Thursday, June 30, 2011

Left The Bike At Home

Once in a while I actually go places without my bike. Little Miss Sunshine and I got a chance to explore some uh, “mountains” close to home da udda day, and we didn’t need the bikes. I’m talking about the Uwharries, which is a short drive east of here. I do ride my bike over there from time to time, but I found out that there are so many other things to see out there.

I got her a book called Backroads of North Carolina, and she’s been reading through it for a while. We decided on a day trip to the Uwharries (recommended in the book), which crammed in a few cool things along the way. Check out this covered bridge, which was the first stop on our journey.

Once upon a time there were tons of these things all over the state. From what I understand (and what I saw in the book), this is one of only two left (of the originals anyway.) It was off the side of the road, and the stuff around it was pretty neat too.

The next stop on our tour was a place called Jumpin’ Off Rock, another side of the road attraction.

I guess people jumped off this “cliff” back in the day, and banged their asses up pretty good when they did. The view was pretty cool though, but the pictures didn’t really do it any justice. Also, this area was booming back in the gold rush days, and there are several abandoned mines in the area. We didn’t hit any of those though.

Stop number three is what the locals call the Low Water Bridge. Looking at the photos you can probably see how it got its name (if you are smart and stuff.)

They say that when it rains, you have to find another way through there. It was a one lane bridge, so you had to make sure no one else was coming when you crossed. The water wasn’t very deep, and I saw a few of the locals playing in it and swinging on an old fashioned rope swing. Good times.

The last stop on our little mountain tour was deep in the heart of the Uwharries, right on Badin Lake. We were looking for a place called The Narrows of The Yadkin which was a narrow pass of the Yadkin River. I say “was” because it is now under water since they made a lake out there. There was still plenty to see though.

And, that’s the end of our tour. I know it’s not bicycle-related at all, but I thought it was pretty neat to see. We like to get out once in a while to see the beautiful scenery in this great state, so I thought I would pass it along. A bike is usually the best way to see things, so maybe we’ll take the road bikes on a journey out there one day. You never know.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Yep, I gots it. I’ve been looking into a fork upgrade for The Big O for a while now, and I thought I had pretty much decided on something. Well, that is until I saw something here for sale locally. I was pretty much set on a new Rockshox Reba, but a guy around here had a sorta kinda like new Fox RLC for a sweet price. I snatched it up on Friday.

This is a major upgrade (compared to my RockShox Tora), but I’m not a stranger to Fox forks. I have pretty much the same thing on my squishy bike, although it’s the 26 inch version. The Big O deserved some Foxitude too, and a little change is good sometimes. The biggest change is that my Tora has only 80mm of travel.

The Fox goodness is 100mm of plush travel, and I knew it would affect the handling of my bike a little bit. I wanted to wait until after I raced to put it on, but I kept staring at it in the garage and couldn’t help it.

It looked good, and after the standard down the street test ride I was happy with its performance. There would be no time to test it on a trail before I raced last Sunday, so I would have to find out how different it was in “race” conditions. Not a great idea, but I was willing to take a chance.

While my legs and lungs didn’t cooperate too well in the race, I added a new issue to the mix. The handling on my bike was so different that I was having trouble on the downhills. It felt all wonky in the turns, but the cushy new fork was pretty comfortable at least. About halfway through the second nine mile lap, I started getting used to the extra 20mm of travel and subsequent handling difference. By then it was too late. My race had been affected by my lack of handling, but I doubt that I would have fared much better with the old fork still on there.

Did I learn anything from this? Probably not. I know it’s not a great idea to mess with a bike the day before a race, but I just couldn’t help it. Bike parts don’t do any good just hanging around unused, you know. I am pretty impatient when it comes to bike stuff, and I probably should have waited to put on my new fork. What fun would it be around here if everything went smooth anyway? It wouldn’t.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Where Was I Now?

There were some tough climbs, some fast, twisty downhills, and even a little water here and there.

There was shit out there on the trail that I didn’t even notice.

I was on lap two out there, and I don’t really remember any of the scenery. It’s a good thing the Dirty Party Cycle was out there taking photos. I didn’t see him on my second lap, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t there. Hell, Bigfoot could have been out there and I wouldn’t have noticed him unless he ran out in front of me. I was hot, tired, and worst of all: I was cramping.

