Thursday, June 30, 2011

Steelman Manzanita




I occasionally cruise the Steelman site ogling all the handmade works of art. Noticed this Manzanita model mountain bike today. Super nice. Steel hardtail with 150mm travel fork. That matt green paint looks fantastic.

It's old school, new school, and just all around cool. I'll take one. I wish. Please send money...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tolt McDonald Revisit

It's been awhile since our first visit to Tolt McDonald Park, decided today would be the day for a revisit. Original riding plan was to join fellow work and riding pal, musician guy Brian - not to be confused with my other pal Brian - also a work related riding pal and a musician. As a Devo related tribute, maybe should call 'em Brian 1 and Brian 2.

Back to the original plan; ride Grand Ridge over to the Duthie Mountain Bike Park. Seven miles, 1100 foot elevation gain. Include some simple math and you have a 14 mile round trip and 2200 feet of climbing. Plus, add in some additional miles goofing around Duthie. Son Ian was to join the festivities along with us, 'cept he woke up at 10:00 AM looking mighty tired. He did about 15 miles of singletrack on Saturday, and about 8 miles or so Friday night. He wasn't sure about the long ride today.

When in doubt, cut it out - my motto for riding with kids. Don't want to ruin the fun with a death march. Wife also thinks I'm killing the kid with riding. Little does she know, he's actually killing me at times. Informed Brian we'll sample Grand Ridge another time. We've never ridden it, but will eventually.

Of course, after breakfast and laying around a bit, Ian wants to do something - like ride. His JL Velo team had a social ride lined up with Garmin Cervelo pro rider Tom Pederson. That would be cool, no? He's not really interested. How about an easy local road ride? Nope. Says "Road riding is a little boring, you just sit and pedal. Mountain biking is more fun."

Mmm...the boy does have a point. Okay, let's hit Tolt McDonald Park instead. First stop at El Toredor in Redmond for some proper burrito loading. Followed by the drive out to Carnation...



After a short, but steep climb into the park, rewarded with a nice view of the Cascades. Once you're up there, the trails are fairly flat. One of the reasons why picked the area for today. Just do some fun cruising.



Area consists of roads - really gravel/rock doubletrack - with pinball mazes of singletrack laced throughout the park. The map was only semi-useful, since none of the trails are actually marked. Pretty easy to get lost and wander around a bit, then hit a main road to find your way back. Hopefully...



Ian climbs one of the roads in the park.



Lots of twisty, fun, rooted out singletrack to be found. We just cruised around making random trail choices, until we hit a main road. It would take awhile learn this area - can get confusing.



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Plenty of this kind of trail action. Not bad at all.



We kept it short today, about 10 miles of singletrack exploring - also had a late start. Tolt McDonald is pretty fun though and worth the trip. We'll make visit # 3 before the summer is over.

That concludes this insanely fast written post. With any luck, its even readable.

Ride on. Ride often.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Old Guys Rock

Hit the weekly "Old Guy Ride" this morning, complete with Ian in tow. Showing off your well riding 11 year old son is more fun then wowing anyone with the latest carbon fiber Widget-O-Wonder. Ian didn't slow the group down one bit. Call me a proud Poppa. Call me Poppa Wheelie...

Solid 2+ hour ride today. I get a kick out of riding with these guys. Fun, low key, plenty of jokes, a few crashes, coffee stop mid ride. It's what mountain biking is really about - bombing around the woods with a bunch of like minded folks - just having fun and being outside on two wheels.

Mountain biking defies age, social class, what bike you're riding, riding skill level, clothes you wear - doesn't matter. Just show up and ride, and you're in the club. This 15 year old weekly ride is a shining example of that.

I grabbed a few pics to share...



Bethel, Principle of Ian's elementary school, gives a lesson on flat repair. Weird tire/rim slippage ripped the valve on the tube. Happened again a short while later with tube # 2. Bummer. Ian sharing a ride with his Principle, I think that's pretty cool.



Bill gives "The Rock" a go. Not shown - slow speed bobble at the top complete with gasps from crowd.



Tom cruises "The Rock" aboard his fairly new, and very sweet, Santa Cruz Tall Boy. If you ride the St Ed/Big Finn Hill area, you owe Tom a thank you. He does much to keep the area open to bikes; dealing with official types, trail maintenance, and other behind the scenes action.



Some of the gang from today's little fun fest.




It's not mountain biking without a little bloodshed.



Mountain biking rocks. But hey, you knew that already.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Damn Nice Dam




I've been cheating and driving to work the last few days. Payoff has been hitting the woods on the mountain bike when I get home. If I ride to work, usually don't have the time or energy for another ride later in the evening. Road commuting is great, but its been a blast hitting singletrack a few days this week instead.

Fantastic actually, my Facebook post from yesterday as proof...

