Tuesday, December 31, 2013


My musings on the Meuse... yeah, I did that.

This thing is a rocket!  Super light (batteries are dead in my scale and I forgot to check what kind of batteries I needed before going to Home Depot, twice) and accelerates like a cheetah - assuming they accelerate quickly, cause this thing does!

Paired nicely with its featherweight status is a confidence inspiring stability. It is easily maneuverable over roots and rocks, seemingly floating over anything in its path. 

Component wise, it's got a nice stock setup. With Stan's Iron Cross wheels, this thing can (and will) be set up tubeless.
Looks like I've got some room with the fork and frame to play with to fit a larger tire, and I'll likely go larger as my bike will be seeing more trail than it will grassy field.

    I like the step up to disc brakes, it's just taking some getting used to mechanical brakes over hydraulic when on the trail. I've always found that, over any other change (29er to 26, full suspension to rigid) to be the most difficult to adjust to. I'm really digging the handlebars!

They just seem to be the perfect width for both tucking in and maneuvering through a trail. And the layback seat post sets me up perfectly on the bike.

Saddles are always a tough one as everyone has there personal preference, so I wasn't sure how I'd like the WTB Silverado Thinline. At first I had some squeak coming from the seat post clamp rubbing the saddle with each pedal strike - absolutely maddening. That has been remedied and I have to day that the saddle has been treating me pretty well so far. It isn't as hard as the Selle Italia SLR XC that has been my go to, but it is pretty stiff with good flex (as proven by the squeak...)

And did I mention that this thing looks good?  A nice blacked out component set looks so nice against the carbon frame. The red on the inside of the Columbus fork gives a nice little coloring to the overall bike. A TINY griped in my perfectionist way is that the wet seat post does not match the frame as nicely as the matte stem (which has wet spacers - then again, the headset is wet).

But that is a small detail that by no means takes away from the overall awesomeness that is the Meuse.

I'd say that it is clear from the big ass smile on my face that this bike is a hit!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Broken News

I've spent the first week of winter break sleeping past 10 am - so inadvertently there have been no updates here, but you already knew that.

By now some of you know some things about my news.  There have been social media updates and pictures, questions answered here and there, but the whole story isn't completely out there yet - and it's time to get it there before I forget about it.

It all started one evening as I was sitting on the couch "watching" something or other on the television and perusing the Facebook.  Dirt Rag had a teaser of a picture up of a bike they would be riding/reviewing at sscxwc so did my best "Magnum PI" on the picture and found myself on the Asylum Cycles website.

From there I learned a couple things about the bike and about the company.  First, damn that is a sweet looking bike.  Second, man this sounds like a company with the right vision - Take a bicycle, add dirt to taste, blend at high speed, and the rest of the world disappears.

From there I came across the Demon Spawnsorship Program.  Again, they struck a chord with what they were looking for: Asylum has always been committed to helping the privateer racer, the weekend warrior, and the dedicated dirt bag... We’re looking for an enthusiasm not just for traditional racing, but for dirt culture in general. If you participate in un-sanctioned fire road races, outlaw ‘cross events, and are involved in your local cycling scene, we want to hear from you.

Hey, that's me!  I had been searching for my next bike - trying to figure out what could round out my herd (stable and quiver are used WAY too much) and with the passing of relatives I had recently come into some money so a new bike could be a reality.  As I sat on the couch perusing the website and ultimately the Demon Spawnsorhip application I knew this was a company I could be down with.  After all, the application itself had some interesting questions - if nothing else I was going to have fun filling out the application.

Well, I guess the guys over at Asylum enjoyed reading my answers as much as I enjoyed providing them - the next morning I got an email inviting me to be a grassroots rider for Asylum!  Holler Atcha Boy!  They even extended me the honor of being the NC representative for the CX Pistols.

It didn't take long to give them my answer - a psyched YES!  And soon the cogs were turning to get my Meuse over to me.  I of course went the sscx route.  So what does this all mean, am I going to be racing cx now?  Not much is going to change over here really.  I was open and honest about my lack of involvement/interest in cross, but I have been enjoying gravel road riding out in the mountains, and that is where I see the Meuse helping me big time... and that will be the addition to my riding.  But hey, this bike won't be relegated to tame terrain - I've already gotten it out on the trail

(maybe not the gnarliest of trails, but still it saw some trail!)

I'm still trying to formulate a name for my Meuse, and I will get back at you tomorrow with my initial impressions of the bike, but here's a hint:  it's GOOD!

Friday, December 20, 2013

It is here!!

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

I'll get into the details of everything next week, but I am too excited to get into the news part of things (which in itself is VERY exciting in itself!!).  In the meantime, feast your eyes on my new Asylum Meuse SSCX.

No build can begin without beer - I've learned the hardway...

Naked and sexy

Look at that, a little bit of NC right there in the bike - Cane Creek brake levers

Disc brakes... but not the kind that don't work - suckers!

With this fork I will discover new lands!

Interesting alternative to spacers...

