The view from the living room

Taken a few weeks back.

In case you can not make out the critter:

I think it is one of Wink256 larger horned relatives.


2008 Fort Marcy Cross race report

Since little Aida has come along my riding has consisted exclusively of a 6 mile rt jaunt on the Big Dummy to work and back. I was getting a bit jumpy about not riding that much and had an opportunity to run some errands in Santa Fe that neatly coincided with the NM cross series #7 race in Fort Marcy Park, which is a few blocks from the downtown plaza in Santa Fe. I knew I was not in great shape, but I was hoping that my veteran cross wiles would get me through the A race happy and no worse for the wear.

pre race. Luckily the little girl in the back was not in my race or she might have lapped me too

I got down to the race site around 11:30 with a half hour or so to spare. I quickly changed and registered, but due to an unfortunate snafu I spend 15 minutes looking for a restroom that did not exist. Apparently the portojohns were never delivered and the local gyms restroom was not open as planned. Bummer. I climbed down into the arroyo that cut through the park and somewhat stealthily watered some trees. Problem solved but course pre-ride was not completed before race time.

training the night before the race, like 95% of my cross specific training this year

The course was a nice example of public park twisty chicane celebration. Making good use of natural berms, sidewalks and bridges. The first half of the course was something like start, hard left, hard right onto bridge, hard left off bridge down dirt path across another bridge up a loose climb, tricky right onto gradual dirt climb along the road at the edge of the park, short right turn onto a downhill into a series of chicanes through sand and then up a set of stairs. Back down the gradual climb with a loose detour around a truck parked on the course. Hard left back down the park with a loose turn leading to another bridge.

This lead to the second part of the course which started with a hard right off the bridge along some pavement to a 270 wide paved turn to some dirt leading to a hard right up a loose bumpy climb. A 180 at the top of the climb right back down to a loose left and then a dirt gradual climb to a tight left that led to a three long straightaways with a couple of very loose tight 180 turns linking them. After this a sweeping loose right hand descent on to pavement followed by a tight left and short straightaway leading to a final bridge. Hard left off the bridge onto a paved path that surrounded a soccer field with sharp corners with the start/finish at the end.

It was a long fun course with lots of loose stuff and tricky bits. The stairs were the only place where you needed to get off the bike. The course was really narrow, but there were probably only 20 starters or so in the race so it was not a big deal.

looking fast, although reality was quite different

Anyhow, here is the report, I started in the back, yo-yo'd off the back of the pack a bit as I screwed up every technical section in the first half of the course. I passed a three or four people who I think had raced earlier, jumped in the A race for a few laps and dropped out. Then I popped, dropped off the back completely. And then I finished the first lap. I then rode on my own for a number of laps and then started getting lapped. I started riding a bit faster as the lappers came through, taking better lines and enjoying myself, attempting to hold onto wheels.

I did do great on the stairs though, I was able to take them two at a time almost every lap, and look smashing while doing it. The course could have used a second set of barriers or other forced dismount feature, but overall it was really great.

Crossing the start/finish line

I was probably running my tires at too high a pressure and was unable to hold some of the loose lines on the course. It is a delecate balance for me as I ride pretty light, but I do weigh 200 lbs, so no sub 25psi pressures for me. I think I was probably up around 40 on my michelin sprints which was a bit hard and jarring, again, getting there earlier and preriding would have shaken this out a bit. I did end up flatting, but it was a slow leak over the last lap that pretty much held until the last corner where I almost bit it. Goatheads. It did not cost me any places though as it happened over the second half of the last lap and no one lapped me and I was already last. I had some specialized airlock tubes in there, but they are probably the same tubes I have been running since 2003, so they might be a bit light on the sealant now.

After the race I headed over to 2nd st brewing company with my Ski Club buddy John D. and his Nob Hill Bike club teamates for some delicious beer and sammiches. Good time was had by most.

Results over on nmcross.com I took DFL in the A race. Yea me. If you want to get some idea of the course and racers, there are some good photo galleries here and a big one here where I borrowed a couple photos fro

My buddy Glen is the race promoter and I heartily thank him for putting on a race in Santa Fe. In my dotage I am reluctant to drive two hours to albuquerque for a cross race anymore. Glen has lined up the Santa Fe PD to help sponsor the race next year and allegedly they will bring their big barbeque truck, so it should be a can't miss race. Thanks to Glen and the other volunteers for putting on a good race.


