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

Thursday, July 30, 2009


...so weather is still being pretty shady around here. Doesn't look to be showing any signs of letting up before Sunday. Biggest breaks in the clouds and sprinkles seems to be a couple of hours. Enough time to kick myself for not being all geared up and ready, but not long enough to allow for any procrastination. That, and the only trails that I can ride wet are the Arsenal trails. The Arsenal trails are still overgrown and tick filled. I ended up plucking one of the buggers off me during my ride and another one about 6 hours later when lying on the couch after a shower. So needless to say I am not overly thrilled to ride there. But it's all I got when the weather turns to pot. The rock and clay composition there makes for some clogged tires by the time I get off the trail. It isn't wet or deep, more tacky so it just sticks to the tires and eventually accumulates.

New parts? Nah, nothing exciting this week. Waiting for some cheap bars to show, but apparently the seller had some delays. They are a set of Woodman "Wide and Wild" bars. They don't have much rise, but are a full 740mm wide. For $15 I figured I could play around with these to see what all this wide bar fuss is about. Going to be a bit tight on some of the trails.

Garage events? Finally busted loose the cabinets by the door. I have been wanting to do some reorganizing to make more room and use of the room at hand in the garage. Erin needed some cabinets for her classroom, so it is a done deal. I had to flush trim the sides, since they won't be in a location to use trim work to hide gaps. I just need to trim down the counter top, build a top for the 2nd cabinet, and a tunnel under the drawer. So stay tuned for a bit of carpentry this weekend and some garage reorganization next week.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More's in store

Well, check the weather in my neighborhood. Looks like it will be rain off and on all week. I have squeezed in a couple of rides on the fork since getting it tuned, but really I am feeling like all my rides lately have really just been pressed for time. Weather and family obligations seem to be the main offenders. Of course beer drinking, procrastination, and general sloth behavior rank right up there.

We had nice weather this weekend. I did not ride. Close to 8hr of pool time racked up over the last couple of days.

Oh, and how did I miss this. Apparrently AL has legalized high gravity beer. That's right, I can go right down to the local package store and get gourmet micro brews with up to 13.9%abv. Happy days. Fayetteville will likely lose some beer sales over this one. So last night I went out and grabbed a few beers at Great Spirits. Oddly though, I got home and just went to bed. Yep, didn't even drink one.

That's it for me. There is always more babbling to be done, but I am not feeling it right now. Take care.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Weather conspiring against me

Got my fork back from Push Ind. yesterday. I hastily installed it back onto the Heckler and started bouncing around and turning knobs. The compression side of things is very similar in feel to the way Push tuned my rear shock a couple of months back. It is stiff, yet moves well without spiking. I have been running the compression dial at about 30%. After tuning it looks like I can keep it full open and only need to lock it out for road or fire road climbs. Rebound, also like the rear shock, is slow. I set it to full open and it still is a bit slower than I prefer. The odd thing though is that on the trail this slow rebound feels great. So now I just need to get some saddle time in to get used to the new feel.

Well last night it started raining. Still drizzling a bit here and there today. So much for the Wednesday night Sorba ride. I noticed this weekend that Monte Sano has posted that bikes are to stay off the trails for 2 days following rain. Doh! I will have to go someplace that doesn't have such limitations if I want to get a ride today or tomorrow. Might go home for lunch and grab my bike then just hit the Arsenal trails after work. Nobody there cares if you ride when it's wet.

What else has been going on?
I rode Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Also got a ride in yesterday. So I am getting some saddle time. That always makes me a happy camper. Weekend rides were on Monte Sano. I took advantage of Saturday's solo ride to hit a couple of trails that I always ride past, but in the last 2 years have failed to actually ride. As it turns out I was not missing much. At least now I can say that I have been there and done that. Sunday was a full run repeat of Wednesday's group ride. Instead of racing dark on a 2.5hr pace for the 16mi loop we had a much more casual pace, plenty of breaks, and good fun riding at a 3.5hr pace. I held a decent pace, pushed myself on the climbs, and felt strong all the way to the end. Very satisfying.

After a couple of days off I hit the Arsenal trails with Clay and Jeff. Legs felt a bit heavy and the ride was painful. However I made the difficult climbs and kept a good pace for most of the loop. I even managed to do 2 of the climbs in mid-ring. My legs are definitely getting back in shape. Now if I can just tune the motor a bit things will really be shaping up.

Speaking of the motor, who turned off the beer spigot? I have actually decided to get serious about cutting down on the beer consumption. Who am I fooling, I can't quit drinking beer entirely. But I can curb some of the calories by drinking light beer and also by only drinking in moderation. Over the last couple of months I have been transitioning over to light beer for the majority. This week I am kicking off my beer ration. That's right, rationing my 6-pack to last 6 days. Is it possible? I dunno, but I am trying.

