Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I threw a new tube in my front tire last night and took the Drunken Monkey out for an Urban Assault. I pumped up the old tube and let it lay around while I was out.

I finally found a clean line down a tricky set of steps in Reedy River Park. It was pretty fun being out on the town. I have a really great UA route now. I need to try and get some people together and make this a weekly happening. Any takers?

When I came back home the tube was still perfectly inflated. That leads me to the conclusion that the bit of mud on my rim strip plus the soapy water killed my seal between the tire and rim Sunday.

Kristin and I went out to the Congaree National Swamp on Sunday. We did a really fun hike. The water was a ton higher than the last time we were there. Last time we saw these stalagmite looking roots everywhere:

This time they were mostly underwater. It was pretty cool knowing what was under there.

The park boasts that it has six of the world’s largest trees for their particular species. One is the loblolly Pine. Here is a picture of the world’s second largest Loblolly Pine.

From the angle I took the picture any tree would look big but trust me this tree is huge.

One last note, one of my good riding buddies in Greenville thought he was having minor ACL surgery and it turned into total re-construction. Take care of that leg and get well soon!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Lighter View

How would I explain my moment of Zen Biking right now? I am not on the Drunken Monkey so I can’t tell you.

I guess the hip thing to do, would be to talk about the boring race that’s coming up. I really hope the Icycle holds true to its name. I love watching cold southerner’s run around in the snow. Right now the forecast is calling for flurries on Saturday. Yaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Here is the latest. Since I purchased the Exi-wolves, I have never had a trail flat but Sunday my front tire went flat while cleaning my bike. Yes, that’s right I was actually washing my bike with soap and water (rare, even more rare than a steak ordered by a Mountain Lion) when I picked up the bike and noticed the front tire was awful squishy.

It could have been on the trail or something I did during the cleansing but I didn’t inspect the tube. Not yet at least. I will throw a new tube in there tonight and see what happens.

TD’s post piqued my interest. Ever since I bought the Drunken Monkey I have only had one complaint. I wear size 12 extra wide cycling shoes and I pedal like a duck walking through the forest (this means I pedal heals in for those of you who don’t get it.) Because of this, the inside of my shoes rub against the chain stays at the bottom of my frame. Don’t believe how much they rub?

Yes, that is a little more than six months worth of polishing steel. That little cable guide that is on the drive side reeks havoc on my shoe as you can see.

I need to have that guide cut off. I will show my ignorance here, I wasn’t sure if cutting that piece off would effect the integrity of the steel in any way. Now I understand that when done properly, it should be an easy fix.

This is something that will stay implanted in my mind when buying another bike. So that’s the next question. Is it actually possible to heat and temper those steel stays again to shape them inward and pull the rubbing out of the equation all together? My un-educated answer is probably not easily if it is possible at all.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Last Dance With Mary Jane

I don’t normally make posts about my personal thoughts on employment or really any life happenings besides outdoor activities. This one warrants it as it is bike related.

Grab a mug of your favorite beverage and settle in, this is a long one.

Let me set the scene.

Two weeks ago my truck took a rock to the windshield. I have yet to call the insurance company to take advantage of the SC law that states I can have the windshield replaced without meeting my deductible. I have taken advantage of that law 5 times with my truck.

The only bike shop that I have ever purchased a bike in and truly believe in has had some very qualified employees leave as of late. This opened up some bicycle job opportunities in Columbia South Carolina. Being personal friends with the owner for quite some time, I have the inside scoop.

On the way to ride Lynch’s on Saturday, Joe and I spoke of this opportunity.

Driving into work at 78.7mph on the highway this afternoon I slid into deep thought.

I could call Paul and ask him to interview me for the position. I could leave my corporate job and pursue a job that I am passionate about. Really put some feeling into my work and have something to show for it. Sure I would be headed back to the town that I have ill feelings for but that doesn’t matter does it. . .

I slip deeper into thought as I remind myself that one winter a not so long time ago, I had this same type of opportunity and ran with it.

During my High School and some college days, I was a passionate golfer. It stemmed from my father showing me the game when I was very young. By the time I was 10 or 11, I was losing every junior tournament in Evansville Indiana. By losing, I mean I was last, dead last EVERY TIME.

