Tuesday, January 24, 2012

my measly little Pisgah video

Here is the Pisgah footage I shot a few months ago, alot of it didn't turn out due to a CamelBak straw flopping right in front of the camera. Don't ask what trails we rode because I have no idea. The only one I'm sure of was the Black Mountain trail and most of it was ruined by that stupid CamelBak straw. I'll admit the Black Mountain trail was a bit disappointing, I'll admit some of it had to do with my lack of downhill skills. I do need to step up my game in that dept. I feel like we climbed for a really long time only to go straight freaking down the mountain. It was steep, rutted, rooty and rocky as hell. I have nothing against trails that are over my head technically, I need the challenge. I'm not one of those pansy riders who won't ride certain trails because they're too hard.

I'm totally ready to go back and explore some more, that place is just too much fun.

Monday, January 23, 2012

some long awaited video and a different TYPE of post

Today I writing my blog post from my "smarter than me" phone with my new handy dandy blogger app. I downloaded it but have yet to write with it until today. I have used it to add pics from my phone directly to my blog, something I've been struggling with on the iPhone but not anymore! The reason I'm writing with it today you ask? No I'm not globe trotting around the world. Our laptop here at the house bit the dust after 7+ years of service. I had just hit the save button on the video above when it went so the ending is a bit abrupt but what can you do. Luckily I've been backing up my stuff for a while so I don't think anything was lost, fingers crossed.
After alot of searching, review reading and penny counting I realized we couldn't afford a Mac so we opted for another PC but we did spring for an iPad, I'm calling it our early Valentines gift to each other.

So the video above, this was the triathlon I did last June, my first ever. Yes the turnout was low, mainly because of the nasty wet conditions, at least that's my story. Had the course been dry and free of rain I probably would have seen some stiffer competition and wouldn't have scored a 2nd place finish. I'll take it though, just showing up and running the race says something in my book, the guys who stayed at home while they might have been faster on dry ground are pansies in my mind. I'll be back this year for sure to tell them just that.

I apologize if my grammar is worse than normal, typing and editing is not that easy on my "smarter than me" phone.

Friday, January 20, 2012

non-riding post but yet still entertaining, I think

I'm sure most have you might have heard this already but I will give the short version for those who don't and who might actually be interested. Last summer we hired a roofer, who came recommended, to replace our roof. He came over with a younger guy, we agreed on a price, signed a contract and wrote him a check as a deposit. We had a couple of date changes due to this and that but the 3rd date we set that they were supposed to do the job came and passed without a word from the roofer. After 3-4 weeks of harassing phone calls and him promising us he would get someone out to our house we'd finally had enough. Once we threatened to call the police that finally got his attention and he stated he no longer worked for the company.

Fast forward a couple of months and some nasty phone calls.

The Kingsport police arrested him, and his mug shot in the newspaper was the first time I'd seen his face since the initial contract signing. Fast forward a couple more month's we were in court yesterday for the second time, the first time he said he had a witness, who wasn't there, that could prove he gave the $$ to his boss, the judge gave him a 30 day recess.

Yesterday the roofer showed up without his witness and the funny thing is, there was never any mention of it, I think his public defender was a little irritated. His P.D. proceeded to badger me on the witness stand trying to prove that I never allowed him to finish the job. I simply stated that I did finally request a refund after nearly two months for a couple of reasons. 1. He and the actual owner of the company both told me they no longer worked for the company nor did they know who owned the company. 2. They had never showed up to do any work nor had any materials been delivered. I think that was reasonable on my part and I guess the P.D. really didn't have anything left to say as he left me alone after that. Yesterday was basically just a preliminary hearing to decide whether or not to send him to a criminal trial which he is and I'm calling that a win for us. It won't be until March before he's back in court so it will probably be a long time before we ever see any of our money back. I've got my fingers crossed and a strong will to fight, fight, fight!

The only thing that kept us from going crazy sitting in the court room for 6 hours when we could have been out riding was the entertainment. Everyone in that court room had some sort of ridiculous story or excuse. Both times we were in attendance we witnessed people being arrested for showing up high or drunk, they always use the same excuse, "I'm on anything I'm just tired." We sat and listened to idiots all around us laugh about their DUI's, shoplifting arrests and what not. I clearly remember hearing one girl state she didn't understand why she got a DUI, she only had 4 shots? It was true redneck entertainment.

Ok enough of that, my hopes to get in a ride or two the last couple of days didn't happen due to rain and court hearings. Tuesday it was just too wet to ride so I mixed things up a bit and went for a trail run at Bays Mountain. I normally run at Warriors when hitting the trail but I felt the need to try Bays and I liked it alot. There are less roots and rocks to deal with which lowers the twisted or broken ankle chances by a mile.

Wednesday was the same, too wet for riding but just dry enough to work on the trails, talk about a full body workout, wow! We are getting closer and closer to finishing the upper section of the Chestnut trail. This section is a bit more challenging than the lower section. It's still a cakewalk compared to Warriors but it's going to have some really sweet swooping turns, berms and jumps.

