Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

30 April 2008

Snuck in a sneak

J and I rallied today for 3 hour tour before I went to work today. Wouldn't be prudent to write down all the routes we took today, suffice to say there was lots of forbidden dirt goodness. And, plus I had given J the choice as we started up the hill today, so he gets the credit for choices well called.

He picked the high route, and man did it pay off. The leetle guy continues to improve on the trailabike- the other day, he jumped off unbeknownst to me at a corner, and I was 1/2 way out in the 4 lane street before he started crying and running after me- Give Thanks I crossed with the light...and, now I check as well as remind him not to get off without permission. He does rock the bike quite a bit when he tries to hammer, and he really does try. I do have to keep on him about pedaling easy in the middle rather than dropping side to side, because it really throws the bike sideways and could be dangerous. Strangely, although I can really feel his added power on steep climbs, I don't feel the bike throw sideways. Not sure what goes on there. I also remembered his gloves the last couple days, and that's good.

So there was this
which was closed to traffic and that's rad.From there, it was a little way on streets and then a dirt cut through to the the street we explored the other day with all the unexplored singletracks leading off. We took some of them today, and came upon this encampment

which was super clean all around (1 empty can= total litter). Kinda creepy not knowing where we were completely and encountering an empty camp. I know there're a lot of homeless folks who squat around that area. Whoever camped there chose a good spot and was careful enough to remove all their goods when not home, so there was an odd reassurance in that. At least they're not so loosely crazed?
Then we stopped to say hi to Old _odd, who was behind the market and Gets It.
Finally up through Skyline to Huckleberry to sweet wrapping singletrack back down to Carmel. Quick and dirty through town to the finish. SWEETNESS.
Nothing but feeling good today. L comes home tonite. Yay!

28 April 2008

Cans don't open so good on their own.

Fact. You really need an opener. We've come real close to forgetting the Swiss Army Knife before (to the point of riding a block from home before remembering and turning around), but always pulled it off. So today, our number was up, and with a sinking feeling, I searched the bags hoping there was something that would work. It came down to pounding the can lid with a tiny Leatherman's flathead blade and a rock to punch holes around the rim...J was SO into this procedure. Banging and tools? If he had his rathers, we'd be doing it this way everyday.

27 April 2008

Lots done on the bike this weekend

L is in NYC for "business", and she's feeling much better. When we spoke last, she was at the Hair show (industry convention, not Broadway) and was going on to get a foot detox and cocktails. She consulted with her opthamologist(her eye was pretty swole) and a plastic surgeon(stitches removed) before leaving, and got the clean bill. Heck yes, she's feeling better- she's gone until Thursday!

Which left me with the boys, as N ditched us for a weekend long sleepover. So Saturday we hung around the house. I patched several tubes that had been laying around waiting, fixed a flat on the Long Haul Trucker and removed fenders from same (no more rain for several months-jinx). I then took the Surly Nice Rack front rack off and replaced it with the smaller Nitto cantilever mounted rack, which had been on the Xtracycle. Removed my poor beat winter rear wheel with the hippity hop and the hippity ho, and reinstalled the proven performing (c.1995, emmaeffahs) WTB Greaseguard hubbed wheel. I was just mentally patting myself on the back for being so forward thinking as to replace the used spare spokes on the LHT the other day, when on that same ride I broke a nipple on the substitute front wheel. I never build with bullshit aluminum nipples for just that reason, plus I'm a big boy and not gettin a whole lot trimmer.The wheelset I currently have with aluminum nipples was gotten in trade, and now it's time to rebuild...with brass nipples just like yo mama.
Next, I mounted the Surly rack on the Xtracycle for more capacity there (proven need from the last camping trip). I then built a new front wheel for the Xtracycle (in anticipation of a Big Dummy...someday)from a Shimano DH-3D71/ 32hole Mavic x719 26" rim. I have had good experiences with this hub so far (this being #3bikes so equipped), the drag is very low, it's readily available from your LBS, and real inexpensive like. I'm completely sold on generator hubs/lighting. The Schmidt stuff is super appealing, but equally expensive. Check out Peter White Cycles if you're innerested.

