Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Haloween moon

I just had a great idea. We should get lights on our mountain bikes and go riding tonight. It would be awesome!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

If it's wet, hit it sideways

Tuesday's call-out provided an overview of the short but fascinating history of the development of our great sport. It also provided that there was going to be at least one rider who would join us from the much shorter history of FT3 and continue his role as the great councilman among us. He seemingly forgot how to carpool for FT3 however, as his text to me at the Knott Lott read "who is there?" Surprise, another one from the history books arrives just then, and it is the one we call "Rock God."

We proceeded post-hast for the Knott Lot while fielding calls from additional riders confessing their tardiness. We began assembling our cycling panties, fashionable spandex leggings, sporty socks, neck warmers, gloves, helmets and lights while waiting for the arrival of B and later Xterric. B was getting antsy after a day of sporting in pow and decided to make a quick run for Pre' BR's. 

The clear, darkening sky was cool and crisp, and the texture of the dirt lot below our feet increased the anticipation of the quality trails awaiting us. Rock and Cap'n bantered about some remarks about who's who on the cross scene just barely stopping short of calling one another out. And so it is good to have council when you need it. Alas Xterric finished donning his gear, some lights were tested and repaired and the request for ride leader nomination was made. 

This seven strong group featuring *most* of the classic riders of FT3 included Cap'n, NoHandle, Xterric, B, NoCar, Rock, and Councilman. In the absence of a nomination or self nomination for ride leader, the impatience of Rock came through strongly and he rode away, and the rest of us followed. We headed appropriately for the qualifier as it was clear some of us hadn't been on an FT3 ride for a while.  

While Rock and I were off the front there was some mis-direction among the latter half of the group at the bottom of the qualifier. According to my sources some tire track tracking skills were deployed during a discussion of the repack downhill before the group ultimately decided to continue up the qualifier. We broke towards the lower wedding march at the 3/4 point of the qualifier. The lower wedding march drop was fantastic, grippy, sticky fast and fun. While there were few wet spots, we determined that those areas were best hit sideways. The rock garden decent was owned by all and we regrouped at the bottom. Then we headed around the lake clockwise, taking the horse trail to the super steep climb toward MET. At MET we took Ferrari Mill to lower Fleming, Palins, Palins lower, up the dam road back to MET, along the lake to the first dam and then up "Triple X." 

Many riders tried, and some more than once, but ultimately, it was it's namesake rider that once again owned the coveted Triple X climb; Xterric cleaned it with supreme bike handling prowess and a small block 8 rear tire. We took the backdoor trail back to the Knott lot. All agreed that if we were not present, we would have missed out, and that riding conditions and weather were mountain bike textbook perfect. We were fortunate to avoid any personal regret due to the potential of rain or cold. Taco's were excellent and the sauce selection is just as well. 

A few baskets of tacos arrived and the noshing began when a rider asked "where's B?" "B is being B" replied NoCar. Later, the Taco Mom informed us that B had lost his wallet. Xterric went out for an inspection and returned un-surprised that B had unloaded, literally, everything from A to Z in the parking lot looking for his wallet. Just then, the Taco Mom returned, all smiles, to announce that she found the "lost" wallet underneath the car. The rest of us pondered if we would ever receive Taco Mom assistance if we lost anything in the parking lot. 

A few important items were discussed:

1) Sunday Morning Ride 10/28 on El Dorado Trail Pville to Folsom, ending at BJ's. Start approximately 8:00am finish around noon. May need to shuttle to drop a car in Folsom depending on head count. Who's in?

2) SAC CX Double header in Folsom November 3rd and 4th. 3rd - Lembi Park, 4th - Folsom Rodeo Grounds.

3) Sunday 11/11/12 Veteran's Day ED Trail/Cronin Loop (counterclockwise, pville-cronin, EDH-EDT) departure early afternoon 2 or 3pm in order to preserve light usage. Who's in?

And that's a wrap. TacoStrong.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Moving Parts are Overrated

 Long, long ago, in a far away land (Marin Co.), a bunch of knuckleheads put fat tires on Schwinn cruisers, climbed or drove up to the top of the nearest mountain, and hurled themselves, brakes smoking, toward the ocean below. They did this for about a week, and on the last day (which was a Tuesday), the lord was pleased and uttered from high atop Mt. Tam, "Let there be racing". That the Apostles John, Gary, Joe, and Charlie didn't kill themselves during those harrowing years is a Testament to their ingenuity, and to the steeds the rode into history. These were heavy, rigid stallions, nearly outweighing some of their riders.

It would be many years before we saw the adaptation of suspension, the use of lighter materials, and the proliferation of spandex. It is to these early years that we now turn, as I recount the final farewell of my failed fork.

She was a beautiful and ample-legged creature, a vision in white. I leaned on her during the rockiest and most turbulant times. She supported me through many ups and downs, rarely fussing over anything. She served me well, and, alas, I failed to service her often enough. Approximately 6 weeks ago, she gave me one last ride, and then locked out for good. I tried in vain to heal her, including hospitalization and a surgical intervention at the venerable Fox clinic. In the end, she was retired and her organs donated to research.

