Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Double Duty

Yesterday I had the day off... only a few more of these until the start of school so I figured I needed to take advantage.  I thought about going for a nice big mountain bike ride before the social ride that evening... but nothing jumped out at me as I didn't really want to do multiple laps to get miles...  Georgia had been neglected, I can't remember the last time I rode the roads... so there it was, my decision was made.

I don't know if it was the heat, the fact that I hadn't ridden the road in a while, or some combination of the two... but I was hurting.  To add to those two factors, I drank coffee prior to the ride.  No, I didn't have to make a potty break!  I don't typically drink a ton of coffee because the caffeine really does get me jittery, leaving me feeling a little weak with jello legs.  It was no different under effort.  Not exactly a desired state to be in on a road bike... jittery, jello legs, with cold sweats ON TOP of the hot sweats from the heat... it was bizarre so I had to stop and eat something to try to get me out of the mess of a state I was in.  

Luckily, after my stop, and a quick pep talk from my coach, I was feeling refreshed and powered on.

Strategerizing with my Coach.
I had some good efforts left in my legs and ended up enjoying the ride as I got further into the country roads.  I stopped again for a water refill.  I think I started the ride under hydrated (with the coffee not helping) and was playing catch up throughout the day.  In fact, I'm still trying to recover as I down glass after glass of water this morning.  Remember kiddos, Hydrate The F Up!

When I got home from my road adventures I could feel the cramps coming on.  So I quickly got to downing some post ride potions.  I had my half milk/half water protein shake.  Finished another bottle of water.  And a tablespoon of mustard for good measure.  As soon as I had the mustard all threat of cramps vanished.  It's absolute magic I tell you!

Then it was time to stop sweating and wait for the group ride.  I could still feel the toll in my legs so I was glad it was a social ride.  Still a bit of slippage in the EBB (although maybe not as bad) so it looks like I'll give the Glow Worm a nice cleaning today and dismantle it in preparation for a new arrival.

The idea was bikes, beers, and burritos.  Instead we ended up eating italian... yeah I know, weird.  BUT, thanks to the culinary misadventure I now know where in Charlotte all the pimps go for their cleaning needs.  Yes.  I said pimps.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

service with a smile

There are a lot of bike shops out there.  Each has a different focus population.  Some cater mostly to high end roadies, others to the average family wanting hybrids, fewer hone in on us mountain bikers... but more, do a little of everything.  So, with so many shops, with an array of bikes and gear, how do you know which is the right shop for you??

Well, if you have a "brand" then that can narrow it down right there.  Not unlike car dealerships, bike shops are "dealers" of certain bike brands.  So, if you are a Trek guy, or a Niner girl, then that right there will narrow your shop search down as not everyone will carry these brands.  Sometimes proximity will be a limiting factor for you.  Maybe you are just looking for ease of accessibility, so the closest one will do.  After all, who really wants to drive far to a bike shop??  Well... I might.

For me, what it all comes down to is personalty and communication.  Would I love a shop that has EVERYTHING I could ever need/want right there available to me at a moments notice... well yeah.  Is that realistic, uh... probably not.  It's just not the nature of the business to be able to have everything available at all times, and that is ok.  It's more important that the guys/gals at the shop talk to me and understand what it is that I need/want.  That they talk to me about it (they might just know a little more about my bike than I do) and that they work with me to figure out how to get said item for me.  Really, customer service is what it all comes down these days with all the "super blowout deals" that are going on everyday with the online stores like Price Point.

In Boston I was a fan of International  Bicycle.  Not only did they take the time to talk to me about different bikes, and how each would fit the riding I was intending, but they didn't pressure me.  I ended up buying 4 bikes from them.  Got all my services done there.  They were great.  I could bring in my bike with a small issue, they would take a look and I was always confident that they would come back with an honest answer.  Many times they would handle it right there in front of me and charge me not a whole heck of a lot!  Confidence... it's important that you are confident in the skills and knowledge of your shop.  

Down here in Charlotte I've visited a number of shops for various things as I've been feeling them out to find "my" shop.  For most service needs I've been visiting Uptown Cycles.  The shop has a training center right inside, and the owners are some serious cyclists themselves - so that could be a bit intimidating to some.  But their service has been stellar.  Quick turnaround, great communication, and a general sense that they do care about you and your bike.  