For those that like the shifting... internal cable routing.  For my purposes - frame whistle!

After a shake down I will convert to tubeless (and if you missed it before, disc brakes)

Look at those curves!

comin' atcha!

Don't ask me where, but I'll be getting out today on this bad boy!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's coming!

Drive safely UPS drivers. Handle those packages smoothly UPS package handlers. 

More to follow...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I've gotten.... bigger

This is the time of year when cyclists go crazy.  Ride time decreases due to weather, diminishing light, temperatures, and holiday hoopla.  With a decrease in ride time (and an increase in available food - holiday parties, family dinners, etc.) weight becomes a concern for many.

Work has been a tizy of random and hectic tasks.  Pair that with the fact that I am NOT a morning person (read: sleep as long as physically possible to make it to work "on time") means I have not been taking care of myself at work. No lunch.  Not good.

So, when I get home I graze around for whatever I can find that requires little effort (just worked all day and I'm starving so I want food now) which is typically not the best for you.  After consuming garbage for a while I take a break, and then it's time for dinner.  Dinners are typically late... so I eat a bunch of junk, eat a nice dinner, and fall asleep on the couch watching whatever show.  Wake up and go to bed... repeat cycle.

Notice no biking?  It seems like forever since I've been on a bike.  Last night before bed I weighed myself.


Things are changing.  Now.  Seriously.  For the sake of my rims I've got to put a halt to this immediately.  The idea of running around the neighborhood popped into my mind if I'm not going to get out on the bike... yeah, that bad.  I've got a race in what, like 2 weeks, and this is not a race I want to go in heavy... or having not been riding my bike... uh, two strikes already.

Whelp, I'll see you at the Snake... just look for me, I'll be on the green bike.
In all reality, I've got time to get back on track, I just have to buckle down now yesterday.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Hey there.  So I slacked yesterday... and almost today.  Is it the weather, the lack of riding (due to the weather), the time of year (hibernation station), the fact that kids/parents are going nuts because it's midterm time, or some other strange phenomena?  Who knows.  But it was really hard to get myself to write today.

Maybe it's because I've got things I should have already talked about (some GREAT rides) and something big that I want to talk about so I'm pulled all over the place and don't know where to start.  Maybe I'll touch on a little bit of everything in a round about way.

I LOVE the mountains.  Well, the mountains of North Carolina to be specific.  I hit up some sweet ass Bent Creek with D-Wayne a little bit ago and it was super amazing fun times.  Got some good climbing in, and gave the rigid a true test - some good old rocky descents and I liked it! (I love the Glow Worm again)  Of course I picked my lines a bit more carefully then I would need to on the HiFi, but I was glad to have D-Wayne (with a bouncy fork) in front so it forced me to keep on the gas to keep up and force myself to take on the gnar full speed.  The lack of suspension did not bother me at all really... which is great!  Overall we pretty much did half (both in mileage and in elevation) of the Snake... so I guess that means I'm prepared... since I haven't been on the bike since then and the Snake will be here before I know it...  I'm excited?  For the Snake I will be racing for Team Glow Worm (of course) and I might even have a fancy kit.  I'll at least look competitive even if the Snake kicks my butt.

I'm patiently waiting (patiently waiting - refreshing "package tracker" incessantly.  Pondering aloud why progress has not been updated on said tracker.  Surely their shipping method must have arrived SOMEWHERE by now... just tell me where, I don't care where, I just want some answers.  Checking out product website to drool over incoming item.  Wishing pictures on website were in my possession and not in transit.  Planning use of new item(s).  Researching opportunities to enjoy said item(s) on the internerds.  Checking "package tracker" again...) for a package weighing... oh... about 26.8 lbs... to arrive at my house on Thursday.  In said package there will be a few things.  Some things will combine to make one thing.  Other items will match and make me faster.*   This aforementioned package is from some great new friends of mine.  Names and clarity of our relationship will remain purposefully foggy until said package is in my possession and I can properly reveal the big news.  Until then, continue to not care about my incoherent ramblings.  But know this... my vagueness will pay off and possibly even result in bike envy.

There, I've said too much.  Time to shut it down and refresh my "package tracker"

* results not guaranteed

Friday, December 13, 2013

Be safe

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

You have likely already seen this video floating around... and the message doesn't apply so much to the majority of those of you reading this, but it is an important message to get out to non-cyclists.  You may recall that I had scouted out the possibility of commuting by bike to work, and then that just stopped.  No, nothing happened, but it was the concern that something might that has kept me from riding to work.  

Personally, I feel that the majority of my route is ok.  No, it's not ideal, but I felt pretty good with the route.  Annie, on the other hand, wouldn't agree with that assessment.  That isn't because she "worries too much" or anything like that, if anything, it's because I don't fear the possibility of getting hit.  That isn't to say that I think I'm invincible, or that "it won't happen to me," but I do my best to ride safely and go about  my day.  In reality, the route isn't bike friendly in all spots, and some of those spots could be really dangerous if I am unlucky to meet a distracted driver at the wrong time... so, to avoid putting Annie (or even a driver that might strike me) in that position, I've nixed that commuting route.  

