Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Heckle Hill

Winter Short Track racing, week two.

After riding my bike down there last weekend, Lunchbox and I decided to actually drive to the event so we could do some proper heckling.  We've been bringing the party out there in the woods for quite a while now, but it hasn't always been that way.

Once upon a time I raced out there:

Sorta serious, because I actually did work hard.

My partner in crime raced too, although not so serious (but still working hard.)

When we finished our races, we'd wander out into the woods to join the party already in progress.  Yup, those same people that heckled the shit outta us.  It was a much needed service, and we were glad to participate.  Over time, those people moved away/on/gave up and we inherited the party at "Heckle Hill" as it's now known.  Eventually we stopped racing that series (and moved on to other races), but we knew the need was still there for quality heckling.

Plus, we'd become quite good at it.

Fast forward to present day (well, this past Sunday.)  Lunchbox dressed in a giant hot dog costume (no pics, sorry), and we brought the party favors.

We might "bring" the party, but just like the old days there are plenty of people that join us (and some are there before we arrive.)  They even bring their own props too, which sometimes amaze the shit outta me.  Instead of creepy baby hand (or creepy baby foot in our case), someone out there brought the whole damn baby.

So rad.

With the people in place, we just sit back and heckle/cheer.

Only the finest beverages for short track racing.

Well, maybe we don't sit back...

Photo cred:  Mike L.

We encourage people out there.  And by encourage I mean that we help them make bad decisions:

Big n' Buttery is learning the ways of the single speeder.  

It's hard work having this much fun.  But, it really is fun.  Since the kid and I raced out there and enjoyed the "encouragement" we got from Heckle Hill, we are more than happy to repay that favor by keeping the party going.

That might not be enough for me though, because I'm actually thinking about "racing" one of these this year before it's all over.  

I hope no one hurts my feelz with their heckles.

Wait.  I no haz feelz.   Bring it.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Fun Friday

Well, another week is gone.  I'm still here.  Surprised myself actually.  Anyway, let's get on with this.  I'm trying to make some plans for the weekend.  Riding?  Maybe.  I mean, the weather is pretty nice again (chilly tho.)  I don't like when it's shitty outside.

Bad weather gets me down.  When I'm down I like to cheer myself up.

Maybe I will be at the Short Track Race this weekend.  Not racing, because who gives a shit.  I'm thinking about bringing the party again.  We'll see.  I guess it depends on whether I end up riding Saturday.  If not, I'll have to go Sunday.

My goal is to keep this up so I don't forget.

That's it.  I just wanted to stop by real quick to put out some Fun Friday nonsense.  Maybe this post no funny enough?

Here, have some of this:

And have a good weekend.  See y'all next time.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

It's Not All Sunshine And Unicorns

Well, maybe it is.

Contrary to what you might think, my life isn't all about bikes and beer.  I have other hobbies too.  I've mentioned them here and there, but lately I've been trying to DO ALL THE THINGS.

The new house thing has been sorta stressful.  There is always something to do around here (even though the place was "move-in" ready.)  Still, I've been finding spare time to do fun things, so that I'm not just spending all my time working (at my job and on the house.)  Getting back to regular bike riding is nice, and I've even been spending a lot of time playing my guitars.  But for stress relief?  

I've picked up an old habit.

Lunchbox and I have been spending quite a bit of time lately shooting.  I guess it helps that there is a range right across the river from where we live now so it's quite convenient.  While we mainly shoot for fun, I guess I'm also polishing up on my defensive skills.  

Because you never know when there might be a hostage situation...

Note the bullet hole in the guy's hand.  I did some Old West style shit to shoot the gun from his out of it.  You know, after I destroyed his face.  Much fun.  Much-er stress relief.

We normally shoot semi-automatic pistols (Glocks to be exact), but on our last visit my kid wanted to try something different.  With a dream of being a cowboy in the Old West, we rented a revolver to see how he'd like it.

Harder to aim (at first), but just as much fun to shoot.  Lunchbox was digging it and wanted more.  When we finished, he started checking out the bigger guns.

That reminded us of something...

Bikes are still awesome.  I still do that, but it doesn't always have to be about bikes around here.  Just do some fun shit and enjoy life.  

Like playing with giant stuffed unicorns if that's your thing.

Is it Friday yet?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Droopin' 2: Electric Boogaloo

With the rain we had (it's dry now thankfully), I only got out on a bike once over the weekend.  I still had shit to do though, rather I came up with some shit to do.  Same same.

Remember when I replaced my drooper post?  Well, all of a sudden I haz spare now.

I decided to do something sorta odd, but something that's been done before.  I grabbed my second favorite bike in the collection and realized that a drooper would be perfect on it.

