Saturday, August 27, 2011

Earthquakicane, 2011

This wouldn't be a blog with any regional sense of culture without a quick moment here to talk about the mighty Earthquakicane of 2011. At least as a marker, a point in history where we all, for a collective moment, experienced something a little different, had an inordinary pause, then went back to rally sliding pumptrack turns like nothing ever happened. Because, let's face it, not much happened.

The army of looters that I feared would be charging up Allen Road haven't turned up like I thought they would.

Big picture, we're just not one of those regional populations that deal well with natural disasters. Because we don't really get many of them. That's one of the nice things about living in the Mid-Atlantic tucked away from the coast - Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Acts of God; you can spend your whole life here and see maybe just one or two. So it goes without saying that having both an Earthquake and a Hurricane in the same week sparks a level of panic in these parts, and then come to find out that Plums and Apricots are interbreeding somehow (it's a tough visualization, but give it a shot) and what do you have? People starting to buy into this whole 2012 apocalypse forecast.

Aprilums, maybe? Or Plumicots?

So let's all dig back in for a minute, reach way down into the dark recesses of your virtual camelbacks, pull out that just-in-case-PB&J that you packed (or, if you're like me, should have packed) and take a collective look at the map to put some sanity back into life. Good things are going on.

One reason I know that the world isn't ending anytime soon is that there are up and comers like these two kids from the Boys and Girls Club that are moving way too fast for the universe to catch up with them just yet. And, the world certainly isn't ending until after they pin it for 75 miles on September 18th, because they've trained through heat, rain, and hurricanes all summer, and it just wouldn't be right to pull the rug out from under them before the big payoff.

Also, I've got some new socks on the way. Into the mailbag we go, for some news from the good folks at Pivot:

Thank YOU for submitting a photo for the Pivot Cycles catalog photo contest!To show you our appreciation we would like to send you a pair of cycling socks to show off your Pivot love on your next big ride. Send me either your shoe size or your sock size and I will get your swag out to you as soon as I can. You should see your photo on our gallery page in the next few weeks, so check back! But first…. GET OUT AND RIDE!!!Happy Trails and thanks for riding a Pivot! LisaLisa Cramton Executive Assistant, Pivot Cycles/BH USA LLC. 1829 West Drake Drive Suite 104 Tempe, AZ 85283 dir: 480-467-2920 fax: 480-467-2930 email:

So it turns out that maybe I won't be getting rich off endorsement deals for the modeling and posing I did back in May, and neither will my photographer, which also might double as further testament that the world is not ending.
But we will be appearing somewhere in the bermed out recesses of Pivots website, sometime this year perhaps. And they're sending me some badass socks. World = OK.

On that note, I've been rolling a new out and back these days. Starting here at the rancho relaxo, of course, rolling some choice singletrack, onto some country roads to Preddy Creek for the loop, and then back - 3ish hours. Nothing to crazy, just a solid effort on some great trail. The Mach 4 is perfect for this, although tire selection perfection - a lifelong quest - still eludes me.

Plus, if you time it right, you can catch the sunset from Chestnut Grove.
I said IF you time it right. I missed this one by about 45 seconds.

Other cool stuff to do while you're hanging around re-affirming and/or waiting on the miracle of life? Dig some new trail. I was actually benching the switchback for this one when the Earthquake rumbled through. A pretty surreal moment where I realized what was happening, momentarily wondered if I'd caused the damn thing, then just hung on and tried to enjoy the ride.

The Earthquake Trail. Previewing next week and then opening for business in October at The Paranormal.

Big Picture, no one cares what I was doing or what you were doing when the Earthquake hit. But everyone would like to ensure that it didn't rattle your brain so much that the ride is still a little wobbly for you. And with the Hurricane happening right on top of it now, it stands to reason that a collective back-patting and re-assurance with your neighbor should be in the cards this week. Make it fun. Take a kayak. Wear a Helment.

Then, it's back to work like usual, but hopefully with a little perspective gained from our week of wee disasters.
Because, at the very least, perspective is a peripheral benefit of disaster, and if two in one week doesn't get the blood moving to that part of your brain, nothing will.

The world is still spinning, and so should you.
Up, up, up.

Oh, by the way....

The Dudes Summit was a total success. Beer, diapers, dudes. Smashing good time.

Dave and I made out pretty well, don'tcha think...

A whole lot better than this guy, right?

Thanks to all for such a great day.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer of Kyle

Although the details aren't fully known, I can tell you Blink 135 himself overcame roughly 6 minutes in the closing hours to jump from third to numero uno. I can also tell you that men stood in awe, women called his name, and little kids took their Magic Markers and started drawing all over their bodies. Hell of race, guy.

See everyone tomorrow for round two.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Toph Max.

