Tuesday, July 24, 2012

pain is


Sunday night every time I took a step or flexed my foot it felt like my wound was tearing open.  After a night of sleep with my foot elevated and 3 butterfly bandages things are better.  I can walk and move without feeling like it is reopening.

Today we head to West Virginia to visit Annie's family and so I can meet my niece for the first time.  Originally I had thought about bringing a bike up, and Sean continues trying to persuade me to do so as he has friends in the area that can lead me on a number of rides, but I think I'll take it easy as the thought of ripping my wound open, or even flooding it in sweat, do not sound like fun options at the moment.

Cool thing about the drive up to WV - we got The Hobbit on cd... hell yes!

Blogger silence for a few days.  Maybe see you at the end of the week, maybe see you next week.  Either way, have fun and shred some trails.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Big Ring can BITE me!!


I think it's time I took that bitch off and hucked it into a nearby river sewer grate.  It's somewhat fitting that it reared it injurious teeth again today.  See, it was the teeth of the big ring on the HiFi that initially led (helped at least) to the moniker "snakebite."  Saturday evening I was thinking that Eastwood is just fine, I don't need the snakebite nickname.  Legitimately, the night before the ride I was thinking of nixing snakebite.

Fast forward to yesterdays ride.  Not a mile into the singletrack and Sean loses a bottle in the trail.  I shout to him and stop to grab the bottle.  I'm standing in the trail, bike leaning on my leg and I bend forward to pick up the bottle.  Bike slips down my leg, teeth of the big ring SOMEHOW slice down the outside of my leg above the ankle.  FFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUU (you know the rest).  I look, nothing.  A little scratch.  Then, blood gush commences.  A horrible thought flashes across my brain - ride ending injury?  No.  I won't let that be the truth.  I watch it.  No spurting.  Pick up the HiFi and push forward to give Sean his bottle back.  The pain isn't really noticeable and I try to forget about it.

The pain doesn't set in until after the ride.  The shower sucked and I gingerly cleaned it... without looking directly into the wound.  I uploaded the video that was shot before the skies opened up and drowned us with less than 2 miles left in the ride.  A mile or so down the trail after the injury we paused and I pulled my helmet off to capture the injury - figured it would make for a good cut scene in the action.

I thought I was going to puke when I saw it.

Damnit, does that need stitches?  I dunno.  But the Emergency Room is the last place I wanted to be sitting on a Sunday evening.  I could close it pretty easily with very little pressure so Annie ran out to get some butterfly bandages to see if that would do the job.  What's one more scare on a leg terrorized by pitiful big ring bites?

How were the trails?  Due to rain we only got through Warrior Creek - didn't get to play on Dark Mountain.  But I'll get into the trails tomorrow.  Right now we have to see about this wound.  I will say this, on the day that my New England brethren were taking on the Boneyard I was on what can only be considered the furthest thing from it... super hard packed, bermed, "rail that roller coaster" of a trail.  So, although I didn't feel the pain of the race, I felt my own pain - in honor of the Boneyard!*
courtesy of http://wrathoftheboneyard.blogspot.com/

*Sounds much better than a big ring biting you while picking up an ejected water bottle....

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hate forgetting my heart rate monitor

SO, the question was what I was going to do yesterday during the day before meeting Sean for a ride after work (his work - I just sit around all day).  Well, the ladies of the house decided they wanted to go out for breakfast and invited me.  I was skeptical, but after looking at the menu decided a western omelet would be much better than my previously planned breakfast - OJ and a banana.

Breakfast was indeed good, but then I was of course roped into stopping at a few stores.  Damnit - couldn't get away clean with just breakfast.  It wasn't that bad, I got some jack cheese stuffed olives for my fancy pants martini's out of it.  Which I wasn't able to enjoy yesterday because I forgot I was out of dry vermouth.  When I finally got back after that outing I did a little more on the job search front before heading out to Pee Wee's.

That's right, a trail called Pee Wee's!!

