Thursday, May 31, 2007

I broke my frame, and I feel Macho

Well, I usually am really easy on my equipment, It gets replaced when It wears out. I have never " Taco-ed " a wheel, nor have even bent a rear derailur. I have smashed a few teeth off the big ring, but thats it.

On Wednesdays ride, while descending Deer Run, I did hear a funny noise, like when I used to use a clothes pin to attach a card to my rear triangle so that the card would make a Motorcycle sound when rode. The bike seemed to wash out a bit too. So when we got to the top of SGP, I was checking if my rear tire was underinflated. Nope. At the bottom of Jackrabbit I was following Jeff M. and boosted out of the little whoop-dee at the end and when I came down, the back end wobbled and that motorcycle sound was loud and clear. I thought I got a stick caught in the back tire. Upon stopping it was clear to see. My swing arm snapped. Since I always have my bike in the back of my truck, laying on its side under the Taunnu (sp?) cover, I thought I might have packed it wrong and caused a ding that made a crack that caused the failure. But in that area, not even the paint was scratched. Could it be that my beloved Marin Mt. Vision is not worthy? Or am I now part of the elite group that can proclaim my toughness and machismo amongst other riders as one who rides so hard that I break frames. Like I'm gonna get a tattoo on my chest that says "Thrasher"

Well, my bike was un-ridable, but fortunately for me, Scott came and picked me up. THANKS SCOTT! When I got to my office I immediately took photos of the damage and sent them to my friend Steve who works for Marin. He told me that this, unfortunately, is not that uncommon, and that a new, re-designed swing arm was on the way to me. Well, I still Feel Macho, but I will skip the tattoo for now. Since my bike was unrideable I sent my shock in to be serviced. This will take longer than it will take for me to replace my swing arm. I will be riding my wifes bike until further notice, so I may not look to Macho, but I will have an underlying glow of Machismo, as I pedal through the streets and hills of Carson City.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Travels With Troglodytes

More Trees, Less Bush
Originally uploaded by Facility Bike Club.
I've been thinking of taking the Bush sticker off my car for a while. Mostly because I just don't care anymore. It's also old and faded. I think it's kind of funny, really.

Tonight on the way home though, I had some road rage from a personal friend of W. himself it would seem. Some dude on a two wheeled car without a muffler got behind my car for a bit, and then pulled along side me for a fair amount of time giving me the middle finger. I didn't react. I don't think he even knows for sure if I saw him. What good could come of an altercation at 65 mph anyway? The voice of Sam Kinison initially entered my head, "I hope you slide under a gas truck and taste your own blood!" But I let it go. Who cares what this dunderhead thinks?

I could be jumping to conclusions here, because I have a few stickers on the rear window. It could be possible that that troglodyte on the motor assisted bicycle-like contraption detests Clif Bars. Or perhaps he loathes the Shady Grove Coffee Company. It also entirely possible that the imagery of a cyclist evolving from an ape-like ancestor gets this guys blood pressure boiling. Steaming like an overloaded pressure cooker. Which is kind of ironic if you think about it...the simian man himself has evolved to twist the throttle with his opposable thumb and stomp on the shifter with his foot.

But perhaps I am wrong again. Maybe the anthropoid on the steel horse is actually a billionaire CEO, and depends greatly on Bush's tax cuts for his very survival. And if this is the case, I apologize. Oil Tycoon? Cattle Barron? Again, sorry.

So tonight I'm going to remove the Bush sticker. I just don't want to interact with that world anymore. And like I said...I really don't care anymore. I'll go my way, and he and his minions can go their way, which ever way that is. I just want to ride my bicycle.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Let's Talk.....

Jodi and I did a loop through Diamond Valley today. The temperature was absolutely perfect with a slight breeze, that kept it from getting too steamy. Jodi started off like a "speed demon" and once I caught up to her we chatted for the rest of the ride. I found myself gazing periodically at the bright colors, as our area is in full bloom. Wow! It is absolutely beautiful here! I even saw a couple of butterflies and was pelted by several bugs along the way. The ride itself was pretty mild, but it was nice to have the opportunity to talk and relax. Along the way we passed by several friendly cyclists that would wave or say "hello". We even met a group of women riders at four corners that were getting ready to do a cycling class. They were super friendly and wanted to talk. They loved my Wildflower jersey and wanted to know how to get one. One of the women had climbed Mt. Everest and wanted to tell us about it, when we ran into her again later on during the ride.

