Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

30 April 2012

introducing the completely new

Hey regular sized Banker guy who came in with the small banker sidekick that was eating Nacho Cheese Doritos which at first was nerve wracking but turned out OK as he was very careful with his cheese hands: I was wrong regarding the Camber and Stumpjumper attributes and specs. I was parroting what I thought I'd heard (because frankly, those bikes don't interest me enough to memorize the new model year's new newness but that is no excuse). Your screwed up expression of confusion and doubt was the straw required for me to crack the catalog with an eye to understanding a product about which I should be, were I taking myself for a PROfessional, at minimum conversant.

I apologize.

Thank you. I will let this be a lesson to me. Don't be surprised if I turn up at your place of business one of these lunch breaks, having finally found you by systematically casing each and every nearby bank. I will tell you that your understanding of the ride difference was correct and that I was mistaken. I may or may not say that I will continue efforts to give a shit about cycling related issues which may be of no personal import but matter to others, and to refer questions to more interested and/or knowledgeable co workers where appropriate; at least, no more guessing.

You should get a cross bike.

28 April 2012

an angry mob of bumpkins

 I received an invitation to ride a bike on trails in the woods. It was addressed to me personally (and insistently).

 RSVP me: charmed, I'm sure!

The very next day, I and my dance partners all received the very same invite. The same, but different.

 An after-school trip through the wildflowers is an afternoon well spent. Friends, the Happy Trails behind the DOD (I realize) are open again and briefly, so get some while the getting is good.

In closing, I would like to address the Citizens of Earth: People, people, Spring has sprong and the trails are getting overwhelmed by the poison oak and the thistle. I don't know what all is crowding your particular trails,but over here on the West side, the poison oak is drunk with power. Join me in kicking it's ass. It is very easy to take time out of your busy ride to pick up a switch and whip the growing ends of the noxious weed. This works! It breaks very easily at the splits as well, so if you are dealing with a well developed batch, you can strike at the joins and come out on top. It is best to wear gloves and long sleeves and not wipe your face right after, but get with the program cuz Fort Ord singletrack is laced with face high tendrils in all the good spots, and this matters to you.

J replied to my rhetorical question of why no one else stops and deals with this pressing issue by telling me "You're helpful, that's why you do it." So. Live up to your rep and help knock back the oak.

 The needle-spined milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is taking over whole secret entrances to certain trails, and needs to be stamped out. For reals. This stuff is covered in hypodermic stabbing needles that deliver pain to your legs. Supposedly it is good for the liver function and is used as an ingredient in teen-ager energy drink Rockstar?!? Whatever, the benefits are not delivered via leg stabbing, so it is no use to me. I'm stomping all over it. Maybe I'll get herbalistic and harvest some as well.

A few minutes with the internet and I'm a expert. I should grab some yarrow, and some wild fennel, as those are helping the hypodermic needle-spined milk thistle clog up the (very well shaded) secret exit.

Also, and finally- the trails up and over are strewn with GIANT sized Slippery Jack mushrooms and plentiful Amanitas. I saw a lone Porcini, but the bugs had ravaged it. It was terribly unfair to have missed it's prime by a day, but I guess that's the breaks. I love how riding trails is not only one of the funnest things to do, but it gets you to work and allows you to witness Red Shouldered Hawks stooping, crashing down within feet of you and you get to see Great Horned Owls silently glide to a landing as the sun goes down.

Getting stoked over here, Boss.

I also find myself looking at the assorted (and I do mean ass) log situations with a newly critical eye. Casual chainsaw Charlie throws out multiple cuts which are so poorly thought- out that the resultant stumps are bound together and left still blocking trail? Who works like that?  A plodding dullard. Someone who doesn't love gliding along at speed, deftly angling with the flow and pitch of a well laid and weller maintained trail. Me? I'm a get my shit together, boy.

27 April 2012

act now

Ain't no joke.

Stunning fact: SLeaZE Otter turns this mother out yearly. This is a true statement. If you missed it (and I know you did) you blew it. Lots of blowing it going on. Carmel Bob and his sideshow freak posse work their fingers to the bone and what a they get?


I visited the official SLeaZE Otter sweat shop and checked out the prizes:

If you showed, you know. If not, you still don't.

Fist Frank knows. Knows how to rule it in full regalia.

My fancy pants Supernova E3 (800 lumen?!?) dynohub powered light was phenomenal. Ain't no joke.

I rode up and over the hill with my fellow revelers and then rode around the course alternately cheating and heckling. The HantaVirusRamp was an especially well executed bit of custom guerilla race coursemanship. Those who rode it were not disappointed. Those who were skeered were silly- it was perfectly safe! It just looked rickety and pitchy. And, plus, the Underground Niteclub at the bunker #5 was a super elaborate hoax of fun. Inspired work, boys.

I heard rumors it may or may not happen again next year.

