Thursday, September 30, 2010

pounding the pavement for a good cause

Yes it has happened, Anthony aka Fat Tony has finally re-entered the blogging world. He gave up on his old cycling blog that has cobwebs all over it's homepage and started a new one titled Not My Marathon. F.T. has decided to start training for a marathon to raise money for cancer research.
Will he continue riding? He better, GRT has a big race coming up next month.

All his talk about running got me out yesterday with my worn out running kicks on. I originally planned to ride ETSU and then race short track yesterday but AKS bailed on me in favor of the couch so instead of making the 30 minute drive to ride alone I decided to go for a run. Last minute the LCH rang my phone announcing that he was riding but it was too late for me too re-change my plans. I do enjoy the occasional run and 5k race but I find it hard to to get enough running in to do any big events like a 1/2 or full marathon due to my much stronger interest in riding. I've had a goal for sometime to do a 1/2 marathon and with the creation of a few locally in the last year I may actually try it on next year. Local endurance runner and GRT teammate Brad Reed has been telling tales of his endurance event races that have really peaked my interest. I don't think I'm up for the really long stuff that he runs but that 15 miler at Bays he did this year does sound appealing. Maybe the Double Trouble Mountain duathlon at Bays this December will be just what I'm looking for.

Yesterday I boxed up the Hero cam and shipped it back to GoPro for a replacement. It was starting to freeze up on me and that was becoming very annoying during action shots. The only way to fix the issue was to remove the cam from it's case take out the batteries and reboot the system. The problem was beginning to get worse and it just plain sucked to have to do this in the middle of a ride. My last camera bit the dust with this annoyance happening the very same way but unfortunately it was already out of warranty. Hopefully I'll have a new cam back in my possession before the HOT race. I've already got some fresh ideas for a cool race video. Maybe someone will let me dust the cobwebs off their camera and use it that weekend for some really cool double cam footage.

Unfortunately it looks as if the old Schwinn, "Brownie" will have to wait on being restored due to some other expenses coming my way. No big deal really since winter is on it's way and a CRAWL cruiser really wouldn't see much action in the cold temps. The extra time will allow me to really put some thought into what I want to do with it. For now I may just slap some new tires on and ride it as is.

Tonight's TNR ride, the singletrack edition is still on unless it pouring rain. Yesterday the trails were near perfect, all the previous rain fixed the really loose spots so we should be good. The Weather Channel is only calling for a 30% chance of rain so cross yer fingers. See you at the trails at 6!

My bro in-law posted up a video from one of his recent shows, somebody in the crowd with a really shaky hand filmed his new band "Lost Pages" performing their song "Bloodstains". While the footage may not be the greatest his new band sounds good. Check it

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

no more whining I promise

No this will not be another post of me talking, (whining) about bikes I would like to have. A call did come via the Bat phone last night,
we don't really have a big red phone here at the house, it's Melinda's phone for some odd reason. Anyway I got the info I needed so enough of that.
Yesterday I headed over to Bays Mtn for a bit of gravel road action thinking the trails would be too wet for riding after two days of rain. I figured some climbing would be good for me with the Hill of Truth race coming up next month. There is one heckuva a nasty climb in that course which I have cleaned but never in a race. Anyway so I started out with the race course loop which starts out with a sucky gravel road semi warm-up then climb climb climb. I made it through the first series of climbs and decended down to the main intersection where I normally hop on the Lake Rd. I stopped to fiddle with my tire pressure and I saw Bill H. And Randy coming up the road toward me. Sweet, some riding partners. Bill said their plan was to head up River Mtn Rd., quite possibly the worst excuse for a fire road ever, hang a left on Bear Run and then down the backside. It sounded like more fun than my planned route so I joined them. Climbing River Mtn Rd. just plain sucks, it's steep, loose and rutted out as hell, descending it is just as bad. I've never climbed up Bear Run, only descended it, ouch that hurt! I was really wishing I had a granny gear about half way through the climb instead of a 1x9 but hey I came to climb and that's exactly what we did. The climb was worth the pain as we descended down the lovely Indian Pipes trail, quite possibly one of the more fun trails to ride at Bays. I've ridden all of the singletraack on the front side that's open to bikes after a big rain and they drain quite well but I was really surprised at how well the backside did too. It turned out to be an excellent day for singletrack riding.
About halfway through the Kiner Hallow loop we stopped to wait on Randy as he'd dropped off the back a bit. Once he came into view we realized why, he had completely severed his rear deraileur from his bike. He told us to go on and he would walk it out. No way I told him, as long as we had all the proper tools we could turn his geared hardtail into his 1st ever singlespeed. I've never actually done this on the trail but I've seen it done on more than one occasion so I knew it would work well enough to get him back to his truck. After about 10 minutes of trailside work he was back up and running and was able to finish the ride.
I'm not sure if the experience was enough to convince Randy to convert to a full time singlespeed but I felt a bit better about my mechanic skills.
Don't forget the NTMBA Poker Ride is coming up next month, if your thinking of coming out go ahead and register here so we can get some sort of head count. I'd hate for Texas Roadhouse not to bring enough food. If your waiting to see what the weather is going to do go ahead and register I made a call to Mother Nature for sunny skies and 70 degrees. If we reach 100 pre-registered riders we may have to close registration due to parking constraints.

