Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Internerd garbage

People messing around on forums isn't new. Sometimes they are intentionally trying to push people's buttons, sometimes they are trying to inappropriately pedal their product/crap.

One of the "groups" I'm part of on the facebooks deals with local bike stuff for sale (go figure). It's a more direct and effective way to buy/sell quality bikes/parts then craigslist... unless you want stolen stuff, then get over to craigslist. Anyway, from time to time people sneak into the group and try to sell, or just post up info about, something completely unrelated to bikes. It used to be some woman who "had a hook up" on designer sneakers...  She was a blast. 

Last night a new pioneer joined the group. 

(Names not protected because no one is innocent on the internerds)

I was the first to stumble upon the post, so of course I had to say something. 

I was supported (hence the likes) and then I almost died. I completely lost it when I read the next post. It was lost on Annie, she looked at me like I was crazy, but she did enjoy the level of entertainment I was getting from the whole ordeal. 

Best post EVER. Annie's mom got it, so I'm not crazy. But I thought I'd share since it's a half day (motivation very low) and I woke up to the sound of rain. Very cold rain I'm sure. Hopefully reading the interchange on the facebooks gives you a little chuckle to warm your belly. 

Ron cracks me up!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Best laid plans and all

It's a two day week. Well, really a one and a half day week. I was planning on using the half day to my advantage and get a nice long ride in at Lake Norman after work, and then this happened...

I guess we are in for some freezing ran tonight and 2 + inches of rain on Tuesday. So, no riding for me on my half day. 


I've been loving me some Lake Norman. Hit it up again yesterday. Three things to recap. 

1.  Hooray, dropped a chain. But, it popped out to the outside of my cranks (first time ever) and was super easy to get back on. It did make me think though... It came off as I was powering up a slow turn to the left. During the 6 hour race when I dropped my chain twice in the same exact spot on the course, a power turn up to the left...  I wonder if there could be some flex leaving me vulnerable to a drop when I'm putting the power climbing and going left??  Or maybe my chain line is off just enough to really show in this situation. I'm also wondering if my slipping EBB was really due to the fact that I had a super tight chain line?  Since it skipped this last time I've left it looser than I had been and it seems to be doing fine - dropped chain but doesn't seem to have moved. 

2. I stalled at the same spot on that one steep climb. Dunno if I'll get it with the 18t before the trail switches direction with the new year. 

3. Crashed yesterday. 

Loose leaves can be dangerous. I had already felt the leaf induced slide a couple times prior but had been able to right myself and stay wheels down. Obviously my luck ran out and as I was flying around a corner I couldn't hold it. Got tangled up in the bike as I hit the ground - my leg was pinned between the bars and frame making it a little difficult to get undone with my face pressed into the ground. Because I was having difficulties clearing myself of the bike as I was going down I wasn't able to shield as much from impact. Face first into the ground. The helmet (and glasses) deflected the blow, but I still got my bell ring. I tried to push on, but had to drop the last loop - head was starting to hurt, felt like I was a bit sluggish in tracking the trail, and just a hint of nausea was coming on. Annie's mom was able to confirm that I did not have a concussion, so it's all good. Also came out with a classic hip raspberry. 

And a bonus 4. Those trails have me hooting and hollering!  Out of pure joy and from close calls as I seem to keep pushing it out there, which is good. You only get faster/improve bike handling by pushing yourself to that edge. See how fast you can take the corner, etc. But it's a blast out there for sure. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

mmmmm mountains!

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

It's fall... it's mountain time.  D-Wayne proposed a ride out at Bent Creek on December 1st.  I said yes... cause I should see how my legs will stand up to real climbing on the Glow Worm.  This morning I realized that is next weekend!!  Wow, November just flew by!  This weekend I think I'll get the 20 on there and start hammering some hills around these parts.

Get yourself out in the leaves and pedal your ass off... Thanksgiving is coming, so start earning those calories now!  I guess it's high time I start thinking about some of these mountain events...

Oh yeah, and then there is this.... Timmy Anderson of the Faster (red) Mustache crew.

You are welcome!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I made it!

Its official, I made it!

Not only does internerd phenom Dicky read my words, he shares them too!

