Monday, March 31, 2014

I'm not dead

Last week illness completely kicked my ass!!  Annie had been sick the week before and I thought I made it through unscathed.  Just as she was getting better, my ass was handed to me.  Monday night it hit me, and I was out for the count all week.  I tried to get up for the 8 count on Friday, but just as I got to work I realized that wasn't going to happen so I left after half the day.

I'm finally getting my legs back under me, so I'll pick up where I left off... heading to stage there of the Tour de Charlotte.  We rolled through some neighborhoods on our way to our next stage at a city park.  As we were exiting the neighborhood someone realized where we were - Hidden Valley.  We had no issues rolling through en mass, and I noticed more than a few people seemingly enjoying our group as they held up their phones to take video of us passing through.  But, this is not a section of town that you would normally want to wander through.

Racers held up for a meeting and the party people took the trails to get to a good viewing spot.  The trails were a bit greasy and as we got close to our stopping spot we hit a nice little downhill which caused hesitation in more than a few riders.  It was a fun little run with a built in rock launch - I choose to keep my tires on the dirt as I rolled down.  I grabbed a spot to catch the action as the racers came through.  Most of the racers bypassed the jump, but every now and we had riders catching air.

Dicky was sweeping, but that didn't stop him from getting rad!
FM photographer Nik got rad himself

Irish Luke was at home in the mud and rocks

Then things picked up with rider after rider hitting the jump back to back

As the racers came through on their last lap the partiers jumped on the back and we all headed out of the park and hit the streets.  Beer was running low at this point so plans were starting to hatch to find a refill station on the way when we heard the most glorious thing that could ever be announced during a race - there would be a keg at the final stage!!  

One stage to go - and I will continue to stretch this out since I've done nothing but lay on the couch and watch crappy movie after crappy movie for the past week.  April is right around the corner and I'm motivated to jump on board the whole 30 Days of Biking shindig.  I'll talk about my plans for that on Wednesday I suppose.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Getting to round two

As the first race was coming to an end a rider came limping through with a flat tire. I followed him to the finish to lend a hand as he needed a pump. Accountabilibro for the second time.  I had to jump off the trail to let racers by so by the time I caught up with him he had gotten a pump from someone else, although I was able to lend a tire lever.

He made quick order of the change with time to spare before it was time to roll out to stage two. We got to ride a little of the new trail before dumping out into a dead end. As the group began to roll to stage two I spotted a rider pulling off to the side. He was alone so I stopped to see if he needed anything - he was all set, but I stayed to get directions from the sweeper as he changed tubes. This guy fixed his flat in record time and we caught up to the group quickly as they made their way down some train tracks.

This was one of my favorite aspects of the Tour de Charlotte this year - more riding to the stages on trail (or trail like) routes.  We rode the gravel of the train tracks for a short distance (the Meuse had no issue with the bigger rocks of the train track gravel) and then hit up some sewer line trail.  We eventually poured out into neighborhood and made our way up to Tryon... where the hell were they taking us??

Somewhere glorious, that's where!!

Abandoned go kart tracks!!  I'd have to say this was a very creative stage, and way to pull it off!!  I asked some of the FM crew how they managed to get this location and the answer was: we just showed up.  Nice!  There was even pizza waiting for us at our arrival!!

They ran heats for elimination with the final battle coming down to a lap eliminator where the last person on each lap was dropped until there were three racers left, at which point there was a non eliminating lap and then a final lap for the win.

The competition was great throughout the heats, with some very close battles.  There were even a couple of winners crossing in style.

Women's winner - jumping for joy!

Sprint to the finish for the Men

This was a great stage.  Fun for the racers, and a great spectating stage for the partiers.  I don't know where you go from a go kart track, but there were two more stages left so we all got moving once again to see what else the FM crew had in store for us.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Just like last year, things started off with announcements from the roof top.

I met up with Irish Luke, Good Guy Greg and a couple other locals.  Good Guy Greg handed me a flask, "you need to catch up."  He was wearing his DC jersey and representing well.  After announcements were made and details laid, people got their shit together quickly and we were all ready to roll out.  This year everyone was to have an "Accountabilibro" (a partner who will stay with you if you get "swept") - although I was not worried about this... I unknowingly would play this role more than once over the course of the day... and pretty quickly actually.

