Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Little Halloween Fun

Lat night, Wifey and I had the opportunity to hit a Halloween Party without the D Man! A friend was having an adult party , so we thought it would be a good idea to try out the costumes! Since we have the Halloween party at our house every year, we don't get to see what other people do for fun! We do up Halloween pretty good, but our friends really outdid us with their party. Caterers and bartenders were only a few of the things they did. The decorations were awesome, and everybody came rocking some cool costumes!
What are you looking at

Evil Joker

Wifey looking good!

Yes, that is a funnel

I thought he was dead!

Wife with our host

Lovey dovey time!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Exotic Animals Should Not Be Caged

If you have heard about the 56 wild animals running lose just outside of Columbus last night, than you have probably seen this picture already. If not, please check out one of the articles on line about how the Sheriffs department was forced to slaughter animals in order to protect the public. According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch, of those animals, 49 were killed. Six animals -- a grizzly bear, three leopards and two monkeys -- were captured alive and taken to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and a monkey and a grey wolf were at large. The animals that were killed included 18 tigers, nine male lions, eight female lions, six black bears, three mountain lions, two grizzly bears, one baboon and two wolves. There was even concern that the escaped monkey poses a danger because it is infected with herpes, As much as I hate it, the animals had to be put down. The public was in too much danger to try to wait and capture these dangerous animals! This is just another example of why people need to stop raising these dangerous animals outside of zoos and professionally controlled habitats.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

This could happen to you!

Chestnut Ridge Review

Chestnut Ridge was opened to the public to today so I decided I would venture down and see what the trail was like.  The turn out at the trail was awesome and they were even having a little cookout throughout the day.  They have been working on the trail for awhile now, so I was hoping for some great single track.  What I got was not exactly what I was hoping for.  Out of the gate, there was a little double track through a field which led immediately to some single track through the woods.  The trails were soft and added to it were a lot of leaves which made it a little difficult to travel.  There were definitely more hills here than at Alum, which was not what I was expecting at all.  The hills themselves were not that easy.  They were longer then expected, the ground was soft, and the switchbacks were very tight, making it tough to muscle through.  With all of the hills on the trail, one would hope for some rewarding downhill, but to be honest, the trail didn't have a lot of fast downhill.  There was not a lot of flow to this trail, with far too many tight turns which took away any speed and momentum that might of been had.   There were a few technical sections with some rocks, and a few bridges, but nothing spectacular.  Near the finish, there was a nice straight little downhill that will test a few riders but other than that, not worth the 45 minute drive from Lewis Center.  I guess the one good thing, is that it will take some pressure of the Alum trails, but that is about it.   Sorry, if you were looking for a sweet place to ride, I would say pass on this one.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mohican Race Wrap Up!

