Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

31 October 2011

practical considerations must finally outweigh sentiment

I'm not gonna worry wrinkles in my brow,
'Cause nothing's ever gonna be all right no how.

Christopher St. John and his posse have put the final nail in my off-road-by-bicycle coffin with their cruelly vindictive Aptos High race course. Them, and the (latest) tipsy night ride last Friday aboard the bucking (read: rigid) crossbike.

I got the tennis elbow real bad. This has been onsetting since August. I've been mostly very stupid. I kept pushing the riding and the bodywork and the wrenching (these activities obviously require a lot of hands on.)- piling a night ride on top of a shift doing massage, repeatedly. I piled a bunch of trail work (clipping and sawing) on top of that. One of these days I would give it a rest....

I have hit my bottom. I can't shake hands on this, because it hurts in a burning and unsettling way, but I am lying here looking up and wondering the usual. Where did it all go wrong? Why me? If I could transfer this injury to someone else by force of will, which of my "friends" would suffer?

This is no great shakes in the long run, or the Grand Scheme of Things, or to anyone anonymously reading a crappy weblog...but what the hell do I do with myself now? Pretty much all I like to do is ride bikes and drink beer and this elbow is needed for both.

Look for me one armed on the road and lying under the taps at Alfredo's I guess.

30 October 2011

tip up your cup and throw yo hands up

and let me hear the cross race say:

This is how we do it. If I saw you at Aptos High then that was rad. ____ing hard course. Just mean spirited.
To the dude whose front tubular peeled off resulting in his painful smack to the pave: Ouch.
To the hecklers at the top of the hill by the loosely duffed Cedar 180: you are missing the point. How are you gonna tell racers "that looks like it hurts", get called out for having a cooler full of ____, say "it's not for you, it's for winners" (ok, I just remembered that, and you got me there), not hand any out, get called out every subsequent lap, and not deliver? Fuck you. If you got it, flaunt it. And by flaunt it, I mean spit it on me, or hand me some.
To the crusty old guy in polka dots on the humpty run-up at the lower loop: you were getting bumped with my wheel from the side, and as I said "rubbing is racing". I would have told you more only you rode away too fast.
To all the yahoos: YAY! BOO!

I took my battles where they presented themselves, maybe forced a pass whenever I saw/made a hole (take that in the corner!), sweated a lot, and had a fine time.

Did I win?

25 October 2011


Now that everbody's on the same page- we are all on the same page ain't we? Now that there is total peaceful accord amongst our many, many factions...well then we can look forward, together, to the Big Showdown at Aptos High next Sunday.

Which is, coincidentally, almost Halloween. Come on, you pagan nogoodniks let's git to the rubbin at the kickoff Surf City Cyclocross Race #1 for 2011.

I will absolutely, for certain, most definitely try to be there. Count on that. Take it to the bank. Take it to the stage. Take it and make it your own.

If I see you there, your ___ is gr___.

24 October 2011

please turn on your magic beam

Coming down the trail as big as night. I'd rather ride alone in the woods under cloudy skies above than to never know the honest depth of the world. I'm telling you right now that there's not enough contrast during the day to really see. You don't know what the hell I'm saying (I must be _____) because you aren't riding in similar circumstances.

Stand by your lonesome on the Caprock and the lights from Salinas are casting shadows. On an overcast night, when the moon is waning at 4%. No noise save the soft on-shore breeze, and a brief rustling from whatever the hell that is with the green eyes over there in the manzanita.

Feeling swift aboard the cross bike. Wearing my big boy pants against the brush.

18 October 2011

I don't come round here to meet nice people, anyway

...come go to Church with poor me.

You know we're Black and we're Evil. Evil as a clan can be.

It's a whole lotta camping to reach Day 3. Lots of laying about, lots of chores that somehow seem less a chore where it is harder to accomplish than at home (ex. cooking, dishes, etc.), lots of buggy flies (no biting, but a lot of buzzing eyes/ears/arms/legs), lots of shooting empty beer cans (with the requisite emptying of said cans- er, targets), lots of messing about in the river.

We got around to setting the rope swang up after breakfast. After the "can we just read books for a while". No one was in any hurry. The shoes were still drying on the boulder in the meadow from Day2's hike to the narrows. There were plenty of things to shoot out with a Red Rider BB rifle. There was pancakes, there was coffee. There was birdsong and river mumbling.

We caught a garter snake who'd made the mistake of curling up in the warm sun where kids could see him. He knows better now. That was one glad-handed snake.

Speaking of, N eyeballed a snake of indeterminate species on the hike upriver on Day 2. It was in the water when we came upon it, and in fleeing us it swam (well) to the bottom where it briefly stopped among some rocks before continuing on and up into a thicket. According to this computer, there are no water snakes native to CA, so I am at a loss as to it's provenance. It was dark with black patterning. NO rattle.

Guess who else showed up? Ski_, whom we had seen roughly a year prior at the very same spot, and some more horsey folk. One of the gals' horses rolled an ankle on the round river stones and took her for a tumble. That was exciting.

