Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Little Differences

This is what the Monster did to celebrate his 1st birtday:

And this is how Michele and I celebrated:

Saturday, September 24, 2011


The Monster and I went out for a little adventure today while Michele had Saturday clinic.  Rather than ride from the house we packed up the Element and headed over to Sequim to ride from Railroad Bridge Park over to Robin Hill Farm Park and back.  I chose this as our ride for a couple of reasons.  First and foremost, I wanted to forgo Porter's helmet and this route is completely removed from cars with the exception of a 100' stretch where it is given a 10' wide bike lane on a 20 mph rural road.  Second, it's completely flat and I was pulling with the tank. 

I also left my helmet in the car, completely unintentionally, I was really focused on getting into the park to take a piss and forgot to grab it out of the car.  It's funny how naked I felt the whole time without my helmet.  I wasn't concerned about crashing or anything like that, but I don't ever ride without.  It's akin to how I've felt when riding in a car without a seatbelt (something I haven't done since I was a teen and only then did it when there wasn't a belt to be had), just not right.

Overall I'd say we had a good little ride.  Porter did a lot of laughing from behind me and was totally mesmerized by the tractor we stopped to watch halfway back.  Porter spent a lot of time waving back and forth with the operator, that's actually a lot more entertaining than it sounds like.

So on the drive home I got to thinking about my bike collection.  You may have noticed (but probably didn't) the tank is now sporting a flat bar and some Oury grips.  The cruiser bars were damaged from over tightening when I bought the bike, nothing a couple tin shims, a new stem, and proper torquing couldn't fix, at least in the short term.  The time finally came where the bars needed to go, and go they did.  The flat bars are okay but I think a little rise may be in order.  That plus a proper seat and I don't think I'll ever need to touch this bike again.

As for my other two bikes, I've never been quite happy with the EBB on El M. and TBFKaU just doesn't get ridden due to my unworthiness.  On the drive home I got to thinking about this whole situation.  I really like El M. a lot and the geometry is spot on.  Maybe it's time to sell or part out TBFKaU and ditch the El M. frame in favor of the newer version sans EBB.  This is really just an idea I'm toying with and not really serious about (yet).  I don't know that I've ever loved or put as much time into a bike as much as TBFKaU, but it's just been gathering dust for the last few years.  If I do sell, I'm not totally sure I could part with the frame anyway, so maybe just parting out is the answer.  I really don't know.  I think I'll just sleep on it for a while.

*side note: Michele was extremely nonplussed with the idea of me getting rid of TBFKaU, like REALLY nonplussed.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Elwha, Sprint Boats, and Cake

Saturday was a hell of a day.  It started with a trip downtown to the farmers market and the festivities celebrating the removal of the two dams on the Elwha river. After that I spent my afternoon at Port Angeles' new Extreme Sports Park to watch the USSBA national finals.  Pat was supposed to come up and join me in manly pursuits but couldn't get away from family obligations, oh well.  That shit was crazy and fun to watch but I could see getting tired of it after a while (like most manly pursuits).

Finished off my day with a live taping of eTown at the PA high school.  Did I mention Cake was there?  Oh fuck yeah they were, and they brought it.  played some from the new album, dug deep to play a track from Motorcade and capped it off with my #2 song of theirs, Shadow Stabbing. It was fun and not something I really expected to go down in this small town.  Good times.

Monday, September 12, 2011

This Damn Kid

Earlier today Tim and Lucy paid us a visit while they were waiting to catch the Black Ball to Victoria.  While we were all hanging out and playing with the Monster he took a bit of a header.  He didn't fall far but he hit his head on the sliding door and caught his cheek on a piece of furniture.  Michele scooped him up rather quickly to soothe him and the next thing I know she's yelling 'BREATHE PORTER, BREATHE!'  I spun around to see her setting him on the carpet, he was completely motionless, silent and blue.  Less than a second later he was back at full volume and appropriately colored.  As quickly as he came back the whole sequence repeated itself for a second time.  Needless to say Michele and I were both freaked the fuck out, and I'm guessing Tim and Lucy were too.  After some digging around and Michele speaking with one of her more seasoned co-workers, we've found that this is not exactly an uncommon thing and many kids will do the same thing when sufficiently riled.  Well, uncommon or not the incident totally scared the mother fucking shit out of me. Now I can't sleep, I'm extremely tired and Michele has to leave pretty early, but every time I lay down and close my eyes I see my kid, motionless and blue.  I believe what I'm told that he's fine and it's nothing to get too worked up about, but the image of him laying on the floor not breathing is seriously messing with me.  Damn kid.