Yesterday, I stopped in to pick up something at a new (to me) shop that is up by my new job.  I'd heard good things, but the shop just wasn't all that close to me, so I had never visited.  Yesterday I dropped by The Cycle Path to see about some spacers so I could get this chain line of mine in order.

I was greeted promptly by the mechanic and he grabbed me the spacers I needed.  He even threw in a lock ring "just in case" for free.  Now that is service!  Even though I have one, and was pretty sure it would do the trick, he gave me one for free so that there wouldn't be any issues.

When I got home, my lock ring worked (and was the same as the one he gave me) but it was nice to know he had my back.  Next time I'm in the shop, I'll be dropping off that lock ring - that's just good biking karma man.  I didn't take the time to look around the shop on this trip, but I will certainly take a little look around next time I'm in there... who knows, maybe I have a new shop?  At the very least, I can enjoy the view - they are a Niner dealer and have a couple Kermit Green Air9s in the window.

Monday, July 29, 2013


After the "eye ball" testing my chain line with TheMutt at the conclusion of our group ride last week I flipped the cog and adjust the EBB.  Chain tension was amazing, but I was feeling that the chain line was still a bit off - the teeth of the cog STILL seemed to be up against the edge of the chain.

I rode USNWC and the chain stayed in place, but now I'm hearing something.  At first it felt like a case of "am I hearing it because I've been messing with it and am super sensitive to it, but it's been happening all along" type of deals.  But I'm pretty damn sure the drivetrain was silent when pedaling...

So, I got to tinkering with the whole ordeal.  I WAS going to actually get the ruler out and measure the damn thing, but then I remembered a more "fun" way to do it (plus I didn't have a useful ruler in mm).

just hanging around

I remembered reading a blog a while back about using gravity to find the perfect chain line... so I went blog diving and found what I was looking for.  Yup, it was Doug who shared the technique back in April.  I'll admit, it is probably a bit more involved than just measuring, but it was probably more fun as well!  

What did I find??  I was off... by a smidge.  That should be an easy fix.

Nope.  No matter what I did I was always off... spacer issues.  When we built up the Glow Worm I didn't grab the remainder of my spacer kit... so all I have to work with are the spacers on my bike... and with those I'm just a hair off.  I'll have to acquire some more spacers so I can get this chain in line and hopefully get her running silently again.

But, I have to wonder if the chain line is the issue... tension has always been slack due to the EBB, and we now know that the chain line had been off... but there was no noise?  So I'm wondering if my chain is too tight.

Seriously.  I've been spending WAY more time fiddling with the Glow Worm than I ever did with the HiFi - who said this singlespeed stuff was easier?  Eh, I kinda enjoy it though.  With each wrenching adventure I learn a bit more (hopefully) which will make maintenance and enjoyment that much easier in the future.

I've got a package on the way - and we all know how much we enjoy receiving things in the mail (even if you've paid for them)!  So, when that gets here I'll talk about it.... or maybe I'll talk about it tomorrow since it's been, you know, raining again.

Friday, July 26, 2013


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

Sometimes I take way too much time picking a video... case in point.

This one  is a beaut.  Gorgeous landscape for sure.  As a kid I visited the mountains out there, but haven't been there on a bike.... yet.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I gotta go ride!!

I so badly wanted to make my own version of bread and milk yesterday.

"I gotta go ride my bike, I gotta go ride my bike, they opened the trails! I gotta ride my bike..."

The Whitewater Center finally opened up the trails and I was giddier than a little school boy in those crazy school uniform shorts... you know, the ones where they are wearing a jacket and tie up top?

a gang of giddy chaps
I really should have done it... but I didn't want to look like a crazy man to all of my neighbors.  I was excited.

I noticed two things out on the trails.  First, it was hotter than dog balls under the trees.  Second, I totally see why they had the trails closed so long.  Complain all you want... I'll admit, I was starting to grumble as I missed riding there... but the fact that there were still some muddy spots just shows how messed up the trails must have been.  If they had opened them up any earlier the trails would have gotten trashed by bikes going through.  So, they did what they had to do - and kept the trails closed.

