Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Singlespeed AssASSins

Well I said I'd be back, here and there... so here we are.  This isn't a race or epic ride update, this is an update inspired by major stoke-atude (not a word, so says the red squiggly line under it, but I think you get the idea).

I came home from work on Thursday having never been so excited to see a small package.  I will give you a minute to recover from that perfect set up.  Here, I'll even add to the immaturity.

Sasquatch's little package
So back to the seriousness that is this blog.  I wasn't excited for the package, per se, but what was inside the package - it's what's on the inside that counts, didn't your mother ever teach you that?


The Singlespeed AssASSins Club jersey came in.

It all started here:

A humble envelope drawing by THE D-Wayne
A jersey was developed, but first to roll off production lines was the casual wear.

This shirt makes me look good!
For when I get my "swole" on (actually purchased for, and worn by, Annie)

Check out my tan bro

And then finally, the day I had been dreaming about...

It feels so glorious

It's a black on black jersey, but my intelligent phone pulls out the purples hues (which look pink here) I'm sure were used for shading.  

One Cog To Rule Them All - collar details
sleeve action
I'm back in the gym, working on strengthening up my shoulder... should be on the trails, and in this jersey, soon!

Friday, November 14, 2014


It has been a while.
It seems like I still get some page views...

Maybe there are people out there who are hopefully waiting for the day that I say my shoulder is good and I'm back at it, so they faithfully check my blog?  Thanks for the support!

Or maybe it is some fans of TheMutt since he mentioned me last week.  Although, when he mentioned me it was to say that I hadn't been blogging, so I'm not sure why anyone would follow that link?  Maybe they had no idea who I was and thought he was actually linking to the famous Eastwood.

No, probably not that one... this one.

Nah, I can't imagine that Dirty Harry has much use for the Blogging... although he allowed his family to do that horrible reality show... ugh

So anyway, you are here.  Now.  And stuck with me - a biker not a hockey player or a badass.

So since I've been gone from the blogging sphere I've learned a couple of things that I would like to share.

Physical Therapists are freaking amazing.  Who knew that some guy holding my arm pushing down n my shoulder as I lay on a table was actually a miracle worker!?  Three visits to the physical therapist, some manipulation of my shoulder and some exercises and I am making my way back.  I have almost full range of motion back and no more random pain.  My shoulder is still weak as all get out, but I've been cleared to start working on getting my strength back up.  I'm certainly not going to rush it, but that means I can at least be getting into the gym - one step closer to the trails!

So that was the good news people were probably here for anyway.  Feel free to stick around for just a little while longer, I learned a couple of other things that you might be interested in.

I should not work on my bikes without a beer(s).  Whenever I work on my bike without a beer in hand I seem to forget to do some tiny little thing, which of course leads to very annoying big things.  Example:  I was changing gears on the Silk Worm to something a bit more road worthy so I could have a big afternoon - ride out to the BYE to take pictures and heckle and whatnot.  Then the plan was to hit up the Sycamore Brewery grand opening on the way home, ultimately getting back to watch the Georgia game.  Simple switch of cog, checked chains - broke one down to fit properly and out the door.

Pull out of the driveway - three cranks down the road and BAM - chain breaks... INSTANTLY I realize I didn't slap the plate onto the quick link.  I find it in the road - bent.  No problem, I have another one for the other chain... different sizes, the other doesn't fit.  Fiddle with the bent one, get it unbent enough to work.  Until I get to Freedom Park - probably hagfish (maybe more) way there - BAM.  Done.  Link broken.  Walk of shame home.  Annie eventually saved me.

I was bummed, annoyed at myself, and didn't feel like going back out.  Then Georgia decided that it did not want to play defense and lost.  The day was over.  All because I worked on my bike without proper libation.

I like not being on the internerds so much.  Not blogging saves time.  Not blogging also led to me not reading other blogs as much.  Not reading other blogs as much has led to a less faithful use of the fecebooks (not feeling like I need to scroll all the way down to catch up on stuffs).  Not being invested in the facebooks reminded me how awesome it was to not have a cell phone...  I still have a cell phone.  BUT, I'm backing off the socially focused technologies.  I'm not saying I am giving up the blog, but I don't see myself back here consistently once I'm back on the trails.  I think I'll stick with race reports, or big adventure reports... but none of the "normal" stuff - you can get that on TheMutt's blog - my story would be pretty much the same as his anyway since we do a lot of the same stuff (in the future, when I'm riding).

So thanks for all of the support, injury wise and blog wise.  I'll be here now and again - and I'll make sure to let you know on the facebook so you don't get all frustrated by checking here for no good reason.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sunday... soreday

After consuming the most delicious beer in the world, I enjoyed a few more.  Saturday night we went out for dinner with a rowdy crew and they had Old Chub Nitro on tap!!!

Not my can, not my picture 
So I enjoyed a few more.  Miraculously my shoulder wasn't bothering me...

Before I could open my eyes Sunday morning I was well aware of my shoulder.  It was there, it was hurting.  Not stabbing hurting, but aching hurting.  Thoughts rolled around in my head as I woke up, bumping into each other like drunk puppies.

