Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

31 May 2009

this guy is blowing my mind

He is dropping science like Galileo dropped a orange...

are you looking for the motherlode?

This is a song that makes me glad there is a repeat setting on the CD player.

29 May 2009

I ride "centuries"...It's tough.

I used to have kickass sweatband (and really, aren't they all?) with that little nugget on it. It was accompanied by scrawled drawerings of an orange skinned cyclist (and really...) grimacing in various poses on his bike.
Man. That was a fine representation of everthing for which I stand.

Speaking of grimacing. A series of missteps led me to ride my crossbike in Santa Cruz on Thursday, and all by my lonesome. I rode upside Westside Ridgeside, and that bike was so zippy and so perfect, it had a little name inscribed on it- it said "#18 barely legal". Even with the standard 53/39 road cranks the bike was never the limiting factor on that hill. From there, I made my next poor choice; which was to take Corral Trail down.Steep rocky descent. Oops, pinch flat. The mosquitos were so bad I had to pump for 30 seconds, disconnect, run down trail for 20feet, pump 30 more seconds, repeat, repeat repeat...
Then it was up Highland to Summit, and over to the top of a road I shall not name (but I will whisper it) where some mini Cooper comes skidding to a halt 30feet away. The lady sees me, zips over to where I am attempting without success to party with my bike (long, inaapropriate explanation involving custom hardware, brass parts seized together, and safety being a priority) and skids to a halt in the gravel beside me already demanding to know how to get to Santa Cruz on a back road...I lied to her convincingly and sent her over to Old San Jose; on account of I wanted her nowhere near my riding.
So after an incredibly sweet one laned descent down the shadiest and windiest and swoopiest road anywhere anywhen (and after being nearly crashingly reminded that it is never a good idea to ride too far over the line when the course is not closed) I missed the turn.

I am usually so spun at this point in the ride that I just follow wheels. And "usually" can be interpreted to mean "of the 3-4 times I have ridden this route".

Regardless, I missed the turn. When I was sure I'd missed it I turned back and rode every one of the 5 turnoffs that seemed reasonably possible. During the traffic pile up surrounding the high school as it let loose the teenagers. None panned out. So it was Scott's Valley down to Mt. Hermon. For those not familiar, this road is the soul killingest stretch of 4 laned Phoenix, AZ style road available within 100 miles of here.
And when I reached Bean Creek, that seemed familiar so I took it. Aaahhh, back to shady single lane back road Goodness. Downhill to boot. But then, in the middle of the good downhill and just when I was getting comfortable with ignoring the little voice telling me I should have hit a cross street to go Westerly, I saw a little sweaty man riding towards me that I recognized. And he was coming downhill because I was now going uphill and I recognized him from Glenwood miles ago before I missed my turn. So it was no surprise to climb for some time back up and miss the turn again, and ride back down Scotts Valley again.
And then onto Mt Hermon, where the car that U-turned in front of me flagged me down so that the shoeless female could say "Oh my God! Can you help me? I dropped my phone number [a scrap of greenish paper] out the window and there it is. [again, 4 lanes of traffic] Can you get it for me?" I debated very briefly explaining to her why that was so outrageously selfish/shortsighted/ludicrous/etc a request, but I settled for saying "Shit, no." And riding away.
Then I made several more errors in route finding (involving but not limited to seeing Skypark/Lockwoode and thinking huh, that's the one spot but where do we go from there...and yes, missing the turn) until I got on the RR tracks and rallied them down.
I thought for a split second about UCON, but I remembered I was tired and sweaty and decided to take the RR back down. And plus, that way I got to see all my peers stumbling along looking for a place to do their _________ next to the tracks.
After that, I picked my way (foolishly getting mixed up and making the longest route out of it that I could) across town and back to the start.

It was fun. I will do it again, only I won't miss the turn(s).


This brings to mind the County Line

on account of I said it only stops being fun if you let it. Which is true, but I will confess in this here cloistered space it stopped being fun a couple times during Thursday's ride. I kept going and soon enough it became fun again, or the fun which had been hidden was again revealed or something else half-assedly mystical. Because that's how it is riding the bikes.

