Back, ouch my back

Back from San Francisco, lots of adventures to report, but in the meantime, I must sleep. Somehow 60 miles of mixed terrain riding on a 20 inch wheeled fixie is easier on the back than sitting on a plane for 4 hours. Thank you southwest and your lumpy lumpy seats.

See photos from the trip slowly being added and labeled on flickr here.


Baby got the bends

Sunday afternoon, ~8000 feet

Monday afternoon, ~zero feet

Oh yeah!


He would have walked...

and even if Jesus rose from the dead and he and all his disciples all drove their individual cars to Easter service, and even if they were running really late and even if the parking lot was really really full, they still would not have parked in the bike lane on Canyon road.

I would like to take some time on this Easter Sunday to congratulate the congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Los Alamos for consistently displaying the worst collective driving of any group in town. It must be difficult to be more hazardous than the high school students, but you reaffirm your vehicular ineptitude every blessed Sunday.

I want to also point out that "God is My Copilot" is a metaphor and you actually have to actively drive your own car, not just rely on the will of the almighty and hearing the tires rub the curb to get around the curve in front of the movie theater. You may not be first in line for the post service latte at Starbucks, but the rest of the town will be grateful for your careful driving and ability to stay within the lane.

Finally if your co-congregants are half blind and well over seventy consider encouraging them to carpool with you to service. Its the neighborly thing to do.





My buddy Kent Peterson has some serious clout. In a matter of weeks he managed to convince some heavy bike blog hitters to all pool together and launch a new group blog called veloquent. I am delighted that Kent invited me to join in on the fun. Judging from the number of hits the new blog has been getting everyone is reading already. If not, surf on over to http://veloquent.blogspot.com/ and check it out. It appears that the content is going to to be ridiculously well written stories about the entire spectrum of cycling, there should be something for everyone.

I am excited to see how things develop. Check it out.


NM Ibob Ride in a few pics and a video

Here is the short pictorial report:

It was along the riogrande

There was dodging of tumbleweeds, some of them car sized

It was windy

click for big video of blasting wind

Tarik, Chad, Ryan, Patrick, Jamie, Tumbleweeds

Goatheads were present and Patrick DOES get flats

It was dusty, Ryan won the dirt mask competition

It was a good ride. Don and his shiny new legolas turned around early on as the "flat easy ride" we had planned was a struggle against the gale wind and dust for the first 15 miles. Sorry Don, maybe next time the ride will be as planned, I hope. Spring in NM is really really windy. The 15 miles back was really fast and fun though. A good time was had by most. I am now exfoliated and my teeth are grit blasted. Good times. The rest of the pictures are here


2008 Pajarito Pinhead Challenge Race Report

Best. Race. Ever.

Well maybe not ever, but man this thing was one silly fun race. Here is the concept. Start at the ski lodge. Ski all the way up, 1200 feet vertical, to the top of the mountain. Next ski down one of the runs back to the lodge.

Making things a bit more complicated, there are two routes up the hill. One is longer, but smoother and more gradual, one is a straight up the slopes.

The idea is that the skate skiers will take the long way up while the backcountry/at/tele skiers will skin/run up the slope. In theory the skaters would be at a huge advantage up the hill, mitigated by the skinners taking the shortcut and further mitigated by the backcountry/tele/at skiers blasting down the slopes while the skaters nearly die. And damned if it did not work out really well.

The mighty pajarito mountain. Race started behind the jump and went way off the photo to the left, over the top and back down way over off the photo on the right side


For you locals, the race started just above the lodge (~9200ft) at the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area in los alamos and then headed south eastish up the access road all the way up to wrap around the back side of the hill and up and over the tip top (10440ft) and then down Rim Run to I DOn't Care to the jeep road back to the lodge. The shorcut was up Dogpatch.

Lots of the terrain and views are similar to the mountainbike bachelors party I had in October. photos here. With, you know, more snow.

Before we get to the race report formally, I just want to make a few things clear. I have been on skis on at a downhill area exactly once in my life in 1993 in vermont. I used to snowboard alot in Tahoe, but have not done that since 1999-2000. I am competent on skate skis on any downhill I have seen in a Nordic area. Pajarito Mountain is a pretty steep ski area. I have never been above 9400 feet at the downhill area when there was snow. You perhaps may understand why the downhill part caused disquietude for many of the skate skiers, including me.

