Spokin' Sportsmans

Team Sportsman adventures

For the love of cyclocross

Why?  This picture makes me happy!


Good night hugs while Em rides her trainer in the evening because riding her trainer is her only option.  Even when the weather outside is good. Strong mind, strong will, strong drive, and strong legs. Just mix in a hug.

Easter Weekend 2. Four Wheel Camper

Sometimes, despite the planning, the same site doesn’t meet all of our requirements.  In this case, across Easter weekend, we changed sites each night; four nights, four sites.

First site was pragmatic, we didn’t want to drive from Oakland to the Alabama Hills after work.

Panoche Hills BLM on the west end of the San Joaquin Valley. Arriving after dark, there were two distinct sources of excitement.  The first was following hares up the road in the dark waiting for them to dash into the bushes on the side of the dirt road. The second was the brief period of ethereal space opera sounding over the hills at night.  Beyond that, I think we had the entire area to ourselves (it is a small BLM reserve)

Four wheel camper advantage, pull over and pop the top…

The next day, we arrived in the Alabama Hills.  The choicest spots were taken, but we still found a nice site behind some rocks.

view out the back door


However, the next morning, I noticed a site up above opening up. A short move later and we were further up the hill in the rocks.



She LOVED this site..

Sunday afternoon, Em suggested we bail a day early to make to visit the Carrizo Plains on the way home.

Stopping by the painted rock (while B checked out the nostrils)

We moved to the Keyesville Recreation Area, and I have never seen the Kern River so full, and very few camp areas so filled with trash.  It must’ve been a wild long weekend there.

Although we didn’t stay overnight, our final destination before going home was the Carrizo Plains to see the Superbloom..

Another advantage of the FWC, photog perch.


Easter Weekend 1: Mountainbiking

Mountain biking was the activity pulled from the Sportsman quiver for our Easter weekend trip to the Alabama Hills.  A slight detour to Keyesville, introduced Beryl to the Kern River Trails.  Unfortunately, it is too early in the year for the Kern River Canyon wildflower/California poppy display.

Getting her groove on the Trail Gator.  As an aside, this marks our last attempt to use the Trail Gator, regardless of the bike set-up, her bike tends to lean to the side limiting its usefulness, and further tightening only crushes her headtube

channelling MJ through the sand

Descending in loose, deep sand is a skill to be developed

There is never shame to hike-a-bike

She thrived on the single track

Will have to break that hanging-tongue habit

Even small inclines can be daunting with small wheels

Booboos happen

The other reason to detour…

Searching for better camp sites in the Alabama Hills. Helpful push through the sand

Spring Skiing at Kirkwood

One last ski trip (and my first actual day of spring skiing)

During the drive to Kirkwood, I saw a sign for the Black Chasm Cavern, and asked Em for google info to see if it would be a nice sidetrip for the Little One.  I hadn’t seen Emily so animated for a while, apparently it would be a nice sidetrip for the Little One and even better side trip for the Geophilic One.  Volcano, here we come!

With time to kill until the next Cavern tour, we gave the Little One a bag of dirt and introduced her to sluicing..

Lo and behold, there were rocks, minerals, and gemstones in that dirt.  The geologic engineer was very happy helping identify her new treasures


Into the caverns. water table, 100 feet down..

Helictites filled the walls of the  third cavern

transitioning from cave bacon to angel wings (slowly)


The Dragon

Afterwards, the Little One led the charge to the surface.  She enjoyed the descent into the caverns. She was attentive and curious while in the caverns. But, when it was time to leave, she was focused on leaving without being distracted by the sights.

Short hike and playtime in the snow

It was warm

Earning her runs

Rocket time..

Near alpen glow on the Thimble (?) after dinner at the 7800 Bar and Gril(which was one of the least healthy meals we’ve had in a long time, Mac & Cheese, Nachos, and Pretzels with Whiskey Cheese Sauce.  and beers).  I still need a salad..

Little One with Mommy and Auntie Mamy sharing a chair


Warm up run

Carving the Trench of Terror !!!!

tele turns

twin tele turns

The snowboarder was done, but the skiers were chasing the Little One and her instructor.  Rob was really excited!!

Keeping busy while they do one more run…

The end of the final run

Coming for a surprise scoop!

packing the gear back in the camper

No hills

Lunch run along the Hayward shore

Flat as can be

There was a red winged black bird

a snowy egret or two


flock of American Avocets, a marbled godwit, the bay bridge and downtown SF






Fun in the Rain

Walked to daycare this morning.

When not reminding me that unlike all the other kids saw this morning, she doesn’t have an umbrella, ours are too big for her to hold easily, and she’d really like one for her birthday


She really,


wanted to splash me…

A day at the Park

Pleasanton BMX Park

Just like a pro before a ride..

It didn’t take long for Beryl to get her groove on


She didn’t know about riding the wall…yet..


Preparing to get her pump on, gaining “Hero Speed” on the backsides


She had to walk a turn on the backside

until she learned to carry her speed

After a few laps, I gave up trying to run with her and just enjoyed the show



at the end of the day, she took the camera

I gave the Rat Ride a little workout


my Keirin Cut Jeans were good to go

She has a good eye

finishing strong with a selfie, in need of a tissue..



