Friday, June 20, 2008

changes in the midst

Times are changing and life has to follow.

• I'm married now
• I'm 30 (as of Wed)
• I'm seriously considering purchasing a home
• Having thoughts of expanding/starting a family
• Helping my wife build her business and travel the country
• A new bike is on the horizon as well so the full suspension that I've only been riding a couple times a month is being sold off. I am planning a full custom Ti hardtail and am excited about the prospects of a bike fit just for me and experiencing the feel of Ti.

I thought I'd try a new cockpit setup on my Soma SS to fine tune my wants when I order the new hardtail. I've been enjoying the Mary bar for a couple years now but wanted to give bar ends a try. I moved the riser bar over from my pieced-out Ventana and put on some stubby bar ends that a NMB member graciously donated. The setup looked good, I had high hopes.

I took the bike out to Hammy for a test ride. I immediately noticed my bars were higher with this setup and I should of checked that and tried to mimic the height of my Mary setup first. Oh well, I was late to the ride and just hit the trail anyways. I liked the setup a lot of first and was railing through the trail. After a few miles I tired out the bar ends during a few short climbs and definitely noticed the leverage I could achieve. Unfortunately Hammy is very technical and there aren't any long climbs and what climbs there are are filled with rocks and other obstacles. I did not like the feeling of not being in control or having access to my brakes while using the bar ends. I tried ignoring the feeling and floating through a rock garden which ended with me clipping a tree and going off course. By the second half of the loop I was done with this setup and was just wanting to get back to the car. I didn't like the feeling of my hands squished next to the bar ends when riding on the flat section of the bar, and I hated not having access to my brakes while using the bar ends. I could see the benefit of leverage during climbs, but our local trails don't have climbs long enough or non-techy enough for me to want to move my hands away from their optimal handling and braking location. The Mary bar is perfect for this, giving you a middle ground when it comes to leverage and always having the brake levers near your hands.

I was also finally able to test ride a 29er on a trail and get some good ride time on one. Scarf was gracious to let me ride his Redline Monocog Flite 29er for a lap at Hammy. I am trying to get some time on a few 29ers to decide what wheel size I want to go with on my new custom frame. After being frustrated with my rise bar/bar end setup on the Soma, I switched to the Redline and went back out for a second lap at Hammy. The Redline was setup with a rigid steel for which was something I had to get used to but the bike immediately felt comfortable. I didn't have the feeling of towering over the ground on a huge bike like I get on many of the 29ers I've thrown a leg over. This one had a compact fit but felt good riding through the singletrack and through the rocks and roots of Hammy.

I admit I have been trying not to like or want a 29er but I tried my best to have an open mind during this ride. I have to say I really enjoyed this bike. The bike fit me well and tracked great. I loved the traction I felt and I even liked the rigid fork. I don't think I'm ready for full time rigid riding but I didn't get the beat down I was expecting from it.

The Redline had a Salsa Pro Moto 17 degree sweep flat bar cut down to 670mm. This bar was awesome! I may of found something equal and/or better than my Mary setup. Having this big sweep bar also helped me feel more comfortable on this bike than I feel most other people's bikes.

Decisions, decisions....26, 29 or 650b??

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

NYC adventure

Well we're back from the big apple and getting rested up. Luckily I have a couple days to recoup before I start work. Where to start?? We went up a couple days before the Renegade craft show to visit with a college friend of mine and see the city.

My friend Brandt showed us around and took us to this awesome Cuban place called Café Habana for lunch. I had the spicy corn and an amazing Sincronizada Toluca filled with black beans, sun dried tomatos, avocado and chorizo. Beth and I wandered around after lunch and did some shopping. "Some wandering" turned into about 15 miles of walking by the time we made our way back to Brandt's apartment in Park Slope. Brandt and Rachel were both working late so Beth and I were on our own for dinner. We found an awesome sushi place called Monster Sushi which had some great decor behind the bar. It was nice to find an affordable and fresh tasting sushi bar in NYC.

Friday Beth and I ventured to Coney Island on our own and had fun riding the rides and eating hotdogs. We hit up the MOMA museum for their 'free friday' promotion. They had some great exhibits but we were exhausted after about an hour and a half in the museum. We headed back to clean up and take Brandt and Rachel out for dinner. We tried to go to a little Italian place they recommended but couldn't get in so we went to a great Thai place down the street called Song. Amazing food and very affordable prices, another gem in NYC.

