Thursday, November 29, 2012


I've never played Powerball before. And now, I'll be damned if I ever will again. What a rip.

The sad and totally frustrating part is, I thought that I was destined to win, because of my noble intentions. Not that I wouldn't have spent a small portion making me and Patty extremely comfortable from here to eternity. Let's be real. But thanks to a brief conversation with John last night, I had developed a fantastical vision about how to use the winnings to help propel Elephant Bikes into a global concern, while simultaneously transforming Glen into one of the ten most powerful men on the face of the earth. "Making the right kind of bikes the right way, for every person on the planet."

Destiny my ass. This totally sucks. And to add insult to injury, I have to leave for work now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Last Call

I google-imaged "last call" for some cheesy wee-hours bar image that I could goof with at the top of this post.

Something a little unexpected came back, holy living hell.

If this doesn't mess with you in a pretty major way, well, you're dead.  Please accept my condolences.
Credit for and story on this amazingly suggestive painting here.

Okay then. Let's move on. Just forget about the painting. Please. The thought of you getting overly amorous with your mate and then blaming it on my blog makes me wanna throw up in my mouth. Get a hold of yourselves. We're here to talk about bikes.

And the important bikey thing I need to say is this:

Fatturday the 1st is right around the corner. We have a goodly fatbike contingent, but I know there are other Spokane/North Idaho fatbikes out pounding our local trails and tarmac on massive rubber, because I've seen them.  If you are, or know of, a fatbiker in the area who might be interested in joining in, here's how to connect up:  26InchSlicks[at]gmail[dot]com

Hey! Pay attention!! Did you hear anything I just said???

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Jay. And Bagging The 24 Hr Course.

This is Jay:

Super-narrow bars, for fitting in between trees.  From the school of hard knocks.

He's new in town and contacted me through my blog, wondering if maybe I'd be up for showing him around Riverside. That's a little like umm, a lot like umm, exactly like the blind leading the blind. But whateva. It took a while for our schedules to coincide, but today was the day.

He's a cool and interesting dude who has ridden lots of miles and who buys a bike and then rides it forever.  The "just shut up and ride" kind of thing.  Sweet.  More of us should probably adopt his philosophy.

He works at Holy Family Hospital and lives a few miles south of there and plans to commute year around on an '87 Trek 520.  (Did I mention he rides his bikes forever.) If you see him, be sure to say hey and welcome him to Spo.  He's also quite fit and kicked my ass up all the hills, so I think I'll quit talking about him now.

Oh. Did I also mention that we bagged the 24 hour course at Riverside?  It took less help from the gps this time, but still a little.  If the weather holds, I'd like to get a coupla more laps on it this fall, at which point I will pretty much know it.  That would leave next spring for learning a little something about how to ride it, in advance of the 24 Hr Race.  The Master Plan is well intact, then.

Oh Oh, and btw:  I owned Devil's Down on this day. Yay.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Lining Up

Not this kind of line . . .

 This kind . . .

John organizes a ride every year on the day after Thanksgiving, and it's called, appropriately enough, the Black Friday Ride. The only shopping I was doing was for the best line through a few sections of rock gardens.

I've been totally groovin' on my weekend outings lately and so I have been impatiently anticipating this year's edition. As an added bonus, my MTBey nephews were in town and jonesin' for a solid hit of lactic acid and so they were down for it, as well.  Ian apparently keeps his bike in the back of his truck so that it's with him at all times, should the opportunity for a ride arise.  And I am not kidding.  Andrew was in need of a steed, so I put him on my new-ish Trek Fuel.  The following pic is from late in the ride,  but I've inserted it early in the post, just to mess with you. And because I have the technology.

Ian left, Andrew right.  They hate riding bikes.

All manner of bikes showed up for this ride.  Think kennel breakout - a mixed breed pack running wild with one common goal: running wild.

