Sea Otter 2016

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Another Sea Otter Classic has come and gone. This year didn’t disappoint. My buddies came out from Chicago and rented a rather large RV. They learned the hard way that Monterey, CA gets cold at night.

This year we bailed on the organized ride and did our own. We rode into the towns of Monterey and Pacific Grove and on to Carmel by way of 17 Mile Drive.

We had perfect weather and met a cast of characters out of central casting. The best being a bleach blond 48 year old beach bum who told us his life story no less than 3 times because we gave him a beer. It was like someone gave a seagull one potato chip and it wouldn’t leave. We learned he has 6 kids. He’s lived on 8 continents and visite 88 countries. Not to go to Santa Cruz because it’s a bad scene and they stole his bike.

Sunday, I entered my first mountain bike race. First I got a flat 3 miles in. Second I flipped over my handlebars on a washboard descent. I tacoed the front wheel on my new bike and separated my shoulder. I managed to straighten it out enough to finish the race. I managed to place 34 out of 38 in my age group. Not bad.

I have some great pictures to share when I’m not writing on my phone.

Training logs

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This weekend I got in a couple bike rides, both marred by equipment failures. I went mountain biking on Saturday. I found some great single-track and ran out of steam going up a gully. I cranked too hard and broke my chain. Fortunately, I was only a mile from the car. Sunday, I had a 25 mile ride according to my plan. About 3 miles from the end, I must have hit some construction debris and got a flat. It was more than the tube, the tire has a hole too.

Mono Shock

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When I was sick, my parents trotted me out to K’s Merchandise Mart on a weeknight to pick up my first bike. It was this beauty, the Huffy Mono-Shock.

My first store-bought bike. The Huffy Mono-Shock.

My first store-bought bike. The Huffy Mono-Shock.

Technically speaking, it was my first store-bought bike. The first bike I ever had was a beat up girls’ bike my Grandpa picked up at a police auction. The chain constantly fell off and the hand grips were disintegrating, leaving my hands black every time I rode it. In addition, it had one of those against-the-wall paint jobs where someone sprayed it, chain and all. The kind of treatment you give a bike after stealing it.

The Huffy on the other hand looked like something that came out of a focus group of 6 year olds. It had everything they could want, while getting everything wrong in a bike. The seat was a like a loaf of pound cake. The handlebars splayed outward. The bike weighed almost as much as me at the time. In fact, I was so light, I couldn’t even move the shock.

It was a good three years before it even fit me. I think mom and dad were thinking this will be the bike he’ll ride until college.

Over the years, I lost original appreciation I had for the bike. Other kids were getting ten speeds and dirt bikes. The mono-shock was neither. One major benefit of riding it for so long was I got used to the weight. I don’t remember when I officially stopped riding it, nor do I recall what happened to it. The one great thing about Huffy bikes. They’re pretty durable, and built to last. I can’t necessarily say the same thing about their ride quality.

Sea Otter Classic 2015

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This past weekend, some of my Chicago biking buddies flew in to join me and my son down in Monterey, CA for the 25th annual Sea Otter Classic. It’s the biggest bicycle show in the country, if not the world. And if you’re into bikes, it’s the place to be.

We took the Westy down and camped inside the grounds of the Laguna Seca raceway, which is also where it’s held. We arrived around lunch time Friday and spent the afternoon meandering around the show.

I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking. It was one of the best times I’ve had all year.

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