Yeah, my legs were feeling like shit. That could have been from the fact that I released some of my breakfast earlier that morning, but it could have also been from the hellacious climbs I had to suffer through. Honestly, I don’t remember much from the second lap, except that there were guys in my class behind me, and I spent a lot of time looking over my shoulder. That probably slowed me down, but I tried to make up for it by hauling ass on the downhill sections. My plan worked, I guess.

On the last climb out, I was hurting. It was all I could do to get up the hill, and onto the last bit of singletrack. When I did, I didn’t see anyone else behind me. I gave what little I had left, and crossed the finish line. When the results came out, I ended up in 7th place. Not great, but at least I was in the top ten. The good news about it is that I got some points for the overall standings, and there was only one other guy out there that’s in contention. At least for now it looks like I’m in 2nd overall, well within my goal of a top ten finish when it’s all over.

We didn’t stick around long, because I had to get some food (and beer of course.) We found a familiar sight nearby called The Mellow Mushroom, and the DPC and I found a seat and got ready for some good beer. When he asked where the beer menu was, the server informed us that we are in the Bible Belt and that they don’t serve alcohol on Sunday. Beer fail. We asked if this is true in all of South Carolina and she said no, and that we could head over to Greenville where they are a little more open-minded. We got the hell out of there and hit the road again, hoping for success this time.

Yes! I got a Stone Ruination IPA, and I was happy. We also got to chow down on some grub, and it was so good that the DPC didn’t know where to start.

See those people looking at him in the background? What the hell were they doing?

Anyway, it turned out to be a good day. An early start, a long drive to some fun yet tough trails, and after a little difficulty: beer. Any day that involves riding bikes and drinking beer is a good one, that’s for sure.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some more race analysis, but it won’t be what you think. I broke a cardinal rule and put on a new part without testing it, but that probably didn’t have shit to do with my piss poor performance.

Monday, June 27, 2011

What Was I Doing?

I have no idea…in that photo or at the race yesterday. I know that I was down in Clemson, Sc for the Tiger Rag, but the details are kinda fuzzy. The whole day just felt weird, and it probably started when I got out of bed.

Five oh damn clock. Way too damn early. Since my race time was 9:30 a.m., I had to use my math skills and figure out how much time I would need. I calculated that it would take exactly three and a half hours to do the following: drag my ass outta bed, get ready, eat a giant bowl of oatmeal, load up the bike, drive to Kings Mountain to pick up the Dirty Party Cycle, drive to some trailhead in Clemson, pickup my race goodies, and warm up. I didn’t account for a small pukey session at the top of the DPC’s neighborhood from drinking an expired generic sports drink. I made up for that by driving eighty-eight miles per hour the whole way.

We got there after a couple of wrong turns, and I got ready. I felt like shit, probably from my upset stomach and lack o’ sleep. Nevertheless, I was there to collect points for the overall series, and had no idea what I was about to ride. We started shortly after 9:30, and I played it cool. I ignored my nerves and sour tummy, and hung out with the pack of riders in my class. Without knowing the course at all, I hung with the leaders…for a while.

What an odd photo. Oh yeah, my photographer is on vacation. Thanks DPC…for realz.

After seeing my temporary photographer, I forgot that I was racing, and decided to morph into Bigfoot. It was way more fun anyway.

I pushed, but fell back from the lead group about halfway through lap one. I guessed that I was in the middle of the pack somewhere, but I was taking my time and “feeling” out the trail. At one point I passed a guy in my class with a flat tire, but he got back by me eventually. I didn’t let anyone else get by me, but I was wearing down…and fast. There was a really long, downhill fireroad section that I got to haul ass on (getting up to around 30 m.p.h.), and I thought that I could use that to put a gap on the guys behind me. Towards the end though, there was around a mile long climb out, and I was suffering in the humid conditions. All I could think of at that point was that I have to do that one more time on lap two.

I was defeated, and only halfway through. As I rounded the corner to go out for lap two, I heard a bystander say, “They’re not far ahead. You can still catch them and make the podium.”

“Bullshit,” I thought.

