Thursday, January 31, 2013

Better To Give Than Receive

But, I sure as hell do like to receive.  I already told you about my shiny new cog from Endless Bike Co..  Well, I finally got in on there and I dig it.

I like shiny stuff, so I’m easily impressed. 

One of my other all time favorite things is Star Wars of course, and it doesn’t take much to impress me in that department either.  My pal Santana must’ve felt guilty about all the beer I’ve been giving him lately, so he gave me a little present.

I’m not sure if he wants to date me now or something, but I really appreciated the gesture.  When you push the little button on the front, it blurts out some standard astro droid sounds and dispenses little pieces of candy.  I thought they mught be roofies so I didn’t eat any.  I hope he’s not offended, but I don’t take too kindly to date raping.

For real though, thanks.  Now I have another new assistant here at B-43 that I can’t afford to pay.

Something that doesn’t easily impress me is beer.  My pal Robbie (who recently left the wonderful city of Charlotte to take refuge in the mountains of Colorado), decided to smuggle some beer across state lines in an effort to make me an accomplice in some illegal alcohol trade.  I received a mystery package da udda day here at the B-43 Worldwide Headquarters, and after unraveling plastics bags, stolen hotel towels, and twenty five pounds of packing peanuts I found this:

And there was also a note:

He obviously knows how hard I’ve been training, and to have some out of state brew would make me that much more “trained.”  I noticed that he didn’t sign the note, no doubt keeping him from being implicated in the aforementioned crime.  I decided to unravel the tape that kept the lid sealed on the growler, and poured myself a glass to try it.

What the hell, I’m already in too deep.

Wow.  This is the Space Ghost IPA from Equinox Brewing.  And damn, it’s pretty tasty.  It’s really big on citrus, with a nice bitter finish.  Half of the growler is gone already, and the rest will be finished off tonight.  You know, to destroy the evidence.  With this little sampling, now it seems like I’ll have to make a trip out to Colorado to get some more.  I’ve been thinking about going out there anyway, but with this beer teaser and George’s big news it looks like a certainty.

Big thanks to Robbie for the brew.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sharp Dressed Man Child

I rode last night, and it was fun.  However, today's post is about something else.

No, this isn’t about 80’s music, or even anything from the 80’s.  It’s about my man-sized child (from the 90’s by the way), Lunchbox, and his racing exploits.  Even though he’s not a serious racer child, it makes me proud to see him out there riding as hard as he can. 

And, he’s a snazzy dresser.

He took off somewhere in the middle of the group, and his first lap was pretty fast.  The course was still pretty slick during his race, but it didn’t bother him one bit.  He’s a mountain biker after all, and he’s got skills that these dirt roadies wish they could even come close to having.  Instead of training on the road working on his fitness, he spends time on his technical skills.

Poo tracks.  He has them.

Anyway, carrying around 225 pounds over the course of a thirty minute race was wearing him down.  He has tons of power on climbs, and he’s faster than bad chili through a hound dog on the downhills.  That’s not enough when racing against people half his size though, because the climbs hurt the worst.  So, he suffers worse than they do.

Taking a page out of my book, he gives it his all out there even though he’s not the fastest.  He doesn’t quit.  That makes me a proud papa.

I don’t like to see him suffer though, and after several climbs up the fire road he was pooped.

I had to run out of the woods to get ready for my single speed pain session, so I didn’t watch the rest of his race.  I saw him come across the finish line though, and he looked pretty good.  Even though I wasn’t out there cheering him on anymore, he had his own fan club out there to keep him going.

TomTom was out there in the woods still, and got him taking the tabletop jump.

He had a great time.  It’s not about winning or having the fastest lap times.  It’s about fun, especially for the kids that go out there and ride.  They will grown up one day, and if they continue to race let’s make sure they don’t turn into a bunch of Strava loving, can’t call out their passes, dirt roadie douchebags.

I’m kidding.  I love you, dirt roadies.

