Monday, June 28, 2010

Top of Coyote Peak

Rode the Big Mo' all over Santa Teresa County Park last night after things cooled down for a bit, even though it was still hot as hell. Surprised I did the whole two hour ride without bonking, getting hungry or overheating. Elephant Bar = the new fuel for wannabe warriors?

After the sun started setting, people started coming out of their air-conditioned tombs in attempt to catch that little speckle in time when it's cool enough to be outside, but still enough daylight to walk around.

Man, I'm really digging the full-suspension for the rocks. And my bike isn't even the newest and greatest technology - I can only imagine how a carbon fiber, full suspension 29'er trailbike would fair on my daily ride!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Eastern Traildigger 26" Review

My bike after the initial purchase

After googling the Eastern Traildigger 26" looking for decent reviews, I really couldn't find anything. Most of the comments regarding this bike were on message boards: presumably younger riders with not much to say except for "it suckz" or "POS, get something else". So here it is, folks - an honest to goodness review of the Eastern Traildgger 26" urban cruiser.

I bought mine last September, looking for an alternative to my 20" BMX bike to roll around and goof off on. I really never intended for it to get any real use except for getting bagels for the wife and I or returning DVD's (back when we actually went to video stores). From the looks of it, it appeared "dirt-jumper'ish" with the super sloping top-tube and slammed seat. I got it from Jenson USA for $332.84, shipped. Purple was the color, even though I wanted the black one (sold out).

When it arrived, I first noticed how heavy it was. Compared to my other bikes, it felt heavy at a claimed 29lbs. The parts seemed reasonable, but to no surprise, it was the same stuff that would come on any $300 bike - big heavy cranks, loose bearing hubs, unsealed headset and BB, steel sprocket, old-school seat clamp, a Tektro brake, and a forged crappy stem.

After assembling it, I proceeded to ride it out in front of my house and did a "test" bunnyhop up the curb. YIKES! The thing wouldn't lift if I attached a hot air balloon to it. WTF?

Using my old school logic of "taller bars = more leverage" I busted out a pair of ancient Haro Cruiser 5.5 rise bars I had laying around and mounted them immediately. Okay, much better. The stock handlebar is a 3" rise. And although neato looking, they absolutely ruined the liftability of the bike. Bunnyhopping that thing felt like you were tugging on a fence cemented into the ground. Also, there is quite a bit of toe-overlap when turning the front wheel. Even with my 9.5" shoe size, I have a problem with it.

Over the next few months of bagel runs, I swapped out a few things to get it lighter - a new stem, seatpost and sprocket. Most recently, I threw on some Bontrager H2-26 urban tires to ride the street a little better (as opposed to the Kenda Small Block 8's). I also just got the Sunday! 24umph cruiser bars with a 7.5 rise, adding even more leverage to the bike.

I love the bike for what it is intended for - urban riding, trolling the streets and terrorizing curbs. I can clear a good 3' of hop with it, and I can even 360 tailtap, wallride, peg wheelie and feeble grind the thing. I don't think I would huck this thing off big drops or try to win the Best Trick Competition with it, though.

I think if you're an old BMX'er like me wanting something to re-capture your BMX hooligan youth - this is a great bike to go to. I owned the Giant STP and the Volume Sledgehammer, and I think that the Eastern has been my favorite urban bike. Don't expect too much out of it and make sure you get rid of the handlebars immediately.

Fun, inexpensive way to get your big BMX on
Attractive, I get a lot of compliments on it
Good run-around bike
Built tough

Cheap stock parts
Heavy for being bare bones
Low handlebars make hopping a chore
Toe overlap with the front wheel

My bike, today

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bike Party Test Ride

While trying everything I can to get the wife back into riding, I've kinda hooked onto this Bike Party thing. I will NOT... and I SWEAR that I WILL NEVER... yell, "BIKE PARTAY!" while riding down the street. LOL! I'm just playing folks - I know you're all just having a good time. :)

That being said, let me give you the ride report.

It wasn't half bad for being a very flat route. I'm so used to hammering all out and giving all I got, riding today, made me, well... tired. I think it was the immense sun and dealing with weaving around other riders and cars. The body count was modest - about 50 peeps or less. At one point, I think I even yawned. Not because I was bored, but because I'm not really used to going that slow. It was enjoyable, though... almost meditative. It was nice to just cruise along - something I don't do much of these days.

The ride started out at Santa Clara University and wove through the city to Saratoga and back. I'm a bit concerned with the small hills that will need to be climbed by the monthly warriors, but hey... the good Lord gave you two legs to walk.

The people all seemed very nice, and best of all, Kelly had a good time, besides the sunburn and semi-heat stroke she had.

