Friday, May 31, 2013


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

I don't know if you saw this, but TheMutt was talking some crazy talk over on his side of the internerds yesterday.  My prediction, no gears.  

Why do I think that?  

Because this is how excited TheMutt looked to be riding his squishy/shifty (the wrong kind of ss) bike on our group ride on Tuesday.

So, to remind TheMutt of the glory of singlespeeding... I present this for all to enjoy.  And by "this," I mean two vidoes.

The first is a bunch of singlespeeders going fast!  Check out Charlie before the start with the 2 numberplate.  

This next one TheMutt should remember.  We also get to see George for the 2nd time, and the great and wonderful ThomP makes an appearance in there (a 
couple of times)

Oh, and if everyone could do me a favor... ride some trails this weekend while I'm moving heavy shit.  Thanks.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Now that I've finished handing out autographs to my adoring fans the "money guys," it's time.

Time to make this house a home.

Time to make this room...

View from the bathroom.
Double sink will be going into the bathroom - don't you worry.
Door on left is closet.
Double doors in front of you go... to the backyard.
Coming in from outside.  Door on right is to the hall.  Left is the unfinished bathroom.
Entering from hall.
Closet space for stinky and not-so-stinky bike gear.

a bike room!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


If you haven't heard of FATS, well it's time you freakin heard about it.  There is a total of 37 miles of singletrack for one to enjoy, although most tourists (us included) focus their time and energy on the bottom three loops which consist of more "bang for your buck" flow.  FATS is designated as an IMBA Epic trail system, so come on down and check that bad boy off your list.  FATS is located in Sumter National Forest in South Carolina, just over the border from Augusta GA.  From Charlotte it is about a 2.5 hour drive.

I suppose I should give you a head up on the list of characters involved in this ride.  Coming from the Charlotte area we had myself, Good Guy Greg, Tom Tom, TheMutt, and Denis.  From "up north" we had D-Wayne.  And we even had a local in our midst, Dustin Gaddis of Southern Wheelworks.  While the majority of us met up in Rock Hill to form a bike caravan on the way down - making it an easy 2 hour drive together - Dustin was pedaling around the trails we would not ride that day so that he could join us for our adventure when we arrived.

A mile into the trail I already had a question: when are we coming back?  Seriously, just entering the trail system and you knew it was going to be a good day.  For those northerners in the group, kinda had the sense of riding Kingdom Trails... just imagine if all the trails were like Kitchel, Sidewinder, or Webs with just a nice undulating flow and a giant pump track feel.

It was also at this time that we heard the trail had taken it's first victim of the day.  Lunchbox got a flat before he even really got into the trail so TheMutt turned around to help him out - don't worry they would catch up.

About 2 miles later DG stopped to hit up a rock feature and I noticed something.

pretty pink socks*
My rear tire was spewing Caffe Latex and didn't seem to want to stop.  I tried everything.  Of course I held it "spew side down" to try to let sealant pool there.  I tried applying pressure like it was a wound.  I tried creating a nice dirt scab over it... nothing seemed to slow this pin hole from flattening my tire.  My new tire.

Eventually I resigned to the fact that I would have to put a tube in.  So I pulled my Awesome Strap from under my saddle and got to work with my tube.

Me and DG coming to the same conclusion... hole in the tube.
No problem, out of all of us we will have a useable tube!!  Not exactly true.  DG went to grab his spare tube and found a hole in the back holding his tube... and a nice corresponding mark on the tube.  NEXT.  Good Guy Greg threw me his tube, we blasted it with CO₂.  As I was yanking the frozen CO₂ cartridge off my valve stem I slam my hand into my brake rotor... fun.

About ready to set off and it feels soft... maybe I didn't put enough air in it... so I pump the crap out of it.  Off we go.  About a 1/4 mile down the trail and I'm feeling squirrely in the rear.  Yeah... slow leak in the tube.  AWESOME.

I'm not sure how many CO₂ cartridges we went through getting me back to the trailhead (THANKS GUYS!!!) but towards the end I was on a blast of CO₂/sprint my ass off until it was flat again regiment.    We finally got back to the parking lot where DG poured some Stan's into my tire to hopefully set it back up tubeless and be done with this tube nonsense.

Thanks to Tom Tom for documenting the tire debacle both on and off the trail.
We take turns trying to set the bead with a couple different floor pumps, blast a couple CO₂ cartridges in there that almost get it there and nothing.  Finally Tom Tom reminds us that if you take the valve core out it won't impeded the air and a cartridge should be able to set the bead.  BOOM.  It works.  Stan's for the win!!  No further issues for the rest of the ride.

