Tuesday, December 27, 2011

ALWAYS Wear Your Helmet

Well guess what FT3 riders, other people do actually read "our" blog. Just when we thought the internet was safe. "Anonymous" recently posted the following comment in the hidden comment field for a posting of July 29, 2009; "I thought I would set it straight, as I just came upon this blog, the guy did NOT die as was posted, he is alive and well and back at work. Please find out the facts before posting."

It appears one of our esteemed and multi-credentialed writers made the mistake of printing somthing that was not in fact, fact, on this blog. At least that is what "Anonymous" says. That being said, if we take what "Anonymous" says as fact, it appears one of our great journalists made a mistake. It also appears that the supposed helmetless rider is alive and well, which is most excellent news indeed.

Maybe he will come ride with us tonight.

The posting of July 29, 2009 reads as follows: "The rumors around the lake and trails are apparently true, a local rider without a helmet on, took a spill and landed on his head and has died from the result of the injuries. Keep those helmets on and encourage others, especially the younger folks, to do the same!"

Upon second reading, the words "apparently true" seem to indicate some measure of doubt in the writers words. Either way, the writer took the opportunity to turn this event into a tabloid rumor and utilized it to encourage helmet use and encouraged readers to encourage others to wear helmets. Such foul use of rumor. I will personally ensure that writer receives the appropriate and well deserved consequence. The short ride. One writer plays, we all pay. It's gonna be a short ride.

I believe the record has been set straight. Once we suffer through a good short ride, then we can put this behind us.

It's Tuesday. Go bicycling. Wear your helmet. Brush twice to be sure. Rinse, repeat.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Well it's Christmas week and time for another chilly but dry FT3.

Let's spread some FT3 Christmas cheer around Sly Park.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Io sono un ciclista!

"In fact, I'm a cycling super freak!". Ok, I may not be a Rick James protege, but I like to suffer a bit. Suffering and penance have a long and storied history in our sport. Our cycling forefathers endured excruciating races, with none of the technical gear and support we enjoy today. In case you forgot, Magni nearly won the Giro with a broken collarbone in '56; he held a rope in his teeth to give him leverage for turning the cranks. Our own NoCar has rivaled this feat, tweaking his skeletal structure on several occasions, riding through the pain, and claiming a medal made of pure Ti.

No matter the circumstances, we are drawn to pain, and perhaps to the notion we are paying a penance on the bike. Like we must make amends for some long lost sin. If that is the case, I will be paying up for many years to come :)

In norther Italy, near lake Como, they have a patroness saint of cycling, the Madonna del Ghisallo. At a small church near the top of a mountain pass, a flame burns for lost riders, and all comers may give an offering or prayer on their way through. They have a tiny museum, with artifacts and bicycles from legends and their races. I am drawn to this form of religion, to the blending of cycling and spirituality.

Whether it's guilt, wanderlust or the search for a decent shot of espresso, your councilman will make a pilgrimage to the old country in the coming months. I wonder if they make an It's It with gelato? More on that at the Knot table.

Live long, ride well. I will see some of you at Mosquito at 5:45.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cold Tuesday

It's SSFT3, FYI. I hope to see the Old Soldier, Kona, Kish, Mtn. Tec, and Specy 29er out there. As NoHandle would say, bring the kitchen sink. Should be about 31 degrees when we roll out. If were lucky, it won't be raining.

"You were lucky"


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

And that's a wrap

BASP Golden Gate Park 2011 - A 35+ from HeartsEyeView on Vimeo.

As some of you may be aware the exciting Bay Area Super Prestige Series Cyclocross Race at Golden Gate Park was held this past Sunday. In case you forgot what it is like to race that race, or in case you never knew, check out this awesome video posted by Jude Mayne, a racer from Reno who is leading the Sacramento CX Series. He finished 12th at the Golden Gate Park BASP Race. I am happy to say I was not too far behind him, finishing 19th. I am not in his video. Keep in mind as you watch this that he was called up to the line. With that in mind note how many riders he passed! I too was fighting a similar battle, albiet a bit behind him. I am, however, in this video taken by none other than our own Safety First, who may warrent a handle change to Camera First, as you may have seen he is pretty handy with a camera. He is quite Techy too, because I think he was the first to post any video on the BASP GG Park race on Youtube.

This is Safety's best still shot. I think he captured the pre-race intensity well. What say you?

All this talk of racing is making me thirsty. Along those lines, those non-racers among us will appreciate the following viddy from the SSCX world champoinships held at the same park two weeks ago.

With that, it is Tuesday and time for another mountain bike training ride. Actually, I may be done training. It looks like I am not going to be able to make another race this season. And that is fine. It has been a great season, a lot of fun with some solid finishes in a tough class. I need to save some excitement for next year. Maybe next year some other FT3 riders will be right there with me. Then again, maybe next year I will take up kiteboarding.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Long Lost Rider Night

A palpable tension formed when we seven riders assembled in the Knott Lott, doffed our pre-ride warm layers and switched on our lights. Would Cappy, back from months of perdition, be rideleader, or would LOtB take the reigns as tradition would dictate? The pause lengthened. NoHandle pushed the issue by announcing "not it." Another minute passed. Larz rolled out the front of the Lott and, after a few quick glances, the pack followed.

