Friday, September 28, 2012

Candy Mountain Fun

Media Fridays
We'll post videos or photos that will hopefully inspire trail shredding weekends.

If any of you have thrown in some 3rd person shoots in your ride videos then you can appreciate the amount of work that went into setting up all the shots in this video... so I give it up to Mike DeBernardo - the outcome of all that work is magnificent. Gorgeous scenery here.  Great ride.  Perfect ending.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Got the email last night that my frame has shipped.  Since then I've been stuck looking at different parts, comparing prices on various sites... this is going to be a long haul to get this thing ride ready.  I ALREADY can't wait.

I'm SUPER psyched because I must be getting some sort of surprise with the frame...

package weight of 13.9lbs!!!

They list the medium frame at 3.7 lbs - Mine is a large... doubt that could account for all that weight?

Side note....

I'm kinda thinking that if I'm even considering going rigid, I should start rigid to give it a fair shake?  My thought is, if I get a sweet suspension fork up front I might not ever want to take it off?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


There is news.  Some exciting news, some "everyday" news, and some not so fun news.


Got a couple applications in - so that's good.

Annie is a champ and got everything together to get our car insurance transferred down here (whole new carrier - as you can imagine, that was a lot of fun!).  Next step is to get our licenses, then back to the insurance company to get a form so we can get our license plates - what a freakin production!

Not so fun:

Although Maggie is recovering well, she has a long way to go before she can chase squirrels and run down tennis balls with the vigor she has... so it looks like we will push back the arrival of the puppies another month to ensure her recovery goes as smoothly as possible.  Big thumbs down to that one.  We are dying to have the puppies here, but we have to do what's best for Maggie - hence getting the surgery in the first place.


Certainly not planned, but after submitting a couple job applications the other night I happened to check the price on the One9 I had been eyeing.  The site I had been tracking gave me a scare as the price went back up....  ugh...  so I did a quick google search and found another site with a HUGE discount on the frame.

Exciting in that I'll have the frame I've been drooling over for a while now... but with this not being the optimal time for me to start dropping wads of cash all over the place, this is going to be a long term build - so that is going to be a killer.

Gives me more then enough time to pour over each and every part, weigh my options, throw out my build list and start again, and track the "deal" sites and classifieds like a maniac for the foreseeable future.  While seeking out deals on the parts I do want I'll likely be tempted by things I don't want just to keep costs low and get the build done quicker.  

In the end I know I will take my time and get parts that I want piece by piece.  After all, that's why I'm building a bike up - to get it the way I want it.  For a lot of it, I know what I want and it's basic, so I'm not worried.  But of course the whole fork argument/discussion will be a big one when it comes time to pull the trigger.  I do enjoy the fork on the HiFi, so the easy thing would be to get pretty much the same thing.  So some research will have to be done on that end.  Of course, there is the rigid avenue... part of me likes the idea, but having not ridden a rigid mountain bike since 1997 (maybe 1996 even) I dunno.  I guess I could always grab a steel fork to save some money and try it out before going all in on a carbon version.

As plans/parts come together I'm sure I'll share - and of course I'll welcome any feedback from the single speeders out there.  Parts you love, parts to stay away from.  Advice, suggestions, personal preferences, I'll take it all.  Other than the fork I'm thinking the crank/bottom bracket will be my biggest challenge due to lack of experience in that department. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Where it all began.

Well, where it began for my adventures in Charlotte at least...

Yesterday I finally got to ride Colonel Francis Beatty after the whole wheel mishap the other day.  I kinda wanted to hit up Poplar again, but figured Col. FB would be a nice warm up - so I'll probably hit Poplar today.

Way back on one of our visits to the Queen City Annie and I were able to take a peek at one of the summer series races.  It was held at... low and behold... Col. FB.  I wasn't able to partake in the racing, but I did post up for some pictures of the event.

Annie taking a picture of me taking a picture.

I do enjoy taking photographs of mountain bike races.  I'd say I enjoy racing a tad bit more though.  But for me, it's a great way to support all the other classes out there.  And who doesn't like a picture of themselves killing it (or getting killed) out there on the race course??

Since I'm not into, and will not (at this point)be into CX, maybe I'll support some locals out there on the course with some pictures.  Or maybe I'll just go enjoy the weather and ride in the woods...

Speaking of weather, high of like 71 during my ride yesterday - MINT!

P.S.  Maggie has her physical therapy today... should be finding out if we can finally bring the dogs down to NC or if we still have to wait.
Cause "taking a nap" is always better with the puppies.

Monday, September 24, 2012

little things

Little things like a broken spoke can go a long way to ruin ones day.