Superb after work mountain bike ride today. One of those days where you feel tired, but ride anyway - thinking short spin, then head home. Crappy feeling burns off and fantastic solo ride ensues. Light out until 9:30 PM, empty woods, 70 degrees, 29er rocks. Pinch me.

Ditto for tonight, except 60 degrees instead of 70. Completely freaking perfect. After 27 years of mountain biking, still get totally revved about it all. Guess I'm a lifer.

Oh yeah, picture above. Beaver dam located on my dirt loop. Pretty cool, huh?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there. Mine was enjoyable and now winding down to a close. Being a dad certainly changes everything. You have no idea what it's like until it actually happens.

Is it easy? No. Does it make you appreciate your own dad? Yes. Is it worth the effort involved? Yes - for sure. Pretty incredible stuff.



My Father's Day booty. Some great homemade cards, a bike book, Timex Ironman watch, ceramic flower made by daughter Amy. Not shown, chocolate cake baked by my wife and daughter. Nice, huh?



Father's Day festivities included a quick solo mountain bike ride. Son Ian elected to skip this edition and play inside with sister Amy instead.

Saint Edward State Park holds a yearly beer festival that attracts a big crowd. Photo of festival closing down after a busy weekend. Grass area fenced off, all trails open though. Many people walking the trails, headed to cars parked in surrounding area. Lots of friendly hellos as I cruised by. Maybe it was the beer talking...



Muddy 29er is always a good sign. After the rain yesterday, trails were a bit soupy. Still fun, even when muddy. I'm laying out a loop in my local woods. I turn 50, as in years, next month. I'm planning a bit of a riding party with some friends. 10 miles, 5 laps, 50 miles. 50 for 50. Should be a goof. A painful goof.



With that, Father's Day now officially closes. And not a bad one at that. Back to routine tomorrow...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Evergreen Kids Dirt Fest/Subway Games

Put Ian down for another race in the books. Today we hit the Kids Dirt Fest sponsored by Evergreen, Subway, and Cascade. This race also part of the Washington Subway Games. Last year, both Ian and I raced this event. This year only open to kids 18 years and younger. Now I don't need to invent some lame excuse as to why I didn't race.

Oh yeah, location was Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park. Can never go wrong hitting that place. It's chock full of two wheeled fun and frolicking.

Weather was crap, keeping in line with our cold weird spring. About 57 degrees and rain. Not pouring rain, but that constant on/off mist, that keeps you Good 'N' Soaked. Kids Fest was a Mud Fest. Come splash around with us...



Sport class lines up for the start. Ian in the back row, with fellow JL Velo teammate, Henry, manning the front row. Mixture of ages, since this event grouped all under 18 into one class/race. The Novice race split age groups, but Ian deemed that race length too short, so Sport it was - even though at 11 years old - he'd be one of the younger kids in the group.

They also featured an Expert class, though canceled, due to only one kid signing on the dotted line - Henry's brother Evan - and fellow JL Velo team member. No soup for you. He did get to race downhill later in the day, so not all lost.



Henry, age 11, flying the JL Velo colors in actual race conditions. Always fun watching kids race, no matter the ability, from rank beginner to pro looking juniors. I've said it once, will say it a few thousand more times - mountain bike and cyclocross racing are fantastic for kids.



Ian in action. Said it was one of the most fun races he's done - partly I'm sure - due to the fun Duthie trails themselves.



Ian and Henry, battled it out together. They were close on the last section of the course, with Henry pulling away here at the finish. Great job. Have no idea what their finishing positions were, not in the top five podium spots anyway. I hope...

Scoring was a little sketchy with parents correcting race folks at the award ceremony. I checked the online results today to find Ian and Henry not even listed. Strangely enough, teammate Mike - who didn't even race, though I guess pre-registered - is recorded for 9th place (!?!).



All assemble for the awards ceremony. As you can see, wet and muddy was the order of the day.



Boys 10 and under take the podium - in this case, logs - to receive their medals. My spectacular photo blocks their faces. Pretty handy if they're included in the Federal protection witness program.



Winning girls get their medals to the cheers of all. What this sport needs is more girls racing and just general riding. Let's get 'em out there.



Boy's Sport class winners raise arms and smiles. Fantastic job.


After the XC race and awards ceremony, raffle action ensued with great stuff given away; Camelbacks, messenger bags, hats, helmets, armor gear, DVDs, shorts - and even a 24" wheel mountain bike, courtesy of Diamondback. Very nice indeed. Heard the kid who won the bike, planned to give it to his younger brother as a birthday present. Gotta love that.

Then add in the free t-shirts, Subway sandwiches, piles of Clif bars, and medals for all racers. Even with the rain and scoring mishaps, a great event. These kid oriented gigs are extremely beneficial in getting more kids riding and racing. A race focused on kids alone, with total beginners encouraged, as well as more experienced young racers.



