Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

31 August 2008

2 wheel drift

same saddle height, much lower bars

on a fixed cross bike is like is like 4 wheel drive in your sporty Jeepster.

Fort Ord is getting saaaaandy. It feels good to lean into the turns and yank the front end back from the brink. With the constant drive, it can hook up so nicely. Couple days, couple hot laps around East Garrison, maybe some #49 (from the bottom to the top,the top to the bottom, MFer's). Having been on just the fixed crosscheck this week, after the singlespeed beatdown last weekend, the difference in ride is easy to appreciate. With no option to lay back and coast, I find my forearms/hands taking less of a beating than on the rigid SS. Not what I'd have thought. Being over the front (cuz, uh, my bars is too low) and having to keep my weight balanced on the ever-rotating pedals causes me to loosen up the grip. Causes me to stay loose all over the bike. I find myself weighting the turns very differently to avoid pedal strikes and continue the spin. Definitely no leaning inside and letting the bike swing around- nope. Gotta be on top, sometimes even outside. And spinning all the while. You forget how kickass it is. You do. You do. You do.

Other times it's utterly terrifying. I find myself in a turn with way too much on it, and stack into the pointy/brittle Manzanita.

Either way, I sure do lik bikes.

And, plus check out this train track J and I set up:

Here you go


29 August 2008


It is Funny to me.
And speaking of cartoons, if you haven't checked out Yehuda Moon, you should. It is better drawn, too.

28 August 2008

Dental Hygeine

J had his 1st day of preschool today. He pretended to be shy. He is happy to go, though. It's what the Big Boys do.

This left me kidless for a while. It was weird. I decided to make the most of it by going to the dentist. Via fixed crosscheck and offroad, of course. I had an hour to get there, and managed to pack in the sneaky pete loop in it's entirety! From Church World HQ up the hill, up some more, over and up again, across, roll, roll, down, down, doooown. Post sswc08, legs feeling suplesse. It's nice. 12 minutes to spare.

Trails are super dry right now.

The hygeinist was the new girl, whose name I forget, and again she was better than D_____, the guy with whom they used to schedule me. He's a triathalete who talks about his crappy tribike and tries to pump me for equipment advice. That's fine, I lik to talk about bikes. But not for 15 (no kidding) minutes with my bib on under a bright light while someone sits over my face holding dental tools prior to actually getting to the cleaning. When I worked at Joselyn's, he'd come in and take up my time going over products we had in stock and then not buy them. He'd go home and order them online. Weak.[SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHOP!!!!]

So, this new girl has a bike, and claims to use it, but no talky talk. She also has a nice hand with the highpower dental tools; it doesn't hurt when she is blasting away. She seems very fired up about dental health, which is what you want in someone responsible for keeping your mouf healthy. She even made sure my water bottle was refilled before I left.

Left the dentist and rode up Veteran's to Pebble trails. Where I dropped my chain on the downhill, and grabbed a whole lotta brake(s) to skid to a stop in the duff. The chain had wrapped twice around the cog in the time it took me to stop. I don't know how y'all ride brakeless.( Maybe you are better mechanics, and check tension during rides? I had checked tension before riding, along with tire pressure.) Pulled out the useful Crank Bros. Multitool and straightened myself out. Rolled on more dirt to home, and still had all my teef.

27 August 2008

New Adventures

I keep thinking about railbiking.

The Bentley Railbike plans are available from this site, and it looks very simple yet effective. I like that it keeps the bike useable off-track as well. We could mount a platform on the bottom struts of the outrigger and load it with some lightweight camping gear+food.

There are some commercially available railbikes here. They look pretty solid. They look nice and low, and could handle a load of camping gear+food. They also look they'd be a giant pain in the ass to heave off the track in a hurry. I think the heavability is no small thing. Let's be honest: you know as well as I that we're not going to be content to just tool around on some 3 mile long abandoned railway. C'mon. Don't kid yerself, we want to ride across Nevada or down to Mexico.

26 August 2008

Steel is strong because it knew the hammer and the heat.

Here's something: people who are respected are that because they've earned it. So don't come around with stories about what you will do, or had planned to but didn't on account of.

You know, unless there's some kind of a papier mache cougar involved. Then? Maybe.

25 August 2008

...and the bike you rode in on.

Curtis Inglis looks like Ramon Rojo from "A Fistful of Dollars"(currently anyway). This is relevant to our discussion in that I rode into his town, a stranger with no name, and totally ruled his little race. Yes, that's right, you heard right. Like a hired gunslinger.(I lik his bike.)
Man, what a Good Time. 3 laps with mandatory hike-a-bike sections. People freaked out. Saturday saw a lot of people scrambling for lower gears. I saw several full suspension singlespeeds, which to me is missing the point. These were reputable people, folks out for a good time, thinking people. The course routing put that much fear into them.

