Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Dinner party

Just a quick pic.

From left to right: Eithne, John, Atticus, Michele, Star, and me.

Nothing to see here...

We've got company coming over for dinner soon so I'm going to keep it short. Still waiting on my bike to come back, it's going to be at least a couple more days. Tomorrow I'm cutting out of work early and Michele and I will be headed up to Flagstaff. We're going to stay the night with "Crazy" Joe and at six in the morning on Friday my lady boards a train for Ohio and she won't be back for two months. Those two months are sure going to suck.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Grandpa Pepe

I got this in the mail today.

It's a Pacific Stoneware wine carafe made in 1970. What makes it special is the name on the bottom, Ted Scarpino was my grandfather. He designed shapes for Laurel of California and Sylvan in addition to Pacific Stoneware. My wife and I have been collecting his ceramic work for the last five years or so. The Laurel and Sylvan items are very sleek and stylish modern dinnerware like these two pieces.

The Pacific Stoneware items on the other hand are all strangely odd items often featuring animals in one way or the other such as the Snooty Hooty cookie jar seen here.

My grandfather had a great number of jobs over his lifetime, often working from home. Among his many jobs he was in the Merchant Marines, worked on the original models for the Spruce Goose, built many of the model ships found in Trader Vic's restaurants, designed and built multiple small boats, puppetry, and all sorts of other animatronics. He also competed in the US Wakefield championships a number of years, but never made it to the Cup. He passed away in November of 2003 and I miss him greatly.

This is the last picture I have of him taken the summer before he died.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


They lasted a whole 12 hours. I cut them in last night and it took Michele nearly 15 minutes to figure it out. This morning she told me she wouldn't be seen in public with them. Personally, I think I was looking like a stone-cold-pimp. Oh well. Bye bye chops, hello 'burns.

It's going to be another week before I see my bike again so Michele and I took another hike today. We started at the Tatum trailhead for T-100 and went a about 3 miles with ~200 feet of gain. Nothing really to speak of except we took some pictures for Michele to submit to Threadless. If you're local, get your ass out there because there's no brown cloud today and you can see for miles.

Anyway, on to bigger matters that don't matter. Oh the places we could live- Pac-NW, how I miss you so. So here are the pros and cons as I see them. By the way, this is about me, not what's best where Michele's future employment is concerned- that's a whole other list.


Pros: water, Public Market, friends, and family, decent bike culture, rain (yeah, that's right)

Cons: traffic, lack of trails, cost of living very high, traffic


Pros: real close to family, right across the river from Portland, not too expensive, shop in Oregon, pay taxes in Washington, so close to Portland I assume it's bike friendly, rain

Cons: unknown to me job market, forget driving into Portland if there's traffic


Pros: shit, it's Portland, can't think of a more bike friendly place, my old stomping grounds, good chance I've already got work, Powell's

Cons: might be too close to family, only three places in town for the mountain bike (that I know of)


Pros: I have work there, good mountain biking, lots of cheap snowboarding close to town, small whitewater right through town after work, cheapest place on the list

Cons: not sure I want my old job, not much for culture, little unsafe to ride on the streets


Pros: mountain biking, won't have to bother moving, already have a job, t-shirt riding all winter, EpicRides, full-on mountain bike community, mountain biking

Cons: forget riding on pavement, six million people, really hot in the summer, tired of my job, really don't want to be here forever

Portland/Vancouver is my top choice of course but I'll be happy no matter where we go. Nothing I could do about it anyway as the wheels have already been set in motion.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Distracted, um I mean dedicated

I was going to write today about a little hike I did with my wife today and some of the pros and cons of where we may end up in June but a funny thing happened today on my way to my blog. I read a whole bunch of blogs on a regular basis and use RSS feeds to know what's going on without visiting every site. One site that I read every once in a while is Bike Portland. Normally I skip it because it's about local issues and I haven't lived in Portland since I was 15 but today they have an interview with Ira Ryan that caught my attention. I really love what can be done with handcrafted steel and I think he makes some of the most beautiful frames I've ever seen.

