Sunday, December 28, 2008

Klick Jr.


Rode what I call the Klick Jr. yesterday (Jones Valley up to the lake /trail to the boat launch parking lot and back to J.V.) with my brother. Just a nice little hour of spinnin'and a grinnin'. I put on my big old 2.1 vertical blackwall knobbies and it feels like a pair of sturdy hiking boots compared to the old thread bare 1.75 folding tires that were on .

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Walk in the park!

Well, I went out to Turtle Bay for some re-con with Noel for next weekend's CX. He promises to to give us all a break from the punishing run-up sections that he seems to love to throw at us. Here is a photo of the proposed start/finish area, Good Luck!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

In the town where I was born...

MERRY CHRISTMAS 1960 AND BEYOND

I am haunted by the memory of my grandfather Charles (my mom's dad) playing a banjo and singing a song called "The Laughing Cowboy!" The shear volume of the man and his banjo was frightening enough, but as the song reached it's chorus (wherein he launched into maniacal, rhythmic, howling laughter) the thing turned terrifying! Especially the night he sang it and from out of his honking yapper leapt his dentures, which landed at my four year old feet! I distinctly remember thinking, OH my God, my grandfather is going to die! Well, thankfully he didn't and in-fact, he stayed around long enough to colour my life with his talents well into my young adult life. He bestowed a love of string instruments upon me in the form of a 12 string guitar when I was twelve years old. He taught me how to tune a piano when I was fourteen. He made many tape recordings of music and playing lessons for me until I moved to Redding to go to Shasta College.
When he died my mom and dad brought a very unique little instrument home from his collection called a Tipple. I took it to a local music shop for new strings and a tune-up. There I learned about this strange little 10 stringed instrument.The fingering was just like a ukulele but instead of 4 strings it had a double, triple, triple, double layout. It was manufactured by the Martin instrument company around 1950. Before I took it home from the shop the owner of the business picked it up and and gave it a little test run. It had the voice of an angel, something like an old mechanical music box when he played it softly but it rang like a bell when he strummed it hard. I took it home and played the strings off it, never tiring of the beautiful tone of it.
It was around this time that my love of bicycles began. I bought a white Schwinn 10 speed from a guy for $15. It needed some work so I took it to a bike shop where for a whopping 35 dollars, I got a rear wheel, 2 new tires and tubes, a new chain and cables. I felt like the king of the world on my $50 machine! One day I decided to ride it from my place in Central Valley up to the dam via the scenic route. I remember thinking that my ride to the top of that mighty mountain pass had to be on par with any of the mountain stages of the great European bike races. When my conquest was completed and I was rolling back home, I felt triumphant. I decided to stop in at a little tavern called the Oar House for a quick cold one. As I sat there at the bar, I told the bartender of my outlandish, "marathon ride." He then told the small crowd of people who were gathered there of my exploits and they started buying me rounds. Two hours later, it was getting drunk out... I mean dark out! I decided that it was time to ride home and get cleaned up and then return to the tavern in my car to continue the party with my new found friends. As I was walking out the door someone yelled out that they were having a jam session tonight so if I played an instrument, to bring it!
An hour later I returned with my grandfather's Tipple. A couple of guys were already pickin' and a-grinin' with guitars and then a guy with a mandolin joined in. I was sitting at the bar pounding beers, trying to get up the courage to join in. I got up and took the Tipple out to the parking lot where I quietly tuned it to the other instruments, then I walked in with it, playing a melodic harmony line to the one they were playing. I proceeded to blow their minds with the beautiful angel voice tone. When we stopped playing , the mandolin player said, Son, I don't know what you've got there, but it is completely out toning my $1500 Aria mandolin! I told him it was a tipple and he said, A What?! I said it was a Martin T-15 tipple! he just shook his head and said, Martin... I should have known! We played and drank and laughed until the wee hours.
We all went our separate ways that night. I returned the following Saturday night only to find the place locked up and dark.The owner had passed away that week and for 6 months after that the tavern remained closed. By the time it reopened, I had moved to Redding. Shortly after that a motorcycle group of the outlaw variety made The Oar House, their new home. Pickin' and a-grinnin' wasn't their music of choice! So I never went back. In the meanwhile the gal I was living with in Redding was in a blue grass band. I used to delight her band members with the tipple and my perfect-pitch, human-tuning-fork talents. Unfortunately, my love for (and wild reactions to) beer, wine and other things made my candidacy as a public musician highly risky! So I just sat and jumped and hopped around at their gigs occasionally being asked to leave. I would simply stagger on down to the liquor store, get a little half-pint of something and a six-pack of beer, then walk home and have a jam session of my own!
Through the years the little tipple showed up at numerous backyard bonfire parties and get-togethers. It never ceased to blow the minds of the people who heard it. I really didn't take very good care of it and it is semi-miraculous that no one ever smashed it over my head or underfoot during some of my late night shenanigans! One morning I woke up and discovered that it was missing. I tried desperately to retrace my steps from the night before. Finally I found it in some tall grass in the back yard of a friend who told me in no uncertain terms that I was a Madman and should seek professional help. But I was on a mission to demonstrate the absolute absurdity of human existence and to be a sort of latter day, Zen lunatic. Fueled by numerous substances and a high eclectic library, I was out of reality, living in a separate dimension with an effect filter placed over the lens of my camera. It was around this time in my life that numerous unexplained events occurred, especially the regular disappearence of my car keys when I needed them most.
Unfortunately, many of those associated with me during that time of my life are all either dead, institutionalized or have moved away and changed their identities making verification of specific events and occurrences difficult if not impossible. But, Lest matters of import are brushed aside like so many crumbs from a midnight pantry raid and swept away into the waste basket of time, I will, to the best of my ability attempt to explain things. Also regrettably, is the fact that while discussing this time of my life, particularly an event I like to call, "The Event", I notice that it often results in eye rolling, clearing of throats and a tendency for those with whom I speak to of it, to begin looking at their watches and jingling keys in their pockets. My story entitled, The Continental Divide, is a work in progress about an event that took place on (of all places!) Mt. Shasta during a climb to it's summit in 1983. The jury is still out as to exactly what happened on that day but I feel certain that I either suffered a cerebral vascular accident, I was engulfed by a very rare natural phenomenon called Ball Lightening, or as I steadfastly maintain, I encountered a Lemurian at the base of the red banks, was taken inside the mountain and in a matter of speaking, was given the "Keys" to the castle. My mission statement here is problematic and manifold. Absolutes, short of certain mathematical equations, are generally so relative that "for instances" are usually, at best, controversial. Suffice it to say that upon publication of my manuscript (sometime next year?) I hope to at least present the story in it's entirety so that the reader may decide whatever in the world happened up there.
Even today I frequently cannot find my own rear end, even with both hands placed firmly upon it. I would like to start with (some kind of) a foundation upon which to launch the next chapter of my story but any building from this point will require an environmental impact study to determine how it may effect the psychological well-being of one J. Fox Seely. A fun little guy, born to a fun loving set of parents, during a great time to be alive in the U.S.A. Again, I run a risk of perhaps alienating or infuriating my audience with this seemingly endless qualification, punch-list disclaimer-fest, but I digress. When I was a young man I delved deep into murky waters, the subconscious realm of existence. A conflict of interest occurred one day, when back on the surface, a biologist (associated with the impact study) discovered abnormally high concentrations of certain psychotropic chemicals in the water table. He also determined that due to the unstable nature of soil samples from the primary (proposed) building site, that we would not be able to build here.
Thus we behold an eternal Nomad. Wandering aimlessly through gargantuan landscapes, here a tumbleweed bounces by, there a yawning chasm opens. After a period of time that seemed to span decades, the weary traveler fell to the ground. Sobbing, he clutched the burning sands in his hands then watched them run out like those from an hourglass. He begins to think about running off the edge of the abyss, letting gravity sort things out for him. But the next day finds him tilling the earth with his sword and then he sows seeds for a barley crop. He teaches himself to malt the precious grains, then he learns to brew beer. One day our man finds a nest of eggs and he sees that they are hatching. The only thing that he is able to determine for sure is that the tiny animals being brought forth before his very eyes are birds. He decides to retreat and then wait and watch from a safe distance to see who the parents are. But as he backs away he steps off the edge of a 300 foot cliff and falls to his death.
All the while there were enormous clock works running through centuries of time, the gears of which were cast from solid iron. Some of the clock's mechanisms were chain driven. Through time, the teeth of the gears had worn down and the links of the chains had stretched. One day the chains jumped a tooth on the primary sprocket and the timing of all the functions of the clock went askew. The people of the village never noticed that the clock was shortening the length of a day by one minute. Soon mealtimes seemed to arrive even before the tooth sucking of the previous meal was complete. But like obedient pigeons in an aviary, the seed corn was dutifully pecked clean. One fine spring day a young man with golden hair and a certain little twinkle in his eye happened into the village. He stopped at the well and dropped his canteen down into it for a drink. He could hear the sound of a frog croaking far below in the depths of the aquifer's dark belly. Suddenly the sound of flies filled the air and with a rush of wind my brother appeared out of nowhere. He slapped the boy sharply to the back of the head with a resounding clap and screamed out, "sic semper tyrannis!" Death to tyrants!
With a start I awake, only to realize that the sound of that head slap was in fact just my own gaping yapper snapping shut like a turtle's beak on a minnow. Yes my friends the laughing cowboy is still alive and well, living in the shallow layers of the mind of a boy they called Foxy in a land of separate reality. I can answer a good phone and I am never late. My demeanor is candid, my machines are all well oiled. The bottom line is this. You buy the ticket, You take the ride. One need not go to Disneyland to kick it with Walt!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Don't blame these guys!


