Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

28 October 2010

little chickens

Today, as I was exiting a sneak-through bonus trail, I was forced to a stop by a downed Monterey Pine- I have mentioned already their shallow roots and subsequent tendency to drop in even minor storms. After removing several 4"-5" branches and multiple smaller ones plus pine cones, I rotated the trunk section until it was more or less out of the way. Then I looked up.

2 other sections, about 15"-18" thick were resting on sagging power lines 12' or so in the air. Above my clearing.

I got out of there but quick. Put in a call to PG&E. Hopefully it's fixed quickly. Thankfully I will not be under it if it goes. Lesson: trail maintenance is a Virtue, but check your scene first.

Imminent overhead electrical hazards aside, it was a fine shakedown. Yesterday I had dropped the stem a further 10mm, and that was better still. Stopping at Joselyn's for a new Ultegra 12-27 9speed cassette (to mesh with a new chain) was still better still; creaking and popping are all in bounds, but ghost shifting is crossing a line. Rotating the bars further forward/down was stiller better still.

Jury is out until after this tour on the width of the nominally 46cm Salsa Woodchipper bars. They are WIDE at the flared ends. I had to hold on to the ends to keep my perception of the width True, else I found myself brushing the shifters against the stone walls (to the point of shifting gears) on yesterday's pre-shakedown in the Forest of____________. Perhaps the width will really pay off when riding loaded, and certainly- with usage comes familiarity. Not the bar/shifter combo for tight woods, though.

I lik the caliper placement for ease of rack mounting.

I like the extra bottle potential. And, plus that's a 2.3" tyre! That capacity and long chainstays, and this thing is a freight train wreck.

On one of today's trails I saw 2 bobcat kits as I came zipping around a corner. No mama in sight. They were the size of slender house cats, but with the thick paws and ankles of growth yet to be. The kits stayed in the trail running until I got closer and then leapt up onto a (different) Monterey Pine to vanish down slope in the brush. That was neat.

26 October 2010

pure herbal comfort

Following is a "mock-up" of my new(ish) adventure camping bicycle. The handlebars, frame and fork are new. Also new cables/housing (yay! cheapest way to make your bike run better. Guaranteeeeeeeeeeeed.) All else, pulled from the old bike and the parts pile.

Here I am:

Yes, it's true.

I experimented with that whole tops higher than the saddle so as to put the drops in a higher (in theory more tourey? in practice more DUI commuter.) position, and after a ride around the block I can definitively say: it sucks. I'll be bringing them down level with the saddle. That's what I get for listening to the internet, but you have to be open minded, right?

I take for granted there will be myriad problems in building a bike and try to allow for this in my expectations and time line. For example: I'm still waiting on my road pull disc caliper. It's limping along with a mushy feeling mountain rear, which works but ain't pretty to the touch. Of the many hurdles to completing the build, the one that gets under my skin is the cable length to bike length ratio. I'm marginally at the taller end of the bike riding spectrum, and running the bar end shifters' housing under the wrap damn near requires tandem length rear cables; I trimmed the housing to almost-binding-with-steering lengths to get this to work. At least I get to use the term "mock-up".

And so all this is in preparation for this weekend's upcoming little tour. Who's ready?

...squint and combine this with the above in your mind's eye. Did it just blow your mind's eye?

Look: I understand too little too late. I realize there are things you say and do you can never take back. But what would you be if you didn't even try? You have to try. So after a lot of thought, I'd like to reconsider- please, if it's not too late, make it a...cheese burger.

24 October 2010

I'm bound to ride. Don't you wanna go?

Because some folks still need to get some more true blue in their grass...

see if you qualify

It's coming along. Waiting on that rear caliper, but all parts present and accounted for save that. And maybe bar tape. I have a drawerful, so it'll either be magnificent or hideous, depending. I was going at it hammer and tongs, but I got called away to play Monster Match (memory building card game) and after that alls I wanna do is drink beers and watch the internet.

Actually, I am aware that is a workspace only Johnny H__s could love. You try my shoes on for size and you'll just wanna drink beers and watch the internet, too.

23 October 2010

external use only

Riding home from the Full Hunter's Moon feeling so fresh and thinking how great my form is (I will be peaking in 2 months) only to realize: running late at work, I got dropped off at the start via the race van so I only rode a half ride.

Of course I still felt fresh, duh.

...because my sweetie likes to watch this and laugh at me.

21 October 2010

are you listening, mobsters?

And, plus I been using the foam roller. (Just like I preach, but never practice.)

Oh, my that's exquisite. But it really, really works. 1o times per leg, and by 6 I think about quitting. At 8, it's crying time.

20 October 2010

It's pupating! It's forming a chrysalis!