Anyway, what really struck me about the BP post is that I found out that he's building out of the basement of Weir’s Cyclery. Not that big of a deal to most but Weir's and my family go back a long way. Everyone in my family and on my father's side, brother, sister, aunts, uncles, the whole goddamn shooting match, our bikes came from Weir's. Almost all of us got our first bikes there. My brother bought his first skateboard there. I spent many hours there pouring over model cars and airplanes. My grandfather bought supplies there for the extensive (scratch) model building that he did. Every bike crash that sent me to the hospital happened on a Weir's bike. Weir's has moved a couple of times since my youth and no longer has a skate or hobby shop but the last time I was there, a year and a half ago, it still had the feel. In my life Weir's became the gold standard that all other bike shops will be judged. When Michele and I arrived in Phoenix I went to every bike shop in a ten mile radius looking for the shop that had the same feeling that stepping into Weir's did, I eventually found that shop by the way, but it took a while. That shop is Rage if your wondering. In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a pretty loyal SOB when it comes to bike shops and I truly resent the rise of internet bike shopping that has in many ways led to demise of the local shop, I feel it is far better for both parties for the consumer to develop a good rapport with one's local shop and the few extra dollars that it may cost be damned.

My point is that when I'm ready for a custom frame in about four or five years- when that time comes, Ira, if you're still in the Weir's basement, you got yourself a customer for sure. Hell, even if you're gone from there you'll still be at the head of the pack. Braze on!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Matching up

Well, it's official. Michele submitted her finalized match list for residency yesterday, only 15 minutes before the deadline, and in three weeks time we will know where we're going to be living for the next three years. For those not familiar with the process, let me give you the quick rundown. Michele submitted applications to the residency programs that she was interested in back in September. The programs sift through all the applicants and grant interviews to those people they are interested in. Michele interviewed at a number of places and she ranked, in order of preference, the programs she wants. The hospitals also rank the applicants and the whole thing gets plugged into an Apple IIe in some nerd's basement, and in three week it tells everyone where they're contractually obligated to go. I'm just guessing about the Apple IIe part, but that's the only reason I can figure why it takes three weeks. Anyway, the rank is done and here's how Michele ranked the programs(by location):

1. Seattle, WA
2. Seattle, WA
3. Vancouver, WA
4. Portland, OR
5. Spokane, WA
6. Phoenix, AZ
7. Scottsdale, AZ

Michele's a pretty strong applicant and it's likely that she'll end up with one of her top choices which means we're headed back to the Pac-NW. maybe.

The whole reason I bring this up is that I'm starting to get really excited. I like Phoenix alright but my job is really starting to wear thin on me and I feel like I'm starting to burn out, maybe it's just the illness speaking, oh yeah, I got it. My job pays fairly well but I'm on call 24-7 and I value my free time very highly. It's not that getting called out doesn't pay great, just the opposite. Emergency jobs pay a commission and can come in anywhere from $30 to $200 per hour depending on the job, it's just that I don't really care about the money all that much. I like to go home at the end of the day and completely forget about my job. I have no ideal idea what my ideal job is but I'm sure it doesn't pay well and there are no customers. I'm starting to wander a bit with my thoughts so I'm going to end it here, maybe I'll break it down a bit more in the next few bike free days.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Results are in

The race results are up on the Epic Rides site. Star and I finished 53rd of 81 starters in duo open. Already looking forward to the next one.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Bye Bye Bicycle

Here it is, my beloved bike. It's off for a little work and won't be back for a week and a half at least, so I'm going to be living the bike free lifestyle for a while. If I'm feeling deprived I may just slap my seat on Michele's bike, or god forbid, step foot in the gym. All I'm saying is don't expect much in the way of riding updates for a while. There will however be some boat progress happening so stay tuned for that.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

5 hours and 15 minutes in the Old Pueblo

So here's how it all went down.


