Joshua Trees is so weird

They is I says.

Here is Elena looking at the biggest joshua tree in the whole world. Or at least close to it. Allegedly 40 feet high and 300 plus years old. It was a pretty cool place to visit:

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The teddy bear cholla garden was also spectacularly odd

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We are back from a california trip that put us in Santa Barbara, LA and Palm Springs over the course of six days. Blogging shall resume semiregularly, with bicycle content, I swear!

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Practicing for later

Got some new spectacles and I am not quite sold on them yet. Perhaps a mustache would help?

Stay tuned for developments. Speaking of mustaches, please see this spectacular blog, Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century

And some favorites in the spectacle and mustache department here and here.


Bicycle crashing

Give the people what they want I always say. I get about 10 hits a day since cross nats looking for video of Ryan Trebon crashing at Nats. I think most people find my mefarm v treefarm video lacking a bit. So here you go, a video of Ryan "treefarm" Trebon getting clotheslined by a rider who looses it and crosses the tape:

He is OK already and in europe getting ready to fight the belgian overlords in races leading up to worlds. Pretty nasty.

Speaking of nasty, check out this track race where 13 of 17 racers bite it on the track. I could watch this over and over again. Everyone was OK more or less. Junior Race in australia:

Note they interview three separate aussie pros in the nightly news broadcast. Awesome.


Plant poles OUTSIDE skiis please

Hmmm maybe new poles for christmas this year?

Otherwise a great day skiing up here on the Los Alamos XC ski trails. 2" of fresh powder on groomed trails in the woods and a great job by ken on the meadow grooming.

More pics from the day here


Flying Pigeons in NYC

Thanks to Marrock and several other commenters for pointing out you can now get Flying Pigeons Bikes in the US. Specifically NY at flying pigeon NYC. They sell em for $350 for basic black versions and up for some wacky colors. Both single and double top tube mens bikes and a women's bike as well. They will ship in the US for about $75.

They also have a blog showing pics of their bikes throughout NYC.

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If you live in england, a commenter pointed out that Flying Pigeons may be imported to England, rumors here mid page or lower....


The foreign chair

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Wink256 inspects the new chair. Laboriously wrapped in indonesia using twine and small lengths of cardboard, the was shipped around the world and not unwrapped until we got it. I was hoping to find a dessicated lizard or a batwing or some other artifact of the original country tucked in the packaging, but no luck.


Watermelon hauling

In the giant carrefour (french walmart) in Denpasar in Bali. The mighty watermelon hauling machine. The fruits in bali were pretty crazy. Dragon fruit, snakeskin fruit and rambutan were quite odd, I had never seen any of them fresh before. Great stuff.

Snake skin fruit and Rambutans in the market in Denpasar:

Weird rubbery snakeskin fruit:

Rambutan, like a spikey lichee, jellylicious


Tropical Chopper

Innocent balinese children corrupted by the seductive power of the chopper.
I blame megulon-5 for this.

Damn you megulon-5, damn you!


First real snow ride of 2007-2008

All that pesky rain has finally turned to snow. A steady snow all day dropped 4" in town and untold millions at higher elevation. A slightly muddy morning commute gave way to a full on blinding blizzard evening commute. So good!

Speaking of snow sports, if you like cross country skiing, we have a pretty active club in Los Alamos with some great groomed trails. I have encouraged the club to start blogging as a way to easily distribute ski conditions, race reports and the like. I think it is finally getting going. See the world of los alamos cross country skiing at the South West Nordic Ski Club Blog. Go team!


Bday trench jockey

We have had a couple of big storms roll up out of the south bringing lots of moisture. The hoped for cold fronts from the north never materialized resulting in a couple of inches rain and very little snow. The first rainstorm melted 6" of snow on top of the 1" of rain and helped funnel water into the basement. The second strom friday night had me out in the wee hours of my birthday digging trenches by flashlight to keep the water away from the house. We need some guttering I think. But the trenches worked pretty well.

