Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Twas The Day Before Christmas

Which means this will probably be a short post.

It’s here.  After shopping, being bombarded with advertisements for the latest doodads and gizmos, and stuffing your faces at holiday parties, Christmas has finally reared it’s festive head.  Meh.  I used to get really excited about this day, especially when I was a little kid.  We didn’t have much, but somehow I always ended up with some things I wanted from “Santa.”  The best part from my younger years was when my whole family got together.  Growing up in Florida, Christmas was usually spent wearing shorts and playing outside.  I used to wait outside for my family to show up, and it was always a treat.  My aunt, uncle, and cousin would drive all the way down from Northern Virginia, and I got really excited when they pulled up in front of the house.  Same goes for my other aunt and uncle that lived across town.  Christmas began when the family got together, not when you opened presents.

Things change, and we don’t all get together anymore.  I moved out of Florida, so we stay right here.  My mom lives just up the road and she comes down, and to make it more like family we always invite our closest friends over to the house to share in the Christmas cheer.  It’s not like it was when I was little, but it’s pretty nice.

You see, after I grew up, I kinda of hated Christmas for a while.  Struggling to make ends meet, it was tough to get into the holiday spirit.  Once I became a dad though, I got to “play Santa” to Lunchbox which made things right again.  He’s pretty much all grown up now, so I though I would go back to being all Mr. Scrooge.

You know what?  Things have changed again.  I’m actually pretty happy about the upcoming holiday.  Little Miss Sunshine has gone out of her way to make sure we have a great time (and to make sure it feels like Christmas), so for the first time in a while I’m in a good mood this time of year.  I guess it helps when she makes cool Christmas decorations to put on the house.

This photo is currently spreading like wildfire all over the Internets.  That makes me proud of her.

And yeah, I decorated cookies too.

So tomorrow is the big day, huh?  That means I’m out of here for a while.  Will I be back for “Fun Friday?”  Not sure.  I’m taking some much needed time off.  Even if I don’t come back here Friday, you can expect some “year in review” type shit for next week.

Go have a great with your family and friends.  That’s what this time of year is all about.

Monday, December 23, 2013

It Was A Good Day

Tired as hell from a long week at work, I had to drag my ass outta bed and get moving somehow. It was gonna take a lot of coffee.

The Force was with me.

I got going, and my goal was to take care of some last minute Christmas shopping.

Delicious IPAs from NoDa Brewing Company here in Charlotte.

I stopped in a couple of local bike shops to pick up some odds and ends and got more than I bargained for...

in the form of the Gentle Ginger test riding kids bikes.

I ended up spending money in three local shops that day (and one local brewery.) I had my bike with me, which meant that I planned to go for a ride. I headed up to the north side of town, with the plan to ride after I stopped in to visit my shop, The Cycle Path.

I hung out there for a while. In fact, too long. I didn't end up riding. Instead, I had a nice, relaxing day. I got a little shopping done (putting a little money into our local economy), socialized, and didn't get caught up in the crazy crowds that are rampant this time of year.

I mean, I even saw the lights on a blimp...

Yeah. I gotta say it was a good day.

I'll be back tomorrow. I know it's Christmas Eve. Big deal.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fun Friday (Christmas Edition)

Yup, another “Fun Friday.”  With Christmas coming up next week, I figured I should “get into the spirit” so to speak.  The best way I can think of is with some Star Wars stuff.

Since I promised Lunchbox I would keep using the gifs he sends me, I'll give y'all one of those too.

I know, I know.  That has nothing to do with Christmas.  Well then, here's a video that does.

And since I'm in such a giving mood, do you need something to do while you're bored at work today?  Watch this piece of crap that should have never been made.

Don't worry, it's been cut down to only fifteen minutes (instead of over and hour and a half of crap.)

You watched it all, didn't you?  Yuck.

See y'all Monday.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Busy With Other Stuff

Sorry about not being here yesterday.  I usually let y'all know if I’m taking a day off, but I didn’t really have a chance.  I had to leave for work a little earlier, and when I got there I was kinda busy.

