Sunday, December 25, 2005

Just Pix, again!

California Christmas

Christmas in California can't be beat. Yesterday, it was 80 degrees. Today, 72 degrees. Last week, I took this picture at Santa Ynez Mission in Solvang. It's twenty degrees back east, but here, it's perfect. Merry Christmas everyone, and enjoy the sunlight and miles of endless rides...


Monday, December 19, 2005

Solvang Solitude

Friday in Los Alamos was great. It was cold, and so calm that I think Don and I were the only two people alive in that town. Jesse and Katie arrived late, but eager to spend the weekend riding through the wine country. Dinner consisted of top sirloins and corn-bread, with an extra large helping of Firestone Walker Double Barrell Ale.
I was up at dawn, the cold night in a one hundred and twenty five year old building allowing me to rest as though I were dead. Coffee pot blazing, I tore upstairs to get the rest of the crew out of bed for the days events. After breakfast, we clipped in to our trusty steeds, and rode out amongst the vineyards. It's amazing what Spanish Moss looks like as it hangs from the trees, giving them an almost "Sleepy Hollow" appearance. Cattle, horses, a couple of coyotes, and a slew of birds of prey passed by as we rolled through the hills to the town of Los Olivos. This town, like Los Alamos, was one in a string of late nineteenth century Wells Fargo stage coach stops heading north from Los Angeles. Many still look like the set of "Little House On The Prairie," but Los Olivos has been marred by the rising income of the wine industry. Some vintage buildings remain, but most have been overcome by "quaint" shops and art dealers. It's only a five mile jaunt into Solvang from there, so after we had coffee, we jumped back in the saddle and made for the Mission Santa Ynez.
This well-preserved California mission sits on a bluff, adjacent to the Dutch-style tourist Mecca called Solvang. The mission was once a very populated Spanish garrison, but had been attacked repeatedly by natives forced into slavery during Spanish occupation. After a quick walking tour of the mission, we rolled through Solvang, and headed out the back to the park at Nojoqui Falls. This is an ancient Indian sacred site, and after one look, you'll know why. Tucked up in a slot canyon between Solvang and the 101 freeway, this breathtaking example of California beauty is an oasis on a hot day. Water trickles and flows down a huge drape of limestone and calcium deposits, creating a strange "cape" of sedimentary rock. After a few pictures in the grotto, it was time to roll out through the vine covered hills and hmake for Los Olivos, where our B & B host waited to pick us up and return us to the hotel. Saturday was one of the finest days of riding I have ever had.
That night, we all had plenty of drinks at the bar, played shuffle-board, and crashed out. Sunday morning we awoke to wind and rain, and it was decided that we would drive the day's tour destinations instead. Visiting a Victorian era church and cemetary, then hitting a wine tasting room, we went back to the hotel to pack for departure. Don and I stayed to help out around the hotel, trying our hands at some pro-bono action. It is such a drag to have to come back to reality, but a such a blessing knowing that heaven is only a two hour drive to the north.
I don't even need gossamer covered wings to get there, just my truck.....

Cap'n Chris

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Blissful Ignorance

I read "the Great Gatsby" for the first time in the fifth grade. That was probably my introduction to a real novel. It had some amazing characters in it, but the one that seemed the most tragic was the young and impressionable Daisy. I often hear her referred to as "blissfully ignorant," and that pretty much fits. Daisy is, for a majority of the novel, happily unaware of what transpires in the world she happily frolics in. This is probably for the best, because if young Daisy were to have the burdens of life laid to rest on her doorstep, life would not be so much like a "Doris Day Film Festival."
The reason I am using this analogy is to raise a point to all of you. Racing and riding should be a fun and "blissfully ignorant" thing for all of you to do. In light of the recent events with the girls, I would encourage all of you to please NOT take sides, or get caught up in any of it. There is not a single one of you who knows everything about this situation, and for the greater common good, should continue to be unaware of the day to day operations of a twenty-plus member operation. I wrote a short and quick blog page on Monday night, after the meeting, at 11:30 pm, and was extraordinarily tired from a long day at work. I felt the information was important enough to post, but did not have the time or mental faculties to calmly and objectively hammer out a multi-page retrospective. Tonight is my work Christmas party, so it probably won't be tonight, either. In any case, enjoy your friends, enjoy your rides, and let's move along, in blissful ignorance.

Cap'n Chris

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Manitou New Sponsor!

Hey guys! We now can add Answer/Manitou to our ever growing list of factory support. Pro Deal forms are coming soon. Please visit their site at and look at your future front fork/rear shock! I'll be getting an R-7 w/ remote lock out...can't wait! Here is a pic or two of Backbone racer Conor Rowan, placing 1st at Fontucky in XC..oh yeah, he is a SEMI-PRO DH racer! Damn that boy has talent....and nunchuck skills.

Cap'n Chris

Monday, December 12, 2005

Christie & Teri Leave Backbone For K&N Filter

Christie Pleiss and Teri Strayer announced tonight that they will both be racing for K & N Filter. Apologies for any sponsor related inconveniences that this may have created for the rest of the team. Jay will remain, as will Greg and his camera.

Cap'n Chris

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Bert "The Hurt" Moves Up!

I just saw the U.S.C.F. letter of acceptance, and it's official! Bert "The Hurt" Blanchette is a registered and legal kicker of other people's asses. With a newly honored SEMI-PRO ranking, Bert can now make all the twenty something racers who think they have a future, go back to college and get a real job. Thanks, Bert, for squashing the dreams of all those who thought they could hold your wheel, or take your podium spot.
Bert is so damn fast, he doesn't shave his legs. The hair actually BURNS UP ON RE-ENTRY. E.P.O. uses BERT as a performance enhancer, he's so friggin quick. KENDA tire actually had to create a tire just for him. It has a NASA approved, heat-resistant ceramic tile casing to withstand the immense heat generated from reaching subsonic speeds at ground level. You know he's in front of you, because the sand has gotten so hot, it has turned into a narrow band of GLASS on the trail in front of you!
Congratulate Bert. If you get to see him before he passes you. Too late, you already missed him.

Cap'n Chris

Saturday, December 03, 2005


There has been a change in the NORBA NCS BONELLI race date schedule. I know it will probably change again...and again...and again...but for now, according to the infinite wisdom of the USCF, it will now be on April the 22nd-23rd.
Today I was able to go ride a 4,000 foot mountain pass, in the frigid wind-chapped mountains near Santa Clarita. Abel was my wing man, as we rode from Hwy 14 and San Fernando road all the way up to the fire station/NIKE missile site at around 4,200 ft. of elevation. Perfect timing, as we made it back in time to watch the Trojans destroy the Bruins at the Colliseum today.
The rest of the gang hit Mt Pinos, in the Los Padres National Forest, to do McGill Trail. It was 32 degrees up there today, with wind chill making closer to 20! While I did not get to go on that ride, I know that at that temperature, not even Ara's FUR or the Wild Turkey in Jim's camelback could keep the boys warm. I hope that Jay, Conor, Jim, and Ara don't get stuck looking like Jack Nicholson at the end of "The Shining!" Tomorrow is road ride day with Don in Burbank. Wow, riding feels good! Now if I can just get someone to let me have the rest of my life off with pay..........

Cap'n Chris