Monday, December 31, 2012

on the eleventh day of bikeness

My friend Eric Barrett emailed me yesterday to suggest that I give Mt Spokane some fatbike consideration.  I'm not sure why, exactly, but I'd kind of written Mt Spo off as not having any potential after the outing up there on Faturday the 1st.  But before I was even done reading his email, it made total sense that I needed to get up there and do some exploring on this eleventh day.

I'd figured I was on my own, but when I woke up this morning there was this housebound, cry for help, "what are we gonna do today??" text message on my phone.  From John, of course.

So two dudes, one fatbike, one pair of snowshoes.  How could this work?  The solution came to us in about 5 seconds:  We would drive up and each take one mode of transportation and go our separate ways.  Then, after a set amount of time, we would meet up again, and swap modalities. Easy peasy.

Upon arriving, John headed out on snowshoes . . .

and I on bike . . .

The trail hadn't been groomed, but it has been heavily recreated upon over the last few days and there were nice rideable paths cut into the deep snow.

At Smith Gap, the trail is open to snowmobiles and we'd stopped and talked to a ranger about how he felt about us riding on the sno-mo trails and he was totally fine with it.  Boom.  Neither of us went any farther today, as we didn't have time, but now I'm really encouraged about the fatbiking possibilities up there.

My turn on the 'shoes was great - there are all kinds of trails cut through the woods and while it totally looks like I photoshopped myself into this picture, I can assure you that I was there, real as life.

Sweet helmet hair, dude.
Damn, it was good to get into the mountains again today.

I've now decided that a frozen pump track sesh on the 1st day of 2013 is a must, so I'm headed out this New Year's Eve to finish shoveling the track.  See ya tomorrow with some pump track pics to wrap up this 12 days gig, if all goes as planned.  Be safe tonight.

Old-school ski/binding at Bear Creek Lodge.  As in the kind I grew up on. Oy.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

on the tenth day of bikeness

Mildy frantic, I guess, is how I would characterize my state of mind, as day ten draws to a close. Reason being, I am so totally into the twelve days of biking gig and I have so much left to do and so little time left to do it in. Two mornings from tomorrow morning, I will be back at work, if you get what I'm saying.

So it's all about major prioritizing now. With the intent of  crescendo-ing out on a high note.  This kind of extended days of bike love opportunity will likely, probably, sadly, never present itself again, and I need to somehow kill it, as in, make the very most of it.  There was family stuff going on today and so it was time to take a deep breath and just chill the hell out and do some thinking and majorly prep for days 11 and 12.

In the morning, Patty asked me to run and get some groceries.  She didn't say I couldn't do it by bike.

The streets right now are just big-time smooth, compacted snow and ice.  No super big ruts, which is nice.

Studs are not the magic wintertime riding bullet, but if there were ever conditions for which they rule, these would be them. Those, I mean.

According to the original twelve days script, I was to have been wheelie-training for the past two or three days by now. But as time passed, it became obvious that in the tug-of-war between spending time playing outside and spending massive time and energy indoors finishing the wheelie machine, well, it was a foregone conclusion.  Not that I ever threw in the towel on the wheelie machine, but just that I had to accept that I wasn't gonna be spending a bunch of time under the freeway on my back wheel over these particular twelve days.  I do, however, still have some pretty powerful motivation to keep this project moving, and so I was down at Pedals2People today, gathering the remaining necessary parts.  I've been up front with Jayce from the get-go about what I'm doing and he's been rad about helping me out.  I suspect he treats all the crazy bastards like me that come into the shop with the same great respect.  Dude is awesome.

With this latest visit, the hardware equation is now pretty much resolved, and it was time to turn my attention to aesthetics. And breathe some paint fumes.  Primer coat . . .

Tequila sunrise top coat . . .

And with that, the wheelie bike is on the back burner for the time being.  Great progress, and I'm excited and all, but no way this time-sucker is taking over my last two days.  It'll keep.

What's worked it's way to the front burner, OTOH, is the pump track.  These next few days look to be kinda deep-freeze-ish, so perfect conditions.  Another one of those seize-the-moment bike opportunities then.  I dug out probably a quarter of the track tonight.  So three quarters left to go, if my math is right.

The right tires for the job are now also installed.  Is that a badass pump track machine, or what.

How cool would it be to ring in 2013 with a New Year's Day frozen pump sesh?  Just thinking out loud.

Nike had this ad campaign a while back about how "life is short, play hard".  It's a great sentiment and all, and I've kind of done that over the last ten days, but it strikes me that there are limits, as my basement is now a total dumpster fire.

Days 11 and 12, well, I'm pretty jacked to run this thing into the ground.

on the ninth day of bikeness

. . . not a lot of riding was done. Zero, actually. But a worthy substitute was in play. Snowshoeing is the new cycling, don'tcha know.