This berm was pretty much there naturally, Jay just helped it along a bit with some shaping.

One of the first berms in a nice "S" turn.

A jump smack dab in the middle of the "S" turn. There wasn't a plan to build a jump it just kinda evolved. There was a nasty stump in the trail that could've been dangerous due to it's natural camouflage. It was going to be a huge chore to remove it so I decided to cover it making it rideable. As I covered it with dirt a small jump began to form so I said what the heck and kept building. It's the first jump I've ever built so I'll accept a little constructive criticism, I just hope it flows well.

The second berm in the "S" turn.

It's going to be an awesome trail and hopefully we'll be riding it soon. I was hoping to be done with it by the end of this month but I don't think it gonna happen unless we have a huge turnout this weekend. I think we might build another jump or two, who knows.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


All this cold wet weather is driving me crazy, I've only been able to ride once this year and with the new Bike "Bible" sitting around the house with all it's great photos of people riding doesn't help things.
Melinda and I visited the trails today with the dogs but we left the bikes at home, we do plan to ride tomorrow but it was pretty rough once we realized how nice a day for riding it was and how great of shape the trails were in.

The Whole Enchilada: Top to Bottom - Moab, Utah from Phil Shep on Vimeo.

Then I ran across this video of the "Whole Enchilada" in Moab Utah, a place we have made plans to go visit and ride but not until April. I think I might just explode soon. The video above I thought was really cool, 27 miles into an 11 minute video is pretty good, I'm sure they skipped alot of really good stuff but you can only show so much. I plan to find out for myself come April.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

a review of the bike review

I've still yet to figure out why everything from pics to text is posting up centered in my blog, it only does this when I add photos via my blogger app on my "smarter than me" phone. I played around with the settings on my phone but they were very limited. The only thing it would let me really do was adjust pic size and translate my text to Pirate language but that crap's so yesterday.

Saturday I finally received the Holy Grail of bike reviews, Bike's "Bible". I've been waiting impatiently for this jewel ever since I found out that all the testing was done just over the hill from me in Western NC. My go to, road trip destination source of many many sweet trailheads. I'm not gonna lie that after scanning through the list of trail worthy machines from every category I was a wee bit disappointed that there were no Niner's listed. I wasn't expecting to see the whole fleet or even two or three but I figured the JET RDO would have at least graced the pages. Something else that was lacking were the hardtails, very few of them were shown.

There were several 29er's but a majority of the rides were full squish 26er's. The only thing I didn't miss, hardtail 26er's, not a single one.

The best part about the "Bible" review was what the Bike crew had to say about the Western NC trails, Pisgah, Dupont and Beech Mtn. They showcased many of the local trails with plenty of good things to say and lots of pretty glossy photos. They even did a nice little piece on the town of Brevard and the two local bikes shops. Although the review was not as entertaining as I'd hoped I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

One of the things on my Christmas wish list this year was a new Camelbak Mule. My old one was showing signs of wear, wreaking of stink and missing a few straps. The newish design in my opinion fits much nicer and stays in place better without that top heavy feel like my old one. I've been holding onto a Niner "Pedal Damnit" patch for several months just in case I scored a new pack and today I conned my Mom into sewing it one for me. Thanks Mom!

If it's been a while since you've ridden with us, Melinda and I, then you might wonder why I've been hawking all of Melinda's bike parts on Ebay. No she didn't give up riding, she finally pulled the trigger on a new Niner JET9. The wheelset she had on her BMC were the Mavic Crossmax SLR's, which came with two fancy canvas wheel bags. I never really understood the need for these bags. I understand their purpose but I seriously doubt that half of the folks who own these wheels ever used the bags. They layed around in our basement for several month's before Melinda found a use for them that blew away their original purpose by a mile. A couple of years ago Melinda bought a wreath bag to store the various wreaths we have that adorn our front and back door during the changing seasons/holidays. Not surprising we quickly ran out of room and the two Mavic wheel bags were brought into service. Held up side by side to the "wreath" bag, one might wonder if the idea of the bag was stolen? They are almost identical with the exception of color and the Mavic logos. Now we house all of our many, many wreaths securely in our basement, free from dust and bugs. I just hope the cat who bought the wheelset doesn't hit me up for the wheel bags, Melinda will definitely put up a fight.

Friday, January 13, 2012

re-evaluating my 2012 goals and some beer

So I think I may have a change of plans in my New Year resolutions, originally I stated that my goal was to achieve 1500 miles on my mountain bike with a hopeful goal of 2000. Well, I've had some time to think this over and I realized that by trying to achieve this goal, it might leave little time for other types of workouts that I really need to focus on like core and weight lifting. Two of definitely my most weaker points in my over all fitness and it shows. I'm constantly plagued with lower back fatigue and strain because of my lack of upper body & core strength. I know this does not make for a very interesting read so I'll try to keep this short but I felt like I needed to address this so that maybe I'll do a better job at other workouts than just riding my bike. While my mileage goal might suffer my overall fitness should be better making me a stronger and better rider. So far I've gotten off to a great start, partly due to the really nasty wet weather we've had. I've been mainly focusing on strength training and core workouts the past two weeks.

