Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
When I walked into the shed last night I started to lay out all my ailments to SCSM when she snapped at me and said “Take two hours on me and call me in the morning.” What can I say? I love riding.
The trails were perfect at Paris last night. It is the benefit of having an highly drainable trail system right in town. The best part was that the weather had scared all the usual suspects away and I had the park to myself. I made a complete circuit in a little under two hours.
I am official, no matter what I get to ride on a ribbon of single track that I have never laid rubber on this Saturday. I am registered in open men, should be a great time.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
If you didn't know, the ultra-sport is underway and everyone is doing fabulous. Jill is setting a rocking pace and if she keeps it up, she has a chance at the women's record!
What is the ultra sport you ask? OHhhhhhh, just a tiny little race of 350 miles in the back country of Alaska. Fat tires are a must as well as a layer of fat to keep you warm. You can choose to run with a sled, cross country ski or bike the mileage.
Some of the racers will be completing the entire route of 1,100 miles. However, there is one cat that is not racing but on his own quest to complete the entire route completely unsupported. In a world that is unforgiving, Mr. Curiak pushes the limits by setting his own bounderies. Yes, carrying absolutely everything he needs for 1,100 miles of snow, ice, moose and god knows what else. I have followed their preperations and am highly jealous of their endeavors. However, that is the etpitome of real time updates and technology that we live in. If we can't be there, we can at least go outside in our swim trunks tonight and imagine. . .
Stay warm and Godspeed Gentlemen and Ladies!
Monday, February 25, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Reasonover -> Lake Julia -> Camp Summit -> Airstrip -> Fawn Lake Loop -> Mine Mountain -> Airstrip -> Barn Trail -> Bridal Veil Falls rd -> Conservation Road -> Johanna Road -> Pitch Pine -> Conservation Road -> Buck Forest -> Lake Imaging Road -> Locust Trail -> Buck Forest -> White Pines -> Hickory Mountain Road -> Ridgeline -> Jim Branch -> Locust Trail -> Isaac Heath -> Buck Forest -> Conservation -> Shelter Rock -> Airstrip -> Fawn Lake
It was nice being able to rip around the trails as fast as we wanted again. It has been awhile since Dupont has been this nice. All that on top of a full lunar eclipse made for a great night.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Here are the fleeting thoughts from one of the “elite” that decided toeing a 36 hour race line at midnight was a great idea. First off let me say my hat, socks, shoes, gloves, scarf, goggles and baklava are off for those who started this race. For Cook and Kee, you guys are now on my list of deities.
The best decision Dennis and I could have made was to take Friday off. We set up camp, met the Clevelanders and then just hung out and relaxed. I tried several times to get some sleep but really just laid there thinking about pedaling. I un-packed and re-packed my pack about six different times and after what seemed like an eternity, there we were, standing on 477 with our lights burning and everyone laughing and smiling, at midnight with a car (not associated with the race) blocked behind us wondering what the hell all these idiots must be doing.
We were off, individual teams, paired teams and one team of three. I believe all in all, there were around 20 people taking off along with some crazies that started a ride at midnight for fun.
Our first mandatory route was basically the SWANK course starting from white pines at midnight in February instead of Cove Creek at 10:00am in November. At first, I really didn’t even process what we were doing. I just looked at the passport (which gave us directions) and said “ok.”
Fifteen minutes into the race, I started to sweat and knew that was bad. I yelled at Dennis to let him know I was stopping and then I changed clothes. I was now riding in short sleeves in February a little past midnight. We were headed up the road in dead last, just as planned. I don’t really remember passing too many people but I do remember Dennis explaining to another team about how not to miss the turn for 225 and Cove Creek while I just pedaled onward.
As we made the turn onto Cove, I saw BradO’s car and knew he was down there lurking in the dark with his camera. I just didn’t know where. As we came down the rock steps Brad was there, taking pictures and he announced that we were third and fifteen minutes behind Cook and Broussard. Dennis and I just looked at each other and said “No, we are supposed to be in last.” Little did we know that we were already more than an hour behind Brad Kee.