I knew what I was up against on lap two, and it worried me. My body was not cooperating after only nine and a half miles, but there was no way in hell I was going to quit. I could handle it, but could I keep from dropping back to DFL? I was a little motivated by those random comments from that kind stranger, but I wondered if I had it in me to catch them. All I wanted to do was sit down and take a break for a spell, and resume the race when I felt up to it. I couldn’t do that of course, but I can sure as shit do that here.

I”ll be back tomorrow with the conclusion, ‘cause I like making y’all suffer too.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Headed South

This is yet another weekend for travel, and I’m not the only one that’s going somewhere. Tomorrow, my main man Lunchbox is making his summer pilgrimage to Orlando, Florida. He’s not one of those morons that will be waiting in line to watch the trial of the century though. He’s actually going down there to spend a few weeks with his mom, since she still lives down there. I will miss him, but I’m sure he’s glad to get to see her. He’ll certainly miss North Carolina, since Florida kinda sucks these days. There won’t be any beach visits, trips to Disney, or anything fun like that. Instead of the usual reasons people travel to Florida, he’ll probably just be riding his skateboard around in the hot sun on flat roads. Hopefully Mr. Shepherd can meet up with him to hang out while he’s there. Six weeks won’t go by fast enough for us both, that’s for sure.

As for me, it’s time for another race in the Southern Classic Series. This weekend’s race is being held down in Clemson, South Carolina. It’s called the Tiger Rag, and we’ll be racing on the Issaqueena Lake Trails. Just like always, it will another race on a trail I’ve never ridden. I haven’t heard anything (good or bad) about the trails down there, but it will most likely be hot. That will be a big change from last week’s race, and I’m cool with that.

My race starts at 9:30 a.m., so I’ll have to leave my house at 5:30 a.m. to make the three hour drive down there and have time for packet pickup and other junk. I’m not looking forward to getting up so early, but I am looking forward to racing again. This is the last race for a while in this series, since there is nothing scheduled for July. I’ll have to find something to do for a month or so to keep my skills up I guess.

In other news, I have some new stuff coming my way. One is a major upgrade for The Big O, which I should be picking up later today. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to install this mystery upgrade and talk about it next week sometime. I probably won’t do anything the day or two before the race though. I’d rather not spend my kid’s last night here having him watch me install new bike parts. That doesn’t sound like much fun. Saturday will be a no go too, since it’s bad luck (for me anyway) to change bike stuff out the day before a race. I might not be able to fight it though, so look for an epic fail coming soon to a blog near you.

The other thing is something I’ll wait to talk about. I won’t have this particular item for a while, so you’ll have to wait too. It’s not that big of a deal, but I’m pretty excited about it. See y’all Monday with a race report, because at least I can talk about that. Until then, drink up.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

One Man Party

When I put up a video of my riding adventures, that’s usually what it is: a one man party. The last video I did though, was the small-screen debut of Lunchbox. It made for a much nicer video, and not just because he’s got skills. Nope, I noticed that videos of trail riding are much easier to watch when there is another rider to watch who’s actually in front of the camera. It just gives a better perspective, methinks.

Anyway, I put together yet another blockbuster film, but this time I am the star. The rest of the video I took at the Forks Area Trail System involved a different camera angle, and I am pleased with how it turned out. I basically mounted the camera on Lunchbox’s helmet and pointed it backwards. Now you get to stare at me the whole time. Excellent.

Okay, enough of the silly bullshit. Let’s get to the sillier bullshit: my pathetic video (and riding) skills. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Back To Normal

As normal as things can get around here, that is. After going through the mess that was the 8th race in theSouthern Classic Series, I had a little work to do.

Remember this?

When I got home from the race, all I had time to do was rinse some of the mud off and lube the chain to keep it from rusting. I finally got a chance for a thorough cleaning yesterday, and also took a little time to inspect my shifty bits and other parts for damage. Luckily, I didn’t find any major issues, save for the fact that I need some new brake pads. I kind of needed those anyway, but riding around in the sloppy mess that was Beech Mountain probably made it worse. Simple enough fix, but I’ll have to actually find some pads here locally. No big deal I guess.

