Friday, November 14, 2008

The Tea Fire, Team Chicken Ranch Was On The Scene

Steve Otero, braved the fire area and had this to say. Steve, thanks for the photos and I like you am praying for all the people and if we can help, shout out!

Hello again.

Don’t mean to spam you but thought you might like to see today’s shots. Quite revealing under the daylight. Also, quite sad when you see all the lost homes.

Take care,

As you may have heard, Santa Barbara is in the middle of a huge fire in the Montecito and Riviera areas. So you know, our house is far from danger here on the Mesa.

Last night I rode my motorcycle around and got these shots. As you can tell, I was in the thick of it. For those that you know the areas, these were taken primarily from Las Alturas road. The last few are from the Rattlesnake Trail area and Sheffield Resevoir.

I hope the best for all our friends in these areas. Please let me know if there is anything we can do.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Training Report From South Dakota

It is truly against my better judgement to post these training reports from our own beloved Horse Whisperer, but I don't believe in censorship either. So for you faint at heart you have been warned.


Sorry to have missed the backcountry ride, but, I was doing some cross-training in South Dakota, with gun in hand this time. Results of the training attached. and will be served at the house opening.




Today's training results, 2 birds in hand. Had 5 good helpers, age 9 down to Pearl who is almost 5. Theo and Joseph drove the pickup (in the field) and I did the walking (that's the training part) to the shooting spot. Similar to a Sunday ride plan, it went flawless. Bird flushes and gets dropped right in front of the pickup in view of the kids.

It will be freezing rain by morning, cold the rest of the week. Enjoy your SB weather.


Last Weekend's Back Country Highlights


We had great ride on Sunday with good attendance and epic weather. If you were laying on the couch Sunday morning you missed out!

Even David Larsen and Dano showed-up on fat tire bikes...I have pictures to prove it! The ride up Romero was beautiful and uneventful. But when we got to the top the temperature dropped about 20 degrees and the wind picked up about 20mph. Lots of people started wheeling and dealing to buy or borrow extra bits of clothing for the ride down to Jameson. Strangely, nobody wanted to borrow Rod's sassy blue pajama pants no matter how cold it got.

We had 12 riders make it all the way to the Reservoir where we took a nice group shot and soaked in the views for a few minutes before turning around and heading back out. Everyone made it to the lake except for Rod and Phillip. They opted instead for some "alone" time in the bushes before joining us for the climb out. They claimed that Philip got a flat tire but we all know that neither one of them knows how to change a tube... plus we never did find Rod's sassy blue pajama pants?

Those of us at the back of the group got back to the cars reasonably exhausted and starving at 10:50am, which put us just under the projected 4 hour ride time. So I would call the ride an undeniable success and I can't wait to see what Rod's gonna wear next Sunday!

See you soon,


A Race Report From Down Under!

It was nice to hear from one of my old hoops buddies who is a pretty darn good mountain biker. If you don't know Joel you are really missing out on knowing a terrific guy. He moved to Australia a few years back and started a company that takes people on fun adventures. If you are ever thinking of heading his way, you should get in touch. Below is his latest race report filled with a few tidbits of local news. Enjoy The Ride Joel!
Your Adventure Starts Here!
Australia: 1-800-101-319 USA: 1-800-207-2453 UK: 0-800-234-6949 Skype:

Heya Greg and everyone.,

Just caught the note on the banquet, and as usual I only have that same lame excuse for not making the ride/banquet/etc...(spoken in a whiny voice) "..but I live halfway around the world"

I realized I was owed a race report to you, here goes, go ahead and blog it if you get the chance. (Chook means Chicken in Australian, so that make's me a chook rancher, right?)

Old Chook Still Climbing: hills and the learning curve.

Just a quick race report, filled with lies about the great things I did. This time though, in a new spirit of openness aimed increasing the entertainment value of the tale, I will avoid covering up all the stupid stuff that I managed to do all by myself, that said here goes, 'mates!

The Chook Ranch Down Under sub-tribe raced the RRR race here in North Queensland a couple of weeks back, and despite a comedy of errors, managed to podium, and narrowly missed first place.