They even (in spots) threw some gravel down on the green trail to allow them to open up the trail now; rather than wait for it to completely dry out - so they've been doing what they can to help speed up the process and protect the trail.  So, for all the noise you've been hearing from angry bikers I want to say "thanks" to the Whitewater Center.

I rode the section of the Carolina Thread Trail that runs into USNWC for the first time yesterday, and it was a neat little out and back.  It had some deceptionally deep mud pits once you got out towards it's end.  I stopped when I came upon a log floating across the trail.

I looked at it for a second and ascertained that there was room to pull it further downhill - if it was lite enough for me to handle.  It was.  It was VERY lite.  It was an easy fix.

took all of 7 seconds

I really wish I had taken both photographs from the same spot... could have made a sweet vanishing gif with that... oh well.

My ride was riddled with stops.  Stops to clear the trail (look above), adjust my seatpost to stop the creaking, pee, answer the phone when my brother locked himself out of the house... you know, the typical things.  Add the heat along with that and I decided to skip Carpet, Goat, and Toilet Bowl.  It was just a quick in and out for me yesterday.  

But it sure was nice to be back out there!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Getting behind

Finally I'm doing enough riding that I feel like I'm getting behind on here!

Saturday I returned to the scene of my crash and rode Sherman Branch.  It was a good ride, a fun ride.  I did, however, notice that my heart rate was up.  I was pushing it, and haven't been riding so much with all the rain and whatnot... but I never felt like I was going to explode, so that is good.  Other than that, I honestly can't remember too much about the ride.  I didn't crash - so there is a plus!

So, you know how I "fixed" my chain line the other day?  Nope.  I was dropping chains like my name was Snoop Dogg.

Yesterday I decided to haul my ass up to Lake Norman State Park and get some miles in.  The strangest thing happened yesterday, I got to work from home.  Which, at this point, pretty much meant I was getting paid to hang out and answer any emails that came through.  Part of my wanted to "work from the trail" but being a new job I was a good boy and stayed home all day.  

Finally I got up to LKNSP and got riding.  The trails were AMAZING.  A couple "soft" spots, but overall things were fast.  Feeling good as the Glow Worm was just eating up trail... until the first effort climb.  As I crested the climb POP!  Chain blew off.  I stopped, put it back on thinking that was VERY strange and continued my ride without incident.  

Now that I think about it, I don't think I have ever ridden the Glow Worm out there before... makes sense, because it's been a loooong time since I've been out there.  Anyway, 32x18 is pretty much perfect for the trails there.  Loved it.  I absolutely love SS.  Love climbing.  Love my noisy ass hub.  THAT is something I never thought I would like.  Previously I thought noisy hubs were annoying and destroyed the peace that I enjoyed while solo riding.  But it doesn't bother me.  If anything, it's helpful as it alerts other trail users that I'm coming up before I have to apply breaks or announce myself (of course I still do both things!).

I finished up the Laurel side of things and stopped at the car to refill water bottles and make a decision.  Finish up the other half of the trail system, or drive back to Charlotte for the group ride?  I checked with  the garmins in the pterodactyl and it said I could make it by the start time... I hemmed and hawed and decided being social might be nice.  So I quickly loaded my gear and hopped on the road.

Things looked good... for a minute.  Then 77 was a parking lot so I detoured myself - adding another 20 minutes to my drive time... I figured I'd be able to catch the group on the trail by cutting out the first black diamond section at good old Col FB.  I put the hammer down and took off into the trails.  First thing I noticed was my seat was low.  I had thought it was a little loose while I was riding LKNSP and now I know it certainly was.  I was only getting a little over 3/4 extension while seated... felt like I was on a little kids BMX bike... but I figured I'd just adjust it when I caught up with everyone.  POP!  My chain blew off again, so I put it back on and fixed my seat height.

As I predicted I ran into The Mutt by the side of the trail working on his headset.  Looks like it was going to be one of those days...  We rejoined the group and got going.  Shortly we passed one of our group members with a mechanical, and I dropped my chain one more time!  Looks like I should have left my chain line well enough alone!  The Mutt took a look at it after the ride and helped me identify how much/little to move it back towards the original position to hopefully cure that issue.  The EBB seemed to be sticking in place, which was the one positive of the situation - too bad that didn't help the chain stay on!