Go out and have yourself some fun.  You just might like it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Twice The Hurt

Sunday’s second race for me seemed like a good idea at the time.  However, I wasn’t ready.  I was out in the woods watching Lunchbox go at it (more on that later), and I barely got back in time to register and get my shit together to go out on the single speed.  Maybe that was a sign that I shouldn’t have raced.

I felt like shit from putting out so much effort from my first race, and I really didn’t want to go back out there.  I had one beer between races to take the edge off, so I figured that was good enough.  I lined up at the start and took off at a decent pace.  When we rounded the corner in the parking lot and headed towards the woods I felt like I wouldn’t last even one lap, let alone a whole race.

I backed off and let the remainder of the field go in front of me, and I entered the woods dead last.

Photo credit:  Lunchbox

In the singletrack, I was able to take it easy and still go fast.  When I hit the big tabletop jump, a large crowd had gathered (as usual.)  They yelled my name and gave me the motivation I needed to keep going.  At that moment I vowed to give it everything I had and keep going.  You know, for my fans.

With the dirt roadie factor still in full effect, I managed to pretty much stay with the group.  When we hit the fire road I mashed my way up the hill.  I passed a couple of people and it felt okay.  I don’t know where that energy came from, but I said to myself, “Fuck it, I’ll use it while I got it.”  As I got back to the parking lot, Good Guy Greg was there and he said I was looking good.  Sure, I felt like shit, but at least I was “racing.”  I gunned it back into the woods, just trying to make it to the next spot where I could hear some cheering.

I wasn’t disappointed, because the crowd of hecklers had grown larger…and louder.

TomTom even captured a cool sequence of me at the tabletop jump. 

I was hauling ass in the woods, and the trail conditions had improved tremendously.  It was kinda like two totally different courses compared to the first race.  The next two climbs up the fire road were pretty good, but I knew I was wearing down.  At that moment I decided that the plan was to push as hard as I could just so I could make it back to the spots where I could be heckled.

It seemed to work.

With twenty minutes to go, my legs felt like they were about to fall off.  I had slowed to a crawl on the fire road, keeping just enough speed to keep from falling over.  I think I even saw a turtle run by me on one lap.


With two laps to go, I left it all out there.  I put in one final push to gain some places, and managed to pass one more guy and put a big gap on him on the second to last lap.  There was another guy up ahead, and with one to go, I tried to catch him in the woods.  He was way up there though, so I knew I would have to catch him on the fire road.


I mashed, mashed, and mashed some more up the final climb.  On the descent out of the grassy field I was right on his wheel, and when we came to the last turn into the parking lot we were side by side.  I gunned it, spinning my ass of in the process.  He must have been running a bigger gear, because he stood up and beat me my a few tenths of a second. 

At least I gave it my all.

When it was over, I wasn’t even in last place.  I gave all I had in two races, and I felt like I was about to pass out.  I decided that the best thing to do was to drink a few beers, which made the pain go away. 

Photo cred:  Ben Hund

I earned those beers.

And that folks, is why I do this.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Big Sloppy Mess

I’ll get into the weekend weather another time, but for now I’ll just tell you that it made the conditions “interesting” for yesterday’s Winter Short Track Race.  Being hung over and in shitty “race shape” was bad enough, but dealing with a slick trail made it that much more challenging.

Photo credit: Lunchbox

It took me about two full laps to get my lungs under control in the cold air, and by that time I had gotten used to the slipping and sliding.

The dirt roadie factor was in full effect because of the soggy trail, so I pushed myself as hard as I could to make sure I wasn’t behind anyone in the woods.  By lap three I had lapped several riders in the class that went out before me, and I was feeling pretty strong.

Every time I got out on the fire road, I could see the leaders up ahead.  The pace was a bit slower than the two previous races, but I didn’t get a break at all.  I was able to keep up because I can handle my bike pretty well, but near the end of the race my legs were feeling like they had been used and abused.