Unfortunately, by this time DG's time to ride has expired, and he has to take off.  We will be back, and hopefully next time there won't be time sucking issues getting in the way.  Who knows, maybe we'll hit up all the trails too!  I think it took over 2 hours to ride the Great Wall and get my wheel handled... yikes.

Back out on the trail we hit up Skinny and Brown Wave.  The trails we awesome.  This is the type of trail that wants you to go fast.  But you have to watch your ass because if you go with the trail blindly you will be in over your head (or way off the trail) before you know it.  I loved Great Wall, despite my tire issues.  Skinny felt like it was a connector between Great Wall and Big Brown.  Big Brown was a roller coaster of a trail.  Fun Fun FUN!

By the time it was all said and done I was HUNGRY.  We loaded up the caravan and headed out to grab some food and brew.  The drive home was a rough one... food coma and a long drive isn't always the best combo, but we all made it home safely.

Prior to heading down to FATS I did receive a little something something in the mail.

I had been bumming a 20t off of TheMutt, so I ordered myself up my own 20t along with a new and improved 18t.  I threw the 18t on for FATS and it was much needed.  There wasn't all that much climbing on the loops we rode so a 20t would have been way overkill.

* Thus far the pink socks have been 0 - 2 between my tire debacle and an endo by Little Miss Sunshine.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

clouds. real.

This weekend the social group took a road trip down to FATS.  It was an adventure, to say the least, but one that I won't get to until tomorrow.  I've got other things to get out of the way first.

Things area about to get chronologically screwy here, so try to stay with me.

Thursday I rode the HiFi out at the Whitewater Center since I figured I should show it some love as I planned on racing it this coming weekend up at Uwharrie.  As I entered the trails it felt like I was riding on a cloud!  It was as if the HiFi was just floating over the trail chatter.  Everything seemed to be smoothed out as I flowed through the trail.  It was a unique experience to feel such a dramatic difference between the full suspension HiFi and the fully rigid Glow Worm on such familiar trails.  While I enjoyed the smoothness of the HiFi, I had to quickly change gears in my head (PUN) and return to the "sit and spin" method of climbing over the "quick let's conquer this bad boy" attitude of the One 9.  On the other hand, descending the back side of Goat was a bit more fun with the squish!

Sunday I finally took the Glow Worm to a local trail that I had determined would be perfect for a singlespeed, even before riding singlespeed.  I hit Sherman Branch for the first time on the Glow Worm with the gorgeous 18t on the back and guess what... PRs all over your face!  I also recognized on this ride how much I do love the rigid fork on root drops.  It is predictable and stable on the short drops.  No sag and recovery like you might find with a suspension fork up front - it's quite nice.  With the 18 tooth cog in the rear the Glow Worm was eating up the trail like a boss.

I have come to the conclusion that the 18t cog is the "boss", and the 20t is the "intern."  Although, with the way I feel on the Glow Worm it might not be long before the "boss" get's a demotion.  I still have to get back to the Whitewater Center to try to tackle everything there with the "boss" in charge before I start making any rash decisions.

I admit it.  I'm a single speeder.  I get WAY too lazy with gears.  Riding with just the one gear keeps me on top of my ride.  It honestly lets me enjoy the trail in a way gears don't.  Throw in the lack of suspension and (I know it's super cliche but hold on to your helmet) I do feel a solid connection with the trail.

Saturday it was determined that I will NOT be racing at Uwharrie this coming weekend.  With the closing for the new house happening on Thursday (YAY!) the responsible thing would be for me to miss the race so I can move heavy things to our new place.  Makes sense.

Now I have to find a replacement race - and it comes down to Virginia or Clemson.  Both are 2.5 +/- hours away - blowfest.  The positive, my start time for these two events wouldn't be until 11:30 - so not a super early morning with the drive time.  Not sure which I will enter at this point.  Google investigations didn't provide enough information to make an informed decision up to this point.  It might just come down to which fits the calendar better.  

Friday, May 24, 2013

It's been a crazy week!

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

One might even say it's been a Looney week.  

And it has.

I'm way too tired this morning to get super clever and make all the connections I have swirling in my head.  And I just don't have the time to put in a proper video search this morning.  

So to go along with the lunacy of it all... here is a group of kids rapping about riding their bikes.  swerve swerve.

Who knows... maybe TheMutt and I can choreograph something this weekend and put up a remix video

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cat One or Bust

I wake up this morning to find this in my blogger feed:

Sorry joe aguero.... I don't need to "Lose Weight Today."  Why the hell has this taken over my blog feed??  I did a little investigating, cause I'm all crafty like that, and it appears TJ has neglected his blog for far to long and Mr. joe aguero snaked his address.  Hence, the flood of weight lose tips of uncertain validity.

