Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Listen to me. NEVER buy a home that doesn't have a garage

I'm kicking myself for it right now. If I had a garage, I'm positive I could get both of our cars back up and running. But as it sits, the wife's '04 Altima sits immobile in the driveway with no way to get it to a buddy's garage. Wind chills in the single digits are condusive to 7pm tune-up and diagnostic sessions.

But thanks to computers and the internet, I am actually gaining more confidence in working on my own vehicles. Apparently, all newer vehicles have really simple, metal pieces and really complex computer pieces. The metal pieces tell you they're done with noises. Computer pieces tell you they're done when the car does NOTHING. Going to the auto parts store to buy a code reader today.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Anybody got a tractor?

Every one of my neighbors has a tractor with a scrape blade on it. The neighbor who illegaly cuts across my neighbors property line to access his property was even so arrogant as to scrape the 40 feet from his access to the main road. He apparently built a garage on the end of his house and started using it when the previous owner was very sick. He never got a right of way, so it's not on a deed and my neighbor hasn't pursued getting him blocked legally yet (don't think she's got the money). Absurd!

Anyway, our driveway is about 150 yards long and there's no way the wife can get her car out. My 4x4 gets in and out fine, but not without alot of technique. It's times like this that I'd love to own a little garden tractor to not have to depend on others. But that's not the case, so it looks like I'll be approaching a random neighbor (not the one mentioned) and begging an assist.

I really hate inconveniencing others in times like this, but it's not something a shovel will take care of. Say a little prayer. Weee!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cassidy's birthday party tonight!!!

Banged out a little trail play/exercise at lunch today and had one of those hilarious, awkward moments with a trail runner. He had his headphones on and head down, then looks at me with a big rock in my right hand that I've been tossing for "core" strength. He looked back down.

After work, I'm headed to Little Crappy pizza for some $5.00 larges for the party. I then hope to hide anonymously in the background as my daughter relishes her special time with a "Dinner & a Movie" them. We are using our churches Family Life Center to view UP on the big screen and dish out pizza, cupcakes and popcorn. The wife is a little genius!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Time to get the tiller

Wanting to play in the yard now that my first little turn "turned" out fun. I'm up to my neck in ground cover and bittersweet though, so the shovel is not cutting it. I'm going with the earth eater tiller to get the ground right. Feel free to join me.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Getting the itch to dig

All this fall weather and soft ground makes me want to dig. But is it worth it to make a little play area at my own house? If I had a couple buds who lived nearby we could have an awesome little pump track. Any takers out there?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lunchtime HiJinx

For 3-4 days a week, I go to the Mountains to Sea Trail to do a little "play" at lunch. I work right next to the Parkway and it's a good 20-25 minutes of monkeying around in the woods. I started doing it back in the spring when I read about a guy in Men's Health who trained athletes in South America to use their bodies they way they were meant to.

It's called MovNat http://movnat.com/ and you can google it, YouTube it or whatever. The great thing is that you can do the movements anywhere, anytime. It's great for me because the foundation is to NOT have a structure. Just find things to climb, crawl under, jump and sprint. The guy's name is LeCorre and the videos don't do it justice. I'd recommend reading the Men's Health article more than any other on him because it gives you a better grasp of the concept.

So today I spent 20 minutes "playing". I started by jogging down the trail for a second, then trying to climb a pretty big tree with really deep grooved bark. It was hard to hold onto..more of a bear hug. But it leans a little, so you can hook onto it. I realized I could use my feet on both sides to inch up it and man did it work me. Suddenly I was 9 feet or so up and just hopped down and sprinted down the trail.

I charge up a steep little incline and grab this big, flat, triangular rock that I leave laying off the side of trail and do a squat then launch it in front of me like a 2 handed shotput a bunch of times. Then get on the ground and do crab walks and switch into a spiderman crawl. Hop up. Grab the big rock over my head and walk with it about 40 yards and go back. Chuck it off the trail.

Next is my favorite...a skinny, angled tree that I can hang on for chin ups, pull ups, hang upside down on no handed, even jump off of. Then climb onto a 6 foot high angled boulder on the side of the trail and do offset push ups to help my balance. Jump to the ground. Jog up the trail back to the entrance, climb two tall skinny trees (one with a great limb to hang on) and drop from about 10 feet to the ground.

