Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

28 May 2013

so you're the gringo that's come to challenge His Majesty, uh?

Wah! I sorry for you, my friend. Now seal your fate...

 Bikes. Riding bikes places. Trying to stay on dirt as much as possible.

I stopped on that one trail and looked up (at random) to see someone has built several (specifically 3) platforms quite high up. I climbed up to check them out, but lost motivation when it became obvious that a musette full of tallboys was not an asset when trying to ascend to rickety structures 18' up a rotten limbed Monterey Pine. Anyhow.

So I'd taken some 299mm spokes home from the shop for a project, and after the musette was holding empty tallboys, I decided to take it offa my back to allow it to drip not on me. Of course it dropped off somewheres on the descent. I found that out upon arriving home. It was not a surprise.

The following day was the Full Get Offa Your Ass Moon, so in observance of same I rolled out backtracking my previous trip, hunting the bag. Happy face! It was just inside the gate and not up the hill at all. That opened the door of possible alternate routes slash exploration; a door I stepped through. Well, sort of lifted the bike over and then slithered under meself on account of the barbs, but you understand.

I was on the fat bike, having some personal clown fun and looking for the Good Stuff. Eh. I did find a section of niceness, but the bust factor is high. Then the trail took a turn for the steep and loose. But- how else do you find what you don't already know, right? The fat tyres are a nice bit of equipment for trundling along on questionable surfaces. I hunted and snooped for a ways. When one is solo, there is no fuss; false starts, backtracking, lots of poison oak, fainter and fainter trails that just have to go through, etc. Damned if it didn't get darker the whole while. Darker and fainter and more oak.

Just when despair was nigh- a recognized fence! All of a sudden I knew exactly where I was, and there were open trails ahead of me. That's a sweet relief, I can tell you. On the one hand, it is magical to have such nearby access to remotitude, and on the same hand faint oaky trails in the dark blow. The friendly open trails led me right back home eventually. That section of the peninsula is not comfortable solo in the dark; it's super forested and creepy.

The spokes? They were for the newly gotten Surly Rabbit Hole rim that goes in the Krampus fork to be slung on the Ogre in the interest of trying new things...

What's the 1st thing you do when you get a new fork? You fnord drill holes in the middle!

Well, because there weren't any.

And I wanted a spot to cleanly mount the rack. On account of it is for camping. So I did that, with the riv-nut nut-setter.

Dyno Alfine with the "2 cool 4 drugs" hub shiner. Camo tape rim strip. (thanks, Mr. P!) Silver rim because I have class.

We tested it's capabilities last night. For a wheel born of such circumstance, whose very structural components were literally soaked in cheap beer well prior to actually performed like you'd expect.

Rides like a bike. I'll keep you posted. It's not like it's anything legit. It's only clown fun.

23 May 2013

enough is enough

Wednesday Night Rides are a (spotty at best so far) GO! Santa Cruz has had their rich (and by rich I mean PARTY) tradition of Wednesday Night Rides, but it is 50 miles from home. The Monterey Peninsula is lacking in this regard, but it is home. Wherever home is, this midweek ride/party is a winner.

After last week's debacle, in which everyone cancelled, yesterday really happened. I knew the fellas from our shop were all going to ride their (or a demo) squishy bike, but the demos from our location are reserved for today so I did not want to take one. I opted instead to ride my top of the line Specialized bike- the StumpJumper. It was tits in 1989. It is tits in 2013, only now it has baskets.

As I rolled up and over the hill to meet at the shop, I heard a PING, and thought I'd hit some small metal bit. Turns out it was a 15/16 pinner spoke breaking on the well-used wheel my coach had gifted me at the bike swap. Good thing I's on my way to a bike shop...

So I got to be that guy for a bit.

Then we climbed up the pave at a very brisk pace. I was a little concerned at the briskness. I don't often ride with a group these days, so I forget how it is. As we settled into the climb, though, I came to the front and gave the youngsters what for- baskets and all. I admit to liking that part. Those guys are mostly the fucking new guy, and their inexperience and youthful naivete are frankly a little tiring. Witness, FNG from last week who, on a borrowed full carbon/suspension bike, did not have any tools/tube/levers/pump show up again this week not having learned anything from last week's walk out from trail's end due to the same lack. Yes, he had no tools/tube/levers/pump. And he is a bike shop employee! My efforts to point out the flat-out lack where met with a furrowed brow and the statement "somebody has something." That is disappointing. Last week I loaned him my pump (several times), and would have loaned him my spare tube, if he had brought levers (my shit comes off by hand, yo) to get the tire offa the carbon rims. You think he would learn. He obviously can't be taught. It is exasperating having to "parent" grown-ups. I am reminded of my scout master, who would turn his college ring around the 1st time you did something super wrong/stupid, and the 2nd time hit you upside the head with it. He made good and sure you had the opportunity to see him turn it around, but woe to the boy who did not pay attention.

