cyclofiend.com - peripheral thoughts & notes

March 2008
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Ah HA!
Filed under: general
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 10:27 pm

So that’s what I did….!

Been trying to sort out a twisted tangle of photos and descriptions that weren’t lining up in the Singlespeed Gallery, and finally figured out tonight that I had misread a note, so my numbering systems were all outta whack. So, if you’d sent in a singlespeed photo (and there’s 20-odd bikes in the queue as I type), that’s how come there’s been a delay. I’ll have to engage in a little bout of renaming and resorting, but stuff should start appearing by midweek. Doesn’t appear that any photos got lost, just jumbled a bit in a sort of 9-balls-in-the-air-oops! kinda way.  Thanks for your patience.

In the meantime, I snuck in a ride on Saturday, as Tarik was in town and had planned to tag along on a Mixed-Terrain ride.  So, check out those photos while you’re waiting, and don’t let the wind blow through here while I’ve got everything spread out!

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People, Once Again
Filed under: people
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 2:44 pm

Beth Hamon is a member of the City Bikes worker-owned cooperative up in Portland, Oregon. Last year, she took part in the “Get Your Guts In Gear” (GYGIG) ride.  She’s got a couple bikes (1, 2, 3) over in the Current Classics Gallery (in fact, was one of the first people to send in photos), writes an interesting blog over on Livejournal and just started contributing to the Veloquent blog (and wrote this really nice entry).  You can find her recap of last year’s ride on the LJ link.

She’s going to do a different ride this year - a little closer to home and for a different cause - She says it better than I can:

“I went ahead and did it. I signed up to do another charity ride this summer.

After considering what worked and what did not work about GYGIG, I decided that, this year at least, it would be better for me to train for a one-day ride closer to home. A more attainable riding goal, no train ticket to buy (and no potential rail system shutdown to contend with!), and the start and finish are transit-accesible. After talking with several friends and researching the organization a bit, I decided to sign up to do the Portland Livestrong Ride on June 29.

I know, I know: it’s an AWFUL lot of yellow to contend with over the next four months. I imagine the jersey is garish beyond belief and I might well turn it down anyway (seriously, how many free bike jerseys does one gal need?).
That said, it’s also a fantastic cause, which balances its fundraising work between researching a cure for cancer and offering real-time support to cancer patients and their families. And these days, it’s impossible for me to think of anyone I know personally whose life hasn’t been affected in some way by the disease.

So here I go. I’m raising a thousand bucks, minimum. You’re invited to support me in my efforts, on the bike or outta your wallet or both. Check it out here, or wait for the fundraising email that may come your way.”

There’s a link to her fundraising node here:

As I checked it out today, there are already a few names I recognize from the various lists and such that I follow.  Stuff like that just reaffirms my belief in good folks.  Anyway, if you can pitch in and help, I say “go for it!”  (Or, would that be “Just Do It!”…?)

link to her original post

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Filed under: general, people
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 7:27 pm

Mark Rosenberg is a person who has been on the iBob list for a good while.  He’s also submitted really nice photos to the Current Classics Gallery and has one of the coolest looking dogs I’ve ever seen.  He works as a chiropractor down in Southern California, and has a very helpful website  - howtostretch.com - describing stretching excercises in a clear and helpful manner.

He’s also one wing down, courtesy of a nasty little moto crash.  The specifics of the reconstruction are a little disturbing, but here are the facts he related after coming home from further evaluation:

“Just got back from the ortho. My distal radius is broken in two places at least. That’s the good news.

The end of my radius shattered like glass, there are too many fragments to see much less count. Even though I tend to be the “hippy/natural guy/holistic doctor and herbal medicine for everything” kind of dude, I can see there is no option but surgery. He said it was one of the worst breaks he has ever seen. He has been in practice over 25 years and treats a ton of famous extreme athletes (moto cross, bmx, surfers, skaters, UFC)

I go in Tomorrow 8AM, I will probably come out with an external fixator rod, and the doc says he does not know of a plate that can cover the break.  I may get several plates.  Maybe Nitto makes one.  Hopefully fillet brazed.

