Thursday, April 30, 2015

Let’s Start Early

Today is my Friday.  I’m off tomorrow, and it’s a pretty important day.

BIKE!Charlotte kicks off tomorrow, starting with the Bike to Work Breakfast.  We're rolling out of TotalCyclist bright and early tomorrow morning, riding from there to meet tons of other cyclists from all over Charlotte.  This was called the Mayor's Ride a few years ago, but our mayor ruined that...

I digress.

So I guess you figured out that I won't be here tomorrow.  If you're local, then I expect to see you on your bike tomorrow morning with the rest of us.  It’s a really fun ride and very important for us here in the Queen City.

Bring any kind of bike.  I’m bringing my Klunker.

See y’all Monday.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


So, I have another race coming up this weekend.  And no, it’s not PMBAR.  That one is on my list though.  Not on a fancy spreadsheet that details all my hopes and dreams on a bike, rather it’s kinda like it’s on a crumpled up piece of paper that’s buried deep in my pocket. 

And I found it on laundry day after it’s been through the wash.

Srsly, I’ll do it one day.  Maybe next year.

No, this weekend is another race in the Southern Classic Series.  I missed the one this past weekend due to work obligations, but I’m picking it back up on Sunday with a trip down to Harbison State Forest down near Columbia, SC.  Just like other races I’ve done in this series in the past; it’s been a while since I’ve been there.  Other than a few punchy climbs and some nasty rocks here and there, I remember it being mostly flat.  Running a single speed might be the death of me down there, since the largest cog I have for the rear is a 17 tooth.  Not having enough gear to push on the flat stuff hurt me up in Virginia, and I’m not about to let it hurt me again.

I’ve come up with sort of a plan.  Here’s a hint:

Recognize that?  No?   How about another hint?

Yeah, that is a cassette.  And that means gears.  I didn’t put gears on my bike though.  I only have single speed bikes (unless you count the road bike I guess), and adding gears that I don’t have to a single speed bike seemed a little ridiculous.  I guess trying to race a bike with gears after “being a single speeder” for a while now is ridiculous too.  However, I don’t want any excuses when it’s all over Sunday afternoon.  I’m feeling much better after recovering from Death Virus 2015, and my legs sorta feel strong.  With a few gears to help on the really flat stuff, I figured that I just might be okay.

So, who’s bike is it then?

Here’s another hint:

Got it?  Good, because I have no idea what I’m doing.

See y’all tomorrow.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Junk Miles

I’ve heard a lot about “junk miles” lately.  Mostly from Dicky, but whatever.  I don’t know if I believe in junk miles per se.  I think that any miles you put in on the bike should count for the most part.  You don’t always have to be training, pushing your threshold, and all that other stuff every time you get in the saddle.  Sometimes, just pedaling around can make a difference in your fitness.

Or at least your sanity.

I put in a shitload of hours over the weekend at work.  It’s been stressful, and I wondered if I would get any kind of ride in.  Once I finally finished everything on Sunday, I took off on my ghetto cross bike (it has no name because, Who Gives A Shit) for some uh, junk miles.

It’s no secret around here that only a few miles from my house is a pretty cool greenway to ride (or walk if that’s your thing.)  It’s mostly flat, and good for just spinning the legs (i.e. junk miles.)  What’s nice about it is the stuff that’s off the beaten path.  I never know what I might get myself into.

I venture off the greenway every time I ride it, and I always find something new.  The old stuff keeps it interesting too I guess.

The route is along a creek (duh, I’ve talked about it before), and I really enjoy stopping to check out the nature and junk.

It must be beaver season around these parts, because the little fellas have constructed a small house out of sticks and stone.

It’s nice to have some scenery I guess.  You know, instead of putting in boring road miles.  It is kinda of nice out there, even though I’m sorta in the city.

And just like any good ride, I stopped to enjoy a beer while I enjoyed the nature junk.

Since the miles don't count, the beer doesn't either, right?

Oh yeah. Wildlife.

Meh.  I rode my bike.  I enjoyed a beer.  I got outside in nature.  While I didn’t make any huge fitness gains over the weekend, I probably didn’t loose anything either.

Ride bikes.  Drink beer.

Oh, and have fun once in a while instead of being a dick about training.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fun Friday

It’s been one of those kinda weeks…

Work has been pretty lame.  That’s one reason I keep missing blogging days.  It’s sucking my will to live.  No matter hard hard I try, it’s kinda like I’m dealing with people that all have the same problem.