Even though I've had more "issues" running the Glow Worm so far over the HiFi it doesn't change a thing... singlespeed is where it's at. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Grab a pitchfork

Getting out and riding Col. FB was refreshing.  It seemed like forever since I was able to ride the trails. Although I enjoyed my ride, I did... I wasn't able to ride as much as I wanted to.  For one, I really didn't eat much all day, so as I was cranking away in the heat my energy was fading fast.

Secondly, I had already decree Fridays to be "cook out Fridays" on account of the new grill, so I had to get home and get to throwing meat on fire.  I did manage to hit up everything on my first loop and let me say the trail was looking magnificent.  A few "muddy" (more like dark dirt) sections in the newer black diamond section, but it being "new", that's to be expected.  I didn't feel I had time/energy for a full second lap so I hit up just the green to see just how "Annie friendly" the trail would be.

I'd say it is pretty beginner friendly without the options, but there is still some climbing involved... climbing: what I love, and Annie hates.  "Climbing" isn't really the right word for that trail either... more like the trail is just going up a little.  Either way, I think Annie could do it, she just won't be happy with going up right off the bat.

All throughout my ride I chuckled to myself as I tackled roots.  Prior to rainfest '13 there had been some root removal from the trail out there.  Since rainfest '13 I had to wonder: are there more/more pronounced roots now because of the rain (erosion) or has it been so long since I've ridden here that the roots just stand out more?  Either way, I can't wait for the masses to get out there and see the forum board light up with a call to arms against the roots.

I'm giddy like a school girl!  Don't get me wrong.  I DO NOT want any roots removed.  I think it's complete ridiculousness... but sometimes seeing people melt down on a forum over the tiniest thing is a bit entertaining.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Got some good rides in this weekend as trails were actually open!!  Of course, it rained last night... and now this happened.

Don't even think about calling the Whitewater Center, that beast has been closed since June.

I'll get into ride details tomorrow, but one thing I did notice: riding is fun!  Seemed so long since I had ridden trails around here - or at least had an option!  Sour note... EBB seems to have slipped again.  Held tight on a nice climby ride, so I thought the coast was clear.  But after two rides this weekend the chain is slack again.  I also noticed that the chainline seems to be off a bit as the rear cog is off to one side on the chain... so I adjusted that.  Looks like the EBB II will be ordered shortly.  

Today, time is quickly slipping away as I get sidetracked looking at "deals" I don't need to be looking at on all things bike related.  So, I'll get right to it.  The Mutt did some fiddling around up in the mountains and ended up doing quite well up in the hills, I'm sure he's talking about it over here (or will be sometime very soon).

Inspired by his performance (and having come free time on my hands yesterday since I was doing laundry and not riding...) I created a little something for him.

I put it up on his facefriend wall for all to see.  His response: I sense a great disturbance in The Force... and your Photoshop skills.

Perhaps he'd be more comfortable riding this version, after all it's got a saddle and a bridal?

So, that's it for today.... bad weather and equally bad photoshop skills.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Missed it

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

I won't even give you one guess what happened on the way home from work yesterday.  RAIN.  Pouring rain.  Sure it may have been a COUPLE of pockets  I went through, but I was over it.  I wasn't going to get to the trail to find it had been raining there as well.  I went home.

Here is some footage from Thom P's The Gnar Weasels Shredeth.  Of course it's inaugural year is the year after I move from the area... 

So that was the "highlights."  If you want more, have time to waste, or want to see what I used to ride back in the day... check out the course. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013


The heat is up this week... but of course, that doesn't keep the rain away.

As I was about to leave work yesterday this awful alarm goes off in the office.  Storm warning.  On my way the skies opened up in a big way.  Aside from making people drive like complete shit (I'm sorry but dropping to 40 on the highway because of rain compounds the danger... doesn't help people) it wasn't helping trail status in anyway.

Sure enough, most trails are still closed.

I've been itching to hit up USNWC for the past month or so... and I guess that itch will continue to go unscratched.  With the rain and the swollen rivers I'm sure there is trail just sitting underwater... so I get it.  But I'm over "getting it."  I just want to ride!!