I won’t be working for a long time. I hope I can return to my work as a chiropractor, does not look hopeful.  Not sure when i can ride again.  Might sell my Bruce Gordon, its bars are way lower than the saddle, its doubtful i will be able to put weight on my bars.

Now, I just have to worry about making my bills until there is a settlement or my disability kicks in.”

Here’s the pitch - Mark had been working on a DVD of stretching which he had recently finished.  It’s available on his website - http://www.howtostretch.com/dvdsforsale.html - for a paltry $18.  Personally, I’m going to expand my video library this evening.  Lord knows I’ve spent more money for a less quality film. 

He’s also got some things for sale - not the BG yet - over here

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Cupertino Crash Follow Up on VN.com
Filed under: unfortunate events
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 8:45 am

Worth a read:


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Mixed-Terrain Ride Schedule
Filed under: brevets, mixed-terrain
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 8:00 am

Carlos has posted a more formal schedule of mixed-terrain rides leading up to the LRLR (La Ruta Loca Randonee) in July.

Mixed Terrain ride Calendar

All are welcome, you really don’t need a 5″ travel dualie to play along - riders have done these with smooth-tired 28mm-shod road bikes. I’ve done most with my Quickbeam or the Hilsen - using 33 1/3 Jack Browns, 32 mm Paselas and 35 (actual meas) Michelin Cross tires. Despite our dire warnings, there are usually ways to bail from most of these rides which put you reasonably quickly back to civilization (probably not so much once you get out to Bolinas Ridge or thereabouts, though…).  But, you do need to be reasonably self-sufficient.

And, if you ride in SF Bay area, you know that it is the queen of the microclimates, so layers are helpful.

If you’ve had some interest in this type of riding and want to check it out - pick a ride and we’ll see you on the trails!

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Grump, Grumper, Grumpy
Filed under: general
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 10:30 am

I tell ya…sometimes, these computery things!

Been trying to map out the LRLR to confirm climbing and provide a top-down view of the hilarity.  Started using Bikely.com, as I’d used it before and had some routes already over there. The process got incredibly bogged down and slow - then to make matters worse, it “auto-followed” the “roads” and decided that the fire road which it had been merrily tracking was no longer a “road” and backtracked some ungoddessly amount of distance, looped through Hellengone, then found my next point on the map - all of 100 yards up the fire road - adding, and I’m not making this up kids, 28 miles to the route in one fell swoop. Took a goodly amount of time, too.  Ok.  Fine.  I can deal with robo-routing. Except that Bikely lacks an undo function.  Or, more precisely, it makes me “delete points” to work my way back to where the creativity began.  Except in this case, there are more points to delete than I’ve drawn (y’know….1500 or so according to Bikely math). Baaaah!  And I ain’t talking sheep, here. I end up redoing it as a new map.  Then the elevation graph (which is, as you recall the real reason I wanted to engage in this connect-the-dots excercise) provides a flatline.  Hmmmm. Patient’s dead. Ok - there’s a “Rebuild Graph” button.  Goody.  Hm.  There’s a message window saying my request has been queued and that it should get fixed in 24 hours. That was Saturday.  Request again.  And then that was Sunday.  Request. Then it was Monday. Y’know.  Um, Tuesday.  Take a guess …Wednesday. Zipp.  Oh, Piffle!

So, I use a rusty key to access my untrammeled Routeslip.com account. It’s now Mapmyride.com (somehow, that name makes me want to say “map my ride dude! dot com”).  Ok.  I can deal with change.  And it has a nice “full-screen” map function.  It even lets me go through the hilarious exercise of importing the .gpx file which Bikely purports to export. The result was a 567 mile route providing an aestheometry design that would make a math nerd proud. Dunno who’s to blame on that.  But, no harm-no foul.  Routeslip has an “undo” function which prevents the delete-every-dot issue if it makes a bad guess when “road following”.  But, then about 20 miles in, it begins to get all chewy, and it’s clear the script is bogging down.  Then the messages start popping up onscreen, the tires get stuck in the boggy mud and the actions start following every other click, leading to some routing hilarity. But, the undo works well, and I glacially make it to the first logical stopping point.  I save that effort where it ends at Pantoll Ranger station.