Friday I was heading out to ride a local trail I have yet to ride when I unload the HiFi at the trail head and hear a rattle...  I'm familiar with such a rattle so I pick up the bike and set it down again to zero in on the culprit - rear wheel, broken spoke, at the nipple.

I'm at the trailhead - do I get a ride in knowing the trail isn't technically demanding and THEN go see about fixing it... or do I do the responsible thing and go get it fixed now - maybe still get to ride today, but more importantly be ready for a bigger ride with Sean the following day.

I hate being responsible.

Utilizing the smarts that are left in my phone (aka I need a new phone) I ascertained the location of the closest bike shop.  I headed right over there to find a strip mall with an empty store in the location of the supposed bike shop.  BLOW ME.

Ok...  screw it.  I decide to head over to the shop that is closest to my new abode - thus a great way to introduce myself to the localist bike shop to my house.  The guys there were great, said he can get to it, but just give him like 30-45 minutes.  Sweet, no problem!!

30-45 minutes later.  "So yeah, I busted like 4 other spokes trying to get this things back up" - looks like they used inferior spokes when they put your wheel together... not the correct gage and all that fun stuff.  So options being: 1. "patch" it up with no guarantee that other spokes won't blow the way the first did.... 2. re-lace the wheel with his preferred spokes.

Ah, the responsible thing.... go ahead and re-lace it.

Another 45 minutes (+), but the result is a sturdy hand built wheel.  (Big question on the horizon - does that mean front wheel needs to be rebuilt as well - of course I know the answer would be yes....  arg)

Frustrating that the wheel had to be rebuilt - the correct way.  Dropped a bunch more money than I had obviously expected.  But worst of all, didn't get to ride.

That evening we had a "welcome to the neighborhood" party to attend.  Which was great - got to meet a bunch of the neighbors and whatnot - but also led to excessive drinking, staying up WAY too late.  End result - missing out on another day of riding on Saturday (Sean had already bailed on our ride).  Sunday I was GOING to ride..... until Annie get's a text on Saturday night from her former boss who happens to be in NC visiting family.

Sunday no chance to ride as we drove up to Greensboro to meet up for lunch.

I guess I should stop complaining, the good thing about no job at the moment is I'm free to ride whenever I want during the week.  So as long as mother nature doesn't decide to throw yet another monkey wrench at me I'll be getting down and dirty on the trails this week.

Poplar is on it's last leg - tear it up out there!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Getting back to it.

Media Fridays
We'll posts videos or photos that will hopefully inspire trail shredding weekends.

Now is as good a time as any to get back to the old format... welcome back "Media Fridays."  Part of the revitalization is due to the fact that I do believe I never posted the footage I got from Warrior Creek....  as you see, it isn't up not either.  I still think I have to put some music to it and possibly tweek it a bit.  It's nothing special (camera angle wasn't the best), so don't get too excited.

Here is a little sneak peek (more for me than for you) of some Pisgah trails - got a camping/biking trip coming up in a few weeks out there and I am EXCITED!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Born out of necessity

We still haven't cleared all of our boxes out of storage and brought them to the new place.  This means, in the stragglers are the odds and ends that aren't necessary for major life functions.

This also means, in a time of need, we are without.  As was the case of my desire to go ride the roads of Charlotte (outskirts).  Typically I write down my cue sheets on a nicely trimmed piece of computer paper (or the like) and tape it to the top tube in a shingle like fashion so as each sheet is done I can rip it off to reveal my next list of turns.

On Saturday I was destined to explore some of the roads and routes available to me from our new place.  Without tape I wasn't sure how I'd track my route while on the road.  Yet, that wasn't my only problem... no paper.  Luckily I'm a stingy mother f-er and I save all the envelops from junk (and not so junk) mail to use as not paper and such.  So cutting up a few envelopes proved to be the perfect cue sheet material for the device I was forced to use.

In comes a binder clip.  I'm not sure why Pinocchio had a plethora to share, but he did so I obliged.

Acting as McGyver-ish as I could I slipped one of the metal johnnies under the Garmin cradle on my handle bar and there you have it... as snug fit that would would allow the clip to hold my stiff (er than computer paper) cue sheets in a clearly visible, and easily swappable, manner.

Jammed that badboy right up in there

I've now got a new cue sheet system to carry forward thanks to the boxes of random left in the storage unit.  Sometimes I think McGyver really was an American Hero.

I'm Canadian... eh?
So far I've found my way to UNCC - the reason being was my "possible future plan"... I will be applying to the PhD program there in Health Psychology...  and while I was at it I also road an alternative way home.... I need to find some more "country roads" to hit for "safe" mileage.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


So in my list of things to catch up on the other day I get to knock out 3 at once here.

