Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I check into the race... and SWAG

Messenger bag made from reusable grocery bag material

Filled with goodies
 And, for all my hard efforts and a 5th place finish I got more swag!!!  They went 5 deep on the podium,  if I had known I would have thrown the dirty wet jersey back on (sorry Keith!).  I didn't get a medal, but I got me some nutritional stuffs!!

The weather is crap today - so likely no group ride.  The HiFi is still dirty as all hell, and my jersey, bibs, and socks are still in a heap in the carport...

Now, it's off to inspect the house!

Oh, just found these...  courtesy of Long Shots.  That was toward the very end of the race.

Monday, April 29, 2013

only rain?

I raced on Sunday.

Saturday called for rain in the good old city of Charlotte... well, so does the rest of the damn week...  but what would that mean for Columbia SC, the site of my race on Sunday?  Utilizing the technologies I had at hand, or IN my hand, I surmised that rain would start a bit later there - starting in the overnight and pretty much raining throughout the race.  I've pre-registered, so I'm in.

Somehow I turned off my alarm Sunday morning, randomly I woke up and thought to myself "it's a bit too light out to be too far before my alarm."  So I check my alarm/phone and I have about 10 minutes to spare before my planned departure.  10 minutes won't do, so I end up leaving about 15- 20 minutes late.  That ended up ok as I got into Harbison State Forest at around 9 (with a 10 am start).  Prior to departure I checked the local weather for Columbia... chance of thunderstorms at start time and throughout the race... so.... how will I find out if they cancel??  I pull up a few pages on the intelligent phone so that I can periodically check as I get closer to the race - it's decided, I'm going anyway.

When I arrive it's steady raining, but not super hard... I have a water proof jacket I could wear, but I know that I will overheat with it on... do I warm up with it on to stay warm before the start??  Nope, time was short as it was, so I finally get everything in order and get out on the bike in a short sleeve jersey and bibs.  Once I'm in the woods the falling rain isn't an issue... it's the trails.  Standing water down the middle of some parts, and it's just a sandy/muddy mess that is constantly thrown up by my front tire - not to mention the rear tire of anyone you are following.

Vision will be an issue, but I'm not about to battle the flying water/mud with just my eyes.

Finishing visibility
For probably the last 2-3 miles vision was pretty much shot.  There was no more picking lines, I was just riding and keeping my front wheel as light as possible.  On forest road climbs I pulled my glasses down to prevent fogging, and of course, to get a better view of what was going on.  By this point I was in no man's land anyway.  

Our group was a bit smaller than I anticipated, we had 9 at the start.  We got warnings about wet bridges, and to ride careful and slow (in a race) and then we were sent off.  Off the start is a gravel road climb, and we all stuck together so I didn't have to push too hard.  I was 4th going into the woods and I was right on the wheel of the rider in front of me when he missed a sharp left.  He went straight around a tree to renter the trail and I followed.  A branch popped up as he went over it and as it landed back down my front wheel caught it at a funny angle and I went down.  HARD.  It was in this instance that I was thankful that the ground was saturated as my left shoulder was driven into the ground.  The pine needles and softened earth provided for a nice crashing experience.  My bike, on the other hand, did not come out so coddled.

 My handlebars were spun backwards as I regained my feet.  I had to physically force them back straight as my shifter/brake gouged my frame.  I lost 2 or 3 spots - apparently the front had put in some space on the rear of the group.  I hopped back on and everything seemed to be fine so I took off and quickly re-passed one rider and followed another for a bit until I could pass him on a climb.  He stuck with my for a little bit but I was able to put some distance on him when another rider came up behind looking to get by.  We yo-yoed a bit before he left me as we came out of a grinding climb and I couldn't grab his wheel.

Luckily for me, a fast rider from the 40+ group came by a few seconds later and I was able to grab onto his wheel to get me back up into the singletrack.  He started pulling away and I was alone.  I kept looking ahead for riders, and looking back for challengers... but there was nothing.  I could feel my pace slowing as I no longer felt the urgency of the race.  I tried to focus on my tempo to keep my cadence up to push the speed and get myself back up into a respectable gear.

