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Wednesday, July 11

Suspended Animation

This past weekend, I was expecting a couple days of living La Vida Bachelor.  Much riding in the mountains and nonsensical good times with friends.

That was before I made my foot worse by riding during the Grand Targhee trip.  I knew it was a bad idea.  I went anyways.

So, I made my Stickel beer fetcher up for work to finish out the last two weekdays.  Riding fixed/brakeless was too much for my foot and was only making it worse.  I rode home Friday during a storm that managed to dump almost three inches of rain on my backyard (dismantling bits of it again in the ensuing rapids).  So, get home, reassemble pieces of yard, and settle in for a weekend of doing as much nothing as possible.

It almost killed me. 

Aside from a few domestic duties, I did so much nothing.  I did soft pedal out to a brewery or two to commiserate with Bill Nye on Saturday, but otherwise, I was staring at screens most of the time.

I went absolute bat shit crazy.

This is what you see when you get to the end of Instagram, in case you were wondering.

All this in the hopes that I'll be recovered enough to go to the Dirt Rag Dirt Fest on tomorrow.  I've been looking forward to this for some time now, and the idea of not going was enough to keep me (almost) couch bound all weekend.  Fortunately, there was enough Tour de France and UCI World Cup mountain biking on TV to fill almost half my free time.  The other half, I rolled around on the couch feeling as if my compass was screwed up.  Being nonproductive as well as inactive does nothing for my mental stability.

I might have organized my clothes in the closet as well as my sock drawers.

And by "might have," I mean I totally did.  I stopped just short of organizing my t-shirt piles by color.

Let's see how three more days of taking it easy (and riding a 32 X 18 mountain bike at work) shakes out for me.  The idea of just going up there to drink beer and people watch sounds only slightly better than another weekend of couch life.

All that said, I'm mostly super-pissed at myself for over-doing the whole running thing and having it affect my super happy fun times.  To think I only started running to gain some fitness and be healthy, and it's had the ass-opposite effect entirely.  Being injured in July because I'm a moron blows.

*sigh*

Expect nothing from me tomorrow.  I've bought plenty of beer and just enough junk food in anticipation of going to Dirt Fest.  I'm focused on making the most of it, even if I'm just going to the Find Your Line Suspension Clinic to learn about suspension set up, function and maintenance.

Even if I don't currently have any "suspension."

Monday, July 9

Grand Targhee: Part Three (of some)

I woke up on day 2.5 after a day of travel and a day of riding, and then I put my feet on the floor. Standing hurt.  My foot was shit.  Sad.

Once again, I was up way before Snorkel's coffee was available.  Ibuprofen and then a waiting game.

Eventual coffee, breakfast with the others... I'm able to hobble about carefully.  Rumors of a big climb to start the day loom.  Forty five minutes at Enduro™ pace.  The rest of the ride, described as "down country."

Sarah, Alex, Dave, and Dan... joined by Dustin (the guy who referred to the ride as "down country") and manager of the Habitat, Mitch, all headed out of the resort and over to the southeast. 

We spent some time on Andy's Trail before being told that the Andy had built a lot of the trails we'd be riding today. Of those, the one's with musically themed names were thusly because that's what Andy was listening to while he was building them.  It wasn't necessarily an arduous climb, but we definitely earned our way up high.  Thankfully, the trails were built with a very bike-friendly gradient, so at least I didn't have to hike/hobble at all.

There was a no-bikes-allowed trail to a scenic view... of the Grand Tetons.  I don't wanna hike/hobble much, but I will to see this:

We waited until the clouds parted for a full view of all three peaks before getting back to the business of riding our bikes.  Down 38 Special... the trail with like a thousand bermed switchbacks on the way towards the bottom.  I spent most of my time fuddling between two or three different bad cornering techniques I've developed over the years while also going back and forth between Hold On Loosely and Caught Up In You playing in my head.

Then down Rocky Mountain Way to Mill Creek to the shuttle.  A quick drive later, and we were at Forage Bistro and Lounge.  We were all treated to a Buratta Burger, and mebbe I had a two beer lunch... because I could.