Not Mr. Herman.  It's a trail on private land that was started by this guy (Pee Wee) and is now maintained by PASA.  There is a $2 fee to ride, on the honor system.  Normally I'm not super jazzed about paying to ride but at least with this deal ALL proceeds go back into these very trails.  Plus, they had this sweet facility on site.

Electricity, running water, flush, stocked up with paper towels and toilet paper!!
I think this was the first trailhead to have such facilities.  Super sweet and unexpected.  Not that they were needed, but it's cool.  The trails themselves were pretty sweet, although I don't know what's up with the garmins.  The PASA site says the trails are 6 miles - I was getting 4.8+ per lap.  I guess it's struggling to pick up the mileage when things get so damn tight and twisty.

Pee Wee's had a bit of everything sans super technical stuff.  There were some dilapidated jumps and raised structures, but there were also some ready to use launches.  The trail was marked with arrows and bailout points every so often.  It was a pretty quick place.  Towards the end is where the tight twists came into play in the "Twisty Tunrey" area, aptly named.

They aren't joking with this sign
Zipping by my mind fixed the sign so I didn't notice the spelling until I came back for a picture.  This might be a joke.
Especially when you consider this is what you see when you twist your way back and find this on the opposite side of the SQUARL sign.  Don't cut through, continue on!!
When you wind your way to the back side of RIGHTY TIGHTY you run into another TIGHTER RIGHTY TIGHTY.  Seriously, this is no joke!
 I had forgotten my heart rate strap, so data is "incomplete."  Boo to that.  But overall it was a pretty fun ride - dodging thunderstorms and whatnot.  As we rolled into the parking lot the clouds got real dark.  We had to wait for 15 or so minutes to wait for a storm to blow by.  Just a little sprinkle, thunder and a bit of lightening in the distance.... but we got antsy and as it seemed to have passed we hit the trail.  The weather had cooled things off nicely and our first lap was sweet.  Hitting it on the second lap the heat was back and I was dripping by the end of the lap.

Not a bad place, tight turns, some short climbs, berms, and some nice flowy jumps, and a few short sections you can hammer.  A bit of everything.  There was also a sweet little covered pavilion area and of course plumbing.  Perfect set up for a race or organized ride of sorts.  Sean is talking about a Dild's Grill production of sorts.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

wishy washy

After making about 12 plans on what I was going to do ride wise I ended up just lifting weights.  Not a total loss.  It would be nice to get back into a routine of sorts since I am still on vacation/job watch.  Today I'll be hitting up some trails over by where Sean works once he is off of work.  Until then... dunno.  Work out again?

Might make a little video of the trails today just to brush up on things - plan on filming out at Warrior Creek this weekend, if the weather permits of course.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

road riding insomniac

Monday the "vacation" was over and it was time to get down to the business at hand - finding a jobby job.

I got the ball rolling on getting my licensure down here in NC - oh the rigmarole of bureaucracy.  Request a duplicate copy of my Massachusetts certification, request official test results from the Praxis(which I took down in Georgia years ago), fill out some paperwork and send it all in nicely packaged with a wad of money.  In 10ish business days that should be complete... at least on my end.  Who knows how long it will take the state of NC to process everything - MA was STUPID slow with that stuff.

I decided that I'd branch out and start applying for Dean of Students positions at Middle and Elementary schools.  In grad school I did intern as a counselor at two elementary schools on top of my HS duties so I could conceivebly apply for a counselor position at an elementary school but there is NO WAY I want to step into a middle school as a counselor... we won't even go there.  What would a Dean do at an elementary school you ask?  I ask as well.  It appears to be new, so that will be my first question if I'm contacted about any of those positions - what do YOU see this role being at your school?

Every now and again I don't sleep for a night.  Monday night was one of those nights... I'm feeling it was mostly brought by the job search... so of course through the night I searched some more after exhausting my opportunities with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system.  I found a couple agencies that mirrored some of my past experiences, so having those in my back pocket as back ups should ease the mind.