Stretch. Eat a sandwich. Work.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cassidy, 5 yrs old, stomped the VA Creeper Trail!

That's right. Saturday, we went with a large group from our church, Trinity of Fairview, and drove 2 hours to do the VA Creeper Trail. Apparently it's pretty long, as in epicly long, and we did the most trafficed section. It runs from Whitetop to Damascus and finishes out in the town right behind all the bike shops. http://www.adventuredamascus.com/CREEPER.HTM

You pay $11.00 for a shuttle to the top and are unsupported for 18 miles on a converted railroad bed. It's such a gradual grade that you don't ever use your brakes. Ryane pulled Charisma in a buggy behind her and took off at her own pace. I followed Cassidy and cheered her on.

Event highlights include Cassidy slipping off her bike and Ryane running into her with the wheel of the buggy, Cassidy doing tricks with daddy and wrecking, Charisma being relaxed, stopping at the river and eating lunch on these fantastic little docks and incredible scenery the whole way.

Just go do it. It beats a lame cruise on the parkway in a car any day! Any bike can do it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Up the mountain at 7:30am!!

Now that our 5 year old, Cassidy, is getting up at 6:30am every morning for school, it makes it simpler to be on the bike for a trail ride before work. But, boy did mother nature have a say in it. I hit a private gravel road near the house and did a quick 40 minute ride this morning on the DH bike. Climbing on a 40lb bike standing up for 20+ minutes wakes you up!

Hardest part was the last 100 yards uphill to the blazer. DH tires and tubes into a 15+ mile an hour head wind. Had a blast...now to wake up again after the caffeine has run it's course. Don't forget to look up at that crystal blue sky today. It's amazing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Caveman Mechanics Institute

So I backed into my own DH bike, had to jack my Blazer up to get it out and figure out what was bent. One spare handlebar, one direct mount stem swapped out for a Thomson that was going on anyway...and swapping a upper crown on my fork out for a spare old parts fork.

Only problem was that apparently for a week now, I've not realized I swapped out the upper crown, but didn't really. I got confused and had just slid the same one back on. I'd been banging my noggin trying to figure out what was bent still. I brought the bike in the house to look under the bright lights and noticed what I thought was the old one was way too clean to have come off a bike. So now....I want to ride.

7am it is!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

End Game.

This has been a week full of highs and lows. Starting last weekend, I raced the last reace of the Triple Crown www.triplecrowndh.com guilt free while the girls were with the grandparents getting spoiled and the wife studied in peace for tests.

I did great in practice, although I don't think I won practice in the slightest. I ran a decent qualifying run and came in 10th, dropping 7 seconds off my race 1 time, which had been my first race of the year and on a borrowed bike at that time.

I had a clean, smooth run taking all the biggest, fastest lines on course and was home free. Except my front wheel slid on the last 5 feet of slick and my front wheel went straight between the last 2 trees on course. It went in like a quarter slot, but I couldn't figure out how to pull the bike out b/c the wheel turned at an angle to the ground. After a long time, I got it. But I just gave up and hucked the last step down and coasted home mad as snot. But I got over it since being back on the DH bike is wonderful.

But then Monday, the very next day, I backed my Blazer into it and messed a bunch of parts up. Most are just damaged, not destroyed and the bike is OK. But I had to jack my truck up to get it out from under the rear bumper. My rear tire spun against the down tube and ate the sticker right off!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Just blinking awesome video!!!

Sometimes adrenaline oozes out of your pores when you watch something like this!

Pump Track World Championships:


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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Today is a Big, BIG DAY!!!

This morning Ryane and I took our 5 year old Cassidy to her first day of school and what a difference it is from pre-school at church. The list of things to do was huge and I even found myself at the store last night buying her a pair of shoes as we realized all she has that fit are flip flops.

But it wasn't as throat swelling as I pictured. We saw so many people we know in the community and from church as well. Cassidy has a few friends in her class too to ease the transition, so she was nervous but excited all the same. Such a bright smile on her face waiting to take on kindergarten. If anyone out there ever wants to feel like you've done something in life, get your kid to this point and feel pride like no other.

