Wednesday, September 30, 2009

lousy neighbors

I'll go ahead and let you know this up front. This isn't really a cycling related post but it could be entertaining just the same. Something that Melinda and I have been plagued with over the past few years, lousy neighbors. I won't goes as far to say we have bad neighbors as they could be a lot worse and they're not bad enough to make me want to move yet, Melinda is another story. None of our neighbors really keep their yards as tidy as we would like but I would be a little bit picky if I started harassing them about it. Setting a 20 year old blue toilet out on the street right next to my driveway 2 weeks prior to refuse pickup does kind of irritate me. Not long after we moved into our house Melinda and I decided to plant a row of Evergreen trees along our backyard to serve multiple purposes. One to keep the dogs in our yard till a fence was built, two for a nicer look and three, to block all the junk (broken down jet ski, swing w/no seat, moldy angel statues, etc.) our neighbors have piled up in what used to be a garden or so they say. As time went on and the trees grew we could no longer see the trash from our deck. Fast forward a couple of years. This spring we built a retaining wall and planted a few new plants. One plant in particular sets really close to the boundary line. According to my neighbor a few leaves might cross it but I'm not 100% sure. We also bought the ECO trailer which limited our driveway space some and so I expanded the driveway just a hair bit more which got the attention of the neighbors. In a round about way he stated that we were getting very close to the line, he never said we crossed it but I could tell he was concerned. I could understand if we were interfering with his property or causing him trouble in some sort of fashion but we are not. Our driveway does not cross the line nor does it touch the line. The only thing we have done to his yard is make it look better with the addition of plants along our side of the property line. I don't understand why some folks are funny about this but they are.
We started noticing when they would mow, instead of blowing the grass back into their yard they blew it into our flower beds, driveway and all over my truck. Now I'm the one who started getting irritated. I never said a word, I patiently waited hoping they just didn't realize what they were doing and maybe it would stop. It didn't, after a month I decided to take defensive measures, Melinda and I picked up 3 more bushes to plant along side the driveway in between us and the neighbor acting as a barrier from the grass clippings. As soon as they saw our intentions I got a knock on the back door. The dreaded neighbor wanted to talk. I would love to say I popped him in the nose or overturned the rotting jet ski in his driveway but I didn't. We had a very civilized discussion on the boundary lines which I'm not sure I agree with but didn't argue. He expressed his concern about the plants being over the line in a few years as the branches grew. Yes that might happen but they would look nice and not cause a problem, no I didn't say that but I wanted to. I did let him know why I decided to plant them. Actually his wife is the one blowing the grass in the drive not him and he told me that she was the one who was upset about our plants. I'm convinced now that she blew the grass on purpose but I was told that he would ask her to stop if I didn't plant the new shrubs. We agreed that as long as I didn't try to make my side of the boundary more appealing there would be no problem. Who knew that making your yard a nicer greener place would piss someone off? I guess jealousy has pushed them to the point of hatred. When your flower beds consist of nothing but crushed brick and other random items (no plants), our yard might piss you off. Their yard has yet to be mowed since the talk so I'm curious if "the wife" as he called her will stop with the grass. If it continues I guess I'll call the surveyors and see if his declarations of the boundary are correct.
Sorry for the rant but I needed to tell someone.

Now go ride your bike while you can still see the trails, the leaves getting ready to fall.

stay cool

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hi-Def yo

Working inside the past 2 nights has left me with some down time to check out all the new all the new stuff coming out for 2010. As I was cruising through all the new bikes, parts and other random pics I ran across the new Hero cam out for 2010. HD has made it's way to the action sports cams and really I'm not surprised, but at a $299 price tag I think I will be satisfied with mine for a while longer. One thing that I do like better is the Lithium Ion rechargeable battery. Mine currently runs off of 2 AA batteries. I sprang for the NiMH rechargeables and usually carry spares on long rides. The only draw back I can see for the new Hero HD is the size, the new cam is a little bigger which also means it's a bit heavier. My current model is already heavy enough when mounted to my helmet but not enough to be a burden. I would think Go Pro would have been able to kept the size the same. Maybe I'll wait and see what's in store for 2011.

