Monday, December 26, 2011

Not So Epic Wednesday?

It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll.  Twice as far if you're sick.  And four times as far as that if it's raining. 
suffer.  breathe.  hack.  snort.  spit.  repeat. 
We've all heard of Christmas in July, but having July at Christmas has been sort of a treat.  It was 67 radical, luscious degrees to ring in the winter solstice.  Now, though, 36 hours from the trans county point to point, and the maw of winter is upon us at exactly the wrong time.  An epic day of rain looms tomorrow, 1 - 2 inches, or more, falling into the wee hours of Wednesday AM.  Not a great day to ride Preddy Creek and what not, kids, although if by "ride" you mean "kayak" Wednesday could really be something special for you. 

In all likelihood, we're looking a rainout square in the black eye.  Shoooot.  But the TransCounty will roll eventually.  Like Karma, it doesn't all have to happen at once - it's patient, brooding even, just waiting for a high pressure system to align in the right way. 
As an alternative, sort of in the same way that, say, Pearl Jam was an alternative (which is to say, more along the lines of what everyone else was doing anyway, but still pretty rad) has anyone ridden Whetstone recently? 

If these plans get any more scattered and fail to go anywhere at all; I'll accept that as a compliment and run for office. 

Elect me. 
Up, up, up.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Inevitable Trail to Here

I guess it was about 25 years ago when Shawn and I started building trails in these woods, racing our bikes on them with our pals from the neighborhood.  When I say neighborhood, I mean the kids from over in Indian Springs and Windrift, neighborhoods just to the west of here that bordered up to farmland, like ours, and Buck Mtn Creek, and the remoteness of whatever lay beyond.  We were rural kids, dispersed in a way that urban kids are not, so getting together took a little intelligent transportation, and bikes, quite naturally, were a way to get around. 

Also, quite naturally, when you put vehicles like bikes that can go 20 mph or so in the hands of 10 year old kids, they're going to race them.  Just the way it is.  Outside of stealing away down Markwood Road to the old Chapman grocery, 1/4 of the way to Dyke, to smuggle back 1 liter bottles of Pepsi in our jackets - which was absolutely forbidden by our parents - racing bikes in the woods was a good way to shake out the contagious brain cobwebs of being a kid without much to do.  Video games or race bikes.  Racing bikes would require building some trails.  Video games would be much easier.  We chose racing bikes.  Still do. 

Our dad, always an enabler when it came to getting us out of the house and into the great science experiment that is the natural world at large, sacrificed an old, beat up push mower to our efforts.  And without any real knowledge of trail building other than knowing we needed to make some room, we mowed paths through the woods.  The damage that we inflicted upon that old mower is something that I'm very proud of, although I don't know whatever became of it.  With the trails in place, we cast it aside, dove into loamy dirt with our 10 speeds and BMX bikes, never to see it again.  For all I know, it's still out there somewhere, bearing the scars of thoughtless, abusive ownership, and rusting away with the passage of time.  We probably ride past it - the trails we built then, we still ride portions of today.   

A year ago this week, when Shawn decided to open up a Bike Shop, there was a sense of fate about it that just felt appropriate.  Of course he is doing that, one might have said, finally -  acknowledging it as the only likely finish to a trail that was built a long, long time ago, and actually sort of surprised that it took this long to find it's way to this point.  A year later, he's been successful.  As a reader of this blog, chances are you've been a part of all of this, so thanks are definitely in order for your role, however small it might have been, in helping build the inevitable trail to this point.  Stick around, good things are still coming right around the corner, wherever the trail goes next. 

But that's the thing about fate: however inevitable it might be, you've still got to build your way there. 

I'm proud of you, Bro. 
And not just because I want free appetizers on Thursday. 
Although, that's part of it.   

Up, up, up. 

Monday, December 12, 2011


...And not the kind you buy at Wendy's and dip your fries in, you disgusting, pudgy Hut.

I'm talking about the skinny kind.  I got out for a little frosty Sunday morning recon for the upcoming BRS to Walnut route that I'm putting together for later this month.  I do love frozen singletrack:

An interesting element of riding singletrack in the winter:  you're technically racing the sun to the trail.  If he gets there first, mush.  No bueno.  But if you get there first?  Call yourself Captain Crunch, and get to diggin in with a big spoon.  Until there is paved singletrack (which, mark my words, there will be - AND IT WILL BE AWESOME),  frozen will have to do.

We go?  Dec 28th?  Ish.  By the end of this week, we'll be able to look at the 14 day weather outlook, take a peer into the future at the week of Dec 26th, and start to make an ill-informed decision based upon that weather outlook, which means almost nothing.  But, if all days and weather patterns are equal, Dec 28th will be the day. 

It's not all singletrack, of course.  Mid-recon, I popped out onto the road for a moment and picked up the tail end of the CRC ride as they made their way closer to both Free Union and a decision about what bike Alan should buy.  Not sure if they ever made it to either one, I bailed off of Catterton, crossed the ford, attempted to find a singletrack connection that I'm certain exists, didn't find it, got chased by some cows, and ended up back on Markwood, and in sudden need of a portajohn.  Bonked a little but still finished.  Then I ate some clif blocks on the poddy.  Good times.   

