Wednesday, April 25, 2007

and we think we're tough....

This picture was taken from The Six Day Bicycle Race website. These hardened men were tough as nails. 24 hrs try six days. They would race on wooden indoor tracks for 6 days, covering unheard of distances. They were the stars of their time, making more money than baseball stars, they were the kings, not just the sideshows that we are now.
6 days on a small oval, on a fixed gear with smoke and thousands of cheering fans. 100 dollar primes, 1000 dollar primes. The equivalent of 5,000 dollars a day for racing. I didn't know anything about it until I stumbled on the book at the library, took it out and started reading. I am floored, at a loss for words. I am humbled by this, I think that 24 hrs is a long time 6 days, eventually it was teams of two, but still that is a long long time to be riding, reminds me of the RAAM athletes of today, although they usually have to work and don't get paid much at all, they have to do it for the love of the bike or the challenge. Apparently there is a movie too which I think would be fun to watch as well. thats all I have today, I have a bit more reading to do and then I am off to sling the beers at the Big Time Brewery.
To weigh in on a post by Dicky, titled "My current (self imposed) dilemma" to me, and call me a purist if you must. Riding a fixed gear implies that you not plan on taking your feet off the pedals while going down hill, and that you run a front brake, or brakeless, but I in no way intend to say or advocate the breakless concept, I roll with a front brake at all times. Taking your feet off and letting the pedals eggbeater is not riding a fixed gear, that is like the new double crank/freewheel set ups, they can't be called singlespeeds, thats not what they are. That is where i stand on the matter of fixed off road, feet in pedals at all times. AT the Furnace Creek 508 they don't allow the fixed riders to coast with their feet out of the pedals for just that reason, it is no longer the pure definition of riding a fixed gear. as always keep pedaling. over and out.....

so i read it a second time, i will change what i said, ride with a rear brake, just don't take you feet out the pedals. that phil wood hub that is fixed with a disc rotor sounds kinda nice, although wade at vulture made my decisions easy, there is no rear cable routing or disc or canti mounts of any kind on the monster cross. takes the thinking out of the equation.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

life little treats

Well here we go again, I am not so good at remembering a camera to take pics on rides so the reader gets lots of text at times with very few visual representations. After all we are a visual culture these days. I will keep this post short and sweet. I should be racing at South Seatac right now, but the thought of going in circles didn't really appeal to me today, I plan to get out on the fixie for a bit of road time here in a bit, as soon as I get done with this here post. I worked late on friday night,was up early saturday to drive north towards Bellingham and a ride of 5 hours or so. I knew nothing of the route, terrain or what to expect. I planned to bring lots of food, even bought it, but you know what they say about plans, even the best laid plans..... but I digress. I had some, just not enough, good thing my riding partner did. Kevin had an amazing route planned with gobs of climbing. We started off on the interurban bike path and made our way south, after 6 or so miles of basically flat spinning the real fun began and up it went. On Thursday my legs has felt really crappy, while riding out at Tiger Mountain, so I had imagined that my legs would just be shot after no sleep on Thursday night and a long night on Friday, I was wrong, my legs felt quite good and we slogged up and up. We talked about Washington riding and compared it to other places, now I can see why singlespeeders are few and far between up here, everything is steep, wet and power robbing, oh yeah there is the roots and other slippery elements as well. On the other hand why not more singlespeeders and rigid ones at that, less moving parts means less maintence and I can't imagine the toll the weather takes on a full suspension bike up here. Back to the ride at hand, filled with ripping descents, kevin overshot a corner and hurt his thumb on one of them, it made descending a treat for him. The second climb of the day is dubbed "burnout", my immediate response to this was "why cause by the time you get to the top you are burnt out" to which he replied "yep" off we went, up and up and up, steep and steeper, grunting. My arms were taking a beating, I worried that they might actually just fail. We crest out and descend and descend on our way to the British Army Trail, a brutal hike a bike, that landed us at the top of the Blancard Mountain descent which was a fucking blast. Now at the bottom we began the ride home. We hit the lower trials on Galbraith and then the rails to trails home to kevins. All in all we had a great time kick the shit out of each other. WE ended with 6,800 ft of climbing in 43.43 miles in 5 hours and 20 mins. The numbers dont look like it was all that bad or tough, but it was. considering that most of that climbing was in the middle 15 or 16 miles of the ride. We plan on a bigger ride next time. oh goody.

Today is earth day, do something, but don't drive, love your mother earth. I will leave the sarcastic comment off then end here. Just be good people.

and finally this, and email from my good friend Dusty.....

Hey, first, I rode the cross-check fixed yesterday. I got a long way to go, but I just kept thinking about Rudy doing the puff and shut the fuck up.

So I think I bought a house here in Fort Collins and I was thinking that it had been a really long time since I had seen a Hummer. Also, there are at least two dedicated Subaru shops in town. I think this is my new criteria for judging the livability of a town, the subaru to hummer ratio. Ketchum- lots of subarus but also an inordinate amount of Hummers- no good. Back east, not many Hummers, but also not many Subaru's either, and they don't have roof racks- also not good. Fort collins, lots of subarus, especially pre-outback dark green beaters, nary a hummer to be found- ah, home.

Here is my response......