- I "crashed" riding on Thursday, and it felt GOOD!!
- I have newness on the HiFi which has exponentially increased my speed* - addressed
- I rode my new favorite (albeit temporary) trail
- I have a space dedicated for all my bike stuff - pending... - addressed
- And this sweetheart (picture posted below original list)

On Thursday I got out a rode a local trail that will soon be no longer.  

I have one question, and one question only.

How is this not the best, most talked about, most popular trail in the Charlotte area??

I am completely heartbroken that this trail; a rooty, rocky, feature ridden, flowy, keep your heart rate rising trail is soon to be lost.  It was just a down right fun trail.  

My first lap I somehow missed the A and B trails, which in my humble opinion were some of the more fun trail options out there.  I don't even know if I hit all the options in the medusa head of a trail system out there... but I do know one thing.  I had one heck of a fun time ridding what I saw out there.  

The strange thing is, that even though I missed the A and B trails Strava seems to think that I hit the "entire trail" on both of my runs... when in reality both of my runs were different - knowing that I missed A and B on the first run.  No matter.

This ride was also the second ride on the Arch EXs and again, no disappointments.  The trail had me working the corners, throwing the bike around and over the trail... just getting into it!!  Got me back to riding again.  Back to pushing my bike all over the trail, pushing myself to not just coast (as much).  Getting back to that edge - of pushing to your limit, seeing just what you can get out of the trail, the bike, and yourself.  Staying as mentally sharp as you are physically.  It felt great.

Before my ride, and actually during it, I was thinking about the fact that I hadn't crashed in a long time.  Sure, I'd caught a handlebar here or there, but that didn't cause an catastrophic debiking... so no crashes.  And the question popped into my head: is that a good thing?  Are my skills improving to such a degree that the lack of crashes is indicative of such?  OR am I riding too safe?  Am I not pushing myself enough to ride at the edge of total speed, skill and thrill - pushing to the limit of almost out of control?  

I would have to say (sadly) that it was the later.  That I haven't been pushing myself as of late.  That the tight and twistyness of these southern trails have been enough to create an excuse to slow it down and not really push the limits of tire on dirt in these switchbacks.  

Well, the streak ended and I crashed.  The first was a handlebar caught cutting through a tight squeeze.  It was on my second lap, and I can't be quite certain of what the largest contributing factor was: speed, fatigue, or mental lapse - but in the moment I read it as me pushing it.  The second crash came towards the end of the lap as I was climbing up a rutted climb and the front wheel went a bit squirrely as I powered my way up.  So much so that as the front wheel rose to the right of the rut I couldn't keep balance and I tumbled down.

Again, not a horrible crash - and this one more likely fatigue induced.  But again, fatigue at a slower speed would have likely caused a stall and not a crash.  Sounds weird maybe, but I came up off the ground not only with some blood, but with a smile.  What was my old saying??  "It's not riding if there isn't blood."

evidence of the crash and the tragedy of the trail closure
Some randomness of the trail:

This is sort of spooky... I couldn't see any evidence of an old house in the vicinity....

Any local legends for this one?

And between laps, and after I was done, I was met by the friendliest trail mascot I've met.  Her name was Minnie and I believe she lived across the street from the trailhead - she seemed to come out of nowhere when I stopped to switch water bottles.  She knew how to sit and was more than happy to drink from my water bottle when I was heading out.

I'm going to try to remember to bring some treats and a bowl next time I ride here.  I'm not sure exactly when that will be, but I hope to AT LEAST ride one more time out there before the trail closes for good on October 1st.

If you are local, I hope you've been getting your fill out at Poplar Tent.  If you are close-ish, you better make plans to get your ass on the trails.  If you are in New England... well show your local trails some love, and never take our trail access for granted.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Finally I've gained access to the garage/shed in the back of the property.  The previous tenants did not leave the key, so we were waiting to receive it by mail (apparently Matthews is just way too far of a drive for them to return the key?).  Well, we still hadn't received the key by Sunday and the washer and driver would be delivered on Wednesday, something had to be done with all the bike stuff piling up in the "laundry room."  Our landlords had a locksmith come out and remove the lock so I could gain access and use the space - and more importantly - secure the space!

