Monday, December 24, 2012


Holy cow, it's already Christmas Eve!!!

So, that means everyone needs to get out and ride... it might be the last time you ride your current set up as tomorrow might bring new and shiny bits for your ride!!

I may be out for the next week or so, so don't drink too much egg nog!

Happy New Year and all that, and I'll see you with a picture filled update on the progress of the One9


Friday, December 21, 2012

I've been good!

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

All week Niner has been posting giveaways on the facebook, with challenges attached of course.  I've been participating every day as some Niner swag would be SWEET for the One9 build.

Thursdays challenge was to "string your Niner up with Xmas Lights"

Mission accomplished.

Clark Griswold would be proud!

The shot I submitted to Niner

I'm not sure that will inspire riding in the post apocalyptic world, but Happy Holidays everybody!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

sweet berms

As I had planned, I hit up Col FB yesterday and I have one thing to say.  DAAAAAAMMMMNNNN that new section is SWEET!!!

The berms are killer.  Perfectly places and just speed inducing!  There are there wooden jumps, and one rock placed launcher.  For the first two wooden jumps you need to know the trail to get your speed up before you come upon them.  The last one has a constructed wooden roller into it, so all you have to do is point and shoot.

I didn't partake in any jumping as the trail is new (soft) and it was still a little dampish out on that section.  But it is a GREAT little addition to the trails out there.

I hadn't ridden Col FB in a little bit and I almost forgot how great of a trail it is, albeit a shortish loop.  But the trail they have there is some good stuff.  Plenty of roots to navigate.  As I was going over every root I was thinking about how this trail will look on a rigid singlespeed - completely different for sure.

Not sure where I'll be riding today... maybe Steve's.  Dunno.  But I do want to ride.  I'm trying to get off the lazy wagon and get back on the bike riding one... Strava has a new "goal" feature that let's you set... wait for it... a goal for the week.  It can be in either miles or hours.  I'm more concerned with getting out more frequently - I went with miles.  I figured, I try to hit at least 12 miles on a mountain bike ride, so a goal of 50 would be at least 4/5 rides a week.  Of course, if any of those rides are on the road then mileage will blow up.  But I figured it's a good starting point.  I can always increase the goal.

I also want to pick up a bottom bracket tool so I can get that sucker on.  Who knows... maybe a ride and some tooling around on the One9... man, what a beautiful bike day that would be.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sometimes, waiting is good

I spent WAY too much time google mapping my adjust route from the other days road ride to avoid having to "frogger" my way through traffic.  In the end, it was a good thing I was so studious about my new alternative route... because I discovered the easy greenway access wasn't so easy after all once I street viewed the bitch.

Here we have google telling me, "no worries, you can bypass Independence, grab the greenway and be on your way."

That looks cool, I wonder if there is a tunnel under, or maybe some overpass I can't see... let's check it out! (Thank goodness I did!)

Here we are coming to the dead end where the trail should start and cross you over Harris...

ummm... greenway?
Ok, so maybe the picture is old... and there is a path now??  Let's investigate further, shall we?

Let's see about crossing Harris.

well, it's nice there are dips and grips in the curb where you can sprint through traffic...
and stairs to the legit greenway.
So, in the end I scrapped that idea.... maybe there is some legit crossing, but from the google evidence it seems doubtful.  So, instead (after wasting time and energy) I put together a more fluid neighborhood loop.  Two stop lights to contend with.  One crossing a busy road, and as such it is a bastard waiting for the light to change, especially as it doesn't seem to sense a bicycle - so without a car around I get stuck at a cycle-less light.  The other light is no big deal as I take a right into a bicycle lane.

Of course I was feeling less then energized during the ride, and I missed the cut through "greenway" on my first lap.  But, in the end I think I have a decent more local route that can be repeated to get the miles.  Decent elevation changes throughout so I can certainly get some efforts in there as needed/desired.

Today I will be getting dirty.  The weather should be amazing and the trails should be good to go now.  Looks like I might be hitting up Col. FB to check out the newly opened black diamond addition.  From pictures I saw posted on the local forums, looks like there is some big jumps out there - we'll see how bold I get.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tayhaus Pete

Look what I got in the mail today.

I've never held a crankset (or arm) in my hand before, and I must say it was heavier than I thought.  I know this isn't the lightest set out there, but I got a deal on it - and right now deals are where it's at (to an extent).  But it's all good, all those pretty rings will come off and be replaced with a singular.  I was thinking of going to get a bottom bracket wrench today and putting this bad boy on... but since I don't yet have the singlespeed ring to put on the crankset, I may just wait...  I dunno.  I'm excited to have an actual part I can install on the One9, and with all the rain we've had it doesn't look like the trails will be friendly... so that would leave me with riding the streets again.  Which leads back to wanting to get on installing what I can... we'll see how it all shakes out today.