I am trying to get my miles in. I got a subtle but bold tour planned for Halloween Weekend, and it will take some bites. Sneaky singletrack start is what I'm thinking...

Anyhoo. I had some work to do in Watsonville today, and to get my miles I rode there. Even if the plans to listen to bluegrass in Moss Landing had been scrapped last minute, arrangements have been made, miles must be ridden.

It's along a route I seldom take. The bike path North..

...where the winos gather. I laugh to myself whenever I see the unsuspecting tourists try to have a holiday there. It's very like attempting to enjoy a BBQ in a crowd of buzzards.

The Pacific Ocean. The birds were tracking the dolphins and sea lions to follow them to the fish on the surface. Lots of all of them.

I couldn't find my wool skivvies. I bought a couple pair and love them for riding around inna non racist style, mon. So much so that I cut off a couple pair of wool long underwear bottoms to make more. But they're all in the warsh. I can tell you today: cotton boxers are not kind on a ride of any length.


Turn around ride home. I left at dusk. It's getting dark quick these days. I took Elkhorn Slough both ways. I prefer it to HWY1. Especially at night.

The fog had not let up. I used this to my advantage a little South of Castroville (the Artichoke Capitol of the effing World!)...

~76 miles round trip. My butt hurts.

18 October 2010

tops, ramps, hoods, hooks, flats

Start out cold, settle in, climb some, descend at speed, maneuver (how's about shaking it around a little).

On account of last week's relative inactivity, riding is hard again. My left TFL (tensor fascia latae) is my bugbear, and increasingly constant companion.( I know, alls it needs is attention/stretching/work, but it's easier said than lived). that you?

On account of last day and night's rain, the trails are tacky again. And plus, the rain warshed away all the duff in which I'd cleverly cached the velocache name of Dirty #30 (I know, but they can't all be gems) so as I passed it today I re-cached it.

On account of people breaking balls, bike choice is in my mind today. So let me just say this: I like bikes. I like road bikes (geared and fixed wheel) and mountain bikes (geared {full squish and sprung on the front and fully rigid} and singlespeed {fully rigid and sprung on the front} and fully rigid fixed wheel). My wheel size of choice is 700c/29", and that is cuz I'm a long tall Texan. I think proper wheel size is more a matter of relation to rider size than anything else; you should ride what fits you. I enjoy most of all to ride the cross bike (geared or singlespeed or fixed wheel) so's I can take roads and trails.

So. If you don't like one or more of the above options- well then it's time to _uck or _ight.

And further, if you are of the opinion that one or more of the above options is not legit, then you need to stop kidding yourself; a different ride is a different ride which allows for a True appreciation of any one of those options. The wheels on the ____ go round and round.

Any questions?
Any other questions?

17 October 2010

I prefer this one

so I'll repost it.

Merle does a nice cover, but it is a cover. And, here's one that won't break your heart, but may break you up:


15 October 2010

wonder file organ

October Break being what it is, we decided to attempt a last run at Summer.

October on the Central Coast of California being what it is (Indian Summer, bicthes!), we succeeded- in a limited kind of a way for an off night. "What could possibly go wrong?" you ask. That's my favorite question to answer, so I'll take a crack...

#1 (with a bullet) BUGS. Smallish flies of the incessant buzzing and landing all over you variety. They apparently operate within a very sharply defined temperature range, between ~1 hour after sun up and sundown. Wow, there were a lot of bugs. No biting (except for the usual pesty mosquitos after dark, but them I can tolerate), but exorbitant amounts of landing and crawling. Craaaaaaaawling. We had to take breaks in the tent.

Things were OK on the water, providing you moved around a bunch. Incentive to use the rope swang over and over and over. And over. The crawdads were out in force. The fish were swimming around. The kids caught a turtle; skipped rocks; were away from electronic entertainment (like weblogs and such). Things were more than OK, things were good.

#2-and it's a biggie- forget the coffee. Crusher. I won't sugar coat it; that affected me. I substituted beer for coffee, and starting at 7AM sounds like a Good Idea, but it is hard to keep up when you have to maintain composure; a fine line, friends.

#3-haHA!- have no sleeping bag. I fussed at the kids repeatedly to pack their own bags, and J(6) left his out (and most likely told me about it, too) so I assumed his was mine and packed it to find out it wasn't. N(13) shared hers with me and we used it like a blanket- Give Thanks it was warm at night. So, actually, that wasn't so terrible either, really.

#4-buy a Thermarest at Goodwill without examining it closely, only to find the valve came off and it holds no air. Knucklehead. I just got so sick of the weight and bulk of the Paco Pads, even though they are uber comfortable. Lesson learned.

