Sunday, December 27, 2009

Kids and Candy

There used to be a time when I’d have trouble getting to sleep because I was so worked up over the ride planned for the next day. That was back during my newbie phase – where every ride was an adventure and just like a kid at Christmas, the next day couldn’t come fast enough. Over time, that excitable boy I once knew fell prey to routine, and while riding bikes still is something I look forward to with a passion, fewer rides these days offer up a genuine sniff of serious excitement anymore.

And so it was that last Saturday I found myself fettling with my bike and getting my gear ready – all while there was still sun in the sky. The plan called for a rendezvous with our good friend Johnny Ribeye—the notorious BlogginGoggin—for a major gathering of serious talent at Annadel park in Santa Rosa. We were riding together to celebrate his making it to the halfway mark of an epic adventure consisting of doing a major ride on a bike every day for a year.

On Sunday I met up with Chris at sparrowfart and we rolled north as a feeble sun tried to poke gauzy holes through the fog. Bypassing Sonoma, we arrived at Annadel in record time and awaited the arrival of the Marin posse—and the top-shelf talent that guaranteed this would more than likely be a hammer-fest. Alas, for better or worse (we voted for the former!) the only two other entities to show were John and his friend Gita, her on Moab-friendly tires which generated much friendly ribbing.

We set out as the temps hung in the frisky low 40’s and quickly stopped shivering as we rode up towards the higher parts of this drop-dead gorgeous park. Thick green moss covered the boulders and logs and the ground was wet and fragrant from the recent downpours. When we hit the delicious singletrack we rode up through thick primal forest to the exposed rocky meadows above, plunged through icy chocolate-milk-colored puddles and laughed as the newbie from Colorado marveled at the various consistencies of mud.

Two and a half hours of serious grin-inducing riding later we dropped back to our cars, and as is always the case, a minor wave of disappointment set in as our ride came to a close. But of this I’m absolutely certain: it won’t be long before I head back for another dose of the good stuff across the Bay. The aftereffects from Annadel are already starting to wear off…

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Commitment to the Ride

Some say that I'm "committed,” and others say that I should be committed. A little less than six months ago I got a wild hair up my bum. I randomly decided to ride every single day for the next calendar year. Ooops! What in the hell was I thinking?!? Apparently I wasn’t thinking at all. Here I am in the middle of my journey, and riding in the rain, hail, and bitter cold temperatures. Nope, I definitely wasn't thinking.

Not thinking aside, I did make a commitment, and I’m standing by it, or pedaling through it…

I’ll be posting some of the stories about my journey here. The photo is from yesterday’s ride on Mount Tamalpais. It was rainy and cold, and doing a striptease in my backyard was the only way to keep the mud out of my house! ;-)

Some friends have nicknamed me “Bloggin-Goggin.” I think that’s how I’ll sign off from here on out.

Until the next posting, Bloggin-Goggin.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Climbing, Cowpies and Goatheads

Briones is a pretty straight-forward place to ride. It’s either UP or DOWN. On some days it bites and on others, like today, it’s just plain fun. Originally slated to be a gathering with a bunch of friends in Rockville, today’s ride just sort of unraveled and in the end it was me and Chris heading out to Briones under an ominous slate-gray sky and 42 showing on the thermometer.

Quite by chance we met up with Darin and Steve, who like a certain un-named Marin-county denizen, were themselves off to a late start. Dependence on alarm clocks was clearly the problem here. But it didn’t much matter because on this day none of us were feeling our oats, so it was a placid affair from the go.

We dodged frozen cow patties as we thawed out during the climb up into a surprising amount of bright sun, the icy biting wind however made it moot. Along the way Steve scored another flat and after clocking supra-legal speeds on the descents, all too soon we were down in the floor of the valley. We grabbed a short section of cow trail that led us back to the road and for good measure, everyone picked up a handful of Goathead thorns. To add some texture to the event as I hopped off to do gate duties I stepped in a massive pile of festive green cow doodie. I was none too pleased to have the rustic scent of bovine excreta accompany me all the way home, but the cats were quite interested in my new aroma and followed me around with strange looks on their faces.

There’s no confusing Briones with Marin or other epic destinations, but as my old man likes to say, it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Mel Bearns

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Riding to the Junction and a Mountain Bike Ride Invitation

Mel and I had a lot of fun yesterday as we rode up Mount Diablo from the North Gate. It was a bit of a chilly start to the ride as we left Mel's house in Concord, but as soon as we hit the rollers that are just past the north gate, we began to warm up, and by the time that we hit the climb we were steaming along.

Being it that I'm from Marin and only ride Diablo a couple of times a year, I always forget about just how long of a climb it is up to the Junction. Yesterday was no exception. It's quite simply a great climb, if you're a masochist like me.

Once at the Junction we rested briefly before hopping back on our rigs and freezing our butts off on the way back to down to Danville on the south side. Once there we warmed up while eating lunch in the PBW/Peets quad. How about we all plan to do a Diablo mountain bike ride before the rains muck things up?

Here's the Garmin information from the ride if anyone is interested: