Friday, February 25, 2011

One Stinkin' Bike

Photos are still trickling in from the travels such as these first 2 courtesy of Sabrina Dietrich taken at Gabe's. I could have made the excuse that I am on the wrong bike, but it is a single speed 29er w/ flat pedals and so its always the "wrong bike." I got over that excuse when I started racing DH on a hand me down hardtail and getting middle of the field times in expert. This post is dedicated to the having the wrong bike at the right time. Got an excuse?




Posing on the "All Arounder." Hold your line or get wet...




Putting a 29er track up on the wall...




One of me on Mackey's from Tractor. Dont think I have posted this one yet...



Pat caught me in the act...



Sometimes you have to pay to play...





I have been told...



And now you can follow me and the rest of your (least)favorite bloggers in one place... http://mtbikenow.com/

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A New Season is Upon Us

I have been saying for at least a month now that 2011 is going to be my year and so far, everything has been coming up Milhouse. Its not even March yet and I already preparing for a good season on the bike. Been doing a fair amount of hiking considering the time of year and am back in Bikram classes, not to mention still being fit from my westward journey. I could go on but let us just stick to riding bikes for now. Lots of big rides already in the works and today I was scoping out this year's race schedule to see what catches my fancy. I will say, no "fitness" races except maybe The Hundred which would be ridden on some kind of jalopy. After a decade hiatus from the DH scene, I am signed up and paid to race the Yee Ha in late April on the hardtail. Been discussing the possibility of a rager that weekend as well, seeing as it will be my birthday weekend which means nothing when you get to a certain age which has come and gone. Then we have the Hoo Ha Super D and probably a couple of those chunky Michaux races that I choked at last year. What's this? A grip sponsor and a full 9 speed kit on the old VD? You know something is brewing.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Lords of the Ring: The Two Towers

Saturday night at Hannah's going away party, word was spreading about a big Sunday ride in the work; a kind of "Pinky Ring" if you will, which sounded like it would be climbing up Wanoze, riding North to Woodstock Tower and heading across to climb up Milford Gap and riding South to Kennedy Peak. Kyle has been in my ear about doing this ride for a few months, so I was excited to finally give it a go.

Kurt being the magnificent man he is, woke me with the sweet scents of eggs and coffee, before loading up the team van and heading to the JV HQ to scoop Kyle before meeting the others. We drove up to Edinburg Gap where we ditched the vehicles and began our journey. Within the first quarter mile, Matt ripped off his derailleur hanger, so we sessioned the rock garden where I received a pinhole in my sidewall and refused to seal, cramping my style until we stopped at an overlook where I applied some rubber cement to the outside of the tire which was enough to stop the hemorrhage. I didn't recover mentally quite as quickly and I rode conservatively while I watched Matt, Mike and Kyle put a big gap on the rest of us. After a couple regroup stops and Carp's flat, I was able to loosen up a bit and have some fun. Many of us had never ridden that section of ridge in that direction and I was impressed at how different it seemed. We stopped several times to cut out some blow downs with the pocket saw before making a stop at Woodstock Tower. Smoke hung heavy like fog in the valleys as there were several fires burning in the area and from the tower we could see one burning over in the National Park.

Dropping off the ridge through the ATV park and into Edinburg Gap, we stopped at the store to consume some food and re-up on our provisions before heading across the valley and heading up Milford Gap which is a very nice climb at a steady grade right up to the ridge. A very different ridge from the previous as this one had much larger rocks and some steep chutes to either hike up or cautiously bomb down, many having deep leaves concealing hazards such as logs, rocks..... The group began to fall apart a bit, but All- Mountain Mike held down the climbs in Mountain Goat fashion with Kyle not far behind. I was a bit frustrated with my riding on the day, feeling stiff and as though I was bouncing off every obstacle in sight. Kurt took a tumble over a large log when his marsupial arms couldn't pull enough to get a front wheel atop the tree. We all had a good laugh and moved along.