Saturday morning came early for me as I could not sleep.  I was stoked about the opportunity to race Mohican and I couldn't wait to get going.   My bike had already been loaded up so I cooked myself a little breakfast and  got on my way.  Registration was at 10 am and I had about an hour fifteen minute ride, so I left about 8:30 to make sure I got there on time.  Additionally, there were multiple festivals going on near Mohican so I expected to get slowed up a bit.  Zimmer and Kade bailed on my, so I was on my own for this one!
The day was beautiful and the drive was uneventful.  At least until I got to the hills, where I ran into some festival traffic, but nothing major.  I found the parking lot after missing the turn (should have realized this would be a trend) and parked the truck.  I hiked down hill to get registered and was back at truck doing "race prep" for the next hour or so.  Race prep for me was some servicing of the bike, eating some energy food, and basically chilling out in the sun listening to lithium on XM!
Right before the race was to start, I had to hit the head and ran into Montana Miller, who races many of the races in PA, W VA and Ohio.  He also just completed  in and won the Pigsah Stage race in North Carolina.  Not only does this guy entertain me with his unique blogging style (I am easily entertained), he also can ride pretty damn well.  Although he didn't do as well on Saturday as I thought he was going to do.   To his credit,  there was some damn top talent racing! 
12:00 and it was time for the race.  We had a little late start because the festival was causing some havoc on the rest of the field and there were a few stragglers rolling in.  Unlike some other races I have done, they sent the experts (pros) off first and these guys took off like someone was breaking into their houses.  Flat out flying! The Sport guys and gals went next in various groupings, and then finally us "novice" riders were allowed on the course.  The experts and the sports were going to do the full loop or roughly 26 miles.  The novice riders were going to do a couple short laps of hills then back to start for a total of about 12 miles.  More than enough if you ask me, especially when there are hills involved.
They called my group and we were off.  My goal was to be near the front when we hit the trails.  The last race I allowed people to get out in front, and I spent entire race trying to get back through the field.  This time, I was on the leaders rear tire as we hit the woods and the first vertical climb.  Let's just say he didn't make the climb and therefore I didn't either.  We were both pushing/hiking our bikes and I actually mounted up before him and got started again..Yeah....the lead....It lasted about a minutes and he caught me like I was going the other way! Although we are grouped by age, weight is not factored in.  This guy weighed about a buck ten and I go about 220.  A hell of a difference when you are climbing.  Oh by the way, I also realized quickly, I was still having derailluer issues.  Big and little were working for me, but middle ring caused my rear deralluer to skip and jump around like crazy.  Not good when you need the ring for racing!
Still not to bad, in second place, no wait, someone else just passed me.  Now third.    Stayed in third for about another mile or two, then started to drop more positions.  I could hang with any of them on the flat sections, rock gardens and the downhills, but these guys destroyed me on the climbs.  A few more riders got me some from my group and some of the high school guys who seem to have all of the energy in the world.
Made the turn to do the second loop and I was miserable.  I had caught a chest cold earlier in the week so I had no lungs.  My hamstring was tight and I had no energy to to anything but bitch!  I struggled mightily with the next few miles, at times having major challenges breathing.  Finally, I saw the mile marker which said I should have been a mile or so away from the finish.  Unfortunately, somehow, I made a wrong turn somehow.  I was riding all alone, and had no idea of where I missed the turn.  My navigation skills cost me an extra mile or so until I figured out my mistake.
I finally found the finish line, and cruised across to a sweet 6th place finish.  Not sure how the hell that happened, but I will take it considering just how miserable I felt.  I parked the bike, grabbed a few Great Lakes brews and got the hell out of dodge before they arrested me for stinking up the joint so bad.  To make my effort more clear, I finished in about and hour and a half for 12 miles or so.  The winning expert did 26 miles in just less than 2 hours!
I learned a lot of lessons on this ride.  First, I am not good on hills.  Second, I don't like hills.  Third, without a working derailluer, hills suck.  Fourth, a chest cold can cause major issues when climbing.  And finally, fat guys cannot climb with little birds, not even sure why we try!
At least the beer was cold!  and free!
Click here for race results!

Race Update........

You will have to wait a bit for the update.     Still recovering!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Upcoming Race Prep

Big race tomorrow!  This will be first time racing on hills.  I will be racing the novice race tomorrow at Mohican State Park and doing the 12 mile race.   The race will consist of a 1 mile sprint, then immediately into a 2 mile climb.  There will be then be some flowing single track for a couple of miles,  followed by a nice little fast downhill section.  Then it is back to the bottom of the first hill for lap two and back around again.   The finish will be a 1 mile sprint back to the start finish!

At present time, not sure what to expect.  We rode the 26 mile course last week, so this will obviously be easier in terms of climbing, but I have never raced up hills before.  Let's just say, this is not my specialty.  I am much better navigating the flowy sections of single track that allows me to pass a lot of people.  I guess I will just have to push it hard to make sure I am close enough to make my move on the flat sections.  I don't expect as many riders in my division this time, I think people may shy away due to the hills.   Hopefully, I will still have enough in me to place, which is how I finished in the last race.

