Monday, August 31, 2009

scary light

Whoa! A carbon fiber Niner, that thing is pretty sweet looking. I doubt I will ever be able to afford a carbon fiber mtn bike and even if I could I'm not sure I would want to spend that kind of money on one. Well... yeah I probably would. White seems to really be making it's stamp in the mountain biking world. First it was the WTB seats and then the stems and bars, now wheels. I think I read that thing weighed in at 20 lbs. with gears. I'm really digging those American Classic wheels, pretty sweet. They might look good on the Monkey but only if I got rid of the pink cages which I'm not too sure about anyway.

The folks at Niner really know how to work that b&w color scheme, nicely done.

All this carbon fiber and feather light craziness has got me thinking about what I could do to lighten my own ride. Mainly I'm thinking about the Mamasita since I ride it the most. After checking some specs on various parts I came to the conclusion that my wheelset is pretty light and I might lose another 1/2 lb by upgrading but I'll spend a ton more. I looked around at some of the new carbon cranks and well they're really not all that much lighter than my current middle of the road crankset. A few grams is all I might lose but I'm not giving up on that idea. I can do several little things here and there to drop some weight. I've quit carrying my seat bag except for on longer rides that would see me walking for an hour or so if I got into trouble. With the new tubeless set-up I really don't need to carry a tube, 2 tire levers & a CO2 cartridge. All that plus my multi tool adds 2 or 3 lbs to my bike easily. In the past I would carry 2 full water bottles in my cages during races and I might only drink half of one if the course was under 15 miles or I was racing with a team. I don't see the sense in carrying all that extra water. I guess it might come in handy if I ran across a small fire.

This weekend is our trip to Big South Fork and I'm looking forward to it. It appears as if my younger sister Beth has been reading my blog and saw my crack on her and my other sister's lack of interest in camping. She left me a nice little comment which I deserved. Yes Beth, two kids in a tent without proper toilet training wouldn't be much fun. BUT staying in someone else's house while easier does not make for the better memories. I know I don't have a clue about how hard it is to raise kids so I won't say anything else about it today. Tomorrow is another story. On a serious note it will be fun to get the whole family together, something we haven't done in a while. It's always fun to teach other people's kids bad habits, I can't wait. See you this weekend Emma.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

a good plan

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.

Bicycle from Submarine on Vimeo.

Friday, August 28, 2009

raccoon again

Finally I got some pics from our Raccoon Mtn trip upload loaded,
via Flickr.

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

short track

Last night was my 3rd attempt at short track racing over at ETSU. I really wish I could go every week because I have a feeling the season is not going to last much longer, maybe a month? Before the race I took the dogs on a 2 1/2 hour hike and since they can't talk back to me in English (Jackson does his best, Moonshine just makes a funny growl) I had alot of time to think about new things to shoot with the Hero cam. I hadn't shot short track yet because it's just a 20-30 minute race of lap after lap in a grassy field, very fun to do and watch but on film the scenery might not change a whole lot. I had a couple of cool ideas that might have made for some interesting footage so I went home and looked at a couple of different angles to mount the camera to my bike for even more added excitement. I didn't find anything cool so I went with the usual handlebar mount which seems to give the best perspective. The helmet mount makes the footage seem way too high up. I added a bit of loc-tite to the mounting hardware screws because in the past rides the camera tends to slip down over rough terrain hence the short version of last weeks video of "Green's Lick" @ Bent Creek.
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

Raccoon Mountain, finally

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

get ready

The Revolution?

I'm ready, are you?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bent Creek throwdown

Fat Tony's Bachelor Ride from Greg Carr on Vimeo.