JohnB all happy on his way to victory. Dig that crazy skate!

click for big

There were something like 15-20 skiers on the start line. About 8 skate skiers and the rest on some sort of backcountry/AT/tele gear. Lets call those other people skinners, even if it was not clear that all of them were actually using skins, but they did go up the shortcut.

To temporally distrub the narritive at this point, I want to add that I was asleep at 7:39am in my bed. I got up shortly thereafter and made it, dressed in my ski gear to sign in at 8:40 at the ski lodge. The race was scheduled for 9am start. Well done me. The morning? cold but clear and blessedly free of the accursed spring NM winds.

Ken K stomps along to second place

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So there we are at the starting line and the race starts a bit late. Fellow SWnordic ski team members John and Ken get a great start and me and three other skaters start in the same area. The course starts with a bit of a downhill and then a sweeping right around some trees up to the climbing access road. Ken and John make it fine, but I follow (someLAwoman) on a bad line and we start skittering asunder on the off camber turn. Tom from Santa Fe makes it fine and I start the climb in fifth.

As we start to climb in earnest I feel pretty good and pass tom and (someLAwoman)and settle in just behind John and Ken who are setting the pace up front. The access road is well groomed but got seriously off camber at every crossing of the downhill runs. What started as a minor annoyance got to be very trying as the race progressed.

Skinner 1 (eric?) skins to third

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As we get a large part of the climb done and head toward the first big righthand switchback I find myself starting to blow up a bit. (someLAwoman) passes me right at the switchback and I see John and Ken up ahead starting to put some serious distance between me and them. As we cut back across the hill I can see that, to my surprise, there are two skinners up the mountain on dogpatch ahead of me and two just below me.
Well done fellers...

(someLAwoman)on her way to fifth overall. sorry I forgot her name...


As the climb continues the suffering sets in. No big story to tell here. I am a bit overcooked. I am pretty sure my weight is the sum of the weights of John, Ken and (someLAwoman) and I am feeling every pound of this. Also it is really hard to recover at 10,000 feet when you are cooked. But I soldier on up across various injustices like icy off camber slopes and steep hills. There are some beautiful vistas from this part of the course, but I can't really remember them. I do remember when I did this climb on my single speed in the fall that there were easy parts of the climb. They do not make themselves obvious on skis. I am alternating between a weak V1 a weak coaches skate and some sort of stumbling herringbone run on some parts. Ouch. But yet I continue.

As we wrap around the back of the mountain I can see (someLAwoman) and two of the skinners up ahead. We finally hit a nice fast section before climbing back up to the top of the mountain. As we hit the last flattish bit I blow by the two skinners and find myself firmly in fourth ahead of all the skinners.

JessicaK is taking photos and cheering us on at this point, and taking photos. thanks Jess. So all photographs from the race are from her...

Me with the smile of terror as I know the descent is near. This is the hypoxic-swing-kick-dog-pee skate technique. No I will not teach you.

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I pick up speed and head down the rim run knowing there is the small matter of getting down the hill. We come to the precipice of dooom at the top of the "I Don'tCare" run. I pause and look down. Maybe I pause for a while trying to plot out my path. It is a green run, but pretty steep. Especially for someone like me. I can see (someLAwoman) snowplowing her way down the slope well below me. As I consider my options, skinner #1 blows by me, without pausing and cuts some huge turns. Welp, I guess it is my turn.

I drop in and find I can mostly control myself by doing quick snowplow turns. Until I get to a pretty steep stretch. I fall on my side as I can't quite control my speed well enough and I skid down the steep bit on my hip. A giant lightbulb turns on! It is much faster and safer for me to glissade down the steep bits on my hip than to try to make huge slow switchbacks. So I snow plow a bit, more straight down the slope now that I have a strategy. When I get out of control, I bail onto my side and head straight down the slope on my hip.

While this is a pretty good strategy for me, it is not fast compared to say, everyone else. Skinner number two blows by me while I am bouncing along the slope on my hip. I get up and try to do better, but am stymied by a last steep bit before making a turn onto the jeep road. I slide down on my ass the last few feet to the turn while skinner number three executes a gigantic tele-turn at high speed onto the jeep road. Whooooosh. And he is gone.

