Friday, February 27, 2015

Fun Friday

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Fun Friday post.  I’ve either been gone, or dragging out other stuff.  So I guess I need to ease back into it.  I feel like I’m still trying to catch up from everything though. 

First thing I’d forgotten to mention is that our bikes have made it back from Arizona.

Yup, D-Wayne sent them back to us, and the return trip didn’t seem to bother them much.  I got both of them put together in a jiffy.

Now my bike corral seems whole again.

In other news, we’ve been having some shitty weather conditions.  While we didn’t get a huge amount of snow like the weather people predicted (they’re never right anyway), we did get enough. 

Carl really liked to play in it.

I don’t care to drive in it, since no one around here seems to know how.  I’m also a little bit tired of being cold.  I know, I’m the dumbass that moved out of warm, sunny Florida.  It seems like winter has been a little worse this year, and I’ve had about enough.  So much that the little lady and I are getting away for the weekend.  We’re going someplace warm.

Yup, I’m heading back to The Sunshine State.

Now I do realize that today’s Fun Friday is all about the fun I’m having, and it may or may not be that fun for you.  I told you I need to ease back into it.  Friday posts are pretty much supposed to be funny pictures and junk like that.

Well, have this one:

See y’all Monday, most likely with tales of me being warmer.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

After Action Review

Way back when I was in the Army, we had these things called AARs, or After Action Reviews.  You talk about what went right, wrong, or whatever.  I still tend to do that from time to time.

Overall, the 12 Hours of Santos was a great event.  It was nice to be back in Florida, riding one of the first trails I’d ever been on.  Even though everyone thinks that Florida is flat and lacks anything technical, this was a tough course.  I’ve done other 12 hour races and didn’t feel like I worked this hard.  It was a good way to start my “season.”  Whatever the hell that’s gonna be.

The organizers did a great job for the most part, with a few exceptions.  When I arrived Friday evening, I headed over to packet pickup which was supposed to be from 5pm to 6pm.  At 5:01, no one was there.  When I found someone official, they said, “Oh, there was a banana emergency.  They will be back later.”

I laughed about it.  No big deal.  I could pick up my stuff in the morning since I was camping. 

Food was an issue.  Since I was camping there for the whole weekend, I was smart enough to go grocery shopping before I arrived in Ocala even though there was supposed to be free food (most importantly “a pasta dinner for all riders.”)  I smelled food while I was out on the course, and I heard the announcer talk about everyone eating.  I figured that it was for the 6 hour people, and that there would be another wave of food for those of us doing the 12 hour.  When the race was over, I headed over the the shining light in the dark forest.

There was just an awards ceremony.  No food for the rest of us.  That pissed me off a little.  I still got to eat dinner, which consisted of a cold can of steak and vegetable soup, a handful of Pringles, and one lonely beer.  It sucked, but at least I got to eat something.  Maybe next time they should be more specific about the food.  There’s no way in hell I’m gonna stop in the middle of a 12 hour race to eat a dinner, so in the future they should say something like:

Pasta dinner for the six hour racers.  Twelve hour people make appropriate arrangements or just quit halfway through.

Another thing that I (and lots of other people) noticed was the copious mounts of “racer trash” on the trail.  It was ridiculous.  Every lap it got worse and I couldn’t believe it.  The crowd was much less douchey than other races I’ve done, so I was really surprised.  I’m sure that the race organizers got someone out there to clean it all up though.


That’s it for the gripes.  I think I may make this an annual event, so hopefully they’ll figure it out next year.   

There are some things I need to figure out next year for myself too:

My knee is a lot better now.  Just slightly sore, and there was really nothing I could do to prevent what happened.  Well, other than making sure my light setup was secure.  That’s totally my fault.

Air pressure.  My wrist is still sore.  For the last few days I’ve been shopping for a squishy fork, thinking that my rigid days are over.  I realized that I should have user my ideal tire pressure, which I’d written down and failed to consult before heading out to race.  Even the rear tire pressure was way too high.  That’s an easy fix, without wussing out and removing my rigid crabon fork.

It was way too early in the season for a 12 hour race, but I felt good about my effort.  I finally feel recovered, but the next morning after the race I felt like a part of me died out there.  I was slow to pack up my stuff, and most of the time I just sat around and enjoyed the nice weather.  Once again, I was smart enough to bring my own food.

