Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Fun

In case you have no idea, today is Halloween. While I did do a few “blog-worthy” things since I last posted, I’ll save them for next time. It’s time to grab your costume and go out begging for candy. Lunchbox is ready.

He actually used that getup at the skatepark Friday night, but with a twist.

We call him Osama Bin-Ana

They had some kind of all-night Halloween lock-in at the park, and gave the kids a discount on admission if they wore a costume. I hung out hoping to get my skate on for a bit, but since I didn’t pay to stay the whole evening I was denied. Instead, I just hung out and took photos of my goofy kid.

I really dig Halloween. I like handing out candy to youngins, since it’s cool to see what kind of costumes they come up with. I even like carving pumpkins.

We kinda go nutty on the yard decorations too.

You should see it at night. Fog machines, strobe lights, etc. I try my best to scare the shit outta would-be trick or treaters.

Okay, I know. This shit is a little boring. Just go out and enjoy yourself on Halloween. Dress up in a costume and go ride your bike.

Oh yeah, registration for the 6 Hours Of Warrior Creek opened up today at 12:01 a.m. Better hurry up and register before it sells out (and it will.) As of right now there seem to be spots left, but I'm sure it won't last long. I’ll probably talk about that a little more tomorrow.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Back to Whatever Normal Is

I don’t know what the hell that is, so don’t ask.

Finally I feel better. After a long bout with the 2011 Death Virus, I’m pretty much back to my normal, healthy self. I had almost forgotten what it was like, but it is very much welcome. Now I can get back to the things I love doing. I don’t really have any plans for this weekend, although the next three weekends are looking busy (more on that later.) Tonight I may bust out my new skateboard and shred it up with Lunchbox for a bit at the local skatepark. Since my racing season is over, I can enjoy myself a little bit. Not too much though, because I’m getting way old for this shit.

Two major things are on my list though.

Bike riding.

Yes, I would love to. After battling sickness for the past week, I don’t have much in the energy department. If I get out on the trail somewhere, I will definitely be taking it easy. That means no hot laps or personal best times or any of that kinda shit. It also means that I’ll probably still ride the singlespeed, because what fun is bike riding without the torture? My geared bike will just have to wait a while.

Beer Drinking.

Yes please. It’s been far too long since I’ve consumed any type of adult beverage, and I know y’all are a bit concerned. Don’t worry, I plan on making up for my deficit over the next two days. Wish me luck.

I’ll save you the suffering and cut it short here. I know you’re all glad I’m back to my old self, which means more not-so quality blogging in the near future. I know you love me, just like Han Solo.

Yeah. Have a good weekend and all that shit.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Things Will Get Better

But right now I feel like I’m stuck. It’s day seven of the great sickness of 2011, and I still feel like shit. Although the worst of it is behind me, I just can’t seem to shake it. Meanwhile, I haven’t been able to do much of anything. I haven’t been on a bike since last Saturday, and it’s not because I don’t want to. The weather has been nice but this death virus is still kicking my ass. I barely have the energy to walk up and down the stairs in my house, let alone enough to hop on the saddle and pedal. There is a bright side to all of this though.

All of my injuries have time to heal while I’m sick. My knees and wrist aren’t getting the shit beat outta them while I’m off the bike, and that is a good thing. My recently injured shoulder doesn’t have the stress of riding on it, so it can heal easily. If it wasn’t for being sick, I would’ve been on the bike three or more days this week. I’m working in a location that’s pretty convenient to after-work riding, plus there are a few organized night rides that I planned on attending. Being under the weather is forcing me to take it easy. I guess in a way it’s just what I needed.

In other news, I had a chance to take care of another project I’d been putting off. I gots me a new skateboard deck.

Skateboarding is up there in the header, lest ye forget.

I’m too sick to do any skateboarding, but I still wanted to get my new board setup so I could use it when the time comes. Even though it doesn’t take much effort, I couldn’t seem to find the time to do it. All I had to do was apply the grip tape, remove the trucks and wheels from the old deck, and install them on the new one. Piece of cake.