Eventually I fell asleep a bit after 7am and got a nice little nap until about 11am.  Got up, drank some coffee (which I NEVER do due to the fact that that much caffeine makes me go MENTAL) to ensure that I wouldn't sleep during the day and hopefully get back on a normal sleep pattern.  I was also preparing for a road ride when Sean got off work.

We went out for a nondescript ride of unknown length - tbd en route.  We opted for the 30ish mile option which was nice.  Pace was great... hot of course - with some random magical cool "breezes" thrown in.

There is a group ride tonight put on by the LBS here that I may join in on to get some experience riding the roads in a group.  I'll likely start with the slow group - which may end up being frustrating but I figure it will be easier to ease into riding in a line with a bunch of other riders that way. But I say MAY because of course I'd rather be hitting the dirt... so we'll see what wins out.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Water - from the sky and in the lake

Yesterday Annie and I cruised around Charlotte some more - checking out neighborhoods and houses.  We stopped in for a late lunch at one of my new favorite places - Kickstand Burgers -n- Bar.  Place is sweet.  Great food, bike inspired decor, and of course a nice selection of beers.  By the time we got back to Denver the skies opened up and my thoughts of a ride were washed away.

Saturday we were scheduled to hit Lake Norman for an all day pontooning adventure!!  Bright an early I get a text (from downstairs) ... conversation as follows:

Road ride now?
a quick 20 miler
Damnit.  Sure

It was a fun spin - kinda cool, kinda not at all.  It was muggy as all hell, just felt heavy.  But the ride was good.  It was a quickie.  But the burned calories were much needed as they would be quickly overtaken by the pulled pork that evening, the junk food on the boat, and the beers all the way through.

The lake was awesome for sure.  I got plenty of sun and swam a bunch.
"Gangsta" pose with my John Deere hat

The sun certainly took it out of me as I was sluggish for the rest of the weekend.

Sunday we had a tentative plan to hit up the trails at Lake Norman, but our out of town guest had to hit the road and previously mentioned "sluggishness" got the better of us.  Instead we hit up some open houses.  In Boston the open houses were typically anywhere from 11-2, or there abouts.  In Charlotte, the earliest started at 2 and the range was from about 2-5.  Got to account for that church thing that rules  around here.  Don't get me wrong, no religion bashing here.  Just a cultural change to have church impact so many other things - open houses later, businesses closed on Sundays, etc.  On the other hand, I am originally from the home of the blue laws, so I get it... sorta.

Today, with the deluge of water falling yesterday, trail rides are probably out.  So if things hold off I'll be hitting the pavement when Sean gets out of work.  This weekend we may be heading out of town to check out some of the mountain trails in the surrounding areas... perhaps Warrior Creek??

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mini trails

Friday I went for a mid-day ride over at North Mecklenburg Park.  I'm really digging getting to hit up fresh new-to-me trails.  North Meck is one of the stops on the Charlotte Mountain Bike Series which is a race series that happens on Wednesday nights at various trails around Charlotte.  A pretty sweet idea if you ask me.

So, from what I gathered it was a short track - 3.5/4 miles long.  I was getting closer to (the shorter side of) 3 miles per lap.  So after the first lap I was worried I missed a section.  I poked around a little and used the intelligent resources given to me by my phone but it looked like I was hitting the trail correctly...  I ran through 4 laps.  It was a fun fast place.  A few rooty sections but mostly the fast buff flow I've been seeing thus far.

As I was tearing around I did have to wonder how they hold races here... there were passable sections here and there, but for the most part I could see getting stuck on the wheel of the rider in front of you for far too long.  So many switchbacks to maneuver at speed - throw in trying to jockey for position and you have a recipe for disaster.  I guess it would all come down to good communication with your fellow racers and good sportsmanship on their part to give up a line when appropriate.