It didn’t affect our plan at all. We stayed safe, warm and just pedaled. We pedaled with Mike and Thomas on our way up to Gloucester. At the gap, we stopped, grabbed a bite and I announced that I would be walking the steep pitches on Pilot Mountain road up to Farlow. I was running 34X23 and knew I would blow up if I tried to stomp on it this early. So in the steep sections I would walk briskly and Dennis would pedal in the granny while we chatted about whatever two guys chat about at 3:00am in Pisgah.
Thomas and Mike took off ahead of us on the climb.
Then we saw it, his menacing head and perfumed aroma, it was a skunk on Pilot Mountain Road. I was walking at the time and Dennis promptly dismounted his bike and we walked as quiet footed as we could around it.
After we were by the skunk, we could smell its lingering effects up Pilot Mountain Road. I said to Dennis “I wonder if Mike got nailed by the skunk?” When we made it to the top of Farlow, we caught back up with Mike and Thomas. Mike had been nailed by the skunk and his black and white IF 29’er was The Most Horrible Smelling Bike Ever.
Somewhere before Courthouse falls road, Dennis was in front of me and Mike and Thomas were riding behind when I saw Dennis go over the handlebars when his front wheel planted into a creek with a log crossing it. I stopped and Mike tried the move which resulted in the same fate for him. Mike stood up and said “God*&^%$#, I smell like a fucking skunk and now I am wet too.” It really was the highlight of my night.
The next thing I remember, we were at Sumney Cove and I really love that trail. I asked Dennis if he wanted to take a dip at Courthouse falls but he declined. The climb/push up the steeps of Sumney had me thinking about the Cognac that Smoke bikes had advertised earlier in the week as I knew the checkpoint at Sumney and 215 was within a mile.
Then there were lights, Mike R furiously snapping pictures, no cognac and so we went on down the road. Rolling down 215 was the first time I was uncomfortable as I was still in my short sleeves but I knew the climb up 140A would warm me so I chose to freeze coming down the road.
(Here is Shade participating in 36 hours of guard-a-tent)
As we turned back onto Kissee Creek Road, we found that it had been bulldozed. Ahhhhhhh fresh tracks in mud/dirt at 4:00 am, a lot of people complained but in all actuality it made my butt feel better, it was almost like having suspension. It took all I could muster not to walk from the rolling resistance.
At the top of Butter I put my sleeves back on, coming down Butter Gap was awesome. I still felt pretty good and we just rolled along. On our way back to camp, the sky started to show signs of dawn and it was uplifting to think the sun would soon cast its rays up over the mountains that were riding on but could not see.
When we got in, I ate a bunch of veggie chili and had a couple beers as I figured we had earned them. We got our next passport that said we had to make it to Cantrell/Squirrel Gap, so after pondering our route and which check points we would hit, we were off up the road. We had left just in front of Cook and BrouSSard.
As soon as we got to the Horse stables (one mile away from white pines) I had to stop and pee. Then Cook and BrouSSard went rolling by commenting on how far we had made it, ha ha. I told myself to take it easy up Clawhammer but I kept seeing Dennis keeping pace with Cook. I wondered how it could be that we were keeping pace. I felt we were going too fast.
After the sharp switchback on Clawhammer I knew we didn’t have far to the top and I could still see Cook. I wondered what it would do to his spirits if I zipped by him as I could see he was struggling. So right at the top I went rolling by and Cook said “Maaaaaaaaaan don’t do that.”
From the buckhorn/clawhammer/black mountain intersection we hiked up to Buckhorn Gap Shelter and snagged that checkpoint. Now we were headed straight to Cantrell and Squirrel as we knew we needed to make the 3:00pm cutoff. We were now ahead of Cook and Zach but were again passed at the bridge over South Mills River.
Getting to Squirrel via buckhorn to South Mills wasn’t bad. Once we were on Squirrel it was a nightmare. The ice storm had taken its toll on Squirrel and we had to do everything but ride our bikes on this trail. We crawled, tossed our bikes, hopped over trees only to crawl under the next branch. It was as though every stick in the forest was out to get us. Even pushing the bike, sticks would get wound up in every component. At one point both Dennis and I were freaking out like 12 year old girls at a Hanna Montana concert from a new disease I will call TMSIOS (Too Many Sticks In Our Spokes). Then all the sudden out of nowhere here comes Cook backtracking from the checkpoint. He had a big wiley grin on his face and was hopping logs on the bike. I wondered what magical potion was at the next checkpoint and hoped I would regain control.
