Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Again?


The little lady wanted us to spend a day together riding.  That sounded so much better than the death march I’d planned to do, especially since we were trying to go look at a new puppy later that day.  She hadn’t yet been to Lake James State Park and really wanted to go.  I’d been there twice already, but it’s fun enough (and in the hills enough) to make a day out of it.  So I went again.  

I’m getting used to riding there, but watching her ride it for the first time kept it interesting for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s fun and all that, but I get bored riding the same stuff all the time.  I’ve been there enough to know what’s coming up around every corner, up every hill, and down every descent.  Little Miss Sunshine does not, but that may have made her ride a little out of her comfort zone.

She rode fast on the downhills.  I couldn’t lose her (not that I was trying.)  I had to struggle to get up ahead of her to take photos to prove that we were actually there.



I know a few of the climbs were tough on her, but she rode that place like she’d been there before. 



I was proud of her.  Although I wanted to get in some serious miles Saturday, I didn’t.  I was fine with that.  Watching her have a great time made my day even better.

Plus, you know, mountains.



Yeah. 


I gotta get out of here.  We did more stuff that day (in addition to getting our new doggie.)  More on that tomorrow since I have a whole week to fill up with crappy blog posts.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Expanding The Family

I talked a while back about finally being ready to get another dog.  Since then, I’d been looking all over for another one to add to the family.  After having a Rottweiler for almost thirteen years, I was pretty sure I would end up with another (even though I wasn't really sure if I wanted to move on.)  They are really good dogs though, and since I was so familiar with the breed I started looking for a puppy.  I searched high and low, finding mostly female puppies to adopt.  Another female would be too close since that’s what my last one was, so I kept looking.  I didn’t have to have a brand new puppy, so I expanded my search.

Friday, I contacted a lady about a one year old male down in South Carolina.  At one year it was still a puppy, but old enough that I wouldn’t have to worry about potty training and all that.  The little lady and I headed to the hills on Saturday, and on the way back we stopped to take a look at our possible new family member.  I was nervous.  Was I really ready?  I knew I wanted another dog, but I thought maybe having one of the same breed as before would make me sad and miss my Roxie.  Little Miss Sunshine made me feel better about it, but when we pulled up to the parking lot of a local pet store and I saw him, I nearly cried.

I haz feelings.  Big deal.

The lady we met there said she could no longer take care of him.  I didn’t understand why, since he was one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever seen.  He took to us immediately, and after a quick trip inside the pet store to grab a new collar and leash, we were on our way home with our new dog.



He was so happy to have a nice home it seemed.  The little lady and I came to the conclusion that he wasn’t in the best environment prior to coming with us.  He craved attention, and despite showing some signs that he may have been hit, improperly nourished, and maybe even neglected, he was really awesome.  He already had a name when we picked him up, but since he didn’t respond to it we decided to give him a new one.  I gave the honor of naming him to Lunchbox, who probably had a more difficult time getting a new dog than I did.  He wanted to give him a person’s name, and he chose Carl.  He said Carl is such a good dog, and it also had a lot to do with a book he got when he was little.



Yes, he still has that book.  And now we have a Rottweiler named Carl.  I dig it.  He does too, and even answers to it.



Carl just wanted someone to love him, and little does he know we’re pretty good at that sort of thing.  I’ve taken him for quite a few walks already, and after a short period of getting used to being on a leash, he seems to like it.



We still have another dog, Bailey the Beagle.  Bailey has been kinda lonely since we lost our Roxie, and now he has a new friend to play with.  They get along pretty well.  He’s even taken to eating treats again since he has someone to share with now.



This is what I’ve been missing for the last two years.  We have a new family member, and although it’s weird to see another Rottweiler running around the house it also feels right.  I don’t know all the details of what his life was like before we got him, and now I don’t care.  I know we did a good thing by bringing him into our family, and he’s definitely better off for it.  It hasn’t even been two days yet but I’m already much happier having him around.


Good dog, Carl.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fun Friday

Ugh.  I’m ready for this weekend to start.  It’s been a long week at work once again.  From a huge project I’m on to the countless coworkers that have to be told the same things over and over again, I need to get the hell away.  Each week is becoming more and more difficult to get through, and it’s not easy to remain calm and uh, nice.  I can’t drink at work (can you?), so my goal is to keep my trap shut and not be an asshole.

