Tuesday, April 28

Up agin it

Saturday, as I rolled out of the driveway on my tarck bike, I remembered that I signed up for a hundie this summer... and then I remembered, I'm actually signed up for two.  How did I let that happen?

I know I'm getting ahead of myself when I worry about something months away when I already have enough on my plate in the next month to contend with.

The Trans-Sylvania Epic is in less than a month now.  This year, I'm really scratching my head about whether or not I'm doing myself a disservice racing back-to-back Pisgah 111k/55.5k just six days before the start this year.  I really don't want the burnt-out/swan song feeling three (or was it four) days in this year.   I was just so tired...

Seven days on a bike in central PA is tough, no doubt.  Perhaps some feel it's a bit much and would never think about it.  Well, don't forget there's a three day option for those that just want to get their fingers wet.  You get an extended 1st day (compared to the seven day racers), the mega Coopers Gap day (I thought it was going to kill me last year), and the Enduro™ day (no racing up, just down).  That's it.  Considering this is a Sunday, Memorial Day, Tuesday thing... the timing is perfect for those with less time off and a lower interest in killing themselves with a bike between their legs for a week.

Other things.

I've been trying some new things since February.

The ESI Fit Grips.

Sadly, they did not work out for me.  I loved the flange, couldn't work with the thickness.  I don't see how little Emily Batty can run them... must be her gargantuan hands.

Oh well.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I still love my ESI Racer's Edge grips, so going back to what I know is fine with me.

The TruckerCo brake pads.  I've been running the semi-metallic pads on my XTR brakes for a couple months.  No complaints.  No noise.  PMBAR will be the big test.  We'll see...

TruckerCo tire sealant.  I've been running it since I installed new tires back in March.  I've always said "How do you know if your sealant actually works unless you see it happen?"

Well, the other day I was swapping the Ikon for an Ardent.  I pulled off the Ikon and was pleased to see very little build up of material inside the tire and some very clean (reusable) sealant inside as well.  It was only a little over a month's use, so there is that.

As I'm syringing out the remaining tiny pool of sealant, I saw a booger clinging to the inside of the tire.

So I check the outside of the tire...

A wet spot and a decent tear.  Don't even have a clue as to when it happened.  Doesn't matter.  All I know is that the TruckerCo sealant worked and that's good enough for me.

Buy it.

Monday, April 27

There is no "I" in the "r" word (not a capital I anyways)

Saturday, wake up to (predicted) rain.  Go about my (predicted morning).

Ikon 2.35 comes off, Ardent 2.4 back on.  It is the PISGAH Mountain Bike Adventure Race, after all.  Also make great Fendür™ because preparing for "r" word is the best way to keep "r" word away.

Look outside.  Still raining.  I have a largely family-free day ahead.  No need to go out just yet.  Kill time, but wisely.

Continue to monitor precipitation, sticking my head outside the back door every fifteen minutes or so.  The rain stops, I grab the tarck bike and make a run for it.  Local loop, Booty Loop, stop at Bike Source for water...

photo cred: Jon Danger
Back out, down the Light Rail Trail and back, the rain starts coming down before I get to The Spoke Easy.  One beer... still raining, two beers... still raining.  Window closing, head home.

Breaking Rule #7 but realize that in doing so I'm Rule #5'ing and Rule #9'ing.  People have pointed these rules out to me many times in the past, and I see people refer to them so often that I think at some point I'm gonna have to do a series of posts about all these rules.  I've never read through them all, either because I lose interest after the "no sleeveless/no cycling caps" early on, or I just don't have the attention span to read 90+ "rules."

Sunday, so many possible plans become the one and only plan.   URE (pronounced Uwharrie) with Jon Danger... because that's where Charlotte goes when Charlotte is closed.  On the drive over, we talk of many things... pumps being one of them.  I tell Jon about the pump I keep in the car for people who like to wait until they get to the trail to air up their tires as opposed to doing it before they leave the house.

Jon is silent.

We get there, he gets out of the car, he pumps up his 3.0 tire with a mini-pump, so as not to become one of those guys who has to borrow my full-size pump.

I ride my Vertigo Meatplow V.7 in full PMBAR regalia .  I hate it.  I despise all the things that were not necessary to make great bike ride.

Toobs for days.

Such a beautiful bike to be burdened with such silliness.  The additional weight is minimal, but its negative impact on my mental is maximal.

The Fendür™ worked, and when I sell the fjork, I will keep the Fendür™ for the other bike... if only so I can refer to that bike from that day on as FUCKING BIKE.

I complain about the Brain fjork until I remember I like a little Brain and with the slight turn of a knob my ride sucks 3X less than it did before the knob fiddling.  Jon's Krampus is making a noise that is disconcerting a week out from his second PMBAR.

Being a bike mechanic, he stopped and shook his bike violently while chanting incantations trying to cast out the demons.

That failing, we stopped again and then he tried some mechanic type stuff.

More riding, all the trails, most of the directions.  A moment alone, I attempted more half-assed timer selfies... because I didn't learn the first time how pointless they truly are.

Four attempts to get that, which seemed pointless until I woke up this morning to see that Paw fixed it for me.

