Tuesday, October 30, 2012


No post yesterday - had nothing to do with Sandy.  It had more to do with the fact that I was wiped out after driving for 13 +/- hours the previous day.  Thursday we went up to CT, Sunday we came back... with the puppies!!!

They have thoroughly sniffed the house and yard and have seemed to settle in nicely.  The new king sized bed is definitely paying off with the puppies in bed - so much room!!

I'll get back to biking stuff tomorrow... but for now I'm just so happy to have the girls back with us... now, Charlotte feels like home.

"Classic" Maggie
Scout guarding the stolen devil ball while she sleeps

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ultimate Pay Off

DuPont - where every climb is rewarded by a SUPER sick descent.

Seriously, I don't think there is a bad trail in the place... not that I rode everything there, but what we did ride was magnificent!!

I don't recall all the trails we rode, but I do remember something about a Hooker in there...  two that I do recall were the Airstrip downhill and the Ridgeline downhill that ended the ride... there was one sweet section before the final climb to the Ridgeline as well...  seriously, get out there - you can't go wrong!!

Ok, so I didn't realize that today is Thursday, which means I have to get moving (more to come about that next week) so this is a short recap - sorry!!  Enjoy the pictures... worth 1,000 words and whatnot.

View from the top of the first big climb - which was mostly slickrock

Creek crossing, had to shed the shoes and walk across... the water was FREEZING!!

View from the old airstrip - great view to take off to!

Half way up the falls.

Sean pointing it out so you don't miss it

From the bottom

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kraked my head

Friday I don't think there was one of us who woke up without some sort of dehydration/hang-over.  Some oatmeal and a couple bottles of water had me OK.  On the drive over to the trailhead my head was certainly feeling it.  Felt like my brain was a bit outside my skull - if that makes any sense?

As soon as we started riding my head sorted itself out... I think.  I certainly wasn't worried about it because as soon as the trail turned up I realized I was riding without my legs.  I obviously hadn't done enough to recover from the previous days ride, and on this day I'd be running low on the climbs.  I didn't have it in my legs to dig deep - which in turn left me with little mentally to make myself push it.  But, in the end every climb was reached and I had a great day on the trail.  A lot of singletrack riding.  Climbing singletrack is way more fun then climbing on service roads like Sean and I had done on Thursday.

It was a "shorter" ride, but all things being equal, I was ok with that.  We hit up Asheville after the ride to grab some pizza and continue the trend of dehydration (beers) at Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria.  Just walking around I could still feel it in my legs, which had me worrying about the next days ride and how I would perform - could I bounce back?  We headed back to the campsite, our last rider of the weekend joined us, we gathered up more firewood, showered up, and then enjoyed the flames and beers.  I decided to take it easy, and kept the water flowing.  I had to at least be ok in the head and stomach if my legs weren't going to be there.
Would my legs bounce back for our ride at Dupont?  Stay tuned to find out!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Missed the window... missed the turn

Thursday morning I was heading out to meet up with Sean for our mountain adventures.  As I was about to get on 277 I realized I left the garmins by the computer!! YIKES!  So I busted a quick turn and back to the house.  No biggie (I thought) as there was nary a car in sight.  Run in, grab the computer and back on the road... to hit every light and battle traffic.  Apparently when I left (the first time) I was in the sweet spot before commuter traffic.  With the turn around and re-start I was in commuter traffic.


Got up to Sean's a little later than I had anticipated, but really no big deal because we weren't on any hard set schedule.  On the ride out things weren't looking as nice as the weathermen had promised.  It wasn't raining, but it looked like it could.  I kept reassuring Sean (and myself) that it was merely misting and everything would be fine.  It never did rain for real, but it indeed did "mist" a bit while riding (and had apparently rained earlier, thus the slick roots and mud) - maybe I should be a weatherman?

On the ride out it was also determined that this was a pretty easy drive and many more (frequent) trips will need to be had.  At the conclusion of our trip it was vowed that (at least for the NC boys) we would at least be back out quarterly.  I'm thinking we can do better than that as it is close enough (at least for Sean and I) to hit it up for even just a day trip.

Sean and I were the first to hit the area so we hit up Pisgah.  As I mentioned earlier, I did some internetal investigations and found us a ride.  As we were driving through Brevard on the way to the trailhead we passed a bike shop - do we need to stop in for anything?  Nah.  I had directions for what trails to take - we should be all good.  Ok, first rule of riding Pisgah - have a map.  This being a weekend of dick and fart jokes, camp fires, beers and the Kraken there were no rules... so we hit the trails with no map (and of course no cell service to retrieve a map if needed).

