Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

31 May 2011

button all your lips

When I was 13 growing up in Austin,TX, a friend and I were getting paid by his realtor mom to move "junk" out of a rental house whose tenants had been evicted. In the garage were stacks and stacks and stacks of local punk albums. The tenants had to have worked for a distributor, because there were a LOT of albums. I ended up with the entire Black Flag catalog, because their songs had titles to which I could relate. One of the albums I took home was The Butthole Surfers' "Brown Reason to Live."

It confused me. The music was like nothing I'd ever heard before.

I ended up playing the record at 33 1/3, which made sense to me as it was a "full size record", as opposed to a tiny 45. Eventually I realized it was an EP meant to play at 45rpm, but by then it was too late. I was used to it. Now all the songs sound waaaay too fast to me.

All you people.

Not one of you (that's right: you) came through on our plans to head down to Big Sur for the riding, and I think we're effed now because school's out next week and the summer hordes will converge on the place and it's a no go. Maybe at night?

Anyhow, am I riding this thing at the right speed? Listening to the Test Bike Stumpjumper FSR Comp 29er was different and confusing. Interesting, because I rode my local and I've been listening to that on the regular aboard my 26" Santa Cruz Blur LT. This makes me feel well qualified in my impressions.

I liked the big wheels for pedaling pave sections. They were much nicer than the inefficient hamster wheeling feeling I get from pave on my Blur. The Comp 29 climbs much more smoothly than my squishy bike (which has a jerky, jabbing quality when climbing steep and low; each stroke is like a pedal stab) but this may be due to the fact that it had no granny. 2x10 I could take or leave. I like the idea of a tighter chain line, but the lack of granny hurt a couple times. Thinking of bikepacking with a 2x10 hurts me knees' brains.

Obviously, the Stumpy is new and feels new- I noticed the tapered steerer Rockshox Reba (with a 20mm thru-axle) felt like a straight arm to the ground. Steering precision. I like it.

The straight flat bar I flat-out hated. Hated. It felt like my wrists were turned inward. SUCKY.

I swapped my own saddle/post set-up over. Climbing, I wished I'd taken the time to dial the nose down some. Then on descents I'd think it felt just right.

Although it did not feel as though the front end was dangerous to know, I can say: I would not buy this bike. It feels too tall and therefor tippy. The wheelbase is noticeably too long. Clumsy, even. It was much harder to slip through the tight and twisty maritime chaparral.

Truism: Everthing is a trade-off.

I am open to the possibility of a 29" dually, but this ain't the one. In the interest of full squish- so far I'll stick with the 26" end of the trade. How much pave efficiency do I need in a bike designed around going fast over rough stuff? I'll err on the side of nimble, stable, low.

I did break here, at the Caprock cave of wonders, and

based on forensic evidence, the 3 cans on the right are not my leavings. Folks is getting migh-tee cavalier about leaving their trash in the woods at the Caprock and other points. I hadda wear a pack today, so I removed all this, but.


...AND, PLUS, SHOW UP WHEN IT SUITS ME FOR RIDES. Else I gotta find some actual cool people who can ride on Mondays and Tuesdays.

30 May 2011

slow cloistered group rides

Memorial Day:

Always lead with the racy photos...

~15 minutes into the ride, N___ is checking herself for los garapatas. Apparently it takes 24 hours for the transmission of Lyme Disease, and this little piggie is not allowing any extra time to pass.

Brothers are impatient.

Brothers are amused.

J______ is a boy who knows.

What form.

D___ on his fly new ride. We ran across a couple good natured fellas who complimented him on his "sick" rims. He played it cool, but you could see it puffed him up a little.

That's cool.

Singletrack climb.

J ruled this! I told him he was the King of Singletrack. He disputed this based on his not having an actual crown, which (crowns) are required for Kings. I think he was too literal. He then proceeded to rule Mudhen Express; riding the rutted drop-in solo with me running near him but not touching him, and then rolling both of the whoop-di-dos unaided!

We stopped briefly at the Caprock, and decided to drop 50 for some lunch by the wetlands under 49...

We watched the ducks come and go, and N&J followed up by playing catch in the shady oaks above. N brought the mitts/ball in her basket. Next time we are bringing the bat and having a full-on game.

Finally, these words, which are a different color than the normal text, are a hyper-link. This link will take you to a funky song that N and her friend H______ "produced". Despite whatever impressions you have formed of me based upon my smutty intro today, I in no way condone sex-offending someone, but this song makes me laugh and it has bikes in it.

