Sunday, January 31, 2016

Riding Riverside

Yesterday I took the Scott Genius--obviously not named after me--out to Riverside State Park to check out the trail conditions and get a couple hours of riding in. I got plenty of riding in and a little walking, too. The roads have a lot of standing water, which I was able to avoid by hugging the edges. The climbs and descents I hit were rideable. The descents were clear, to include Devil's Down, until you reached the bottom where there was 4-6 inches of crusty snow just itching to throw you off course. The inner loop of the 24 Hour course has a lot of snow. Fat bikes would have an easier time there than my mountain bike.

I got a good workout and comparing the level of effort and performance with that I was doing last year, I can tell that daily commuting may be enough to keep me healthy but it's not enough to keep me in good enough shape for what I expect of myself here. Thankfully, I have plenty of time to get ready for the 24 Hour Race.

Snow between Devil's Up and Devil's Down. 

The sun came out! 

A slight detour required here. 

Bringing some of the park home with me.

Friday, January 15, 2016

24 Hour Race

For the last two years I've raced solo at the 24-Hour Mountain Bike Race held every Memorial Day weekend here in Spokane. This year I am aging up. I move from the 50+ to the 60+ category. (Yeah, I'll be 60 this year. How did that happen so fast?)

Anyway, I asked the folks at Round and Round Productions if they would considered adding a 60+ solo category. They put some feelers out to see how much interest there was and apparently there was enough. And I think most of it came from my team mates on Team Double Check.

Which means I'm gonna get my butt beat.

Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it, right?

Regardless, it's a fun race. And it'll be fun to race with my brother John who's still a young pup. He'll be turning 52 about a week and a half before the race.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Dirty Bike

The winter riding really trashes my bike. I gave it a much-deserved cleaning today. My brother wisely pointed out that I should use fenders. Meh.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Spreading Cheer

We had an event at work and when it was over I asked what was to become of the helium balloons. There were no plans for them other to toss them so I gathered them up and attached them to my bike. I thought it would be fun to ride home with them.

I left work and rode four blocks to Riverfront Park. It occurred to me that some child was going to see the balloons and ask for one. Sure enough, I'm halfway through the park and I pass a family of four. No sooner do I pass when a little girl's voice calls out.

Can I have a balloon?

"Sure." I stopped, got off my bike, and asked what color she would like.

A red one.

Well, that turned out to be impossible because the flailing of the balloons while I rode had braided the ribbons together. While her parents and I discussed how we could extract a balloon of the right color, the girl offered up her own idea.

You could give us all the balloons.

"Exactly what I was thinking," I said. I untied the bundle and handed them to her and her brother. Big smiles and thank you's all around.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Lazy Or Irresponsible Reporting

I rarely watch television news but I catch snippets here and there in public places. The coverage of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge takeover by an armed militia is obviously a hot infotainment item. Regarding the sentences of Steven and Dwight Hammond I keep hearing something along the lines of "the judge decided they didn't spend enough time in prison." This is a complete misrepresentation that does nothing more than serve as more fodder for the anti-government movement.

The Hammonds were convicted of violating 18 US Code Section 844(f)(1), which states.

Whoever maliciously damages or destroys, or attempts to damage or destroy, by means of fire or an explosive, any building, vehicle, or other personal or real property in whole or in part owned or possessed by, or leased to, the United States, or any department or agency thereof, or any institution or organization receiving Federal financial assistance, shall be imprisoned for not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years, fined under this title, or both.

The District Court judge decided five years imprisonment was cruel and unusual punishment and gave them much shorter sentences. The government appealed and the Ninth Circuit held that the judge could not violate the statute and give a shorter sentence. They found for the government and instructed the District Court judge to give the sentence as required by the statute.

So a judge didn't decide the Hammonds didn't spend enough time in prison. A judge decided not to apply the mandatory minimum sentence as required by law. A panel of judges determined he cannot do that and, regardless of the District Court judge's concerns about cruel and unusual punishment as addressed by the 8th Amendment, cited numerous cases where the Supreme Court upheld similar and harsher sentences for what would appear, at face value, to not be violations that warranted such punishment.

And Congress decided five years of imprisonment was the minimum sentence.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Antoine Peak Conservation Area

Kathy and I took a late afternoon (by winter standards) snowshoe hike up Antoine Peak. It was our first time there. The freezing fog we've had left some interesting ice crystals on the surface of the snow. We caught the sunset on the way down and we saw a rabbit and a deer. It's a beautiful area with some great views.

It's Cold Out

I went to the grocery store this morning to pick up a few items. The small talk with the cashier included comments about the weather what with the temperature being 9 degrees Fahrenheit. While she was talking about the cold she catches a glimpse of my legs and finishes with, "Okay, Mister Shorts." Then she tells me about her crazy uncle who always wears shorts. Maybe I'll be somebody's crazy uncle someday.

Winner: Most unusual icicle hanging on my house.

Oh, And Screw The Fish

A couple weeks ago, Sue Lani Madsen wrote a column in the Spokesman Review in which she thought cyclists would be much safer if they wore bright green.

Today, as if in the "both sides do it" spirit that now permeates the media, her column takes on vehicle drivers.

According to the Washington State Department of Health, “… motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of unintentional injury death (after poisonings), and the leading cause of major trauma. Motor vehicle injuries are largely preventable and are mainly due to human behavior rather than poor road design, vehicle issues, or weather.”

She then continues by ranting about specific human behaviors and kind of finishes with this.

Painted bike lanes don’t protect bicyclists, painted crosswalks don’t protect pedestrians, double yellow lines don’t protect drivers. A driver has the responsibility to drive according to road conditions. It doesn’t matter if poor conditions are a result of road design, icy weather or heavy traffic. It doesn’t matter if the traffic is on two wheels, four wheels or on foot. The root of the problem is human behavior.

I'm guessing she would like an improvement in human behavior because all she does essentially is complain about it.

Which is as effective as this.

Then she closes with something that has nothing to do with poor driving behavior.

But those petitioning for highway safety improvements on U.S. 195 and Route 26 are not wrong to want better roads. Upgrades to support increasing traffic already are planned, although funding is two to ten years out. State Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, has suggested changing budget priorities. He has requested that $113 million budgeted for fish passage projects be shifted to upgrading highway safety sooner rather than later. The fish can wait.

It must be nice to have a gig where you get paid to complain. The Spokesman Review sets a low bar for printing this tripe.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Doesn't Everybody's Family Room Look Like This?

While Kathy was on the treadmill in the basement I cleaned up my commuter and did some work on my mountain bike.  I had the room back in order before she came up. Shhhhhhhhh.

Strava Year In Review

A number of cyclists I know use Strava and they posted their year in review on Facebook.  I took one and had a little fun with it.

Year 2015 in review from hank greer on Vimeo.