Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Not much new going on here, just trying to heal up and not think about how much it sucks not being able to ride. I go back to see the doc. tomorrow and I totally plan on grilling him about when I can get back i the saddle. I feel alot better but I've still been walking around with a bit of a limp. I'm not sure if it's related to my back because it feels like a pulled muscle in my calf. I did drop my chain on the cruiser last Fri night a couple of times and my feet kept coming off the pedals. So I may have done it then. I guess I need to get used to flat pedals, it's been so long since I've used them.
On a good note we did have an excellent time on the CRAWL Fri night. We had a pretty good group show up with some really interesting bikes. There were several vintage cruisers and some newer ones as well. I did manage to leave Melinda's front wheel laying in the parking lot that night. DOH! I'll have to post some pics up later when I get a chance. I'm too tired right now, work has been super busy. More later.......

Friday, April 25, 2008

Tattoo update

I forgot to add this earlier. I finally got the call from Tom over at 2 Ton Tat 2 that my artwork was finished so I stopped in last Wed. to check it out and set-up an appointment. I've been very anxious to see what he came up with and am ready to get some new ink. When I got there and he pulled out the sketch I was kind of at a loss for words. What I saw was definitely good artwork but not what I had in mind. I didn't know what to say. I was afraid to tell him it wasn't going to work but I knew I couldn't grow to like it. It really was my fault, I've been pondering over what I wanted for a long time and I knew I wanted it to have my roadie and my mtn bike in it. Not realistic portraits I told him but I wanted to give him the freedom to come up with something cool because he's the professional. Well he did come up with something really cool but it just wasn't what I wanted. It had a cartoonish feel and that's just not my style. So after I ho-hummed around trying to figure out what to say I finally told him it wasn't what I had in mind. I guess I should have been a little more specific. Not knowing what to do I told him I would run home and get some sketches I had done and bring them back to show him what style I was really looking for.
When I got to the house I grabbed every piece of mtn bike artwork I had I had from sketches to T-shirts. I found the root of my idea in a Twin Six t-shirt, it had a drawing of a bike just like I wanted mine done. I grabbed my camera and snapped a bunch of pics of my bikes and took everything back to Tom. This time I laid down some more specific details of how I wanted it to look. I did leave the background details up to him but gave him a bunch of ideas to go with. Tom really is a great artist, I would recommend him to anyone and thankfully he wasn't mad that I didn't go with his idea. He was totally cool with it and said hey it's my job, to make sure you get what you really want. I'm still set-up for a sitting on next Friday so wish me luck.

Hold everything

What a week! I'm still down for the count but my back/leg are improving. I feel like there are a ton of things I need to be doing at work and around the house. At work we had a shutdown to do some repairs and maintenance and in my condition I was stuck inside working the control room. This is the most stressful place to be for 12 hours.
On the home front we have several projects that are in various stages but none of them are finished because I can't do anything and Melinda has been fighting a cold on top of a very bust work week. We bought a bunch of plants for the flower beds that are still sitting around the yard in their original pots. We still have no cabinet doors in the kitchen and project "CrissCross" is just hanging in the bike stand waiting for me to continue stripping off the "Purple Rain" paint job.
I asked one of the guys I work with who mows yards as a second job if he would mind to come by and mow mine since I'm unable to do anything strenuous. He said sure and today he showed up with his mowers. I was hanging out in the kitchen enjoying some coffee this morning when all of the sudden the was a loud CRASH and the entire house seemed to shake. I ran to the backdoor to see that my buddy who was mowing had slid down the hill on his big commercial riding mower and crashed into the deck. Luckily no one was injured but me and the dogs were a little startled. Well I say no one was hurt I think his pride was a little damaged when I got around to telling the story at work and the rest of the crew had a big laugh.
Tonight kicks off the first CRAWL of the season and I'm super pumped. I think we're going to have a good showing of people riding all kinds of bikes. I plan to debut my new cruiser which hasn't seen alot of action as of yet. I plan to snap plenty of pics and report back on all the chaios that ensues.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Down for the the count

It's been a while since my last post, mainly because I've had quite a bit of pain in my left butt cheek and leg. I feel it most when I sit down and I have to grit my teeth when driving. I've had what I thought was a pulled muscle of some sort for a while and I was seeing a Chiropractor which seemed to help until last Thur. I'm not sure what did it but I was moving the "Pancake shack" around by myself Thurs (dumb) and I started to notice my usual pain flaring up again. I didn't think much of it until Friday morning when I got up to go to work and I could barely walk. It hurt so bad I had to wake up Melinda to help me put on my shoes. I went to work anyway hoping the pain would subside but it didn't so I made an appointment with the Chiro again but it didn't seem to help either.