As I was leaving the trails Sean texted inquiring about an after work road ride.  As the sweat poured from me I pondered the proposal.  Might be a good idea with the impending day on the lake and pulled pork to follow coming up on Saturday (not to mention the adult beverages to be enjoyed on the lake and afterwards...).  As I pulled into the driveway at TH the skies opened up and it started to pour.  Had ourselves a righteous little thunderstorm - had the whole house shaking.  So that was that, no road ride that evening.  

This week I expect to hit some more new trails.  Between looking at houses and searching for jobs I've been looking at single speed options.  Since I started riding I've always been mesmerized by the kermit green Niner One9.  Now that they've gone on to a new design the older kermit green models are on discount...  I don't know if I can justify the money that would cost, or if I'd be fast enough to merit a Niner, but that doesn't stop me from drooling!

Bare Assed

Thom P's ride - before he blinged it out in pink.
Of course there are many other bikes I've been mulling over... more financially "responsible" bikes.  And of course, nagging me in the back of my mind, do I want to drop a lot of cash on a bike that I may end up not enjoying... Although, to be completely honest I could see ABSOLUTELY loving running one speed on the trails down here.  So far everything I've faced I could see railing with a ss.  

mmmmmmm.  Don't you just love biking?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Naming Contest

Yeah yeah, Media Friday I know, but I have stuff to say, so relax!  Actually, I'm happy I even know it is Friday.  That's the "curse" of having summers off.

Considering Peter Parker got his powers from a spider bite, I'm sitting here waiting for the pain to turn into power.  In the mean time I'm looking for a superhero name... you know, to go along with the powers that will certainly follow... right?

Story to Follow.

Yesterday, with the "rain" that the Charlotte area has been having, I wasn't sure where I would be able to ride.  I checked the local forums the other night and it looked like rain had been felt all over the place and I wasn't certain trails would be open.  While on the forum I noted that Poston "never closes."  Easy enough choice then.  

Sidetrack: the weather.  What is the deal with the weather in these parts?  When I lived in Boston and worked in Walpole I could pretty much guarantee that the weather experience in one would be the same in the other (plus/minus a few degrees - but who cares about a few degrees??).  Here, on the other hand, the weather in Charlotte can be COMPLETELY different then the weather here in Denver (roughly the same distance between Beantown and Walpole).  

So before heading over to Poston I did a weather check of Denver (Temporary Home), Charlotte (Future Home), and Lowell - no, I didn't miss MA that much that I needed to check the weather in Lowell, it's where Poston is here in NC.  Out of the three Lowell had the best weather, so choice locked and loaded.

I headed over there on some jackass of a route that the vehicular garmin led me on... the way home was WAY faster and more direct.  Got to the trail head and it appeared I'd have the trails to myself - sweet.  Working in the public schools (that is, if I get another job... yikes) allows for mid day summer rides on a whim.  Tight singletrack, twisty singeltrack... I see a theme to NC trails.  Big difference of the day is that there was WAY more off camber rooty stuff.  I couldn't tell if it was the buttery smoothness of the roots, or if they were damp from previous precipitation, that led to rear wheel slippage.  

It was a nice trail system with a newer section hitting up the mountain side, barely.  I did notice a trail that seemed to head straight up some elevation but I didn't jump on it assuming the trail would bend around and eventually get to it as the rest of the loop had proved it would.... nope.  Never got any real climbing going.  Not sure if I missed a turn or an end around somewhere, but next time I'm there I'll certainly take a detour to see where I can end up.  Ended the day with only 6 miles on the loop.  

Back at the pterodactyl I debated going around for another go.  But the previously mentioned bite made me air on the side of caution.  Was it a spider bite?  I can't be certain.  I do know I'd busted a bunch of webs.  I did hit one that freaked me the F out as right before it smacked my face I noticed something hanging in the air.  Brakes pulled and hand swatting commenced as I ripped any and all webs and "insects" from me.  I wasn't sure if what I saw was something bundled or a spider laying in wait... either way it was a big mother and I wasn't happy.  I'll battle an animal anyday, but insects freak me out... what with their robotic armor and emotionless eyes.... you just can't tell what they are thinking or what they are about to do.... little devils.  