I had a miserable return to cyclocross this weekend but it's not because I'm smoking these little beauties. My quads locked up like a flippin' folding saw and left me to spectate as the tiniest little girls finally went by. When I finally walked the cramping out, I realized that my front tire was flat. I finished in last Place!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

That cool, refreshing taste.


Had another lovely ride at Turtle Bay last night. We ran into this little gal who says she is looking forward to the race at Anderson---and her next cigarette.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bad Mutha...shut yo mouth!


There are rumors of a secret weapon I have in store for the upcoming cyclocross race at Anderson this coming weekend. Well friends, the secret is out. Behold and be afraid little ones! Be very afraid!

Monday, December 15, 2008

No Day for Road Bikes!

Okay! So I started out on a cold road bike ride on Sunday, made it two blocks, turned around, went back and grabbed my MTB. Up to Turtle Bay East and within 10 minutes was peelin' layers! I found a whole world of possibility out there for CX and really hope we can have a race there this season. It was BEAUTIFUL and FUN!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Only the Beginning!

Did anyone who attended last weekend's cyclocross races happen to see this chap lurking around in the the bushes? This may be the beginning of what the promoters were referring to as, "We'll throw in a barrier or some kind of obstacle!"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Something's just not Kosher.


The Pork industry is really ramping up for the holiday season! As an old friend of mine used to say, Pepperoni never had a face! http://www.herald.ie/opinion/columnists/dan-white/ten-questions-that-must-be-answered-on-the-pig-crisis-1568173.html

Monday, December 8, 2008

FASHION, turn to the left!



I am always amazed by the chance encounters I have at our local cyclocross races. Here are just a few of the people out at Boom Town yesterday. No wonder these darned races are getting so big! I'm thinking I might need to start dressing a little nicer at these events and maybe spruce up my cycling kit a bit too. Hmmm, maybe some tweed would look nice!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Many Questions.

I received several calls yesterday with regards to the preceding story, particularly from some of my Catholic brothers. They were wondering if I may have strayed away and ended up in some kind of Pagan cult. Well, I want to put their hearts at ease and explain some things. I am telling stories I learned from a 92 year old woman who I knew when I was 10 years old. That was in 1966. She was an Inuit Eskimo who married a British navel officer when she was 16 years old. He brought her to San Fransisco where she lived out the rest of her life. She died in 1972 at the age of 98. She was my Great-Grandmother.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thursday Theology

Gluskab and Malsumis
Tabaldak, the creator god, made humans and then Gluskab (several variants of whom were associated with different branches of the Abenaki, including Glooscap, Glooskap, Gluskabe Klooskomba) and Malsumis sprang from the dust on his hand. Gluskab and Malsumis both had the power to create a good world, but only Gluskab did so. Malsumis still seeks evil to this day.

Gluskab founded the Golden Age of the Earth by rendering the evil spirits of the Ancient Age smaller and safer, as well as teaching humanity how to hunt and fish, build shelter and all of the Abenaki's knowledge of art, invention and science. Gluskab's departure ended the Golden Age, though he is prophesied to return and renew it again.

Me-koom-wee-soo was Gluskab's assistant and wields an ivory bow. He has a fierce temper and gains weight as he gets more angry; eventually, it is said, he sinks into stone. Gluskab and Me-koom-wee-soo had an archery contest once; Me-koom-wee-soo fired an arrow into the top of Mt. Washington, creating a pond, while Gluskab's arrow created a hole in the sky that was then called msatawa (the Evening Star).

Gluskab realized the strain hunters can cause on an ecosystem. He asked a woodchuck spirit for help, and she gave him all the hairs off her belly, woven into a magical sac. This is why woodchucks have bald bellies. Gluskab then went to a mountain, where Tabaldak had placed a huge eagle (P-mol-a) that made bad weather by flapping its wings. After binding it, Gluskab realized some wind was necessary and loosened them slightly. Gluskab saved the world from a frog monster that swallowed all the planet's water. When Gluskab cut open the monster's belly, some animals jumped into the water and became fish. Some modern Wabanaki believe that Gluskab is angry at white people for not obeying his rules.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Riders Ready!

Here is a picture of "Them" getting ready for the up- coming Boomtown cyclocross. Hurts my hamstring just looking at it!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gittin' all Fixed-Up Proper-like.


I have been trying to get my Hamstring all healed up, all nice and proper-like. Come to find out...this is one of the most complex and debated sport's injuries of all. So, I just keep stretchin' and Granny keeps on a rubbin' it with her homemade liniment. I never had any idea bear fat had so many uses!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A1 #3 - (comic book issue) - comicvine.com

A1 #3 - (comic book issue) - comicvine.com Thanksgiving with the "Fam" was lovely as always! That's me in the breathing apparatus.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Here's a real TURKEY!

video
Yes, it's been slow at work! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sung to the tune of...


Here's the story, of a boy named Jim Bob, who was having a great day out on his bike. He got out well and kept on movin' a smile from ear to ear. Then the last lap came and things they started locking, and he knew that it was much more than a hunch, then his hamstring popped and down my friends went Jimbo... Those bastards handed me my lunch!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Team Monkey Junk


I had a wonderful time at the cyclocross season opener. I had a good race even with a hamstring injury only an eighth of a mile from the finish line. Luckily for me this man came along and shouldered me and my bike and ran us in to the finish!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Time Has Come!

It is on Baby! The soup that is. Chicken Tortellini at work today. Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get cookin'! Upon completion of luncheon service, I will double right back and start 6#'s of pinto beans soaking (I only have one 12 quart pot!)for Sunday's cyclocross. I went out to Enterprise with Noel on Wednesday evening and folks , I've just got to say, I like what I'm seein'! But I'm gonna need more cowbell! It is absolutely gorgeous out there!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cyclo-Cross Clinic.

Saturday Morning I attended the Cyclo-Cross Clinic at Enterprise Park.It was so nice to finally meet the Owen's Boys, without their Races faces on! I took my bro David "The Diesel" with me. Bro Timmy "The Smasher" showed up with his bike (which he ended up breaking, again!) Jonz Norine Gave a nice intro talk about the history of the sport and then started with basic techniques. My Tourette's started me into twitchin' pretty hard,(that or the seven bowls of Chai I drank) so I snuck out for a quick lap around the course. When I got back the group was starting in on some barrier work. Finally, Jonz announced that we would all take a lap together and then we would do a bit o' Kangaroo-Kross! What the heck is K.K. you ask? Well, we all broke into two person teams. Then the Captain of the team was given a small stuffed animal. The race was held relay style with the stuffed animal being handed off at the end of each lap. It was a blast and everyone had a lot of fun!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Straight out of a Bond Movie...by Woody Allen


Here is yet another example of the kind of secret nutritional suppliments my boys and I will be using for CX this season. I pity anyone riding behind us!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Roman GU.

Ancient Garum Recipe
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Use fatty fish, for example, sardines, and a well-sealed (pitched) container with a 26-35 quart capacity. Add dried, aromatic herbs possessing a strong flavor, such as dill, coriander, fennel, celery, mint, oregano, and others, making a layer on the bottom of the container; then put down a layer of fish (if small, leave them whole, if large, use pieces) and over this, add a layer of salt two fingers high. Repeat these layers until the container is filled. Let it rest for seven days in the sun. Then mix the sauce daily for 20 days. After that, it becomes a liquid.

- Gargilius Martialis, De medicina et de virtute herbarum, reprinted from A Taste of Ancient Rome

I will be testing and sampling this ancient predecessor of the "Power Gel" at the Cyclo-Cross Series. I have been asked to set up well down wind of the start/finish area. Whatever!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What a Hot Dog!

