Friday, December 28, 2012

The General

If you know me, you know I absolutely love cyclocross. Cyclocross is a fringe sport with it's roots in Belgium. Basically take a road bike, put knobby tires on it, and rip it around a multi-surface park for an hour at maximum capacity. Sven Nys is the greatest cyclocross racer that this world has ever seen. This weekend he put on a show in Zolder, absolutely crushing his main rival, World Champion Neils Albert in the laatste ronde (last lap). This is why they call him The General In cyclocross, you ride the same short (2.5-3.5km) course over and over so you have multiple opportunities to master every section. At Zolder, it was raining, so the course conditions were constantly changing (deteriorating). The nastier the conditions, the trickier the sections, the better The General does. Here's a lap by lap breakdown of how he systematically experimented with one particularly dicey section. By the last, most important lap, he's got it dialed in and it's where he makes his break. Oh, and in case you were wondering, this is what happens when you throw a beer cup at The General the day after. You better run, punk.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Happy Happy

In honor of my newly launched website, I'm going to make another attempt at ressurecting this blog.  For years it was focused primarily on single speed pursuits but as my world widens beyond just bikes with one speed it would follow that I would expand my focus.  Trail building is my main outdoor pursuit these days as I dial in the 5k course here at The Concert and Campgrounds at Devils Backbone, also known as The Devils Playground.  Running is no longer just a cross-training activity and a new chainsaw gets me more excited than a new bike (almost).

Our new home in the Rockfish Valley is the most inspiring place I've ever been.  The 80+ acres here have fallen under my care as I slowly but deliberately lay out trails in the spaces between the fields and campgrounds.  Raspberry bushes abound, a pumptrack is in order, the views are outstanding and as my neighbor up the road who manages a community-created home-built studio (MonkeyClaus) pointed out, like the Forbidden City, the valley is totally feng shui.  Wintergreen Resort is just up the road and rumor has it they're making a major investment in downhill mountain biking (not to mention snowmaking).

I've also caught the farming bug and a sweet potato field and cold frames are part of the plan for 2013.  12/21/12 came and went and since then, everything is clicking into place.  Indeed, we are entering the World of the Fifth Sun.  I've never felt more empowered and as we're expecting our first child, a girl, in January, the timing couldn't be better.

So One Speed becomes High Country; a state of mind.  Two becomes Three, fittingly the header photo of the blog is of Three Ridges, taken by Tommy Stafford from a spot not 100 yards from my front door.    As I sit at my kitchen table, sipping an 8 Point IPA, the sounds and smells of my wife cooking it occurs to me life is good, love is everywhere, and in the words of my new favorite philosopher, Phil Robertson, I'm happy happy happy.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Musical GoPro

The 'Dusters have been experimenting with GoPro cameras mounted on instruments and various places around the stage.  Here's the latest result, shot with 8 cameras at the Old Rock House in St. Louis last Saturday night.  

If you live in the United States, odds are we're coming close to your town this fall.  Tour Dates Here.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Goat Paths

Out here on the property, we have a bunch of poison ivy and other shit growing that makes our woods unaccessable.  So we're bringing in goats.  Spent 5 hours prepping the fencelines and discovered they make awesome running trails.  Fortunately, we're going to have to put these fences in all over the property so by fall we'll have a vast network started.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Race season is upon me.  Earlier I posted up about the Devils Backbone Mountain Cross, but I didn't talk much about the results, forgetting that they were timing the event and noted my finish time.  Looking around for new rides/races today I stumbled across the results page and discovered that I did pretty well, all things considered, finishing 22nd out of 85 with a time of 4:32.  This was a bit of a surprise, I wasn't technically "racing" as it wasn't a race, but clearly most of us were trying desperately to get the best time possible.  Looks like I'll be around for the fall version of this local gravel grinder and I'll be trying to improve on that result.

This weekend I head south for my first mountain bike race since becoming a resident of VA.  The VORSeries comes to Bedford and I'm dusting off the 29er for a 3 lap, 25 mile race this Saturday.  Hopefully I'll get some results

Monday, May 28, 2012

A tale of 2 festivals.

Summer's kicking in.  This weekend was split between two festivals, both offering us a chance to play late night and on the main stage.  To a casual observer, Summercamp and Delfest seem similar.  Large festivals, field hippies, many of the same bands (Yonder, Leftover, Greensky and the Dusters all made appearances at both).  After fully experiencing both, in a four day stretch, I was surprised at the difference of demographic.

Summercamp has one type of person there.  They come in a male or female form, but for the most part, there's just one kind of person at Summercamp.  They're 17-25 and they're there for 2 things;  to do drugs and get laid.  I thought it was awesome.  The energy was palpable, the kids were having a good time and they really threw down.

I assumed Delfest was going to be a more laid back affair, but it really wasn't.  The Delfestians were getting down, staying up as late, having as good a time or better, and they were of all ages.  Absolutely every age group represented.  This is a testament to Del and the type of people that he attracts as well as a careful curation of the lineup and a beautiful location.  Spot on, DelFest. 

