I thought this video was pretty hilarious and it reminded me of a photo I recently saw of some friends back in TX who experienced a snow storm, big for them. I think I saw 3 or 4 snows as a kid growing up in the Lone Star State. Anyway since TX is flat and there are no good hills to sled down, (that's sleigh riding for you East TN folk), they hooked up a rope to their riding lawn mower and pulled each other up and down the street. I hope there were no abrupt stops made.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
P90X will hurt you, 30 minutes into the 1st DVD & I pulled a hamstring and had to call it quits but a little ice and ibuprofen and I was back at it the next day. Whoever says stretching is not necessary is an idiot.
Why no riding? The last winter storm that blew through our area wreaked havoc on every trail system within a 2 hour drive leaving us with really no place to ride and it's been too cold for me to ride on the road. Luckily NTMBA and the Tri-Cities have one of the best trail crews around. While much larger cities like Asheville are still looking at their trails wondering what to do with all the trees that fell, we are looking at ours which are now clear of debris thanks to a few hardy folks who know what it takes to keep riding all year round. Melinda's uncle, Joe is the one who did most of the work and organization of the work days so hats off to him and everyone who helped him.
Bays Mountain is still closed with the same issues but we're not allowed to go in and help clear trees yet because of a wolf problem. Before the snow hit, strong winds blew a tree down crushing the fence of the wolf den allowing them to escape. Most have been caught but 2 remain on the prowl and the park will remain closed until they are found.
So with all this time off the bike I have taken it upon myself to try new things and stay motivated. Hopefully this weekend will see some singletrack goodness but with rain in the forecast who knows. I'll just keep looking at the new shiny bits on the dirty Mamasita and continue to wonder how they will feel once they get dirty like the rest of the bike.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Still no riding here for me as the trails are not completely clear but they're close thanks to a mean crew wielding chain saws and clippers. I wish I could say I have been out there in the thick of it doing my part but I haven't, all of the work has been done while I sit at work. Thanks again to all those who have done the work, you are very much appreciated. What's funny is there are probably alot of riders out there who probably won't know there was ever a mess.
Santa was good to Melinda and I this year, I'm anxious to get out and test out some new gear and bling. I spent a good portion of a day installing new cranks on both Melinda and my bikes. Some carbon here and there and a whole new cockpit for the Mamasita.
Probably one of the coolest things I got was a flip cam.
I'm kind of obsessed just a bit with shooting video and taking pics which does make the blog a bit more interesting in my opinion. I have a feeling this little guy will see alot of trail time and up the cycling videos a bit. I generally hate having a bunch of stuff in my jersey pockets but this thing is too much fun to leave at home and it's very simple to use which makes shooting video with full finger gloves on a whole lot easier.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I was really only there for a day and a half so I don't have much in the way of good stories to tell. I will say that I had a hard time recognizing my home town with all the changes it's gone through since my departure. I used to make return trips once a year but as I get older I seem to travel south less and less. I felt a bit embarrassed to admit that I did not know my way around town when I was asked to drive my Uncle's car after the funeral. I moved away before my 16th birthday and what used to be farmland is now peppered with shopping centers.
Upon arrival I was expecting warmer weather but other than the lack of mountains to block the frigid wind it felt about the same. I did manage to eat some good Mexican food, something that is hard to find in east TN despite the fact that there are quite a few Mexicans here.
One thing I found interesting were the street signs that instructed motorists to "Share the Road" not with cyclists but motorcycles. I was surprised to see this but I guess it does make sense since they share the same dangers as cyclists, maybe there needs to be a double duty sign for motorcycles & bicycles alike.
Despite the fact that a majority of my trip was centered around a funeral I did get a rather interesting tour of my Uncle's collection of antique trucks and cars. My Uncle has a fascination with 1950's era Fords. In his collection I counted 6 trucks and 6 cars all ranging from the late 40's to the late 50's. Had it not been freezing and I not been wearing thin slacks and funny black leather shoes I could have spent the entire afternoon in his backyard listening to stories about each vehicle.
