Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bike Commute Stalled - Rock Commences

All kind of quiet on the blog front, been pretty swamped at work and home.  Started a new job this week - same company, different area - so lots of head filling with new knowledge and faces.  Changing things up occasionally is a good thing and the extra dough is much needed.

Bike commuting has totally fallen off the map, new job also means different building, now deeper into downtown Seattle.  Bike pal at work showed me the bike rooms and other logistics a few days ago.  Will get my commuting story configured out soon, driving daily is too expensive and a total waste of time.

There is a bright side however, been hitting the local trails on the mountain bike after work.  The long June days much appreciated, light almost until 10:00 PM, as long as the cloudy Northwest scenario stays away.

With that - a little rock to end this post, courtesy of a pal's band practice session.  I dig what they're doing, video as proof (not shot by me), it builds nicely at the end.  Give it a go.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

24 Solo - DVD Review

This film was released in 2007 and I picked up the DVD a few years ago, and have watched it a few times since.  Been awhile since I fired it up, so did so last night, partly in celebration of competing in my first ever 24 hour gig a few weekends ago.  Of course that was a team deal, not slogging though 24 hours alone.  Watching the solo competitors during my race also sparked me to watch 24 Solo once again.  Anyone who races a 24 hour event solo is pretty hardcore.  The folks in this film are the top end of those folks.  Hardcore indeed.

The film follows Chris Eatough - pronounced "Eat-Off", as mentioned during a running gag thoughout the film - in a quest for his 7th consecutive 24 hour world title.  Eatough is sort of the Lance Armstrong of the 24 hour racing world.  Film documents the 2006 race that took place in Georgia, I think on the same course as the Olympic mountain bike event (don't quote me on that).  Eatough is the favorite to win, and the film shows him training and during a few other events, along with his support crew.  They all seem to be super cool, normal, and hardworking folks. Besides earning a paycheck doing something most people can't even comprehend.

The title deciding race turns out to be pretty dramatic, with it all coming down to very end, Australian dude Craig Gordon literally riding himself into the hospital for the win.  Sorry to ruin the ending, but hey, this film is four years old now.  Watching Gordon and Eatough battle in the early hours of the race is impressive, looking like a world cup XC event, not a 24 hour race.  Watching Gordon's body shutting down on the last lap is scary and amazing that you can even push yourself that far.  Wound up on dialysis after the race, his blood somehow poisoned via protein released during the intense effort.  Crazy town.  No thanks.

Another thing that struck me, is how crushed Eatough and crew are by coming in second place.  You can see how driven to succeed and having bagged six in a row, probably expected to win.  In the end though, comes across as the complete gentleman sportsman - no excuses - and later thinks this may have been his most important race, since he did lose.

This is a well done film, cool photography included.  With the countless downhill/freeride oriented films out there, having a film that focuses on XC racing is fantastic - especially for the old school XC fan like me.  A great film and worth picking up the DVD.  Give it a go.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Memorized Zen

Hit the local woods for a quick spin after work, official iPhone shot as photographic proof.  I'm a damn lucky boy to have fun singletrack ridable from the house.  Sure, I've been riding the same trails for 23 years now - though they've morphed and changed over time - but I'm still not sick of 'em.  Different seasons, fitness levels, direction traveled, various bikes, riding pals, solo cruising, and moods - make 'em new at times - over and over.

Some rides I hit completely stupid lines on purpose, or try to wheelie between corners.  Other rides I'm on auto-pilot, cruising memorized singletrack at speed while daydreaming, creating sort of a Zen experience.  Sometimes while falling asleep, I mentally cruise through my usual loop, as if riding.  Strange, eh?

Thousands of rides on these trails imprinted in my defective brain.  I'm a damn lucky boy.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Eat, Sleep, Ride - Book Review

Paul Howard, sports writer from London, becomes fascinated with the Tour Divide - mountain bike race from Canada to New Mexico - a few thousand miles of unsupported riding.  Quite the long distance racing adventure, no?

Oh yeah, Mr. Howard signed on with no mountain biking experience.  Six months later, finds himself in Canada at the start line.  Gotta dig that kind of go for it attitude.

Most riding/adventure books in this format get old quick.  "We rode, ate, then slept".  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Not this book. With his witty and interesting view on the United States, from a Englishman's perspective, made for some fun reading.  Being a mountain biker to appreciate the stories helps, but is not required.

Anyone with a taste for adventure would enjoy this book.  The Tour Divide sounds like an amazing event. Experience it via some well written words and view from basically a mountain bike beginner. Does he succeed? Read and find out.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bus Documentary

Interesting trailer for what appears to be a cool documentary, celebrating the iconic Volkswagen bus.  One of the most recognizable vehicles ever built.  No doubt.

I've always dug VW buses, old and later model versions, but never owned one.  I did own a '68 Bug and '73 Thing many years ago, and was into the air cooled VW shtick for awhile.  I still dig that stuff and occasionally flip through VW magazines, cruise related sites, and search eBay and Craigslist.  Mostly for the entertainment value.

While searching for a used vehicle about two years ago, considered finally owning a VW bus and test drove a few.  Clean examples go for loopy prices, especially the camper version.  Earlier versions are also amazingly slow and crude, compared to modern rigs - but that's part of their charm.

I'd really like a '60s - '70s era bus to modify.  Lowered, fatter wheels and tires, disk brake kit, modified motor - tons of aftermarket items available.  Would drive much better then stock and still look retro cool.  Even has room for bikes.  Maybe someday...