People. Here's the thing: everybody wants to go on "epic" "sick" rides....but unless those people are doing their homework, they fail. Unless folks are out there, by themselves, sweating, hurting, flossing, jerking (got your body working)...they cannot keep the pace required by the scope of a truly big ride. The sunset won't wait. Unless people get out on their 1 hour here/2 hour there personal forays into actual riding...the real demands of such a ride cause it to be either physically beyond reach in distance or pace, and/or no fun because it hurts too much.

There is so much subjectivity in the assessment of what constitutes an epic ride. There are people faster and fitter than __________ who can do more and who have to wait on you (if they are willing), and there are people less so on whom you have to wait (if you're willing). That is well and good. I personally find it to be more fun to push harder (and drink several beers during the ride) so I will happily chase people faster than me whenever I can convince or trick them to wait for me. I do this fully aware that when I show up {gasping} they are ready to leave and have been for some time. I know that I have to follow that wheel as best I can or be lost or stuck in the dark. I maintain a humor about it as long as I can and shut my damn mouth when I cannot any longer. I bring tools and a pump and a spare tube(s). I bring enough food and hopefully something to share (OK, when I remember. I'm not so great at bringing enough food. But I am trying.) I-that's enough.

An all-day epic ride ought to hurt some, and unless one is at a certain point, the hurtin ain't easy it just hurts. There is a fine line between hurting being enjoyable and hurting stealing the joy from a ride. Ride on that line as if it were the flowiest of singletracks.

26 May 2009

time to make the donuts

Quick up and over to work this day. Townie style. Bit of excitation popping up/out of the exit from the bike path which dumps you full tilt into oncoming traffic when there is some. Thing is, it is such a little used side road that you never consider there will be oncoming traffic; so when there is, you are letting it hang all out in the worst possible place and way. I came flying down that hill, into the dip and up/out almost directly into the front end of a sheriff's cruiser. I veered into the gutter and kept going. He did not turn around. As good as I could ask for, given the circumstances. Note to self: slow down there, maaaan.


After work I fixed the flat which had set in over the course of my shift. Then I headed up the hill via my now accustomed route in the dirt. Shirtless, weightless, colorless and dateless. Feels good to apply leg strength to the pedals and make the bicycle move over ground. Upon arriving at the egg grounds, I noticed a flash of blue in the bushes which upon inspection proved to be a balloon. This balloon was in a nice clearing. I looked around with camping in mind. I saw a game trail that had been torn up in a peculiar way, so I looked closer and found all the scooped areas in front of small piles of duff were sites where something had attempted to cover hairy turds thicker than your thumb and 5-7 inches long... it was a mountain lion midden. Well established and about 15 feet away from the spot where I habitually (it sounds bad put like that) stop to drink a beer in the woods.

(I saw no lions, just poop. not my photo...)

I guess the mountain lions go for the same type of hangouts I do.

24 May 2009

getting a lot of play

Hey, she's that good. We had not heard before this guy posted this:

Thanks, A23.

And, plus she reminds me of Kate Bush.

21 May 2009

if I could have your attention for a moment while we go over the safety procedures

I spent the morning casually riding around town with my sweetie- acting like citizens, getting coffee, returning library books, etc. She looked real sophisticated gliding around on her fancy girl mixte with the fenders and the baskets. Except for her rear thumbshifter, which has sheared itself off at the extension for the barrel adjust. I sort of put it back in place and it is held there by cable tension for now...I better fix that.

Today was a minimum day for the youngest; school out at 12:30. Pickup via bicycle as requested. Right away we fought the rotten offshore headwind heading towards the mouth of the valley. From a comfortable speedy coasting downhill, we rounded the corner into a near total stoppage of forward motion which required constant pedaling vigilance to cleave our way onward.

Slip slip slipped up the hill. There was a lot of walking. A lot. But no complaining.

We stopped on the South Side for a beer and a juice box in the woods. Sat side by side on a log on the steep ridge side and let our feet dangle.

Just like old times with my favorite riding partner.

