25 February 2013 - 7:30It Begins…
Heard this song on the radio, seemed really appropriate…
My life is filled with less hair and less Jaguars these days, but the message is still true.
I’ll see you on the other side.
Chronicles of mountain bikes with 29 inch wheels.
Heard this song on the radio, seemed really appropriate…
My life is filled with less hair and less Jaguars these days, but the message is still true.
I’ll see you on the other side.
I’m starting to get my pre-trip tweak on.
Some of the stuff I posted last week has found a new home. The Gozarian will be relocating to Australia, and my old singlespeed wheels will roll once more in PA. There have been many nibbles on the Trundleraptor, so that will be sure to go soon. I had debated selling off some of my tools, and I decided that I am going to get rid of one of my truing stands.
You too could own a pice of B29 history with one of my Park TS-2 truing stands. It includes the mounting base, wheel extenders for 29″ wheels, axle adapters for all the various axle types and a rotor truing gauge. All this for $200.
And don’t forget that tomorrow is the METAL show. Tune in on the web here. The playlist is just about done.
Much like that Tom Petty song, the waiting is beginning to get to me. With 3 full weeks of VT life left to go, I am making lists and checking them thrice. A lot of the things require a lot of hurry up and wait, something I’m not that good at. I’ve been filling the time in between by dividing my worldly possessions into chuck/keep/sell piles. Then there is the bring/leave pile that is to be divined from the keep pile. the immediate needs vs what I can wait a few months for, or to be more specific, what fits in the 4runner.
It’s the sell pile I need to work on right now though.
People have a tendency to hold on to way too much stuff, and I am certainly no exception. I’ve really been making an effort to pare everything down to the necessities. Having the shop gave me an excuse to have excess bike baggage, and tomorrow I’ll have the list of sellables ready to present. I need to organize them into an easily accessed location, as everything is scattered. There are some goodies…
The youngling is looking forward to his first big road trip, so far I have a few roadside attractions planned along the way. This will be a great opportunity for me to do some fun stuff as a parent, and open a little kids eyes to the vastness that is this country. Niagra Falls, The Air Force Museum in Dayton, the Arch in St Louis, but then I’m coming up pretty blank. Does anyone know of any kid friendly things to do in Kansas City and points west? Gladly taking suggestions for things not too far off the 70.
Come back tomorrow to see what I’m getting rid of, there just might be something that I can live without that you might need.
There have been many rumblings and speculations about what I am up to exactly. Well, now I can officially tell you. I am leaving VT.
It all started about 2 years ago, when my life underwent a pretty radical change. My 3 week road trip of the southwest awakened me to the fact that I was in fact, completely miserable where I was, both mentally and geographically. However owning a business, and more importantly, being a parent made “just picking up and leaving” very unlikely. So, for a long time, I waited. Patience is a Jedi trait I lack, but is definitely one I have been working on.
Well, it seems as if my patience has paid off. The business is no longer a factor, I have gotten rid of all but a few remaining items of inventory, and have placed B29 in carbonite, until such time as it might be needed again.
On February 25th, I put the Green Mountain state in my rear view mirror, and point towards the Rocky Mountains. This isn’t the bummer ending of Empire, rather a new beginning in the wake of life altering change. Plus I hear there is some good mountainbiking out there…
Actually, I didnt.
I was going to hightail it out of town on Saturday and head up to Colorado, but I chose to stay and do some sight seeing. From my bike. I rode Otero Canyon, which links up to a massive network of trails. I only rode for about an hour or so, because we were to head up to Santa Fe and be tourists for a while later in the day. Somehow, I managed to leave my camera behind for the ride, which is too bad, because there is lots to see out there. The Moment was a much better choice of bike for this terrain, but I would have appreciated a little more top tube. The bike climbs amazingly well, Ellsworth’s ICT suspension design is a performer, and I was able to easily scramble up the ledgy techy spots on my way to the top of the trail. On the way down though… 160mm of travel and a dropped seat… giggity.