When in Rome, be gluttonous.

We hopped back in the shuttle to head out for a quick loop on the Idaho side of things.  Bovine Bliss to Shark's Belly to Bumper-Cody's... and somehow back to the parking lot.  In a nutshell, this ride had all the Idaho.  Open meadows with the wind blowing me over, to brown dirt surfing in the trees, to high grass lined narrow ditch navigating with the occasional aspen tunnels.  It was beautiful and all too short... if I wasn't ready to cut my right foot off already.

Back at the bottom, Mitch had a cooler full of beers, so I was in no hurry to get anywhere.  When we finally left, we headed to Habitat... where there was a fridge full of beer.

"Wanna beer?" ~ Mitch

"Uhhhhhh... duh?"


One beer and then another as we all walked around the shop and ogled until it was time to go two stories up to Tatanka Tavern for beers and pizza.  I'm super stoked because I got to order Ninkasi, but also because I got to meet the Andy.

He regaled a bit with his incredible history of helping with the first MTB race at the Olympics (Conyers) and the Worlds in Vail (right after 9/11).  It was all humble and no brag.  If he hasn't already been profiled in a magazine (and he'd be willing to), he needs to be.  He did seem like one who might shy away from the limelight.

Anyways, we had to call it a night and drive back to the resort.  When we got back, it was all goodbyes and good to meet yous.  We'd all be heading out at different times in the morning, going our separate ways.  I retreated to my room and by self-sabotaged, IPA smelling bed for the night.

For only spending 2.5 days here, I was going to miss these people and this place.  I'm super glad I decided to join in on this one.  Now, my only problem is trying to figure out how I'm gonna get back there.

Friday, July 6

Grand Targhee: Part Two (of some)

After the lift-served morning ride(s) and lunch, we were headed out to the Rick's Basin area for some XC action.

My foot was hurting a bit from slamming down the mountain all morning, but at least I wasn't on a hard tail, so okay.  We got up and out from the resort pretty quick, and within minutes, I couldn't see from whence I came.  It felt like we were out in the middle of nowhere... which I guess we were.

I know that I've been some sweet places, many of them out in this westerly direction... but still, I don't know if I've ever seen anything like this.  The high meadows, the snow covered rock mountains, dope aspens, huge valleys below me.

I'm not normally one for views (I can find them on the internet), but these were truly something else in person.  We spent some time soaking it in, and somehow no one thought to bring a trail beer?    We needed to get back for dinner, so I followed Alex's wheel as best I could (he's only 22 years old).

I look at that map now, and I don't think I could even come close to guessing our route.  I only know that we were out there long enough for me to drink my entire bottle of water but not so long that I was dead.

Oh yeah.  My foot.

It was acting up pretty bad after the ride.  I remembered there was an ice bucket back in my room, so I assumed there was an ice machine in the Sioux Lodge.  I couldn't find it.  I called the front desk.

The ice machine is in the Teewinot Lodge... which was way closer to where I was just dropping off my rental bike, but at least I was headed back that way for dinner in a bit.  I shoved a ziploc bag in my pocket and went over to The Branding Iron to get my grub on.  After we got done eating (I aimed calorie-low with a salad that was so big I could swim in it to make up for the over-nachoing I'd done earlier), I was gonna go get ice, but someone smarted than me suggested I just ask the waiter to fill my bag.

I did and he did and now back to my room for some HBO, rest, ice, and elevation.

I was about at the point when Andy Kaufman (played by Jim Carrey) gets diagnosed with cancer when I realized I could feel some moisture on the comforter.

Shit.  My ice bag was leaking all over the foot of the bed.  I set my beer down next to me, sprung into action... and spilled my beer in the process right at the head of the bed.

Dammit.

Go grab some towels, soak up what I can, consider sleeping in one of the smaller beds in the room... and just end up sleeping on the moist, IPA-smelling towels.

Wake up the next day, again way too early to get coffee... barely able to walk about the room.  Grab some ibuprofen and wait until 7:30 AM (first coffee) comes so I can get started all proper like.  We've got a full day of "down country" riding ahead of us.

