2005-05-18 - Motorcycle

Oops, I dropped my bike. Classic series of factors culminating in failure. Couldn't find the car. Already a little aggravated, decided to take the motorcycle and look. It was drizzling and road surface was slick. Not paying full attention, came to a stop at the same time as an SUV oncoming from right. Motioned for SUV to go through, but they were doing a left turn and waved me on. I went straight, and let my aggro get the better of me and hit the throttle. About 50 feet up the street another SUV parked on right started pulling out directly in front of me, about 10-12 feet away. Hit the brakes with a little too much rear/not enough front. Bike went down on left side, stopping about 2 feet in front of SUV. All I got was a minor scrape on my knee (jacket and gloves prevented scrapes to hand and shoulder). Turns out it was a one-way street (I had been distracted by SUV #1). The driver was a local and didn't look before pulling out. Minor scrapes to the bike, bent shifter, and bent metal blocking clutch handle (looks like no frame damage).

Mistakes:

  • distraction/aggravation (primary)
  • excessive speed for road condition (wet, narrow)
  • not looking far enough ahead (see distraction)
  • not enough front brake
  • not keeping bike in proper condition (lack of fork oil contributing to poor handling/braking)

I had basically the right reaction once I was in the situation (swerving would have been too hazardous), but I never should have been there.

UPDATE: So the reason I couldn't find the car is because it was towed! Today is in the running for worst day ever.

2005-05-09 - Motorcycle

Bike has been hard to start. On a cold start, with no previous throttle input, it starts easiest with the choke open and the throttle pushed back against the stop (further closed). Once it's running and warm, it seems to run fine. Not sure exactly what this means. Possibly there is some seal or valve that has gone bad, and the problem is worse when cold than warm. Possibly the throttle cable has shrunk(?) or there is some other problem with the carbs??? More investigation is necessary.

Also, I really need to replace the left fork seal. Been slowly leaking for awhile now and the handling is noticeably worse.

2005-05-07 - Kitesurfing

Oh baby. Finally had a decent amount of power. Sheeting the bar in and out is a great way to control the power while you're up on plane. With the kite locked in position it's basically the bar and the board that keep you in trim. Did a little bit of upwind. Need to be confident enough to go out farther before heading back towards the beach.

Riding without the leash feels great. Need to practice body dragging upwind in order to retrieve the board. A nice woman on a kayak retrieved my board when I dropped it fairly far out. Towards the end of the session the wind was dropping a bit and I wanted more power! A lot of speed is needed before you can go upwind.

Next steps:

  • consistently go upwind
  • start jumping(!!!)

2005-04-30 - Kitesurfing

Longest, smoothest session yet. Slight hints of going upwind.

2005-04-29 - Surfing

Nice session at Linda Mar.

Unrecorded sessions summary

It's been good:

2005-02-02 - Motorcycle

Got a new battery and put it in. Basic tests say charging system is okay. But I had some weird readings off the stator coils so I may dig deeper. I should have checked the voltages at the RR before taking it off to verify if there was a bad connection there. Doubt it, though. It would have had to be a bad ground, and that connection looked fine.

If I really did see 18V across the battery, then badness is probably still in there somewhere.

2005-02-02 - Dreaming of kitesurfing

In the meantime, here's some Slingshot pr0n.

2005-01-31 - Motorcycle

Bike wouldn't start this morning! Since I charged the battery last night, and previously checked for too high leakage current, this probably means the battery is shot.

It might just be the battery, but more likely other electrical problems led to that. I'm going to go through this stator fault flow chart pdf to see if the stator or regulator has gone bad. Since I saw 18V across the battery, that would imply that the regulator/rectifier is bad or possibly there is a bad connection somewhere (regulator ground?)

Possible replacement stator/regulator: http://www.electrexusa.com/electrex_regulators_Honda.html

2005-01-30 - Motorcycle

Bike has been acting up. Got home after X-Mas and it wouldn't start. Laboured while turning over -- battery is low. Managed to get it started once and drove for ~45min, but next time it wouldn't start.