Late for my race report. Sue me.
This last weekend was my 3rd appearance at the Darkhorse 40. It’s a fun race. This time however, I was only responsible for 20 miles of the 40, as I was racing in the co-ed duo class with Ginger. When I signed up for the race, I was out in Tucson for SSAZ, and Ginger was undecided as to wether she was going to want to race or not, but I let the offer stand to spilt the race up with her. A few months after we returned to the East Coast, she had made her choice. We were going to run the race as a team. But she was still not decided as to wether or not she was going to race gears or single.
I had signed up for the expert singlespeed category, so I was semi commited to running what I brung. I made the offer to Ginger, if she raced singlespeed, I would wear a dress. She accepted.
Well, I was the only one wearing a costume. But, all the ladies thought I looked good, and I have to say, I was a lot cooler than I would have been had I been wearing my tight and brights. The dress is pretty much made out of the same stuff bike clothes are made of, only I was pretty much pretty much topless. I did have some issues with the hem snagging my saddle, but I was able to deal. In fact, my only real issue was that the bow jiggled itself untied very quickly.
When I could get speed though, I crushed. FS SS is the jam. In fact, I am not replacing my A9C at all. Nor am I selling my RDO. I will be offloading some sweet parts pretty soon though so stay tuned for that. It just makes things so much more fun, and to not have to worry about which line to take through the rock gardens, well… Needless to say, the RDO is getting repurposed.
I tagged out with my partner, and off she went, leaving me to get changed and hang out while everyone else rode 20 more miles. Or not. Half of the WaBrah contingent pulled out after 20. For good reason too. Our crew is so banged up it isn’t even funny, and Stewart was hungry. I had a beer with DH George while getting changed at the car, and he said that about 65 had already DNF’d, and at least 3 people had been pulled from the course in bloody heaps. I was stoked for my 20, and hoped that Ginger was having a good enough time to get hers in too.
Turns out, she was!
We somehow missed the protest window, which put us in 5th place. We would have had 4th had we been more vigilant, but oh well. We both had a blast, and that is all that mattered. We were still one place away from prizes, but we both know that we gave it a good solid effort.
I’ve decided that linear blog posting is for the birds. I’m going to talk about my ride on Saturday, because you sure as hell do not want to know about the ride I took today. It was terrible. The one thing about Strava that I don’t like, is that it tells me when I am being a pussy. On top of a shitty day at work, I’m still tired from my “grinder” ride on Sunday, my legs felt dead, and I experienced a massive headwind on my way out. It all added up to suckitude. I felt the same today as I did Sunday when I bonked. I should probably take some more time off the bike…
But Saturday I did this!
I had gotten directions to an obscure trailhead from Team29 rider Matt Germon, a local to these parts, but I had the hardest time finding it. I bailed on plan A and went to the trailhead I knew down by Lake Dunmore. Seamus and I finally started riding around 5pm.
The first part of this trail is a multiuse doubletrack trail that climbs up to Silver Lake from Lake Dunmore. I brought Weapon X, and scrintched the TALAS down to 110mm of travel and got in my easiest gear and grunted my way up. Once I reached Silver Lake, I ran into some folks I knew, also locals to the area, and got the beta on which way to hit the trail system, which I was encouraged to ride counter clockwise.. The trails were built as an out and back beyond and around the lake, so I aimed my front tire at the Chandler Ridge trail and started going.
Not 5 minutes in, I ran into Matt. We chatted a while before pressing on our separate ways. He’d said I had about 2 hours of riding ahead of me. On I went, the trail wound its way up the ridge. there were some switchbacks for relief, but there was definitely some rugged climbing. There were many false summits and a couple of big trees across the trail that took some time to negotiate, but I kept pressing on.