Appropriate for assessing the fitness of riders so long absent, we rode the qualifier. We continued up to the Northwest, along a rocky trail that reaches a local high point. From there we dropped to the Power Line trail, through the Boy Scout camp camp and down to the lake. For many the power line drop was new and all enjoyed the fast and loose trail. We took down an almost complete lake loop, turned towards Fleming, hopped the curb from MET onto a connector to Ferarri Mill, the dropped Fleming and Palins, and rounded the rest of the lake. All told, a sixteen miler (according to Larz's wristwatch).

Since Mother Rye and Even Keel were absent we were curious to see how the tacos would turn out. QA/QC was in place and normal Knott Hole standards were maintained.

Many, many items were placed on the calendar, with rousing calls of support for each. To note:
Placerville Turkey Trot tomorrow morning, 8AM at the library; FTfore! will be hosting its inaugural stroke-off on the first convenient sunday; FT14K will be climbing Mount Shasta this May; FTX is racing Cross Vegas in September 2013; FT3/Team Pugsley will cross the Darien Gap during much of 2015; and a broad field of FT3ers commited to racing an Xterra.

**Augmented to include T(ucson)TGFT3. Sorry I missed the ride and the T-Day run for fun and charity. Will see all next week.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Friday, B and Droptail and I took the dogs out for some pollywood fun. Showers turned to rain and the temperature dropped ten degrees in an hour. The wind howled on the back side of the lake. Thick coated Booker thought it was great. We riders were fine, though it took me a few days before I really felt warm again. Short haired Zoey, however, shivered sadly and had take shelter in the Knothole. Mother Rye invited her to curl up next to the pellet stove and fed her king-size biscuits.

The turning season brings to mind life's cycles. And while we all look forward to the bone shattering bacchanalia of the winter solstice, other holidays have their place on the calendar. Recall last year's TGFT3: Cappy took us on a tour de steepes where our tires crunched snow within the Pville limits. Best enjoy the exceptional Pollywood trail conditions while you can. Won't be long before the winter's first FTski.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

you smeared yourself in blackberry juice and did what?

One by one, bar and helmet lights flicked on. With everyone ready, the "who wants to ridelead?" chatter commenced and B stated he would start out as rideleader. We headed out the back and rode to the guard station. Before dropping B's chin, Rock God was disrided by an errant pine cone. Instead of veering left at the big landing and taking the road back to the horse trails, B turned right and we followed that road down below the dam outlet. We nosed around looking for the trail that crossed the creek and climbed the other side back to the road we had left. Frustrated by trying to walk over slick rocks in cleated cycling shoes, I tried to ride a bit and found that trying to awkwardly dismount from a bike onto slick rocks is even harder than walking on them. Thud. After Bambi beat a trail back and forth through the brush, and everyone else sidetracked on the road, we found a crossing and pushed the bikes up the down escalator all the way to MET. True adventure ride training.
A classic B route choice we hit Fleming CW to 8A, came back out and climbed Redneck. Dropping the lip Rock God, Xteric, and B all went down. Super tacky soil inspired fast riding. At the lake loop, someone started mumbling about it being 9 already. B started riding CCW, no doubt looking forward to sharing the best piece of lakebed riding he had scoped. None followed. A standoff ended when B returned chastising the pack for shortriding the rideleader. To prove his point, he led us back along the length of horse trail.
The Knott was empty. A few words of apology and Mother Rye didn't mind staying open for us. She even said that if she had to close up she would leave a bucket of tacos and beers waiting for us outside. With adventure sports on the tv, 80s tunes on the hi-fi, and home made salsa gracing the tacos everyone was in high spirits. Xteric recounted a story of when he and his buddy would go hang out at the bottom of the Red Shack Trail and, to the confused amusement of river rafters, would strip down and smear blackberry juice all over themselves, and then..., well some stories are best left at the taco table.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Icing on the Cake

NoHandle generously picked up a couple of freeloading urchins at the 'squito Lott. After everyone was sufficiently bundled and burping prebers we rolled out. With Xteric and BDog we were five.

Xteric accepted the rideleader mantle, knowing that NoHandle was always ready to provide insight and guidance whether wanted or not. We dropped to the lake, turned right, crossed MET, dropped the horse trail, climbed the DH trail, dropped the lip, turned right at the lake, rode the first horse trail, continued around the lake, up the Rock Garden, got repeatedly disoriented on what was once the wedding march, but is now a muddy boulevard in the middle of an apocalyptic clear cut, busted tracks through fluffy snow, made it to the top of something, dropped what could be the new wedding march, accidentally encountered the trail Xteric introduced to us some weeks ago and has named Booker's stick, rallied that sick descent all the way to the lake, continued around the lake until I got a flat that required the combined tire changing expertise of all four riders, and finished on dirt at the start of the qualifier. At some point a motion was made to grant an honorary qualification to the Corvette shuttling DHer. Despite repeated calls for tabling, considerable time was spent debating the hair style of said DHer.

