Wednesday, October 30, 2013


After tearing down, cleaning, and building back up the Glow Worm I'm still having EBB issues. I've already upgraded to the two bolt EBB AND I'm using Oatey's to give it that extra hold and nothing seems to work. 

Last night I hit up the trails behind my school and by the end I had slack in my chain. That was a non strenuous ride of around 3 miles maybe. That ride also included me discovering my headset was loose (thought it was my front wheel at first) and having my seat post just a hair too tall. Of course I didn't have my multitool with me because I had been carrying it in my beer bag for the BYE and forgot to take it out... annoyance. 

I tried to do a little trail maintenance while I was out there.
I came upon this fallen tree and at first I figured I'd have to walk it because of its length, there was no where to try to pull it to to get it off the trail. I was able to crack it, so I was hopeful I would be able to get it in manageable pieces but I wasn't able to get it to break all the way through. Ah well. 

As I was heading over to our weekly group ride I stopped for gas. When I leaned back into the car to put my wallet away I noticed this. 
I had certainly recognized I had hit some webs while riding, but I had no idea I had picked up a passenger!  The freaky thing about him was his legs - they looked like really sharp piercing legs. So I carefully and slowly lifted my helmet up and out of the pterodactyl so I could get him off my helmet using my gloves. He fell to the concrete and scurried to a crack where he hunkered down. I let him be. As much as spiders freak me out when they are on me, I'm cool with them doing their thing... away from me. 

The group ride was great. Solid turnout with some newbies to group rides and night rides, so that was awesome. TheMutt let me use his tools so I could get my headset and EBB right. The EBB held out for the night ride. It just feels like a time bomb. Some rides I have no worries, others it just seems to want to slip and eject my chain. 

I'm very close to bringing it in to see if there is an issue with my bottom bracket, or if I'm some sort of singlespeed mongo who just can't get it right. I may be in the market for a frame with horizontal dropouts - any suggestions/recommendations?

Monday, October 28, 2013

getting there

Haven't been riding lately.  BUT, I did get the bike haven cleaned (at least preliminarily so) and trying to figure out how it will be organized so I can get going on work bench building and the hanging of some bikes.

After that I tore the Glow Worm down an cleaned it up, put it back together again... but didn't ride it.

Sunday I "rode" the HiFi out at the BYT as I spectated and took pictures of the BYE.  I was more of the idea man of some of the spectator shenanigans out there, but TheMutt really brought it to life with the aid of a few friends.  I'm still working through the photos from the event.  Some you will see here.  Some you will see over at B-43 - I've got to share the love.

Today I do have some photos from a race I went to a while back that I never got to share.  D-Wayne was in town for a cross race.  I don't race cross, but I certainly will spectate when the race is less than a mile from my house.

In cyclocross you:

Run through sand.

Run up a hill.

Continue to push your bike up said hill.

Ride your bike, and sometimes even hit a sweet jump

Then you get to pick up your bike (again) and jump over wooden barriers, repeatedly.

Some more riding.

Goof off with the spectators.

And after a predetermined time limit of just killing yourself out there you finally see the end is near.

D-Wayne did well out there, but I had no idea it was a nail biter of a finish... or at least it was in that guys estimation.

Monday, October 21, 2013


I've talked about things I need to do before. Things like ride more. Spin on the trainer for focused workouts. Get back to lifting weights in the "off season."  Do intervals while road riding. All that good stuff. All of which, if done correctly, should result in better race results. 

I like the idea of it. Of getting regimented (to a certain degree). Of getting the bike like every single day. But then reality sets in. 

I don't have the time for that. Well, more importantly, I don't want to have the time for that. You see, if I did get myself scheduled enough to get quality rides in everyday that would mean I'm losing time somewhere else. And really, the only other place I invest time is with Annie. Sure, on most weeknights we are just sitting around watching some show or another, but we are together. If I was out riding all the time I'd only likely see her at bedtime. 

And how can I take time away from such an amazing wife?  This is the same woman who gave me the green light to start hiking the Appalachian trail. Before the school year somehow the subject came up and she said I should/could start section hiking it since I have the summers off. But more importantly, because she knows it is something I've always wanted to do. 

I'm lucky to have a wife that wants me to do the things I want to do. And yes, hiking the trail would mean time away from Annie and the puppies, but we can break it up so it's not so much time all at once. And yes, she would be ok with me training more if that is what I wanted. But I don't want to have to do one thing at the expense of others. 

Yeah, maybe I'm spoiled, but when it comes down to it all I want to do is live my life with my beautiful wife. So I'll never be a super series racer. I won't be all sponsored up and hanging our on the podium on the regular (or at all), but I'll be the first to ask if you are alright out on the trail, and the one joining you for beers and burritos afterwards. 

Life is all about living. Sometimes it sucks, and you have to make hard choices and get through some difficult times. But you'll make it if you've got the right people by your side. Take a second and look around, find those things/people that make you happy, that make you a better person, and hold on to them. 

