Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Heat is Up -- Special Weather Statement

Date: 31 May 2006
Miles: 12.58
Average Speed: 14.4
May Mileage: 303.89
Weather: 101°F. Sun
Bike: Roadie.

Temps are expected to hit 110 by Saturday. I suppose that is hot. Most staggering is the relative humidity, which has been as low as 4%, and less than 8% for most of the daylight hours. Talk about sucking the juice right outta your pucker. It is really just hot and dry. Burns one's lips to inhale.

Someone I don't remember, called out to me today at work to ask if I had ridden in to work -- and I had to say no -- tomorrow. I think I may becoming known as that guy that rides his bike dispite the heat, which I haven't actually done that much of yet. This is really something because two of my coworkers ride everyday -- but their commute is much shorter.

Bike Commuter Practice Session

Now that it actually works. I am reposting this in case you missed it. I have a faster connection now so hopefully it won't take too long to download.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Further Still

Date: 27 May 2006
Miles: ~6
Average Speed: 11.7
May Mileage: 291.31
Bike: Commuter

When I was leaving the library there were a couple of young riders locking up their bikes next to my commuter. The kid says, "Wow, that's a real nice bike, Mister." I kid you not. I said "Well, it's old and heavy, but we get by." So he explains to me why it's a nice bike, that it's a Bianchi, and it's steel, and so on. I think, now there's a kid who's paying attention. And I remember, that yep, I am still pretty cool. It was fun.

So the next day I took the roadie out for a spin.

Date: 28 May 2006
Miles: 14.2
May Mileage: 305.51
Bike: Commuter

Then I ran a mile at the Gym.

On Sunday I took a hike out at the Blevins trail, I was looking for a Hawk nest out there. I ran the first mile there and walked the last two. Saturday AM I will be heading back to find it, with the camera.

And now I am sort of caught up ...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Learning to Fly (Red-Tail Hawk Fledglings)







I met the folks in the house behind which these guys are learning to fly. It seems they already know how to eat. The flying bird is the adult male I think, having delivered lunch.

Digital Photographs of Red-Tailed Hawks. © 2006 Shawn Kielty. All rights reserved. These photographs may not be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of Shawn Kielty.

Fledgling Red-Tailed Hawk. © 2006 Shawn Kielty, All rights reserved

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Further on up the Road

It's a Robert Johnson song I think, but at the hands of a master, it great to ride to. I stopped in to see the normally friendly bike guy, and we threw the commuter up on the scale. 47+ lbs. Go figure. Without the camera it is a mere 39 lbs. That helps explain why it is so much fun to ride. Maybe I can add on an extra room.

Last night's ride:

Date: 26 May 2006
Miles: 12.6
Average Speed: 11.7
May Mileage: 267.31
Weather: Dark, 100°F., calm.
Bike: Commuter

Today so far (I am currently using the computer at the library. because, well, the internet is turned off this weekend at my place).

Date: 27 May 2006
Miles: ~18
Average Speed: 11.7
May Mileage: 285.31
Weather: Dark, 93°F. wind, dust.
Bike: Commuter
On the ipod: Eric Clapton, Further on up the Road

More later and pictures, later, later. It turns out that if I bring the card reader to the library I can get the pictures from it. Who knew?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Night Riding

Date: 25 May 2006
Miles: 14.68
Average Speed: 11.7
May Mileage: 254.71
Weather: Dark, 87°F. stars, calm.
Bike: Commuter

Last nights ride to test out the night riding philosophy. It seems to work. Although slower. Today I received a cool deck bag from the Banjo Brothers. So last night was it's maiden voyage.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

About the House Wren Nests

I am not sure I agree with the BirdChick. She says:

... (the) bird houses I put up this spring, all of them have been claimed as wren boxes. Not only that, they all appear to be wren decoy nests as opposed to the actual wren nest. (For non birders--house wrens will build several nests--sometimes 5 to 6 and only actually lay eggs in one of them. The others serve as decoys against predators).


Wren decoy nests?

