Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bikes, Beer, and Bluegrass

Although my trip to Kentucky was for a family reunion, I brought a bike “just in case.”  If anything, I figured I’d just ride it around town or something like that.  However, after a few searches on The Internets I found that there was a trail nearby (and on the way back home) that I could ride and not spend all day doing so. 

Just a few miles south in Lexington, I rolled up to Veterans Park.

With only around five miles of trail, I knew it would be a decent ride and I would be able to have fun.  Honestly I didn’t care though, since all I wanted to do was pedal in the dirt.  I found a bluegrass station on my phone and hit the trail.

The trail was pretty fast and smooth with very little climbing (but somehow with a lot of downhills.)  Since it was so short, I stopped often to take photos. 

And I even used the timer on my camera to get an “action shot.”

It was pretty fun.  But with little to no roots I was starting to get bored.  Luckily, I quickly realized that I’d been riding the “easiest” section and that there was another part with moar difficulty.

This part had lots of rocks.

And some features…

There were still lots of smooth sections though, but it was really fun this time around.

The way it opened up sometimes sorta reminded me of FATS down in South Carolina.

That was a good thing as it breaks up the monotony.  Just like the rocks.

In all, it was a good ride.  The trail was fun, and prefect for someone like me just passing through.  It’s pretty easy to get around and not get lost, as long as you study the map at the beginning.  There were a lot of rules on it though.

Rules that would not keep me from having a post ride beer, however.

I’m so glad I got away for the weekend.  Family, bikes, beer, and lots of scenery.  I just might start feeling “normal” again if I keep this up.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Over It

It’s been no secret that I’ve been pretty stressed out lately.  And as usual, I was looking forward to the weekend.  The plan was to grab Little Miss Sunshine and head to the hills for some rad mountain biking, beer drinking, and early leaf peeping.  However, the weather had other plans.  It was raining, and that would continue throughout the weekend (and this week too.)

I suddenly found myself without plans.

Sitting around Friday evening I briefly considered heading to the hills anyway.  Figuring that I wouldn’t have a good time in the cold rain, I quickly realized that the alternative would be to sit around and work on bikes all weekend.  This did not please me.  And no, I never even considered traveling to Richmond, VA to drink and watch a bunch of roadies race around town.  Then suddenly I remembered there was something I wanted to do.

There was a family reunion scheduled for this past Saturday, and never planned to go because my old employer had me scheduled to be on call that weekend.  That wasn’t the case anymore, so when I brought it up to the little lady she was all for it.

“You should go.”

“But it’s almost a seven hour drive to Kentucky.”

“So what?  You like to drive.  Besides, you need to go meet the other side of your family.”

I’ve mentioned it before, but I really dig my family history.  Back in the mid 1800s, my Great (times four) Grandfather came to this country from England and settled in Manassas, VA.  That’s why I still have so much family up there and also why we still visit every year.  However, some of the famly split off and went to Kentucky and I’d never met any of their descendants.  We’re all related (which is the case with my last name), and my cousin Terry put together a reunion to try to get us all together.  So with points from previous hotel stays, I booked a free room in Georgetown, KY late Friday night and prepared to hit the road early Saturday morning.

Of course I put a bike on my truck.

It was shitty outside when I left.  I hadn’t bothered to check the weather at my destination before I left so I was hoping that I was leaving this crap behind.

I took the usual route towards Asheville, hit Interstae 40 and prepared to ccross the mountains in the rain.  This included two tunnels.

Yeah, I kinda felt like Luke Skywalker attacking the Death Star.

A few minutes later, I hit the Tennessee line.

And the skies were beautiful.

I didn’t stop too much, and less than seven hours later I was in Georgetown hanging out with family I’d never met before.

It was pretty awesome.  Two of my cousins made the trip from Manassass (yes, I know them), some from Cincinnati, OH, and some even made the trip over from England.  It was really nice to fill in the gaps on our family tree, talk about our history, and see lots of new faces.  Most of all, it was good to get away from my usual routine to do something different. 

Sure, I brought my bike.  No, I didn’t get to ride that day.

I did on the way home though…

See y’all tomorrow.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fun Friday

Is it safe to come out now?

Well, I’m making the best of it.  Working my ass off and such, but in the meantime trying to do anything I can to keep this shit show going.  It’s Friday after all, so I figured I could at least come up with some funny stuff to share before the weekend.

Well, that and I’m trying to to be in a bad mood and all that.

I don’t really need that book.  Not because I’m not a dick (I am sometimes), but mostly because in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter.

So yeah, enough with the pity party.  I’m here to make laughs and all that happy horseshit.

So here, have a laugh:

Enough?  Nope?  Okay, one more.

There you go.  Have a great weekend.

Hopefully I’ll see y’all Monday, and maybe I'll get to talk about some rad shit that went on.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Don’t You (Forget About Me)

Blogging has come to a screeching halt around here.  I started out missing a day or two; next thing you know it was a little better than sporadic.  Now I’m barely even here.  Some of you have asked me about it, and some could not care less.  Who gives a shit.