Not long after the decision to keep riding was made, the trail turned downward, and a huge grin replaced the worry that must have been written all over my face. The trails are definitely more “old school” . They are rugged, and punctuated with rocks and sudden detours around or over bigger rocks. The WFO ate it up. I was so pleased with my bike choice. I had spent a little while earlier that day messing with the rear shock settings, and was finding it more to my liking. Still have some fine tuning to do, but I’m otherwise very stoked on that bike.
All in all, a pretty awesome ride. Despite getting turned around and lost a bit on the way there, and having my little fret fest on the trail, I’d have to call this one of my best days on the bike this year. This proves the point that those motivational posters say, that the magic happens outside of your comfort zone. Couldn’t agree more.
After getting pounded by the trails around Lake Massabesic, we headed out to get food and more beers at a place called Shorty’s. Not bad for Tex Mex, and the riding had given us a hunger that would have allowed us to eat just about anything. Then it was time to shower and rally to some friends for more socializing, beer and Thanksgiving leftovers. It was a late night, but I didn’t have to be anywhere until 1pm the next day.
You thought I was going to put Electric Boogaloo in the title didn’t you? I don’t want to be too predictable…
After a delicious breakfast of Iron Mike’s signature Belgian waffles, bacon, homefries and the best Bloody Mary I have had in a really long time, I headed off to the next stop, North Hampton MA. The plan was to ride at Batchelor St, a place I have just recently gotten to know and enjoy. The trails here are extremely technical, it took us 3 hours to ride 6 miles. I’d love to post up a map of the ride, but at some point my Garmin parted ways with it’s mount. There was no way I was going to be able to go back and find it amongst the leaf litter. Meh.
Anyway, I was once again impressed at how well the Spot handled the terrain. The gearing was a bit stiff for me once again, I spent the first 3rd of the ride struggling to keep up, the middle 3rd finding my rhythm, and the final 3rd trying to stay on my bike. There were 4 flat tires, the fallen leaves hid a lot of sharp pointy rocks, so there was plenty of time to stop and be social. I was glad I was tubeless… but I was really glad to have the chance to take the Spot on trails other than my own. It’s one thing to know what to expect on any given trail that you are familiar with, but it’s a completely different experience when you are trusting the bike in unfamiliar territory. Again I was impressed at how well the bike tracked on off camber rocks. The high BB allowed me to clear big steppy rolldowns without dragging the front sprocket. Pedal strikes were at a minimum, even in the super chunky terrain we were riding. Again, zero issues with the belt.
The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing and hanging out with friends. I don’t think I could have attempted another bike ride on Sunday, I was shot. After saying my goodbyes, I hopped in the car and headed north, and spent the drive thinking about how I’ve really enjoyed this extended biking season. I mean, we really got robbed here in VT this year. It snowed through May, and rained through July. Then of course, we had Irene to deal with. It was the Summer of Bummer for sure, and all of the nice weather this fall has feels like some sort of an apology from mother nature. I am still in disbelief on the warm weather we have been having. I know it’s going to end soon, but I am going to do my best to cram as many more rides in as I can. As nice as it is now, I know it will be the polar opposite before too long. Polar being the operative word.
And so little time.
And only one of me. A long while ago, I made the commitment to go to SSUSA, which in 2010 was held in Tucson, and hosted by Mr Dejay Birtch. In February. Because it was such an early event, the winners of the hosting shenanigans (Jake and Kramer) had the rest of 2010 to come up with a plan for 2011 before it was their turn to host.
SSUSA 2011 is going down in Boulder on June 4th, which is not far away. So back in Feb ’10, I knew that I was going to Boulder in ’11, but didn’t know when. Well, in between these SSUSAs a couple of events have piqued my interest. One of them being the Transylvania Epic, which will have occurred twice before I get on my return flight home from Colorado.
TSE is a multi day stage race among PA’s finest rock gardens. Don’t get me wrong, I love riding in PA. It is like no other place, and after reading Dicky’s recaps of the race last year, and listening to him spew on and on about how I should do it, I thought that it might be something I would like to do someday, maybe even in 2011. Except I already chose to do SSUSA, which happens to be on the tail end of this year’s TSE. Dammit!
