Gnaturday at the Gates of Doom

It’s the 59th solar circumnavigation for Gregg Bone, so he put together a 59 mile ride for all comers amongst the viney hills west of Paso Robles. Since I met Gregg last year at a BBZ Sunday ride, he has progressed from medium paced rides on a heavy hybrid bike to being a really strong rider on a lightweight high-end Specialized road bike, and losing quite a bit of excess weight in the process. I, on the other hand, have regressed from being a pretty strong rider to being a non-rider due to some physical ailments.

So when Gregg announced this ride, I was disappointed that I would not being able to join the crew, but I was still able to participate as the SAG meister. I drove the course in my velo-wagon, carrying nutrition bars, a cooler full of cool water, a floor pump, and endless encouragement.

Here are the riders at the start, Gregg third from left.

Gregg's 59th birthday ride

Gregg’s 59th birthday ride

The course headed through some residential and business areas of Paso Robles, then out to the west side vineyards. The first flat was a mere 5 miles into the ride, several more ensued. Goathead thorns were abundant. Ken T blew a hole in his tire and had to nurse it back early with a boot in it. Gregg dropped his front wheel into a slightly-wider-than-tire pavement crack and hit the deck at low speed, rashing his lower leg but saving the bike.

Everywhere we stopped the gnats were out in force, going for ears, eyes and nostrils. The turnaround was at the “Gates of Doom” entrance to the Lime Mountain mine. We took a break here despite the gnats, rewatered from the cooler, and washed off the rash on Gregg’s leg.

On the way back the heat seemed to double, and Christie blew her rear tire on a slow climb just short of where she was going to take the SAG option anyway. The last regroup was at the top of Adelaida Road near Lone Madrone Winery. I took the opportunity to pull in and listen to some live music being played out front. From there it was nearly all downhill back into Paso.

Contents of my trash bag post-ride:
post-ride trash

post-ride trash

Happy birthday Gregg!

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Out of the Saddle – Wet Dog Smell & SUP

Bandit hates getting baths at home, always trying to jump out of the tub mid-suds,
but he loves stinky ocean bathing, chasing sticks and balls thrown into the surf and
rolling in the wet sand. He’s a smart boy but hasn’t yet made the connection that an
ocean session leads to a bath when he gets home. Or maybe he figures the beach time
is worth the tub time.

He is the third spaniel for my girlfriend Christie, who also has three cats currently. Cats are cool, but generally their dander mades me wheeze and gack. Fortunately, two of her cats prefer the wild life and spend most of their time outdoors, while the third one prefers the relative comfort of the garage. Frequently cleaned hardwood floors and laundered slipcovers for the furniture also help matters.

Today Christie and I took a pair of borrowed stand-up paddleboards to Morro Bay for
a test run inside the harbor. Both of us are novices and we got the short dry-land
intro course from our cycling friend Gary Bolen, who loaned the boards to us. The
instructions stuck well since neither of us went in the drink. We launched from a
small beach near the mothballed power plant and paddled across the channel to the
sand spit, then out closer to the harbor entrance under the towering face of Morro Rock.

We had perfect weather today for SUP, sunny and warm with a very light breeze and flat water. Lots of seagulls and brown pelicans in the air, and in the water we got pretty close to several otters, who always seem to be in lounging mode paddling around on their backs. One jellyfish floated past me, reminding me of a line from a Jimmy Buffett song about how he’d like to be one and experience “life without a brain.”

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Rocky Canyon, très rocheux

Miss Christie and I decided to vary our cycling habit, so we dusted off our mountain bikes and drove them to Paloma Creek Park on the south side of Atascadero. Whooweeee, sunny and hot-hot-hot, so I parked tactically where the shade would be when we finished our ride. As we got the bikes ready and completed getting kitted up, a youngish fellow wearing a ZZ Top style beard was eyeballing us. He walked over and commented that I must be a serious cyclist with a license plate like “velobum.” My response was that he must be a cyclist himself to make that comment.

Indeed, he and his wife are members of “Linked Cycling”, which, per the facebook pages, appears to be a San Diego based Christian fellowship organization for fans of cycling. They were on vacation touring the central coast, here they are with Christie before we got rolling.