You know, working.

What a mess.  I do like my job though (most of the time.)  Anyway, other than work, I finally got out for another ride on Tuesday and it was fun as usual.  Social pace, minimal mileage, and a few beers made for a good night.  Ah yes, beer.  I had plenty of choices too.

I like beer.  You know this.

It’s still not all about me though.  Since I’m the “bike guy” in my neighborhood,  a guy up the street asked if I could put together some bikes he bought for his kids for Christmas.  He offered to pay me in beer so of course I said yes.

So they’re not really bikes per se, since they came from a local big box store, but they have wheels, pedals, and all that stuff so it’s close enough.  I’m just happy that I’ll see a few more kids riding in the neighborhood.  Even though those bikes are more like toys it’s a start.

We all have to start somewhere.

This time of year is about doing stuff for others so I hear, and I was happy to do my neighbor a solid.  I have some more thoughts on the “holidays”, but I’ll save that for another time.  I have to get to work so I can go for a ride later.

So yeah, now it’s all about me again.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Early Christmas

Every year around November, I get put on a buying hiatus.  I can’t purchase any presents for myself because Christmas is coming and it’s really hard for others to get me "things I want."  It's hard though, because I like to get my own shit.  I obey for the most part, but what do I do if I really need something? 

It might be kinda hard to see in the photo, but the rails are bent on my saddle.  This isn’t the first time that’s happened so I won’t blame it on the holidays.  It’s actually been like that for a month now, and it’s off just enough that I can feel it when I ride.

So, I got a new one.

Yeah, I know.  Replace the one you broke with the same model?  Well, yeah.  I like those saddles.  In fact, it’s the only saddle that feels good on my bony ass.  I’ve been through a few over the years, but not enough to even think about switching to another brand.

What can I say?  I’m loyal.  So shut up.

In other news, it looks like I’ll get to ride twice in the same week.  Our weekly social ride is tonight, and if I’m lucky I’ll get out of work early enough to get in a lap before the group gets there.  This time of year it’s important to ride (for me, anyway) so I’ll take whatever I can get.

Short post today.  So what.  You’ve probably got Christmas shopping to do and all that.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Out On My Own

Last week I talked about not riding and getting fat, and this weekend it looked like I might head down that path never to return. The weather on Saturday sucked, so I just had to do something on Sunday. The problem?

I didn't want to.

I woke up feeling tired and lazy, and almost talked myself out of riding because everything around here was closed. Somehow I managed to grab my bike and got my ass out the door to go ride. Making breakfast to go probably helped.

My destination was Uwharrie again, knowing that the conditions there would be good despite the fact that it rained the day before. I mean, it's pretty rocky out there so it drains well.

I was all alone despite the fact that there were quite a few cars in the parking lot. I needed some alone time, so hoped I wouldn't run into any of the people that drove them. I got my wish, and had the place to myself for most of my ride.

It was damn awesome.

I had pretty much all day to ride. Wanting to get in some good mileage, I took off down a fire road in the forest.

I climbed all the way to the top.  The view was nice.

I found some new routes out there, and I can't wait to go back to do some more “exploring.” With over 50,000 acres in the Uwharrie National Forest, there are plenty of places to ride without hitting the same old stuff. The trails are in the best shape I've ever seen, and that's no doubt thanks to the very few people that take time to maintain them. I moved a few fallen trees off the trail during my ride, but for once I'm not talking about myself.

Big thanks to Chris G. for taking time before his ride yesterday to blow the leaves off of one of the trails out there.

So yeah, finally I got out for a ride. It was good to be out there all by my lonesome too. I guess I needed some “me” time.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fun Friday

Last week I told you I was trying something new on Fridays, so here we go again. Fun Friday was the best I could come up with so you’re stuck with it for a while. With the weekend upon us, I could use a little fun. I’ve had a long, shitty week at work doing “work stuff.”