I have also noticed recently that Netflix has been upping the quantity of MTB videos they offer. This week I watched Klunkerz and Fundamentals. Klunkerz is a documentary, very simillar to Dog Town and Z-boys. It is a kool look at how the whole mess of popular mountain biking really came out of the woodworks. If you have netflix check it out. Lots of other good stuff in there as well.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fuel the engine (you gotta eat)

Well, yesterday I had one of those rides...

Right out of the gate it was a sprint. Only I could tell that I wasn't able to really put down the hammer. I kept up alright, but was getting pretty tired by about 2mi into the ride. Great! Next comes more sprinting and a bit of DH, but not the kind that gives any rest. But enough to make keeping up and even gapping some of the pack though. Hit the bottom of that section and notice I am breathing harder than I should be. I am drinking water and sweating like a pig. As the trail goes on it is a mix of up and down with increasingly more up. The legs just don't want to put down any power. I am feeling more and more weak.

As the group fades away down the trail I realized that I am about 7-8mi into a 16mi ride. I pulled the plug. I am familiar enough with bonking to know when the conditions are right for an epic failure. So I turn back and hit the connector trail, a straight up the mountain hike a bike. Fortunately I was only a mile or so past it. As I hike along I marvel at the fact that I am really feeling it, totally tired and expended.

As I am moving slow I have plenty of time to think. It hits me. I have been abusing myself. I am not on a diet or anything at the moment. But I have been burning the midnight oil and getting by on 5-6hr of sleep. I also have not put any carbs besides beer and soda into my system in about 30 hours. No breakfast, just coffee. I had an early lunch, salad and a piece of pork tenderloin (left overs from dinner). At around 3pm I drank about 1/2 can of soda. No wonder why I am worked over. I forgot to put gas in the tank

Take it from me, if you want to have a good ride you do actually need to eat something that will fuel your muscles. Hopefully this little ramble will be of use to someone else.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Weekend in review

Where'd it go?

Friday night Coleman and Amy came over and helped break in the screened patio. Time flew and before we knew it we were finally heading to bed at about 1am. 12 pack of coors light decimated. I am going to blame it on our guests :)

Saturday caught us all sleeping in. Shockingly Faith was the first to stir at the crack of 9:00am. I kicked Erin out of bed rather abruptly as she had plans at 10. I hung out with the kids, then we got bored. I decided to take them for a walk. So off to Kroger to grab some snacks for lunch. By the time we had made it to the North end of town Faith had crashed out. So I just kept driving. Ended up doing a beer run up to Fayetteville for some Hop-Wallop. On the way back to Wade Mountain to go for our walk Faith decided she really needed to pee. Great, so instead of a nice hike we did a beer run. Oh well. Off to the pool. Erin decided upon return home that she was hung over (ahha, she drank all of the beer). So it was just me and the kids at the pool. We did meet up with Amy and Adam.

We ended the day with a date night. Shockingly we ended up with some sitters for the evening, so we booked it out to Bridge Street for dinner and a bit of shopping. It was a nice evening.

Sunday the alarm rang at 6:20am. Dang, hate it when that happens. I did set it intentionally, but only half heartedly thought I would actually get up. After snoozing it for a few minutes I got up, grabbed my bike gear, and headed off to meet up with the Sunday morning 7am ride. No breakfast and no coffee. Just a sprint to get up to the biker's lot to meet Clay and Jim. Turned out Clay is still a bit laid up after head butting a tree just over a week ago, so it ended up being me and Jim. We started off realistic enough, but in the end we logged somewhere between 15-17mi and went top to bottom in the park.

Finally the park is fairly dry, so we decided to ride a couple of trails that have been holding water. After hitting these I got the novel idea that we should just turn down the mountian and ride Flatrock trail. Heck, the day was still young. We are only about 5mi in, so off we went.

I got a clear shot at the downed tree on Warpath. Of course they have cut a notch out of it the day before so clearing it isn't necessary any longer. I hopped it anyways. We took a few pictures at this point. Apparently I am not that easy to catch mid-air.

(look at me squashing my puny bike, using most of the travel just hopping over that log)

By the time we hit the normal Flat Rock connector trail, from Goat trail, I was already feeling pretty spent and starting to slow down. Out to the Flat Rock was slow going. I managed to make all of the stream crossings, but I was pushing a pretty slow gear the rest of the time. Either the heat was getting to me or I was still not recovered from Wednesdays ride. At any rate, hiked up the exit connector and ran out of water at the top. Fortunately we are pretty close to water at that point, so I keep at it up and out to the park office and the fountain.

No broken parts, no crashing, just a solid ride in the books. Ended up back at the car just shy of 4 hours. That meant the rest of the day for lounging around. That I did.

