28 December 2008

Memories of Snow

Sad to see it all gone...for those of us who were born and raised in
real snow country, this was a glorious time.

18 December 2008

Ridus Interruptus

Well, after a couple months of regular riding, I've not ridden for 10 days! The mix of family, holiday, work and now snow and ice have really crimped time in the saddle. Yes, I can ride the rollers in the basement, but I've avoided that for now. Did the Jingle Bell Run in Seattle on Sunday, but it was only 5k. Not quite enough snow for skiing. Um...guess if you can't beat 'em, join 'em - Looks like another rum and eggnog for me!

22 November 2008

Today's Awesome Find

So Carrie calls and tells me she saw an old Burley trailer in
someone's yard uptown. I scoot over on the fixed and there it is in
great condition with a $15 price tag. Get to the door and a really
cool woman comes out and says she'll take $10. Sold! Four blocks later
and it's at our home and all set for dog hauling - Yeah!

02 November 2008

A Nice Sunday Ride

Leaves falling like snow. Solo ride along the quiet roads on the
Quimper Peninsula. Sunshine for over three hours, no rain and a
delicious lunch at the fabulous On Common Grounds in Chimacum.
Couldn't have wished for a better day!

20 October 2008

Hurricane Ridge Ride

The road to Hurricane Ridge was finally opened to bicycles this weekend after many months of road construction. A small group of Port Townsend and Camano island folks made their way to the Heart of the Hills Visitor Center to start the pilgrimage. Weather was brisk, slightly cloudy and the road was perfectly smooth from the gate entrance to the top. What a day!

Park at the Heart of the Hills Visitor Center (bathrooms and water) and ride 5 miles (chipseal and loose road edges) to the entrance gate. It costs $5 for a bike and rider unless you have a annual park pass. From there it's about 13 miles to the Ridge on perfect pavement. The Hurricane Ridge shop and store are closed this time of year, but there's bathrooms and water at the top. The road surface is brand spanking new...hopefully it survives the winter!

25 September 2008

Permanent Debut

Don Boothby urged a few fools to "usher in a great welcome to the autumn season by playing hooky on "Hump Day" and going out to play in the rain." Sounded innocent enough and I really needed to get out and grab a 200 km to keep my R-12 dreams afloat for month number two.

Of all the days this week, Wednesday was the only one predicting rain. Don picked the day a month ago to ride with Joe Keenan. Once the vacation time was booked, Joe had to have surgery that morning. So, I joined the "few brave souls," Steve Davis, Mark Thomas and Don Boothby for the Hood Canal South #84.

I learned immediately that it was imperative to get a receipt at each control - having never ridden a permanent before, I was glad to have some experienced companions. As we rolled out through morning rush hour I had the distinct feeling that I'd be the caboose on this train. Steve was on his 11th month of R-12, Don has only taken 28 days off the bike for the whole year and Mark rides more brevets than anyone I know. I barely have ridden 28 days this year!

It was nice riding through the morning and we didn't start getting rain until we neared the Canal about 11:30 a.m. This is a pretty simple route and with stops in Hoodsport and Brinnon, gave us the opportunity for some coffee and pastries along the way. I felt pretty good until Brinnon at the half-way point and then realized my seat post had sunk down and had to readjust. Unfortunately with the new bike I had not yet marked it, so I guessed. Not a good thing.

Minding the store in Brinnon

Don and Mark were off the front in minutes on the return and Steve stayed near for company. I urged him to hang with the fast boys, but we enjoyed some great conversations about the economy and freight hopping, among other things. It made the miles go by easier! At Twanoh State Park I needed to get off the bike as I knew the seat was too high and when I put weight on my leg I thought my pelvis was broken it hurt so much. A quick adjustment and a few uncomfortable miles later all was well again.

The rain increased immensely through Belfair, and we took a few wrong turns till we found the correct one, but by the time we got to Bremerton it eased up and we came in "relatively dry". Don and Mark were there about 40 minutes earlier but waited and we all had dinner together at the Fry House. Nothing like a German sausage and fries to refuel! I highly recommend the Thai peanut dipping sauce with the Belgian fries.

