photo block

Thursday, December 7, 2017


For any of us pursuing endurance activities, there's no doubt we've already heard about the benefits to recovery of consuming a certain amount of protein within a half hour or so after any physical endeavor. There's probably some very specific information out there detailing the number of grams that should be consumed within a given number of minutes and what source those grams should come from, etc. For those of us that are trying not to take things to too crazy a degree but want to get some benefit from the studies, I'd say a good middle ground is: have some protein after your run (ride, whatever). In the course of watching various Tours de France and marathons on television I've inevitably been exposed to that commercial featuring that latest triathlon champion coming in from what is presumably some tropical island to island swim and proceeding directly to the business of chugging a bottle of chocolate milk. Apparently it has all the essential nutritional elements needed for optimal recovery from your workout. Primarily, presumably, protein. So, again, in my meager attempt to follow along withe the basic ideals of endurance enhancing nutrition, I've come to emulate this tri hero... in my own way, of course. Somehow, chocolate milk sounds a bit, how should I saw this, un-refreshing. And there must be a lot of sugar in there that might not be necessary for all of us. But, and assuming you've already read the title of this post, this won't come as a surprise, I've discovered that kefir, that drinkable hippy yogurt that I recall from my youth in the seventies, is a great and delicious and easy way to get those several grams of protein. The idea being something like, let your body cool down a bit and then sip some water, probably take a shower and then grab that big bottle out of the fridge and take a swig or two - yes! right from the bottle! Why not? And a bottle will go for a whole bunch of swigs so it could easily last a week or so. The flavored varieties tend to be fruity and refreshing, although, then you're dealing with added sugars again, so I've weened myself down to plain - you get used to it. And even start to believe the claim on the back of the bottle that, indeed, kefir is "The Champagne of Dairy... "

Thursday, August 24, 2017

the coldest ride I ever spent

There's something to that old saying about California... and even though I don't live in San Francisco—rather further south—I often find that the coldest ride of the year, or walk for that matter, is an evening in late summer. I guess because when it's in the mid-80s during the day one doesn't think to bring along a sweater. But then you stay out a little later than planned and suddenly the sun has dropped far below the ridge and the breeze has picked up and miles to go before we sleep... And maybe the body isn't quite acclimatized to the light chill, having fought hard all summer to relearn how to shed any and all extra heat... and then you start shivering and you're even out of practice at that so it just runs on uncontrollably and then you're cold.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Art of Crashing

Start by getting a nice long warmup ride so you’re relaxed and comfortable on the bike. Find a wide shaded street with an ever so gentle downgrade - an un-false flat, if you will. Shift into the big ring and find an easy cadence, turning a cog somewhere in the middle range. Don’t rush. Your front tire will be thrown out by a small bump in the road, presumably a tree root pushing up the asphalt. The rear tire will follow and buck the bike up into the air. This will happen fast—without opportunity to make any adjustments or corrections. You’ll try but won’t quite be able to piece together this sequence of events later. There will be a sensation of rolling, tumbling along the ground. Curled up in a heap in the gutter, you’ll think, “Oh no.” Are you okay? Are you okay? I don’t know. Can I help you up? Uh, just a sec. Am I okay? I don’t know. How did I get so dirty? Thanks for stopping. Where’s my bike? It’s way over there—I saw it flipping through the air! Are you okay? It looks like your derailleur is toast. Are you okay? I don’t know. I think so… Drink that last sip of water. Straighten the handlebars. Just get on the bike. Get to that park. Get some water. Wash off the blood and dirt. Soft, soft, soft pedal home. Just get home. Just seven miles. Just get home… 

Friday, June 16, 2017

traffic calming ahead

I first saw the sign, “Traffic Calming Ahead,” several years ago, a few miles from home. I was a little confused by it. And yet, intrigued by it, as well. It was, after all, a rather traffic-y day so the thought that traffic would be calmer ahead seemed a pleasant notion. Somehow a fixed metal sign couldn’t possibly be giving realtime updates, could it? Maybe it was more psychological than that. The age old Jedi Mind Trick… Tell people that traffic will be calming ahead and they’ll relax and traffic will actually calm! (Sorry, one should never put an exclamation point after calm—that just doesn’t look right.) 