A small cluster of rowdy regulars was whooping it up at the bar. We eased into bar stools at the opposite end. As we finished our tacos, Mother Rye offered us some left over cake. It was actually a cupcake piled deep with frosting. One little cupcake was lost in a sea of frosting that spilled across the entire paper plate. I ordered more beer and passed the plate to NoHandle. He eagerly took a scoop and recounted his years as a student of cake decorating, how he made all his own frostings from scratch, and how, if he could make a living at it, his dream is to be a cake decorator. I took the plate from him and passed it to B who wasn't interested in the frosting since it wasn't lard based. The sassy taco bitty was bored behind the bar and wanted to stir up some action. So, after some negotiating she and B settled on a kind of dare. If B stuffed the cupcake and all the frosting into his mouth at once and drank a rye shot doused with the casket ghost pepper sauce that brought him infamy before, then she would buy him two additional shots of rye. B promptly stuffed that mess down his throat spurting buttery sugar out the sides of his mouth. It was on. The shots were produced and Mother Rye officiated over the spiking of the hot shot. I tasted it. It was hot. And the heat was born on alcohol so it skipped the mouth and burned all the way down. Needless to say, B dispatched it quickly and made a show of not caring one bit. An attendant was sent to monitor him while he was in the bathroom to make sure that he didn't hurl. After quaffing the chocolate milk offered by the Mother, he savored his remaining shot. Perhaps we'll get an update on the condition of B's bowels in the HCF.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Reverse Ninja Cycling

This morning I donned my black US Navy issue wool sweater and my recent birthday-gift balaclava for the ride to work. It was 36 degrees when I left my house.Needless to say I was comfortable the whole ride. Surprisingly, other than the kid in the back of the Eldo Office of Education Van with a stupid black headband on staring me down, I wasn't given too many akward looks. What, was it cold in the back of that van? Dude, my balaclava has a purpose. Besides, the Ninja look suits me well and with a solid foundation of tai chi from my college days I might be able to fake my way through a fight. Ninja training, now that's another topic. Along those lines, I provide you the attached viddy. OK so he's no Ninja, and it's American football, and the notion that you would stay up three days and not eat because you are training is ridiculious. But if you were a Ninja you might. I am pretty sure if you are a Ninja you can go three days without breathing.

I am going to turn you gents on to the latest craze in cycling. It's called Ninja cycling. When fixies and cyclocross are out of style, and when you need to be as hip as the coolest hipster, you go Ninja cycling.

This time of year, if you ride without a light after 5:00pm, you are Ninja cycling.
Really? Ninja cycling? I am confident the law of natural selection will force this awesome trend into extinction, but how can I be sure? I am also confident that if you go Ninja Cycling too often you might be able to go three days without breathing.

So what does all this have to do with FT3?

We are like Ninjas of the night. Alas, the winter is upon us and we don our balaclavas and armwarmers. We don our knickers and tights, and reverse ninja cycling by using our lights. As our thoughts control our bikes, we spear through the night.

Ninja Cap'n

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Back seat ride leading

The wind cast a shower of pine needles over the Knott Lott. We carefully chose layers and some clothing swapping was necessary to keep Peter from showing up before the ride even got under way.

Missing the eager ride leaders of yesteryear, the assembled group, nine strong, was a cacophony of suggested routes echoed by excuses for not being ride leader. Frustrated by the delay, Rock God took the reigns. He was not immune, however, to the torrent of suggestions, corrections, and criticism that streamed from the pack.

Partial Qualifier - Partial Wedding March - Rock Garden - Lake Loop - Second Horse Trail - Councilman's Short Cut - MET - Downhiller Track - Rufus's? - MET - Connector to Ferrari Mill - Fleming CCW - Palin - Lake Loop - Knott Lott.

The Knott Hole welcomed the eight of us (one rider pulled the Weak Sauce move of skipping the taco session) as the night had been slow and the bar was almost empty. Mountain biking was on the tele, and Mother Rye shared her homemade salsa. More importantly, aces were wild, as B landed four free beers.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Either go big or go bigger

After a lengthy debate on whether to join long, lost Ghostrider for a saturday of hot foothill asphalt, or spend the weekend ripping Tahoe singletrack, we chose the latter. What with the singularly perfect conditions, and convenient shuttling, we couldn't pass up the chance to bike from Mt. Rose to Echo Summit (almost).


We parked at Echo Summit dropped Hawley Grade, climbed Christmas Valley, headed East on Tahoe Rim Trail and dropped Mr. toads.

At the bottom, we met Drop Tail who had spent her day moving rocks and still managed more mountain biking miles than me and B. We retrieved B's car and moved it to a forest road near the bottom of Cold Creek. Then we retired to DT's where we assembly lined four pounds of ground beef, two pounds of bacon, three bags of buns and a pile of cheese into dinner and provisions for the following day.


Having prepped everything the night before, we stumbled out of bed, blasted the radio and tucked into breakfast.

The original plan was to start at The Bench trail and ride to Star lake, where a new trail was being opened to the public in a ceremony around noon. While that may have been a big ride, it didn't quite seem ambitious enough, so we drove to the highest year round open pass in the sierra nevada - mt. rose.

Fortunately, we didn't know what day it was, or we may have determined that the trail was not open to mountain bikes. As it was, we didn't see another soul, so we were obviously there on the right day.

The serenity of the morning was shattered when my new GEAX tire went flat. This tire was so hard to mount when I first bought it that I carried a knife ready to cut the rubber off the rim and an old tire to replace it. B executed the tube change without the slightest effort.

We rolled the Flume trail as morning light filled the basin.

The drop to Spooner Lake was frost bitingly cold,

and we were relieved to begin the 5 mile climb up to The Bench.