That’s my real job; installing and maintaining telephone systems. I won’t bore you with the details except to say that I’m gonna be working on this for quite a while. So yeah, I need to relax a little.

Maybe we should get into the Christmas spirit first:

And just for poops and hahas, here’s another one of those weirdo gifs that Lunchbox sent me:

Yeah. Keep watching that. I’m outta here.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

If I’m Not Careful…

I’m gonna get fat.

A few years ago, my “offseason” meant plenty of eating and drinking with a little riding thrown in.  While my normal weight is 225 pounds, it would be uncommon for me to shoot up to 235 pounds by the time January rolled around (two years ago I got all the way up to 245.)  Last year, I rode a lot more and kept myself right at my in-season weight of 225.  I figured out that it was pretty easy to do, so I decided that from now on I would stick to it and not put on my traditional offseason flab.  This year it’s not looking so good though.

The weather around here has been extra shitty lately, which means that my riding has been reduced dramatically.  As a matter of fact, I haven’t been on my bike in almost two weeks.  I can blame some of it on the rain, some on the cold, and some on working late, but mostly it’s because I’ve been pretty lazy.

Plus I’ve been eating a lot more for some reason.

It’s been good stuff though, like these deep fried Oreos with ice cream:

And the jar of M&Ms I keep next to me in the living room:

And to top it off my cousin just sent me a giant box of steak:

You know, shit like that.  Couple that with not riding enough lately and I bet I can break my offseason record of 245.  I know it could happen, so that’s exactly why I’m not gonna let it.  You see, unlike most people that allow themselves to get all big and chunky, I’m too disgusted by shit like that to allow myself to fall prey to it.  I don’t want to be a big tubby sumbitch, which means I’m gonna get off my ass and do something about it. 

I’m sure that some people just give up and buy bigger clothes when they start packing on the pounds.  Don’t do it.  Don’t be weak.  Don’t be lazy.  And definitely don’t be a Lardassian.  I’m smart enough to realize where not riding and eating more can lead, and I won’t give in.  I’ll ride in the cold, rain, tornadoes, whatever.  A couple of extra pounds around the holidays is normal (so people say), but forget normal. 

Being a big ‘un is a choice, and I’m choosing to keep it from happening.  With more shitty weather allegedly on the way for this weekend, I’ll get my ass out in it if I have to.  It’s not just about the weight, because riding keeps me sane and happy.  And I’m one grumpy, depressed motherfucker right now. 

And you thought fat people were jolly.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I Don’t Care That Much

I meant to do this sooner, but whatever.

You’ve heard all the stuff about that certain big bike company suing the little guy, right?

You know, this story that made giant headlines in the bike world:

Specialized pressures Canadian bike shop to change name

If you didn’t bother to read it, Dicky had a pretty good post about it yesterday.  I didn’t get involved with all the bashing on The Internets, because frankly I don’t really care either way. Sure, it’s douchey to sue a small bike shop over a name that’s used in other places (and maybe even more douchey to sue a war vet.)  Okay, I’m a veteran so maybe I kinda sorta care about that.  I don’t really give two shits about Specialized, even though my local shop sells them.  Not bashing them, I just don’t give two shits. 

I do however, give two shits about being entertained.  And this mess has been very entertaining so far.  Other than all of the comments and posts on The Internets, two of my favorites were these photos I found:

There’s nothing better than an Internet Shitstorm, and this one didn’t disappoint.  The good news?  This one seems to have a happy ending.

Not that kind of happy ending, but you get the point.

It was fun to bash (or enjoy others bashing) the big guy for a while.  And since everyone else weighed in about it, I felt like I sorta had an obligation to as well. 

Stupid blog.  Making me fell obligated.

Now, I’m gonna go find something else to entertain me.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Travel Arrangements

So yeah, I told you yesterday that I bit the bullet and registered for SSUSA.  While I may not end up going (subsequently wasting sixty five bucks in the process), that does kind make me a little more “committed.”  So let’s say that I’m planning to go to the UP of Michigan next summer.  How am I gonna get there?