With The Big O all shiny and clean, I turned my thoughts to the actual race experience. This is usually the part where I bitch and moan about how shitty the event was, but I’m not doing that this time. I think overall it was a pretty good event. I can’t blame the promoter for the bad weather. In fact, I’m thankful that the race wasn’t cancelled. We don’t usually get to ride in the mud around here in Charlotte, so it was a nice change of pace. Sure it was tough, dangerous, etc., but it was still more fun than watching two fat girls on a seesaw eating twinkies. Come on, you know that would be fun to watch. Yuck.

Anyway, I didn’t really have any issues getting to the event. The last turn off the civilized road was marked, and once I started driving on the gravel road I knew where I was going. The registration/packet pickup process was pretty painless too, and for that I can certainly shout out to the volunteers. There was a little chaos here and there, but no more than any other race I’ve been to. In fact, when it started raining they put up another tent for all us racing folks to huddle under. They really worked hard to put on a great race and it showed.

I can criticize the course a bit though. Sure, the conditions were shitty due to the weather, but the trail didn’t seem like it was that great to begin with. I’ll chalk that up to the fact that it is pretty new, and it will probably be awesome when it gets good and packed in. It did have a nice flow to it, and I probably would have enjoyed it more if it wasn’t so slippery. The actual race course was a different story though. I was confused every once in a while out there due to insufficient course markings, and more than a few folks told me the same thing. The first turn into the singletrack wasn’t marked well, but that was because the wind/rain knocked down the sign and caution tape.

Don’t get me wrong; it was fun. To me, the suffering is the best part. The challenge of riding in less than ideal conditions, coupled with the fact that I had to think about where I was going all the time made for a great time out there. I do these races for the challenge, and if they were easy I would probably give it up. Overall, the folks at Pirate Race Productions did a fine job, and I hope I get a chance to go back there next year. In much better (and drier) conditions though. For now, I’ll just hang around and wait for the next race.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sloppy Seconds

Contrary to the comment I received on yesterday’s post by the Dirty Party Cycle, I did not win my Southern Classic Series race. I did however, score a small victory: I raced and survived. During a clearing of the weather, the cross country races went off, and my group was up next. We all had no idea what we would be in for, but we were giving it a shot.

We discussed our race strategy, which was basically just to survive. The goal was to keep from sliding off of the mountain on the muddy trails, and to keep shit from breaking (on us and our bikes.) There didn’t seem to be any competitive spirit, and it looked like we were just going out for a group ride. We took off from the start line, and Lunchbox took pictures of the surrounding mountains for some reason.

And, we were off. We started on this really steep gravel road, and it went on forever. Up, up, up, and then up some more. Two guys in front of me were in their granny gears, and they were spinning away. Since I am a 1X9er, I just suffered until my legs burned, and then suffered some more. It was gonna be a long day.

We got to the top of the road, but we were a little confused. The entrance to the singletrack was not clearly marked (which would turn out to be a recurring theme for the day), so we all had to turn around to get back on track. Once we hit the trail, it was up some more. This time though, it was on muddy, sloppy singletrack. It was difficult to keep traction, going both uphill and down. The leader was getting away, but I was happy to keep my pace.

My pal David was in front of me, and having a helluva time staying on the trail (as was I.) He offered to let me pass, but I didn’t bite at first. I figured that once I did, it would wear me out and he would catch up and pass me by again later. Eventually though I gave in, and took off. I let it all hang out and tried my best to stay on course, and it worked (barely.) I was sliding all over the place, but I kept myself and the bike (mostly) pointed in a straight line. I tried my best to put a big gap between me and David, in case he started getting frisky.

I think my plan worked, since he was nowhere to be found. The trail was a miserable, muddy mess, but I was doing fairly well. On the downhill stuff, I just kept a loose grip on the bars and let the bike do it’s own thing. On the uphill stuff I climbed whatever I could, and ran my bike up the rest. Since I was having a small amount of success, I started kicking it up a notch to try and catch the leader. I didn’t think he would be too far ahead.

I kept looking at my bike computer, counting the miles to the finish. I wanted this shit to be over with, and it wasn’t happening fast enough. I don’t know if it was the altitude or the extra ten pounds of mud on my bike, but I was getting tired…fast. At one point I came out into a clearing, which started a nice downhill section. After recovering a bit, it was back to climbing.