Then we rode to the store for cat food and Boboli.
So, the Boboli has some cheese (not much) on top and Whey and casein-from-milk in it, so we're jackvegans for certain. But damn, it makes a pizza real easy. Roasted some red bell peppers, made some tempeh shaushage.
Mmmmm, guys eat.

Sunday? Poolside, bitches.

P.S. I received a picture of the Sleaze Otter finish:I'd be careful if you encounter any of these people,they are degenerates. I'd estimate that twice this many folks registered...that's how grueling (retarded?) the course was.

25 April 2008

Brothers Johnson Stomp

This makes me wanna roller skate.

And now consider this...

in the mellow fireplace thrown light of the prior post. Mmmmmm, indeed.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR. SPORTY AT 40. yer an oooold man, now.

Those were the days

Yes. It was necessary.

23 April 2008

Like a teacher in the summer...

I have a dirty secret about which I am coming clean: I watch the Real Housewives series. I know, I know. I know. But it's beyond my power to stop. I don't seek it out, but like the train wreck it is- if it's on as I pass by I'll gape in wide wonder. Damn, do I love to hate those bitches.
The Orange County set up was actually far less hateable (for me, as only the real estate domineering alcoholic Vicki was completely detestable while the others were self indulgently grotesque but not as...out of control?) than this crop of sour NYC grapes. Though the goblin headed, socially grasping ghoul that is Alex made me cringe each and every time she appeared(with her husband who, I quote the 1st link, could not be more gay without exploding into pieces of candy) it was the _ucking Countess that really sticks in my craw.(I've got a craw, you know) This woman married into some family title, and considers herself to be above people because of it. The whole notion of aristocracy makes me angry and sad. To think, in this era, that some people buy this line of horseshit? That there's an inheritable Quality to these fools that necessitates deference or respect? Astounding. The exposure of the Countess's sneery entitlement came when she was introduced to a driver as LuAnn (by the surprisingly tolerable, though unfortunately named Bethanny) and she flipped out. If her reasoning in wanting/demanding to be introduced to (lesser mortal) men as Mrs. Whateveritis was that she wanted her marital status out in front, I'd have no problem. As it is, it was just that he was a driver, not an equally valued human being. She talked about writing a book on manners?I hope she is spit upon.

It colored my thinking all day. I thought about people I've known who have an innate Grace and bearing. I thought about Audrey Hepburn and Roman Holiday I thought about Noblesse Oblige. I thought about where to stop for Brown Lunch, today. J and I found some new cut thrus (closed to autos!) and some new trails! After living here for 7 years, we found stuff I'd only had the vaguest notions might be there. So rad. You want hints? Westland. Sylvan. JP. Upcoming group sneak around the Monterey Peninsula in the works. Get your alternate route knowledge, some tepid beers, and meet me at a time/place to be decided...

At least it isn't American Idol?

21 April 2008

Is there life among the stars?

Long term exposure to rarefied atmosphere can lead to undesirable effects. So, while I did not attend the Sea Otter Classic this year, I can say for certain that there was that element in town that could be classified as "unsavory." Not least of which being the rotten folks behind that evening of bullshit known as the Sleaze Otter noClassic.Yep. Even I, who have been counted among their supporters, recognize they're totally out of control and should be stopped from planning anything more complicated or meaningful than a prison cafeteria menu. Crazy.
It started with the organizer, calling himself "Carmel Bob" (though I have never seen him around), showing up late and clearly half in the bag. He was made up like a wino Uncle Fester. Then, he wouldn't take the whole $6 entry fee, but insisted on us taking $1 bill back so we could "tip [our] bartender". Even the one straight edge kid, who sneeringly told him he didn't drink was told "I don't care what you do or don't drink you still gotta tip your bartender." So, sloppily, we were registered and sent off with no gun or pomp.The manifest was a list of destinations including a trip to Marina (12 miles each way along the bikepath and exposed to a bitter cold wind off the bay that night) to Mortimer's Card Room to find out "what time is it in Barbados?" There was a supposed King of the Mountains cash prime and trophy at the top of "one of the hill climbs".Etc...