The RRR (Rainforest to Reef Rampage) is the big short course race up here, maybe 45 km of racing, starting out with 20 km of flat, a nice single track climb, slogging through creeks in the jungle, a nightmarish nasty 3,000 ft in 2 miles descent, followed by a smooth Daytona Beach style 4 mile sprint at the end. About 300 racers took part, with a mass start that quickly narrowed to a narrow jeep road.

But the story starts earlier!

I love racing, but I am just the worst at bike maintenance, and don't notice things like, worn out tires, bent rims, crack frames, etc, at least not until the bike stops working or I hear something falling off and hitting the ground.

This time I decided to be smart and do a thorough tune up of the bike (that means put air in the tires and oil on the chain.) I thought I was pretty smart, actually noticing and replacing that tire with the tread worn down to the casing, and replacing the wheel with the inch long crack in the rim.

So race day comes, and we pop our bikes into my friend's van and head off to the race an hour early, (another first for me!, I am so good!)

Then I learned that with Zoke forks that if you transport your bike upside down and drive from sea level to 3,500 ft the air and oil can switch places, and take your fork down to a retro-rider 3mm of movement. Looked all over for someone with one of those adapters you need to charge the shock. Did not find one, but I did manage to find out my rear deraillure cable was worn to just a couple of strands at the attachment point.

So, minimal shifting, no front worries! Knowing I just got on Australia's great health insurance plans I figured I would race until I crashed or broke something, and see what happens.

The race went well, I managed to get out front at the start with the fast riders, and sucked onto the lead group till they got embarassed about this old guy on an old bike hanging with them and upped the pace. Two riders in my category caught up with me in a rolly part of the course when I got a bit too conservative about breaking my der. cable. We all played cat and mouse with each other for 15 minutes, and I finally put a break on them by running a river crossing and steep 100 metre climb leading up to the very scary big descent.

I knew that one of the guys behind me pretty well, he's fit and wise, and would never give up, so I grabbed the handlebars, let go of the breaks, and went for it on the downhill. My first mountainbike had a rigid fork, and this was a great reminder, both of how much help the new front forks are, but also how much you can do by just letting go of the breaks, finding the line, and holding on for dear life when it get's really rocky.

At the bottom of the climb it's 8 miles to the finish, 4 of it single track leading up to a wide flat hard beach. I went as hard as I could, hoping I could keep as much gap as possible. Things go fine, I hit the beach, 4 miles to the finish. With three miles to go I look back, and whoa! What's that guy doing right on my back wheel? It's him, and I know he's a road cyclist, so he's got the drafting and sprint finish strategy down pat. I think hard for maybe a millisecond, and come up with an idea...I will ride as hard as I can and leave this guy in the dust. All of you road types know what happenned :( I foolishly led him out to the last 100 metres, nearly killing myself in the process, so he could nip by me at the end and set a new course record.

Next time, (it's a 100 metre wide hard beach) I will ride up into the soft sand and kill his legs, then sprint down onto the hard sand and open a gap. I'll just ride around in a circle and loop behind him, (like Snoopy does to the Red Baron) hoping he will not open too big a gap, or fall over laughing. I will slow down or even stop, till he sees it becoming a three man race and takes the front. Next time, that's October, both my bike and I will be ready!

I did have a great time, and got invited to join this guy's road group. I am going to do that, they are nice folks, and I will pick up a few more tricks along the way.

My next ride, out in the jungle on Saturday, meet me at the Trinity Beach Roundabout at 8:00am. Who's in this week?

Oh, and if you like the ideas of nasty scary animals, check out these pics and articles, all taken from the local paper mostly in the last three weeks, this is a cool and gnarly neighborhood!

Crocodiles in swimming enclosures close the beaches
Snake eats cockatoo
Spider eats snake
Spider eats bird
Snake eats another wallaby (I ride here!)
Snake eats family pet
Snake eats wallaby

Just one race pic, have a look at the front fork!

cheers 'mates!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Those Chickens Are One Class Act!

The Chicken Ranch squad or as I like to refer to them "The B Team" got together and had their version of an awards banquet. I'm not sure that even one serious award was given out. This probably should have been referred to as the B Team Roast with your host Matt "Mr. 2nd Place" Benko!

I can tell you this, everyone that was there had a terrfic time and enjoyed seeing one another in real clothes. Heck, Old Man Steve is a pretty snappy dresser! It was fun to have all our families there and the kids were able to hang out and get to know one another better as the parents took in the festivites.