Right now there does not seem to be a feasible safer alternative (unless I want to rack up some serious miles) so commuting by bike is off the shelf.  

Yes, we want motorists to respect our right to ride.  To give us space, to slow down if necessary, and just be safe!  But we, as cyclists, have to do our part.  Obey traffic laws.  Signal your turns, be courteous.  There are assholes in every group, but the more we can do the right thing and provide a positive image for cyclists in general, the closer we can all come to sharing the road respectfully.

Be safe out there.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

High School

North Carolina High School Mountain Biking  may soon be a reality.  This weekend there will be an informational/organizational meeting to get things started.  The goal is to bring submit a bid to the National Interscholastic Cycling Association to bring competitive youth cycling to NC by 2015.  I'm hoping to be there - more to learn what the process is going to be like and get a sense of the outlook of starting a league here - and I urge anyone in NC that is able to go, to GO!  The event is on Sunday 12/15 at 2pm.  Back Alley Bikes in Carrboro NC is hosting the event... check it out and bring your bike - there will be a group ride before/after the meeting.

I'm sure the great majority of us would have loved having an organized league when we were in high school.  A friend and I started up a mountain biking club at our high school, but I think we only ever went on one official ride.  On the way to the trail my bike wasn't secured very well to the trailer our bikes were in and when we went over a curb to park my bike bounced, slamming my wheel in such a way that it tacoed....  yeah... great way to start.  We straightened it some and had to release the rear brakes to make it rideable - THAT WAS SAFE!  That was also back in the day when front suspension was a luxury and not the standard.  I remember thinking my buddies front shock was weird, heavy, and pointless.  

Anyway, here's to an organized league for the up and comers.  There are a good number of colleges in North Carolina that not only have mountain bike teams, but are able to provide scholarships!!  So if you can, check the meeting out and see what you can do to support bringing mountain biking into our high schools.  Maybe we can make high school just that much cooler for kids - we don't want Billy Madison to dissuad them from going to high school, now do we?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Completely off topic

Yesterday I was paid a huge compliment by a parent. While dealing with an intense situation I reframed the focus the parent placed on their child's school performance in the midst of their crisis.

Basically I suggested that instead of hanging on the hopes that allowance would be made (that clearly were not going to be made) to "fix" their student's grade (due to not completing assignments) that the family itself reframe their focus on grades.  Bottom line: Your child's health/sanity/happiness is more important than grades that reflect their current struggle. Preserve the parts of their lives that are successful lest the focus on grades infect those realms as well. Focus instead on the effort, the small wins. Support success. (Focusing on a GPA or a graduation deadline is futile if your student doesn't make it that far!)

Anyway. The parent looked at me and said: that was brilliantly put!  I've never had it posed to me in that way. 

I was happy to help, but sad that this is a common struggle for parents - no matter how much help or support they get for their students outside of school, they always seem to come to school in the mindset that it will be a confrontation.  The sad thing is, it is probably more common that parents have to "battle" schools then it is a cooperative working relationship.   Thus far in my career I've been lucky enough to work at schools where the teachers genuinely care, putting in a lot of extra time for their students.  And although we have rules - it was nice to be able to help refocus the parents on what was truly important instead of everyone stressing about grades (especially when the parent was not actually concerned with their student even graduating on time!).

While in that meeting I knew exactly where my thought process was coming from - my parents.  All throughout school doing well was important to me.  I don't remember any real pressure from my parents in regards to grades, but as a kid it was always my goal to get good grades.  Then comes college... long story short I get hit hard in Calculus (a class I shouldn't have been in really...).  I make the call home to prepare them for a potentially horrible grade.  I was so stressed and worried about what they would say.  But on the other end I got the most wonderful message:  Michael, we know you are trying your best, and that is all we can ask.  We know you are trying your best and doing what you can.  We know you aren't out partying* and neglecting your studies, so if a D is the best that you can do in a course, then I am happy with a D.

Seriously.  That took so much weight off my shoulders.  I knew how heavy the focus on grades can be (whether it's self imposed or not) and I was so glad that the parent got the message.  But more importantly I have to thank my parents for giving me that gift as well.  So, whenever a parent asks if I have kids (as in, how can you relate) I always smile and think - nope, but I had great parents!

* As anyone who knew me at Uconn - you might say I partied.  Was there anything else to do at Uconn??  But partying never got in the way of my classes... or vice versa... whichever sounds better.  I always attended class and got my work done before any partying ensued.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


This one is going to be short and sweet due to the fact that I've had the craziest of crazy mornings, is the world ending and nobody told me?

The rain continues so I guess no riding tonight...

So, to keep in line with yesterday's musical themed hint. My news: Soul Asylum - remember that band from the 90s... you know, that damn runaway train song, you're welcome - except, without the soul.

