Thursday, October 29, 2009

1 bad headlight & a one piece racing suit w/wool socks

2 days left until the start of the 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth race in Oak Ridge TN. I was ready to go last night, all my gear was accounted for. All that's left to do is pack the ECO trailer and do a little shopping. I need to pick up all the necessities like firewood, beer & an afro wig from the Halloween section. I guess I might outa pick up something to eat while I'm there, Melinda might get upset if I forget the food.
I was doing a charge and test run on my HID lights last night and everything was going smoothly until about an hour & twenty minutes into the run and pop went my light. (Yes I had a fan blowing to keep it cool.) Not sure what happened, I recharged the battery but still nothing, something went bad in the light. Perfect timing, luckily for me I picked up a used HID just the other day from my good friend Scooby but I'm not sure if I will use it or not. There has been some talk on our local forum about how much climbing the course is going to have compared to the past few years. Someone made a comment that the course was a cakewalk compared to some of the other courses as far as length and elevation are concerned. I decided that this was my chance to up the hardcoreness level another notch. With my headlight out I plan to resort to using my Petzl camping lamp.

If that doesn't do it maybe I'll ride with one arm tied behind my back. Maybe then I'll be tough enough!
Although I said I was going to take it easy this week I couldn't help myself when I got 2 calls to go ride yesterday. Brad, one of GRT's most hardcore riders wanted to hit Rocky Fork yesterday. He just scored a new BMC Trail Fox a few days ago and the itch had to be scratched. I had to pass as I knew that climb would leave me feeling a bit sore and I need fresh legs for Saturday. I did take the second offer to ride Warrior's at a leisurely pace with AKS and the Local Cult Hero. The call came after I had just given the Mamasita a bath and the KM was hanging there on the wall taunting me. I gave in and took the Monkey out for a spin. It was a little slick but nothing too bad. The only drama was a flat tire courtesy of the LCH. It's funny watching 2 people change a flat tire.

If you ever get a chance to ride with the LCH do it, he never fails to surprise me with his choice of bike which is always different or his wardrobe, he's the only person I know who can pull off a one piece suit w/brown wool socks out on a chill ride and make it look cool.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rocky Fork video

Untitled from Greg Carr on Vimeo.

Finally! Sorry for the delay

Hope you Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

quick somebody call the waaa-mbulance!

Apparently somebody out there thinks that I maybe anti 26" wheels. I am not, in fact I have a bike sitting just across the hall from me in my super cool bike room that is sporting 26" wheels. It may not see the action that my 29ers see but it's just as cool and I couldn't imagine parting with it. There was also a comment that I'm still learning how easily 29" wheels roll over stuff. I always knew they rolled over stuff easy I was just never one to jump into the middle of a heated 26 vs 29 wheel argument. I like both, would have both if my wallet were fatter and hope to one day add a full suspension 26er back to my stable in the future. I said add not replace, the 29ers are here to stay in my shed. I tend to have an affection for all types of bikes not jump on a different bandwagon every 6 months with a mega phone shouting to the rooftops how cool they are. If I try out a fad I tend not to "gulp down the Kool Aid" which in my opinion has got to be one of the lamest references to a fad that I have ever heard. I wish I could say I can feel the flex in my 29er wheels but I can't. I've never been one to pay attention to details like that, it has to be something pretty significant to get my attention. When I'm railing through a corner my mind isn't focused on whether or not my wheelset is flexing. Maybe I should but my attention span is too short.
As I typed this post it got me to thinking about all the arguments I heard or been a part of when it comes to the 26 vs 29er and the more I think about it the more I realized that it seems to be the folks who ride the 26" wheels who are doing most of the arguing. Most of my friends who ride 29er have nothing against 26" wheels. It's just a preference for them. I wonder if the kids who ride 26" wheels are scared, scared that the bike manufactures are one day going to stop producing 26" wheeled bikes. If that's the case it might explain some of the anti 29 comments and the big wheel bashing. Don't fret my little friends we can both live in this world peacefully and share the same trails. One day Thule, Yakima, and Saris will realize that 29" wheels are here to stay but not take over and that it's ok to make all their racks 26 & 29" wheels friendly. Everyone needs to settle down and realize that it doesn't matter what size you wheels are, all that matters is your riding a bike outside enjoying nature and nothing else. Until that happens I guess I will have to trade in my new Lezyne saddle bag for a larger version so I can carry a pacifier for all the whiners out there. Whoops did I just say that?

