Friday, January 20, 2017

Fun Friday

The Spring-like weather we've been having is strange.  Strange because I'm sure we'll get some ice/snow/other shit again soon.  But until now, I guess we'll have to get used to warm days and clear nights.  Things change though.

This just in:

Rain is gonna ruin it.


Although I understand it's a necessary thing, I hate rain.  A lot.  It ruins my plans most of the time and gets mud in the house.  I had bikes rides planned.  Mountain bike rides.  I guess I'll be back on the road bike again.  Or, gasp, on the trainer.

Honestly, I'll probably just sit around and drink beer.  Like I do every day.


Perhaps I can sit in the house and enjoy a good book.  I found one that seems pretty interesting:


Probably offended some people with that.

Not sorry.


Also not sorry that you made it this far down the page.  That's on you.

See y'all next week where hopefully I'll be in a better mood and have a story or two to tell.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Droopin'

I've been using a dropper post (excuse me, drooper) for the last few years.  Three, I think.


The problem is, I only have one and I have three mountain bikes.  It's difficult to go back and forth between drooper and non-drooper bikes, so I usually end up taking The Executor on rides where it's sorta overkill most of the time.  It's a big bike built for stuff like The Pisgah, but the drooper post makes it fun for local stuff too.  Well, I don't have to worry anymore, because now I haz solution...


I picked this up back at CycloFest from the crankbrothers booth (they support me, you know) and I hadn't had a chance to figure out what to do with it.  Busy with the move, settling into the new house, etc. it became a low priority.  Now things are sorta "normal" again, so I decided to put it on one of my bikes.

I know some of you don't care much for crankbrothers, but I do.  They have been good to me, and more importantly, I haven't had any issues using their stuff (pedals mostly.)  The drooper thing was different though, because they failed miserably when they tried it in the past.  They will be the first to admit that too.

The highline drooper post (they use a lot of lower case on their website) was redesigned from the ground up, making it totally different from what they've done before.  Servicing is easy (Number One Bike Mechanic The Gentle Ginger said he was impressed), and it's simplicity leads to function without much chance for failure.

While a little pricey (like most droopers), it's cheaper than the one I'm currently using and hopefully will hold up a lot better.  I've had a few issues with that one, including a warranty replacement.  That company has good customer service too, I suppose.

Anyway, it was time to install it.  Since I wanted to put it on a bike that would see the most rugged testing environments, it was an easy decision to replace the one I'm using now.  If you are elite I probably offended you.  Who gives a shit.

So, what was in the box?

    A drooper post.  Duh.

They also included all the hardware, a cable, housing, etc. and a set of instructions that would make Ikea proud...


Instead of trying to decipher that nonsense, I headed to the CB website and found a whole bunch of links to videos.  I skimmed through the installation one and figured I'd seen enough.  If you want to watch it though, here it is:



It was actually pretty useful though, especially the part about measuring the cable housing and all that.  Anyway, I didn't take pictures every step of the way like I had intended.  Actually I only took two.

One of the cable housing coming out of the bike frame:

Stealth routing.  Rad.  My other one didn't have that.  Not their fault though.

The other photo I took during the installation was of the lever, which is pretty damn awesome:

Way more comfortable than other droopers out there.  I dig it.

Total install time?  Maybe about 20 minutes.  I tested it out quite a bit too, since I have plenty of big ass rocks all over my yard from whence to drop.  Actuation is quite nice and very smooth...

and dat lever tho.  Nice.

Cheers to crankbrothers for making me all giddy about drooping again.

Yes, I'm a product whore.  But I'm loyal.  You don't find that much among bike folks these days.

Oh, and since I'm such a whore, here's another video to get you all excited about the highline:



Oh, and before you ask...

I'm not selling or giving away the drooper I took off.  It's still decent, and I haz plans for it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Across The River

Although I primarily ride mountain bikes (when I actually ride), I've been spending a lot of time on the road lately.  I still have a rental vehicle since mine is in the shop, and that makes transporting a bike anywhere a pain (I barely got me and a bike to the Short Track Thingy on Sunday.)  A road ride is still a ride, and I still have plenty of exploring to do around my new hood anyway.

So off I went.

I headed west, with my goal being to cross the Catawba River.  I'm really close to it actually, so before I knew it I was there.



Wait, what does that little sign back there say?

Playful?  Like how?  That's sorta creepy.

Crossing the river has always been a funny thing to me.  It's different over there.  I may joke about it, but I really do like it out that way.  It's quite country, and dare I say, a little backwards.  Much like where I grew up.  The pace seems slower over yonder, and it's not too city-fied.  I'm actually more comfortable over there, sorta like it's where I belong.

