Friday, June 28, 2013

Before Ministry was Cool, Ministry was cool!

I use music to get me through life. From my earliest memories to just five minutes ago, music is a part of my daily routine. I wake up with songs in my head, I go to sleep with songs in my head. In between those moments I am usually listening. I discovered this little gem of a website today called Teletunes LIVES! It's a site dedicated to the station that used to be big in Colorado in the '80s and I discovered a lot of good music by watching the show in my teenage years. Today I discovered this little gem. It will be playing in my head while riding my bike home later today...

And I found this one today...

Freaky stuff.

Monday, June 10, 2013


I didn't race the Ballard Crit, I didn't race mountain bikes in Chelan, I didn't race track at Marymoor … What I did do is camp on Saturday north of Cle Elum Lake with my wife Erin and about 12 others in celebration of a birthday… 

Oh it went there

Each year we do something similar and in a similar location so I usually ride from Cle Elum back  to Seattle via the Iron Horse Trail / John Wayne Pioneer Trail. Trying to pace myself all day on Saturday and having absolutely no luck with that, it ended up a long day of games and deeerankin… And maybe even a couple of lips full of Grizzly chewing tobacco (when in Rome).

Woke up on Sunday with one of the worst hangovers to date, and had serious doubts about  riding back to Seattle, but I said I was going to do it and brought my bike, so … I powered up on Perrier and fruit and faced that brown bottle flu the best way I knew how - by pedaling.


I hopped on the trail feeling lousy and then flatted within 15 minutes - I opted to take my Fondriest SF2 after I mounted some 28s on it instead of my usual ride, the Gunnar Crosshairs due to some brake issues I was having while getting it ready for the ride. After a dizzying tube swap on the side of the trail, I then spent the following four hours crawling on rough gravel into a headwind, pulling over frequently to almost vomit, which I came close to doing numerous times but managed not to. I can usually "pedal away the poison" but it didn't seem like the day was going to see me through it… 

Trail side repair stand

I took a short nap behind Lake Hyak, when I got  call from the wife wondering how I was doing (she was back in Seattle by this point). A pathetically toned, "Not so good," was my reply and I seriously thought about having her pick me up at that point… I instead decided to give it another go and let her know my progress periodically via el telefono. 

Opting not to travel through the Snoqualmie Tunnel, as riding three miles in a cold dark lightless and damp underground cave seemed torturous. I opted on descending the old highway between the East/West I-90 split, which was a great call - if you've never ridden it, I highly recommend this stretch: switchbacks, narrow and smooth pavement, and overhead tree canopy are all involved. 


Once down from the old highway I crossed over and took Tinkham Road, which is considerably rougher than the Iron Horse, complete with giant rocky potholes and a water crossing. I rode this for the next few miles before being dumped onto the interstate where I dodged road debris for the next 15 miles with giant trucks doing 75 mph screaming past my left shoulder. 

Lake Easton 

Eventually making it to North Bend around 5:30 p.m., Erin called asking where I was … she wasn't impressed with my progress and insisted meeting me in Issaquah at Rogue Breweryhouse … I agreed and hopped on the parallel road and motored it until it spit me back onto the interstate for more death-defying fun. I exited at SE High Point Way, which led to the gravel path that runs by Grand Ridge Trailhead and finally made it safely into Issaquah for fish and chips. 

Stats: 70 miles total of mostly vitamin G (gravel) with a wicked dehydrated hangover on a sunny day. I wish there could have been more enjoyment during the adventure, but my head was too busy pounding itself to the rhythm of my heart.  

Friday, June 7, 2013

Three Things That Get my Shants in a Bunch

1. Bagpipes. They sound like a herd of cattle being slaughtered and there are a couple of maimed survivors within the group mourning the loss of their beloved bovine brethren.

2. Accordions. "Excuse me, but I'm trying to enjoy my meal here and have a somewhat intelligent conversation with my wife and/or friends, I would really appreciate it if you weren't standing over us squeezing that obnoxious block of air and looking at us like a lost puppy. Thanks." 

3. Tinted windows. This morning I was riding into work on a quiet residential street, heading downhill, when a "murdered out" Jeep appeared on the side street to my right. I slowed down as they started to go through the intersection before suddenly slamming on their brakes, giving me what I believed to be the go-ahead. As I was proceeding through said intersection, the driver, who I COULD NOT SEE AT ALL, honked at me. If I could have seen the person - for all I know it was a 9-year-old pygmy hermaphrodite wearing a clown suit - I would have been able to make eye contact and better assess the situation. This is SEATTLE, you know, that place where it's usually cloudy and/or raining and the winter days consist of about six hours of actual daylight. Why does ANYONE need tinted windows here? Are you in the Secret Service? A member of the mafia? No? Then do yourself and everyone else a favor and get windows that you can actually see through - that way you're not slamming on the brakes when I "suddenly come out of nowhere" as if I just magically appeared out of the blue like an unshaven apparition on two wheels.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Finn Utility’s Tool Roll Up

Former Portland, Ore., resident Ryan McDonald recently began designing products that are based on two of his longtime passions — riding bikes and fly fishing. He calls this latest endeavor Finn Utility. Based out of a woodsy location in Vermont, the company handcrafts high end, practical duffel bags and accessory holders. I have been using the Tool Roll Up the past couple of months. Here are my thoughts. 

Constructed from 10-ounce waxed cotton canvas, the Tool Roll Up has four front compartments of equal size as well as a full-length pocket behind them. The top half folds over these pockets and the whole piece rolls up and is secured by an adjustable leather strap and solid brass buckle. Easily attachable to a bike’s seat rails, it fits snug under the saddle. 

I usually keep an extra tube, multi-tool, tire levers, a small crescent wrench and a patch kit in it. While contents may not be as easy to access as with traditional seat bags, which have a rear zipper entry, it is still simple enough to get to for roadside repairs. I like the way it lays out flat and I can place smaller parts like washers and Allen bolts on it without fear of losing them on the ground while I am working on the bike — the orange fabric located on the inside contrasts nicely for this purpose. It can also be used for other applications such as carrying fishing gear or other small items that need to be organized for transport.

Overall, I am very impressed by this product and foresee it being on my bike for years to come. The leather strap and buckle seem to be durable enough to handle thousands of openings and closings as well. Aesthetically it stands out from the norm and I believe this will catch the eye of those looking for a seat bag to match their leather Brooks saddle and/or appreciate more natural looking gear. 

Dimensions are 13” wide x 9” high before folding. MSRP is $50. Made in the U.S.A. Visit for more information.