Friday, May 31, 2013

Need Another Road Trip

But unfortunately I’m probably stuck in town this weekend. 

Just like most of you, I have two days off.  After the longest short week ever, I need to get out for a ride.  I’m for sure staying local tomorrow because I’ve volunteered to help with the Dirt Divas skills clinic at the Whitewater Center.  It will be a nice ride for sure, but I know I’ll need more.  If I can resist the urge for an immediate beer reward after the clinic, I’ll probably stick around for another lap on the geared bike.  Will that count as two rides?  You know, of the five I need?


I’m thinking about getting the hell outta town again Sunday.  With all the Trans-Sylvania Epic coverage I’ve been watching, it’s got me itching to do some epic shit myself.  I don’t have any plans yet, but I’m sure something will come up.  Well, “something” could mean that I just sit around drinking beer.  Whatever.

Hopefully I’ll have something good to talk about Monday when I come back, because I sure as shit don’t have much to say today.  It’s Friday anyway, so y’all aren’t really paying attention.

Are you?

Good.  Go out and ride.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Unneccesary Changes

I forgot to mention that we went on a group ride Tuesday night.  It was fun, but I didn’t really take any photos.  Well, except this blurry one of Good Guy Greg.

And, this one.

Yeah, that’s TK-421, my geared bike.  I’ll get to that in a little bit.

Anyway, with some kind of sickness catching up to me after our trip to FATS last Saturday, I decided to take it easy on Sunday.  I had originally planned to ride every day of my three day weekend, but honestly I didn’t feel like doing a damn thing.  After sleeping in a little bit I forced my way outside to the garage to work on bikes.  Well, one in particular anyway.

My single speed had a few issues from some shitty weather riding so I had to address them.  I cleaned out the bottom bracket and headset, replaced the chain, and put more sealant in my tires.  And that’s when it hit me…

I probably should change some shit that doesn’t need changing.

I love things to stay the same for the most part, but every once in a while I like to switch it up for no apparent reason.  In this case I took off my 32 tooth chainring and replaced it with a 34.

And the very next day I was feeling a little better and took it for a ride.

Running a 34X18 locally isn’t really a big deal I guess.  I liked it from what I could tell, but I was pretty tired from being sick so I couldn’t really make an honest assessment.  I felt like it was tougher to accelerate out of corners, but I had plenty of speed rolling down the trail.  I didn’t really have any problems climbing, and actually I felt like I had more power.  I’ll keep in on there for a while to see if I like it I guess.  You can’t tell a damn thing after one ride, you know.  A few more rides and I’ll make a decision.

So, back to the geared bike and why the hell I was riding it.  I like it.  Not the gears, but the actual bike.  With pretty much the same frame and exact components as my SS(other than the shifty bits and squishy fjork) it rides just the same.  After getting used to a little squish up front I enjoyed it, and I realized that I wouldn’t mind having suspension once in a while as long as I don’t have to swap out a fork. 

As for the gears, I couldn’t really get used to them after spending so much time on a single speed.  I know, I’m probably way too far gone to the Dark Side now to turn back.  I don’t want to believe that though, so that’s why I’m giving my gears one last chance.

For the next five rides (on trails), I will only ride my geared bike.  I will miss the simplicity of my single speed for sure, but I figured that five rides will be enough to decide whether or not I wanna keep them.  After all, that’s all it took for me to be convinced that I should be on a 29er full time.  If I like the gears (and can get used to shifting them), I will keep it and alternate between the two (depending on ride plans of course.)

If there’s no way in hell I can stand the gears, then they go the hell away.  As in, I’ll take the shifty shit off and convert it to a single speed.  Why two single speeds?  I dunno.  Maybe so I can be lazy and not have to swap out forks when I go to the mountains.

Five rides.

I’ll let you know soon.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lots Of Problems

But a bad ride wasn’t one of them.

On Saturday, our trip to FATS near Augusta, GA was on.   D-Wayne rolled down to the B-43 Worldwide Headquarters bright and early, joining myself and Lunchbox to meet the rest of the crew down in Rock Hill, SC.  We rolled up on the scene and found Dennis, Good Guy Greg, TomTom, and Eastwood waiting at a local McDonald’s.

