YOU’VE seen it at the Deathride. You’ve seen it on our blog. Maybe you noticed it in our photo gallery and you’ve asked yourself: “How do I get me some of that?”
WELL, the wait is over! You can now purchase your California Alps Cycling gear from our new online store!
CASTELLI jerseys, bibs and windvests are available (with some supplies limited) as are our new decals.
AND we’ve got tees, too. No, not those kind of tees! The kind you wear. The kind that are soft and comfy and are perfect for showing off your passion for cycling in the mountains; pre-ride, post-ride or just ‘cuz.
THE gear has been tested extensively, especially the bibs, jerseys and vests. In the cold. In the heat. In the wind. On century rides (including the Deathride). We’ve worn it and in some cases worn it out – in a good way. Cycling clothing does wear out and IMHO good gear wears out before it rips, tears or frays. That’s certainly been my experience.
ADMITTEDLY, our store has been a long time coming. Too long, in fact. Nonetheless I’ve finally gotten off my backside and gotten ‘er done.
NOW it’s your turn.
IDEALLY buy some stuff (you can find the store link on the top right corner) and help us continue to support the cycling cause here in Markleeville.
I’D also like your feedback since I am kinda new at this online store thing. Do you have any suggestions as to how to improve the store? Are the prices right? Is the shipping reasonable? Etc., etc.
Would love to know that you think!
LASTLY, we need to make room for the new Pedal Mafia kits that should be here next month.
AS you may have read in our Deathride Dreaming post in June, we are changing tacks and going with the P.M. kits. They too have been tested. In fact, I just wore one yesterday and they are oh so comfortable.
LOOKING forward to seeing those colors on you! Order away and I promise I’ll get them shipped out to you as fast as possible; more easily done now that our humble little Markleeville Post Office is again open.
THANKS in advance.
Ride on, be safe, stay healthy and to quote Lester Holt: “Take care of yourself, and each other.”
THESE nuggets of wisdom are of the mechanical kind, as opposed to weather, clothing, climbing and other such tidbits I’ve blogged about in the past. When riding in the mountains or hills, really anywhere for that matter, these are the additional things that I focus on since there is nothing worse than listening to your own, or someone elses, noisy velocipede, especially on long climbs and descents.
THE idea from this post came to me last week when I was riding in South Lake Tahoe with a friend of mine and “that annoying rattle” reared its ugly head again.
Silence Those Rattles
LOOSE things rattle. Whether they be in your saddle bag, top-tube bag or jersey…Make them stop!
EVEN if you have grown accustomed to them your riding partners may not have.
DO yourself and your fellow riders a favor and quiet that bike where you can.
IN my case, that annoying rattle was my multi-tool in the seat bag. I thought I had fixed it but oh no, on that ride last Friday night it was back, like the Terminator. I had added some padding to the case the tool was in and figured that did it but as it turns out, upon further inspection I found one of the bolts had come loose.
A bit of tightening and ahhh, no more rattle.
CHECK for those unfastened, unattached or unsecured bolts, nuts, etc. and FASTEN, ATTACH and SECURE them.
Rattle and Hum is an astounding album; it’s the hum that should apply to our bikes, though, not the rattle, right?
IN preparing the cockpit for filming I picked up a K-EDGE mount for Blue, one of my faithful steeds. It only took a couple rides of the Diamond Valley Loop to get that thing a rattlin’. Loctite to the rescue.
I’VE ridden hundreds of miles since applying the high strength version (and it’s been in my workbench for YEARS) and that mount has not loosened. At all.
THIS stuff, or some threadlocker like it, is gold.
Prepare for Bad Roads
ROADS here in the Sierra Nevada, as well as many, if not all of the coastal hills in which I’ve ridden, are generally crappy. Water, snow, heat, and those pesky vehicles 😉 all take their toll.
THINK about reducing tire pressure, adding dropper seatposts with suspension, or as my friend Mike did on his gravel bike, augment your trusty steed with a suspension stem.
TIRE size is another consideration. I rode 23mm tires for many years but switched to 25mm rubber rings a couple years back. The ride is more plush.
I could even go bigger.
AND as for tire pressure…higher pressure isn’t always better. I ride Continental Grand Prix 5000s and while the max pressure is listed at 120 PSI (8.5 BAR), the recommended pressure is listed as 95 PSI and 6.5 BAR. I pump up the rear tire to 90 PSI and the front to 80 PSI. And I’m a big boy at 230 lbs (104.55 kg for you metric-geeks)!
Keep Things Clean and Lubed
WHEN you can hear the chain, it’s time to lube it. Or perhaps replace it. Use that chain-checker! I use mine all the time but Jay at Big Daddy’s keeps catching me with bad chains nonetheless. I’ll try to do better, Jay.
I don’t do a good job keeping my bikes clean. I have to do better there as well. So, do what I say, not what I do. Keep it clean, like a Virgo would. You didn’t know that about Virgos? Ask my former roomie.
GIVE that guy a bathroom and a toothbrush…Sparkling, let me tell ya!