My sister and I flew back in town late last night and it feels good to be back in the mountains even though the Mexican food is below average but I feel like it's a more than fair trade.
Now back to our regularly scheduled program of singletrack, bikes & big stinky dogs.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Three trees must have gotten tired and decided to lean on their neighbor, one couldn't find a buddy to lean on so he just laid down on the ground. I spent the next 2 and a half hours on the roof replacing the ridge vent and I guess a good portion of my day tomorrow will be devoted to staking up my evergreen trees. There is just too much junk in my neighbors backyard to cut them down.
Melinda thought it would be funny to snap pictures of me on the roof with a mouth full of nails.
Monday, December 7, 2009
I downloaded a map off the city's website and jotted down a few notes of which way to ride that some mystery guy posted earlier in the week. On my way out of the house I noted that the weather was a bit warmer than the previous day but I grabbed my winter riding jacket just in case I got lost trying to navigate my way through the woods with a poor excuse for a map. Upon arrival the sun was shining but as soon as I stepped out of the warmth of my truck I realized that I was going to need the jacket for sure.
As we rolled into the parking lot I looked at my computer and noticed we were about 2 miles short of the expected route. I rechecked the map and realized that we had indeed missed a large section but decided to leave it for another ride in favor of the warmer conditions of our cars.
Friday, December 4, 2009
When Melinda and I first got married it took her some time to get used to making out a Christmas list but we eventually won her over. She still has the shortest list of the family. The first year she submitted her list, my Mom was surprised at her list accusing me of making it for her. She did have a few girly items but there was also bike parts which my Mom thought was crazy. What girl puts bike parts on her Christmas list? I had to convince her that Melinda made the list on her own with no persuasion by me whatsoever. I think still to this day my Mom has trouble with believing it and I'm pretty sure she has yet to buy her anything bike related. She always goes for the more proper female items or at least in her mind.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
We don't get to visit with them on a regular basis but when we do we try our damnest to make the best of it and sneak in a ride or two. This last weekend being the holidays and such we had to keep the non-riding family members happy so we only snuck in one ride and we barely got that one in. The plan which changed 56 times for what reason I'm not sure, I think there was some behind the scenes tom-foolery going on (somebody didn't want us to ride). Once everything was straightened out the plan was to hit Bays Mountain Saturday afternoon and ride the backside. Not to leave anyone out, Nana, Melissa & Chase tagged along to do the other non-riding aspects of the park. Just leaving the house was an adventure, We met at 12:30 but didn't leave until after 1:30 because somebody kept having to go back into the house 6 or 7 times to get this or that. The funny thing was, it was the same person, one that wasn't riding hence the behind the scenes tom-foolery comment.
Once we finally arrived at the park Melinda's aunt realized she forgot her helmet and had to return home to get it. I was really beginning to think our ride was sabotaged and wasn't going to happen. it was now after 2:00 and the park closed at 5 and we were planning on riding the backside, not a quick thing to do.
Melinda, Dustin & I went ahead while Olga retrieved her helmet with plans to meet at the top of the mountain. We rode slow and steady and I played around with a bunch of new camera mounting positions for new angles. I'll try to get a video together sometime this week and post up. Once we Olga and Joe caught up with us we headed down the backside. I glanced at the time and decided we weren't gonna make the whole route. Dustin and I continued down for a shorter version while everyone else took the new trail Bear Run as a short-cut back.