Anyway... it was later on down the trail as I start hitting a sweet up and down leading to a nice descent that I feel something on my head.  Typically this is enough to make me stop dead in my tracks to remove my helmet.  But the flow was getting the better of me and I pushed the insect thought to the back of my mind as the nature of the movement could be written off as sweat rolling down my head toward my forehead.   That lasted 2 seconds when all of a sudden the feeling was now towards the top of my head and moving back....  I don't know if my helmet moved or if IT decided to attack but a sharp pain seared through the top of my head.  I pulled both brakes and laid the HiFi down to come in safe at second.

I didn't even pop up, just ripped my helmet off and started sweeping and batting at my head.  So in the end I have no idea what it was but it hurt like hell.  As I stood up and looked around I could feel the pain pulsate and spread toward the back of my head.  I rinsed my head with water and removed my gloves to further inspect and make sure there was nothing on my head.  Panic reared it's little head as I had no idea what types of creatures I could be messing with down here in the south.

If I started getting light headed, or feeling the ill effects of some sort of venom how could I get help??  Of course I had my phone on me but I'd have no way of identifying where exactly on the trail I was.  I started walking back up the hill to see if I could bushwhack to the ridge line (thinking there might be a clearing up there due to the light I could see).  I pulled myself back together and reassessed the situation.  Outside of the pain, I seemed ok.   I decided that I'd take it "easy" on the way out of the trail and see what happened.

Made it back to the car, called Annie to check in and let her know what happened.  She asked if I needed to go to the hospital, but I figured no.  But I still decided it was better to get out of there now than to hit the trail again and find out midway through that things weren't ok.

About a mile or so from Temporary Home (TH) a freaking yellow jacket flew into the window hitting me.  It must have gotten smoked by the windshield of the car in front of me as it was disoriented and crippled, just laying on my shirt.  GREAT!!  The perfect situation for this thing to just start stinging away.  I quickly grabbed my intelligent phone and used it to swat the thing off of me, knocking it down between the seat and door......  the rest of the drive I drove with the worry it would awaken, climb up and sting the snot out of me.  That was until, like a freakin bullet, it flew out from behind me straight out the window.

I'm done with insects.  DONE!!  My biggest fear is how I'll be on future rides going through spider webs, as from what I gather it's a super common occurrence down here.  Question - how the hell do these spiders get their webs across a trail where the trees might be a couple feet apart???  Pretty amazing (if not completely annoying) stuff!

The bite - it's ok.  Still a little pain, but haven't noticed any other side effect... that I want to attribute to it.  I jumped in the lake after the ride at Lake Norman State Park and got some water in my ear there... took a while to get it out.  Now that ear is all "waterlogged" again, sans water.  But I'm gonna say that is related to being actually waterlogged and not to any insect bite... just yet.

I plan on riding today, never fear.  I'm leaning towards dirt and not wimping out and sticking to the streets... but we'll see.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Buff Stuff

Sunday Sean took me over to Lake Norman State Park.  WOW!!  All I can say is you have some FAST trails out there.  Seriously, the only thing to slow you down out there is your own fear of flying off a whoop-dee or skidding out of a corner.  Smooth buff stuff for days!!

They system consists of three loops.  Our plan was (due to the heat) to hit the first two, head back to the cars to re-up on hydration, and hit the last longer "more technical" loop.  Sean's rear tire was soft even before leaving, so I instructed him to pump it up BEFORE strapping it onto the pterodactyl as a flat wheel doesn't hold so well in a bike rack.  We ran through the first loop with a quickness.  Hit the first section of the second and Sean started washing out in hot corners - I thought he was hot dogging it... but now, it was a squishy wheel.  Threw some air in it and we were off to complete the circuit before hitting the parking lot to get some more liquids.  Not 5 minutes later and we had to stop to pump up again.... ugh.  Apparently Sean was time testing Stan's and a year was a bit over the limit between refreshing sealant...

