Thursday, May 29, 2008

IMBA Trail Care Crew weekend

We had a successful weekend hosting the IMBA Trail Care Crew at Hastie Natural Area. Kelley and Collins Bishop put on a fine ppoint presentation and then demo'ed proper benching techniques. At the end of the work day, they took small groups and worked on what to look for on trail layout.

Although I had been through the school before, I did learn a couple of tricks. I laid out a fair amount of the trail walking the woods by myself. A simple trick like hanging my flagging tape at eye level to get an accurate inclinometer reading was something I never thought of.

We ended up with around 20 people. Bob Richards from TDEC gave us copies of "Trail Solutions" and "Managing Mountain Biking". Each participant received a free copy. Kelly and Collins said they had never seen free books at any of their workshops before...Thanks Bob.

On Sunday we rode the Dirty South Ride. It consisted of a stroll through Forks of the River WMA and over to Hastie to ride the new stuff and back thru BHann's trails and back thru the WMA again. I learned that my "beginner" trail wasn't as "beginner" as I thought and my "advanced trail" wasn't as advanced as I thought. Oh well, I guess we learn as we go.

Kelly and Collins took pictures and I have been promised copies soon. I'll post when I receive them.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Does it bother you if I talk while you ride?

I raced the Monkey Grinder at Montgomery Bell State Park today. My title question came from the race. I got a 4th position start into the single track. I found myself riding 3rd places' (Daniel's) wheel. Me being me, I starting talking to him...Great track...good crop of poison ivy...did you race here last year?...Soon Daniel was pushing a little too hard and went down in one of the many corners.

I went past and hopped to 2nds' wheel (Eric's). Do you know the guy in front?...what gear you running on that?...Then he slides out in a corner.

I go on by and the race leader is way out of site. I kept up a good pace thinking I might be able to catch up to him once we hit some hills. Pretty soon I spotted him up ahead. The hills section was looming and I started closing the gap. Soon I was up on his wheel...I didn't think I would catch you the way you took off...These whoops are fun...That was a cool banked turn...We went thru a g-out and at the bottom his (Mark Vickers) hand slipped off his bar at the bottom. His front wheel went dead right and he centered a 4 or 5" tree. He hit it like a cartoon. One hand and a leg on one side of the tree and the other hand and leg on the other side. That tree swayed about 8" (we are clydesdales after all) and he hung there. I thought he was hurt bad. I stopped and asked how he was and all he said was keep going. So I did. I wasn't sure he would be able to finish.

I had now talked all of my leading competition into crashing all over the race loop. I cruised in to win by about 3 minutes over 2nd. Mark was able to finish 2nd after he escaped the tree. I'm sure he will be a little sore though.

I felt pretty good all day until the very end of the race. This was my first XC win in several years. Felt good! The Salsa now has a win and a 2nd in XC and a win in a TT. Not a bad record on the new bike.

The picture is of me and Mark after they handed out prize $$.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Greenways and new wheel skill

Monday night Wally, George, Ron and I did the Big Boy Rumble greenway ride.
We started at the BiLo and rode to the new Alcoa Hwy bridge. I stopped and took a couple of shots on the bridge. I saw PeterPanic but didn't get to talk. Not sure where he went on the other side.

We rode out to Forks of the River, took a quick break and then back, barely beating the dark (Wally said "No, you won't need lights."

Here's Ron hiding behind Wally.

I learned a new skill this week. I built my first wheel.

I'm happy to report that it was not as hard as I thought it would be. I think it turned out really nice. The proof will be in the riding though and I havn't put it on a bike yet. I bought a scratch and dent Salsa Delgado rim from Harpers and used an XT hub I took off a 26" wheel.

Finally, I have been piddling out at Hastie and lack only about 100 yards having another loop open. The new section will need some benching but should be rideable by the first of the week.

It needs to be ridden. BHann has offered to lead Dirty South rides on Thursdays(?). Those rides will include Hastie, Forks of the River WMA, BHann's property and other "interesting" connector bits.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Too much driving not enough riding

Over 3000 miles driving in the last two weeks...That's too much. The driving along with a work/golf trip have wrecked my back.

Last week I spent Wed thru Sat night in Destin, Fla. We played golf every day. I used to play a lot of golf and was fairly competitive but anymore, I hurt too much after playing. I took my road bike and got in about an hour of riding in a 30 mph wind with some nice folks who lived down there.

I got home around midnight Sat night. I really wanted to get out to Hastie Sun morning and managed to get 300 or 400 yards of trail done. It looks good. Afterwards, I rode Hastie for about an hour. I did the easy loop up and back two or three times and then rode the new part. Right now I think there is about 3/4 of a mile of the new part. There are still a few trees down that have to be crossed but most of it rides great. After Hastie, I went over to Forks of te River and tried to get lost for a couple of hours. There is some great riding at FOR. It's too bad it is "closed" half the year. I never did get lost. I did recognize some trails from following BHann's wheel thru there on some of his rides.

I didn't get to ride anymore until I got back in town Wed for the weinnie ride. I must have been rested or something because I felt great the whole ride. Climbing Rainbow almost seemed easy...whats up with that? Musta been good and rested!

Today I posted my Prophet for sale.

I'm going all in on the 29er. I really like the Prophet but it is a bit small for me at 19". I plan to take the funds and go 1 X 9 on my El Mariachi.


I'm going to ad a fork and buy a wheel set and then run my Redline Monocog 29 as a SS.

I'm going to try to get some miles in this week. I have my youngest daughter's high school graduation Friday night. A work party Saturday night at a customer's house and a race at Montgomery Bell on Sunday. In the TBRA points standing, I am leading the clydesdale class after 3 races. So, I guess I will try to go to all the TBRA races.

Tune in next week for some exciting graduation pictures and maybe some race stuff.


Grand Master Clydesdale

Riding my bike makes me feel like I'm 10 years old again. I'm 54 years old and a clydesdale. I'm happily married to Ginger and I've got a son and two daughters, Zach, Hannah and Molly.