I got thinking.... Generally speaking, bicyclist are nice people. Whether you meet someone new on a ride or at a century, they seem to be friendly and outgoing. Maybe people who ride bikes and enjoy the outdoors are happier and more content. I really look forward to getting out riding and meeting more fun people.

Let's go play!

Where is that Confounded Bridge?

Bridge number one is complete. We still need scrap wood to complete the second bridge. Donations of 10' 4x6 or 2x6's would be appreciated. Check your wood pile!

Friday Commute

Sticking to my personal goal, I commuted by bicycle on Friday. I would love to tell you of the people I met and the adventure I had, but in reality, the commute was rather routine today. But not in a bad way!

My first few attempts at bicycle commuting were like Apollo Moon Missions. Careful planning and preparations were needed for each run. Yesterday I just woke up and went. I was even on time for work! Something that never happens when commuting by car. So when I say routine, I mean that it was no big deal to just get up and go. Everything I needed for the day was in my Camel Bak.

The views were once again spectacular, but some of the other experiences were not. I got passed by trucks hauling garbage and rotting, fermented landscaping waste. The smell lingered along the road for way too long. On the way home out of Carson City, I had to deal with two German shepherds. I'd pass the pickup truck with the dogs at the 4way stops, and then they'd pass me when they got rolling again. Each time it scared the crap out of me when the dogs started barking.

At lunch, I rode with some of the FBC riders. They did a dirt loop, so I left them and met them where the dirt trails started and ended. I got some good hill climbing in, and made it all the way to the Washoe County border. I rode in three counties today!

The ride home had some strong cross winds from the West, but now that I'm more familiar with the road, they're not too bad to deal with. When I arrived home, Kristy made me some Pad Thai. This was enjoyed with a couple North Coast Brewing Company California Pale Ales. I laid down on the couch at 8:00 PM, and passed out cold...

Bicycle miles: 42
Car miles: 0

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Kristy and Jeff Ride the Flume

Yesterday I played hooky filled out the proper paper work and got permission to take the day off work. Kristy and I got the boy off to school, and then headed for Spooner Lake. We parked the car at the State Park, and began our 23 mile journey through many different ecosystems. We rode on both sides of the mountain range, and at many different elevation levels. I couldn't help but take many, many pictures of all the beautiful things we saw! Our first stop was at Marlette Lake.

We saw four other bicyclists the entire day! A combination of early season and colder temperatures made it feel like the 1980's...back when the sport was just getting started around here. I used to hike up here as a kid, and my first bicycle trip up here was on a BMX bike. I pushed it most of the way up to Marlette that day. During the summer these days, it can get really busy up here. The place is still pristine though in spite of all the traffic.

From Marlette Lake we began the Flume Trail, the stretch of trail that is famous around the world for its fantastic views of Lake Tahoe. About now, you may be wondering, "Why the heck do they call it the flume trail?". A neighbor asked me the same question just yesterday.

Many years ago when Virginia City was in its mining boom, they needed lots of water for the mining operations. Virginia City is in the deserty mountains many miles from a good water source. The solution was to build a water flume that transported water from Marlette Lake, 30 miles away, along what is now the Fume Trail, through a Tunnel at Tunnel Creek to the East side of the Carson Range, down a rapid descent to Washoe Valley, and then up over the Virginia Range to Virginia City.

"Over 7 miles of specially constructed 12" pipe connected to a 25 mile wooden flume propelled the water all the way to Virginia City via an inverted siphon and the whole business was assembled and completed in the summer of 1873". Pretty cool, huh? Along the flume trail, there are remnants of the old wooden flume and sections of metal pipe from the metal flume that replaced it. These days the water is pumped from Marlette Lake over to Hobart Reservoir using modern technology. But the rest of the process is still in place! Today the flume trail is only used for biking and hiking.

After completing the Flume Trail, we crossed over the pass at Tunnel Creek, and headed down the other side of the mountains towards the lesser known Red House Flume Trail. It's a nice peaceful ride through the woods. We saw deer, and many new snow plants emerging from the ground. Even during the busy summer months, you seldom see people on this section.

