Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Great music

Today’s to-do list had many important tasks on it. Had I followed the list, I would have drastically improved my financial situation, my health, my teeth, my character, my relationships with fellow humans, my karma and, basically, my entire life. Even my happy dog would have been happier.

Instead I was a lazy slacker. I threw the list away and decided to visit a “record” store, where I bought a CD containing two Dead Kennedys albums – “Plastic Surgery Disasters” and “In God We Trust, Inc.”

I already had a few low-quality, illegally downloaded DK songs in my music collection, but I haven’t owned a complete album since the early 1990s when a cassette tape unraveled in my car and was destroyed.

Listening to these albums is like getting reacquainted with an old friend. The music is downright spectacular.

One of my favorites is “Bleed for Me,” a song that is as politically relevant today as when it was written.

“You’ve been hanging ‘round
With an enemy of the state
Come with me to the building
That no-one stops to watch”

“We’ll strap you to a pipe
Electrodes on your balls
C’mon scream
C’mon writhe
Face down in a pool of piss.”

Remember: America needs fuel. In order to get it, it needs puppets. Sound familiar?

Perhaps I was subliminally inspired to buy this album after I heard a reporter this morning on CNN ask a senator whether water boarding was a form of torture. That was the dumbest question I’ve ever heard.

Another great song is “We’ve Got a Bigger Problem Now.” It has a swagy wagy, cool groovin, night club-style intro:

“Last call for alcohol.
Last call for your freedom of speech.
Drink up. Happy hour is now enforced by law.
Don’t forget our house special, it’s called a Trickie Dickie Screwdriver.
It’s got one part Jack Daniels, two parts purple Kool-Aid, and a jigger of formaldehyde from the jar with Hitler’s brain in it we got in the back storeroom.
Happy trails to you. Happy trails to you.”

Both of these are familiar favorites, but there are some other brilliant songs that I either forgot about or had never heard, including “Forest Fire” and “Moon Over Marin.”

Tomorrow I plan to play “Halloween” several times. It’s about how people plan all year to dress up for Halloween, how much they enjoy it, and how afterward they start planning for next year.

“But what’s in between
Where are your ideas?
You sit around and dream
For next Halloween”

“Why not everyday?
Are you so afraid
What will people say?”

I suppose dressing up as a clown might not be conducive to business, but Jello Biafra makes a good point – if you enjoy dressing up a certain way, why limit doing so to one day a year?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Faster than a speeding... snail

After competing in my first time trial this morning, I have the following observations:

• I’m slow.
• I’m getting faster.
• Although I’m getting faster, I’m doing so slowly.

But that’s OK, because it’s all about having fun, pushing yourself and enjoying the competition.

Today’s time trial was held starting at College of the Redwoods. Sponsored by Henderson Center Bicycles, the event featured a relatively flat circular route from the CR parking lot, south to the freeway, north along the freeway and back to CR. Each rider started a minute apart and completed two laps. I was told the route was about 11 miles, although I’m not certain about the distance.

I came in with a time of about 33:26, which means I came in fourth place out of a total of seven riders. Will, the proprietor of the bike shop, told me my time was “respectable,” which I took as a compliment.

Since I had never competed in a time trial, I didn’t really know whether I had done my best or not, but I was tickled pink that my bike computer indicated that my average speed was 20.1 mph. That’s 1.1 mph faster than my previous record.

Then again, I kind of felt like kicking myself after the race, being that my legs felt pretty darn good. I was huffing and puffing, but there was no muscle burn. My guess is that my lungs need to catch up with my legs, and that I need to simply will myself to ride faster.

At least now I have an official time to beat and a tiny bit more experience.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I went on a short, early evening ride today. It was cold and gray, with a strong northerly headwind.

Coast. cold and gray.10.24.07

I was going to pedal to Trinidad and back, but the coast was rather chilly and unpleasant. Here's the view from Vista Point. Notice the lack of color.

I decided instead to visit the "town" of Crannell. So I took Clam Beach Drive to Crannell Road and pedalled east. There was a little more sun out there, and the wind died down.

old barn.10.24.07

There's not much out there other than sheep, cows and pretty barns.

Crannel gate

You never reach anything resembling a town, just this Soviet-style checkpoint.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Happy dog.10.23.07

Big D.10.23.07

Monday, October 22, 2007

Lost Man Creek.10.22.07

Lost Man Creek.10.22.07

Friday, October 19, 2007

2.75 inches of rain in 11 hours

Bike at falls

Between midnight and 11 a.m. this morning, my rain gauge measured 2.75 inches. All this water turned Mill Creek Falls into a raging torrent.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Early evening ride in the rain

After reading this week's Journal, and getting a good laugh out of the story about T-S reporter Chris Durant at the NORML conference, I decided to go for a little ride in the rain.

Mad River looking east from Hammond Bridge

This is the view looking east from the Hammond Bridge. A seal swam by and continued upstream.

Hammond Bridge.10.18.07

Here's the Hammond Bridge as viewed from Tyee City.

arcata bottoms

This is just a generic Arcata Bottoms shot.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New bike blog

Here's a new, local bicycle blog.

