Thursday, June 30, 2011


My first ride was a 1980 Camaro purchased from a neighbor down the street. That car lived a long and exciting life. On any given night, the smell of smoke would waft from open windows and a dummy may or may not be sitting in the back seat with bits of melted rubber covering the rear quarter pannels. The tell-tale burnt orange paint was on the local police radar, but they always seemed to show up a day late and a dollar short, often following, knowing nothing good was to come from the night. Knowing it was just a matter of time, the car took on a new identity wearing a fresh coat of primer grey before being laid to rest with a Viking funeral. Too many memories.

Now its Tour time! If you happen to be in the 'burg, venture out of the cyber gallery and check out some of my images in person at SBC.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I dont shoot much of it, but burned up an old roll of it this weekend. I am a man of few words today.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I havent really been doing much prep for the Tour so far as the bike has been pretty much issue free as of late. Yesterday, while out for another monday riding everything at Schaffer/ Hoyles Mill/ Blackhill, I broke a spoke on the rear wheel. With the I9s, you have to take the tire off to replace a spoke, and anyone looking at that rear tire would say it has done its time, but 5 and a half months in, I am going to see just how much I can get out of this tire. Last year, I was lucky to get a month out of one and lost count at 20 tires I had sliced the casing on. Yes, its true, I am not kind on my equipment and run my tires at rediculously low psi, but I am still hovering at right around the 150lbs mark sopping wet. So, that old Maxxis Ardent LUST that I put on in Sedona after slicing yet another Bonti 29.3 went back on and the brand new one is packed and ready in the event of catastrophic failure during the Tour.

A clean shop is a happy shop...

Look at the size of that Stans booger...

It found a new home anoungst some other oddities...

M.R. Ducks...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Black Cat

I know you all have been waiting patiently for the unveiling of this creation that has been 14 months in the making, 3 months longer than I had expected. The suspense has been killing me; like a kid waiting for the sun to come up so he can open his Christmas gifts. My Christmas has come gone and come again. Here are some photos.

Some assembly required...

You are probably wondering why there are two frames pictured in that last image. Although not pictured, I have been assured my fork stem and rack look amazing. I'll let Todd tell the story...

hey y'all.

nathan, meet sean. sean, meet nathan. you guys have been unknowingly standing next to each other in line for a year.
thought you may want to start the "waiting for my black cat" support group.

got the frames back from the powder coater. they turned out beautifully. one problem. they mixed up the colors.
called the powder coaters, they acknowledged the mistake and said they will turn the corrected colors around asap.
hopefully they will stick to it. usually they've taken about a week, it is not normal for this three week turnaround business.

i'm off right now to the ups store to send them back.


nathan shearer to Todd
show details 8:40 PM (3 minutes ago)

I am not so much worried about having a new bike as I just give those
who fall to the bottom of my blog roll shit. Post up already!

Cant hate on Todd. He just builds them. There is an old saying in the blue collar world: measure twice cut once. Lets just hope the guys at the paint shop are better at matching colors than they are at organizing their workload. Dont worry, Todd is good peeps and I am confident he will make sure its right before it leaves his hands. Christmas in July? I can only hope.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Late Nights

Another late night at the computer sorting through images and making scanning masks. I cant even imagine the level of obsession if I had a darkroom at the house. I finally stepped away at 2:30 in the AM. Not even the lure of a rooftop hang out could pull me away. Here are some oldies I finally got up.

Note the rediculously large pants...

The short lived Friendship Park Track...

Andy throws down at Mark's trails...


Getting smoked in an A-Pro moto...

Thursday, June 23, 2011


After kicking the can around for over a year, I ponied up and bought a scanner. Spent hours last night messing with it, sorting through film and finally scanning some images that have been on hold for far too long.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Go Skate Day

Yesterday was Go Skate Day and my participation was rather pathetic. I did put a couple of footprints on the wood, but nothin noteworthy. I had dinner at Breadsoda with a couple of guys in this pic which I nicked from Spacebook. Freedom Plaza was the place to be back them. Circa '93ish...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"For 4000 years, theologians and philosophers have debated whether an Intelligent Designer stands behind it all. I have nothing to contribute to that discussion. But this much seems clear: This forest certainly demonstrates an intelligence, one it has been honing for 290 million years. Its economy is a closed loop that transforms waste into food. In that alone, it is superior to our human economy, where the end of the line isnot nutrients but toxic industrial waste. Is there design behind this natural intelligence? I have no idea. But I will venture to say this: The forest knows what its doing."

