Monday, November 30, 2009

Football, Fixies and Fantasy

Yesterday I woke up later than I'd hoped and had to skip the pre-game ride. We headed to LP Field about 11:15. We arrived and there was no traffic and the parking lot was empty. We pulled into the D Lot (primo parking) and asked the dude what the deal was. "Game's been moved to 3pm, TV Network." Superb. I got a little worked up but my lovely wife finally calmed me down and we went to breakfast at Noshville. BLT and fries, cup of coffee. Saw these nice hipster pieces outside:

One of the dudes came out to talk on his cell phone and smoke right as I was crouched down to take the picture.  He said they weren't stolen.  I noticed they were both running 42x16 ratios (a little info for the who-gives-a-shit file).

Headed toward the Flying Saucer for a couple pints but got distracted by the Toyota Dealership.  We're nursing our little old Toyotas along, the '93 Tercel's got 75,000, the '92 Carolla Wagons pushing 175,000.  Taking the wagon in today to get it checked out before our trip (should be doing that right now, actually).  I think I've convinced my father to kick down his 4Runner when he upgrades (4 door Tacoma with a camper) this summer, but we still drool when we see our dream cars:

A green Sienna for my wife (and the inevitable shorties)

A Brown Venza for me

I love the Venza.  I know it's a little high class for someone like me, but it just looks so cool and it's got those big wheels...  I made my own on the website and it only cost $36,000 which is only about 12 times what we payed for our Tercel when it had 35,000 miles and got 40+ mpg...

Anyway, headed to the Saucer and got a couple Youngs Double Chocolate Stouts then validated and walked the mile or so down Demonbreun and across the pedestrian bridge.  I hadn't done a good long urban walk-instead-of-drive session in awhile and it felt like the right thing to do.  We drank a few beers at the game and stayed until the end of the 3rd quarter:

We had some good seats.

We had another engagement, so we headed to East Nashville for some music at Madd Donnas.  Watched the last two minutes of the game there and wished we'd stayed.  Vince Young looked like a champion.  Go Titans.  Battered and Fried for some fish with Unky Dan and my mother then home.  Now I'm eating into todays ride time writing this for the two people who read it...  

Headed out for a ride inbetween cloud bursts.  Taking a camera (these were all iPhone shots) so the evidence will be there.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Duo Video/RV/Sue

Titans game today, 27th row.  Many many Bud Lights and footlong hot dogs and fries will pass through this body by tonight.  No riding in December.  Opting to leave the bike at home on the 18 day tour.  The logistics are too daunting and I don't have any extra $$ to throw at elaborate travel plans right now.  The next three days I'll be on the bike and Christmas week I'll throw down but in the middle there it'll be a lot of running.  Not ideal for January, the second peak of my season, but what's a guy to do?  Pulled in so many directions, so many things that want to be done, that need attention.

Sarah and I are locking in the dates for our March Duo Tour out west.  I'm acting as booking agent and it's been an eye opening experience.  I've been salivating over this little number; it would make the perfect duo tour vehicle.  Park in the venue parking lot, I could get up early and drive to the ski resort/trailhead and do my thing while Sarah slept, then drive off the mountain, into the next little town, soundcheck, dinner, show, repeat.  Paradise.  I could follow that schedule the rest of my life, really.  It would also be killer at the races (don't know about the mud factor).

Sarah and I played on Black Friday at the Taproom in Nashville.  Love the Duo setting.  Here's a taste:

The show was packed and loud but our sound engineer, Drew Becker, stopped in and worked the sound for free beer. I love the Taproom, what a killer zone. Drank a bunch of the limited edition Sue from Yazoo. Ridiculous. Probably going to get a growler or ten of this before they stop making it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Later the Same Day

Double Post today.  Increased frequency = quality reduction.  This time I got pictures.

Left the house in shorts, a base layer and a jersey.  Under the I-40 bridge this dude came roaring by me on a gas powered bike.  I tried to catch up before the light and get a good picture but he plunged directly into traffic.  This is the best shot I got.