This fully sucks.  I’d wanted to spend maybe a half hour on this and ended up somewhere around two - restarting browser, computer, poking around for easy answers to the issue and undoing and re-plotting points.  Whaddawastatime! I suppose it’s probably much easier if I had a gps unit and juts uploaded stuff like the cool kids do.  But, there are several other uses I can think of for the few hundred bucks that would take. The way I’m doing it, both the mapping sites start to bog down significantly as the route gets more complex.

The saving grace is the really slick little elevation profile which you can view at the bottom of the map on mapmyride.com.  Well, it’s not really a “saving grace” as I’m just not sure that I have the time to mess around w a i t i n g   f o r   t h e   n e x t   p o i n t   t o   l o a d . . . . It’s been a few years since I needed to have something to read next to the computer while I waited for things to download. But, at least it seems to more easily provide the info.*

Ok.  Thanks for listening to this little rant.  I’ll try to smile more now.  I’ll try taking smaller bites, maybe. I dunno.  My computer definitely is not enjoying chewing on the scripts.

*And the info is a tad scary.  Saturday’s ride had around 6,000 feet of climbing in the ~36 miles which Carlos logged “on route”.  The first ~24, according to mmr.com is 3,800.  Then there’s the mid-section (or more appropriately, the 2nd and 3rd quarter) which will include getting up to Rock Springs, climbing up from Alpine Dam to the Bolinas Ridge, coming back from Olema and getting to Corte Madera. We’re estimating 4-6,000 in that section. “LRLR” - indeed!

Gettin’ Out
Filed under: rides, photos
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 7:20 pm

My low back is kinda stiffening up again, and my legs have that quiet buzzing feeling going.  Short term goals include trying to figure out what time Ebert and Roeper comes on, taking a stab at the Sunday crossword and whether to have some pretzels or crackers with hummous as a snack. Such is Sunday night post-ride sloth.  Wouldn’t have it any other way.

JimG started rattling the bars earlier this week.  He emailed a few key players and talked about a MT ride.  At first, I misread that as a “Mt Tam” ride, as it was within the context of trails that work their way up the mountain. But, it finally dawned on me that he was thinking about a “Mixed-Terrain” ride. Things have been steadily drying out around the SF Bay Area for the past few weeks - well since the SFR 300K scheduled date. (The 2008 300K actually was postponed and rescheduled, due to significant wind and storms that weekend).  That would mean that trails should be in prime shape and the hills would be tantilizingly green.

It worried me a little as I hadn’t been doing much riding of late.  Especially in the previous week, as I’d been harboring whatever bug had really appreciated the combination of worn down and not sleeping which I’d concocted.  It had knocked me on my tuckus for a few days, but as the weekdays passed, I was back commuting on the bike and feeling at least comfortable once more. I ante’d up and took a look at my cards again.  I was in. 

In fact, I began to realize I was really looking forward to it.  So, even when the weekend forecast began to degrade, it didn’t seem too bad. The temps dropped a bit by Friday and there were a few showers during the day, making it clear it wouldn’t be a knee warmer ride.  Still, a little rain woudn’t hurt, and there were plenty of ways to bail out of the route if things got really bad.  Also for the past few weeks on the SFRandon list, Carlos had  been fine-tuning his proposal for LRLR - “La Ruta Loca Randonnee” - an epic (and I do not use that term lightly) mixed-terrain ride inspired by the D2R2.  As I went through the cue sheet for the LRLR proposed route, it seemed that I’d better start getting some miles in, if I had any hope of finishing that ride…  (tentative date - July 21st)

And I started the day by leaving late - drat!  Juggling dogs with unusual morning habits, baking a batch of bring-along cornbread and guessing on the right combination of clothing, the minute hand of the kitchen clock kept jumping forward until it slid past the “yeah-if-I-leave-now-and-press-it-I-should-get-there-a-hair-late” time.  Somehow, the dogs got wrangled and I finally managed to get out the door.

