Friday, February 24, 2017

Fun Friday

Man this week felt like it was gonna last forever.  I woke up this morning thinking that it was Wednesday for some reason.

Nope, panicked for nothing.  It's Friday.  I guess all that traveling I've been doing wore me out a little bit.  Also maybe too much writing shit on here.  And by the way, I appreciate everyone taking the time to read my crap and nonsense this week.  Some people actually did read it.

Others, they just looked at the pictures.

Anyway, Friday is my short day on here, which usually means less words and funny(ish) pictures.  It's my little break from all that stupid "writing."  You won't have to put up with too much of it next week though, since it will be a short week for me.  The little lady and I are heading off on an adventure tonight after work and we''l be back sometime next week.

I'll be back here maybe middle fo the week, but don't wait on me.  Go out and get into your own adventures.

Srsly.  Do it.

See ya...

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Ain't No Party Like A Florida Party

The 12 Hours of Santos.  It's an endurance race.  For mountain bicycles.  Duh.

I think it's a little more than that though.  An event in Florida in February is the most appealing part, especially since it's usually pretty damn cold here in North Carolina during that time.  This year was an exception as far as the cold goes, but I wasn't about to miss out.  It's like my own mini vacation so to speak, and aside from a race it's also a pretty damn good party.

Oh yeah, the party.  Since I was almost ded from insect attack, I just sat around at the party spot like a slug.  I took photos of people riding the Flaming Kicker of Death though.

For the record, the tandem people skipped it.  I would have two on a contraption like that.

I heckled a little, but mostly I just hing around and enjoyed everyone else's antics.

And watched Joe work on his Wizard Staff and get happy time from the Doll of Judgment:

As the sun began to set, I started feeling good enough to drink a beer.  I enjoyed a Jacksonville beer while I hung out with the Jacksonville crew.

Appropriate I guess.

I drank a little but not too much.  I know, right?  Who gives a shit.  I felt good enough to heckle, which meant cheering like crazy for the people that hit the jump.  The sky was getting darker and the flame was getting higher...

And Joe's Wizard Staff kept getting taller.

Sure, the racing/flaming jump was entertaining, but this shit made my day:

And when it got really dark I took my favorite photo of the night:

It got up to sixteen cans before it collapsed under its own weight (the staff, not Joe.)  That was impressive AF.   The staff may have died, but the party continued on...

The party continued well into the night.  I didn't though, because I still wasn't feeling so great.  I quietly bowed out and took off for the night, but I was happy about the good time I had.  The 12 Hours of Santos isn't just a race.  It's a "thing."  Sure, people go down there all serious and in it to win it and there is nothing wrong with that at all.  In fact some of those people party the hardest.  But it's the whole experience that makes this a great event.  

Good people, good weather, and good times.  I can't wait for next year.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The "Race" Continues

Continued from yesterday,... 

Somewhere in the middle of my second lap I started to feel woozy (which at first I didn't realize was from that goddamn stinging insect.)  I made a few mistakes on the technical stuff, but I never went down.  I had to walk a climb here and there because of poor judgement, but I chalked it up to "racing."  Meanwhile, the stinging pain on my stomach was getting worse, and that whole area was going numb.  The legs felt good though, and shit, I was looking good too.

Photo cred:  Ositoking Racing

And yeah, my attire was quite comfortable.  I was in Florida, after all.

When I passed through the start/finish line again, I decided to take a quick break.  I grabbed something to eat, and looked in my truck to put something on my insect sting/bite.  I found nothing, so I hopped back on my bike and headed out for another lap.  I figured that I would start feeling better soon but that wasn't the case.  I kept making little mistakes on the easy sections of trail, so I slowed down to see if maybe it was a speed thing.  I looked at my heart rate and it was sky high even though my effort was minimal.  I decided to keep my slower pace and see if it got better.

I was still looking good though:

When I got back in the tech stuff again, I didn't have the coordination to navigate any of it.  I hopped off of my bike to walk some stuff and at one point I decided to just stand on the side of the trail to see if I could recover.  I looked down at my hands and they were shaking like crazy.

"What the hell is happening?" I thought to myself.

