Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This trail used to be sweet - seriously!

The Mayor of Drunkingham - Cherry Creek, Denver, CO - Photo by Mitch Kline
What else are you supposed to do at the end of a cluster of a ride?

Monday, June 29, 2009

The good ol' days

Way back when there was this frame tubing made by Tange called Prestige. I'm sure a lot of you remember it. As good as a customers thought the stuff was, it was revered by frame builders even more. Always straight, to spec, and rarely a flaw. Last week I was in need of a slightly heavier top and seat tube for a customer and Jeremy at Sycip was kind enough to let me scrounge through his inventory and make away with a couple of these gems. I could have, and would have, used whatever tubes he had that were of the correct specs I needed, they just happened to be Prestige. That said, it was a nice treat on Friday to weld them up into a frame. Someone told me they're going to make the stuff again, but I hear that every year. I won't hold my breath.....

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Tahoe Rollercoaster

After dropping off my younger brother at a soccer camp, I sped to
downieville to get a a taste of the course before racing on it. I got a bit
lost on the climb, and may have done a thousand or so more feet of
climbing than was necessary. But, after eventually finding the legitimate
race course, I happily descended on my hardtail soulcraft. After successfully
maneuvering down the the rock section, which is featured on YouTube, and
enjoying some ooing and aaaawing from spectators with full-face helmets, I became
a tad too confident and found myself flying through the air and narowly avoiding a cliff
in the face. By the time I got to the bottom, I coud hardly move. Luckily, a couple from
sebastapol, california gave me a ride to my car twelve miles away in sierra city.

I then continued my road/mountain bike trip with a stop in carson city, a hot spring in
the middle of nowhere, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in south lake, and "Hole in the Ground" on
Donner summit. I must mention that I got lost on Hole in the ground for several hours due to snow banks obscuring the trial. These photos were taken by my long time friend, pete-da-sneak (named after keak-da-sneak, while we were riding Mr. Toad's. So exceptional was the view from the tahoe Rim Trail, just before descending Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, that I decided to climb a tree to get a better angle. Of course, sliding down in spandex proved to be very unenjoyable.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Evergreen, CO

That right there is Steve Smith, enjoying some fine singletrack yesterday in his old stomping grounds. Evergreen, CO.
Photo by Mitch Kline

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rock With You

I waited all day for Hurl to post about this, because he seems to only post when someone dies, but too bad. I needed to say something. I'll let him reminisce about Farrah. My 3 MJ memories are watching The Whiz in Mr. Blabon's 5th grade class the day before Christmas break,

trading my friend Rich a Romantics tape for Thriller my freshman year of high school, and a cab ride at the Las Vegas bike show a couple years ago with a driver named Detroit Blue.

Matt, Yuri, Big Dave, and I got in at the Double down and before we left the parking lot the cabbie was blasting Michael Jackson on a portable boom box sitting on the front seat. Being completely bombed, it took me a while to notice that Yuri and our host, Detroit Blue, were deep in conversation about the King Of Pop. "A lot of people don't know about MJ", Blue kept saying. "Man's a god damned genius!" All Yuri would come back with was, "That's what I'm sayin'!", as he did a sort of honkified pop-and-lock in the passenger's seat. After some technical difficulties with his seat mounted Sanyo unit, Blue proceeded to pull out a little photo book. I thought for sure he was going to show us pictures of him and Michael, but no. Him and Bill Gates' brother. Him and Al Gore, except his picture was cut and pasted in next to Al's. And when I say cut and pasted, I mean that literally. All the photos were of him and some not quite, or formerly, famous person. As Matt and I leaned forward to get closer looks of the photos, I began to wonder where this was leading. Why do I care if you know a chubby guy with beard who was too much of a pussy to claim his rightful place at our country's helm? It all became clear when, right after a picture of Blue with Jan Michael Vincent, up popped a portrait of a woman. Naked. In a motel room. Blue flipped past like it was nothing. "Whoaaaaaa", we all yelled. "What the hell was that?" "Oh that's ass," he said rather calmly.

