happy ^ day

there are so many awesome cards out there already, but with access to a print shop I get that feeling of “oh I could (should) make my own” but then an event or occasion will come up and really I only need one (well yeah, if even that – possible tangent on “need”) and the point, one of them anyway, of printing is to make multiples – get back your set-up time by the ability to make many many copies. <insert sound of thinking here> <and here> and… ah! many of these things are some sort of day, right? birth/Mother’s/Father’s (the impending one that got the ball rolling here) … you want them to be Happy, yes? SO! print those bits in the multiple, and then add the which day it is bit as it comes up! Brilliant! (if I do say so myself)

and away I went with the wood type, all one face – oh there’s another idea, mix it up! – and paper and ink like from the postcards, always interesting how one thing feeds to the next – and some different orientations of the type and then also the type to the page and using the Vandercook #2 yes I can put the paper however I want and this time I did actually do some at an angle, imagine that! and then what type of day this particular one is, in metal.

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2017 Fresno Randonneurs Bass Lake Blossom Trail 300k

RBA Lori Cherry has been hosting brevets in the Fresno area for a few years now. My first thought, when I heard she’d started a new region, was, “Fresno?” in a slightly incredulous tone with perhaps a smidge of disdain. But then the reports from people who actually went and rode the brevets started trickling back – all favorable – and there were pictures, which looked awesome. So this year I made a point of putting the 300k on my schedule.

The picture on the 300k event page had 3 riders – all SFRians, and the start felt almost like an SFR brevet there were so many familiar faces. Minus the Golden Gate Bridge, and, although I’d been casting vague aspersions on Fresno, the start/finish was actually in Clovis. Lori was there signing everyone in, handing out brevet cards and taking sandwich orders for lunch. We’d see her numerous times throughout the day on course and then again at the finish – talk about end to end support!

The first part of the course was a nice flattish warm-up – straight lines and 90 degree turns. It was a bit headwindy, but there was still a fairly big group together and several people took nice pulls. At Friant we passed by the Millerton Lake Dam to one side and a washed out bridge to the other, and heard a pack of coyotes yipping in a field.

Dawn faded into day as we eased into the squiggly bumpy section of the route. For a while we were riding along a stream that was so picturesque I kept expecting to see a unicorn come out and drink from it. In a word (or three) – bucolic as f–k.

Everything was still super green from the rains, and there were lots of wildflowers out. That was rains, past tense – the day of the ride was sunny and clear. A bit warm but never crazy hot, almost perfect riding weather. EricM, who’d ridden the route last year, when it did rain, weighed in, “yeah, it was OK, but this (dry) is way better.” It was fun riding with him on his monstertruck bike, Therese and BFK for a while.

The climby portion started, and we got some views of snow capped mountains in the Sierra. Then we were up in to coniferous forest. There was a sign for Oakhurst – oh hey, we could go to Yosemite! The climbing continued and we eventually topped out at the high point of the ride, around 3400 feet, at Bass Lake. Eric and I rode out on the dam to check out the lake and the views. As we got back on the road we saw a family fishing.

Shortly after we came to the info control, but I needed the bathroom and some coffee, so we went into the store across the street. Fluid redistribution complete, we continued on the circumnavigation of the lake. Quite lovely, but we couldn’t help noticing many dead and dying trees, and stacks of logs in several places.

There was a particularly scenic spot with a river flowing into the lake and people fishing and enjoying the view. We stopped to check it out, and I asked a couple sitting on the side of the bridge if they were locals – I said it was the first time I’d been there, and was wondering what was going on with the trees. The woman explained it was a combination of the drought and beetles. Ah. Sad. But still very beautiful. I’d gotten my answer, but then the woman continued on with asking about our ride and recommending other things to do and see in the area and that we really should come back for Fourth of July – they have FIREWORKS over the LAKE! and erm I was getting kind of antsy to get moving again but she was on a roll. Very sweet that she was so enthusiastic about where they live though, so I managed to be patient until a polite point to extricate myself came.

Back on the bikes, we rolled through some lakeside neighborhoods and to the next control at the Pines Resort. It was nice to see some other randos, and a pleasant volunteer, who was recovering from an injury. “I wasn’t going to be riding today anyway, so I figured I may as well help Lori out.” We’d seen some trucks with mountain bikes in the back, so asked him about that – it sounded like there were a ton of great riding options, both road and mountain, in the area. I’m sorry Fresno, I may have misjudged you.