I get on the jeep road and go as fast as my frail nerves let me. As I am scrubbing way too much speed, skinner number 4 blows by me in a full tuck. Dammit. I need to point out that skinner 4 was wearing a big ski helmet. Which must have been brutal going up the hill. Well done!

I go faster, but the damage is done. I finish in eighth, behind 3 skaters and 4 skinners. As near as I can remember the finish order is something like:
1. John Bernardin -skate 33minute
2. Ken Kissiel - skate 37 minutes
3. skinner1 (eric?) 39minutes?
4. skinner2 40minutes?
5. (someLAwoman) skate 41 minutes?
6. skinner 3
7. skinner 4
8. Me skate 45 minutes
9 skinner 5
10. Santa fe Tom, skate
11. Skinner6
12. Paul G, skate
??? Myriad Skinners
Tied lanternrouge: JoeB and JohnU skinners ~1:15

There were nice little pajarito mountain logo shirts, mugs, and stickers for prizes. I finished 8th overall, but 6th in the competitive mens 30-45 age group. They were nice enough to give me a sticker for my efforts. The race entry was a big zero dollars so that was nice. Note that JohnB won both this race and the Chama Chile Classic this year. I think that means he won the NM cup convincingly. Well done John.

So overall it was pretty cool. The top two skaters won by a clear margin, I think they were always ahead of skinners, but from 3-8, we traded places on the mountain a bit, which was pretty exciting for a race with 15 odd people in it. The course was well designed and the shortcuts were pretty fair for both the skinners and skaters.

Big thanks to the organizers whose names I never caught. I know there are a ton of skinners in santa fe and taos who should come out for this next year. There are a bunch of skaters in town who should dow it as well. Good race. Suprisingly fast, really hard, and very fun. I lost 6 minutes on the downhill to skinner1. I think I probably could cut this down a bit next year and maybe go a bit faster uphill if I practiced that every now and again. We shall see. If there were alot more skiers it would be that much more fun so come out next year.


Elsewheres on the intertubes

A tour of the inntertubes:

Via JimG who found it via tony P and excellent NYT video on Biking and bike building in portland. It is pretty well done. I agree with Jim on his analysis of the video, mutton chops yea, sweetpea disarming. I will also add, whats with the ginormous chain ring on the bike at minute 2:17 or so. And how about the city council suit that is all pro bike? And is it not lovely that they have relatively few riders wearing a helmet in their video? So deliciously unPC. Finally it was cool to see videos of Tony Pereira's, Natalie SweetPea's and Andy Newlands (strawberry's) shops. Great stuff all around.

Also from the new york times via One speed Brian an excellent video on an insanely huge skateboard ramp in Bob Burnquist's back yard. Sweet. Suck it tow in surfers this is much more betterer. Also doesn't bob resemble the city council suit from the portland video?

Vaguely related (wait for it I will bring it back around) is Kent Peterson's tale of spacing out on his bike and getting a big ticket. Kent is a good writer and a humble fellow and makes subtle points nicely worth a read.

Also relevant, via the enter freekin internet, is the test of awareness from some UK cycle advocacy group that they apparently horked from some dude. It still is pretty effective, take it if you have not.

This all reminds me of last time I spaced out while riding, it was when I was on my skateboard (see it is coming around) and got a ticket myself officially for "skateboarding". I think that was the last time I skateboarded. Maybe sheila is reading and she will sell me her longboard cheap?

Speaking of facial hair (see muttonchops above and sometimes kent has one, related, see?), I am proud to have mine featured as a part of Stevil's excellent mustaches in cycling post on HTATBL. I also belatedly realize that Steve inadvertently reunited me, sgugliag and hurl, three of the four members of the second place winning beeralap stingray relay from Sea Otter circa 2001. I think steve cheated his way to the winning team.

Finally, pretty unrelated, I have a photo essay on crested butte snow cruisers on bicycle fixation. Check it.




My favorite part is the stoker who is either secretly riding a horse or is doing a drag foot moto turn to the left, while the captain is honking out of the saddle.


That upper seatstay bridge boss?

Well thanks to Hasty(!), we now know what the upper seatstay boss is for on the big dummy

click for source.