Since we were on sneaky trails, he told me in a whisper: "We are secret boys." He is right. It is a beautiful thing to share those wild spots with him.

A surely by now familiar perspective on our ride.

No Brown Lunch today, it was boxed lunch instead. Removed 2 (coldish) beers from under a log.

Then it was down the other side and towards Velocache Monterey...before wrapping around the peninsula to home. That little badass rode ~25miles and had a Good Attitude the whole time.

19 May 2009

One of these days, I'm gonna show you how nice a man can be...

This day, on the ride home from work, the dirt was nice.

the Long Haul Trucker. Hamm's for perspective. (YES the shady spot did the trick)

Commuter lane through the maritime chaparral. (I just lik saying maritime chaparral. It sounds official.)

No ride home would be complete without a classy townied jaunt through the piney woods.

I went back home, like a Good Man should.

18 May 2009


...make sure that "stick" lying across your trail is not a snake before you ride over it, huh? You could break a snake's back real easy.

...stuck in my head all day. OK, works for me.

It was early in the mornin, just about the break of 11 when I thought I heard my baby say...take the cross bike out for a spin. It hadn't been tooched since the rainy day Pink Flamingos ride (well, the chain had been oiled before putting it away) and it was covered in residue. Swap the front wheel for the knobby from the Long Haul Trucker (put on for beer drop off runs in the woods) and install the new 31mm Panaracer Cross Blaster on the rear, and it is time to ride some mixed terrain!

Sneaky trail excitement. It would not be prudent to mention details here, suffice to say that my heart rate went up 2 times, and it was some narrow excapes. I tapped the last egg in the log stash with yesterday's ride home from work ( and a couple on the Southside as well, and all on the hoopty NAHBS2009-inspired Schwinn Le Tour Touriste with the nancy boy tyres...all slippy and terrifying on the off road we lik) so it was with a heavy musette that I set out today.

6 little indians tucked up in bed. I moved the location over into the full shade. With the hotttt weather, my beers have been a little too warm in the old stash spot. I didn't even stop to drink one, on account of my mission: Distance (within the given time frame, and with maximum dirt options).

Musette emptied and stowed, it was road towards South Boundary, where it was hottt. Here are some photos looking back towards town and the Pacific:

...moving from Southwestern most in an Easterly direction.

And looking Eastward to Fort Ord (and where I was heading) from the same vantage point.

Once up to 50, I tucked back in under the marine layer and rode alternating stutter bumps and loose sand down into the canyon. I can't really ever say 50 was no fun, but it was not all that it could be today. It would be improved by the use of big fat tires, not racy cross tires. Directest line across Ord to fight the offshore winds back into town and up/over to home. Somewheres around 37miles, and I came home with a brand new plan for the next Full Moon Ride. And It is a Good One.

13 May 2009

check out my monkey brain!

Thanks to my understanding sweetie, I was able to ride my bike for a short dirt loop on the singlespeed after work Tuesday. She took the kids over to S__ and P___'s house, where they are plied with cable TV and sugar in all it's forms. They like it. S__ and P___ get to be grandparents, so they like it too.

I rode a quick tour of my usual dirty route, and even had time/opportunity to stop for a tepid beer in the woods (=> the best coldest beer you ever had).

I stopped to take a photo of the (possibly) largest banana slug ever:

Yes, in answer to your question that black glistening stringy thing is, in fact, banana slug poop.

On my way back home, along the paved road, I noticed this little bunny sized hopping form along the shoulder. It turned out to be this guy:

I am sure he took his 1st flight a little too soon...

he did not seem injured, but he sure wasn't making any effort to fly either.

He was in danger of being hit by one of the yellow line riding Porsche drivers that plague that road, so I attempted to shoo him away from the shoulder. He would not head up the bank you see behind him, preferring to clack his beak at me and blink. He also puffed up at first with his wings spread, but calmed down from that quickly. I could hear both his parents softly hooting from the tall Monterey Pines above us from either side of the road. I could not see them. I finally shooed him across the road with my front wheel. I was tempted to pick him up and carry him since he was clearly bummed about being jostled, and he was easily knocked off balance- but I knew he'd rip me open with that sharp curved beak. Also, I wasn't sure about the whole human scent issue, cuz I stink. Finally I convinced him to hop up the milder bank on the other side, and he got his foot hung up in a weed stalk. When I reached out and flipped his foot (gently!) to free it, he swiveled his head all the way around and looked at me with wounded dignity.

