Friday, April 25, 2008

First Taco Ride

Even though I've been a mountain biker for many years, I have never made it to the local group ride known as the Taco Ride - shameful really. Well, I finally rectified that situation Wednesday. It was the 10th anniversary of the ride and the first of the season. The weather was perfect and the trails at the old science center were in great shape. There were somewhere between 15-20 guys who set out from Rassmussen's Bike Shop @ 6 pm for 14 miles of twisty fast singletrack (narrow dirt trail).
I had a blast, it is fun to be around people who share your same passion, especially when you all get to act like overgrown kids. I'm going to make it a regular thing.
I pilfered these pics from another biker, Justin Bruce's, blog - so full credit to him for the photography. I look too fat for my bike. It looks like I'm one of those circus acts where the bear rides the little trike. I also look like I'm wearing a beanie instead of a helmet. That just completes the whole circus act theme.

Its called the Taco Ride because it ends with $1.89 HUGE taco's at Giff's in Valley Junction and $2 PBR tallboys. That's Pabst BLUE RIBBON. They don't give ribbons that are any higher than that.

I met this guy, he's from Ames. They have gravity there too.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Orville and Wilbur got nothing on these two

I've learned that when your kids say, "Dad, come see, I've invented something." You should probably go see what they're talking about.

Its an old car booster safety seat, duct taped (at-a-gurl) to Katie's scooter. This contraption had been in the works for a few days. I guess you could say I wasn't impressed with the initial prototype. The real innovation came when they decided to add 2x4's (bungee corded to the seat of course) to the sled as leg supports/footpegs. The result is a screamin' fast thrill machine. Watch out Super Dave, we're comin' for ya.

Sorry, if its blurry, she was just so smokin' fast.
Allie is aerodynamic, already being low to the ground - that's just how she rolls.
but her legs aren't beefy enough to support the 2x4's. She needs a custom set up.

Capt'n Update

As everyone knew, Jackie's fortifications did not withstand the neurotic stoopid dog onslaught. Actually, I think he could have quite a little career as a metal sculptor, selling his one-of-a-kind creations at local art fairs. They are both beautiful and completely unfunctional -- bonus

We have ordered the dog prison, his stretch will begin when it arrives. Its fitting since I used to compare him to Hoodini, but now I think Andy Dufrane from Shawshank makes more sense. He's not as smart as Andy, but he's got all the time in the world and the determination to match.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The First Barnstormers Game

My Man, my MAIN MAN Joel gave me the hook up Monday night in the form of Barnstormers tickets. All he had to do for the honor of sponsoring my night out was to run the sidelines as a chain gang member.

The crowd was awesome, we arrived a little too close to gametime and had to park BLOCKS away in a very claustrophobic parking garage ----- on the 3rd floor.

They fired off this motorcycle-backfire cannon that scared the buhjeepers outta both me and Jackie a couple of times.

The security lady wondered what I was doing taking an up-close shot of one of the field guys. I guess she's never seen a True Fan before, never known what complete devotion is all about..........what was I talking about? Ah yeah, Joel. If I was a Ninja (and I kinda am) I coulda kilt him.

And then the action shots.

These 2 seem to be friends, or maybe its just their love of khaki that brings them together. (just kidding Kev)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

From the "You've Got to be Kidding Me" File...

My dog.....oh my freakin' dog. Where to start?

Ok, Captain is a Black Lab/Chow mix we brought home from the pound about 5 years ago after we had a bit of a tragic run with pets.

We lost one of the best dogs you could ever had in a Samoyd named Jake. He died pretty suddenly after contracting a blood disorder. In response to this sad event we got 2 (yes, two) Beagle puppies. They were cute but obnoxious as hell. They also had a bad habit of getting in bloody to-the-death style brawls every once in awhile over food. After I got bit breaking one up and Jackie got caught in the middle of another one, they had to go. This time we got a freakin' cat, which I hate, and which is still with us despite my absolute best effort to pawn the Devil to my sister-in-law (that stuck for-all-of 2 weeks).

Enter Captain.

From the get-go he was the most affectionate, but needy, dog you will ever encounter. It was clear he been abused by some young boys, because he used to bristle around them, but he doesn't do this anymore. What he is consistent in is escape artistry and the associated property destruction. I hesitate to call what he does as "artistry" because his method is pretty straightforward - power and persistance.

When we first brought him home we thought he could be a backyard dog, but the guy at the shelter said, "Oh, well, he'll want to be whereever you are." Truer words have never been spoken. He started his long standing escape campaign by busting through the cedar planks of the privacy fence. We re-enforced trouble spots many times and replace planks more times than I care to count. He defeated the replace/patch/reenforce strategy, easily. When he broke out he never went anywhere too far, just out lookin' for new best friends in the neighborhood.