#5- the camera battery died immediately after taking the one photo. Granted, it is a fine figure of a picture, but still. I need one of them Dahon dynohub charger thingamabobs. Big Time.

#6,#6, #6 for my sorrow.

And #7, #7 n-n-no tomorrow.

And #8, #8, I forget what #8 was for.

But #9, #9, #9 for the lost God!

#10,#10, #10, #10. Everything, everything,everything, everything!

You can all just kiss off into the air. It was a fine trip. 3days, 2 nights. We do it all the time.

Fall is fallen.

11 October 2010

You begin well, Sir. I never trust a man who says "when"...

In taking the Karate Monkey down to a (dirty) bare frame, I noticed this crack in the drive-side chainstay.

I think it may have been the source of the creaking coming from the BB. I think. It is cracked all the way around the front side of the chain stay, and about a quarter of the back side. Is that bad?

Here is a side by side looky loo of the old boss and the new boss. I loves a big head tube. (That's what she said.) I think the Fargo will make a fine camping bike. I only had time today to break the KM down, and face the head tube and BB shell on the Fargo. On the horizon- straight parts swap. No love, just grease.

I got stuff to do, cuz the kids are out of school this whole week for "October Break"...

09 October 2010

dribs and drabs

Controlled burn day#2.

When I left the house, the smoke and ash were swirling all down the street. I got some interested looks as I climbed that hill swathed in a bandanna, like a workin' cowboy. Though, maybe it was on account of I had a musette full of velocache!

The smoke was not an issue on top.

Long time listeners will recall the diverse findings along that one trail, and how I'd seen similar the year before. Well, this was the day I had wits/time enough to go see what was what and now you see, too.
That effing does it. Next year I'm making sure this gets shut down by the cops. I'm all for _____________, but I am in no way now how down with this.

I kept riding and ended up in the Ord, under the banner of smoke and all. It was blowing East real good by then (how'd you like that, Salinas?).

All stretched out along the trail we'd been taking to seek them out, was another rattler. It's the same coloring as the underneath snake, so that's reason enough for me to emphatically say it's the same snake.
Of course I bumped it (gently!) with the front wheel. It immediately and without incident slithered into the underbrush,
but since it hadn't rattled I bumped it again (gently!) and it obliged with some booty shaking.

So, if you're riding to Freedom and beyond, watch out for snakes! They are fragile and awesome.

The burn continues...

And in a separate but better kind of burn, I used that one sage bundle to smudge Comanche's Grave and my bicycle. To remove any lingering angry ghosts which may have reason to haunt certain people. And on account of I'm a fucking shaman.

Send $12.50 now.

mmmmmmm. Looks like about 35miles.

06 October 2010

This is water.

These days I'm seeing a bunch of biker down words on the interwebs. People getting hurt sucks. I'm sorry that goes on.

What I'd want? I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike! I want people to remember this, and attempt to act accordingly. I mean breathe in, take some time outs for the Common Good. Cycling is Good. Bikes are good.

I'd be riding regardless, even if it were actively bad for me, if you need the Truth. It's just that kind of party. Knock wood I'm done and holding, but I've been struck by cars 3 times so far. I ride accordingly. I assume you're all furiously texting instead of watching the shoulder much less the road itself, and that's taking as a given that you want to avoid hitting me with your vehicle (to say nothing of the beverage container in your sweaty paw), if only to spare your wax job.

So. Not the weight of Everything, but access to wonder. You know, if you're into that.

And, plus while riding today I got the secret handshake authorization at that one gate. No kidding. Supposedly the homeowner will be all chill with me breezing through to the trail. It will be so nice if it pans out. I'll let you know.

maybe my tattoo IS working! ladies, you're welcome.

Whew! You feeling it? I'm feeling it. A high level of stoke just to be riding streets and trails. So much quickness. What passes for it around here anyways; back roads and flowy singletrack and whatever it takes to join the 2. Which today was South Boundary out to 50 and then that loop through the Ord-QUIET! silence. OK, the wind is blowing. Trees whispering in the breeze. Maybe loudly conversing. A bird singing here, there a hawk shrieking as it folds wings in and plummets down then opening full span and soaring quickly back up to do it again. A used GU packet rests in it's natural environs (a trail), whence it has come from some racer too fast/important to put it in his pocket.

And that was before I stopped to look for that pesky #28.

Then it was homeward through Cside(!) to climb the hill through Veteran's and some more trails down the other side to COTSRHQ. What I'm increasingly considering my Local Loop. ~35miles. Pavement, dirt, radical.

Friends, if I should die while riding, I hope you will chain up a Ghost Bike and then ride off to your favorites. Or at least ride off.

you are one of the select few

Crashes? We don't need no steeeeenking crashes!