Later in the afternoon, a downhill race was offered. Sort of an intro to downhilling, since held on the Bootcamp trail - one of the easier XC trails in the park. Kids timed individually for each run (two runs each). Ian was signed up for this, though mentioned a headache and upset stomach after the XC race. Combined with standing around for an hour with soaking wet and muddy race clothes, he couldn't get warm again. Yes, it's June, at least that's what the calendar says.



While waiting in the downhill queue for a run, I could see on his face - not himself. Combined with an aching knee from two awkward clipless pedal tip overs while trying to warm back up, I decided to pull the plug and he agreed - time to head home. He was freezing while I helped him change into dry clothes in the parking lot, he then passed out in the car and slept all the way home - plus an additional hour in the driveway.

Parent instinct wins out over bike interest in this case. I think I made the right call. Want to keep everything as positive and fun as possible. He enjoyed the XC race, no sense sending him off on a downhill run at speed while not feeling well, even though he can rip Bootcamp pretty fast. Live to ride another day.



A deer bids us farewell from Duthie. Don't worry fuzzy one - we'll be back...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bring a Trailer - Throttle Yard



Even though my interest in all things moto has dwindled greatly over the last few years - it's still there - just hibernating until time and money are a little more free (if ever). With globalization and other factors, modern cars have become snap on bodies with shared platforms. I'm exaggerating a bit, but there is some truth to that. I get way more of a kick looking at older, more interesting cars. This site, Bring a Trailer, collects reader submissions of interesting vehicles found on eBay, Craigslist, and other sites. Fun to cruise though occasionally - cool site.




Related site, Throttle Yard, similar deal for motorcycles. Fun to peruse and let the two wheeled imagination wander for awhile. Modern motorcycles are fantastic - insane performance and super reliable. Still, the old stuff is more interesting to gawk at. Interesting designs, concepts, and history. Give it a go.

Cheap 'Cross Barriers




Found this great article on building cheap practice 'cross barriers on the Cyclocross magazine site. Total cost around $15. Can't beat that with a stick. I plan to construct a set for backyard use soon. DIY rules. Click here for article and plans.

Cyclocross magazine - online and print - highly recommended. Has a bit of that homemade feel, in a good way, by folks who truly dig 'cross. Sorta like a 'cross version of Dirt Rag. Well worth checking out. Great mag.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Duthie Hill Anniversary




Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park turned one year old today, complete with official shindig to celebrate the occasion. Ian and I headed over to check out the festivities. We always have a good time at Duthie; then add in vendor booths, demo rides, food, and pile of mountain bike folks. How can you go wrong?

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance hosted this gig, along with numerous vendors. During the '90s I was very involved with this club, while it was known as the Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club, or BBTC for short. Its since evolved with a new generation of people running the show. Cool to see. This now ends the history lesson. Yes, it will be on the final exam.



Ian seems baffled by the vendor selection. Trek and Specialized attended with demo bikes to sample on actual dirt - along with a few other shops with bikes available to fondle. Shimano put their tent up to show off various XTR and other goodies. There was even a taco truck onsite. I sampled a few to keep the energy level up (burp). Good stuff.

Besides the riding and gawking at bikes, running into folks is also a highlight of the day. Talked with former neighbor and Trek rep, Kurt - who now owns the Bicycles West chain of shops - along with old Mackie pal Jim. Really good dudes who'll get you rolling on a new Trek or whatever else you need. Check 'em out. Also ran into Mercedes, who I know from the uBRDO days, who is now a Shimano rep - and always nice to talk with. Mixed in with the bunch, some old school BBTC pals: Art, Lenny and Nick. Been awhile since I've seen 'em. Great folks.

Due to much yappin' and plenty of riding, I didn't demo any new bikes. Ian did check out a Trek Remedy in his size. Nice bike and he got a kick out of it, but the longer travel felt a bit weird to him - this being his first ride ever on a dual suspension rig. He'll stick to his hardtail for now. A shorter travel rig might suit him better - sometime down the road. Always fun to check out new stuff though, especially in a real riding environment.



Ian and I pose for the camera. With upturned helmet and cycling hat askew, little chance of us being Rapha cover material anytime soon. We're also dressed as cross country types in the Land of Freeride/Downhill-O-Plenty. Every culture has its uniform.



Day's activities included mini bike racin'...




...and the Huffy Toss.



Cool old VW bus provides transportation and hipster cred for this shop. The shop is called "Go Huck Yourself", not "Go....well, you get the idea.



Ian sizes up one of the larger jumps. Don't think we'll be attempting this one anytime soon, or possibly ever...



video
More our speed. Ian rolls one of the wooden stunts. This kind of stuff is laced throughout the park - some easy, some tricky - all fun.



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GoPro camera action as Ian tries out one of the pump tracks.



