Saturday, December 24, 2011


Now that night riding season has finally descended on us, well for those of you who work regular work hours that is. I typically don't do much night riding since my schedule allows for riding during the daylight hours but I still enjoy a good night ride here and there. My last night ride was back in Sept. during our local club camping trip to Wilkesboro. We snuck in a late ride on Friday evening and I decided to try out one of my new CREE LED flashlights strapped to my helmet. I wanted to see if I could ride with it alone and nothing else. I had loaned out the rest of my riding lights anyway. The LED flashlights aren't quite as bright as say the Magicshines but at $9 a piece I couldn't resist picking up a couple just for kicks.

My test ride with them was on the famous Warrior Creek trails and with all the twists, turns and berms I knew it was best to be mounted to my helmet. The little flashlight worked great, not necessary the brightest but certainly bright enough. I wouldn't hesitate to race with it but my Magicshine would be my preferred light. The thing about my LED flashlight I like is it's small size and the internal battery. No cords to route or batteries to stash the only drawback was the lack of mounting hardware. I opted for the zip tie route which worked but I went a bit too low and found myself having to ride with my head at a bit of an awkward angle to see further down the trail, once in place I couldn't adjust.

Recently I was looking around for a suitable mount that might work for my flashlight and ran across this site, Twofish. At $6 a piece I ordered a lockblock and a bicycle block hoping one of the two might serve my purpose.

Small, lightweight, cheap and simple in design. They're small rubber blocks with a durable velcro that will allow me to attach them just about anywhere. The feet are somewhat flexible and they both seem to hold strong to a helmet and or handle bar.

The Lockblock

The Bikeblock

I've yet to try them out on the trail but plan to do so soon.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

moustaches and mountain bikes

Early in the year I set a goal for myself, 1000 off-road miles on my mountain bike. I achieved that earlier than I had anticipated so I set another goal, 1500 miles, which I have yet to meet. I don't think I will either but I think it could have been done had I really set my mind to it and had I not been off the bike for a solid 3 weeks during the shut-down we had at work. Starting January 1st, I plan to set my goal for a minimum of 1500 miles and try to reach 2000, I think it can be done. What really surprises me is the amount of miles I put on my full suspension vs. my hardtail. I never thought I would have put almost 100 miles more on the big squishy bike, it's just that much fun to ride and has made my backyard trails seem like a whole new playground to me this year.

I'm not sure I'll make much of an attempt to fix my road bike, at least not yet anyway. I don't really miss it but I'm not ready to part it out yet either. I think I'll let it just set as is until I get an itch I need to scratch. My plate is overflowing with trail building opportunities right in my own backyard and as long as that continues to be the case I don't see myself getting bored with riding local singletrack anytime soon. As it stands right now I'm struggling to find the time to make it to half the workdays we have scheduled and we've got another project up our sleeve that needs some scouting so that our new trail project looks good on paper to "the man".

A good month before Movember I grew out the trucker stache and let it get real thick and bushy before shaving it off and starting all over just before the first day of Movember. I decided to try a different style and even went as far as Googling "cool mustaches" on line for ideas. I saw some pretty interesting styles some that required much more than just a month to sculpt. I never really got a good photo of the Movember stache but it really wasn't that exciting. I ended up shaving it off a couple of weeks ago and now I'm thinking seriously about growing another.

I can't decide what I want so I'll probably stay clean shaven for a while longer and see if something speaks to me, Melinda seems to like me better clean shaven.

Monday, December 12, 2011


I wanted to post this pic up of the AIR9 with it's new rubber but I had my phone tied up doing an update for what seemed like hours with iTunes when I wrote the last post. Better late than never I guess.

I've had a plan for some time now to get a Warriors gnome, the idea stolen from "Samford the Pisgah gnome"

I searched high and low for a gnome but had a hard time finding one since most places only stock them during the spring. I had given up until I ran across what I guess was leftovers from last year's stock at Hobby Lobby and grabbed one, now know as Sully the Warriors gnome, Samford's long lost cousin. But unlike Samford's golf club swinging, beer swilling ways, Sully likes to build trails, hence the shovel. Don't get me wrong Sully can drink his weight in beer, I've got a pile of empties to prove it at home.

Samford the Pisgah gnome has become quite popular, even partying with the likes of the Bike Magazine crew when they descended upon Pisgah for their annual "Bible" test review.

After seeing Sully's beer swilling ways, Moonshine told me this morning it was time for Sully to head to the trails to live. She said this house was only big enough for one of them. I think she really just wanted to get in a ride, can you blame her?

Everyone was really fired up to ride, dogs and gnomes alike.

Sully really likes riding in Camelbaks, he says it gives a cool perspective of the trails and keeps the wind and bugs out of his face.

He thought long and hard about this bird house.

After looking around inside he decided against it for fear of becoming a snack.

Moonshine & Jackson helped him look high and low for a place to hide.

Sully really digs rooty & rocky trails, he brought along a shovel to help maintain and build trails.

He finally decided on this spot to hide, he said it had one of the best views of the lake. I can't blame him it is a nice view. He also said from this spot he could watch me really lay it into the turns in the next section (hint hint).

