Thursday, April 28, 2011

No More Race Report (For Now)

Now that I took three days to recap a six hour race, I’m done. It seemed like there was a lot to talk about, so spreading it out over a few days was the right thing to do. If it was too much for you, then you better hope that I don’t do any races longer than that in the future.

Speaking of the future, I’m racing again on Sunday. This time it’s another one in the Southern Classic Series. The Race To The River takes place in the Harbison State Forest down in Columbia, South Carolina. Just like most of the races in this series so far, I’ve never ridden down there. I hear it’s pretty flat too. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but I‘m racing it regardless. It should be a lot of fun.

It’s not all about me this weekend though. My pal and neighbor, The Chili Man, is competing in his first duathlon. That’s right, his new found love for cycling has him attending the University City Duathlon right here in Charlotte. Lunchbox and I will be there to cheer him on, and also to heckle him if the mood strikes us. I’m excited to see him get out there and put his training to the test.

Last, but certainly not least, is an even that kicks off this weekend.

Yup, it’s time again for BIKE! Charlotte. Join our local mountain bike club, the Tarheel Trailblazers as we ride with the Mayor to show our support for cycling in Charlotte.

This event is for all types of cyclists, but since we are a mountain bike club we’re doing something different. We’ll be meeting at a local shop, Queen City Bicycles to ride to the meeting spot for the Mayor’s ride. We’ll be on mountain bikes for this 1.4 mile ride, so hopefully we’ll make a big impact when we roll up on the scene on our fat tires. We’ll be meeting at the shop at 7:00 a.m., so come on out and join us if you’re a local.

Since I’ll be busy tomorrow morning, this is it for blog posts for the week. Little Miss Sunshine is heading out for a weekend filled with mountain biking when she joins her women’s only club, the Dirt Divas for their spring trip. I’ll have to keep myself busy while she’s gone. Come back next week for another race report, the Mayor’s ride details, my weekend bachelor shenanigans, and maybe even something about the Chili Man’s duathlon adventure.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Not As Difficult As I Thought

We were nearing the end of the Grind On The Greenway, and I was feeling good. It was probably because I was sitting on my ass half of the time, but whatever. In fact, every time I saw the MadSS come through the start/finish line, I was kicked back eating and drinking. I’m sure he got a chuckle out of that. At least I didn’t bust open the beer until the end of the race I guess. I worked hard when I was out there, so I got to relax a bit when Little Miss Sunshine was doing all the work. It’s not like I was wrestling alligators out there on the trail or anything.

Before you ask, yes, that is a real alligator. I only photochopped the location to fit my ramblings. Anyway, after I came in from my lap, Little Miss Sunshine went back out (that’s how it works in a duo, you know.) She was feeling much better, and probably pretty excited that the trail was in better shape. I plopped down in my chair and drank some fluids, and ate my pic-a-nic lunch. Much faster this time, Little Miss Sunshine completed her lap. I was ready to go out for one more, but that would be the last one. I wouldn’t get back in time to make the “last lap” cutoff, so the plan was to take it easy and enjoy the extra miles.

The Dirty Party Cycle had come in from his third lap while I was waiting for the wife, and I told him if he was ready that he could ride with me. By the time I got ready to head back out, he was right on my wheel. We would finish this race together, and hopefully under six hours.

I took off as fast as I could down the gravel road to the singletrack, but I had left my pal the DPC. I slowed down a bit and apologized, and promised to keep a more “controlled” pace. We shot the shit along the way, and most of the time I had forgotten that we were racing. Well, that is until some of my super fast biker pals came flying by with about two miles to go. I picked up the pace, and told the DPC to come along. I told him that we could easily finish under six hours, but we’d have to push it a little. In my haste, I actually left him and didn’t realize it. Later he said he didn’t mind, but I still felt like an ass.

As I made my approach to the finish line, I mashed up the last climb. It was over. The DPC came in only a few minutes behind me, and we were both under six hours. Awesome. He completed his goal of four laps, and he didn’t look like he felt too bad about it. As for me and the wife, we got in a total of five laps in under six hours. It was good enough for fifth place. She did really well for her first ever endurance race, and I think she may have been bitten by the bug. In fact, she’s already planning on another one in the near future. I’ll bring that one up another time.