We finished riding almost around the lake – we could see the dam we’d ridden onto earlier from the other side. Then a sweet descent to North Fork, the Center of California (who knew?), and a continuing descent to a smaller lake with a power generating facility. Map says Kerckhoff Lake.

At a bridge… that meant climb. And a bit of a dip and jig-jog across Highway 168 and erm what are those swirly lights for? We pulled over. The CHP pulled over behind us and got out and came over. Oh, I guess we rolled a stop sign. He started off pretty heavy handed, with what a bane (my word, not his) cyclists are in the area, and as if he were expecting an argument, but neither of us took the bait and so it devolved into the generic warning – let’s all follow the rules and be safe and well, I’m not going to write you a ticket this time, but… OK, right, thank you. Sir.

It seemed a little unnecessary, but it was such a beautiful day it was impossible to be peeved about it. A fun descent helped clear the encounter away and got me back to the task at hand – having fun riding bikes! And then there was Lori with the lunch sandwiches! And other randos! Eric had come up with the idea to rename the brevet the Bass-o-matic 300k, but no one else seemed to find it as amusing as I did. Lori explained that the name, like the route, was the combination of parts of two popular rides.

After lunch we rode with Ryan and Mary for a bit, it was cool to hear some of Ryan’s plans for other brevets in the Sonoma County area. We were back down out of the forest, into rolling green hills and then farmland again. Unfortunately Mary had had a tire blow out on one of the descents before lunch, which had shaken her up a bit, and she was also worried about the fix lasting, so they short cutted, and it was back to Eric and I.

There was a bit of the flat 90 degree turn terrain through orange groves and a section of expansion cracked pavement. Ka-chunk. Ka-chunk. The omnipresent Lori came by and topped off our water bottles. Then back to more squiggly along the Kings River.

At our turn toward the Wonder Valley I thought I heard the sounds of ice cream truck music. We went by a park which was marked as a place with bathrooms. Lots of people were there enjoying the day. And yes, that was an ice cream truck. We debated for a brief moment but then back tracked and got ice cream bars. Brad rolled in while we were eating – I think for the bathroom, but then he saw our ice cream and his eyes got big. “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT?” We pointed out the truck, which had moved down the road a bit. He immediately rolled after it.

The Wonder Valley definitely lived up to its name – in a good way – and then: Start of 3.6 mile climb CAUTION PASSING PIG FARM – loose animals, volatile owner – be quiet, quick and courteous. Even in a detailed cue sheet that stood out. Fortunately we did not encounter the owner, and the only loose animal I saw was a peacock, which just sat on the side of the road. However, the climb, which was the last of significance on the ride, did kinda make me wonder what I was doing on the bike. Fortunately the views were amazing, and there was a bubble break.

And, the thing about the ups is then you get the downs! Eric overshot the turn to the next control, I yelled at him but apparently he didn’t hear me. He figured it out pretty quickly though and got back on course. As I was pulling in at the store a woman getting out of her car in the parking lot said, “hey, you have a flat tire.” Huh? It hadn’t felt like it, but I looked. Uh, no… As I looked back at her and was about to say something she asked, “What’s the date today???” and smiled. Ah, right. April 1. You got me.

It was a receipt control at a small store, and I’d been thinking something like a corn dog, but they didn’t have hot food. Sad trombone. The counter man talked about the previous riders that day and how last year people had come through in the rain. There was another fellow just hanging out, seemed like friends with the counter man, he wanted to know if we were playing poker. “I go on these poker rides on my motorcycle – is it something like that?” Yeah, something like that…

It was getting toward twilight as we got back on the road for a last bit of rolling hills. Then we were back in straight, 90 degree turn land of ORANGE ORCHARDS IN BLOOM! The sun had set, I suspect we didn’t miss much in the way of visuals, but the smell was amazing. We had a last info control, and I would have been fine being done there, but we had to get back to Clovis. This s–t is where a tandem would come in handy… I mean, I was just following Eric’s wheel anyway… Eventually we started to see a glow of lights in the distance that became Clovis. Lori and a couple other riders where there at the finish, with pizza! and then Lori went out to check on the few folks who were still out on course behind us.

Great day on the bike – beautiful route, very little traffic, overall good road surfaces, nice weather and excellent company. Everyone gets a good Yelp review on this one! (Even you, Fresno, even you.)

more pictures, Eric’s pictures

Ride date: April 1, 2017

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something I think I’d like to know, #312

what’s the difference between hump, bumps (road vs. speed) and table?