SERIOUSLY, though, over a long ride, especially during a long ride, those squeaks, squeals, screeches and scrapes can be irritating for you, your riding companions and your bike.
TAKE some time (I’m talking to you, Mark) and lube that shit, will ya?
LUBE? you ask. Keith and Jay (and I) recommend Boeshield T-9. It’s not as neat and tidy as a wax job (Scott reminds me of this often) but it’s a helluva lot easier. Again, if you can hear that chain, it’s time to lube it. If you notice sluggish shifting or your trim just doesn’t seem to trim, it could be time to replace it.
Alrighty, then. I hope you, and your friends and family, found these suggestions helpful, thought-provoking and on-point.
GOT some of your own? Share ’em! Please.
Click here for a post about cycling in the sierra and here for yet another, this one about climbing mountain passes.
THANKS for reading.
STAY healthy; if it’s smoky outside, ride inside; be safe, and most importantly enjoy the ride (on a quiet bike).
Last week was a week of climbing here in Markleeville. In honor of the Deathride I did three of the five climbs of the legacy DR (i.e. with Carson Pass). Virtually. On Fulgaz. And yes indeedy, I do plan to do the other two this week.
Without high-speed (ahem – even when we have internet here in Markleeville I wouldn’t call it “high-speed”) internet, though. Thanks to a previous hint, courtesy of Fulgaz during its French Tour, I had downloaded all the climbs to my Apple TV (ATV) so I could ride them w/o internet connectivity. Note to self: When our super-fast DSL is back online, download a bunch more rides for future use.
I had to chuckle after ride number 2. Changed kits for the next one and this thought, with the associated Tom Hanks voice, came into my head: “There’s no coasting in (on?) Fulgaz.” Just like there’s no crying in baseball. Well I guess I could have done some coasting on those downsides of the rollers but I was too busy building up speed for the upcoming upsides!
Bad Air = Ride Inside
WITH all the smoke about from the wildfires I’m not really too excited about riding outside. I was able to get a couple rides in the week before last, in the blue-mountain air, but sadly, not so this week.
OKAY, so anyway…Friday was Carson Pass with its just over 3000′ of climbing, pain cave fans, and portable A/C, a blazin’! Was a hard ride; I pushed it. Sunday last I did two (2) more. Ebbett’s South (from Hermit Valley up to the pass) and after a short break, Ebbett’s North from Monitor Junction to the top. Those bad boys gave me another 4700′ of climbing.
AND earlier in the week I did one easy ride on Fulgaz, but it did give me another 719 feet of climbing. Hey, it all counts damn it!
Why Am I Telling You This?
I’LL get to the point. After we realized we wouldn’t have our bad-ass internet for awhile we went out and bought our fine-selves a cell-signal booster. Works pretty well. Went from two bars to three, or four. Smart guy here…Just keep reading…Tethered my cell iPad to the computer. Functional. Irritating, especially at certain times of the day, but functional.
I could blog. As long as I didn’t upload photos. That I had to do up at Whorehouse Flats. Yes, you read that correctly. ‘Twas apparently named thusly because there was a house of ill repute located there back in the day. In any case, it has a direct line of sight to Hawkins Peak, where the (only) Verizon cell tower is located, and so there I can upload images. Even though I have the same number of bars as I do at home with the so-called boosted signal.
SIDE NOTE: WHY, pray tell, does it seem to not boost when it’s really, really, supposed to frickin’ boost? Huh? Riddle me that, Batman!
ANYWAY, I’m telling you this to explain the constraints we’re under here without reliable internet. How the hell am I supposed to function without it? How am I supposed to sync my photos; upload my recent cycling quests to Strava; update Fitness Pal with the day’s caloric intake and hydration? C’mon man! It’s impossible and it’s just not fair.
The Gauntlet has Been Thrown Down
SO, here I was, a new member of Chris’s recent Sparks Cycling Challenge Group on Strava, of which the goal is 30000 feet by the end of the month, and I was sucking wind (or more appropriately writ perhaps, sucking elevation), but only because I hadn’t uploaded the past week’s rides! A ha! I had an idea.
I’LL just change my network settings and connect my ATV to my super-boosted iPad (now you’ll understand what I meant earlier about smart guy…) and upload them. Nope. Apple TV won’t recognize a cell hotspot. Makes sense I guess; too much bandwidth needed.
WAIT, I’ll upload them from my FulGaz app. on my iPad. Uh, no, I didn’t download them there. Smart guy downloaded them to the ATV.
WHAT’S next? This week I’m going to take the ATV into South Lake (Tahoe, that is) where I got a really sweet deal at Cowork Tahoe and rented a desk for a month (it’s a pretty cool place as it turns out) so I could do those parts of my job that require FAST internet (meetings, video-conferences, important ca-ca like that…).
I should be able to connect it to the WiFi there, and upload my rides to Strava so I can prove myself worthy. Key word = should. Another should…I should (would) be in 3rd place a/o today had my big week of climbing last week been included.
BUT you know what? If it’s not on Strava it didn’t happen!