According to my Garmin, I burned well over 8,000 calories out on the course.  On the drive back to Charlotte, I’d consumed probably close to 15,000.  It seemed like all I wanted to do was eat.  That’s the first time I’ve ever felt like that after an endurance race.  Unfortunately, I kept eating junk.

Like my own cheese pizza.

I ate that in about 10 minutes.  It was only good because I was so hungry.  I damn sure wouldn’t eat one any other time. 

I paid close attention to recovery this time.  Knowing that an eight hour drive would wreak havoc on my legs, I stopped often.  I had originally planned to go back to my hometown to visit friends and family, but instead I headed across the state and up the coast, stopping to hang out in Saint Augustine for a while.  I stretched every time I stopped, and while I was driving I used some good ol’ shock therapy to loosen my sore legs.

It helped a lot.  I could actually walk when I got back home.

So yeah, this was a much better experience than last year.  I’m definitely planning to do it again.  It was so nice to see my Florida friends and the Charlotte crew while I spent all day suffering on my bike.  The little things I griped about are just that:    


I’m in for next year, especially if the weather up here is shitty again (like it is now.)

At least tomorrow is Friday.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

For Better Or Worse

I was off again.

The first climb in after sitting for a while got to me a little.  It sorta made me wonder what the hell I’d gotten myself into.  I was pretty wonky, having trouble controlling my bike even on the easy parts.  Once I got through the first tech section and back to the flat, twisty stuff, I settled in and spun away.  I’d already surpassed my lap total from last year, so my mind was feeling good.

And I was still having lots of fun.

Photo cred:  Nancy Bregg

The flat stuff was fun too but it got a little monotonous.  I would often find myself daydreaming (and even hallucinating some), and at one point I was startled when I heard a rider approach me from behind.  I soon realized that it was Dicky (as soon as he passed me), and after saying hello I looked down at the trail and saw that I was barely moving. 

I gotta get my head right again.

I started getting my mojo back eventually.  Normally I ride with some sort of music playing device, but this time I didn’t.  I wanted to see if I could suffer without any outside help, and after that one episode I got back to business.  Once I got back to the next tech section in the Vortex, I worked hard.  I still had climbing legs (surprisingly), even though it took a bunch of work to mash up the steep stuff.

Photo cred:  Christie Burnett

A little more tech, one more steep climb (after a sweet wooden berm), and a few small ups and down later I was on the home stretch of that lap.  The last twisty and fast section was very much welcomed, and before too long I came screaming through the pit row.  The crew from Jacksonville had a little jump ramp set up along the trail, and I’d been hitting it all day long.  I wasn’t about to stop, and after their cheers and I jumped it and headed for the Niner tents.

I didn’t want to stop after this lap but the sun was starting to go down.  I walked over to grab my lights, mounted them up, and headed back out for more.  With my legs feeling a little looser, I hit the climby tech stuff again and did a little better this time around.  It wasn’t dark enough to turn my lights on yet (or so I thought), so I rode as long as I could without them to see what I could do.  I honestly don’t remember much about that lap other than noticing that I didn’t find a lot of the trail familiar. 

That’s pretty odd considering I’d been riding it since 10:00 a.m.

I don’t recall that lap time, but I do know that it was over before I knew it.  One more flight off the kicker ramp in pit row and I was feeling good.  I stopped to refill my bottles and grab a snack, all while getting tons of encouragement from my friends in the pit.  It was full on dark outside now, and I took off for my first ever night ride in Florida.

Weird, I know.  But, I wasn’t into night riding when I lived down there.  Daytime was enough of a challenge back then.

I was tired at this point.  My legs were doing okay I guess, but I was really sleepy.  Like, "I’d been on a bike all damn day" sleepy.  My mind was playing tricks on my and I nearly went off a bridge in the first tech section.  Down a rocky as hell descent I noticed that my handlebar light had moved a little.  I stopped to secure it and quickly went on my way.  I climbed up a steep, rocky section and got ready for what had become one of my favorite descents down there.  Just as I started though, the light on my handlebar rotated backwards, shining a 1200 lumen beam right into my eyeballs.  I panicked, grabbed a handful of brake lever, and started to tumble over.  Luckily, my foot landed on solid ground to keep me from toppling over, but my knee made a very unpleasant popping sound. 

“That didn’t sound too good.”

I fixed my light (again) and walked up the next climb.  My knee was hurting and had already begun to swell.  I kept tell myself that all I had to do was get to the flat stuff so I could spin it out.  Eventually I made it, and commenced to spinning away.

