Tuesday, April 21

when you have to move on and you dead but also have things to do...

Sunday.  Rain.  Time to get shit done... and finish off with the mummy thing.

I did some serious piddling around.  Important things like changing the air filter in the house, just like one should (once a month or twice a year, whichever happens more naturally).  Once those things were out of the way, and I finally found my 4 & 5mm allens that walked off a few days ago, and I got my bike room into a state of organization conducive to getting things done... I went to work sorting out things for PMBAR in two weeks.

Time constraints beset upon us, Zac's best option for a bicycle is my other bicycle, so I went over it to make sure I wasn't handing my partner a dud. 

Once I felt like that was squared away, I set to sorting out my required gear for this year and how it shalt be secured to my bike and person.

I'm more stoked this year on a "packless PMBAR" than in any previous year.

My Titan Tank from Nuclear Sunrise, mounted with a Teamdicky Stem Boner™ for ultimate stability and security.  If you know me, I hate bags on frames almost as much as I hate packs on backs, but this thing makes too much sense.  One-handed access to whatever I want to keep close by, a little bit of compartmentalization to keep things tidy, and a way to get all this shit off my back.

Other pointless things you might notice:

The ASS Wisecracker bottle opener which when mounted like this does little in the way of opening bottles but does keep the Velcro strap of the Titan Tank secure at the top of the Teamdicky Stem Boner™.  It also protects my computer in the event of a nasty wreck.

Speaking of that computer, it's there to fill the requirement of timepiece.  There's no wheel sensor mounted nor the thingy on the fork leg.  More required gear that I have to carry but don't plan on needing.  It's either daylight and things are great, or it's getting dark and something went terribly wrong.

A Cateye commuter light that is well over a decade old at this point, pretty much a dinosaur in the lighting technology department, and something I hope I never have to actually use at PMBAR.  If I do, assume something went totally wrong.

I'm still awaiting the arrival of some new stuff from Backcountry Research that may come in handy (I haven't seen it yet), so I'm done with the sorting for now.  Some new stuff that you can already haz and some stuff that you ain't seen yet but will probably want.

PMBAR, PMBAR, PMBAR.... one is never ready enough for it.

Monday, April 20

If all training rides were like this...

I'd be happier.

I'd be weaker.

I'd be possibly okay with that... until I line up for a race... and then suffer a slow death.

My window was Saturday afternoon.  No rain (but yet somehow there was), no trails, no options.  Grab the tarck bike and head out into the neighborhood just like I do on weekdays because I lack creativity that much.

Finish the loop, cut through my old hood, past the spot where my old house was but now there is a McMansion there, see my former next door neighbor, stop and talk about all the "progress" going up on both sides of him.  Decide the next part of my route should be the Booty Loop.

Right, left, look for traffic, see my other former neighbor's car in front of his recently remodeled house... swing that way.  Get invited in, handed a beer, given a tour, grab a seat, talk about PMBAR and such.  Mental training.

Realize my window is closing, head over to the Booty Loop.  Two laps and some change.  Bored, I pull out my phone and check my heart rate on the climb.  I haven't seen my heart rate on a bike in maybe two decades.  Hitting the 180s, so I guess I can still do that.  Stupid app timed out before the climb was over... was pushing for 190s, mostly because I used to be able to get all up in them... back in the '90s.

Leave the loop, hit the greenway, the gray clouds above start leaking, head to the only place I actually planned on stopping.  The Spoke Easy.  Get there at 5:05PM and order the beer that I wanted to order Friday when I stopped to pick up an Ass Saver fender but didn't.

Watch people leave the shop.  Watch Greg lock the door.  Be informed that the shop actually closed at 5:00PM.

I should plan better next time although I hope I never have to do this again for awhile.

Finish my beer and head home in time to get cleaned up for "date night."  Not exactly the kinda ride that makes you pull out the squeezy leg bags, but when you got them, why not?  Nothing more romantic than ending date night in squeezy leg bags.


Friday, April 17

It ain't funny anymore

No, not the mummy thing...

The rain.  Mummies will always be funny.

Four days in a row.  I get up early.  Look at the radar.  See my window of opportunity.  Head out the door.

And the rain that shouldn't be there is.  A decent test of my resolve to find some fitness before the end of April.   Wet rasisin feet for ten hours and a shitty outlook on things in general.  Thank goodness for mummies bringing sunshine into my dismal world.

Things could be worse.  I could be doing the stage race in Pisgah and burning through brake pads and bearings like my sportsball team just won something, and I'm celebrating our victory and my white privilege by burning things.

But I'm not.  I'm here, looking at the weekend, and it will be more suxor.  Parenting duties until Saturday afternoon (which does not suck, just happens to coincide with the only break in the rain), trails closed, more rain coming... which means my best prospect to ride outside will be more tarck bike in the rain which is what I've been doing all week and uuuuuuuunnnnnnngghhhhhhh.

I guess there's always other options.

But I'll try riding first.  Then making more mummy memes... then, if that fails, make the pain go away as best I know how.