Time to put the beer down, eats some more bananas and get ready for bed.   I will be racing in 15 hours!  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

North Park PA Ride

This weekend, the family made its way back to Pittsburgh to enjoy a little family time and catch a family reunion on Sunday.  Since I was going to have the entire day to myself on Saturday, I decided to take the Giant with me and do a little riding.  After carefully reviewing all of the trails available, I decided on North Park.  It had the most information on line in terms of trail maps, and helpful hints, and it was also the closest to my in laws house.

I was on line at Pennsylvania Dirt and found this blog about one of the best ways to ride NP, so I decided to follow Shred's advice and give it a try.  Since I was going to be riding this by myself, I wanted to make sure I had a good map and reasonable directions, just in case I got lost.  Turns out, Shred had some pretty good thoughts on how to ride this.

This was also the first time I got to try out the new set up on the rear end.  I upgraded to a Shimano 11 34 cassette.  It was a bit different than the stock 11 28 that came with the bike, definitely better on the climbs.  It just took a little time to get used to using different gears when going down hills and during ridge rides.   It was however, awesome to not be constantly fighting the gear slipping that had been plaguing me for the last two months!

The ride itself started out with a bridal climb straight up the hill, followed by a nice trip around the golf course.  Some single track through the woods followed by some nice little up and downs and then back across the road onto some serious ridge riding.  This section actually had me hiking the bike a bit, as I am a bit out of shape due to lack of riding.  Some nice trails, then back across the road onto some more trails circling the golf course.  From here, I crossed over onto another series of trails and started some serious switchbacks up the N Ridge trail.  I met up briefly with some locals on niners (single speed rigids); got some tips and was then left behind on the hills.  This trail was a pretty sweet ride, lots of ridge riding and a few nice downhills.  Also hit a couple rock gardens on a down hill which provided some sweet opportunity for some jumping, then into some more awesome forest.  Did I mention all of the animals?  Deer, squirrels, birds, ground hogs, chipmunks, more deer and I think quite possibly a bear (ok, maybe it was me making all the noise and not actually a bear).  This sweet trail led back across another rode to another trail system, which had an awesome double downhill that I bombed!  At the bottom, there was more trail to be had, but quite honestly, I was not quite sure where it was, I was getting a bit tired, and I was actually a little lonely. So I jammed to Park roads back to the parking lot and called it a day.   All in, 16 mile ride, not sure of elevation change, and a nice energizing ride!  

Monday, September 19, 2011

11 34 Cassette

Dropped the bike off tonight again to get the chain slipping fixed.  I sat down with bike mechanic and we examined chain and cassette. The chain was stretched big time and the cassette was extremely worn out.  Ordered new cassette and chain; going to go with a slightly different cassette.  Stock cassette was 11 28, I am moving to a 11 34!  Should make those hills a lot easier!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kennerdell & Two Mile Run PA Rides