Early morning edit - Michele says she's quite sure that Porter only passed out once, I remember it being two times.  That is all.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Resistance Training

The last time I tried to take The Monster on a bike ride it didn't go so well.  We tried to circle Greenlake and he started full on freaking out about halfway around, ended up playing in the grass alongside the trail until Michele managed to catch up so she could take him the rest of the way home in the baby backpack.  So it's been a couple months and I figured the time was right to give it another go.

We have two hitches, on bolted to the back of the Beast and the other on a skewer and ready to on on my road wheels for El M.  I've been having trouble keeping air in the front tire of the road wheels (not that I've tried very hard to keep air in there) so I got everything all set up with the dirt set.  Got Porter all strapped in and we were off.

The kid did good, we rolled through the neighborhood quickly and in less than a mile we had dropped down onto the Olympic Discovery Trail (the normal one).  Riding while pulling the boy isn't so tough.  He only weighs 22 lbs or so and the trailer can't weigh a whole lot more than that.  However, the trouble I found was that the less than smooth riding style I've developed since taking up single speeding leads to some serious rubber banding between the bike and the trailer.  He seems to be catching up at my rest and pulling back hard when I'm on the power.  It's not really a problem and it certainly doesn't make riding any harder but it certainly is a little disorienting.

As we tore to the east past the end of the pavement (for a while that is, pavement picks back up again eventually and stay until past Sequim)  I noticed that the little giggles I'd been hearing for behind me had completely ceased.  Looking back I saw this:

You see his face?  Neither do I.  His helmet, and every helmet I've seen so far, is still a bit on the large size.  All the bumpiness in the dirt had caused the helmet to shift forward and completely cover his face.  I'm actually a little torn about him wearing a helmet at all.  There's not much I won't do without a helmet, bike, skate, snowboard, climb, work below others, etc. but I think he's pretty well protected in the trailer and when we are on a bike path that is protected from cars what's the worst that could happen?  Really, I'd like to know.  He may, just until his head is a little bigger at least, start ditching his lid the moment we hit the trail. Still thinking on that one.

I nearly cleaned the climb back up from the water but I was distracted by some goofy architecture and had to stop and take a look.  I'm actually still trying to wrap my head around it a little, so much so that I wish I'd taken a picture.  Oh well, I think Porter and I may ride down to the bike shop tomorrow and maybe I'll snap a picture of it then.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Embarrassment Avoided

When picking out a bike today for riding the ODC:AR I spent a fair amount of time thinking about riding TBFKaU.  Unfortunately, I just couldn't do it.  How could I possibly stand the humiliation of anyone noticing my 32:21, and on a 26er no less.  That shit is just ridiculous and I need to put it right.  Of course, I have in fact used that same ratio once before, but I had a much better excuse that time.  So with TBFKaU off the menu that left El M.  A quick wheel change and I was on my way.

Damn I felt good rolling out, and by good I meant that my legs hurt, but in a good way.  It was if I had just recently taken up mountain biking again after a long and poorly rationalized hiatus.  With my last ride at the same location I knew what to expect, at least for the first few miles.  Climbing.

Well, I'm happy to report that the climbing keeps going for nearly four miles.  It's never so steep that one needs to resort to walking, but still it's four solid miles and a cumulative gain of around 800-1000ft (my GPS is not to be trusted currently so I could be way off, but that's a different blog post).  I stopped to head back as soon as the trail looked like it was going to head downhill for more than just a few hundred yards.  Conveniently enough that happened here:

I damn near shit myself when I popped out into this clearing.  One minute I'm screaming through a dark dense forest reminiscent of the forest moon of Endor and suddenly I'm blinded by sunlight and standing in a clearing with a beautiful view of distant peaks and a valley below.  I'm afraid my cell phone's camera just doesn't do this vista any justice.  Next time maybe I'll bring something better along (although for the life of me I can't think of what that would be) and I'll probably even go a little further.