Monday, September 30, 2013

Two Knives To A Gunfight

2013 6 Hour Grind on the Greenway. Six weeks to the day since my accident in Minnesota and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to go out and “race” a rigid single speed for six hours. I'd ridden a total of three times off road since I got hurt, and that was good enough. Honestly, ready or not I just wanted to get back to as normal as possible before I went crazy. Sensing that I might have an issue riding on a rigid crabon fork for multiple rooty laps, I brought both of my single speeds.

Before I get started, I have to mention that Lunchbox didn't accompany me to the race. He was busy doing teenager stuff, so I don't have any “action shots.” You'll have to rely on my words.

Lucky you.

My morning started off with a proper breakfast. Well, most of a bag a Krispy Kreme doughnuts anyway.

They were juniors, so it was okay that I ate almost a whole bag.

I usually eat Pop Tarts before a race, but for some reason I decided to switch it up. It worked, because when I lined up at the start I felt pretty damn awesome. So, I made a plan. Line up at the front of the group, spin my ass of on my 32X20, and ride until I can't ride anymore. I was sure it would work.

We started, and after riding around a bit in a vain attempt to spread us out I passed through the start/finish line. Three minutes in, and my legs already hurt. Without any hard efforts on a bike in weeks I thought maybe I was in for a long day of suffering.

Turns out that would be the least of my worries. We hit the singletrack and I got my breathing under control and my legs started to come around. Sitting solidly in 3rd place and feeling like I could ride all day, I didn't have a care in the world until the trail started getting a little technical. All of a sudden it was like I'd never been on a bicycle in the woods before. I was scared to death that I would crash and re-injure my shoulder, and with my confidence shot I was barely moving. Even on the downhill sections.

Before I knew it, Big Crom rolled right on by, and rather than try to chase him I decided that I could deal with fourth place. My skills and confidence would come back, I figured, but it wouldn't be soon enough. Moments later Good Guy Greg came up behind me and I let him by. I stayed with him for a while, even passing him again in a rock garden after he stopped to check his bike. He went by again, and I was left wondering why the hell I was even out there in the first place.

I rode the rest of the lap at a cautious pace, slowly starting to feel like I knew how to ride a bike again. A few people passed me here and there and I passed a few as well. With a short distance back to the finish line (and only half of a water bottle consumed), I made the decision to blow right by my tent and keep this party going. My legs still felt awesome, and my confidence was slowly coming back.

Good Guy Greg didn't stop either so I knew I was chasing him down. I had a lot more control on lap number two so I went much faster this time. As a bonus, my shoulder didn't really hurt, aside from a dull ache that was there before I started. I mashed up climbs, powered over roots, and at one point I felt like the baddest mountain biker on the planet.

Just me, my crabon fork, and one fucking gear.

I didn't see too many people on that lap, and with my new-found confidence and still strong legs I decided to bypass my pit once again. I'd only gone through one bottle at that point, and I had plenty of stuff from Honey Stinger to eat.

I was out on lap three and making good time. No pain, legs felt good, and my bike practically steered itself down the trail. Things couldn't get any better.

They could get worse though.

Tomorrow, part two.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Leaving Las Vegas

I guess I'm done with Interbike for now. It was really fun, tiring, etc., and I'm glad I got chance to go. Big thanks to DeFeet for giving me the opportunity to go. I really appreciate it.

I left a little early, cutting Friday's show short since I had to take the long way home. My plane was heading back to Charlotte via Minneapolis, and when I boarded I noticed I wasn't the only one getting out of town early. Brent from TwinSix was on the same flight, no doubt glad to be out of Sin City and on the way back to the wholesome Midwest. When our flight got to Minneapolis, Brent said "See ya" and headed home while I faced a two and a half hour layover before I took off for Charlotte.

I knew just what to do.

Lots of beer during my wait, along with some quality reading material on the Drunk Cyclist page.

I figured that I needed to eat as well, and one look at the menu and I knew exactly what I should get.

Drunk and Dirty Sirloin? Rad.

It was actually pretty damn awesome too.

With a full belly (and feeling mighty fine from several delicious, hoppy beverages) I settled into my seat on a plane bound for North Carolina. Just before I fell asleep/passed out, I saw the sun going down.

