Wednesday, August 29, 2012

more new river gorge blah blah blah

As promised I've got more words about our trip to the New River Gorge. Sunday we got up, errr I got up early and began to cook a big breakfast for all the STC kids. Pancakes and bacon were on the menu. I tried to get things underway hoping help would arrive soon but disaster struck as I'm used to cooking turkey bacon and not the real deal and the grease was beginning to overwhelm me. Cooking 4-5 lbs of bacon on a small camping stove is a difficult thing to do. In a panic I sent out a flurry of text messages to sleeping campers asking for assistance.

After breakfast we began gathering our riding gear and bikes as a few non-campers rolled into town for a day-trip ride. Our original Sunday ride plans included some scenic trails that cruised along the Gorge got cancelled in favor of a repeat of Saturday's ride for those who didn't get to ride the Arrowhead system on Saturday. No big deal, it's super fun trail system and Melinda and I were there until Monday so I figured we would sneak in the Gorge trails sometime.

Monday morning I headed down to the campground office to see about extending our stay into the late afternoon to squeeze in some more riding and lake time. Most campgrounds will allow this for a small fee but unfortunately for us the unruly campground host was manning the office and fubarred our fun for the day. She insisted that we would have to pay for a full night's stay, $33 just to stay a couple of hours extra. Once again I had to fight the urge to show this lady my middle finger and say a few choice words in her direction. Instead I said muttered a thanks, un-liked to them on Facebox and vowed never to camp there again.

We toyed with the idea of parking the ECO at the trailhead but I was super nervous about there not being enough room to turn around and backing that thing up blindly was not sounding good to me. Instead we opted for a day at the lake with Moonshine where there was plenty of large truck/trailer parking.

Also as promised, my Go Pro footage from Saturday's ride. I wanted to shoot more but I ran out of battery juice and forgot my back up at the campground.



Monday, August 27, 2012

new river gorge or bust

A week or so ago we hitched up the ECO and headed north into "wild and wonderful" West Virginia for our local club camping trip. It's a yearly event that's taken us to Warrior Creek for the past two years so we figured we were due for a change.

A couple of months ago Melinda and I drove up for the day to the New River Gorge area to do a bit of scouting. The trails were great and the area beautiful but what we saw in the local campgrounds, not so much. After multiple visits around town we finally had to call it quits and head home to finish our research via the interent. Our conclusion after a week landed us with reservations a few minutes up the road at a campground near Summersville Lake. We booked our sites 2 months in advance to insure we would have enough room for our motely crew of sometimes rowdy mountain bikers. Rumor has it, this group was nearly evicted from a state park in VA. for having a little too much fun.

Fast forward 2 months we were packing up and ready to leave town when I realized our campground played a bit of "let's switch up the campsites" and not tell anyone. Some were ok with it, some were not. A few heated conversations were had and the campground host involved declared that it was her right to do as she saw fit. Whatever lady, we took it with a grain of salt and delt with it. Unfortunately that wasn't our only issue with her. The campground itself was nice and so were most of the folks who worked there except for one badly balding older lady who thought she was queen bee.

At one point I thought Melinda was going to grab her by what was left of her hair and drag her into the street but she played it cool and we opted to ignore her as best we could.

Though the weekend got off to a bumpy start we didn't let it slow us down. We ate alot of pizza, consumed several adult beverages, (some made with corn), burned alot of firewood and rode the hell out of the local trails. On Saturday we started the ride with the Arrowhead trails not far from downtown. A stacked loop that was super tight, full of twists and turns, never really allowing you time to pick your nose or you would find your handlebars wrapped around a tree.

The trails were smooth in most sections, fast and begged to be ridden fast. The faster you rode the more intense the ride, it was a blast.

After we covered most of the Arrowhead loops we headed back to the parking lot to regroup and refuel. Most had brought a pb&j but with the local pizza and beer joint within riding distance via singletrack we opted to roll into town. The Fayetteville trails which connected downtown to the Arrowhead trails were more on the old school side. Gut busting climbs and screaming, ass off the back descents with plenty of roots & rocks to make you grin. I'm not sure which was more fun, the lunch ride or the loops, it was a close match.

As we decended into town, poor Mike Boggs had a make session with a bee which landed a real doozy on his upper lip. Unable to swat him off for fear of loosing control he opted to bite the bee into and spit it out. Luckily for Mike he's not cardiac arrest allergic but he was allergic just enough to make his upper lip swell to epic proportions. Once we hit town, Mike made a bee line, (no pun intended) for a pharmacy to pick up some benadryll.

