Monday, April 30, 2012

Short And Sweet

Lunchbox saw some cool critter out there in the forest.

I have a stupid meeting at work this morning.  Well, they’re all stupid.  Anyway, that means I don’t have a lot of time to write a lengthy race report.

I raced down in Columbia, SC, and it was pretty fun.  Well, until we shot off the line at the start.  We rounded the corner on the gravel road, and one guy wiped out and took a few others with him.  I narrowly avoided the crash, and thanks to my conservative pace I was right with the front of the group. 

Less than a half mile in though, I heard something rubbing on my tire.  When I tried to pedal, I wasn’t going anywhere.  I looked down and saw that I had dropped my chain.


At that very moment, I wished I had my single speed.

As I struggled to put my chain back on, I watched as most of my class rode by.

I had a long way to go to catch up, since there was a lot of racing left.  I wouldn’t quit though.  I don’t do that shit.  I’m not that serious about this whole racing thing, but I don’t give up.  I guess I’ll fill you in on the rest of the details tomorrow when I have a little more time.

Oh yeah, Little Miss Sunshine raced yesterday too.  She ended up fourth in her class. 

Not bad for never riding there before.

And, she ended up on the podium for the South Carolina State Championship:  third place.

I think she’s getting pretty good at this racing stuff.

As for me, I have no idea.

I’ll be back tomorrow to figure that out.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Housekeeping, Part II (Electric Boogaloo)

 Yep, I stole the idea for that title from you, George.  It’s difficult not to do it when talking about sequels.

Anyway, after taking care of most of my bikes last week, I realized that I hadn’t really been taking care of my bike area.  Over the years, I’ve accumulated tons of spare parts that will probably never find a home on anything I own.  I’ve managed to build a few complete bikes that went the hell away, but there were still tons of things that I will most likely never use.

Like this pile of 26 inch tires, roadie wheels, and assorted shitty drivetrain stuff.

Or a rear shock that I still have for some reason:

How about a brand new 26 inch tire that I won at a race last year?

A pile of POS 26 inch suspension forks?

I even found a (used only once) mitre saw buried in there.

Okay, that wasn’t bike-related, but the pile of bike shit I had covered it up.

I found some 29er tires, but they are wire bead so I won’t dare use them.

I’ll probably donate most of this stuff to the local Trips For Kids chapter, and hopefully they can use it.  I may sell a few things here locally, but it’s not like I’m sitting on a gold mine or anything. 

I just really needed to clear some space so I could get an unobstructed view of my autographed Dolemite movie poster.

I still have a shitload of stuff, but at least it’s all usable (and now packed away neatly.)  We still have way too many bikes for just three people though.

Two of those are of the full squish 26 inch variety, and they will be finding new homes soon, hopefully.

So yeah, if you ride bikes and work on said bikes it’s pretty easy to gather useless shit.  I really hate to get rid of stuff, but I can’t see any reason to keep it around.  In the future, maybe I can just get rid of old stuff every time new stuff comes rolling in.

That would make sense.

I don’t really like to make sense.

Have you looked in your bike room lately?

Oh yeah, I’m racing again this weekend in Columbia, SC.

I will be bringing gears this time.

Who gives a shit.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Summer Racing

Last night was the start of our local Wednesday night racing, better known as the Summer Series.  The whole family was set to go out and compete last night, but I ended up skipping it.  I showed up, but I was having some issues with my tires holding air.  After repeated attempts to get them to seal up in the parking lot, I decided to get out on the course and show my support for the rest of the family.  That’s right, Little Miss Sunshine and Lunchbox got out and raced.

It was a really good turnout for race number one.

Lunchbox went out first, and tried his best to keep up with the fast little racer children that probably ride a lot more than he does.  He held his own at the start though.

Little Miss Sunshine’s class went off right after that, and she was all smiles (even on her single speed.)

Since the trail is only three and a half miles long, I had to hurry up to find a good spot in the woods for photo taking.  I got there with plenty of time, and waited for Lunchbox to come screaming by.  Instead, I saw a bunch of kids in his class go by, and even the women in the class behind him starting riding through.  One of those women was my little lady.

She was still smiling.

A little while later, Lunchbox came flying by.

I asked if he was okay, and he told me that his chain dropped off, and that he had to fight his way back in the pack.  He said he passed two kids already, and that put him in fourth place.

