Friday, August 30, 2013

Time Goes By

Are you tired of hearing about Single Speed USA or my busted shoulder yet? 

Who gives a shit. 

My shoulder is a little better, by the way.  Some good old fashion ice, stretching, and self-medication have been the key to help me return to whatever the hell normal is.  The numb feeling down my arm is a little bit less today, mostly because the swelling around the nerves in my shoulder has gone down a bit.  It’s gonna take a while to heal completely I know, but I can’t wait until the next time I can actually ride my bike in the woods.  I have something big coming up in a few weeks (announcement coming next week or so), and hopefully I’ll be able to actually ride something other than the road.  I also have at least two more races before the “season” is over, but I can’t commit to them right now.

What about SSUSA?

Yeah, it was fun.  I spent a shitload of (valuable?) blog space covering my journey to and from, the actual “race” itself, and all the other shit we did.  Was that enough? 


Check out this video from 29nSNGL with the “lost footage.”

Lost footage?  Looks like they missed a lot of the good stuff, although there were a couple of shout outs to Drunk Cyclist in there.


In other news, with no mountain biking in store for the weekend I’ll have to find some other stuff to get into.  The most important? 

Tomorrow is this little guy’s birthday:

Yup, Lunchbox celebrates his anniversary of escaping from the womb.  Since he’s driving my truck in the photo above, it’s safe to say that he’s not a kid anymore.  He’ll be seventeen, which means that the time has gone by faster than a jackrabbit on moonshine.  Before too long, he’ll be off to college starting his own life adventures I guess.  He’s a great kid, and I’m glad he’s been by my side all these years.

So tomorrow, we celebrate.

See y’all Tuesday.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

What Now?

My shoulder is still in piss poor shape.  A lot of the pain has subsided (as long as I don’t overdo it), and the swelling has gone down a bit.  It still keeps me up at night and every once in a while it hurts like hell when I move my arm the wrong way.  However, I have a new issue and it kinda sucks.  My arm is a little numb, basically from where I injured my shoulder all the way down to my fingers.  It’s only a mild annoyance, although I guess it could be something more serious.  Little Miss Sunshine is making me follow up with my doctor, but not being the kind of person that actually likes going there I sent him an e-mail.  I haven’t heard anything back yet, and honestly I’m not that worried about it.

My Beer of the Month Club shipment showed up and I have plenty of “medicine” to make me feel better.

My shoulder will eventually heal (hopefully), but my bike will not.  In my accident I damaged more than myself.  I noticed that my front wheel had developed a wobble and I didn’t think it was that bad.  I’m an optimist I guess, but I figured that I would head up to my local shop and have him just straighten it out.  When I got there he proceeded to inform me that, like my shoulder, my wheel was fucked.  Luckily he had a new rim in stock, so I’m getting a fresh build (keeping my Industry Nine hubs of course.)

Since I’m running a rigid crabon frok now, running a Stan’sFlow EX  up front just makes sense.  I was planning to get it rebuilt anyway, so I guess this is a blessing in disguise.  I’ll have to wait a while to try it out though, because I’m off the mountain bike for a while.  You remember that, right?

When I do finally get back on the mountain bike, I’ll probably avoid the rigid for at least a few weeks.  I have a barely-used, squishy single speed that can get some love, and riding it probably won’t impede my recovery.

Hopefully anyway.

In the meantime, I’ve been given clearance to ride on the road.  Dreading the though of actually riding a road bike, I came up with another plan.  I took a bunch of spare parts and built myself a “town bike.”  I used an old frame from my previous frame supplier, some cross tires mounted on 29er wheels, and a mish mash of other shit to get myself rolling without having to be all roadie.  And of course, it’s a single speed.

The maiden voyage was up to the store to get some supplies, and I hooked up my beer, I mean kid trailer so I could have maximum cargo capacity.

I think I can give that cart back there a run for its money.  Especially if it’s driven by a small child.

So yeah, my rides for the foreseeable future will be on that piece of shit.  Rides to and from the store and other points of interest around the neighborhood shouldn’t be too bad.  You know, because I can bring a shitload of beer along for the ride.