I really struggled on Squirrel, I just wanted to make it back to base camp, I had no intentions of continuing on and I was figuring out how I would announce this to Dennis.
After we made the checkpoint and decided we would rather die than continue on Squirrel, we backtracked and went up Horse Cove and came back to Clawhammer via the gauging station and Buckhorn. I had not climbed Buckhorn since the Fall camping trip and I remembered how hard Brian had pushed the pace. I asked Dennis how much time we had till the cutoff at 3:00pm. He said it was 1:40. I said “we have plenty of time come on.” I don’t know what hit the switch in my head but I hammered as hard as I could up buckhorn with Dennis holding pace about 50 yards back. When we got to the top of Clawhammer we railed it, FLYING down the gravel road.
We came in with a half hour to spare and decided we would take a looooong break and try the next stage.
We all knew it was coming but damn it hurt so bad to see it in writing. The next stage’s mandatory was Shuck Creek on Farlow Gap Trail. After a couple hours of food and rest, Dennis and I decided we would go out as hard as we could to snag two checkpoints and call it quits on the race. We had until 10:00pm for this stage’s cutoff.
Our last route of the race was:
477 -> Bennet Gap Trail -> Coontree (checkpoint 1) -> 276 -> 475 -> Davidson River, Daniel Ridge, Farlow (up to Shuck Creek and mandatory checkpoint 2) -> Daniel Ridge -> 475 -> Davidson River Trail -> 475 -> 276 -> 477
The hike up Bennett hurt and I announced that it was the second hardest part of our route. We manned on and had a hearty debate on whether we should take the newly fashioned asphalt to Daniel or Davidson River. It is amazing how hard and important these decisions seem under such sleep deprivation.
We took Davidson River and were happy with the choice. After our hike up Davidson River and part way up Farlow we saw a light coming down Farlow. Dennis said “Rider up.” As the light was flying. It was Thomas (Mike had bailed on this stage) and he was running! We tossed our bags and bikes into the woods and trekked up to snag the checkpoint. As we were headed back down we saw the team of three (two of them tethered together) headed up without bikes as well.
Dennis led the descent back down the rocky side of Daniel and all I could think about was the sharp rock by the tree that has screwed me so many times. When I saw it, I panicked hit the brakes, tried to dismount and found myself falling off the side of the trail. I tumbled down the slope smacking my good ribs (thanks be to the lords) on a rock. I looked back up and was about 20 feet down from the trail. Luckily my bike had snagged a branch and had not fallen.
From there it was all elation with us pronouncing multiple times out loud “We will not let Eric convince us to go out again, NO MATTER WHAT!”
Seeing Cook struggle so bad to keep up on Clawhammer and then to see the way he switched gears on Squirrel and know that he pushed all the way through was truly inspirational. Thanks to everyone who came out to help and participate. It was a great time and I will be back for more pain!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I just heart loading up on extra calories and no riding, it pushes my anxiety and stress to the edge and I heart it.
Monday night I started preparing the SCS monkey for her fight against the demon we all call Pisgah. I started with setting up my new (back from the dead) re-fashioned front wheel tubeless with a Nevegal. Since I always go about things the hard way I got her all mounted up with no air compressor or C02. It takes some extra tricep grease but it is possible. I received a package with my new Geax tire for mounting on the back wheel. This was the easiest tire to set up tubeless yet. I mounted it with a tube, rode it around, then took one side off, pulled out the tube, switched stems, poured a healthy amount of stans and pumped it right up with a floor pump. I didn’t even have to get my elbow grease out. Do you think 36 hours of Pisgah is good enough to qualify as a “break-in” test? It is great to be freshly set up tubeless again.