Here are the pics:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rolled up magazine self defense

Just so you all know, I did utilize these moves using a copy of Dirt Rag.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Preparing myself for the Santa Cruz Mountain Challenge

I'm not, at ALL, into "training" for something. If you're one of the very few people that actually read my ramblings, you know I'm pretty much a recreational rider. However, after riding the Tour De Cure, I realized that I need to Ramp up the Jawn in regards to my fitness. I'm not out of shape, but I think I can improve - I mean... who can't?

My biggest issue is that I LOVE riding single-speed. So, when I switch to the geared sit-and-spin type riding, I'm sucking dust. I think it's the appropriate approach is to hang the SS's (except my BMX) and ride out the rest of the month on the geared bikes in preparation for the SCMC. I am noticeably slower on my geared bikes on the trail.

Probably the biggest help I will give myself is to drop that 10lbs. I've been wanting to get rid of. Ideally, it would be 25lbs. but that would not be a good idea to try and do so in only a month and still retain muscle mass. Chicken, vegetables, brown rice and protein shakes should do the trick.

Yesterday, I rode the Big Mo', which is not only geared, but also the heaviest bike I own at 33lbs. Climbing that beast was a BITCH, but descending was AWESOME - made me appreciate the full suspension. I think I'll juggle the Big Mo', the Pake and my road bike to keep things geared.

Here's a pic from the top of Rocky Ridge at Santa Teresa County Park. This bike ate those rocks like the Rock Biter from the Never Ending Story. Probably just as heavy.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Time to lose weight, fatty...

There was a period of my life between BMX and my current riding days where I was into competitive bodybuilding. Yeah, it was super narcissistic and a little gay, but it taught me a lot. I was a middle weight (185lbs) and I'd float around 215 lbs. in the "off" season. This is how I looked like at probably the last contest I did.

So over the years I stepped away from that diet (still goofing off in the gym), began riding again about 5 years ago, and here I am. Around my wedding day in Oct. of 2008, I probably weighed the most I ever have - 245lbs! Brutal. I mean, I rode... but it was on flat ground, I wasn't consistent, and I was eating like crap - Chinese food was the worst. After cleaning up my diet (not by much, at all) and spinning a little more, I dropped down to my current weight of 225lbs.

Backing off on the heavy weight lifting and getting in a little more riding has really shown an improvement, but I still feel I can drop down to the 200lbs where I need to be. At 200lbs, I am pretty slender for my build, which is big and stocky; I feel if I lose another 25lbs, my riding will improve in all areas, even BMX.

So here it goes, fatty. Let's see what I can do in 3 months. I'll keep you posted, blogland.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bike Party - June, 2010

The wife and I decided to hit the San Jose Bike Party for the first time last night. There had to be at least a few thousand people. Aside from my large crowd anxiety (I started to get a slight panic attack) and some little punk asses I had to reprimand, we had a great time.

I think Kelly really enjoyed it and wants to continue to go. I rode the purple Eastern Traildigger 26" - perfect bike for these types of rides. I was able to maneuver and hop stuff at will. My wife brought her new Nirve Minx Cruiser. She's looking at ways to "light up" her other ride for the next Bike Party!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thorns, not just for tires...

On Sunday, after riding the Tour De Cure, I was chilling out watching Season II of Dexter with the wifebot. Something has been buggin' me for the past three weeks on my leg, I thought it could've been a thorn or bug bite, but something has been there for awhile... anyhow, I proceeded to scratch it. Now, we've had a good amount of rain in NorCal and now the sun is shining. It is VERY overgrown and now very dry. Goat heads and flats are common this time of year around my neck of the woods.

Fast forward a couple of hours later (after scratching it), the thing really started to bug me and become inflamed. I thought to myself "Sh*t... this ain't right. Let's see how it is tomorrow."

I slept on it, and it was very tender this morning. It wasn't any better. The wife tells me to go to urgent care as it was probably infected.

After finishing up some work at the office, I went to the local medical clinic to get it looked at. After realizing that there was probably something in there, the P.A. decided to numb me up and lance me open.

Sure enough, he pulls out a 1/4" long thorn that had dug itself in. Not much puss, but he did pack the cut up with gauze and sent me home with the tetanus shot and a prescription to antibiotics.

I remember getting this thorn in me, and I thought I just got a little prick on my shin - I didn't realize the sucker embedded itself in. Normally, I kind of blaze through the brush, but after this I've realized that maybe it isn't such a good idea to do that. Flats from thorns suck, but this sucked more.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tour De Cure - Ride Report of the 120K (long post!)

Yesterday was the American Diabetes Association Tour De Cure of the Silicon Valley. Initially I was going to do this by myself, but when my brother's friend and team mate, Shawn Williams, discovered that his 10-year old daughter, Nicky, was diagnosed with Type-I diabetes the entire OTC (On The Couch) team decided to give it a go.

