Thursday, February 28, 2013

I got

Nothing bike related.  Well, I'll probably go for a road ride today, but no one really cares about that... do you?

On Friday, before leaving for our trip to Maryland, I had a job interview.  On Tuesday, as we were getting ready to return to Charlotte, I got a call from said employer with a job offer.  On Wednesday I accepted said job.

I guess I'm back to being an adult with responsibilities and whatnot.  On the negative - no mid-week mid-day rides on empty trails.  On the positive - monies to complete the One 9 build!  Back to pouring through parts and deals to get the last couple things I need.

Fingers crossed that I'll have a sweet singlespeed up and running for my birthday.  I've got a month, so I think that should be possible.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Is it me you're looking for?

So much better than Andre the Giant 

Oh the places I've been and the things I've seen.  I must apologize for my absence.  We went on a road trip and I totally forgot to give everyone a heads up about that... my bad.

No, my trip didn't take me south to the Southeast Bike Expo.  But, luckily for you the Mutt attended and is sharing his adventures - go check them out (part 1 and 2).  I went north.  Annie and I went up to Maryland to visit her sister.  I got to see my niece since I missed her birthday party due to the Winter Short Track Series.  I'll sum up the family stuff nice and quickly for you; one year olds are funny.

Last minute I decided to bring my bike on the trip just in case there was time/opportunity.  Since it's still winter up in Maryland I figured riding on the roads would be a bit too cold, so I brought the HiFi.  I checked the weather and it looked like both Sunday and Monday would be great.  I consulted with singletracks and it looked like there were some trail options in the vicinity... but it was hard to tell which would be worth riding.  On a trip you want to get the best bang for your buck of course!

I posted up on the singletracks forum asking for any advice on which trail to ride and apparently only the crickets check that section of the forum... or maybe everyone's mouse worked allowing them to read the post but unfortunately they had just broken their collective keyboards and couldn't reply - that was probably it.  So, I did it the old fashioned way.  I stopped in a LBS and asked.

The guys over at Bike Doctor in Easton, MD were very helpful.  At first they told me about the local forest trails which held about 12 or so miles.  I thought that sounded alright, until he told me the biggest climb would be all of 12 ft.  We were on an island so I guess that shouldn't have surprised me.  I asked if there was anything else and expanded my drive time radius, as long as it was worth it.  They told me about Patapsco Valley State Park.  Sounded perfect to me.  I ended up picking up a bike pump for the trail since I had yet to replace my lost one.  Riding in an unknown state forest without a pump probably isn't the smartest thing.  As soon as I hit the trail I was very happy I had the pump with me.

Not because I flatted, because I didn't.  But because there were prickers EVERYWHERE.  I'm set up tubeless and I'd hope the sealant would take care of prickers, but you know how luck is... if I hadn't had the pump with me I would have flatted.  But man, this place was fun.  It was challenging, it was fun, it was a bit too muddy (BAD MICHAEL), and it was rocky.  Sans the slickness of parts of the trail, this trail was amazing.  I didn't get to hit everything there was out there, and that was partly due to this...

They had nice kiosks at trailheads... but no maps.  I did get to look at myself though, so that is always cool on a ride... "You are here... lost."  I never really felt lost because the trails were blazed and there was a river running through the middle of the park, so you could always figure out where you were in general terms.  Plus, now that I have a new properly functioning intelligent phone, I was able to utilize the singletracks app to the fullest.  Allowing myself to track my location against their topo map of the trails.  This did come in handy at one point on the ride and I was glad to be able to utilize the feature.  

It was real nice to be riding a rocky trail again.  Not only because I've missed it, but because it was a nice break from having to walk slick greasy uphills.  

But I'll be honest, some uphills were walked because of trail conditions, others because they were just plain brutal in good conditions!  But I loved it.  This is the type of place that will only make you stronger.  While we are being honest here, I did hit a couple rocky sections that I had to walk back and try again to be able to clean.  It was so much fun!!!  I think I rode pretty much everything I saw on the side of the river that I entered on, and then I found a map!!  I came out on a paved trail along the river and as I got down to the park entrance there was actually a map on the kiosk.  YAY!!  It was time to cross the river and hit up the Ridge trail.

