Sunday, August 31, 2008

doin work yo

I'm working nights all this weekend so not much excitement going on here but Melinda was awake at 6am this morning when I rolled in from work. She had some multi-grain pancakes and turkey bacon on the griddle. SWEET!
After I woke up this afternoon Melinda, the dogs and I got in a nice hike at Warrior's Path State Park today. We had some fun while the dogs played around in the lake and creek. I think tomorrow were going to head up to Bays mtn for a little riding action.
I was bored last night surfing the internet at work when I ran across a deal that was just too good to pass up. Something I've been wanting for a while. I got the okay from Melinda and then went for it. Something will have to go to make room and fund this new aquirement but it will be okay. I'm keeping it on the down low until I have it in my hands. Last time I said something the deal fell through. I don't want to jinx it. Well I did already spill the beans to a few people.


Friday, August 29, 2008

random stuff

Week 1 complete in the can I do 100 push-ups test. Only 5 more to go.

My little monthly vacation is over, time to go back to work. I got in quite a bit of good riding over the past 7 days even with all the rain we had. I'm working nights all this weekend so no big Labor Day plans for this honky. The one good thing about working holidays is holiday pay. That always makes for a nice paycheck. Extra money means new bike parts. I'd like to have one of these bad boys for the monkey.

I've got a carbon bar on it now but it's a riser and I think I'd like a flat bar better. I've been running a flat bar on Mary and it seems to be a nice fit for me.

At the homestead we've had an outbreak of wild cats born into the neighborhood. Two of my neighbors' have cats, one male and one female and they run loose all over the neighborhood crapping in my mulch and driving my dogs crazy. Well the two of them got together a few months ago and had themselves a litter of kittens. Now they are old enough to wreak havoc in my mulch as well. I used to fuss at Moonshine for chasing the neighborhood cats but now I encourage it. I just fuss at her for crapping on grass other than her own. I've been tempted to break out my BB gun or call the cat catchers but I always think twice and feel sorry for the little guys even though I'm not a cat lover. So for now I'll continue to just let Moonshine keep them in check. For all you cat lovers out there fear not she can't catch them, she can't climb trees.

The Carr household guardian.

Two things that really get on my nerves: Celebrities who think they need to tell the world how you ought to live and people who like to tell you how great they are.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A ride on the Creeper

For over a week now me and a couple of guys at work have been planning on riding the VA Creeper trail. Most of these folks are not regular bike riders but the Creeper Trail is probably the easiest off road ride in our area. The plan was for me and one other to start at Damascus and ride the 17 mile uphill stretch to the White Top station to meet the rest of the crowd (who were planning on taking the shuttle up), turn around and head back down to Damascus where we would eat lunch. I then planned to head towards Abingdon after lunch to complete the rest of the trip, 67 miles total. Well those plans were changed when the rain started and one by one my crew started backing out on me. I knew this would happen, most of them are not cyclist and some own only Wal-Mart bikes. Tuesday afternoon I still had one willing participant but he ended up backing out on me at the last minute as well. Oh well I thought, I'm used to riding by myself and I did this ride alone last year.

According to the radar the rain looked like it was done with us but the weather man was still calling for a 70% chance of rain. If I wanted to get any amount of riding in this week off road this was my best bet. The Creeper is rideable in just about any weather as long as you don't mind getting wet and cold.

My attempt last year was a success which I completed on my cyclocross bike. It's probably the fastest and most efficient way to ride the Creeper but coming of the top of White Top I was miserable. There are quite a few rocks and ruts that can really beat you up at high speed. This year I decided to take Mary as my weapon of choice. 29" wheels, steel frame, lock out fork, it had to be the perfect combination. Last year I started in Abingdon but this year I started in Damascus which proved to be the best way to go. On my way to Damascus I drove through some rain which had me second guessing my trip but when I arrived in town it had stopped.

At home I had attached on old rear fender I had in my parts bin and a homemade front fender made out of a plastic jug and some zip ties. I only made it a half mile in when the rear fender fell off. What?.... I stopped and reattached it with some zip ties only to have it fall off again a mile and a half down the road. I gave up and tossed it under a tree just off the trail with the intention of picking it up on the way down. I'm still not sure what the problem was but the homemade fender worked flawlessly and never fell off once.