Except that spinning didn’t really help much.

I was able to ride at a decent speed though, and before I knew it I was on to the next tech section.  My knee was hurting like hell, and so was my wrist from still having too much air pressure in my front tire.  I ended up walking a lot of the climbs (and yes, there are several) taking solace in the fact that there were a lot of folks out there still suffering along with me.  I chatted with several riders here and there, and most of them had agreed that this was the last lap.  I kept telling myself that if I got back in time I would go out again, but as soon as I got to the last easy section my Garmin had died.  I had no idea what time it was, and no idea how long that lap had taken. 

I figured that I would just go to the finish line and check the time.  I skipped the Jax Jump (the only time I did) and rolled past our pit.  When I saw the time I knew my day was over.  I told myself that maybe if my knee hadn’t been getting worse I’d go out again.  But that wasn’t it.  It was everything.  I was tired, sore, and making dumb mistakes.  I’d really given it all I had, and there was no way in hell I would’ve make it back in time for the lap to count. 

I was satisfied with my effort.

I walked back over to the pit and called it a day (night.)  I cleaned up, grabbed a beer (that I had to talk myself into for some reason), and hobbled back over to our pit.  I’d put in a solid day in the saddle on a rigid single speed, more than doubling my effort from a year before.  When it was over I was mentally drained, but in a very happy mood.  I realized that I do actually enjoy this racing stuff, mostly because I have no idea whether or not I can get through it sometimes.

That was good enough for me.

Tomorrow, thoughts and junk.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Escape The Cold

Although I’d already signed up for the 12 Hours of Santos well in advance, it quickly turned into an escape from the lovely weather we’ve had here in Charlotte

Lots of other folks had the same idea, so when I finally got down near Ocala, FL I ran into some of the Charlotte FasterMustache crew, Dicky, Jordan from The Hub, Niner Mike, and a whole bunch of other familiar faces.  I got everything setup in a hurry since I was camping out of my truck, and we hung around for a while discussing what we were in for.

It felt good to be back “home” in the place I grew up with people from my current home.  And it was good to be warm too until the next morning.

I can’t recall ever having to scrape ice off of any vehicles I’ve owned, but I do remember it getting cold enough to freeze.  It was 32 when I woke up Saturday morning, but once the sun came up over the trees we started to get warm again.  I was ready to see what I could do this year.

Last year, I came in with a horrible attitude and bailed after three laps (and wondering if I’d ever race again.)  This year, I planned to race, or at least give it everything I had.  After a quick rider meeting, I dropped my bike at the neutral zone and headed down in the Vortex pit to get ready to “run” for the start.  I don’t run anymore, and I thought for sure I would just casually stroll to get my bike.  When the race started though, I took off running just like most everyone else.  I grabbed my bike and ended up somewhere in the middle I guess.  I was supposed to take it easy, but I found myself “racing” and riding hard to pass people.

I felt fine, so why not?

After the “parade” lap (which was quite long and for some reason still didn’t spread everyone out) I started to settle in.  I still passed a few people here and there, and some of the faster riders started passing me.  I found a good pace that wouldn’t kill me and I was feeling mighty fine.  The short, yet technical and steep climbs were hammered, and I sailed through the flat stuff spinning at a comfortable pace.

Photo credit:

There was no quitting this time I figured.  I paid attention to my fluid intake and made sure to eat whenever I could.  After three laps my bottles were empty (as planned), so I stopped for a refill.  Niner Mike was more than helpful, especially since I mentioned to him that my front tire probably had too much air in it.

“This place is beating the shit outta me.”

Mike: “How much air do you normally run in the front?”

“I dunno.  25 p.s.i. I guess?”

You see, I’d refilled my tire sealant a few days before and pumped up my tires ridiculously high to help it seal and forgot to check the pressure before I started the race.  During the first couple of laps I stopped real quick (a few times actually) to let some air out when traffic on the trail caused me to have to dismount.  I thought maybe I was close to the ideal pressure up front after so many attempts.  When Mike checked my tire and told me it had 30 p.s.i. in it I was shocked.

