Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rock and Roll Tribute

While I was messing around in the shop today I had an idea. Sometimes that can be a good thing and other times not so much. It all started when I was presented with a request for a unique graphics package for a bike we are sending to the UK. This guy, which is also his name, wanted something different on his PRO29...well I am still working on guy's graphics but I did manage to work this little beauty up and give it a test on a scrap tube. I hope the God of Thunder is proud. I think that I may need to do an entire KISS Live tribute and put all 4 members faces' on the top tube of my next bike. I think that it will be a solid representation to go along with my speakers in the Wingnut. Now I am seriously fired up about next season. Snake Creek Gap is just a little over a month away.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day Late and a few Dollars Short

Well, it has taken me a week to fully recover from the Asheville extravaganza/Swank 65 adventure. First and foremost, many thanks to my hosts, Jut and Ty for having me and Sam. It sure was way nicer than sleeping in the freezing cold, even though I barely made the start. It all kicked off on Friday night as Sam and I left Chatty around 8pm and made our way to Asheville. We arrived to band practice and a scattered group of people hanging out at the Crow's Nest. Saturday morning, I met my Aunt, Uncle and cousins at Early Girl for breakfast. It was crazy that they were in Asheville for a wedding and I was there for a bike race. So we made the best of it and hung out for a little while. Then Jut and I went to Bent Creek to ride. We met up with a fella that Jut knows who rides a high-mountain bike. I cannot even begin to tell you how freaking awesome this was. This dude kicked some serious ass on this 6foot tall bike with a 140mm Fox fork and purple I-9's with disc brakes. To simply put it, he crushed us on the descents....believe it. Even after a week, I still cannot believe what I witnessed that day.

Later on in the evening, we wound up heading to Jack of the Wood to catch some live bluegrass thanks to High Windy. I have not been to that venue in quite a while and it was a pleasant as I remember. The band was stellar and I ran into several pals from around the way. Slohio Rob was in effect along with Freddy, Libby and Emmy. And there was even an Elliot sighting. Most everyone left before the band ended and we should have too, but we stuck it out until they wrapped it up. After a brisk night ride back to the Crow's Nest, we arrived to meet the band for a third set at the house. I finally nodded off in a quite corner on Jut's floor.

I woke up to Sam asking if we still planned on racing...well of course we were. The only problem was we got up almost 2 hours late. I grabbed all my stuff and crammed it into my car and hit the road to Brevard like a maniac. The entire drive I was pretty sure that I was going to miss the start and just have to suffer for no reason at all. When we pulled into the campground, I had about 8 minutes to suit up, fill bottles and register...holy shit!!! I somehow made it to the start with about a minute to spare and I looked over to see Justin standing there in his street clothes. Damn, he just arrived and then we were off. No time to even think about anything other than racing. I barely remember the running portion of the start and then I grabbed my bike and followed the pack. It wasn't until we hit the first climb that I had a clue what or where I was going. The race was pretty much status quoe in my opinion. I have ridden that area for many years, and while I liked the start a little better than last year, there was nothing to great about it. I did not stop for more than 30 seconds at any stop and mainly it was just long enough to grab some water and shove a Coke in my pocket. I drank 2 cokes and ate 3 bars...a total sugar buzz the whole race. Right before we hit the Farlow Gap climb, I pounded my Coke and got a second wind. I made the whole climb, unlike last year, which made me pretty stoked. I wound up passing several SS and geared guys going down Farlow...there is nothing more awesome than passing people on a super technical decent on a rigid bike. However, it did take a toll. I hit one section and got launched off the bike. Stabbed my right butt cheek with my saddle and tore a hole in my shorts...I could have done without that. But it just gave me a shot of adrenaline and I made it to the creek crossing and then hit the single track on a mission. I was pretty much over the event at that point. When I hit the last stop, I grabbed one more Coke and counted down the last 1o miles with a steady rhythm on the pedals. Once I made it to the final road climb, I went all out just to get it over with. I passed a few more people on the climb and was pretty much home free when we got to the last creek crossing. I rolled in just under 4:20 and 32nd overall which was 40+ minutes faster than last year. Considering I barely made it, I was cool with my results.

We hung out for a free beer and hamburger and watched some more people roll in. The weather was way better than last year and it was great to see so many friends in Pisgah. I am not too sure that I will be doing the Swank 65 next year, but many thanks to Todd for hosting a killer time in the woods.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Asheville Bound

Since the last time I stopped by blogger land much has come and gone. The 12hrs of the Hill of Truth went pretty well. We finished in 3 place in the money category, so we walked away a touch richer and none the wiser. A 3 man team competing in the 4 man category is not such a huge feat, but more like an intential disadvantage. We all rode strong, but later in the day you could begin to see what a little more rest between laps could do. Although it was a hot lap fest for sure, I think we held our own quite well. It was awesome to hang out with the Knoxville crew and many thanks and congrats to 10 years of racing at Haw Ridge. I will always look to make this a regular late season stop. The trail is great and the good times are inevitable. That is an event where if you do not have fun, then you can only balme yourself. I hope to see you there next year.

I am about to pack up for a trip to Asheville for the SWANK 65. Yes, it's that time of year again. Early Fall has a way of sparking up all the desires of mountain bike racing. It is funny how you can start counting down the days to the next season as soon as fall arrives. The horrid summer heat is gone and the days get shorter, so now is the time to charge up the lights and start looking forward to Tuesday nights again. I just received an email from Conrad and the registration for the Snake Creek Gap Series is open for business. I am looking to redeem myself this time around. I had one good day out of three, so I am hoping for a little more consistancy from the bird legs this year, see above image. I cannot wait to hang out with my Asheville pals and hope that the trails are extra sweet on Sunday.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

I have left the world of blogging to the professionals lately as I have had very little to mention other that the day to day workings of life. I have spent a few weeks working in the machine shop learning the titanium fabrication trade and while it is a complex arena, I have held my own quite well. For the sake of quality and safety, my duties have been somewhat limited but necessary. I can successfully drill a hole in just about anything. I also learned how to set up mitering jigs and run other machinery as well. Not sure where that will take me in the future, but I have a whole new appreciation of the fine steeds I ride the shit out of on a regular basis. My hat is off to the fine fabricators of titanium.

Tomorrow I embark on a trip to Knoxville for the 12hrs of the Hill of Truth. I am having high expectations for our crew this year. We took 2nd in the Open Pro category last year and I think that we have a solid shot at first this year. I guess it will all depend on the level of competition that shows up. We are going with a 3 man crew to minimize our down time and hopefully keep us from getting lethargic due to the waiting game. There is a healthy purse on the line which is always a motivator in my book. To stray from the smack talking fiasco that is usually left to Dicky, we will just show up and give the locals utter hell and see how we fair in the end. The event is always fun and it will be good to see my friend T-Gaines and his whole K-town crew. I wish everyone the best of luck and I will be the guy screaming "on your left!!"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Interbike Pre-Show Breakdown

I have been messing around the shop this week. With Interbike right around the corner and the last few items trickling in, I am now looking to have some fun in Vegas. I think that I am going to work in a daily show update on the blog with pictures, video and a quick run down of what happened. Monday we will be traveling, setting up the booth and building bikes. Tuesday is Dirt Demo and I plan on going out to Bootleg Canyon to hang out with some of my West Coast crew. Wednesday the show starts and later that night we will be hanging out with the Alpha Q boys at CrossVegas. Thursday will be more show action followed up with the Crit Series Final and I expect to kick it with Willo and Sulli that night. Friday should be a welcomed day as the show wraps up and we pack our items back into our boxes and ship them home. Saturday morning will come quick with the red eye flight back to Chatty. Sunday morning I will get up way before the sun to pack my bags and head down to the Cohuttas for the Black Bear Rampage, being hosted by Scott's in Cleveland. So there it is folks, the week before it happens...check back through out the week and see what is going on in Vegas. I will keep it PG rated, well at least I hope so.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What Can I Say?