29 May 2011

Try to straighten out your act and boogie down.

And I mean that.

Before Tulsa, it was some night riding to Fort Ord. Locals only. We took those good singletracks, drank those warmish beers. Home at 1:18, up at 6:30 to drive to the airport.

Back at home this past week, it was some bike riding to my job. Low booking enabled me to take the long dirt route. 2 hours of singletrack commute? Yes, may I have another? With the light lasting as long as it is right now, I was able to take the longer long way back home as well. Up that hill on dirt, and so many of the troublesome logs have been removed! Big, chain-saw requiring logs. So it was better than good. There was some eye level poison oak tendrils, so I spent some precious evening light beating back that hateful weed. Then it was over, down, over, up, down, up, down and down some more. Singlest of tracks.

I feel great! Seems like anytime I ask of the legs, there's something in there to respond. That's such a fine way to feel.

And it is because of all the day-to-day riding. The buddy with whom I rode in Santa Cruz last week complains bitterly about our local. I understand this, as it gets boring to ride the same stuff over and over wherever you are, but...what you got is what you got. Ride that ish. If you skip riding regular because you are tired of your same-old then (you're not bored, you're boring) you have no ability to ride those Epics when they present themselves. Your Epic just hurts in that case. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. Ride your route backwards, take that one turn you always skip, ride at night, explore.

For the record, it was some more clapped-out (for reals, that thing is a little scary. I think the front end is going to crap out permanently at any moment) dually riding. The rattle? Ahhh, it's full squish! OK, maybe it was the loose cones; my rear end is spread wide (yeah, yeah) and the necessary clamping plays heck with my hub, but what can I say? OK, maybe it was also the seat post mounted bottle cages shaking loose from their clamps, too.

Anyhow, riding is to be had. Chiggity-check your equipment, folks, before you wriggity-wreck your equipment.

23 May 2011

you can fool some people sometimes

Have you heard the Good News? No news is Good News. No news is Good News.

So you and I are among those left behind. This is really getting awkward! The Number of the Beast is revealed to be mistakenly translated; it should read 616 (nobody tell the gays, lest they start ruining marriage for the rest of us). The tsunamis in Japan, et al, may just be natural disasters (though helped very much by our energy-use-caused and escalating climate change). Peak Oil is reached (? Learning to bowhunt is fast becoming a real inneresting idea). Lance's spoonful of sugar is going down (in the most painful way-Tyler is a slow tic trainwreck).

I try to keep it light. Try to keep everbody focused on what we have here in common. Is that right?

We went to Tulsa, OK, to party at my brother's wedding instead of waiting around for the hypocralypse...but Bible-thumping relatives dragged ol' JC into it anyways. I just kept quiet, because it's not worth disturbing the party-in spite of those folks themselves oughtening to know better. In their very own writings straight from God but delivered via human hands (so you know it's True, to say nothing of accurate) it says nobody knows the day or I say let's party instead of pray. I mostly keep quiet on the doping-in-cycling issues because it's a downer that has been the elephant in the peloton since the 1930's (at minimum) and, frankly, what good does fixating on PRO sports do any of us out here in the gutters and on the trails? About as much as forecasting the End of The Party. I say: let's party Smarter in order to Party Longer.

Rode a swell loop up there in Santa Cruz today...all shady dirt with swooping singletrack and tight Redwoods.

Who's up for a Ride tomorrow? No sky cake, but I hear there's Free Beer.

18 May 2011

DANGER un________ _________s

Jingle, jingle.

According to those in the know, the clouds will be parting by 1pm in CSide! This means the Full Flower Moon will take place as scheduled.

You know the place...wherever you go, there you are.

16 May 2011

sacrificial bonfires

Burn up the old. Ring in the new.

Velocache is a true Tournament of Champions. You- yes, you- can have your Giro, your Tour day France, and your Vuelta. Fancy stage racing puts type-A dopers on their saddles, but what puts your butt on your saddle?

Velocache could be that motivation.

It gave me a reason to ride the stiffness out of my tired legs today. Instead of sitting around inside, I braved the gathering rain clouds and sat around outside.

My sweet ride was the Black Cat cyclocross, with it's fancy new fork (for which I still owe $78.33 to Rick...), and it's fancy new brass fenders, and it's fancy new mudflaps.

I realize this is sub-prime fender season...but all these ducks have just aligned, so I'm making hay while the rain threatens.

This is the 2nd ride with these. The flaps are well proportioned and have a simple/clever stiffener in the horizontal strip which forms a curve, allowing thin flaps (and so, light flaps) to be as stiff as much thicker (and so, heavier) flaps.