After that didn't help I decided to go see a regular Dr. and he seems to think I've got a disc in my lower back outta whack and it's hitting a nerve. He said they will usually heal on their own if I take it easy and stay off the bike. WHAT????!!!!! I did ask if I can go on the CRAWL next weekend and he gave me the OK for that but not much else. After a very painful weekend that involved only standing or laying down I decided I needed some relief.

This morning I headed to JC to the walk-in orthopedic clinic and got hooked up with some good painkillers and talked to a better suited doctor. He pretty much summed it up the same as the 1st doc but at least no one is talking surgery. Hopefully I'll be back at it in a week or so but until then I guess I'll be just reading about people riding their bikes.

At least I didn't loose my leg like this poor guy. I wonder how he's getting around. I found this deer leg at the trailhead on one of our local hiking trails.
I've not made any more progress on project "CrissCross" but I hope to soon. Sorry if my grammar is a little off, I can feel the Lora tabs kicking in.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Project CrissCross

Project "CrissCross" restoration has officially begun. As you may know I purchased an 80's model Schwinn CrissCross from Norris bicycles for a measly $60. Sunday night the transformation has begun. I started sandblasting the original paint, "Purple Rain", it had to go. I've never been a fan of the color, movie or of the artist formally known as Prince for that matter. I was a fan of the gloved one even if he's a fan of kids. Back to our original topic the sandblasting is going a little bit slower than expected but I should finish it up Sat. I have a few ideas as to how I want it to turn out. I hope to build it up as commuter with drop bars and gears. I would have set it up as an SS but I would have to run one of those crappy chain tensioners. Colors I thinking about: Creme, Alvacado green, flat Olive green, "old school VW" light blue, or flat black. Help me out here with this decision. I like them all but just can't make up my mind. I'm not sure if I can even get these colors but maybe I'll narrow the list down when I take a look at the color swatch list Dave has.
Jackson was dancing around this morning and I asked him what was up he said he wanted his picture taken.
Tattoo update: I spoke to Tom over at 2 Ton Tat 2 and he said my artwork should be ready for approval on Thurs so I'll be heading over there to check it out and hopefully set up an appoinment to get some new ink! Ye Haw!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Not much going on this weekend, I've been mostly working the night shift. Yep back to work but after tonight I've only got one more. The weather sure did suck today but I'm glad it sucks on the days I'm working and looks like it'll be nice this week when I'm off so maybe I can get started on the kitchen cabinet project we started like a month ago and never finished. I need to hit the trails this week as well. I've been riding mostly on the road since the weather has been so nice. I did head up to Bay's Mtn today for a workday on the new trails our club is building. They've had several workdays so far but this was the first one I've been able to attend. I'm glad I went I think whats going down there is going to be really nice and once it's done hopefully the folks who run the place will see how great this could be for the park and let us build more. Big props to Jay Hayes for heading up this project and doing such a good job. Most of the hiking trails at Bays mtn are off limits to bikes and in the past all that's been open to us are fire roads which are good for your fitness but just not as fun as singletrack. Maybe in a couple years we'll have 10-15 miles of singletrack available to us. That would be huge for the park and would really increase their business. There is a lot of potential out there but it will take some time.

Tomorrow I hope to start stripping the paint off my Criss Cross frame. I'll try and post a few pics when I do. I've got to think of a better name for that bike. I don't plan on reapplying the stickers, maybe the head badge but that would be it. I'm pretty excited about this project, it going to be interesting to see how it turns out. Any ideas for names for the new ride would be appreciated.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I was heading into Johnson City a little early yesterday and I had some time to kill so I hit the bike shop, no not "The Bike Shop" (creative name) I stopped by Norris Bicycles to check on project restoration Melinda. I meant to snap a few pics of the bike, a Schwinn Breeze before they started on it but I missed the boat on that one. I did have my camera yesterday but they had already stripped the bike of it's parts so I went ahead and took a pic of the frame and the kid's seat, soon to be luggage rack. I don't think we'll be having a kid anytime soon. Dave said he plans to take the frame home this weekend to strip the old paint and begin the painting process. Melinda has chosen pale yellow for the color. He says this project will take about 2 weeks but I'll be surprised if it's done in 3, we'll see.

It looked something like this complete.

This is the kids seat that was attached to the bike, soon to be a luggage rack. Looks comfy.

