Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

29 June 2011

now with the surest methods of escaping

Monday (that's my fun day) saw me aboard the fixed wheeled bicycle in and amongst the trees. There was a minor cat vs. mouse type scenario which I resolved by clever means and a will to persevere. I will ride certain trails. Full stop.

The fog/rain is upon us again. Will this Summer be cold and dreary like last year? I will need to exercise my complaining musckles if so. Being possessed of such a thick skull, I elected to remain on the ridge as long as possible as that's where I broke out of this foggy cover and into the sunlight. It was great. There was the downhill the one way and then the climb and then the downhill the other way, only longer and more singletracky. You would have loved it.

Tuesday we were supposed to head up to Santa Cruz to ride UCSC, but work got in the way. So we rode the trails in Pebble instead. 2 things occur to me: A)UCSC is fun but real short with lots of HWY9 BS involved. This makes it less appealing to me than other trails options in that region (yes, even when including Wilder). If you think different then you know things I don't. Teach me. And, 2) Pebble is better than average considering it is in your backyard. I haven't ridden that loop (all of a piece) in at least 3 years and it is perfectly acceptable singletrack which has some legs.

This is funny (haha) to me because my riding partner on the day is always fussing about Monterey and it's options for riding dirt. ____ ___ sucks. ______ _____ sucks. ______ ____ is a bust. ____ ____ is too far and sucks.
You see.
But he had never even ridden the trails we took that day. And he had no complaints upon having taken them. And, how could he?

So I will repeat a hackneyed phrase. HTFU. Ride what you got where you got it. It's what you got. And it's what will enable you to rule it when you go someplace where the riding is ______(insert your superlative of choice). Putting off riding for some perfect day is just putting off a good time.

Let's get 2 birds stoned at once...

28 June 2011

just try me

That's right. You heard right.

I'm onna show you people what a picnic is all about.

So. Toeclips. Tried them. Again. Don't love them. Again. I usually ride the fixed wheel bicycle (HARD. Both on-, and off-road.) in whatever I've got on my person at the time. I lik it that way. Mostly, it's platform pedals. Sometimes it's clipless (if I'm nasty). These 2 options work out fine. You may recall I ginned up a toeclips and straps style arrangement a couple weeks ago? Those of y'all reading for comprehension will know what I'm talking about here. Anyhow, the toe clips and (double) straps can go to hell. I'm serious.
They don't work well, and an injury is waiting in them. I'm all for making this bike-riding thing as convoluted and internecine as humanly possible and all, but. Pushing my fixed wheel bicycle up a trail and stumbling due to walking on the straps?!?...That's dumb. Further, I am unable to get them tightened enough to be of real use (though it does make them exciting to exit!) They are too shallow. I prefer platforms or clipless.

Is this enough to stop using them? Can I go back to my old used-to-be now? Or do I need more "reasons"?

Even with my (fancy pants, Eddy Merckx endorsed(!)) doesn't work for me. Now I will have to resort to Plan A I had for these shoes.

Unless the internet tells me I reached this decision in error. Then I just have to shut up and get in line.

Also, happening now!...Velocache Bellyache. Quit yours and get to gettin.

And, Monday and Tuesday bikecamping days? For the remainder of this Summer 2011, I shall endeavor to spend the Mon- and the Tuesdays atop a bicycle whilst sleeping in the dirt betwixt the 2. You are welcome to join me. Times and locations subject to change.

Plus Moab, consider yourselves warned- The WhiteRim Overnight...will be happening under the Full Harvest Moon, which is the 12th of September. Mark your calendars to be there or far from there, according to your preference. There will be no in between, half-stepping, or free rides. You will earn your turns in ways you don't know about yet. It will be sagged to the 1/2 way at Murphy's. You will (likely) hike your bicycle up the slidey scarey scree filled singletrack that now sits atop Mineral Bottom. Your ass will be afire. You will be adrunk.

Plan it up, people. It's a celebration!

24 June 2011



Just quit.

Here to follow is my summation of 4 days/3 nights of bikecamping (or as the kids are slanging: "Bikepacking") in Henry Coe State Park.

Hottt climbing with bugs.

Oh yeah, and it was sooooooooper fun.

During the course of this event, we fell into the sleepy yet herky rhythm of bumbling Frenchified cyclotouristes from the 40s. It was easier to just go with it. A True Adventure will demand it's due, I suppose. So, don't judge- marvel...

