Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I heart trails

I used to dread going to trail workdays, they're not easy, I always go home sore and head straight for the ibuprofen bottle. Yet I still went because there was always a certain satisfaction when the job was completed. Now I go to trail workdays and I actually look forward to them. I still walk away sore and looks for the pain meds as soon as I walk in the door at home but I always have a smile on my face and look forward to the next workday.

Now that Chestnut is pretty much finished I'll admit I was dreading starting the task of fixing Big Oak. I knew it wasn't going to be easy and I'll admit I'm still a little on the fence about how well our plan will work but I do know that if it doesn't anything will be better than the swamp that was there and I know we'll keep plugging away at it until we find a solution that does work.

Our trails coordinator identified 2 or 3 natural springs that were feeding directly into the trough that we called the trail and instead of draining off it was staying put right smack dab in the middle of the trail causing a huge mess. Instead of moving the trail to higher ground we are exploring other options by request of several local riders who for some reason have grown fond of this area. I'm not really sure what attracts them but we're going to give it a go and see what happens.

Several spots we were able to knock the edge off the trough and drain the water and then going back in a filling in the lower sections.

As for the natural springs we dug a channel and routed the water across the trail and down the hill like it should. Then we added rock to keep this flow going in the right direction.

This job will definitely call for more rock armoring that we've seen at any other trail at Bays Mountain. Last Saturday several of us did nothing but hunt for rocks worthy of trail armoring. Armed with a wheel barrow and a keen eye for all things stoney we paved several feet of the trail with large rocks.

I'm sure you've probably already heard about the fundraiser tonight at Texas Roadhouse in Johnson City hosted by our local mountain bike club, NTMBA, or now known officially as SORBA Tri-Cities. Come out and enjoy dinner with like minded folks and present the flyer above to your waiter. 10% of your bill goes to the club and our quest to purchase a trail machine. Trail machine = more trails, and more trails built quickly. Who doesn't like trails? People who don't like trails should be drug out into the streets and whipped with a dead rabbit. You don't want to be beaten with a dead rabbit do you?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

riding with friends

Evidentally Blogger has updated their dashboard which I tried my best to ignore for as long as I could but they've forced it on me and now I'm having to relearn how to type up a blog post. Things are not working so swift for me just yet, I'm not sure if it's me or blogger. Inserting photos was never an easy task and while sometimes it seems to work good, today it was a nightmare. 

Last weekend was the huge Southeast Bike Expo down in Georgia which benefited SORBA/IMBA. I would have liked to go but it was Melinda's birthday weekend so we hung close to home and rode what she wanted to ride. There really wasn't a huge selection of bikes I was wanting to ride and the ones I did want to ride were waaaay out of my price range. Getting to try them out would only have been torture and I'm sure they were among the more popular anyway so I would have spent most of my time waiting in line.


Melinda's trail of choice for her b-day was Bent Creek in Asheville. We invited all the lady's out for a ride and luckily for me she allowed some of their significant others to join us so I wouldn't be the odd ball only guy.


It was a beautiful day for riding with friends, the pace was nice and casual with plenty of stops for scenery admiration, stunt riding and some refreshments. I've been eyeing this log ride for quite some time but usually skip it, Sunday I decided it was time for me to buck up and ride it. I swear it's me, Andy's photo skills were lacking, he blamed cutting off my head on a rabid bee.

 The birthday lady.

I downloaded a cool little camera app that adds some interesting effects to my photos. This one is by far my favorite, the first day I actually tried it out. I had a little time to kill while waiting on some friends to ride a couple of weeks back and decided to play around with the new app and got this. 

I've been talking of buying another singlespeed frame for some time now, one that's made of steel and has the capability of running gears. Melinda gave me the green light and I threw my AIR9 up for sale. 30 minutes later I had a buyer so I made a quick call to my LBS and ordered a new frame. Last night I stripped the AIR9 down to just the headset and seatpost. I tried to remove the BB but instead of loosening it I only managed to booger up the contact points, a problem I've experienced quite a bit recently. I think my BB removal tool is no longer up to par so rather than do any further damage I'll hold off from trying to remove it any further and let the professionals help me with it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

what to do now?

