Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Knar!

On the road by dawn and headed West, I stopped for fuel and coffee (the other fuel) before turning South and making my way into the Shenendaoh Valley where I was greeted with the pungent odor of fertilizer and chicken shit. Ah, summer time in the country. I arrived in Harrisonburg at 8am, giving me enough time to get film and hit Mr. J’s for some bagel sandwiches before meeting up at 9am to pile the 5 of us into the little red wagon with bikes and drive another hour and change into WVA in search of the Knarly North Fork. I know what you thinking. “Doesn’t this violate the ever important Ride Time > or = Drive Time equation?” Technically, it does, especially if you are just talking moving time, since one probably spends as much time taking in the views as they would riding the ridge, at least from the halfway point, which is where we would starting. Anyway, I knew it would be a good day, especially seeing as Jim was rumored to be in town for the weekend.

Anyway, we got on the road late due to last minute tire discussions, lack of Stan’s secret juice and no presta adapter, but we got on the road nonetheless. No sooner did we park did the skies open up and began to think we were in for a long, cold day on some slippery rocks. Regrouping at the turn off for the single track, we all hunkered by trees already soggy. The first bits of trail contained inconspicuous off-camber rocks that were treaturus for any tread, but the rain had stopped and the came out to begin the drying process. Select rocks began to show traction, but there were still plenty of sweaty one to keep you on your toes. If you havent ridden the North Fork you should. It has a little bit of everything for everyone. sections of buff and tacky, pine needle coated chicanes break up the chunky chunder fields, and the short climbs are techy in sections with plenty of B-lines in case things are not spicy enough which I highly doubt. There are plenty choice vistas to get you hangout on, or even overnight at, which I have been itching to do since I first rode out there.

This was the first time riding the geared bike up there so I was able to climb so things I couldn’t before, but my fork wasn’t set up to my liking and felt a bit sloppy on the fast chunk. I saw some bits ridden in which I had not seen before and saw some things ridden which I don’t wish to see again. I wasn’t even the one riding and it had me spooked. Almost lost a friend down a large cravass at one point and saw a massive Stan’s slug trail on a rock. I cleaned the knarley knotch toward the end of the ridge from top to bottom for the first time and then the lot of us ripped the DH. Tacky soil where one could see the line in the needles where the previous rider had been, but we kept it pretty tight. There was a bear sighting along the way and I got in a bit over my head on a couple of manuals. Slum town on the road back to the van, a dip in the creek and then back to town for some za. I got back on the road, city bound at 10:30pm, so including hang out time, the drive to hang time ratio worked out just fine. On the photo tip, I made the rookie error of not double checking my settings. 3 rolls of blurry photos as I left it on the B setting. Panos are meh...



Since I have disappointed with the ride photo, I will share some other images that may explain why my camera was on the B setting to begin with.
















Thursday, August 11, 2011

Light Hearted Photos

Here we are, deep in the summer duldrums, waiting for the next big change to come about, be it Fall, or something a bit sooner whatever that may be. I have been sorting through images, old and new and here are a few.

Growing up, this pipe was known as "The Duldrums"










I guess that is all for now.




Monday, August 8, 2011

On Friday, a box showed up at work for me, so I rushed home after a long and not so stressful day at salt mine and scrambled to see what was inside.


There could be anything in there...


Details, details...










Details include custom stem, fork, racks with bottle mounts, and one of a kind graphics. Took it out for a spin around the Watershed and suffered some new bike blues which is to be expected, but felt righteous amounst the rocks. Dicky would have a conniption due to the uncut cables tied and flopping about. I lost a couple of bolts and called it a day early, but not before clocking some good milage, showing the locals of my top secret spring and sitting in a small swimming hole with 6 dudes. My camera took a dump on me due to humidity, heat or just being a finicky, digital, object with too many electronics. It began to work again once I got home. Grrr....

so lets talk the bike. I talked geometry at nausea with Todd at Black Cat and he talked me into trying somethings that were a bit out of my comfort zone such as a top tube that sounded much longer than anything I had previously ridden. I gotta say, the discussions paid off, and the bike felt very comfortable in the rocks. I didnt feel cramped and the short rear kept the bike from feeling slugish on the tight stuff without being to twichy. We rode down "deathmarch" with is an old double track with rollers gallore and the bike felt stable at speed yet easy to pull up and speed jump the rollers. There are a few things I need to sort out on the build, and a suspension fork will be going on, but it was great first ride on the new bike. Now I just need to get single speed fit again.