Whelp, looks like is coming out of the rotation.  Ahhhhh, all better.

Ok, race report time (finally)!!!

The Riverfront Classic is on my home turf I suppose, with it being at the Whitewater Center and all.  I figured if I'm gonna race it, this would be the race to break out the Glow Worm.  I had ridden the Glow Worm out at the Whitewater Center once before making the decision, and felt that I was able to clean everything on it.  But, to decide if I was going to race it I felt I should get back out there to really test if the 20 in the back would be too spiny on the vertically challenged sections.  On it's maiden voyage out there I had skipped Carpet, so when it came to Goat Hill I was fine and dandy - even enjoying it.  On my "pre-ride," pushing the pace, I hit everything that would  be included in the race... and the Carpet - Goat Hill combo produced less than stellar results - namely dry heaving 3/4 the way up.  You can read about that ride here.

Strava told me I PR'd a whole bunch of stuff on that ride, so I figured I'd be able to stay competitive (fingers crossed) on the Glow Worm.  A few days before the race someone on the local forums posted that the course was being adjusted and Figure 8 would be out and the powerline climb on the back side of Goat would be added.  I didn't know how to take this as this wasn't coming from the race promoter and I was figuring/guessing/HOPING this was just someone busting balls on the forums.  You see, I NEEDED Figure 8 to help thin the pack and allow me to pass/build a gap on the extended climb out.  That was my master plan really!!  Get up that thing fast, put in some time and then just go.  Hoping it would give me enough cushion to make it to each subsequent climb to gain more time...

I arrive at the Whitewater Center feeling tired and TomTom (who was course marshaling for the day - even though he could have killed it out there, so I guess thanks for not racing against me!!) confirmed that Figure 8 was indeed out.

CRAP.  Not even with an exclamation point.

I was deflated and my brain was scrambling.  Great, now how are things going to shake out?  I registered and headed out to see what the beginning would look like sans Figure 8.  We lost about a mile on the overall course.  We totally by-pass that extended climb I so badly wanted/needed (there was still a glimmer of hope we'd somehow still maintain that) and instead take a short climb to the fire road on top of the ridge line before descending.  The climb wasn't bad, and pretty short, so I was sure it could keep me competitive - especially with the fire road and downhill to follow.  I also checked my top speed - max at about 15/16 spinning my brains out... not going to hold anyone off in the flats, that's for sure.

I took off as fast as I could at the start and got into the first section of singletrack probably about 8th or so.  Things are slow going as people are bunching.  We break out into the open by the whitewater and spin city commences.  I'm surprised no one flies by me here so I hold as close as I can to the guys in front of me as we pop into the new section bypassing Figure 8.  I hit the climb and instantly pass the two riders in front of me.  I put in as much as I can to gain some space as I'm thinking they will retake me on the ridge.  They don't.  I hit the downhill and blast any incline I see.  I can see riders in front so I keep on keepin on.

I pass another rider and I see in front of me a familiar rider, John Dooley.  He's a regular podium contender so that is a shot of energy right there.  I'm guessing that puts me in about 4th then so I try to reel him in.  I gain ground on climbs, but quickly loose ground on anything going anywhere but up.  The last rider I passed has stuck with me - and this is where I start cursing not having that initial climb out of Figure 8 to give me space.  He asks to pass at the beginning of Carpet, and I let him... but am then stuck on his ass as we start climbing.

He wipes out as we approach the sharp switchback at the bottom of the actual carpet climb and I am able to squeeze by on the off camber trail.  I clear the carpet, passing two riders of unknown category on the climb and keep moving.  I still think I can see John up there so I push.  Dread starts to set in as I know I've been pushing too hard this early just trying to maintain my place on the flats with Goat Hill up next.  I'm not so worried about Goat itself - it's the straight lined climb up the backside on the powerlines I'm not looking forward to.

They took us into Goat up the fire road instead of the more straight and rocky singletrack approach so I had to make a hard right turn up and over a steep root to get into the climb, my back wheel spins out and I dab.  I pull to the side for the rider that has been following me and hop back on to pursue him.  He dismounts at the next switchback, forcing me off my bike.  As we get back on our bikes and start climbing I yell to him that I'm going to need to pass when he can, we are approaching another switchback so I figured he'd wait until after.   He doesn't, he suddenly pulls to the side to stop.  I was close to him trying to maintain my momentum and my front wheel rubs his as he swerves off to the side - sapping my energy.  I somehow maintain my balance and regain some semblance of momentum and power over the roots on the switchback.  By this time two riders had caught up to us and one jumps the inside line forcing me to pause to let him go.  I had to hold a tree to stay up and I let his team mate follow behind him.  I jump on their wheel and again need to pass as they aren't pushing as hard as I need to - but I'm stuck.