After several benadryll were consumed we crossed the street and headed into pizza heaven. Pies & Pints the local gourmet pizza joint did not disappoint. It doesn't hurt that they have several excellent beers on tap along with a few local micro brews. They say Fayetteville is America's coolest small town and I think they might just be right.

After a monsterous amount of pizza was consumed we headed back to the singletrack and proceeded to find our way back to the trailhead. Having a belly full of pizza and Bridgework's Kolsh does not sit well on a steep climb.

More tomorrow and some Go Pro footage of the Arrowhead trail system. I just put the finishing touches on the video and it should be available for your viewing pleasure sometime tomorrow.

stay tuned...........

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I'm cooler than you, in my mind.

There is alot of really cool stuff coming down the pipe from bike companies right know, when I say cool I mean the stuff like weird colors and other stuff that's different not all that tech crap or the rebirth of grip shift. I dig the odd ball crap from companies like Surly who are constantly throwing up their middle finger to the mainstream crowd that insists of having the fastest, lightest, carbon this or that in only red, black or titanium.

I noticed the other day a few tidbits of info via the Facebox, that Surly is rolling out some new colors, one being what they're calling "Hospital Foam" on the Cross Check. What color specifically that is, I dunno but my mind is throwing out hues in the tan/orange/yellowish/cream color spectrum. My favorite so far has been the Robin Egg blue which has been hugely popular. I know of 3 local kids with it. Also with the release of the new "Krampus", a fat tire 29er, they just keep upping the "I'm cooler than" you factor.

Then as if the funky color teasers from Surly weren't enough, Independant Fabrications came out with an Easter Egg purple fully rigid steel 29er.

 Too many cool bikes and not enough bills in my wallet, it's the story of my life. I've been drooling over a Surly Crosscheck for as long I can remember but life just keeps getting in the way of me pulling the trigger. I don't do CX and my commute is too dangerous to ride a bike so I haven't come up with a good enough reason to add yet another roadie to my collection of bikes. What I need to do is dump my Masi and replace it with the Surly. Deep down inside I know I don't need aluminum or carbon, I'll never race it or be a serious roadie. I'll always just be the occasional road rider and why not do it in true "I don't give a rat's ass style".

On a more serious note, Niner has announced sometthing new is coming down the pipe. Mum is the word on what, but it is a new bike, the rumors are either a carbon RIP or carbon WFO. Both would be totally sweet but the RIP seems to be the one that would make the most sense. The all-mountain/trail market seems to be moving to carbon. Check out the teaser video for yourself that Niner put out there to, really tease us.

On a sad note the hunks of junk we call our work bikes here at work are about to disappear. Somewhere some dummy wrecked in our company while trying to ride down railroad tracks and the higher ups in our safety dept. have deemed bicycles as a safety hazard. There are all sorts of rumors flying around, like the guy leading this charge didn't get the bike he wanted for Christmas when he was 11 so he's taking his anger out on us peons that do actually ride bikes here at work. We use them for all sorts of reasons, carrying tools, making trips to the shop to get parts or fittings that we need in a hurry and just plain ole transportation. It's really ridiculous and I wish I had a say in the decision but I don't and its a shame really.

That's enough for now, I've got plenty of work to do. The New River Gorge trails, ECO, and a campfire surrounded by my bike riding buddies is calling my name.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

scratching in the dirt for ideas

It's Saturday and I'm at work...... again. Bleh.

Last night's down pour made me feel a little better, it's pretty rough sitting at work during the weekend knowing there is a big ride going down somewhere out in the woods and all your friends are there to experience it except you. I was totally ready to call in a vacation day this weekend had the plans been laid down but they never came and it's probably a good thing as it's likely to be a mess out there. I seriously doubt I'm missing too much.

A month or so ago I decided I needed to mix up my routine a bit, that and up my game. Things are coming along nicely so far but I've not been out running as much as I'd like to. There were a couple of mornings when I was coming off of nightshift and had plans to squeeze in a run before hitting the bed but I talked myself out of it. Not sure why but I did, I think the long shifts started to wear on me after a couple of days and my motivation flew out the window. Taking a couple days off should recharge my batteries and get me back into the groove, hopefully.

Lately I've felt the burn out effect, I don't think I'm the only one. Burn out from my local trails that is, you know when you've ridden the same trails over and over all summer with very little change? Yeah I'm feeling that, it's part of my reasoning for wanting to switch things up. I did have 2 seperate plans to ride a specific local trailhead this week and rather than go and trudge through the same old same old, I mixed it up a bit, took different lines, slowed the pace down a little and explored some. I wasn't exploring as in riding un-chartered territory but more of exploring new lines, ideas for new lines and places or features to jump, slide through or ride over. It's funny how you can ride through a certain section of trail week after week and never see that rock or root or natural berm/lip that can make your ride that much more fun and exciting. Slowing down and stopping to smell the trail can really open up your eyes to fun and exciting things, even if you've ridden that trail a hundred times.