I’ve said it before, but this new job is ruining my fun.  I have very little free time, and when I do I’m too tired (or frustrated, unmotivated, etc.) to do anything.  I barely ride my bike anymore, and as each day passes I wonder if I’ll want to again.

I hardly even play guitar either.

I took that photo last week, on the 45th anniversary of the death of Jimi Hendrix.  As tired and worn out as I was from work, I still managed to play a few licks.  It’s the little things I guess.

Fortunately, I’ve had plenty of time to drink beer.  And lucky for me, Little Miss Sunshine is taking care of me in that department.  She brings me the good shit.


I can’t enjoy bikes or guitars lately, but beer is always there to soothe me.  The little lady recently returned from a trip to damn near Canada, and in a land of shitty beer she managed to grab some good stuff while no one was looking.

Quite honestly, no one there had no idea what it was.  But I do.

Beer is good, but it’s not the answer to my problems.  And before you ask, no, I don’t have a problem with the beer.  I always drink it (and enjoy the good stuff ), but right now it seems to be the only hobby I have time to partake in.  Things will get better, so I’ll try not to bitch about it too much.  I took a step backwards career-wise, and right now I have to deal with it until something else comes along. 

As for now, I don’t know what to do.  I feel like writing some shit here every day is like therapy, and without it I’m turning more and more anti-social.  I’ve been invited to hang out in social settings and rides and I keep saying no.  Eventually, people will stop asking.  Maybe that’s what I want.

And maybe that’s why my better half brought this new doormat home a few days ago.

As much as I want to pull the plug on this blog, I won’t.  When I started writing, I did it like no one was reading it.  Since then, lots of people are reading it but I have no idea why.  If you enjoy it, thanks.  If you don’t, thanks for that too. 

Where am I going with this?  Nowhere as usual.  I’ll be here when I can, and hopefully when things get better it will be a little more on the regular.  By that time though, all blogs will be dead.

Like they pretty much are anyway.

Monday, September 14, 2015

It’s Easier To Do Nothing

I had another long, shitty week at work.  To top it off, my refrigerator stopped being cool.  I had plans to head to the hills early Saturday morning, but I had to stay up late trying to figure out why my food wasn’t staying cold.  I think I figured it out, but I was exhausted and slept in the next morning.  Once I finally got out of bed and took care of the dogs, it was time to make a decision.  I figured that I needed a trip to the mountains for my sanity so I left the B-43 Worldwide Headquarters at around noon at got on the road.

I was stressed out.  Work, my fridge, and shitty drivers n Charlotte had me rethinking my plan.  I almost turned around, but instead I pressed on.  I knew that the two plus hour drive would still give me enough time to ride out there somewhere, but I was pissed that I was getting started so late.  Eventually I got to The Pisgah, and while I was waiting at an intersection I tried to come up with a plan for my ride.

And that’s when I spotted a familiar face.

My old pal Dirty was finishing the final leg of his nine week, cross country bike journey from Oskar Blues in Colorado to Oskar Blues Brevard.  I chatted with him for a minute, and decided that I would haul ass to the brewery to be there when he rolled in.

The people that were expecting him weren’t there so I became a one man welcome party.  We went upstairs and the beer started flowing.  After meeting a new friend (a local rider named Kirk) we chatted it up for a while and listened to Dirty tell tales from his rad adventures.  Shortly after, Shanna showed up, followed soon after by Watts (fresh off of a win at Pisgah Monster Cross by the way.)

It was nice to be around “normal” people. 

More beer, more stories, and good times with good bike people.

Photo Credit:  Dirty

Watts eventually had to get back to Greensboro, so that left the rest of us wondering what to do.  Dirty was asked to ride over to the Brevard Music Festival and invited us to tag along.  So we hopped on our bikes and rode a couple of miles into town from the brewery.

Photo cred: Kirk L.

After a quick stop to pick up another friend, we rolled out to the music fest and enjoyed some more beer.  The highlight of the night was when Steve Martin came out playing the hell out of a banjo.

It seems like everyone else but myself knew that he played a mean banjo.  I don’t get out much.

It was a good night.  It was nice to catch up with Dirty (in my state even) and I’m very thankful that he took us along for part of his adventure.  I had to get back to Charlotte though, so I said goodbye and tried my best to make my way back to the brewery…in the dark.  With no lights (I was unprepared.)

I had no idea where I was going, and the pitch black night of the mountains didn’t help  I was completely sober by the time I headed out, but that didn’t stop me from seeing things.

Creepy cattle

Obviously I made it back.  I’m still not sure how.

What an awesome day.  I almost didn’t leave my house, managed to bump into an old friend at the right time, and rode my bike across town to watch some jerk play a banjo. 

