Saturday, December 31, 2005

Good old Keefer Rd.

After nursing a wine hangover for most of the day, and sitting around watching it rain like the world was ending, I finally got a break in the weather this afternoon, and felt good enough to get a good ride in. Happy New Yarrr!

Activity: Road Bike
Area: Keefer Road loop. From my house it cuts the mileage, so I added some miles down and back on Keefer before the turn onto Hicks Lane.
Weather: Low 70's, clear, perfect
Weather: 55 degrees, sunny with big dark clouds over the mountains. Windy.
Distance: 20 miles
Avg spd.: 16.1mph
How I felt: Things were good. I gotta get my average speed up a couple of notches! I'm getting some occasional numbness in both of my big toes. WTF?

Thing to remember: It has been raining for about two weeks now with few breaks. This afternoon, the wind kicked in and the storm subsided for a while. All over Chico there is running water and lakes where none existed a month ago. The creeks are raging torrents, and are at the brink of spilling over. Roads were flooded and a lot of fun to ride through.

I got totally soaked by a lady that drove past me in a rusted out Honda Accord exactly like this one. We were headed in opposite directions on Hicks Lane, and we were both in a flooded section of road at the same time - thus her car sent a miniature tsunami onto my bike and me. Ha!

Why 2005 rocked, an ordered list

2005 has been, overall, a fantastic year. I'm happy to be alive right now, and here are some reasons why. Oh, and may anyone who reads this make 2006 into whatever you want it to be. At the end of the day, or year, it really comes down to how hard one is willing to work for something. Now for that list, in no particular order:

Things I'm thankful and happy about that transpired in 2005

  1. I'm finally a home owner in California. This is a lifelong dream fulfilled.
  2. My parents finally came to Chico to visit. They know where and how I'm living.
  3. I have a killer design job at Yahoo!
  4. Claire and I are happily creeping up on three years together. Every day with her blows the top off of my happy-o-meter
  5. I discovered the geological and cultural beauty of Chico, California
  6. I made friends with a Zahnd who lives in Switzerland. And I've never met him face to face.
  7. I learned quite a lot about how to care for Black Angus cattle. When the bird flu hits, this might come in handy! (ha!)
  8. I ran, cycled, flyfished, mountain biked, swam, snowshoed, hiked, and camped out!
  9. I became a lot closer with my inlaws, who happen to rock
  10. I maintained friendships all over the country due to the ever-fascinating beast that is the internet. Here's my shout out to my homies, roughly by geography: Dave in Seattle, Todd in Portland, Shawn, Damien, Jim, Justin in San Francisco, Jason in the O.C., Daniel in Tucson, Packman in Boulder, Ryan in Denver, Ben, Kelsey, and Cooper in New England, Caroll in D.C., Jay, Dave, Higgins, Kevin, Damien in the ATL! Thanks for keeping in touch ya'll. Every one of you brings something unique to my life.

Anyone who has known me for any amount of time knows that I don't make resolutions. My philosophy is that I try to live my life in such a way that I don't need to resolve anything. Besides, people don't keep resolutions. As far as 2006 goes (and the rest of my life for that matter), I do have some goals. I've been doing these things already, but I want to do them more.

  1. Ride my bike. Ride and complete the Chico Wildflower Century. I've done a marathon and tons of triathlon - there's no reason not to have a century under my belt too.
  2. Reduce my signal-to-noise ratio with regards to blog reading and general internet usage. There's too much junk out there, and it's clouding my vision.
  3. Play more music! I've been writing and recording again, so stay tuned.
  4. Make sure that the Yahoo! gig stays good and fresh. I work with some great people, and I really appreciate that fact.
  5. Relearn how to speak German. I studied it for two years in college, and never used it after that. I now have a great German neighbor, German colleagues, and a friend in Switzerland. It seems like a good time to pick it up again.

Here's to a killer new year! Glückliches Neujahr!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Today Claire and I drove an hour up to Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park to go snowshoeing. Even at 6,000 feet it was RAINING, but since we'd made the drive we went out anyway.

Once we were out, the rain subsided, and we had a great little hike into the snowy wilds of Mt. Lassen. The snow was about 30 inches deep, and wet and heavy, which made for an energy-sapping hour, even though we were takin' it easy. Claire's already zonked out in the bed as I'm writing this!

Can't wait to get back out there when the weather clears up, and I can't wait to give my shot at telemark skiing!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas Eve ride

Activity: Road Bike
Area: from Dairyville, CA to west Red Bluff, CA
Weather: 62 degrees. Partly cloudy.
Distance: ~25miles
Avg spd.: 15mph
How I felt: I rode pretty hard, legs were actually pretty tired by the end of 25 miles of rolling hills.