Parking lot shakedown. Pack your stuff, lament the things you left behind, forget to pay the entrance fees, hide beers in the creek for your triumphant return, etc.

What became my accustomed view. T___ riding away from me on singletrack. As the trip progressed it became more and more apparent that he had no idea what he was doing. That all (ALL!) of the trails we took had been stitched together from various internet chat rooms and boastful forums. At this time, however, I was being led by the nose and thinking we were in for nothing but smoooth music.

I have come to the personal conclusion that I lik to wear what I lik on the bike. All of my fast guy lycra is blown out (have I been mining this cycling vein too long? My equipment is really taking the beatings) and plus, my commutes have learned me that wool underwear is plenty comfortable and dries faster to boot.
Skin out: wool underwear (long under wear bottoms cut off), silk t-shirt (long under wear top, cut off), super light poplin (all cotton) trousers (rolled up for pedaling, rolled down for bug protection, occasionally tucked into socks for tick proofedness), super light poplin (all cotton) western wear long sleeved shirt (for stylishly rugged good looks and to keep sun/pokey brush/ticks at bay), cool water soaked bandana around neck (a la the Lone Ranger) around my neck for temperature regulation and extra rugged Western flair/French tourist on Holiday swishy style, further bandana draped over my neck/ears for more sun/bug mitigation, deadly earnest Livestrong cycling cap, and helmet with headlamp. Also, gloves and shoe covers (to keep off the cheat grass, ticks, and posers.)
To those of y'all that were excited about the top tube Thermarest placement: me, too. But from the parking lot up the road, it was just too bulky. I moved it behind the saddle and it was much better.

Lots of nice climbs. The singletrack is AWESOME! Henry Coe has moved into my imagination in a very big way.

I believe this is Los Cruzeros, but things are fuzzy. I decline to reveal the route, as it is not mine to give, and things change seasonally quite a bit with overgrowth/maintenance/etc. Anyhow, there is still lots of water to be had, which is a very good thing. This rainy Spring really paid off. The holes were full and flowing, though dropping fast; when we got back to the parking lot, the beers we'd stashed under a foot of water were just resting half in/out of the creek. All planetary ducks had aligned just so to afford us the perfect window of the Sweet Ride. Ahhhh.

1st night camp view.

Apparently all party balloons that decline to head out over the Pacific blow into Henry Coe. This is one I found, and it became a motto of sorts.

Food. If I may: be really thoughtful about your food choices. I made several costly mistakes regarding my food choices. My guiding light in packing was "Oh, shit. The trip is tomorrow and I have to use whatever we have at hand." This is a poor way to go about planning. Rushy rush menus leave much to be desired, and cloud thinking. To wit: I forewent the Tabasco in favor of Taco Bell hot sauce packets. They were lighter! And easier, and actually not bad- but I was tired of them quick. My snacks were WOEFULLY meager. I grabbed a ziploc full of Starburst, which normally I do not eat but there they were- easy and sugary- so I packed them. And truth be told, the 4th day when stumbling my bike up Coit Road in the hot hottt sun I ate the hell out of them, one after another. But. T___ had honey mustard pretzels (Oh! how I wanted them) and cashews (which-yuck. In day to day are too sweet for me, but 3 days in looked fatty and creamy and made my mouth water) and peanut butter filled pretzels, see.

I packed just so much, and everthing in it's place, and what I had, and I did not go hungry...but the choices- my avocados? Well, I realized upon cutting into the 1st that I'd have to eat the whole thing right then as it was not going to keep (I packed them so cleverly, too) and the 2nd gyroscoped it's way loose from it's skin and turned to a strange, cracked shell surrounding a mush coated central core of harder stuff clinging to the pit. And this had been gonna be my lunches. On days 3 and 4 I was eating a powder sandwich: Taco Bell hot sauce and miso soup powder (begged from T___. I tried, very consciously, to not be covetous), nori, and Seitan jerky (which I'd made in our dehydrator, and which pretty much sucked...but it was a light and at hand way to bulk up my protein supply). Miso soup was a real fine call, by the way.

A powder sandwich.

Food. It matters. Don't blow it.

Although- yes those ARE toasted pumpkin seeds freshly prepared, trailside. So take that.