Then I saw it.  A jersey through the trees as the trail started into a quick switchback section up a short hill.  Instantly the energy returned to my legs.  From the color of his jersey I didn't suspect he was in my age group, but it didn't matter - it was someone to catch.  I lost sight of him and wondered if there had been a rider in front of me.  I exited the singletrack onto another forest road climb and I saw him again at the top of the climb.  I push it up the climb but have a feeling we are toward the end.  I keep looking back as I reach the top of the climb to make sure no one is trying to put a late push on me.  I'm in the clear.  The trail is now speckled with spectators, I MUST be near the end.  I push it hard where I can, but this section is tight and rooty.

Soon the trail open into the grass finish and I cross.  I got 5th.  Did the crash hurt my chances??  Probably not.

I was 2 minutes off 4th... so ultimately I probably would have finished closer to him, but I don't know if I would have had it to finish ahead of him as I know he is a strong rider.  So I'm pretty happy with the race - minus the crash.  I still need to work on the mental game of not losing it in no man's land, but overall I'm pretty pleased with where I am at this point in the season.  Do I need to continue working harder, sure!  But I'm getting there!!

I was one dirty MFer at the end of the race.

I found a nice scrape on my leg to match the gouge on my
frame when I rinsed off the grime.

I think that about sums up the grime I was facing all race.
Oh, you think that is the end?  I've got more to come tomorrow.

Friday, April 26, 2013


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

Last week I lamented the loss of my bottle.  This week I found it!! 

I was bombing down the Goat Hill descent and as I hit the bottom section full of root drops I realized how jarring that section was... 

*blurry pictures don't do trails justice...
and how impossible it would be to see an errant bottle while riding that section.  
So, I walked back up and look what I found! 

just laying beside the trail tucked up under some green foliage
That brought some joy to my day and energy to my ride.  That is, until the finish.  And I started swiping worms off me.  I used the rear window of the pterodactyl to see my back and I just about freaked out - they were F'n EVERYWHERE.  Suddenly I was filled with a rage and hatred I have not known before.  (If you haven't surmised this yet, I am NOT a bug person)

I haven't done much internet recon on my race this Sunday, but word from TheMutt is that it is a fast one.  I did see some strava data from the area (wasn't the race) and it looks like a lot of up and down all over the course.  It'll be a new course (to me) so I'll go out and see what I can do.  I think I read somewhere that it is a "more open" course so passing shouldn't be an issue this time - I hope.

Not much of a Media Friday, I know.  But I've got some lame  exciting training early this morning at work so I'm out the door!!

Get out and ride!

Oh, and not to jinx ourselves, but we may have just become a more permanent fixture in the Charlotte community - just went under contract on a house... that was fast!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Decree from the top

Two Words.

One of them is worm.

The other is glow.

It's green.  The One9 is a glorious green.

It's a worm.  Worm was a front runner in the naming contest anyway.

It's a toy.  Although not a "toy," bikes are fun as hell.

I had one as a kid.  And I'm not ashamed.  Something about singlespeed brings me back to being a kid on a bike.  pedal pedal pedal pedal.

It's a weapon.  The One9 can, and will, do some damage out there on the trail. 

Yes, yes it is.  If you had one you know what I'm talking about.  The head of that thing is HARD plastic.  Although the body looks cuddly, the core of that thing is a stack of D batteries.  And that "night cap" acts as a perfect handle, effectively turning this thing into a flail!  

It glows.  Rumor has it (from an "insider") that the scandium in these frames cause them to glow.  (at least the atomic blue and the raw - I have yet to test this theory with my green)

That would make for a pretty sweet head badge!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

bottles and cogs

Last Thursday I had a plan.

