Saturday, March 31, 2007

Well here I am

I flew into Cleveland on Thursday night and met my wife at the airport. Rather than head directly to Canton we checked into a hotel and went into town for dinner. We ended up in a part of town that is a bit more high brow than the two of us, but somehow we managed to persevere. After a good meal we headed to the Bier Markt in Ohio City. Tons of beer on tap, but none for me, thanks. Back to the hotel, diggity.

On Friday we drove around the Cleve checking out the sites. After a couple of downtown sites we drove over to Case Western so I could see the wonder that is Frank Gehry architecture.
When we left town we head to the Cuyahoga Valley NP to check out the towpath, Brandywine Falls, the Ledges, and the heron rookery.

Now we're in Canton and I'm in front of the internet for a couple of minutes. We're off to see Michele's cousin and her family tonight, should be fun. I'll be back in the 'nix tomorrow night and won't see my wife again for another four weeks. Oh, joy.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Chickenshit, that's me.

I didn't ride today, just too damn windy. I won't be surprised if I have to run out and do some emergency jobs tomorrow due to blown down trees. Awesome.

I'm starting to freak out a little about the upcoming Squealer. I've done a few races in the last year, but none of those had me worried like this one. First of all the trail is National. I've only been on National once, and not a whole lot of it, but it's one of those trails with a reputation. I'm a fairly slow rider and the pressure is on to ride it in under 2:45(I put my goal at 2:30). I'm running out of time to put in miles before the race, oh well, at least I'm going to get to spend some quality time with my lady this weekend.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Dirt Trial

I was planning on taking Michele's bike out tonight to see what if anything I needed to address on the new fork. That's what I was planning anyway. I was standing there in the garage looking at her bike and I remembered that she's not going to be home for five weeks, so why the hell would I need to get this done today? So instead of doing today what could be done tomorrow I grabbed the Volpe and headed toward the preserves. I took side streets and paths all the way to the 32nd street entrance. I didn't do much in the way of difficult trail, I just skirted along behind the houses to the 40th lot, down to T-100, and across to Tatum. Back on pavement I took Tatum back down to the nearest set of side streets and back to the garage. I'm surprised at how well I felt, I expected a little residual soreness from Saturday, but nothing more than some light shoulder pain. The Volpe handled the dirt quite well. I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable it was on all but the roughest bit of trail. Another interesting little nugget, if your no longer getting the looks you used to on your singlespeed, switch to a cross bike. People just don't know what to do when passed by skinnies on dirt. 800 feet of climbing in 21 miles total, 2.5 of those miles on dirt, all done in 1 hour 50 minutes.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I always get it right the second time

On Friday, Star and I started gluing up the coaming on her kayak. I got everything prepped while Star mixed up the epoxy. She must not have gotten the right amount of hardener in there because today when I released the clamps the whole thing came apart. I checked the mixing container and sure enough, still soft. Star headed up to the Grand Canyon with her parents yesterday and won't be back until Wednesday so I was on my own to fix it. I tore the whole thing apart, cleaned off the bits and started over from scratch. I was fighting it some going back together, turns out it's easier with four hands than two. Eventually I got it back together quite nicely and since I was already there I went ahead and got a head start on the hatches.

No ride today. Tomorrow it's on. Maybe.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Bike Karma and the TdC

Karma, what comes around goes around. Two days ago I scored a set of Planet Bike fenders from Mark. They will certainly come in handy in Seattle, so thanks Mark. Yesterday I got a call that a friend of a friend had a freebie Vanilla RLC to replace the POS Manitou Splice that lives on Michele's bike. Much better fork, I'm sure she'll like it. Got it mounted up this morning. The bike might be a little too slacked out at it's current 130 setting so I'm actually going to get it out on the dirt and see if it needs to come down to 100.

On to the main event. The Tour de Canals went down today with a field of one. I started thinking about this ride a week ago right after I got the bike, a good long ride with a minimum of interacting with cars. I headed out the door to some nasty looking clouds coming out of the West so I went back inside and put on a jacket and once in the garage I mounted the new fenders on the bike. Not ten minutes passed on the road before I realized that I had not only forgotten my Gatoradesque water bottle but I also didn't eat before leaving the house. Well once I pass the 51 there's no turning back. Always moving forward, that's me.

So I stopped at LGO to get me some breakfast of champions. Mmmm, better cookie.

