Friday, December 28, 2012

It’s Almost Gone

And we’re still here.  Surviving the apocalypse wasn’t such a big deal after all, but it turns out that this year was.

My 2012 season started out strong at the Winter Short Track Series in January:

I threw in a couple of extra races on the single speed, posted my fastest lap times out there to date, and even battled through a knee injury to finish fourth overall.  I did all that while carrying an extra twenty pounds of “offseason” weight. 

In February, I took a road trip with Dicky, picked up a new sponsor, and took my single speed to the mountains for the first time. 

March kicked off the Southern Classic Series, and my first race in the series started off quite shitty.  I broke a pedal at the beginning of the race, and somehow managed not to finish last.  The second race of the series was also in March, and despite crashing multiple times and being out of shape I managed to get on the podium.

April was good and bad.  At the beginning of the month we had to say goodbye to our Rottweiler (it still makes me sad to think about it.) That sucked.

The good:  Lunchbox and I did our first Urban Assault Ride together.

It was fun as hell, and we even made a video about it:

I also got to race in the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek.  Although my mind wasn’t in it, I still had an okay time.  That place is pretty rad though.

May was full of races, including the Catawba Riverfront Classic (which I won a few years ago.)  I had a decent showing, but missed the podium by one place.  We took a trip to DuPont, and having a nice relaxing ride in the middle of the season did me some good.  We also did the Mayor’s Ride for Bike Charlotte, and I got in a bunch of miles that month (mostly social, but whatever.)

June, I got to race in another Southern Classic race at Uwharrie.  Once again, I narrowly missed out on the podium.  It was fun and all that, but I was wearing down fast.  Also, I did my first ever endurance race on a single speed.  Eight hours of suffering was pretty cool, and I even finished in the top ten.  I was really starting to love the single life.  I even went on a fun road ride with D-Wayne.

In July, I got to test my love for the single speed thing by making a trip to Vermont for Single Speed USA.  It was a full weekend of riding bikes, drinking, and driving all over the place.  I have some memories there that will stay with me forever.

August got me right back into the Southern Classic Series, and I was ready for that shit to be over.  I was worn out, beaten, and even broke my frame, but managed to somehow slide into second overall for the series for the second year in a row.

Lunchbox and I took a trip to DC too, and got to ride skateboards through the city.

September was pretty much the end of my season, so I started riding more for fun.  D-Wayne and his posse came down from the Triad and we said goodbye to an old friend…Poplar Tent.

I also took a trip down to FATS in Augusta, GA, suffered a concussion in the parking lot of one of our local trails (dumbass), helped with a Dirt Diva skills clinic, raced in the Georgia State Single Speed Championships, and took a demo ride on some killer bikes with Lunchbox.

October was our Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day, and I even “raced” one more time in the 6 Hour Grind on the Greenway.  It wasn’t a great race, but it pretty much fit the rest of my season.

In November, I started spending most of my time at our local gem BYT.  In the middle of the month, I turned forty.  As a gift to myself, I acquired the Death Virus 2012 which kept me off the bike for a while.  Luckily I recovered, and got back on the bike. 

December saw me doing more trail work than actual riding.  Between putting in time at our local trails and also at our “new” trail, I’ve logged many hours of digging in the dirt.    Luckily, I’ve also been able to get out quite a bit for some night riding.  The new trail is coming along quite nicely, and when it’s done I’ll have another place to break shit and crash repeatedly.

So yeah, that pretty much sums up my year.  It wasn’t great, but I didn’t have any high expectations anyway.  I’ve logged almost 1,400 miles this year off road, and with any luck I’ll add a few more this weekend.  My goal was 1,500, and with everything that went on I guess that’s not too bad.

Well, I suppose all that’s left is to wish y’all a Happy New Year.  Hopefully next year is a lot better for me…and you (if yours sucked.)

I’ll see y’all back here next Thursday.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Cheer

Other than cycling and beer, Family Guy and Star Wars are my favorite things.  Instead of a “traditional” Christmas Tree, ours looks like a toy store threw up on it. 

One of my favorite ornaments is this one:

There’s nothing like a Family Guy Christmas…

Another one of my favorites on the tree is of course, from Star Wars:

Good, use your aggressive feelings, boy.

Tired of watching videos yet?  I’m not.  This weekend, we’ll be busting out an old Christmas classic:

Yup, this weekend we’ll be watching Christmas Vacation and getting everything ready for the big day.  With the holidays coming up, I’m taking the easy way out and making this post short.

Have a great Christmas and all that.  I’ll see y’all next Friday.

I gotta go pump out the shitter.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

You Like Me Because I’m A Scoundrel

You know, because there aren’t enough scoundrels in your life.

As we approach the end of the year, most people usually look back at what they’ve accomplished.  I don’t feel like getting into that just yet, so I won’t.  For now, I’m sticking with my motto…

Who gives a shit.

It was a long season, and next year will probably be more of the same.  Things are looking up though, especially when I nailed down what the hell I’m gonna be wearing when I race next year.

Uh, wait.