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2017 SFR Dart Populaire: Tandemonium

Although the last time I made it out on the event was a few years ago now and my stoker is no longer riding – not, as far as I know, anything I did – I was still on the team roster and got an invite for the Dart Populaire with Tandemonium. I was a bit on the fence but in the end couldn’t pass up the chance to ride with Max and his daughter before their family moves to Switzerland. And, due to it being a team event, actually ride with Max rather than just seeing him briefly at the start.

In the end, Max and Marilisa ended up being the token tandem, since Andrew and his family have moved to Southern California, as mentioned my stoker isn’t riding anymore, and both Brian and Vidas’ sons are on to single bikes. Brian and Vidas were going to tandem to get us within the five bike limit, but then Brian’s son was under the weather so they ended up on single bikes.

I had a most excellent ferry + BART + Amtrak trip to Davis on Friday after work, turned out everyone else came up on Saturday – we had a thisdoesn’tfeellikerando start time of 1000, and there was a morning train. Since I was already in town I got a receipt at the Co-op so we could roll as soon as the others arrived.

Friday had been sunny and pretty toasty, Saturday turned out to be high overcast and almost not quite feeling like rain. It turned out to not rain, and it did eventually clear up, but the early overcast kept it from getting too hot, which was nice.

From Davis there was a slightly different way than I’ve gone before getting to Winters, staying on a more main road, going over the 505 and through more of town. Our first stop was at Steady Eddy’s, which looked to be the cyclists’ go to spot, with full bike racks out front, and a steady stream of lycra clad clientele. I’d heard the name, but never been before – every other time I’ve ridden through Winters I’ve turned left at the main intersection – Steady Eddie’s is a half block down to the right from that spot. Funny how you can be so close but totally miss somewhere.

After Winters we rolled along Putah Creek, past Lake Solano and on to the aptly named Pleasants Valley Road. After being so used to how green everything was it seemed like almost overnight we’d gone to golden hills. Although we didn’t have any time record to beat, Max had his rando math calculator going, and kept us updated on our progress. *60 miles to go and 6 hours.

We came out of the countryside to the Highway 80 corridor and our lunch stop in Vacaville. I wasn’t particularly hungry, but there was an extended back and forth telephone game amongst the others which seemed to result in a decision but then some of us went to Peet’s (to the left) and others went to Subway (to the right.) At the end of it all we did end up back together.

After getting something to drink I went back outside to get something off my bike and there was a little boy entranced by the tandem. His mom(?) asked if it was mine. “Nope, but I’m riding with them – they’re right inside.” The boy got shy about telling the owners he thought their bike was cool though. The mom(?) said, “oh there’s another bike” – pointing to mine – “do you think that’s cool?” “Nope!” was his reply. Haha. Thanks.

They came by later when we were getting ready to go, Max asked if he wanted to go for a ride, the boy didn’t seem interested in that. His mom(?) prompted him a bit to express that he thought the bike was cool at least but he just made a funny face.

As we continued along it looked as if we were going to get on Highway 80, but it turned out there was a bike path right next to the on-ramp. I had no idea! That brought us over to the business parks of greater Cordelia, and then we crossed over 80 onto the frontage road of 680. It was a bit headwindy, and Brian got a flat, but he and Vidas waved the rest of us on and caught up with us later.

We started to get more views of Mt. Diablo, which made it feel like we were getting back to the Bay Area. I had the new-to-me experience of riding through a bit of Benicia and over the Benicia-Martinez Bridge, which had a nice wide separate bike lane – signed as part of the San Francisco Bay Trail.

The next bit through Martinez was also new to me. We passed by the John Muir National Historic Site. Who knew? Alas no time to visit, but note to self for future. We did take a brief unscheduled drink stop at a gas station – longer than four minutes, but Max did his best to keep us moving.

From Martinez it was into suburban ranchettes and then estates of Lafayette. I also saw several signs for various entrances to Briones Park – Vidas had mentioned some possible mixed terrain options in the park earlier in the day, but that didn’t come up again. The climbing was back-end loaded, and there was a bit of a grunt uphill here, although it was pleasantly shaded.

We hit just about every stoplight in downtown Lafayette on red, making it seem interminable, but, as all things do, it eventually came to an end. Through a bit of neighborhood and then the bike path to Orinda. Vidas’ son, who has that underfed pro look (TM), had been mostly sitting in on the flat windy parts, but jetted ahead on all the climbs – the parts toward the end are also near where they live, so he’s more familiar with it. As we waited to regroup, Vidas asked him if it was too easy. He just shrugged.