Countless swooping curves and granite blocks later we discovered a new dirt section of TRT that removed almost the entire asphalt section of our route. Having put down thirty-some miles we were ready to rest. And so we parked our bikes and pulled up stools at the Fox and Hound. Still burping food and beer, we churned up a steep pitch of loose sand, and back into the forest. Eventually we found Star lake and the new trail, and a long descent back to the car.

**Edit - Map Just Added**
Blue line shows Sunday's route (N-S, 55 Mi., 10.5K' of descent)
Red line shows the Saturday ride from Hawley to Toads.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

the return of rock god

After spending the last three months idling in the surf of his private Polynesian island, Rock God returned to the FT3 fold. To resume his dominant place in the pack, he claimed Ride Leader status while everyone else stared at their feet trying to avoid nomination.

We dropped straight to the lake, headed right, crossed MET to the horse trail, dropped, back up the switch backs, CCW Fleming, to Redneck Rising, dropped the lip, and, without succumbing to the democratic process that leads to short rides, continued CCW around the lake. Somewhere on Fleming RG took a spill (his third downhill crash in FT3 history) that left him bleeding through his kit and tore a hole in his twelve panel knee warmer.

With the late season draw down, normally submerged lake bed is dry and ready for riding. This new terrain offers cobbled technical sections, smooth rolling slick rock, boggy deposits of sediment and a little bushwhacking for good measure. While all riders tested the lake bed, the off-camber pitch and loose rock sent most climbing back up to the trail. Among the bold, B and Xteric rolled the lake to the bitter end, which was especially bitter for Xteric who pulled yet another off-bike crash. This time he managed to get himself wedged between tree roots exposed from bank erosion. Apparently, he was unable to remove himself and had to wait for B’s fit of laughter to pass before he could be extracted.

Tacos were a jubilant affair. With the bar packed and the weather warm we got a fire raging and sat outside. NoHandle was celebrating his 35th birthday (in dog years) and was fortunate enough to have a designated driver show up to take him home. Cap’n rolled up in his khakis and flip flops. RG made a sauce offering that brought those who tried it to sweat, cry, and hiccup.

A full calendar of FT3 events are slated for this weekend. Saturday: Ghostrider (so named for how he disappeared from FT3) has proposed a dirty road ride from Coloma, Cap’n will be racing ‘cross in Folsom and anyone who rides to the Folsom race in time to watch Cappy’s kids will earn free beers and a ride back up. Sunday: the former Xtera racer turned golf pro Putter will be hitting the links and shuttle parasite nocar is clamoring for an all-day mountain ride.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday, Bloody Tuesday

It all started in the Knott Lott. B mashed up the spring in his brake while remounting his front wheel. After he finished pouting, and Bambi mended the part, he considered swapping pads around. This led to crass jokes about feminine napkins which portended the bleeding to come.

We started a bit late. B, Safety, and I agreed to a 6pm, mosquito pick-up by Xterric. Rock God showed up to sniff out the mood of the evening. Being too unfit to ride (???) he salvaged his ego by criticizing Safety's granny gear. At that point, we loaded up and RG set out to totally crush the bike path. We were so tardy to the Knott Lott that we missed the other sniffer. Larz stopped by the knott lott after a gen2 ride. Unfortunately, that outing left him too winded for FT3.

Lights blazing we followed B out the back to the Chin drop. The soil was saturated, but fluffy. Tires gripped well, but would break traction suddenly. We climbed Fleming CW. Dropping past the parking lot on the new-ish connector trail B oversteered on a fast corner. I arrived just in time to see him picking up his bike which was facing the wrong way. A scab on his elbow had ripped off and his arm dripped red. But, no matter, onward. We tackled 8A, then cut back out to Redneck, crossed MET and dropped the Lip. As Bambi raced ahead, I settled back, riding protectively of my frail collarbone. I caught up with the front to see Bambi pulling himself out of the bushes. His leg looked like it had been clawed by a mountain lion. At the bottom of the lip rideleader B democratically allowed a vote on a CW or CCW lake loop. Bambi claimed he would be forced to whimper like a baby if we rode the long way. Xterric protested that Mother Rye would be upset if we came back late. This left a tie, as B and I preferred the long ride. The vote fell to Safety who, always concerned about the well being of his fellow riders, chose the short ride. Like horses to the stable, the pace picked up at the anticipation of tacos. The last fall of the evening happened off-bike. The pioneer of such classic dismounts as the no-mo-endo, was hopping over a log when he misjudged his landing and plummeted over the cliff edge towards the lake. He reportedly suffered minor rectal injuries, but that was never confirmed by inspection.

We were greeted with first aid kits and home made chips at the Knott. In order to make sure we didn't feel too welcome, B was no-tacoed. When I went to pee at the end of the evening, I momentarily thought I had stumbled into the wrong room, as the trashcan was vivid with the waste of wound washing.

Still feeling vigorous, B and I got back on our bikes after tacos. We enjoyed the crisp night air on the Sly park climb and then basking in the light of the harvest moon, we sat back and coasted to the liars bench.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Flat tire taco tuesday

With all the anticipation of prom night, or perhaps the release of the latest iPhone, B, Safety and I, your councilman, hastened to the Mosquito lot. We were looking forward to a visit with our resident man of steel (Ti, really), NoCar. We were greeted by the entire NoCar family, and treated to a first look at the hardware. It did Knott disappoint. Ideas abounded as to it's next incarnation; Jewelry? Brake mount? Utility bar under seat rails? Only time will tell, but I'll bet a patent is in the works.