Soul Asylum - Runaway Train from www.vid-i.com on Vimeo.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Like a Wakefield knuckleball, I saw it coming but totally missed it.

For those that have been counting, Friday's post was good old number 500. I'm not certain why, but it seems like a number that deserves recognition.  Does that mean this blog is special?  Has it "ranked up" and is now somehow "official?"  Or does it just mean I've had the "stick to it-ness" to grind out post after post?  

Probably more so that latter than anything else. But, no matter what that 500 might mean I have to thank you for continuing to come back and following along with my adventures. I'd also like to thank all those one timers who visit because they are doing a search on the internerd for a picture of school kids running out of a school (true story, that's a big hit for me) or find a race report because they either raced it themselves or are thinking about racing - those random spikes in views are always a joy.  I'd ALSO like to thank those of you from the Facebook. I've recently gone the route of advertising my posts on the Facebook and views have jumped up big time. So thank you all (cyclists and non cyclists alike) for sharing in my adventure. 

Finally, I'd like to thank Annie. She started this whole thing with me way back in March of 2011. Back then we would take turns posting, which was fun. I thought it was great that we were able to present two different voices here, hopefully providing a little bit of everything for everyone. Sadly, Annie's last post came on October 19, 2011. She had a great run, and I will continue to keep the door open for her if she ever decides to return (to the bike or the blog). 

Today I look back to where things started and where I am now. I think I need to do a little house cleaning on the site... and maybe get back to doing some videos - haven't posted in that section in a very long time.  Since this is officially post 501 I guess that means this is a victory lap - you know, if you link the name of the post with the number... (the Indy 500, come on, stay with the class) the winner does an extra victory lap and all... so that would be 501 at the Indy 500 for the winner... soooooo...  All that aside, it's a celebration.

Thank you for sharing in our adventures. 

Oh, and don't think I forgot about my promise to share some big news (that wasn't it by the way).  I think I'm going to slow roll it. Although it is official, I might hold out until I have something tangible for show and tell. In the meantime, enjoy this song. This song is in absolutely no way a hint as to what my news might be (wink wink, nudge nudge)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Will I?

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

It's been wet, and looks like it will continue to be so here so I don't know what that means for my weekend. Original plans were to make a run at some mileage out in the mountains of western NC to test out my gearing for the Snake... but who knows what will end up happening. 

If I don't get out, I'll just sit home watching this over and over in envy. 

Big news coming next week - so stay tuned!

Thursday, December 5, 2013


2014 is already starting to take shape with events. So far I'm looking at events that will be pushing my limits. And by the looks of things, it won't just be my legs putting in the miles. I have 4 events (6 if you consider each Snake Creek Gap TT as a separate event, and I suppose I should since it covers three consecutive months!) in 4 different states!

First up, the Snake. And the Snake is coming fast!  January, February, and March I will be driving down to Georgia 5 1/2 hours each way/each time... yikes!  I think this is the first time I actually looked at how long it would take. That is a bear!  The positive: each race is on Saturday so I have Sunday to recover. I might have to look at taking the Friday before off so I'm not so tired at the start from driving down after work... We'll see. There is a belt buckle on the line after all!

Next up is the Dragon's Tale in Virginia. I just added this yesterday when D-Wayne invited me, so I know nothing about it. From talking with him it sounds like the area has trails right up my alley so I'm jumping in with blind faith, but I'll do more research soon. Just checked and it's 3 1/2 hours away. After I  told the facebooks that I was going Dicky posts up this gem. 

Great... what did I just get myself into?

Next up is SSUSA. I missed last year because school started around the weekend of the event so I couldn't take the time for the road trip, but this year I'm good to go!  Where is it this year?  Michigan. But not just "Michigan," Upper Peninsula Michigan... 19-20 hours away!!  D-Wayne has committed, TheMutt is doing the hokie pokie over there and hasn't officially put his foot in the ring here... but in any event this will be a road trip. It will be broken down with ride stops on the way there/back - so who knows how long/how many rides will be included in this adventure?  I just have to make sure I'm back for work on Tuesday August 12... hopefully we can manage that.

And my final event on the docket so far... the Brunswick Brawl. I got to see how my body handled a 6 hour event and had a blast doing it this year, so of course I'll be back!  I'm looking forward to improving my performance and enjoying those fun trails again!  So far it's my only race right here in North Carolina and it's only 3 1/2 hours away.... 

Good lord the pterodactyl will be pilling on the miles this year!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Double check

Sunday's planned ride out in the mountains didn't happen because D-Wayne had the sniffles. In all honesty, no one wants to be out on the bike for hours with a whole bunch of nonsense going on in their head*, so I completely understand. But me being me, I took the lazy man's way out and did a bunch of nothing all day... Kind of a bummer actually.

I did get to ride some over the holiday, but I of course should have ridden more. I did however notice that I had been incorrect in my assumption that I had set my garmins to track data every second. I swear I had set it that way long ago, but after my ride on Friday I decided to check for shits and giggles (and because I had been thoroughly mileage fucked again) and of course I found that it was not tracking every second... sooooo I corrected that. 