We headed across the dry Salinas River bed on the oiled gravel of Halcon Road, then onto Rocky Canyon Road. Often we use this same crossing on road bikes to head north on Rocky Canyon Road toward Templeton, but today we headed in the other direction and started climbing up to the rock quarry where the road effectively ends. There is a trail for bikes and hikers that goes through the quarry, and then up the canyon above the quarry to the ridgeline. Rocky Canyon Road resumes on the far side of the ridge as a gravel passage descending to highway Cal 229 and the village of Creston.

Here is a collection of pix heading up, a bit down the far side, and then back to the quarry. Christie’s multi-function communication device said it was 104 degrees up top, but I suspect it was reading a bit high since it was sitting in a rear maillot pocket just above her posterior clad in black lycra.

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They Get Around

One of the cycling groups I belong to, Beach Cities Cycling Club in Redondo Beach CA, is a very active training, touring and social club. Members get well around hither and yon with their wheels. I’m fully expecting to see some shots of BCCC maillots on the cols of les montagnes de France this month in the club newsletter. Since they don’t race, they also don’t worry about consuming too many malted recovery beverages that might add a few ounces to their riding packages. My kind of rouleurs.

This past weekend, some of them drove from LA to Cambria CA for the Country Coast Classic century benefit ride. To support the ride, I was running the rest stop at Hunt Cellars outside of Paso Robles. When my BCCC pals arrived, we gathered for the commemorative photo, then off they went back to the coast and north to Ragged Point.

Don, Matt, Connie, velobum, Pete

Don, Matt, Connie, velobum, Pete

Don’t think I’m TOO much of a lecherous old man, but I take every opportunity I can to hug Connie. Check out a prior hug here.

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Malted Recovery Beverage

Yesterday, while I should have been tidying various rooms in my home, I was instead procrastinating in a common manner by perusing online bicycle articles. One of my preferred sources of diversion is the Velominati website, perhaps most well-known for The Rules.

I violate a number of The Rules while also being in violent agreement with others, LOL at some and find a few to be plain jackass. Quite possibly my favorite, and the one that I attempt to emulate, is #80 – “Always be Casually Deliberate.”

As explained by the author, being casually deliberate extends beyond riding, into ones whole attitude towards life. For the sake of this post, I’ll narrow that down to what one drinks as a malted recovery beverage, as well as the manner of drinking. To that end, various contributors to the website have authored articles you should review, such as “Drink Properly” and “Reverance: Chimay Ale.”

This beverage, sorry to say, is an example of unacceptable:



To elaborate, a friend of mine from university days, with whom I am happy to still be communicating and occasionally visiting, once upon a time complained to me that he was getting fat and slow. The ensuing conversation revealed that he was purchasing and consuming cases of Buckhorn Beer at the local mega-grocery, simply because it was cheap. Indeed, Buckhorn was a low-budget derivative from Olympia Brewing meant to increase market share rather than appealing to those consumers with refined tastes. My advice to him consisted of four words – “better beer less volume.” You will lose weight and your taste buds will thank you. Casually deliberate.



After my ride today amongst the viney hills of north San Luis Obispo County in heat nearing 100F, a malted recovery beverage was in order. German Bitburger poured carefully into a pint glass from “The Cove” bar/restaurant, located in one of my favorite vacation spots, the town of Leland in the state of Michigan. Casually deliberate.

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A Saggy Sunday and More Memory Magic

The 51st Great Western Bicycle Rally has been going on the past few days here in Paso Robles and the surrounding countryside. On Friday I was one of the leaders for the earlybird coffee ride to Coffee Station San Miguel, then on Saturday I was part of the ride leader team for the Salsa ride out to Hog Canyon. Last year I also was on the team, as chronicled here.

On Sunday, instead of riding, I was driving in support of the 100 kilometer and 100 mile “Giro di Paso” routes for the rally (most readers of this blog will know my role today as “SAG” – Support And Gear”). Both routes headed from Paso Robles west to Pacific Coast Highway, south to the town of Cayucos, then back to Paso. Over the span of 7 hours I drove around 150 miles back and forth and ’roundabout, visiting with other volunteers, chatting with riders, and actually helping a few.