My other heartfelt preparation occurred yesterday as I took my Camel Bak by an alteration shop and asked if they could get my zipper working again. This is my larger pack and the zipper has been broken since PMBAR last year. I walked into “Layla’s Alterations” to find an older Russian gentleman behind the counter. This was the correspondence:
Mr. Russianvich “Wut can I do vor you?”
Mater “Can you fix this zipper?”
Mr. Russianvich “If I can vix it, ten dollas. If I can’t . . . Come Z Friday Moning.”
Mater “Ummm, Friday is too late and I need to know as soon as possible if you can’t fix it.”
I feel as though the sullen man that stands before me can sense the urgency and energy that is exuding from my every pore and he says:
Mr. Russianvich “Today viz Tuesday, Come by tomorrow Moning. If I can’t vix it, nobody can vix it.”
We will see if it is vixed this afternoon. I have this funny feeling it will be. Either that or he will shoot me with a Kalashnikov for coming into his shop in the afternoon. Who knows there might even be some Stoli in the bladder for me? None of that flavored crap either.
So with that done, extra brake pads, mineral oil (Does anyone else have problems with their mineral oil at below freezing temperatures?) brake hose, an extra set of wheels, tires, rotors, seat, chain, chain ring, cogs, cranks and bottom bracket, I should be all set for just about any disaster. Yah the event is entry fee free but not free for the racers or Eric. Preparation cost dollar bills, campgrounds cost Benjamins (remember that if you attend gatherings) and so on.
I heart buying new cold weather gear.
I have never worn anything more for cold weather than knee warmers, in my life, EVER! Eric is requiring that we have tights for the race. So I bought tights and proceeded to wear them around the house last week. Kristin seems to think that I should probably still wear Chamois with them but I haven’t decided for sure. By the way Dennis, does your new bike clash with your pink tights?
My last number one reason to heart this week is my partner’s valentine gift to himself. His new bike that is hot pink, not the kind of pink that makes you say “awww dat is a cute wittle bicycle” but the kind of pink that makes you say “Dammmmmmnnnnn, did you find that thing in an Event Horizon?
At least I will be able to see Dennis as he glows up the mountain ahead of me. I am ecstatic
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Is this week of love already nipping at your heels? Do you have increased anxiety coupled with a compulsion to just ride your bike until your body says “If you try and turn that damn pedal over again I swear to all things holy I am going to cramp, not just your normal cramps either buddy, remember that chin cramp that makes your tongue feel like it is glued to the bottom of your mouth while your eyes water and you sound like a dying Llama? Yah, well that is going to seem like a day at an all girl’s nudist summer camp if you push down on that lever again. . . “
Well that is my number one reason to heart this week. No matter what happens, at some point over the 36 hour span between midnight on Friday February 15th through noon on Sunday February 17th, I am going to smile, go fast, go slow, go really slow, feel like death, feel more alive than I ever have, be tired, feel exhausted, love my bike, hate my bike, cramp and I am going to feel all of this in the name of love, Stone Cold Sober Love. I love it when love is in the air.
What is Stone Cold Sober Love? It is the love you feel with no narcotic help whatsoever. Sure anyone can love anyone at 5:00 am when there are 400 beers, un-mentionable amounts of drugs and pizza involved but who really loves you when you are STONE COLD SOBER?
I love you Stone Cold Sober Monkey. I love you because you never get drunk and out of hand like Drunken Monkey. When I am deep down in a depression, you lift me up with your cold sober heart instead of making me lie in the depravity of Mr. Jack Daniels like DM. I often count the ways I love you but at a brazzilion and one, I have to stop and realize that I am compulsively in love with your cold steel that will never break because you don’t know what rust is!
Now if that isn’t a great reason to heart this week, you better stop reading MY BLOG, or read the next paragraph:
Yah that’s right, my other number one reason to heart this week is because I heart myself. Yah that’s right, this is my self-centered little teeny weeny piece of cyberspace that I dedicate to me. No more wishy washy I love you and you love me Barney crap. Now we will live under the Blood Hound gang motto:
“I don’t give a damn if you don’t like me because I don’t like you cus your not like me.”
One Fierce Beer Coaster
So with that theme in mind, I wonder what reasons we will conjure up tomorrow.