After leaving the bike shop I headed over to the ETSU trails to meet up with Melinda for a short hike before she had to go back to work and me to the TNR ride. The trails were in pretty good condition I kinda wished I had brought our mtn bikes for a quick ride but a good hike was nice.

TNR, Thursday Night Ride, or the Buck's ride. I've ridden the route once but I'd never actually attended one of the organized rides. What originally started by a few friends as a leisurely Thursday afternoon ride has turned into a pretty huge gathering. When I showed up last night I was surprised to see so many riders gearing up. There were probably 20 - 25 riders and I was told that this was a small group. Wow! The route is great and the pace depends on which group you head out with. Fast or not so fast, I chose the not so fast. I don't consider myself as a strong road rider so I figured I would be better off making my debut in the not so fast group. Near the end of the ride is a pretty nice climb up Buffalo mountain which I was kinda dreading but I actually felt pretty good when I got to the top.

After the ride most people walk over to Buck's pizza for a few beers and pizza. They had Depot Street's Maple Pecan Porter on tap! SWEET! A really good porter from our local brewer. I like to support the local guy he really makes some good beer.
After leaving Buck's I was driving home and I starting thinking where did I put my sunglasses? I couldn't remember, they weren't in the sunglass console and after feeling around in my riding bag no luck either. Then it hit me as I was cruising down the hwy at 60mph. I hung them on one of the brakes cables on my bike after the ride. Oh crap! I pulled off the road, jumped out of my truck and ran around to the back to find them still there but barely hanging on. Whew! That would have sucked, those aren't cheapos from Wal-Mart.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I made it through the whole day on Tues without driving my truck and most of the day yesterday until I had to run to Sam's and meet up with the guys for a good road ride in Bristol. I feel pretty good running most of my errands on my bike, the weather has been really nice this week. I also stopped in for my 3rd chiropractor visit yesterday and I think I can tell some improvements. I still have some pain but not as much, it's starting to get expensive even with insurance. The poor dogs I think are about to go crazy, usually this week is when they get to get out and run around with me but with Moonshine still on the mend I've had to keep them cooped up until her paw finally heals.
Me, Anthony and Chris headed out on a nice road ride yesterday after they got of work. We have been meeting at Mtn Sports Ltd in Bristol VA and riding a route that has one short steep climb after another. It's a good ride but it can be pretty tough.

I got to Mtn Sports a little early yesterday because I've been needing some new shoes and I wanted to pick up some new Camel Bak bottles. If you haven't heard about the new studies about the plastics these types of bottles are made with click here. Any way I've been using Montrail Hardrock trail running shoes for about 3 years now and all though they're great shoes I've been getting kinda bored with them. When I arrived they had the Hardrocks marked down 50% so I went ahead and scored my 3rd pair. Great shoes!

I'm going to try and make it out to the TNR ride that's been going on in JC tonight if I can get some work down on my road bike today. It's been having a bit of a shifting problem here lately ever since I dropped it on my deck. I think the rear derailleur hanger a little bent.
I called the tattoo shop yesterday to check on the status of my new tattoo artwork but Tom hasn't had time to finish it so it looks like I may not be getting any work done this week.
Have a good one and go out and ride your bike

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I was out running some errands yesterday and I stopped by Norris bicycles yesterday to talk to Dave some more about Melinda's restoration project. I totally meant to snap a picture before he got started on it but left the camera at home. CRAP! While I was there discussing color options I asked him if he ever ran across any old steel CX frames. I've been wanting a Surly CrossCheck for a while but just don't have the $$$ to throw down on the cost of a new frame. Dave said yeah he had an old Schwinn CrissCross which I found out later is actually more of a hybrid than a CX bike but in all reality has a ton of options. Ever since we started the restoration project for Melinda the wheels in my head have been turning. With access to a bead blaster machine I could strip the paint of the CrissCross and have Dave paint it any color I wanted. It sounded like a cool idea and he was only asking $60 for the frame so what the heck I went for it. What I really want is a steel commuter and I've enjoyed my Masi CXR as my main commuter for some time. My only problem is how well will this CrissCross perform on race day??? I don't have the components to build this bike and keep the CXR complete as I'll have to rob it to build up the CrissCross. Oh well cyclocross season is quite few months away I've got plenty of time to figure that out or save up to have 2 complete bikes.
I told myself this week I was going to drive my truck as little as possible with gas prices so ridiculous plus it's better for the environment and my fitness level for me to ride my bike around town. Well that hasn't gone as planned so far. We drove that stinking gas hog everywhere this weekend and I ran all over the place yesterday in it. I kinda had to because of all the stuff I had to pick up like mulch and straw for the yard. That would be kinda difficult on a bike even if I had a trailer. So today I going to ride everywhere possible. I wish this town was more bike friendly like some. I feel like the only people out riding their bikes in Kingsport are me and the people who can't afford a car. Maybe because everyone else is at work. I wonder if all the fat a$$es who are sitting in their big SUV's smoking cigarettes staring at me thinking "That poor kid can't afford a nice big car like me, ha ha ha whoops I almost missed the Pal's drive thru." Sorry fat America I couldn't help myself, go ride a bike!

