Monday, August 31, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Working nights this weekend, in fact it's 2:40 am as I type this post. I was supposed to be outside tonight but the new guy who was working the console inside decided he didn't feel good and I was extra so I had to fill his spot when he went home, lucky me.
Earlier today, well actually yesterday, Melinda and I loaded up the dogs around noon and headed over to ETSU to watch the racing going down on campus. Short Track was on tap early that morning and because I was sleeping we missed it. We made it just in time to catch the last half of the Downhill runs. The downhill course stretches out across some of our old stomping grounds, ETSU's singletrack trails. Melinda and I used to live in an apartment just up the road from ETSU so we rode/hiked the xc course on almost a daily basis. Melinda and I both pretty much honed our mountain bikes skills there and Moonshine and Jackson grew up running the trails behind our rear tires. The DH hill course only uses a small part of the trails so we used the empty ones to our advantage and let the dogs run loose while we hiked around to different sections of the course catching bits and pieces of the action as the race wore on. Today bright and early the xc race will be held starting the "A's" off at 9 am. Us local guys were invited to participate but were told while we would be acknowledged for our place this was a collegiate race and no prizes would be awarded nor would we get to stand on a podium and spray champagne on the crowd. I would like to race the "B" class but that would mean coming off night shift hanging out for an hour and then heading over to ETSU to line up with a bunch of college kids 10 - 15 years younger than me, with the exception of ETSU's newest/oldest teammate and student. I still haven't made up my mind if I want to race, actually I know I want to but my sleep schedule is already out of whack and the course will likely be muddy from yesterday's rain. I'll probably make that call when I get home and see how tired I am.
We have another round of camping lined up for Labor Day weekend. We're loading up the Eco again and heading over to Big South Fork State Park to meet up with my entire family. It's been a long time since we all camped together, actually everybody but Melinda, my youngest sister and I will be staying in a large cabin. While they're blaming staying indoors on 3 small kids I know the real truth, they've all gotten soft. When we were young my parents took us camping all the time and we had a blast. I've heard good things about BSF system of trails and I hope Melinda and I find plenty of time to explore them on our bikes. It would be a shame to go there for the weekend and not hit the dirt.
I was surfing the net for cool cycling videos and I ran across this interesting piece and I thought it was worth sharing. No ridiculous stunts here just some cool art.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Sweet little or should I say big log ride
Abby lining up the log.
Andy just below the dam on Mega-Watt
Lotsa cool rocks to play on.
We had great weather and a beautiful view.
Yes our little friend the Gnome went with us, he hung out under the camper while we were away. He didn't say what he was doing but I think he was playing guard dog. I guess he figured since Moonshine & Jackson were inside asleep somebody had to do it. He still hasn't told us his name. I'm beginning to wonder if he's embarrassed of it.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I had plans to arrive early and practice the jump on the downhill portion of the course but with a bum thumb I decided to pass this week and save it for another time. I have a feeling it won't be a problem but I'm just not too sure about the landing, I'm not used to there a ramped one. After seeing multiple folks burp flat tires on it I'm glad I passed it up.
The crowd last night was the largest I've seen yet this summer, 25 in attendance I think was the total I heard so there was a request to break it up into "A" & "B" groups. I opted for the B group like most everyone else that I ride with and the B group seemed to be the largest so I had no problem with it. I did start in the back of the pack something I've yet to do so I got to do more passing than getting passed this week but I think I prefer the front. I paid my $1 entry fee which I'm surprised to see has not draw more of a crowd but this time I paid with a paper bill instead of the usual change. I know I said I was gonna pay with rolls of pennies but I forgot. Even Mike Thomas "The local cult hero" showed and coughed up a dinero this week. He still goofed off yelled out a false start that fooled us all for a split second and cruised to the side lines before it was over but he did show up with a new CX bike "The Rustolium".
Even though my knee and thumb were arguing with me through warm-up they eventually gave in and decided to let me race. On my first warm up lap I crossed the top of the hill and began the semi bumpy decent and I noticed something fly off my bike. I turned to look and saw my Hero cam bouncing down the trail behind me. I pulled over and retrieved it before it suffered more abuse and shoved it in my jersey pocket and inspected the mount and saw that it was trashed beyond repair. I tried to rearrange the mount using less parts but in my effort to secure it the loc-tite had done it's job and nothing was budging without a screwdriver.
After it the race was over I checked my stats and was happy to hear I finished 13 laps, 1 up from last time, I still got lapped by 2 riders but technically they were riding in the "A" class. I'm not sure what place I ended up in, because of the split of the two groups I don't know exactly who raced what.
