Saturday, August 28, 2010

a good night

It's a good night when you got 2 empty growlers in the panniers and your bike is on autopilot towards Yazoo brewery.

I was surprised to note that my bike seemed to ride better with the extra weight, even with it all in the back. It took some muscle to pick it up and move it but while the wheels where moving I couldn't tell a big difference. Good to know for future beer supply runs.

Today is a full day of fatherly duties but tomorrow should contain a morning of mountain biking with the (in)famous Gracie and then an afternoon of recording music in the hills of Bellevue.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tennessee Country Roads

Country Road
Originally uploaded by s3ll0ut
I've been sitting here at the computer waiting for my daughter to awaken from her much-longer-than-usual nap and thinking, I should really update this here blog. And luck would have it, that I have some thing to update it with... even with some photos poached from others.

(If you're not the text reading type, click the image to the left and flip through Parker's photos of the ride)

Thad, Parker, Eric and I all met up in the usual Natchez Trace parking lot for a morning full of hot, muggy gravel mixed with some hotter and muggy pavement. I've missed quite a few of these gravel rides recently so I was excited to get back out.

We quickly were on our way down the Trace to highway 7. Thad's gotten much better at routing us to gravel much quicker than some of the 60+ miles rides we rode last year near Fly, TN. 6 miles in and we were on some sweet gravel like in the pictures. The entire course was new to me this trip which made it fun. I always enjoy a fair bit of mystery in these longer rides. It's generally best I don't know what I'm in for. I tried my best to hold back my "how many more miles til...." questions. Though I'm sure at some point I let out a whine or two. But hey, coming off the couch, having not ridden more than 20 miles in a single month in over 3-4 months makes a 45 mile ride a bit tough. :)

Of course... it's time to tend to the baby..... be continued...

Ok, back to it 7 hours later and Raleigh is back asleep again for the night. Where was I?

oh yea gravel

So the ride was great in all the right ways. Good company, great roads (or lack of), great creeks, great pain and the constant thought of "How will I make it back to the car?" Overall I was impressed with how my body held up. We seemed to miss some of the huge grueling climbs but we still had some painfully slow & long ones. Then there was the deep, loose gravel....though that was actually fun mainly because the sections weren't so long we were cursing.

We are so fortunate that we can drive 40 minutes south of town and be transported into such another world. It was the ultimate head clearing ride. We all also were fortunate to avoid any major mechanical issues. A couple flat tires were all the trouble we had and surprisingly non of them were Thad's tire.

I'll poach a few more photos and call it a night... til the next ride....

Creek Crossing
Photo cred: Parker

One of many creeks on the ride, probably the shallowest

Ole Store #2
Photo cred: Parker

This was the 1st store we found, which was closed, not just on Sunday, but closed everyday. We all had our hopes high for some liquid but we were saved a few miles later when we happened upon someone's spring and poached some crisp water. (as we tried our best to convince ourselves it was clean enough to issues yet!)

Low Life
Photo cred: Parker

Thad showing us the newest in mid-ride recover drink technology

Photo cred: Eric

Another creek crossing with some equestrian friends.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Beck.....Can this man make a bad record? Even the ones I don't like will grow on me in a few years.

This new Record Club project he is doing is incredible. I've been sitting here listening to his INXS covers in headphones and loving it!

check it:

Record Club: INXS "Need You Tonight" from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.

I also love videos in the recording studio. Though when I'm at work in the recording studio, I'm always scared of the day when they want to bring in the video crew.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

1 step closer, I am, 1 step closer

I stopped by Nashville Bicycle Lounge yesterday morning and Dan quickly got to work with my new fork. New Hope 20mm end caps installed, steerer cut, new brake pads installed and fork installed. It looks goooooood. The white lowers came stickerless and I'm digging it.

I got to take it out for a parking lot test and well, as Dan put it, it rides like a suspension fork. :) Can't make any real judgement calls until I hit some real trail. First things though are to lower the 100mm setting to 80mm. Timing what it is and all I won't make it out for a ride for a few days so further testing will have to wait.

The crude "pick up the bike a few times" maneuver says the fork isn't adding much weight to the bike at all. The Maxle system looks super stiff and I think the remote lockout button is gonna just be sweet.