"There is no way I can do 50 miles today with my shoulder already hurting"

"If I do 15, then I'm at 100 for the weekend... I guess that not that bad"

"I probably shouldn't ride at all..."

"I'll put on the team jersey and get my picture taken... probably take off after that..."

"Screw that, I'll ride whatever the majority of the team is riding."

With that though, I packed up my stuff and headed over to Tanglewood.  Met up with the team and got our picture taken.  It was decided that we would ride together and do the 25 mile loop (easier pace).  I was good with that decision, and my shoulder didn't seem to mind too much either as complaints didn't grow louder throughout the day.

Two of our teammates peeled of for a shorter and a longer route, so we were four strong for the majority of the ride.  It was a bit more crowded for the start than we had experienced on Saturday, so as things got all jumbled on a climb D-Wayne and I pulled around the mass of riders and stomped up the hill - just in time to get our picture taken.  Due to my shifting issues the previous day I decided to not shift down for the climb and just stand and singlespeed stomp it.

Once we cleared the mass of riders and regrouped we had a blast.  The roads were FUN!!  Great little loop overall for sure.

D-Wayne put together some kickass jerseys for us!

So I've always appreciated riding on the road, but after this weekend I started actually digging riding in a group.  It is awesome to be able to pull a train along and then join in after putting out a solid effort - so different then solo riding for sure.  I may have to look into actually getting in on some organized rides now and again.  Don't get me wrong, trails will always win over roads - but sometimes riding the road is so much easier (time wise, prep wise, etc).  Then again, the roads and routes we rode for the MS ride were much nicer/easily accessible than they are around Charlotte.  In any case, it was a good time all around (shoulder aside).

The final finish for the weekend.  It felt good - but I also felt like I could have hit the 50 miler that day... a tinge if regret that I hadn't met my pledge mileage goal, but also an overwhelmingly humbling experience.  Thank you all so very much for donating this year.  Your generosity far surpassed my expectations coming into this ride and together we raised over $1000 for MS research and treatment - you are all AWESOME!!

Thank you!!

Monday, October 6, 2014

The wheels didn't come off!

So I had to hold off on the rest of my story because last week only the finish line photos were up - I was still waiting on the photo stations during the ride to be posted.  So here is the first photo - it was early on Saturday - we were still feeling out groups and hadn't yet settled into our pace line.

Team Glow Worm in action together!

Now back to where we left off.  We were about 50 miles in as D-Wayne was working his mechanical magic on my randomly janky front derailleur and my shoulder was feeling good.  My legs were starting to feel the mileage, but cramps weren't much of a concern.  With the number of rest stops available I was able to stay on top of staying hydrated.  I also preemptively ate some pickles and drank some pickle juice at the lake rest stop to stay ahead of any thoughts of cramping.

We stopped at the next rest stop as hunger was really starting to hit both of us.  Again I chowed down on some peanut butter and jelly, but there was no mustard or pickle juice to be found.  THIS should have been a rest stop with mustard and pickles as it was coming off of the second century loop... but oh well, we pressed on and I was still cramp free.  Moving on down the road (about mile 64 is) I noticed that while in position riding my shoulder was fine, but sitting up on the bike and moving my shoulder there was some pain... easy fix, stay down on the bike.

There were some riders up ahead so I started working on reeling them in.  As they disappeared up a small hill and around a corner a car worked to pass them and we hear a loud CRACK!!  It didn't sound like a car/bike accident, but I pick up the pace to see what happened.  We clear the corner and the riders are up ahead and safe.  To the left I see a father and his son (12-13 years old) coming from the front of their house.  Maybe they slammed the door.  I then notice a chicken in the back yard that they seem to be moving towards, and I see that the father has his elbow bent with his body shielding his hand from the street.  As we pass by we hear another CRACK!!  I yell back to D-Wayne - "they are trying to shoot a chicken!!"  That was about the oddest thing I saw, and all I could do was shake my head as we pedaled on - North Carolina.

D-Wayne and I start talking about where we will finish.  Talking to some riders leaving the lake rest stop we learned that the shortest we could ride (having hit the first two century loops) was about 83 miles as the route either turns back to Tanglewood, or continues on for the last loop (which circled back on some roads already ridden).  D-Wayne was feeling like the shorter option, but was supportive of me continuing on.  I was back and forth on it, but was ready to make a decision on the spot when we got to the deciding turn.  And then it happened.  At about mile 75 my shoulder started hurting on the bike.  My legs were also feeling it, and on a couple grinding climbs my legs were completely shot.

At this point I was 80% sure I was going to bail.  I figured I could soft pedal the last loop if necessary, but it would't be fun.  Plus, I supposed I should be responsible and think about the health of my shoulder when making the decision.  As we came up on another rest stop D-Wayne declared that he was pushing on as he feared he would cramp up if he got off the bike - I was feeling pretty good so I stuck with him.  Coming up to the final rest stop I knew that if I did not stop that there was no way that I would be doing the full century... but at the same time I knew if I did stop it would be hard to at least try to keep up the pace without D-Wayne there.  I pushed forward.  D-Wayne ended up pulling away on the next grinder but I was able to keep him in sight and use him as a carrot.