It has been a long time since I have pounded away at the keys for anything other than work. I have been swamped with bicycle trade show details as well as the 2009 Lynskey Product lineup. While I have been surrounded by bikes, I have not spent a ton of time riding them. I have sent all materials to Germany for Eurobike and my guys are there now drinking mass amounts of high-quality German beer with our distributor and hopefully attending the show and selling some bikes while they are there. I am a bit jealous, but with Interbike on the horizon, I am glad to be here in the states right now. The Interbike shipment is being picked up on Tuesday, so I will finally be in the clear for a few days to regroup and get focused for the bicycle circus in Las Vegas.

I kicked off my return to the bike on Monday after a long weekend of moving in to my new house in North Chatt. It feels great to have a home again with enough space for company, racer friends and plenty of bicycles. Jason and I went out for a ride with no apprehensions or objectives and wound up doing over 80 miles and hit two of the local mountains. The term trial by fire crossed my mind a time or two, but it was what I needed to get back on the horse. Now I cannot wait to ride some more and get my fitness back up to where it needs to be for a killer Fall mountain bike season. I have been traveling and lounging with the best of them in an attempt to enjoy the summer months like I used to in college. Lots of low key sunshine and water sports like cannonballs, water slides and sun burns. All that is behind me now and I am excited about the turning of the leaves and epic mountain bike rides. Hope to see you out on the trail...you know I will be there.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Summer Time is Fun Time


It is official, no summertime racing for me. It has finally hit the too warm for me point and I am now taking my "winter off". I plan to ride a ton still, just not feeling very competitive. There may be a few appearances at some local 12hr events, but it will strictly be for fun. I have a wedding to attend in Mid July so the ORAMM is out. Kinda bummed but that further enables me to chill this summer. A steady plan of commuting, road biking and some epics on the mountain bike preferably at trails near the river is what I have planned. I spent this Sunday working the SORBA Outdoor Expo and followed that up with a killer late-afternoon boating extravaganza. Dr. Mark was kind enough to invite a few of us out to his pad for some water sports after the Expo. What a perfect way to wrap up a lazy work weekend.

I ordered the misses a new scooter for her birthday. I was trying to be all sneaky and get it here and then have my guys custom paint it for her. But her persistence and detective work, blew my cover and I had to spill the beans. I was trying to be strong, but if I was not careful, she would have bought herself one and I would end up with 2, so I filled her in that I already ordered it and it should be here soon. So if you are in Chattaboogie and you get passed by a crazy brunette on a tangerine Buddy, that was Mrs. P.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

The weekend is over and the new work week has been rolling along. The weather is warm and humid here in the deep South. The best plan is an early breakfast and early ride with all efforts to return home before 1PM. I have been riding to work as much as possible. I drove in to the office on Tuesday and actually felt a bit of disappointment. It was more like I missed out on something, so I rode in today and will probably do so for the rest of the week. What started out a once a week has turned into nearly everyday. For that I am happy and satisfied. Not only am I saving money, nearly 10 bucks a day, but I am also getting at least 2.5 hours of riding in, plus anything else I do after I get back on my side of town. Looks like my next bike project will be commuter oriented...I have a few steeds in the basement that will work beautifully and my road bike is working well now, but something a little more comfortable my be just the ticket. Fancy pants commuter style coming soon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Sponsors

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to my 2 new sponsors...White Brothers Forks and Dedicated Athlete. I look forward to representing their products with pride and professionalism. So the days of bikes being thrown and fights taking place in the singletrack, jonny mac style are over...as Pisgah Bruce so eloquently puts it, "I might be serious". In all seriousness, I am grateful for their support.

The heat and humidity has slowed the training significantly, so to make up for it, I have started commuting to work on the bike. I have been wanting to do this ever since I first moved here, but for a small town, the roads are pretty sketchy. At least where I have to go. The first or last part depending on the direction is all nice greenway travel, but the roads through the industrial sections are much more dangerous. I have yet to feel threatened, but I do have to pay very close attention to the traffic. I am hoping that the daily travelers in those congested areas will get used to seeing me and start paying attention. A fella can hope right?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Summertime is Here

Work:
This week the boss man was out of the office on vacation with his family, so us flying monkeys have been forced to fend for ourselves and try to knock out as much stuff as possible before his return. While it has been quiet and peaceful, I do miss the excitement he brings to the foundry. I received confirmation that our Dirt Rag review is scheduled for the July issue...looking forward to hear Andy's thoughts on his ride. I am building a sexy new bike for Sugar Cycles, a new dealer, that I am going to shoot for a Velonews Ad. Should have a sneak peak photo up on Monday. We are working on some killer new stuff for 2009 and it looks like my bike is on the selling block so I am going to be in the market for a new ride...something to think about for a few days. I have been wanting to build a belt drive 29er SS, so looks like here is my chance. I think that I am going to take the summer off from racing anyway and just kick around on the road bike. Maybe even pick up some type of water sport while it it crazy hot out. I actually hate the summer time...it was only cool when I was in school, or out of school for that matter. But it is all part of our yearly trip around the sun.

Ride:
The past few days on the road bike have been rough to say the least. I have been consumed by the heat and feeling slow and sluggish. I guess this happens, but it is not something that I am used to, yet. After much thought and deliberation, I am going to bag the Disc Burner 12hr race this weekend for a more low key trip to the Whitewater Center for a repeat of the Big Frog 65 ride followed by some time in the river, then an over night camping escapade. I think this will be the new summer style for myself...pick trails to ride that are really close to water. Ride, Swim, Chill...my version of a triathlon.

On a separate note, I have a new mountain bike project in the works. My old school school steel Yeti is back from paint and is glorious. It will be built up as a 2x8 with some old school XTR stuff that I have. Seeking out some new cranks and maybe a suspension fork. This is the last steel Yeti ever made in Durango as far as anyone knows...I bought this from a former Yeti employee back in 2001 and he had it made in 1997 with the last of the steel tubing that was lying around the shop. It was once powder coated red and is now metallic pearl white with a sexy metallic black panel...I have been hanging onto the decals for many years and was actually surprised they worked with the clear coat. I will post the complete build ASAP. This will be my off-road cruiser bike unless someone wants to put it to better use, then I am open to offers. This is the best riding mountain bike I have ever been on.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Burn Baby Burn

Holiday weekends are always great. It's like a surprise day off that usually turns into an elaborate travel adventure and this year was no different. After work on Friday, I came home and began sorting all of my riding and camping gear that we would need for the extended weekend that would consist of a 24hr race followed by some socializing in Asheville with JutRut and Ty. It was going to be a full on family trip with Mrs. Pills and our four legged fuzzy son Gunnar. By the time I had everything packed into the car, it was nearly 10PM and I decided to take a short nap and leave early in the morning. 3:30AM came way too soon. We made some coffee and hit the road shortly after 4. The trip to NC was great, all the holiday traffic had made it to their destination and the roads were very easy to travel. We made it to the Dark Mountain Trails around 9:30 with time to set up camp and register. This year I was racing with a 5 man team, a first for me...have done many 4 man teams, but never a 5. Also, it has been a few years since the last time I competed in the Burn event. And without saying, this is still a well organized and most of all FUN event. The trails are not very challenging, but are tons of fun.

The race went well for us...we finished in 7th out of 25 teams which was respectable but nothing to write home about. My only goal was to turn some decent lap times and not be too far off the fastest times. Being the only rigid single speed on our geared full suspension team was a hoot. I was only a minute or so off of Jason which was fine with me...I was consistently in the 38 to 40 minute range with 1 lap at 41 minutes due to some heavy night traffic. I never feel good about being that guy that makes bad passes for a few shaved seconds. So in this instance, I followed a pretty quick female rider down the 2nd big decent with the brakes on...once we were in a safe spot, I quickly passed and went all out to pick up the lost time, with no avail.