My ride up was smooth and rain free but I did run across alot of debris and downed trees. When I reached the top I stretched a bit had a banana and some skittles which turned out to be a very nice little mood lifter. I think Skittles will become a staple for me on all of my long rides. The ride down was awesome, I was flying & jumping everything in site bunny hopping over all of the debris and small down trees that had slowed me on the way up. As the trail flattened out and I started pushing a harder gear my drive train began to ghost shift on me. I must have knocked the rear derailleur out of whack hopping over all the little trees. When I reached Damascus I thought about having one of the mechanics at a bike shop look at my derailleur but I realized I was running out of time and needed to keep moving.

One of the many bridge crossings.

Looking down off the bridge.

I did stop at my truck to drop off the worthless rear fender and my unused rain jacket. I only got rained on a couple of times on my ride but as sweaty as I was a rain jacket wasn't going to help anything. After a peanut butter and honey sandwich I headed towards Abingdon with only an hour and a half left to spare. I knew I wasn't going to be able to finish the ride today so I split my time and rode on until I had to turn around.

The river level was high and moving fast from all the rain.

Upon my return to my truck I realized that I had left my camelbak wide open with my wallet, cell phone, and cash exposed. Unbelievably nothing fell out and I had stuck it all in zip lock bags to prevent it from getting wet. That was a close one.

Hopefully next week I will return with all of the original crew to complete the ride. Even though the Mary was a bit slower and about 10 lbs heavier it was definitely the more comfortable ride.

Have a good one


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

one hundred push-ups

Something interesting to try, I am who's with me. I need the upper body strength.
Now go do some push-ups and ride your bike


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ahh the rain

It looks as if Fay is here to stay for a couple of days at least. Although she's no longer a hurricane or tropical storm she is still putting a damper on the party, my party that is. This week was supposed to be a week filled with group rides everyday. Today at Steele Creek is looking like it's out. Wed at the Creeper well I think I'm going rain or shine, it just may not be a group ride anymore but it should still be quite an adventure. They're calling for a 70% chance of rain. Thursday I hope Fay will be long gone so I can attend the TNR ride, it's one of my favorites and I can only make it out 2 weeks out of the month. Who knows what Friday holds I'll be riding somewhere that's for sure.

I just placed an order for 2 sets of these bad boys, Panaracer Cinder X cyclocross tires! Cyclocross season will be underway in October and I've decided to race my CX bike in the CX4 category and my Karate Monkey in the singlespeed category. Double your pain! I may have to break down and purchase a license this year to save a little cash. In the past couple of years I've only been able to race 3-4 races a season but this year it looks as if my schedule will allow me to attend 5 out of 6. At 2 races a day that will be 10 for the year. Nice very nice!

I gave up on facebook, it was too time consuming and with email and a blog I just couldn't justify it. I know my family will be disappointed but who needs facebook with this really awesome bog.

two things that drive me crazy - people who smoke and people who have unusually loud cell phone conversations in public

Have a good one


Sunday, August 24, 2008

trying new things

After being harassed by my family for sometime I have finally started an account with facebook. I'm not sure why I did it because I can see where you can waste alot of time sitting in front of a computer. The website actually seems to work pretty slow and it takes forever to do anything on your profile. I will admit I've had the opportunity to talk to a long lost friend from my home state of Texas and I was amazed at how many of my friends that have accounts.

I feel like all of my rides here lately have consisted of taking beginners out to the trails for rides. Don't get me wrong I enjoy riding with other people and it's great to introduce people to riding but I really need a good hard ride with my friends who already know how to ride. Maybe I'll make it out to Steeles Creek and the TNR ride with everyone this week. I have seen a huge interest spawn from the guys I work with in riding bikes all of the sudden. I'm not sure what started it but in the past 2 weeks I've led 3 rides all with people who have never experienced singletrack. This week I'm going with a group from work to the VA. Creeper Trail. Most of the group is planning on taking the shuttle from Damascus to the top and riding the downhill. Not me I plan on riding the entire route round trip, all 67 miles on my mtn bike. I did it last year by myself on my cross bike in about 4 hours. I have a feeling this trip is going to be alot slower with all the newbies in tow but thankfully they're not attempting the whole ride with me or I would be having to tow them out of there. Just a couple of months ago they were making fun of me and now everyone one is getting my opinion on what would be a good bike to buy. Who knew?