Not very exciting, I know.

I feel like shit. I can’t ride my bike. Can’t do much of anything. Damn, I haven’t even been able to drink beer. This sucks. Maybe tomorrow I’ll come back and not be such a whiny bastard. Maybe.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Depth Analysis

Since yesterday was my official “race” report from the North Carolina Single Speed Championship, I figured I should dig a little deeper today. Overall, I enjoyed myself out there. Despite being a first-time event, it went off pretty well. Other than showing up sick, I can’t really complain. I did look pretty good out there in my Twin Six jersey too.

Big thanks to Weldon Weaver for taking photos out there.

So, I guess I should talk about some of the things that were going on that directly affected my “race.”

Being Sick

Yes, I’ve caught whatever the hell is “going around.” It sucks. I usually get sick every time the weather changes, so it was kind of expected. The “sickness” most definitely affected my lungs out there, and also my balance. That would explain the crash for sure, since I usually do pretty well on tight, twisty downhill stuff. There was nothing I could do about being under the weather, so I made the best of it (which probably means it will take me longer to get well.)

Gear Choice

Being a new singlespeeder, I don’t really have a favorite gear yet. I started out with a 32X20, but it seemed way too easy. Plus, I could never really get the chain tension right (having a converted “geared” frame is difficult I guess.) I switched to an 18 tooth cog in the rear, and got everything working properly. Never mind that I wasn’t really ready for such a big jump. Anyway, after a handful of rides I figured I would do okay. I was actually surprised during the race. Some hills were tough, but overall a 32X18 seemed to be the right fit for me around here. I don’t regret my gear choice, although I did catch myself out there several times trying to shift gears. Dumbass.

Race Strategy

When I signed up, I had none. When I saw everyone take off like a bat outta hell, I forgot all about taking it easy and proceeded to mix it up. I went out way too hard, and paid for it dearly. It’s really hard to assess this accurately though because I was sick, but I still think it would have been an issue. I could feel my legs getting tighter on climbs later in the course, and that probably would have happened anyway. I don’t think I can change that though. If it’s a race, then I race. I don’t know how to take it easy from the start line. One of these days when my heart explodes I’ll learn my lesson.

Bike Stuff

My singlespeed bike is a piece of shit. I can say that because I built it out of parts that have been used and abused. The frame, fork, and wheels are okay (I raced with this stuff at one time or another), but the rest of the components are less than great. I’m using a cheap SS conversion kit with shitty cogs. The stem and handlebars are the wrong size, and that makes the bike fit very poor. Now that I am digging the single life a bit I’ll spring for a few upgrades to get everything right.


Everyone loves free shit. Some races give you free shit; others make you earn it by getting on the podium. In this case, it was both. Even though I didn’t earn a damn thing on the podium, I still walked away with a few goodies.

See that? Another Tülbag. Backcountry Research was one of the race sponsors, and they provided these handy little sacks of goodness for the race participants. These guys are supporting our events here in North Carolina, so maybe you should support them by ordering something. Okay?

That wasn’t all though. When I opened up the Tülbag, I found more stuff inside.

A couple of bottles of chain lube from ProGold (the best lube evarrrrrr) and a 16 tooth cog.

16? Screw that. I’ve had enough torture.

Despite the fact that I may sound a little bitchy, it was fun. I will definitely spend more time on the singlespeed bike from now on. You know, if I ever get over this shit I have. I hate being sick.

I’m taking tomorrow off, so I’ll see y’all Thursday.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I’m Dying

“You're not dying, you just can't think of anything good to do."

I’m not sure if that’s why I decided to do my first-ever singlespeed race over the weekend (the North Carolina Single Speed Championship), and I’m still not sure if it was a good idea. Whatever sickness overcame me last week has been steadily getting worse, and I really should have just stayed in bed. Hell, I should still be there.

