More like Southend-THROUGH-Sea!
In true bank holiday fashion, it's pissed down all weekend. Noah is out looking for wood as I type. I managed to get a few dry laps of Richmond Park in on Saturday before getting soggy and doing some damage to my back. I finally fitted the 135g Selle Italia SLR saddle that's been in the cupboard for 18 months and I'm guessing the position change and too much effort up the hills messed up the old spine.
From the largely amusing Surly bikes blog
Fat Squirrel Season
Everybody knows that squirrels store nuts for the winter. They store them in the ground, probably up in trees and they eat them to get a nice fat belly for the winter. But what I notice most about squirrels this time of year is that they are particularly slow, sluggish, indecisive, unpredictable and psycho.
Case in point, I'm riding my bike in a quiet residential neighborhood this morning (with a 100+ pound trailer in tow) and I see a squirrel walking her dog. She's stopped on the corner of an uncontrolled intersection while the leashed dog sniffs around. From a distance, I ring my bell to get her attention and we make positive eye contact. Knowing it's fat squirrel season, I have my fingers on the brake levers as I approach. About 12 feet before I enter the crosswalk, the squirrel decides that her and the dog are going to test their right of way across the street. I skid the rear wheel and start drifting sideways, just barely missing squirrel and pooch. You know when you're skidding and all you can think of is "did that squirrel want to commit suicide?" but you're glad you have brakes and skills to spare it's life.
I had a pretty interesting Friday, running myself thin around work, pretending to be a vacationing coworker as well as myself. Thankfully my boss cancelled a meeting at the end of the day, and I was able to leave a little early.
I hopped on my bike and sprinted across the production floor and out the loading bay doors.
Lately, we have been pretty lucky weather wise in Vancouver. Despite the odd shower or two, over the last month we have been blessed with some sunny weather. Sure its February and cold, but this is of little consequence when rain stops and the sun shines. In response to this lovely weather, I have been taking the opportunity to commute to SFU via the trial systems available in Vancouver. Basically, everyday when there is sun, regardless of how cold it is, I hit the trails on my way to SFU. Since I often ride up early in the morning, I often get to catch the sun breaking through the forest as I hit the top of the mountain. Plus trail conditions have been fantastic since, well, the ground is frozen on most days.
About the only drawback is the fact I am often up on campus late, which means a lot of solo night riding for me as well. Oh, sure, I could play it safer and ride on the road, but whatever, my soul belongs to dirt and damn it I am not riding the road unless I am forced.
So its snowing right now... a lot. Well a lot for use wet west coast people. As soon as snow hits all hell breaks loose. And I mean ALL HELL. Buses slow down and a bunch of silly people decide to drive in with their bald summer tires.
So what do I do for fun? Continue riding from Vancouver to SFU on Burnaby Mountain (current view). Now I could ride up the road, but what fun is that when the Univeristy is on top of a mountain. Clearly, the only logical choice is to ride the trails!
Getting from Vancouver out to where the Transcanada trail starts can be described in one word ASS. Rain, snow, and watery slush being driven up your ass sucks. Yes maybe just maybe I should get some fenders. Anyway, once I hit the trail I was able to warm up a bit, despite being soaked. Plus the snow is much better on the trail. As I climbed up the mountain, the snow got progressively less slushy and more like real snow.
Luckily, it wasn't too deep yet so I was able to clean most of the trail. I had to walk in a couple places where there were technical step ups. But for the most I was able to ride... its all about a smooth spin ladies and gentlemen, a smooth spin.
Oh yeah, I did wimp out and take a geared bike. But hey, even in the snow every gear is the wrong gear!
Part of single speeding is taking the road less traveled. Why buy a sissy pre-built bike when you can buy a frame set and build one from the ground up. Sure it may cost more, but its the only one in the world and its all yours. Well the PBR single speed, recently featured in Dirt Rag, takes this concept to a whole new level, the frame is made from beer cans (used beer cans of course).
Oh yeah baby! I can't get enough of long rides with hurting.