That’s proving to be difficult though.

  

With two days off, I definitely need a good ride.



That could work, but I meant a ride on a bicycle.  You know up in the hills somewhere.  Maybe not the real hills, but something that won’t have me around people.  That pretty much rules out anything here locally.  I’m hitting the road in the morning, and as of now it’s still destination unknown.  I’ll figure something out.  It will involve mountain bikes and beer, which is pretty much every ride I do.




See y’all Monday…

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Nothing

Sorry about not being here.  Did you notice?  Probably not.  That’s okay.  I was busy. 

So the weather here has been shitty again.  I showed up early da udda night hoping to get in a few laps before our Tuesday social ride (for “training” purposes.)  I had plenty of time to do two, maybe three “hot laps” I thought.  I got dressed and ready to go, and suddenly the skies opened up.

My bike had to stay put.



I posted that the ride was cancelled, but some people didn’t see it in time and still showed up.  The storm passed but the trail was way too wet to ride (I checked.)  So, we stood around shooting the shit for a while.  At least I got the social part done anyway.  I went home, ate dinner, drank a couple of beers, and played my guitar. 

While these social rides are far from any kind of training, the laps I planned to do beforehand would’ve been nice.  My goal is to start now getting ready for next season (whatever that is), and sometimes I feel like I’m getting nowhere.  I had a massage last night, so no riding then either.  So, I have to resort to this:



Yeah, I guess running up and down the stairs at work is good enough since I can’t ride.  Luckily I work in a tall building with tons of stairs.  I can get away from my desk throughout the day to uh, “train”, so at least when I go home and do nothing I won’t feel like such a lazy asshole.  Hopefully “getting ready for next season” isn’t just running the stairs though.

In other “getting ready for next season news”, I rounding up stuff to help me.  I just got a big ol’ fat box of tires from Maxxis.



It’s nice to have their support, and it’s even nicer to have plenty of tires “just in case.”  There are a few Ardents in there (you probably can’t see them), which is a good thing since I’ve been wearing out the ones on The Executor (my Pisgah bike.)  I have lot of bikes, so I need lots of tires.  

I also got a care package from the fine folks at Honey Stinger:



More gel and energy chew because, well, I like them.  I still think the waffles are pretty rad, but this stuff is much easier to eat while I’m on the bike.  Plus, I actually have more waffles than the Waffle House.  Srsly.

Will this stuff make me better next season?  It’s hard to tell.  No amount of new shit will help if I can’t ride my bike though.

I’m trying, Ringo.  I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd.


Royale with cheese and all that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

After “Party”

Late start from Charlotte to the hills.  Long-ish ride with stops for photos.  That left me pressed for time to get to The Hub before they closed.  Honestly, I couldn’t remember when they closed but I hurried anyway.

I had to settle for mountain photos on the go while I drove there.




It’s a relatively short drive to “civilization” from Dupont, but when I pulled up to The Hub they were closed.  Shit.  Where would I get my post ride beer?  You know, aside from sitting in a convenience store parking lot with a can of swill in a paper bag.  Since the start/finish for the Pisgah Monster Cross was only a few minutes away (and a really long race), I figured that there was a chance of some people still hanging around.

I was right.

Lowcountry Joel has ALL THE BURRITOS!

The usual suspects were still there hanging around, including Shanna, who was taking selfies with others…



After riding by myself for hours, I was happy to find some bike people to hang out with.  The plan was to shoot the shit for a little while, grab some food to go in town somewhere, and hit the road back to Charlotte.  That is, until I got invited to the Faster Mustache after party at the campsite up the road.

I tried to talk my way out of it.

“I should really to get back to Charlotte.  I have to get up early to do a road ride before I waste away watching football all day” I said.

But Zac dropped some wisdom on me, “What you really need to ask yourself is what would make the best story on the Internet.”

Hmmm.  He was right I suppose.  I’ve already talked way too much about road riding, and hanging out with the Charlotte crew in the hills sounded like a better time (although I’m a shitty storyteller.)  They all headed to camp and I headed to the store to stock up on beer.  I eventually returned to the campsite, where I immediately found Dicky making it rain.


That’s money in his hand.  I promise.

It was your typical campsite/party.  A fire was made, and Nick “Dip n Spray” was roasting his shoes.



