Friday, March 25, 2011

Trail Work Hoe

Me and my Trail Work Hoe, oh the places we will go.

Hoeing with this hoe may not be the best, ya know.

(its a two-way go)

but she's my hoe, and that's fo sho.

We bring da funk, we bring da flow.

Now that there's no snow, it is the best time to hoe.

..but really, is there a bad time to hoe? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Follow the stones, over a part thats low.

Thinking of trail names, my hoe and me, we're thinking maybe OCD.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Taming Banner: When Plants Attack

The untamed brush of Banner does not care that we want to ride our bikes there.

Those alien crazy looking thorny vines do not give a rip about us wanting to rip a banking turn down that mound.

Collectively those brushes and such have thrown down the gauntlet, they say wanna build a trail through here buddy? Its gonna cost ya.

I've been scratched, poked and whipped by just about every manner of flora immaginable. Yesterday a branch whipped around a snapped me right under the eye.

That was my favorite.

Two days ago I took a rake and tried to clear some leaves from under some of those bright red thorny monster vines...yeah, I raked one-na-those-bastards right into my face. It almost gave me a third nostril...

...maybe that was my favorite. Its so hard to choose.

Anyway, I hope most of the brutality is over since we had an awesome work day when 21people came out and kicked but for 4 hours.

Volunteers with chainsaws, loppers and such took a nice chunk out of the nasty over growth. A couple more events just like it and we will be riding some fun new trail.

Bridges were bridged

(photos by Nick and Jordan)

Poison Ivy? She's still sleeping, but when she wakes up and sees what we done, she's gonna be pissed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Performance Evaluations By Kitty

I have this cat, I call her Kitty.

That's not her name, but that is what I call her.

We have a love-hate relationship. I evicted her once, it lasted maybe 3 weeks. Sending her to the Sister-in-Law's wasn't far enough away, I know that now.

She got reinstated under questionable circumstances. It seems there was a loophole in the eviction proceedings…

It’s a long story.

These days her and I are finding ways to co-exist. They mostly involve me tolerating her.

My daughters split the chore of cleaning out the litter box. Collectively, their job performance needs improvement.

When the box isn't up to code Kitty gives them feedback in the form of peeing in highly directed and strategic locations - in their room, right outside their door, in their bed…one morning she even left a little nugget on their bathroom floor.

You see, when Kitty’s initial feedback isn’t received she literally gave them a “hey, check this sh#t out” statement.

This has happened before, Kitty doesn't deviate from her M.O.

If job performance doesn’t improve to her standards, or according to her schedule, Kitty ups the ante and gets Mom and Dad involved. She knows she will see some action then. I think of it as her saying to the kids “I need to speak to your supervisor”.

Sometimes she will pee in our bed, and it is just as charming as it sounds. Yesterday she peed on Mom's sweatshirt, while it was on the bathroom floor.

This morning, when ironing my work pants, I noticed a strange smell emanating from them. Apparently, Kitty went straight to the top and messaged Dad. At first I thought she peed directly on my pants, along with a lot of other clean clothes in the laundry basket.


She peed on the ironing board itself.


Its like she said, “what will mess with them the most?....”






Thursday, March 3, 2011

If Charlie Sheen is winning...

...then so am I.

He's an F18.

I'm a B52.

No, not one of those.

One of those.

...but I have to admit - I don't get crap done during naps.

He's a High Priest Vatican Assasin Warlock.

I'm a....uhm...I'm....ok, Charlie that was a good one. Give me a minute...I am...Tryptophan...from yo Thanksgiving turkey.

Gobble, Gobble, Cluck, Cluck your truck is stuck in some muck.

Oh yeah, let's see you stay awake to watch some crap Lions game when I drop a sleep biz-omb on yo ass.

BOOM! Tryptophan Magic. Nighty Biz-by Baby.


It's tough one-upping The Sheen on crazy...but I might be up to it.

Your move Charlie.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Big Mama...she is...a-about ready to-a dance

And when she hits the dirt she will be dancing....The Salsa! Latin dance of (trail) love.

She looks like a good dancer, and smart too.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Trail Brain

Trail building, trail building, trail building...

Spring has sprung (sorta) and I have trail building on the brain.

I've been hiking, scouting, surveying, evil ploting.

I need minions.

The snow has melted, the vegitation (read: poison ivy) isn't creepin' yet.