What ended up happening? Well, at the bar to which we were routed in Veteran's Park, we stumbled into the previously scheduled Gay Pride Celebration sharing the bar with us. This worked out well for some, who received free beers and cake. I was not so lucky, nor attractive. Hmmmmm, coincidence?At the top of the climb the trophy had already been won (story of my life), so we just drank some beers and then were sent down a dark and twisty (DARK) road back into Monterey. We had to ride to a statue of a sea otter to get a secret clue which directed us to a tatoo parlor, where we found a box of sharpies and the instructions to write "PYT" somewhere on ourselfs, and the reason given was "because of what PYT really meant, suckas!" There were guys in zombie makeup riding aimlessly along the route handing out beers and quizzing us on zombie survival tactics- one of our crew told them we weren't telling zombies any part of our plans, which earned more beers and some raspy zombie chuckles. We made it to the finish at the bowling alley to find the promoter being accosted by disgruntled "racers" who questioned his ruling on the Barbados question...only one group got the right answer, and everbody else's stories weren't matching up in details or the spirit of the thing. The 1st place "winner" (who had not got the correct time) "won" a coffe cup with a picture of some citizen racer which was not only second hand, but coffee stained from use that morning without having been washed! Priceless. 2nd place (who also had not got the correct answer) received a picture frame shaped like a pink brick wall with a little fairy pedaling a bike up the side. He seemed much happier than either of the other podiumers. 3rd place received a much-used saddle that "Carmel Bob" claimed had been donated by Swobo? He then handed out prizes of varying legitimacy to all the riders. Sweet top tube pads from Yanco Pads, t-shirts from Swobo& Surly&Black Cat Bicycles&Poison Spider Bicycles in Moab&Hunter Cycles (t shirts and sweet hoodies), Surly flasks (the look on the yellow jersey guy when the flask went out to some random dude and he had a used coffee cup? wow, I was happy.), wool hats and Jethro tools from Surly, camo hats from Swobo, and more? Yep. The joke was only on whoever could ride their bike to some potentially chaotic and certainly entertaining locales and not have a good time. And yes, the "top"3 got some good stuff, too. I must say, my favorite was the guy who "won" the 2 1/2 foot tall KOM trophy. In order to claim his payout, he was required to bring the trophy with him for the rest of the "race", to the finish. He skipped the Mortimer's leg (which was 24 extra miles by bike) and was denied his cash and dnfed. And, he had opted to ride the thing with no bag! Yes. Hand carried. That trophy had clearly been dropped (or thrown?) several times by the time I saw it at the bowling alley. It was rickety and bent. photo courtesy of the KoM winner...Lord Hayden

Man, I had a Good Time. Big thanks to those who put the event on and helped out! That's a thankless task, so thanks. If y'all don't do it, it won't get done.And to the sponsors, too- thank you. It matters to me, and those who matter, whether a company backs up their "marketing image" with some real support. Otherwise it's all talk. Not so here. If you need stuff, get it from these folks.

What time is it in Barbados? Come on. It's effing PARTY TIME. That's what time it is. A lot of you suckas missed out.

L fell down...

It was like this, only on bikes. everbody went out to Arroyo Seco yesterday to recover in the cold water. On the ride back out, she lost the front wheel and went doooownnn. Hospital trip after the 1 mile walkout to the p-lot, and 50 minute drive. Good crew to be with for this type of thing, as everbody sprang into action, including N in a big way (who was pretty freaked out to see her Mom in those straits).

32 stitches. 1 broken pair of glasses.Give thanks for helmets.

People be safe on yer bikes! I'm out.

17 April 2008

Just...sit right back, and you'll hear a tale

A tale of the Condor Lite miniTour from Arroyo Seco parking lot to some point about 12 miles out on the Indians Road.This being the 2nd installment in the saga that was Spring Break 2008, in which our merry band gets a hot and sweaty Good Time.

