Thursday, December 31, 2009

More Paradise Royale

It seems as though I can't stay away from this trail, or at least try and get down there whenever I possibly can. My buddy Matt came down from Portland, after family activities in Eugene, to come hang out for a few days and get on some dirt after a long hiatus. We first had some wrenchin' to do on his steed before making tracks, and all but the wavy rotor we got it rolling. The community forest chanted only a few blocks away where we got a training ride in, but the real mission was to head south to the King Range.

This was the first time actually staying down at the Tolkan Campground, which is literally a spit's distance from the trail. We left camp setup for our return, ate a bagel sandwhich, a apple cinnamon hammer gel and hit the trail.

This was Matt's first time on Paradise Royale. The ascent can always be a bit frustrating but Matt kept a positive attitude. The weather was perfect which made the riding that much more enjoyable.
The crazy Tanoak grove heading back up to the trail head is always a delight. My buddy Scott calls it the octopus forest for good reason. The second day of riding was quite brutal. The moment we departed the trail head it started raining hard and didn't let up the whole ride. The ridge up top was fiercely cold and windy. I lost feeling in my hands and feet for most of the ride and could barely enjoy the downhill section. I realized then how as minimalist as v-brakes may be, only having about 5% stopping power that day was a little scary. My hands and wrists were sore from squeezing what little friction I could create. Once I figure out how I'm going to pay for school this semester it looks like some disc brake research is bumped up on the priority list.

The fungus photo is the only shot I took on day two. With the rain coming down I kept the camera holstered safely in the Camel Bak, putting most of my energy toward getting out of the woods alive.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas Y'all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Butler Valley Solo

Everyone seems to have left, has a real job, or is hiding out in their bat cave. The forecast called for completely sunny skies for today and the next couple days; I was skeptical. When I awoke today, got some oatmeal and coffee in my veins I realized there were sun rays and not rain drops falling from the sky. Motivating for a long solo ride is hard without dragging my feet, but once I got started I was stoked at my decision.

The Britt Ranch is always an exciting arrival. The steep 2 mile Korbel climb is over, and then you are surrounded by amazing idyllic overlooks. Today was no exception.

I've ridden the Butler Valley loop a half dozen times or so. Either I completely overlooked this every time, or someone recently had an experience that trumps anything I've had. This minivan seems to have been there for sometime though - cloaked in dated rust, bullet holes, and excessive signs of vandalism I can't imagine it showed up within the last month since I last rode butler valley.

I know I've already thrown in the typical self-camera-phone shot, but the mad river bridge is an amazing place. During the summer on this ride this is where we would hike down to the river and take a quick, cool splash. It's a good point to rest, take in some calories, and ponder the 8 mile climb ahead. At this point my legs were still feeling pretty good, but I still had a long way to go and I knew it. The best part about going solo is I have only myself to be competitive with rather than redlining while I watch the fast guys rapidly fade away.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Playing with Liquid Nitrogen

In an attempt to break Chris' seat post free from seizure, we drove down to the local welding/gas supply shop for a liter or so of LN2, or liquid nitrogen. The idea is this: aluminum (the seat post) contracts quicker than steal (the bike frame) under cold temperatures. According to the sales man at the LN2 shop, we were playing with about -362 degrees Fahrenheit, which to me seems cold enough. Note: I researched and found that LN2 freezes at -346 degrees, so maybe he meant -342 degrees. Either way, the seat post is still stuck and Chris went with the last resort of cutting the post off attempting to cut a slit in the post with a long hack saw blade. This is obviously a to be continued post.

Prepping involved taping the holes to the downtube and stays in an attempt to funnel the nitrogen down the seat tube, thus freezing the seat post mercilessly stuck in the frame.

A look inside the bottom bracket reveals the cave of confusion, wondering what the heck we were about to pour into it.

LN2, the smoking gun, awaits patiently as we prep allez. Little did he know it was like frosty waiting in a greenhouse, only moments longer and you'll be dead.

After a couple seat tubes full, vice grips, vices, monkey wrenches and a lot of brute force we concluded defeat. That wouldn't stop us from using the LN2 to freeze burn anything we could find in sight.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mountain Lion Defense

Well most of us have been in an environment where moutain lions exist, however, many of us have probably never seen one. Just in case a sighting occurs, this trusty sign just may be the ticket for a safe journey home.

Monday, December 14, 2009

New Photo Gallery Viewer

I've been tossing around the idea of putting photos into my own gallery viewer for awhile. It's been one of my many distractions from acadamia this past semester. Unfortunately I just haven't found any nice opensource viewers out there until now. I finally found one that works have way decent, has a good looking interface, and will store photos in a database. I must be picky or something though cause there are still many things about this viewer that I would also change. Franakly if I had the time, and the source code I just might do that. But for now I'm going to move forward with what I've got. I'm still now exactly sure how I want to organize them. I really should get my web page up and running, but I'd rather go pedal 50 miles than spend any more time behind this damn glowing screen. Click on the image above. To choose an album select choices in lower left-hand corner. Cheers.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Racing supports riding

It's been a couple months since I've really had time to clean my room. In an effort to maximize space I did a routine organizing which consists of grabbing things from the more central parts of the room and putting them as close to the walls as possible. This was mostly done so I could put my touring bike up on the trainer in hopes of getting to spin some miles soon. What I had realized at the time of my organizing tantrum was exactly what I titled this blog post. I had a rather large pile of swag, but even better than swag, useful things that actually enable me to get out and ride more. I've been running on a tight student budget for awhile now, been tromping with the same crankset on my mountain bike since 1999 (yup that's 10 years), a shamy that's three years old, and rims that are busting at the seams. Now I'm not one to rush out and get the lastest new hip bike gadgets, but I've definitely come to realize how upgrades can make my bike work a lot better, which only fuels my desire to go ride more. It's a sick cyclical cycle really. What I'm getting at is this, I have a pile of great stuff sitting here from a couple local bike races that I participated in which really helps an economically challenged dude like myself out. This is a BIG shout out to Vic at Team Bigfoot, Jennifer at Adventure's Edge, and all the folks up at Revolution for really making the cycling scene around here kick ass. Cheers.

Stomach Churn 2009

This weekend I got a break in from studying to participate in the 11th annual Stomach Churn bike race. The race has moved around throughout the years eventually landing at the current location for the last 8 or so. I have no idea what the previous race conditions were, but I do know what they are now. If the creators had foreseen into the future than they adequately named this event Stomach Churn. This was probably one of the hardest races I've ever done. Steep climbs nope. Crazy technical rock sections, nada. This race meandered through rolling cow pastures and cut through a small evergreen stand with pure intentions of making each rider work for each pedal stroke. In the end I finished pretty lousy from my norm, but probably had the most fun I've had at a race event. Typical with a lot of cyclocross races in the cross competition. Luckily for me my outfit more than made up for my inadequacies on the race track. I left with a couple sets of tires, a big bag of hammer gel, and some sore legs to remember it by. Thanks to all who participated and especially all those putting hard work into making the event a success! Click on the above pic for photos.