We dropped a lot of elevation to get to Hobart Reservoir, and then had to gain it all back climbing Sunflower Hill. The hill is a steep, unrelenting climb, that takes you back to Marlette Lake. The sun flowers are actually "Mule's Ear", named for the leaves that resemble a mule's ear, and were just starting to bloom. We finally made it over the Saddle and back down to Marlette Lake. From there we had a short climb, and then a nice four mile descent back to the car. We were pretty wiped out when we got home, but nursed ourselves with some Fat Tire Ale, some red wine, and a batch of homemade eggplant Parmesan. Beats working any day!

The full set of pictures are HERE.

I hope that you'll appreciate the great danger I put myself in to get these videos. As some as you know, I don't always have good luck filming while riding with one hand.

I almost ate it shortly after hitting stop on the camera. Keeping up with Kristy through the bumps with one hand was tough.

This one has a good peek over the cliff feel to it.

A Squirrel's view of Kristy riding the Flume Trail.

Happy Birthday, Sandie!

Have a great day!

You will be missed on the lunch ride today, enjoy your lunch out and eat lots of great food!

Monday, May 21, 2007

FBC Rules, beyond all that has ever ruled before...

uuuuhhhh, Bevis, Like this totally rules..Uhmm Yeah! Like rules more than Maddona and Britney Spears kissing...uhmm, yeah!

Another great lunchtime ride. Could not beat the weather. It was sunny with a cool breeze..
Check out Todd cresting the top of Lakeside on the fully suspended stead

By the way Jeff is smiling, you'd think he just got off the boat at Fantasy Island.
De Plane, De Plane!! Smiles everyone Smiles!

I tried to take a picture of everyone hitting this jump, but my timing was off for everyone except Jon, who did catch a notable amount of Air. Lookin' good!

We pedaled back to our offices. I just smile at all the others in the building. Some of them will never experience the level of excitement I just had on my lunch break.

Woo Hoo!

Here at FBC we like to have fun. The word of the day was Woo Hoo! This downhill is dried out and real sandy this time of year, but the high speed keeps you on top of the sand. Although the bottom was a bit treacherous...the bikes were swapping back and forth.

I also tried a new tire combo today. I put the Specialized Resolution 2.1 up front, and a Hutchison Python 2.0 in the rear. This tire combo dropped my hardtail into the 25 pound range, and the bike felt zippier; however, the level of control went down. I was a little crazy coming down the sand hill, and I couldn't attack the rocks like I could before. I felt like I had to be real gentle in the sand over hard pack too. I'd like to experiment with the combo more, but will probably change the tires again for my ride with Kristy on Wednesday. I'm taking Wednesday off work to go ride The Flume Trail!

I also threw away an old half eaten Clif bar that was at the bottom of my gear bag. I thought I might actually eat it some day, but I think I waited too long. It was still soft and pliable. That means it's still good right? Better safe than sorry...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Bike to Work Day

Friday was Bike to Work Day in Nevada. Having the day at the end of the week was a bit mentally and phsically hard, since I had already done so much riding this week. I was exhausted Thursday night, and wasn't sure how I'd pull it off. Much to my surprise though, I woke up Friday feeling quite refreshed! I also planned to take the direct route down HWY 395. It's not as scenic, but it gets me to work a lot faster without as much climbing. I took this route last year, and the traffic scared the living hell out of me! It wasn't as bad this time though. I'm getting used to it I guess. There are moments of tension and release throughout the route, but I don't think there's anyway around that when dealing with traffic.

Another reason I was interested in taking the direct route is that Comma Coffee was giving out free coffee to bicycle commuters. I arrived at Comma Coffee just a bit after 8:00, so I really didn't see any other cyclists. I was a little worried that I would have to explain that I commuted by bike and that I was looking for the free coffee, but they cheerfully looked at me and said, "Free Coffee?". They even recommended a blend to me. I also entered a raffle for $500 towards a new bike. Outside, I finally got to try one of the Muscle Powered bicycle racks.

At lunch, I met up with Marcus and Sandie and did a nice road bike tour of the west side of Carson City. We did Kings Canyon, the bike path, and then back to work. Marcus had some extra time, and did some additional miles.

