Next Full Moon

Monday, September 8th the Hood Rat Stuff Moon

01 September 2014

immunity from ridicule

Beyond whatever pale you got. There's a good spot out there, somewheres. My roommates and I went looking, and we found one. Nowadays we know right where it is- about 15 miles from HQ. We take the back ways whenever possible, on account of they are less trafficky and more quiet.

Everybody fusses before we leave. The boys fuss because they know what kind of effort they have in front of them, and I fuss because the this and the that aren't where they "should be" and a strap pulled off, and this part needs adjusting and that one needs lubing, etc. I am a crabby packer when I am trying to concentrate and answer questions and give directions all at once. I have realized I am not great at multitasking (mul tit asking?) At all. Eventually we get all sorted and roll out. On the road, all these irritants blow away. It is time to settle in.

D is in a growth spurt, so he's a hard fit on his bike(s) right now. And he is extremely reluctant to adopt an efficient/aggressive bike stance- he wants to sit upright and slouch with his giant flipper feet square over the pedal. He test rode his mama's Xcheck and didn't want to ride it because of (half foot)toe overlap. After some (more) instruction (again) he got it and that bike fits him best and is quick rolling. It is hard to talk to him about riding because I get frustrated that he can't remember basic instructions (like how to take a front wheel off). He doesn't care to learn is the issue. I try not to flip a switch (it should be fun) and I succeed maybe half the time. So he pouts and I say "too bad. You're doing it." Hopefully the fun is enough to overcome the "this is hard." Time will tell.

This route is the same as the last route. J was sad that we juuuuust missed the fruit stand hours of operation. We rolled over to the taqueria and they know us and our order and how we like our burritos in foil, not the cardboard to-go box because they're more packable that way. We stopped at the sundries store and got a glass jar to stash some candy out there. We learned to store sweets in glass after the ants crawled under the wrappers of the Tootsie pops that one time and all that was left was an empty balloon of wrapper and stick. We crossed the street and picked up some tall boys of Modelo (gettin' fancy) and some Skittles.

Stopping at a high point to drink a nice cold beer, I put my jacket on straight away. There was a good on shore breeze, and being sweaty- that'll chill you quick. J followed my lead and then D. After a few more minutes standing around speculating, they had theirselves a yard sale:

I laughed and laughed. Off with the shorts and on with the pants...

and the ninja.

I ordered this handlebar setup from Revelate a while back, and am only now getting it out for a shakedown. Well, I been so complacent with the (already installed) porteur rack. Anyways, it's a process. It does mess with cable placement, and I now know you gotta pack a smaller bag in closer to the bars or your brake finger action is impeded. I reckon I'll use the bag on my sporty bikes and slap the rack on this Big Dummy because cargo bike. I carried all the boys' stuff in order to make hard effort as fun as possible. Also, I really, really like the big front end, but I feel like I'm wearing that ($pendy) tyre out too quickly by rolling around on so much pave on the get to and from, so I'll switch back to regular and save that for the real trail rides.

When we arrived at the place, the light was fading and we had to get our set-up set up. The boys were hongry, so they began eating whilst I set up the tarp. Which, that is a time suck. I asked/told  D to set up the hammock meanwhile...and he sucked his teeth and threw up his hands (the irritants all come rushing back in!) indicating that he was busy eating his burrito and what the F. Oh man, does that put me in a tailspin. I explained the importance of helping your family/team and how that helping will be appreciated by anyone he ever hangs out with for his whole life versus how laying back and expecting things to be done for him will not be appreciated, etc. Also, if the hands get thrown up again, ever, there will be some hands being thrown. Some new attitudes (freshman in high school) are being taken out for a test drive and I will see that shit STOP. Generally he's a great kid.

Moving on from parent rant. Check this out:

I picked up some ENO party lights (your LBS can get you some) and, wow, are they neat. There was plenty of light for Risk-the game of world domination.

Fog will drop a lot of water when it does, so we all slept under the tarp.

You already been knowing how the Kelly Kettle boils water for coffee and for oatmeal...

and how to fashion a bowl from a used tallboy.

29 August 2014

king dingle dangle

"The price of anything is the amount of Life you exchange for it." - Henry David Thoreau

CCCX 2014 cyclocross is happening quick. Sunday September 7th!

I've got a feeling this will be a fun go-round...

24 August 2014

over and over

It's just me and you anyways, since the blog is a dead art form. I guess I think about a tumblr or a instagram or whatever else is current and next...but at heart I'm a limpet. And sometimes- even though I have gotten more secretive in what I post on account of a lot of stuff is not for public for various reasons involving certain strictures and who wants to post evidence of and leading to, etc- sometimes I like to expound a little bit. There're more and better wastes of time available to you I realize.

