Thursday, August 30, 2007

Welcome to Bear Country

The planning of today's ride began in the early morning when Jon alerted us to this Nevada Appeal article about three bears that were captured in Carson City. We figured that these must be the three bears we've been hearing about that have been spotted on the Ash Creek trail, a mother and her two cubs.

Here's a video of the bear capture in Carson City:

So we figured the coast was clear, and time to hit the Creek Trail today. Which we did...with no megafauna encounters. I didn't see any animal tracks along the way, and I whistled periodically to alert the canyon dwellers of our arrival. (Later, Scott and I would discuss the merits of bear whistling. Does this summon the bear or send them running?)

This is where the story gets interesting. I got a call from Brent on my cell phone. Since I work in a basement, I had to go outside to take the call. Our conversation was garbled, and I ended up calling him back. When we had a clear connection, Brent asked me how to get to the Ash Creek trail head. It's somewhat secret, and the location is only given to those who are worthy. Brent had a good idea of where I was telling him to go and hung up.

About 40 minutes later I received another garbled cell phone transmission from Brent, "static static static BEARS! static static static". I ran for the door to the outside again to take this call. It sounded somewhat urgent. I figured if Brent was being mauled by a bear, he probably wouldn't be calling me to tell me about it. Still I was a bit concerned.

When I had a clear connection, Brent told me that he and Chili Dog had just dropped into the canyon and scared a momma bear and her two cubs. The two cubs went running, and momma was looking for them. In the end, Brent decided to back track instead of agitating the bears further. So while he didn't get to ride the creek trail, at least he got to see some wild nature pretty close up.

It is said that the bears were released in the Carson Range, so it's possible these are same bears that were captured just the day before. Who knows?

I'm sure Brent will add some details to this account...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Spreading of the Mojo

The first batch of Mojo Bags were shipped out to their various destinations around the country. Let's check in with some of them now...

Here we see a Mojo Bag on Snakebite's Surly Commuter. This Surly isn't even a year old yet, and will need some mojo as it braves the streets of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Next up is Brian's Slingshot Ripper, outfitted with a Mojo Bag under the seat. Brian claims the mojo brought him good luck in last weekend's XTERRA event site in Muskegon, Michigan!

The final visual that I have today is from Bluecolnago in Waterloo, Iowa. The Bluecolnago hopes to use the luck of the mojo for "Team Stoopid" as they compete in an upcoming 12 hour MTB race in Boone, Iowa. Team Stoopid has some very nice looking Surly 1x1's. Go check them out!

Thanks again guys for reading this blog and making it fun to write! If the rest of you mojo recipients would like your picture posted here, just point me to the picture!

The next batch of Mojo Bags should be ready to mail out or be delivered by the end of the week...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

14 Years!

14 Years!
Originally uploaded by Facility Bike Club.
Kristy and I celebrated 14 years of marriage today! Tonight we challenged each other to a Sushi eating contest at one of our favorite local restaurants, Wasabi's. We split a bottle of sake during the course of the trials. In the end I think I may have beat her by one or two pieces. Although she took advantage when I was talking to the chef and ate a couple pieces. We may have to look at the video footage to call a clear winner...

Ok, it wasn't really a contest. Just an all you can eat thing at the bar. Which is exactly what we did. We didn't know exactly what we wanted, so the chef kept bringing us a plethora of wonderful creations. It was truly a wonderful night out. It's a beautiful thing when your wife is your best friend, and also your best riding buddy!

Tomorrow we will ride off the extra calories...

Kona Scab

Kona Scab
Originally uploaded by Facility Bike Club.
Here's a bike you won't see too much of here. A few years ago I had to have a dirt jumper just because they looked so cool. I found the frame on sale at for under $200, so I snatched it up. The frame is the "Scab" from Kona. It's an overbuilt steel frame, made to withstand bomb blasts and heavy artillery fire. I had enough parts laying around to mostly build it up. Some friends donated some parts too. Over the years, I replaced stuff that wasn't scab worthy.

This bike has seen a couple lunch time rides, but is horrible on the trail with it's BMX geometry. The bike is mostly used as an urban assault vehicle for around the neighborhood. It's great fun at the skate park, and I'll probably even take it to the BMX track and give it try there. It has a 3-5 inch travel Psylo on the front, but works best in 3 inch travel mode. You stand up to pedal this thing, and longer travel settings make the front end bob too much. It'd probably even be pretty cool with a rigid fork.