Hwy 99 from Dairyville is pretty scary, but once you're west of downtown Red Bluff, the road is pretty much yours, and the scenery is fantastic!

The best part of this ride was arriving at my in-laws' ranch for holiday feasting. You can see some Hanukrismas photos over at Flickr.

Friday, December 23, 2005

1st of 8 days in Chico

I got home this afternoon, and it was a perfect day in my home town. 68 degrees, partly cloudy, slight breeze. Not bad for late December! After riding my new Bianchi tank for the week, I was dying to know what the go-fast Calfee was going to feel like. It felt like riding a thoroughbred after riding a Clydesdale! Here are the stats:

Activity: Road Bike
Area: In town, Lower Bidwell Park, Upper Bidwell Park, Chico Airport
Weather: 68 degrees. Partly cloudy.
Distance: 23 miles
Avg spd.: 15mph
How I felt: Legs were a little sore for the first 4 miles from pedaling every day this week, then I felt pretty good. Too much Christmas traffic though, and man, does Christmas make drivers grumpy!

Oh, speaking of grumpy, here is a statue of some geezer near the park. I was stoked to be out riding, and not the least bit perturbed about anything - but I tried to give it my best face...

Oh, I should also mention that when we got home today, one of the first things Claire said is, "Hey, did you take my mountain bike pedals? Because if you didn't someone broke into the garage, and the only thing they took were my pedals!"

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Week 1 of the new Bianchi San Jose

With one week nearly down, and about 30 or 40 miles on my new daily driver, I want to report a few things.

Overall the San Jose is a fantastic bike to ride around town. My commute in Silicon Valley is particularly flat and short, and the single speed is perfect for it. Running errands has become a treat, and after slapping on the Time ATAC pedals from my wife's mountain bike (she doesn't know yet) I want to move further away from work so that I can get more spinning in each way. Smooth and steady is the San Jose.

My SOMA road tire switcharoo from the stock WTB's, and the Planet Bike fenders have already proven themselves. This week it rained cats and dogs several times, but I luckily was able to tear home between downpours. The roads have been miniature rivers, and the only thing wet when I get home or to work has been my shoes (not socks or feet). The SOMA tires are incredbily stable on all hard surfaces, and the mudflap version of the fenders have saved me from back spackle every single time.

My only complaint with the fenders is that due to their ease of installation (I installed them in less than ten minutes)and light weight, they tend to shimmy on brick surfaces and over potholes. The result is a nanosecond rub against the tires, but there have been no ill effects from it.

So if anyone in the world actually read this, are there any recommendations for what kind of rear rack I should put on this bike? It would be nice to get the laptop and stack of books and papers off my back, and onto the bike!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Looks like Old Man Winter showed up

I haven't ridden a lick this weekend! A big storm came in off the Pacific on Friday night and hasn't let up on Chico. And when I say storm, I mean it's raining sheets, and our yard has puddles big enough for the dogs to drink out of.

Call me a fairweather cyclist, but 30 miles in pouring rain and 48 degrees isn't my invitation to hit the pavement.

On to a new week, and my Kreiter rollers in Santa Clara...

On a different note, I did pick up some new fenders and a fat headlight for the daily commute.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


I was chatting with my Swiss friend, Thomas, who also happens to be a cycling nut, and I was describing to him the Bianchi I purchased this evening. He said it sounded like an old Swiss Army bike, at which point he showed me a couple of photos of his.

The bike is called a Militärvelo, and is issued to all Swiss men that serve their time in the Swiss Army. Army service is mandatory in Switzerland, and I think it should be in America too, but that's another story for another blog...

So at the end a Swiss man's army service, he can buy his issued bike for very little money from what I've read. The bikes were redesigned in 1995 (after about 100 years of the original design), and apparently not only men have access to the bikes now. Heh.

Thomas told me that the bikes are in the army surplus stores in Swizterland as well. The next time Claire and I go to Switzerland, perhaps I can convince her to let me ship one back... after all, they're really cheap!

New daily driver

For the past several months I have been drooling over the 2006 Bianchi San Jose. I absolutely hate commuting on my Dahon folding bike, and I've been wanting a single speed commute bike for quite a while. Today after work, I went to American Cyclery and picked one up! They are the only bike shop in the entire Bay Area that has them in stock, and apparently they have a sweetheart deal with Bianchi USA, which is right across the bay in Hayward, California. American Cyclery by the way, is one of the best shops in the Bay Area if you're into classic road machines.

