30 December, 2008

Smog Check

Back to Basics. Back to Bicycles.

Home again after another crazy adventure traveling across the country. The experience left me with an eye tick from the stress! A strange thing to have your eye twitching uncontrollably.

This time it involved a nauseating 8hr bus ride to a smooth 7 hours flying, followed up by 24 hours in the Atlanta airport (I got sick), 7hrs return flights, a busted BART ride, and 6 comparatively easy hours of driving.

Stuck at a cheap ATL hotel I get the worst symptoms of the Rotavirus. At least I wasn't the only one going through this experience. Stranded beside me in the terminal a little girl was suffering the same symptoms, probably from the same cause.

Has flying really gotten this much worse? Besides being forced to buy overpriced bottles of water and tiny $2 snack bars, it turns out we really do get less for our money, especially during the holidays.

Between December 19th and 28th, less than half of the flights arrived on time at major airports. The worst day, the 21st, suffered only 39% on time arrivals.

In total 8800 flights were canceled, affecting 1 million travelers. Two to three day wait periods were common for a suitable flight.

Can anyone say high-speed continental trains?
"The Numbers Have It: Holiday Travel Was Truly Awful"

So then I get to SFO. Hallelujah praise the lord!

As I head East bound on BART the opposite train suffers damage on the track, causing a fire to break out.

We all get stranded in Lafayette.
"One of two BART tracks reopened in Walnut Creek"

Piece of cake after this. I rent a car, but the stereo was broken. Further investigation led to a lucky karate-chop fixing the problem.

After a car-accident traffic jam in Eureka, I arrived home from the 5 1/2 hour drive. Now I need to return the car, thanks Wes with the Subee!
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The air we breathe.

Follow your nose to the cities of air pollution.
It looks like someone needs alternative transportation.
Sources listed in Images.
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24 December, 2008

X-mas XC VA

I found a secret stash of Eastern Virginia single-track goodness!
Root ridden sandy soil covered in leaves.
The miles of hidden trail make the local parks look silly and this is much closer to home.
The weather was mostly cloudy 65 deg. w/moderate humidity.

Ice
Twisty tight rollers w/banked corners in a setting not to be found anywhere in the West.
I was having so much fun I was singing "Oh Come Let Us Adore Him" as "Oh Come Let Us Enjoy It" with a perma-grin!


-Happy Holidays-

21 December, 2008

Happy Winter Solstice

Virginia can be a nice place to ride!

The lake near William & Mary College
Colonial Williamsburg
I realized during my voyage across the country that I get horrible motion sickness unless I get fresh air. Being trapped on a bus w/recirculating hot air for 8hrs made this painfully obvious.

Thank the lord for Dramamine.
I shall not travel by plane or bus w/o it again.
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More great news for US mtb racing!

This year the US will host 7 international races (UCI). One of those races will be the Sea Otter.

The "elite" pros from around the world will be competing for the world championship and entry into the 2012 Olympics in London.
---------
John "Fuzzy" Mylne
from Arcata to the pros
Check out this recent feature on a local rider making waves in ultra-endurance racing.

He stated:
“The guys around Humboldt are fast!
Some could hang with pros. Really!”

15 December, 2008

A new reason to Love L.A.


*******Exciting Race News******

US professional mountain bike racing has changed sponsors.
Instead of 25 races nationwide, the new system is 12 races split between East & West with a final in Las Vegas.

All 6 "West" races are in California!
How can this be? The new sponsor is Sho-Air, a shipping company based in L.A. Of course, the Sea Otter is included to represents NorCal in the line-up.
"The 2008 Sea Otter Classic was a four-day celebration of cycling that welcomed over 9,000 athletes and 50,000 fans. The event is now the largest cycling festival in North America and is universally regarded as the cycling world's premiere festival. The mountain bike race has grown up."
Today I registered for Expert 25-29, but I will be racing against the clock in all age categorizes.

If that goes well the Santa Ynez Valley Classic is next.

Going pro is a dream and many dreams don't come true.

But between the elimination of the "semi-pro" category and the relocation of US racing to Cali, fate has taken care of everything but pushing the pedals.

12 December, 2008

H&S@B:3!

Recreational trail riding 3 times in 4 days?!
A card carrying mountain biker if you ask me.Reinvent your wheels!

11 December, 2008

Heather & Spirit in Briones, part two

Heather is riding with Spirit in Briones.
I'm laid up with a stiff neck. Am I jealous? Yes!
Terrain that begs for both biking and photography.
Spirit, catching his breath, loves to run with bikes.
Goats have been brought in to clear the fields.

09 December, 2008

The new love in your life-

Got this from Heather.
An awesome first exposure to dirt for the GTw in Briones!

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I went to a meeting entitled:

"A Community Forum to Promote Safety for Cyclists: Seeking Solutions for Helping Motorists & Cyclists Share Roads & Highways".

Let me give you some background.


At the beginning of this academic year HSU students were involved in some very serious collisions. The worst of which happened on skateboards, but get categorized with the bike incidents in the local press. As far as I know, the only people injured were the students.