Amazing what you can do with a little lighting adjustment.

Four days till PMBAR.

Friday, April 24

Planning on planning up a plan-plan

Since I have no images of mine own today, I will sprinkle in Paw's wonderful work as of late to give it a slightly larger audience than it gets on FaceBook.  I know that Mike Brown doesn't do "social media," so this is mostly for him.

Last evening's "training" plan changed on the fly.  Head past The Spoke Easy looking for PMBAR partner extraordinaire, Zac.  Need to make plans for race weekend.  Even more importantly, make plans for this weekend's shakedown ride.

While I was busy staring at the weather forecast for the weekend and wavering on picking a day, I missed the boat.  Something else is happening that I don't think I can be a part of, so I'm solo in my planning, as Bill Nye has bailed during my stalling tactic as well.  The only good news I got was that while Zac did recently catch himself on fire, he is still functioning like a normal, albeit slightly scorched and less hairy, human.

So, after finishing my beer, I canceled any other training to go home and cook dinner instead.  I was tired anyways and pretty sure that if I had a coach that's what he/she would tell me to do.

That or intervals.

Same diff.  Flipping fish and chopping brussels is good for the core.

So I gotta figure out some sort of ride plan that gets the Brain fork somewhere out of the Queen City, as it really hasn't had a decent mountain ride on it yet.  I still don't trust it... sitting in the corner looking at me funny all morning while I sit here and type.

And that's about the only thing funny going on in here right now.

Hopefully I figure something out.  What little energy I had for planning, I wasted using Paw's creative works to design this:

Should be available in my Etsy Store in about two weeks.

Thursday, April 23

Why don't YOU go buy a new bike?

Recently, someone suggested that had I bought a new frame/bike, the stagnant blog would be less so.

I thought I admitted it already.  I was teetering on the edge of a purchase just this last fall.  The price was right, the time was right, the Bike Source employee who I told to keep me from ever buying another geared bike was softening on his conviction, The Pie was all like "whatever..."

Nothing could stop me.

But me.

And I did.

Life is interesting when buying a new bike.  The parts selection, the anticipation, the curating of the ultimate happy fun time machine... but not this time.

More or less, it was the overwhelming feeling that I'd be making a(nother) mistake.  The problem today is, the bike "industry" has become a Mexican restaurant menu to me.

I've already mentioned my trepidation when going to a Mexican restaurant, although Mexican food is pretty much the go-to option after a big mountain ride in these parts.  It's all the options that get me. I don't do well with decisions when there are too many items to choose from.  For the most part, all Mexican food seems basically the same... some form of meat in some form of grain disc (wrapped, flopped, rolled, folded, squoze, or origami'ed) with some variation of seven different accessories drizzled or anointed with some viscous liquid... with beans, rice, or a lame mini-salad filling the rest of the plate.

Specialized, Trek, and Giant... I guess.  Those are the chicken, steak, and pork of the Mexican menu.  Anything you want, they cover 99% of the options.  Some company like Santa Cruz is perhaps the fish, slightly more exotic, but just another meat on a disc.

But then you must pick between quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, flautas, tostadas, fajitas, tortas, chimichangas... whatever.  Meat on a disc with just enough of a difference from something else on the menu to give it its own category.

Full suspension, hard tail, rigid, geared, single speed, 26", 27.5" 27.5+, 29", 29+, fat bikes, 1x drivetrains, 2x drivetrains, all-mountain, adventure, all-road, XC race, freeride (still a thing?), trail...

The menu is tiring.  The options appear limitless to me.  That's why I almost always get a chicken burrito, essentially the rigid single speed... or when I feel crazy (and it's an option), I get the special dinner, a single speed with a suspension fork for getting crazy but not really committing to trying something new.

Every once in awhile, I see something on someone's plate that looks good.

"You like them flautas, Kürdt?"

(not flautas but an image of Kürdt with some food that looks good for reference)
photo cred: Aaron Chambermaid
"Best thing on the entire face of the planet, Dick."

So I get them next time, despite the fact that the name makes me think of flatus, and the fact that I know I'm probably going to wish I ordered a chicken burrito.

I end up wishing I had gotten the chicken burrito.  Not that the flatus wasn't good (or flautas, same diff), it just wasn't my chicken burrito.

I'm not complaining about all the "advancements" and new "standards" in the "industry."  As someone who sweats the very minutest of details on something as simple as a rigid single speed, I think it's great that the "industry" trudges on in the interest of making the perfect bike for everyone.  It's just that with my limited time to ride an actual mountain bike, for me to find something other than my chicken burrito, I would need to take several months off from work and travel the country trying different bikes for weeks at a time in different places to ever find something that fit me as well as this decade-old, faded, stained Santa Cruz hoodie I'm wearing right now.

So unless somehow I find a plate-full of food I didn't order sitting in front of me that absolutely blows my socks off?

I think I'll continue to try to make my stupid chicken burrito the best god damned chicken burrito ever... but I'll still be looking at everyone's plate and wondering.  

And in case you're just wanting some humor...

Mummies are over (for me).