So I headed back out to the big MR (Maple Ridge) to go out for the Sunday road ride. This time I took my geared road bike - GASP- I know I am a polygamous fucker. Anyways riding with gears made it much much easier to go faster! Not that I ever want to give up riding fixed gear.
So the best moment came on the big climb by Stave Lake. Now I am not always the most attentive rider so I was getting my ass kicked by Ian on the fish sign sprints (13 to 2), so I had to redeem myself. Climbing is where I shine and this is where I decided to attacked. I made no hesitation, as soon the first switch back was upon us after the Stave lake damn I was off. Click, CLUNK. Click CLUNK. Click, CLUNK... as I grabbed a hand full of gears. Ian was still on my wheel and I felt great so I though I would up the pain threshold. Got out of the saddle and grabbed a bunch more then held them as I hammered away. I couldn't believe I was holding the pace! I was spinning away and motoring up the climb at a sick pace. I was even still a bit off redlining. - I figure it has to be all the times I climb Burnaby Mountain on the fixie -
I finally got in a great ride today on the road bike. It didn't rain once and conditions were so good it completely changed my otherwise poor attitude. Good thing too because with the attitude that was brewing who knows what might have happened. Not only was the ride mind-blowing (fall change in effect) but I took my camera to capture it all...
Holy have I been one grumpy whining bugger lately. Case in point yesterday I broke a metal door. Yes metal, and yes I weigh all of 150 lbs. There are these big frickin' doors in my building. I hate them and when I am pissed off I try and fling them open. Because of their mass and the hydraulics used to slow them down they don't really fling. It is hard as hell and gives me a way to blow off angry energy. Well yesterday the hydralics gave out with a snap and the door flung open with a smash. I quickly fled the scene hoping no one saw; no one did. Then I sheepishly went back and looked if I could cover up the breakage and carnage; I could (bit of duct tape always works wonders).
Anyways, I knew I was in serious need of a hard ride. Especially since every ride I have tried to go on lately has been met with flats, mechanical problems, or just lousy conditions. Well all that changed today when I finally got in that killer ride my psyche has been cryin' for; weird how works eh? It was absolutely awesome. It didn't rain on me for a change. In fact it was sunny and I got to do my favourite ride (Desert Lake loop) with the fall change in full swing. All in all I was gone for 5 hours and gloriously hammered away on the insanely hilly terrain. For some odd reason I also decided to drag my camera along. I have never done that before, but fits in the jersey pocket so why not? Well it turns out it turns out it was well worth it. The color changes were spectacular and the sun perfectly showed this. The result was visually mind blowing. The best phrase I can use to sum it up is full on "road riding porn."
Can you all believe it, I was trying to look hip and cool and I nearly cased it, twice! In what has to be possibly two of the most stupid maneuvers in single speed history I almost cased it on city's our main drag. Yep, it was stupid, no I did not crash but it did really doesn't matter since I looked as stupid as hell. We have all done this, deceive ourselves into believing we are cooler than we really are only to be shown by life the reality is otherwise. I however make an art form out of being a bigger loser than I like to admit to myself.
Bought something at a store (doesn't matter) grabbed the trusty SS steed, jumped on, landed and simultaneously clipped both feet in while pulling off a one-hand track stand all in the blink of the eye and with one flawless smooth motion that I will never be able to replicate in my life again. While I was in the track stand I was adjusting my pack, and looking back for a gap in traffic when I noticed 2 extremely attractive women walking by. I figured they must have been impressed by my jump to track stand maneuver (since I was) and I figured I would up the anti with quick wheelie launch into traffic, courier style. Spotted my gap and launched. At that exact time I threw a chain, was almost pitched over the bars, and sacked my self trying not to crash into the traffic. If you have ever thrown a chain while doing an aggressive start you know how lucking you are if you don't go over. None the less, I have never before thrown a chain on that bike in the two years I have owned it, what a fucking prime time to have pulled that stupidity off. I didn't try asking for adate.