We hit the road, making the little over two hour trip seem like nothing.  When we got to the parking lot, we met up with Dustin from Southern Wheelworks for a nice day in the woods.  We got ready, and hit the trail at a social pace.  When we got to the first intersection we took the Great Wall loop and hauled ass.  It was fun as hell, until I realized that we were missing someone from the group.  I pulled over to the side of the trail with the rest of the group rolling up right behind me.

“Where’s my kid?” I asked.

No one knew.  I figured that maybe he missed a turn (it’s easy to do even though he’s been there a bunch) so I told the group to continue and I would go back to look for him.  I sprinted up the long climb (which we had just rolled down) and headed back to the parking lot, backtracking as best I could to find him.  When I turned around and headed into the loop backwards, I found Lunchbox on the side of the trail with a flat tire.


He was in the process of changing it, so I helped him along.  He hadn’t even gone half a mile when he pinch flatted.  I really gotta set aside some time to get that boy setup tubeless.  Anyway, I asked if he wanted to ride the loop the “fun” way or if we should just keep going backwards until we eventually ran into the group.  He opted for the former, and without a proper warm up we hauled ass to catch up.  I was hoping we would find them well before they finished (and went on to the next loop), but we were wearing ourselves out trying to catch them. 

Just as we thought all hope was lost, we rolled up on a group of riders that looked strangely familiar…and had a problem that was also familiar.

Yeah, it turns out that Eastwood flatted too and they had been there for a while.  His inferior tire sealant didn’t do the trick when he punctured the tires, and multiple bad tubes, co2, and unsuccessful hand pumping couldn’t get things right.

He worked his ass off trying to get back to riding.

Eventually he got it, but the tube didn’t hold air.  We had to stop several times so he could top it off (without all that weird pumping action this time), and we all decided that a trip back to the parking lot was in order.  Dustin (the guy who built those wheels) was kind enough to provide some real tire sealant and we got busy trying to get the tire to air up without a tube.

And the smart people just sat back and watched.

We eventually got things right again (by using a co2 instead of the pump), and went on to have an awesome ride.  Fast, flowy, smooth singletrack, and hauling ass in the woods with some good people for hours was just what I needed.

Well, that and a beer.

And of course Lunchbox needed a ton of food.

And since I’m apparently trying to keep the streak alive by talking about you know who very single day, here’s a photo of some socks we spotted on the ride.

Yeah.  Good times.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

One More Ride

Brace yourselves…

I’m still talking about Sonya.

I thought it was over, but with one more day here in Charlotte, our new friend wanted someone to show her around one of our local trails.  Her pal Little Miss Sunshine was happy to oblige. 

And I was happy to invite myself along.  You know, to take photos.

We met out at the whitewater park to do a nice, easy ride, and to be honest with you I was a bit terrified.  Getting a chance to ride with a pro is cool and all that, but we were both waiting to get dropped like sack of dirty diapers.  It turns out that Sonya did indeed have an easy ride in mind, and unlike most people that say that she actually meant it.

At one point I got a little bit ahead and I spotted something blocking the trail.  There was this little turtle stuck on his side, so I stopped to pick him up (and warn the ladies so they wouldn't hit him.) 

Photo credit:  Sonya Looney

A day short of World Turtle Day.  You lose, my friend.

We had a social pace for sure, and it seemed like everyone had a blast.

Sonya seemed to enjoy finally getting to ride in some Charlotte dirt, and luckily I was able to get ahead of her one more time to get an action shot.

And I enjoyed getting a chance to ride with a genuinely good person (who just happens to be pretty damn good on a bike.)

Since I was leading the ride I tried to keep a good pace.  I knew that if I let something happen to her before the Trans-Sylvania Epic the whole cycling world would hate me (which probably isn’t too far off now anyway.)  Luckily there were only two crashes that day, neither of which belonged to the guest of honor.  Nothing serious at all, which was pretty much the theme for the day.  Like Sonya said, it was “just three buddies out riding.”

She’s so rad.

I know it may sound like I’m full of it, but I’m really happy we made a new friend.  From this point on I don’t really care that she’s a pro, well-known in the cycling world, or even that a lot of guys just think she’s hot.  I like having nice, positive people in my life, and the fact that she just happens to be famous is nothing but a coincidence.  I have lots of good friends that ride bikes, and I am happy to know each and every one of them.  Some people get a little bit of talent, ability, or success and seem to forget where they came from though.  Sonya isn’t like that at all.

At that’s why last week was one of the best weeks I’ve ever had on a bike.