Apparently we showed enough interest to warrant showing us the remainder of his album, or should I say "stable", as it all came together rather quickly. Maybe it was his name, or maybe the fact that he carried a photo album of naked women, but were were fairly certain he was what is commonly known as a "pimp". I'm sure Mr. Blue was let down after our initial enthusiasm for his offerings did not lead to a sale. He dropped us off at our hotel, yelled at the bellman to have him confirm for us that Detroit was indeed a man of importance (which he did), and we parted ways.

Maybe Detroit Blue thought we were younger than we were, and didn't know about the "real" Michael. I'll give him credit for first trying to convince us of that fact, then trying to convince us to commit sins of the flesh. But we didn't need convincing about Michael. We all tried to do the Moonwalk, and failed. We all thought it was cool when Eddie Van Halen played guitar on his album. While MJ's more recent years became a rather bizarre spectacle, they can't, and shouldn't, take away from his legacy. I would bet that most people, if driving by themselves across a lonely stretch of road, would not turn the station if "Wanna be Startin' Somethin'" or "Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough" were to come on the radio. I know there's a cab somewhere that will be pumping all the hits tonight.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm not sayin'.. I'm just sayin'.

Ed McMahon-R.I.P.

Ladeez & Gentlemen,
doff your chapeau(s) in honor of America's Top Second Banana, Ed McMahon, who passed away today at age 86. That Budweiser blazer blows Stevil & mine's Budweiser sweater out of the water. HEY-OHHHHHHHHH!

Monday, June 22, 2009

A good friend once said this:

"My Goal in life, is to fill every minute of my available spare time with as many fun things outdoors as possible, during the time I have left on this Earth." - Dave Boyd.

So after 6 months of slavery to the juggernaut that is the Fire Departments promotional process I have sampled freedom once again, and all is well. Dallas to Ft. Worth.. all dirt 45 miles.. all dirt, lot's of bushwhacking, few river/creek crossings... but all smiles

ponca ride 09

fifth annual running of the ponca ride. lincoln ne to ponca ne = 155miles.

actually did this ride twice in june. once with the rapha continental crew (http://www.rapha.cc/lincoln-ne) and once with the lincoln homies.

heavy rain required a severe modification to the route this time. we stayed on highways due to the gravel being very saturated and slow and we got a late start due to heavy weather. we traded slow gravel for narrow shoulders and fast semi-trucks. we saw the sun for about the last half and we did manage to get 15-20 miles of the sublime rollers at the end of the route, and we finished with enough time to set up tents and drink beers. love your life! thanks for cornbread for the pics. (www.cornbreadblog.blogspot.com)

Just sitting around waiting for something to eat.

For the love of all that's good and right, should you ever happen to come across this scene while out and about in the woods, turn the hell around.
They say hind sight is 20/20 and I could have used a bit of the knowledge gained, as I barely escaped with all of the things that protrude off of my body intact.

In other news, Sherman, Mr. Peabody and I are just a few days away from getting into the Way Back Machine© and hitting the great state of Colorado for my 20 year high school reunion. One of the only things that is going to make this trip tolerable is that I shipped a bike to a friend of mine at Turin so it is just a matter of hours before I will be hiding from the world among the rocks and crannies overlooking Mt. Evans.
A full(ish) report will be fourth coming.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Waterton Canyon - Colorado Trail

Its been about a year and a half since I've ridden Waterton Canyon, Colorado Trail, and Roxborough State Park. Waterton Canyon is the eastern end of the Colorado Trail. A popular route is to ride from the Waterton Canyon trailhead out to the Platte River and back. My brother and I did a portion of that ride on Saturday. We rode out on the Colorado Trail as far as time permitted, then turned around and added a bit of extra trail by dropping down a super fun, mostly downhill section (Trail 800) of Roxborough State Park.
Photo by Mitch Kline - mitchkline.com
Dam it! Strontia Springs Dam, located about 6.5 miles from the Waterton Canyon trailhead.
Photo by Mitch Kline - mitchkline.com
Start of the Colorado Trail singletrack, about seven miles from the Waterton Canyon trailhead

Columbines - I never tire of seeing these little beauties along the trail!
Photo by Mitch Kline - mitchkline.com
Gnar on the CT

Friday, June 19, 2009

8th Edition of the Tour de Trash

"Smells like victory..."

