Bulldozed 2

giveth, taketh away, and shit.

Across Bell road they are building something, and the ground is stacked up carved up like a playground.

“girls we need to hit that asap!

I stopped the car and pointed while they glanced a monsoon rainbow over Bell Pass, conveyed its temporality, and we agreed to hit it tomorrow night (instead of pedaling home from school), if i would check out how packed it was.

I burst in after the last v1 Tequila Tree ride, evah, and G knew my big secret as soon as i shouted “Guess what!!”

 ”The hill is ridable!!!”

I dropped a couple 2 footers, rolled others I could not see, and tested the pitches. It took another week til G and I explored, freerode, created a Geneline g-out down the long easy face and up a 2 foot carved ledge that we kicked out and clawed and packed enough for a navigable 8yo tranny.


you said, who said, whut about my parenting?

The next night we returned with Alana, and Beckie, and a shovel.  We added an Alanaline stepping down a foot then another, scratched in a line up the other side as the Arizona soil turned solid so fast, and an approach line to the top of the small pitch. Marked em with rocks, so hard to see in the dark, when you finally line it up you don’t believe the foot-wide safe lines are there, but you do it anyway, cause you learned. First time for both of them to suspend their disbelief and ride it anyway. #parentingforgnarness

The hill got torn up the next week, and it was too dark and we had too much fun to take pics. but it looked a little like this:

2014 0508 Alana RagePT



our first summer in Scottsdale we went to the MMR Aquatic Center rigorously from 1-5p on weekends, screamed in on weedays at 5:30 for a few minutes of coolness, fought for schedule, fought for shade, friends, angst-ridden teenaged lifeguards every 14 meters, and bitched that the kids weren’t tall enough to enjoy the slides and boards despite our summerlong pass for $120. LifeTime is insanely more expensive, but so much more copacetic with better hours and recognition of the customer. Alana began climbing at 4.5yo, and sliding at 41 inches with a lean. We still play Toss The Baby and bring our own toys and balls and guns. Fuck yeah, i said guns, its Arizona and we’re gonna squirt eachother or die trying.

4 years later, at an offsite swimteam practice to work on the blocks, G realized she was tall enough to rip shit up.  She looked at the high board, hesitated, looked at me, hesitated, heard the grumbles underneath her, and dropped off the board. Her high was typically contagious, reborn for me through experiencing hers first-hand. It was the best day that week for both of us

The highdive was the entire purpose of our next trip, looking to fill a long 3-day weekend at 105, and hold out a bribe to make her study. textbook baller athletic leap.


Alana had no such fear. I had to nearly-dislocate her shoulder pointing her back to the 3ft board, “at least for a practice, or 2, huh?”

2 tries was all Alana needed.

Me: Its exactly the same, but looks scarier, but its exactly exactly the same
Alana: (barely listening) yea
Me: Don’t panic, just go up there and jump off. Don’t overthink it, don’t look down, just jump
Alana: (singing to self…let it go, let it go, can’t hold back anymore) are we done here?

She climbed directly up and walked directly out and dropped directly into the pool. The kid with no backbone and no stamina and no grit also has no fear when she feels no need. She’s Gwen Stefani, or a savant.


By the end of the afternoon, Alana had 10 10yos she never met cheering her every move. The kid hears a musical in her head, and never stops singing, ever. It is very contagious.

Oh hey…I can still dive! The first time in 4 years I threw my legs too far forward, the next time I got skeered at the top of my bounce. Then 15 years of not-diving never happened, I grasped that long moment hanging weightless pondering what next to do about it. Started giggling, the moment was so available, to be shaped. Countless times a summer growing up i went off the highboard, G hit it 30x today, but i never before had such a moment of clarity.  Jumping(ish) bikes and rolling steeps and snowboarding for 30 years, i saw it. I SAW IT. I was really scared, but if I could get a diving instructor today, i could be doing flips tomorrow. I am a good student, and I REALLY want to.



Gateway Loop as we knew it is gone. thanks Asshat Scottsdale Land Managers. On the plus side, getting *to* Tequila Tree became a lot easier, as did getting home.

this used to be challenging to climb

this was mostly unclimbable


Summer in Hell

Its been 3 yrs since we had a genuine summer escape…*sigh*. Vacation time and fundage did not align, i am almost used to it, i will not whine: Costa Rica in January, and the Keys this Fall! Hunker down for summer, Arizona! charge your lights, stop wearing socks and underpants, enjoy the logjam on I-17. All my July rides started at 3:30am or 9pm, and rarely climbed more than an overpass.