     I made the trip back to Pennsylvania this weekend to attend a funeral for a family member who had passed last week. Since I was going to have a little free time Saturday morning, I took the Giant with me to get a ride in. My parents live next to the Kennerdell trail, and they are only about 30 minutes from Two Mile State Park, so I decided these would be my destinations for the weekend. I spent the week researching the trails, printed off a few maps, and decided on a plan of attack. I also had my bike tuned up during the week so I was excited to get out and see how it was riding.
      I started my day with Two Mile since it was the furthest away and on paper seemed to be the most fun. After parking at trail head where I was the only one there (I guess I should have realized something up) I started out on my attempted ride. I found entrance to trail and started off on rocky hill climb. 5 minutes in, and I realized I was in trouble. First of all, the bike was not working well at all. The "ghost" shifting and slipping that had been bothering me for the last month, had not been fixed. Not a good thing when you are playing on hills and rocks! However, chain issues and all, I soldiered on. My mistake, as about a mile or two in, the trails started to be difficult to follow. Every where I looked there was a side trail leading off of the main trail, and quite honestly, the map became completely useless. I road around in circles for a while, until I was able to figure out the trail system a little, but by then I was completely frustrated with the trail and the bike. I ended up getting a little over 8 miles in, but this trail system just was not fun. No flow, rocks, and soft track which made it very difficult to get any speed. I got back to the trail head ( I was still the only person riding) and made my way towards Kennerdell.
     Even though I was having troubles with the bike, I was going to tough it out and make it work. I got to the trail head, tried to adjust the rear derailluer a bit, and plotted out my lap. There were a couple locals there, so I chatted them up a bit, and got some advice on the best lap. The trail started out on a gravel fire road (fast riding) and eventually got into the good stuff. Right away, it became apparent that there was going to be some rock and roots, as well as some mud! I met a few other riders down in the woods, and got some more advise on what to stay away from, and continued on. The map worked wonderfully, and I was able to turn a 7 mile lap into a pretty fun ride, even though the damn rear cassette drove me insane. There was so much slippage going on I almost sterilized myself on many occasions. I had heard about the rock gardens here, and they did not let me down. A couple nice downhill rocky sections followed by a nasty rocky climb on ridge trail (time to push) and I was reasonably happy with the ride. I didn't do anywhere near the total miles here; I was riding alone and didn't want to journey down over the mountain to the Allegheny River without someone along for help if needed. Although I will definitely go back again someday and make sure I complete it all.
     Unfortunately I didn't get any pics, although the ridge trail at Kennerdell did have some awesome views overlooking the river! Next time when I am not using GPS on phone, I will be able to take some pics. However, the fact that I didn't get pictures and had issues with the bike and the trails, the ride itself did me some good; I had time to think about my little cousin (RIP Jay) who had passed and spent some time alone thinking about a few things. I also got in a nice workout, saw some nice views and explored some new trail.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Warrior Dash Ohio 2: Carrollton

"The craziest freaking day of my life" turned into one of the most painful as well. Yesterday, I completed my second Warrior Dash in 4 months, and let me just tell you....This one was tough! I have done a lot of things in my life, but this was one of the hardest. Don't get me wrong, running 5k isn't that hard to do. Quite honestly, it is not hard at all. But running 5k, in all mud, up many many hills, over obstacles, more hills, more mud, more muddy hills, and a masses of muddy falling people, and you get the idea. Let me be clear, I didn't really train for this by doing anything other than bike and drink, but still this one kicked my ass much more than the last one. As a matter of fact, the overall fastest time was 9 full minutes slower than the last one I ran. Personally, my time was 17 minutes slower than the last. Mostly because of the mud and hills, but also because of start time. Instead of running with the faster runners, I was lumped with the masses and I spent half the time maneuvering around people who were struggling miserably in the mud and on the obstacles. I guess I should have seen that coming, since I also spent almost two hours in traffic just to go 2 miles. Note to self....if I run again, it will be back in early heat again! The course itself was similar to the last one, but it definitely had more hills! The start was on a downhill, followed by a half lap around the lake. A short chest high wade across the lake with floating logs (caught a couple logs to the chin) and out the other side for another uphill, muddy run. After a painful uphill, a sloppy muddy run through the woods, back up more hills, then started hitting the obstacles. A series of wooden hurdles followed by crawl under barbed wire, then off to another hill! More mud, and then a few more obstacles to complete. A cargo net climb, a wooden wall climb, balance beam, run through the tires , dumpster obstacle (medics were working on some woman here), horizontal rope crossing (too many people at one time on this), another wooden wall climb (especially hard for short people), a steep steep hill climb leading to fire crossing, then the mud crawl for the finish. All of this done while running through more freaking mud! Good Times! Click here for results

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Wish Upon A Star- Dema Style

I still haven't sat down long enough to ride up a blog entry of the trip to Disney and all the fun we had, but I did get this slideshow of pictures put together. If you haven't done Disney at least once, you need to. There is some really cool stuff; Rock n Roll Coaster, Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, Test Track, Tower of Terror, Awesome Fireworks, Great Food, Disney Characters everywhere, and even GOOD BEER!

