Tuesday, February 27

The Noodlebar Necromancer?

First and foremost, this is Fappening.

More details to come, but probably starting around 3:00PM at Lower Left Brewing (mebbe 4:00?), and then heading north and then south because I want to end up at home before I fall asleep.  Stops will be determined sooner rather than later.  Just expect this to be no fun, and you won't be disappoint if you join us.


I had a productive weekend.  I put wrenches and attentions to four of the six bikes in my house.  My number one priority was getting this one out of Shart Tarck mode and back into (essentially) PMBAR ready status.

Squishy boi, shorter that Shart Tarck stem, way lower gear, and I'm giving the Rekon Race 2.4 a shot in the front.  A little higher rated than the Aspen 2.4 for cornering and braking traction, and easily swappable to an OG Forekaster 2.6 if things get sloppy... and I still have enough of those squirreled away for the foreseeable future.

That said:

After this year's Shart Tarck'in, I'm down to one NOS OG Forekaster 2.35.  This saddens me, but whatcha gonna do?  Eventually I'll find an emotionally equivalent tire.  Not time to mourn yet tho.

Going back to the topic of Watts but non-Fappening related, he'd been asking me to join him for some Uwharrie gravel for quite some time.  I've ignored his requests for what I call "reasons."

Generally speaking, I don't ride a garvel bike if I could be mountain biking instead.  That and there are literally trails... right... there... in the same woods.  The very trails we ride when everything in Charlotte is pretty much a swamp and the mountains are also too moisted. 

I'm only familiar with some of the gravel to be had there.  I know the gravel race that's in Uwharrie has plenty of out n' backs, which is not something I want to get into the car for three hours roundtrip to do.

Also.  Unnghhh.  Gravel.

But I miss my little (but bigger than me) frand, so I decided to give him the gift of my company.  I did not invite any fellow Charlotteans to join me, as the ride description was not much more than "gravel bikes, between 30-60 miles."  Turd found himself in need of a ride option, so regardless of the lack of particulars, he joined me on the drive from the Queen City.

I must say, Watts has left me impressed with his creativity and free-flowing interpretation of "gravel."  He used to refer to himself in a most ironic and face-slappingly bombastic manner as the Gravel Assassin. I would personally say he's quietly become the Underbiking Undertaker.

If you ride URE gravel and that makes no sense to you, that makes total sense because this is the opposite of a no nonsense route.  It's pure, unadulterated nonsense. 

I, figuring Watts was basing our route and conservatively short estimate of 30 miles based on my lack of enthusiasm for gravel, only brought a small handful of TJ's Sour Swimmers and two bottles of water.  I mean, it's only gravel right?

Mandatory time-killing futzing with things.  All part of the non-plan.

Up what one might loosely call a "trail" to a scenic overlook to see what we could see before turning right around and going back down said "trail."

Said "trail."
We were all over in familiar places where we used to tromp around on our "freeride bikes" in the early 2000's on the shitty ATV trails because better options weren't available for mountain bikers back then.  So many member berries.

Although, we were navigating with WPMS, Watts Paper Map System.

There are two riders in this photo.  There is supposedly also a trail in this photo.  Neither rider appears to be near this particular said "trail."

We were treated to non-trails that exist on no map known to man.  Steep rutted and rocky ATV paths.  We might have tickled the taint of some private property and borrowed a little time on some barely used hiking trails... if it meant getting from whence we came to whither we were going.  Some of the steep ups were such that I had a hard time keeping my front wheel planted on the ground.  We were on neglected trails that had been mostly destroyed by horses after decades of clop-clopping through mud bogs.  I feel no shame in our misgivings as once you see what unmitigated damage from years of horse use can do to some serious fall line trail, it's hard to imagine any harm we might have done to the oldest mountain range in North America (true story).  We barely saw anyone else out there for the six hours we spent in the woods, and with little more than a consensual "g'day" being exchanged.

We did stop to help a man pick up a bunch of garbage in the road that had already been bagged once but then ran over by some (pardon my stereotyping) piece of shit redneck.  I had a mental and emotional struggle when we just rode past him at first.  At my advanced age, I live out of guilt quite a bit, and that tends to make me wanna do more good and less bad as I hurtle towards the grave.  I'm glad my frands were willing to go back, and they were glad that they both had a spare pair of gloves (bastards).  Word to the wise, iffin you ever think this is a good activity.  Broken glass is sharp enough to easily rip through the side of a contractor garbage bag, so hold them away from your body when carrying, specifically far away from the only exposed skin on your calf.

Funny not funny would be the "trail" that we took at around mile 41.8 that I'm sure is "horse easy," but has to be considered at least "moderately difficult" on a mountain bike, and "basically stupid" on a garvel bike.

That was the best day I've had in some time.  Hard to be distracted by silly real life problems when you're bombing gravel descents at 35MPH+, riding down steep, horseshoe-pocked ditches, and maneuvering over loose loaf of bread to biscuit sized rocks.

After getting lost (a bit) on the way home, this was the best thing I could think of to stick inside me:

I will definitely join Watts in the future, and I will most definitely bring three times more food than I think I need so I can avoid sad roller dogs and whole chocolate milk on the way home to avoid a Titanic exploration sub-style stomach cavitation.  

And as a footnote, this is as of Monday morning:

The garvel bike is now in a commanding lead for 2024, but single speed miles are at least beating shifty bitted*... but sadly my running shoes will sneak into third place by the end of the week.

Who am I?

* No, tarck bike and bar bike miles are not tracked so whatevs.


hellbelly said...

I have an OG Forekaster 2.35 EXO TR that was ridden once and removed as I desired something bigger. It is in like new condition and has just been taking up space since I got the bike it came on back in 2018. You can have it for shipping costs or I can meet you in Charlotte the 29th or 30th as I will be in town those days.

dicky said...

Mebbe could meet. My weekends are all over the place with my current life situation, so I'd hate to commit or add a chore/hardship to anyone.

hellbelly said...

I'll check in as the date draws closer. If weather permits I'll bring my bike to roll Backyard before I head home on Saturday.