Patty and I headed back up to 4th of July Pass to bang around in the woods on our 'shoes.  We hit some untracked stuff, such as the above.  In other places, a post-holein' ungulate had broken trail for us.

And in others, quite a different beast had broken trail.  I guess my assumption that gates like this limit motorized access was pretty naive.  Sno-mos get around them just fine.

I was on this same trail yesterday on my fatbike, pre sno-mo tracks, and there was no way to ride it. I would have loved to have had my bike with me today, to see if it was rideable. It sure felt firm enough. Sort of.  When I think about fatbike-potential scenarios, this is one that gets me sort of excited - light traffic, off the beaten patch sno-mo-groomed trails.  The sno-mo super highways would suck, and bikes would be most unwelcome anyways, but on trails like this, no one would mind seeing bikes and you'd just get off to the side if you heard a sno-mo coming and I'm sure everything would be just hunky dory.

Today was about 'shoeing though, and the queen of her new sport showed up, in all her winter vibrance.

If Patty looks like she is laughing at me and not with me in this next pic, you are an astute observer indeed.  I had just  done the klutziest snowshoe mad-scramble from the camera to the scene, in order to beat the camera self-timer.  Good to know that I can still amuse my wife.

It would have been a crime to have passed by Wolf Lodge Bay without stopping to check out the seasonal bald eagle convention that gathers around the running of the spawning kokanee.  I don't have the photographic skills to do it even an ounce of justice, but these birds are just incredible.  There's nothing frantic about even one motion they make - it's all pure gracefulness. Majestic suckers.

Going in for the kill.  A bad day for one certain fish.
 A different kind of bird . . .

So another really awesome day.  Wow, going back to work on Wednesday is gonna be brutal.  I'm hereby concentrating on not thinking about it ahead of time.

Friday, December 28, 2012

on the eighth day of bikeness

Pat S is wondering why he ever committed to a 12-day series, because that means he has to write something every freaking day, for 12 consecutive days. What was he thinking, he wonders.  And more importantly, how to get through day 8, at this late hour, since he previously committed.

It was a very busy bike day and while there is a story that was planned to be told, it never will be, because, well, there just isn't time. Time marches on, and tomorrow is another day. What he can offer you, is the following photo dump.  The trip up to 4th of July Pass was pretty fat-bike disappointing, but please feel free to interpret it as awesome, and in fact project hero-worship qualities on him. If you want.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

on the seventh day of bikeness

When we last visited, our reluctant hero was getting disgustingly sentimental, and it was a godsend for us all, and mostly for him, that the post ended when it did. Lest the entire blog should meet a premature and untimely death.

Fast-forward then to the "morning after" . . .

Pat S awoke wondering whether the 24-hour course was fatbike rideable. So intense was his curiosity that he was compelled to find out.

Not only was it rideable, but it had been ridden by skinny-tired bikes just days before (see above) as well as [gasp], another fatbike (see below).

Trees had fallen during recent windstorms, and Pat S was able to clear many of the smaller ones.

Unfortunately, his might notwithstanding, he is nonetheless mortal, and was unable to lift huge logs. And so they remain. Let it be noted that it was not for lack of trying.

There were many deer present on this day and for the most part they were alive.

But not exclusively.

He arrived at the top of 5-minute hill to find deeper snow than was down below.  He was annoyed.  Heroes don't complain.

He stopped to engage in some bike porn, because in his mind, why shouldn't he.

He took the Devil's-Down bypass because he was chicken wise, and then wondered if he had made the right decision, after all.

He "had something to do" back in town, and so skipped Little Saigon and the rest of the course and soft-pedaled back on the CT.  So lame.

Upon arriving back at the trailhead, he marveled at the halaciousness of the workout and basked in the wonder of his ability to meld his love of fatbiking with nature.  He was blown away by the prowess of his machine, as well as the sustained power his legs had just exhibited. But still, something was missing . . .

As with any existentially-based tale such as the 'twelve days of bikeness', tragic flaws come into play. Pat S is nothing, if not self-aware. And yet at the same time, our hero is unable to help himself. While pretending to enjoy his vacation, his Don-Quixotish vision of a machine that can train any man or monkey to WheelieForLife™ in 2 hours or less has come to consume him, occupying his every waking moment, along with most of the sleeping ones.

In clinical terms, he is unable to separate his wheelie fantasies from reality. Compounded by his perfectionistic tendencies. Which he denies. Of course.

Or in common terms, the dude is way out there and makes mountains out of molehills.

People seem to handle retirement in two different ways: Either they a) lose their anchor and can't figure out how to spend their days, or b) have the time and energy to pursue their passions and get so busy that they wish they were back at work so they could rest up. Or, they strike a reasonable balance. So three ways then.

Or go apeshit bonko. So four.

Eleven days off, as an experiment in how to handle eventual retirement, far away as it is, should be a wake up call for the dude. Hope he's paying attention. Lots of retirement planning to do, then.