Cinderella's Castle- Disney with Dema

Just a short video of fireworks over Cinderella's castle at Disney!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

No More Flats- Stan's Tubeless


Today, I dropped of the bike at the shop for a little R&R (repair and replace)! After a quick lap over at the local trail last night, I flatted out again and spent considerable time trying to repair in the middle of the woods. First patch didn't hold, so I ended up replacing the tube. So far this year, this has to be at least 6 flats for me, and quite frankly, I am getting tired of it. Factor in all of the other flats my buddies have been getting and I decided to try something new. So tonight, the Giant is getting some new shoes! I decided to go with Stans No Tubes and take flat tires out of the equation.  Now I should be lighter, faster around turns, and no more time changing tubes!



Not so fast...Bike store could not finish the job, didn't have the correct valve for tubeless in stock.  

Monday, August 29, 2011

Disney Trip Commentary....Stay Tuned

For the one or two readers I have out there, you may have noticed that I have not been posting over the last week or so. No I didn't finally give up on attracting another reader, but instead I took the family to Disney for a week. So instead of my normal biking banter, I will be updating blog in the next day or so about our trip to Mick's place! What a week! Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Guns....Guns and more Guns!

A break away from my normal biking stuff, but saw this today and thought....hmmmmm   I am a gun guy so why not!

Not sure if story is true, but concept is interesting........ 

After the Japanese decimated our fleet in Pearl Harbor Dec 7, 1941, they could have sent their troop ships and carriers directly to California to finish what they started. The prediction from our Chief of Staff was we would not be able to stop a massive invasion until they reached the Mississippi River. So, why did they not invade?

After the war, the remaining Japanese generals and admirals were asked that question. Their answer…...they know that almost every home had guns and the Americans knew how to use them.

The world's largest army... America 's hunters! I had never thought about this....

A blogger added up the deer license sales in just a handful of states and arrived at a striking conclusion

There were over 600,000 hunters this season in the state of Wisconsin ..

Allow me to restate that number.

Over the last several months, Wisconsin 's hunters became the eighth largest army in the world.

More men under arms than in Iran ..

More than in France and Germany combined.

These men deployed to the woods of a single American state to hunt with firearms, and no one was killed.

That number pales in comparison to the 750,000 who hunted the woods of Pennsylvania and Michigan's 700,000 hunters, all of whom have now returned home.

Toss in a quarter million hunters in West Virginia and it literally establishes the fact that the hunters of those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world.

The point?

America will forever be safe from foreign invasion with that kind of home-grown firepower.

Hunting -- it's not just a way to fill the freezer. It's a matter of national security.

That's why all enemies, foreign and domestic, want to see us disarmed.

Food for thought when next we consider gun control

........and the 2012 election..

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Race Day- Battle at Alum Creek!

