Tuesday, December 31, 2013


My musings on the Meuse... yeah, I did that.

This thing is a rocket!  Super light (batteries are dead in my scale and I forgot to check what kind of batteries I needed before going to Home Depot, twice) and accelerates like a cheetah - assuming they accelerate quickly, cause this thing does!

Paired nicely with its featherweight status is a confidence inspiring stability. It is easily maneuverable over roots and rocks, seemingly floating over anything in its path. 

Component wise, it's got a nice stock setup. With Stan's Iron Cross wheels, this thing can (and will) be set up tubeless.
Looks like I've got some room with the fork and frame to play with to fit a larger tire, and I'll likely go larger as my bike will be seeing more trail than it will grassy field.

    I like the step up to disc brakes, it's just taking some getting used to mechanical brakes over hydraulic when on the trail. I've always found that, over any other change (29er to 26, full suspension to rigid) to be the most difficult to adjust to. I'm really digging the handlebars!

They just seem to be the perfect width for both tucking in and maneuvering through a trail. And the layback seat post sets me up perfectly on the bike.

Saddles are always a tough one as everyone has there personal preference, so I wasn't sure how I'd like the WTB Silverado Thinline. At first I had some squeak coming from the seat post clamp rubbing the saddle with each pedal strike - absolutely maddening. That has been remedied and I have to day that the saddle has been treating me pretty well so far. It isn't as hard as the Selle Italia SLR XC that has been my go to, but it is pretty stiff with good flex (as proven by the squeak...)

And did I mention that this thing looks good?  A nice blacked out component set looks so nice against the carbon frame. The red on the inside of the Columbus fork gives a nice little coloring to the overall bike. A TINY griped in my perfectionist way is that the wet seat post does not match the frame as nicely as the matte stem (which has wet spacers - then again, the headset is wet).

But that is a small detail that by no means takes away from the overall awesomeness that is the Meuse.

I'd say that it is clear from the big ass smile on my face that this bike is a hit!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Broken News

I've spent the first week of winter break sleeping past 10 am - so inadvertently there have been no updates here, but you already knew that.

By now some of you know some things about my news.  There have been social media updates and pictures, questions answered here and there, but the whole story isn't completely out there yet - and it's time to get it there before I forget about it.

It all started one evening as I was sitting on the couch "watching" something or other on the television and perusing the Facebook.  Dirt Rag had a teaser of a picture up of a bike they would be riding/reviewing at sscxwc so did my best "Magnum PI" on the picture and found myself on the Asylum Cycles website.

From there I learned a couple things about the bike and about the company.  First, damn that is a sweet looking bike.  Second, man this sounds like a company with the right vision - Take a bicycle, add dirt to taste, blend at high speed, and the rest of the world disappears.

From there I came across the Demon Spawnsorship Program.  Again, they struck a chord with what they were looking for: Asylum has always been committed to helping the privateer racer, the weekend warrior, and the dedicated dirt bag... We’re looking for an enthusiasm not just for traditional racing, but for dirt culture in general. If you participate in un-sanctioned fire road races, outlaw ‘cross events, and are involved in your local cycling scene, we want to hear from you.

Hey, that's me!  I had been searching for my next bike - trying to figure out what could round out my herd (stable and quiver are used WAY too much) and with the passing of relatives I had recently come into some money so a new bike could be a reality.  As I sat on the couch perusing the website and ultimately the Demon Spawnsorhip application I knew this was a company I could be down with.  After all, the application itself had some interesting questions - if nothing else I was going to have fun filling out the application.

Well, I guess the guys over at Asylum enjoyed reading my answers as much as I enjoyed providing them - the next morning I got an email inviting me to be a grassroots rider for Asylum!  Holler Atcha Boy!  They even extended me the honor of being the NC representative for the CX Pistols.