Monday, September 27, 2010

and it continues

The past two posts I've done nothing but whine about bikes I would like to own but really can't afford right now and I blame it all on the new stuff appearing like a bad rash all over the internet. I can't stop looking at all that has been exposed since Interbike last week. I actually had an offer to go, all I needed was a plane ticket to Vegas. I was already off all last week and that really made it hard for me to say no. I'm glad I didn't go but at the same time I wished I did. Interbike would have been a really cool experience but I probably would have bought something I shouldn't have.
Since I've already talked about my cycling addiction I might as well continue on and drive myself crazy and no I haven't reached a decision on what to do. I did make a call today and got a few prices but there is still one key bit of information that I'm waiting on. Tomorrow hopefully that bit of info will help me decide what to do. If not, this rambling may continue on for who knows how long.
So anyway, like I said I've been looking around the world wide web gawking at all that has been revealed this week and I came across another frame that has me thinking. Salsa, a few months ago dumped all their Big Mama frames in a very ridiculously cheap way. A sale I could have kicked myself for missing but oh well. This sale stirred up alot of rumors that they were dumping that frame for good and they might be coming out with something new.

This week I saw just what it was they had up their sleeve.

The 2011 Salsa Spearfish

WOW! Thank you Salsa for torturing me that much more. Yes that's they're new 29" full squish rig. I inquired about the cost of the frame today but Salsa has yet to even list this bike on their site. My guess is it won't be cheap.

I've got three days off starting tomorrow and it looks as if the rain will be done with us sometime tonight. If so I may hit Bays Mtn early and ride the gravels while the dirt dries out. If not I'll resort to plan "B", go for a run.

Wednesday the plan is to hit ETSU again and maybe just maybe if the stars are aligned correctly, short track.

Thursday I'm trying to resurrect the club group ride, it was previously held on Friday nights but fizzled out I think mainly because it's the start of the weekend for most and Friday night most folks are doing the family thing. So if your itching to ride this Thursday we're meeting up at 6pm at Warriors.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

the fever just got worse

I've really gone and done it now, my last post titled "the fever" has only gotten worse. For some time I've been looking at the new Salsa El Mariachi frame.

It's a sweet design with a sweet paint scheme. The plan I've been running through my head for a couple of weeks now to build full squish rig included tearing down the Karate Monkey for parts. I wasn't planning on selling the KM frame but I've had a couple of offers since my previous blog post that got me thinking. I'm not really sure I want to be without a singlespeed bike. I've had one for almost 7 years now and it's just something I've always enjoyed. As the wheels began turning over the past 24 hours I realized I could build a new pimped out El Mariachi and still have enough $$ to restore the old Schwinn, "Brownie". The full squish Niner plan would officially have to be scratched but oh well.

