Thursday, June 30, 2011

Folly Beach

A bike friendly beach

A beautiful riding partner

8 miles one way

minimal traffic

This place is rad.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Super D for Dangerous

remember: it's not if you'll crash, it's how you'll crash that matters.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Super D on Super Tuesday for a Superman in the making

I'll be honest, I liked Danny O a lot better when I could push him around a little.  Remember that kid?  Gawky.  About 95 pounds soaking wet.  All grit.  A glimmer of talent, but really nothing to worry about.  I miss that kid.  

Even last year, I could still dominate a picture frame without him poking out too much from behind me.  But he was getting bigger, and the talent was starting to be a concern for me. 
 "This kid seems to be getting pretty fast.  I'd better keep up a steady regimen of insults and mockery lest he learns that he's really pretty damn great at riding bikes and starts kicking my ass."

For years, he's been 2nd place.  I've been very careful to always remind him of that.  Success builds confidence, and confidence builds wins, and I can't allow that.  In the super D, always 2nd.  2nd in a lot of brownie crits.  2nd in the VAHS race here on the farm even this year - his home turf.  Even the races he won, shoooooot, most of those were Duos with the esteemed and mighty Kev29er, who was clearly the real talent on the team - the Batman to Danny O's Robin.  

Editors note: My attempts at photoshopping a picture of Batman and Robin with Kev29er and DannyO's heads on them has run short on time.  But use your imagination.  Very funny.  Poor execution.  The story of my life.  However, if you feel you've got the photoshop skills for such an effort, by all means, submit it here and we'll have a collective laugh, notice how sultry Kev29er looks in a batman-skin suit, then awkwardly change the subject and move on like nothing happened.  

Currently, I'm pretty sure that photoshopping Danny O's head onto Robin's body and placing it on the public internet might actually still be illegal since he's only 17.  But that all ends today.  At the stroke of midnight, Danny O will reach adulthood, having won his first superD at 7 PM at BRS, and he'll likely head out west at that very moment, his work here on the East Coast with losers like us ultimately now too boring for someone with such talent.  We are all but pawns in his life, stepping stones he'll look back on and wonder why he didn't drop us sooner.  

But at least we'll have photoshop.  
And one last SuperD in the presence of greatness.  

7 PM.  BRS.  Today.  Down, down, down.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just a reminder

Because it's always worth saying:

Wear your chaps.

Although the more I consider this wee gash, the more I believe I created it not with an actual powersaw, but by swinging an alarmingly sharp hand pruner around the local goods like a light saber. So really, this picture is actually a testament to my safety-first mentality and not my proficiency with a chainsaw. Sort of.

Orange duct tape anyone?

Moving on, I thought I'd throw up (post, not vomit) a couple more pictures from my recent trip to CT here. Again, some really nice riding up there. Repeated 100 foot climbs followed by dangerous slickrock scrambledowns linked by precarious ladder stunts. Yes please. The attitude of the people? Not always so much. But thanks again to whoever rear-ended my subaru in the parking lot and didn't even leave a note.

Moving on again. For those of you not in the know but who like to act like you know when held accountable for such things, tomorrow is Kev29ers birthday. So he'll be rolling over the odometer one more year in style, gimpy lumbar and all.
Does ones 34th birthday necessitate a, gasp, 34-fer?
To get to 34 rally-workouts in one day, one would assuredly have to multi-task.

But is that even possible? Or is scaling said celebratory rallying back to a more reasonable 3.4fer level the way to go for a guy who literally threw a disc out in his back last month via sheer uphill torque? Debatable. What's not so debatable is the awesomeness of such an injury, which is quite possibly the most manly singlespeeding injury ever conjured (and there have, quite certainly, been some doozies.)

that's so weird, you'd never imagine a guy could herniate a disc riding. a rigid singlespeed. for 12 hours. at night. totally incomprehensible.

Being only mostly healed, maybe we'll go with the .4 fer, then do some fishing and drink a black and tan or three.

And last but not least, cute pregnant ladies and their belly buttons which have never seen the light of day are popping up everywhere. Sunscreen mandatory. Use your brakes a little in the corners for the next few months, lest you come face to face with a maternal-instinct reckoning that you can't handle.

Up, up, up.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

This just in

Connecticut continues to kick ass.
Laurel blooms like it snowed.