Yes I realize my recent blog posts have lacked any interesting subject matter but it seems as that's the case for most I've been reading as well. Maybe it's the crappy weather, maybe it's the rising gas prices, maybe it's all the hard core training going on that some feel is interesting to read or maybe it's just that there is nothing interesting going on worth talking about. I got up early today thinking I was going to sneak in a ride, but as I was sipping my morning coffee I heard something funny on the roof. Unfortunately it wasn't Santa, but our frequent friend the rain storm who has definitely overstayed his welcome. If you're paying attention yes the rain didn't start until 10:30 and I said I got up early but 10:30 is early when you didn't go to bed until 6am. So I'm sitting here watching the rain and I figured I might as well try to coax a blog post out of my head that might be worth reading. There's definitely nothing interesting to read as I have my morning breakfast of PB&J so I might as well write.

I squeezed in a ride yesterday at Bays Mountain checking out the new trail additions that so far have gotten rave reviews from my peers. I think we did good, but it's funny when you standing out in the woods trying to decide how to get the most fun out of every line and turn and then as you start to ride it you realize the line in your head was way off the actual line you ride. Everytime I ride it I find new spots I think that can be improved to squeeze a little more fun out of the flow. Add a berm here, place this rock there. "Is that tree too close to the landing zone if I build a jump there?" I'm almost to the point where I want to carry and handfull of pin flags and a black magic marker to mark these spots so I won't forget what I discovered when I come back with the weapons of mass trail construction. I'm not a parent but this almost feels like raising a kid. You groom it and work with it hoping one day it will become a trail of epic proportions. What did I just say? I've got to get out of the house.

The weekend does look promising, no rain in the forecast and plenty of riding on tap. Sweet Melinda has a birthday this Friday so we'll be riding where she wants and having beers where she wants. The cool thing is, we usually agree on what's fun and tasty. Well except for shopping, I'm not much of a fan unless it's in a bike shop and there's a wad of cash in my pocket.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

new artwork

There has been some new artwork coming down the pipe for our local club, I would love to tell you I had a hand in designing all of it but I didn't. Our newest t-shirt, the "Trail Gnome" shirt, I was working on and before I was even halfway through my computer bit the dust. Luckily I had saved what I did do to my external hard drive. The bad part is I lost all of my graphics software and had to had it off to a friend of mine to finish. He is also a local screen printer, Torbett Designs, and he also printed the shirts for us.

If you're wondering what the cost for a sweet Trail Gnome t-shirt is, it's 15 hours of local trailwork and you must log your hours at With all the work we have on tap there is plenty to do, a few of the shirts are already spoken for so if you're interested get one while the gettin's good.

Also on tap is our new NTMBA jersey that Anthony has laid down his superb graphics skill into. The topo map is of local origin, the Cherokee National forest. There will be matching short/bibs and Sock Guy socks. These are for sale so if you're interested visit The dealine for orders will be March 5th.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

brakes, who needs em?

I've always used Avid brakes and not for really anymore reason than it's just whats came on most of my bikes. With several mountain bikes in the bike room, to start adding a different brand would just make things a hassle. I've ran pretty much Juicy's for years with no issues, just change the pads and go, never had to bleed them. Then along came the Elixers, I bought a set for Melinda and they worked pretty well for the first couple of years so when I ran across a used set for what I thought was a good deal from a local I went ahead and scooped them up. Right off the bat I had to bleed them just to get them to work. Since I've had them less than 6 months and I'm looking at a 3rd bleed I think it's time to send them to an early grave. Change the pads, bleed the brakes, that pretty much sums up what I do with these brakes.

Since I bought the used ones, Melinda's Elixers have joined in on the bleeding party. It's been ridiculous and I'm seriously considering buying stock in DOT 5.1 brake fluid. The newest Elixers are supposed to have fixed this problem but since they are still new I'm not ready to take that chance.

Not wanting to dump more money into brakes that don't work properly I went ahead and pulled the trigger on not one but two sets of Shimano XT's. I've heard nothing but good reviews about them and I'm not talking about what the local yay-hoos have to say either.

If you're looking for a set of used hydros don't ask me if I'm selling the Elixers, I'm not going to sell them to anyone I know, knowing they're not worth a crap. I found out after I bought them that there was SRAM memo sent out about the bleeding issue but that was a little too late.