The roadways were wet from a goodly shower that had woken me up around 3 am.  But, in the east the skies were clear as the sun edged upwards.  The clouds to the west didn’t hold too much immediate menace.  My legs felt a little mushy on the small climbs that stood between me and the MV meeting spot, but hoped that would disappear once we got riding.  Zipped down Camino Alto and caught the light just right, headed down the bike path and found Carlos and Greg at the meeting spot. Carlos had just been calling me to see if I was enroute, and then shared the news that JimG had opted out of the early start.  After a short greeting, we headed out towards downtown Mill Valley, seeking the entrance to Railroad Grade.

Once on the trail, we began to ease upwards. This was actually the route of an early 1900’s railway to the top of the mountain, so the grade is nominally 6%.  Of course, it isn’t graded or leveled, so certain sections in the first mile or so are reasonably rocky and there’s usually a thin but smooth “good” line.  For some reason, I seemed particularly prone to finding the bumpy and tricky sections, until Greg finally announced he was going to follow Carlos from now on.  Can’t say I blamed him, and in fact, I dug in behind them both for a few more sections.

After a while, we seemed to hit a decent rhythm - trading leads and lines over the topography, talking about the tragic accident that took place down the peninsula, amazment and frustrations with traffic in general and sharing odd interludes with drivers that had - conservatively - “issues”.  It all succeeded in passing the time relatively quickly until we suddenly realized we’d reached the West Point Inn.

They’d certainly done a lot of work since the last time I’d been there - replacing the rotted old picnic tables and building up really nice level pads for the new rest areas. This is one of the prime spots to pause and reflect on one of the mountain’s most travelled trails. It looked good.  I broke out the first ration of cornbread and we toasted JimG’s absence. (Actually, Greg had held out a piece as well, but I managed to cut him off in the photo - sorry!)

Though the sun continued to break through the clouds, the wind from the northwest was pretty chilly, and we all dug around for warmer layers.  As we were following the latter portion of the Mixed Terrain 101 Route, the next part would be down - first via the fire road of Old Stage, then onto Panoramic - the main route between Stinson Beach and Mill Valley. The paved portion is a ripper of a descent, and I got a good chance to feel how the Hilsen handled when the road tilted downward.  No suprises really, just rock solid and predictable, with the feeling that you had a lot more to go before you were in any kind of trouble. Big tires and low bb’s absolutely rock. Unfortunately, with the dampness hidden in the corners, I didn’t feel quite confident enough to snap photos on the way down. It was only later, after we’d worked our way back onto dirt again, that the camera came out.

I was still feeling pretty good. The descent had been well within my comfort zone, and even though my legs argued a little when the pitch eased up again on Miwok trail, I found a gear that kept me happy.  The last time I’d ridden this stretch had been the previous July, and I’d been on the Quickbeam.  (And I think that was the ride when my calf first went “poing”…)  We worked our way upward, then dove for the low gear at “Carlos’ Turn” - this is a sharp 180 degree bend which then climbs steeply and briefly, levels out and climbs steeply and less briefly to the crest. I’d planned on spining my way up this bit, dumped to the smallest chainring - yep, Homer has a triple - and then shifted down on the rear. Unfortunately, that combination which I don’t really use that often, wasn’t really up to the task.  Hoppin’, skippin’ and in general allowing only a half turn of the pedals before that sickly “clunk-crunch”.  Never one to be afraid to walk, I kicked out and hoofed it to the top of the first rise.  It seemed like a tight link in the chain, but I couldn’t see one easily evident.

By the time I got back into a usable gear, the boys had continued up out of sight.  Pedaling upwards, the force of gravity overcame the force of friction in the bigger gear I had, and the tires slipped a bit.  Rather than risk chewing up the drivetrain, I again opted for the unglamorous pushing pose until I reached the top, then rolled around a couple corners to find Greg and Carlos patiently waiting.

Again we enjoyed the benefit of altitude, rolling downhill to Tennesee Valley, then working our way up the valley to Marincello road. This would have been part of a huge housing development that got nixed by the creation of the GGNRA (Golden Gate Natonal Recreation Area), but the dirt roadbed had been created. 