And some chunky Connnecticut singletrack. Slow speed rally.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Buying a drill

Let me tell you about my recent experience trying to buy a drill, and why it haunts me, and what I think it all means.

I swaggered into Lowes on Sunday, feeling manly, torn jeans, with a dirty wad of cash in hand, ready to buy a drill. I was in Lowes mode. Most dudes know what I'm talking about. I parked my dad's truck right up front in the "loading zone" which we all know is just secret code for "If you have a dinged up truck, you can park here." So I did.
Mission: simply buy a drill. Easy peasy.

Tool world, Lowes. 4 PM. Sunday. This is cake. I'm sorta leaning towards a DeWalt because that's what my father-in-law uses, but I'm not married to the idea. I swagger through the front doors of lowes, cowboy style like in a saloon with those swinging shutter-doors, and I start shopping, and I immediately I realize I'm in over my head. The sheer level of choice involved with a drill purchase these days is completely off the charts. DeWalt alone had 18 different models available, each with a manly name and a feature-oriented description card that listed a price and rattled off some acronyms I wasn't familiar with.

A few examples:
14.4 volts, cordless, drill/driver. This is probably what I want, right?
Well, don't speak too soon. The 14.4 volt cordless drill driver also comes in an XRP version. Better warranty. More power. Bigger. More man required to swing this thing around, which I'm good with. But I start to have some doubts - how do I really know how many volts I need? Is battery life a real concern for a guy like me? Hell, do I need batteries at all? How much drilling will I be doing away from civilization? In a post-apocalyptic America, will drill batteries function as barter for food, sort of like ammunition? All questions I had no answers for.

More drills:
9.8 volts. Barely enough drill to call itself a drill. Right? I'm just saying that. Really, I have no idea how much 9.8 volts is, and the subsequent effort to turn volts into RPM's would blow the top of my head off like a pez dispenser, so I had to move on.
18 volts. Lithium Ion. Very nice shit here. 1/2 keyless chuck, though. I've always preferred 80/20 for my chuck. But that's different. This drill is the Kobe beef of drills. OK, I'm just saying that. I'm getting confused, and my metaphors aren't making much sense.
Well, well, well - what have we here? Not only a drill, but a HAMMER drill. 18 volts. A man of a tool, ready for both drilling and hammering. Pistol grip? Hol E. Shit. I had this thing halfway to the counter to buy it before doubt crept in again. And it occurred suddenly that those few men whom I've seen use a drill as a hammer were never really the cool-calm-collected fellas that I sought to be like on the proverbial job-site (in this case, my shed.)
Now this seems modest. 14.4 volt, XRP, cordless drill/driver. XRP seems to mean "middle of the road." Wait a minute, did I already see this one or not? I'm starting to lose track.
Combo package. Shit just got real. That's a drill, a sawzall, some other stuff, and a badass flashlight in one $300 box. A real value, I think. There's really no way NOT to get all of this, plus the box gives me someplace to put it all during the 99.999999% of my lifetime that I'm not using or thinking about the drill whatsover. So, $300 then?
OK, don't panic. I'm a manly dude just shopping for a drill. And I'm digging this one. 10 Amps, not bad. Pistol grip, sorta GI Joe style, but OK. Hammer drill - again, maybe not what I'll use it for, but fine. $139. Wait, $139? Something must be wrong with it. And I notice now this is Amps and not Volts or Watts, which probably doesn't really matter since I don't know how to mathematically convert any of the above into force anyway, but for the sake of comparison this little beast appears to be operating in his own little Amp world, and I'm philosophically not OK with that. Plus, in hindsight, it has a cord, and I can't be tethered to the grid in this wild, wild world of hammering and drilling. Let's move on.

Again. Amps. Out.
A $300 dollar, 18 volt, manly hammer drill with more features and acronyms than I could stand to read about. A solid tool for sure. Also can be used for shooting skeet.

Again, with the Amps. You're literally killing me, Walt. And if this is a screwdriver, can it also drill? Or is the spinning motion of this economy purchase purely limited to screwing?

At this point I'm in need of some assistance, anyone - preferably a dude in a blue Lowes Apron, but maybe not - who might offer some clarity on the matter of drilling the world...crickets. But things look up for a moment because at the end of the aisle back near the checkout, I see Charlie Clarkson, endurance racer extraorndaire, so I go talk to him for a while about racing and other things that I actually know something about. But sadly, he goes his own way, and I trod back to the lonely world of tool world and continue browsing.