That plan included boogying out of work on the early side and hitting up everything USNWC had to offer.  To brighten up my day, I threw in a lunch stop at my new favorite place, The String Bean.  My day was looking pretty awesome.  The trails were great, I was flying around and feeling strong.  The worms weren't horrible - except on waystation... That, my friends, is their breeding grounds apparently.  The army of worms attacked mercilessly on BOTH laps.

Michael, why would you terrorize yourself by riding through curtains of worms twice?

They were F'n everywhere.  This guy held on after a thorough swiping of my entire body.
Very valid question, reputable internet reader.  Let me try to answer that for you with this:

Ok, that didn't work - you can't see the full name of my ride.  So, I named my ride "Courtesy flush, 2-ply, and STILL a floater."  Funny right?  No, it's not.  Let me break it down for you.

I lost a bottle.  A worn out, grimy looking bottle.  But it was my bottle.  And I'm cheap, and oddly sentimental (it was the bottle I got when I got the HiFi).  I noticed it was missing halfway through the toilet bowl when I stopped to take a beautiful picture.

It was like riding through a fairy tale
 Ok, so I threw on my Sherlock Holmes hat and went to de-deucing where my bottle could have jumped - see what I did there??  I was on the toilet bowl trail and I switched the correct deducing for de-deucing... like dropping a deuce... oh potty humor.  I figured it may have left me earlier on toilet bowl when things get rough and steep.  So back around I re-rode toilet bowl looking for my bottle: hence, Courtesy flush.

I didn't find it.  I thought I had seen it at some point in my ride... so let's backtrack a little.  Way station was a bit of a shit show, what with the worms attacking, so maybe in my haste I was picking dirty lines and with the extra bumps maybe it got waylaid there??  So, there is your answer as to why I would subject myself to those rotten little bastards twice.  Unfortunately that didn't pay off either.  

I headed back to the lot to get water - since I had none left in my jersey bottle and we all know what happened to my other bottle...  In the lot I saw Tom Tom who was headed out for a ride and promised to keep his eyes peeled for my crusty old bottle.  After rehydrating and replacing bottles I decided to continue my recon for my fallen soldier... and re-rode EVERYTHING I rode.  At first I was just heading back to goat hill to check the descents, but with nothing going there I decided to just ride everything over again.  Now you are catching on... that's where the 2-ply comes in!!

So, what about the floater??  Yes?  You in the back with your hand raised nicely... Correct, the "floater" represents my still missing bottle.  Excellent.  I'm glad you were all able to follow along.

So, if you read this and happen to ride USNWC and you see a shitty looking clear bottle with it's blue/black graphics smeared all to hell with a black top - that's MINE!!  GIVE IT HERE!!

Ok, the bell is about to ring, but I want to end class with this note.  I rode the One9 yesterday for the social (if by social you mean a quick pace with a select few stops) ride over at North Meck and I love love love love love it!!  The 20 on the back had me spinning around a lot, but I felt fantastic over roots and when the trail went in the upward trajectory.  I'm already itching to get an 18 on there, but I will hold off and explore other local trails first before I make any hasty changes.  After the first lap we chatted and then broke off into a "fast" group and a REAL "social" paced group.  

I decided to see what I could do and took off in the fast group.  With the spinniness I couldn't hold on, so I was stuck alone in the middle just enjoy the heck out of my ride.  When we finished I mentioned to Good Guy Greg that I was excited to check out my data as I had a feeling I would earn a PR just by riding SS out there.  

I did.

Ok, I've held you long enough.  I think I have a name for the One9... but I'm just about out of time for today.  I thank you for your patience, but we'll have to get into the naming of the bike tomorrow.  Have a great day and get out on the trails!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I DID race

Before I get on with the show you MUST go check out TheMutts page today.  I died laughing when I saw his "action" shot of me!!

I don't always build a bike, but when I do, I do the Harlem Shake.

TheMutt was kind enough to send over some evidence to prove I did some work during the build.  Like when I was spinning the cranks...