Another interesting site I ran across was a race between two couriers in Paris France, one on a bicycle, the other on a motorcycle. Tire manufacturer Hutchinson was behind this stunt "Across the Town". Both riders raced through the streets crossing the famous Champs Elysees. They both had to obey all rules of the road including speed limits and traffic lights. Who won? Check it out for yourself here.
It's not looking as if the OCHO is going to be on my calendar this October, as much as we've traveled this summer I think the ECO needs a little R&R before heading down to Knoxville for the annual trip to the 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth. I think maybe just a day trip will be all we'll see until then.
Speaking of the H.O.T., GRT is set and ready to go, This year we will see the return of Alan, I think the absence of his celebrity status was too painful and deny it as he may, he craves the spotlight. As usual Anthony and I will be spear heading the antics that usually surround this race and Brad will be bringing the pain to all who dare to step on the course with us. All we need to do is sign on the dotted line and pay our entry fee. We're all waiting patiently for the good folks who put on this event to get the website up and running. Rumor has it that John B. has finally joined the rest of the race coordinators in this century and made it possible to register online instead of using pigeon couriers. What will 2009 hold in the way of costumes, bike decor or facial hair? Who knows, the race weekend does fall on Halloween you know.
stay cool

Friday, September 25, 2009

the good, the bad & the ugly

Been off work all this week on the usual 7 days off, coming off a big weekend like our trip to Douthat always seems to find me a little down in the dumps. Too much fun & great riding with friends that flew by. Top it off with the fact that we had an amazing summer with multiple trips in the ECO and many and I mean many cool day trips all over western NC and TN. I just realized that summer is officially over and the cooler weather is going to be creeping in at any moment. With Alan back in school and working some what part time I've found myself riding alone again all this week. Earlier this year we were traveling around hitting new trails every other week that other kids were only talking about. Now I'm back to the same old same old, trying to make the trails in my back yard interesting again.
I was actually able to pull this off yesterday with a trip up to Bays Mtn with the Karate Monkey. A flat tire from last weekend finally got me motivated to swap out the aging WTB tire I've been running on the rear wheel since the KM's birth into this world. I replaced it with a Maxxis Ignitor to match the one I have up front, a set of tires I bought off Alan months ago when Maxxis dropped him and he decided they were no longer the best tires out there. I haven't seen him wear that fancy black & orange kit since. What was Maxxis thinking dropping such an out spoken rider as Alan, they're probably still trying to figure out why their sales in East TN have dropped significantly.
Oh yeah back to Bays Mtn., I decided to take the Karate Monkey with me because my legs were a little sore from the previous two days of riding and I figured what a better way to ease the soreness with some serious climbing on my singlespeed. The cool thing about Bay's Mtn is your gonna work hard no matter which route you take. There aren't any slacker days when riding at Bays, you either take the hard route or the really hard route. I took the one in between because I needed some good hard riding but also some fun to lift my spirits. I headed up the Azalea Trail, quite possibly one of the best trails out there if your looking to create a creek bed anytime it rains. Once I arrived at the top I pointed the Monkey left and headed toward the firetower. Once I reached the firetower, (yes I walked the last stretch) I made my way to Indian Pipes in search of the Rake-n-Ride trail a friend of mine created as a trial run for trail building at Bays. Basically the idea was to rake the corridor, ride it and see what happens. The last time I rode Indian Pipes I looked for the R&R trail thinking it was near the bottom but never found it. This time through I was determined to find it and find it I did right near the top less than a half mile in. At first I wasn't sure I had the right trail since it wasn't marked so I made a quick call and confirmed my suspicions. I admit I was a bit skeptical about the idea of a Rake-n-Ride trail thinking that it wouldn't work but once I rode it I was pleasantly surprised. I wish the trail started more near the bottom of Indian Pipes because I passed up a really fun downhill section but riding a new trail is what I came to do.
The R&R dropped me out at the bottom of the Fire Tower road, another Bays Mtn jewel. The Fire Tower road has got to be one of the most dangerous gravel roads I have ever been on. Steep downhill, loose gravel, rutted out as hell and it gets worse every year. I am amazed that the local race continues to use this section as part of the course every year, it's a lawsuit waiting to happen.
I finished off the ride with Bays Mtn's best trail, the Chiquapin Trail built by our local club NTMBA. Everytime I ride this trail a smile crosses my face. There was so much controversy brewing on the forum about how poorly this trail was and how we didn't know what we were doing when building it. Everytime I ride it, it seems to be right after a big rain and that trail drains water better than half the trails we have in the Tri-Cities. Score one for the kids who supposedly don't know a trail tool from a garden hose.
I had better cut this short and get the dogs out for a trail run while the skies are clear, we both need it and Mother Nature is supposed to dump on us soon.

stay cool

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Adventures @ Douthat part 2.

