Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

27 January 2014

this purple hand will give a yellow spectre

 The new way to school. The other day it was whales and dolphins just off shore. Of course he takes it for granted. Fusses about the sand.

Well, nobody likes sand in their shoes.


How far is it to Cachagua General Store? 23.6miles.

So...road bikes, maing. 54ish miles for the lollipop loop. "How can you stay sucka-free when you livin in a world of lollipops?" I know, I know...but the local roads are old hat, and the lolli section is fun, it's just getting the stick 2 times that pains. Regardless, my legs are shaky after charging on the way out. That's a good feeling.

California is brown as can be right now, though. And I am thinking about where I want to force take the kids bikecamping for February Break. Arroyo Seco is too cold to swim, and so not an attention holder. Indians is a possibility, even though they will hate it- it is a bitch ass climb. But then, so is any part of Coe, and that is on the table in my mind. Gotta be somewhere within a (half?) day's drive- anything further is too much time wasted in the car for me. Hmmm. Who knows what's up with the North Rim of  the Grand Canyon this time of (this) year? Any of you internet knowers of (capable) kid friendly bike camping musts? Effort is fine, technical is not. Must be separate from traffic.

25 January 2014

the memory still lingers

My chainring is in the process of getting roached. I can feel it with each pedal stroke. It is a creak, a shimmy, and a wiggle. The chain is newish, clean, lubed, and taut. The BB is sound. The cranks- the cranks have their issues, but they are OG XTR c.1995 and as such as are in it for the long haul. (the threads are stripped, and I can't remove them without a gear puller, which I don't have) I mention these things because they are relevant and on my mind as I climb; especially as the fixed gear is usually refreshingly silent.

Pave/dirt commute the fun way. After dark, a little attitude adjustment, and quiet back road hills over to 68. I like the night, so if it's feasible, I leave the headlight off; just a tiny white blinky on the bars (keep some contingency lights on the townie(s) to be safe and keep the cops away, yeah?). Solo on the road, the red blinky stays on- it doesn't affect my vision, and it's safety 1st.

The commuter traffic on 68 is heavy. I turn on my helmet-mounted headlight (the slightly too heavy for helmet use Supernova Airstream claiming 260 lumens...I need to pin those (local) Light&Motion clowns down about a night ride test ride party) for increased visibility to the cars. I spin a complaining 46x18 along the highway. I watch for debris on the shoulder. I listen to West Coast rap like it ain't no thing, but only in my right ear so I can hear what's going on traffic-wise. I am (again. always) thankful to be wearing a cycling cap- the visor is a must to keep the oncoming headlights from blinding me.

I check behind me and bank across the lanes into the shopping mall with the 7-11 there as 218 intersects. The fixed gear is smooooooooth and fluid, creak be damned. I am watchful in there, as the cars are not. It is a nice way to cut the light, and I pop out onto 218 with much less traffic. At the right to climb up General Jim Moore, the traffic level drops again, significantly. That's what I'm talking about. An easy series of rollers ahead, my mind tries to play tricks on me with the suggestive option to take the right and climb S Boundary (it's closed to cars! you can drop 50 the swoopy way!) but I am wise to my ways and continue straight. At Eucalyptus, I turn off all lights and roll out to dirt.

I sit in the dark for a while. It is quiet.

Turning homeward, I take the easy way out and drop Cside(!). I still feel climby, so it is pave up the hill to one of several dirt options down the backside. At one point, I hop a fence. There is a beer stashed in the bole of that oak standing all by itself, and it is a nice spot to sit down.

35miles? The pedaling never stops.

21 January 2014

a litigious clown who's lost his sense of humor

We used to do this all the time.

Now is the same only different. I hope to say that in the future.

Brief stop at the shrine to stock it with the left-over Templeton Rye. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this as a rye- it is far too sweet. But. It'll git you drunk. So, there is that.

I will avail myself of it another time. An afternoon on the trails with my 9 year old calls for a different type of fun...

 Like posting up at the New Stairs and heating up some lunch while the boy gets back to his roots.

 I have become so used to "cooking" with the Kelly Kettle that I just brought it, with no thought. How am I gonna heat the soup? With some carefully placed, closely monitored twigs. I spaced the soup pot up offa the chimney with these twigs. They'd catch fire, and I'd have to replace them, but it worked for a bit.

After the water boiled, we used it to blanch the spinach (in the can) and just stuck the soup pot right in the burning embers of the stove base to finish cooking.

Make it work.

19 January 2014

1st hand proof

 A morning will follow even the blackest night, and when your day opens out in the woods, with the continuation of a long bike ride, it is bright indeed. Oh! But they're weird and they're wonderful!

1st things 1st, it is time for coffee. I used to bring my fancy tiTAINium coffee press, but after repeatedly witnessing the practical ease of simply using a hankerchief for some passable cowboy coffee, I no longer bring that. It was not heavy or particularly bulky, but it did take up the space of a can of beer in a crowded and limited pack. And you're gonna need a hankerchief anyhow. I like my coffee strong, and black, and NOW. So, as soon as the sleeping bag opens, it is time to gather some twigs and fire up the Kelly Kettle.