God Bless!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Triple Crown DH Race Report on the new bike


I had some kind of fun this weekend getting back on a bike that is all my own. I've been riding borrowed bikes from time to time when buddies are able and time allows. But I've not been able to truly pin it and feel comfortable on someone else's rig.

I got the Turner built up thanks to oh so many good friends help and literally finished building it in the parking lot Saturday morning. Maiden voyage went well thanks to the fact that DH bikes these days are getting closer to being idiot proof. Geometry, suspension, drivetrain...they all bolt on and go these days.

Saturday the track was twice as tacky as the first race, with grass off the slope and the soil down to the underlying hardpack, instead of loose mulch, topsoil, sod and goo. Even the bog at the bottom, although wet, was fast and rock solid. Since I was back on a Turner, I wanted to clip in again for the first time in 2 years. It was fantastic being able to float over roots and hold the rear wheel in place.

I even wound out sprints with no issues and didn't feel blown up for the first time in a long time. Maybe just the excitement of having my own bike again gave me the mental edge I needed to race hard again, or the comradarie and excitement of racing locally again.

Qualifying seemed kinda silly at first so I just sprinted around the corner, sat down and rode no handed, went around the first double, rode no handed on the lower straight..and clowned for the crown by doing an aero tuck into the finish. Popped off a 2:32, 3 seconds faster than my clean race run from race run and 8th fastest qualifier. But now I regret not doing a full speed run!

Race day came and I'd been dodging the top double jump thinking it wasn't costing me. Followed a buddy into it to see if I was right but got dropped by going around...a good 3 seconds!!! So next run, I went for it behind Greg and got it with a pedal crank. After that I didn't even pedal, just pump over it. So nice and so much faster.

My race run, I felt great. Charged it and then just fell down in a flat right hand grass turn. Took forever to get up, get back on and go around the rock under the slope...even saw a shrew turning into the woods, which was weird. But I finished the rest of my run trying to salvage some dignity for the crowd. I honestly had my name shouted top to bottom, so that cheered me up and some nutty guys chased me ON BOTH SIDES down the straightaway...so awesome!

Finished with a cruddy time, 1 second slower than the previous race at 2:36. Between gapping the double (2-3 seconds) and picking myself up off the ground, there was roughly 10-12 seconds to be had by staying upright, but that just doesn't count in a race run. The clock does not care what you "could" have done.

But I feel confident again in my riding and that I can maintain a great race pace again. The Dirty Bird is coming up and not the kind of course I shine on, but on the new bike, I like my chances for a good result. It's gonna be tight times and a clean run will mean everything. Should be a blast!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bike parts floating around

It's like I'm in a dream and there are bits and pieces of other people's pasts running around me. I call a buddy, ask for their parts run down, and then pick a piece worth using or that's compatible with my setup. Then I float onto the next guy's stash and pluck a part. Almost there and getting so very, very close. Need a good rear wheel and to save the last of my money up for the fork my buddy has stashed away and then I may be done.

I've been selling every oddball part I've had lying around and all the back up pieces from my days of serious racing that I "thought" might come in handy. I'm coming out OK thanks to people out there having so many extra parts off old bikes. It's a good day when your stuff converts into someone else's so easily. Used to, a used DH bike part was more useful as a paperweight.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

So it begins

Courtesy of the greatest guys to ever have a bike company, I present to you a frame made from ALL U.S. made parts. Now the hard part will be finding all the various bits and pieces durable enough to handle my riding style. Anyone interested in selling/barter/trading, drop me a line and we'll work something out. www.turnerbikes.com


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sanity and hope return

It's official. My mental status is directly tied to gravity and adrenaline. I don't think my brain can function without getting pumped like some gorilla from the movie Point Break! I rode shuttles last night with some great riding buddies and all is now well. I had to earn it though.

I pulled up for the ride with a leaking radiator and a flat rear tire. The borrowed bike in question has presta valve DH tubes and tubeless rims. It was almost impossible to get the tire off. Once off, I couldn't even patch it because the leak was directly where the metal valve stem goes into the tube. I dumped a boat load of Parks rubber cement on it, dropped it in the wheel. Then got Matt to finesse the tire back on. I then proceeded to squeeze more rubber cement down in the valve hole as a back up.