It's also currently setup as a single speed with 32-18 gearing. I think I'm going to add a 9 speed cassette to the rear, and it already has two chain rings up front. It needs a better range of gears, as it feels too trials-like at the moment. It's hard to get enough speed for some jumps in the current configuration.

So...just another bike in the collection. Not really needed, but fun to have!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

FBC Scratch Pad

You may have noticed by now that there is something new going on in the sidebar. A few weeks ago while strolling through the upscale blogosphere, I came across an entry for Tumblr. I love new internet toys, and I wanted to use it. But for what? So I thought about it for a while.

And then it finally came to me. I have a lot to say, but don't necessarily want to make a big production out of it. Blog entries can be time consuming. You want to make sure they are just right. Sort of like your own magazine.

So now I present to you, the FBC Scratch Pad, a Tumblelog. A blog-ette of sorts. If blogger was an orchestral composition, Tumblr is a jazz Scat singer. You may or may not find something interesting here, but at least it's short and you won't waste much time!

Next, to find a use for Twitter...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Gear News

If any of you follow my family blog you would have seen the Fatcyclist Pink Lemonade jersey premiered at the Death Ride by Brent and myself as seen here
and then here on Fatty's blog. If you have not read any of his blog you are missing something big.

So we go to our mailbox last night and get our Bicycling magazine and to our surprise the lady on the COVER is wearing the Pink jersey!

Run out and get your jersey today before EVERYONE takes them all!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Dog Days of Summer - Part 2

This is a follow-up post to my previous post on this subject.

The heat has definitely been a source of my de-motivation, but didn't explain my lack of "oomph" or occasional bonking on easy rides. After talking to my brother (currently attending medical school), and doing some reading I've concluded that I was slightly anemic!

"Most commonly, people with anemia report a feeling of weakness or fatigue, general malaise and sometimes poor concentration." That summed me up pretty good.

My family has gone vegetarian this year. We'll have the occasional fish, shellfish or chicken when eating out (like at the Chinese food buffet), but for the most part eat a somewhat vegan diet. Very little dairy or eggs.

Vegetarians and Vegans, take note!

Man evolved as omnivore not simply because of the wide variety of pleasurable foods available, but because of the nutritional requirements. While many vital nutrients can only be found in species from the plant kingdom, there are some that are only readily available from our animal friends. "Vitamin B12 is naturally found in foods of animal origin including meat, shellfish, and milk products."

"Vitamin B12 is important for the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system and for the formation of blood. It is involved in the metabolism of every cell of the body, especially affecting the DNA synthesis and regulation but also fatty acid synthesis and energy production."

"While lacto-ovo vegetarians usually get enough B12 through dairy products, it may be found lacking in those practicing vegan diets who do not use multivitamin supplements or eat B12 fortified foods, such as fortified breakfast cereals, fortified soy-based products, and fortified energy bars. The Vegan Society and Vegan Outreach, among others, recommend that vegans either consistently eat foods fortified with B12 or take a daily or weekly B12 supplement."

My brother said that B12 deficiency is common among vegetarians and vegans, and also explains why you see some of these people carrying around some extra weight regardless of their healthy diet.

My brother sent me a bottle of B complex supplements which I've been taking all week. The results this far have been really good. In fact I felt stronger yesterday than I've felt in quite a while! I've also lost a little fat off my midsection, but I'm not certain if this a result of the vitamins or the fact that I've been out of beer for most of the week. Time will tell...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Mojo Is In The Mail

Yesterday Kristy packaged up the 1st batch of mojo bags in a special wrapping that prevents mojo leakage, and took them to the post office. They are on their way to both coasts, and a few places in between! Everyone should have some mojo by the end of the week.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Kristy's Birthday

Electra Daisy
Originally uploaded by Facility Bike Club.
Today is Kristy's birthday!

Yesterday I went to the Bicycle Authority in Carson City and bought this bike for her. She was surprised with it today.

I love impulse shopping.

Tonight we cruised down to the farmers market for some awesome produce. The heat of the day was gone, and the stars were shining bright on the way home.

