Thursday, February 24, 2011

Random Randomness

Lord Vader hates it when you feed the AT-AT, just so you know.

After dragging on all week about shit I did over last weekend, I have to post up a jumbled mish mash of stuff today. No big deal, but I thought I should warn you. First up, I’d like to show you my new item from the folks at Clean Bottle.

Yes, in addition to Clean Bottles, they now have other items (obviously including hats.) Since I’m throwing my support behind them this season, I’ll be wearing this hat at all of the events I attend. I love hats. I use them mostly to cover up my helmet hair after a ride, but I guess I just have a habit of wearing hats too. I have a feeling that this hat will not stay clean very long though. It’s a good thing that it says this on the back:

Yes, I probably will be.

In other news, I have only a little more than two weeks to get ready for the Shootout On Anglers Ridge in Danville, VA. I’ve been riding a lot, so hopefully I should be good to go. The course is only around 18 miles, but I haven’t yet reached that distance in one ride this year. Hopefully I can muster up some extra willpower while on the course to get me to go the distance.

Yeah, that’ll do.

Also, there has been a change in the race schedule for the Southern Classic Series (that hasn’t even started yet.) Instead of racing at Uwharrie on March 27th, that event will now be held in Sanford, NC at San Lee Park. I’m guessing that the recent Bigfoot sighting has the race organizers in a tizzy, so they probably want nothing to do with that area until he is captured. Good luck, is all I can say. In the meantime, I guess I’ll get to try out a new trail.

I’ve never heard of those trails, so I have no idea how they are. In fact, I had to look at Google Maps to find out where the hell Sanford, NC is. It looks like I’ll be adding an extra hour or so to my drive that weekend, so it better be worth it. That race day was already on my schedule, so I’m trying my best to stick to it. If anyone out there has ever ridden those trails, drop me a line at TheMutt43 AT gmail DOT com. If I don’t get any info beforehand, I guess I’ll just have to wing it. I kind of get a thrill out of racing on trails that I’ve never ridden anyway.

This is the last day of blogging this week for me. Little Miss Sunshine and I are heading out of town for a few days for our anniversary. Lunchbox will be residing with the Dirty Party Cycle during this time, so who knows what kind of shit they will get into. I hope to hear some good stories, and maybe even see some photos. As for a recap of our trip, I may come up with something. Don’t worry, it won’t be all sappy and shit. I’ll leave out the mushy stuff if there is any, especially if we have ice cream.

I’ll be back to my regular blogging schedule next Wednesday, so if you come here looking for new shit then you will be out of luck. Not sure what to do while I’m gone? Well, you could just wait here until I get back.

Need some reason to wait around? How about if she hangs out with you:

I'm sure you all noticed that she is riding a piece of shit bike, right?

Okay, I must have offended someone here, right? I know most of you enjoyed that, and I’ll probably hear all about it. To those of you I offended, too bad. If things on the Internets bother you, then you can just look away. This guy knows what I am talking about:

Goodbye for now. See y’all next week.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A “Chili” Ride

On Sunday, we loaded up the bikes and headed over to the U.S. National Whitewater Center for some mountain bike goodness. It would be the second time in three days that I got to ride there, but this time I brought along an extra person. Yep, the The Chili Man would finally get out on a real trail.

Lunchbox and I rounded up Mr. Chili Man and got ready to test his limits on a mountain bike. He’s been to the Whitewater Center before, but that was years and years ago. I think it was around the time that they invented the mountain bike, but I could be wrong. This time though, he had a really good reason: He’s thinking of participating in the XTERRA Whitewater this year, and wanted to scope out the course. Lunchbox and I were happy to oblige. I knew it was going to be a good day, since I spotted the coincidence number on the front page of our local newspaper:

It wasn’t a breakneck pace by any means, especially since my legs were a little tired from riding in the Uwharries looking for Bigfoot the day before. He had to see what the trail was like though, so we really didn’t take it easy on him. Even though it was wearing him out, he was still having a blast.

We rode most of the options, at least until he started getting tired. Getting tired on a mountain bike will make you do stupid things (like crashing), so I was all about skipping some of the extra stuff. Lunchbox didn’t mind it either, since he was just out there to have fun on his 29er.

