Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

30 May 2012

this is always available to you

Friend X and I were discussing Friend Y and his situation, as Friends will do. I mentioned that Y said out loud that he had been broken-hearted and was generally unhappy. I asked him if he'd been riding his bike. "No...mumble...excuse...time constraint..."reason"..." I expressed amazement at this, to both Friends. Friend X was not amazed and said that he also has to push through issues to get back on the bike occasionally. I expressed amazement at this.

For my self, riding bikes is a tonic. As it is for each of these Friends (and likely for you, if you bother to read this stuff), and it is central to my Happiness. When I am unable to pedal, I become sullen and withdrawn (OK, more so) and I am a pill. It is foreign to me, the idea that one could lose the bike. It is the source of Goodness and Good Times.

But, there you go. Different folks etc. So. If something/anything is keeping you from riding your bike...get back in that saddle.

As for me and mine, we been riding. Stuff. Kid biking. Rattlesnake spotting. Commuting (the open secret method for maintaining fitness and sanity). I will say that after riding the fat bike (the new Nate 3.8 knobby tire is _ucking _antastic, by the way) so extensively, I got on my Black aCt SS and it is a ROCKET. I am having a personal renaissance of singlespeeding over here. So fast and fun.

We are gonna be gone for a bit, so no one rob us. Smell you later.

P.S. Friend Y is riding again, and in much better spirits.

24 May 2012

one two. won too.

Make plans. Bike camping. 3 days. 2 nights. Check map. Possible routes. Follow through. Meet up. Car pool. Henry Coe. Arrive ready. Fat bike. Custom racks! So hot. Pavement beginning. Dirt road. Immediate climb. Singletrack up. More up. More up. Partial eclipse. And down. Steep ridges. ALL DAY. Pacheco Camp. Outdoor shower. Water tap. Fire pit. 12 pack. Jack Daniels. Starry night. Sunny morning. Camp coffee. Leisurely breakfast. Load up. Aw yeah. Ride bikes. ALL DAY. Pacheco Creek. Single track. Fire road. Tasty snacks. Mississippi Lake. Whiskey break. Refreshing swim. Questionable trail. Pay off. So rad. Hard earned. Swimming hole. Inner tubes. Coolish tallboys. Another round. Rattle snake. Culvert campfire. Sleep out. Early birds. Coffee time. More swimming. HOTTT climb. Expectations crushed. Climbing repeats. ALL DAY. Coit Lake. Lakeside singletrack?! Refreshing swim. More climbing. Cross Canyon. Kick ass. Down hill. Tall grass. Tick check. Up hill. Breaking point. Keep going. Singletrack finish. Happy days.


19 May 2012

while the other person runs and hides

Listen to this: Whilst riding singletrack- OK, OK, doubletrack- to work, I could hear the conversation between 2 hawks taking place well over my head. It sounded like 1 was treebound and the other was coming in, and my assumption/hope was it was a pair and I might could see some babies. So I picked up the pace and came under the ~60' Monterey Pine as the flyer landed 5' away from it's mate.

It was a pair of  Red Tail Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), which are big- chicken sized. The flyer paused for 20 seconds, during which time I scanned the tree for a nest to no avail, and then it took off. A few more seconds and the other attempted to take off, only to stick there flapping and tugging. The only explanation to pop into my head was that it perhaps it was tagged and the tag had gotten tangled in the limb. I considered who I could contact to help. It was a loooong way up and out a skinny branch above inaccessible terrain. Meanwhile the hawk was dangling upside down by one leg, swaying in small arcs. It was worrisome. Then the hawk flapped very hard a couple times and the branch cracked loudly. The hawk took off, and the branch fell away revealing a long dangling strip of shiny...ribbon?

It was a snake. The hawk had caught a snake and landed in the tree. The snake had wrapped itself around the branch and wouldn't let go while the hawk tried to wrestle it free with the dangling and swaying. The hawk flew across the small valley to light in another tree and bent it's head to eat that snake. Whereupon a bluejay began dive bombing it.

Some days are hard.

That is a True Story, and I witnessed it by commuting to work via trails. Amazing.

17 May 2012

I've spent a lifetime

Fenced yards ain't hole cards, y'all.

All right.

16 May 2012

return from the mountain temple

Something told me there was a way.

I left the tent at home so as to save the 2.5lbs and (more) the bulk. Thought I'd try my hand at some bushcraft- if a blue tarp and some extra long toe-straps count as bushcraft. It worked out well for the use. If there had been rain I'd have been screwed with that incarnation, but it was scheduled to be clear and my "reasoning" was to put a barrier between me and scary monsters

 (Yes, I know) Fact: since 1850 there have been exactly 16 mountain lion attacks on humans in California. But way out in the sticks by yourself, your mind will play tricks on you. 