Instead of begging a local shop team to let me join them so I can be more serious, I’ve gone the opposite way.  I didn’t want Strava-using douchebag teammates that only talk about training rides, lactate thresholds, and heart rate monitors.  That kinda stuff is bullshit to me.  I like to drink beer (and lots of it), and I just can’t see giving that up to be more “competitive.”  Sure, I get on the podium from time to time, and the fact that I do it with little to no training makes it that much better.  Is there a “team” out there that doesn’t mind me drinking my ass off and throwing in the occasional mountain bike race?


My search was over when I talked to a friend of mine out in Arizona.  After a tense negotiation, I had found some new colors to wear for next season.  A few days later, I got a new jersey in the mail.

Yup, the folks over at Drunk Cyclist fit into my plans nicely.  I don’t have to cut back my beer intake, and I sure as hell don’t have to start training.  I can achieve the same mediocre results by doing the same mediocre shit.  And, I’ll look good doing it. 

I’m still down with Bike29 by the way (because George is my hero), but I was looking to supplement my riding gear for the upcoming season.  DC and Bike29 have a lot in common, and George was the main reason I ended up meeting the fine folks from AZ in the first place.  We can still be one big, happy family. 

I dig that.

You wanna look as good as I do when you’re out riding?  You can get your own jersey and play along too.  You won’t be as fast as I am or be able to drink as many beers, by I guaran-damn-tee that you’ll feel better when you’re riding hungover.

Click here and order one for yourself.

I’m gonna go drink some beer and start training.

Shit, I mean, I’ll start working on my maneuvers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cold, Dark Nights

Last night was our weekly club night ride at North Mecklenburg Park.  Even though we don’t do a huge amount of mileage, I look forward to getting out during the week to ride.  Since it’s dark when I get out of work this time of year, night riding is all I can do.  Unless of course I just ride on the weekends.  Where’s the fun in that?

Last night, I got to the park pretty early.  As the sun went down, the temperature started dropping…fast.  Luckly, I always bring stuff to keep me warm.

Yup, DeFeet is always my gear of choice when it starts to get chilly, including those snazzy knee warmers.  I had on a UnD Shurt and ArmSkins too, but I’m not showing you that.  In addition to making the best socks you can buy, they make the best stuff to keep you warm too.

Anyway, I love night riding.  It’s nice be out on the trail, with a couple of other folks shining their lights across the trail.  Navigating roots, rocks, and bridges in the dark is hella fun, and it’s my favorite way to ride this time of year.  As an added bonus, I’m starting to get my legs back, and I feel much, much better.  I;m probably at about 99% now health-wise, and improving daily. 

Good Guy Greg was there last night to ride, and afterwards we discussed “The Trail.”  We have so much work to do, but it looks like now he’s become a permanent member of our work crew.  That’s good, because the more hands we have out there, the further along we’ll get.

I can’t waint until we get some daylight so we can get back at it.  During the week, my stupid day job is in the way.

I can’t really call it stupid, because I gotta make money to buy all this bike shit.

Maybe some night trail work could be done too. 


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Opportunities

After “organized” trail work on Saturday and a nice little ride (and beer) afterwards, we weren’t done.  TomTom and I headed over to “The Trail” (it still doesn’t have a proper name yet) for a little recon mission.  With the first phase nearly completed, it’s time to cross a creek and head out into a giant piece of land that will make all of our wildest dreams come true.  Since we spent the day doing other things, we didn’t get out there until just before dark.  We started walking the new section and flagging a little bit, but it was getting so dark out there that it was difficult to see the contour of the land.  We decided to call it quits and come back the next morning.

I could barely drag my ass outta bed, but when I finally did Lunchbox and I headed over for another workday on our soon to be local epic trail system.  TomTom was already there, and Good Guy Greg had showed up again to help.  We decided to check our work from the night before, and keep flagging new trail until we ran out of flags.

It was a simple process.  Eyeball where we thought the trail should go, and put flags in the ground.

We we finally ran out of little orange flags, we headed back to the main trail for some more clearing and benching work.  By that time, Irish Luke had showed up ready to help.

Holy shit.  We actually have sort of a real crew out there, and we’re starting to get somewhere.  Good Guy Greg and I rerouted a turn, and by the time we finished it was time for me to go (I had some other non-biking shit to do.)  Good Guy Greg left shortly thereafter, but the work didn’t.  TomTom texted me later and told me that they finished the creek crossing, and they also put in new trail across a nice rocky section that looks like you’re in the mountains.  He also told me that Irish Luke put in an optional line over some really rocky shit that is “very BYT like.”  They are calling it the Irish Graveyard.

I’m really excited about the possibilities we have out there, and the work that’s been done so far.  My only regret right now is that it’s dark when I get off work, so the only time we can get out there is on weekends.  I guess that will have to do for now, but when the daylight starts becoming more plentiful I imagine that we’ll be out there a lot more.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Monday, December 17, 2012

There Is Always Work To Do

I don’t mean my day job.  I’m talking about trail work.  Even though TomTom and I are working on a massive project that will take years to finish, I decided to give a little bit of my time towards some new, legal trail.