They'll tell you you're out of style. I reckon if something works, well you can just keep refining it but the basics are sound so then there you are.

I say again: you can't always be going to ______ or riding across _______, or racing down the ____, etc. so you really must take your kicks where you find them, because they are the best of where you are. Nothing wrong with a small adventure. It's what keeps you ready.

And, as Suga Free reminds us, if you stay ready you ain't got to get ready... even though it was a hasty strap up and roll in order to get to work on time. I thought I'd just ride to work and then keep riding kind of thing.

That's what happened. I waited until closing time to fill the water bag since it's heavy. Then a quick stop for burritos and another for beers. The quickness is slowed down when I reach the edge of town since that's where you stop and drink a beer. I don't think there's much that is nicer than a ice cold beer on the brink of some trail riding.

It was a short trail to the staging area, for another beer and some target practice.

It has been my experience that setting up your camp is best done first, else you risk a soaking. Rig a corner of your tarp, sip a beer, rig another corner, sip a beer, shoot a can, ruminate on how a tent is muuuuuuch quicker to set up it's also a fair bit heavier and bulkier and a little technique being required helps keep it inneresting and adaptable, sip a beer. You might chew on some Bookers, since it's a high-toned affair and all.

(worth watching, if only for the reminder that fine whiskey takes time and effort to create and that is worth some recognition or why bother?...and, plus if you want to hate bike nerds for their nit pickery, you should check out how geeked out whiskey nerds can get)

After a couple three beers, and some pulls on the flask, you will want to ride around (ahem) unloaded.

Fist in glove with the riding of the bikes is the crashing of the bikes. Some will immediately shove a soapbox under their own ass and rail about drinking (see above) as the root cause of said crash, and they have a leg to stand on, sure. If only to shut up a tiresome meddler, I would attempt to sweep that leg out from under with the truism that a crash will come to everyone in time. I like to ride and crashes aren't going to change that. I like to drink and ride, and crashes aren't going to change that, either. I paid my nickles. I also (re)cracked a previously broken rib. Ouches. It's nothing I would not do again, only maybe a leeeeeeetle bit slower in the twisties. A subGenius must have slack. You do what you do because you want to. I do what I do because "Bob" told me to.

I think the raccoons hate that eyesore as much as I do. Nice.

So the low hanging clouds never did drop any moisture, but they did keep the metaphorical lid on things. The night was hushed and it felt like anything might happen and everything was holding it's breath waiting. It was very quiet and still.

In the morning, with a reduced load and a relaxed time table, I stream-lined the packing. Per usual, I'm struck by the bulk involved in just an overnight as it relates to multi-day outings (viz. the only extra(s) is more food...). I'm liking the velo orange porteur rack for the bulky items. You see there my Zrest (eff a inflatable/failable pad), the shelter tarp, sleeping bag, and Kelly Kettle all wrapped in the ground cloth. The camo thing underneath is my insulated coverall, which is bulky but warm and light. Can't say enough good things about the Revelate Designs frame bag. Again (over and over) with the Surly Ogre and the 29+ front wheel to good effect. There are things in the works to improve on the set up, but they take time and money...

There's trains and there's trains.

17 August 2014

emerge unscathed

The trails are dry. Dried out. Tracks from days and days and days and days are right there, in the trail, for all to see. This is concerning when certain trails are (supposedly, hopefully, as much as possible) secret. Well, because entrances are getting blown out. Too much exposure, you understand.

On the other hand, I don't know if it's the extended drought or just timing, but a lot (a lot) of the deadfalls are rotted and dry enough to move off trail. A couple of those log cuts where the trail crew (sucks) didn't do more than just cut out the section blocking trail, and the log is at a diagonal so the cut is an awkward corner- yep, cleaned up. That emergency exit trail is going to be a lot (a lot) faster now.

Meat Life? Meat Life Volunteerism? I'll do some on a trail, in the woods.


J and I put some new meat on the (other) trails. His buddy, _____y, joined us for some kid stuff.

_____y has a clapped out "excitor" 20" dually which needed more love than I could give it then. We did what we could without new cables/housing/long enough seat post. He's got a Xmas request in, and since it's August he just danced with the one that brung him. I can respect that.

His folks don't ride, so he doesn't do this sort of thing. I reckon all children are made of rubber and boundless (OK, easily replenished short burst after easily replenished short burst's worth of) energy, so I don't coddle. We got snacks and we got drinks (sodas, even!) so we got going. He caved mildly about 7.6/8 of the way and was told that he was crazy, which he took in stride, and we rode the rest of the way out.