Tunnel under the trail tracks to get to the river

A walker warned me to watch out for the monster as I took the picture.
You can't really see, but it looked like there were steps leading nowhere inside the alcove.

Dam/waterfall, what-have-you

I was a little confused as to how to actually get onto the Ridge trail as what I thought would be the connector was hiker only... so I hit the next trail I saw (which a rider had just come out from) and it was pure hike a bike.  
Reminded me of the northwest... not that I've been there
Rideable Ridge trail... soft
I really appreciated the trailbuilders work out there... they had armored a couple sections of the climbs that tend to be problematic.  But, as you can see, the problem is people avoiding the solution!!
I took full advantage of the rocks... why would you want to ride in mud?

Mud was unfortunately the name of the game throughout the trails.  As I mentioned earlier it led to hiking some climbs, but it also led to a slower all around ride when the mud was unavoidable.  It had me wishing I hadn't switched out my tires from my short track tires back to the Ignitors.  If you haven't already come to realize, Ignitors SUCK in the mud.   They just cake up taking away their knobbies we normally love.  Add that to the fact that my rear tire was just piling mud and crap against my frame causing a permanent mud pit my tire had to roll through... I didn't realize that until after the ride... no wonder it felt like my power was constantly getting sapped!!  

The mud zeroed out my tire clearance... fun times.

I got home before Annie and her sister did, and was locked out.  I was hungry, so I walked over to the grocery store around the corner to see what I could get.  Beer, check.  Food... I got creative.  I bought a bunch of pepperoni slices and a bag of mini biscuits... YUM.  The wait wasn't so bad after all.  

On the way back from the grocery store I heard something in the trees above.  They were completely filled with big ass turkey vultures.  I couldn't pick up the plethora of birds with the phone's camera... but you get the idea.
The trees were full of them!

Friday, February 22, 2013

late cause of upload...

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

Here's a little homemade compilation for you.  The real reason for the montage is Pedro's Green Fizz, the stuff is just amazing!  After one muddy series finale clean up couldn't have been easier.  I sprayed my bike with the hose, sprayed on the Green Fizz, and then just rinsed it off... bike was clean.  I was so stoked, I just had to share!

Of course the drivetrain got some extra attention, and tires were changed out for some more XC friendly rubber... but the washing of the entire bike could not have been easier or faster.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

My bad

I forgot to post yesterday, sorry.  All Monday evening I thought about just sitting down to write, but I didn't - figuring I would just write the next morning.  Clearly that didn't happen.  Today I will write about what I was going to write about yesterday, but with an extra bonus.  So, maybe it was worth the wait?  Probably not, but let's go with that.

SO, it's already time to get into the nitty gritty of race season.  Yeah, the Southern Classic starts in March.  Like, the very beginning of March.

March 3, 2013, Killer 3 MTB Race
Sumter, SC
March 17, 2013, San Lee Park
Sanford, NC
Storm Racing Team 910/603-0406
April 7, 2013 SERC AMBC
Tsali Knobscorcher, Bryson City, NC                           
Gone Riding, 352/873-9279
April 21, 2013, Stump Jump AMBC
Spartanburg, SC

April 28 , 2013
Harbison State Forest Mountain Bike Trail
Columbia, SC

May 19, 2013, Catawba Riverfront Classic
US Whitewater Center
Charlotte, NC
June 2, 2013
Troy , NC
Storm Racing Team 910/603-0406
June 9 , 2013, Hobby Park
Winston-Salem , NC

Paul's Cycling & Fitness
June 23, 2013, SERC AMBC
Tiger Rag 
Clemson, SC
Gone Riding, 352/873-9279 
July 7, 2013, SERC AMBC
Woolwine , VA
Gone Riding, 352/873-9279 
July 14, 2013, Battle of the Bikes at Country Park
Greensboro, NC
David Harlowe  
August 3 & 4, 2013, SERC AMBC (DH/ST/XC)       
Fontana Village
Gone Riding, 352/873-9279 
August 11, 2013, Sizzler
Greensboro, NC
Greensboro Fat Tire Society
August 25, 2013, Dark Mountain (SCS Finals)
North Wilkesboro , NC 

Jim Smalley,
Because of the fact that that is WICKED early for a race season to start for my New England bones, I'm definitely not racing in the first race.  I need some "time off" so to speak.  Annie needs some time off, you should have seen her face when I told her the series started on March 3.  She assumed the worst and imagined that meant that I would continue to race every weekend.  I assured her it was much more on pace with what she was used to, typically twice a month at max.  