We soon parted ways and headed up to the Knott. We were met by NoHandle, Bambi, and Xteric. After some deliberation over ride leader, with plenty of Not It's thrown out, your councilman reluctantly took the helm. I say reluctantly only because 2 weeks of academia and beer consumption did not portend a lively ride. Turns out I was wrong, sort of.

Our route included backdoor to roadkill, then the frontage trail along Sly Park Rd to the Forest Service cabins, then B's chin down to unnamed trail leading back up to spillway and up to MET. From there we crossed the road and took the short ST up past the group campgrounds, and that's when the ride went flat, literally. Bambi suffered a rear puncture, apparently due to a large chunk of glass. We were treated to a race worthy change out, and a colorful lesson on *proper stroke count and pumping effort when filling the tube. Once rectified, we set out for a counterclockwise tour of Fleming.

Only minutes in, and just past Palin's, we experienced Flat 2, the redux. This resulted in further discussion, a loaner tube (a cx tube, I believe, or one of those fancy latex, ribbed versions, *see above), and THEN we were off. The pace was brisk as we ascended Fleming and then railed the downs. For good measure, and because B was still recovering from a cold, 8b was thrown in. The descent was wild and fast, and after a quick refueling, we climbed out. The CCW tour continued and 8a was considered. We decided against Redneck, dropped back down to complete Fleming, and then plunged a rather dry and loose Palin's. The hour was late and tacos were calling, so off we went to find our birthday boy, Cap'n. He opted for a late road roll up, and we didn't want to keep him or Mother waiting.

Tacos were accompanied by grimaces and strong body language behind the counter. We were again late, and holding up the show. Birthday boy arrived not long after orders went in, and he was treated to a birthday round. The tacos themselves were rich and meaty, though sauce selection was limited. Cap'n was all but ignored when attempting a late 2 taco add. At this point, the taco bitty went postal and threw out the "you guys are ..icks" comment. Chaos ensued, and feelings were hurt. As a would be counselor, I attempted to bring both sides together, and over several pay beers, relationships were mended. We agreed to show up all winter and provide income, the bitty promised not to defile our food. Peace was restored to pollywood.

As we loaded up for the ride home, B challenged Cap'n to ride back to P town by way of a Pino stop. Cap'n took the bait and off they went up Sly Park Rd. As a sag wagon, I made a fuel stop and then met them shortly thereafter for a b-day nightcap. The Pino offered it's usual cast of characters. A robust young lass with a small dog chatted us up, with questions related to whether we were coming from, or heading up to, Tahoe. It's comforting to know that she wasn't far off; FT3 has and will continue to launch such long rides, even under the cover of night.

Cap'n and I bid our LRP comrade goodnight and headed for the 'squito lot. As rides go, it was short and "flat", but it's always better than a day at work, surgery to get hardware removed, or being run over by a lunatic. Count your blessings, brothers.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


NoHandle earned the Scout Master title last night. Not only did he run the Mosquito-Knott shuttle service for me and Safety First!, he chose a route that showcased the unseasonably excellent trail conditions. Meeting us at the Knott Lott, T2 was ready with both brake levers attached, and T1 was eager to get some riding in before his debauchery fest at Interbike.

As soon as we hit the ramp at the base of the Qualifier, it became clear what a treat this night would be. Sunday night's storm was a real gully washer in Pollywood, and all the dust and loose material got washed into the Reservoir. The soil was only superficially moistened, so it wasn't as tacky as some of the hallmark days of late spring. But, after months of deteriorating conditions, it was worthy of squeals of joy.

Up Qualifier (no dust), to the Wedding March early cut-off. NoHanlde surveyed the logging damage and determined that, yes, the Wedding March has been beheaded. Dropped (no dust) to 1a, where in some of the formerly deep dust sections the rain had formed a layer of cohesive moist soil on top of a layer of loose dry soil. Cutting turns was akin to skiing in deep powder.

A light rain fell. Always prepared, the Scout Master was ready with warm layers, but they weren't needed. Unlike the torrents of winter, it was like being spritzed by attendant fans. Lake loop CCW (no dust), giving us a teaser waft of taco aroma, to the horse camp trail (still lots of loose rock, but no dust). Up the switchbacks, cross MET, and through the group and equestrian parking areas for a road sprint up MET to the upper Fleming parking lot. Merit badges were on hand for the riders that managed to stay ahead of the grupetto and hang with the peloton.

After a quick climb CCW on Fleming to the powerline high point we descended in a delirious rush of prime handling and no dust. We regrouped at the top of Palin, and then plunged like the stock market. Rolling below the dam after that series of delicious descents, we couldn't help wishing that every day could be this tuesday, like in the Bill Murray movie.After climbing back to MET, and hopping on the lake trail between the dams, leading temptingly back towards tacos, the Scout Master wasn't ready to end the evening and dropped back down the switchbacks we had climbed earlier, and rode on to B's chin, Road Kill and the Knott Lott. Back at the cars, it was confirmed that Cap'n was either playing soccer or going for a jog at some address off of Petery Lane.