Doesn't look like folding up the cuff of your jeans will help here...
Luckily, there are two trails (as of right now) open in the area.  There is always RRT - but I haven't switched to a 20 in the rear and won't have time before work to do so.  I guess I could come home and switch it and join a likely group ride there....  But, with 30% chance of thunder storms starting at about 3 I have a feeling if I don't get out right after work I'll be rained in... cause, that's been the weather of choice as of late.

I'm thinking I'll be visiting Colonel FB this afternoon.  Haven't been there for a bit (because of.... rain) and it's usually good for a couple laps.  We shall see.  Fingers crossed it stays open.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Short/fast post today - hold on tight.

Slathered with Oatey's and cranked down like a mother - the EBB held tight on some demanding trail... fingers crossed but this might be the solution!!

Since our typical social ride was cancelled yesterday didn't feel like a Tuesday, and I almost didn't go out for beverages and food after our ride.  I'm glad I went - "even though it wasn't Tuesday."

Ride That Shit.  YES PLEASE!!  Love this trail.  Some of the uphill switchbacks were crank slowing tight and steep that it took balance and power to maneuver them - perfect.  On the 32x18 it was a challenge but and awesome ride.  As the trail grows (yes, I WILL be a bigger part of trail work) this will undoubtedly be my favorite trail in the area.

Oh, the creaking (whether it was my saddle or spacers) is gone.  With no noise, and no slipping, singlespeed life is once again heaven.  

Michael is one happy mountain biker.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Back in the saddle

This past weekend Annie and I went riding!

She took a second to refamiliarize herself with her clipless pedals and then we were off. Oh, you forgot?  She's a champ.  We drove out to hit up a section of greenway that I figured would be less populated than some of the sections closer to our house, plus it would give us maximum miles.  We didn't ride everything there was this weekend, but Annie maintained a great pace and had some fun - and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the bottom line.

Bike riding is all about having fun!  How do I know she had fun?  Well, her smile was a dead giveaway.  Also, her witty quips.

It was hot out, but not ass sweat hot out.  Yet, Annie attempted to point out that I was sweating out my ass early on in the ride.  I reminded her what happens when you ride through a puddle - minds were eased.  I went on to explain that water/mud can be shot up ones back and even affix to the back of your helmet.  From there the conversation went downhill... fast!

Annie proclaimed that she could be a bike injury detective/doctor a la House.  (a bit of back story; of course the water/mud on ones back has now turned to poop)  A patient comes in with poop splattered up their back.  She would walk in, while everyone else is stumped as to how someone would get poop splattered up their back and ask one simple question.

How'd they get poop up their back?
Do you ride a bike?

BOOM!  Dr. Annie just rocked everyone's world as the patient hesitantly (with a confused look on their face) says yes.  You see, the ONLY way to get poop splattered up your back is to shit yourself while endoing.  And, as we know, you endo on a bike.

wait for it...
Not only was our ride the re-emergency of Annie in the bike world, but we solved a medical mystery.  You are welcome.

We will likely be tearing up greenways for a bit to get Annie her legs and lungs back before getting into the local trails.  Good times ahead people!

Why didn't Annie tell us all about her ride, you ask?  Good question.  Seems I've been left to helm this ship solo style.  Maybe she'll "guest" write in the future, but you are pretty much stuck with me.

Don't worry, she didn't endo so that is just mud.

Monday, July 15, 2013

fixed with beer?

Some people have creaky EBBs.  I did, once.  But I was able to fix that issue... and it was just a cleaning thing - gritty as F down in there.

I have a slipping thing.  And I don't know what it's all about.

As mush as I'd like to think it is a wattage thing (cause, you know, I'm a beast and all...), it can't be.  How do I know?  Well, because Thom P rides the same damn bike and he's a monster.


Since the EBB wasn't staying put, I started my way up the ladder of fixes.  I got myself some Oatey's as recommended by Niner and my Niner insider.  I got my bike cleaned and in pieces and headed out to the Deeps (Home Depot).  Wouldn't you know it, my neighborhood" branch didn't have what I needed in stock so I hustled my ass over to the local ACE (cause it's "the place") getting there 7 minutes before they closed.  They had it.