The funny thing that I noticed most of all in this race was the hot laps are a thing of the past for me. Back in the day, I could bust out some fast lap times and felt pretty good about it, but usually fell short sometime in the early morning with the usual stomach cramps or something like that. This year, the team event almost seemed easy for me. I think that hitting the throttle for 35 to 40 minutes just got me warmed up, then I had to stop. We did one round of double laps and I actually had warmed up and started to feel good. I did get passed once during my second lap by someone who obviously was sitting around waiting their turn because I was not going slow and they came around me pretty quick. So I did the logical thing and latched onto his wheel and blasted the speakers even louder just to make sure he knew he did not drop me. I went back out a few more times and was the last to go out for one more right before the cut off time at noon. It was a lap for glory rather than purpose, but I did not want to miss out. It was actually a really nice lap, there were very few riders out on the course and the trail was in perfect condition.

All in all it was a really good time. The dog behaved better than I expected and the wife had a pretty good time hanging out with other bike widows from Chattanooga. Many thanks to Krystal's and the Scenic City Velo gang for adding me to their race roster. It was nice to be a hired gun even though we did not podium. But I will say, the competition was solid. I shot the breeze with the Dickman for while and even got heckled by him a time or two, but what's new there. We packed up and began the drive to Asheville shortly after the race was over.

We cut through the mountains between Boone and Old Fort to get to Asheville and this was absolutely gorgeous country. Curvy mountain roads and beautiful scenery were coupled with blue skies and puffy white clouds. Mrs. P took the wheel and I nodded off for a little while and caught up on my beauty rest. When we arrived at the Crow's Nest, we were greeted by Ty. We hung out for a little while then JutRut made it home. He was scoping a new pumptrack in the Asheville area...looks like another venue for the Enduro de Ocho...more to come on that. We decided to hang out at the Nest and grill out for the evening. After some killer chow, we checked out a graffiti and b-boy documentary then called it a night.

We woke up early and had some breakfast. Jut was going out for an all day ride from North Mills to Bent Creek and back, which would have been way more than I could enjoy, especially after a 24hr event. Bennett came over and he and Jut rolled out, Des and I took off and Ty slept in. We drove up to Craggy Gardens via the Blue Ridge Parkway and hiked around a bit to stretch the legs. We cruised back into town, stopped for lunch at Greenlife, then hit the road back to Chatty.
The weather has been pretty wet since we have been home, so the riding has been nil. Going to Nashie this weekend to hang out with the family and have a relaxing weekend. Thinking about driving back up to Knoxville for the Disc Burner 12hr event the following weekend...anyone interested in going, please drop a line.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The End of an Era

The Tuesday Night Gang was out in full force and represented big time last night. Due to the events that ensued, it was only fitting that we were all there to be a part. It started out like any normal Tuesday ride, meeting at Jason's, Me riding over to his place, Bishop calling to tell us that he is just now leaving Signal Mountain, Little E is the first there/last ready to roll and Sam is going to meet us somewhere mid-ride. Not knocking out merry band of misfits, just a simple observation put to the test of the course of several months. Sam has not been riding with us much because he is all serious and racing the road bikes with the domestic pros this year and Bishop has been at school in NC racing bikes with the young mountain ninjas. But on this one evening, the band was back together.

We start through town and head out to Lookout Mountain, pick up the lower truck trail and take the first left turn that climbs practically straight up to the upper truck trail via this super technical hiking trail that is covered in mid sized rocks and roots. I have descended this several times in the dark and it is sketchy at best, but going up this was balls out. I watched Jason and Bishop pull away on their geared bikes while I slowly turned the pedals over and did all I could do to control my torque to prevent from spinning out. It was that strange, painful type of climb that you are more in shock that you are still in the upright position and moving forward than the fact that your heart rate is through the roof. As Bishop topped out the climb and hit the road section, The Park Ranger was there to greet him. Jason popped out and found himself part of the conversation. I stopped early and figured out what was going on and ducked back into the woods. Situation was worked out and we were able to descend the sick climb we just came up. Many thanks to our new ranger friend...he made his point and we will respect that fact since he did not slap up with a buck fifty fine and confiscate our rides until our court date for trespassing.

After we rode for another hour or two, we all agreed that the only logical thing to do after being evicted from our secret training grounds, is to step it up and begin riding to Raccoon Mountain, turn several laps then return home...with the time change we should be able to get 4 hours in easily with a warm up and cool down on the road after some sick single track...we begin next week. Just goes to show you, when you find something good, take full advantage because there will always be someone out there trying to Wreck My Flow. Laying low until the Burn 24.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Making It Happen

Ever had one of those days where you literally had to force every situation to get your ride on? That was the way things went on Saturday. I woke up early to ride at Raccoon Mountain...mind you it has been at least 6 weeks since I have been up there, so I was really looking forward to it. It was going to be the warm up to a full weekend of riding. I packed up my bike and my gear and made my way up the mountain. When I pulled in the lot was empty...first tracks on Saturday morning, how sweet. Unfortunately, the weekend has a tendency to cause this trail to become quiet crowded, so this was making me really stoked. Right as I was suiting up, a fellow local and guy I have met several time pulls up and we start talking. He was supposed to meet some mutual friends and they were not at the meeting spot, so he made his own agenda and at that moment, I realize I forgot my helmet. We agreed to ride together at a casual pace to reduce the chances of injury and just enjoy some time riding in the woods.

Near the midway point I receive a random phone call from one of our mutual friends that missed the meeting spot earlier on..."Hey, I noticed your car in the lot, where are you?" We figured our route and eventually all met up on the trail. From there, things began to unravel. After a few short minutes of floating through singletrack, a ppppssssssstttt sounds comes from a few feet behind me...flat!!! and Tim stopped to change his rear tube. Problem fixed and we are back on the bikes again. A few miles later all hell broke loose and Wade clips a tree with his bar and he gets ejected and thrown to the dirt. He is wincing in pain and eventually has to be helped up off the ground. Moose and I cut through the trails to get back to the lot in the fastest way possible, grab a car and head back to meet our injured rider. Total bummer...I was the moron without a helmet and chose to ride anyway and someone winds up getting hurt. No fault here, but strange how that worked out. Moose hooked me up with his helmet and Tim and I rode for about an hour more just to wipe away the bad juju.

Sunday morning, I woke up and milled around the house making breakfast and loading up gear. Called Big J and drove up to Sewanee to meet Ivory and Brandon for some more mountain biking. The weather was unusually cool and the chance of rain was pretty high, but after Saturday's episode, I was going to ride no matter what. We all kicked it around at a nice pace for most of the Perimeter Trail and then it finally started raining. This trail has all of these really cool rocky climbs that you have to put some trials moves in to clean them...hard anyway, but even harder when wet. Not the smoothest day I have had on the bike in a while, but it is such an awesome trail that who really cares. We eventually found our way back to the picnic shelter and hung out there while it poured down some cold rain. No matter what, it is always nice to hang out with your crew after a killer ride in the woods.

