Sunday, December 19, 2010

why "ROAD" ID.

The Road ID. bracelets have been around for sometime now and I never really gave it all that much thought, I guess because I don't ride the road alot and when I do, my rides are usually short and close to home. I never thought how much an ID. bracelet could help in case of an emergency. Recently I started noticing more and more of my friends sporting the bracelets and I'll be honest my interest was peaked more because I thought they looked cool rather than the real purpose they served.

The more I thought about the Road ID. the more I realized how beneficial these bracelets could be for all athletes who train alone. I run alone, I ride my mountain bike alone and I hike alone, alot. I realized these bracelets were a good idea for both Melinda and myself, road bikers or not.

So I went ahead and ordered both of us one, I was kind of surprised at the price of $30 for a bracelet that was made out of the same rubber that that the $2 Livestrong bracelets are. Now the Road ID does have custom printed info for you and a fancy clasp that in my opinion is very unnecessary. The clasp can at times be a little irritating and definitely makes the bracelet much heavier. They do make a cheaper and lighter version that's made of canvas and would probably more comfortable but being made of canvas it would also become very stinky.

When our Road ID bracelets came in the mail I realized another reason for the $30 price tag. The ultra fancy metal tins the each came in, which after a few minutes went into the recycle bin. I tried to think of a good reason to keep them or something useful for them but I decided they would just end up cluttering up a drawer somewhere in the house and who needs more clutter.

Maybe I'll shoot the folks at Road ID. a note and suggest losing the clasp, fancy tin and drop the price to $15.

I'm really trying not to complain here because I really like my Road ID., it serves a great purpose, it comes in a nice selection of colors and well it just looks plain cool. Melinda went with black and I went with purple, I'm still not sure why I went with purple but it definitely catches peoples eye which is the whole point especially if your lying in a ditch or on the side of the trail unconcience. I really don't like to think about that, sorry.
My whole thought behind this post was why did the people behind Road ID. decide to call them "Road" ID. bracelets when so many other people could benefit from using them.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I was off work this entire week and the only outdoor physical activity I got the day Melinda and I took the dogs hiking in the snow.

If the temperature wasn't ridiculously low there was snow, rain or ice falling from the sky. Mother Nature has played a cruel trick on us, giving us an unusually warm fall and a ridiculously cold introduction to winter, which according to the calendar we have yet to enter. I hope Ma Nature runs out of steam soon as I don't think I can handle this much longer. I haven't been a complete slob, but the treadmill and spin bike can only do so much for me and working out in climate controlled conditions will only make me soft. Thank goodness we've had plenty of work to do outside at my job.
It hasn't been all that boring really, Melinda has been off the entire week with me so we've had alot of good down time together, something we've needed for a while but I think we're both ready to get out and do something active.

The weekend before last we hosted our 3rd annual Christmas party. Last year we went with the Tacky Christmas Sweater theme but this year it evolved into the entire outfit and there really weren't very many sweaters worn. Melinda and I worked on our outfits for almost a month leading up to the party and we probably spent too much $$ on them but once I saw the other guests' duds I was glad we did. To my surprise some people really went all out.

I used alot of glue and sparkly stuff just to pull my outfit together, this was the craftiest I've been in a long time. I know it's hard to see in this pic but my bow tie is covered in sequins.

Andy & Abby, Mr. & Mrs. "I'll punch you in your freakin' face" never disappoint. Andy looked like some sort of 70's pimp and Abby looked kinda of like a foreign princess or something, I'm not really sure.

I think Fat Tony was watching Dazed & Confused the night before he put his costume together.

He reminded me of Mathew McConaughey's character "Wooderson"

B-Rad came dressed in a full on Elf costume that Sara made. Ever seen an elf breakdance? I have.

Of course there was plenty of tom foolery going on and of course a bit of dancing to some of the oldest hip hop beats. Every year we have a white elephant gift exchange which is something we end up talking about all year. The gifts this year ranged from Jesus clocks, 6 pks. of Old Milwaukee, and toys of the more adult nature. It was definitely the funniest white elephant gift exchange I've ever been to. I laughed so hard at one point my sides cramped.
I wish we had a bigger house and could really go all out but we do the best with what we have. I lit up the entire deck with Christmas lights, Clark Griswald style and had two fire pits going at the same time. It worked out pretty well and despite the cold temps the deck was a good place to hang out.
Just the other day Melinda and I were discussing how difficult it will be to top next year's party. I don't know whether to continue with the same theme or find another.

Back during Thanksgiving my Dad and I were standing out in my sisters driveway while the bird was being prepared and he began reminiscing about his younger days and the coasters he and his brothers built out of wood. My sister has a really long and straight driveway that has a great slope ideal for racing wooden coasters down. He conned me and my brother in laws into building coasters between then and Christmas. We're all supposed to bring them over on Christmas Eve and have a race down the driveway. I kind of forgot that I work all that weekend so I
haven't gotten anything together. My Dad has his finished and I'm anxious to see it and ride it down the hill.
This could be a good opportunity for some Hero cam footage.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"He doesn't want to pay to be a real racer. He just wants to blog about it."

