Friday, August 31, 2012

Six Hours Of What?

With no more Sunday races, I thought I would have lots of free time for a while.  It looks like this weekend is filling up fast though.  After chatting with D-Wayne da udda night, we put together a plan for…

The Last Annual Unofficial Unsanctioned, semi-Alcohol-fueled Six Hours of Poplar Tent

Wait, what?

Since my post about our local gem Poplar Tent closing soon, it seems like mountain bikers all over North Carolina are up arms.  While we can’t do anything about the closing of that wonderful trail, we can get together to send it off in style.  D-Wayne came up with the idea to invite a shitload of folks from all over to ride there, and basically making it a big ol’ shindig complete with riding, drinking, and shit talking.  The festivities will start at 10:00 a.m. Sunday (or whenever everyone shows up), and we will ride until we get bored, hurt, or extremely tired.  Pretty much anyone is invited, so you should come out too.   

While we still have another month to ride it before it goes away forever, we’d like to go ahead and get this party started right.  I plan to ride there as much as possible over the next month, but having a shitload of people show up to ride it this weekend would make losing it a little bit easier.  I don’t plan on having an easy ride though, because I’m bringing my new bike. 

Yes, my new single speed machine.

I have jumped ship over to Niner for my single speed adventures now, and I’m so glad I did.  This bike rides so much better than anything I’ve been on, and I just can’t seem to put it down.  It wasn’t easy to get last year’s model in my size, so I have to throw out some thank yous and such.

First, I called up George to see if there was a chance I could find a last year’s One9 in the Raw variety.  There seemed to be plenty of them available in Kermit Green, but I don’t swing that way.  He worked with the local rep and they located a Raw one in that was tucked away inside some top secret underground bunker out in California.  I guess you figured out by now that I picked it up when I went to Vermont last month, but I’ve somehow managed to keep it quiet until now (unless you’re local, because a lot of the locals have seen it already.)

Anyway, I built it up the day after I got back, and I’ve been riding the shit outta it ever since.  I don’t have a name for it yet, but I have an idea.  It will have something to do with my favorite movie, and that’s all I will say right now. 

Well, I’ll give you one more hint:

"It’s fast, and it will make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.  She’s fast enough for you old man."

So, big thanks to Bike29 and Niner for hooking me up with a real single speed (and biggest thanks to George for putting up with my needy ass.)  Y’all have no idea how much I dig this thing.

With all that outta the way, I have to get to the most important event of the day.  My son, Lunchbox, has a birthday today.  He’s made it sixteen years on this planet.  I’m shocked at how fast the time goes.  It seems like just yesterday that he was out on the trail with me on his sixteen inch wheeled bike pedaling his ass off to keep up with us grown ups.  I’m proud of the man he is becoming, even though he’s making me feel really old right now. 

Tonight, we celebrate.

Tomorrow morning I’m meeting up with the Dirty Party Cycle at one of our local trails to ride the shit outta my new bike.  We plan on doing multiple laps at the Whitewater Center, drink multiple beers, and rest up for the Poplar Tent fiasco the very next day.

Shit, I’m tired already.

Oh yeah, Monday is a holiday.  That means I won't be here until next Tuesday.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Let’s Change Things Up A Bit (Again)

Did you notice?  

I changed the blog…again.  

Not much of a change mind you, but a change nonetheless.  Even though the format was recently redone here, I was never really happy with the background.  That changed however, when my good pal D-Wayne used his freakin’ awesome design skills and came up with something a lot better than the shit I did.  If you noticed, he also changed the 10+ year old B-43 logo.  I really dig it, and I hope you do too.

Go check out his site, and maybe he can design something for you too.

So, I guess it’s time to talk about some other things that have been going on around here at the B-43 Worldwide Headquarters.  Some new shit has been rolling in, and I dig it.  I like getting stuff sent to me, because it makes me feel loved.  Whether or not that’s true really doesn’t matter…because it’s the thought that counts. 

First off, the folks over at XXC Magazine sent over some really cool stickers.

The one on the bottom might look really familiar:

I saw that on Sandie’s fork back when I was suffering at for Single Speed USA and I just had to have one.  While I’m sure it will go on my bike somewhere, I haven’t decided where just yet. 

Thanks a bunch to XXC Magazine for the sticker love.

Next up, I got some love from my new friends over at 29nSNGL.  I got to spend a little time with them up in Vermont, and they are definitely the raddest of crews.  Thanks to them, my beer will stay cold.

And it will stick to the side of my truck so I won’t lose it anymore (I have a habit of misplacing my beer.) 

Also, every time I take a drink I can tell you what I think.

Since they won the hosting rights to SSUSA for next year, it looks like I’ll get to hang out with them again when I make the trip to Minnesota next year.  I’ll bring beer…and lots of it.