The conversation was witless, too. I pulled beers out of my baskets and we had a short break. I did not expect the FNGs to have come prepared.

But, riding was fun. I slotted in last place on all the downs, which was most assuredly where I should be, full-squish or no. Those guys did a lap. Then they rode home. I laughed, and rode through the trails on my lonesome at a slower but still totally ripping pace. As I reached the spot at which I expected to open my last beer, I saw that my pack had bounced out of the rear basket...somewhere. Then it was a much higher pace back to the split, looking for my pack containing beer, jacket,tools, phone,etc. When I found it, I was glad. I had just begun to despair and there it was.

So, that was where I drank a beer instead. On the way out, I stopped to document the new section of trail just above the Carmel entrance to Pebble Beach:

it is a worthwhile add-on, up and down. The road crossing is sort of shitty, but worth it.

Hey yo, Full Moon coming up and I gots the baskets...who likes to party?

21 May 2013

hand-reared jungle cat

Local roadies all want to ride out 68 and go "over the grade". They say it with a gleam in their eye, like it's something. Pardon me while I snicker. Cloacal roadies, get real! Carmel Valley is where it's at. Sure, there're the wine-drunk tourists sometimes, but over all the experience is much more good. You can talk about how 68 has such nice pavement after the winter's redo, and how it has the wide shoulder...and get blue in your face as you ignore the issue- commuter traffic and buses and trucks and the grade sucks, homie. It is hot, it is exposed, and it backs up with assholes driving way too fast teaching you a lesson by passing within a foot of you. And, then, you're up and over and down and you have CV to ride anyhow. (buzzer sound.)

On the other hand, shifting into your big ring and smoothly pedaling circles out the valley gets you past the village in practically no time and from there it's no-traffic one-lane goodness. To wit, Cachagua:

where you can get your hot exposed climb on with minimal cars, nice grades, and fantastic descending on the backside. Scary twisty and quick.

So I did that. But the ride was too short, even though my lily-white, coastal-fog-softened pins were talking. As I was headed West, I opted for a further climb up the South side past all those steep false summits. Hopped a gate that wouldn't open, and rolled through some more:

oak land goodness. Summer is here and the time is right, for riding in the streets. ~70ish miles of street biking.

At home afterwards, I stretched hamstrings and adductors and foam-rollered the legs. It helps. Don't sleep.

Finally, in the interest of Summertime and more info than you deserve or desire, I made the BBQbaked black-eyed peas from the Vegan Soul Kitchen cookbook by Bryant Terry.  Fucking delicious.

19 May 2013

it's all in here

The good with the bad.

This is the 1st time this particular issue has arisen for me. That is a particularly slick pair of light-weight dead man's trousers, and they just wouldn't stay rolled up. One thing led to another, and I found myself stopping short.


17 May 2013

without ceremony or sentiment

I roll through the doors of the big bike shop on my cross bike, having smiled my way to work, and mention my route to the other other mechanic. He's into car-supported laps down the hill behind us. I'm not into that. I say how I rode up the trails over there, and down the road over here- he says it would be fun to ride the trails down over there (says it likes he thinks I'm blind) but it's stupid to ride up them. I think he misses the point. I think it would be fun to ride the funnest possible route to do what one gotta do to get where one is going for one to get where one need to be at, and starting at the bottom of those trails precludes riding down them. At least until the return commute trip, which is how it went. The truth? It was fun both ways.

And that is the real magicality of a cross bike. So much is on the table in terms of fun.

Hell(a) yeah, West coaster.

15 May 2013

generous and inarticulate

I took a ride down to Big Sur in Smiling M___ H____'s little red truck. He keeps all manner of tools in the back and on his back. We stopped short of the avalanche shed at Rain Rocks and pointed our feet straight up Twitchel (as it changes from Road to Trail to Elevator) until we reached Stone Ridge Trail. It was the 1st time on either of them for myself, and while Twitchel was an idyllic wonderland in that valley with the glossy fire-blacked Redwoods and the generous flooring of Redwood Sorrel (oxalis oregana), the rest of it was a steep and brutal march up the face. Elevator for real.

