Friday, August 19, 2016

Fun Friday

All week long I keep wondering...

Well, here we are.

We made it again.  And for the first time in (shit, I don't know, a year maybe?) I actually blogged every day of the week.  Just like old times when I actually had a lot of shit going on and had the time and energy to write about it.  I'm not sure how long I'll keep it up.  Who gives a shit.

This weekend, I think I haz plans.  Most likely they involve bikes...

And beer...

And probably guns and nudity too because 'Merica.

See you fuckers next week.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Flow Ride (Take It Easy)

After riding Raccoon Mountain and having beer, I had work to do.  When I got back to my hotel I had to work on my bike (to prevent moar flats the next time I rode.)  I added some sealant to my rear tire and changed out the tube and Co2 in my Awesome Strap.

A few beers later, I was satisfied that my next ride in Chattanooga would be incident free.

I worked all day on Thursday, but during my (very little) down time I planned my evening ride.  The guitar playing bartender at Moccasin Bend Brewery and I talked about my ride while I enjoyed beer, and he asked me what else I was planning to ride in the area.  I said I had no idea.  He suggested 5 Points to me.  He said it was fast and flowy, but with plenty of rocks and other features to keep it technically challenging.  I was intrigued so I hit up the local websites to get directions.  While it's a Chattanooga trail, it's actually located about fifteen miles away in North Georgia.

I high-tailed it outta work and headed south across the state line.

I had no idea what a good route would be, but I figured out some options.  While I was getting ready in the parking lot I listened in on some conversations being held by locals getting ready for their ride.  I opted not to ride with them (because I like to be on my own schedule.)  I took a photo of the maps at the kiosk as a reference in case I got lost.

When I started the ride, it was on a bi-directional connector trail (actually the whole trail is bi-directional.)  When I came to the first intersection, I opted for the "most difficult" trail thinking I would have the most fun.

It was fun, but hardly technical (or difficult.)  But, it was fast and flowy.

I came to another intersection, and again opted for the "most difficult."  A few minutes later I found myself out in the open with a nice photo opportunity.

Then I turned around to follow the trail and saw another great photo op.

That's when things sorta went to shit.  The trail disappeared, and rather than turning around I just dropped down the fall line (with drooper post engaged) until I found another "real" trail.  I narrowly avoided going over the bars in the process, and I was le tired.

I recovered and the trail returned to fast and flowy, but this time it had a few small rocks scattered about.  Then a few big rocks.

That was fun, but then the trail got super wide and had less rocks.

Still fun, especially when I found a trail feature made out of an old car.

I ran into those guys from the parking lot again, and we chatted for a bit.  They gave me pointers to make my ride better and it was much appreciated.  While I didn't find anything there very difficult (climbs rocks, etc.) I still had a fun time.  Oh yeah, and no flat tires.  I rode for about two and a half hours, and I finished with lots of daylight left.  It was time to get out of there and find some grub.

Luckily, some of the Chattanooga locals told me about a spot that not only had good food, but a clever name.

And yes, it was sofucking good too.

Chattanooga was good to me.  I went there for work, but I played during my free time.  Bike rides, beer, and beautiful scenery made for some good memories, and I hope to go back soon.  You know, without the work part this time.

Although I didn't find anything overly technical about the trails I rode, they were pretty fun nonetheless.  

I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

New Adventure

During my first full day in Chattanooga I worked hard.  I managed to get out at a decent time and headed over for a ride on an unfamiliar trail.  I had a map and plenty of daylight so I wasn't worried.  I changed my clothes in the parking lot and prepared for an adventure.

I hit the trail with no idea what I was in for.  I'd heard that part of Tennessee was rocky as shit and very technical.  After rolling for a few miles I wondered if that was really true.

Still, it was fun.  I was flying down the hills and making easy work of the short climbs.  The scenery wasn't bad either.

I was riding well, but careless.  Well, oblivious to what my bike was trying to tell me.  The rear end was washing out a little bit but I paid it no mind.  After I hit a rock drop with too much force I had no choice but to listen to my bike.