This week?  Temps back up in the fiddies.  Don't lose yourself in the warmth of it all, the trail is still a little soft.  Be ginger, tread lightly, hit the road, ride early, etc.   Your drivetrain, and the community at large, will thank you. 

Giddyup, up, up, up. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

BRS to Walnut

Me to Kev29er:
BRS to Walnut - the trans-county point to point is back and slightly longer.  This ride was a hoot last summer, now giving it a try in the cold to see how it goes. 

Blue Ridge School start
Up brokenback
Down the super d
Up markwood to the Paranormal loop
quick paranormal rally
Aid station 1 (my house)
A new connector and fence hop to Buck Mtn rd
Bleak house singletrack (Sunday only)
Up reas ford to earlysville
Aid station 2(the new and critically acclaimed cruise-in diner)
Poach a little Danny flow half track(Sunday only)
Advanced Mills to preddy creek (paved)
Preddy loop ( conditions permitting... It's been muddy there)
Aid 3 (Dunkin donuts)
Gravel to fo' lakes
Fo lakes singletrack (conditions and permission permitting)
Into town - perhaps via the Dunlora link
Rivanna trail
Aid 4 (blue ridge Cyclery)
Rivanna to o hill to old lynchburg
Old lynch to walnut
Finish down the goat trail(conditions permitting)

Kev29er to Me:
that email made me throw up a little

Happy Friday.
 God, I love winter. 

Up, up, up.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

10 years of rallies

Ahhh, they grow up so fast.  Bailey turns 6 today and Bender turns 4.  Between the two of them, then, that's 10 years of romping around these trails, building new trails, soaking up the sun and the rain, and in Bailey's case, admiring how damn sleek she looks in the reflection of the pond after a good rally and a swim.  These dogs lead good lives.   

Bailey pretty much owns the Heckler by now
Bender helping to construct the Earthquake trail, shortly post-earthquake.  Not intimitaed. 

the contstruction of the berms, post blizzard #1 2010.
To celebrate the day, we've got a nooner planned, 65 degrees and drizzling here on December 6th.  When it comes to conditions, this is absolute perfection - although I'm pretty sure these two mutts think that about every condition.  Hot or cold.  Wet or dry.  The best thing about dogs is they don't really care.   
Welcome to the family, Pivot. 

cutting in a little southside connector.  throw my ball. 

with enough speed, Bender can actually tuck his ears behind his own head. 

velociraptor.  the tire, not the dog.  well, ok, the dog sometimes too. 

These dogs will always be Earallysville to me. The amount of photos I have of these two hounds either pinning it, getting ready to pin it, or lounging post-ride could fill this entire blog.  So I'll just trail off here and go for a ride and enjoy it.  I get a little choked up on birthdays, and when I think about someday building a trail (and probably some huge berms) in their remembrance, it sullies the moment.  

Which brings me to my homie, Nick, who recently lost a good houndfriend of his own.  Still, he makes this kit look good.  Ripping the coastline in Miami, FL. 

Dude puts the Flo in Florida. 

Lastly, remember this?  BRS to Walnut.  I've got a hankering one of these Sundays before the new year.  Any takers?

Up, up, up. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

If high pressure can have a stranglehold on the region, then call me the Son of Sam.

Or maybe that was Gacy.  Or some other creep.  What I'm really trying to say is this:

Get out and snatch yourself some singletrack from right out of the maw of old man winter.  Before he really gets his teeth into it and mangles the poor thing.  Web searches for an appropriate image to insert here were limited in time, and came up way short, so I'll just use this:
mangle, wrangle, etc.  don't dig this guy.

Other important things to consider in this Decembra-July that we seem to be enjoying:
Remember that sense of euphoria and limitless potential you felt riding your first bike?  You can help give that gift to hundreds of area kids.  For the past four years area cyclists have helped build and inspect bikes for the annual Toy Lift. Last year over 550 bikes were built in 2.5 days and we're looking to increase that number this year.  EVERYONE's help is needed - the mechanically inclined and the not-so-mechanically inclined.  Start and end times are subject to change, so contact Shawn Tevendale at 434.409.4666 before showing up.  The current schedule is Wednesday (11a - 9p), Thursday (9a - 9p), and Friday (8a until done) at the old Circuit City building in Albemarle Square.  
If you'd like to donate a bike to the cause, bring it to the Toy Lift on Friday or bring it to Blue Ridge Cyclery earlier in the week and they'll deliver it for you.  Want to buy and donate a new bike?  Blue Ridge Cyclery is offering 10% off their holiday sale pricing for Toy Lift purchases - and they'll handle delivery!

Yeah, that pretty much makes today the last day to really be a part of this, so if you're actually using this blog as a form of news delivery, Christmas is off.  Hopefully you already got the memo, and you're in route to ToyLift with a sack full of half-functional integrated 7-speed shifter/brake levers that ToyLift leadership can use to beat you with while you build a few bikes in the name of St. Nick.  Bring some ice packs for the drive home.  Merry Christmas. 

Last but not least, and really not necessarily last because I'm hugely out of the loop, whatever that is, Gravel.  Sunday, 10 AM, at B-Wood.  Date, time, and location all subject to change, but again, given my lack of loopage, that's where I'll be.  Consider fatter tires than skinny.  It's 60 degrees and tacky, Jackie, and I've got a hankering for something rugged. 

Legitimate photograps of actual cycling content to follow. 
Up, up, up.