Finished out the loop and Sean paused before throwing in a tube... is that enough for the day??  It certainly was balls hot outside, but this was my first riding weekend in NC and there was another trail to be had.... after a gatorade I insisted he continue.  We certainly saved the best for last!!

Laurel Loop is rated blue square "intermediate" whereas everything else is green circle "beginner/easy."  As we hit the trail I joked, "what, is there going to be a log across the trail??"  This certainly isn't the place to be for technical challenges.  Any logs present were complete with up and overs of either stacked logs, dirt, rocks, or a combination of all of the above.  I will admit that there was one steep short, but nothing that was hike-a-bike material.  Yet, Laurel was different from the rest.  The other trails seemed to zip along.  Minimal pedaling involved, needed as you could get your speed up and fly through the course.

Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was the dehydration, maybe it was the miles already turned... but Laurel was a bit more of a challenge.  A fun challenge!  But, I finally felt like I was mountain biking and not on a roller coaster.  What hit me hardest was the striking similarities (on a small scale) that Laurel had with some of the trails in VT.  After the short into to Laurel you hit the road, ride up a short bit and are back into the sinlgetrack.  As you clear the initial climb you enter what felt really close to Webs at Kingdom Trails.  It descended and turned, climbed and descended, twisting and turning in a VERY similar fashion.  Even the trees reminded me of Vermont.  It was eerie.  Later in the ride we crested a ridge to find a back and forth snaking trail straddling a flat bed between two ridges.  Not to the same degree (literally) as Sidewinder, but in the same vein.  Had we stumbled upon a miniature KT down in NC?

Will I ride Lake Norman again, YES!  Maybe I won't leave Laurel to the end so I'll have a bit more in the tank for the trails.  But amazing.  It's a one way trail system (unheard of in the north) which made things very easy.  No worries about letting it go and just scream around corners and downhill.  Very easy to follow and tons of friendly riders out there.  So far so good.  Although, after hitting the trails at Lake Norman I'm feeling like the HiFi is a bit overkill for the terrain.  Not necessarily a bad thing as this supports my desire to get a singlespeed.... I think a ss would be right at home at Lake Norman.

I've already been struggling over what I would get as a singlespeed rig... and the time is not yet here for me to actually pull the trigger, so I'll have plenty more time to look, investigate, drool, and then come back down to earth and be realistic as to an actual purchase.  But, any advice from the pros out there is more than welcome!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We missed Balls Creek!??!?!?!?!!?

Saturday my buddy Sean took me out on a tour of the surrounding roads and showed me a quick 30ish mile loop he does, with of course, some exploration thrown in for good measure... which in the end pushed our mileage closer to 40 than 30.

It was a great ride.  We had the roads (for the most part) to ourselves.  Beautiful countryside/farm land scenery to enjoy.  A couple rolling hill sections to keep things fun.  Indeed a very nice stretch of roads to enjoy.  Even the motorists were super nice - a couple hanging behind us waiting to be waived ahead.

Yesterday I played around with mapping out a possible reroute to avoid some of the busier sections of the ride (riding on rt 16 and rt 150).  Plus, upon inspection of the ride map I noticed we missed a very important road - Balls Creek... come on, how do you NOT ride Ball Creek??

I also dropped off the rear wheel for the HiFi at a local shop Blood Sweat Gears to replace another broken spoke and to true that bitch.  I was very close to throwing in the towel and just getting the rims I've been eyeing since I got the HiFi... but I figure with the smoothness down here (and the lack of job) I should just true them up again and keep on rolling.  While in the shop I asked a little more about the group rides they have going on as I've never ridden with other people on the road - other than with Sean the other day.  I don't want to get in over my head, don't want to slow the group - but also don't want to be bogged down on a slow ride...  Looks like Wednesday evenings are the best bet as they attract the most riders, allowing for groups for all levels.  I'll also be able to get the rear wheel back today, so I'll have to start hitting up some trails during the day when I'm NOT working.