I understand that the House Wren is a total slut. The male builds a nest and tries to entice any female into finishing it and setting up house. If he succeeds he continues to build nests and tries to entice (other) females to raise a family with him. He builds the nests as a way to attract the female and to take possession of the nest site. If he fails to attract a female he continues to build nests and try to entice females ... He may build 5 or 6 (or more) nests. There's an interesting polygynist behavioral pattern which includes secondary mating and "extra-pair" breeding. According to this set of articles a female will even destroy an existing nest and kick the resident female out to get access to the prime real estate, and the male.

Although the nests may serve later as "decoy" nests, I don't believe that is their initial purpose. Are they specifically to enhance the breeding opportunities of the male House Wren and lay claim to the resources, a by product of the extreme competition for nesting sites and opportunities, or -- as the Bird chick indicates -- to decoy against nest predators? Such predators -- it seems -- may in fact be other House Wrens.

Yellow Feet

 
This bird -- seen previously -- has yellow feet. This confirms it's existance as a Snowy Egret. Despite the doubter -- my co-worker -- who earlier today disputed the claim of the earlier post. Look again. Posted by Picasa

Bike Commuter Practice Session

And you think you have it bad.

I ran one mile on the treadmill today with half mile splits at 4:20 and 4:37. According to the heart rate monitor (and my burning thighs), I was well over my 85% of VO2 max. It sure feels good to work really hard for about ten minutes.

Tour de Cure 50K, Palo Alto CA

Date: 21 May 2006
Miles: 33.58
Average Speed: 13.0
May Mileage: 240.03
Weather: 60 ish °F. Overcast, light rain.
Bike: Roadie



The pace setter Lauralyn.



Foster and Devon register.



The starting line.



Elise (I'd never met her) with a couple of cameras at the first rest stop, taking pictures of her husband riding. She had cool gear.

It was a good ride.

Coot with Swallow Reflection


Digital Photograph, © 2006 Shawn Kielty. All rights reserved. Posted by Picasa

American Coot

 
Digital Photograph. © 2006 Shawn Kielty. All rights reserved. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Avocet in Summer Plumage

 
Avocet in Summer Plumage. Digital Photograph. © 2006 Shawn Kielty. All rights reserved. Posted by Picasa

Snowy Egret

 
Snowy Egret. Digital Photograph. © 2006 Shawn Kielty. All rights reserved. Posted by Picasa

White Faced Ibis in Breeding Plumage






There's a whole weekend of news to report. but this was exciting. These shots of White Faced Ibis came from a brief stop over at Kern National Wildlife Refuge today.

White Faced Ibis. Digital Photographs. © 2006 Shawn Kielty. All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Friday, May 19, 2006

Ivory Billed Woodpecker?


Nope. Gilded Flicker. This lacks the red moustache so presumably it is the female. Black crescent on the chest with the yellow on the wings and the tail were the deciding factors. Gilded Flicker. Digital Photograph. © 2006 Shawn Kielty. All rights reserved. Posted by Picasa

2 Doves and Blooming Saguaro


Some Lucky Day. Digital Photograph. © 2006 Shawn Kielty. All rights reserved.

I believe these would be white winged doves.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Buckthorn Cholla


Buckthorn Cholla. Digital Photograph. © 2006 Shawn Kielty. All rights reserved. Posted by Picasa

About the Weather

I don't know if anyone has noticed that I haven't been on my bike. We have had a couple of serious dust storms this week -- which are particularly nasty.

The other noticable thing is that it was 111°F. in Bullhead City AZ today and 105 in Mesa. Death Valley gets today's high at 116, however. George W. Bush was in Yuma AZ today, and you can bet he noticed it was kinda warm. 105° temps are not enough to keep me off the bike, but duststorms and lightning are. Over 5 fires burning in Arizona today as a result of lightning -- so it looks like Summer might be here early.

Currently at 10:30 P.M. it is 92°F.

Mile

This morning on the treadmill. 1.0 mile in 10:08. Not too spectacular.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

This Sparrow



Is this a White Crowned Sparrow? I have to find that bird book. © 2006 Shawn Kielty. All rights reserved.

On the stereo: Juliana Hatfield. Hey Babe. "Running around in the desert, trying to get wet."