Without the truck in the picture we loaded up the Scion for the trip and headed out. Surprisingly enough we were more than able to fit everything we needed for the trip.

So with an overloaded car we made the two hour drive down to the venue. It was a around noon when we got there and while the camping area was less than half full nearly the whole place was roped off with caution tape but we still found a decently flat spot without a whole lot of searching. Michele and I pitched all three tents, easy up, chairs, and the fire pit and then hopped on our bikes to scope out the neighborhood. When the sun went down it got really cold really fast and so Michele's original plan of separate tents to save her from my thrashing around went out the window in favor of warmth.


Friday started out great. At about 5 in the morning Michele wakes me up to investigate a noise, so I pop my head out the door to see that the easy up that was set up behind the car was no longer there. The wind had unstaked the borrowed sunshade and deposited it upside down thirty feet away. It took me a few minutes to fold up the now destroyed sunshade and climb back into the tent. At this point Michele's fear of everything took hold and she made her way into the car to sleep for the rest of the night and for the rest of the weekend, hurray extra tent.

After a quick breakfast Michele and I went out to find the Port-O-Let and on the way we found Mark, or rather he found us. He took us back to their campsite where we found Fred working on the new jump for the kids, big and small.

I left Michele with Mark and headed back to camp just in time to see Star roll up. We went to pick up our numbers, race packets, and T-shirts. During that time Michele figured out how the Pay-N-Take trailer worked and went to town taking advantage of it.

A little later in the day Star, Michele, and I headed down to the exchange tent for the dedication dinner. Marla Streb was the guest of honor and Todd Sadow, the race promoter, was the host of course. Can you tell that Michele has a little crush on Todd?

Somehow the one free beer each turned into twelve for the three of us so I say money well spent.


In the morning I got to work on getting my things together and we all went down to the prerace pow-wow to find out how the race would be going down. After that we racked Star's bike and walked her to the start. Yeah, you got that right, Star would be doing the 1/4 mile LeMans start run to the bikes because my fat ass doesn't run, especially after that stupid adventure race. Anyway, back to the start. Star and I decided that we would start out with doubles each and then a single before we called it a night. So at noon when the cannon fired the riders were off.

Pretty cool the sound of 450 some odd people sprinting to their bikes in cleats. Michele and I headed over to the option to watch the leaders come by. Tinker was the second one through at right around the 55 minute mark, man that guy was flying.

Here's Star when she rolled into camp after lap one looking for a sandwich.

Star came in again around 3:30 and I got started one my first lap. I was feeling not so hot right out of the gate but I was determined to give it a go. The bitches were not too bad and I was starting to feel pretty good by the time I hit the corral trail. The end of corral is the lowest elevation on the course and it also so happens where the trail takes a hard left directly into the wind that was present throughout the race. So now it's headwind and mostly uphill for the next six or so miles until the trail turns again and heads toward the highpoint. Now about five miles from the transition I was feeling really good and I knew that I was good for the second lap and maybe even one more so when I came flying by Michele and Star at the split for the option I didn't even consider stopping for a chat, food, or anything else, I was on my way dammit. I hit the tent at 5:04 and was on my way once again. With an hour and a half lap behind me I was feeling really strong and went full tilt on the bitches and made really good time on corral. The problem was that as soon as I hit that headwind again I knew it was over, I was out on the trail, moving quite slowly, and the sun was setting fast. Sure enough with three miles left I couldn't see the trail hardly at all. It was braille riding for me. I was able to catch someones tail here and there but I was pretty cashed out by this point and couldn't hold on to anyone for very long headed uphill. When I finally crested highline I was able to hold the tire of the guy ahead of me pretty much all the way back into camp, my GPS shows me topping out at 14 mph, not bad for downhill, after dark, with no lights. I came off the trail at the option split and promptly racked myself on the way to the campsite. The time was 7:50, 1 hour 45 minutes, not near as bad as it felt. Star decided she was done for the night and was feeling like shit so after eating everything within arms reach I hit the sack hoping for the best on Sunday.