The Dusters were treated like kings, our shows were packed with new and old friends and we had a lot of opportunities for sit-ins and jams.  Everyone was socializing, everyone was in good spirits, despite the rain...  The stringband revolution is nigh, the scene is vibrant and fun, safe and wide open.  Everyone's welcome.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Let's try something new

A couple weeks ago I threw my legs over a dirt bike for the first time.  I'd waited 25 years.  I was ready for it and it was a blast.  Tyler, my guide, shot some video and edited a nice highlight reel complete with commentary and totally bro-ed out moments.

So in the spirit of regretting things I've done instead of things I didn't do, I'm on the prowl for some new cool stuff to check out.  There's a guy in a warehouse off River Road in Asheville who's re-inventing the river experience.  He calls it Bellyaking, and it gets you closer to the water with a shorter learning curve than anything else out there right now.  Adam, the fearless leader, and his wife came out to our show last Friday and through some shared connections I've lined up an expedition on the French Broad this afternoon.  I'm not a waterman, not even close.  I don't raft, I don't fish, I barely paddleboard or surf, but I'm fascinated by the flow of the water and I've been looking for opportunities to gain experience and increase my comfort level on the water. 

So I got out on the French Broad today with Adam, the sole proprietor of Bellyak.  He also owns any and all patents on this style of boat.  He's also a beer drinker, a fiddler and all-around great guy.  I told him I thought Bellyaking was the whitewater gateway drug and I meant it.  It was super fun and it didn't take me any time at all to get comfortable in the water, I was even surfing rapids (albeit for only a few seconds at a time) by the end of our session.  We spent half our time Bellyaking, 1/4 walking back up the trail by the river, and another 1/4 sitting in the boats in an eddy drinking beer.  It was perfection.

For a guy who's never spent time in the river, and who's, quite frankly, always been intimidated by hydraulics, I felt really comfortable on the Bellyak and took to it alarmingly fast.  I'll be getting one of these for the creeks and rivers of Nelson as soon as they hit production, probably late summer.  Here's a look at the prototypes he's worked on over the last few years:

"Better to regret something you did than something you didn't do." 

Saturday, May 12, 2012



The feeling I get when in motion is unmistakable.  The thrill of the ride, the freedom of the drive, even waking up in a moving bus.  As long as I'm in motion, it's all good.  I've packed a mess of motion into these last two weeks.  65 mile 'cross ride/race, Appalachain Trail hike/run, mountain bike rides, beach run, paddle boarding, road rides, dirt biking and other things I can't remember.  Motion, for me, is my neutral state.  That's probably why meditation and yoga are so profound for me (and so difficult to do) and why I can't seem to bring myself to pick up fishing.  Slowing it all down, lying on the beach reading with my wife or sitting through a movie, takes incredible discipline.  Travel and touring, riding and running energize me, it's gas in the tank.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cross the Mountain

Devils Backbone Mountain Cross tomorrow.  65 miles, 2 climbs with 20% grades, and two category 1 climbs, definied as climbs between 6 and 12 miles in length with 3,000 to 5,000 feet in elevation gain.  I took out the One Speed cross bike yesterday to determine if I had any chance of making these climbs.  The answer is a resounding no.  I should be riding this:

instead I'll be riding this:

actually not too different.  but enough to make me long for an upgrade.

Sunday, it's a moto ride.  Looking forward to this for a long, long time...

Sunday, April 8, 2012


My wife played in the Wayfaring Strangers for a short time. She said John was always super kind to her. Here's a great swinging solo by John and some lovely singing.

I have risen! and it's almost 60 degrees, the sun is shining and I've got singletrack 400 vertical feet from my door.  One Speed is right!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


A lot of people seem to be moving to the beyond these days. Earl Scruggs, Micah True and now, out of the blue, John McGann. This life is short, whether you go for 10 or 100 years, it's not a lot of time. I woke at 3:45 to take a leak and decided to bag the group ride I was planning for today. The legs were stiff, the wife was sick and I couldn't bear the thought of driving 4.5 hours when I have all this beauty around me, right out my door. My lifestyle, the schedule, doesn't allow much dawdling. I've been in the house for a little over 3 months and still haven't gotten the garage in order. It's the last room in the house that needs attention, and for a guy like me, it's probably one of the most important. Time is at a premium here in Nelson, and while that should encourage me to setup my work space, it's more likely to cause me to dig the dirty bike out from under the piles of stuff and ride it, rather than invest time preparing a space to work on it.

So the question of how to spend the time is ongoing. The floors need vacuuming, I've still not put away all the crap I pulled out of the car at the end of tour... but that stuff's not going to get done today, I'm going riding. Somewhere. Because life is short.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Arrived at our new home in Central VA just before Christmas. Adventures abound. Ran 14 miles of rugged terrain yesterday in 20 degree weather. 4,000 feet of elevation in 3.5 hours. the legs are absolutely destroyed. working on some trails here on the "grounds" today and hoping to get in a long MTB ride tomorrow before I leave for NYC and the Dusters Ski Tour. more to come.