Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Gravel Grinder from Soma....

I just ran across this little blip over at Urban Velo.  Looks like Soma is putting together their version of the Salsa Fargo.  Not bad looking at all.  A bit more road heritage than mountain (when compared to the Fargo), but it sure looks like a fun ride. 

Another rider in the night.

As I headed out from work yesterday, I saw quite a sight.  Some nut on a bike.....Shocking, I know, that I would notice this.  This guys was different however, not just a kid on a bike or someone who couldn't afford a car.  This guys was decked out.  Bright front lights, multiple blinkers on the rear (including one on a jacket mount?), panniers with reflective piping.......and did I detect the glint of studs in those tires?

The only idiot I know who fits close to that description is me....and due to some laziness, my bike was right behind me in the back of the car as I drove to yoga.  So who the heck rides in this kind of weather....in the dark....on scary roads like Mill St.

I was so stunned (and driving) that I didn't get a picture (so I stole the one below from Reno-Rambler)!  

I did get a good look at the guy bike and immediately I had my answer.  It was none other than the rambler of Reno himself, the Reno-Rambler of long time bike blogging fame.

This picture is stolen directly from Reno-Rambler.blogspot.com

Could this be the perfect bike?  Lighting (check), rack (check), panniers (check), fenders (check), studded tires (not sure....but I know he has them), easily configured (check), no overly fancy suspension or parts (check).  One bike to do it all!?

The truth is, what I recognized was the absolutely classic Bridgestone MB-1 that I know he rides....and was in fact featured in his blog recently.  It's an excellent example of how one bike can be configured to run in any conditions for any purpose.

So hats to the Reno Rambler for keeping his pledge to ride every day this year!

Clean Air...

As you may have guessed from the decreased activity, work has kept me busy lately.  However, it hasn't kept me from riding, which brings up the topic of our recent weather.  It's not the cold or the snowy days that bother me....it's the period in between the weather systems.  During these times home heaters are cranking, cars are idling at stop lights and grinding the sand and salt laid down to keep the roads clean, and cold heavy air sits stagnant in the valleys.  Otherwise known as an inversion. 

This means that all those pollutants and particulates get trapped in the valley air and it quickly becomes unhealthy.

Notice you couldn't even see across the valley through the haze as recently as 2 days ago! 

Fortunately, when we get a weather system moving through the area, the winds pick up and the inversion is broken, filling our little valley back up with clean air! 

So the question is, when the burn code turns to red and air quality is bad....do you still get out there and ride (or exercise in general) or stay home and "protect" your health?  I clearly vote for the ride.  I figure I'd rather breath a little suspect air than ride the couch (and car) and add my personal pollution to the mix.  In fact perhaps if a few more people took this approach the air wouldn't be quite so bad. 

So get out and enjoy the clean air and blue skies!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Unbelievable trials riding on a fancy road bike!

No comments required on this one....just amazing this is even possible!  I am guessing you probably won't want to buy a used bike from these guys!

Update:  Apparently, Reno-Rambler found this one days ago....sorry about the copy post.

The last cyclocross video...snow!

Ok, work is busy.  This is the last race in the series this year....yes, we had to shovel the whole fricking course.  Yes, it was snowy, icy, and very fun.

p.s.  Here are the results:

Men's A- Nick Schaffner
Wmn A- Paige Galeotto
Men A 35+- Steve Ouzounian
Men's B- Jason Erickson
Men's B 35+- Spencer Ericksen
Women B/C- Katie Ingram
Men's C- Tate Meintjes
Men's C 35+- Andy Tenbrink
Singlespeed- Jude Mayne
Jr's- Sam Ouzounian

And yes....my name is in the list (just look at the old guys beginner category.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A sad story....but at least the system is working.

This was on KTVN (Channel 2) late last week.  It is the absolute definition of the classic right hook, where a car passes a cyclist and then turns right directly across the cyclist path.  Even the police report indicates it.

Yet, even after taking a life, Judge Gibbons refuses to take responsibility for his own actions.

If you want to read the initial write up with police details it's here.  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Davis Creek Park Cyclocross Race....there was snow!

Ok, it definitely snowed the night before and we already had snow on the ground.  None the less, bikes were loaded into cars and folks showed up (almost 30 racers)!  Wifey and I got there around 8:30 am for the 10 am race.  The ranger was just starting to plow out the park and about 5 other brave souls were present.  We calmly looked at the 1 - 1 1/2 feet of snow on the ground.....

In short order shovels appeared, a modified course layout was devised, and the "fun" began.  Basically, the course looked like the screen capture below.  Meaning we only had to walk through and then shovel about 1/2 mile of trail!

Did I mention that the portions on the campground roads had a nice sheet of ice just under the plowed surface....yeah, they definitely did.  So the course was challenging on the road and on the winding single track that was only a single shovel width! Anyway it was a total blast so I'll let the pictures do the talking!