One of the best things about bicycle commuting is all that you experience. A car is like a cell in which you don't get released until you arrive at work. Not so on the bike. It was nice to see pedestrians and animals along the way and say hello. You also have a bit more time to look at things, since you're not driving as fast. It's amazing all the subtleties you notice when slowing things down a bit.

Outside the coffee shop I heard two homeless guys talking about what they were going to do today. They wanted to get a room somewhere and wash the stinky clothes they had been wearing for four days in a row now they said.

For the last couple of years, I have seen this guy riding his bike up and down HWY 395 through Carson Valley. Winter and Summer. Every time I see him from my car, it makes me wish I would've ridden too. Today as I neared Indian Hills, I saw him in front of me. I was excited I would finally get to meet him. I snapped a picture from a ways back so he didn't think I was a freak. We talked for a bit as we rode, and I learned that Mr. Smith is 69 years old, and rides across the valley to take care of his 90 year old mother. On the way home we crossed paths again in Minden. We had a better talk this time, since we weren't on the HWY. We rode the side streets and talked about bikes. He wanted to know some tips for climbing the Indian Hills climb, and said that a lot of cyclists seem to pass him there. I noticed his seat was pretty low, and he's going to try and raise it for the next ride. I told him it might help with knee pain too, but he said he wasn't sure he'd be able to tell. He said everything hurts at his age anyway. We rode together to his house, and then I continued on to my House in Gardnerville. Hopefully I'll see him next week!

Today's total bicycle miles: 40 - Total car miles: 0

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Yes, the Flume Trail is Open!

Yesterday, Amy and I rode the Flume Trail starting from Spooner Lake finishing up in Carson City. From Spooner we went up North Canyon to Marlette Lake. The trail was clear and all the snow had melted accept for just a couple of snow patches up by the lake.

Once we reached the Flume we literally ran into Jeff F. He rode with us a bit when we ran into Jeff P. and Max who had been clearing off the large tree trunks that had fallen and blocked the trail during the winter. They had little "bobs" that they pulled behind to carry the equipment needed to clear the trail. They were really cool!

We came to the Red Flume House road by way of Patti's 3 mile hill. This part of the trail had not been cleared yet and we had to walk over 5-6 trees. Then we climbed up Sawmill Road and made our way to lakeview. I missed Hobart Lake somehow, I must have been climbing so intently I went right passed it. It was funny, I actually asked Amy, "is that Hobart?" when I could see Washoe Lake.

What a beautiful trail! I stopped and took many pictures. I just couldn't believe at each turn the view was even more amazing than the previous one. The colors, the air, the views, wow! I can't wait to do it again. Next time maybe even exploring some of the rim trail. I am excited that it is the beginning of the season and I have already done the Flume. Too cool!

I took too many pictures to post here, but you can see the rest of the photos HERE.

Ash Creek Trail

Last night we rode the Ash Creek trail. This used to be one of our favorite trails before the Waterfall Fire of 2004, but sadly the fire destroyed it. The good news is that the trail is back and better than before! The trail snakes through the high grass, thick bushes, and lots of trees. It makes you feel like you are far away from the city.

As devastating as the Waterfall Fire was, I think it has actually improved this area. Before the fire, the brush was too thick for a good route through the canyon. The area is a bit more open now, and there are many natural obstacles that provide challenges along the way.

Jeff P. and I rode the trail once, and then we ran into Keith and Josh. We rode back up and did the trail again! We had planned to hit the Ride of Silence in downtown Carson City after the ride, but a couple mechanical problems tied us up for a bit. Josh suffered a broken chain, and I had a flat tire. It was also the first time I got to run the Postal Route. I didn't want the guys to come back up the hill looking for me after I had my flat, so I ran down the trail to what is sometimes a checkpoint on the trail. Unfortunately, the guys had ridden down the whole trail, and didn't know what had become of me. They were riding back up the trail just as I was finishing my tube change. Oh well...they got to ride the Jackrabbit trail again. I don't feel too sorry for them!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Monday Afternoon Auburn Ravine- Weekend Warriors Ride Strong!