I rode quite a bit earlier in the week, but then I got a massage and didn’t do a damn thing leading up to the race.  I thought it would do some good, but instead it made me suffer quite a bit more.  With one lap to go, I was happy to be near the end.

I crossed the finish line in 10th place, which wasn’t really great.  I did finish on the same lap as the leaders though.  I’m making progress towards my goal of getting into prime “racing shape”, but progress is hurting pretty fucking bad right now.  Since I don’t really train, this small amount of suffering will have to do.

There would be more suffering that day, which means if you come back here tomorrow you get to suffer right along with me.

Friday, January 25, 2013

It’s Winter

Well, sort of.  It’s been cold here for sure, but we haven’t had much in the way of winter weather.  They say that we may get something that resembles snow/ice/sleet this afternoon, but I’m not counting on it.  Weather people are not usually correct with the forecast, you know.  But, the DOT has been busy putting car-eating salt on the roads just in case.  

What does that mean for the weekend?

I will carry on as usual.

Tomorrow, Lunchbox and I are rolling down bright and early to do some legit trail work at one of our local parks.  This new trail system hasn’t opened up yet, but that’s why we’re going there.  There’s lot of work to be done.  And that’s why I’m bringing my man-sized kid along.  He can lift heavy stuff and dig in the dirt without getting tired like us old folks.  It’s gonna be colder than a brass toilet seat on the shady side of an iceberg early in the morning, so I’m guessing that he would stay home in his warm bed if he hadn’t already commited to being there.

Hell, I would too.

Next up, race number three in the Winter Short Track Series.  It’s finally gonna feel a winter race because the temps will probably be somewhere in the low 20’s.  Luckily I don’t race until 11:30, so hopefully it will be at least 30 degrees.  We’ve been spoiled again this winter with nice weather, so I really shouldn’t complain.

But I will, because sometimes I have nothing else to do.

Luckily, my feet won't be cold.  I have the best socks in the world to keep them warm.

Yup, DeFeet Woolie Boolies.  Made right here in North Carolina, to keep me warm on these chilly North Carolina days. 

They work in other places too, where it’s much colder.

And now you can stop complaining, because I’m out of here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Does A Bike…

Shit in the woods?

Well, no.  It uses the toilet like the rest of us.

Just to clarify, I took that the other night when we went for a night ride at one of our local trails.  I didn’t want anyone to steal my bike when I was changing in the nice warm bathroom, so I brought it inside with me.  I have no idea how it got in the stall though.  Maybe it did take a shit, but was kind enough to give a courtesy flush.

Anyway, I finally got a little bike upgrading done.

Shit, I can’t figure out why random beer photos keep popping up.  Sorry. 

What I meant to post was this:

I finally decided to get a little blingy with the single speed.  I like red…a lot.  So, I put on the red SS chainring I was saving for my (not yet) polished cranks and decided to break it in.  Since I’m a firm believer in the more the merrier, I needed some more shiny red bits to go with the new chainring.

Yum.  This came via Pony Express straight from Endless Bike Co. in nearby Asheville, NC.  They anodize their cogs now, so you can find one that tickles your fancy.  I happen to love red of course, so I didn’t pay attention to the other colors they may or may not have.

Are they good?  Why yes, they are.  I ran one of these cogs (non-anodized of course) back at Single Speed USA, and I thought it was the shiznit.  I also ran one for every other endurance race I’ve done since then.  It was a 20 tooth cog though, which is really not enough for everything else I ride around here.  I kept forgetting to pickup an 18 from Endless, even though I knew I should’ve.  “Oh, I’ll get around to replacing that other brand of cog”, I kept saying, but when they started with the whole “pick your own color thing” I just had to get in. 

Now I can roll around in style.

Huge thanks to Endless Bike Co. for making my bike look sexy.