We shall see what this does to improve things in the mileage department.  Thanks goes out to Mark for commenting about the setting, causing me to double check things.

* I constantly have nonsense going on in my head... but that is along the lines of random thoughts and things that would only crack me up

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Internerd garbage

People messing around on forums isn't new. Sometimes they are intentionally trying to push people's buttons, sometimes they are trying to inappropriately pedal their product/crap.

One of the "groups" I'm part of on the facebooks deals with local bike stuff for sale (go figure). It's a more direct and effective way to buy/sell quality bikes/parts then craigslist... unless you want stolen stuff, then get over to craigslist. Anyway, from time to time people sneak into the group and try to sell, or just post up info about, something completely unrelated to bikes. It used to be some woman who "had a hook up" on designer sneakers...  She was a blast. 

Last night a new pioneer joined the group. 

(Names not protected because no one is innocent on the internerds)

I was the first to stumble upon the post, so of course I had to say something. 

I was supported (hence the likes) and then I almost died. I completely lost it when I read the next post. It was lost on Annie, she looked at me like I was crazy, but she did enjoy the level of entertainment I was getting from the whole ordeal. 

Best post EVER. Annie's mom got it, so I'm not crazy. But I thought I'd share since it's a half day (motivation very low) and I woke up to the sound of rain. Very cold rain I'm sure. Hopefully reading the interchange on the facebooks gives you a little chuckle to warm your belly. 

Ron cracks me up!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Best laid plans and all

It's a two day week. Well, really a one and a half day week. I was planning on using the half day to my advantage and get a nice long ride in at Lake Norman after work, and then this happened...

I guess we are in for some freezing ran tonight and 2 + inches of rain on Tuesday. So, no riding for me on my half day. 


I've been loving me some Lake Norman. Hit it up again yesterday. Three things to recap. 

1.  Hooray, dropped a chain. But, it popped out to the outside of my cranks (first time ever) and was super easy to get back on. It did make me think though... It came off as I was powering up a slow turn to the left. During the 6 hour race when I dropped my chain twice in the same exact spot on the course, a power turn up to the left...  I wonder if there could be some flex leaving me vulnerable to a drop when I'm putting the power climbing and going left??  Or maybe my chain line is off just enough to really show in this situation. I'm also wondering if my slipping EBB was really due to the fact that I had a super tight chain line?  Since it skipped this last time I've left it looser than I had been and it seems to be doing fine - dropped chain but doesn't seem to have moved. 

2. I stalled at the same spot on that one steep climb. Dunno if I'll get it with the 18t before the trail switches direction with the new year. 

3. Crashed yesterday. 

Loose leaves can be dangerous. I had already felt the leaf induced slide a couple times prior but had been able to right myself and stay wheels down. Obviously my luck ran out and as I was flying around a corner I couldn't hold it. Got tangled up in the bike as I hit the ground - my leg was pinned between the bars and frame making it a little difficult to get undone with my face pressed into the ground. Because I was having difficulties clearing myself of the bike as I was going down I wasn't able to shield as much from impact. Face first into the ground. The helmet (and glasses) deflected the blow, but I still got my bell ring. I tried to push on, but had to drop the last loop - head was starting to hurt, felt like I was a bit sluggish in tracking the trail, and just a hint of nausea was coming on. Annie's mom was able to confirm that I did not have a concussion, so it's all good. Also came out with a classic hip raspberry. 

And a bonus 4. Those trails have me hooting and hollering!  Out of pure joy and from close calls as I seem to keep pushing it out there, which is good. You only get faster/improve bike handling by pushing yourself to that edge. See how fast you can take the corner, etc. But it's a blast out there for sure. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

mmmmm mountains!

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

It's fall... it's mountain time.  D-Wayne proposed a ride out at Bent Creek on December 1st.  I said yes... cause I should see how my legs will stand up to real climbing on the Glow Worm.  This morning I realized that is next weekend!!  Wow, November just flew by!  This weekend I think I'll get the 20 on there and start hammering some hills around these parts.

Get yourself out in the leaves and pedal your ass off... Thanksgiving is coming, so start earning those calories now!  I guess it's high time I start thinking about some of these mountain events...

Oh yeah, and then there is this.... Timmy Anderson of the Faster (red) Mustache crew.

You are welcome!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I made it!

Its official, I made it!

Not only does internerd phenom Dicky read my words, he shares them too!

Wait just a minute there, we aren't done. Thom P, the great media guru, then acknowledge Dicky's sharing of my nonsense!

You don't even understand how giddy this made me. Yes, I'm a little school girl. 

Did you not believe me when I said it is the little things?  I'm a pretty simple guy: bikes, beers, battle star galactica...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thoughts from the saddle

For me, riding is an opportunity to just clear my head. Most of the time I feel like my mind is completely open and I am free to just be in the moment. It's a pretty amazing thing really. An after work ride can pretty much erase the fact that I had worked at all that day and I finish the ride with a renewed sense. 