Or that time I was tying down the brake line and working on a sunburn

And of course, when I was riding around the yard

So, it is pretty much official.  After 6 long miles, 3 of which were on pavement I'm loving the singlespeed lifestyle.  

Since yesterday I've added another possible name into the mix - Simple Green.  Yeah it's a cleaning solution, but my bike is green, and with one gear - pretty damn simple.  I'm gonna give it a few more days, accumulate some more names and figure out how to do a survey all official like.  Or I'll just pick one and tell you all about that.  We shall see.

Ok, I've got to stop talking about the One9 today, because I'll likely be talking about it again tomorrow after tonight's group ride.  

So, let's get into the race on Sunday.  I mean, I've got another one this weekend so I've got to wrap this recap up!!  I got up early to head for Croft State Park in Spartanburg SC for the Stump Jump.  I hit 85 south and passed some landmarks that reminded me of the long drive from CT to UGA.

It always confused me why the giant peach was in SC and not GA...

I was tired for the entire 1:30 drive it took to get to the course.  My stomach wasn't too happy for some reason, so after checking in I visited the facilities.  As I got ready I scarfed down a clif bar and hydrated.  I headed out on the course for a warm up.  The course started in the grass and onto a short gravel grind, crossed a road to some "fun" grass, then up a short dirt climb to a big dirt decent banging a hard right into the singletrack.  

The singletrack here was fun and fast.  Beautiful even.  I wanted to stop to take a picture but I had left my phone in the pterodactyl, cause I don't need a phone to race.  I rode for a bit and then turned around - scientific.  I was watching the time, and knew I wanted to get back before 9:30.  But, for some reason it didn't click that my start time was 9:30 - until I showed up at the staging area and the Cat3 19-29 guys were going off and we were lining up.  THAT was close!!

The start sucked.  I was towards the back when we hit the gravel and I decided to just hang.  I figured I'd start really working the group once we hit the singletrack.  Once in I was stuck behind two riders.  The leader was doing ok, but just a tad slower than where I wanted to be and the guy in the middle just wouldn't pass!!  With the tight track and the constant twists there wasn't an opportunity to jump two at once.  

Luckily from my preride I had come upon a section that had a log crossing option or an end-around and I hoped that the two in front would go around so I could clear the logs and cut them off.  As I hoped, they both opted to go around so I went straight over the logs and got in front.  Unfortunately my move was short lived as we came upon a short steep climb that had riders ahead of us fumbling.  I came up fast and the rider stuck on the climb couldn't get out of my way fast enough forcing me to dismount - allowing the rider behind me to climb past me.  I jumped back on his wheel and followed him for a bit and was able to pass not too long after.  

At this point the field was spread and I worried that my time stuck in the beginning had given the leaders too large of a gap.  For the rest of the race I worked to gain ground on those ahead, and put in time on those behind.  

On the first lap I had a carrot to follow on the long, washed out service road climb.  By the top I was on him and soon after we got back into the singletrack he pulled to the right to let me go by.

Coming back through the start/finish the grass slowed me - I HATE riding in grass.  Hit the gravel and knew I had a rider on me so I just climbed without pushing.  I wanted to see who he was and let him push the pace if he wanted.  He passed me at the top but it was a rider from the 40-49 field so I let him go and worked my way back to the downhill and into the singletrack.  In the singletrack I was able to stay motivated initially because I did have a rider behind, so I pushed the pace and caught another rider, passing him and putting in a gap on the two behind.  I hit the short steep up fast and cleared it solidifying the gap I had on my two followers.

Now I was in no man's land.  Luckily the water crossing was coming, meaning the course doubles back a bit - so I looked through the trees and could see riders coming back from the water.  The chase was back on.  I was hoping I'd again catch riders on the service road climb, but I wasn't so lucky.  This time I was the carrot.  I was climbing ok, but couldn't find it in me to get up and push the climb.  Halfway up a rider passed and I couldn't tell if he was in my class or not, but I couldn't grab his wheel.  Now, it was the home stretch.  On the side of the trail was a fast rider from my class with a flat... maybe the lead isn't too far off??  I pushed the pace where I could and then it happened.