Like the other races I sign up for in advance, I was going to this one no matter what. We got there way early for the 11:00 a.m. check-in, and I started forgetting that I was actually sick. At least that kept the pre-race jitters away though. Since I had two hours until my race start though, it was plenty of time to let the sickness creep back in. I tried to stop and chat with everyone I knew out there to keep my mind off of it, and I felt like I was doing a pretty good job of keeping my cold/flu/death virus away. Until we lined up for the LeMans start anyway.

I’m there, all the way on the back. I was squatting down because I was too dizzy to stand up. After waiting for a few minutes, we took off in a sprint for our bikes just a few yards away. I couldn’t even manage to get my legs to make me run fast, so I started out near the back. I hopped on my bike, and immediately started “racing.” The original plan was to take it easy, but that’s hard to do when you have other people around with numbers on their bikes. I went out hard, and mashed my way through the first part of the course.

We exited the short little island singletrack, and I had moved up a place or two. We were on a long gravel path leading around the man-made channel, and I was spinning like crazy to catch the leaders. Even though I was running a 32X18, it wasn’t enough. I would have to make up my deficit on the climbs. Shit

We entered the singletrack, and I was gaining on the leaders. I passed two guys on the first climb, and saw another in my sights. My lungs were hurting from my sickness, but I put that on the back burner and concentrated on racing. When I passed the next guy, I mashed a little harder up the climb to put a gap between us. Next up was a downhill section, which I thought would help me even more. It did, until I speared a tree with my shoulder.

Stopping so quickly when you’re pushing hard is a big no no. All of a sudden I was in pain from the crash, and my lungs realized that I was trying to race. I thought it was all over, but somehow managed to get back on my bike and get going again. I planned to finish this race even if it killed me (which seemed likely at this point.)

I made my way through the course at an okay speed, and I could still hear the leaders up ahead. That kept me going a bit, but the sickness was dragging me down with each pedal stroke and breath of air. A little ways in, I saw Lunchbox waiting with the camera.

I told him I had crashed and that I was hurting, and he said, “Already?” Thanks kid.

After somehow getting up Goat Hill (with a combination of walking and mashing), I relaxed a little on the downhill. There was one more big climb to go though, and I tried to prepare myself for it. There were two guys in sight up the hill, so I mashed as hard as I could. I ended up hopping off and running the rest of the way up, which probably saved me a little energy. Next was a nice long downhill.

At this point I only saw one guy ahead of me (the other must have hauled ass.) I rode his wheel on the downhill, and it pissed me off because he was riding his brakes and there was no room to pass. Eventually he got away on the next climb, and I was feeling sicker by the minute. I knew the worst climbs on the course were behind me though, so I used what little energy I had left to keep going.

The first guy (that I thought had lost me) was up ahead and having trouble on the short, rooty climbs. I blew past him on one of them, and set my sights on “Riding the Brakes Guy.” I found him again on another downhill, and as soon as I tried to go around him he cut me off. I crashed into his wheel, which fortunately didn’t hurt either of us. I kept my mouth shut and went around him, hoping to use whatever energy I had left to get the hell off the course.

The final stretch, and Lunchbox was there again with the camera. I exited the woods and crossed the finish line, and I felt like doo doo. In fact, this felt worse than last weekend’s 12 hour race. I parked my shit in the grass and proceeded to die.

Although I stuck around to watch the second wave of racers, I didn’t check to see where I finished. I knew it wasn’t good enough for a podium spot, so we left before the awards were given. That wasn’t my goal anyway. I just wanted to finish my first singlespeed race, and I did that. I guess if you come back tomorrow I can give some sort of expert analysis on my uh, “performance” out there. That is, if I don’t die before then. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Why Not?

There is one more race on my calendar. Tomorrow, I’ll do my first-ever singlespeed race. It’s the North Carolina Single Speed Championship. Since I can count the number of times on one hand I’ve actually ridden my SS on a trail, this is probably not the greatest idea I’ve ever had. I’m not always known to make wise decisions though.