Another great summer evening!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Puncture Vine

Puncture Vine
Originally uploaded by Facility Bike Club.
Anyone who rides a bike in these parts is familiar with the dreaded goathead thorn. Bike shops probably see hundreds of tube repairs because of these nasty things. Lots of people take drastic measures to combat the thorns, installing slimed tubes, thorn resistant tubes, Mr. Tuffy Liner, etc. Unfortunately all these solutions add quite a bit of rotating mass. This may be ok for the kid whose parents are sick of fixing flats, but to the discriminating cyclist it may be undesirable. Especially if you are a weight weenie.

One solution is to install the Stan's No Tube system. I may do this myself some day. Not necessarily for the no hassles from punctures...just to keep Jeff P. and Marcus off my back. Jeff P. makes me feel like Mr. Whipple! I'm always shooing his pinching fingers away from my "overinflated" tires. But I digress...

The easiest way to avoid goathead thorns is to know what Puncture Vine looks like, and where it likes to grow. The vine grows low to the ground, and often has yellow flowers. The vines can be 1-3 feet long. The thorns are hard to see in the tangled mess of vines.

Puncture Vine likes lots of water, so be on the watch near irrigation. A classic example is a yard that has an area of bare dirt between the front lawn and the road. Many times this type of landscape can look like an appealing shortcut, and lure the unwary cyclist in. I once saw a buddy take a shortcut like this, and his tires were just riddled with thorns. The tubes weren't even worth patching, and it took some work to get all the thorn pieces out of the tire. It's always best to keep to the street or path when riding near sprinklers, rivers, or irrigation ditches.

The good news is that in the Carson City area, you seldom have to worry about goatheads once you are out in the natural terrain away from the houses or natural water sources.

The goathead thorn is the leading cause of flat tires around here. What's the biggest threat to your tubes/tires where you live?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

FBC Mojo Bag Update

The first run of Mojo Bags are complete and are ready to mail out. We collected the ingredients during the week, and assembled the bags today. So far we have seven orders, and one has already been delivered locally in Minden. This week some will be mailed out to California, Michigan, Iowa, and Maryland. Locally they will be delivered to Carson City and Reno.

The ingredients seen here are:

  • Sagebrush
  • Bitter Brush
  • Manzanita
  • Choke Cherry
  • Squaw Tea
  • Ponderosa Pine (Needles, Wood, and Duff)
  • Copper Ore
  • Granite
  • Thunder Eggs

Kristy sewing the bag liners

The botanicals are sewed into the bag liner. The liner and rocks are then placed into the Mojo Bag.

Finished Mojo Bag in Use

We cruised the back streets of Minden and Gardnerville tonight and gave the Mojo a try. So far so good. We even hooked up With Mike of the Rusted Chain Gang and delivered him his Mojo Bag.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bike Lanes

Bike Lane
Originally uploaded by Facility Bike Club.
Here's a picture of the bike lanes in use up at South Lake Tahoe. The bike lanes on both sides of this road have become the Tahoe Keys Marina overflow parking lot. And from I'm told, since these people bring in a lot of money, nobody cares.

We ended up riding in the road, slowing down traffic. And when I say slowing down traffic, I mean of course that they were exceeding the speed limit and not paying attention to the fact that we were riding with a 6 year old.

Miserable Cars....

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

FBC Mojo Bags

Are you lookin' for some Hoodoo to protect you from the Voodoo? These hand crafted, one of a kind FBC Mojo Bags are just what you need!

The Mojo Bag seen here is the first one off the line, hand made by Kristy. The next step will be to collect botanicals, artifacts, and other items from the Ash Canyon/Carson City area. We'll be experimenting with the right mixture to see what combination of items provides the best luck and protection from evil.

If you are in need of one of these supernatural items, send me an email with your shipping address, and we'll get one out to you (while supplies last or until we just don't feel like doing it anymore...).

There is just one catch though. You'll have to email me a picture of the Mojo Bag in use so I can put in on the Blog. Testimonies are also welcome.

Don't delay. Act today.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sand and Suds Report

Saturday was the Sand and Suds Bike Ride and Treasure Hunt hosted by the Slow Rollers. This was our first Treasure Hunt themed ride, so we didn't know what to expect. We all met at noon at "The Y" up in South Tahoe. We were given a map and two pages of riddles and questions. The answers were found by following the map and looking for signs and landmarks. Since many of the answers were found by reading historical points of interest type of signs, we ended up learning a lot about the area.