I will direct your attention to the exemplary strapping on the front wheel/foot arch. Yeah. 
A 10'x10' tarp would work just fine for rain (without excessive wind) even though the extra weight might put it back into tent range. Still save on bulk, though.

P.S. Folks considering new bikes in FLA may disregard my 2 cents, but the rest a yous should know: the fat bike RULED IT. For this camping excursion, loaded over crappy terrain? I am 100% stoked on this bike for this application.

13 May 2012

all the time playing the same licks

Every time I come across a new(to me) trail is a Good Time. We've been living here for 11 years now, and just last week I rode some new(to me) singletrack that will make your head spin while you see purple spots. My favorite option is singletrack. Most of the time I ride my usual routes, occasionally mixing up the direction or shuffling trail order. I ride along and ignore that one faint side-trail because I checked it out a few years ago and, even though I can't remember why now, it doesn't pay off. It goes somewhere wrong or it's too oaky/poorly routed/rooty/whatever to warrant riding. Sometimes I find a good connector on the fringes that adds a funner or quicker or safer option. Last fall I began systematically poking around the edges of that neighborhood at the bottom of the hill, trying to find more and dirtier ways to get to and from work. It paid off, and well, a couple months ago when I found that magic route that gets me to and from trails in 5 minutes. That type of thing.

Point being, there are new trails to be found even after all this time. I especially love that. It helps that I am more willing than some to ride places that are closed to some. We do what we must.

So. I'm gonna be test riding some things in the next couple of days that I really hope work out. The kind of trails we only talk about in person.

Friday night was some trail riding switching up usual routes and shuffling orders. It worked out great. With my crappy handlebar light and my Petzl (shoulder crash wrecked my light) that kept slipping off my helmet and hitting me in the neck or face it felt like we were going dangerously fast, when really we were just going dangerously. When we rolled out on Carmel Valley Road at 12:46AM the sheriffs were there to greet us. We watched 2 patrol cars roll past as we exited our fireroad, our lights off for safety. After they had gone, we fired up our red blinkies and began riding back to home. A different sheriff's deputy rolled up behind us and pulled us over. Because our headlights weren't on was the probable cause."We leave them off to save the batteries and turn them on when a car comes." And our blinkies weren't fixed to the bike (we'd clipped them to our pockets). "You always ride your bike at this time of night?" "Sometimes." She ran our IDs as another deputy joined the party. The Sirs and Ma'ams crept into my speech as stealthily as 2 mountain bikers sliding out from a questionable trail. By the time they'd stopped us, on the pavement, everything was legit except for the mussette full of empty beer cans hanging across my back. I pretended solid citizenship while keeping my back away and the cans from rattling. No warrants/etc we were advised to ride on the opposite side of the road so we could see the cars coming and sent on our way. I scoffed at that. "You wouldn't stop us for that?" "It's what I would do."

Don't take ride advice from the cops. We crossed the street so's we could take that other section of sneaky connector singletrack. Not much by itself, but all those pieces add up to fun.

10 May 2012

are you now, or have you ever been?

Let's all get down.

 There is some sidehill singletrack around here. It just takes getting up and out of your little roundy rounds and look at a map. You see the options. Some of them will end after you climb up and up and up and up only to come upon the endless poison oak tunnel. Then you check it out (because you must) to see it would require some serious work with the loppers and the paper bodysuit, and turn around and descend to try the other trail. That one works, to a point.

 It is worth doing.

Sweet, 100% in bounds camp spots are out there.

I only had so much time for exploration, so at the 3rd creek crossing, which was more than I wanted with a bike in hand, hiking out for a look-see was the way. I liked what I saw.

This camp had nothing but a trash bag filled with Swedish Fish packaging, a pair of blown out houseshoes (who takes those to the woods?!), some loose dog food strewn on the forest floor (nice way to bring in the skunks...), and a 1/4 full bottle of Evan Williams. I'll take what I can get. I packed out yahoo's trash and took his whiskey for my efforts. It is now hidden at the sweet camp spot.  1 more reason to head out there, as if it were needed.

 The singletrack was well placed, shaded, and fresh. As of a couple days ago, the wildflowers are beginning to pop. An empty whiskey bottle from another camp spot (what is with these hack drunks? Pack out your trash!) made a nice vase with which to deliver a bouquet to my sweetie.