Hit the Richland Greenway and stopped to hike down a side trail, adjust my brakes and ditch the base layer.  Sleeveless jersey (old school) and shorts the day before Thanksgiving, beautiful.  Rode across the greenway bridge then ducked through the Kroger parking lot and hopped on Belle Mead Blvd.  BMB is a two lane residential divided road.  Full on Boulevard.  Very mellow uphill pitch leading straight to the Warner Loop.  Sun was shining, I shot this self portrait.

This was the calm before the climbing storm.  I'd not ridden the Warner Loop since I'd geared up and I got my ass absolutely kicked by the three substantial climbs on the loop.  I didn't have to walk and the third climb actually seemed a lot shorter than I'd remembered but it was tough pushing the 42x16 up those hills.  I briefly stopped at the overlook on the last climb.

Went back the same way I arrived, down Belle Mead, down the Richland Creek Greenway.  Walked down a trail that passed under the elaborate bridge system and found a nice rocky patch to hang out on for a moment.

That's it.  Happy Thanksgiving.


Nice little ride on the Shelby Greenway with my man JDar yesterday.  In the grand scheme of things, our little rides on the greenway are pretty mellow.  Lots of dudes around here take their riding more seriously; 1:45 on the bike followed by a New Belgium offering and some video watching would be considered "weak."  JDar and I are not ones to worry about our position relative to others (though we did smirk then talk trash for 10 minutes when three fixie hipsters passed us with their hands overlapping on their tiny little handlebars).  One of these days I'll call up JDar and we'll go kill ourselves on some super epic ride to a place I've never heard of but until then, we're content with the relative safety of the greenway. 

I've heard there are real legit group rides that leave from East Side Cycles.  When I get some gears I might show up, on my cross bike, with a camelbak and knobby tires, and scare the roadies to death with my sudden braking and swerving.  Until then it's greenways and Percy Warner and other familiar loops and rides that I do mostly by myself because I have one gear and no friends.

Today may be the day that my blog is accompanied by photos.  May have to decide between taking the iPhone and taking the Nikon.  Both have their advantages but only one has a super sweet case.

Nashville Cyclist does something smart; he actually raises awareness about issues that matter.  Brilliant.  I'll do the same here:

Share the Road Plates
Apparently, they need 1000 pre-orders for these by this summer to make it go.  I'm considering it, you might as well.

Greenways Update
So they're getting it all fixed up and adding a needed section.  The Metrocenter/Downtown link is a regular part of my routine (it'd be ideal if the Metrocenter continued for about 10 miles down to Bells Bend, but I'm not complaining) and there's still never anyone on most of it.  They're inacting a 15mph speed limit.  I will not be obeying this.  I will pay fines if they can catch me.  Wouldn't they need to have super fit bike cops on super fast bikes to pull off this enforcement?  Time will tell...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ego Cargo

Arrived home Sunday night from the uber epic Nor'Easter Tour.  It's good to be home and back on the bike, at least a little.  Spent all night cleaning the house so I could squeeze in a ride before I pick up my lovely mother at the aeropuerto.  Hoping to hook up with JDar for a short ride on the east side.

Feeling a little conflicted about the blog.  It's clearly the ego speaking, some need for attention, some need to seem important that drives this constant flow of Me on the intertubes.  Not really sure what I'm going to do about it.  If I get any deeper into it this blog may just cease to exist.

Here's a video rock-u-mentary that our banjo player put together, it covers the first few days, there will be more to come.

Next month I'm on the road, doing 7 shows with the Dusters and 4 shows with my wife.  Hoping to take the bike with me, maybe hit up the MSG race in Bristol during the day between our Johnson City shows.  Scored a Yakima Space Booster for $105 on Craigslist yesterday.  I didn't realize how long it was; can't really open the rear door. 