Picking fights with people I can't beat are my new (again) thing.

photo chop cred: Grodon Wadsworthless

Tuesday, April 21

when you have to move on and you dead but also have things to do...

Sunday.  Rain.  Time to get shit done... and finish off with the mummy thing.

I did some serious piddling around.  Important things like changing the air filter in the house, just like one should (once a month or twice a year, whichever happens more naturally).  Once those things were out of the way, and I finally found my 4 & 5mm allens that walked off a few days ago, and I got my bike room into a state of organization conducive to getting things done... I went to work sorting out things for PMBAR in two weeks.

Time constraints beset upon us, Zac's best option for a bicycle is my other bicycle, so I went over it to make sure I wasn't handing my partner a dud. 

Once I felt like that was squared away, I set to sorting out my required gear for this year and how it shalt be secured to my bike and person.

I'm more stoked this year on a "packless PMBAR" than in any previous year.

My Titan Tank from Nuclear Sunrise, mounted with a Teamdicky Stem Boner™ for ultimate stability and security.  If you know me, I hate bags on frames almost as much as I hate packs on backs, but this thing makes too much sense.  One-handed access to whatever I want to keep close by, a little bit of compartmentalization to keep things tidy, and a way to get all this shit off my back.

Other pointless things you might notice:

The ASS Wisecracker bottle opener which when mounted like this does little in the way of opening bottles but does keep the Velcro strap of the Titan Tank secure at the top of the Teamdicky Stem Boner™.  It also protects my computer in the event of a nasty wreck.

Speaking of that computer, it's there to fill the requirement of timepiece.  There's no wheel sensor mounted nor the thingy on the fork leg.  More required gear that I have to carry but don't plan on needing.  It's either daylight and things are great, or it's getting dark and something went terribly wrong.

A Cateye commuter light that is well over a decade old at this point, pretty much a dinosaur in the lighting technology department, and something I hope I never have to actually use at PMBAR.  If I do, assume something went totally wrong.

I'm still awaiting the arrival of some new stuff from Backcountry Research that may come in handy (I haven't seen it yet), so I'm done with the sorting for now.  Some new stuff that you can already haz and some stuff that you ain't seen yet but will probably want.

PMBAR, PMBAR, PMBAR.... one is never ready enough for it.

Monday, April 20

If all training rides were like this...

I'd be happier.

I'd be weaker.

I'd be possibly okay with that... until I line up for a race... and then suffer a slow death.

My window was Saturday afternoon.  No rain (but yet somehow there was), no trails, no options.  Grab the tarck bike and head out into the neighborhood just like I do on weekdays because I lack creativity that much.

Finish the loop, cut through my old hood, past the spot where my old house was but now there is a McMansion there, see my former next door neighbor, stop and talk about all the "progress" going up on both sides of him.  Decide the next part of my route should be the Booty Loop.

Right, left, look for traffic, see my other former neighbor's car in front of his recently remodeled house... swing that way.  Get invited in, handed a beer, given a tour, grab a seat, talk about PMBAR and such.  Mental training.

Realize my window is closing, head over to the Booty Loop.  Two laps and some change.  Bored, I pull out my phone and check my heart rate on the climb.  I haven't seen my heart rate on a bike in maybe two decades.  Hitting the 180s, so I guess I can still do that.  Stupid app timed out before the climb was over... was pushing for 190s, mostly because I used to be able to get all up in them... back in the '90s.

Leave the loop, hit the greenway, the gray clouds above start leaking, head to the only place I actually planned on stopping.  The Spoke Easy.  Get there at 5:05PM and order the beer that I wanted to order Friday when I stopped to pick up an Ass Saver fender but didn't.

Watch people leave the shop.  Watch Greg lock the door.  Be informed that the shop actually closed at 5:00PM.

I should plan better next time although I hope I never have to do this again for awhile.

Finish my beer and head home in time to get cleaned up for "date night."  Not exactly the kinda ride that makes you pull out the squeezy leg bags, but when you got them, why not?  Nothing more romantic than ending date night in squeezy leg bags.


Friday, April 17

It ain't funny anymore

No, not the mummy thing...

The rain.  Mummies will always be funny.

Four days in a row.  I get up early.  Look at the radar.  See my window of opportunity.  Head out the door.

And the rain that shouldn't be there is.  A decent test of my resolve to find some fitness before the end of April.   Wet rasisin feet for ten hours and a shitty outlook on things in general.  Thank goodness for mummies bringing sunshine into my dismal world.

Things could be worse.  I could be doing the stage race in Pisgah and burning through brake pads and bearings like my sportsball team just won something, and I'm celebrating our victory and my white privilege by burning things.

But I'm not.  I'm here, looking at the weekend, and it will be more suxor.  Parenting duties until Saturday afternoon (which does not suck, just happens to coincide with the only break in the rain), trails closed, more rain coming... which means my best prospect to ride outside will be more tarck bike in the rain which is what I've been doing all week and uuuuuuuunnnnnnngghhhhhhh.

I guess there's always other options.

But I'll try riding first.  Then making more mummy memes... then, if that fails, make the pain go away as best I know how.