I dropped the pressure in my tyres quite a bit, and it was shmooooth music. That Endomorph 3.7 is skiddy skid, though. I got concerned in some of the corners that maybe I was not going to make the turns. I don't love that. Now I have a Nate 3.8 on the order. Supposedly it is the solution. We shall see.

Options. Maps. Willingness.

08 May 2012

you are eligble

Enough with this old wine. Bring us some new wine. The freshest you've got!

Everbody used to be something. Frequently, now they are something else.

04 May 2012

Summer is ready when you are

Keep rolling.

 I been telling (threatening) the middle child that we would do a s24o camping trip on a school night since last fall. Now is the time and the time is now.

The secret ridge top camp spot is rideable from home (totally), but in the interest of keeping it as fun as possible for the shorter legs among us, we got dropped off  in the middle of nowhere.

 From the middle of nowhere, it is a short ride to the Good Stuff...

 You remember how all that poison oak is all encroaching and stuff? It's a bad situation in which to fall:

 D learned on the ill-fated Coe trip that sometimes, when riding loaded, you high-side it into the oak, and that when you are lying full length in the stuff you should keep bare skin as clear as possible and wait for help. And suffer the indignity of having it be filmed.

He was carrying his down bag (on account of how packable and light down is...) in his pack, along with warm clothes and school books required for the next day. His sleeping pad was strapped to the bars. It is a workable set up.

I was carrying my down bag (for the exact same reasons) strapped to my saddle and food, cookware, and toiletries in the frame bag. My sleeping pad was strapped to the bars. I also had a small pack loaded with the test-hammock and it's straps,beer and a warm jacket.

D opted to sleep in the hammock.

A nice meadow.

 The evening slid into night and the owls came out. We stood around and hooted at them. I drank some beers. D ate some chocolate (but declined to make s'mores. It was a Good Time. He is much more talkative when away from the distractions of TV or youtube skate videos or his 1/4 pipe, or just about anything more inneresting than talking to his old man. (Though I suppose the same type of distractions distract me, too.) Anyhow, when we're standing around in the dark with nothing to do but hoot at owls, it is not only a Good Time it is some Father-Son type scenario. I lik that.

Sadly, all things end. We went to sleep, I on the ground and D in the hammock. The old heads among the audience have been wondering which item I neglected to pack on this camping trip. Well, wonder no more- I left the tent at home on purpose because it was a 20% at best chance of rain, so I only forgot the tarp. No big deal, I've slept in worse than fresh meadow grass in a comfy down bag on a cushion of air.

I first had to cover my face because the fog rolled in and sat upon us so heavily it was dropping water at a rate just under actual drizzle yet precipitating enough you could feel it tapping at your skin. Since this shoulder thing has been happening, I can only sleep on my Left side (the back was out cuz the face shielding down bag would smother me). The precipitation gently increased throughout the night, turning my comfy down bag into a sodden, heavy disappointment. I hoped D was faring better in the trees, because I was waking every 1/2 hour. The text I sent my sweetie at 5:19 read "I'm effed. I am wet and waiting for light."

When it brightened enough to move around without a headlamp, I made coffee and oatmeal. I'd been warm enough in the sad sack, but once out my jeans (soaking wet on the Left side from where the drizzle had pooled on the sleeping pad) underscored the wisdom of wool and the folly of cotton.

D had fared a little better, but he had not slept well because of the drizzle and the down. When I looked in on him, he'd wiggled the pad out from under himself and it was useless next to him in the wet hammock. He wasted no time in getting up when he heard me rattling around.

I bet I remember the tarp next time. For what that's worth, it's time I learned the lesson that camping around the ocean is always a dewy mess and we should just bring the dang tent. Synthetic bags would have been a lot less water-logged, and warmer in the meantime.

D felt better with some hot food in his belly. We packed up quick- the dripping wet sleeping bags I just shoved into my expandable small pack- and got on the trail. It was all downhill from there. OK, 2 climbs, but mostly downhill. I blew D's mind with the sneaky patchwork of singletrack and path I wended us through in order to be late to school. (That part didn't bother him.)

All in all, it was a bust.

Still beat sitting around the same old same old. Don't kid yourself.

03 May 2012

the best use of black turtle necks and suction cups ever devised

People always ask me: Dick. Why are your rides all about the moonlight? And I tell them it's real fun and stuff.

Don't blow it. No one in Monterey rides but me. Grumble grumble. Etc.


01 May 2012

one man's treasure

Heads up, Pink Boys. Saturday coming is the Full Flower Moon. Nobody can do everything, but everbody can do somethang.

Get ready with the tear-away pants and the full suspension demo bikes, cuz it's a trail ride!