Tuesday, June 30, 2009

6 Mile Canyon TT

After the Rodeo Saturday, Sunday brought the second installment of this year's Hillclimb Time Trial Series; 6 Mile Canyon this time.

6 Mile Canyon is a stupid, stupid road from Dayton up to Virginia City. It's got a mellow average grade, but that's an evil trick. The first couple miles are quite flat, the next couple are easy to moderate, and the last couple, particularly the very last half mile, lie somewhere between extreme discomfort and apocalyptic. Average grade, my ass. This is an awful 5.8 mile stretch of road. It faces east, too, so that morning sun begins the baking process while Reno's still in the shade.

Ethel took all these photos. Sadly, the one of the gaggle of baby quail didn't come out.

Don't believe me that the top is steep?

Weaving like a drunken sailor

The face of suffering

13 years old and gleefully free from mass

And now, Pain, Suffering, and Doubt: A Presentation of Eliot's Race as a Play in Three Acts:

I was able to keep it in the big ring for the first 18 or so minutes, but the last half mile is a granny gear affair. And we can see the finish line, less than a quarter mile away, but it takes an interminable amount of time to get there. That's Demoralizing with a capital D.

I rode the flatter parts considerably harder this year than last year; the top is going to suck no matter what so "saving" is a rather subjective strategy.

I found a shady tree to collapse under and waited about 10 minutes for my heart rate to descend from Meteoric to Frightened Hamster. I did manage to make it up the hill a minute and a half faster than I did last year, so that's good, unless you judge it in the sense of how many years it took off my life.

Of course, Max showed up to collect $100 for breaking his own course record, taking another minute out of what he did last year. He's still really skinny. I'm hoping he discovers beer and/or fried food before the next race.

I collected $5 and a pint glass. It's my first monetary prize for any sort of athletic pursuit. Baller!

Anyhow, that's the latest news from our modest local hillclimb series, glorious punishment that it is. 'Til next time...

Reno Rodeo

Hand in hand

Welcome to the wildest richest rodeo in the West.

Ethel's been bummed since we skipped the rodeo last year, so off we went for the last night of it, and hence, all the finals.

Here are a few photos.

Buckin' bronc

Team roping

Team roping

Inverted at the Carnival

I especially enjoyed watching how well-trained the horses were during the individual roping, the horses throwing out the anchor to pull the rope taut and keeping the tension up while the rider finished his work.

Individual roping

Individual roping

Individual roping

The arena and a barrel racer

Round the barrel she goes

Angry bull

Still angry

Extra angry

Night complete

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Hub Opens

This last Friday marked the soft opening (now in full swing) of The Hub, a cool little coffeeshop near downtown Reno. They've got their own little blog here... It shares an owner with Walden's, Reno native and noted bike racer Mark Trujillo.

It was a work morning (=early) for Ethel, so we made our way down there at 6am and enjoyed their fine work and company while familiar faces and strangers alike arrived for the same.

Mark at work near the "parking lot" known as The Bike Wall

Son Joey busy at the espresso machine

Ethel chats to Joey while he works

Ethel, Mark, and Joey

Bag o' beans

The Hub's first latte on opening morning

Tasty and artistic

It's a tiny shop, a whopping 400ish square feet of converted garage, but they've made great use of the space.

Glass and brick

It makes water hot

Row of french presses

Joey's -awesome- signature tamper atop the grinder

Joey in his element

Mark is heavily involved with the bike culture and racing in Reno, so it was only natural to host a Meet 'n Ride with the pros who were in town for the esteemed Tour de Nez.

Early crowd for the Tour de Nez Ride With the Pros

Old swim teammate and current uberbiker Amber

I ended up being in and out a few times over the course of the morning, and what a great opening day for a cool business it was.

Go check 'em out on Cheney St., between Virginia and Center, right by Maytan Music. And no, I haven't been compensated in any way for plugging them. ;)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mt. Lassen Ride

Made it up to Mt. Lassen in Northern CA last weekend for some late-spring snowboarding. The road through the park had opened relatively late this year, but the snow was still quite nice, as far as June snow goes.

Our crew was 7 deep, so 2 cars got us up from Reno Saturday night in time for a couple restless hours of sleep in the campground near the park entrance.

Memories of Mt. Whitney still strong in my frontal lobe, I dragged the group out of bed quite early Sunday morning with hopes of avoiding our inevitable midday thunderstorms and other meteorological malfeasances.

I'll spare the turn-by-turn narration, as it's a pretty straightforward run. Long story short, though: When the road opens, it's easy to run a shuttle that allows us to hike 2000 vertical feet and ride 4000' vertical feet. The hike is short, about 2 miles, and easy as far as these things go.

As soon as the sun warmed the earth in the morning, moisture rushed up to form volatile-looking clouds, so it was certain that rain would be a factor at some point during the day; we were officially racing (OK, not racing, but aware of) the clock.

The ride down the northeast face is great; it's quite steep at the top, maintains healthy steepness most of the way down, and really only gets flat near the very bottom. There's good terrain if you know where to look, but the spring sun melts the snow back from the edge of all the rocks, so there's no real cliff fun to be had.

I dropped in first to set up for some photos, and we all leapfrogged each other down the mountain, waiting at safe spots, as spring snow will still slide and cause Bad Days for those caught in it.

The later that spring wears on, the more the bottom of the run melts out, necessitating a moderate walk across mostly flat ground back to the car at the bottom. It's an easy walk out, though, and a small price to pay for the turns!

Photos shall tell the rest of the story. Enjoy.

Charlie preparing for the ride

Boards ready to go

Cayla above Lake Helen

The group resting on the hike (photo credit: Norm)

View of tasty goals for next winter

Our first look at nearly 4000 vertical feet of soft spring snow

The assembled gallery awaits Norm's first turn


Norm picks the board up




Christian (photo credit: Norm)



Charlie (photo credit: Norm)






Cayla (photo credit: Norm)


Mallory (the camera catches everything, kiddo!)

Mallory (photo credit: Norm)

Most of the group at a stopping point and quite stoked



Norm artfully roosting Zeb



Charlie doing his best Sonic the Hedgehog impersonation




Charlie navigates the suncups (photo credit: Norm)

The group near the bottom (photo credit: Norm)

Cayla at the end of the road

Mt. Lassen from the end of the snow

Landscaping by Avalanche and Co. (tm)

Bunch of hooligans and up-to-no-good-niks

Norm putting zee leezard to sleep

Zee leezard awakes

Crashed back at the EuroVan

Mud at Sulphur Works

Chalky creek at Sulphur Works

Sure enough, the rainclouds that had been threatening since the first minutes of our hike let loose shortly after we got back to the van, entirely quashing my hopes of doing some short side-hikes for the highly accessible and eminently entertaining terrain near the summit parking lot. Oh well.

So that's it. Back in Reno less than 24 hours after we left, with solid turns under our belt and happy memories all around. It's certainly not extreme terrain, but there's a reason that Lassen is on the annual checklist for many skiers and boarders, and that's the near-guarantee of a great day.

Past Detritus