I charged the battery, and with a charged battery it starts okay. So likely it is the battery or the charging system. The battery was at 12.5 volts. I charged it to 12.9, and now two hours later it's at 12.58. So maybe the battery isn't holding the charge. But measuring the charging voltage at 5,000 RPM shows strange things. Seen 13.5 (kinda low) and even 18.0 (seems high). If the battery is sketchy, it could be due to problems with the electrical.

Going to keep an eye on the battery voltage and see how it goes.

12/22 - Motorcycle

Cleaned the chain, wiped it down a bit, and fixed (for now at least) that persistently gimpy turn signal. Some of the pot holes that have been developing are brutal. When riding in the dark to the ranch hit an unmarked section of grooved pavement that started with about a 2 inch drop! The sides of this thing were a total edge trap -- could be deadly for the unwary. I should probably take it a bit easier when riding at night -- can be very difficult to see hazards in time. Riding familar routes is good, but you can never assume it will be exactly the same as before!

12/18 - Surfing

LM was looking decent. Left around 2:30. I was slightly choppy and mostly closing out. Some good rides in places. My strategy was to catch them when they were first breaking then quickly get in front before it closed out. As the tide was rising you could do this and then the wave would start reforming and steepening again. Nice session. Did some work on my popups. Need to get up quick and balanced and start looking at the shore, not the board!

12/17 - Surfing

Ugh, no surfing for two months! This final return to LM was marked by a rather large amount of caution. Caught a few waves, but let a few good ones go by. Need to work on my popups, so I should be charging more waves!

10/17 - Surfing

OB looked big, LM looked small. Gave Pao a call but didn't connect so decided to go solo to LM. Got there around noon (high tide). Small sets coming in, breaking about 15 feet from shore. Caught one but it was a short ride. Strong sideshore winds kept blowing me towards the south end.

Paddled around for a bit. A decent wave would come in every 15-20 min but I didn't quite seem to have the right position. Headed back to the car after about an hour in an effort to go over to east bay for kitesurfing. Started raining while I was packing up. Alameda looked hella gusty, and Mike was feeling sick. Was still thinking of going but then the cam showed rain. Wasn't quite happening today, but there will definitely be some good surf coming up :)

Also, got the book Waves and Beaches by Willard Bascom. First part is pretty dry, but we're still defining terms. Some of the pictures are pretty sweet. It was last printed in 1980. Looks like my copy was owned by a teacher -- there are notes here in there like "handout" and "draw". Science is fun!

10/13 - Surfing

Linda Mar was rad! Got off the plane from Ottawa at 1:30PM PST, having gotten up at 2:00AM PST to start the trip. Grabbed a cab back to 199, had a 30 min power nap, then took the Foo van down to LM. When I checked the cam at 3, it was closed out. But that was at the ebb of low tide, so I figured it would get better. Grabbed some wax at Sonlight and headed over.

It was looking pretty good. Nice sets coming in that were totally workable. A few waves to push through or turtle under on the paddle out, but hey, nothing like OB!

It started to get a little crowded after about an hour. Mostly beginners though and I went right into the lineup. I thought they were slightly too far out, but that worked since I could paddle a bit to the inside to make sure my balance was right and get a little speed.

The balance on my board is really critical. An inch forward and you pearl, an inch back and you don't catch the wave. I need to experiment with starting a little forward then leaning back. My wave selection and position was a lot better. Nailed a bunch of waves! Picked the right one, the right spot, made the takeoff, made the drop. Starting to break the bad habit of delaying before doing the pop-up.

Think I broke 10 rides today. Sweet.

Todo:

  • improve recovery speed (e.g. paddle out to right spot, turn, paddle into wave)
  • put the other thruster fins on the board(?)
  • more graceful dismount

10/07 - Surfing

Grabbed Kevin's board and Lindsi's car and headed to LM. And not a moment too soon! Got there about 6:20 (with sunset at 6:45). There were lots of workable waves, 3-4 feet. My position and wave selection still leaves a little to be desired -- need to work on it! Kevin's board is more of a log, which was actually pretty good. Need to get much faster with my pop-ups. I've gotten into the bad habit of riding on my belly for a bit to stabilize the board then getting up. You can get away with it on some waves, but a lot of the time you need to get out in front fast.