Thanks to the 29nSNGL crew for the awesomeness.

And last (but certainly not least), I got more stickers.  I love stickers in case you didn't know.

And I really love these stickers.

My new pal Dirty from Drunk Cyclist sent over a shitload of DC paraphernalia to be applied to various objects that should have things applied to them.  In case you don’t remember, DC is the crew that sponsored the bitchin’ aid station halfway through the course at SSUSA.

We can get Western as fuck down here in the South now too.

Huge thanks to Drunk Cyclist

That’s it for today I guess.  I did my duty in thanking the folks that sent me goodies, so I’m out.

Maybe I’ll talk about the new bike tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I’m So Sad Right Now

Okay, not that sad.

But, it is a dark time here in the Charlotte area.  One of my most favorite of trails, Poplar Tent, will be closing soon.  Everyone around here has been expecting it for some time now, but that didn’t make the news any easier to take.  I found out from someone “in the know”, but it quickly spread to our local club forum.

This sucks…really sucks. 

Poplar tent is the raddest trail around here.  It’s tough, rocky, rooty, and unrefined.  You need to have a little bit of skill when you ride there, but I wouldn’t say that it’s overly difficult.  In fact, it’s about as difficult as you make it.  There are several features out there, including one that I’ve been riding since way back in the days of little wheeled squishy bikes:

Heck, Lunchbox even rode there on his squishy bike back in the day.

I rode it a lot when we moved here to Charlotte, and I can credit that place for helping me develop my skills without having to drive all the way to the mountains.  There is so much cool shit to ride there.

Everyone enjoys that place, including the Dirt Divas.

And the Dirty Party Cycle has accompanied me on many journeys out there:

The saddest part about all of this to me?  I live six miles away.  It only takes me a few minutes to get there, but I still haven’t ridden it as much as I should.  I was there recently just because I knew it would all be over soon.  I figured that we had until the end of the year, but the date has been set to October 1st.  That is not enough time to enjoy the goodness of one of the best trails here in the Charlotte area.  There has been talk of having a “sending off” ride, and I will definitely get down with that action.  In fact, I think I will make it my go to trail from now until the bitter end.

This weekend’s ride plans have been made, and a trip there is definitely in the cards.  I think I should ride it until my legs can’t take it anymore.  That trail has given me so much over the years, and its time I give back while I still can.  I will miss the shit outta Poplar Tent for sure.

There are plenty of other trails around here to ride, but nothing can replace that singletrack heaven.

I’m so sorry to see it go, but at least I have a little time to say goodbye.

I’ll be there this weekend, and if you’re local, you should too.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Another Race

But I didn’t get in on the action.  The River’s Edge Mountain Bike Marathon at the Uwharrie National Forest was this past Saturday, and I opted to skip the “racing’ and help out instead.

It all started with bike transporting.

Since I was going out there to help, I assisted the race promoter with acquiring some bikes for a corporate team.  I picked them up from a local shop a few days before, and delivered them to the race to be used and abused.

I even got to help set them up for the racers.

Photo credit:  Someone using Ben’s camera, I think.

The race benefited the Alpha 1 Village Foundation, which Ben Hund started.  He’s a great guy, so when I found out that I was helping folks that he knew; it made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

And you probably thought I just went there to stalk Dicky.

While the racers got ready to roll, I shot the shit with all my cycling people.  It was a good crowd, and it would turn out to be a beautiful day.

When they took off, I started with my volunteer duties.  First was to assist the racers with finding the entrance to the singletrack.

When they were off, I eventually made my way out on the trail.  I brought my single speed, and the plan was to ride the course and stop quite a bit to help the racers out there.  I took photos here and there, but mostly I provided encouragement. 

Well, maybe I was stalking Dicky.

I camped out in various locations on the trail while I did my laps, and didn’t run into too many issues.  I stopped to talk with some other course marshals at one point, and we all agreed that the event was going quite well.  I bid those guys farewell and continued on my way (they were riding in the other direction.)  I made it up one of the longer climbs, and all of a sudden one of the other marshals chased me down and said that there was someone down on the trail.  He suggested that I should check it out.  You know, since I’m a Bike Patroller and all.

I made my way back down the hill to the downed rider, and I discovered that I knew him.  It was the MadSS, and he was not doing well at all.  It seems that he hadn’t recovered from that big ‘ol race in Leadville he just did, and he was overheated.  We did our best to cool him down, and eventually we started the long journey out of the trail.  His day was done, but now the goal was to get him outta there safely.

It took us a little while, but we made it.  I’m always glad to help a fellow rider out in the woods, and getting a chance to take care of someone I know makes it even better.  He will be fine, but that day a finish just wasn’t in the cards.  He was doing quite well up until then too.

