Monday, March 27

Busy boy.

Saturday.  Strangeness.  Nick "Dip 'n Spray" Barlow has a hankering for a different kinda mountain bike.  I have the similar feels.  What he wants, I might has.  If he wants what I has, then mebbe I get what I think I want... which I still don't really know what it is exactly.

We go for a ride together.  Him on my By:Stickel Meatplow V.6, me on the Vertigo Meatplow V.7.

 He likes history, but deep down he knows he is the future.

Farted around at Anne Springs Close Greenway's trails at a pace that was pretty talkable... when we weren't coasting.  Two Industry Nine hubs make for difficult conversation.

Don't know what Nick ended up thinking about the bike, but if he doesn't buy it, I'm much less motivated to buy something and doing nothing is always easier than doing something.

Later that evening, somehow Nick and I found ourselves in the company of others looking at Sue Haywood while she talked.

My only question was whether or not I got in her way at the 2006 24 Solo World Championship, and if she even remembered the piece of shit guy wearing a wife beater riding on the 26" rigid single speed with pink wheels.

Meh.  Went looking for an image from the race.  Got distracted.  Here's me trying to crawl inside my 2007 BC Bike Race duffel bag.  Welcome.

I remember asking.  I don't remember her answer.  Stupid beer.

Sunday, I woke up a little foggy.  It's only our second (or third?) night back in our bedroom.  It's a bit disorienting.  Needed to get up and get out for trail work at the Backyard Trails.  Reconnecting the old Tech Loop that was eviscerated by the new greenway.

 Same shit. Different day.

 Satan wieners.

I don't know what these people were doing.  They look pretty good doing it tho.

By the end of it all, we got the remaining work that needed to be done completed.  I'm super stoked, as this is the closest real trail to my house.  Enough mileage and features to make it worth getting out of bed in the morning. 

Looking forward to being less productive and more racer boi next weekend.

Friday, March 24

The Tour duh Charlotte '17 Aftermath: Day Dos

Monday.  Ouch.  I feel the effects of everything.  I had forgotten to eat Saturday when we got back to the mill, and when I got home on Sunday, I was hitting the scales at 126.8lbs... which was way too light.  My body was behind and Sunday's efforts to re-hydrate and put some good food into my stomach were derailed by available beers and the sorrow of Watts's stolen bike that needed to be drowned.

I was holistically worse off on Monday than I was the previous day.  That, and I started really feeling the effects of all the actual running I did on Saturday.  Which was a lot.  Running.  Who does that?

Sunday's efforts at least produced a clean bike, a semi-organized bike room, updated decals on my NOX Composite rims, a blog post written and the discovery of a malfunctioning XTR brake lever that would need fixed pretty much ASAP.

I know, a little low key for me... but... burrito.

Then comes Monday.

On my ride to work, I'm looking at every nook and cranny I can see where a bike could fit.  I know it's pointless.  I even go out of my way to cruise past the bus station where the bike parking is.  Nothing.  Maybe on my half hour lunch break, I'll ride out to the mill and poke my nose into the woods along the greenway.

I post up a $200 reward to anyone that can get their hands on Watts's bike on my Facebook wall.  I figure I've got some friends out there that have the spare time and would take up the hunt if properly motivated.  I don't know if it will help, but it's really the only thing I can think to do.

Sometime around 11:00AM, I see my phone going off from across the room. I don't recognize the number.  I don't normally answer strange numbers.  I feel like I need to tho.

It's a friend of a friend, someone I rode with once or twice.  I'll keep his name out of this for sake of his privacy.  Anyways, he says he's at a pawn shop, and he's looking at the bike right now.


My cell reception is terrible in the building.  He's cutting out.  He wants to know if I can get there ASAP.  Can Watts get here ASAP.  I tell my boss I might have to cut out and explain the situation.

From there, without spoiling the story which belongs to Watts, more phone calls and texts and cries for help and cops and the hero of the day ends up going home with the bike.

I scoop it up after work and somehow all is right in the world again.  I should mention that our hero would not accept any reward.  He even turned down my offer of a long, awkward hug as well.  He did take my non-Trumpy handshake tho.  Twice.

As much as some of us loathe a lot of what we see going on with social media nowadays, this is a case where we used it as a community and made the world a better place.  Thanks for all the caring and sharing.  I'm so happy for my little friend who went from "meh" on Friday to stoked on Saturday to crushed and defeated on Sunday to triumphant on Monday.

It's all relative tho.

Watts stopped by last night to take his baby back home.

Balance restored.

And if you're not on the social medias with me, you missed all the fun I had with his bike while it was in my tiny hands (you get zero captions too).