I wish I had more actual trail pics to show you, but I was too busy riding my ass off.  This next one pretty accurately reflects what I was actually seeing realtime, after filtrated through my bloodshot eyes and then post-processed through my oxygen-starved brain . . .

Pain. The good kind . . .

Scott is about to provide you with the textbook-proper technique for getting both you and your bike safely and dryly across a creek, in two easy steps:

Every pack needs an alpha and ours is one crazy mutha, as you can clearly see, front 'n center there. We are obviously not the type of pack that thrives on the tiniest bit of of conformity, let alone some rigid code of conduct and so it all kind of works, I suppose.  And on the other hand, I'm not saying we're exactly agents of chaos either, but  my guess is that we were rolling through this section at 12+ mph. 'Somewhat dangerous', then, is what you should be taking away from all this.

Who let the dogs out???

With the ride not quite fully completed but the ride 'proper' out of the way, we stopped for some before-noon beers (hello!) and breakfast at David Blaine's new restaurant, Central Food.  The beer and food were both excellent. The view's not bad either.

That's the new and long-anticipated connecting section of the Centennial Trail just on the other side of the railing.
This place is gonna be so totally hoppin' when this neighborhood gets built out. Probably way before then, actually.

'Twas a fine ride in all aspects, save one:  Skinny-ass, hyper-fit Andrew apparently has no respect for his elders, as he was up front all day, kicking my butt.  I dealt with the situation, psychologically, by imagining that I would take him outside at the family gathering later that afternoon, sit him on the curb, and jump in his knees.  Whatever it takes to get you through.

All kidding aside, it was just a great treat to join up with my nephews and the rest of the pack on this awesome day-after ride. Thanks, John.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Patching Things Up

E:  All you ever ride is those damn mountain bikes anymore.

P:  Yeah, I guess you have a point.

E:  Those other bikes are WHORES!  All they want is your money!

P:  Well, they do get a fair amount of it, but . . .

(E cuts him off.)

E:  I only want you for your legs! What we have is REAL.

P:  I think you're overreacting.  It's not like that at all.

E:  Oh gawd.  You don't [sob] love me any [sob] more!

(E breaks down crying, uncontrollably.)

P:  But I DO love you.

E:  Prove it.

P:  I just told you so.  Don't you trust me?

E:  Talk is [sob] cheap, you cheap bastard!  PROVE. IT.

P:  Fine.  Where would you like to go?

E:  Well, you've never [sniff] taken me up Five Mile Road since [sniff] they re-did it.

P:  Really??  Oh shit, I feel so bad.  They finished that, what, a year ago?  Maybe two even?  Okay. Be ready in ten.

E:  I'm already ready.

P:  Oh. Yeah.

E:  Pat?

P:  Yeah,

E:  Do you love me?

P:  I do. Truly.

E:  I know you do.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Apparently, I am compelled to learn to wheelie {sigh}.  I sort of dread what I'm getting myself into, but I've decided that I need to build a wheelie "trainer".  I spent part of this morning running around, gathering parts.  Shit, I can't believe I'm spending precious time on this.  The inner call is not to be denied, though.  Believe me, I have tried.  Stay tuned, as this sad story unfolds.

For just a split second, I thought my work had already been done for me, as I pulled up to Pedals2People.  But upon further analysis, I decided that it would not make a good wheelie trainer (according to my hack sensibilities that have resulted from way too many hours theorizing about the ideal form).  It's still somehow highly aesthetically pleasing to me, though.  After much thought on center-of-gravity matters, I have developed a banana seat fetish, and this is a remarkable implementation.

I was glad to have the opportunity to douse the flames of the wheelie dumpster fire in my brain with some high-end beer at the MTH.  I met my buddy Dave Nelson (of NW Fatbike Convention fame) there to talk a bunch of bike shit over beers and then three more of his buddies joined us and it started getting really deep.  I had to bail, lest I end up throwing the towel in on the rest of the day, tempting as it was.  Drinking beer at 1:00 on a Saturday afternoon is one of the finer things in life though, I will say.

