Thursday, December 31, 2009

The New Year is Almost Here

With the year 2010 upon us, most people participate in the ritual of making New Year’s resolutions. I’m not one to make resolutions, since most of them are forgotten by the end of January. Most people are the same way, but they never realize that when they make their resolutions every year. This year for me I plan on focusing on the upcoming race season, and also on how I can contribute to the sport of cycling and help it grow. I wouldn’t call this a resolution, but rather a goal. I feel I’ve done a lot this past year to promote cycling in our local community, and I hope to branch out even more this year. Maybe that’s what we mean here at B-43 with our quest for world domination.

I wanted to take a moment to wish you and yours a happy and prosperous New Year, and also to say thanks for joining me in my quest for blog superstardom. Without you I would have no readers, hence no blog. While I really seem to enjoy talking to myself (and my bikes), I’m happy that you are here to share my misadventures. If you are making resolutions, good for you. I wish you success in achieving your goals, and I hope 2010 will be the best year yet. We all could use a little motivation for the upcoming New Year, so I am providing you a set of motivational posters from my Internets Art Collection. Enjoy.

Happy New Year from the B-43 Family. See y’all Monday.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Moving On

Yep, Christmas is over. It came and went with a quickness, and now we here at B-43 have to deal with the aftermath. What aftermath you say? Well, I’m glad you asked. After all of the holiday cheer has been spread, it’s now time to focus on the primary objective, which for me is riding (the new season is fast approaching you know.) That being said, it’s also the time to get the bikes in my stable in order. Of course I told you yesterday that I installed the new Fox F32 RLC fork on Goose, but I haven’t had a chance to ride it. Well, the time has come.

We had a shitload of rain on Christmas day, followed by some pretty cold temps to keep everything on the trails nice and slushy. I feared that nothing would be open, even though I desperately needed to get out for a test ride. On Saturday, after consulting the Tarheel Trailblazers website and chatting briefly with the Dirty Party Cycle, we decided that we would hit up an old favorite, Poplar Tent/Beech Springs (since nothing was officially open.) It doesn’t really ever “close” per se, so we could go there and ride it. We made plans to meet up at around noon, on what turned out to be a mild winter day (temperature-wise anyway.)

I knew the trail would be less than ideal, so I decided to change my tires to suit the conditions. This time of year is always tricky to ride with my Kenda Small Block 8 tires, so I wanted to get a new set of Nevegals. I put them on my Christmas list, and Little Miss Sunshine and Lunchbox came through for me. I grabbed them off of my workbench and got ready for the installation.

There’s nothing like a brand new set of tires to make me smile.

I glanced over at Goose, and he looked a bit worried. “Why are you removing my tires?” I imagined him telling me. I said, “Don’t worry, I’ll put them back on before the next Summer Series. Besides, I did this to you last winter, remember?” What? You don’t talk to your bicycle? Shame on you. I guess I must be the only nut-job around here. I took one photo of the bike with those super-fast racing tires:

After pulling off the old tires, I quickly started to mount up my new Kenda Nevegal tires. It would be as easy as pie:

While I was attempting to put the wheel back on, I realized that I may end up with some cable rub on my new fork, so I quickly remedied the situation. I found a Lizard Skins frame patch on my workbench and placed it on the fork. Now I could be worry-free.

Speaking of Lizard Skins, I also received yet another cycling-related present from the family. You see, I’ve been using some long finger gloves made by Adidas for the past few years, and I’ve mostly been happy with them. However, they have been wearing out fairly quickly. I can’t keep shelling out big bucks for gloves a couple times year if this keeps happening:

I had my eyes on a set of gloves that I saw in a Lizard Skins catalog I received a while back. They looked pretty beefy and high-quality, so I thought that they might last a bit longer than my old gloves. I put them on my Christmas list, since I had been forbidden from buying anything since November. Well, Little Miss Sunshine and Lunchbox came through yet again, so I am now the proud owner of a pair of Lizard Skins Komodo full finger gloves.

With all the links to their site, maybe they can give me a little love too. You never know.

After all of the work was complete, I loaded up Goose and headed out for some PT. I arrived a lot earlier than the DPC, since I live only six miles away. No worries though, since that gave me time to take a little stroll and assess the trail conditions. While it was still a little muddy out there, it looked like we might have a great ride.

