Thursday, January 27, 2011


Got the HD Hero camera for Christmas and so far have used it more for photographs than the HD video. The video’s great but HD doesn’t work with MovieMover and since I’m not the overly eager techie geekmeister-type, I’ve not pursued it too much re: what one has to do to convert the MVI files to AVI or viceversa. (Or something therein related.) But I have been getting a bang out of the photos it takes on rides. Granted, 90 percent of them come out like this …
... or like this...
... but since they’re digital it doesn’t matter because I can just toss them.

When I'm out for a ride, I mount the camera to my helmet, set it to take photos every 10 seconds and forget about it for the next hour or so. With an 8 gig disk, when I get home I’ve got like 900-plus (literally) photos, of which about 30 are keepers.

Here's a cool sequence toward the end of last Saturday's ride on Old Fairhaven Pkwy where we usually try to push it as hard as we can. Scott demonstrates why we call him Titanium Cancellara.
Scott is in yellow, just ahead of him is John.
I skipped a shot so this is 20 seconds later; Scott is still just behind John.

10 seconds later, Scott has already opened up a huge gap.

Ten seconds later, I've passed John but Scott is already in the next county. I've got no chance. All in the span of what--20 seconds? (I think he's got one of those motors Fabian C. was alleged to have used at Flanders and Roubaix last year.) 
I’m eager to use the camera this spring and summer on the road bike to get some cool shots for my book. Speaking of road riding, I got out on two road rides this week! Boo-yah, plus one bag of chips, as the kids say. (Or maybe I just imagine them saying that.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Scott Young, John Clark, Glen Gervais and Steve Vanderstaay at the top of the Wall. (Which we had the good sense not to ride.)
Steve and John make the turn at the blue rock to head up to the towers. (Which we never made it to; we descended Whoopsie Woodle.)
My shadow on Whoopsie Woodle. Damn nice shadow, innit?
The gang before the second half of Whoopsie Woodle, the half where at some point I inevitably damage my manhood failing on this minor drop that's not even all that difficult.
Steve disappearing ahead of me on WW.
Ever the time trialist, Scott even rests in an aero position.

At the bottom of Three Pigs, we say good-bye to Glenn; great to have him along today!
 And there goes Young!
Scott, as usual, stoned on the ride. Actually, that's not true; he's narcoleptic and falls asleep from time to time.

Here my crew is negotiating a peace settlement with Steve Noble's crew which includes Dave Flemming and Val Thompson. Luckily, violence was averted.
 And thus we cruise back to town via the newly opened Pattle Point Bridge. A super duper ride!

Friday, January 14, 2011


Crummy January weather has me looking ahead to when it'll one day be warm and sunny. Or at least not so cold 'n' wet 'n' windy. First up, I've gotta finish my Classic Road Rides of Washington book, however the weather hasn't exactly been cooperative of late. Oh well, nothing I can do about that.
So I'll look forward to mountain bike races and road rides. I've already mentioned ad nauseum Oregon's High Cascades 100 and Olympia's Capitol Forest 50, both of which are beginning to fill and making me a little nervous that I won't get in. ('Course if I made a decision on which I want to do, that'd probably solve everything, wouldn't it? ) Another one that's caught my eye is the Test of Endurance 100-miler (and 50-miler), also a Mudslinger event in Oregon.