No wonder the rocky stuff hurt so much.  He dropped it down to 25, which I realized later was still too much for running a rigid fork, even at my weight.  It was noticeably better though, so the next two laps were a little more comfortable.  I never did check the rear…


Anyway, five laps in I was out of water again (all according to plan.)  This time, Mike refilled my bottles and I told him that I was gonna take a little bit longer break this time to make sure I could last the entire race.  I texted the little lady really quick to let her know I wasn’t dead, ate some food, and walked back over towards the pit area so I could stretch.  I got a lot of encouragement from the TotalCyclist team, as well as the rest of the crew in our area to keep pushing.  It was definitely appreciated.

I wasn’t about to stop riding, even though I’d already beaten my lap total from last year.  I had a horrible headache, my back and neck were killing me, and my left wrist was in pain (FROM A RIGID FORK AND TOO MUCH STUPID AIR PRESSURE.)  My legs (and my mind) felt good though, so I hopped back on my bike to finish it out. 

More tomorrow…

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Enough Is Enough

Today is my Friday, meaning that I’m off tomorrow.  Work has been rough, so any time I get an extra day away is good.  Especially since we’ve had some lovely weather here lately.

That was my commute to work on Tuesday morning.  The roads were pretty empty so taking a photo as I rolled down the interstate at a low rate of speed was not difficult to do.  Yesterday we had still had some wintry slush and ice around the house, slick spots on the roads, and even another (small) snow event in the afternoon.  I can’t take it anymore.  My recent trip to Arizona probably makes this feel a little worse than it is, but I feel pretty smart for scheduling another trip so soon after.

You see, I signed up for this little race a while back…

I’m in for a full twelve hours, just me and my rigid single speed on the (mostly) flat trails of Santos near Ocala, Florida.  This time last year I went down there after a big winter weather event, but that wasn’t enough to keep me going the whole time.  During the race I came to the realization that I may be done racing, and thought that it would be the last time.  Well, a big break from racing gave me some focus, and I’m all in this time.  Plus, the weather looks a helluva lot better than it is here in North Carolina.

Warm to me now, but when I lived down there I would still probably wear a light jacket or sweatshirt.  Things have changed in the last eight years, so I’m looking forward to working up a sweat trying to keep myself going well into Saturday evening.  I know the trails at Santos very well, and word around the campfire is that a whole bunch of Charlotte folks will be there (plus the Jacksonville crew of course.)

Looks like I’m not the only one trying to escape the cold.

But since you asked, it’s extra cold here now.  Like, brutal cold.   I can’t wait to get back to The Sunshine State.

See y’all probably around Tuesday with some kind of report.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

From Desert To Snow

I’m not talking about the winter storm that came through here.  Why would I?  I’m still on vacation.

Sunday morning after SSAZ, I woke up tired.  My legs felt fine, so it was more from the fact that I’d had a very long day (and a late night.)  D-Wayne and the ladies wanted to ride, and I just wanted some “me” time.  I sat out in front of the house and just relaxed, eventually hopping on my bike for a spin around the neighborhood.

Our hosts had a plan for the day when everyone got back from riding (and me from staring up at the sky.)  It involved a trip up to Mt. Lemmon, which I thought would be pretty rad.  At over 9000 feet, it would be nice to check out the views.  After lunch, we started driving up the mountain road, stopping along the way at various viewing areas.

This particular mountain is popular amongst the roadie crowd for training, with that brutal climb to the top giving them an awesome workout.  I was impressed that people did that until we saw this dude rolling up the steep road.

A unicycle?  That guy must have some good legs.

We kept going up and the views kept getting better.

And we saw some people riding on two wheels this time.

As we got closer to the top, it started looking less like desert mountains and more like “regular” mountains.

Once we got to the top, we saw some snow.

It was near the 80s down below, and cold enough for snow up top.  I love elevation changes.  It made me think how brutal that climb up to the top must be on a bike.  You start out sweating, then freezing to death at the top (and on the way back down.) 

I didn’t just stare at the views and watch people suffer on bikes though.  I had the most awesome pie.

I didn’t climb up there to earn that.  Who gives a shit.

And yeah, we played in the snow (even though we weren’t supposed to do so.)

It was another long day, capped off by some Arizona brew.

I know I’ve said it before, but I want to give a big thanks to D-Wayne and Meghan for letting us stay with them.  I miss the fact that they aren’t in North Carolina anymore, but it was awesome to be able to go visit them in their new home out west.  Hopefully we didn’t cramp their style too much.

And hopefully we’ll be back real soon.

Now, back to the cold.  Maybe.