We had a group of 10 eager trash hunters collect at Helen Putnam Plaza last Saturday as we waited well past 9:00AM for the stragglers to roll in from their groggy Saturday morning rituals. Even a call from Eric Schleth claiming to have forgotten his riding shoes did not deter the zeal for the day's mission. Last to arrive was a pale looking Red Neck that succumbed to the virus for a brief period but through his dedication to our "Tour de Trash" managed to put his physical weakness in the parking lot.
We rolled out of Petaluma on I-Street where we posed for our victory picture after confirming that Sonoma's county's efforts in using signage and video surveillance has indeed had an effect on the would-be trash holes. With nothing to log into the failing GPS (due to overcast skies), we upped the pace in preparation for our first KOM climb up Red Hill. We unfortunately lost our more casual riders along the roads leading towards the first climb but suffice it to say that rumblings about "taking it easy on us" were churning at the rumor mill. Once the prem was announced, the riders had no lack of motivation as we set a high pace up the climb just like the well oiled professional teams over in Europe. Meanwhile, the objective of the ride was not lost as the early pace setters settled into a sub 200 heart rate pace and tracked the trash strewn on top of the hill for Marin county public works to come collect. KOM winner up Red Hill was Jason Mathies who battled hard with Charlie and a handful of other riders to lay claim to a brand new pair of Kaenons.
Around the bend and onto the base of Wilson Hill found the "gruppo compatto" and the second KOM was underway before we could even recover from the last blistering climb. Again the tempo was set high and only the Red Neck and Charlie from the Red Peloton could launch away from the rest of the pack with catapult force. Clearly the sick Red Neck showed no signs of weakness as his urge to win the Clif Blocks prem was well merited. Before the wheels got spinning too fast down the hill, a quick look over the side of the road proved that the classic trash sites are just that. More work for the Marin county public works and we were off to Chileno Valley Road where a sprint for the next prem awaited us.The "Cipo Soul" train was rolling hard as we neared the straight section of Chileno Valley Road and the prem was announced. Camelbak Hyrdation pack, hydrate or die...We sweeped up some Petaluma Chicken Pluckers along the way who were totally confused by the erratic pace we were setting. They looked for the Race Marshal's Audi A4 but found nothing of the sort. The tree trunk legs in our gruppo took over as the front of the train had riders popping off like rivets shearing off an airplane's skin undergoing extreme de-pressurization. By the time I got to the front all sprinters were spent as they went off too early except for Jason Hoorn who easily claimed the win and just as quickly donated the prize over to Demolition Derby Vanessa's High School MTB team.
Back to work after a couple of squids on their motorcycles distracted us, the Chileno Valley Kemmelberg hosted the usual trash sites with evergrowing litter added to the rusting rot in the ditches. This time we have a jet ski added to the pile.
Getting back to a more reasonable pace was a welcome change as we exited the backroads from the valley and headed towards the coast. But the "El Conquistador" who just turned 50 years old on the same day would have none of it. He constantly monitored his Polar watch in preparation for the Terrible Two this weekend but upped the pace nevertheless. And then, just like a mirage in the desert, a rider appeared in front of us with the unmistakable silhouette of a real Soulcraft rider. It was none other than Eric Schleth himself. He made it afterall, just in time to help track the usual litter at the top of Carmody Road.
Onwards towards Dilon Beach was no small task as every rider's legs were starting to feel like lead reminiscent of Grasshopper rides. Attempts to break early were teased upon us as we neared the HC climb of the day but ended up nowhere. This time Norcal Velo's Patrick found his rythm and dropped everyone like they were standing still claiming the prem to a breakfast for two at Della Fattoria. Well done.
Back into Tomales and after some local delicacies from the Bakery, everyone agreed to take the short way back home without losing the opportunity to track the usual litter on Spring Hill Road. As expected, we were not disappointed.
Most of the riders showed up for a BBQ at your's truly place except for the Director Sporty (of course). Nonetheless, we had a screaming time and it was great to see everyone smile and enjoy themselves after a hard day's work. Amazing how a few beers in the body makes one forget all about the lactic acid bubbling in the legs. See you in Fall for the next Tour de Trash.