Hell, I’ve even had out it on a pub crawl already.

This recovery shit won’t be so bad.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Long Way Home

After a fun/painful weekend in Winona, Minnesota for Single Speed USA, Good Guy Greg and I hit the road towards North Carolina that Sunday morning.  Crossing back over the Mississippi River, we made the long, boring drive through Wisconsin in record time.  We didn’t stop there this time, because we didn’t want to be disappointed with shitty beer and food again.  Once we got into Illinois (after a thirty plus mile construction zone), we rolled our happy asses into Chicago.

I’m not a city person at all.  I grew up in a tiny little town in Florida playing in the middle of dirt roads, so I was really impressed with these giant buildings.  I’ve been to a few big cites in the past (Los Angeles, Seoul, Korea, Tokyo, Japan, etc.), but nothing I’ve ever seen compared to this monstrosity.  I mean, I got to see the former tallest building in the world.

 The building in the back is the Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower.

And damn, those big ass buildings were everywhere.

Yeah, I’m easily impressed.  Who gives a shit.

The plan was to drive around for a quick tour of the city, thinking that it wouldn’t take long since we were passing through on a Sunday afternoon.  It was still busy as shit though, so we figured that a bike ride would be in order.  Not wanting to pay an arm and a leg for parking, we found some shady underground roadside parking on the cheap.

When we left, I really wondered if my truck would still be there when we got back.

We took off, and my shoulder was killing me after sitting in the truck most of the day.  I tried not to let that bother me, instead taking in the views the best way we could…

By bike.

Having had my fill of the city (and crowds full of assholes), we high tailed it out of there and found my truck still there (and in one piece.)  Don’t worry though, before we left town we made sure to enjoy some of Chi Town’s finest cuisine.

Holy shit.  The biggest, fattest, most delicious pizza pie I’ve ever had.  No wonder everyone up there looked like Jabba The Hutt.

We hit the road, saying goodbye to a city that I don’t ever need to visit again.  It was cool and all, but that was enough big city for me.  Just as we got out of Illinois, we were cruising down the highway hoping to make it to at least Indianapolis for the night.  My truck had other plans though.  Just outside the shit hole of Gary, Indiana, the high temperature warning light appeared on my dashboard.


I immediately pulled off the road, and Good Guy Greg and I looked under the hood. 

The little connector that holds a hose to the heater core had broken off, spewing coolant all over the road.  I called AAA, and after almost two hours of waiting in the middle of nowhere a tow truck showed up.

With one hundred miles of free towing included in my AAA membership, we instructed the driver to take us way the hell down the road towards Central Indiana (and far away from Gary.)  The tow truck was the biggest piece of shit I’ve ever seen, and it shimmied and shook all over the road.  I kept waiting for my truck to fall off the back, or even worse…

Somehow we made it to civilization and found a room for the night.  There was an auto parts store within riding distance, so the next morning we took off to get the part we needed.

We found everything pretty cheap, but now we had to fix it.  With Good Guy Greg’s short reach and my busted shoulder we were having a helluva time.  I finally manned up to the pain and got busy.  The “instructions” (that I read on The Internets) said to use some kind of lube on there to get the adapter to slide in place. 

I used the only thing we had.

Chamois Butt'r.  It’s not just for your crotch anymore.

Parts were installed, coolant was added, and my truck was once again ready to hit the road.  I nervously watched my gauges for signs of trouble, but it was smooth sailing from then on out.  We passed through the rest of Indiana and Kentucky, and when we got into Tennessee (and in sight of “our” mountains) I saw a good sign.

A short drive over those hills and we were home.  It was a trip filled with ups and downs and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I can’t wait for next year.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


When the “race” part of Single Speed USA was over, I felt like I just wanted to stay on the ground forever.  After having a few beers and a big ass burrito from a food truck though, I finally got off my ass just in time to watch the bike derby.

Dejay is in the mix to defend his belt, but he didn’t make it to the end this year.  He gave it a valiant effort, and it was fun to watch.  They also held a game of “bucket ball” to determine the hosting rights for next year.