I didn’t care. I just waited for that one moment every round, where I would hit the ball so clean that I wouldn’t even feel it come off the club face. That was bliss and I begged for more. I practiced so much that a local pro took me under his wing and taught me the game for free.

By the time I graduated High School, I had become a golfer to recon with in my town. I had won many tournaments. I placed 11th in our city’s tournament and even had one partial scholarship offer from a local college. I didn’t take it as it was not a school I was interested in.

After one year of college, I gained employment for the summer at Victoria National Golf Club as a caddy. You know, in Bill Murray’s words I was “a Loopa’”.

This led into an offer to be a caddy at Augusta National, one of the greatest golf clubs in the world. After much instigation and a final plea from the pro who helped me in High School, my father allowed me to take the job with the promise that I would return to school after one semester. I was elated. Every golfer’s dream is to touch this golf course. More or less actually get to play it and I would have my chance.

It was everything I imagined it would be and more. I met some of the World’s most powerful and influential people. I also met some real crack heads.

After walking on the course for over 90 days straight, and carrying bags over 900 miles, I had determined one thing from my experience. Every job is exactly that after a while. I was to return to school.

A rock flies up and hits the windshield and I realize I am listening to Tom Petty’s “Last Dance With Mary Jane.” I sure am glad I didn’t replace it yet as the rock left another spider mark in my windshield.

Why is that song so important? It contains the lyrics that I played over and over in my head when I lived in Columbia:

“Last dance with Mary Jane, one more time to kill the paaaiiiinnnnnnnnn. I feel Summer creepin’ in and I’m tired of this town agaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiinnnnnn.”

While growing up in Indiana, I promised myself that I would live somewhere that suited my geographical need to be close to the mountains. I was taught how to ski before I was taught how to golf and skiing is by far my number one passion. Mountain Biking fits the bill perfectly now.

I moved to Greenville because this town fits me perfectly. I am gainfully employed. I get way more vacation than I should. I am able to maximize my time on the bike and in the mountains because of this.

As much as I hate to admit it, my passion is actually being outside in the mountains more so than riding a bike. If I am hiking cool. If I am mountain biking, even better however, if I am skiing you better get ready for an excited Tomato. Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

As all this evaluating goes on, I come up over the hill on 385 and I see the mountains in the distance. That is where I belong.

I only put this into words to remind you and me that we have to weigh our options carefully when making life-changing decisions. Will working in a bike shop maximize my time in the woods and on my bike? Probably not, but if the shop was in Greenville it would make my decision much more difficult.

If you are in Columbia and a qualified candidate, drop me a line or go into the shop and let Paul know you are interested. It could be your life-changing moment.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Lynch’s Woods

PalmettoSolo, Joe, Barrett, Clint and I rolled around the trails twice in Newberry today. Clint, Toby, Toby and Monty have been working dillegently to get these trails back into shape. They are doing a fine job!

I had a ton of fun today, my mountain gear worked out fantastic as I didn’t really have to do any walking and never spun out either. There were a couple wet spots, but for the most part the trail is in excellent condition. They took a blower to some of the sections so you can really rip.

Technical creek crossings and a gigantic log crossing that takes you toward the sky. That was the most fun I have had riding XC trails in a long time.

Clint, Barrett and Joe:

Toby, How are those gears working out?

Barrett, creekin’

Toby, rockin’ the sky log:

Friday, January 26, 2007


I am still struggling with thoughts about bicycles. It is time for me to get rid of my current full suspension set up all together. I am going to sell the frame and maybe the suspension and keep all the other parts. Hopefully, I can get a good idea of the frame price from Paul this weekend. It only has 75 miles from the SM-100 on it and maybe another 30 pisgah miles on top of that. So it basically looks brand new. The drive train is wore out so bad that I wouldn’t even sell it to El Guapo.

This leaves me with a predicament. I love my Drunken Monkey but I am not sure if it will take me all the places I want to go in 2007. I know that I am going to do the Icycle on it but I haven’t made any decisions beyond that.