After cutting yesterday's Douthat Post short I wondered if this post was really worthy of a two part series but since no-one else in my local blog scene has much to say I guess I will continue rambling on.
After our return to camp on Fri. from the first ride Dustin and I grabbed Melinda and Olga and headed out for another ride hoping for something a little smoother and something with less climbing. We didn't even get off the asphalt when I heard a pretty significant crash. Melinda was trying to adjust her Camel Bak tube with one hand and ride with the other. Well she accidentally grabbed a fist full of brake and went sailing over her handlebar and slammed into the pavement. I have to hand it to her, she took the fall pretty well. She had numerous scrapes, bruises and a little blood coming from her knee. Enough sore spots to make most girls throw in the towel on riding all together or at least for the weekend. She got back on her bike without even shedding a tear and kept on riding.
After a bit of goofing off on some trails features we decided on a route and of course started out with some climbing. I don't think we were 2 miles into the trail when Dustin's free hub body in his rear wheel decided to blow and stopped his ride for the day. Luckily I brought the Karate Monkey as a back up and we were able to swap out rear wheels so Dustin's weekend was not completely ruined.

Beer punch anyone?

Friday night we stoked up a roaring campfire and enjoyed a few adult beverages. As the NTMBA folk gathered in our site Anthony and Chris showed me some pics of their cabin, actually the front porch which had 2 29er wheels chained to the railing. Evidentally Aaron decided he needed to lock up his new steed to the railing but instead of running the cable through the frame he ran it through the wheelset. Upon seeing this Chris and Anthony couldn't resist removing the bike from the wheels and hiding it in a much safer location until the next morning. I'm not sure if hanging it in a tree was safer but at least no short folks were going to be riding a new Niner anytime soon.
I guess this harmless prank sparked a light bulb in the girl's head because they all disappeared in Andy's Element for about 45 minutes. When they came back everyone turned to look in wonder at where they had been. I assured Chris and Anthony they had been on a group poop. Actually they snuck off to their cabin and proceeded to turn everything upside down and make pyramids out of the furniture. We all had a good laugh but for the rest of the weekend I was locking everything down in an effort to escape any retaliation our campsite might receive for the ladies dirty deeds.

Saturday we woke to a beautiful sunny day and after breakfast hit the trails for more climbing and well, more climbing. As the mountain wore on it took it's toll on the pack and began breaking us up into smaller and smaller groups.
I stayed near the back and bounced around from group to group filming and chatting with folks I don't normally get to ride with. As we reached the top my small group of 4 passed the turn off where everyone was congregating at before heading down the mountain. All we really missed was a great view but no real spectacular riding. After rolling back into camp for lunch Melinda, Dustin and I decided to get in one more ride before calling it a day. Once again our ride was cut a little short but this time because of a flat tire. I couldn't believe it when I realized we had everything to change it but a pump, how convenient.
That evening the crew all gathered for a cookout at Anthony and Chris's cabin. Anthony manned the grill with hamburgers and everyone brought their best side dish for the NTMBA side dish competition.

Fat Tony on the grill.
Olga took first prize with her version of Paula Dean's mac n cheese and Abby took a close 2nd with here mother's homemade egg rolls. I think I ate 15 of those things.

Sunday we woke up to a slight drizzle of rain which squashed our hopes for one more good ride before calling it a weekend and heading home. We hung around for a while in hopes that the rain would leave but after some debate we decided it was here to stay
I'm already ready for next year's shindig, I hate it for all the cats who missed it. Good times were had by all and the trails rocked. The only complaint I had was the fee for dogs to stay at Douthat, $5 per dog per night = $30 for Moonshine & Jackson to sleep in the back of my truck. If we would have had 2 screaming kids instead of 2 dogs there would have been no extra charge. No biggie, I made sure they earned their $30, I left every dog turd for the fine folks @ Douthat to pick up. It seemed only fair, what else was the $30 for?
Stay cool

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Adventures @ Douthat Part 1.