Wait just a minute there, we aren't done. Thom P, the great media guru, then acknowledge Dicky's sharing of my nonsense!

You don't even understand how giddy this made me. Yes, I'm a little school girl. 

Did you not believe me when I said it is the little things?  I'm a pretty simple guy: bikes, beers, battle star galactica...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thoughts from the saddle

For me, riding is an opportunity to just clear my head. Most of the time I feel like my mind is completely open and I am free to just be in the moment. It's a pretty amazing thing really. An after work ride can pretty much erase the fact that I had worked at all that day and I finish the ride with a renewed sense. 

While riding thoughts do at times flow through. Sometimes it's negative stuff that I can either dismiss (because I'm enjoying myself) or work through - because I'm in a calm and open state. Then you get the "oh shit" moments where your trail focus drifts and you almost bite it - a nice reminder to stay present!

And other times random thoughts flow in from left field. These are the thoughts I can never really seem to remember later to share with others, but nonetheless strike me as odd and funny in the moment. Unfortunately, I do not have one of those today. 

What did catch my attention on my ride this weekend were the leaves. Leaves are certainly nothing new, coming from New England. I've experienced losing the trail due to leaf cover back in Mass, so I'm familiar with our dead little friends. Anyway, this weekend a leaf decided to pin itself against my frame so that it constantly rubbed my rear wheel. 

Annoying. It really started to get to me, but I didn't want to stop to remove it so I started hopping around the trail whenever possible in an attempt to shake it loose, no dice. I cherished the times I could coast as my Hope hubs drowned out the noise of the leaf. 

Why doesn't the sound of my hub bother me, but the leaf does?  I quite like the sound of my hubs. Before I got them, I thought quite hubs were great, because it didn't interrupt the quietness of the forest. But, there is something soothing about the buzz. Maybe it's a subconscious joy that I've "earned" the buzz - I'm riding well, flying through the trail - I don't need to pedal. Or I'm on someone's tail, riding strong, so it tells them to pick it up, or urges me to get moving past them in a race. Either way, I'd be sad without it. A happy byproduct is that I don't need a bell to alert other trail users of my presence, I just let the hub hum for an early warning before greeting them. 

But the leaf. That wasn't pleasant, that wasn't earned. It was a freeloader on for an annoying ride and I did not much appreciate it. I was finally able to reach back (my fingers getting buzzed by the wheel a few times before successfully removing the hobo) and cleared the leaf on a fire road section.  Ahhh. Back to the quiet during efforts and the buzz while cruising. 

Here's a little random tidbit from my dream last night. 

Thom P called me. 

That caught me off gaurd because I certainly don't know him like that, but I was super honored and psyched. That was all quickly washed away as he started campaigning for some right wing religious candidate seeking money from me. Totally broke my heart. 

Thom - don't do that.  


Monday, November 18, 2013


The garmins lie. This isn't new. Mileage is always cheated when you rely on GPS data in twisting singletrack. But it sucks. 

Saturday I rode everything out at Lake Norman - which, according to the trail gnomes, should be 30 miles.  The garmins told me I rode 25.7 miles, bleh. 

I haven't been riding much as of late, so it was nice to get out and push myself. The trails were in great shape with just a little bit of rain the night before. I focused (at times) on pushing it in the corners more. Paying attention to cornering skills and looking ahead - and of course, laying off the breaks. 

Riding singlespeed out there is fun. There isn't really anything in the way of technical out there so it's rigid heaven. And the 32x18 is a pretty nice match for the climbing that is there. By the last couple miles my legs could really feel the effort they had put in throughout the ride and I was honestly just looking forward to seeing the parking lot. I'm going to have to get out there for a couple more full laps for two reasons. 1) I need to get mileage in as The Snake will be here sooner than later. 2) Direction of the trail switches at the new year and I am REALLY digging the trails in the direction. I'm pretty positive this is my favorite direction to ride the trails in - even though there is on steep pitch in this direction that I haven't been able to clean. 

Climbs never look bad in pictures, but with this one I can power up into the turn and then I stall out. Probably make it 3/4 of the way, just can't keep the cranks turning. Maybe before it becomes a downhill next year I can figure out a way to best it on the glow worm. 