In a constant attempt to make my life more efficient, I tend to clump as many events as I can together. This weekend was no exception. I went to Sacramento on Saturday to celebrate my wifes birthday on Saturday night, Mothers day there was a congregation of " mothers" in Lodi. Lisa took the kids home Sunday night and then I stayed in Sacramento to work at the main branch on Monday and, if I was lucky, break away early and go Mountain Biking in Auburn on the way back to Carson City. Fortunately for me, I was able to rally Michael Heede, who in turn rallied Ruben and Brian and we had a CREW!

We piled into separate vehicles at Michael's house in East Sacramento. As we packed bikes into Rubens car, the conversations were all about " I haven't ridden in so long" and "It so hot today" and other semi- whiney comments. Based on those comments, I was expecting a long, slow mellow ride. That is not what I got! We got out of the car on Russel Road parking area in Auburn. We put our bikes together and hit the Manzanita trail. The pace through the tight single track was FAST. We bolted through the bushes. I was surprised because this trail used to be my old stomping grounds. It had changed. Many of the technical spots were ironed out, and places that I usually bombed over were now covered with exposed, large, angular rocks ready to pitch me over the trail at a moments notice.

We re-grouped at the first little creek crossing and the excitement level was high. When we got out onto the fire road directly above the confluence we paused for a picture. Brian was busy doing other things ( family oriented blog so I wont expand) so in this picture you can see Ruben, Michael and me.

Although it was quite hot in the direct sunlight, the lush foliage made the temperature perfect on this initial descent into the ravine. We took the high trail to the lower flood trail. I prefer this trail as it is not as crowded as the main drag heading down the hill. In addition to that, I have often seen the " bike cops" with their radar guns giving out tickets for those traveling faster than 15 miles per hour. Welcome to California!! Makes me think I need to get a radar detector in addition to the GPS unit I want to buy. Yeah baby! Those items would be a great addition to my heart rate monitor, cycle computer, altimeter watch, ipod ( with blue tooth enabled headphones) and my pocket pda. Shee-dawg! enough technology to launch a small offensive on a 3d world country! Or bog me down with owners manuals! Or worse yet, overwhelm me with technical data that I forget I am riding.
Enough of that. We got to the top of lower flood and bombed the steep fire road to the bottom. Not too many people ride or hike this fire road because it is so steep. You can see Brian here getting ready for the big descent.

We got to the bottom and checked out the river. It was beautiful. Thousands of gallons of crystal clear water flowing smoothly under the bridge. We then began to climb the Clementine section of the trail. Everyone rode strong, taking turns pulling up the hill. Now I was feeling the heat. I must do more res arch on training for heat conditions. It really takes all the juice out of me. When we neared the top of the paved climb we saw what is more of a usual sight now. There were a few pick up trucks parked and one unloading a band of DownHillers with their full on SCHPOINGERS. We road the final distance to the top with TEAM SCHPOING and regrouped. They were waiting for some straglers so we took off. I was ahead of everyone to take some action shots. On the descent we noticed that in many places, the trail split and there was the optional "Schpoing Route" that had big jumps and drop offs. We saw a particularly interesting one and hung out in hopes of seeing the Team Schpoing hit it. We waited and waited. All I got was this shot of Heede hamming it up ( whats new?) at the jump. We figured the guys on the full suspension either had a technical problem, or they were going REALLY slow. If they were going that slow, then they wouldn't have enough speed to hit the jump anyway.

The confluence trail was great. It was well maintained and we all hit it really fast. Stopping briefly to view the river. When we got back to the bridge, Michael and I stopped to jump in the river. Brian and Ruben started pedaling up the hill.

We all got back to the vehicles and reflected on the ride. Great Day! I packed up and hit the hills and those guys went back to the valley. By the looks of Donner Pass, Brockway Summit, and Spooner, I have to say, that I will more than likely be pedaling at the top of one of these passes the next time around. There was still some snow at Boreal Ridge, but none at Brockway or Spooner, telling me that much of the glory that is the Tahoe Rim Trial is ready to ride.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bike to Work Week

As most everyone knows, this week is bike to work week. I'd bike to work everyday if I lived closer, but work and home are in two different towns in two different counties. It's good to have a special week to get me motivated for the ride to work. The weather is getting pretty nice now, so a wind vest, arm and leg warmers, and skull cap were all that were needed. I take the long way to work when on the bicycle. The traffic is light, and the scenery is awesome. I saw lots of birds and deer. I even saw Marcus at the county line today.