It was the same old muddy mess. Up, down, walk, run, ride, slip, etc. At one point I tried to hop off my bike to run up a hill and fell over in the bushes. That was my only “crash”, but I was still frustrated. It was difficult to ride in that crap, but for some reason I was still having fun. I pushed myself through it, and soon saw my reward. The trail opened up again, and I got a nice view of the surrounding mountains. Suddenly I felt energized, and put the hammer back down to get back in the woods.

With not very far to go, I gave it whatever I had left. I could hear the music from the start/finish line, and I knew I was close. I crossed a spectator area, and went right back into the singletrack. The music was fading, and I thought I had made a wrong turn. I was nervous, until I came out on a fireroad. Lunchbox was waiting there with the camera, and I was happy to see him.

Also standing there was my pal and fellow Internets celebrity Dwayne, and he directed me to the finish. He also told me that first place guy wasn’t far ahead. I didn’t have time to catch him, but I still hauled ass to the finish. It was over, and not a moment too soon. To celebrate the fact that I finished, I posed for a photo…right next to the shitter.

The trail was a muddy mess, but I hardly had any on me. In fact, several of our local Dirt Divas commented on how clean I was (I think they just liked how I looked in my Bike29 kit.) In reality, my bike held onto most of the mud.

It was a tough day. We almost didn’t race, but I’m glad I got to do it (mostly so I would have something to talk about on here.) It took all I had to finish, and I was rewarded with a second place medal for my efforts.

There was no podium action because it started raining again, so I was just handed a medal underneath a tent. It was good enough for me, because I had to earn it and I was proud of that fact. Sloppy seconds is better than sitting at home on the couch doing nothing. Sometimes you never know what you are capable of doing until you actually get out and do it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Earned It

From getting there, to the conditions on the mountain, and the actual riding of the trails, I had to earn every bit of reward I could possibly get at the 8th race in theSouthern Classic Series, the Magic Cycles American Mountain Bike Challenge Weekend.

After a nearly three hour drive to get to Beech Mountain (including a stop to pick up the Dirty Party Cycle), I turned onto a road that looked sorta odd (the photo above.) I thought I had made a wrong turn, until someone came barreling in the other direction with bike racks on their vehicle. We were really close, but damn it was a rough journey. The weather even looked shitty on the way up, but it sort of cleared when we got to the top of the mountain.

Parking was tight, but the views were great:

There were a lot of people ready to race, but the weather had other plans. The sky opened up with buckets of rain, and the temperature dropped…a lot. I was freezing my nips off out there, and I came unprepared for a cold spell. I mean damn, it is the middle of June after all. I figured it wouldn’t be so bad when I started racing, since I would warm up. There was lightning in the sky above though, which made the race status uncertain.

We would end up waiting around for a bit to see if we would even race. A few people decided to bail, but I wouldn’t be one of them. I would race as long as there was a race to race, but I had no control over that. Eventually it stopped raining, and the race was back on. I knew the trail conditions wouldn’t be so great, but damn it I was getting out there. I didn’t drive all the way from Charlotte for nothing, but I was still contemplating my decision.

I didn’t want to get my Bike29 team kit dirty.

A few of the other categories went out, and it was finally our turn. What happened, you ask? You came here today for a race report? Oh, sorry. That will be tomorrow. I have to take a little time and dissect what happened out there. It was a mess, that’s for sure.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mile High Weekend

Get your mind out of the gutter. Of course I’m talking about riding my bike in the mountains. This mountain ride with be a first for me though: a race at Beech Mountain, NC. I’ve never ridden there, let alone raced. There is a ski resort there, but I won’t be doing any of that crazy downhill shit. I’ll be doing another cross country race in the Southern Classic Series, which is one of several races in the Magic Cycles American Mountain Bike Challenge Weekend.

I don’t really know shit about the course, except what I found on the website:

Cross Country course is 5 miles of rolling, rooty, tight single track, with one short section on gravel road and another under the power lines, all between 4,900 and 5,300 feet elevation, with no sustained climbs – this is NOT the old ski area course.

Cross-country course distances subject to change contingent on riding conditions – regardless of distance, target winning times are 1 hour for Cat 3, 1:30 for Cat 2, and 2 hours for Cat 1.

My class is supposed to do two laps (I think), so that must mean it’s pretty tough. You know, with a target winning time of 1 hour (or 1:30 since I’m not sure if we are doing the Cat 2 or Cat 3 distance.)