So new bike thoughts are in my future for sure. I am once again dedicated to the big wheels. So I will definitely be watching the reviews of some more “all mountain” type 29’ers as the year rolls on. I am also really kicking around the idea of an internal transmission as well. I am just looking to talk to some people who have “real life” experience with these sorts of things.

Enough about that, some folks and myself will be rolling at Lynches around 9:00 tomorrow if anyone wants to join in.

Ride your bike and have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Because I Can

Tuesday night I was headed home from work and decided that I would be better off riding to Paris instead of driving.

This adds in quite a bit of mileage, yes I have to deal with some cars and spin like crazy in a couple flat sections but it is pretty quick for the most part.

I left my house and took the route that included the sharpest ups and downs I could find. This keeps passing cars from projecting movies on my legs.

Once out of town, I roll up the front side of Paris. This house has been for sale ever since I moved to Greenville:

When you go this way you enter the park from a secret location and you have to stop by the highest point in Greenville for a looksie:

I dropped into Paris after that. Finally some dirt to rub on my tires, I cruised down the techy side of Firetower and then made the left turn and headed down to the lake. I stopped at the lake for a moment and watched about 8 lights wander around the trail. Pretty cool.

On the way down I had stopped for all uphill riders as there are some tough steep pitches. On my way out nobody really wanted to stop going downhill for me until I saw Broussard. He was pulled over to the side. I said a quick hello and proceeded on. I got to the top and found out that I knew some of the group that I was watching flow around the lake.

Flew down Brissy and then climbed the road and Firetower to my exit of the park. Yes Ty I had my pass with me.

That was the first time I had taken the road down Paris at night. It was awesome seeing the lights of Greenville as I coasted around 30 mph down the mountain. I was frozen at the bottom so I stopped to change lights and then rolled home.

3 and ½ hours on the bike. Lots of miles and climbing.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Modnar yllaer

A look inside my brain:

Should I blog or blog today? Maybe I will just post a MTB picture.

Riding Paris tonight with a focus on intervals.

Work is so slow right now, time to start a picture roll.

I wonder if there are any arguments about which is better.

Maybe Anthony Sloan has done some more Passion posts.

I like Pink Flamingos too!

Will that idiot behind me let his cell phone go off again?

Will I ever have anything meaningful to post about?

Why are there so many of us?

Some people have given me props and I haven’t returned it. Should work on that.

29’er, downhill, endurance, where should I live?

Hope work gives me something to do before my head blows up or waste my analytical skills.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Artic Wind

Dark thirty Saturday morning I was riding in the car headed toward what I thought would be the devil ride. Eric was the instigator. I went past the rich people place while the sun was just casting rays across the sky. The morning looked bluebird and heavenly as though we were out west.

However, I was still in the east headed toward the great Appalachian mountains. I was geared up for a death march of preposterous proportions. I hadn’t slept well and I was wondering if I would be able to hold out for the projected 52 miles and infinite amounts of ascending.

We had a group of seven including myself gathering together at the Black Mountain trailhead. Our projected route would not be sustained. This was the ultimate route:

Black Mountain, Maxwell Cove, Z Hammer, Black Mountain, Buckwheat, Bennett, Coontree, 276, 475, 475B, Paint Shaker, ?????, ?????, Daniel Ridge, Davidson River Trail, 475 276

38 miles according to Dennis’ odometer.

Black Mountain is everything but an easy warm-up. I was breathing heavily early on and not feeling the steeps with the single speed. A wind that could chill a Canadian snowman blew from what seemed like every direction and chilled us to the bone.

We made it to the first gap and Erinna announced that she was frozen through and through. My hands and toes were frozen and I was pretty chilly. We flew down Maxwell trying to hold on with frozen mitts.

Mike and Dennis

Erinna looked awfully cold and decided she was done with shivering. Therefore the two of them took off headed to a warmer place. No one blamed them.

The rest of us took off up Clawhammer hoping to get the blood flowing. Every time we turned the corner we were pounded with a glacieresque headwind.

I could finally feel my feet and hands when we arrived at the top. We quickly headed toward Buckwheat as standing around added to our frozen status.

