Yesterday I spent a large majority of my day disconnected with the technology world, kayaking and riding singletrack. When I got back home last night I logged onto Facebook to upload a couple of pics I shot from my kayaking trip on the Holston I noticed a conversation that had started on my wall that went something like this. (Highlighted text is the actual conversation)
Alan Sparks to Greg Carr : So you're a closet Dicky fan too???
Me: I do read his blog which I have linked on my blog since none of my other blogger friends update theirs anymore. So I guess that does make me a fan but since it's up there for the public to see that omits the closet part. I do hear you talk alot about the stuff he posts on his blog so evidently you must read it as well. Closet Dicky fan???
Patrick Savage's response : Quit being a Dicky hater Scoob. Jealousy is not a good color on you.
me: good one Patrick
Alan Sparks : Lol, I'm not a hater dude.... I like pickin' on them two because of their hero worshipin' mahahahahahahaha
me: Oh but you are a "HATER" Alan
Alan Sparks : AHHHHHHHHHH, you're a "mutual" too!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA
me : I understand the word "mutual" but I don't understand how you intended to use it here. Please explain Alan. I'm not sure what prompted this post from Alan on my wall but evidently he forgot to eat lunch yesterday and his blood sugar dropped. Talk to me Alan, what's really bothering you?
So yesterday I was out enjoying Mother Nature unaware of the argument Alan was trying to have with me. I hate I missed it Alan, maybe next time good buddy. So anyway I paddled a section of the Holston River between the Weir Dam in Bristol and Bluff City with a few co-workers who just recently bought kayaks. They asked me a couple of days prior to bring my Hero cam along and make a video of our adventures. At first I wasn't sure it would be footage worth watching but I figured what the heck with this crowd anything is possible. TVA had the generators running all day yesterday so it really picked up the current and made for some semi rough sections I would dare to say almost could be called rapids. The first couple of sections I filmed were nothing spectacular but the rougher it got I realized all the action was behind me. Two of the guys with us were a little on the inexperienced side, this was one guy's first day out in his brand new boat, another guy borrowed one of ours. I decided following them with the camera running might just make for a more entertaining film and wow was I correct. I'll save the rest of the story for the video which I hope to put together tomorrow. I must say that section of the Holston was alot more fun than I anticipated. I have been on some class 4 and 5 rapids with a guided rafting expedition but I had yet to take my kayak on anything but the flat water of the local lakes. Now my interest is really peaked of what a true whitewater boat would be like in some real white water.
After my kayaking trip I headed home, swapped out my gear, ate a pb&j and headed up to Bays mtn with Melinda. Melinda was meeting up with a couple of girls to do a ride so I called up AKS and showed him around Bays for his first time. I have to say he did pretty well especially since he was riding it for the first time aboard his new pimped out singlespeed. Good job bro!
I finally got around to putting together a vieo from all of my Wilkesboro footage. We got rained on alot which made for a slow less exciting video but I sure had fun filming it. If you missed the trip or a ride and think because it rained you didn't really miss out on much you were wrong.
I'm sorry to report that this post won't contain any photos from Sun ride. You see I wasn't really thinking about how waterproof the small canvas bag I used to store my camera was when I stowed it away in my jersey pocket Sat morning. As soon as it began to rain I had to talk someone into letting me stash my camera in their Camelbak, thanks Rick! Needless to say with the huge amount of rain we received Sat our camera got a bit wet and never really dried out until we got home. Surprisingly it's still working and seems to be talking pictures just fine. I do plan on upgrading my next camera to one that can take the abuse I put it through. Something that is shock proof and water proof. I really like the one Andy and Abby has but I'm taking suggestions if anyone knows of a god one. Even though we were a bit late to dinner Sat night I'm glad I went for it and rode Warrior's Creek before calling it a day. You could see jealousy in the eyes of those who opted out and sat under the pavilion that afternoon. That evening we saw a number of folks call it a weekend since their tents got soaked and some early Sun morning but we still had a rather large group suit up to ride Warriors Creek after eating a large round of Piper's vegan pancakes. I never really thought much about vegan pancakes and really didn't know they were vegan until I had a plate full but they tasted better than they looked. On Sunday's ride the trail conditions were about the same, solid for the most part with a few slick spots and the occasional mud puddle thrown in here and there. There were several newbies to the trail system who despite the conditions were really impressed. I still kept my speed in check throughout