Thursday, March 23

The Tour duh Charlotte '17 Aftermath: Day Uno

I wake up in the shipping container to the sound of birds chirping.  My bibs are at my feet in my sleeping bag.  At least I didn't sleep in my clammy chamois.

Unzip my bag and crawl out onto the concrete.  Stand up.  Check my pockets.

I have the keys to everything at the mill.  My car keys are in the other pocket.  Good boy.

I also have a blinky in my jersey pocket.  My knee warmers are still in place.  I check my car, and my bike is locked to the rack, my phone in the glove box... near dead but still functional.

I'm the only one awake, so I head over to the mill and start the cleanup.  I drag shit to the edge of the loading dock, and the noise I'm making is enough to roust Zac and Kate from their slumber.  Watts crawls out of his car, rubs his eyes, takes a leak.

"Where's my bike?"

Dammit.  I guess since my bike was locked to my car, Watts's bike became the proxy victim to the game Hide Dicky's Bike.  I help him look for it... everywhere.  In the dark as fuck mill, behind things, in the bushes, in the other shipping container, in the port-a-potties... likes I said, everywhere.

My phone dies using it as a flashlight and we still have no bike.  We come to the final conclusion.  It's stolen.

Gawdammit.  A first for the Tour duh Charlotte.  Four years was a good run tho.

Watts considers his options.  The rest of us continue to clean up.  Dragging.  Sorting.  Piling.  Watts waves down a passing cop.  The officer tells him that he'll keep an eye out, but Watts still needs to file a report.  I try to console Watts with what I know about homeowners insurance.  It doesn't really help.  He decides to just drive around... looking.  I would do the same, but I know it's pointless.  It's just part of the grieving process.

He comes back empty handed.  With nothing left to do, he says goodbye and leaves.

I'm super bummed.  I knew Watts has been feeling "meh" lately, and I invited him down here for good times.  To show him all the happy people and bikes and beers and foods and funs.  He wakes up to a van that won't start and ends up leaving without his one and only mountain bike.  Fuck.

The three of us continue to clean up until we have everything piled on the loading dock... but where is... anybody else?

We have the keys and the desire to go home, and I have a dead phone.  Zac makes some phone calls.  Doesn't connect with a whole lotta others.  I don't wanna be trapped here.  My phone has been plugged into my car for an hour, and it still won't turn on.  This could be a problem since I use it for work related activity.

We take everything we stacked up and stick it all in the lockable shipping container.  At least we can lock everything down and get the keys to... someone?  Later?

As soon as we get everything loaded up, the cavalry starts to roll in.  Relieved of duty, I make my way home in the Fit of Rage.  I heat my phone in front of the air vents while charging, and I hear the noise that indicates it's not perma-dead.  My disaster sorts itself out.

Get home, unload my car, stare at the mess I'm going to spend the rest of the day sorting out.  Realize I'm still wearing the clothes I put on at 5:30AM the day before.

Clean myself and all the things and think about my little friend and his stolen bike the rest of the day.  Told myself I'd stay away from beer for awhile after last night and then just don't.

Stay tuned for the happy ending.

Wednesday, March 22

The Tour duh Charlotte '17: Part три

Same preface as the past two days.  Putting on the Tour duh Charlotte is a big team effort.  I am but a cog in the Faster Mustache machine.  My tale is the only one I can tell tho, as I only spent the entire day with myself.

After making sure I still had all the things I would not want to lose, I head over to the spectator area of the Backyard Trails stage.  Lots of happy faces under a now clear sky watching the racers finish the very last bit of competition.

photo cred: Zac Avant
Once we got everyone in, it was time for the long eight mile slog back to the Savona Mill where our day originally began.  A shitty climb up the now busy Tyvola Road and we get to the bike lane/path/good times.  I'm riding with Watts now and he quickly realizes we're on the same route as the infamous Watts Fappening.

"I want to stop at a brewery." ~ Watts

A conversation ensues about which of the seven or eight breweries that we're about to ride by is the least douchey, most convenient, has the best beer selection, and wouldn't be (terribly) crowded.  We decide on Unknown, and as we approach, we pull out of the peloton and park our bikes.  I run in, make the purchase, we see Nathan and Bill Nye riding by, snag them, and now we are four.  Finish our beers... roll in together.  Not in time for me to get in the team photo tho.

photo cred: Weldon Weaver
The scene upon arrival is amazing.  So many people.  The line for food is stretched around as far as I can see.  I've only had a slice of pizza and my handful of bacon since my breakfast at 4:30AM.  Meh, I guess beer is food too.