Get Off Your Knees

Juliana Hatfield - guitar, vocals • Mike Watt - bass • Mike Leahy - guitar • Clay Tarver - guitar • Todd Philips - drums

You taste little bits that wouldn't digest. And you shit 'em out of your system. You grab hands, squeeze, then let it go. Drop it and watch it fall away like snow. Yearning for a drug that doesn't exist. Using your mouth like a fist. That smile can't even show on your face. You gotta get out of this place. Like the noose snared to your leg don't fit. Though even if you found the key you can't. Get off your knees and repeat after me. "The devil rocks my soul." Accept the fact that he didn't die and you'll be good to go. There's a lump in my throat that won't go away. I'm gonna rip it out. I'm gonna kill desire and knock it down. You'll be under my foot down on the ground. You're trying to get the picture when there's nothing really to get. You're running around in the desert trying to get wet. You're wanting to hold on tight when there's nothing really to hold. Stop that train of thought that drives you into the cold. Get off your knees and repeat after me. "The devil rocks my soul." Accept the fact that he didn't die and you'll be good to go. Get off your knees and repeat after me. "The devil rocks my soul." Accept the fact that he didn't die and you'll be good to go.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ask for More

I was First for a Change

That's never happened before. Me -- first in a physical activity. I had two older brothers. They were always first. Look at Tom Stormcrowe's site to see the week's miles. I think I was highest. I am sure that it is because Jill was on foot. The desert sometimes wants people to walk. Or run. Or dangle from a rope ... and swim.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Another Day

Date: 14 May 2006
Miles: 18.08
Average Speed: 14.9
May Mileage: 202.31
Weather: 96°F. Overcast.
Bike: Roadie

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Cleaning, and Cleaning



I know -- this is what everyone has in their bathroom. Bengay -- for those days. Maalox, to counteract the effect of Gatorade. Dermatone sunscreen slime -- yuck. Badger muscle rub with cayenne. My personal favorite. An ice pack with an ace bandage still intact. Joi Juice.

The truth is -- I am expecting company soon. I don't know when, but soon. In honor of this I am cleaning the bathroom the way a grrrrl might. So that it's actually clean, guys. So it's clean for the moment. 

Red-Tailed Hawk(s)?


Is that a Red-tailed Hawk Fledgling? It's hard to tell. Assuming that one of the adults is on the nest -- who's that on the far tower.

Digital Photograph. © Shawn Kielty 2006. All rights reserved.

Date: 14 May 2006
Miles: 14.82
Average Speed: 14.7
May Mileage: 184.23
Weather: 100°F. Sunny.
Bike: Roadie

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Nashbar™ Pannier/Daypack

I am going to follow Ruby's model and start reporting the bike for each trip -- Today's trip was to run a few errands, like check on the hawk nest and get some SPD pedals from the usually nice bike guy, and stop to pick up a few groceries. SO I decided to check out this bag I got from the Jeep driving mailman today, and get the commuter out of mothballs. I was tempted to transfer the Banjo Brothers™ seat bag off my roadie onto the commuter, but it didn't look like it was going to rain so I just threw a flat kit and some tools together.

Date: 13 May 2006
Miles: 22.0
Average Speed: 11.6
May Mileage: 169.41
Weather: 101°F. Sunny.
Bike: The Bianchi Commuter



Luggage tends to get personal. It can be really difficult or it can be a lifesaver. I have a backpack/suitcase that I bought when I was first married, with my then wife, as we prepared to go to Europe. These days that bag is relegated to carting around the traveling library of guide books that go on any extended birdwatching or photo trip. Everytime I look at that bag -- or touch it, a flood of memories rushes forward. "Voulez vous douche ensemble?" A shower with a band? what? Together. A shower together? No. "No?" NO. Like that.

I decided to carry the camera with me on the bike today. The bike on the camera is a bit of a luggage problem. A bit like this one:

luggage.wav(203K) luggage.mp3(203K)
Luggage Salesman (Barry McGovern): "Have you thought much about luggage, Mr. Banks?"
Joe: "No. I never really have."
Luggage Salesman: "It's the central preoccupation of my life. You travel the world, you're away from home, perhaps away from your family, all you have to depend on is yourself, and your luggage." trunk.wav(242K) trunk.mp3(242K)
Luggage Salesman: "This is our premier steamer trunk. All handmade, only the finest materials. It's even watertight. Tight as a drum. If I had the need and the wherewithal, Mr. Banks, this would be my trunk of choice."
Joe: "I'll take four of 'em."
Luggage Salesman: "May you live to be a thousand years old, sir."