the course and my legs and lower back thanked me for it. Riding the Karate Monkey all day Sat had left me feeling a bit toasty. We had heard rumor that the fine folks at the BMCC had constructed a new section of trail but we had missed it the night before since we cut out early to avoid missing dinner. I wasn't really sure where we entered the new section but it didn't take long for me to realize it was new. As we rolled along the new section I admired the trail work and before long we crossed paths with some of the trail crew hard at work. We thanked them greatly for the work they had done and complemented them on their handi work. Not long after leaving the crew we found one of the nicer bridges I've ever seen constructed in the area. The trail itself skirted around the edge of a cliff and just off to our right, wild man Brad Reed spotted a rope swing with a good sized drop into the lake below. Anthony doubled back to confirm with the trail crew that the rope swing and water depth were safe and got a "heck yeah!" We spent the next 20 minutes or so swinging and cliff jumping into the water below. I've done and seen alot of things on my rides but that was probably one of the best times I've spent off my bike during a ride. That is definitely something you can't do on a road ride. After the brief swim I felt energized and was much cleaner but I really felt sorry for those who decided to leave early and go home. As we all rolled back into camp we cleaned up, packed up and talked Piper into carrying home the huge bin of chips Alan forgot to take home. On the way home we made the trip complete with a stop in Boone for pizza and a pint of Old Town Brown at the Mellow Mushroom. I can't think of a better way to cap off a good weekend of riding in the rain. I did take the Hero cam along for most of my rides but I'm not sure how well the footage will turn out with the wet conditions. I did check to make sure the rope swing footage was there and it was! Unfortunately my Hero cam was acting up off and on this weekend so I may have to send it back for another. Be on the lookout sometime next week for another video.
It's camping trips like last weekend that make me thankful for the ECO and EZ-UPs. We camped in Wilkesboro NC this past weekend, home of the famous Dark Mtn, Warrior's Creek and Over Mtn Victory trails. We got heavy rain Friday night, Saturday day and very early Sunday before the sun came up.
Even though my neighbor's campsite totally flooded out I was more impressed with Warriors Creek than Bandit's Roost.
This was our first time camping at Warrior's Creek and I was quite pleased. Fortunately our site drained very well and we were not subjected to standing water. I heard several folks say they were stopping by the dumpster on the way out Sunday to throw their tent away.
The original plan was to do a night ride Friday but of course the rain cancelled that and we chose to hang out under the pavilion stay dry and enjoy a few adult beverages instead.
The plan was to eat an early breakfast and hit the Dark Mtn trails Saturday which were believed to drain better than Warriors Creek.
As we rolled into the trailhead parking lot the sky looked as if it could open up and dump on us at any minute so I kept a close eye on Olga and Alan since they are the first to always bail when the weather turns sour but they stayed and I never heard anything about rain from either of them.
The NTMBA wrecking crew.
One thing I did notice in the parking lot was the attention Norelle was getting from Abby and Andy. First it was Andy adjusting and measuring her seatpost. Then I saw Abby pull some sort of weird device out that looked to be measuring the angle of Norelle's leg. Then to beat it all I saw Abby spraying Norelle down with bug repellent. I'm not sure when our beginner rides became so ridiculously complicated. I wonder if Abby prepared a trail side meal complete with wine & cheese as well?
photo cred. John Piper
If you've ever wondered why I call Chris Dillow, "Iron Man". Take a look at what he's having for a trailside snack, raw meat. Yep he's one mean S.O.B.
The first half of our ride went well other than a few slick roots here and there but I kept telling myself it was better than being rained out all together. With the look of the skies at the beginning of the ride I was surprised our ride had stayed dry as long as it had and sure enough the skies did open up and dump on us. I'm not sure I've ever ridden in that hard of a rain storm in my life. There were small creeks forming in the trails rushing down the mountain. I did have my Hero cam rolling through most of the rain storm but I'm not sure how well the footage will turn out. Hopefully it will make for a good video.
I never actually saw Alan during the entire ride and it wasn't until I found this picture of him lying down in a puddle pitching a fit like a small child that I actually believed he got on his bike.
Once we made it back to camp we ate lunch and watched it rain for another 2 hrs, harder than it had before. It rained so hard at times, standing under the EZ-UP was not enough as the rain was hitting the ground with such force it was bouncing back up and soaking everything under it. I stood around it my wet riding kit hoping it would slow but I finally gave in and changed into some dry clothes.