We get to the top and the tire is flat in less than 5 minutes. We pump it up to try to get a run in or something and it just hisses at us. I bailed and take up driver duties. At the bottom, a strange thing happens. The tire never lost all it's air????

SERIOUSLY...it hissed air like it was drilled and I never looked twice and neither did anybody else...but there it was holding air. Maybe my magic glue job wound up sealing off??? Rubber cement and the good graces of God above gave me my sanity and we banged out run after run til it was pitch black in the woods...Whoooo Hoooooo!!!!

Next news....my frame ships out today!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Just a crummy week

Tried to have fun on Fathers Day weekend but it refused to work out. All was well that my parents kept the girls, which is fun for the girls and a blessing for me and Ryane, so no complaints there.

We were even lucky enough to stay in a B&B for the night to unwind and get fed the next day, comped no less. But bills, car problems and stress just have me buried in a pile of anxiety and anger. I'm doing my best to snap out of the funk, but the bottom line is that money issues are trying to crush me under their weight.

I don't need money to be happy. I'm blessed with a fantastic family and church, but being in debt and struggling to survive is just taking a tremendous toll on me. I'll be so glad when we can work our way out of this debt and get back to just enjoying our girls.

God bless

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I am not an NFL safety

I learned this Friday morning. We stayed in a hotel on Thursday and I met the manager, a former semi-pro linebacker. Get this, his last name was Blocker! Great guy and in sick shape. I got antsy and football made me think of running stairs.

So I did what any other 36 year old former "athlete" would do....put in my time. I did all 7 flights in combos of single stair speed drills to the top, then back down, every other stair for power. Then I went for my final set of 3 step explosive stairs. I made it 6 of the 7 flights and was cooked. I kept at it doing a few plyometric jumps with both legs, 3 steps at a time.

I felt wobbly, but so excited to kick my own butt. The next morning is when reality stepped in and my legs refused to work. It's Tuesday and they're still sore to the touch, but I'd love to do it again. To loosen my legs up, SundayI did a quick climb up to Pinners Cove and down Merrells Cove on the road bike. Man, I wish I could find a DH trail down one of those two ridges to shuttle!!!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Crack the seal on the season

Probably should have written this earlier, but I find no joy in telling the world (all 1 of you reading this) that I sucked bad at the first real DH of the season. In the past, I've always had more natural ability on burlier courses, but this time was way different.

Massanutten is all about the first straight pull. I lolly gagged off the start, then threw down the power on the gravel road that is this race's defining element. Crank it and then flow your run and you post a good time, plain and simple.

But was I in for it! I cranked it out and laid down the power, popped up the little bank and then from there on it was a nightmare. My arms were rigid like after a 30 minute moto on a KX125. Legs were fine but I could not hold a line in any of the straight forward turns or keep it tracking straight on the bumpy straight aways. I'd turn a few cranks of the pedals and then plow like a 2.5" wide bulldozer, kill my speed and use a good 2 different lines in a turn....just awful.

My body didn't loosen up until I hit the speed trap and I was able to blast the last section. It was almost anti-climatic to see Mueller. I knew it meant he'd thrown it all on the line and either blown off course bad or flatted. You just never want to see a racer put it all out there and not be able to finish strong.

I had a fun time though and met lots of riders new to the sport. My retinas got burned a few times by guys who suddenly are OK wearing full moto kits again (thank you World Cuppers for that trend). Bleach is the order of the day. I just don't get how guys can dig pedaling around in 80 degree heat and a jumpsuit. In BMX, long pants are required. In moto, they're necessary. In DH, it's just silly.

Anyway, I'm headed to the Turner demo this weekend and a date with the new DHR I've got reserved. More on that later!

God Bless!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rainy Day shuttles

After a fun filled evening of Cassidy's team whalloping the ball (4,5,6 yr old coach pitch) Friday, they headed off to grandma's house Saturday. Ryan had studying to do and I got a last minute call in to latch onto a shuttle.

And, oooooh what a shuttle it was. I've gotten to ride so many trails since I started back in '93. To be shown a new shuttle in a place I should have tried out years ago is a shame in one way and a total thrill in another. Complacency breeds boredom and new trails are more exciting than any other kind of riding there is.