I wasn't hurt, just happened to park next to the ambulance
I clipped a tree.  I couldn't hold on and was headed straight for another so I had to bail.  This gave another rider just enough time to get past me.  I hustled back up and the chase was on.  Right before the last short steep climb I clipped a pedal, popping me out - so I ran the climb and the racer who flatted passed me with another teammate (who I was hoping was from the 40-49 field).  Again I got to chasing.

I knew the end was near and all of a sudden I could see the flatted racer struggling ahead.  He had lost his teammate and he seemed to be slowing.  I got to his wheel before we popped out of the singletrack and it was on!  We hit the pavement, gears popping as we both stomped.  He had the lead going into the gravel decent back to the finish line.  I hit the big ring and stomped, passing him in the gravel.  I held the lead into the grass and cleared the line.

After the finish I found the rider who had passed me while I was down from my crash, thankfully he was from the 40-49 field.  I had no idea where I was in the standings, but my gut was telling me it was a mid pack finish.  The start was just too slow to have been able to gain ground over the two laps.

Looking at my data you wouldn't really know that it was a race.  It did, after all, just look like a fast group ride.  And that is a really great description.  When I was behind another rider looking for a time/place to pass it felt like I was just on a fast group ride.  Sure we were moving quick, but I didn't really feel the push of a race.

But I can say this, those trails were FUN!!  TheMutt is talking about a trip down there for a group ride and I am 100% on board with that!!

I ended up finishing 8th out of 15.  After racing 2 races in the first 4 of the series I'm in 7th overall for the series.  I've got to start pushing harder on "training rides" if I'm gonna get back towards the top.  And I have to, cause I'm not staying in Cat3 next year.

Monday, April 22, 2013


It's Monday and I already have so much to catch up on...

a fruitless quest to find a missing bottle.

a fun race that felt more like a fast group ride.

the start of something new.

I guess I'll have to start with the story that has already leaked by the wonders of social media through no one's fault but my own.  Who can blame me, it's hard to contain a beauty like this.

As you can see from the picture above, it's complete!!  What started way back in October with the acquisition of a One9 frame has FINALLY ended in a complete, and working, bike!!  Yeah yeah, I know.  Having the frame sit for about 5 1/2 months sounds like a sin, but I had to jump on the deal to get the frame and then wait to start spending the monies to acquire all the other beautiful parts.

The biggest purchase (other than the frame itself) was, of course, the wheels.  The wheels in of themselves were a bit of a hard decision - do I go with some stock Stan's wheels and upgrade later - or go for broke from the start?  When I decided to go for the gold I immediately knew who would build them for me - Dustin at Southern Wheelworks.

Crest rims with Hope hubs
I've long been a member of singletracks, a great resource for trail info, gear reviews, and all things mountain biking.  Dustin is a contributing writer there, but I think I even recognized him from around the forums before he got the sweet gig writing.  When I saw that he had started building up wheels I knew I'd go to him if I indeed went the custom wheel route.  Other than being a mountain biker through and through, he's a mechanical engineer - so there is a little extra cred as to why you might feel comfortable letting him set you up.

What can I say about my experience working
with Dustin?  It was phenomenally easy.  The process all starts out with a survey that Dustin asks everyone to fill out to give him a better sense of what you are looking for in your wheels.  If you know the exact specs you are looking for you can add that right into the survey and send them on over.  Dustin got back to me quickly with a few more questions to help him provide me with all my options.  My initial intention was to go the I9 route, but with it being bike building season and a new hub coming from I9 it was like looking for a bison burger at McDonald's.  Dustin provided me with detailed specs on performance, weight, and cost on many of the big name hubs to help me decided if I wanted to wait for the illusive I9s to become available or go with someone else.  He presents your options in a open and honest manner that allows you, the customer, to decide what you want to go with.  At no point did I feel undo pressure to go with any of his suggestions over my own desires.  My final decision was to go with the Hopes, and I couldn't be happier.