I follow them down the backside of Goat and we exit to the powerline climb where my heart drops.  "Spin as far up as you can and stand and power the rest."  I don't make it nearly as far as I know I need to sitting and that cracks my willpower.  I stand and power but decide to save my legs as I still have Toilet Bowl coming.  I hope off and hike it, jumping back on for the last quarter of the climb so I can carry something (speed... dignity) back into the trails.  I've lost the riders who passed me on the switchback, and I'm uncertain how many spots I lost on the powerline climb (wasn't sure what classes those passing were in).

The "deceptive" climb getting into the fire road before Way Station was brutal, but I forced my way through and tucked and spun to Way Station.  Did what I could to keep speed up but I didn't feel like I was catching anyone.  I hit Toilet Bowl with all I had and caught and passed two riders there (I think one was the rider who had gone down before carpet and had been yo-yoing with me) pushing through the exiting climbs.

At this point we are pretty much done.  Some descending, sharp armored climb then a short singletrack climb out to the finish.  I'm behind a rider,  who I don't believe is in my class, going into the sharp armored climb so I back off to give him space so that he can hopefully clean it so I don't run into it as I power up.  We both cleaned it and I take him instantly as we hit the open fire road.  I'm not sure if he knows how close we are to the end or not, but I put it all down.  Into the singletrack I hit the drop carrying as much speed as I can and I don't stop.  I just keep pushing to the point that I don't even feel the climb out - the Glow Worm is just eating trail up!!  I have to hit the brakes exiting as the trail winds between some close trees and there it is... the finish.  I push the cranks until I could spin no longer and I coast through the finish.  I find a place to ditch the bike and try to do a quick headcount to guess where I finished.  I see about 5 guys I know were in my class and had finished ahead of me so I'm thinking 6th in best case scenario.

I was close with my guess.  Came in 7th.  Would I have finished differently on the HiFi?  Maybe.  Maybe better, maybe worse?  Bottom line, I'm happy that I raced the Glow Worm.  In the end I was still able to push myself and have some fun out there.

Next race is Uwharrie.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to race this one (we close on our new house on the 30th of this month - holy shhh!!) but I just got the go ahead from Annie so I'm in.  Although I'd love to do the climbing with the Glow Worm - I think the HiFi will give a better advantage when it comes to opening up on the downhill sections there.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I guess rain isn't so bad

Sometimes, at least.

The weather cancelled our weekly group ride yesterday, which gave us the opportunity "forced" us to tag along for the Dirt Diva event.  You really didn't have to twist any arms as our new pal Sonya Looney was there.  The Dirt Divas do an urban ride before their meetings, which is held at one of my old faithfuls in the neighborhood - the Kickstand.  The route was pretty neat, and the ride was well attended.

After the ride the Divas held their monthly meeting.  I had planned on just being at the bar enjoying fried pickles and beers, but the Divas were kind enough to let us into their meeting.  It was a great to hear about all the great things the Divas are doing individually and as a group.  I also got wrangled into the honor to help out at their upcoming skills clinic. 

Sonya spoke, answered questions, and handled a door that just wouldn't close.  While Sonya was talking about experiences from a few years ago it hit me just how long I have been following her blog.  It was a kind of a bizarre realization because as she was talking I was totally thinking "hey, I remember that."  You do kinda get to know someone through reading their blog and following their experiences.  The internerd is a crazy thing sometimes.    

Sonya get's frustrated with doors that won't stay closed, just like us!
It was a great talk.  Sonya's a real inspiration for a lot of female riders out there, and deservedly so.  We joke, about the fame and the "just like us" thing, but Sonya is a real person.  And I think that is really how she'd like to be thought of.  She's more than willing to share her experiences and knowledge that might help you out in a heartbeat.  So if you ever get the chance to meet her, or attend one of her  rides/clinics as she's all over the country, go for it.  And don't be shy, say hi - she has a serious sense of humor that you DO NOT want to miss!  

The Divas had a little swag raffle for stuff that Sonya brought to the meeting and I was a lucky winner.  I know white on the bike makes you faster... but same goes for pink on the rider, right?

I met Sonya Looney and all I got where these socks
I SWEAR I'll talk all about ME and my race tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Just like us!

Like that, but better.

Although she may not admit to it, Sonya Looney is famous.  She's a badass mountain biker kicking ass across the globe.  She has also proven herself to be a great ambassador for our sport.  More importantly, she is a cool, down to earth, funny as hell, mountain biker.  After all, she rides bikes, just like us!

