Dé Sathairn 7 Samhain 2009

Talamh reoite, sonas orm

Went for a little spin around Crev-Mo and Keppler today. First time on a bike since last weeks ass-chapathon. Wait, no, I played around a little bit the other day, but not for more than an hour... Anyway. Temps were right around 30, trails were frozen and fast. Threw the SSStump into it's girlie gear and left it there for the duration of the easy ride.

Some instances of interest:

Plastic shopping bags suck. Part of this trail system butts up against the Palmer dump. There's no odor that I've ever noticed, but the strong Matanuska wind blows hundreds upon hundreds of plastic shopping bags into the surrounding woods.


Seconds after taking this photo, I ran into one of the valley's chainsaw gnomes. Anchorage has chainsaw fairies, the Valley has gnomes. He was cutting out a bunch of the blow downs that were blocking the trails. I helped him get some branches off the trail, thanked him, and rode away. He was riding with an ancient looking frame pack and what looked like a 20" bladed Stihl... I ran into him a few times throughout the ride. For someone carrying a chainsaw and stopping to cut trees along the way, he was keeping a pretty damned good pace. Real Gnomes don't show up in photos, so I didn't bother.

Saw some fungus.


Had some fun.


Fell down a bunch.

Untitled from sean grady on Vimeo.

Lost my keys. Purty sunset. Beer. The end.

Dé Luain 2 Samhain 2009

The Manly Soap Review - Installment 1

I stink. I'm a man, and if I don't keep on top of it, I have some rather strong odors that only I(and one particular ex-GF) seem to appreciate. So, in order to not ostracize myself further than my bubbly personality already does, regular bathing is a must. Now, when it comes to soap, I've developed some kinda picky quirks. I used to be vegan way back in the whenever ago, and the vegetable based soaps thing has stuck with me. I also can't be bothered with different soaps for face, hands and body. 'Natural' is also good, for whatever reason, as is not-produced-by-a-big-computerized-machine. I would also like to specifically not smell like I'm on my way to a club after taking a bath in some awful cologne.

So, last week, I went about ordering a bunch of different handmade soaps from handmade soap shops on Etsy.com

I looked around a bunch using the search tools, and started a thread in their forums asking to be pointed towards "Manly Soaps". Both yielded the results I was looking for, and within a day or so, I had bookmarked enough different soaps from several different vendors to, hopefully, last me the better part of a year. I ordered, and paid(in full) for the soaps on, I think it was, Wednesday of last week.

I promised the vendors that I would do reviews on my blog of the soaps I liked out of the batch. Therefor, I present to you the first installment of:

Sean's Manly Soap Review

And They're OFF!!!

Received email notifications of the shipping of manly soap from 3 of the vendors I ordered from this morning. Went to the beer store, then the rent store this afternoon and when I came back, sitting on the kitchen counter waiting for me was the first package of manly soap from one of the other vendors I ordered from! A++ right off the bat to Kelly Fielder of GreenHavenSoaps for supafast shipping! All of the soaps I received from her smell awesome out of the box.

Here's a link to her shop:


and her website:


This is not a mark against the other vendors by any means at all. It's just kind of like extra credit for Miss Fielder.

I'll take a shower tonight, since, coincidentally, I happen to stink right now, and report my findings in the morning.

Dé Domhnaigh 1 Samhain 2009

luain lasrach, toin lasrach....

Big group ride up over Hatcher pass and down to Meadow Lakes yesterday. Last year's iteration of this ride saw more than a foot of snow on the ground, this years, barely any. It also saw me making a hasty retreat with frozen toes before even making it to the parking lot at Independence mine. This year saw 14 riders, 12 fat bikes, 11 bikes with fat tires, two different fat tire tread patterns, @60 miles, over a pass, beer, bar-b-que and good company.

I set my alarm for 5am in order to get myself and the Karate monkey shod and ready for the ride, after spending most of Friday breaking a sewing machine. Got up at 4:59, before the alarm, and was then woken at 8:11 by a phone call from Mark, of Wildfire cycles, offering me a lift to the 10AM start. So it was a speedy shower, breakfast, try to find clean riding clothes appropriate for the weather, and through the only completely assembled bike I have (the SSStump) in the back of the truck and try not to forget anything important...

We barely made it to the parking lot before the group took off. Quickly got the bikes together, restaged the group start photos, and took off, immediately hitting a steep, 2 mile climb in the cold alpine air. That one hurt the lungs a bit, and while the SSStump is, in fact, a girlie multi-speed contraption, it's easiest gear is a 32f x 24r, so I was soon walking at about the same pace people were riding


It was refreshing to see a variety of fat tire tread patterns in the snow.




colorful fat bikes


colorful people



From the top of the pass, it was an incredibly fun ripper of a downhill. @3600' of elevation lost. Perfect trail conditions, frozen and fast without a hint of ice.




The group was dramatically reduced in size after the bar, and the rest of the ride was on bike path. My thighs were starting to burn by the time we got there, 30 or so miles in. The bacon cheeseburger and beer didn't help that as much as I though they would.

just your everyday team of huskies pulling a four wheeler down the bike path....

About ten miles from the Frank's cabin(the finish), we rounded a bend into a direct Matanuska head wind, laced with airborne glacial silt. My burning thighs became cramping thighs, and the SSStump was relegated to the wussiest two of it's 4 working gears. It was during this stretch that I also really began to regret forgetting to apply some shammy butter... We soldiered on through it though, and were rewarded with a feast of chili, brats, baked goods, beer, coffee and a warm cabin, all courtesy of our hosts and friends.

The finishers: beer, bar-b-que and excellent hospitality were the reward.