My favorite trail in the area (BYT), has a new neighbor.  The park next door is getting some new trail, and it will eventually connect to BYT.  There was a scheduled work day to build features, bench out stuff that need benching, and watching other people do work.

Like the Dirty Party Cycle who drove all the way into the city from the foothills to help.

I also got to watch the smallest guy out there (Dicky) haul giant loads of dirt in a wheelbarrow that was more than four apples tall.

We built some berms…

And some berms with jumps at the end…

I think we were out there for almost five hours, and much work was accomplished.  I’ve spent a lot of time this year doing trail work (both official and “unofficial”), and it’s nice to get out there and be a part of the crew that builds the trails that everyone likes to ride.  I was beat ass tired after digging in the dirt all day, but we weren’t done.  Even though my energy levels are still low after the Death Virus 2012, TomTom and I decided to go for a ride.

We rode the local short track, but didn’t log a ton of miles.  It was still good to get out and spin the legs, and even better to meet up with the DPC afterwards for some grub and brews.

I even got into the Christmas spirit a little bit.

The fun didn’t start there though.  I had a little bit of energy left, and there was more work to do.

As usual, I’ll drag that out until tomorrow.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Santa Style

Last night’s Queen City Bicycles Christmas party was different than all the rest.  Sure, it started out the same (eating good food and drinking all the beer), but things changed when Dicky and Jon “Danger” Evans showed up.

Photo cred:  Lunchbox

Dicky brought some photos to make things all “Gangnam Style.”



Since it was a Christmas party, we can call it “Santa Style.”

He’s probably talking about this today too (and his version is most likely better), but we took the odd collection of photos that he found and strategically placed them all around the shop.

Are you ready to ride?

Those photos ended up everywhere, on walls, bathroom fixtures, and even people.  It was a good time for sure.  I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time, even though our actions could have been considered juvenile.  I mean, my teenager was better behaved than us “adults.”

That’s because he got his drinks out of this cooler:

And not these:

Merry Christmas and all that.

See y’all next week.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I Almost Rode My Bike Last Night

But instead I decided to sit on my ass and drink some beer.  Not just any beer though.  This is one that I love this time of year, Trader Joes Vintage Ale.

As you can see, the date on the bottle says 2011.  I saved this one from last year.  They are supposed to get better with age, so every year I keep an extra one to see if that holds true.  I still have one from 2010 I haven’t cracked open yet.

Is older better?  I think so.  The only issue I had was an extreme amount of foam (and yes, I do know how to pour beer.)

It was damn good, and perfect for these winter months.  I don’t normally drink much other than IPAs, but when I do, it’s this tasty stuff.

In other news, I’m off to a holiday party tonight after work.  The annual Queen City Bicycles party, to be exact.  There will be catered food, tons of beer, and even a Paperboy tournament.


Yeah, the classic game from way back in the day will be played tonight at the party, and it’s some kind of elimination tournament with prizes to be determined.  I used to play the shit outta that game many moons ago, and I wasn’t too bad at it.  Since I’m probably rusty as shit these days, I’m devoting my day here at work to practice.  I have it on my work computer, and I’m gonna master that shit before the party.

Or just frustrate the hell outta myself because I suck at it now.

Are you coming to the party to challenge me (at Paperboy or beer drinking)?  If so, then bring some canned goods.  The shop is collecting them for Loaves and Fishes, the local food pantry here in Charlotte.  Don’t be one of those assholes that only brings one can (or nothing at all) and drinks tons of beer and pigs out on food though.  Canned goods are easy to get, so bring plenty. 

See y’all there, or back here tomorrow so I can talk about it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Workin’ Man

After riding on Saturday and doing trail work afterwards, I needed more.  I briefly considered going on a road ride on Sunday morning, but then I came to my senses.  Road riding sounded about as fun as getting kicked in the balls by a rabid goat, and I wanted no part of that.  Instead, I decided to meet up with TomTom again to do a little more trail work. 

You know, because that shit ain’t gonna build itself.

We got to work on the section that Good Guy Greg helped us clear out.  With the brush cut back and the leaves raked away, we dug into the dirt to make some singletrack.

With all that digging around, we keep finding animal bones.

I imagine that it won’t be long until we find some human remains out there.

Anyway, this is the last part of the first phase (wait, what?), and it ends on a long downhill with a couple of switchbacks.  The very end of this section has you shooting down towards a dry creek bed.

It’s gonna be so choice.

The elevation change out there will make for some fun lines, and the speed we’ll get with be close to scary.  We worked as fast as we could so we could test ride it, but there’s so much to be done.

There’s a lot of benching to do on the approach to that last downhill, and a few holes that need to be filled in to make it flow.  I do like the way it’s turning out though.

There haven’t been a whole lot of roots so far, so we were pretty happy to be able to leave some on a tricky downhill turn.

We are almost finished with the first section.  There’s plenty of work to be done, but we had to call it quits for the day.  Next time we go we should have it finished, and it will go faster if we can round up some more help.  It’s really fun so far, but this is just the beginning.  I’m thinking that we will get well over twenty miles, but at our slow pace it will take up years to build it. 

It might be time to post up a help wanted ad or some shit like that.