These days preceding our local Cyclo-Cross season are times of emotional conflict for me. Now everything bicycle, is projected in my mind (see: Magic Theater) in terms of what kind of performance I will be able to muster...Mmm Mustard! And how I will be able to resist eating every tofu-dog in the house...What the F&*@! But seriously, My diet, my training, my bicycles...it's ridiculous! I rode up Rattlesnake to T.O.T.W. yesterday and felt like frickin' Homer Simpson. Thankfully, my descent down the backside to lower springs road felt great (my God, the traction!) By the time I came back in up the Sunset Bridges Trail, I felt like Levy Leep-Hammer! Probably this biggest concern I have can best by explained in the words of my 6'9" single speed buddy. "I don't relish the thought of getting it, HANDED TO ME!" Mmmm...Relish!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Coming Soon, "PAINFEST"

On Wednesday afternoon I climbed aboard my old stationary-bike/wind-trainer and headed out for parts unknown. Thanks to a CD of David Bowie's Greatest Hits, I rocketed off with Major Tom and did not return until I met up with a girl named Blue Jean! My plan is to work on cardio training instead of my usual anaerobic, leg-melting, ego-driven, peer-group-fueled, one-upmanship! That my friends I will save for cyclocross! I was talking to one of our local CX heroes yesterday, I won't name names, suffice it to say that he's about 6'9" and rides a one-speed. We both agree that any significant in-roads to CX fitness, between now and the first race, are fairly unlikely. Besides, how (short of securing a plastic bag over one's head and running a cross country foot race with an old 40 pound beach cruiser bicycle on one's shoulder) can one possibly ever consider oneself "READY" for cyclo cross?! I suppose being 25 years old might help a bit!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

A ride with SanFranCup.


In a twist of fate tantamount to a monkey sitting down to a typewriter and pecking out the Lord's Prayer on the first try, I, The Filter King, hooked up with the notorious SanFranCup last Sunday, for an epic ride. I am sure that this monumental moment will be thoroughly covered by Velo News but, I just couldn't wait to share this with Ya'll! The only tiny, little mishap was that of a complete bemudding of SFC's right foot. Please note the soiled white stocking! Otherwise Darling, we looked FABULOUS!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More Swap Photos!




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Swap Meet Photos

A meeting of some of the greatest minds in cycling!

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Bike Swap, Autumn Edition!

The Swap and Sell was on Sunday and it was judged a complete success! I saw a lot of nice stuff exchange hands. We ate lot of good food, saw a lot of good friends and had some good times! The best part about these semi-annual meetings is that they connect people with people. There were a lot of requests for phone numbers so that further explorations into people's bicycle treasure chests could continue later. Many of the people said they simply couldn't bring it "ALL" down to the swap meet! Wow! I love bicycles! I am so happy to be able to work for a friend who allows me free run of his business so that we can have silly bicycle swap meets rain or shine! I hope to do it again next spring and hope to see ya'll there! In the mean while I do have a big list of connections if you need anything!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Oh Please, Not The F-BOMB!

Dang! It got cold last night! Standing outside at 6 a.m. this morning, looking at the the beautiful spectacle of Mercury rising, I thought to myself, Wow! this is semi-reminiscent of a morning cyclocross races are held on. Now just lower the temperature another 10-20 degrees, throw in the possibility of a wet slushy rain and viola it's time to fargin' rock!
Right now I am down here at Carpet Mart simmering a large pot of pinto beans for chili for the BIKE SWAP AND SELL, tomorrow Sunday 10-26-08, noon until ? I am also waiting for it to warm up a bit before go for a ride. This week I worked on my brother's bike again, this time I replaced the existing solid rear axle with a hollow one and a quick release. Upon test riding the bike I felt a rhythmic bump, bump, bump as the rear rolled along. I stopped and noticed that the tire had a large tumor-like bulge on the sidewall. The rear brake pads have been slowly eating away at the tire thanks to the brilliantly engineered U-BRAKE the bike incorporates. I discovered that the brake pads were also completely toasted so I put on some gently used old ones I found in the million piece junk pile that lives here at Carpet Mart. Now He's ready to fargin' rock!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Final Countdown

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MNlkhyB-ao As the time draws nearer and nearer to that time of year when grown men, women and children start leaping from their moving bicycles only to then begin frantically running with them on their shoulders, I have begun to step up my training program. Here is a particularly inspirational and motivational little clip I use to get my sorry old butt up and movin' on these dark, cold mornings. See you at the races!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ascent to the Death Zone!

I decided to ride, "TOP OF THE WORLD" last night for the first time in months. Believing that a summer's worth of riding would allow me to make a molehill out of what I used to think was a mountain, I decided I would go in from Mary Lake, up the "Jumps" trail on the north side so that it would at least be challenging. As I rode through nice middle class neighborhoods, I saw people who I knew were watching me and I suspected that they were thinking, Wow, look at that beautiful peddle stroke, I didn't know that John Tomac retired to Redding! Yes my friends, I was making my way to the trails, feelin' good and lookin' great! Well to make a long, HELLISH climb short, let me just tell you that when I finally hit the last pitch to the top, I had a face that was frozen into some kinda hyper-death -sneer- smiling-killer-nightmare-clown that would have put Jim Carey to shame. MY GOD!!! That hurt! Plus some how due to some sort of perfect, Evil atmospheric conditions at 5 p.m. last nite, the Top of the World was completely without a breath of wind of a breeze and fargin' bakin' hot! If by some strange coincidence anyone who saw John Tomac ride by their house only to return an hour later looking like a fat, red-faced, old guy... that was me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Three Blind Mice

For the third time this week, I went fossil hunting up Sulphur Creek. This time my brother and I dragged old Dad out there. We brought a rock hammer, magnifying glass, specimen bags and our reading glasses. (Gad, we're a bunch of old farts!) This time we found the Mother lode! It seemed like everywhere we looked there were more and more rocks and boulders that contained countless thousands of fossilized seashells. We all rode our Mtb's and I am happy to report that Dad kept up with with his little boys (me 52, Tim 50) just fine! At the top of the first little climb, we stopped and immediately found some nice fossil bearing rocks. We walked around a bit and then started off, further up the creek. Dad couldn't find his sunglasses but then just said screw it, they were junk anyway! But about an hour and half later on the way out he asked that we stop and look, one more time, for the sunglasses. I found them laying in the dry brown grass, stomped to pieces by somebodies big old boot. Thank God I only wear an eleven!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Evil Genius!

Basil: Did we get Dr. Evil? Radar Operator: No, sir, he got away in that big spaceship that looks like a huge... Teacher: Penis. The male reproductive organ. Also known as tallywhacker, schlong, or... Friendly Dad: Wiener? Any of your kids want another wiener? Friendly Son: Dad, what's that? Friendly Dad: I don't know, son, but it has great big... Peanut Vendor: Nuts. Hot, salty nuts. Who wants some?... Peanut Vendor: Lord Almighty! Woman: That looks just like my husband's... Circus Barker: ONE-EYED MONSTER. Step right up and see the One-eyed Monster! Cyclops: RARRR. Cyclops: Hey, what's that? It looks like a... Fan: Woody. Woody Harrelson. Could I have your autograph? Woody: Sure. Oh, my Lord! Look at that thing! Fan: It's so huge. Woody: No, I've seen bigger. That's... Dr. Evil: Just a little prick.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bicycle Swap and Sell

Well, here we go again! The all things bicycle swap and sell at Carpet Mart. Road, MTB, CX, BMX, TT, Cruiser, Old, New, Bikes, Parts, Clothes, Accessories... it's all here folks! Bring it on down! Call me if you need help getting it here! Sunday October 26, 2008. Noon 'til 4 p.m. Carpet Mart is at 905 Locust St. Contact Jim at 246-0203 (days) or 221-2028 (eve's) P.S. Looks like Nick's gonna bring the BBQ! I will make a pot of chili beans the size of... a large pot of CHILI!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Is there a geologist in the house?

My brother and I took an interesting little ride up Sulphur Creek. From Market St. we went in through Satan's Tunnel (some sweet graffiti) along the creek which takes you in a Northwest direction, in the canyon between Quartz Hill Rd. and Lake Blvd. About a mile in, we came to a place where some trail building and brush clearing has taken place. We saw official looking markers that said, TRAIL. Although it is short, we rode it absolutely delighted, due in part to the perfect traction the previous nights rain had created. I have always been a bit of an amateur geologist/archaeologist and am always on the look out for features that might reveal fossils. So when the trail dropped down to the creek and I saw the stream bed running over limestone, I told Tim to stop so we could have a look around. Proceeding up the Creek on foot, I came to a place where the stream bed appears to be lined with some kind of man made aggregate, but I think it's a natural geological occurrence. This beautiful little recreation area is a jewel right in our fair city. Even though I used to ride through there (15 years ago) on a regular basis, I am going to rediscover what is out there. Want to go?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Further Explorations of Old Hwy 99.