For the most part it wasn't hard to follow the route.  BUT, there were two turns that did prove confusing.  The first was when the mileage listed didn't seem to align with our mileage ridden... took a little backtracking and logic to determine what to do, but we prevailed without too much trouble.

"mother f***en waterfall" we passed after finding our way back on trail

The second came towards the end of the ride when the directions indicated a left turn around a gate onto an unnamed fire road....  as we were bombing down a service road we did see a gate and fire road around the mileage our turn should be, but this one was labeled 471D (all other turns on our list were labeled as unnamed or indicated their trail name/number) so we figured this couldn't be our turn.

Instead we enjoyed the downhill speeds and actually saw a black coyote on the trail.  Upon first glance it appeared to be a German Shepherd, but as I got closer I realized it was no dog.  It looked up and ran off around the bend, and as I cleared the corner it started off again away from us - eventually ditching the trail into the bush.  The other wildlife we saw was a Wild Turkey.  After it jumped off trail we came upon a hunter just up the trail so I pointed him in the right direction and about a quarter of a mile later gun shots ran out.  I thought about heading back to claim a wing for pointing him toward the bird.

Eventually we realized we are WAY past where the turn should have been and we resign to climbing back up (after already ignoring my first suggestion that we stop and turn around).  The climb back up wasn't that bad and we decided to try out 471D to see if it was in fact our turn... it was.

that little dangle-down on our loop was that damn miss on 471D

Even with the extra climbing it was still a blast.  The singletrack was amazing.  And we only scratched the surface.  Definitely a lot of fun to be had... and a lot of suffering I'm sure.  But beautiful scenery, lot's of climbing, and great trails - can't ask for anything more!

What a GREAT way to start the weekend!!  We headed to camp, cracked a beer, set up camp, showered and got the fire going.  From there others arrived, the Kraken was let loose and eventually sleep was had.  The adventures continue tomorrow - stay tuned.

Monday, October 22, 2012


If I wasn't so freakin tired, I'd tell you all about the trip out to Brevard.  But, since I am so freakin tired, it will have to wait.

I'll just say this.  There wasn't a ride over the weekend that didn't put the biggest smile on my face - even when I lost my legs.  I found them again, don't you worry!

But more on that in the coming days.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hello Cleveland

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

Sweet look at Quail Hollow State Park in Ohio.  Nice use of multiple angles.  
Sometimes you have to wonder how the hell they capture some of the shots... 

like at 2:35 - helicopter?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

And we're off!!

Today we are heading out early to get a ride in before setting up camp.  I did a little research and found a sweet ass compendium of rides throughout Pisgah and Dupont.  For my purposes I was researching a ride for Thursday in Pisgah.  Since it will be the first day of our riding weekend we didn't want to go overboard so I picked a nice intro to the area - it's my first time!!!

So today we will be riding what is referred to as "Well Seasoned Butter."

The rest of the itinerary as dictated by Sean:

10/18 Thursday
-Meet at the campsite and set up shop
-Dinner: Campfire Chicken/Rice Soup

10/19 Friday
-Ride: either Mills River or Bent Creek
-Leave straight from trails and head up to Asheville to meet **** ******
-Dinner @ Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria
-Beers: Fill up some Growlers and head back to Camp

10/20 Saturday
-Ride: All day at Dupont State Forest
-Dinner: TBD- Provided by the ***** and ****: Most likley sausage.

10/21 Sunday
-Ride: TBD
-NC Boyz Depart

(names withheld to protect the innocent)

The weather continues to look perfect... a bit chilly in the mornings, but beautiful afternoons.

I'll be bringing the camera along - we'll see about footage... I'm feeling like it being my first time in the mountains here in NC I may just be focusing a bit more on riding and enjoying than worried about filming.  But we shall see.

I'm sure I'll have a story or two to tell upon my return!!  Until then, get out and ride!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Prep time

Dropped the HiFi off yesterday morning to get the rear derailleur squared away... fingers crossed it was a quick simple fix - should be able to pick it up this afternoon.

