Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Goodbye Velo-News

Dear Velo News-
I regret to inform you that I need to cancel my subscription. While your magazine is the best racing oriented mag out there and I enjoy it very much, the last cover was the last straw. When Lance was racing, 95% of all covers were dedicated entirely to him ( apparently the only important thing in bicycle racing ). OK- I can see past that. Then this last cover. Lance gets 2nd in Leadville. Dave Wiens has won the last 6 straight Leadville 100s. Last year he beat Floyd Landis, this year Lance. Dominating the race. Lance gets the cover. What's next? I got it- next year how about this one: Chistian Van deVelde wins the Tour de France, Lance gets a new riding lawnmower- Nothin' but a 10//2 jersey on John Deere green all over that cover! Give the race winner a blurb in the Hot or Not section. Rediculous. If I see lance in a current bike racing magazine again I think I'm gonna' puke.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Weekend Report

Arrived home last night from a 3 day backpacking trip in Shining Rock Wilderness up in Pisgah National Forest, NC. Alex and I had a great trip. Started a little rough- we started hiking at 10 pm friday night and made it to the top of Black Balsam (6,240 ft) at the same exact time as an enormous wind and rain storm. (Wouldn't be a trip of mine without fine weather!) After fighting the wind, rain, and tent we finally had a somewhat dry and safe shelter to hole up in until daylight when we could get off that mountaintop. The night was pretty rough, with the tent getting pushed down on top of us and the constant wind and rain it felt like a jet engine on top of us. Sleep eventually came however, and we woke at 9am to calmer wind. Visibility was still 3 feet as we were still in the clouds.

Cooked breakfast, got packed , and got out of there. As we descended, the weather improved and the day turned out beautiful. Made it out to Shining Rock for lunch and a nap. 3 times on the way there I got stopped to give directions and answer questions. Do I look like mapquest to you? After telling the last guy directions twice and orienting his map rightside up we were on our way for awhile. Looped back on Ivestor Gap trail, then on to Graveyard Ridge, then down into Graveyard Fields for the night. Found a great campsite by the river and got set up. I think we were about 20 feet from where I last camped up there with my dad in 2001. Hiked downriver to the falls where alex jumped off a huge rock into the water. Once. Too cold, lets go eat.

Cooked dinner, made a fire, and Alex went to bed at 8pm. He would not move again until 8am. I messed with the fire till around 10 then turned in myself to a much nicer night than the last one. Woke up at 8am, cooked, packed, and we were out of there by 9:15. Beautiful morning as we headed up and out of Graveyard Fields. The hordes of blueberry pickers were already descending as we made our escape. Had a great hike up the Mtns. to Sea trail, back to Black Balsam Road by 11:00. In the car and on the way to Cieleto Lindo for some much needed Mexican food immediately. Overall a great trip and we are already planning another. DH Out.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It's in the air

Rainy morning. Took out the trash and when I came back into the garage something caught my eye. My stack of tires was against the back wall. On top of those tires were all my cyclocross tubulars. My deep carbon race wheels were leaning conspicuously against the pile of Tufos. "No more road racing on the schedule" I thought to myself. Pulled off the road tires and on went the CX tires in all their red, black, and yellow glory. Much better. Those wheels look so good with the proper tires mounted up.
30 days till go time.
Just have to find a bike first. No one ever has them available until cross season is almost over. Every year, same story. You'd think the bike manufacturers would figure out what they are making the bikes for and when they will be used.

Heading to Pisgah this weekend for a 3 day backpacking trip up at Graveyard Fields with Alex. Should be fun. Come back Sun. then no holds barred preparation for cyclocross domination this fall. What I mean by "domination" is don't come in last every race.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Morning MTB Necessity

Got up this morning, loaded the megavan, and rolled up the the Weapons Station for some MTB riding @ Marrington. Looking forward to a nice mellow ride to stretch the legs out after my travels, I was not prepared for what would happen next.
Got to the trails, got dressed, got out the new Yeti and rode over to the message board to start my ride. Someone had written lap times down on the board. Hmm- times and names, looks a little like a results list. No reason for that out here, if you want to compare times and such you need to go to a race, not the local trails. Maybe I'd actaully see some Charleston guys at races then. The damage was done however. Whatever part of the brain it is that controls my personality saw " results list" and clicked to race mode.
Like I said, I was not looking for a hard ride today, but I got one anyways. Pushed it pretty hard for the lap. Not full on race pace, but hard enough. The new Yeti is much stiffer than the old one. Coupled with my switchblade fork and the plethora of roots, it took me awhile to get in a rythm. After riding that Fuel it felt like I was on a jackhammer. Smoothed out and settled down after 20 mins. or so and started really rolling. Felt good to hammer for a reason.
Took 15 mins. off of the previously posted time. Not my fastest lap but solid none the less. Don't know who put the time up but hopefully someone will come along and kill my time. Then I'll have a reason to ride harder next time. Or not. I prefer to bring out the A game at races, not the weekday MTB ride.
Maybe I need to get a race going at Marrington again so that those lap times will count for something. Think anyone would show up?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Overdue update

There has been a ton going on as of late. Just got back from the Trek Bicycles dealer show in Madison, WI. Spent a few days up there in seminars, checking out the 2009 product line, and riding the 09 bikes. The whole line looks great. Some of the stuff they were spouting was hooey however. Got in about 80 miles or so on various mountain bikes from Trek and Gary Fisher on Tues. The Fisher Superfly was my favorite until I rode the Top Fuel 9.9 . Best mountain bike I've ever been on. By a lot. I hate saying that. I've never said that the bike is what makes you go fast, but this bike WILL make anyone faster. Trek has created an un-level playing feild for riders on this bike. I've ridden all the designs out there and they are all fast. Until now. After some suspension adjustments, that bike was incredible. I was going to do one lap on it but ended up doing 4 laps and skipping the road demo completely. I had already ridden 4 hrs and was getting tired but after I got on the Fuel my lap times were getting faster and faster. The bike begs to be hammered harder every time. Got to get one. All I have to do is "find " $7000.

Got back home late last night after a horrible day of airline travel. New bike came in on the UPS truck when I got to work. Was built shortly thereafter and the Yeti is ready to roll. Now just have to make it through another long day of work and the weekend will be here.
Later- DH

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Keep on Keepin' On

Rode home in the dark tonight. Got off at 8:30, suited up, and rolled home. I like riding in the night. Sure, it's nerve wracking on the busier roads but when you get to the quiet stuff, bike lanes, or the bridge it is very enjoyable. Feels weird riding in the dark when it is 85 deg. out. Night riding is usually a winter activity since it is dark after work and the only option. I get off of work when it is dark so I have no option. Had a headwind tonight so I was riding a little slower than usual. You get to see alot more activity at night from the bike than you would in a car. Ride through the hood in the dark and you would be surprised how much foot and bicycle traffic there is. There are more people hanging out on the steps than in the houses. The blue lights from the police cars are startling they are so bright. You would be amazed also at the number of bats that exist around here. Tons of bats.
After a detour passing cars down King Street ( I like checking out the lights and people out at night ) I headed on home. The connecter was eerily quiet as the headwind changed to a tailwind on the Harborview exit ramp. Going downhill combined with the wind shift caused a huge increase in speed propelling me quickly to the safety of the bike lane across the bridge. The tide was in as water was on the road and I could smell the sweet stench of pluff mud as I completed my journey home.
The house was quiet when I arrived and dinner was waiting on the stove. Now for a shower and some sleep. Gotta get back on the bike at 7am, ride to work and do it all over again tomorow.
Later- DH