As you can see, my wife commented on a photo I snapped during the group ride.  If you couldn't surmise from her comment, Jake Gyllenhaal is her celebrity crush.  I don't know if Sonya Looney is my celebrity crush (sorry to crush your hopes there Sonya, but you might have to fight Natalie Portman for that right, and we all know Natalie can take a punch) but she is officially good people.

PLUS, she has a mustache


Let me tell you a story.  A couple of years ago I was readying for a pre-ride for a race up in Connecticut.  It was a course that I certainly wanted to pre-ride because it was going to be a tough race... after all, it was called "Wrath of the Boneyard."  I had originally thought that I would be pre-riding with the course designer for a no pressure ride.  As I arrive I find out that we would have company, one of which being a rider that I followed on the internet.  To say I was intimidated would be an understatement.  I didn't know what else to do other than introduce myself and tell him that I followed his blog.  He thanked me and offered to wear a pink jersey so that I wouldn't be so intimidated.  From that point I truly understood just how awesome mountain bikers are.  Here was this Cat 1 ass kicking rigid singlespeeder giving me (a cat 3 beginner) tips on line choice like we were old friends.  Where else can you find pros and beginners getting along as equals?

And that is who Sonya Looney is.  A down to earth mountain biker who would readily shed her fame in order to have a real interaction with another rider, of any level.  And that's when the other side of Sonya comes out.  The side you wouldn't imagine in a million years!  I won't share all the amazing gems that we heard last night, but I will leave you with this... if for no other reason then to prove that I did meet Sonya Looney.

Maybe I'll talk about my race this weekend tomorrow... or maybe I'll tell you about the fried pickles.

Monday, May 20, 2013


Sonya Looney is in town!

There is a shop ride scheduled tonight with Sonya Looney that TheMutt reminded me of at yesterday's race.  For some reason I was thinking that the ride with her was on Wednesday.  So today doesn't work out as well for me schedule wise to make the ride at 5, and 5:30 is pushing it - Sonya might see me changing in the parking lot!

Of course, the weather is now coming into play.  As you see from the picture above, Sonya has been welcomed to NC with rain.  The trails around Charlotte get rather particular when rain is involved and they often go into hibernation, so I'm not sure the ride will be on with last night's rain and the predicted thunderstorms this afternoon.

Then you have my legs.  My legs are feeling a bit beat after the race yesterday (which I will get into tomorrow).  So the decision is: do I bring my bike to work with the chance of it getting a nice long shower on the back of the pterodactyl as I drive around Gastonia and let the dice roll as to whether the ride will be called off or not OR do I just call it on account of my legs and try to sneak into the Dirt Divas' meeting tomorrow to meet Sonya there?

I like the third option as it also involves a side of fried pickles.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Locked in?

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

I think my race decision has been finalized.

This is after a "test" run of sorts.  I hit up USNWC yesterday mimicking what my best guess of the course will be.  The trails were busy, so some sections were a little slower than I wanted - but that's ok, that happens in races too.

I had to pee almost the entire ride.  It was hard to not stop, and I even thought about trying the roadie approach at one point.

I had never before hit carpet on the Glow Worm.  I lived.

But Goat right after was killer.  I dry heaved three times as I was about 3/4 of the way up.  Maybe this isn't the right choice?

I was able to recover a little on the downhill and keep pushing through.  The ever deceiving grind back up towards Way Station was an absolute killer - had to stand the whole thing practically.

At the top I started feeling good and maxed out my spin cycle over to Way Station and was feeling good.... then I remembered I still had Toilet Bowl left to go.

Got through Toilet Bowl fine and finished up.

I had no idea what kind of finish I had, or if I would be able to be competitive in the race.  I did, at least, see that I got a whole bunch of PRs yesterday.

This morning I poured through past ride data.  Compared average speeds.  Compared bike performances.  Took into accounts stops on previous rides.

I looked at finishing times for previous years of the Riverfront Classic.  Which only confused me because either last year was full of insanely fast guys or they had a shorter course.  If I went off times from last year, I'd be 10th.  If I went off times from the year before, I'd be 2nd.

A lot of data to look at, a lot of inconclusiveness.  But, I'm locked in.  This will be the only race that I can confidently say I can ride this bike at, so I'm racing the Glow Worm on Sunday.    

Here's a view of last years race from the 40+ Sport (Cat2) field.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

It's time

Well, I guess it's time.

I've been going back and forth on which bike to race this weekend and I think I've come to a conclusion.