Got out of the water at about 7:45. It was dark. I was the last out of the water, just after two girls on longboards. One of them told me that a seal had bumped her board from the bottom. Spooky! I didn't think to ask if she was sure it was a seal. Some sharks will give an initial bump to see if you're food...

10/03 - Kitesurfing

Got a brand new Litewave 145. Beautiful board. Nice and light, plenty stiff, and a concave bottom. Kind of self-punishment though, since there are maybe only a few more doable days (at Alameda). But the price was right and it will get plenty of use next season :)

It was maybe 8mph at Alameda. Did one run down the beach, and then wind dropped even more. Tried some more, but the kite would barely fly. Had to keep it moving just to keep it up. Couldn't even keep it still for a few seconds to get on the board, so I got into the straps and then launched the kite. Had to basically keep the board dug into the water just to maintain enough pressure on the kite.

You can't say we didn't try :)

10/02 - Motorcycle, Surfing

Westbound over Bay Bridge. Merge from 24->580->880->80 kind of sucked, even with little traffic. During rush hour that stretch until past the tolls would be nuts. Lots of oil by the tolls. Metal grates on that first left curve going up on the bridge would be slick when wet. Westbound definitely worse than eastbound.

Surfed Ocean Beach for the first time. Three+ hour session with Pao. Didn't really catch any good rides. I was on my longboard and you need to get up fast. Caught a few where I was probably too far back, and the wave was going to close out. So I'd get on top of it, then it would go to white, and I'd fall down onto the remains of the face, have the nose go down, and get pummelled.

There are definitely some strong weird currents. At one point I noticed a weird standing wave pattern, with troughs about 2 feet deep. We looked back on shore and realized we'd been swept about 100 feet down the beach in about a minute.

Chris says there's a sandbar running from Chrissy Field down Ocean Beach, and that as the tide goes out you can get really strong weird currents.

Tried to also go kitesurfing in Alameda. Mike was there but I missed him since he was flying a different kite and took the racks off his car!

10/01 - Motorcycle

First ride eastbound over the Bay Bridge. Not so bad. Windy, but nothing worse than I've experienced so far on 101. Eastbound is lit well and traffic wasn't too bad.

09/25 - Kitesurfing

Light but workable downwind day at Alameda.

(Weekend before Burning Man) - Kitesurfing

Epic session at Alameda

08/14 - Motorcycle

Day 2 on the bike. Much better on the uphill starts. Feeling a little more comfortable with traffic. Felt like I was going to fall on a tight left turn and instinctively rolled on some throttle to hold it. Still need more practice with low speed turns (from stop).

Rode over my first Muni tracks -- the J Church. That shit be treacherous! Put my foot in a puddle at one point and it was way slippery. Scary how a patch of gravel, oil, or sand could be the end of your life.

08/13 - Motorcycle

Had my first ride on my new CB-1!

Got a few strange looks as I would start, accelerate down the block, stop, turn around and do it again. Clutch seems pretty easy to work. Even in that simple excercise I managed a little skid on a small amount of gravel (gravel scary!)

Turning radius was surprising large -- while the wheelbase is very short, you can only crank the steering over so far. Hill starts took some getting used to. I would use the rear brake, roll on some throttle, and let in the clutch. The trick was that as you got enough power to get going you couldn't just let in the clutch -- you needed to roll on more throttle. I can't imagine hills steeper than in SF, so I guess I'll get some good practice :)

Did manage to lay the bike down, due (of course) to a combination of factors. Was practicing a right-hand U-turn at the top of Bernal Heights hill. Didn't quite have enough speed, then a car came up the hill (distraction). Ended up taking the turn wide, while realizing that I was on loose gravel. Hit the brakes in the deep turn, and it went down lowside. Should have straightened before braking! Also should not have attempted the turn in the conditions. At least now I know I can pick the bike up ;)

07/31 - 08/01 - Motorcycle

MSF course. Those little 250cc's make you feel confident!

07/27 - Sailing(!)

Got to go for a race on a 42 foot racing sailboat. Very cool. A crew of about 8 was required, and it was definitely a sport (required skill, dexterity, strategy, and strength). Did a "beer can" race around the bay. Impressive how fast the thing can go, and how far over the boat lists (seemed like it was almost vertical at points). We had some confusion over the course, and ended up placing 3rd. Very nice upwind performance. It was very interesting to be able to see different wind channels by looking at the surface of the water (different texture where there was more wind). Definitely something to know when travelling further out into the bay.