Not all of them were thinkers. There were the guys camped near us in ladies dance wear a la 1986. It's not the ladies dance wear, or the extended taping of their torsos prior(?), it's simply the ghastly lack of taste in color and pattern. There were the guys who opted to wear tighty whiteys sans chamois in order to (humiliate themselves for the amusement of others*) win prizes. There was a couple on a tandem single who were killing it slithering down the technical descent. And it was technical- rocky snags funneling into deep ruts with ugly consequences and very tight switchbacks. (I had to come to a near dead stop, steer way outside, and hop the rear end around several. You prolly rallied right through all that.) There was this guy:
KB rode two 30 packs of Tecate in a Bob trailer down a hairy descent in order to man a jeering/refreshment stop with a view of a very technical creek crossing. This allowed him and his ever rotating crew of hecklers to maximize their taunting in regard to duration and opportunity. I laughed so hard each time I stopped (3 laps) I couldn't join in the booing. Speechless with mirth. My favorite, and probably the most heard, was "STOP SUCKING!!!!" Also good: "We can tell when you're pretending!", "You're supposed to be WINNING! You're not WINNING right now! What the _uck is wrong with you?!?!?", "How's your heart rate?", "Get that guy, he's kicking your ass! Oh, NO you blew it- you missed the winning move!", "What's your GPS telling you?","BOOOOO!!" (lotta booing, sometimes switching from booing to yaying with no real reason), etc.

"You can say anything you want to people when you're in a bunny suit and not get punched! I'm gonna see how far I can push this..."

There were a couple guys at the base of a climb, 1 dressed in a silver lame suit and 1 in an Indian PJ-looking belted leisure suit with a boom box playing the intro to "Hell's Bells" and saying "This is for you, bro. This is for your climb. Enjoy it!"

There was the expected (and appreciated) crew of yahoos spitting beer on racers (and spectators) while insulting them and trying to get them to pick up dollar bills ("Pick it up with your pussy!") out of beer cans. There was lots of (empty) can throwing as well. As I was leaving this gauntlet I heard a small boy ask his mother if the racers were drinking beer. He sounded confused. His mother told him in no uncertain terms that some of the spectators were drinking beer, but none of the racers. I told the kid in very certain terms that some of the racers were drinking beer.

These were the referees. They cheered, whistled, and slapped racers on the ass.

The course was tough and fun. Almost everyone was feeling it. Certainly everyone felt they could say anything. I've never been around so many talented shit talkers. It was outstanding.

With a rumored 400 riders, it was also incredibly dusty. I credit my high placing to my trusty bandana SARS mask. It was dusty. See this guy:

Before, sporting the fresh new Black Cat Bicycles jersey...

and After, sporting a thick layer of chalky dust...

I poached this race. Here's looking at the le Mans start from secret poach spot by a tree.
You may have heard about the last minute amnesty granted to people who weren't registered. After making them believe they were racing for the last 20 spots, Mr. Inglis sent these poor saps out for a 1/2 mile run around the coral before entering them all. I believed this to be a trap, so I did not step up to be counted. This worked out well for me, in that I remained ineligible for any of the SWEET PRIZES. My thinking was somewhat clouded all weekend. Since I was not registered and had not paid, I did not stop to pick up any of the Easter Eggs (no, real plastic ones) containing raffle #'s hidden in plain sight on the climbs. I also did not crash and become litigious. I'm not aware of anyone who did, I'm just sayin.

No, I just waited until enough of the front runners had gone by, then slipped in amongst the riders, and took it out on them. Like a hired gunslinger with a cast iron plate roped around his sweaty neck.

Giant Thank You to all those who put on this Fine event. Y'all did a great job. I bet it was hard.

Next year, I'll see y'all in Durango Colorado for sswc2009.

*Well, really that was all of us, I suppose.


There was so much pressure.
There was a lot of pressure.

21 August 2008

Thinkin of a master plan

but ain't nothin but sweat inside my hand.

2nd Middle School morning

Ladies and bikes. Kickass commuters.

N off to school, L off to work.N is still fussing a little about the bike (last night she tried to talk L into letting her ride the bus. She knew better than to approach me on that. We live about 1 mile from her school.), and I pointed out that if I'm the only one who takes riding for transport seriously then N will always feel like taking the easy out. It's how she does. L is riding to work today! It doesn't hurt that it's nice out, though. I can't stress enough how stoked I am to see them off like this. Having us get around by bike is near to my heart and good for all of us. Even you.