As promised the footage from Anthony's bachelor party ride! Good times!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

the longest week of the month

It's only Wednesday but it feels like it should be Friday and I know we all wish it was. I'm working a semi-normal schedule this week Mon - Thurs with the exception of them being 12 hour days. It's not really been a busy week at work but I'm tired and I feel like the weekend is never going to get here. Yesterday's post I felt like was choppy and had the flow of a clogged drain pipe. I kept getting interrupted in my train of thought during the entire process because I was writing from work and the alarms on my console keep going off stopping my progress every few minutes. Add to that the mouse I was using must have had a short in it and would freeze up every few minutes. I hesitated after typing the post thinking it was not of good quality but decided to hit the button anyway since I had not posted anything since last Thurs or Friday. I find that if I wait too long to tell a good story it gets stale in my brain or one of my fellow bloggers beats me to the punch and I hate to re-tell a story. So I'm half way through my week and the workday and while I do have something good to look for this weekend I feel that it's never going to arrive.
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

the weekend

Last weekend was a blast and right from the start I thought I wasn't sure if I was going to make it. That weekend is always a tough one for me because of my work schedule. I work 3 days, off one and then back to 3 nights ending on Friday morning. We always seem to have big plans for that weekend because I just worked the last two and sleeping Friday day can be tough to do with so much excitement planned. This weekend was no different.

Saturday Melinda and I got the dogs out on the trail for some exercise and by the time we got home I was really dragging. I decided to take a power nap and ended up sleeping for close to an hour but felt much better. That evening we headed up to Andy & Abby's house for their annual Takki Tikki Party. Takki Tikki is a themed party that has been going on in Abby's family for a few years but the theme changes every year. This year was Wrestle Mania, come dressed up as you favorite wrestler, past, present or future. Melinda nor I have ever really been wrestling fans so we struggled with our costumes a bit but it was all in good fun.

Anthony and Amanda took 1st prize for their costumes which were good and a bit too revealing for me. I have to hand it to Anthony, I don't think I could have worn that outfit in public so when he changed after winning I tried not to give him too hard of a time.

Sunday about 16 of us guys got together and headed up to Bent Creek in Asheville for an all day ride in the woods for Anthony's bachelor party. A day spent in the woods tearing up singletrack is much better than going to some sleazy strip club. I have never been a fan of it and hopefully I never will.

I think that was one of the largest group rides I've been on in a while. Sometimes I have a hard time organizing rides with groups half that size but this one went really smoothly and I was surprised at the large turn out. The trails were in excellent shape and the weather was perfect. The original plan was for everyone to meet up @ 10am, the late start was because of the previous night festivities. About half of the group who layed low the night before decided to get a head start on us and arrive early to make sure they got enough miles in. I think they were worried that the partiers were going to be a bit too hung over to cover much ground but they were quickly proven wrong as the group came together at the base of the mountain. Brad and Joshua even pulled off a show on their way back from the Fool's Gold race the day before. I was impressed that they had the energy to ride after racing for 50 miles on Saturday. We did get rained on for about 15 minutes and we did hear thunder but thankfully no one got scared off and we pushed on. Thanks to everyone who came out and if you missed it I really feel for you, it was an excellent ride. I didn't snap alot of pictures but I did get some video but it will probably be next week before I get the footage together. Stay tuned

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

the return of the Gatlinburg artist

After almost a month I finally received my t-shirt from the Crazy 8's run during Fun Fest. I'm not sure why I didn't get one the night of the race, I pre-registered and as I was being told they had ran out of t-shirts I was eyeing a couple of boxes full of them behind the lady that I was speaking with. I saw several of the volunteers wearing them and I wasn't really impressed at a glance so I didn't really take the time to examine the artwork until now. After a couple of emails my shirt finally arrived in the mail today and to be honest I wasn't really expecting a great looking shirt. They never are but I don't do the race for the t-shirts, I do it for the fun, exercise and friendly competition. Well let's just say the organizers of the Crazy 8's spared no expense this year when selecting the artwork for the shirt. They didn't just slap some clip art down or leave it up to the print shop artists discretion. They went out and hired a true professional, trust me I know I've seen this guys work, I think it was back in high school. I'm sure alot of East Tenn. folks will recognize his signature style as well. You know the guy who set up his studio on the sidewalks of downtown Gatlinburg airbrushing his way into the hearts and minds of any sucker he could con into letting him airbrush Bart Simpson onto a perfectly good shirt or maybe it was a big red heart with Bobby Joe loves Sue Ann across the chest in purple complete with the little white star highlights and unicorns prancing in the fog.