A few of the highlights were
Best Couple, Ken & Dan (that was a close race, NOT)
Rookie of the year, Brett got that one. (I hope your 2nd season has less road rash)
The Lewis and Clark Award went to Rod and Philip (my advice is not to catch a ride to a race with either of them)
Best Crash went to Kimberly, maybe that was Best Crashes?

I'm sure I missed quite a few so chime in with your comments as to what your favorites were.

We had some old rivalries renewed and the best men won. (Rob & Brad B)
We had a new nickname hung on an unsuspecting yet willing teenager. Congratulations Charlie "Wingerman" Zimmerman. (say that 10 times fast)
There was also a raffle for a bike that I know The Horse Whisperer knew he would win.

Enjoy the photos that Matt had his camerawoman Denise supply me and if you have any others you would like to have added to the slide show just email them my way.

Last but not least Trixie was nice enough to give us a very well received update on the Harbaugh kids. They are doing great, and that is terrific news for all of us.

Matt, Blinger, and all the sponsors thanks for a terrific year and I know that everyone that showed up for the free food and beverages enjoyed themselves a ton. ENJOY THE RIDE!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Are You Handy With A Shovel?

I, like many of you may have received this email. I wanted to make sure everyone saw it. Thanks to everyone who helps maintain our trails!

We are emailing you because you are an important member of the trail using community. As you may have heard in our previous emails we are going to be starting up a trail work crew. We have set November 15th as the date to do our first trail project. This project will be in cooperation/preparation for the 9 Trails Race whose organizers have informed us what they need. No experience in trail maintenance is required and no tools are required, both will be provided to you. Some more specifics about this event:

Date: Sat, November 15th
Approximate time commitment: 3-4 hours (probably 9am - noonish)

Location: Rattlesnake Trail. Tunnel- Rattlesnake Connector, meet @ Rattlesnake Trail Head shuttle to top of trail?

Attire: Sturdy shoes, pants, long sleeve shirt, gloves, and glasses - sun or other. Helmets are required, bicycle will work fine, we will provide you if needed.

Supplies: It is recommended that you wear sunscreen/lip balm. Bring at least a liter+ of water and a snack and have a small backpack/camelbak if possible.

Project Specifics: De-Brush and repair tread of the Tunnel-RS Connector Trail. Use of mcleods, loppers, and hand saws will accomplish this. This section of trail is approximately 1 mile in length, 4-5 miles of hiking total are expected.

Following the work we will hike back down to our cars at the trail head and call it a day. Everyone who participates will receive a T-shirt so let us know you size. Person to contact about this event is Dave Everett, (805) 729-0028, feel free to contact him for more information.

Thank you,
The Multiuse Trails Coalition,

Monday, November 3, 2008

Kimberly Does It Again. Cross Queen!

Hello everyone!
I know that most of you are into the 'off-season' but to have some fun and to improve my bike handling skills, I have decided to try a little cyclocross! It is really a lot of fun, and I've been to 2 races. I can write a race report now after the 2nd one...I had to do at least 2 to make sure it wasn't a fluke!

Last week I went to Spooky Cross in Irvine. It was my first ever 'cross race. It was a lot of fun, and I managed to get 3rd place, even with 2 crashes! Thankfully cyclocross crashes don't really hurt since you're just not going that fast, and the ground is a bit softer than pavement (usually).

Today, I did ConvertCross at Lake Casitas. It was so much fun! The course was really fun, a lot more technical than last week. Today I repeated with another 3rd place in the W3/4 race. I did drop my chain once and get it all tangled, but I was much smoother than last week, and I even got to use my newly found log-hopping skill! It was really a fun time, and there were lots of folks out there cheering. :-) The fields have been good sized--the largest to date in Socal women's 'cross racing!

Here are some photos that fellow ChickenRancher Randy Tinney took.

Kimberly (who is hoping to break the 3rd place streak so she doesn't get the "3" award at next year's banquet)

Check out Kimberly's blog for more details.......

Creative Campaigning!

O.K., maybe some of you have seen this, but a friend just sent me this and it is funny. Please beware there are a few choice words! I hope everyone does go out and vote.