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Monday, December 10

Sick prepping to get sick whuh

Well, shit.

I guess if I had to pick a weekend to throw away to dogs of illness, that was an ideal one.  A mostly sleepless night of coughing on the couch had me a Minute Clinic Saturday morning.  I have to admit, being ill has never been more convenient.  Half the reason I would've never seen a doctor in the past with a (more than) nagging cough was the inconvenience and expense of doing it the normal way.  $75 out the door with Prednisone and Azithromycin in my hands.  Rhonchi, rales, posterior oropharyngeal erythema, etc... so I probably wasn't turning any corners on without pharma.  That knowledge still didn't make it any easier as I looked out my window and saw people riding by my house on their way to the Backyard Trails trying to get some dirt time in before mother nature dumped weather turds on our heads Saturday morning.

But...

Saturday night around 3:00AM, I spent close to a straight hour coughing before The Pie RN came out, made me hop in a hot shower, prepped a better sleeping arrangement for me, and over-the-counter-drugged me to the maximum safe limits.

Professional medical attention WAS the better option that day.  I don't doubt it.

So, no riding and plenty of time sitting round the house watching tube gave me the opportunity to do this:

Not so much of a plan, especially being that there's plenty of conflicting dates and a certain chance of (another) pre-June burnout if I do too much.

The short version:

The Whole Enchilada.

A local 40-50 mile race here in Charlotte that I've never done.  Upsides being the short drive, reasonable entry fee up to two days before the event (so I can watch the weather), and a good early "season" wake up call.  Downsides being that with only open or 40+ categories, I can't take advantage of my new 50+ calling or default to single speed... oh, and I don't think I'll be in the greatest shape at all that early in the year.

The Winter Short Track Series.

Five Sundays in a row of an intense 45+ minutes of racing.  A really good kick in the dick (or vaginan, what have you) for getting in shape, and I get to race 50+... but at the same time that the single speeders are on the course, so still sorta like playing with my little friends.  Downsides being that committing to the whole series means passing up on potenital trips to the mountains that might come along AND skipping the party in the woods known as The Icycle.

The Pisgah Stage Race?

People have asked me why I haven't done it before... and my excuse is that I get to ride Pisgah all the time.  I usually (used to) do stage races to ride somewhere new and follow arrows, but it's been six or seven Trans-Sylvania Epics and seven Breck Epics with one BC Bike Race thrown in there over the last so many years, so mebbe my excuse is losing its validity.  There's a 50+ class AND there would be pretty much zero surprises on the courses/routes.  And I'm not getting younger... so mebbe.

PMBAR.

Doing it. No doubts about that. After not giving a fuck about performance and going on a sad hug of a bike ride with Watts in '18, I owe him an effort that's equal to a "try." That I will do.

Pisgah 111k.

This is a wait and see event. A little too close time-wise to the next two options (less than 5-6 days later).

Trans-Sylvania Epic. (new site coming soon)

On a hiatus in '18 and back in '19 with a new promoter. There has not been one TSE that I haven't been to (although I broke my ass bone and DNF'ed one year), so it's hard to say no to this event.  I love the riding up there for sure, but it means I'd have to pass on...

The Giro d'Ville.

No link, no bells, no whistles... mebbe fireworks.  Underground stage racing at its best.  Compared to the TSE, shorter, harder, lacking in some of the creature comforts (tents in the mud?), a little more logistically challenging, but it packs a punch with a big fist.  I had such a great time there... and I do these kinda races expecting no results, so no pressure.  Just joy... and pain.  Sunshine... and rain.  Give it to me, Rob Base.

Pisgah Enduro™.

Not my forte at all, but way too much fun in the woods kinda close to home.  That said, four days after either the TSE or Giro, it can be a bit much for an old man depending on how poorly I treat my body parts.

Wilson's Revenge.

Once again, not my forte (garvel?), but it's a hard fifty miles of what Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever calls garvel.  If I did the Pisgah 111 (and PMBAR, natch), it "ONLY" puts me one Monster Cross and Double Dare away from finishing the King of Pisgah Series again.  It's also a month and a half after TSE and/or il Giro, so there's a big gap of NO in there that's gotta get filled with something good.

But it do conflict with this:

Dirt Rag Dirt Fest WV.

I've gone the last two years, and it's so much fun that regardless of whether I'm chasing 50+ glory next year or not, it's gonna be hard to miss this event. I love riding the Big Bear trail network, the "scene" befits me, and it's a sinfully delightful mid-"season" break.

Then there's...

Breck Epic.

