Category Archives: Outdoors


Will just purchased a 2007 Cannondale Rush 4. I find my reaction evenly divided between three poles:

  1. Excitement on his behalf, because the Rush has the reputation of being a rather sweet marathoner.

  2. Anticipation of the chance for a test ride.

  3. Dread of the man-beating I can sense descending upon me the next time we attack hilly terrain together.

In other words, “Yay!”, “Woohoo!”, and “Oy” all at once.


Perfection is a shy and elusive target, crawling ever further back into the crevice between measurement and asymptote, between real and ideal.

That having been said, the bike now feels 99.9% dialed-in. That only took, what, almost a year? (To be fair, the thing that took the longest was the drivetrain, and I made one costly mistake there, with cascading consequences. I suspect that I’ll turn the next one, whenever and whatever it might be, around much more quickly.)


Unbleached #2 coffee filters, accidentally purchased for use in a #4 machine: useless.

Unbleached #2 coffee filters, for refreshing, through removal of suspended particulates and other gunk, the citrus solvent you just used to leave your chain spotless: perfect.

A Fresh Volley

Cannondale has unveiled its 2007 bike line.

The Carbon Rush family has made its official debut, after a summer of tantalizing press releases, as has a new carbon hardtail frame, the Taurine. There are the usual tweaks to paint schemes and model numbering, of course.

The addition of greatest interest to me, though, is the Rush 3Z. As far as I can tell, it’s a Rush 3 with a conventional fork and matching headset — an acknowledgment, it would seem, that there are people who want a top-of-the-line aluminum Rush but aren’t yet, for whatever reason, quite ready to embrace Cannondale’s signature Lefty design.

Cannondale Rush 3Z

It is disquietingly possible that I am in fact one of these people.

Gloss Leader

I don’t know who the Crank Brothers use to do their component photography, but these people need to be stopped. They’re a menace to public decency and morals.

Seriously, pictures of the company’s new line of bottom brackets shouldn’t be making me drool just because they’re awash in lustrously anodized, lovingly polished, precisely machined metal. This is sick.

“Whatever turns your crank,” they say, but I’m not sure that’s what they meant.

Buy This Book

If you own a mountain bike and don’t intend for every last bit of its maintenance to be handled by your local bike shop, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Lennard Zinn’s Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance. In terms of “A-ha!” moments, to say nothing of damage likely spared to your components by the avoidance of stupid mistakes, it will pay for itself in a matter of hours.

It’s not just that Zinn’s explanations are detailed and his prose lucid, or that Todd Telander’s many excellent illustrations shed further light upon the subject, though all of these things are true. It also that pretty much every page makes clear how much Zinn loves the subject; how much of its lore he has absorbed over the years, to the point where understanding seems to seep from his very pores.

Orson Scott Card wrote that “the Maker is a part of what he makes.” Reading Zinn’s book, and surveying his handiwork, one glimpses just what that might mean in the real world.

Fact of the Day

Marzocchi, I’ve discovered, still makes some suspension forks, notably the MX Comp, with one-inch steerers. Are they good? Are they crap? I don’t know. With luck, I’ll find out Monday.

Oh, and I’m well aware that only one person who reads this blog regularly is likely to even know what I’m talking about, and he’s going to smack me for doing something he explicitly told me not to do. I can only say that I had my reasons. (Maniacally stupid ones, quite possibly, but mine all the same.)

Park It

Lately I’ve been finding myself repeatedly asked to describe some of my favorite hiking spots. Rather than have the same abbreviated conversation multiple times, I figured I’d try to write out the list in some detail for future reference. (Don’t be surprised should other installments follow.)

Almaden Quicksilver:

The most recent discovery, and rapidly becoming something of a favorite. Large, located near the southeastern tip of the Bay, and generally not overrun with hikers. Fairly hilly. It’s located in the south hills, so it tends to be green, shady, and (relatively) cool, even in the summer.

Los Gatos Creek:

This one is quite literally across the street from me. It’s paved, which makes it a good choice during the rainy season, flat, and long, extending all the way to the Lexington Reservoir. It tends to be fairly busy, but the folks you find on it are usually friendly.

Rancho San Antonio:

The terrain type is very similar to Almaden Quicksilver, this being another place that hugs the south hills. It tends to be very heavily attended, especially on Sundays, and parking can actually be hard to find. If you go at the right time of year, around April, and walk carefully around the brush in the low-lying areas, you might be rewarded with the sight of proud Quail parents marshaling a parade of their small, antenna-headed offspring about. There are cuter things in this world, but not many.

Wunderlich Park:

I’ve only been here once, but it’s nice. Like Almaden Quicksilver and Rancho San Antonio, it’s in the woods of the south hills, though it might offer the steepest inclines of the three. According to my friend’s guidebook, but not the website, it is home to a pond which serves as a salamander spawning pool in spring. I’ve been to the pond, but, having been there in November, saw absolutely nothing going on. That’s a reason to go back right there.

Crystal Springs:

This is up in San Mateo, but it’s a favorite of my mom’s: it’s relatively flat, and paved, so it suits her style of fast walking. Being paved, it’s also a good choice during the rainy season, when some of the other park trails can be treacherously muddy. Oh, and it offers at-times spectacular views of the Upper and Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir. Like Rancho San Antonio, it can be very popular, so it pays to go early in the morning.

Joseph D. Grant Park:

“One of these things is not like the others.” Grant Park is nestled in the north hills, about halfway between San Jose and Lick Observatory. It’s huge, and sprawling. Being in the north hills means that it’s much more open: the terrain type is grassland dotted with the occasional oak, rather than woods. This means that it’s a good place to visit in the spring: if you go in the summer, bring lots of water, sunscreen, and a hat, because it can get wickedly hot and dry. (Note that the fact that it gets dry in the summer does not insure it against being muddy just after the rainy season, as I discovered to my chagrin one year.)

Although the park may sound harsh and spartan the way I’m describing it, it’s actually quite beautiful, with sweeping views of gently rolling hills and grasslands. It’s also home to various kinds of animals — I’ve seen cattle (often), wild boar (occasionally) and a bobcat (once).