Next Full Moon

Thursday, November 6th Full Wide Open Beaver Moon

20 October 2014

skilled devotees of one of the world's most exacting hobbies

Everbody got to love something. One of the the things I love the most is riding bikes. You may feel similar. And a further subset of Love is racing cyclocross. That is some kind of a hurtful Good Time, let me tell you. In spite of the impending collapse of predictable global weather patterns that is currently manifesting itself here in California as SERIOUS DROUGHT and which results in candy-assed conditions for cyclocross (sunny, and hot?!) the courses laid out by CCCX have been fun and challenging.

Last week's multiple barriers and series of punchy rises made for one type of racing (which suited my candy ass), while this week's had only the one barrier and a couple tiny punches with the deep-like-bottomless sand and the ripping road bits (not suiting my candy ass). As I was breathing down the neck of the racer/foe in front of me going into the woodchip/sand twisties, he lost it in the corner and I ran into his wheel...that guy apologized for crashing and blocking me. Lesson? Shit. Racing is chaos. I twisted my bars (old ass hella upright quill stem and wide OG WTB dirtdrops) in this incident, but it's a race! so I kept rallying with a 20* list to the left. Places were lost as we got ourselves sorted. This got me a little panicky-

Look. I KNOW it doesn't really matter, that it's just a local old guy B race with no Glory or accolades, and it bores even my own family, but. It does matter. In that moment it is a savage contest and I am in it to win whichever battle I can. Win one, chase down the next fool. Not in my category? Good. It means I'm moving up through the fodder. Fuck. Eat. Kill.

and being rattled will make you crashy. Yes, leading 3 clowns into the tight sandy switchbacks, I washed the front wheel and stuffed myself into the bushes. I should have taken those guys out with me to preserve placing? No mercy! But the clown immediately behind me yells at me to get up and get back on his wheel so we can chase down the clowns in front of us both?  Damn. I love cyclocross.

Well, I had twisted my bars 20* to the right in that one, but I jumped up and tried to chase- nope. I had to stop and manhandle them straight and then try to chase. Places were lost. Racers whose asses I'd handed to them last week were drilling me this week. I watched __ ride away consistently on the road bits and barely be able to bring him back, get pissy that I was "stuck" behind him on the techy stuff, and then have him stick the knife in again when we returned to the road bits. Round and round we go. I was simultaneously pissed that he kept attacking (and I couldn't answer) and admiring that he had such ability. Ability on the smooth flats, but real lack on the punchy accelerations and the tech stuff?  It's a puzzler, the love and the hate.

Because that's what it is about. Love. Chivalry. Pageantry.

At the cyclocross sports game, you will find spectators hollering at crash victims to shake it off and get back in the race, giving time splits to teammates and their rivals alike, cheering anybody. Cowbells. Boobs (well, some man-boobs were shown anyhow, and we can hope it takes off). Fireball handups (which, that awful cinnamon "whiskey"will make you seriously consider throwing up for a lap or so). Etc. The people there are there because they are participants, not simple gapers. Everybody understands what it takes to ride the dang thing, slow or fast, and there is the community because of this.

At the end, after chasing and chasing and never catching, I was able to pass this one guy in a sprint to the line. He knew I was coming, and when I pipped him his exclamation of dismay was all the victory required.

Savages. Finding meaning and satisfaction in the dust.

15 October 2014

spirits refuse to fade away

but they will rotate, so's to prevent stagnation. Stag nation. Like it's comrade, Rust, it never sleeps but it also don't work as hard so you can beat it if you're willing to put in a little effort.

It's October Break (you know- when the kids get a week off of school) and we ain't got the resources to ride the highline thru the Himalyas, tour the Continent's finer salons, or explore the most picturesque of the lesser known slot canyons but. BUT. We can discover the wonders of nature, rolling in the rushes down by the riverside. A quick and dirty overnighter way down Arroyo Seco way?

That's all you had to say.

The stripped downest of trips. The kids all carried they own sleeping gear, no extras (i.e. folding camp chairs, 2 burner stoves, cast iron dutch ovens, or the like as per past trips), and we had the barest of food set ups...means poppa can forgo the big Big Dummy, and we can all fit in one car for the drive out to the trailhead. Yes, they are unwilling to ride the 45 miles to the ride. Soft.

The weather has begun to turn, (though central California is never that cold) and we don't love the yahooery that runs rampant at the "gorge" anyhow, so it was an easy unanimity to keep rolling rather than head down into the shadows and the yelling in favor of keeping on towards the sunshine and the quiet.

