Friday, October 31, 2008
Tis the trick or treat season. Melinda and I have been living in our neighborhood for almost 5 years now and we've only had 2 trick or treaters. Both were our neighbors kids, one of which told us we looked desperate for kids to come by. That made me made so I went with the trick route and let Moonshine chase her out of the yard. She had already chased the other kid earlier in the year and he was too much of a chicken to come to our door so he sent his older brother instead to collect his candy for him. Needless to say neither have been back since.
Every year Melinda buys candy at my protest in hopes that we'll have some trick or treaters. Not this year, we're not even going to stay at home. If they won't come to us we'll go to them. Melinda and I have decided we're going to dress up like children for Halloween and ride our bikes around town trick or treating. Why not, sure some people may catch on and realize we're not kids but we'll be half way across their yard with the goods by the time they get the nerve to say anything. If they do decide to say something I'm bringing a supersoaker along just for the occasion. So if two adults show up at your door dressed like kids you better hand over the goods or face the consequences.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday morning I took Moonshine to the vet to have a growth removed. This is the second one she's had removed. The last one was on her chest and was just a fatty growth, nothing to be worried about. They did tell us that once she's had one she'll probably have another. We check her on a pretty regular basis and a couple of weeks ago we found another on her neck. No word on what this one is, it's currently being tested at the lab. The bad thing is they always shave a very large section of fur off so she looks kinda funny for a couple of weeks until it grows back. No swimming for her until the stitches come out either so we may have to steer clear of the trails for a week or so. She slept most of the day yesterday but last night when a bunch of the guys came over she was up to her normal mischievousness as usual.
Earlier this week I was downtown visiting the library,..... library? Yes I go to the library on a regular basis and guess what? I check out books to read. Whoa, betcha didn't know that. Anyhow back to the 3 pictures of bras hanging from the building. Breast Cancer Awareness is this month and our local radio station has taken it to the next level. They have definitely caught people attention. Pretty cool idea!
Yesterday I got out on my mountain bike for the first time since the HOT. I went out and did a lap at Warriors. There are alot of leaves down on the trails now and the air was chilly. It feels like winter already. I think it's way too early.
Monday, October 27, 2008
There was alot of smack talk going on this year on our club website as to who was going to beat who. Some friends of ours who have a whole lot more experience at endurance racing were looking to even the score after last years' event. Somehow last year we managed to finish ahead of them.
They have been looking for revenge from last years showdown and I'll have to hand it to them they were prepared, serious and bound and determined to make us look like chumps. They even named they're team after us (Granny's Getting Flossed) hoping to be just ahead of us in the standings and everyone would get the joke. Couldn't they come up with something better? Maybe we'll have to change our name next year. It didn't quite pan out the way they had planned. We allowed them to believe up until the day of the race that we were racing in the singlespeed division but really we were in the sport category. Anthony and I wanted to race the SS's but it just wasn't in the stars for us. My Karate Monkey was the only SS steed in our quiver. Anthony's fork crapped out on him again and I had to loan out the KM to him at the last minute. I didn't think it was a good idea for me to be racing it just yet. My back sometimes will still let me know it's not 100% so I wasn't ready to push it.
It was nice racing in the sport class this year, we concentrated more on having fun racing and not worrying to much on how we did in the standings. The Mamasita performed beautifully and she got alot of compliments even out on the trail.
I was second out for our team and I was prepared for the course to be a little bit nasty. This year's course had quite a bit more climbing than last year and my first lap felt I felt like I was fighting the bike and the trail the whole time. The roots were slick as crap and the mud was sticky like peanut butter. Sections of the trail that were normally fast felt like I was in slow motion. I haven't had to ride much in wet conditions this year due to the lack of rain we've experienced here in the good ole south. That and add the first wave of racers went in a really got the trail muck nice and stirred up. On one particular rooty uphill section I spun out and had to jump off and scramble up the hill. I felt something odd brush my leg and I looked down and noticed that my seatbag was only hanging by 1 strap out of 3. Not good, it had my good Crank Bros. multi tool in it and I didn't want to lose that. I tried to strap it back on the best I could but I had a feeling it wouldn't make it. I think the velcro is on it's last leg and it may be time for a new one. As my lap went on I kept checking on the seat bag and sure enough it wouldn't stay on. I finally gave up and left it hanging by the one strap instead of wasting more time fixing it.