As Dustin and I descended down the backside I kept waiting for him to pass me as he was a bit faster downhill than me the last time we rode together. I kept turning around and looking for him but he just got smaller and smaller and he fell off the back. Finally once outta sight I stopped and waited and waited and waited. When he caught back up he stated that he had taken a trip over the bars smashing his Garmin and leg. He kept blaming it on the sun in his eyes and the brown ice. What I don't understand is up in Pee Ya the leaves fall earlier in the season and so the brown ice shouldn't have been an issue for him, I've ridden Pee Ya in the fall and you can't see the trails because of the leaves. I told him if we don't keep moving the sun's not gonna be a factor much longer and seeing the trail is really gonna get tough. I picked up the pace a bit in an effort to make it out before dawn and that's when things started to turn ugly. We finally reached the bottom and cut left down a trail that can't be mentioned in an effort to save time and Dustin flatted. He didn't flat just any old tire but he flatted a Panaracer Rampage 2.3, one of the burliest tires out there. We jumped into tire changing mode and and as I watched him pull out all his gear I noticed something was missing, the pump. No biggie, I had CO2, I started digging around only to find one cartridge, not enough juice to inflate a 29er tire. Ouch, we gave it what we had and only got about 10-15 lbs. at best guess, definitely not enough to carry Dustin's towering frame. I told him to ride it like a feather and keep his speed low but it didn't help much as he went for a second trip over the bars.
I made several calls to the rest of our crew to see if we could get some support in the way of a pump. I guess back in the parking lot while they were so busy making sure we had our phones on us they forgot theirs so we made no contact with them until they got to the car. I conned them into driving my truck up the forest service roads to meet us part way but we still had alot of ground to cover.
While we limped his bike out I told Dustin something was very wrong with his karma, ju-ju or the bike gods were angry with him because nobody has that much bad luck. Burning a Huffy in sacrifice might be in store to get him back on track, either that or the next time we ride it's gonna have to be the Greenbelt with a support car following.
Not everyone had a bad ride that day, Melinda really surprised me with her efforts. She really attacked the trails. I hope she keeps that up and I hate that we split up because it's not often enough that we get to ride together.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Jackson, tired from all the cooking and TV watching found a suitable place to nap on one of the other grandkid's barbie couch.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
We started the year off right with the sale of the lemon... err I mean Pancake Shack and the purchase of the ECO. The ECO is really not much heavier than the shack was but it's definitely nicer and a whole lot less work setting up and taking down, making camping and races much more fun.
Early in the year before racing really got fired up it looked as if my race season wasn't going to amount to much, some of the races I did in the past were running on dates that conflicted with work and some just plain dropped off my radar. I picked up a few new races like the 6 Hours of Warrior's Creek & the Disc Burner which are a definite must for 2010. Also new for me this year was solo endurance racing. Although I didn't take it too seriously I had a blast and really preferred it to racing with a team. Racing solo allows for much more riding, no-one to let down but yourself and a lot less stress. I still enjoy racing with GRT, which I will continue at the HOT but I plan to repeat the solo ventures again in 2010. As much as I complained about the 12 Hours of Tsali and Gone Riding I will probably give that one another shot as long as it works out with my schedule. I will give it a better effort this year, this year I made a few mistakes that helped me make my decision to throw in the towel a bit early. It didn't help that all my friends were drinking beer and whooping it up in the pits either.
This year Melinda and I ventured to the beach, something we haven't done in 4 years or more. We had a good time but we also realized we enjoy the mountains more. A few days chilling on the beach sipping frosty drinks was great but we started getting antsy when we realized that was all there was to do. I've already begun brainstorming a new trip to the mountains, somewhere new hopefully. I hope the holiday season keeps me busy because 4 months of no camping or events sure does seem like a long time. With all the racing over with and over night trips on hold there it's time to give back a little and get to building more singletrack. What's on tap for the winter? Maintenance at Warrior's which has already begun, a new trail at Bays Mountain is on the radar, a whole slew of new trails on Buffalo Mountain and of course cold mountain bike rides followed up with a good dark beer.
It looks as if it's going to be a busy winter.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
A year has past since that ride but has been alot of smack talk in the control room about how the next time we roll they were going to ride me into the ground. I played along and stayed on them about a second trip before it got too cold for normal folks to ride bikes. After a bit of badgering and some more smack talk a date and time was finally set. The day prior to the ride I wasn't sure it was going to happen, some were unsure if the rain was going to hold off and after a few phone calls with no definite answer I finally decided to ride with or without them. At 8:30 yesterday morning I was told as long as I don't hear from them they would be there. I conned fellow rider, "The Local Cult Hero" to go with me just in case I was stood up again. We arrived at our destination point and 30 minutes later the smack talkers finally rolled in. As they stepped out of the car I learned that once again not everyone showed. I guess the idea of actually doing the ride was a bit too much for some and they decided to hide out at home where it was warm and safe.