Over the weekend I hit the streets, cause of the rainy crap we got.  I followed some of the local "bike routes" that have street signage throughout the Charlotte area, and patched them together with some "unofficial" routes that were posted on the city's map.  It was a lot of city riding, meaning stop lights.  Traffic wise it was a great ride, mostly good routes.  BUT, it had me cross Independence.  Yeah... at a non-traffic light intersection.  On a Sunday, it was doable... during the week that would be ABSOLUTELY MENTAL.  For those not from the Charlotte area, Independence is a crazy busy 6 lane (3 on each side) divided "highway."  

I have no idea how crossing that is in anyway a good "unofficial" route that would be labeled on a map from the city for bike routes...  YIKES.  Luckily it looks like there is a greenway not to far off that I can hopefully utilize to bypass the highway crossing and still get across, in a safe leisurely manner.  So, that will be adjusted and tested at a later date.

Last night we had an indoor picnic of sorts.  Chilidogs, deviled eggs and 'gansett.  I don't know about you, but I don't need my condiments telling me how they should be used.

"For Hot Dogs & Hamburgers - A Serving Suggestion"

Thanks Texas Pete, but I think I can figure out what to do with your "Chili Sauce."

Monday, December 17, 2012


Tragedy, rain, and then the end of Survivor.  Not that all are on the same scale in any manor... but they all happened.  And as such, blog importance is at an all time low.

I'll be back tomorrow.

But for now, let's all love one another just a little bit harder.

Friday, December 14, 2012

a cat?

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

The HiFi is back and ready to go.  Although, looks like the bottom bracket and fork will need a little extra love in the near(ish) future.

Tonight is a birthday dinner for Annie's dearest friend, and Saturday Sean and I will get out for a ride... somewhere.  Maybe we'll do a little "training" over at Renni... or maybe we'll do a proper ride out at Uwharrie... I guess it all comes down to how well I behave at this celebration.

If you can believe it, I almost forgot about this song...

While that was "bike related," this will not be...
well, if we stretch real far there is a strand of "bike" connected - I stole this from Dicky's media assault over on the facebook.
I don't know about you but I absolutely LOVE this.


26+ minutes of delight!

On the flip side, Annie hates it.  So I don't get to blast it all day everyday like I want.  I do, however, wish the cat did a bit more, but I'll settle for the sweet music.  (And fart sounds... digitized farting is the new auto tune)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

if I must

I got my "final reminder" email yesterday that my REI dividend would be disappearing at the end of the month if I don't use it up.  Well, you don't really have to twist my arm too much... First, I did have to consult our financial advisor over here (Annie) to ensure we didn't need anything more important from REI.  Sure enough, we didn't have any pressing business with REI.

So, I was put up to the task of reviewing their bicycle offerings that would suit my newest acquisition.  After a thorough combing it came down to an easy decision, I'll be receiving my new crankset for the One9 on December 19th.  Not only was this purchase less then what I had envisioned for my build, but I also got a substantial discount (and FREE shipping) due to my dividend.  

I'll leave the details vague... mainly so I'll have more to talk about later.  But I'm psyched to finally have a part coming specifically for the singlespeed build, and for the opportunity to actually install the first part for the One9.

The following is hypothetical:

If I can get enough parts together maybe I can even race the One9 for the Winter Series...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Dropped the HiFi off yesterday.  And the most wonderful thing happened... "we can probably get it back to you in a day or two."  Music to my ears!!  I was half expecting to be waiting until the weekend before the bike would be back, so money!  Another plus for the LBS.

Although, let's just knock on wood to make sure nothing is crazy wrong with anything that will prolong that time line, or more importantly, jack the price tag.

I dunno why, but it's neat!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


So, I'm in the parking lot waiting on the rest of the riders to show so I figure I'll get the bike all ready to go - you know... check the tire pressure and whatnot.  So I pull the HiFi off the rack and set it down.  Grab the pump out of the back of the pterodactyl and rotate the front wheel so the valve is towards the bottom.  Throw down a couple pumps and the front is good to go.

I move to the back wheel.  Give her a spin to get the valve at the bottom and notice something isn't right.  The wheel isn't turning freely.  I get a half spin out of each effort...  yikes.  The disc is clearly resting on the brake pad.  I release the tension on the skewer and of course the wheel is free to spin for days.  Without any further adjustments I close the skewer and all is right with the world.  Weird, I know.

BUT.  That explains a lot about my previous ride where everything was off kilter.  A dragging rear wheel would certainly explain why I was feeling so weak and out of it.  Which could then lead to sluggish handling, and an overall "stuck in my head" sort of ride.   I guess I really should be showing the HiFi a little more love between rides.