I cut through the trail and caught him heading back down the hill on lap two, and he was trying his best to make up for lost time.

I went back to my old spot for photos, and caught the little lady finishing up her last lap. 

She was still smiling, and I found out later that she sprinted for the finish line.  She missed out on third place by a nose, but she was still happy to finish fourth on her SS.

Not too long after, Lunchbox came rolling by again.  He was still in fourth place, but was closing the gap on third.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough trail left for him to catch up.  He had to settle for fourth place, which is his best race finish to date.  

Both of them are really motivated now, knowing that it will only take a little more effort to get on the podium.  I’m really proud of them for getting out there to race, and I was more than happy to sit this one out and spectate.  I’m not the greatest photographer (which is why my kid usually takes all the pictures), but I enjoyed being able to have the chance to document their races.

This is a fifteen race series, and I;m sure they will both be back to tear it up again.  I plan on using a few of these races as a tune up for the Southern Classic Series, so expect me to get out there a few times too.

It’s always fun when your whole family can get out and do stuff like this.  Most families don’t do much together other than watching TV, so anytime something like this is available it’s a good thing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

“Acting” Like A Pro

I’ve stumbled upon two videos in which I make an appearance. Sure, I make my own videos, but these clips were filmed by people other than me. Who the hell would do such a thing? Well, other than my own selfish self (what?), my racing pal Todd Tucker took some video from the Stump Jump race.

 I’m in it, but not for long (even though there’s quite a bit of footage.) You can see me sprinting off the start, and riding along up until I got passed at about the 2:40 mark. You can even see Lunchbox on the side of the trail taking photos at about the 2:50 mark.


 Yeah, I still think that my choice of (non) gears was silly. Oh yeah, I’m a “real” celebrity now. Check out this video from Bicycle Sport that was posted on BikeRumor for their Bike Shop Video Challenge. Looks like most of it was filmed during the Foundry Cycles launch party back in March. I’m there drooling over a bike, and there’s another scene where I’m talking to Dicky about how we’ll never drink tons of beer again.


I'll be signing autographs at a location near you soon.

That’s it for today. I was gonna skip posting all together, so this is better than nothing.

 Or not.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Run What Ya Brung

Yes, I decided to “race” my single speed down in Spartanburg for the Stump Jump. Since they were calling for shitty weather with sub-par trail conditions, I figured I might as well do something different. Also, I think I may have been taking myself a little too serious lately, so riding on only one gear would knock me down a peg or two. 

It was like bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Seventeen of us lined up at the start, and I got a lot of comments about how crazy I was for riding a single speed in my normal class.

 Crazy? Maybe.

 Dumb? Probably.

We took off from the line, and I got to mashin’. I ended up somewhere up front (third I think) and kept going. This was different than my usual “take off like hell and blow up strategy”, since being on the SS kinda made me ride faster up the gravel climb yet keep a good pace. When it flattened out, I had no choice but to let a few guys by. I was still with the leaders though when we took the first downhill.

Photo credit: Lunchbox

When we got to the really flat stuff, I was spinning like a hamster on a wheel. My 32X18 gear was good last weekend when I rode down there with the family, but it wasn’t enough for a race pace. I lost a few places again, but somehow managed to stay with the group. The only thing good about being on a single speed was hitting the climbs. I had no choice but to haul ass up them.

The course is mostly flat, and I was spinning so fast that it was making me tired. The climbs didn’t bother me, but the fact that I was actually wishing for gears did. When I hit the last section before the start/finish line, I was happy to have more climbing ahead of me.

Lunchbox was starting to have camera issues for some reason.

There is a long, gravel downhill on the way to the start finish line, so I coasted down until I hit a small climb. I mashed my way up it, through the start/finish line, and headed back out to the trails. I was working my ass off. In fact, I was probably working a lot harder that I should have been.

Lap two was okay, but the flat sections were wearing me the hell out. I could feel my calves cramping a little from spinning so much, but there was nothing I could do about it. I found myself wishing for more climbing, and smiling every time anything resembling a hill appeared.

The second lap was dragging on, mostly because I was still spinning my ass off. At one point, I flew around a corner, tried to mash to gain some speed, and washed out on some leaves. I whirled around and slammed my bike into a tree, scraping my knee on the trail.