PS - As for Walmart I like to park further away, the extra walk is good for me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

saddle bag troubles

About this time last year, well actually it was at the H.O.T. race last year that the first saddle bag I ever bought finally after several years of faithful service finally bit the dust. I was riding my first lap during the race and I felt something odd brush the inside of my leg. I looked down to see that my saddle bag was hanging on by the seatpost strap only. The two seat rail straps had lost their magical velcro power and let go allowing the bag to slide down the seatpost till it hit the frame. I had to stop and reattach the top straps for one it was swinging around as I rode and two it contained all the necessary tools needed if I were to have a small mechanical or a flat. Before I made it back to the start finish line I had to stop 2 more times to reattach it. Why I didn't take it off and stuff the whole thing in a jersey pocket the first time I'm not sure. I get kinda nervous during races so logical thinking does not always come to me in certain situations. Once I finished my lap I busted out some duct tape and made sure that my saddle bag would stay in place for the duration of the race.

This saddle bag was not a bad design or made of lousy material, it had served me well, longer & better than any piece of equipment I've have owned since I started riding. It was something that never got serviced and barely saw any attention other than the occasional spray of the water hose. I guess you could say I never thought much about the saddle bag until this one passed on to saddle bag heaven. How do I know it went to saddle bag heaven, well think about it. A saddle bag is abused constantly, it sits in a place where it is constantly being exposed to mud, nasty water & in my case dog poo and whatever might fly off the rear tire. It only gets attention when things go wrong and there is a good chance your upset and not gentle with it. My particular saddle bag lasted well beyond it's years, took alot of abuse and never complained once. That is how I know with out a doubt it went to saddle bag heaven.
Rest in Peace little buddy.
After the demise of my good friend I went saddle bag shopping and picked up a Topeak. It looked alot flashier but it's looks were deceiving. I really wasn't impressed with it's straps and the way it attached to my seat but I needed a replacement and it's good looks said BUY ME! BUY ME! I bought it, said I would learn to like it's flaws and move on. I thought it's just a saddle bag, who cares. About two months later it bit the dust, actually it still works if you don't mind the hole in the bottom exposing all your tools etc. to the elements. Time to go saddle bag shopping again.

My next purchase was this bag made by Bontrager, honestly I wasn't impressed with the way it attached either but I needed something quick and this was my only other choice, that or another Topeak. Not only did this one fail but the zipper came apart and dropped my sweet little Crank Bros. multi tool that was worth it's weight in gold somewhere on a trail in Big South Fork. I didn't notice it was gone until it was too late. Whoever found that little jewel scored big time. Time to go shopping again. This time I took my time, looked at various models and gave it some thought. I wanted something along the same lines as my old bag.

One day while riding with Alan I started complaining about my saddle bag troubles and he showed me his new one that he picked up at our LBS, a Lezyne. A new and cool feature that this bag had that I had never seen before was the additional outside pocket on the bottom made just for multi tools. Now you can access your tools with out having to empty the entire contents of the saddle bag which in my case can be very troublesome because I always try to fit everything into the smallest bag I can find. Nothing drives me more crazy than loose tools bouncing around inside an obnoxiously large saddle bag. Not only did this bag fit my needs, have a cool tool pocket but it mounted exactly like my old trusty saddle bag. I haven't had this bag for very long but they must be good because obtaining one was very difficult, they fly off the shelves as soon as they come in. I have a feeling this one is going to be much better than the last two, will it be as good or better than my first? Only time will tell.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

