Sunday, March 30, 2014

30 Days Of Biking Starts Tuesday

Just like last year, I've taken the pledge to ride for 30 days during the month of April so expect to see a post every day starting Tuesday. Just for grins I started a Spokane 30 Days of Biking Facebook group where people can post their rides and experiences. You're welcome to join that, too.

This Time with Photos

This morning I spent another three hours exploring trails in Riverside State Park with the idea of just getting the saddle time in and connecting the trails in my mind so I don't feel like I'm lost so often.
 Some fallen trees serve a useful purpose.

 This downhill section screamed, "Hank, remember your age!"

 Just following directions.

Not a soul in sight.

I felt like I had the park all to myself. I only ran into two runners and two other MTBers until I got back to my car. The quiet was interrupted only by the occasional scolding from chipmunks and robins. Crows warned each other of my presence. There was a huge commotion with some Canada geese and an osprey. I couldn't tell what was going on, but the geese sounded extremely unhappy.  

I went up this switchback (Trail 110 or 10) before going back down. Turn left at the top and you go to Devil's Up. It might be the bike, but these turns were very for me to navigate.

An Opportunity For Excellent Blog Fodder

A notice in this mornings Spokesman Review.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office will host an eight-week Citizen’s Academy on officer-involved shooting incidents beginning April 7. The academy is open to the public. 

Sessions will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. every Monday through May 26 at the Sheriff’s Office Training Center, 10319 E. Appleway Blvd. 

People who sign up must commit to attending at least seven of the eight sessions. People will have the opportunity to hear from investigators with the Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team, which investigates officer-involved shootings. There will be hands-on defensive tactics training and a live-fire demonstration. Deputies who have been involved in previous on-the-job shootings will also speak. 

Space is limited and background checks are required. Those interested in attending must register in advance by calling Deputy Travis Pendell at (509) 477-6044 or emailing

Unfortunately, the short notice combined with my already busy schedule prevent my attendance. I am bummed.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Training Ride

This morning I did two laps of as much as I could remember of the 24-hour race course from last year. (I apologize for not taking any pictures.) The ride went great and I felt good. Going again tomorrow. Next weekend I'll see what a 6-hour ride does for me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Downtown Today

 Doing homework.

 Some people need to make sure.


She Has Plans

If you bothered to watch the video, you'll know that Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers has plans. Apparently she was on a stealth visit here where she continued to hear from people who are struggling. Last week's entries on her Facebook page has photos of her with people who are not struggling. So maybe struggling people are camera shy.

Anyway, she has plans. And like her stint with earmark reform, or like her performance at a town hall meeting, or even her recent Republican address, our congresswoman has yet to articulate a cogent thought regarding any plan. That can only mean one thing.

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh. They're so secret even she doesn't know.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Yes, there's all kinds of news about the ethics investigation into Cathy McMorris Rodgers, but check this out yourself. Go to the report and exhibits released by the Committee on Ethics (HA!!!), especially the emails from Todd Winer to the congresswoman included in McMorris Rodgers' response (start at page 24). They exude a sort of creepiness.

Changing It Up

Had to use my 'cross skilz on Perry just north of Illinois today.

That Takes The Guess Work Out Of It

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Buzz Wins

I spent two hours getting lost in Riverside State Park this morning. My intent was to do mostly easy riding and not do much climbing. I've never ridden the trails in the north end of the park so I tried following Trail 25 once I crossed Seven Mile Road. Next thing you know I'm going down into ravines and back up again. I ended up doing a ton of climbing--and a little walking. I got off the marked trail at some point, but I was still on some sort of trail, and ended up in a scoured out dry creek bed. I had no idea where I was. (I checked the map later and now I know why it's called Deep Creek. And it wasn't my first time crossing it today.) I could hear traffic above me so I hefted the bike up the steep embankment and came out at Seven Mile Road and North Inland Road. Yay! I found myself and knew how to get back to where I started.

 Buzz kill not two minutes into my ride.






Blast From the Past

One item we found when going through Kathy's mom's stuff was this Postal Saving Plan booklet for the purchase of Defense Savings Bonds. This is the low end of the Battleship Booklet series. Completely filling in the fifty 10-cent stamps allowed you to trade up to a $5 stamp. Completely filling in a $5-stamp Battleship Booklet with 15 stamps got you a $75 Defense Savings Bond that would be worth $100 in ten years. There were also Battleship Booklets with $.25, $.50, and $1 stamps to buy savings bonds wroth $25, $50, and $100 in ten years. 

The US Postal Service had a savings plan from 1910 until 1966 and the war time savings bonds purchase plan was in effect during WWII. Interestingly, allowing the USPS to operate as a banking system is an idea that could help the USPS stay solvent and help "unbanked" people.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Downtown Spokane Today

 The Spokane Police are looking out for you...

 ...and so is Parking Enforcement.


 Determined scofflaw.