Why a race? I dunno. I’m really starting to enjoy singlespeeding, and I figured there was no better way to turn it up a notch than to enter a race. I don’t think I’ll do very well, but that’s not my intention. This time, my goal is just to finish. I rode out at the Whitewater Center on my SS a while back, and it wasn’t too bad. I didn’t ride the trail at a super fast “race pace”, so having a little competition out there may motivate me to put the hammer down a little. Unlike most of the other races I do, I’m not nervous about this one at all. There’s nothing at stake for me, so that means I can go out at ride with little pressure to do well. That’s just the kind of race I should be doing anyway.

Even though I spent my time on yesterday’s post talking about how much I’m hurting, I figured that I have at least one last hurrah left in me this season. To top it off though, I’m now a little bit sick. Yuck. Like I said though, this one doesn’t really count for anything to me. I just wanna go out and hit the trail with other one-geared people. Hopefully I can get through this race with no problems.

I’m not really worried at all, even though I’ve pretty much pieced together my SS 29er out of spare parts. It seems to work just fine, but upgrades will be in my future. I’ll just take it one step at a time, and see how this weekend goes. I’ll try to have a “race” report on Monday, if I’m not still out there walking up the climbs. Running a 32X18 should be good enough, but I have a feeling that I’ll be pretty worn out when it’s all over. That’s fine by me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Need A Break

It’s been a long “season”, and I’m really starting to feel it. I’m tired, sore, cranky, and whatever else bad you can think of. Shit, I’m even injured in a few places. My wrist is still in quite a bit of pain from a skateboarding accident a little over a month ago. I may have fractured it, but I never got it checked out. It’s still not healed right, although I can put a little more weight on it now. It bothers me on long mountain bike rides, especially when there are lots of rocks and roots. Even having a squishy fork doesn’t seem to help. After hurting for a while on a ride, my hand eventually falls asleep. And no, it’s not my bike fit. It never happened before and I haven’t changed a thing. I guess I’ll have to wait until my wrist fully heals.

My knees have been giving me problems too. I’ve always had a “bad” knee (my right one), dating back to my high school years. I played soccer, rode bikes and skateboards, so I just thought that was normal. I had surgery back in the 1991 when I was in the Army to repair some damage, and I was pretty good for quite a number of years. About ten years ago though, the pain came back. That coincides with the time that I started mountain biking and also picked up the skateboard again. It hurts when I walk some days, and it swells up a little. I’m usually good with it while I’m riding, but there’s hell to pay when I finish a ride. I had a cortisone shot a couple of years ago, and that kept me going for a while. I keep saying that I’ll get it looked at, but I’m kinda stubborn (plus I’m afraid of doctors.)

You never know what will happen.

My “good” knee is letting me down too, and this time it’s affecting my bike riding. When I stand up to pedal, I get this really sharp pain right under the kneecap. It’s been getting progressively worse, but ironically it doesn’t hurt as bad when I ride my singlespeed (I stand up to pedal a lot more on it.) I probably should go to the doctor for this one, but watch the video above again and you’ll remember why I’m hesitant. I should probably hurry up though, because it could get bad enough to require surgery (maybe it already does.) I definitely don’t want to be off my bike for any long period of time. I don't think I could take just sitting around all the time.

Okay, I’m done whining. I’ll be back tomorrow with my weekend plans, which are probably a bad idea considering all the shit I’ve been talking about today. I’ll never learn, but I just can’t stay off my bike.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What Everyone Wants

Um, that’s not what I meant. I did get something so cool here at the B-43 Headquarters last Friday that I just have to share it. It was in the form of Awesome Love from the great folks out at Backcountry Research. You know, the makers of one of my favorite products ever, the Awesome Strap.

I gots me a whole pile of Awesome.

Back when I first tried the Awesome Strap, I was immediately hooked on it. They’ve improved the design a few times, and I’m always surprised. I mean, it was pretty much the bee knees in the first place and I thought that there was no way it could get better. Of course, I don’t know shit about product design, so it’s no wonder I am just a consumer. Seriously though, each time they change it up, I find myself loving the awesomeness more and more.