17 April 2012

you better axe somebody

How well does a knuckle-head roll? Is a question as old as.

"About like you'd expect" is the answer.

Carmel Bob and that crowd has put up this year's flyer, and it looks to already be going sideways. Yaz, yaz. Sleaze Otter time again, mateys. Time to tap the bottle and twist the cap (heyyohickorydickorydockI'mfromtheCarmelblock) whilst you turn the pedals and whip that ass! So. Calling all pirates, inmates, home boyz, fly grrrlz, hoboes, hobettes, hombres, LOLOS, cholos, sidewinders, snake-oil-salesfolk, upstanding model citizens, decent types, low-lifes, double dealers, underhanded sinisterarians, spinsters, ministers, those who are ill equipped, your mom, all my friends, and most of all, YOU...get where the gettin is good and show up for the fun to start.

The flyer has the info. Looks like Fisherman's Wharf at 7pm this coming Saturday. If this is anything like years past, it'll be a lot of hilarity and fun. What with my shoulder and old-man-ass-syndrome, I'm taking it easy this year and that means there's a chance you could win it. I must say, I'm enjoying the no-nonsense slap in the face to all the losers who "choose" not to attend. Because, yes, they are pussies and don't know how to use a bike as a fun, only as a train/compete.

Serious serious matter.

12 April 2012

old macho/new macho

I am not complaining about the week of rain putting the stops to Spring Break 2012 and all that would have entailed; the camping and the creek cooled beers and the swimming and the rope swangin and the cliff jumping and the loafing and the grilling and the flaming paper airplane target practice. To say nothing of the quiet backcountry reached by bicycle.

I am thankful we are finally getting some portion of the refill that is well overdue.

I am going effing bananas sitting around indoors with my roommates' TV shows.

So when there was a break in the front today, my partner and meself went for the gusto. J______ suggested we have some Brown Lunch like we used to, and I assembled the necessaries; lentil soup, chopped kale, a couple sweet red peppers, a bagel, some pistachios, and apple sauce.

When we pulled up at the trailhead I realized I'd forgotten the stove, the fuel, the utensils, and the pot. J declined to turn around and drive home, saying "That's a waste of time." And he was correct, so we just rolled out figuring we could handle ourselves. It was a gentle loop around to the new Stairs.

There we cleared the (soaking wet from a week of rain) leaf litter in a 4' circle. Spanish moss stays dry under the canopy and catches fire like you'd expect. It's also hella smoky. It took constant fiddling and feeding to catch a twig fire given the conditions. I came very close to bagging it, esp. due to so much smoke, but I'm glad we kept at it. Eventually, our wee blaze was down to coals. Old hobos that we are, we put the soup can directly in the embers. We'd scoured the truck for useable items and turned up a couple take-out sporks. We were golden.

Time out for "cooking" allows other pursuits.

A conveniently located and emptied beer can works for braising kale.

Sweet red peppers and pistachios round out the meal. We split the soup into the empty pistachio bag and the soup can and it was good.

Checked out the hammock. A strap gave way immediately(of course?), and I hit the deck. It seems comfortable enough for lounging and napping. We'll bring it on the next overnight and test it further. After all, REI has the 100% satisfaction guarantee. If it doesn't fit the bill, I'm taking it back.


10 April 2012

looking for that Good Stuff



Sometimes rides happen in spots that are not to be documented for one reason or another. We chased the moon various ways this past week surrounding the Full Pink Moon, and each of them had that in common. For my part, a couple rides were aboard the Fargo and a couple others on the NeckRomancer. Several small things stand out.

If you are stepping over a barbed wire fence be aware of the possible failure of one or more strands, esp. viz. the possibility of stabbing yourself in the ass/leg. Razor wire is best handled by stepping on the joins and pinning the spool to the ground rather than attempting to clamber through it. When you have decided upon a black-ops type of scenario, commit to it.

Is it an everywhere thing that folks make plans to ride but then use their cell phone to reschedule up to (and past) the moment of departure, or is this just one more example of California? I'm over this. Plans are plans. I get being late- periodically- but.

I'm increasingly pleased with the fat bike. It has it's limitations (a wallowing pig on pave, that's for sure), but everything is a compromise and this is weighted to the off-offroad side of the bikecamping. I been loving the float in the sandy sections, and I been loving the levitation through the rubbly areas, and I been not minding the heaviness on the ups.

The whole of the central coast is scheduled for rain and rain and rain, which cancels Spring Break 2012. Super drag. That was to be the camping shakedown cruise for the NeckRomancer and an opportunity to try out this ENO hammock I'm trying to demo. If it were to actually be comfortable enough to sleep all night in it, a hammock would simplify (and lighten) my load.

Anyhow, when the opportunity presents itself to be seized, a camping trip up the beach to Moss Landing sounds like an interesting hammockless trip.

If I start talking about setting up a slack line, somebody slap me upside the head with their Crocs.