I'm assuming all of you have been boning up on your Da Vinci Code and were able to decipher the clues I left you on the series calendar, notifying you of which I intend to race.  The way I choose my races was pretty damn simple.  I started with the fact that 9 races out of a possible 14 would count towards your overall points.  Thus, I needed a minimum of 9 races.  Cool.  Then I utilized good old google's maps in order to figure out how far I'd be driving to the various courses.  Gone are the days of being able to utilize my parent's house to cut down on race day travel... so all driving would be prior to the race = shortest drive times possible.  So that was easy, automatic entries included anything under 2 hours.  That left me one short of the necessary 9.  

It also left me without a race in March... which was ok considering March is an ungodly early month to start a summer series and the fact that the first race is mere weeks away.  The second race in that month being held the day after St. Patrick's Day (anyone who knows me that I am rarely in tip top shape the day after St. Patrick's Day).  What, with all the revelry with the green solo cups and tupperware (for my snacks dude) how can I be expected to make great bike race?  
*edit: OR, the day OF St. Patrick's Day.... duh

Anyway, it left me short.  I decided: it's legit, I live in NC so I have to start racing like I live here.  So pick up a race in March I did.  And from what I've heard from teammates, I picked a gnarly one.  Good, let's get on to some mountain biking with some actual technical features and not a dirt roadies wet dream of a course.  It it about a 2 hour and 20 minute drive, so it's not that bad.  

So, there you have it.  My race schedule in a loose nut shell.  

The added bonus for waiting around for my post?  I'm sorry to say it isn't so exciting.  

Yesterday while on the trainer I decided that since the season is creeping up quickly that it's time to get off the trainer schedule and get back to grabbing some real life miles out there.  Well, I decided it and google couldn't back me up or contradict me in any manner so I'm going with it.  My thinking is that I need to get the miles back into my legs since I've just finished a short track series... which didn't include a lot of miles.  My bigger thinking is that I need to initiate "winter training" earlier in the year, PRIOR to the winter short track series.  Race the series WHILE working on base miles and then be fully on for the season.  This season I'm just doing it as it comes which is totally fine cause I'm just a meager Cat 3 racer.  Maybe one day when I grow up big and strong and I am Cat 2 some solid semblance of a routine will come into effect... although, probably the routine before the cat-ing up.  

Overall I'm pretty excited about the series.  I'm happy with the schedule (1 race/month 2 races/month on and off) which should allow plenty of growth throughout the season.  And by growth I mean (fingers crossed) improvement.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

it's done

The Winter Short Track Series is over.  And what a way to finish!

Snow (real, legit, snowball making snow) hit Charlotte the evening before the race which meant the race would a cold muddy mess of a fun time!

Snowballs being caught, and sometimes eaten, by the dogs.

My brother happened to be out on the roads as the snow started coming down and he was confused as to whether other drivers were going fast because they were just going home from work or because they were freaking out from the weather?

Or maybe they needed precious supplies before they got snowed in?

Before the finale I got a little something in the mail.  On top of uploading my ride data to the garmins site, Strava, Singletracks (manually - although sometimes I get to upload gxp data to share trails and whatnot), I also upload my data to Plus3.  Garmins and Strava are my data examining sites, Singletracks was the first (when I was just using a cateye with no gps to log my rides) and I've just maintained loyalty, but Plus3 is my altruistic site.  Every activity you log (mountain biking, road riding, spinning, hitting the gym, walking the dog, hiking, canoeing, etc.) earns your charity money at a set rate per activity (could be time based or distance based).    So, I am getting paid - which is then donated - to do what I do.  It's a pretty cool deal, and pretty effortless on my part, since I'm uploading my data anyway.  Since I've joined the site I've always been linked with the IMBA charity.  So far through my efforts I have raised $175.  The site, and all it's members, has moved a total of $776,175.35 to all of it's sponsored charities.  Pretty damn sweet.  Check it out, help out some great charities, and get paid to ride like me!!