Off to think about other things for the next few days.

Friday, July 02, 2010

It's here...

and waiting for me: (at Nashville Bicycle Lounge)

waiting is hard to do

Still waiting on my elusive fork to come in. It's been a very busy week though so that's helping.

I used to have more trouble with motivation to write blog entries, now it's more finding time to sit at the computer for more than 10 minutes, when I also don't have something more pressing to do. I had intentions last night of writing up a nice update but the couch looked way more appealing so I slunk off and into a episode of Dexter.

I had to work yesterday out in Bellevue so I packed up all my, neglected, bike stuff and planned a solo Montgomery Bell ride. Life is hectic and my brain is never fully there so of course I got on 440 and realized I'd forgotten my helmet. Had to swing the long way around back to the house. Trying a u-turn on 440 it's not advised. Work went ultra-smooth and I was ready to ride by 2:30pm. Got the tires pumped and the new test-saddle adjusted and.... um, wait, did I leave my water bottles in the fridge at work? dope! Thankfully it was not a 100+ degree scorcher or I would of really had to improvise.

I just decided to brave it and ride for an hour or so, sans water. This ride had many purposes but one was to further tweak my new shoes and cleats and also to test out a new Fizik Alante test saddle from the newly re-opened Harpeth Bikes. I'll have to write up my thoughts on that later, one for lack of time before I head back to work this morning and two because I've not yet formulated my opinion. So far I'd say, it's not a terrible saddle but I'm not yet sure if it truly fits me like a glove. All this to say my ride had many stops for saddle adjustments and a couple cleat adjustments.

I ended up finding a half full water bottle in my car with some yummy 90 degree water in it. I finished that and then went back into the trail for just a little more before bailing and heading back home to be a parent. It felt great to be back in the quite woods on a bike, slightly frustrating to not have my bike dialed in currently but overall I felt great on the bike. I'm still really looking forward to how this new fork changing my riding.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I'm picky

It's official... I am picky, but you all already knew that.

I received a response to my inquiry to SRAM about the exact Reba 29er XX fork I was seeking. Below is their response.

Hi Greg,
Thanks for your email. Unfortunately, we can't make every fork available in every configuration at the aftermarket level, so we're forced to pick and choose. Currently, the only XX Reba 29'er sold aftermarket with a 1 1/8" steerer only has QR lowers, and it doesn't look like that's going to change for next year. It's not the cheapest option, but it would be possible to purchase Maxle lowers and install them on a QR fork; or you could purchase a Reba Team with Maxle and purchase the XX damper and remote kit to convert it to an XX fork. I would definitely discourage you from buying a new CSU to convert a taper to non-taper, simply because that would be the most expensive way to go. Otherwise, the exact fork you're looking just doesn't exist. Sorry!
Nate Newton
SRAM Dealer Service

I guess not enough other riders want what I want. Taper smaper, who really needs it.

Thanks to Dan at Nashville Bicycle Lounge and his connections in the North, he got me setup with exactly what I was looking for and I may even have it to ride this weekend, or at least take nice close up pictures of.

Do you think I'm excited? I haven't bought a (substantial) new bike part in over a year!

Monday, June 21, 2010

in the pipeline

With huge thanks to Dan at the Nashville Bicycle Lounge, I have a brand new fork in the pipeline for the Quiring.

Much more details will come soon but for now....

29 inches
has a stiff lower end
enjoys being locked
1 X shy of porn

Saturday, June 05, 2010

155/365 - I'm back in the saddle again!

(can you hear the old school Aerosmith?)

Yep, back on dirt, on my bike and loving it! I saw an hour window in my responsibilities at home and took it to head to Hamilton Creek and ride for a bit. I had been months since I'd ridden my mountain bike on a real trail. From the first pedal stroke it just felt so good. My body immediately feel into the routine and before I knew it I was cruising around the trail making good time, not a care in the world and wondering why my body felt so good.

They've added a bunch of new reroutes to the "short loop" at Hammy that I'd yet to ride. Also there were some friends out fixing up the trail a little before the big 8th Annual SORBA Fat Tire Fest Saturday and the Hapreth Bikes 6hrs of Hammy bike race Sunday. The trail still has a little deadfall in some places but overall it's in great shape design wise. Some of the overly-tight turns have been elevated and it's much easier to keep a flow going. I thank everyone who's worked on that trail lately. I know first hand how much hard work it takes to create and maintain trail and you are all doing a great job!

