Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I’m Always Thankful For…

Beer, of course.

Thanks to TomTom for this delicious brew.

Right now though, I’m thankful that it’s a short week. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving (you do own a calendar, right?) and most of you will sit around all day stuffing your face with uh, stuffing. And I guess turkey and all that too.

Why am I even here today? Who knows. Judging from my drive into work this morning, a lot of people have the day off. I guess I’m thankful for that too. An easy drive into work is always appreciated.

I’m not big on Thanksgiving, but I’ll probably eat some turkey tomorrow too. Hopefully it will dry up enough so I can ride my bike somewhere around here.  We've had some shit weather lately and it’s starting to drive me crazy.

I will get out to ride over the next four days…somehow.

Do me a favor. When you get done eating yourself unconscious, wake up and go for a bike ride.

You gotta do something, you lazy bastards.

See y’all Monday.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

When Things Are Ignored

Yesterday I talked about giving back to the trails you ride. ON the way home from working at Uwharrie, I took a little detour to stop by a local park in the town of Albemarle. City Lake Park had some trails built there once upon a time, which I rode a few years back. The local club (which was later absorbed into the Trailblazers) put in many hours to show the community what can be done with public land. They did a great job from what I remembered, but I hadn’t been there in so long that I had forgotten about it. When I arrived, it looked like the locals did too.

The main thing I remembered about that place was the skills section in the middle of the park, which was quite good for the area. They had one helluva pump track, but form the looks of it no one has been on it in a long, long, time.

I mean, you can hardly tell what it is now.

There are some other features that haven’t given in to nature so easily though.

I don’t really know how many people actually live close enough to that park anymore that would ride it (obviously not many), but that doesn’t mean that it should continue to be ignored. For most of us that ride out at Uwharrie, it’s on the way back home. I was too tired from hurling logs off the trail that day to ride that stuff, but the last time I did I had a blast. Maybe there’s not enough mileage (and feature-type stuff) to warrant a trip out there from Charlotte just to ride it, but next time I’m in the area maybe I should. In fact, maybe it’s time that we started take care of it too.

Since the club that was in the area previously (of which I was a former member) took care of it, now it appears that we (as in the Trailblazers) should pick up where they left off. It won’t take much to get this thing back in shape, and at the risk of spreading myself too thin maybe I should try to get a crew together to tackle it.

Who’s with me?

Probably none of you, since you’re all way over there across The Internets.

No worries. Just the fact that I mentioned it should be motivation enough for me to drum up some support here locally. Who knows, it might make a difference. It’s much better than sitting around doing nothing and letting such a great opportunity go to waste.

Since you just want to sit around, watch this creepy shit for a while:

I have no idea.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sometimes It Better To Skip A Ride

After careful thought Friday evening, I decided against riding to give back to the trails. One of the trails out in the Uwharrie National Forest was in dire need of some tree-clearing, so I gave TomTom call to let him know that I would be there early in the morning to help. This was a planned work day, and I'm not sure why I didn't plan to be there in the first place. I guess I was being selfish like most mountain bikers, deciding to skip out on trail work to go for a ride.

I'm glad I came to my senses.

We met up at the trailhead, and surprisingly there were only four of us that showed up. Kevin B., TomTom, Good Guy Greg, and of course, me. We grabbed the saws and hiked our way out into the forest, casually chatting it up with the hunters that were out there to bag some deer.

We had a shitload of work to do, and in this case it wasn't cut out for us. Trees blocked a lot of the trail, so we got to work.

I'll just post up a bunch of pictures now.

Some of the trees were pretty damn big:

But we managed to get it eventually.

Sometimes it was hard to even find the trail:

But we did, and got it cleared.

It was a long day. We cut trees, cleared the trail, and walked all over the forest. We were too tired to ride afterward, but it was a good kind of tired. While most people were out enjoying some riding in perfect NC fall weather, we were out there busting our asses trying to get one of our favorite trails in the area back in ride-able condition. I'm not saying that I'm special or anything, because it's not really a big deal. What is a big deal is that a lot of people don't give back to the trails.

That's a damn shame. You like riding, right? Well, get off your ass and get involved. There are organizations all over that build and maintain trails, and with all that fancy Internet technology we have these days it's easy to find one.

I expect to see you out there putting in some work on the trails you love to ride. I'm not asking much, you know.

Just give up a little bit of your riding time to do a little bit of work. It makes a big difference.

Friday, November 22, 2013

I'm Free

Another weekend with no plans. Well, sorta. I've had a few ideas but nothing has been decided. Other than a small chance of rain and a little chilly air, my riding chances are looking good.

Honestly I don't want to stay local though. I wanted to head up to the hills on Saturday, but every person I've asked to go already has plans. Sunday is an option, but if it's gonna be cold enough to freeze the balls off a pool table here in town, I imagine that the mountains will be like the Arctic Circle. I don't want to freeze to death. It takes me a while to get used to the cold. When I do, I'm fine. Shit, maybe I will stay local (and warm.)

