, blistering tale of tomorrow





Damn right I like the Life I live.


I have some reservations about these so called "friends" who are in it with me, but still...

Like these people, who loitered in my yard all day, stinking up the place and dragging down property values.


Like this guy,seen here setting up the course on race day. He claimed that one tower (which had been gonna be a fine and sneaky stop) was in the process of being hived up as hundreds of bees swarmed all around it, requiring a small but significant reroute.

Then he borrowed my bike and did 360s on to the giant airbag they had set up at Sea Otter.




M___ decided to go for the glory early and stacked up in the sandy wash at the bottom of the initial fire-road drop towards #50. He and another guy converged on the single line, and they both crashed hard. I was in the front (ahem) and all I heard was a little girl yelling "Oh my God!"
It was carnage when I got back to the wash.
As a nice twist of the knife,while he was gimping himself up the hill to head for the hospital, M___ said he could hear us hollering across the valley as we ascended 50 on the North side hurling invective at one another. Having fun and such.
For spending the night in the ER he was awarded a shower of popcorn, a bunch of jeers, and a sweet puking clown Surly t-shirt. I think he earned it the hard way. I overheard him telling his old lady she was gonna have to wear her doctor outfit...

At a couple of stops we had been instructed to write on our feet (BIGfoot theme?). LOVE and HATE. It was fun seeing everyone barefoot in the sleazy dive.


Some people misunderstood the instructions.


Seemed like cross bikes were the vehicle of choice. Folks in it to win it.

This obsession with victory at all costs was not without costs. For example the choice above. 23mm rear=flat. Only one?!? I am amazed. Especially since this entrant's cut-throat style marked him early as equal parts reckless and dangerous.


One of the nicer machines. Black Cat Bicycles custom cyclocross.
The photos do not do it justice. The tinted clear coat over the braze? Oh.

Like buried treasure.



See how these people treat sweet adventure bikes? This was perpetrated upon me while my bike was safely tucked into the cozy environs of a sleazy dive bar. Every now and again on the ride back home, I'd come across some new and (purposely) inconveniently located sticker. I guess I can't have nice things.


If you rode this, and have photos or stories to share, go over to the SLEAZE OTTER website and bother them. For my part, I can say it was the worst Sleaze Otter. Ever.
And that's saying a lot.


It always come to this.

15 April 2011

12 April 2011

You party haters need to stop it

Jingle jingle.


We observed the "Take yourself Mountain Biking Day" that was yesterday. And is today. There is free beer tomorrow.



Welcome to the New Stairs. Same as the old Stairs?

Same, same, better. At minimum, these are being here now. LOL, you should have been there when we put these in...

I'd been scouting for a replacement Stairs spot for months. This one struck me, and I'd vetted it for a slightly lesser period of months. Drunk beers on this oak. Climbed this oak. Jumped up and down on this oak. Gone from oak to oak from this oak (the sturdy, sweeping branches intersect with several other trees). Etc., like you will when you are deciding upon a secret hideout.

I had intended to rescue the remains of the used to be Stairs, but alas and alack, they have been taken I know not where. So instead, I conscripted the remains of some other structures from one of the woodpiles dotting the Ord. Big Dummy to haul it. And several weeks ago now, the boys and I rode out with a bag of hammers and some nails to put it all in place.

Come to find out some bees had made a secret hideout of their own in a little-known bole on the far side of said branch.

D was holding the cross-piece as I tacked it in place when he was stung on the ear and neck. He and J ran for the clearing. There was a lot of yelling. I ended up doing the rest of the install on my lonesome, since I had on a hat and long sleeves. It went up pretty solid, with the occasional break for swearing and swatting.

And the bees haven't put in a return appearance, but J was awful leery. Look:

Not too sure about the whole thing.



So then it was a quick velocache, and some checking of trails we hadn't checked before. Ask me any questions you like. I got answers.








That's how the Past gives way to the Future.

11 April 2011

this blog poses a choking hazard

...so don't swallow the naughty bits.