The show started saturday so we were up early and on our way to Williamsburg by 8:30am. After waiting outside for a bit we were let in and started setting up as fast as we could. The show started at 11am sharp and people were waiting to come in. Unfortunately we weren't quite ready for the customers yet but most of our product was out and many vendors were still far from setup. The temperature was rising quickly but the show was getting crowded and sales were steady. Our friend Amy was in town helping us sell and we were catching up since we hadn't seen her in a few months. Brandt and Rachel came by the show as well and did some shopping and hanging.

The weather forecasts were changing hourly the days before the show, but seemed to settle by saturday. Well, the clouds rolled in around 4ish and the temperature dropped a good 10 degrees. It was nice for 30 minutes or so but then the bottom just dropped out and it poured for 45 minutes. Some brave shoppers stuck around and shopped, but most people left by 6pm. The rain let up enough for us to get packed up before it poured again. Brandt planned ahead this time and got us on the list for a great Italian pizza place called Lucali so we all pilled into Rachels car and drove through the flood to dinner. This place was yet another phenomenal eatery. True Italian style pizza, no menu, just enough dough for the night and when the ingredients were gone, no more pizzas. No sign out front and no liquor license, yet the place still consistently has a 3 hr wait during the 4 hours they are open each day. We brought some wine and ordered two pizzas and had a lovely dinner.

(the bar at Monster Sushi)

Day 2 of the show went well with decent weather. Thankfully it was cooler and the rain stayed away for most of the day only coming in little spurts. Sales were steady and overall we had a great show. It wasn't the mad house, selling spree that Renegade Chicago was, but it was in the top 5 shows we've done. After the show we were treated to homemade tacos and guacamole at Brandt's which were tasty. We ate and drank and hung into the evening before I finally called it a night and tried to get some quality sleep for the drive home.

After driving in NYC traffic for an hour, we finally made it to New Jersey and made our way down 78 to Pennsylvania and onto Roanoke VA to stay with my brother and sister-in-law. I was so glad we decided to split up our return drive as I was not feeling up to 15 hours in the car again. It was lovely visiting with my brother's family and then we were up early again Tuesday to start the last leg of our journey home to Nashville.

I got back in town just in time to roll to the WBN/Clif Bar sponsored viewing of the new movie Seasons by the Collective at the Belcourt Theatre. I could up on email and such and then jumped on the bike and met J5 and T.roy at T.roy's crib and then we all, plus T.roy's better half, road to the Belcourt to catch the show and hang with other crazy cyclists. The movie was great as was meeting the Clif Bar crew and checking out their cool bio-diesel bus. After received some cool swag we headed off to the Brewhouse for cajon dinner and a beer then rolled back to T.roy's to call it a night. This was a perfect ride after being off the bike for a week.

Back to the grind here starting tomorrow. I have work the rest of the week and into the weekend. Then have a tracking session on Monday in Cool Springs. Today is my 30th bday. I think I'll just slip that in here at the end and let that be it. Low key bday this year. I've spent the day with Beth which has been lovely. We had lunch at her parents house and then did some shoe shopping at the new Merrill store down the street. I've received a great mtn biking instructional book and a new pair of Pearl Izumi attack shorts courtesy of my Mom and Dad. Not sure how I feel yet about being 30. Just another year I guess.

(my 2 purchases at the show. A hip bag made from old inner tubes and a small camera bag for my messenger bag. Both made by Vaya)

Beth showing off our awesome Coney Island hotdogs

The big ferris wheel at Coney Island, with swinging middle cars

the monsoon that struck the show saturday evening

statue of Robin Williams, I mean Theodore Roosevelt outside the Natural History Museum.

As usual you can view all my pics on my Flickr page HERE.

Late addition...... new pic of the yummy cuban style corn.... Does this look more appetizing Thad?!?

Monday, June 09, 2008

life's good

life's good
Originally uploaded by Chewieez
Done with my marathon week of work. At home relaxing and getting errands done. Beth's Mom gave me a 3.5 lb bag of M&Ms yesterday... Doesn't she know I'm a recovering M&M fiend?! Relapse baby.....yummy relapse!!