Anyway, tonight was one of those bike porn nights, where you sit there and ogle at your new, shiny metal buddy. I think the best part of the frame is on the back of the seat tube, just above the bottom bracket. There's a yellow chicken, and an accompanying caption that says "100% Chick Designed" - which I'm assuming that a lady, or team of ladies over at Bianchi USA are responsible for. Nice work gals! Your bike is currently rocking my evening!

The guys at the bike shop were cool enough to throw in some sweet and fat SOMA New Express tires, and even put them on for me. I also have the WTB All Terrainasauras tires that came on it, in the case that I want to punish myself with a single speed off road...

So when I got home, I threw on the bike shorts, threw on some pedals, and hopped on the rollers for about a half an hour. Other than the smell of burning rubber in the room from the new tires, everything seems great so far. The bike is such a departure from my Calfee racing bike! A much longer wheel base, a chromoly frame, super-relaxed posture, huge tires, and one gear make for an incredibly smooth ride. Steering is nowhere close to my Calfee's precision, nor is acceleration fantastic, but with the Bianchi it's not supposed to be. I see it as a go anywhere daily driver that will require very, very little maintenance.

I'm looking forward to putting a rack and some fenders on this puppy, and putting in some daily miles on her!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Damn, it's been a while

I absolutely did what I predicted - I stopped writing here. The reasons have been good though - I've been busy with work. I'm now a Yahoo! I spend my weekdays in Silicon Valley, and my weekends in the heaven on Earth that is Chico. So now, back to it. I've decided to go for it, and ride the Chico Wildflower Century at the end of April.

Luckily I've been commuting by bicycle to Yahoo!, so at least I've been spinning a little each day. 100 miles is a long way to ride though, so I need to get training in earnest.

If anyone in the Santa Clara area stumbles upon this, and wants a so-so cycling partner, drop a line. Hint: follow the link at the very bottom of this page to email me.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Perhaps the perfect day?

I rode my mountain bike with Jesse in Upper Bidwell Park - yeah, dogs are allowed. Then Claire and I went to Butte Creek, and watched the swarms of Chinook Salmon. The fish are so exhausted from the 100 mile upstream journey we were able to simply pick them up out of the water with our bare hands! It's not something one can describe, picking up a 2 foot, 25 pound salmon from the stream... and of course we just put 'em back in the water! We then rode our bicycles downtown to the Thursday night market, and ate fresh tamales and had a local brew.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Run, Honey Run!

Holy salmon, has a week really slipped by, and I've not done a thing?! Terrible. My only lame excuse is that I've been so busy traveling for work-related activities that I've not had time. Today was great!

Activity: Road Bike
Area: beautiful Chico
Weather: Low 80s !
Distance: 27.2 miles
Avg spd.: 15.2 mph
How I felt: The bike felt great, no numbness, I rode like a billy goat! I think the bike is nearly dialed in now.
Thing to remember: I rode most of the Honey Run loop to the covered bridge, and started running out of daylight. The bridge was built in 1894 and is the only three-level covered bridge in the United States. I stopped to walk across the bridge, and peer out over the creek when what to my surprise, but OCEAN RUN SALMON as long as my legs! It's spawning season, and they're all showing up in droves. The photo is courtesy of my friend Grant

Monday, September 12, 2005

Microsoft fitness trails

There are approximately 7.5 miles of trails on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Wa.

Activity: Running
Area: Microsoft, Redmond, Washington
Weather: 50s
Distance: 40 minutes
Avg spd.: ?
How I felt: Some kinda left knee tweakage, spawned a new trail shoe purcahse. My last pair of Montrails had holes in the uppers, and I've never worn them anywhere but in the dirt.
Thing to remember: Running out the butterflies.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Siskiyou Century

For starters, I only did the 61k ride. Yeah, 61k. Read on.

Activity: Road Bike
Area: Shasta Valley: Yreka, Little Shasta, and Montague, California
Weather: Chilly, low 60's, big puffy clouds being broken up by the coastal range.
Distance: 37.9 miles
Avg spd.: 16.2 mph
How I felt: Great. At the end of the ride my legs were more or less wiped, I had itchy lungs, and just felt great. Still dealing with a little groin numbness, and big toe numbness... maybe time to try a different saddle? Otherwise, the bike fit felt great.
Thing to remember: Hmm... the course was absolutely beautiful - rolling hills through a giant valley surrounded by towering mountains on all sides. Lots of cattle ranches, one lumber mill, and humans were far and few. The first half of the ride I finished at a 17.5mph pace, and the headwind on the second half slowed me down quite a bit. What else... the general vibe at this century was lame. Lots of grumpy ass rodies, and the locals weren't exactly a bowl of cherries either. I can't count the number of times I said "HOWDY!!!" to someone on my bike, only to be met with silence, scowls, or both. The maps/directions/painted arrows on the road were all screwed up as well. Their distances were off, and one painted arrow was flat out wrong - it pointed to turn left, and the map said to go straight. That said, the folks that put on the race were personable, polite, and their post-ride food was good, down-home cookin' - beef, chicken, baked potatoes, pasta salads, all the fixins.