On Sunday my body told me it wasn't happy with this "shock" to the system. I felt like an old man getting out of bed with aches.  I shook them off as I got up and going, but boy do I need to get back to riding regularly! 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fashion Fridays?

I myself haven't been riding much, so I feel no pressure to find an inspiring clip to urge all you out there to ride this weekend - you are already WAY ahead of me.

Instead, look what I got in the mail yesterday!

Yup, a sweet ass Southern Wheelworks t-shirt. It's casual Friday, so I'm wearing it to work today!  Honestly, I haven't put it on yet, but it feels super comfortable so I'm excited about it. 

In somewhat related news, designs on the Team Glow Worm kit are coming along nicely!  D-Wayne is killing it!  I won't share the proofs yet, but trust me - once you see the finished product you may just want to join me and sport the worm! 

How is that at all related to Southern Wheelworks?  Well, I'm putting 3 sponsors on the jersey. And by "sponsors" I mean: people I believe in. 

Dustin is not only a great wheel builder (solid wheels, easy process that he'll guide you through to make sure you get exactly what you want out of the build) but he's also just a great guy. 

D-Wayne is of course getting his company on the jersey. Another great and talented guy!  Not only is he good at what he does, but he has jumped into this project with genuine excitement (sometimes I think he's even more excited about it than I am!). 

And finally, Dild's Grill. Got to pay homage to where this thing all started. Originally I was going to do two kits, one being the Glow Worm and one was going to be a clean, classic designed Dild's Grill jersey - but I've shifted to full investment in Team Glow Worm with "sponsorship" from Dild's Grill since the other half of Dild's Grill is out of commission until his bionic hip replacement is complete. 

So yeah, go ahead and ride this weekend if you must. I hope to be out there if I can shake whatever has been keeping me ill this week. 

* I've since put on the t-shirt since I had to finish the post at work... feels great and looks even better.  I even did a little dance in it - you can ask Annie about it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Simple things

Curse the projects that sound simple. When working with an old house nothing is simple. Nothing is ever straight and true, so doing anything changes from a simple replacement to full on custom work. 

Luckily, I'm somewhat handy. The downside for me personally, I will forever be fixated on the things that aren't quite right instead of being pleased with the finished project. 

BUT, in tackling the hanging of a door (sounds simple, right) in our new bathroom I have gotten one step closer to getting the bike haven fully functional. 

So the door. Of course the dimensions of the doorway called for me to have to cut the door down a bit. But not in an even way. The width of the doorway at the top, bottom, and middle ALL differed. Perfect. I also had to chisel in new spots on the door and frame for the hinges since the precut slots on the door didn't line up with the frame - but that wasn't so bad at all. Once I had the door cut and hung it was on to the long and frustrating job of sanding and trimming the door, the frame, the door more, now the top of the frame all to get it to shut tight. 

In the end we got it hung and I installed the strike plate to catch the ball that had been preinstalled in the door. I'm guessing it is one half of a set of French doors - we got it at a little antique shop on NoDa. 

Annie did an awesome job of painting it and she picked out the hardware. It reminds me of a British phone booth. 

And it matches nicely with our washer and dryer. 

Now that the door was out of the bike room it was time for me to start organizing. Which also means our sunroom can finally be decluttered and used!  First thing was to move the red locker thing down there. It doesn't fit where I had hoped, so it will likely end up as under workbench storage. 

But that is generally where it will be. I put up my set of Pedro's Allen wrenches for easy access AND a paper towel holder!  Yeah, it's far from complete, but it's gotten slightly closer. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


So winter is here, and that makes sense. Yesterday I was home sick. Not "home sick," I was he ill. 

The change in the seasons always kicks my ass. And what a change it's been. On Sunday it was gorgeous out, felt like it was in the 70s!  This morning it was 27 degrees as I started up the pterodactyl. 

No one needs a temp swing like that!  

And with that I'm done.  I'm tired, and not 100%. Plus, don't have much bike related stuff to talk about - this weekend was home project central. Well, I'll talk about that tomorrow as it is partially bike related. 