One section of the course that has drawn alot of attention on some forums before the race also drew alot of attention in the way of heckling spectators hoping to see some good crashes. This particular section of trail was along a steep embankment and the trail almost vanishes off the side of hill just as you round the corner. As if not to make things worse if you don't manage to keep it together and stay on the trail you can expect to go swimming in a creek filled with some of the nastiest funk that looks and smells like poo with several beer drinking spectators cheering you on. (Alot of people did end up crashing and going to a swim and some were caught on video.) As I reached that section I managed to maneuver through with style and ease much to the approval of the spectators. As I passed them I realized they were some of my homies from way back and they kindly offered up a cold beer if I stopped. I thanked them but kept going promising them I would catch them next time around.
When I hit the last section of pavement and really let it rip, big chunks of mud were flying up in my face like crazy. It didn't taste like peanut butter either.
The seat bag managed to stay intact the until the end and when I got back I unleashed a little duct tape on it.
My second lap went by much faster and smoother, the trail had dried out some and the dirt was starting to pack down. I broke out my ipod packed full of some good tunes. I had also in true NASCAR fashion adjusted the air pressure in my tires and fork and got some more wedge on the right front. That last part can only be done to a car but I thought it sounded cool. I was bobbing and weaving around trees climbing up roots and flying through rock gardens with ease. I was thinking of my buddy at the nasty section drinking beers and heckling people and I was torn on what to do. Stop mid race have a beer or keep going and subject myself to heckling if I passed up their offer of another cold frosty beverage. As I rounded the corner I said screw it I'm making good time why not stop and chug one. I hit the brakes and reached out for a beer only to be turned down. They were all out but promised me more was on the way.
My 3rd lap was that lap where it just dark enough to make it hard to see and just light enough to make a headlight worthless. I hate wearing a head lamp, mine is so heavy it drives me crazy. I knew I would need it before my lap was over so I strapped it on and took off on my 3rd lap. My buddies had given up their post at the poo pit and gotten closer in. I think the second beer run was too much for them to go any further. When I saw them I slammed on the brakes again grabbed a beer and chugged away. As I sat there only one rider passed me. I finished the beer thanked Drew and hit the trail hoping I hadn't lost too much time. I eventually caught the one rider who passed me and regained my spot. No harm done. The 3rd lap went by quick and smooth I was still flowing fast and felt good even after chugging a beer.
I was in the pits waiting on Brad and I noticed his time was a little slower than normal. I hoped he was okay but when he rolled in I could tell I mean smell that he had gone for a swim. He actually had 2 wrecks, the first broke off one of his lights and the second took him for a swim at the now famous "Rachael's landing" due to a lack of lighting.
This was probably my slowest lap, I wasn't really pumped about going out because most of my friends were done riding and chilling by the campfire. Somewhere between Brad's lap and mine we made up one more spot, sweet!
I knew this would be our team's last lap. We actually could have done one more lap and probably should have. As fast as we were riding Anthony could have put us up one more spot but still not on the podium. The trail was dry but the roots were not, I swear they were more slick that my first lap and I was all over the place. I managed to stay up right through my lap but there were a few close calls and a few times where I spun out and was forced to walk uphill. As I passed Rachael's Landing another rider and their bike was being pulled out of the soup. I wonder what the count was on the number of people who went in?
When I got back in we called it a night and I pulled up a seat near the campfire. I found out that Brad had to leave and go to Andy's apt. to shower off. The funk he landed in was pure nastiness.
All in all we had a great time, I always try to talk myself out of doing a last lap but I feel this conviction of not letting my team down. And as usual 1/2 way through the lap I'm glad I did it and I have no regrets afterward. We ended up in 6th place in the biggest team category. Not too bad for a bunch of guys just out having fun.
If you wondered what I was wearing each lap I decided to be a little different this year. I went with the baggie shorts and sleeveless T's for each lap. I also chose to show my Nascar pride and sport Dale Sr. and Jr. T's for the first 2. No matching lycra uniforms this race. I don't plan to make it a habit though. My lycra is alot nicer than baggies and cotton t-shirts during a long race . Especially when your sweating and it cold outside.