Maybe it wasn't the best time to make the final decision, but as team "My neighbor has big testicles" was playing trivia last night it was unanimous that I race the Glow Worm this weekend at the Catawba Riverfront Classic.

Ok, now that you've gotten through link city, this is the plan.  This season I've seemed to go out for a solid ride on Thursdays, and usually at USNWC just because of ease of access.  This week it is also the location of the race, so today I get to do a sort of pre-ride while giving the Glow Worm the final shake down to see if I can actually compete with it the way it is.  I figure this is the best course to give it a shot at since I know the trails and have ridden it out there... so why the hell not.  Today I will figure out if the climbing to flat ratio is good enough to merit the 32x20 I've got going on because it will be a "run what you brung" type of scenario... the 20 is all I have at the moment.  Honestly, I don't think an 18 would be my friend on goat hill or the carpet climb so it's 20 or nothing.

Will I be fast enough to race... or slow like, well, you know...
If I feel like I can hit everything and come out with a respectable time then I'm down for Sunday.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

things fall apart

I've had so much to say - but haven't been able to say it.  And that's no fault of yours, so I apologize for leaving you all alone the past two days.  Can you ever forgive me?

I wasn't able to be here Monday and Tuesday because of training.  No, not race training, work training. I'd MUCH rather be stuck in the garage on the trainer than at work trainings.  Although, I will say this one thing... at least the trainers were entertaining.  While the work training threw off my schedule and I was unable to find the time to get my posts done a lot of things will be left out or otherwise truncated.

Last week a number of things took the opportunity of riding away from me in a big way - so I made up for it Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  I almost made it out Sunday but my brother had a friend visiting for the weekend and I attended the farewell "brunch" instead of riding solo.

Recap of the rides.

Thursday - Fisher Farm.
I already talked about this a little.  But here goes another recap.  I wore a suit (more on that later).  The rear wheel fell off between laps.  Got to keep checking and tightening my shit up.

Friday - USNWC
(some) Trails were underwater.

The water had receded, but you can see the water line was up over the trail.

PR on Goat Hill, of course riding the Glow Worm.  Maybe I should race the Glow Worm out there on Sunday?  Although, the flats will kill me, but I'll make up for it on the climbs - serious inner arguments (still) going on as to which I'll race: Glow Worm v HiFi.

Swollen river in the background
Saturday - Booty(ish) Loop
Needed a quicker ride as my brother's friend was coming into town.  So after cleaning the house I hit the streets.  I didn't take the time to map out a route, because that can be a time suck for me, so I started on my "normal" "nice side of town" ride and stumbled into the Booty Loop.  I'd always been riding it "backwards" so I jumped on in the right direction and cranked away the miles.  There was a sweet water fountain out there on the route.

This is the second time I've seen citizens put up a water fountain in front of their homes (there is also a sweet water fountain in front of a home on our new street).  People down here rock.

Last night was the social ride.  I got out there early for once and hit up two "fast laps" before the group assembled.  But that wasn't before I found this.
Yup, the front chainring was loose as can be while still remaining on the crank and I was missing a bolt.  Perhaps that was the "gears popping" sound I had heard while out at the whitewater center.  I guess I need to tighten shit up on the regular.  I tightened the remaining bolts and was good to go.  I checked my seat as well since I KNEW that had been creaking and tightened it up.  The Glow Worm was silent and fast for the group ride, just the way I like it.

Lesson Of The Week - Check Your Shit.

Big Biking Lesson - Beer isn't an option when bike building, it's a requirement.  Proper torque can not be achieved without proper beer muscles.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Strava angers germans

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

I hit up Fisher Farm yesterday on the Glow Worm.  I was in the area, actually right down the street from North Meck, but figured since I haven't ridden Fisher in a while, and North Meck is already singlespeed approved, I'd give FF a try.

Well, the trail must have sensed the strava engines revving up in the parking lot, because a tree "took one for the team" and went down across the trail, hanging about 3 feet high.

Of course I'm not hitting the trail with the sole mission of getting PRs and reaching for a KOM.  This is all just a transition leading us here: Angry Hitler

But, even with the obstacle present, and the necessary dismounting and walk around, I was still able to pull PRs for the trail.  Maybe my fitness has just been improving since the last time I rode out there in who knows how long... but it seems wherever I ride the Glow Worm I've got a new PR.  Coincidence?

Oh, and the bit of random?  After my second lap I stopped back at the pterodactyl and as I was leaning the bike against the bike rack the back wheel fell off!!  On that lap I had noticed a strange modulation and sound coming from the rear brake - but assumed it was just mud in the pads.  Nope, I guess the wheel was loose!!  Tightened up the bolts and the wheel was good.  I guess I need to keep checking everything to make sure it's snug as I break the Glow Worm in.  