In the teeth of the storm with two little trenches in the background.

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egads, it works!

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the ancient rake (1 dollar at a garage sale) that I dug the trenches with after snapping the head off of the hoe

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Well earned birthday breakfast of a bacon-green breakfast burrito, with a cup of espresso and another burrito waiting in reserve. Yum!

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It appears that the cold front has come in and maybe some more snow on the way.


Canggu Beach Biking

The resort we stayed at in Bali was right on cangu beach. It was not really a swimmable beach with shore rocks and coral, but there was a nice reef break about a quarter mile off shore. There also was a school right on the beach, so there were children of all ages on the beach; fooling around, swimming, taking their lunch breaks and after school sports training. These kids were doing an admirable job riding on the soft beach with their bikes:

Me on some rocks at the beach:


Ice biking bali style!

Outside the huge market in Denpasar, Bali was this bike just sitting there with a huge block of ice on the rack. I am not sure if it was for delivery or if it was there to take shavings off of so you could get some ice to pack your goods in. No one was around. Complete lack of brakes indicates that it was probably just an ice stand, but I have seen stranger things...

Also seen was this nice moped mounted coffee hut. I saw a bunch of bikes with little boxes on the back like this, but I was not quite fast enough with the camera for bicycle ones. Note the sheer volume of mopeds. The streets were overrun.


Wheeled rice bags

Amongst the mopeds I spotted this feller wheeling his bags on his bike. Probably rice. As you might be able to tell from the background, there are rice paddies everywhere in Bali, and often they are for sale, so people can build vacation villas. For once, this is mostly not the Americans fault. It is just too damn far. Thank you Australians!


Good cats bad cats

Oh such good little sunseekers!

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Bad cats, get in your cages!

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This is where my cross race report was supposed to go, but a few hours of trail work on saturday morning, plus a number of hours cleaning up a flood in the bike dungeon saturday night made driving to ABQ not so appealing. Dammit. We got 1" of rain on friday night to saturday morning instead of the generous snowfall advertised by the mendacious weatherfolk. This revealed weaknesses in our home design. No cross racing, so you get kitties instead.

Bali Biking

I think I have exhausted the bikes from singapore part of the trip, now on to bali.

Bali was once a dutch colony, hence there were a fair number of these old dutch bikes floating around here and there. I think this is pretty similar to this dutch bike I saw in italy. Bali is almost completely given over to mopeds, but there were some intrepid cyclists, mostly older people and kids. Again the cheap walmart crappy mountainbike was the main bike, but there were a few gems which I will share with you over the next few weeks.


Paper wrapped trishaw

I finally tagged and descripted all the honey moon photos on flickr, go here if you are bored

Some sort of art bike sitting in the lobby of our hotel in singapore. I have read about the trishaws in singapore, but never saw one in action, or at least a non icecream hawker trishaw. This was was pretty interesting.

Interesting rear hub and gear ratio, I suspect that is a really big drum brake, or maybe a 1950's rohloff prototype:

Nice fork crown amidst the paper art crap:


Super setback custom post

Damn, no wonder my knees hurt.

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This is even more custom than last time.

So, uh, does thompson make a 13/16" seatpost?


Tijeras Moonlight Cross Race Report

I have thus far avoided riding cross this year due to a combination of sickness, wedding prep, wedding and honeymoon. But the NM cross scene keeps growing in leaps and bounds and the variety of races seem to be thinking outside the fast grass track roadie festivals. So how could I resist driving down to Tijeras (just east of albuquerque on I40) for a night time cross race under a full moon with generators powered lights filling in the gaps. The prospect of racing on snow and muck was hard to resist as well.

Chad all crossed up on the run up

By the time we got over to the race course, at about 5:40, it was cooooold and dark and the moon had peeked over the mountains. I am going to guess it was 25F or so with a bit of a wind. I ended up putting all the clothes I had on, Elena and I grabbed some cowbells and cheered on the B race. I am really proud of my buddy Chad, who came out to race his first cross race ever on perhaps the least beginner friendly course and conditions ever. I am also really impressed with Elena and Jill for cheering in the intense cold. Well done.