20 August 2008

The End of Summer?

Yes, I told her she must lock the front wheel as well from now on.

School started at our house today.

3rd grade for D, at the same school, same schedule, same route by foot. He doesn't pay attention to his surroundings to ride alone, but he likes the independence of doing it himself. Middle school for N, and a new routine- different times, different school, and riding to school versus walking. L accompanied her this morning on her bike. N was very resistant to riding- different excuses were floated but it boils down to (laziness) peer pressure. She doesn't want to be "the only kid in school who rides their bike!" It's too bad she was born into this family where her pleas fell on deaf ears. We sussed out a really nice route that only involves one big street crossing (at a light), and 5 blocks total riding with traffic. I could not have imagined a better access. Her bike is parked under some dense tree cover, so it's as protected as it would be outside anyplace. The school doesn't have a bike rack (!), and when I asked about it they claimed no one was using it so they "had it removed". I'd make it an issue if the access/parking were not so OK, but as it stands it's better in my eyes. No one sees the bike where it is now.

J and I trailerbiked down to meet her after school, and lo and behold:

Yep, those are kids' bikes. They rode them to school. Looks like she's not the "only..."
She's the only kid in school with a sweet ride.

19 August 2008

El lugar secreto, manos y manas.

You will find a secret spot and ride your bikes to camp in it.

It doesn't have to be a big production, super back country, or an all day epic- it just has to be kickass.

Today, the last day of summer at our house, we all woke up in the woods. Tomorrow school begins and we wanted to end vacation right. The plan had been that the kids and I would ride the ~15 miles out to the trailhead for the secret spot and L would come out after work to meet us. Like all plans (that I make anyway) this went awry.

First (and primarily) I put off the packing until way late. Then I lubed and aired the kids bikes, and adjusted N's brakes. Glued her slippy grip on solidly. When I checked the xtracycle's rear tire pressure, I found a broken spoke. I didn't have any of that size at home [NB-keep xtra spokes for the xtracycle!!! a wheel that loaded is bound to pop some...], so I robbed N's rear wheel from her townie and swapped tires. Then the brakes required readjustment (which requires partially removing the load bags from the frame), and the pads were worn to the holder, so pads robbed from yet another see.

The result was that L came home early, and we drove (lame) to the trailhead and then loaded up and rode out to camp. Everything was magic from that point... Xtracycle loaded. That's 5 sleeping bags, 4 (he)man tent, 3 gallons of water, 2 paco pads, 1 camp stove, a griddle (heavy), some pots and dinnerware/utensils, dinner and breakfast, odds and ends... It is good to have straps.

Xtracycle panda shot. Having the water and food low down in the panniers on the front end suuuuucked. It made for some real wiggly handling.
D is ripping it up these days. He carried his PJs and a bedtime story (The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan- it's good.) in his pack.

Kids and kites. D and J were throwing watermelon rinds at the kite as N flew it. D got one in the kite and couldn't stop talking about it. It was a good shot.

J flew a kite. He had loaded his own pack with a baby bib, one mitten, one fleece sock, 6 pairs of underwear, a swimsuit, and a pirate t-shirt.

Pancakes on the heavy-ass griddle. Grits with green chiles and smart bacon on the side.

Yes. That spatula is a beer can.
Morning load. Lightened the panniers quite a bit.

J in his spot. He was able to lean back in style. L models her country bike CrossCheck in the background.

"Come on!"

And trail ride...Go!

18 August 2008


Hey all you Monterey Bay crackers....but especially you Seaside folks?

Lord Hayden's bike was took from Asilomar Beach. Please be on the alert. If you see someone on it, and you feel capable, cripple them and take the bike. The bloodier the takedown, the better. If they're bigger than you- call the cops, man.

black 54 cm Surly Cross-check, mostly standard parts (Tiagra, Deore/Alex Wheels, Salsa bars and CR's) with a black rear fender, Time ATAC pedals, seat bag, green sticker on top tube, and bright orange handlebar tape.

Fucking bike thieves.

17 August 2008

a palpable hue of anticipation


I start my taper as you read this. Time to ramp up phase II, in which I find out just how many canned beers my pack will hold. Got to get some more koozies...

After my day of running on Thursday, my legs felt assy. Friday found N babysitting the boys while I malingered along all these trails, uh, testing my setup. (No on the flowered brown twill western shirt- too hot.) Sneaky pete stuff to Cside to Fort Ord. Then back to Joselyn's to harass customers and staff. Up Veteran's through Pebble trails and home. Maybe 40? 45? It was a longer ride, nowhere near the climbing Napa will present, but a nice leg shaker.