Monday, April 7, 2008

The weekend that was

Which race did I choose to attend? Both, which did I actually race in? Neither, no racing for me this weekend. It rained all day Friday and some on Saturday. I figured since the course was so short at ETSU by lap 2 I would be walking, unable to stay upright. Well I guess everyone else figured to same. As it turned out only one person raced the XC event. Congrats to Brad Reed on taking 1st place! Since ETSU was a bust I decided to head over to Tsali for a day trip but that didn't work out either, Oh well maybe next time.Melinda and I decided to sleep in and we managed to get out to watch some of the downhill race at ETSU on Sat. It looked nasty and a few folks we're having a hard time staying on the trail. We did get to hang out with a few of our cycling minded friends and and share a few beers and pizza at Buck's.

Here's Scooby hard charging on his 29" SS!

Melinda's cousin Josh, who races for ETSU

Harley showing these young kids how it's done.

Melinda has not been to excited about her new ride, kinda my fault, I really liked it and kinda prodded her along. Oh well, it wasn't hard to sell. So after we finished at Buck's went headed over to Norris bicycles in JC. Dave the owner has started reviving old frames upon request, when you step in his shop you might see a couple of new frames but the vintage frames are what he really specializes in. Just find one you like from the many and tell him what you want to do with it. He has everything from mtn, road, touring and cruiser frames just lying around waiting to be restored and brought back to life. Melinda found her new ride Saturday, an old red Schwinn cruiser complete with a child seat on the back. After discussing color options and a few details we told Dave to go for it. The child's seat will stay actually but will be converted into a rack complete with a wooden top. The color has yet to be determined but she wants pale yellow. I hope to make it back over there today to resolve the color choice and snap a few pictures before the restoration begins. Well I better get off here the grass is getting tall and Moonshine cut her paw pretty bad yesterday so I've got to run her to the vet today. I'll post up some pics tomorrow.

Friday, April 4, 2008

rain, rain, go away

What did I do today? Random a$$ stuff. I started the day off right by making Melinda some pancakes and a frappachino for breakfast while she got ready for work. After that I goofed around on the Internet while I sipped on some coffee. I made an appointment with the chiropractor earlier in the week. (my first visit to one) I've been having this pain is my butt for over a month and it just won't go away. I thought I pulled a muscle while moving some stuff around the house but it should have healed by now but it hasn't. Anyway the doc made a few adjustments and shocked my butt cheek with some electrode things. I guess it feels a little better. I'll do a couple more visits before I determine if it's worth going anymore. After that I headed over to the local tattoo shop 2 Ton Tat 2 to discuss a new tat with one of the guys there who rides bikes as well. Hopefully we'll get started on it next week, he said it may require 2 sittings. Whoa! this is going to be a serious undertaking. After I'm done it should finish covering my entire left shoulder. Oh yeah, and it's going to be bike related of course. I did get in some fitness today, I got out and ran the Crazy 8's route today in the rain. I actually had a pretty good run even though I was soaked when I got done. I guess I'll head over to ETSU in the morning to race the short track. The more I think about it the more I want to head down to Tsali on Sun for the Knobscorcher and make a day trip of it. Hmm I wonder what Melinda will say to that? We'll see. Later

Oh yeah I ran accross this photo of my lil sister, "Bug" partaking of the mtn nectar (rass-burry)and I just had to throw it in.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ahh... the weekend