We had fun afterwards at the awards ceremony. Although we didn’t win anything, it didn’t matter. I was so proud of the wife for getting out there and riding her bike, so she’s a winner in my book. Even my racing pals would agree.

Starting left going clockwise, Eric, Rod, Terry, and the MadSS. Told y’all I’d make you famous on the Internets. Now you can just stand by and wait for the money to come rolling in. See ya tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It Was Rough At First

Yesterday’s “race report” didn’t even get into the actual racing part. Anyway, when I left off I was off on the first lap. I went out really hard from the start/finish line, and I was still in a pretty big group. Once I got into the singletrack, I thought I could pick up the pace a little. That worked well for a few minutes, until I came up to yet another traffic jam. This time the culprit was a bridge that was barely wide enough to get across with a bicycle. In fact, my own handlebars were too wide to clear the posts on either side. That didn’t matter on lap one though, because by the time I got within sight of it we were all walking with our bikes. Someone had crashed pretty good, but I didn’t really get a good look at it. I just saw asses and elbows. Once I got past the bridge though, it was on.

I was flying through the wet, sloppy trail, pushing as hard as I could. As usual, it got the better of me and I had to back off. I was still passing a few people, but more were passing me. My goal was to get that first lap finished in around and hour, and I was starting to wonder if I could do it. The trail wasn’t too bad (mud-wise anyway), but the wet roots made it difficult to keep traction on the climbs and switchbacks. I didn’t crash, but I had to dab a few times to stay upright. I calmed down a bit and decided to pace myself.

I had told Little Miss Sunshine that I would be back in an hour, but there was a chance that the wet conditions could alter my plans. After my legs and lungs recovered though, I settled in and tried to avoid the slick stuff. I started getting into my groove, and I felt great. I guess it helped that I knew I would be able to rest after I hammered out a lap. I just hoped that the trail would dry up a little before the wife had to head out for her lap.

On one of the bigger climbs, I saw about ten people walking with their bikes. As I climbed by the hike-a-bikers, I said, “There are an awful lot of roadies out here today.” I don’t think anyone else found that to be funny, but I sure as hell did. Those fully-kitted roadie types don’t climb on the rocky rooty goodness so well, and I was getting a kick out of it. At least I had something going for me. Someone passed me by and asked if I brought beer, which had me laughing out loud. Yes, I was having a grand ol’ time.

There were mile markers all over the trail telling me how far I had gone. I kinda liked that, since I knew when I could turn it on to get the hell outta there. At the 8 mile mark, I picked up the pace and headed for the exit. After around 10 miles (including the little extra we did at the start), I approached to rendezvous point. Little Miss Sunshine was waiting, and we swapped out the timing chip. I told her to be careful of the wet roots, but to have fun and ride at her own pace. And just like that she was off.

When she left, I changed out of my jersey and put on a t-shirt. I plopped my ass into a chair in the pit area and ate a little bit. It felt weird to relax like that, but it was a nice change of pace. Shortly after I got situated, the Dirty Party Cycle came in from his first lap. He was feeling pretty good so far. He took a short break and headed back out on the trail. I resisted the urge to crack open a beer. Instead, I drank some Gatorade and propped up my feet on a stool.

After about an hour, I got ready to ride again. I had heard from another rider that Little Miss Sunshine had crashed, but it was nothing real serious. When she came back, I asked if she was okay. She said she was, so I hurried off for lap number three. We were doing fine time-wise, but more importantly we were still having a good time. I was well rested, so I pushed myself pretty hard to see if I could get in a better lap time.

Just like my adventure at Warrior Creek a few weeks ago, the trail down there had dried up considerably. It was getting pretty hot outside too, and I was loving it. My rest and relaxation time had served me well, and I was full of piss and vinegar. I had way better control this time, and I was going a lot faster for sure. It’s amazing what I could do after being able to rest so much between rides. I had plenty of energy to climb, and I rarely had to get out of the saddle. I hadn’t felt this good in a race in some time, so I was definitely enjoying it. I passed more people than usual on that lap, but I still got passed by much faster riders too. I was riding at a good pace (for me), and I didn’t want it to end. Before I knew it though, I saw the inevitable mile marker number 8. It was time for the home stretch.