I wasn’t feeling the steep climbs at all and ended up pushing a bunch. I felt really good descending Buckwheat. I cleaned the first techy section and then made more moves than normal on the Devil’s Staircase but I didn’t have the confidence to negotiate the last step down.

I turned around at the bottom to watch the others come down the staircase when I finally witnessed what had been talked about for weeks. A local Professional downhiller came around the corner nailing the first steep and hucking the big rock like it was nothing. He was on a hardtail and to quote Dennis “His suspension hardly flexed.” It was cool to see someone nail it.

We flew down Coontree and Jeremy and his friend cut off as Mike, Dennis and I were headed for some Fish Hatchery action. We rode to Cove Creek and I bounced down it as fast as I could.

Climbing Daniel

We nailed Daniel Ridge and headed back toward the cars. Fantastic Ride!!!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Beer Snobs, Dot 4 Nightmares

Cruised over to Andrew’s house last night for some wrenchin’. This makes my life easier because he has a bike stand and proper tools.

If we had a LBS like ICS in town that offered “rent a bench,” I wouldn’t have to call on my friends in my time of need. Are you reading this Greenville? Simple idea, wonderful idea.

Back to the story, the entire reason I needed said stand and tools was to get my old Hayes off the Drunken Monkey and the new ones on. An especially good idea when a death march is planned for Saturday.

I also installed some new fatty oversized bars and a new stem on the DM too. Not too long after I had Catastrophic Failure on my front brake with the “new Hayes,” I took them into a local LBS to have the line fixed. This is where I am a eggnorramoose because I took them into a shop that doesn’t have the capability to bleed the Hayes. DUH!

So I recently bleed the brake and it seemed to be working well during a driveway test.

Well we were standing there admiring our handiwork having a Sierra Nevada out of Andrew’s new Kegorator when I noticed that there was some oil on the cable. It was seeping out of the connection where the brake failed last time. Not a lot but enough. The only way I noticed it was because I was squeezing the lever a bunch. CRRRRRAAAAAAPPPPP! Nothing you can do about that.

So we proceeded to take the faulty brake off and put the old one on. Now I have two different levers and brake systems on the front and back.

The good news, I have a great brake on the back and a functional bike with a new stem and bar that I think will position me perfectly in the cockpit. The bad news, I don’t know if I should take the brake back and say “Hey no fixie,” or if I should just suck up the cost and take it to another shop where it might not get fixed proper either. I guess I will give it a go so I can only be mad at me. Can I rent a bench somewhere?

Late Edition: I decided that I would take the brake by the LBS today. Said mechanic deserved a chance to right his wrong. After a quick analysis by him and myself we determined it was the fastener that holds the cable to the master cylinder through the lock on bolt. We replaced it and there was no movement so hopefully I can bleed it and replace it.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Sad Sad Blog Roll

So you know it is a sad day when things like this happen. The stick thinks he has a sense of humor these days. He did a post about what people watched while riding the rollers. I will have to admit that it made me chuckle a little. He pretty much pegged me right on. I wouldn’t know what a roller was if it rolled over me.

It seems a lot of people talk about these rollers. I don’t think I could do it unless it was really nasty for a long time. I would rather run in the freezing rain then be stationary.

Apparently some are using the “Tomato’s” spread on their website’s and blogs these days. I noticed that MountainGoatEpics has the picture I snapped of Eric rolling chainless and tensionless out at Wilson’s up on his site. Pretty cool.

TD used a photo that I snapped of him out on one his posts. I actually had the entire series of him rolling the nasty Black Mountain steps but I didn’t need to blow his head any further out of proportion so I only posted one up on MTBR.

I googled EXTRMTAO yesterday, I think it is important to know who is using my screen name. I need to make sure nothing malicious is going on that I could get tied too. The only other EXTRMTAO that I found was this one:

Extrmtao @

Just some spam email account about selling ED pills. However, this made me think. Why would a Tomato need Viagra? Leave me a punchline in the comments and I will post the winner tomorrow. Now get creative kiddies.