"He doesn't want to pay to be a real racer. He just wants to blog about it." Aaron Casey aka jiminimnimnimninii or something like that. This quote was taken from my local mtn club website. The thread was about a new spring race series that was titled training series. I'm not really sure which it's supposed to be but I love it when people talk smack, it gets me fired up and pumped about racing.
A "real" racer huh, what really makes someone a REAL racer? In my opinion a real racer is someone who enters a couple of races a year, enjoys it and is somewhat competitive. I feel like I fit this bill well enough. I'm not paid or sponsored and as much as I would love to be I realize it's probably not going to happen and that is probably for the best in my case.
No I didn't get to race as much as I would like to this year but that's part of working full time, living on your own and having a few priorities here and there.

Racers who boast that they are pumped about inflicting a bunch of pain on themselves or brag that they enjoy it are full of it in my opinion. Yeah pushing yourself to the point to physical discomfort is what it takes to win and get stronger but there is a limit and once that line is crossed the fun is lost. Some can take way more than others but nobody likes it, they are just willing to deal with it.

There are a few things I look for when I'm signing up for a race.

- Races that are fun.
- The people I'm racing against are there to have fun as well.
- The entry fee is not ridiculous. I like to get a little something for my $$$ even if I don't podium.
- The course is fun (singletrack), I can deal with gut busting climbs.
- Promoters who are more interested in putting on a quality race rather than making a buck.

If I can't find at least two of these in a race I'm probably not gonna be interested. In my limited experience, USAC races are the only races where I have ever been cussed for not getting out of another racer's way fast enough, I hate people like that. Those are the folks who take it waaaay to seriously and loose focus on the fun aspect. I've seen it first hand in my small cycling community and some of those folks burned out so bad they quit riding. Everyone of them competed in a USAC backed series. Coincidence?
The USAC races require a license which I guess is worth it if you crash really bad and put the insurance to good use. I for one have never done enough USAC races to make buying a license worth the $$. I haven't actually done a USAC in over 2 years and I race as much as possible. I looked around the USAC website trying to find another good excuse for buying a license but there was way to much reading to be done and I got bored and went elsewhere. I'm sure there are plenty folks who can rattle off several reasons as to why it's worth the $$ but I doubt any of them really apply to me but I will listen. I'm forced to buy insurance through my employer so why would I want additional?

This all stems from a comment about having to pay for a USAC license to race. If I really want to race this series and it jives with my schedule I will probably do it.

I am excited about the fact that someone local has taken the initiative to put together a series of races and I hope the course is awesome and the turnout is huge.

I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

2010 wrap-up

Yeah I know there is still a whole month left in this year but I felt compelled to write a 2010 wrap-up for some odd ball reason and hey it's my blog. There's not much else going on in the way of blogging around here anyway, I must rely on celebrity bloggers these days for more consistant reading entertainment. So with that said here I go, oh and I also will state now that this may or may not be in order that the actual events happened.

Last winter we actually had a cold snowy winter, nothing compared to the peeps up north but for me and my southern roots I saw enough snow last year to last me another 10 years. One particular snowfall took out our entire trail system at Warriors. Luckily we have a dedicated bunch of volunteers in our local mtn bike clubs who for 6 or 7 days straight cut through massive piles of downed trees so that we wouldn't have to wait long before riding again.

Speaking of the mountain bike club, we made some huge strides this past year with a few new events & trail opportunities. The 2nd annual Bike at Bays was again a huge success thanks to all our volunteers, local bike shops and of course Texas Roadhouse.

Melinda and I hit the road with the ECO & dogs alot this year riding at some new places and some old favorites. Our first trip of the year was up to Ohio where we visited Rays Indoor Mtn Bike Park. A must do if your ever up north, yes it is worth the drive. We totally plan to go back again this next year.

Check my video section down on the right for some action footage from Ray's.

Another new destination we hit this year was Raystown Lake in Pee-Yay. The Allegrippis Trail system was a fantastic place to spend 5 glorious days in the heat of the summer. The trails are super fast, rolling and left me grinning ear to ear at the end of everyday.

While in Raystown we hit one of the few resturants in town, they might have some sweet trails but when it comes to food, bring plenty of your own because you can hit all the food joints in one day. It was at the fancier joint, the local all you can eat buffet that I discovered and ate my first purple egg. I've never gotten such a funny look from a waitress until that day when I asked if the chicken that layed that egg was purple too.

Of course what summer would be complete without a trip to Dupont, or at least three. We love Dupont and the Black Forest Campground and it will probably continue to be one of our summer camping/riding destinations.

In a 2 week vacation binge we camped at Dupont for 5 days, drove home, unpacked, I worked one day and then we loaded up the dogs and headed to Savanah GA for my youngest sister, Bug's wedding. Of course we took bikes but this trip it was the cruisers that got called into action. I'm not sure how many miles I put on my cruiser but it was alot, we rode them to more destinations than we drove. Savanah is a town that is much easier accessed via bicycle than car.