And just like that, it’s time to end today’s post. With the short attention span of my readers, I feel it’s best to finish this long-winded post tomorrow. See ya then.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I Had My Priorities Straight At Least

Yeah, that was the main item in my packing list for the Grind On The Greenway, a case of Loose Cannon. It wasn’t my first endurance race, so I knew to only pack the necessities. Little Miss Sunshine however, was doing her first one so she requested that we bring more stuff.

We had plenty of provisions, so no worries there. There was only one problem: the weather was not cooperating. It had rained pretty much all night, and it was even drizzling when I hit the road on Saturday morning.

Another race in the mud…fabulous. I wasn’t too worried about it for me, but Little Miss Sunshine might have a hard time in the sloppy mess. She was already nervous as shit anyway. When we got there, we set up our new home for the next six hours.

I was ready. Little Miss Sunshine was ready too, especially after much encouragement from all of her cycling friends out there. Did I mention that the Dirty Party Cycle was there doing his first solo race? Since all three of us were racing, there is a chance for a severe lack of photos (I’m just warning you.) Anyway, The DPC and I headed down to the starting point (some half a mile from the actual start/finish line.)

Little Miss Sunshine had plenty of time since I was going first, so she grabbed the camera. We took a modified route on our way to the start finish line, and it was supposed to spread us out. I fought my way up to the middle of the pack, but it didn’t do any good. We entered on section of singletrack before the start/finish line, and the whole pack came to a complete stop. After a minute or so, we got into the woods. I pushed and pushed, and made my way to the start/finish line to “officially” start the race.

I was pushing pretty hard at the start, but I was having fun. My plan was to haul ass on the first lap, to give Little Miss Sunshine the opportunity to go out on her lap and relax a little and enjoy the ride. After I posed for that photo, I put the hammer down to get to the woods.

Up next was the DPC, who wasn’t too far behind me in the pack. He was leading his group into the start/finish area.

Guess what? I’m cutting it off here. You knew I would do it, so don’t be surprised. I have to drag this shit out at least two days, so tomorrow should be the end of it. I guess that depends on how slow things are around here. I’m such a tease, but you know you like it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Have You Ever Had…

One of those perfect bike rides? You know, the one where everything just feels right? I got out to Sherman Branch yesterday after work, and had one of the greatest rides I’ve had on a mountain bike in a long time. No roadies on mountain bikes going for their personal best lap times and no mechanical issues...just plain fun.

I needed that. After having some stress (some I’ve mentioned and some I’m polite enough not to), it was just me, The Big O, and the trail. I should really do that more often. Tomorrow is yet another race, but I don’t feel any stress at all. Not the usual pre-race jitters, anyway. I am really excited, especially for Little Miss Sunshine. She’s probably nervous as hell, but she will be just fine. The Grind On The Greenway starts tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m., and we’re as ready as we can be.

Speaking of Little Miss Sunshine, today is her birthday. Unlike most of the people I know, I didn’t need The Facebooks to tell me that either. I can remember it for some reason on my own. What a way to celebrate your birthday, racing in your first endurance race. If you see her out there on the trail tomorrow, wish her the best. I’ll probably build her a cake or something.

Happy Birthday to Little Miss Sunshine, from me, Napoleon, and Pedro.

I’ll be back on Monday, complete with a race report from the Grind On The Greenway. It’s currently raining right now, so I wonder how the trail will hold up. The DPC with be there too (sharing the pit area with us), so it should be a fun day. Lunchbox won’t be back in time (like I said yesterday if you weren’t paying attention), so I have no idea if I’ll have any photos. I’ll come up with something. I do have a little stress from trying to figure out what I’m gonna wear. Maybe I’ll bust out my kilt again. Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ride It Like It’s Hot

Yep, it’s time to do some riding. The six hour variety, in fact. As I’ve been telling you the last two weeks, I won’t be doing it alone either. Sure, I can ride my bike for six (or even twelve) hours, but I’ve decided to take on a partner. My first ever endurance race was part of a team, but after that I’ve been doing them all by my lonesome. Not because I’m some kind of bad ass on the mountain bike or anything, but because I just wanted to see what I was capable of doing. I already know that I can hang during these endurance events, but my partner has no idea. Who is it? Well, some of you may already know. If you had no idea, then here is your first clue.