Friday on one of my beginner rides I was cruising through one of the more technical sections at Warrior's and I was really focused on the rock garden I was riding through and I didn't even notice the dead deer laying just a foot from the trails edge. My buddy that was behind me stalled out on the rocks and stopped long enough to notice the carcass and the smell. It was pretty fresh so the smell wasn't bad until you got right up on it. It appears someone shot it but our trail system is in a state park so it kinda worries me. The deer was really too big to be moved off the trail and now I've heard the smell has gotten alot worse. I'm not sure what's going to be done about it but I hope it happens soon. I can't imagine trying to ride through there especially if your breathing hard.
Between all of the group rides going on this week and the beginner ride I'm leading it's looking like it's going to be a busy week. Have a good one!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Locally grown,..yeah right

I stopped at Wal-Mart yesterday on my way home from work to pick up a few groceries to get us through the week. I've been trying to get more fruits and veggies in my diet here lately and I've been trying to buy local as much as possible. Wal-Mart has done a pretty good job lately by keeping a locally grown section in the produce right up front so I usually try to pick from there if I can. I was scanning the various items when I noticed some really good looking red plums, almost too good. I'm not really a red plum fan but they just looked too good to pass up. As I was loading a couple into my bag I noticed something funny on the sticker. California??? I live in Tennessee the last time I checked so that would make them um, not so locally grown. I questioned the cashier while checking out but she just gave me the run around, not that I expected her to really give a rat's ass. I've been wondering how often are the big chain stores taking advantage of the "organic" and "locally grown" hype that's been flooding our stores. I think it's just a fad that will pass after they get those Mexicans to quit crapping on our tomatoes and jalapenoes. I guess I really need to make it down to the Farmer's Market more often.
The big show is coming to town this week! Nascar that is and it looks like mother nature just might play nice by sending Miss Fay back out to sea. Yeehaw! I love Nascar and the Bristol race is always a good one to watch. I hope Jr. can pull out of this little slump he's been in and bring home a win Sat night.
Gonna hit the trails today after work with Melinda, the dogs and a buddy from work who's new to riding. Should be fun.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Pancake Shack is back!

Pancake Shack....hmm, I'm not sure I like the name anymore. Anyway we finally got it back and everything is in working condition, well except for the right rear brake light, it works every once in a while. I guess that means it's got a short somewhere.

We took it to Tsali for our 3rd trip in it since we bought it and I'll have to admit I was a little nervous going inside with the top up. I made a stand to put under the handle just in case but Melinda wouldn't let me bring it along because she said it was tacky. I guess I'll have to make a prettier one next time.
On the way down Melinda turned to me and asked, "Did you pack my helmet, gloves and shoes?" I said no but I do remember seeing your helmet in the back of my truck. I asked if she wanted me to turn around but she said no. Sure enough when we started to get ready for our first ride no shoes or gloves. Off we went for a little side trip to the NOC for a new pair of shoes. I knew if we found a pair they would be the most expensive ones they carried and I'm used to that I was just praying they had something in her size. It's so hard to find women's specific anything these days without placing an order. Sure enough they had one pair in her size and yes they were the most expensive pair in stock. No big deal they are good shoes, alot better than the pair she been wearing.

We had a great time at Tsali, Melinda, Alan, Rob and myself all shared a campsite, drank a few beers over a campfire and rode some sweet trails. I'll have to hand it to Melinda she wasn't too excited about riding with three guys but she did very well.