Thanks to these three guys who assisted the rite of passage out of permanent virginity. They were true gentlemen! Now I want to ride permanents all the time!!

23 September 2008

Rekindled Fixedness

I have always been a fan of simple bikes and recently watched a few of the urban fixie videos that are floating around. I ran fixed during 2002 and other times for brevets and club riding, but this time I merely wanted something to scoot around town with. There sat the faithful Heron Road frame and so in a brief Saturday afternoon it was transformed into a nice light fixed gear.

I had some little riser bars that my daughter used on our tandem and I flipped them forward and mounted a bell and single DiaCompe front brake ( I tried once going with no brakes, but then I came to my senses). A mix of 167.5 Shimano 600 cranks with 40t/16t rear make it perfect for Port Townsend hills.

So far I've had a great time riding and remembering what basic fun this can be!

26 August 2008

Olympic S24O

With little more than an inquiry from Kent about taking a little spin for a couple days, I was in from the start, knowing that the summer was rapidly coming to a close. Matt jumped on board while the others had commitments preventing a foray into the woods (I've been on that side enough times). The weather was cloudy and warm Sunday morning, though the NOAA forecast was less positive:

Sunday: Rain likely after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 68. South wind between 8 and 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Sunday Night: Showers likely. Cloudy, with a low around 54. South wind between 5 and 8 mph becoming calm. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Monday: A 30 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 65. Calm wind becoming north northeast around 6 mph.

On the edge of being potentially epic-miserable, lesser fools might have had the sense to cancel said plan. With divine foresight, Matt said "I'll also bring a big tarp in case we're hanging out in the drizzle." Yep.

I had sort of a plan, that wasn't really a plan, to camp higher up in the Olympic Mountains and so on Sunday morning we all met up on the west side of the Hood Canal Bridge for a quick jaunt to Quilcene. The weather was good with a stiff southern wind. We met up and there was a general consensus for no hurrying - calm progress would be the order of the day.

We arrived at Logger's Landing restaurant for breakfast - tasty home-made corned beef hash and eggs, and by the time we left it was raining. We started our route up on Penny Creek Rd. to FS Rd. 27, a fairly nice old paved road which gains about 4000 ft to our overnight spot. For the next 4 hours plus we clawed our way up, "thinking pure thoughts" (ala Frank Zappa) about that next sunny morning we'd be appreciating. My idea was to get to Sink Lake below Mt. Townsend, which would require a short hike, but as adventures don't occur without a healthy dose of error, I choose the wrong trailhead turn and we ended up in basically an overgrown parking area at the dead end of a long gravel road. Oh well.

Now near 4PM and unlikely the rain would stop, we made camp. That tarp came in real handy - otherwise we'd be trapped in our bivy sacks for the next 12-14 hours. With the tarp, we had some moderate shelter from the drenching rain for heating water, eating and chatting, all very civilized. We decided two things could change this from merely miserable to horrid. Wind or cold. Either would have tipped the balance toward the less pleasant end of the outdoor experience. By 8PM we'd eaten enough, bear-bagged the food and gone to sleep. Three distinct snores were the only sounds for miles around. I woke up a few times, waiting till the last possible moment to put on my soggy cold shoes to go take a leak. (Hadn't considered the value of a few plastic bread bags until then). It stayed calm and foggy all night and kept on raining.

Sometime after 5:30AM everyone was up and the immediate decision was made to bail on the "up and over route" for the direct descent back to the Logger's Landing for hot food! There was no squabbling. I love a good fast drop in crappy conditions, so it wasn't long before we were packed and flying down. Wet road, slippery with moss and cracked pavement made it a good skill building exercise and twice Matt headed for the woods on a curve, but stayed upright! Kent was on a 60" fixed with a single front brake so he was more controlled. The Pereira did well with it's loaded lowriders and handlebar bag and I could take my hands off the bars and stretch my arms on the straight-aways. No shimmy at all.