Ok, so not super ride inspiring... but if you are local, hit the trails while you can.  Looks like more rain this weekend.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

2 v 0

Our national treasure known as Thom P posted up a little video today (which I can't share here because he's got some magical properties that bar me from figuring out how to embed it here...) that reminded me of something I wanted to mention.  If it hadn't been for the big TP, there would be no post today - so a round of applause for Thom.

What I wanted to reflect upon were my thoughts on the adjustment of going from a full suspension ride to a fully rigid one(9).

First big adjustment: NO front suspension.
Might sound harsh, but this was actually a welcomed change - weird I know.  On the Big Worm's maiden voyage I felt that the lack of front suspension helped me connect with the trail better and get into the berms with more confidence and speed.  On a trail going up or maintaining elevation there is no need for the front suspension - one can just loft the front tire over menacing roots and rocks.  Going downhill it's not so bad either.  Again, give your front end a little love and pick those lines quickly and precisely and you're good to go... sure your arms seem to get more of a workout than usual (which may be a function of lazy riding on the dual suspension) but it hasn't been a huge adjustment.  Or, maybe it's the big tractor tire I've got on there that helps.

So, when do you miss the front end suspension.  Haven't been missing it too much.  The weirdest riding experience sans front end suspension is when hitting little gully dips in the trail... you know, where the trail sharply dips and immediately comes back up at you.  That has been an interesting experience to ride without the front end soaking that up.  I've had to relearn the handling of those situations on the fly - and let me tell you, that can be a scary thing to learn at full speed.

Second big adjustment: the back wheel bounces!
My first impression was that I LOVE not having rear suspension (in some applications).  Climbing is even more fun then it was before!  That isn't a joke, I like climbing.  Not gravel grinds or forest roads that go on for miles on a super annoying incline that just keeps you in misery for extended periods of time.  But technical climbs that force you to motor on and find your way through the crap to get to the top - super sense of accomplishment!  I can look back and think to myself, I just laid a whooping on that trail - sucka!

The switch from dualie to zero has forced a change in positioning on the climbs.  You know, cause with one gear I'm standing more.  Inherently there is more balance to consider and weighting issues to ensure traction on the rear tire.  With the fully I would sit and spin more to account for bob.  I've experienced some loss of traction already on roots due to me being up and out of the saddle trying to fly up a hill.

But where I miss my rear suspension is in the gnarly stuff that the suspension would just eat up - allowing my rear wheel to stay grounded.  With nothing in the back, I actually have to think about the back wheel.  That's something I didn't realize until I felt the rear end go squirrely on me as roots and rocks were tossing my rear-end towards the sky.

Mind you, none of these are gripes... the Glow Worm is a super fast and maneuverable bike.  All of these "issues" can be overcome with rider adjustments.  They are just differences.  Do I love how on the HiFi I can point and shoot a decline over roots, rocks, and drops without too much concern - sure.  But I equally (if not more so) love the speed, connection, and "flickability" of the Glow Worm.

The Glow Worm keeps me focused and on my game cause the Glow Worm don't play!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

turtles, beavers, and birds

I did get a ride in on Friday.  I was taking the Glow Worm out because it's fun as all hell, and the HiFi was still dirty as all hell.  I wasn't sure where I was going to ride... I figured I'd skip Sherman Branch because, even though I know it's singlespeed heaven, a 20 would be just to small out there so I decided to hit up Colonel Francis Beatty to see how I would fair out there.

Recently the trail gnomes had been out to conduct a mass root removal... blah.  I guess I understand the motivation to remove roots that people are riding around, thus causing the trail to widen... but still...  I haven't ridden the trail enough to miss the roots that were taken, although I could see evidence of their removal by the orange spray paint where they marked them, the new gouges in the trail where the roots once where, and in some cases, the roots themselves just chucked to the side.  Ride wise, didn't make a damn difference to me.

I rode 3 laps out there.  Probably would have only done two, but I lost my bottle.
Same.  Damn.  One.

When I was cleaning and filling my bottles that morning I did notice that this lost bottle seemed a bit soft under the hot water.  I dunno if the damn thing is just too soft and pliable with old age that it wiggles itself out of cages... or if I just hadn't gotten him all the way in my NEW cage, thus presenting us with a case of user error.  In any case... I guess there were still enough roots out there combined with the rigid set up to rattle my bottle out.

On the second lap I tried to keep my eye out for the bottle, but no luck.  Third lap, I stopped a bunch to check out "suspect" areas of the trail... nothing.  The whole time I was just hoping to see my bottle so I could give it a big middle finger before snatching it back u and retiring it to gatorade duty around the house.