This summer was alot of firsts for us and a flat tire on the ECO coming back from a trip @ Raccoon Mtn was when it all went down. Luckily for us it was dark and raining when it happened. There was no good place to change it on the side of the road so we were forced to drive to the nearest exit before we couldreally even get a good look at it. By the time we stopped we were on the rim. Thankfully we only suffered minor damage.

Speaking of firsts, I was able to sneak a ride in at Rocky Fork. Not really the best place to ride when it comes to sweet singletrack but it is truly a back country experience. The ride was full of creek and stream crossings, grueling climbs and spectacular views that make me want to go back soon.

If you do try this ride, take someone who's been there, plenty of water, food a change of socks, oh and a camera.

One of the more anticipated camping trips we attended was the club camping trip to Wilksboro NC, home of the Dark Mtn, OVT and Warrior Creek mtn bike trails.

Unfortunatly Mother Nature snuck up on us and doused us with rain for a majority of the trip but we still had a great time and got in plenty of riding in half way decent conditions. We also found a sweet rope swing into the lake the last day that many in our crew missed out on due to early departures. That trip made me very thankful for the ECO and a dry bed.

Yes Alan did ride his bike in the rain but once it did start raining he put up his bike and went home early.

Where would we be without singletrack trails? I'm scared to think about what kind of shape or mischief I would be into without mountain bikes and singletrack. Thankfully there are small mtn bike clubs like ours, NTMBA that are backed by a much larger organization like IMBA who work together to make sure that the trails we have no continue to exist and see that new one continue to be built.

We had the great opportunity to have the IMBA trail care crew visit us and assist us with a trail project at a local city park who's trail system while fun to ride has struggled for years but the future of this place is looking brighter and one day may become a favorite in the tri-cities.

This year was a bit different for me than in the past, I really didn't focus on racing as much as I would have liked to but racing is not what it's really all about for me. Racing is something I really enjoy but do purely for fun and Melinda and I only go if we're rolling with our whole crew of like minded friends. This spring we skipped the 12 Hours of Tsali in favor of a local small fry race just getting started at Hungry Mother State Park. The race was called the "Night Owl", a short, super fast xc race that was held in the dark. I think we all redlined it right out of the starting gate with a pace that was ridiculously off the hook. I never thought I was going to hold on until the finish but somehow I managed and pulled out my first podium of the year.

I'm glad we picked this one over Tsali, our crew took up half the campground and were probably 50% of the entire field of racers.

Will I visit this one again next year? I hope so.

My one black mark on my racing season was of course the 6 Hours of Warriors Creek, yes I've complained enough about my sorry performance there, but it happens to everyone so I won't waste your time with my whining about it anymore. I'm already registered for the 2011 race which sold out to 300 racers in just under 36 hrs. I will take next year up a notch and redeem myself, me and my two buddies Zyrtek & Singular to help me fight of the dead people and flying pink elephants.

Probably the bright spot on my 2010 racing season was the 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth. This was my 5th year in attendance to this race and while it wasn't our best performance we still managed a podium spot and had an absolute blast doing so.

Sadly we didn't get to take a group photo at the closing ceremony because Anthony had to leave early because his brother Keith hit a tree during the race and had to be taken to the hospital for stitches but he rejoined us by the campfire later for some celebrating, break dancing and adult beverages.

Since I didn't make it out to alot of races this year I focus on doing alot more road trips and just having fun riding which can be cheaper and well, more fun.

For instance take the sunset ride on Holston Mtn that a big group of us did earlier this year.

Normally we ride to the top of mountains and then ride down but this one was a bit different. We drove to the top cruised along the ridge and the dropped in on some short but sweet singletrack that led us to a sweet overlook that had views of South Holston Lake. This ride was really more about the pit stop mid ride to watch the sunset. A friend of ours brought his BOB trailer with a fully stocked cooler that really put the icing on the cake.

Being a fan of tattoos I've gotten a few over the years but it had been at least 2 since my last sitting and I was anxious to get back in and get some new work done. It took me a while to decide what exactly I wanted. I've been working on covering my entire upper arm simular to a t-shirt sleeve and all I lacked was the inside of my bicep.

Since I got this one I've already been thinking about what I'm getting next, I've still not decided on anything but I've got a few ideas.

The Rides

Earlier in the spring I finally sold the Masi CXR bike, I really liked the bike but it was the bike that saw the least amount of action and since my work schedule makes racing CX difficult. I decided to go ahead and let it go to help fund another bike that would be useful to me. For a while I have had my eye on a Niner but I couldn't justify buying one especially since I already had 2 mountain bikes.

With the CXR sold I went ahead and pulled the trigger on a Niner AIR9 and not too long after that I broke the Mamasita. Once I got a hold of the Niner I quickly fell in love with everything about it. It wasn't long before I began jonesing for a full squish Niner. Soon the urge became too strong and with a deal I couldn't pass up I sold the Karate Monkey ordered the JET9 and never looked back.

With all the buying and selling going on I almost started to feel like Alan for a minute but I think I'll hold on to these bikes for a while.