Overall a fun ride, but I don't think I'll be going back next year.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Taper. Ha!

For two days now I've been "tapering" for my half century tomorrow. I haven't fallen off the wagon already, I'm just getting ready to rumble through Siskiyou County on Saturday morning. (ahem)

I've been considering bringing the digital camera along for the ride, but I'm not certain that's a good idea yet.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

In and around town

Activity: Road Bike
Area: All over town, all over Bidwell Park
Weather: Low 70's, clear, perfect
Distance: 17.4 miles
Avg spd.: 15.8 mph
How I felt: Good! Bike tweaks definitely made a difference in overall comfort. There are still some things to be done though. I took it easy today.
Thing to remember: A guy in one of those ugly candy apple red Dodge Magnum wagons nearly hit me as I was turning left from East Ave. onto Manzanita Ave. That thing had a HEMI. I know this because as he roared off (thus burning 4.6 gallons of gas in 1/4 mile) I read his license plate: HEMEEE. He also yelled for some reason, "What are you, out of your mind?!!!," as he sped off.

F'ing dillweed.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bike fit update

After posting yesterday about my poor bike fit, I did some research and made some adjustments.

I read some of these articles:

and then I:

1) Put my saddle back to center
2) Kept lowering my seat post click by click until I could pedal backwards using my heels with no hip wobble
3) Asked Claire to measure my leg angles with a plumb (yo-yo from Profile Design), and an angle finder

And guess what?! My bike got a hell of a lot more comfortable, and my leg angles were textbook as a result of the adjustments. This then allowed me to rotate my handlebars back to a sane position, which also is giving me better braking leverage and handling abillity. My Calfee Tetra Pro suddenly felt like a cockpit rather than a strain on my nether regions, back, and neck. The problem now is that I need to rewrap my bars and move the levers to accomodate my new riding position.

I took her for a quick spin and it's a whole different feeling - sprint power where I'd not felt it before, no hot spots (or dull spots) in my back, neck, or groin. This is all undoubtedly due to riding a triathlon bike for several years, and not understanding how a classic geometry road bike should be set up. Tri bikes have an entirely different setup than classic road bikes, and it's taking me a while to get the idea into my thick skull.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Keefer Road loop

After a few days of driving in search of rare fish, I needed to stretch my legs on the bike - especially in light of the fact I'm riding a 37 mile ride next weekend.

Activity: Road Bike
Area: Keefer Road loop. From my house it cuts the mileage down though.
Weather: Low 70's, clear, perfect
Distance: 16.1 miles
Avg spd.: 16.1mph
How I felt: Good! I'm starting to wonder if my top tube is too long though. Occasionally I experience some numbness downstairs due to saddle pressure, and my saddle is as far forward as it can go. Before I sell the Calfee I'll work on core body strength first - to make sure it's the bike, and not my weak computer geek torso being too weak to hold itself up at the proper angle and distance...
Thing to remember: I found the property I want to buy some day out on, of all road names, Hicks Lane. A beautiful home on 60 acres right outside Chico, horse barns, a nice horse arena, and country roads in every direction with a perfect view of the Sierra foothills.

Dismal Swamp, et al.

I'll let the photos tell the story on this one. Just keep clicking 'Next' in my photostream until you get to 'Pine Creek Brown'.

Activity: Flyfishing
Area: Far northern California
Weather: Killer - warm days, cool nights. A touch windy.
Distance: umm... 2 full days (Sep 3-4, 2005)
Avg spd.: slow and painful (ha)
How I felt: Like I drove too much and fished too little.
Thing to remember: Catching one of the rarest fish in the state, from what I hear.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Activity: Running
Area: my hood, North/East Chico
Weather: 88ish
Distance: An hour, on and off...
Avg spd.: slow and painful
How I felt: Some kinda left knee tweakage
Thing to remember: I saw three toads. Claire and I did some window shopping on the run. Ha. We're hardcore!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Wind: the invisible hill

Activity: Road Bike
Area: Sprint to the Chico airport and back
Weather: Low 70's, clear, and WIND
Distance: 10.5 miles
Avg spd.: 15mph
How I felt: good!
Thing to remember: 20mph headwind gusts kept me below 10mph at points! Insane wind today. Much of the ride home was 30mph+ !! I was going 9mph on a dead flat road at the Chico Airport into a massive headwind, and a guy laughed out loud at me.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Sunday morning ride

On my ride today, I decided today that I'm going to do my first century ride ever next spring. And why not make it the Chico Wildflower Century, which is hosted in my home town? I have a long way to go training-wise, but the ride isn't until the end of April. If I can run a marathon, I can ride a century. Right?

