Saturday, September 19, 2009


Hi. My name is Ruby. I am Dan's bike. We've been together for about a year now, and up until this past week I thought we had a really good relationship.

Sure, I would sit in the garage for several days between rides, and when he would take me out, he often left me on top of the car while he went to work. But once I was off the rack and on the trail, every moment we spent together was absolute sweetness.

He would take me on trails through forests, over mountains and across streams. Sometimes we went with other riders. But most of the time it was just the two of us. I thought we had a really good thing going. I guess I was wrong. Last week I heard him start talking about a "Riders' Club," whispering about a "Trail Crew," chatting about "Specialized," and even mentioning another bike: the "STUMPJUMPER." And when we went riding, it was like his mind was somewhere else, wanting something new, something better.

I don't think I could live if Dan started riding another bike. I'm sure he would tell me we can still be friends, and still go riding together once in a while. But it will never be the same. We'll look at each other, knowing what has happened, then turn away. Him to his new bike. Me to my dark corner of the garage. Our visits will grow less and less frequent, until eventually I am nothing but a faded memory with a rusty chain.

Please, if you can do anything about it, don't let this happen. For me, for him, for us, don't tear down what we've worked so hard to build together.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Specialized Trail Crew Top 10

Here are the top 10 reasons I should be made a member of the
10. I am a mountain biker.
In addition to my full time job teaching music I work part time as a member of the Washington Army National Guard. Commitments to family and service to my church take up a significant amount of my time outside of work. But if you ask me who I am and what I do, I will tell you I am a mountain biker. If I have free time or extra money it is spent on biking. Some call it passion, some call it sickness, but it is what I am.
9. I live in prime mountain biking country.
I live and work in Kittitas County, Washington, a region stretching from the crest of the Cascade Mountains, directly East of Seattle, all the way to the Columbia River. The riding terrain here covers everything from epic alpine adventures to roller-coaster freeride descents to casual spins along the river. It is the home of the Roslyn Mtb. Festival and the Iron Horse State Park, a converted railroad line crossing the Cascades. Riders from across the state come here for the unique terrain and dry, smooth singletrack.
8. I ride trails throughout the state.
At least once a month I spend a weekend in the Seattle area and will frequently try to fit in a ride. Whether it's descending the trails of Tiger Mountain, cruising the maze that is Tapeworm, or working on skills at Colonnades bike park, I will be on the trail, even after dark. Every Memorial Day weekend I spend with 4 buddies racing at 24 Hours Round the Clock in Spokane. In the summer, when I have more time I will head into the hills surrounding Yakima, or drive up north to Wenatchee and enjoy the sublime singletrack that is Mission Ridge and Devil's Gulch. If I have an excuse to head towards Oregon I will find a way to ride the ridiculous terrain of the Columbia Gorge and the trails of Hood River.
7. I have unique spheres of influence to spread the good word of Mountain Biking.
I teach music at a small school in the Cascade Mountains. Working with students in grades 6-12 gives me many opportunities to share stories (and show scars) of my mountain biking adventures. Our school and community have a strong interest in outdoor activities and biking is a way we get kids unplugged and connected with the environment. Physical fitness is highly valued in the military, and many of the soldiers I work with in the National Guard are interested in biking as a way to maintain strength and endurance. Through my church I volunteer with the Boy Scouts and have led rides and hosted demonstrations of bicycle safety.
6. I am connected online.
I use email and Facebook. Specialized says they need people to blog and tweet about their bikes. I now have a blog and a Twitter account. I can lol, wtf, and lmao as good as the rest of 'em. And my symbol faces are second to none :)
5. I believe in trail advocacy.
Having volunteered in trail building projects with Columbia Area Mountain Bike Advocates and the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, I understand the value of organized support for building and maintaining trails. These organizations have also been helpful in finding new places to ride and connecting with other riders. They provide a forum for discussion to deal with issues and solve problems.
4. I am a proponent of physical fitness.
Promoting mountain biking means promoting a healthy lifestyle. My military commitment provides me with an obligation to maintain a level of fitness, and bicycling helps me enjoy the workout. At home and at work, I spend time organizing rides with friends and family so that our leisure time is spent in healthy, stimulating activities. Running, swimming and road cycling are other activities I regularly participate in.
3. I ride with my family.
I am married with 3 children, ages 5, 8, and 10. My wife rides frequently, although she prefers her road bike. Since the oldest was an infant we have made cycling a family activity. The parade of bikes, trailers and carriers cruising down the country road was us. Now that the kids are old enough to ride their own bikes, we look for places to ride together. That may mean a Saturday morning ride to Dakota Cafe for the best cinnamon rolls in the world. Or it could be a day trip to St. Edward State Park to try their legs on some real trails. These kids love to ride because they know that we love to ride. I can't wait for the day that they have to
wait for me to make the final climb and then smoke me back down to the trailhead. But for now, I will just make do with a few hours on the old BMX track behind the school.
2. I believe in the quality of Specialized products.
For 5 years I rode a Specialized Stumpjumper Comp I purchased used and spent many hours of quality time pedaling in the hills of the Columbia Gorge. My road bike is an Allez, my wife's bike is a Transition, and two of my kids ride Hotrocks. I dress head to foot in Specialized: helmet, gloves, socks, and shoes. And it's not just because our local bike shop is an authorized dealer. I have been constantly impressed with the quality of all Specialized products, and not just the top of the line. The entry level bikes are a solid value I recommend frequently to newcomers to the sport. My BG Sport shoes are the most comfortable shoes I could find at that price point. Just looking at the Roubaix makes me contemplate switching exclusively to road biking. And although I have been pleased with my current bike set-up, I can't help but stop by the shop, check out the new line of Stumpjumpers and wonder if they might be lighter, more responsive, or better handling than what I have now. They probably are.
1. I couldn't otherwise afford to even sit my skinny butt on 2010 S-Works Stumpjumper FSR.
I'm not a professional mountain biker, technician or mechanic. I'm not sponsored. I'm not a computer programmer or IT professional. I'm just a guy who loves to ride, who rides whenever and wherever I can, and who will share the love on-line or in person, at work, at home, and on the trail.

Enter the Blogoshpere

This is officially my first ever blog posting. After just over a year of Facebook status updates and the occasional note, I think it's finally time. I also received a bit of motivation from here:

Specialized is apparently looking for riders to show some love for the Stumpjumper, which would be no challenge for me. This will be my little corner of the blogosphere to share the part of my life that keeps me physically fit, emotionally stable, and mentally alert: bicycling, and especially mountain biking. In addition I will occasionally throw in some reports on the other aspects of my life, including my job teaching music in a small town in the Cascade Mountains, my other job as a member of the Washington National Guard, and my family. These are the things that keep me from riding more than I do, but as often as I can I will use them as an excuse to get on my bike.

In the near future I will be adding reports of trails ridden, memories of past rides, and dreams of future singletrack. Right now I am going out riding with my daughter.