I did it the first five years in a row and then started going every other year, so I'm due in '19.  I could "race" 50+, slum the SS class once more, or possibly do the 100+ duo category.  The latter has been discussed but with the seriousness of three clowns doing double dutch while wearing their professional attire.  There's also something very special going down this year that I was asked to be a party to, so I gotta think this is a front burner event.

The Shenandoah Mountain 100.

Eleven starts, ten finishes, a 2nd and a 3rd place in SS, and a 2nd in fixed gear (it was a thing we did back then, kids)... so many good memories.  Enough that the past two years I just went up just to be present to witness it.  I've been telling myself I'd return as a 50+ racer for years now, so do I follow through with all the trash talk or just stand around, drink beer and watch others... again?

I'm looking at and thinking of other options, but when you look at the right hand column of the list at the top of blerhg post, you can see how many PTO days I eat up with each event. I'll want to head up to Ohio to see my grandson next year, and Bill Nye and I had been talking about a Wydaho trip as well.

And here I am hoping to just get through another week of work without cough-barfing on my coworkers and mebbe getting out on my mountain bike again next weekend and also getting back on track (as if I was ever there) in my preparations for 2019.

Wish in one hand, shit in the other, write it all down on a steno pad for posterity.

Wednesday, December 5

Heady Topic

So, when Cane Creek announced that they'd be doing a limited edition pink run of the 110 headset (and Slamset), I didn't feel like I had much choice.

I've never wanted too much matchy-matchy on my behk, but when they throw that "limited edish" thing in, I know that means "do it now or never," so I do now.

I was pleasantly surprised when I got it.  I noticed the bearing seals were red, which means they're the new Hellbender bearings.  I wasn't expecting that.

Don't know what the hell Hellbender is?

From Pink Bike:

"The Hellbender bearing is a completely stainless-steel ball bearing. Instead of having the casing, or the webbing, for the balls to sit inside, it's completely contacting all the way around. There's an extra six ball bearings tucked up in there (over what you'd find in Cane Creek's typical 41-millimeter cartridge)."

Stoke was high enough when I got it that I braved the cold and headed out to the work stand I stupidly mounted out on the side porch to install it.

Have press, will travel (no more than fifty feet tho).

Headsets and bottom brackets.  So important yet so utilitarian in purpose that they kinda just blend into the background... usually.

Pink parts and titanium look so perfect together.  Prove me that I'm wrong.

That said, I couldn't part with my Pisgah Monster Cross stem cap for the stock pink one.

That was the last "hard thing" I did in 2018.  Not hundie hard, but definitely a stretch considering the state I allowed my fitness to linger in for most of last year.  Also... garvel.  Not my forte, but still something to do until there's something else better to do.

I decided that I'm gonna try to sit down with a scratch pad and a calendar over the Christmas holiday and figure out a loose idea regarding what to do next year.  As opposed to this year, where I did whatever whenever, I have lots that I want to do, but only X amount of days off work to do them.  I'll need to think ahead... I guess.

And mebbe start actually getting ready to do it all as well.

Monday, December 3

Growed Up

My propensity to make decisions that are not in my best interest has gone down, even if just slightly.  Towards the end of last week, I was planning on heading to the mountains on Sunday to take advantage of the warm (for December) temperatures.  That was all before I got sick tho...

The Pie was up in Ohio visiting the grand baby person a couple weeks ago.   Grand  baby person happened to be sick.  The Pie, also being The Pie RN, she took right to that baby's needs and got all up in that sick.

And then brought it home.

I thought I was in the clear for awhile, but it snuck up on me like the due date on a library book I'm almost done with but can't quite find the time to read.  It was pretty mild at first, enough so that I went ahead and left work early on Friday to sneak in a little solo/so-slow ride before joining in on an organized group night ride.

Follow that experience up with one of those nights of sleep where I'm waking up way too often with a small tear running down my cheek, looking at the clock to see how much time has passed since I did this already over and over...

"Wow, fifteen minutes."

I figured I'd make a decision on my mountain plans Saturday afternoon.  I woke up feeling rough, but within an hour or so, I was out raking leaves, fetching groceries, organizing cupboards...

I don't do very well at sitting still.

I figured I could go for that Sunday ride, but...

The Pie went ahead and kept up her running early on in her illness, and she's got it pretty deep in her lungs right now (and an ear infection, woot).  One could assume that me doing the same will bring about the same.

I decided to not ride in the mountains on Sunday.

A way younger and less wiser version of me once went ahead with a weekend of camping and mountain biking in Pisgah while slightly ill many years ago.  It ended with a night of sleeping in the dirt next to the campfire hacking up a lung followed by weeks of sleeping on the couch waking up coughing and in tears.