There is a shitload of information on the website, but I’m still a little confused. I do know what time I start, so I’ll have to leave my house at around 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning to get there in time for packet pickup, warm ups, wiping my ass, and whatever else I need to do. Shit, I just hope I can find the place. This kind of race fits nicely with how I like to do things though: on the fly. I’ll hopefully be there when the race starts, and ride until it’s over. Simple enough.

I’ll probably do my usual, starting out hot and then falling back fast. The elevation is a bit of a concern, since the race takes place at around 5000 feet. That may not sound bad to those of you that live in the “real” mountains, but for a former Florida boy it feels like I’m about to tackle Mount Everest. Oh joy. I guess that means I probably shouldn’t stay up all night on Saturday drinking beer. I may have to abstain from my hoppy treats until after the race. Damn it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Smooth Sailing

Well, it’s not sailing, but the trails at the Forks Area Trail System were smooth as a newborns bottom. Well, if you were so inclined to go around touching newborns’ bottoms just to see what they feel like. There were a few rocks and roots here and there, but most of the time it was just hard packed dirt with a small layer of pine needles on top. That made for a fast ride, with not very much effort. Like I said before, it was like a big-ass pump track with little pedaling required. I dig that shit sometimes, especially because I like to go really fast.

Anyway, I rode most of the day with my GoPro camera, and I finally got around to putting together some video. I have plenty of footage left, but I’ll probably bust the rest out next week. Oh yeah, there’s a special guest at around the 45 second mark. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lonely Road

You may have noticed that I didn’t say anything yesterday about the Tarheel Trailblazers that was scheduled for Sunday. Well, that’s because it didn’t happen. The trail at Sherman Branch was closed, so we had to cancel the ride. The only place open locally was the U.S. National Whitewater Center, but I didn’t really feel like going there. Truth is, I wanted an easy ride, which the Kids Ride would have been.

After driving back and forth to Augusta on Saturday, I really didn’t feel like getting in my truck to go anywhere. I resisted the urge to hang around the house and do nothing, although it was difficult. I briefly considered taking one of my mountain bikes out for some urban assault action, but I wasn’t feeling that either. For some reason, the road bike was calling my name.

There it sat, in the garage, getting no love from anyone. I pulled it down and pumped up the tires, and everything was good to go. After planning out a ~30 mile route using Google maps, I changed into some roadie attire and got ready to go. By the time I got everything done, it was 2:00 p.m. and hot as shit outside. I could only carry two water bottles, so I planned on a stop at a store along the way. If I planned it right, there was a store about fifteen miles into the ride. If I didn’t, I would be dead on the side of the road, with buzzards picking at my skull. Either way sounded good.

I took off, and headed north towards Huntersville. Most of the ride would be on back roads, which meant that people would be hauling ass in their cars. That’s one reason why I hate riding on the road. Most people in cars are assholes when they see someone on a bike, and I don’t want to end up dead…or worse. Not only did I have to worry about the heat, I had to think about cars trying to take me out.

I made it to my first stop in about an hour, which was about what I had planned. I wasn’t pushing real hard, but I did keep a good pace. I had just finished off my last bottle, so I stopped in the store to by some Gatorade. I refilled my bottles, and drank the rest before I headed back on the road again. As soon as I got back on the road, I was stuck in traffic near North Mecklenburg Park. The cars were moving along about 5-10 miles per hour, and some stupid bimbo behind me kept trying to go around. When we stopped, I told her to back off. She did, surprisingly. I left that busy stretch of road in Huntersville, and headed back out into the country.

Ironically, after I passed that sign the drivers started being a little more courteous. I felt like I was out in the middle of nowhere, and that made this leg of the trip that much more enjoyable. I was headed to Concord, in a roundabout sort of way. I got a couple of fast, curvy, downhill sections out there, and it was fun. Yeah, I had fun on my road bike. Don’t tell anyone. With about ten miles to go though, I started getting bored. I’ve probably said it here before, but twenty miles on a road bike is about all I can stand. That, coupled with the fact that the sun was bearing down on me with full force, I started wishing that the ride was over. I had quite a ways to go.