Late edit: It's a great day to be a computer geek as it is freezing rain outside. Check TeamDicky out as he has to ride his messenger bike in the crappage.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

French Attitude

Rick and I rode a circuit at Paris last night. It finally felt a little like winter as I had extra layers with me.

We started out with a nice easy pace and then kicked it up in the end. Rode Firetower last and that climb feels steep when I do that.

I alluded to Paris Café yesterday in my post. They honestly have the best breakfast I have ever eaten. Eggs Norwegian, I just hope I can convince myself to order something different as I am a creature of habit. If you live in Greenville, go check this place out! They have a Sunday Brunch starting at 10:00, and Pascale promised me they would have Mimosas real soon.

I am starting to get some ideas about a race bike for this coming season. More on that as I learn more.

I am now an official member of SORBA. I signed up with the local PAS chapter. Are ya reading this Woody? I will try and make a trail day sometime soon. Unfortunately the first one of the year, I will not be able to attend. Sometime soon though I will put some sweat into the trails I love so much.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hospital Rock

In the depths of Jones Gap State Park, there lies a huge rock that is named “Hospital Rock.” Supposedly there are rumors of the rock actually being used as a shelter for wounded soldiers during the Civil War.

Me on top of HR.

I tried researching this with no luck yesterday. It definitely looks like it could be used as a shelter. If you know more about this place, drop me a line.

You can spot “Pretty Place” a couple times from the HR trail. Look closely there is a chapel up there.

We started out from the bottom of the park and climbed, climbed, climbed. When they say “strenuous hike” they mean it. It took us right around 2 hours to cover the 2 miles to get to the rock.

We ate chocolate croissants from the Paris Café while we chilled at the rock and wondered if wounded soldiers had once lain under the rock.

Our “HR dance”

The walk back seemed much shorter, but still as hard. We shaved 15 minutes off on the way back. Kristin opined that it was the Croissants.

As we were negotiating our way down the trail, we started hearing a thumping from behind us. Kristin thought it was a bear, I fashioned it as a soldier’s wounded soul. However it was an “exteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeme trail runner.” You think I am kidding? After he went hopping/falling down the trail in front of us, I bet Kristin that some were to follow.

Some did follow, but they were in no way as “extreeeeeeeeeeeeme” as the first guy. The third and last guy looked like he needed a cliff bar in a bad way. In her sweet voice Kristin said “They aren’t too far ahead.” Too bad for him that he did not take this comment with a grain of salt and quickened his pace.

We spotted this guy on the way back down.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Saving The Day

I pulled into the Black Mountain Parking area Saturday morning and saw Team Dicky, Broussard, Jody and Ben getting ready for battle of the mountains.

I started putting my bike together when I realized that I had left a much needed washer at home. It meant that one of the bolts that holds my brake caliper to the frame was going to hit the rotor as it spun. Not good, if I couldn’t fix it somehow, I was going to have to hit a hardware store before I rode.

I announced my predicament and asked if anyone might have a washer in their car. Ben had one but it was too small a diameter internally. Just as I was getting depressed Ben walked over with two “I don’t know what these things are but they are for a Yakima rack.” I was able to get them juxtaposed in a manner well enough to keep the bolt away from the rotor.

Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwww, Thanks Ben!

I was supposed to meet the Indy folk at the top of “Z Hammer” around 11:30. So we had some time to burn.

My route for the day:

Grassy Road, Sycamore Cove, North Slope (Counter Clockwise), Clawhammer, Black Mountain, Buckwheat, Bennett, 276 back to the car

Jody, Zach and Rich rolling through Davidson River Campground.

As we pulled into the Horse Stable parking lot, I saw a bike and a dog I knew. It was Obi the dog and Andrew. That was a surprise since Andrew tore his ACL and is getting surgery soon. We (meaning all of my personalities) wish him a quick recovery after surgery.

Andrew and Obi, chilling at the Gap.

While we waited for the Indy crew to roll up, TD moved his stem and needed to make sure his technical skills hadn’t washed away. I snapped this while he was “messin’.”

From there, most of the original crew broke off and went down Black toward the car. The rest of us pushed on through the originally planned route.

There are some roots in these hills.