It didn't take long to give them my answer - a psyched YES!  And soon the cogs were turning to get my Meuse over to me.  I of course went the sscx route.  So what does this all mean, am I going to be racing cx now?  Not much is going to change over here really.  I was open and honest about my lack of involvement/interest in cross, but I have been enjoying gravel road riding out in the mountains, and that is where I see the Meuse helping me big time... and that will be the addition to my riding.  But hey, this bike won't be relegated to tame terrain - I've already gotten it out on the trail

(maybe not the gnarliest of trails, but still it saw some trail!)

I'm still trying to formulate a name for my Meuse, and I will get back at you tomorrow with my initial impressions of the bike, but here's a hint:  it's GOOD!

Friday, December 20, 2013

It is here!!

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

I'll get into the details of everything next week, but I am too excited to get into the news part of things (which in itself is VERY exciting in itself!!).  In the meantime, feast your eyes on my new Asylum Meuse SSCX.

No build can begin without beer - I've learned the hardway...

Naked and sexy

Look at that, a little bit of NC right there in the bike - Cane Creek brake levers

Disc brakes... but not the kind that don't work - suckers!

With this fork I will discover new lands!

Interesting alternative to spacers...

For those that like the shifting... internal cable routing.  For my purposes - frame whistle!

After a shake down I will convert to tubeless (and if you missed it before, disc brakes)

Look at those curves!

comin' atcha!

Don't ask me where, but I'll be getting out today on this bad boy!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's coming!

Drive safely UPS drivers. Handle those packages smoothly UPS package handlers. 

More to follow...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I've gotten.... bigger

This is the time of year when cyclists go crazy.  Ride time decreases due to weather, diminishing light, temperatures, and holiday hoopla.  With a decrease in ride time (and an increase in available food - holiday parties, family dinners, etc.) weight becomes a concern for many.

Work has been a tizy of random and hectic tasks.  Pair that with the fact that I am NOT a morning person (read: sleep as long as physically possible to make it to work "on time") means I have not been taking care of myself at work. No lunch.  Not good.

So, when I get home I graze around for whatever I can find that requires little effort (just worked all day and I'm starving so I want food now) which is typically not the best for you.  After consuming garbage for a while I take a break, and then it's time for dinner.  Dinners are typically late... so I eat a bunch of junk, eat a nice dinner, and fall asleep on the couch watching whatever show.  Wake up and go to bed... repeat cycle.

Notice no biking?  It seems like forever since I've been on a bike.  Last night before bed I weighed myself.


Things are changing.  Now.  Seriously.  For the sake of my rims I've got to put a halt to this immediately.  The idea of running around the neighborhood popped into my mind if I'm not going to get out on the bike... yeah, that bad.  I've got a race in what, like 2 weeks, and this is not a race I want to go in heavy... or having not been riding my bike... uh, two strikes already.

Whelp, I'll see you at the Snake... just look for me, I'll be on the green bike.
In all reality, I've got time to get back on track, I just have to buckle down now yesterday.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Hey there.  So I slacked yesterday... and almost today.  Is it the weather, the lack of riding (due to the weather), the time of year (hibernation station), the fact that kids/parents are going nuts because it's midterm time, or some other strange phenomena?  Who knows.  But it was really hard to get myself to write today.

Maybe it's because I've got things I should have already talked about (some GREAT rides) and something big that I want to talk about so I'm pulled all over the place and don't know where to start.  Maybe I'll touch on a little bit of everything in a round about way.

I LOVE the mountains.  Well, the mountains of North Carolina to be specific.  I hit up some sweet ass Bent Creek with D-Wayne a little bit ago and it was super amazing fun times.  Got some good climbing in, and gave the rigid a true test - some good old rocky descents and I liked it! (I love the Glow Worm again)  Of course I picked my lines a bit more carefully then I would need to on the HiFi, but I was glad to have D-Wayne (with a bouncy fork) in front so it forced me to keep on the gas to keep up and force myself to take on the gnar full speed.  The lack of suspension did not bother me at all really... which is great!  Overall we pretty much did half (both in mileage and in elevation) of the Snake... so I guess that means I'm prepared... since I haven't been on the bike since then and the Snake will be here before I know it...  I'm excited?  For the Snake I will be racing for Team Glow Worm (of course) and I might even have a fancy kit.  I'll at least look competitive even if the Snake kicks my butt.