I lik them. They appeal to my low brow, yet snooty, bicycle aesthetic.

I have a single nit to pick. They performed flawlessly on pave, but immediately upon hitting the singletrack downhill, the rear flap sucked up into the fender. After the 3rd suck up, I strapped the flap:

When I returned to the relative sanity of riding my drop barred skinny bike on pavement, I unstrapped the flap and it was smooooooth music. Fenders and off-road riding are a poor mix; this has been proven. Sticks, twigs, pebbles, matter- these are things that can stick between the fender and tyre and cause a axeident. So I am happy to ride these flaps with my shiny brass fenders on road rides.

Check out Tom's work. It's Good Stuff: This colored text is a link, which- if clicked upon- will take you to the Tauro site.

15 May 2011

I TOLD you cha cha heels!

Lay off me! I hate you! ____ you, ____ you both, you awful people! You're not my parents! I hate you I hate this house I hate the interweb!

My favorite part is the mother lying under the tree crying. John Waters is a genius and he's captured just how I feel about you people.

In unrelated developments, you know that one thing I was talking about? Well I went out there, under cover of darkness, and climbed up on my bike and used a wrench and my height to my advantage. It was at least 30 solid minutes of standing on my saddle on one leg and then the other, switching hands and grunting...but I got it. Problem was, I had no means of carrying it so I did how we do and hid it in the bushes.

This was Friday evening, you understand, the day none of y'all could be bothered to ride under some moonlight. Yeah, I heard what you said. Whatever. 75% full is 100% full enough for FUN. Full stop.

Anyhow, and so, I had a go back up there today to fetch it. This is because a) the bushes are only so secure, and 2) I had a big pack into which I could stuff it. I had a big pack because it was necessary to carry all my junk for a s240 (that's computer/bike dork code for Sub24hourOvernight, where you ride out and camp real quick).

Why, yes, it did rain like hell for what seemed like all night.

Mr.S and Mr.Y went along. Because Mr. Y is a giant weenie, and hasn't ridden in a month, his "hematoma" was giving him the business to the tune of get off our bikes right in the middle of the climb and camp right then and there. This turned out to be such a disguised blessing on account of how the rain began in earnest just as we were finishing putting up tents. Really, for real, it was frantic attaching of guy lines to bikes and Manzanita in the wet. This proved to be such an undisguised bitch for me, as I dragged my tent right into a slight dip in order to anchor it.

You can guess how that went.

So, yes, I did get soaked but the bright side is that it was only on the bottom of my bag and so just that and the seat of my pants/underwear were truly sopping. And, plus, I had managed to leave my sleeping pad right on the floor at home so I saved weight and effort and got to use my jacket and empty pack for "padding"!

Literally. Right in the trail.


Mr Y. Mr Highanddry. Mr 7lbthickashellsleepingpad. Mr. We'recampinghere.

We had been gonna ride out here:

and camp. So after parting ways with Mr. Allthosethingswhohadtogettowork, Mr S and I completed that portion of the schedule.

8:30 AM.

These are the trips that make everything worthwhile. I use them to refine gear selection, to really drive home what it is important to not forget, and to study (at length and in depth) how a solid 6 hours of torrential rain will affect my drive train. On this last, I can definitively say: it's not a good idea to rinse your chain
overnight in driving rain and then to further ride it around sandy trails. Who knew? Also, a bottle of lube is a fine and potentially very necessary addition to your kit when going out for the team. Finally, a chain tool is a tool which cannot be improvised. Pack it. Every time. Dummy.

Nice girls don't wear cha cha heels. I noticed the clicking and chalked it up to a bone dry chain. At the bottom of that sweet singletrack I looked closely and saw a link coming apart. I decided to post up at the intersection and make some more coffee and see if anyone showed who was not a fool and who did have a chain tool. While waiting, I used the pocket knife/wrench combo to punch the pin back in place. This worked, but was never going to hold.

The 1st guy who blew through the turn without even glancing my way (yep. Standing there waving, next to a bike minus it's rear wheel and all.) was a road guy I recognized. This behavior seems in keeping with what I have seen from him in the past. He had headphones on, and did not hear me hollering until I upped the volume significantly. No chain tool. Then his buddy rolled up, also wearing headphones, and also without a chain tool. The guy in third was devoid as well.

