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Wednesday, November 22

Beans don't burn in the kitchen

Today was the day, the cumulative effect of almost two months of adult bullshit effort.

The Pie and I bought a stupid house.

Not this house.  This is the current bike room situation that is packed and will somehow be remade in a quainter setting... eventually.

So, if you've talked to me about the subject of owning a house, renting some place to keep your stuff, or living the van life, you know where I've stood for years.  Renting a place was working well for us.  It really was.

But then came a point where it wasn't and something needed to be done and the stars aligned (mostly because we pushed them across the sky) and we bought a thing.

Damn it.

We had bought a house way back in the early 2000s.  The process of buying was easier then.  I barely remember it.  This time?  The Pie and I have done everything we could to keep our noses clean and our asses debt free for more than a decade, but that didn't stop all the anal probing of the last month and a half.  It was like a scavenger hunt through a time machine.

But anyways, that's where my brain has been for the past many weeks.  Looking for documents, signing shit online and IRL, measuring rooms and furniture, looking at houses and getting sads and happies, inspectors, realtors, and surveys and... I hope it was all worth it.

They say it will be.

Our lives will be a bit messy for a bit, as we move in over the Thanksgiving holiday and try to get settled into our new place.  Yes, while you're eating turkey tomorrow, I'll be shoving boxes into the back of a 17' Uhaul truck (you're entirely welcome to join me).  I've been wanting to live in a smaller place ever since we moved into this last house (the one the tree attacked a year ago), and now I get the chance.  It's not without its challenges tho.  For the first time in more than fifteen years, mebbe twenty?), I won't have a specific place for my bike shit.  That is to say, not one place where I can keep my bikes, tools, gear and other related sundry items.  Things are going to be scattered about the house for a bit until we have time to do something about it, but we got bigger fish to fry at first, so...

my stuff, like everywhere.

Once again, these are the joys of having a gear-intensive hobby.  Just like when I fly on a plane with my bike for a vacation or a stage race, I start wishing I was a skate boarder or mebbe an ultimate Frisbee enthusiast.

I guess that I'm what people call "happy."

I'll have tons of musings coming regarding the move and related life changes.  Until then...

Thursday: Moving boxes, mebbe some furniture
Friday: Moving leftover furniture if I couldn't get it the day before
Saturday: Start putting things in things' places and spend the evening in a beer fueled Ikea Assemble-a-thon.

Join me. Or not.

Wednesday, November 15

Not the "New Bike Day" I wanted... Part 3

Damn.

I'm used to being the early bird getting the worm.  This time, I'm behind in the planning.  I know most of the wild ideas that were made last night were probably drowned in beer.  DOA.

What's this?

A message from someone smart enough to not stay out all night.

"Where you riding?"

I have no idea.  Not a time.  Not a place.  I feel bad that I'm not gonna get to ride with this guy, but I don't wanna drag anyone into this potential shit show.

A post on the team page on FaceBook.  A ride that's happening, but probably sooner than I can get my act together.  That person left the party at a reasonable time.

A text.  Mills.

"Wanna ride Rocky Branch and then all the way over to Poston and back?"

I agree but really have no idea what I'm getting myself into.

The weather looks as dismal as it does promising.  Cold, but not too cold.  A chance of drizzle, but not enough to discourage me from going out on New Bike Day for a ride.  I grab all my shit and remember that I barely ate anything the day before, so I make myself a sammich as Mills pulls into the driveway.

We drive over the South Main Cycles, park the car... get dressed.   The skies are grayer than my tainted brain.  We wait for someone else to show up (Don?  I'm terrible with names).  We head over to Rocky Branch.  It's in the mid-40°s.  Ride most of Rocky Branch and then Mills leads us towards the South Fork Trail.  I know it's about six miles to Poston... in a car.  No idea how long this ride will be.

I'm hungry.  I brought no food.  My water bottle has... water in it.  Meh.

Meet up in the parking lot with Ethan, I eat one of Mills' foodstuffs, and we all head out into some sort of misting precipitation.  I put on my Gore vest.  We're getting moist.

A joyous ride, but as we kept moving, the mist became a piss and then a good drizzle.  Every time we stop, I actually feel the cold and the stupid exposed flannel sleeves are starting to stick to my arms.