This is not the end. It's just a slight adjustment. You'll still see me out there racing (against myself more so then anyone else) and certainly out on the trails having fun. 

Friday, October 18, 2013


So I never talked about what I did about hydration and food throughout the Brunswick Brawl.  Fortunately there were spots throughout the course where eating and drinking was pretty easy, so after the first lap I had a system down as to where I would eat and drink on each lap.

My plan was to drink 1 bottle per lap and eat one bar per lap.   Prior to the start of the race I ate a Clif Bar and drank some of my first bottle.  I previously mentioned that I felt a little dehydrated coming into Wilmington Friday night.... and I did nothing to remedy that.  I continued to do nothing to remedy that prior to the race, because that is the smart thing to do and all...

As I made it back to the dirt road at the end of lap one I had only gotten through half of a bottle, so I downed the rest of it on the dirt road to the pit.  My original plan was to start with two bottles so I would not have to stop to pick up a bottle until lap 3.  With my seat post issues I had to stop after the first lap so Annie offered me up another bottle each time I stopped - so it ended up that I always had two bottles with me.

As I got out for my second lap it was time to start eating.  I found a winding section where I was able to eat and ride, where speed or handling wouldn't be affected by my eating.  Eating was a bit of a chore to be honest.  I was able to do it each lap (except my 6th lap - I skipped it) but by the fourth lap I wasn't happy about eating.  The bars themselves were fine.  I'd had them on a ride before and enjoyed them... but lap after lap eating the same thing at the same spot became a bit monotonous.  This being my first 6 hour and I didn't know how my body would react I just pushed forward and kept downing the bars.  Looking back, I'm not sure they were providing enough calories per lap - but I never really felt hungry.  I think on lap 5 (maybe) I did have the thought of real food... but by the end of the race I "knew" I was hungry, but didn't really want to think about eating at that point.

Drinking became easier with each lap as I was able to identify better the short sections I'd be able to get my bottle out to drink and get it back safely before a turn.  There was some nice straight sections about halfway through where we jumped on a road for a quick bit and then back into the trail for a longer straight up/down/up section where drinking was easy.  By the third lap I was able to finish the lap with some left in the bottle, but down it easily before reaching the pit.

I did supplement everything with mustard as well.  I think it was after lap 2 that I downed one packet of mustard as a preemptive strike on cramps.  I started feeling the cramps in my calves start up in the third lap, and as I discussed they were killing me in the fourth.  I can't remember if I had another packet after the third lap, or just as I was laying on the ground in the pit that I had another one.  In any case I do recall that they helped, and for the majority of the lap my legs felt good, it was just every lap right before fence line the cramps started to show up.  Perhaps I should have had mustard then and there on the trail, but those little packets might have been a challenge to open while riding... then again, maybe not, I didn't try.

So, where did the cramps come from?

First, I do not think I started hydrated, so I think I was constantly trying to play catch up with hydrating - which isn't the way to go while exerting yourself out on the trail.

Secondly, I haven't ridden that long/far on the mountain bike before - so I don't think my legs would have been pleased with me had I been super hydrated anyway... I think it was bound to happen with just the level of demand I was putting into my legs.  Drinking Osmo and sneaking mustard seemed to battle my cramps - but unless I wanted to add an Osmo/mustard shake in per lap I don't know what else I could have done.

I will continue to mess around with food on the trail.  I still haven't played with some of the cool recipes that are posted on the Osmo site, but I want to try some of those options for nutrition while riding.  Having completed a 6 hour I do feel a bit better about where I need to be for the Snake Creek Gap series coming up in a few months.  Certainly the course will be a bit more demanding with 5+ thousand feet of climbing compared to the 900 something I did over 6 hours.  But at least now I have a sense of what my body is going to be doing after being in the saddle for so long.  I'm hoping that the Snake will take me a bit less than 6 hours - but this will be another endeavor that I go into more as a personal challenge and less of a race.  Plus, I just want that cool ass belt buckle!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Is it over yet?

Ok, so I'm heading out for my fourth lap.  Cramps had already started to creep in at the end of the third lap - so while I was in the pit I did a little stretching.

The fourth lap was going pretty good.  The bike seemed to be holding up.  The rear tire was good after the fill - must have been the crash that dropped the pressure.  Anyway, things were going well until I got to my favorite part of the trail.  Yeah, I had a favorite part of the trail.  It's this section towards the end that turns into a pretty straight slight climb along a fence line.  It was the kind of incline that you know is there, but you don't really feel... so you can really dig into it and fly.  It laced through some trees as well so it was a nice and smooth fast section before the the last bit and back into the road.

So as I'm getting ready to turn it on my thigh starts to cramp.  My calves had been annoying me now for a little bit, but the thigh starting to protest got me a little worried.  I decided to pull up real quick to try to work things out - and that was a mistake.  As soon as I put my leg down to get off the bike my legs destroyed themselves.  I literally fell over as my muscles went all sorts of crazy.  I rolled around on the ground in the fetal position trying to get my muscles in workable positions.  It was insane.