This led me to ponder how I might replace her, and continue on my journey through the wilderness. In my rush to find a suitable mate, I overlooked the tried and true fork of yore: the rigid steel. If our founding fathers, bless them, could navigate the vast and varied terrain of the holy land on steel, why couldn't I? I didn't have to look far to find myriad iterations of those simple, elegant, and refined blades of metal. In a further attempt to go "old school", I reread John 32:16, and converted back to a single gear. In the words of Brother B, during my maiden voyage last Friday, "moving parts are overrated".

In my yearning to recreate those conditions of yesteryear, I will, on this blustery night, hurl myself downward (and upward) chasing after other zealots. The wintry mix has beset us, and the heavens are opening in a gesture of purification. Who will join me on this pilgrimage into the promised land?

On One!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Silver Lake RR & Tuesday Callout & EDH CX Race Report

On the drive up Safety First! and I were ambushed -- I dodged the car through a hail of sniper fire. Fortunately, only the front tire of his bicycle was struck.

We picked up B and Droptail who had ridden up Silver Fork Road from the target car. Only then did we realize that the tire had been shot.

We continued to Carson Spur where our crew parted. Safety to replace his tire, the rest of us rode Thunder Mountain to upper horse canyon trail to Squaw Ridge. At these craggy heights, a posse of motorcyclists rolled up to us, over untrammeled landscape. We explained how, in spite of their body armor, they were not cool like mountain bikers. Because, we were legal. And our ride was longer and better and harder. 

After floating over loose rock at unsafe speeds down tire shredding Squaw Ridge, we snuck a bit of singletrack from Plasse's Trading Post (historic, or we would have stopped for whiskey) to Allen Camp, over a last little ridge to Silver Lake, and around the East side. Ignoring grumbling, B persisted in leading us through a bit of brush and emerged onto an enormous granite slab crawl. 

We met Safety at the FT3 Silver Lake Campsite. With bellies full of way-cheladas, we undertook a gnarly bit- the unnamed, unmarked trail that follows the ridge out from the FT3 Silver Lake Campsite.  At a granitic knob with long views in every direction, before the trail plummeted towards the ridge between Sherman Canyon and Caples Creek/Silver Fork, we parted. Safety and I retraced to our car and B and Droptail pushed further to theirs. Alpenglow blushed the mountain peaks as we finished.
Did anyone else ride last weekend?

Cappy Answers:

This Saturday was the first Annual El Dorado Hills Cyclocross race held at the old golf course. We all knew there was great potential for a cross race in that location, and it did not disappoint. Larz and I met up early for a carpool. Since this was a UCI race, and my expired license indicates I am a CAT 2 cyclocross racer, I decided to toe the line with Larz in the B race. At the time, I considered this to be a good decision based upon the small number of 35+ A racers pre-registered, which was only 1. The course had a nice mix of grass, climbing, tight turns, off camber sections, high speed sections and - of course, sand pits. I would give this course design very high marks for the year. The race started and myself and a few others went off the front. There was a grassy corner around a tree that had featured some hidden roots that took a rider out, in front of me, fortunately, I was able to go around him with only a bit of a shoulder bump to the rider next to me. A few more corners and a climb and I was sitting in second place behind what I eventually determined to be a 45+ rider. Lap after lap, we continued to battle, swapping the lead only a few times, typically with him keeping a small lead on me but well within striking range. With two laps to go our pace picked up and the third place rider gave chase. One lap to go and we were flying for the line. Just before the line I made a swift move around a lapped rider and managed to take the sprint for the overall win. Oh… whoops, maybe I should be racing A’s. Lars finished a short while after me and expressed that he had a good race, and experienced some great battles and did a lot of passing. We ate some cookies, I had to protest the preliminary results because I did not show up on them, in the meantime the second place (35+) finisher took my first place prize (Karma for sandbagging?) and finally Larz and I were able to leave. While it was nice to be racing for first rather than trying to hang on for dear life, I learned that I am officially an A racer and the win was bittersweet.


Another temperate forecast for Pollock Pines. But, soon enough, Peter will finally shut up about the dust and will, instead, snivel about the wintry mix. 

 It's Tuesday. Are you IN?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Is there water on mars?

The funky beats were thumping in the Knotthole backyard as we hurriedly kitted up. Unless next week's crew departs with Navy Seal precision, this was the last Tuesday that started lights off.