Once we were at the bottom, ReignMan needed some extra H2O so I showed them White Pines campground and the pump there.

It was another wonderful day in our National Forest.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Harrell's Preview

Yesterday, I was able to get out to the “Queen” for a good two hour spin. That place is a little creepy at night by yourself but not as bad as Dupont. I realized on the way out there that this was going to be the first time I had ever ridden there alone. I rode what I knew, hard and then went and had some fish tacos from Clemson’s Moes. “WELCOME TO MOES!”

I snapped this in the parking lot.

So since I am the lucky man that gets to date the current webmaster for Harrell’s Bicycle world, I got to see a preview of the site last night. Let me tell you that this is going to be one awesome site.

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, don’t tell Kristin but here is a link to what the front page is going to look like.

I am riding with some cool cats from here tomorrow. Yah Scott is the guy that met up with a big group of us at the top of Clawhammer last time. Should be a good time, so drop me a line if you want to ride.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Kwinky Dinks

Here is how my afternoon was yesterday.

10:30: Lunch break, I take bike to the shop.

1:00: Shop calls no bottom bracket in stock, will be a week.

1:15: I call shops, find bottom a bottom bracket. They put it on hold.

4:30: All my test cases pass, I leave work.

4:45: Pick up Bottom Bracket.

5:00: Drop off Bottom Bracket.

5:05: Load night riding gear.

5:15: Pick up bike with new BB.

5:45: On bike, sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

5:52: Decide to take an abnormal route up the Mountain Creek side of Sulphur Springs.

6:00: Meet zee boyz, at the waterfall. Didn’t even know they were coming.

6:40: Beers on the top of Greenville.

7:30: Flying down Brissy Ridge by myself. Zee boyz were headed for pizza.

8:15: Beer, pizza, ping pong, beer pong.

10:43: Describe all the previous.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Since I tend to follow trends just like most of you do. Don't lie to me, you know you do.

I will keep up with the politics for this week. I am in a very obtuse mood this week so you all get to reap the benefits.

So I furthered my research yesterday some, thanks Brad. I went out the SORBA website last night and found the following under the FAQ’s:

How do I join?You can fill out the form that is located in the FAT TIRE TIMES, SORBA`s official newsletter, which can be found in many bicycle shops in and around the Atlanta area. There is a nomimal fee associated with membership that is used to help defray the costs of the organization. The form is also on-line at our web site at:


Are you kidding me? Just leave it blank? If your going to leave it blank take it out. I know, I know I should just print the form off, fill out my check and mail it. WHAT! What did I just say? Spend money on a stamp. . . Do it “hardcore.” Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. . .

I have a pet peeve about websites because there are so many out there. Work is making me act like a bitter old man. I hope I get to ride my bike soon.

Anybody up for a ride in the mountains this weekend?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Weekly Rides and Politics

I Got in a quick spin at Manchester yesterday before the rain. I noticed the Drunken Monkey needs some love. A new bottom bracket is on the docket for sure.

Apparently my intentions of having a night ride at Dupont on Wednesday night raised some concerns. Concerns about Pisgah Area SORBA and the fact that I scheduled a ride on the night they are meeting. OOPS!

Apparently some feel as though I should be attending the meeting instead of riding. I will be riding.

I will however go ahead and give a "heads up" on what is happening. PAS has not been around for too long. SORBA has, just not the Pisgah chapter. Last year I gave a donation to the Greenville Spinners with the hope that they would help promote trails and mountain biking in the upstate. This did not happen.

So this year I will be investing my money into PAS. How much time and volunteer hours I will be able to put in is still up in the air. So if you spend a decent amount of your ride time in areas where PAS or SORBA help maintain trails think about joining up.

Just in case you have a problem finding the "application" link on the website. Here you go. Tinsley Web Solutions did not make the "application" link very apparent. This seems like a problem to me but what do I know.

Thoughts of the upcoming "race" season fill my head. I still am not sure what bike I will be riding this year. I am having a hard time resolving that in my head.

I already know that I will be "racing" on the Drunken Monkey for the Icycle. I had thoughts of putting on a bigger gear for this race. However, after this weekends expiriments, I will be sticking to what I know.