Up ahead I see the police car and signage - left back to Tanglewood, right to finish the century.  Everyone was turning left and my shoulder and legs made the decision for me... I rolled to the left and worked my way to the finish.  D-Wayne pulled up a little so we could cross together.

It was a great feeling crossing the line.  There were volunteers cheering as we crossed, and I was grateful for all the support I had received in fundraising and words of encouragement.  Part of me did feel bad that I wasn't able to complete the century (both for my fundraising promise and just to personally be able to complete one), but it was by far the longest ride I had been on, and that was an accomplishment in itself.

We settled in under the Draft to da Draft team tent and shared stories of our rides.  I enjoyed a beer, and I mean REALLY enjoyed it.  After all those miles (and spent calories) it tasted absolutely PHENOMENAL!

I did get out on Sunday as well, but I'll tell you all about that tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

We did it!

After weeks of generosity pouring in it was time for me to pony up and do my bit - ride my bike for the Bike MS: Tour to Tanglewood.  Since you surpassed my top fundraising goal of $1000 - we hit $1035 - it was my goal to ride some major miles on Saturday (100 miles) and Sunday (50 miles).

Saturday morning D-Wayne and I headed over to Tanglewood park to find a misty field waiting for us to park... along with a long line of cars being directed by volunteers.  It was an awesome sight to see a line of headlights through the mist but my iPhone just wasn't going to do the scene justice.  It wasn't due to a lack of time either - it took us nearly 15 minutes to get parked.  Since we were heading out to attempt a century we had an early start time so it was time to hustle to get everything prepped and snag some free breakfast.  

Nope.  D-Wayne's valve snaps on his front wheel as he's pumping up.  I throw him my tube strapped to my seat.  No good.  He gets my secondary (brand new so it should work) tube and we are back in business.  By now breakfast isn't an option - so I eat half a clif bar and we decide that we will just have to pig out at the rest stops.  We line up, get quick directions (no cue sheets) and we roll while most riders enjoy breakfast. 

D-Wayne and I headed out and let the field stretch out a little bit as some take off hot.  We got into a nice groove and found some riders holding on to us.  We traded back and forth for a bit and catch a larger train with a team of 5-6 riders carrying the front.  I don't have much experience riding in a pace line but I do know that it can be very beneficial - especially on such a long ride.  So we settle in and enjoy the ride.  Frustration with odd pacing (slowing on the down hills so that entering the next hill is just a total mess) and accept that it is far better to allow those that are doing the work to dictate the pace.  They did push hard at times so we were flying along without any rotation - it seemed as if one rider was pulling the whole time!  We skipped the first aid station at about 10 miles and D-Wayne and I discussed whether or not to stop at the second.  Intelligence would dictate that we should - we hadn't eaten breakfast and it would be important to stay hydrated to keep cramps away.  But on the other hand, did we want to give up on these free pulls??  Luckily for us the leading team pulled into the rest stop - decision made.  

The weather was absolutely perfect - sunny, mid-70s... just gorgeous!  I grab some peanut butter and jelly wedges and fill up a bottle with gatorade.  I inquired as to who was pulling the whole time so I could thank him and was informed that it was mostly two of their riders trading pulls.  I thanked the team as a whole and we rolled out again together.  As we approached rest stop three, and the start of the first extra loop to make the century ride, I figured it would be a mass push forward - it wasn't.  Our leading team stopped again (about 10 miles after our last stop) and D-Wayne and I push on alone.  A duo coming out of the rest stop jumps on our wheels and we pull them along until the first steep climb of the ride.  D-Wayne had pulled off prior to the climb so I took the lead up.  Halfway through I decided to pull off to let the fresher riders go on, and on they did.  As D-Wayne and I regrouped up at the top of the hill I used the duo as a carrot to get the pace back up and push forward.  I comment to D-Wayne how happy I was that we weren't in the train as we hit that hill as it would have been an absolute mess.

The roads on this loop were great (although a bit rough) and I seemed to be able to just push the pace as I slowly started to reel in the duo ahead.  I tried to be mindful of the total mileage we were attempting and not put too much into my effort, but there was something about the road that made it seem easy to go fast.  There seems to be this magical sweet spot for me where the pitch is just perfect that it makes me just go - almost like I'm on one of those moving walkways in the airport- the ground seems to give me a little extra pull as I crank away.  We never did catch the duo - but they provided great motivation.  

Police presence was great at major intersections, allowing use to ride right through many of them.  We were cruising, looking forward to the next rest stop when the signage got a little confusing.  We crossed a main route and were coming up a short little hill where we saw some green arrows pointing to bare to the right.  Green was the color of the markers we were following, but our markers were arrows with TTT under them... these arrows had no TTT... we warily made the turn but start to slow as something felt wrong.  D-Wayne knew the road these arrows were taking us and noted that they were pretty hilly.  As we slowed a team of riders came up behind us.  We called out that we weren't sure this was the correct way but they decreed that it was the correct way since there were green arrows.  

We followed.