Yes, I was there, but I was the one taking the photos. I could have given the camera to Lunchbox while we were standing around, but I didn’t think about it. It would have been a good idea, especially since I took off up Goat Hill while those two chatted away until my return. I had to get in some “training time”, so they didn’t mind the wait. Besides, if The Chili Man didn’t have the legs to climb Goat Hill at that very moment, at least he could watch me do it to see how difficult it would be.

After completing the main loop and most of the options, it was time to exit the trail. Since I am so freakin’ fast, I had a chance to setup the camera to grab a shot of The Chili Man on his final descent from the trail:

While I was standing there, I noticed this sign:

They must have known that The Chili Man was out riding that day. Maybe that sign is a good idea for any trail he might ride in the future.

It was another good day on the bike, with awesome weather. We stopped during and after the ride to go over the swim course, and I think that The Chili Man knows what he’s up against now when he goes out for the XTERRA. I found something that could give him an advantage during the swim though, if he’s interested.

Yeah, he can keep his beer in there and it will help him float along the river.

It won’t be easy, but he’s more determined than ever to get ready for it. As for me, I’m just determined to ride as much as possible while the weather is nice. Not a lofty goal, but at least I have one.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some kind of crap and nonsense. You can bet your ass on that one.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Group Rides Are Fun

Saturday was kind of a first for me. A big group ride. I normally just show up and ride somewhere, and if other people happen to ride along with me it’s cool. This time though, I actually made plans to meet up with a group of Tarheel Trailblazers and Dirt Divas for a ride in the Uwharrie National Forest. You know, the place where that guy is hunting for Bigfoot. Even though I was only there to ride my mountain bike, I secretly wished that I would catch a glimpse of that infamous creature.

I did a lot of riding out there, which means not too many “action” photographs. I pulled out my camera every time we stopped, in hopes of getting some kind of digital riding images. Mostly I only got some group rest shots.

After quite a bit of fun “mountain” riding, we came up to a creek crossing. I found a good spot to take photos, and a few people from our group went across.

I didn’t even get much scenery, since those pesky trees were blocking the little mountain tops.

The ride was fun, and it didn’t wear me out too bad. I did have some tire issues, but I’ll talk about that another day. We climbed a lot, took some super fast, ears pinned back downhill stuff, and took a few breaks to regroup and socialize. I really enjoyed myself out there, and I’m making a point to attend more of these kinds of group rides. Riding alone for training sucks, so it’s nice to suffer along with other people on two wheels. In fact, it takes away from the suffering a bit and makes it feel less like training.

On my way out, I did get a few scenic photos though:

These were taken when I stopped at a local vineyard to pick up some wine for Little Miss Sunshine.

We rode out there for a few hours, and I didn’t see Bigfoot. I was a little disappointed, until I started to drive away from the Uwharrie National Forest. Check this out:

Told ya he was there. Next time I’ll bring an extra bike for him to use. Do you think he would prefer riding Big Wheels?

Monday, February 21, 2011

It Was Too Nice Not To

The weather has been so freakin’ nice around here lately. I had to get outside, but not because of the weather. Since I am supposed to be “training” now, the plan was to ride for three days in a row. It all started Friday after work, when I met Little Miss Sunshine at the U.S. National Whitewater Center for some mountain bike action. After a long week at work, it would be a much needed ride. In fact, it was kinda like therapy. Speaking of therapy, this guy could probably use some:

Wow. I mean shit, wow. What the hell else can I say?

We hit the trail, ready to ride the week’s stress away. Little Miss Sunshine tried to avoid getting shocked under the giant power lines on her way to the trail entrance:

There’s not a whole lot to report here as far as the ride goes. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but it did make up for all the work-related woes that one suffers from. How about a few more photos:

Did I mention that the weather was perfect?

Yes I was there. You can see my shadow in the photo above, right? I feel kinda weird asking people to take my picture just for this blog. Besides, you see enough of me around here anyway.

In other news, I broke something else:

That is my WTB Rocket V Seat. Back during the Winter Series finale, I noticed something strange while I was riding. I finally got a chance to conduct a further investigate, and discovered that I had broken the plastic parts of my seat. I guess all that extra blubber I put on over the weekend finally had an effect on my equipment.

Since I didn’t really like that seat anyway, it wasn’t a big deal. Even though I am a Clydesdale, I still have a narrow ass. That little seat wasn’t good for it, so I had been looking for a new one anyway. I ended up going back to something I'd used in the past.