Tonight it is on and in full effect. Bishop is back in town for a few days before heading out to Colorado for a summer of part-time work and full-time fun. Makes want to go back to college big time...anyway, we are getting the Tuesday night crew back together for as many hours in the dark as we can muster the strength to ride. This weekend is the Burn 24hr and tonight should prove to be a nice kick off to a ton of bike riding over the next few days.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Blog Vacation is Over

I have taken a vacation from the electronic world and it is nice to be back. Much has happened and the plan is to bring some of it up of the next few days so as not to overload the first new post in a while. All has been pretty much business as usual. Work and riding have both been consistent and steady. The next big event is the Burn 24hr Challenge next weekend, so I am going to stick around the city and ride locally. The wife and I spent last weekend camping in the Big Frog Wilderness and the Dirt, Sweat & Gears was the weekend prior. Looking forward to spending some time at home over the next few days. I plan on turning some laps at Raccoon Mountain tomorrow, hopefully with Big J. Sunday I am meeting Ivory at Monteagle for a mid-day off-road tour on the Perimeter Trail. Just registered for a chance at Hell Ride...I could use some of s mojo right about now.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pre-DSG

This week I have been busting some serious ass at the ol'e bicycle foundry. Mainly churning the marketing machine of web and print media. It has been a race to the dead line on evey project I touched this week. Many significant accomplishments and goals met. Now it is time to realse the angst on the race track. The plan is to head North around 1PM tomorrow...best of luck to the SSUSA cats...I will come and cheer you on at the 2nd event...dolla preems, ya'll? Squeeze in a lap in before dark and begin the pre-race prep routine. Recieved calls from Ohio Rob, JutRut and a text from the Rev...sounds like it is going to be a great event. All the gear is packed. Food is in the crate. The PRO29 is ready to ride. All we need now is for the rain to blow on by and we will have another amazing day on the bike in Tennessee. I look forward to seeing all my friends and meeting a bunch of new ones.

A full race report to follow.

Monday, April 28, 2008

sixfifty B Ya'll

"Time Flies" they say, well I say they are correct. It has been a pretty chill week since Cohutta and it feels really good. I have been putting in miles all winter long and am happy to be in a rest mode right before the Dirt, Sweat and Gears race on Saturday. Unfortunately there seems to be a HUGE chance that I am going to miss the SSUSA event...I may just jump in the minute I get there and hope for the best...at least that is my current plan. Last week was business as usual, Tuesday and Thursday night rides, work and life. The weather did not cooperate and spoiled the misses and my plan to camp out at Thunder Rock for a little more riding and some hiking with the dog. Looking back, we should have gone anyway, but we had a great time hanging out at the pad. It has been a while since we have relaxed at home. Time well spent.

Work is back in effect and I finally finished the 650b bike today. It has taken me way too long to get this project finalized. but it came out so bad ass. I am going to test this rig tomorrow, tune it up and ship of off for testing. I can only hope they are as equally pleased as they were with the PRO29. I think it is going to be sick. I am looking forward to 12 hours of doing laps in TN on my bike. Hope all goes well this year. Rode myself into the flu by on the 3rd lap and I spent the next 3 hours trying to sleep in the back of my truck. Totally wrecked and immobile. Looking for some redemption this year. I plan on resting up some more this week with an easy night tomorrow.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Yazoo Invades Cohutta

Sitting here Monday night and thinking about the weekend's activities is just getting me fired up about the race season. While the entire race experience is great and traveling around is fun. It's hanging out with all of the friends that you meet along the way that truly make the experience something you will remember. When you combine Yazoo crew members with other racing folks you are guaranteed a good time. So, here is the brief rundown of the events that transpired.

On Thursday, Jut Rut was coming down to Chatty from Nashville after a quick stop at MOAB in the 'boro to visit the Rigid Kitten and pick up some parts. The Rev was on his way in from Dallas and had been driving most of the day. I arrived home after work and within a few minutes Jut pulls up with a roof full of bikes, which is not unusual, but there was a blast from the past on top that I have to mention. Many years ago, Justin and I had the flu and wound up being too ill to race at Chickasaw, so we decided to round up every loose bike part we could find and build a chopper. Thanks to an article in Dirt Rag, we had all the basic info we needed along with a plethora of random gear. After we coupled two old ass Manitou forks together and hammered a raked rigid fork into that, we had all the front end you could ever need. A few hours later we were riding around the neighborhood on the new chopper bike. Anyway, over the years the chopper has had many sighting, but the last little while it has been garaged. It was nice to see that it is on its way to reside in Asheville. Let the good times roll.

I went to work on Friday and the boys packed up and drove out the Thunder Rock to ride some trails before the race and get registered. Jason and I made the working guys plan and met up around 7 and drove straight out to the Whitewater Center to sign in and pick up our race packet. Right as we pull in, Garth is packing up his ride and we stop and chat for a little while. As I'm signing in I run into Announcer Bruce and Sandra Vanderkitten. We shoot the breeze for a few minutes and then it was time to make our way to the Sourmash Lodge. When we pulled up everyone was already settling in and wrapping up dinner. Ohio Rob, Chip, The Rev, Dave, Sharpie and Jut had already warmed the place up and showed Big J and I around. What a sweet place we had for the weekend. We hung out for a few hours and as the crew slowly vanished one by one, I figured it was time for bed. About 3 in the morning, the sky opened up and it began to pour rain. It was enough to wake me up and it kind of made me laugh. It was only proper that we get dumped on before the race. I rolled back over and tried to get a few more hours of sleep.

5:30 came quicker than I wanted and of course it was still raining. We were all sitting around having breakfast and the rain was the only subject of conversation. How long will it last? How much will it effect the course? Damn, I did not bring any cold weather clothes. Oh well. Jason and I drove down to the start/finish and suited up. As we were riding up to the start, Bruce announced that we were starting in 45 seconds...crap, I was all the way at the back of the entire pack. As we rolled out the traffic was pretty bad at first, so I made a few early moves to get out in front of the slower traffic. As I was climbing the first hill I hear, "Hey Pillsbury"!, it was Dougie. We talked for a while as we made our way to the single track. Once we hit the first turn, the traffic was piling up so I made a few more moves and broke out in front of a bunch of slower riders. I was in no real hurry, but I wanted to keep my flow going because the rain made the climbs a bit slick. Once I made it to the first fire road, I was feeling great and decided just to keep a good groove going and not work too hard. All I wanted to do was ride easy, climb everything and have fun without getting passed by anyone. Around mile 37, I had to take a nature break and a guy came around me on a geared bike so I did not think anything of it at first. Then I remember not wanting to get passed, so I picked up the pace and caught him right away. We talked for a second and he mentioned that he loved the speakers...I said thanks and rode up the hill. For most of the ride from that point on I was riding solo. I would look up the road for someone and use them as motivation to pass, then off to lonely land again. When I finally hit the last single track I was totally stoked. I cranked up the tunes and picked off several more riders on the last single track climb before bombing down Thunder Rock. My hands were pretty numb by that point and I was so covered in mud that I pretty much just let go of the levers, opened it up and hoped for the best. When I rounded the last turn and crossed the bridge, all that was left was a mile or so of road. As I crossed the finish line, all I wanted was a Coke and dip in the river. For not really racing, I wound up in 2nd to Pisgah Bruce. Which is fine with me, but I regret not knowing he was racing because I may have been motivated to ride a little harder, oh well. I had a great time and the 65 mile course was way more fun than the 100 that I pre-rode 2 weeks ago. So all in all, it was a good day. I will be back next year and register earlier so that I can be sure to get into the 100.

Friday, April 11, 2008

2 Aussies, 1 Georgia Cup Race & 4 Hill Repeats

It is only fitting that the weekend is over and I am watching the wind pick up and the storms are blowing in...damn. There was talk all week of potential weather changes so last week was full of bike riding just in case. Looking back, I made the right choice. Monday I finally built up my new road bike. It has been sitting in my office for several weeks but I never had the time or desire to build it because I knew it would distract my mountain biking. Well I could not wait anymore. So Tuesday was the first test ride and it was not disappointing by any measure. It was much snappier, descended better and climbed easier than my Serotta, sorry Ben. But I do have to say that the two bikes are not to be compared on the same level anyway. Big Black is the Cadillac equivalent of a road bike and the R320, yet to be named but leaning towards "Shiny Steve", is the Porsche. We ran along the East side of Lookout Mountain for quite some time before turning right and working our way up a pretty nasty climb to the top of Lookout. This was an area that I had not seen before and it was sweet. It only takes a short while before you are out of town and in the country and riding along some beautiful countryside. I look forward to getting back out there soon. On Thursday we rode the local "Tuesday Night" loop and had a blast. We cruised out through Red Bank and out to Falling Water. This is also some beautiful country. While I love living in the city, the more time I spend riding in the country the more drawn I am to it. Since Chatty is so tiny anyway, you can easily have the best of both worlds, so I will stay in North Chatt for now.