I hope he made it allright.

12 May 2009

I have learned to be tricky enough to seem good

Monday was a welcomed day off dedicated to the pursuit of happiness via the bicycle. The morning of which I blew by fussing with bikes and deciding I wanted to ride this bike (only it has the wrong tires) or that bike (only it has the creaky ______) or the other bike (only it is set up townie style and I'd have to remove flat pedals and fenders and replace the tires) or the bike by the window (only there is nothing wrong with it, but it feels like it would be slow today)...on and on.

So I settled on the fixed Crosscheck, which has been my go to bike for several months now. Unable to leave well enough alone I figured I'd put a more aggressive rear tire on since the semislick/bald rear has been slipping badly on the slidey downhills in the pine duff. Then I figured I'd swap the front also, else the ride would be compromised. So the swap entailed flat larger diameter tubes and patches and leaky patches. Finally, I got both tires to hold air, then I bagged up some easter eggs and got out the door.

Up and over to the Good Stuff at the crack of 11am.

There were tire/chainstay rubbing issues right away. When the hill kicked up, on the drive side downward pedal stroke there was a distinct brrrrrrp; steady as my cadence. I let some air out of the 45mm knobby. I rode some fun trails and continued to head out towards Fort Ord, as I'd originally planned when first envisioning this ride.

I noticed my back was cold and my left calf was experiencing intermittent trickles of... beer?! Yes. Apparently, 5 is the maximum # of canned beers you should carry offroad in a gimme musette. Because I had 6 in there, and 1 sprung a leak. So I shotgunned that beer, then I rode some sweet singletracks.

I stopped to hide some eggs in the usual spot.

I examined my clearance. It was marginally more than is evident in this photo. But only marginally. I said to myself, "F___ it, I am gonna run it." I'd have had to pull the wheel further back in the dropouts for it to really clear (and it will, I've run these tires on this bike before) but I did not have the spare link(s) to make that happen, and the opposite side is a freewheel while I was commited to riding it fixed. So, run what you brung it is.

I decided to crack one of those eggs right then.

I noticed I had 2 ticks crawling up my leg. They are fast! So I crushed them between rocks, because I have no love for a parasite. Parasites get no love from me. Then I freaked out, because I found another tick on my other leg and I had to peel back layers and really examine myself but good. Lyme's Disease blows, and it is in the ticks around here.

I got ready to ride some more, and I decided to bring some eggs along to stash in a different spot. Because you never can tell.

As I was letting things hang out a little, the front tire went suddenly flat in the G-out of a swale. It was thrilling to continue pedaling (fixed) towards a downed log as my tire pitched from one side of the rim to the other like a drunken albatross. I decided to fix that flat right there.

I hung the bike in a handy Monterey Pine, and did flat fixing things with my pump and patch kit. CO2 cartidges are for assholes.

By this time I had really blown my window wide open. I junked the Fort Ord plans in favor of heading a different way you have never been. It is a Fun Way, but no one is stashing beer on it, and that is an unfortunate circumstance I could remedy.

I stopped for lunch and a beer stash here,

on this log. It was a Quality Stop.

I rode very fast and loose downhill on shady singletrack, and then for a while on the road to get home.

11 May 2009

just in case

any of y'all were wondering how to really have a Good Time on the bikes...

Witness the FBC.

Outstanding. What an amazingly inspiring group of young men and women. They remind me of the Partycrashers in Chuck Pahlaniuk's book Rant. It was not his finest work, but you have to love a group of disparate yahoos who participate in a loosely organized totally underground game of smash up derby with a different theme each time, and recognizable only to gamers.

The Fucking Bike Club. Respect Due.

09 May 2009

You jealous S.O.B.'s cannot touch me now.