He-who-doesn't-eat-tacos assumed the RideLeader responsibility, and led us to the Qualifier. B was figuring out the new tire on his 26" wheel and he lost control on the ramp from the road and nearly caused a four bike pile-up. We proceeded up Qualifier to the western extension, started rolling an out and back towards some houses but cancelled since motorcyclists had left the trail a rutted dust bowl. Continued up and over the radio tower hill, picking up a jeep track on the back side, then back around to Park Creek to power line to an off of powerline sneaker trail that was covered in sticks. One, or maybe several, of those sticks conspired against me and knocked hard into my derailleur. It got wedged up in my wheel and the force pulled the wheel out of the frame. Assessing the damage, my derailleur hangar looked like a corkscrew, the derailleur had a new 90 degree bend in it, the chain guides were smashed and four teeth were missing off the pulley. In a little over 10 minutes, using a pair of pliers and the FT3team as a human jig, Master Trailside Mechanic NoHandle forced, and squeezed and tweaked until the chain ran straight and I had a gear comparable to what B rides.

Back to the qualifier we climbed to a trail that drops to the Miwok loop, jumped on the lake loop CW, added in some Mars roving, and then back to the road. At this point Unknown Local was ready to jettison, and we four rode in circles around him like sharks hungry for more secret trails.

And then it started raining. Glorious big drops spattered onto the dusty trail and we breathed in the sweet aroma of the forest and laughed at the those unfortunate souls who missed the first precipitation of the season.

Reinvigorated, we continued on the Lake Loop to Rock Garden climb (NoHandle cleaned it) to 1a, to horse trail, to the lake to the Knott.

Our good times at the Knott were capped by a Chickenbake and chips offering. The real surprise came at pay time when Mother announced that it was her recipe. The original Chickenbake baker wanted to know if her dish was still better than the impostor. We all stammered, wondering what answer would ensure the most Chickenbake in our future.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I could hardly contain my impatience as Xteric and I rolled into the Knott Lott. We were the last to arrive and the others were kitted and sipping sudsy preBRs.

NoHandle momentarily claimed RideLeadership, then unclaimed it. B, eager for pedaling, led us out the back to the Horse Camp and dam drop. We turned up sharply, before reaching the bottom of the dam and climbed the left (climber's perspective) side of its face. The steep rocky pitch was too challenging for anyone to accomplish in one go. So we would pedal hard until a technical move or the mere strain of it forced us off our bikes. After one particularly lusty charge, B leaped off his bike and had to run down the dam before catching his balance. The carbon S works laid trailside, on a rock. As B returned to his steed much speculation was made of its fate. Sure enough, it had cracked clear through the right seat stay. The section of trail was dubbed "B's Crack". NoHandle decided to be RideLeader and B walked back to the Knott.

Now down to six, we proceeded to take the horse trails around the lake. Up the Rock Garden to 1a; Somewhere in there Unknown Local jettisoned (If you never order tacos, do you really have a taco handle?) we rolled up the Qualifier; down the wedding march; and then cut off the bottom of the wedding march, proceeding straight where we normally take a swooping left, on the forest road to some other trail; dropped a devilishly steep trail back to some other trail, I forget. Good times, good times. 

A note on soil conditions:
While I did take a two wheeled sliding dismount through deep, fluffy, churned soil while trying to pass Cappy and cut a tight corner (much to the delight of Xteric), for the most part the dust seemed quite manageable. NoHandle claims it was his unmatched RideLeader abilities, and the excellent route choice last evening suggested this may be true. However, I think that the overnight lows are finally approaching the dew point, especially in some of the colder and wetter draws. The condensation is enough to bond some of the soil particles together and give them a little weight. The choking clouds of infinitesimally fine particles that followed each rider a month ago are gone. This should encourage several FT3ers next week, when they have to decide between riding dirt with their buddies and baking cookies with Peter. 

We returned to the Knott Lott to find B with a whittled down box of postBRs. He had his own adventures this evening, managing to temporarily lose his dog and a case of beer. I made an unusual 10 taco order, hoping to take some home as GreenFro has done. But, Mother got all pissy about that, and for a time wouldn't serve me any. With the new green pain sauce, and obviously slim meat allowances, I finished both baskets.

The evening ended as so many do. Cappy declaring it time to go, B ordering a last pay beer and out to the Lott and the looming reality of wednesday.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Edition of SSFT3 2012

Let's get this thing going.
Tomorrow is Oct 2, and the first SSFT3 of fall. I just wish we had some precip to hold down the dust.

Quick ride report from the weekend.  I met up with "New Guy" Lars and sometimes-guy Green Fro for a nice meeting of the Sunday Skinny Tire service.  We took down Mosquito-Rock Creek - 193. 

I have it on a back channel convo that Cappy and Jr Cappy were once again crushing the local cycling scene.  The week before last they were crushing the CX circuit, this weekend it was BMX. What is next for the Cappy men.   Reporting on the BMX front is that both were just a step away from the top spot on the podium taking home the Father/Son set of second places.  Nice work!
I wonder if Cappy was also rolling new wheels of the 4x4 sort?

I'm in tomorrow, but still deciding if I'm man enough to ride the SS.
B, what sort of concrete dry-watching, dirt grading, dam shooting, late season budget spending events do you have this week.  NoCar, I'll buy the prebrs if you show.