Then it is time for poo.

It is a given on a campout that there will be lots of talk concerning poo- the details, the choicest spots, the inquiries as to who remembered the man-wipes. This offers a nice segue into our conversation regarding the inimitable Conway Twitty. Mr. Twitty is clearly a demented and filthy genius and a product of the 1970s in America in the worst and most iconic way. Witness: rotten. Bom bom bom.

 The bike I used on this go round:

...the trusted Surly NeckRomancer frame, with a twist.

I already had the 29+ front wheel (with the dyno hub, which is a must for an adventure bike in my book), which has proven itself an asset when loaded. I dig the fat tyres in the chunky and the creek bottom and such, but they are pee eye gee PIGS. I get tired of lugging them around when there is a lot of rolling to be done. The Pugsley frame supposedly accepts 29+, so I built a 135mm (offset) rear on a Rabbit Hole to try on for size. (As an aside, I appreciate the fact that Surly stuck with a platform that allows you to dick around with your existing gear as much as possible and not yet another "standard" (looking at you 170 y 190).)

That bike's stock fork is a 135mm non-offset Moonlander (447mm axle-crown), though, which precludes the use of a 100mm dynohub (which is a must for an adventure bike in my book) so I had to use the Krampus fork (483mm axle-crown) I had laying around. Less than ideal, yes but- BUT I did have it to hand, just lying on it went. The Krampus fork pushed the front end up 36mm! by my math. I haven't measured how much it raises the BB. This isn't that scientific a blog; it's more of a ...gut feeling kind of blog. So, yes, floppy (slack). Flexxxxxxxy. Eh, fine. Steering suffered- ask T_dd about laughing at my straight lining the sharp downhill skibble turns, but it paid off in terms of floaty power. I think I will get an ECR fork (468mm axle-crown),with the braze-ons for the stuff, and run that. It's close enough for clown fun. Imagine a rope swing. You jump on, let it fly and then it gets all G'd out with the compressing swoop, which builds and deepens into the curve until finally slinging you out the other side with smiley quickness.

I rode this bike in spite of it's flaws because (how bad could it get?) I wanted to get a feel for the 29+ platform. To me, I like it. It has a lot of the traction for climbing of the fat bike, a lot of the float, and (feels like anyhow) none of the draggy, boggy slowness. Consider me a fan.

Happy as I am with the Surly in general, I am terribly unhappy about the Surly OG OD crank. The top cap (non-drive arm keeper?) backed itself out and fell off, and the crank arm did the same just before this trip. That is the 2nd time. I had already replaced the top cap once, when it had ejected and gotten lost, and this was the replacement lost. Those cranks had all kinds of loosening issues. I will contact my Surly brothers and see what they say.

I heart Henry Coe State Park- where old party balloons come to die. I heart the mellow, parabolic creek-bed-side singletracks and I heart the top of it all fire road climbs. I like to give a special shout out to Wilson Ridge WHOOPdedoos down to Pacheco Creek...shit eating grins. For reals.

What? You need more Conway Twitty? Well all right.

...softly whisper pretty love words in your ear. Masterful! My Loretta Lynn Pandora station keeps throwing ol Conway at me, and I will admit I enjoy You're The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly, but.

All good things...

Bullshitting back at the start.

Black Cat Bicycles' adventure matchine. Custom.

...even the dust matches the fancy gold plating on the fork.

2 nights and 2 days of a Good Time. I feel like we're on to something. Party over here.

17 January 2014

Safety 3rd

Look. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know here, when I say how great the bike camping is. You know all about the "hardships" involved- the working out (juggling) of schedules with adventure partners and the climBING! that is Henry Coe's stock-in-trade and the low lows and the high heights. It all works out.

Sunday night meet-up at the trailhead parking lot might mean a lot of moonlit sangletrack. Climb. Climb. Climb climb climb. We rolled (climbing) the ridge top for a while then. Deciding to drop down what felt like a full half of our hard earned up was a choice I made twice. At the top, of course it seemed like a fine idea, but a little ways down the 2nd guesses slip in and your confidence seems ill-founded. Can you really afford to lose all this elevation (and so quickly!)...what if we missed the turn? Etc. The serene, surreal feathered grasses all blown sideways by windy moonlight only underline the queasy thrill of dropping like a bad habit; no lights, half drunk, 3/4 moon, wholly joyful.

So, wake up at Wilson Camp:

Your bike had a party last night?

 It's a nice spot to ease on in to your camping out. A spring, a roofed "shelter" so you can cook "out of the wind". It was cold down in the bottoms, but up there it stays pretty mild.

 Fire roads from there. What? Yes, climbing. A hard winter's 65* day all day...

and Hoover Lake is testament to the continuing dryness. We came here in 2011, and it was booming. Look at it now. We considered lying cheek to muck with the parched bottom and thrusting our arms down in search of valuable doubloons or sunglasses or fishing hooks, but in the end just rolled away in search of some ripping singletrack descents.