I got a ride to Red Bluff in my friend's pick up truck, early last Saturday morning. I took my one-speed road bike out of the bed of the truck and then rode home on it. It took me about two hours and I had a beautiful ride. As I made my way north I started thinking about old 99, how the old highway used to go right through downtown Red Bluff, Cottonwood, Anderson and Redding. When big old "Super Slab" (that's what they used to call I-5 'cause it was cement originally) carved a football field wide swath through farm and ranch land the length of the state, well my friends, that's when my grandpa and his pals started the saying; "I've watched this place go from Jackrabbit to Jackass!" Tom Wolf said "You can never go home again." Well I suppose that's true if we're talking about living in Mayberry but really, about all a guy can do these days to get off the thundering circus freak show ride is get out there on his bicycle and take a long ride. Enjoy your Bicycle!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Goat Heads Are Ready!

The smell (and sound) of basmati rice and lentils, gently simmering on the stove, mingles with cool early morning air as it falls into the house through an open window. They slam into one another right here where I sit, in front of the computer reminding me of my years in a Turkish prison. I woke up in love this morning, but it may just be the early symptoms of West Nile disease (God Damn this outdoor lifestyle!) My hips feel like they've been beaten by the prison guards (again!) I was movin' kinda slow upon risin' this morning. Might just be all this running up and down steep hillsides with a fargin' bicycle hoisted upon me shoulder. Oh well, if nothing else it's good penitence.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Check out my 69'r!

Well I intended to have a short video of my little 69'r CX bike here but alas, my computer skills are on par with my bike mechanic skills... NEEDS TO IMPROVE! I had a funny dream this morning just before I woke up, in which I was in a cyclocross race. I discovered that it was just as fast to run with the bike on my shoulder as it was to try to ride the very technical course. It got real weird when I realized that some of the other guys had also figured it out but had taken it a step further. They were cross-country runners carrying small pieces of a bicycle (brake levers, chain rings) and were winning races on a technicality!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Trouble? Call Mr. Wizard!

With cooler mornings and shorter days, you better believe that thoughts of the upcoming cyclocross season are on more than just this old boy's mind. There is a buzz in every shop (bicycle) in town and lots of phone calls and emails are being made and sent. I got to work outfitting my crazy, Frankenstein Bike, for it's next incarnation as a 69'r, one-speed, CX machine. Almost immediately, I found myself in a spot of bother with the, how the hell am I going to do that, REALITY of the project . You see, I am not a real bicycle mechanic, I just play one at my real job, at Carpet Mart. So, thanks to my friends at BIKES ETC. another one of my Hare-Brained ideas will be rolling around here on earth with my old carcass atop it!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

One Speed Super Moto.

I have been riding my Redline, 925 bike on Saturday mornings for about a month now. I go from my house down Bechelli Lane to Bonneyview then over the river west through the construction area. Nice progress is being made down there, soon it will be a very cycle-friendly byway. The big tandem tires, the bike is shod with, allow me to hop over to the (still) gravelled sections , well off to the side of the narrow traffic corridor. I then work my way north, up through the farm-like neighborhoods of that area, to strategically emerge on Eastside road, right at Cross Fit training gym. So far, my hope of being seen by fellow cyclocross people has not panned out. Then it was up to the Farmer's Market at the city hall for an amazing oatmeal raisin cookie to fuel my further northern meanderings. Over the Sundial bridge to Market Street, I got back on the dirt at the bottom of Sulphur Creek hill and went up the old hwy 99 route to Lake Blvd. About a half a mile further north I got on Twin View Road (also old 99?) and got up to the Redding Record Searchlight area. From there I roll down through up-scale neighborhoods to a cool little dirt section along Churn Creek to the North end of Hawley Road. From there it turns into Churn Creek Road, south through the "Big Box" jungle and home for yet another cuppa Tea.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday Morning Ride.

Feels like I've been abducted by some kind of dream ghost, during my absence, the season change has happened. Rode my Mono-Hopper this morning at 6:30, started out dark and cold, ended back here at Carpet Mart, cool and Autummy. I threw on a few extra articles of warm gear (could have used fingered gloves!) then headed on up to sundial bridge and out west on the river trail. Staying close to the river probably contributed to my chill factor but I didn't want to be out there in traffic, in the dark. Something about riding early, feeling groggy and stiff and hitting those first climbs (that makes breathing feel as if I were sucking through a soda straw) that really blows! I think I may be going back to Wednesday Evening rides real soon. In the mean while, cooler temps are sure wonderful.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What's on your I-POD?

I see that now-a-days, a common question asked of celebrities is, "What's on your I-Pod?" When I think back, not so long ago (that is, if you're old enough to not consider the entire lifetime of a young adult a long time!) to the choices of music that the average Shasta County resident (of the 70's) had available to themselves, compared to today, it really "Blows one's mind!" When I think back to the Pop Music, Top 40 B.S. Neil Diamond, Carly Simon, K.C. and Sunshine, Horse manure (Hmmm, that's a fun word, it's Ma, that's a nice word, with newah at the end!) I am semi-amazed that there weren't more Charlie Manson, John Wanye Gacys running around out there!
Well it's September so I have begun throwing in the occasional, dismount-and-run-with-the-bike-on-my-shoulder to my rides, in preparation for the not too distant cyclo-cross season (YAY!, OUCH!) There I was riding along with my decidedly retro transistor radio playing when Tourrettes-like, I leapt from the bike and began plowing and crawling up a steep embankment, while singing loudly in my operatic falsetto voice, along with the radio, "September Morn, I reached to you to find a brand new day!"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Swamp Thing!

I got a phone call from a guy on Monday asking me if I was was the guy who Jason had entrusted the the bicycle co-op with. He told me his name was Joey and that a friend of his named Matt told him to call me. He told me that he had an old Nishiki 10 speed that he wanted to cannibalize parts from it to a frame set (that he had) that was lighter and taller. I told him to bring it on down and I would look at it. The Nishiki, 27" wheels, although ride-able, was indeed a lead weight. The frame-set was a bare bones frame with a mismatched fork 700c size. I thought we were up against the old "Well, for $200.00, we can build you a real nice $50.00 bike" scenario. But then we took a quick walk out to the bone yard and there was the solution. A big old Centurion 10 speed with broken wheels, rusted cranks and handle bars, every cable welded solid in it's housing, everything about it said, "Hi, I've spent the last ten years in a Vernal pond out in the middle of Nowhere!" But then, to my utter amazement, I spun the cranks and found the bottom bracket was smooth as butter and the same thing happened when I tested the head set. Long story short, I took the good stuff from the Nishiki and a crank-set from an old mt. bike and built a fairly sweet ride for Joey and I got to play"Bike Guru" again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Time Trial Suprise!

The final Time Trial of the Redding Velo Time Trial Series was Sunday. Since it was the exact same course that the series opened with, I thought it would be fun to ride a different bike this time. I considered a one speed with a free wheel, I toyed with taking out the "Fixie", but ended up riding "The Worlds Fastest Rockhopper." That crazy little flat barred, MTB with a 29'r forked, road tire front-end. Meanwhile, bringing up the rear is a 26" wheel, shod with a skinny little slick-bald tire at 100 p.s.i. I have always known that that little bike felt fast but now I know for sure. I turned a time only a few seconds slower on it over the 10K course then I did on my "real" road bike. I have been running the tapes over and over, trying to account for what really happened out there. Was it my relaxed, semi-cavalier attitude, knowing that I wasn't going to "set the world on fire?" Was it the fact that since I don't have an enormous set of gears on that bike, I simply had to spin and thus, not completly blowing, I actually had a kick left fot the last mile? Or is it the fact that living in the Magic Kingdom of my mind, I am blinded to the fact that there are guys out there who could do my times on a fargin' Razor scooter and that am losing sight of the fact that I am actually a solid rider of the Recreational Group! Not the the Elite!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Back to school, again.