I did, however, have a little nature show while on the trail.

The wild box turtle.  He was a big mother.  But a shy fellow.

I don't know how he saw me on the camouflaged Glow Worm.
 Then we had evidence of the magical and mysterious beaver.  I didn't see any evidence of him out in the water... but he's been chewing on shore for sure.

That tree will put a serious hurting on the stream if it falls.
And then we had a slow moving bird of some sort...  just high stepping it in the water
Hanging out on one leg

Overall, the riding was fun.  Yes, there are some "rough" sections on a rigid out there.  Especially on some of those rooty, drop ridden, eroded sections.  But everything was rideable.  I mean, I did feel like I got an arm workout by the end of it, but it was fun.  By the end of lap 3 I was just fine with riding the 20, but there were enough sections that I just wanted more.  I even ghost shifted where the singletrack dumps you onto the road for a quick jaunt.

I'm thoroughly enjoying the singlespeed ride style.  Time to get more cogs and start pushing things.

Oh... I will share this gem with you before I leave.  On Annie's birthday we went bowling (her call - it was fun) and we had some food at the alley.  Apparently this place has been highlighted on the Food Network or something...  So anyway, apparently at TEN Park Lanes the menu doesn't always match the bill.  I ordered the pulled pork plate.  But I paid for something completely different.

How did she know we were from Boston?

Monday, May 6, 2013


Annie's Birthday, Cinco de Mayo, and rain all combined for a ride-less weekend.


So, everyone get's the day off.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Come on

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

You knew it was coming.  And, if you didn't... well know you know.

I'm riding somewhere today... looks like everything (or pretty much everything) should be back open so I'm gonna get out there with the Glow Worm and tear some shhhizzz up.

For anyone that doesn't have dirt access... go get it!

Thursday, May 2, 2013


How does one come back from a post like the one we all experienced here yesterday?  I dunno.

I really don't know.

But, not knowing what I'm doing here hasn't stopped me before... soooooo.  Here we go.

The weather yesterday was "better" but still not hopeful.  I couldn't imagine trails would be good to go, so I didn't even look to see if there would be ride opportunities out there.  Apparently there were, and I missed out on the beer ride beer.  eh.  That's what happens when you get bored and lazy at work.

On a brighter note, we seem to have an opening date to this magical new Teeter that's been slowly growing down the street.  Yeah, it's exciting (or not).  But, it does bring us to my first plan.

And that plan is to utilize the 4300 by turning it into a grocery bike.

How will the transformation come about?  Yeah, I dunno.  Maybe I'll throw a rack and a basket on it.  Maybe I'll get a trailer.  Oh the possibilities.  We shall see.  But with the grocery store being so close, not to mention the CM, an errand bike would be nice.  Plus, it'd be nice to breath a little life back into the 4300 - since little wheels are silly for dirt applications and all.

The other plan... well, I'm not going to share that just yet.  It's a biggie, but not sure how close it is to being a real possibility, so I'll let it sit in the background for a bit.

Short and sweet.

Oh, and in case you are wondering - I haven't heard from Natalie Portman yet.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Natalie Portman

I'm not going to say it's a daily occurrence, but I know you've wondered to yourself:
"Self, how does Eastwood's brain work exactly?"  

Today (thanks to the foul weather we've been having) I will shed some light on that important, and haunting, question.

The force of a bicycle crash is 64.
That is to say, if we were putting force on a scale of 1-100, a bicycle crash would consist of such a force that would be rated a 64.  I, subsequently punch with the force of a bicycle crash if my fist makes contact with full extension of my arm.  If I were able to make contact prior to full extension, therefore putting more weight into the punch, I would punch with a greater force then that of a bicycle crash.

How do I know this?  

Natalie Portman told me.

It's true.

I punched her in the face.
I punched her in the face and she let me know that I punched her with the force of a bicycle crash.

I was pretty impressed since that wasn't even the full force of an Eastwood punch.
I also, of course, knew that her assessment of my power correlated with a 64 (on a scale of 1-100).  Because, everyone knows a bicycle crash = 64.  Duh?

they tried to hide it with shadows

Yeah, that was a dream I had last night.  Welcome to my head...

Here's a song about (?), or at least titled for, Natalie Portman.

And let's bring it all back... kinda.  She rides a bike.

I guess she feels she doesn't need to wear a helmet since she already survived my (dream) punch

To Natalie Portman,

If you ever become aware of this, please do not be offended.  Rest assured, you completely understood that I was only doing what I needed to do to survive in the post apocalyptic world we found ourselves in.  You respected me for this, and we became good friends after the punch.