Fun fact:  When I first decided to move to North Carolina, I'd planned on going to Gaston County.

Anyway, this wasn't a training ride.  Or was it?


Even though I got some decent mileage in, I was primarily interested in exploring.  Sure, I can drive around those small towns to the west of me, but the best way to see anything is by bike.


Hell, I never would have found this neat little coffee shop if I had been driving by on the main road:


Oh, and did I mention that there was still snow on the ground?

Dirty snow.  Meh.

After I explored over there for a while, I headed back across the river and towards the whitewater park.  That's when I spotted the end of the Carolina Thread Trail (which branches off from the mountain bike trails out there.)  


That trail flows along a creek, which just so happens to be the same one that's behind my house.  I decided to try to follow the creek back towards my house (the best way I could without getting off the road) and I saw some promising signs that made me think that I could actually get to the trails at the whitewater park from my own backyard.



Eventually, it got pretty country, and by country I mean out there.  A kind of place where even the signs aren't safe anymore.

Redneck target practice.  We've all done it.

I got out of there, taking a couple of country roads back towards the house.  I was inspired and excited about the possibility of my new trail.  I couldn't wait to tell my neighbors all about it.


Their long faces would suggest that they weren't as excited as I was.  Horse problems I guess.

More consistent blogging has returned, but more importantly, more consistent riding.  Hell, I may even get out to the shop to put some new bike parts on for future rides.

It's like that.  Like it was.  Again.

Who gives a shit.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Getting Back And Giving Back

Sunday was a really good day.  I didn't ride much, but I was on a bike.

And around bike people.

You see, I decided to spend my Sunday volunteering to help out with a clinic for the 2017 Charlotte Winter Short Track Series.  It's a race I've done many times in the past, and it's also the very first local race I ever attended when I first moved here.  It's lots of fun to do, but this time around I decided to give back and share some of my "racing knowledge."

I know, I know, I don't race it anymore.  And no, I didn't teach a clinic about heckling (although I could have.)  It was a beginner's clinic, designed to get more people interested in the series and maybe get some of them that are undecided a push in the right direction to give it a shot.

The turnout was pretty awesome.


There were men, women, children, and I think I even saw a couple of dogs (they didn't bring bikes.)  Some were beginners, others were folks that were returning to short track racing after a long hiatus.  Some were just there to pick up a few pointers.  We broke up into several groups and the clinic-goers rotated between stations that covered race start/prep, cornering, passing, and trail vision.

I (along with two other "experienced" racers) took the race start/prep group and ran with it.  It felt weird being up in front of people as a so-called "expert", so I was a little uncomfortable at first.  But in reality, I've never forgotten what it was like to be a beginner and I was able to share that with the group quite easily.  Everyone seemed very receptive, and they were having a good time while learning a thing or two.


Once the everyone filtered through our group, I ended up on the trail riding with one of the other ones.  I didn't log much distance that day, but I was on my bike on an unseasonably warm winter day and having a great time.  It felt good to give back too.  Maybe I should do that more often and quit being such an asshole that's trying to be what's wrong with this sport.

I kid.  You know me.  I dig this shit.

Tune in tomorrow for what might be a ride report.

Yes, I said tomorrow.  Trying to keep this thing going again, you know.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Fun Friday

My favorite day.  The weather is back to being nicer (for now), but more importantly, I have two days off from work.  I've been a little stressed out this week because my truck is in the shop.  Not a mechanical issue though, luckily.  I was in an accident, so the body shop is working on it while I drive a much smaller rental.  That kinda sucks, because it limits what kind of bike riding I can do over the weekend (i.e. traveling with my bike to The Pisgah or someplace like that.)

I'm sure you're much more interested in the accident though.  If you don't follow me on social media (I know some of you don't do that kinda shit), you haven't seen it.  So, I'll tell you.

I hit a deer.


It jumped out in front of me, I swerved, and barely hit it.  I didn't kill it though, and it kept trying to get up.  I was pissed, yet compassionate about this poor, suffering deer so I did what any humane person would do...

I put the fucker out of his misery.


My truck wasn't too bad, and very much driveable.  Still, it was bad enough that I had to get it fixed.


It's enough to make me wanna drink though, which is exactly what I plan to do this weekend.


Make sure you honk if you see me.  Or stay for the drinking.

See y'all next week.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Dance Like No One Is Watching

Or write this shit like no one is reading.  Same same.

I'm back to blogging sorta regularly, but I won't be here every day.  Maybe when my activity ramps up and I'm much busier bike-wise, I'll have more to talk about and can justify being here more often.

