Friday, October 30, 2015

Fun Friday

We made it.  I am excite.

It’s Fun Friday again, and time for some (slightly) funny stuff.

Really doe, it’s time to have fun.  This weekend will be full of things and stuff, starting with tomorrow.

It’s Halloween, you know.  Get your weird on.

I usually go all out and decorate the house and hand out candy, but this year I’m not.  Since this “holiday” falls on a Saturday I’ll be out on one of the many “themed” rides in our area.  I’m gonna ride my mountain bike on a trail at night for the first time this season.  Groovy.

There’s no time for hanging out all night and partying though.  Sunday morning I have to get up all early (even with an extra hour of sleep due to daylight savings time.)  What’s Sunday, you ask?

The Big Stampede, or as I’ve been calling it the past few years, “The Big Disappointment.”  Even though it’s been nothing short of shitty the last couple of times, I keep going back.  Deals upon deal to be had on used bike stuff is what’s supposed to be happening there, but I usually end up sifting through junk I don’t need  and no one else wants.

So, why am I going this year again?  Well, I’ve been summoned by Little Miss Sunshine to be a worker bee since she’s actually selling things there.  Her arts and crafts will be on display and available for purchase, and I suggest that you check it out.  She makes cool bike art and decorations from recycled bike parts, and she’s pretty damn good at it too.

Check out her website:  The Painted Sprocket

For realz.  Her stuff is rad.  Stop by and say hi (and buy something.)

As for me, it’s time for a break.  Shortly after you read this, I’ll be unemployed for a while.  I’ll start working again soon enough, but in the meantime I need a break.  Monday morning, I’m getting out of here...

and heading back to the swamp.

I’m grabbing a tent, sleeping bag, and my bike and taking off for Florida for a while.  Camping, “mountain” biking, and visiting old friends.  It will be nice to unplug for a while and go on an adventure.  While I’m there, I’ll be looking for the elusive Swamp Cabbage Man, a.k.a. the Skunk Ape or Florida Bigfoot.  Srsly. 

He does exist.

And I won’t for a while.

See y’all when I get back…


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Alone Again

Saturday was a long day and I ended up in bed early.  And since I must be starting to show my age, I woke up early Sunday morning.  I had a few hours to kill thanks to dragging my ass outta bed earlier than normal and I didn’t know what to do.  Even though I was wide awake and excited for another beautiful day, I felt like Charlie Brown on Halloween.

I thought maybe I wanted to do a road ride, but I felt more like doing nothing.  Then I drank some coffee.

Suddenly I remember that I’d rather be on a mountain bike of some sort.  Not wanting to load up my bike and drive to a trail (big deal, I know) I took off out of my house to attempt an urban ride.  Luckily it starts out a little less than urban.

Then it gets moar urban for a bit.

FYI, I nearly busted my ass several times on that.  The coffee hadn’t kicked in yet.  It took a few tries until I could ride it with ease.

After a few local roads here and there, I hit my favorite stretch of nearby gravel road.

It’s really pretty out there too and there wasn’t a bunch of pedestrian traffic.  I knew I made the right decision by not riding my road bike, because gravel pretty much sucks otherwise.  Plus, I can explore.

As I rode along “gravel grinding” I realized that I wasn’t far from the local trail that "magically" appeared in the woods one day, RTS.  I glanced over and got pretty excite.

I hit the trail and it was in pristine shape.  I hadn’t been there in a while for some reason, but I immediately started making plans so I’d ride there more.  I had the place to myself.

What a rad day.  I got back to the house in a reasonable amount of time and got in an awesome ride.  And yes, I’ll say it again...

Fall is my favorite time of year.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Best Time Of Year

Growing up and living most of my adult life in Florida, I never really experienced seasons.  It was either hot all the time, or cool for a day or two in “Winter.”  We had one tree in our yard that would lose it leaves sometime in late November, and when I tried to rake a pile to jump into (like those kids I saw on TV) it was never enough.  I always jumped "in" and landed on the hard, rooty ground.  Fall kinda sucked.  

Living in North Carolina for eight plus years though, I’ve grown to really appreciate the changing of seasons.  And I think Fall is my favorite.  The temps actually cool off quite a bit (and get downright chilly sometimes), the leaves changed color, and I get to put the lawnmower away until next spring.  And as a bonus, backyard fires are actually nice since I’m not sweating to death trying to “enjoy” it.

Friday night fire.  A tradition for us now in the Fall.  A great way to start the weekend.
With such beautiful weather on tap, of course I wanted to be out on my bike somewhere.  I had some things to do early Saturday morning so a trip to the mountains was out.  Instead, I opted to stay local. 