Quadzilla Cycle

Click image for source

Found via some sort of non-reproducible link following. Some sort of norway based stolen fashion photo blog, not sure what the deal is or how I got there, but one can not deny the powers of the monster army stoking your quad.


The communist mock olive

After reading about this excellent olive harvest at Cal Tech over on ramshackle solid I thought to my self, well my neighborhood is lousy with Russian Olive trees, I wonder if you can eat the little fruits on these trees?

Turns out you can, thanks Wikipedia! They are not really olives, but they are loaded with lycopene, which is the same stuff in tomatoes that repels werewolves allegedly helps prevent prostate cancer. They were rumored to be tasty after the first frost, according to the internets. Huge bonus as we just had our first frost in the last month or two.

Russian olives are a pesky invasive tree that is planted everywhere around Los Alamos as shade/windbreak, but unlike Chinese Elms which have no known use except for reproducing like mad and being impossible to eradicate, the Russian Olive is kind of edible.

I hopped the fence into my snowbird neighbors yard and picked a bunch of tiny mock olives from the tree. I put a few in my mouth, they were kind of delicious. They were sort of tannin tasting, but had a bit of sweet to them, not too dissimilar to fresh dates that have the skin you should peel, but are too lazy to do so...
They are probably much lower on the desirability scale than any of the bountiful crab apple trees in the neighborhood, but they are edible right off the tree, which makes them more desirable than, say, juniper berries...

Apparently there are much more delicious mock olives from the similarly invasive relative Autumn Olive tree which grows in the east. But these are not terrible, I may raid the neighbors yard some more for some low reward snacking. I am not sure if I can actually get enough flesh off these little pitted fruits to do anything with them, but they are not unpleasant. In fact, I think the more shrively ones are almost tasty! The firm ones are a bit bitter.

So there you have it, the Russian Olive:
Not really olives, somewhat tasty, mostly pits.


And I am back!

Huge thanks to uber guest bloggers Cody and Steve.
Steve (with furry friends and Chad):

Cody (with the mostly rev)

Please go visit their blogs and subscribe to Cody's zine if you like things like that, kind of a better drawn more interesting moonlight chronicles if you will...

Anyhoo, blogging shall return regular like if a bit slower due to difficulty of typing while holding the baby.

Ill advised cross race report, adventures in facial hair, and tales of hunting and gathering the high altitude mock olive to come this week!


Gratuitous Kitty Cute

I had planned on doing a post on our local Bike Library, but I suddenly realized there has been a tremendous lack of cat around here. Enjoy Maru... perhaps the Japan counterpart of the beloved Wink.

Thanks to John L. for the hot tip!


Moscaline Exclusive Race Report: Iowa State CX Championship

Last Saturday I raced cyclocross. I like to say that cross is my favorite kind of racing and it is true, but I had not done a cross race in almost two years.
I rode my single speed townie, shown here from its brief appearance in the Sanford & Son reunion episode. Fuji Del Rey with Kinesis fork. I took off the fenders for the race as they flop into the wheels, and the bottle cage too, and I put on knobby tires and clipless pedals. Other than that it was stock, complete with bell and rack and geared 40X18.

I did the single speed category. There were 11 of us, plus 3 juniors out there at the same time. It is sometimes not too tough to get a top 10 or 5 finish here in Iowa! The race split up at the first barrier, and a group of 5 of us rolled away. Lee V attacked us right quick in his usual fashion but after I called after him to not be that way in my usual fashion he came back and got dropped. I was feeling great about being in the top 4 and we all yucked it up a bit on the first lap before things got serious. I figured I should hang onto the leaders as long as I could so I did. Turns out I had about 2 laps in me.

It was a beautiful day and a fun course to ride with very dry grass and lots of 180's and 2 barrier sections, one with a short run up and the other in the pancake flat area so you would hit them at speed. A couple of hopable logs and no sand section led everyone to agree it was a "roadie" course. Yay said me, I'm a roadie!
So there I am 2 laps into a 35 minute state championship cyclocross race and just off the back of the leaders with 3 laps to go and that is how I later finished. Fourth place, no medal for me but I was happy with my ride. It was not easy, Lee V hung tough behind me and I had to ride as hard as I could for a while to hold him off. It made me gasp for breath and get all wheezy.