The kicker to the whole deal - Dustin doesn't charge a build fee - just what it costs to get your parts together to build.  Once Dustin got my hubs in, the turn around was super quick.  I think he got the hubs in on Tuesday and I got my wheels on Friday - and even that was held up due to a decal issue.  You can't beat that!!  Dustin can also provide you with everything you need to get your wheels up and ready to roll (sealant, tape, stems, and tires).

Maxxis Ardent up front, Maxxis Ignitor in the rear
If you are in the market for a custom set of wheels, road or mountain, I'd strongly suggest you talk to Dustin over at Southern Wheelworks - he's good people.

Ok, to the build itself.  Saturday I headed over to Good Guy Greg's bright and early to get the build on.  Good Guy Greg has all the tools one could want or need when it comes to bike building, plus he's just a good guy and likes to help out.  TheMutt showed up for "advising" purposes.

Bike Buffet
 Although it was on the table to start, no beer was consumed during the build.  I know, sacrilege!  But we started early and time flew by so fast it never felt that we were working that long or that it got "late enough" to start drinking.  I did, however, come away with some nice sunburn on my head, back of my neck, hands, and arms.

think we might have to trim the brake line?
Yup!!  Oh, and check out those sweet zip ties I had to use because I forgot the real clips somewhere (got them on the fork though!)
Good Guy Greg bleeding the brakes until they were perfect.  TheMutt... petting a cat.
 Overall it was a team effort, although a BIG THANKS goes out to Good Guy Greg for letting us invade his space, use his tools, and watch him do the hard stuff.  TheMutt showed me the ins and outs of the EBB and chain tension and showed me how to get a straight chain-line.

All finished and begging to be riddin
The saddle will be switched for something white, hopefully a Selle Italia SLR XC Gel like on the HiFi.

I did an unofficial weighing (bathroom scale) and it came out to 22.4lbs.  That is pretty freakin light compared to the 29 something the HiFi weighs.

For those that are interested, here's a build list:
Headset - Cane Creek 110 (black)
Spacers - Forte Carbon Spacer Kit (carbon)
Stem - Ritchey Comp 4-Axis (white)
Handlebar - Ritchey WCS Carbon Flat 5D (carbon)
Brakes - Avid Elixir 5 (white)
Grips - Sette Type-H Lock On (white)
Fork - Niner Reynolds Rigid (green)
Seatpost - Sette Edge Carbon (carbon)
Saddle - Bontrager take off from the HiFi (black)
Cranks - SRAM X5 (GXP BB)
Pedals - Shimano M540 (I had laying around)
Cages - Forte Omega Carbon (white)
Chainring - Surly (32)
Cog - Surly (20)

We did get out for a quick shakedown at Renni hitting up the short track.  First impressions, I felt fast in the berms and quicker on the exit into the gravel road.  Of course, we weren't at race pace, but this thing flew.  Being fully rigid was just fine as well.  The bike feels so light it's so easy to whip around the trail and lift up and over anything coming my way.  AND nothing fell off.  The seatpost slide down, I had forgotten to tighten that.  Even after tightening it slide... so Good Guy Greg to the rescue with some carbon grip that I later used and seems to be doing the job now.

So, what will the One9 be called...  While we were finishing up the build the question was thrown out there.
Kosher Dill first popped into my head.
TheMutt enthusiastically liked calling it just Dill.
After our first lap at Renni a short discussion about the worms came up and I then suggested calling it Big Worm, which again garnered support.
Annie later suggested calling it The Goblin, but Airborne already has one of those.
With all the green and white I can't help but think about the Celtics.  I did like the worm idea... put that together with Larry Bird (favorite Celtic of all time) and you've got Larry Worm... or The Early Bird (gets the worm).  Or just Bird.
I run 32 up front = Kevin McHale... so... I could call it... Kevin... I guess?