Easy.  I own a vehicle.

Actually it’s not that easy though.  I’m not the only one from here in North Carolina interested in making the journey to “Damn Near Canada.”  Little Miss Sunshine has expressed and interest in going, along with Good Guy Greg, Eastwood, D-Wayne, and Dicky.  Lunchbox might even tag along since he’s always down for an adventure.

While I could probably cram seven people in my truck it would be one really uncomfortable ride.  Nineteen hours packed in a full size truck like sardines does not a great trip make.  So, we need some other options.

D-Wayne suggested we rent an RV, and of course this time of year I can only think of one kind.

 Shitter’s full.  We’d have to find an empty sewer somewhere.

Of course, that rickety piece of shit probably wouldn’t make it out of NC, so we started looking at “real" ones.

That’s a “moderately” priced one I guess, even though they all seemed to be really expensive.  Like, upwards of $1000 for a decent one for a week.  Of course, there’s some really fancy shit out there if you have the means.

We’d tear that thing up with no chance of getting our deposit back.

Of course, there are “cheaper models.  Like this one which appears to be a real steal:

Or we could save a shitload of gas money on something even cheaper.

It’s not anywhere near August, and I’m already overwhelmed with trying to plan this trip.  An RV would probably be the best way to get there but I’m not sure if we’re all down for paying an arm and a leg to rent one.  Besides, who the hell would want to drive such a beast that far (besides an old retired couple.)  Dicky wouldn’t even be able to see over the steering wheel.

So yeah, there’s plenty of time to plan this shit storm of a trip, but I know it will be here sooner rather than later.  Any suggestions for another type of vehicle?  Something that we can all fit in, decent enough on gas, and that doesn’t require signing over your first born would be a plus.  Oh yeah, we would all have bikes and D-Wayne’s suitcase full of hair-care products (it’s really fucking big.) 

I wish this was a trip that required crossing an ocean, because for some reason a pirate ship seems like the obvious choice here.

If we pull this off and somehow get to Michigan next summer, it could be the most epic of mountain biking trips ever seen.  Kinda like the Enduroof road trips.

Some assembly required.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Getting In The Spirit

I didn’t ride at all on Saturday.  Instead, I honored the upcoming holidays by participating in my annual ritual, attending the North Meck Christmas Parade.

Since my local shop is on the parade route, I came prepared.

The man was nearby so I had to be a little discreet about it though.

It was your typical Christmas parade.

I guess it helps to get into the holiday spirit and all that, but not riding is starting to get me down.  It seems like this time of year is pretty busy with non bike-related stuff, and coupled with the shitty weather we’ve been having I’m not sure when or if I’ll get to ride again for a while.  I understand that most people get depressed this time of year but mine is probably for a totally different reason.  My bikes and I are loosing touch with each other, and no one wants that for Christmas.

Maybe things will get better soon.

By the way, I did register for Single Speed USA.  More on that another time.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’m running late.

Friday, December 6, 2013

It's Friday

I'm gonna start doing something a little different around here. Since Fridays are typically a little slower, I probably don't need to waste my time with a lengthy post. Kinda like how Eastwood does his “Media Fridays” or whatever the hell he calls it, I'll just post up a photo or some other shit like that. For the most part it won't be bike-related, although from time to time it might be. Basically it'll be something to creep you out or make you laugh (or both.)

I'll try it for a little while and see how it goes. Of course, if there's big news or big weekend plans I'll post that too.

So here's the first installment of “Fun Friday”.  Thanks to Lunchbox for sending these to me.

Since this is the first one, I'll even give you a bonus.

One more, and this one creeps me the hell out.

Um. Yeah. See y'all Monday.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Prohibition Repeal Day

This is gonna be a short post. You're welcome.