The plan is to get it into the shop today for an overhaul.  Get it nice and spiffy for the Winter Series.  So that means road riding for a bit - but that's ok, seems that "winter" is here cause we've been hit with a few showers over the past few days.

Monday, December 10, 2012


I've been lucky (knock on wood) to not have experienced ride ending mechanicals.  I've broken spokes mid ride, I've nudged my derailleur enough to making shifting annoying, but not impossible... but haven't had any huge snafu that would completely end a ride.  (Ok, the spoke "shortened" the ride)

Well, on Saturday I met up with Sean and a couple other guys for a tour de Lake Norman.  With the new section open, they boast 30 miles of trails.  I wasn't sure what the plan was for the day, but I was up for a fun ride.  As I drove up to Lake Norman the skies looked kinda dubious and I was second guessing if the earlier trail report would hold true.   Things held out and a ride ensued.  Even with two mechanicals - both occurring for the same unfortunate rider, the ride was swell.

We hit up the Laurel trail to start, which now leads to the new section, and it was a blast - sans the mechanicals.  The bummer of the ride was realizing how much mileage I was "losing" with the garmins.  At the end of our first section my garmins read 14 miles whereas a magnet reading computer read 17 miles... at the end of our ride (which unfortunately didn't comprise of ALL the trails - but a thigh saving call to quit indeed) I was short almost 5 miles!  So my "22.something" was actually 27.somthing. F-that.

First thing I'm doing (after a full tune up) is throwing a magnet on the front wheel to try to remedy that nonsense.  Here is what I don't get - why not put it on the front wheel??  I dunno.  In the past I put the magnet on the rear of my HiFi - which never really made sense to me, being it is a fully and stuff moves and whatnot... But my fellow rider (who was on a hardtail) had his magnet on the front - why not?  So yeah, I'll do that, maybe straighten out the chaos all these switchbacks cause on the mileage front.

Either way, 22 or 27 miles, it was a good ride.  Lake Norman is fun.  Some flowy fast stuff out there, and more climbing than you would expect.  The new stuff didn't really feel all that new.  In fact, you couldn't discern a difference between the new trail and the "old" trail.  The new stuff was well broken in - no loose dirt that you might expect with new trail... so that was nice!  That just meant the speed could be maintained and there wasn't as much worry of washing out on corners ( I mean, leaves were still a concern).  But thankfully there were no wipeouts on the ride.

It was interesting riding in a group.  I mainly ride solo, which allows me to push it where I want and recover where I need.  The thing about riding in a group that gets to me is worrying about the rider in front (more so than the rider behind).  If I don't really know the rider in front of me I tend to want to give a good distance as I don't know how they are going to react to the trail and I don't really want to end up, well, up their ass if they slow significantly out of no where.  On the other hand, when you have people behind you it pushes you a bit.  Which can be positive - not allowing you to "wuss" out when you can keep the pace up.  In the end, I appreciated riding with other people.  But, I also recognized that one of the things I cherish about mountain biking is the solitude.  Being able to get out alone, push yourself, and enjoying nature.

Which reminds me, as I was waiting on my fellow riders I discovered why it was I was so off on my ride at BYT last week... but I'll save that for tomorrow.

Friday, December 7, 2012


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

Seems like it's been a while since I've done a true Media Friday, oops.  

Last night I went to the monthly Tarheel Trailblazers meeting and I must say, I was pretty impressed.  A HUGE difference from the NEMBA meeting I attended up in Boston.  I had to boogie on out of there as soon as it ended as Annie has a WICKED early interview this morning so I wanted to get home before she had to get to sleep.

Ok, to the media portion of our program...

Found this neat little video - almost feels like a music video - from an IMBA trail system out in Minnesota.

I'm looking California, and feeling Minnesota... oh yeah - a little Soundgarden for you!

Soundgarden - Outshined by spotless-mind

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Get out

Ever have one of those days when you hit the trail and something is just off??

I started off with some sort of squeak going on... couldn't tell if it was brake rub or something with the cranks... it was intermittent, but annoying enough.  I think it's about high time to get the HiFi in for a full tune up anyway...

So, it started with a squeak that had me thinking.  Then I just couldn't get out of my head.  It felt as though my bike handling skills had dropped in the toilet this morning and I never fished them out.  I was fumbling over the simplest things.  And when it got to sections that are actually a challenge to clear things didn't really improve.  I tried to slow myself down and rerun any section I had trouble with... but something was preventing me from going full tilt and just clearing the damn things.  I was there but just couldn't get it up and over, so to speak.  I felt drained.  I felt defeated.

Halfway through the ride I grabbed hold of myself (figuratively) and shook.  My handling skills aren't gone, I'm just way too far inside my own head right now.  I decided to throw out the idea that my handling skills were garbage and tried to get back to basics.  Pay attention to body position.  Get up out of the saddle.  Just F'n ride!!

