Friday, October 9

I can't complain, but sometimes I still do

Today is Messenger Appreciation Day... or the annual celebration of Pull a Muscle Patting Myself on the Back Day.  Either way, I'll celebrate tonight by finishing off my geared bicycle because... parts.

Sizemore supervising the rotor removal... made easier with the use of a T-Way from Fix It Sticks.

I didn't really think this thing would get much use, being that it's on my pegboard next to all my loose Allen keys, but it does.  It's especially useful when I've got multiple bolts that I gotta spin (rotor bolts) or when I need that T-handle reliability of being able to push down and turn hard (like an SPD cleat bolt).  Zero flexy windup with this hunk of steel.

I'd been carrying the Replaceables in my messenger bag at work for awhile before I got the T-Way.

To be honest, I hadn't really needed to use them much.  Credit the simplicity of the tarck bike on that one.  When I did use them, they were more spot-on than the tiny folding multi-tool I was toting around, so it wasn't such a hard choice to make the swap.

I've considered getting the Original Fix It Sticks for my single speed racing appropriate loaded Tülbag.

The Mountain configuration (4mm, 5mm, 6mm Hex, Torx 25) combined with my tiny 8mm bit that slides onto the 5mm would be perfect. Not so much for this stupid geared bike that I'm building, what with its... Phillips head adjusting screws and whatnot...

but how often do those get used out on the trail?

Seriously. It's been awhile. How often?

Hopefully I won't find out this weekend.  Not sure where I'm going, but hopefully somewhere that shifting is useful.  I don't want to experience a sudden onset of buyer's remorse (again).

As long as FedEx does their thing today, I'll have a set of Industry 9 Trail 245 wheels by the end of the day.  Rain delay on the fun tomorrow, and then, very ironically on the day of the Single Speed World Championships in Japan, I will own a geared bike for the first time since I regretted the last time.

Which means that when I get home from that ride, I'll be poking my nose around social media to see if SSWC is coming to a continent near me.

Tuesday, October 6


For what it's worth and without much ado, I'm putting gears on the By:Stickel Meatplow V.6.

Riding that ROS 9 earlier this year was... nifty.  I rode up a part of Daniel's Ridge I hadn't pedaled in years.  I'm just so used to walking a single speed all over Pisgah.  Riding was a rather refreshing change of pace.

This is a much cheaper option than buying a new bike or even a frame.

New Paragon Machine Works sliders and bolt-on thru-axle. Their stuff always makes my pants tight.

I'm not saying that I don't want a full suspension frame.  I'm not saying I do.  This is just what I'm doing now.

Ironically, I can remember getting this picture from Steve while he was building my frame:

Those are derailleur cable guides on the seat stay.  I shit myself when I saw them.  He thought I'd want them.

"I'm never gonna run gears."

"Want me to hack them off?"


So yeah... I'm gonna have some sad zip-tie looking bullshit on my frame because I'm dumb.

Now is the time to mention that I also went with a 27.2 seat post size because I wanted the flexy comfort of titanium... and I was never gonna use a drooper post.  At least I'm consistently dumb.

Gears will also solve another problem.  Tour de Burg '16.

The road stages at least. 

I don't have anything close to road-worthy currently, so I'll just steal the rigid crabon from the Misfit Meatplow V.5 and borrow some cross'ish wheels from Industry Nine.  Boom.  Road bike.

I did do at least one road stage of the '08 Tour on this:

Almost everything about it was heavy. It was not fun by any means, and since the '16 Tour will be the 20th anniversary, I'm thinking Le Directuer Carp will not go easy on us.  If I can avoid riding a converted single speed mountain bike for 175 miles of pavement and gravel, I will.

Still waiting on the XT 1X11 parts (their existence is 90% of the impetus for this build) and the Industry Nine TR245 wheels, and then it's showtime.  I can get a toe by three o'clock this afternoon, but I'd still have to wait on the wheels.

Will this last more than 47 days?

I hope so.  With a lot less money tied up in pieces and parts, I can put the shifty bits in a big blue bin if I get tired of them.  Also, since the wheels will be Shimano compatible and not that XD Driver nonsense, I'll be able to use them no matter where all the pieces-parts are collecting dust.

