Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lagunitas IPA and the Parkway Tavern...

There is a time and place for every beer.

I just spent an entire weekend pulling weeds and pruning trees. For that time and place, the beer was the esteemed Blue Ribbon, poured ice-cold in the most direct route to my belly. But when life affords a few minutes to relax, I like it to be in a place like the Parkway Tavern, with a beer like Lagunitas IPA.

Tucked neatly among historic Tacoma homes, the Parkway (itself a converted craftsman) is "neighborhood bar" defined. Awhile back, several carpenter regulars pulled down a couple drop tiles, discovered a mahogany ceiling, and set to work renovating the pub after hours. The result is a real home-away-from home... if your home has 30 beers on tap, and shuffleboard and pinball in the back.

One of the beers currently being pulled at the Parkway comes from the Petaluma craft brewery, Lagunitas. Ok, queue the Forrest Gump impression: "I'm a simple man, Jinnay. I don't know a lot of big city words to talk about beer. But, I know what good is." And Lagunitas IPA is very good. Hoppy and aromatic, but smooth and virtually free of bitter aftertaste. How was that? Official enough? Just trust me, folks... it's good.

And when sipped at a joint like the Parkway, Lagunitas definitely gives yard work and PBR a good run for the money.

Lagunitas | The Parkway

Drop it like it's... hot?

Do you ever hop on the computer and run into something you hadn't bargained for? A careless indiscretion left by your significant other?

I don't even know what it means, much less what to do about it...

Monday, April 27, 2009

One Moment: a Daffodil Classic ride report...

When I set to write about a small adventure, I like to pick out one singular moment and work back.

For April 19th, the day of the 62-mile Daffodil Classic, this is the moment.

My best girl, youngest daughter, and baby niece... finding a patch of sun just big enough to spread out some toys on one of the first really nice days this spring. Everything that came before was merely leading to this snapshot.

Oh, the ride? It was great. Really, it was. The are few things I enjoy as much as turning the pedals with my dad, playing our tough-guy cat and mouse games, stopping to pose for another in our ongoing series of "see, that's me, and that there's my bike" photos.

We had some spectacular views of Mt. Rainier, bringing back all kinds of great memories from our ride around the big fella last summer.

About 45 miles in, we had a cold one at the Blue Moon, a biker bar in tiny Eatonville (and pit stop on the aforementioned Rainier adventure). But when the bikers and their old ladies started piling in, cursing all the cyclists on the road that day, we thought it best to skeedaddle. We briefly considered tipping over the row of hogs outside, Pee-Wee Herman style.

Dad rode his usual, steady pace throughout and finished strong, while I (true to form) started out too hard, then blew apart at the end. We climbed, rode hard in the drops on the flats, and bombed a couple outstanding descents. We laughed, took shots at one another, and tried not to talk about cancer.

Another great day on the bike. But I couldn't wait to get to the house.

The sun was out, the beer was cold, and the barbecue was hot. It was time to come together with family and put our collective pasty-white legs on the deck railing. Time to cook, share stories of the day, and enjoy the kids before their inevitable decline into teenager-dom. Time for three of my favorite girls to find a little patch of sunlight and spread out some toys.

Yep... a lot of what makes an adventure memorable is the after.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The day the music died...

The facebook fan page messages have been taunting me for 2 weeks. "Seattle Rock-n-Roll Marathon almost sold out!" and most recently, "Only 900 spots left, better hurry." That last one, I knew, was the funeral bell. Just now, I found out it's official. Sold out. I didn't get in. Caught between paychecks.

But where do they get off charging $115 for a race? And why don't I ever have any money? And wasn't Obama supposed to fix all this, anyway? I want my blanky.

Time to formulate a plan B.

Portland, maybe? That's just when I wanted to be peaking for cyclocross season, though. Hmmm... anyone know of another good marathon in the Northwest (WA, OR, ID, MT, UT) taking place in late June or early July?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Stomping the Trail - Squak Mountain 10k

I'm not sure I've ever placed top-5 in anything.

Ok, so I did win the Academic Olympics in 5th grade with a *cough, cough, buff fingernails on sweater vest* ingenious Rube Goldberg device that used a rubber band and a golf ball to snuff out a candle and tip over a glass of water. But a top-5 in sports? No, sir. I routinely finished 6th out of 8 in high school track events (and do hereby extend a heartfelt thank you to Todd and Tom, the only two kids less interested in running than myself).

Anyway... last week I ran my first trail race, a very difficult 10k at Squak Mountain. The run pitched up hard right from the start and continued thusly, without relief, for 3 miles. The course then turned abrubtly down for a knee-punishing 3 mile descent. Some uphill sections were impossibly steep and slippery with fresh mud, un-runnable. Some downhill sections were balls-to-the-wall, out of control fast.

It was great fun... the first time I've ever driven my heels into the dirt with complete abandon, focused only on keeping step with the guy in front of me (he's pushed ahead a few yards... kick harder!). I ended up 4th male, out of 25 or so. The winner set a new course record. I was a mere buck-thirty behind, and had run with the leaders most of the race.

Last Saturday was a revelation... I heart the trail run.

Ride Report - The Tulip Pedal...

We started the morning by coaxing two hot Italian ladies into the back of my Dad's truck. Bikes, you perverts. How many great Saturdays have started just like this?

Last year, The Tulip Pedal (in spite of it's delicate-sounding name) straight kicked our ass. We faced a headwind that literally stood us on our pedals for 20+ miles. It was one of the tougher days I've had on the bike. But this year was going to be different. Sky blue, legs strong, backpack carrying two Busch Light tallboys.

We started out fast from LaConner, tiny tourist burg in the heart of flower country, riding with Mona, her husband Mike, and their friend Marcia. Knowing that Spring is late this year, we stopped at the first field of daffodils, because it would likely be one of the last. Photo op.

On the next stretch, it became clear that Marcia would be my headwind this year. She was attacking hills with an energy I couldn't find, and dear old dad was matching.

After the first rest stop, energized by a handful of Shot Bloks, I put my head down and rode away from everyone for about a half-hour. Hands in the drops, effortless straight line, riding hard. I stopped and waited for Team Geriatric to catch up, blissfully ignorant of my impending unraveling.

I first became aware I was going to bonk somewhere around mile 50. At 55, I started to bemoan the pace, and even made a conscious decision to not take my turn at the front. The brain always goes limp first. Soon my legs followed, stiffening, and developing a serious knot in the left hamstring. Cursing every pedal stroke, I fell back and let the others ride away.

I hobbled back into LaConner, riding alongside my Dad, who had stopped to wait when he realized I'd hit the wall. Back in town, we met up with Lisa, fresh from her second big ride of 20 miles! My girl's not messing around here... she fully intends to work up to a century by summer. I'd been cycling daily for two years before I reached that milestone. Go baby!

We finished off the 62-mile day as it should have been. LaConner Brewing for pints and wood-fired pizza. All was right with the world again.

Bring on the next ride.