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

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Return of the Cats and Dogs...

Yesterday started out as a nice Wednesday night ride. I got to the biker's lot early to check the tires and such. It was beautiful and about 80 degrees with sunny skies. So we decided to once again got top to bottom in the park and hit Flat Rock trail. It was looking to be the perfect day for a longer ride.

Well, the weather had other plans and the 20-30% chance of rain and thunderstorms rolled in on us about 6 mi into the 13mi ride. It was a blessing and a curse wrapped into one. The temperature dropped by 10-15 degrees which made it much easier for me to kick it up a notch and hammer out the remainder of the ride. But the rocks and roots became slick as snot, the puddles went from 6in to over 12in deep within minutes, and the soil turned to mush under our tires. I am still amazed when the skies open up here in the SE. It really is no laughing matter to get caught out in the weather as 1-3in of rainfall in an hour can really make a mess of things.

Fortunately the ride went smoothly for the most part and the only delays we had were waiting for people who didn't know where they were going. Usually when it rains it is every man for themselves. But with new riders on the trail there was a lot more consideration, maybe even too much. I found myself crouched under a tree for over 10 minutes waiting for the last straggler and really wanting to push on. But I would hope that if I were bringing up the back that someone would extend me the same courtessy. Call it putting a bit into the Karma bank for later if you will.

I have to say, as much as it is a pain to get caught out in the rain it is also a lot of fun. Sure you get soaked and traction goes to hell, but at some point along the way it turns from work into play. The whole tone of the ride stops being a training race and goes back to the days of splashing in puddles. It is nice to have that reminder of weather being fun. I can remember back in high school taking off with Rodney or Stuart to go puddle jumping on our BMX bicycles. So long as the temps stayed over 60*F it was always fun. Of course a full bike overhaul would follow. Last night I opted for a hose down and light lube. I think the Heckler can take a little water.

In the news:
Another factory video shot on home turf

Brendan Fairclough and Curtis Keene in Santa Cruz from Taylor Sage on Vimeo.

Sometimes I really do miss the trails off the side of UCSC. Good stuff.

In other news, I have started building up another bike for Erin. I know, I said I would never do it again. But she has been hinting that she would like to have a bike and the quickest/cheapest way to facilitate that is for me to build it up from new and borrowed parts. I have taken a few ques from past failure and am really trying to set this one up for success. So far so good. Initial fitting went well and component selection appears to be approved by the boss. Wish me luck.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Some more of them photograph thingies

Yes, I did say thingies. What of it :-)

Some photos from Gary's camera on the Tsali trip.

You can always go to the album and view larger images if you like.

Heckler v6.0 for those who weren't paying attention.

Stripped the Home Wrecker down to raw aluminum for 2010. Figure I will be running it into the ground for at least another season, might as well give it a face lift so I look good. It is of utmost importance that bike bling is inversly proportional to your speed on the climbs. Since my speed isn't improving my bike better be looking sharp :-)

Little bit of Oak Mtn for you

More riding than taking photos. In retrospect we should have taken time to photo the log ride, jumps, BUMP, or even me actually on my bike ;-) Oh well, next time...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Good weekend

Well, got rousted out of the house by the boys for a weekend of MTB in N Carolina, Tennessee, and N Georgia. Pictures to follow, gotta get them from everyone else as I forgot to grab ours.

Highlight of the weekend would definitely turn out to be Jackrabbit MB/Hiking Trails out by Hiawassee Georgia. Check out SABA cyclings website for the details, maps, and weather conditions.Tons of flow, equal up and down time, little bumps, jumps, and berms all over the place. A must ride trail system IMO. Like most of my favorite trails there are tons of small loops so it is easy to bail out once the legs have had enough abuse. We managed almost 16mi before bailing out. Clay and I were more than willing to just continue riding here and not move on to Tsali just yet.

We started out at Chilhowee for 10mi of near solid climbing. Not sure how that worked out, but in the end we all agreed that this was a trail system we weren't all that interested in riding again.

From there we headed on to a tried and true trail, Brush Creak Trail from Boyd Gap trail head. It is a bit farther down the road and a solid/fun 6-7mi out and back. We rode out and then pussed out for a road shortcut back to the cars in order to make sure to get checked-in and dinner under control. Probably a good thing. Clay snagged some video here, gonna have to see if it turns out. It is another great trail to hit so long as you are passing by.

Next morning we hit Jackrabbit. Just about everyone was all smiles on this trail system. But we packed up sooner than later in order to hit a loop at Tsali before dark.

At Tsali everyone was starting to slow down and feel the 3 previous rides. So getting geared up to go was lethargic. Normally we would start with the 7mi Thompson look, but Jeff and the endurance riders were arguing for a Left or Right loop since they are officially open to bikes on Friday. At any rate as that argument goes on Gary and I go back to the truck, lock it up, and put on our helmets. We look up to find that the lot has cleared out completely and there is no sign of our group. WTF! Not only did we not see them go, but the decision of what trail they were doing was also not made clear. Total group ride communication failure. So Gary and I debate a few minutes and slowly head out the Right Loop figuring that the Left Loop would be too much for the tired riders. After about 1/2mi we figure they would have realized our absence, so when we didn't catch them we called and then headed back to the lot where I promptly cracked a beer.

After a nice nap and conversation with some other nice folks we determined that the group wasn't comming back for us, so we had free reign on our ride choice. So we did a 5mi short loop on the Right Loop. This sent us down the heinous climbs we did last October. I must say, they are quite fun in the "suggested direction" that we were taking. Then a short climb up the Rt. Alt. connector to the fire road and back out. It was a great lite loop to cap the day. We had a couple of beers and about then the group popped out of the Left Loop looking pretty beat. In the end we dodged a bullit by being dropped off the group ride. Sometimes you get lucky.

Saturday morning everyone is moving a bit slow but we head out to Tsali once more to hit the Thompson loop and Mouse Loop. Both trails have fun downhill sections and a fair amount of climbing to earn them. There was some debate once done about doing another short loop, but in the end everyone had a beer and was happy to call it.

In the end:
4 trail systems were hit
~56mi were pedaled
36 beers and 2 half pitchers of Margaritas met their demise
very little blood was shed
I got to do on trail wheel straightening and brake fluid venting to make new pads fit

good times...