Friday, February 26, 2016

Fun Friday

I’m just sitting here, waiting for the weekend to start…

I haz big plans for my two days off.  Mainly, getting on my mountain bike to ride.  I’m strongly considering a trail I’ve never ridden down in South Carolina, mostly because I’ll be racing there the following weekend for the Southern Classic Series kickoff.  I don’t normally make a habit of pre-riding a course before I race it (I tend to race better on the unknown), but in this case I thought it would be nice to get out of town again and ride something that I’m not familiar with.  I dunno.  Seems like a good idea I guess.

So does cracking open a six pack though.

Yeah, there will definitely be drinking this weekend (not Kool Aid.)  I like to enjoy a drink or two (or ten) after I ride, so that’s a given.  In addition to post ride enjoyment, there’s a little fiesta I plan to attend on Sunday.

Looks fun.

Nope, the short track finale is this weekend, and after missing the last one due to my trip to Florida I’m ready to pick up where I left off.  Heckling will be at an all time high, especially after picking up some pointers from my Jacksonville crew last weekend.

Will there be a flaming jump ramp and trailside beer pong?

You’ll just have to show up to find out.

See y’all Monday.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Party On

The plan all along for the 12 Hours of Santos was to race for six hours and party the rest of the time.  It was a no brainer.  Mr. Shepherd and I gave it our all, and had a good time.  When party time came around, we walked next door to hang out with our Jacksonville friends.  They had their shit together, meaning that they really know how to host a party.  Their campsite was the land of trailers, and the sign out front said just that.

Last year, they had a neat little jump ramp on the course.  It was fun, but this year they built one moar better.

And next to the trailer park sign, another sign told you about the jump ramp.

We hung out and heckled the racers into jumping, and a lot of them did.  It became even more enticing when the sun started to go down and they set it on FIRE.

And when the sun actually went down, it got better.  Much better.

More people hit it in the dark for sure, It was fun to watch, and more fun to drink beer and heckle the ones that didn't.  The party got better, especially when some trailside beer pong broke out.

Eventually they moved down toward the flaming jump ramp.

And people were rolling through our party and having a great time.

I know those folks still racing enjoyed it.  In fact, the whole course was pretty rad at night.  Even the "Banana Hammock" looked pretty damn cool in the dark too.

The race eventually wrapped up, and instead of heckling the podium folks we decided to hang out and keep the party going.  More beer, more beer pong, more flaming jump ramp.

Everything eventually wound down (and my phone died), but the beer pong crew partied until they were really done.  It was funny to watch, but I was glad when they eventually stumbled back to their campsite.  

What an awesome weekend.  Those Jacksonville people know how to party, and it's always great to hang out with them.  Aside from the racing and warm weather, that's one of my favorite things about going down there every year.

I think I'll keep this shit up for years to come.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Go Until You’re Done

Race day...

When the sun came up, the whole field in The Vortex area at Santos starting slowly waking up.  No doubt there were lots of hangovers from the parties the night before, but I felt fine.  I was ready to go, but not sure what we were doing.  Although Mr. Shepherd and I had signed up for the 12 Hour Duo Class, we really only wanted to race for six and hang out the rest of the time.  We discussed it a little bit, and that was our decision.  However, we both new how competitive we could be, and thought maybe we’d end up going for the full twelve.

Who gives a shit.  I was ready for whatever.

Leaving the worries if what kind of race we’d do behind, I got dressed.  I selected special DeFeet socks for the day.  You know, the ones that Lunchbox designed.

We rode over to the start/finish line to the pre race meeting.  It was decided that Mr. Shepherd would do the first lap, including the LeMans start (running up the hill and around the corner to where the bikes were staged.)  I waited for the race to start so I could cheer him on.  Moments later, people started running by in a big blur.  I somehow managed to capture my partner as he sprinted by.

He’s primarily a triathlete these days, so the running was easy. 

Shortly after that, bikes started whizzing by.  Once again, I was able to get a photo of Mr. Shepherd as he came by, looking pretty damn excited to be racing a mountain bike.

It was an abbreviated lap, but I knew it would take a while due to trail congestion.  I hit the bathroom one last time, filled up my water bottle, and waited for my partner to come back.  As the racers started rolling through the start/finish line, I kept my eye out for him.  Somewhere in the middle of the pack, he came around the corner and it was my turn.