Included in my shipment was the new and improved Back Forty Back Forty, which is the real deal. I haven’t had a chance to give it a full review (I will soon), but you can be sure it holds on tighter than a camel’s ass in a sandstorm. Why would I lead you astray?

The Race was also included, but I’ve talked about it before.

With tons of colors to choose from, you can get all creative and junk with your accessorizing when you ride your bike. The Awesome Strap Race stays out of your way tucked up in the seat, and it’s there when you need it. And yes, I’ve needed it.

I also got a couple of the brand spankin’ new Tülbags.

This handy little item was developed with the help of local mountain biking legend Rich Dillen to carry small stuff without losing it. While it won’t hold a beer, there are plenty of things I can put in there for safe keeping. The first thing that comes to mind is my keys. I’m always paranoid that I’ll lose them.

Speaking of Dicky, I got a surprise present in my package of Awesome. When I got an e-mail stating that my package was on the way, I was told that there was something in there “so valuable that men and women would kill for it.” I was really intrigued, and had no idea what to expect. Was it a map to the Lost City of Gold? Was it the identity of the second gunman on the grassy knoll? I sure was curious, and a little scared at the same time.

I was indeed surprised when Lunchbox gave me the package he intercepted from the postman.

Yes! A Dicky’s Death March jersey made by Twin Six (I love TwinSix by the way.) I contemplated ordering one back when they became available, but hesitated and they sold out. They were a hot item and I missed out. All was not totally lost though, because the fine folks at Backcountry Research happened to have one in my size and thought that I was somehow worthy. In case you missed it, I did wear it during my 12 hour race last Saturday.

Not a very good shot, but at least there’s evidence.

Wow, just wow. Now, I am more Awesome than you can possibly imagine. I guess that also makes me Dicky’s “biggest” fan too.

Now, go get yourself some Awesome.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shaken Not Stirred

Part two of the Tree Shaker race report, and this will be the last of it. When we left off yesterday, the Dirty Party Cycle was out on his fourth lap for the day. While I was waiting for his return, I was hurting. My neck, back, and both knees were killing me. I had started to cramp a little on the climbs on my last lap, so I tried stretching a little bit. Since I hadn’t really done any long distance riding in a while, my body was protesting. I couldn’t figure out if I wanted him to hurry the hell up so I could get my body moving again, or if I wanted a lot more rest. His lap time was a bit slower, but he still showed up at a decent time.

DPC: That one hurt. I think I only have one more in me.

Me: Okay. Start taking it easy. Drink a beer.

And just like that, I was off again. I took off fast, and I was hurting. I tried to do a little spinning to get myself warmed back up, but it didn’t do any good. I had to at least finish that lap around the same time as my race partner, so I wouldn’t disappoint him. I know he needed a break, but sometimes it’s better just to keep moving. I rode as hard as I could.

Honestly, most of lap number four was a blur. A few times I thought I wasn’t even on the race course anymore, until someone would pass me by. I was mentally exhausted (as well as physically), but somehow I kept going. Maybe next time I’ll actually train for this shit. At least the beer helped dull the pain a little (that’s what I kept telling myself anyway.)

My bike computer stopped working, so I had no idea how many miles I had left. I kept looking at my watch, and tried to use that to figure out how much time I had left. Surprisingly, I wasn’t riding that slow. Slower than when I started, but not at a snail’s pace. Eventually I entered the last section of singletrack, and I used everything I had to pick up the pace and get through it. On one of the last climbs, I saw a familiar bike parked on the side of the trail.

Lunchbox was there with the camera, and as soon as I saw him I hopped off my bike to walk up the rooty climb. I told him to go ahead and take a picture of me walking, but he decided to move a little ways up the trail to preserve what little dignity I had left. My legs were toast, and I didn’t care that I had to walk. After reaching the top, I hopped back on my bike. Lunchbox was a few feet up ahead with the camera.