It's go time.

I've got two big projects clogging the cortex. One isn't ready for primetime disclosure (yeah, the blog qualifies as primetime....c'mon guys, it does) but the other, at Summerset State Park (Banner), should be good to go this spring. Well, parts of it at least.

Cool Evergreens at the top of the first ridge in the center.

View from the center island east lookout. It took a lot of bushwacking and creative route finding to get here.

There's some previously worn in trail that's now overgrown.

Low spot

You can almost make out my cross bike on the bank...over there.

I can't wait.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

GRR2BRR: Tales from Off the Back

Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew.

Ok, more than sometimes.

I had the distinct sensation that I was taking a Jaws-sized bite when I arrived at the GRR2BRR host’s house at 7:15 a.m. on Saturday. GRR2BRR is a 30 mile gravel road ride from Johnston to Perry for the start of the annual (34th) BRR ride. The high temp was forecast for 30ish degrees, but it was barely 20 at the start.

Pulling up I expected to see a handful (5-10) of the usual mountain biker faces, many on mountain bikes, and much leisure. Instead I found 20-30 folks, many of the racer-persuasion, and many on top of cyclocross bikes. The attitude was very friendly but I had the sense the group was going to crank along a little faster than I could muster, especially after a tough weightlifting session earlier in the week (this is excuse # 1).

My sense was exactly right. I hung with the pack for awhile at the start but fell of the pace a bit fairly early on. I was on my mountain bike which has wide, high nobby tires that would’ve been handy in the snow and mush I thought I would be encountering but the roads were really clean and frozen hard. These conditions made it difficult to keep up with a skinny tire crowd (excuse #2). I surfed along, maintaining the small-to-moderate gap off the back until we got to the B level road.

For those unawares, B level roads are “unmaintained” they typically have no gravel base and are often deeply rutted. This time of year they are obviously under significant snow. This one had some car tracks through, so it was rideablish.

Mountain bike, woohoo!

Vis-à-vis the virtues of the B road I caught up to the pack and stayed there for a few more miles, though the second road closed section (not technically a B, but basically the same deal).

Then a few of us took a break to enjoy beverages and good company while the rest of the larger group motored to Casey’s in Granger, presumably to do the same.

Matt spilled his fancy cream stout beer. I told him the water bottle cage wasn't going to work. Uhm....told-ya-so.

Unfortunately our break was apparently not on the same schedule as others in the group, so when we got to Casey’s the group (maybe irritated?) immediately pulled out and ratcheted up the pace a bit.

Again, Brian is off the back.

I seemed to keep the same speed as the pack – at least for awhile – but I consistently don’t get up to cruising speed as fast as others. This could be due to the fact I weigh somewhere between 50-100 pounds more than most of these people, (excuse # 3) but whatever-the-reason I am the caboose.

A couple of my friends stayed back to ride with me which was very nice since I didn’t know the route. As it turned out they were not much help on navigation, and we got a little lost anyway. By the time we wound up in Perry we had added 2-3 miles, a stop in Woodward, and a long stretch of windy pavement.

Sometime in this side excursion I checked the pressure in my rear tire. It had been feeling low, but soft roads and dead-feeling legs can give you this sensation, so I had ignored it. When I pushed on the wheel the rim almost contacted the ground. Great, I wonder how long I rode with 10 PSI, instead of 40 (excuse # 4). Ugh.

Once we arrived in Perry my mood improved, food and beer has a way of doing that. The scene was very RAGBRAI-esque with a mass of humanity descending on one tiny bar. We got lunch and otherwise sampled the local flavor for a couple hours before starting to think about the return trip. Yes, unlike many who rode GRR2BRR and then BRR (24 more miles) before getting a car shuttle home, a few of us didn’t ride BRR and instead rode back to Johnston for…BRR2GRR or ReverseGRR (or something like that).

There were only 4 of us for the return trip: the ride organizer, Steve, the amazing commuting chef, Sam, Nick and myself. Nick rode his mountain bike too but he kept right up with these guys. It was rather impressive, but if you tell him I said that I will totally deny it.

Right before leaving I realized I had neglected my number one priority while in Perry, fixing my rear tire. Unfortunately my mini-pump sucks…bad. I had already shot my last CO2 in there on the way to Perry so I was stuck giving my triceps an awesome workout. Sam gifted me an extra CO2 which really helped out, but it was still a little low all the way home (excuse # 4a).

