Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

29 April 2014

a smooth get away

The time is right for riding in the _____s. You picks your lines and you takes your chances. What with the warmth and the extra  evening hours, it's a bonanza. I got the boys' bicycles all dialed and lubed, and we went riding. Out to the New Stairs for some Brown Lunch...

 ...tofu dogs. J gathered miner's lettuce (Claytonia perfoliota) for a salad, as it is going ca-razy all over right now. While waiting on the nice, quiet twig fired Kelly Kettle to do it's work, we set up the hammock and did some lounging, and some tree climbing. Those fellas are agitating to bring the rope swang back out there, and that is prolly a good idea since it is getting frayed at the contact spot with the horse bridge and should be retired from that use. D says we shoulda brought the BB guns and he is correct.

After, it was a short pedal over to Rattlesnake to check under the board...

...and there were 2! The second is just up and to the left of the obvious snake. This board is far enough off the trail that they are seldom bothered by dilettantes; it is some singularly focused hasslers only. We employed the Snakecharmer 9000 to induce some tail wagging. You can feel the fat-bodied menace. After an exciting lunge or 3, the boys were very ready to get back to bikes.

This is training for life and happiness. We are thinking of big ideas, and one of them is the notion of camping out once a week. That is a idea with which we can roll.

28 April 2014

as seen at the ___________

One reason for all the giddy (up, ness) is I put my SS back together. It was in parts for a bit, and you forget how a bike is special when it isn't ridden. I do, anyhow. It is that sort of forgetfulness and laissez faire which backslides into "they all ride like bikes"... which is true, but fuzzy. Some girls are bigger than others, you understand. Well, that SS is Super Snappy! Short stays make for some quick response.

Allergies have taken my top end for the past few days, but the jump remains. I been realizing there are only not trails in those spots because I haven't made any yet (which is profounder than it seems at first). And so this morning I jumped off the road at a likely spot and poked around. Feeling froggy, hopping powerfully up the little ups while looking to expand my throat pouch and get back the breath-dependent top end. Doing it, you know.

I spied a healthy bobcat and raced him. Saw a Red-shouldered Hawk (buteo lineatus) toting a fat mouse up from the tall grass, so that was my totem for today. On account of I like them, and you can't always be the skunk-with-it's-head-in-a-jar.

Laying down fat (but totally controlled) skids through the pine duff, etc. Trying to stay ready so I don't have to get ready.

27 April 2014

ride with me or get rode on

How is Spring treating you? Do you find yourself riding singletrack on this bike and then on that bike...2 wheel drifting, pushing duff, releasing the brake and accelerating with gravity like you were shot from a cannon?

Then you're doing it right. Game don't wait.

Do the "NO BIKES" signs stay up? Or do they just disappear? Are your chainstays the perfect shortness for snappy come arounds? Can you carry the load? Legs feeling froggy? You been using the foam roller?  Your beers staying cold under some log(s) and smelling like the forest floor?

Commuting to work on your bike? Or pissed off in traffic?

I don't buy dreams, I sell em. 

24 April 2014

tilting at old ghosts

Via a recent exchange of emails:

Hevi: "...we are still talking about the 5 hour night ride"

Yours: "what is being said about the 5 hour night ride?"

Hevi: "5 hour night rides are uncommon...Oh you know, things like: 'Are they making 20mm axle dynamos* yet, cause I know a whole bunch of Rye whiskey drinking jackasses that would want one?' "

Which I suppose is all true.

I understand the night riding "season" is winding to a close for many. More hours of mandated daylight at the end of your shift and all. And, trails (heck, even roads) are much easier to follow in the harsh light of day, sure. But. People, people the coming dark does not mean you have to run home to the safety of the electric screen.

That is where a dynamo powered light is your special friend. They are not just a dorky commuter accessory, they are your ticket to the nighttime. (That's assuming the moon is less than 3/4 full, by the way. When the moon is full, a light is...bull, I guess) You can just keep on getting rad as long as you can keep on. Your little battery powered lights don't cut it.

And if you do find yourself several beers deep in the woods with only a battery powered light, turning it off whenever you can will save you some juice.

For what it is worth, using several different Shimano dynohubs, I've had real fine use of the Supernova E3 Triple, riding hard- both on and off road. The stand light, though it may help Europeans at stoplights, is something of a drag for me because it makes it harder to hide in the shadows, but I can live with it.

Spring isn't all daytime.

*maybe not 20mm...

20 April 2014

other entities

Holidays and holy dazes. My brother, whom I used to describe as "a rowdier and funnier me, only with no regard for limits", sent me a text containing the words: st paul & broken bones. Upon searching, I found this...

and it was surprising. It's a whole lot of soul coming out of that nerdy white boy! That kind of dichotomy is extra pleasing.

It's like those times when you're suffering all by your lonesome at the back of the field after 40 miles or so of featureless dirt road and one or several of the dirty yahoos who've been ripping your legs off all day/week drift back to you and place a steadying hand on your back.

Close your eyes and give yourself over to the creepy sensation of a ghostly palm on your hip. Let that spiritual momentum be transmitted to you, like a gassy tailwind helping you along.