Friday, November 8, 2013


While at lunch duty yesterday (you know, to keep a food fight from breaking out...) I saw a kid eating a plate of pizza rolls. I thought to myself: "I haven't had pizza rolls in a long time, I think I should get on that."  So that's what I did. Pizza rolls for dinner. 

As I was laying out my pizza rolls in the most organized and logical of fashions on the cookie tray I found myself a bit befuddled. Where does this one go?

I had five rows of eight, right?  Let me count again. Yeah. Each row has eight. I have five rows. Five times eight is forty, right?  But that can't be right, I still have a pizza roll in my hand...  Logic was stumping me until I came to the slow realization that I had hit the pizza roll jackpot!

Quality control had failed in my favor by giving me a bonus pizza roll!  Normally when quality control screws up someone ends up finding a severed thumb or something. Me?  I get an extra delicious pizza roll!

Of course I posted about it, so this may be old news to some of you.  I got a wide range of responses. Most people shared my excitement. Some questioned "who even counts their pizza rolls?"

I thought I'd take this to the next level and share the fact that I beat the system, with the system. I posted on Totino's Facebook page: 41 pizza rolls. Quality control fail is my win! (With the above picture)

I received a prompt, and somewhat strange response from Totino's. 

Hi Michael,

I'm sorry to hear you were unintentionally shorted on the # of pizza rolls in the Totino's Pizza Rolls package you purchased. You can be assured that our quality team will be made aware of your experience. Please help me prevent this from happening in the future by providing the following information if it's still available.

• Product UPC
• Better If Used By code date
• Was the package properly sealed?

I'd like to send you coupons so that you can enjoy a couple of packages of Totino's Pizza Rolls on us. Will you message us with your mailing address? If so, please send us all of the information requested in one private message. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you,


I do like the offer for free pizza rolls, buuuuut I wasn't shorted pizza rolls, I was psyched I got ONE extra.... unless they have 45 packs and in which case they thought I was shorted 4?  But in any case I have to ask - was my picture and SHORT statement too hard to dicypher? Is counting not the only issue at Tostino's headquarters, are there also issues with their literacy skills?

I may have uncovered a hornets nest of issues. 

Bottom line, after my confusion I was psyched to have scored A free pizza roll. Unfortunately for me, my conscious doesn't allow me to take advantage of Fred's misunderstanding of my post and scoring bags of free pizza rolls. Call me a sucker, but I don't want to live off of ill acquired pizza rolls.  Plus, the statement "You can be assured that our quality team will be made aware of your experience" sounds a bit ominous...  Don't fire anyone Fred, it'll be alright. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Got an email yesterday from the Brunswick Brawl. 

In my book, just plan kindness goes a long way, so getting an email like this locks in my return next year. It was a fun race and I was already excited about returning next year to see if I could improve my performance but I'll just say it now: I'm racing the Brunswick Brawl next year.

Now a thank you email doesn't seem earth shattering, but I would have to say that typically I don't receive an email (even if it is a mass email) after the vast majority of my races. But it is the fact that they took that extra step that counts. 

For the most part I find that mountain bikers are helpful, friendly people on the trails. I hope that this translates to our everyday lives as well. A simple "how are you?" on the trail is a sign of courtesy and commradary, no matter who the trail user is that you come across. But let's take that "how are you?" elsewhere. A simple "how are you?" or just "hi" and a smile to a stranger on the street, or in you isle at the grocery store, can honestly go a long way. 

You never know the type of day someone is having, or all the crap in their lives they are dealing with, and a simple and small gesture of kindness can go a long way to remind people that there is good in others. Think about it, most of the time (I will admit, sometimes people are creepy) when a stranger smiles you tend to instinctively react with a smile and you feel just a little stir of energy waking you up. 

As Annie would say: it's nice to be nice. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

End of Year Party: Part 2

After the riding came the fun and games.

Annie and I set up our chairs and watched as people pulled a log with their bike, tossed some Huffys, and raced around on adult tricycles.  I thought about tossing the bike for a few seconds and then figured that with my luck I'd tweak a muscle in my neck or pull my back throwing it so I decided against it.  I was about to do the log pull with the Glow Worm when I saw someone completely stall out on their singlespeed... so nope for that.  Irish Luke, however, did give the pull a shot.  