In the end we had this for a complete route:
(looks kinda like a dragon, or a slug)
*start* Biker's lot
N.Plat Loop
Observation Deck
Logan Pt.
Warpath Ridge
Flat Rock
Flat Rock connector
Logan Pt.
back up Sinks
*finish* Biker's lot

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Nother day another dollar

Well, not exactly. Cash flow kind of going the other way. Gotta stop breaking stuff. Last week it was my seat post. Yesterday it was a pivot bolt. For whatever reason Santa Cruz decided to make the new generation Heckler all svelte and pretty at the pivot. In the process they added a highly stressed bolt into the scheme. I had issues with this bolt coming loose when I first purchased the bike. It is a known issue with their design. So I used some higher quality fasteners with more thread engagement and a bit of loctite. I torqued everything to spec and rode off into the sunset. Until yesterday that is...

Hmmm, this isn't supposed to look like this. Definitely gave me a Happy Gilmore moment...

and of course this is where that little bolt head belongs.

Now I need to extract the remains from my frame and get another bolt. Might need to get something off McMaster in a higher grade.

I got in a good ride yesterday despite the broken bolt. One nice feature of the new suspension pivot is that you can ride it out even after a bolt breaks since the axle is fully enclosed. It just makes a bit of noise. Not much of the B-team showed up yesterday. I rode with Steve, Sean, and RD. Jim headed out with Tim S., but I wasn't too interested in climbing up McKay which was the route they were headed. We ended up actually putting in more miles though. It was a decent loop of Family, Goat, War Path, Renegade, Arrow head plus the extension, and then humped it back up the road to get back to the lot right before dark. It was a good amount of ground to cover in the 2.5 hours. Probably about 12-14mi. I was happy with the ride and was able to keep right with Sean and Steve until about mid-way into the Renegade trail, then I fell off their pace a bit. But I was never too far back, always catching up to them within a minute or so at the breaks. Definitely glad I had my fast tires on, they did help with the pace.

I am going to dub the rock line at the bottom of war path the "Sniper Line". Used it to sneak in front of Sean as we were racing down the trail. If I was a bit faster at it I could have gotten Steve too. We had a chuckle about it as we waited for RD. Steve saw me out of the corner of his eye, but I wasn't coming hot enough to head him off. Also made it over that stupid log farther up the trail, despite the others stopping in front of me. I want to hit that with no stop, just j-hop it, but there is usually someone in the way.

All in all it was a satisfying ride. We got back to the lot just as I was about to turn into a giant cramp, so ride length was about perfect. I cleaned all of the sections of trail that I had in mind.
made the rock climb at the bottom of the Arrowhead ascent

climbed up through the crack

it's a bit harder to go up than down this one.

And once we hit the road I got dropped, but was able to keep Sean in sight all the way back into MSSP. Again, glad I had my faster rolling tires on.

Otherwise life goes on. Still getting used to the Erin working schedule. But the kids are getting used to it, which makes it much easier. That's about it. Been busy, but can't really remember what or why. Signing off...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Last bit of the patio

Okay, still have a few holes to patch. Otherwise we are nearing completion on the patio project. Okay, okay so there is still the sump project but the rain has decided to finaly clear out here and we are near drought conditions here again. Weird!

So at any rate, holiday weekend here. Tomorrow we are off on a family adventure with some friends up into Tennessee. I have managed to seal up the vinyl paneling and built a server/shelf unit at the dining end of the patio. I think once we have the place 99% sealed to the bugs life will be very nice. For now we are enjoying the new living area, but we are still getting random mosquito bites.

Some pictures (everyone likes pictures)

and one from the outside at night. Kinda hard to capture it on our basic point and shoot...

We are actually digging the lanterns. I had to barter a bit with Erin to get them in. In the end I think they really fit the bill. They light the room, but are easy on the eyes.

That's that.

No riding this weekend. I had wanted to, but didn't make it a priority. I did a bit of wrenching. Had to do a bit of repair. Wednesday's ride turned out to be a pain in the ass...

First time I have snapped a Gravity Dropper. It snapped just as one might predict, at one of the detents drilled into the inner shaft. Nice stress circles don't-cha think :-)

I also managed to score some cheap wheels and some fork parts. swapped the front end out to 20mm thru axle. Noticeably stiffer. Between the thru axle an the solid crown/steel steerer things are much more rigid out front on my bike. As a side note I also discovered that my original fork was overfilled and only getting about 3in of the advertised 5.5in of travel. No wonder it felt a bit harsh in the really bumpy stuff.

At any rate, Wednesday's ride turned into a hike and standing pedal back to the lot. It really isn't all that cool to have to ride a full suspension bike standing the whole time. At first it seems like no big deal, but in short order it works over the calves and the upper body. I hobbled my way back to the parking lot, about 6mi, fortunately I was in good company. Clay had wrecked pretty good about a minute before I broke my post. We met at the bottom of Warpath and both decided turning back was the wisest choice. By the time we got back to the lot he was pretty stiff and I was dog tired from all the standing.

Oh, and the end of an era...
I signed up for Facebook. I made it through myspace, but too many friends and family are using facebook to ignore. If you are on it look me up and send a friend request.

That's all I got for now. Erin just gave me orders to look up some info on where we are going tomorrow, so I am outa here. Take care.