Back to the bike haven to see if it would do the trick.  This time, things would be done right.

Cleaned the chain while I was at it.  Greased up everything proper and hopefully got the cure...

That isn't something nasty like MountainDew in that koozie.  I did bike maintenance correctly this time, with beer!  It only too one beer (less than one really) to get the EBB coated and back in there.  Will it do the trick?

I hope.  If not, EBB II will be purchased and on the way.  After TheMutt had to warranty his frame due to BB issues I don't want to take too many chances with the Glow Worm... it's the last of it's kind, dontcha know?

It's supposed to be hot as balls this week, maybe that means trails will be open??  Hey hey, let's not get ahead of ourselves here!

Friday, July 12, 2013


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

So of course, in my excitement at the opportunity (and permissions!!) to go to SSUSA I didn't really look at the dates involved.

SSUSA: August 17th

First day of school: August 15th

No rode trip for Eastwood... BOOOO!!!

Well, for those of you that are going, or just wish you are going, here is a little race that the 29nSNGL put on a couple years back.  I think I may have already posted this video, so deal with it.

This just gives you a small idea of what SSUSA might be under their direction.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

I have a teammate

Yesterday when I got home from work it was time to get Annie's bike in working condition.  Somehow, someway, throughout the move(s) Annie's front brake got extremely soft.  It was time to take a look.

I took my time to look at possible offenders instead of just going straight to bleeding.  First thing - the front wheel was rubbing.  I pulled the wheel and brake pads.  Removing the brake pads was no easy feat on this style of brakes... I have never heard of them before.  But hey, it's entry level hydraulic breaks, what do you expect?

Anyway, got the pads out, pushed the pistons back and eventually got the pads back in.  Put the front wheel back on and loosened up the caliper and realigned the whole deal with the wheel in place.  Got it straightened out, compressed the brakes and tighten the bolts back on.  PRESTO!

Scout "supervised"
I'm a freakin bike mechanic kid!

Her wheels are turning, brakes work, put air in the tires... should be good to go this weekend!!  Hells yes, I'll be riding with my beautiful wife this weekend!

Ok, so nothing is official, but plans for the rest of the season might be taking on a bit of a twist.

I'm "have" a race this weekend.  It's been raining like nuts down here so my riding has been minimal... on top of the zero riding I was getting during the moving process...  On the bright side - spots for SSUSA are opening up.

I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

when social is

too social.

We were FINALLY able to get in a ride ON a trail after all the constant raining we've had.  We hit up BYT.  It was in pretty good shape, all things considering.  A few wet spots, a little slickness out there, but definitely good to go.

I got over to the trail real early with the idea that I would get in about an hour or so of riding before the group ride.  That was, until, I realized I had left my jersey at home.  It being a social ride, I couldn't just wear my t-shirt as I'd need something for the post ride festivities.  So, back to the house - right in the thick of traffic - to get my jersey and haul ass back to the trail to make it on time for the ride.  No extra riding : (

Had a good sized group with a couple riders having never ridden BYT before, including one who hadn't been mountain biking before!!  For those who aren't local, BYT would have to be our most technical and challenging trails around.  It's the kind of trail that can beat you down physically and mentally.

The group split up from the start with the idea that we would meet up periodically throughout the trail.  Before the first meet up spot there was a flat.

As soon as he landed you could hear air blowing out of his front tire.
Luckily another rider (on a 29er) had a spare 26" tube to get him back up and running.  The flat fix pulled the social group back and left the fast guys itching to go... so they went.  We made our way through half the trail out there before it was getting a little too dark out in the woods and we decided to make our way out to get food and beverages.

It was great seeing everybody since I haven't been out in what seems like forever... but I stayed out way too late.  Getting up this morning was hard on both my mind and my body... good thing I'm basically just watching training videos on the new computer system for the school all day - fun!  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Waking up to an alarm is a very strange thing when you haven't done it in a while.  The sound of my alarm was incorporated into my dream - so that didn't wake me up.  It was the vibration on my nightstand from my alarm (phone) the perplexed me in my dream, which in turn woke me up when I realized that it must be my phone.  Weird.