I have to thank Melinda for all the help she was during the race, she made everything so much easier for me. I feel sorry for those who's wives' choose not to attend. I couldn't do it with out her and her moral support.
One of the guys watching all of the carnage going down at Rachael's Landing got a bunch of it on video and posted it here for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
Until next year
As the day rolled on the rain came and went. It would stop raining for about and hour or so but as soon as someone new would arrive and begin setting up camp the rain would start up again. The weather man was forecasting the storm to finish up early that evening and it did eventually. At one point we thought the rain was through and some of the guys started up a fire only to have the rain come back in and run us all back under cover.
It didn't take long for the festivities to begin and before we new it Brandon had out a jar of the mtn nectar. He had a little prodding but it didn't take much.
The Real Fat Tire
While Moonshine was getting cozy with Amanda, Jackson was making all sorts of new friends with all the kids in attendance. There were alot of dogs at the race and many were not on leashes which I don't have a problem with but we did witness a few scuffles which Moonshine seemed to find her way into even if it didn't originate with her. I guess she's just a brawler by heart. At one point I caught her with Elsa (Ritter's dog) pinned on her back.
Jackson on the other hand is a lover not a fighter. He would rather just kick back and enjoy the scene sporting a new hat.
For those of you who haven't been or decided not to go I will only say one thing, you missed out. There was only one disappointment, no one got rowdy and fired off the cannon. Melinda and I had decided we were going to stay up late this year a join in on the mischievousness but it didn't pan out that way. Oh well there will be many more I'll guarantee that.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The trail started out climbing right of the bat, a nice way to get you heart rate up early, no warm up. We climbed for a bit and then just descended right back down to where we started. Hmmm.... I hope there's more to this than just repeating this cycle over and over again. We started the climb again in search of something different. We did have a map but none of the trails were labeled well and the graphics were less than stellar.
Dustin had been here once but he wasn't exactly sure what was the best route. We reached the top played around in a bowl for a couple of minutes and decided to follow a new trail. We came into a power line clearing on a ridge that had some spectacular views minus the powerlines. PA has obviously not experienced the drought we have here in East TN and the colors of the leaves on the trees were amazing.
We hung out for a bit snapped a few pics and looked over the map for something a little bit more interesting. As we stood there in the trail I heard a familiar sound of bikes flying down the trail and they were coming directly at us. I yelled for Dusting to get off the trail just in time for 4 riders to come flying past us. I suggested we grab they're rear wheel because they obviously looked like they knew where they were going.
It took us a minute to catch them and after a few minutes of riding with them I think they realized we didn't have a clue to where we were. They stopped introduced themselves and we asked if they cared if we followed them around some. They said sure, the more the merrier.
Come to find out they were the guys responsible for the trailbuilding.
All four of them were riding all mountain bikes that had quite a bit more travel than Dustin and myself. They took us on a sweet ride traversing the mountain all over the place. On the last decent I quickly realized that these trails were built with big ole squishy bikes in mind. I was going way to fast for the terrain and what I was riding. I was literally on the edge of crashing and burning and I could see a series of jumps ahead. I grabbed a fist full of brakes and did my best to gracefully slide off the trail in an effort not to get ran over by the folks behind me.
When we finally reached the bottom the guys told us they were impressed with our skills since we had never been there. One of them had crashed so hard earlier that week he couldn't remember anything afterward.
We thanked them for the guided tour and loaded up the bikes. On the way out one of the guys took us by a park where the were building a skills course complete with a pumptrack. The had some pretty sweet wooden structures but they still had alot of work to do.
Tomorrow Melinda and I are going to load up the Pancake shack and the dogs and head down to Haw Ridge just outside of Knoxville for the 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth mountain bike race. There has been a lot of smack talk on a certain forum and some blogs. I can't say I've not been guilty of it as well I usually try to refrain from it but oh well.
I've been checking the weather a couple of times a day to see if the rainy forecast will change. With the drought we've had for the past 2 years the trails could definitely use the rain. They have been dusty all summer. I'm just not looking forward to setting up camp in the rain. I haven't had my light out all year and just like a slacker I decided I had better get them out today and check them out to make sure they won't leave me stranded during one of my night laps. So far so good, they been burning for an hour and a half with no charging since my last night ride this spring.