We finish with the trails on the side of lower Spencer Mountain, roll into the parking lot, stand there in the piss drizzle discussing what to do.  Don planned his foods as poorly as I did.  He was dying a slow death.  Mills' left crank arm was falling off.  Ethan had enough getting wet.  There was room in his vehicle for one, so Don took the seat while Mills and I rode back towards the shop.

It never really felt like it was raining, but parts of me are certainly soaked.  The temps have dropped down to 40° and the sads are settling in.  Mills and I chat occasionally.  Sometimes, we're just quiet.

My hands hurt.

"Do you wanna cut right down the railroad tracks and avoid a big road climb?"

"Meh."

Mills takes that as an affirmative.    We jostle down the tracks in a way that reminds me of La Ruta, except that my hands are throbbing from being soaked and cold and now tossed all over the place.  By the time we get back to the shop, it's almost 5:00PM.  Ooops.  Had we tried to finish all the trails at Poston, we woulda been riding back on the road... in the dark... with only the borrowed from Don dangle scrotum blinky light keeping us safe.

One quick beer at The Station and a bag of chips, and we drive back to Charlotte after one of the most epic rides I've ever done 45 minutes from my house.

It was a good day... heated seats are pretty sweet.

The only image I took all day because I didn't wanna replace another water damaged phone.

That's solid waste bubbling up there.  I don't know if it was meant to be decorative or not.

Tuesday, November 14

Not the "New Bike Day" I wanted... Part 2

I stayed up too late on Friday.  With no Saturday plan aside from the Spoke Easy 6 year anniversary party at 5:00PM the next day, there was no reason to not spend two hours in the bike room staring at the Ikea website with the family.  20 year old couches that smell like 3,000 different dogs and cats don't replace themselves.

Up Saturday, kill some time piddling about... wait patiently until after 10:00AM.  Text The Dude.  He is in fact continuing with the build assisted by Tumas. I grab my keys and drive over to Bike Source.   The bike is at 70% completion.

I start sticking my hands in the mix and now we're three people on one bike.  At some point, I'm just in the way, so I start looking at bottle cages to replace the shitted out one I was gonna put on my new frame.  Tumas says go crabon.  My emptied out and turned into a two wheeled midlife crisis wallet said plastic.  Tumas, disappoint, mounts it in the manner he felt appropriate.

 I'm all set for some next level Enduro™ amateur homeless personing.

Anyways, shorten all the hydro lines to the point that they're longer than I want, but since I didn't do them, I feel a safe sense of just being okay with that.  Besides, with 800mm bars, I imagine there's some sawing and retrimming in my future.

Learn how to adjust the rebound speed of the Reverb drooper, watch them brake out the plastic Eagle doodad to adjust the rear derailleur, and buneos.  My new bike is built.  It's probably some time after 1:30PM.  Too late to squeeze in a ride and still make it to the Spoke Easy for their pre-party in town pedal.  Plenty of time to go home, bed in the brakes, ride some shitty wheelies in front of the house, and apply some protective tape to the bad rubby things on the frame.

All that done, I grab the Stickel and head out the door at 4:30PM.  Get to Spoke, stand around, look for a ride to assemble... nothing.  After about 45 minutes goes by, I grab a beer and settle in for the evening. 

I get corralled into doing some Gold Sprints.  I get further and further away from the small amount of food I ate in the middle of the day.  Meh.  I don't feel so hot.  No more beer.  Just hang out, have fun, catch up with some people I don't see all that often, try to plan a ride with seventeen different people in forty different conversations.

And then it's 1:10AM.  Somehow, that happened.

A very slow ride home, take off the shoes on the front porch, tiptoe into the house, and drop down on the smelly, soon to be gone couch.

I wake up late (for me) and realize I still have zero solid ride plans for New Bike Day.

Meh.

Monday, November 13

Not the "New Bike Day" I wanted... Part 1

But probably the one I deserved.

I got the call Friday afternoon.  MJ told me that my bike showed up at the shop.

"What do you want us to do with it?"

"Huh?"

"We can build it for you, but we're short handed today, so tomorrow morning at the earliest."

Meh.