Not long after that I made it to the Arizona Canal. It started out hard and smooth but quickly turned soft, if the whole ride was going to be like this I was gonna be in trouble.

Lucky for me it didn't last long and things were all gravy again.

Now here's where it gets fun. Right before the reservation I was thinking about how the North side of the canal looked nicer than the South side that I'd been riding on. I switched sides at Pima, seemed like a good idea at the time. The path quickly turned to shit on me. A reservation cop rolled up on me in his Explorer and asked what I was doing. I assumed that this must not be an OK place for me to be and started thinking about reroutes as I replied that I was just out for a ride. He responded,"You know, the path is much nicer on the other side." Damn, no trouble, but I had chosen wrong. At the next bridge I switched sides.

North side.

South side.

Little owls were out also.

I case your wondering about the legality of the ride, the sign says no motorized vehicles, use at your own risk. I'm cool with that.

What ever you do, don't leave the road below the Granite Basin Dam. Central Arizona Project on one side.

Salt River Rez on the other.

I lost the right canal somewhere along the way on the way back and once I was heading Southeast I knew for sure I was on the wrong path so I ejected at Brown and headed straight West until I found this very welcome sign.

What I had done was turn off of South Canal and onto Eastern rather than continue on. I have no idea where I made the mistake, but this is where I should have ended up had I stayed on South.

Now on the Tempe Canal I was doing OK until the whole thing came to and abrupt end just past Country Club.

A quick run through a parking lot and onto 8th and I was good all the way to Tempe Beach Park. This is where I finally took a break to eat something.


Across the river to the Grand Canal until I started to see sure signs of home.

57 miles and 900 feet in 5.5 hours total, I think if you subtract the time I spent sitting and taking pictures it works out to maybe 4.5 hours of saddle time.

Holy crap am I tired.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

This is my wife,

and I love her very much. She doing two back to back rotations in Canton, Ohio right now. Canton is her home town and so she's spending two months living with her mom. It didn't take her very long in the Buckeye state to realize that short visits are the only way to go. I miss her terribly. Ten years we've been together and this is the second longest we've been apart in all that time. The first couple of week of no Michele is usually ok. I do my own thing and trash the house. After a period I begin to really want her back in the house, and it gets cleaned back up. Thats where I am now. I talk to her every night and I wish I could tell her something to make her time pass more quickly but what the fuck do I got, nothing. I'm no good on the phone, kind of like I'm no good with the blog. So anyway, I really do miss you babe, and I'm looking forward to next weekend.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Onward and Upward

I went out alone for a night ride tonight in the preserves from Dreamy Draw. I intentionally picked a route that would give me some decent climbing without keeping me out all night, took me just over an hour to do the 7.2 miles and 1050 feet. One of the trails I was on, from about mile 1-3/4 to 2-1/4, is one I haven't ridden in quite some time. Trails can sometimes be quite unfamiliar in the dark and this one seemed to completely disappear just past the high point. The closer I got to the main trail the harder it was to follow the track. When I finally did hit the main trail I found a sign stating that the trail I had just come off of was closed. Why the trail wasn't marked at the other end I don't know. Maybe it was marked and I just missed it, the trail sure hasn't been traveled much lately. Gonna try and get out again tomorrow on one of the bikes, not sure which one just yet.

On a boat note, we glassed the top today and I should be able to get the third coat of epoxy on by tomorrow afternoon, then it's on to the coaming.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Why do today what I can put off until tomorrow

Didn't ride today, John didn't call till it was starting to get dark and I wasn't really into breaking out the light tonight so instead I grabbed the camera and went out to take some pictures.

Nothing special really. Current boat status pictured below, should be fully glassed by the end of the week and ready for paint soon after that.

Last but not least, Ira's gonna clean up at Trans Iowa but apparently framebuilding is not as lucrative as I like to imagine it is. Believe in Karma?

Monday, March 19, 2007

New bike break in

Not really a ride so much as just getting around. I moved my Candys over to the Volpe and headed over to John and Eithne's to perform some diagnostic work on John's iPod shuffle. I ate their cookies and played with their baby while waiting for updates to download. Once everything was copacetic I rolled over to pay Trader Jose a quick visit. Back home after that to get the food in the freezer.