Speaking of warm, you may have seen this out there on The Internets already:

Yeah, Sonya gave out a discount code for some DeFeet goodies. You know, stuff to keep you warm when you wanna bitch about the weather like I do. You have until the end of this month (there are thirty days in November by the way) to go to DeFeet and grab all the arm warmers, knee warmers, base layers, and wool socks you can. Enter the code “SONYA” at checkout and you'll save 30%.

Thirty percent? Are these guys even making any money? Better get 'em fast before they come to their senses.

Wanna save some money on more cool shit? Get yourself some discounted Drunk Cyclist jerseys, shorts, and bibs at the DC Voler Store.

Enter the code”SAVE15” to get 15% off some fancy duds that will make all the chicks dig you.

I've given you enough for today. Time to go crawl in my hole of indecision.

See y'all next week.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Trail Love

After we broke up into groups for our ride, I was ready to spin my legs. I hadn't been to Florida in years (to ride or for anything else) so I was looking forward to getting back out on some familiar singletrack. You see, I rode Hanna Park many moons ago, an honestly I wasn't that impressed. Typical Florida singletrack; rooty, sandy, twisty, and flat as aboard. That's why I figured I would run off to Santos after our group ride last Saturday. When I heard that SORBA-Jax had been putting in a shitload of work to add to those trails though, I got a little excited.

Let the group ride begin.

We started out twisting and turning, and only a little of the trail looked even remotely familiar. My how things had changed in just a few short years. The club members down there have really worked hard to make a quality trail, and after only a few short miles I was having a blast. Feeling comfortable with the terrain was a plus, but those folks sure know how to make due with what they have.

Riding through a swamp was a nice touch for me too.

Photo cred: The Trail Mayor

There are quite a few loops out there, and while not overly difficult they were challenging enough. After a little while we ended up on a road in the park, on to the next section.

And then it was back in the swamp.

Just make sure you don't give any food to the critters.

When it was all said and done, I think we clocked somewhere around seventeen miles. I wasn't worn out, but it was a good enough ride that I didn't feel I needed to go anywhere else. Well, almost.

Since I was so close to the beach, I rode out there.

With plenty of time to get to the afterparty, I took off on a search for some local brew that I could bring back to Charlotte. Before long (thanks to some friends in the area) I had some good stuff. My beer status was much improved from the night before for sure.

Intuition I-10 IPA is a local beer, and it's quite delicious. I bought plenty to bring back here, so I had a few before I cleaned up to head for the big party.

At the party we were treated to free food and beer, and I chatted it up with friends old and new. After the free stuff ran out, we kept going. Things got way more fun, with us yelling off the balcony at the locals below. I swear at one point I was hanging out with Dave Grohl, and a dude that looked just like Michael Phelps. I tried to get photos, but the best I could do was one that would make a Bigfoot hunter proud.

He's got another confession to make.

It wasn't Foo Fighters, but there was a band:

They weren't bad, but I drank a lot so my opinion isn't to valuable.

I had a great time down there in Jacksonville for sure. It was nice to go back to the state where I grew up, and the folks at SORBA-Jax showed us a good time. They are a hard-working club (just like the rest of us here in the Southeast), and I feel privileged that I got a chance to spend some time down there seeing what they were all about. I also learned a lot from the board meeting, despite how much fun it looked like I had. I'll definitely be back to Florida's largest city.

Oh yeah, what trip to the swamp would be complete (for me) without posting a picture of an alligator?

I miss Florida sometimes, but not enough to move back. Definitely enough to make frequent visits down there from now on though.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Down (Further) South

So yeah, I went down to Jacksonville, FL over the weekend for the SORBA Board of Directors meeting. I like driving and spending time alone, so the six hour trip was pretty nice. I got there in the middle of the welcome reception, ran into a few people that I knew, and met a few new faces. After a beer or two and some food (and of course some socializing), it was off to the hotel to check in. Not feeling like going back out to buy beer, I got on the Internets for help.

And the best comment came from my smart-ass pal Eastwood

There was a store right across from the hotel, so figured I should go see what they had. I probably would've been better off staying sober.

It was the best thing available. Oh well, I didn't need to stay up all night drinking anyway. I had to go to the beach first thing in the morning.

Our meeting was held in a building that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. It was odd hanging out with a bunch of mountain bikers at the beach, but it did make for a nice venue. The agenda was good, the meeting moved along nicely, and I was never bored.

I just kept having to get up to stand in the back of the room because the chairs were so damn uncomfortable. Meh.

During one of our breaks, I walked outside to get some fresh air. That's when I spotted a bike that looked an awful lot like Eastwood's Glow Worm...with a touch of crabon.

Eventually the meeting wrapped up, and quite honestly I took a lot of good information away from it. It's amazing how different each club here in the Southeast is, but how similar our issues are. I met a lot of cool people too, but the fun was just beginning. It was time for our group ride at Hanna Park.  The trail head was right near the meeting location, so after everyone got changed we gathered around to break up into groups.