Seriously though, good luck to all the riders in our club it should be a blast as always rain or shine.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
When we finally arrived in Kingsport we called Dustin to let him know we were on our way and to have a beer ready for us. He had no beer! What?????? Okay I said so we stopped at the only convenience store in town only to be told they didn't sell any. The three fat kids pointed us in the direction of a distributor who only sold it by the case. We 3 couldn't agree on the same thing so that guy pointed us down the street to the hotel bar. A bar? Yep, that's the only place you can buy beer under a 24 pack. We get to the bar to find a sucky selection and no credit cards taken. What's with this place? After waiting 10 minutes on the bartender we made it back out to the car with the beer and on to Dustin's house. When we turned onto his street we saw him on his bike holding this sign.
Saturday morning Melinda Dustin and I headed over to Moon Lake State Park and rode their trails for a couple of hours. The trails in PA are alot rockier than here in East Tenn. It made me appreciate what we have in our own backyard.
Before we even got on the trails Dustin managed to crash on the small skills area and break his rear brake lever off. He ended up having to ride the whole day with only the front brake and never went over the handlebars.
That evening we went to dinner which had a bar that only took cash but oddly the restaurant took cards. Weird? I asked the bartender what was the deal with only being able to buy beer to go at a bar and she acted like I was living in the dark ages. Nevermind just sell me the beer I told her. In PA you can only buy 6 packs, 2 at a time from a bar, cash only or you can go to a distributor and get a case. No beer at convenience or grocery stores.
We headed back to Dustin and Melissa's house to play guitar hero and watch Beth (mother n law) dance to a little Michael Jackson. I've always wanted to play guitar hero but I wasn't very good. It's alot more fun after you've had a couple of beers. After a few songs I was able to play the guitar behind my head, funny stuff.
I did manage to snap a couple of pics of some Amish buggies on the highway but they didn't turn out too well. If they don't pay taxes how is it they get to use the roads?
It doesn't look like much from the video angle but the trail was loose, rocky and had a sketchy rock face I had to maneuver up. It took more than one try.
More pics, videos and riding stories tomorrow.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Today at work I learned that my favorite restaurant in Kingsport, Cootie Brown's will be losing it's doors. CB's was our favorite restaurant to go to, it was never a question of where did we want to eat but more like what do we want to eat at CB's. They probably had one of the best beer selections in Kingsport until the Kingsport Grocery opened up. Before CB's, then only place to get a good craft beer was,... well there wasn't a place. We had to settle for Bud or Miller. The Cootie Brown's in Kingsport was not the first, there was actually one in JC that started the whole phenomenon. It's a smaller joint with a smaller selection. At least that was the case the last time I was there. I haven't been there since the open of the Kingsport joint. I didn't just go there for the good beer selection but the food was great too, different than most of the other restaurants in Kingsport. I just don't understand why everyone goes to the Applebee/Chili's/Cheddars/O'Charleys so much more. They're all the same, when I want to go out to eat I want something different not the same stuff we cook at home. I guess Kingsport was just not ready for such a cool place to eat. I just hope that the Grocery does well or I'll have to move back to JC.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I did manage to find this photo of GRT with my bro-n-law John and Jay Hayes. That year was probably the muddiest race I have seen at the HOT. We walked around on wooden pallets that we stole from the bonfire pile because our campsite was under a couple inches of water. We had to dig a trench just to drain the water out of our campsite. That year our team managed to place 5th in the sport category even with a light problem that left John stranded out on the trail in the middle of his lap. The trails at Haw Ridge can be very dark when your all alone in the woods without a light. Luckily he found another rider and rode his rear wheel back into the pit area.
Although this was not our 1st 24 hour race it was our first under the GRT banner. We conned Keith into rejoining us and a new face John Rohrer at the BURN 24 hr challenge. Although we did not fair as well in the race we did manage to walk away with enough free BURN energy drinks to last several months after the race. What good is a race without alot of free swag? Sometimes the free swag is better than the prizes they give away to the winners.