Ok, to the race!  Annie and Andrew (my brother) braved the cold temperatures to cheer me on in the final race.  Andrew got some great pictures as well!  The course was a slick muddy mess... during my pre-ride some of the berms were a chopped up mess, but by race time things had settled down and they were pretty stiff.  The real issue was the damn grass section.  Last time the weather was crappy it was a suck fest, Sunday would be no different.  As you entered the "grass" it was a mud field, at first I wondered if I had mistakenly entered a cross race.  The "line" was to the inside, straight through a number of puddles.  Once you hit the short up there was a more "established" line through some more mud... but at least the grass had been cleared away, right?  It sucked.  It sucked so bad they removed it from the course after our race, THANKS!

The field was much smaller today, just 12 riders.  Off the start I missed my pedal (numerous times) and ended up slamming my shin with it, fun.  Suffice it to say, I speed up to catch the back of the pack going into the woods.  Of course I would have liked to be up a few spots going in... but what can you do.  Before the start finish I had regained 3 spots.

Look how clean I was on lap 2

I had moved my way up to 8th
Finishing strong, and dirty

a mess
who wants to ride?

Mud was everywhere.  I ate mud on every lap.  I had mud all over my face.  It was fun, but it was slower out there due to the field.  I broke the top 10 (which had been my goal after last week's performance) with a 9th place finish, so I guess that's good.

Now it's on to the Southern Classic Series which kicks off March 3rd!!!  No rest for the racers.  I'll explore my schedule with you tomorrow.  But before that, I still have to clean my bike!

Friday, February 15, 2013

super shredfest

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

This gentleman shreds like a maniac.  Doesn't it make you want to get out on your local, or maybe not so local, trails and absolutely fly??  

Do it!!

(I don't know what happened to the video yesterday, but it's been fixed... so if you missed it, it might be worth your time to check that out as well)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Not in my house!

If you've seen this before, count yourself one of the lucky ones.  I JUST saw this ad for the first time yesterday and I absolutely LOVE IT!!

I do have to wonder how many people watching this commercial have no clue who Dikembe Mutombo is.

Ok, so random awesomeness aside, here is some "race" randomness.

For the Winter Series I had been growing a fu manchu because, why the hell not?  Annie loved it... at first.  Then she really wanted me to get rid of it.  Over the off week it wasn't bad as everything else filled in enough that it kinda just looked like a goatee (lucky timing on the license picture with that!).  Sadly, I was forced to remove the stache just as it was only getting awesomer.  Just short of the last race, which is Sunday.  It was a good run, and I do have to thank Annie for putting up with my nonsense.

For those who haven't seen me lately, I present to you the final seconds of the fu manchu - probably the only one I will have... ever.

I'm anxious to have my beard back as I feel like a college kid with less than full facial hair.  I am by no means clean shaven, as that would take me back to being a high school kid, but let's hope it's worth it.  And no, the removal didn't happen because of Valentine's Day - I have an interview today.  It's for a part time position at a gym - it's about time to get some money flowing back our way.  Hopefully I'll hear very soon from UNCC as to whether or not I've made it to the interview round for the PhD program.

Ok, quit looking at my stache and watch Dikembe again!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


It's official, as "they" say.  Who are "they," I dunno... Probably just me.

All that aside, I've made it through the red tape and visited various locations all in the name of getting my license, title, and plates switched over to the North Carolina variety.

First stop was to get my license.  Well, actually the very first stop was getting insurance.  But that wasn't so exciting, so I'll skip it.  Trust me, I got insurance.

So, my license.  Down here you have to take the written test no matter what.  It was rather easy, but still made me just nervous enough that I skimmed through the handbook the DMV puts out.  I learned one thing, NC has about a million ways to take your license away.  I had to run home and get my passport because they couldn't accept my Massachusetts license as ID because it didn't have my full middle name, just my middle initial.  Luckily the DMV wasn't far so I was able to run back and get it and sit for my wonderful license picture.

Next step was to go get my license plate.  Oh, but wait.  You can't go until your official license arrives in the mail 8-10 days later.  Ok.  Get my license and drag my ass over to the separate plate place and see an out of control line... yeah, I'll come back.  I made the mistake of heading over there around lunchtime, so my fault.  I returned a couple hours later and the line wasn't so bad.  Gave my loan info and paid the fees and got my plate and registration.

I'm all NC on paper now.