Certainly want to do a couple of the Indie Series races. Had a great time two years ago but missed all of last season with a broken collarbone. (2011 schedule doesn't seem to be out yet.) BuDu Racing also has their series which runs February through April so I may jump into one or two of those races. Last year I single-speeded (izzat a word?) Cookin' in the Kettles, on a great course through Whidbey Island's Fort Ebey State Park.
Probably do some local(ish) road events too--Skagit Spring Classic in May, the Tour de Whatcom in July. I've done Wenatchee's Apple Century a couple times, which usually heads north along the Columbia River to Chelan. I notice this year's course, however, heads inland toward Leavenworth and Lake Wenatchee. That could be kind of cool, especially if there's a tailwind from L-town east. One that intrigues me (and one that will definitely hurt) is the Chelan Century Challenge which heads up McNeil Canyon. The overall ride climbs 9,000 feet with 2,200 of it up the 5-mile McNeil Canyon Road. Not sure how they do it, but apparently you can ride McNeil Canyon as a timed hill climb. (See here for my McNeil Canyon write-up.)   
Speaking of hill climbs, after a couple years off, I think I'd like to give the Mount Baker Hill Climb (Ride 542) another shot. (Click here for my write-up on the last time I raced it.) Which means of course I'll be starving myself throughout July and August to somehow get my weight below 160. My best time was 2008: 1:38:10. This year I'll be in a new age group (as opposed to say, a New Age group), 50-59. Damn, that sounds frickin' ancient!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


In non-bicycle related news, I'm really quite enjoying the Keith Richards autobiography, "Life". I've been a huge Stones fan ever since I reviewed their 1994 Kingdome show for the Bellingham Herald. I'd anticipated a bunch of ancient bizillionaires sleepwalking through worn-out classic rock hits but was absolutely blown away by their energy, humor and fantastic musicianship. Surprised most of all by Keith who proved to be a kick-ass guitarist genuinely appreciative of, and humbled by, his audience. (My 20th-row seats probably added to the experience as well.)

Anyway, the book is great fun. A lot of excess of Keith's part but that's no surprise. Doesn't seem to pull any punches on his opinions of other musicians (Mick, Prince, Springsteen among others don't come off too well), and as a guitar player, I get a kick out of reading how Keith discovered the five-string key of G thang.
And hey, check out the below pic of Keef holding off Lance on Alpe D'Huez. Who knew?

Sunday, January 09, 2011


Me, Scott, and John in the distance, on the Ridge Trail.
I didn't see snow in the forecast, did you? (Not that the weather gods ever check with me before doing their thang, but still.) Anyway, B'ham itself had about three inches, probably six to eight higher up on Galby, our destination. 
Titanium Cancellara powers through the snow on the Tower Road.
It was a heavy, sticky snow, one that immediately balled up on our pedals and shoes making clipping in just about impossible. So we got to pretend we were downhillers riding flat pedals.
Scott on one of the Three Pigs (I think). Or Mullet.
The snow and ice added, I don't know--10? 15? 20?--pounds to our bikes. (See below.)
But I'm not complaining. Another great three-hour riding in the books!
John managing to stay upright on the Ridge Trail.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


One of my cool Christmas gifts from my wife and son was a GoPro Hero HD helmet cam which I've been struggling to figure out how to use. Here's a YouTube link to a video of this past weekend's rides. Since it's HD, it takes a while to load. Sorry. Enjoy!

Monday, January 03, 2011


One year ends, another starts, but some things stay the same. In this case, the propensity for the Titanium Cowboys to hit some great rides. 2010 closed with an ultra-fun 3-1/2 hours up on Galby; 2011 got underway with 3 hours out to Lost Lake and back via the lower half of Hush-Hush. That's Hush-Hush in the above photo.

Both rides were frickin' cold--like 23 degrees--with a fair amount of snow on the ground. But cloudless and windless with views from the higher elevations (Whoopsie Woodle) to the Olympics and Mount Rainier. For Christmas, I got me a new HD Helmet Cam (which I'm still trying to figure out) which also takes high-res. photographs. Just above is Titanium Cancellara on the Arenburg Forest section of the North Lost Lake Trail; below is Johnny Boy Clark on Galby's Pipeline Road. (We'd been playing around on Banjoland and some of the lower cross-country trails but kept ending up in the same place so we high-tailed it out of there.)
The boys and I talked much about High Cascades 100-Mile Mountain Bike race in July--that might just be my New Year's Resolution.