Contrary to the general panic that Mother Rye would scold us for our absence last week, (well, we actually were upbraided in front of the packed bar) service was actually quite indulgent. A boisterous group outside started cleaning up as our tacos were coming out. And who should come over to our table, but the world famous chef and creator of chickenbake. That particular dish was not offered this evening, but she did share a heaping bowl of guacamole and two kinds of home made salsa. Mother Rye complimented the offering by frying us platter after platter of chips. T1 got so stuffed he had to give away his last PBR. At payout, we even got to hear three Ceagles sound their mating cry as they clinked their cocktails overhead.

Mostly sunny, highs reaching 80, and humidity around 30% means outstanding conditions will not last. Call in sick, cancel soccer practice, take off your running shoes and head for Pollywood.

A special thanks to the Mrs. who encouraged me to go riding on our anniversary.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Piling Paul on top of Peter

Good day FT3 riders. A while back I did a ride in Bambi's 'hood and came across Petery Lane. I stopped beiefly, shot a photo, and relished in the fact that I don't live there. It is Tuesday and the blog remains quiet just before noon. Hopefully the blog is not being reduced to another paltry web page. Not hardly. This is much more of a "Paultry" web page, where great rides are documented and great cyclists come together. Hopefully some of you are planning to come together this evening in the riding ritual that is FT3. Those of you who rode last week but did not ride up for tacos better be present to receive the wrath due from Mother Rye. If the stars align, I may cycle my way up for the taco part as well to catch some of that wrath. However Petery I may feel about it.

Those of you who read the HCF may be aware that I did some "bicycle logging" last week. B's useful utility trailer worked well to help me haul out four nice chunks of Oak from a local urban section of the ED Trail. It was an exciting event, to say the least.

It seems as though soccer season and the slightly changing fall weather has much of FT3 busy with school, work and cyclocross training. Some of the more dedicated riders are getting out on the early front especially on Friday mornings. The 6:00am Cozmic Cafe start time has been met with approval by a handful of riders. The callout stands for this Friday. For now that ride remains a road ride until further notice. Early birds up.

This weekend is Folsom Cyclebration, resident FT3 racer Cap'n will probably race the MTB race on Sunday if anyone wants to roll down there. Fringe member and full time roadie Green Fro has indicated an interest in the asphalt-based Circuit Race which takes place Saturday evening. And furthermore some FT3 members will be spotted at the Annual American River Music Festival. Should be a fun weekend.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The long and the short of it

With some folks out on family camping adventures, and others exploring vast sections of our national forest, it was a pleasant surprise to see a count of 5 yesterday. Sadly, NoCar spent a good part of the day exploring the contours of les toilette, and bowed out gracefully by day's end. That left us with Bambi, B, Safety and Me, your councilman. Given the uproar over local politicians of late, I may be soliciting for a new handle. More on that topic later.

After a timely arrival at the Knott, some from Mosquito, and yours truly from the Waldorf Retreat at Fallen Leaf Lake, we assembled and prepared for what NoCar suggested would be a short ride. A power sharing agreement was quickly formed, as no one wanted to lead said short ride. We negotiated and agreed to run a traditional loop incorporating back door, horsetrail drop, spillway, Fleming CCW, 8b (my favorite), Redneck, right lip drop and lake loop. Safety put the hammer down on an early climb, and a slightly hobbled Bambi pushed the descents, but the pace was generally relaxed. We still got in 18 miles, and a wee bit of climbing. Though admonished by Mother to get our taco orders in early (what is early, anyway?), we opted for a swim and rolled back into the lot just before 10.

Nearly denied tacos, and offered hot dogs instead, we pleaded our case and eventually tucked into some delightful fare. Gone was the mystery sweetener of last week. Apparently Even Keel, AKA "The Meat Man", had something to do with that. Ample sauce selection, minimal beers, and a timely departure followed.

A couple of us ventured into P'town for a "quick" visit to Powell's. Dr. Nate was in rare form, and this led to an extended stay. One of us slept in and, as such, offers this tardy but tidy RR for your consumption.

Housekeeping items:

Still looking for RR from the Marquis Ride of last weekend. 80+ miles of heaven and hell, with some exceptional planning, staging, and camping thrown in. Pics are in your inbox.

Run Reports from our Podophiles. Seems FT3 has some off the couch talent, and the results for all were impressive. Chick'd or not, that is a shite ton of mileage on foot. Most people wouldn't cover that distance in a summer. Chapeau!

Star Lake or other South Tahoe dirt ride going off tomorrow, 9am, for any takers. Call Cap'n for details.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Recovery Tuesday

"I am still working on walking, but I can ride." says Bambi after his powerful debut into the El Dorado jogging scene.
Plenty of long distance exercise went down this weekend. Tonight may be a good time to celebrate the short ride. Something in the piddly, twenty mile range, with no hiking.
Bambi: One
Nocar: Two

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

13 And a Half Weeks

Considering my recent attendance record and the latest by-law proposal, I've decided to come off the bench tonight and rejoin the fray.
Nothing exciting to report or call out. But there will be hills and dust.

Hope to see you out there tonight.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

better than hawaii

A buzz was palpable as we assembled in the Knott Lott. A new bylaw had been proposed and votes were being cast: if a rider is absent for more than thirteen weeks, then they must re-qualify and are subject to re-taco handling. As of this writing a decisive majority has not been determined.

Stirring things up a bit more, Larz drove in, already spandexed and helmeted, and unloaded his crosser.