I decided to start getting my stuff together for the camping trip.  We aren't exactly ruffing it - the place we are camping has heated showers, toilets, and even electricity and WiFi at the sites!!  The last time I was camping it was along the Appalachian trail - so pretty primitive.  I'm not exactly sure what I'll need in this luxurious site (hot water and showers.... money!!).  As you can see, got my tent, tarp(s), and sleeping bag and pad.  Bringing my sweet ass WWII folding-shovel that has a permanent home in the pterodactyl as my "parking spot shovel".*  A hatchet and hack saw for fire wood gathering - dead fallen trees only, no worries, I was a Boy Scout.  Paper towels - always be prepared.  Pot, bowls, cups and sporks.   Some rope - again, always be prepared.  First aid kit (actually the kit I carry in my CamelBak).  And, and extension cord?  Well, there is electricity at the sites... might as well charge my phone, camera, light, etc. (not pictured but surely coming, toiletries (including TP), chair, flashlight, knife, batteries, and of course clothes and whatnot)

I'm gonna bring the Drift along, so hopefully I'll get some good footage of the ride... speaking of, I need to figure out if I'm going to mount it on the helmet (I need to readjust the angle if so) or see if I can get a mount done up that is a bit more centered on the bars.  I'll have to figure that out today.  I don't think we are going to do any night riding... but I'll probably bring my light along just in case.

Of course, none of my bike stuff is pictured... same old same old.  But I'll probably start getting that together today as well.  If I get the HiFi back early enough hopefully I can get a ride in (weather permitting) somewhere local.

The plan is to leave early Thursday with Sean, maybe stop somewhere on the way to get a ride in, and then check into the camp site around 3-4 pm.  Get everything situated, wait for a bunch of other guys to show up, and get supplies.  Friday - ride, then out to Asheville for dinner and meet up with another rider meeting us in Asheville.  Saturday - ride.  Sunday, possibly a ride before heading back to Charlotte, we'll play that one by ear.

Of course all along the way there will be fire, beer, food, songs and jokes of an inappropriate and immature nature... oh, and s'mores.

I'm super psyched to get out to Pisgah and Dupont.  Stuff is legendary.  I'm very interested to see how the trails stack up to the myth - and how my NE upbringing will prepare me.  I'm just hoping the weather is kind to us this weekend.  So far it's looking good!

* parking spot shovel - in the mean streets of Southie one had to dig out their own spot... some would even claim said spot for days, even weeks, after a snow event.  Most of the time I just backed up onto a snowbank or gunned it over the wall of snow built by the plows.  But, for those times that even the pterodactyl couldn't best the snow... this little guy did the trick - it even has a pick feature that was great for destroying ice walls!

Monday, October 15, 2012

First rule of riding at the USNWC

Check to see what the hell is going on over there.  Other than being pretty finicky with closing down trails, they hold a lot of different events.

Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad thing!!  The place rocks - a dedicated place to get people off their asses and enjoying the outdoors - I can get down with that!!

Saturday I made plans to meet up with Sean at the USNWC to do a bit of riding.  When I arrive the parking lot is full.  There are people with dogs all over the place and I noticed some tape up and a water station on the trail as I drove in....  hmmmmm.

I met up with Sean and gave him the proper amount of shit for picking these trails... but whatever was going on had gone off earlier in the morning so we hoped that would mean the trails would be pretty clear of racers/runners/dogs.

Over all a pretty good ride... except for the fact that my bike was determined to drop gears and pop like a maniac whenever I had to stomp up a climb.  BLARG!!  Not at all what I need right now.

Sunday I tinkered around to see what I could do to get things back to working smoothly... yeah, I dunno.  Couldn't get it smoothed out and can't quite tell if the hanger is slightly bent (enough to throw things off) or not...

So I guess it's to the LBS to see if they can get it righted for the trip to Pisgah and Dupont this week/weekend.  The shop I've been frequenting isn't open on Mondays of course, so this will give me a chance to try someone new.  I'm hoping to just need a quick derailleur adjustment... but looks to me like I might need to get new cables.... I was hoping to wait until AFTER the trip to get a complete tune-up... so we'll see what I can do to make sure the trip is good.

One gear sounds awfully nice right now - no playing with temperamental derailleurs.

I'll be enjoying camp fires and bikes.... but hopefully not bikes IN camp fires....

Camp fire at Minnesota Mountain Bike Summit
"Me riding through fire. Not a good idea" - gwhawes 

Friday, October 12, 2012

dogs and tricks

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

Teach a dog to ride a bike!!  

Or just go ride yourself and show that puppy in your life how great they are!!  

I miss my dogs...  2 weeks and counting!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Stop whining!!

Stop F'n whining!!


People are going completely f'n mental on the local forum regarding a shortcut put in on a local trail.  If you like, you can check out the action.  Or, I can save you the time.  A short cut was put in and now people are going nuts.  I get it.  There is a certain level of pride associated with this trail - it's hard.  It doesn't avoid terrain, it uses it.  I appreciate that to the fullest.