Since that post had been installed on The Executor, I didn't really have to do too much.  The cable/housing was already the correct length since it came off of an extra large frame.  I simply removed the old seatpost and slapped on my old dopper.  In a matter of minutes (or one beer for you regular readers), I was done.

I know what you're thinking.  A drooper post on a fully rigid single speed?  Yeah.  Who gives a shit.  I like to droop, and I miss having that capability when I'm on a bike without a post that can do so.  My only concern was the weight though, since I've always been very proud of the fact that Darth Maul (my Niner One 9) weighed in at only 19 pounds.  That's pretty good for a bike that size I suppose.  I figured I wouldn't have that anymore, but for poops and ha-has I decided to weigh it anyway.

It only added half a pound.  More beer for me.

Having a drooper on two of my mountain bikes now is gonna be awesome.  Sure, that particular post has had a few issues, but a semi-problematic drooper is better than no drooper at all.  I can't put a crankbrothers highline drooper post on that bike because it no haz stealth routing, and since it's a fully rigid bike I won't be dropping as much anyway.  

I guess.  Hell, I don't know.

So, now my two primary mountain bicycles have drooper capability.  I am excite.  I guess there will be another one in my future though, because I still have one that is drooper-less.

I guess I should get on the horn with crankbrothers.  I don't ride that one as much (since it has gears), but maybe I will if I can get all rad and shit with it too.

New bike stuff makes me happy.  Re-using old bike stuff makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I don't get those kinds of feelz very often.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Urban Roadie

It's been raining here so obviously everything is quite wet.  I had plans for the weekend which included a mountain bike ride, but obviously those plans were pissed upon (pun intended) when the precipitation moved in.  By the time Sunday rolled around I was dying to get out on my bike.  Not literally dying, but you get what the hell I'm trying to say.

Tired (already) of road rides from the house, I went to bed Saturday night wondering what the hell I was gonna do.  The Winter Short Track series was kicking off the next day and I usually go heckle/bring the party, but I wasn't about to stand outside in the rain all day.  So I did the next best thing...

I hopped on my mountain bike to attempt a ride down to the Short Track race.

I looked at a map before I took off (both weather and road) and I knew I was in for a shitty day.  More rain moving in plus a bike with knobby tires on the road would be difficult, but hey, what the hell else was I gonna do with my day?  I mean...

Who gives a shit.

I took off out of the house, wondering if I was stupid (news flash, I am.)  Around the corner from the house, I made sure to stop to have a chat with my new horse friends.

They didn't try to talk me out of doing dumb shit, so off I went.  My route into the city was sorta similar to the road rides I've been doing, except that I could ride on the sidewalks here and there which is moar safer.  It was shitty-looking outside, and the closer I got to my destination I knew the rain was gonna start coming down again any minute.

My route wasn't as dangerous as I thought it would be, and I was actually enjoying it.  I kept moving at a good pace but stopped along the way here and there to see the sights.

Eventually, I got close to Renaissance Park and heard a ruckus in the woods.  I was nearing my destination.  I rolled up to the start/finish line and chatted with a few of my bike friends.  It was good to see everyone, but I had to get out to the woods to at least attempt heckling (I showed up, after all.)  I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a good crowd of people cheering/heckling.

I didn't bring the party.  I should have.  The skies cleared up for a bit and it actually turned out to be a nice day.  I got to hang out with some old friends...

And I watched Charlotte's number one bromance unfold right before my eyes...

It only hurts at first, Dicky.

I stayed out there for hours, having a shitload of fun.  I didn't drink any beer though.  I'm not sure why.  I didn't bring any with me, but my friends had plenty.  No one offered and I didn't ask.  I don't like to ask for anything but that's probably not the main reason.

I was worried about being able to make it back home on my bike.

I really didn't need to worry though.  Even though none of my friends out there offered beer, plenty offered me a ride home.  I refused though (just like I would have for beer I guess.)  I wanted to suffer, and after standing around for hours in the woods watching a race I figured I would do just that.  Eventually I snuck out of there and hit the road.  I took it easy for the most part, enjoying the adventure more than anything else.

A little over an hour later, I made it back to the B-43 Worldwide Headquarters.  I was beat, and hungry.  I had a "proper" dinner.

And I finally had a beer.

Not pictured, many more.

It was a good day on the bike (any day is.)  I logged about twenty eight miles, all on a mountain bike (on the road of course.)  Some people might call it training.  Others would call it stupid.

I'll call it a damn fine adventure. 

There will be more dumb shit like this in the future because that's how I do it.

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


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.