Eventually I got back to my neighborhood. I passed by two malls, two mountain bike trails, and countless other establishments that looked way more fun that what I was out there doing. I don’t regret it though, because at least I got off my ass and did something. Hell, you can even call it “training” if you want. I ran some fancy GPS app on my phone the whole time, and I liked what I saw.

(I’m using the free version, so I can’t link it directly to here.)

Distance: 34.03 miles

Total Time: 2:18:53 (including my rest stop)

Average Speed: 15.6 m.p.h.

Max Speed: 32.4 m.p.h.

Calories: 2191

Wow. 2191 calories. I had no idea that I would burn that many calories, but I guess us “heavier” folks have to work a little harder. I was starving to death though, and thirsty for beer. I only drank Gatorade and water, and ate nothing during the ride (and only had a light breakfast.) I’m surprised I made it through the ride at all. I wouldn’t call my ride fun, but it was an adventure. That’s good enough for me. Now I’ll probably put the roadie away for a while so it can resume it’s dust collecting.

By the way, I won't be here tomorrow. I have to take a short out of town trip for work. See y'all Thursday.

Monday, June 13, 2011

It Was a Good One

Saturday was one of those rides that make you smile. In fact, it was the most fun I’ve had on a bike in quite some time. I always have fun riding in the woods, but things were way better this time. Maybe it was because of the fact that we went on a road trip. I do like getting away from time to time.

We had us a big ol’ convoy heading down to Augusta, GA.

And an even bigger group meeting us there:

And of course the group shot:

The Forks Area Trail System did not disappoint. We started out on a trail called Great Wall, which is about seven and a half miles. After a short fire road-type intro, the trail turned into fast, super-smooth, whoop-de-doos. I couldn’t believe how fun it was. Lunchbox and stayed far enough back from the main group so we could pretty much go as fast as we wanted, and damn did we go fast. Way faster than we probably should have. I was sliding out a little bit on the turns, but a quick stop on the side of the trail to put a little air in my rear tire took care of that issue.

After rockin’ the Great Wall, we ended up back where we started. That was a good thing, since it was also the start of our next loop, Skinny. This one was six miles, and more of the same fast swoopy goodness. Shit, we hardly had to pedal. There were a few climbs here and there, but I have to say that this place was more like a big ass pump track. The little jumps were so quick that they would throw you up in the air real quick if you weren’t careful. I almost regretted not bringing my singlespeed. I was definitely glad I had a 29er though. I know Lunchbox was too:

About two thirds of the way into the second loop (Skinny), I noticed that we were pretty close to the Savannah River. Since I know that Alligators can be found there, I asked Lunchbox if he wanted to go look for some. Of course he agreed, and we hopped off our bikes and headed down to the water.

I saw a few when we drove across the Savannah River on our way to the trailhead, but I didn’t see shit when we got down by the water. I figured that they stayed away from that part of the water because of the noise and what-not. Just then, I noticed some bubbles coming up in the water, and I knew that was one of our reptilian friends. We were happy enough to find one, and decided to continue our ride and catch up to the group.

We met up with the rest of the folks out there at the entrance of a loop called Brown Wave, which is actually off of the Skinny loop. We heard that this one was one of the best loops out here, so we got ready for some fun. We let the group get way up ahead again, and eventually Lunchbox and I got busy riding. We took off fast, and enjoyed pretty much the same kind of trail we had seen earlier. It was plenty fun.

With about two and a half miles to go, we started thinking about the end of our day. We were just cruising along trying to finish our ride, and we saw Little Miss Sunshine sitting on the side of the trail. She was hurt from a small spill, but at least she was laughing about it.

After making sure she way okay, we kept on going. She made it out okay, so we didn’t have to go back in to retrieve her.

Since she didn’t have a full first aid kit, I cleaned up her injury when we got back to the truck. It was not pretty.

And that was after I cleaned it off.

Other than that small mishap, it was an awesome day. Over twenty miles of singletrack goodness with family and friends is what I needed. Big thanks to the Dirt Divas for organizing the trip and getting me out of the state to ride. I am heading back there as soon as I can. If you want to plan a trip, let me know. I have to get back there pronto. Oh yeah, I have a shitload of video footage from our ride too. I used a different camera perspective on some of it, and it looks awesome. I’ll get that up here as soon as I can get a chance to edit it all.