While riding thoughts do at times flow through. Sometimes it's negative stuff that I can either dismiss (because I'm enjoying myself) or work through - because I'm in a calm and open state. Then you get the "oh shit" moments where your trail focus drifts and you almost bite it - a nice reminder to stay present!

And other times random thoughts flow in from left field. These are the thoughts I can never really seem to remember later to share with others, but nonetheless strike me as odd and funny in the moment. Unfortunately, I do not have one of those today. 

What did catch my attention on my ride this weekend were the leaves. Leaves are certainly nothing new, coming from New England. I've experienced losing the trail due to leaf cover back in Mass, so I'm familiar with our dead little friends. Anyway, this weekend a leaf decided to pin itself against my frame so that it constantly rubbed my rear wheel. 

Annoying. It really started to get to me, but I didn't want to stop to remove it so I started hopping around the trail whenever possible in an attempt to shake it loose, no dice. I cherished the times I could coast as my Hope hubs drowned out the noise of the leaf. 

Why doesn't the sound of my hub bother me, but the leaf does?  I quite like the sound of my hubs. Before I got them, I thought quite hubs were great, because it didn't interrupt the quietness of the forest. But, there is something soothing about the buzz. Maybe it's a subconscious joy that I've "earned" the buzz - I'm riding well, flying through the trail - I don't need to pedal. Or I'm on someone's tail, riding strong, so it tells them to pick it up, or urges me to get moving past them in a race. Either way, I'd be sad without it. A happy byproduct is that I don't need a bell to alert other trail users of my presence, I just let the hub hum for an early warning before greeting them. 

But the leaf. That wasn't pleasant, that wasn't earned. It was a freeloader on for an annoying ride and I did not much appreciate it. I was finally able to reach back (my fingers getting buzzed by the wheel a few times before successfully removing the hobo) and cleared the leaf on a fire road section.  Ahhh. Back to the quiet during efforts and the buzz while cruising. 

Here's a little random tidbit from my dream last night. 

Thom P called me. 

That caught me off gaurd because I certainly don't know him like that, but I was super honored and psyched. That was all quickly washed away as he started campaigning for some right wing religious candidate seeking money from me. Totally broke my heart. 

Thom - don't do that.  


Monday, November 18, 2013


The garmins lie. This isn't new. Mileage is always cheated when you rely on GPS data in twisting singletrack. But it sucks. 

Saturday I rode everything out at Lake Norman - which, according to the trail gnomes, should be 30 miles.  The garmins told me I rode 25.7 miles, bleh. 

I haven't been riding much as of late, so it was nice to get out and push myself. The trails were in great shape with just a little bit of rain the night before. I focused (at times) on pushing it in the corners more. Paying attention to cornering skills and looking ahead - and of course, laying off the breaks. 

Riding singlespeed out there is fun. There isn't really anything in the way of technical out there so it's rigid heaven. And the 32x18 is a pretty nice match for the climbing that is there. By the last couple miles my legs could really feel the effort they had put in throughout the ride and I was honestly just looking forward to seeing the parking lot. I'm going to have to get out there for a couple more full laps for two reasons. 1) I need to get mileage in as The Snake will be here sooner than later. 2) Direction of the trail switches at the new year and I am REALLY digging the trails in the direction. I'm pretty positive this is my favorite direction to ride the trails in - even though there is on steep pitch in this direction that I haven't been able to clean. 

Climbs never look bad in pictures, but with this one I can power up into the turn and then I stall out. Probably make it 3/4 of the way, just can't keep the cranks turning. Maybe before it becomes a downhill next year I can figure out a way to best it on the glow worm. 

On Sunday my body told me it wasn't happy with this "shock" to the system. I felt like an old man getting out of bed with aches.  I shook them off as I got up and going, but boy do I need to get back to riding regularly! 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fashion Fridays?

I myself haven't been riding much, so I feel no pressure to find an inspiring clip to urge all you out there to ride this weekend - you are already WAY ahead of me.

Instead, look what I got in the mail yesterday!

Yup, a sweet ass Southern Wheelworks t-shirt. It's casual Friday, so I'm wearing it to work today!  Honestly, I haven't put it on yet, but it feels super comfortable so I'm excited about it. 

In somewhat related news, designs on the Team Glow Worm kit are coming along nicely!  D-Wayne is killing it!  I won't share the proofs yet, but trust me - once you see the finished product you may just want to join me and sport the worm! 

How is that at all related to Southern Wheelworks?  Well, I'm putting 3 sponsors on the jersey. And by "sponsors" I mean: people I believe in. 

Dustin is not only a great wheel builder (solid wheels, easy process that he'll guide you through to make sure you get exactly what you want out of the build) but he's also just a great guy. 

D-Wayne is of course getting his company on the jersey. Another great and talented guy!  Not only is he good at what he does, but he has jumped into this project with genuine excitement (sometimes I think he's even more excited about it than I am!). 

