Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April 28th

This date is symbolic because in 2007, Beth and I got married here in Nashville. At the same time, hundreds of racers were riding around in circles for 12 hrs in Fayetteville at the first ever, Dirt Sweat & Gears. (lots of other important things have happened on April 28th like Maryland ratifying the constitution, Mussolini being shot, and America pulling out of Japan.) Beth and I had plans for a lovely dinner at The Acorn, the site of our rehearsal dinner but she has caught a bad bug from over-working, traveling and sitting outside in 90 degree weather in a craft tent for 3 days straight. (don't worry, we're pretty sure it's not SwineFlu) So she is feeling miserable and not at all in the mood to celebrate anything so what does she do? She stays at home and works (that's dedication) and sends me out to enjoy the day on my bike.... the entire day!

I got up early and made Beth some eggs, toast and coffee and got some things prepared to meet up with some NMB guys for a 10am ride in Carthage, TN. Defeated Creek was the trail choice for this day. This was a totally new trail to me. I heard about it through the board last year when folks posted up pictures and trail reviews but never made it out there. After meeting Lefty Scott and FullSquish at the Mt Juliet exit, we carpooled down to Carthage. What a beautiful drive to get to the trail! Reminicent of the drive to Fayetteville through the farms, except with a more West Virginia hills vibe. We met Rick, the videographer of some great epic films from other local trails and x-coworker of the now retired FullSquish. Secret plans are being made to film a southeast riding video so keep your eye out for a rider hiding in the bushes filming you riding that tricky, technical section where you hope no one sees you fall. (Also in attendance were Mr. Clean Cooper and TVATim)

This trail has it all. What a great gem to find! The trail consists of two loops, a longer 7ish mile loop and a shorter 2.5ish mile loop. There is one long climb called The Grizzly and several fun up and down sections that flow perfectly. Flow is the big word for this trail. You won't find many riders complaining about overly twisty trail or lack of flow. Sure thet rail does wind in on itself multiple times since the plot of land is not very deep and is basically on a cliff side but it's designed great. Supposedly it has the most elevation change of any trail around this area. After riding two laps there I venture that Monty Bell has a bit more cardio climing (in the work-out kind of way) but Defeated Creek has more sustained decents, ala Pisgah style (almost) and great straight flowing sections that you can treat as a pump track.

We took our time on our first lap, stopping a lot to shoot some video and keep the group of 6 together. Close to the end of the first lap, Lefty and I were getting anxious for more miles and a more steady pace so we said our goodbyes and rode off the front. We put in a full second lap with only a couple short stops to reconvene. Man, this trail is fun! It is a little bit of a haul to get out there but if you have the time for 2 laps (or more) I think the drive is totally worth the grin factor. If you are feeling clostrophobic with Nashville trails, you owe it to yourself to check out Defeated Creek and then head to Sewanee the next day to recharge your trail batteries.

Late morning EDIT: I forgot one of the other great parts of the day... FOOD! Lefty and I happened upon a wonderful place called La Villa in Carthage. Being fresh off the trail, we were starving, and this place didn't disappoint! I enjoyed a healthy portion of pulled pork and even BBQ beans while Lefty couldn't not order the house-special pizza. Yum! If you hit up the trail, you better go to this place to fuel afterwards!

The trail fun took up the entire day and it was already 4:30pm by the time I got back home. I checked in with Beth and gave her some anniversary lily's. All was still good. Polo and the Yazoo tap room were on the books for the evening plans but I was still feeling guilty about not spending time with Beth. She again reassured me she wanted me to go and have fun, we'd celebrate a different day when she was healthy. Like a madman I was running around getting one bike put away and another out, getting changed, running and getting dinner for Beth and then heading over to Troy's via the Green Hills post office. (only one in Nashville that is open til 6pm...gotta get those Freshie&Zero orders out!)

Our plan was to ride from Troy's to the taproom as they were open on a rare Tuesday for a Team Green social event. After getting Troy's borrowed cranks on my bike once again, we were off. Troy hooked up a rack and paniers to his Kona and was hauling all the polo stuff by himself. I offered the use of my chrome bag but he already had the system dailed in. It worked great too, even had room left to smuggle a growler for some polo hydration. The tap room was bumping big time. Lots of smiling faces with equally happy name tags. Dunn, Garth and Bloebaum were in attendance as well and Mel and her friend showed a bit later. Unfortunately we had to cut the fun after just one Hop Project (#14) and get back on the bikes to head to the polo court.

We snaked through East Nashville finding the path with the least elevation gain, or at least most gradual. It was a slow ride on the streets with Troy pushing a lot of weight but also a very easy gear on the singlespeed. Once again the weatherman had it all wrong and the weather was perfect for a ride through town. It was actually supposed to storm most of the day but it never materialized.

We only ended up with 4 players for polo so it was an offensive slugfest but still amazing fun. Who would of ever thought that riding around a playground on bikes with ski-pole mallets and a street hockey ball could be sooo much fun. (oh yea Justin did) We had some great games, great conversation, great beer and some nice sippin' from the flask. Troy and I had a long ride back to his house but it continued to be a great night to be riding. I was thinking how lucky I am the entire ride back to have such a great life.... a day spent more in the saddle than in my desk chair or my truck, a loving wife who loves for me to do the things that make me happy and great friends to share it all with.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gear Heads in Asheville, NC

Gearheads saves outdoor enthusiasts money!