trying to stay low

It's gonna be hard not to go out and ride my bike all week, I've got three days off this week with nothing but good warm sunny weather in the forecast. I really need to take it easy and save my legs for this weekends race. Today I ran the 3rd leg of the Eastman Triple Crown, The Susan G. Coleman, Race for the Cure 5k. As usual I've not been running much but I felt good non the less today even after coming off of night shift this morning. Upon arrival I was surprised to see a huge crowd, the word was it was the biggest crowd to run a 5k in the Tri-Cities. Luckily for me I had pre-registered so the line to pick up my number was short. The line for unregistered runners was way too long, if fact the promoters realized that the start of the race was going to be severely delayed if they waited on everyone to register. They made an announcement that if you wanted to run but didn't care about your time being recorded you could skip registering and race for free as long as you promised to come back next year. Even after that the race was still delayed 10 minutes. As my luck would have it they were out of T-shirts when I arrived so I'll have to wait a month before I can pick it up. After scanning the crowd I think it it is safe to say that the shirts will be a little better than those ridiculous shirts they gave us at the Crazy 8's 8k.
Once the race started I picked my way through the crowd of slow runners and walkers who thought it was a good idea to start farther up front than they should have. It's annoying to have to fight your way through packs of folks who think they're faster than they really are. What really cracks me up are the guys who start off at they're max speed as if the race is only a 100 meter dash. It doesn't take long to catch up to them walking trying to catch their breathe wondering what happened to the speed they had in high school.
I guess I'll try and keep myself occupied with preparations for the weekend. I really need to do some bike maintenance and cleaning. Both mine and Melinda's mtn bikes are a muddy mess from a trip to Haw Ridge a few days back. We were hoping that the race course would have been posted prior to heading down but it wasn't. Having ridden there alot over the past few years most of the trails are familiar and usually the promoters of the HOT keep the course very similar from year to year. This year they threw us a curveball and we will be running a big portion of the trails backwards not to mention crossing the mountain 3 times instead of the usual 2.
I checked the weather again today & noticed that the forecast has changed again. I still think the chance of rain is minimal but it did increase. I hope I haven't jinxed myself.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

HOT flash back

Finally the H.O.T. race course was posted today, I think something was wrong with the file because it took some work to get it to show up and then it took me about 20 minutes to figure out how the course ran due to it's poor quality. This year the organizers have really tried to shake things up. The course appears to be all climbing and descending and if I'm reading it correctly will cross the mountain 3 or 4 times. Right off the bat it takes you halfway up the backside of the Hill of Truth and then half way through the course we get to climb the front. I have a good feeling I'll be doing some hike a bike. I was planning on running the Karate Monkey on a few laps but that plan may fall to the wayside, I haven't decided yet. This year will be the 5th year GRT will be racing at the HOT and every other year we have seen rain the day before the race making the course a nasty mess. Two days ago the weather forecast was a 50% chance of rain now it's 30 on Fri and 0 on Sat. It's still pretty early to tell what will unfold but I'm crossing my fingers for a dry race. We've seen enough rain this year.
I was looking through all my previous photos and I found all but the first year, what happened to those pics I'm not sure but it was funny to see my clothing of choice/facial hair throughout the years.

2005: The missing pics, maybe we didn't own a camera back then I can't remember. I think we placed somewhere around 7th place?

2006: The first year I rocked the Fu Manchu stashe, note the full suspension and kid sized wheels. Nice peachy undershirt buddy. I rode this bike at both the 05' & 06' races. We faired better that year placing 5th.
2007: I rocked the Fu Manchu again and moved up to the big boy wheels, 29er son. This was also the only year I rocked the whole race on my singlespeed, GRT placed 3rd that year in the singlespeed category.

