Thursday, June 30, 2016

Something Yummy

Since bike rides aren't happening as frequently as I'd like, I've had to keep myself busy in other ways.  About a month ago I mentioned that I started brewing beer again.  I made a nice little session ale just to ease myself back into the process.  After bottling it and waiting for a bit, it was time for the taste test.

It actually came out better than expected.  It's been so long since the last time I made beer that I was a little worried.  It was all for nothing though, since this brew is great!  Light, but with plenty of flavor.  It will be perfect for these upcoming Summer days, and I look forward to drinking it.  The rest of the batch still needs to sit a bit longer, but I will share with anyone that happens to be around when it's completely ready.  So those of you that know where I am...

Not one to rest on my laurels, I started another batch a short while later.  I used a bunch of Centennial and Cascade hops that I got at a brew supply store in Asheville and got the process started.

A cauldron of yummy.

I didn't plan to stop there.  I'd been reading about different ingredients for homebrew, which prompted me to look in the cabinet for something I'd wanted to use for a while.  You see, my Great Uncle (who's in his 90s) gave us some honey from his bees.  So I used some (well, most of it.)

I'd always heard that honey is a good additive, and after adding it to the wort I had high expectations.  After the fermenting was complete (which took longer due to the added sugars from the honey), I took a sample for a taste test...

It looked good, but it tasted even better.  A nice aroma of honey, with a slight honey flavor on the finish.  And yeah, plenty hoppy too.  When I bottled it, I instantly came up with a name for my latest creation.

MuddHoney IPA.  Since my uncle and I have the same last name, it made perfect sense.  It's a family beer I guess, and quite possibly the best one I've made so far.  And yes, I haz plenty...

It's not ready yet.  This one will take more time to be perfect.  Will I share this one too?  Probably.  You know, since I'm pretty damn proud of it.

Now, it's time to come up with another brew creation.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Another Fun Day

Since I seem to keep getting hurt riding easy stuff, I wanted a trip to the hills.  I couldn't get too much into the planning though.  The little lady wanted to have an "us" day.  At first she suggested a hike somewhere but I quickly reminded her that we own several bicycles.  Then I suggested a ride, but something fun.

We decided on DuPont again, because we can a) have fun, b) not work too hard, and c) avoid crowds.  I even let Little Miss Sunshine plan the route:

Another goal for me was to keep from getting hurt.  I just had to stay safe.

I always wear a helmet.  I don't always fall on my head though.

I'm still not back in shape (due to minimal riding), so the climbs hurt a little.  It took a long time to get my heart rate under control, but when I did it was awesome.  We weren't in a hurry anyway.  We stopped a bunch to enjoy the ride and to lean our bikes up against stuff.

We took it easy.  Really easy.

One place we just had to visit on our ride was Wintergreen Falls.  And I just had to give a shout out to DeFeet and Lunchbox while I was there.

Like we always do, we decided to hike up to the top of the falls.  It's usually pretty peaceful, and most importantly, devoid of people.

Not this time.

Ugh.  Not what we wanted.  However, I understand that other people like to have fun too, and it's not our own personal waterfall.    Plus, I'm pretty sure that those people found out about the sweet butterfly habitat that Eastwood discovered once upon a time.  (Go ahead, click the link.  I'll wait.)

So yeah, butterflies.

We got the hell out of there, and away from people.  More alone time, more riding, and more fun.  We ended on a good note like always, riding down Ridgeline...

The day didn't end there.  Beer at The Hub followed by a big fat meal, and we had another one of those fun days.

Just like every day should be.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Fun Friday

It's my favorite day.

I meant to be here yesterday.  I was busy I guess.

This Friday is just like any other...

It's the start of two days off for me.  I have plans, and they involve trying to ride my bike without going over the bars again.  That's it.  Simple, right?

One trip to the hills tomorrow, followed by a not yet planned ride on Sunday.  Mix in some beer and guitars, and this is the recipe for the perfect weekend.

I'm so cool.

See you fuckers next week.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Not As Bad

Sometimes you don't know what to expect.  You have preconceived notions about a certain thing, but until you actually do it you have no idea.

Brace yourselves, I'm not talking about bikes.

For Father's Day, Lunchbox wanted to hang out with his old man.  He also had something else to do, so he asked if that could be my present.  I said sure, not knowing what I was getting myself into.  You know, other than hanging out with my kid which is good no matter what we do.  So off we went to the Heroes Convention here in Charlotte. 

Anyway, he goes to comic conventions all the time.  He's a regular on the circuit these days.  I think that's neat, but it just wasn't my thing.  I went in with an open mind though.  Our first stop was something that made my day, no doubt Lunchbox's grand plan to get me to enjoy my day.