Anyway, the good news is, the weekend is here.  Fun Friday is back, which is my way of trying to put myself (and hopefully you) in a good mood to finish off the week.  I find funny stuff on The Internets and share it here just to get a laugh.  Sometimes I’m the only one laughing, but…

Who gives a shit.

Here’s one that makes me giggle:

So yeah, the weekend forecast work-wise for me looks bleak.  I’m on call, which may or may not mean I get to ride my bike.  I hope I get to ride, and I hope it’s fun.

The way things are going though, I wouldn’t be surprised if something goes wrong there too.

See y’all Monday.  Have a good weekend and all that.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cut To The Chase

Continuing from yesterday...

Lap two.  I sorta felt okay I guess.  I mean, my legs no longer felt like bricks and I had a little climbing power.  The rolling hills in the beginning of the lap were helping me get my groove back, until I rounded a corner and spotted someone behind me.  Shit.  I tried to read his number (without crashing) and assumed that it was someone from my class.  The switchback climbing was starting again, and I just said “Screw it” and pushed as hard as I could to lose him.  It worked I guess, and suddenly I was all alone.

I was also tired again. 

A little more climbing later, I spotted another guy in my class (for sure this time) coming down a descent.  I realized that I was about to hit that same downhill, so I mashed even harder.  I had something to chase right there in front of me, and it made me forget about how little energy I had.  I gunned it up the last few feet of climbing, and hit the downhill as fast as my rigid fork would let me.  Hint:  it was sloppy but pretty damn fast.

Up, down, climb, descend.  Every once in a while I would catch a glimpse of fourth place but I just didn’t have enough gear (or spinny legs) to catch up.  All hope was lost when I hit the final two miles of flat-ish stuff, but I spun like hell anyway.  With only a short bit of trail left I knew I could push until I had absolutely nothing left.

I ran out of time.  I crossed the start finish line in 5th place.  Even though I felt much better on that second lap, my single speed (and my lack of proper gear planning) didn’t give me enough to catch anyone.  I told myself that I had a decent race after being sick, but I wondered if having gears would have helped on this one.  I guess I’ll never know. 

It doesn’t matter.  I had fun and got a little dirty.  Luckily they had a bike wash on site.

I had to wash myself too, even though my DeFeet socks were made for the dirt and mud.

Since I’m racing the full Southern Classic Series this year, finishing off the box shouldn’t matter a whole bunch for just this one race.  Mid pack isn’t gonna get me a damn thing when it’s all over, as long as I don’t do it every race from here on out.  I’ll chalk this one up to Death Virus 2015, lack of knowledge about the course (even though I’ve been there a few times before), and poor gear selection.  I’m not disappoint though.  It really was fun.

The race organizers did a good job.  Even though there were a few issues (just like any event), it was professional and overall a pretty good experience.  I’ve raced in Danville a total of four times now, and this particular event was the best so far.  The course was marked well too, which if you’ve ever been there is pretty important.  And, they even fed the racers afterwards.  I didn’t stick around too much though.

As a history buff, I had to check out the “Last Capital of the Confederacy.”

Pretty neat I guess.  I mean, I was in the area so it was worth it to stop by.

All in all, it was a good day.  I was on my bike, you know.  That’s always a good thing.

And racing is supposed to hurt.

Monday, April 20, 2015


I missed Thursday and Friday.  Sorry about that.  I mean, Who Gives A Shit.  Anyway, I may or may not have mentioned that my cross country season resumed over the weekend in Danville, VA.  Friday morning I woke up feeling no more effects from Death Virus 2015, so I was hoping for a good day on the bike on Sunday.  I tried to relax and take it easy leading up to the race, but I had too much shit to do.  I’ll talk more about that later I guess.

Anyway, the forecast for Sunday in Danville featured a one hundred percent chance of rain.  I was looking forward to shitty weather actually, because mentally I like to think I can handle it better than a lot of folks.  The forecast model kept changing leading up to the weekend, but when I hit the road bright and early I was happy.

I’m not really happy about all the rain we’ve had around here lately (keeping our local trails closed), but I was happy about a potential “advantage” on race day.  But about an hour and forty five minutes into the drive everything changed.

As soon as I hit the Virginia state line it wasn’t raining anymore.

No worries.  I still wanted to race.  I got there with plenty of time to sign my waver and warm up, and soon after we lined up.  Once we started I had to spin like crazy on a long, flat section to try to get into the woods first.  It hurt like hell to spin that fast, but I got in second…

Right on the leader’s wheel.