I realized the other day that it's been almost 15 years since I owned a geared hard tail.  My last one was a Titus HCR (Hard Core Racer)... way back in 2000 or so.  I bought it when I demolished my AMP Research B4 and vowed off full suspension forever.  Then I started endurance racing, with the most logical of starting points, 12 and 24 hour events.  Shortly after that, I got the chance to race on a team, my hard tail became my backup bike, and I eventually sold it to finance a component diet for my Ellsworth Truth.

2000 Solo 24 Hour Worlds in Idyllwild, CA.  18th place Open Men (there were no age groups or categories back then).  Cane Creek Thudbuster, 80mm Judy fork w/Englund air cartridges, 1.5" Continental Cross Country tires, Grip Shift 3X9 speed with a Crank Bros E Crank... those were not "the days."

Monday, October 5


I think we're all fascinated by adverse weather conditions, otherwise movies like Twister would have never been made... aside from some strange interest in seeing a mid-'90s Helen Hunt spend most of her waking hours in a tank top, despite any and all weather.

I can remember at some point in my youth, my father leaning a large piece of plywood against a tree and semi-securing it in a manner that a child of my age would think was bullet-proof.  We then watched an incredible storm come from across the cow field on the other side of Route 6 right towards us.  Fascinating.  Despite how much my mother yelled from the front porch of the mobile home, we stayed there under the plywood "structure" and watched Mother Nature pummel the shit out of rural Ohio through a haze of Now Menthol smoke.

Some time later, when I was a much more free-range teenager, my friends and I walked "up" trees along a trail of tornado damage that blasted a swath for miles... about five hundred yards from the same front door my mother was yelling at my dad and I from years earlier.  I can't explain what it's like to "climb" trees that are parallel to the ground.  It's just way cool.

By the time I was an adult and supposedly able to know better, Shon "War Child" Simon and I went up to Franklin, PA to go pre-ride an XC course.  This woulda been... 1994 (according to the internet).  All we had was a paper map that we had printed and... that was it.  We rode off into the woods, and hours later, the weather turned wet on us.  Our paper map disintegrated more and more very time we pulled it out.  Eventually, it was just clumps of moist paper and ink.  The rain was insane, the winds... well, there were actual tornadoes in the area. No way for us to know, although our wives at home, what with their TVs and all, were well aware of where their husbands were riding and the danger they were in.

Us?  Not so much.

So, lightning hitting trees around us, small saplings being bent to the ground by sturdy winds.  At one point, both Shon and I were knocked onto the ground by a gust and all we could really do at that point was look at each other and laugh.  A nervous laugh, but a laugh all the same.  Eventually, we found our cars, the tornadoes moved on, we got home, and our wives let us know what we were in the middle of for the better part of an hour or so.

So when I found out that we were supposed to be getting all this massive rain over the weekend, I felt drawn towards heading outside and looking at it.  I posted up my desire to be out in it on FaceBook on Friday.

Crickets.  Nobody really showed any real interest.

Saturday.  Wake up and piddle about the house.  Head to Bike Source for some needs and to Total Wine for others.

I was ready to settle in for the entire weekend.

And then Kürdt decided to reverse Ferris Bueller me.


Called out on my own threat.  Supposedly, more heavy rain to come in just a few hours... but this was my idea.

I suited up and headed out to Birdsong Brewery to meet Kürdt.

He was way ahead of me and took photos on his way over.



A beer at Birdsong together and then venturing out to see what three inches of rain overnight had done.

Not much...

and alot.

Headed over to the Rhino Market, more beer, and then more beer.

And then over to the Brass Tap to meet Bill Nye an Rachel... and more beer.

It was more than obvious we were killing time (and our livers) waiting for the big payoff, an epic ride home in a torrential downpour. 

But it never came.

I rode home some time before dark, dry as a bone, somewhat let down.  I don't wish hardship and financial loss on others (from FaceBook).

I just wanted some swollen streams to stand by in amazement.  I got none.

But I did watch First Blood: Part 2 when I got home... which maybe shoulda just been called Second Blood.  Dunno.

At least the weekend went by, and I didn't feel like a total piece of shit for not getting out on my bike... because I did... because Kürdt made me.