I was finally able to stand back up and continue to stretch.  A couple riders went by asking if I was ok, and each time just one word was all that was needed "cramps."  I finally got back on the bike and finished up the trail and was back out on the road.

This time the pit wasn't for the bike, it was for me.  I needed to do something about my legs or I didn't know what would happen out on the trail.  I was informed that TheMutt had pitted (finally) but had only stuck around for a few minutes before he was off again.  Actually, I think Annie told me that he had "decided to stop" and in my tired state I took that to mean that he was throwing in the towel, which I could not comprehend.  I was eventually able to wrap my head around the fact that TheMutt was still racing, but I couldn't believe where I was in the race.  As I moaned and groaned and worked on my legs Annie was telling me I was pretty consistent with my lap times and things were looking good.  I got over to my garmins and it was telling me I had been riding for about 3 hours and 40 minutes.

What?  wait... that means I have 2+ more hours to complete just two more laps to reach 6.... That can't be right.  The idea that I would be racing to hit the cut off so that I could get 6 laps in was out the window.  Now I was facing the reality that I was going to easily (as long as nothing major happened) get in 6 laps.  If something could completely turn around to the positive side I could challenge the cut off for 7.  This was a bizarre turn of events.  Realistically I knew there was no way I was going to be able to challenge for 7 laps... but to be in a position to get 6 laps without too much worry was reinvigorating.

Soon I was (as ready as I was going to be) to get back on the bike and I was out for my fifth lap.  Steady was the name of the game.  I knew I had plenty of time to get my last two laps in, so I wanted to be as consistent as possible to avoid anything big that would prevent me from finishing 6.  Then, I dropped my chain again.

Swearing commenced, this time a bit louder.  I was done with this none sense.  What the F is wrong with me damn bottom bracket???  Seriously.  The original EBB couldn't hold still.  I get the new 2 bolt version, and now this guy is moving around on me??  I resist the urge to huck my bike into the woods and get to fixing the problem.  I take the rear wheel off, get the chain back on, replace the rear wheel.  Start working on the EBB and a singlespeeder goes by.  The first I've seen since the beginning.  I was a head of someone?  Up until this point in the "race" I hadn't cared about position.  It was all about getting in 6 laps.  Now, a different sense of urgency started bubbling up.  Maybe I can get in 6 AND finish ahead of someone??

I crank down the bolts on the EBB and take off with a mission.  I'm going to catch that rider.  He's my carrot as I work my way through the trail.  I catch glimpses of him through the trees and around corners, my pace quickens.  I catch him but am fine with staying on his wheel as we get through the tight, rooty, punchy stuff.  He's got a fork and takes the rooty downs a little faster, I'm up his ass anytime the trail goes up.  We hit a straight section and he moves to let me go but I yell to him to keep going because I notice my seat post has decided to go south for the winter once again.  Do I stop or continue on...

I stop, adjust the seat post and haul ass to catch back up.  It doesn't take long and I'm on him.  We are getting close to the fence line and I know my move.  He has been slowing anytime the trail looks up, so I know I can get by him and put in a gap on him when we get to the fence line... I wait patiently and then call out my pass.  My legs, as though they remember the battle we had on the ground last lap start to twitch and hint that they want round 2.  Not a possibility, I push it out of my mind and try to stretch out my legs while pedaling, but I keep my pace up to the top of fence line and through the last section.

I hit the road behind another rider, and I chat him up a little as we head down the road, glancing over my shoulder to see when the singlespeeder would come out.  I'm halfway down the road when I see him round the corner.  I can't tell if he's going to gun it after me or not, but I don't wait to find out.  Annie steps out to welcome me into the pit but I tell her I'm going out for 6, there is a singlespeeder behind me.  I tuck in and pick up speed.  The rider with me jumps on my wheel and enjoys the pull.

from the Brunswick Brawl facebook page
As we head through the first part of the trail I think about telling the rider behind me that this isn't a free ride, that I'd expect a beer afterwards - but I notice my seat post is going down again and the cramps are starting to rise to levels that I can't ignore.  As soon as the trail opened up into the jump line I pull off and let my trailer go.  I get my seat post square and try to get back on the bike, but I can't ignore my legs.  I start stretching, watching and waiting for the singelspeeder to come.  He doesn't.

Did he pit?  Is he slowing down that much?  Maybe he called it?  I keep stretching and watching... a different rider comes through...  I tell myself that he's still coming, and not he's got momentum so I have to go!  I jump on my bike and take off.  I'm riding at a good pace.  Not redlining it, but I'm taking speed where I can get it.  From time to time I think I hear him behind me so it keeps me moving.  A combination of split attention (trail and ghost rider), crazy thoughts (could I finish with enough time to get another lap in?) and fatigue leads me to take a corner a bit too fast.  I feel my tires start to slip and over correct myself straight into a tree.  I saw it coming so I was able to avoid the tree myself, but my handlebars slam straight into it.  I pop back up and take a quick assessment... everything seems fine.  I take off again - now he MUST be just behind that last corner.

