Thursday, March 26, 2015

Getting Ready For Fun

About a week ago, I was at a doctor’s office (for work stuff; I'm fine.)  There was an older lady there (probably in her late 70s), and she was asked about her recent vacation by the check-in nurse.  After a chat about some island getaway, she then went on to say, “I just booked a trans-atlantic cruise this summer.  It’s the last thing on my bucket list.”

That stuck with me.  I don’t know what else was on her list, but that fact that she’s nearly reached the end of it fascinated me.  I didn’t really have a chance to talk to her, but looking back I wished that I had.  From what I heard, she loves to travel, so I imagine that most of her list items were trips to far away and/or exotic lands.  She seemed so happy about it, and that made me feel pretty good as well. 

I have a long way to go until I reach her age, but I have plenty of time to do all sorts of fun things.  I don’t have a “bucket list” per se, but I do have a mental list of things that I’d like to do at some point.  I’ve checked off quite a few things, but I’m more of a “fly by the seat of my pants” type of person.  I’m just gonna make sure I have fun, no matter what I’m trying to accomplish.

I guess that’s one reason that I’ve reconsidered beefing up my racing schedule again.  I was really burned out when I raced a lot of cross country stuff a few years ago, to the point where even just riding my bike for fun wasn’t um, fun.  It wasn’t the racing that did it though.  It was my shitty attitude.  I was traveling to new trails and meeting some cool people, but I guess that wasn’t enough.  Racing can be fun, but if it ceases to be then maybe I need to look at why instead of just running away from it.

Maybe that’s why I’m a little nervous about this weekend.

Sunday, I’m jumping back into the Southern Classic Series, with the intention of doing the whole thing.  Once upon a time I raced almost every weekend, with varied results. 

There’s no reason to be nervous.  There’s really nothing on the line except whether or not I have fun.  That’s the approach I plan to take this time around, and I hope I can keep it up for the remainder of the season.  It’s gonna be difficult to stay focused, but as long as I can have fun then I should be fine.

Since I’m planning to “mix it up” with racey folks, I figured that I should get my bike in order.  I started by giving it a good bath, paying close attention to wear items such as the chain, cog, and chainring.  Everything is good (for now), but while I had the wheels off I noticed something odd.

Really, there’s no excuse for that kind of nonsense. I get tons of awesome support from Maxxis, and when I ask for new tires they show up quickly.  Maybe I’m just lazy (or don’t pay enough attention), but letting a tire go this long is unacceptable.  I didn’t take a photo of the actual tread wear, but it was quite shitty as well.

Luckily I haz options.

A brand new Ikon, just waiting for me to install it.  Once I did, I realized how much of a dumbass I am for not doing it sooner.  Tubeless setup was a breeze, and the fact that my rear wheel won’t spin out anymore is reason enough to never let this happen again.

At least I didn’t wait until I started racing this weekend.

That’s when I’ll see what else I forgot to do.

And no, new tires were not on my bucket list.  They probably should’ve been though.

Is it Friday yet?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


After my road ride on Saturday, I decided to head down to Rock Hill, SC to watch a little BMX action.

With a world class BMX track (not Helltrack though), I knew it was gonna be a sight to see.  Even when there’s not an event, the locals can play on the pump track just outside the main track.

Looks fun.  Maybe I need another bike.

It was a beautiful day to be outside, and after getting my miles in for the day I was happy to just watch.  Of course I took moar photos.

I watched a lot of good racing, even though honestly I had no idea who most of those people were.  Aside from watching, I spent most of my time at the DeFeet tent.

I’ve said it before, but they use recycled material to make these socks.  You know, from stuff like water bottles.  So, this photo is sort of a before and after…

And Mandy, the best DeFeet rep around, was busy pimping out socks to the BMX crowd, a lot of whom thought maybe they were just for road cycling.  That thinking changed quickly though, since the tent was constantly flocked with riders gawking at the cool designs, with many of them walking away with their first pair (and vowing to get more.)   

I was amazed at the crowds and their reactions, but a lot of it had to do with Mandy and her approach.

“Oh yeah, these socks are awesome.  See?”

She practices what she preaches, along with her family (also in attendance.)  They all wear (and ride in) DeFeet socks, so it’s easy to see how passionate they are.  In addition to being great people, they are definitely great ambassadors.  The brand has been opened up to a whole new market, which is never a bad thing.

You see?  I’m not the only one that thinks these socks are the cat’s ass.

Of course I’m not.

So yeah, what an awesome day.  You know, because any day that involves bikes can never be a bad thing.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Road Alone

Last week I had a grand idea.  I knew that most of the local trails would be closed, and with some travel coming up the next few weeks I didn’t feel like driving out of town.  Instead of riding inside like I’ve been the last several Saturdays, I decided that a long-ish outdoor road ride was in order. 

