Saturday, September 24, 2011

Going Live

spent the week in Asheville working on our next studio record. got in some wicked runs on the local trails, totally hashed out the legs before what I realized today is a 4 day, 3,300 mile "drive" for me. in the van now, headed for Mass for a show, then we immediately head for Nashville. Sarah and I start our Colorado Tour on Wednesday in Durango. I'm taking the 'hopper so there may be an update from the trail. started taking this stuff called diatomaceous earth. it's basically drinking dirt. more on that in the future. maybe.

Stringdusters live album, We'll Do It Live, is to be released at The Festy on 10.7.11, but you can pre-order it now and name your price. seriously, you can pay whatever you want so click that link.

The Devils Backbone Challenge at The Festy is coming up October 9th. I'll be defending my title and I'm offering a free Festy Pass to anyone who beats me in the Single Speed race. you can register here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


they were the heroes yesterday. 60 mile North/South Trail at Land Between The Lakes is no longer on the list of rides that have reduced me to mush. thanks to legs, I returned the favor over 7 hours yesterday. then I went and did about 3000 calories at Wendy's.


blurry, I know. I swear that's how everything looked.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


disclaimer: this shit doesn't matter.

now that that's out of the way, I did a race today. Montgomery Bell, home court, if-you-will. I'm fixin' to smash another win when out of nowhere, Kyle, the new mechanic at Bikers Choice (therefor, our team mechanic) shows up with his National Ultra Endurance Race Series legs and crushes my soul. he followed me around then straight-up rode away from me when we hit the climb. couldn't even begin to think about doing anything about it. it was completely awesome.

to elaborate:
we started, six of us. I ended up first, because I'm nervous and impatient. Kyle was right behind me and we started getting a gap. by the time we got halfway around, we had a big gap, but I was pushing too hard. I was trying to figure out how to get my heart-rate under control before the climb when we hit the climb. Charlotte's Ridge is not the steepest climb on the course but it is far and away the longest. I knew Kyle would make a move but I had no idea he was going to literally just ride away from me. at first, it broke my heart. but then I got my shit together and kept pushing. he went faster on the second lap, eventually breaking the unofficial course record prior to lining up for the 3 lap category 1 race. totally badass. totally inspiring.

so what was the difference? couple things. Kyle was using a lower gear, a 32x19 as opposed to my 32x18. he was having a much easier time getting the pedals around going up the hills. more than that, Kyle couldn't possibly weigh 140lbs soaking wet. I tipped the scale at 192 this morning, post-dump. Kyle's bike is sub-19 lbs (I'm guessing), mine must weight 23 lbs and most of the over-weightness is in the wheels (the worst place) which brings us to the topic of this conversation (that I'm having with myself).

I've run the same tires since I started riding SS 29 4 years ago. WTB Exiwolfs, 2.3 in. I ride them till the rear wears out, then I move the front to the rear and buy a new one. it's a highly efficient system that produces minimal waste (since I can run a rear tire till it's bald so long as I've got tread out front). unfortunately, these tires are exceptionally heavy for a kevlar (foldable) tire. 825 grams claimed weight. I love the feel of a big tire, it floats over everything, I never break traction, I can run super-low pressure, it has a beautiful round profile. but it's super heavy, and a bigger wheel and single speed exacerbates the main issues with heavy wheels: slow acceleration and difficulty keeping the wheel rolling at low speed.

when it was time for me to choose my prize, a Bontrager Team Issue tire caught my eye. I had a set of Bontrager's years ago and loved the round profile. This tire was listed as a 2.0 and I hadn't ridden anything that small since the 90's, but it only weights 510g... so I picked it up, and mounted it up. turns out it really small. I measured the new tire and my old tire and found that the WTB is actually a 2.25 and the Bontrager is a 1.75. a 1.75! that's like cyclocross size. I watched the World Championship XC race on Freecaster and those guys are all using super small tires, so it can't be crazy... but it looks pretty strange paired up with the balloon on the front. I'm going to take it for a spin, see if it might work as a race tire, if it does I'll find something like a WTB Nano or a Maxxis Ikon to put on the front, match it up a little and hopefully save some weight.

look at that clearance!

back in the day, we always ran a smaller rear tire. we thought it was the best of both worlds; faster acceleration on the rear but a fat front tire for ripping (fatter is faster when you head down, don't argue). I got away from that when I started riding SS 29er but I'm starting to think I may be missing something... like I said, doesn't matter. the main reason Kyle beat me was because he's really really fast. and strong. I might also add he's proving to be a damn good mechanic, free of attitude and ego, meticulous and concise. good to get beat sometimes, especially by someone like Kyle.




Saturday, September 10, 2011


Speed. with a capital S. Time Trial today at Monkey Bell. came in first in my category, Single Speed, with a time of 10:34. third fastest overall. XC tomorrow.

speaking of speed, mute the volume, the commentary is lonesome, but the riding is spectacular.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Accidental Bounty

any time I hear someone claim they don't have the time to garden or they don't have a green thumb, I just smile. I've already harvested 20 pumpkins and I have another 20 on the vine. all volunteer from the compost. I also just pulled three large bowls of tomatoes and a fistful of okra inside. the 'maters are also all volunteers.

I'm usually gone. for weeks at a time. good soil and occasional deep watering are all that's necessary. lovin' this.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Other People's Bikes part 2

borrowed a Surly Crosscheck when I was in Charlottesville.   took a little ride through the country.  considering a move to Nelson County, if we do it I'll definitely need a road bike to tackle the country roads and brutal hills.

the bike was a little small, but the swept handlebars were really cool and the brooks saddle was like a hammock for my balls. 

The next day I flew to Denver and picked up my friends Ti Single Speed Rabbit and proceeded to rage around my childhood trails in the Work Service area beneath Mt. Herman.  Totally awesome.  here's a shot of that bike from last winter when I did the same thing.

gorgeous.  headed east after a show in Flagstaff this afternoon.  28 hours and I'll be home for the first time in a month.  local mountain bike race this weekend.