Rocky Branch Park over there across the river in Belmont, NC.  Little Miss Sunshine had never been before, so she was down too. 

Despite not being familiar with the trail, she rode it like a pro. 

We stopped and worked on stuff to help build her confidence too.  She can ride and all that, but I want to make sure she’s comfortable.  I’m pretty sure she is.

Her form is much better than mine too.

It’s been a few months since I’d ridden there and I’d forgotten how much fun that place is.  It has a little something for everyone; no matter your skill level.

The temps were perfect, the trail was in great shape, and the fall color down here in the Piedmont is in full swing.  The only thing that could make it a complete day would be some awesome food and beer.

We had that covered of course.

Hell yeah.  It’s nice to be happy and enjoying life again.

I could get used to this.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fun Friday

I almost forgot that today was Friday.  Since I’ve been skipping a few days a week on ye olde blog, I guess that’s easy to do.  Also, I have another “thing” going on that has me a little preoccupied.

I know I’ve mentioned how unhappy I’ve been with a recent career move.  I’ve had enough, and it’s time to move on. 

It’s not me, it’s them.

And that’s all I need to say about it, other than the fact that I’m gonna have a little bit of time off here shortly.  I think a trip down to The Sunshine State is is my future.  Details soon.

So, what are you up to this weekend?  It’s beautiful here, so my plan is to be outside.  Mountain bicycling is definitely on the agenda, and the little lady will join me this time.  I’m sure I’ll have pictures and junk next week.  In the meantime, I’ll stick with my usual Fun Friday theme and post a few photos I have of things that might make you chuckle.

Okay, funny enough.  However, sometimes I like to stay up with current events.  I heard on the news this morning that that formally fat guy that got skinny from eating sandwiches was sentenced to prison.  You know the story.  Well, here’s my take on it.

And that’s it for the “news” segment.  Are you offended?  Who gives a shit.  I’m pretty damn happy right now. 

See y’all Monday.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Leaf It Alone

One thing I forgot to mention about my trip to the hills on Saturday was the traffic.  This is the perfect time of the year to head to the mountains to go look at the pretty fall colors, and everyone knows that.  There were tons of cars on the interstate, and it got worse when I got closer to the hills.  Once I got in the PNF though, it was pretty clear.

The leaves, they are a changing.  I went to look at pump track riding (and to get a ride of my own), but I also went for the leaves.  There were lots.

It’s a little bit of a challenge to navigate the trails this time of year due to the leaf cover, since you can’t really see roots and rocks.  Maybe that makes me a better rider for it though.  I don’t know.  I blast through shit without preparing for it, and most of the time I get lucky.  With The Executor (My Niner ROS9) it’s pretty easy to recover from mistakes, but my dumb ass brought a different bike this time.

A rigid frok in The Pisgah?  I like to do stupid shit.

I was worried.  Mostly because I didn’t change from my “local-friendly” 18t cog to a more “hill-friendly” 20t.  Tough gear and no suspension would a rough Pisgah ride make.  It wasn’t bad for the first part of my ride.

Vegetable Tunnel

I climbed quite a bit, and once I reached the downhill section I was preparing to rattle the shit out of myself.  I just so happened to bump into Good Guy Greg and the elder Burton just before my descent, and after talking to them I figured I’d be okay.  I don’t know why, but they made me feel more confident.  They went on their way (up) and I went on mine (down.)

It wasn’t bad.  Low tire pressure on my Maxxis Ardent up front smoothed out the bumps a little bit.  I went pretty fast, but I stopped often to let hikers go by here and there.

Plus I got a chance to enjoy the colors.

I rocked the rocks and most importantly, I didn’t bust my ass.  Eventually the trail became a little flatter and I stopped again to enjoy a nice Fall day.

The temps were perfect, the trails were tip top, and I spent some time on my bike with all my friends.

Which is only me I guess.

Eventually I finished a solid ride and headed to The Hub for post ride beers.  There I ran into to actual friends (real people, you know) and enjoyed some good brew and conversation.  It was another long day (every trip to the hills is for me) but well worth it.

For the first time in a long time, I didn’t kick off Fall with a fall off of my bike.  I guess I have some catching up to do.  That means more trips up there to increase the likelihood of crashing.  Or fun.  Or good people.  Or beer. 

Or, who gives a shit.  I’m happy again.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Get Outta Town

It seems like the only cure for my “situation” at work is to get away often and surround myself with bike people.  We all have one cool thing in common (bikes, duh) so it’s nice to unplug for a little bit to forget about any troubles I might have.  This weekend’s activities started off with a trip to the hills, and to a place I haven’t visited in a few years.