I don't have the energy to update on my week activities and I'm not the few that read this aren't that interested in studio stories. It was a good week, working on a range of music from Trace Adkins to Latin. Lots of laughs and late nights. I dreaded the week a bit but in the end I am glad I was able to do all the sessions. They were all fun!

Heading out of town to sell Beth's jewelry in NYC.... Looking forward to traveling and getting out of town for a few days!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

nesting in Asheville

I've just about recovered from the weekend festivities, but am working my butt off at work. This is the definition of feast or famine work.... worked 2 days a week for the last two weeks and I'm working all 7 days this week. get it when it's there and enjoy it when it's not

Last weekend was my trip to the Crows Nest in Asheville to celebrate Jut's 34 years on the planet. My wife was out of town with her sister so I felt the tug for travel. I rolled out of town Friday morning after attempting to get my vehicle legal with the state of TN. Got into Asheville around 3:30pm and met up with Jut and got the grand tour of the Crows Nest. Within a couple hours we were already hitting the dirt at Bent Creek checking out a new pump track and play area. I met a great riding bud of Jut's, Benet and they took me on a tour of Bent Creek. I was riding my single speed geared 32x21 and was looking forward to seeing if I could manage the terrain with one gear. We started ascending but it was nothing like the insane climbs found in Pisgah. I was not used to having such an easy gear but I was enjoying it. I would still look up at a climb and in my mind think "this is gonna hurt" thinking I was riding 32x17, but then once I stood up and kept the pedals moving, I zoomed right up. (not that I wasn't still wheezing at the top of the climbs)

Jut took us on his proposed route for the hill climb time trail in the Enduro De Ocho coming up in the end of June. Have fun boys!! is all I have to say.... The difficulty may not be apparent immediately, but it's a grinder. That's all I'm gonna say about it.

After getting to the top and catching our (my) breath, we decended down Greenslick and I got a taste of what Bent Creek is all about. Seats were lowered and fun was had by all! After finally getting past the 3 chapters of decents, we stopped to raise seats again and roll on. Being the over torquer I am, I broke my seat clamp bolt, again. ugghhh CRAP! I was bummed. More because I knew it was only Friday and I wanted to ride my single speed more this weekend. I knew how to fix it but wasn't sure I had access to a dremel and a new bolt the correct size. I had to gimp back to the trailhead trying not to sit down much.... talk about thigh burn. It's the new workout training craze... seat-less riding, getch you some!

After getting cleaned up we got back on the bikes and rode into downtown for dinner at the Yacht Club (great chicken bbq and beers) and then rode to a new Brewery opening. After enjoying a pint and talking with the brewery workers we rolled over to the Admiral bar. (seeing a trend here?) I was pretty tired after having a couple beers here. Jut had a long night the night before so we decided to call it a night and ride back home. The ride must of woken us up and got our blood moving because we ended up sharing stories over a couple more beers and a shot or two until the wee hours.

Saturday started early and included another ride into town for some breakfast and then some mid morning rest time. We finally got our stuff together and headed out to hit Bent Creek again, this time I took my full suspension Ventana since I was still seat-less on the SS. Jut wanted to get the keg arrangement taken care of pre-ride so we did the grand tour of Ingles supermarkets in search of quality 5 gallon kegs. Hours later we finally were at the trail head and were hitting the gravel roads in Bent Creek. Both of us were still feeling the ride the previous day and also the long night so we took it easy. Jut showed me more of the great trails in Bent Creek and we did a lot of short ups and downs through the forest. We called it a day after 10 miles and headed back to the Crows Nest to get ready for Jut's bday party.

After a short nap in the hammock, I helped get dinner going while Jut and Ty cleaned up and got the house ready. I met a lot of great Ashevillians at the party. There was a great casual atmosphere and the Golden Rod Pilsner from French Broad Brewery was delicious. The crowd left around 1:30am and we toasted Jut with a few beverages and then called it a night.

Sunday was starting out quite slow. I slept until 10ish and then milled around until Jut got up. I decided to head back to Nashville and get back before it got too late. What a great weekend of riding and getting to know friends better!! I'm sad I'm gonna miss the Enduro de Ocho but I know the boys will all have a blast. Jut has some awesome things plans for you all!!

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