Goodbye MA (I'll leave the Southie parking
stickers in the window to represent)

Having only one plate now left the front looking very naked... that had to be remedied.  I pulled out my old Georgia Bulldogs vanity plate from my days down at UGA, which solved that problem.  But, I can't just represent UGA, I then had to throw my UCONN plate holder thingy on the back.

Now, I know all won't agree with this, but I have to say - my experience with the DMVs down here have been the most pleasant in my history of DMV experiences (which include CT, MA, and GA).  Lines moved at a decent pace, which is probably the most important thing to anyone in a DMV.  But on top of that, all the employees I dealt with were pleasant, one might even say nice!  Seriously.  It wasn't the normal grumble greeting you'd get at the Chinatown RMV in Boston.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Race your own race

Sunday my plan was to NOT go hard off the front.  That clearly hadn't been working for me as I haven't been able to hold out that pace for the entire race.  Not only couldn't I hold out the pace, my performance would inevitably deteriorate and I would just end up giving up spots.  So new game plan, go mid-pack off the start and let other riders guide me.

What I mean by that is allow for there to be racers in front of me.  What I mean by that in plain English: don't feel the need to blow by everyone as soon as you see them!!  With that sort of mindset I never allowed myself to recover... hence the blowing up and performance suck.

At the start the rider in front of me (with toe clips) couldn't get onto his pedal and completely stalled.  The problem being: we were packed in there at the start and I was right on his wheel... so it felt like right off the start I was stuck in a track stand.  Got around him and put it down but ended up towards the end as we entered the singletrack.  Remember yesterday when I talked about the 10%?  As the pack slowed for the funnel to the singletrack one racer behind me decided he didn't have to wait.  I saw him out of my peripherals making a late move as everyone else was slowing and thought "dick."  I didn't like it, but I was going to have to allow him in front of me as we were weaving through the parking barriers and into the singletrack.  I guess that spot wasn't good enough for him and he went into the track beside another rider.  Which startled the other rider (because who the hell makes a move like that, off the start, off the back of the pack??) and he verbalized some sort of question... like... "what the fuck?"  The "fast" rider said nothing and kept pushing - almost sending the rider in front of me into a tree.  Mind you we were RIGHT behind him through the singletrack so nothing was accomplished with the move... (Sub-goal of the race - beat that douche)*

Following the pack through the singletrack was slow.... now I remember what I liked going off the front.  But as soon as we hit the gravel I was ready to go - BUT I had to contain myself.  I allowed myself a quick pass of 2-3 riders but held back and settled in behind the next group as we went through the grass section.  Typically I would have just put it down and worked by everyone in that group... but that would have left me sucking wind going through the parking lot and just losing spots back.  As we got through the start/finish I had passed two of the riders and was on the wheel of another.  This was my race.  Catching up to riders in the singletrack, following them through the grass, and passing up the gravel road/parking lot before entering the singletrack again.

On my last lap I passed what I thought would be my final rider in the grass.  I made a clear call and as I passed him I told him to not give up, keep on me.  I turned onto the gravel road for the last push and heard someone coming up fast - had he really regained that much energy (felt like I had dropped him instantly in the grass)?  It was the third place rider in the class below me - side story.  On the second to last lap I knew the lead rider would be coming... I was behind a group of three in the singletrack and as we were working the small up to the boulder (right before you kick onto the gravel road might I add) the lead came up behind yelling he was the leader and for me to let him pass.  Fair enough, but where would he like to pass??  There was no place for me to pull over and continue riding, so I yelled to him that the gravel road was just ahead (if I was alone maybe I would have paused for him, but being I was in a battle with the riders in front of me, I wasn't going to stop my race for him).  As we cleared the boulder and were getting the road the riders in front yelled back asking him which side he wanted and we shifted for him and he passed.  The rider in second came up a few seconds later calling his pass clearly and executing cleanly.**

Ok, back to it... so third place had just passed me moving!!  I tried to jump on his wheel but couldn't grab - but I kept my pace up because I saw that there was another rider ahead who looked like he was struggling.  I couldn't tell if he was in my class or not but I was gaining on him.  Problem being is that the third place racer reached him first, spooked him, and he took off before I could get close enough to challenge him.  He was in my class... ah well.