There was one other bike I managed to aquire over the year, "Brownie", my Dad's old Schwinn 5 spd. A very unusual bike for me, one that really could use some attention but still sits as is in my bike room. With the purchase of 2 Niners I put the restoration of Brownie on the back burner until sometime next year. I've got a couple of ideas for Brownie and if I follow through the name Brownie will probably be dropped.

I did enjoy using the CXR for some light commuting so Brownie may be converted into a more speedy looking cruiser/commuter.

Last month my sister Becky had her second child, Josephine. A beautuful little baby girl and we were able to make it in town for her birth.

Sorry for such a sucky post, it took me almost two weeks to write this mostly because I got bored with it. I almost trashed it a couple times but couldn't bring myself to do so since I spent so much time organizing photos and trying to make my year sound interesting.
I'm done with it now because I finally just got some inspiration to write something new.
Thanks Aaron Casey

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I was bored when I wrote this

It's the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I've been working all weekend so there are no good stories to tell. Since I've not been actually riding I've done quite a bit of thinking about riding, specifically the JET9, a bike that continues to impress me. I never thought I would like or enjoy it as much as I have. I never thought it would be a good climber or be a good bike to race or even ride at a place like Bays Mtn. but it is. It climbs like no other full squish bike I've ridden but that's really not saying much since I've not ridden many. I know there are several out there that climb better. Most of the squishy bikes that I've ridden bobbed all over the place some of that was crappy design and some due to the wrong shock pressure for my weight. Speaking of shock pressure, I probably outta check mine, I haven't since I set it up properly over a month ago.

Although the bike doesn't climb like the AIR9 it climbs much better than I ever expected even with the Pro Pedal off. The little bit it lacks in comparison to the AIR9 it makes up for everywhere else. It doesn't have all of the travel the more popular RIP9 has but I'm more than satisfied with how much it ups my confidence level going down the nasty stuff, especially with the leaves hiding the danger. Sometimes I ponder on if I should have went for the SIR9 (steel hardtail, geared or SS) over the AIR9. I love the AIR9 but sometimes I still wonder. I feel confident the JET will be a more than capable race bike. I really wished I had taken the JET9 out for a lap during the H.O.T. but I was too worried about lap times and making the podium to take the chance. Now that I look back I think it would have performed excellent, maybe even better than the AIR9 since the course was so technical compared to some in the past.

Currently the JET9 is set up to run as a 1x9 but I've had thoughts of throwing on a 11-36 cassette to help with the really long climbs until the 2x10 technology becomes more affordable. Future upgrades will include a tapered thru axle fork and wheelset. other than that it's a sweet bike.

With the end of the year approaching I'm already thinking of goals to set for myself to improve my fitness. For sometime I've really been wanting to buckle down and get serious about upping my game but not so serious that I take all the fun out of it. Can I reach that goal and still get to where I would really like to be? Probably not but trying and getting halfway there is better than most. My trouble, like most is my eating habits, I have a hard time skipping the bad stuff, especially when it comes in the form of a homemade cake brought in on a nightshift by one of my co-workers.

I am already thinking about 2011 and what races I would like to enter but I've yet to see how my work schedule jives with the season. I missed out on more races this year than the past couple of years, maybe in 2011 that will be different. I've already got the TN Cup series on my mind as well as the 12 Hours of Tsali. Of course there is the 6 Hours of Warriors Creek which I really hope to redeem myself at this year, the one measly lap I did last year is still bothering me. Hopefully with my new allergy meds I can race clear headed and not worry about dropping out due to seeing flying elephants or running off the trail because I can't focus. Another goal I have is to get back on my road bike more, sorry Melinda.

I'm sorry this post is so boring but I already tried throwing handfuls of skittles at one of my co-workers and screaming "Taste the flavor!" but all that got me was a good ole fashion cussing. Melinda did talk me into leaving work early today to take her riding, not that she had to try very hard, so maybe this day will turn out good after all.

Friday, November 26, 2010

earning the turkey

Today I'm sore, sore from running hard for 25 minutes and 4 seconds. That was my time at the Turkey Trot yesterday. Not a bad time for me, especially since I really don't run that much. I have good intentions and enjoy running but I was really expecting the weather to be much worse this time of year but it's been awesome. I tend to save most of my running for days when riding would be less than desirable. It's hard to head out for a run when I've got two Niners sitting in the bike room and nice weather on tap just about everyday.

The week leading up to the Turkey Trot 5k there was alot of chatter online about who was running, who was running where, how many PBR's were gonna be on hand and if Alan would actually show up. Alan has gotten into this habit of always saying he might show up or that ride sounds interesting. You never really know if he's gonna be there until he rolls into the parking lot. I've just decided that if he says maybe then that's the same as no and if he actually does show then it's a nice surprise, this way I'm never disappointed. So yesterday when he didn't show for the 5k it was no surprise. Fat Tony who has been on a serious running streak for a couple of months has been faking a foot injury for almost a month now so he wouldn't have to compete against us. We caught wind of his lies when Amanda posted up his dishonesty on Facebox and he ran to Florida in fear for the weekend. Andy "I'll punch you in your freakin face" Mullins just got screwed up on which Turkey run we were actually doing. Evidently there was another Turkey Day 5k going on in the Tri-Cities and he went to the wrong one, or so he says.