2008: GRT moved back to the sport category due to not everyone on the team owning an SS. Also I was just coming off a back injury so gears were a must. This year I went for a little different look. Baggies and a sleeveless T, NASCAR style! The sport category was a bit tougher that year than back in 2006 and we had to settle for 6th. After the race I was looking over the laps laid down by each team in sport I realized if we had gone back out for one more lap we would have moved up to 5th. This will not happen again, I'll do back to back laps if I have to.
2009: GRT is signed up for the sport category again and this year I feel fitter and stronger, my back is no longer bothering me. My plan is to run the Mamasita on the first lap and get a feel of the course then maybe switch back and forth to the Monkey to see which is faster. I have a feeling with all the climbing in store my times maybe faster on the Mamasita if I can stay on the bike.


Can you say more road trips? Yes we snuck off to Warrior's Creek again a few days back. While the weather was not as good as the last few days we've seen, the trails at WC were in excellent shape. It had rained the entire day before but you really couldn't tell.

I may not be the best photographer but as you can tell from my blog I like to shoot pics of all our adventures. The only problem for me is the lack of other people taking pictures.

I got some great shots all day but after I went back to review them I noticed I was only in 1 maybe 2 shots.

Ah, here we go I finally got into the frame. Luckily for us some random chick decided to ruin the shot by pushing her bike off the trail directly behind us. It might have been a little bit cooler if she was at least riding by.

I've got to get an Element, riding up to Wilkesboro in Andy's funky little box was a ton of fun. The only problem is I don't think an Element would pull the ECO.
Probably the highlight of the trip was Melinda and Abby singing all the way home to every bad song that played on the radio, or was that the highlight of the ride home, I can't rememeber.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rocky Fork

Cold and boring no more! That was the title of my most recent post but since then the weather has changed and the trails have been set on fire! Once the weather man let it be known that this week was going to see those spring like temps again we did the one thing most mountain bikers only dream of. We called in sick and spent the day riding in the woods. Well I didn't actually call in sick, I was off all this week but a few others were conned into it.
Rocky fork has been all the buzz here lately in northeast TN. With the recent acquisition of the 10,000 acre land tract by the the Cherokee National Forest and the State of TN the possibility of a huge recreation area for mountain bikers, hikers etc. is in the near future. Actually the state and Cherokee didn't get it all yet but their working on it and the land is secured for now. Read all about it here.

We had a good crew Tues as we unloaded at the trailhead ignoring the NO PARKING SIGN, I didn't drive but I did ride with a cop so as long as he didn't care neither did I. Rocky Fork is not known for sweet single track, at least not yet. What it is known for is a grueling climbs up old logging roads covered in loose rock and debris (sticks & leaves not trash). The climb is long, difficult and requires you to navigate 6 creeks. What makes this ride worth it you ask? The views, they were amazing. After reading the nice article from Blue Ridge and looking at the photos I assumed that we could cross some of the creeks on foot via rocks and not get wet. I really didn't want to get wet, even though the temps were warm the water had to be ice cold and I had a feeling cold feet could make for a miserable day on the bike. As we approached the first of the 6 creek crossings it was clear we would have to ride through the water, no rocks to cross on foot. Jason and Andy made the first attempt each trying different lines both getting wet. I decided on a different line as well but as luck would have it I managed to hit a large rock stopping me dead in my tracks mid creek and causing me to put both feet down in the water. It was cold but actually not as cold as I expected but I didn't stand around long enough to see if it got any colder. Luckily I had enough sense to pack a few extra pairs of socks. I didn't bother changing then because just about every water crossing was a wet one. Even if you were able to stay up right on your bike some crossings were deep enough to submerge both feet as you pedaled through. As we reached the top we realized the wet ride was definitely worth it. The views were amazing!

Trace amounts of snow!

One of the first things we did after staring at the amazing view was to strip off all our wet gear and lay it out on Buzzard's rock to dry in the sun. It looked like a yard sale up their but it felt nice to replace cold wet socks with dry ones.

As we retraced our route going down I had to hit the brakes and take some time to enjoy the nature around me. We followed this creek for a couple of miles and it was filled with all kinds of activity. Even if you never make it to the top the first 3 or 4 miles have plenty to see. I can't imagine what this place will be like if trails are built, it would be a true mountain bike heaven.