Riding with others is a great way to learn. I tend to ride alone quite often, siting issues of rider- ego conflicts, lack of individual punctuality and general "Horse Crap" when groups of 2 or more try to go for a ride. Yet somehow, bands of cyclists, of varying elitism, have been regularly gathering and riding for many years here in Redding, without or without my stamp of approval. I rode with about 12 riders yesterday morning out of Joe Gazzigli's place and tore up the Shasta Dam ride like a man possessed. I rode the Red bike and had a blast. Some of those "Old Boys" (60+) are amazingly strong and took me to school (again) on some of the climbs. But, my homework is really paying off and helping me to get to the top of the class. Hopefully I'll be on the honor roll this semester!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Feast of the Assumption

The Catholic doctrine of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven states that Mary was transported into Heaven with her body and soul united. Although the Assumption was only officially declared a dogma by Pope Pius XII in his Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus in 1950, its roots in Catholic culture and art go back many centuries. While Pope Pius XII deliberately left open the question of whether Mary died before her Assumption, the more common teaching of the early Fathers is that she did.[24][25]
An early supporter of the Assumption was Saint John of Damascus (676-794), a Doctor of the Church who is often called the Doctor of the Assumption.[26] Saint John was not only interested in the Assumption, but also supported the use of holy images in response to the edict by the Byzantine Emperor Leo III, banning the worship or exhibition of holy images.[27] He wrote: "On this day the sacred and life-filled ark of the living God, she who conceived her Creator in her womb, rests in the Temple of the Lord that is not made with hands. David, her ancestor, leaps, and with him the angels lead the dance."
The Eastern Church held the feast of the Assumption as early as the second half of the sixth century, and Pope Sergius I (687-701) ordered its observance in Rome.[28]
The Orthodox tradition is clear that Mary died normally, before being bodily assumed. The Orthodox term for the death is the Dormition of the Virgin. Byzantine depictions of this were the basis for Western images, the subject being known as the Death of the Virgin in the West. As the nature of the Assumption became controversial during the High Middle Ages, the subject was often avoided, but depiction continued to be common until the Reformation. The last major Catholic depiction is Caravaggio's Death of the Virgin of 1606.
Meanwhile depictions of the Assumption had been becoming more frequent during the late Middle Ages, with the Gothic Siennese school a particular source. By the 16th century they had become the norm, initially in Italy, and then elsewhere. They were sometimes combined with the Coronation of the Virgin, as the Trinity waited in the clouds. The subject was very suited to Baroque treatment.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Let's get cracking!

Shhh! Nobody say anything but, the year is startin' to get a bit long in the tooth. I went out on a fact finding mission yesterday and here is what I found. I began my day at the stroke of 3 a.m. I got up and walked outside and looked at the sky to the East. There they were, the Pleiades, that famous little star cluster we called the little dipper as kids. I always interpret the wee hour's rising of that constellation (and Orion) as harbingers of Autumn. Now lest you think me as a bonafide old geezer, let me assure you that I then went straight back to bed for a couple of hours worth of creative dreaming! My internal clock is (generally) so incredibly reliable that I rarely use an alarm clock. But the sun played a trick on me and I didn't resurface until around 6:30. The sun has made considerable progress on it's apparent trip south, and it's light is starting to arrive later in the morning and departing earlier in the evening. I have referred to August 15th as the "Crack of the year" for a long time now and I'm here to tell you, she's crackin'!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Squash Hopper

Wow, with this little bit o' monsoon flow and rain, Redding felt like a sweltering terrarium this afternoon. Then I checked the humidity and it read 27%. Can you imagine what folks back East would say if you told them that we were steaming in 90 degree weather with 27% humidity?! They would laugh your little wilted ass all the way back to Redding. Rode early this morning out to Keswick area, again, on the Monohopper, again. I felt like crap for the first couple of miles but slowly got going and was completely delighted by the time I got back. Saute'ed up a bunch o' zucchini and crookneck squash with tofu and Italian herbs for breakfast. Yum!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Feeling Good!

I got a couple of good rides in this weekend. Saturday I hooked up with my bro Tim. I rode my one-speed Mt. bike (Monohopper) and he rode his mechanically-challenged, junk, Mt. bike. We had a nice ride out to Keswick area and rode some dirt, saw Leo,"The Legend" Smith. Then we spun our noggings off coming back. Good times! Sunday I rode with the Gazzigli crew on my Funny-Bike the infamous "World's Fastest Rockhopper" I fixed the pedal problem (from Wednesday night) and rode fairly well. I told Allen Kost that riding that bike makes me feel real fast when I do take my Red Bike out. Allen kindly said, "You are fast on the Red Bike Jim!" Coming from him, I'm honored.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I will not go quietly!

I rode with the fast guys (for a few miles) last night. Basically the same Wednesday night ride that's been done here in Redding for over 20 years. Only the names have changed. Lots of guys wearing Owen's pharmacy jerseys and a hand of actual living, breathing, non-android guys. That freight train really starts to get moving just past Wisconsin Ave. heading out Placer. Even with the incredible draft one gets toward the back of the pack, I found it hard to stay on the wheel of the guy in front of me. By the time we got to Swasey I was blown. All I could do was watch that long, thin pace-line steadily drive away from me. I have a few excuses as to why they dropped me (wrong bike, faulty pedal clip on the left foot, and of course 52 years old) but the bottom line is I had a blast while it lasted! My plan now is to fix the pedal, stay completely away from the front, and get on Rocky's (61 year old) rear wheel and stay there! And by God if I have to, I'll ride something other than "The World's Fastest Rockhopper!"

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Moderately Unhealthy

It was official, the powers that be declared that Saturday's air quality had improved to a rating of "Moderately Unhealthy" so I headed out (on my trusty Monohopper) for the Keswick area. To me, the real beauty of the solo ride, is that it affords the lunatic (you know, the one inside my head) to fully ferment and rise like bread dough, expanding up and out of a mixing bowl. As you know from previous accounts of what I like to call, "The Magic Theatre" (a la Hesse) the Lunatic, being allowed free reign, begins assuming more and more control of the program until I (who?) am relegated to Snot-nosed, coal-shoveler boy. I am never disappointed by the shear volume of material within the evil genius' arsenal. So there I was riding my bike, howling and laughing, even screaming out choice little comments of my own (what the F&%!) and no doubt baffling not only my fellow outdoorsmen but a considerable portion of wildlife out there. No wonder I never see any mountain lions or bear or birds...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Again with the Frankenstein!

The comment on my preceding post prompts me to recall the old philosophical conundrum wherein one is asked to try to prove that we are not just brains in vats being electrically and chemically, stimulated and maintained to experience, what we call, "OUR LIVES." Numerous accounts from people who have undergone brain surgery with only topical anesthesia (so as to remain conscious) report that smells, tastes and even emotions are experienced while the surgeon probes various areas of the brain.
Although I have pondered this one for some time now, I have not yet developed an iron clad thesis that demonstrates the fact or flaw of this "MIND-GAME." Suffice it to say that about the only thing I have been able to deduce, with any degree of what might even remotely resemble certainty, is that my vat would be labeled---ABBIE-something!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Catch 22

The double-edged sword of scientific proof is that, while on the one hand we can know things with absolute certainty, the other hand must then abandon fantasy and myth. I am a big fan of 70's Sci-Fi literature, but I'll admit that the whole "matter traveling at the speed of light to make the whole thing work premise" is a bit disheartening. The incredibly miraculous, long life of Stephen Hawking (given the severity of his physical situation) has allowed him the time to take things (lately) into a realm of what many are saying is a second childhood, a fantastic, magical universe. He says that no matter how broad the lens we are looking though we are still thinking at too small a level. So maybe there is hope. Everything is entirely relative, absolute truth will reign absolute, until the next layer of the knowledge onion is revealed.

Monday, July 14, 2008

This is only a test...

I went out to Millville on Sunday with my especially prepared Rockhopper bicycle and ended up setting fastest time of the day. Actually, technically, the event was postponed due to smoke (of which there was almost none) and has been rescheduled for August. Oh well, I am glad that I did ride the course and hope to do so a few more times before the time trial actually takes place. There is plenty of opportunity to lose big time out on that course so it will really help to know when to push and when to try to recover. I can go out and run my body on the barf-button for about 20 mins. but not 45- 60. I will have to be smart or I'll blow like a 200 pound, ten year old boy on a birthday cake full o' joke candles. Please, no comments from my family, who threw me a wonderful birthday party last week!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Yet another alter-ego.

My birthday was on Wednesday and I was surprised to find a flippin' UNICYCLE, sitting on it's little stand, waiting for me. My family must really think I am from the circus. I am sad to report that the "missing years" of my life, do not include a Big-Top period however. I have been known to juggle lit flairs (during the wetter months) and I have done some tight rope walking, so this probably seemed like a perfectly logical gift to them. I am going to give it my best shot. If you see a unicycle for sale on Craig's list it aint me, it's some other guy... yeah, that's it.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Slinges and Arrowes

The Fourth of July weekend (3 days for me) somehow netted 3 good rides, i.e. relatively good air to breathe and moderate temps for me. My brother and I rode from his place in Jones Valley on Friday, the Fourth, on mountain bikes up Backbone Ridge road to a drop-in road, down to the Klickapudi Trail. I found myself fumbling at technical spots as I kept dodging poison oak and attempting to see through a pair of sunglasses that I had salted up with sweat while trying to stay on the madman's wheel. My brother may be my fiercest competition in cyclo-cross later this year. I also rode my one-speed, road bike on both Saturday and Sunday. I love that bike and am always amazed at how little the difference in the times I turn on it are vs. the geared bike. I am riding the road with a clip-on mirror lately and I absolutely love it. I am not hearing as well as I used to (thank you Steve Morse 1989) so the mirror adds a little more awareness as to what's bearing down on me at Mach 9. Time Trail July 13Th, Millville, "to gear or not to gear" that, is the question!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Like a Rock...Head!