As dinner time approached and I began to think about my last trip to Wilkesboro and how my ride ended early and I went home depressed with the lack of riding I did due to my allergies. I decided right then I was going out for another ride no matter what the conditions. I was surprised when I actually had a few others go with me. We really only had enough time to do about 8 miles of the Warriors Creek trails which dumped us out right in front of the group campsite where most of the NTMBA group was staying. The trails were in better condition than I thought they would be. At first we were taking it easy not sure how well our tires would hold in the turns but the further we rode the more confident we became. I have to hand it to the folks at the BMCC, they really know how to build trails.
With the Leadville 100 coming up I was curious if Lance was going to sign up and defend his title. Well there seems to be some conflicting info out there, one report says he is and another says he's not. I bet he won't. I was surprised to see that Levi Leipheimer has thrown his hat in the ring and this will be his 1st ever mtn bike race. I thought hmm.. I wonder if he can really ride the dirt?
In an effort to save my legs for this weekends up coming festivities I decided to dust off my road bike and hit the asphalt. It really wasn't that dusty, Melinda keeps the house pretty spotless. I go through stages when it comes to riding bikes. For the past 2 years I've been riding my mountain bike almost exclusively. I haven't fallen out of love with my road bike, we've just had quite a few new trails open up in my area and I've done quite a bit of traveling, exploring trails outside of my state. Monday I tried to get a group ride up but could find any takers and I just didn't feel like fighting the spiderwebs by myself in this sweltering heat and mashing the singlespeed. It was way too hot to run so I decided to get the road bike out since I haven't in a while and take it easy using all the gears it had to offer. I realized something as I was suiting up to ride, my gloves and my road shoes are in dire need of replacement. My gloves once were nice but my shoes never were. The shoes I own are like my road bike the first pair I've ever owned. I bought a cheap pair of shoes that I found on online in the clearance bin since I had just spent all my $$ on two road bikes with the intention of upgrading later. I never did and I guess since road shoes don't take the abuse mtn bike shoes do they last 3 times as long. My road shoes which are 3 or 4 years old still look fairly new where as my mtn shoes look 10 years old and I just bought them last year. The problem with my road shoes, the fit is terrible. Having a good pair of mtn bike shoes I can REALLY tell the difference. My other problem, everytime I bring up the subject of new road shoes Melinda shoots me down. She doesn't like the dangers that come with road riding and I can kinda understand but I still want a new pair. Anyway my ride went about as well as it could other than some old guy who decided to run a stop sign as he pulled out in front of me then realizing his mistake slowed down as if that would fix things. If he would have sped up it would have been better as rim brakes suck. The only good thing about his slowing down was that he had his window down and was able to hear every negative word I said to him. Riding solo on the road can get pretty boring but it was exactly what I needed, an easy spin on a bike with plenty of gears. Hopefully I can find time to join in on some of the group rides going on around town, I feel way out of the loop. I may have to score some new shoes before hand, those old ones are killing me.
This weekend we're heading back to Wilkesboro NC for a weekend full of mountain biking and camping NTMBA style. I'm look forward to riding something different with a large group of friends. The Maxxis series final race just happens to be at Dark Mountain on Sun so if I'm not feeling too weary from all the riding and festivities I might just my throw my hat into the ring and race the Monkey in the ss catagory. I've never figured out all the CAT 1, 2, 3 business but I know what singlespeed is. It should be a fun weekend that should bring good stories and videos for your entertainment.
On Monday I once again discussed the saddle bag woes I've experienced on my mountain bike. Key words to pay attention to, "MOUNTAIN BIKE" you know a bike mainly used for off-road use. I tend to ride mine on one of the rougher trails in NE TN, Warriors Path State Park. Warriors is no Creeper trail, it's pure singletrack riddled with roots and rocks. There are tougher trails out there but Warriors is probably one of the rougher trails in the area. My dilemma has been with my new Lezyne saddle bag which I thought was the end to all of my problems but I was wrong. Once again I have decided it's time to look for a replacement and I've decided to look outside the box. After 4 saddle bags I 've come to realize that there may not be a saddle bag out there that will suit my needs. I've been looking at a wallet made by Lezyne designed to hold all of my tools & my phone and I've also looked into the Awesome Strap that has been heavily publicized in the blogger world. I asked my readers to give their opinion on the two options so I won't stay awake all night weighing the pros & cons of each. I should have known better than to ask for input as Alan was sure to fire off some smart remark and sure enough he came through with flying colors.