My vision of cruising along at my comparatively fat-boy pace and shooting pictures of nature was gone, but knowing that we were now riding for a little girl... it was incredibly inspirational. OTC raised over $15,000 which put us at 1st place and awarded us our own 10' X 10' tent on the green. Given the new amenity, a beer keg was promptly ordered for the post-ride recovery drink.

I showed up at 5:45am to check in a get myself ready as the rest of the crew rolled in after 6:00am since they were all coming from Santa Cruz. I believe we left around 6:30am, and it was my goal to hang with the hammerheads - at least for a little bit. I knew, however, once we hit Pescadero Rd. I'd be taking a trip to Drop Town. So, I enjoyed rolling with the team for a short while.

Creedence had a flask of Jim Beam he carried with him on the ride. The thought of having that stuff at 6am gave me the dry heaves, but it obviously didn't slow him down.

This is a shot of the team from where I was the entire time - in the back!

Mr. Shige - 10th Degree Black Belt in the art of climbing Tunitas Creek.

More of Team OTC

I got this quick shot on Pescadero Rd. before things got steep.

...and this was the last I saw of them. I wouldn't see any of my teammates for the next 6 hours.

This was the first rest stop at the top of Kings Mountain Rd. After this it was a sweet descend via Hwy 84. Now, given that I've been riding those roads on motorcycle for the last 10 years+, I had a blast coming down. I smoked a ton of riders just because of that confidence. I just wish I could climb as well as I descend.

This was the 2nd rest stop at Pescadero, right before Stage Rd. to Tunitas Creek.

I don't have any more pics after Stage Rd. For the next 10-15 miles, it was a grueling climb up Tunitas Creek Rd. where there is absolutely no forgiving... no leveling off... no breaks. I was bordering cramping, and so I slowed way down and climbed at a steady pace. I was passed a lot, however, come the second half of that climb a lot of the folks who passed me seemed to have blown their wad and I was able to pass them.

I cruised in after 2:00pm, 6 hours in the saddle, 6,800 ft. of climbing and a hair under 80 miles. The entire team except one (Jerry, who was behind me) was there already drinking beers and relaxing. I got s Team OTC shirt and a sweet card from Nicky herself! Baking in the afternoon sun, I decided to pack up and go home.

...and now comes my soap-box speech.

I know many out there give the ol' "I'd rather enjoy my life and eat/drink whatever I want and die happy than to live a long time and be miserable...". Which makes perfect sense when you don't factor in medical advances and technology. Unfortunately for many, they do "enjoy" all the crap food and heavy drinking, but are stricken with disease of the heart, kidneys and liver in time - living a very long life as slaves to medication, doctor visits and eventually family caring for them when they are too fragile to care for themselves. This is my experience with Type II diabetes.

Working in the life insurance industry, I have seen an alarming number of my clients with Type II diabetes, especially in the Filipino and Hispanic communities. I've realized that many of the ethnic foods are very fatty and sugary. Combine these foods with an inactive lifestyle, high stress and the social/reward aspect of food consumption: it is a recipe for disease. This has made me aware of my own predisposition to Type II diabetes and has opened my eyes to what I should and should not be eating and how I should live my life. I have to "un-socialize" my feelings toward food and dismiss the social and cultural implications of poor food consumption. I not only have clients with Type II diabetes, but family members, as well. I've seen people lose their eyesight and their legs due to this disease - and it all could have been prevented.

I'm not a parent, but I do know that more and more children are being diagnosed with Type II diabetes and obesity. It would seem to me that any good parent would never want harm to come upon their children. But feeding them "poison" leading to such diseases will eventually kill them. Please feed your kids proper foods and emphasize a life of exercise and wellness!

Now, let's talk about Type I diabetes, which is not onset nor preventable. Unfortunately, this is what little Nicky was diagnosed with and her life is changed forever. However, I believe people with Type I diabetes can live a healthy, wonderful life. I have grown friends with Type I diabetes who exercise, have fun and enjoy life, as long as they keep their blood sugar under control with their insulin. Thankfully, organizations such as the American Diabetes Association is on the forefront to help finding a cure. And I think this is why we all support such a cause as the Tour De Cure. Knowledge is power.

Even though we all suffered climbing these hills, had pain in our legs, knees, backs, feet and butts... were dehydrated and sun burned... were humbled by stronger, faster riders and had bicycle mechanical issues... I don't think any of us can compare our temporary discomfort to those suffering from such a disease as diabetes.

Friends, please help prevent it... and for those who have been diagnosed, please remember that you have a lot of support out there. I have a feeling OTC is in this ride for a long time - and maybe eventually, I'll be able to hang with them.

Here are more pics I just got from Shawn.