The bike was fine and my knee was okay, but my right calf cramped up so bad that I couldn’t get up. I massaged it for a minute and got back on the bike…proceeding to spin my ass off again. The cramping didn’t really affect me anymore, and luckily I had a few more climbs until the end.

And luckily Lunchbox was there to document it again with his malfunctioning camera.

I got out on the gravel road, and another guy in my class went by me. I tried to sprint up to catch him, but he was cruising along effortlessly in his big ring, while I spun away into oblivion. I crossed the finish line, and had no idea where I finished.

I later found out that I ended up 12th, and actually beat quite a few people that had a full compliment of gears. Upon further inspection, I also found out that I missed the podium by only six minutes. That was most definitely due to my lack of gears.

It was definitely a learning experience, and I really did enjoy riding my SS out there. Next time I’ll probably ride with gears on a flat trail like that, but I still find myself loving single speed riding more and more. Maybe a smaller cog on the rear is in order. Speaking of single speed cogs, Shanna from Endless Bike Co. was out there again, showing the race world how cool single speeding can be.

As for the rest of the Southern Classic Series, I really need to take a step back and think about how serious I’m trying to be. I enjoy the races, the travel, and the other people I get to ride with, but maybe I should take time to actually enjoy riding my bike. I’m not dropping out of the series though. Hell no. I plan to finish the series, but maybe I’ll stop being all “racy.” From now on, I’ll go out there and give it my best, and see what happens. First and foremost though, I’ll make sure I have a good time out there.

Hell, maybe I’ll bust out the SS every now and again too.

It might be like having a knife in a gunfight, but at least I can throw the knife at the other guys first and hope it sticks.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Not About Me

This is still somewhat of a race report from yesterday, but not mine. Yeah, it was the Stump Jump, but it was also Little Miss Sunshine’s birthday. She decided to make her debut for the series on her special day (with a little coaxing from me), and she was pretty nervous.

Almost like, “I’m gonna puke” nervous.

When the race started, she hung way back. She wanted to get comfortable before she started “racing”, but it really didn’t take her long to start passing people.

Of course, I wasn’t out there racing with her. So, that means I can’t really tell the story of her racing adventures. I know one thing for sure though, she looked a helluva lot more confident when she came through to start lap two.

She took off down the road with one lap behind her, and headed back out on the trail. Lunchbox was out there taking photos as usual, and managed to catch the little lady smiling.

She tore through that second lap, and I’m sure her confidence level was rising. She crossed the finish line as fast as she could, and I’m sure she was happy to be finished. When it was all said and done, she ended up with a podium finish (they went five deep for prizes.)

I’m really proud of her for getting out race on her birthday, and doing a good job while she was at it. The birthday fun didn’t stop there, though. She got a few presents (from Lunchbox and me), but the one I’m most willing to share is in the form of bicycle parts.

Yes, another set of Bike29 handbuilt Industry Nine wheels is in our possession. These of course are of the single speed variety, and I wanted to give a shout out to George for getting them built up and shipped out super fast.

 More photos of the wheels later, for sure.

 And of course, I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about my favorite subject…me.

 Just kidding. Well, about the favorite subject part. Of course I’ll be back tomorrow.

 What would you do without me?

 Don’t answer that.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Jump The Stump

This weekend, it’s time to get back to the Southern Classic Series. Next up in the series is Stump Jump down in Spartanburg, SC.

Since I was just down that way last weekend, I have a pretty good idea what I’m in for.

But, did you see this?

Rain or shine, huh? It’s looking more like rain. Here’s what I found on The Internets:

Yeah, the weather report keeps changing, but they still keep predicting rain. I think the trail was a little wet last year when I raced, and I don’t remember it being too back. However, I didn’t actually race it in the rain. That could hamper my ability to haul ass on the long, flat, swampy sections. I’m sure I’ll be fine though.

Sunday also marks the debut of Little Miss Sunshine for the series. She’s a little nervous, but I know she’s ready to get out there and race. Lunchbox also considered slapping a number on his bike, but decided that he could do a much better job out there taking photos. He’s bringing his bike and riding the course, so keep your eyes peeled for him.

He likes to hide behind things so you don’t know he’s there. Say hello (if you can find him) and he just might take a picture of you. Who knows, I may even mention you here on this very blog.