Although my finish wasn't spectacular, or even out of the range of where I have been finishing (15th out of 25) my lap times were MUCH better.  Destroyed my times from last race - but I was ill so that isn't hard...  I probably felt strongest in the first race of the series, and comparing those times I was still faster per lap in Sunday's race.

Race #4

Race #1

Clearly I had a faster first lap going off the front - but I fell way off on each lap thereafter.  If I can get a better pack start, keep my lap times around/under 4:50 then hopefully I can be looking at breaking into the top 10.  Either way, I was happy with my performance Sunday.  One thing to remember, race your own race.  I can't recover from an off the front start - so I need to battle through the field.  Which I like, gives me a goal through each lap - someone to reel in.  So much easier than racing with no one in front of you.

* After the race I was talking with the racer who got cut off.  He said he approached our super fast friend (who we both placed higher than) asking why he felt the need for such a move.  His first response was to ask if he wanted to throw down... WOW.  Then he offered an explanation, "that's why we have insurance!"  Sure, so we can make jackass moves without a second thought.  It's cool if someone breaks a collar bone or leg - we have insurance!!  The racers only "real" reason for making his move was to "be where he was supposed to be" in the race... sure.  Well, looks like the back is where he was supposed to be...

** I was talking with another racer after the race and I mentioned the leader coming through on our second to last lap.  He mentioned how the leader had reached him before he came to me at the boulder, yelling for a pass.  They reached a spot in the singletrack where there was just enough room for the leader to try to make a move - which he did.  But his pass wasn't clean and he hit the racer's front wheel with his rear, almost sending him off the trail.  I get it, you want to be able to lap racers, and pass slower guys (hey, I get to pass people too!!) but you've got to make smart moves.  Yeah it can suck to be stuck behind someone on a section you know you can clear faster... but that is racing.  If you want unobstructed hot laps, ride while everyone else is at work.

Monday, February 11, 2013

It's in the name

Yesterday's race was probably my "best" of the series.  But, I'll get into that tomorrow.

Today I want to talk about the acquisition of another piece of the One9 build.  At the race, Good Guy Greg (of the B-43 cast of characters) proved just how true the monicker is.  Riding a rigid Niner singlespeed (of the Air9 variety) I've chatted with Greg about my own build.  Along the way to setting up his rig Greg happened upon two sets of spacers through an order debacle.  At yesterdays race Greg handed me a set of spacers.

Let me back up a second there, he didn't just hand me a set of spacers, he handed me an Endless Bike Fibonacci Spacer Kit.  The very kind that has been approved* by Dicky.  What is a spacer kit?  Well, it fills the space (YES!!  super definition!) left with the use of only one cog instead of the 8-10/11 that you may find on a mountain bike.  Of course, when building a ss specific wheel that space will be even smaller... but there will still be space needing to be filled.  In my brief foray into looking at which kit to get (before dropping the idea until I get wheels) I surmised that this very kit seemed to be the badassest of them all.  So many sizes of rings to help produce the most important function of a spacer kit, yes, even more important than filling space...  providing for a straight chain line from the front chainring to your lone cog in the rear.

So, I got this from Good Guy Greg, all from the goodness of his heart.  Heck, he didn't even know I needed one.  He just brought it to the race and offered it up if I hadn't already gotten one!!  That's mountain bikers for you - generally* good people.  

Big THANKS to Good Guy Greg - I owe you one... or 6/12 really good cold ones.

*Dicky doesn't whole heartedly "approve" things... and didn't give this product any sort of seal to that effect (that I am aware of).

*Generally, somewhere in the realm of 90/10 good/dick ratio.  But I'll have an example of the 10 in my race recap tomorrow (if I remember to include it).

Friday, February 8, 2013

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

With Nemo on the way, the Northeast better hold on tight. 

I've got a race this weekend, and it should be in the high 50s.  Have I mentioned that I love winters down here??

Stay safe all my New Englanders!!  I would say that I miss riding in the snow... but I'll just enjoy the videos instead.  (It does look like they are having a ton of fun)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Riding Nowhere

Ok, the house has seemed to settle from the weekend illness, and I myself seem to be back on track as well.  Unfortunately, I missed the Tuesday night ride - figuring a little more rest was probably the smarter option and all...  I guess it paid off.

Yesterday it was time to hop on the trainer.  Not really something to look forward to.  As I was getting set up and whatnot I could tell my legs weren't going to be happy with me.  Seems that the lack of activity over the past couple days had some negative effect - mainly my legs felt heavy, dead, and I guess tight.