We took off through some neighborhood streets, eventually spilling out onto The Plaza.  Here our huge group took up the right line, it was a sight to see.  We got a lot of waves, honks, and people whipping their phones out to capture the glory that was out bike conglomerate.  

On the way over I chatted with Irish Luke about his upcoming move, and gathered important details about who won the "irish accent" contact held during his St. Patrick's Day party.  Rules were simple; read Brad Pitt lines from Snatch in your best accent.  The winner - a Croatian who apparently mangled the whole thing so horribly that it was glorious.
We made our way to a park were we paused quickly to get directions for racers and party pacers.  
As I looked over the crowd I noticed GGG had his bike upside down and he was fiddling with his rear wheel so I made my way over.  Apparently he was loosing air so I lent him my pump.  There was no evidence of a leak and he had just aired up yesterday... so we filled it and hoped for the best.  The group headed out leaving up with sketchy directions to the exact location.  Dicky hung back with us since we didn't really know where these new trails were to show us the way.  I didn't get to see all of the trail back there, but from the sounds of things there might be a nice opportunity out there - and not very far at all!!

Beers were cracked and we set up next to a nice "cavity" to catch all the action.  I've got many pictures... but I'll just share some "choice" ones (mostly of people who went big and caught air)

Irish Luke

This guy was jumping everything, everywhere

Just cause it looks like he took a seat to the nuts... yikes!

Then, it was off to stage 2... tomorrow.

Monday, March 24, 2014

too much fun?

This weekend was looking like I'd have two great days of riding.  Saturday was the Tour de Charlotte, and Sunday was the 49er ride - which was modified to a 51 miler due to a scheduled controlled burn.

I attended the tour last year and it was a BLAST, so coming back again this year was a no brainer.  This year's event, in my opinion, blew last year out of the water!  That is not to diminish last year's event in any way.  Instead it is praise to how much the Faster Mustache crew stepped things up this year in terms of bringing the new, the creative, and the fun to the riding and racing.

After the ride the fun continued... and for me continued on a little too long.  The end of the night is just a tad foggy, but let's just say too much fun meant I wasn't getting down to Augusta to ride the next day...

I've got tons of pictures to go through, so I'll likely string this out stage by stage.  But if you didn't make it out for the tour this year, then you best start planning for next year!!

Friday, March 21, 2014


Skipping Media Friday.  With so many videos being shared on the Facebook it's hard to find anything "new" to really use here. So Media Friday May have to be re-imagined in the future, but today I will not worry about that.

Yesterday I had to do some prep for this weekend.  I cranked up the tunes, poured a beer, and got to work.  Except I got distracted by some semi-related bike stuff.  I had gone out to the pterodactyl for a tool to aid in the work I had ahead of me and got distracted by two things.  Scheming a sleeping arrangement in the pterodactyl as an option for my trip this summer to mid/north America, and how this weekend might be a perfect trial run of said arrangement.  And putting my inspection sticker on my plate to verify that the pterodactyl was indeed street worthy - even though my bike rack covers that up and from what I hear you can drive around with inspection sticker expired for 5 or so years without a problem... anyway, it was remedied.

Once all that was sorted out it was back to the Bike Haven to get to work: take the damn Ferris Wheel off the Glow Worm for the 49er.  18t never looked so small!!  That was relatively easy - switch cog, switch chain, adjust EBB.  1/3 of a beer.

Then it was "fun time."  Not only set up tubeless on the Meuse, but put on bigger rubbers.  I started with the front first.  I have some 2.0s that I used in the winter short track series last year that I thought might work... Got the front set up, and there was clearance!

Set up the rear and no rotation, the tire fit snugly in the crotch of the bike (chainstay/BB area).  Finished beer.

Ok, no problem, I'll run skinnier in the rear and fatter up front.  Kinda like the Glow Worm... I've got a name for the Meuse.  So a sscx bike that is quick, light, sexy as hell, and running skinny/fat - Silk Worm.  Holla.

Put the original tire on the rear and got that all set up again.  I took the pump to the front tire to make sure I had good pressure in there to help ensure proper set up... Once up to the "correct" psi the tire no longer rotated in the fork.....  Of course.  Crack second beer.