Since I was actually buying a complete bike for the first time in a long time, I kinda liked the idea of letting someone else do all the work.  That said, I had told myself that I would get to the mountains as soon as possible when my new bike showed up.  I had already assumed it wouldn't be until next week, so I'd made very loose plans to ride single speed mountain bikes 26 miles to the cyclo rossing race in Huntersville on Saturday, spectate, ride back to Charlotte in time for the Spoke Easy 6th anniversary party, drink beer, limp home.

But now... bike.

The weather.  Predicted to be below freezing in the morning up in the mountains.  Ewww.  I really didn't want my first ride to be a suffer fest either. 

Shit.  I decide that I'll grab the bike tonight and make the most of New Bike Day on Saturday.

Bust ass home after work, toss supper down my throat, get in the car, head towards Bike Source.

Get there, politely grab my giant box, a spare chain link, a rear brake adapter... go to check out.  I can't take it anymore.  I need to peak inside the box.  I wanna see the green paint to verify its green drabbiness.  I yank at the staples and pull back the top...

"Shit."

I'd only seen complete bikes that are 85% assembled before.  This is more like 15%.  I see the saddle, pull it out of the way along with the Fox 36, move some packing material... see an empty hole where a drooper should be.

"Shit."

I don't wanna be all in a rush building a bike up pretty much from scratch, doing things like watching YouTube videos on Reverb drooper installation and sticking protective decals on the frame.  Not all this bike building stuff tryna get my bike ready to ride the next morning.  It's not worth the stress.  I decide to leave it for the next day.

"Shit."

I realize that they're gonna build it all up... with the stock brakes and rotors and then I'm going to pick it up and then I'm gonna have to swap the SRAM stoppers with the Shimano stuff I have at home.

"Shit."

I run back home, grab my XT brakes, rotors, ti rotor bolts, ti brake mounting bolts (I mean, if you have them already, why not?), TruckerCo Cream, and an old, ratted out side loading cage from my pre-King Cage days.  I head back to the shop to drop off my parts and have a closing time beer.

Realizing that there's no reason to not do something, I decide to at least swap rotors and set up the tires tubeless while I drink my beer.  The Dude helps me get the job done, and aside from the fact that the tires were dry mounted front/rear reversed (which caused me to set one up before realizing it was wrong), it all went pretty smoothly.

And that's how things were left Friday night at 8:00PM.

Thursday, November 9

Just Breks

Really... no idea when my JaBronson will show up.  Maybe tomorrow?

Prolly not.

I only have my dangling XT braking bits to look at right now.

As stupid as it is, I let them dangle to get all the packaging curly-q out of them. 

Yeah, when I get my JaBronson, I'm taking the $500+ SRAM Ultimate Guide brakes off and putting on plain old, workhorse XT brakes.  Nothing against you, SRAM.  The brakes that were on the test JaBronson were great, but swapping between bikes is slightly easier (for me) when the brakes are similar.  I've even noticed that going from the XTR Trail brakes on one bike to the XTR (Race?) brakes on another can be a challenging concept to wrap my simple brain around.

Yeah, I'd love to put XTR Trail on my JaBronson, but I've all but blown the budget on this bike.  Besides, the XT brakes are black and stealthy and... aesthetics... because... burrito.

All that and the fact that I've gotten used to the Shimano "two brakes, one cup" bleed technique.  I like mineral oil, and I don't wanna learn new bleed tricks.  One kind of brake pad to keep on the peg board.  The less complex I can make owning a geared bike, the better.

So refreshing to be sweating tiny details of a bike instead of all the other stuff I got going on.  Still a couple more weeks to go, and then life will be crazy and then life will be normal and maybe even better than normal.  Until that time, I'll just close my eyes when I'm feeling overwhelmed and imagine that I'm piloting my JaBronson down Upper Black.

Dark matters.

I have to acknowledge that the time change has some kind of effect on my mental state.  A serious doldrum to start the week, for sure.  An almost inexplicable grayness in my core.  Stupid circadian rhythm or something. 

I'm willing to bet that it's an "old people" thing.

Where are my slippers?

Monday, November 6

Yard... SAIL!

I've been dragging my feet on this for awhile...

I needed to take all the parts from two bikes (and other places) and make one bike that I'd be keeping.  I want to reduce the numbers of bike hanging on the wall, especially when one will be seeing little use once I get my plastic squishy bike.