And wouldn't you know, things started turning around.  By then though the ride had taken a toll on my legs and energy and I almost bailed on the last section of trail.  I stopped at the trailhead balancing my choices: End while behind, or ride it since you are here!  I decided for the later, but my inner debate brought up a valid question.  At what point should you call a ride quits in order to preserve yourself, and avoid unnecessary risk or crashes?  I wasn't completed wasted, so it wasn't like I would be on a death march just to finish off the trail.  But having been off my game for the majority of the ride, is it better to call it and just ride another day?

I dunno.  It seems more often then not my limiting factor (both JRA and in races) is the mental part.  When I get too far in my own head things fall apart.  Body position goes to hell, trail vision disappears and I'm only looking in front of the front wheel, and I just lose the push... Riding will improve skill, but what improves the "headiness"?

When I figure that one out I'll be taking a huge leap forward.

Anyway, I took a bunch of pictures while out on the trail as they keep adding and building out there.  I just wanted to share a photo or two.  I took a picture of thins nasty "root ball" that tops a short steep climb that you run into as you turn towards the top.  It is just annoying.  I had to take a picture because of all the stuff that up and overs are built on, this would be just about the only place that I would really appreciate a little help with!!

After looking at my photos I'm thinking it isn't the root so much that gives me the trouble.... it's that evil spirit living in the tree!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Sunday I wasn't racing, but spectating a CX race.  My buddy Sean started racing CX this year and low and behold he had a race less than a mile from my house, so of course I'd be there!!

Whenever I'm at a race and not racing (or my race for the day is done) I like to get out there and take photos.  It's really fun!! Finding the cool places on the course to get good action shots.

Be forewarned, Sean makes the most amazing race faces.


Crushing it through the start/finish straightaway:

Sandpit grinding:

Look how excited the spectators are... one is even stripping!!
Run up, from two perspectives (that thing was STEEP):

If only I could make a living taking race photos...

At this race I only really took photos of Sean and his teammates, with the exception of one large cowboy hat wearin racer - you put THAT much effort in you deserve your picture taken, right?

The added bonus of taking pictures of a CX race is that you can easily get shots at various sections of the course, since it's so compact.  And then there is the reason so many people like to watch a cx race... well, other than you get to see your friends pretty much throughout the whole course... the crashes.

Luckily, well maybe not for him, there was a crash in front of Sean's teammates (739) as he was coming through the sandpit which resulted in a big pile up.  The luck comes in there because I was taking pictures of the whole thing.  I think the most insane thing was how quickly he got up and out of the situation - really kept his head and drive going the whole time.

mid air

handlebar in the...

ouch, looks like he's stepping on some guy's wheel!

and he's off!

unfortunately he had to stop in the next sandpit to fix his chain...
but it could have been a lot worse!!
Overall it was a pretty fun spectating experience (not a race that I would be interested in getting involved in myself).  Not as wild as I hear cx races can get with all sorts of sideline shenanigans.  It was pretty tame, but still enjoyable... and you can't beat the proximity!

Monday, December 3, 2012

SS dreamin

Even with Georgia losing, it was still a great game!
In order to "prepare" for the wings and beer that would be consumed during the SEC Championship game I hit the trails.  I was back and forth on which trail to hit and finally decided to hit up Sherman Branch (it is a straight shot from our place so it's pretty damn easy to get to - 1 road/10 miles).  This place was hopping!  In the past I've ridden the trails during the week and there have been few, if any, cars in the lot when I've been there.  On Saturday, the lot was full.

Even with a full lot you still had the trails to yourself for the most part - catching glimpses of riders through the trees here and there.  Gave me motivation to push a little hard to 1. "catch" the guy ahead of me down the trail 2. keep in front of anyone who may be coming up behind.  That isn't to say I was racing out there, but it kept me honest.  Of course, when a faster rider was on my tail I let him get on by.

I did come across two (separate) riders sans helmets out on the trail.  It kinda threw me off and I wasn't quite sure if I should say something or not.  In the end I didn't say anything as I was riding by... but should a comment be made?  I mean, I guess it's their choice.

So, after my first loop I realized this is a SUPER SS friendly trail.  The only real shifting I did was when hitting straight aways to pick up speed.  But for the most part you could stay in one gear and just rail.... so that has got me chomping on the bit to get in on this SS thing.

The Niner is still sitting in frame state.  I've got my build list together, but can't spend the money yet.  Soon though (hopefully).  Had an interview on Wednesday that went well, and I expect (fingers crossed) that there will be an offer coming in soon.  That would be bitter sweet... Great, cause it's a job and money and whatnot, not so great in that it isn't my ideal job... but again, money and whatnot is kinda important.

Sunday was race day.  But, I'll get into that tomorrow... until then, I leave you with this.