So mebbe I'm getting smarter?

The side benefit of all this unexpected free time being that I had mounted a new TV to the living room wall that necessitated moving some pictures that were hung on said wall so I was down under the house in my crawl space/murder room looking for paint and Spackle and found a coax connector that allowed me to add another length of coax to the antenna up in my attic and I had found a drip pan in the back of a cupboard whilst organizing said cupboard that had been shoved way in the back since we moved in a year ago and I was able to do this which makes all TV stations (wanted and also unwanted... 12 shopping channels, I'm looking at you) come in crystal clear.

I realize that often times, I could just go out and purchase things to fix my household problems.  That said, it's much more excite to pretend I'm on an old sailing packet ship crossing the Atlantic ocean, and the only things I can use to fix my vessel must come from the vessel itself.  It adds to the adventure.

Yeth, I know.  Sweet bike blerhg.

I swear I thought I'd be able to get back into the bike related topics, especially after being able to finally put my casual shoe issue behind me.

I'd apologize, but you're getting 100% of the content you paid for.

Monday, November 26

Shü

Many of you are aware of my aversion to pants, long pants to be more specific.  I think about my pants problem (The Problem with Pants) often enough that I actually wrote a post about the traumatic experience of buying a pair of pants back when I did just that.

I still own those pants, and I've worn them to at least one school function, a wedding... and mebbe enough times that I can no longer count the occasions on one hand's worth of fingers.

Anyways, those pants will celebrate their fourth birthday in February '19.

So, I've had another issue with a certain type of clothing.  Shoes.  I don't like them.   As someone who has put a pair of SPD shoes on my haggard feet almost every morning for over two decades and worn them around like normal shoes for nine to ten hours a day, I hate the concept of shoes outside of the workplace.  I was a sandle-man from just about the winter of '95, and from there, I slid into the lazy world of flip-flops.  Easy on, easy off... especially "easy off" when walking backwards down the driveway hauling the garbage and recycling to the curb.

I know they're not super-practical, and in an effort to wear something more appropriate for colder times, I bought a couple different pairs of slip-on, very casual shoes over the past half decade or so.  Too tight for socks and not terribly well insulated.  They were better but still stupid.

I have bought running shoes in that time period, but like most exerciser dabblers, I didn't wanna waste them on non-running type perambulations.  I still have one pair (for mowing and other toe-endangering yard work) and another saved for when I forget that I hate running.  They're both the closest thing I have to normal people footwear.

I've been considering the purchase of said "normal people footwear" a lot lately, even more so ever since I put flat pedals on my beer fetcher bike.

This idea was super-reinforced when Bill Nye and I were out in Bend for SSWC '18.  A night out and about in flip flops in the high 30s was no buenos.  My resolve to end this problem was hardened.

Back in Charlotte, decide to look at Vans.  Too many friends swear by them for comfort and general pedestrian tasks.  Closest place to my house to buy them?  The mall. 

I made it into the mall, found the Vans store, was immediately overwhelmed with the options and the general feeling of being in a mall... left as quickly as possible.

Fail.

A month goes by.

Another night out with friends and low temps and I'm determined to stop the madness.

I found myself in a stand alone shoe store with my daughter.  I figured she's be better at this kinda stuff.  Tried on a pair of Vans, and I felt like a (almost) fifty year old grandpa in a pair of Vans.  Because my only experience on a skateboard was in rural Ohio on a board I made out of a 3/4" slab of maple that I could only ride if I walked a half mile to the church to the only paved lot nearby, it felt way to poseur'ish to appropriate the skate culture at this juncture.

I settled on these:

I can't remember if we're not supposed to buy Nike because of Micheal Vick or we're supposed to buy them because of Colin Kaepernick... or we're supposed to buy them and burn them because of Colin Kaepernick.  Although I like yellow riding shoes, I tend to like to blend into the furniture when being a normal human.

I'd say I'm getting closer to that status everyday.

Monday, November 19

Well... ummm...

The trip to Greensboro did not go as planned, but it went just about as expected.

Nick, Bill Nye and I meet up at The Spoke Easy after work Friday to come up with an itinerary for the weekend.  I drive the Honda Fit of Rage, scoop Bill Nye, then Nick at 7:30AM, head to Uwharrie, ride behks, up to Greensboro, hang out at Revolution Cycles with Watts...

Not much of a plan, but that's that.

Nick leaves to go to a show.  Bill Nye and I assume that Nick will stay out super late, so we sorta decide to do the same.