The rolling hills in the beginning of the course were fun, and I felt pretty good.  My heart was still racing from spinning so much in the beginning, but I knew I would recover soon.  Once we started climbing up switchbacks though, I was getting frustrated.  Three of us were pulling away from the group, but the leader was spinning in a low gear and taking the climbs way too slow.  This caused extra effort on my part, and once we finished that section I was gassed.  I let one guy go by and kept pushing.

Suddenly, my legs felt like cement blocks.  I had no energy, most likely because my body hadn't fully recovered from my sickness (that's the official diagnosis from Little Miss Sunshine anyway.)  I let one guy go and then another, and sat solidly in 5th place. I figured that I would still recover, but each climb hurt worse than the one before it.  They weren’t that bad (and my gearing was good for them), but I was just pooped.

I decided to hang on the best I could and maybe make my move on the second lap. 

The rest of that lap hurt until I came out on a long, flat-ish section (about two miles worth.)  At this point I realized that my gear choice sucked since I was spinning like crazy and couldn’t go as fast as I wanted.  I started thinking that the geared riders were dropping me here, and that I would never catch back up.  So much for recovering.

Suddenly, I came up on a rider.  He was from one of the groups that took off before me, and when I passed him I felt a little burst of energy.  Soon after we came out on a road, which meant more flat and more spinning.


Crossing the start/finish line, I soon entered the woods again for lap two.  I was hoping that my energy would come back somehow.  I had some time to make up.

Tomorrow:  the conclusion.  You know, because I always drag this shit out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Little Adventure

Our convoy arrived at DuPont ready to have a fun day.  We started out climbing up some fire roads, and when we got to the first intersection we noticed some signs that looked like they were marking a race course.  Just then, a few runners came by.  We cheered and heckled them, then took off towards the Hilltop trail.  As we hit the singletrack, the runners started coming by more frequently.  We pulled over and let each one go by, but it was starting to get a little annoying (especially on the fast downhill stuff.) eventually we hit the end of that trail and got away from the runners by checking out some waterfall action.

After that, more fire road climbing.  We didn’t really see anymore runners, but the roads were busy with other cyclists and some hikers.    Taking a slight detour off our route, we stopped at a covered bridge to check out the top of High Falls.

We had some first timers in our group, and the route I took them on was a nice intro.  Before we left the covered bridge, I warned everyone that the climb would get a little shitty.  It did, but at least it was on a fire road still.  Once we made the final grunt to the top, we got to ride on the airstrip and were rewarded with one of the nicest views out there.

After hanging out for photos and conversation, we descended the Airstrip trail in a hurry.  The group loved the fast downhill, and everyone was all smiles. 

I decided to change the route up a bit at this point, and since we were close we decided to hit Bridal Veil Falls.

I’m glad we did, since it’s one of the neatest things to see out there.

And since there were no longer any signs stating otherwise, we went behind the falls.

The rocks were slippery, but I learned a long time ago that if I take my shoes off, my DeFeet socks give me way more traction.

We were far across the forest, and the next part of our route would take a while.  After finishing up at the falls we had to climb up a gravel path to get to the main road.  It was at that point my stomach started feeling the effects of too many breakfast burritos with way too much hot sauce.  The group rode up while I pushed my bike (for fear of having an accident.)  On the way up I ran into the Dirty Party Cycle and The Z Crew, and while I did have a nice conversation with them I was hoping that I would make it to a bathroom. 

Sorry if I seemed to be in a hurry.

Anyway, we rode lots of fireroad, and along the way I contemplated stopping in the woods to uh, alleviate my stomach issue.  I fought it off, but it kept getting worse.  Like a mirage in the desert though, the top of the last climb had an oasis of porta potties.

It was a photo finish.  That’s all I need to say.

Now that I felt better, we played around on the skills area nearby. It was fun as always…

Some people were getting tired since we’d been out for so long, so I assured everyone that we had “one more climb” until some rad downhill.  We all made it, and the reward was a fast, fun descent down the Ridgeline trail.

Well, sort of.

We all took off one by one, with me somewhere in the middle after trying to wrangle the group.  The trail was in perfect condition, so I was letting it all hang out by going as fast as possible.  Coming around a corner, I spotted a bunch of horses (with riders) coming up the trail.  I had plenty of time to stop and pull over, and they were very kind as they rode by.  They told me there were eight of them, so after I counted them all I hopped back on the bike and let it go again.  I weaved around a blind corner after scrubbing a little speed, then let off the brakes again to hit the last half mile as fast as I could. 

Out of nowhere, there were two more horses.  I grabbed both brakes as hard as I could.  I had my drooper post down and my weight all the way back, but my bike started tipping forward.  The first horse was jumping around like crazy, either from being scared to death of being hit or the fear of me kissing it on the mouth.