Star Wars stuff.  I dig it.

That was pretty cool, and I was definitely having fun.  After that, we walked around a bunch and looked at all the neat stuff.  I took a few photos.

So, nerd stuff.  I guess it's cool these day for most people.  Hell, I'm a Star Wars nerd.  But, people like to have fun, and everyone goes about it in a different way.  I'm really into bikes (and guitars, beer, etc.) and the people I saw at the convention are just as passionate with their hobbies too.  Just like Lunchbox.
That happened all day.  People stopped him to ask for a picture.  It was cool to see how popular he was with the people there, and from what I understand it happens at every one he goes to.  He appreciates the old school stuff like Mortal Kombat, as well as newer comics and movies.  Oh yeah, he's a cool nerd that happens to work in the bike industry too.

And he's one helluva a kid (man.)  I had a good day with my son, and I learned that maybe new things can be fun.  I'm glad that he decided to drag his old man along during his adventure.  I mean, I spent enough time dragging him along to my crap and nonsense.

So I'm not just some selfish bike and beer snob asshole.  I guess I'm a nerd too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I Need More Practice

Since my ribs were now nearly pain-free, I knew I wanted to ride over the weekend.  My last few rides have been up in the hills somewhere, but for some reason I decided to make the next one local.  I sat around a bit Saturday morning trying to figure out where I wanted to ride though.  It was a tough decision, especially since there are tons of choices.  To be honest though, I knew I would be a little bored riding by myself.  It was too late to round up anyone to go with me, or at least it would be when I finally did.  Wait, what?  Anyway, I had some things to do on the south side of town so I opted for one of our easiest local trails...

Flat(ish) with lots of roots.  Perfect.  My first lap was fun and uneventful, so I forced myself to go out for another.  I say "forced" because I was a little bored already.  I tried to make it interesting though, even stopping here and there to erase some of the cut-throughs that trail is known for.

 People will do anything to avoid riding over roots.  Which makes no sense to me.  

After a little bit of that stuff, I picked up the pace to get the hell out of there.  That's when I realized the main reason I don't care for that particular trail...


There were walkers and joggers everywhere.  Most of them are nice and all that, but every once in a while I see one not paying attention.  And this was that "every once in a while."

I was climbing up a short, rooty hill when I saw a lady running down towards me.  I started to move towards the left side of the trail and made eye contact with her.  She seemed surprised that other people were using the trail besides herself, and let out a gasp as she jumped right in front of me.  The details are fuzzy, but I think I tried to move out of the way further as I slowed my forward momentum.  I narrowly avoided her, but just as she passed I hit a root and flipped over the handlebars (yes, again.) 

I landed right on my elbow with the full weight of my body on top of it.  And, I heard a loud crack.

Shit.  Yes, again.

I sat there for a moment and checked my ribs.  No pain at all.  Whew.  And when I got up I noticed that I only had a small scrape on my elbow.

It didn't even hurt much, and as a bonus I didn't hurt anywhere else either.  I just had some cosmetic damage to my bike.

And I broke my bell too.  I had sadz about that.

I finished my lap with no issues though, and I was ready to get on with my day.  While I was changing my clothes, I spotted my reflection in the mirror.

"What the hell is that?" I said to myself.

Ho.  Lee.  Shit.  At least it didn't hurt though.  And yes, the swelling has gone all the way down too.  That crack I heard came back to haunt me later though, as my shoulder/upper arm got really stuff and sore later in the day.  That too has subsided quite a bit (but not completely.)

It wasn't my fault (I guess), but at least I wasn't seriously injured during this crash like the last time I went over the bars.  I do find the whole thing kinda funny though.  My last five rides (after broken ribs) have been in the mountains, and the first time I try to ride local I get hurt again.  This one was a small setback at least.

I definitely need more practice.  My fitness is coming back, but I still feel kinda wonky about my bike handling skills.  Sure, up in the hills there are less people sharing the trails, but the solution isn't to avoid local riding all together.

Is it?

I hope not.  I kinda like being able to ride local when I can't get to the hills.   I just need to pick the right trails I guess.

Or get some training wheels.

Mountain biking is dangerous.  Someone should ban it.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Long Way To Suffer

My last few "recovery" rides have been up in the hills so I can push myself to get back to whatever the hell I was before I hurt myself.  They've also been pretty lonely.  I chose to ride alone so I wouldn't hold anyone up, plus I didn't really feel like being around anyone.  That changed when I got a text from my pal Dirty Party Cycle.  He asked where there ride was this weekend, and I didn't really have an answer.  He proposed that we head up to Rocky Knob in Boone.