Our dear ride leader, in no way compromised the route to suit his skinnier tires. He dexterously hammered through technical portions, and submitted to being passed when fat tires excelled. Needless to say, B frequently snuck to the front to drive a harder pace.

Our outing led me to realize why it took me so long to learn the trails. A classic LOtB route, we started up the qualifier, but cut over to something else, were back on the qualifier, rode through the boy scout camp, then went up 1A and across the Rock Garden and I stopped paying attention to where we were until, some time later, we were dropping, CW, from the top of Fleming. Bambi was behind me riding by braille because he was too lazy to connect his light. We plunged Palin, and aimed for the Knott. Past both dams, I saw a rider drop the earliest trail from the road towards the lake. Wanting to swim, but steer clear of the "day use area" I followed. Before I even knew who I was following, he pitched off his bike into a roll, tumbled down the hillside and thudded off a four foot drop. Fortunately, he landed on his feet, unscathed, and I watched B climb back onto the trail.

At the Knott Hole we were greeted by none other than the Spoke Godfather. He was happy to see that we had had another good night of pounding on our bicycles, guaranteeing him steady employment.
The tacos were quality.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wanted: UnKWalified Riders

You know who you are. There are a few of you out there. The epic KWalifier route awaites you. As B so eliquently stated as he played a strategic game of 'trail knowledge poker' with a friendly and talkative hiker somewhere near Silver Fork - "We're riding all those trails." That being said, the KWalifier route is more of a collection of routes ammassed through challenging pre-rides both clockwise and counter clockwise, short rides, long rides and celebratory non-rides. Thanks to all our FT3 forfathers who have gone before us, B, droptail and I were able to set the world record time on that route. I followed through on my commitment to push the pace all day, and indeed, as requested by B, I brought my big boy bibs. It is notable here that the FT3 lass a.k.a. droptail brought her big girl bibs as well, as she was none too far off the back at any point during the ride.

The following segment is spoken in computerized extranormal language:
Will there be Hike-a-Bikes?
There may be hike a bikes. Maybe not. If you cannot ride it - you will have to hike it. If you are wondering why it takes 8 hours to complete this ride in world record time, then you might gather that there are hike a bikes. Dude, you are not a recreational rider. You are an FT3 rider. Do the jersey proud. I hope you brought your big boy bibs.

Back to normal language. It is a ride of epic porportions, complete with just the right amount of climbing, technical climbing, managable climbing, technical decending, regular decending, splendid views, fast decending, certifiably awesome decending and yes, hike-a-bikes (if you cannot ride it). All that being said, I highly recommend that those of you with foot and water fetishes get out there and get KWalified. Your footie fitness will push you through the more mentally challenging sections.

Speaking of alternate forms of fitness and fetishes. Last week, since I was unable to make the FT3 ride, I took a Thursday option and did the "Airport Ride" with our counterpart Greenfro. This is a ride on the flats with 40+ Cat. 1-2-3 road racing cyclists. It wasn't long before we were doing 30 miles an hour, against the wind, when something odd happened. The dudes up front stretched out into a thin 2x2 line and went to the wrong side of the road. The rest of the group followed, and there was a long, long, line of riders adjacent to the shoulder on the wrong side of the road. Me, being the MTB rider I am, was like... what the hell is going on here? My moment of confusion took long enough to allow for the elastic to break and for the group to ride swiftly away from me. Lucky me, I was not alone. I had a bit of conversation with another shelled rider, a Mad Cat guy who has done several MTB and cross races with me. I said "I am not that committed, I am just road curious." He responded "I am not committed enough to ride on the wrong side of the road." GreenFro called this phenomenon an "echelon." I guess the Airport ride roadies think they are in the Tour De France on an open road. Guess what guys. You're not.

Today is Tuesday and it is not likely I will be riding, in fact, this is the start of a long hiatus for me. I am enrolled in a class that will take the next 14 weeks of Tuesdays. The next time I participate in an FT3 it will be raining and I will be among a small group of pithy core riders. It will also be well into cross season. I hope I will have company out there. The Sac Cyclocross Series dates are posted. Make note of them.

For those of you can make it tonight and for the next 14 weeks, I bid you adieu. Just know this.... I am KWalified, I am still the Captain, and I am still riding.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A good night to be hungry

The call came from Bambi while Councilman and I were loading up at the Mosquito Lot, "Out." National nite "out" was successful in its mission to deter crime and FT3 participation. Down to just two confirmed riders, we entertained ideas for a casual outing. But, a text from NoSauce and a call from Xteric brought the count to a civilized four. Councilman eagerly took the charge of rideleader. In spite of his ramblings about how tired he was after the mind-alteringly epic ride last friday, he launched out the back at near race pace.

Out to the Forest gaurd station, where Xteric slipped out at the exact same spot I had two weeks earlier. Down the steep loose bit, across the little creek, below the dam and up the switchbacks, single track, second dam, and around Fleming CCW. The pace never relaxed through that stretch and I found myself frequently out of the saddle sprinting to catch the pack.

By the time we started Redneck, the pace had relaxed a bit, allowing Cman to further regale us with how the S-KW ride, for all its amazing magnificence, had made him a better person. Still, he was feeling the strain of rideleader, and it was starting to show. Rolling around the tank trap at the top of RNR, his tire slipped and down he plunged into the hole. Fortunately, a little fir caught him in a tangle of Councilman, Dean and tree. Once he was confirmed unhurt, Xteric choked back his laughter and helped him out. Still a bit shaken, he remounted, and, almost immediately, caught a stick in between his wheel and fork and was ejected over the bars. It wasn't a head-on collision with a motorized vehicle, though, and Councilman dusted himself off, straightened his handlebars, and we headed for the lip.