Another gas station stop for fluid rearrangement. One of the guys was in the bathroom and a man came back and asked if a blonde woman was in there. “Uh, no.” “Well then, I’ve lost my wife.” He didn’t seem too concerned about it though – he was laughing as he walked away.

We had a nice downhill on Camino Pablo, passing a noteworthy line of dump trucks on our way to the final climb up Wildcat. Again it was pleasantly shaded, and there were some nice openings to views in the distance.

We stopped for pictures at Inspiration Point and then Max updated us that we had “Half an hour and 10k, all downhill.” Brian, Vidas and I all laughed at that last part, putting in the subtitles of “overall downtrend/loss of elevation.”

Which was a nice way to end – the overall downhill – and the welcome from the friendly rando volunteers waiting for us at Lama Beans. For some reason there didn’t seem to be too many teams participating this year, but it was still fun, and the food was super tasty. We didn’t wait around for all the teams to finish – it had been the longest ride ever for both the kids WOOHOO! so they were ready to get home.

Continuing my multi-modal weekend, I BARTed back to San Francisco and then (eventually) caught the bus. I was somewhat delayed by ClusterFest and my lack of planning, but after missing one both me and my bike were able to get on a northbound bus. It ended up for a little bit longer day than I’d originally planned on, but it was still pretty cool to have an all bike and public transportation adventure.

Thanks to Captain Max for keeping us on schedule, and all the team for a fun ride. Congratulations to Marilisa and Domas for their longest ride – the next step on the slippery rando slope. Thanks to Roland for coordinating the event and all the other SFR volunteers.

Route, MorePictures

Ride date: June 3, 2017

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IONTW – June 11, 2017

It never occurred to me that it’s called the Glory Hole because it’s shaped/looks like a Morning Glory.

Thegoogles is making new sounds, too. Who knew?

At some point it goes from clutter to a collection. Whatever random thing IT might be.

Speaking of random things – the bread tab.

European cathedrals of books. And a library of unpublished manuscripts. Seems like it would be somehow fitting if you couldn’t actually visit it…

Amazing nature. And the totally mind-boggling solo free climb of El Capitan. I have a hard time getting my head around the physical ability and conditioning needed to do this climb with ropes, and the mental fortitude to do it without ropes is virtually incomprehensible.

Rhythmix Cultural Works in Alameda, CA is celebrating their 10 year anniversary this afternoon with an Open House. Rhythmix is a nonprofit community arts center with lovely performance and gallery spaces that holds awesome music and dance concerts, workshops and art exhibits.

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2015 SFR Shasta Mountains 1000k – Day 3

< previous

Although I was still less than excited to hear the alarm, it did feel pretty decadent that it was not dark outside. I pulled out the Day 3 baggie and suited up in my Paul Stimson Never Forget/Never Give Up jersey, which I had packed for the last day knowing I would need all the help I could get.

No word from Patrick or Jason, but I assumed they had come in and tried again. This time I got a response – they had made it to Fort Bragg and – yay! – had not left yet. We met up and headed to the golden arches. Yep, that’s right. Mickey D’s. These rides make you do crazy things – I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been to McDonald’s, and I don’t think I’d ever been for breakfast. But – salt, fat, calories. And, not that we were particularly pressed for time, but fast food.

From Fort Bragg the route went south on Highway 1 all the way to Pt. Reyes Station. Easy navigation, and the profile made it look relatively flat – but that was when you had the whole route up and the large climbs of the previous days squished down the bumps along the coast. “Death by rollers” is the phrase people use. And there were those previous two days of climbing in the legs.

Anyway, it was feeling like the home stretch, and nice to know that we’d be heading to a finish on a familiar route. We did not envy the out of town riders getting to navigate the page long wiggle through Marin at the end of this ride, possibly in the dark.

Actually none of this day’s route was completely new to me, although part I’d only ridden once – from 128 to Manchester – and other parts, although ridden more than once, were infrequent and/or had been a while so it still had a bit of that new feel. Even the parts in Sonoma and Marin county that I had ridden many times felt quite different with that many miles in my legs.

After a bit of sun in Fort Bragg a high overcast rolled in and lingered the rest of the day. Fortunately it was not cold or too moist. Jason regaled us with stories of riding in the rain on a previous SFR 1000k. I was glad we did not have that to contend with, but we did get an uncharacteristic headwind.