I was good with that, because I remembered how fun that place is.

I scooped up my pal and we headed north.  After driving through tourists and construction zones (and somehow managing not to stop for beer) we made it.  The first order of business was to hit the pump track...

That was fun, but it was time to hit the trail.  We started climbing, and my heart rate went through the roof.  I had forgotten how much climbing there was in the beginning.  It hurt.  The legs felt good, but I had a hard time breathing.  My ribs were sore and probably had a lot to do with that.  Anyway, the DPC had to wait on me several times.  He said he didn't mind, but I did.  I was embarrassed.  I'd spend the past few weekends climbing steep stuff and didn't have that much trouble.  Maybe the terrain had a lot to do with it.

It took a lot of effort but it was fun.  And even though I felt bad about holding him up, I think my pal was having a good time too.

The climbs hurt like hell, but it was all worth it.  Once we got to the top it was all downhill.  I did okay on the technical stuff, even though my confidence isn't where it once was. Lots of rocks helped me get a little of my mojo back, but the grand prize was my favorite section out there.

That is the crown jewel of Rocky Knob, and I flew down it without thinking about how much skill I'd lost during my recovery.  I didn't crash (although I had a few close calls),and we made it to the bottom with much happiness.

We even got in some more pump track action.

It hurt, but it was good to suffer.  I feel like if I work harder now that I'm feeling better, I'll get back to normal much quicker.  It sounds like bullshit, but I believe it so who gives a shit.

And to make a good day even better, we ended it with food and beerz at Appalachian Mountain Brewery.

Another good day on the bike.  I am looking forward to many more like these.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Fun Friday

Things are definitely looking up.  Or better. Whatever. Sure, the ribs (and surrounding tissue) are still a little sore, but I've accepted that it will take a while to be completely healed.  Back on the bike and all that, it's time to kick this thing up a notch.  Finally, I'm starting to feel happy.

I apologize for having much sadz.  I skipped a lot of blogging days so I wouldn't come across so whiny but I have a feeling that happened anyway.  I write this crap and nonsense mostly to keep track of everything that's going on and most of the time I don't go back to read what I wrote.  It's sorta difficult to convey the proper tone with words on a page on The Internets.  Just in case though, I need to keep reminding myself not to get so down over bullshit.

Excellent advice indeed.

I'm healing just fine and back in the saddle.  I've also been playing moar guitar (and learning moar songs), and I've even gotten back into home brewing.  The lack of riding forced me to do other things and I guess it was a blessing in disguise.  While not quite all the way happy, at least I'm not sitting around trying to drink my troubles away.

With a free weekend, I'm ready to hit the hills again.  I don't have any plans other than I want to ride in some mountains.  The Pisgah, The Other Pisgah, or Uwharrie.  Any of those will be fine.  I will have fun.  I will suffer.  I will drink beer when I'm done.

I may even find someone to go with me this time.

So, let's get this weekend started.  Quit hanging around here looking at this crap.

See y'all next week.  

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Flat Chance

The road to my recovery is a little less bumpy now.  I still have some annoying rib pain, but nothing (at the moment anyway) that's keeping me from doing anything bike-related.  During my convalescence though, it seems like I've neglected my body just for the sake of being on a bike again.  That may be true but it's a moot point now.

I'm just about healed now.

However, I was in a dark place mentally, and while one can argue that I'm like that most of the time anyway, I will say that trying to deal with being broken took its toll on me.  I did just enough to try to keep my sanity, but I did more than neglect my body.  I also neglected some of our bikes.  It's difficult to keep up with so many bikes when all three of us here in the house ride (and each have multiple two-wheeled machines.)  My bikes have been good enough (with the small amount of riding I've done), so I finally stopped being so unselfish and took a look at some of our other rides.

The first was Lunchbox's bike.  I've said it many times before, but he's prone to flat tires.  I've tried different tubes, tubeless, and the last step was a new tube and tire.  Without even riding, he had a flat.

I knew it wasn't his fault now.  I suspected that the rims had an issue before, but I didn't really look into it.  He liked those wheels because of the white spokes, but I knew they were crap (cheap wheels from a bike long ago.)  I happened to have some new Niner wheels from a bike that I took off before riding, but there was one problem...

Thru axle and he haz quick release frok.

I scoured The Internets and found an adapter that would work.  I couldn't find anyone that had anything bad to say about it, which probably means that it sucks.  Who gives a shit.  I ordered it anyway, because I don't care.  It showed up, and installation was a breeze.