06 April 2012

what kind of a cult are you running here?

Fine. Play possum. I can take a hint.

This weekend in lieu of zombification viz. sitting in peeyous, we will elect to root out the brightly colored candy-delivery packages which are to be clandestinely routed through the medium of me+bicycle on that one trail.

You celebrate your magical interpretation of seasonal change your way, without forcing your views down other folks' Rights, and I will do the same.

Unrelatedly, watch out for bike thieves...

Furtherly unrelatedly, I finished changing friend E___'s crappy GT Avalanche into an Xtracrappy GT Avalanche. That thing is now waaaaaay more comfortable. And safe. And clean (coating your drivetrain in hardened wax based lube and sand is no way to go thru life). Done on the cheap with shifter/brake combo V-brake upgrade courtesy of the parts bins. Same for admittedly questionable suspension post (the old one's head was detaching) as well as the light and functional ladies saddle.

What does he care? He's a surfer.

E___ plans to bring his son L____ camping via said Xtracrapcyle...but we all know how plans laid in California have shaky foundations. Hopefully this means my youngest will have his buddy along for the Spring Break Bikecamping Trip 2012. No, I'm not forcing them to do Coe.


04 April 2012

getting a new look

You can get with this:

or you can get with that:

Can you get with both? Not at the same time.

The Bike Check Wednesday continues at the elementary school. A co-worker and I show up with a stand, a pump(s), and small toolbox and make some kid bikes safe. You might be surprised at the state in which some kid bikes are kept. Hopefully it encourages riding to school.

Further notice regarding the Full PINK Moon: Friday evening, at 6pm, a nucleus will form at the top of the incline. The nucleus will there form a protective coating, and divide to grow through some backroad, doubletrack, and singletrack until it reaches a critical mass at the graveyard. From which point, the cell will continue expanding Northwards, encompassing Fort Ord and continuing to Castroville, where it is artichoke season.

02 April 2012

put your face into it

Today was the 1st longer ride since my shoulder Went Bad. I got a trick collar bone. It felt pretty OK riding up and over the hill for some EZ version of the dirt commute. As easy as that can be, which still means a bunch of on the bars dropping via bumpy singletrack in the woods.

Shoulder feels workable, ass is silly. I got this golfball sized lump of cramp that is killing me. When I straighten my leg after being seated, it clamps down like you wouldn't credit. I been using a soft-ball for working glutes, stretching my hamstrings (trying), foam rolling IT band, point working vastus lateralis, and the insertion of biceps femoris along the fibular collateral ligament...and it won't quit. This ass cramp is the pits.

See the doc tomorrow for the 1st follow-up. I will get a PT prescription and initiate bionification sequence. In, like, 3 weeks I'll be so yoked.

Enough woe is me. This day saw me aboard the Salsa Fargo (those big puffy tires on the NeckRomancer are slow and expensive- I don't wanna run them for distance on the street is the upshot) for some reintroduction to actual riding. Not that drive to the trail head and lap it up stuff, I'm talking door-to-door. Picked up YasonYonson and _ean in Cside(!) and rolled a nice loop through the East Garrison sections.

All I got for you picture-wise are these shots of a downed Monterey Pine along some singletrack.

With the crosscut saw looming large in my thoughts, I find myself looking at this scary tangle of limbs with a fresh perspective. The downed tree's top is resting on another Monterey Pine's limbs and a small Coastal Live Oak, with the root-ball resting on the ground.

I look at the middle section and see (in the lit portion, the crack left of the branch sticking up) the different compressions and tensions in this particular snag. The 5 kinds of Bind are as follows: top bind, bottom bind, side bind, end bind, and no bind?

Given my current (absolute beginner) status, all I will do is bring the pull saw over and lop the pointy limbs interfering with easily scooting underneath. This much floating log requires more equipment than I possess. It is fun to think about, though.

01 April 2012

my tongue is not rubber

Like Albert says,

Whoo! Crosscut sawyer training weekend. Yes, I matriculated. One of these fine days you'll pass me on the trail and you will thank me and I will not yell at you to "Get offa my lawn" and peace will reign. We got to drive out Indians Road to the old Girl Scout Camp. I hadn't been up there, and it's worth knowing about and revisiting. Next time we can go see the waterfall.

The VWA says it is "an eating club with a hiking problem", and it is True. There were a lot of stops pulled out at the potluck. I have to up my game. A coolish 6er of High Life and some sesame sticks is not cutting it. Some good folks out there in the woods. If you have a notion to do some trail work (you should do it) and if you need some direction, they are worth checking.

And speaking of cutting it, I will spare you the "I'm a lumberjack..." but not the "Bicycle Repairman."

And, plus, the Full Pink Moon is Friday next. How's about a little (gentle, easy, slow) Full Moon Ride? We can save the Coes and the Esalens for when I'm peaking.