Saturday, September 26, 2009

Spawning Salmon and Glowing Tires

Long family day out today. Trip to Issaquah for a freebie Geocache event that walked us all around Issaquah, free lunch included - provided by Rogue Ales. Nice. Wife Lori and son Ian are into this Geocache scene. Daughter Amy I attend to round out the family unit and get some exercise in.

Downtown Issaquah retains most of its old school charm, even with the explosion of retail stores and housing nearby that's occurred over the last 20 years or so. Still a cool place to spend an afternoon.

As an added bonus, Issaquah Creek that runs through downtown has thousands of salmon that return to spawn each fall - returning to the fish hatchery located in town. It's quite a sight and reminder of being in the Pacific Northwest. Next weekend is the official Salmon Days Festival, jammed packed with folks, vendors and events. Hitting Issaquah the weekend before was a better deal - no crowds and you can actually find a parking space.

The salmon head home to spawn, then die, mission accomplished. Then the cycle repeats as it has for millions of years. Well, at least until man got involved. The runs now are much lower in number. The fish look small in this picture. Trust me, they're pretty damn big and powerful fish. At times, you can see 'em fight each other, complete with biting. Not shown, salmon jumping up fish ladders into the hatchery. How they find their way back to the their original spawning ground is incredible. Oh yeah, they're pretty tasty also - especially grilled. Mmm mmm good.

While in Issaquah, I stopped in Veloce Velo to poke around. I've heard of this shop, but never visited. Talked with the manager Jason Goff for bit and checked stuff out. Nice shop, more of a high-end place with Moots, Colnago, Willer, Look, Pinarello and Specialized. They do custom fittings as well. Next door, they're planning to expand with a bigger mountain bike section in 2010. I drooled over a customer's Moots Psychlo X set up for all around use - Wound Up fork, fat road tires and fender mounts. Super nice - as it should be for $6000. Jason also showed me a built up Salsa Chili Con Crosso that goes for $2200 or so. I'd go for that for possible cross use. Great bike for the dough. I also looked over a Niner frame for the first time - would build up into a sweet 29" mountain bike. When in Issaquah, check this place out.

On the drive home, stopped in Kirkland for frozen yogurt to top off the free lunch, goofed around the beach with the kids, and said hello to the folks at uBRDO - another cool shop. While there, picked up a copy of Cyclocross Magazine and Urban Velo. One must keep up with important research and inspiration. When in Kirkland, be sure to stop by uBRDO as well.

The old Ibis glows with anticipation.

After dinner, a little late night wrenching for Project Cyclocross. Pulled the fenders off the old Ibis Hakkalugi that serves as my crappy weather commuter - if not a pretty damn nice crappy weather commuter. This bike reeks of old school Ibis goodness, circa 1997. Cleaning and lubing the rear derailleur cable cleared up the glitchy shifting I'd been ignoring for months. I raised the stem a smidge to max height to get the bars up some, trued the rear wheel - then mounted cheap 35c Michelin Transport tires I picked up online for $8 each a few years ago - complete with reflective sidewalls. Yes, the ultimate in 'cross tire technology. Carbon tubular rims with Tufo tires - who need 'em? I got reflective sidewalls baby.

After the transformation from commuter to 'cross weapon (ha!), a test ride down my dark street. During a small bunny hop to feel the cushy tires, one SPD pedal releases and I crash my groin into the seat upon landing. Ouch. Yes, I am smooth - and in pain.

Plan is to hit dirt on the 'lugi tomorrow. It's been a few years since I've ridden off-road on this bike and even then, just a few times. I'll attempt a few running dismounts and remounts to convince myself I'm a cyclocross racer, then go for the MFG event at Sammamish State Park next week. After my first taste of 'cross a few weeks ago, I'm itchy for more.

That's the plan anyway. We'll see what happens between now and then. Should be interesting. I hope in a good way.....


  1. Cyclocross Mag is to cross as Dirt Rag is to Mountain Biking. Enjoyed the write-up!

  2. Thanks for checking out my little ol' blog.

    I've been a Dirt Rag fan for years. Only second issue of Cyclocross mag for me. It's cool as well.