Today was the day that I found out what I was made of.  The Battle of Alum Creek was today and this was my first ever mountain bike race.  Since I have technically only been riding for a little over a year, I guess that is not too surprising, considering everyone else racing have been riding for years.
I got to the course early to register, not quite knowing what to expect.  I paid my money, signed the paperwork, and got my number plate for the bike.  I guess I was a little anxious since I was still an hour early, and now I had to sit around and think about it for at least another hour.
I was running the Novice, Master division, which was a 11ish mile race that started at Alum Creek Beach, then crossed the dam, half a lap around beginner single track at Alum, a lap around P1, then back to the beach!  The Sport division was completing two laps around P1 and the experts were going to do 3!
After what seemed like forever, I finally was called to the starting line with 18 of my 40-50 year old peers!  We were starting a minute behind most of my buddies, and and two minutes behind several others.  At this point in time, there was no way in my mind that I would beat most of the guys in my division, let alone some of my buddies in the earlier heats!  (foreshadowing)!  It seemed like every other rider was riding a $3000+ bike, sporting some top notch gear, and I was riding my lower price Giant Yukon, with limited gear!
The starter set us off and we sprinted through the grass, up the hill to the first turn.  By the time we got to the dam, I was running roughly 11th or 12th in my division.  Most of these guys were road riders so I was concerned  that they would dust me on the dam and I would have to make up ground in the woods!  Instead, I caught myself hanging with several of these guys on the mile and half straight away into the wind across the dam.  With about a quarter mile to go, I made my move and passed 4 guys to get myself in better position for the woods.  It was going to be tough to pass on the tight trails and the less I had to get the better.
I hit the trails hard in about 8th position and was feeling good.  This is my home trail, so I know the trails fairly well.  About a mile into the woods, and after I passed a few of the riders from the divisions in front of me, I saw one of my buddies pushing his bike out of the woods.  Two flats and some nasty cuts and he was a quick DNF!  I rolled on, glad it wasn't me.   We crossed over onto the P1 single track and I was picking off riders at a pretty good clip.  There were several different divisions in front of me, and they had the trails pretty jammed up.   During the first few miles, I got a couple more guys in my division and I was settled into I believe 6th place.   From here, I kept a pretty fast pace, until I hit the creek crossing which I hit like I actually knew what the hell I was doing.  Out of the creek and up the other side onto the boardwalk where I came across a young guy who was very disoriented.  He took a nasty fall and was trying to get his bearings. He seemed to be ok, so I moved on and started my attack again on the rest of my division.  I continued on the rest of the single track and eventually passed another of my fellow team mates, who had blown himself out on the dam crossing and had nothing left.  I got past him and then another guy from the division, and I was now in 5th.
Finished off this section of the race and started heading back around the loop back to the dam.  I caught one more rider immediately and he politely got out of my way ( he must have heard me huffing and puffing).  4th place, but I must admit, I thought it was 3rd at the time!   I closed on two more riders as we exited the woods and we were in a tight pack as we crossed back over to the dam.  I stayed with them for about a quarter mile, then they pulled away on the ride across the dam, which somehow was back into the wind!
I saw my buddy about 100 yards ahead and I made it my goal to catch him before the finish.  I was doing alright until he looked over his shoulder and saw me coming and made up his mind that I wouldn't pass him.  We both finished strong, and he got me by 5 seconds at the line, although he started a minute before me, so I actually beat him anyhow!
Milled around after the race, eating some food and dreaming of a podium placement.  Unfortunately, the guy I couldn't catch coming out of the woods on the dam was also in my division and he beat me by 15 seconds and I wound up 4th.   Although no podium, I did get a prize and scored a pair of riding sunglasses, so it was not for nothing!
Will I do it again, you bet ya!  When, I am not so sure.  The next race will take place on my vacation and the one after that will happen during my next Warrior Dash, so we will see.  One thing is for certain, it was a huge rush to pass as many people as I did during this race.  Especially since I was hoping just to not finish DFL!
Next time, I expect some more fans there to cheer me on!

Update:   Official Scoring....3rd place!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Great Seal Ride- Awesome Rocks

Sweet ride today at Great Seal State Park.  Was a bit concerned last night when we made plans to ride.  I had heard about the killer hills (Barbed Wire) and was concerned that I would burn out before the race tomorrow.  Additionally, I was hitting the sauce a bit, so I didn't know what to expect!

Turns out, we had a great 13 mile ride this morning. had to hike a few of the hills a bit, but it was better than killing ourselves trying to make the climb.  Probably completed about two thirds of Barbed Wire,  but it was fun!   About half way through the ride, we stumbled across these huge boulders and tried to figure out how we could jump them!   yeah right!  

Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 8, 2011

Insane Clip of the Day

Check out this insane free ride. About 2 minutes in there is a crazy jump!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Battle of Alum Creek

Who is in?

 This will be my first official race!  Come out and watch!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Indiana Mountain Biking.....Fast and Fun

The verdict is in....They know how to make mountain bike trails in Indiana!  If you live anywhere near Indiana, you need to try these trails out.  As Ohio residents, we don't get a lot of "flowy" trails.  We have some technical trails, and some hilly trails, but nothing like we experienced this weekend!

Our ride started out with  Versailles State Park, which was one of the best tracks I have ever ridden.  This trail provided 15+ miles of fast and "flowy" trails as well.  The only challenge with this trail system, was that it was extremely dry and dusty.  The corners were extremely loose due to the dryness; however it didn't slow us down too much!  We rode this trail in close to 100 degrees temperature and the humidity was nasty!  With that being said, this place was awesome and 15 miles didn't seem to bother us to bad, although we did push one rider to his limits.

From there we drove another hour west to our next stop and campsite!  Not knowing what to expect, we were pleasantly surprised to see we were sleeping here..Pizza, poker, and beer and oh, 6 hours of pounding rain took us through the night!

Believe it or not, there are actually some decent hills in Indiana; it is not as flat as I had previously thought.  We found this out on Saturday with our next ride at Brown State Park..  These trails are set up so well and flows so fast, that you never really feel like you are climbing.  At Brown County State Park you can easily ride 20 miles with very little pain of climbing, but lots of sweet jumps and fast flowy single track!  However, beware of "Schooner Trail" or Death Valley as I call it.  This bad boy is 4.5 miles of hell!  A double black diamond trail that includes boulders, off camber ridge riding with 50+ foot drops, ridiculous log crossings, boulders,  bridges, briars, sick climbs, sharp switchbacks, more boulders, eroding trails, and oh yeah, even more boulders!  I couldn't even get pictures of this trail because I was to busy cursing, sweating, walking, carrying my bike on back, dodging rocks, watching out for rattle snakes, cursing, and praying that someone would put me out of my misery!

 As tough as Schooner Trail was though, the rest of the the trail was the best I have ever ridden.  The rain Friday night made the trail tacky but still fast and we were able to fly.  We did however, take our fair share of breaks, it was 90+ degrees outside and humid as I have ever felt. 

 Even after the climbs, he was still smiling!

Another one with a smile after a climb!

Not sure about this guy.  No smile, just all business!

A tree falls down in the woods, what do they do with it..they just made a bridge out of it! 

 This was an awesome two day ride.  Although every single one of us is in some major pain (cramping, chaffing, bruises, scrapes, and slight dehydration, we all would do it again in a heartbeat.  (except for death valley).  I cannot overstate how sweet these trails are to ride.  If you get the chance,take it, you will not regret it!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Broken Giant Update

Not much to report today other than the fact both Roll and Giant still do not have any answers for me on an eta for the fix on the Yukon.   Most likely, it will be a couple more weeks at the earliest before anything is fixed.  Since I have a potential weekend ride plan next weekend in Indiana, I thought it would be a good idea to shake things up a bit and see what I could get for a demo. 

Initially, I believe I was either given bad information from the shop, or they gave me the right info, and just didn't understand my circumstances.  Either way, I was told I could get a demo for a day and would have to return right away.  Not very  convenient for an out of town ride.  So I checked with Trek and they are willing to hook me up with a Trek Fuel EX9.  On top of that, they will let me have it for the weekend.  Not a bad deal, since it is a freaking sweet bike!

After talking to Trek, I went back to Roll to get my Candy pedals for the Trek, and Roll offered me a deal on a Niner for as long as I needed it at no cost.  However, it is a hard tail, so I need to think that one through a bit.  It would be nice to be able to keep up with the guys, even though I would be cheating with the 29er!