Back at home, I ruminated, briefly, on how today would have been a fantastic opportunity to take some turns on the new turn, but there was more pressing bike business, I guess.  (A wheelie machine?  Really??)  A couple of glances and one photo were the extent of the attention paid to it.  What a crime.

I've been really digging my weekend rides this fall and they are also really key to the weight loss thing, since I fly a desk all week and with the short days, it's hard to get much exercise during the week.  So it was good to be able to head out to Riverside.  My intent was to gps my way around one lap of the 24 Hour Course, in accordance with the Master Plan.

Halfway up 5-minute hill, there was a 55-gal drum laying smack in the middle of the trail.  All the trademarks
of having been rolled down the hillside above.  Yay.  Hope the douchebags got an amazing thrill out of that.
I stopped and set it up and moved it off to the side, and I want you to know, in no uncertain terms, that my
decision to stop was in no way an excuse to suspend my suffering. Just doing my trail duty. It's how I am.

I did feel the urge to stop one time to feed my pornography addiction, just so you know I am not without my flaws and vices, in case your were starting to idolize me.

Having started at a little after 3:00, I knew I'd be pushing it, darkness-wise. I brought my fancy new hi-zoot light along (that I need to do a dedicated post on, at some point).  Turned out to be the right call.

I don't have any more pics, but it had been raining since I started and so it was getting pretty sloppy and also quite dark. There were military exercises going on in the park and it was apparent that it was an overnight deal, as there was a big encampment with tents and a bonfire and lights and stuff, and a lot of soldiers lurking around on the trails with rifles, and well, as much as I wanted to achieve my goal, I just didn't feel like I belonged out there at that point. According to park rules, I wasn't supposed to be out there after dark at all, and I didn't feel like getting anyone excited.  I hopped on the CT and soft-pedaled it back to the truck.  Another day, then.  It was a highly enjoyable and therefore successful outing, nonetheless.

I've saved the very biggest news for last, though:

Wait for it.


. . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . I'm on facebook.  O. M. G.

Oh wait, I'm not.  I did sign up, and I wanted to be involved in just a minor way, so that I could interact with some people I admire that are posting up some useful and creative stuff there, and this was to have been the announcement of my coming out. But then I went and tried to get my fb self spruced up for public display and I just became so flipping pissed about how huge and powerful and controlling and devious and insidious and so "in your business" they are. They don't even try to hide it. Spare me. Forever. Geez. With no offense to anyone who fb's, honestly, because there's a certain amount of good they do in terms of keeping people that should be in touch, in touch. I get it.  But personally, I find the whole thing just way too hard to stomach.

That out of the way, if I *were* your fb friend, I'd point you towards this.

I've known about Strava, but have never used it. I've never had anything for or against it. I know some cool and down-to-earth people that have had some fun with it.  But apparently, there is a fanatical sub-minority of Strava users, now labelled as "stravassholes" who have crossed the line and are so consumed with competing in virtual space that they are ruining the real riding experience for themselves and, more importantly, others.

Take it for what you will, would-be fb friend. That is all for now. Hope you're having a good weekend. Now stop staring at your monitor and go ride your bike.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I'm making good progress on the weight-loss front, but I won't lie . . . it has not been easy. There's been major sacrifice and self-denial going on for what seems like years, even though it's only been weeks.  Today, the dragon that lives in the "want" sector of my brain said "eff-it!" and rose up in fury and lashed out without warning at the gladiator that guards my desire-suppression control center.

(Lame, I know. Sorry, I've never been into fantasy stuff.)

But at any rate, the manifestation . . .


It was a harsh blow and unfortunately, it would be followed by a second.


An epic battle ensued. The mighty gladiator had recovered from the ambush, but the dragon was at warp P.O.P.O. (pinnacle of pissed off).  They were messing each other up bad and my head began to hurt.  I took some Ibuprofen, which apparently affected the gladiator in a negative way and didn't do shit to the dragon, which then took the opportunity to shift its tactic just slightly enough to really screw with things.


