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

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ares 1-X Launch goes off without a hitch

Well, a day late and more weather delays but the test rocket launch went well this morning. At about 11:30am est I watched the final countdown and the rocket takeoff.

Very cool stuff. Check it out here...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ares 1.X launch

Looks like the first launch window was missed due to a cargo boat in the danger zone. If you are interested in catching the launch in about an hour check out NASA TV.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cool picture

Ares 1-X and Space Shuttle Atlantis on their launch pads...

Should be an exciting week for NASA.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Boycott Monster Energy

Well, looks like Monster Energy did cave and drop this lawsuit. But honestly I am not really stoked to hear about this kind of behavior to begin with.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A bit of buzzz about work

Well, for the first time in nearly 3 decades a new rocket platform is headed to the launch pad. Fox has a decent slideshow of some of the Ares 1X progress.

While not a fully functional Ares, this is the vehicle to test the solid rocket and the parachute recovery system. The upper stage of the 1X is just a dummy. Still pretty neat to see it go up. Hopefully on the 27th.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tsali weekend report

Why is it every time I head off for a weekend with the boys I come back with a sore but and a bit hung over...

Nothing much going on in the days between the FTF and this weekends adventure. I pretty much just rested up for the riding to come. Work days were a bit longer to make up for lost time. I took Thursday and Friday off.

Alright, lets jump right into it. Lots of pictures. As usual, just click the picture if you want to see a bigger version of it.

Riding kicked off just Northeast of Chattanooga off the Ocoee River. First stop is Brush Creek, which is a fun out and back for a total of about 12.5mi. The trail itself wraps around a reservoir and hangs low to the hillside. Sorba Chattanooga also has some trail information. The trail is one that lets you set the pace. Go as fast or as slow as you like. There were mud/water holes all over the place, but other than them the trail was dry and good riding.

.4mi in from the parking lot

Pat climbing up to the sign

View from Boyd Gap trail head

This would be the cleanest my bike would be post-ride all weekend

We packed up and headed to our final destination Tsali

Tsali is another trail system wrapped around a reservoir, Lake Fontana. It has around 30mi of unique trail to it that can be linked together as desired.
We started off by running Thompson Loop. No pictures, guess we were a bit excited to hit the trails again. Thompson is about a 6mi trek, mostly uphill and meandering around the lake with a couple of fun dh descents mixed in.

Up top looks something like this

Clay grabbed a nice bit of video of me on the DH portion of the trail

Tsali - Last Mile of Thompson Loop from Clay Morgan on Vimeo.

Next Pat somehow managed to talk us into another loop. So out the Mouse Branch we went.

Clay climbing out one of the chutes

So how does 28mi for the day make you feel Clay??

View from the overlook

This extra loop put us into a bit of a bind. We finished up as darkness overtook the dusk. We were filthy, needed to wash the bikes, check in to the hotel, and get some dinner. After looping around Bryson City for about 45min we finally located a car wash that was closed down. Fortunately our quarters still fired up the pressure wash and we were able to hose down the bikes.

Then we scrambled off to the hotel The Gearhead Inn. Where we found out they provided a hose and towels for cleaning of cars, or in our case bicycles. Good to know. Of course after checking in everyone snuck in a quick shower. That put us ready to find some grub at about 9pm in a small town in the middle of nowhere. This should be interesting.

Fortunately Gauyuito's seated us. We had the restaurant to ourselves, which is probably a good thing as we were a bit loud. Nothing like a big mexican meal, magaritas, and some good stories to go with it.

Friday was more of the same. Up and going, to the trailhead by about 10am. The day starts with an 18mi combo of the Right and Left Loops.

A bit saddle sore, but with views like this it was easy to get rolling along

Trail leading to the overlook

One more for the record

Jeff, Larry, and Pat talking it up at the overlook rest stop

Renee, Macgyver with the camera (going to have to get his photo album, he took a lot of ride photos)

Nice looking trail

Clay snapped some footage of the Right Loop

Tsali - Right Loop from Clay Morgan on Vimeo.

Lunch break

Back up Thompson loop after lunch, gotta ride while the weather is clear. Forecast for Saturday is looking bleak. No rest for me, I headed straight to the top instead of taking the 2-3 breaks we had the day before.

Bike is a bit muddy

I am a bit muddy

Also a bit faded after the ~25mi for the day so far

Grabbed a few photos as the boys rolled up

Renee never did seem to get tired, this was only his second time ever on a mtb but he is obviously pretty fit.

Everyone gets a bit giddy when the trail is all DH and the day is almost at an end

Back to the carwash, Guayuito's, and off to the hotel to watch the video Clay shot during the day.