Mineral King, Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park

One aspect of California living that we struggle with is the distance to the mountains and the LOGISTICS of backcountry permits.  However, once we are in the Sierra, it is a magical place to rival Colorado and BC. For the July long weekend, we had a backcountry permit for the White Chief Trail — 4 km and 900 m to the first backcountry campground. Thankfully my sister and her boyfriend adjusted their normal 30-40 km weekend backpacking trips to join us and help get the munchkin up the hill.


High Sierra magic

We were well prepared for the steep climb: 1/2 lb of gummy worms and sweedish fish and another 1/2 pound of m&ms.  We only had to rely on the daddy train for about 1 km for the climb in.  The hardest part of hiking/backpacking with a child is keeping their imagination engaged.  She quickly tires if we are just hiking, but if we are climbing up the North Mountain (ala Frozen) or playing some oddball game from her imagination then she POWERS on.  Seriously, one day on our 2 week Colorado trip she did 12 kms in the rain without a single fuss because we were playing marmot and moose and baby deer birthday party.

Gummy worm powered hiking. photo by RM

Gummy worm powered hiking. photo by RM

Stream crossing with Auntie

Stream crossing with Auntie

Daddy: for when your permit is for the steep trail

Daddy: for when your permit is for the steep trail

I admit to being disappointed with being assigned the White Chief trailhead.  It was third on my list of 5 trailheads for the backcountry permit. We were hoping to camp near a lake and make use of our packraft.  That is what I get for not doing my homework… White Chief was amazing. There was an old mine, there were karst features (aka caves!), there was contact metamorphism (marble!), there was a beautiful alpine basin with a waterfall, there were wildflowers, there were snow fields.  Thanks to the permit system which limits the number of visitors at each trailhead we had two nights with no one else in sight.




Spelunking practice


Beryl, master mountaineer 🙂


Our kid is awesome

I really love having a little kid now instead of a toddler or baby.  The hiking is slower since we don’t carry  her anymore and her candy consumption/kilometer is really a marvel, but she is learning that this is what our family does.  We go outside. She is also big enough now for the junior ranger program at the National Parks.  We worked on her junior ranger book and I have never seen her so proud as when she got her first badge from the Ranger.  <3

Junior Ranger in the making

Junior Ranger pledge

Little miss is also learning the joys of backcountry skinnydipping.


Who needs a bath at 10,000 ft?

CX and my daughter

I’m 40.  She’s 4. We both raced cyclocross this weekend.

She told everyone who would listen how fast she was now that she was on a pedal bike.  She lined up with the big kids and held her ground as they pushed forward and hemmed her in. She was excited and primed. She was strong and happy.



I told everyone I was old and didn’t belong racing elite class.  I stayed at the edge of the starting grid even hesitating to take a front row spot after the official opened up staging. I looked at all the other women and felt like I didn’t belong. My goal was to not be lapped and have a top 10 finish (17 signed up but only 12 raced)


The woman ahead of me did a UCI race in China earlier this year! This is not middle-age mom class.

We started racing and the fast at the national/international level women opened a gap in the first half lap.  I was sitting in the second group of 5th-9th as we traded places.  To my surprise, I was more aggressive with the bike handling and managed to get several passes on inside corners when the other women went wide.  Of course, where pedaling and power were needed, they passed me!  I worked hard to keep the negative self-talk quiet and remember that all the women were getting tired.  My usual script involves believing that every other racer gets stronger each lap and I’m the only one working too hard and getting slower.  Surprisingly the results showed consistent lap times. I finished the race in 5th place and thanks to the (amazing!) equal payouts from the West Sacramento Cyclocross Gran Prix I won enough money to take the family to dinner and am considering buying socks to match my Team Roaring Mouse kit. In short, it was AMAZING. I raced hard. I was proud.

Here the tie in with my daughter. Not 1 day after the race and the negative self-talk started again. My result wasn’t from the hours I’ve spent on the trainer riding after our daughter goes to bed. It wasn’t the 30-minute runs I fit in during her gymnastics class. It wasn’t the once a week weight sessions or yoga class I take during my lunch hour.  It was the other women had bad races. It was Scott giving me water hand-ups every lap (which was actually vital). It was that my mom had come to babysit so we were temporarily relieved of parenting duties. In my mind, my results had nothing to do with what I’ve put into cycling. In my mind, my results were an anomaly and I am unlikely to have another great race. I don’t want my daughter to ever have these thoughts, to have this doubt, or to minimize her work and accomplishments.  This means starting with myself.  My only CX season goal this year is to quiet my inner dialogue.  If I can take responsibility for my failures in life, then I should be able to take credit for my success too. This is going to be hard! Wish me luck.


Beer me!

Shell of a Hawk

After a few years with our FWC Fleet, Emily developed upgraditis, which couldn’t be more out of character from someone that still uses secondhand gear from undergrad.  After a few months deliberation, we pulled the trigger and ordered a new FWC Hawk Shell.

Yesterday, we said goodbye to the Fleet, which now belongs to self-professed dirtbag climbers, and lives on a Tacoma, an appropriately sized truck for a Fleet.

Good bye Fleet

This morning we took delivery of the new Hawk..

Hello Hawk


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