Friday, April 21, 2017

Fun Friday

It's the weekend.  Finally.

Oh yeah, and I'm still plugging along at this blog stuff.

I have a weekend full of plans.  Sorta.  Just like most everything I do it depends on the weather.  I like out be outside.  In the woods and all that.  With the bears.

Country bears.  Not those city slicker ones.

Well, just like usual I'm going nowhere on a Friday.  It's probably a good idea to quit while I'm behind.  Hopefully this post was long enough for your morning poo.

Um, see y'all next week.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

G County Cruisin'

I meant to be here yesterday, but I had to leave super early for work.  Who gives a shit.

I'm here now, talking about the riding I did over my three day weekend.  Since I moved closer to the Catawba River, a lot of my rides lately have been in Gaston County.  I dig it.  Sunday, I rode with the Z Crew and the Dirty Party Cycle over at Rock Branch.  It was fun to get out in a group in the dirt.  They took rad pictures.  I'm too lazy to get them from Facebook and put them here.

On Monday, I had a day off while a lot of people had to go to work.  I figured that it would be a prime opportunity to get out for a long road ride.  Plus, riding on the road would give me time to do other stuff later in the day.  I slept in a little, hung out with the dogs, then hastily plotted a route that took me into the heart of Gaston County.  I grabbed some water bottles, a few Honey Stinger goodies, and hopped on my road bike.  Three miles later, I made it to the river...

I quickly passed through Mount Holly and headed north on a normally busy road.

My first destination was the town of Stanley, not too far away (12 miles I think.)

Although I was in the town limits, I wasn't quite "in town" yet.  I pushed on, and made it to my "real" first stop.

I took that picture, and turned around to get back out of town.  The roads were much less busy.

I headed deeper into the heart of G County and I started to get hungry.  Not knowing how far I still had to ride, I passed on what could have been some pretty good food.

I probably would've regretted street tacos on a hot road ride.  There were no bathrooms anywhere along my route, unless I wanted to share a roadside squat with these goats.

I had a short conversation with these two and headed on my way.  The route got a little climby at this point, but I toughed it out.  Then, I had the most glorious downhill.

And it led to an awesome view...

I wasn't really sure where I was at this point, but I soon found a sign that gave me all the info I needed.

A little more climbing awaited.  I didn't care.  The roads were empty and I enjoyed the solitude.

After a while, my surroundings started to look familiar.  I was near a mountain bike trail that I hadn't ridden in a while.  Even though that place is always open, I brought the wrong kind of bike.

I rolled across the street and spotted a trail map I'd never seen before...

This was the kind of trail I could ride on a road bike.  I figured, "What the hell."

Short and sweet.  I'll be back with a mountain bike though.  Anyway, I rolled south and hit another town on my list...

Not much to see here when it's not Christmas, so I rolled through to spot the one thing worth viewing this time of year.

Lots of climbing remained.  I was hot, tired, and had no idea how far I'd gone or how much of my ride remained (my Garmin died.)  Before I knew it, I rolled into the next town over...

And I crossed the river to head home...

I rolled into my driveway three hours later, relieved but very happy.  It was time to get on with my day but there was one problem...

I was locked out of the garage.


There was a power outage in the area, and my keys were locked inside the garage.  The power company's estimate was hours away.

I waited outside in the hot sun for three hours until I could get back in the house.

I was beat tired and hungry and the rest of my day was pretty much toast.

At least I got out for a ride though...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

No Time To Relax

I had a three day weekend.  And as usual, I tried to plan everything and cram it all in on the first day.  After sleeping in a bit on Saturday I gathered up my shit and headed out.  I found a trail I'd never been on before...

But I didn't have a bike.  I brought some of my other toys.

Yeah, I went fishing.  It was the first time in nearly ten years (since I moved out of Florida) that I went fishing and I had forgotten how much fun it was.  Back in the Sunshine State I fished all the time and knew the great spots where I lived.  Here in North Carolina, I had no clue.  I never bothered to research it either until I moved closer to the water.  I got my fishing license, dusted off my gear, and figured I'd spent a little time out on the shore seeing what I could catch.

Cast, reel in, repeat (and drink some beer.)  I wasn't catching anything but I had a few nibbles.  Suddenly, I saw something coming around the corner that looked out of place...

Three (grown) kids in a giant inflatable duck with only one paddle between them.  I had no idea where they were going, and neither did they based on the conversation I overheard.

I was tempted to try to reel them in though.