While I crashed quickly Saturday night, my sleep didn't last as long as I would have liked thanks to the generator that ran all night at the campsite right next to ours. I don't know when exactly I woke up but it was quite a while before I climbed out of the tent at 7 to go to the bathroom and stretch my legs. I made my way down to the scoring tent to check our standings just for shits and giggles and lo and behold, we were not dead fucking last, we were 73rd out of 80 or so with only 3 laps completed(I was technically still out on lap 4). I'm not sure what really made me do it but I quickly made my way back to camp, into my tights and back out on the trail at approximately 7:30. I was hurting the whole time, I got off to walk 3 of the 7 bitches, the headwind was stronger, and I actually found myself full on stopping a couple of times. When I finally started down highline that last time I posted my fastest speed of the day topping out at over 20 mph, not bad for dead tired and barely able to pedal. I rolled into camp at 9:30 on the nose for a solid 2 hour lap. Star and Michele were there waiting for me once again and near ready to send out the search crew even though they didn't know when I had actually left. After a little snack Star was ready to go so I jumped back on my bike and headed to the transition tent. This is from the only series of action shots of me this weekend about a hundred yards from the tent.
The transition took place at exactly 10:30 and Star had turned two 1.5 hour laps Saturday so it was going to work out perfectly. With Star on her way Michele and I went to work on breaking camp. By the time we had both cars loaded it was time to start looking for Star. Here she is at the option at 12:05 and ready to roll in.

The last I checked the stats we were in 66th place and had potential to pick up a couple of spots before the end, not that it really matters. I logged 45 miles and 3600 feet over the weekend, could have been better, but oh well. We waved bye-bye to 24 hour town at 12:45 and hauled ass towards Phoenix and warm showers.

So I fell short of my 4 lap goal and 5 laps dreams but I still feel pretty good about how it all went down. I've though a lot about my Saturday experience and I think what it comes down to is that even though I've done many a long ride, I never go nonstop. I did my first 30 miles in 3 hours 15 minutes. Normally it would take me at least 5 hours including plenty of time to stop and BS. Not making time for BS means a Sean in pain. Could I have done a better job had I not done the double? I like to think so, but who knows, ask me after my next 24 hour effort.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Off to Old Pueblo

Michele and I are off to the races soon and we won't be back till Sunday night. I've still got to pack and finish overloading the Scion before we can head out, but that shouldn't take too long. Oh yes, we're taking the Scion. Everything we need and don't need for four days of camping and racing in the back of our little car. The Toyota most definitely has a blown head gasket and it reared it's ugly head in a big way yesterday. I have permission to use my company truck but I'm really not a big fan of using it for personal reasons and I have no way of keeping things secure with it. Anyway, my car troubles are a story for another time because I need to get my ass in gear, so I'm signing off until Monday and I hope your weekend is less brutal than mine.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Shit storm

I spent the last two days wading through shit in the basement of a local police department, literally. We got the call late yesterday morning and worked late into the night removing freshly damaged goods from the evidence room. Nothing like spending 12 hours in a bunny suit to get this man sweating. I've was pretty wasted after work both days so no riding, I'm sure it works as great cross training though. At least we got a little bit of work done on the boat today. We'll be ready to flip it over and glass the bottom once we get back from Old Pueblo.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Just a quicky

Did a short little technical ride today from Dreamy Draw. I covered 3.6 miles and 600 feet in about 40 minutes. Not really the best ride with a still somewhat sore back but it sure was nice to spin the legs a little. I hurt like crazy for the first 15 minutes or so, almost like I haven't ridden in a week.(oh yeah, I haven't) Once the burning stopped I was pretty good except for about 150 feet of trail that was just too damn loose and steep for me to make it up.