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

Tsali footage

I got rained out on my ride today so I decided to make the most of my time inside, so instead of wasting time on Facebook I finally put together a video from my 12 Hours of Tsali footage.


Tsali Mountain bike trails from Greg Carr on Vimeo.

Karate Monkey squishiness

Don't think for a second I'm going to give a spectacular technical review on the workings of the new Reba fork I installed. My brain just doesn't work that way and I get bored quickly reading other's thoughts on it when numbers and big words come into play. Either it feels good and I go fast or it doesn't, that about sums it up for me and my reviews. I finally made it out to the trails on the Karate Monkey since the installation of the new squish up front. So far all of my testing have been hot laps around the yard with Jackson barking at my heels. I do have a couple of new obstacles, (not dogs turds) and a couple of short but punchy climbs to throw at it. I'll have to say I was quite pleased with it even on the climbs what little climbing I did yesterday. I headed over to Alan's house around noon for some much needed help with a crank issue, something that has been plaguing me for a while. This issue is a bit different than my dealings with the Truvative on the Mamasita. I'm running a Race Face crank on the Monkey and although they are very similar in looks they work a bit differently and come apart differently which is what threw me off. I am no mechanic by far but thankfully Alan is and has the patience to waste an hour sweating on his front porch teaching me how to work on my bike. After school was out the crank was spinning like it was supposed to and ready for action. Alan had not been to the Hampton watershead trails before so we headed that way watching the sky for a nasty shower that was supposedly threatening us. The watershed trails are short but if you do a few laps it can make for a pretty nice ride when the local trails are getting stale and there is no time for a day trip.
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

good weekend ahead

I think summer has finally arrived, with temps in the 90's everybody is crying like a bunch of little babies. The only thing I don't care for when it's this hot is the sweat running down my face and stinging my eyes but I finally located one of those Halo headbands I searched for all last year, actually I bought two just in case. They work fantastically good, funny looking but worth their dorkiness.
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

What the hell happened to Flat Stanley?

Normally Flat Stanley hangs out on the fridge all day with one of his bikes riding circles around pictures, jumping over magnets and laying skid marks across bills but his annoying presence has been absent for some time now. At first I didn't realize he had gone missing and when I did I figured that he either ran away because he couldn't stand Melinda's rules and cleanliness or one of my friends decided to take him home. I didn't say anything for a while just to see if someone would say something of if he would mysteriously turn up but in all reality I kinda forgot about him but then all of the sudden there he was. Melinda was the one who actually found him or should I say what was left of him. No the dogs didn't mistake him for a chew toy. Apparently after a long ride one day Flat decided to take a nap in my jersey pocket and since the ride was a little bit harder that day he slept right through me changing clothes and into the laundry basket he went. Melinda is no slouch when it comes to laundry, she keeps it moving. I can usually find the shirt I wore yesterday hanging up clean the next evening if not sooner. Needless to say Flat went for a ride in the washing machine and it's a good thing he is a good swimmer or he might have drown. Melinda and I immediately felt bad for the poor guy and dried him out but Flat was no longer, well flat. After some thought we decided the best we could do for him was to send him on a vacation complete with a spa package in hopes that he would return to his old flat self. I got a post card from him just the other day and he says all is well and he's feeling much better these days. He told me that he needed to extend his vacation another week to make sure he is back to his old self but I think he's just milking the free vacation but it was our fault so I couldn't say no.
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.