Chad and Jill post race

The course had a nice mix of grassy chicanes (two sections), a single trackclimb and off camber descent, a long paved section and one triple barrier, a icy slushy wooden bridge of potential death and under it, a nasty creek crossing frozen slippery run up. It was pretty technical, made a bit more so by the frozen ground, snow covering and ambient moonlight on the single track section.

Start of the A race

After spending a few laps watching the B race and cheering for chad, I went through the long and laborious process of figuring out what to wear for the race. I decided on a insulated cycling cap, wool tank top with two long sleeve wool jerseys, bib shorts, wool knee warmers and wool ski socks. I also wore my super warm commuter gloves so I could keep my hands from going numb. I warmed up a bit with a trainer on and was cold. Really cold. I was kind of sure that the race would keep me warm, but not positive. Brrrr. The B race ended, I hit the course for a couple warm up laps and was pretty happy with how I felt. The snow, power sections and run up suited me well, but the long pavement section was half downhill which was problematic.

Patented flailing duck technique on the run up

Now it was time for the A race. About 20 or so of us lined up at the start, shivering and shedding layers. Race Director Jamie Ryan White, resplendent in a Loyal Order of Water Buffalo Hat, gave the pre race direction and offered a $200 first lap prime. The race started too soon and off we went. Apparently cross wunderkid Taylor Layne nearly killed himself on the first lap coming onto the icy bridge of death too hot. $200 prime will done that to you. Thankfully there was no hope for me to even be anywhere near the front at one lap, so I could avoid crashing on the sketchy slush death bridge at my leisure.

Crossing the slushy death bridge under the full moon

I had a really good start for once and held a pretty decent postion through the first lap. Then I actually moved up 4 positions or so through the second and third lap. I felt like I was powering through the grass well, making up a ton of time on the barriers and run up and the single track section. I was even holding on pretty well on the paved section. I was not really cold either. My face was a bit cold and my toes as well, but otherwise I was feeling good.

Not as slick as it looked, hardly any snow/ice/mud buildup on the bike

I was running a 36x17 gear on the single speed and it seemed pretty good given what shape I was in. A little warmer or a bit more training and the 36x15 would have been the ticket so I could keep up better on the paved part. The singletrack section was kind of nice. There was a big berm speedbump at the start of the climb, a brief powerclimb and then a really fun snow covered off cambered descent which looked like a ribbon of silver lit by the moon. This transitioned into a somewhat sketchy steep short downhill then a hard right onto pavement. Everytime I let it go on the downhill I came close to loosing my front wheel at the bottom, so I decided to err on caution side as I was in no danger of contesting for anything.

Thankfully no wet feet

Around lap 3 or 4, it all started going wrong and the complete lack of training, hard efforts and racing caught up with me. My back started seizing on the running parts. I slipped a few times on the run up exacerbating things (note to self, replace toe spikes on shoes), my power in the grass dropped to zero and I was getting dropped badly on the pavement. I lost 30 seconds on the barriers at this time when I had my worst remount in the last decade. I almost missed the saddle completely. Missed my pedal. Came to a complete stop. blindly tried to clip in a few times, finally dismounted again, ran to the pavement and then remounted. Crap. To make matters worse, as soon as it was going wrong, I got a verbal "9 laps to go" as I crossed the start finish line. crap. Long night ahead.

My complete superfan support club, Elena

At this point I changed my race strategy a bit. Instead of powering through everything, I concentrated really hard on not using my brakes ever in the chicanes. Instead of attacking the barriers and run ups, I tried to be smooth and non back jarring. This worked pretty well, but I was not really going that fast. As the race progressed I loosened up a bit and put the power on, but by then it was merely damage control time. The bottom line was that 4 people passed me and two people lapped me between lap 3 and the end of the race. Usually I am able to pass people as they fade in the second half of the race, but I was going completely backwards this time. I think I finished last of the finishers, but it was hard to tell. Attrition was pretty high. I assume results will be here eventually. I won ten bucks for finishing. Thanks pals!