Dig deep, hold onto your britches, bitches. So much to discover, so little time. But like most things in life, I don't personally discover them. No, indeed, I just sit around idle on my haunches, slurpee in hand, and wait to be told where to be and what to do. So let's go to the mailbag, the yin and the yang, the source and the end of all things bike-worthy with bonus tidbits of nonsense peppered in along the way to make you wonder, what's it all about really?

On just that subject, from Kev29er:

How many magic hat bottles does a man have to crack open to find one relevant to the weekly blog knowledge in any given week? I don't have that math on hand. But I can tell you that our man Kev29er does love his microbrewed suds from time to time. And apparently a penchant for that bastard the almighty, Phil Collins.

With that out of the way, the real news:

Who is the raddest lady you never knew?

Patricia Ann Byrom. The photo, cute as it may be, can't do her justice without a full face helmet. And if I could lay a big smooch on her, I'd give her two. Then we'd jam down whatever nasty steepness Albermarle County Parks has built in her honor, maybe with a few stops along the way so she could mock how much I use my brakes. Then I imagine she'd pop a budweiser at the bottom. OK, really I have no idea. But I do know that few things are as selfless as giving 600 acres back to the community. May her soul rest easy now that, as of Friday, the land that is her namesake is open for the enjoyment of all. Pin it one time for Pat, people.

Keeping with that theme of losing and honoring the raddest people, Danny O's time here is running very short. He's not actually dying, mind you. But he might as well be since he's moving to Colorado. Those of you who haven't been to Durango and are still with illusions that we'll ever see that kid again are mistaken. He ain't never comin' home. Everything is the worst. Well, not everything. He's planning on going out in style, at the very least, so that's something.

From DFlow -

Ideas for this week.
Night ride up to observatory?
Cross race at Sheilas
Brownie Crit Thursday out at the farm?
Ideas, comments?

My only idea/comment here is to kidnap him and tie him up in my basement so he can't go away. But I don't have a basement. So, barring that idea, I guess I'm just in for whatever he wants to do in his last days around the Foof. That's a night ride tonight (monday) a cross race tomorrow (tue) and a brownie crit here at the Rancho Kidnappo on Thursday. Any inquiries thereafter about Danny O's wherabouts? I haven't seen him.

Of substantial importance, Hiser, you are on notice. Notice of what, you know that I know that you know that I know. But that doesn't even matter. I'm coming for you and your alleged 32.5 hours of gettin dirty. Arm yourself with a rogue hoe. This is war.

Lastly, most importantly, but still not wishing to be a spoiler, there is a great thing happening on Saturday. No details at this point, but it involves diapers, rallying, Toph, and the greatest action film of our time.

Toph Max.
Try to wrap your mind around how awesome that is if you can (you can't.)
Details to follow. Up, up, up.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


There are a lot of categories in the Virginia Off Road Series. Men, women, export, xcat, team, singlespeed, and on and on. I think there might even be a prize for the most aliens spotted during all-night endurance racing; I'm not real sure on that one though.

And the people of BRCR have always left their mark on the series. The blue jerseys seem to just keep flying past people. Uphill, downhill, off the front at the start, and off the front at the end. This year is no exception, BRCR is leading the team category, and has a rider on the podium in almost every category.

Last year, VORS added a new category: Paydirt. You get points for doing trailwork; the more trailwork you do, the more points you earn. Like other categories, there is a first, second, and third place. And competition for first place this year is FIERCE. A few local superstars have done a ton of trailwork, one BRCR member who writes most of these blog posts has been leading the category all year, having done over 30 hours of trailwork by the beginning of August. Not to mention he's in the running for the men's xcat.

Trailwork superstars (Left to right) Ted G., Cap'n Shawn, DT, FatTireWilly, and Dr. Woton, of Team Lucky Green.

Other teams are in the hunt too. A few Richmonders are hot on his tail: Mr. Basmajian, Reid, and Petrylak are all within striking distance with a late-game sprint finish.

Me you ask? A recent flurry of time spent working in the GW has me SO far out of reach there's no WAY anyone could catch me. Yeah, I'm only leading by 1.5 hours of work, so IN THEORY, it's possible. But really, it's a run away. You think those people behind might be able to rally a few more hours here or there? Nah.. no way. But, what if they could. Imagine team BRCR putting in 100, 150, 200?! hours of volunteer efforts every year to make the trails they ride, train, and race on the best in the country? Fastest racers, most caring team, and we give back more than the others too. That's what makes team BRCR the best.

But, back to what's important here, competition. What if someone really does rally a few hours and knock me off the top podium? Well, it ain't gonna happen, that's my still my stance. And if it does, this blog entry may be the egg on my face that day. But I promise that anyone who makes a run at me, successful or otherwise, will have my respect. I'll be the first one to offer a heartfelt pat on the back if they're standing taller than me on awards day, because I know that paydirt is the one category where we ALL win just by competing.