The rest of the evening... things got hazy.

photo cred: Erik Minman
There was that.

And some of this:

photo cred: Weldon Weaver
More people than normal stuck around until it got pretty late (late for a 47 year old).

photo cred: Weldon Weaver
Joey using the bullhorn to educate the people on all things celestial...

photo cred: Weldon Weaver

photo cred: Weldon Weaver
while I used the bullhorn to de-educate them.

Things started to thin out, and eventually it was just Zac, Kate, Watts and myself.  We had planned on sleeping... somewhere on property to kinda keep an eye on all our team stuff until cleanup the next day.  Watts, who was unable to live the  #vanlife because his van had given up on the "life" part that morning, slept in the back of his Honda Fit.  Kate, Zac, and I huddled into the open-sided shipping container and melted into a beautiful slumber.

Yes, there is more to the story coming.

Tuesday, March 21

The Tour duh Charlotte '17: Part Deux

Same preface as yesterday.  Putting on the Tour duh Charlotte is a big team effort.  I am but a cog in the Faster Mustache machine.  My tale is the only one I can tell tho, as I only spent the entire day with myself.

The stage I'm in charge of making a working thing seems much bueno.  I'm delighted to see people ride up a decades-old, rock-strewn line nobody even looks at anymore... more delighted to see them fail tho.  I get a chance to finally relax (a little).

photo cred: Scott Pagan
Jeebus.  I stress too much to be cut out to do this.  Worried about things like having enough beer to hand to spectators, lap counting, tape pulling, sagging to the next stage...

I can't wait to be removed from any and all responsibility.

The stage ends and everyone is unscathed... well, at least moving and not ded.  My two impromptu volunteers help me scoop all the tape, and we head to Stage 3.

A mostly uneventful ride over with a small amount of saying "you're sagged and I'm sorry," and we roll into our one stage that's not exactly a real mountain bike trail.  We regroup with everyone waiting to hear if the stage is ready to go.

Colin is in charge and had been out marking the course before we got there.  He and I are the most "intimate" with the area.  He says that it's so impassable that they haven't even been able to make their way around the entire course to tape it yet.  We're going to have to cancel the stage.

Colin's bike.


Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck. Fuck.


What to do?

I scratch my head.  Think.  Ummmmm.

I thought I was done thinking?

Realize that no matter what we have to get from shitty point A to shitty point B and as shitty as things are, just getting from one place to the other will be hard.  Fuck it.  Get the party pace as far as they need to go and have the racers battle it out in the mud from here to there.  No laps on the planned loop.  Straight point-to-point.  It won't be fun, but it will be hard. I grab all the Faster Mustache teammates I can get my hands on so I can deposit them along the way as human course tape... because this is going to work?

photo cred: Ben Ullman
Jeebus Crackers.  The way we have to go to get to where we need to be... it's normally the best conditions of the entire place.  Tires are freezing up and clogged with mud.  People are at the side of the "trail", pulling and scraping mud off in an effort to get rolling again.  It was pretty surreal.  Lee gets the Party Pacers all in place, and we get the human tape where it needs to be, and the racers fight their way through 1.5-2 miles of pure shit.  It was... amazing.

And then we move on to lunch.

photo cred: Greg Cole
Which was still sorta a slog but not so bad?

A few miles later and we ended up at Noelle's house under blue skies which went dark and then wet and the bright flashes and rumbles of thunder and what the fuck?

photo cred: Greg Cole
Noelle kicking at everyone in sight and demanding grass seed.  Okay, not really, but the team owes her something big time.

With 250 or so people, we quickly realized we needed a four man team on two taps to keep the beer flowing as fast as possible.  Two guys pouring and two guys moving poured beers to the table, pumping the kegs and getting more cups desleeved (I'm a born natural at desleeving).  All tasks being performed one-handed, of course.

photo cred: Erik Minman

photo cred: Weldon Weaver
But two if need be.

And just as fast as we had been deluged with some strange rain at the most convenient part of the day, the skies cleared and we were able to move on.  Somehow, I was once again pressed into service, although I had been consuming at a rate that did not incorporate the possibility of more responsibility.  Easy job tho.  Just get the racers from point A to point B with almost zero logistical thinking.  Okay.

I get the racers where they need to be and lose my phone for the fourth time, but for the first time, I just lost it in my backpack and not on the ground or in a puddle.  Phone, keys, money... move on.

Part three of the saga... soon?

Monday, March 20

The Tour duh Charlotte '17: Part Uno

I want to preface this post by saying that putting on the Tour duh Charlotte is a big team effort.  I am but a cog in the Faster Mustache machine.  My tale is the only one I can tell tho, as I only spent the entire day with myself.