Yup, my partner for the Grind On The Greenway is none other than Little Miss Sunshine. This will be her first endurance race, and she’s pretty excited about it. She initially wanted to team up with one of her girly friends, but that didn’t happen. She also briefly entertained the idea of joining Lunchbox on that adventure, but he won’t be back from Florida until late that evening. I offered up my expert services as an endurance racing partner, and she accepted. She has no idea what she’s in for.

Can we win? I have no freaking idea. The co-ed duo category is usually well represented, so we should have some fierce competition. The plan isn’t to win though, because we are just going out there to see what she can do. I told her I would go first, and do my best to put in as many hot laps as I can. That gives her the chance to go out there and ride at her own pace, and enjoy just being out there. If we get on the podium, then of course we would be happy. I’m not putting that kind of pressure on her though, because I don’t want to make her uncomfortable. My first-ever endurance race got me hooked on it, so I’m hoping that she will find the same joy I did. Who knows, maybe she will start doing them solo after this one.

Speaking of racing, I missed out on the kickoff of the Summer Series, held at Colonel Francis Beatty Park. I didn’t even try to make it. I use to try to get to all of them, but now it’s a little more difficult to make it there on time after work on Wednesdays. There are fifteen races left in the series, so maybe I’ll get a chance to mix it up with the local crowd soon. If anything, it will get me at least one competitive ride during the week to stay on track for the Southern Classic Series. The plan is to do a few of these Summer Series races this year, as opposed to the whole series like I usually do. The Southern Classic Series is taking up a lot of my free time, so I had to cut something out. Maybe I’ll attend a few of the races just to be a cheerleader or something.

Even though tomorrow is a “holiday”, I’ll be here. It probably won’t be much, so be warned.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Don’t Know Where To Go

With this post anyway. I write this shit everyday, and lots of people read it for some reason. Some days the nonsense just spews out, other days it’s kinda like being constipated. Going with that analogy, today feels like I’m just sitting on the toilet waiting for something to happen.

Sure, things are happening around here, but they aren’t interesting to talk about sometimes. Last night, I gave a presentation at a meeting of the local women’s mountain bike club, the Dirt Divas. I got to tell them all about the National Mountain Bike Patrol (NMBP). If you’re a newbie to this blog, then I guess I should tell you why I would talk about such a thing.

In addition to being a below-average racer, I am also the director of our local chapter of the NMBP. Despite what you might think of me by reading the stuff I normally post on here, I really like to help people. First aid, trailside repairs, directions, etc. I do that stuff on local rides, and even help out during events. If something happens while I’m out there racing, I may even help out then too. Well, only if it’s someone that’s not racing against me. Maybe.,,

In other news, I saw some bike porn da udda day that has me drooling. You should know by now of my love for all things Diamondback, so you can imagine the excitement I felt when I saw that they have a new prototype out there.

Photo stolen off the Internets from MTBR

Yes, this is the Diamondback Sortie 29er, but it’s not yet in production. This prototype was displayed out at the Sea Otter Classic last week (but I wasn't there.) It is basically a cross between my two favorite bikes, the Sortie and the Overdrive. I am currently racing an Overdrive, and I still have my Sortie out in the garage. I don’t ride it much anymore since the wheels are too small, but having a big-wheeled version of that bike would be way cool.

Since I made the jump to big wheels, I haven’t given much though to having a full suspension version. Now that Diamondback is working on a 29er full squish, I may just have to rethink my thoughts about thinking about things I think about. The Knucklebox suspension is the best I have ever ridden, hands down. The low center of gravity makes a big difference, and that’s one reason why I loved my Sortie so much. I only wished that it’s wheels would grow, and now it looks like I may have my wish.

