Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fishy update

From my buddy, Kim - a marine biologist, phenominal outdoorsman, Marin Native and general good guy:

"Dude, this happens every year, from about Nov to Jan...the fish are Herring, who lay their eggs on the Sausalito waterfront rip rap rocks (and other locations in the bay), which in turn attracts amazing amount of wildlife (birds, fish, rodents) and the seasonal commercial and private Herring fisherman...it's quite a sight to see...it's also a good time to fish for Sturgeon, as these pre historic fish come close to shore to suck the eggs off the rocks."

Something fishy going on

Having stopped for a quick picture of the sunrise and some geese in Mill Valley this morning, I was wholly unprepared to stop for additional footage.  But the excitement in Sausalito was something that I have never seen in my life.  As I stopped, annoyed by the stop light on Bridgeway by the Starbucks, there was obviously some commotion ahead with lots of birds and what sounded a bit like gunshots (maybe the gunshots was the Metallica – One playing in my head phones, anyways).  Rounding the corner, I was introduced to thousands of pelicans in the water, just jamming themselves full of some sort of fish.  Further investigation revealed a few dozen fishing boats and more than a few fishermen on the shore tossing nets.

 I pulled my bike to the side and grabbed my phone to snap some footage.  I wish I would have gotten this conversation on tape.  Imagine the gnarliest Irish fisherman you have ever seen and a Philippine, toothless fisherman tossing the net from the shoreline.  The Phillipine was literally throwing an empty net into the Bay, counting to ten, and then pulling a net full of hundreds of little fish onto shore.  His partner in crime would take the orange bucket to the truck, and repeat.  My guess is that they would have a truck full of fish within a half hour.  Not to mention the millions of fish that were getting pulled out by the commercial boats and the pelicans.

In my best Fat Bastard Accent, “Jesus fu&*ing Christ, man.  What the f&*k is going on here?  I have been fishing the Bay for going on thirty years, Man.  And I have never seen anything like this in my entire life! What the f&*k are those things?”

In my best broken Asian English the Philippine raises up three finger s and says, “Three days”

FB:  “Three days?  What the hell are they?  Smelt?  Anchovies?”

AE:  “Three days.”

FB:  “Holy sh!t, Man.  Wait until I show these pictures to my kids.  What the f&*k?!?”

And that was it .. the Phillipine dude just went back to hauling fish from the Bay.  Surreal on so many levels.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Alpine God-Damn-It

I wasn't in the mood for Bovine, nor really pushing that hard this morning.  We have a 4-year-old birthday party to attend at 10am, so I was looking for a quick (short, not fast) spin to loosen up the legs.  I debated whether to leave a little early or a little late from the normal 7am Sunday departure as to avoid the FOG Dwellers, but opted for camaraderie over efficiency.  Luckily, the FOG group was thin this morning, only Murray and Scotty B, and I was able to convince them into the Alpine climb to Ridgecrest and back.

About 100 feet into the Bolinas/Fairfax climb, I let the boys know that the pace needed to slow and we could ease into the 35 degree weather.  No complaints were issued and we spun up to the golf course.  We were treated with two big, black-bushy-tailed coyotes and more than a few deer, one with an enormous rack (I love big racks).  Scotty B gets the award for the eagle-eye, spotting a coyote from 100 yards away at the top of the hill.

The climb to Azalea Hill was pleasant, with lots of chatter and the elevation warmed us up nicely.  As we rolled over the summit, I proclaimed, "Take it easy on the downhill.  We are on the wrong side of the hill and may see some ice."  No sooner did I finish my sentence when we hit one of the 180 degree S-turns and my rear wheel slid out from under me.  Thankfully, decades of being a clutz has trained me to fall like a champion.  I stuck out my fat rump, broke the fall, and then slid - still clipped in - chest first.  My hip took the brunt and the Breezer came out unscathed. I lucked out to slide on the non-derailleur side, too.  I'll have a sweet bruise on my left hip, but I popped right up and pedaled the hematoma into a proper strawberry.

The water at the Dam was flat as a mirror.  And it was strange to hear the water running so strongly through the falls. We skipped Ridgecrest due to time limitations and fear of further ice.  And I was homeby 8.40am with 2,000 feet of elevation under my belt.  Good day.

Monday, January 14, 2013


I'll spare you the sappy details but, sadly, this morning we had to put down one of our best friends, Paisley, our Cavalier King Charles.  Paisley was stricken with cancer and died a few days short of her ninth birthday.   Although it was absolutely the humane thing to do, it was also one of the hardest things that I have ever done in my whole life. Having just left the vet, I dedicated my ride to work to my fallen comrade.  Although Paisley went before she began to suffer, I decided that a sufferfest of my own was the perfect way to memorialize the day.

Before hitting the Bridge, I climbed the Headlands for some elevation.  But not just any normal Headlands Loop.  I opted for seven repeats of the Upper Conzumel climb - one repeat for each letter of Paisley's name.  I settled into my pain mantra and repeated the letters of her name on each lap.  P-P-P-P-P with every rotation of the cranks.  Second lap A-A-A-A-A.  I did the math in my head and settled into the groove.  I-I-I-I-I.  It was about 6 minutes to the top and then a two minute descent - eight minute round trip.  S-S-S-S-S. I told myself that I would be be done in an hour, so just buckle up and keep pedaling.  L-L-L-L-L.  The parking lot at the top made for a pretty nice, one minute reprieve.  E-E-E-E-E. And the descent finished with y awful squeaky cantilever breaks on the moto. Y-Y-Y-Y-Y.

Phew.  Done.  An extra 2,500 feet of climbing to start the day.  Before the last descent and trip into the City, I stopped to snap a few pictures.  Appropriately, I spotted a raven at my feet chomping on some left over tourist food.

Rest in peace, Paizers.  

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Mo Chronicles

The Mo battle has turned into a frothy bet. I proposed that we do a 2013 challenge for miles and elevation - $0.10 per mile and $0.01 per foot if elevation. Mo promptly turned that bet down as he was unwilling to lose a mortgage payment. Hee hee hee. Without the bet, in 2012, I beat him by 3400 miles and 100,000 feet or a cool $440. We settled on the tab for a simple family dinner together - wives and kids, no booze. If the first week of competition is any sign of the year to come, this is going to be a big year of riding. Fired up.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Mo Chronicles

This post is the beginning of an ongoing series about my healthy obsession/competition with my buzzy StravaMo. As you have previously read, Mo and I - along with some accomplices - do some pretty wacky morning rides to work. Mo also has an equally vicious competitive stream as me. This has led to some fantastic smack talking surrounding the Strava data and our rides.

When we first met in early 2012, Mo was already a Strava pro with a couple thousand miles under his belt. I was new to the site and was just getting the bug. Over 2012, Mo took a sabbatical from work and really wasn't riding as much as he could have been. Come November, my 2012 year to date miles surpassed Mo's all time miles by a couple thousand, and my YTD miles were approaching twice Mo's 2012 totals. I declared Mortal Combat on Mo, challenging him that I would 2x surpass his 2012 numbers. And given that Mo was north of 3,000 miles for the year, this was a pretty serious task for me.

From the challenge on, every 20 mile commute for Mo meant a round trip for me to keep up. Every weekend ride really set me back. My schedule allows more flexibility for me to ride into work. But double in such a short amount if time is tough to keep pace. Ultimately, input in some mega rides between Christmas and New Years to keep it close. But Mo would keep sneaking in his rides to clip my 2x. I ended up with north of 7,100 miles for the year, 4 miles short of double Mo. But the late 2012 challenge has led to a battle and a bet for 2013. More details to come.

Oh, and Mo, you are going down.