Dropping the lip to the lake for a CCW finish. Everyone was muttering for tacos. We stopped for a dip to get the dust off. Xteric forgot his waterwings, and had to remain ashore. The short roll back gave Councilman just enough time for one more unplanned dismount (something about a cleat, or a pedal malfunction) bringing Xteric more amusement.

Frustrated by a locked gate we left the bikes out front of the Knott and had the back to ourselves. After assembling a healthy choice of sauces the tacos appeared in short order. And they were delicious. Just a few spatters of grease on the wax paper, supple tortillas, onions in chunks so Xteric could easily remove them. NoSauce short tacoed, leaving after he finished his 2-0-0 order. The rest of us lingered over our second basket. The talk turned to the mega weekend ride of Aug 20 & 21 , if he can swing it, Xteric is IN.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fully KWalified Call Out

While the SB-KW loop is no longer a novel ride for FT3, it was new to this politician. Having achieved a lauded status, what with it's near 40 miles and 6000 ft. of elevation, the loop was calling out to me. When the stars aligned, and I was free of work, domestic or otherwise, I answered the call.

With threats of thunderstorms in the forecast, B, Drop, and I all met at the Strawberry lodge early Friday morning. After a brief backtrack to Track 42, we found a parking area and geared up for the all day event. Once properly attired, and hydrated, we set out to reverse B's last course. Theoretically, we would knock down about 2/3 of the work before lunch, and then enjoy a huge late afternoon descent to the car.

In lieu of giving a more redundant report, please refer to B's post last week, entitled "Open Season". Simply reverse the course, and you know how we proceeded. B will no doubt post a dizzying array of quality photographs.

Highlights included blooming flowers and abundant water in the meadows. We only sustained one mechanical, but a significant one at that. En route to the Inn, Drop broke a seatpost bolt. Without a saddle, and as any FT3 member would do, she HTFU'd and shouldered/rode her bike for at least 1000 vertical and then down to Hwy 88. From there, she hitched a ride to the KW bike shop, and a friendly mechanic loaned her a seat/post. We regrouped at the Inn for a much deserved respite, and then just about a quarter after 4, we headed back to SB.

8 hours to get to our lunch, and 2 hours to get back to Booker and our waiting cars. A final stop at Strawberry Lodge to parch our thirst, and I was officially KWalified. Or at least we discussed the notion of a new qualifier for FT3 members. As B has insisted, everyone should see that area at least once by bike. It just doesn't get much better. It has "just the right amount of climbing".

Thanks to my hosts, B (and might I suggest a new handle for her, No Saddle?) for an epic day in/out of the saddle. Look forward to knocking down an XP adventure soon.

Oh, and it's SSFT3. Ride gears or no gears, but DO ride. I'll be at the 'squito lot at 5:45.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

There will be flats, the earth is not soft

Councilman and Rock God oversaw the careful packing of five men, five bikes and one dog into their vehicles (ensuring that every rotor was safe) and we headed for the Knott Lot. We met Lars, who bashfully admitted that he wouldn't mind choosing the route. After a short discussion about the current location of SPI logging activities, Our Dear Ride Leader declared that he felt like he had been gone for so long that he needed to requalify -so off we went.
Just past the gate to the boy scout camp, we rolled up on two spotters walking dogs. "It's the Tuesday night bicycle ride," they called us out. "We've been running into you guys for years."

A fast qualifier run left Rock God wondering if he was going to lose his membership. But, all those fish tacos and beers helped pull him downhill, for as soon as we turned down the chopping block he was fighting for the front.
We took the canal frontage road and the steady climb up to Park Creek Road. The steep and rocky descent of Park Creek Road supplied plenty of action. Councilman ricocheted from one side of the road to the other, his rear wheel almost getting ahead of his front.
When we turned down Barnes Back RG burped his tire and we stopped for an air up. Shortly thereafter, C-man had to stop and futz with his tire. After airing and spinning he finally said "let's just roll it," and that did the trick. Not to be outdone, moments later LOtB's tire went flat. He wrestled it off the rim, to reveal a pretty nasty puncture. He used a bar wrapper to boot it and gu for adhesive. Meanwhile the tube was patched. When the tube didn't hold air, B took the tire off the rim to inspect for secondary punctures. His fingers encountered the sticky mess at the boot site and he exclaimed, "You used gu for this? That's food!" We stood around for lord knows how long, swatting at mosquitoes and getting cold, before the flat was repaired. If only expert field mechanic NH could have been there to take charge of the repair. Alas, he was too busy embrocating his hiking boots.
Back on our bikes we rolled the lake CCW, dashing through the busy camp grounds. Tension was high as various tires weren't maintaining pressure. But, we made it back to the Knott Lot without further incident.

T2 joined us at the taco session. Some aces turned up, the tacos left only a slight sheen of grease on the wax paper and Rock offered some tropical sauces to the table.
B and Councilman are planning an all Friday dirt outing for anyone looking for an epic adventure. A repeat of Cap'n's commemorative ride is possible, or exploring around Barrett jeep trail. Who is in?