Thursday, July 5

Grand Targhee: Part One (of some)

I might have already mentioned that when I was invited out to Grand Targhee, I initially had no idea where it was that I was agreeing to journey.  Come to find out that it's in Wyoming and incredibly near Idaho... and I'm reminded of all the images that Sam (co-owner of The Hub and Pisgah Tavern) posts from his Wydaho Vancations on the social medias.  Secure in the knowledge that the riding is good enough for him and his friends to drive a Sprinter across the country, stoke levels were high as the trip was coming up.

There was a moment of slight anxiety when I arrived in Idaho Falls, as my ground transportation was waiting for me in Jackson Hole, but ten minutes later, I'm in an Uber and headed for the resort.  If anything, I got an hour and a half of practice at making conversation with someone I'd never met before... something I'd be doing for the next three days.

Get there, settle in... dinner at The Branding Iron with Sarah and Alex from Thorpe Marketing... eventually meeting Dave from NSMB.com and Dan.  I order wild game meatloaf, despite feeling a bit like the Cracker Barrel option, but c'mon.  Wild game wrapped in bacon?  In.

Anyways, I stayed up kinda late even though I'd been up since 3:30AM MST, hoping that maybe I'd sleep in until mebbe 7:30AM... but my body wasn't having it.  I was up when my body said we should should be but it totally shouldan't have.  I went looking for coffee around 6:00AM and found that I was the only one out and about at the resort, save for a few employees.  Snorkels (the breakfast cafe) didn't open until 7:30AM.  Obvs, I don't travel well.

Met up with everyone else for breakfast at 8:00AM, and soon enough it was time to pick out a bike from the assortment of demo rigs at Habitat.

"How do you feel about a Yeti 5.5?"

"I feel very good about that."

I fulfilled my self-promise to go over the bike, adjust tire pressure, brake lever reach, saddle angle and height... all before the riding started.  At least I got something right.

We started the day riding lift-served trails.  Awesome possum.  Up the smaller Shosone Lift to warm up and then Dreamcatcher all the way to the top.

I've only ridden a handful of lift-served resort type trails in my lifetime.  While some of the options down were the typical flow/table top/berm/super wide trail, there were plenty of, for lack of a better word, "trails."  Just good old, high speed, slam bangity goodness.  Less bike park feel and more the reason I ride a mountain bike.

Also, mebbe some views.

We get a few runs from the top, and Dustin (our guide this morning) says it's time for lunch, or...

"Anyone wanna get one more run in?"

I didn't fly all the way across the country just for food.

We go back up one more time and stopped in at the nature center to warm up and look around before our last run.

A reminder that we're sharing the mountain with others.

Anyways, one more run and down to the Trap Bar for some lunchables.

A couple beers and just about as challenged as I've ever been by a plate of nachos, I surrendered right there.  Sarah's plate (in the background), a study in mopishness.

I could have easily went right back to riding the lift until they turned it off on me (despite my ridiculous fear of heights), but we had some cross country stuff to do... and I guess I needed to burn off the thousands of calories I'd just put inside me.

Friday, June 29

Oh, it's in Wyoming...

A couple things to catch up...

If I could kick mine own ass right now, I would.  I'm still walking with a limp from doubling my mileage in one run in just a week's time.  I shoulda known better.  I think I actually do.  I had over-pronation issues way back when I used to run in high school and college.  Instead of buying whatever shoes I found on sale, I shoulda done my research and bought some pronation control shoes.  I ordered some a couple days ago, and mebbe they'll be here when I get back from Grand Targhee.  Super mebbe I'll be capable of higher speed ambulation then too.

Also, this:

I only had one pair of "running shorts" that I bought at the same time I got the trbl shoes.  It seems that the fashion of running has gone towards shorts that reach down to the knees.  Dumb.  They're like sleeves on a cycling jersey in the summer.  Pointless and performance restrictive IMHOMO.  When it's hot AF, I want to wear as little as possible.  That and back when I was a runner, this is the kinda short I wore.  They just feel right... and I guess if I ever got on a mountain bike cycling sport race podium, these would be proper attire there as well.  Yeth, when I head out the door in my Gore R5 Split Shorts, I'll feel like I'm in my underwear.  That's not my problem.


