Tuesday, May 31, 2016

To Hell With Baby Steps

I wanted to get out and ride for my three day weekend.  I was worried that I would wake up Saturday morning and feel like shit, but it was all for nothing.  My ribs are only a little sore now, so I felt good enough to head out on the mountain bike.

And go to the actual mountains:

Hello Old Fort, my old friend.

While it might seem kinda dumb to ride in The Pisgah whilst one is recovering from broken ribs, it actually makes perfect sense to me.  I knew that if I went somewhere local, I'll half ass my ride and not really have fun.  I know this part of The Pisgah pretty well too, so I went alone.  Again.  Who gives a shit.

It was just me, my bike, and the warm mountain air.  I wasn't on anyone else's time schedule or pace, and I could stop to enjoy myself.  Even though the first part of my route took me down a paved road, it was still nice.

Along the way, I made the customary stop at the geyser, which I used to cool off a little.

After that, it was climbing.  I rode up Mill Creek, and when the pavement ended the road got steeper.  One gear and sore ribs made it that much harder, but it was still fun for some reason.  Yeah, I suffered.  But when I got to the top I had a nice little reward.

This was where I contemplated a route change.  I had originally thought about riding over to do the Old Toll/Rattlesnake stuff, but my legs reminded me that they weren't quite ready for that yet.  So, I opted for an old friend...

Again, more climbing.  Lots of switchbacks that required some hike a bike on my 32X20 ( I normally walk a little anyway.)  After a bunch of climbing up Kitsuma, you're rewarded with a nice view.

A little climbing after that, and the trail starts to go downhill.  Not for long though.  It's just a tease.  You end up climbing again, but just before that last climb I saw another scenic opportunity...

That's when the fun started.  I was worried that I couldn't take the bouncing up and down from the rocks and roots.  I hesitated at first, but after the first mile I started to feel l like I could handle it again.  It's been a long time, and the descent there isn't easy if you're broken (and riding a hardtail like a dumbass.)

After a looooonnnngggg, downhill I popped out into the parking lot where I started.  I was happy, and not as tired as I thought I would be.  Instead of heading right back home, I decided to head over to Asheville to celebrate.

It was close enough to perfect.  I really can't complain.   Time on my bike away from people, beautiful views, and good beer are the ingredients for a good time in my book.

The next chapter should be rad too...

Friday, May 27, 2016

Fun Fridayyyyyyyy

Wow.  Friday again.  This one is moar better  than normal Fridays because it's a three day weekend for me (and lots of other folks.)  I'm gonna party or some shit like that.

Well, not that kind of party.  Maybe this kind:

Much better.

Actually, there's some sort of NASCRAP race* in town, which means more people jamming up the roads where I live (I live near the racing oval thingy.)  I'm gonna do what I always do, and that's getting as far away as I can...

Westward bound.  Just like when my ribs starting hurting again for no apparent reason, they feel better now (just as mysteriously.)  That means I can do some dumb shit like riding my bike up in hills.  Sure, I can take it easy and ride here locally, but I don't think I can motivate myself without those awesome views provided by the mountains of Western North Carolina.

My last two rides have been at DuPont, but I'm aiming a little bit higher now and going for a ride in The Pisgah.  Not the usual Pisgah though, rather one that I haven't been to in a while.

I'll give you a hint...

I'm gonna stop at the brewery where they make this delicious brew on the way home. You figure it out.

See y'all next Tuesday.  Have a great weekend and all that happy horseshit.

* DISCLAIMER:  I don't hate stock car racing, but I don't much care for it either. And yes, I know that several of my cycling friends work for race teams, and at least one driver is an avid mountain biker around here.  They're cool people, but that doesn't mean I have to like a sport that's just a bunch of hillbillies in giant rolling billboards turning left.**

** MOAR DISCLAIMER Again, I don't hate it.  It's just not my thing.  Cue the hate mail in 3...2...1..

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Don't Let It Get Me

I didn't mean to sound all whiny yesterday but it's hard not to do so.  I have plenty of other things to do, but riding my bike is pretty damn important.  And the fact that I re-injured myself while not riding my bike is a major downer.  I know I'll eventually heal and be "good as new", but damn it...