I can't find my trusty Esbit. I stopped by REI, thinking I could just pick up a replacement at the ridiculously stupid value of $15.99 for stove PLUS tabs...but they don't sell them anymore because (they aren't exciting and explodery enough) no one buys them. We had been gonna rely on T___'s MSR, but I stopped at the creepy white supremacist surplus store and found an $8.99 knock off that was 1/3 again bigger (and painted?!? the paint began burning away at 1st use, of course) so we used it to Great Success. For reals- you cannot eff this stove up. It can't not work. If the at hand fuel is soaked, use tabs. If the at hand fuel is dry, use it. Simple. Win.

Drink coffee.

Drink coffee with a view.

Hoover Lake was so lovely. There were 4 jackrabbits that we saw, just relaxing in the lush grass. It smelled great, it was shady (in the morning anyhow), I lost my Leatherman there, etc.

We put our stuff here, thinking we would camp, but the ground was overrun by large black ants. Lots of folks have camped there, sure, but we moved. That night (and the following) we slept up on the shoulder of Kaiser Aetna road. It was flat and bug-free.

Pedaling circle after circle will gift you with many things; a raging appetite to be sure, a level-headed platform from which to review your life, purple spots crowding your vision, and (in my case) the opportunity to listen to your drivetrain creakity click pop pop. OMG I need a new: pedals, BB, crankset, chainrings, chain, cassette, freehub. For reals.

You've seen my rig. Here is T___'s. He builds bikes and stuff, so it's real nice. Custom. Black Cat custom front rack y stem. Soulcraft custom (chainstays!) rear rack. 2x10 using a 38x26 by 12-36. A suspension fork of some kind. He rode away from me up and down. I think I wanted his bike even more than his snacks, and that's a lot.

Black Cat Bicycles


Don't go without a map.

We hung out in the culvert. Quote:" No one is gonna believe us how nice this is."

We spent 2 nights here. The 3rd day was a loop ride from/to here, for which we removed bags and just rode. Rad. We spent the latter part of those days here:

What's this?

A popular spot...

This, Friends, is SUMMERTIME. I, for one, welcome our Summer overlords.

Your Thermarest will serve as sweet sweet nap raft.

I will now state, unequivocally: This Hole in the Rock is the finest swimming hole I have ever been to, bar none. Whattayougot?

How it was on the 4th day. How was it? HOTTT. Climbing. Hott climbing. Henry Coe is well crenelated. Ridges and valleys.

Hottt as it was, no cramps. I packed my Tumm's, and used electrolyte tabs. Charmed, I'm sure.

It being as dry as it was, the ticks were waaaaaaaaaay less of a presence/problem than anticipated. Something like 14 total for me. Quite the change from last time.

That's it.

23 June 2011

it's all about YOU!

Man, you already know.

4 days of bikecamping will leave you feeling peaceful and loose. Like I just stepped out of some golden hours scripted by Edward Abbey. Light of spirit.

Words? Pictures.

I'll get back to you.

20 June 2011

near professional skill

I am loving to hate Rivendell Bicycle Works at this time. You may join me if you lik. Now, ordinarily, I'd say they design some well-thought-out bicycle related items. But I am currently packing my ish for a 4 day trip via a bicycle, and my baggage (Rivendell made) is failing me. My panniers are at the seamstress' having their blown out seams (yes, multiple.) repaired. Those panniers have seen several years of hard use and seen it well, but now they are blown out and I can't use them. So I hate Rivendell.

More relevant to right now, is the continuing blow out of my handlebar bag. Look:

The upper fasteners there are rivets that I had previously used to fix the blown out factory rivets, which you can see as the lowers (which have recently blown). The other side, upper and lower, was blown a while ago and I "fixed" it with rivets. That's "fixed" because my rivets (yes, I used washers inside and out to share the load) have pulled through also. And being how I am, I cussed the bag and put it on the bench to repair it after the last trip...only to forget to do anything with it until I needed it.

I realize my fault in this, and that a last minute scramble on my part does not an emergency for Rivendell make, but dang. The little knobs on my quick release leather closure straps for the seat bag have vibrated loose/off as well. Lost and gone, and try to find that small brass part at a hardware store. Plus that bag ripped at both corners within a week of purchase.

Bags made for cycling ought to hold up to some actual use. I'm left feeling that Rivendell's products are made for toting your iPad and smoked salmon to the yoga studio. Let's face it: real life is rough. Scrappy. A tad wall-eyed. It falls down.