So sadly (not really), I will be in the snow laden Rocky Mountains whooping it up for a marathon of partying and one big bike ride, while Dicky and Dough are duking it out for podium spots in the singlespeed category over 5 days. I almost wish I could be at TSE though. I know Dough has been secretly training to maintain his dominance over Dicky. I know that Dicky has not been training much at all, except for riding his road bike early in the morning on Wednesdays (or so he says), but he literally rides a bike for a living, so I expect him to at least do well enough to hang on to that shortest step on the podium.
Will he have a strong finish? Or will it be like SSWC09 all over again?
Only time will tell, and you know Dicky will not be blogging while he is away. And Dough can only manage to write one post a month. Lame. How am I supposed to know what’s going on? I will bring my laptop. I will post about the goings on. I will take the time to let everyone know about my nefarious plot to bring SSUSA to VT for 2012.
Or maybe I wont.
As luck would have it, the monsoons let up over the weekend just enough to get a couple of quality rides in. The need to ride has gotten to a fever pitch around here. It has rained hard at least everyday, making most of the trails sopping wet. This is driving many of us out on our skinny tired bikes.
Saturday began with torrential rain in the morning, but sun and big puffy clouds in the afternoon. M2 and I tried our luck, and set our sights on App Gap, one of the bigger paved climbs in the area. I have talked big for years about doing this ride, and I was hoping that Saturday was the day. My schedule was free, and I had nothing else going on.
Seems like Ma Nature had other plans though. After destroying the hill up and over Duxbury Mtn (big ring), and super cruizing along Rt 100 to Waitsfield, a big ugly dark cloud rolled over Roxbury Mtn from the east, and is was not looking good. Big drops started to fall, and we took shelter under the covered bridge in town. It rained HARD. And there was thunder and lightning. M2 and I discussed our options. I consulted the doppler map on my iPhone, and saw that the big red blob that was dumping gallons of water on us was headed to the same place we were.
It didn’t take long for us to decided that a mountain pass was not the right place to be during a thunderstorm, so once the rain diminished, we headed back the way we came, and did an extended version of the ride I did on Wednesday. Not necessarily a ride fail, more of an objective fail. The good news is that we rode back in warm sunshine, and we lived to fight another day.
Unlike my Garmin, which after 5 years has decided to stop working completely. I guess 5 years is good, considering my track record with consumer electronics. I’ve had 3 digital cameras, 2 iphones, 3 ipods 5 heart rate monitors and 2 laptops.
Sunday it decided to not rain. Mandy and I headed out to Pine Hill Park in Rutland to see hoe the trails were fairing there. Because of the rocky nature of the terrain, and the way the trails built – they are well armored, and they tend to dry very quickly. We found only a couple of mucky spots, and had a fun time tearing around with Seamus the dog.
While we were getting ready, I heard a voice “George Wisell?”. I looked around, half expecting a relative or the police, because only those people know how to pronounce my last name properly. Turns out it was Nate, a reader of the blog, and a local to PHP. Nice to meet you.
We rode for about 2.5 hrs, and hit a good portion of what was there. I love riding Pine Hill, as it is so singlespeed friendly. The climbs are manageable, even the technical ones, and the downs are so fast and flowy. The only down side? Bugs. The skeeters were super bad, and stopping meant that you would get swarmed.
Got some footage of Mandy, who is riding strong right now. Much stronger than I am, but she rode her bike all winter, and I sat on my ass and got fat. For some reason this got cut short, as I was editing the video and watching the Cubs/Sox game, and not paying much attention to the computer. Still managed to get the good stuff though.
And I got to have a singletrack experience with my new Ergon GS1 grips. I LOVE these grips. They are like a cross between the comfort/performance GP series and the racier shape of the GX series. They are way more comfortable than the GXs I had on there, I think because the grip has a bit more girth to it, and the paddle portion is a bit softer.