I'm getting through some twisty rooty stuff, with the big steep down to off camber left turn coming up and I notice I don't have rear brakes.  Not that they don't work, but my brake lever is now below my bar.  I test to see if I can use it in the position it is in, but it stretches my wrist over the bar too much and puts me in an awkwardly dangerous position.  I get through the section I am in and pull over the fix it.  He's coming, he's coming.  I get the brake lever back in a normal position and take off.

The crash put a nice scratch on my carbon bars right at the clamp...
might have to retire these bars before they brake on me.

He's coming, he's coming.  He hasn't caught me yet.  I know that if he catches a glimpse of me before we get to the fence line then he is going to have a shot at me.  If I get to fence line before he catches me I know I can turn it up and put a gap on him and hold it through the finish.  I start to take it easy through the rough stuff as I can't risk another crash or mechanical.

I'm getting closer to fence line and I can feel it.  I'll be able to hold him if he gets to me.  Once on fence line I'm gone.  Knowing that this will be the last time I hit this section was a freeing feeling.  I stayed on top of my cadence and kept on moving.  I pop out of the trees for the last time and turn onto the dirt road.  I yell to the marshall on the ATV that it was a fun time and take off down the road.

I'm approaching the pit and I don't see Annie.... I wonder where she is?  Maybe she's at the finish... what should I do for a picture??  Point?  thumbs up?  As I get towards the bottom of the road I see her at the right turn to the finish.  She's using her phone so I figure I should wait to get closer before I "pose" for the picture - I went with a thumbs up.  I hit the turn and cross the line.

Best. Feeling. Ever.  Out of nowhere I felt like a kid again and almost wanted to keep going.  ALMOST.  An official called me back to get my timing chip from me so I turned back around and asked him if he was really going to make me get off my bike and cramp up to give him my chip.  He laughed and told me he'd get it off my ankle for me.

I crossed the line at around 5 hours 45 minutes with 6 laps in.  I never saw the singlespeeder I had passed in lap 5.  Ends up that that had been his 6th lap and he called it after that.  I came in DFL, but I didn't care.  Even though I guess I was never racing him, he was enough motivation to keep me going out there and to finish strong.

Riding for that long is a strange thing.  Although my body certainly felt it, I never got bored.  It was fun.  I know that sounds sick, but it was such a fulfilling experience to go into a 6 hour race blindly to just see what I could do.  And I've got to say, I'm pretty damn happy with what I was able to do.  Makes me excited to see what I can do at the next one now that I have one under my belt.  Hopefully I can get the mechanical issues under control next time - but maybe those forced stops helped me make it physically as well.  You've got to take the good with the bad in mountain biking.  All in all, I had a good time and reached my goal - what more can you ask for?             

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Let's go!

Sorry about the delay. Monday night I got a call from work, things got heavy quick. So blogging wasn't anywhere on the agenda yesterday.

Annie and I drove down to Wilmington Friday night. I was mortified to find out we'd be leaving town via Independence. It's the greatest traffic F of all time. Friday night would be no different. The scary thing was that we would be taking Independence/74 the ENTIRE way, so my fingers were tightly crossed that things would open up at some point. It was slow goings and took way too long to leave the traffic behind, but we finally did. I was super tired and we eventually got to our hotel around 11 pm. I could feel that I was dehydrated, but I was honestly too tired to do anything. I will go ahead right now and say that that was a mistake. 

Saturday morning I got up and had myself a little breakfast in the room as I prepared. 

Thin bagels. Too thin to have one, so I spread my cream cheese (with onions and chives of course) and threw an entire bagel in between. Now it was more like a "real bagel."

After I ate I got to creaming my chamois... with Chamois Butt'r. I had no idea how much to use. I didn't want to skimp, thus making it pointless, so I used the whole thing. 

Halfway through the first lap I knew I used too much. I had a nice "squishy" feeling between my butt cheeks, fun!  Too much cream or not, my but felt good through the ride. 

When we arrived at the venue I claimed a pit spot and texted TheMutt. He claimed he had just woke up, but knowing what a jokester he is I didn't believe him. I went and registered, getting my number/food ticket... or was that just a motivational thought to keep one riding for 6 hours?

I also got a free t-shirt (love me some free t-shirts!) and a sweet tattoo to let others know who they were passing. Later I was told we got free water bottles - missed out on that one!

I helped haul some of TheMutt's stuff down to the pit area and started to prepare for the race. Time was tighter than I normally like, but I managed to get everything together for the prerace meeting.  The cut off time for your last lap was 5 hours and 30 minutes.  My goal was to get in 6 laps.  I thought I'd be able to do it, but wasn't sure how tight I'd be on getting in before the cut off mark to make that 6th lap.   