Tomorrow I'll get into the dirt adventure I had over at Lake Norman State Park... that place is fun time central!!  It will be interesting to see how other local trails stack up.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Back on the saddle

Things are getting back on track ride wise here... well they were - but I'll get to that later on at some point.

Had some internetal issues (weak signal all the way up in the sweet suite we have in our friend's house) so no blogs - and soul crushing delays on data uploads.  I had a nice weekend of riding, and I'll start here with my Friday adventure.

I didn't feel like driving anywhere to ride, but wanted to get the HiFi dirty and the one option I was aware of was the local trail 'to be"... some atv trail, singletrack, doubletrack, construction truck linkable paths around the neighborhood here (vague plans are in the mix to get some legit singletrack worked in here).  Road riding wasn't a good option either as I'm not familiar enough with the area to know what streets are good and bad for riding (condition wise, shoulder wise, traffic wise, etc.).  I really didn't want to be stuck in the heat bushwhacking my way through that fun sounding mess so I turned to the interwebs to help me.  And help me they did - I found a local Strava segment just a few miles down the road.

So a quick paved ride to the trail and boom - I hit up the Denver XC trail.  A short little trail (all of 3 miles) with some tight twisty stuff in there.  The "hilly" section was completely blown out by pour (I'm freakin clever) drainage.  The HiFi ate it up so I didn't care - possibly the only good a full suspension bike will serve around here - more on that in later posts.  It was balls hot out so I settled for one lap and then a little exploration.

Come on, I'm always bushwhacking and trailblazing it seems, so why stop now?

I hit up a clearing towards the back of the trail that apparently was over a sewer line, as evidenced by the periodic manhole covers in the middle of the woods.  It dead ended one way, well kinda, it was overgrown and I didn't feel like wrapping weeds around the drive train and finding out if they had tics down here - I had been hoping for a secret passage to a magical land of more trails...  in the other direction, the direction back towards temporary-home, I came upon a little jump track and a bit of a short cut back to temporary-home.  I also came away with a KOM (yay!).  That was not expected for two reasons.

First reason - and most important reason - is that when I had discovered the track on Strava it had listed the segment as Denver Trail Counterclockwise.  Upon arriving to the trail the bike direction for the trail was clockwise.  So no chance for the KOM right?

Second reason - I clipped a tree carrying too much speed through a tight and twisty bit giving myself a sweet scrape/burn on my shoulder.  I did gather myself and carry on quickly, but still.

It turns out that the segment was just mislabeled by the original rider.  Who is also the only other rider to have ridden the segment apparently.  Maybe the loss of the KOM will light a fire under his ass and he'll come back out and smoke me... only time will tell.

I was all excited about the "find" (thinking my buddy somehow didn't realize there was a trail right down the street) that when my buddy got back from Florida - hell yea we were freeloading in their house while they were on vacation - I excitedly told him about it.  Yeah, he'd already hit it up... duh, of course he would have.

I didn't take any picture out there because it was too damn hot.  Which has been the theme since I've been down here so far.  Although, in reality I haven't minded it too much - especially while on the bike (with one exception - but you'll have to wait a day or two for that story).  Tomorrow we'll get into road riding, and after that the insanity that is singletrack down here...  let's just say part of the trails we hit on Sunday were reminiscent of sections at Kingdom Trails.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Moving sucks, right?  Well, yeah it does.  BUT I have to admit that our experience was pretty flawless. Well, that is if we forget about the fact that I packed on and a half trucks.  How does one pack more than one truck you may ask?  Well, by following the ultimate wisdom and charts of U-Haul we rented a 14 foot truck (suggested for an apartment up to 2 bedrooms).  We had a 2 bedroom condo.  So that should work we figured.  Got that thing about half full and with each trip into the condo to pick something up else the reality started setting in... this wasn't going to work.  Annie being as amazing as she is called up to see if there were larger trucks available.  They had a 17' so we headed over and unloaded one truck into the other.  Sucks right?  Well, we can't be certain that it was the fact that the AC was out in the store or what, but they didn't charge us more for switching to a larger truck - SWEET!!  So yeah it was extra moving of boxes and whatnot it didn't cost anything more so that's a win in my book.