Climbed aboard the trainer I did and I jammed out the workout.  Definitely felt it in my legs.  Felt the burn.  Pushed the burn.  Felt like dying.  Spit and snotted all over the place, but rode the hell (or as much of hell I could manage) out of the workout.

Question - am I seeing any benefits?  Well, it's only been a month of the regiment.  So I'm not sure if it's fair to really start looking for big results.  But, as I mentioned last week - I beat a PR on a local trail when I was just out riding... so for not pushing myself to beat my time (and stopping to move a downed tree) I was quicker.  Is that due to fitness, smarter riding, the moons aligning just right??  Who knows.

I do know that when I was in Boston and rode my trainer per schedule utilizing training videos (which had a similar effort schedule) I felt a lot faster and stronger on the bike once the trails were free from snow, the sun stuck around for a reasonable amount of time, and the temperatures weren't killer.  So, is the trainer helping the winter series, probably not.  But pair the trainer and the winter series and you've got some good work going into my legs and lungs.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Hold on for a wild ride

The weekend ended with a house full of sickies... Annie was the first, so she gets the blame for the downfall of the house.  Translation - I didn't get to go visit, and work on, the super secret trail.

But, I DID get to ride out at Uwharrie with a bunch of the B-43 characters on Saturday.  It was a bit chilly to start (low/mid 30s) but the riding ahead would keep us warm.  The trail was in pretty good shape, a little snotty in some places where the trail was thawing.  And the route was perfect.

My last ride out there I hit Keyauwee counterclockwise and I can now say, don't do that!!  Keyauwee is so much better clockwise.  Either way you ride it there is plenty of climbing involved, but the downhill is so much better clockwise - you get more exciting singletrack and a tabletop filled line when you hit it clockwise.  As I had mentioned last time, Supertree was a little less then super.  This time we hit Whitetail (which bisects the Supertree loop) and it was a much better ride - save the downed tree in a downhill section.

Ok, this is where things are going to get unhinged... so hold on.

After the ride we were talking about beer (shocker right, mountain bikers talking about beer) and we stumbled upon a translation issue.

Apparently in Ireland "growler" is a slang term for...  well, lady bits.
So, of course we had some laughs about that.

At one point I proposed the creation of a new racing team in honor of our verbal discovery, being the mature individual I am.  To further commemorate the creation I am thinking that Bigfoot should get a nod in this endeavor.

Bigfoot?  Well, apparently Uwharrie is a haven for the Sasquatch.

The only Bigfoot I know is named Harry.  But he's a big movie star.

Speaking of movies... there is a movie out there about the Uwharrie Bigfoot, you can see it in full (for free) over at Vimeo.

So, what do we know about Bigfoot?

You shouldn't mess with him, or his beef jerky.

He likes riding bikes.

But doesn't like to share the trail.

He likes to race.  (And is a bit of a cheater, looks like a pretty big head start there)

He isn't so strong on the climbs.

From what I can gather from this police artist's rendering, looks like Bigfoot isn't a stranger to bike theft... which makes sense, as Bigfoot isn't typically known to hold down a great paying job.

presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law
And the most controversial piece of evidence yet... Bigfoot or a homeless guy - you decide.

Whatcha got in the bag "Bigfoot"?

Ok, so let's try to get things back on track here.  We have: bike riding, beer, growlers (reader discretion as to the definition), Bigfoot, and a "racing team".  But, before I wrap things up, here is one more detour.  Growlers (the American kind) and bicycles brings us this interestingly sexy beast.

 It's the Growler City Bike from J.Ruiter.

This “Growler” concept concept city commuter is a working sketch prototype in a series of thoughts on what we carry around with us and the importance of those items."

A bike built around beer - perfect!

Ok, so to sum up this rambling post.  Uwharrie was a fun time.  Illness all around the house.  Bigfoot likes bikes.  Growlers are good all around - beer and otherwise.  A mock race team loosely named Growler Racing, Team Sasquatch Growler, Bigfoot Growler Racing, etc. (name finalization and kit design in development).  And J.Ruiter is putting together some sexy beer inspired rides.

I'll be better soon, and thoughts will be more coherent (maybe).