The weekend turned out to be great. Thanks to Sharpie, the wife and I played host parents to domestic pros Willo and Sully for this weekend's Georgia Cup race. We had a blast hanging out and learning some new Aussie slang and adding y's to all of out words. For example, Chattanooga is now Chatty and Nashville is now Nashy. Plus my laptop is my lappy, sunglasses are sunnies and the list could go on for days. We laughed a bunch and told funny stories about each other and many of our mutual friends. I rolled down to the Time Trial with them early Saturday morning and later to the criterium that was downtown. The boys raced well, but there were only 3 Jittery Joe's rides and a few other squads brought a much bigger roster along so it made it hard to expect too much. We went out for some food and more laughs after the crit and wound up getting home pretty late.

I woke up early on Sunday for some hill repeats on Lookout Mountain with Big J while the boys went way out in the country for their road race. After 4 trips up and down the mountain, I was spent and glad to make my way back to the house. The crew rolled back in around 4:30 and we all sat around for some dinner before Sully drove back to Athens and Willo back to Nashy. Look for these guys and the entire Jittery Joe's squad at the Tour de Georgia next week and I'm sure they will kick some ass on their home turf.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Death March Round 1

This Sunday was the first of 2 pre-death march rides before the Cohutta 100 or 65. The upgrade is still yet to be determined. Big J and I rolled out at 5:45 so we could make our ritual stop at Cracker Barrel for some pancakes and what ever else I could cram in. Being the first ones in the lot was quite surprising, but we were not feeling to eager at that point. A few minutes later, Tab and Jamie pulled up and a short time after Davey Boy rolled in too. This was the first time I have ridden with these guys, except for Jason of course. We started off and the weather was not too nice...misty with slight spurts of rain was how things kicked off. The weather was supposed to be in the high 60's and sunny. It did not seem like we were ever going to see the sun.

The death march began with some of the single track that I am familiar with and we were cruising along nicely. When we came to the first forest service road, we made a quick stop for some adjustments and food organization before we started climbing. We must have been working our way up that road (FS221, I think) for several hours. At one point, I asked when we were going to get off the gravel and everyone looked at me like I was obviously confused. They proceed to fill me in on the fact that we were going to be on a series of fire roads all freakin' day. We continued up to the top of the first major section of the climb and Big J and I took a break for a few minutes to eat and regroup.

We began the decent which made me happy. The best part was trying to see how fast you could go into the blind corners and not become some redneck's hood ornament. The traffic was minimal but all it takes is one car to come around the corner on the inside. Fortunately, no incidents t0 report and when we made it to the bottom, there were several miles of flats. This was the part that I just tuned out. Single speeds and flat roads are not too fun, yet it was nice to spin the legs...little did I know that would be the last time. I was once again informed of some not so pleasant news...the flats were the indicator that we were going to have to climb back out of the valley. I think that I must have known this and decided not to acknowledge it. A few more miles up the road and the pitch continued to increase. Just when I thought we were near the top, we went back down for a while. And this crap went on for at least another hour until finally we started marching up and up and up. At mile 67.9 I was over the entire thing. I did not want any more of this. No more fire road, no more mountain bike and sure as hell no more single speed. But we still had more to go, how nice. I sucked it up as always and marched on. When we hit the last climb I had just enough in the legs to crest the hill and bomb down the last section of road back to the lot.

I felt terrible pretty much all day. I think that the vacation to the beach was killer for my mind and soul, but it wreaked havoc on my fitness. I will be riding all week long trying to get some kind of form back. One more pre-death march this weekend and then the real deal next weekend. After a pre-ride, I don't care if I get in the 100 or not. It's not that I am not up for the challenge, it's more that riding on gravel roads for 90% of a mountain bike race is not really a mountain bike race. This will be a fitness geeks wet dream...nothing technical at all about this one. We finished up the day with 72.4 miles, 7:05 and 11,200 ft of climbing and that was not the entire course. The boredom will be more epic than the race itself...that may just be my opinion.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Back from the Beach

Returning to work after 6 days off was a total madhouse and the primary reason I have been absent from the web world. My trip to Florida was long overdue for my mind and spirit. Just hanging out at the beach and then finding some little joint with killer seafood with a seat outside was the daily objective. It was my first extended beach trip in years. There will be many more to come...can't stop thinking about the islands. Typically most of my vacation time is spent traveling to ride or race which usually is anything but relaxing. I have no complaints, but this trip was different in a good way. I wound up not riding very much due to what is now known as "the wicked bad sunburn", but I did make it down the Liberty Trail for a ride that fit my vacation lifestyle...laid back. It is a new rails to trails project that opened while we were in Sarasota. It is always great to see cities embrace greenways and bike lanes. Hopefully in the years to come, we will be able to tour safely around the country by bike.

Riding has been scarce but I think that the rest I have had will do wonders. Big J and I went out in the rain on Thursday night just out of spite for a few hours. It's the rainy season in Tennessee so you have to suck it up and get wet. Thanks to the annual celebration of getting older, I received a new set of rollers from my folks...many thanks ya'll. I will utilize these babies when the rain becomes overwhelming. On that note, if you are reading this and would want a hand-me-down set of rollers, post a comment on this here blog...only requirement is the post must include 1 or 2 sentences on why you think you should have them...best one wins. Freddy was kind enough to pass them along to me, so I feel it is only right to do the same.

Tomorrow we are heading out for a pre-ride of the Cohutta 100. Meeting at the white water center at 7:30, rolling out at 8. It should be a good time. Currently I am registered for the 65 with hopes and prayers of being bumped up to the 100. Extra positions are supposed to be opened, but no word yet. I think that there are a few others hoping for the same thing...either way I am cool. This is a killer area to ride your bike and hang with your friends, that is all that matters anyway. Jut has hooked up a cabin for us to reside in for a few days and that is enough reason right there for me.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Thank You Easter Bunny

Well this weekend marked the first trip back to Nashville since Christmas and I have to say that I am no longer attached to the Music City. Not to say that it is not a great place to be, but I spent so many years there and it was awesome to watch it grow. And while I miss my friends there, so many have moved or are planning on moving that it makes it that much easier for me. After a trip through the old neighborhood, I felt a bit sad but it passed quickly. I did get to spend some time with my family and my in-laws which was great. It had been a while. I did not get to ride this weekend so I have to bust ass this week before I leave for vacation. The wife and I are going to spend just under a week in southern Florida doing a whole lot of nothing. I have never been one to have what I would call a low key vacation of sitting on the beach and chilling out. I am the type that finds ways to pack as much adventure into each day and then comes home needing a vacation from my vacation...not this time. It does come at a bad time as far as training goes, but the opportunity is there and I have to take it. The Spring time equals crazy time at work and I have been warned to bring the laptop and the mobile with me on vacation. I am going to bring my road bike and do some flat landing while I am down there. That will be a nice change...no hills or mountains to climb for a week. Weird.

I am working on the 650B bike this week and will have some photos of the complete bike by Wednesday. I really like this bike. Well, I like any bike really, but this one is sweet. Just launched a new sales campaign today, so if you are in the market for a new rig, we can hook you up. Ad in VeloNews this month as well...Spring is going to be busy. Glad I am going on vacation. Some sun and warmer temps will hopefully set the spirits right and I can come home feeling great. Just in time for the Cohutta 100...that is going to hurt.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

B is for Birthday, Burkhalter and Bikes

It has been a long time since I have been on Spring Break, but this year I am going to have one vicariously though Bishop. We made it out on Tuesday night for several hours of sweet singletrack and it was long overdue. I have not been on the 29er since the last Snake Creek Gap. I have been on the road quite a bit more than I usually like, but the rain has made that call, not me. It was a welcomed change and it hurt pretty good too. I am loving the time change as we now have 2.5 to 3 hours of daylight post work to ride, then the lights come on. I remember last Spring riding laps at Raccoon until 9:30pm...but with more daylight come hotter temps. I hope we have a long Spring.