Something in me told me this was wrong, and my motivation started to wane as we grinded up some hills.  D-Wayne and I call BS on this route and pull over to check our phones (as cue sheet would have been MIGHTY handy).  WRONG!  We headed back and as we were getting back on track we stopped a couple other riders from making the wrong choice.  We got to the next stop and boy it was a great one!  They had a number of baked good available.  I enjoyed some brownies, peanut butter and jelly wedges, trail mix, pickles, and a little more pickle juice for good measure.  My legs were starting to feel the ride, but I was good as far as cramps go.  I filled up my bottle with gatorade (I had two bottles I was rotating through them) and we hit the road.  

It was slow coming out of the rest stop as we had been pretty leisurely and we were not intermixed with some of the shorter route riders.  As we were climbing a slight incline I had to duck behind a slower rider as a car was passing.  When I went to go around all of a sudden my chain slipped off the front derailleur to the inside - I was able to back pedal and get it back on, but that was weird.  Shortly the routes split and it was back on the century loop.  As we took the left to leave the masses my chain dropped to the outside.  The F?  For no reason there was massive chain drag against the front derailleur.  We stopped and D-Wayne adjusted a couple things to get it working good enough, with the warning to carefully shift to the big ring to avoid dropping to the outside.  At this point we were 46 miles in.  The detour and the random shifting issues were dampening the mood of the ride a bit - but we got back to the task at hand.

Ok - so we are only halfway through and this seems to be turning into a novel, so thank you if you've made it this far!!  For your sake, and maybe to help fill in those who bailed earlier, I will stop here today and pick up the ride again tomorrow.  Hopefully the official ride pictures will be posted online so I can share those in the next couple days as well.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I'm not dead...

Hey there!

I'm still around... just not biking.  Figured I'd give a quick update as to where I stand physically.

My chest/ribs are steadily getting better.  I'm feeling like I could probably handle riding breathing wise at this point.  The deep breathing/laughing/coughing/sneezing issue has moved from excruciating pain to an annoying "burn," so I can deal.

My shoulder... if you asked me 3 days ago - it was getting worse.  This morning though... I've noticed an increase in my range of motion.  Pain is still there, but I can actually lift my arm higher and reach around my body further - so that is a positive... slow positive... but movement in the right direction.

I'm afraid that I'll still be off the trails for a while more, but I'm hopeful that I can at least get on skinny tires and hit the pavement... and maybe even gravel??  But I'll start slow and start hitting the trainer -FUN!

Friday, August 15, 2014

like a glove

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

I forgot to mention (I think I forgot to mention) that soon after we left for Copper Harbor I had an icky feeling that I left my brand new gloves at home.  When we got to our free camp site I checked... no gloves.  Annie confirmed for me that they were indeed sitting on the dining room table.

Luckily for me I had opted to leave my old, smelly, shredded gloves in the pterydactyl for "emergencies" (aka - I never throw stuff away even when I should).  So I guess that paid off...

Since I didn't get to utilize my fully functional new gloves for SSUSA I figured I'd start the weekend early last night and put them to good use.

It felt good knowing my Jameson was safe in my gloved hand.

Since I will be sidelined with injuries and won't be able to ride this weekend, tear it up for me, will you?

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Saturday morning we headed into Copper Harbor to get ready for the race/ride after Zac enjoyed the free breakfast at our hotel - I opted for the bagel, cream cheese and turkey that I brought.  As we were getting ready and waiting for the start there were some great costumes - I didn't get any pictures because there is zero service in Copper Harbor so I opted to leave my phone in the pterodactyl.  Typically I do carry my phone with me in case of emergencies, but since it would be useless in an emergency situation, I left it behind.  I also did not plan to stop to take pictures during the ride.  Sure, I wasn't going to be in contention to win this thing, but I didn't need to have an excuse to take it easy and stop for pictures.

We headed out of town en mass and up some gravel roads.  I tried to size up the crowd and figure who I wanted to get into the singletrack ahead.  There was a rider with a dog, which was cool... but the dog seemed confused as to who it should be following, so I made sure to get up ahead so as to avoid any pooch related issues.  My legs felt pretty good on the rolling hills.  Maybe they would bounce back from yesterday?

Soon we hit the singletrack, it was some rarely ridden trail which was littered with rocks and roots.  Before long things were slowed and stopped as people fumbled over roots, and then over rocky descents.  At one juncture I wondered aloud if it would be faster to run at this point as people were stopped before a descent.  The rider in front of me said "walking is never faster than riding," to which I agreed, but with the traffic we were experiencing I wasn't so sure.  I took off on foot and hiked down the pro line as the pile up on the B line continued.  I was off ahead of the crowd... I guess walking is sometimes faster.

Soon we hit "stairway to heaven" and the trail turned upwards.  It wasn't long until my legs protested and my brain shut off.  From here on out climbing was horrid.  I could push myself through some of it, but eventually I would have to dismount to hike, or to rest for a few seconds to let a rider behind me pass.  I was losing ground on the climbs, but funny enough, I was gaining ground on the descents!    I was finding that I was able to ride more of the technical than some of the riders around me so I rode as much as I could to try to stay competitive.  I certainly did not ride everything, but I rode it where I could to and was able to pass people who had caught me on the climbs.