Thursday, April 16

I need a coach (or a parental figure)

Life hasn't been just trying to break Facebook with bad grammar mummy memes.

I've been busy getting ready for the "season" too.

I realize that I haven't mentioned my back in weeks.  So sorry about that.  It's better.  I can't put a percentage on it, but much more percent better.  Chalk it up to nine days of living a life that isn't what I'm normally used to.  Over those nine days, I managed to squeak in five mountain bike rides, so according to my calculations, riding a mountain bike is good for me.

My lower back is barely even noticeable... I mean, I realize it's there holding up the rest of my body.  I just go through most of the day without noticing much in the way of pain or stiffness. 

My upper back is still a little hinky.  I no longer have the feeling that someone is placing a hot iron to my shoulder, but I still feel a "something," and there's still this annoying clunk when I shrug a certain way.  My plan is to start shrugging in an uncertain manner from now on.

My weight is almost back to where it was before I went on vacation, so that's pretty solid news.  Instead of going way overboard, I just held onto the edge of the boat and dragged my feet in the water.  Better than I expected, given my proximity to all things fried, leftover out-to-eat food, and the refrigerator.

Being that everything is moving along so swimmingly, I decided to enter the Pisgah Enduro™.

Hard ass class once again, because it just seems like a brilliant idea.  The event was too much fun and way too family camping friendly to consider skipping it, even if my schedule for the early "season' is now identical to the one that almost killed me last year. 

Three big races in early May (two back-to-back on one weekend), a week long stage race and then the Pisgah Enduro™.  Only one weekend off.

So it was with much interest that I listened to the LW Coaching Show on Mountain Bike Radio the other day, Racing and Training for the 40+ Crowd.

Since I only have one weekend off in all that mess, I am going to be recovering at full intensity, if there is such a thing.  Much squeezy leg bagging, an effort to get a lot of sleep, less beer (between races), and maybe less frequent bonus miles before and after work. 

This is where a coach would be handy, if only just to live in my house, smack beer out of my hands, and put me to bed on time.

Tuesday, April 14

Mind Dat Gap

And such a strange reality to come back to.

I learned of AJ Linnell's passing while on the drive home Saturday.

I never had a chance to race "against" him... I mean behind him.  I don't know why I feel affected then, but perhaps the loss of someone so highly regarded in our endurance tribe and knowing how his absence affects them?   Dunno.  Sad.

And I also found out that "This Week in Bike" with Cosmo Catalano is over.

I'd all but given up on 95% of mainstream cycle bike racing news coverage.  I don't know why, but I just couldn't care anymore.  Cosmo told me what I needed to know, and in such a rapid fire manner that I found myself pausing the show just to grasp one layer of his verbal and visual onslaught at a time.  I'm really hoping "How the Race was Won" will continue to go on*, as I just don't have the time to watch road racing coverage anymore in its entirety.  Dreadfully full of inane banter that makes every race sound the same. 

So back to watching the highlight reels on

It's just road riding, anyways.   As long as Red Bull keeps dumping money into live, high-quality feeds of World Cup mountain biking... who cares about anything else?  I mean, those wrecks on the Lourdes course

And nothing, I mean nothing makes me feel more like a shitty mountain biker with zero skills than watching World Cup descenders hanging it all out

And nothing has me wanting to purchase a downhill bike more (but I won't, I swear).

Because, deep down... me:

*Oh goodie.  How Paris Roubaix was Won (by this guy) has gone live:

Monday, April 13

Back to Life, Back to Weeeeeeeeeeeeee-ality

What can I say?  Nine days away from reality.  Time to try to fall back into the folds of normal life.

Vacation.  Stay on a horse farm in Ocala.  Apparently, it's like the horse capital of the world.

A bed and breakfast... without breakfast... so really, just a bed.  And a pool.

Much relaxing.  Honestly, I haven't slept like that in years.  Almost got rid of the bags under my eyes that I'm used to seeing in the mirror. 

Also squoze in three rides at Santos.  Two short solo missions and one epic'esque with Joe "Florida Man" Freeman

We explored more of the entire trail system than I'd seen in my two previous rides.  I know it's "just Florida," but the trail system there kinda blows the mind.  Mile after mile of bike-only trails along with separate horse and hiking trails spanning a distance that's hard to comprehend on the East Coast.

So many things to see and do.

And then a stop at Greenway Bicycles for a beer (or two).

Where I saw many "Florida men."  A guy who used to be a trailer salesman who owned a Schwinn Homegrown (serial number 867-5309).  He was headed out to ride Santos on a vintage BMX bike with perhaps the shop owner and another fellow.  Many beers preceded their leaving the shop in a manner that was not entirely quiet but completely entertaining.

The week was a jumble of stories that ended in a long drive home, hopping on my bike as soon as I got in the door to head uptown and watch the crit, too many beers on an empty stomach, and a Sunday local mountain bike ride to ease my way back into the reality of the grind.

