Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pugsley Wednesday

I wanted to change things up a bit on "single speed Wednesday" just to do something different. I walked out in the garage this morning and eyed the bikes. The Pugs appealed to me most.

My son had a minimum day, so I was pressed for time. I decided I would start at Beal's Point and ride along the water until I hit 10 miles, and then headed back on trails.

One of the terms that fat bike riders use a lot is "floatation," which is used to describe how the fat tires ride on top of soft surfaces like sand and snow. The GPS data would seem to indicate that the tires also float on water, but I assure you they do not. Obviously the lake is just low.

The ride along the water was blissfully free of people, but there were plenty of creatures to keep me company.

No one for miles . . .

 . . . until I came across a fisherman. You can just see his car peeking above the sand. He wasn't thrilled to see me.

The farther north you go, the rockier it gets.

I like the silhouette of this heron against the silvery water.

Riding back on the trails wasn't as much fun or relaxing as riding by the water, but still great. The Pugs is a completely different beast on singletrack. Going up hills can be a chore, but flying down is awesome.

I made it back to the truck with enough time to grab some lunch and head back towards home before school got out.

It was a good ride, but next time I will go back to the single speed, which is a better choice for someone with limited time. The Pugs is a bike built for meandering and exploration.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Quick Trip

I had to make a quick run up to Tahoe to attend an HOA meeting, which was scheduled for earlier this morning. Knowing I had to rush home right after the meeting, I took Friday off work so I could at least get a ride in.

Since I only had time for one ride, I needed to get my money's worth. I mapped out a ride that would include two of my favorite trails—the Diamond Peak Flume (DPF) and the Rim Trail from Marlette to Tunnel Creek. However, I had never done these two trails on the same ride.

The basic route was up Highway 431, the Diamond Peak Flume, up Tunnel Creek, Flume Trail, around Marlette Lake, up and down the Rim Trail, and back down Tunnel Creek. You can see the GPS output here.

After a nice four-mile pavement climb to warm up, I hit the DPF.

This mostly flat trail is just a lot of fun.

The DPF descends at the end and drops you onto Tunnel Creek. After climbing for another mile you hit the Flume Trail. I rode straight through to Marlette Lake. That peak you see across the lake is where I was headed.

After some steep, sandy climbing this is the view from the other side. You can see the little inlet where I took the previous picture. Lake Tahoe is obviously in the background.

After Marlette Peak, most of the work is done and it's eight miles of downhill. The first part of the Rim Trail is wide open and fast.

The rolling downhill is a blast to carve down.

After that, you enter the boulders, which are prevalent for the rest of the Rim Trail. While very, very fun, this part of the downhill seems to go on forever. Muscling the bike over and around the rocks, roots and granite slabs gets tiring.

In years past, I never stopped during rides. Thankfully I feel compelled to take pictures now, which was a great excuse to give my arms and hands a break. This is Washoe Lake to the east.

The ride ends with the Tunnel Creek downhill and a roll back through town. I have to say, this ride kicked my butt a little bit. It was only 31 miles and 3,000 feet of climbing, but it felt like much more.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday SS

I finally got off my lazy duff last night and made sure everything was prepared for a single speed ride on my day off today. After dropping the boy off at school, I made my way down to Hazel and was riding before eight o'clock. The morning was calm and quiet—barely a ripple on Lake Natoma.

I made my way to Donton's Point and may have taken some trails that were not quite legal to ride on. I figured if the state doesn't have enough money to pay me, surely they aren't going to be worrying about something as trivial as a little trail poaching.

After stopping at my turnaround point for a protein bar, I headed back and enjoyed the mostly downhill return trip. When I popped out on the trail that crosses over the road near the Beal's Point entrance, a ranger was waiting there for me. I put my head down and calmly hung a right and rolled toward the exit. As I sat waiting for the traffic light to cross Auburn-Folsom Road, his engine started up. I was done for.