As we got lined up for the start I was trying to focus on the advice I had gotten from a number of sources: don't get caught up in racing off the start.  TheMutt was lining up towards the front, so I stood next to him, but wondered if I shouldn't be further back?  At the start he took off like a bullet, I spun, but didn't try to over do it.  I was happy to let those geared riders crank it down the flat dirt road as I spun at a good clip towards the singletrack entrance.  From there on we were in a train.  I felt good and didn't feel like I was overdoing it so I was fine sticking to the wheel in front of me.  Soon enough I saw TheMutt in front of me, really?  I caught up to him.  That meant one of two things.  I was going too fast, or he was dying.  

Some geared fellows jumped around me when I could let them by, but I still had TheMutt in my sights.  I was certainly willing to let him go, but I was hanging on ok.  All of a sudden the rider in front of me pulls up to the side - I guess he was tired of having a line behind him.  The trail normally went straight OR left, but the straight (black diamond) option was taped off, so I hit the hard left blindly as the rider cleared to the side.  I have no idea what my front tire struck, but I hit something and over the handlebars I went.  The train came to a squealing halt.  I quickily pulled my bike off the trail and let 8-10 riders go.  Most were courteous and called out to make sure I was ok - or point out  my water bottle rolling across the trail.

A few choice expletives later and I was back up and off.  Now I knew I was pushing my pace, but I just wanted to get back on someones wheel for at least this first lap - it's nice to have a "guide" on an unknown trail.  Going over a few roots it felt like my back tire was a little squishy... but I had just put air in both tires before the race...

My seatpost then started slipping.  My damn seatpost.  This thing has been slipping on and off for a while now and it is a royal pain in my ass!!  As we jumped back out on the starting dirt road I decided to floor it as I knew I was going to have to stop to adjust my seat height... it was getting too low to be effective.  I stopped quick, tightened down my seatpost and was off again, after the riders I had just passed on the dirt road passed me back.  

Going out on lap two was like a breath of fresh air.  It was so nice to not be in a train on the beginning sections of the trail.  I soon caught two riders from the one hour race who offered to let me by.  I told them we could wait until it was safe ( I didn't need them to pull over and stop to let me go) but they were going a little slower than I would have liked.  As soon as I was able to get by I powered up a hill and BAM!  My chain dropped.  I pulled into the trees, swearing as I went.  I got to removing my rear wheel and getting the chain back on.  Of course, then I had to loosen my slipping EBB and re-adjust and crank it down.  I started to curse my EBB but then accepted that I've been neglecting it, so maybe it was my fault.  As I was getting set to take off I reached back and squeezed my rear tire... yup - soft.  I decided I had taken too much time already so I would wait to pit to use the floor pump on it.  As I took off I tried to think of why it was soft... do I have a slow leak?  Could I have burped it when I crashed?  I just hoped it would hold till I finished this lap.  

Now I would have to pick up my pace if I was going to reach my goal.  Again towards the end of the lap my seatpost was slipping... looks like it'd be another pit to adjust.  A quick stop to adjust my seatpost and pump my rear tire back up - I was down to around 15psi.  I headed out for lap 3 in no mans land.  My seatpost quickly started slipping so I pulled off to tighten it back down.  Back on the trail I found a good pace.  I wasn't concerned with the other riders or my place - this was a personal challenge and not a race.  I was enjoying the trail and before I knew it I could see the Trail Mayor up ahead.  I turned it up and caught up to him as we hit the dirt road.  I hadn't gotten a chance to chat with him prior to the race, so I took the opportunity to chat as we rolled down the dirt road.  I thanked him for inviting me down as I was enjoying the trail and the challenge.  Unfortunately, he was going to miss the cut off for the 3 hour race.

Once again I pulled into the pit to adjust my... you guessed it... seatpost.  If you've been counting along, that would mean I was headed back out for my fourth lap.  This is where things get interesting, and where I will have to stop for today.        

Monday, October 14, 2013

Trust me

After a typical XC race there is a lot to talk about. After a 6 hour race there is A LOT to talk about, trust me. So much so that today I will only scratch the surface. Last night I couldn't get to sleep, maybe I was just too excited to get back to work?

Or maybe my body is just too pissed off at me?

Initial thoughts before/during/after the race:

How much Chamois Butt'r does one use?  I dunno...

but this was probably too much!

I don't listen to music when I ride. Sometimes I think about random stuff, sometimes I don't think I have a thought in my head, but I never got bored. 

After 4 laps I couldn't believe how far I'd already made it and how much time I still had before the cut off!  Very motivating!

After 4 laps I couldn't believe how bad my cramps were... very demoralizing. 

For most of the race this wasn't a race, but a personal challenge, and I loved it!  That being said, when it came time to "race," that kept me going through the end. 

I've never quite felt the same feeling at a finish as I did on Saturday

- all the pain disappeared (for a quick second) as I realized I had met my goal!

I didn't have one clean lap (whether it was a mechanical, crash, or cramping - and sometimes more than one per lap) but that was the race I had to face and I'm happy for it!

THIS is my kind of racing!