I’ll be back tomorrow, where I just might spill the beans about my partner for the Grind On The Greenway. I know I said that yesterday too, but this time I just might do it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

After The Race

We didn’t get any of the Colonel’s “Secret Recipe”, but he was on hand at the Stump Jump to hand out water bottles for the group of racers that went out after I did. After hanging out and chatting it up with our local cycling friends, the Dirty Party Cycle and I headed over to the local skatepark, Hot Spot, to wear off any extra energy we had leftover from riding mountain bikes.

I wouldn’t normally travel so far to go someplace to ride my skateboard, but I made an exception since this place was right around the corner from the race venue. It was a warm day, and this skatepark is completely outdoors. What a great way to enjoy the nice weather down there.

Even Kid Rock showed up to skate the wooden bowl:

We skated for a few hours, but I didn’t get any “action shots.” We were too busy having fun. Even after our skate time was over, we hung out for a while and checked out the park. The DPC was observing the kids tearing it up.

It might sound crazy to go skateboarding after racing my bike, but I have a habit of trying to cram as much shit as I can into everything I do. I didn’t overdo it though, because I woke up yesterday feeling mighty fine. I guess that means I could have pushed a little harder out there on the race course, but it’s too late for that now. It was a fun-filled day, and I’m glad we made the trip down there to Spartanburg for a day chock full of adventure.

The race was awesome, by the way. They did a really good job of marking the course (except for that last part), and the volunteers were very friendly. It was one of the most fun places I have ever ridden, and the whole scene was good. I was really impressed by the whole event. The skatepark part of the day was a nice treat as well. I’m trying to spend a little more time on the skateboard whenever I can, just to break of the stress of the race season. It’s still fun for me, although the DPC and I were definitely on the older side of the crowd out there on Sunday. The kids didn’t seem to mind. As long as you can ride your board, you’re in. It’s kind of like the mountain bike scene I guess.

I’ll be back tomorrow, and I may even start dropping hints about my partner for the Grind On The Greenway. I even heard that the Dirty Party Cycle has signed on to do the race solo (which eliminates him from being my partner for a duo, by the way.) This will be his first solo endurance race, so I can’t wait to hear his story when it’s all over.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Get On It

Sunday was race number five in the Southern Classic Series, the Stump Jump. I left the house at the crack of dark, and picked up the Dirty Party Cycle along the way. We didn’t get there as early as I would have liked, but I still had enough time to pick up my packet and warm up.

I had no idea what to expect when I got there. There was some shitty weather the day before, but everyone said that the trails were in fine shape. I didn’t bother to pre ride the course either, since I wanted the race to be my first time out there. Someone said that there was a whole lot of downhill at the beginning before you get to the singletrack, so the plan was to gun it from the start and hope for the best. As I lined up at the start, the DPC headed out on the trail to find a good spot for picture taking.

There were sixteen of us in my class, and I only recognized a few faces from other events. When we were given the signal, I took off like a fat girl after a plate of ribs. I worked my way up to second place, and my heart rate was already redlining from the sprint. I backed off a bit and down shifted, but my gears weren’t responding. As I fumbled with my shifting, a few guys went by. Actually, a lot of guys went by. There was a short climb, and then it was a long, fast downhill through a power line cut. I momentarily forgot about my gears and flew down the trail.

As we entered the singletrack, the group was still pretty tight. I had made up for some lost ground on the downhill, and now the trail was pretty flat. I somehow got into a gear that was good for cruising, and hauled ass through the woods. It was fast and flowy, with a lot of switchbacks. Luckily, my bike handling skills were working okay, so I was able to hang with the group.

I passed a few people, and a few people passed me. There was a lot of fighting for position in the first few miles, especially since the climbs were few and far between. Suddenly a bigger, rocky climb appeared, and I saw a lot of people off of their bikes, walking. The guy in front of me attempted to climb, so I followed him. He was in too high of a gear though, and bailed. I ran into his wheel and had to hop off and walk. I gained one spot though when I hopped back on my bike. The trail turned back into the relatively flat stuff again for a bit.