The plan:  Ride from my house on the north east side of town to the Whitewater Center (on the total opposite side of town.)

It sounded really far at first, but when I started looking at a map I realized that it would only be a little over twenty miles one way.  I looked at The Google, loosely planned a route, and scribbled some stuff down on a makeshift cue sheet.  I was ready.

The next morning I took off.  It was a little cold, but the forecast called for a high near seventy degrees.  A light DeFeet base layer, arm warmers, and knee warmers were sufficient, even though I was a little chilly.  My route took me out of my neighborhood and straight to TomTom’s house, where I would hit the local greenway for a small section. 

After that I had to wind around through several neighborhoods.  This is where the cue sheet came in handy.  Some turns were made after a few hundred feet; others after a half mile or so.  It was a little confusing but nice because it kept me off of some busy roads.  Eventually though, I had to mix it up with traffic.  I was a little worried but there were plenty of bike lanes.  Too bad they were full of gravel and other assorted debris.

That section was the longest on one particular road, and the worst part was that the bike lane ended (pushing me right into busy traffic.)  About a mile without a bike line lasted what seemed like forever, but eventually I ended up on some lightly traveled country roads.  It was like that until I reached Paw Creek.

Paw Creek is also known as the Tank Farm, where all the area’s gasoline is stored while it waits for tanker trucks to pickup and deliver to gas stations.

Since it was a Saturday the traffic is that industrialized area was pretty light.  It remained that way until I got close to my destination too…

 I still had a mile and a half or so until I reached the actual whitewater park, and that road was also lightly traveled since the trails were closed.  I’m glad they were, since I obviously brought the wrong bike for trail riding.

After a small potty break and a lap around the man-made river, I started to head back towards home base.  The highlight of my day was when a car pulled out ahead of me with balloons hanging out of it.  They were driving really slow as no not lose any, which meant that I would eventually start to gain on them.  Once I got close, they pulled over.  The passenger hopped out and proceeded to stuff the balloons into the back seat.

It was funny as hell, especially when they drove off again in a car filled to the brim with party favors.

I pretty much took the same route back.  I took a few photos of stuff I missed the first time though.

The busiest road I had to cross on the way back had a bike lane leading into it.  The turn arrow (in the bike lane) suggested to me that I would be spit out onto that busy road which I knew for sure didn’t have a bike lane.

I was wrong though, because as soon as I crossed the intersection, the arrows directed me towards a nice little bike path.

The rest of the ride was nice too, and I even stopped to get another picture.  This time is was sorta scenic.

Once I got back home, I’d tallied 43 miles for the day.  Not bad, and I sure as hell didn’t feel drained.  It was really fun, and other than stopping at my destination and to take some photos I kept a pretty speedy pace.  I really enjoyed being out on the road on such a beautiful day, even if it was on skinny tires.  I was alone, on a bike, and had a ton of fun.

Just the way I like it.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fun Friday

You know what day it is?

 Exactly.  The weekend is here.  The weather got a little bad again.  Who gives a shit.  I have two whole days with no solid plans.  I will haz plans though. 

Maybe I’ll sleep in late tomorrow and make breakfast.

 There will be a bike ride somewhere.  Maybe even two or three.  Aside from that, who knows?  Well, I know. 

All I care about is the fact that I don’t have to be on a schedule until Monday.  Now I can go get into something.

Why don’t you do the same?  Just keep it fun.

See y’all next week.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Why Are You Still Here?

Carl has nothing better to do.

The last two days around here have been spent promoting a couple of my fine supporters.  It’s been about things that I can’t live without these days (at least on the bike), so I thought that I should pass it on to you.  There will be more of that in the future, since I have more supporters and I will indeed need more things to talk about.  But today, it’s all about me.

It’s time for you to show your support for…

Absolutely nothing. 

Who gives a shit.

That’s something I’ve been saying for years, and you’ve heard it around here enough to know that.  It’s not a question, hence the omission of a question mark.  It’s more of a statement.  A statement about general feelz and whatnot. 

You like riding fast and training but no one seems to care?  Who gives a shit.

You like to party and heckle while others race and they don’t like it?  Who gives a shit.

You prefer 26 over 29 but your friends make fun of you?  Who gives a shit.

You like smearing peanut butter all over your… 

Ewwww.  You’re a weirdo.

Anyway, in support of non-support of things, I had some stickers made.  I’ve wanted to do this for quite some time, and when I ran the idea by Lunchbox he simply said, “Hurry up.”

So, here goes:

Stickers.  I haz them.  You can haz.  I’m not trying to quit my day job by selling these, so all you have to do is give me a crispy American dollar bill and I’ll give you one.  Or, buy me a beer.  Or, be on a very short list of people that will get some for things they’ve already done for me.  Let me know and I’ll tell you where you stand.  It’s quite the bargain either way.