The DPC arrived a short while later, and we got the bikes ready to roll. He came over to admire the fork installation and the new and improved “pimped-out” Goose:

The DPC’s own bike (also know as the Dirty Party Cycle) was ready as well:

After we spent a few minutes looking at the bikes, the DPC had to finish getting ready. He grabbed a seat and went to work:

We paid our three bucks and headed out on the trail. It was a little slippery in some spots, so I’m glad I changed my tires. It was still lot of fun though. With this being the first ride on the new Fox, I paid close attention to the handling and feel of the ride. I was more than impressed. This fork is smooth like butter, although I’m sure that anything would have been better than the turd-disguised-as-a-fork I had on there. The Pilot wasn’t that bad, but the Fox was so much more. I played around with the settings during the ride, and I started to feel like I had it dialed in. Man this thing is great. Now I’m on my way to superstardom as a mountain bike racer. Ha, as if. Here are some trail-riding “action shots”:

I didn’t want to push my luck by jumping off of the other side there.

The DPC conquers the teeter-totter.

I got some teeter lovin’ too.

We moved on from the see-saw to play on a big rock:

No fear, bitches.

We also saw a prime photo op with this little jump. I promise that it is more dangerous than it looks. Please don’t try this at home, as we are untrained professionals.

Next up on the trail was the ever-so-popular Gravity Cavity. This place is like a giant toilet bowl that you can just swirl around in all day long. We stopped to play for a bit:

We made it out alive, albeit with much dirtier bikes than when we started. The DPC made a comment about how he’d rather have a “clean Party Cycle”, so we headed to the B-43 World Headquarters for some bike washin’ and beer-drinkin’. I got to use the brand-new beer fridge, which is now in a closer proximity to the bike wash station. Good times.

In all, it was a great ride. Not too cold, not too muddy, but just right. The DPC is always fun to ride with, and it was nice to take my new Fox fork out for a test ride. I’m sure the rides will get better as I learn to use the settings a little bit better. As for now, I’ll give it a 10 on a scale of 1 to 5. That’s how great the components from Fox are. The rear shock is a Fox as well, so now Goose can be really Foxy. Oh joy. Tune in tomorrow for more buffoonery.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A B-43 Christmas Special

I hope y’all didn’t miss me too bad the last few days. After checking my blog stats, I noticed that I still had some visitors to the site, even though I said I wouldn’t be back for a while. The only exception was Christmas day, which had zero visitors. That’s understandable, since most of you were busy celebrating the holiday. Hell, I didn’t even touch the computer that day (although I had my trusty Crackberry by my side.) Anyway, I hope you had a great holiday. I know we here at B-43 did.

We woke up in the wee hours of the morning to get the holiday meal started, and we were also ready to bust open the presents. We had a blast opening the multitude of gifts, watching each others’ reactions as we fulfilled our Christmas wishes. Santa (er, Little Miss Sunshine) was particularly generous to me this year. While I received a ton of bike-related presents that I required to be a successful racer, the most notable present came in a big box, adorned with logos from Fox Racing Shox. Yes, Goose finally gets some new legs, and quality ones I might add. Imagine my surprise when I opened up the box and found a shiny new Fox F32 RLC fork.

Wow. I stared in awe at it for a while, and it was all I could do not to run out to the garage and install it. Little Miss Sunshine even joked that I will probably sleep with it. I thought about it briefly, but later decided against it. That could be considered cheating in some circles. I would make some time very soon to install it, and Goose would be filled with glee.

After my mom arrived to partake in the holiday meal, we gorged ourselves on tons of food. Little Miss Sunshine, who is from up north, even made a successful attempt to make me a sweet potato pie (my favorite.) It was one of the best pies I have ever had.


Shortly after we ate, the Dirty Party Cycle arrived fashionably late, and we continued the gift-giving. He also sat down and ate some of our wonderful meal. He is always happy to eat when Little Miss Sunshine does the cooking.

Continuing with the present recap, I was also fortunate enough to receive a new beer fridge from my mom, which was immediately placed in the B-43 shop and filled with, you guessed it, beer.

That thing is gonna need some stickers.

Needs more beer.

After the holiday festivities, I headed to the garage to put on my new presents. Lunchbox even provided me with a nice red anodized water bottle cage to match my beloved Goose. It sure was pretty.