Now I'm officially torn with what to do. Thank goodness the bike shop is closed allowing me to think on my decision or I might have already placed an order.

I guess you could say I officially have an addiction.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

the fever

There was alot of talk about running in my last post, well not really much talk about it more like announcing a few running races I would like to enter. Anyway it got me out running today rather than on the bike. It was a bit rough going at first but the longer I ran the better I felt. I didn't expect to go out and feel great especially since I've not ran since the 10k race I entered almost 2 weeks ago. I've meant to do more running but that new Niner sitting in the bike room has cast it's spell on me for sure. The more I ride that thing the more in tune I feel with the trail. The bad thing is and Alan called it, the Karate Monkey has been hanging on the wall since the arrival of the Niner. What worse is since I bought the Air 9 I've started seriously thinking about getting another Niner. Both the Jet 9 and the RIP 9 have caught my attention.

I've not had a full suspension bike for several years now but in the last couple of months I've had an itch for something big and full squish to bomb down every trail in the area. I'm actually so anxious to build up a full squish 29er that I've decided to put off restoring the old Schwinn I bought from my Dad. I figure by the time it would be finished it would be too cold to ride it anyway. Atop a full squish bike on the other hand would be a great way to spend the winter. I have no idea how long it will take me to come up with the cash but I'm sitting at work right now working overtime just for that very reason.

Yesterday instead of riding around here I headed over to Johnson City to meet up with AKS and hit the newly renovated ETSU trails. Wow was I impressed, Ben the local club's trail guy has put a ton of work into those trails and really made the most of the small space. I almost didn't recognize the place and was thoroughly impressed with the additional amount of trail that has been added over the past year.
The ETSU trails were where Moonshine & I grew up and learned about mountain biking. My first real true experience with singletrack & mountain biking was at Buffalo Mountain and Haw Ridge in Knoxville but ETSU is where I really started to get hooked on the sport that would eventually consume all of my available freetime and take all my extra money. Moonshine was just a pup when I started getting serious about riding. Back then she was off the hook running around our small apartment leaping over the furniture. I quickly realized walking and hiking weren't enough to burn her energy supply. I started taking her on rides with me and my friends and she would run circles around us through the woods as we rode. With almost no training it was if she was bred to run singletrack. Riding ETSU yesterday brought back many memories of her and I catching a few miles on the dirt before the sun went down on a weekday afternoon. Maybe I'll go back next week and take her along to see what she thinks of Ben's handy work.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

GRT returns!

This year really hasn't been much of a big season for me and racing. I did enter a couple of races here and there both cycling and running but a couple of them have been a disappointment for me performance wise. With a couple of events on the horizon maybe that will change and hopefully I can redeem myself.
The month of Oct: The Susan G Komen Race for the Cure 5k, the Turkey Trot 5k & the 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth.
I'm paid and entered into the Race for the Cure 5k but the 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth is really where my head is at. Yesterday Fat Tony and I went for a ride at Warriors and the main topic of our discussion was the H.O.T. and our team GRT, otherwise know as Granny's Rotten Teeth. Our team has seen many different faces over the past 5 years since it's creation at our first HOT race. Every year at the HOT we seem to have a different 4th member. Brad has been a consecutive member for the past 3 years and this year we're looking forward to Andy's return for his 3 race with GRT at the HOT.
Last year we saw our 2nd podium at the HOT and our first ever win. Normally once you win a category your expected to move up. Last year was a nasty year weather wise for the HOT and many teams pulled a no show boosting our chances of a podium spot. Had the weather been nice and had there been a huge turnout I wonder if we would have even manged a 3rd place finish. I've been pondering on what to do, move up to Expert or stay in Sport. After a few brief discussion with my teammates I think we've decided to remain in Sport another year. If there is a big turn out and we still podium then we'll move up to Expert.

On tap for December is a new event the Double Trouble Mountain Duathlon. This is a 5k run, 10 mile mountain bike followed by another 5k run all held at Bays mountain. This event is definitely going on my calendar.