I got in about 7 miles and averaged 8mph, not bad for a couch-surfer-new-Dad. I rode my new favorite Hammy gear of 32x18 and the bike performed great. I forgot to lube up my chain so it was talking to me the entire ride but other than that, just silent deep woods time. Hopefully I'll have a new fork ordered soon and I can go back to Hammy and try it out with suspension again. It's been a year and a half without so it will be new again.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


If you are one of the very small number that actually looks at that little MyCyclingLog widget I have over on the right column of my blog you probably noticed I went for a bike ride today. Yep! All 17 miles of the pavement from my house over to the Nashville Bicycle Lounge and back, and it was awesome. First ride after our little one was born. Surprisingly my legs knew what to do when clipped in, even while wearing my new snazzy shoes. The Lounge was awesome as usual and was a good hang with Dan, Fred & Rick in attendance. I even got rained on a little on the way home, but only while trudging up the last hill.

It was nice....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cleaning House

It's been a long few weeks. But we should be out of the "3 weeks of hell" portion and moving forward to a more civilized lifestyle. Those who know what I'm talking about, know what I'm talking about.

I've been fortunate that things I've tried to sell in the past finally sold this week and things I decided to sell this week sold this week. It's been a good "clean house" for me in bike part form. I sold my old bass guitar cabinet to a good friend on NMB. I decided that my wheelset from my old Ventana was too nice for a polo bike and put them up for sale and sold to another person on NMB. I am still in my search for the perfect new cycling shoe so I had to sell off a recent pair that were just a little too big. I had to resort to Ebay for that sale but the guy who bought them seems extra excited. Odd part of the whole thing is when my parents were just here my Mom gave with an envelope full of cash for me. A present? Kind of, yet it in the end if was my money, just money that's been sitting in two different banks for over a decade untouched. What's someone to do with an influx of expected money added to some reclaimed bike part money? Buy more bike parts I say!

I've got a big purchase on the brain and hopefully in the works. When I ordered my Quiring singlespeed I had plans of mating it with the then-brand-new 2009 Rock Shox Reba fork. I even used it's fork offset and sag axle-to-crown measurements in the design of my bike. I did not have enough money at the time to get the new bike and new fork so I ordered the bike with a rigid fork. Riding fully rigid was something I wanted to try again anyhow so that's what I've been doing for the past year and a half. I will say that I have enjoyed it much more than I anticipated. Though the thought of finally getting the elusive Reba I've had my eye on for so long is tantalizing.

Sure I could of settled and used a different, less expensive fork in the meantime but that would not work. The Reba now has the option of using a 20mm thru axle to stiffin up the front wheel. I wanted to try this and still do. So I have Fred over at Harpeth Bikes on the search for the fork I want with all the bells and whistles.... namely: 29er, 80mm, Reba, remote lock-out, 20mm Maxle lite. This fork doesn't exist in the online retail world. I know because I've looked everywhere in the past couple weeks. All those options are available but apparently no one wants them in one fork but me. I hope Fred can find me a hook up, and it's relatively affordable for a someone in my shoes. I've only found it the way I want on Ebay and the auctions were already over. I'll tantalize you with what the fork could look like. :)

In the meantime I've made a list of all the new parts I'll need with this new fork:
• Reba fork (duh)
• post mount 185mm Avid brake adapter
• Hope 20mm end caps for my front hub

This weekend was also the REI anniversary sale. I've been on the search for what to use for my "man diaper bag" and got the great idea to use a messenger bag from Chris H., fellow cyclist Dad. I thought, what a great excuse to get a cool new messenger bag! My current Chrome bag wouldn't work well with its upper-back-hugging-design so I was thinking Timbuk2. I figured I didn't want to spend good money and end up with another medium size messenger bag similar to my Chrome bag. Then after my "man diaper bag" use was over, I'd have to very similar bags. My first thought was to get a size large bag so I headed down to REI last week to check the bags out in person. The medium is quite roomy. They didn't have a large but after wearing the medium, the large would be huge and totally overkill but the intended use. Then I spotted this new bag called the Bullitt. It's a pannier with a shoulder strap like a messenger bag, or it's a messenger bag with hooks on the back to attach it to a rack like a pannier bag. I think it can be a really cool new addition to my commuting arsenal. With Father's Day coming up Beth wanted to get me this and the next day I got the flier for the anniversary sale! Clearly it was karma. I headed down early Friday morning when REI opened to make sure no one snaked the only 2 bags they had before me.