I tried to use the co2 I had in my Awesome Strap, but they were both empty.  I'd forgotten about the last time I had to use them.  Shit.  Luckily, I saw a road crossing a while back and headed back to it.  My tire wasn't completely flat so I took the road back while keeping my weight off of the rear end of the bike.

I got back to the parking lot and used my air pump to get back to the proper air pressure.  I grabbed my spare co2 and took the road back to where I left off.  Then it was back to not-so-technical (but fun) riding.

And the views were pretty rad...

I eventually finished my ride, but not without further issue.  My tire was getting flat again.

I made it out, so luckily I would have a chance to find out why my rear tire kept losing air.  That would wait until later though because I required a post ride beer.  My search from the night before yielded great results, and one of those was on the way back to my hotel.

And when I got there I found out that they were bike friendly.

Moccasin Bend Brewing Company made me feel welcome the moment I walked in the door.  You know, because bicycles...

After being greeted by the owner's dog, I bellied up to the bar and ordered their finest ale.  It was good for sure, but the best part was the fact that the bartender was playing his guitar between customers.

Bikes, dogs, beer, and guitars.  That place had it all.  As for me, it was another awesome day.  Sure, I ad a small bike issue, but I got to ride some pretty awesome trail and enjoy some local beer.

Not bad for a business trip.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Business Trip

Last week, I won an all expense paid trip to Chattanooga, TN.  Actually it was for work, but whatever.  One of our other engineers needed some assistance on a project for the week and I volunteered.  The interesting part was when I responded to the email from my boss asking for help.  His response wasn't "Thank you," rather it was a link to the local mountain bike trails in the area.  That was rad.

I hit the road early in the morning and headed west across the North Carolina mountains.  Rolling through Knoxville, I headed southwest towards Chattanooga.  When I arrived I had to stop by the customer site first before I checked into my hotel.  The first thing I noticed was that they were pretty bike-friendly out there.

Protected bike lanes.  They haz them.

I did a little prep work and headed to my hotel.  It was too late to get in a mountain bike ride so I got on The Internets and looked for local breweries.  I found several, including one within walking distance from my temporary residence.  I changed my clothes and hit the pavement.

Chattanooga is surrounded by mountains so it made the walk quite pleasant.  Before I knew it, I saw a good sign.

Around the corner from that lovely site was the Chattanooga Brewing Company.  I walked in and was greeted by nice people and a wide array of beer.  I opted for their IPA of course.

I actually had several.  They had a kitchen on site, so I enjoyed some good food too.  Two (or three or four or five) beers later, I wandered back to the hotel just before the sun went down.  I got my shit together and went to bed, ready for a long day at work.

During the very few breaks I had during the day, I started planning my first post-work ride.  I found a map on The Internets from their local mountain bike club and it looked confusing.  I took a picture of it just in case I needed it later.

I finished work at a reasonable hour and I headed out to the trail.  My first ride out there would be Raccoon Mountain, and on the drive out there I wondered if I had enough daylight to get in a good ride.  You know, unfamiliar trails and all that. 

The journey to the trailhead made me wonder if I would ever get there.

I was intrigued.  And worried.  What was I getting myself into?  Who gives a shit.  I'm always down for an adventure.

I'll get to it tomorrow.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Long Week

Even though I posted (sorta) regularly last week, I was out of town.  I was fortunate to go on a work trip to Tennessee, and of course I brought a bike.  I got back late Saturday and I'm still recovering from lots of work, beer, and riding (in that order.)  I'll tell that story this week for sure, but for now I'll start with what I did yesterday.

Since the little lady missed me while I was gone, she suggested that we go for a ride.  I haven't been too keen on riding locally lately (for some reason), but I agreed.  I knew that getting out on the bike would be fun no matter where it was.  We rolled out to Sherman Branch, a place that I hadn't been in quite some time.  Since it was her idea to ride, I let her lead.

I was happy to spend the day chasing her.

We had a good ride, even chatting with some other riders out there.  Talking to people hasn't been high on my list of priorities lately but I definitely needed it.  I've been sorta withdrawn and antisocial as of late and I don't know why.  Maybe getting out and riding here in Charlotte was what I needed to get out of my funk.

You know, that and beer.

I had fun yesterday and last week.  I'll tell you all about it on the next post...