As you can see, I'm not quite there yet with the name.  I'm sure TheMutt will tell you that it's already named Worm, and it may in fact stick... maybe I'll put out a naming poll tomorrow.

Friday, April 19, 2013


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

Thoughts remain with Boston this week.  I hope everything gets resolved quickly and safely today.  

Here's a little something (although I couldn't watch too much of it cause of the editing...) that I wish I had been aware of when I was living up there.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Who does #2 work for?

This Sunday marks race number 2 for the season for me.  I'm headed down to Spartanburg SC (about 1:30 from me) for what looks like it's shaping up to be a fast race.  I've scouted through the internets minefield to gather some key information.

Here is the map provided by the Stump Jump site.  Cat3 rides the blue loop shown below.  Cat2 and above ride a longer loop that extends into the trails to the east (past G).

The course should be similar to that of last year, although I know the start will be slightly different but I'm not sure that will be that huge of a change.  Looking at the strava data you can see from the elevation and speed that it looks like it's going to be a fast one.  

From some videos I've found it looks like the (significant) climbs are wide open so it should be easy to get around slower climbers (or move over for faster riders) if necessary.  Here's a little recap from the 2011 Cat3 race - again no sure how close the course will be to this years, but it gives a sense of the terrain.

Looking at the results from last year it looks like I'll be aiming for sub 28 minute laps (26.5 if I'm looking for the win).  From the strava data it would appear 30 minute laps would do the trick...  Cross referencing my data I see that the number 2 spot on the strava list finished in 8th in the Cat3 race.  So 28 sounds like a good aim and we'll see if I have a little extra to lay out there and finish quicker.  In reality I need to try to get off with the front group and just hang on.  If I get stuck too far back I fear I'll settle in with a slower pace, leaving too large of a gap to the front group.  

I go off at 9:30... meaning an early morning for me to get up and out there.  Although the weather looks fine for race day, looks like they'll be getting rain out there Friday.  Someone posted up that the trails don't drain all that well out there, so we'll see how that might effect conditions.

I'm excited for the race.  Not sure who else from the team is going to be there.  I do know that my buddy Sean won't be there - doctor ordered him off the bike for a month due to some back issues - brutal...  With the second race in the books I'll be "in" race season and I just might have to start paying attention/planning my rides a little more appropriately for race preparation.  Although, the pace of the "social" ride is a nice kick in the pants at times - when we aren't standing around and talking on the trail that is.

Well, I'll be back next week with a race recap and other assorted stories.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

riding or socializing

I've said it before, and I will say it again:

A good ride can wipe away a day of work.

A social ride, although not possessing the wiping power of a good ride, can offset a day of work nicely.

An excellent gathering after a social ride can more than make up for anything else in the day.  And that, my friends, was the case last evening.  After hitting the trails at the USNWC some of us headed over to The String Bean in Belmont NC.  This place is AWESOME!

If you're a local and haven't been there, you need to get over there.  It's like the Common Market, except with more food, and bit more family oriented (read: less hipsters).  Don't get me wrong, I love me some CM as I can walk over and enjoy their fine beer selection.  I've enjoyed a sandwich from their deli as well and it's top notch, they have a creative menu for sure.  But, with The String Bean you get a full menu with sandwiches, burger, flat bread pizzas and a very large beer selection.  I can't say who has more/better beer selection as I've never seen CM's offerings listed like I did SB.  But the beer menu at SB was a bit overwhelming.

Like CM, you can grab your favorite bottles to go - or enjoy them on the patio.  I didn't take any pictures - so I've google hacked some for you to enjoy.

Photos of The String Bean Market & Deli, Belmont

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

stop it

After the headset came... which was glorious but underwhelming small to Annie and my brother - they figured with a name like"headset" it's be some massive part of the bike... I got some stopping power.  

I'm still not 100% on the reasoning for the different sized boxes, because the 180 fits in the smaller box - I checked.   