Yeah, I was that close.  Yuck.

I hopped off my bike and pulled to the side of the trail.  The horse riders said nothing until I asked if there were any more behind them.

“Uh, no.”

They seemed pretty clueless about everything.  I wasn’t mad, but I wondered why they would pick that trail to ride up with horses.  You know, the one that always has mountain bikers flying out of it at high rates of speed.  I think our group did a great job of sharing the trails, but it was still pretty scary.  I guess I’m glad me or the horse didn’t get hurt.

It was still a really fun day.  A long day in the saddle riding some sweet singletrack, checking out some pretty waterfalls, and hanging out with cool peeps.  I enjoy it every time we go.

Our camping trip was once again a success.  We had some good rides, drank good beer at the best shop up in the hills, and ate like kings.

And adventures like these are why I love mountain biking.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Roughing It

So working backwards (sorta), I’ll talk about the beginning of the weekend.  I couldn’t get Friday off from work, but I was able to get out a little early to head out to the Tarheel Trailblazers Spring Camping Trip.  Leaving the Charlotte area as quick as I could, I was stressing out.  A shitty day at work and trying to get to the mountains on time left me a little frantic, but I calmed down once I got a little closer.

A little over two hours later, I pulled into The Hub.  They close at 6:00 p.m. on Fridays, but stayed open late just for our crew.  They’ve done this twice before, and it means a lot to us.  We got to hang out and drink beer, buy stuff, and shoot the shit…

And while I was there I saw one of my stickers, strategically placed next to one from Endless Bike Co.:

It was a nice time.  Big thanks to The Hub/Pisgah Tavern for taking care of us as usual. 

We grabbed dinner from across the parking lot and brought it back, spent some of our money in the bike shop, and eventually decided that we should get back to our spot at the Davidson River Campground.  Most people arrived earlier in the day to setup camp and ride a little, but I had to set up everything in the dark.  Luckily, with the nice weather forecast I planned to camp out of my hammock for the first time ever.  It was a simple, yet comfortable setup.

Taken the next morning because it was dark when I hung it up.  Meh.

The worst part about sleeping in a hammock is that when the sun comes up, you’re up.  Luckily, the first thing I saw was quite pleasing.

Until I looked down and realized that I’d stayed up a little late the night before.

I think I remember chugging that last IPA before I settled into my sleeping bag.  Yay camping.

I slept well.  I always sleep on my stomach at home, so I was a little concerned that I would have trouble falling asleep on my back (hence the “extra” beer.)  I was warm and toasty, and only woke up once due to the call of nature.  Getting out of a hammock in the dark to find a spot in the woods for relief is a little tricky, but I guess I managed.

Or maybe that’s when I drank that beer.  Who gives a shit.

Anyway, it was time to get moving.  One by one, the rest of the campers starting wandering about.  Campmaster Mike cooked up some breakfast, which looked like it was intended for a small army.  So, I ate like I was off to fight a small army.  My stomach was happy, but later it would be disappoint.

We had a nice ride planned for the day and we were ready…

Once everyone got all gussied up, we headed across the street to the Ranger Station to meet up with some out of town folks.  Some people took off to hit some Pisgah gnar, while the rest of us convoyed over to DuPont.  I was leading a touristy ride through the forest, with some rad singletrack thrown in to make sure we could say we went mountain biking.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about our tour.

Yeah, I’m gonna drag this out.  The weather is shitty, so I have nothing else to do.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Long Short Weekend

 I was gone to the hills all weekend. I really, really needed a trip like that. I’m a little tired, but it was worth it. Of course you’re here for the stories. I’m gonna play it backwards.

Sunday morning, a group of our people took off on a Pisgah death march. I took a group of people that were interested in riding, but interested in being drug out into the hills to be left for dead. We rode one of the seasonal trails (which close in a few days), which I could find on a map. Maybe it was misspelled, since I’ve never heard of it.

This ride was supposed to be easy-ish, but nothing in Pisgah really is. Right off the bat, we started going up…

And rode/walked some sketchy stuff…

Like most rides out there, we went up. But once we got to the top, the view was worth it…

We rode some pretty fun downhill stuff too, but we were moving so fast that there were no photo opportunities. I’m okay with that, because I know how rad it was. The group had fun, and we didn’t kill anyone. The group headed back home once we finished, but I still wanted to see some more cool mountain stuff.

So I did.

What an awesome day. And that was only part of my weekend.

See y’all tomorrow.