So far I like the bike, there's a bit of toe overlap, but that's to be expected what you put big feet on a small road bike. It does kind of inhibit my crazy trackstand style, but oh well, I'm sure I'll adjust. The bars might be a bit on the narrow side but the jury's still out on that one. I'm guessing I covered about 5 miles, that's less than 2 in MTB miles I'm sure. Some sort of real ride will likely take place tomorrow with John, but it sounds like that's not yet a lock, so we'll see.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Final day of the Fling

The Spring Fling had six different rides going today in three different locations. I'm done with driving distances this weekend so I chose the preserves over Goat Camp and Prescott. I'd have no problem hanging with a strong B group in my own backyard but I promised Sativa I'd show her the back way into the trails. So there I was leading a C group of three up and into the preserves. I was expecting to not feel so good but the burn was gone by the time I was out of the parking lot. The temperature was great, starting out in the high sixties and only warming up about ten degrees by the time we were done. I was feeling really fast the whole ride, often times getting a little further ahead than I feel is appropriate for a ride leader. It was the climbs where I was really pulling away with a quickness, on the single speed it's often easier for me to just hold a decent cadence regardless of grade, until I just can't hack it anyway. We had a flat on the return decent, the first for my Fling rides, but after a quick change we were quickly back underway. Our overall pace was rather slow, taking nearly two hours to cover the 8.4 miles and 850 feet.

All in all I'd say the Spring Fling was a great success and Kathleen did a great job pulling everything together. I'm going to see what I can do to try and make it back for future Flings.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dirt tan and a new arrow for the quiver

Well today was the Sedona day for the Spring Fling and it was a good one, even if it did have a bit of a rocky start. Star and I got to the meeting place at around 8:15 and started to get our bikes ready to go when I discovered that I had left my shoes 110 miles away in the garage. After quickly weighing my options and decided to head over to the Bike and Bean and see if I could find a cheap pair. I had my concerns about sending Star out there on her own and my Northwaves are looking pretty bad anyway. I figured I might miss the start and need to play catch up but as it turned out Paul was running late too so there would be no C ride start until he showed up so I was good on time. When I got back everyone was gone except Star and Brad. With Paul and myself that made only 4 out of 46 for the C ride. Paul showed shortly before I had my shit sorted and we were on our way in no time. As a group we decided to 86 the original plan of doing just the loops around Bell rock and instead we headed out Verde Valley School Rd toward Baldwin Trail, down to Buddha Beach , up to Templeton, down to the Bell Rock pathway and over to Courthouse Butte Loop. This makes for more of a B ride which is good for me, but I knew I'd need to keep an eye on Star to make sure she didn't get in over her head on any of the technical bits.

The road is always the worst part for me, I run a a pretty low gear and keeping up on pavement means I'm really spinning fast, good thing I was the sweep. Things went pretty well on Baldwin and Buddha Beach with a minimal amount of walking involved. On Templeton things were going pretty well until Star hit a big dip on the sidewalk and augured face first into the slickrock. Amazingly enough she didn't even draw blood, nothing more than a hurt ego. After taking a few moments to reassure Star we were once again on our way after a brief moment to reenact the scene for photographic record. The rest of the ride was all gravy and I was feeling good through to the end. 13.3 miles and 1800 feet in the and and it only took a mere 3.5 hours to complete, stops included, not bad for a lazy group ride.

Back at the Bike and Bean we had a Keg and a shit load of pizza waiting for us. We hung out for about an hour before bailing back to the near 100 degree heat of the 'nix. Poor Michele is stuck in Canton with snow and sub freezing temps. Boy do I miss my wife.

Red dirt on man.

Red dirt on bike.
Oh yeah, here's the new arrow, picked it up yesterday before dinner. If you've got doubts about what a good relationship with your local bike shop will do for you, look no further than here. The shop saved me a couple bills just because I'm a good regular. On a another note, I really wanted the new bike to be a single speed, but my research indicates that one gear in Seattle would be a fool's errand, so here it is.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Arizona Spring Fling '07

Today starts the Spring Fling for Star and I. The actual start was two days ago but we were both working so instead of 5 days of flinging, we get 3. I volunteered to sweep the C level rides Friday thru Sunday and so far things are going great. I enjoy the C group rides, they're usually pretty mellow and a very casual pace.

Today was South mountain in Phoenix. Star and I headed out at the ass crack and headed to the top of the mountain. I volunteered to drop water at the top for the A and B rides. The high for today was 98 degrees and the riders were going to need it. So we tore ass to the top and stashed 15 gallons and quickly headed back down to meet up at the starting area. We got to the lot just in time to see off the B riders. The 11 remaining riders were my group. It was a good easy ride at a fairly slow pace with lots of stops to chat and discuss route. Including the stops it took just over 2 hours to cover the 10.3 miles and 1150 feet.