This space was reserved for 
a rear shot of the shorts, 
which upon further review, 
I decided to spare you of seeing.
 
On a mountain bike cycling related note (this used to be a bike blerhg), I had planned on taking the Meatplow V.7 Vertigo with me to Grand Targhee.  They were cool with footing the bill for transport, so why not take my favorite bike along for the journey?

I'll tell you why.

I got the itinerary for the trip about a week ago.  They're gonna keep us busy while we're there.  Right off the bat, we're doing a "downhill ride."  I assume that's in the bike park.  Sure, I'm willing to ride (and walk) whatever on a rigid frok, but I'd probably borrow something more park friendly.  Then there's an afternoon XC ride and two more the following day.  All those rides are @2 hours.

Mebbe six hours of riding and then there's the fact that over four days, I'm traveling for two...

Putting my bike in a travel case, lugging it around the airport, building it Saturday night (instead of relaxing and taking it all in), just so I can stick it back in the case Monday night (instead of relaxing and taking it all in), more lugging.... and reassembling when I get back to Charlotte at midnight so I can ride on the Fourth of July?

I think I can find something on this list that will do it for me:

Yeth, I could ironically ride a Bronson, I guess.  I'll probably try something else tho.  Doesn't matter, much, as none of those bikes are slouches.  I'll just have to remind myself to not get distracted when I'm setting it up, and mebbe do a thorough enough job that I'm not wasting my trail time fiddling with the bits.

Excited about a change of scenery and weather and lifestyle, even if just for a bit.  Even if I'm hobbling around the whole time.

Dammit.

I'll be back (virtually) in a week.

Tuesday, June 26

Oh no, Gears are Falling

The new bike that I'm slowly building in my brain will most certainly have some particular parts that I have been wanting to put my fingers on and some I've fingered already.

Ergon SME3 saddle, ESI Racer's Edge graps, TOGS, XTR pedals, and KMC 9 Spd SL chain.  XTR Trail brakes not shown because (long story) they're on my beer fetcher for the time being so I can stop and stuff.  There's also some King Cages on the same rig that will be moved over when I have something to move them over to at some point.  These are all things that make me happy, so no need to waste money on new new.  Oh yeah, there are some new takeoff finned pads from the XTR Trail brakes in the picture that I've been meaning to sell, but... burrito.  Someday, I guess.

But the new new?

This fjork:

I remember Eric McKeegan (now esteemed Dirt Rag editor, then not tho) telling me he's never gonna run anything less than 120mm up front, and I went ahead and bought a 32 Step Cast anyways.  "Pointless," I believe he said.  Although it was the most pleasant experience I've ever had with a 100mm fjork, it was still just 100mm.  It provided "comfort."  That's about it.  I dunno if I felt any faster than when I was on a rigid bike... just not beat to death on long descents.  Ever since I started reading the press releases about the 34 Step Cast coming out, I knew we were meant to be together.

The most recent time that I had the Meatplow V.6 Stickel suspended, I started with a 150mm Pike and dropped it down to 120mm.  IMHOMO, it was very buenos.

The bike I want would be very similar to the Stickel, just more modern and light enough to perhaps do some 50+ battling in 2019.  30.9 or 31.6 internally rooted drooper.  Clearance for a 2.6" rear tire.  Mebbe a little steeper seat tube angle with prolly a slacker head tube angle.  Boost wheels.

Which I don't have... yet.

Of course, I'm gonna get Industry Nine.  I'm too in love with these wheels.  They do what they do, and I like that very much.  Also, I'm sticking with 29" wheels this time.  Without saying one is better at this or that, it will just be nice to only have one size of tires and tubes about the house (not including the tarck bike tubes/tires, but it rarely adds to the inventory dilemma).