I joined in on all the talk about the 5k and added that we should have a warm PBR for the last GRT teammate to cross the line. I had a feeling once I realized it was just b-RAD, Iron Man Dillow and myself running that I would be the one consuming that fine beverage. The night before the race I.M.D. kept sending me pictures of a 6 pk of tallboys he had picked up earlier that day. I started noticing that everytime a pic was posted a beer was missing from the pack. The last photo I saw only one so I think it was safe to assume that Joy was out of the house that evening and I.M.D. was left to his own demise.

The day of the race I arrived just barely on time to line up with the other health nuts who actually care what they look like in the mirror. I searched and searched but could not find b-RAD or Iron Man Dillow. I hopped in the crowd, cranked up the Ipod and ran as hard as I could hoping to post a decent time. It's been 2 years since I last ran the Turkey Trot and I finished it in 26:42. This year I finished the race in 25:05 beating my 2009 time by 1 min 38 sec. which I was thrilled about until I finished and saw b-RAD's time of 18 minutes! Iron Man Dillow finished in around 20 minutes putting both of them somewhere around the top 5 in our age group. Out of 1539 runners I finished in 359th place not too bad for someone who only runs when I can't ride my bike.

So, did I chug the warm PBR tallboy? Of course I did and then we all shared a grower of Depot Street's finest. Alan, Andy & Anthony I hate you missed it, Depot Street has really stepped up and produced some fine ale.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

babies, mustaches & PBR

I couple of weeks prior to the Hill of Truth race I was checking out the pics and write-ups from the Single Speed World Championships held in New Zealand this year. I was inspired a bit to grow some cool facial hair and with the HOT coming up I thought what a better time to do so. After the race I almost shaved it off multiple times but for some reason I held on to it trying to come up with a cool reason to keep it other than it just looking badass.

Then Fat Tony introduced me to Movember, a movement started in Australia for men to let their stashes grow in awareness for cancers that effect men. It was then I knew I had to keep it going at least until the end of the month. My goal maybe through the end of the year who knows, I've gotten alot of compliments on it and as long as I keep it from growing over my upper lip Melinda likes it. No I will not give my stashe it's own identity, that's already been done by more than one blogger in my sidebar.
Another new introduction is my newest niece, Josephine. Melinda, Beth and I hit the road to Nashville early Monday morning as my sister Becky was induced and before we could even finish our lunch Josephine was checking out her new world.

Today I have two rides planned, one during the day @ Bays Mtn, the other tonight @ Warriors Path. My ride today will probably be short in mileage but long in time, why? I'm taking a few newbies riding. They're not really new to bikes just new to singletrack. I've talked about these guys before, they're the guys I work with who like to venture out to the Creeper every once in a while and most recently out on the river in kayaks. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned doing some more riding but one expressed his loss of interest in cycling because it wasn't as exciting as kayaking. I quickly reminded him that the only riding he's done has been on the Creeper and the local Greenbelt, probably the easiest & most boring rides as far as terrain goes. The Creeper is a beautiful place to ride but it's far from being a mountain bike ride. It's the place where roadies ride off road. So I told this guy it was time to take his riding to the next level, singletrack. I've not got a huge crew going today and I'm not even sure if the guy who made the boring comment will show but I hope to plant a seed. We're gonna take it slow, easy and steer away from the big climbs rocks and roots. Tonight's ride will be a bit different, the terrain and pace will be a bit more exciting. The Thursday Night Ride is our weekly night ride @ 6:30 @ Warriors Path. Not to be confused with the TNR road ride, this is for folks with fat tires only. Well you can try and bring your CX bike but I hope you can hang. I will be rocking the Magicshine with my recalled batteries so if my pack looks larger than usual it's because I'm carrying a fire extinguisher in case I catch fire. I can't stop riding while Geoman rounds up some replacements.
There has been alot of smack talk going on via email the past two days. The Turkey Trot, a 5k run is being held Thanksgiving morning in JC and it looks like a few of the GRT crew will be in attendance. I upped the anty with a hot PBR tallboy for the last GRT member who crosses the finish line. I'm still not sure if Alan will show but what else is new, he says he's no runner but neither am I.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

