Tuesday, February 23, 2010


In the past couple of years we have had a couple of small growths removed off of Moonshine and tested, all of which were small and benign. After putting her through that a couple times we decided not to have anymore removed unless they grew in size or shape. A little over a week ago I noticed a lump on her neck that was a bit different in size, shape and feel. This one was quite a bit larger, about the size of a racquet ball. Melinda and I decided to have this one checked out and due to it's odd shape and fast growth the Vet. recommended that we remove it.
Yesterday I dropped Moonshine off for her surgery and thankfully everything went well. The growth turned out to be just a fatty tumor but needed to be removed because of it's location. When we first saw Moonshine we were pretty shocked at the amount of her fur that had to be shaved and the size of her incision.

We could tell last night she was in a bit of pain and hasn't done much other than sleep but she seems to be fine. The hard part will be keeping her in check when her soreness subsides and she gets to feeling better. I'm sure she'll be back to her mischievous self in a couple of days.

riding with dogs from Greg Carr on Vimeo.

Monday, February 22, 2010

playing hooky

What a beautiful weekend! The only problem was I had to work. Well not all weekend. Saturday I spent most of the day outside at work and even though the temps were awesome I was still at work. I tried hard not to pay attention to all the various posts of Facebook and my local mtb forum about who was riding where and when. I knew that if I kept looking at them I would go crazy.
I tried to think about my Saturday evening plans instead. About a week ago Mellow Mushroom opened up a new restaurant in Johnson City and I've been chomping at the bit to go and see what's on tap. A few friends, Melinda and I decided to brave the crowds in anticipation that the wait to be seated would not be ridiculously long, what the heck with 60 taps on the wall I figured we could easily find something to do while we waited for a table. I was proved wrong with a 2 hour wait and a line into the parking lot that made us switch to plan "B", Jacks City Grill, although I had my mouth set for pizza I settled for a mexican quesidilla instead.
Sunday the weather was shaping up to be even better than the day before and Melinda was texting me all morning at work tempting me to burn some vacation and take her mountain biking. It didn't take long to convince me to do so and by noon I was running out the gate.
Not really sure what to expect in the way of trail conditions we decided to stay local and hit Bays Mountain. The fire roads were a bit messy in places but who really cares about fire roads, we were looking for singletrack. I think the fire roads took quite a beating this year as search vehicles trashed them looking for the 2 wolves that escaped a couple of months ago. It's a good thing 4 wheelers don't fit on singletrack or we might have had a bit more added to our growing list of trail improvements this year.
The singletrack trails were in great shape with the exception of some debris, but a few days of riding should remedy that problem. I couldn't have asked for a better day on the trails especially in February.

Friday, February 19, 2010

sunnier days

Today I feel we may have seen a turn in the weather from cold to warm. The sun peaked out and I actually got too hot in my heavy coat as I worked outside this afternoon. I wish the circumstances had been different & I had been enjoying the sunshine in a different place but it was nice none the less.
I did make it out to the trails earlier this week with my bike and I took the dogs along for the ride as I knew if I left them behind after the winter we've seen they might not speak to me for a few days. I wasn't sure if riding was going to be worth it but I was to the point of not really caring how muddy I got. My plan was to stick to the more worn in trails and just turn multiple laps. My first lap out was a slow one with the dogs in tow but I needed that as my skills were a bit rusty. Once they were worn out I loaded them into the truck so they could bark at anyone who dared step close to it & I headed back out and rode until time constraints said pack it up and come home.
I left the trail head with a smile on my face and mud in my teeth. The trails for the most part were in pretty good shape but the occasional muddy spot flooded with run off and a section of access road that had been torn up by tree removal crews and their trucks got me and the Mamasita good and dirty. I've yet to clean any of the mud off the Mamasita mainly because it's been too cold to hook up a water hose but also she looks good covered in mud for a change.
With the warmer temps ahead I expect to see the trails start to really thaw out. Hopefully they will dry quickly and we can get back to business. Until then I've got a new project to work on, Melinda decided it was time for me to go tubeless on the Karate Monkey. I never thought I would notice a difference in tubed vs. tubeless but having both for a year I did notice it. It wasn't a huge difference but it was there.