All Timuk2 bags and accessories were on sale so I picked up a great shoulder strap pad too. I had a 20% off coupon for any regular priced item so I also picked up a small head mounted light; something I've had my eye on for years. I figured it will be very helpful to zip tie to my helmet for urban rides (in flash mode) or map reading for rides like Kanza, should I do something like that again.

So sorry about the lack of posts lately and then the random posts but for a blog mainly about cycling, I haven't been doing much of that recently. Hopefully I'll be able to get more riding in my schedule soon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ebay Reserve Price Fees

I just finished chatting with an Ebay Representative about their Reserve Price Fee structure and I thought I'd share the conversation here. I found while putting up an auction for some bike shoes that I appeared to be paying 2 fees for choosing to have a reserve price but it was not clear through their fee structure.

Their fees page states if you don't use a reserve price the insertion fee is free up to a .99 cent starting price. So I set my start price to .99. When I chose a reserve price I reviewed the reserve price fee chart and it states I will incur a $2 fee. OK, I'm cool with that. When I finish my listing it states my insertion fee is $1 and I am paying a $2 fee for my reserve price. This seems odd so I go and review the insertion fees chart again. Now I notice that the insertion fee goes up as my reserve price goes up. This isn't immediately clear to me but after reading it again, and again, I see the title of the left column. See image below:

So I then think, it seems I'm actually paying a double fee for a reserve price and it's not clear until you really dig. You pay a $2 flat fee plus a sliding scale fee based on starting price but none of this is listed in the information about how much their Reserve Price Fee is. This seems odd, I should tell Ebay I think this is odd. So I navigate through about 5-6 pages of FAQ questions before Ebay will offer me the "Chat with us" link to talk with a rep. I start my chat session with a nice lady named Cara C.

I have including my entire chat transcription below. I have to say it was odd. In the end they said they would credit me the insertion fee. I reminded her I hadn't incurred the fee yet since I hadn't made my auction live. She stated she would credit it after I made my auction live. I then asked if she was waiting for me to submit. She apologized to me for my troubles and said if it happens again to contact them immediately. Well, I don't think it was a fluke, it's the way the system is setup so I told her I thought it would happen everytime I list a similar auction. She then responded that Ebay is currently working to fix the issue. Good news but are they really going to change their fee structure or how they disclose their fees? Time will tell.

I applaud Ebay for trying to "make it right" in my case. They did do what they could in the short term to try to make me happy. I think they could put some effort into a more transparent fee chart, mainly in the information specific to Reserve Prices. Not everyone is going to take the time to dig. It also can't be helping their reputation for being "Feebay".

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A week and weekend full

I'm just now getting around to posting about what happened last weekend. That's how full my week has been. We're housesitting for my in-laws so on one hand it's like we're on vacation, with out leaving Nashville. On the other hand it a little bit of a pain a we have to go home to do somethings, then bring clothes over to their house and of course I always forget things in the process.

Last weekend we had some friends over for games and hot tub relaxing and then Sunday I got out and rode some gravel with the boys. Thad, Grant and Parker came out and we rode the old Fly loop. Grant needed a loaner bike so I rode my Quiring single speed for the first time and Grant rode my Crosscheck. The ride was a lot of fun and was a great experience for me on the singlespeed. All the gravel grinders I've done have been on my geared Crosscheck except Dirty Kanza and our trip from Joelton to Monty Bell.

Unfortunately a lot of the old loop has been paved but we did manage to find some new gravel. Thad's hoping to explore and find a few more miles of fresh gravel. I decided to bail out of the loop early and skipped about 8-10 miles. I was feeling good fitness wise but my sit bones were screaming at me. Looks like it's really time for a new mtb saddle. Between our weekend at LBL and my ride at Hammy last week, my saddle was creating some bruised sit bones. In hindsight I should have moved my Selle-Anatomica saddle over to my Quiring since Grant brought his own saddle.