Ride photos from Kürdt

Friday, October 2

You lost me at "hell no"

What can I say?  I'm a fucking wet blanket.

No mountain bike ride last weekend.  No way it's gonna happen this weekend either.  In case you missed it (or live on the wester side of the country), we're gonna get blasted with anywhere between seven to fourteen inches of rain over the weekend. 

I've got something like zero to two projects I can work on this weekend.  Had I more forethought, my hands would be much less idle.  I've been stalling on getting the funball time-waster rolling for the off "season," and now I've got nothing.

I had momentary stoke when I saw this while perusing the internet at work and decided I was gonna buy one (or two) for myself.

The Stashers TubeTop.  It goes right along with my funball theme for the '15-'16 do-nothing period.

MBOAR: More Beer On All Rides

So, imagine my dismay when I went home last night and started eye-balling my tiny mountain bike frames and discovered I have naught room for this pack under my top tube.  I could maybe squeeze the two beer TubeTop in my diminutive frame, as long as I was willing to forego putting water in my seat tube cage... which is an option, I guess.  Dunno.  How many 12oz beers make up for the lost hydrating powers or 22oz of water?

My other option would be to buy one for all my tall friends on the condition that they carry my beer on all rides.

So much stagnation.  It smells like that water that won't drain out of my gutters.

At this point, I'm just looking forward to the Pisgah Productions Double/Single Dare weekend.  I know I will be there in some way, racing or riding seasonal trails and such.  As the weekend gets closer, I'll have to consider my options and decide how hard I want to play at The Warriors Team Scavenger Hunt and Gold Sprints the Friday night before.  The potential for bad decisions is huge.  I'm pretty sure I got Watts to commit to doing something with me that weekend.  Maybe we're getting married.

Richmond was such a terrible haze. 

I'm pretty sure someone peed on me.

I guess on the plus side, my feet won't be soaked till later this afternoon and by the end of the weekend, my bike room will be well organized and immaculate.

Tuesday, September 29

I'm used to being a thing by now

In case you missed this, these are now a thing:

Photo taken by Matt McFee of Hermosa Tours, who will either stick this on a shuttle van or on the bike of the next customer to call him Stinky McGoo on Yelp.

These are fresh off the sticky press from Handup Gloves, the first installment of characters known as the Handup Squad or "Hup Squad" for short... or The Handup Squaderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

There are three ways you can get one (or two).

1. Find me. In the streets of Charlotte.  At an event.  In the woods.  Hanging out in some place that has beer.  Then, ask me if I have any on me.  If I do, you can haz.  If I don't, we can hug it out.

2. Buy a pair of Handup Gloves soon.  Every order ships with one until they run out.  Which could be soon.  Or not.  I have no idea.  If you don't have a pair of Handups, you should.  They're very nice.  Like a Holy Grail.  Of course, if you're not too keen on acquiring a pair because you've already got one, feel free to mock those without.

3. Email me at teamdicky at hotmail dot com.  I'll send you an address, you send me a self addressed stamped envelope, I'll send you a sticker.  Just like that.  Until I start running out. I started with somewhere close to 150 of them, and I managed to not lose the batch I took with me to Road Worlds, so let's just say they will last awhile.

For scale, they are about this big:

Good for bikes, cars, high school lockers, refrigerators, mugs... ummmmmm... places you stick things.

What more can I say?  They're stickers.  Of me.  Basically for free... so maybe I should just let people buy me beer instead.  Or stick with the plan. Whichever.

Monday, September 28

2015 UCI Road Worlds

Get lost on the way to scoop Nick, drive in occasional pissing rain all the way to the house that was kindly being opened up to us by Stratton of Starlight Apparel, ditch the car, ride over into downtown...

and somehow without even planning it, we're there in time for the start of the women's race.  Chat with Grant from Swiftwick and Stratton before heading out to watch whatever we could see.  We go here and there and end up on the final corner with Caleb.

Look around.  It's maybe 2:00PM or so.  No one is drinking beer except the people in the Mich Ultra beer garden, and I'm not sure you can call that beer.  Nick had the forethought to stop at a bodega and get a case of PBR.  Now some people are drinking beer where we are... mostly us.

Eventually, it appears that we picked a decent spot, since all these guys showed up:

They take photos so you can keep your phones in your pocket and find decent images later on when you're home and sober.

