Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I’m Not In “The Industry”

But I sure dig being around that kind of stuff.

Just like the beer drinking I did over the weekend, I tried to cram in a bunch of shit into one post yesterday. I didn’t really get too deep into the actual expo I attended.

After walking around and around, I ended up hanging out at the Industry Nine booth for a while (while Dicky signed autographs for his fans.) I talked to them quite a bit about their awesome shit.

I’m a big fan of I9 hubs. Ever since George built a couple of wheelsets for me with them, I swore my allegiance to hubs that don't suck and promised never to go back to anything else. They had lots of samples on the table to check out.

They had pieces and parts strewn about, and you could easily see why the engagement is so quick on their hubs.

They make these things right here in North Carolina, which is even more of a reason for me to like them. I did tell them it was kinda funny that they shipped their hubs to Vermont to be built into a wheelset only to be returned to North Carolina. I like spreading the love all across the U.S. I guess.

I noticed another North Carolina company there too.

DeFeet was on hand, but I didn’t recognize the guy under the tent. When I went back later to introduce myself, no one was there (as you can see in the photo.) There’s always next year I guess.

Another very important component of my bicycle stuff is Stan’s No Tubes, and they had a shitload of wheels on display.

Lots of purdy wheels and junk. Nice.

Honestly, it was a lot of stuff to take in. The Southeast Bike Expo appeared to be a huge success, and I’m glad I made the trip down there to check it out. Fun was had, shiny new bikes were ridden, and I even lost my temporary job as the Dicky Handler for letting him drink too much beer. I hope they bring it back next year, ‘cause I’m in. Maybe next time I’ll ride more bikes and drink less beer.

Oh yeah, I’ll be gone for a while. I have quite a few days of vacation planned, so there probably won’t be any posts from me until Tuesday. I have two days of bike riding planned, which includes hanging out with an industry friend and attending the Foundry Cycles launch party here in Charlotte on Thursday. After that the little lady and I will be heading out of town for our anniversary weekend.

I need a break anyway. I probably should take a little time to think about all the new bike stuff I saw, which could equate to me acquiring some of the aforementioned new bike stuff.

Stay tuned, but not now ‘cause I won’t be here until next Tuesday.

Don’t forget about me when I’m gone.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Beer May Have Won

Saturday was the Southeast Bike Expo, but I’m sure you already knew that. I picked up Dicky just before sunrise, and we made the long drive to Conyers, GA pretty easily.

When we got there, we hit the ground running. We made our rounds, and I met a shitload of people. Some I’ve never met before, some I’ve only met on Facebook, and some people I never really properly introduced myself to.

The above photo you can see Bruce Dickman from ProGold, and we chatted a bit about how freaking awesome their stuff was. We chatted about other stuff too, but he was going a million miles an hour and I was still recovering from the long ride down there.

One of the first stops we made was the Niner tent, where Mike Stanley proceeded to tell me he had a bike waiting for me to ride it. It was the fancy new Air9 RDO.

We hooked up with local shop owner Mark Sullivan and took a test ride over to the rugged, granite-laden side of the trails, where I could scare the shit outta myself on a really freaking expensive bike just for the sake of “demo-ing.”

Even though this bike was pretty and worth more than a small car, I eventually settled in and rode it like it was meant to be ridden. You know, like flying down rocky surfaces and junk.

Dicky and Mark were there, did I mention that?

Most of the time after that was spent searching for more bikes to ride, but we kept striking out. With Rich looking for a extra small and me looking for an extra large, it was slim pickings. We eventually settled on Origin8 carbon rigid (geared) bikes.

We came prepared in case of a disaster:

Yes, we brought our own Awesome Straps.

The bike I was on was too small, the handlebars were too short, and the shitty not Industry Nine wheels were uh, shitty. That didn’t stop me from whipping that thing all over the trail when I had the energy. After Rich reminded me that I only had a banana to eat all day, we stopped riding bikes and began our quest for food and beer.

The first step was to check into the hotel across the street, where they quickly shoved us into the dining room for a “reception.” We were the first ones there, so Rich ran right over to make a meat salad.

We stuffed our faces, and went up to the room to unload his bag so we could use it to smuggle beer back to the Expo.