I mostly wanted to keep a bike built with parts that would at least be great backups for my Vertigo Meatplow V.7.  Crabon frok, crabon wheels (with geared freehub body)... other things.

I've been putting it off because I knew some part of it would be a hassle.

It was.

Firstly, let me say that the local radio station that I never listen to except on Sunday mornings from 8:00AM to noon no longer does The Wiz (all '80s music) for four hours straight.  It's over at 10:00AM.  This used to be my favorite time to piddle in my bike room.  Things could get ugly, but I'd always have The Wiz... until noon... then I can drink beer to deal with problem situations.

Anyways, things went bad.

Stuck seat post.  Digital torque wrench stopped working... which meant I tightened my Paragon Machine Works titanium slider bolts without a torque wrench... which meant I broke one off in the drop out.

I realize this is a stupid spare bike.  I mean, this will be my "not in the mood to ride a tarck bike to the store" bike.  I might be in the market for a "porch bike" at some point down the road, but for now, this is the grocery getter (AKA the pile of good spare parts).

I broke at least three things in the process of building this thing, but I guess that helped me get rid of some of the excess parts.

Speaking of excess...

Industry Nine single speed wheels. Torch platform. Enduro front rim (for increased tire volume). Trail rear. Single speed specific for zero dish rear wheel. Can supply front qr end caps, 15X100, or 9mm thru axle (will include DT Swiss skewer). 142X12 rear or 135 qr.
$450 OBO. Unicorn rug not included.

Custom Misfit 29" single speed frame.  Hand made in Canada by YESS. Tapered fork compatible. Pink Niner Biocentric EBB (doesn't slip). QR 135 dropouts. Post mount rear brake. Bare aluminum.

Woodman seatpost collar and Cane Creek headset included (110 lower and Aeroset (with bearings) upper.

Scratches and stickers included. It's a great frame, but I've got too many single speeds.  Sorta between a medium and a small. Geometry posted below. Fits two bottle cages FTW.
$400 OBO

It's very painful to let it go, but I'd only be keeping it for sentimental value... which is something I don't do.  If I did, I'd still own a 1987 Suzuki Samurai.

And also...

Rock Shox Pike, was originally 150mm, bumped down to 120mm (including the original 150mm air shaft). Fork stanchions are in great shape, lowers have some scratches from use. I ran it with a 29X 2.4 Ardent as well as a 27.5X2.8 Rekon.
Non Boost, 15X100 axle. 173-174mm of steer tube (star nut still installed)

$375



I really want to sell all that stuff locally, but if I had to, I'd ship it.  You'd need to be a patient buyer, because I'm busy doing crap.  I don't have a frame box handy and other excuses.


Friday, November 3

Not your sad dad's Bullit

My first bike from Santa Cruz was the original Bullit.

* It weighed a few hairs more than 37lbs (frame weight was over 8lbs)
* Rear travel was 152mm
* You could run a 160mm fork... but no double triple clamps (warranty voider)... and there was no single crown fork that was more than 130mm at the time.
* The rear triangle had removable canti/v-brake mounts and would only clear a 2.1
* The head tube angle was 69° (slack at the time).
* Tubes in the tires, no drooper, first gen Hayes brakes, square taper bottom bracket, two chainrings and a bashguard.

I've had other Santa Cruz bikes since then.  Three to be exact.  They're all gone too.  I still have my too-big, full-of-holes black Santa Cruz hoodie.

My next Santa Cruz?

Bells and whistles.

It's hard to believe how far things have come.  Ten pounds lighter.  Same'ish travel.  A thousand times more capable.  #blessed

I haven't bought a stock build mountain bike since... the early '90s.  Aside from a few minor changes, this one is coming outta the box and hitting the trail after I get it.  Although I do enjoy some of the aspects of "curating" the perfect bike, I think this is pretty damn close.  Pedals, saddle, breks... mebbe some pink valve stems.

The frame colorway makes me wanna do a few graphic modifications tho.

Once I get it, mebbe I'll get into the meat and potatoes of it all.   Right now, it's just a two dimensional representation on a screen that I'm staring at... and closing my eyes... and picturing me and it going down Black Mountain toegther.  Slight fantasies about "racing" on it next year... because... burrito.

Cross is coming, after all.

Consider this the end result of my third trimester of life crisis machine.