After giving Goose a quick bath, I took a photo and said goodbye to the RockShox Pilot fork that has been so good to me the last year or so. It will live to fight another day however, since I plan on installing it on the Greatest Short Track Bike on Earth, in place of the shitty Rockshox Dart 3. Here are the before photos:

I grabbed the new Fox and got it ready:

I installed the star nut and removed the old fork:

After a flawless installation, Goose was ready to be photographed:

There will be more (better quality photos) tomorrow. I didn’t get to ride it that day due to the shitty weather (there’s a surprise), but I did get out over the weekend. Stay tuned.

I hope you all had a great holiday, and hopefully you all received everything you desired. I also hope that you were able to spend quality time with you families, or just had a great day no mater what you did. Thanks for stopping by. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

It's almost here. Am I talking about the 2010 Race Season? Nope. I'm talking about the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas. I realize that maybe all of my viewers don't celebrate this day, but I'm sure that the majority of you do (since the majority of you are here in the United States.) I'm actually looking forward to it this year, and not just for the cool new bike parts I might be getting. Someone posted last week on the Tarheel Trailblazers message board about remembering what this holiday is about. There were lots of responses to that post (including religified ones), but my favorite was, and I quote, "Bike parts we do not have to buy? That is what it means to me this year." I thought that was hilarious, and so true. Little Miss Sunshine put me on a parts buying hiatus that started before my birthday back in November, so I am hoping that I get some parts that were on my wish list. I also filled out another wish list from a yet-to-be-named sponsor, but that won't arrive until after the holiday season (hopefully in time to start my race season.) More on the new sponsor later, I promise.

So, are you done with your shopping? Are the presents wrapped and nestled snugly under the tree? Did you even get a Christmas tree yet? What are you waiting for? Here at the B-43 Worldwide Headquarters we are ready to celebrate. We are starting the festivities tomorrow morning with a three hour drive to our state capitol, Raleigh, so we can spend some quality time with my brother-in-law and his family. I'm looking forward to that. We'll only spend Christmas Eve there, returning that night to the B-43 Headquarters. The next morning my mom is coming in from Smallville to open presents and have a huge meal with us. There's even a rumor that the Dirty Party Cycle will join us for the festivities. Now if only Mr. Shepherd would skip his sunny Florida Christmas to join the rest of his B-43 teammates, we would have a real crazy holiday.

Anyway, as you can probably guess, I won't be here tomorrow or the next few days either. I'm taking a break from work, so that also means I'm taking a break from the blog. Hopefully I'll come back with some fresh material to captivate you, my loyal followers. I hope that you get every thing that you wanted for Christmas and then some. As for me, I think I've been nice instead of naughty, so I'm hoping to clean up presents-wise. I know that Little Miss Sunshine and Lunchbox will, and they deserve it. I'm not sure where the presents will come from though, since I hear that Santa has been a little naughty this year, what with the recession and all.

Merry Christmas from our B-43 dysfunctional family to your dysfunctional family!

Here is a present/preview for you:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pump Track: A Review

Back in September, Lunchbox and I headed out to Albemarle, NC to participate in a celebration of sorts. We joined the folks from SORBA Uwharrie and Middle Ring Cycles at City Lake park for the SORBA Uwharrie Ride Center Event. This event consisted of kids rides, bike checks, pump track laps, and a screening of the movie “Seasons” by The Collective. While the main purpose of this event was to talk about the new IMBA Ride Center coming to the Uwharrie National Forest, we also got a chance to check out the new pump track in the park. It had rained during the day (and a little during the event), so I didn’t get any photos or any quality riding time. Imagine that, bad weather messing up a ride. Go figure.

So anyway, while I was out in Albemarle last weekend for a visit to my bike shop, I stopped by City Lake Park to gather some photos of this wonderful creation. It looked a lot better this time, since it was much drier. Let’s have a look:
The first thing you see when you approach the pump track is a bicycle rack. I find that odd that someone would ride their bike to the park, and then park it in front of something that was meant to ride. Did I confuse you? Good, because I was confused.

Next up is a huge welcoming sign, chock full of information. Mountain bikers are required to read: a lot.

Now we can get to the features. As you can see, there are plenty of rock gardens.

There are also lots of skinnys, including one that I think would be really difficult to do on a bike. Maybe I should bust out the uni next time.

Wasn’t I talking about a pump track? Yep, and here are the photos to prove it.

This place is as fun as a barrel of monkeys, as you can most likely tell. You should drop what you’re doing and head out to Albemarle right now and ride this thing. There are also a few miles of fun trail in the park, so you can make a day of it. It is well worth the trip. Oh yeah, while you’re there make a point to stop by Middle Ring Cycles. I’ll see you back here tomorrow.