I can't tell if he is just shy or mischievous but he's funny to watch and hard to keep up with since we have way too many gardens surrounding our house. He has expressed interest in traveling with us in the Eco trailer, I know this only because he seems to hang out behind it on a pretty regular basis.
The story behind this little guy is one evening we were visiting some friends Andy & Abby and Abby collects Gnomes as some sort of hobby. While we were hanging out in their backyard I kept noticing gnomes in the gardens and we asked about it. She told us about the collection and that she had boxes of gnomes inside the house stashed away in a closet. She said she really didn't know what to do with them all so most were kept in boxes. I guess they don't like to be packed away in a dark cardboard box because one of them snuck into our car that evening and came home with us. Neither Melinda nor I realized this until we found him hanging out in the garden munching on our tomatoes, and we thought we had a bug problem. After speaking to Abby about the situation she was more than happy to let us keep the little guy as long as he didn't have to stay in a cardboard box.
Like I said before we have no idea what his name is because he doesn't talk much but I'll let you know when he gives up the info.
Last night was my second round of short track racing and it was almost as fun as the first. The crowd was not as big as the last time and still the heavy hitters did not show, well not all of them. I still got lapped by 1st and 2nd but managed to hold onto 3rd place. For a few laps I was in 4th chasing Mark Prince around the course staring at the back wheel of his ridiculously light, carbon fiber Gary Fisher 29er. That was one bad machine but I think in the end the feather lightness hurt him a little on the downhills. Everytime we went down I would make up a little ground on him and I think I can credit the Mamasita and her middle of the road components for this. Being a little heavier I think she coasts a bit faster. I don't know if all the heckling I was receiving from Alan & Mike the "local cult hero" Thomas had anything to do with it but I did manage to take back my 3rd place standing and hold on to it till the end. This time instead of paying the curly headed kid my dollar in quarters I paid all in dimes. (Next time I totally plan to show up with 2 rolls of pennies.) This week the trophy was not some form of cheap malt beverage in a funny colored can but a bottle of the local liquor store's finest $4 champagne. Hey I got no complaints the entry fee is only a $1. It's a ton of fun and I wish I could make it out every week but my work schedule won't allow it. Keep up the good work guys I had fun and hope to be back in 2 weeks for another punishing 20 minute round.
Hey Mike get the blog rolling, I need something to read as well.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

getting squishy

Christmas came early this year, well not really but it kinda felt like it after Melinda and I left the bike shop with some new goods. I've been pushing Melinda for a couple of weeks now to pick out a set of hydraulic brakes and after some indecisiveness I took her down to the local shop and showed her the catalog. It didn't take long for her to make her decision once she saw red & black. A new set of Avid Elixer CR's, I was impressed and jealous. She went from BB5's to the new Elixers with no stopping in between. I flipped a few more pages and found what I was looking for, some squish for the KM.
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.

The only issue I was having now was the weight factor, the KM used to be the lightest bike in the fat tire stable but with the addition of the new Reba that title is now held by the Mamasita. I did remove the beefy Panaracer 2.3 up front in favor of a skinnier Maxxis tire that would have made Alan smile last year.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


What is it that makes someone want to scream at another person who is traveling by foot or bicycle from the safety of their car as they fly past? I'm sure everyone knows what I'm talking about. That kid who thinks it's funny to roll down the window and mess with another from the safety of their own car. Almost everyone I know that rides their bike on the road has been assaulted in this way or worse. For me it seems to happen mostly when I'm running. In the past couple of months this has happened in the same spot more than 2 or 3 times. I'm not running on busy roads, I usually stick to my local state park or running path. I guess deep down inside those folks who think this is funny are really just jealous of me because I come to the park to excercise not cruise in my beat up wanna be fast & the furious car with a muffler that sounds like an angry bumble bee spewing black exhaust and soot onto the mis-matched bumper. To you guys, I say thanks for giving me someone to laugh at and something to blog about.