-Erik Reece, "Lost Mountain"

A Midsummer Season's Slump

Today, another day the alarm awakens me at 7:15am. I lay for a minute while the brain attempts to reboot. I pull the lever on the mental slot machine and the wheels begin to turn. Riding, errands, hiking. No match. I pull this imaginary lever a few more times until the wheels read “back to sleep.” And so I go. Until 1pm. What a waste. This has been the scene all too often. Perhaps that deer tick, whose head still resides in my hand gave me the Lymes. Who knows. Anyway, I got me shit together and went out to Schaffer and rode every inch of that place on both sides. actually I did miss one little stretch on the Black Hill side but it was a short section which replaced with a section that wasn’t quite as short. As usual, I dipped my feet in the lake and cleaned up a bunch of fishing line and hooks from irresponsible fisher peoples. This is a trend I have found in watery places I frequent. It bums me out.

Yesterday, played out very much the same way: wet in the morning which kept me snoozing longer than I would like and took a nice long commute to my parents’ house along the river. Dinner and conversation then back down the canal. I have been riding the canal more than I should as I am planning on riding up to Pittsburg in a month or so and I will probably be sick of it by then. Lately, I have been hunting ducks along the river. Not in the sense of carry a gun and shooting live birds, but looking for these plastic ducks which I believe were once part of the old shooting gallery at Glen Echo Park. So far I have stumbled upon two so I know they are not alone. Yesterday, I caught a firefly in the eye and tonight, I got one in the other eye and it has worked it’s way under my eyeball. gross and painful. I know what you are thinking, “Why don’t you wear glasses? “ Glasses work great for me until I start climbing. You see I climb so slow that they fog up and end up in my pocket anyway. Either way I cant see. And speaking of eyes, the little furry one is going to the doc tomorrow for his eye. Poor guy.

Off on another adventure...

Stumbled upon this lily pond where life was teeming....

Life returns...

Weapon of choice...

Duck, duck...


Hiders in the corn...

Night ride home...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"We Took it to Swain's..."

Those words uttered in a thick New England accent over a decade ago still play out loud and clear each time I pass by Swain’s Lock on the C&O Canal. Today I began a ride from there heading northbound and I thought of the night I heard that phrase which happened to be my inaugural dinking expedition on the Potomac River. “Dinking,” is the name that was given to sketchy white water boating; the tern coined as the first trip was in row boat borrowed from a friend’s girlfriend’s house which she called the dink and taken down a swollen Rock Creek after a big snow thaw. We pulled up to Seneca creek at around mid night and began to unload our equipment. We greeted a couple of fishermen who inquired what we were up on that fine evening and Phil said “We are going out boating.” Where is your boat?” one of the fishermen asked. No reply was given other than showing an aluminum case which a couple of us were carrying. “I gotta see this,” one of the fishermen said as everyone gathered around. Phil pulled the rip cord on the 3’x3’ case which blew open and inflated a 12’ long raft which had lights that lined the underside. This case was the life raft which I had aquired from an airplane boneyard which is another story.

Four of us piled in the raft with Tad floating solo in an inflatable canoe. As we paddled off, one of the fishermen shouted “Watch out for the alligator!” Whatever, alligators don’t life this far north. Tad paddled off on his own in his nimble little boat as we fired roman candles and bottle rockets at him. We paddled down stream and I could hear the roar of rapids in the distance which made me nervous as I have always had a great deal of respect for the water. As we paddled, debris floated from upstream. I noticed a large log floating quite close to our raft which seemed to somehow be floating faster than the boat we were paddling. As it floated in behind the boat, I noticed 2 eyes at the front of the 6’ log and realized there really was an alligator. “Alligator!” I yelled as I tried to light bottle rockets to fire at it. My hands shook to much and Phil jumped in and grabbed them out of my hand, managing to get one lit. It shot into the water and exploded. A couple more and the gator finally turned away.