I spent the rest of the time patching up riders with scrapes, cuts, and the like, and eventually everyone finished the race.  We hung out and enjoyed food on the grill, and lots of beer.  All the joys of racing, without the effort I guess.

At least I got a chance to pedal around in the woods on my single speed for a while.

Maybe I should’ve ridden that bike in the last Southern Classic race.  One gear would’ve been tough at Dark Mountain, but at least the frame wasn’t broken.

Although I had originally planned to race the 50 mile event, I’m glad I got to lend a hand out there instead.  I do enjoy pushing myself on those longer races, but I think I enjoy volunteering just as much.

Any time spent on the bike is good, right?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Dark Days Bright Nights

It’s over.

The 2012 Southern Classic Series has come to a close, and I’m somewhat relieved.  I had fun “racing” all season, but I’ve also kinda had a shitty year.  It was nice to see things through until the bitter end.

The day started out earlier than I had planned, because Little Miss Sunshine wanted to race.  Her wave went off an hour and a half earlier than mine, so I had to get up extra early.  I didn’t have a chance to make up for my lost sleep, but the little lady and Lunchbox did on the way up to Wilkesboro.

Since I didn’t have to get ready right away for my race, I got to watch the little lady get out there.  She was nervous for some reason, even though she likes riding the trails at Dark Mountain.

She took off slowly, but eventually worked her way in the middle of the action.  When we saw her coming by, she was flying.

Photo credit:  Lunchbox

She ended up in fourth place for the day, and I was happy that she put in a good effort.  About the time she got back though, it was time for me to start getting ready for my own race.

I had a little issue though.

Shit.  I had no choice but to race though, so I lowered my seatpost a little bit to keep my frame from breaking all the way.  Because of this small adjustment (and certain failure), I knew my race would probably suck.

I was spot on with my assessment. 

We took off, and I didn’t do my usual “sprint to the lead” technique.  Instead, I played it really safe, falling into the middle of the pack somewhere.  With my misadjusted seatpost though, I was having trouble getting any power out of my legs.  Also, I was afraid to sit down too much for fear of breaking my frame all the way through.  Because of this, I was already hurting at the one mile mark.  A downhill section was coming up though, and since I usually stand up then anyway, I knew I wouldn’t have any issues. 

My kid was waiting on the side of the trail for me:

After that, another climb.  I let a few guys go by, and concentrated on just trying to finish.  Every little creak coming from my frame scared me, because I figured that the next sound I would hear would be the sound of failure, and probably pain and suffering from a crash.  I somehow held on the entire lap, and when I saw the last section of downhill I knew I would survive at least one.  

Once again my kid was waiting for me.

And I had someone else out there taking photos as I exited the woods.

Photo credit:   Eastwood 

I made it through one lap, and I cruised through the start/finish line for one more.  My legs were hurting because of my seatpost height, but I didn’t really give a shit at that point.  I promised myself I wouldn’t quit, even if my bike broke into pieces.  The second lap felt a lot better, but I still wasn't getting all I put into each pedal stroke.  At least I didn’t feel like I was out there all day.

The time was passing quickly (sort of), and before I knew it I was coming down the last section…as fast as I could.

When it was all over, I didn’t even come close to the podium.  I ended up in 9th, but I got some points towards the overall standings.  When they announced the series standings, I got called up to stand on the number two podium step.

When they announced the standings for the North Carolina State Championships, they asked contestant number three to step down (because he didn’t have an annual USA Cycling license.)  Todd and I stayed right where we were though, and Jack joined us up there.

In addition to an extended podium stay, I won some shit.

In the end, I guess I did okay.  I have more thoughts on my “season”, but I’ll get into that another day. 

I have beer to drink.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Change Is On The Way

With all the catching up I had to do, I was surprised this morning that I felt like I didn’t really have shit going on  There’s always something I can talk about, but finding the motivation to do so is difficult at times.

I act like I’m getting paid to do this shit.


So yeah, it looks like I’ll be switching things up a bit around here.  Not necessarily on the blog, but in my bike world.  I guess they are one in the same sometimes though.  The blog will have a new look again shortly, but nothing too major.  My man D-Wayne (who is a pretty awesome designer by the way) has been working on a new blog header for me, and has also totally redesigned my pathetic attempt at the B-43 logo.  Even though he’s working for beer, he’s done a really good job.  If I wanted a totally professional look though, I probably should’ve thrown in a few donuts. 

Anyway, there are a few bike changes around here.  I did get something new, but I’m not at liberty to talk about it just yet.  When my “cross country season” is over (this weekend), I’ll spill the beans. 

Until then, here’s a little teaser.

If you know me in real life and you’ve seen me riding around here lately, then you know exactly what it is.  Do me a favor though and keep it quiet so you don’t spoil it for the rest of the millions of people that come here every day.  I’ll get to it in due time.