Stokefactor: 9

07/25 - Surfing

It's been a long time since I've gone longboarding, and it was awesome!!! Did some 'tronix at da RanCh, then headed down to Linda Mar. Only got there at 7:30pm, but hey, it's summer! Very few people out. A little crowd south of the showers but I elected to go a bit north where all of two other people were surfing (this was the same spot Lindsi picked in the morning). Lots of fog and no wind. Nice waves coming in at 2-3 feet. Caught a few rides, but sometimes forgot my wax was completely dead and slipped on my board a few times. Was having much better timing on my takeoffs (not really much use trying to get up to speed early on my board -- better to do a few determined strokes at just the right time). Missed a few where I stopped paddling too soon.

Got a little eerie with the fog. It was getting dark, and I lost a contact, so decided to call it a day. Ended up leaving the parking lot at 9pm! Need to go more often, possibly during the week.

Stokefactor: 8

07/17 - Kitesurfing

'nother light wind day at Alameda. Getting better on planing with left foot forward. Almost find it easier to ride with the kite going the opposite way from the direction of travel. When a moderate-high wind day comes up I'll have to be careful not to send the kite all the way through the powerzone like was required today :)

Got a nasty cut on the sole of my left foot near my baby toe (got bitten by the wily Alameda bottle-shark). Considering wearing water-socks. This is the second time I've been cut by something sharp below the water. Also, finally got a helmet!

Stokefactor: 8

07/11 - Kiteboarding

Just slightly more wind than Friday, but much more steady. Had one instance of a surge then a dropout, and had the kite fly up to the top and then do the spiral nosedive. On light days need to keep it moving and stay away from zenith!

Mike got a new board (125cm Litewave) which is pretty rad. Much lighter and very wide. Took a bit of getting used to, but I got up on plane and set some new distance records by a factor of 10 :) Made it all the way down the beach (all the way to the pier). Still having a bit of trouble going left foot forward, but it's awesome that I'm at that point :)

Lessons: * on light wind days, stay away from zenith * you don't need to point the board towards the kite * need to spend some more time learning how to relaunch

07/09 - Kiteboarding

Did I go kitesurfing in the last few weeks? Maybe once. Been too busy with work and that freakin' amazing July 4th in Black Rock.

Today was a light day. Got there around 6:30 and it was maybe 7-8, with some surges but a lot of dropouts. Mike managed it but there just wasn't enough for me. But Sunday would be fabulous.

06/26(?) - Kiteboarding

Woke up in East Bay. Had my wetsuit (unused) from the day before. Made it out to Alameda and played a bit in the rather light wind. Too light to try the board.

06/06 - Kitesurfing

Holy fucking shit! What a rockstar weekend! I dj'ed at the afterparty for Jade and Stacy's wedding. Laid down Gorecki by Lamb and then did some tagging with Cary. Oh yeah! Crossed over the Bay Bridge around 8:15AM to SF. I would cross again in the other direction at about 3:00PM.

The wind was nice! Probably 15-20. Quite a few people out on 12s, with some 9s and 7s. We decided to warm up by taking out the 7. Patrick was there with his 12, and was trying to get us to go out with a bigger kite. We took out the 7 nonetheless. Launching was a little hairy. It was really busy, and there were lines everywhere and lots of kites landing and launching. Saw a few close calls. I caught one guy's kite after he had gotten tangled in the lines and finally gotten free after his safety line snapped (he resolved to get himself a knife!) Another guy had to swim out to recover his board after his leash snapped.

We set the lines up and went to launch. I had double checked Mike's rigging, but it turned out that two of the lines were swapped front to back. So the kite went up, then Mike went up, then the kite went down! Hard crash into the ground, but luckily didn't snag anybody.

A bit shaken, we ran the lines again and got 'er up. The 7 was a good warm up, but the wind dropped a bit and it wasn't enough power for me. So we got the 11. Then the wind dropped some more and it wasn't enough power for me. So we got the 15. The wind was light but smooth. No gusts to speak of.