The first of the aid stations was at the top of a long switchback climb almost halfway through the race.  At this point I was dying, and grateful for the stop as I was almost out of liquids.  I refueled and took a short brake before heading out onto the edge trail.  I had seen video of this trail and it looks fun and contained one of the most famous parts of the trails at Copper Harbor - the wooden bridge switchbacks.  With the line of riders ahead and behind it was kinda interesting on there trying to pace yourself to not ride up on someone, but not to hold others up at the same time.  I felt good on them, hitting the wooden bermed sections on pass two and three.  I was almost through, turning to ride the last bridge - it had a bermed piece as well so I hit it as it had worked on the other bridges.

This one was STEEP, my wheels slide down and I had lost it.  As my bike slide from under me heading to the uphill side I was headed over the wooden berm downhill... headfirst.  Slow motion kicked in and I first tried to avoid a wooden post I was headed for, success.  But now I was head first heading toward the ground below.  Not exactly sure how I landed, but my helmet did serve it's purpose on impact.  I was sitting up and people were yelling to see if I was alright.  Everything felt ok, I started to get up.  "Don't get up, we'll come get you!"  "Are you sure you are alright?"  I thought for a second... my shoulder hurts.  I was able to move my arm and rotate it so as far as I was concerned I was good to go.  I climbed out of the ravine I was in and sat above the trail as riders started moving again.  Jim (from Charlotte) was not far behind me when I went over and I told him I was ok as he passed.  A couple other riders I had been back and forth with checked in with me before they continued on.  I told them to keep going and I would try to catch up.  The volunteers/spectators offered to help me up the hillside back out onto the road to get looked at and end my day.  I wasn't ready to end my day.  I still had half the course to hit, and to be honest I wasn't happy with the way I was riding and I didn't want to take the "easy way out" with an injury.  Everything felt functional, so that was good enough for me.  The Glow Worm seemed pretty good too... had a nice scratch on her and one of my bottle cages was cracked, but was still functioning enough.  I was again warned that they could help me out of the trail here, but if I kept going I'd be on my own... I thanked them for their help and headed out.

Not 1/4 mile down the trail I put in some effort to get over a rock and my legs seized up.  I got off the bike and started massaging my thighs... My muscles had tightened up from impact no doubt.  After some quick work on them I pedaled on and pushed through the tightening muscles - they started to loosen back up and I was actually having some fun pushing it as fast as I could through the swoopy turns.  Before long we hit another aid station.  It seemed way to close to the other, and there was some confusion as to whether or not we would hit the first one again on our way back so I tried to take advantage of this one.  The volunteers there were great, filling my bottle for me before I headed out with a small group.  We rode together for a bit but some of the steep rocky downs started stretching us apart.  My legs were falling off fast and as things started going up again I was dropped.  I trudged on alone.  My body seemed to be falling apart and I was going through liquids like crazy.  As I was winding up the hillside on some grassy switchback thoughts of ditching started coming through my head.  I thought about cutting the course and just walking straight up the hillside.  I thought about hitting the first road I saw back to town.  I tried my best to battle those self defeating thoughts and kept pedaling and hiking.

Finally I popped out at a road crossing where I was lucky enough to get some more water.  The volunteer there confirmed that we would be hitting the aid station again, but said there was probably 5-6 miles to go (2-3 of climbing) before hitting the final descent and heading back to town.  OR I could take the road back down to town...  I didn't like the sound of 5-6 more miles, but felt like I could get through.  Another rider rolled up saying that they were told the course was under 30 miles and they had 24 miles on their computer... so maybe not so long.  I decided to push forward and finish.  We hit an awesome section of trail that was super flowy and swoopy, it was fun pushing it through that section before the last climb back to the aid station.  We ended up getting to hike back up the wooden bridges that had taken me out.  I rested a bit at the final aid station and let the group head out ahead of me as I was completely spent.  I knew that anything uphill would have me soft pedaling so I didn't want to get in anyone's way as we were making back down the mountain.

The descent wasn't as fun as it should have been.  I was exhausted and overly concerned about making a dumb mistake so I took it easy.  As I finished I chatted with some of the group I had finished with and saw a couple of the guys I had been back and forth with before I crashed.  Throughout the evening I had a couple people come up to check on how I was because they either saw me go off the bridge or heard about it... I guess I was famous for all the wrong reasons.

Pasties were enjoyed, beers were drank, games were enjoyed, and shenanigans were in abundance.  Long story short - SSUSA is in Wisconsin next year, not North Carolina.  I was sore after the race, a hole in the back of my jersey with a nice cut down my back.  My right thigh was pummeled and bleeding (with a tiny hole in my bibs) and my chest was bruised all to hell.  I felt like an old man, but I would survive.  As Zac and I were leaving town after waiting around to find out where this thing would be held next year we decided to just drive on through to NC.  It was already 11pm and it didn't seem to make sense to stop in 2.5 hours to camp... not 1 mile out of town a state trooper came flying down the road lights and sirens blaring - looks like the shenanigans were getting out of hand.  Zac and I traded driving pulls and it wasn't so bad.  We got back to Charlotte around 7pm on Sunday.