Other things are happening anyways.

Everything is a mess.

And it stays that way.

We got to see the big move in the final corner, and USA, USA, USA and all that.

Where to now?

Pretty sure we headed back to Starlight Apparel.  We either accidentally found Watts and Dorothy or we planned on finding them.  We all went out into the night, Nick pumped his fist in the air, announced something, and went off on his own... to somewhere.

Watts, Dorothy and I ended up somewhere.  Here?

I found this in my phone, so maybe we were here or trying to get someone else here... dunno

This might be that place or it's the other one.

 Wherever this is, the man who gave us these effeminate drinks that Watts purchased had a man-bun.

At some point, I parted ways with Watts and Dorothy, although I remember Bike Tumor's Tyler "Tool Bag" Benedict being around... and hamburgers.

I either got a text or a call from Nick who didn't know where he was or how to get back to where we were sleeping.  I found him, we got back to the house...

Where to now?

There's a party at the house across the streets.  No bikes.  Just normal people.

Nick wants to go. We walk over and sit on the porch.  Eventually, a man comes out, talks to the "people on the front porch," Nick goes in.  He comes back out.  We both go in.

Grant calls.  "Where are you guys?"

"Across the street at the party?"

"Who's party?"


Grant shows up.

Sitting on a strange porch in a strange house in a strange town.  Nick decides we need to shotgun a beer, because that's what strangers do.

At some point we went back to where we belong, the cops show up at the party after we left, we go to sleep.

Wake up feeling like butt.  Three glasses of water, 32oz of Gatorade, and Huevos Rancheros, and I'm back to 80%.

Walk all over the course.  Watch the men's race.  Six and a half hours.  We watch it go by on this climb, that climb, a straightaway, a screen in a deli, back outside, end the day at a jumbotron watching Sagan makes his move.  The crowd goes wild and it actually feels worth it to be there to somewhat witness the moment.  I felt "feelings."

Fight the insane crowds and street closures to get back to the car and head home. 

That was better than sitting in Charlotte looking out the window at the rain and being all FOMO'ed.

Friday, September 25

Warming my cockles

Despite how my last post might make it appear, I think podiums are kinda dumb.  For me, racing bikes is entirely selfish.  I do it for my own pleasure, and that's about it.  I'm either pleased with how I performed or something opposite of happy, like sad, mad, disappointed... generally grumbly.  Poor execution motivates me to have less than poor performances in the future.  Some would call that "learning." 

Standing up in front of people who may or may not care about what I did that day feels awkward.  I didn't do it to impress them, and nor should they feel dazzled by my prowess.  I'm only up there because not enough faster people showed up... and I didn't quit.  Sure, I've tried harder at some events to get to this place, but in the end... I know my place in the food chain.

Still, you gotta get up there outta respect for your fellow competitors, the promoters, and I guess for the sake of your sponsors (unless your going for world gold, then anything goes).  I've only ever skipped one podium on purpose.  I had no real sponsors back then, a certain lack of respect for the promoter, and the ceremony was so delayed that only one person was left to stand on the boxes by the time they got their shit together.  I didn't miss much, and I don't really regret it.

Speaking of podiums, everyone you know will be posting pictures of themselves standing on one somewhere on SocialMediaBookGram because CROSS IS COMING.  I think about 90% of all the people who race cross will make a podium this year (based on no actual research). 

I don't think cross is stupid.  It reminds me of what we used to do as kids, marking a course in someone's yard or woods and then racing each other... mostly because we lived nowhere near a BMX course or anything else cool.

I went to a "cross practice" Wednesday night and played cross games with my little friends.

photo cred: Nick "Dip n Spray" Barlow
It was fun, and seeing all the different levels of riders that came to some city park with a semi-defined course to just putz around or actually kinda/sorta race?  My heart grew three sizes that day.

People having fun on bikes is like the bestest thing ever.

That's why I'm headed to Richmond tomorrow to spectate the UCI Road Worlds because nobody knows how to have more fun making great bike race than the pros that are getting paid to do so.

At least at this level of racing, when they get on the podium, they probably never think to themselves, "I'm only up here because not enough faster people showed up... and I didn't quit."