To all the Grandmas, Fathers, Mothers, Step Children, Anyone who has a heart, the posts for this week are just a manifestation of my eXtreme inner-workings and should not be condoned as the true nature of my person. If you cannot handle that fact and the fact that I have to prepare mentally (physically we already know I am not prepared) for my future event, you should not read any more of my highly entertaining hilarious posts that are bound to end up disregarded as Blogger trash deep down in the bits and bytes of the underworld that we call the WWW.
Peace, oops I MEAN WAR!!!!!
Monday, February 11, 2008
So I am dedicating this week’s posts to the major ironical reasons to love the week of February 11 – 17 2008.
My number one reason I heart this week is because my idol called me out expressly in his blog today. THANKS TEAMDICKY, YOUR NUMBER ONE!! For what it’s worth, Dicky must be REALLY SCARED of clowns.
My other number one reason to heart this week is because I will be taking a day off work on Friday so that I can set up camp with Dennis (the other member of Team Safety First) at White Pines Friday morning.
My last number one reason to heart this week (for today), drum roll paaaaaallllleeeaaassseee:
I re-injured my rib doing the downhill at the Icycle. Yah the rib that so lovingly met with a big round log at the top of Star Gap last year, it hurts again. It really screws up my Three Amigos Salute too. When you wince before the pelvic thrust, it just doesn’t do the salute justice.
Stay tuned in this week and maybe you can find some reasons to really heart February 11 – 17.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
I believe the article is quite biased.
If you haven't figured it out yet, UpState SORBA now has its very own FORUM and I am a moderator.
Probably riding in South Carolina this weekend if anyone is down, find me.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
The first party errrrrrrrr race of the year is behind me and the biggest base building race I have ever participated in is coming up fast. I was able to see the Icycle results online and this year I got 15th out of 39 riders in the single speed class at Icycle. Yes, you read that correctly, 39 single speed freaks, more than any other class. Talk about a stacked class, I know of at least 3 riders that were swilling beer before the race and two of those were top ten. Way to go fellas, way to go.
So going into my second year racing only a single speed bike, I already feel as though I have improved considerably. I feel as though my bike riding, running and adventurous hikes have really created a good start to bike riding. Why worry about any of these things? First and foremost, a wise man once told me “Bike riding isn’t any fun if you are out of shape.” So why not use some motivational drinking events (some call them races) to help “shape me up a bit.”
With all of this typed, I have a special place, albeit a very very small place in my heart for Eric’s races. Subconsciously, I am terrified by TMHTE. Consciously, I just try not to think about it but it is approaching fast and it is time to give this adventure some serious thought.
Here is the current mandatory checklist that we have to have or we can not start the race. To keep things slightly entertaining, I have listed the actual use of an item and its counter-use as I see fit. I will use A for actual and TS for what Team Safety First might use a particular item for. Also “Q” represents the quantity of the items.
1.Whistle Quantity: 1
A: To blow as hard as you can so someone (besides a bear) can help us out of the woods should those circumstances arise. A special note should be added here as whistles with “balls” in them should be avoided at all costs as they can freeze (hence useless) in the winter. My whistle has no moving parts and is very loud as we found out before last year’s PMBAR.
TS: To blow in team mate’s ear to force them out of bed for the last five stages of this 36 hour race.
2. Pisgah Map Q: 1
A: A navigational tool to help find our way to checkpoints or camp.
TS: Its not THAT FAR on the map.
3. Knife Q: 1
A: I am not sure where Eric is going with this one. . . Maybe to kill Hilton types.
TS: Cutting each other’s eye lids open for the last stage
4. Emergency Blankey Q: 2
A: A tool for preventing the fifth stage of Hypothermia..
TS: To create an orange wing suit for plummeting off of Black Mountain to White Pines.
5. Front Lights Q: 2
A: Umm the race starts at midnight, duh.
TS: A signal for extra terrestrials that might take pity on us and pulverize us to end the suffering
6 : Rear Blinker Q: 2
A: Required for all roads, gravel and asphalt.
TS: A beacon for other racers to follow into the night
7. First Aid Kit Q: 1
TS: For knitting an extra sweater while sitting at Farlow Gap
8. Water Filter or Iodine Q: 1
A: Have you seen Waterboy?