It didn’t seem like we did much, but putting together all these pics, I still missed our weekend to Pittsburgh, day trip to Horton Creek, sub24overnight bikepack along the Verde River, and a follow-up swim trip with the kids, 110 degree canal tour around the city, Ice Den, and swim meets.

3x a week. Genevieve is fearless and Alana no longer a fear – I sure couldn’t do a 50 when i was 5yo

G and Jasmine at the start of the Mud Run




Alana and Julianne


4:38 FIP
up Bell Pass in the dark->Fountain Hills stuff so fast southward i’ve never before not hated the FH McDs until I rode them clockwise, up over the stellar new Sunrise bypass, north through Scottsdale. 4hrs of awesome and home before the family woke up.


cat bonding

SCIENCE! Camp week taking things apart and putting things together.

road warmup to meet Seron at Lost Dog TH, out and back Sunrise to the bypass, 3 hrs of awesome and home before the family woke up



the AC died

Another outstanding John idea: Cabin Loop and AZT up above the Rim, Blue Ridge Reservoir and Clint’s Well.


the one an only pic i took this weekend

Lots of great pics and writeup on Seron’s site, and on John’s site.

A day at camp making this 3×3 mural, which now hangs from G’s ceiling.

impressive transformation from the take-home version to production. some rule-of-thirds and quality control shit i did not teach her.

girls and i took a day trip to West Clear Creek, NW of Payson. Not too many pics, too busy spotting them for 3 straight hours. Adult:Monster ratio might have been a bit lean on this one. The hike in is about 500 vf down a canyon, lot of rock scrambling and downed trees. G was awesome, Alana did a great job taking instructions.





both girls, but Alana especially, ripped the climb out. Rockwall everyday at Lifetime summer camp was evident, only Alana’s conditioning slowed her down. such a difference from the precarious descent and wading.

Beckie’s cousins Tom, Sasha, Marin and Oscar visited from Baltimore, and took the girls to Bartlett Lake.




Overnight in Prescott – Granite Creek Park PT!
standover height on the Malice is about the same as on her 20 inch, and it rolls much better. G fumbles using 8yo vocabulary to express what an $1100 purpose-built bike feels like.




Soccer camp at Embry-Riddle University; a week staying in the dorms and practicing 5hrs a day. I wish i had her life.

then we took Alana for a hike in the Dells to Watson Dam




Alana and i survived a week alone with each other. Broccoli w bacon grease is still broccoli, and its still good for you

pickup the next Thursday. I missed her THIS much!

Suddenly Turtle started fading. then her hind legs stopped, and a week later she was gone. I don’t miss her much, but I respect our 14 yrs together. Beckie wanted another kitten, before the body was even cold. I don’t get that, 6 months later and I still can’t look at pictures of Kila. But I don’t really love cats, rather enjoy snuggling with them and grabbing their bloated tummies and making 2 of them chase a laser pointer at once. They come and go into our home, where they shake Valhalla until they vanish, and feast on Pounce. Goodbye Turtle.

Welcome Bugs! You are white with a splash of brown on your tail, siamese with beautiful blue eyes that will never fade.

Crumb and Bugs – brothers from another mother. Two days of hissing, and then they were magnets.

Top of Mt. Elden in Flag. Short hike along Organ Donor adjacent to a storm, yellow and orange high-altitude flowers we never get to see

G and I rolled Elden Lookout Road, 7 miles\2k straight down, all the way to the Schultz Y, ruts and ruffage that is much harder on a 20inch. The entire time she could have hurt herself, and only once did i get skeered. Ride out the wobble, G! And she did. We chatted, and enjoyed the cliffs and the slopes and forest, squared up on the ruts, took breaks when our hands got tired, reveling top-to-bottom of a real mountain. We hiked up Wasabi til above the boulder roll, so I could show her what she can aspire to, and we paralleled while I followed Lower Oldham next to the road. Today we went up the AZT at 418 2.5 miles almost nonstop til a storm turned us back. It took more than 2x longer last year, and it shrugged off her. She might just be my #3 riding buddy of all time, definitely no lower than 6th. And she has the opportunity to close.

What would you do if you knew you just met your #1 riding buddy of all time? We couldn’t stop fist bumping.

Training Camp 




July 4th Eve, @Tequila Tree. haboob rolling over Somo.


Somo…gone. Papago…gone. But it looks like it will miss the McDs! so I will keep drinking.


slight miscalculation. damn that came in fast.


if ur not hiking the view’s probably not worth it

Low tide this visit was 6am and 6pm. The town and beach were teeming with touronistas, so I headed out on the fatty catty to the Morua Estuary, to see sights that between the tides and seasons are usually underwater.