I need to bleed my brakes, get new/knobbier tires, a 20t cog, and some aluminum headset spacers (the carbon fibers are creaking and make me nervous). I'd also very much like to put together a papier mache cougar like we talked about before, and string it along the race course on a zip line. Realistically, there's no time. But it's fun to imagine. There would be some freaked out Europeans, fo sho.

On the way back into town, I stopped along the bikepath to talk with a homeless guy I see around. He offered me a cigarette (which I declined, as I don't smoke them), and I offered him some beer (which he declined, as it wasn't "his day to drink"). He's got an interesting bike set up for the looong haul (barcon shifters in barends mounted inboard of his grips, Ortlieb panniers, nice quality racks, tidy gear stowing, everything painted green and brown), and is clearly not a whacko- just a guy with no permanent address. His name is Henry. He's retired and rides around living wherever he's at. He'd just returned via bike, from a trip up and down Hwy 1 to San Diego. Just because. It was interesting talking with him, and I'll stop to do it again. He should have a blog, and you should read it instead.

14 August 2008

hand over mouth

Went running yesterday. I toyed with running last summer/fall, and it works. It's a time saver for sure- it's quick out the door, you can pack a 3 hour ride into a 45 minute run, and it just feels less involved than a ride (there's no gear to put on, or last minute mechanical shi_ to do). It's also not fun.Bike are fun, but lately I haven't had the time to really get some. And it's been showing. So, running. I felt like poo starting out and for the first 5 minutes. Then I stopped to stretch (see? I can learn) and after that settled into a rythm. I started to think how nice it felt, and how I should maybe run all the way down to the beach and such. But I knew that'd be too much and reigned it in, which was good because after I stretched for the 2nd time (before climbing the hill to home), my quads and calves were hurting in that deep almost crampy way. Felt surprisingly OK this morning. I had a little deep/lactic pain in the calves, which I rubbed out. Now just some fatigue in my quads.

Stretching is key.

Finally, I forgot to mention that on the Western Trip, T___ carried a toilet brush and lube in his pack. I cannot stress enough how crucial this was. At one point, in Crested Butte, it started raining. We'd already had our first brush with on/off downpour on the Lizard Head-Durango ride, which I mention because having been through that I put my jacket on as soon as the first drops hit. It was a good thing I did, too. It immediately became a hard, stinging torrent. This then turned to ice. It was pretty high, maybe 10,000 ft or so.( It was like you were standing just out of grabbing range and hurling handfuls of marble sized ice shards at me as hard as you could without stopping.WTF? Why would you do that?) Oh, it was a steep uphill so I was walking. After 7 or 8 minutes of this, there was a soccer ball sized clot of mud at the BB which prevented the wheel from turning. So I carried the bike for a while. When I caught up with J__&T___, they were in the trees- perfectly dry and warm. At least there was the brush, you know, to take the edge off.

When your drivetrain is covered in gunk, this is huge. Take heed.

get right with _____________(insert godhead of choice here)

Oh my god. This speaks to me, fundamentally, in tongues. Not least because of Lucinda Williams' take on it.

I'm in the process of building a shrine for the Love Muffin Cafe, in Moab. Whether it's late night fork rebuilds, sampling canned beer in a poorly lit parking lot while eating overpriced fries when you had really wanted tater tots, or preparing cryptically titled food items-pure gold. So, I was doing a little research into bike shrines, and found this. Our man Harrison Mayes spread his personal Sweet Baby Jesus by bike. None of these bakfiet-come-lately types are hauling any kind of ass like the weight of the world.

I've got to start building me(and you?) some riding shrines. Perhaps these trailside attractions will be inspirational and stocked with the essentials- a pint of Old Grandad, patch kit, chain links and tool, matches, allen wrench set, clear plastic rain cape, maybe some lube. You know. Stuff you can use.

Maybe I'll tell you where they are, if you ask nicely. Maybe not, the way the whole easter egg situation has been working out.
Amen and pass the snakes, brother.

Y'all thought I was joking when I raved about the taint moleskin? Well, think again, suckers. Ridiculous as it seems at first, it is a fantastic idea for epic rides. Not so sure about the whole reuse thing, though.

12 August 2008

run to your life what J says when he's "scared".

