Monday, November 30


Four days off.  Four bike rides (sorta).  Three mornings of an alarm to wake me up before I wanted to.  Two alarms for some serious adulting and one for an early day of bike cycling.

Day one, get up Thanksgiving morning and go for the second shift ride.

All good rides start with a flat...

(or two).

Hooray for non-tubeless.  Always good for a break in the action.

The "action."

Random Hubbs sighting in the wild.

No flat.  Hang out anyways... because... Thanksgiving.

Who wore it better?  You decide.

Extra bonus.  Got back with enough time for some wheelie practice.

Day two, Black Metal Friday Run Bike Slam with the crew from The Spoke Easy.

Ride over to the shop.  Drink beer.  Receive mockery for non-metaling of my face.

Leave the shop.  Ride breaks apart as we try to ride en masse through the city and then over to the park.

Right through the heart of uptown Charlotte (AKA work).

Eventually, get to the park where the others who had no idea where the actual ride to the "venue" was heading but knew where the race was going to be, so no big deal.

Elimination style.  Two racers at a time.  Run up an insanely steep hill, jump through an obstacle, ride chainless/brakeless disturbing bikes down an insane hill, slam a beer.  Until one man remains.

I'm sure someone was declared a winner.  As the sun started going down, I realized that I didn't bring lights.  I headed over to Birdsong to get my one free Bicycle Benefits beer, got in line, realized I was cutting it way too close, got on my bike, and headed home.

Found this along the way:

A torque hammer.  I have to admit, I played with it for a short while trying to figure out how it worked... and got home just that much later than I wanted to.  It works by hitting things hard... play with the torque adjustment to amuse oneself in between hitting things.

Saturday was a quick solo ride at the US National Whitewater Center.  No pictures, because enough picture taking already.  Rode some, not all, some twice.

Extra bonus?  Back at home with plenty of time for more wheelie practice.  Discovered that it's much more difficult practicing the closer I am to total exhaustion.

Day Four.  Sorta got Ferris Buellered again into going to Lake Norman.  Different crew this time, so can't hold it against them.

Tom, Dave, and Kangalangamangus.

Or just Kangalangamangus and I, depending on your perspective.

After Dave got done trying to destroy me, it was a pleasant ride.

A proper use of a Thanksgiving break.  Incredible weather and good times and such.  I'm almost too embarrassed to admit it, but riding my bike four days in a row like that kinda hurt.

I'm so outta shape.

Wednesday, November 25


I'm a mess, and I can't wait for four days off in a row to either get better or push myself closer to the mortal cliff.

Monday night, I was up past my geriatric bed time for the Faster Mustache: Charlotte Chapter Team Photo Shoot by none other than our own picture making sponsor, Weldon Weaver.  Lots of goofing off, posing, standing, crouching... no beer.

Feel free to peruse all you want.

The results were incred.

Noelle got us access to a green screen for the night...

Which really makes me want a thing like this something awful.

Anyways, Happy Thanksgiving and all that.  If you're nearby (my proximity), feel free to join me at the Backyard Trails tomorrow at 10:00AM or at the Run Bike Slam on Blackout Friday.

Beer, bikes, and avoidance of foodstuffs.

Tuesday, November 24

Grab your Number 2

I attempted to go for a run on Saturday after wheelie practice.  It did not work out.

Apparently, I went a little too fast and a little too hard last weekend.  I've been somewhat self-hobbled.  I feel like someone loaded my feet and ankles with concrete and beat them with a sack of pennies.  Just getting down the stairs every morning is a practice in patience.  The last week at work was pretty busy, so I was on my feet most of the time.

So yeah, I rode over to the track, ran ten feet.  Stopped.  Stretched.  Ran ten feet.  Stopped.  Went home.

This is the second time (or third or fourth... I've lost track) that I've gotten back into running with too much enthusiasm and put myself out of commission.  Strangely though, I remember when I was gearing up for Run Club over Thanksgiving weekend at the beach years ago, it was my knees that took up the revolt.