17 April 2014

sifting through the debris

My money is not where my mouth is. That's my foot. If I were currently lurking in the shadows outside the Pixies show, like I aimed to be, then everthing would be different. Instead I am typing words for who? Life gets in the way, etc. Go find a hardcore cycling blog. You'll like it more.

And, hey- FYI, Alfredo's Cantina does have a lost and found. I went in there at lunch (on account of they do not open at 6AM like a real bar) and axed them if they had my stuff that I thought/hoped I'd left there after  the Saturday night debacle which was SKeaze Otter. So much more real without prizes and without attendance. A new low. Fun while it lasted, though. It was surprising and funny to me that my musette filled with my new jacket, my helmet?!, 4 Hamm's, 2 Budweisers, and 2 more musettes was still there after several days.

Dang. I got to eat more kale and get to bed on time. 

08 April 2014

are you looking for the mother lode?

Because, check this out, Pixies are playing next Thursday at the Henry Miller Library. Yes, just a short (30ish miles) jaunt down the coast in Big Sur. Yes, again, a spot with easy stealth camping not so very far away and dirt options for some of the ride each way. Since the tickets are $137.59, I am declining to formally attend, but reserving the option to lurk in the shadows outside while drinking pocket booze and dancing by myself. Anybody innerested? You do realize, your head will collapse if there's nothing in it.

I can see us spinning...


07 April 2014

strike from the shadows and slip away unseen

Condor start line 2014

Some bike trips are bigger than others. 6 days on the road...

Some bike trips' mothers are bigger than other bike trips' mothers. True fact. It makes a twisted kind of sense if you really think about it; the kind of thinking one can really only settle into whilst sitting around on your saddle with several other wasted and weather blasted hobos in the middle of nowhere deep in the heart of an 11 hour pedal. Drifting in and out of the here and now as weather, clothing, road/trail conditions, hunger, exhaustion, hilarity, helpful teammates, the availability of water (or tallboys), etc conspire to effect change.

Such weather! Sleeping in a luxurious campground shitter. Sleeping under a jury rigged $4 blue tarp as the storm raged and the thunder crashed about 18" overhead, and the hail fell hard and loud. Sleeping roofless under clear skies. Etc.

I enjoyed the ____ out of the Condor Tour 2014, and all of y'all who rode along were solid and even-tempered hard men of a type seldom seen in this modern and pussified world. Thanks, bros, I never had a better time. The wall rides down the penultimate downhill? Watching a paceline of dirty yahoos loaded with bags and racks hit them in formation? Words.

It was as though we were on a secret locals' tour everywhere we went. Super well routed. Several folks referenced the currently ubiquitous finely-documented bike touring epics sponsored by X, Y, and Z and laughingly compared our rag-tag band-of-brothers shoot-from-the-hip rough-and-tumble aggregate to that kind of slicksterism. Each time, we all laughed. Well, looking around at the other dirtbags, you had to. There was not the matching kit, nor the matching bikes, no support car, and the guy at the liquor store in Santa M_______ was so convinced I was just another homeless DUI on a bike he tried to deny me a plastic bag (which I needed in order to tear in half and line my disgustingly wet, cold and smelly shoes) know, regular assholes on whatever they brung.

I wish I had photos of all of it, but- alas!- I left my phone on the 1st day, and it died. I would show you the different set-ups, because that sort of thing is interesting to me. I was surprised and impressed at the packing skills some of these fools evidenced, as in "how does he keep pulling more warm clothes out of there?" and "I wish he had shopped for me instead of my own lousy choices", or "I'd like some of your beer", etc. As for me, I was running the well-used and trusted Surly Ogre, as it had served me well on the Death Valley Ramble and other bike campouts. I ran the Big Wheel front end because there were to be multiple dirt sections (local singletracks, oh yeah!) and I like the float without the complexity and I understand Murphy's Law. I was ridiculed and envied in turn...there were also lots of road sections. Overall, I am satisfied with my choice. I do wish I had run lighter racks and not assumed that my packed-to-go sleeping bag was the synthetic model I thought it was in stead of the susceptible-to-soaking down version that it actually was (check your gear, meathead). My choice in rain wear was the controversial waxed cotton poncho/chaps, and it worked as well as anything does in a full-on gale but it was slow to stow, requiring stopping and strapping. I feel like it was 6s, even given the headwinds (many and mighty). I did miss a wind-proof layer, and will remember it next time. My Jiffy-Pop surprise failed when sorely needed- the aluminum pan had taken too much abuse and sprung a leak, dropping ugly red geasewax all over the stove. I want a bigger tiTAINium cook pot. Using the future stove instead of my cave-tech Kelly Kettle not only saved bulk (we split the load) but worked in all the soaking wet conditions that would have really stymied the wood burner (thanks, To_d!).

Riding a paceline is a skill, and it is worth having. Those fellows all knew what they were doing, and it showed. Hand signals, laying off the brakes, etc. We moved along at a good clip, which felt great sometimes and was all I could do to hang on at the back other times. I will say- when you come to the front, do NOT surge, but keep the pace even. It hurts the yoyo at the rear.

I am left with Good Feelings. Mostly, I am deeply impressed with the routing- it was SO good. But also, I respect and admire the spirit of brotherhood (without getting mystical- it's just riding bikes) shown so casually.

If you go...just go. You don't need anything fancy. The gear you have is the best gear of all. Use it.