We paddled swiftly toward the rapids knowing we would safe from the gator on the other side. I was walking that line somewhere between exctiement and panic as we approached the rapids, but the sound was decieving as we actually had to walk the boat through the shallow water to the other side. Now we were able to move at a decent pace with little effort as the current was moving and we sat back enjoying the ride. Tad complained that his boat was losing air but Phil insisted he stay with the canoe, in part because none of cared to much for the guy and also it happened to be Phil’s boat. As we floated, a group of beavers filed in behind us, but we were out of fireworks. We paddled strong to try and out run the curious creatures which could easily puncture our craft which and entered another set of rapids which put some distance between us and the beavers. My back was sore from the heavy paddling and once things calmed down a bit, I realized that it wasn’t the paddling that was making my back sore, it was the fact that a 200lb guy named Abe was sitting on it as he cowered in fear from the beavers. “Abe! What the fuck are you doing!” I shouted. It was so easy to blast the guy, phil and myself exploiting every opportunity to do so. Phil and the rest chuckled as Abe became aware of what he was doing, and sat in quiet embarrasment.

Our original plan was to leave a car at Pennyfield Lock, but on the way out to drop the car, Pete and I modified the plan a bit and took the car to Swain’s, the last get out before Great Falls. We didn’t put much thought into this other than we wanted to make a longer trip out it. We didn’t leave anything to signal us of our pull out point or anything. Moving onward, the water began to slow as did our progress. Fish began to jump and throw themselves in the boat. finally it all made sense. These creatures all came to investigate the strange lighted object that floated in the water. We floated and paddled for hours and began to worry about the falls. had we passed Swain’s Lock already? A trip over the falls would be certain death for us all. Tad had a fit at some point smashing his paddle in frustrastion on the water as the boat continued to lose air. During his tantrum he hit his knee with the paddle and was leaking blood. We pretended none of this ever happened. We worked ourselves into a panic about the falls and eventually pulled out and found ourselves in the middle of a wetland shin deep in mud. Boats were abandoned. We didn’t know where on the river we were. We struggled through the quagmire for some time and we all were low on energy as the sky began to turn purple as the first signs of morning began to show themselves. There is something about still being out as the sun come up that puts me in a panic, as if I will never sleep again if morning comes and I am still out. This feeling of doom that came with the sunrise was only deepened by the fact that I lived with my parents at the time and I felt guilt each time I was caught coming in as they began their days. Eventually, we found a path which led us to the canal and and an hours hike back to the vehicles muddied, exhausted and headed for home.

Many a turleout there...

Birds too...

The Monocacy Aquaduct has been getting some love...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Yesterday was the end of my weekend so I spent it running errands and then rode over tomy parents' house for dinner. I packed a couple of cameras with, neither of which were of the digital variety so I have nothing to share on that front. As the sun began to sink low, I got antsy, said my goodbyes and headed for the river, where I found a great spot to watch the sunset. I rode some of the single track along side the river as it got dark, but the full moon, let me roll without firing up the light. I made a few stop along the way to try and get some photos, which I am eager to see how things turn out. I was shooting with the Blackbird on some expired Kodachrome 64 I picked up out west this winter.

I got forwarded a copy of this year's stage layout for the TDB and it looks like a winner. Stoked to see Schloss/ Trout Pond back on the agenda. With that stage being so early in the Tour and so much fun, I will have some making up to do if I want to wear that DFL jersey.

Fri July 1—MTB - ITT Massanutten
Sat July 2 –MTB - North Mtn-Trout Pond-Schloss
Sun July 3 – ROAD - Massanutten Mtn - Cub Run-Woodstock Tower
Mon July 4 –MTB – Camp Todd-Chestnut-Narrowback
Tue July 5 - ROAD- Reddish Knob – Todd Lake
Tue July 5 – MTB – ITT Rocktown Trails
Wed July 6 – MTB - Union-Flagpole-Timber-Wolfe (from Hone Quarry)