The WTB Pure V. Not the fanciest seat in the world by any means. It’s a little wider, and a helluva lot more comfortable. It might weigh a little more than what I had, but I don’t really care about that. It doesn’t hurt my ass when I ride, so it is the winner. Big thanks to the folks at REI here in Charlotte for their help in obtaining a new seat for The Big O. My ass thanks you, and so do I.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Getting Back To Training

Well, not exactly. Thankfully it doesn’t look like that around here anymore, and luckily I don’t train that way for mountain biking. With the Winter Series over and a little less than a month to go until the Shootout On Anglers Ridge, I guess I have a little time to train. The weather is really nice now, so I should be able to ride as much as I want to.

One regular item in my new “training plan” involves riding my singlespeed. Even though the wheels are too small, it seems to be a pretty good training tool. Having to pedal faster to move those little wheels and standing up on climbs due to the lack of gears should whip me into shape in no time. It looks like I’ll be riding this at least one day a week now:

After work, I can leave right from my house and head over to the Mallard Creek Greenway. I have lights, so I don’t have to worry about being in a hurry to get out and ride before it gets dark. The greenway is nice because there are little secret trails all over the place. The fact that it is gravel and dirt through some of it keeps it interesting too.

The little side trails can be pretty brutal. While not really singletrack, they are somewhat of a challenge. There is one trail in particular that it just a long, steep climb. I used it two years ago as part of my training plan for XTERRA Uwharrie. It worked, but I had forgotten about it until recently. Here’s a photo, but it doesn’t really show you much in the way of steepness.

Riding that hill on a singlespeed is good for me. After a couple times up and down that damn hill my legs are ready to fall off. Hopefully it will do some good, but this shit can’t take the place of real mountain bike riding. It’s just a supplement.

So yeah, I’m training I guess. That probably looks like I’m taking the upcoming season a little more serious, right? Maybe. I would like to be able to finish these races without dying, and maybe even bet my usual middle of the pack finishes. I promise I won’t get too serious though.

If I do decide to get all serious and shit, then there is nothing you can do about it anyway. Stormtroopers have no jurisdiction here in these parts.

Okay, enough of that. Seriously, go out and ride this weekend. I will. A lot. In fact, I’m starting off early by riding this evening after I sneak out of work early. Come join me, if you can find me.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Like Father Like Son I Guess

While Lunchbox does enjoy Star Wars just as much as I do, that’s not what I’m talking about here. No, this is actually about bicycling (imagine that.) Back when I converted The Big O to 1X9, I wouldn’t shut up about how cool I thought it was. Lunchbox was listening, and asked me about it. Initially he thought about doing the whole singlespeed thing when he got a 29er, but decided that he just doesn’t ride enough to forgo all of his gears. He decided that he would also try the 1X9 thing, so I gathered up the necessary shit to do it.

Let’s take inventory here. Another Third Eye Chain Watcher, a red BBG Bashguard, a SRAM PC-951 9 speed chain, Shimano Deore 9 speed rear derailleur and shifter (9 speed cassette not pictured.) I had to put on a new chain, shifter, cassette, and rear derailleur because of this:

His Diamondback Overdrive came stock with 8 speed stuff, so I had to change it if he wanted to be in the 1X9 club. It wasn’t an issue, since I already had some spare parts hanging around.

First up, I had to get rid of those “extra” chainrings and pesky front derailleur:

Then it was time to put on the BBG bashguard:

I installed the chain, cassette, and rear derailleur. I even had some extra shifter cable housings to use (in red, which he decided on as his new color scheme.)

After getting the chain watcher installed and properly aligned, I stepped back to admire my work (and have a sip or two of beer.)

While I was at it, I made sure to add the rest of the red accessories that I had been accumulating. Like this Azonic quick release seatpost collar:

And of course some red Cane Creek headset spacers:

And what bike in our stable would be complete without a Lizard Skins chainstay protector?

Oh yeah, I got rid of that lead pipe of a seatpost and replaced it with a trusty Easton EA50 I had in the parts bin:

And here is the finished product:

I’d still like to change a few more things to save him a little weight, including a new stem and a set of handlebars. That will come in due time I guess. Also, I plan on setting up his tires for tubeless sometime over the weekend, since I’m so freaking good at it. I don’t know if I’ll get it done though, since I’ll probably be out riding instead. I’m sure he’ll be right along side me though.