It wasn't just a straight out pull.  You had to go out and around a cone and come back.  Navigating the turn so you didn't knock the cone over was a bit tricky.

watching for clearance 

Pure determination as he gets back to the finish line.  Luke crushed it, leaving me with no desire to get up there.  

TheMutt was organizing the coed tricycle relays and was embroiled in a little family competition.  TheMutt was racing with Little Miss Sunshine as his teammate and found himself stacked up against Lunchbox.  It was a close come from behind win - but ultimately Dad knows best.

Little Miss Sunshine trying to get started again after the ditch in the course
 Lunchbox had the lead going into his leg of the race but TheMutt pedaled furiously to gain some ground.  Out of the ditch the race really heated up.

TheMutt was catching up, Lunchbox tries to put it down to stay head
 Lunchbox started weaving, in an apparent attempt to prevent TheMutt from drafting him...

TheMutt looking back to ensure his victory
see that tongue hanging, I think he almost died!
 In the end it was all smiles!

After his victory, TheMutt was looking for a couple more coed teams for the tricycle races when Annie surprised me by volunteering us.  Annie's foot wear for the event was, let's say, more "fashion" minded than riding friendly, but she jumped out there without a worry.  

Annie took the first leg of the race.  The hard part about riding the tricycle was that the cranks were directly connected to the front wheel - so if the wheel is turning, so are the cranks.  If your feet came off the pedals going down the hill into the ditch area (thanks Lunchbox for the ravine climb section!) it was hard to get them back on and keep your momentum - I found that out the hard way.

When it came to my turn I had quite the gap to make up, and I hit the course pedaling my ass off.  I lost my footing as I hit the gravity cavity section (see how the dip in the course gets bigger and bigger each time it is mentioned??) and had a hard time getting back on the pedals... basically I had to start from a complete stop which ended my chances of catching up - it looked like I might as I started off pretty fast.  But it was fun!  You couldn't take yourself too serious on that thing, and that is what it's all about - FUN!

photo credit: Danielle
Then it was time for the main event... the bike derby!

If you don't know what a bike derby is... well, it's basically a bunch of people riding around in a circle trying not to put their foot down.  The only rule - you couldn't take your hands off your handle bars (you know, to push over your competition).  - Derby photo credit: Annie

TheMutt mc'd the event, telling the crowd to step in closer as riders went down.
Dicky started sizing me up 
So I leaned into him, and he gave up, for now.
Then Irish Luke stepped up.  He started putting on the squeeze
I reminded him who had given him a beer and was able to sneak out behind him.
Just in time to avoid Tom Tom's exit from the rodeo

In the end it came down to Dicky and Irish Luke.  It was a solid battle, but ultimate Dicky took home the inaugural Derby Belt. 

After the derby we got our grub on.  The food was gooood.  Annie and I hung out for the raffle, and the woman in front of us won no less than 6 times - for real!  After that we had to take off - so we missed out on the band.  Seriously people, this is not an event to miss out on - I expect to see you there next year.

Monday, November 4, 2013

End of Year Party: Part 1

The Year End Party was Sunday, and it was great!!  An awesome amalgamation of the Tarheel Trailblazers and out sister club, the Dirt Divas.  So much awesome awesomeness happened that I am preemptively splitting this post into two.  Part 1 - the trails, Part 2 -  the events/party.

Before I get to far into this thing I must say that Annie attended the event with me.  Her assessment of the situation - great time!!  My brother, who did not attend, was feeling kinda left out as he said - "even for a non rider it sounds like that would be a fun event just to check out all the crazy challenges you guys were doing."  You know what?  He is right.  So even for you non-riding friends of riders (or even just a curious citizen) I STRONGLY recommend you get your butt out for the party next year, you won't regret it!!

Ok, to the trails.  So I've never ridden out at Anne Close Springs Greenway before.  The name itself is misleading.  It's not a greenway - they are legit trails, so set your mind at ease.  The "close" part isn't that far off.  It wasn't hard to get to at all... plus, I got to fill up in South Carolina on the way home so I saved about $76.03*.