About halfway in, there was another one of those rock climbs. People were having trouble with this one too, and the DPC was able to photograph it since that’s where he decided to camp out.

While he waited for me to come by, he took a picture of his bike for some reason.

Soon, I came up to the climb. I saw him at the top, and I acknowledged him. He yelled words of encouragement as I muscled up the short, yet steep climb.

The guy behind me (in the last photo) wasn’t in my class, but he pretty much stayed on my wheel until the end of the race. I offered to let him by, but he seemed to be happy having me pull his ass around for the remainder of the race. Also (as I forgot to mention earlier) I was being chased down by local Charlotte rider Rodney B., but I somehow managed to fight him off…for a little while at least.

I was in the home stretch. The trail was back to the flat stuff, with some long, fun downhill action sprinkled in. I was having a blast, a “racing” a lot faster than I normally would. Since I though the course was only 7.5 miles, I started picking up the pace just before mile seven. This turned out to be a mistake, because when I hit mile seven someone shouted out, “Good job, only one mile to go.” I turned it on too early, and I was starting to suffer a little bit on the climb out.

Rodney had caught back up to me at that point, so when we exited the trail, him and the guy right behind me went around and put the hammer down. We made a sharp right turn onto a gravel road headed towards the finish, and Rodney slid out and nearly took out a barricade. Making contact with that probably saved him from falling down, and it did absolutely nothing to help me catch him. I managed to shift into a higher gear on the gravel road in hot pursuit, but he was still getting away from me. The guy in front of us turned into the field (not part of the race course we later found out), and we followed.

A race volunteer pointed us in the right direction, and we had to make another sharp right turn to get back on track. Rodney and the guy that wasn’t in our class lost some speed in the turn, but I swung out wide and slingshotted ahead of them. I gunned it to the finish line, ahead of both of them.

The race was a lot tougher than I though it would be, especially since the course was so flat. It was fun. I would definitely go down there again to ride. A lot of the trail reminded me of Florida trails, and I felt right at home. Where did I finish? 11th place. It wasn’t my greatest performance, but I had fun so that’s all that matters. It also gave me some points towards the overall standings. If I keep this up, I should do well when the series is over. Maybe I’ll discuss that some more tomorrow, or not. We had a pretty full day down there in Spartanburg, so I’ll probably talk about that tomorrow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Go West Young Man

Well, it’s kind of south-southwest, but whatever. This has nothing to do with Manifest Destiny either, although you could say that I am expanding my “racing territory.” It is my density, uh I mean my destiny.

I have no idea what this race will hold for me. I haven’t been riding much, as shitty weather seems to come along every time I make some kind of two-wheeled plans. Big surprise, the weather down in good ole Spartanburg won’t be great either. Race day should be fine, but the Saturday before it’s supposed to rain…a lot. I don’t know how the trails down there fare after a precipitation event, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I won’t be stressing over my tire choice, lack of trail knowledge, or anything else like that. I’ll be flying by the seat of my pants as usual.

After the race, I may have a little fun if I’m not too worn out. Since the Dirty Party Cycle will be tagging along, we may do a leisure ride out there on the trails. If I’m really feeling froggy, then we may just hit up the local skatepark down there Hot Spot. The DPC took Lunchbox there back when I was out of town, and I heard a lot of good stuff about it. I probably won’t get back down that way for a while, so this could be my only chance to check it out. I may be too tired from “racing” to enjoy it fully, but it should be fun anyway. If you’re lucky, I’ll be back next week with a full race report and a skate report. Don’t you feel special?

I’m yo Daddy.

Yeah, this post is going nowhere, as usual. At least it’s supposed to be warm down there in Spartanburg the day after it rains. I won’t have to get all gussied up in my winter wear for this race.

In other news, the race report could suck more than usual due to a lack of quality photography. The official B-43 shutterbug, Lunchbox, is heading down to Florida to spend some time with his maternal unit. He’ll be gone for the whole week, and he’s a little bummed not to be able to take pictures that get published on the Internets. He’ll have fun down there though, I’m sure. Perhaps my good pal Mr. Shepherd will meet up with him while he’s hanging out in the Sunshine State. My race report will suffer like I said, but at least he gets a little vacation. I sure need one.