I am covered in Glory; a boon given to me by right of trial by moonlight. Perhaps TRAIL by moonlight...In any event, if you are not riding the bikes under a fat full moon you cannot know what you are missing. Sorry for you my friend. Get it together.

Several of the usual (can we call them that at this point?) yahoos showed up, and several welcome newcomers! Daylit rollout to the Stairs for some hottt beer on beer action. Then steady rolling through the sunset and into the moonrise. The Full Flower Moon showed bright, but hazy. There was a misty veil that kept it from being as starkly contrasted as in full moon's past, but it was nothing to sneer at. (You know, unless you were Conway Twitty.)

We hung out on the ridgetop at the end of Mudhen Express, and then it was down 50North,where (as is becoming usual) you could tell where everone was on the course by their yelps of surprise. Onwards, up 49. We waited in there for the moon to rise enough to light up the canyon. Then it was over the ridge, up to 84 and then 82's sudden drop back down. This was the butterfly's left wing. Next we rolled back up 49 to the ridge and over to 50South on the Laguna Seca side. Down that, which is ridiculously silly fun. Loose, sandy, suddenly twisting off cambered singletrack. Shifting flashes of moonlight and deep shadow. This was the butterfly's right wing. Some people had stopped having fun by this point. There was no complaining, but it was clear just the same. When the lights come on, the party's over for me. So we climbed up the Northern side of 50 and loped back over to the start point, to wash up at Papa Chevo's taqueria around midnight for some low rent Cali-Mex.

A solid Good Time.
and my knee is bruised.

also, there is some scratches on the back of my leg.
my head hurts

08 May 2009

All rise for the honorable Friday Night.


I have been informed by my roommate that I may not come out and play Saturday night.

So, the Full Moon has been rescheduled for tonight, Friday night, at or near 7:30ish.
You know where to go. You will need a pack of some kind, I'm thinking. 8-12 beers will pull your little jersey pockets all out of proportion...

I apologize in advance for any tidal zone damage this rescheduling may cause.

06 May 2009

oyez oyez oyez

Just so's y'all know:the Full Flower Moon is coming this Saturday, May 9th!

That is this Saturday. You know, the one in 3 days...

Pack your bags. In beautiful wide open Fort Ord, there is a forecasted low of 54 degrees, and our sun will set at 8:03PM. Get ready for this.

As a reminder: you typically get a full moon per month. Don't uh, blow it.

05 May 2009

I stole this whole thing

from juancho. Even the fancy picture.

The personal board of directors. As in, if you could assemble a panel of experts to guide you as if you were an organization in and of yourself, who would you select to be on your board?

I chose all famous people because, though I could include several people I actually know, most of my friends are jackasses and would surely steer me wrong if only to laugh at me as I broke up on the rocks. While throwing empty cans at me.

* Chair: J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, High Epopt of the Church of the Subgenius (pre 1998)
*Lee Marvin
*Sean Connery (as James Bond 007)
*Willie Nelson
*Neal Stephenson
*Capt. Jack Aubrey
*Agent Cooper of the FBI

And y'all?

04 May 2009

you are a valued friend

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. What a maroon. Rain day, rain day, rain day.

The "Pink Flamingos" ride took off as scheduled Sunday morning at 9am. All 3 of us rode on over to S____ and J______'s place to cadge a helmet. (Yes, I forgot something. Weird.) While we were there, S_____ and I nosed through the bike room until we came up with some clip on rear fenders, as we'd been jealously eyeing the one adorning the fancy pants road rig of Mr. Cristopher St. John. S____ asked us if we wanted a drink, but it was not to be; Mr. St. John had a schedule to which we must adhere. So we rode to fetch his glasses (back to the cars) , only to find they were in his pocket. You see.

It is a hard road to travel and a rough rough way to go, starting in the rain. At least the wind was quiet. Up and up was the order of the morning. Up HWY9 is not my favorite. Traffic was way down due to the rain. I felt we should have climbed Bear Creek from Ben Lomond, but we had a schedule to which we must adhere and thus we missed my favorite section of 35- all that good twisty, swoopy one laned Goodness just North of Bear Creek, and we had to climb forever anyway so why not do it on a quieter albeit slightly steeper road. It did seem gentler on 9 gradewise and it did calm down after Ben Lomond. And there is no other way to get up that valley...unless we had cross bikes and took the railroad grade! hmmmmm. (Locals, am I making things up?) Climbing out 35 was exposed, enveloped in fog and drizzly; yet grand, silent and worthwhile. We couldn't see all the wonderful panoramic views with the dense fog wrapping us but we could sense them.