The exchange was quick, and before I knew it I was in the race.  I took off quick and my heart rate shot through the roof.  I felt that my rear tire pressure was much lower than I like, and despite the fact that I rolled by my pit just after I noticed, I decided to wait.  I kept pushing, knowing that I would get a break after my lap anyway.  Despite my preseason fitness level, low air pressure, and rusty bike handling skills, I rode surprisingly well.  The short, punchy climbs were tackled with ease, and I was confident in my technical ability.  Hell, I even passed a guy on an uphill skinny while he was climbing on the go-around.  I was the climbing master or some shit like that.

I haz Florida skills.

And I was feeling pretty damn good.

Once we got to the flat stuff, I went even faster.  Having a geared bike for the first time down there meant that I could fly through the trail, and I did.  I was passing a lot of other racers on the twisty flat section while my confidence grew.  I got behind one guy and he offered to let me pass. 

“I can let you by.”

“I’ll pass when it’s safe.  I don’t want to take us both out.”

“Ha ha.  I’ve already gotten my crash out of the way.”

Once the trail opened up, I flew by him and tried to put a big gap between us.  The trail got really tight again, and as I rounded a corner my rear wheel slid out.  I leaned forward to counteract the slide, and somehow caught my pedal on a root.  It sent me sailing over the bars sideways as me and the bike crashed to the ground in one swift motion.

I laughed it off as the guy I previously mentioned rolled by.  But, it hurt.  I got back on the bike, and after a few minutes of slow pedaling (and feeling wonky) I picked up the pace again.  Eventually I rolled through the start/finish (with a decent lap time despite my crash.) 

The next exchange was quick too.  I briefly mentioned to Mr. Shepherd that I’d crashed but I was okay, and otherwise I felt good.  He took off, and I went back to the pit to eat and drink (and air up my tire to the proper pressure.)  I never sat down, instead walking around to keep my legs loose.  I went right back to the start/finish line to get ready for my next lap.  Right on time, Mr. Shepherd came rolling through again.  He looked a little worn out this time, but we exchanged the baton quickly again and I went back out.  Instead of wondering how he felt, I concentrated on not crashing again.

Especially on some of the newer features out there, like the “Banana Hammock.”

Florida singletrack is fun, but they take it up a notch at Santos.  While a lot of the area is kinda flat, there are some rocks and climbs as well.

Anyway, my second lap was pretty uneventful.  I had plenty of energy, speed, and skill, and so far I wasn’t feeling any ill effects from my crash.  At one point I passed a couple of riders, and one guy shouted out...

 “I wish I had your power.”

It made me feel good, but I knew I would eventually fizzle out.

After a sorta speedy lap, I rolled through the transition area and saw Mr. Shepherd.  After yet another quick exchange, he took off.  We were doing well so far, but when he left I wondered if we were really gonna try for twelve hours.  I went over to our pit to eat and drink again, but this time sat down to rest my legs.  I was feeling good still, but if we were gonna ride into the night I wanted to make sure I’d last.  My break went by fast, and I rolled back over to wait for my partner again.  He came rolling through, but I could tell that he was wearing down.

We took a little longer for the exchange this time.  He wasn’t sure about doing another lap, so we decided that we’d play it by ear.  I told him to just meet me back there at the usual time and we’ll see how it goes.  He agreed, and I took off.

I still wasn’t really tired.  However, my brain was fuzzy.  I had trouble on some of the technical stuff (that I’d previously cleared), and once in a while on the flat sections I would just space out.  I would start thinking about having a beer or some pizza and speed up again.  This continued for the rest of the lap, but I was determined to keep going.

Even if we decided to go for twelve hours.

I rolled through the start/finish and Mr. Shepherd was nowhere in sight.  I looked around for him for a bit, and decided to roll back to the pit area to see what was up.  I wanted to go back out, but when I got to our tent I saw his bike, and eventually him.

We were done, and I was okay with that.  Six laps in five hours and twenty minutes.  A good pace if we’d hung on for twelve I guess, but we weren’t there to get on the podium or any other shit like that.  We both had crashed out there, and I even found out that Mr. Shepherd had lost the sole of his shoes again.

With plenty of daylight left, it was time to eat.  My partner went out to pick up some food for us, which meant that I actually got my pizza.

Lot of beer was consumed too, which was a warm up to the after race party happening right next door.  The Jacksonville crew had it going on, and after racing my ass off, that’s where I wanted to be.

More about the party in tomorrow’s post.

You know, dragging it out and all that.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Million Reasons

I can't really pick one reason why I go back “home” to Florida every year now to do the 12 Hours of Santos.  The past two years, it was mainly to escape the weather (I've had to dig out of snow and ice just to leave the house.)  The weather in Charlotte was nice this time around, but I still wanted to go down to the “Biggest Party in the Sunshine State.”