You know you want one.  Support nothing (or everything) by getting one or more of these fabulous stickers.  Stick one on your bike, your car, your neighbor’s house, whatever.    

Find me in person and I’ll hook you up.  Ship some to you?  Well, we can talk about that too.

Get some.  Or don’t.  Who gives a shit.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I’m Awesome Again

It’s been a little while since I mentioned the fine company that is Backcountry Research.  You know, the makers of the Awesome Strap.  The truth is, when their new designs came out I didn’t think to get any.  “My old stuff is fine,” I kept telling myself.

Maybe, but the new stuff is moar awesome-er.  When I finally got around to trying to acquire some new straps, they were in the middle of a move from Washington State to Montana and I had to wait.  Well, I haz no more waiting.

These are some assorted colors of the 2015 Race MTB Saddle Mount.  To quote the official product description, “Our most popular strap series has taken an evolutionary leap that’s equivalent to an eagle flying straight out of the primordial ooze.”

So true.  I mean, the new design is a big improvement.  I’m not even sure how they keep improving on a product that’s so awesome to begin with (pun intended.)  The setup is way easier this time around, it holds everything much better, and I feel like it’s a helluva lot more secure than previous model.  What does that mean for you? 

No more losing your shit on the trail. 

It’s so easy that anyone can use it.  I can, so yes, that does mean anyone.  I’ll give you the step by step just in case.

Since it’s been a little while since I checked the tube in my old setup, I used a brand new Maxxis tube for my new awesomeness. 

 Step one is to lay out the strap on a flat surface.

The next step is to grab your tube, get all of the air out of it, and roll it up nice and tight (and even.)  Don’t worry too much about this step as long as you’re close though.  Once that’s done, place the tube on the color side of the strap and pull each of the two shock cords over the tube to hold it in place.

The next step is easy too.  Grab your air cartridge and tire lever and stuff it in behind the tube on the Velcro side.

That’s it.  Now you just have to mount it to the saddle rails.  Feed the ring side of the strap all the way through the saddle rails, slide the other end through, and pull tight.  Connect the Velcro and check to make sure it’s secure.

It sure is.

The installation is much easier than previous models, and it stays on there better than a tick on a fat dog.  If my instructions still confuse you, check out the video created by Dicky:

Got it?  Good.  Now you won’t lose your shit.

Just as before, there are several models of these straps to choose from.  For instance, the Hypalon Mutherload Frame Mount:

Think of this one as an “extra”, since it goes on your frame when you need moar stuff.  You know, like when you’re endurance racing or out for a long ride in the hills or something.  Installation is the same, so no worries there.

Once again, I’m awesome.  And once again, thanks to Backcountry Research for taking care of me again. 

Why don’t you have some in your life (or on your bike)?


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I Prefer Solitude

A lot of people ride bikes as a social thing, as exercise, or just to get around.  When you race (or even train), you end up riding alone quite a bit.  While I do enjoy the social aspect of riding bikes, I also like riding alone.  In fact, I like being by myself quite a bit even when I’m not riding.  I’m well aware of the fact that people read this excuse for a blog, but I don’t write it for that reason.  I write it so I can remember what I’ve done, and I put a little twist on things to help keep me slightly entertained.  If it entertains you, cool.  If it pisses you off, then maybe you need to realize that you’re a little too serious. 

I am not serious.  Even when I pretend to be.  I’m happiest when I’m on my bike, and even happier when I’m alone with my thoughts.  I can be alone even in a group setting, because although I may or may not be interacting with other people I’m still all alone in my head.  I may come across as anti-social (or an asshole), and I’m good with that.  I don’t expect you to understand.

However, some people understand.

Check out this new sock from DeFeet  and SAKO7SOCKS

And the good part...

I’m not anti-social, I’m just pro-solitude.

Sean Sakinofsky is a cyclist over in South Africa, and he has his own line of socks manufactured by DeFeet.  Like me, Sean believes that DeFeet socks are the best in the world.  In the sock pictured above, it’s almost like he knows me and designed this one just to be worn on my big ass feet.

It’s not the first time I’ve had DeFeet socks that seemed personally made just for me.

Anyway, you’ve heard me talk about DeFeet many times before, and many of you wear them because of what I’ve said and or/showed you.  I really appreciate that, and I’m sure the folks over there in the hills of North Carolina appreciate it too.

These particular socks are one of several new designs available right now.  If you check out the website, there are many new styles you can pick to put on your feet. 

Click here:  New DeFeet stuff

Go on, treat yourself.  If you don’t currently wear DeFeet socks, this is your chance to join those of us “in the know.”

Now, where’s my new sock design?  I haz ideas.