For the most part the trails were in good condition but in the past they've been alot better. When you have to pay to ride a trail every time you would expect that they would almost always be in great condition. I can understand when a storm blows through and a couple of trees fall and block the trail, that happens. The last few years the conditions have seemed to be getting worse. There are always trees down, I think we crossed 4 or 5. There are several sections where water collects or erodes the trail and what's left is a rutted out section that really kills the flow. I really hate to complain but where the heck is my money going? I pay every time and nothing changes. No new trails and it seems like very little maintenance is done. Don't get me wrong I will still continue to go to Tsali it's a great trail system but I just might reconsider paying next time.

I'm not sure what to say about these photos but I thought they were funny.

Where did I put that bottle opener? That was a question I kept asking Melinda all weekend.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

trash day

A year or two ago a blue barrel appeared just up the hill from a section of our local trails. Not long after that it was setting upright next to the trail as if it was meant to be a trashcan. Over time it slowly collected various water bottles and random stuff but it was never clear if it was put there by the park or just rolled down from the nearby farm. It never really posed much of a problem until here recently. The other day I noticed it was over flowing and spilling out onto the ground. After some thought and a post by a friend of mine on our local club forum we decided it was time for it to go. The area it was in was too far away for the park maintenance to empty so I assumed they dd not intend for it to be there. I loaded up Moonshine and Jackson, some gloves and trash bags and headed out to meet Rob and Mike at the trailhead to take care of business. We had to hike in to the section where the barrel was so I figured it would be good exercise for the dogs. When we arrived we turned the barrel over realizing it was mostly full of rain water. We managed to clean up all the trash which was alot less than we originally thought and hauled it and the barrel out to the trailhead. On our way out as we were nearing the last section of trail which was downhill, we figured why carry it when we can roll it. The section was plenty wide and fairly smooth so we gave it a go and sure enough it took off down the trail with Moonshine chasing after it. Seeing that blue barrel rolling down the hill got Moonshine fired up and she began chasing it as fast as she could while trying to bite it on the way down. It was hilarious I wish I'd brought my camera. I kept waiting for her to jump on top and roll with it like a lumberjack.
Good news the "Pancake Shack" should be ready by tomorrow just in time for our little camping trip this weekend. Hooray! I talked to A&L today and they said it was working correctly and they were putting the furniture back in this afternoon. Hopefully I can go pick it up when I get up tomorrow.
Still working on t-shirt designs mostly just the font here but I think I'm narrowing it down. I may tweak it a little more but probably not until next week. I've got too much going on this week. I've got to try and can some peppers tomorrow and I'm afraid I won't have time since we're camping this weekend. We'll see

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

lookin for the weekend

I can't wait for the weekend! I'm off this weekend and I think we're going camping down at Tsali for a little mtn biking and relaxing. Exactly what I need. I've ridden 6 out of the last 8 days both road and off road and it feels good. I think I'm going to take a couple of days off though, between work, not enough sleep and alot of riding I feel worn down. My energy levels are low and I kinda felt loopy today. I should have rested all day but I didn't, instead I worked on some new designs for our club t-shirts, washed my truck and took the dogs for a hike.
Check out some of the artwork I've been working on.
It's still a work in progress and I'm going to do some more tweaking tomorrow.
I've got the tattoo itch but no ideas yet, hmm........