Whether it was the souls of the quelled contractors or other factors, I’m not sure, but this climb ground me down pretty well. It’s longish, has few distracting features and it’s also one of the climbs I’m least familiar with - I always tend to be going down this as I head north. About halfway up, my shoulders started hunching up and I began fidgeting.  Probably had something to do with too few calories as well. I got grumpy, decided I was too hot.  Stopped.  Pulled off my thin wool cap.  Started. Ignored my legs requests to stop again.  Then heard an earthy clinky-clank and looked back to see my tail light parts spread across the trail behind me. The mount screw must’ve vibrated out on the bouncy bits. Greg and Carlos were out of earshot, so I picked up my scattered pieces and pressed onward again. Again, the boys were patiently waiting my arrival at the crest.

The open descent down Bobcat went easily, reinvigorating me a bit. As we picked our way through a muddy section of trail at the bottom, another rider was walking her bike along.  It turns out she’d been out on her inaugural ride on a new Redline Conquest Pro CX bike, but lost the mount bolt for her front derailleur, which now dangled uselessly, but completely in the way.  We pooled our parts, but could not come up with anything that worked.  We offered to crack the chain and remove the derailleur, so she could at least get home on the small ring.  She thanked us but declined as she’d already contacted a friend who was on their way for a pickup.

Underway again, we began ascending Coastal as it climbed up from the old rifle range, my gearing did its little snap-crackle-pop and after stopping Greg’s momentum, encouraged them to head onward.  I backspun the cranks but counldn’t find the bad link.  The only conclusion I was left with is that either the chain was on the edge or that it was a couple links too long to begin with.  (My working theory is the latter, but that’s a tough diagnosis, especially with a wider range cogset.  I’ll have to work that out this week.)  But, a bigger gear and some grunting later, I could at least see Carlos and Greg up the trail.  We collected ourselves back on the pavement, swooped down past oblivious tourists and slightly less confident descenders. At the bridge, we split up for the day, Carlos and Greg continuing south while I turned northward.

And danged if that chilly wind wasn’t in my face.

Things went OK into Sausalito, as it was mostly downhill.  But, I realized my water was gone, so I found a spot I know to refuel, defuel and enjoy a bit of protection from the wind.  Checked in with home and nibbled the couple pieces of cornbread that were still onboard, then headed out once more.

The push across the Richardson bay flats felt slow - small chainring and in the drops, working for every foot while glaring at those folks who passed the other direction (thank goodness for dark glasses or I would’ve been seen as seriously anti-social…).  Made it to the end of the path and then just felt all the sand leak out as the Camino Alto climb began. I’m pretty sure that I got passed by a recumbent towing a Burley trail while pushing a bakfiet.  Regardless. Folks that went past kind of looked at me and then didn’t say anything.  Not a good sign. I kept repeating the Kent P mantra, “keep pedaling, it will get better”.  I probably also should’ve taken his not-a-nutritional-role-model guidance to heart and stopped at the deli for anything that looked good.

Marshmallows came to mind.  Unfortunately, this was with respect to the pressure I was putting on the pedals.  The wind continued and I kept going.  At one point I actually pulled off the road and leaned over the bike, until some fellow walking his dogs asked if I was alright. “Yeah, I’m fine,” I said.  “Just resting.” 

From my perspective of a day later, I think that response probably seemed reasonably bizarre. Most folks probably don’t rest while straddling their bike, hanging their helmeted head over the bars in a slump. 

Onward, and thankfully, the topography let me tack a bit into the wind and pick up a bit of a push from it.  It was a relief. Blessed relief.  Finally made it home, though it felt like I was just grinding out  a huge gear at about 3 rpms.  Shower. Food. Begin to read only to wake up on the couch two hours later.  Day’s workload - 7:15 am to 1:45 pm - maybe 55 miles.  A bit north of 6,000 ft climbing.

This morning, I was still reasonably sore, but figured that the best thing to do would be play “opposite day”. No gears, low cadence, reasonably slow climbing.  A local loop around the easier China Camp trails seemed perfect.  Spun in the early chill of the day to the trails, then used the weight-on-the-pedals climb method and eased upwards.  Muscles warmed up and felt better.  The Quickbeam reminded me how wonderous it is to have a light and simple bike on the trails. Even duked it a bit with some fat-tire boys when the conditions allowed.  Got the kinks out and returned home. mmmmm…

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Daylight Savings Investment Plan
Filed under: general, photos
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 8:39 am

Innersting Clouds
Heading home later than I’d planned, enjoying the extra light, cross wind off the upper mid-bay and the oddly attractive patterns of cloud and sky.  Snapped this with the cam-phone.