I end up over-sleeping in a chair at Bill Nye's house and the pre-Wattsing fun ride is canceled.  Get up after 9:00AM, go home, shower... find out that my neighbor backed into my car last night... meh.

Leave, scoop my little friends, get to Greensboro, eat Thai food... hang out at the shop until we cross the 3:00PM threshold to have our first beers.

Watts has a free bin at the shop.  Apparently, some things are not even worth $0.

Stay at the shop until closing and then a whole lot longer.  Watts's Insta-story kinda puts the rest of the evening in some sorta perspective.

Most of that is true (I do own one pair of pants).  It was a very long night, and mebbe we didn't get to bed until 3:30AM, and also the whole thing is a better campfire story.

I'm glad we only do this kinda thing once a year or so. 

Friday, November 16

Still like behks, yeth.

I don't want anyone thinking that my lack of interest re:adding content to the internet here is in any way a reflection of my lack of interest in cycle bikes or life in general.  I still ride bikes.  I like bikes.  My friends like bikes.

I talked Nick "Dip 'n Spray" into a Pisgah day this past weekend.  I was not aware of the sorta crazy wind chill warnings the weather people were anticipating.  Neither was he.  After some sorting out in the parking lot and some redistribution of GORE related items from my hastily packed that morning bag, we were off and riding up Wash Creek Road... and both freezing. 

In the end, no one died, but Nick did have a moment where he thought he was gonna suggest we turn back. 

But he didn't.

In the Pisgah way, I ended up running into my old boss from my almost fifteen years with Mercury Messengers.  That's just how the universe works.  Had we not stopped at Ingles on the way in, we would have never seen him.  Anyhoo... quick catch up and we continued our ride that ended up having N - 1 more creek crossings than I thought it would (sorry), and a happy day in the woods was followed up by some beer time at Spoke Easy once we got back to Charlotte.

Sunday, I managed to squeeze in an hour or so on the local trails after completing many domestic duties.  It's a glamorous life.

And this weekend?

Taking the shit show on the road. 

I have a La Vida Bachelor weekend in store and Bill Nye is bored and so is Nick... so let's go see Watts and end it all (the boredom, that is)!!

Heading out to ride Uwharrie and then to Revolution Cycles for the Cranksgiving event.

Fun to ensue.

Friday, November 9

What's going on?

You might be asking that.

I might be wondering that.

I'm looking at 2019 and thinking about what to do.

There's a certain part of me that wants to recommit to being a "tryer."  I'll be eligible to race in the 50+ class at races where it's an option.  I'd still be racing (one of) my single speed(s).  I do realize that an honest effort has to start soon tho.  Better to now shed the weight, live a slightly healthier lifestyle, and come in swinging in January (Winter Short Track, what?).

But then?  If I choose to make the most of the entire year, which races should I do?  PMBAR is obvs (no 50+ but Watts and I are going to actually "try" this year) and some of the other King of Pisgah races interest me, now that the back-to-back 111k/55.5k weekend isn't part of the series anymore, the 55.5 replaced with a months later garvel race I've never done before.

Trans-Sylvania Epic is making a comeback in 2019.  The idea of doing Breck Epic as a Duo 50+ team has been tossed around.  Another shot at the Shenandoah Mountain 100 in the old fart category?

I should mention that it's not like the 50+ class in the endurance scene is lacking in talent.  It takes more than one hand's worth of fingers to count some guys that I know can readily woop on my ass.  Then take into consideration that I'm at an age where a growing portion of my peers (in general life) are doing things like taking testosterone... something I wouldn't bother with, but after watching Icarus, I understand why someone would.  Asthma?  Sure, grab a puffer and open up those lungs.  Naturally decreasing T levels?  DISCRACED CYCLIST.

Do I give a shit?

Dunno.  It's just bike racing as a distraction from things that aren't bike racing.

Or I can just continue being a pile of shit that relies on old man legs, a certain amount of tenacity, and thoughts and prayers?  That would make it easier to fit in a Wydaho Vanlife trip with Bill Nye, and what about the can't-miss Dirt Rag Dirt Fest WV?   How am I gonna skip that?  Oh yeah, I already booked my room for the NORBA... I mean final UCI WORLD CUP event in Snowshoe next August BECAUSE I'M NOT MISSING THAT (even tho I still don't own normal people footwear for standing around on the side of a WV mountain).

Hmmm....

I was supposed to start doing smart things on November 1.  I told myself so.  Follow-through has been less than ideal.  Beer still tastes good.  So does food and unwanted Halloween candy.

So here I sit in a fog of indecisiveness, staring into the abyss... beer in one hand, behk(s) in the other.