Race Reportin'

So, although it is only June, my "race season" is over for the year. Ha. The AZ state series finally culminated with"my" race, the Absolute Bikes Flagstaff Finale. I put in craploads of work getting the permit, getting the volunteers to act as course marshals to avoid any douchebaggery (see http://www.handlebarsandwich.com/05/14/2009/really for background), designing the course, etc. and I was SO ready for it to be over. But it all came together and went awesomely, I even got to race. It sort of went like this:
We took off from the start, somewhere around 14 of us singlespeeders, WAY too fast. I'm running a White Industries Dos Eno cog, and I had put it on the 19t cog just before this, anticipating the big climb. Turns out no one else geared down, and I was spinning hard and breathing hard practically right away. I came into the first singletrack section last, and tried to calm down over the first few rolling miles. When we popped out onto the fire road I was desperate already, thinking about getting last and sucking in my own race, so I slowed down. It was maybe the best thing I could have done, because after about a mile of the climb I started feeling a little more human. And, I could see the red jersey of the guy in front of me. Within another mile I had caught him and could see another guy ahead...I started feeling pretty good and picking people off, and by the top of the 2000 foot climb I was sitting in 10th. Now the fun started: 2000 feet of descending, all sweet singletrack. I caught some expert guys in the Hobbit Forest, then I pretty much had Little Bear all to myself: I saw no one but a singlespeeder on the side of the trail with a flat. My husband was course marshaling at the bottom of Little Bear, so I blew him a kiss and got a second wind ;) Barely saw anyone on the climb up to Schultz, then 4 more miles of gorgeous twisty trail to the bottom. Started hurting a little on the final push up Rocky Ridge, but held it together 'til the finish. So...9th on the day (behind a few really fast locals), which was good enough for 3rd in the state series. Yup, I'm the third fastest man in Arizona! And the prettiest one, I might say.

Carbon Wheels, Tubulars, and 911 fax escapade

This morning I rode road carbon wheels and tubulars for the first time. All the thoughts reeling through my mind up until this point were, "first time carbon wheels," "what will I think," "how will they ride," "oh my gosh first time ever (giddy feeling)," "I am going to look like such a poser riding my Soulcraft road 'race' bike with full on carbon wheels commuting to work -sweet," You get the point.

I talked to my husband before riding about how would they feel compared to my beloved Ksyrium SLs. I love, love those wheels. He commented that they would ride softer, and all I could think was like riding on sofa? Nope not what was it was like. He also commented that if flatted, I was pretty much SOL. Options were to call him and he would bring me a spare tire or pry the tubular/tire off or something along those lines. I threw caution into the wind hoping that I would not have to call him. I did not have to call him, but I did shake and shimmey the roads on the way to work i.e. look for potholes, glass and other arbitrary objects along the way. And I was told to also watch the braking on the babies since they brake different. Joy.

Granted, I was told these wheels for more aero and energy efficiency purposes, but the verdict is still out. I think spandex is aero enough for me. There were a softer ride, but a bit bumpy - no sofa surfing here. Bummer.

They definitely were not as 'snappy' as the SLs. I can speak to this b/c I was full on caffeinated this morning, too. No breakfast except for the coffee of champions. I had plenty of snap in shoe, and even was testing the throttle working the different gearing. I have ridden SL's for a few years now, too. And I don't like the new ones - too stiff for me - I have tested them out. I like the aluminum, silver ones circa 2006 or so.

The braking was not as bad as I thought either given the fact we had to switch out brake pads, and I think we even had to switch out the Campy cassette.