About an hour later, we were down and biscuits and gravy hit the spot along with a few cups of coffee. The rain continued. We headed up Center Rd. north to Hwy 104 where Kent and Matt would head east, while I would continue north to PT. All in all a good effort, but much like spending 24 hours inside of Tupperware. We said our goodbyes at the bridge and I stated that without a doubt the sun would be shining in PT, and by golly, just 4 miles from my house I saw my shadow and felt the warmth. I should have brought sunglasses.

Photos by Kent here >>
Kent's blog post here >>

18 August 2008

SIRs RUSA 10th Anniversary 200 km

What a fine day for a ride! Beautiful sunshine to start the day and very alert volunteers were out in force for the once-in-a-lifetime RUSA 10th Anniversary brevet. There were nearly 50 riders ready to go and despite the previous week of hesitation on my part, I was really glad to be there. Test rides the week before took the Pereira out of the mix as an incessant creak from the front wheel was driving me crazy and I couldn't resolve it. Eddy O was the backup as there would be little need for fenders.

Eric asked me to lead out folks to the first turn but that lasted all of 10 seconds as I was swamped by the first half of the pack. With a number of friends back from bike tours and 1200s, I was out-gunned from the start. A couple of us, Al, Trudy and Lyn formed a little chase group and motored our way to the Bad Carb Control. It was a quick in and out, but I somehow got a few cookies and was conscripted into poem writing for the newsletter by the irascible Maggie...Peter Leikio and I got some time to chat before heading onto the shaded roads to Banner Forest. He flatted and that was the end of our conversation unfortunately; little did I know then I would be experiencing the same many times later on. Met up with James McKee and swapped tales of parenting...he's got a way more ambitious plan than I!

Rode too with Cindi who I met at PBP 2003 - nice to reminisce about an evening of pure adrenaline as we raced across France in the dark with a couple of BC women (which also did in my Achilles for the remainder of the ride). After the info control our group formed up again and we cruised into Belfair and the Good Carb Control at Twanoh State Park. I consumed a few potatoes, orange slices, an egg and V8 for extra go power. Started out a little slower this time and had to keep reminding myself that there was still 120 km to go and the day was getting hot already.

There was constant banter about the relative flatness of the ride. I must have been hallucinating because it sure seemed like a fair amount of climbing to me! I did enjoy going down Newberry Hill Rd and the generally rolling terrain though. Crossing north of Poulsbo I stopped to see the caveman at Valley Nursery who did not complain while I soaked my head under the water can. The mist was cold and very refreshing - it also amused the people in their cars who gave me a thumbs up. Hopping onto Bond Rd. and then Big Valley brought on more heat and a good headwind, plus the start of flats. None were blowouts, just a constant stream of leaks that kept me on the side of the road more often then I like. Made it to the Liquid Carb Control at Hood Canal Brewery and enjoyed some delicious brats and spuds with a handful of chips. What a perfect location! A regular outdoor BBQ with a shady spot to sit for tire changing too.

Even making it to the Liquid Carb Control was no respite as my tire went flat soon after leaving the control. This time I was out of tubes and then an angel on a Colnago landed nearby and graciously gave me a new tube - thank you Dan Turner!! That made all the difference and heading back into Bremerton on Central Valley Rd. and Tracyton Beach Rd was a joy. I didn't even know Bremerton had a bridge until I rode over Manette Bridge. What a spectacular end to the ride and I was good and tired.

Big thanks to all the volunteers: Peter Beeson, Catherine Monro, Eric Vigoren & Maggie Williams for organizing and providing such cheery support! I will try to write a poem...really....

13 August 2008

Handling Adversity

Watched the very riveting women's gymnastics last night and thought about a few randonneuring challenges as the US hopes for gold turned to silver. As I saw Alicia Sacramone teeter off on the beam at the very start of her routine, you could see every bit of anguish at what that meant for her, the team and the country. The look on her face was of such contained emotion I thought she would burst. Amazingly, she held it together as millions of people were watching her every move with cameras from all angles. She didn't break, and even after falling on the floor routine, kept it pretty together emotionally. That is the part that really stuck with me, her ability to maintain composure, however tenuous, despite what I would consider to be the most pressure a human could stand outside of combat. Bravo.