The writer has some interesting photos of bicycle facilities in Holland. We could probably learn something from them.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pumpkin spider.10.15.07

Pumpkin spider.10.15.07

Friday, October 12, 2007

With age comes difficulty

my orange bike


When I ran high school cross country a couple decades ago, training began three or four weeks before school started. We ran three miles, then five, then seven.

By the time school started and the cross country season was underway, we were running brutal workouts at least five days a week, competing full-bore in races, and running eight to ten miles after school a couple times a week.

For me, progress was rapid and there were few, if any, injuries. There were even some long runs during which my mind would wander and sometimes I would almost forget that I was running. I was just breezing along like a jackrabbit across the mudflats of San Mateo.

Boy, how times have changed. Those mudflats are now occupied by Oracle buildings and parking lots. I don't even want to ponder what happened to those jackrabbits.

Now everything is much more difficult. A brief foray into running a few months ago came to an abrupt end after I experienced a sudden onset of knee pain. For a couple days I hobbled around and could barely even ride my bicycles. That concerned me greatly, because bicycling is my main form of mental and physical therapy at this point in my life.

Fortunately I recovered and a short time later I finished overhauling my new road bike. I decided to give up running, preserve my fragile knees and stick to the low-impact exercise provided by my two-wheeled machines. And so began what I call my “bicycle experiment.”

The idea is simple – to make myself ride faster. I do so by recording the average speed and time for my rides. Then I try to beat those numbers. I hope to show steady progress over a period of time and eventually enter some bicycle races. My goal is to simply be a respectable competitor who can keep up with the pack.

Unlike my cross country experience of the 1980s, the progress now is slow. A month’s worth of numbers (most of which I didn’t post on this blog) show a gradual improvement in speed, or maybe not. It’s hard to tell because there are so many variables – headwind being one of the major ones.

The most common ride is what I call the Short Stack. It’s an 11.5 mile ride from my house, to the Airport Business Park, around the loop for five miles, and back.

My average speed for this ride was 18.1, 18.6 and 18.1 last week and the week before.

Then on Wednesday I maintained an average speed of 18.5, which I thought was pretty good being that I felt extremely lethargic and kind of crappy. Heck, I almost didn’t go for a ride and felt like I was catching the cold bug that’s going around.

On Thursday, I was huffing and puffing, sweating and cursing, and was able to maintain an average speed of 19 mph! That might be slow to others, but it was my fastest yet on that route. If I can repeat this record in the next week or two, I’ll be happy.

Then I’ll shoot for 19.5 and, eventually, 20.

I’ll also hope for no injuries. A couple weeks into this experiment, I developed a serious wrist pain. It hurt like hell. The problem: A new style of handlebar resulted in muscle strain.

That’s pretty fucking lame and not something one expects from simply changing the type of bicycle one rides. But one could suffer worse insults, like this week when a can of frozen orange juice rolled out of the freezer, hit my bare foot and left one of my toes black and blue. The pain and swelling eventually subsided, but for awhile it felt like a major trauma. I could barely walk across the room. I spent one evening applying an ice pack to my toe and popping aspirin.

And so it goes. As you get older, there are more pains and aches and everything is a little more difficult than it was before.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Discovery Ride

Every October Redwood National Park closes the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway to vehicle traffic for its annual Discovery Ride. I arrived today before 8 a.m. and pedalled north through the redwoods. It was darn chilly, and being that I was wearing only shorts and a short-sleeve bicycle jersey, I didn't dare stop to take photos out of fear that I would instantly turn to ice and break into little shards.

Fortunately I warmed up as I approached Coastal Drive at the north end. This road wasn't closed to vehicles, but it didn't matter because because very few cars travel on it anyway.

Gold Bluffs Beach

When I reached the coast, I took this shot. That's Gold Bluffs Beach. I get the same feeling on Coastal Drive as I do in Maple Creek – a sense of total relaxation. I suppose it has something to do with being in paradise.

radar station

My next stop was the old WWII radar station, which includes two buildings decorated to look like farm houses. After watching portions of "The War" on PBS, I'm convinced that this was the best place to be stationed during WWII. If this photo looks familiar, it's because I shot one just like it about a year ago. Back then this trip seemed like a big deal. But today it was a piece of cake and didn't seem difficult at all. I guess all this bicycling is paying off.

klamath mouth

Everything north of the radar station was new territory for me. Here's the mouth of the Klamath River.

old klamath bridge

I stopped at a section of the old Klamath Bridge, which was destroyed in the flood of 1964. I always assumed that the old bridge was just an old, rickety piece of crap, but it wasn't. It was substantial.

Then I took Alder Camp Road, which loops back to Coastal Drive. Once back at the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, there's a short climb followed by a really sweet descent back to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. I was going to stop and take photos, but I was speeding along nicely and didn't feel like stopping.

I counted about 100 bicyclists on the road. The crowd was mostly families and kids. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning, eh?

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