I left early (enough) and after fighting a little Charlotte traffic I made good time.  My Tahoe gets surprisingly good gas mileage on the highway, so the first time I stopped was just after crossing the Florida line.  I refueled, then drove a little down the road to stock my cooler with beer and food (mostly beer.)  And after that it was back on the road…

I decided that because of my destination, some proper “Florida music” was in order.  I popped in one of my favorite CDs, The Essential Lynyrd Skynyrd. 

As I sang along and drove down some back roads, I enjoyed some of the few things I miss about not living down there.  The middle of the state is mostly free of tourists and there aren’t too many people around.  Well, except in the Big House…

I was getting close to my destination in a hurry.  With only that one stop, I would arrive with plenty of time to get a good spot and setup camp.  I turned down the road towards the main trailhead, spotted a familiar vehicle at the bike shop, and turned around to hang out.

Besides, I had a couple of extra Niner bikes to deliver.

Niner Mike was hanging out at Greenway Bicycles, and after shooting the shit with him and the rest of the folks in the shop I made my way to The Vortex.  TomTom and Emily were still a few hours away, but I new my racing partner Mr. Shepherd would arrive at any moment (he’s just down the road in Bradenton.)  Just then, I got a text that said he’d been in an accident.  Some silver-haired old biddy had rear ended him (no one was hurt and there was no damage), but they still had to wait for the law to show up.  That put him way behind, so I grabbed a good spot and setup. 

I had a bunch of free time while I waited for everyone, so I grabbed a beer and headed nextdoor to hang out with my Jacksonville people.  They were already getting rowdy.

I drank beer and shot the shit for a while until everyone started rolling in.  Since we were “roughing it”, we all decided to go out for dinner.  I suggested a local place on the lake with some good food.

And by good, I mean Florida food.  You know, alligator.

We had a good meal and headed back to the Vortex.  Mr. Shepherd and I talked a little strategy for the next day while we enjoyed some more beer.  Well, if you call “strategy” deciding who was gonna go out first for our team.  It was decided that he would take the first lap, and we would figure out everything else after that.

More beer, more bullshit, and eventually people started wandering off to get some sleep.  I slept like shit in my tent, and woke up the next day ready to race.  Luckily, I didn’t party too hard.

This guy did though… 

Next up, the actual bike racing part.  You know, because I always drag these things out.

See y'all tomorrow.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

I'm Gone


This time of year, we're usually snowed in and I find myself trying to get the hell out of town.  I always go to the same place too...

Yeah, Florida.  I know,I was just down there a few months ago.  And I'm leaving bright and early tomorrow morning to go back.  It's always a good escape, and the culture is pretty interesting too.


Actually, you know what's going on.  Do I really need to tell you?

Okay.  Here's a hint:

Once again, I'm returning to my home state to participate in one of my favorite events.  Santos is a rad place to ride, and while we're not exactly snowed in this time around, it'll still be nice to get away for a bit.  And as an added bonus, I'll be "racing" a little bit differently this year.  My pal Mr. Shepherd will be joining me this time around, and instead of the full twelve hours we're gonna do the six hour version.  We started riding together many moons ago, but this will be the first time we've ever teamed up.  He's more into triathlon stuff these days, but I have a feeling that participating in a mountain bike event might be good for him.

News flash:  he's actually looking forward to it.

It's gonna be nice to get away.  Some Charlotte folks will be there, as well as some of my Florida people.  And by doing only six hours instead of twelve, I'm gonna have lots more time to party afterwards.

You know I love a good party...

This is gonna be a blast.  See y'all next week.  Probably Tuesday or some shit like that.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Spring Is Right Around The Corner


With one last punch from Old Man Winter, it looks like nice weather is on the way.  I don't mind the cold too much, but I'm looking forward to longer days and more comfortable weather.  I plan to be outside a lot more (duh), so Spring really gets me excited. It's not just about the weather though.

You see, the new DeFeet Spring line up was just released, and I'm always stoked to see what's new for my feet.  One sock in particular has already caught my eye...
The Aireator Team, with a sexy stripe in the middle, looks pretty rad.  It comes in a multitude of colors, so it will match pretty much anything you wear when you ride (you know you like things to coordinate.)  While I don't have any just yet, I plan to get just about every color they make so I'm ready for any outfit.

While the sock above is sort of a conservative (yet sexy) design, there are a few new ones in the collection that break the mold of traditional cycling socks.  While I am indeed excited about "crazy sock designs", I'm more excited about the fact that I know the person behind the designs.