Tonight there is going to be a barbecue at South Mountain as a part of the festivities. Star and I will be heading out soon and it should be a good opportunity for me to rub elbows with my betters(in the MTB world anyway).

Sedona tomorrow!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


We're headed to Seattle! Wow. How cool is that shit? S and M back in the Pac-NW. I was getting a little nervous near the end there but I should have know that it would all work out all right. The program called Michele this afternoon to welcome her and they also told her that she will be the first DO they've ever had. That's my lady, total bad ass.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The waiting is the hardest part

I slept in my own bed last night and that was a pretty nice change, not that I don't enjoy my parents coming to town but the couch was really not working well for me. It would be ever better if my wife was in my bed with me rather than 2,000 miles and three time zones away. Two more weeks and I get a conjugal visit.

No ride tonight, very long day at work and crazy Joe came to town in his meatwagon to make a drop and we went out to dinner. No work on the boat tonight either on account of Star's gone climbing w/ John and the baby. Hopefully tomorrow we'll both make it to the garage at the same time and get the deck on tomorrow.

Oh yeah, tomorrow is also the day when Michele and I find out where we are going to spend the next three years of our life. I'm getting all excited, come on Pac-NW!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Night ride w/ pop

I took dad on his first night ride tonight. I figured we might be out for a while so I grabbed Star's HID for him just in case. Turns out the ride was short but it took a while to get rolling. When we went to the garage to get the car loaded we discovered that some of the epoxy work I had done on the boat earlier had gone south and needed my immediate attention so that set us back a half hour before we even got going. Next we dropped mom off at Biltmore Fashion Park (fashion park = mall for those not in the valley) and headed up to the Tatum trailhead for T-100. I had planned to hit 8 and most of 1A to challenge the old man a bit but it started getting dark pretty fast, not the best time to be hitting unfamiliar technical trail. We were short on time anyway so I turned the ride into a smaller loop taking us back on some of the same trails we hit on Friday. We ended up with 6.5 miles and 550 feet in just over an hour.

We paid a visit to the springtime version of the boys of summer yesterday. Here's a picture that I liked.

And one of Ichiro rounding third for mom.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ridin' the red rocks

Sedona went fairly well today. Mom, dad and I left the house at around 8:30 and picked up my cousin Jill on the way out of town. It took us a little while to get to Sedona due to construction so by the time we got to the Bell Rock parking lot it was already 11:00. Dad and I decided that we would ride into town and meet Mom and Jill there which seemed like a pretty decent plan. The ladies headed off to hike some of Huckaby and then hit the shops while dad and I rode.

Our route was Bell Rock Pathway to Llama to Little Horse to Chicken Point to Broken Arrow and 179 into town. The ride started out not so good, I was stopping a lot waiting for dad and he seemed to be struggling. Turns out Michele's bike wasn't giving him the small chainring so after a quick stop to fix it at the start of Llama we were back on our way. Dad was still lagging behind a bit and so I was still stopping every five minutes or so. Just about the time I was starting to get concerned he really started to pull things together. After Chicken Point it was all gravy, we rocked the downhill stuff, blew past the Hummers, and sailed once we hit pavement. 8.8 miles and 1400 feet in 2.5 hours including stops.

After we found the car, loaded the bikes, and got changed we ate ice cream sundaes while waiting for the other half of our posse. The long route home was determined to be the best so we stopped in Jerome for real food and back in town by 7:30. A good time was had by all.

Friday, March 9, 2007

The difference ten years makes

Dad and I turned about 5.5 miles and 450 feet today in the preserves. We covered some fairly rocky trail but nothing too technical. I would stop every five minutes or so to let dad catch up. We made a couple of prolonged stops, one so that I could extract thirty some cholla spines and the other was just to take a break.

My dad has been an avid cyclist as long as I can remember. When I was growing up in Portland he commuted the six or so miles to and from work year round. When we moved to Spokane we lived 400 yards from miles and miles of trails and he was out there almost daily. Later when my parents lived in Kansas City he was riding to work on a fairly regular basis once again. They moved back to Washington again for a couple of years and he got a fair amount of road riding in and a little mountain biking in but I noticed it was starting to taper off. For the last four year or so my parents have been living in a small town outside of Wichita Kansas. He still commutes to work on a somewhat regular basis, but the ride is a 1/4 mile at most.

