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Tuesday, April 15

The (Temporary) End

The internet at home is gone.  The move has commenced.  Not an up/down move...

photo cred: Nik
More of a lateral one.

So this is it until Monday, unless things go to shit, which would mean that this is it until it isn't anymore.  Kinda bummed.  Wanted to blather on and on about droopers, rigid riding in the Pisgah, and associated silliness.  By the time I get back to this, I'll have new topics to discuss, such as re-broken toes, how many friends you lose after a move, the best way to pack $19 socks...

See you in a week (or not)

Monday, April 14

Ready for whatever

I knew things weren't gonna be easy before they even had a chance to be stupid.  March was limiting, difficult.  Too much fun, not enough time for long rides, too cold for early morning miles.

I knew what this would set me up for in April.

Trying to drop weight and increase saddle time becomes a balancing act.  Trying to stay on that's knife's edge of fueling my efforts but not eating everything in sight.  With the move coming up (by that I mean it starts tonight) the big stuff goes Saturday, Sunday will be spent trying to make things workable to begin the work week all over again.  While I'm thinking about it, I should mention the internet goes down here some time this week.  Blogging will screech to a halt for a few days, perhaps quite unexpectedly.

I was thinking I'd use that extra free time in the morning later this week to get in some more miles, but with lows in the 30's and intermittent rain coming up for no good reason... not happening.

Fortunately, I got in two rides this weekend.  One that stayed within the limits of my caloric intake, one that exceeded it by about twenty minutes.  I made one entire loop of the Whitewater Center (plus the not yet opened stuff and DS track) on a very large slice of homemade vegetarian sausage pizza.  Came home, cleaned up, headed out to watch the uptown criterium.  I should mention that I had to take a hiatus from my "purchase no beer to go in thine own fridge" hiatus because Friday stress levels were high and going to a crit without beer is like not going to a crit at all.

Between the ride and the crit, this happened.

Friday, April 11

Practical VS Impractical Vanity

I have a degree in art education.  I was forced to attend many classes in college that I didn't want to take in order to make me a well rounded art educator.  I was signed up for weaving before it was canceled.  I ended up taking jewelry.  Really.

Many classes stuck with me.  Graphic design (which didn't use computers back then... what's a register mark?).  Printing.  Painting.

I think I spent the better part of an entire quarter exploring different shades of gray... there are more than fifty.

I imagine that my experience in college (after two years of heavy science and math helped me remember that I wanted the job I wanted after college, not the ones that were in "demand") is one of the reasons I scrutinize so many irrelevant matters when it comes to building a bike.  Symmetry.  Eye-pleasing cable routing.  I'd rather pull off a misapplied decal and ruin it rather than stare at it for five years in a slightly askew state.*

The red aluminum slider adjuster bolts.  Why replace the stock steel ones?  I am convinced that the ultra-long and sorta heavy steel stock bolts, when ran in their shorter settings, can vibrate out.  Thus I replaced them with lighter (less inertia at the head) and shorter (less leverage at the threads) bolts.  Red?  Because of the red on the Eriksen post.

Which sends me down a wormhole of trying to tie everything together.  Not so much in the respect of matchy-matchy, but for artistic balance.

I've been using side-loading cages for years now due to my frames being built to my four apple size.  They are made of a hi-tech material called "plastic."  Regular bottle cage bolts sink deep into the holes with any kind of torque and do quelle dommage.  I used to utilize thin steel washers, but while I was ordering red aluminum slider adjuster bolts (three pairs of different lengths to cover all bases including 29+ possibilities), I thought, "Why not?"

Low profile, big head... just like me.  Relatively cheap when compared to a two liter bottle of soda (not at sale price).

Those help tie in these:

The Big Red S designed (made by DT Swiss) skewers are no longer available, and I'm fortunate to have them.  They are what I wanted for why I wanted them, and if I tried to explain the reasoning, I'm sure you would think I'd really gone off the deep end.  Safe to say, I have.

Thursday, April 10

Pee Emm Tee Ehn Arrrhhhhh

I finally went on a Plaza Midwood Tuesday Night Ride.  They've been going on for some time, and until now, I've been quite good at coming up with excuses to not go.  This time, the pressure from Bill Nye and Kangalangamangus was at an all time high.  With the temperature being quite nice, my to-do list empty, my Wednesday morning clear for sleeping in (or so I thought), The Pie being in a receptive mood since our massive anniversary celebration had already occurred the night before, and me being already dressed to ride since I was at work when I made the decision, I caved.

I did not want to trade in a whole kitchen pass, so instead of heading straight to the Common Market or The Spoke Easy for pre-beers, I went home for dinner.  After a fine meal of vegetarian tacos and too many No Bake cookies, I headed back out the door... something I hate doing on a school night.

Off to the Common Market early in order to get a pre-ride beer without having to wait in line behind a bunch of people who look like messengers... or at least what we're supposed to look like.  Listen to Leaf Life tell some stories... might have just been one long story, meet Dip n Spray's roommate who started drinking early (like November), see Bill Nye and Kangalangamangus, thank them for bringing me into the fold, and then the whistle blew.

I head over to the Fastest Bike in the World and flick my light on.  No response.  Check my memory and remember the last time I think it worked was the ride home from the Gentle Ginger's house after the Tour duh Charlotte.  Was probably dead that night too.  Jump on and head out.  Bill Nye and Kangalangamangus are nowhere to be seen.  I'm in a group of people I mostly don't know and have never seen before.

I move through the peleton like Sagan heading to the front for a final sprint (with less YouTube worthy curb hopping).  I find Paul and Zac towards the head of this 100+ strong group.  I sit in.