I was in no shape to compete (and possibly bring the event here to North Carolina next year), so I watched as I finished my beer.  After it was all said and done, it looks like next year’s road trip will be to Michigan.  Oh joy.

The afterparty was winding down, and with the after afterparty only a few hours away I wanted to go back to my room to clean up and put some ice on my shoulder.  The DrunkCyclist crew had other plans though.  They were meeting across the lake for some more fun, and as much as I wanted to go I had to decline. 

Looks like I missed some good shit.

Photo cred:  Cupcake

See that?  Scandinavian Jesus rides on water.

I went back to the room, took a hot shower, put some ice on my shoulder and crawled in bed.  I didn’t really intend to spend my time in Minnesota in bed nursing an injury, but there I was.  I was depressed, hurting, and wishing I could just go home.  Before I got any more down in the dumps though, Good Guy Greg rolled in talking about how much fun they had on the water.  His smile immediately turned to a look of concern though.

“Are you doing okay?”

Surprisingly, I was feeling a little better.  My shoulder wasn’t gonna heal itself instantly, but my mood was better and I wanted to get the hell outta bed.  I (painfully) got dressed and we rode our bikes about a mile or so away to the party.  I wasn’t gonna let some stupid separated shoulder spoil my fun.  I mean, we had stickers to hand out.

There was a live band, called DNF.  I found out they were called “Dad’s Nighttime Friends”, and they rocked it out.  Switching from beer to Jack and Coke, I was having a good time and enjoying the music.

I mean, it was Drunk Cyclist time in the house and we were there to party.

One of the oddest things I’ve ever seen took place at the party, and I still have no idea what it was.  There was a slice of tree on a table, and the locals took turns trying to hammer nails into it.

It must have something to do with being locked inside all winter and having nothing else to do.  The more they drank, the harder it was to hit the nails.  It was interesting at first, but then it got a little boring.

Well, until my man Dirty decided to try it with a full can of beer.

And he didn’t even spill of drop of his own drink.  Baller.

The band was finished, the bar was closing, and we eventually ended up out in the streets of the quiet little town of Winona.  The Firecracker Salesman decided to unleash his arsenal, and the rest of us rode around annoying the piss outta the local college students.

The grand finale was next.  A couple of shells were dropped into a pile of tires and we waited.

See that?  Cool guys don’t look at explosions.

And that was it.  We left our mark on that little town.  Drunk Cyclist, 29nSNGL, and bunch of other single speeders from all over the country came in and showed that little town how to party.  The locals were even calling us “Sons of Anarchy”, which might have been funny if I watched TV enough to know what the hell they were talking about.

It was fun, but we had to go.  The next morning we would hit the road back towards Charlotte.

That was another adventure, and tomorrow I’ll tell you all about it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Keep Going Or Turn Back?

Yes, I’m continuing from where I left off here.

At our unofficial aid station (number four if you're keeping track), we were having a good time heckling, drinking, providing beer hand ups, and socializing with those that stopped to hang out.  We were getting low on beer though, and we knew we had to get going somewhere.  Rumor had it that the “real” aid station was just up the road (and up the rest of that gravel climb), but some folks just wanted to turn around and head back to civilization (and where it was certain there was beer.)  Even though I was hurting like hell from my crash, I didn’t care.  My plan was to stay wherever the majority of our group went.

We eventually decided just to keep riding the course, and if my shoulder wasn’t hurting so bad I might have had a lot more fun.  Fireroads turned to singletrack, singletrack turned to freshly cut, twisty goodness, and then everything turned to rocky as hell downhill.  It was painful, but at least my legs didn’t hurt.  We were still pretty much all together, and we kept each other going for the most part.  Once in a while I would end up all alone, and I wondered to myself why the hell I didn’t quit riding.  My shoulder was fucked (and possibly getting worse), but I thought that being on my bike was better than anything else I could’ve been doing at that point in time. 