I visited the doctor yesterday where they took x-rays of my shoulder and chest.  He didn't seem too concerned with the shoulder and said if it wasn't better in 6 weeks then we'd do an MRI.  As soon as I took my t-shirt off and he saw the bruising on my chest he said "Oh yeah, you broke something."  By poking we were able to pinpoint the are of injury to basically right over my heart.  It hurts to breathe deep, laugh, or cough so I am out of commission for a while.  I have, however, been cleared to "walk,"so that's good...  When the x-rays came back on my chest my doctor was perplexed because he couldn't see any break, but has never seen that much bruising without a break.  Radiology will be looking at it today, but whether it's broken or not there is no difference in treatment (treatment being, don't do stuff).  The only difference would be the time of healing.  If no break I could be looking at getting back to riding in 2 weeks.  If a break, 6 weeks.  Fingers crossed. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Getting there

So my recap hasn't come nearly as quickly as I should have... I mean, I got back Sunday evening after 20 hours in the car.  But, since the trip I've been dealing with "residual effects."  I'll get into that in a later post, probably with more details than if I had gotten this whole story wrapped up sooner - so I guess maybe that is a win?

Anyway, let's start at the start of this whole adventure.

I showed up at Zac's place slightly after 6:00 am to get our boogie on.  The plan - knock out a lot of the driving on Thursday so Friday would be easier driving with some riding in there.  So we drove 13.5ish hours up to the Mackinac Bridge and scored a free camp site.  On the way there we hit a stretch of highway backwards...

It was very bizarre as one side of the highway was shut down and there was no sign of southbound traffic anywhere... made us wonder a bit how we would get home?

Anyway, once we got up to the bridge we scouted the "legit" free camp sites with numbers and all, but they were full.  So we snagged a clearly used, but less legit, site.  It was nice.  After we set up it was time to enjoy a beer and take a stroll down to the water.

We were on a lake, but not one of the great ones...

Once I got used to the sound of mosquitoes buzzing (all on the outside of my hammock) and the sound of some four legged creature rummaging in the forest not too far away, I slept great!  We woke up with the sun and checked out the beach down the road on one of those giant lakes they have up in those parts.

We stopped in for a quick breakfast before crossing the Mackinac.  The sun greeted us as we crossed.

And like that we were in the UP (Upper Peninsula).  We headed to Marquette where we got our ride on at the South Marquette Trails.

The trails were great.  They had a little something of everything, and a little something for everyone.  We weren't able to ride everything, but I think we got a good mix of what was out there by hitting Yellow, Blue/Black, and finishing on Green.

There was much more elevation there then I would have imagined, and the trail surface was an interesting mix of spots of soft sugar sand to hard pack and rocks.

Unfortunately for me, my legs were not playing nice after sitting in the car for so long, so climbing was more than a chore for me.  As Zac waited for my to catch up on the Yellow he found a friend.

It was the first porcupine he had ever seen so he was pretty psyched.

It was great riding with Zac as he was super positive and kept me going when I was feeling like my legs were done.  I think it was unanimous, we both enjoyed the Blue/Black trail the most as it was their more "technical" trail.

After our ride we enjoyed some locally caught whitefish burritos before driving on to our hotel for the night.  It was a fancy place - our bikes got to enjoy the porn tub.

After we got settled in we headed up to Copper Harbor to check out the drive time and meet up with the other Queen City folk way up north - Danger and Jim.  They had an adventure on their own and had made plenty of friends already.  We hung out for a bit before heading back to the hotel for the night....  we left before the police showed up.

The next day we "raced" and it was good.  But I'll tell you about that tomorrow.

Friday, August 8, 2014

It's on!

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

So I pre-posted this before I left... so hopefully everything is going to plan and we are still alive and well.  We will just go with that...

Anyway, tomorrow we'll be racing/riding out at Copper Harbor for SSUSA.  If you haven't already checked out a video of their trails... here is one to wet your appetite.  It seems they made some last minute changes to the course on Wednesday... reversing a lot of trails... making it sound like much climbing.  Whatever, it will be fun!

So here is just a little of what we'll probably be hitting, enjoy the video, I will enjoy the actual trails tomorrow.  Go get your bike on yourself!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Alright, it's 6:00 AM... that means I am picking up Zach and we are headed north... for about 13 hours.  Cranking out a big day on the road today so that we can break up the day tomorrow with a ride before getting up to the hotel.

Today I will leave you with a video from where we will be riding on Friday... Marquette South Trails.  Looks like w eight be having a bit of fun.

After our ride we push on to the hotel - couldn't get a refund after hearing Danger and Tonyan had us covered... but we might be able to get up with them anyway if we get up there early enough.  They are having their own adventure - shipped their bikes, flew up to Chicago and hopped a small plane up to Houghton - from there they ride to Copper Harbor!!  I'm sure they are having a blast. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Are you ready for this?

You know if you read the title this song probably popped in your head... so here you go!

But, the more appropriate questions is am I ready for this?

SSUSA is only a few days away, so I am hitting the road tomorrow morning.  Yes, the road.  1200 miles and 19 hours.  And on Sunday we'll turn around and do the whole thing over again... in one day.  Hey, did you catch that I said "we" there?  Originally a bunch of people were going.  Then it was me in the pterodactyl all alone.  Then Dicky got tipsy and really excited about it and was in.  Then he wasn't.  Then, just a few days ago another local Faster Muastache-er jumped on board.  Now Zac and myself will tackle this beast of a trip.  Here is the itinerary as it stands.