I eventually got back on the bike and started pedaling.  The rest of the lap was a big blur until I hit the start/finish line again.  I remember it quite well because a guy standing there said I have to fix my number plate.  I told him there was nothing wrong with it.  I also might have told him to fuck off.  Sorry not sorry.

This time, I was definitely taking a break.  I had a brief conversation with The Gentle Ginger (which I barely remember, sorry Tim) and then I walked over to my truck.  I sat down and texted the little lady to give her an update and to tell her about the stinging insect.  She told me to take a Benadryl.  She knows her shit, so I found some in my truck and took them.

As I sat in the seat of my truck with my heart still racing, I looked out of the window...

Those shitters were the last thing I saw, because I dozed off.

This has never happened to me before.  I've been bit/stung by all kinds of critters down there in Florida and it's never had an effect on me.  Also, any time I've ever taken allergy stuff it has never made me go to sleep.  But in this case an insect ruined my day, and a couple of silly little pills put me out.  I woke up about an hour and a half later, not sure why I was sitting in the front seat of my truck.

Once I figured it out, it was at that point I called off my race.  I could barely move and was still groggy.  I wasn't even mad about it though.  I got in a decent amount of riding, and with plenty of hours left in the day I could still join my friends that were done racing (or didn't race) in the finest heckle spot in the South.  

I grabbed a beer (for when I would feel like drinking it) and wandered over to see the Jax crew in the trailer park.  My man Joe was already making incredible progress with his Wizard Staff.

I plopped down in my chair and waited to feel good again.  Once the sun started to go down I was getting back to "normal."  I cracked my first beer of the day and joined in on the heckle-fest.

That gets its own post.  


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Florida Man

This past weekend, I returned to my home state.  Yes, it's still home.  I was born and raised in Florida, even though the last ten years I've been here in North Carolina.  Who gives a shit.

It's a pretty easy drive down to the Santos Trail near Ocala and I made good time.  After stopping for some local beer while I was still near civilization (Jacksonville), I headed down through the middle of the state towards my final destination.  I was blasting Lynyrd Skynyrd on my stereo when the song, Four Walls of Raiford came on...

The timing was perfect, because I was near Raiford...

Of course I kept going, the song ended and something else came on.  I don't remember what it was but it didn't matter.  Before I knew it I was back in Central Florida among familiar sights.

The sun had set and it was dark in the Vortex at Santos.  Still, I managed to find my Jacksonville peeps and hang out for a while.  Then I wandered around and found some Charlotte folks.  It was getting late though, so after a beer or two I turned in for the night, ready for a fun day in the warm sunshine.

The next morning, race day.  I walked over to registration to pick up my race number and stopped to check out one my new favorite things out there...

The banana hammock:

Then I stood in line with tons of other sleepy-eyed folks, eventually receiving my lucky number.  No, it wasn't lucky.  It was thirteen.  I quickly tried to counteract any bad juju by putting it on upside down, which apparently the rule.

The worst part wasn't whether or not bad luck would ensue, but the fact that a shitload of people kept saying, "Your plate is on upside down."  I guess they just didn't get it.  Anyway, I felt like my day was already in the shitter.

It was getting close to race time so I suited up.  I feel like maybe I'd been taking racing too serious the last few times so I decided to lighten things up.  I made my own kit.

12 Hours in cutoff jorts?  You betcha.

We staged our bikes and everyone started heading down to the bottom of the pit for the Lemans start.  I was feeling sexy in my cutoff jorts and t-shirt.  The photographer must have thought I was sexy too.

Photo cred:  Ositoking Racing

The race started, and we took off.  Well, we didn't.  I, along with some other folks, walked up the hill towards our bikes.  I'm not running just to hop on my bike and get stuck in traffic.  When I did start pedaling, I was ahead of some people and spun my ass off to pass a few more.  Here we go...

I felt good.  I was spinning like crazy on the flat stuff, but my heart rate was under control.  I ended up in a good group with a reasonable pace.  A few miles in, I was close behind three or four people when I heard them yelling.  Before I had a chance to wonder what it was, I felt a stinging pain in my stomach.  

That shit hurt.

I had been attacked by a yellow jacked, wasp, bee, what the hell ever.  I kept going, but the pain was getting worse.  I fought through it and tried to concentrate on keeping my pace.  It was working for the most part, and concentrating on that made the lap go by pretty fast.  Eventually lap one was in the books. 