I'm patiently waiting (patiently waiting - refreshing "package tracker" incessantly.  Pondering aloud why progress has not been updated on said tracker.  Surely their shipping method must have arrived SOMEWHERE by now... just tell me where, I don't care where, I just want some answers.  Checking out product website to drool over incoming item.  Wishing pictures on website were in my possession and not in transit.  Planning use of new item(s).  Researching opportunities to enjoy said item(s) on the internerds.  Checking "package tracker" again...) for a package weighing... oh... about 26.8 lbs... to arrive at my house on Thursday.  In said package there will be a few things.  Some things will combine to make one thing.  Other items will match and make me faster.*   This aforementioned package is from some great new friends of mine.  Names and clarity of our relationship will remain purposefully foggy until said package is in my possession and I can properly reveal the big news.  Until then, continue to not care about my incoherent ramblings.  But know this... my vagueness will pay off and possibly even result in bike envy.

There, I've said too much.  Time to shut it down and refresh my "package tracker"

* results not guaranteed

Friday, December 13, 2013

Be safe

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

You have likely already seen this video floating around... and the message doesn't apply so much to the majority of those of you reading this, but it is an important message to get out to non-cyclists.  You may recall that I had scouted out the possibility of commuting by bike to work, and then that just stopped.  No, nothing happened, but it was the concern that something might that has kept me from riding to work.  

Personally, I feel that the majority of my route is ok.  No, it's not ideal, but I felt pretty good with the route.  Annie, on the other hand, wouldn't agree with that assessment.  That isn't because she "worries too much" or anything like that, if anything, it's because I don't fear the possibility of getting hit.  That isn't to say that I think I'm invincible, or that "it won't happen to me," but I do my best to ride safely and go about  my day.  In reality, the route isn't bike friendly in all spots, and some of those spots could be really dangerous if I am unlucky to meet a distracted driver at the wrong time... so, to avoid putting Annie (or even a driver that might strike me) in that position, I've nixed that commuting route.  

Right now there does not seem to be a feasible safer alternative (unless I want to rack up some serious miles) so commuting by bike is off the shelf.  

Yes, we want motorists to respect our right to ride.  To give us space, to slow down if necessary, and just be safe!  But we, as cyclists, have to do our part.  Obey traffic laws.  Signal your turns, be courteous.  There are assholes in every group, but the more we can do the right thing and provide a positive image for cyclists in general, the closer we can all come to sharing the road respectfully.

Be safe out there.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

High School

North Carolina High School Mountain Biking  may soon be a reality.  This weekend there will be an informational/organizational meeting to get things started.  The goal is to bring submit a bid to the National Interscholastic Cycling Association to bring competitive youth cycling to NC by 2015.  I'm hoping to be there - more to learn what the process is going to be like and get a sense of the outlook of starting a league here - and I urge anyone in NC that is able to go, to GO!  The event is on Sunday 12/15 at 2pm.  Back Alley Bikes in Carrboro NC is hosting the event... check it out and bring your bike - there will be a group ride before/after the meeting.

I'm sure the great majority of us would have loved having an organized league when we were in high school.  A friend and I started up a mountain biking club at our high school, but I think we only ever went on one official ride.  On the way to the trail my bike wasn't secured very well to the trailer our bikes were in and when we went over a curb to park my bike bounced, slamming my wheel in such a way that it tacoed....  yeah... great way to start.  We straightened it some and had to release the rear brakes to make it rideable - THAT WAS SAFE!  That was also back in the day when front suspension was a luxury and not the standard.  I remember thinking my buddies front shock was weird, heavy, and pointless.  

Anyway, here's to an organized league for the up and comers.  There are a good number of colleges in North Carolina that not only have mountain bike teams, but are able to provide scholarships!!  So if you can, check the meeting out and see what you can do to support bringing mountain biking into our high schools.  Maybe we can make high school just that much cooler for kids - we don't want Billy Madison to dissuad them from going to high school, now do we?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Completely off topic

Yesterday I was paid a huge compliment by a parent. While dealing with an intense situation I reframed the focus the parent placed on their child's school performance in the midst of their crisis.