My friend Matt has been doing some pretty rad work out there in the hills, and I've been proud to wear socks that he's designed (Hi Matt.)  I've talked about him before, but now there's someone else I can be proud of.  I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it before, but my big ol' kid Lunchbox is DeFeet's newest graphic designer.  He's been doing some cool things, and now his hard work has paid off.

He has three new socks in the Spring line up.  And of course I am a proud Dad.  The first one, while not really crazy, is pretty damn American.
The Levitator Trail is definitely my go to sock for mountain biking.  In fact, it was made for it.  And while my kid isn't in charge of writing the descriptions, this part says that it was made just for me:

"This is the cutting edge Enduro sock."

I must haz. I will haz.  Soon.

The next two designs totally make sense. If you know my kid (either in person or from reading about him here), you know that he's a big dude and likes to eat.  So it's no surprise that he designed some socks based on food items.

Those two (Pizza Party top, Dazed Donut bottom) are the Aireator style, a great one for all day comfort on any kind of bike.  And the Hi Viz colors will make sure you stand out in the crowd.  He's pretty proud that his designs made the final cut, and I obviously am too.  In fact, I'm proud of all my people out there at DeFeet for making the best socks in the industry, right here in North Carolina.

Support me, support my kid, support my friends, and most importantly, support a local cycling company that actually gives a crap about quality and what it means to be Made in the USA.

Hurry, go buy some:

DeFeet Spring 2016 Collection  

Tell 'em that I sent you, and just they might know who I am.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Music Man

I haven't able to motivate myself enough to get out to ride in the cold.  Pathetic, I know.  My friends aren't great motivators either.  I make plans without them (or by myself) and say no a lot when asked to go ride, so I guess I can't really blame anyone for not asking me to go out to ride in the cold.  When faced with the choice of riding alone in the freezing cold, I usually choose the easy way out (this time of year anyway.)  Luckily, all is not lost when I don't ride bikes.  It's a lot of what I do, but not my whole life.

I haz other hobbies, you know.

I decided to head over to the guitar store on Saturday since I had a gift card to spend.  I like to go there anyway, since it's a lot like hanging out in a bike shop:  lots of shit to eyeball, touch, and lust after.  It's a good alternative to being frozen on a bike.

Anyway, I've been in the market for a new pedal to go along with my other effects.  Specifically, I was looking for a chorus pedal to replicate the sounds of some of the songs I play.  After thorough research, I ended up with something pretty rad.

I know, it's not that exciting to those of you that ride bikes and come here to read about my pathetic bike adventures.  But, it's exciting to me and my pathetic music interests.  This pedal sounds good, and gives me the perfect effect for some of the Nirvana stuff I've been playing.  Big deal, right?

Sure.  But the funny thing is, I didn't really consider that when I bought it.  I had my choices narrowed down to two different brands, but something told me to get the Small Clone.  Something in the store...

Look closely at the kid in that photo.  Does he look familiar?  Yeah, you guessed it.  While it may seem like a coincidence, I say bullshit.  The kid walked in there with his dress up clothes, picked up a few different guitars, and played them.  He only played songs from one band in particular.  Yeah, you guessed it again.  

He was trying way too hard.  He wasn't that good, but at least he had some sort of passion.  All kinds of kids try to emulate people when they are finding their way in life, and if this kid turns out to be a great musician all because he tries to be just like Kurt Cobain, then so be it.  

Everyone need a hero.

I'm too old for that shit I guess, but I still find inspiration in other people.  I think everyone does it.  I don't pretend to know anything about human nature.  

That's not true.  I pretend to know about everything.  That doesn't mean that I do.

Hopefully this post was sufficient enough to get you through your morning poop.  One thing I know for sure, is that you only come here to pass the time.

Who gives a shit.   

Monday, February 15, 2016

Can't Stop Won't Stop

Yeah, we were back in the woods yesterday for the short track race.  And I have to say, my friends are pretty damn awesome.  After the shit that went down last week, word got around, and our party grew.

Not sure why Eastwood is sleeping.  Must have been a good party.

It was cold. I mean really cold.  Mid 20s I think.  The beer was flowing, the pinata was back, and we cheered/heckled our racing pals despite being half frozen (us and them.)  It was a blast.

But our friend from last Sunday never came back.

I guess he's retired from mountain bike racing.  I dunno.  That's too bad.  We had some shit ready for his ass.  Whatever.  We still had an awesome time, and once again were thanked by the racing folks out there that knew how to have a good time, and expected us to provide the entertainment.

Yeah, I race too.  Just not right now.  I'm not too fat (or obese), scared to get my feelz hurt, or any piss poor excuse like that.   I'm just enjoying cheering on other people while I get ready for my season (that starts very soon.)