The requirements for the camera are that the bag not fall off the bike, that the bag hold the camera completely when fully assembled, and that the bag be 100% waterproof. The Nashbar bag seems to fit the bill nicely, although the bag did fall off of the bike today, the result of user error.



The back panel of the pannier removes by unzipping to reveal a pair of shoulder straps. This means that it's quite heavy, and that the bag is held to the bike by a zipper. I'll need to remember to zip it completely so that the bag doesn't move about while driving.





This shot shows the drybag insert. It is a bit difficult to get items into this bag, but it seems that is a price that gets paid for having the safety of a dry bag. All the dangly straps make me nervous -- and I may have to add some velcro strips to the end of all the straps to allow me to wrap them up.

My appetite has finally come back after my century last week. I ate one of these. In it's entirety.

Desert Flower Report

 
Blooming Barrel Cactus, Valley of the Sun. Digital Photograph. © 2006 Shawn Kielty. All rights reserved. Posted by Picasa

Saguaro Out Front

  

Blooming Saguaro Cactus Flowers


Need I say more. Digital Photograph. © Shawn Kielty 2006, All rights reserved.

Friday, May 12, 2006

"Naked is a State of Mind"


So -- I've got Luscious Jackson coming out of the stereo. It's the first time the stereo has played music since move day -- Ok -- I've been a little remiss on the moving responsibilities. Frankly, I don't entertain that much by using the stereo. This particular section of the house has stayed packed because it is the first thing to move. I remember a younger day when the stereo was always on; it was the last thing out of the old house and the first thing into the new. I guess we change as we age.

I am staked out to try to photograph the bobcat. I suppose he is busy because it is a Friday night. Probably down at the laundromat doing the stray cat strut; checking out the bobbygirl-cats that have nothing better to do than their laundry on Friday night. "Hey girly-cat, want to come by and check out my etchings?" "Can't I just see 'em online, big bobcat?" "No -- this is the real thing -- it's not digital." "My name is Pussy Galore." "I must be dreaming. My name is Bobcat -- James Bobcat."

I know he is a male because he has stained a few things around the place with his adult sized mark. Bleach works. I am part of his territory. I am going to go out to mark the area as soon as I am finished with this post. James Bond might have behaved differently.

He's here for one of three reasons: I am an oasis and he's finding water, he's finding food, he wants to eat my cat or bird, or he's injured or ill. I haven't seen the coyotes for a while. I wonder if a 10-20 pound coyote is part of a 35 lb. bobcat's diet. He may be very close on a regular basis. He was nearby last night -- because my cat was a freak, growling and flying backwards up the cat pole. I wonder if I need to be worried about my own safety. "Mesa man passes out on back porch -- gets eaten by bobcat." Pass. No, thanks.

I am most concerned about this. If the bobcat can come in my house -- then he may start to try to show up in the Joneses house down the street. If Mrs. Jones, with a family and guntoting husband and a calling the sheriff and chasing bobcat down with dogs attitude, happens to get upset about finding a bobcat in her house. The stray cat etching sharing stud Mr. big cat bobcat is going to die. Unless Darwin was right. I am rooting for the cat. As I always do.

The CD player is chomping through the random all option -- currently it's the splendid lyrical voice of Marta Sebestyen -- The superb voice from the the soundtrack of the English Patient.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Porcupine Quill

100°F.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmoshpere Assoc.Gurus Sky Harbor airport was officially threedigitshot today. My riding was not quite so hot though, but I could feel it. And I could feel being still tired from Sunday.

Date: 10 May 2006
Miles: 14.7
Average Speed: Slower than vomit - >14.7
May Mileage: 147.41
Weather: Hmmm ... Hot? 104 on the happy bike riding buddy's bike thermometer (his miles are all kms, but his temps are F. -- and I think -- I am confused).

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Things People Look for.