Thursday morning we bogey the heck out of Charlotte and head north, for about 13 hours and some change (which should get us to Mackinaw Michigan) to a sweet free camping spot I found on the internerds.  Legit.  There is a whole site for finding free camping!!  Some of it is for our RV friends, but some works for us mortals with tents and whatnot.  Check it out.  The site gets a little wonky sometimes, but it's finding free stuff, so relax already!

The next morning we'll get up, head over the bridge and drive a little over 3 hours to Marquette where we will hit up the South Marquette Trails.  From there we only have 2 hours and 45ish minutes to Copper Harbor!!  Unfortunately... we don't get to go straight to Copper Harbor.  You see, it's a tiny little town and there are no places left to stay... camping sites, motels, hotels, bed and breakfasts (well, I wasn't getting that fancy) are all booked.  So the closest open place was a hotel in Calumet Michigan - 34 miles south of Copper Harbor.  Not too bad - the map says it will take anywhere from 45-60 minutes to drive up in the morning for the race.  There wasn't much in the way of forests (at least on the map) for covert camping closer to the race, but it's all good.  

Saturday we race (starts at 10) and then the festivities ensue.  I'm really not feeling the long haul on Sunday, so our plan is to enjoy ourselves but not go too crazy on Saturday (we shall see...) and head out of town Saturday evening heading towards home about 2.5 hours to another freeish (maybe a $5 donation) camping site.  I figure 2.5 hours isn't solo bad of a drive Saturday evening (if we are in shape to do it) and it will make some - even if it's small - impact on the drive back Sunday.

Monday morning, bright and early, it's back to work for me.  Teacher's workday.  If all hell breaks lose and something happens that we don't make it through Sunday back home it's "ok."  I could take the day if I need it.  But I would rather not as we have a new counselor starting this year and I'd like to be there to help her get settled... while I fall asleep at my desk.

Oh, and then last night TheMutt texts me... meeting at the Kickstand tonight... trivia, shenanigans, and beers.... exactly what I don't need tonight.  Apparently Niner Mike is bringing his little kiddos so he promises an "early night."  I'm not exactly sure if that's possible, but we will see.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Let's catch up

So during my blogging hiatus I didn't get in to as many biking adventures as I had hoped to.  Makes sense really.

But, to catch you up to speed we'll have a bit of show and tell.

I got some cool news from singletracks.com - I was chosen to be part of their Trail Team!!  They sent me a sweet package of all things singletracks (t-shirt, stickers, pen, and 3 premium memberships) - I may do some sort of giveaway in the future here, so keep an eye out for that.

Singletracks.com helped me get back into biking.  As a resource it helped me find trails local to me, and even allowed me to share trails that I knew of with others.  Having trails listed by users, with photos, maps, and actual user ratings of the trails is so vital to finding the next great trail.  It's super handy especially when you are visiting a new area - it can help you determine which trails are a must ride, and which you might want to skip if time is short.  Also, the forum over there is great!  It's filled with helpful people having pretty civil conversations - we all know how biking forums can quickly get out of hand on some sites ; )  Anyway, singletracks picked myself and 25 other individuals from around the country and the world to help continue the singletracks mission.  

Then my boy D-Wayne sent me a little something something in the mail.

The first is completely true, the second... am I there yet?

Sweet sketch on the back of the envelope - I think that would make a sweet jersey, don't you?


And of course, this picture is blurry - but it was the reason for the delivery
I picked up some Glow Worm stickers from Dwayne, and he showered me with glorious extras.  The sticker is amazing!!  Not only looks kickass, but that thing is legit.  Won't have to worry about it getting beat up or peeling prematurely.

Then it was time to replace some equipment that needed replacing.  GLOVES!!  I finally got a new pair of gloves.  

I haven't tested them out yet, but they fit great in the store and feel like a pretty good replacement.  My only concern is they don't seem to be as vented as my last pair... so we'll see how hot they are once I start tearing up the trails again.  I guess SSUSA will be their first big test.

Yeah, I'm still going... that drive is not going to be fun.  But hopefully the riding will make up for it... if riding can make up for 40 hours of driving in a very small window.

I picked up some new riding glasses.  My mountain bike glasses were beat all to hell, it was time for an upgrade so I grabbed a pair of Jawbones on mad sale... Annie helped me with the color scheme - they match my shoes, ha ha.

Just yesterday the I got a new jersey in the mail.  I picked it up from Hill Killer, they have some cool stuff, check them out.  The jersey fits well and looks cool as hell.  A lot of extra detail in there that I wasn't expecting - like the Boston skyline on the rear pockets and the sleeve designs of a shamrock and the actual Boston city seal.  Neat.

And then my brother got me this cool t-shirt... cause you know, cycling and doping!

Live Rong
So there is some stuff I've acquired while not riding a whole bunch...

Like I mentioned, I'm headed up to SSUSA very shortly, but I guess I'll get into that tomorrow - before I'm on the road.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hi there

I guess I'm back.

So my hiatus was longer than predicted, but it was for a good reason.  The week before I was to start my Appalachian adventure we found out that Maggie's lungs were riddled with cancer.  Possibly the worst news I've ever received.  Ever.