Hitting Brown and Versailles in Indiana.  These two tracks are fast!   Cant wait!

Update 1:  Giant will be fixed by Friday; not in time for weekend ride

Update 2:  Going to take the Fuel ex9 for the weekend!  Will be a sweet ride!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Oh Snap! Giant down!

It was bound to happen.  Sooner or later, something had to give.  210 pounds of Endo, or the frame on the Giant.  Today, it was the Giant and it snapped in a big way!

I started out my ride today from my garage and hit the roads a little bit to get to Alum beach!  From there, I rode the top of the dam, over to the beginner course at Alum Creek.  I did a half lap there, and jumped onto Phase 1.  I was feeling good, and riding fat and intent on turning a good time on my scheduled 17 mile ride.  About 5 miles into Phase 1, I passed a few slower riders and was really moving.  I crossed a small bridge and jammed up a quick hill and then SNAP.  Something went seriously wrong.  I dismounted, and tried to figure it out, but I just couldn't figure it out.  The derailleur was still  working and for the life of me, not a clue.  I flipped the bike over and then I saw it!  The break was pretty clear and I realized I was pretty screwed.  About 6 miles away from the house, 90 degrees and the water in my Camelback
was running low!  Even though I had the cell phone, I couldn't get a hold of Jen so I started hoofing it.  I made it out of the woods and onto the rode where a fellow mountain biker picked my up and took me closer to my house.  I still had about a mile and half walk from where he dropped me off, but it did help! 

Still not sure what and why it happened, but it was an experience.  Looks like I will be making a trip to Roll tomorrow for a warranty check up!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Vultures Knob Rematch

As you my recall, I have only been mountain biking for a little over a year.  I started riding Alum Creek last year in May and spent my entire summer on P1 and P2.  At the end of the season, I ventured out of my comfort zone a bit, and went riding with a friend at Vultures Knob.  The name doesn't do this place enough justice.  It is truly insane in terms of obstacles and down hill challenges. Last year, on my one and only visit, I made it about 5 miles, before I almost passed out (could have been hangover induced), and gave up.   The course is roughly 7 miles long.  At that time, I vowed I would get revenge.   Yesterday that day came!

The clubhouse at the start

We got to the course around 9 am to beat the heat and get back for a nice day with the family.  Our plan was to do two 7 mile laps and call it a day.  We met up with our third rider, who actually had already completed a lap.  We should have know something when we saw all the blood on his leg.   As it turns out, he laid his bike down trying to go under this bridge (which by the way is straight down).
Expert bridge obstacle

We got through this obstacle as well as may others (the glass highway, the maze, the furnace, the cradle etc.  We were both feeling pretty good and hit a second lap.  I guess we should have thought this one through a bit, as add in heat, tired legs, and an unfamiliar trail, and you know trouble will happen.  It did!  As I was leading the way down through a series of technical challenges, I was carrying a little too much speed, and took a nice trip over the handlebars.  The bike ended up scarring up a tree pretty good, and I ended up in a ravine filled with mud!  Not pleasant.  In addition to the blood from the cuts and scrapes, the mud acted as a fantastic bug and mosquito magnet for the remainder of the ride.  Quite the site and  smell.

After dusting myself off, fixing the Giant and warning several other riders of the pending crash site, we preceded on and had a great but careful ride.  Two laps done, no lunch tossing, and happy to have gained some vengeance on the hill that truly introduced me to real mountain biking.  If you get the chance and you want a challenge, you need to ride here.  Check out Vultures Knob for a piece of this action.

Cradle, picture says it all.
 This last picture is a photo of the Cradle.  Basically a straight drop down, bridging across a gulley, followed by a sweet uphill launch that shoots you up the hill.  Best part is, the ground comes up to you instead of the opposite.  Scary at first, but what a thrill.

These were not my pictures; I borrowed them from Vulture's Knob website.