With the kite practically flying itself, and the right size bar, there was plenty of time to turn the kite down through the power zone. Pointing the 15 straight at the ground was pretty terrifying but totally the right thing to do! Got up on the board nicely on the downstroke and actually had some success keeping power and planing! Set a few distance records for planing down the beach. After awhile (several hours of kitesurfing at this point) I realized my arms were no longer responding due to fatigue. It was at this point that I realized that I would probably do something dumb if I continued, but it was going soooooooooo well. So I tried to do another water start and promptly crashed the kite. Figures.

We stopped kiting at about 8:30, with the sun setting gloriously over the bay. The SF skyline was backlit in green, blue, and yellow. The Alameda palm trees lead us back towards the bridge.

Observations:

  • Carrying a knife is good -- be ready to use it.
  • A big kite in smooth wind (say later in the day) is a wonderful thing.
  • A lot of launching accidents seem to happen because the kite is actually forward of the wind window. When the kite is released, there is little tension on the lines as it falls back into the wind window. Then it catches and all hell breaks loose.
  • Once I get to the point where I can be up on the board and not looking at the kite, I will progress a lot faster.
  • It's kind of scary to point the board in toward the beach.
  • In situations where before I would have gotten lofted (e.g. after lufting at the edge of window) I will now send the kite low in the window across to the other side, instead of trying to get to idle. So instead of getting pulled up I get pulled at a lower angle, dragging across the top of the water. Even though the force is large, you have much greater drag and are more likely to skip across the water instead of getting popped.

Stoke factor 10.

05/24 - Surfing

Ok, I think I kind of overdid it. Was feeling some soreness in my left arm and wrists yesterday, but decided to go again! Definitely need to be careful of tendonitis -- seems like I have a low-level chronic condition from yucky computer work and the surfing can make it worse.

But it was a pretty good session :) Caught a few decent waves. The smaller ones were closing out, but larger sets would come in that were totally workable. Had one where I caught the white, was riding it, then grabbed the nose with both hands and pushed it down. Shot out in front and got to my feet.

It felt like on the smaller waves, the end of my board wouldn't pick up enough -- the nose would go up and I wouldn't get in front of the wave. On my board it seems like the balance point is very delicate. There's no neutral zone in the middle where things are balanced -- you're either forward, back, or just on the balance point.

Hit the nose on the bottom on one pearl dive -- gotta remember to check for a ding.

05/23 - Surfing

After yesterday's defeat I had few hopes. In the afternoon the LM cam didn't show much other than a swarm of black dots. The Alameda wind cam showed... nothing. I was almost resigned to a weekend without kiting or surfing, but around 5pm Linda Mar showed surf!

I grabbed the surf mobile and headed down to Pacifica (first solo trip driving stick!) Choppy but happening. It was definitely a fight to get out, but there were some decent rides to be had. At most 15 people in the water at this point -- a little group by the south end and a slightly larger group at the north end.

My wave selection was getting a little better. Was a bit tricky in the chop, since waves would break at many different places. Had about two waves where I thought I was good and then it crashed on my head. Rode a few "last" waves into the beach, then each time thought "maybe one more", fought my way out, then surfed back in. Rode the truly last one all the way in. Turned a bit on the board and leaned forward to keep my speed up when I started to slow down. Good stuff.

05/22 - Driving... driving... driving...

Got up hella early to go down to Cowell's at SC. We took 101->17 and hence all we saw on the way down was highway instead of the usual panoramic surf. When we finally got to Cowell's (many delays along the way). It was relatively flat. Still doable but there were probably 50 people in the water and it was only breaking in one spot!

We were actually pretty tired and didn't feel like dealing with the crowd so we headed over to Capitola. About 10 people in the water and not much surf. Sooooo we stopped by a friend's place and they weren't home. We headed back up to the city via 1 and stopped at Linda Mar. I was workable but we were beat and there were tons of people.

Defeated, exhausted, we headed back to SF having never touched the water.

05/16 - Kitesurfing

We got to Alameda around 3:00 (yay, brunch on the deck!) It was blowing pretty hard! 20-25 when we got there, and 25-30 at points. Slightly gusty with about 5 minute surges. It would seem okay for awhile and then a big surge would come in for several minutes.

