Monday, December 14, 2015

It’s Been a While

I haven’t had much time to blog, and to be quite honest I really haven’t had anything worthy of sharing (not that it’s stopped me before.)  I’m still having a little knee issue, and even though my injury is improving it’s taking a long time.  So, that means I haven’t been riding much.  I wanted to change that this past weekend.

I was trying to do a fun urban/cruising ride down in Myrtle Beach on Saturday, but working late Friday night meant that I didn’t really have the time to drive down to stay with our Charleston friends (where Little Miss Sunshine was waiting.)  She talked me out of trying to drive down to meet everyone at 9:30 a.m. in Myrtle Beach, so after sleeping in a little Saturday morning I woke up with nothing to do.

I didn’t feel like heading to the hills (alone since I no haz friends), so I started going over local options.  I limited it to really close trails, but I didn’t want to be bored to death.  I almost settled on Sherman Branch, but then I remembered Rocky River Trail.

Technically challenging, tough climbs, and the ability to make the ride as short or as long as you want.  That was perfect for the ride I thought I wanted.  Plus, being alone meant that I could stop and take pictures whenever I want.  Like when I see critters.

You have goat to be kidding me.

Since I hadn’t been riding much lately, the climbs were HARD.  My knee felt good though, so I just pushed through the pain in my lungs and my barely used leg muscles.  Luckily, there are downhills.

With every downhill, there seemed to be a climb.  Despite the sign reminding me that I had a choice of places to ride, I didn’t regret my decision.

One of the neatest features out there is the viaduct, which aside from being fun to ride is pretty amazing to see.

It wasn’t all fun and games though.  Towards the end of the ride, I was pooped.   On one of the final climbs when I stood up to mash, my wheel slipped out from underneath me and I took a tumble.


I’d rather be out on my bike, so even though I busted my ass it was much better than just sitting on my ass.

And the crash wasn’t so bad.  Nothing was broken (me or the bike.)  With one climb to go, I was feeling like I made the right choice.  Nearing the top, I recognized a foul stench that nearly made me gag.  As I started to look around for a dead animal, I spotted something hanging on a tree.

I feel ya, my deer friend.

It was nice to be out.  Maybe I’ll do it again.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Far Away

Well, far enough.  Rather than participate in that shitty shopping ritual called “Black Friday”, I wanted to get as far away from shopping stuff as I could (without driving all day.)  Luckily, the Dirty Party Cycle hit me up a few days before and suggested that we take a trip to Uwharrie…

That seemed like a great idea.  The trails there don’t get a ton of use and there’s not much around in the way of shopping.  I was excite.

While not the “real” mountains, it’s still the mountains damn it.  A few tough climbs, some rad downhills, and views that make you think that you might be “way up there.”

We didn’t stop much for photos, and even though he offered, the DPC didn’t taker any shots of me.  I got one of him though.

There’s been a lot of logging out there recently though.  I was concerned at first, but it looks like they aren’t really impacting the trails.  Still, we stopped to chat with a local driver about what they’ve been up to out there.

The trails were in awesome shape too (that’s always a plus.)  My friend and “sorta” local all around good guy Chris Green had been there to clear the trails of leaves and debris recently (including once after our ride.)  The trails don’t take care of themselves, you know.

It was a great day.  You know, because we weren’t out there fighting people to get a “deal” on a shitty TV.  It was nice to be outside and not inside spending money.  Well, scratch that.  We did spend a little money…

Just on beer and Mexican food though.

Totally worth it, and no crowds.

Tis the season to ride.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Long Weekend

So, I finally started a new job (I need money for bikes and guitars) and it’s going quite well.  It’s actually what I’d been hoping to find when I took the last one (that turned out to be bullshit.)  Anyway, with the new job comes time off already, and I’m good with that.  Even though Thanksgiving isn’t really my thing, having days off to play is my thing.  Instead of gathering around the table and putting up with “thankful” long-lost family members, the little lady and I took off for a little ride near the house.

You know, at that rad trail we built called RTS…

It was pretty damn awesome.

Little Miss Sunshine was all smiles, and it was one of the most beautiful days we’ve had around here in a while.

 Since this trail is hand built, it’s full of rocks and roots.  You know, fun stuff. 

You don’t “race” at RTS.  It will kick your ass even though it’s not “epic” in terms of mileage.

Plus, fun and all that.

 With a long holiday weekend, riding near the house was a perfect way to kick it off.  I’ve been in a really good mood lately, no doubt because my career situation has changed for the better.

And of course, I haz days off to play.