With money in hand (ours and other people’s money), we set out on a quest to find good beer. This is what we ended up with:

Well, that was the shitty beer. We also found some good stuff after driving around for almost an hour.

When we returned to the expo grounds, I though we would be greeted like heroes and bum-rushed for our beer. That didn’t happen. We ended up watching most of the guys that said they wanted beer keep riding their bikes, so Rich and I sat down and started the party without them. A little while later we were joined by Watts and Andrea, and we sat out on borrowed chairs drinking beer in the cold darkness. At least we didn’t have to drink the shitty beer though.

We eventually took the party back to the room, and tried our best to kill the rest of the good beers.

Well past 1:00 a.m. we gave up and got some sleep.

The next morning after I destroyed the breakfast buffet and the toilet in the lobby, we headed back across the street to talk to Jason from Foundry Cycles, and he was busy getting the demos out on the trail.

We were too hungover to ride anymore, so that meant that it was time to head back to Charlotte. It was a long drive, but at least I didn’t fall asleep and kill us.

That’s all I feel like writing today. I didn’t drink anymore beer after Saturday night, but I had my ass kicked enough by it so I won’t touch that stuff for a while.

See y’all tomorrow.

Friday, February 24, 2012

You Can’t Stop Us

Tomorrow starts the big weekend. I’ll be heading down to the Southeast Bike Expo to check out some cool bike stuff. What started out as a marathon day trip has evolved into something else.

Originally, I planned to leave Charlotte at the crack of dark, drive the four plus hours to Conyers, GA, and spend the day ogling over bike stuff on display. When the expo closed for the day, I would head back this way and hopefully make it home before midnight.

That all changed when I was contacted by fellow Bike29 teammate and fellow Internets blogger, Rich Dillen. He asked me about my plans, and somehow talked me into picking him up on the way down there, spending the night, and returning the next day. What would have been a marathon day trip has now become a marathon weekend.

Since Dicky will be riding in the passenger seat, I’ve put him in charge of navigational duties. Sure, we have fancy smartphones and whatnot, but he’s been down that way before.

I hope he knows where we’re going, because I see bad things happening when we get on the road.

It should be a great time. There will be bike riding (and hopefully beer), and I hear that there will plenty of demos available. We’re bringing our own bikes just in case, which leaves me with another dilemma.

Gears or no gears?

I’ve been riding the single speed quite a bit lately, but I may need gears just to keep up with anyone down there I ride with. I’ve never been on the trails down there (used in the 1996 Olympics for the cross country races by the way), so I have no idea what kind of terrain I’m gonna be on.

Maybe it will be all downhill.

Or, it could be mostly urban, kinda like this video I found on the Internets.

Okay, I’m sure it won’t be like that. The only thing I know is that there will be bike riding, bike product touching, beer drinking, and shenanigans. Let’s hope I make it back here in one piece.

This weekend trip will cut into my bike building time, so Little Miss Sunshine’s new single speed machine will have to wait. I am getting close though.

At least she’s letting me get away for the weekend. I’ll make it up to her by finishing the bike when I get back.

See y’all Monday, if we don’t’ get lost somewhere in the nether regions of Georgia.

I think I hear banjos already.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Review Of Sorts

Back on Saturday when I rode at Uwharrie, I finally got a chance to try out my new Lizard Skins gloves. The G-Love to be exact. I didn’t want to test them under race conditions during the Winter Series (mostly because it was really cold), so I wanted to wait until I had a prime opportunity.

This would be my first time ever wearing these gloves.

They are really lightweight, which makes them a good, year-round glove for the most part. For as thin as they are, they have just the right amount of padding in the palms to make them comfortable. The grippy stuff on the fingers make it much easier to hold on to the grips and grab the brake levers.

The verdict? I really, really like them. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that they are the best gloves I’ve ever owned. Do you want some? Well, it looks like the new website still doesn’t have them listed. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m sure you can have your local shop order them for you if they are a dealer.

Next up is my seat.

Back when I picked up my new WTB Valcon, I wasn’t sure I would like it. After riding on it for a while though, I’m hooked. The wiener slot makes it very comfortable, and the seat fits my buttocks very well. My sit bones sit on the saddle in just the right place, making my rides more comfortable. That’s good, because I will be spending a lot of time in the saddle this year.

My ass will thank me later.