Last year we decided to throw our hats into the singlespeed category. I had raced a 24 hour race on the Karate Monkey earlier in that year so I knew what I was getting into but this was the first race we were able to have the whole team on singlespeed bikes so we were pretty pumped not to mention we were going to be racing against some of our fellow NTMBA club members. They had a little more experience in racing singlespeeds but in the end we were able to stay out front and step on the podium for the first time in GRT racing history. That year we also all decided to sport handlebar mustaches, I think that intimidated our competition a little.
The new face of GRT Racing for 2008! We don't have a team picture yet so I had to take last year photo and photoshop Chris over that other guy who couldn't handle and the fame and pressure that comes along with being on such a prestigious team like Granny's Rotten Teeth. (Alot of folks like to throw around the term "Photoshop" even though they don't have the software or the knowledge to use it but I do. I didn't receive a Bachelors of Fine Art for nothing.) Not everyone is cut out to be a celebrity and we understood when Scooby had to step down. This year we may not be sporting handlebar mustaches but we do have a couple of interesting tricks or treats. It is a Halloween themed race after all and who wants to see the same old rerun.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Melinda and Sara getting ready for a ride last year at the HOT.
Working day shift this time of year leaves almost no time for riding especially when you work 12 hours shifts. Thank goodness I only do this 7 days out of the month. My monthly 7 day stretch of vacation starts again this Friday. We've got big plans, heading up to see Melinda's brother and his girlfriend in PA. Ahh.... Pennsylvania the land of Amish and people who talk funny.
We'll be loading up the truck for this trip. Melinda's Mom will be going with us which always makes things fun and interesting.
I've been on him to scope us out some good rides while we are in town and he's been hitting a new spot almost every weekend for the last month or so. So far our plans are to ride a bunch of trails located in Moon Lake State Park. It looks as if the folks up there really take their trail building seriously. I've seen pics and videos of wooden structures, big rocks, jumps, teeter totters, etc. Should be a fun weekend!
Monday, October 13, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Damn it's hard to concentrate on what I'm typing with terrible country music blaring in the background. I thought the Dixie Chicks called it quits. No I'm not at home we don't listen to that crap. I'm at work and the guys working the control room have terrible taste in music. I think they're hard of hearing too. Don't get me wrong I like some country music but it's mostly the older stuff like Johnny and Willie. This new wave country or pop country as I've heard it called is pure crap. What's up with rappers and country musicians collaborating? Country + Rap = CRAP Right now it's being played REALLY loud not far from where I'm sitting so please excuse me if the mood turns sour or my already bad grammar gets worse.
Wednesday morning I get off work to find out Jackson has an ear infection and I have to take him to the vet. Later that day I wake up to find out he's had an allergic reaction to the meds the vet gave him and his face is swollen up like a balloon. Poor guy had a bad day, after 2 trips to the vet with alot if poking and prodding, a shot and some stuff squirted in his ear he was worn out. Melinda made a special bed for him on the couch and he got his own pillow. I guess Moonshine got a little jealous of all the special attention Jackson has gotten. Today she started limping around like her paw is hurt. When I left the house to go to work tonight Melinda had made her a special bed on the couch as well. I hope the dogs get better before the weekend comes. I'm off and I'd hate for us to spend anymore time in the vet's office.
Needless to say with the rain we've gotten and and all the sick dogs around the house I haven't been on the bike since Monday. Well I did ride Tues but it was a short ride, very short.
Just 2 more weeks until the Hill of Truth race down in Knoxville. I'm super pumped, they announced the race course yesterday which isn't really anything new but it should be fast. The rumor on the street is that the race course could very well change the day before the cannon fires. There has been alot of smack talk going down on our local forum. I think Dr. Skips Medicine Show is looking for a little revenge after last years singlespeed show down between them and GRT Racing. I never have been much of a smack talker but I do like to stir the pot and sit back and watch. GRT won't be rocking the mustaches this year but we do have something new planned. I think this years race will be alot of fun, it better be, the race promoters keep raising the price a little every year. The first year I did this race we got shirts then the next two years the price went up $10 and we got pint glasses instead. This year the entry fee has jumped another $5 and we're getting socks. I kind alike the idea of socks, although the pint glasses were cool I don't have a cool place to display them. I'm still wearing the socks we got as our prize for 3rd place last year. I can't complain too much I usually walk away with alot of free swag every year, I haven't had to buy a water bottle for a long time.