Today is my birthday and I want to say thanks to the Yazoo Crew for the emails wishing me a happy day. Since it is Thursday, we are riding the road bikes tonight and have decided that Burkhalter Gap is on the intended route...I am very stoked about this climb. It has made itself famous from the the Tour de Georgia and is the finishing climb in the 3 State 3 Mountain Ride each year. What a present, a small box of suffering and some cake when I get home. I am at the office today and the weather is awesome, too bad I have a ton of work to do and am going on vacation next week, so I must focus. All I can think about is riding today...and being a little older.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Recovery Process Complete

The rain is finally gone for now. The trails can only be in terrible shape with the amount of precipitation we have had lately. Sunday proved to be the most promising ride day of the weekend. One phone call from Big J and an early road ride was in effect. We started out towards the W road for a stout first climb of the day. This is an amazing euro-esque climb with several tight switch backs at the apex of the climb. The rock ledge walls in the turns coupled with the natural running water flowing off of rocks from inside each turn make you feel like you are not in Chattanooga. Once we crested the top of the W road, we began the long rolling hills along the ridge of Signal Mountain towards the Sequatchie Valley.

The green farm land sandwiched between two mountain ridges is something of true beauty. Calm, peaceful and great terrain for riding. We stopped at a local market for some saturated fats and Gatorade before we began the climb up Suck Creek Mountain. The long gradual ascent was pleasant but difficult. There were a few cyclists going the other direction and seeing them coming down the mountain reminded me of what was to come. We topped the hill and began flying back down the mountain into town. We rolled back into North Chatt in just under 3.5 hours. I feel ready to wick up the training intensity again and am looking forward to our plans for the coming week. The weather is going to be nice, so I plan on riding a bunch.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Bike Test Round 1 : Rained Out

Today the weather got the better of us. Andy and I planned on taking his fresh new tester our for it's inaugural ride this morning, but all we were able to do is watch it rain during breakfast. When it was still pouring after breakfast, we new we were not getting out on the bikes. Aretha's was kind enough to have the weather channel on so we could see that the storm cell was going to be around all day. Bummer. He decided to make an early departure back to PA. I hope that he can return in the Spring for the Dirt, Sweat and Gears event.

Although I just got to know Andy at Interbike, I am glad that we have had this opportunity to get to know each other better. A totally down to Earth guy with a great passion for cycling, like so many of the cool people that I know. When you can share stories about life experiences and an uncompromising love for the bicycle, you know you have a friend for life. Keep your eyes peeled for a Lynskey related story in the upcoming pages of Dirt Rag.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dirt Rag Day

Work:
Today is Dirt Rag Day at Lynskey Performance. Andy Bruno is coming down to check out our facility and pick up his test bike. A super sweet custom level 3 29er, fully pimped with XTR, Industry Nine Wheels (thanks Brandi) and a new Fox F-29 fork (thanks Neil). I am actually jealous even though it is geared. This is going to be a serious performer. I have a few last minutes parts to hang and it will ready to test ride. Tomorrow morning we will turn a few laps at Raccoon Mountain and that will hopefully convince him to stay for one more day and check out the Tanasi system.

Ride:
Last night marked my first bike ride in over a week. Not since Snake Creek have I touched a bike. After the hard first few days of Death Flu, I have been making myself rest and completely heal. I think I am there, finally. Big J and I went out for an hour and a half easy road ride just to jump start some bike love. I am glad I took the time off, it made all the difference. Now I can begin training again, the Cohutta 100 is coming soon. We talked about starting some recon rides out there over the next few weekends to get in the mood.

Bishop will be home for Spring Break, so we will have the Tuesday night reunion ride. Now that the time has changed, the ride possibilities are endless. It will be nice to get back to the 4 hour mtb rides after work a couple of times a week. Now we can take full advantage of Raccoon Mtn.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Down the Rabbit Hole

I have been out of pocket for the past few days and there are too many reasons to list.
In short,
the last Snake Creek was better suited for hanging out rather than racing.
Sidewall punctures and Stan's do not work well together.
Death Flu is no joke.
Karma is king!
Good Pals are hard to find
Cameras capture your soul.
I am back...

Friday, February 29, 2008

Beer, Burgers and Cyclists

Work:
We had our Scenic City Velo event last night and I would like to think that it was a resounding success. I know that I had fun and it was great to get the chance to meet so many local riders. I have to thank everyone for showing up and many thanks to Big River Brewery for the beers and Krystals for the food. We had all of our show bikes on display and all of the killer new Planet X bikes we are distributing. Lookout US, I have tons of inexpensive bikes for every dicipline you can imagine. Of course, if you want the top of the line stuff, we make all of that too. It is going to be awesome to now have something for everyone, regardless of budget.

Ride:
I have been riding the rollers all week due to the cold weather and the need to keep it low key. The final installment of the Snake Creek Gap TT series is Saturday and I have my work cut out for me. I am 4 minutes off the SS leader and the weather sucks which means the course will be rough. So it will be a tall order, but I am going to try and kill it tomorrow. Several of the Yazoo crew are coming down tonight and while the flu has knocked others out, we will make sure our presence is known tomorrow. I will have a full report tomorrow night. Wish me luck, unless I ma racing you tomorrow, and in that case, I will see you there.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Chillin the Most

Work:
After a few days off, getting back to the grind was a chore. I had two days to make closure on several custom orders that have been sitting open and RC sent his fit data in while I was gone. Now we can move forward with the 650B project I mentioned some time ago. David has nearly finished with the tandem jig and that is one serious piece of equipment. Not sure if I can post photos of that one yet, due to some potential competitor espionage. I will save that entire rant for another day. I have mentioned this to a select few, but I have to be careful. Desperation causes people to do crazy stuff, even in the bike scene.

We are planning a social gathering with the Scenic City Velo race team and club next week. That is going to be fun...I always love a party. We will have our handmade show bikes on display and if I can get my R320 built in time, that will be on display as well. I am going to build it up with Chorus but I cannot make up my mind on the wheelset. I would not think twice about getting a new I9 road set, but I don't want to push my luck or my wallet, at least right now. There are a handful of pimpy wheels at the shop and I will probably run some 202 tubies for the time being while I make up my mind. I am looking forward to a new road bike. I love my custom road bike from the guys in upstate NY that starts with the letter S, but it doesn't look good from my job standpoint. How's that for bad ass, I "have" to build a $8000 road bike for work purposes. I need to call my accountant and see if I can write off race fees, bike parts and gear as well. If it is possible, I will have an entire entry on that subject.

Ride:
Thursday and Friday were pretty low key. An indoor roller party was as exciting as it got. I woke up early this morning and made my way to Raccoon Mtn for 3 hours at threshold. It started off pretty crappy because my breakfast was trying to escape my body. The weather was cold and with 90% humidity, the air was thick. I was sure that the trail was going to be messy and slick from the recent rain, but despite a few select sections, the trail was hooking up beautifully. It was perfect conditions to turn 2 laps as fast as I could. I reinstated the speakers today and I forgot how awesome they are for a solo ride, or any ride really. The first lap went well and I easily rocked out a sub 1.5 hour lap with all the outers and inners along with the perimeter. The second one was a little tougher. I was pretty cold and sweaty so it made me have to work hard to warm back up and by the time I was comfortable again, I was more than halfway through the second lap. I wrapped up the lap and went back to the car for a few minutes to warm up.