The next crew to come by was some guys in Yellow Jackets of Authority; one of whom had a bar bag full of empty candy wrappers, one guy had his helmet at a jaunty angle, but the 3rd had a chain tool! He swung off his mighty hybrid, lowered the kickstand with a firm snap, and came to my rescue. Sweet, sweet chain tool.

Done. More riding up and up and then back and across. I thought about taking the road back in and babying the chain, but the trails were just too inviting. Ran into Old T___, and rolled around with him, back through CSide(!), got some lube from Joselyn's (what a difference) and then back to part ways at Huckleberry. What a glorious day.

Little trips like this are The Way. To be prepared for larger adventures when they come calling. To get some little adventures in your day to day.

Not on Christmas. Not on Christmas.

12 May 2011

all ____s indicate

To whom it may concern,

Sir or Madam, I think it fair to say that indicating a "link" through the use of differently colored text than the main body of a "post" is common practice in this time of interwebs. Is this not true?

In keeping with the commonality of such practices, is it unreasonable to- if not expect, then certainly at minimum- anticipate a modicum of interaction vis a vis the usage of such links?
When they are germane?
And, further, is it truly too much to anticipate a real and unfaltering Love of the Bicycle (and, almost necessarily, also the trappings/rituals/history of the Bicycle) would engender the passive reader to scour, to digest, and to respond?

I think not.

I will now entertain your responses to the Question. To wit: how does this affect you?

Thank you,
The Management.

To make a point of declaring friendship is to cheapen it. For men’s emotions are very rarely put into words successfully.

— Hunter S. Thompson

10 May 2011

dark shadows of Evil trapped in a web of witchcraft


Not one of y'all can be bothered to click on/examine the link and come back here with sumfing to say? Nobody.

You knuckleheads need to quit phoning it in. Rep your sets, yo.

Whatevah. I do what I want. I rode my SS again today; someplace you were not. And it was some kind of long assed pave climb followed by hello tight fire road cruising and capped off with the benchest of singletracks overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Side hill for days. Large feeling in scope. Though the vividly purple irises seemed incongruously domestic, it is some big country.

I need to remember that it is possible to swap out my cog and not only to run what I brung lowland roller gearing. And I need a new rear tyre. Anyhow, Feelings are set to GOOD.

Permit me to expound. Climbing on the SS is a matter of making as much peace with the hill as you may. Spin and spin and spin and be nice.
"Until it's time to not be nice."
When it is that time, you must stand and giver. There is nothing but momentum. When there is no momentum, there is the walking. Back country singlespeeds is where it's at.

Come Summer Solstice, you better pack a lunch...

09 May 2011

I'll always regret the day I joined

(skip to 1:25 in to skip the talky talk)

As I was looking at this flock of bicycles this morning, trying to settle on one, the singlespeed revealed itself to be that One. It's been awhile since I took it out. Cycles, cycles. Some bike or other has been calling me recently.

1stly- it's so light! And responsive! And punishing! And automatic. No thought, just pedal. I like that.

Climbing was well handled. Legs are feeling Good. Ribs are feeling good (little bit of pull; minor not major). With a drop in tyre pressure, downhills were in the bag. Up the hill to dirt (you know that one power line easement I been squawking about? It's a no go- straight down to a Poison Oak filled drainage...oh well, time to try that other one), across, down, up another side, and an extra woods loop for kicks.

This is why oaks are Mighty. Every limb on it has dropped, but here it is Spring and damned if it's not giving it another GO.

At home, this package had arrived:

Good on you, H___.

In addition to some oddball taffy on which my kids are now hooked, and aside from the mummified jumping spider, it contained the repair parts for the shelved B17. The Standard Titanium Tension Shackle and the 60mmTension Pin & Nut Assembly.

Sucks to your carbon fibre rails, kids.

That this saddle is repairable sits well with me. The nut did not sit well in the shackle at first.

So I took the flat file to it...

though it took the rat tail file to really do the necessary.

All flush and moving into position.

The notches sit up under the (riveted on Titanium!) nose. Also, note the mummified jumping spider in the mysterious box which we shall examine another day. Yes, that is the photo.

Threading the Tension Bolt.

Flush. Ready to insert into the (Titanium!) nose cone...

I put another nut on the bolt end, and levered it into position in the nose in order to back out the bolt and begin tensioning the leather.


Yep. That there is a perfectly repaired (and repairable!) saddle. Put that in your weight weenie and smoke it. Please also note the large, hammered rivets. If you are thinking about a Brooks, I recommend these on whatever version suits your posterior. The small rivets tear through the leather much more readily. True fact.

What else?