And finally, Dild's Grill. Got to pay homage to where this thing all started. Originally I was going to do two kits, one being the Glow Worm and one was going to be a clean, classic designed Dild's Grill jersey - but I've shifted to full investment in Team Glow Worm with "sponsorship" from Dild's Grill since the other half of Dild's Grill is out of commission until his bionic hip replacement is complete. 

So yeah, go ahead and ride this weekend if you must. I hope to be out there if I can shake whatever has been keeping me ill this week. 

* I've since put on the t-shirt since I had to finish the post at work... feels great and looks even better.  I even did a little dance in it - you can ask Annie about it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Simple things

Curse the projects that sound simple. When working with an old house nothing is simple. Nothing is ever straight and true, so doing anything changes from a simple replacement to full on custom work. 

Luckily, I'm somewhat handy. The downside for me personally, I will forever be fixated on the things that aren't quite right instead of being pleased with the finished project. 

BUT, in tackling the hanging of a door (sounds simple, right) in our new bathroom I have gotten one step closer to getting the bike haven fully functional. 

So the door. Of course the dimensions of the doorway called for me to have to cut the door down a bit. But not in an even way. The width of the doorway at the top, bottom, and middle ALL differed. Perfect. I also had to chisel in new spots on the door and frame for the hinges since the precut slots on the door didn't line up with the frame - but that wasn't so bad at all. Once I had the door cut and hung it was on to the long and frustrating job of sanding and trimming the door, the frame, the door more, now the top of the frame all to get it to shut tight. 

In the end we got it hung and I installed the strike plate to catch the ball that had been preinstalled in the door. I'm guessing it is one half of a set of French doors - we got it at a little antique shop on NoDa. 

Annie did an awesome job of painting it and she picked out the hardware. It reminds me of a British phone booth. 

And it matches nicely with our washer and dryer. 

Now that the door was out of the bike room it was time for me to start organizing. Which also means our sunroom can finally be decluttered and used!  First thing was to move the red locker thing down there. It doesn't fit where I had hoped, so it will likely end up as under workbench storage. 

But that is generally where it will be. I put up my set of Pedro's Allen wrenches for easy access AND a paper towel holder!  Yeah, it's far from complete, but it's gotten slightly closer. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


So winter is here, and that makes sense. Yesterday I was home sick. Not "home sick," I was he ill. 

The change in the seasons always kicks my ass. And what a change it's been. On Sunday it was gorgeous out, felt like it was in the 70s!  This morning it was 27 degrees as I started up the pterodactyl. 

No one needs a temp swing like that!  

And with that I'm done.  I'm tired, and not 100%. Plus, don't have much bike related stuff to talk about - this weekend was home project central. Well, I'll talk about that tomorrow as it is partially bike related. 

Friday, November 8, 2013


While at lunch duty yesterday (you know, to keep a food fight from breaking out...) I saw a kid eating a plate of pizza rolls. I thought to myself: "I haven't had pizza rolls in a long time, I think I should get on that."  So that's what I did. Pizza rolls for dinner. 

As I was laying out my pizza rolls in the most organized and logical of fashions on the cookie tray I found myself a bit befuddled. Where does this one go?

I had five rows of eight, right?  Let me count again. Yeah. Each row has eight. I have five rows. Five times eight is forty, right?  But that can't be right, I still have a pizza roll in my hand...  Logic was stumping me until I came to the slow realization that I had hit the pizza roll jackpot!

Quality control had failed in my favor by giving me a bonus pizza roll!  Normally when quality control screws up someone ends up finding a severed thumb or something. Me?  I get an extra delicious pizza roll!

Of course I posted about it, so this may be old news to some of you.  I got a wide range of responses. Most people shared my excitement. Some questioned "who even counts their pizza rolls?"

I thought I'd take this to the next level and share the fact that I beat the system, with the system. I posted on Totino's Facebook page: 41 pizza rolls. Quality control fail is my win! (With the above picture)

I received a prompt, and somewhat strange response from Totino's. 

Hi Michael,

I'm sorry to hear you were unintentionally shorted on the # of pizza rolls in the Totino's Pizza Rolls package you purchased. You can be assured that our quality team will be made aware of your experience. Please help me prevent this from happening in the future by providing the following information if it's still available.

• Product UPC
• Better If Used By code date
• Was the package properly sealed?

I'd like to send you coupons so that you can enjoy a couple of packages of Totino's Pizza Rolls on us. Will you message us with your mailing address? If so, please send us all of the information requested in one private message. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you,


I do like the offer for free pizza rolls, buuuuut I wasn't shorted pizza rolls, I was psyched I got ONE extra.... unless they have 45 packs and in which case they thought I was shorted 4?  But in any case I have to ask - was my picture and SHORT statement too hard to dicypher? Is counting not the only issue at Tostino's headquarters, are there also issues with their literacy skills?

I may have uncovered a hornets nest of issues. 

