aka “Easy Killer”

Given all the wind and rain from the last few days, the roads were not very welcoming to bikes. So when David suggested MTB I was sold. We had our share of downed trees that we had to either clean up or climb over.

Here was our largest and most complete tree clean-up. Bummer that we didn’t have the before photo. Bigger bummer that a biker passed us as we were cleaning it up and said nothing.

At the top of Grand Ridge, David turned back and I pedaled on. Shortly after, at a point in the ride when I was probably furthest from any road, I had a good-sized puncture in my front tire. It was too big for the sealant to fix. So this was my first opportunity to try out my tire plugs.

I timed the entire procedure, and in the end it took me exactly: “too long” 😮. It took two tries. The first one I managed to push the entire plug through the hole. Woops. Second time I nailed it.

A work of art.

It was amazingly satisfying to hear a loud hiss completely silenced in a matter of seconds. I sat there staring at it for, again, “too long.” I was feeling totally like this:

Eventually my head shrunk enough to not tip over the bike. I saddled up and pedaled on … proudly 🙂.

309: Pre-dawn Push-off; Putt-putt Pace; Plug Proven; Proud Pedaler | Ride | Strava

Jack’s Journey

As I alluded to yesterday in Fez Finito, I’m also saying goodbye to Jack.

Today was our final ride. Exploring new roads on our very first ride, so it seemed fitting to explore new roads on our very last ride (no new tiles, but new trails).

And there is added sad news to this event, because my crash count got reset. I’m 0 for 2 on steering into a skid to prevent a slide. Jack’s slide was clean and soft, all dirt and grass. My slide was on the asphalt. Torn sleeve means it counts as a crash. ☹ But no injuries for me, so all good. Days since last crash counter was at 176. Now it’s 0.

  • After crossing the finish line today (303: Just Jack), here is the final tally:
    • 50 rides
    • 2,569 miles
    • 162,378 feet of climb
    • 63.2 ft/mi lifetime average climb
    • 383 Explorer Tiles collected … an average of 7.6 new tiles per ride!
    • 451 Photos taken
    • 456 PRs
    • 683 Kudos
    • 0 Flagged (Integrity!)

Thanks for being my partner in my initiation to off-road biking. Enjoy your new family!

Fez Finito

With the 1-2 punch of Whip and Verse now in my line-up, it’s time to say goodbye to a great friend.

As we get ready for part-time-life in Chelan, which will certainly include getting more MTB bikes for guests, I’m realizing that the time has come to start thinning the herd.

I really love the ride and feel of Whip. And it’s Virginia Tech orange. From a simplicity standpoint, I got a road wheelset for that, which I just tried out last week (this is where I felt “dirty” … I should’ve first ended my relationship with FeZ before riding Verse): 296: Verse: veni, vehi, vici.

So now it is proven: Whip and Verse can replace FeZ and Jack. A trip to is planned next week.

Simplicity reigns. Whip It Good!

With that decision made, today was FeZ’s and my “one last ride” together. I dusted off one of my earliest NW routes, heading out to Snohomish and Monroe. So Fez got to say goodbye to the valley in the process. I was thinking about the milestones covered with FeZ. Here’s the summary.

It’s been a helluva ride, FeZ! Time to grace another household with your awesomeness. Roll on!


Say hello to “Verse”.

If Verse looks familiar, that’s because it’s Whip with a new pair of shoes. I want to track it as a separate bike to keep the stats separate and to better track servicing milestones.

So how did I land on this name? Well, here was the progression.

A new set of wheels for a bike is like a new pair of shoes.

And since these “shoes” are intended for higher performance (compared to the gravel shoes on Whip before), I was thinking of shoe ads that hyped performance. And I was reminded of a classic Larry Johnson NBA commercial from the early 90’s, that included the line “Converse shoes make you play so good, my grandmama could whip you in ’em.” (first 1min of this montage: Converse Grandmama 1991 1996).

So that got me to converse. But I’m a fan of “5 letters of fewer”, so I was looking to shorten it. “Verse” can mean “versatility” (which is fitting for what these wheels do to Whip … turning it into a second bike for a fraction of the cost). “Verse” can also be a reference to the final “Contribute a verse” line of Walt Whitman’s “O Me O Life”. I love that poem for many reasons, one big one being the use of it in Dead Poets Society, my #1 movie of all time. And, at work, this is a common line that I use when talking about how we’re all trying to contribute a piece to the overall employee development story. Our CEO Satya also encourages this mindset with his “use Microsoft as a platform to realize your dreams.”

So “Verse” it is.

296: Verse: veni, vehi, vici | Ride | Strava

Then and Now

I have some childhood photos of the boys that I’m asking them to reenact. This will take some time to complete, but I might as well post the progress as we go.