My work week settled down after a lot of "maybe" work and I ended up with all Tuesday off. Then, like magic, Matthew P said he was going to Sewanee for the Woody's Tuesday shop ride and I joined in. I made the smart move of moving my Selle-Anatomica saddle over to the Quiring for this ride. We had a good size group, about 7 riders total. Matthew, Corey C and I came from Nashville and met Brian, Woody and a couple other guys at the shop. I got start the ride right from the shop and learn a few new ways into the trail.

The trail was wet in some sections but was in great condition. The soil is sandy on the mountain so it drains fast and even when wet, it's rarely muddy. We rode at a nice relaxed pace and just enjoying being outside. The temperature was borderline cold but not too bad with a baselayer and a windbreaker. The trail is quite technical in sections. There one part where there is a good size boulder you have to drop down and then of course there's a root placed right where your wheel will land. I saw it, considered it, slowed way down, leaned back and dropped it, then paused, leaned forward and endoed. First endo on the 29er, but it's possible. As happens to be frequently, my right leg managed to get stuck between the top tube and the handlebar that spun completely around. It wasn't a bad looking fall but it hurt enough to know my leg would bruise a little. I was able to ride it out and finish the loop which was at least another 10+ miles.

My leg had a little throbbing that would come and go but overall the pain wasn't that bad. Now that it's 2 days later, the pain is pretty bad. heh My knee is sore to the touch where the handlebar hit it, but it's also sore below my kneecap in my upper shin area. I'm hoping it will heal on it's own and nothing to drastic is wrong. Unfortunately off-the-couch Greg is now back on the couch again. I've been chilling all day today getting work done online and on the phone, while I lounge with a bag if ice cold peas on my knee.

I've got another session to work at Blackbird studios tomorrow, and then it's the weekend again. I don't have much planned and I know I won't be on the bike this time. I'm thinking of making it over to the Yazoo Tap Room one last time before they try make their permanent move to the Gulch area. Also planning to attend the Ride for Reading acoustic benefit concert saturday night.

Back to the Sewanee ride. I have to say that my Selle Anatomica saddle was VERY comfortable on that ride. I was quite impressed. It was my first mtn bike ride on that saddle. I'd say it was the perfect saddle except it is hard to get your legs behind the saddle for steep decents, that may possibly lead to an endo. Bummer too because the comfort is amazing. So, I'm in the market for a wider than a Rocket-V saddle to use for mtn biking that is as comfy as the leather saddle, yet is easier to get behind.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

When life gives you lemons, do as the Roman's do.

Is winter over yet? After this past weekend it sure looks like it's on it's way out. We just had the most gorgeous weather for 3 full days in a row! I'm not talking like a sunny winter day, but a full on 65 degree, full sun, day where it was impossible not to stay outside. So... when the email comes to go on an overnight mountain biking trip to LBL, what do you do? Prep the bike, pack the car and kiss wife goodbye! To say this trip was exactly what I needed is a huge understatement. I've been so cooped up this winter with projects, work, and 20 degree weather that I hadn't put more than 60 miles on any of my bikes since Jan 1.

Leaving Nashville never felt so good
So Thad rolled up to my house with JD the lead trail dog, and a 13 yr old Mad Max co-pilot and the caravan left for the hills of Kentucky, only an hour behind schedule, not bad. We met up with Parker up at Land Between the Lakes and immediately changed into riding clothes, got the dog ready and hit the road to the trail entrance. We were on the bikes less than 20 min after we arrived, dodging trees and trying our best to keep up with the hammer JD as he lead us through the North South Trail. Thad is training JD to be a great trail running dog so he was hoping to test his stamina and get him more accustomed to riding next to more cyclists.

"When are you guys going to be ready to ride?"
JD did awesome! We rode an out and back 17 mile route and he didn't flench and kept a great pace for the couch surfers like myself who hadn't been out on a bike in a while. We dropped him off back at camp and headed back into the trail to get some more miles in, this time heading the opposite direction as before, towards the North Welcome station. We rode the 5 miles or so to the parking lot and I was starting to really feel it. Thad and Parker wanted to do the Canal loop so there was not way I'd make it around so Mad Max and I turned around and headed back to camp. We got a respectable 25 or so miles in and had fun walking JD around the camp site and antagonized the local marsupial while we waited for the other J5Marsupial and Parker to get back.