The sandbar was currently forming a relatively deep tide pool, with a steep slope on its edge. Made for a nice off-camber challenge. Next morning I rallied the family to hike ~20 minutes from the end of the road out to it for a swim. You could jump off the slope in the background and land in 4 feet of water – not a feature you normally get ’round c’here.







The sandbar at the mouth of the estuary has a cool reef at the end of it, that my kids call Bird Island. We last went here 2 years ago in winter. We hiked about 30 min there at sunset the next day.














I don’t understand why 200 pelicans don’t just turn and eat one little girl? The dune in the background is about 100 feet tall, and has a few ribbons of gravel that run through it, such that you can ride much of the way from the beach to the top, and then whoop back down.






It was not all so simple.
We’ve had these cats, who we’ve been feeding for awhile.
and we could not say no to another cat, or 2


Mittens and Cookies spent 4 days nosing their way in, fleeing, coming back, and regretting it, and making us feel awkward and ugly and unwantable. They decided they did not want to be house cats. Yet flush with estrogen and a weekend of no-adoption fees throughout most of Maricopa County, we succumbed.

Welcome Crumb!














psych song

Katy Perry – Roar


A year of club soccer, and sometimes i wonder if G has gotten any better or learned any lessons at all. She is still so emotional and uneven, hitting glass ceilings and not improving, or much being inspired to.

is it her? the coach? the position? me? her mom? the team? the club? the sport? tinyAthlete-parenting does not get a lot of empathetic coverage on cnnsi.com…  Outside of work, its the most stressful thing in my life. Applying to charter schools, for the chance to be balanced, fit, socialized, and popular. It may be more important than pure academics. Don’t fucking tell me its not important. No one wins by only being smart.

The  fundamental training premise of soccer coaches is to throw little girls into small-sided death matches until they become immune to the bloodshed, bored with the carnage, the ego-centric play, the flexible rules and boundaries and goalies or lackthereof. Its UFC, without the alcohol or the betting, and it sucks for the fan – no one wins and you look super-dumb if you get psyched. Every once in a while i whistle to G and give her a thumbsup just cuz I’m getting pissed off by the endless sparring.

The Parents’ Seminar explained that soccer boils down to simplicity, even at the pro level. A friend who practices judo explained there is nothing more competitive than punching another guy in the face. A lot more real than calling your own fouls in Ultimate. G has probably swallowed more elbows in 2 years than I did in 20. But she’s given 2000% more. I totally get how confusing it is to run hard when nobody passes if they don’t know your name, how stupid it is to bang bodies if the sideline might or might not be 5 feet away; I have hit the hard ground in AZ thousands  of times.  I get how easy it is to play when everything is set up for success, how rarely that happens, how hard it is to play in a dust storm. What made me good was to tune out everything but the disc in the dust storm. I know what G needs.

At the Parents’ Seminar it was humbling to realize what i’d been doing wrong, but inspiring to see how easy it was to fix. My job is to get G to practice in a good mood, to show her support on the sideline, to get her home happy. Let the coaches do the rest. Tune out everything but the disc. I’m psyched the coach who told me this will be one of hers this season.

Now instead of talking about what she did wrong, i talk about the fun she had, and whittle, and expose all the everything else in the dust storm she needs to tune out. Why do you play? Did you make friends today? What did you learn? Are you stoked? Why do you play? How much fun did you have? Why do you play? Tune out the dust storm, tinyHuman.

I feel her trusting me more everyday. About soccer, school, the computer, behavior, us. Our conversations are so easy. Genevieve is my favorite person in the whole wide world.

Rule #1: Kill someone!

It started out much more nuanced.  It started out: dont get nervous, have fun playing, sing a song.

G: Dafuck you mean, Dad?
ME: just play, have fun, just play ball, i donut know why kids donut pass and sidelines flexible and keeping scores are no bodys, in traffic, you know how i hate on the traffic.
G: Dafuck you mean, Dad?
ME: When you are lost, have fun! find the ball and GET it.
G: What?
ME: you are stronger than most girls, blow a play up.
G: What?
ME: KILL!! i have FunDip!


G’s is remarkable in space and flow, where fancy dribbling means less. Stronger and stouter than most kids, faster first step than most kids, ready for contact more than most kids. She reminds me of Ricky Williams, Steven Jackson, Anquan Boldin, but with a limpdicked shot. At tourneys she dominates the ‘attempts‘ stat, with a few trickled-in goals to show.

We are screwing around together before practice, having fun, and she is almost taking my head off. I never knew to hit your laces, i thought it was the side of the foot. And it is, for passing and control, but not for shooting. Somewhere in the 2 months since I’ve been nagging G to not strike with her toe she learned to use her laces, and I fell behind.