Bikes, boats, climbing, snow sports, hiking and camping….your place for great deals on used outdoor equipment and discounted new equipment…

… all in one fabulous weekend at the WNC Agricultural Center (RAIN or SHINE…we’re covered!)!

Gearheads is coming up this weekend! And it’s going to be a great time!: good deals, people, and WHAT an event schedule!

The bailout dollars didn’t make it to the outdoor sports scene so we are trying to help by lowering our commission rates on all consigned items so you keep more money from your sale.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Another tuesday night, another evening full of bike polo in Shelby Park.

We weren't sure if we'd have enough people to play but we decided to go ahead and try anyways. We played a few games 2 on 2 with Troy, Dan H. Doug and me. Then Clint showed up and we subbed him in for a game and then Bryan B. showed up and it was on. 3 on 3 action filled the next couple hours. We all had a blast. Tons of laughs, some crashes, some sympathy crashes and much more laughing.

We're hoping to make this a regular Tuesday night deal again and it looks like we will have some more fresh blood, I mean new riders that wanna start coming out.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Long haul truckin' preparations have started

I've spent the afternoon contemplating which bike I will bring to the 200 mile Dirty Kanza ride coming up at the of May. As someone who has trouble making decisions in a timely manner, I'm still undecided, but at least I'm armed with more information now.

One big consideration I' considering... is how best to carry my needed stuff on the bike. Lots of options are out there but with limited funds comes limited options. I did purchase a Epic Ride Research Feedbag which will go on either bike I decide to ride. It attached in the nook between your stem and your handlebars with velcro straps. The bag is deep and has some good structure with a rip cord closure system that is suppose to be easy to operate one-handed. I have yet to use this bag out on a ride, but it's mounts up easy and looks like it will work out well.

Another sure thing I've picked up to use is the Niterider MiNewt USB LED light. Again, I haven't had an opportunity to use it on a ride yet but it was easy to mount to both bikes. I got the Plus model that also comes with an extension cord and a helmet mount. First impressions are that this is a VERY small light and battery package. Supposed burn time is 3 hrs so I'm planning on trying to have 2 batteries for the Dirta Kanza ride. I'll most likely also have another light with me, either a commuter style LED light or maybe my big Trailtech HID.

Frame bags are gaining popularity it seems. Perks of this design are that it keeps the weight more centered and lower to ground than a rear rack or front rack. Another perk is that the bag is accessible while riding, unlike front/rear paniers. Jandd makes a very inexpensive frame bag which I've had my eye on for months. I was able to borrow one from 8Ball to see how it would fit on my bikes. I knew it would be tough to get it to work on my Quiring. With the very compact frame design I ended up with, there is very little room for anything inside the main triangle other than a couple water bottles. I still wanted to try it out though to see my options since I am leaning towards riding the Quiring at Kanza, since it's already setup SS and is custom fit to me (and has a flat bar).

I went through many different ways to mount the bag to the Quiring.

Option #1:

This was my first idea before even getting the bag to try out. Plain old mount it backwards. Works ok except I will lose the use of my downtube waterbottle cage. I'd like to use both water bottles and a camelback as I'm expecting atleast 50 miles between rest stops.

Option #2:

This is a more secure mounting since it is how the bag was intended to be used, but again, it will mean I can't really use my waterbottle cage, or I can't fill up the bag all that much. Not really a good option.

Option #3:

This is the best option of the three for how well the bag is secured to the frame. Again though, I will only have access to one water bottle cage. I decided to fill up the bag with some mock cargo to see how this option worked out. I put a jacket in the right pocket and some food and a small tire pump in the left pocket. The bag held it well and I still had access to the downtube water bottle but.... (a big one) The bag was really wide. With it down near the seattube, this meant my knees were rubbing the bag every pedal stroke. Not good.

Ok so moving on to my other bike option. My Surly Crosscheck. Pros for this bike are a larger frame area for bag placement, rack mounts if I were to go that route and gears if I decide I don't want to ride the race singlespeed. Cons are the drop bars are somewhat narrow for my tastes so less climbing torque, the leather bar tape doesn't provide much cush and the frame is a tad bit small for me so it doesn't fit quite as well as the Quiring. (oh and it has and con)

I was curious how the bags would mount up to the Crosscheck so I went ahead and tried it out. Feedbag and light mounted with ease. The Jandd bag mounted perfectly, leaving me full access to both water bottle mounts.

So looks like for storage possibilites it's Crosscheck 1 Quiring 0
(not that this was a big surprise)

I'm planning on trying a Epic Designs gas tank soon too that Johnny5 is letting me borrow. I imagine this will be a sure thing for use on which ever bike I bring. I also am still planning on getting some new tires for the ride and haven't yet decided which ones. I've narrowed my choices to the WTB Vulpine 2.1 or the Kenda Small Block Eight 2.1. Not sure if these will fit in my Crosscheck... more things to check out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Housewarming and temperature's cooling

Where'd spring go? It's blowing through, causing severe, tornado inducing, storms but the temperature just won't stay up. My heart goes out to those in Murfreesboro, TN that were hit by the latest tornado.