Swords and nunchucks. Catapults and bombs. Dented armor. You name it.  It was intense and it was not over.


The surprise attack was effective in the short term, but nowhere close to mortal.  Despite an ambitious and energetic initiative, the dragon was finally showing signs of tiring. Weak flames shot out of its nostrils once or twice on the drive home . . .

Driving past Zip's fries and tartar, are you kidding me???

. . . but the gladiator had gained the upper hand.

Once back at the house, I embraced the warmth and security of an environment devoid of vending machines (and all manner of anything fun to eat at all, for that matter) and dove headfirst into a pile of asparagus. I had used up 62% of my daily allowance of calories in a perilous and frightful two hours on this fateful afternoon. Not to mention 4 bucks. It was good to be home. Wonderful to feel safe.

Tomorrow we go again. Dragon's a bastard.

But gladiator rules.

Hey, they don't call them fantasies for nothing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Time: Out!

Or, 'Bout Damn Time!  Or, The Times, They Are A Changin'.  The possibilities are pretty endless . . . there are a a thousand phrases built around the word "time" and at least that many words that rhyme with it.

If only the pedals were as rad as the word.

Unfortunately, they are not.  It's not that they don't work well. They do.  But they are made in France, and so naturally, they are difficult by nature - expensive as hell and hard to get rebuild kits for.  And proud of it.

I accidentally "standardized" on them ten or so years ago and I've been looking for a way out for the last couple.  Trouble is, once you have three or four bikes equipped with a certain brand of pedal and then have those brand-specific cleats on more pairs of shoes than you are comfortable divulging over the internet, you are looking at some serious coin to convert over to a different brand.

I always seem to have at least one pair that is squeaking or grinding and so it was again, the weekend before last, when I went to swap a set onto the fatbike, only to find out that the left one felt like the bearing races were lined with sandpaper.  I happened to be down at REI that same afternoon for other purposes, and thought I'd lolly through the pedal section and see what a set of Times would set me back.  They had one model in stock, and $179 dollars is the answer.  Holy living hell.

But since I was in the pedal section anyways, I chanced a gaze in the direction of the Crank Brothers offerings, and whadya know . . . Candy Ones were being closed out for $39 a pair.  And they came with cleats!  After a few blazing moments of mind-numbing mathematical calculations, I saw the light, loaded up with a quantity sufficient to convert my entire fleet, and was out the door.

I now have pedals that I can get rebuild parts for and that clear mud and snow as well as the Times and that won't cost me an arm and a leg if I want another set. The only thing on the other side of the ledger is that after having spent more than a week riding them on various bikes and in various shoes, I do have to admit that the Times are a little easier to get in and out of, but that is all.

I can hear the French responding, from across the pond:  "But of course they are, they are superior in every way!" (proclaimed with the proper french accent and syllabic emphasis, of course. Feel free to take a couple of minutes of you-time and  do your best impression, out loud for your own personal entertainment. Try not to get carried away and make a fool out of yourself, though.)

Anyway, I've gone on longer than intended, as usual. Bottom line though, is that I don't know if it's always true that change is good, but in this case it surely is.  I feel like celebrating with a plate of french toast.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I've Been Thinking . . .

And this is never a good thing, I know.  But hear me out:

I've been dabbling on the pump track over the weekend and I think maybe there's some winter potential there.  I've talked to other pump track dudes who talk about how fast a frozen pump track is (obviously), but those were young-ish bullet-proof types, and the concrete-like hardness of a frozen pump track has always struck me as downright scary, honestly. Hard-packed dirt is bad enough.

The dabbling was pretty treacherous and I have to give myself an attaboy for even having the nuts, and yes I did go down once and it was a fairly harsh impact that had me hobbling around and cussing for a few minutes, but sometimes you just have to push buttons, and then maybe some new doors will open for you.  This might be one of those times, or not. Only time will tell.