Also, I am lacking a road bike, so if you have a beater to lend, I would be forever grateful and would be happy to share my winnings. I say "beater road bike" because I am a beater of a road rider these days and wouldnt feel comfortable rolling on your pimped out Madone. 57-59 with 23 tires would be great. Thanks in advance.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The geared bike has made me lazy, or maybe my new found laziness just goes well with the bike that has gears. Another late start and off to Frederick, once again arriving in the Watershed just in time to catch Pat and the Race Pace squad as they were wrapping up thier ride. For me, it was Skink, New Blue, Iceburg, New Burg, Pit/Viper, up Supersweet, down Deathmarch before climbing the road, cutting back over to blue, Dave's Trail, connector, Kublai Khan and up Blue taking me deep into Gambrill where I got caught up in a thunder storm. I felt right at home on the EWR, and although, I didnt have a personal best on Iceburg, all of the dabs I did have where on sections I usually clean, and owe those dabs to not maintaining as much speed as I would on the single or fixed gear. Slow steady moving with minimal food and water consumption felt good and consistant, moving the whole time rather than big outputs of energy followed by a break and then on the coals again. I will say however, it is much easier to go fast on the single as I am quite comfy slow rolling the geared machine. My plan was to do a big loop in Gambrill, but although the rain was short it did a good job of saturating the soil so I had a nice long road ride back to the vehicle. Ran into some familiar faces out there, which isnt uncommon in Shed as I have been lurking in those woods for a cool decade now, dabbling in various riding crews.

I was reading Dicky's blog and it looks as though he will be at the Tour de Burg after recieving an official invite. I can only wonder why I got no such email. Its like that time the chick I was hanging with at the time went to the country house for the holidays and all of my friends went. I wasnt invited. But this time I am going to just show up and watch the awkward expressions, as if to say, "oh hey, I didnt know you were coming." Maybe they are trying to set up a cetain rider for the DFL position I will surely be in contention for. It will be difficult to hold on to as last year's DFL, Texas Toast is rumored to be returning to defend the jersey, but there will be heavy competition from Dan Oates who should be landing in town just in time for the tour and then there is Metro from Richmond who was caught training on SDS by napping on top of Elliot's. Only time will tell.

In other news, the Tour Divide has gotten underway without me as I burned up my time and peaked early trying to complete another, equally pointless endurance ride which nobody has yet to complete in a single push. Local boy Denis Chazelle is currently in the lead for North Bound race.

Made a friend on the ride today...

Look closer...

Friday, June 10, 2011

For those of you who don’t know, Thursday is the middle of my week which is why I am scarce on Saturdays. Today started off with cutting my Mom’s hairs and as the tradition goes, out to lunch afterwards. My afternoon at work fell apart so I figured I would head out in search of a swimming hole. I got off to a late start and the thought of sitting in rush hour traffic chafed me, so I hopped on the Purple People Eater and headed out to the river. The plan was to take a leasurely spin out to Great Falls in hopes of snapping some photos of the folks jumping from the cliffs. I made several stops along the way for a dip and noticed the river, which was well out of it’s banks a week ago was now back to it normal height. By the time I got out to the Billy Goat Trail, the sun had yielded way to clouds and few folks were still out and about. I watched the fire department running drills on the river then began to head back as The Gods above had begun to make some noise. On the ride home, I saw much wildlife including an eagle, several massive snapping turtles and a few beavers.

As usual, my thoughts wandered while I rode. I thought long about the movie I watched last night titled “The Last Mountain” about mountain top removal coal mining. The topic itself is quite disturbing, but what I found even more troubling is that I was one of three people in the entire theater. Ignorance is bliss I suppose. How a company with 60,000 environmental citations get off paying nothing is beyond me. I say make them pay, pass the costs on to the consumer and then perhaps we will think a bit more about where our power comes from. Hell, my AC is running nonstop as I don’t pay for utilities here. Why the heck should I conserve? On the same note of being “green,” some old hag in Toyota Pious felt the need to pull up along side me and roll the window down from her air conditioned shitbox to give me some advice on riding in the city. In so many words, I let her know that I am “greener” than her at which she floored it and sped off. Nice. It only conserves gas when you DON’T drive like an ass.


The Great Escape...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Considered attending, but for some reason it is being held in the Wasteland known as NOVA. Now what am I going to do with my Saturday night?