You know, because Zac was holding all the wieners.



The conversations were odd and all over the place, but shit didn’t get too weird.  Well, I guess it was weird that I ended up with a picture of Dicky’s foot.



And Zac went from teasing Nick with his wiener to roasting his own ass in the fire.



At least it was a good fire.



I eventually decided to call it a night, especially since there were only a couple of us still awake.  I barely drank any of the beer I brought, so Dicky might still be wondering why his cooler was so damn heavy.  I hit the road and made the long trip back to Charlotte in the dark.  I got home pretty late so no road ride the next day.

Screw it.  I had way more fun riding by myself and hanging out with “normal” people afterwards.

Zac was right.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Left To My Own Devices

I don’t do well when I’m unsupervised and without some sort of plan.  I knew I wanted to head to the hills over the weekend, but I had no idea where.  I sorta thought I wanted to be out in Pisgah while the Monster Cross folks were out there grinding away on gravel.  That sounded like a plan I guess.

It was just me making that plan though.  I never told any of my usual riding crew that I was going, although I almost sent TomTom a text to invite him along (sorry.)  Maybe I didn’t want to be on a schedule or anything.  Who knows.  Having no one to hold me accountable early Saturday morning, I slept in.  Trips to the hills are supposed to start early to maximize the riding potential, but I found myself hanging around the house far too long.  Since it was obvious that I wasn’t getting out of the house in the wee hours of the morning, the little lady and I decided to go out and get some breakfast.

“Fuel for the mountains” I thought.


 Um, yeah.  Some kind of stuffed French toast thing.  I was stuffed.

I eventually told the little lady goodbye and hit the road.  I knew the weather was iffy out there so that kinda justified my late start (or at least that’s what I kept telling myself.)  As I got on the final stretch of road to the mountains, I glanced towards Pisgah and saw the darkest skies I’d ever seen out there. 

“Well, it looks clear over Dupont” I told myself.

So Dupont it was.  My late start meant that I had the place to myself.  After a week of dealing with people, I was pretty happy about that.


 I know the place really well which meant that I could get in maximum miles, have some fun, and not get lost or bonk way out in the middle of nowhere.  Of course, when you are in Dupont you have to check out the waterfalls.


 That’s the top, obviously.  My route didn’t take me down to the bottom of that one, but I did stop at another one that was a little more picturesque.


 It wasn’t just a sightseeing tour though.  You know, because I’m all about the danger.


 And I worked on my skills a little bit too.


 Okay, maybe a little more sightseeing…


 I ended the day blasting down Ridgeline.  There was one final climb to get to the top before a long downhill, so I stopped for a moment to follow the directions.

Prior to your descent, all dogs must be strangled with a rope.


I rode hard for a few hours.  I climbed, descended, and generally had a good time.  The last downhill was particularly pleasing, since I got a chance to push myself and barely escape a serious crash..  If I had wrecked on that last run, I would probably still be out there.  I guess that’s the downfall of riding all by my lonesome.

I do enjoy group rides, but being out in the hills all alone is pretty damn relaxing.  It helps me to forget about whatever went on during the week and quite honestly, I enjoy being by myself.  That was about to change though.  After hours in the woods with just me and my bike I craved a little human interaction.  With such a late start though, I wondered if I could find anyone to hang out with before I drove back to Charlotte.

I packed up my shit and headed towards Brevard.  I wondered if The Hub was still open, or those Pisgah Monster Cross folks were still hanging around…


Part two tomorrow.   

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fun Friday


It’s been a long week.  Work sucks as usual, but somehow I made it.  It’s not like I’m the only person that can complain about their job.



Any chance I can throw in a Star Wars reference, I will.  You know this.  Even if it doesn't make any sense.



Anyway, I’m glad it’s the weekend.  I’m sure the folks over at Interbike are glad too.  It’s been a long week for them, and hopefully today they’re packing up and getting out of town today.  Some folks probably had fun, and some, well…

you’ve probably already seen this by now:



That’s something even I wouldn't do.  I have limits, you know.

Anyway, we've made it.  All you have to do now is coast through today and the weekend is here.  Fall is on the way, the temperature is starting to cool down, and the hills are calling.

I think I might head up there tomorrow.  It’s been way too long.  Besides, it’s almost time for the leaves to start falling.




See y’all Monday.