Monday, October 19, 2009

cold & boring

I think the blogger world is in a bit of a funk here lately. I will admit my own blog has suffered a bit of the same, only 4 posts in 3 weeks, that's pretty sad. As I look down the list of links to my fellow bike riding bloggers only a couple stand out as regulars that post something, it may not always be an exciting tale of spectacular adventure but hey at least they're trying. I don't necessarily have anything exciting for you today I think the weather has gotten me in a bit of a funk. I really wasn't prepared for the nasty wet and cold we have experienced for what seems like 2 weeks. Today I believe is the turning point in this funk, sunny skies and warmer temps are on tap for the week and I plan to take full advantage of it and my time off. Rocky Fork anyone?
Melinda and I did venture out on the dirt twice this weekend, Saturday we hit the road with Abby and Andy in their funky little Element loaded down with a ton of bikes, cold riding gear and a couple off frosty beverages just in case anyone got thirsty after the ride. After multiple stops to dehydrate from all the coffee we consumed we finally arrived at our destination, Warrior's Creek in Wilksboro NC. I was a bit skeptical about the condition of the trails that day. We had non stop rain the entire week leading up to the trip but the rumor on the street was that Warrior's Creek knew how to shed the water and the rumor was correct! The trails were near perfection with the exception of small debris that had fallen from the trees. The ride started off chilly with the wind biting us from every direction while we swapped from cotton to lycra, fleece & wool. We warmed up quickly after heading into the woods under the protection of the trees. I have never been much of a fan of the cold weather as my feet and hands never seem to be warm enough. I think I can contribute poor circulation to the problem. No matter if I'm suited up with my wooly bully socks and winter riding shoes my toes and fingers always struggle to stay warm. I try not to let it bother me to much cause I don't have any plans to stop riding year round anytime soon. I wouldn't miss the fall foliage and snow one bit if we ever moved to warmer climates. I do plan to hit my local bike shops this week for some better finger protection.
I snapped quite a few pictures from the weekend but failed to retrieve the camera from Melinda's car before she took off for work this morning so the photo summary will have to wait.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

free mattress

Free mattress complete with box springs, I will even help with transportation to your house if you live within a reasonable vicinity of my neighborhood. I would prefer that this transaction take place during the daylight hours so that my neighbors can see me haul it off. All interested parties inquire within. Yes my neighbors are at it again, they decided to replace their old mattress with a new one I guess or they could be trying out the whole simplifying they're life fad that seams to be cool in Cali but I doubt it. Instead of storing their old mattress in the garage or properly disposing of it like normal folks they decided to drag it out to the road the day after the city comes by for the bi-weekly refuse pick-up. What I don't understand is why the drag it to the place in the yard that they do. Actually I might know the reason as it is sitting within 6 ft. of my driveway. They take the regular trash out on the other side of the house (they live on the corner) but the blue sink, blue toilet and now old mattress set all go down near my yard. I've thought about keeping it in case I ever decide to build some sweet jumps in my yard for soft padding in case there is a crash landing but I doubt Melinda would allow it.