Lunch at a high point. Always a nice time to break out the Kelly Kettle for some cowboy coffee.

My favored riding bibs- the shorty camo overhauls I found at the dingy thrift store in Craig, CO. Maybe it was Meeker. I forget, but it bears out the strategy of stopping to thrift shop...

Wide front load. I appreciate the 800mm bars for the steering when loaded. It helps.

T___ was using the Platypus Gravity Works in-line filter , and it beats the pants off sitting on an uncomfortable rock lake-side while awkwardly opening and closing my leaky Katadyn for 10 minutes. I will be getting that set up toot sweet...or as soon as it is back in stock at the QBP, anyhow.

After filling our bladders, we climbed up out of the cold lake bottom so we could sleep warm. The road bed was dead level and there was no risk of litter catching fire when cooking dinner. 

It was so still and quiet that it woke me up several times. The moon was bright enough to be a bother, if you can believe I said that. I ran out of booze. So, there was a lot of hardship up with which to put.

_odd claims he's not a expert bike tourer, he's "just a guy who likes to ride out into Henry Coe and get drunk". Now, I'm no expert neither but that sounds like the voice of reason at the least.

05 January 2014

if you look at it with a critical eye, none of it makes any sense

Lots of time spent indoors lately? Too bad for you. All we have to contend with over here is an ongoing drought (according to my personal record of note- The Carmel Pine Cone- this year's low is 4.19 inches, which "smashed" the previous low of 8.96inches in 1953. That is some serious halving. No wonder they ain't no mushrooms to be found.), an average ambient temperature of 53*, and the by-now obvious dearth of rider-partiers, or partying-riders, or people who really know how to have a fun time. As I like to call them.

I've lamented before the difficulty in finding the perfect balance with regard to partying and riding (hard), so I will only lamentito here. The range from DUI rider (which, if you wear normal clothes while riding, the general public figures you for, and for which- let's face it- sometimes you could rightly be mistaken, if there were the general public on sick ass trails. Ha HA!) to "serious racer" being the spectrum, I'd say we have both types in Monterey County but no middle ground. I have no love for either end of the spectrum. Someone who knew more than I ever will said the middle path is the one, and I feel sure he/she was talking about singletrack. Or maybe really twisty and perfectly surfaced one-lane traffickless tarmac. Either. Anyhow, it can all be summed up with: the pickings is slim and (2) straight is the way and narrow the gate.

All that adds up to the humble brag. And that isn't what Road Riding (or, as it was called in my youth "cycling") is all about. These things are on my mind, because local partner and youthful buddy _____ P is leaving town for good soon, and has been dipping his toe into the deep water of road riding. He doesn't know the history and pageantry that lurks there. It was a surprise to me when I mentioned in passing Hampsten's ride on the Gavia and I was met with a blank look. And frankly, kind of a sneer. Raised on mountain biking, he has an intuition that roadies (as a category) are dicks. Who can blame him?

Individual participants and a recent drug craze notwithstanding, Road Riding is fucking glorious. And at least as fun as mountain biking (though not as fun as camping via the bike). The legendary races and stages still resonate, still hold sway. History, maing! Anyways, I compiled a little list for this nOOb so that he can more deeply appreciate the Goods. The quick and easy:

Stars and Water Carriers (duh)

The Impossible Hour (I couldn't find the whole thing in a quick search, so find it yourself if you have the desire/gumption- it's worth it...."the personal nomination of oneself for the test of strength". Are you kidding me?!? The narration alone is fantastic- "a revelation of harmony and elegance")

La course en tete. THE classic?

I very much enjoyed Les Triplettes de Bellville, too.

I'd also strongly, urgently, sincerely, and highly recommend Tim Krabbe's book, The Rider. It is beautiful.

So, if you're stuck indoors, there's some options for entertainment. Anybody got some I missed?

01 January 2014

there was a time when you didn't know what you know today

For what it's worth, this guy is KILLING IT with regards to using his mind and his imagination to have the fun including the bikes.

In related events, I got 3 flats on the last ride of 2013 (the Old year). I don't hold with no CO2 bullshit for just such a reasons. And, to the fellow shop employee who told me to throw away the old tube and put a new one in- YOU KNOW BETTER! Gah. OK, so it's got 4 patches on it now. 4 is the limit. It's good for a while yet, I hope.

Yes, that is a winter sangletrock around here. Also, that one log removal/moval/reremoval situation seems to have been resolved in our favor. The log remains, far off the trail. Success.

Mom really came through with the perfect Xmas present...

We're giving it the serious test tomorrow after work. Who has 2 thumbs, like to ride streets and trails, and throw back the low-end hooch? Most of us, I guess. (Ron Andrews, a.k.a. King Cage, is a man with whom to be reckoned. Support.) Now, while I have heard from some that mounting the flask on one's bike begs the attention of others and that it were better kept under the cover of a pocket, I see it both ways. I like to have my booze and drink it too as much as the next guy, but this "fender" action just cries out PARTY to me, and I dig that. In your face!

Welcome 2014! We still here. Back at it this year. Finally, if you don't already love Kool Keith, you better learn.