Now, if you will excuse me, I suddenly have to go use the bathroom.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Not A Death March

Instead of sitting around on my ass the day before this past Sunday’s Winter Short Track race, I tagged along on an urban ride here in Charlotte.  This was sort of a scouting mission, but I’ll save the details for another time.  I didn’t want to go on a long painful mountain bike ride, and spending all day doing trail work wasn’t a good idea either. 

Instead, we took a stroll through the city.

Now I know what Dicky feels like when he’s working.  Well, except that his rides through the city are much more exciting.

Like this shit:


So anyway, rolling around in the city was pretty fun.  We found some greenways…

And a couple of parks…

Little Miss Sunshine led the way, all decked out in her team kit.

I did a little trail work too, but it’s not really worth talking about.

Well, except the “new” creek crossing that appeared in the middle of the singletrack.

We’re already working on a solution for that.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I Raced Again

Photo cred:  Lunchbox

And it was pretty fun.  I did a little better than last week too.  Not much better, since I’m still trying to get myself in “racing shape.”  Still, riding through the woods at a high rate of speed makes me happy.

Well, most of the time anyway.  I still had an issue with the throngs of dirt roadies riding their brakes on the downhill sections.  I damn near killed myself trying to get ahead of them on the climbs just so I wouldn’t have to go through that shit again.  It happened in both of my races, and it pisses me off.  I guess I can always work on my “roadie skills” though. 

I didn’t let that bother me too much, because the local race scene isn’t just about me.  It’s about quality entertainment, in the form of the other racers.

Like the battle between TomTom…

And Eastwood.

It was cool to watch those two race against each other, especially since they didn’t realize that they both sorta knew each other through this sorry excuse for a blog.  It entertained me, which is what’s important.

Okay, not really.  What’s really important is that Lunchbox is all better (he was sick last week and stayed home in bed), and he decided to race.  He even dressed up for the occasion.

Going up against all those tiny little racer children isn’t really exciting to him, but he does enjoy riding fast through the woods like I do.

Even though he’s 6’3” and 225 pounds (which is plenty big enough to race in the Clydesdale class with me), he prefers to stay with kids his own age.  They might be faster than him, but I bet they don’t have as much fun as he does.

I’m proud of my boy for getting out there, even though the odds are against him.

That kinda sounds like all of my races.

Friday, January 18, 2013

This Does Not Help

Back in November, I received the gift that keeps on giving.  No, not the Jelly of the Month Club.  If I had received something like that, I would’ve gone bat shit crazy.

No, it was something much, much better…

The BEER of the Month Club.

This is the second shipment (out of twelve in case you don’t know math), and I have been pleased so far.  Sure, I enjoy taking trips to the store (even sometimes by bike) to pick out my favorite beer and looking like a raging alcoholic when I get in line with tons of the hoppy stuff.  This is the easy way though.  In the middle of the month, the beer fairy stops by my house with twelve tasty microbrews for me to enjoy.  I know what you’re thinking…

Twelve beers will not last him a whole month.

You would be correct, but I still love having beer sent to me.

This totally defeats any training I might try to do, but damn it... it’s well worth it.  The more beer I drink, the more I have to ride.  And the more I ride, the more shit I need to replace on my bike.

“Where are you going with this?” you may ask.

I noticed something strange on my single speed bike when I “raced” on Sunday.  Even though I was tired from racing earlier in the day, I noticed that the pedals didn’t turn as efficiently as they should.  When I got home, I found that my bottom bracket was shot.  I tried to order one of those fancy ceramic bottom brackets to replace it, but they were out of stock.  So, while I wait for them to get their shit together, I found a replacement crankset with a shiny new (red) single speed chain ring.

It’s not the best, but it will work just fine for a while. I still plan to get a new bottom bracket (duh), and also polish the cranks to make them all fancy looking.

Kinda like this:

Although it will take me a while to get them that shiny, at least I don’t have to go without riding my SS bike.