Thad specifically asked for the marsupial campsite

We were all feeling great after the ride but hungry as all get out so a trip to Miss Scarlet's was in order. This place never disappoints. I went for the sirloin tips and a potato this time and it was great. Parker didn't know what he was getting into with his catfish and barely finished 1 of the two huge pieces of fish. Parker had to get on the road back to Nashville so we parted ways and went back to the camp to get a fire going and settle in.

Our fire making skills were all a bit rusty as we had to stop, knock it down and start all over again to get it started. To our credit no lighter fluid of any type was used. We'd all talked about doing a night ride and all brought our lights. I purposefully skipped the Canal Loop hoping to save my legs for a night ride but when the time came, I was still feeling pretty beat. Max had never experienced riding in the woods at night so Thad took him out for a spooky 8 mile jaunt. "Be back in an hour" He said. An hour and half later they roll up, all grins with tales of attempting to recreate the Blair Witch Project and gooey, nasty tubeless tire flats.

During this time I got to sit and relax in the camp, alone but for JD, the campfire and a bit of rye whiskey. It was heaven.... until there was rustling in the woods nearby. Gotta say, it's a bit creapy being alone in a campsite at night, even with an enormous dog. JD didn't even react to one of the noises I heard... did it really happen? who knows. :) It was a nice relaxing time to myself though. We called it a night relatively early and bundled up for the cold night.

Thad treated us to a great breakfast of coffee, oatmeal and toasted english muffins with peanut butter and honey. YUM! Max masterfully made a fire in no time flat show both Thad and I up all the while joking that no, he wasn't an eagle scout, he'd quit after cup scouts. After stuffing ourselves we suited back up for another trail ride with JD, retracing our first ride the day before. This time JD apparently found some inspiration and would not allow us to ride at a reasonable pace. He ran off the front the entire time, as Thad chased him down and Max and I just held on at any pace we could. This stretch of the North South trail has few hills and has a lot of great flow. We put in another 14 miles without really working that hard.

mmm coffee on the fire

JD doing Old English Impersonation

Off the couch on my first rides in the woods since last year and we ended up with 38 miles or so in two days. It was awesome. Exactly the R&R I needed and I'm already thinking about the next one.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Riding? no! Busy? yea!

Time is just flying by. Beth and I have been back in Nashville since the second week of Feb or so and have no out of town plans for months. It's a strange feeling. Right now it's great because we're excited to be able to participate in all the social activities being planned. I have a feeling that we'll get stir crazy though pretty soon...though our lives are changing in a couple months also, so free time will be a rare commodity.

It's strange, my calendar has been full since the day we got back from NYC. Awesome and amazing. I've worked 9 days at home too editing Radio liners for CRS week. It was fun to be able to do a lot of work at home and it also prompted me to re-evaluate my home-studio/office setup and do some rearranging.

New office setup, much better feng shui

Thankfully with all the recent studio work I was still able to schedule in some friend time and got to get out for a friend's birthday and also get to the Ride For Reading Work Day (Party) at their new headquarters. A big crew came out to help Mathew get his new building finished up. I bet we had 20 or more people come to help out. There was lots to do but we soldiered through and got a ton of it done. We got concrete walls cleared off and sealed, studs de-nailed, floors cleaned, electrical sussed out, lights installed, drop ceilings removed, drywall hung and even got started mudding the drywall. All the while we also had time to of course have fun, and eat some awesome lunch that was generously provided by Mathew's neighbor Cafe Coco Italian Kitchen.

I brought my still camera and my new Flip camera but didn't manage to shoot too much footage. I kept thinking I'd grab the camera later, but never did and I was a bit apprehensive about protecting it from harm in the commotion. Here are a few of the images I did get and a short movie of a walkthrough during the day.

The Man, Mathew Portell, doing the work himself!

Dan & Rick scraping off the residual wood paneling

Grant managed to get some solid work done, amidst his many fans calling him.

Rick found his way into some high places

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Have You Seen Me?