I wish I had time to sit down and type a post about my adventures when they are fresh on my mind but that never seems to happen. Thursday I took off work a little early in an effort to get our camper hooked up so that we would be ready to leave as soon as Alan arrived. He told us he had class from 5-7 but the Prof. has never kept them past 6 so he would be at our house by 6:30 at the latest. 6:15 rolls around, no call from Alan, 6:30, still no call, 6:45, nothing. At 7:10 I call him for the 3rd time and get no answer. I decide to give him 20 more minutes and then we head out. At 7:15 I finally get word that he's halfway to our house, I guess I should have stayed at work till 6 and saved my vacation. No big deal though, I was just glad to be going down a day earlier. After packing up and a stop @ McDonald's for chicken wraps we were on the road heading for Douthat State Park for our annual NTMBA club camping trip.
As we were cruising down I-81 I was trying to unwrap my chicken wrap and drive at the same time. I looked down in an effort not to take a bite of the wrapper for about a half a second too long. When I looked up all I saw was the rear corner of an abandoned car sitting on the side of the highway. In an effort to avoid biting into my wrapper I had drifted to the right and was heading straight for the car. My instincts took over and I jerked the wheel hard to the left, maybe just a little too hard, especially since I was pulling our camper. Right about then I realized what effect that would have on our little 2800 lb. single axle trailer. I looked in my right mirror with one eye then the left with my other and managed to see both sides of the camper as it swung back and forth violently. Yes I do have a sway bar attached but I don't think it was enough to stop the swing. It did keep my little ECO from smashing into that abandoned car as we passed and for that it earned it's weight in gold. Neither Alan nor Melinda saw it coming, I think they were too wrapped up in the latest gossip. Once I regained my ability to talk I had to explain to Melinda what had just happened.
Once we arrived at Douthat it was all smooth sailing from there, we found Brandon and Melinda's brother Dustin waiting for us and I had a crew of 5 helping me back in and level the ECO in our site. I felt like a NASCAR driver with my very own pit crew.

Douthat State Park was a very nice park with a ton of trails, I would recommend it to anyone but make sure you read all of the park rules and regulations carefully as they take them very seriously.
Friday we got an early start on the trails in an effort to ride as much as possible. Evidently Douthat is nestled in a valley between 2 mountains both sides which host miles and miles of trails. No matter where we started we got to the climbing right off the bat, rocky climbing. I was impressed with the quality and quantity of trails Douthat had to offer. You could tell that a trail building machine had been brought in to speed the process along in some sections and most of the creek crossing had been armored with giant rocks in an effort to keep you out of the water making cold weather crossing more enjoyable.
Our first ride of the day took us up to Blue Suck Falls, which really wasn't much of a water fall, well at least not that weekend. Ironically the whole area was experiencing some what of a dry spell while flooded rivers were taking over Atlanta. No complaints here, I would much rather ride in loose dry conditions than wet.
At the base of the falls we found a nice large stone couch where you could sit and enjoy the view. We thought it made for a great photo opportunity. I think normally there is water running under the log bridge at our feet and the creek is heavily armored just up from it for folks who don't have the skills to ride over skinny bridges.

2009 NTMBA DOUTHAT VA from A Sparks on Vimeo.

Alan shot quite a bit of video from our first ride with his hand held camera and put this video together. Thanks Alan for letting me steal your video!

I decided to break this post up into two because there were just too many stories and photos. That to and I need to get out and mow the yard, I'm trying to set a good example for the rest of my neighbors. Check back tomorrow for more.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Video from Douthat State Park

I'm still sorting through some photos and the stories in my head from last weekends trip to Douthat State Park. I did get a chance to put together a video from my footage. Unfortunately some of the footage didn't turn out. I think the crash at Short Track a couple of weeks ago did a number on my Hero Cam. All was not lost though, I did have about 10 minutes of downhill footage all from one trail. Of course I couldn't show it all but I hope you enjoy it just the same.