The “secret bike” already has a new accessory though.  I just picked it up da udda day here locally.

Yes, that is a rigid fork.  I spoke to (well, texted) Dicky a while back inquiring about a cheap and easy way to try the whole rigid fork thing.  I rode a bike with a rigid fork back when we went to the Southeast Bike Expo, but I didn’t really enjoy it.  The bike was too small for me and had other issues, so I didn’t really get a chance to properly evaluate the lack of suspension.  I felt like I should give it a fair shake with one of my own bikes, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money doing something I might not like. 

He gave me a good option, but when the chance to buy something local popped up I took advantage.  It’s nowhere near the best rigid fork around, but it should do the job.  I haven’t installed it yet, but it will happen really soon I’m sure.  There will be photos and a review no doubt.

That should give me plenty to talk about for a while.

This weekend is another busy one.  Tomorrow I’m heading over to the Uwharrie National Forest for the River’s Edge Mountain Bike Marathon.  I had originally planned to race the 50 mile event on my favorite “local” trail, but I’ve changed my mind.  Instead, I’ll be volunteering as a course marshal, getting to ride my bike around all day at a leisurely pace and heckle, I mean help, the racers.  I did the same thing last year and had a good time. 

Sure, I really wanted to “race” my single speed out there, but I have to save my legs for something else… 

The 2012 Southern Classic Series finale is Sunday at Dark Mountain in Wilkesboro, NC.  I wanted to race the 50 miler Saturday and then do this one to go out in a blaze of glory, but I have too much on the line.  I’m in second place overall, and if I don’t have the legs to have a decent finish on Sunday I could piss it all away.  Normally I wouldn’t mind that so much, but I’ve invested a lot of time in this series over the last few months and I’d like to have something to show for it.  My season hasn’t been stellar, and I actually feel like I’m getting slower.  I will be sad to see it end, but happy at the same time.

I can’t wait to get back to “regular” riding.

See y’all Monday, and there will be some sort of race report.  Hopefully with a podium photo or two.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Not Much Bike Riding

While I was away on my latest trip to Northern Virginia, I was pretty busy.  Attending training camp for our favorite football team and visiting family left us with little free time.  Since we had our bikes with us from the last Southern Classic Series race, I made sure that we got out for at least a little bit of riding.  I finally got a chance to take Lunchbox to a place that Little Miss Sunshine and I visited last month, Conway Robinson State Forest.

We got out for a little early morning stroll.

And my kid got to climb in that tee pee thing we saw out there last month.

It didn’t take long to ride the short, easy trail.  I’m glad we got out though, because it would be the only time during the week that we would get on our bikes.  A trip to Washington D.C. was next on the agenda, but I was a little nervous about riding our mountain bikes around the city (mostly having to leave them outside of the various monuments and such.) 

We had a plan though.  Since we were taking the Metro into the city, Lunchbox decided that instead of lugging our bikes on the train that we should take our skateboards to get around.  It was a great idea, but I was still a little worried about leaving our bikes locked up on the back of the truck all day in the parking garage. 

I came up with a nifty solution:

We took the wheels off, and crammed both bikes in the cab of my truck.  Since the back seat was full of bags and whatnot from traveling, it was our only option.  I barely got the doors closed, but it worked.  It would take someone all day to get them out of there if they tried. 

We left my truck and got going, hellbent on breaking the rules before we even got into the city.

When we got to D.C., we hit the streets.  We were there to do a little sightseeing, and to skate all the historic shit.  First stop, The National Archives.

We did go inside, but since they don’t allow photos I have nothing to show you in there.  Needless to say we were warned not to skate in there.

We stopped at a few other places along the National Mall, and eventually ended up at the Capitol Building.  We skated out there for a little while.

We thought about skating on the front steps, but a Capitol Police officer was standing there with some sort of automatic weapon to deter us.

So I had the kid pose for a scenic photo instead.

We took a tour of the Capitol, and once again we were warned not to ride our boards inside. 


It’s not like we weren’t tempted though.

After our tour, we skated back across town to grab some lunch.  We made sure to stop at the number one skate spot in D.C., Freedom Park

At least no one told us not to skate there.

Flying down the streets of our crowded Nation’s Capital was fun, especially dodging all the dumbasses that weren’t paying attention.  We saw more dumb shit than I could capture with pictures, but this one is my favorite.

It was a good day riding all kinds of wheels for sure.  I know I say it all the time, but D.C. is my favorite city.  No matter which side of the political fence you claim, you should make it a point to visit there if you have the means.  There’s a ton of cool shit to do and see, and you definitely can get around quicker on self-powered wheels than you can any other way.

Leave your politics at home, and bring a bike or a skateboard.

Hell, bring a unicycle.  There are plenty of clowns up there that can show you how to ride one.