There was one more fireroad-type climb left to get to the finish line, and I mashed my way up it. A minute later, I looked over and saw my kid pedaling next to me (effortlessly) up the hill. I joked that he’s faster than me when I’m worn out, but he didn’t give me shit at all. He rode with me all the way back to the finish line, and it was nice to have his support. Thanks big fella.

I reached the finish line and the DPC was waiting. He said that this would be his last lap, and again I told him to take it easy. He rode off into the woods, and I sat down for beer number four. He was only up to two beers at this point, so at least I was winning something. As I sat there in my chair, I wondered how long he would be out in the woods. I figured he would do an hour and fifteen minute lap, so I had plenty of time to sit there and suffer (while drinking beer though.) I knew he wouldn’t set any course records on his final lap, so I thought I had all the time in the world.

At the one hour mark, I put on my shoes. I was moving slowly, hoping that I had way more time. Just then, the DPC comes rolling in, and I wasn’t even near the start line. Shit. He rode up to our tent area, and I finished getting ready. No apologies necessary though, because he sure as shit wasn’t going back out for another lap. It was 7:00 p.m., and I had two hours to complete my lap. I put on my jersey, helmet, and gloves, and got ready to roll. The DPC said that I’ll be back by 8:10 p.m., and I laughed. This lap would be a night lap, so I figured that I would be super slow. Even though it was still a little light outside in the field, it was plenty dark in the woods. I turned on my lights and rolled out.

Something changed on this lap. The temperature dropped quite a bit, and I didn’t hurt as much. Maybe it was because I had four beers, or maybe it was because I really love riding at night. Either way, I had a lot more energy and the whole trail seemed new to me. I climbed well up the hills (with no walking this time), and I took the descents at a dangerously fast rate. I didn’t crash, but I had quit a few “Oh shit!” moments out there. After only thirty minutes, it was really dark out there.

It was pretty lonely too. This race had both a six and twelve hour option, and most of the people opted for the six. There wasn’t a whole lot of traffic on the trail, and that suited me just fine. I like to be alone in the dark with my bike. The miles went by quickly, and I forgot how much pain I was in. I felt great, and happy as hell to be out there riding my bike. At that moment I realized why I pay money to do this sort of thing.

My fifth lap seemed shorter for some reason, and before I knew it I saw the finish line. I came in exactly at 8:10 p.m., just like the Dirty Party Cycle had predicted. He was drinking a beer, and I couldn’t wait to have number five. Even though we had time to go back out for another lap, we were satisfied with our effort. We were locked into fourth place, with no chance of moving up. We missed the podium, but did great for two people that didn’t go out there to “race.” The people that actually trained for it should be ashamed since we weren’t that far behind.

When it was all said and done, we completed 95 miles. When I finished the race, I had five laps, five beers, and no crashes. The DPC had five laps, four beers, and one crash. We didn’t stop drinking beer though.

We each had one more beer, then we stopped counting. Everything turned all social and junk at that point, so we didn’t always make it back to the whiteboard to track our beer progress. It was a great day of non-racing, and we enjoyed it all. The pain and suffering was worth it, and I’m glad we were out there mixing it up with those real racers. One thing I learned though, it was a lot tougher doing a duo. Last year I rode eight laps solo, and I didn’t hurt as much as I did this time. That’s okay, because we had a grand ol’ time. Maybe we’ll bring our “A” game next year. Maybe.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Shake Me

Another Tree Shaker down, and this time I feel pretty good about it. Saturday, the DPC and I teamed up to ride for 12 hours in a not-so-serious manner, but plans changed.

After setting up our pit area, we were ready. We had a guest hanging out with us too. My friend Mr. Ryde needed a place to keep his crap while he raced solo for 12 hours, and we happily obliged. I didn’t see much of him though, since he was pretty much riding the whole time. Besides, we had plans other than riding.