I wake up at 3:30AM,  and I realize it's Tour day.  All kinds of things coming blasting about inside my cerebral cortex.  I can't stop thinking.  Tired of looking up into the darkness, I get out of bed at 4:20AM to just do whatever until I need to leave for the venue at 6:40AM.

Drive over and get to work.  Arranging shit.  In the drizzle.  Wondering what the weather gods have in store for our day.  Shit.  We had a "dry plan" and a "wet plan" for quite awhile.  Three days ago, we decided "fuck everything, dry plan."

It's apparently not going to be dry.

photo cred: Ben Ullman
I have nothing better to do, so I roll down to the parking area to see who I know.  I quickly notice that our awkward parking area is filling up rather quickly.  Ummmm...

Do we have a plan for this?  Dunno.

I start trying to figure our where to squeeze who and what, and as I see us approaching critical mass, I start riding all the side streets I can find, looking for street side parking.  I discover something that doesn't look terrible where it looks like people that live there might park their cars and start directing people over there... the whole time knowing that if I'm wrong and they get towed...

Mebbe I go home early.

I start sending everyone there anyways.

Around 9:00AM, the vehicles are showing up faster than I can handle them.  People are parking in ways that are no bueno.  9:15AM and I get a call on the radio that I'm supposed to be at the volunteer meeting.  Meh.  I cry "help" and just leave as soon as someone else jumped into the shit soup.

The ride starts, and Colin and I leave early to pre-cork an intersection.  Even tho I had a good part in figuring out the route for the day, I brain fart and we miss a turn.  No big deal.  We turn around.... and see the pack of 250 riders coming right at us.  Woops.

Hurry up a bit and cork those couple places and move on to Stage One with the group.  I need to collect my volunteers... and I find one of two.  50% is better than 0%, I guess.  Two guys from Atlanta volunteer to jump in to fill the void and eventually we find Bike Town Mayor, Jeff.  We roll on rather quickly to my stage at Renaissance Park.

I figure out a way for us to tape the course in the fastest manner I can think of, stopping, measuring, moving to the next spot while someone else does the actual taping.  As we make our way around, the tape I pulled for myself from our huge stockpile starts to dwindle.  Funny, because I was in charge of the tape and gave most of it to the other stage coordinators so they would have plenty.  One turn away from being done, and we run out.  Doh.  We drag logs and barrels and whatnot over everything we can't tape.  Dammit.

I head out for one lap by myself and drag even more debris into ambiguous areas.  I feel the worst thing that can ever happen (that you should be in control of) is people getting off course because of poor markings.  Not on my watch. 

My radio goes off.  Everyone is arriving.

I nab all the racers and take them to the very wide start line heading across some soggy grass fields funneling into a two-wide hole in the woods.  On purpose.  Because.

Start the race and head off to find my beer and my bike...

Which of course has been hidden from me.


I expected as much but not when I need to not be looking for my bike.  Fortunately, Bill Nye tips me off to my bike's new location so that I can enjoy the very carnage that I did thus intend to create.

photo cred: Ben Ullman

photo cred: Weldon Weaver

photo cred: Weldon Weaver

photo cred: Weldon Weaver

photo cred: Weldon Weaver
 photo cred: Weldon Weaver

photo cred: Weldon Weaver

photo cred: Weldon Weaver
That's Watts and his bike.  It was stolen later that night (after the after party), and there is a reward for that bike or the balls of the thief.  I love this man almost as much I love shirts without sleeves, so if you see this bike, get at me so he doesn't have to ride PMBAR like this:

photo cred: Ben Ullman

More tomorrow (mebbe).

Thursday, March 16

Earth below us

Tour duh Charlotte go time.

Too much to do from now until it's over and done with Saturday night.  So looking forward to the event.  Kinda ready to get it over with.  I wonder what I'm going to be staring up at the ceiling and thinking about this Sunday night.  No more details to sweat.  Good times all behind us.  Nothing to anally compulse over for quite awhile.

Mebbe I could spend some time refining my morning processes and get my seven minute breakfast down to a six minute breakfast.  I know they say it can't be done, but they were able to fake a moon landing and no one thought that would ever be possible back in 1825A.D.

As soon as I can get through the very potential fog that I intend to create this weekend, I will post up my Tour duh Charlotte experience, which is never as good as the one people participating have, but I think that's how it's supposed to work.

Should be close to two hundred shining happy people holding hands on Saturday morning.   Seems like a fuck ton to me.