When VORS recently updated the standings for Paydirt, Mr Reid, with quite a few hours himself, put it best: "Every racer should have their name on this list!" Is your name listed in the paydirt results?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Post # 101

It seems a little ironic that my scribblings here about the Wilderness 101 will actually be post number 101 on the Blue Ridge Cyclery Blog. Time flies when you've got a teammate on the other half of the line jotting down ideas and building pumptracks into the fringes of public education.

But let's start elsewhere, because this looks like it hurt.

Something about this photo just screams "kidney stone."

While not a photograph of the pain I put myself through at W101, it'll have to do. Because back where I was riding, there are no photographers. There were, however, 3 bear cubs, a gigantic rattlesnake, and a dead, blown-out, run-over-by-jeepers, picked-clean-by-vultures porcupine carcass that I managed to flat on at about mile 96. Awesome. I didn't feel much like riding at that point anyway.

So yeah, 10 hours after the gun went off, I limped in and finished.

At this point, in any blog worth its blog mettle, I would henceforth dive into a list of excuses for my ill performance including, but not necessarily limited to, the following:

Hurty toes

Sand in shorts/monkey butt

Wrong turn


Ran out of water

I'm more of a downhill guy anyway

forgot to register

Other guys are on EPO

Strained hammy



Double flatted

Double Double Flatted

Seat too low

Seat too high

Seat too seaty

sat too much

didn't sit enough

too hot

too cold

too muddy






course wasn't marked well enough

wrong tires

fork was locked out

fitness peak rescheduled for the year 2014

hub seized up

wrong gearing

need 10 speed upgrade

need 8 speed downgrade

going back to singlespeed

going back to gears

should have ridden the hardtail

should have ridden the 29er

Should have ridden a moto

Too much climbing

Too little climbing

not enough gnar

too easy

too hard

too much pressure

too much tire pressure

forgot chaintool

stem too long

beer handups

broken spokes

wore too much makeup

didn't get enough sleep

blah blah blah blah blah

Fortunately, this isn't a blog with any mettle of any kind whatsoever, so I'll spare you the excuses and get right to what went wrong: Phil Collins.

In most parts of the world, 98.5 FM rocks. Elkton, VA, for example, is a fantastic example of the kind of pumping up you can find on the radio dial halfway between 98 and 99, so next time you're on your way to the Hoo Ha, put the Rage CD away for a moment and give 'er a listen. But in State College, PA on Saturday, 7/30, 98.5 was all static. So I went searching at 6AM for a good pumping up, happened upon Phil Collins singing Sussuvio up in the high 107's somewhere, and made the terrible mistake of thinking that would work.

Suss, Suss, Sussuvio in my head for 10 hours. Unreal.

So yeah, that's what happened. No excuses. But fuck you, Phil Collins.

My only real regret is having felt so badly when I crossed the line that I didn't have the gusto to go ring the gong and pick up my pint glass. I think I've felt worse before. Mostly, I think I was so dejected by the enormity of the bonk I had endured for the last 4 hours that I didn't feel I deserved it. But here's the thing, kids: in those 100 milers, because of the distance, time, and variables that you must mix up with trying to push yourself to the edge, great performance is kinda elusive. Doing your absolute best has risks: not finishing being one of them. And I finished. Like Shawn says, "you should learn something every time." I'll be ringing the gong on September 4th over in Stokesville, even if I need a compass and night goggles to find it.

Maybe I should make that switch to big wheels sometime between now and then.

Moving on, I didn't technically defect to Canada. I only imported myself there for a few glorious days of R&R. And by R&R, I mean railing and rallying. Berm Research for you here, Toph: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH.

This just in: Ontario kicks ass.

Other than that, it's back to the grind around here. Rumor has it the trails look like hell, so 5 PM means a slow loop with the saw to try to shape things back into, well, shape.

After that, how about a baby or a fast 50 miles?
Thanks, I'll have two of each.

Up, up, up.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pump Track

So it’s done. Or so I proclaimed last night before my mediocre performance during shop shirt night over at Kegler’s.

To tell you the truth it’s not really done…it’s almost done. More like kinda done. I’m finding that even though the heavy lifting is over it still has to be broken in…the soft spots packed, the berms raised. I really had no idea what I was doing. I desperately wanted to call Dave, get some advice on bermage, but I read somewhere he’s defected to Canada or something. It’s 90% done. Whatever, it was fun.

It wasn’t always fun. It took nearly 3 months of logistical nightmares/snafus/blunders just to get a couple tons of red clay and a “dingo” to Greene County. Might be way out north of town too, in that hard to find location between the 6th and 7th grade halls. But it’s done, it’s there. I gotta tell you, it’s not bad though. Not bad at all for two days of hard labor and a public school budget.