The very first time she nearly took my head off and I nagged her to not use her toe she swore she was doing it right, started crying, and i wondered what I had done so wrong? I acknowledged my failure in the face of empirical data, we asked not only Coach Angie but also Coach Robyn, and I sincerely apologized to G for my mistake. When is the first time you knew you knew more than your parents?  Mine was somewhere in my teens. G is so much better for doing it 9 yeas earlier. The difference between me and mine is I was good with it. I even explained it to Beckie, cuz I know G finds validation in public divulgence.

We warmed up together before the next practice, and i nearly took her head off.

Rule #2: Sing a song to yourself

This one, she alleged, was easy. But a coupla weeks later i asked her what she sang, but she said she never did and didn’t actually know her psych song.

What? WHAT!  This is worse than a vegan dragged to a team-building lunch at a Brazilian grill!

You cant have a psych song if you don’t know your psych song!!

I played her some of mine. Phunk Junkeez sounded old to her. She backtracked, she just doesn’t like rap. She liked the Offspring, really she did. I took a hint and blasted Katy Perry. Its very catchy, after playing it over and over I sang it to myself dropping GreenieMillie.  She asked to wear her red practice uni even when she didn’t have to, cause she’d rather fit in. I totally get that, I hear her roar.

We were singing on the way to tryouts. They were really a formality, she would make one of the Blackhawks teams, and that was all that mattered.

I want you all tattooed I want you bad
Complicated X- rated I want you bad
I mean it I need it I want you bad

This isn’t inappropriate, I asked at least 7 little girls if they understood ‘double entendre’ and not a one of em raised their hands. Its a littleGirl Paen.

Greenie Millie

aka ‘The Lemmon Drop’.
Finally!!!  after a snowed-out attempt 2 years ago, after 4 yrs covetting!



technically, the Lemmon Drop includes a few more miles higher up Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, but nearly 5000 vf elevation delta was good enough according to James. Since he’s morphed into a dirt roadie and climbed Catalina Highway many times, this is validation aplenty for me.


7000 vf descending, 2.5 climbing, 4.5 hrs moving over 7 hrs, no blood for either of us, one bonk, and one clusterfuck attempt to fix a sliced tire. Hors and gnar to keep us balanced.



so verklempt to be wearing kneepads, fresh off his AZT 300 attempt


I am so hard I  shall ride 20 of the hardest downhill miles in AZ, with only cookies for sustenance!


for about the first time ever we’ve ridden together, I had the SLR. I owe a lot of profile pics!


VSLF: Shouldn’t he be wearing pads more often?
Me: that depends
VSLF: on?
Me: on how conservatively you ride
VSLF: he’s a wuss
Me: he’s training for distance, on a 29er, he’s core
VSLF: he’s a wuss
Me: its complicated
VSLF: he’s a wuss



Pro tip: if you slice a tire, just put in a tube.

Don’t pump it up and hope the sealant works, several times. Don’t put in more sealant, don’t jam in a plug, don’t beg with an old patched spare, don’t do a rain dance of doubt and remorse. You will reek of ammonia and latex and old sex that’s been in your camelback for 2 years. Sealant moneyshotting out my sliced tire, santorum so noxious James smelled me 2 switchbacks above.  Roasting  for an hour at 1pm on a west-facing ridgeline, while i flailed fixing my flat in the midst of a beatdown ride. James was sanguine, staring down 2 more hours of gnar and heat. He lobbed me a new 29er tire and set off downclimbing Molino Basin, a mop-boy in a filipino sex-room, sponging up my shame.

you can catch VD just looking


I took an extra minute before finally slinking off, to get my mind in a happy place. Molino has been in my head since I flew off an intimidating slot 6 yrs ago, and i would not let tired and hot and frustrated and rancid distract me after working all day to get here. I rolled it, fuck yeah i rolled it all, and hit the waterfall with a tiny dab. Porntastic.


There was still an hour more of burly nobs and jagged slag.

How to convey just how awesome  and scabrous is this ride? All these rugged isolated views mean 50% of the climbing is straight-up HAB, the trail is narrow and  gnarly and maintainance is just a few helper rocks, the opportunities to crash go on for hours, and if the snow doesn’t get you at the top the sun at the bottom will.


Chihuly in the Garden

This was a really cool display at the Desert Botanical Garden. There are many better pics out there…SLR with no tripod or big lens came up short. But these are still fun to me, I like especially the differences in some with and without flash.



























this plant was real. I rrrrrrrrrrrrreally want to get back to the DBG in daylight now.