More drills.

$119. Modest. I'm not even reading the acronyms anymore, just looking at price tags. Every minute I'm not buying a drill, I get angrier and angrier.
Given my level of confusion, I think keyless sounds like a nice feature at this point. So if I happen to lose the "key" or whatever I put in the ignition, all is not lost. Considering buying this one and returning if if the power, grip, cord, color, bit, chuck, Amp, etc is not to my liking.

A half-pistol grip. Rage against the forces that say you need it or you don't. You can go halfway.
Still, more. It's getting a little like Alice in Wonderland, and I feel like I've been here before - only instead of a Cheshire cat to taunt me along the way, I've got a Lowes employee who doesn't know shit about shit...Just kidding. There are no Lowes employees at Lowes. I'm all by myself.
Still, even more.
I like this one. 12Volt Max. It actually has a maximum. Again, given the confusion I'm feeling here, it could be nice to have a drill with a governor that will keep it slow in case shit starts to get out of hand once I've got her home and realize I'm in over my head.
18V, NiCad XRP. A very big deal . I think that's also a Corolla model. Am I buying a car?

At that moment, I realized I was actually yearning for a car salesman. And so I had to call it. I put my tail between my legs and backed out of there, got in my motley truck and headed for home, drill-less.

On the way home, HUM was playing on the radio. Which kicks old school ass, and its appearance here on the blog will certainly make at least one rider whose name ends with "er" happy.

The whole situation gave me pause. Unrestrained capitalism can be paralytic in a bad way. Don't get me wrong; I like choices. But what good is unlimited choice when we, the consumer, have driven the price point on products we know nothing about so low that our "wholesale" distributors don't have the obligation or margin to answer the most basic questions about those products.

Let's bring this back to something bike related. It is my grim realization that buying a bike can be almost exactly like this. Gigantic bike store. Unlimited choice. Bro employees who must be sending it somewhere out back while you doddle around aimlessly in a world of skinny/fat/tall/small wheels and suspension components and frame composites with a perplexed feeling that a)they all appear to roll but b) which one will roll the right way for me? And no real ability to figure that out on your own.

It is, also, my firm affirmation that Blue Ridge Cyclery will never, ever be anything like Lowes. And the experience of buying a bike doesn't have to be as confusing, frustrating, and outright emasculating as my experience not buying a drill was.

If you've got a suggestion for a local hardware store in the same spirit, drop me a line.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Wheel

The wheel is turning and you can't slow down,
you can't let go and you can't hold on,
you can't go back and you can't stand still,
if the thunder don't get you then the lightning will.

Won't you try just a little bit harder,
couldn't you try just a little bit more?

Round, round robin run round,
got to get back to where you belong,
little bit harder, just a little bit more,
a little bit further than you gone before.

Friday, June 3, 2011

True Dreams

So a bunch of mountain bikers walk into a pizza joint.

And that's it. No joke, really, just a fact of everyday life for people like you and me. And, thematically because that's what mountain bikers DO, I recommend the mexican 'za. Do yourself a favor.

Anyway, let's get right to the good stuff. At our 17 week checkup yesterday, our ultrasound technician described Shan's belly as a "bunkbed." Hilarious. And yet, remarkably apt. Two healthy babies in there, one boy and one girl, sleeping all on top of each other like a slumber party. As The Rooster told me a few months ago, it's a slumber party every night. So I guess this is getting used to it.

And, as Kev29er is happy to testify, getting used to it is pretty great.
The secret sauce to a career of rocking Hilbert resides at the 29er house.

Plenty of other happenings happened in the merry month of May. For example, pinning it while wearing a bridal veil. Don't try this at home, kids.
Or like sneaking onto the podium at the Middle Mountain Mamma.
Or dropping out of society for four days and carrying on in one of the best Giro De Ville's on record.
Or like getting married and pinning it on a tandem at your reception.


Yeah, it was a good May. I'm undecided about how to possibly attempt to get June to compare, but I've got a Friday afternoon rally on my agenda here at the rancho relaxo, and I've got Mike Doughty on the brain for no real reason. So that's a start. Let's adjourn before the day gets away from me and I run out of time. But I'll leave you with True Dreams of Wichita:

Crank life up real loud sometimes; find your flow.
Happy Friday; up, up, up.