In this community, with preexisting frustration towards bicycle traffic violations, the back-lash was fierce.

Recently a bicyclist was killed on HWY 299 by an inattentive driver. His family's pursuit for justice is one of the main reasons for this meeting.

- - - - -

The California Department of Transportation admitted that bicycles are over-looked in planning due to lack of information. Unlike with vehicles, they collect no data about bicycles on the highways.

Rumble strips (bumpy-ripples that alert drivers) will now be placed on the shoulders of HWY 299 where the man was hit.
- - -

Bicycles are a solution, not a problem.
The problem is a lack of infrastructure and compassion.

06 December, 2008

Stomach Churn

At registration I found out the 30 minute race wasn't very competitive.
I signed up for the hour, expecting to quit early.

The course is really bumpy since it is inhabited by cows.
I didn't see many rigid bikes, but I knew what I was getting into.
Lining up for the hour (notice all the suspension forks).
Whose calm & collected? #108, that's who.
Right from the start my SS was making me work up the hills!
The descents were definitely the most fun today.
A special thanks to Brett for being my pit crew & camera man.I pinned the fast downhill, but lost momentum in the bumps.
The lead pack early (there were other riders).
After 40 min I knew I could finish.
I knew the lead pack was ahead of me, but how far?
This is the last turn before the barriers/finish line.
I knew I did well since the nearby riders had been lapped.
After the race I browsed over the shoulder of the nice time-keeper lady. Only 5 others had completed 9 laps (1 mile each). The fastest time was 1:05 and mine was 1:12. Of those top 5 riders, 2 were riding cyclocross bikes. The top cross time was 1:08:20. I placed 4th in MTB.

Riding the Monocog was mixed blessing. It did help for the multiple dismounted sections, but if I had gears and suspension I wouldn't have needed to dismount except at the barriers. The ride was rough but this $400 commuter put me in 6th place overall.

30 November, 2008

Ride HSU

Earlier this week I did some riding including this fun curb.

Funky mushrooms on campus.

23 November, 2008

Sunday Shop Ride: Toughest bike gang in the land

Ryan & I (on the left) have an averaged age of 27.
The other 5 average 61, yet we're all on the same ride-
More at home on the bike than the couch?
Recently I bumped into a rider in the forest who just turned 60.
He said he couldn't believe it. I blurted out that I couldn't either.
Faster, fitter, more focused than most youth at 60?
I've found another reason to ride.

Ryan and Bob before the ride at Life Cycle.
Where am I? At home fixing a flat tire.
I rolled in 10 minutes late but thankfully Lynn was there to send me in the right direction. After chasing down the pack (Ryan's flat on Hwy 101 helped), I rode 4 hrs 30 mins over 60 miles that cimbed 7,100+ vertical feet. The route was up Kneeland and down to Lawrence Creek...

Phillip descending to Lawrence Creek
VinceHarvey
Chillin' at Lawrence Creek.
... then back up to Butler Valley Rd where our crew parted.
Vince and I rode the remainder of Butler Valley to Korbel while everyone else descended Kneeland.

Vince & Harvey
BobVince, Harvey, camera-man Phil, Ryan
Thanks for the photos Phil!

The weather was great for late November, clear and cool.
The scenery near the Kneeland airport is off the hook. I'll take a panorama someday and spare you the extended narrative landscape-drooling.
Oh, wait a sec.
Thanks Google!

21 November, 2008

Know Vem Ber Strikes!

Today was cold. Frost. I wished I had brought gloves this morning!

Cruised Arcata after work on the Monocog. Drawn by the clear skies (cold front), I ended up down at the marsh/bay trying to beat the after-work dog/baby walk traffic.

Deep channels of water remain during low tides.
Many of the specs in the photos are actually birds.
The smudgy town is Arcata. Its a little less smudgy in person.

How foggy is Arcata? Today I realized how unfamiliar I am with our hillsides. The tight nooks and crannies hold the fog, creating the illusion of a much smoother contour.

Thanks to that fog I saw a phatty Pacific Giant Salamander!
Ryan and I were in the Community Forest yesterday when I saw a huge salamander mid trail. The first I've seen in this forest, and the biggest salamander I can remember seeing. It was about 10" head to tail. My house-mate works in the watersheds and reports they get bigger than 12".

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I miss bikes. I mean sure I was riding one a few hours ago, but over the past few weeks I've put in a fraction of my regular bike time. The plan is to take a few months off bike riding. The winter is a hard time to ride on both people and bikes.

What do I do with my down time?

1. Play Free Rider 2-

2. Research epic, long, scenic, mountain bike rides such as

a. North Umpqua Trail in southern Oregon, 79 miles
&
b. The Colorado Trail, Denver to Durango in 535 miles

3. Research how to get a pump-track built in my local park

4. Listen to electronic pop single, Royksopp's "Remind Me"

5. Dream about building my own indoor mtn bike park


At least I have bikes to wrench on. I'm fixing problems for some friends & putting a special *NEW* bike together as well. Stay tuned to see who just got a sweet ride.