Saturday rain showed as we expected. We packed up and headed out. A bit of loitering around at breakfast and then at Nantahala. We were half hoping the rain would stop so we could ride Brush Creek again on the way home. At the same time half hoping it would continue as Clay and I were pretty worn out. We arrived back at Brush Creek to find decent weather and wet trails. We geared up and rode.

The bikes give testament to the wet trails

Overall a great weekend of riding. Made some new friends. Rode some nice trails. Saw beautiful scenery. Even got to do some sweet jumps. Total ride miles on the weekend was 66mi, all dirt. Thanks to Clay and the boys for letting me tag along.

one more for the road...

Monday, October 5, 2009

As promised...

Okay, Monte Sano Fat Tire Fest went off without a hitch this weekend. Weather on Saturday was fantastic, even Sunday despite looming clouds the weather held out. I think we logged about 18mi on the Rocky Ride Saturday. Clocked another 12mi on Sunday. If you have learned anything about my local terrain it should be that it is tough to cover a lot of ground. Our Rocky Ride lived up to it's name-sake, linking together 18mi of the rockiest and most technical terrain in the park. I lost toll on the body count. I think the end result was something like 7 flat tires and a broken wrist for our efforts. Out of our crew of 9 only 5 of us were rode the entire ride to the last technical climb.

Okay, photos...
(as always you can click on the image to see the full size over on picasa)

nice to see the dogs hanging out and playing, but please pick up the poo before Gary runs it over ;-)

the heckler, ready to ride for the weekend

Nice little tech section the club built up for the event.

Steve looking all business in the morning

Hey Sean, say tubes :-)
All of our flats were from riders on regular tires converted to tubeless and using some sort of sealant. My UST tires, although heavier, take the abuse of the rocks much better.

Dang gadgets. GPS tracks the ride better if you turn it on. Doh!

Yep, bottom of McKay Hollow. Had to regroup here and wait for Rick to patch his tire up. Punctured a sidewall on the way down, instantly flat. It was cool to see a 2ft diameter puff of Stan's escape as it happened.

Rick, Matt, and Rob (Mr MTBby198 )waiting on people fixing flats.

Traci was a champ, cleaned all of McKay Hollow only to have her day foiled when she tumbled sideways after losing traction in a slow tech spot. Who left that rock there anyways.

Richard clawing his way out of the crack. This is what happens if you lose momentum half way through.

Gettin'er Done the right way. Guess Sean and I were the only ones to make it through this tech move clean that day.

Lowest point of the ride. 3 Caves in the Land Trust. All uphill from here boys.

Moving so darn fast I am just a blur in the woods.

Hey, my arse (fortunately still blurred).

Climbing out Tollgate Trail. Almost done for the day.

That'll do. Chilling with Clay and Eric.

Clay even snapped some video. Didn't turn out so great on the trails, but on the playground it gave a cool perspective.

Monte Sano FTF 2009 Wooden Stuff from Clay Morgan on Vimeo.

That's it, I am wiped out from a good weekend.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Some good before and after stretches

I have been getting a bit stiffer in my old age. Might have something to do with sitting in a chair 8hr a day. At any rate I came across a few simple stretches that counteract some of the lower back pain after riding.

Luke Wold video:

More good news on the riding front

Beautiful Fall weather has finally hit. 75 degree weather, sun, and dry trails. Excellent. Have been out riding every day this week. Even got caught in an unintentional night ride last night. I met up with Matt, who arrived a few minutes late. But we decided to hit a bigger loop anyways. Normally the loop takes 2.5hr, but I figured if we hammered it out we could get it in 2hr. Well we had a couple of mechanicals. Dusk faded to dark as we hit Arrowhead Extension. It was fun. It was dark, but still light enough with the full moon to make out the trail and rocks. I could see the rocks, but without depth perception couldn't tell how big they were. Always an adventure. Ended up back at the bikers lot in 2hr5min. Note to self, finish ride by 6:30pm or pack a light. We finished up at 7:20pm in the dark. The weather was cool, probably down in the high 50's at the end of the ride. All in all it was an excellent ride. My legs felt good, climbing wasn't fast but it wasn't painful either.

I do miss my home town trails from time to time. Good reminder of the Demonstration Forest trails:

Can't claim to have anything to show other than some riding as of late. Sorry, that's just life. So long as there is riding I am a happy guy.

The weather looks like it will hold for an excellent weakend of riding. This is our local clubs Fat Tire Festival weekend, so many miles and many pictures in store for the weekend. I am going to take a couple of days off to rest up the legs for it.