Monday, February 15, 2010

more NASCAR?

I know this blog is more cycling/outdoor/dog related but I had to post this clip of the last two laps of todays Daytona 500. Watch it here. The race was plagued with red flags due to chunks of asphalt coming up during the race making it one of the worst races to watch in a while. I didn't actually get to see the last half in real time but I've got it on the DVR for tomorrow. My man Jr. who didn't show much promise through most of the race came out of no where on the final 2 laps in 10th place to take 2nd just seconds before the checkered flag flew. Even if your not a NASCAR fan it was pretty amazing to see him put that car where he did and keep from losing it. Had there been one more lap he would have surely been in victory lane. Watch for the #88 green & white AMP Energy car.

I promise more cycling related topics later.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Ouch, my man Dale Jr. went for a ride today. This was from the Nationwide race, tomorrow is the 500 so no big loss. See the wreck here.

Today I took the day off, well not from work but from everything else. Melinda and I just chilled out in front of the TV and watched some good ole boys drive in circles. It was kinda nice to just veg. out and not think about how cold it is outside.

Friday, February 5, 2010


So I’m cruising through the forum of my local mountain bike club, NTMBA and I run across this thread that my friend John Piper has started up. I don’t really understand it at first because he’s talking about everyone writing an essay remembering what it was like to ride singletrack, the winner receives a 6 pack of his or her choice. Huh? Remember what it was like? I don’t understand I mutter to myself, as I read on and see folks discussing the weather and trail conditions and their lack of riding I become even more confused. It’s like everyone is upset that we’re experiencing bad weather and no one is able to get out and ride their bike. Shaking my head in disgust about the whining going on I decide to throw my hat into the ring and submit an essay. This shouldn’t be too hard as I have been riding quite a bit recently, the trails are in great shape and we’ve had a decently mild winter. As I ponder about my last trip to the trails I realize it was really just a normal ride nothing worthy of winning the 6 pack of your choice so I decide why not hit the trail now and see if I can come up with something good to write. Some of my most creative moments come to me in the woods. I’ve needed to get out and try my new LED headlamp Melinda bought me for Christmas anyway.
I called around to several of my friends to see if anyone wanted to hook up and squeeze in a night ride but oddly no one answered their phone. I’ll admit I really don’t like riding alone in the dark, I guess you could say I’m a bit of a chicken. I waited around the house for as long as possible and when I realized that no one was going to return my call I decided to load up my two loyal companions Moonshine & Jackson and hit the trails. I can always count on these two to accompany me on a ride no matter what the conditions.
Except for the lack of daylight the weather was perfect for riding, I even drove to the trailhead with the windows down, enjoying the warm fresh air so unusual for this time of year.
I unloaded the bikes and wasted no time in the parking lot, I wasn’t sure how much the dogs were up for so we headed into the woods starting with Darwin’s Revenge since there is a good water stop half way for the dogs. As we cruised through the tight and twisting singletrack I was in heaven, it was almost dreamlike how smooth the trail felt underneath my measly 80mm of travel. I felt like I could ride over everything and no matter where I pointed my bike it felt as if the Mamasita was just floating over it. Downed trees, rocks, nothing stood in my way as we cruised along. I realized after a few hundred yards that I was going way too fast and had probably left the dogs behind. I hit the brakes, unclipped and turned around only to find both dogs staring right at me with a funny look as if to say “keep going and pick up the pace old man”. Normally they both would be way behind and panting heavily but tonight they were both full of energy and ready to keep going. What was really weird was I felt great too, not the least bit fatigued. As I looked around checking out the quality of my new light I noticed something very odd, almost scary. I was almost near the end of the first trail. What the heck happened to the lake where we always stop for a water break? I must have passed it and didn’t even realize it. This was very strange, but we were all feeling good, so I pointed the Mamasita in the direction of Boneyard and kept pedaling.
We continued on for a couple more miles at a pace the dogs haven’t be able to run in years. What a perfect night I thought! The moon was so bright I even pondered trying to ride without my light. I wish I could feel this good every time I rode, if that were the case I would be standing on the podium at every race. Could the new diet and exercise routine I’ve been trying really be that beneficial? I kept glancing back every so often to make sure the ridiculous pace I was keeping wasn’t too much for my four legged friends but there they were almost biting my rear tire. Before I knew it we had once again finished the trail, this time without stopping, I hit the brakes to pinch myself once we entered the powerline clearing to make sure I wasn’t dreaming when I noticed something very odd. As I came to a stop I could see several sets of eyes glowing as the light from my headlamp reflected