Sunday, April 29, 2012

More flowers

 SOS ride with Cory today.

The HD trails are crazy with flowers. Crazy.

And there's now a giant set of platform-style stairs leading up the west slope from the suspension bridge at Bowl and Pitcher.

I didn't get a shot of the river, which obviously is raging right now. There were a couple small spots on the Mega-church trail that were submerged. And a few bits of trail underwater on the east side river trail.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Deformed Challenge P-R

What kind of wanker commutes on fancies like these, anyway?

From now on its Paselas only on this bike.

After all, austerity starts from the ground up.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I clot!

(In a good way)
Oh happy day!

Mnt bkng

I want to be better at mountain biking.

Specifically: more efficient at climbing, more comfy with a bit of air, and more better at sitting longer on that thing.

So I'm going to ride my mountain bike more. I'm commuting on it for the next couple weeks and seeking out the dirt options.

The climbing thing is weird, because the bike wants me to sit and spin and I'm a stander and jammer. I can't believe how tired out I get sitting and spinning.

As for air. This is a slow process. I'm off the blood-thinners now, so I can practice a bit more guilt-free on the air front. And the little area behind the Japanese Garden at Manito Park provides a nice little practice spot that's close by.

Long hauls: I may need to put a Brooks or a plastic-Brooks replica on there. The WTB that's on there doesn't work for me.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Liza's rad bike

Lucky I"m not king of the world. Because if I was, this is what an "urban bike" would look like for 54cm and smaller: 26" wheels, road-fast geometry, wispy-thin-walled-standard tubing, full fenders, 3x9 gears, generator light, small rear rack. Simple, fast, tough, elegant, and green.

1st S240'er o'11

 Jon, Justin, and I had a quickie last night. We left Rocket Market at 6 pm and we were home by 9 am. We've not yet achieved the S12O, but we're getting closer and this may be the year we make it happen.

We went south of town to a not-strictly legal spot. But we decided that in the spirit of the destination, it was legal. Justin got his Rawland muddy, which caused him some mild discomfort. He was big about it though. Keeping his comments to a minimum while mostly twitching and gritting his teeth silently as we slogged through the muddy bits.

The destination is a good one and has promise if we can find just the right spot -- with a view but out of view. We're still in search of the holy grail: a spot close in to town with a great view and easy dirt access.

We missed Pat: I wished I had more food. Jon wanted more beer, and I think Justin mentioned something about dessert. Or maybe that was me too. In any case, Pat would've had all that and more in his bottomless panniers. But alas, Pat was in Walla Walla where he may or may not have been celebrating what was or was not his 50th birthday. We forgot to toast that event, though it was something I meant to do as we set off earlier in the day. Dang it.

GoLite Shangri-La shelter. Word. This is a review deal. More on that later, but I think this is the one. It's a shelter/shell and you have the option of tying in the floor/bug part. It's light. It wants trekking poles, but has loops for tying off to something higher. I dig it.

 I'm becoming a regular GoLite shill. The quilt is a winner too.

In stark contrast to my multi-hundred dollar sleeping solution,  Jon has the super minimalist high-value DIY set up. That's the window shrink-plastic stuff that apparently is all the rage on the ultra-light backpacking forums (~$5). I use it for my ground cover. Not pictured: the military surplus super Goretex bivy ($50) with room to sit cross-legged.

The bike there is an old Trek (400?) that Glen brazed 650b canti-posts onto. He may have added a bit more clearance in the back too.

Justin's set up: a bag with a tarp. Old school and mega points for non-fussery.

Note that Justin was finished with dinner and starting his second beer by the time Jon and I were finished fussing around with our shelters.

Final shot. It got to mid-30's last night with a tiny early-morning sprinkle of rain. Thanks to the Buffalo Trace and the TenFidy we all survived.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The direct way home

I always love the change of seasons. Each season has its thing to love. But spring, aside from the obvious warm-part, also brings Liza and Maddie out on their bikes. Liza used to humor me by riding around in snow (see the very 1st post on this blog) and in the rain. But she's more into walking and running now and only rides when it's warm. Which is cool.


She also explained to me that biking isn't fun if she's "straining." I tried to pinpoint where "straining" exists on the continuum between pleasure and pain. After some precision questioning, I discovered that  straining is right before suffering as you head down the line toward pain.

So suffering is not even an option, ever. This of course led to the "if we ever do a bike tour together" discussion, which I'm thinking would involve me on a single speed hauling everything and no camping. Sounds rad to me. Sign me up!

Liza and I had lunch today then rode home. She doesn't like being downtown, then going over to Adams Street to climb the hill, only to "back track" back over to Bernard, where we live. So she suggested we go straight up the hill.