As we were readying to hit the trails a number of groups were breaking out, beginners, intermediates, and the faster mustaches riders.  I apparently fell into the fold with the faster riders.  And it was a quick pace off the start.  It had me spinning out on the Glow Worm (which made it through the ride seemingly out - slow leak in the rear tire, prolly need new sealant...) as we rode down a dirt road to the trail.  The trails were NICE and the pace was fun... that is until we hit some old road and went up a hill.  For some reason I decided being up in the front of the pack was good for me and I kept pace all the way to the top.  Ooops, we missed a turn.  Back down the hill - this time I pulled up the rear.  I'd about blown myself up maintaining some sort of race pace off the start so I settled in to have some fun.

These trails have everything: roots, climbs, twisty stuff, about 12+ bridges (with about 8 coming within a half mile span) including a sweet suspension bridge, and.... drum roll please - TWO WAY TRAFFIC!!  I've gotten so used to one way trails riding around the Charlotte area that it was strange but exhilarating to hit some two way trails again.  That might sound a bit weird, but for me it brought back memories of riding back up north.  And towards then end, when I was riding alone, it had a very "state forest" type of feel to it as I wasn't quite sure where the heck I was going!!  (except for the fact that the trails had markers, with those little cell phone squiggly boxes that bring you to websites when you scan them.  I didn't stop to scan them, I don't think I have an app for that, but if they actually bring up a map showing your location then that is THE BEST THING EVER THAT SHOULD BE ON EVERY TRAIL!)  Anyway, people did MUCH better with the two way traffic then I would have imagined - since most of the riders were from the one way Charlotte trails.  Of course, there were a few frightened people, but I did my best to move over and encourage them to keep coming - which most did happily.

So why was I riding alone at the end?  After the downhill back to the correct turn the group kept the pace up.  I had two riders behind me and as we were getting dropped by the group, I found that I was dropping them... I didn't think I had the legs/lungs to catch back up and hang on to the group so I settled in at my own pace.  Soon I came up on two random riders that I was happy to trail for a bit.  Then we hit up with a group of Dirt Divas - at which point Good Guy Greg (the sweeper) caught up so I regrouped with him and head off ahead of the Dirt Divas.  Soon I was out ahead all alone and came to an intersection without any clue as to where to go, so I waited.  We hooked back up and G3 gave me a run through of the trails ahead and we were off.  We hit some climbing so I again opened up a gap.  I came to an intersection and wasn't sure which way to go, but I was enjoying the trails so I didn't really care - I just went.  I eventually figured out how to get back, I was out for about an hour at this point and I didn't want to leave Annie all by her lonesome for too long.

When I got back it was time to get changed, crack and beer, and see what kind of fun was going on.  You'll have to wait until tomorrow to hear about that stuff from me - but I'm sure someone else out there in the internerds will be talking about it today - I'm looking at you TheMutt and Dicky.

*rough estimation based on the numbers my fingers struck on my keyboard 

Friday, November 1, 2013


Yeah I'm late with anything related to the Backyard Experience.  I'm sure you've already read the recap from TheMutt earlier this week, and probably Dicky's too...  So I'll keep the words to a minimum and let the pictures do the story telling.

The day started off with a beer in the woods.

Our first waffle zone was missed as the racers took a wrong turn... we still had fun.  

It's alright, because we regrouped and spread the joy.  Some people enjoyed the waffles... look at him snap for that waffle!!

Them waffles were good!!  Riders enjoyed delicious treats along the way



But some people didn't like them for some reason...

Looking scared

And dodging the gifts of waffles showered upon them.

Others even put in pre-orders with special instructions - "I want to be covered in waffles!"  You better believe that request was obliged!

Waffles from every angle!

A good time had by all

Oh, you can't get covered in one pass by... our hard working waffle tossers got her again when the trail can back by.

Even giving her helmet a little waffle love!

Then there were others... they ate so many waffles they just had to sit down to enjoy the last few bites.  Even the bikes got waffles!!

And then, things got weird...

Come by next year for the waffles... or the bike race... or both?