Friday, July 29, 2005


It's Friday July 29th at 4PM. I'm looking out the window and it's been raining pretty steady for about an hour. Our much appreciated Southwest monsoon is doing it's stuff today....finally. Here in Flagstaff we bikers all know what a good mid-summer afternoon soaking means: the best single track riding conditions the next morning. So meanwhile, my VooDoo Canzo full suspension is pretty thashed and in need of new derailler cables and some other things. I'll be working on it while it rains.

Flagstaff is far south in the United States that the monsoon thunderstorms form by the condensing moisture that flows northward usually from the heated waters from the Gulf of Mexico. You can see the clouds appear in what once was a completely clear blue sky, balloon and expand to a where everything turns black and then all hell breaks loose. There's flooding when at times a couple of inches will fall in less than an hour. These storms are typically from July through August and sometimes into September. Six to Ten inches of our total yearly average of twenty-two inches of precipitation occur during the summer monsoon. The other precipitation is from snowfall in the winter. Last year our little ski area received about 300 inches of the white stuff. That was some awesome skiing for Arizona.

When I first moved to Flagstaff in 1994, I seem to remember that pretty damn close to noon everyday in the summer, you could count on alot of thunder, lightening and a good dump of rain. Today, it's not so regular I think. The monsoon has come later than I've ever seen it this year and then it's been spotty. Makes me wonder about Global Warming and what's in store for us in the coming years. I've noticed that it's pretty much become accepted that the warming trend is reality and more and more of us clever apes realize that all the CO2 we've been pumping into our atmosphere is actually causing this. You would think that how can there not be some affect by all the carbon emissions! Some people think the planet can take anything we do to it without any negative affects. It's time to get real.

The level that we use energy to do so many things in our lives is huge. It's much more than when our great-grandparents cruised around in horse carts and sailing ships yet generally stayed put growing wheat, hemp and potatoes. Now we are extracting, building, manufacturing, shipping stuff everywhere and travelling in cars and jets all over the planet. Everything we eat and use from the computer I'm writing this on to an apple requires a surprising amount of petroleum. The apple is produced with about one to two times it's weight in fossil fuel. The computer is hundreds of times it's weight in the dead dinosaur stuff and every gallon of gas burned is alot of that good old CO2 pumping into the air. I could go on of course, yet for those who are interested, some my rant was enspired by "The End of Oil" by Paul Roberts. It's a brisk yet sobering read. Basically we've got 10 years off gasoline left and we have to find other energy sources if we want to keep up our living high on the hog lifestyles, not to mention the change in climate that I would bet my favorite grey cat is happening big time.

The rain's still coming down and the sun is out at the same time. It's a beautiful rainstorm. The summer rains are one of many reasons I love it here. During a hard rain up here in the pines at seven thousand feet the problems with the world don't seem to matter nearly so much as they usually do. And I look forward to kick ass single track shredding tomorrow.


Thursday, July 21, 2005