Much better than doing nothing for sure.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Old Friend, Old Ride

Since I’m pretty much done racing this season, I made a promise to myself that I’d get out to the hills as much as possible.  With a call to my old pal The Dirty Party Cycle, plans to ride DuPont were made.  After a short delay due to self-imposed vehicle issues I picked him up and we headed out to get our ride on.

We got to the trail head with plenty of time to ride.  After suiting up I led us on my usual route which included a chance to check out some nature stuff.

We rode gravel roads, sweet singletrack, and leaned our bikes up against stuff.

And we caught some amazing views. 

And I made sure to get a “money shot”to support my pal Shanna from Endless Bike Co.

As with any great ride at Dupont, we made sure to end on the Ridgeline trail.  Me and the DPC got our speedy downhill on.

A nice, long ride up in the hills with plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the day.  After a short visit to TheHub we headed over to Oskar Blues to drink ALL THE BEERS!

We ate, we socialized, and we ended an awesome day in the hills like you’re supposed to end such days.  I got home late and I was tired the next day but it was all worth it.

Big thanks to the Dirty Party Cycle for a good day up in the hills.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Fun Friday (Three Day Weekend Edition)

It’s a glorious day.  You know, Friday and all that.  Another rough week for me means that this day is much appreciated.  And to top it off, no work on Monday.  I can dig that.

I really don’t think I can stand another shitty day without snapping on someone.

This weekend, I won’t have to worry about much of anything.  Most importantly, I can stay away from computers and junk for a while.  They really piss me off and don’t seem to care about it.

I started doing Fun Friday stuff to take the easy way out from blogging (now I just skip days and weeks all together.)  Now I look forward to Fun Friday because it puts me in a good mood and I can share that with y’all.

Like this llama.  Shaved for your pleasure.

 Doesn't that make you happy?

Fun Friday also means that I get to make plans for the weekend.  Tomorrow, I’m heading to the hills with an old friend.  We go way back, and it will be good to ride mountain bicycles and drink beer with someone that’s been down since I started this shit.

I just gotta get my stuff ready so I can have a good ride.

I’m out.  See y’all next week.

Or not.

Who gives a shit.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Gravel Grindin’

While I wasn’t really looking forward to riding on gravel for hours on my mountain bike, I was looking forward to hanging out with our peeps down there in the Lowcountry.  We arrived down there Saturday afternoon and our friends were ready.  This is the part where I thank Ed and Alice for being awesome hosts and all around good people.

As you can see, we didn’t wait long to go out for food and beer (pre-gravel.)  And it didn’t take long to get the party started.

Little Miss Sunshine made that giraffe feel um, special.

With the beers already flowing, we made plans to load up bikes and head out to the nearby National Forest.  During the trip there something exploded, and we realized that one of the bikes decided that it didn’t like having tires mounted to it.

And the best part was the Stans bukake on the car.


Anyway, we turned off the highway down a long road into the impending darkness.  We stopped when we saw the sign for the parking lot.

I was worried.  I barely had a place to park my giant SUV, and people were still rolling in.  We ended up just shy of fifty for the ride and somehow we all were able to park.  Once that shit was figured out, the beer started flowing again and people started milling about and socializing.

Beer before a ride?  I was excite.  Eventually we got this rolling shit show on the (gravel) road and rolled out for our thirty mile excursion in the dark.

The pace was pleasant.  At first.  Eventually the leaders picked it up and we were hauling ass.  I had to chug the rest of my beer just to keep up.  Sure, the roads were flat and all that, but spinning my ass off while trying to drink a beer on a gravel road full of pot holes does not a fun ride make.

I had to pay attention I guess.

I bounced around from up front, the middle, and towards the back.  We stopped to regroup every so often.  Honestly, it was a cool site to see so many people out in the dark swamp on bicycles at one time. 

And to top it off, the moon was out so we didn’t really need lights.

It was a fun crowd for sure.  Old friends reunited, new friends made, and many beers consumed.  I came prepared for it  with an “emergency” beer stuffed into my Awesome Strap.

Yes.  Gears.  It was flat and I didn’t feel like spinning too much.  Who gives a shit.

I think we may have cut the route a little short at some point, but it was still fun.  I even took off by myself for a short while to enjoy the pleasant solitude of riding at night sans lights.  Well, until I heard something just off the road making a ruckus.

I stopped, turned on my handlebar light, and saw a good-sized black bear looking back at me.  He shuffled off into the woods a little and I kept rolling.  Unsure if I was traveling in the right direction, I stopped a few hundred feet past him and turned around.  He crept further into the woods because I probably smelled bad or something.

I eventually caught up with the group again and we all rolled back towards the parking lot.  Everyone seemed enthralled by my bear sighting, but I tried to act like it was no big deal.

It was.  I was very excite and not the least bit scared for some reason.  Who gives a shit.

I had an awesome time riding on gravel.  I never thought that would be possible.

Big thanks to the Lowcountry folks that made it a night to remember.