I'm not going to run until my feet/ankles are 100%. I can't let this impact my entire Cyclo Ross season.

Sunday, it was time to do some more assploring for the 2016 Tour duh Charlotte.  I grabbed my geared bike since I'm still sleeping-on-the-couch sick... and the whole "concrete ankles" thing.   Not always the best idea to have dangly bits on your rig when you might find yourself literally riding through the woods with nary a trail around but plenty of limbs and sticks.   Whatever.

If things work out the way we think it will, this might be a very long Tour duh Charlotte.  Also, a most excellent Tour duh Charlotte.  I think there is zero chance that anyone outside the team has actually ridden their bikes everywhere that we're going.  Zero.  You will see something new.  If you come.  Which you will.

Pencil your calendars for March 19th and keep the pen handy.

Now to plan my schlong Thanksgiving weekend.  I've got $40 in beer, a ride planned for Thursday morning at 10:00AM on the Backyard Trails, the Run Bike Slam on Friday, and then... what?

Monday, November 23

Killing. Time.

Let's ignore the fact that I missed a lot of good times at the events I mentioned on Friday so I could lay low and maybe get better.

First off, let me tell you that Backcountry Research is on Instagram now.
I'm not sure why all this matters, but as all things come under the heel of social media to adapt to our limited attention spans, this should mean... something.  Go, follow, hashtag, @ them... do all those things that are relevant in our time. 

People do love them some pretty pictures.

First thing I did on Saturday (after a decent amount of lollygagging around the house) was go to Bike Source to talk about bikes and stuff.  The Evil Following may not work out for me in a fiscal sense, but being that it's little more than a diversion from reality (AKA FaceBook), how much money can I throw at what will essentially be a ball of yarn I can play with in the corner of the room.  I need something that fits into my wallet, thus I've been staring at this:

The Specialized Camber Crabon Comp (or something like that).  The right travel, the place to stick my burritos, parts that I can swap with better parts I already have (no Boost)... something that I can get.  In January.  Which is like a million Dicky years away.

Which gives me plenty of time to think it through and bail on the whole idea.

After that fail-bail, I went out for some wheelie practice, after watching Lesson 7, day... ?  I dunno.

The Float Zone.

Over to my practice area I went, after reviewing Ryan's knowledge spew.

My area was a bit squishy with sky water, but what are you gonna do?

I've been manipulating his plan into my plan, which is less than a plan and more of a haphazard, blindfolded dart throwing process.  These are the things I've learned that either Ryan didn't cover, hasn't gotten to yet, or I just plain missed because... that's what I do.

Wear underwear.  Nothing worse than an ill-timed get-off that almost scrapes my man bits off from where they belong.  I'm not sure how much of a fifteen minute practice session should be wasted holding onto one's mangled danglies breathing through pursed lips.  I'm guessing none.

The whole "modulate speed with the rear brake" thing doesn't work so well for me.  I find it hard to touch the rear brake in anything other than a panicked manner.  I've found that just not pedaling for a brief moment works better for me if I feel things going backwards.

My practice area slope is pretty gradual.  I was trying to throw down wheelies up and down the hill.  It was exhausting and frustrating.   I now only try on the slightly uphill portion, and after a run (shitty or not), I turn around and soft pedal back to my starting point, trying to focus on what went right or wrong on the last few attempts.

Talk to myself.  Out loud. Focus, balance, "the zone," whatever.  Talk about what I plan on doing on the next run up the hill.  I've decided I already look like an insane person riding up and down the same grassy patch for thirty minutes at a time, so big deal if someone sees me talking to myself.  Just sorta completes the persona.

I think I managed to pull off six pedal strokes a few times, and I even felt like I was in the "zone" more than once.  I'm at least 5%  better than I was before, which wasn't that great at all by any means.

But it's something.