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.