Monday, April 6

The 2015 6 Hours of Warrior Creek

Yes, I put a computer on the night before the race... but no sensor on the fork, no magnet on the wheel... because if I've learned one thing and forgot it and then relearned it and then forgot it again, it's that when you do any 6/12/24 hour race, especially on a team, you should know what time it is.

Friday night.  An oddly anxiety-riddled night of sleep.  Not waking up in random pain throughout the night like I was a month ago.  I'm just excite.  Tomorrow is the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek.  Decide to just get out of bed at 4:45AM, not willing to remain there until my alarm goes off in fifteen minutes.  Coffee, toaster pastries (untoasted, natch), constitutional... still much time to kill before I pick up Colin.  Driven by too much "inspirational" bullshit on the Book of Face, I decide to be productive with that extra time.

Scoop Colin, stop at BoJo's for him (natch), arrive at the venue at what seems like an early time, but then somehow the minutes slip through my fingers.  By the time I line up, it's hard to find a spot in what will end up being the fourth or fifth rows (after the elitists back their way into the line as they do, natch).

photo cred: Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever
Gordwan is just stoked to be here and his start position has no effect on his happy fun time.

photo cred: Beautiful Stephanie
The race has been around long enough that everyone knows YOU MUST CRUSH ALL THE PAVEMENT before you get into the woods on the prologue lap.  MUST, lest ye spend eternity in the conga line known as Lap 1.  I do not have what it takes this year and watch so many single speeders go by (along with enough geared riders to fill a cruise ship).

Watching this video, I see that I went into the woods 55th... used to be able to get in with the top twenty... ouch.

I have no idea who's racing in the Duo Single Speed class... other than Zac.  I see him bury himself and he's outta sight in no time.  I've already pegged The Gently Ginger and he to take the win (natch).  I think I'm slightly sads.

But after the prologue (that lasted way longer than I remember) and four more miles of racing, I find Brian Burton and BC.  I make my way around them... and then the trail is clear.  Is life this good?

Yes, it is.

I hurt myself something awful, come in after @1:14 on the bike, and Colin and I almost kill ourselves in a very ugly transition (mostly my fault, natch).

I swing by and check on the results, hoping that we're far enough out of contention to kick back and drink beer.  We're in second.  Sads mixed with glads.  More hurting things lie ahead.  Drink the almost full bottle of Half Evil I couldn't get my hands on more than twice in that first lap.  Eat a slice of pizza.  Not a "hey, if you're in town, you gotta have this" size slice, but not the slice that's as wide as it is thick that your wife asks you to cut for her as her last piece.

And then walk around and forget to take care of my body and then Colin comes back in and I go back out.

Ouch.  Why didn't I stretch?  Why didn't I put my legs up?  Why didn't I... fuck.  Who's in charge of me today?

photo cred:Scott George
A very painful lap without much passing and determined to take better care of myself after this one.  The whole "dieting" thing going into a race... really not paying off in spades.

Back in, eat two slices of pizza, polish off the bottle of Half Evil that I somehow managed to grab more than twice on the last lap, roll out the yoga mat in the sun, lie down, get up twenty minutes later, eat a pack of mustard, a little Debbie's brownie... a PBR for good measure.  Discuss with Zac that our top two teams need to just ride smart, avoid mechanical, incidents and accidents.

Colin in, me out.  Beer + drooper post = instant hero... until I am le tired again.  Try to remember to have fun on my last lap because I won't get back to Wilkesbermo until probably this fall.

Me in, Colin out, time to pack up and share happy stories with Zac and Gordwan.

photo cred: Beautiful Stephanie
And then wait for our teammates to come in hoping no bad things found them on that last lap.

And they don't.

photo cred: Beautiful Stephanie
Zac and The Gentle Ginger take the win (natch), Colin and I squeeze in behind them.

Faster Mustache teamie, Brian Conroy also saw time on the box with a third place in the Men's 40+ category.

photo cred: Beautiful Stephanie 

The Brushy Mountain Cyclists Club that promotes the event.  They take care of their racers.  The looks on people's faces when they open that little cash envelope and start fanning out the bills?

I know that no one's in it for the money, but when you actually see how much money... you're all like "whuh-what?"

There's a reason this race sells out EVERY YEAR in minutes.  Everything about it is awesome (except for all the pain and stuff).  Pay attention next year and get your ass here.

And one more prop to the Cog Angel, Shanna Powell of Endless Bikes, who sponsors the single speed categories.

photo cred: Beautiful Stephanie 
Not only is she one of my sponsors (natch), she's a single speeder at heart, a warm ray of sunshine wherever she goes, a (more than I even knew) believer in "Made in America," and just someone you want to have in your corner... not just because she loaded down the handmade prize bag/mussette bag with good times and whatnot.

Yes, this is the combined prizes from both BMCC and Endless, but I'm hardly going to sort this out for a heavily staged photo.

There is no such thing as "leftover meat."  Just missed opportunities.

photo cred: Mudman
Good times and much stokage going into my "vacation."  See you in a week or so.

BONUS:  Found out Saturday night that The Pie did not like her first taste of Fireball, so that's pretty much all mine now.