That's about it for now. Ride tomorrow at Paris and Wednesday at Dupont.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

"I'm Around"

That’s the theme of the weekend. Why? Well because that is what was said to me by a complete stranger while I was driving in my car to Columbia on Friday. I had one of those random days where weird things just occur.

Barrett and I got out for a ride at Manchester this morning. It poured and poured Friday night so I knew Manchester would be in fantastic shape. You see this place is mostly sand so the only time to ride it is directly after a rain. All the sand pits are packed and your tires grip them nicely.

So how are the trails out at Manchester? I think this sign says a lot.

We also hit up the Palmetto trail for some elevation change.

Me on the Palmetto trail.

They have some strange signage out there.


A little 26 mile jaunt through the Sumter Forest.

There was a lot of damage to Campbell’s Pond. Does anybody know what happened? Looks like a bulldozer destroyed the loop right by the pond.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Warren Miller Says. . .

The last couple rides I have been on were really awesome. They got me thinking about bikes in general. Two rides ago, Eric and I were chatting about free riders and the moves they pull out on trails. We are talking about serious mountains and big moves. The kind of stuff where if you screw up, you will most likely not be on the bike for a long time.

Their bikes are being used in the way they were designed to be used. If ya got 8 inches of squish on your bike and ya only got one rock on the trail that is three inches high off the ground. Well you get the point. It’s impressive to see people utilize their machines properly.

On my most recent ride, we saw these brave cats. So I went out to their website to check them out. We all rode the same trail at the end of the day. “Sinkhole” I am sure my technique coming down the trail was slightly different than theirs but I would put a “Benjamin Franklin” down on the table and say that we all had a blast doing it.

I used to think that this was the type of riding I wanted to do. I pedaled my bike up the hill for one reason, to come down as fast as possible. I now enjoy going up almost as much as bombing downhill.

I think about the bikes that my friends and I ride. Some of us ride gears with suspension, fully rigid single speeds, fixed gears, big wheels, little wheels and every combination in-between. Everyone I ride with seems to have fun all the time, unless their bike is broken.

The point is to have fun while you ride your bike. It also gives you a reason to eat an extra chip at lunch or maybe have another brew with dinner. It leads me to quote one of my favorite people, Warren Miller.

“It doesn’t really matter, as long as you have fun doing it.”

“These guys (in reference to skier’s hucking off cliffs) get that same rush of adrenaline that you or I would getting a foot of air in your local park.”

“When you’re lying on your death bed, will you say ‘Man I wish I would have worked more.’?”

“If you don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do.”

Fishy says ride your bike!

Get out there and have fun people.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Full Moon Monsters

There lived two hikers whose paths crossed on one particular day. The day showed sunshine but on their particular side of the mountain, the shade loomed.

As I hiked up, I noticed I was being followed. I snapped this accomplice’s picture not knowing if she was dangerous. I tried to stay out of sight.

I prepared a perch to try and gather more information about this dangerous subject. As my shutter released, I quickly understood that my situation was now dire.

She saw me!

It was fight or flight for me to stay safe. I chose the latter as I did not have enough information yet.

I saw that this particular subject has quite the repertoire of trail moves.

Walking alone could not keep me out in front. I had to move quickly.

I was only able to catch a quick glimpse of her bouldering skills as I was doing my best to stay ahead.

As the day crept on, I slowly realized I must let my evil goody two shoes stride out ahead of me so I may capture her every move.

Click me for the movie. . .

After a ton of climbing, I realized that I was going about things all wrong. My trail nemesis was now using tools!

After our meeting, we were no longer enemies. Now we were allies in our quest to overcome the mountain. Smiles commenced even after long climbs toward the sun.

Finally we made it to the top!

There were trail features to keep you from expiring out in these hills.

On the way home, we were greeted with a full moon.

Ok in all reality that was an awesome hike. Kristin is a trooper for always smiling even when "crab crawling" across boulders and asking me "Where is the trail again."

Mike told me that these trails in Jones Gap State Park were built by Mountain bikers. Well if they were, they were more of this type of mountain biker who we saw in the woods last week and not my type of mountain biker.