The guys wanted to stop for Real Food in Gualala(lalala). The first choice pizza place was closed, but we found a Mexican restaurant in the little mall area. There was a lost in translation moment about taco size, and Jason ended up with eight tacos that took up two plates. The man who brought them out seemed a bit taken aback that they were going to one person, and indeed the tacos ended up defeating even the Pudu’s prodigious appetite.

Just past Fort Ross there was a special guest appearance from my friend Mike, the Intrepid Kayaker, returning from a paddle. It was fun to see a familiar face. As we headed south we also leapfrogged a few times with Metin and Roy, and then the five of us all ended up together at Diekmann’s, the control in Bodega Bay, and rode the rest of the way together.

Although he didn’t complain at all, Patrick was having some stomach issues and looked a little green around the gills when we stopped. I was actually a little worried about him, since it was the first time I’d seen him refuse a beer. He rode through it, and later had a Tums which completed the rally.

Usually I keep my camera in my jersey pocket, but they were higher – the pockets, that is – on that particular jersey, and I was having a hard time taking it out and putting it back in so had been using the side pocket on my handlebar bag. After taking some pictures at the control I went to put it away and somehow missed the pocket and the camera went over the edge and into the bushes. <Insert expletive here … if I had had the energy.> I figured it was a goner – lesson in letting go – but Eric went above and beyond, well, actually around and below, and was able to retrieve it.

I don’t think any of us were super excited about getting back on our bikes, but no other way to finish the ride, so eventually we did. There was a bit more rollering down the coast, then we turned inland at Point Reyes Station. There was an info control question to answer there. While we were stopped I broke out the Almond Roca that I’d bought at one of the earlier stops, which seemed like pretty good ride food. Metin had never had it before – bonus points for expanding culinary horizons.

Here I also finally let myself have the thought that I might actually finish this crazy ride. Only 39.2 miles to go. My hands and bee-hind were not so happy with me, but other than that I was still making fairly happy circles. In fact I seemed to be driving the pace, at least on the flattish bits. The guys were still climbing faster, but I’d catch up on descents, and then they’d seem to slow, one time in particular Jason and Metin started chitchatting about bike parts. Don’t you people want to be done with this ride??? went off in my head but I didn’t have the energy to get it out of there, instead just riding around and taking the front again.

It felt good to check White’s Hill of the list of remaining climbs, and that dammit I’m going to finish this thing! feeling was expanding. We were temporarily delayed in San Anselmo, as Patrick’s friskiness had returned, and he jumped a curb, resulting in a flat. Other than that it was an uneventful roll through southern Marin and up to the bridge. Roy and I got to press the call button for the bridge gate since it was our first 1000k.

The roll across the bridge felt particularly sweet, then there was a last bit of navigation to get to the finish control at a hotel in the Marina. Real Deb was there to meet us! There was a spot to stash our bikes and then Stairs? Really?! Somehow I made it up them, and had beer and some food, and then the most awesome shower ever and then… what had I been thinking? That I was going to ride over to my car and then drive home? Yeah, no. Deb was nice enough to let me catch some ZZZs at the hotel and I rolled over to retrieve my car the next day in daylight. Ten turns in 2.6 miles for a San Francisco flat route.

It still didn’t (doesn’t) seem quite real. Maybe that’s why it’s taken me so long to write it up, in some ways I feel like I don’t have the words to convey the experience. It was really neat to see such a cross section of California and ride through such varied terrain – from the lava beds, over the mountains and through the redwoods and down the coast. It was a physical and mental push, but I’d prepared, so, although there were moments, and you can never really say you can do it until you’ve done it, it never felt impossible. Thanks to Eric for developing the route and huge thanks for being out on course supporting the ride, along with Kevin and Tim. Thanks also to Charlie, Andrea for volunteering along the way and Deb at the finish. And to ride buddies Patrick and Jason on Days 1 and 3 and Jon on Day 2, along with all the other riders – even when you’re riding solo it’s nice to know you’re not alone.

Note: Even if you have no interest in a 1000k on a brevet time frame, this route could be done as a tour so you could see everything during daylight, or there are many areas that would be worth doing as day rides or spending more time exploring – the Lava Beds in particular seemed like an intriguing part of the world.

Ride date September 28, 2015
Word of the day: wayworn

Patrick’s pictures

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another thing I don’t understand, #276

when someone calls from a business and doesn’t identify themselves as such, but just says, “Hello, may I speak to ___?” or (gah! so tempting to be a semantic a-hole) “can I speak to ___?” or “is ___ there?”

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