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.