Friday, February 17, 2012

work is good

I've been working overtime, at least that's what it feels like. Not just the job I get paid for but everything in between and even though most of the work I've been doing doesn't pay me in cash it pays me in other ways like that sweet feeling of riding your bike trough the woods on singletrack you've worked hard on. It's totally different than riding a trail that someone else built, trust me.

This has probably been the wettest winter we've ever seen, I'm not sure which is worse a cold winter or a wet one. I think we've been able to ride more but only if you've been lucky to be off when the skies are dry. Those days I've been torn between, "Should I ride or should I spend time trying to get this trail finished?" I've tried my damnest to do both but one eventually ends up falling short, in my case it's been the riding.  I did try to sneak in a ride a couple of hours before the club meeting this week but half way through the ride we pulled the plug and went home due to muddy conditions. Honestly I thought it would have been dryer but I guess the whole "freeze thaw" was in full effect and I hate the thought of damaging the trail. I was off three days this week and it rained 2 out of 3 of them. The one dry day was right between the two rainy ones so I opted to do trail work. Me and another guy put in a solid 4 hrs of work finally getting the trail open. It felt really good to get it rideable but I later found out some yay-hoo rode it in the rain the next day no doubtly screwing up the work we had done. Who rides a brand new trail in the rain knowing full well it's not ready for that kind of abuse?

These pics are a couple weeks old and alot of work has been done since.

A sweet natural berm.

It's kind of hard to see but there is a small drop here. We actually ended up putting in two. They were there almost naturally, I just merely sculpted them into something fun to ride.

A little more polishing work to do and maybe some rock armoring here and there and I hope we can call it good. I'm ready to move on to the next project which is more on the maintenance side of things and be done until next fall, my trail tools could use the rest.

After we finished Wednesday I could barely move but knowing it was going to rain the next day and I would be at work all weekend I had to ride. I went home ate lunch, popped a couple ibruprophens and grabbed my bike to see how my handy work rolled. It felt good, the trail that is, a bit soft and in need of packing in but good flow. Me on the other had, by that evening I felt like I'd been hit by a truck.

Monday, February 6, 2012

trails and Madonna

It's been hella busy around these here parts, and the blog has suffered a bit. First things first, I finally figured out why the last 2 videos I posted would automatically start playing everytime I went to my blog. Two videos playing with two different songs at the same time can kinda be irritating I know and I apologize. The "auto play" button in the Vimeo settings got clicked on somehow, not sure why but it's been clicked off so no more annoying noise when you visit.

In trail related news, we've been hard at work trying to get all the necessary paperwork work filed for the many approvals we need to build new trails. Yeah sometimes you have to fill out applications and get letters of support just to build a trail. The trails in question are the additions we are trying to add on to Warriors Path. The land across the interstate is owned by TVA and was recently zoned by the TVA for recreational purposes. We have found a way to access this land via a small corridor under the I-81 bridge which is owned by TDOT. So basically we have to get permission by 3 different government organizations to build a couple of miles of trail. Imagine how slow moving and the amount of paperwork involved just to dig in the dirt, sheesh. It's worth it though, I just hope it happens in my lifetime.

There is more mountain bike club related going on lately but that's stuff I'll skip on discussing here in the blog. If you're interested in hearing, come to the club meeting next Monday. I'll fill you in on all the small details.

I'm trying to keep this post short as I've got a date with a bike shop mechanic. Melinda bought a Chris King headset for her BMC a few months ago but when she upgraded to the Niner it wouldn't transfer over because of the tapered headtube. Well I asked around and found I could order just the bottom portion of the headset to make everything work for her JET, yeah! I originally was supposed to have it installed last Friday but I managed to drive all the way over to JC with her bike leaving the necessary headset parts at home. I was too busy thinking about all the other crap I had going on and the other items I was taking with me that I walked out the door and forgot all about the headset. The good news is we finally sold most of the parts off her BMC, all we lack now is the frame. Know anyone looking for a high end women's specific frame?

I did watch the Super Bowl game last night, the first game I've watched since the last Super Bowl. It got exciting the last 10 minutes of the game. That's all I really have to say about it. Oh yeah and evidently MIA flipped off the camera during the halftime show upstaging an aging Madonna (if you caught it) who looked like she was going to fall down at any minute. It wasn't as bad as last year's Black Eye Peas performance but I did catch myself yawning during the show.

That's all for now........