 I let out air and left it alone.  I'll have to switch out tires again, and put in an order for some wider cx tires that Asylum has already proven fit.  Rolling on 40s.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I guess it's Spring

Apparently it is Spring...

This morning the facebook informed me of this.  I read the post of a friend who enlightened me in a "punch in the face" sort of way.  It read: 

Good news.  The post comes from the Boston area - so the hostility is warranted.

I guess I knew Spring was coming since about Tuesday.  Since I clearly do not use a calendar in a productive way, how could I have know about it's imminent approach you may ask?  Poison ivy, that's how.  Apparently as I stood in the rain for the kids race on Sunday I picked up a nice line of poison ivy across my left shin.  It's that time of year again... yayyyyyyy.

Today it's supposed to get to the upper 60s, tomorrow and Saturday in the 70s so yeah, Spring is here.  Hopefully the wet weather will subside more permanently soon so I can get back to taking advantage of why we moved down here in the first place!!

Don't worry New England, things will get better.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

plans... kinda backwards

So I've started planning... for August.  I've started sketchy out my roadtrip up to the very tip of Michigan for SSUSA.

What I haven't been paying attention to is this weekend... and my conflict, rather perceived conflict.

I've know that the Tour de Charlotte has been coming up - and I've been off and on looking forward to it.  Overall - I've been looking forward to it as it was a BLAST last year - even though I did end the day with helmet strips burned into the top of my dome...  Nonetheless, great event to which I instantly knew I would attend again.  Something about this year has been dragging - so when the date was first there I was down, without a thought - and there lies the problem.  I never paid attention to when it was.  It's this weekend.

Then I committed to a 49 miles ride down in South Carolina.... or Georgia... somewhere... trails and pavement(less) roads.  Sounds... "fun."  It's something Dustin is organizing, so I know it will be great.  Plus (something I think is a GREAT idea... Trailblazers pay attention) is that the ride benefits the local club!  $25 for a big ride with some support, to benefit a bike club - worth it.  This event is also this weekend.

So last night it dawned on me that there might be a conflict... jumped on the facebook to check the dates... Tour de Charlotte is Saturday... crap.  I think the 49er is Saturday as well.  Travel or stay local... local prevails.  So I let Dustin know the bad news....

And then he let me know some good news - 49er ride is on Sunday.  YAY... ugh... yay?  So mess around on Saturday with the Tour (party pace, beers, pictures, general shenanigans) and then an EARLY morning to get down for the 49er ride?  Or drive down Saturday night so my morning isn't so early as I am NOT a morning person...  Yup, calls for more planning.  And as we all know, planning is my JAM!

Try not to fall off the edge of your seat as you wait to see how this all pans out.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kids are awesome

Sunday looked like it was going to be a rainy one - destroying many people's hopes of riding.  While I had pans to ride on Sunday, it wasn't on the trails.  My plan was to ride out to North Meck to help with the CYCL race, and ride home.  Then the weather became a factor.

Earlier in the week it looked like I would be able to ride out, and then race the weather home.  Then it looked like the race itself would be iffy.  Morning of the call was made that the race would be able to get underway before the weather had a chance to really impact things - by that time I already knew riding wouldn't be a fun option, so I hopped in the pterodactyl and got my but over there.  I was surprised by the turn out for the race.  The weather probably kept some away, but there was still a good group out there ready to go!  I spent some time socializing with local heroes like TheMutt, Good Guy Greg and Tom Tom before getting out to the course to help out.

Tom Tom and I picked a "sketchy" bridge to bridge transition section that could prove tricky to rides of all ages, especially as things got slick, to hang out at.  It is a section that I myself always have to pay attention to when riding at speed.  You come downhill across one wooden bridge, carry across some broken cement (to help combat erosion in that section) and take another wooden bridge at an odd angle.  Slick conditions and the odd angle could lead to disaster... so we were there to help if things went wrong for our young riders.

Instead, Tom Tom and I got to stand around and talk about upcoming "grown up" events as the youngsters took the section like champs!!  All the kids did great out there - seeing them race and have fun was worth standing around in the rain.