Fortunately, a pair of young guns, arguably two of central Virginia’s best, dropped by for a little free consultation work earlier today.


I tell ya, pump track fever must be sweeping the land. Look closely at this tall, blond glass of water…

He’ll forgo footwear just for a chance to get in there and rip it up. You can say what you want about the young pups today, but they’ll ride outta their way just to help you find the line…and they can be genuinely generous. Willing to give up their time just like that for the cause. Just to see that the project gets done. 100% done. As the Who said “the kids are alright.”

Maybe this summer project will help spring the next superstar. Maybe. Maybe it will get more kids into a life-long sport. Maybe. Mostly, I hope it makes school just a little bit more fun for some kid. We all need a little bit more fun. Even though my hands are shaking today, and my neck feels like the recipient of a Vulcan nerve pinch, it was fun. Lots of fun.

Good luck at Hilbert tomorrow, troops. Put the hurting on somebody, become a superstar. Just have fun doing it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Shop Shirts

You’re gosh darn right, cowboy. Shop shirts.

This ain’t no imposter either. Dickies brand. Just like your uncle Leroy wore as he schlepped away his life down at the ol’ garage. But instead of late model Buick, this time it’s an Air 9.

Custom embroidery over the chest and on the back. Shoot.

This might be the icing on the cake that is the Summer of Toph 2.0
Results 2011 Chimney Chase

Expert Men:
Matthew Bailey 58:03 1:57:32
Ryan Fawley 59:58 2:00:17
Kyle Rodland 59:57 2:00:41
Brent Williamson 1:03:25 2:09:01
Peter Hufnagel 1:04:15 2:11:08
jon gaudio 1:06:05 2:15:42
Robert Suydam 1:08:12 2:18:16
clarke tanner 1:09:10 2:20:01
Daniel Ortiz 1:08:04 2:21:12
Scott Ramsey 1:25:26 2:39:15
william gilmer 1:21:13 2:39:24
John Brodie 1:18:08 2:44:36
Joseph O'Brien-Applegate DNF
Jay Catlett DNF
Gordon wadsworth 1:03:27 DNF

Expert Women

Andrea Dvorak 1:17:01 2:40:53
Jenny Whedbee 1:22:07 2:47:05
Sheila Scott DNF

Sport Men

Jim Fisher 36:28 1:50:58
Andrew Massonneau 37:21 1:52:56
Mark Morrison 37:27 1:53:55
Matthew Thompson 38:39 1:56:17
Russ Wood 40:48 1:58:51
Mark Manley 39:48 1:59:38
Taylor Clarke 38:47 2:00:36
Matt Thomas 40:48 2:02:45
ADAM CROFT 39:23 2:03:13
John Lewis 42:03 2:03:56
Wood Thornton 41:46 2:06:10
Donny Peppard 40:48 2:06:56
Toshun Campbell 43:59 2:07:42
Jim Seguin 42:47 2:08:40
CS Coleman 41:40 2:12:18
Jonathan Garrett 43:05 2:14:44
PAUL CROFT 41:26 2:17:12
John Scott 41:25 2:18:25
Adam Harnois 44:37 2:20:32
Ricky Shelton 45:28 2:27:22
Derek Duval 44:46 2:40:17
William Sanford 50:05 3:00:00
Christopher Massonneau 46:32 DNF
Brad Turner 44:55 DNF
Kegren Yepez 34:55 DNF

Sport Women
Anne Thompson 41:44 2:03:21
Pemberton Heath 40:48 2:05:02
Jo Thompson 45:24 2:12:31
Dreama Davis 52:21 2:20:00 (relegated)
Pam Hafner 55:30 DNF

Single Speed

kevin murray 34:53 1:41:49
Theodore Gayle 36:47 1:47:18
Paul Lindblad 36:45 1:54:29
Gregg Palmer 36:13 1:59:28
Ryan MacDonald 43:11 2:19:54
kevin horvath 39:35 DNF

Beginner Men
Jake King 1:14:43
Andrew Grey 1:18:41
Damon Pearson 1:19:30
Dave Hardisky 1:26:05
Robbie Medlin 1:26:20
Nolan Felts 1:28:10
Lester Brown III 1:28:49
curtis shaver 1:29:52
Steven Cook 1:29:55
Byron Gonzalez 1:30:13
Bradley Arehart 1:31:24
Richard Morrison 1:32:28
Anthony Christhilf 1:39:09
Michael Butcher 1:42:15
Mike Desisto 1:48:22
Edward McNelis 1:50:25
Chris Derby 2:01:40

Beginner Women
Melissa Milan 1:48:02
Ellen Ramsey 2:02:37
Carey Hill 2:03:46
Amanda Warner 2:04:56
Mallory McNelis 2:27:44
Shannon Bush DNS