Today is my last day of work for the week, yeah the weekend is almost here. Every month I get 7 days off. What! you say, 7 days off? Yep that's right and it starts tomorrow. My job has a pretty good schedule if you can handle working 2 weekends out of the month and constantly switching from days to nights and then back again. It's not for everyone and sometimes it wears me down but I like it so far. It allows me more free time to ride my bike. The only downside to this is I'm usually off when everyone else is at work so I ride alot by myself or with the dogs. Anyhow I hope this weekend turns out to be a good one. I think we're pretty dead set on not going to Tsali and I still haven't decided on on ETSU. I'm kinda of disappointed in their lack of work to make the XC race a better event. I have a feeling the turnout is going to suck. All of their focus seems to be geared toward Downhill and Dual Slalom. I guess times are changing, why ride uphill when you can go down all the time and hardly pedal. Why go outside and experience the world when you can stay inside and stay on the couch and see it in HD with full surround sound.
I'm not to sure about the whole DAR FUR fundraiser for this race either. I went to the website but had a hard time trying to figure out what they're main goal is. They have so much info you really have to read and read to understand. I wonder if they did that on purpose? Are they hiding something? It's probably a good cause, I've just not learned enough about it.
Maybe I can round up a few folks to ride all the trails ETSU has, up and down. Old school style! Maybe I'll even break out the cruisers with the old school springer fork.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A run in the woods

Yesterday was a pretty good birthday even though I had to work a 12 hour day and I owe it all to Melinda, she was very good to me. It all started off at about 4:30 am when she got up way earlier than she was supposed to, to make me blueberry pancakes with granola. She also fixed me homemade chicken salad for lunch and had a chocolate cake waiting for me when I got home. Thank you sweetheart. She asked me earlier in the week what I wanted to do for my birthday. Working a 12 hour day doesn't leave much time for anything after work and I needed to do something active because I plan on racing this weekend. I told her I wanted to go for a good long run although I needed to ride, a run would have to do because of time constraints. I decided on running the Crazy 8's route which is a pretty nice route and I do need to get in some good miles so maybe I can keep up with Chris D. this year. I was lacing up my street running kicks when the kids started pacing around. They knew I was going somewhere fun and they were begging to tag along. I felt sorry for them because they've been couped up in the house all week. I couldn't take off and leave them there so I traded out my street kicks for my trail kicks and we all headed for the trail head, Melinda included. It was a great evening run, the trails were in great shape and there was even a small sprinkle of rain to cool us down as we headed back to the car. I'm glad I decided to hit the trails and enjoy nature with Melinda and the kids instead of fighting traffic. I'm around enough carbon monoxide at work. On the way home we stopped by my favorite restaurant, Cootie Brown's, and grabbed a Memphis pizza on whole wheat crust. If you've never tried one they're a must., I'm having leftovers for lunch today.

Oh yeah I did check out the trail work that was done to the second creek crossing on the Whitetail Loop. You guys did a great job the trail looks much better. Thanks to all who were involved.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Where to race this weekend????????

There are 2 races going on this weekend. I can actually attend both if I really wanted to but it would require spending more money than I really want to. One is right here in my backyard at ETSU, the trails where I consider home. This is where I really learned how to ride. The trail system is not the best but considering it's on the campus and right in the middle of town it's good for what we have to work with. It could be a lot nicer with a little bit more maintenance. The only problem is the regular maintenance crew is the ETSU mtn bike team who most of their riders are gone during the summer months. It also doesn't help that they're all gravity fans so they spend most of their time grooming their downhill runs and jumps.

The only problem with this race is it's too dang short. The race course is only using one third of the available singletrack. I asked why this was and the answer I got was they just didn't have time or the resources to get all the singletrack race worthy. I don't remember anyone asking for help. Last time I rode the course it was okay, just a little cleaning up would do the trick. I'm sure the DH and DS course are going to be in fine condition. The XC course will consist of 4 laps on a 2.5 mile course. This could quite possibly be the shortest course in the histry of mtn. bike racing. I can foresee a bunch of beating and banging as the course is very tight. We might just see something that resembles a good old southern short track race at Bristol. I wonder if there will be a fistfight? That might make it worth the $10 entry fee.

The other possibility is the SERC Knobscorcher race at the Tsali trails in western NC. This is a great trail system but it's a 2.5 hr drive over the mountain and through the woods. I've made this race the last 2 years in a row and we usually head down on Friday and make a whole weekend out of it. But since we just got back from a five day trip to Savannah GA. we are kind of hesitant on driving over and spending a bunch of money. What to do what to do? I guess I could do both since one race is on Sat and the other on Sun but I hate to do that to Melinda and we need the rest. I'll probably end up spending the weekend here but you never know.

Oh yeah today is my Birthday, nothing special planned but Melinda did cook me Blueberry pancakes with granola this morning for breakfast! They were awesome! Thanks sweet heart.

Don't forget to pull an April Fools Joke on someone today.