Sunday, February 25, 2007

Two Tickets To Paradise

Saying you went out and rode "Paradise Loop" in San Francisco is apparently about as cool as saying you went out and rode The Minuteman Bike Path in Boston. But ya know what? For a guy who's been suffering through a Boston winter for a few months it is frickin' AWESOME and I highly recommend it for an easy ride (relative term in Northern CA) out of the city. Not much to report here, I already said "I went out and rode Paradise Loop" didn't I? Riding over the Golden Gate bridge is always fun, dodging tourists with digital video cameras and sketchy folks on renta-bikes who seem to succumb to your gravitational pull as you approach them, veering right into your path.
The ride itself is rolling and twisty and turny and on the day we happened to do it the weather was optimal, I even began some jersey tan lines (we'll see if they're still around after another month or so of east coast riding). Hey wait a sec...if Paradise is so spent how come we saw Mr. Marin biking guy Gary Fisher out riding it huh? He could be riding anywhere, he knows all the sweet stashes both on and off road, he could be riding in frickin' Italy if he wanted but no, he was out on Paradise, that's right Paradise.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

California (All The Way)

Now I'm getting caught up, much easier to write about things that are happening now(ish), it's not physically easier seeing as I have a crazy dog nudging my left arm looking for some love while I type. That wasn't a failed metaphor, I meant it literally, I'm dog-sitting, thanks. I arrived in California last thursday, the day after that nasty ice storm in Boston. I nearly (two minutes nearly) missed my flight, my bike didn't even make it onto my plane, it had to come on a later flight...frickin' pain in the arse. I was nearly two hours early despite the fact that I had to scrape an inch of solid ice off the car windshield and bust the car out of a block of ice melt about four inches thick, without the AWD I would have been F'ED. Nice send off Boston. My first day in San Francisco was a bust due to the trip back to the airport, by the way if you ever want to steal a bike the delayed baggage area of the airport is a great place to do it. I arrived back at SFO to gather my errant bicycle to find it locked to a wall, daisy chained to several baby seats and carriages, Cellos, and various other items. I looked for help, found it, or so I thought, four United employees proceeded to ignore me until I became fed up, went over to the delayed baggage area, clicked open the Fastex strap which the cable was locked through, and walked away with my bike, hell I should have taken a baby carriage as well (then pushed it in front of an airport shuttle while yelling "I'll give ya something to cry about!").

My second day in town was wicked, about 75 degrees and sunny. I headed out for a little spin around town, rode through Goldengate park (where a Tourist insisted on taking my photo with the mini-Buffalo), along Ocean Beach, up The Cliffs, through The Presidio, down Embarcadero, just spinning out the legs, and visiting some of my peeps.
Oh, the leg photo, just wanted to show how god damned white my legs are, I even wrote a song about it..."White Thighs" to the tune of Grandmaster Flash's "White Lines". "Get whiter baby...whiter baby...don't ever get tan!".

Snowride, take it easy

The "off-season" hasn't been a total wash, I got out for a few off road rides in The Fells.
Did a nightride pre-snow with Jeff and Andy and Bronte the dog. Despite the fact that I've lived in the vicinity of Somerville for the better part of a decade I have only been on a half dozen or so night rides in The Fells so there the novelty has yet to wear off. The truth is some seasons the only night riding I do is during the six or seven laps of a 24 Hour race, madness, O.K. , maybe not madness, but silliness at the very least.

Two weekends in a row after the snow fell I went out with some IBC riders, just C. Todd and Rachel Brown the first week, then a crew of six the next week. The first time out the snowcover worked like velcro, actually making riding easier, you stuck to everything.

The next weeked there was a bit less cover and more ice, but still fun and mostly rideable. It was all fun and games until C.. Todd nearly lost an eyeball, he washed out on some ice (ya, it was frozen stream) and fell inot a briar patch. It was a bit scary right afterward as he announced that he was blind in his left eye, yikes. He split off early and by the time I got home he had emailed out a photo of his shredded contact lense.
Just after that ride I dimantled my single speed (which at the monent is my only MTB ride) and ordered a Fisher Rig 29er Single Speed, I'm hoping it will arrive shortly after I return from CA so I can get back out on the trails.

Snow Blind

So I'm playing catch up here, not sure when I took these photos...hmm maybe during that one snow storm we had? Perhaps, I have no concept of time. Pretty much turned to total crap shortly after I took these. I did get out for a few fixy rides on the pink 'cross bike, still rockin' the knobbies. It's nice you push hard and still go really, really slow, not so much with the wind-chill that way. Chris McQueen came out on a few spins/grinds with me, dragged me around with his bigger gear and non-knobby tires, quite the beatdown. The hardest day was riding up the Minuteman Path as the snow became incrementally deeper until it was about four inches in Bedford and I was no longer happily crunching along at 15+ miles per hour, I was zigging and zagging, grinding my gear over.
For some reason I chose to ride all the way to Concord on the Minuteman extension (the offroad bit). I opted not to take the Battleroad home that day, brutal. The only thing that got me through a couple of these torture-fests was the promise of a half cocoa/ half coffee at Dunkin' Donuts in Lexington and a single jelly filled Munchkin (you should try them, they don't even have a PLU for ONE Munchkin so they probably won't charge you, yeah!).

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Brief Synopsis

So as you may have noticed I haven't updated this frickin' thing in about two months now. I took a complete month off the bike,
commuting to work maybe three times before being laid off and since when I started the blog I promised myself that it would remain almost entirely bike related I haven't had much to post about. I suppose I could have written about my struggle to learn how to play guitar or my adventures in Mannying for my sister's kids but I thought I'd spare ya. I mean there are blogs on any banal subject under the sun, even knitting for chrissakes
Knitting Curmudgeon
but this is a blog about bikes, biking, and bike racing in particular. Hell, I wouldn't read a blog about knitting or some loser learning how to play guitar or baby sit for a couple kids so I wouldn't expect you to.

Basically the only riding I did during the first half of january were a couple sunday AM brunch rides. The photos are from one of those. Remember when it was still fall even as we hit the middle of winter? Those were the days.
It was some fun stuff though, no real efforts, just playing around on the bike like a kid, trying to get hurt at least once a ride to prove I was pushing my skill limits. I've got nothing on Matt O'keefe, watching him pilot the Seven tandem with drop bars through the stickiest of sections was a sight to be seen. Mostly just rode The Fells, I used to hit that place just about every day but now I go there so infrequently it's kind of a treat revisiting some of my old spots.
I've got a couple good posts coming up...
stuff from The Tour De CA, night rides in Marin County, and more, so check back soon alright.