Total bicycle miles today: 50 - Total car miles: 0

I rode a little bit at lunch today too. I rode with the Mountain Bike gang at lunch, but then Jon broke his chain. We dinked around fixing that, and then Todd and I ended up just doing the Kings Canyon road climb.

The ride home was a bit more challenging. The first order of business was rounding up a mother duck and her ducklings. They were attempting to cross a busy street, and I chased them back out of traffic. I doubt I did any good though...they probably just crossed when I left. There was sagebrush on both sides, so I'm not sure where they were headed.

All westward roads had a strong headwind that made it slow going. Conversely, all east bound roads were fast. Top gear screaming fast.

Genoa makes a good rest stop on the commute. They have nice tables and bathrooms at the park.

Tomorrow is the Ride of Silence in Carson City at 7:00 PM.

"On May 16, 2007, at 7:00 PM, the Ride of Silence™ will begin in North America and roll across the globe. Cyclists will take to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn't aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves. Join this national event by meeting in the Capital Complex Park north of the Legislative Building in Carson City (Stewart Street Side) for a slow and silent ride around town - about one hour long..."

More details about Bike to work Week can be found at the Muscle Powered site.

I'll be adding Bike to Work Week photos to Flickr throughout the week.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Maryland Riding

If you're bored at looking at the same old Nevada pictures, go check out some cool pictures from Maryland over at Scott's Blog. Scott (The Sarge) used to ride with us at lunch everyday for a couple years. Those were some good times...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Water Bottle Storage

What to do with the microwave that has been broken since October? This question has been on our minds for a while now. This morning when I asked Jeff, "what should we do with all these water bottles?" All of our cupboards are full! He suggested sticking them in the micro. We can't use it and we don't really want to get another one. So there you go. Useful space, just going to waste. I don't really like the idea of lighting up you food with microwaves before eating it. It just doesn't seem to make sense anymore. So there you have it, easy access water bottle storage! I am sure there are many other uses you can think of for your micro.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

South Lake Tahoe

Many rides in Tahoe are described on the Internet or in books. You won't find the ride we did today described in either of these places. In fact, I would have a hard time giving someone directions on our route today. Today's ride was partly wandering, and partly a route Jeff F. was leading us on. It was a pleasant ride too, with not a whole lot of climbing, and beautiful scenery everywhere you looked. Who says you have to beat yourself up every ride?

Jeff F., Kathy S., Kristy, and I began our ride at a Natural Foods restaurant called Sprouts. We got some coffees for a pre-ride pick-me-up, and then headed south on the bike path. We found a little single track along the Upper Truckee River that begged to be explored. Jeff F. was trying to lead us by memory on a ride he did a few days ago. He started to get the feeling that we weren't headed in the right direction, but then finally said, "Who cares? The worst that could happen is that we'll end up on the beach at Lake Tahoe!". We all agreed and followed the river.

The river trail terminated when we met other creeks that fed the Upper Truckee. The way forward was impassable (without getting wet), so we turned around and headed around the south most point of Lake Tahoe towards Camp Richardson. We had a nice ride through the woods, along the beach, and by the Tallac historical site. When we reached Taylor Creek, we headed west towards Fallen Leaf Lake.

Jeff F. kept a close eye out for a little trail that left the forest road. He spotted it, to my surprise, and it looked to be nothing more than a rabbit trail. The trail was hidden from the road, but became quite nice once we were on it. As we got closer to the water, we got into the Aspens, and continued heading west along Taylor Creek.

Taylor Creek is full of bright red Kokanee Salmon in the fall, but today it just looked clear and very cold. We followed the creek until we came to the dam at Fallen Leaf Lake. It was a bit breezy today, but we were pretty well sheltered in the woods. The waves were picking up a bit out on the Lake. I was really amazed at all the little trails we just rode. They were barely used. In fact, we were the only mountain bikers we saw all day.

I have a lot of pictures to get through here, so if you don't mind, I'm just going to keep on writing. This picture here is of Fallen Leaf Lake with Mount Tallac in the background. I'd like to climb this mountain someday. It's on my to-do-list. Getting back to the story...we followed the shore line of Fallen Leaf Lake, encountering a few hikers along the way. Once we crossed the main road, the single track became a bit challenging in places with a few technical rocky sections. The final climb of the day was up near the Angora Lakes road. Jeff F. was excited to show us the next section, the best part of the ride he told us.