Moar riding coming up tomorrow…

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

One More

A few days into my “quit shitty job and getaway” adventure, I was pretty damn satisfied.  I rode some fun trails, hung out with friends and family, and reminisced in my hometown.  I wasn’t done though.  Since I brought a bike, I wanted to ride some more. And no trip to Florida would be complete without a trip to one of the first trails I’ve ever ridden…

I got to the trail pretty early, ready to enjoy a leisurely ride.  The last time I was at Santos, I did a 12 hour race on a rigid singlespeed.  That was a different kind of fun I guess.  Anyway, looking forward to not having to push myself for 12 hours I took off…

And immediately experienced some of the most horrific knee pain ever.

Not even in the trail yet and I was hurting.  Instead of canceling my ride to nurse my swollen knee, I opted to play around on the skills course for a bit to see if things would “loosen up.”  It didn’t help one bit, but my stubborn ass decided to ride anyway.  The trail starts out pretty flat so I figured I’d be fine.

The pain was subdued as long as I didn’t stand up to pedal, so the first few miles weren’t so bad. I still stopped a lot just in case.

I couldn’t resist playing around though, even if it did hurt when I stood up.

That was fun, but this one was fun-er…

I somehow made it all the way to the Vortex (as seen in the photo above.)  My knee seemed to be getting worse, but seeing the Florida “mountains” made me forget about it a little.

But I still wanted to crawl in a hole and die.

The Vortex section is tough.  It’s where you find quite a bit of climbing, and with my knee getting much worse I ended up walking a lot.  I sat down for a while, wondering if I would even be able to make it back to the trail head.  I considered asking someone out there for a ride back, but I can't go for that.  Eventually I fought through the pain (making matters worse no doubt) and rolled slowly through the woods to reach my truck.  I sat for a while with my leg elevated and wondered why I had been a complete dumbass.  My knee was the size of a softball at this point and I could barely bend it.


Somehow I managed to pack up my stuff and went on a quest for some liquid “medicine.”  Luckily I only had to travel across the street…

They sell beer, and of course you can drink it right there in the shop. 

I felt better, but my knee hurt (alcohol is rad but not that rad.)  I piled into my truck and drove away, wondering if I would be able to walk the next time I stopped.  I took frequent breaks from driving to stretch my leg, and it helped just a little bit.  Luckily when I stopped in Jacksonville to get beer I had a cart to hold on to.

The mystery injury was a few weeks ago.  I still haz pain.  I’ve been on one road ride since then and it seems to be a little better.  I have a long way to go I guess.  Who knows.  I didn’t do anything to hurt it, but at least the diagnosis isn’t too bad (bursitis.)  I may have a bum knee for a while, but damn if that trip didn’t do me wonders.

I’ve since started a new job (pretty damn awesome), and I have a new outlook on things these days.  This is the first time in a long time that I’ve consistently been in a good mood.

Who gives a shit.

I do, I guess.  For now.

See y’all next week.  I have a four day weekend because natives saved some white people from starving to death many moons ago.  

Don’t eat too much tomorrow, tubby.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Back To My Roots

You’ve heard it before. I took a chance with a career move and it really sucked.  It affected me daily and I was in a dark place mentally.  When I finally got a chance to get out of there, going back to Florida (albeit temporarily) seemed like a logical choice.  Head back to where I grew up so I could clear my head before I took my next step?  It was just enough of a plan.

I camped (and rode) in the swamp, getting into a fun adventure with my pal Mr. Shepherd.  I left that afternoon and drove to a few different places around the state to see some friends.  Spending time with people from various parts of my past was good for me, and I capped off my second day with a drive back to my hometown with another childhood friend enjoying some beer at a local watering hole.

It was a long night but it was good to catch up.  Since he had to go to work the next morning, I got out of his house pretty early.  I decided to ride around town and do a little reminiscing.  The sleepy little city where I spent most of my life has changed quite a bit, but in a lot of ways it was the same.

  In some ways it was like I never left...

One thing I saw made me a little sad that I left.  Just a short walk from my old house, the craft beer trend has finally infiltrated the place where I was born.

I guess I'll be back there really soon.

I drove around for quite a while, but then I heard from my brother.  He works at Gatorland (just across the county line) and invited me to spend some time with him.  I wasn’t about to miss a chance to see him and hang out with some of the most fascinating creatures on the planet.

And as a bonus, he took me on the zip line where I flew through the air over lots of hungry reptiles.

That was a helluva ride.

It was nice to spend a few hours with my brother, but it was time to ht the road.  With no definite plans and no destination in mind, I drove back to my hometown to spend a little alone time on the lake.

When I was a kid, there was a much older and shittier version of this pier in that spot and aside from fishing there, it was a right of passage to jump off of it into the lake on a hot summer day.  This day though, I just sat at the end of it for a long time, thinking about how much fun it was to be a kid in that little town.

And as the sun went down on “my” lake, I thought about what I would do next.

It didn’t matter.  For the first time in a long time, my head was in the right place again.