As for more energy efficiency, well, I like to use every ounce, every drop, almost every time. Oh well, the more energy I burn, the more room for beer fuel like the Lagunitas Undercover Investigation, Brown Sugga', and Censored! Yum.

I guess the ride home will be a testament to the verdict that's out. Or maybe a race will help with the score sheet.

Oh, and I have had some serious gut giggling this week with the office fax machine calling 911 instead of sending a fax to India. I am sure the Mountain View PD isn't amused as I am, but it was an all-hands-on-deck effort to get the fax to stop. Because it couldn't go through, it kept resubmitting, and was possessed in it's own right. And we were really trying to get it stop. Really.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Just a reminder

You should periodically check your seat tube for rust. We don't warranty this kind of thing. Just like your car mechanic isn't going to give you a deal when you blow a head gasket because you never checked the coolant, we're long past feeling sorry for people who neglect their Soulcraft frames. Just the opposite in fact. We find it slightly baffling as to why you would pay a bunch of money for something and then neglect to care for it. For details on how to prevent this, go here. Below are some more examples of neglect. You never know what you're going to find down there.....

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sometimes it just takes too much effort to pull down the zipper.

Among other things, Director Sporty positively oozes class.


From my house to Golden is a 62 mile roundtrip out-and-back. I rode there today to eat a king size Snickers and take this photo of the Coors brewery for y'all.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I'm hydrating

If you ever need to smooth things over with your lady after stealing away for a bike ride and ending up drunk in a swimming pool, give this guy the phone.

Hardcore blading

Rollerblading through downtown Healdsburg wearing a downhill helmet, wetsuit gloves, dress and (yup) a fanny pack proved to be quite entertaining last weekend. Where were you?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It's raining, it's pouring

It's been raining in Flagstaff the last few weeks, way earlier than normal, and the result is that the trails are tacky and gorgeous. Everything is green and beautiful and ready for the race this weekend. Some photos...
Horny Toad on Elden Springs TrailClaret Cup Cactus on Little Bear
Columbine growing on rock outcroppings on Mt. Elden
MMmmm Little Bear. That is some good stuff.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Summer fun

My buddy Shindagger Pete Miers and I did some desert shredding this past week in Tucson. I'd like to say I did this.....

while ridding, but I was walking back to retry a "ledge" drop in which I chicken-ed out the first time. All in all a beautiful day....

Pictures by P. Miers.

why did i do this to myself?

So I've been to REI at least three times in the last month or so. I've had this map in my hand each time only to return it to the shelf knowing it would punish me for the next 3+ months. I bought it yesterday. Now I will stare at it until September 16.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

We ride every Saturday, Yo!

When I asked if these guys wanted to ride last Sat, that was the response. What a stupid question. I was under the impression that you people, having grown up responsibilities like wives, kids, etc, may not be able to get out every weekend. Not that I was envious or jealous that they had such freedom. It just made me more determined to live such a fantasy life. That being said, Aaron could only make part of the ride because he had to attend a "couple's baby shower". Maybe that's code for something, but whatever it was, it was enough to lure him away from some sweet singletrack. I at least gave him credit for riding his Guerciotti cross bike up the mountain.

After Aaron bailed, we were free to start the uphill time trial. 30 second start intervals.John caught a few hikers that had started before him. Probably his new self-propelled Hunter.

Ian was riding what I thought was a pretty cool bike "4 inches of plush, seated travel".......

Until I saw this.....

Don't let this guy ever ask you to "cover" him for a burrito. He's loaded.

The end of the ride saw us lounging around the WTB parking lot with burritos and Tallboys, watching a couple guys paint the front of their shop. Then we were approached by two locals, completely separately, one asking if he should buy a Turner full suspension, which we couldn't help him with because most of us were on steel hardtails. The other guy said he was "new in town" and was "always looking for people to ride with". Hmm. Sounded like a rouse to me. There was a bunch of mumbling and "well, um, see, we, uh, don't really ah...", and then John mentioned something about his MySpace page and we all turned away. Never thought a bunch of losers in a parking lot drinking beer would attract so much attention.

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