At Habron Gap Mike said it was only 1 mile until Stevens Trail which is pretty much the end of the ridge. With a good deal of energy left in the tank and a feeling disappointment in my riding for the day, I stepped it up a notch and put in some extra efforts to redeem myself emotionally. Pushing hard into some downhill turns and drawing some fresh lines on some rocky bits on the sidelines I began to feel something that resembled flow. I snapped off a couple of photos at some of the chutes but I have no idea where my camera is at the moment. I believe it is in the company of my fresh rubber that was going to go on the bike this week which is also unaccounted for. Anyway, that one mile turned out to be three so I was pretty stoked. As we headed up to Kennedy Peak, the fire damage from the hunter's signal fire was obvious. Did I mention he had Alzheimer's? I cant remember. We hung at the tower and put on some clothes for the descent. The sun was also beginning to hang low so off with the glasses. And down the single track. I was starting to show signs of slumness as my arms were having trouble keeping up with the bike and the brain, so I found myself falling off Carp's wheel on the final descent. I also caught what sounded like Kurt falling off wheel as a scream rang out followed by the crunch of carnage as Carp and I took very different lines over and around a chunky section at speed. Kurt's second dramatic crash of the day. Mike Miranda from "Rad" anyone? A fine sunset road ride back to the cars with a little kick the can along the way as snow began to fall. That's right, short sleeve completely unzipped at noon and then snow. You know it has been a good ride when your head is swimming for rest of the night and your arms and legs get all swool. Since I left my camera in El Segundo, I will just leave you with a picture of Kurt from the Invitational party that I nicked from Sue's blog.



Ooops, wrong photo...




Oh yes, there was a shortage of water on the ride, so I find this one of Kyle appropriate...



So if anyone happens upon a red Specialized bag with a brand spankin' new FR4 tire and camera in it, please return it as that tire was to replace my torn Nevegal. Thanks.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

thats a wrap

Things were not looking so hot on the thumb front, so we took a day and wandered around the town of Jerome, which was a ghost town before artists commondered it. Now its only half as ghostly. I taped up the thumb and got one more ride in before leaving Sedona, hitting Highline again; this time Jimmy from from The Bean. Collin and I peeled off to ride ---- and met everyone back at the shop. Tim spent the day ironing out the wiring woes on the van with much success. We spent the night at Ross' place who had popped out his shoulder earlier in the day. Posi vibes for a speedy recovery. It was 12 degrees in the morning when we piled into our cars and headed south for warmer weather. We hooked up with Gabe in Tempe who works for the company Sue coaches for. We rode South Mountain, which has to be the best in town trail system known to man. I found a fresh silver chain with a dollar sign medallian. I wore it for the remainder of the ride. Great mexican food right around the corner from Gabe's place with a choice wait staff. It was wednesday, or hump day, which means pump day at Gabe's. Gabe hosts pump track sessions every wednesday night at his place. It was chilly, but things were going off in the backyard. Collin was going big on the wall; big enough that his front wheel was on the neighbor's side of the wall. Met more cool folks and there was a photog shooting the action. We were able to convince her to take some runs and I got some crappy photos of her. I rolled out in the morning, looking to the East and heading back to my old life again, leaving the desert in my rearview. Snowstorms and interstate closures made me detour making for a painfully long trip back. 3 full- day pulls to get to Harrisonburg with enough time for a 4 hour nap before the Superbowl ride up to Flagpole Knob. I missed the ride from town as I couldnt get it together in time so I met up with other group at the rec center. Fewer miles but still got to get the goodness back on the ridges of Virginia again. Now I am home once again, feeling haggered, but happy to be showered and in my bed with Lynx. Already looking forward to next year. I will be shooting for 2 months in Sedona.

Tex and Sue on Earl's Loop...



Heading out of the wind for hanging out...



Laxing...



Regrouping...





Rollin' on Highline...



Haywoodya...



At least the swelling has gone down...



Sue makes short work of some ledgy climbing...



Typical scenery on the National Trail...



Tim crosses a natural bridge of sorts...



Plenty of spots to brush up on your skills...



Just a reminder...




Collin puts a track high on the wall...



Beats watching the game in my book...



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The End is Near

A possible broken thumb may spell the end of this tour. Time to wander off into the desert once more before my companions move west once again...