The ride home was fairly uneventful. We kept a pretty good pace with me, once again, hovering off the back. The other Musketeers would wait at intersections and the like, but I never got too far behind. We collectively wondered what became of our BRR riding buddies, particularly Courtney (who is known for his gravel based exploits). We got back to Steve’s just at dark and noted no other cars were still there, meaning all others had either left earlier than us or shuttled back from Perry...all except Courtney. He got a little turned around on his way home and ended up almost riding back to Perry. You can read all about his adventure on his blog, it’s the first link under “Local Boys” on the sidebar. He’s got some good photos too including one of me “flying” past him on the B road.

All-in-all the distance wasn’t more than I could chew, the hills weren’t either (it was relatively “flat”) but the pace was – slightly. That might have been remedied if it wasn’t for excuses # 1-4a but we will never know.

Big thanks to Courtney and Sam for stealing their pictures.

GRR2BRR = big, but chewable, bite

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Odds and Ends

And now for something a little lighter...

As many of you know, I bought a Surly Pugsley fat tire (snow) bike in the late fall. The Pugsley's were previously only available as a frameset, meaning you would have to build it up yourself, at considerable expense. This year, in response to Salsa coming out with a new, complete snow bike Surly decided to offer a complete Pugsley at a reasonable price point.

Here's how I felt about it.

They were so in demand it looked like I wouldn't be able to get my hands on one but my trusty Rassy bike shop guy, Sterling, worked the phones like a tweenage girl looking for Justin Beiber tickets and.....Wah-La....snow bike. Thanks Sterling, you're the best.

The Pugs is super fun to ride, highly stable at slow speeds. Its as good at sandy, river trail riding as it is snow, but it cruises at its own speed. Big boy weighs around 37 pounds. For these reasons it can be a lonely man's bike. When the snow/sand gets deep no one can hang with your fat floating tires. That's ok though, slap the headphones in and enjoy the solitude of the woods.

It does seem to inspire bike-leaning-against-something pictures. I have several of these.

You could go whitewater rafting on one of their tubes (flask for size perspective only).

It fits in my largest, expandable seat bag but that's all. Don't even think of squeezing something else in there, Monster Tube doesn't like to share.

For another addition to my stable (N+1 = correct number of bikes) I'm currently working on building up this beauty, a Salsa Big Mama. My Voodoo Canzo 29 green machine is/was a great full suspension bike but it was a tad on the small side. It treated me right in Arkansas (Womble) and in Vegas/SW Utah (Bootleg and Gooseberry et al) but when the Mamas went on closeout about a year ago I grabbed a frame. I'm just now getting the funds to finish her out.

Super sweet Easton Haven wheels showed up the other day. This is going to be one bad mama.

And....finally, we bought a camper late last year. We got a super sweet deal on a lightly damaged one at auction. Jackie's dad is a wizard at such things.

It is not-at-all clear whether this camper is available for gratuitous mountain biking guy trips...but the dog likes it.

Well, at least the dog likes it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I want to write dark and brooding things.

Tap into a well of inky blackness and let it run all over the page.

Wallow in it.

Give the shadow a voice.

I’ve lost a close friend, the kind you only get a few of in a lifetime.

It would serve me well to pull down the shades and paint this blog in shades of gray for awhile.

Yes, serve me well.

Pastor Tom, as many knew him, wouldn’t approve.

He painted the world in color, music and laughter.

He served others.

So, for my next post – when I’m feeling better - I will click the light back on and once again deal in the highly unimportant.

I promise.

But I’m sad so I’m going to ride out this Ansel Adams portrait of black and grays awhile longer.

Color again, soon.

I promise.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stupid Hike


My long-time readers (4) will be pleased with the reemergence, in this post, of Trail Dog.

For those of you unwares on Trail Dog, Captain is a lovable, pound-rescued mutt that has brought both joy and destruction upon our home. He has a way of having adventures, once he even got a shirt, which was good because he wishes to be human....and he loves hikes. Trail Dog has been on a break from the blog mostly because he started showing his age in the last year, but the cold weather seems to have rejuvenated him.

I'm currently in the process of scouting a nearby park for new mountain bike trail and Captain makes a good companion for these trips. We went out there last week, so trail layouts were swimming around my head. Last week I used my phone to take some pictures and even record a GPS track. I marked several waypoints on natural features like ravines and big trees. Coool.