Suck Creek and Bear Creek Bikes were hosting a dirt demo at Raccoon so I decided rather than driving to Laurel Point, I would suck it up and jump back on the bike and ride over to check it out. It was about a 15 minute ride to that portion of the trail and right as I rolled up, Moose was wandering around the trail head. We hung out for a few minutes and then went up to the lot to check out the fleet that was there for the punishing. Lots of cool bikes and the only one I rode was an IBEX 650B full-suspension rig. While I liked the 650 wheels, I cannot dig on full-suspension. I keep trying, but I just don't like the squish. Full rigid is the way for me. I like riding the razors edge, what can I say. I will always keep giving it a whirl for kicks, but I have yet to find one that I would throw cash at. The search continues.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Knocked Down, but Not Out

The trip to NC was fantastic to say the least. After bailing early from work and making some sweet time to Knoxville, I met up with Jut Rut and Ty in Asheville in under 3 hours. We made our way to the Industry Nine facility to take a look around and talk shop. When we rolled in the back door, my eyes met the glorious site of a wall filled with beautifully colored hubs and spokes.

Jeff took us around for the nickel tour. He showed us the various stopgaps in the wheelset manufacturing process and the machinery arsenal required to make such fresh hubs and spokes.
Coming from a custom production environment, it was hard not to nerd out on all of the super cool machining and fabrication tools they have. These guys put a ton of time into their wheels and the quality is amazing. After a few minutes of mental math going through all the steps and various processes, it takes around 12 hours of machine time alone, to fabricate 1 wheelset. From prawls, to hub bodies, spokes and all the little inner workings, 12 hours of machine time folks. They should charge more than they do if you ask me. Plus they come in all kinds of sweet colors.

After all the sweet chat about machines and hubs and tolerances and work stuff, the tour officially ended and Friday began. The pit bike was fired up and we headed out back to witness how I9 throws down. They are in the process of building a new pump track, but a few sweet jumps were there for the launching. We hung out for a little while longer and tried to work out the details for Saturday's festivities. The funny part was Jeff and I were both at MTSU at the same time and frequented several of the same haunts back in the day. Birds of a feather do flock together. Thanks to all the super rad folks at I9, you guys make the bike scene even better.

When I drove up to the Crow's Nest for the first time, I could not believe how bad ass that place is. I will pay rent and not even live there, just for the opportunity to hang out for the weekends. It has all the characteristics anyone would want in a home. Open floor plan, double porches and a vibe that makes you want to read a Walden novel, yet all within the city. Asheville is cool like that. The second tour of the day began and it proved to be even sweeter than the outside suggested. When your house has a name, you have to represent. My hat's off to Jut and Ty for the hook on this pad. If I vanish for a few days, your best bet is to look here.

The weekend itself was balls out. We rode hard on Saturday in Pisgah only to find to the upper sections of the trails we damaged by windfall. So all the climbing we had been doing was in vain. Ride a little while then jump a downed tree and repeat. We decided to bail and hit Bent Creek on the way back to town. This place was a load of fun. I have ridden here many times over the years, but never as a destination, only because it was there. I have always gone to Asheville for the death marches to make me stronger on all fronts. But I have to say, Bent Creek was a blast. We had so much fun riding that place. It wound up being just what I was looking for to wrap up a great day on the bike. Back to the Nest for some wonderful pasta dinner.

Next day was a struggle to say the least. The weather was cold and wet, not fully raining but the humidity made everything wet. It should have been snowing. An easy day to blow off a ride for sure, but that would be unacceptable. So we pony up and meet Matt J at Biowheels and rolled out to Black Mountain. This is where thing got a little ugly at first. I knew I did not have the clothes for the weather and the conditions. Bishop came over from campus and Bennett met us in the Kitsuma lot. I am familiar with this area from ORAMM, but we were going to do a modified version and it started by climbing straight up Rattlesnake Gap, Trail. Incline, whatever. That shit was sweet. Being the only single speed and only non suspended bike, I was in for one hell of a day.

All my boys were on squishy geared bikes, except for Bishop, but he had a sick Fox fork. It made no matter. I would not be me if I let those details matter. The climb to the Heartbreak Ridge decent was unreal. The wet rocks that covered the climb made it a game of torque for what seemed like forever. I think that may be one of the best climbs that I have ever done. It was hard, yet doable and it was a ball-buster but kind of fun all at the same time. The decent down Heartbreak sent me back to July 2007. A rigid bike just careless wants to fall of a mountain. It is your job to tell it where to go. All finesse and will power...a beautiful thing to me. That trail gives it to you, the whole way down. In the freezing cold rain, I thought about how hot it was in July and just tried to see how long I could lay off the brakes. Pure bliss.

We hit the bottom and started climbing old 70, I think. It was also part of ORAMM and seemed very familiar. I finally got my second wind and we flew up to the top with little effort. Even after all the riding we had already done. At the top we came back to the car and it officially started to rain. I think that it had been raining for a while but we were in the deep forest and it blocked much of the immediate moisture. A stop for pizza in Black Mountain was the perfect end to a killer day. That is the very reason why you need to buck up and hit the trails any chance you get.

I picked up the flu bug on this adventure or at least I beat myself down enough to be vulnerable. I had two days of necessary recovery and had to take some time off. It is rare that I do that, but it was obviously necessary, my body went on strike. I worked up the strength to get out on the bike Wednesday night for a slow grind to the top of Lookout and bombed down the other side on some single track that I heard about near a college at the top. It was super sweet and very technical. I don't know if these trails are legal but I am going to find out. I hope not. Climbing up that would be insane. It's Thursday night and it started raining right after work. I was hoping that it would hold off all day and it kind of did. Now I am subject to an incarcerated workout on the rollers. With a race next weekend, you do what you gotta do. Last Snake next weekend

Friday, February 15, 2008

NC Bound Sucka's

This entire week has been the build up to today. I have been riding some, Tuesday night fo sho, and a little time on the rollers, but nothing more than that. I have been saving myself for a weekend in Pisgah. I cannot wait to go off on that place. So looking forward to it. Plus it will be my first trip up since Jut moved up there. Going to hang with Bishop this weekend too. It will be a little cycling family reunion. How nice.

First stop is the Industry 9 HQ for a factory tour and hang out session with Jeff and Brandi. These guys could easily be some of the coolest folks in the industry, I may be a bit biased, but what the hell. They have been there for all of my strange and immediate requests and have never bitched or turned me down...and that is just the work side of things.

Just picked up my new ride yesterday, a 2008 Pro29 with a shapelier down tube and fatter rear stays than my previous custom models. Going to test this shiny new rig out in Pisgah. This is one of my favorite parts of my job...here is a new super spendy bike, build it up and beat the shit out of it. Have I died and gone to heaven? This will be the next prototype ride I build once we work out some of the drive train tweaks.

Jut informed me that there is a velodrome in Asheville...looks like Darth Vader will be coming along for the ride. Hopefully we can test this baby out as well...or at least do sprints through town later tonight. I will try and keep on top of the blog while I am gone, otherwise it will be a recap of the entire weekend with photos on Sunday night.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Portland to Cleveland, It's always about the bike.

Work:
The work week is over...not much to report...lots of the same. Worked out many of the details on Project Dirt Rag and received some kind props for doing so. Thanks Andy.

Show Bikes are being seen...how lovely. Now you can see them too. Enjoy.


Show links : twentynineinches.com cyclelicio.us

Ride:
During the week, riding has been one big solo mission. Kinda like it was when I first moved here. Nice but relatively low-key, just out riding to be riding...kinda like it should be.

I have had too many balls in the air and have not been able to commit to plans of any kind. We had to cancel the trip to the ATL at the last minute, but are still having company on Sunday. Wife is having back pains from pilates and massages are not helping. Now to plan B. Drugs and Rest...maybe a visit to the chiropractor. I feel bad for her...reminds me of when I broke my clavicle and jacked my shoulder up. I was pretty useless for a couple of weeks. Then pissed off that I was missing some killer early Spring riding. Oh well. She will be fine, she's a trooper. This situation has much to do with the inability to make plans. I figured that I would be hanging around the pad this weekend playing nurse. Not the case, like I said my wife is a trooper. "Since company would be in town on Sunday, I should ride on Saturday"...really?, sounds like a plan to me. A trip to the video store, 3 chick films, pharmacy drive-thru and she had a full Saturday planned.