The trail took off from the end of a driveway on a new house that is being built. I can't imagine this entrance will be accessible once the house is completed. What's sad, is that this trail head is the one that replaced the original trail head. The original trail head was built on too, and the owner did not allow passage through. We did a few little rolling hills through the granite boulders and manzanita bushes. We had great views of Freel Peak, and the Upper Truckee valley to the south.

It was time to get rid of all the elevation we had just gained. The trail was very smooth, and snaked through giant granite boulders. There were trails connecting everywhere, and the thoughts of coming back to explore this place crossed my mind frequently. After a few miles we came out onto the black top again. We took back roads and bike paths all the way back to Sprouts. I enjoyed the energy gels and Clif bars along the trail, but it was time to eat some real food. I had a couple cups of coffee while wolfing down a Hummus Couscous burrito with a side of chili. The rest of the gang followed my lead with other culinary delights. What a nice end to a great ride!

More pictures can be found on our Flickr page HERE.

Jonesin' on a Friday Night...

Well, the kids went to sleep. My wife is cropping photos to go scrapbooking tomorrow. I am online in the garage. I have my laptop hooked into the stereo so I can watch music videos while I tune my bike on the stand. I am reading the Facility bike club blog. Thinking about El Dorado Canyon... that great shot of Sandie and Kathy way above Carson City. The flume trail is opening. I look at my work bench. My 2 night rider batteries are ready and waiting on the charger. Hmmmm it is late, but I won't get to ride again until Monday, maybe Tuesday. I quickly make a decision. Bring up my map software and print 2 maps of Ash Canyon/Hobart Reservoir. As they are printing, I go to the living room to tell Lisa I am going for a night ride. " Will you be careful?" Many snappy answers come to the tip of my tounge but I am wise... Oh yes. " Yes, I'll be careful, I am printing up a map just in case you dont see me in the morning." ( This has only happened once, and I called!) Thats a whole nother story.

Anyway. I loaded up my gear, drank a red bull and drove to foothill cr. off Winne Drive to start my ride. I had forgotton what a production it is to get the bike ready for a night ride. All the straps for the lights. Mounting brackets. And of course, the headphones so I can sing out loud as I blaze through the mountains.

I took the fast track to the postal route (SGP) then Deer Run where I did my best self portrait action shot on a night ride photo.

Then I pedaled up Outlaw trail and there is a big water box up there. I tripped me out because I had the headphones on, and I thought it was just a big abandoned cement structure. When I got near it I couldnt figure out what the noise was and I freaked out a little and ripped the headphones off my ears. Then I could tell it was water. Trip out..

I took a picture of Carson City from there. It was cool.

Well, it was windy up there, but still pretty mild. It was great to be way out there, just enjoying the solitude. Good tunes and good exersize. I decided to keep pedaling up. I took the fire road farther into the canyon. I looked at my map and saw there was a steep fire road going up to another water tower way up the mountain. I decided to take the fire road up. I could see at least 1 Mt. Bike track coming down this road. Thats always a good sign. I pedaled as much as I could, continued to check the map. Walked some, then pedaled more. It was steep. I followed the mt. bike track up to some single track. According to the Map, it was going get really steep here. There were lots of fallen trees on the trail. It was a sweet trail. Not really climbable but coming down was going to be fun. I suspect this is another one of Jeff P.'s projects?

Typically, I don't do night rides without moonlight.... You just cant see past your lights and you miss too much scenery. As I climed past the deadfall the view of the city was clear. I had gotten some serious elevation gain. I was in Hike- a Bike mode.

Finally, I hit the main dirt road to Hobart. It was sandy, but still pretty packed down. I put it in Granny Gear and pedaled up the hill. It was barely do-able for me. I just put my head down and started thinking about making really nice circles. Soon enough I was at the Water Tower. According to the map it was going to get flat after this. I could see the outline of Washoe Lake, and the Atlantis Casino in Reno... Mmmh, I want to hit that buffet right about now... aaah maybe not, it was way to smokey in there last time I went.