off them. As I counted them I realized this was my very first encounter with coyotes at Warrior’s Path, I knew they were here but I have never actually seen them. Now I was seeing them for the first time and I was surprised to see so many. They were much larger than I expected them to be. I couldn’t believe it but several of them appeared to be at least waist high. As I stood there staring at them, staring back at me, I felt a bit nervous, for obvious reasons, but I have always heard they are more scared of humans than we are of them. While we stood our ground each pack staring the other down I noticed the clouds had rolled in blocking out the moonlight making it quite a bit darker than before and also somewhat colder. I decided to hang a left and keep going towards Rock City rather than short cut back since the pack was standing in the trail between us and the car. As the dogs and I started up the hill I heard the most awful blood curdling series of screams coming from the direction of the coyotes. I turned around to see the entire pack racing after us through the field. Oh crap! What now? This can’t be good. The dogs and I entered the woods via Rock City and it felt as if all my riding skills had instantly left my body, everything was in slow motion well except for the pack of coyotes coming up fast behind us as if we looked like a couple of wounded deer. The harder I rode the worse I rode; I was bouncing off of trees and rocks as if I had downed a 12 pack of beer prior to the ride. I glanced back again to see if we had put any distance on the pack but we hadn’t and in fact they were within a few yards of us. I knew I had to stop and stand my ground before they ran us down. I hit the brakes, jumped off my bike, and swung the Mamasita around to use as some sort of barrier. The pack stopped 20 feet shy of us. Just when things couldn’t get any worse my light started to flicker. Great, now what?
As I tried to get Moonshine and Jackson behind me a very odd thing happened. Normally Jackson the biggest chicken to ever walk the trail let out a growl, that I would have sworn could only have come from a lion. I looked at him in disbelief as he was bearing all of his teeth and inching toward the wild pack. Moonshine a fighter at heart, wasn’t about to be shown up and followed suit. I told them I respected their bravery but we were greatly out numbered and now was not the time to pick a fight with a bunch of hungry and larger than normal coyotes. Before I could grab either dog by the collar they both took off in a dead sprint toward the pack as if they were nothing but a herd of mangy cats taunting them through the back door glass. I tried to focus in on the chaos but everything was happening so quickly it was hard to make out the difference between a domestic dog and a wild one. I have never seen Jackson start a fight but tonight I would have swore he was possessed by a demon. I tried to adjust my headlamp and make my way toward the chaos thinking I could be of some assistance to my brave K-9’s. If Muhammad Ali could have seen them he would have been proud, I saw coyotes being slammed into the ground left and right, but with so many I wasn't sure if I was going to make it out with my dogs in one piece. I began swinging my 29er fiercely like a battle axe knocking coyotes down one by one. I think if Alan was there he would have been impressed and definitely jumped back on the big wheel band wagon.
Even though the dogs and I proved to be a bit stronger than the coyotes there were just too many of them and eventually we were surrounded. I tried swinging my bike in a circular motion as the group around us got tighter and tighter.
All at once two of the larger coyotes jumped on me from behind causing me to stumble and drop my bike. What was left of my headlamp did me no good as I fell head first over what seemed to be a small drop off hitting my head hard on something large and wooden on the way down. I don’t really remember hitting the ground but I must have been knocked out and as I came to I noticed the ground under me felt really odd, nothing like the sticks and leaves of a forest floor but more like a really weird moss that almost resembled carpet. I didn’t hear anything at first and my first thought was my hearing was damaged in the fall. I reached up to my head to see if I could get my light to work only to find that my helmet had come off. It must have gotten knocked during the fall but I couldn’t remember. I started flailing about trying to get up but I couldn’t see a thing and my surroundings felt extremely odd to me when all of the sudden a bright light came on directly overhead blinding me instantly. “Greg? What the heck is going on?” I hear coming from above me. Just when I think I’m losing it or dead I see a figure come into the light with long hair. Am I dead and is this Jesus? As my eyes readjust I realize that it’s not Jesus, it’s Melinda. “What are you doing on the floor” she asks me, “and what were you screaming about?” All of the sudden I realize I’m not in heaven, I’m not at the trails, I’m not with my dogs fighting a group of coyotes, heck I’m not even outside. I’m lying on the floor of my bedroom thrashing around in my boxers. I look around in relief to see both dogs awake but lying on their beds thinking I’ve really lost it and Melinda staring at me like I’m some kind of idiot.
As I climb back into bed I realize it was all a crazy dream and the weather has indeed been too bad to ride. I think to myself “Have I really been off the bike so long that my brain has resorted to dreams so intense I cannot tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not?”