We left Arroyo Seco at the crack of 1pm, having cleverly waited until the heat index was highest. My only regret? No ant covered vegan jerky to eat. N and D rode their mtb's with no load, and it was hard enough to get N to agree to that. L rode her spanking red mixte with the clothes in panniers, and the cookware in her rack bag. J and I rallied the Xtracycle (since the Big Dummy seems to be a pipe dream for me...) with 5 sleeping bags and pads in one bag on a side with the (guesstimated) 9 lb cast iron griddle, and I don't even regret it one bit. On the other side we carried the stove, and 2 7lb paco pads. On top, behind J's new stoker position (he's a big boy now) was the food bag also containing propane and extra water, TP, 1st aid, etc. Cold food in the front cooler.I'm guessing 120lbs easy.I'm tired today, and you're tired of hearing me, so here's some pictures...
You know it's good when you're sucking dripping water from a slime covered wall. N actually said out loud that evening that the trip was fun.
It was too hot (and heavy, heheh) for a tent. Last time we were here we saw bloody evidence of a mountain lion the Bike Fort. You do what you can?

This really should have been a 4 day trip. The kids were strong, Strong, STRONG. Mostly because they don't know any better/worse, but they rallied like campionissimos.

Ideally, what you'll take from this is the notion that bike adventures are within reach for your family.

I mean, your kids don't know any better either. And if they do, you can always trick them.

16 April 2008

Up(and)coming Events


And so it goes. Inneresting rumors around town with regards to this most mercurial of local bike "race"s. All's I know is- I better get them chacha heels. Word on the boulevard has it that the effing course is not even set, yet?!? C'mon, people...don't do us like y'all did last year and let the participants make poor decisions in the heat of competetition. And, plus my sources in the back rooms and bordellos of old Monterey tell me that there may be something along these lines in the works. Playing it safe may be your best bet, but I'm putting my money where my outfit is-buried in the ground and aging to mouldy perfection...
Speaking of lines, apparently lines are already being drawn in the sand blown across the bikepath in regard to what bike to ride (and, sadly, whether there is a correct bike to ride), and if there is rampant glamourisation of poverty implied by the very crassly worded flyer? I say, play it by ear with a 6 pack to go and whatever rig suits your fancy pants.

Mini Rant: Why can't we, cyclists, be nice to ourselves when we meet us? Everybody else wants to run us over...who cares what kind of bike somebody else rides?!? They're on their BIKE, not you. Hipsters on fixxxies does not lessen the value inherent in riding connected, just as road bikes are swoopy and fast and don't lessen the offroad ride...Jesus _uck, people.

15 April 2008

We deal in lead.

That Yul Brenner moves like a dancer.


Good stuff, no matter how you slice it.

Got shut out trying to slip in to Ft. Ord above Seaside High today. J on the back of the xtracycle, easy to lift over the gate. Listen to the 1st guy's line about how it's closed- tell him not to see me as I go by. The 2nd truck comes to a stop and opens the door, "you can't ride in here, bud" dopplers by as I wave and keep on, but the 3rd guy was serious. Gave me "2 choices"- turn around or he calls the cops. They were digging up ordinance. He meant it. Dang, so close. Followed me all the way back to the gate and waited while we went out.

Insults, swallowed...none?

08 April 2008

goosebeery mesa or bust

Spring Break 2008 has come to a close with the kids returning to school today. There were several possible plans for the time, and it came down to driving out to Utah to meet old friends, and riding a sort of Condor lite tour. Welcome to the 1st installment-Gooseberry Mesa.Gooseberry has been the latest hotspot (that I know) for mountain biking for several years now, and seems to be gaining in popularity. It's a fun place to ride, and has great views. I do not feel it is "so great" on it's own merits as far as riding goes (people who know tell me there's better riding off the mesa proper, but that I cannot speak to- not having done it). It's a lot (a LOT) of upper body work, as you're constantly picking the front end up and placing it on ledges or steep slickrock pitches, and there's mucho rolling up and down.The trails are sneaky; they switch it up directionally and vertically quite a bit. It's fun. But not as worthwhile a destination as Moab or Fruita. The riding reminded me of both, in different spots- particularly some of the rim stuff seemed like Horsethief, in Fruita...but it was not as sustained and flowing. It does feel effing remote, though. Which is nice. And there were few other folks, which is also nice.