Residual effects include: soreness, stiffness, reduced capacity for critical thinking, increased desire for riding the bike(s), and the ability to gut out all the short steeps on your local mixed bag loop?

Yes. All that and more.

I like to use the time at the stoplight on top of the incline to stretch. I always have that time there. And, plus it beats waiting in the street with all the impatient cars.

Black shorts. Fish net bandaging. So PRO, all the ladies will notice.

For the sake of argument, let's say (hypothetically) that you were denied access to this one trail on account of ____________. Now, usually, you'd just shine that on, but sometimes _________are present, and that's a bust. What to do?

Well, that's what for which kickass alternatives are. Sparsely traficked roads are acceptable substitutes.

Who's kidding who? You'll end up on some singletrack if it's important to you. It might be that you head over to that one get-in, only to find the gates open like an invitation. You'll know in your heart that it isn't, but it will feel that way, and you will climb that whole section with no foot down. Doesn't that feel right?

The twisty piny trails are perfect right now. Even with the slippy oak leaves everwhere.

Noncycling people around here assume that I know everthing about everthing involving bikes on account of I appear interested. I've been getting all kinds of questions about the newly constructed bike path at HWY1/Carmel Valley Rd, which I've answered authoritatively without having a clue.

I remedied that on this ride, and found the tunnel under the CV Rd goes a who-knows-how-expensive 1/8 mile up Hatton Canyon to abruptly terminate.

The signs already have their patina of graffiti, so the money was well spent?

The tunnel under the CV Rd, which leads from the dead end to the Barnyard shopping center. That's a lot of dough for not much practical use. I guess the county had $x0,000 they needed to burn through or lose. At minimum, middle school kids can cross under the road and weasel around on Rio to get in the back way with little car interface. That's a good thing. And I can only hope the trail will be continued up the canyon towards the high school; which would give another/better alternative to climbing HWY1 if that's your bag.

So there's light at the end of the tunnel.

Sorry, I couldn't not do it.

03 October 2010

dinosaurs on the farm


Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant railing.

KB is planning a tour for high schoolers (he heads up a bicycle maintenance class like a teacher in the summer) so we scurried roundy round the Ord, looking for the perfect blend of carless pave and firm(enough) sand/dirt. It was a new feeling- this looking around for a ride that a bunch of young clowns will both suffer through and enjoy. To think about what it takes to get from here to there and yon is to examine all the sequence of maneuvers and gear choice and chosen gear and maintenance and road judgments and ______ which you so wholeheartedly take for granted in this time (the time of your "expertise").

You do.You do. You take it for such grant that you cannot even begin to bring up all the bits without a single minded focus. Sharp edged rumination. Such furious concentration will surely take it's bite.

I got mine, today. Stuffed the front wheel into some loose deep sand behind a little bush as I was trying to swing around one of the series of quick back and forths before the whoop de doos on Mudhen Express. The bike slewed left, the front wheel bent right, and I went over the bars. Hard and fast. You say potato, I say potato, we both say: tacoed wheel, minor scrapes, gratuitous bleeding.

As I learned today, the Mystic Utterance with the surest effect in such straits is (and I quote) "Take it, Bitch." After a fruitless attempt at returning the True with a spoke wrench and flawless technique, I resorted to the last resort- the overhead wheel slam. At least I had clear marks from the brake pads blacking the tyre's sidewall. 3 "Take it, Bitch"es later, and with a little more spoke wrenching, I had some semblance of True. Enough to continue riding and fulminating, though I was ascared to let it out on the pave on account of it hurts so much to go down on it.

What time is it?

Time for a new hoop. Anyhow, a Good Time was had. Ride bikes, drink beers.

And, plus, what happened to Velocache #28?

01 October 2010


As an aside, Lee Marvin is tougher than tough, rougher than rough.

2 quick rides in 2 quick days under the redwoods in Santa Cruz. Twisty singletrack up and down in a nice flowy loop? I'll take 2. The dried leaves on the trail right now make for some slippy situations, but as ___ said :"It's predictable." You know when you're sliding out and that is something I suppose. No pictures for you. On account of they don't allow pictures of bikes on those trails...

So. In light of my huffing and my puffing, I must say I am not seeing (yet) the benefits of my tattoo. Aren't I supposed to be imbued with some super power or something? At least the ability to suffer for hours in the Belgian type weather. Perhaps whatever horrible oversight it was that led to the inclusion of zero steel frames in the Merckx booth (uh huh, carbone only) is interfering with the flow. Maybe the redesigned M logo. I will continue to test this, as winter approaches.

Today was commute, then velocache! Go get some.