In other news, I’m back to “racing” this weekend.  Although we’ve had a shitload of rain (and even a sighting of snow) here, Sunday should be a beautiful day.  I guess I’m looking forward to it, because I’m still racing my way into shape.  There won’t be a race report on Monday though, because I’m taking the day off.  I don’t know what I’m doing with my free time yet, but you can bet your ass that you’ll hear about it here first.

Lucky you.

See y'all Tuesday.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I Should Be Training

In the first two races of the year, I kinda felt like a cow chasing a cat.

Of course I have a photo:

I’m out of “racing shape”, and everyone just seems so much faster than me.  A smart cyclist would use that as motivation to train harder, but since I don’t really train I found something else to do.

Like trying different kinds of beers.

I know, it’s not an IPA.  It’s actually a milk stout, and it wasn’t too bad.  Since I couldn’t drink a ton of them though, I had to switch it up immediately.  To counteract the stout, my best bet was to go with an Imperial IPA purchased here locally.

The NoDa Imperial IPA, from right here in Charlotte, NC.  You can get it at NoDa Brewing Company.  That place is right on my way home from work.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Since beer seems to be an obvious distraction from my “training”, I had to figure out something else to do.  I’ve been running the stairs in the building at work quite a bit, and that’s about it.  It’s back to being cold and rainy around here, so getting out on the bike just plain sucks.  You know what sucks worse?  The trainer.

I don’t care for road biking, even though I know it does wonders for bike fitness.  Even as bad as I feel about riding on the road it’s still a shitload better than parking in in the house and riding nowhere.  I’ve tried watching cycling videos and even Star Wars movies, but I quickly figured that I would rather get beat to death by an old lady than ride my bike indoors.

Maybe I should just harden the fuck up and get outside to ride.  If I don’t, I’ll keep getting my ass handed to me on the race course.

That still sounds better than riding the trainer.

In other news, tonight is the big night.  That’s right, Lance is finally coming clean…we think.  What really happened in the interview is that Oprah came clean too.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Lance Armstrong's Interview with Oprah
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Will you watch?  I’m sure you will.  I mean, who doesn’t love to watch Oprah?  Okay, no one does, but come on, it’s LANCE FUCKING ARMSTRONG!  The seven time best cheater in a sport filled with cheaters.  If the interview doesn’t sound like it will be exciting enough for you, then you can play a little drinking game.

Go here:

Of course, that’s courtesy of the mad men over at Drunk Cyclist dot com.

Drink up!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Day Before The Race…

I should’ve been taking it easy, or done a little spinning on my bike.  Instead, I was out in the woods again using stuff like this:

If we want to turn “The Trail” into something that’s worth riding, we need to spend as much time as possible working on it.  Last weekend, we built the Space Cowboy Jump, removed a bunch of debris, and flagged some new stuff.  We didn’t get near enough done.  This weekend though, we cut through yet another rock garden…

And made an optional route between two trees.

Those two lines come back together and head towards the downhill section, and it should’ve moved pretty fast after that.  There was a tree down that we planned to clean out, but Irish Luke saw it and came up with a better idea.

Let’s jump it…

He harvested some nearby dirt, and started building up a nice drop off with the dead tree.

It took a lot of dirt, but it came out pretty nice.

The photos don’t really do it justice, but the view from the other side is a little better.

We recruited yet another trail crew member, Joe, and he brought along a fresh set of eyes to help us come up with new shit to add to the trail.  TomTom, Good Guy Greg, and I left them alone and we started down the downhill line to rough out some more trail.

When we came back, Joe and Irish Luke were about halfway through building a nice berm, made from cedar, rocks, and dirt dug out of the trail.

It was coming along nicely, and looked like it would be a lot of fun.

We ended up calling it a day because some of us had to race the next morning, but just like usual we can’t wait to get back out there.  There’s plenty to ride out there now though, and judging by the picture that TomTom sent me, Irish Luke approves.

Hell yes.