See y’all Monday.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Three In A Row

I’m talking about racing, and not about some stupid game. Although I play around on the trail like it’s some kind of game, there will be no time for playing in the next few weeks. Looking at my upcoming schedule, I will be busy with three races on three consecutive weekends.

First up (this Sunday) is the Stump Jump, down in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I’ve never been to the trails down there, but I hear they are pretty fun. In fact, the Dirty Party Cycle just returned from a trip down there, as part of an out of town group ride with the Tarheel Trailblazers. I had to miss out on that trip because I was on call from work, but it doesn’t matter. Y’all know I love racing on trails I’ve never ridden before.

My group goes out for only one lap, so the distance will be much shorter this time. I don’t have to conserve my energy at first to survive, so I can conceivably go all out the entire time. I’ll probably crash and burn after the first mile or two, but that’s what makes it so fun. This is race number five in the Southern Classic Series. I missed number four because it was the day after 6 Hours of Warrior Creek, so I’ll have to do well to keep myself high up in the overall standings. I don’t have high hopes for this race, but I do plan on having a good time down there.

The weekend after that is the annual Grind On The Greenway in Fort Mill, SC. This fun, six hour race is my chance to make up for my shortcomings at Warrior Creek, but this year there will be a twist. I won’t be doing it solo. Sure, I can hang for six hours all by my lonesome (I did five laps last year), but I had someone express an interest in racing as a duo this year. Who is it, you ask? Well, I can’t divulge that information just yet. I’ll keep y’all in suspense. I’ll probably drag it out next week, and make a formal announcement the day before the race. You will probably be surprised at my choice of racing partner. I know I was.

Lastly (for now), is two weeks from this Sunday. It’s the next Southern Classic Series race at Harbison State Forest in Columbia, SC (sorry, no link yet.) Again, this will be my first time riding down there, so I have no idea what I’m in for. I hear it’s fun, but I hear that about every trail. This race, coupled with the Stump Jump, make up the South Carolina State Championship. If I can get on the podium in both races I guess it might mean something. Shit, I’m racing a lot in South Carolina these next few weeks, so it would be nice to get something good out of it.

That’s it for today I guess. If I bored you with my skateboarding adventures yesterday, then you will be relieved to know that I probably won’t be doing that again for a while. With all of these races coming up, I won’t have much time to ride my skateboard. Unless of course I do it slowly and carefully.

See y’all tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Good For My Soul

Yep, it’s all about skateboarding today. Don’t say you haven’t been warned, ‘cause it’s right up there in the blog header. Well, the “nonsensical crap” thing pretty much means I can talk about whatever I want anyway. So yeah, in addition to mountain biking, I am also a skateboarder. I’ve been doing it for something like twenty five years or so, but I’m nowhere near as serious as I used to be.

Sunday I took Lunchbox and Junior Chili to Soul Ride Skatepark, since they just reopened. They moved to a bigger and better location, so I was eager to check it out. It was really nice of the kids to let the old creepy skater guy hang out with them too. Lunchbox made sure to drink plenty of fluids so he could keep up with me.

That place is so rad. Yeah, I said rad. Gnarly, bitchin’, whatever. I started back in the 80’s so I can still say that stuff. Hell, I have scars from skateboarding that are older than most of the kids out there these days. I don’t do all the stuff I used to do, but I can still hold my own.

The flash scared me I think.

My favorite thing to skate these days is the mini ramp (a smaller version of a half pipe for those of you that don’t know.) I don’t so all of those crazy handrail slides, 43 stair drops, and other dangerous shit, but I have fun nonetheless.

Lunchbox loves that mini ramp (as well as everything else there.)

Even though he’s frequently confused for a girl, Junior Chili rolled through the park with his long hippy hair floating in the wind. He didn’t have a care in the world.

He’s pretty fearless for a little guy.

He rocks the mini ramp too.