I carried the 4' crosscut saw and my daypack containing only a small pullsaw, a jacket, some lunch, and a water bladder. Smiling M carried a shovel, a pulaski and his pack containing a lot, including but not limited to: a single jack (hammer) to drive wedges, several aluminum wedges, loppers, water bottles, and lunch. His radio pack had handset, notebook, pocketwatch, and a dangling pair of hand pruners. He was also strapped with a plastic sheathed pullsaw. Our loads were very different. He would not share the burden, but did allow use of his tools.

note: the blue background is the Pacific, not the sky...

A day off from work consisted of riding an hour in the car to hike 3 1/2 hours straight up, spending 4 hours wrassling with a laid over California Bay Laurel (umbellularia) and doing light treadwork/maintenance, then hiking 3 hours back down (the elevator shaft) to pay $4 for a bottle of Coke at Lucia Lodge.

I'd do it again.

08 May 2013

it feels like a lot of things have already been said

Not everthing, but a lot. I get tired of my own voice. If I were to distill the lot it might amount to: make an effort. Be nice and have a good time. All at the same time. Combine those elements.

I been in Santa Cruz visiting some fellow cyclists and all around good-guys who got run into by a car while doing everthing right and minding their own business descending. The car pulled out to pass like it does in your nightmares. They are alive and fucked up, but nothing like they coulda been. A serious reminder. Way to pull it off, bros. I'm so happy y'all aren't killed!!

While there, I rode the SS up that one trail. It is so perfectly pitched (in some places) that you climb singletrack as fast as you can, and it just feels like you are in a tractor beam. It is a good feeling.

05 May 2013

be good or be good at it

Another thing I forgot to mention is that the Sturmey-Archer S3X has a free-wheeling motion. It is true. A slight upclick from 2nd can disengage the drive. It's real imprecise, and frankly kind of scary- at the slightest tap, the lever will pop into 2nd and then NOW! you are pedaling again. Not a safe transition if you are "coasting" at speed. I do it when I'm mindful. Or, when loaded and I forget.

02 May 2013

representing you for free

A few things I forgot to mention are to follow.

On the last day of the family camping trip, and whilst shredding down twisty singletrack, I bottomed out the rear tyre in a rocky creek crossing. This resulted in a pinch flat. That will happen, and will even be likely given how loaded the Big Dummy can get. While swapping for a fresh tube I noticed the slice in the sidewall. Yikes! I patched the tyre itself and booted the patch with a wrapper, but the cut was high enough that the risk of it spreading across the tread and being a ride-ender was very real. It worked out fine, which is why I was able to forget to mention it, but it could have been a serious drag. I have resolved to bring along a spare tyre in the future.

We have been doing plenty of fun rides under the moonlight, but they have been mostly un-document-able. For one reason and another.

Consider the words "dirt" and "summit", and how they might be combined. Full Pink Moon. As an added bonus, we did find the hole in the marine layer several nights running. It was brief, but moonlit forest singletrack is to be savored.

And I have been struggling with vague knee pain lately. You know as well as I how easy it is to let the self-care slip until something acute forces the issue. I guess my issue is forced. In my 40s aches and pains creep in. I gotta stay ready so I ain't got to get ready. (Go to the doctor?!? Are you crazy? ) It was so bad the morning after the full moon long ride, that my knee buckled in the shower. Scary. I had continued riding because (well, obviously, it's what keeps me happy) it wasn't causing pain to pedal, but that was the real tipping point.

What it has come to is trigger points in the popliteus muscle. Happy day! I was hobbling around last week because it was so tender. Wearing my brace, icing my knee...not riding on my days off. It was no bueno. Bad enough that I was increasingly convinced that it was the MCL, and the potential need for surgery was looming in my mind...anyhow, I was motivated to learn some more about possible causes for that type of knee pain, and there it is. Popliteus. This is video is a real help:

It's simple and it works. After working the trigger points along the insertion (along the top of the tibia, the inner, lower leg as shown) I had a ~75% reduction in pain right away. The next morning, the by-now-familiar tender and constant ache had returned. Upon working the insertion again, the pain receded again, and has not returned!

Now you know.