Monday, February 16, 2015

I Couldn’t Believe It

About halfway through the ride at SSAZ, I started feeling pretty awesome.  Not because I was riding gnarly terrain like I was skilled at it or something, but because I was riding something different.  

It was so beautiful out there.

I was already taking a lot of pictures, but at this point I was stopping just to take it all in.  I was really happy about this new place that my bike had taken me.

Sure I’d ridden in the desert before (the Mojave near Vegas), but this one was so much more scenic.

I was riding some stuff that I knew I woulnd’t ride again for quite some time.  There was really only one tough hike a bike climb, and even with that I didn’t mind.  The cactus-laden descents were so awesome that it was worth it.

And in proper DrunkCyclist form, there was a rad “aid station” out in the middle of nowhere.

I hung out there for a while with some old friends, and they told me that D-Wayne had only passed through there a short time ago.  I rolled out, climbed one more time, and found the raddest downhill section of the day.

From what I was told, the end was near.  We just had to cross the same creek about a million times.

I finally hit a fire road and starting seeing people.  Like, touristy kind of people.  I knew I was close.  Before long, I found the halfway point/aid station/finish line.

And everyone was happy to see us.

There was more trail to finish, but since this wasn’t a race we decided that we were done for the day.  Our ladies took the car back to town, and D-Wayne and I hopped on our bikes and headed towards the Flat Tire Bike Shop.

I thought it was gonna be a long, lonely ride back to town until we spotted a trail that ran parallel to the road.

It made our ride much better.  Every town should have such a thing.

The ride went by quickly, and before we knew it we were at the shop.  It had cool bike parking out front.

And beer.  Let’s not forget the beer.

We hung out for a while and relaxed.  Eventually D-Wayne and Meghan had to get back to take of their doggies, so Little Miss Sunshine and I stuck around.  The plan was to hang out at the after party for a bit, but first we had to catch a desert sunset.

The after party went on well into the night, but we rolled out (after staying a while) to make the long drive back to Tucson.  It was an awesome day in the desert mountains, and one that I won’t soon forget.  It was great to be a part of the “family reunion” and they put on a good event. 

I can’t wait to go back.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Family Reunion

Saturday morning started early.  Up around 5 a.m., departing Casa de D-Wu shortly after in two cars due to bike-carrying arrangements.  One quick stop for breakfast and another for gas with shady gas station bathroom action had us getting up towards Cave Creek right on time.

We were still in the desert (duh), and out of nowhere this Wild West sorta town appeared.  We rolled up to the Flat Tire Bike Shop and starting poking around.  I ran into most of the AZ DrunkCyclist crew, Chewie from MN, Dejay,  and even some old friends from here in North Carolina.

Everything was a little behind schedule while they figured out how to shuttle everyone to the start location.  They had luxury limo van service for the people and a U-Haul to take the bikes.  Since we had two cars (which turned out to be pretty smart), we followed the convoy that eventually started heading out of town.

After about a twelve mile drive (including a dirt road) we made it to the Bronco Trailhead in the Tonto National Forest.  The riders gathered around to hear Dirty give his speech…

It included the most important advice for any kind of race or ride…

“Don’t be a dick.”

This was not a race.  It was a family reunion of single speeders from all over with a group ride thrown in for good measure.  We rolled out of the trailhead let out by some kind of enduro dirtbike (not Enduro™) and hit the road to find the singletrack.

Since it was a party pace, I had plenty of time to take photos…

It was a beautiful day in the desert mountains, rolling up and down the hills on a road for quite sometime.  Once we hit the singletrack, it was gridlocked.

And it stayed that way for a while, meaning that even the simple climbs had to be walked.

Once we started to spread out, I dropped back to get some “riding” photos before I caught up with the group.

Then we backed up again because of a really rocky creek crossing.

There was actually water in this one.

With no real steep climbs at first, it was still a challenge due to the gnar of baby heads all over the trail.  We actually rode a lot of it though, and of course I stopped often to take in the views.

And we took a few breaks along the way to practice the DrunkCyclist secret handshake:

Did I mention that the views were awesome?

During one of my shutterbug sessions, I spotted Shanna rolling down the mountain, showing the fellas how you ride the gnar.

Then it got really uh, technical…

It was like the desert was giving us a big F U.

We kept going though.

And of course it opened up again.

And I stopped for moar photos.

And yeah, I’m nowhere near finished.  More to come on Monday from Single Speed Arizona.

I have to go get ready to heckle this weekend at the next short track race.