We rode all morning (early start was awesome) and I rode my trail bike with XC tires. That was a little bit of a mistake since I flatted twice, but both came at the bottom of the trail, so it was all good. I should have put DH tires on, but see above note about the early start as to why I forgot. All in all, I rode with 4 guys I've never met before, saw one MASSIVE pile of bear poo, fell on my head on flat ground once and got 3-4 pounds of mother earth in my gear in a steady, jungle type drizzle on great trails.

Topped it off by showering up, taking Ryane to dinner at Stir Fry Cafe www.stirfrycafe.com and some awesome green curry Thai chicken and possible the worst movie I've seen in a long, long time Personal Effects (dramatic staring movie). Hah hah!!

Just an awesome day! God Bless!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Easy pedal up...LAME ride down!

Got to Bent Creek around 6pm last night, parked at Hardtimes and headed straight for 5 Points. I took my time, planning on really mashing and sprinting on the way back down either Greens Lick or SideHill to Wolf Branch. I debated hitting Greens Lick, but I missed dinner with my little girls the other night, so I took the short route down Side Hill.

Straight out the gate from 5 Points, I got some really good hang time in the air and kept my speed checked. It's REALLY grown up and narrow up top. At the last piece of the steep, I pulled up and cleared the last little hump to backside and transitioned all the way down the bank clean. I was so excited and stood up to sprint out of the first dip and around the curve.

PLINK!!! My pedal just snapped the spindle like it was made by Willy Wonka in the candy cane kingdom....bummer. I had to coast straight back down to the car. Had some dangerous one footed drifts on the gravel was all.

I was kinda bummed and said hello to Van Rogers of SORBA, got to hear a guy's little girl snoring like a chainsaw in her bike cart and helped re-direct a guy who's not ridden in 4 years directions up to his "favorite" ride....5 Points. Plus, the guy with the little girl pointed out that at least I didn't get hurt when it broke.

So, all in all, I lost out on my ride, but I helped a guy and got reminded of the positives of my pedal breaking at an opportune time, rather than if I'd decided to make my girls wait and hit the dozens of high speed jumps on that same pedal.

Friday, April 17, 2009

24 Hours of Bliss

It's been seven days of restraint from "activities" and the waiting period is OVER!

I'm proud to say that I resumed all activities, both social and physical. Man, that was easier than I thought. The bike ride at 7:30am this morning wasn't bad at all either!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Time off the bike! Native Trout Beware!

I've announced it to anyone who would listen in the days leading up to and after that I was getting neutered. I had a vasectomy Friday April 10th, a very meaningful day in history, Good Friday, the day Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice.

April 10th was also my dog's 10th birthday (who's neutered too) and to celebrate, he's molting. Lucky for me, the procedure still leaves me with twig and berries intact. They took his juevos, but left mine intact.

Anyway, since I'm not able to copulate for 7 days or do strenuous things like riding, it's off to Fontana and the Great Smoky Mountains with my dad and a big group from church. Dad and I are branching off and hitting the cool, shaded streams of Hazel Creek, deep inside the forest where no cars may go. It's particularly sentimental because my grandmother was borned and spent her childhood at the mouth of this blessed river!


Unfortunately, thanks to the war effort, the TVA booted my family from their birth right and built the lake. But that is another story. Look up the mountain town of Proctor sometime to learn what a real hard life was like! Here's one man's account of his "MAMAW", just like mine:

The fishing is second to none because these fish are wild, not stocked...and not stupid. I could care less about the fish. I just want to go back to my roots.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Good times at the Clemson DH race

Well, the old man has lost a step but on a tiny course like this it seems almost insignificant. Herndon with a time just under 1:25 with a cluster of buddies seperated by 10ths of seconds on a manual stopwatch between 1:30 and 1:34. With the hesitation of a thumb, you could be 5th or 15th. Fun, fun time!

The course was just a luge run for a bicycle with tons of high speed, packed berms with some being over waist high! It's put on by a group of college students at the university with such a passion for speed and fun. Once oyu got into the turns, you didn't want to stop or touch the brakes for right, left, right, left action like no other.