Anyways, I actually "fixed" that damned handle bar bag this time. I used the left over aluminum spacers from my useful (and designed for beer drinking and hell raising) Surly rack. I cut the 3rd hole off, filed the edges, and presto! it's a backing plate for some nuts to bolts linkage.

Thanks, Surly!

Now my shade tree workers co-operative fairy dust will not blow out my bag?

Some foodstuffs.

I gotta go pack the rest. 4 days in Henry Coe. Bikes. Ticks. Swimming holes.

Nobody break in here while I'm out there.

18 June 2011

now I'm smelling like Indonesia

Full Strawberry Moon access denied. Mean streets of Carmel to the Ord and back. Low lying fog. Reflected city light kept the trails surprisingly well lit. It helps that the sand is so white. We used Princeton Tec Eos Headlamps (seriously, these are great lights! I've used mine for 2 years now, and had zero problems. Versatile and fairly bright. A super value. ) to ride the shady grove trails over by the New Stairs. Evan Williams met us there, like he will. The Caprock was turn-around.

Singlespeed 32x16. Steel. Rigid. ~31miles. It's been a while since I spent some time on that bike. I'm unhappy with my tire clearance. The rigid fork is beating me up trying to pace yahoos with their mechanical advantages (i.e. shocks and gears). The fixed wheel feels more efficient (42x18) to roll rather than racy up/down off road type business. Etc.

These are just words. I rode that bike and it was fun. Now I am really pooped.

17 June 2011

a dissolute man in fashionable society

And by now it's looking kinda shaky.

Not least because I recently strapped these All City double toe straps onto my fixed wheel bicycle in an attempt to be on the sharpest of cutting edges. It's humbling fumbling with these.Link
Full Strawberry Moon has not disappointed! 2 nights running of hottt moon on trail action. You wouldn't know about that. (Johann, I had some Ali Farka Toure going on the jukebox at the Caprock Bar and poured some beer out for you and the African posse)

Night #1: Tuesday night, the night before Full. I missed the birfday fun ride in Santa Cruz because we were super busy in the bike shop so I was unable to take off early to make the ride. Which led to local solo perfection. Cloudless sky, BRIGHT Moon. When I'm all by me onesie, I am hesitant to take certain trails. Call me chicken, but that's how it breaks down. Some trails are too closed in for me to feel comfortable rolling down potentially mountain lion laden alleys of poison oak. I know it's unlikely, but people do act funny when the wolfs bane blooms and the Autumn moon is bright. So...I stuck to the fire roads until Mudhen Express, which is too swoopy to be denied (and plus, it's wide open). Spent some time lounging under the moon, drinking beers ( which helped the closed-in, dark singletrack trails seem a lot more inviting on the return trip... so I hit them riding out to Eucalyptus), eating peanuts, listening to the wind or my musical phone. Good times.
On my way back down Military, I came across this kook:

What caught my eye was the (full suspension?!) Bob trailer on the roof. Then I noticed the rubbish laying around the car, the entry-level commuter bike, and the sleeping person wearing a surgical mask (?) amidst the detritus piled window level in every seat but the driver's. I desperately wanted to interact with this obviously unique bicycle enthusiast, but the possibility for a Lynchian vignette was not enough to offset the probable angry craziness...

So I enjoy a detour through the cemetery. It's dark, quiet, and offers an alternative to roads. As I was rolling through at 11pm, I saw shadowy figures standing at a grave...and candles at the headstone. I looked again, and they were still there. I rolled over there and it was your standard 3 young adults memorializing "Grandma" at 11pm. I can't help but think it was weirder than that. But these grave site squares were not talking, so I kept moving.

Night #2: Local yokels ride trails for fun. We took those trails. While malingering, this guy rolled up out of the semi-darkness and asked if one of us was named "___..._____?" And it turned out he was the fellow the kids and I had met out there weeks ago, and to whom I had mentioned our moonlight proclivities. So there he was, and he'd toted his own beers. Speaks well of him. Meeting new people can be hard. Fast trail riding out left my front wheel looking like this

the next morning. Looks like I rolled it sideways a little. That happens. 2 nights local loop has left my legs feeling real tired...More riding the trails tonight. We'll see how it goes. I sure do like milking these moons for all the fullness thereof.

Ride yo bike!