And that’s the end for now.  Don’t worry, we’ll be back to the normal crap and nonsense soon.  

Friday, May 24, 2013

No Reason To Stay In Town

With a shitload of my friends heading up to PA to race mountain bikes, and a whole bunch of idiots coming into town to watch a car race (and clog up our roads), I can’t see any reason to stay here.  So, we’re heading out of town to ride.

It’s gonna be so choice.

We’re heading down to Augusta, GA to ride FATS, the Forks Area Trail System.  If you have the means, I highly recommend it. 

Don’t know what FATS is?  Have no idea why we would drive two and a half hours away to ride?  Well then check out this shitty video I made from the last time we were out there.


The word “epic” is used way too damn much, so all I’ll say for now is that it will be fun as hell.  We’re hitting the road bright and early with a big crew of locals, including TomTom, Good Guy Greg, and Eastwood.  Hell, even D-Wayne is making the trip down from the Triad.

A few of us are bringing the single speeds, including Eastwood, who’s gonna have a blast on his new green bike.

Um, wait.  That’s not it.

Anyway, that’s the plan, and of course we’ll stop for beer and food afterwards.  I’ll try to get some video and pictures, and I’ll have plenty of time to write a report since I won’t be back here until Tuesday.

Because Monday is a holiday, you know.

Also, we might even be doing a little bit of this:

Oh hell yeah.

Wow, I actually got through a post this week without mentioning Sonya.

Damn it.  Never mind.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Such A Nice Day

I know, I’m way behind.  You can blame you know who.

While everyone was suffering in Pisgah last Saturday in the rain, the little lady and I took a trip to the nearby DuPont State Forest.  While it did shit on us most of the way there, when we got to the trailhead it had turned out to be a nice day.  I figured since we were right around the corner from all the racing, they were having a nice day too.  Turns out that wasn’t the case.

Too bad for them.

In order to have a nice, easy ride, I brought a nice, easy bike to the Land of Waterfalls.

And that’s where geared bikes belong, right next to the shitter.

We took a different route this time instead of the usual stuff, and I got to see some parts of DuPont that I’ve never seen before.  I’m not sure how I missed some of those cool sections, but I won’t dare miss them again.  I mean, there are more fun things to ride out there than I ever knew.

I even got to see a couple more waterfalls, which is probably my favorite thing about riding out there.  The fact that these were off the beaten path and away from the masses made them that much more enjoyable too.

Yay!  No people.

You know, you just can’t see this kind of stuff here in the city.

We started out climbing a lot, but with a shitload of gears it didn’t bother me one bit.  It was the first time in a long time that I hadn’t suffered on the bike.  And yeah, the little lady brought gears too.

When you’re out in the mountains on a bike, you appreciate everything just a little bit more.  You notice all kinds of details about the rocks, the sky, and even the trees.

Especially the trees.

About halfway through the ride, we stumbled upon a “kids trail.”  It started out flat, but when I rounded a corner I saw a magical playground.

And I had to stop to play for a while.

And so did Little Miss Sunshine:

It was so fun, but eventually we had to leave.  We had a little more fire road climbing to go then we hit the Ridgeline trail.  It was about two miles of super fast, smooth downhill riding, and when we finished we were right back in the parking lot.  We didn’t get a ton of mileage, but we were out there for a quite a while.  So long in fact that I realized that it had been too long since I’d had a beer.  Luckily I had some in the truck, and after having one we headed up the road to make the obligatory stop at a mainstay in Western North Carolina,  The Hub.

We didn’t stay long, because word around the campfire is that there’s a new brewery in town.  We drove about two miles down the road and suddenly I was in beer heaven.

I stormed right up to the tap room and ordered the “sampler platter.”

And promptly finished it.

What a freakin’ awesome day.  I need to spend more time in the mountains.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Party Crashers

Our regular Tuesday group ride was scrapped last night.  The trail we planned to ride never opened, but we quickly put together a backup plan.  Since we had so much fun riding with Sonya Looney Monday night, we thought, “Hey, lets go to the Dirt Diva meeting!”

It just so happens that they do an urban ride before their meeting, and they do welcome us smelly boys from time to time.  They didn’t really know we were coming though, so we stayed off to the side all incognito and shit.

You see Good Guy Greg and Eastwood lurking in the background?