We rode around The Tahoe Keys Marina, Pope Beach, Baldwin Beach, the Tallac Historical Site, and various other places on the southeastern shore of Lake Tahoe. We were out on the bikes for about five hours total, and had only stopped to eat once. One of the answers was found at the the ice cream shop in Camp Richardson. The question was, "How many flavors of ice cream?". We ate about a pint of ice cream each getting to the bottom of the mystery, and that lasted us until the end of the ride.

Since there were so many places to explore, and some of the questions tough, we ended up trading answers with some of our friends. In the end, none of us won anyway. We gathered on the beach for the post ride ceremonies. The winner was announced, beer was drank, and we took turns riding the pedal pontoon boat.

For an event named "Sand and Suds", there wasn't much beer around. At least not compared to the other events we've attended. We were really too busy to stop anywhere for drinks, since there was so much ground to cover. The only beer we had during the ride was at the very end. There was an ice chest full of Pabst Blue Ribbon in a can. Wow. I don't remember my last canned beer, and certainly not my last PBR. Nonetheless, it was pretty refreshing after riding in the hot sun all day.

We ended the day with a trip to the Tahoe Pizza Company for some real food and real beer. It turned out to be a fun day. I think we definitely prefer the group ride feel of the other events though. We barely saw anybody else all day as we zipped around stealth-like, looking for clues!

There are a few other pictures HERE.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Let's Get (meta)Physical

Why do we as mountain bikers yearn for epic rides in the mountains? Exposure to the elements, dehydration, suffering, risk of bodily harm, and exhaustion may seem crazy to some, unappealing to most.

So why do we do it? Is it a weekly pilgrimage?

For Tibetans, a pilgrimage refers to the journey from ignorance to enlightenment, from self-centeredness and materialistic preoccupations to a deep sense of the relativity and interconnectedness of all life.

Difficulty is considered a part of the pilgrimage and for some a form of purification. For some, the more difficult the pilgrimage, the more enlightenment one achieves.

The goal of a pilgrimage has less to do with a particular destination than the journey itself. Through mountain biking there is focus. By circumambulating mountains, we temporarily transcend our daily lives. We shed our habits and materialistic attachments of inattention that restrict awareness of a larger reality.

These are some things to think about (or not think about) on your next ride.

Author's Note: These are some thoughts I had after watching Seven Years in Tibet last night.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Safety Lights

Safety LIghts
Originally uploaded by Facility Bike Club.
Last week I had some great suggestions on what to get for night time cruising. We ended up going with these $9 Safety Lights, partly based on price, and partly on recommendation of the LBS owner. He said he's used them, and they seemed bullet proof. Since we were buying three, I really liked the price tag.

The plastic lens color is different on all three, but the flashing light is red on all. There is a button on the back to turn them on or off, and allows you to cycle through a variety of different steady or flashing patterns. You can go from a steady, consistent glow, all the way to "Night on Disco Mountain". Of course we chose the Disco pattern for last night's cruise.

Lat night, my friend Mike let me try out his old Schwinn that had a 2 speed rear hub. I'd never heard of such a thing. To shift you back pedaled slightly. You could alternate rapidly between the two gears this way. Back pedaling all the way activated the coaster brake. Seemed like a pretty cool design to me. I wonder why it disappeared? I'm guessing the faster 10 speed road bike killed it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Dog Days of Summer

Back in the spring time I remember feeling like I was superman. I couldn't ride enough, and was doing 130 mile weeks. I'm probably doing 40-50 mile weeks now and I'm exhausted! Some days I wonder if something is wrong with me, but I'm hoping it's just the heat.

Most nights I drive home from work, and have just enough strength to eat some dinner and drink a beer.

Anyone else feeling this way?

I'm hoping it's just the dog days of summer.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tahoe Rim Trail - Tahoe City

I don't have a lot of details on this ride. I was a passenger in the truck to the trailhead, and I just followed during the ride. The ride was mostly in the woods, so there wasn't a lot of landmarks to describe. I will tell you this was a lot of fun!

I think we started near a Nordic Ski center, just to the east of Tahoe City. There is a whole network of trails here. This lower section would be a great place to bring kids or beginning mountain bikers. Jeff F. was our guide, and we made frequent turns at the intersections. Eventually we made our way up to the Tahoe Rim Trail, somewhere between Tahoe City and Brockway Summit.