The kids requested scary stories while on the River Trip. One of the Rules of the River is :No electronic entertainment allowed. You could argue the grownups break this rule by bringing cameras, but you'd be a bored kid desperate to latch on to any perceived loophole in which to wedge your foot, hoping you could parlay your dreamt-of successful argument into a video game and an ipod. The upshot of the Rule is a much greater sense of community (unless everyone's buried in a book) due to the games and such that take the place.

My brother and I obliged them. Scaring children is, after all, one of the chief joys of parenting. Anyone who tells you that kids don't like being scared was raised wrong. In order to really drive home the story, I like to include elements of what's around; whether current events, local history, or locale itself.

My brother (let's refer to him as Big Dummy) started off with the story of "Old Man Withers" who buried his money in his yard and brought it out to roll in under the light of the full moon. Meh. Then I told the story of the local miners who'd mysteriously disappeared, only to show up as skeletons, having been buried alive up to their necks in the river bottom by angry Nez Perce locals, when the river was dammed and the bottom showed. Then BD told one about a haunted coyote with eyes of gold who terrorized the local miners because of their unholy obsession with wealth. Then, to up the ante, I told this one:

Bitter Shape Shifter Bites Kids!

Not that long ago, in Eastern Oregon (we were very close, in Idaho on the Salmon River) there lived a bruja [Spanish for witch-this gives the story gritty realism, as "witch" is clearly make believe while "bruja"? well, it could happen...] who was terribly bitter about her grown children never bringing her grandchildren to visit. The fact that she'd been a terrible parent and was mean to kids was, uh, beside the point. She was upset. So, she decided to work a spell which would allow her to visit the kids. She transformed herself into a vampire bat and flew over to the village where her grandchildren lived, but she couldn't recognize them and had to spend all night in bat form looking. She began to get hungry...

(are you ok? you want me to continue? sure? well, because you look a little freaked out, is all. allright...)

She flew to all the windows in the village, and eventually grew madder and madder and hungrier and hungrier. Finally,she just let the vampire nature overtake her and she bit one kid on the ________!!!!! [insert exposed body part of child closest to you. optional grab of said part]
This was so bloody and terrible that she lost herself completely and bit several more kids' _____s!!! [ you know what to do] She was a bat all night, and barely made it back to her cave in the foothills [or some place near your house, if you're really mean] before dawn.
When the kids and parents of the village awoke the next morning and found the children had been gnawed on, they were really POed, and vowed to find out what had happened. They consulted their local shaman [pronounced "shay-man" cuz that's so irritating to my brother], who told them it was the work of a supernatural vampire bat, on account of how real vampire bats don't behave that way [do NOT underestimate your audiences knowledge of the animal kingdom]. The sha(y)man instructed the villagers to stay awake that night with torches and pitchforks in order to keep their children safe. So they did.

But, staying awake all night is very hard. One by one, the villagers dozed off. And sure enough, the bruja had come back that night to find some children to suck on. She didn't even only want to find her own grandkids anymore- she was totally crazy now. And she quietly flapped back and forth until she found some kid with his/her _____ sticking out[yes again], and she landed on that kid and bit the ____!!! Then she found another. And another.

When the kids and parents awoke the next morning, one or two houses had been burned down from dropped torches and one guy had a hole in his favorite chair from a dropped pitchfork. Also, 4 or 6 kids had been bitten by the mysterious, supernatural vampire bat. The parents had to once again spend the morning disinfecting the bites and putting bandages on the kids, while wondering what to do. Finally, the local sha(y)man decided he would use up the remains of his power doing the difficult spell to change himself into his spirit animal- the owl. [NOT the skunk.] He did this because he loved the children of the village, and wanted them to be safe. All day the sha(y)man worked on his difficult spell, sweating and singing, with feathers and stuff. By nightfall, he was ready.
That night, by the flickering light of many torches, the sha(y)man became a Great Horned Owl, and flew high above the village on wings so silent, not even bat sonar could locate him. Again the bruja quietly flapped into the village looking for children. She was very hard to see, and was very tricky- being an evil bruja, and all. But just as she was trying to open the first window, the sha(y)man plummeted from above and pinned her with his talons! Then he gobbled her up, because bats are pretty similar to mice, and owls can eat mice, no problem. And that was the end of that.
J (3), N(11), and my niece,T(8) were all so gripped I had to let them off the hook. I told them that the sha(y)man had told the parents that as long as parents loved their kids and took care of them, he'd be able to keep the bruja in his belly and the kids would be just fine. They all started saying things like "Oh, okay, I'll be fine, then."

D(8) just looked at me and said,"Is that all?"
I think he was looking for some more blood and guts. Anyhow, that was the last story that night.