I can't help but think back to what it was like to ride with him right after my time in Americorps. That was ten years ago, I was 20 and dad was 45, Michele and I were moving to Spokane together and my parents had been there for about five years. On the drive from back from Denver dad and I rode the Slickrock Trail in Moab. At the time I was riding around Denver a lot but not much in the way of technical riding. I got my ass kicked all over the place. Dad was riding up and down what seemed to me like impossible terrain. He was tearing ahead and waiting for me. I'm sure he got off his bike at least once, but I sure don't remember it. I think I must have walked almost every challenge out there. When we got back to Spokane dad and I rode together on a semi regular basis and he still continued to kick my ass right up untilthe time they moved to KC. We've ridden together few times since then. Now I'm 30 and he's 55, I'm not in great shape but he's worse off to be sure. I'm not by any means saying it's time to put my pop out to pasture, it's just that there's not much in the way of good riding in his part of Kansas and it's showing but as long as he's still enjoying the ride I'm game.

Picture from last years visit

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Nothin' doin'

My parents are in town now and wouldn't you know it, work picked up like crazy. I enjoy them being around but after only one night of sleeping on the couch I want my bed back. Anyway, tomorrow I'm taking dad out for a shorty shakedown run on Michele's bike in preparation for Sedona on Saturday, should be fun.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

New old bike

Picked up my bike from Rage this afternoon faced, chased, and cups pressed. The base is sparkle copper powdercoat w/ cream wet paint up front. The wet paint did not go as well as I was led to believe it would by the powder guys, there's a little copper bleed through but in all honesty I gotta say I really like the way it looks in spite of that. Got it all built up in about a half an hour and took it on a quick preserves spin. Three miles and 300 feet today.

My parents show up tomorrow evening for spring training games and there will also be some mountain biking with my dad happening. Should be a good time, looking forward to riding with dad once again.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Sneak peek

It's back! I've only got a couple of days left until my parents show up and it sure would have been tough to ride with my pop without my bike. I have a little work left to do yet before the grand unveiling. I'm hoping that I can get it over to the shop today to get it faced and chased. Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Toyota is gone

The truck was listed on Craigslist for less than 10 hours before I had a fat stack of bills in my pocket. I had five people come and drive it, three pretty serious about it and the last one drove down from Flagstaff with cash in hand. He didn't even talk about the price, just handed the stack, signed the papers, and was on his way. Godspeed my little truck, I sure will miss you.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Michele is gone

I left work early yesterday because we were headed up to Flagstaff for the night making it just that much easier to get Michele on her early morning train to Canton. When I got home Michele was not yet completely packed and as she was gathering up all of her electronic devices(phone, PDA, etc.) she asked me how much a new point and shoot would set us back. She's going to be gone for two months and it's going to be a long time before she makes it back to Canton again, so it would be nice to have some pictures. I kind of destroyed our last one, starting with a four foot fall to rock and numerous other bumps and falls along the way. I told her we could cash in the change jar and apply that to the camera and that's just what we did. The change jar, built up only since last July, held more than $100 and it went well over halfway to purchasing this:

New camera in hand we headed North. First of all, I don't know what I thought would happen when I asked Joe if we could stay the night. I mean I knew damn well what would happen, I think I just hoped for a quiet evening. So we hit Flag at around 3:30 or so and were quickly greeted by Gordo the wonder dog.

The usual small talk ensued and beers were handed out. The decision was made that we should hop bikes and head into town(big surprise), so as soon as the beers were gone we donned our cold weather gear. Michele decided to try the trike while we waited for Joe, always good for a laugh.

First stop is and always will be the Pay-N-Take.

On to Sushi. Karma is hell of good but way too easy to drop a bill there. Oh well, we weren't paying for a hotel and I'm not really going to be eating out for the next two months anyway.

On to Rendezvous, where I was feeling a bit more artsy than fartsy.

Back to P-N-T where Joe just kept on buying, and we kept on drinking.

At about 10:15 or so we took the path back to Joe's by the light of an almost full moon. Bed by 11:15 to be up at 5:00. The train showed up late at 6:45 so after I had my lady safely aboard I busted ass back to the 'nix to go to work.

When I came home this afternoon Star and I finally got back to work on the boat.

We got the glass on the bottom along with the first coat of epoxy and by Sunday we should be able to flip it back over and start working on the top. Very exciting.

Know anybody in the market for a truck?