Basically I suggested that instead of hanging on the hopes that allowance would be made (that clearly were not going to be made) to "fix" their student's grade (due to not completing assignments) that the family itself reframe their focus on grades.  Bottom line: Your child's health/sanity/happiness is more important than grades that reflect their current struggle. Preserve the parts of their lives that are successful lest the focus on grades infect those realms as well. Focus instead on the effort, the small wins. Support success. (Focusing on a GPA or a graduation deadline is futile if your student doesn't make it that far!)

Anyway. The parent looked at me and said: that was brilliantly put!  I've never had it posed to me in that way. 

I was happy to help, but sad that this is a common struggle for parents - no matter how much help or support they get for their students outside of school, they always seem to come to school in the mindset that it will be a confrontation.  The sad thing is, it is probably more common that parents have to "battle" schools then it is a cooperative working relationship.   Thus far in my career I've been lucky enough to work at schools where the teachers genuinely care, putting in a lot of extra time for their students.  And although we have rules - it was nice to be able to help refocus the parents on what was truly important instead of everyone stressing about grades (especially when the parent was not actually concerned with their student even graduating on time!).

While in that meeting I knew exactly where my thought process was coming from - my parents.  All throughout school doing well was important to me.  I don't remember any real pressure from my parents in regards to grades, but as a kid it was always my goal to get good grades.  Then comes college... long story short I get hit hard in Calculus (a class I shouldn't have been in really...).  I make the call home to prepare them for a potentially horrible grade.  I was so stressed and worried about what they would say.  But on the other end I got the most wonderful message:  Michael, we know you are trying your best, and that is all we can ask.  We know you are trying your best and doing what you can.  We know you aren't out partying* and neglecting your studies, so if a D is the best that you can do in a course, then I am happy with a D.

Seriously.  That took so much weight off my shoulders.  I knew how heavy the focus on grades can be (whether it's self imposed or not) and I was so glad that the parent got the message.  But more importantly I have to thank my parents for giving me that gift as well.  So, whenever a parent asks if I have kids (as in, how can you relate) I always smile and think - nope, but I had great parents!

* As anyone who knew me at Uconn - you might say I partied.  Was there anything else to do at Uconn??  But partying never got in the way of my classes... or vice versa... whichever sounds better.  I always attended class and got my work done before any partying ensued.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


This one is going to be short and sweet due to the fact that I've had the craziest of crazy mornings, is the world ending and nobody told me?

The rain continues so I guess no riding tonight...

So, to keep in line with yesterday's musical themed hint. My news: Soul Asylum - remember that band from the 90s... you know, that damn runaway train song, you're welcome - except, without the soul.

Soul Asylum - Runaway Train from www.vid-i.com on Vimeo.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Like a Wakefield knuckleball, I saw it coming but totally missed it.

For those that have been counting, Friday's post was good old number 500. I'm not certain why, but it seems like a number that deserves recognition.  Does that mean this blog is special?  Has it "ranked up" and is now somehow "official?"  Or does it just mean I've had the "stick to it-ness" to grind out post after post?  

Probably more so that latter than anything else. But, no matter what that 500 might mean I have to thank you for continuing to come back and following along with my adventures. I'd also like to thank all those one timers who visit because they are doing a search on the internerd for a picture of school kids running out of a school (true story, that's a big hit for me) or find a race report because they either raced it themselves or are thinking about racing - those random spikes in views are always a joy.  I'd ALSO like to thank those of you from the Facebook. I've recently gone the route of advertising my posts on the Facebook and views have jumped up big time. So thank you all (cyclists and non cyclists alike) for sharing in my adventure. 

Finally, I'd like to thank Annie. She started this whole thing with me way back in March of 2011. Back then we would take turns posting, which was fun. I thought it was great that we were able to present two different voices here, hopefully providing a little bit of everything for everyone. Sadly, Annie's last post came on October 19, 2011. She had a great run, and I will continue to keep the door open for her if she ever decides to return (to the bike or the blog). 