So we would fit in a little better, the men in the group decided to sacrifice our bodies for the ladies and block off intersections while they rode through.  We spent a lot of time at the back of the pack, sprinting up front every time we were needed.

We couldn’t be everywhere at once though.  At one point they lost us when they took a wrong turn into some secret underground lair.

Or maybe it was a potty break.  You know how the ladies love to go to the bathroom in packs.

Our route was a little different than the one from the night before, but we still rode some of the same sections of our local greenway.

And a few different ones...

It was definitely a lot more fun than usual.  I took a lot of photos, but most of them didn’t look so great.  Well, except this one:

It looks like Little Miss Sunshine made a new friend.  And a note to Peter, that's the bike the little lady got from you.  I hear that Sonya has one of those too.  You know, she is really just like the rest of us.

The photo above was actually not the plan, but it worked out pretty well.  I was really going for this one:

And yeah, the fellas stayed off to the side and the hell outta the way.

It was time to head back to Kickstand (which by the way is one of my favorite places here in Charlotte) for the Diva meeting.  It was about time, because although I was having fun riding, I had gone way too long without a beer.  Of course Sonya was the guest of honor, and the ladies couldn’t wait to hear what she had to say.

I had a different agenda though.  After a conversation with Dirty yesterday morning (you know, from  Drunk Cyclist headquarters), he gave me specific instructions to buy that special young lady a beer.

And I did.


While she was talking, I stopped eating my dinner to listen.  I made plans to save these for later:

And then she went all Napoleon Dynamite on me and took my tots.

Dang it. 

We had a blast, and even though we crashed the party the ladies didn’t seem to mind too much.  No matter where you go in the cycling world, it’s a good bet that you will find someone that's happy to ride bikes and have a beer with you.

And that my friends, is what it’s all about.

Big thanks to Sonya Looney for hanging out with us lowly Charlotte folks.  Hopefully she’ll come back again to visit soon.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Just Like Us

With Sonya Looney in town, last night’s scheduled ride at Backyard Trail was sure to be an interesting one.  However, the rain we’ve been getting around here forced a change in plans.  Instead of riding in the dirt, we ended up on a group “urban ride” out of the shop (Bike Source in case I forget to mention it later.) 

I arrived plenty early, and while I was getting ready to ride the guest of honor rolled up.  We exchanged pleasantries (pro mountain bikers say “hello” just like the rest of us) and I seized the opportunity to let her know that I had to please Drunk Cyclist Headquarters and get a photo with her.

And just like us regular folks, she also poses for photos.

 Photo cred:  Eastwood

While I was at it, I got the raddest photo ever captured of Faster Mustache rider and Bike Source employee the Gentle Ginger.

And because he said I’ve never mentioned him on my blog before, here’s a random photo of another Bike Source employee, Daniel Lenis.

While I was slightly disappointed that we wouldn’t be riding on the trail, I was sorta looking forward to an urban ride.  Eastwood and I brought bikes that were not really suitable for fast, urban riding.

The Falcon and The Glow Worm.

Good Guy Greg rolled in on his single speed moments later, and the Niner crew (which we’ve been called as of late) took our place in the back of the pack with Sonya, who was riding at a “recovery pace.”

See, she rides bikes too, just like the rest of us.

She told us that single speeders are her favorite, probably because the longer the ride went on, the more we started complaining about the lack of beer.  Well, that and the fact that she’s a single speeder herself (in her spare time I guess.)

We rode through neighborhoods:

Through a cemetery:

Through the city:

And even sprinted down a hill trying to beat a speeding train:

And because local coaching phenom Chad Andrews was riding with us, we stopped in for a visit at Total Cyclist.

On the way back, I knew we were getting tired from spinning our tiny little gears.  Because, you know, some random dude on a New Belgium Fat Tire bike blew past us like we were standing still.

After getting back to the bike shop, it was time for beer (finally.)  We walked down the plaza and ordered up some local tasty goodness in the form of Triple C Greenway IPA.  We also ordered food, but it took forever to get there.  Because of that I had plenty of time to harass local Internets celebrity Rich Dillen to see if he would come out to play with us.  He was busy, so the night went on without him.

See, she drinks beer after a ride just like us.

In all, it was a great ride even if it wasn’t in the dirt.  The pace was surprisingly quite social, even though we had a real live professional mountain biker in our midst. 

I guess she can ride slow too, just like us.