I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle.

Well, not against that guy.  He can't shoot for shit.

Anyway, I'm feeling a little better (again.)  I can move around much better now, mostly due to the fact that I sat around a lot and took pain meds (and beer.)  I'm hoping to get out and ride on the upcoming long weekend, so I'm on a self-imposed bike hiatus until at least Saturday.  In the meantime, I'm trying to enjoy a few other hobbies I have.

I took my new toy to a local park to get in some flying time, and I actually had a shitload of fun.

Nice open fields meant that I could fly that little bastard pretty high.  Since I'm not riding as much, I'm actually getting really good at this quadcopter thingy.  It's fun, and it requires minimal movement.  Well, unless I crash it (I do.)  That requires a little bit of walking to retrieve it.  Who gives a shit.

I also took advantage of my downtime to get back to a hobby I haven't enjoyed since...

Shit, I don't know.  It's been a while.  But luckily, I had some ingredients around the house to brew another batch of beer.

I know, I know.  It looks like shit.  That's how it looks.  When it's done in a few weeks though, I'll have a tasty Pale Ale that I made all by myself.  And if I'm still hurting by then, I'll have a couple of gallons of fresh beer to ease my pain.

At least I'm doing something I guess.  Something instead of whining about being broken.  I'm still down about it.

But I'm trying, Ringo.

Flying toys and brewing my own beer.  This ain't even the same fucking sport.  Ain't no ballpark neither.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Best Laid Plans

I was really excited for the arrival of last weekend.  The little lady was heading out of town on an airplane to do a big bike ride with her mom in Buffalo.  My plan was to get out of work early on Friday, grab my bike and drive to Western New York.  A ten hour drive, a good nights sleep in a rest stop close by, and I would meet them bright and early to ride.  Little Miss Sunshine was concerned that I would be too tired and fall asleep, and honestly, I was too.

After a long week of work, I decided that I would just stay home and do something else.  No big deal. Although the little lady was disappointed, she was happy that I didn't risk death just for a bike ride.  Next year.

Instead, I started to make plans to ride in The Pisgah, since my ribs were feeling up to it.  All alone the Friday night before, I headed up to the local pizza place to relax.

A night with all my friends.

I was in bed early. The plan was to leave early so I could catch my friends that were out there racing.  I woke up bright and early, and didn't want to get out of bed. Carl didn't either.

For some reason, my ribs hurt worse again.  I hobbled downstairs, fed the critters, and fed myself.  I told myself I would leave in a little while, but the time ticked by as the pain got worse.

Forget The Pisgah, I thought, I'll just go for a ride somewhere locally.

My energy was fading and the pain was getting worse.  I decided to plop down on the couch to rest.  I slept for a while (thanks pain meds) but I wasn't alone.

I woke up several hours later with plenty of time to ride.  The problem was, I felt even worse.  It felt like it did when I first got hurt.  I was mad, in pain, and...

I was depressed.

Why?  Why the hell was I feeling better (and able to ride pain free), then suddenly thrust into intense pain from doing absolutely nothing?  My road to recovery has taken a sudden detour.  Quite honestly, this sucks.  I didn't know what to do.  With one more day left in the weekend, I hoped like hell that I would recover enough to do something on Sunday.

I spent the rest of the day sulking and feeling pretty down.  I wish things would get better.

My Grandma used to tell me, "Wish in one hand and shit in the other to see which one fills up faster."

Good advice, especially since I feel like shit in more ways than one.

Damn it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Beer Day

I've obviously been very pleased that I'm able to ride my bike again.  And not just riding a bike, but riding a mountain bike in the actual mountains.  I still hurt quite a bit and all that, but the joy of being able to pedal up in the hills makes it sting quite a bit less.