Spent the night at my parents, had a great dinner out, and got a little help from my cousin packing up some of the the stuff we had stored at my parents.  Traffic on the way down to NC was not bad at all.  Sure getting in/through Hartford sucked since it was Tuesday AM - right dab in the middle of rush hour, but once we passed the city things opened up pretty much for the entire ride.  Seriously, no real traffic, everything was flowing, got to play leap-frog with some 18-wheelers... generally not a bad drive (if you forget the fact that is was 14 hours +/-).

U-Haul has this little meter in the dash to help you drive "efficiently."  

So, how what's the trick to driving will all the bars??  Well I'll tell you, and this trick you can carry with you to your own vehicle even though it doesn't have the sweet fuel efficiency gauge the rental truck do.  Ready for it??  The trick is to take your foot off the gas.  Yup.  Apparently your vehicle has the highest fuel efficiency when you aren't using gas... Brilliant!  Apparently neutchin* it is a good thing.  Conversely, accelerating from a stop was the worst on gas mileage... I know, breaking news.  U-Haul, not only are you paying to move yourself, but you get some free knowledge dropped right on your head for free.

I was disappointed to find that the truck had neither a cd player or a tape deck (a connection for an MP3 player, wouldn't have dreamt of it!).  But again, I lucked out on radio selection.  It wasn't until I hit the NC boarder that country took over the air waves leaving me with slim pickins.  It was a toss up between dance/pop ad country.  All throughout the ride I had my copilot holding steady.

Professor Second-Guess
(I procured him while working at Pac-Sun back in the day during their "redesign" phase)

I got to practice my radio announcer voice with him for a while as I mocked a DJ talking about upcoming thunderstorms.  I had about 6 different variations going, maybe guiding our nations youth isn't my calling...  

Yesterday Annie and I drove over to the storage place and unloaded the truck.  Our friends, who we are staying with, are on vacation this week so we have the run of the place to ourselves - which also means no help with the unloading.  But we didn't need it, Annie kicked ass.  Humanity better hope she doesn't realize how much ass she kicks because she might just take over if she did!

Today we have to head back over to the storage place to sign contacts and officially return the truck - they were nice enough to give us the code to the front gate so we could move in even though it was a holiday.  Actually, the owner offered to meet us but we in no way wanted to take him away from family or fireworks (or whatever else he had planned for the 4th) - I was just happy to be able to get everything over with!!

After that, who knows?  Maybe I'll ride/explore the "trails" in the neighborhood here.  Probably get back on the job search, and maybe tour more neighborhoods of Charlotte.  There is a new house on the market that looks sweet ass!!  So maybe we'll cruise by there.  I don't know, I don't know if we'll have enough time!

This weekend I'll be riding.  That much I've been assured of.  Both Saturday and Sunday.  Where, I don't know yet.  But with so few facts it already sounds good to me!!  Speaking of riding, I got one last ride in up in Boston on the day of the move.  Wasn't really exciting to be honest, but I got the HiFi a little last New England action - the mean streets of Southie.  Then the HiFi got a nice little ride in the (initial) U-Haul truck back to the condo.  

Sorry this was minimally bike related - but in effect it is, since future blogs will be centered in NC and not Mass... so there.  Welcome to We don't just bike you. We bike-bike you dirty south edition.

* "neutchin" was something my friends who drove manuel cars did back in high school.  The challenge was to throw it in neutral on the downhill and see if momentum would carry your car back up the following uphill (or the lamer version would be to just see how far you could coast following a downhill if there was no subsequent uphill)