This ass thanks for you reading about my ass (and wiener slot.)

Finally, another piece to the puzzle that is Little Miss Sunshine’s new single speed has arrived.

Yes, it’s a box. Cardboard is the newest bike part material.

I kid. Actually it was this:

We went with the Cane Creek 110 headset because well, it’s the best headset you can get (and they're made right here in North Carolina.) Little Miss Sunshine wanted a red one, which is pretty easy to get. I like red. I guess she does too.

And the grand finale…

(drum roll please)

The frame has arrived:

The B-43 Worldwide Headquarters is now equipped with a dissent AL Singlespeed 29er frame from Misfit Psycles.

Now I can get to work and build this thing.

I should stock up on beer.

See y’all tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Waiting Game

Little Miss Sunshine’s new frame is on the way, but it can’t get here fast enough for me. I know she’s ready to enjoy the single speed life, but I just want to build a new bike. I know Canada is a long way from here, so I have to show a little patience.

Screw that shit.

I have so much pent up bike-building energy that I feel like ripping people’s arms out of their sockets. Since I’m not really violent (most of the time anyway), I have to find other things to do that will pass the time.

I’ve been spending my evenings wandering around the garage looking for shit that needs to be fixed on our bikes. Everything is pretty much tip top, and I don’t need to start unfixing things just for the chance to fix them again. You following me here?

Anyway, as we wait for the frame to arrive from the Great White North, the parts gathering continues. The Space Cowboy was kind enough to sell me one of his spare cranksets, and I picked it up da udda day.

We just need to acquire a 32 tooth SS ring for it.

Next up, I grabbed my old set of 29er wheels (which will be donated to the new SS) and figured out what they needed to be “trail worthy” again. Since they were setup ghetto tubeless a few years ago, I decided that I should change the tape.

I pulled out the Gorilla tape and got to work.

I mounted up a set of Kenda Small Block 8 tires and poured in the Stan’s. Two scoops and I was ready to let the sealant do its work.

I’ve been sealing up Kenda tires for a while now, so I’m getting pretty good at it. After a little bit of time, we now have a set of tubeless wheels and tires for the new bike.

At this point I started to take inventory of the parts we’ve acquired. I took a gander in the box of shit I had set aside.

Handlebars, a choice of stems, seatpost, wheel skewers, brakes, chain, and assorted “small parts.”

By my calculations, the only things we need are the frame (on the way, remember?), a headset (also on the way), and a seat. I told the little lady she doesn’t need a seat, since she’ll be standing up all the time anyway on a single speed.

She wasn’t buying that, so there will be seat shopping in the future I guess. That’s all on her.

As soon as the frame gets here, I’ll get to work. Building bikes is one of my most favorite things to do (besides riding them), and this one will be even better because I don’t have to install any shifty bits. I’ll probably only need a total of two beers to get everything together and ready to ride. If it takes less time than that, then I’ll still probably drink two beers.

Hell, maybe I’ll have three.

And now, I wait.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hold On A Minute

This photo has nothing to do with today's subject.

Remember the demo I told you about for Foundry Cycles here in Charlotte? Well, this has changed. With their busy schedule, the demo has been nixed.

However, you can still come down and check out their stuff:

That’s right, it’s now a party.

They’ll be at Bicycle Sport from 4:00 p.m. to close, and it should be one heck of a party. Free beer, free food, and maybe even a chance to win some free stuff. You can look at the bikes, and if you twist their arm you can probably take one for a spin. I’ll be there…will you?

What do I get out of this? Nothing. Well, I get to help out a few friends in the cycling industry, and probably put my grubby paws on some new bike goodies. Oh yeah, I get to drink some beer. I don’t see a downside to this at all.

In other news, my home brew is finished. I put a couple more sample bottles in the fridge, and got a chance to try them out on Sunday.

The carbonation was perfect, and it actually looks like beer. How does it taste? Like a hoppy explosion. It’s hops, hops, and more hops. It’s so bitter that it will make you pucker up, but it tastes pretty good and has a nice finish. This is the kind of beer I would make if I made beer. Wait, I do make beer, and I made this shit.

It’s not the world’s best IPA, but it’s the best one I’ve ever made. I would even pay money for it if I saw it in the store. I’m not selling it though.