I like the theory, Tahoe,lots of subarus and lots of Hummers, after all the bay area is only 3 hours away, thats only a couple hundred dollars in gas to get your hummer up to tahoe and show it off, the ladies are impressed. Seattle, well its a city and I will only last so long here, but lots and lots of subarus not too many hummers at all, we are a humble breed here in the northwest. I will be moving on hopefully north to Bellingham, everytime I go there I fall more and more in love with the place, the riding sure is epic in every sense of the word. sounds like life is good, I would like to add that beer and the quality of beer in a place adds to this equation, reno ok, tahoe not much good beer, seattle lots of good beer, bellingham good beer,and you in fort collins have good beer, not so sure how the beer is there is sun valley.

so I lied short post my ass, what ever that means it was a long one but I hope you enjoyed it. as always keep pedaling and enjoy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

foiled again

This weekend we went to portland for "Filmed by bike" a celebration of the bicycle. It is short films about cycling or related to cycling. It is in its fifth year, and grows each year. They tell the story of the first year hoping that 50 people would show up. Last year they had just two showings on Friday at 7 and 9 this year they had 6 showing and it sounds like they were all sold out. 1,300 people in all. To me that is just amazing, and inspiring. Seattle we should get one going. Outside the theater, before the first showing.
The Clinton Street Theater
Fat Tire was there with some of their bikes, sit and spin, oh not so good after all that beer.
sit and spin
"Filmed by Bike" raffle girls where everywhere.
raffle girls
After we went to the sold out 7 o'clock show we exited to see this madness, the streets before the 9 o'clock showing. too bad you can't read the lighted board. Is that called the marque? just wondering.
9 o'clock madness
Like i said we went last year and it was great, we didn't really have to wait in line, this year was different we had to wait in line, the weather was similar, rainy, and the air was filled with excitement, bikes, bikes, bikes....what more is there to say.
We didn't really plan that well and ended up heading home that night so that we could get to the step it up rally the next day here in Seattle, we figured the traffic would be easier to deal with at night, than on Saturday morning. We had a really big step it up rally, we marched and chanted and showed our support for lower carbon emissions and our support that global warming is a real issue that we will need to deal with in the upcoming years if we wish to leave the earth in any shape for future generations. There were still people that were trying to tell the marchers that it is all one big hoax to make money, but it fell on deaf ears as everyone marching was commited to the cause. It rained on us a bunch, but by the end the sun came out and warmed everyones spirits.
Sunday my friend Craig and I went to Skukoom Flats and the trails off the 410 here in Washington. 410 is the road that goes out towards Crystal Mountain. As those of you who live here know this winter has been a rough one. It started hard and fast in November with the most rainfall in a single month ever recorded, and never really let up at all. Most people that I have talked to that have lived for a long time have dubbed it the worst winter in 15 or 20 years if not the worst winter they have ever had here. It went a little something like this, rain, rain, wind and rain, wind rain and snow, ice and snow, rain, wind, rain, I think you get the picture. We had a group that we thought were going, but it only ended up being us two brave soldiers by the time the day actually arrived. I thought that it would be difficult, but interesting enough I didn't think about the blowdown and damage we might see. I thought it would just be a bit damp and maybe a little muddy, but the soil out there is more loamy and filled with pine needles and roots. So we arrived it was bit chilly, but not too bad. Did the whole strip by the river thing, no peeking etc. then doned our uniforms and it was off to explore, and we got our monies worth.
This was the fifth or sixth tree that we came across in the first mile, and the only one that was even close to be ridable the others were head high. So I got my log hop on.....
log hop
and road away clean, I didn't say it was pretty though....
Craig got to enjoy some open trail, he is smiling like he always is.....
That was the White's Creek side of the equation, then we crossed the highway and went on an adventure, retracing the route of last years Greenwater Gamble, we added some extra climbing, and the whole time it felt like I had a lead weight attached to my bike, the earth was pedal power robbing, think snow melting on dirt and you get the idea, I felt filled with gu, and stuck in place, craig on the other had just pedaled along, damn gears. So we climbed for awhile and hoped to get to and intersection with the Sun top trial, but the snow turned us around, riding through snow at 30 miles an hour is fun, like cutting marshmellows, I hope you all understand that, cause I don't.
We wanted to be over there, I think, have to go back at a later date and do some more exploring when there is less snow on the ground.
Over There
After finding our way back and through some snow,we reconnected with the race course and eventually found our way to the Skukoom Flats trail, and we were off like a herd of turtles. There was a lot of blowdown on this trial, and even a large section of the trail missing. Just take a look at the picture....
Trail edge
and that suspension bridge that used to be so fun... well not so much anymore...
Suspension bridge no more
I would imagine that this trial will get cleaned up sometime in the future and maybe rerouted, well for it to continue it really needs to be rerouted, because the steep side hill hiking that we had to do was just a challenge we joked that the most fun thing to hike through brush and over and around trees with is a bicycle, it just felt like the forest wanted to grab every part and rip the bike from your had, by the end the bikes started to get a bit heavy on the arms, and the mind started to be a bit tired of on the bike off the bike. Like a bad cross race with 4 foot barriers that try to strip the bike from you hands. oh now thats an idea, that would make for a great spectator sport. any takers??????

So I have rambled on enough i figure and made up for not posting for awhile. thanks for reading, and if you made it this far you are a real trooper and deserve a medal or a chest to pin that medal on at the very least. as always keep pedaling......

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

testing, testing

yes I fell off the face of the planet, soon to return. family in town, my little brother to be exact. I just aint as strong as I once was. Won an Indie series race, I beat the other four people in my class, and to thing they didnt time it they just collected the finishing order. It was straight up and straight down and full of more mud, rain and snow then I have ever had the pleasure of mountain biking in. someday I will remember to bring the camera and document all these goings ons. Celebrated a birthday, not mine but my better halfs, and have just been out riding the bike. so hanging there and above all else, keep pedaling. thanks for tuning in. nat