Sunday, August 10, 2008

riding, rain, hotdogs and good beer

I've had a few good days of riding lately. Thursday it started with the weekly TNR ride in JC. There was a storm on the horizon but after watching the radar I was pretty sure it was going to miss us just barely. I started out mid pack with the intentions of just taking it easy and cruising with everyone. I started chatting with a couple of friends that I haven't seen in a while and before I knew it we had dropped the group behind us. We stopped after we had realized what had happened to wait on everyone but after a few minutes had passed we realized that the group had turned off on an alternate route. We decided to backtrack a bit and try and catch everyone else. We ended up missing the turn backtracking some more and then taking a longer route that the group had taken. Instead of just cruising like I had planned we rode at pretty quick pace trying to play catch up. We never caught up with group but we did catch up with the rain storm on Buffalo mtn. as we were descending off the backside. I took it pretty slow coming down, I've always been a chicken when it comes to bombing downhill on skinny tires. Throw in a slick road in the rain and it really kicks the excitement level up a notch. When we finally arrived back at our cars we realized we had ridden almost 5 miles more than the rest of the group.
Friday night a group of us started what I hope begins a new tradition, "The Hot Dog Ride" at Warrior's. We met up at about 6pm and rode the usual route but at a blistering pace led by Anthony. I started out the ride in the very back with saddle height adjustment problems and a bent brake lever from letting my co-work ride Mary. As the pace quickened and the elevation rose I started noticing people dropping of the pace and I was able to work my way to the front. I was fourth in line and bouncing off of rocks left and right when I about ran over FBF on the trail. He looked a little dazed and shook up. I asked him if he was alright and he said he took the wrong line and did an endo onto a rock. After I made sure he was alright I headed off to try and catch up with Anthony and Scooby. I was able to keep them in my sights one we regrouped but my back was feeling tight and I just couldn't keep the pace Anthony was pushing on his singlespeed. I can't wait to get back on the monkey.
Once we got back to the parking lot we fired up the grills and got the hotdogs and beans cooking. It was a fun ride and I hope to see it grow and more people show up. I hope the pace didn't scare anyone off and I'm sure it won't be that fast in the future or there will only be a couple of us out there. I wish I had taking my camera because Anthony, Andy and Mike B. entered the first ever Hot Dog Ride, dog eating contest which was won be Andy. We all had a few good laughs at FBF who was hobbling around like an old woman and the dance Anthony did when he shoved a steaming hotdog in his mouth during the dog eating contest. Next time we'll make sure the dogs aren't hot off the grill.
Saturday I took the day off from riding and Melinda, Anthony, Amanda and I all headed down to the Kingsport Grocery for dinner and good micro brews. The Grocery just opened up a couple of months ago and they have an excellent selection of micro brews on tap and in bottles. You won't find a Bud or Coors light anywhere. I always have intentions of trying something new but I keep going back for our local brewer Depot Street. They had a new I.P.A out the "Freighthopper" which was very tasty.
Tonight is date night, Melinda and I are going to go out to hit the trails together for a romantic mountain bike ride.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

rides, seats, Nascar, & peppers

I've had a pretty good week this week. I've ridden almost everyday some days twice if you count commuting. I plan on being at the TNR ride this evening as long as it doesn't rain. I'm excited about this one. I haven't ridden this ride since I hurt my back and it's a hard one to make it on regular basis with my work schedule.
Yesterday I took 3 beginners out to Warriors for their first mountain bike ride. Two of them were guys I work with and I was kinda surprised when they expressed interest in going. They did pretty good for their first time out especially since it had just rained and half the bikes were Wal-Mart bikes.
Since Mary has joined the group I've been playing around with different seat combinations. I got this nice carbon seat for Christmas last year that I keep moving around to different bikes to see where I like it best. It originally started out on my CX bike which worked well during races but as a commuter I wanted something with a little more cush. I've got this sweet WTB Rocket V with yellow highlights that matches it perfectly.

When I got Mary it also had a rocket V mounted up but I took it off in an effort to reduce some weight but the carbon seat just wasn't the right mix for a mountain bike that sees alot of saddle time. So after a few rides I decided to put the Rocket V back on, I'll just have to try and find other ways to lower her weight, not that that was very significant anyway.

This seat is more suitable as a road seat but I've already got a great Fi'zi:k on my roadie that fits me great. That's not a misspelling folks that's how they do it and I'm not sure why.

So the other day I had an idea I decided to try the carbon seat on the Monkey since I'm usually standing up on the pedals anyway and the seat I had on it looked kinda goofy anyway. I tried it out yesterday and it seemed to work out nicely but the ride was short so we'll see how it goes.

When I first built built the Monkey I did it all up in black and after I realized how much faster I was on it I realized it was only right to adorn it with a number "3" sticker in honor of the "man".

The monkey is actually so fast that the sticker started peeling off last year so I had to fix it with some clear tape but now it looks as if I need to replace it.
When I was at Wal-Mart the other day snapping pics of Jr's car I picked up a #88 sticker and with a little fancy scissor work it seemed to fit nicely on Mary.

I know the color scheme is not correct but it will have to do until I can paint her. Nah she looks good in Tangerine.