Deep snow....you know dogs love it.  Apparently bikes do too!

Clearing the course!

The start house.

Start of the Men's C, women's B, C, and Juniors.

And they're away on the ice!

If you can't ride it.....run it...with a fantastic smile!

Outta the single track and onto the ice!

Staying warm by the fire!

Bike parking isn't a problem in deep snow...just stow and go!

More warming!

Men's A, B, and Women's A from the gun.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Reno cyclist circles the World - Free Presentation Monday.

Just saw this over at the RGJ ( written by James Ball ):

Since 1999, Hans Frischeisen hasn’t just traveled around the world on his bicycle, he’s traveled it vertically, horizontally and now, diagonally.

Recently back from the first installment in his fifth cycling trek “around” the world, Frischeisen, who calls himself “Hans the Cyclist,” is set to share tales from his most recent adventure in a free slide show presentation Monday night at the City of Reno Council Chambers.

The slide show will encompass his August to November trek across Germany, Turkey, Iran, India and Sri Lanka. He will continue the journey next year, completing his fifth time around the world.

On his trips, where there are no passable roads, such as in western Russia, Frischeisen kayaks and hikes. He doesn’t pre-arrange accommodations, preferring to camp out or stay with strangers who offer him a room for the night.

Frischeisen, who was born in Hamburg, Germany but is a long-time Renoite, said his favorite memory is of kayaking through Russia.

“It was the best thing I ever did in my life. There are sections here,” he said pointing to a map of Russia, “where I was three weeks without human contact. This can either be very scary or a moment of self-realization, self-finding and that’s the direction I took. That’s one of the advantages when you bike or kayak. You have time to meditate, think, pray, whatever you want to do.”

Not all of the journeys have been so smooth, however. Last year, while cycling through Texas, Frischeisen was struck by a vehicle, which resulted in a lengthy hospitalization and recovery period. In Africa, he was chased by leopards, but managed to escape by shining his helmet-mounted flashlight at the cats while he got away.The free event begins at 6:30 p.m. and runs for an hour. The council chambers are located at the corner of First and Virginia streets. Free parking is available at the Club Cal-Neva Casino. Details at 775-746-1092.

My thoughts exactly on this Friday afternoon!

The only "chatter" on this blog today will be my teeth.

Nuff said....it was cold on the commute today.  Tingly fingers, tingly toes, ice in the river, and ice in my beard.  I guess up in Bend this necessitates driving  :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

An adventurous morning bike commute.

Ok, I will admit that the commute today was challenging.  The neighborhood roads in Reno are never on the plow list, so they become hard packed, rutted ice.  I didn't stop for a picture of this because it is best to concentrate on not eating it.  The studded tires on the Xtracycle definitely help, but you can still find yourself kissing terrafirma in short order.

Once you make it to more traveled roads you might find a two-track type area where you can at least get out of the ruts.  You then have to be very careful in regards to overtaking traffic.  They too are focused on the two-tracks and don't tend to pass very safely.

Finally, I make it to the river path.  It is usually plowed within 24 hours of any snow!  It was clear sailing from here, or so I thought.  This is what I encountered on the rest of the commute....

The path had a road closed sign at the ice rink.  A construction crew was doing some concrete cutting.  You can't go around the other side of the rink so you're forced to cut through.  I walked to be polite.  Really there was nothing to the "construction" that required a closure.  The worst part was their large truck blocks your view of traffic in the cross walk (or more importantly, traffics view of me trying to cross).

A bit farther along, just across the bridge at John Champion Park, another road closed sign!?  This one you really have to go through, as there is no way back that doesn't involve a 2 mile detour on roads that aren't friendly even on nice days.  Apparently they are scooping out something in the river and hauling it up the path.

The only bad part about this one is envisioning how much damage this does to the path.  It's not build to handle 10 ton trucks!

When I finally got to Rock Blvd. (which has bike lanes)....the bike lanes are the location the snow is pushed to.  This leaves you exposed and basically riding in traffic, so it's a bit nerve fraying.
So that's how a standard 6.5 mile commute turns into an adventure!  A few obstacles never hurt anyone eh?  They did make what is normally a ho-hum commute into something interesting!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cyclocross coming up on 12/7...maybe we'll get snow....maybe we'll get mud?

Just found this video from a cyclocross race up in Washington.  Looks like they had a few days of rain prior to the event that made for an interesting course!

Here's a few stills from a local photographer (Photos by Leonard Johnson / HotFootPhoto) too:

Great day for a ride....if you have studded tires!

Well, fancy that.....I do have studded tires on the Xtracycle! 

I didn't get to ride in on this bright sunny, cold, and icy day however.  This was due to the fact that wifey does not like to drive in icy conditions, and very nicely asked me to drive with her.  Turns out (with very cautions traffic), it takes far longer to drive than to ride in icy conditions. 

