Friday, June 18, 2010


Mindful Mule has been squeaking a lot lately, again. This is great when you’re about to get doored and you slam on the brakes to let out a blood curdling squeal in order to politely inform the driver to shut their damn door, but mostly it’s a little annoying.

So, I re-toed the pads and was very lucky (or skilled) in the process as I nailed it on the first try – front and back – no hassle at all. Finished in record time – probably like twenty minutes – hardly even got my hands that greasy.

I’ve only tested them out on my super steep driveway with no helmet as is my strange tradition, but they were quiet and buttery all the way down. Hopefully they’ll stop me in normal street braking, too. Also, hope there’s not another post upcoming to tell you about how I had to readjust, again, as is often the case.

15 days ‘til Le Tour!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tour Divide has started!

I love following this race. It’s an off road bike race/ride from Canada to Mexico along the Continental/Great Divide (Rockies). Self supported for the burliest of the burly. Epic doesn’t even come close to describing it.

Geoff isn’t in it this year. Neither is Jill. So I’m routing for Cricket! Chirp!

Take a listen.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

S.R.T. Jogging

I don’t know what I’ve been doing lately but I haven’t been running. A couple days ago I went for the longest run I’ve done in a month, still only 9.5 miles. It was also the first time I’d been down in the Arroyo in that same time period. During that month there was a trickle of some 3-milers and the Mt Wilson race.

I have the excuse that I was sick for a while, but I’ve been pretty okay for a couple weeks now. I think it’s just always hard to get back on the running train when you’ve been off it for a while. Somehow your mind and body stop comprehending the point of running, especially for longer distances.

Once I got out there on the run in the Arroyo everything fell back into place pretty quickly and I end up running farther than planned. So that’s good. Maybe I’m back.

While I was out there I was thinking about the distinction between running and jogging. I’m not sure there’s really much of a difference. In general people probably think jogging is slower than running: J < R. It seems silly to base it on a rate of speed, for example: J < 6.5mph < R.

Back in the old days, when I was a kid, we called it jogging. Jogging meant you wake up at 6am, put on a sweat suit, and jog for 3 miles. If you were a jogger, you did this every day. Or maybe just once a week. I don’t know. Like I said, I was just a kid. I tried jogging a few times.

At some point in the 80’s, I’m guessing that someone at some company (Nike) realized that there was an incredible marketing opportunity associated with the hobby of jogging. “If we just change the name to running,” they said, “we’ll sell a million more shoes!” And so the hobby of jogging became the sport of running. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

As an example of the possible sense that the above made up story makes, consider for a moment the idea of trail jogging. It would never fly. Sounds stupid, they probably thought. But trail running, aha! Now we’ve got something. Now we’ve got a sport, something respectable.

Personally, I’m starting to like the sound of jogging. There’s not so much pressure. Joggers don’t need a stopwatch. Joggers can stop to say hello to people they encounter along the way. Joggers don’t have to replace their shoes every 300 miles – they can wait ‘til a thousand or whenever they feel like it or whenever they go on sale or fall apart.

So, what’s S.R.T. Jogging? It’s my new name for an old hobby: Sidewalk, Road, and Trail Jogging. For me, every jog starts on the sidewalk, then takes to the road, then if it’s a longer jog it takes to the trail. Most of the time (for me) it’s not really trail jogging in the sense that trail running implies, where you’re out on a goat trail racing up to the rocky outcrop at the peak of some fog enshrouded mystical peak; it’s just me down in the Arroyo cruising along with dirt under my feet passing by cool native plants like sage and sycamore and oak and toyon.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Chantry Flats Ride

Just got back from a new mountainy road ride that was really pretty nice. I took Masi (aka the Purple People Eater) up to Chantry Flats which is one of those old timey camp places up in the San Gabriel’s above Arcadia/Sierra Madre.

I’ve been up there before but not for a long time. I was probably up there as a kid for school hikes or something. The last time I was up there was when Mindful Mule was shiny and new back in maybe about 1995. Me and a couple friends drove our bikes up there and cruised around on some trails.

I’m not sure why I haven’t thought about it for the last 15 years. A few months ago while I was riding Totally 80’s on the Vintage Ride a flash of light caught my eye from up in the mountains. It looked like the reflection off a windshield but I couldn’t think of any roads that would be up there. It was way off in the distance on a hazy day so I couldn’t see very well to confirm.

Later that day, though, I checked out the map and it looked like there was a road heading up in them thar hills and wouldn’t ya know it led right up to Chantry Flats.

Fast forward to this morning. I rode up that road. It was a little steeper and longer than I expected/remembered, but it’s a great little mountain road and even has some fresh pavements sections.

There were tons of people up there. I had no idea it was such a destination. There must have been a hundred cars parked up there. Unbelievable! Great to see people out hiking and biking and picnicking and such, though. I guess Chantry is somewhat rare in that it’s pretty close to town and accessible by car and yet it really feels like you’re deep in the mountains.

The descent was awesome. Narrow road, tight turns, steep, and well paved. A classic, really. I got stuck behind some cars so I couldn’t let it all out but that’s probably better/safer on a first descent anyway.

“multimedia message”

A long, long time ago I told Shawn I’d send him a photo of a hillside filled with cactus. So here it is with stolen title (which, I think I finally get!) As you can see, it’s a horrible picture – taken with a phomera from a moving car – on the 101 just south of Camarillo – Conejo Pass, I believe.