Twenty years, where did they go? Twenty years, I don't know... Bob Segar.
My oldest daughter moved out of the nest this week. I have often said that she's been the biggest challenge of my entire life. Stubborn, Know-it-all, Unteachable, these are just of few of her, In-Yo-Face attributes. But she made me work and think and grow. One thing for sure, I hope I'm around for the next twenty so we can both figure out what the first were all about. And that's all I have to say about that!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Franken-Cycle!

It's alive!... ALIVE! My crazy project bike, built on what is known as a 69'r format, 26" wheel on the back, with a 700c wheel up front (a.k.a. 29'r). This project was made possible by the Bicycle Swap and Sell that we had here at Carpet Mart a few months ago. I have used so many parts from so many different bikes that I'm not even sure where some of the things came from. Right now I have road slicks on it and have put a big chain-ring on it for the up coming Time Trial in July. I am billing it as "The World's Fastest Mt. Bike!" Which, I suppose, can only be proven false by having "The Worlds Fastest Man" take it out for a ride and disproving it as such! I just love unquantifiable superlatives! For you see, I really am a sort of latter-day Dr. Frankenstein. Feel free to visit my la-BOR-Ra-Tory any time, moo-hah-hah!!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Smokin' with The Badger

Forest fires are smokin'-out the North state. But for the professional athlete, training must go on ;) Actually, Sunday morning wasn't too bad if you rode north of town so I rode to Shasta Dam with a couple of guys from the Gazzigli camp. We saw quite a few groups out there, everyone looking sharp and fast. What a world, what a beautiful sport. An old guy I have ridden with for over 20 years, told me that he is riding at just about the same speeds and times as he did back in the 70's. That is (according to him) not so much a testament of his ability as it is the ever improving state of the bicycle. I'm out there on my aluminum framed, carbon fiber forked, entry level (1K) road bike, feeling like Eddie Merckx. My buddy says, "Can you imagine what Eddie would have done on a bike like that!?"

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'd like to thank my fleet.,

Well, as per usual, Wednesday night found me parking my bus up at Benton Airpark, champing at the bit, for my mid-week-bicycle-get-away. I casually walked around to the sliding side door of the vehicle, slid it open and there it was... gone! Now I ask you, how in the world does a guy forget his freakin' bicycle!? Oh sure I've forgotten to bring my helmet, shoes, gloves, and sunglasses and water, but this is flippin' ridiculous! I stood there slack-jawed like some kind o' hillbilly yokel and imagined the guys back at the shop laughing their asses off at the site of me driving away for my Wednesday Night ride, while my bike sat there in the front lobby of the shop like a big neon sign flashing the word, DUMBSHIT, over and over. So I decided to just go home and get a bike from there and ride, rather than face my associates back at work. This morning I asked around to see if anyone noticed and it turns out that when you own as many bikes as I do nobody can keep track anyway!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Father's Day Hillclimb...OUCH!

The Redding Velo's second time-trial, in a series of four, took place on Sunday. Once again they put on a very well run event. I went out like levi leipheimer but finished like Hello Kitty. Dang, that hurt! 5.4 miles, 1100 ft. altitude change. Needless to say, I spent most of Father's Day flat on the floor with my feet up and the fan on, watching the U.S. Open Golf Tourney. I dozed and ate all day then called it a night around 8 P.M. I won a whole box of GU, power gels in the raffle after the ride.
My wife and kids treated me like a king and I had a great time of it! Please come out and participate in the next event in July. They (Redding Velo) say they can handle up 150 entries per event. So far there have only been about 20 for each of the first 2. Come on out and show your support, or can't you handle "The Truth!!!"

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Glutton for Punishment?

There is a Time Trial coming up this Sunday out in the Millville area. A hill climb stage. http://www.reddingvelo.com/timetrialseries.html
I have been out testing a truly ludicrous formula (for this event) in the form of a one-speed Mt. bike. But after last night's road ride out Placer to Ranch land estates and Montgomery Ranch-Texas Springs area (on that bike), I have determined that a one-speed for hill climbing is tantamount to taking out one's dentures and ordering a steak dinner. What could I be thinking?
A few years back when I used to play golf, I'd go out with only a hand full of clubs (5 wood, seven iron, putter) and shoot fairly close to my score with a full bag of clubs. But after last years bicycle fiasco on the Mt. Shasta hill climb (2 hrs.+) on a fixed gear, one-speed, I must really have a short memory to even consider doing this sort of thing to myself ever again. It's like piling misery on top of pain!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Mono-Hopper Revisited.

I read the Sunday article in the paper about converting an old Mt. Bike into a one-speed city cruiser and with that got motivated to work out some of the bugs from the bike project, I call, The Mono-Hopper. Its old eighties geometry does not lend itself to a one-speed format (too long, too relaxed), unfortunately I didn't take this into consideration when I started blindly tearing into it. There really is nothing I can do about that, short of a frame and fork swap... but that's pretty much like changing the handle and head of an old axe and callin' it the same old axe! What I did do was loose the old Tomac type, long, flat stem and flat bars and put on pair of cool, big semi-slick tires. Now it feels like a city cruiser and my original (blurry) vision of the project is closer to taking form.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

'Toon Town

Well another Wednesday night ride to, "The Top Of The world" and another opportunity to slip the surly bonds of earth and escape to my quite place. Last night as I rode I tried to see the world through the eyes of a poet and to create a sort of mental rough draft of beautiful, literary passages, resplendent with rich descriptive floridity. Unfortunately, it all got muddled up by a stupid song from the 80's pop-band, ABC. Yes folks, "When Smokey sings... every thing's good in the world, tonight" must have played in my head 200 times during my ride. Now don't get me wrong, I love all that early MTV stuff, but for cryin' out loud... I'm trying to have a "moment" here!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

No Head in the wind.

I rode out Saturday morning to Sunset Market to try to hook up with Redding Mt. Bike Club. But, as I was running late, I saw that they were already caravaning(What's that you say? You're not familiar with that verb?) out for the trail head...Hornbeck Trail?...Caravaning? Anyway, I dropped in to the river trail via the new Sunset Bridges trail, then went out to the Ribbon Bridge, when suddenly, without any warning, the Magic Theater opened up for business and I went into that semi-nirvanic state where it feels like some old sled dog is pulling my bike along while I sit at a round table discussion, sampling from a huge library of topics ranging from the meaning of life to thoughts of whether all this talk about Mt. Lions is just the governments way of keeping it's citizens out of the great outdoors where expansive thinking can occur. "They want us safely locked in our houses, trembling in front of our televisions!" I screamed out in a Tourette's-like explosion, only then did I see the middle aged couple hiking with their dogs. Another thing I love about cycling is that you get to wear enough safety gear to actually be sort of incognito and you can put distance between you and your embarrassment fairly quickly!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Readin' Ridin' and Ruminatin'

What the heck happened to the week?! Last thing I remember I was watching it rain on Saturday morning and wondering if I was gonna get a dry ride in. I finally said "forget about it" at 1:30 P.M. I took a 2 hour ride (perfect traction!) and upon arriving back home the rain stopped. Oh well, it's all a blur from there, riding, reading, ruminating (even though I only have one stomach). The Andromeda Strain on A&E was was an interesting little diversion. How they managed to go from a semi-believable science/techno story to a really painful, bad comedy I'll never know.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dickhead in the Wind!

Sometimes, I don't know why, I get out on the bike and it feels like CRAP! Everything is wrong, I feel like a fat toad who hasn't been on a bike in a year, the wind is like a hurricane in my face (no matter which direction I'm riding), and then, I start imagining that some bastard has screwed around with my seat height. These and a hundred other rancid thoughts start to pollute my stream of consciousness while I'm doing this thing I profess to love so much. So last night, as I fought my way out Placer Street swearing aloud at the wind, shaking my fist at people in cars whom I deemed to have passed me too close, I finally arrived at the turn-out to Rattlesnake and the trail to the top of the world. Ahh, good old dirt! I saw a familiar short, steep section ahead and thought, I will not gear down for this hill, I'm going to hammer it! I stood out of the saddle, made three strong strokes and something snapped. The rear wheel locked solid and I found myself in that oh so awkward position of belly laying on the stem of the handlebars, while my lips could have kissed the front tire.
I thought I had snapped the chain for sure. But no! Then I thought it was the rear deraileur, nope not that either. What it was was my own careless (brainless?) attention to detail. I had fixed a flat tire on the rear the day before and only finger tightened the axle quick release. The wheel popped out of the drop outs and locked against the chain stays. I quickly looked around to see if anybody saw it and then, magically, my whole attitude changed. Humility. The rest of the ride was much better!