I thought back on what effects a problem or challenge in randonneuring seem to have on different folks, when numerous flats, physical ailments or simply the tiring efforts a long ride take on your mental control. Before I got to Mortagne au Perche in PBP and was beyond the time cut, I felt like I was done, but unlike Alicia I didn't have hundreds of cameras and viewers all over the world focused on my agony. I can't imagine what that was like and would rather not. What I did feel was that whatever it takes to keep focused on the goal is what matters, you can't do anything about some of the circumstances, but you do have control over how you handle the adversity. May I continue to have the fortitude to maintain when the going gets rough. There are some role models out there.

27 July 2008

Goodbye Sweet Kitty

Our dear sweet cat died this morning after over 20 years of letting us share her life.

Ariadne Saduri Sunflower, aka "Schmoo", was a mercurial kitten from the animal shelter, who reached out of her cage and grabbed C's sleeve as if to say, "hey, over here, your search has ended!" As a kitten she was prone to extreme activity once the lights went out. This lead to episodes in a large box with dictionaries stacked on top, but she would still escape frequently. Schmoo spent many nights wrapped around the top of my head until she was large enough to start taking the whole pillow, causing many stiff necks. She always smelled like perfume and I thought that was somehow magical until I found that she was sleeping in C's sweater drawer during the day. She ignored two other cats that came into our lives and eventually a dog. She was always the first - the pretty princess always made sure that was not forgotten.

It's a sad day here and the universe must have understood something was not right as it started raining when she finally let out her last breath. I miss her more than I imagined and life will never be the same without her.

19 April 2008

Circling the Hood Fleche

It started out innocently enough…what first was an inquiry from Mark Thomas’ about his team’s route, within a week became “We have room. Join us!” By 7PM on Friday the final team was assembled. The team name was “Circling the Hood”, to which I imagined more like “circling the drain”, thinking of past fleches…not to mention that I echo Kent Peterson’s statements each time with “This is stupid, I will never do this again”. Our team was Amy Pieper and Greg Cox on a tandem, Rick Haight, Tom Martin, Mark Thomas and Jon Muellner on single bikes. It was Tom’s first fleche and every one else had done a few, but it was a fairly odd group in that we all are generally pretty different in our riding pace and styles; enough that my wife Carrie thought the team name should be “Island of Misfit Toys”. I knew this was true when everyone there was on 700c tires and they looked at my 650b stated “you do have tubes for that thing, right?”
Having ridden nearly 100 miles in the past six months, I felt my preparation might be less than adequate, but I’ve done harder events with less riding before. Turns out Rick and Mark had similar base miles so we would suffer if need be. Amy softened the blow by handing us each a slice homemade banana bread at the start! This was soon followed by Tom’s realization that his light was dead, but that was sorted out and we were off.

Our route would take us from our start in Hadlock and out the smooth roads of Jefferson County across the Hood Canal Bridge and south on Hwy 3. The pace was energetic for the first couple hours, then reality set in as Tom lost his light (and found it) and Mark suffered the first flat in Gorst on the nasty highway there. He walked to where everyone was waiting and we did a nice group fix; i.e., everyone stands around and watches Mark battle with the tire and makes witty commentary amidst the occasional foul word. Another flat before the cabin was unsettling but with true grit he fixed it again and actually pulled the offending wire shard out with his teeth – now that’s the spirit!

A late night nap at Greg's cabin on Mason Lake was planned, so we rolled along Belfair Valley Rd. to East Trails End Rd. At this point we received the first shock of a serious climb and the group splintered. Actually, that was the general pattern of the whole ride, so it was not unanticipated, but as we’re all good sorts, we just did our thing and still remained a team.

At Greg’s cabin we all piled in and woke up his charming family, ate a few delicious muffins made by his daughter and sacked out for an hour. We were back on the road before 2AM and it was cold!! A nice clear night with a lemon wedge of a moon greeted us and we shivered until the blood started flowing again. We just had to stay awake for a few more hours until the sunrise and this event occupied our thoughts as we rode through Shelton and Kamilche to our furthest point in Montesano.