I waited for him to approach, but when the light turned green I slowly hung a left and rode down Auburn-Folsom Road. I never turned to look back, so I don't know if he missed the light or what, but I never saw him again. What mattered was my streak of 28 years without a citation was still intact.

On the way back I stopped to take a picture of these resting gulls, cormorants and mergansers . . .

when the geese came in to crash the party.

I decided to stick to the legal trails just in case Ranger Rick decided to phone a friend.

While the multi-use trails are fun, they aren't nearly as fun as the illegal ones on the other side of the lake. Plus, you get the added joy of getting attitude from all the runners and walkers you pass—not something you have to deal with on the illegal trails, ironically enough. Nobody uses them.


I ended up with about 33 miles, which was just about right for the first single speed ride in a while. The old legs were feeling it a bit.

After lunch and a shower at home, I picked up the boy and we waited for the bus to take him to his cross country race at a neighboring school. It was his first race this year and he showed a lot of improvement over last year.

He placed 21st overall in his grade, but more importantly 3rd for his school. The top seven kids from each school get to go to finals, which he barely missed last year.

After the race we treated ourselves to a big box of Jimboy's tacos and burritos in all their greasy, gooey, glorious goodness.

I'm betting my Wednesday was better than what most people experienced.


Tuesday, September 04, 2012

LD Weekend

We spent the Labor Day weekend in Tahoe. This will likely be the last Tahoe weekend for a while due to my son starting fall baseball next week.

On Saturday we took it easy and goofed around in town. We usually hit the two thrift shops in Incline just for fun, but this time I was on a mission to find a helmet. It seems every visit I forget something, and this time it was my son's helmet.

I found a nice one that fit well, and at only five bucks the price was right. Unfortunately it was a snowboard helmet. And bright yellow. Still, if we wanted to ride I had to get it.

I also found a perfect pair of Shimano Mountain Bike shoes. These things may have been worn once. Not a mark on them. They were four bucks. They are just a tiny bit too small for me, so I put them on eBay. I stand to make a tidy profit.

On Sunday we rode from outside of Tahoe City to Squaw Valley.

The ride to Squaw is pretty easy since it's all downhill along the river. On the way back Spencer had to work a bit on his BMX bike. Notice the sweet helmet.

Jen's jersey would have matched her helmet or Spencer's.

We knocked out 16 miles. It was pretty fun except for dealing with the completely oblivious people walking on the trails. It astounds me how dumb people are. On multiple occasions I had people step right in front of me without even looking. I mean, the trail is FULL of bikes, and they just don't seem to notice. Bizarre.

On Monday I went for a mountain bike ride. I rode through town, up the highway to the Diamond Peak Flume, and down Tunnel Creek. See the route here.

Earlier this year, this was a limbo log. Someone hauled a chainsaw in recently and cut it.

This is probably my favorite short ride right now. I really love this trail.

I never get tired of the views.

We reluctantly headed home on Monday afternoon. It's a bummer we won't be back for a while, but that's OK. You have to let the kids play sports.


Saturday, September 01, 2012

Beer Review: Moylan's Orange and Black Congrats Ale

I picked up this beer at a local Total Wine & More well over a month ago. Although I drink pale ales and IPAs almost exclusively, how could I not pick up this black ale dedicated to the Giants' World Series win?

It sat in the refrigerator for a long time while I grabbed the IPAs stored all around it. But a trip to Tahoe and a bit cooler weather put me in the mood for something darker.

The reviewers on Beer Advocate didn't rate this beer very highly, but Jenn and I liked it.

Jenn is a porter drinker, so it wasn't a surprise when she liked it. This black ale was very similar to a porter.

I can't break down a beer like some beer reviewers. Frankly, I think if you can taste 15 different flavors in a beer you are just imagining things.

The beer was smooth with hints of coffee and chocolate. The orange was difficult to taste for me. If I hadn't seen it on the label, I probably would not have detected it.

Verdict: If you are a Giants fan you should pick up an Orange and Black. If you are a Dodgers fan, pass on this one and use the six bucks to get yourself a case of something that better represents your character, something in Dodger blue.