Stupid thoughts in my head aside, I was enjoying most of the trail.  At one point I was flying down a fast hill, and I saw Shanna on the side of the trail picking berries.  I looked over at her and she made me laugh.

“Free snacks from Mother Nature.”

Shit like that made the whole day worth it.

After what seemed like forever, we finally found “official” aid station number one.  I drank a little and rested, and the remainder of our crew tried to decide what the plan was.  I was still going with the flow, even though I knew at that point I should probably start making my way towards some kind of medical attention.  Luckily, the group was ready to head out and make our way back.  We “climbed” one more big hill.

Once we made it up that hill, we hit the downhill again.  I was familiar with it since we rode up it previously, but that didn’t make it any better.  It was just rocky enough that it beat the shit outta me with my rigid fork, and when we finally reached the bottom my shoulder hurt so back I wanted to puke.  We hit the road section back towards the lodge, and luckily I started feeling a little better (because I wouldn't get beat up on the trail again for a while.)

When we started getting back into civilization, I noticed that some of our group pulled off the road and into someone’s driveway.  When I finally rolled up I noticed that we had been invited to hang out with some local Minnesotans.

How very courteous those Midwestern folks were.  They didn’t even make fun of my hillbilly accent.

We didn’t stay long, since we weren’t far from the end of the course.  A few turns, crossing some busy streets, and some painful climbs has us rolling back to the finish…

And to some beer served to us by the locals.

I can’t believe I made it back.  I was mentally exhausted more than anything, and my shoulder pain was so bad that it didn’t even matter anymore.  All I wanted to do was kick back and look up in the sky, hoping that I would just float away.

I made it.  It was a lot harder that it should’ve been.

But, Single Speed USA was over.

There was an after party to attend though, and I wasn’t sure I would make it. 

Tomorrow, I’ll peel myself off the ground and finish this story.

Hang in there.  I did.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Rollin’ In

When Good Guy Greg and I hit the woods, it was to the cheers of “Go North Carolina!”  We had left the rest of the DC crew for some reason, and ended up riding with Dejay and Shanna.  It wasn’t a real fast pace, but I wanted to ride a little quicker and enjoy the trail for a while before we started drinking at aid station number one (fifteen miles in.)  That was a long way to go, so we thought we should hurry up and get there.  I somehow passed Shana on a climb, and when we hit the downhill I started hauling ass like I usually do.  A little way in, I took a turn too fast and rolled off the trail into the bushes.  Whatever the hell I landed in had me itching like crazy, but it wore off a few minutes later.  We rolled on and I tried to stay in control on the descents from then on.

We reached a long switchback climb, and for the sake of saving our legs we (and everyone else) decided to walk it.  It just went on and on, and eventually we stopped for a breather.  The rest of the crew rolled up behind us, and we made our own aid station.

Eventually we kicked ourselves out of there and started riding again on the smooth, rolling hills.  No one was “racing” and we moved along at a fun pace.  We rolled out of the woods into a neighborhood, and unofficial aid station number two was setup after only two miles.

I hadn’t had a drink at that point, since I was still a little shaken up from that first crash.  While alcohol probably would’ve made me more focused, I decided that I would wait until the “real” aid station.  Dumb decision, I know, but there was a big downhill up next that I wanted to shred.

I heard how fun it was from a lot of different people, and I started trying to figure out where I would jump in with the group.  With everyone still enjoying their beverages, Cupcake took off and I decided to follow him down about a minute later.  It was super fast downhill, and I tried to keep my hands off the brakes to see how hard I could push it.  I eventually caught up with him, and I saw him slow down for something.  When I got closer, I noticed a small banked turn that went into a rock garden.  I adjusted my speed, and prepared for the tiny turn.

“I got this”, I said to myself.

Except I didn’t.  When I began the turn to the right to line up with the little rock garden, my front tire rolled off the rim and my bike started to throw me down.  It felt like I was falling in slow motion, and my face was heading right towards a big rock sticking up in the middle of the pile.  I turned my head to the left so I wouldn’t mess up my pretty face, and I felt my shoulder hit the rock with all of my 225 pounds behind it.