Well, I guess that gives you a skelton outline if what's to come this week. Stick around for the details, hopefully I'll be able to fill in the blanks in the correct order. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Brawl

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

Up at 3am... tried to go back to sleep for about 30 minutes, it wasn't happening... so I got up.  Thoughts of things I needed to do before heading down to the coast were running through my head, compounded with all the crap I need to get done at work today....  On the bright side, I did find this

Yup, I did get a little sample in a swag bag that I got at a race earlier this year... so my butt will be silky smooth as I pedal around the woods for 6 hours tomorrow.

I found a little video from the Brawl last year.

Oops, wrong brawl.  Here is the real one.

Brunswick Brawl 2012 from Sir Bikes on Vimeo.

I'm "excited."  I'm sure you are too!  Never fear, I'll tell you all about how it goes next week, cause after all... that's what I do.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Yesterday I got some GREAT advice from everyone's favorite wheel builder, Dustin.  Butt Butter.  Yup, it's real.  I've never used anything in my chamois before.  Sure I've gotten irritated here and there (stuff you really want to know about, I know) but for the most part things are good down there.  BUT, I think 6 hours could certainly be enough time to make saddle sores a pain in my ass... yup.

Dustin recommended good old Chamois Butt'r.  I am pretty sure I got a little tube of this stuff at a race earlier in the year... but haven't gotten the chance to search for it in the pile of bike stuff behind the pile of bathroom construction stuff - which, by the way is almost complete.  I will obviously look for it tonight, and if I don't have anything, I'll have to make a late/early run to a bike shop somewhere to get something for my... comfort.

What I already had on the list of things to get for prep was more Osmo Active Hydration.  Seriously, this stuff is the STUFF!!  I plan on loading up bottle after bottle with this stuff and  I WILL concentrate on downing a bottle per lap to stay as fresh as I can be over 6 hours.  While I was at my LBS I picked up a bottle as well.  Some people complain about having too many bottles - I don't have that problem.  You all remember how sad I was with loosing a ratty old bottle, don't you?    So now I have a fresh pretty one to enjoy this Saturday.  Eating will also be a priority.  And in that arena I'm still experimenting on what does the job.

Last night we finally got the washer and dryer hooked back up so I'll be doing stacks of laundry all night to make sure I'm ready for the weekend.  I should probably go ride my bike as well since I haven't ridden all week... who knows if I'll have time.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


This weekend I have a race.  The Brunswick Brawl.  It's not my typical race, this is a 6 hour race.  My first.  And, depending on who you ask, it is either Saturday or Sunday.

It's Saturday!  Never trust a singlespeeder for race advice/info - even if they are your friend - I'm looking at TheMutt here!!

You might ask, "why someone would want to ride their mountain bike for 6 hours?"
I might say, "why not?"
Sure this is going to be an entirely new experience for me... one that I have done zero targeted training for.  I've never been riding for nearly that long, so who the hell knows what is going to happen out there.  But, you've got to start somewhere.  There was a 3 hour option, but I guess that wasn't a big enough stretch for me.  Doing 3/4 laps of a course (although still a challenge) seemed much more realistic to me.  So I figured let's go all out and see what I can do in 6 hours.  Maybe I will be surprised, or maybe I'll be cursing everything the whole time*... we shall see.  Hey, at least it's not a 100 miler or a 24 hour race!  

Last night there was no social ride due to rain.  So instead of riding I was going to prepare for this race in a slightly different way - planning the trip.  The race is far enough away (and long enough!) that it won't be an out and back type of thing.  Actual planning will have to go into the logistics of the whole deal.  And, the best part, Annie is coming with me.  So we are going to make a little weekend out of it. Win-win right there.  Plus, she might be able to help out in the pit... if she doesn't wonder off due to boredom...  The plan for last night was to figure out our lodging for Friday and Saturday night.  Then this happened.

I didn't "fall asleep" on our "chair and a half."  I was "training."  I need my rest if I'm going to be on the bike for 6 hours so lay off!  In all honesty, I'm thinking about the race as little as possible.  I don't want to over think anything.  Gearing is the biggest question as I've never ridden in the area and I've never ridden for 6 hours, so there is the huge question of which way to go to make sure I last...  but I'm going with what I have on right now and that is that.  Might I regret it later?  I'm not getting into that - because as of right now I can see that there could be potential regrets with any choice - so it's man up/leave it alone time and just hold strong with the old saying... "run what ya brung."

* I apologize in advance for any explicative you might here mumbled/shouted with no particular target in mind (it will likely be myself or the Glow Worm) out on the trail.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

so much FUN!

While Saturday was about the kids, Sunday was about me!

I headed out to Fisher Farm for a Niner Demo hosted by The Cycle Path.  On the way to the demo I noticed that TheMutt was behind me... what perfect timing!  That was until TheMutt used some local knowledge of the roads that my garmins apparently couldn't figure out, so he beat me there.  He made up for his sneaky driving skills by introducing me to Mike from Niner.  I guess knowing a douchebag pays off... I mean an "industry insider douchebag."