So after all that, there is the this:

And you can lounge creekside in the hammock hoping the beer fairy shows up...

11 October 2014

paradigm of self-effacement

So my achilles tendon had been bothering me pretty good after the #2 CCCX race (followed by the long grinder road ride the next day, duh) and I been staying off the clipless pedals and wearing shoes that don't grab my heel, etc. Also, I been using the Roll Recovery R8 (totally recommend!).

Result? I'm feeling much better. As I dip my toes in the deep end of trying to age gracefully*  (just turned 46?!) I find an increasing need to stay on top of "minor" body issues in order that they not become "major" body issues. If that don't make sense, wait will eventually.

Anyhow, I go to the races "for work", and not racing is a drag. Seeing everbody out there suffering, and hearing the post-race tales of glory with no stake in the matter is sad making. Today, I felt better enough to mix it up. I even warmed up for the first time ever, and I think that made a real difference. I try to always pre-ride the course (not a given), but never an actual warm up, and always a sneer for the goons on their trainers. Well, as usual, the joke's on me. That stuff is legit.

I felt good, the course suited me, and in spite of dropping my chain twice (surprise! coast along one handed and fit it back on while getting passed...) on account of my questionable decision to ditch the front stuff for a 1x set-up with a played out short cage XT from 1993 and half a reflector bracket for a "keeper", well I finished pretty good. What a fun day: self-inflicted punishment, the crushed dreams of my rivals, pinatas, squirt guns, yep.

I got home and told the wife how I'd placed, and she asked out of how many people overall. The hurtful joke continues...

Hey. Really do check out that Roll Recovery business. It is helpful.

*remain able to do all kind of kick ass fun stuff.

06 October 2014

more, more, more

Yo. Is you certain your shit is enduro enough? Be your post mounts as flush as they will have to be? Do you have the latest in thru axle technahlogy? Can you an early adopter of the most modern of electrical plastisized drive train freAK OUTS?

Then you might want to consider what you wanna to do with your life.

You do what you do because you want to. We do what we do because: A) Bob fucking told us to B) it seemed like a good idea at the time 3) wut? D) the terrain in these yere parts is rolly and sandy with some sections of rolly sand. You can ride whatever you want wherever you want, so long as you ride to the ride. What ride?

The FULL MOON FUCK YOU, FUTURE FREAKOUT. Wednesday night, October 8th, on account of that's when the moon is full. Meet at the graveyard at 6:30PM for sunset beer(s) (look for the kooks drinking beer(s) by bicycle(s) if you are uncertain as to which specific gravesite) and we will roll- by S___'s in Cside to pick him up cuz he is lazy- on to the place where the trails begin.

I am riding a singlespeed, because they are cool. You ride whatever your wrong choice happens to be. Bring some good hooch, because the only stuff out there is that awful Crown Royal.

DRUNK and fast. No babysitting, no submitting.

Word is out.

23 September 2014

guides you through uncomfortable questions...

I don't need to know everything. Neither do I want. Secret stuff stays secret if folks don't say anything about it. So the minute you start running your mouth about riding ____ ______, is exactly the minute I regret* ever having said boo. What's the first rule of any club?

Hanging out with 9 year olds has certain advantages. They are generally down for a Good Time, and I respect that. We did some "stealth" camping last week which I am sure blew up our spot- the close one- for good. The poor old gal walking her fancy dog was surprised to see hobos invading her neck of the woods, is all I'm saying. Lesson (finally?) learned- time for a new and more tucked away spot.

That picture above is the neighborhood peloton rolling deep down HWY1 to Point Lobos (where they disallow bikes on the trails, sadly...though the roads are pretty mellow it being a state park and all. And where we need to really suss out the legitimate camping opportunities really and for real) like a gaggle of tentative baby ducks. We had a nice time.

The ride is about 1/3 dirt, too. And of course, right next to the Pacific if you are into that.

I have collected some odd bits and fashioned them into a 24" rough stuff roadish bike for J. Super jerry rigged Schwinn Sprint (c.1980?), so a tank fo sho, but and hecka sweet, He rallied it down the loose seaside singletrack. 24" is stable as hell. He's feeling the drops out. So far so good.

Bikes. Bike rides.