Once everyone was ready we rolled out with a casual pace, I kept waiting for someone to pick it up and take off trying to beat me to the top but it never came. Everytime I turned around the group from work started slipping off the back. Mike and I would stop, wait and once they caught up it wouldn't be long before they got dropped again. Finally I stopped and asked if everyone was ok only to learn that some hadn't been on the bike since last years ride and were really feeling the effects. I then knew we might not make it to the finish so I dug around in my bag and fished out a Hammer Gel to see if that would help. After some more resting and refueling we finally got rolling again. The closer we got to the top the wetter the ground got and eventually we caught up to the drizzling rain. We rode for a couple of miles hoping the rain would slack off but it didn't. A lack of energy and the rain finally took it's toll on the group and a decision was made to turn around 4 miles from the top. No one wanted to admit it but I could tell they were all ready to bail, I told them I was game to finish the ride but no one took me up on the offer so we headed home. As we rode back downhill and out of the rain their spirits seems to pick up as did the pace, I think they were all ready to get back to the car and into warm clothes.
I'm anxious to see if anyone has anything to say when I go back to work, I have a feeling the smack talk will be hushed for a while. I'll try not to give them too hard of a time in hopes that I'll get them back out on their bikes again but that may be a tough one.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Endurance racers can be some of the most unusual folks, the more hard core they are the more weird they seem to be. Just hanging out at an event like this can resemble staying the night at a carnival and sitting around the fire with the carnies. It doesn't always have to be Halloween to give these folks an excuse to dress up or simply wear nothing at all. I've seen, heard and read about nudity at these events multiple times and the naked lap is something that tends to happen at many races especially after the kids go to bed or sometimes during the middle of the day depending on how much free beer is flowing. The HOT has seen a few naked laps in the past years but it usually takes a donation of $$ from the crowd to encourage some fool to do it. This year was no exception, but three guys decided not to wait for an incentive. They proceeded to do a few naked laps around camp for free instead of the race course. I failed to witness this but Melinda took advantage of the Kodak moment.
An endurance race wouldn't be complete without beer, alot of the time beers get cracked during the race, at least that's the case for my crew. It's hard not to partake when your pit crew is enjoying a dark frosty beverage when you come flying through the pits. This year free beer was being handed out courtesy of some guys in a Sweetwater Van. I'm not sure if they stole the van or if they worked for Sweetwater because there was no free Sweetwater, but they did have Fat Tire, Yuengling & Yahzoo. Everytime I walked past I grabbed 2 or 3 not to drink right then but for after the race. It's safe to say that I got enough that I didn't come home empty handed.
Speaking of free stuff, swag is always a must at these events, To pay $50+ in entry fees and not receive free swag is a cardinal sin. Listen up promoters, nothing hurts your numbers more than not giving back to the racers. I'm not talking about ads for products, we want the goods. I've received bags of advertisements many times before and all that does is fill up the trash bins in the campground faster. We want gels, bars, beer, stickers or whatever, oh yeah, skip the watered down spaghetti dinner, we all show up with food. The promoters for the HOT always do a fine job of rounding up free swag, I haven't bought a water bottle in 3 years because of this single race. I always come home with an arsenal of Heed, gels, endurolyte pills etc. This year they didn't seem to have as much of a variety but I did come home with about a years supply of Hammer products.
GRT has never really gotten into the costume scene but I always make sure we have some sort of decor mounted to our bikes, usually in the form a small jack-o-lantern. This year we went with a little more scarier attachment, mine was Frankenstein. Out on the course several times racers would turn around see Frank up front leading the charge and pull over to get out of our way.