I've done this once before and I didn't care much for it. But as we climbed the steps today, I decided that this would be a fun mountain bike descent. There's a pretty good line next to the stairs that a guy could hit if he were on his game.

Anyway, I won't climb it again unless I'm with Liza. She likes it. And I like her. So there's a transitive effect there where I end up liking the climb when I'm slogging up it with her.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Riding is for chumps

Watching is where it's at. On spring break. Our rental has Universal Sports channel. Watched World Championship DH races last night.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Fondu thoughts

The Ephrata Grand Fondo was sort of game-changer for me.

Stuff I know:

- That was the hardest 80 miles I've ever ridden.
- My goal was 6 hours and I came in at 5:23. I'm proud of that. And I hurt for two days solid to make that happen.
- I'm more competitive than I like to think I am.
- I'm a coward though, in the competitive realm. Which makes me the worse kind.
- The Fondo course was superb. Super hard. Lots of climbing and lots of dirt. Even technical bits.
- Road bike is the way to go for me on that one. The bike you take on such a course is always a compromise. But at the end of the day -- there's a 30 mile stretch of flat road in the middle. It's worth underbiking the climbs and the dirt on a road bike to take advantage of that stretch. I passed about a dozen riders on that section. I think only one or two were on non-cyclocross road bikes.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


FW: Fondo blog

From: Jon Eberly
Sent: 4/1/2012 10:22 AM
To: John Speare
Subject: Fondo blog

"I awoke to the sound of my alarm at 4:10am. As always, when sleep still clouds my mind, I had doubts about todays ride. Eighty miles of dirt roads with over a mile of elevation change seemed daunting when my longest ride to date this season is fifty miles. That moment I decided that no matter what I would finish this ride.

The drive to Ephrata was slow in the dark morning hours. I ended up getting into Ephrata at 6:55am. I was the first rider to sign in and soon wished I would have slept one hour more instead of getting here so early. I took a short nap in the car. When I woke up the parking lot was filling up and there were participants riding all around eager for the days ride.

I found my friends John, Bill and Glen and we took a short lap around the high school as a warm up. An announcer spoke about the road conditions and few things we should look out for then we began the ride.

The ride out of town was slow following the pace car. Once we reached the 1.5 mile mark or so the pace car pulled off and the pack was instantly divided on the first big hill of the day. I hung back and rode with Glen. We were definitely holding up the slow end of the group. Shortly after starting up the first big hill we ran into Chris whose derailleur had shifted into his rear spokes. Glen stopped and got it sorted out and then we were off again.

It was nice riding with Glen because his wife was driving as a sag wagon. Each time she would go about 10 miles ahead and wait for us to reach. Then we could get food, drink, or change clothes as the conditions required. Glen and I rode together up the hill for the first 17 miles but as soon as we got to the top and started the descent that was the last time I saw him for the next 15 miles. That dude is fast as hell on the descent and there was no way that I could keep up. My wheel would catch in the deep gravel and I would get scared and have to back off. The 15 mile descent to the river was cold but a nice break from climbing.

Once at the bottom of the hill Glen told me that his goal was to reach the half way aid station and then we was going to go home. We rode to the aid station and both filled up on subway sandwiches and mini-cokes. He asked me if I wanted to call it quits and I told he no. We said our byes and then I started off again.

The next chunk of the ride seemed like it took forever. I didn't have a bike with a speedometer but from the cue sheet knew I had 24 miles to go before the next turn. The scenery was quite beautiful and helped to keep me occupied on the long lonely road I had ahead of me.

Eventually I came to the three devils. A 600 foot climb, 65 miles in to the ride is someones cruel idea of a joke. The three devils were really steep and muddy. While in my lowest gear spinning up the hill I looked all around me and saw the foot prints of riders who had dismounted and walked up the hills. I felt proud that I didn't have to get of my bike and walk up the hills. Eventually I came to the top of the three devils, covered in sweat and starting to look forward to the end of the ride.

The last 16 miles of the ride went by pretty slowly because I was really tired and bored of the book I had been listening to. After the final climb the descent down into Ephrata was a major relief as I knew the ride was almost over. I was lost in my mind, thinking about the days events, listening to a book when I realized there was a dog the size of a small car chasing, and quickly gaining on me. I kicked it into high gear but after the long hard days ride, I didn't have much left. When the bear-dog was about 10 feet away from my rear wheel I yelled at him "No" in the most authoritative voice I could muster. He stopped and cocked his head looking at me while I rode away.

I rode through the finish line 7 hours and 44 minutes after I had started this morning. Pretty good, really. Most importantly I finished the ride and look forward to all the pestering I am going to do to get people out to ride this amazing ride next year."

Feel free to edit or whatever..