running around inside the house

This year there have been a few changes in schedules at our house, mainly in Melinda's schedule. Some that have really allowed her more free time which she has put to good use. There has been no extra TV time or shopping, I'm talking about riding & working out. She really struggled to find time for her extra curricular activities the past couple of years due to her work load but now with the new changes she has really stepped on the gas and is seeing significant changes in her fitness.
Sunday when we were at Bays Mountain riding we basically split up in to 2 groups. Her in one and I in the other. As my group was was regrouping at the top of the first climb Melinda came rolling in leading a fierce charge to the top really impressing my group. She asked why had we waited on her but we told her we hadn't, we had just arrived ourselves. As we continued our climb reaching the final destination we stopped took a couple breathes, turned around and saw her chasing us down again. We started out with the intention of being 2 group rides but ended up as one. From there on she stayed on our rear wheel except for one section of singletrack, she opted for a different route, another lung busting climb putting in more miles than the whole group.
Yesterday she took her fitness to another level as we purchased a treadmill. For sometime Melinda has struggled with a bone spur in her heal that keeps her from running outside. In an effort to boost her running we bought a treadmill, which may also keep me sane on the days where getting outside just won't happen. When I bought the treadmill the thought of Melinda and I carrying it from the truck into the house by ourselves didn't really cross my mind. I never realized how heavy they were until we tried to lift it out of the truck bed. It was too late to call in help, we had no dolly and leaving it outside unattended for the night was unacceptable. We thought it through and finally came to the conclusion that we could unpack in and carry it piece by piece into the house. The main and heaviest piece, the platform, required us to assemble it in the driveway, attach the wheels to the base and roll in as it was still to heavy and I'm not interested in anymore back injuries.
Speaking of running my boy B-Rad just finished a 50 miler, The Mountain Masochist, a ridiculously long trail running race that I can only imagine doing. Check him out and read about his adventures here. If your one of those who thinks they just don't have time for exercise think again. Brad has two young kids who are full of energy but still yet he makes it work in some pretty creative ways and still has time for his family. Read his blog but only if you can handle him making you feel like a lazy excuse making bum because he will. Not on purpose but by his choice in lifestyle and his fire for all things adventurous.
All this talk about running lately especially with Fat Tony and his new "running for a good cause blog" has given me the itch in a big way. If I can only talk myself into leaving the new full squish Niner (Vana) at home every once in a while I'll be good.

Get outside this week, cold temps or not.

Monday, November 8, 2010

who says you can't ride outside all year round?

It was kinda of nice this weekend to be off and yet stay at home, yes we still rode our bikes. For the past few months every weekend that I've been off has seen us traveling somewhere to ride and sometimes it's just nice to stay at home and ride the local dirt.
Yesterday a group of us headed up to Bays Mountain for a group ride in probably the coldest weather we've experienced yet. Yes it was cold, especially in the places where the sun hardly shines but it wasn't so cold that we broke out the winter riding boots & gloves. I've heard alot of talk as of late about the weekly outdoor rides becoming the weekly trainer rides. I've heard alot of folks talk about purchasing trainers, I've even heard talk of the end of the, gasp, riding season.
I can remember when I took the winters off, before I knew about gore-tex, fleece lined boots & gloves, before I knew about headlamps bright enough to outshine your car's headlights. Yes I have a trainer that I bought back in the day and yes I hate to ride that thing. Our trainer collects dust more than anything and I have a hard time understanding how some people can ride trainers all winter. I really feel for the roadie types who never hit the singletrack and have yet to discover cyclocross. Cycling is a sport that in our part of the country can be done outdoors all year round. Yes there are days when I throw in the towel, I rarely ride when the temps dip below 30. My hands and feet hurt to the point where riding is no longer fun no matter what I'm wearing. I've even thought about buying heated grips.
When it does get that cold I tend to go running or start lifting weights. Riding a trainer is something I've just never gotten used to and I doubt I ever will. If this unusually warm winter keeps up there won't be many days this year where I'll have to worry about it. All this week the weather man is projecting temps high in the 60's and 70's.
Too me the winter is a time for riding for fun not worrying about how fast your lap times were, just cruising and getting back to the best part of riding, having fun. Well as much fun as you can muster when it's freezing outside.

See you at the Thursday Night Rides.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

12 Hours of the Hill of Truth (more stories, pics and of course rambling)

yes I've got some more......

The last lap of the night or affectionately named the "beer lap" was handled by Andy. I tried to pump him up as much as possible because I know how tough it can be to go out in the dark & cold night by yourself while everyone else is hanging by the campfire enjoying a few cold beverages. Anthony also missed the festivities as his brother Keith a GRT alumni had ran head first into a low hanging tree earlier in the race and had to go to the hospital for 2 rounds of stitches and a bit of handy work from a plastic surgeon. Get well Keith I hope the head heals up quick.

While we waited on Andy's return someone suggested a bit of old school hip hop and it wasn't much longer before everyone was dancing. I even saw some cardboard thrown down on the ground and various break dance moves being carried out.

As the hour approached we headed up toward the pits to await Andy's return. The music of choice in the pits was ACDC which of coarse we asked to be cranked up and of course we all broke out into a serious air guitar session. The air guitar was so serious and fierce that the promoters thought we deserved free t-shirts for our enthusiasm.
As time passed we realized Andy had been out on his lap longer than he should have been and once he finally rolled in we found out why. Just at the base of the hill he had flatted and didn't have much luck in re-inflating the tire. He had to ride it in soft running his bike through the rougher sections. Never the less even with a flat tire we still maintained our 3rd place in the standings. With Andy finished we retreated back to our campsite to finish the break dance session until the awards ceremony.