WE’RE supposed to have our super fast Markleeville internet back sometime before the end of the month. Until then it’s gadget hell. No Netflix. No Apple Plus. No Zwift workouts. No Fulgaz real-time rides. And most put-offingly, no Strava.
I guess if nothing else I can manually enter those rides but that feels like the easy way out, so I shall continue my quest. Maybe. I’m wearing myself out and perhaps I should instead save that energy for the bike.
For Related Musings…
Click here to read a previous post that, now that I look back, was a bit of foreshadowing to my latest travails.
Click here to read more about the Tour of the California Alps (aka the Deathride) climbs and other routes I filmed for Fulgaz.
Click here for a trip down memory lane and a post with some riding and hiking options here in Alpine Co., once the perverbial smoke clears that is – no parking or camping allowed on the local highways currently due to the ongoing Tamarack Fire.
AND a not so related musing but I wanted to share it nonetheless. In last week’s post I wrote briefly about the animal oasis here in the middle of the charred forest. Here’s more evidence of that:
STAY safe, watch out for bears, be good to yourself and others, and let’s kick some passes’ asses! Preferrably the non-smoky ones.
THE trip back to Chalet Schwartz, aka California Alps Cycling headquarters, was a sobering and somber experience. So much of our forest was now blackened.
AFTER almost ten (10) days of being evacuated (from Friday, July 16th, through Sunday, July 26th) it was great to get back home. It was a surreal experience for sure; Markleeville and Marklee Village were oases in the middle of a charred forest.
WE were lucky…Our generator system did its job and kept my beer and other libations cold, our food fresh and our frozen grub, frozen. The Alpine Co. Sheriff’s Office, as well as other law enforcement, kept our home, and town, secure from both two-legged and four-legged creatures.
THOSE firefighters, though…What a group of individuals! They fought for our town, for our people, for our businesses and for our homes. When the fire blew up, almost overnight, they didn’t give up. They battled and battled. For days. What they did can really never be repaid. As I’ve told those that I have seen since – whatever you need, whenever you need it, we’re your huckleberries.
DOUGLAS County, Nevada, also came through in a big, big way. They opened their facility (the Senior Center in Gardnerville) and most importantly, they opened their hearts. Donations poured in, offers of places to stay for people and animals were proffered, and the kindness and compassion were palpable. To them we also owe a huge debt of gratitude.
WHILE we had power (thanks to Liberty Utilities hooking up a big-ass generator) we did not have internet. Too bad Frontier isn’t like Liberty, whose crews were on sight almost immediately, and even today they were at it. This time, dropping poles by helicopter. Frontier, on the other hand. Haven’t seen ONE truck. Not one. Not to be too cynical but I’m betting we’ll see a bill.
OKAY, enough negativity. Karma…
My Mental State
ADMITTEDLY, I’ve had a very hard time this past week. I tried to work on Monday but it was almost impossible without decent internet; my cell phone just didn’t have enough of a signal to act as a hotspot.
TO the rescue came our friends Mike and Eileen. They offered us their home in South Lake Tahoe for the week. And we are also oh so grateful for our dear friends Chris and Shyanne, who offered us their home in Spanish Springs last weekend as a little getaway. My wife and I, and our two (2) cats, took advantage and headed north for a couple days, leaving Mom and her cat, Baxter, in the hotel in Minden.
BUT last Tuesday morning I found myself packing up. Again. My wife and I made the trek to South Lake. I thought it was the right thing to do (it was work-wise) but my psyche said otherwise. I found myself in tears Tuesday night, asking myself what the hell I was doing. I came to the realization that I needed to be home and so Wednesday, after a decent workday, I did go home.
BACK to South Lake I went Thursday but I couldn’t focus. I didn’t care. I had no spark; I was just flat. Was this PTSD?
IT wasn’t just the fire I now knew. It was the loss of the Deathride, the possible prostate cancer diagnosis (thankfully I found out the Saturday after we evacuated that it WASN’T cancer), the pandemic (and so no 2020 Deathride) and the almost constant fear of another fire. All of that combined with almost ten (10) days of worrying about our home took a serious toll on my mental health. I understood that I needed some help and I’ve since begun that process.
HERE I am a few days later and I’m certainly feeling more like myself. The anxiety is still there although it’s not as pervasive as it was. Getting back to a somewhat normal routine, including a ride yesterday and another today, has truly helped. Being home, getting some things put away, doing some household chores and putting it in some sort perspective has made a difference.
OUR local businesses, including the Cutthroat, have been closed, but today the Cutthroat was open. There’s a sign of recovery!
AnAnimalOasis and a New Beginning
OTHER signs abound, too. Black-eyed Susan’s and their cheery blooms. A flock of mergansers on the East Carson. Two velvet-antlered bucks just across the road yesterday morning. Allen’s hummingbirds putting on a daily show just off the deck. And the bears. While they can be a bit of a nuisance (ask my neighbor whose freezer and garbage can they overturned yesterday), in a strange way their renewed presence is reassuring.
AND Tuesday is the first of many meetings that we Markleevillians will have as we begin the healing and rebuilding process. As a community.