On December 5th, 1933 a great thing happened. After thirteen years Prohibition ended, returning things “back to normal.” The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, which “prohibited the manufacture, sale, transport, import, or export of alcoholic beverages.” It's the only time that a Constitutional Amendment has ever been repealed.

That's because here in “Merica we're serious about our alcohol.

Most of us that ride bikes enjoy drinking beer (or even liquor or wine) so this is a day that needs to be recognized. Eighty years ago people fought to make drinking legal again so we could resume our debauchery. The best thing you can do today is tip a glass to our forefathers, and remember one of the reasons that this country is so great.

So let's party like it's 1933, shall we?


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Next Year

This is probably the time I should start thinking about what I plan to do next year, race-wise anyway. With the risk of copying Dicky’s post from yesterday, I'll go ahead and address the elephant in the room...

Single Speed USA

SSUSA next year is up in Copper Harbor, Michigan, which doesn't sound too bad until you actually look at a map and realize that it's way the hell up there.

Kinda like a big “Fuck you Canada, this is 'Merica!”

Thinking I could drive like I did last year to Minnesota, I started planning my route and saw that it would take about nineteen hours. Holy shit. While only three more hours than the trip to MN, that leaves minimal fuck-off time on the way up there. I'm really not sure I want to do that. I know there are several people here in Charlotte that would take the trip with me and all that (and I'm sure it would be a blast), but damn.

I guess you could say I'm about seventy percent against making a decision to go back to SSUSA next year.

That doesn't mean I've completely ruled it out though. The trails look fun as shit and I do like driving long distances (by myself if need be.) I'm just not sure about going that far for what could be a minimal amount of riding. I might be better served taking a road trip somewhere else instead, like out West somewhere.

Registration is filling up fast, but that's not really a deciding factor. Judging from the last two years, I could still just show up and “race.” So, I guess I really don't have to make a decision right now. Nothing is holding me back (other than being unable to make decisions) so there's no reason for me to figure it out anytime soon.

Damn it. I wish someone would just tell me to go (or not to.)

Cue a text from Dicky in 3...2...1.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Almost Too Long

After being off the bike for almost two weeks (due to being a sissy in the cold weather), I finally got out for a good ride. Not wanting to do hot laps on our local trails, I needed to get out of town. I wasn't able to go too far away so I settled for the “little mountains” to our east in the Uwharrie National Forest. As a bonus, a long-time missing person from this blog joined me on the ride.

Yes folks, The Dirty Party Cycle has returned.

It's been a long time since we've ridden together, probably because I'm a shitty friend and don't get over to his side of the world too much. He hit me up about riding Uwharrie, and it just so happened that I wanted to go there anyway. He picked me up bright and early, and we proceeded to have one fine social ride with some punchy climbs and super fast downhill thrown in. While not as mountain-y as Pisgah, Uwharrie is a really fun place to ride if you know where to go.

There are some pretty good views if you take a minute to stop and look.

We used to ride there together quite a bit back in the day, so much that we were more local than the locals. I realized after this ride that we need to get back to that. I fell in love with Uwharrie when I first moved here, but I've neglected it quite a bit over the last two years. I won't say that it's better than anything in the “real” mountains, but it gets the job done. I can drive an hour, get in some good mileage with some good climbing, and be back home well before bed time on a school night. Plus, if you have some kind of mechanical issue out there, it's really not that big of a deal.

That was a field repair of the Dirty Party Cycle's uh, Dirty Party Cycle. The clip holding his front brake cable broke, and we were able to improvise and keep riding. Even if we weren't able to fix it, it would've been a short walk back to the parking lot for a real repair. I like that. The feeling of riding somewhere remote without actually being so remote. Rad.

Uwharrie was my first love here in NC, and I will continue to go there. I will definitely ride Pisgah more in the future too, but being able to drive a little under an hour to ride some pretty fun shit makes Uwharrie my go-to trail when I'm unable to get too far away.

I feel like I'm being pulled in two different directions by two different sets of mountains.

I guess it ain't so bad.