Told ya. Our progress for the day would be tracked via this silly little white board, and it was on the honor system. I couldn’t wait to drink my first beer, but the plan was to do a lap first. The Dirty Party Cycle wanted to go first, so I would have to wait quite some time to down my first “recovery drink.” I wasn’t too worried about it though, because things were starting to get a little serious for our little race team.

The DPC had set a goal for number of laps, and he planned on hauling ass. I thought we were gonna take the “easy” approach to 12 hours of racing, what with consuming beers between laps and all. With his new “I’m hauling ass” approach I wondered if I could handle both racing and drinking at the same time. Only time would tell. I sat back and watched as the DPC got going on lap number one.

Photo credit: Lunchbox

I sat and waited. I knew the really fast guys would complete the 9.5 mile lap in around 45 minutes, so I figured on an hour or so for the DPC. That wasn’t blazing fast, but good enough to be uh, competitive. After around 40 minutes of sitting on my ass, I got my shit together and waited at the start/finish line. The DPC came in from his first lap in under an hour and we exchanged our timing chip.

Just to help make him famous on the Internets, Lunchbox got a photo of Mr. Ryde coming in from his first lap too.

My first lap hurt. I didn’t warm up at all, the trail was a little slippery, and I was dehydrated from drinking beer the night before (in preparation for the race.) I hadn’t been riding all that hard lately either, so it took a few miles to get into any kind of rhythm. About halfway through, I started feeling pretty good. I rode a lot faster than I had originally planned, and pushed as hard as I could on the climbs. The DPC was hoping for a good showing for team B-43, and I didn’t want to disappoint him. Besides, I wanted to hurry up and get to the beer.

Lap one in the books, and beer number one going down the hatch. The DPC tore outta there for his second lap, and I noticed that he had only put a mark in the “Laps” column. He decided to wait until later for his first beer. Damn, he was serious about this stuff.

When he came in from lap two, his time was a bit slower. He told me that he crashed, and that a lot of people did the same thing in that very same spot. After the chip exchange, I headed out for my second lap. I felt a little better, and rode a lot faster this time. About two miles in though, I dropped my chain. My chain watcher had come loose, offering no protection for my flopping chain. It was stubborn and didn’t want to go back to its original place, so I spent probably five minutes or so on the side of the trail fixing it. I got everything back in the right place (better even), and got back to it.

I kicked up the pace a bit, passing all four of the people that passed me while I did trailside repairs. I was getting serious too, I guess. So serious that at one point I started thinking that maybe I should lay off the beer until after the race. I quickly came to my senses, yelled at myself for being such a sissy, and rode my ass off. I would stick to the plan (the beer part anyway), and just ride harder.

Even though I had to stop to fix my bike, I still had a faster second lap time than my first one. I knew I could ride faster and drink beer, so when the DPC went out for lap number three, I sat down for beer number two (which probably equals four since we were drinking IPAs.) I ate a little, socialized a little, and remembered why I was out there in the first place: to have fun. I could still ride my ass off, drink beer, shoot the shit, and stay competitive. A quick look at the standings even backed me up. We were sitting in fourth place. The DPC was having a good ride too.

After a crash-free (and still beer-free) lap number three, the DPC delivered the timing chip to me. I took off on what would be our sixth lap in six hours. We were setting a pretty good pace, but starting to slow down a bit. With two beers in me at this point, I knew that wasn’t the problem. The DPC stayed away from beer (until after his third lap), and he was feeling the pain too. Our lap times were getting a little slower, but I still came in from my third lap a hair past the six hour mark. I knew we couldn’t keep up that pace, so when my pal went out for lap number four, I told him to take it easy so we could last the whole twelve hours. Actually, I wanted him to take it easy so I could rest a little longer. At this point I had three laps and three beers. The DPC had three laps, one beer, and one crash. We weren’t doing too bad, I guess. Shit, I wasn’t even drunk yet. Things were getting fuzzy though.

I’ve gone on way too long today. Just like I usually do, I’ll drag out another race report over multiple days. Well, this one will only go two days. Stay tuned for part two of the Tree Shaker/Beer Drinker race. See y’all tomorrow.