With a new bike in the stable and the HOT coming up I really find myself struggling with devoting time to running. Running is something I enjoy but it usually takes a backseat to mountain biking when the weather is nice and everyone is riding. I really enjoy running races but I usually don't know anyone, some races I've shown up alone and the only person I've talked to has been the volunteer working the registration table. Every once in a while I'll run into a fellow cyclist.

Recently I created an online shop through Cafe Press for the mountain bike club where anyone can go online pick a logo and apply it to any of the listed products, tshirts, hoodies, hats, coffee mugs etc. and have them printed and shipped to their house. With the HOT right around the corner I decided to go ahead and create a shop for GRT as well. I can never have enough tshirts and who wouldn't want a GRT tshirt. Get yours now and support one of the coolest, most unruly, anti-training teams out there! Click here!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

sunsets, tallboys & trashcan lids

Wow what a weekend, I know it's Tuesday but I've been busy.

If you missed the sunset ride on Holston Mountain you missed one heck of a ride, I know I've said that before but I really mean it this time. I was amazed at the awesome views and mad at myself for living here this long and Friday was my first trip up to Flint Rock. The view was comparable to Buzzard's Rock but with a 3rd of the ride.
We had a good sized group rolling with us, about half girls and half guys which is unusual for mountain bike rides. Kerry was a bit deceiving in his description of the terrain. "A flat fireroad of 3-4 miles out and back. The only correct part was that it was a fireroad but definitely not flat. It wasn't bad by any means but I did hear a few curse words about 2 miles in as we continued to climb. The last leg was a stretch of singletrack probably just under a mile but steep and fun.
Most everyone arrived with a few adult beverages stored in camelbaks but they were quickly tossed back into our vehicles once we saw Kerry's BOB trailer with a full sized cooler strapped to it.

A view of South Holston Lake

The sunset was one of the best I've seen in a long time.

Kerry's Karate Monkey and beverage cart. Surly really makes a do it all bike.
I'm not sure what's going on here but to me it looks as if Olga is either praying or getting up from a fall.
Saturday Melinda and I decided to swing by the first MSG cyclocross race of the year. I haven't been to one in over a year, but I immediately wished I had brought my bike once I saw the riders streaming past us. I've never been to one of these events merely as a spectator and it was nice for a change to be one of the hecklers vs. the one being heckled.
Fortunately to ease my pain of not racing there were several coolers full of Sunshine Wheat graciously donated by New Belgium. I've never been a big fan of wheat beers but I have to say it was quite tasty, maybe the fact that it was free had something to do with it, I dunno.

Somebody once said that 29" wheels are for trashcan lids. I hope whoever it was doesn't see Alan wearing this Niner t-shirt.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm glad it's over

Wow what a week, I just finished one of the more grueling weeks at work that I've ever had. Yesterday the last day probably being the worst. Was it physically challenging? Not really, I spent four, 12 hour days staring at several monitors. Yesterday I spent the majority of those 12 hours fighting a part of our process that would not corporate. I lost in the end but was more than happy to give up and walk away, I had enough.
I did manage to squeeze in a ride at Warriors on Wednesday that really seemed to make the week just a little better. The days are officially getting shorter as our ride was finished just before the sun went down. I also learned that riding a CX bike on those particular trails requires alot of skill. I followed the Local Cult Hero through the first mile of Darwin's Revenge as he attempted to maneuver through some of the nastiest stuff Warrior's has to offer aboard his Surly Crosscheck and although it's a sweet bike I would have never ridden it there. I gotta give him props for trying.

Recently I downloaded a cool app. for my phone, a retro camera app. that applies cool effects to your pics. I found this setting fitting for my new cruiser. I stopped by my sister's house last weekend and picked up "Brownie". I hope to drop it off at the shop to begin the restoration process this weekend. When the project is finished I expect this bike to look totally different.

A little birdie told me that on Oct 1st for 24 hours only, registration for the 6 Hours of Warriors Creek will be open at a $20 discount. I totally plan to take advantage of this huge offer especially since the race will be capped at 300 riders. Last year, only the second year of the race, it sold out months in advance leaving alot of folks sitting at the house. This year I plan to make a come back and actually do more than one measly lap. I will be armed with prescription allergy meds that will hopefully keep my head in the game and not out in lala land. That was probably my worst performance in a bike race and it really left me feeling like a turd.