It was very difficult to paceline, as even with fenders the road gritty spray was just too much. Though they do help keep your ass dry, the clip-ons don't extend down very far at all, at all. It helped to breathe through your nose. There was a lot of head tilting and odd leaning.

You know how I feel about the wind. This is no small part in my feelings about riding HWY1 along the coast back into town. Frequently heading South along the coast will grant you a tailwind. That's great. When it does not, it is terrible. There is no place to hide from the wind on that lonely stretch fronting the Pacific, with traffic zipping by at 80mph while the drivers watch the sea. With this is mind, I lobbied at the intersection of 9 and 35 to drop back South along the ridge (and get the twisty, swoopy one lane Goodness) to cross 17 and head over to Eureka Canyon and drop it's twisty swoopy one lane Goodness. That would surely be dark and dank, but we were wet already (to the bone, the bone, the bone. Full grown, consider me...stone) full rain suit notwithstanding and it would mean roughly the same mileage.

I should point out that we were soaked through and through, but not cold. Wet is one thing, cold and wet is another. We had all chosen the right clothing for the day. I had Hammer Nutrition's Perpetuem formula in one of my bottles, and I gotta say it works well. Twice it brought me back to myself when I was needing it. No cramps; beginnings, but no developed cramps. And this coming off the couch more or less- my riding has been way down the past month. I should also point out there was Old Grandad in one of the other bottles, so judge for yourself which is the better performance enhancing drink.

We hemmed and hawed and decided to stick with the route as planned. This turned out well. I had never ridden down Alpine before, and it is amazing. Pescadero was a-mazing. Coming in to the hairpins a hair too hot, and wondering if the brakes would grab any more, or if my (racy!) 28mm tires would hold...exciting. Hushed, looming redwoods and twisty smooth pavement. Give Thanks.

Quick stop in Pescadero for some lunch and an oilcan of Foster's, and we were looking at roughly 25miles back along HWY1. No tailwind, but only a very occasional headwind so it was tolerable. The 3 of us rode well together, and that is always nice; when no one gets flustered and jumps when it is their pull- forcing you to jump your own self to catch on instead of smoothly sliding back and into the draft, resting all the while. S_____ is strong. She pulled through steadily whenever I'd get spun and forget I was riding a paceline. I was well glad to be done when we rolled back to the start with 90 miles finished.

image drawn from deneux_jacques' flikr

Wet. Louder than a bomb.

01 May 2009

it's not how long you talk, brother

It's what you put in it.

It is true, I am a Fancy Man. You know you love it. My advisor in this as it relates to bicycles, Mr. Berg, has put me on notice regarding Vittoria's fancy shoe line.
These are the Gators of the cycling scene, fo sho. I liked the Dromartis more better. Both put me in mind of kicking myself when I think back to Interbike circa '02, and the Italian booth holding aligator skin cycling shoes! As well as the pedestrian by comparison (yet still rarified) snake skin cycling shoes! To think that I let them slip through my fingers; figuring I could always get them some other time when I was more flush. Several lessons there- not least to bear in mind that nothing lasts; get in where you fit in. The elusive Mysterious B___ S_____ was with me, and our breaths was fully loaded with chronic and beer.

Anways, alas! it has been made clear to me that laced shoes are not to be. Even for a mercurial creature of the catwalk such as myself, Form triumphs when I know I will have to ride miles and miles in them shoes. "Might as well suffer" may well be the motto of this old country church of ours, but it does not apply to footwear.

And so in closing, allow me to leave you with these words of wisdom from Dolemite, Mothafucka:

*edit: see these shoes!

I don't even want to go into the wasp's nest that is my (weakening?) claim to be vegan in thinking about these things.