It was great for camping out in familial groups! My crew arrived first (and on time...) so we set up camp as best we could and set in to wait with some guerilla bocce ball.Then it was time to try out J's fit on the trailerbike.I'd fitted him before we left to make sure it was feasible, and with a little fine tuning and some last minute instruction, he was ready to go.That guy is a trooper.
Riding with him meant I had to take it easy on the drops and speed. His post was slammed and it was just low enough for him to pedal, but not stand off the seat to absorb impacts. That meant he was bounced and in danger of getting bucked off if I got crazy. The trails at Gooseberry were his intro to this latest stage in his riding life, and he's so willing it brings tears to my eyes. Whenever we'd stop for any length of time he chimed in "Ohhhhhh! Are we gonna ride bike now?" Yes.

Hevi K___ and A__ arrived from SLC with 10 year old L____ that afternoon. I'd neglected to put out the hula hoop trail marker as promised to guide them to camp, but it was all hailfellowwellmet, and the 2 families went out on a sunset cruise.

S____,K____,A____, and S_____ were so far off the back they hadn't left Moab yet by the time we'd arrived, and ended up slinking in around 11pm. By which time we'd flagged down one unsuspecting motorist (by whirling glo-sticks) who asked if we were allright, and then wanted to know if we were locals. I guess that's how they do in Hurricane, Utah.

And the next morning, while drinking coffee and whiskey, I got a glimpse-from the corner of my eye- of this:
All the kids were over at K&S's camp when S____ was preparing this visual feast. In reply to their queries as to the reason for this (setting aside the concerns about sound judgement with regard to parenting or proper hygiene), he told them he forgot his shorts.

So there's that. The tone had been set, and all weekend was spent living up to it. There was Dad riding...
The slickrock here had a crumbly aggregate texture unlike other places I've been.

And there was Mom riding. There was mixed group riding.
And there was: hula hooping,
a broken (and fixed trailside) chain,
beer and whiskey,
tentless nights beneath the stars,
underwear(and pants) airing out on bushes,
coffee and camp cooking,
K____washed my kid's feet,
a rubber chicken,
stories and jokes were told and laughs were laughed.

Good Times.

On Monday, we all lingered over breakfast and then got it together en masse to ride out to the North Rim to have Brown Lunch together before parting. 4 kids on their bikes,5 parents on theirs, J on the trailerbike, and S_____(who is 1 1/2) rode in a babypack on S____'s back.

It was so fun, we'll do it again next year. There's talk of switching the venue year to year- favoring someplace snowless, so's we can ride. Here's hoping y'all are having good adventures on and off your bikes.

We traded books on tape with the SLC crew, giving Michael Chabon's "Gentlemen of the Road" for Jack Keruoac's "On the road." Inneresting swap. That Dean Moriarty is an ashhole, if you ask me, though.

03 April 2008

gitcher Taint Cradle while ther hottt.

People find this little light in the darkness, and huddle around the Church of the Sweet Ride for whatever warmth and comfort it brings them. Pilgrims from many paths, singletrack or pave,seek out a place to celebrate jackassery of all kinds. These good folk, yourself included, have used many different instruments of cyclestial navigation to find it.

Some sorry knucklehead used this search: "taint cradles". To which I can only say "Hell YEAH!"

Well, I suppose I may have mentioned something about one's taint being cradled, at some point...

And, in following this fascinating line of inquiry, I found this. So that's nice.

Felt strong today, after yesterday's rest/rain. J and I rolled out for the climb in fine spirits. At the top of the Hill, and preparing to go higher, the rear tire really began grazing the fender all of a sudden. Since I'd put on a 700x38(!) in the rear (and a 700x40 in the front! with fenders!!) for Wednesday's Brown Lunch ride, I figured my luck had it that the fender was out of adjustment for such toight tolerances. So up into a convenient tree the bike went... J really hides from the camera now, I wonder if it's cuz I mask him...
which makes it so much easier to work on, and saves wear on my taint cradling british racing green Brooks.
And here found I'd broken a spoke.My poor, abused, winter wheel. Luckily (luck? ha!) I had one last spoke in the 3 spoke capacity integral holder on the left chainstay of my thoughtfully designed touring bike, the Surly Long Haul Trucker.

And luckily (hell yes, luck.) I was able to thread the spoke through the cassette, as I had no cassette cracker...
Then we trued it up and rode on about our business. I love that.

And it brought home again the importance of attitude over anything else, including even preparedness. You cannot be prepared for every eventuality, but you can have a "can do" attitude and most likely find some way to make it work. And I really love that.