What's the weather like in Doug's neighborhood?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Sweet Home Alabama

Well, it's official. We are heading for the deep south. Erin, Faith, and I spent about a week driving around and checking things out in the Huntsville area. Scenery is a bit different, but otherwise it is about the same as any other mid-sized city. It was warm and humid while we were there. Should be interesting a bit later in the summer, but for now it felt great to be the the warm weather. One thing that is very cool is how easy it is to strike up conversation with just about anyone there. People in the area were very friendly and always willing to have a short or long conversation. That makes things a bit easier for us coming into an unfamiliar area and not knowing where anything is. The high tech industry in the area has made for a much more diverse community than we had expected. That is a positive.

So at this point it really doesn't look like there is anything really turning us away from the area. We will likely rent for 6-12mo when we get there and then go from there with respect to buying a home. Erin will likely try to drive me nuts by looking at homes from the start. Yes, she has already started looking. About the biggest hurdle left is for me to find a job. That should be interesting. It is a bit more complicated to find a job from halfway across the country, but there are a lot of possibilities so I just need to start throwing out resumes.

I mentioned the Southern Hospitality a bit earlier. It is not limited to conversation. One nice fellow out there let me ride his 2mo old Turner Sultan, loaned me gear, and guided me on a ride in Monte Sano state park. Talk about a good gig. I had bugged him a few times online just asking him questions about the area. On a whim I e-mailed him while I was in town. He called me up and offered a ride. Very cool. Here is the bike that I rode:

The turner rode very well. It actually rode well enough that even setup for a rider 20lb lighter than myself it still didn't bob or do anything obnoxious. Color me smitten with this turner 29er. The white brothers fork was stiff, but not marzocchi or fox level of plush. I can't say it gave me any problems, I just wasn't overly impressed. But for now they are the only player in the 130mm travel for a 29er bike game. Another component of interest was the middleburn cranks. They end up about 100g lighter than the XT M760 cranks, but I found them to be just as stiff. They are a bit harder to get a hold of, but for shaving grams these might be a good investment. Another positive is that they make chainrings that could be setup 20-30-40 which would work better on the 29er than the traditional 22-32-44.

Who would have thought I could find someone across the country who not only would take me for a ride, but have gear that fit. What are the odds?

Monte Sano park was cool. It was like carving through tight singletrack on good dirt with trees and brush making a tunnel. The trails I rode were well maintained and perfect match for the 29er bikes we were riding. There are a lot more rocks there, but they make things entertaining. There isn't much elevation change around Huntsville (maybe 800-1000') but I am not sure that is a bad thing. I am partial to 10-20 minute climbs instead of 1hr+ grunts. Scenery on the trail was great. Lots of wildlife and the greenery was great. I think things stay green all year round there. The locals claim that the riding is year round, so I count that as another positive. It isn't as cool as Santa Cruz, but I think I can make it work. There are literally hundreds of other ride locations withing 2-3 hours as well in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia. So I think I won't go totally bonkers.

Okay, enough about Alabama. Thursday night ride went off last night. We had a good crew and even picked up a stragler on the trail. HC for locals loop for about hour and a half. No casualties, but it was a fast paced ride with a lot of close calls and washed out tires. Temperatures were warm enough that everyone broke out the short sleeves. Nice to finally be rolling into the summer warmth on evening rides.

This weekend? Who knows. I gotta work a few hours on Sunday for Schwillis. The rest of the weekend will likely be moving and packing. If we get motivated we might get enough of our stuff rounded up to get out of the house by the end of the weekend. Then we would just have to round up some friends in the next month or so to get the big furniture pieces out (they can stay while the house is selling).

That's a wrap, hope you get out and enjoy your weekend.

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