Anyway, this day was about ripping around on way fun (expensive) bikes.  The first bike I took out was the JET9 RDO.  A full suspension carbon bike that will run you $8699.00.  This was my one and only time to ride such a beast.

Can you say a bike is too fun?  I don't think a bike can be too fun, but this one comes damn near close!  Fast?  Why yes, it was so fast.  So fast it had me hitting jumps and catching air all over the place.  Seriously, I was hitting things faster than ever, I had never gotten so much air out at Fisher.  But, I might have got a little too fast out there.  The front tire was a little soft and it burped as I was landing on a turn, causing me to slide out.  Luckily I had my pump with me so I could get things back up and running.

I loved everything about this bike... good thing I'm not in the market for a full suspension bike.  This thing would be the ultimate race bike.  It had the perfect geometry for me, loved the aggressive stance it had me in.  The bike just begged to go faster.  With it being carbon it was so damn light!!  I was flicking it all over the place and it was right there with me.  The suspension had me floating over every rooty mess out there with little effort.  I couldn't find a fault with it at all.  It handled all aspects of the trail with ease... and speed.  Always with speed.

TheMutt caught an action shot of me as I first hit the trail with the JET9 RDO
 - bluriness isn't the camera operators fault, that is just how fast I was on that thing 

Next up I had to try the RIP9 RDO.  Another carbon full suspension bike, but this one had a bit more travel (120-140 up front vs the 100-120 on the JET9 RDO, and 125 in the rear vs. 100 on the JET9 RDO).  The RIP9 RDO comes in at $6499.00.

Honestly, I wasn't into this bike as much.  As soon as I hit the trail something felt off (later TheMutt noticed that my fork was almost locked out... so that might have been the cause of some things...).  I just didn't feel as in control of the bike as I did with the JET9 RDO.  Totally different stance on the bike.

I felt like the bike took the bigger hits better, but for the smaller normal trail stuff I felt more chatter with the RIP9 RDO.  Again, that may have had to do with the suspension set up (which I didn't think to check).

I felt slower on this bike, but when I compared my times on both bikes they were pretty close... so that actually might be saying a lot there.  A bike with a less aggressive stance, more travel, but almost as fast??  I did have to stop and address the front tire on the first ride, so that likely skewed my times a little... but still, this bike was fast.  I could see this one being a TON of fun out in the mountains, but just wouldn't be my cup of tea for the majority of trails it would see time with around here.

Such a fun day.  Big thanks to Mike from Niner for hanging out for the day and letting us play with his toys.  Thanks to The Cycle Path for hosting, and cooking up some hot dogs...

I guess that was the theme for the weekend... bikes and hot dogs - the kids have it right after all!!


Monday, October 7, 2013

a weekend of "FUN!"

If you did not participate in your local Take a Kid Mountain Biking day this year, you NEED to do it next year.  Yeah I know, I didn't want to get up early after a week of being overtired from work either... but I'm glad I did!

It was awesome to be around kids so freakin excited to be getting out and riding bikes... something that we do all the time and probably take for granted.  Probably 2/3 of the kids came as a group from their school, the other 1/3 being parents who brought their kids.

TheMutt (green Trailblazers jersey to the right of the guy in white w/ the camelbak) telling the little ones that one day they too will be the size of lunchbox (black Trailblazers jersey to the left of the guy in the white w/ the camelbak).
The original plan was that TheMutt and I were going to take a bunch of intermediate kids out, but there just weren't that many intermediate kids - so we opened up another beginner group and joined forces with TomTom and Lunchbox.  Lunchbox and I swept.  I'll sum up our ride by quoting kids.

Little girl, as I'm talking to her father "How big is that bike??"
I finish saying whatever it was I was saying to her father and notice she is looking at my wheels "I have 29" wheels."
girl: "Oh wow, mine are only 24""
me: pointing to her Dad's bike "He has 26" wheels, and there are even wheels that are 650b or 27.5""
girl: had a look of astonishment and confusion on her face
me: "Yeah, I know.  It gets confusing."

girl to father: "Can we come back here and ride again sometime?"

boy: "I can't wait until next year, I'm doing this again!"

girl: "It's so beautiful.  And fun!"

And, this kid almost had me spit out my coleslaw as I was waiting eating in line for my hamburger:

"Oh they got hotdogs!? This is the best day of my life!!"

I don't have kids - they would severely cut into my ability to buy bikes - but it sure was fun riding with them for a day.

Big downers for the day though... those riders trying to do hot laps out there while we had close to 100 kids/parents out on the trails.  One rider did redeem himself... he came up fast but did respond to my warning that we had a lot of beginners out there, and carefully passed kids when it was safe.  When we reached a road crossing I noticed he had given up the bike for trail running.  Good choice.

Another rider, not so much.  He had ear buds in and didn't register any reaction to my two yells to him that we had kids up ahead... and instead went on around me as I was behind a kid who had fallen off his bike and was now getting up to push uphill... thanks buddy.  Apparently this Asshole later threatened a runner because they didn't completely clear the trail for him.  Awesome.  I'm glad that other trail users don't slow you down when you are out there winning.