Do you want some? Well, quantities are limited so I have to be selective about who I share it with. I let the Dirty Party Cycle have one when he stopped by the house Sunday, and he approves. I have plans for a couple of the bottles, but most of them will be for my own consumption. I will duplicate my recipe and make another batch in the near future, but for now I’ll have to decide who gets to try this batch. Three of them are spoken for, and those folks will be contacted. As for the rest of you, I enjoy being a tease.

Monday, February 20, 2012

“Little” Mountains

The little lady and I snuck over to the Uwharrie National Forest on Saturday to enjoy some “mountain riding”, and we couldn’t have picked a better day. It was warm, bright, and sunny, and when we got there the place was packed. It seems like the new trail work over there draws more people these days. There were tons of people we knew getting ready to hit the trails, and some people we’ve never seen before. We drove back to the camp, and the plan was to take a nice, easy ride to get Little Miss Sunshine used to a little “rough” riding.

The trails at Uwharrie are tougher than anything here locally, so it’s a good way for us to do a little “training.” She has high expectations this year since she’s on a new team, and I just wanted to torture myself on the single speed.

Not only are the trails pretty rad out there, but the scenery is nice too.

We rode everything clockwise, which now is the “easier” way. When I say easier, I mean that the downhill stuff is a little longer. I had to take it slow, since I was riding on only one gear.

The night before, I decided to man up and switch back to my trusty 18 tooth cog to give me more of a challenge. The 19 sounded like I was taking the easy way out, and I don’t need that so early in the season. I have to get stronger in preparation for a long year, and mashing my way up steep climbs on a tough gear seemed to be the way to go.

I never had to walk. Not even once. The climbs hurt like hell, but I was able to mash my way up all of them. We stopped every so often to take in the sights and regroup, but I felt like I had chosen the right gear. We didn’t set any new course records out there, but I know Little Miss Sunshine was having a good time.

It looks like Uwharrie will be my new “training grounds”, and I plan to ride there quite a bit. My decision to switch back to the 18 tooth cog for my SS was a good one, and who know, maybe I’ll be riding it on a 17 one day soon. Maybe I will actually be ready for Single Speed USA.

I can feel myself getting stronger with the force.

Speaking of SSUSA, you are shit outta luck if you didn’t sign up. All 100 spots sold out last week, and now there is a waiting list. You better get over there and get on it so you can ride with me in July.

It’s gonna be a good ‘ol time.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Nothing Is Written In Stone

Well, except that.

While anything can happen between now and July 28th, I’m pretty sure that my trip to Single Speed USA will happen. Thanks to some comments, a few e-mails, and even some “real” conversations, I’ll be taking the non-ferry route to get there. Funny thing is, as soon as I posted up yesterday’s blog, registration for the event opened. And yes, I am in. The course hasn’t been finalized yet, but I’m sure that George will make it tougher than a two dollar steak. I’m ready.

Do you want in? Well then, you better hurry. There are only 100 spots up for grabs, and it’s filling up fast. I’ve never been to an event like this, but I hear it’s a great time. Mandy even said that there will be beer. That’s enough of a reason right there. Well, that and I get to finally try some real maple syrup.

One thing I’m bummed about is the fact that Dicky won’t be going to SSUSA. I was looking forward to hanging out with at least one person I know in a state far, far away, but he has other plans. I know he wants to be there, since he’s been spying on me ever since I started talking about my plans to go.

You know, like riding in front of my place of employment:

Maybe I’ll take him on a trip some other time. We can go sightseeing or something.

In other news, I have to start “training.” The Winter Series is over, but the fun is only beginning. The real season starts pretty soon, so that means I have to start getting in some longer rides. The plan for this weekend is Uwharrie…on the single speed.

I’ve never been there with only one gear, but it’s time. Since I normally ride an 18 tooth cog on the rear I’m a little worried that it might be a little too much.

So, I made it a little bit easier with a 19:

I’m gonna shred the hell outta Uwharrie with that little aluminum cog.

I don’t know how much of a difference one extra tooth on a cog will make, but I will need all the help I can get. I have a 20T, but I’m saving it for Little Miss Sunshine’s new ride (which is now en route from Canada.) I won’t get any stronger running bigger cogs anyway.

Hopefully I’ll have a ride report from this weekend.

Or a walk report.