I'm really jonesing for a good hard ride.

One of my weaknesses with the changing seasons is the ever changing selection of seasonal beers on display at my local grocer. With 3 different grocery stores within a 5 min. drive from my house, all with different selections, I've been bringing home waaay too many six packs of high calorie beers to try out.

It all started with this little jewel I found in Asheville a couple of weeks ago, New Belgium's Belgo. We can't get it in TN so I had to buy it before we crossed back into hillbilly land. It's hoppy, like a punch to the mounth on the first sip.

Then if that wasn't bad enough I was walking past the beer isle last week on my way to get a gallon of milk when this tasty selection jumped into my buggy. How could I put it back? Thunderstruck Coffee Porter? With a name like that I had to make it mine. It was delicious!

And then it happened again earlier this week, I've seen this jewel before but I'd always passed it by for some odd reason. After sampling a couple of these that will prove to be very difficult in the future.

When it comes to my mountain bike shoes I tend to wear a pair long past their intended life span, why I do this I'm not sure. I guess since I don't wear them anywhere but while I'm riding I feel like they should last longer. The last pair I bought were the Shimano M-182's, a bit more racier and stiff than I probably needed but a definite upgrade to my previous pair. In the past few months I've been dealing with more foot numbness and fatigue that normal. I tried numerous cleat positions to try and remedy this but nothing seemed to help. Then a week or so ago I wore my winter shoes for the first time this year. They are less worn and not as stiff and surprisingly I experienced less numbness and fatigue which lead me to believe it might have just been a need to buy new shoes.

This time around I opted for more in the way of comfort and less racey. I scored a pair of 2012 Shimano M-162's, yeah they're a bit flashy and WHITE but it seems like everything is going with this trend. After a bit of research everything I read about these shoes was great including the durability of the white. I've been running a white WTB saddle for over a year and its had all kinds of mud and clay ground into it and with the help of a little simple green it still shines almost a brightly as the first day I mounted it up.

There was one big difference in my new kicks, the lack of toe spikes. I've always ran them and while they're great for muddy hike a bikes they suck at just about everything else. There are pre-drilled holes for them if I decide to add them later but for now I've decided to see if I like them better without. I'm all about trying new things lately so why not.

Speaking of new things, a while back I mentioned that had had downloaded the Blogger app for my "smarter than me" phone in an effort to increase my blogging. Well that hasn't exactly happened BUT I did realize it makes for adding photos taken by my phone super easy to add to my blog posts, hence all the fancy pics. I haven't figured it out just yet so if things look screwy it's my lack of tech savy. Please be patient.

Monday, January 2, 2012

what I plan to do this year

2011, what a great year it was! First off I would like to thank all of my sponsors who made this race season possible!

Oh wait, I don't have any sponsors? I'll put that on my list of things I need to get this year. I think I might have done a race or two? Did I? Yeah I'm pretty sure I did. I'm pretty sure a majority of them fell through the cracks due to other responsibilities and what not. Maybe better luck next year, I still call 2011 a win win.

Early in the beginning of the year I set the goal of 1000 mountain bike miles, I achieved it much faster than I anticipated and so I set another goal, 1500. I fell short of that one by 154.7 miles, meh. This year 1500 will be my minimum and I'll shoot to make 2000 and no I don't plan to be doing any hill repeats on gravel roads to boost my mileage.

As long as the Mayans are wrong 2012 should be even better. I try not too pay much attention to that crap, if they are correct I'll be ready. I know where I'm going to be. I think the Mayans just ran out of room when they made their calendar and December 2012 was just a coincidence.

Doesn't someone predict the end of the world every year? How's that working out so far?

This year Melinda and I will be heading out west for a much needed vacation. My Mom has graciously offered to come and dog sit for us while we're away. We rescued both our dogs from the pound and I can't bring myself to board them in a kennel. Thanks Mom, you're the greatest!

We plan to spend a few days riding in Colorado and a few days riding Utah with friends. I've been out west a few times but never to ride. I'm toying with the idea of buying a new GoPro HD for the trip but I can't decide if I want to spend the time and effort shooting video, editing and thinking about what would look cool rather than focusing on the "ride" itself. It's always cool to go back later, watch the footage and share it with friends but damn if it doesn't require alot of my free time. I'm struggling lately just to sit down and write something for this blog.

I don't think this year will be a year of weight loss goals or anything like that. My goal for 2012 will be to participate more in trail workdays with my local mountain bike club. That in itself should be a good fat burner. I'm not sure I'm going to set a specific number of days I want to attend, just that I plan to make an effort to attend more of them and hopefully encourage others to attend. I see alot of take and no give in our cycling community, it would be really cool to see some of that change.

Maybe I should set a goal for 2012 to be more bloggy bloggy? Hey yeah that sounds good. I did just download an app for my smarter than me phone so I can blog on the go. Hmm.....