Most of the route was quiet and peaceful and the only sounds were Greg and Amy who never ceased talking for the entire ride. You would have thought they were sitting in a coffee shop rather than riding many miles in the cold dark. Tom was often off the front, speeding along while Rick hung with the tandem and Mark and I somewhere abaft.
We stopped at the Bee Hive Café and enjoyed some warmth, coffee and huge breakfasts, a perfect mid-ride break. By 7AM we were back on our bikes as the glorious sunshine poured down on us. We headed north from Brady and for nearly 50km enjoyed some of the best roads of the whole ride. Bodies were tired, but the warmth of real sunlight was enough to rejuvenate everyone as we headed for Hwy 101 and the final leg back north.

We all agreed to meet in Hoodsport at the café to regroup and enjoy a few pastries before starting the most hilly portion of the route. Amy and Greg decided to switch positions and have Amy captain the tandem so they did some quick adjustments. Mark headed out early for Brinnon, making sure he would be where there when everyone else was. Rick appeared unfazed by the lack of sleep or distance! Tom was soon gone and I moved out too. The team was getting a little stretched out as some got tired and others anxious. It would be about 80km till we were at our 22 hour point and it was just a lot of lumpy climbing until then.
Everyone made it to Brinnon and Mark and I arrived last. I only stayed for a moment and headed back out for Discovery Bay, knowing that even though we basically had time in the bank, the team had know spread out to absorb all of it. The Canal was beautiful with the sun glinting off the water and kingfishers swooping from tree to tree. Traffic was moderate this time of year, mainly thundering motorcycle groups came by, some of who waved as they passed. Mount Walker was fairly shady on the first part of the climb and wasn’t bad at all. Tom came by me and then Rick and I rode together. It was very warm and the headwinds after Quilcene were increasing. I began wondering how I had agreed that taking the most difficult way to PT was a good idea….

When we got to Discovery Bay at 4PM there was no Tom. We were going to meet at Fat Smitty’s (closed of course, and a surprise to the many people who also stopped to eat there). Amy and Greg arrived and then Mark, but still no Tom. I figured he was down at the little store, but then Mark figured he had gone further up to the turn on Discovery Rd. where we had mistakenly calculated would be a better 22 hour mark (it was not even close once we actually thought about it). Finally Mark found the number for the store and Tom had to return to where we were by 5PM. Here’s where the rules of the fleche get dicey. We all have to be here at 22 hours, and hoped he could get here in time!

At 4:55PM he rode in and we all signed cards. Mark informed us that he might not make it and that we should go without him. Turns out he was leaving bits of lunch along the way from Quilcene. Being the team we were, we totally voiced our disagreement with that decision and then promptly took off, leaving him to battle it alone. That’s the spirit!

I know these roads well, so I led Tom and Rick up the Hwy 20 climb (2 miles long) to Discovery Rd, then the climb up Cape George (1 mile +), then up a few more lumpy bits to my house as the final control. Within minutes everyone had made it! The Circling the Hood fleche team had successfully taken 5 very different riders, most lacking any miles, and transformed them into one cohesive cycling machine. Well, maybe that’s stretching it a bit, but we finished and everyone still likes each other!

A huge thanks to Greg’s lovely family for putting us up, the sun for making us feel good about living and my wife Carrie and friend Laura who shuttled vehicles at the start. It was a great team but maybe next year we should do the route in reverse?

15 April 2008

240 mile Pereira Road Test

After many months I've finally got a decent ride in on the new Pereira!! I picked the bike up from Tony after the NAHBS on Feb 10 and rode about 20 miles over the week before I headed to CO for two months. Poor thing sat in the basement waiting patiently...

I got back the first week of April and rode three days on club rides, about 20, 25 and 35 miles. Then, on Wed. I was invited to join a 24-hour team ride called a fleche (an traditional spring randonneuring event) and I decided to go for it. Of course, choosing to ride 240 miles in 24 hours is not necessarily wise, but it sounded like fun and I'd done 3 or 4 others in past years, so why not?