Today I look back to where things started and where I am now. I think I need to do a little house cleaning on the site... and maybe get back to doing some videos - haven't posted in that section in a very long time.  Since this is officially post 501 I guess that means this is a victory lap - you know, if you link the name of the post with the number... (the Indy 500, come on, stay with the class) the winner does an extra victory lap and all... so that would be 501 at the Indy 500 for the winner... soooooo...  All that aside, it's a celebration.

Thank you for sharing in our adventures. 

Oh, and don't think I forgot about my promise to share some big news (that wasn't it by the way).  I think I'm going to slow roll it. Although it is official, I might hold out until I have something tangible for show and tell. In the meantime, enjoy this song. This song is in absolutely no way a hint as to what my news might be (wink wink, nudge nudge)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Will I?

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

It's been wet, and looks like it will continue to be so here so I don't know what that means for my weekend. Original plans were to make a run at some mileage out in the mountains of western NC to test out my gearing for the Snake... but who knows what will end up happening. 

If I don't get out, I'll just sit home watching this over and over in envy. 

Big news coming next week - so stay tuned!

Thursday, December 5, 2013


2014 is already starting to take shape with events. So far I'm looking at events that will be pushing my limits. And by the looks of things, it won't just be my legs putting in the miles. I have 4 events (6 if you consider each Snake Creek Gap TT as a separate event, and I suppose I should since it covers three consecutive months!) in 4 different states!

First up, the Snake. And the Snake is coming fast!  January, February, and March I will be driving down to Georgia 5 1/2 hours each way/each time... yikes!  I think this is the first time I actually looked at how long it would take. That is a bear!  The positive: each race is on Saturday so I have Sunday to recover. I might have to look at taking the Friday before off so I'm not so tired at the start from driving down after work... We'll see. There is a belt buckle on the line after all!

Next up is the Dragon's Tale in Virginia. I just added this yesterday when D-Wayne invited me, so I know nothing about it. From talking with him it sounds like the area has trails right up my alley so I'm jumping in with blind faith, but I'll do more research soon. Just checked and it's 3 1/2 hours away. After I  told the facebooks that I was going Dicky posts up this gem. 

Great... what did I just get myself into?

Next up is SSUSA. I missed last year because school started around the weekend of the event so I couldn't take the time for the road trip, but this year I'm good to go!  Where is it this year?  Michigan. But not just "Michigan," Upper Peninsula Michigan... 19-20 hours away!!  D-Wayne has committed, TheMutt is doing the hokie pokie over there and hasn't officially put his foot in the ring here... but in any event this will be a road trip. It will be broken down with ride stops on the way there/back - so who knows how long/how many rides will be included in this adventure?  I just have to make sure I'm back for work on Tuesday August 12... hopefully we can manage that.

And my final event on the docket so far... the Brunswick Brawl. I got to see how my body handled a 6 hour event and had a blast doing it this year, so of course I'll be back!  I'm looking forward to improving my performance and enjoying those fun trails again!  So far it's my only race right here in North Carolina and it's only 3 1/2 hours away.... 

Good lord the pterodactyl will be pilling on the miles this year!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Double check

Sunday's planned ride out in the mountains didn't happen because D-Wayne had the sniffles. In all honesty, no one wants to be out on the bike for hours with a whole bunch of nonsense going on in their head*, so I completely understand. But me being me, I took the lazy man's way out and did a bunch of nothing all day... Kind of a bummer actually.

I did get to ride some over the holiday, but I of course should have ridden more. I did however notice that I had been incorrect in my assumption that I had set my garmins to track data every second. I swear I had set it that way long ago, but after my ride on Friday I decided to check for shits and giggles (and because I had been thoroughly mileage fucked again) and of course I found that it was not tracking every second... sooooo I corrected that. 

We shall see what this does to improve things in the mileage department.  Thanks goes out to Mark for commenting about the setting, causing me to double check things.

* I constantly have nonsense going on in my head... but that is along the lines of random thoughts and things that would only crack me up