Still no photos to show, Google must be really having problems lately, I can't even copy and paste text within this post so if the format seems a little funky you'll know why. Flickr Google, Flickr, I still have my old Yahoo address so it wouldn't be difficult to create.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Sorry it took so long to get this post together, I typed it up 2 days ago but for some reason Google is being cranky and won't let me upload my photos so I'm going on without them. Maybe if Google gets it's panties out of a wad I'll post the few photos I took in a day or so, who knows. Maybe I'll just go ahead and create that Flickr account I've been threatening to do. Did you hear that Google? Fix the problem.
I swear the weekend flew by and as I sit here I'm trying to recall all that happened and think of an interesting way to put it into words. No I didn't have too many brews at the festival which was a blast by the way. The only thing that wasn't great about our trip was the campground it was a place to crash and not a campground that I would really want to hang out at. Our site was not really that spectacular, I think if it had rained we would have been flooded but luckily we had dry skies all weekend. There is a difference between a campground and an RV Park. A campground is usually pretty nice with a good amount of space between you and your neighbors with a picnic table maybe some trees. An RV park is a strip of grass and a driveway for your RV. If you pay the big bucks you get a wooden pole with a 50 amp electrical outlet, Cable TV, water hookups and a sewer port next to it. We went the semi cheap route which got us electric and water, no need for cable. Our little Eco trailer is nice especially in the hot summer days and the cold fall nights but we didn't buy it because we're too old for tent camping the real reason we bought it was so the dogs would have some where to stay while we ride all day and not get into trouble. A tent is a bad idea in the middle of July for 2 large dogs in more ways than one. Two nice things about the campground were the pool and it's short drive to the trailhead. Normally most places we ride have campgrounds at the trailhead but Raccoon Mountain is on TVA property so there is no camping. I really didn't hear too many complaints from Melinda once we got settled in but I think that was because we really only slept there, most of our time was spent at the trails or nearby downtown.
Raccoon Mountain trails were awesome, we had a blast riding and even though there weren't really any new updated maps available we didn't get lost. A majority of the trail system was a big loop that circled the lake with good signs at the intersections. There was even a Freeride course separate from the rest of the trails that was clearly marked and gated so those of us with only 80mm of travel and open faced helmets did not take any wrong turns. The trails were fast flowing and well maintained. We rode just a little over 17 miles and my legs still felt a little bit sluggish Monday on my run.
This trip we had sunny skies the whole ride, well there was one really small storm the blew over us right as we entered one of the large fields that contained all of the equipment the converts the power of the water flow into electricity, I don't know the correct name for it but it was kinda spooky riding past all that electricity with a T- storm over head.
Probably one of the coolest trails out there was the Mega-watt which was labeled a black diamond. It contained the slate rock trail that traverses the side of the dam I'm sure everyone has seen but it was a bit shorter than expected and I'm sorry to say I didn't snap a picture of it. There were several sections of slick rock which I was surprised to see, similar to the trails at Dupont. Almost every trail had some sort of cool rock obstacle to ride. A definete return trip will be in the works for next year. Day trip or camping? not sure.
Yesterday I ventured out to my local trails for a ride on the magical Karate Monkey. Every time I swing my leg over that shiny black steed a smile comes over my face. Something about the way that steel frame feels just couldn't be better. I mixed it up a bit skipping around through the different trails in no particular order, something a little different than the usual routine of a clockwise lap. I was skipping a trail here and there coming back around doing different sections on each lap. My second lap I decided to hit Rock City, a trail I tend to skip when I'm by myself but in effort to keep an old trail fresh I decided to go for it. I felt good and cleaned every sections only having a bit of trouble when I accidentally took a reroute that some wuss rider made thinking it would be easier to ride around the rock garden than through them. I quickly realized my error and made a mental note not to do that again. I rode around Whitetail loop and decided to head back down for another sweep of Rock City, this time to ride the trail correctly. As I picked my way through the gardens I think I started feeling a little over confident and stopped paying close attention to my line. I was making a hard left turn up a switchback when a rock suddenly jumped out and grabbed my front tire. I was immediately thrown onto a larger rock unable to unclip from my pedals. My forearm and knee took the brunt of the impact but other than a few cuts and bruises I think will be fine. The worst part of it was 2 fingers one on each hand got jammed up in the crevices of the rock in my attempt to catch myself and at first I swear I thought I broke one. After I picked myself up and did a body check I came to the conclusion that there was nothing broken, well except my ego. The Monkey survived as well with the exception of a small scratch on the headtube but as usual it will be another story for the grandkids. After I shook it off I hopped back on and made an attempt to ride on but my knee said otherwise, it wasn't quite ready to push the singlespeed drivetrain up the hill. I decided to walk it out to the clearing for some level ground and loosen everything back up. After a short spin I felt better and finished out the remaining trails and called it a good day.