Speaking of which, maybe it's time to plan for the "season."

Last year, I had a plan.  Coming off of winning the 2015 Southern Classic Series, I wanted to give it one more go.  I'd try to win the series again (in the fat boy class of course), and retire from short cross country races.  I actually had fun doing them finally, but the constant travel was wearing me out.  I started the season with one race, then a couple of health problems made me pull the plug on my plan.  I didn't race again until November (which was a 3rd Place in the Tree Shaker), but I figured that once 2017 rolled around I would re-visit my plan.  Aside from the Southern Classic, there were a few races that I always do, such as this one...



The 6 Hour of Warrior Creek.  It was always a fun time, but I'm out this year.  It did indeed sell out (like always), but not at the record-setting pace as it had in the past.  I know some people were disappoint that they didn't get in, but I wasn't one of them.  I had plenty of chances to register but I decided against it.  While it is a great race on some fun trails, I think it's run its course for me.  The love just isn't there, but I hope the rest of you that signed up have a great time.

Send me a postcard or some shit.

One race that is absolutely on my calendar is the Great Winter Escape Race, better known as...


Yeah, it's Florida.  Yeah, it's "flat."  It's also back in my home state, which is usually quite warm in February compared to here in North Carolina.  It's a race and a party all rolled into one, which is in line with the kind of fun I'm trying to have this year.  Plus, in addition to my Florida friends that will be there, a whole bunch of NC people usually come down there too.  So yeah, I'm definitely in for this one.

As far as the Southern Classic Series, I'm sorta "meh."  I've made a lot of friends during that series (some of them are "dirt roadies" and that's perfectly okay), but traveling to some of the same ol' places far, far away to race for an hour or two might not be the thing for me this season.  So like I said last year, maybe my "retirement" has started a little sooner than I wanted.

Who gives a shit.

I'll do some other events (or races, whatever.)  Maybe some more stuff in The Pisgah.  My main goal this year though is instead of traveling all over the Southeast to "race", I'll spend that time traveling to trails to ride for fun.  You know, getting into adventures like Caine from Kung-Fu.

Or Jules from Pulp Fiction...


I should have shotguns for this shit.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Snow Day

Well, the weather folks predicted a shit storm of snow over the weekend.  It didn't happen for most people in Charlotte, but it hit us pretty good.  Starting Friday night, the snow fell and started accumulating.  It was schedule to go on all night, so I knew the next day would be fun.  I grew up in Florida, you know.  Even though I've been here for ten years I still get pretty excited.

Something funny happens when it snows.  It's like the rules of society go out the window.  Once the fluffy white goodness started covering the ground, roving bands of teens (and adults) starting gathering outside.  In the middle of the night in a snow storm, the rules don't apply.  People walk down the middle of the road, through yards, and even ride four wheelers on the median of major highways.  I dig it.

Anyway, I didn't stay up all night to watch the storm.  I went to bed just as the shit started sticking to the ground.  When I woke up though, it was different.  I had a nice view from the bathroom during my morning uh, ritual.

Please excuse the screen.  I wasn't about to remove it for a photo.

It was still snowing when I woke up.  It was awesome.  While some of my Facefriends complained about the lack of snow, we had plenty and continued to get more.  I was happy, but not as happy as Carl was.



Carl loves snow.  Despite the freezing temps, we played outside with him for hours.  He like to have "snowball fights."



And he also likes to eat the snow for some reason.


At about mid-day, I thought about going for a bike ride of some sort.  Then, I changed my mind and started doing something more fun.


I saw lots of Faceposts from my friends that were out riding.  I wanted ot get in on that too, but I ended up spending most of the day watching the snow fall and playing with my dog.  I thought that would be my entire day until Lunchbox wanted to go "exploring" with me.

I couldn't turn down an opportunity to hang out with my son, so off we went.

We have a little more land now, but by no means do we live out in the "country."  Still, there are some woods behind the house and, according the The Google, a creek.  We sloshed through the snow, down the hill, and found it.


We've been in the new house for over three months, but this is the first time any of us have been back there.  It was beautiful.



Lunchbox definitely enjoyed it too.


The snow finally stopped falling sometime in the afternoon.  Even though we didn't get what was predicted, we had plenty.  In fact, three days later it's still there.  I didn't end up riding my bike at all, but hanging out with my family in the woods playing in the snow was still just as fun.

I even took an opportunity to get my Star Wars on with the temporary scenery too.


So yeah, I'm blogging again.  And it doesn't always have to be about bikes.  I got outside to enjoy "outside", and I had a good time.  I'm enjoying life.  

Because that's what you're supposed to do.