Friday, August 12, 2016

Fun Friday

Hell yeah, it's Friday.  I've had a good week, and of course I'll talk about later.  I've been busy for sure.

Anyway, have y'all been watching the Olympics?  It's been entertaining to say the least.


I have moar things to do so I'm gonna get on it.  I'll see y'all next week.  Wait right here until I return.

I'll be watching...

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Week's Worth Of Vacation...

In only one day.

This is part two of our trip to Virginia Beach.  Sure, we went to the "beach", but we didn't actually go to the beach.  We're not the type of people to just hang out in the sand, rather we like to explore the area.

Specifically by bike.

Just behind the Old Point Comfort Lighthouse, we spotted Fort Monroe.  Built in 1834, it was an active military installation up until 2011.  It was an impressive sight to see.

We decided to ride around it, unsure if we could get in (at the time I didn't know that it was no longer active.)  Along the way we discovered an old artillery battery (one of several on the peninsula.)

We kept moving, and once we got near one of the entrances we saw a sign that told us we could go inside the fort.

So we crossed the moat...

And found ourselves inside.

A few people still live inside, but not many.  We talked to one guy for a while (the garage sale proprietor) and eventually started exploring.  It was neat...

But creepy at the same time (because it was so empty.)

We visited a little museum inside, and we found out that we could go up on the walls of the fort.  So we did.

It was neat for sure, but the little lady was really happy when she got another view of the lighthouse.

We eventually got out of there and decided to explore the rest of the land around the fort.  It was then that we got near the beach at least.

We finished the day exhausted but happy.  We stopped in a local watering hole for some food and beer, then we crashed out early.  It was another good day exploring by bike and taking in some history.  We made the most of our short time out there, no doubt because we brought our bicycles.

I highly recommend it (bringing bikes wherever you go.)  You never know what kind of adventure you might get into.

Now it's time for you to grab a bike and go somewhere.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Rest And Relaxation

I've been skipping more and more days on here and it's hard to tell if anyone noticed.  Who gives a shit.  I've been busy with work and all that, but mostly I've just sorta been in a hole.  I've been avoiding people I know for the most part and keeping to myself.  Even the little bit of riding I've been doing has been out of town and by myself.  I needed a break and I thought it was working.

I guess the time away from everything did some good.  I needed more though.  A way to relax and get away from it all without staying away too long.  That's why the little lady and I took a little getaway this past weekend.  We decided to take a short trip to Virginia Beach to check out a lighthouse or two (one her favorite things ever.)  We left right after work on Friday and hit the road to our hotel.  I bought some beer at a local store so I could relax before the whirlwind day we had planned but I couldn't find my bottle opener.

Luckily we brought our bikes with the most useful pedals ever...

The next day, after a drive through the beautiful Virginia countryside, we arrived at Fort Story in Virginia Beach.  Since it's an active military installation we had to go through a security check at the front gate before we could get in.  It was worth it though, because the little lady got to visit a lighthouse that she'd never seen before.

That's the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse.  Built in 1792, it's the first lighthouse authorized by the U.S. government.  It was in use for nearly a hundred years, until they built the New Cape Henry light a few hundred feet away...

I like history, so I dig lighthouses.  Not as much as Little Miss Sunshine does though, so she was ecstatic to see two of them so close together.  Maybe that's why she decided to molest the local wildlife.

Our fun didn't end there though.  Virginia Beach has a ton of breweries so we found one pretty quickly.

I'd tell you the name of it, but it's not worth mentioning.  The beer wasn't great at all, despite the fact that there were lots of people in there.  We finished it anyway, because beer.   

We hopped back in the truck and took a tunnel under Chesapeake Bay...

Hoping to continue our fun day (and forget about the poor beer choice we made) we hit up a local restaurant for some seafood.

 The atmosphere was good, and the food was even better.  After stuffing ourselves with fresh seafood, we hopped on our bikes for a ride around the island.  Of course, we found another lighthouse...

The Old Point Comfort Light was pretty neat too.  It shows signs of wear but it has a lot of character.  We hung out there for a while just taking it in.  It was a nice way to relax for sure.

But more adventure was waiting for us.

More tomorrow...