He currently rides for his dad’s company, Skate Twerp. If you have a skater 12 or under, then check it out. The Chili Man will be glad you stopped by. He would appreciate it if you bought something, that way he can quit slinging wieners for a living. Yuck.

It’s nice to get out and skate once in a while. I still enjoy it as much as I did when I was a kid. I’m still all about the bikes though, so come back tomorrow to see if I talk about all things mountain biking. I’ll have plenty of time to make up something.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ride Gone Bad

First off, I’d like to apologize for the piss poor excuse of a blog post yesterday (they're all piss poor, but that one was worse.) While it was neat that I could blog from my phone, I didn’t really have time to make it interesting. The Man was holding me down, but today I’m free to post as usual. Sometimes work gets in the way, and that’s just fine. At least I have a job, and it does pay the bills to allow me time to ride my bicycle and blog about it. Mr. Shepherd was kind enough to post up something on Sunday, so at least you had something to read.

Now, back to the main event.

On Saturday, Little Miss Sunshine and I planned on hitting up Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill, SC. We loaded up the bikes around lunchtime, but I got called into work for a little while (I was on standby in case some shit went down.) I left LMS with her bike, and told her that I would meet her down there when I was finished. At around 4:30 or so, we finally got on the trail.

It was a nice ride (at first.) We had a reason for riding that particular trail, but I won’t get into that just yet (probably next week.) Anyway, about four miles in we noticed that the sky was getting a little shitty looking. We knew there was supposed to be a storm rolling in, but we thought there would plenty of time to get a ride in. However, the sky quickly turned to this:

We high-tailed it back to the trailead as quickly as we could, but not before the rain started coming down. I didn’t want to damage the trail by riding it wet, but with the bad weather coming in it was the quickest way out. In addition to the rain, there was thunder and lightning aplenty. I briefly thought of taking shelter in one of the several tunnels out there, but we decided it would be better to just get the hell out of there. The weather got worse though.

Suddenly, hail started falling from the sky. At first, it was about the size of marbles, and few and far between. Then, it came down hard and heavy. The size increased to golf ball sized, sprinkled in with ones about the size of a baseball. They beat the shit out of us while we rode out of there, and it looked like there was no letting up. We had no choice but to keep going.

I kept hearing (and feeling) the hail strike my helmet, and I was getting the crap smacked outta me all over the rest of my body where there was no protection. Little Miss Sunshine toughed it out too, but we started to wonder if we’d make it out of there. It was a little scary, but we couldn’t stop. I started to feel like we would be stranded out there like freakin' Gilligan or something. Eventually I saw some lights beyond the tree line though, so we cut the trail (we could hardly see it anyway) and made our way to a parking lot of some apartment complex. We weren’t back to our vehicles yet, but at least we could find shelter if we needed to.

As soon as we exited the woods, the hail stopped. The rain was still coming down though, but we were relieved not to be getting beat up by frozen chunks of ice. After a short ride down the sidewalk, we made it back to the parking lot (just as the rain stopped.) We were glad to make it out of there alive, especially since the weather had chilled for a bit. It was still kinda creepy out there though.

I suffered some hail damage on my truck, but I only got one photo of that.

Just before we packed up, I walked up to the trail to snap a photo of the icy shitballs.

It was much worse than that on the trail, but I wasn’t about to stop and take a picture while we were trying to get out of there. There was so much hail in some spots that it looked like it had snowed there. I ran back to my truck right after that photo was taken though, because more of the shit storm was on the way. The sky turned black as night, and the power went out at the complex where we parked. We got out of there just in time for the next round, and headed to a local watering hole to lick our wounds and enjoy a little liquid refreshment.

In all, we got in about eight miles. Half of it was fun, and the other half was scary as hell. Looking back, it was a little fun to ride in that mess, but I wouldn’t do it again if I had the choice. You can’t really predict the weather around here sometimes, but maybe we should have stayed a little more local for our ride so we would have finished well before Mother Nature unleashed her fury. I do stupid shit all the time, so this was another thing to add to the list. At least I got a ride in over the weekend though.