Also, I finally got J____ S____, long time shop supporter, to come out and see what his AWOL can do...he got his eyes opened, and so did I as to the magicality of getting around by bike. You forget, being immersed in it, that biking for transportation and adventure are the same. He was so blown away that he's lived on the Monterey Peninsula (a real scenic place) for 20someodd years and had no idea about the routes we took, nor the ease with which we took them (no cars on trails and fireroads...).

And I keep listening to this:

because it's good.

*Regrets? I've had a few. I wished I'd a stuck to the old ways and never said anything out loud. All communication about the off-piste is handled with waggled eyebrows and jerks of the head. Then nobody is the wiser that there even is a secret much less, wonders what it might be...

Anyhow, my motto has become: I might show you, but I'll never tell you.

16 September 2014

consequences turn real

Small fishes in small ponds feeling the ripples from afar.

We got cross races locally. They are fun and we are fortunate. I remember first becoming aware of cyclocross in 1996, when it was the next big thing in the US cycling scene. I got ahold of a Nishiki tourer and called that a Good Time. Cyclocross has gone through a couple more next big thing phases stateside, and seems (from my view out the puddle) to be slowly, increasingly enjoyed. Yay! Cyclocross bikes are fun, maing!

I began racing once we moved out here and hey, there is a local series. It is the least ego-driven-sunglasses-contest of any racing I've witnessed. The "fans" are all racers in a different category or loved-ones. Who else is going to waste their time out there? And because the fans are participants in an oddball aspect of an underdog sport, they get it.

All that to preface this: throwing beers on folks (who aren't into) it is lame. We got squirt guns in tubs of water at the series this year, and they are the good ones. They are also all clearly labelled "DON'T BE A JERK- ONLY SQUIRT YOUR FRIENDS." And that's just water.

Of course, they's also a pinata...which I was prevented from filling with thumbtacks and angry bees.

10 September 2014

a puppet for forces greater than myself

What do you do with a couple consecutive days off, some nice weather and a full moon, and a bunch of losers for friends who won't go on a mini bike tour with you? Yes, that's right. You just pack up and go by yourself.

Heading straight out the valley with 2 wheels and a gangster lean, I rolled along on the Surly Ogre with the fattish front end on account of I was heading for some dirt along the way...

I stopped because it was hot. I was tired. There was shade. I had a swap the bar ends from their aero position to one that would help with climbing. Etc.

It was all timed so perfectly. I hit that good corner just at moonrise. That was a fine spot to stop and savor. What a glorious evening. What a fine harvest moon. What enchanting prospects for cool, quiet climbing in the silvery light.

I don't know when was the last time you scavenged dropped-in-gravel BBQ flavored Cornnuts (I won them at the bike races!), but I reckon that's the last time you were really living. To be so wrung out and hungry and in such an environment...well, it's a genuine pleasure.

After lounging and savoring and appreciating and getting stiff and cold, I climbed the old dirt road for the next hour or 2 and it was just me and the moon. My wife says she would never ever go out there alone, and I understand. The first several times I was solo in the back of someplace, it was scary and I slept poorly. But nothing bad happened. There's no monsters. Mountain lions don't want to eat me. And stuff. By now, it's not a thing. I do enjoy the company of others, but there is a lot to enjoy solo as well- quiet, relaxed pacing, relaxed schedule, flexibility. So climbing up that road in the dark (I leave my lights off to appreciate the moonlit goodness) was real fine. Eventually I reached the spot and stopped. Just a sleeping bag and the sky for a roof. I sleep very lightly when I'm by myself, but it's not a bother. It's another opportunity to look around and know I'm where I am and be glad of it.

The spring. So much flow. When I got there, the plastic basin some smart guy left was full of gnarly algae and dead bees. I dumped it out and put my pots and a water bottle in there, hoping they would be close to full in the morning. And they were, plus plenty. The water tasted...earthy.


Whatever ate this little fox was hungry. It even turned the face inside-out to get at the ear muscles!

All that is downhill. Happily downhill. But it does lead to a long and hot and long and hot and long crawl over to a substantial, though shady, climb. I found myself breaking the day into stages, but then there were the in-between-stages stages, also. You have a lot of time to think about minutiae on a long and hot and long crawl. For example: how I don't love the bar ends at all. They were not very useful as aero bars, and they're not very comfortable as bar ends, and I don't like the enclosed sensation at my hands, nor the reduction in bar width. I removed them for the final descent. To maximize my steering and promote a more positive end feel.

Bikes. Bike riding.

The thing is, if you wait for your buddies' plans to coincide with yours then you may be waiting for quite a while. Why wait?