After a while I kind of forgot about them.  That is, until I saw them again.

This time, they were yelling over to me.  "We didn't make it!"

I laughed and took a sip of beer.  It's a big lake, and I figured that they wouldn't make it, wherever it was.

I still hadn't caught shit either.  It didn't matter.  I had forgotten how much fun fishing was (that's why they call it fishing and not catching.)  In fact, it was so much fun that I was out there for many hours, instead of the one hour I'd planned to stay.  That sort of put a damper on my plans for the middle part of the day but I didn't care.

You see, I was supposed to go to the hills Saturday night, and I'd planned to ride somewhere in The Pisgah before I reached my final destination for the evening.  Getting home so late from fishing didn't give me enough time to ride, so I headed to the hills as the sun was going down.

The ride was beautiful.  And even though I didn't get to ride, it was nice to head out there.  My mission was to go support my buddy Matt as he played with his band, Gotcha Groove.

It was a rad time.  I got home well after midnight, so maybe I'd done enough for the day.  Besides, I still had two more days to ride...

We'll talk about that tomorrow, mmmmkay?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Fun Friday

I think that today is a holiday for most people.  I guess that's why traffic was light this morning on my commute to the office.  I'm "working" today, but there isn't much going on.  So I'm here.  With you (maybe.)  Who gives a shit.

Since traffic here might be light too, I'll get this shit over with.

How about we have some fun with current events?

Too soon?  Nope.  Let's pour salt on the wound...

Hey, I'm not here to provide the "news."  I just like to laugh at funny things.

Anyway, I have a few days off so I'm gonna enjoy my time away.  Since it's not cold outside anymore, I have no reason to sit around drinking and eating (and getting fat.)  I'll make sure to keep it that way too.

Still, I may end up going out to eat.  Hopefully I find the right place...

Actually, I plan to head up to the hills (finally.)  It's Spring and the mountain are calling.  Like Lunchbox recently told me though, Spring sucks.  He says it's when the creatures are most active and ready to start some shit.

I agree.

I'll still have fun unless i get eaten by a bear or some other critter that just woke up.

See y'all next week sometime.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Ride Poacher

In an effort to have more fun on the bike, I'm trying to make sure I ride with other people more often.  I usually end up riding alone most of the time, but when I heard that the little lady was heading out for a group ride I decided to invite myself along.  The ride was at the Whitewater Center, so I figured I'd just roll over there while everyone else drove their vehicles.

If I take the road (and not the backcountry route I did da udda day) it's only about three miles and I can do it under twenty minutes.  The ride started at 6:00 p.m. and I made it out there with time to spare.

I had forgotten to factor in one thing though.  I needed to be in the top parking lot by six, which was still another two miles from the entrance of the park.  I hauled ass, eventually rolling in at a fashionably late 6:01 p.m.  The group had formed.

It was a ride held by our local women's club, the Dirt Divas and they generally let the fellas tag along so we can help as needed.  And on a side note, I've been riding with them for years so I knew they wouldn't mind me tagging along.  They were splitting up into different groups based on ability, etc., and I figured on hopping into whichever one would have me.  I had a few minutes (I thought) so I walked over to refill my water bottle.  When I came back, all the groups were gone.

And I didn't have a clue where they went.

I took off at a feverish pace into the main trail hoping to catch up with someone.  I rode for a bit and didn't see anyone I knew.  Shit.  Riding alone again.  I popped out of the trail by the man made river and decided to try again.  I cut across the parking lot and sprinted over to the lake loop, figuring that the beginner group would be there (and that would be the group I could assist the best.)

What seemed like forever later, I finally caught up to a group.  They were riding at a comfortable pace and talking about which features they needed to work on.  We finished that lap and I was volunteered to head back out ahead of the group to help with spotting on some of the trail features.

I was riding most of the time though, so this is the only "trail" picture I got.

I helped provide spotting services while the ladies tackled the features to build up their confidence.  They didn't really need me though, because they were tearing up the trail forwards and backwards.

They were having fun and so was I.  I'm grateful that the ladies still let me hang around to help, because being a part of this is pretty cool.  They build each other up and are fully supportive, which is the total opposite of how guys ride when they get together.  I'm just happy to help.

When the ride was over, some folks headed over to the restaurant to grab a few beers.  I didn't want to wear out my welcome so we decided to head home.  And also because I had beer at the house.

 Thanks to Ed for the Lowcountry brew from Two Blokes.