I acquired Maggie one day as my girlfriend (at the time) and I were headed to the Starbucks in Athens Georgia.  Outside the Starbucks was a couple with a box of 8 week old puppies.  Apparently their two dogs had unknowingly gotten together and they had a litter on their hands that they were not ready to take care of.  Being in school and living in an apartment I was in no way ready for a puppy... but we all know how that goes... I ended up leaving with the chillest pure black puppy they had (the father was a black lab and the mother was a white boxer).

Chill would not be the first word that would come to anyone's mind who had met Maggie.  She wasn't super hyper, but she was very friendly and was ALWAYS looking to play ball.  If you showed her that you were able to throw a ball, you were her new best friend.  Once Maggie start chasing a ball, there was no off switch.

When she was a puppy I was often apologizing to the other dog park goers for the fact that Maggie was beating all the other dogs to their balls.  Her determination can be summed up in the instance where Maggie swam across the pond with 2 balls in her mouth pushing a third that she couldn't quite fit in her mouth.  She was nuts!!

Maggie would never stop.  Never.  One time I was throwing the tennis ball and another dog wanted to play... not with the ball, but with Maggie.  Maggie had no interest in the other dog as she was focus on chasing the ball, so this other dog barreled into Maggie.  There was a yelp, which I assumed was from the other dog because it appeared Maggie had kicked it in the head with her rear leg as she kept on after the ball.  As she turned, ball in mouth, I saw a bright red squared appear over her left shoulder (Maggie was completely jet back).  I called her to me, but at this time she was still noncompliant with completely returning a ball.  But even at a distance I could tell that she had a gash on her side.  Maggie, however, hadn't slowed or shown any sign of injury.  She was ready to go for another toss.    The owner of the other dog came over and apologized; the other dog had a choke collar on and when it collided with Maggie the sharp side turned out and slice Maggie open. The owner offered to pay for damages... but I was more concerned with getting Maggie back to the car so I could take her to the vet since she didn't seem to recognize that she was injured.  I had to play a game of ball with her to get her moving back toward the car so I could get her to the hospital.

Maggie has even torn her ACL (probably both) while playing.  She has come up sore, and even limping - but continued to want to play.  We had to take her to the vet to get her repaired as she would never complain - instead she would rather run on three legs to retrieve her tennis ball.

Those who have met her would also say that she was super expressive.

Maggie knew well over 70 words (wether commands or names of her toys, and was quick to respond to either).  Her favorite was "Baby Parties" which never happened, but seemed to be as intriguing to her as it was to us.  Her expressiveness even won over even those who weren't fans of dogs.

She was able to pass on some great traits to her little "sister" Scout - such as watching for the mailman.

And as tough as it is to lose such an amazing dog, I worry about Scout.  When Annie came in to the picture Maggie wasn't super thrilled.  She would always find her way in between use and muscle Annie out of the way in the beginning.  Soon, things turned around and Maggie accepted Annie.

Even if it was just as a pillow ; )

And then came Scout.  Luckily there were zero issues there.  Maggie quickly took to Scout, even nosing her up onto the couch when Scout couldn't quite make it there her herself.  They were best friends forever.

Maggie has been with me from Athens, GA - South Windsor, CT - Boston, MA - Charlotte, NC.  From single to married.  From dumbass to... well...

I don't know that I've ever known a dog like Maggie.  I don't know that I ever will.  But I am so honored that I had her with me for the time I did.  It's weird, but she made me a better person.  It sucks so much to lose her.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

big gears

When I made plans to ride on Friday I had no idea that it would be the 4th of July.  Here I was thinking that Sean and I would have the trails to ourselves out at Lake Norman.  It wasn't the case of course.  The parking lot was bustling, and it is true I saw more riders on the trail that I normally do - but they were by no means crowded.

Both Sean and I haven't been hitting the bike too hard lately, so we were out for a fun ride and not a hammerfest.  And man were the trails fun.  I was actually worried that things would be closed with the downpour the night before, but the rain left the trails in perfect conditions (save for a few damp spots).  Hitting the trails at a solid talking pace was pretty enjoyable.  But, my gearing started to wear on me.

I left the 18 on the Glow Worm because I usually ride that out there and it's good.  Sure some of the climbs can be a bit tough on it, but last time out I cleared everything.  This time... not so much.  I had thought about switching to a 20 since my ride time has been low that past month, but laziness allowed me to suffer with the 18.  I will admit that I had to hike two short sections where the pitch was steep and the tread was loose.  My legs were feeling it and my brain wasn't in it, which allowed me to give up before really pushing it.  Whatever, it was a fun ride.

I still managed 2 PRs out of the ride, so I suppose that is good.  That, my friends, is the point (in my opinion) of Strava - challenging yourself.  Seeing how you (hopefully) progress and grow stronger.  Beating your own performance and pushing yourself to climb the rankings.  Looking at ride data is pretty neat and can make you just want to get back out there.  So, for all the smack people talk about strava - I like it!

Special Announcement

I will be taking a break from the blog for a bit.  Just a heads up.  I will be back, just not certain as to an exact timeline on that.  Didn't want you to be caught off guard by the sudden disappearance; wouldn't want you to worry that I got hit by a car or something.