Ridiculously longer!!!

I did however, have the presence of mind to throw a bike in the back of the car!  So at least I can go for a nice snowy ride on lunch. 

So, yeah....that's kinda it for this post. Perhaps I'll have a better story after the lunch ride!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

For those who dare to ride...we salute you!

To rip off the AC/DC themed title.....did you ride today!?  Depending on when you commute, you could have had some very different conditions.  I believe it started snowing about 7:20 at my house in the old northwest and it continued to get stronger the entire commute.  So basically, we went from this (yesterday morning):

To this (in 24 hours):

Not too bad when I left the house.

By the time I got downtown it was picking up.
I didn't snap any pics on Mill St. this morning.....I was a bit worried about drivers unintentionally using my bike lane (and there were some).  It was really coming down by the time I crossed the top of the airport on Mill! 

And with respect to the title.....I did see two other riders out there this morning!  And wifey reported seeing three riders on her drive in!  So hats off to everyone who got out the door this morning!

p.s.  The new fenders on the salsa were fantastic...since absolutely no one cares!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Holiday Happenings....Fenders, Bike Rides, Maintenance, Xmas lights, and more!

Four day weekends freakin' rule!  You have time to recover from the week, be lazy, go out with friends, ride bikes, and just get things done that have been hanging.  Now if only they occurred more regularly!  So anyway, here's a bunch of bikey things that happened over my four days off.

Wasting no time at all, Wednesday night kicked off at Craft for drinks.  It was pleasantly busy which usually means wifey and I would know someone....but since we didn't, we migrated over to the Reno Home Brewer where we hung out with friends until they kicked us out. 

Thursday morning was a bit hazy and slow....until I remembered I had a phone call the previous night from a Cycle Oregon buddy telling me there was an "Outlaw" cyclocross race some time this morning.  After a quick check of email, it was determined the race was in about 15 minutes and I was still in PJ's.  A mad dash ensued and I made it to the race.  You can read about it in the previous post.

The rest of Thursday wifey cooked up a fabulous meal.  Turkey, green bean casserole, stuffing, mashed potates, squash, etc. There was much gluttony and laziness!

Friday morning it was time to pay for the previous days sins.  So a 5-6 mile run was set in motion with wifey and a friend.  Afterwards it was time for some bike maintenance and some long overdue fender installations.

You've seen this configuration on the Salsa for a while.  However, after another cyclocross race at Clayton, the rear tire is hosting a goat head party.

Standard steps are required here.  1) Get a beer. 2) Remove wheel.

3) Remove tube.  4) Find all the goat heads still stuck in the tire.  5) Use up all your patches to fix the tube.
Next up.  I had some absolutely gorgeous custom fenders made up for the Salsa....about 6 months ago and they've been just sitting.  Mostly because I miss measured and they were a little wide for the rear mount....meaning I had to custom cut them to get the perfect fit.  And...they were just so pretty I didn't want to rush it and mess them up.....so they sat. 

Required tools and mounting hardware....check.

After finally daring to cut them this is the preliminary mount.  Oh, yeah....the other delay on my end.  I had to drill a hole in my "newish" frame.  Something I also was nervous about.

Add the support stays.

The final mount for the rear.
And...finally, add the front fender. 

You can love or hate fenders....but they don't get much nicer looking than this.
 Ok, where does that leave us.  With this much time off, the days just start to run together.  At some point we decided we hadn't had enough social interaction, so friends were called and plans for visiting Public house for beer and Wild Garlic for pizza were made.

Beer and friends....these guys screen names are still evolving....right now I'm thinking Smiley (this one is a no brainer) and the Sasquatch.

He's huge and the eyes are kinda creepy...hence the Sasquatch (and that's what the preacher called you so deal with it).

Cold nights require two things for riding.  Layers and lights.  The xtra was sporting it's new Christmas light configuration.

Good lord.  This post is getting long.  However, we're not done.  The next morning I decided it was time to get motivated again.  So there was mountain biking.  Sasquatch was supposed to join me....but as the discovery channel has taught us, Sasquatch's aren't morning creatures, so I was on my own.

The plan was just to ride up Evan's canyon and then around the downhill course.....it evolved.

Some newer banked turns of the downhill course....they aren't as fun when you're going up.

We need a storm with some winds...the smog is building.

A view back on a steep section leading into the banked corners.

Bridge over an abandoned mine shaft....only on a Reno bike ride!

A view back on some of the climbing involved on the Halo.
Ok, so that's that.  I didn't take a lot more pictures because the Halo gets really rocky and I was tired.  And just to prove that the weekend totally kicked ass....here was what Monday morning gave up for the bike commute in.

How much better can you get than riding in to work under this sunrise / Sierra wave cloud delight. And with that I'm done with this ridiculously long post.