Douthat State Park from Greg Carr on Vimeo.

Stay cool

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Ocho

The fine folks who put on the Disc Burner have gone and done it again, The Ocho 8 Hour race was identified on my radar this morning as something that could be a potential race for my schedule.
I raced the Disc Burner for the first time this year and I was really impressed with the organization, race and all that I got for my $50 entry fee. Race shirt (a very nice one) socks, pint glass and 3 kegs of local brew to fill those pint glasses with. All of which is supposed to be at the Ocho. No watered down spaghetti dinner and a bag full of brochures. This was real race swag that can be and was used. I don't recall having to dig through 5 or 6 brochures to dig out the free gel pack. There were no fancy colored plastic bags made to disguise what you thought might be something good but in reality was nothing but trash.
I thought I had only one more cycling race left on my calendar this year but that may not be the case. I am off that weekend but I do have some plans but they could easily discarded for a much more exciting race. All I have to do is talk to my social director before any calendars get marked.

Douthat State Park here I come. Rain, you stay here, my yard needs your services.

come on work week , let's do this

I am ready for this work week to be over with now! Two down and two to go. Thursday after I get off Melinda, Alan, the dogs and I are all loading up and heading to Douthat State park for the annual NTMBA camping trip this weekend. Douthat boasts 40 miles of singletrack trails and the rumor is that they are sweet. I apologize for the lack of posts and interesting topics but this week has been non-stop and I think it will continue this way until the weekend. Melinda and I have been trying to pack everything up a little every night this week so that we can be ready to hit the road as soon as we get off work Thursday.
Last night I mounted up some new squish for Melinda bike in the form of a Fox RL 32 I scored off Alan. Melinda's old R-7 had seen it's better days and she was well past due for a new fork.
In other good news, Go Pro came through spectacularly, my new parts for the Hero cam came in last Friday and will be packed up this evening. I just hope I remember to recharge the batteries and clean off the SD cards. I plan to shoot as much footage as possible so be on the lookout for an exciting new video next week.

Stay cool

Thursday, September 10, 2009

shaving grams

A couple weeks ago I said something about trying to shoot some video of a short track race and my camera mount snapping in two during my warm up. Well I actually broke more than just the mount. It turns out that the housing that contains the camera itself cracked as well right where the mount connects to it. I shot the good folks at Go Pro an email with a couple pics of the damaged goods and after an email exchange or two they let me know my new mount and housing are on they're way. I was very pleased with their promptness and good customer service. I didn't even have to show a receipt. I've yet to receive the goods yet but I'm sure they will arrive before our trip to Douthat State Park.

I've been trying to lay low this week and save myself for the Eastman 10k run I entered earlier this year. I've not run a 10k in a while but I have been running and I figure it's too late to attempt it now. The course is mostly flat and I know it shouldn't be a problem but everytime I run these events I always wished I had trained harder. It's hard to give up days riding especially in the summer months to go running. I enjoy running here and there but for me cycling is where it's at.
One thing that might just help me in my run Saturday is my new haircut. Not only did I shave a few grams off my body weight but I'm much more aerodynamic and my body is more effective at cooling itself. Aerodynamics, lower body mass & more efficient cooling, that's got to get me a few positions closer to the podium. I'm almost sure of it, now if I can just convince Melinda the new do looks good on me it'll be a win win situation. bzzzrt!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Big South Fork