While doing some celebrity blog reading I ran across this trailer online. The 2009 film was pretty cool so I expect the 2010 version to be worth viewing as well.

Race Across The Sky 2010 from Citizen Pictures on Vimeo.

Tonight Melinda and I will be strapping on our lights and heading to Holston Mountain for a sunset ride with a few friends and a few tallboys. We're meeting at 6:30 to ride to a lookout point over the lake and partake in a few refreshments while the sun goes down. If your interested check the NTMBA forum for details.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Brownie gets a new owner and soon to be facelift

A couple of weeks ago my Dad decided to part with all of his antique Schwinn bikes. He had 2 matching his and her blue singlespeed cruisers, a banana yellow tandem and a brown 5 spd cruiser. He had just recently bought a new Townie and thought it would be best to get rid of the Schwinn's. I tried several times to talk him out of dumping them but he sold them anyway. Luckily my brother in law bought the tandem so it will stay in the family. I thought about buying it but really didn't have a place to keep it. The brown 5spd went on Ebay for $30. I threw a bid down for $31 just for kicks not really needing the bike but hey if I won it cool I'd think of something to do with it. After the ebay time expired I was the only bidder so for $31 I just scored an antique Schwinn cruiser. The brown 5 spd was probably in the worst condition of all the bikes he had but the more I thought about it I realized what a cool bike it could be with a bit of work.

Labor day weekend my folks drove into town and presented me with my prize. I'm actually pretty excited about the possibilities this bike might have, Melinda on the other hand gave me that look.
In Johnson City there is a bike shop that specializes in restoring old Schwinn's just like this one. The owner Dave will do just about anything you want, take it back to it's original glory or build something that you will never see anywhere else. I plan to take old "Brownie" as my Dad nicknamed the bike over to Dave and have him bring it back to life with a new paint job and some new parts. I seriously doubt the new color will be brown but I've yet to make up my mind yet. I'm leaning towards white with alot of chrome, the aftermarket bmx bars are definitely coming off in favor of a flat bar. Singlespeed or gears I've yet to decide but she will get a new set of tires, something a tad bit wider and more curb hopping friendly.
My goal is to keep it as a cruiser but something a little more sleek. I really ought to show it to the Local Cult Hero, I'm sure he could come up with some really cool. He known for putting together some really interesting bikes.
Got an idea I'm open for suggestions.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

dogs, snakes, deer, turtles & Pop's new murdered out ride

I found the camera yesterday shortly after I hit publish post which would have made for a more bloggier post with pics but oh well. I found it in my helmet under my sweaty gloves while I was suiting up for a ride with the dogs at Warriors. I shoved it in my jersey pocket just in case I had one of those "I wish I had my camera" moments.

Creeper pics

Melinda and I with my folks, my sister & new bro-in law Ben.

Pops gettin it on his new murdered out Townie.

My ride yesterday ended up being another shake down ride as I'm still adjusting stuff here and there. I dropped the seatpost, raised the seatpost. Dropped the tire psi again and again before I remembered that I had not tuned the new Reba at all to my weight, liking or anything related to me. It took me halfway through the trail to realize this rookie mistake but without a shock pump all I could do was adjust the rebound. All this stopping and fiddling around with my bike did allow me to see a few little creatures I probably would normally have missed.

Black snake

Turtle or tortoise I can never remember but he had some really cool colors going on.

My original plan was to hit Bays Mtn but as I was loading up the Niner the dogs started jumping around and begging to go with me so at the last minute I changed my plan and hit Warriors. Warriors is more dog friendly with ample water sources, a lake to swim in and no-one around to fuss about them being off leash.

I miss the good ole days when they could run a full lap without breaking a sweat.