 "I'm at Main and Howard. Why?"

Obligatory bicycle photo. The Original Panama Jack.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What Happens When You Nuke Yer Food

Today I was bored enough to read the nutritional information on a box of Orville Redenbacher microwave popcorn. (I prefer popping my own in a large pan myself.) I thought it odd that they list the nutritional info for an unpopped bag. Who eats unpopped microwave popcorn? And is the loss of potassium, sodium, carbs and fiber due to microwaving?
Yep, that's how bored I was today.

Having Trouble Getting Drivers To See You?

Of course, in my case the drivers would be veering off the road in horror.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Climbing The Walls

During our stay in Illinois for Clara's funeral, there were times when Kathy and her siblings had to work on things together and the in-laws and the kids had to leave for an extended period of time. On Friday we went rock climbing. Both Geoff and Steph had considered packing their climbing gear and both thought there was no way they would need it. So they had to get by with rental gear just like the rest of us.

 Nephew Ben.

 Spidermonkey Geoff.

 Niece Joleigh.

 Brother-in-law Tim.


 Tim climbing for reals this time.

Nephew Alex.

 My best side.

Geoff the 5.11+ master.

Loco Slomofo

The 24 Hour Race is coming up in a couple of months and I've decided I'm going to do a solo run this time around. It's crazy and it's going to be hard, but I figure, "What the heck. Why not?" Or as Steph would say, "YOLO, Dad."

I don't have a mountain bike so the first order of business has been finding one. I have a couple of possible loaners, one of which I used during last years race, but Glen has a couple of bikes and I'm checking one of them out.
Today I tried out this modified '92 Specialized Stumpjumper that Glen added disc brakes to. I spent about an hour and a half trying to follow the route of last years race. I was doing good until the forced detour at Little Vietnam. I couldn't remember half of the turns so I would be zipping along on a strange trail, make a turn, and then find myself back in familiar territory. Then I would lose it again. But the route today wasn't nearly as important as getting into 24-hour racing mode. 

Today was a fun ride, which almost makes it sound like I didn't work that hard. I can assure you I did, especially when I couldn't shift down to the bottom chain ring on the steep climbs, which compelled me to show off my middle-chain-ring awesomeness, of course, witnessed only by the trees. So you'll have to take my word for it.

I've been on this particular trail a number of times and today was the first time I noticed all the rusted cans attached to the trees. Stop and smell the roses, Hank!

 The confluence of the two routes going down Devil's Down. I took the slower, less stressful route, which was also very swampy.

 The Spokane River is very high so Little Vietnam is under water.

Ermahgerd! Blerd and merd!

Podium dreams? More like hallucinations.

In Memoriam

A week ago Thursday, Kathy's mom, Clara Cadell, passed away. Although we had been expecting this since she had been ill for over a year, it was still hard to take. Clara was one of the most giving people I've ever known. Her husband increasingly turned to alcohol so she ended up raising all nine of her kids by herself. Clara worked hard all her life and she didn't retire until last year--at 76 years of age. She didn't have much, but if you needed it then it was yours. She never complained about the burdens imposed upon her or the ones she so willingly took on and she always tried to find something to smile about. She will be missed.

Clara and Kathy.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rain, Pain, And Elevation Gain

I checked the weather radar this morning. It looked like my area would remain clear for  two or three hours. The forecast called for a 30% chance of rain. I jumped on the bike and headed for Green Bluff to do some climbing. I recently read about a race to be held on Green Bluff in June and it mentioned there was 500 feet of elevation gain to the top of Green Bluff. Today I decided to ride to the top five times.

Of course, when there's a 30% chance of rain, it becomes 100% when you're on a bike during this time of year. The rain started right before I got there. I climbed up Day Mount Spokane road and it was pretty easy (green arrows on the map). Going down I had the wind and rain in my face and I'd cool off way too much. The second time up I thought this was really not the best competitive climb to go up Green Bluff. Then it dawned on me. I had the route backwards. The climb during the race goes up Green Bluff Road.

So I went up Green Bluff (red arrows) three times, which was much more challenging. And it was 500 feet. Climbing wasn't all that uncomfortable but I was getting real tired of cooling off while downhilling into the wind and rain. 

Of course, the rain stopped and the sun came out right after I got home after 2-1/2 hours of riding.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

40-Mile Ride Today

I am not getting near the amount of saddle time I need to retain my sanity and my physique and in eight days I have this murderous ride I signed up for. I'm gonna die in some very remote, out of the way part of Central Washington. 
 The falls at Nine Mile Dam.

 Look real close. See him?

 The main Spokane Falls.

 Upriver from the main falls.

 And the other side of the island.

 I see the city extended the bike lane on Illinois from Crestline to Regal. This is great because Regal provides an excellent north-south route. It's mostly residential and has very little traffic. I use it all the time for my work commute.

If you're missing this bike it's on the Children of the Sun Trail just north of the Mead entrance.