I received a phone call from Jon McLovin on Friday night and he graciously invited me to a road ride in Cleveland, no not that Cleveland. Cleveland to Benton to Reliance and up Chilhowie....some stuff I had never seen and had no idea where he was talking about. Out 64E way out in the country. I was apprehensive, especially on the road bike and with Jon...but all I could say was, "Yes, I'd love to. I think that is just what I need".

We rolled out from his place around 10:30am on Saturday morning. Way later than what I have been used to the past few weekends which was nice. Me, Jon and Matt. 2 locals and 1 sacrificial lamb. The weather was perfect, about 58 and sunny, but there was a enigmatic head wind going on, similar to the infamous Eastside Headwind in Nashville. No matter which direction you went, the headwind found us and gave us 25+mph blasts. Restiance training at it finest. I was just along for the ride and that was great. No concern for directions, all I had to do was pedal up and down the mountains all day. I wish that I had the camera several times today, but these guys were not too keen on stopping and the pace did not warrant many photo op's.

It was a great ride. I had the chance to see some more beautiful Tennessee rivers, streams and mountains. What a blast. We rocked it out for the first 3.5 -4 hours and then we split up. Jon and I rolled on to add a bit more time in saddle. All I can say is ouch. I have never deemed myself a roadie, but damn, those are some strong fellas and they made me hurt...for that I am grateful...80 miles later, it was what I needed. I was right all along. I will be out there again very soon, if they will have me back. Apparently there is a serious ball buster ride out to Ft. Mountain from Cleveland...sounds painful...count me in! Going to chill with family tomorrow and get ready for Tuesday Night Live.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Brown Frown and Riding Downtown

Work:
All show bikes have finally arrived in Portland, now I can finally rest a little easier. A bit of rough housing on UPS's part required me to send some new decals and all the necessary application tools with the boss man. It makes it hard to respect the men and women in brown with stunts like this. You think that with the cost of shipping these days, the least they could do is not beat the shit out of the packages you have entrusted to them. Oh well, I guess that since they only get paid something like 30 bucks and hour, they don't need to be concerned about the contents of the packages they handle. God forbid you actually place a fragile or do not bend sticker on the package, that must mean destroy as much as possible while in transit. Many thanks to UPS. Enough about that.

Otherwise all is well around the shop. We are as busy as bees and with Spring nowhere near, I am very excited about our output this year. We should easily beat last year's numbers before we even get to Interbike. Once I get the go ahead, I will be blasting the world wide web with the killer photos I shot of the show bikes. If you are in Portland this weekend, drop a few quid on the show and check out some bike porn and meet some of the best small builders in the industry. Oh yeah, and we will be there too. Make sure to stop by and ask Mark 10 stupid questions about your other bikes. He loves that stuff...just kidding. That is the only down fall of "public" shows. While you must be engaging and interested, the questions people ask are insane. My best goes out to all exhibitors.

Ride:
Since the last Snake, I have been resting a bit and trying to finally shake this damn cold. I went out last night for a couple of hours in the hood. Just wound up doing hill repeats to keep from getting bored. The weather was really strange...tornado weather actually. Something like 71 and super windy. I just made it home in time before the bottom dropped out of the sky. We had some serious rain and hail. No damage my way, but it seemed pretty bad for some further North.

Dinner with my father-in-law was just canceled and now I am free to hit the road bike tonight for a few more hours. Thinking about marching up Lookout a couple of times tonight to punish myself and get all of the race junk out of my legs. I am traveling to Atlanta for the weekend to see my brother-in-law's band play. It is going to be a ton of fun. We will be staying with my wife's cousin in Buckhead and he is an absolute blast to party with. So I will be riding as much as possible this week and then take the weekend off.

The new team direction has been defined to some extent. We will be rocking it as usual, just under a new name. Yazoo Racing it is and I will be pounding away at the keys building a new site over the next few weeks. I think that we are going to host an open forum via the blog avenue until we have the site built. The cool thing about this will be that each team member can actively participate in the blog and add whatever they want. It is going to be the best year yet for the Yazoo Crew.

Monday, February 4, 2008

What happened?

Last week absolutely flew by and all I could do was hang on for the ride. I spent the first few days building show bikes for the handmade show and then transitioned back into regular details. I spent one night on the rollers and one night out on the road bike. Roller night was boring as usual, but Thursday night Jason and I hit the road in the rain for 2.5 hours of self loathing and punishment. I really need to blow off some steam and I had been fighting a cold all week.

After a lap in the neighborhood, we decided to climb Lookout Mt from the Scenic Hwy side. As we started through town, the rain started to pick up. I think we both wanted to turn around but neither wanted to say it. We rolled to the base and started up the mountain. By the time we made it to the top, the rain had turned to snow. That was actually pretty nice, but the trip back down the mountain was sketchy at best. All went well and we just cruised back to the Northside. It was what I needed at the end of a long week with a race looming on Saturday.

On Friday morning I woke up feeling terrible. Not to sure that the ride the evening before was such a good idea. On one hand, it was great to put some hurt into the legs the night before, but the rainy cold weather put the hurt on my chest cold. I went into work late and spent an hour or so getting my work load in order. I knocked out a ton of stuff that I had been neglecting because of the bike show. It was nice to wrap up this work week.

Saturday morning I woke up early and started getting all my bike stuff together for the race. By not riding much last week, all my gear was in good shape and in order. I rolled down the street and picked up Jason. After a quick breakfast at Aretha's, we drove down to Dalton. I was not feeling like racing at all. A belly full of pancakes and chest full of funk was not the recipe for racing I usually like.

By the time we finally made it to the starting line all I wanted to do was get on the trail. I jumped in on one of the first 5 waves that rolled out. Jason and I were finding our tempo and quickly caught the slower folks of the first few waves. It was nice being out on the course in muddy conditions earlier than most. There were only a few ruts by the time we made it to the top of the first climb. The corners were a blast, but completely sketchy. I felt like I was listing like a ship as I would start on the inside of the turn and slide all the way to the outside while still pedaling the whole time. It was fun.

The halfway point came quick this time. I quickly changed bottles and rolled back onto the trail. Less than 10 minutes into the second half, I spun out on a steep rocky section and rammed my left knee cap right into my stem. I think I fell over clipped in and everything. I remember a guy asking me if I was alright, but I could barely hear him. I thought that I was going to throw up it hurt so bad. Much like hitting your funny bone really hard, nothing really funny about it. After several years of single speed racing, this has happened before, but it never gets better. As I was regaining my composure, my main race target comes flying by. I shake it off and jump back on my bike. I keep his wheel for the next few miles then we hit some traffic and I was trying not to think about my knee and my cold and just stay focused on moving forward.

I hit the last section and I am pretty much over the entire race. I decided to just sit down and start spinning as solid and smooth as I could without getting to worked up. Near the top of the final climb I look back and see a pink rigid bike back down the trail. Pink bikes usually mean single speeds, so I started to ramp it up a bit but I was not feeling it at all. He caught up with me on the last part before the the road finish and rode my wheel all the way down the hill. Right at the last minute I realize that this is going to be a sprint finish. I make a break for it and he pimped me by half a wheel at the finish. Too bad for me, he started in the wave behind me, so we didn't need to sprint, but I am glad we did. That was fun. While I was trying not to puke earlier on, he had time to catch up and finally beat me to the line.

We were the first two single speeds back and I shaved 14 minutes off of my January time. I think that I had some bottled up frustration and stress from a long work week and lots of rain. I merged all my riding time into one day and it worked out pretty well. I will start my speed work this month and am looking forward to dropping some more time. The last Snake Creek is the best anyway, might as well throw down a killer time and have something to celebrate.

We have a new direction for the Yazoo Race team and there will be much more on that front as Jut and I finalize the details. New kits will be coming soon.