Activity: Road Bike
Area: In town, Lower Bidwell, Chico Canyon Rd.
Weather: 80-88 degrees. Sunny and clear.
Distance: 22.5 miles
Avg spd.: 16.5mph
How I felt: like cobwebs are falling outta my lungs
Thing to remember: Got pulled by two old guys (mid 50s?), one riding a squeaky tank sporting old school platform/clip/strap pedals, for about 5 miles. They blew my doors off up Chico Canyon. Try harder.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Bidwell Park Centennial 5k

Claire and I ran a fun little 5k race this morning in Bidwell Park. It was sponsored by the Chico Running Club, and there were about 250 entrants.

Activity: Running
Area: Lower Bidwell Park
Weather: 65-70 degrees and clear! Perfect early morning!
Distance: 5k (3.1 miles)
Avg spd.: 8:10 pace - awful.
How I felt: Good and outta shape.
Thing to remember: Two pugs walked the race with their owner. The pugs had race numbers, the owner didn't. There was also a Chihuahua sporting a pink miniskirt. Oh, and Bidwell Park is soooo beautiful.

Pre-race vogue (of course I ran with it):

Friday, August 26, 2005

Another August day in Chico

Activity: Mountain Biking
Area: Upper Bidwell Park
Weather: 96 awful degrees when I started, below 90 post sunset
Distance: Who knows? (1.5 hours)
Avg spd.: Slow! Rocky and technical terrain.
How I felt: Good, albeit like frying bacon due to the heat.
Thing to remember: Stopped in a shady area to avoid blistering sun and watched four deer munch some shit on the ground. Mid-ride I jumped into Big Chico creek with all my shoes/clothes/gloves on. Ride home was cool, damp and excellent.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Is someone getting the best of you?

Or are you getting the best of you?

As the description of this blog says, I decided to do this out on my ride today. We'll see how it goes.

I've been in an amazing exerciseless rut for about a year now. For several years of my life at the end of my twenties, I was a full on triathlete and runner. I raced in dozens of tris, several half marathons, a marathon (Boulder Backroads Marathon), and countless shorter distance trail races. Since I came back out to California on January 1, 2003, I have slowly declined my exercise amount to a level that is unacceptable to me.

I know that most people would think I'm insane. I'm 5'9" and weigh between 138 and 142 pounds depending on the day, and I can still run a 10k with zero training. It'll hurt, and I'll be a winded sack of shit, but I can get through it.

This morning I got up and hopped on my road bike for the first time in about two months, and two months ago was also probably the first time in two months. I guess I like to keep things nice and even. Anyway, as I was riding out Cohassett Rd., sucking wind and suffering from the mounting heat of the oncoming Chico August day, it hit me. I thought to myself, DUDE, you're out of shape, chewing air like a fat bastard who's been eating fried chicken and biscuits and watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the past ten years.

I hit the beautiful downhill that is the left hand turn at Keefer Road, and I started thinking about ways to get stoked again about riding, swimming, racing, and just leading a healthier lifestyle again. It's not that I do anything that is anti-healthy, I just tend to sit in front of my computer way too much (hey, I have to make a living, and it so happens that I run a design business). Claire and I are outside a lot, but we've spent more time lately on gardening, laying hardwood floors, and playing with dogs and horses than we have on running around on trails like maniacs.

I don't intend for this blog to be a training log perhaps as much as a way to look back on what I've done to connect my hands, feet and soul with the earth a little each day. I might run, ride, swim, flyfish, dig in the dirt in my garden, ride horses, or take my wife and dogs to the mountains. If I happen to bring a camera with me, I'll post photos over on Flickr. In all liklihood, I'll be the only person who reads this thing. I'm ok with that.

So without further adieu, I post my first record, mostly for myself, about what I did today outside.

Activity: Road Bike
Area: North Chico
Weather: 90 degrees, hawt! Sunny and clear, headwind on half the ride.
Distance: 18.7 miles
Avg spd.: 15.1 mph
How I felt: like shitski
Thing to remember: Stopped on Elite Dr. and bummed some water from a construction crew's orange cooler. When I first showed up, Foo Fighters 'Best of You' was on the radio; as I rode off, 'Fly By Night' by Rush came on.