When we got to the edge of the woods I pulled out my phone and marked the possible trailhead. After putting my phone back in my pocket, Cap and I headed into the woods. After a short distance we came to a steep little hill and a creek. To mark the creek I again pulled the (bleep) is my phone? Aw......come on. I thought pockets were for when you want to keep something with you......Grrrrrr.

I knew it was between HERE and THERE, which wasn't very far. Sure, it was buried in the SNOW, but it would be somewhere in my TRACKS, so I was hopeful of finding it.

And so on.

Captain was pretty patient with me as I retraced my steps. He did wander a little but always came right back when called. Since the phone battery was almost dead I knew I needed to head back home to grab a Search and Rescue Team (my kids). We would find it if we could call it...

Let's go, Boy.
Captain? Here boy. Heeere Boy.......


Search back and forth and back and forth. This starts to take a long time, too long. I run over bad scenarios in my head. Worry. Angst. Just when I had decided to head back to the truck to grab the kids for a dog search and rescue instead of a phone mission, there he was...bounding at me with a giant, tongue flapping smile (how can you be mad?). He did a circle around me and dipped his nose in the snow, just for effect.

Hike gets alot better.

I hightailed home, dropped off the dog and grabbed the kids (I got a bonus neighbor kid too) and went back out. We spread out in the woods and called the phone. The neighbor girl finds it immediately.

Hike gets better still.

Well, as long as we're out here...let's do a little hiking. I'm telling you, hiking with girls ages 14(x2) and 12 is high comedy. I can't even describe it, so I'm not going to try. We finish up the hike and are on the way back to the car when I go to step over a steel railing for the soapbox derby track, my foot slips. My shin comes down directly on the sharp edge of the rail and scrapes all the way down my leg.


I could feel the blood running down my leg, but I promised the girls MickeyD's for finding my phone, so we did it up before coming home. When I showed my wife she nursed me up pretty good. I'm definitely missing a piece though and I would like to have it back.

It is a sad ending to a sad post but...ya know...I was feeling kinda frustrated about my bad luck and my bigtime misfortune and what have you, but I still strangely"enjoyed" the hike from hell. Then, today, I come home from work and get a phone call from an dear old friend. She has bad news, another dear old friend of ours had suddenly passed away. Tom was 43. He was a father of 3. He was a pastor and a musician. He was as funny as the day is long.

He was my FRIEND and, at the moment, I am heartbroken.

So, do this my friends: enjoy even bad hikes, as they are precious too.

Friday, January 7, 2011


"I am a writer of books in retrospect. I talk in order to understand; I teach in order to learn"
— Robert Frost

I get what Frosty is saying.

He writes books in retro. I write blogs in retro.

He talks. I talk, too much.

He teaches. I serve as a warning to others.

We simpatico.

So, that is my lame introduction to this look back at great moments in Briancycling history (2010 edition). Of course, my edgy self-deprecation reduces the relative lameness of said retrospect. Yeah, that just happened. Did I blow your mind?


I went to Bootleg Canyon and SW Utah. I lived to tell about it.

The rollercoaster ride of Bearclaw Poppy is the most fun I've had on a bike.

I sacked up and raced the Bone Bender 3/6 enduro. It was a strange thing for a non-racer to do, but I liked it.

I got another weird haircut.

Despite massive frontal assaults by naysayers and curmudgeons I built a 650B bike. I like it (so HA!).

In the process I dsicovered the merits of a good wheelset, titanium seatpost and thru-axle forks. That's going to be an expensive discovery.

I hit the Quad City trails for the first time. They are solid-to-awesome and getting better all the time. The Midwest Mountain Bike is going to be there this year.

I remembered I am old and replaced the rigid fork on my singlespeed with a squishy one.

I restomped an old stomping ground, Springbook State Park.

Caught some owl-on-squirrel violence on the Taco Ride.

Gnome Fest was very gnomey, again.

Rode the Human Powered Trails in La Crosse for the first time - very cool.

I bought an awesome sweater.

Spooky Woods ride was epic, again.

I got caught in a lover's spat between Bike and Tree

The Sweater haunted me.

The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.
-Albert Einstein

Did Al just blow your mind? Well, if he's right about all that relativity junk there is no retospective.