So then we bought a fancy electronic fence with the "shock" (which is really just a powerful vibration) collar and spent 2 days installing everything inside the fence. Goin' all double-layer of defense on him. "You're gonna haveta do better than that" he scoffed.

The collar system is set to have a "safety" shut off so that it will quit vibrating if its activitated for something like 1 minute straight. I've deduced that he would get himself all fired up like a football player before the game, probably smashed a couple of cans of dog food against his forehead, and went up to the fence and took it, so then he could work at the fence as long as necessary. This high tech strategy of ours was soundly defeated by good old fashioned stubboness and willingness to suffer - impressive.

Next we let him be in the house while we were gone. Why we trusted him to not go all Gingus Khan on our defenseless walls I will never know. At least 3 times (I lose count) he destroyed doorframes, drywall etc. The worst time he almost got all the way through to the garage. It is a miracle he survived a couple of these incidents - a miracle I-tell-ya.

We've figured out that he freaks on thunderstorms and fireworks so we medicate him when we know its coming.

By the way, you have never seen a dog act as sorry and pitiful as this dog can we he is in trouble (I mean BIG TROUBLE).

Since the last home destruction we have started kenneling him in a large, moderately heavy, steel cage in our bedroom. We were worried about his transition to this but he took it to very well. He kenneled without issue for quite awhile, maybe a year, UNTIL Thursday.

We came home to this

He had done some "work" on his cage before this, so he already had a start. I also think Katie didn't latch the bottom so he had more room to work. I believe he bends with his jaws but also uses his head, paws and legs as levers for which to smash und pry und destroy. There were some light, brief thunderboomers while we were gone. So I think this was the trigger.

He said he was sorry.

I called Jackie and she went and got a new cage ('cuz we still gotta go to work and stuff). Well (you can see this coming right?) he ate that one too.

He didn't get all the way through, so this weekend I spent sometime trying to be an aftermarket dog cage armor fabircation specialist. I came up with this.

I thought it was pretty good actually. I still needed some beefing up, but it should do until I can make my 3rd trip to Home Depot to finish the job off - wrong, dead wrong

Again, with-the oh-I'm-soooooo-sooooorrrry. Right.

He's lost what-little dog brain he had, Separation Anxiety they call it. The Dog Whisperer would tisk tisk us for sure. This is Jackie's pass at it. I think its not too bad, but what do I know?

We plan to up his walks, give him other things to do/chew and bring on the heavy artillery if we must. If that doesn't work we're talkin' some farm-life for good ole' Capt'n (but don't tell Jackie I said that).

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Saturday ride

Friday I rode gravel from my house almost to Banner before heading back home, today I started at Banner and rode a little of the Riverside loop. The dirt was fine, but there's still plenty o' deadfall and a ton of debris.

Derailleurs beware.

When you got further into the loop, it kinda loses the trail (I did anyway). There's just so many leaves and sticks its a little hard to see the tread. Rakes needed.
I didn't check out the newer stuff at Banner, because it was probably too soft. So i headed south to Ahquabi.
Its hilly between Banner and Ahquabi; this was one of the biggest.
The top in the picture isn't even the top, it keeps rolling up past there. I have another hill on my road bike loop from my house I call Fat Ass Hill. This one I dub Col d' la Graisse Arriere (thanks Alec Trebek). It was a blast on the way back, with the wind at my back.

I sorta took a round-about way to the lake, getting turned around a bit south of Indianola and adding a few miles. I was trying to do gravel all the way there. I didn't quite make it, but got closer on the way back. It was about 19 miles there and only about 14 back. Ahquabi really is a pretty lake.

The lake trail at Ahquabi was mostly dry, but with some real problem places mixed in. I had to walk through some of the soggy stuff, most of the trouble was at the west end of the lake. It was probably 80% good 10% too soggy to ride but walkable without looking like a mud creature and 10% mess.

Some Jackleg has rutted the crap out of parts of the trail; think Sycamore at its worst. It looks like most of it is minibike. I saw a little ruffian tooling through the campground on one. These look like they've been here awhile, still I considered circling back to the campground to do a little education just in case the 'lil offender had some other ideas. I believe the children are the future...just maybe not this one. There was mucho big hills between Banner and Ahquabi, so I too tired for education. Maybe next time Little Trail Destroyer Man, maybe next time.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Center After Work

I think most people must've thought the Center would be too wet on Wednesday, but it wasn't. Besides a few of the usual trouble spots and some deadfall it was nice tacky hardpack. You picked up a little mud on your tires, but nothing harsh.
Denman's will need a reroute though.

Hey, put that back.

Twisty singletrack, logs and tree gates, its Denman's.

Big deadfall in Denman's along the part that curls up by the connector trail, just up from the...

notched off log.

Hillside was leafy but lovely
I don't know what this is called, but we call it Darren's corner. How do you earn a corner named in your honor? Start by crashing there 3 or 4 times in row and we'll talk.