I thought hitting singletrack I would be less likely to notice the extra travel in the Reba but I definitely noticed it and it wouldn't leave me alone the whole ride. I really wanna keep it at 100mm so I'm gonna flip my stem upside down to see if that helps her feel more like my other bikes and not like I'm 10 feet off the ground. I originally thought about swapping the Crossmaxs from the Monkey to the Niner but I think I'll leave the Bontragers on for now. They seem to feel really good.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

the shake down break down and other boring crap

After 2 month's of waiting as patiently as it gets I built the Niner up last Thursday afternoon and then waited some more. As I drove home from the shop I thought hard about how I was going to get my first ride in that day. Normally my first ride on a new bike has me stopping to adjust something but normally I'm the mechanic not Alan. I decided not to try and squeeze in a shake down ride that afternoon and risk upsetting the karma at home and doing a hurry up ride which drives me crazy anyway. Instead I went home, ate dinner, took a few pics of the new steed for blogging purposes and did a couple of hot laps around the yard before going back in to finish the small details like installing a cycling computer. I would have to wait 2 more days to actually get in a real ride as I was working Friday & Saturday.
My folks were in town for the weekend and had plans to ride the Creeper on Sunday so I decided to burn a little vacation time and shake down the Niner there. Fortunately I was able to con Melinda into riding the 17+ miles to the top and meet up with my folks to ride down instead of taking the shuttle up. I did snap a few pics but I was unable to locate the camera this morning, it must be in Melinda's car on the way to work with her so sorry no pics. My first thoughts on the Niner, stiff and the saddle is not comfy, but I have been riding a steel singlespeed for the past 2 months so I expected the frame to be stiff and unforgiving but I guess I wasn't thinking about the saddle. Riding a singlespeed doesn't allow for much saddle time so after 34 miles on the Creeper my arse was a bit sore to say the least. One other slightly noticeable difference is the fork on the Niner has 100mm of travel vs. 80mm that I had on the Mamasita and the Monkey. 20mm difference really isn't that much but I could feel the difference. I'm gonna ride it some more before making my decision on what to go with. The Reba is designed to be adjusted for 80 or 100 and the Niner frame was designed to run either way. The only problem that i encountered was after a few miles up the trail my front brake started squealing and it got worse the farther we rode but i couldn't talk Melinda into stopping long enough to allow me to fix it. I had to wait until we reached the top before remedying the situation.
I'll have to admit it's a sweet looking bike, way better looking than the Mamasita in my opinion especially since I had those awful yellow bottle cages mounted on it. Today I plan on putting the Niner to the real test, singletrack! I just need to decide where, Bays Mtn or Warriors.

I was asked for a component breakdown of the Niner which I don't normally do but I always find it interesting to know what other are running so I will give it a go.

Niner Air9 frame - Lrg, scandium - new
bars - Easton Monkeylite carbon - off the Mama
stem - Race Face Evolution - off the Mama
brakes - Avid Juicy 5's - originally off the Mary then moved to the Mama (never been bled)
shifter - Sram X7 (I like the shifter window) - Mary then Mama
grips - ODI lock on - new
fork - Rock Shock Reba Race - new
wheelset - Bontrager Race Lite UST - off the Mama
tires - Bontrager Jones ACX 2.2 UST - off the Mama
skewers - Salsa - new
headset - FSA - originally off the Mary then moved to the Mama
seatpost - Thompson - new
saddle - WTB Silverado - new
seatpost clamp - Salsa liplock - new
crankset - Truvativ Stylo - off the Mama
pedals - Shimano 520s - I've had these things forever, they just won't die.
rear derailleur - Sram X9 - Mary then Mama
cassette & chain - Sram - off the Mama
bottle cages - Specialized - new

A few other noteworthy details, I am running it as a 1x9, I haven't used a front derailuer in years. I took the first one off before I built my first singlespeed and haven't looked back since, well I guess my road bike is the only exception. I also had a question about why I zip tied my rear derailuer cables instead of running them through the normal cable routing tabs. About a year and a half ago I was tooling around on Alan's bike and noticed how ridiculously smooth his shifter was and I asked him what his secret was. Other than his normal Shimano is better than Sram talk he told me he runs full housing all the way down his frame with no breaks to allow dirt, grime or water to get to the cables and corrode them which is what causes most shifting problems. After that ride I went the same route and will continue to do so. In fact my cables off the Mama were still in such good cond. that there was no need for new ones on the Niner.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

the day has finally come!

