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.