There were several photographers who snapped fantastic pictures that give great perspective. Check 'em out:

Brado's Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/brado1/sets/72157616309567619/
Zach Suggs Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/zsuggs/sets/72157616436467596/

Friday, April 3, 2009

Picking up my helmet tonight

Just in time for Clemson. Got sent a teaser pic of it with just base coat, no clear yet. Looking clean and simple, just like I like it!!!

paint courtesy of Shayne Jordan! More pics to come tonight with my cheapo camera!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A ride in the morning muck...and wild horses attack!!

It was nice and warm thsi morning and I was jonesing to ride, so I hit a trail nearby and as I climbed a section of pavement, 4 horses came FLYING out of the woods at full sprint up onto the road 10 feet in front of me in the pouring rain. A red truck locked up brakes and nearly mangled one.

After several minutes of pretending to be a cowboy, I had the gate of the field they had stopped at the edge of open, but they wanted no part of it. I don't know if they were at the right pasture, but I knew the road was death. They ran from me up a hill and I started to close the gate.

Next thing I know, all 4 come bearing back down the hill at me and I whip the gate back open and wave them toward it (have no idea what I'm doing). They dash away from me toward the open gate....and there sits my bike!!!! SNOT! They all hurdle it like it's nothing and the day is saved and on with my ride. Yayyy!

Top that!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A great start to a BAD weekend

Saturday, my parents came over and I got to run out for a ride on Kitsuma. Before leaving, I felt like I hadn't slept good and kinda weary. The trail was in fantastic shape and devoid of any other riders. Tacky, smooth, fast...oh, the joy! At the gate to old Hwy 70, I saw a sign that just made me shake my head in frustration: "Downhill skaters, please use caution!"

Wow! I hate that they paved old 70. It made no sense to me why you would run an ugly strip of black top up an existing concrete road bed and call it a "trail". Just a joke. It takes a 15 foot wide, old concrete road that was perfectly fine and narrows it to an 8 foot wide piece of black, blistering hot eye soar. And now cyclists FLY down it while people with baby strollers push up it in half the corridor at twice the speeds. And now skateboarders are ripping it up. Stupidity and narrow mindedness!

Anyway, the whole ride was so much fun and when I got back to the truck, I felt a little woozy from the effort. At first I thought it was the heat and my hard effort. But when I got home, I hit the shower and everything went downhill. My head, shoulders, eyeballs, neck, back, even my brain ached. I spent the next 36 hours sleeping, tossing and turning, sivering, hurting, showering some more...and sleeping! Just a wicked virus of epic hostility. I'm just starting to feel a little better this morning, even though my eyeballs feel like they're gonna pop. Ick!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Countdown to Clemson - A borrowed pic says it all

I'm pretty sure this pic was pilfered from Brado, but it explains what's so darn fun about that wonderfully manicured hill that is Clemson's DH Track. 3 berms, 1 pic....nothing else you can say!

www.clemsonfreeride.com and click on EVENTS.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Horse trails are 'sorta' fun to ride in the morning!

Nothing much to report today. I woke up in time to take a short ride near the house this morning. It was a steam bath of gorilla mist and cool breezes and a little sanity on the climb. Plus I got the hook-up on a set of brakes from a casual friend and for the first time in 9 months, no brake drag. That might sound trivial to some, but I've had ghetto brakes front & rear with 2 bent rotors and non-functional pads forever that make my bike a noisy drag on climbs and pathetic to stop.

Anyway, the trail back down was well used by the horses, no doubt doing just like me and hitting the trails hard in the good weather. Damp horse trails are like riding in wet beach sand and poo...challenging, rewarding, filthy, slow! hah hah. But I'm happy to be riding!!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Heartbreak Ridge with Matt Griffin

Saturday was play day for me. Ryane was at the Biltmore house with her friend and the girls were with grandma for the night. The plan was to do some DH runs with Mueller & crew, then meet Ryane at 5:30 to get in an awesome date night.

1pm rolled around with no call from Mueller, so I assumed they were MIA and sleeping in like college dudes do. No biggie since Matt was ready at the drop of a hat to check out the brutal old toll road to Heartbreak Ridge. We even set up a mini-shuttle at the bottom of Mill Creek to cut out the climb up to Ridgecrest.

I wasn't my fittest ever, but felt fine and had plenty of food. But at the 2nd hunting cabin my thighs cramped so bad, I couldn't even walk the bike. Called out for Matt, but he was rolling on like an animal. It kept up for the rest of the ride and I was in MISERY. I wasn't dehydrated or hungry with plenty of food and water. Then the hamstrings hit within 2 miles of the top, forcing me off the bike for good.