"I haven't had a problem with my Lynzene and wet straps at all. I have been caught in the rain on the road several times this year and it's still sticking. MAYBE its the operator?" Alan Sparks
You see Alan the problem with your statement is your Lezyne is mounted to your road bike. The most jostling it might see would be the occasional RR crossing or if by chance you bike slips from your hands as you unload it from the Hillbilly Hotel. As far as the operator comment goes, I know I'm not as good of a mechanic as you are but I do know that I can line up two velcro straps just as good as anyone. Heck I used to rule the neighborhood when it came to playing that Operation game where you remove the bones out of some fat naked guy with a red nose. I have a very steady hand so I'm pretty sure I lined up the straps just like they're supposed to. Thank you to the rest of the of you who did give me input. I may be leaning toward the Awesome strap due to the Lezyne's size coupled with me pickiness of overfilling my jersey pockets. The Lezyne I would probably need to hold my little F-bomb dropping friend would be the large one measuring in at 170mm x 115mm or 6.7" x 4.5". That's a bit large for my taste but I would still like to see it before I make my decision. Maybe Alan will order some for the shop so I can take a look at them. If I do decide on the Awesome Strap I'll be waiting because they're currently out of all the 2010 version. I've grown used to waiting a loooong time on things this summer. The all new & improved 2011 version is on it's way and is supposed to be better. Until then I guess I'll have to resort to using duct tape or carrying everything in sandwhich baggies in my jersey pockets.
Well thing have officially slowed down for the moment and it was a much needed slow down. I think I was running on a bit of a ragged edge. I'm almost caught up on all the little things I've been meaning to do around the house. I haven't been on the bike for almost 4 days now and I'm definitely ready to get back on the trail or road whatever and do some pedaling. May not be tomorrow, I think the dogs will begin chewing the couch in half if we don't take them for a long hike but come Wed. and Thurs. it's on! I may even dust off the road bike unless a certain mountain bike frame comes in as it's been promised for over a month.
I've been waiting and waiting and waiting on my new frame and I'm really starting to get antsy. The original due date was mid July but that came and went, then I got a call 2 weeks ago that said it'll be here in 3 days, nope. The last word was Aug. 1st, well it's officially Aug 3rd. I could have bought my frame online over a month ago but I would have paid $100 more plus shipping. I decided to wait save the money and give my LBS the business. It's not my shop that's the hold up, it's the popularity of this frame that keeps it sold out before they even hit the shelves or racks or whatever. Even with it's high popularity I don't now anyone personally in my area that has this frame but I'm sure once folks get wind of who's riding what around here it'll be the bees knees. At least that's the way it keeps playing out in my head.
While I wait I ride the Karate Monkey and I pass the growing pile of new and slightly used parts that will hopefully soon be attached to my new frame. The other day as I was standing there going over my pile of parts thinking of what should stay and what should go I remembered something from our trip to Dupont. My newest saddle bag the Lezyne, has developed a problem. When wet, the velcro straps loose their strapiness. Not cool. Last year I went on a hunt for the best saddle bag out there and after 3 or 4 trial bags I thought I found THE saddle bag of saddle bags
Since my seat bag was wet I had to dump all my contents into my jersey pocket which wasn't bad if I took them out of the saddle bag. After a couple rides with my tools in my jersey pocket I thought about using some sort of small flat bag that would hold everything and fit nicely in my jersey pocket. I kept my eye out for such a thing at several shops but came up dry. Then the other day I remembered several posts that Mr. Dickie talked and talked and talked some more about how AWESOME his new Awesome Strap was.
Hmmm... this could be my next trial. In all reality my saddle bag was too big even though I bought the smallest available. My CO2 cartridges were rattling around clinking and clanking against each other making all kinds of annoying racket. Which by the way might be the reason Alan hasn't ridden with me in some time. He HATES noisy bikes, last year when I had a noisy BB he made several comments about it.
As I was looking for pics of my current pack online to use in this post I ran across something very interesting that just might kill 2 birds with one stone for me.
How cool is this! A tool wallet exactly like what I've been looking for with a waterproof case for my phone. Since the arrival of my little F-bomb dropping friend I've been nervous to ride without putting it into a sandwich bag to protect it from moisture. That thing was expensive and I can't afford to replace it anytime soon. If I had a cool wallet such as this, it would solve both my issues. The only problem is the size, I have no idea how big it is or if my phone will even fit into the plastic sleeve. I'm real picky about having a bunch of crap stuffed in my jersey pockets. So dear readers I need your help. What should I do? Try the Lyzne wallet with phone holder or go with the Dickie approved Awesome strap and keep using the sandwich baggie for phone protection? Give me your opinion.