All last spring I had on thing on my mind, how can I manage to come up with the funds to build up a Niner. At the time the Mamasita was doing just fine but I had been pondering a new Air9. There really wasn't a whole lot of difference between the two other than a few ounces and a bit different geometry and of course the Air9 had no carbon. Not really needing the Air9 I couldn't justify just buying one without raising the dough outside of our normal income, I needed to sell something. My Masi CXR hadn't been seeing much action and I had considered selling it several times but could not bring myself to let it go. Meanwhile a buddy of mine was looking into buying a Niner and our LBS was willing to get him one at a better deal than could be found online. The only problem was he was not an authorized dealer so he had to order two at a time. For a couple of days my buddy searched for another individual looking for a Niner but found none. I finally decided to put the CXR up for sale and in the event that she sold for the price I was asking then it was my destiny to buy the Air9. Within a week I had a buyer and since it was officially CX off-season I knew it was a sure sign. We placed our order sometime around the 1st of July and were told that it would be 2 weeks before we would see our bikes. Meanwhile I continued to ride the Mamasita with the intention of selling the frame when my Air9 came in and using the $$ I made of the frame and left over parts to build the Air9. A couple of weeks later I was scrubbing down the Mamasita after a particularly muddy ride and I noticed a crack in the seat stay. At first I was totally bummed but the longer I thought about it I realized as long as the warranty was still good I would have a brand new Mamasita frame to sell instead of a used one. Sure enough the warranty was good and the new Mamasita was put up for sale as soon as she came in. Now without a geared bike I was forced to ride the newly updated Karate Monkey full time. I was actually excited, the Monkey has always been a sweet bike to ride but with a geared bike hanging on the wall sometime pure lazyiness takes over and the Monkey stays at home.

The original 2 week waiting period turned into 3, then 4 and everytime I would call I would get the same line. The rep says your frame should be here anyday.

Everytime I would go into the bike room I would pass the growing pile of new & used parts for the Air9 just waiting to be mounted up onto a frame. I think Melinda was growing tired of looking at the pile of parts as well but not because they needed to go on a frame but because she said they needed to get off the floor and stored anyway properly out of her sight.

Closing in on two months I started having my doubts as if my Air9 would ever come. I even started rethinking my options and looking into other frames. Once my searched got fired up again I received a call from Alan letting me know my Air9 was on the big brown truck making it's was across this great nation of ours to the land of the hillbilly.

Seven long days it took Santa in the brown suit to bring me my frame and everyday I called the shop to see if it had come. Last Thurs it finally did, I got the call as soon as I walked in the door from hiking with the dogs. I was so overcome with excitement that I ran out the door leaving my sock full of cash that I had been saving just for this day. Once I got to the shop I realized what I had done and had to put the whole thing on my credit card rather than do the whole 40 minute drive again.

I walked in the door laid my multiple Wal-Mart bags full of parts on the counter and demanded that Alan stop what he's doing cause my bike was full priority and surprisingly he did. Normally I put my own bikes together but I lack a few tools for things like headset cups and no matter what I try my patience just won't allow me to learn how to adjust a deraileur correctly. Alan can put a bike together much faster than I can and save me from alot of mistakes that make a shake down ride normally a hike a bike out.

The folks at Niner really know how to make the chain and seat stays look sexy.

Niner's little pep talk for you everytime you swing you leg over one of their bikes.

I've yet to get a ride on it other than the usual hot laps around the yard being chased by two big black dogs who seem to be just as excited about the new addition as I am. The first official shakedown ride will occur not on singletrack but the VA Creeper. My folks are in town this weekend and are ready for another chance to hit the Creeper. I was actually surprised at their willingness to go since the last ride was a big wash out. After that, bring on the singletrack!
Now I'm starting the process of how I'm going to come up with the funds to purchase a RIP9.