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Race of Truth.

Sunday marked the beginning of a series of time-trials that the Redding Velo club is putting on. I have always loved racing the clock, so I loaded up my red bike and headed out to Millville to ride. The course was a 6.2 mi. down and back, with riders starting every 30 seconds. I flew like the wind on the way down and broke like the wind on the way back. But, all and all, I was pleased with my time of 18m. 04s. Yesterday's T.T. was the first in a series of four (one a month) through August. I was very impressed with how well the event was run and how nice the folks all were. There was everything from high dollar, purpose-built bikes, to tandems, to a full suspension mt. bike. (God, that hadda hurt!) I am definitely going to try to hit all four of these events and I encourage everyone to come on out and blow your cookies... I mean ride!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On Walden's Bike by Hawking

For years I have dreamed of being a naturalist writer in the spirit of a Henry David Thoreau, Annie Dillard or perhaps Joseph Wood Krutch. I would wax poetic on the simple, seemingly insignificant doings of such romantic things as, Water Skippers, Nesting Birds and Poison Oak plant development. But alas, I am a rider of bicycles, so I tend to flash through these "Universes in Miniature" and get set for the next "Intense" section of the ride. Hey wait a minute, some physicists speak of theoretical, sub-atomic particles dubbed Tachyons. These particles are said to be able to travel faster than the speed of light. Maybe I am in a universe of Tachyons while riding my bike. Information simple cannot be received, processed and sent fast enough to have any bearing in the physical world, as we know it. But somewhere deep inside me, it's all getting in.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Priorities

The weekend was full of matriarchal charm as the women in my life took center stage in the form of my daughter's 20th birthday and of course Mother's Day. Being the season of moderate temps, I simply hit the trail nice and early. Rousing no suspicion of fulfilling my own selfish needs in the form of 2 more epic bicycle rides and wearing the hats of "Good Dad", "Good Husband" and "Good Son", an art form that I have perfected through years of trial and miserable error. The worst of times was back in the 80's when an old buddy of mine, who was an icon of cycling in Shasta County would promise me, "an easy little 2 hour jaunt and you'll be home for lunch!" Then, for the nineteenth time, I found my self somewhere in the Manton area, hoisting my seventh draught beer and watching the sun set, along with any hopes I had of sleeping in my house that night. The bottom line is this, I enjoy cycling, I love my family!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sittin' on Top o' the World

Last night about 5 P.M. I arrived at the "Top of The World" on my Cross-Bike having fairly flown up the "Rattlesnake" trail. Quality training rides and excellent nutrition really do pay off! There was a guy sitting up there when I arrived, he had ridden up before me and was just kickin' it enjoying the lovely weather and scenery . He was delighted with my bike. We had a nice chat about everything from full rigid bikes, to one-speeds, to 700c wheels off road. Then, one by one, three guys on expensive, full suspension bikes arrived, then a girl who jogged up there came puffing up. It was a regular hoot-nanny folks and by gaw, I am so proud to a Redding local!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Lost Weekend

A whirlwind of a weekend, this last one was. Me dear old Mum turned 70 so there was a big party with lots of old friends from out of the area here. I surprised her with a real blast from the past in the form of our old, old friend "Hippie Charlie", from our L.A. days. Let me tell you friends, the 60's are still alive and kickin' albeit a wee tad gray! Old Char got going on subjects ranging from peyote cults to government mind -control plots until finally, I had to take him out for a little walk to the Sundial Bridge. Then as if by magic, in the light of the setting sun, friends began arriving one by one on their bicycles until Charlie finally yelled out, "Do you know every person who rides a bike in this town!?" We had not seen him in almost 35 years but it was just like old times again. He stayed Friday and Saturday night at the Motel 6 and "boogied on home" early Sunday morning. I got my weekend rides in, while he explored the area in his Prius.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy May Day!

The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian Europe, as in the Celtic celebration of Beltane, and the Walpurgis Night of the Germanic countries. Many pre-Christian indigenous celebrations were eventually banned or Christianized during the process of Christianization in Europe. As a result, a more secular version of the holiday continued to be observed in the schools and churches of Europe well into the 20th century. In this form, May Day may be best known for its tradition of dancing the Maypole and crowning of the Queen of the May. Today various Neopagan groups celebrate reconstructed (to varying degrees) versions of these customs on 1 May.

The day was a traditional summer holiday in many pre-Christian European pagan cultures. While February 1 was the first day of Spring, May 1 was the first day of summer; hence, the summer solstice on June 25 (now June 21) was Midsummer. In the Roman Catholic tradition, May is observed as Mary's month, and in these circles May Day is usually a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In this connection, in works of art, school skits, and so forth, Mary's head will often be adorned with flowers. Fading in popularity since the late 20th century is the giving of "May baskets," small baskets of sweets and/or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbors' doorsteps.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Super C.X.

Last Saturday I took one of the best rides I've ever been on. I rode from the downtown area, over the Sundial Bridge, worked my way over to the North side river trail and took the steep, up and out section to Quartz Hill road, out to the Hornbeck trail. I rode the loop of the ditch trail and back the Hornbeck proper. Then I rode back in. The whole key to my wonderful experience was the fact that I was riding my 1990(?) Bianchi cross bike. That bike is by no means the best road bike nor is it the best single track bike, but it will smoke a full-on mt. bike on the road and it works great on off- road trails like the Hornbeck. I found perfect conditions out there, no mud and no dust. Just that beautiful hard pack with a hint of moisture from the little rain we got earlier in the week. I would love to run a road/dirt time trial someday and see if I could get others interested. Maybe a mini Paris Dakar rally for bicycles.

Monday, April 28, 2008

More Stuff!

We had a great "Bicycle Swap and Sell" on Sunday. The place was buzzing with people buying, swapping and trading, parts and complete bikes. I want to thank everyone who came and by all means, come on down for next one. Maybe some time this coming Fall.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Best Thinking

I have often wondered, is possible to damage one's brain by engaging in anaerobic exercise for extended periods of time, (a.k.a. hammering your friggin' noggin off on a bicycle!)? I have noticed that after a morning long ride, I often spend the rest of the day in a sort slack-jawed stupor, mumbling incoherently, eating everything in sight, then sneaking off for a wee nap. When I get up, I take two Tylenols, make dinner and vegetate in front of the T.V. until early bedtime zonk-out comes.
I think I may be just a little too competitive out there when I'm riding with others or when I happen to see fresh meat... I mean another rider, up the road ahead of me. I made a pact with myself that this would be a "base building" year wherein I would spend quality time riding well with in my aerobic zone 90% of the time. But last Sunday I was up to my old tricks again, blasting off the front of the pack only to be buried (200 meters from the summit) by guys who look like they're made of beef jerky.
Now, armed with this knowledge, I plan on really paying close attention to the messages my body is trying to send to me. So, tomorrow night at the Lemurian kick off ride from Chain Gang, I plan on riding nice and easy on the group ride up Rattlesnake on my one-speed with Noel and Stewart to the Top-Of-The-World. Yeah, Right!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Captain Look Out rides Again!

You know, lately I've been getting a lot of mail regarding the whereabouts of one "Captain Look Out," the fictitious moniker of a once-powerful Mt. Bike rider here in Northern California. The problem with nailing down this semi-mythological man's being is that those who knew and rode with him are all either dead or missing large pieces of their reasoning power. I will not try to pretend that many years ago Mt. Bikers didn't believe that certain herbal concoctions were not only necessary but essential to performance enhancement.
Oh sure, I've caught fleeting glimpses of what might be "The Captain" through the years. Riding an ancient Gary Fisher bike, a beard to his knees, out there flailing away at the pedals, alternately screaming out curses and blessings to the oblivious passersby in their cars. Well, in honor of this once great icon of cycling, we are going to be holding our first annual Sell and Swap Bicycle Meet. We look forward to seeing you there and who knows, maybe "The Captain" will bless/curse us with his presence.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Life Cycle

I am alone, riding a trail that I have been on hundreds of times. Only the bikes have changed through decades of being out here. A certain amount of natural and man made influence can be seen. A large section of the trail fell into the creek in 1995, necessitating a new route up and around the slide. I've seen new houses go up, stealing into"my" trail areas. So far they are just little breaks in the tree line, high atop the surrounding ridges. For over 20 years now I've been riding "out west of town." I try never to forget how lucky I am to have these areas to ride my bikes in. They are spaces where my soul can soar and I can play out my alter ego existence as the next great, up and coming world champion, be it youth, veteran, master or senior.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bicycle Swap Meet.