Eventually we built another camp____ at water's edge and roasted ears of corn. J loves mac'n'cheese, so we soaked some pasta until it was hydrated- covered it with cheese, fresh garlic and onions, wrapped it in foil and buried it amongst the coals. Then we got down to some serious crawdad hassling to pass the time...

Dinner was right on time. If you already didn't know, marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate make s'mores. I don't like those, but the kids more than make up for that. We balance by them not liking corn liquor solo in a camp chair 'neath the Full Hunter's Moon.

These are things.

17 October 2011

twists and turns! additional mileage!

Ready? OK.

I'm feeling the street bike stoke today. Full of the vim and of the vigorish, that comes from a bright and temperate Indian Summer day riding Big Sur(ish).

Every time it comes up, the idea of rounding my knowledge of the trail options in/around Ventana seems shiny and buoyant. Problem has been, it fizzles in the face of my knowledglessness combined with the easy lure of the known quantity of my local loops. My local loops are only qualifying rides, though. They lack the scale and visual impact of Big Sur (or the Santa Cruz Mountains) and I am so much more heartened by the big loops available there.

This day I took it upon myself to get out of a rut by getting onto the cross bike and pointing it South with a pocket full of possibles. I also brought a map, extra tube(s), patch kit, space food, a jacket, phone, a multi-tool. And, plus a frame pump. Who knew what I might pull off on a day like today.

And it was everything for which I could hope.

No dirt (that's real hard to square in the Wilderness), but I did make it out to the end point of Palo Colorado Road and learned several things about trail passability and campsites of particular interest from the head of the USFS trail crews (out of King City), P__ B_____, who was at the trailhead with a horse-trailer wrangling volunteers clearing several sections out from Botcher's Gap. If these names strike your ear like a wake-up gong you should get at me in the Real World and we can lay some best plans type ish. I got some real interesting beta on what and where. He was a super nice guy, who as soon as I mentioned taking kids camping became excited and we sat down for 15 minutes or more, 1st with my map (a Wilderness Press, which L___y, the camp host at Botcher's says is mistaken in several instances) and, so, 2ndly with his (a USFS copy of which I have got to get a hold for future outings). We talked of many things, and I may have some brand-new plans, including volunteering for trail maintenance through Ventana Wilderness Alliance. Who's up for some adventure on the scale of "this may be a real bad idea"? Those are the ones which really pay.

41miles out-and-back. Palo Colorado Road is waaaay steeper than Nascimiento Ferguson, and climbing (and speedingly descending) through the redwoods on a single lane (as soon as you are off HWY1 it's shady and quiet) is as Good as it gets. I don't especially dig the no-loop, and the HWY1 legs are not my favorite (with the rushy rush and the tourists gawking and straining for sights of the Pacific/condors/anything but me), but it was glorious and sunny on the way there and foggy and tail winded on the way back.

I feel great!

16 October 2011

either get right or get left

...which leaves us with Day 2, in which our heroes venture further a stream than ever before and learn a thing or 2 in the process.

Having once before dunked my camera/phone in this particular river, I only took pitchers on the way out.

Don't be a piker; use your imagination to tell you these are photos of us all blowing up floaties.

And by "all of us", I mean me. Red in the face, I set out hiking up stream with the older children toting an inflatable seal and an inflatable shark. J was celebrating his 7th Birfday by wearing a life-jacket and using an inflatable kick board. I was to be swimming.

That water was COohOLD!

Take your breath away cold. We were already in, so after swimming the 1st unwalkable section, we eagerly waited the sun's further reach into the canyon. We alternated paddling and walking up to the narrows, where the walls close in tight. 30feet high sheer walls about 3feet apart. You can hear the low roar of the waterfall at the head (around several bends), and feel the rumble in the water. The kids were nervous. We made it, though.

By the time we got back, 5 hours had passed and we were too tired to do more than lounge about.

Night brought a very small camp____ by the river's edge. We roasted asparagus, baked green beans in foil with the coals, and the couscous took care of itself. I tried some TVP (Texturized Vegetable Protein) in an attempt to round the meal. It was taco flavored. I think the stuff is a fine vegetarian option (for camping)- it's hella light and has lots of protein- but the taco flavor, frankly, is terrible. Hungry as we were, it was not a winner.

We salvaged the evening with spotlighting crawdads, watching Jupiter crawl up the night sky about 16inches away from the Full Hunter's Moon, crafting more s'mores, and rousing wouldyourathers.

Would you rather live inside a bike (there would be a door, and you could have TV and stuff) OR just walk around?

14 October 2011

cuz we're the Party People, night and day

2011 October Break (I know) Day 1 occurred precisely as follows...

Wife out of town. Kids no help at all. Coffee in hand, I pulled camping equipments from their various and scattered resting places to amass them into the perfect load. 4 days of self-contained fun don't pack itself. There was yelling and curses, but it all got done.

We pointed the race van East and hauled ourselfs and our bicycle camping stuff over to the lot at Arroyo Seco. N___ had volunteered (?) to share the load by towing the BOB trailer...

She carried the food bag. That is not our horse poop.