Finally I found some time in my rather busy schedule to upload our pics from our Peeee-Yay trip.
Like I said in an earlier post we had Melinda's Mom with us and as usual she keep us entertained with the amount of stuff she brought with her, the length of time she spent in the gas station at every stop, the amount of stuff she bought at every gas station we stopped at and all the friends she made along the way.
Since I got the Hero cam my trailside pics have been lacking but I'm pretty sure the videos are just as entertaining and tell just as good a story.
The Karate Monkey was my only steed on this trip even though I still had the snot green BMC loaner in my possession.
There weren't a ton of scenic views of the massive lake from the trail so I grabbed this one as soon as I saw it. Unfortunately it happened to be the only day it wasn't sunny & clear skies. A T-storm rolled in on us later that day just as we finished our ride.
I was cruising down the trail at a high rate of speed when this little guy grabbed my attention. At first I wasn't sure what it was, but something neon orange in the woods just begs to be taken a closer look at. One of the guys we were camping & riding with is an avid outdoorsman who really knows his mushrooms, at least the ones that are edible. He wasn't with me when I found this guy and I wanted to take him with me but I knew he would make the trip in my jersey pocket. I thought about eating it but decided against it just in case it made me see funny things and I still had a few miles to go. I didn't mean to pick it but it snapped off when I was taking a closer look. Kinda bummed me out because it was the only one.
Dustin is notorious for breaking something on his bike and having at least one flat everytime I ride with him. I think this trip he really only had a couple mechanicals and one flat. Funny how his one flat was on the pavement between the trailhead and the campsite. If I ever win the lottery I'm gonna buy him 2 of the burliest all-mountain bikes I can find. I'm sure he would destroy it them too but I'm curious to find out how long it would take. Two so he would have a backup while the other is being fixed.
One spot we stopped to rest and someone suggested I get on this downed tree and do something cool for a pic. I'm not really sure how cool this poise was but it's all I could think of at the time.
Melinda and I on our ride together with me rocking the Hero cam on my helmet.
On the last day we decided to hit the local zipline for a little something different. It wasn't really anything to write home about but the wannabe white boy rappers who were working there kept me laughing, at least on the inside.
Yes she did dance and play the air guitar while I accompanied her on a real guitar. No I can't play for real but I can pretend really well for photos.
Cody brought his boat out, a 70's something model that had alot of character that he named "Willy". I thought it would be cool to ride in the back as Dustin towed us through the campground. We later found out that was a big no no.
Whatever you do, if someone bring a deck of micro sized playing cards to the campground, immediately toss them into the fire. They are reeeaaally hard to use and will only piss you off.
While Raystown had alot to offer in the way of outdoor recreation it didn't have much in the way of retail or grocery stores. If you needed something and didn't want to drive 20 minutes to get it you went to the local gas station. You can't buy beer at gas stations in Peee-Yay but you can buy groceries, chips from foreign countries, bait, fishing poles, lawn equipment, hunting supplies and guns, clothes and really cool camo hats of all shapes and sizes. I saw this one in grey camo and decided I needed it, especially since Melinda is always on my case about not getting sunburned.
Our last night in town we decided to go out to eat. We had to travel about 20 mins. to the next town to find a place that wasn't part of a gas station and the next town only had this one place. I can't remember the name of the joint, something like Burly's or Big Chuck's I'm not sure but the name fit the place well. No wonder 64% of America is overweight. I felt like a bigger person after I left. I also found out where the term "choke & puke" came from.
After seeing that neon mushroom on the trail I guess I was on the lookout for other odd colored things. I found this purple egg on the salad bar and had to try it since Cody had 3 on his plate. I'm pretty sure it was a pickled egg but I'm not sure about the purple color. I doubt you'll see many of these on the Food Network.
Everytime I visit Peee-Yay I find, learn or see something new, this trip I did all three. The only bad experience we had while we were there was some guy at one of the trailheads who decided it was cool to make fun of Melinda's accent. Luckily for him I didn't hear him do it but Melinda did and it was probably a good thing she waited to tell me later in the ride. I probably would have made him wonder where my supposed "Southern Charm" was. I'm really not one to pick a fight but I really know how to harass the SH*T out of someone especially on the trail. Of all people to make fun of someone's accent this guy should have kept his mouth shut, not only did he sound like a dork he looked like one.
Kinda reminded me of Homer's boss from the Simpsons.