Last seen before the Ice Age.....

eagerly awaiting the thaw....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A true weekend

My weekend started a day early this week. Not that I really have any weekends. I'd say I generally work more on weekends than not or at least 50/50. This friday was an exception. I drove out to the Cheatham Wildlife Center/Harpeth River State Park for some nice gravel grinding. Some of the usual suspects came as well like 2009 Dirty Kanza finisher Jeff Scott, local BA Jim Simms and a new rider to gravel came out, Tim Denise.

They all were being harder-edge than me and rode from their respective houses to meet me at the Narrows parking lot. The weather was perfect for a day on gravel. Foggy, overcast, somewhere between cold and comfortable with a good wind. I setup the Quiring in it's Dirty Kanza setup even pulling out the 3rd bottle mount courtesy of gRant. 32x16 was the gear of choice for the locals of the area and thankfully I already had my Small Block8 tires mounted, a fav of mine on the gravel. It's like my bike knew it was going to get some gravel soon.

We hit the road quickly after the boys finally found me, patiently waiting in a different parking lot than the one Jeff told me to go to. We had to ride a little bit of pavement to the gravel but it passed quickly and gave us all time to catch up and ask what we'd all been doing since we last rode together, which was a long while for me. When we hit the gravel it was full on, rutted, muddy with huge dark puddles and some sections of thick, tire sucking gravel. The overall elevation isn't much in this area but the route we were on started up first, then after a little bit of flat, it was up more. We got the first big climb out of the way early and it thankfully wasn't long, just a small gut buster with some power tapping gravel near the top.

We rode the rolling hills expanding and contracting like an accordian. Jeff would show up and ride off the front, then wait on us, then Jim would do the same. This was only my second ride since before Christmas so I was just pacing myself and spinning a good cadence. The course was perfect to help ramp me back into riding shape. Lots of small rolling hills that keep your heart-rate slightly elevated but nothing to kill you.

Tim's new Misfit Fe steel ride...lookin' great with gravel grime

We did a couple out and backs which included a pit stop at the ranger station. We didn't see anyone else out in the park except 2-3 cars passing. I had to finish up by 12 so they rolled me back to the park entrance I had left my truck and they rolled on to finish their longer rides.

After my ride, I had plans to go and meet Mathew Portell and help him clean up the new Ride for Reading building. A few guys came out to help unload some donated books and shelves. Mathew and I had our water sprayers that we loaded up with a bleach solution and hit all the molded studs in the building. Ironically this building used to be the Roofer's Union and it apparently had terrible roof leaks. We worked for a couple hours and rewarded ourselves with a bit of far it was a good day.

Mathew and I ready for action

Today, Saturday, turned out to be another great day. I had grand plans of getting up early and hitting the road on the Crosscheck to ride down to Harpeth Bicycles liquidation sale. I figured about 1.5 hr ride and the shop opened at 9am. Well, I got out of bed at 7:30am, and it was crazy foggy at my house. So, I decided I didn't want to be rushing down a foggy Franklin Rd with not-so-careful Nashville drivers trying to get to a big bike sale. I did still go by car and showed up right at 9am to see at least 10 people hanging outside the shop, waiting to get in. Luckily there was no Walmart-style trampling to get inside but things were getting picked up fast and with authority. I mean when everything is 50% off, it's easier to make decisions for sure.

I brought a list of things I was looking for and was able to pick up a lot of smaller items. Bottle cage/power link/bartape, the essentials. I even scored a set of used tires for a steal that are in great shape and will work great for commuting. One thing I was looking for was some panniers for my new rear rack I got from my brother for Christmas. They only had one option there and I hemmed and hawed about it for awhile. I even left it on the wall and paid for all my other stuff. Well no one else was interested in it and it was just staring at me so I reconsidered it and thought, for the price, I was almost dumb to not buy it. So I did and threw it on the bike right when I got home. It's the Eleven81 City Limit bag which is all one piece and hangs on the rack.

After lunch I threw some random things in the panniers and hit to road to go hang with Dan at Eastside Cycles for a bit. I also got a pair of new Mavic shoes that I was eager to get cleats on and all setup. The trail & error part of getting new shoes setup is not something I'm fond of. The stopping and tweaking the angle of the cleat ever so slightly, the thinking while pedaling: is my cleat to far forward on my shoe. Ugh frustrating, but it's something I haven't had to deal with for over 4 years with my Sidis. So a shakedown ride was in order, and I also though a trip over to Eastside and back was a better ride for this than a 45 mile roundtrip to Harpeth Bicycles.