Today is my first "official" day at my new job.  I'm working 10 days over the summer break before we officially start back for the school year.  Not sure what I'll be doing... getting used to the new computer system, planning for the year, maybe even meeting with students and parents.  I've already gotten two emails from rising seniors/their parents regarding college stuff.

I STILL haven't been riding.  Trails remain closed, but I thought about hitting the road.  What stopped me, you ask?  Poison ivy.  You thought the carnage on my right arm was bad... nope.  The poison ivy on my left arm (and a little on both legs) blew up, so I went from bandaging my right arm to bandaging my left arm.  The thought of getting out and sweating my ass off with one arm scabbing up and the other gross as hell with poison ivy just didn't sit well.

Thankfully, both seem to be on the mend, and I think I'll be good to go for the social ride tonight... which may end up being an urban ride - but that's ok by me at this point.

In other news, Annie mentioned that she might actually want to get back on her bike!  So I've got to look into what's going wonky with her front brake and get that sorted before the weekend so that she can ride.  We'll probably start on some greenways to get her back into it, but I already told her that nothing down here will compare to the trail (and subsequent frustration) that she saw at Wompatuck.  That being said, I'll have to pick her first introduction to trail down here carefully to minimize frustration.  The weird thing is, she's pretty darn good over technical stuff - she was hoping logs right off the bat without a second thought!  Hopefully the shorter nature of the trail down here will help her feel comfortable tackling them.  I'll Maybe she will be back here at some point to tell you how it goes!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Ugly, The Good, and The Bad

So here it is, installment number 3.

As I mentioned yesterday, The Ugly comes in with a crash.

Sunday I was riding Sherman Branch, one of a few local trails actually open with all the rain we've been having.  My first lap was good, but littered with stops to continue the search for the creak.

After my first lap I removed the broken water bottle cage and decided that I would go out for more.  I hadn't ridden in a while and (aside from the noise) was loving the ride.  Bad choice.

I was on Roller Coaster and everything was fun.  I flew through the first section and was back into the field area where I was just cooking it.  My back wheel kicked up a stick/branch which SMACKED my left calf.  Brakes were applied with much force and I stopped right away.  OUCH!!  That hurt - but more concern was for my rear wheel.  All spokes seemed fine, but THAT will leave a bruise (it did).  I pick up speed and head into a banked right turn over a gravel path.  The turn was banked with wooden boards.  Again, I was pushing the limit with my speeds and my front wheel started to wander a little too high...

Before I knew it my front wheel was ON the top of the boards, hit a joint in the board wall and slipped to the far side of the boards... rider down.  As my wheel went off the backside of the turn I was ejected from the bike.  Arms outstretched I was superman for a minute.  I tried to clear my body from my bike and then it happened - the classic elbow vs. gravel battle.

Kinda fitting I was wearing my Blood Sweat and Gears kit... 2 out of 3 isn't bad...
The gravel won.  Even through the blood you can see the embedded debris.

Quick check of the Glow Worm and everything seems to be ok.

Blood is moving quick so I decide riding isn't the best decision.  It appears that blood is also streaming down my wrist, I lift my glove and see a nice gash on my palm as well - gripping and handlebar isn't so much fun.  I bushwhack briefly to access a "fireroad" of sorts that leads back towards the trailhead.  The Ugly rears it's head as I now know I picked up some poison ivy on my other arm... yay for me!

I spray off with my water bottle and attempt to remove my jersey without getting blood all over it - fail. A few people in the parking lot offer ice and water, but I politely decline as I just want to get out of there.  I get home and Annie isn't pleased with the sight of my arm.  She tells me to go shower and then she'll help clean it up.

AYE!  As soon as I step into the shower my thigh BURNS.  I BARELY have a raspberry on my right thigh (must have been the top tube or handlebars) but the water stings me.  I wash the blood away from my arm, the water and soap feel fine.

I call Annie in to help further clean and bandage my arm

All fresh wounds - that one on my elbow is full of gravel/dirt

My brother suggested that a "bobcat attack" would make for a better story
All bandaged up
 This morning I took a shot of my thigh.  Looks as thought I'll have two pretty good bruises there.  That red line... yeah, as I said before it was barely a raspberry initially, no broken skin (at least to the naked eye).  Sore like a motherF.