Memorial Ride - Matt Peterson and Kristy Gough
Filed under: unfortunate events
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 9:27 am

Over the past weekend, a tragic event occurred, claiming the lives of two SF Bay Area cyclists. Further news continues to unfold making this seem even more senseless, if that’s possible. This is a reposting of the Memorial Ride announcement which has been distributed via the NCNCA email list, among others. Please follow through to the links for specifics and confirmation of details.

Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson Memorial Ride

Team Roaring Mouse Cycles and Third Pillar Racing Team are holding a
joint memorial ride this Saturday March 15th, to honor the lives of
Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson, our two teammates killed on Steven’s
Creek Canyon last Sunday while on a training ride. We welcome friends,
family, fellow cyclists and all those whose lives have been touched by
Matt and Kristy. Our ride will include a visit to the site of the
crash site for those to share their memories.

When: Saturday, March 15th

Where: Leaving from Foothill College
12345 El Monte Road,
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022

Google map to location: http://tinyurl.com/2b6qvb

**We kindly request you do NOT drive out to the crash site during this
time, as we need to keep cars to a minimum in the area, given the road

Time: Meet at 2:30pm, ride by 3pm

Length: 30-45 minutes to the crash site. Base pace (ie, mellow). No drop.

Start @ Foothill College (Parking Lot #1, near the football stadium;
see link above for map)

- Left on El Monte
- Right on Foothill Expressway
- Continue on Steven’s Creek Canyon
- Return

Route directions via Google: http://tinyurl.com/2pc8pf

 **Press are welcome to attend, however we request respect during our
ride. It would mean the most to us if press were to accompany us on
their bikes, as we are all cyclists this week.


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Lost Weekend?
Filed under: general, photos, bike tech
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 4:27 pm

Two ridiculously georgeous SF Bay Area days, afore which work stuff had been caught up and there were no super-pending homefront projects. And on Thursday, I awaken with Wednesday night’s bongo-drum ears having migrated deeper into my brain, so that the room is pitching and rolling like 12 feet every 8 seconds.  The worst of the spinnies were gone by Friday AM, but knew that the last thing that I should be doing was grabbing miles.

So on Saturday, I tended to things like degunking the Hilsen drivetrain, which led to two photo shoots -
The Contents of the Toolbox: A Modern Archeology
Top Tier o' the Box - click through for more
First, lest ye forget that I am firmly guided by bike geekdom, I took photos of my toolbox contents. As I was going through the photos, my wife walked behind me and asked, with equal parts disbelief and fear, with just a stray shard hope, “Are you selling those?” Threw back my head and gave my best pirate laugh. Sellin’ ‘em?!  For how could I sell off a redundant 8mm hex wrench, or one of my multitude of 13/14 cone wrenches that I don’t even like to use?  I mean, I still have my Shimano 600EX headset wrenches (hey the Montare tended to come loose a lot…).  Luckily, before I vocalized my shock at the question with myriad examples of all the oddball things I should be selling off, my calm inner voice took over and I mumbled something like, “um, no. No, there was a thread about tools on the iBob list…” and let it ride. Luckily, there had been such a thread, though it now resided in the murky past of internet yesteryear (sometime more than a month ago).

and the second photo series:
Shiny Happy Hilsen
A. Homer Hiilsen - Clean and Sparkly
In which the A. Homer Hilsen benefits from a thorough removal of grease and gunk, brought on by the liberal use of Phil’s Tenacious Oil on the drivetrain, in anticipation of a thoroughly rain-soaked SF Randonneurs 200K last month.

And to make a nice day that much better, I found that a hidden spike held the first cymbidium blooms of this year.
First Cymbidiums in Bloom

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Where the Cool Kids Will be Riding
Filed under: mixed-terrain
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 8:35 am

At least this weekend:

Me?  Fighting a spring inner-ear thing that seems to have me wobbling like a weeble.  Oh well.  Should give me a chance to clean off the bikes.