I decided to take the Pereira of course, though again, choosing a new bike for a long ride is not always wise either...but it really wanted to get out there and prove itself like a faithful companion, so off we went! This is what the bike was built for and it was really nice having it all ready to go; no zip-tie doohickys holding fenders, lights and other bits in place, no electrical tape holding things together, no funky bag mounting. Everything is as it should be. I swapped out the new Brooks Pro for a used Swift as I knew the new one was not broken in, otherwise all was set. Hetres pumped to about 50psi, chain lubed.

We left at 7PM on Friday night from Hadlock and rode down around the east side of the Hood Canal and out toward the Pacific coast to Montesano arriving at 6AM, then back along the west side back to Port Townsend to finish near 7PM Saturday. The first third was fairly flat and fast, the middle third lumpy and the final third was very hilly. (Why we plan things this way I'll never know...). The Pereira not only did admirably climbing and descending, I could change jackets while riding no hands, and best of all, finished feeling not nearly as beat up as I normally would. We fit together well and I felt confident in it's handling, so there were no nervous moments. Even with the fat tires, the bike feels fast and smoothes out the road, there were no flats despite riding over some brutal debris strewn highway stretches.

The bolts on the handlebar bag decaleur and all three cages had to be tightened, but that was the extent of the fiddling for the whole ride. I need to move the saddle ahead a tiny bit and level the handlebars a smidge, but otherwise the fit was perfect. I can see many happy miles ahead and I can't wait to get it up in the Olympic Mountains for some forest road exploration.

After some sleep and food, I'm ready to go again!

26 March 2008

Meadow Creek/Chief Mountain

A gorgeous Easter morning for exploring some new places with my recent friends Jon and JC. A pretty nice climb up from the Meadow Creek trailhead through the aspens in the beginning. I opted for a lighter set of gear and leather boots which worked better uphill than down!

We came out into an open area with views of the Gore Range and Lake Dillon below. The weather was unbelievably perfect with blue skies and fairly warm temps, but oddly cooler than late March should be.

Jon and JC at the top, about 11,300 feet with the dogs, Sally and Charlie yipping and ready for the descent. Peak 1 & 2 near Breckenridge in the background.

I also got a picture of me, but no dogs to make it more glamorous...

The descent was awesome at the top, nice and powdery but the skinny skis were out of their league in the tighter trees below. The trail down was pretty luge-like in places, but I got a few good turns in despite a few crashes and near misses. My huge GS turns weren't quite right for the terrain, so next time it's plastic and fat boards!

A big thanks to Jon and JC for taking me out, it was a perfect day!!

21 March 2008

Tucker Mountain Day

Copper Mountain had a fabulous amount of snow last week and I did some hiking to the west ridge of Copper Bowl and some snow cat skiing on Tucker Mountain. Ah, bliss. The day was all sunny in the morning and I was on first chair most of the time. The busy spring break time is all but forgotten once you get to the top.

This is looking at the saddle between Copper Bowl and Tucker Mountain with Jaque's Peak in the background. Mostly untracked whiteness...a perfect playground if you're willing to hike. Next week I'll bring skins for a speedier ascent.

16 March 2008

A month gone already?

Wow, time flies in the land of whiteness. Just a spectacular amount of fun these days with more snow each week making the days a blur of ski time and shoveling. Took a trip to Ski Cooper where the 10th Mountain Division practiced during WWII and enjoyed a family day in the sun. Leadville is a perfect little town if you're priced out of all the boutique spots. Access to backcountry skiing is close and there's lots of bars to hang in. 10,700 feet and there's no better altitude.

Neighborhoods are a cool collection of folks who aren't wearing fur and Uggs looking for a cocktail. I could see myself here in a heartbeat.

Between some telemark days there's always some XC to be had and Saturday was cold and sunny so I went out for almost 25km. Truly beautiful.

This week is spring break for loads of kids, college and otherwise, so I get out early and get back early. Backcountry weeds out most pretty quickly and a hour or two hike or skin provides some untouched white.