Firefighter Luke

2002.12.20 – Our Broadhurst Home
2017.12.27 – Ritu & Rishi’s home

Mt. Si Summit

2019.06.23 – standing in exactly the same spot, not that you can tell

Pet Shop Boys Challenge

Two nights ago a group of us went to see the Pet Shop Boys and New Order in concert. And this morning I’m looking up “The Pepsi Challenge.” Can’t fathom how these two are related? Read on …

Here are the relevant excerpts (actually, an “excerpt inception”) from Pepsi Challenge – Wikipedia to give you the necessary context:


The challenge originally took the form of a single blind taste test. At malls, shopping centers, and other public locations, a Pepsi representative sets up a table with two white cups: one containing Pepsi and one with Coca-Cola. Shoppers are encouraged to taste both colas, and then select which drink they prefer. Then the representative reveals the two bottles so the taster can see whether they preferred Coke or Pepsi. The results of the test leaned toward a consensus that Pepsi was preferred by more Americans. The Pepsi Challenge has been featured in much of Pepsi’s TV advertising.


In his book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), author Malcolm Gladwell presents evidence that suggests Pepsi’s success over Coca-Cola in the “Pepsi Challenge” is a result of the flawed nature of the “sip test” method. His research shows that tasters will generally prefer the sweeter of two beverages based on a single sip, even if they prefer a less sweet beverage over the course of an entire can.

Sitting down at dinner before the concert, the question posed at the table was “Who’s the opening act and who’s the headliner?” This drew very divided responses accompanied with looks of incredulity from one party to the other. “Of course PSB is going to be the main act. They were the more popular group!” “New Order is the obvious headliner. They are the symbol of New Wave Music.”

I was in the PSB party, having given more ear time to them in the 80s. New Order was outside of my mainstream and never held my attention very long back then.

Off we go to the concert, where PSB in fact opens up, with New Order following. Both put on terrific shows (in my opinion), and it was a fun trip down memory lane, resurrecting some tunes in my memory that I had completely forgotten about.

The next day came the PSB Challenge, unbeknownst even to myself. With all these tunes bouncing around in my head, I pulled up Spotify and started cuing up everything I could remember from their set lists … as well as the songs that I was reminded of that didn’t even make their set lists.

As I played through each song, I occasionally added it to one of my playlists. When the play session was over, I went back and looked at how many songs from each band I had added to my playlists: PSB: 1; New Order: 8.

Verdict: PSB is a good sipping drink; New Order is the better long pour!

Perhaps it’s fitting that in the 80s, I drank only Pepsi. And now, well, the drink is called Jack and Coke for a reason!

More Durable Than Steel

Diego is a work colleague of mine. We’ve worked near each other for years, but only recently did we have occasion to work directly with each other. Last week was one occasion, when Diego and I co-presented to an “early in career” audience at work. In that presentation, we shared this photo of the two of us, from a “connection” walk we had in May of 2020:

2020.05.26: Diego and Jeff walking the tracks

I remembered this photo when I was biking today … down this same corridor. But now, the steel is gone. This is yet another (hooray) rails-to-trails conversion. Here’s the shot from today:

2022.10.02: Jeff riding where once there were tracks.

So now it’s official, Diego: our friendship is more durable than steel! Here’s to many more partnerships, my “fellow yellow” (that’s an Insights reference). 💗

275: Heat Helps | Ride | Strava


The all-inclusive resort that my family just returned from is pretty aptly named. I have never been to a resort that had so many amenities, all of which were already included in the flat amount we paid. The poolside food and drinks are what I had in mind when I heard all-inclusive. But by the time I first reached the pool, I had already encountered a large number of OMGs that had never occurred to me, perhaps due to years of conditioning with normal hotel/resort experiences. Here were my top five encountered in the first 30 minutes of our arrival:

  1. A welcome massage while we waited for our room — after 8 hours of car & airport “fun”, it was great to be greeted at the hotel by a masseuse who worked her way down the line in my family giving each of us a scalp, neck, and shoulder massage.
  2. (Of course) accompanied by a welcome margarita — they say that with massages you’re supposed to make sure you stay hydrated, so it’s somewhat obvious that we were given drinks as soon as we sat down.
  3. Our own concierge on WhatsApp –Luis introduced himself in the lobby and said he would be our personal concierge. He then created a WhatsApp group for all of us where he sent us daily updates.
  4. A bottle of tequila sitting on the counter in our room — with 4 glasses, ice, salt, spices, and fruit slices. Which clearly was setting the tone for …
  5. A loaded mini-bar … that was entirely free — yes, I know, it says all-inclusive, so this shouldn’t have been a surprise. But after 3 decades of experiencing the impulse-buy price-gouging instrument, to think that we could daily blow through the entire contents of the mini fridge and countertop food tray took me a little bit to accept.

So with these and so much more included in our experience, it becomes easier to enumerate what wasn’t included. And that was one very important item that you had to bring yourself: self-restraint.

In this last week I drank more than in my lowest week during COVID isolation. My only braggable note was that I didn’t start drinking until the afternoon. 🙂

Needless to say, when I returned last night I was feeling, in a word, heavy.

So the name of today’s ride was: 226: Detox.