There is a section of trail on Chestnut at Bays Mountain Park that's all downhill, swooping fast and bermed in a few places. It's a fast section and if you've got the guts to lay off the brakes it can be one helluva thrilling ride. A few of the locals have started a sort of contest where they see who can coast, without pedaling down this trail and go the farthest on momentum only. No one stops to fool with removing chains, it's all honor. I've joined in recently and it's alot of fun, just when you think you've had an awesome run and you're going to beat your last distance you end up coming up short with you last run just a few feet away. I'm left scratching my head wondering what tree or turn was it I pulled on the chicken shit brake levers for. Did I go too high on that berm? Did I loose momentum trying to jump everything that looked like a jump? I dunno but it happens and it makes me want to turn it around and go back for another run.

Back on the subject of trail features, all of this stopping to smell the trail whooha has got me thinking, thinking of new things to build. Not really new trails but new features to add to trails and ways to improve what's there. I probably should be writing this down as ideas come to mind but who knows if I'll ever have time to make any of it happen. There was so much I had planned to do last year that never got done. Time flies when your out digging in the dirt and I'm itching so bad for the weather to cool off so I can get out and about and scratch in the dirt with my trusty Rogue Hoe.

Come on Fall!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Slickrock Trail - Video recap

I think I may be getting the hang of this blogging thing again.

I took a few minutes, well actually alot longer than that, to put together another video from my footage of our riding out west in Utah. This video is from the famous Slickrock Trail.

While the Slickrock Trail is cool and definitely unique due to the fact that you're riding a smooth rock surface for about 98% of the time it definitely wasn't my favorite ride out there. I enjoyed it for sure but let's just say it was it was a weird experience.

When I thought Slickrock I imagined myself soaring all over the trail swooping and flying up and down the sandstone. It wasn't like that at all, it was more like crawling up and down and across steep slopes of hard sandpaper. Go down anywhere and you're likely to loose some skin. I can image the locals who ride this one regularly, really go though the tires.
Don't get me wrong if we go back I'll do it again and I'm sure with practice it gets faster and more fun. It's definitely one of those must do trails if visiting the area. I've never rode anything like it.

I've still got 2 more videos worth of footage to put together so stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

rain delay

I'm trying to keep this thing on a roll here. Blogging that is and hopefully once I get into the swing of things maybe my blog posts will become entertaining again? Hopefully.

Yesterday's ride was a total freaking washout. The Tuesday group ride has pretty much been a bust this summer due to rain. It's been hard to keep things consistant with the occasional pop up T-storm that seems to hit every Tuesday at 6pm. That and coupled with my work schedule that keeps me away once a month I've never had a decent showing.

I sat around the house all day yesterday, not really sat around, I did stuff but I could have gotten in a good long ride during the day when the sun was shining but no I waited until 6pm hoping for a good group ride rather than going it solo as usual. I eyed the radar and weather channel and all seemed good until I stepped foot into the parking lot at the trailhead. Before I could even get both bikes off the truck we heard that distant rumble that's plagued us all summer.

I took a quick glance at the radar and it confirmed my guess, it wasn't a distant train wreck that we'd heard. A pop-up t-storm had appeared out of no where and was bearing down on us like an angry bear. I was determined to ride something even if it was only for 15 minutes so I conned Melinda into getting on her bike and heading down the first trail for as long as possible with the intention of turning it around as soon as it looked bad.

As we barreled forward through the woods we passed a friend who was making a mad dash back to the parking lot, and he gave us a puzzled look as if we were crazy. I confirmed his suspicions with a crossed eyed look and a mumble about the beautiful weather and took off before he could say anything else.

About 5 minutes later we were stopped dead in our tracks with a deafing boom. We hadn't made it as far as I'd hoped but that was definitely our signal to turn it around and do it quick. We made it out unscathed and into our truck just before Mother Nature unleashed one helluva storm.

With nothing else to do we headed home and cracked open a couple of Rangers and tried out our new fancy matching N.B. glasses we scored for free at a beer tasting.

Something about a fancy glass just makes a good beer taste even better. It's probably in my head but after posting this pic on the facebox I'll probably have to hide them when friends come by.

Today I'm determined to give it another go, we have yet another group ride this afternoon at 5:30 and the chance of rain is 10% less than yesterday. If this one gets rained out I may just call off the group rides all together or at least until the afternoon t-storm season is over.