She was surprised. This was her 1st trailer pull. I believe it was eye opening. She mentioned several times she had a new understanding of my heroic and underplayed feats of haul. No, she did not phrase it quite like that. Yes, I am proud of her for offering (!) and for her haul.


That is 4 days worth of lollygagging, good eatin', lounging about, drankin' creek cold beer, 20 questions and wouldyourather.

Those are my boon companions. Prepared to shoulder the load out Indian's, 3.5ish miles to the trail turning down to the Good Spot- that spreading oak near the horse bridge.

Day1 was just getting out and settling in. We obeyed the fire ban, and cooked (minestrone and couscous) on the propane 2 burner, but we threw some elbows by using the Esbit for a twig fire in the circle to make s'mores. Because how are you going to camp without them?

As tradition demands, I forgot stuff. This time I saved weight by (again) forgetting my own sleeping bag. Well, I was busy making sure everone else had theirs. N and I shared hers. She was less than thrilled.

2 things stand out for me:

1)in forcing these little people to leave behind their electronics and customary pursuits, they open up like you wouldn't believe. You can talk to them about funny and interesting things and not just dog their steps about the same old same old. We played a lot of 20 Questions, and a lot of wouldyourather. We read aloud. It is worth doing, and cannot be replicated in the home.

B) Couscous is quite possibly the greatest asset to camp cooking ever. It just needs water. No cooking needed! SO easy, nutritious, and filling.

The moon came up over the ridge as we sat around our twig fire and chose between the rathers of "sit on top of 20 hundred bombs OR live in a rock."

13 October 2011

banking on the continued loyal readership

4 days in the bush will change a man.

...remarkable hints of sage, woodsmoke, and goofing off. Redolent of arguing with siblings, rivers,and crawdads. Subtle notes of sheer cliff walls, rope swangs, and Indian Summer bitches.


09 October 2011

revolutionary internet parenting device

Circumstances being what they are, my potna and I had to head over to the New Stairs for some rope swang repo.

Full Hunter's Moon coming up quick...any of you serial killers or internet stalkers is around Arroyo Seco, look us up...

04 October 2011

traveling through this old Life


You know how your pedaling can be without effort? Even on the climb?

Yeeeeeeeesss. It's like that. Like that. Like.

03 October 2011

you say you have no secrets

Ride up the hill.

A sunset Archie Leach would love.

And speaking of fantastically handsome guys on film...Antler Bike Guy has a bunch of videos out, as I learned while talking with him the other evening. Hey Surly, any a you guys reading this and want to see your demographic?

Whoa. That's an advanced cackle.

02 October 2011

close your eyes and hold your breath

October 2nd.
My birthday.

My True totem reveals itself?

Yes, my (current) totem may be the skunk with it's head in a jar. If one were to judge by the smell of my bike and clothes, anyhow.

Since no one in Monterey will ride with me, I spend lots of hours alone in the woods while pedaling. Typically, this is just fine with me but it does set the scene for some thrilling moments in the dark in the woods on the trails. I set out after work last evening to check on the shrine- it is still there, undisturbed. I'm happy with it's placement after coming upon it in situ, and with fresh eyes. It's subtle but bold.

After rambling out to the Caprock (which needs a resupply) for sunset, it was some dark trail riding back. How am I not going to take the funnest trails? No how, that's how. After MAching Gun Flats to #68 to Blair Witch and fireroads to the low entry to Freedom I found myself back at the shrine, where there was still a bottle of Basil Hayden's and a cold beer I'd left there on the way out.

A brief interlude followed, in which I summoned the spirits.

Then it was on the trail with what felt like dangerous amounts of speed. The 30% waxing crescent Hunter's Moon was juuuuust enough to throw a shadow in clear spots. I do have a small headlight mounted on my helmet (the amazingly useful PrincetonTec Eos) but I prefer not to use it. I like riding in the conditions the night gives me as long as possible. It's better.

Riding the quiet fixed Crosscheck without a cone of separating light I blend into the night and roll with the flow. It's magic.

It's also a fine way to all of a sudden come upon a skunk. At first I didn't know what it was, just a darker spot in the trail so I reached up and tapped on the light to reveal him (tail aloft) facing me. I think he'd hit the gas right then, but I'm unsure. Those damn skunks, they are so entitled. They never give up the trail, they just lift their tail and act self righteously indignant. He began waddling down the singletrack and I kept what seemed to me to be a fair distance- pressing him but not close enough to receive any unpleasantness. Like a skunk does, he just kept heading down the trail, tail lifting higher whenever I closed the gap, but not making any moves to get out of the way. I began to heckle him. I believe he was a rookie of the worst sort. I believe he sprayed his spray and had nothing left because the more he waddled and was taunted, the lower his tail got. But he never did let go the trail. That right hander? Yep. He had options, but he opted for the easy line (read: established trail) every time. I began to think he was just messing with me.
In the end, he took the main trail by all the junk and I took the sneaky line over under the tower and we parted ways. When I slowed and began walking up the steep section is when I became aware of a terrible smell. It was me. Meet the new totem, same as the old totem.

Happy Birthday! I feel the skunk with it's head in a jar is a fine summation of what I have achieved with my Life.