All in all, a fun day out. Duthie has something for everyone. XC trails, flowing bermed runs, wooden stunts, small and completely sick jumps - its all there. We wound up doing 20 dirt miles today, which ain't too shabby, especially for an 11 year old. Kapish?

We'll be back again. No doubt about that.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My My Hey Hey - Devo + Neil Young = Pretty Damn Strange




For no other reason, besides the pure freak show that it is - I proudly present Devo and Neil Young together, circa 1978.

Being both a Devo and a Neil Young fan, I find this combo quite bizarre - yet I can't look away. It's strangely entertaining - like mixing radioactive peanut butter with some kind of hippie chocolate.

"Hey, you got retro futurism art rock on my hippie, Godfather of Grunge guitar rock". Well, something like that. Sorta. Maybe...

I've watched the entire 9 minutes and 46 seconds of it all, a few times now. I'm sick that way.

I now challenge you to watch at least once in its entirety. My my, hey hey.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Singletrack Cruising

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Sunday cruise in our local woods this afternoon, complete with video proof. Family bought me a GoPro camera for Christmas, finally got around to goofing with it today. Ian wanted to wear it first, so here's a glimpse of our neighborhood singletrack, courtesy of view from Ian's noggin. Music courtesy of the Ventures.

We shared the ride today with an old mountain bike pal Craig, and his son David, who just turned 12 today. Ian turns 12 next month. Craig and I actually met on this trails when I lead a BBTC ride 20+ years ago. Craig also met his wife on these very same network of trails years ago during a trail work event.

We both have some long history with these beloved trails. Helped build some of 'em, maintained 'em, fought to keep 'em open, and ridden 'em a few thousand times over the years.

I haven't seen Craig in quite awhile and we ran into each other by chance today. Super cool to now share these trails with our sons. The cycle continues.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hakkalugi Tear Down and Misc Bike Rambling


Spring appears to have finally arrived, was 60+ degrees for the commute home on Friday, complete with actual sun. Can't complain about that. I can complain about getting out of work late and the nice headwind all the way home, but I won't. In the grand scheme of things, all is good.

I have officially broken my commuting slump with at least five 100+ mile commute weeks now. Plus mountain biking on weekends. I'm back in the groove. The Commute Challenge is over and my corporate team, Team Jerckx, did okay. Not as good as previous years, but I really don't care. As long as people had a good time bike commuting - that's what counts.



On the ride home Friday, was caught for a few minutes while the University Bridge opened for boat traffic below. This would make a nice ramp, no? Good luck sticking that jump.



I am just a shadow of my former self.



Even while stuck on a bridge, Seattle scenery rocks.



The warm weather continued today with temps in the 80s. Positively summer like. Yes please. Errand running gig most the day. Complete with nice family lunch at my favorite Mexican place.

My supply of bike shorts has dwindled down to my favorite pair being worn thin enough to display my ass to anyone close enough to draft; to other shorts in the collection that are also barely usable for various reasons. So, thought I'd hit a few local places for replacements.

First stop, REI in Remond - no bib shorts at all. Once you go bibs, there's no turning back. Stop two was Sammamish Valley Cycle - just a few pairs to choose from. Nada for me. Ran into a co-worker there picking up a brand new Cervelo. Sweet. Stop three was Perfomance - nada again for me. The search continues - and probably online.

Took time this afternoon to strip down the Hakkalugi, it being in dire need of replacement parts and totally disabled after ripping the derailleur off a few weeks ago. I plan to have Davidson in Seattle straighten out the mangled derailleur hanger and possibly spread the rear spacing to 130 or 132.5 mm. It's currently spaced at 135 mm, requiring a mountain bike rear hub. 130 would allow road wheels, 132.5 would allow road and/or mountain bike hubs to be used.

After the frame repair, the beloved 'Lugi will require new chainrings, BB, chain, cassette, and rear derailleur. The left STI shifter is also flaky as is the cassette hub. Add in new cables and bar tape. Plus, I moved the tires and pedals over to Ian's 'cross bike a few weeks ago. It almost makes more sense to buy a new 'cross bike and sell the Hakkalugi frame on eBay after the repair. I doubt I'll do that though. It's a super cool frame and I've been riding it since 1997.

I'll need to figure something out, since the old Ibis serves as the rain bike. Plenty of room for fat tires and fenders. Something my other bikes lack and really needed for Northwest commuting.



After the tear down, a bucket of Hakkalugi parts remain. Wheels and fenders not shown.



One reason I've always dug Ibis, is 'cause they're a little twisted. Not in this manner though. Man, that's one warped hanger. Should be repairable. Steel is real....bendable. I hope.



The old Ibis stripped down and clean enough for living room rug. Well, at least when the wife isn't looking...



The Hakkalugi will roll once again. Just takes some time and dough. Ouch.