I also get that yeah, not all trail networks need to cater to beginner riders.  We are fortunate enough to have a ton of trails around - so beginners can ride here and there, and work their way up to the more difficult trails.  Makes sense.

BUT.  To go nuts because a short cut was added is a bit much.  Nothing was detracted.  We can all ride the full trail and smash a PBR after to earn all the hipster points we need.  Here is the kicker.  I rode the trail for the first time today after reading some of the virtual poo flinging and I can get why some people would rather not ride this section.  I'm not going to skip it personally... but I can see why it isn't appealing.  It is a grid - legit square grid of.... how shall we say...  well I'm not sure what it is.  Best description (sorry I didn't grab a photo) would be tiny rail road tracks sans cross beams that are raised above the surrounding swamp.  In reality - seems like a tight grid network of sewers... hence the Poo Tracks moniker.

So yeah, its interesting.  But after crossing back and forth down these poo tracks you kinda just want to get on with the ride.... I get it.  But, it's a unique feature for sure, so it's part of the trail system.  Will putting in a short cut around this make the entire trail that much easier that beginners will start flooding the trails... HELL F'N NO.  People really need to stop flipping out man and start riding the trail.

As I type this someone added a poo track segment for strava.... awesome.  I'm guessing it's a passive aggressive move - as nothing of the trail shows up on strava.... whatever.

All I know is that I loved it out there.  So much reminded me of riding back up north.  Just trails kicking your ass.  I actually had to work out there, and work I did (as well as I could on tired legs).  But it's a trail that will certainly bring me back for more.  To work harder to clean the sections I couldn't quite conquer on my first time out.

I did manage to take a few pictures while out there... certainly not enough though.  Right off the bat I was loving how the trail was "carved" out of the surrounding vines that invaded the ground... it looked awesome!

For any features they had, and they had a handful, they were marked and had an alternate - which was nice.  Some of them probably didn't need the alternate - but again that returns us to the argument above... so we'll stay away from commentary there.

looks as though most ride the feature... as you should, it's nice and wide.

another sweet, wide log/tree ride

I just love old cars in the woods.... dunno why?

Come on, that's just an easy one!

new stuff
Loch Ness perhaps?

Steeper ramp than it appears
I'll tame it soon enough

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Full of surprises

I got out for a ride yesterday, and to my surprise there were quite a few cars in the lot!!  Oh yeah... Columbus Day - totally missed THAT one!

Yesterday was a chilly one to say the least.  Not so chilly to require a long sleeve jersey or anything of that nature - but I was sporting a hoodie on the way to the trail.

During my first lap I met our smallest local hero!!  No, I'm not talking about Dicky - what?  He claims to be 4 (maybe 3.5) apples high!!

No, I'm talking about the famed, the mysterious, the mythical creature of Sherman Branch - the WHITE SQUIRREL!!

What does he look like??  Well, let me tell you.  He looks just like a regular squirrel (same size, same nut hunting pre-occupation) except white.

How did I spot him?  I dunno.  I wasn't hunting for him, that is for sure.  Perhaps it's the fact that he's freakin snow white in a dead leaf kingdom.  So as my retina was burned by the searing pure white coat I guess something clicked and I stopped.  I snapped a few Big Foot-esque pictures.

Searching for nuts- that little scamp!

Pausing... wondering if he should run or continue business as usual

It was business as usual

PROOF!!  Undeniable proof bitches!!

So, yeah that was pretty surprising.  The other surprise came on lap 2.  When my feet started hurting.  Or were they?  At first I thought it was foot pain - as pretty much all of me was aching due to recent inactivity... legs were burning, back was aching, why not the feet?  But on second thought and further concentration I determined that my feet were COLD!!  What the what??  I guess I'm not ready to admit that temps do in fact dip down south.  Nothing a pair of wool socks won't take care of.

But it makes me wonder what the riding will be like out west in them there hills... base layers people, bring the base layers!!  Not this weekend, but NEXT weekend I'll be out in Pisgah with a bunch of WV boys.

Monday, October 8, 2012


It's been raining too much.  TOO DAMN MUCH.  Been off the bike too long.

At least if it continues this way I can now get the trainer set up - got out to Home Depot and bought a long ass extension cord to run some power out to the garage - cause it would be nice to have lights and whatnot while I'm out there.

Since I haven't been out riding I've been sifting through reviews on various components, searching through site after site for deal after deal as I put my build list together.  I am not sure when I will start pulling the trigger on purchases... but this will be a slow build for sure.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Excitement for ALL!!