I think for the first time since I started riding their system wheels in 2006, I'm not gonna get pink.

I've been goofing in the Industry Nine Ano Lab for the past week, dreaming about not-pink wheels.

Orange to kinda go with my fjork?  Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever says no.  Just no.

Turquoise sure is pretty and would pop pop with the orange bits.

  Lime green makes my pants a little tight as well.

I do realize somma yinz are noticing a certain lack of creativity, being that you can do ANYTHING in the Ano Lab.

But I get the feeling it's all been done before.  Until Industry Nine adds more colors or Chief Engineer Scottie travels back in time and "invents" transparent aluminum, nothing is going to be original.

The most creative thing I could think of was going mebbe orange with some pink...

And then Andy said he did that already (or something like it) so whatever.

All of which would be a good reason to default back to pink... which I always do.

After doing some very adult stuff at the end of 2017, I hope this is the biggest decision I have to make this year.

Monday, June 25

Dual-Sport Idiot

Saturday.  I had a ride planned and then I didn't and then I did.  All that happened on Friday and is not important.

Up early with the dogs, four waffles, ride over to Bike Source to meet up with Brian, Paw and Jordan.  Headed west to do the Heartbreak Ridge/Kitsuma combo, a ride which usually leads to just doing Heartbreak and bailing on Kitsuma 90% of the time.

Evidence of the mudslides on Old 70 was everywhere. 

The same old "How are we getting up to Old Toll Road?" and "I think it's this way, or is it that way?" conversations are had.  We do the not-quite-at-the-gate right hand turn that makes getting turned back at the gate seem like never the way to go.  If you've been there, you get it.  If not... consider yourself better for it.

Up Rattlesnake and up the "new" Old Toll Road.  So much of it washed away and "repaired."  Soft dirt interspersed with displaced loose rock.  I don't think anyone is going to beating any STRAVA times going up in the near future.

After we descend the upper and most gnarly part of Heartbreak, Jordan is coming down with the forearm and leg pump that this trail can deliver in spades.  He doesn't have Kitsuma in him.  Brian and I leave him with Paw, committed to pulling off the full pull.  On the climb up Mill Creek Rd, I can feel myself getting woozy.  Two bottles of low calorie electrolyte drink and three gels do not bridge the nutritional gap when a four hour ride ride starts four hours after breakfast.

Down Kitsuma and realize I lost a bottle on some of the chunder.  I'm an idiot.  I thought I felt it jostling about coming down Heartbreak and told myself to bend my King Cage inwards when I got the chance.  I didn't.

I wait for Brian.

"Did you pick up my bottle?"

"That was your bottle?"

Meh.

I hike back up until I see a couple hikers.

"Did you see a bottle?"

"No."

Meh.

Start riding back down and see my bottle in an impact crater of leaves.  Pick up my bottle, start riding again... begin to wonder if I'm going the wrong way on Kitsuma...

And then realize there is no way that's possible, but if I'm thinking that stupid of a thought, mebbe my brain isn't quite fully in gear.

Take it easy the rest of the way down.  Beer, burrito, home.

The next day, I decided to run six miles.

"You shouldn't be running that far.  A 10% increase from your last run makes more sense, and you should probably take a gel or something with you." ~ The Pie

Pfffft.

Last week, I ran just under three miles on Monday and a 5K on Wednesday and Friday.  I know this because The Pie knows exactly where these out-and-back points on the greenway are.  So smart, she is.

I committed to doing the whole six as an out-and-back, and I did just that.  Got home in just under fifty minutes.  Washed my car, cleaned the interior, washed both bikes, removed decals from the sold (but not picked up yet) Bronson, mowed the yard... and then I could barely walk.

Doh.

So about half of what she said was right.

Today, my Achilles tendons are so pissed off at me.  Walking is just a strange limp-waddle, and riding a fixed gear is... interesting?

Now, I'm just hoping I can ambulate like a normal person and ride a bike in a pain-free manner by Saturday.  If I screwed the pooch on this Grand Targhee trip, I'm gonna be a sad dad.