This week is just one continuous day of skiing with some friends in town. It's snowing again and we can only hope for more! One more month of this and things will be OK again...

23 February 2008

Ah, Colorado at Last!

My first week in CO concludes with a fabulous showshoe trip up near Rainbow Lake with snow falling everywhere and sunshine coming through the flakes. This is heaven!

5 days of XC skiing, telemarking and snowshoeing so far and another two months still to go. Life is good. I work at night everyday, but it's manageable so far and this is just the place I want to be. Teaching my daughter Peri to ski has been both a joy and a challenge, but she seems to be liking it more as she gains confidence and experience...and it's fun to just have a few weeks of Dad and pre-teen kid time.

Peri is a master sculpter of "cheese wax", the stuff that cheese is wrapped in...today she made a few characters for the table:

The "snow" is salt she poured on the table. Yep, two little skiers out on a run. Wednesday she was out on 190cm XC skis, so she's learning the old-fashioned way; on hand-me-down gear. More fun is in store for next week!

14 February 2008

Pereira 650b Hetre Randonneur arrives!

First meeting...I love it!

I've got my new bike! An exciting time at the Handmade Bicycle Show in Portland capped off by taking home my Pereira. It is truly a beautiful bike and everything I imagined when Tony and I started talking about it. He was very patient with our voluminous email correspondence.

It started in March 2006 the day after the show ended after having seen the randonneur bicycle he built for the show and won Best of Show with. I had already been working on modifying a canti-Romulus for the brevet season, but knew I wanted something much more substantial for some of the off-road touring I had in mind too. I also wanted to have 650b tires for something new and they seemed to be well worth building my idea around. Word was that there were going to be some new Gran Bois Hetre 650b x 42mm tires available and that's what I wanted Tony to design for. Problem was, they didn't even exist when we began and only came to the US in November!

It all came together and I wanted some specific elements in addition to the fat tires: stem with bell and removable faceplate, removable low-rider racks, minimal to zero TCO, low trail for better handling with a handlebar bag, triple water bottle mounts, light mounts front and rear and really perfect confident handling.

Test rides this week have proven that it does all I wished for and I can't wait to take it on further trips and rougher terrain. I'll be skiing for the next two months and then back riding in April!

Built with Columbus Life tubing with a custom double plate crown fork (60mm rake/40mm trail). Rides so well I may not need other bikes! More pictures here. The color is a green/grey with a sort of mossy brown logo and box lining - hard to photograph but really nice. The polished bronze brazed-on head badge looks awesome.

29 January 2008

Too many bikes?

Well, it's been a month since I've written anything here and I felt it was time. Work and home issues have absorbed most of life and riding has been limited. I pick up my Pereira at the NAHBS 2008 in Portland February 10th. I'm very excited to hit the road on such a beautiful purpose-built bike; finally something I don't have to kludge together to work well. It'll be my 47th b-day present to myself.

So that leaves the eternal question of what to do with all the bikes I still have. Do I need them? The Pereira will take the place of the Heron Road, Canti-Rom and the Heron Tour. So what to do? I enjoy them all, but do I need them? Right now I'll hang onto them until I've ridden the Pereira enough to know, but if it fulfills what I want, I may be reducing the inventory...the only bike I won't get rid of is one of the Merckx', which I still find incredibly fun to ride and unlike anything else I have. Just have to decide between the Corsa 01 and the MXL. (Sheesh, I feel like a greedy, rich bike slut for even saying that). I have regretted selling other bikes in the past (1982 Schwinn Paramount), so I don't want to do anything without thinking it through.

I'll be in CO till April, working on new business opportunities and skiing of course. I love cycling, but miss being in the snow too much. I like to take a break from riding in the winter and cross-country/telemark skiing are perfect complimentary sports. There's nothing better than powder days in the high mountains. I won't get back to randonneuring until July with family trips and home remodeling to do.

If you're interested in a Fuso FR-1 or a Bob Jackson 50th jubilee frame, let me know...it's unlikely I'll have any time to play with those sweet bikes in this lifetime.