And guess what?  People actually know who I am.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing, but I'll take it.

See y'all tomorrow.

Oh yeah, Who Gives A Shit.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Fun Friday

After the bullshit last Sunday, it's nice to be able to look forward to the weekend.  Yeah, I made it through another week.  I still have my cycling license, my desire to be what's wrong "this sport", and most importantly, I'm still obese.

I can't help it.

Yeah, I like to eat.  That's what us jolly folks do when we're ruining cycling.  I have no willpower, and temptation gets me easily.

It's cool.  I actually feel pretty good about myself for the most part.  And, I actually am looking forward to this weekend at the short track.  Lots of other people around here are too.  Let's hope our new friend shows up, ready to talk some more shit.

Seriously though, who gives a shit.  I've got bigger shit to worry about right now.  It's gonna be cold this weekend.  I mean, really cold. Like, colder than a polar bear's backside.

Shit.  Maybe I'll see y'all Monday.

Oh yeah.  Not enough funny? Watch this:

I'm out.  For realz this time.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Moar Fun Side

Well then.  After that necessary interruption yesterday, I'm back to my adventure.  You know, the one I was talking about on Monday.  Exploring the other side of Uwharrie, I was having a blast.  It's been well over five years since the last time I'd been there, and although some of the scenery and trail names were slightly familiar, I couldn't remember which parts were the most fun.  I knew there were some fun downhills coming up, but couldn't remember where.  Luckily, I found out pretty quick when I spotted the familiar Death Star trenches.

 Red Five, I'm going in.

Wow.  That shit was just as fun as I remembered.  The trench was just wide enough to accommodate my big ass and my big ass bike,  I was flying down the trail with a giant smile on my face the whole time.  It was a long downhill, and it just kept getting better.

Eventually, the downhill ended at a creek crossing.  It had those signature ancient Uwharrie rocks and with very little maintenance, it was technically challenging.  I rode it a few times.

I remembered that there was a brutal climb after this creek crossing.  There was a climb alright, but I was wrong about its brutality.

Ha.  Easy climb.  Anyway, after coming out on a road, I checked (and double checked) my map and thought I was going in the right direction.  I ended up doing an extra loop, but it really wasn't a big deal.  I made my way back to my planned route with ease, hit another downhill, and ended up along a creek.  And then...

I found the most horrifying climb I'd ever ridden on a mountain bike.  

I'm pretty sure that once upon a time this trail was named "Bruce."

I crossed the creek and prepared to climb.  I told myself that I'm a much better cyclist now, and that climb wasn't as bad as I remembered.  Wrong again.  It was fucking brutal.  I've never seen anyone ride it all the way, and with me on a steel single speed, I ended up pushing up most of it.  I huffed and puffed, and watched as my heart rate soared to nearly 200.  I was gonna die!

Finally, I saw the top.  That little bit of motivation carried me the rest of the way.  As difficult as it was, the climb was worth it.  The view was a rare one for this small mountain range.

And then I took the opportunity to do some shameless product advertising:

Yes, Nuun and Honey Stinger carried me to the top.

I don't know if it was my rising heart rate, lack of oxygen, or momentary lapse of judgement reading my map, but I couldn't figure out how to get own from that mountain top.  I thought I was supposed to take a sharp left to head back down, but with all the leaf cover and lack of maintenance I couldn't find the trail.  I took another trail that was easier to follow and figured I'd find my way back to my route eventually.  I wasn't technically lost, but a few checks of the map showed no existing trail.  I could find my location on said map, but not any trail close by.


I pushed on.  Screw it.  One more check of the map and I saw that I was approaching my intended route again.  Moments later, I spotted a sign that was very familiar.

The Short trail was anything but.  Mud, steep climbs, rocks, and lots of hike a bike.  At least I was going in the right direction though.  One climb later, I approached another intersection and knew I was on the right path.  

This is not the Good Guy Greg Trail.  I'm not sure he's even been on it.

That loop turned into another loop, and I knew I had one final downhill to go.  It was rough, untamed, and full of leaves and baby heads.  It was so rad.

Yeah, I nearly busted my ass a few times, got my legs cut up by flying rocks, and bogged down in the mud a few times, but I was smiling.  It was one of the best rides I'd had in quite some time.  I popped out onto the fire road, and after a short ride on the gravel again I was back in the parking lot...

Three and a half hours later.  

I don't care for the term "epic ride", but you know...

I can't wait to go back.

Wanna try it out for yourself? Start here:

Need a guide?  I work for beer.  Hit me up before I get too fat to ride anymore.