In the background, Brandy has not one, but two balls lined up and ready, should I tire of
this bicyclish nonsense and choose to play a real game. "Chucker's choice", is the enticement.
What made things so treacherous was this bmx-ish tire. It's designed for rolling fast on moderately-moist to dry hardpack at above-freezing temps. It doesn't do snow or wet-slick or freezing well and if I've ever said one thing you can trust me on, this would be it.

BUT. Imagine, if you will, a smooth, frozen track, with the high stud-count tires on the left, of which I already own two, mounted up on the bike.  These tires would rip my labor-of-love track to shreds at anything above freezing, but I just have this idea that run at the right pressure, they may stick like glue to the right kind of frozen surface.

Mother nature will have to do her part by providing a not-tremendous amount of snow and a good stretch of cold, but I'm willing to do the necessary work on the track (clearing snow, smoothing and packing prior to the deep freeze).

Anyway, I guess this is either a cry for help or a preview of coming attractions. Take it as you will.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chili. Really Chilly.

This is Dan:

Emerging from the abyss of one mother of a climb.

And this is Dan's wife, Liz:

Shooter shoots the shooter, just before the shooter gets shot.  By the shooter. While doing a group photo.
(We subscribe to the "no child left behind" deal here at 26InchSlicks, and since I know there are a couple
of you who haven't figured it out, and I don't want you to get left behind, I'm in the second row.)

Together, they host an annual ride from their house around this time every year. It's called the "Chili Ride" because they take you out on the trails around their house and flog your ass, and then fill you up with some of the greatest chili you've ever tasted.

I was privileged to be invited this year.  The turnout was amazing, on a day where the forecast called for a high of 30°F.  30+ riders.  Righteous.

It was an awesome ride.

There was a fatbike contingent of four, which included the man himself, Dan. (4 into 30, let's see, that's umm . . . calculating . . . calculating . . . 13% fat!  Right on.

Back at the house, I could have totally messed you up and maybe landed myself a huge new photography contract on the food network or something, with the amazing shots of the chili and beer at my disposal, but I pretty much lost my mind and didn't get a one. Trust me on this though, it was killer.

Instead, I offer you one last shot from the ride:

What a day.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Christmas, If You Will

First snow is, to Brandy, what Christmas was to you and me, growing up. Joy and excitement as pure and abundant as the driven . . . well, you know.

The real Christmas involves her dumbass master giving her some stupid, marinated-in-who-knows-what, Petco-originated, shrinked-wrapped remnant of a cow or pig that has been so totally post-processed that it doesn't even rustle one leaf of  her genetic makeup. And then being stared at by same master for 20 seconds, in anticipation that she will flip out over this "amazing treat".  Which she does not.  And then it is over.  Except for the noisy relatives, including sugar-jagged kids trying to "love her". To death.

First snow, though. Now that's a big deal.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fatturday The 1st

It's Real. It's Imminent.

Genesis and evolution here.

As I envision and turn this event over in my mind, I experience this weird sensation that I can't put my finger on; the closest feeling I can relate it to is a sense of doom, as I imagine the sound of all those fat tires, mashing into the multitude of surfaces present across the globe on that day, in unison. Holy living hell.

I'm all in on this and I don't mean halfway. Did I mention all.

If you're in the area and rolling fat and and this is in your wheelhouse, let's talk:


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Less Talk / More Action

I'm 'delightfully exhausted'. Definition being, running on fumes as a result of a) "moving" all damn day and I mean MOVING and I mean ALL, and b) doing said moving whilst doing things that I love, also ALL day. Which made me move a little harder. Which is gooder. It's rare to get either a or b, but to get them both in the same day, oh yeah. As a result of all this, I'm beat to hell and short on words. So a good day for you too, then. Here a a few pics.