That’s pretty much it as far as plans go. I don’t have any other big rides planned. In fact, I’ve only been doing short rides this week, so I’m hoping that the rest will do some good. Last year, I took off too fast from the start line and blew up pretty quickly. That’s usually how I race, but I’ll try to change that this weekend. I don’t have any high hopes for getting on the podium, but if I pace myself in the beginning I may just be able to turn it on and finish strong.

Of course, there will be a report on Monday.

Maybe I will see you in Spartanburg.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

This Will Do Nicely

If you’re a true Star Wars fan, then that photo should make you feel all warm and fuzzy.

If not, then who gives a shit.

Today’s post will be short, because well, I have other things to do.

I forgot something yesterday when I was talking about housekeeping stuff. I was having a pedal issue on both bikes, and it was of the “not staying clipped in” variety. Since the issue was with two different sets of pedals, I knew they couldn’t be the culprit. Instead, I decided to take a look at my cleats. It didn’t take me long to figure out what the problem was (I are smart), so I got them the hell off my shoes.

They were plum wore out. Luckily, I have loads upon shitloads of new cleats, so I installed a fresh new set.

Now I guess it’s pretty obvious why I couldn’t stay clipped in. Dumbass me.

Next up, I finally found the photos from my tricycle race.

Wait, that wasn’t it.

Since the photographer was behind me, my sprint for the finish line is a little difficult to see. You can still tell that I dominated that shit though.

Photo credit: Charlotte Sports Cycling

See Little Miss Sunshine on the left (in the skirt) celebrating the win?

When it was all said and done, we spent the next five minutes high-fiving each other and rubbing the other teams’ noses in it.

Remember when I told you we won some beer? Well, I was happy as a tick on a fat dog.

Yeah, that made it all worthwhile. We tore through it like a tornado in a trailer park.


That about wraps it up for today. The beer is long gone, and this post is going nowhere.

I’m out.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

All Kinds Of Wheels

Sunday was a road trip (just like I told you on Friday.) After sleeping in a little bit because we stayed up too late watching roadie action, we headed down to Croft State Park in Spartanburg, SC to pre ride the course for Stump Jump (held this coming weekend.) I told you that I’ve been there before, but that still didn’t keep me from getting us lost. We tried to start the ride from the actual race start, but that area did not allow visitors. Instead, we somehow ended up at the place where all the horse people congregate.

No worries though, because I had a map that showed us exactly how to get to the mountain biking trails, and the route didn’t have us crossing paths with the horses. We set out on a nice ride, and I did my best to explain the race course as we went along. The first word that came to mind was…flat.

Yeah, that flat. Not quite Florida flat, although it felt like I was back in the Sunshine State again. I’m not even sure why we stopped, but we did every once in a while. I think it was so I could explain that there were a few climbs, but not to expect anything huge. Little Miss Sunshine and Lunchbox thought I was silly for stopping I guess, and probably didn’t believe me when I told them it would get a little “hilly.”

Eventually, there was some elevation change and a few climbs. Lunchbox grabbed the camera and captured me “in action.”

There was one climb that had a few rocks on it, but as long as you picked the right line it was like they weren’t even there. Lunchbox flew up the hill so fast that I couldn’t even get the camera to focus.

The little lady took it slow and steady, but she still cruised right up the hill.

The sign for that section of trail said “Lizard”, so that made me think of a company near and dear to me, Lizard Skins.

We rode the whole race course (plus a little extra), and no one was really tired. My course is a bit longer that the one the Mrs. will do, but she did get a good idea of how the trails are out there. I rode my single speed, and felt like I hardly did any work at all. I’m not riding that bike in the race this Sunday, but at least I should be able to go pretty fast with some extra gears. I’m not saying it’s gonna be easy, but at least it won’t be a sufferfest.

The trail we rode to get to the actual trail had a nice little stream running through it, so we took the time to enjoy a little nature.

Some of us got right in there to enjoy it…

and some just took it easy after the ride.

Afterwards, we went over to the local skatepark, Hot Spot, to roll on some little wheels.

My knee was sore from riding, but we still had a good time. Since Little Miss Sunshine is the only family member that doesn’t ride a skateboard, she took off on another bike ride.

She’s way back there behind the fence. There was a greenway nearby, so she took off on her own adventure.

It was a long day, but a fun one. We seem to always cram a week’s worth of shit into each weekend.

No wonder why I’m always tired.