And I heard a loud “crack.”

Shit, that hurt.

I was really shaken up, but I somehow still had the presence of mind to grab my bike and move it off the trail.  I checked my crabon fork for damage (as well as the rest of my bike), and satisfied that everything was okay I checked myself.  My collarbone was intact, and I couldn’t find any other broken bones right away.  A few scrapes, some quick bruising on my leg, and a painful as hell shoulder joint were all I could find.

That was way too much though.

Now I had to try to fix my flat so I could keep going.

Good Guy Greg rolled up soon after, and asked if I was okay.  I told him I was, but the look of panic on his face told me he thought I was full of shit.  He helped me put a tube in my tire (the sealant was gone), and while we were working the rest of the gang starting rolling by.  Everyone tried to make sure I was okay, and I kept telling them I was.  “Don’t worry”, I said, “I’ll catch up.”

We were there a long, long time.  I was really shaken up, and my shoulder was getting worse.  I was sure it was separated (later confirmed by my doctor), but there was no way I would quit that early.  As I got ready to roll again, the official security/course sweeper Chewie rolled up in disbelief.

“There’s no way I should’ve caught you this early.”

“I’m okay, just a little crash.”

Instead of sweeping me off the course, he told me that a mechanical issue was okay, and that if I get going I would be allowed to finish.  We took off, and as painful as it was I was happy to be riding again.

It wasn’t long before we rolled up on another unofficial aid station, so I had a chance to rest for a few minutes.  I tried to drink some beer, but nothing tasted good.  I was nauseous, in a shitload of pain, and wondering if I could ride thirty more miles.  Just then, Chewie rolled up again.

I used that as motivation and we got the hell outta there.

We took off through another neighborhood.  Riding on the pavement wasn’t too bad, but I was dreading getting on the trail again.  We had a little fun with the serious racers on their way back (yes, they were getting close to finishing), and our little party on wheels was having a great time.

We crossed a busy highway, rolled down another street, and made our way up a gravel climb.  We said “Fuck this shit”, pulled over, and started unofficial aid station number four.

We handed off beer to the racers on their way back, caused some crashes, and one guy even shot people in the ass with rocks out of his slingshot.  I was hurting worse as the day went on, but at least the fun we were having numbed the pain a little bit.

The sad news?  We weren’t even halfway through the course.

The other sad news?  I’m not gonna finish this shit until Monday.

See y’all then.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

All My Rowdy Friends

They showed up in Minnesota to teach that little town of Winona how to party. 

Friday night was the registration/pre-party, and my man Dirty was ready to wreck shit.

And getting friendly with the locals.

It was like a big family reunion with the DrunkCyclist crew, and it was also a chance to catch up with other friends old and new.  Like the Endless Bike crew that we kept missing on the highway, we finally caught up to them too.

The beer was flowing, and eventually the party ended up outside near the food truck.

My phone died shortly after that, so I didn’t get anymore photos.  There was an impromptu bike derby out in the street, a cooler full of corn, and possibly some fireworks.  We got back to the room feeling pretty good, and ready to roll out to the race start the next morning. 

I didn’t drink enough to be hungover, but I still thought my eyes were deceiving me when I spotted my old pal Unicorn Man from last year rolling down the road the next morning on the way to the start.

When we got to the lodge, the party was getting started.

And just like last year, a few people dressed up for the occasion.

‘Merica.  Hell yeah.

There weren’t as many costumes as last year, but there were way more members of the DC crew.

Photo credit:  Caveman

That wasn’t even half of us either.

We were told that it was gonna be a Le Mans style start, and we had to put our bikes over in an empty part of the park and run back to them later.  Since this was serious racing, Scandinavian Jesus was doing some serious stretching to get ready.

But, there would be no running.  The serious douchebags ran like track stars, and we strolled in like rock stars. 

Eventually making it to our bikes, we rolled out at a leisurely pace and hit the singletrack.  The “race” had begun.  Turn on your Strava, asshole.  We’re serious about this shit.

See y’all tomorrow for the nitty gritty.