At this point I'm definitely looking forward to next weekend although I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit nervous. Now I'm not delusional enough to think that Star and I are somehow going to be a competitive duo, but I'd like to at least hit my goal and maybe not come in DFL.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Good News, Bad News

First the good news, I've lost ten pounds since the first of the year. I'm now sitting at 246 and I'm pretty happy with my rate of loss. 47 more pounds and I no longer qualify as a Clydesdale. The bad news is that I've once again fucked up my back. I don't know what the hell I did but over the last week my hamstrings tightened up really bad and started affecting my lower back. It hurt so bad yesterday I was near tears. I know, I know, I've got to stretch more, but god damn it really snuck up on me this time. When I'm riding fairly regularly my back usually does pretty well, and I've been riding with some regularity for the last few months.

On another note, Singlespeed Arizona rolls out in a half an hour. I wish I could be there. In a year, when Michele and I are living in Seattleportlandspokanevancouver and I bitch on how I missed out on Dejay's big party I'll have this page to remind me of why I wasn't there. Last years course looked un-fucking-doable for my fat ass, but this year it struck me as manageable. I look forward to reading some good ride reports in the coming days.

I'm also missing out on another Black Canyon Trail work day today. All the cool (non-singlespeed) kids will be out there breaking their backs for the benefit of all trail users. Last month was a lot of fun and the trail that has already been built is really pretty sweet. I'm looking forward to the full finished product. If your local and haven't checked it out yet, you owe it to yourself to hit Little Pan Loop at least.

Of course, Star and I have our big 24 hours of Stupidity in the Old Pueblo in a mere seven days and I've really got to get my shit together for that. It's way too late to do a thing about my lousy fitness level, but hopefully I can get my back nice and limber again in time. For the record, I'm planning on doing four laps, five would make me a superstar in my own mind, the way I feel right now I'd be happy to squeeze out one. Tune in one the 19th to see how well it all works out for me.

There may or may not be a ride report later today, if there is a ride it sure as hell won't be a big one. Michele seems to be on the mend so maybe a quicky in the preserves.

Thursday, February 8, 2007


No riding to speak of, but Star's boat is beginning to resemble a boat. Soon it'll even be a boat.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Different kind of ride

I went and did something today that I haven't done in quite a while, I rode pavement. I was having a hell of a time getting the motivation up to get out there. I didn't want to change, I didn't want to get my camelback together, and really I didn't want to drive to the trails. So instead I grabbed my camera, changed my shoes, and headed out. Now I normally I avoid riding on the street especially on my mountain bike and since that's currently my only bike it never happens. The last time I rode on the street was over a year and a half ago, back when I still owned a road bike. Other than the really bad gear for flats the ride today really wasn't all that bad. I rolled over to the canal and through some neighborhoods. I made a couple of stops to take some pictures and covered 8 miles in just under an hour. The ride was completely flat and I'm not sure that I trust the 300 feet that the GPS came back with, but there it is. I run a 32:18 for most of my riding and didn't feel it was necessary to swap out the gear for just this one ride so I end up almost completely spun out at a mere 13 mph. I actually enjoy road riding, but Phoenix drivers scare the shit out of me. I'm currently hatching plans for a second bike, it'll be future city dependent so that rules out a real decision until after the Ides of March. What I do know is that it's gotta be cheap, steel, rack ready, and able to fit some nice fatty cross tires. Oh yeah, it would be nice if it only has one gear too.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Out Sick

No, not me, but just about everyone else it seems has come down with something. So far I've been lucky and I just hope that if it's going to happen, that it doesn't happen at the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. Speaking of Epic Rides, the Whiskey Off Road registration opened today, I'm all over that shit. It's going to be a good time this year cause I'm gonna bring the right gear.