I had a lot of fun out there, and the actions of one asshole couldn't compare to the power of the smiling faces I saw when I looked at the kids we had out on the trail.  Definitely a great day out there.  Big thanks go out to Trips for Kids and REI for organizing the ride, bikes, and food.  I'm glad that the Trailblazers could help out.   

Sunday was a bit of "selfish" fun, but I'll get into that tomorrow.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ride bikes with little people

No no no... wrong kind of "little people."

I'm talking about IMBA's Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day - it's this Saturday (October 5th) you know!

Did you know they've been going for 10 years strong now??  I sure didn't.  And to celebrate that accomplishment, IMBA has tweeked this year's event a little... they want the kids to take their mom (dad, aunt, uncle, grandpa, grandma, etc.) out on the trails this time.

If your local mountain bike club/team is hosting an event, get out and participate.  You can find more info about the international event here... there is also a sweet little search function if you want to help out but don't know where to start.

I'll be there, cause after all... Trick loves the kids.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Annie is out in LA doing her yearly stalking of the stars trip this week.  Normally, that would mean I'm eating chips and salsa for dinner for a week.  

This week, however, has just been pretty "busy."  Late night at work on Monday doing a presentation for parents, Tuesday night social, last night Sean was in town (so out to eat... and drink), tonight I have the Trailblazers meeting - before which I need to get to Lowe's to get faucets for the new bathroom... I'm flat out exhausted.

Annie saw Danny Trejo last night, so there is that!

No idea who is in the photo with him... kinda creepy picture really.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

So tired!

Oh boy. The guys kept me out way past my bedtime last night. But it was worth it.

Got in my first night ride (half of the social was in the dark) of the season, and first ever at the USNWC

I also really dug, at least in the dark, the new end to weigh station and the new bypass to toilet bowl. 

Afterwards we hit up the String Bean, which is always good. I got a little crazy and had desert. It was so good I was a little slow in the picture taking. 

It was fried Oreos with vanilla ice cream and caramel. YUM. TheMutt was trying to get the waitress to send me a second order - something about fattening me up/slowing me down - I guess he is nervous about our head to head 6 hour coming up at the Brunswick Brawl. 

After beers and food we had a good debate about our local mountain bike club. I guess I kinda have to make it to the meeting on Thursday now. I try to go, but never seem to make it. Now is the time to start making it a must instead of a want/should. 

I'll throw this out there for internerds to sit with... I accidentally/randomly/cleverly dubbed Good Guy Greg with a new nickname last night, Old Man Sweeper. 

Curious?  Come on out to our Tuesday night socials and see what it's all about. Hey, if you ride with us long enough, or just have yourself a good time with us, you'll likely come out with a nickname. Between TheMutt and myself I'm sure we can come up with something that will either fit, or just stick!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

good separate, great together

I like riding bikes.  It's a little known fact, but I figure we know each other well enough now for me to be able to share that secret with you.

I also like taking pictures.  That you may know.  Or maybe you don't.  Pay attention.

When I first started taking pictures it was all in black and white, and all on film.  I liked it.  A lot.  I'd only take nature/architecture pictures, that was just my thing.  I've since acquired a digital camera and, although nature/architecture/objects are my favorite subjects, some of you may have seen me taking pictures at races.  It's been fun to be able to race, and then get back out on the course and take pictures of other racers killing it, surviving it, or just riding it.

Taking pictures at races has been both fun for me, and nice for riders - because who doesn't like an action picture of themselves on the bike??  I mean, it's nice to have proof of what a badass you are for all your coworkers without having to crash to prove it to them... so stop crashing and just let me take you damn picture!!

Joking aside, I haven't been able to take pictures after racing down here as much just due to the timing of races.  The heats seem to go off a lot quicker so by the time I've been finished and "recovered" the rest of the guys and gals are already out on the course... so no time to get back out and scout a good spot.... so it's fallen off as things I do.  Sorry about that.

Saturday I dropped Annie off at the airport for her annual LA trip with her best friend.  They have fun, make reservations under my last name and get treated to the best seats in the house cause of it, and of course enjoy a nice steak on the sidewalk while talking to Christopher Walken.  I thought about getting out for a ride before the Georgia game... but that's as far as I got.  So Sunday was the day to ride.

Sunday came and it felt more like a crappy movie on the couch kind of day.  So I watched I Robot for the millionth time (most viewings being as I fell asleep at night).  Finally I said screw it and got up to ride.  But motivation was minimal so decisions were hard to come by.  Then I decided it was time to take pictures...  What better way to explore my new city?  So I grabbed my camera, hopped on georgia, and cruised around finding things to take pictures of.  I had two destinations in mind from previous rides, and was open to explore anything and everything in between.

Mostly I just took pictures of trains and Charlotte

I can NEVER turn down a good sign.  I'm sure it's informative and important to the operation of the train, but seriously... I can only be so serious.

I took a bunch more, you can check them out here