Ingenious, cantilevers. whodathunkit. I am putting the same canti's on my Kogswell PR as we speak, I thought briefly about running them on the big dummy for fun, but was too lazy to burn through cable and housing just to get my barely part covered frame rolling...

Hasty posts a build list on his blog. Good stuff! Especially the crazy bottom pull deralier contortions in order to run a 52 tooth crankset.

I would say something like "wtf, Campy road triple?", but, uh, his bike is rolling and mine is still weeks away from something other than single speed no brakeville.

In my face. Scoreboard. etc...

Good job Hasty, you done kicked my arse. We will see if me or Sconnyboy mo babo gets the big rig running next, or eventually...

Decisions, decisions

click for big


Chinese snow bikes

My cousin Alison is off in nanjing for a year and it snowed an unusual amount this winter. She took some great pics of the storm including this gem:

click for source

See the rest of her Nanjing snow pics here


Mule Deer in the Yard

In the predawn hours of yesterday morning, I was awakened by Elena mumbling about pachyderms in the yard. I mumbled back that it was just a truck passing, but then I heard it to. The soft landing of a heavy thing in the yard. And then I woke up fully and thought, hot damn, Blog gold!
So for you, dear reader, I went and got the camera and crept around the house in my boxers when it was 17 degrees out to get these pics. I was really hoping for some elk, but alas, just 10-15 mule deer eating frozen apples from the snow. Some of them were bucks, but you could not tell from the photos...

If you don't know what a mule deer is, think about a normal deer with a big butt and really long mule like ears and then you have mule deer.

The rest of the photos of these charmingly reflecty eyed critters are here/


Best use of bar ends in Santa Fe

Seen outside the Borders in Santa Fe.

clickr for flickr

Note the bar ends, the pink "paint" is actually pink tape with white tape highlights. I wish I noticed that when I took the picture, but I had to look at it full size to see what was going on. Nice use of backpack has handlebar bag. I could not see the decaleur but I am sure it is there somewhere.


Populist Bullshit


I hate tax rebates. And the politicians that give them. I have previously advocated buying loads of porn with republic generated rebates and buying guns with democrat generated rebates, but this fails on many levels.

The last rebate I got was from NM governor/VP hopefull Diamond Bill Richardson to the tune of 79 dollars as a tax relief from the high heating oil costs a few years ago. Unfortunately he is a gun toting Dem and buying a rifle from Walmart probably would not effectively punish him, even symbolically. I wrote about it way back in 2005, here.

The current proposed tax refund was passed overwhelmingly by populist vote seekers from all political parties and promises to be even more fiscally irresponsible than the previous 300 dollar one. It is hard to blame a single party for this type of populist vote buying endeavor. It is equally difficult to come up with an effective punishment. I think the responsible thing to do is to put the money in a long term higher interest CD and let it sit there and then send your grandkids to college. Donating to charities is fine as well. Anything to subvert the "increase consumer spending" paradigm.

More along the lines of "sticking to the man" I would like to be able to use it to buy a bicycle so I don't have to use my car, but at my current bike ownership level this is just an exercise in consumption, playing right into their hands. i heartily encourage anyone who has no bike or an inadequate one to use their refund to buy a sturdy commuter and use it for short trips and getting to work.

Along these lines, I would like to invest in some solar panels, but the large refund is probably not large enough to get me over the hump to solar panels I can use to effectively lower my bills. More realistically I can use the money to buy a new more efficient hot water heater which could lower our bills over our lifetime, and, perversely will give us a tax credit next year for buying a energy efficient heater. Perhaps I can look into grey water systems as well so I can irrigate our fruit trees and crops painlessly. A wood stove fits as well, but this may only make sense for people living in high beetle kill tree, low population density areas like NM.

On the devious side, I would like to invest in RJR or some other high return human vice stock, but it irritates me a bit to support the fat cats in this manner. Although the profit jump when supercool president Obama is seen puffing away after a stressful cabinet meeting is hard to pass up. Another good investment would be to buy all copper pennies and horde them as a manner of efficient metal speculation. This, of course, is technically illegal, and difficult as it is hard to get tens of thousands of pre-1982 pennies. But again as a small thorn in the side of the "man" it would be appealing. Take that "the man" I am a penny hoarding populist hater.

Any other thoughts on what you can do with your tax rebate to punish the populists fiscally irresponsible poopheads in washington?