So I am thinking I can make it to Hobart reservior now. I have burned a solid 2 hrs on my handle bar mounted light, I should have 2 more hrs to go. I have only burned a half hour on my helmet light and that model should burn for at least another hour. I will save it for the down hill. So I pedal the flat dirt road to the gate.
But after the gate it starts seriously climbing again. I look at the map. I look at the time. Its midnight! Dang. with all the production of getting my lights ready and getting out the the trail head, I didnt get started until 10 pm. Ok. Time to turn around. I won't be able to see hobart reservoir anyway with no moonlight ( the moon rises at 2 AM, I am not going to wait)

So I turn around and start blazing down the mountain. Just then, my iPod starts playing " Flashlight" by Parlament. Talk about gettin down... I love that ipod. Now I am blazing down the mountain, watching all the field mice blindly scurry away from me. When I got back to the truck it was 12:50. Didnt take long at all to get back.

I wanted to post my story for your weekend entertainment. Happy Mothers Day weekend to all. I will look forward to riding on Tuesday for lunch!


Friday, May 11, 2007

1st Annual Spring Bike Rodeo

There are a whole bunch of bicycle events lined up for next week. The first event that I see scheduled is in Minden, just south of Carson City. From 10:00-2:00 on Saturday May 12th, there will be a children's (ages 5-12) Bike Rodeo at the Minden Elementary School. Participants will learn basic signaling, stopping, maneuvering, circling, and balance control. Bicycle and helmet inspections will be available too. Kids should plan to bring their helmets! There will also be a raffle and free refreshments (from 11:00 to 1:00).

Stay tuned for more events...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Flume Trail Opening

Woo Hoo! The Flume Trail will be opening this weekend! Usually the opening weekend isn't until June, so that says a lot about the amount of snow we received this winter.

Trail Conditions and Pictures are HERE.

El Dorado Canyon

El Dorado Canyon was the destination of this week's Wednesday after work ride. I was excited to check out this remote canyon, just east of Carson City in Lyon County. The last time I was up there I had 12 inches of suspension travel and a 40 hp motor. This would be the first time on a bicycle. To get to the trail head, we drove east of Carson City to the town of Dayton. We parked at the Rodeo Fair Grounds, and Jeff P. and I began the ride there.

The remoteness of El Dorado Canyon is not so much because of its distance away from civilization, but because of its ruggedness. The road up the canyon is very smooth and enjoyable in many spots, but when it's bad, it's very bad. It's a popular route with jeeps because of the challenging creek and boulder crossings. I rode my hard tail for this trip. And while it was fine most of the time, the frequent boulder crossings were wearing me out on the way back. Next time I plan to bring the full suspension bike.

The canyon is quite beautiful, and is probably a geologist's dream. There are all sorts of interesting rock formations, and each rock outcropping seems to be a different type of rock. This also adds to the many colors of the canyon.

When we reached the mouth of Sullivan Canyon, we followed a single track up a pleasant grade. The climb is smooth and narrow, and is a nice break from the rocks back in El Dorado Canyon. Once near the top of Sullivan Canyon, we climbed up onto a hill above Bull Run Spring. Looking at the topo map, it looks like we did about 1,500 feet of climbing at this high point in the ride. It was now time for the payoff from all the climbing.

The descent back to El Dorado Canyon is perhaps one of my favorite to date. The single track is tight in the trees, and swoops all around like a roller coaster. You only have to pedal here and there to get over little hills before once again descending wildly. There's a real steep drop into the Bull Run Spring canyon. It's free of rocks, but quite slippery. It feels like the brakes aren't doing a bit of good, but then you regain control and get on the single track heading down Bull Run Spring canyon.

It was just starting to get dark as we once again reached El Dorado Canyon. Unfortunately I pinch flatted the front tire when I nearly endoed on one of the creek boulders. The nocturnal wildlife was starting to wake up. Frogs, crickets, and quail started making their music. We quickly fixed the flat, and finished the trek out of the canyon. The boulder crossings were starting to get to me at this point, and I was wishing for my full suspension bike. We finally got back to the car at 8:30, and it was officially dark. I'm looking forward to riding this trail again soon, and will day dream of that cool downhill often!

More pictures from the ride HERE.

Here's an article in the Nevada Appeal about El Dorado Canyon.