Trying to decide if I'll a) drill new holes and slide it forward b) deal with the door not opening even halfway or c) try to trade/sell it and get a newer/shorter one.  They make them now with these awesome lever-style mounts so you can take the thing on and off in a matter of seconds.  It takes about 15-20 minutes to put this one on.  The good news is my total investment in the rack is now $325.  New, it would cost me $360 for the locking steelheads, $250 for the cargo box, $160 for the control towers, $70 for the bars, $100 for the copperhead and $35 for the wheel fork.  $975 total.  Now, granted, all of my stuff is between 6 and 10 years old, but it all functions perfectly and once I buy a four pack of locking cylinders ($40) it will all be tidy and secure.  Now I just need a ski rack for ski season and another wheel fork and I'm good to go (possibly wider cross-bars). 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hipsters Discuss Cyclocross

I'm not the first person to pass this along but it's definitely worth the watch:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Other People's Thoughts

Just sat and caught up on my blog reading. For some reason I find other people's blogs my favorite news source. I don't even know most of these people, but for some reason, reading about adventurers in other parts of the country always inspires.

Euphoria Before Implosion tore the USGP Mercer Cup people to pieces. He should have come to Louisville. That race was awesome. Course, people, weather... I miss it already.

I hope Bike Snob never stops.

Up in Alaska makes me want a Pugsley. I have no use for a Pugsley, even if I had conditions like Red Stone Cyclery I wouldn't need a Pugsley, but they're so freakin' cool. I want one.

Red Stone always makes me wish I lived in Lyons. I wonder if there are any hillside lots in Lyons I could put a yurt on. The yurt fantasy is surfacing more and more often these days. Right along with the pumptrack in the backyard.

Big Bikes threw down at the Swank 65. I read this blog because I'm envious.

East Side Cyclist rode on some secret trail that I'm sure I'll never know about. That's fine. I'll make my own trail, you'll see.

Raleigh Commutes posted up the video of the SSCXWC. I missed this. I can't believe it but I missed it. Freakshow:

Raleigh SSCXWC from Saleigh on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

America, Fuck Yeah!

Last night someone gave me this photo from a festival we played last year. I just sat and stared at it for 2 beers. Majestic. I didn't know I looked so good in front of the stars and stripes.

Look at me, such a patriot.

Tour rolls on, all my running and short nights and beers are catching up with me. Sinus' are rebelling and the body is shutting down. Taking a day, maybe two off (no running + 1-2 beers = Day Off) in hopes of putting my body back on track. Van call, gotta get!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Nor'Easter Blues

It finally caught up to us. Hurricane whatever, Ida or something finally caught us. We've been slowly working our way north on this tour, Virginia, Maryland, Jersey, Brooklyn, Boston, and now up here in New Hampshire the rain's have arrived. Not a lot of sun these last two weeks but at least the morning runs were dry. Managed to find a bunch of nice greenways down in VA. DC area is especially good at creating space. I guess they have to make up for their inability to move traffic around.

The rain is forcing my runs inside, onto the human hamster wheel. I'm only good for 30-40 minutes on one of those things and I have to stop before my brain dissolves into some type of gelatinous edible. These long tours I'm a runner and there's little I can do about it. Two three week tours in the middle of 'cross season does not a single speed gear smasher make, if you know what I mean. Next season I'm going to dabble in gears. Don't hate me.

Here's some photo highlights:

Deer on a Virginia Greenway

                                 Slice of Salad Za on Long Island

Glass of Local Cider in New Hampshire

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

20 Day Bicycle Fast/Nor'Easter Tour

Headed out today for my last ride for 20 days.  The Stringdusters are headed to the Northeast for the Nor'Easter Tour, a 15 date ramble that takes us through much of the mid-Atlantic and lower Northeast.  I'll be off the bike as there's not really room in the trailer.  Lots of running in the cold.  Optimistic it'll translate to decent fitness (maybe a little weight loss) and fresh legs come the 23rd.  Last night a put slicks and a 42x16 on the cross bike.  That's 11 gear inches more than I had on there and my short jaunt around the neighborhood in the moonlight made it clear it was going to be a whole different ride.  Bottom Bracket is also shot from last weekend so I've got a little added resistence there, which is nice.