O.K.! It's official. We are going to hold the first annual Bicycle swap meet on April 27, 2008. That is Sunday, the day after the Lemurian bike race. We'll get going about Noon and go until it's over. Bring your trade-able, sell-able stuff and a folding table or ground cloth and let's swap and sell! Also, make a list of what you might be looking for (between now and then) because if you're like me, you'll get there and go blank. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"I am not a Communist!"

"But I do tend to be a bit Socialistic at times." I am hatching another plan involving bicycles, this one is a swap meet. You bring your boxes of crap and I bring mine. We swap and sell our crap. I leave with crap I can use and you get new crap too. It's amazing how much crap I've accumulated in the last 20+ years of crapling... I mean cycling.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Strange Dreams

My brain, recoils like a gun stock against a discharge of the words, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot on this day 40 years ago. My brain, is not able to wrap around and hold the reality of petrified wood. In my brain, God is a Walt Disney-like chap who created the earth and then buried and hid rocks and fossils to make me think the earth is much older than the bible tells me so. In my brain, a scheme is hatching wherein I go to O.J.'s five and dime and buy a bunch of small, hard rubber balls to sling shot at the Mo-Fo crow who sits outside my house each morning, cawing and croaking like a mad man in my early morning dream-sleep. Fuck it! I'm up!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Monkey Boy and the red-headed step child

So I made a complete fool of myself* by inviting a young whipper-snapper out to "MY HOUSE" aka Turtle Bay East CX course and challenging him to a four lap, impromptu cyclo-cross race. It would not have been so bad if I hadn't made all those smack-down comments throughout the day to him at work. Of course, it was warm yesterday but I truly believe that if I hadn't aspirated my own Power Gel Puke on the third lap, I would have finished better.
*Please disregard all previous references of my being "The Woody Allen of cycling", "Jimmy the bottle rocket", or any of the countless other derogatory monikers I have proclaimed of myself in earlier entries. This was "THE BIG ONE" folks.

Monday, March 31, 2008

A ride with Noelly Frejole and Brook

I have been noticing that Noel is rollin' out for Sunday rides just about the same time as the Gazzigli Boyz are on Sunday mornings. So I hooked up with he and Brook yesterday and we hit the Hornbeck recreation area. What a fun ride we took. Noel reminds me of a kind of Sir Edmund Hillary of cycling. He is incredibly strong and big! Brook is a bike handler extraordinaire. Incredible flair and style. We laughed our butts off and rode some superb trails. I took my Monohopper and hung in there fairly well. My quads started locking up a bit towards the end of the ride, when I would get up out of the saddle for climbing (one-speed). But all and all I had a great time and hope to do it again next Sunday. Come one come all. The more the merrier!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Freak-out!

1975, We were a motley crew of long haired, harebrained pranksters. We were rolling through downtown Reno Nevada (the"BIGGEST LITTLE CITY IN THE WORLD") in a 1960 V.W. bus. It was spring break and day 6 of a road trip that had taken us to a "vision quest" in the North West section of Nevada (the area is now used for the annual Burning Man festival.) Three of our party of seven were standing in the back of the bus with their heads and shoulders sticking out through the roof hatch of the bus yelling at the top of their lungs "Eureka.. We found it!!" Then they began tossing small handfuls of peyote buttons to the bewildered crowds of blue-haired, day-gamblers as they shuffled down the side walks toward their tour buses.
I had, up until this point, just been sitting in the back of the bus brooding and mumbling my general disdain for this whole affair and kept quipping little statements of dissension toward Matt the driver and hatcher of this silly scheme. Where upon the inevitable killer-bong made it's way back to me. In a fit of one-upmanship, I took the biggest hit of monster hash of my life and rose from my seat like a ghost from Marley dream. My smoking head was now sticking out of the top of the bus and I began screaming like a madman, "That's it! You've bought the whole pig... Hocks, Tripes and chitterlings!" "Now go roast the Bitch on your sacrificial fires you Mongrels!!!"
Smoke and particles of spittle continued to issue forth from my yowling yapper as my tirade escalated into a truly disgraceful oration, well beyond anything proportionate to the relatively prosaic situation into which our little band of hippidom had found itself. The crowd started looking on in fear and disgust when suddenly, to my horror, I realized that two of the crowd were my grandmother and grandfather Dixon. But worst of all they saw me! "Oh Charles!" leona pouted. "Isn't that JIMMY in that dirty old hippie wagon?" "JIMMY HONEY!" my papa sang out in a melodious, artificial voice. "Jesus Christ...We're BUSTED!!!" I yelled and dove into the back of the bus then buried myself in a mound of sleeping bags.
I never completely copped that entire story to my folks or why I was unable to look my Nana and Papa in the eye for years after the debacle.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Evenflow

Wednesday night ride at Turtle Bay East, smells of Chamomile and Ceonothus filled the swirling air, while fresh green grasses rolled along in lush, long waves. Lupine in bloom with purple flowers, yellow little ones, shimmering bright in rainbow-light, storm skies broken. Shiny oak leaves young and tender, buzzing in the high branches. My machine, smooth and quiet as I roll through the course, still looking for that perfect lap. Then , I think I put one together. At least , it was perfect for me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nothing means Anything!

I love to try to get down to the real nitty-gritty of the inner workings of peoples minds. My own included. I have a dear friend (we'll call him Cap'n) who is a self proclaimed Atheist. I have no problem with that as long as there is a well considered philosophy behind it. But through the years, catching glimpses of the inner workings of Cap'n's mind have been like trying to read wisps of smoke from ships on horizons afar*. The other day I was reading a sort of philosophy for dummies book and I came to Existentialism. There it was! Cap'n is a flippin' textbook Existentialist! I finally had him pinned down. I quickly contacted him and feigned a position of matter-o'-factness and asked if he had read any Nietzsche lately. He asked me "What the Fuck" I was talking about. "Come on Cap'n!" I said and started going down the list of existentialistic attributes his life espoused. "I don't know what you're talking about!" He demanded. "Dammit Cap'n, to say you don't believe in God and then have no philosophy to bring some "meaning" to life, is tantamount to a monkey sitting at a typewriter randomly pecking out The Lords Prayer. No doubt about it, I gotta find a new breakfast cereal!
*Paraphrased from Pink Floyd.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I give you, The 1987 MONOHOPPER!!!



















The project started by stripping every piece off the frame and forks. I had Nick from Bikes Etc. shave the derailleur hanger and rack lugs off. Then he machined out the axle drop-outs. When he returned it to me, I prepped and painted the rear triangle, forks and select other parts with orange Rustoleum, rattle-can paint. We rebuilt the bottom bracket, head set, pedals, and hubs, then replaced the hollow axle the bike came with and installed a solid axle. Then Randy worked his magic on the wheels by first making the front wheel round(!) and then he dished and spaced the rear wheel to create a perfect chain-line with a new BMX style single speed free wheel (20t) and single Sugino chain ring (40t). We trimmed it out with blue cable housings and orange "Da Kine" grips.








Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wednesday Night Ride

A beautiful, squally, gusty, balmy ride I did take upon me old Bianchi cross-bike and a better man returned from that ride than the s.o.b. who left his family and home in tatters only 90 minutes prior. Golly, what a difference a ride makes in my mid-week, frenetically charged, raging bull, caffeinated, mind fire. Bottom line, traction; perfect, temperature; perfect, course; clean and empty, bike; super fast. Family; recovering nicely.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Goathead 101

Amidst a large volume of conflicting theories, myths and folklore I, J.Fuzz Feely would like to put forth my hypothesis on the life and times of the dreaded scourge of cycling, the Goathead puncture vine. Right now, even as I write this article, five Gothic skater boys (they work surprisingly cheap!) are scouring the local area in search of sproutling Goathead vines that will become the curse of 2008. I will assemble a month by month specimen collection and build a diorama with the help of "Wild Bill" the homeless, cardboard wiz-dude. All will be faithfully filmed and edited by that guy, who used to be a regular guy and frequent contributor to the now defunct, alternative Redding paper, The Flying Penguin (defrocked?). With any luck the whole project should be completed in time for the Fall, local artist/scientist film festival at the down town Cascade Theater alternative, Carpet Mart At Night Club. Remember, we're not real scientists... We just conduct a lot of experiments with plants and chemicals!