First Ride: Andreini Vaquero

On Saturday, I picked up my new 7’11” Vaquero hull surfboard at Marc Andreini’s house in Half Moon Bay. It is beautiful, perfectly foiled with an aqua blue resin tint.


This is a report from my first session on the new board. First, I really love the ride. It is going to take me a little time to dial it in though. Displacement hulls are just a little different.

Yesterday I went out at 38th at dawn. The conditions were not ideal there but I wanted to start on a friendly wave and there was a big swell. Unfortunately, with the tide and swell up, the waves were kind of mixed up. Also there was a really strong current so you needed to keep paddling just to keep in place. Since I’m used to paddling a flatter, longer board, this took a little getting used to.

On to the rides. Given the conditions, I was only able to catch 5 waves. On the first two, I popped up too far back and the board squirted out from under me. Since I’m used to a long board, I was sighting my stance from the front and therefore, too far back. On the third wave, I overcompensated and pearled in the drop. Getting up felt a little like popping up on a round snow saucer sled where it curves up in every direction. If you are a little off, it squirts out from under you.

So the next strategy was to just ride a few waves on my belly like a body board just to get a feel for how the board rides in the pocket of a wave. That went pretty well and I gave me a better feel for it. Although, belly rides don’t really count in the wave tally.

Then I caught a good outside wave of about 4.5ft!. After some slight adjustments going down the line, I found the sweet spot. The board felt so butter smooth that I was a little surprised. It almost felt like there was no resistance at all. I tried a couple of easy turns up and down the face as I was going down the line and it was super responsive, almost as if I just looked where I want to go and the board went there. Feeling good, and getting a little in front of the wave, I tried a full cutback and with almost no effort turned to head backside into the wave. Then I did another effortless full turn back into the wave and rode it almost to the stairs. The cutback and full turn were almost effortless – once I found that sweet spot.

So, even though it wasn’t a great day, that one wave is what will stick. I’m not sure I can accurately describe the experience of one-ness with the board and the waveI was feeling on that wave. It was a little surprising because it felt so smooth and intuitive.

Now I just need to practice, practice practice until finding that sweet spot feels as natural as my long boards do today.


It is freezing – really. It is freezing and it has been for days. It seldom freezes on the San Francisco peninsula, let alone for days.

The squirrels have grown fatter and fluffier overnight. They chew madly trying to keep warm.

Riding a bicycle in this weather gives you ice cream headaches even with a balaclava under your helmet.

Yesterday afternoon, like I always do, I hosed off my standup paddle board after paddling in the bay. I left the board to dry while there was still sun and when I returned, there was a thin sheet of ice on the surface of the board. Brrr…

Pasero-Patterson at Enzo

The music series at Enzo might be the best kept secret on the San Mateo coast. Saturday’s concert by Stevan Pasero and Richard Patterson showed why.


Pasero and Patterson are both very accomplished musicians in their own right. Richard Patterson also is the director of the Omni Concert Series which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Richard’s maininfluences are classical Spanish guitar, where Stevan seems to have a wide variety of influences including Bosa Nova, Tango and Jazz. Together it is a wonderful hybrid.

Their performance at Enzo was mostly Latin American music and even the maluguena was the classic Maleguena by Lecuomo, a Cuban. The set included a Bosa Nova sequence, pieces from Venezuela, Cuba and Argentine Tangos. The Tangos ware possibly in honor of Mauro, our host and the driving force behind Enzo. Mauro is Argentine. I loved every piece.

What really makes this special though is the venue and the whole experience. Picture 40 of your close and new found friends, getting together for wine and a delicious meal at a house on the beach followed by a private concert by two of the best Spanish guitarists you have ever heard. It doesn’t get any better in my book.

New Legs for the 990

Swapping out the original forks on my Trek 990 really gives new life to the bike. Last night I took the Trek 990 for a spin after swapping out the original front suspension, headset and stem. Wow! I love this bike. The original Trek DS2 fork was an early air fork with limited travel and almost no adjust-ability. It was good at the time, but times have changed and the seals were starting to go. I wanted to upgrade it with a modern fork with more travel, but didn’t want to drift to far from the original design center and look. I also wanted to keep the existing vBrakes. I ended up finding a good deal on a Manitou R7 with VBrake bosses and 100mm travel. r7 The DS2 is a threaded fork, swapping it out with the R7 also meant upgrading to a threadless headset and stem. I went with

The whole job cost about $400 and 2 hours of work. It was time and money well spent. I had never replaced a headset or cut a fork before but with advise from friends and The Big Blue Book it went smoothly. After the conversion, the bike climbs like a bunny on mate. The fork is very light and with the fork locked out is super stiff. On descents, the bike gives me more confidence than my SuperLight with its old Manitou Skareb fork. That fork will be the next one to go.

Replacing the weird 2002 XTR FC-M952 chainrings

What do you do when your old M972 XTR chainrings wear out…

In giving the new old superlight a tune up I noticed that the chainrings are showing signs of wear so I put “replace chainrings” on the to do list. No problem, put it on the To DO list.

But it is a problem. The 2002 Shimano FC-M952 has a very functional but totally non standard design. It is spiderless and has an unusual 68/110 four bolt pattern. The replacement rings for this kit are almost impossible to find and when you do they are expensive. I could replace the whole crankset but now we are talking hundreds of dollars for something equivalent to the XTR.


After a lot of googling I found that Middleburn in the UK makes an XTR M952 replacement spider. This spider replaces the original spider from XTR M952 cranks, allowing you to run your choice of 4 bolt 104/64 BCD chainrings.

MTB Tandems sells these and other Middleburn components (scroll to the very bottom of the page). I may just keep the old XTR BB abd crank arms and convert to Middleburn chainrings using this adapter. Or any other 64/104 BCD chainrings for that matter.

Woo-Hoo a new old bike

Lately I’ve picked up Mountain Biking again. It has been about 15 years since I did anything other than the occasional fire road. I still have my 1992 Trek 990 Singletrack, but it is a hard tail and I’m 15 years older than I was when I last rode it on single track.

superlight-on-standEbay to the rescue! Last week I picked up an used Santa Cruz Superlight on eBay and I’m tracking the shipping progress hourly. The photo is the new old Superlight. cool smile

Lyle Lovett at Paolo Soleri Amphitheatre


I just got around to uploading a set of photos taken last summer to Flickr. This one was special. It is from the Lyle Lovett concert at the Paolo Soleri amphitheatre in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Lyle was playing with the large band and the show started just before dusk. That is Lyle in the Camel colored suit. He is a dapper fellow.

The show started just before dusk and it was one of those magical Northern New Mexico evenings where the sky is exploding with thunder and lightening and vertical rainbows. This shot captures a bit of that magic.