This year the prizes were better than I had ever seen them. The promoters had really come through for the top three spots in all the categories. The folks who put on the Hill of Truth race have really done a great job in the past few years making every aspect of this race enjoyable even for the spectators. I will continue to return to Haw Ridge to race my bike for as long as my legs will allow.

Probably one of the most important factors in my success is the help I received from Melinda. She's a great coach, cheerleader, pit crew, cook and takes care of me while I race. Thank you babe I couldn't do it without you.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

12 Hours of the Hill of Truth (the stories, pics & ramblings)

Something about waiting a couple of days after a race to write about it always makes it tougher to get going. I almost skipped it all together but usually once I get going the words start to flow a bit easier.
Melinda and I arrived at Haw Ridge just a little after noon on Friday hoping to score a big area for our crew that would be trickling in throughout the day. When we rolled in there were really only 2 other people set up so we pretty much had free rain on where we set up. As usual we took up the entire front corner with plenty of room for NTMBA mischievousness. The weather was perfect all weekend and we really needed it after a bad couple of years. Sunny skies and warm temps through out the day made for an excellent race weekend.

By Friday night most of the crew had made it in and set up. We built a good size fire and cranked up the tunes.

Melinda really went all out and created a Halloween themed spider cake for Andy's Birthday which tasted as good as it looked.

Saturday finally rolled around, race day, the day we've been waiting for a while now. I had a feeling a podium spot would not come easily this year since the nice weather would most likely draw out the sandbaggers and I was correct. Unfortunately there was no cannon shot to start the race because some jackwagon had stolen the cannon but John B assured us that a new one was being made and would be ready for 2011.

Usually there are a few racers who in the spirit of Halloween dress up for the race, this year one of those racers was my teammate Brad.

Yes he rocked the purple suit and make-up the entire race. Look for him in the video if you haven't seen it yet.

While I didn't really dress up this year I did borrow a tu-tu from Melinda for my first lap. I got several compliments from other racers out on the course. Next year I just might take the costume up a notch.

Our first lap in we were in 5th but thought we were 4th because we had the name wrong of some friends of ours who we were competing against. As I sat in the pits waiting for Brad to come through and hand off to me I watched my carrot go out on his lap and a few minutes later I began my chase. Just before I went into the pits I made a near fatal mistake of downing 2 handfuls of trail mix which haunted me for the first 4 miles. It was all I could do to keep from painting my Niner with dried pineapple but I managed and once it passed I gave myself a good cussing and kicked it in gear and began my hunt for my carrot. I few miles later I caught sight of him and began reeling him in slowly. As I approached he simply pulled over obviously unaware of his stalker that had just bumped him down a spot in the standings.
My second lap we had dropped back into 5th so once again I sat patiently in the pits and counted how many minutes my carrot had on me. When Brad rolled through I counted 6 minutes, I had a feeling this was gonna hurt but this time I stayed away from the trail mix. I turned myself inside out trying to catch my rider hoping it wouldn't be the Hill of Truth or later when we met. As the miles clicked by I felt really good, much smoother and faster than my first lap. After I passed the section where I had caught my carrot last time I got that sick feeling that if I was going to catch him it would be on the Hill. I prayed that he would walk it since I was running a 1x9 and would have no gas for riding that monster.
Sure enough as my luck would have it I caught him at the base of the Hill. I made no attempt to pass quickly as he might realize who I was and force me to waste precious energy riding the whole damn thing. I just followed at a safe distance and began making small talk about how rough this climb was. Mind games, I played it like I was really struggling and I think he took the bait. I finally passed him, rode as far as my legs would take me and dismounted for the final push to the top. Sure enough he dismounted too but I do alot of hiking and have always had strong legs when it comes to hike-a-bikes. I've made 2 or 3 passes walking up that very hill during previous races so I knew I had him. I actually caught another walker in front of me just as we reached the summit and was able to jump on my bike and shoot into the woods ahead of him which would slow my chaser down some if he decided to counter attack. He didn't and I moved us back into 4th again, success.
This year the same as last year we bounced around mid pack for most of the day pacing ourselves while I guess other teams are running on fumes once the night laps rolled around. As darkness grew the other teams tired and slowed but we maintained and kept our 4th spot. Eventually we moved into 3rd and made quite a bit of time on 4th allowing us to sit back and enjoy our last few laps. 1st and 2nd place were un-reachable so we decided to play it safe and ride smooth rather than risk a wreck or mechanical.
As I pulled into the pits on my last lap I saw Brad had cleaned up and was looking well, like Brad again and not the Joker. He told me we only had time for two more giving us 12 laps and securing 3rd place. I was happy and disappointed at the same time. The course was pretty rough, well stocked with roots and rocks and I had taken a beating on the hardtail all day. I really wanted to get out the full squish (Vana) and see how she felt in race mode. With 3rd place in the bag I was satisfied and decided it was time to celebrate. A late dinner was calling my name so I grabbed a brew jumped in our ridiculously small shower and joined the rest of the crew who were already in full on dance party mode at the campfire.

Too be continued.............