I’ve seen this sign now a few other places, although I forget where. And somewhere along the way I figured out that it was warning of various techniques and/or devices such as “road furniture” intended to create a safer, smoother, calmer road experience for all users. 

Despite these signs, and their psychologically coercive powers, traffic has not calmed. At least not the outliers of traffic. Certainly I’d like to recognize those among us that are calming influences in our road community—the “non-anxious presence in traffic,” as One Speed Go put it (I can’t stop thinking about that, by the way.) So there’s, like, this 65/35 ratio, I’d guess. 65% are cool. 35% are freaking out. 

And more to my point, they’re freaking me out! I mean, hey, man, I’m just trying to bliss-out here. I’m just peacefully following the rules of traffic like the majority of us are, moving calmly along, navigating the roadways. I’ve got the sails all set just right with the perfect breeze, a loose grasp on the mainsheet, leaning back to starboard… when all of a sudden a speedboat comes roaring through across my line, leaving a wake of turbulence that really salts my game, ruffles my feathers, takes the wind out of my sails, bums me out, man… 

Sometimes these speedboats are cars, sometimes dogs, sometimes comments… And it makes me reluctant to ride. Because riding isn’t fun in those situations and it feels unsafe in those situations. And it makes me feel like I’m alone out there. The lone bicyclist. 

But I know we are many. And maybe that’s how I proceed. Thinking of the other un-anxious road users out there. Breathe in. Breathe out. Let it go. Lean back, find that breeze. Be cool, be cool, be cool… 

head badge

Almost time for some maintenance...

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Buy New Shoes to Run Faster

It seems every time I get a pair of new running shoes I go out for a really fast run to try them out. Nice high cadence, powerful footfall, really getting a feel for the new shoes. There’s an excitement, and a hopefulness that these new shoes will finally be the pair that takes me to a new higher level in running. Plus there’s just something sexy about anything new. That must be a part of what drives our shopping culture. 

This worked for me again yesterday. The form and effort all came together to take off a minute per mile from my normal run time. And the amazing thing… yes, I bought new shoes, but I had only ordered them online… they won’t be here for another few days! The power of our minds… 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


I was shocked to discover a crack in my seat post clamp today. I thought Thomson products were more or less indestructible. Or at least of some of the highest quality parts available. But I guess everything can fail. Strangely, too, it doesn’t seem like a part that would have much stress put upon it through normal riding conditions. I rode home hoping that the seat clamp would hold until I got there (it did). I removed it. It didn’t seem to be overtightened. It seems to be the right size. So strange. Thomson offers a three year warranty on seat post clamps. I don’t remember exactly when I got it but I think it was a little longer than that. So I’m back to the original quick release clamp on Mindful Mule. I got the Thomson clamp after my seat and seat post were stolen a few years ago while using the quick release clamp. I generally don’t park my bike in compromised settings anymore so maybe I’ll just stick with the old clamp. Too bad—I thought the Thomson looked sharp. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Hooray for Oury

I bought these grips a few years ago. It was one of those situations where I needed a few extra bucks to reach my Free Shipping threshold. I’d always had a bit of a crush on Oury grips. They seemed like the cool kid grips of MTBers. As I recall these were also on sale. Probably because no one wants boring brown grips on their bike. It’s all about flash. Right? But what color would a mule choose? Aha! Add to cart. They’ve sat in the shed ever since. I liked my old grips and they weren’t quite falling apart yet. They were my second pair of Ergon grips. Now, finally they’re ripping apart and getting pretty gross. And I felt like I needed a fresh new feeling in my life. As directed on the package label I used rubbing alcohol to slide them on. That worked really well. I think they look pretty sharp…