Last weekend Melinda and I loaded up the Eco on Friday and hit the road for Big South Fork. We took all the mountain bikes in hopes for some good riding action but not expecting anything. This was a family outing and since Melinda and I are the only mountain bikers in the family I had to be realistic, I might see a couple of hours of riding tops. I'd heard good things about Big South Fork so I looked at this as a good scouting trip for a later camping/riding vacation destination. I was only able to con my youngest sister Bug and her boyfriend into actually camping for the weekend, everyone else stayed in some swanky cabin.
Saturday morning I stopped by the front office in search of the bike trails map that I was told existed. There was in fact somewhat of a trail map and a list of the trails with descriptions. After visiting with the family, Melinda and I grabbed our bikes and started our search for the first trail on the list. The description stated there was a 1.5 mile gravel road ride before reaching the 2.3 mile singletrack loop. After close to 3 miles of gravel we decided to turn around and head back in case we missed the turn. No luck, we then headed back to the office for some help. After talking to the lady in charge we realized there was an additional gravel road turn in order to get to the singletrack. She also told us that although the map listed names of the trails, none of them had signs with the names listed on them. The only thing that was posted was a small blue sign with a bicycle on it. After we got our directions straight we found our singletrack only to be a little disappointed in it's condition. It was obviously not ridden much and poorly constructed but after 9+ miles of gravel roads infested with horses and diesel trucks we were happy to be on it. By the time we returned to the trailhead we were out of riding time, and called it a day and headed back to camp.
Sunday we woke to a very slight drizzle but not enough to deter me from hitting more trails. I called up John and Ben and we headed out to find the rest of the trails. The other two trails were better than the first and showed some signs of being ridden but not as much as what we're used to in N.E. Tenn. The trail descriptions varied from novice to advanced with roots, rocks, drops, slalom runs and fast downhill sections. There was one 4 foot drop but other than that I think the person who wrote the trail descriptions was hallucinating that day. The beginner trails here in my backyard have more bite than any advanced trail B.S.F. had to offer. There was one trail that I did not make tracks on. Probably knowing my luck it was the best B.S.F. had to offer but it was only open M - F to bikes. The trail was posted as an IMBA certified trail or something like that but due to time constraints, thunder & another family moving into our site on Monday we had to pass it up and head home only to wonder what we were missing.
Don't get me wrong the trip was great, the campground was very nice even though it was completely full and the hiking was awesome. I just reminded myself that this was a family trip and getting to ride what I did was an added bonus, plus in less than 2 weeks we head up to Douthat State Park for the annual NTMBA club trip and some awesome VA. singletrack.

A few pics

In addition to an all around fun trip it was also my parents anniversary and my Dad's 60th B-day. Lot of candles to blow out.

I haven't seen my sister Becky ride a bike since we were kids so I had to snap a pic.
Eli soup
Bug and Ben were the only brave ones to go for a swim in the river or was that the only ones with swim suits .