I woke up at 5:30 am Monday morning because the pain of my arm wouldn't let me sleep any longer.  Ibuprofen helps.  It seems to be doing ok, but the thought of riding and sweating into the wound didn't sound like the best plan so I skipped the weekly social ride - sorry guys.

Other than the swollenness around the wounds, I can tell that my elbow itself is swollen - hopefully just from impact.  My arm does feel a little weaker than normal (grip wise) but I don't feel any pain of anything more seriously damaged than just ripped flesh so fingers crossed everything heals up well.  I try to keep the bandage off during the day as the wound gets really gross when covered up - yuck!

I'll be back before we know it I'm sure.  I was able to bend back the front brake pretty well.  A small little clip of the corner of the pad with each rotation but that will work itself out I'm sure as it doesn't slow the wheel.  It's the best I could do.  If braking is compromised then a new rotor will be acquired.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Bad, The Ugly, and The Good

On to The Bad.

I guess in the bike world The Bad and The Ugly are pretty close, so I have to draw a line and divide a couple things here.  The Bad will end up revolving around mechanical stuff... always fun.

I already talked about the creak, which I believed (hoped) was saddle related.  Well, on my ride Sunday I discovered it wasn't all about the saddle, there was still some creaking going on.  My worst fear - headset related.  My more hopeful (and likely?) culprit are the carbon spacers... I removed spacers, gave them a little love, and replaced - we shall see if that works.  I also gave the QR on the front wheel a bit of attention as the internerds said that could be a culprit as well.

While out on the ride on Sunday I also noticed that I had a broken bottle cage.  Doesn't sound soooo bad, right?  Well, it is.  Because it was the bottom of the cage that was broken, my bottle was rubbing my frame in two spots... now I have two tiny rub spots on the Glow Worm.  YIKES!  (I used the touch up paint provided by Niner, but it is a bit darker than actual paint on the frame) I was going to go back to the store I bought said cage and try to get it replaced after my ride, but something else happened that prevented that action.  Details on that fall under The Ugly category, but one more mechanical issue came out of it...  let's just say I had a little spill on the bike.

I thought the Glow Worm made it out unscathed upon inspection in the field.

But as I was tracking down the creak yesterday, and playing with the carbon spacers, I stumbled upon another problem - my front brake rotor is bent.  Hopefully it's something that can be bent back; that will be the task for today.  I wasn't able to tackle it yesterday because our internerds decided to randomly stop working so I had to jump into the time suck that is "fixing" (messing around until it works again) internerd service.

Tonight is the weekly social ride, but with the weather being the way that it has been it might be an urban ride.  Even so, the details of The Ugly (coming tomorrow) might force me to sit this one out.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Strap yourself in for a three day/parter here.  I've got a bunch to talk about and it can all be categorized in one of the above categories.  Let's start the week off with The Good, shall we?

I got something in the mail.  Well, "I" didn't get something in the mail... "Captain Glow Worm" got something in the mail.

Yup, I "won" a little something something just from lurking on the facepages.  D-Wayne sent me a sticker.  If you don't know who D-Wayne is, well... I'll tell you a little about him.  I met him through TheMutt  who, I guess, started an internet bromance with him (not too clear on those details).  Anyway, I met D-Wayne when we rode FATS a little while back and he was nice enough to lend give me some CO2 when I was having flat issues (still owe you!).  Other than being one heck of a guy, D-Wayne is an artist, graphic designer, creator of kick ass stuff.  Don't believe me, check out TheMutts header on his page - yup, D-Wayne all over that thing.   He does all sorts of things, websites, stickers, t-shirts, JERSEYS... go check out his company website for all the good stuff.  Dwayne Hunter Design Company.

Oh yeah, so I won... here, check it out.

It's a kick ass 2" ish (can't find the ruler right now) sticker that would actually look great on a head tube...  hmmmm.  Not sure where I will end up placing it - maybe it will find a home in the bike haven once that is complete... or maybe I can find a bike for it.  Decisions decisions.  

What other The Good things do I have?  Well, I've gotten out riding (some) and am still loving the singlespeed (minus the creak that I'm chasing on the Glow Worm).  It's all kinds of wet, so who knows when I'll be on the trail again... but that's ok.  We still have The Bad and The Ugly to go.