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

2010 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth (the video)

Well after some video footage wrangling and alot of editing I'm finally halfway pleased to present to you the 2010 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth video. Everytime I film at Haw Ridge my camera acts screwy, either that or it's the amature who's doing the filming. Anyway I hope you enjoy the show. I know I enjoyed it.

2010 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth from Greg Carr on Vimeo.

More to come in the way of stories and what not.

Stay tuned

Monday, November 1, 2010

sneak peek

The 2010 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth is behind us and it may take me a couple of days to sort through all the video footage and pics so be patient. There are plenty of stories to tell and things to be seen but for now I must clean up our gear and the ECO.

I will share this photo of Andy "I'll punch you in your freakin' face" Mullins. Some young punk thought it would be a good idea to talk a bit of trash to Andy and boy did he make a mistake.

See what happens when you mess with Andy, things get ugly and he just might mess up you or your bike.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

getting scary

The day is drawing near and I'm starting to feel the excitement. I've checked almost everything twice some things three times and I'm sure that I will check them again before Melinda starts checking them. I've been so obsessive about getting ready this week I changed a pair of brake pads yesterday that really didn't need changing. I almost changed another set just because they sometimes get noisy but ran out of time.

I've charged all the batteries we have in the house, batteries for the the Hero cam, batteries for almost every light for night riding we own. I'll probably only need one but I've got four on hand just in case. Can you say OCD?

I mounted up Frank to the AIR9 yesterday in an effort to scare the competition a bit, it seemed to work last year. It could've been the rain but I'll give all the props to Frank and his ugly face.

I was hoping to have 2 Hero cams running for the race but it looks as if Alan will be finally putting his to good use filming some CX. This will be the first race I've ever shot footage for and I hope everything turns out as planned.

So far the weather forecast for the weekend has not changed, sunny skies and warm temps, let's hope it stays that way.

If your not heading down to the Hill of Truth race this weekend make plans to head over to Bays Mountain Friday night. The nice folks who run the park have allowed mountain bikes to stay a few hours later than usual and sneak in a night ride. Sadly I will miss this opportunity but maybe they will have a good showing and see a good opportunity.

Dogs wearing glow necklaces & a roaring campfire, now that's how we roll. See you Friday night!

Monday, October 25, 2010

stem swap and the GRT line-up

Today I spent most of the day mentally preparing myself for this weekends race. After this weekend there won't be much to look forward to in the way of racing as winter slowly approaches that is if it comes around this year. I really could care less, I dig the warm temps and would be fine with 2 seasons a year, Spring and Summer.

A few days ago we hit up Bent Creek for a little singletrack action and I decided to take Vana White in favor of her squishiness. I wanted to see how it felt bombing down some of the faster downhills like Green's Lick. I did feel a bit more brave and sailed over a few jumps here and there but for the most part I'll probably never be a big hucker. This is one of the reasons I chose the JET9 over the RIP9, it's just a bit more my style. While at Bent Creek I noticed my rear derailleur acting up a bit but not enough to ruin my day. I was able to use my limited mech. skills to keep things rolling but I knew it needed a professionals touch.
Instead of screwing things up myself again I gave Alan a shout and headed his way to get things straightened out once and for all. For a 6 pack of frosty goodness he got things rolling right for me and now Vana will be ready if called upon this weekend.

For a while now I've been running a bit shorter stem on the Jet9 because it was all I had and it worked well for me but I scored a new stem off of Alan that suits my needs much better and looks good too. I put the new stem on the Air9 since it was white and I was quite pleased with the look.

The Race Face that came off the Air9 was moved over to Vana which looks and feels much better than the Easton that was on it.

Next up on the agenda for Vana, a new crank set, but that will probably be a while.

As of right now the weather forecast for this weekend is sunny with temps of high in the upper 60's to lower 70's and I couldn't be more pleased. Perfect weather for racing, camping and all around good times at Haw Ridge. The Hill of Truth race has been in the past some what of a festival surrounding the race. There are all kinds of shenanigans going on in the woods and in the campground. Last year that was not the case, the skies opened up and Mother Nature had her way with us all day Saturday turning the trails, us and our bikes into a muddy mess.

GRT racing did not let that get us down, we raced through the mud, the blood and the beer and came out victorious in the end.

Yes it was nice to win 1st place for a change but I will gladly give that up to the sandbaggers who dominate the sport class every year for sunny skies and dry trails. I've never been in it for the prize money, I just enjoy the atmosphere and the excitement of racing with and against friends. There is nothing like hauling ass through the woods, seeing old friends camped out along side of the course with a mountain of empties stacked up on the hill behind them and stopping for a brief moment to partake in the festivities before jumping back on the bike.
It's looking like we might have a bigger and rowdier crew with us this year so staying focused during the race may be tough to do especially when the sun goes down and the bonfire is lit.

Now for the most important section of today's blog.
The GRT Racing crew for
The 12th Annual 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth.

Anthony Duncan aka "Fat Tony"

Andy "I"ll punch you in your freakin' face!" Mullins
Brad "I'm a badass" Reed aka "B-Rad"
and of course me
See you this weekend suckers!!