Photo cred: The Trail Mayor

I opted for the social group, since after sitting in my truck for six hours the day before and several hours again for the meeting my legs were jelly. I'll get into the group ride tomorrow I guess, but for now I'll share something I found to be pretty cool.

One of our locals here in Charlotte, Mike Long, told me a while back that he helped build the trails at Hanna Park when he lived down there in Jacksonville back in the day. When I mentioned to former SORBA-Jax club president Dan Z. that I knew someone that helped build the trails there, he asked me who. When I told him he said, “He has a trail named after him here.”

“No shit?” I asked.


That's awesome. I wonder if he even knows about that.

See y'all tomorrow for a ride report from sunny Florida.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Day

I usually try to take my birthday off from work so I can go ride. Originally I wanted to go up to the mountains, but I was kinda worn out from driving back and forth to FL over the weekend (I’ll get into that tomorrow.) The backup plan was to have a big ride somewhere local, but with rain moving through overnight I knew the conditions wouldn’t be favorable.

So I went on a little greenway adventure.

It was an unseasonably warm day here in Charlotte, so that made the ride quite nice. Just like all good rides though, I made sure to bring along a tasty beverage.

Fall in North Carolina is the perfect time to go out for a bike ride.

Since it was a Monday, I had the whole place to myself. There’s nothing like a little solitude to celebrate the day you were born.

I rode for a few hours, drank some beer, and just enjoyed the fact that I survived another year on this planet. I even went to see a movie for the first time in years, which was pretty odd for me. And once again, I had the whole place to myself.

I guess that’s what old people do.

I don’t feel old, but having a day all to myself was just what I needed. The family took me out to dinner last night too, and after a day spent without anyone else around it was a good way to cap it all off.

Tomorrow, a recap of my whirlwind trip down to Jacksonville.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Back To The Sunshine State

Unlike “normal” weekends where I have no plan and try to cram in a bunch of stuff, this weekend I actually have a plan. I'm leaving in a few hours for sunny Florida, specifically Jacksonville. I have the privilege of attending the SORBA Board of Directors meeting tomorrow, and I'll be representing the Tarheel Trailblazers down there. Why me? Well, I may have forgotten to mention that I am on the board of our local club here (serving as Vice President.) The bigger news may be that as of January, I'll be part of the presidency. We've opted for a co-president position this time around, so I'll be teaming up with TomTom to run this club into the ground, er, I mean help us grow and become a better club.

Sounds like a challenge. I hope we're up for it.

Anyway, I stand to learn a lot at this meeting tomorrow, but I won't bore you with the details. After the meeting though, we'll be riding. The ride takes place at a trail I rode a few years ago, Hanna Park. While not a difficult trail by any means, it should be fun. Being a native of Florida, I know that it's pretty flat down there (especially near the coast.) That probably means I shouldn't bring the Endurobike.

I'll pack my trusty rigid hardtail single speed, and hopefully won't spin like crazy trying to keep up on a group ride. If the ride doesn't last too long and I have time, I may head over to Santos in nearby Ocala for some really fun riding. I'm pretty familiar with that place since I grew up down there, so I know it will be fun. Maybe I'll bring my lights and go for a night ride. That's one thing I've never done down there.

There is a possibility that I could be tired of pedaling from just one group ride, so Hanna Park may be all I get. In that case, I may take a trip over to the longest surviving skatepark in the world, Kona. I haven't been there in years, and quite honestly I've missed skateboarding. Maybe it's time to get rad and all that.

Once again, that's quite a bit of stuff planned for one weekend. Luckily I have Monday off too. That's my birthday, but I may not have the energy to celebrate.

Still taking the day off from here though. See y'all Tuesday.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Times Like These

I'm gonna whine for a minute. You may want to go away.

This time of year sucks for me. With the time change (back to “normal” time I guess), it gets dark way too damn early. I work inside in an office all day, and by the time I go outside to head home the sun is already going down. I feel depressed about it when it first starts happening, because it feels like I have to cram all my riding into the weekend. If I don't get to ride both of those days it makes me feel even worse. I eventually get used to it, but it really sucks at first. I'm trying not to let it get me down.

I'm trying, Ringo. I'm trying real hard.

Luckily, I really enjoy night riding. Sometimes I forget how much, so I have to remind myself from time to time. Even on nights that I'm riding, I have to say “Self, shut the fuck up and quit whining. You're going for a ride in the dark.”

And just like that everything is all better.

BYT is really close to me here at work, so I can get down there pretty much any night I want. The trail is even better at night, even though I usually ride it alone. After a long day of putting up with bullshit at work it's kinda nice to be out there by myself.

I guess I really should quit whining and just ride more.

In other news, I got word yesterday that one of my supporters over there will be supporting me once again. Next season, it looks like I'll still be down with Maxxis.

Wait, I'm not getting that kind of support. I'll be riding Maxxis tires again next season, getting into who knows what kind of shit. That's good, because I really didn't want to have to ride without tires. That would make my night rides even more difficult.

I guess things ain't so bad after all.