Last weekend Melinda and I had plans to head over to Bent Creek and ride the trails. Saturday night we noticed the kids were unusually needy following us around the house demanding attention everytime we stopped. We almost backed out of going out of town to stay close to home and take the dogs out hiking. We really wanted to get out of town and do some good riding before the temps really start to drop.
We decided in true "Riding with Dogs" style we would take them along with us and let them run as much as they wanted through the mountains of western NC before retiring them to their beds in the back of the truck. We've had to cut back their trail time these days due to their age and lack of endurance. If you ask them they could run all day but usually after a good hard jaunt through the woods Moonshine limps around the house but she does it with a smile on her face. I wish they still had 20 mile runs in them but they don't but I guess we all get old sometime. I guess I'll just settle for the 5 mile runs for now.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Registration is up for the infamous 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth, the race where GRT Racing was born and raised. It looks as if the HOT is going to be my last bike race of the year unless something significant changes. The OCHO is officially off my radar, maybe next year. I'm sure it will be a great event and maybe I'll be able to put it on my schedule for next year but I've opted for a different type of ride that weekend.
Granny's Rotten Teeth Racing has seen many faces through the years, some that have joined us for more than one race and some that have just been on board once. This year will be no different but that's okay it keeps everything fresh, new and exciting. Well actually not new but different. Racing with GRT has it's advantages but that can come with a price especially if being in the spot light is not your thing. Some enjoy it some hate it, I personally am used to it. I can handle an entourage following me around all day complete with a boom box throwing down fresh beats everytime I enter a room, not that it happens but I could handle it if it did. Two years ago Alan decided he wanted to try stepping into the spotlight that is being a member of GRT and at first he liked it but I think deep down inside the pressure was a bit much. He took the next year off and a step back unsure if he could handle his new found celebrity status. Early this year he decided to give it another shot, we currently had a spot open because the interviewing process had not begun. Obviously we accepted his request being a GRT alumni and we were set for the HOT with plenty of time left. I made a comment here on my blog sometime back about his return and I think that's when the pressure really got to him. two days later he woke up to random people milling about in his front yard wanting to know what bike he would be racing and would he be ingesting energy gels or PB&J's during the race. I don't think he was expecting the media to be on his doorstep so soon. It was partly my fault for announcing the 2009 team so soon but he sounded very confident and I assumed he was ready for the celebrity status again. All week I've been getting calls from him because the press won't leave him alone, paparazzi have been following his kid to school and even showing up at every bike shop in the Tri in hopes that he be turning wrenches there that afternoon. Even Angie had a photographer show up last weekend pretending to be the pilot of the plane she was getting ready to jump out of. It's never ceases to amaze me the lengths some folks will go to just to find out what you ate for breakfast. I think that was the last straw and unfortunately he decided the life as a GRT racing celebrity is just not in the cards for him right now.
I know the Internet will be buzzing tomorrow with this announcement so we have decided as a team not to announce just yet who his replacement will be. I will confirm that his spot has been filled and he is not an unfamiliar face to GRT but I can't release his name until closer to the event. I will say not only does he look mean but he's been known to set the trail on fire in with his aggressive riding style. Haw Ridge has been set on fire before so it's safe to say the course can handle the abuse come Oct. 31st.

stay cool

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mr. Crabgrass

The past 2 days off has had me riding in the woods on 3 different occasions, 3 rides in 2 days you say? Yes that's correct, I had to do something to take my mind off the annoyance that is my neighbor and the fact that Alan said I sounded like Mr. Crabgrass after yesterday's post. I had second thoughts on my post but wrote it anyway because Alan told me to always tell the tale. Anyway, 3 rides, 1 @ Warriors and 2 at Bays Mountain which has been alot of fun lately. On one of my rides the other day at Bays I was descending one of the many fireroads and I noticed something to my left. A deer was running parallel to the gravel I was on. I looked down at my cheap little bike computer and saw somewhere around 23-25 mph. The deer was ahead of me just by a couple feet but leaping over obstacles one right after another like it had wings. It was a really cool experience to watch the deer keep that pace through the woods with what looked like very little effort. As my path leveled out I had to really stomp on the pedals to keep pace with my little brown fuzzy friend who seemed to be taunting me. "Hey buddy, what's the matter can't ya keep up?" At that speed the greenery around you tends to blur and I found myself wondering what it would be like to run through the woods at that speed leaping over downed trees or whatever was in my path.
There was no Short Track for me last night, every Wed. night through October Bays Mtn stays open for mtn bikers until 7pm. Melinda announced earlier in the week that she wanted to ride so I decided to skip the 28 minute burn in favor of getting her out in the woods on her bike. It was a good ride and I was surprised at the number of riders that were there taking advantage of the late hours.