Coming down a hill, I watch Zac do some kind of skid-hop slow down technique.  I call him "Jimmy John" and the next ten minutes are lost in conversations of physics, fixed gear techniques, knee issues, tire preservation, accident avoidance, and sandwich delivery.

The ride stops multiple times in random spots.  Whistles are blown and the ride continues.  Zac gets cautioned for riding off the front.  One more incident and he will receive another warning.  I see the city from an angle I've never seen before at night.  I think, "There's work," because that's what I think when I see the city.  Kinda like walking past your cubicle on a Saturday for recreational purposes.

Tuesday, April 8

This is about the bike

So yeah, the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek was the first ride on the new VerDickgo Meatplow V.7.  Of course anybody who has absolutely nothing better to do on a Tuesday is wondering what I think about it.

Baby's first bath... whether it needed it or not.

I have to admit, there was a bit of nervousness about racing a bike that I just put together and hadn't had out on the trail yet.   More worried about the fact that I was on a duo team, so someone else was counting on me to have not forgotten to tighten a bolt or something stupid of that nature.  Nevertheless, when Eric came off his first lap, I all but forgot I was on a new bike...

Until about mile marker two.

I then thought about the fact that I was riding as fast as I possibly could (in my current condition), pushing myself as hard as I ever do in a short format type race (that I might actually care about).  I realized right then and there, this bike feels good.  Natural.  No surprises.  What I expected.

It's the best of both of my old worlds in one bike.  Lightweight, stiff, short chain stays (sooooooooo maneuverable)... just perfect.

Some things are a bit taken for granted.  This bike matches the fit on the V.5 and the V.6 very closely.  There was no measuring anything when I installed the fork/cockpit.  One 2.5mm spacer and a Thomson 70mm stem.  Adjust the bar/brake lever angles.

I felt confident at speeds.  Maybe a bit cocky'esque?  I hit the A-frame bridge fast enough to launch over it without touching the backside, something I've never done before on a rigid bike (or at least remember doing).  Perhaps no big feat to some, but I just didn't feel like hauling in my speed and rolling over it like I normally do.

So far, I would say the bike delivers.  That's based on one ride... at a race... that doesn't necessarily suit me.  Warrior Creek is a power course.  I'm anxious to get this thing out on something a little more longy climby, fasty descendy, touchy feely, spready cheeky (name that movie).

The only changes I had to make on Sunday?

Monday, April 7

2014 6 Hours of Warrior Creek

So, at least we had a plan.  My plan.  A plan that was based on what I thought I knew and thought was best.

I asked Eric to take the first lap.  It's always an angry dash for a bit on some rolling paved roads in the park... around a camp area... up a hill... down.  A very tight race with hundreds of riders trying to get to the 13.5 mile singletrack loop first.  I had no concerns whatsoever about our ability to get six laps (three apiece) in before the end of the day.

Well, that plan started unraveling on the first lap.  The camp area the race normally pits out of was closed.  As a result, the course on the first lap was tweaked a bit to still have it make logical sense.  Quite a bit of trail was added to the start loop.  Comparing last year's results with this years results... that lap was ten minutes longer, maybe more.

Eric rode the first lap without wasting too much energy, well except for avoiding multiple accidents ahead of him... all but one.  He did get tossed into a tree when a rider lost it in front of him.  Sounded like the kinda lap I woulda lost my shit on.

My turn.

photo cred: Lunch Box
I basically went out to destroy myself.  There were plenty of carrots ahead and I munched them in bunches.  Ring-a-ding-ding.  My allergies that had been flaring up all week kept my mouth feeling dry and made it so nose breathing really wasn't happening.  All in all, I didn't feel too bad.  After my lap, we pulled up from 11th to 8th in the mens 80+.  A 1:02:29... it felt like a fast lap until I saw that the fastest in our division went 57:37.  Sheeeeeeeeee-it.

Friday, April 4

It all begins on the morrow

The sixth annual (I just counted them on my fingers) 6 Hours of Warrior Creek is tomorrow.  I've been there every year.   A brief synopsis of my former experiences, at least what I remember.

2009:  I won the SS class, coming in 3rd overall.  First real ride on the MOOTS.  First place single speed wins a set of Gore Tex shifter cables.... irony.

2010: I stopped to help and injured rider and shortcut back to the finish for help.  I rejoined the race with little hope of making back the time.  I wallowed in self pity, lost track of everything, chased back to second, blew my wad thinking it was the last lap (I was wrong), went out for one more but quit, ended up in third.

Hey look, there's Eric Hagerty in second place...

2011:  Least memorable.  Tim Finkel from Michigan won.  Some other fast people beat me, and I ended just off the podium in fourth.

2012:  The bad year.  Violent diarrhea from a meal in Mexico (Epcot's version) the week before the race that somehow came back the day before left me depleted.  I squeaked out two laps, did not shit my pants, and called it a day.

2013:  Coed duo with Layla, AKA Last Minute Death Machine AKA 2012 6 Hour Duo Coed World Champs.  I sabotaged our efforts with a late night of "sushi" which is code for way too many beers followed by shaky drinks and getting to bed around 1:00AM.  We still had a shot at the podium, and I blew it with a "how slow can I go" last lap.

No solo effort again for me this year... mostly because I knew I'd never be in Carey Lowery shape so early in 2014.

That's her.

This is me:

Not where I wanted to be but sorta where I expected.  I wanted to be ahead of the game for the "spring classics" (PMBAR and the 111/55.5) and the Giro (TSE), but at least I'm within reach at this point.

So this year, something differenter than previous attempts.  I'm teaming up with Eric Hagerty (see image above) to do the Duo Men 80+ category.

Coincidentally, that's me and my Honda Fit of Rage in the background.