This past weekend was quite a lot of fun. We finally had our housewarming party. Since we'd moved in the middle of winter, we wanted to wait until spring time to throw a party. We were very fortunate with great weather, right after some terrible weather blew through. We worked hard on the finishing touches of the house and were very fortunate to have a lot of help primping up the yard from Beth's parents. Thad came into town early to help pickup the keg of Yazoo and next thing we knew, people were showing up and the party had begun!

It was a lot of fun showing our friends around our house and catching up with a lot of people we hadn't seen in months. It was a little cool out but most people preferred to hang out on our party deck and patio chattin', snackin', drinkin' and throwing some darts. We got the fire up and going as the sun set and just kept on talking and visiting. The dance party started around 11pm and went late into the night, even moving upstairs to 'Studio G'.

Easter morning came too early for me as I spent much of the evening on the couch. Beth and I had a great Easter brunch at her parents house and relaxed the rest of the day, recovering.

I spent much of Monday with my uncle and his family. They are in Nashville for their spring break so we had brunch at the Pancake Pantry, did some shopping in the Village and then I gave them a tour of one of the recording studios on the row where I frequently work.

Beth and I spent tuesday getting things together for her upcoming show in Richmond, VA. Troy took the initiative to plan a bike polo game in our old stomping grounds at Shelby Park. Thankfully we were able to get 6 riders out to play. We played some great, slightly more lowkey games, as a couple new comers to the game, Hannah and Joe, got their bearings. Dan H. showed up a little later and we continued playing for a while. It was a ton of fun. It felt really great to get back on the court and push the ball around. We were a little rusty, but quickly remembered some techniques and of course some celebratory beverages were enjoyed as well.

Today, a few of us met out at Montgomery Bell for another long trailride. Spring this year is really being tempermental and unpredictable. After getting a ton of rain lately, once again Montgomery Bell was really our only trail option. I have to admit that I'm getting just a little bit tired of this trail. I feel like it's the only trail I've been riding all year. We really changed our route up though this time around. We hit a lot of the course in the reverse direction and explored some Blue and White trails that we'd rarely ridden. Overall it was yet another great ride. The trail was in great shape with amazing traction. I was able to really hone in my cornering some more. I am still really enjoying my new Quiring and I feel like every ride I feel more and more comfortable on it. I've been practing my cornering a lot lately as I feel it has been a weak link for me and a perk of continually riding with people who are better than I am is that I can pick their brains for riding tips. We got in over 22 miles and were all quite spent at the end.

This coming weekend is our first out of town craft show for Freshie and Zero in Richmond, VA. It's only a one day show so we're gonna combine it with some family time and visit my brother and my parents. We'll be back Monday of next week and then will be preparing for our next trip to Birmingham that coming weekend. Busy busy spring for Freshie and Zero. I hope the public is looking for some elegant, affordable jewelry.... papa gots some toys he wants! (and some race entrance fees to pay)

Friday, April 10, 2009

It was nice while it lasted

RIP Bike room Nov 2008-April 2009

One more step towards adulthood, we are now owners of a nice dining room table.
Adulthood=1 Bikes=0

We've been getting a lot of work done around the house and yard in preparation for a housewarming party. Not much worth taking pictures of just yet. We're hoping for great weather for the partay and I'm sure there will be many photos snapped. Our place may never look this good again so we'll have to document it!

I haven't been getting the camera out on any rides lately either. I've been getting in some fun, hard rides. The boys all got their Moots and we all hit up Monty Bell for shakedown rides, heckling and supporting SORBA MidTN.

Last night was Yazoo tap room night. I've been working so hard on the house that I haven't been able to get out on the bike this week. Tap room night was my only excursion so I wanted to make the best of it. Of course I had to fix a flat right as I'm airing up my tires, so I'm off a bit late trying to get to Hillsboro Village before a friend leaves work to pick up some Flight of the Concords tickets.... wooo! "What?" "What?" 16 minutes flat for the 5 mile commute with the help of some well timed green lights. I headed down to the tap room after that to meet up with the crew. Saw lots of bikes, some locked up outside and the usual pile inside. Spring is here...good to see people taking advantage of it. Beth even came out and joined us which was a treat. We headed to McGuinness for some food with Thad on his new stiffMoots and Hannah on the bluefish. No crazy sidewalk riding this time and we all arrived in one peice, with the Moots getting it's first taste of a padlock on a fence.

oh and I just discovered the One Day As A Lion EP a couple weeks ago.... man, I'm really digging it! Wonder if/when they'll come out with a full length album. You should all check it out, even Beth says it's "Not Bad." and "Not as mean as the Rage Against The Machine"

All this talk of 8mm wrenches, 5/16th socket drivers and fiddly bolts is going too far. This all I need, it's fully adjustable and has a full range of torque specs:

This is just for you Thad....

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