Bottom line, after my confusion I was psyched to have scored A free pizza roll. Unfortunately for me, my conscious doesn't allow me to take advantage of Fred's misunderstanding of my post and scoring bags of free pizza rolls. Call me a sucker, but I don't want to live off of ill acquired pizza rolls.  Plus, the statement "You can be assured that our quality team will be made aware of your experience" sounds a bit ominous...  Don't fire anyone Fred, it'll be alright. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Got an email yesterday from the Brunswick Brawl. 

In my book, just plan kindness goes a long way, so getting an email like this locks in my return next year. It was a fun race and I was already excited about returning next year to see if I could improve my performance but I'll just say it now: I'm racing the Brunswick Brawl next year.

Now a thank you email doesn't seem earth shattering, but I would have to say that typically I don't receive an email (even if it is a mass email) after the vast majority of my races. But it is the fact that they took that extra step that counts. 

For the most part I find that mountain bikers are helpful, friendly people on the trails. I hope that this translates to our everyday lives as well. A simple "how are you?" on the trail is a sign of courtesy and commradary, no matter who the trail user is that you come across. But let's take that "how are you?" elsewhere. A simple "how are you?" or just "hi" and a smile to a stranger on the street, or in you isle at the grocery store, can honestly go a long way. 

You never know the type of day someone is having, or all the crap in their lives they are dealing with, and a simple and small gesture of kindness can go a long way to remind people that there is good in others. Think about it, most of the time (I will admit, sometimes people are creepy) when a stranger smiles you tend to instinctively react with a smile and you feel just a little stir of energy waking you up. 

As Annie would say: it's nice to be nice. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

End of Year Party: Part 2

After the riding came the fun and games.

Annie and I set up our chairs and watched as people pulled a log with their bike, tossed some Huffys, and raced around on adult tricycles.  I thought about tossing the bike for a few seconds and then figured that with my luck I'd tweak a muscle in my neck or pull my back throwing it so I decided against it.  I was about to do the log pull with the Glow Worm when I saw someone completely stall out on their singlespeed... so nope for that.  Irish Luke, however, did give the pull a shot.  

It wasn't just a straight out pull.  You had to go out and around a cone and come back.  Navigating the turn so you didn't knock the cone over was a bit tricky.

watching for clearance 

Pure determination as he gets back to the finish line.  Luke crushed it, leaving me with no desire to get up there.  

TheMutt was organizing the coed tricycle relays and was embroiled in a little family competition.  TheMutt was racing with Little Miss Sunshine as his teammate and found himself stacked up against Lunchbox.  It was a close come from behind win - but ultimately Dad knows best.

Little Miss Sunshine trying to get started again after the ditch in the course
 Lunchbox had the lead going into his leg of the race but TheMutt pedaled furiously to gain some ground.  Out of the ditch the race really heated up.

TheMutt was catching up, Lunchbox tries to put it down to stay head
 Lunchbox started weaving, in an apparent attempt to prevent TheMutt from drafting him...

TheMutt looking back to ensure his victory
see that tongue hanging, I think he almost died!
 In the end it was all smiles!

After his victory, TheMutt was looking for a couple more coed teams for the tricycle races when Annie surprised me by volunteering us.  Annie's foot wear for the event was, let's say, more "fashion" minded than riding friendly, but she jumped out there without a worry.  

Annie took the first leg of the race.  The hard part about riding the tricycle was that the cranks were directly connected to the front wheel - so if the wheel is turning, so are the cranks.  If your feet came off the pedals going down the hill into the ditch area (thanks Lunchbox for the ravine climb section!) it was hard to get them back on and keep your momentum - I found that out the hard way.

When it came to my turn I had quite the gap to make up, and I hit the course pedaling my ass off.  I lost my footing as I hit the gravity cavity section (see how the dip in the course gets bigger and bigger each time it is mentioned??) and had a hard time getting back on the pedals... basically I had to start from a complete stop which ended my chances of catching up - it looked like I might as I started off pretty fast.  But it was fun!  You couldn't take yourself too serious on that thing, and that is what it's all about - FUN!

photo credit: Danielle
Then it was time for the main event... the bike derby!

If you don't know what a bike derby is... well, it's basically a bunch of people riding around in a circle trying not to put their foot down.  The only rule - you couldn't take your hands off your handle bars (you know, to push over your competition).  - Derby photo credit: Annie

TheMutt mc'd the event, telling the crowd to step in closer as riders went down.
Dicky started sizing me up 
So I leaned into him, and he gave up, for now.
Then Irish Luke stepped up.  He started putting on the squeeze
I reminded him who had given him a beer and was able to sneak out behind him.
Just in time to avoid Tom Tom's exit from the rodeo

In the end it came down to Dicky and Irish Luke.  It was a solid battle, but ultimate Dicky took home the inaugural Derby Belt. 

After the derby we got our grub on.  The food was gooood.  Annie and I hung out for the raffle, and the woman in front of us won no less than 6 times - for real!  After that we had to take off - so we missed out on the band.  Seriously people, this is not an event to miss out on - I expect to see you there next year.