Let’s see, I gave directions to a few people, one fellow needed to use my floor pump, and I helped one fellow who broke a spoke. My crowning achievement was to pick up a woman on the steepest section of Old Creek Road who had broken a cleat and was trudging up the pitch pushing her bicycle. I packed her bike onto my rack and drove her to the nearest rest stop where Mike Milby was parked with his Paso Bike Tours trailer, thinking he might have some spare cleats. Alas, no, so I drove her back to the start of the ride in Paso Robles.

Along Willow Creek Road, which was part of the 100 mile route, and which I ride almost once every week, there is an oak tree along the side of the road with a hollowed out trunk section down at ground level. Apparently there is a bee hive up in the trunk and some literary local has placed a small statue of Winnie the Pooh inside the trunk. Check out the picture below and say hi to Winnie and his bee pals.

Several posts back, I commented about how I might be getting older and slower, but my memory still seems to be working OK. Today I had another, similar, memory magic experience that is cycling related. But first, let me set the stage. Back in 2004 I was in the French Alps during the Tour de France on a two week cycling tour. Short story is that I crashed on the third day due to overenthusiastic descending meeting a blind turn strewn with gravel, resulting in a grade 3 Acromium/Clavicular shoulder separation.

Rather than sit around hotel lobbies watching the tour on TV5 for the next 10 days, I cut it short and had the tour company drive me to the airport in Lyon. There, while waiting to check in and awkwardly trying to maneuver my bike box and luggage while wearing an immobilizing cloth/velcro device on my right arm, another Yank offered assistance and we got to talking. Turns out he was from southern California like me, and in the course of the conversation we discovered a mutual friend by name of Rick Rietveld, an artist and surfwear designer, former art honcho at Maui & Sons. Small world, but keep reading.

Back in the present, while rolling up and down on Peachy Canyon Road supporting riders, I decided to mix pleasure with pleasure and pulled in at Nadeau Family Vintners to taste a wee bit of their wine. I know both Robert and Patrice Nadeau, both are cyclists with groups I often join, and expected them to be in the tasting room. Indeed, both were there entertaining another couple, Robert indicating that they are friends of his. I had an instant flash of recognition and pretty much said “July 2004, international airport in Lyon, France.” Yes indeed, it was the very same fellow, and it was absolutely amazing to run into him during a spur-of-the-moment visit to a small wine tasting room along Peachy Canyon Road 11 years later.

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Out of the Saddle – Parkfield Bluegrass Festival

Any erstwhile, or actual geologists, most likely have heard of Parkfield, California. The town bills itself as the “earthquake capitol of the world,” although wikipedia cites it as the “most closely observed earthquake zone in the world.”

Parkfield sits astraddle the San Andreas fault, that infamous crack in the crust that runs through California from the Mexican border to north of San Francisco. The town claims to have 18 residents, but during this past weekend the population jumped by possibly two orders of magnitude. The reason being the 17th annual Parkfield Bluegrass festival, which drew people from all over the west, many of them staying multiple days in their RVs or tents.

Parkfield Bluegrass Festival

Parkfield Bluegrass Festival

Me, well, I live about 35 miles away from Parkfield, so I just made it a day trip for the final day of the festival, a lovely cruise through the countryside with the top down on my gig ride. And since this is a bicycle-oriented blog, I also scouted the road from San Miguel to Parkfield for ride suitability. Looks promising, so I promise a post for a ride to Parkfield sometime later this year.

At the festival I encountered my pal Diane Harrison, who I met during the course of a hospice training class series last year, and who I continued to pester about coming over with her fiddle to play some songs with me. I also got to talk with Amber Cross, a performer at Parkfield who I have seen performing at a winery near Paso Robles, as well as Stuart Mason, who I saw performing at Castoro Cellars with Tony Furtado. Also got to listen again to Joe Craven, who I heard play at a local house concert with one of his bands by the name of “Mamajowali.” Today he was performing with his 14-year-old daughter Hattie, who has a grown-up voice.

me & Amber Cross

me & Amber Cross

A couple days from now Parkfield will be back to normal, slow paced with an occasional rattle from the long fault.

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