Pretty long video of me smoothly and slowly getting up the run up with a minimum of slipping, 18MB quicktime:

After the race, I changed, got some delicious veggie chili and hot cider provided by the organizers. Then I realized how very cold I was, so Elena and I boogered off and met chad and jill at the flying star for coffee, cookies and a breakfast burrito as big as my head. It took about an hour after the race to stop shivering. We then bid our adieus to albuquerque and made the long drive home, arriving just after midnight to a 10 degree F los alamos.

So very cold post race

All told it was a great race. My lack of form was starkly revealed by this race, but given that starting condition I am pretty happy with the race. It was an excellent course, well organized race and overall, now that I am warm, a complete blast. Big thanks to khsnm for putting this race on. Big thanks to any and all spectators out there too. It was a pretty rough day for racing, but a really rough day for standing around in the snow.

Race Photo set on Flickr


6" of wet and clumpy goodness

Thanksgiving closed with spitting snow and the day after opened with a few inches of kitty perturbing white stuff.

Radium is oh so perturbed

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By afternoon there was 6" of barely skiable snow on the golf course. Wet and grabby, oh so clumpy. Yay! Skiing.

Me modeling the new SWNSC hat out at the edge of one of the greens at the Los Alamos Golf Course, 11/23/2007

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Phoenix Airport Carpet Redux

I went to LA last week and instead of having some time to go running on the beach or biking around with friends as planned I got trapped in 12 hours of airport hell on the way out and in existential airport hell on the way back.

The only high point of the trip was an unexpected visit to my favorite carpet in the whole world in Phoenix. I blogged this before, but this time I noticed, thanks to the setting sun, that the carpet is exquisitely textured.

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Here is what it looks like from above:

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Wink256 is no lover, he is a fierce fighter. But not so good at it, he mostly gets his ass kicked by the orange tomcat in the neighborhood. For the second time in a the last few months, he got a big fight induced abscesses that burst and required vet visits. Last time on his chest, this time, a huge one that wrapped around his neck. Requiring anesthesia, stitching, an inserted drain tube and one of those elizabethan collars. The collar did not last long, but he kind of looks like his head was badly stitched on after an unfortunate decapitation.

Below, see the poodle leg he has from where they inserted an IV during surgery. If you click the image you get the grim view of frankenkitty. Not too gross, but not real pleasant either:

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Wink256 is hereby banned from the outdoors for a few months. Fortunately for him, the snow and cold is imminent and the outside is not going to be all that fun for the kitties anyway.

He is now beyond the need for the painkillers, the tube is out and he is merely on antibiotics. He is much better but it seems he has regressed in to needy kittenhood. Hopefully after some more days of recovery he will be back to his power eating self.

no biking!

Nice carved and painted no biking sign there in the botannical gardens in singapore. I am thinking it really is a "no artistic cycling sign" as you know those circus freaks are the enemy of the very order the government in Singapore is attempting to impose.


Ice cream sammich hawkers

Day three of singapore/bali bike of the day.

They had these great ice cream hawker bikes all over Orchard Road in Singapore.

I had to try some so I picked this guy:

Red bean icecream cut from a big block with a knife, then wrapped in a piece of white bread that is dyed with green and pink food coloring. oooof. I could not even begin to finish it it was so gross. Should have chosen (likely artificial) durian flavor.

It seemed possible that all the other people who were in line in front of me got theirs in a little crepe or waffle thingy, but he kept shouting bread at me, and I was helpless but to agree. I felt cheated, but it was pretty low grade ice cream, and frankly ice cream in a crepe is not as bloggable so I am over it.