If you're out at Warriors and find Sully, take him for a ride, document the experience with your camera and post it up here with clues as where he might be found. Sully really likes Warriors so keep him there.

some much needed downtime

With the annual Christmas party behind us, Melinda and I finally had some down time yesterday and we opted for a ride. Actually the thought of down time and being lazy yesterday almost got the best of us. I was goofing around the house doing a whole lot of nothing trying to decide if I had made the right choice of skipping out on the big ride up on Iron Mountain when I realized we had almost waited too late to ride all together. We were about to miss our window of opportunity to hit Bays Mtn with the winter time schedule closing at 5:00 (one of the reasons I hate winter). I've been staring at my new GEAX tires for over a week wondering how well they were going to run and if they would bring back that smooth feeling I used to have on my hardtail that was lost with the introduction of racier tires. We did make it up to Bays in time to ride but just by a frog hair, we rolled out the gate at 5:00 on the money.

The conclusion? The tire felt great, so much smoother in fact I began to wonder if I was dreaming, then I started noticing a funny sound coming from what seemed to be the rear wheel. I stopped and had a look and I had lost a considerable amount of air from the rear tire, not good. I pulled out my mini pump and re inflated it only to have to do this again later down the trail. Upon further inspection this morning, the stem was leaking so I made sure to give the wheel a good shake and give the Stan's juice a chance to do it's thing. It's crap like this that makes me consider selling those Crossmax rims. For the 20 minutes or so that I had good air pressure the tires ran great, a much better improvement over the race tires so I guess I'm done with trying those for a while. With added traction and cush comes with added weight, I'm not sure how much but it is but probably around a half pound or more but I'm not too worried about that. I plan to upgrade the drivetrain with the XO parts off Melinda's BMC which will be much nicer than my aging mix of X7 and X9. Who knows I'll probably drop a few grams there to make up for the added rubber.

If you're asking to see Christmas Party pics I'm sorry, I was asked by all parties involved no Internet leaks. Oh yeah no pictures were taken as cameras were not allowed entry. After the party I started thinking how the vibe at the party was a bit more reserved that usual, I have a few thoughts on why this is but I'm not 100% sure which it was. Melinda and I went all out on decor, party favors and what not maybe our guests just didn't "bring it", maybe we're all just getting too old for really throwing down. Another thing that could've been the problem was a few key peeps weren't in attendance, some of the more colorful people you might say. Some might say they were saving themselves for the big Iron Mountain ride the next day but I'm not sure, that wouldn't be a legit excuse after the smack talk that went down via email, words I remember being used that rhymed with wussy. Not really a big deal I think we'll skip the Christmas shindig next year.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

mud, tires, pizza and beer

I hate that I've been slacking on the blogger front lately but things have been so busy that finding time to blog has taken a backseat. Finding time to ride has even become difficult, well that and rain. The bike room has even gotten a bit out of control, I've been meaning to put a bunch of stuff on eBay and I finally got around to posting it up today. Alot of changes have taken place, we're purging the bike room of the kids wheels slowly but surely. Now if I can just find time to get the new drivetrain on the JET, I'll been doing good.

After having a ton of fun down at the Fall Festival, riding the "Dirty South", we've been looking for a good excuse to venture back down that way and ride it again. Last Sunday, Melinda and I took a crew of folks who missed it the last time and showed them around, unfortunately it was a bit muddier than before but we still had a blast.

The day before we had been out at Warriors adding some berms to a new section of Boneyard where we had to re-route a monster downed tree. Not only did we add more trail but we upped the fun factor a couple of notches.

The trails were in perfect condition, not muddy at all. I was really surprised at the condition of the D.S. trails after being at Warriors, especially since we got the same amount of rain.

After the ride we ventured over to the Tomato Head, this place is quickly become a staple for our road trips, the pizza rocks and there is always something new to try in the way of beer.

I sampled a fine brew by Marble City Brewing, the amber, "Dad's Dime", an excellent brew.

The semi muddy conditions weren't kind to my drivetrain, I've still yet to put the new parts on and I'd ran out of my preferred lube, Pro Link, which I've come to realize is hard to find in my local bike shops. I did manage to snag a bottle along with the biggest bottle of Stan's juice available, but I forgot to lube my chain before heading out and so by the end of the ride my drivetrain was making all kinds of awful racket.

With the number of tubeless tires we have in the bike room not to mention they ARE ALL now 29 inches we go through the Stan's like crazy. I add at least 2 scoops per tire on the big hoops and with all the tire swapping I've been doing I should probably by stock in the company.

Speaking of tires, earlier this summer I obtained a non-tubeless version of the GEAX Saguaro by chance. I threw it on the rear wheel of the JET9 ghetto tubeless style and it's been an awesome tire. I've been a bit disappointed in the the last 2 sets of tires I've tried on the AIR9. Giving the skinnier, lower profile, light as a feather racey tire a chance has not been the best idea for me. They ride rough and can't handle the trail when it turns rough. The Bontragers left me walking when I sliced the rear on a fireroad and the Conti's were a pain in my ass since day one. I've never been much of a racer type, I don't waste money on a trainer and I only enter races that the fun factor is really high so I'm really not surprised at my disappointment with the tires. Having enjoyed the Saguaro, I threw down my dough on a set for the AIR9. This set was a bit different though, I didn't realize GEAX made a tubeless version but that's what I got and man are they heavy. I think I added a pound, maybe a pound and a half to the AIR9. As sturdy as they are they should be able to handle anything I throw at them. I plan to find out this weekend.

Have a good one, I plan to!