Continuing from yesterday, the little lady and I were having a most excellent time.  A good ride followed by great beer at an awesome bike shop wasn't quite enough though.  We heard from some of our South Carolina friends that they were in the area, and we planned to meet up with them.  With Little Miss Sunshine by my side and friends on the way, I basically wanted a repeat of what I did the previous weekend, with people around me this time of course.

And that meant a trip to Oskar Blues again.

I've obviously been there before...

Who gives a shit.

Our SC friends were still riding, and when they finished I got a text saying not to wait on them.  I said I didn't mind, because hanging around at a brewery was a very non-shitty thing to do.

The little lady didn't mind one bit either because we were having a great time.  It was relaxing, but that was probably because of the beer.  There was a band playing too.

They were okay, but honestly I just wasn't really into their sound.  I watched a little of the guitar playing to see if I could pick up a thing or too and that's about it.  My mind wandered towards thoughts of playing my own guitar there one day.  Maybe that was beer thinking for me. 

It was a prefect day for sure, and even though we waited a while for our friends it wasn't a big deal.  We watched as kids ran around having a great time, and even saw some people hang up a hammock in the middle of the crowd for some reason.

Not a great place for that, but whatever.

Our friends showed up after that, moar beer was consumed, and the shit was shot.  We had a great time for sure, spending about six hours there.  I knew we had been there far too long when the little lady started playing with the kid's toys.

Yeah, we finally had to get out of there.  It was a really long day, but worth it in so many ways.  The drive home was tiring, and for a second I realized why we know so many people that have an additional residence up there in the hills.  We don't plan on doing that, but I definitely see where it could be beneficial.

I can see us being up there full time though.

Hey, it could happen. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

One Small Step

I'm still on the mend but feeling good enough to ride.  That's two weekends in a row.  And for some reason I don't feel like riding local at the moment so I planned another trip to the hills.  Instead of going alone though, the little lady wanted to join me.


We ended up at DuPont again and I had an easy route planned.  It starts with a climb of course, which felt a little easier this time around.

 Photo cred:  Little Miss Sunshine

Actually, as radical as that photo might look it was actually very tough.  Since the little lady took the photo, she was obviously ahead of me.  I didn't mind though.  I'm on the mend, you know.

I did okay I guess.  After a few bouts of my legs protesting I sorta got into a groove.  Sure, we stopped a lot, but that was only to enjoy such an awesome day.

The route I picked had us doing lots of fire road climbing and a bunch of singletrack descents.  The best one of all, of course, is the Ridgeline trail.  I hurried down to get a shot of the little lady.

She had the drooper post engaged.  I am proud.

We were out there a couple of hours.  We did a few miles.  I don't know how much or how many exactly because I lost my Garmin the very beginning of our ride.  Who gives a shit.  We had an awesome day.

And made it moar awesome by stopping for a post ride beer at The Hub...

Our day was just beginning though.  Maybe I'll tell more tomorrow. 

I gotta go do the working thing now.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Fun Friday

Man, I feel pretty good.  I'm not fully healed, but I'm definitely better.  I was pretty tired yesterday, but that was no doubt from my out of town trip for work.  I rode a little and had some beer, but I worked a lot too.  It's not like I was just hanging out on the beach all day...

  I stopped by there on my way out of town.

So yeah, I'm all energized and ready for the weekend.  It looks like I'm heading back to the hills again.  I'll try to ride a little further this time and work my way back into pre-injury form.  In reality though, I just want to have fun again.  That's what riding a bike is supposed to be all about.  A lot of folks don't get that, and they push and push to be so damn good so everyone will talk about how good they are.

It's showing off or something.

You know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, it's Friday, you don't have to work this weekend (hopefully), so you know what to do.  Go out and have some fun doing whatever the hell it is you like to do.

Hell yeah.  See y'all next week.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dat Business

I've been out of town the last few days for work.  I don't mind traveling, especially since I don't normally go very far or stay too long.  This time though it was two nights in Georgetown on the South Carolina coast, and of course I brought a bike.  I'd hoped to meet up with some of my friends down that way for a ride one of the evenings I was there but it didn't happen.