This shall serve as a reminder to all y'all intuders that the 5th Annual Running Of The Drunks known as the Sleaze Otter is happening this coming Saturday, April 16th. The weather is a GO! If rumors of course routing are true, this year looks to really shake things up compared to years past...75% dirt options? Road available at all times should you be limited by knowledge or bike choice. And, plus the Full Pink Moon has been graciously coordinated for the following night, so you know it will be a good time.

I'll post the flyer as soon as the degenerates "in charge" send me one...

Don't get caught napping with your pants down and miss this.



As an aside, in the interest of medical science, please note: if you have broken (or possibly just dislocated) several ribs and they begin to feel so much better in such a short amount of time (a week? seriously? they can't be broken) DO NOT POKE AT THEM to "see" about them. Honestly. That's a terrible idea. You will hear and feel a click, and then there will be the return of pain. Trust me.

09 April 2011

Here's a piece of your heart, cuz I know you got Soul.



Oh, jam.

We got to get over. A fine way to get over before you go under is to Velocache. Pick the right bike for the day and ride from your door.


My ribs are healing well. Give Thanks. Each day the tug and pain eases some. Part of that is committing to muscle memory which movements engage the muscles anchored on the tender bits and working around them, and part is just pure street smarts.
,
GO! GO! GO!GO! Yeah boy.

05 April 2011

you are marvelous



you are marvelous

Hey, know what? If I build your bike...the bolts will all be greased and tight. The wheels will be Round and True.Whether or not it's some- in my opinion- poorly chosen mass produced no Soul having rolling impulse purchase. If I build your kid's bike...the bolts will all be greased and tight. The wheels will be Round and True. The reach will be adjusted for little hands. Price point is no object. The wheels will be as Round and as True as I can make them.

These are things that are important. Doing something Right and Well is Important.

03 April 2011

1. Lord loves a workin man.



2. Don't trust whitey.

3. See a Doctor. Get rid of it.

3 simple rules in the English language. Words to live by, folks.

Night rides? yes. Leaving your lights off to save power? you might be seeing more than you'd like of the peelers. We'd taken the bike path out to the Ord (why?) and so were cornering our way back to the Parker Flats cutoff entrance, when upon making a fast right, we popped out in front of the popo. All lit up from behind, and a fuzzy amplified voice telling us "You 3, pull over NOW."
Oops.
"Why didn't you pull over when I told you the 1st time?"
We had the wind in our ears.
"I'll take that. What are you doing riding with no lights?"
We thought our blinkies were on. We were trying to save the headlights' power. We're turning them on right now. Shuffle and scrape, my sons. Smile and nod. Bow and whimper.
"It's for your safety. What are you doing riding out here?"
Training for a 24 hour event. (ha!)
"That's admirable. Let me see your licenses. Not riding the trails out here are you?"
No!
I won't go into everthing surrounding this, suffice it to say I began sweating for a whole new host of reasons. My backpack full of beer and camping supplies wasn't helping. Neither was that other thing. Or that other other thing. And I didn't have my ID.
He was a block from his HQ, and too eager to end his shift to run the IDs, and we had pulled off seeming sober respectful citizens, so...it went as well as possible.

I am inspired to cast these pearls, so, when dealing with the one time, attempt to control the situation in the following ways...
1. Don't panic.
2. Be respectful. This really should go without saying, but I have been in similar situations in which companions have copped an attitude and/or been surly. This never works. Johnny Law will never let this slide. Shut the hell up and take it, or they will make it worse. Believe me.
3. Steer the encounter in the direction of you needing help, not enforcement... You're injured. You have mechanical problems and need tools or are waiting for a ride home with your broken machine.It's a winning strategy! This switches the scene from administering justice to administering aid; a shift in your favor.

You're welcome.




After all this, what was left was to immediately hop on those trails, pop some tops and drop some hammers. We stowed our packs in the bushes, and rode around real fast. Then I piled up inside a loose corner on downhill 50 and cracked some ribs on my left side.

OMG, this hurts. It is the hurt that keeps on hurting. I never realized how much movement depends on oblique abdominals bracing. You know what they brace off? Ribs.