Playing the air guitar Niner

So, I was/am obviously excited!!  Who else is excited?  Annie, at the very least, enjoyed the child-like enthusiasm and awe I displayed as I unraveled my new sweetness.  She was very pleased with the aesthetics of the frame, and was 100% on board with my first alterations.  I'll get to that in a second.

Sit back and enjoy the pictorial account of the unveiling:

So I found the sweet deal on the One9 frame at Competitive Cyclist.

I mentioned earlier that in my initial notification of shipment that the weight for the box seemed whack.  I had postulated that maybe there was a bonus with my purchase.  No luck, the box was the very definition of NOT 13.9lbs.  

The packing job was superb.  And this is where the added excitement about this whole ideal would come.  And that excitement would come from Maggie.  Maggie LOVES to not only help unwrap gifts, but she is more than willing to lend her talents to opening cardboard boxes.  Although she would certainly have no part in opening this package, she would have gone bananas at the sight of the "air bag" packaging you can see on the right side of the box.  
(The "air bags" will be saved for her arrival so she can dispose of such packing materials "appropriately."  Scout will be excited, but won't know why... she'll just go off with unfocused energy due to Maggie's reaction)

Locked up tight and safe... no movement during shipping.

Niner EBB - pretty big part of the whole Niner fame.  Here is where things get shady.  In the whole write up on the website there is much discussion about the EBB - and I think (or assume) it is widely understood that an order of a Niner One9 includes the EBB.  I got a little nervous about the lack of explicit mention that the EBB was in fact included so I "chatted" with a rep from Competitive Cyclist to ensure that my assumption was correct.
During my chat I was informed that the 2012 frames came with the EBB - no mention of the 2011... I didn't completely buy that response and researched where I would acquire said EBB if in fact it did not come with the frame.... but it came with the frame of course.

This was something I did NOT expect with the frame - most sites explicitly state that they do not ship the One9 with a seat post collar.... but I got one!!  One less thing to gather for the build - SWEET!

So not only was the frame nicely secured when shipped, but they went through and prepped everything - all with a thorough checklist - very nice

And they even included a bag of goodies - touch up paint and cable ties!

 The frame is freed!!

And upright!

Time for the first "customization." Sticker removal.  

So fresh and clean!!  Removed a "Made in Taiwan" sticker from the bottom of the bottom bracket as well.  
The frame is smooth and naked 
Now it's just waiting for the build.

I wanted to display the frame with pride over the fireplace.... but Annie nixed that idea immediately.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

it sucks

Trail closures... I don't know what else to say other then they suck.

Poplar closes for good today*

I only got to ride there twice - and that is a damn shame.  Certainly wasn't enough time to really master the trails there.  Hell, on my last ride I totally blanked and for the ENTIRE ride I had convinced myself that somehow I missed the Gravity Cavity... yeah, I hadn't.  Dunno why, buy I was certain it was towards the front end of the loop.... yeah, it's not.

So of course I hadn't missed it, instead I enjoyed it in it's full glory for the first time.  The first time I hit the trail I opted to ride around (which was fun in itself) but being my last ride EVER I hit it up and wished I hadn't missed out on my first ride.

ripped from TheMutt
Got to see Minnie again.  I was unable to bring her treats - we didn't bring any of the dog food stuffs with us on the move since we don't have the dogs with us yet.  But she was happy to drink water from my bottle again.  Such a sweet dog - who will she hang out with everyday without the constant stream of riders visiting?

I was only able to get in one lap on my final visit as I had to get up to our storage unit to grab the last of our stuff so we could close out the account up there.  I just BARELY got everything in the pterodactyl.  Things were so crammed that I had to take apart a step stool to get it in.  Professor Second-Guess much preferred the ample seating of the U-Haul.  Now he has a new home in the Bike Haven overseeing the One9 build.

The One9 shows up on Tuesday (fingers crossed).  I am beyond excited.  I asked Annie last night what I should name it, or if I should even name it.  The HiFi is just the "HiFi"... but my Madone is "Georgia."  Do I stick with One9?  Annie suggested "Slimer," cause of the color of course.  I think that would be shooting myself in the foot with a name like that - it just sounds slow.  Over the course of the build I'm sure I'll be hit with some inspiration - or maybe I'll have to hold out for the first few test rides....  but I'll keep a list running.

*So I think yesterday was the last day to ride... but maybe you can ride today since it is the 1st?  I dunno...