As conditions got worse, the older kids had their race cut down to just one lap - but I don't think anyone minded at all as it had turned out to be a miserable day (conditions wise).  Racers were still finishing with smiles on their faces - even if some teeth may have been chattering.  Overall it was a great event; music, bikes, hot dogs (on hamburger buns), and just that great vibe we've come to expect at mountain bike events.  If you've got kids, bring them out!  If you don't have kids, come cheer on these riders as they tear it up - it's better to get on their good side now before they start kicking our asses on the trails in a few years!  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The kids

So I've been trying to organize my season - still haven't pulled out the calendar... but I already know that this month is looking like a busy one with bike related events.  Since I'm a complete mess, let's talk about something that is going down for sure...

Kids racing bikes!

Charlotte has it's very own youth league and this weekend (Sunday March 16) is the kick off to the 2014 season.  Folks have been looking into getting mountain biking into our high schools as a legit sport, and the Charlotte Youth Cycling League is a great first step to getting some movement behind that initiative.  I'll admit it, I've slacked in getting something going in my own high school this year, but as the youth season is about to start maybe it's not too late for me to try to drum up some interest.

If you are local, like bikes, want to give back to the sport and invest in our future, then come out to North Meck  and lend a hand.  Races start at 10:30 with an all new "skills clinic" free to all racers from 9:30-10:30... great introduction to racing for first timers!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

I sorta rode

This weekend the trails were still not open so it was time to hit the pavement.  My Sunday would be occupied by the National College Fair here in Charlotte, so Saturday was my day.  When I got up it was cold out, but when I hit the street at around noon it was GLORIOUS!!  60 degrees hasn't felt so good in a looooong time.  *Although, nothing compares to the first time it gets back up around 60 after a long Boston winter...  The weather was perfect, short sleeve jersey and bibs were all that was needed (in the sun - anytime I passed under a bridge or rode next to a parking garage it was freakin freezing!!).

People were out an about.  I passed by a million cook outs - everything was just great!!  Except one, kinda major, thing.  I had no legs.  Right from the start they moaned and groaned.  I hoped they were just upset from lack of activity... but they never really came around.

And then it dawned on me.

I've been eating like crap.  I'm either eating junk, or not eating at all.  Nutrition, much like hydration, is bigger then just the morning of a ride.  I've been running off to work sans lunch - limping through the day on a couple granola bars.  I've got to turn that back around because this week (other than Wednesday) looks like it's going to be amazing.  AND with daylight savings - which I totally forgot about when I woke up at "9" (old 9, new 10) on Sunday - it means more after work riding on the regular.  I've got to get my motor back in shape - nutrition and condition.

Lesson of the day - take care of yourself off the bike, so you can take care of business on the bike.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Busy week. Lazy evenings. And, a bike I don't need, but of course want...

We all know the "correct" number of bicycles each bicyclist should own: n+1
(With n being the number of currently owned bicycles)

This formula makes complete sense to riders of all genre and age. But sadly, the logic inherent in this formula is not so transparent to our loved ones. This is where each cyclist must face one of three paths in life.
1. Stay single and embrace the n+1 lifestyle to the fullest!
2. Find a loving and understanding partner who "gets" and supports n+1 (to some degree).
3.  Float somewhere between 1 and 2 until they find the right "fit," or give up the n+1 dream.

Luckily I have found myself firmly in option number 2 - and quite luckily at that!!  It wasn't until I was with Annie that I really got back into riding, and I had no idea how big a part of my life it would become... so thankfully Annie appreciates what biking does for me (which in turn pays off for her as she reaps the benefits of a happy me).  So, Annie is very supportive in my "collecting" of bicycles, but at the same time helps balance me out in not going overboard in bike hoarding.

In comes Doug's post yesterday.  Probably because I started back into mountain biking on Treks (4300, HiFi) but I've always had a thing for the Superfly SS.  Although the One9 had always been my dream bike, when the EBB was being a pain in the ass I was seriously looking at(for) a Superfly SS to take over.  I never found one, and the EBB II solved all my problems so the thought of the Superfly disappeared... until Doug put his up yesterday.

Do I need it?  Probably not.  After riding down Heartbreak on a rigid (and even parts of the Snake) I do see the benefit/need of having a squishy fork for some rides.  Could I just get a fork for the Glow Worm.  Yeah.  OR, I could get another SS with a squishy fork to support my laziness.... which also supports my want for it.

I do have the HiFi... with all of it's squishy glory just sitting around.  Which I should utilize on those "real mountain" rides.  But it's got gears.... and now I'm just being whiny.

