May 29, 2007

May Random 10

Takako Minekawa - Telstar
The Sea and Cake - The Sewing Machine Song
Julian Cope - Reynard in Tokio
Trembling Blue Stars - Now That There's Nothing
Neko Case - I Wish I Were the Moon
Ernest Ranglin - Surfin'
Beirut - Brandenberg
Negativland - U2 Part 1
Tom Robinson - The Mighty Quinn
Ashtray Boy - Onto the Goat

Creepy photo courtesy of Creepy Gringo Stock Photos

Costa Rica - Rincon de la Vieja Climb - (assault of an old woman)

Tim and I decided that an assault on the "old woman" volcano was in order so we loaded up on supplies (beer) headed north into the blast furnace that some people call Guanacaste. During the next two days La Ley Seca (the dry law) was in effect due to the Good Friday/Easter holiday.......yes, it is illegal to sell booze anywhere in the country during that time......I'm sure there were plenty of bummed out spring breakers that found this out the hard way (hatin' it brah)

We were set up to camp (throw down style - no cooking) and I knew of the perfect spot. Unfortunately the perfect camping spot had morphed into a into a SPA in the year since Jen and I were here last. We ended up camping at the way-overpriced Rincon de le Vieja Lodge - out in the horse pasture. It was actually pretty sweet camping but the next morning at the lodge dining room, we paid way too much for the probably the shittiest breakfast in Costa Rica - but at least the coffee was decent.

The climb was pretty easy: about an hour and a half through some jungly stuff and then another hour above tree line

At the top there are two main craters, the extinct crater and the active one. The extict crater is much higher and pretty boring. The active crater is cool with a big ol bubbling lake 500 feet below you. The edge of the crater is hairy (unstable as hell) and the smell of hydrogen sulfide is intense.

There were a few other folks up top - some of which had no business being up there. We took a different trail for the trip down which included some crazy-steep muddy slopes and two areas where you had to slide down fixed ropes.

The assault was a success and the old lady didn't even put up a struggle.....and that's the way we like it (in fact, she seemed to have enjoyed it)

photos courtesy of Timo CrackBack, Creepy Gringo, all rights reserved

May 17, 2007

The Dirty Dirt on Costa Rica Dirt (Monteverde)

The mountain biking around Monteverde can be summed up in one word......STEEPER THAN SHIT. ummm, well ok, so that three words - one just wouldn't cut it. The low gearing on my Slingshot (24x32) is almost not practical for a lot of this stuff. Check out the picture below and notice the seat angle on Adrians bike......ya, that's the way he keeps it because he likes it to be level with the ground when climbing.
We did a few rides last time down - Tim borrowed a sweet "Optimist" brand mountain bike from Adrian, which is a low end bike but Adrian had pimped it out so much that it was actually pretty decent. One ride we did was from Los Tornos to El Mirador (volcan Arenal lookout) and back. No volcano as usual, only clouds and cows. There was a group of Keel-billed Toucans near the road so we stopped and watched them for a sec. We also did a ride from the house up sendero yo flaco to La Cruz and back and talked with some tatooed up muscle dude who ran the local zip line. And then I did an out and back to Cerro (something or other- I forget the name) - it's the high peak in the area with all the radio antennnaes and borders the reserve. That ride ends on road so steep that I had a hard time walking up it. I'm serious, it's crazy steep and a picture would not even do it justice - so I didn't include one here. Another picture I didn't include from that ride is the 3 huge swarms of bees that you have to go through both on the way up and the way down. They must not be the stinging kind of bees because I was totally covered with em and didn't get stung once.

Adrian makes the steep stuff even with a crazy seat angle

Sendero Yo Flaco

A jungle trail that needs to be explored further. I walked a bit of it but I found it towards the end of a long ride and did not have the energy to even think about it. Next time

You see some strange shit on the cloud forest

Tim...on the Optimist

....I think this is the climb where Tim's eyes started to bleed

This trial is actually just a couple hundred feet above the house....unfortunately we were going up

A good excuse for me to rest on all the climbs.....I need to take pictures

......and 4,345 pumps later I'm up to 10 psi. I hate mini pumps

The deal with mountain biking in Costa Rica is that there really isn't much singletrack. That's just the facts. There are however, many old skinny roads with climbs that are just plain cruel. It's hard to get used to especially coming from New Mexico/Colorado where if it ain't singletrack - it really ain't worth riding. A full suspension bike here is really kind of a joke - in fact, you can really get by with no problem without a boinker up front. The riding is still good though and it I were from anywhere but the western US, I'd say it's pretty bad-ass.

May 15, 2007

Costa Rica - a few house pics

Beware the soul-less Poo. VP on duty

La Casa under guard

Future tiki bar

The garden and lots of bananas

La cocina

May 14, 2007

White Mesa Dirt - The Best of New Mexico's Upper Crust

Possibly one of the best mountain bike rides in New Mexico is here at White Mesa only 45 minutes NW of Albuquerque. If you're a geologist it's especially cool since there numerous travertine springs, sink holes, faults, and big gypsum deposits to geek out on. To get there drive NW out of Bernalillo on Hwy 550 until just before San Yisidro (about 30 minutes). Hang a left on Cabazon road, take the immediate first left and go another few miles. There is a gravel parking lot on the right with a posted map. Speaking of which - there is no need to take a map since they are posted at each trail junction which is really sweet. There is enough riding here to keep you busy for a few hours doing just the trails posted, however there are a lot of worn in pirated trails around that are fun as well. No crowds....We were here on a Sunday afternoon in May and only saw one other biker.

Gettin' jiggy with the travertine

Lots of steep swoopy smooth singletrack

Much of the riding is along skinny ridge tops

The trail traverses many of these wet travertine deposits - good traction but you are only riding on a thin crust of minerals and the hollow sound you hear as you ride over it increases the pucker factor quite a bit
....and the consequences are not good. Yes, these holes go all the way to the mojo. I'm sure there is a mountain biker down there somewhere

the creep on the steep