It was a fitting end to a long week.

I'm obviously back home now, and finally settled in. In an attempt to get back to normal and get D-Wayne off my back (he thinks I'm whiny because of my injury), I'll be going for a long bike ride this weekend.

Yeah, I'm gonna try to race the 6 Hour Grind on theGreenway tomorrow. I'm probably not in “racing shape” or healed up enough to do it, but who gives a shit.

I need some kind of challenge I guess, so it looks there will be some kind of race report on Monday.

At least you don't have to hear about Interbike anymore.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Back To The Show

After the Ride forReading I headed back to the DeFeet booth at Interbike. I actually got to work, selling some of these special edition Interbike socks.

Elvis is still alive, right? Only in Vegas.

Anyway, we had a quite a few guests over the first two days while I was there, and one of the most entertaining had to be former road and track racer, bike messenger, movie star and Olympic medalist Nelson Vails.

Don't know who I'm talking about? Maybe you've seen that cheesy 80s messenger movie Quicksilver, where he inspired Kevin Bacon to become a bike messenger.

Sorry it's not in Engrish.  I couldn't find anything else.

I bet Dicky cheers every time he watches it.

Nelson was a pretty cool guy, and he kept us and our booth visitors entertained. DeFeet makes socks for him, and he had some samples on the table.

I eventually left the booth and walked around again, and before long I spotted a familiar face. It was Charlie Kelly, one of the pioneers of mountain biking. I talked to him for about forty five minutes, and it was like chatting with and old friend. He had plenty of stories (none of which will be shared here to keep people from getting their feelings hurt), and when I tried to thank him for what he and his friends help start he laughed.

“We didn't know what the fuck we were doing.”


At least I got photo with him before I ran off.

I walked around for a little longer, taking photos of everything (I'll share in a few, hold on.) Eventually I started noticing free beer popping up everywhere, so I made it my mission to DRINK ALL THE BEERS!

It's a start.

Now we're talking.

My mission was a success, so I started to head back to home base. That's when I got summoned over to the Ergon booth by Sonya so I could join their party.

Strange German music and alcohol I can't pronounce scares the shit outta me, so I went next door to the NoTubes booth to get away from it. It didn't take long for her find me though, and she was trying to fatten everyone up with some kind of delicious-looking pie.

I am also afraid of pie, but the guys in the NoTubes booth weren't. Especially Mr. NoTubes, Stan, who chowed down like he hadn't had a good dessert in years.

Or maybe he was enjoying the booth girls across the way.

Have I forgotten to mention bikes? Crap. I'm sorry. I still have another day this week, so don't get your panties in a bunch. I don't feel like writing anymore today though, so I'll just post up some pretty pictures for the rest of this post.


 My next bike, perhaps?

Great Scott, Marty!

See, Surly is down with Drunk Cyclist

And on that note, I'm out.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ride For Reading

Last Thursday at Interbike I had a chance to be a part of something special, the 3rdAnnual Ride For Reading Interbike Book Delivery. Instead of heading right to Mandalay Bay for day two of the big ol' bike show I met up with about one hundred other cyclists to deliver books to a local elementary school in Las Vegas.

I didn't really know what to expect when I got there, but when I walked up it was pretty easy to figure out. I signed a waiver, borrowed a bike, and was told to grab a backpack and start filling it up with books.

There were lot of them too, donated by Better World Books .

There were all types of riders, on all types of bikes:

I forgot this guy's name, but he flew into Los Angeles from New York, then proceeded to ride his bike to Las Vegas prior to Interbike.

He didn't volunteer that information right away, but I found it out later when I realized that he was also down with Drunk Cyclist and struck up a conversation with him.

Here's a video from a local news station just before we left:

  FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

I didn't realize that there was a news segment being filmed, but if you watch near the end, you'll spot me in my white Drunk Cyclist shirt. Yeah, DC is down with RideFor Reading.

Anyway, it was almost time to roll out but I needed more books. I ended up carrying three backpacks, since Dejay told me I was the biggest guy there and therefore should be able to carry more. Once the Las Vegas motorcycle officers were ready, they guided us up The Strip so we could safely make our delivery.

These guys kept us safe from crazy Vegas traffic, and we appreciated it.