I'm still up in the air with Doug's bike.  I've got the go ahead (if I want/need it and if I have the money to swing it right now) from Annie... so the internal debate rages.  Annie's one counterpoint - "you just got a bike."  Funny how quickly we forget our latest acquisition when another is on the horizon.

So here is a question for the bikers out there - do we need to amend the formula to some degree to account for timing of acquisitions?  Should the +1 only come after a certain amount of time has passed since the last +1? (I honestly have no idea what that formula would look like)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Now what?

So my first big endeavor for the year is complete... belt buckle - CHECK!

Ok... now what?

So far I've been eating crap food since the race (finishing off peanut M&Ms, gummy worms, girl scout cookies, Andy Capp Hot Fries, you know, the youzhe*) so that has to stop.

*I guess that's how you'd spell the abbreviated version of usual... except when I spell it out in a way that you say it so it sounds like the abbreviated form of the word... it is actually longer then the word... so you are welcome for the extra effort.

Yesterday randomly got ass cold and it was freezing rain as I got back home to Charlotte... today was freezing as well when I left for work - so crappy eating and cold temps leaves motivation to jump back on some sort of fitness routine near minimal.

So I watched TV.

I have to seriously get a calendar out and plan the rest of my year.  We have so much stuff bike related and non-bike related coming up in the next couple months that I cannot keep it straight.  I've likely doubled, or even triple booked myself somewhere already.  So I need to straighten that out before it becomes a financial problem.  Aside from just getting my schedule straight, I have logistics to plan as well.  SSUSA - who knows that the hell is going to happen with that.  I think Michigan is an iceblock right now - will it even thaw by then, who knows??

Who knows where everyone else is on that trip as of now?  Some people are all wishy-washy about it, some people are straight moving across the country... might be a solo venture when it all shakes out.

Well, I'm not getting anywhere today other than trying to put my foot down to get organized and start formulating plans.  Oh, I suppose you should know this - I'm not much of a planner.  This should be interesting.

Monday, March 3, 2014

All of the Free Stuff!!

Snake.3 is in the books.

What a truly amazing event.  It is a challenging course that will test you as an individual (both mentally and physically).  This type of trail is what I had always imagined a race course to look like - a trail that actually has technical aspects you have to manage while racing.  On a course like this, there was no shame in pushing your bike over/through stuff you couldn't ride.

I've got to give a HUGE shout out to all the people that made this event happen, 3 months in a row!!  From a racers perspective everything was flawless!!  Thanks so much!!

And, all the free stuff!!!  WOW!!!  Seriously!  On the way down for the final event my wife asked "you'll do anything for free stuff won't you?"  I'm not going to lie, I love me free race shirts.  But the Snake went WAY above and beyond in terms of freebies.  At first registration, a sweet long sleeve tee.  Second, we got an awesome growler.
For the final registration we got a vanity plate.... and after it was all said and done I got the coveted belt buckle!!

(Sorry I don't have a picture handy of the long sleeve or plate)

Ever since I was up in Massachusetts I had heard about the Pinhoti trail and wanted to get my tires all over it.  The Snake was the perfect chance to do that... and the belt buckle was all the incentive I needed to make it happen!!  

So how did the third race go?  If you asked me towards the beginning of the race or during the last couple miles my answer would have been very different than my answer during the middle of the race.... now that it is AFTER the race I will keep it simple.  I improved every race.

My finishing times from January, February, and March:

Seeing steady improvement from race to race when everything else was pretty equal is pretty damn sweet.  Bottom line, I just need to ride more.  I know that.  Even when I am riding "a lot", I need to ride more if we are talking about race prep.  But for where I'm at I'm happy.  My goal was to finish all three races and get myself a belt buckle, and that I did!!

I'm not one for tucking in t-shirts (or shirts for that matter when I can get away with it) but I was happy to tuck in (at least the front) as I walked around Athens Saturday night and Sunday.  

(side story) While in the elevator of our hotel in Athens I got asked "Are you from Daytona, or do you just have the shirt?"  I informed him that I was not from Daytona, that I "just had the shirt."  Hoping that guy looks for Dild's next time he is in Daytona.

Casual Friday at work will feature a sweet belt buckle!!