We contemplated the 11 and decided to leave it on the ground. We saw a guy on a 9 go out. He was straining with the bar and could barely hold it down. After awhile he let go of the bar and the kite turned mostly horizontal. The kite did a lot of spins before hitting the water, and when he finally brought it back in, the lines were really tangled.

After an hour or two of hanging around, we decided to launch the 11. Mike launched and I was holding him down. He got quite a bit of air even so :) We tried to land, but the guy helping didn't quite catch it (it came down fast) and it hit the ground and flipped around. More airtime for Mike!

Mike indulged in some GearWhoring and bought a used 7m (admittedly, at a fantastic price). We took it out and I got the most air ever! Apparently my feet were above Mike's head height. I landed in the 8 inch deep water in a somewhat scary way (harness made a bruise on my rib). While airborn, at least I didn't panic and kept relative control of the kite. After that, I decided to land it and we packed it in.

It was incredible the amount of power that the 7 could generate. Hard to keep it down even at zenith during the surges, and moving it at all generated lotsa power. A shorter bar would definitely help things -- easy to get it moving too much when distracted e.g. by the board.

Don't feel like I learned too much today. It was kind of rough conditions with strong wind, shallow tide, and lots of chop. I just need one good day! Also, seriously considering a helmet.

P.S. the wind readings online seem low compared to wind readings on-site.

05/12 - GearWhoring

Uh-oh. Just got me an 11m '03 Fuel. High aspect ratio leading edge inflatable. Pretty solid construction. Can't wait to take it out! Mike S has a 15m '03 Fuel so we should now have about 12-20+ mph covered. Tomorrow I watch surf films!

05/09 - Buggying

Took the buggy out to OB but it was probably 25 gusting to 30. Mike launch the JoJo and promptly flew about 10 feet horizontal before landing on his feet. "Ok! It's too much!" JoJo went back in the bag. Stoke factor 6.

05/08 - Kitesurfing / Buggying

Went to Alameda with the 15m Fuel, but it was too windy! People were tearing shit up on 9s and 10s, and the biggest was probably a 13. We started playing with the Sky Tiger but the wind was onshore and it kind of sucked. Bare feet on that prickly grass is bad news.

So we headed back to Bernal, put the buggy on top of Mike's car, and went to Ocean Beach! Blowing pretty nice there. Had the Sky Tiger out for a bit, and then the 2.5m JoJo. Was a little nervous with the Sky Tiger due to the long lines and at times lack of adequate clearance. As we got closer to sunset and with the JoJo things were a little more mellow. Went from 0 buggying ability to being able to go upwind and do some decent turns. Need to work on my technique -- buggying seems pretty subtle! Stoke factor 8.

05/06 - Surfing

Killer session at Linda Mar. Borrowed my CEO's Range Rover and busted out of work around 6pm. Hide sideshore wind, but the wave were breaking nicely. Pretty small, but I had Lindsi's board so it was all good. Had pretty good wave selection. Got a better idea of when and where to take off. Caught a few waves that were good but other people didn't go for. I could definitely use a bigger board. Stoke factor 8.

05/02 - Kitesurfing

Went to Alameda, but very little wind. Hard to even keep the kite up. Brought the board out but it was wishful thinking. Had the kite stopped at zenith while focusing on the board. Wind dipped and kite dropped. Not enough wind. Factor 6.

Apr 24(?) - Surfing

2.5 hour session at Cowell's.

Apr 16 - Surfing

3 hour session at Cowell's! Bailed out of work early (like 3:00pm) and made it to SC by 4:30. Got there on the rising tide and there were a lot of people in the water. At least 5 minutes between sets and when one would come in there was often only one decent sized wave and half the crowd would take off. A little chaotic but still a good vibe. Sets became fewer and far between as the tide rose. Caught a wave and got up on the board, but it had already started breaking so it was mostly the white that got me going.

Starting to think my board might be a little thin for the summer waves. Also, need to get the balance just right. Had one wave where I started pearling before trying to stand up. Doesn't seem like I'm getting onto plane before the wave breaks. Stoke factor 8.