Up top, we were running SO late. We ran into 3 latino males (cop speak) walking in seperate directions with huge army duffells on their backs, one headed toward a closed parkway alone? On the DH, I was in for much worse. My quads seized, forcing me to sit down for about 80% of the descent. On the flat pedaling, my inner thighs cramped forcing me off and to the ground again!

We made it to the bottom at dark and I locked us out of my truck. Matt was forced to hammer the climb up Mill Creek Rd in the pitch black while I stood there shivering like an idiot.

In the end, I was 3 hours late to meet my wife, who was scared I had become a statistic. She's still upset, but glad I was safe. Now I remember why I've always done that ride in the morning...with a GROUP!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dragging along

Lost a little motivation during that brutal cold snap and fighting to get it back this week. Wish me luck!

Haven't been so mopey in a long time. I just keep seeing everyone else riding their DH bikes, showing off their new builds and it kills me that I'm sitting here without my buddy of 15 years, a DH rig.

I've gotten to the point where I contemplated last week selling my road bike and my trail bike to start amassing money for a DH bike. The wife smacked some sanity back in me on that one though. Gotta work harder!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My DH bikes and race kits through the years! Wow.

My First ever National. Borrowed the goggles from Toby Henderson, bought a billet 46 tooth big ring that day, the helmet was free. Spandex and a t-shirt. Airwalk clipless BMX style shoes (first of their kind).

Year Two. Top of the line helmet with visor, riding glasses, White Bros coil springs(no MCU) and damper, BMX flats, moto pants, shop sponsor jersey, moto gloves, V brakes!

Year Three. Mt. Snow 1997. Full face helmet w/ detachable chin piece. Tinted lens (useless), Shimano DH shoes & pedals, Intense DH/FR Uzzi (4.5" front/6" rear). Magura Hydro Rim Brakes! Free Maxxis Mobsters, Sun Rhyno rims. Thought I was the stuff w/ the grassroots Intense XC jersey. Answer DH armor underneath. No chain!

Year Four. Mt. Snow 1998. Same frame, upgrade to 6" Boxxer. First gen. Hayes disc brakes, DH shorts & DH knee/shin pads. New Shop...still an XC jersey. Legit DH helmet.

Fast Forward. Plattekill 2001. My first LEGIT DH bike. Big course...high speeds! Flimsiest rear end ever made!! But FAST in a straight line.

Sugar Mtn AMBC 2002. Sponsors galore. Free stuff. Pro deal stuff. Custom jersey. Team only colored frames. Mr. Dirt self seizing chainguide! A first year production upside down fork that seizes at the sight of mud! A reasonable 7.5" of rear travel! Light, fast, tech! Best year of racing EVER!

Skip 2003 til I can find the lost pics! Move on to 2004 and the most beautiful frame Turner ever made. Retired the ancient helmet and went to a full on matching kit w/ gloves, goggles, helmet, jersey and shorts. Finally broke down and bought upper body armor! Technology of suspension is ALMOST there. It's now the time of boat anchor 8" travel forks (top crowns that chopper the bike to the sky) and oil bath shocks that dials that often actually work. That is when they aren't breaking shock shafts. And the wonderful new frustration of 1.5" to 1 1/8" reducer headsets. Flush mount or not to flush mount? E13 saves the drivetrain...HOOOORAY!!!

Year of the Stormtrooper: 2005 Not just any old DH bike. Remote reservoir, custom designed rear shock specific to the frame. Works 888 with flat crowns...finally. Full on, fully adjustable and completely tuneable front and rear suspension. A bike worthy of being called a race bike. Not one broken part all year long. Geometry that is perfect. Unfortunately, bearing for ISIS BB's still shat themselves monthly even if steel pedal inserts don't allow the pedals to flake off on contact.

Vanity! 2006 and all it's excess. The bike and kit that reflects the excesses of my life. A Demo8 decked out to 11! Industry Nine wheels, Fox DH40, Cane Creek Double Barrel, externall BB's and bombproof cranks, fully adjustable brakes, gaudy kit, shiny white gloves and a love of the camera. The bike that could go faster than I ever could. What a shame...