As it turned out, it was an excellent loop for single speeds. The hills were never too steep, and the terrain was pretty smooth. Kristy also let me borrow her 29er, so this was a great trail test of the bike. I was looking for rocks and other obstacles to test the bigger wheels on. It definitely did excel on clearing the challenges. I did however feel like it was slower in the turns compared to my 26er single speed. But like I said, the trail was so smooth that I think a 26er or 29er would be equally fun.

The Girls flanked by Jeff's. Jeff F. was manning the camera.

The best part of this loop is the descent down to the Truckee River. It's very twisty and full of switch backs as you descend down the mountain. Fast enough for a thrill, slow enough to be safe. Much of your speed is dictated by how good you are at turns.

We ended the dirt portion of this ride near Squaw Valley, and rode the Truckee River Bike Path back to Tahoe City. This may be the most crowded spot up at Lake Tahoe. Most likely because of its proximity to interstate 80.

As we got closer to Tahoe City the river was log jammed with rafters, and the bike path was packed with riders of all sorts. You know that dream you have where everyone rides a bike? I rethought this dream after riding this section. Some people just don't belong on bikes! I think Darwin was close to selecting a few of the helmetless riders for extinction.

Sorry for the lack of details on the trailhead, but I think you could probably find some better descriptions elsewhere on the internet. Not to worry though, as you can't really go wrong just exploring this area.

Sand and Suds

Sand and Suds
When: 08.11.07 12 noon
Where: South Lake Tahoe, CA

Another cruiser event is coming up this Saturday, hosted by The Slow Rollers. The Sand and Suds Bike Ride and Treasure Hunt will start from Miller's Outpost, located at the "Y" in South Tahoe. Tickets are $5.

That's about all I know. But with Beer, Bikes, and Treasure, I figure you can't go wrong. Hope to see you there at the crack of noon!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Tips For Cyclists

Tips For Cyclists - The best bloopers are a click away

I saw this over at SNAKEBITE'S blog a few weeks ago, and it made me laugh. I think about it a lot, because this stuff happens almost every day! Had to repost...

Some Quick Notes From Today

Temperatures in the 70's are absolutely wonderful. I actually enjoyed cool water through the entire ride.

Big dead rattlesnakes in the gutter are just as scary as live rattlesnakes. For a short period of time anyway.

Jon got his first taste of dirt today. Literally! Luckily he has showers back at work. He went over the bars on a steep sandy downhill. It's like riding on the beach. Thankfully it's also a good place to crash if you're going to crash. (Lakeview Hill for you other people that have crashed there...)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Evening Cruise

Evening Cruise
Originally uploaded by Facility Bike Club.
This week we hooked up with Mike Garcia's Rusted Chain Gang for an evening cruise around Minden and Gardnerville. During the summer, the Gang rides nightly after the sun starts going down. It's a very nice change from the scorching heat of the day! They start in Minden, and we start in Gardnerville, meeting half way. From there we cruise with them back into Gardnerville. It's a great way to spend the evening!

We learned that we're going to have to invest in some commuter style lighting for these types of rides. Especially since I've removed every single reflector off every bike we own. The blinky red lights seemed to be the most important, and probably cheapest too. Opinions in this area would be appreciated!

The Rusted Chain Gang may have a blog up and running soon. They also are planning a Poker Run for the Fall with bikes to win for different categories. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Ode to Jeff P.

Hey Jeff! I shall bow in your general directions 6 times daily and advise all other trail users to do the same!

We had a great ride on the Ash Creek trail and it is thanks to your hard work.

Here is a pic of Todd and Jeff at the top of the trail

Todd is flyin' by... The trail is getting better and better. The initial downhill is cut in a little better and the first sharp left turn is totally doable.

Fabulous erosion control work next to the big rock drop off. What a trail! The trail has a little bit of everything. Bridge crossings, log crossings, drop offs. Lots of ups and downs. Nice technical climbs.

It is especially nice to hear the creek flowing by as we rip down the trail. Cant think of a better way to spend my lunch break.

Top it off with the bottom half of SGP and the Jack Rabbit trail and check out Mr. Styley at the bottom of Jack Rabbit. Jeff Moser bustin out for the photo op.