First thing first... clean that mother out!  (another big thanks to the previous renters... lots o' cardboard to be handled - but I did also score a sweet Gillian Michaels Ultimate Dumbbell DVD)

Garage - front and center (not soooo bad)
Garage - right (some random crap on shelves)

Garage - left (dusty, dirty shelves)

Storage Room (wish I had a need for a cardboard fort right about now!!)
 After some cleaning sweeping of the place out, breaking down cardboard, organizing the "left overs" I've got some very real and useable space.  The one detriment to the space??  No electricity.  Old wiring out there so the owners don't want us using the electricity out there.

Hey, that's what those green extension cords are for!!  Stretch one across the yard and out there so I can at least get a light out there (and maybe a mini fridge) so I can complete the Bike Haven.

Garage - so fresh and so clean... just a pile up of garbage and cardboard to go out next week (bins are already filled!!)

Bike Haven - Annie Approved!!

Bike Haven - the bikes have a home!!  (Much more still needs to get out there and organized, but it's a start!)
This also means we have a more official, and comfortable, Mac station.

Annie hate's my 60's chair "acquired" from the University of Georgia's College of Education - so it WILL be relegated to the Bike Haven.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Oh yeah, even if the moving of stuff wasn't a time consuming (and tiring) endeavor, I forgot to mention that the HiFi was out of commission for a bit.  It was wheel-less for about a week.  Just prior to the final race of the season  I attempted to get the HiFi back to tubeless.  I got the rear wheel with no problem... the front was a different story.  No matter what I did air was escaping around the stem.  I even caved and brought it into the LBS to see if they had some voodoo magic that would work.

Nope, shortly after leaving he called and said there was a problem with the rim itself.... I don't get it, I had it set up tubeless in the past.  I'm not sure if somehow the valve hole got worn and out of shape which then wouldn't allow a good seal from the tubeless stems... but I had to race with a tube up front.  Rims were ordered and new wheels were going to be built up.

Arch Ex - in white of course!
 Oh, but please don't think the process was that easy... no no no.  See, to save money I was having the LBS just switch everything over to the new rims.  But I get this call, you see.  My front hub was 28 spokes... the new rim is 32.  Why did the HiFi have 32 in back and 28 in front?  I dunno.  So a new front hub (luckily available at the shop) was bought and the front was laced up - leaving me with an extra (non-tubeless) front wheel.  But boy do they look sweet on the HiFi.
Itchin to ride.  Thing LOOKS faster already!
(pre internet, hence no Mac on the tool cabinet)
 I did get the heads up when I picked up the wheels that after a couple rides they might go out of true - so he told me to just bring the bike in and he'd get them back up and running.  I was glad to get the warning, cause I would have freaked if something went wrong with the new wheels.  So far so good I think.  But I'll get some more dirt under them before I bring it in.

First ride - two thumbs way up!
Does the white actually make the bike faster?
Well... the first aftermarket white thrown on was the saddle.  Faster.... dunno.  But enhanced performance (through improved comfort) yes indeed.  So white saddle correlates to speed.  CHECK.  Second upgrade - white handlebars.  Improved riding position, (somewhat) closer grip, improved handling - translation, I'm placed in a much more "racer friendly" position with the bars - CHECK.  Newly added white rims.  With limited rides, and no visits to previously ridden trails (yet), it's hard to say.  I'd say there is no lack of confidence in the rims.  And the white does look hot - so in the very least there may be a slight psychological boost.  And as we all know there are two sides of riding: the physical aspect, and the mental.  So, if nothing else, the white rims give a mental boost - CHECK.

White is fast - even when it's dirty.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Phase 2

So the move, phase two, is complete.  Annie and I are now in Charlotte proper.  SWEET!!  After a week of "officially" being in the house (first couple days were filled with moving stuff but staying in Denver) we finally have internet back up and running.

As you can imagine, with the moving and whatnot, riding has taken a hit... but I still had stuff that I wanted to share.  Too much to get into right now without being a scatter brained maniac.  So, what I will do instead is get back to blogging on the reg - things are much cooler "on the reg."

I won't be THAT big of a cryptic bastard... so here is your outline for the forthcoming installments (in no particular order, and in no particular percentage of completeness):

- I "crashed" riding on Thursday, and it felt GOOD!!
- I have newness on the HiFi which has exponentially increased my speed*
- I rode my new favorite (albeit temporary) trail
- I have a space dedicated for all my bike stuff - pending...
- And this sweetheart

Hopefully the weekend will bring more bike worthy news to be shared with the masses... but that's it so far.  Yes, not an overwhelming list, but I'm putting said list together standing while the Mac sits atop a Craftsman tool cabinet - not all moving is complete.

Today I'm attending an informational session which may or may not lead to a new direction for my future... we shall see... so maybe that should be added to the list.

Get out and ride this weekend!!

*I'm still waiting for The Science to back me up on this one.