Today was a gravy day at work with nothing much going on so I cut out early with every intention of hitting the trails. I got home pretty early and decided to get some work done on the boat before riding. Of course it wasn't until I was just about to go ride that I remembered that I had yet to pick up my rear wheel from Rage, so instead of heading to Dreamy Draw, I went to Scottsdale. By the time I got back here I no longer had enough time to ride before our bar date with our 80 something year old neighbor, Charlotte.
So the four of us(Michele, Char, Star, and myself) hit the Roosevelt for a bit of libations and pub fare. So as we're sitting around the table sharing funny stories Char starts telling us about another neighbor that lives on our floor. This other neighbor is an older woman that has for some reason latched herself to Char. She's had Char escort her to doctors appointments and help with other errands. Well about two weeks ago this woman called Char because she was trying to find someone to get rid of the pigeon's nest that was outside of her front door. So Char comes down with a broom and gets the nest out of the scupper where is sat. At this point Michele, Star and I can no longer contain our laughter. Ever since the nest disappeared Michele has pretty much been fuming about the unknown "pigeon killer" and as it turns out this frail old lady that was sitting across from us sharing our cheese plate was that assassin. What do you do when this happens? Go out for ice cream of course.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Easy does it

Michele and I were planning a ride at Pemberton today. It's a nice long easy ride and seemed like it would be good after the ride Star and I did yesterday. As it turns out, it really wasn't in the cards. Michele is sick and wasn't feeling up to the ride so instead we went to the preserves so she could hike while I rode. I figured it was a good opportunity for me to get some decent technical riding in since Star was not with me. I hit 8, 1A, and 220. Nothing beyond my abilities but still a decent challenge. I logged 6 1/4 miles and 850 feet in 1 hour 10 minutes.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Old Pueblo is coming

Star and I went out for a ride in the preserves this morning. We started from Tatum and zigzagged North and South across to Dreamy Draw, under the 51, and around the first mountain West of the freeway. We pretty much came straight back on th T100 with a couple of small detours. The first half of the ride consisted of somewhat technical terrain. I was feeling really good today, I was going up rough terrain better than I regularly do and my legs felt pretty strong through the whole ride. Stars on the other hand is still not totally confident in her new clipless setup and so she ended up walking quite a bit of the tech even though she's more than capable of doing most of it. Pretty soon she'll get it down and all will be right with the world again. We covered 13.5 miles and 1700 feet in 2 1/2 hours. This means I've cracked 100 miles for the year, just barely. Woohoo.

Old Pueblo is only 14 days away now and that means I'm running out of time for getting myself prepared. I'm starting to get a little nervous about how it's going to go down but it is what it is and that's the way it goes.

On another note, Star and I got started gluing panels together for the kayak today, within a couple of weeks it might even resemble a boat, how exciting is that?

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Forced riding?

Michele and I went and rode Desert Classic this afternoon. She's never been on DC before and has been bugging me to go for a while. Michele plus new trail is rarely a good time because she really likes to know what's coming and be mentally prepared for obstacles, climbs, and descents. Well every trail has to be a new trail at least once and today was DC's day. It was pretty windy the whole time we were out, but still good t-shirt weather. In spite of a couple traffic jams there really weren't all that many people out today making it ideal for Michele. We had planned to go as far as the tank before turning around and we almost made it that far. Michele was a bit on the tired side so we called it about a half mile from the tank making our total distance just short of 6 miles and climbing just under 700 ft. Michele was a little frustrated at a couple of points for the reasons stated above but all went well.

There were a couple of guys that we played leapfrog with on the way back and the faster of the two and I ended up stopped together a few times waiting for our respective riding partners. He was just chatting it up every time I saw him. The first time it was all about the weather. The second time he realized I was rocking the single speed and went on about how hard the trail must be on one gear. For those not in the know, DC is not all that tough, especially the first 5 miles or so. The third and last time was by far my favorite. He started by asking if Michele was my wife or girlfriend, to which I responded that she was my wife. He then proceeded to tell me that he had the perfect Valentine's Day gift for me to give to her, a free pass. He went on to explain that all I needed to do was write free pass on a piece of paper and give it to her and then whenever she just wasn't up to riding with me she could give the free pass back and stay home. Now I'm not sure about other couples, but I've never pressured Michele to go on a ride with me. If she doesn't want to ride, I don't force her. What kind of relationship would that be? Fucked up, that's what.

I'm out.