Oh yeah, when I rolled through the start/finish line, someone else told me that my number plate was on upside down.

Thanks, asshole.

Anyway, I felt comfortable with my effort and settled in for a long day on the bike.  Half a water bottle consumed and my heart rate was under control.  My legs felt good and I wasn't breathing hard.  

Part two tomorrow...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Travelin' Man

I've suddenly found myself busy as shit.  I'm currently on the first on two road trips this week.  I had to take off to Myrtle Beach yesterday morning to do some work at a customer site, and it's been anything but fun.

I know, beach and all that.  Meh.  I haven't seen the beach yet and I probably won't either.  I have a little more to do here today, and then I get to go back to Charlotte.

Luckily though, I got to enjoy my time here a little bit last night.

Beer at a local watering hole.  And they love 'Merica.  Big thanks  to Mr. Coop for pointing me in the right direction

Trip number two starts tomorrow.  I've got something big coming up this weekend.  Hell, I've even been training for it by riding in the swamp.

This Saturday, I'll be "racing" at the 12 Hours of Santos.  I'm heading down to my home state tomorrow and coming home on Sunday.  You probably already know that I do this event every year.  I look forward to it not only because it's warmer down there in Florida, but because it's one of the most fun events I can put ton my calendar.

I am excite.  Mostly because I have some new cycling attire just for this.  You see, in the past few years it's become a little "douche-y" down there with all the super dirt roadies coming in to be all serious and shit.  Instead of being upset about it (because dirt roadies are people too), I want to embrace the spirit of my home state and stay true to my redneck roots.

My goal this year is to have a really fun time. That's it.  I will accomplish that goal.

See y'all next week some time, with my first "race" report of the year.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Much Adventure And Happiness

To make great bike ride.  (Thanks to Mike L. for that.)

I mentioned yesterday that it was a nice day on Sunday.  Hell, it was a nice weekend.  It would have been the perfect time to head for the hills, but I had some things to do here locally and couldn't be away that long.  I needed some singletrack though because it's been way too long.  I've been on a few adventures from the house on several different bikes, but singletrack has been almost nonexistent.

That's when I decided to finally get off of my ass and execute a plan I made back when we first moved into the new house.  Mucho Mexican foodz and many beerz the night before gave me the go ahead, so I woke up early in the morning to see how easy it would be to ride to the Whitewater Center.  The map said it would only be three miles of road riding, so I took off hoping that it would be somewhat enjoyable (the trip over there I mean.)  This was the first time that I'd started a ride so early in a long, long time.

I had to pass through two neighborhoods on the way out of mine, and then it was on to the open road (and a fairly busy one I might add.)  Spinning like crazy on a single speed mountain bike isn't the best way to move swiftly down the road, but it wasn't too bad.  One small road climb, a left, and another left put me pretty close to my destination.  But then I got held up.

I waited for a bit while the train rolled by ever so slowly.  Eventually it passed, and a screaming road downhill put me within eyesight of the exit for the Carolina Thread Trail section out at the WWC.  It would be dirt riding from here on out.

Oh, how I missed you, singletrack.  That trail was fast and flowy, and I was enjoying the shit out of a nice day in the dirt.  Once I reached the end of that trail, I ended up on the Figure 8 Trail and its multitude of bridges.

Once I reached the end of that trail, I came up on a running race.  I was warned by the little lady that it was going on out there, so I just sat back and waited for the runners to uh, go running by.

Then it was more trails, until I eventually popped out at the man-made river.

While I was out in the open, I chatted with my pal Leaf Life about my ride over there and where I lived.  He gave me a few suggestions to try for the next trip over there that may or may not reduce the amount of pavement I have to ride.  I can't wait to try it.

Anyway, A little more trail riding happened and then I rolled up to the parking lot to make a restroom pit stop before I returned home.  I ended up running into tons of my local bike friends, and they were all just getting started on their rides.  I said goodbye and head out a different way than I came in.

That little path goes along side the main road going into the park, and although it was wide as shit, it was hella fun.  Eventually I popped out to the entrance.

It was here that I pondered taking a different route home.  I headed the opposite way down the road I came in, and found myself in a very good place.

Donuts are excellent ride fuel.  It's a scientific fact.