I pulled out all of the stops on the build as the parts have been accumulating for over a year now.

Wheels are I9 with brown DH spokes and Ardent rubber, the rear being a 2.25 LUST and the front a 2.4 exo set up tubeless

Easton Haven bars with XTR trail brakes(xt rotors) which are amazing

Eno cranks with custom 28t chainring for clearance. Felt a bit small on the flats but good in the crawling rock sections.

Thomson post regal-e seat with carbon rails, king ti cages and headset.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

So you are probably wondering why I am not on my way to Pittsburgh at the moment. Well, that trip was circling the drain for a while then on Wednesday afternoon, an hour before scheduled departure, T-watts contacted me to say that Erika took a digger on the ride home from work and was in the ER; that it would be just me and her. Hmmm, 6 days alone with any one person is enough to make me break in out in a claustrophobic fit and after already taking a week off this month for TdB, the idea just didn’t sound too appealing. It ‘s something the oldtimers call “responsibility.” Back to this idea of being holed up (no pun intended) with folks for long periods of time. This is what made the trip to Sedona so great. I usually feel the need to get away and sit by a river or go hike alone, but the folks I traveled with for 3 weeks were on my level. Nobody was running the show, it was just, “hey so and so has got ride going out, wanna go?” or “Anybody want to head out to this old ghost town?” Man, good times. Very rare that I can stomach someone for more than a couple hours, but my cat is easy going and we can spend hours together talking or not talking.

So I finally got my invoice from Todd at Black Cat and my frame is on the way. Oh, I cant wait! On the invoice there was something listed as “special surprise,” at no charge. What could it ever be? Could this be the meat cleaver that comes with the Ginzu knife set? An extra Sham-wow? A DNA test to tell me I am the father? Only time will tell. It’s gonna be a couple of nail biting, suspense filled days and sleepless nights followed up by some picture heavy posts and ride reports. What is super cool is that I have only caught glimpses of certain areas of the bike at certain stages of the process so the whole thing is going to be one big surprise.

Today, was a day off due to poor planning and expected long ride so I headed out to take some photos and do some riding out at Schaffer/ Hoyles Mill/ Black Hills and I found they had done some nice brushing out there. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I have ever seen it so nicely brushed in the years I have ridden there. Now, if they would only saw out that one tree that is at head height and is a total flow killer… The plan was to stick around town and work on saturday and make money, but I guess I got back on the books too late and it looks like a total waste of a day. Should have gone to the Wilderness 101 after all.

The rest of the weekend consisted of several hours of power on the bike, a sunday morning slumber interrupted by images of slithering serpents of all sizes. From the babies dangling from my pack straps to the head filled holes in the ground and one 51 footer (thats 31 feet longer than the biggest recorded, in my dream at least)that had its body spiraling up a tree and and snoozing up above while I crept by. That sream was immediately followed by a trip to the area with the largest concentraion of rattlers this side of the Mississippi, hoping the dream was not a premontion.

I actually did get in a respectable amount of riding this weekend considering the lack of any scheduled rides or races. One might think I am actually training for the hundred. No such luck. Worry not, I will be there, hoping to have a good time and perhaps do some heckling in the process. Also this could very well be the final weekend spent riding the ew-R so i wanted to get my fill. Anyway, I have no images at the moment so I give some that a fellow named Ralph captured at Michaux last week.

I actually look to going fast here. It must have been on the road as the only time I felt as though I was going fast on trail was on the descent down yellow Hill or whatever it is that has the double log drop that got boosted. My finest moment and not a soul to be seen.


Oh yes, the meltdown captured on digital media. Quite the opposite of the last image. I must have been so wasted that I didnt even see the camera as I always try and put on my poker face when other are looking, be it riders or camera folk.