Before I had even crossed the finish line I had decided I would not ride the Masters 35+ later. This feeling was cemented after finishing as I inspected my rear wheel. It had developed quite a hop sometime during my last lap and I feared my rim had gotten tweaked but it was just my tire blowing off the rim in super slo-mo. A three or four inch section of bead was up on the rim and I quickly let out pressure and pushed it back on, glad it had not let loose during the race.

I rolled around for a bit and talked with folks and somehow or other found myself registered for the Masters race. I have no good excuse or explanation for this other than I made a promise to blog for Tarik and I felt my first race had left me with a lack of suitable material and nary a nugget of blog gold.

The Masters 35+ and 45+ went together and the field was about 25 riders. I was still on the townie, my "real" cross bike was left home, but I had worked on the rear tire a bit and felt it was sound enough. Off we went, a much more rampaging start than the single speed race and the first barriers had me mid pack. The course was narrow and twisty for a bit so I sat in and waited for the first wide open climb to make my "move" and when I did I passed 2 or 3 people and that was it. For the rest of the race I was 15 seconds behind one rider and maybe 10 seconds in front of two more. I concentrated on riding strongly and steadily and smoothly and alonely.

I was hurting much less in this race, either because my taper was working to perfection or because of my sensible warm up race or because I was riding slower. Who knows. With just half a lap to go and a top ten finish locked up my rear wheel got that familiar hopping feeling and I thought, "Shit - A Blowout!" What to do? I could stop and let a smidge of air out and get the bead back on but I would likely be caught or I could ride it and hope for the best and likely be caught. I rode it and just a quarter of a lap later the tire blew off the rim.

I am a firm believer in the NEVER WALK mantra which is especially silly in a cross race and I have ridden flat tires great distances in the past so I was not worried and I kept on with the now floppy tire rubbing on the chainstay and I almost biffed it in a corner so I slowed way down, rode it in safely, lost them two places and got 11th. Not the stuff of blog gold, but sometimes life's most mundane moments are the most precious and are more valuable than gold.

Ha-Ha, I can't believe I wrote that. Glad this isn't my blog!

So there you have it, my cross season open and closed in just one day. Unless?


My Hauling Spectrum

My primary interest in bicycles is getting work done, whether it be getting somewhere or hauling stuff or both. While I fancy stripped down bikes I myself can't stand relying upon a backpack or, worse, a messenger bag to carry my things, and I rarely ever ride without some manner of personal effects.

For most conventional daily loads I use the Wald 137 basket on my SS townie, which is a racy Viner and only partially practical for townie use, as can be noted with the extreeemely tight clearance. A trip up to northern Wisconsin back in September effectively destroyed what was left of that old Bluemel fender on the rear, since I had made the dastardly mistake of lashing the Viner to the outside of the vehicle. But! This is a post about cargo hauling, not moisture protection.

On my 1x5, heart-breakingly faithful Puch Marco Polo (it will wait for hours for me in the rain &/or snow), I use the stylishly simple Wald rear rack, which most often has a pannier hooked to it. This lovely outfit will soon see the likes of an Ira Ryan fork and porteur rack. Any day now...

Okay, on to more serious business. For the bulkier & heavier loads I pull out my cargo bike (I realize this not an agreed-upon term but I use it nonetheless). Yesterday I took yet another load of artmaking magic from home to the studio, coffee included. This bike was built in Iowa City, IA by my friend, Chrispi. He's not a full-time framebuilder, but he has made several of these. It does look a lot like a Bilenky Cargo Bike (thanks, Alex), with some fundamental differences. The perfectly perpendicular head tube puts the handlebars over the basket area, which can be troublesome with an especially beefy load, but I've learned to look for steering issues before I start rolling. I tend to do pretty okay with a Greenfield rear kickstand, but I sure do like the looks of the Bilenky stand. No gettin' nervous turning your back on that.

For loads that are too long or heavy or out of control for the cargo bike, I resort to the Bikes at Work trailer, which I borrow from the Bike Library. Currently, gpickle & I do not own one of these ourselves, but being long-standing volunteers down at the BL, we get the perk of using either of the two trailers housed there.

I'm not a bike racer nor am I even much of a recreational rider, but I manage to ride most every day for utilitarian purposes. Give me a pile of crap to get across town and I'll pedal with glee, even if I'm grunting up a hill.