I headed north from the donut trailer, and after a small amount of riding on the road I found another path.

This wasn't part of the suggestions I received earlier, so it was a nice surprise.  Especially when it headed into the woods.

Which woods?  I have no freaking idea.  It was fun though, and after a short while I popped out in front of a neighborhood that leads to mine.  

The trip there took twenty minutes (including waiting for the train.)  It was exactly three miles from my garage to the end of the Thread Trail.  The trip home took about twenty five minutes, which included the donut stop.  It was about three and a half miles.  I felt relatively safe on the road portions of my ride, and more importantly, it didn't wear me out.  The fact that I was able to hop on my bike and ride to some of the best trails here in Charlotte in a short amount of time was so awesome.  I figured that the travel time was about the same amount it would've taken me to load my bike on the truck, drive to the WWC, and get ready to ride.  

You can't beat that with a wet noodle.

I am so happy.  In fact, soon I will have to invite some people over so we can do a group ride from the house over there, and then return for beerz and foodz. 

I love this new house.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Too Nice Of A Day

Yesterday was warm.  I think it was a record high or something like that.  Temps near eighty degrees in February?  You betcha.  Everyone was enjoying the weather...

I actually wanted to just hang out at the house and enjoy it, but Lunchbox and I had already made plans to attend race number four of the Winter Short Track Series.  Instead of setting up all the heckle props though, I made a decision based on sad eyes that stared me down when I tried to leave the house.

I brought my little buddy along to enjoy the day with me.

Carl loves going "bye-bye."  He also loves being out in public around bike people, because to most of those people he is quite famous.  Everyone loves Carl, and he loves the attention.  I'm glad we brought him, and not just because he enjoys it.

The Heckle Hill crowd was a little thin anyway.

While we didn't setup our props, we made the best of it.  We cheered, heckled, and even drank beer (I did anyway) and had a great time out there.  And more importantly, Carl felt like one of the cool kids...

I figured that the crowd was thin because the usual people that join us at the rocks were out enjoying the nice day...on their bikes.  I didn't feel like I missed out on riding because I did that the day before.

I'll get into that tomorrow perhaps.

But for now, I'm glad that Carl had a great day out.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Another Adventure...

Because I don't have shit else to do.

I've spent a lot of time around the house the past few days.  New house, lots of shit to do and all that.  I really didn't do much around the house though.  Instead I spent time actually enjoying our new domicile.  Being on call for work meant that I had to be near a computer/WiFi, but I got to a point where i just had to get out of there.

The bets thing I could think of was to grab a bike and go on another adventure.  I'm tired of the road bike though.  I'm primarily a mountain biker (when I ride at least), but I didn't have time to drive to a trail.  I don't know my surroundings well enough yet so I took my mountain bike out on the road again, hoping to find something, well anything, that would be fun to ride.

Queue my rigid single speed, Darth Maul...

With empty roads ahead of me, I pedaled away toward Parts Unknown (Where all those wrestlers from my youth were from.)  I crossed an Interstate...

I was still sorta "out in the country."  I haz picture of cows to prove it.

I ended up in a neighborhood, but it was still quite nice.  There is a little creek that runs through it, so I stopped for a spell.

I wandered around for a bit, with no particular destination in mind.  I eventually spotted some woods nearby, and my bike (or The Force) directed me to explore them.  I'm glad I did because I found a little trail.

If I was in the city, I'd think this was a homeless path (i.e. bum trail.)  But I was still way outside of Charlotte proper, and this was a "real" trail.  Maybe not for bikes, but someone had made this path through the woods.  And that "someone" also made this janky ass bridge...

It needed some work, just like the rest of the trail.  I explored a bit, and realized that something this close to my house could be really fun if I put a little effort into it.  There's plenty of land to have a little fun place to play with the bikes, and I might be able to pour syrup on shit to make pancakes so to speak.  I was happy I found it, so I started making plans to return with tools.

Hopefully soon.

I felt like I was pushing my luck with being on call and not near my computer, so I started heading home.  I kept thinking about this new (to me) trail and what I could do there.  One of my bike friends lives nearby, so maybe I'll hit him up too.

I am excite.

Oh yeah, and on the way back home I stopped by to see my horse friends again...

They love me.  I'm glad someone does.