This morning I woke up feeling a little stiff and a little more sore with my thumb swollen up like a fat kid. I hope I can still make it to short track tonight, I had planned on going down early to practice cleaning the jump but I don't know if I'll be able to grip the handlebars enough. Maybe with enough ice and ibuprofen I'll lose the fat kid thumb.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Friday as soon as Melinda gets home from work we are going to load up the dogs and the Eco trailer and head back down to Chattanooga for the weekend for another attempt at Raccoon Mountain. The campground we are scheduled to stay at doesn't really sound great but hey we're not there for the camping. Pretty much it will just be the place we crash at. Abby and Andy are going to join us on this excursion which should be fun. Our plans include hitting the singletrack early Saturday morning and the heading downtown for the Southern Brewers Festival.
With 29 Breweries in attendance and 4 or 5 local bands providing entertainment it should turn out to be a more successful trip than the last one. I've already checked the radar and it looks as if Hurricane Bill has no plans to join us for a beer this weekend. I don't think I can stand to spend another afternoon stuck between a bunch of pushy little kids at the aquarium again.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
All I have to say is what the hell were they thinking when they designed this shirt, I expect bad artwork but this my friends takes the cake. Instead of boasting the "World's Fastest 8k" they should change it to the "World's Ugliest T-shirt & 8k"
All is not lost, now I have something to wear to the next Redneck themed party, all I have to do is cut the sleeves off and I'll be set.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
As for the front end squishiness, the Monkey handled nicely even on the climbs which were alot easier than I remembered. I didn't bother to lock-out the fork because well, I usually forget and with just 80mm of travel it just doesn't seem worth the time unless the climbs are really long or steep. It's been a while since my last outing at the watershed trails and I guess my fitness level is a bit higher than my last trip because on the way to the trailhead I told Alan the shed had one good tough hill but it was nothing like I remembered. It must of been some of that Karate Monkey magic working for me. I plan to get the KM out to Warriors today and give her a bit more of a challenge where the rocks and roots have really grown in the last couple of years. Maybe I'll catch some of the wussies who are too scared to ride over rocks out there rerouting a tough section and point them over to the Greenbelt.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Now that I've gotten my 2 work weekends behind me I'm ready to spend the next two in the woods and have some fun. This week is going to be a long one even though I only work 3 days. Saturday night we will be attending a wrestling themed party and some friends house. Melinda and I are not wrestling fans so our costumes may kinda suck. There is no way I'll be showing up in a speedo but I may end up showing a little more skin than normal but hey it gives me an excuse to shave off more body hair. I already shave more the average guy, it really gets a lot of of colorful comments at work with the half human half grizzly bear guys I work with but I'm cool with it. My Dad always told me it wasn't cool to be a follower but I'm not so sure some of my choices to be different were what he was talking about.
Sunday morning the alarm clock will be going off early and rising me of of what I hope to is only a small hangover to head to Asheville for a bachelor party on 2 knobby wheels. A whole slew of us are headed up to Bent Creek for an all day ride on the mtn with Anthony. As much as he has tried he just can't get Amanda to get the bicycle fever so we've got to get him out on the dirt before they take the big plunge and she sells all of his bikes. She's been talking about buying a new couch for some time.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Anyway since the absence of Flat Stanley things have been quiet lately that is until we had another visitor. We're really not sure of the little guys name because he doesn't say much. He justs hangs out in our gardens and hides behind the trees and bushes.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
A few months ago I swapped the Reba fork off the Mamasita and put it on the Monkey just to see how it felt. Never having ridden the Monkey wish the squish I wasn't sure how it would feel being a singlespeed. I'd heard you were better off staying fully rigid but I was seeing so many people out on the trail running their 29er SS's with a squishy fork and they seemed to like it just fine.
After I bought the Mamasita and got used to bombing down trails at a much faster speed than I could on the KM, the wheels started turning. I only left the Reba on the KM for one ride realizing that I was just teasing myself because I really couldn't afford to buy another fork at the time.
Well things changed and it just so happened that I ran into a little extra $$ and the search began for the best deal I could find. It just so happened that the best deal was found at my local bike shop.
Last Thurs night the transformation began with Melinda's new brakes.
I'm not sure if Melinda really understands how nice a set of brakes she just got or if she really doesn't care as long as it matches nicely. I can't blame her, they do look really sweet.
No more trailside brake repairs anytime soon in my future, at least not on her bike.
Next up was the Karate Monkey, I tossed around the idea of putting the new Reba on the Mamasita since it has some red pinstripping in it and the old one is all black and silver. After some careful consideration and weighing out the pros & cons Melinda said Dale Earnhardt Sr. would not be upset if I added a little red to the all black and silver color scheme. In fact I think I remember seeing some red highlights on his car.