But there we have them, 180 up front, 160 in the rear.  Oh, and of course, got them in white.

I have a group ride tonight that I'm really looking forward to.

First and foremost, I need a ride.  Could have really used one after yesterday's day...  so I'll be looking forward to getting out there and having some fun in the dirt.  I always say that a good ride can totally wipe away a day of work - fingers crossed for a good ride.  As it turns out Tuesdays are my late day at work so as the trail selection choice changes things will get super tight for me making it on time.  Tonight should be fine as it is on my work side of town.  Who knows, maybe I can sneak in there a little early and get a little solo ripper in.

Secondly, it's about time to get this build moving forward.  Hopefully Good Guy Greg will be in attendance so I can set a time up to get together with him and build this bad boy up!

Monday, April 15, 2013

I wasn't there

This weekend there were some bike races in town.  Some local and national road crits to be exact.  I had planned on checking them out for multiple reasons.  One, they were held just a few miles from our place.  Two, my in town riding buddies were going.  Three, the Velo16 BSG guys were coming in to town to watch as well.  Four, probably some great picture opportunities.  Five, packs of riders going fast and all crashing together sounds kinda like the appeal of NASCAR.

But, I didn't attend.  My parents had just arrived in town on Saturday so time was spent with them.  I know TheMutt watched and participated (in his own, very special, way) so you can check out his blog for the insiders scoop.  Had I not forgotten about the NoDa grand prix on Sunday, I would have checked that out.  Instead I went for my own road ride.  Shorter then I had planned because by the time I was leaving time was becoming a factor - Annie wanted to check out another open house.  It's getting to be the real deal looking for a house time.  It's fun, but kinda stressful as we are looking to stay in this neighborhood - so we are at the mercy of what pops up on the market the next few months.

So, on the ride I rode, which ended up being my "standard" loop, I was happy and disappointed.  Happy that I felt pretty strong throughout the ride.  And the weather was nice, not too sunny and hot - but sunny enough that I still got some nice burn on (NEED that cycling cap stat!).  Disappointed that it didn't smell like onions on the ride.  I went by the fields that always held that wonderful smell, and there was nothing in the air.  Kind of a bummer as the smell always provided a nice pick me up.

Oh, I got another box in the mail last week... but I'll tell you about it tomorrow.  I also have another race coming up this weekend, so I'll talk about that at some point this week as well.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Shamrocks and Shenanigans

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

This will be a random one, so hold on to your helmets.

I rode the Whitewater Center again yesterday with much better results.  Hit Goat Hill and enjoyed every second of it.  There was one option I did not enjoy.  As you climb Goat Hill you eventually get up towards the top and you can go left to continue climbing before heading down, or you can go right to just head down.  I hit left cause I wanted to go all the way, and it was fun until you hit the bottom and it spit you out on a clear dirt path that went straight back up.  After climbing Goat Hill the last thing you want to do is climb STRAIGHT UP.  Whatever, I did it... and for all the whining, I probably will continue to do that and then hit the fun decent.

I hit up everything USNWC had to offer (I think) and then stopped back at the parking lot to see if I wanted to go back out for more.  After drinking more water and waiting and thinking, I decided to just head home.  I was suddenly feeling like it was a Rhode Island kind of day.

Unfortunately my local beer acquisition station was out of Gansett... what can I say, sometimes we buy them out... so I grabbed a local faithful (or two) - Olde Meck Copper 

CM don't care, they'll sell what they want however they want.
While I was searching the Gansett, to no avail, the mood struck me and I went a little House of Pain on things.
Check out that sweet apron in the background that my brother got me for my birthday
The Dennis Leary intro is worth a watch if you aren't in the mood for the entire video, very old school MTV.

Ok, so now the REAL video of the day, let's try to bring things back to biking in some sense.  I need to get a cycling cap since I don't want this to happen again.

  So who better to get a cap from than good old Walz Caps.

I'm thinking this
or this