2007 - The year it all came around. The kit goes from 1 extreme to the other, gaudy to subtle. And so does the bike. Not much to say really. The bike is sorted from the factory with great geometry, no pivot issues, shifting, braking and suspension are no brainers. Amazingly it took 13 years to get DH bikes to the point where thy simply work and do their job EVERY DAY!

Quit the process!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Looking back on old pics

I found several pictures from over the years and now that I've got a scanner, I'll be posting them as one. It should show a progression of me the rider, the equipment and the riding over time if I piece it together right.

In the meantime, here's a pic I spotted on my hard drive that sums up why I love racing.

I think everyone can relate to moments like this with your good friends....

Monday, January 26, 2009

Why I did what I did

This weekend, my parents kept the girls so Ryane and I hit the road exploring. We went to Hot Springs http://www.hotspringsnc.org/ to see what it's all about. 45 minutes on the road and now we know. The town straddles the French Broad river and the Appalachian Trail passes right down the main street. The actual hot springs are piped up and the tubs. Naturally heated mineral water straight out of the springs is said to revive the spirit and senses.

It looked like the perfect treat for AT weary hikers so we're thinking we'll try to do a day hike into town, drop in the hot springs, eat and hike back out.

After poking our noses around, we hit the road to Waynesville on Hwy 209. The old guy at the gas station said "It takes 1 hour on really curvy roads and farm country." I'm used to being quoted Cadillac clock time, but he quoted me local boy time. I've driven so many crazy roads in my life, but none topped this one for remoteness. To think people choose to live on such steep, remote terrain is odd. Everything is so steep and gorge like, there's no room for gardens. Just some rugged, worn down old houses and nothing else.

We checked out downtown Waynesville and ate at an awesome little jazz bar/coffee lounge/wine bar/sandwich place on Main Street. It was great, the food was cheap and the place was just classy. No arrogant waiters, snobby trust funders...just warmth, romance and delicious wraps! Go figure.

Needless to say, our marriage got an awesome jolt of energy and helped recharge both of our batteries. Staring into your wifes eyes really does do wonders to calm the soul! I just wanted quiet, relaxing time with no itenerary with my babe and I'm so LUCKY!

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Monday, January 12, 2009

When gadgets become artwork

This awesome weapon came in the brown Santa's sleigh today and I am just in awe. Gone are the days when I was amazed at how a Salsa QR seatpost was able to actually hold my seatpost as tight as a single bolt. We're past that now!

Everyone who knows me and rides with me can attest that I'm the king of raising and lowering my seatpost. I can't stand riding fun and fast descents with a seatpost in my brat & potatos! I drop that bad boy at every decline. To get to use this thing is a dream!!!! What makes it all the more exciting is that it's built solid. You know there are things that you get out of the box and just smile.

It's the feeling of a guy who's spent 15 years riding hard, breaking gimmicky crap and has finally reached the point in the sport where his parts are built to handle what he can dish out!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Random bits from the holidays

It's going on Wednesday and the holidays have lulled my brain into slumber. BUT....it's always fun to reflect when you've got a pic of Kenan doing this at the "end" of a ride:

Never one to be outdone on a ride...I had to go bigger:

Anyway, back to the holidays. Apparently I was given this bad boy as my present and boy did I go to town on the Hersheys brown:

Is it possible to have too much chocolate?

To top off the sinful weekend, we loaded up the girls for what was supposed to be a quick hike to a little scenic overlook. Not having had a nap, Charisma immediately transformed into a human backpack until the summit. But upon the mention of ice cream at the bottom, she ran almost the whole way back down from the summit! If you've never eaten at the Hershey's ice cream parlor in Chimney Rock...you are missing out.

Oh, and last but not least, Drexel...a.k.a. D-Rex has a pinched nerve from a slipped disc and spent the greater part of the holidays in a whimpering ball of pain, but is doing much better for now. We can only hope it doesn't continue to recur.

Since a blog is random and the title of this is...random bits from the holidays...it's time to mention the best part. My sweet cousin Cynthia Mayo and I planned a surprise visit for my mom's birthday. It played out perfectly and I finally got my mom a present that mattered.

Merry Christmas. Most of all....Happy Birthday to Jesus Christ.