If you are tired of your usual, I recommend toting a 9 year old's idea of fun out to a rope swing. Shoot some BB gun/soda can skeet and live it up.

14 August 2014

come away with a different point of view

I like switching between a bunch of different bicycles. There was a time I tried to pick a bike. I expect there is that time for all of us. I guess for some, it sticks and they ride off happily into the sunset. Me, I have come to some more and less comfortable terms with the undeniable fact that I enjoy the shit out of lots of different rides.

Now I will mention, again: one aspect of the goodness of said fact is that the different rides are not only simply fun, a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom, but are complexly inter-related. To wit that the riding of one ride influences the sensation, informs the tactic, and contributes to the fitness (in every sense) with which we ride the other(s).

Think about that. Stare at your stem, drag a big heavy wheel up a solid climb, feel the effortless purring of a skinny tyre down a zippy and sustaaaaaaaaaaaained drop, etc. Don't just feel those contrasts, feel the hell out of them.

Relatedly, unless you are willing to stare into that Abyss, it won't be looking back at you at all. It might check it's phone and casually run you over without a meaning or a ripple, but that is dissatisfying to me. Some folks talk about a "meat life"*- sheeeeit. Meat life ain't coming to you, you got to go look for it. You might find it some dark night, backlit by a driving fog in a tight cone of headlight sound-tracked by heavy breathing. Maybe that's too far fetched. But it's true.

Also, I got a buddy who says he figures folks really love a bike for 5 years or so, and then get a yen for something else. That sounds right, more or less.  I figure a great bike is great forever**. Hopefully, you'll get reminders at least every 5 years or so.  If you are lucky, perhaps you will get reminders more frequently.

Finally, as a wise ass in a seedy bar once asked Mysterious B___ S_____ and myself: Do you even ride bikes?

*The term "meat life" scares me and makes me giggle.

** I leave out suspension bikes as individuals, as I consider them throw-away bikes with a finite use window dependent on: material(s) durability, design, the current standards of "useable" travel, planned obsolescence, trends in fashion, your bros' opinions, etc. As a category of bike- they have a place. You may love the shit out of suspension bikes in general, but any particular squishy bike more than mmmmm4.62 years past it's release date seems ridiculous and unenjoyable.

13 August 2014

in the future

Summer has ended over here. Summer is sticking around, and will likely last through to nearly October, but Summer is done with the first day of school. Schedules and likes being what they are, J and I saw Summer off with a little, small bike camp out.

It is interesting to see the progression. Last week's attempt had him huffing and puffing up the dirt climb pretty quickly. Not so this time. You know how it is, when the route is known it takes some pressure off. You can gauge the required effort better, if nothing else. He was gauging pretty good. He told me it wasn't so hard this time.

We got to the top and he asked if we were going to take the extra dirt climb. I typically skip that with their camping rides, as it is extra effort for not a whole lot of pay-off, and there are currently 2 downed trees and it has lots of poison oak plus those thorny brambly vines.

"This is fun!"

We dropped the bike path connector, with it's buckled root-strewn pave and took the side streets. We stopped at the fruit stand for snacks and a rest. We chilled in the shade at the park. Pretty much a repeat of attempted weeklies past (this is #5 for this version, according to my partner), with small refinements.

An OK sunset preceded a glorious moonrise, some Secret Boys nighttime getting around, burritos, and sleeping in the dirt. Early roll-out for extraction and doughnuts.

Summer is done, but we are not.

12 August 2014

lies and hype

I should just go ahead and change the name of this blog. It could also be "stuff I forgot".

I forgot to mention that the CaliRoots Festival happened. I'd been interested in seeing Don Carlos, and Yellowman puts on a good show, but it is Israel Vibration that really moves me (even without Apple). I rode by the fairgrounds after work and the sounds were OK. Rather than spend $ and hassle through the crowd (nowadays I can't do it- the overwhelming throngs of tank-topped bros in it for the weed, etc) I leaned my bike against the fence across the street and had myself a little party. The last 3 or 4 songs were pretty tuff. #dancelikenobodyswatching

I said that to say this: I did see my loveley co-worker, R______, on her way in. She called me a Geezer(!), and meant it in the nicest way you can mean it. She meant it. That was pretty good. It's my 1st, of what I assume to be many. I'm 45, for what it is worth.

Finally, I forgot that I remembered what gravity is like. You know, how it just insists. Constant tug, you can really depend on it when you are swinging the bike through one turn and into the next. Gravity is plumb down. I dig that. Fast descents are another plus.