All weekend people came and went wether on a run to restock the cooler with beer & ice or just giving up and heading home. All that traffic plus bikes and people milling about made a pretty good mess of the field between us and the road out. I could tell that Melinda was worried we might get stuck but I kept assuring her our truck was a 4x4 and we would be fine. I don't think she had faith in me after our experience on the beach in the Outer Banks. Two years ago our friend Bob got his RV stuck in this very field and had to call AAA to pull him out. By the end of the day Saturday he had pretty much decided he was going to have to do the same this year and he did. I wonder when he's gonna realize his RV doesn't have four wheel drive and quit parking in the middle of the field with a 100% chance of rain coming. Sunday morning we took our time loading up letting most of the crowd clear out so we had more options for an exit strategy. I scoped out the area found the route of least resistance and traffic, put the truck in four low and didn't stop till I hit pavement. I did sling some mud & grass but a slow and steady pace saw us through.
Had enough? I have, I need to go work on the Mamasita, she's not been touched since we got home on Sunday and I plan to ride this weekend.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
In the past any of our podium spots have only earned us swag in the form of socks, clothing or other goods donated by the local bike shops. This year was different, we had never been in 1st place and 1st prize was a check. It wasn't huge but it did cover our entry fee which was very nice. I would like to say our win was a huge battle among many teams fighting hard for the win but it wasn't. The rain scared alot of teams off making this one of the lowest turnouts in the race's history. Had it been dry we may not have fared so well but I don't doubt for a minute that we earned every bit of 1st place. This race was one of the hardest and nastiest I've ever competed in and we stuck it out for the entire 12 hours while others stayed home on the couch where it was nice and dry and the beers were not covered in mud.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Here is a little video teaser from the start of the race courtesy of Alan. Thanks dude.
There is too much to say and too many photos to share to get it all into one post so stay tuned here for a good portion of the week.
Friday was a beautiful sunny day, perfect weather for camping & racing but we knew it wouldn't last for long. Mother Nature had other plans in store for us. I think rain during the H.O.T. is becoming the norm. for us. 3 out of 5 years it has rained before or during the race and this year was no exception.
We made the most of the dry time we had Friday and set up shop quickly
We set up every EZ-UP we had in stock and constructed what looked like a small town to protect us from the rain. EZ-UP's proved their worth that weekend keeping us dry at camp.
Slowly but surely the whole team gathered Saturday morning and began pondering the outlook for the race. We had a feeling attendance was going to be lower than normal this year and a few times the topic of whether or not we would even race till the very end came up. I tried not to think about it but even I was thinking of bailing on my night laps if there wasn't a podium finish in our sights.
I think Alan either got bored or was missing Angie because he decided to dance with our purple skeleton.
Since Olga pulled a no show we resorted to Brandon's I-Phone for weather updates. Brandon looked more prepared for the weather than anyone but I don't think he ever stepped out from under the EZ-UP city except to watch the start of the race and to go home. I knew it wasn't going to be good when he backed out of the race not even starting a single lap. I really couldn't blame him though, running this race solo would have to suck. Friday night Alan had told us that he was going to be our pit crew chief/mechanic/cheerleader but before the second lap of the race started he was packing up shop and heading home as well. Before it was all said and done NTMBA only had 3 teams left racing. All of the solo riders bowed out before the race began and hit the road.
One of the best investment we ever made was our camper top on my truck. It kept the dogs dry all weekend and out of the ECO trailer.
As I was sitting here typing this post I realized that I never got around to announcing the 4th member of Granny's Rotten Teeth Racing for the 2009 H.O.T. race. He was not an unfamiliar face to GRT, in fact he is one of the original founding members dating back to 2005, our first race at the H.O.T. Friends and foes I introduce you once again to Andy (the moustache man) Mullins.
It's probably a good thing I didn't introduce him prior to the race because the paparazzi might have prevented him from arriving on time.
I wish I could sit here and tell the entire story all in one post but I've got a lot of mud to clean off my gear. My bike is a disaster, the ECO trailer and my truck are covered in mud and the pile of laundry is towering. If I don't get a huge dent in it today Melinda will shoot me. If I string you along for a couple of days to hear the rest of the story it keeps you coming back for more and my blog hit numbers going up. So stay tuned here for dirty stories and even dirtier photos.