Thursday, September 3, 2009

domination? nope

Yesterday I decided to kick it up a notch and take the Karate Monkey to ETSU for the now infamous Short Track racing on Wednesday night. For 1 measly dollar you can ride till your heart redlines for 20 minutes or just cruise the course with JC's own "Local Cult Hero" and listen to a story or two or hear him cuss me everytime I pass by. Anyway, back to the KM experiment, with my thumb still on the mend I decided to give it a rest and take my bike that does not have any shifters. I wasn't sure how things would pan out, it's been over a year since I last lined up at a race on the Monkey but I figured Wed. night ST was a good start to get the ball rolling again. On the ride over to JC I kept having this weird experience in my head like someone was speaking to me. I thought at first I hadn't ate enough and my sugar had dropped but then I decided it was just my conscience speaking out. A voice kept repeating "I will dominate the field tonight at ST." "I will dominate the field tonight At ST." It made driving really hard and I think Melinda thought I was crazy. As I stepped out of the truck I went around to the back and started unloading my bike. It was then that I realized it was not my conscience but the Karate Monkey speaking to me telepathically. It was planning to win. I had a feeling I my legs weren't up for the challenge but I decided to lay down some mind games and let it be known to my friends that they might as well go home. I was taking home the funny drink in a tall can that makes you stagger.
I lined up with a good sized crowd some of who I knew, some of who I didn't and some of who I knew were going to make us all look slow. Josh yelled "GO" and we were off with me leading the crowd. That was a first for me but unfortunately that lead didn't last as Ben passed me at the halfway point on his new CX bike. Three quarters of the way I was passed again. I really didn't take off with a ridiculous pace like I've seen the past few races in fact I lead out with the pace I planned to keep the whole race making myself as wide as possible in an effort to keep things in check. I held onto 3rd for a little longer than I thought I would with the fast crowd that had decided to show last night but I never got passed by another singlespeed rider. I felt like my pulse was going to burst a vein in my neck and I started standing up to mash the pedals earlier and earlier on the climbs. That's what an SS'er does instead of down shifting to an easier gear. The cool thing about a singlespeed is that while you may be standing a little earlier, the fact that you have no gear to make the effort easier you have to maintain somewhat of a faster pace than you would if you had gears to wuss out with. I still managed to complete 13 laps, same as last week, 1 up from my previous runs but it hurt a lot worse. I think I'll be back next time with the KM on hand.
The crowd on Wed. night varies every time I show bringing out different riders every week. I have yet to see the heavy hitters that originally dominated the field at the beginning of the summer. I guess they either have better things to do or they're no longer up to the challenge. With only a $1 entry fee how can you pass the chance not to show. Who cares there is no fancy podium, prizes or a watered down pasta dinner. That's not what draws the crowd. We need more events like this in our area. It's all about the fun of racing with your friends.
I've been harassing Fat Tony to make an appearance, ST is right up his alley. He likes to go out really hard at the beginning and fizzle out before the race is over. I figure since the race is only 20 minutes plus 2 laps he might just have what it takes to pull off a win. He said he had a package to deliver in JC last night, no doubt it was something sketchy. He never showed by race time and after it was over I checked my phone to see he'd left a message at 7:25 that he was running late, you think?
The new NTMBA T-shirts were in and I had brought them to the race to sell a few. After the race I had a line of folks standing at my rear door in the parking lot waiting to get their hands on the goods. I didn't think anything of it but I did notice an ETSU patrol car pass by on the road eyeing us as if I were a drug dealer selling out of the trunk. After everyone got they're shirts Melinda and I hit the road only to get pulled over by ETSU security just before we crossed the boundary line of ETSU's property. The rent a cop insisted on searching the truck and I told he was welcome to but he might regret it when he starts digging through my pile of sweaty stinky lycra. I don't think he found what he was looking for but did ask to if he could buy one of the really cool NTMBA T-shirts I had for sale. I told him no for harassing me and got out of there before he decided to haul me in for further questioning.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Have you seen this? A flow meter for your Camelbak? That's exactly what I want spend an extra $30 on. I've really been wondering exactly how much water I consume in a ride.

Or I can do this for free but not with the exact science of a flow meter. I carry 24 oz. water bottles in my cages. I finish 1 I know I drank 24 oz. I finish 2 I drank, um let me do the math.... 48 oz.! I drank 1 1/2 bottles that should be... 36 oz.! Don't the Camelbak bladders have level markers on them? I know, it's not as cool as an electronic flow meter.

Got the Karate Monkey out yesterday, my thumb is still pretty sore especially when I try to shift gears so I figured, ride the singlespeed, no thumb pain. My knee was a little sore too but it's getting better.
With addition of the new Reba to the Karate Monkey I have realized something. I can no longer put the Monkey on my fork mount Yakima roof rack.

Evidently Rock Shox decided to add a little bit more aluminum to the lower legs I guess to protect the ridiculously long air valve and rebound adjustment knob. The fork fits on the mount with no problem but when I tried to lock the rack down the extra material got in the way.

I guess the folks who owned the 08 models where breaking them off on the trail. The Reba on the Mamasita has the valves exposed but I have yet to break one. I have seen one laying on the trail so I guess it has been an issue. I went over to Rock Shox's website and they already have the 2010 models up and the new Reba's are using the old design. Why not use smaller valves and adjustment knobs Rock Shox? Doesn't that make more sense? Lighter, less material, is a win win situation.
On the home front, as you may remember Melinda and I decided to expand our garden this year. I usually plant peppers and can most of them for use throughout the year. It's been almost 3 years since we bought peppers at the grocery store. This year was not the case, I've still got jars of peppers from the past years left over so I didn't really see the need in canning. My jalapeno plants were sagging with the weight of all the peppers on them and I knew if I didn't do something with them soon they would rot and be wasted. I picked about 26 peppers and it's hard for 2 people to eat that many pepper in a couple of days. I thought about what to do with them all and then I remembered an old recipe for stuffed jalapenos that I had. They were pretty easy to make and a huge hit. I made so many Melinda and I both took some into work and we both ate our weight in them or until our tongues could no longer stand the heat.
Short track tonight!