Everything worked great on the bike and I was even happy with my cleats overall, though I had moved them twice last night in preparation. It was quite windy today though; lots of crosswind on the trip over to the shop, but almost all headwind on the way home. I generally always take the round-about way to get downtown, preferring trips down Belmont Ave or 12th Ave over Nolensville. I'm only 4.5 miles from the shop by car, but my route over was 8.5. I decided to try a new route home and just ride straight down 4th Ave as it turns into Nolensville. That was a mistake! At least for today with the wind. What should of been a 3 mile shorter route took me exactly the same amount of time as it did to get to the shop. Riding up a gradual 2.5 mile hill on Nolensville into a 15+mph wind was slow going. Well lesson learned now. I was thinking this route would allow me to avoid a pretty big hill but I think I'd prefer to ride that shorter, steeper hill than the long one up Nolensville.

So 2 great cycling day back to back with some other fun stuff in between. Yep, start of a great weekend. I refueled tonight with Beth's family at Carrabas for her sister's birthday, yum! On the books tomorrow is church and then I actually have to go in to the studio and do some recording so my weekend I guess is over tonight. Next week will be prepping for our trip to the NYC wholesale show with Freshie & Zero, then a week out of town. Last big trip before our lives change forever!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy New Year!

Never did make it back here to share our trip to Utah. It was a lot of fun, I got to know Beth's family better, found out about some great new beers, did some awesome skiing, and broke my ski boots that were 15 years old. I posted up my photos from the trip on my Flickr page HERE so you can live vicariously through them if you want. The weather was colder overall this year but unfortunately I still was not able to experience the true, amazing, second-to-none dry powder skiing that Utah is known for. But of course I still managed to have a great time on the slopes! I hung out with Beth's sister, her step-dad and his brother's family on the slopes almost the entire first day. It was really fun to watch them pick up skiing and get better and better each run they took. It's tough to learn to ski the older you keep and I have a lot of respect for Beth's stepdad and his brother for trying it over 50, and not getting so frustrated they gave up. I was fortunate to learn when I was young around 4th grade but I've witnessed many an adult try to learn and give up. It's tough!

After Utah we got back to town and only had 3 days to get all our stuff organized and packed for our trip to Atlanta for the Americas Mart Gift Show. We did this same show last Jan and July so thankfully most of our display was already worked out and made. Beth still had to bust out 1 of every style she makes which is a ton, easily over 120 pieces. We were in Atlanta for 6 days selling jewelry to owners of boutiques and other stores. We got back last Thurs and jumped back into work. I had some studio work lined up and Beth had whole orders to fill and retail website orders to get out.

I got all Bob Ross on Beth when she asked me to touch up the white canvases!

We've finally had some time to get organized and get Christmas totally put away, cleaned up and stored. Our downstairs is starting to look normal again and I even had time to get outside for a bike ride. I met up with my friend Graham from NMB and we rode a cold lap at Percy Warner park. I cut it to just one lap as my feet were pretty cold and I'm out of shape truthfully. I have been off the bike completely through the holidays and Monday was my first ride of the new year. We got dinner and some beers after the ride which were earned. I tried to ride just enough to justify a couple pints of the Sweet Potato Stout that was a 2 for 1 deal at the Brewhouse 100.

Oh and I got a new pair of cycling kicks from my mother in law for Christmas anxious to try them out!

I decided to make an attempt to participate in the 365 "project" on Flickr. Post 1 photo every day for a year. So far I'm off to a decent start, though not all my photos have been that interesting, or that high quality. I think it will be interesting to look back at the end of the year and see what all I thought was worth documenting. 2010 will be quite a different year for Beth and I with a baby girl on the way so this should be fun. I'm also going to try to not be too anal about it and not worry if I miss a day here or there. You can follow it if you're interested here: Chewieez 365.

Hopefully I'll also begin to keep this blog more up-to-date in 2010. I have been quite a slacker lately.

Friday, January 01, 2010

We're not in Kansas anymore....

big scenery change.....

more later...

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