And thanks to the ladies to letting me poach their ride without feeling like "that creepy dude."

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Part Two For No Particular Reason

Continued from yesterday.  Duh.

We were just sitting there drinking beer and watching this girl hang out on the zipline.  It seemed like forever.  I wasn't worried because we had plenty of beer, but I reckon that she was concerned.  A while later, some guy (that works there presumably) rolled out on the line to attempt a daring rescue.

He pulled her back in and it was all over.  Not very dramatic I must admit, but it made for good entertainment.  We decided that we should head out, so after the beer was consumed we rolled out on our bikes to hit one last trail on our way out.  I was joking about how Lunchbox always gets a flat when we ride mountain bikes and that we finally made it through a ride without that happening.  I was happy, but I know he was.  We exited the park and hit the road home.

About a mile from the house, we hit a downhill and I was flying.  I looked over my shoulder for a second, and I noticed that my two companions were falling way behind.  I turned around to head back, and when I got to them I saw this:

Less than two miles from home, on pavement, and the man-child got another flat tire.  He has such bad luck.  Luckily Ed had a tube so we were on our way pretty quickly.  Once we got back into the neighborhoods, Lunchbox had apparently forgotten about his flat tire.  

He was back to having fun again.

Despite the small issue, it was a great adventure.  I said it before, but I'm happy to be in a new place that lets me ride to some fun trails pretty easily.  We decided that some Mexican food was in order at this point, so we cleaned up and headed down the road to eat.

The little lady decided to join us at this point too.

The food was good, but the highlight has to be when Ed shouted out, "Found him!"  Unsure what he was talking about, I took a picture to see who he he'd spotted.

Have no idea who this is?  Mebbe Lunchbox's clever edit will give you a big hint:

It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.

Mountain biking, beer, a daring rescue, and Waldo.

Such a rad day.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Back In The Saddle

It's finally Spring.  And it's beautiful outside.  And damn it, I was determined to get out on the bike.  Saturday didn't pan out because the kid and I ended up hanging out together doing other stuff and forgot about the time.  But, there was always Sunday...

Luckily, a ride would not escape me on the last day of the weekend.  My pal Ed from down yonder in the Lowcountry was headed up for a work thingy, and he decided to drop in a day early to stay with us so we could go ride.  And as a bonus, Lunchbox was down to get dirty too.

Hell yes.

We decided to try my backcountry adventure over to the Whitewater Center because well, Ed is pretty much down for anything.  He just wanted to have fun on the bike, and that was the best I could do to guarantee it.  Lunchbox was different...

"Don't kill me."

That's funny.  He's a very technically skilled mountain biker and he's been riding on fat tires since he was four years old.  He doesn't ride as much as he once did (working full time and going to school and all), but he's still in good enough shape to hang with pretty much anyone.  I told him not to worry and we headed on our way.  A short jaunt through a neighborhood and down the paved road put us in the dirt.

These weren't really mountain bike trails, but they were fun as shit.  Sloppy, rooty, rocky, and pretty much everything a good bike ride should have.  The climbs were steep sometimes and required bits of walking...

  No shame in walking.

We weren't out there to have some good Strava segment or anything like that.  Nope.  And no punk ass gravel or silly roadie shit for us either.  It was pure gnarly.

Lunchbox can ride.  And he does it well.  The photo above doesn't do any justice to that descent either.  It was steep as shit.  Just how we like it.

While we did get a few pictures (obviously), our purpose wasn't to have a photo shoot.  We just wanted to ride.  Ed wanted some local Charlotte dirt specials, and Lunchbox wanted to do some product testing for DeFeet and show the average everyday consumer that people that work in the bike industry do in fact ride mountain bikes for fun.

Okay, maybe that last part was my idea.  He still rides for fun though.

Anyway, after our uncharted adventure we finally ended up on some "real" trails.  We didn't take any photos though, but it was still fun nonetheless.  And then suddenly, Ed and I could not resist the temptation of beer.

So we haz.

It was warm outside and we had cold beer (the kid had a sports drink because he's under age.)  We parked ourselves by the man-made river to watch the kayaks and rafts go by for a while.

It was relaxing I guess, but something much more excited was happening.  See those zipline wires up above?  We looked up at one point and some a lady stuck on one.

She was there for a while.  I mean, long enough to wonder if anyone (other than those of us below) knew she was there.  We waited...

and waited...

Nothing happened.

Until the next time I get back here for blogging...

Mebbe tomorrow.