It's solid too.

I used a new tube, same (new) tire, and moved the brake rotor to the new wheel.  No moar flat.

Now, on to the next issue.  The little lady told me she had a flat for no reason.  I checked it out and didn't see an obvious issue, so I did what any normal person would do and added moar sealant.  The next day it was flat again.  I decided to investigate further.  I took off the tire and saw that the rim tape I used was not doing so well.

Something told me I would regret buying that tape.  I've used Stan's tape for years, but when I went to my local bike shop the last time they didn't have any.  I was told that this "other brand" was better (I won't say the name but it starts with an "R" and ends with some shit made by the Big Red S.)  And by the way, this happened once before too, but I chalked that one up to user error.  Now I had no doubt that it was a poor purchase.

The rim was re-taped, tire re-inflated, and flat time is over.  I'm throwing away an almost complete roll of rim tape because I didn't listen to my gut.  Lesson learned.

I forgot what that lesson was though.  Maybe it's that I don't need to be around people.

Or maybe that I need to start being a little more patient.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Road Easy And Put Away Wet

Despite the suggestive title, my ride over the weekend wasn't that awesome.  After a loooooonnnnngggg day of drinking at several different establishments I was beat.  We got home late and I slept in the next day.  I knew I would, but I was unprepared for how I would feel.  I wasn't hungover at all, but I was dead tired.

I had originally planned to hangout/ride at the Pisgah Enduro on Sunday, and waking up at 8:00 a.m. gave me plenty of time.  I ruined that shit when I fell back asleep "for a few minutes" and ended up sleeping well past noon.  I didn't have the time or energy to drive up to Old Fort so I did absolutely nothing but watch the little lady take off for a road ride.  I wanted to ride too, damn it.

I eventually decided on a road ride on my own for some reason.  Okay, I know the reason.  I haven't been feeling like riding anything locally on my mountain bike lately, preferring instead to head for the hills.  Sticking to that, I figured a roadie adventure wouldn't be that big of letdown.

Well, it was interesting I guess.  I had no destination in mind and just wandered around.  I still missed the dirt though.

That kinda sucked on skinny tires.

I was far away from home, and kept taking roads I'd never ridden before.  It was good because I saw some interesting things.

On the way home the sky turned black.  I thought I had plenty of time, but the sky opened up and I started getting wet.  The rain came down and it cooled me off, making my road ride even moar fun.  I sprinted home and finished with nearly twenty miles for the day.  I cracked a beer shortly after, then the little lady and I went out for tacos.  I was beat though.  One small road ride and one measly beer put me down for the count.

If this is getting back to normal, I sure as hell don't remember what that was before.

At least my ribs don't hurt as much.  Must be all the beer and Mexican food.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Weekend Hangouts

I only posted up one day last week, and I totally didn't mean to do that.  I was out of town again for work, and just didn't find a way to squeeze it in.  I did find a way to squeeze in another urban ride though.

Same old shit from the last time I was down that way, but it was just as fun.  I worked a lot, but I managed to have a good time somehow.  Especially when it came to checking out of the hotel.

I've been meaning to do that for quite some time.  I wish I could've been there when they walked in to clean the room.

Anyway, my short week (due to having Monday off) seemed to go by extra slow.  When the weekend finally arrived, we had plans.  Our Lowcountry friends Ed and Alice stopped in for a quick visit, and we ran them around town.  Ed had a gift card or something to a local chain bike store, and even though I don't shop there anymore I was a good host and went anyway.

I'm glad I did.

Photo cred:  Alice

They are a big seller of DeFeet socks, and I was happy to see my kid's designs on display(pizza and donuts, pay attention.)  I am obviously proud.

After that we tried to grab a lunch at this place (Sir Something's), but the service was so shitty that we didn't get anything but a beer in the hour we were there.  No food to be had (it was a restaurant though), but we had a backup plan.  We rolled over to Phat Burrito and stuffed ourselves silly.

From there we decided to hit up some local breweries.  The next stop was The Unknown Brewing Company.

They are very bike-friendly there, but also they are very friendly to local artists like Little Miss Sunshine.

Things got a little fuzzy after that, but I do remember that we ended up at Birdsong Brewery.  Luckily I haz photo to prove it.

And it looks like I've been there before, or at least someone that knows me.

And I'm pretty sure we had lots of beer there too.

We crammed a lot of shit into an afternoon, but eventually they had to head back down to the Lowcountry.  We had a blast hanging out with our friends and can't wait to do it again.  We're already planning for the next time they visit.

I definitely needed a day like that.