Headed out on a relatively flat loop to test out the big gear.  Mid-ride I have to stop by the studio to sing one last harmony part on the Dusters record and that'll be done.  It'll be nice to not have that hanging out over my head for the next month.  I like things to be complete. 

Sarah and I checked out this awesome, outdated, but large (by our standards) house in Fortland Park yesterday.  It's two blocks from the Shelby Bottoms Greenway and a ten minute ride from downtown.  You could not ask for a better location to be a cyclist, not to mention the backyard is large enough for a pump track/dirt jump area (honey, can I tear up the yard?  thank you).  Unfortunately, with me being out of town there's only so much we can do to get our house ready to go on the market so we'll have to cross our fingers and trust that if it's to be ours, it will be. 

I'll get a camera, I promise.  Until then, you'll have to deal with text and links.  May not post up much until I'm back on the bike the week of Thanksgiving.  If you want to check out any of my music/tour related ramblings, I've got a full time gig as band blogger on our blog the Infamous Word.  It has it's moments...

Nor'Easter Tour Trailer, by Chris Pandolfi:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cross the Way #4 Race Report

I'm in pain. I hurt. Mud got thicker. Course did not get easier, quite the contrary. I'm ready for gears now (though the cleanup would have been more involved). I don't think I ate right last night. I think I had too many glasses of wine. I didn't eat enough today. Maybe something else bad happened. I can't tell.

Started out in second, behind Troy. Stuck with him until the hill (long runup for me). Then he rode away. I was in second through most of the second lap, but again, on the run-up I was passed by Ryan. I was hurting. Fortunately, the Jeremy's were way off the back, saving themselves for the single speed race. I'm not really into that sort of thing, but I guess I understand why they did it. The course was brutal. The mud had turned into something worse than mud. It was like mud on acid. Actually, it's funny I mentioned that because right around the top of the 5th lap, I started to hallucinate. Literally. When I'm over the top, pushing too hard I get this little strobe light type blip in the middle of my vision and I know I need to chill or I will pass out in a mud puddle and asphyxiate before anyone even notices I'm missing. It was a long lap. The single speed riders probably wouldn't have even noticed me laying dead in a puddle.

Let me bring this narrative back together. It's the second lap and Ryan's riding away from me, Troy's in his own race, Jeremy N's already dropped out (again) and Jeremy C is chilling (like I should have been). They had more than enough gas to mix it up in the Single Speed race.  Here they are on their matching Bianchi's.  Like Brothers from different Mothers.

So I keep pedaling and trying to ride hard even though I'm way behind and way ahead and basically by myself. 5th lap I start to feel like shit. I'm walking two long sections because they're too muddy and two super long hills because they're too steep and wishing I had some freakin' gears and thinking about Burger King and getting some TBRA points and basically walking to keep from dying. It sucked. I came around and finished and immediately got a beer and some candy and mooched a granola bar. Here's a picture of me happily eating and watching the Single Speed/Junior race (I once again skipped the Single Speed Race). Max Gander's in the forefront. He's the only junior and he slayed the 4's coming in 3rd. His father, Wolfgang, is responsible for all these photos.


So I've yet to ride back to back. Yet to do a Single Speed race this year. 60 minutes is a long time. I wish I was tougher than I am, but I'm not.

Melissa Hudson-Grant and Brian Grant put these races on, they're super cool and I'm very thankful they do what they do. Brian got out and raced today which was only fair since he laid out this sadistic, messed up course. Here they are in action:

Great scene again today.  Sun was shining, people were in good spirits.  Not a ton of racers but a nice day for a race.  Today was the first day I actually thought I needed to consider giving in to gears.  I should probably decide before I get a road bike, might be able to kill two birds with one stone on that one.

Also, just realized that October saw 18 posts; a new personal record.  November will be light as I'm headed out on the road with the band until Thanksgiving.  Next race is in December (maybe).  January is the second season, things may pickup then.