Thursday, February 4, 2010

not gonna do it

I regret to inform you that this post has nothing entertaining in the form of outdoor adventures, there are no cycling related tales. You won't find any funny stories about mishaps in the woods or anything like that.
Although I don't have anything interesting for you to read, I can say with full confidence that you will not be bored with any content that would be related to a "Mommy Blog".
I've been trying for days to think of something interesting to write about but I've got nothing, nada, zip. I've already rambled on enough about how crappy the weather is and everyone remotely near me already knows this with out me having to tell you about it so I won't go there again.
The only thing I can say is that I am desperately trying to think of something adventurous to do this weekend with a 100% chance of rain and cold temps.

Monday, February 1, 2010

no end in sight

The past two winters have been mild and I think we have been spoiled for sure. I can't remember the last time when we got this much snow or the last time I spent this much time off the bike. I hope all that I have been doing workout wise will help me when the warmer temps come back and the trails finally dry out. I have a feeling I will be a bit rusty in my skills. If not for P90X I think I would really be in a bad situation. I for one am not a fan of workout videos that confine you to your living room and I definitely don't do gyms. P90X has been a life saver and while it's still not my idea of fun it is a good tough workout that has yet to get boring. 12 DVDs of different workouts that are tougher than any workout video I have ever seen. My core and upper body have really reflected my efforts, something I have been meaning to work on for the past two years.
With no warm up in sight and more snow in the forecast I guess my bikes will continue to sit idle while I continue to wear holes in the living room rug and heave dumb bells toward the ceiling.
I actually thought about getting out and doing a snow ride this weekend but I never made it. Saturday Melinda and I loaded up the dogs and the snowboards and headed toward the golf course. I tried to find a sled earlier in the week but our local retailers refuse to stock them anymore because of the lack of snow in the past couple of years. It's been a while since we strapped on the boards but after a couple of runs down the hillbilly ski slope and I started to feel like I knew what I was doing.
Moonshine was so fired up that she chased me down the hill everytime trying to bite the edge of my board. I nearly ran over her on multiple occasions.
We had to pass up the longer steeper runs due to the crowd of kids with sleds ranging from high end blow up models to large sheets of cardboard. I hear alot of talk about how good a car hood performs in the snow but I have yet to witness this form of the redneck X-Games.
We picked a spot far away from the crowds so the dogs could run loose without worry. We were probably only there maybe 45 minutes when a large SUV pulled up and 6 people piled out decked out from head to toe in camouflage. Why they had to pick the same hill as we did I don't understand but we decided to call it a day to keep the dogs out of trouble. I hope once the kids got to the top of the run and saw all the snow painted yellow courtesy of Moonshine & Jackson they will think twice before picking a hill with dogs next time.
Later that night we met up with Andy and Abby and hit Melinda's family's farm for some real night time sledding and a bonfire. I took the Hero cam along hoping there would be enough light to film the action but none of the footage was visible. Had the footage been good it would have made for a very interesting video. The hill we were on was long, fast and it included a decent hump that was just large enough to catch a bit of air. The longer we rode the more packed the snow became helping us to gain more and more speed which carried us further and further down the hill. Unfortunately at the bottom was a small creek which several of us managed to take a dip in. Thank goodness for waterproof clothing.