I ended up working too late for a "proper" ride, so I grabbed a beer and decided to go fishing for a good spot to pedal.

Warning, I will attempt more puns.  You haz been warned.

I was across the street from a marina and decided to check it out.  Typical stuff.  Water, boats, and old people wondering why a grown man was riding a bicycle.  But the best part of all?

It was easy to relax.

 This was a small town, which meant that my marina tour took less than five minutes.  Without a map or any idea what was out there, I headed in the general direction of "downtown."  It was unknown territory, and quite scary.

Once I got off the main drag I headed down some neighborhood streets.  They looked like your typical coastal town (or most of Florida) with older houses and tree-lined streets.

And then I found it.  "Historic Downtown."  It was old.  and small.  But, I was on a bike so I didn't give a shit about any of that.

I found another marina.  This time though, the sun was going down so I took a photo.

And then I decided to find more shit to lean my bike up against.


Hey Bubba, wanna buy a shrimp boat?

An unexpected part of my ride let me to find a young man on the street playing his guitar.  I stopped to listen for a bit and I really enjoyed it.

We talked a while after that, and he was pretty inspiring.  He was definitely talented, but the most amazing part was that he was missing his left index finger and still able to play better than people with all of their fingers (like myself.)  He was a very positive dude, and it made my night to talk to him.  

It was getting dark though and I had to find my way back to the hotel.  I'd pretty much given up on finding any kind of trail to ride and tried to make my ride fun on pavement.  There was a lot of historical stuff there, and I stopped to see it all.  I wasn't a mountain biker, I was a tourist.

Single speed is dead.

It was a fun time for sure.  I'm pretty fortunate to be able to bring a bike with me everywhere I go.  And even moar fortunate that I can easily find the best places to drink beer afterward.

It was a pretty successful business trip.  I worked hard, and played harder.  

All work and no play is for suckers.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Beer Is My Only Friend

So after completing my first "real" mountain bike ride I was pretty damn happy.  I'm not fully healed though, and I imagine that this constant pain and discomfort is gonna last a long time unless I stay off the bike and do absolutely nothing for a while.  That shit ain't gonna happen, so I'll just put up with it for as long as I can.  It feels like I'm healing, so it must be true.

Anyway, in an effort to get things back to normal, I decided that I would do some of the usual shit I do after riding up in the hills.  Since there was race happening nearby in The Pisgah, I decided to head over there to see if I knew anyone like I do every year.

I talked to a few friends at the start/finish line, then took a short hike up Lower Black to see if I could recognize anyone riding by.  With only a few finishers in at such an early hour, I spent quite a bit of time waiting, and trying to entertain myself.

 Probably the best accidental photo I've ever taken.

I cheered on a few people that I saw, and eventually captured a blurry photo of Watts and Dicky.  I chatted with them for a few minutes after that, but they were so worn out that the conversation was mostly grunts and head nodding.  I took that as my cue to exit, so I snuck out of there to check out the new and improved Hub and Pisgah Tavern.  They just moved into a brand spanking new building across the street and it's um, massive.

And the inside is rad too, with the main improvement (to me) is moar room to drink moar beers.

I wandered around a bit, looking for someone (anyone) I knew.  I saw no one.  I no haz friends.  I did however, see a nice display of DeFeet socks.

With no friends in sight (I mean with everyone I know still suffering in The Pisgah), I high-tailed it outta there to get moar beers at another one of my usual post-hills-ride spots.

I looked around, and still no friends (I don't talk to strangers.)  I decided to belly up to the bar anyway.

Just as my beer was poured, I heard an overhead announcement about a brewery tour.  I decided to take it for the nine thousandth time.

Still no friends, but who gives a shit.  I was enjoying myself.

Even though I was pretty much by myself the whole day, I still had an awesome time.  I'm not ready for The Pisgah just yet, but an easier ride in the hills followed by local beers has me back on the right track.

One day, I'll have some friends and healthy ribs again.

Or not.  Either way I'll be on my bike, which is good enough for me.