TS: Filtering old moonshine found in the woods
9. Digital Camera Q: 1
A: Taking pictures of checkpoints for proof of arrival
TS: Proof that we started. . .
10. Winter tights Q: 2
A: Pisgah in February. . .
TS: Water balloon launcher to take out other teams during the start
11. Fleece Jacket Q: 2
A: Pisgah in March. . .
TS: Could I get another piece of that fleece toilet paper?
12. Lighter Q: 1
TS: Quantity: 15
13. Rain Jacket Q: 2
A: Rain, Snow, Sleet, Freezing Rain
TS: Slip N’ Slide down Squirrel Gap
14. Helmet Q: 2
A: come on
TS: we trip a lot while hike-a-biking
15. Sleeping Bag Q: 1
A: One sleeping bag? Maybe Eric meant to put down Body Bag
TS: I am not getting in a sleeping bag with Dennis. . .
16. Compass Q: 1
A: That N, S, E, W stuff is important sometimes
TS: Could that really be the Northern Lights?
Shade and I made the five or so mile run to the top of Paris mountain again last night. This time we went backwards and man it was a blast. I have been using running and hiking as a supplement to my biking as I figure we will be off the bike more than we are on it in next weekend's survival festival. I have to say that Shade is superb. I never would have imagined that I could run 7 - 8 mph through the woods on single track while a dog runs on a leash next to me. Good times!
In HUGE news:
Monday, February 04, 2008
Lots of good talk and beer for Friday night, thanks for the taste of the home brew!! I have learned the first and foremost important part of brewing your own beer. Keep your *&^% clean. Use clean water and make sure all of your stuff is clean. I will brew my own batch before 2008 ends. . . look out Travelers Rest.
I awoke to sunshine Saturday morning and we got the masses together for a group warm-up. Cook, Cissy, Andrew, BrouSSard, SingleTrack Pig and I all went out for a look at the course. I had forgotten how steep the trails are out there but was quickly reminded as we walked up the first steep hill. The rest of the course was manageable on the single speed.
The downhill on the course was killer fast just like I remembered it to be. Lots of passing potential all over the course creates for some exciting racing when you are only doing two 6.5 mile laps.
My only goal for this year was to find my bike at the start as I ran around like a chicken in 2007. After watching the expert class take off, single speeds were up. I ran toward where I thought my bike was, jumped over the first bike I saw and as I was in the air I looked down to my right and realized I was jumping over my own bike. I landed, turned around and got on the bike, a reasonable start. I told myself to push it and get up front but it is so hard after the start leaves you anaerobic, then you have to try and “run” up the first singletrack climb.
I had no idea who was around me but I knew I was in the back half of the class. We started climbing and I realized I better make some passes if I wanted to race respectfully at all. I was behind a big line of riders and passing was going to require extra energy to be spent by passing in the leaves going uphill. I made the call and passed quite a few people going up. At one point, I was working some passes with a guy in front of me when he cut to the left to make another pass, I pulled up hard to the right and made a double pass. I got a “yeah yeah Jonathon!!” from BrouSSard and was surprised to hear that he was behind me. I knew it wouldn’t be that way for long and soon enough he called to pass me on the right. I told him to go catch Andrew who was racing expert.
I got in behind an expert rider for the downhill section and was glad to see he was a good downhiller as we ripped it pretty fast and almost blew the first switchback, thanks to the disc brakes we kept it safe.
After the initial passes on the first lap, not much exciting happened. Kristin called out that Jody wasn’t too far in front but I was already paced out where I wanted to be. The second lap felt much better and I pushed it but didn’t really pass or get passed by many.
I had no desire to look at the results but it sounded as though our group ended up about the same as last year.
My big mistake came trying to race the downhill again this year. Maybe I have finally learned my lesson by not dying but let’s just say I owe an apology to Adam who was behind me on the downhill and I am glad there wasn’t a BUI checkpoint at the bottom of the run.
Great times!! A shout out to Wes for organizing a fantastic event! Thanks to Brad for helping out with arrangements and always being in good spirits.