Searching on Google for "the average speed of vomit" brings my page right up on top -- it's quite an honor actually.

Try it yourself.

If you're actually trying to find the average speed of vomit -- it is going to take a bit of work.

Marsh Wren Nest


I thought I would throw this old shot up because the BirdChick is talking about a Marsh Wren on her blog. I found this Marsh Wren Nest at Colusa National Wildlife Refuge in the Central Valley in California.

© Shawn Kielty 2004-2006. All rights reserved.

About Pearl the Cat

She's Mad! ... She would rather hunt for field mice and kangaroo rats than eat cat food from a bowl. She's a cat -- It seems that the bobcat may have in fact been chasing her and fell when trying to go up the cat pole, because it fell over under the weight of a bobcat in pursuit of a house cat.

Pearl the Cat seems to have survived. Go figure and knock on wood.

Monday, May 8, 2006

Napa Valley Tour de Wine

It was totally a delicious day for cycling -- and the scenery was enviable. The real casualty of all this sun is that I have 1/4 inch thick bracelets of sunburn on my wrists and one ankle -- compliments of the extra sun granted by the gap between the warmers and the gloves or socks.



Date: 7 May 2006
Miles: 102.88
Average Speed: 15.4
Max: 31.1
May Mileage: 132.71
Weather: Sunny and oh so delicious.

Well, that's one for the record book. My first organized ride. My first century. It included only one tragedy that I know of. One flat tire, one broken spoke. One RV driver nearly killing me.

Wow -- gas was a tad expensive, however. Especially in the Mojave desert.



Then there was this dust storm in the Palm Desert. Notice the snow -- that's just 90 miles east of Los Angeles, right near Palm Springs. Spring break anyone? Sonny Bono managed to outlaw thongs there, why, I can't help but ask? I remember when you had two choices for coffee -- the Starbucks in PS or chinese donut shop desert coffee -- tastin mostly like donuts,



Somewhere in this shot at the first break is the group I met from Queen of the Valley Hospital, and it seems they were cancer and blood experts, except Gabby, who said biking was her hobby, and she just happened to work Monday to Friday at the local bike shop in Napa. "It's nice to be able to have the weekends off." I think so too. We all climbed the only thing in the whole ride that reminded me of a hill.

I had a nice conversation with Gabby, so I was quite disappointed when I flatted out and the group dropped me. I could have used The Old Bag's pump, cause when Jim or Joe -- the type 1 Diabetic bike shop guy from a Santa Rosa shop showed up he was carrying a pump -- because I was beating myself to death with my very small pump.



The roadie early in the day -- everything is still intact.



Nearing the halfway point I met a young woman named Cindy who was going the wrong way. She informed me the I had lost my way (I had not -- but she had), and convinced me to get lost with her for a bit. We did this until we some people with a map that confirmed that I was not lost -- and helped to get us back on track. She was riding a fat tired mountain bike with pink stuff, so was traveling pretty slow. I rode with her for a bit, and helped her find her way to the next rest stop.



Then the citizen press finally got its big break. One of the CHPs (I think it was Eric Estrada) asked me to stop and take his picture while he dispatched a deer that had been hit by a car and had "bones sticking out" and stuff. I felt really important.





I updated this with a close up of the officer. To the left. I should have zoomed in more.

Here's the roadie (below) -- with a missing spoke. I hit a boulder in the road and popped a spoke. Some miles to go -- and the brake will rub before I am done. It may explain why those two guys at three miles from the finish -- were able to ride away from me like I was skating backwards.



The last important marker on the route was missing so I showed up at the finish line from the wrong direction -- leading everyone to suspect that I might have been sleeping in my car all day. I had to phone my friend Farbod (having opted out of the 50 mile ride for the 25 mile, he was waiting with his buds and the rest of the group at the finish) and ask him for directions to the finish line -- and that's where the extra mile came from.

Here I am with the riders from KLA-Tencor at the finish -- Looking maybe a tad shell-shocked.



And then I went home. If you happen looking for the Teddybear Cholla bloom in Joshua Tree this Year -- you missed it -- as did I.



When you don't miss it -- it looks like this:



All photos © Shawn Kielty, 2003-2006. All rights reserved.