I keep forgetting to post up this pic

Mother nature has finally decided to send us some much needed rain and I think I might just have a decent pepper garden this year.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

gears who needs em

A couple of months ago I built up a new ride, Mary with gears to help my back get fully healed. I've enjoyed the new ride quite a bit. I took it to Dupont and rode it around for a whole week. Some crazy thoughts started floating around in my head. Do I like riding a geared bike better than a Singlespeed?
Most of my riding here lately has been fairly tame nothing real technical. I hadn't ridden my local trails at Warrior's that much either.
Last Wednesday, I not only rode hard, I rode some of the more technical trails at Warrior's which were wet and I was chasing my buddy Anthony on his singlespeed. I quickly realized how much slower I've become since I injured my back. I know I've lost some fitness and there's nothing I can do about that. I'm just glad to be back on the bike.
Since I've started riding more technical trails again I realized how much different it is to ride them with gears as opposed to riding them on a singlespeed. I've found it's a little more difficult to spin through rocks and roots than to stand up and mash through on my singlespeed. I've found myself stalling out on sections that I would normally sail right through on the monkey.
Don't get me wrong I love riding the Mary but it is slower and heavier. I need the Mary to keep me in check right now with my back still on recovery. I've been riding quite a bit here lately without pain and I feel I'm ready to start running again as well.
I've got 3 months to get my ass back into racing form before our annual trip to the 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth in Knoxville. I'm sure I'll be ready when the time comes. The question is which bike will I be riding. I'll probably take both and see which one I'm faster on. Haw Ridge can favor the bikes with suspension. The monkey has none but damn she's fast. This year we'll be riding in the anything goes class, gears or none, you choose. We went this route to accommodate everyone on our team. Last year we took 3rd place in the single speed category and had a blast but my good buddy Brad has decided singlespeeds are not his bike of choice anymore which I can totally understand.

Alan aka Scooby has also decided to switch back to gears and go the solo route this year. He told me the other day he just can't handle all the attention and fame that's been thrown at him since his first race with "Granny's Rotten Teeth". I told him we understood and wished him luck in his new adventure. I guess everyone is not cut out for the big time.

click on pic to make bigger and see the cool stashes that brought us good luck

I've been pondering what I'll do with Mary once I'm fully healed up and back on the monkey. I'll probably hold onto her unless she starts collecting dust. It's a lot of fun to ride especially down rocky singletrack with the Reba up front.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Trail dogs

This week I got in 2 road rides and 1 very wet mtn bike ride while I was off. That was great for me, exactly what I needed after a very non productive 3 months. Needless to say that meant leaving the dogs at home everyday with no exercise. Since I'm working nights this weekend I decided to take them on a hike today at the trails. I figured it would be a good day for hiking since we've gotten a lot of rain lately. As soon as I let them out to go load up in the truck Moonshine bolted out the door like her ass was on fire. She ran around our yard and through the neighbors before stopping to drop a bomb right in the middle of their yard! I swear she's on a roll this week.

The trails were actually in pretty good condition and the creeks were up and running swift.

If you can't tell Moonshine loves to swim. Jackson's not much of a swimmer, in fact I think he's scared of it. I've only seen him swim 2 or 3 times when I tricked him into it.

Earlier today I headed over to Wal-Mart to pick up a few groceries and as soon as I pulled into the parking lot I saw something very interesting. A green & white Chevy Impala SS with a giant AMP Energy drink can sitting next to it. I immediately did a u-turn, ran home and grab the camera.

I know there are a lot of Dale Jr. fans out there in fact I think he has the biggest following. I don't like him because he's the most popular driver but because I was a fan of his Dads and when he was killed I decided to start rooting for his son. I had already been watching him since he came up from the Busch series. Most of my friends I ride with could care less about NASCAR but I love it and Melinda does too. At least I have something in common with the guys I work with. They think I'm weird for riding bikes and think I'm just another one of those dorks who get in their way on the road. I've just never had much interest in hunting and ball sports.

Jerseys are in! Finally this week our mountain bike club jerseys came in. I have to say they were a bit of trouble to get but they are worth it. I went ahead and got the jersey, matching shorts, arm warmers, and socks.