Cane Creek Cycling Components was the site of the Blue Ridge Battle Pump Track Challenge this past Saturday.  As a former sponsored douchebag (I mean, rider) for Cane Creek, it was nice to get back out there.  However, instead of picking up some sweet headsets this time, I watched some folks tear up their pump track.

And taking a break from emcee duties for a bit, local Charlotte rider Will Washam did his part to get rad out there too.

Look at that concentration.  So rad.

I remember way back on one of my visits to Cane Creek when they built that pump track.  It was cool to see the employees take a break, do a couple of laps on the track, and get back to work feeling refreshed.  That always seemed like a nice job perk to me.  Now it's nice to see it being used for an event that traveled around the state.  Definitely worth the trip.

And while I was there (and one of the main reasons I went), I got a chance to hang out with Mandy from DeFeet.

She was selling the "Best Socks in the World" at the event, and since I forgot to mention it I'll tell you that the first picture up there is one of her sons.  He's pretty rad.

And speaking of DeFeet, I finally got a chance to see the new Batty Cat sock out in the wild.

It's becoming quite popular.

It was an awesome Fall day up in the hills.  I met a lot of cool people and made some new friends.  Really interesting ones too.

Dogs like me.  People, not so much.

I just needed to get away.  Even though I just watched some people ride, it was still a good time.  Don’t worry though; I was actually smart enough to bring a bike and I took it out on the trail too.

More on that tomorrow.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Fun Friday

I skipped a few days again.  Who gives a shit.  At least it’s Friday.  And with cooler temps in the air it’s starting to feel like fall.

I’m sure everyone is happy about that.

That also means that it’s the season for Pumpkin Spice…um…everything.

Just look at that one again.  Go on, I’ll wait.

And here's a PSA:  It’s also the time that we should watch for hunters while we’re out riding in the woods.  I’ve never had any issues personally, but I guess it’s probably still a good idea to pay attention and be careful.  You never know what kind of shit you could get yourself into.

Enough of that fall talk I guess.  Wanna hear a joke?

Okay, now on to business.  This weekend will feature beer and bikes as usual, but I’m not sure if I’ll be riding (I'm sure I'll be  drinking.)  The main item on the agenda for tomorrow is this:

I’ll be over at Cane Creek Cycling Components bright and early tomorrow morning for the Blue Ridge Battle Pumptrack Challenge.  I might be “working”, so if you’re in the area stop by and say hello (I won’t be hard to find, just look for the Best Socks in the World.) You really should check it out, because watching folks get rad on a pump track is pretty rad in and of itself.  It will be a fun day, even if I don’t actually ride my bike.  I’m bringing it anyway though…

So yeah, that’s enough for today.  See y’all next week.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

All In One Day

That road ride I did Saturday basically kicked my ass.  The distance wasn’t bad, but the unrelenting wind had me fighting to maintain a decent speed (or any speed at all.)  Once I got home, I took a nice, hot shower and relaxed for a bit.  That was it.  I was done.

So sad.

I wanted to work on some bikes, play some guitar, and do a whole bunch of other shit.  I could not get myself motivated.  I didn’t even have the energy to get up to eat.  I briefly considered ordering Chinese food.

Never mind.

I realized that the only way to get off my ass and do something was to actually get off my ass and do something.  I got up, got dressed, and headed to The Cycle Path.  I had a bike with a part that needed a warranty issue looked into, and as a bonus I just wanted to hang out with some bike people.  I haven’t been there in a while due to my shitty schedule, so I brought a gift.

It’s a well known fact that bike shops love it when you bring beer.  Remember that next time you visit yours.

I hung around for a while enjoying a few beers and some good conversation.  I eventually decided to head back to the house since I had real plans later.  I brought home some dinner (Japanese food for some reason), ate it, and wandered around the house.  I eventually ended up back in bed.  I dozed off, and had to be woken up by Little Miss Sunshine several hours later.

“Didn’t you want to leave at 8:00 p.m.?

“What time is it?”

“It’s 8:00 p.m.”


I took another shower, got dressed, and drove up to the middle of nowhere to see my friends play some kick ass music.


I’ve talked about these guys before.  They rock.  That’s why I go to see them every chance I get (well, that and the fact that I’m trying to get them to let me play a song with them.)

I’m not rock star enough though.

It was a good show, and I didn’t get home until after 2 a.m.  What a long ass day.  Road riding, sleeping, beer drinking, more sleeping, and rock show watching.  I guess it sounds pretty silly.  I ain’t no spring chicken though.  I need my sleep.

Still, it was an awesome way to spend a rainy Saturday.