After about a four mile ride, Jack Dailey Elementary School was in our sights. I was totally unprepared for what happened next. The kids were outside, and once they caught a glimpse of us they started screaming and jumping up and down. Were they really that excited to have people deliver books to them? I couldn't believe it. We rolled through the crowd, and the kids were high-fiving us and cheering. It was surreal, and the energy was incredible.

We went around to the back were some tables had been setup, and we emptied our backpacks and arranged the books so the kids could pick which ones they wanted. When we were done, we gathered so Mathew (founder of Ride For Reading) could talk to the children. He asked them to promise to read the books twice and to never throw them away, and to give them to someone else to read when they were done.

Then they were turned loose to pick out three books each that they could keep.

It was amazing. In fact, I was a little choked up just watching what was taking place (yes, me.) These kids were excited to get books. Books! Can you believe it? In fact, I watched a couple of kids run off to find some shade from the hot Nevada sun just so they could start reading right away.

Before we knew it, it was time to go. I enjoyed being a part of this, but we couldn't stay there all day. Even while we were getting out of there, kids were still coming out from the school to pickup their books. All good things must come to an end, and we said goodbye.

The ride back wasn't as fun, but we all felt pretty good.

It's not always about bikes and beer, even though you might think otherwise most of the time.

Thanks so much to Ride For Reading, their sponsors, and the kids that made my day. In fact, it was the best part of my trip out west. I think maybe we might have to do this here in Charlotte soon. Since Dicky is the one that reminded me about this when I talked about heading out there, he might be down to help around here.

I know I'm down.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

On The Inside

After a long first day in Vegas (for the Outdoor Demo), I had no idea that I was in for an even longer day at Interbike. I reported for duty at the DeFeet booth to um, work.

I wasn't really part of the booth staff, but with my product knowledge (from real-world use) I was helping out whenever I could. I was there as a guest.

Athlete. That's funny. I guess they didn't have one that said “Douchebag beer drinker.”

Anyway, since I wasn't required to stay there and work (although I did quite a bit), I took the opportunity to go see an old friend...

my good pal Sonya.

She was working the Ergon booth, so I couldn't stay too long. It was nice to see a familiar face amongst the masses of Interbike because honestly, I was overwhelmed. Every time I ventured out, I wouldn't stay too long. I would frequently return to home base (the DeFeet booth.) I took lots of photos, but day one was mostly spent running around trying to find people (and companies) I already knew.

Like Maxxis:

They had tires on display (duh), and I thought it was neat that they used Industry Nine wheels for the displays.

The next stop was the ProGold booth, where Bruce gave me the hairy eyeball for taking his picture.

Or maybe it was because he didn't want me to know about how much he loved Dicky.

My feelings weren't hurt. ProGold is still the raddest.

My next stop was the Lizard Skins booth, where I got the VIP treatment. I saw the usual grips (that I currently use) of course.

And then I got to get all touchy feely with the new DSP grips.

And their new line of gloves:

The grips will be available next month, and the gloves in January. I wasn't enough of an insider to bring any home with me. Something about upsetting the balance of the display and all that happy horseshit.

Walking around some more, I bumped into local celebrity Chad Andrews interviewing someone I didn't know.

I found a new light company, which Eastwood might enjoy:

Some new, high-powered stuff right out of New Zealand.

I started to get hungry, so I made my way over to another one of my supporters, Honey Stinger.

I tried to inquire about next year's sponsorship opportunities, but I was told that I'm too tall to be the mascot.

And I heard the same thing when I went over to the CleanBottle booth.

It wasn't all about me though. Wait, maybe it was. After lunch, I had some “refreshments.”

I was outside, where there were plenty more booths and even demo rides in the parking lot.

After burning up outside, I headed back to the DeFeet booth just in time to catch Sonya autographing her new Trail Ninja sock.

After a long day inside (and sorta out), headed over to Cross Vegas. Not wanting to pay for a ticket to watch cross racing, I grabbed a seat with a great view.

On the outside looking in. I was tired of crowds, so it was perfect.

I haven't even mentioned bikes yet. I'll save that for tomorrow. I did see some weird shit though.

And I haven't even scratched the surface of Interbike.