Saturday, December 29, 2012

Unicycling fresh pow

I think I tweaked something in the rotator cuff area of my shoulder durring the Dirty Dozen last month, so I've been taking it easy on the bike.

And hitting it hard on the uni:

Unicycling fresh snow, bro from montana miller on Vimeo.

It's fun. And I'm going to go out and shred some more while the snow is still falling. Happy festive days folks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bikepacking out of Ohiopyle

This is recycled from the work blog. Original post here.

The Quebec Run Wild Area is a really cool system of trails to the south of Ohiopyle. I've been looking at some maps for a while, and figuring out a way to ride from town to the wild area on single-track and double-track the whole way.  


So last Saturday I loaded up my pack (the Adventure Satchel XXL) and started the climb out of the valley.


The trail that goes into Quebec is a ten-mile piece of single track called the White Tail Trail. My plan was to ride a gravel road out of Ohiopyle, take a trail through some state gameland, hit the White Tail Trail into Quebec, watch a cyclocross race that was going on near Quebec, then camp and ride back into work the next morning.

The climb out of Ohiopyle was pretty brutal with a loaded pack. Since I was on that stupid big gear I race on, I couldn't stay in the saddle. And since I had 35 pounds of camping gear on my back, it wasn't easy to pedal out of the saddle either.


But I made it to the top and into the gamelands. A few miles in, I saw about 40 trucks parked in the woods. At that point, I realized that it was the first day of bear season, and I was wearing a woolly black shirt.

The rest of the ride through the hunting zone was less than relaxing. When I got to the entrance of the White Tail Trail off of Skyline Drive, I saw more hunters. Since I had no desire to be mistaken for an emaciated bear and shot, I decided to ride the road the rest of the way to the cross race. But at least now I know that the trail to Quebec does exist. It even has fresh blazes. I'll just have ride it when there's less firepower in the woods. But buzzing along Skyline Drive wasn't so bad:  


A couple hours later, I made it to the cross race. I hung out for a while and heckled some people. Especially Cinder Bloch, whose bicycle choice was a little suspect:

Photo by Fred Jordan

Then I started the long climb back up the ridge. I made it to my camping spot above Uniontown just before dark, and got a little fire going.


I knew it wasn't going to rain, so I didn't bring a tent. I sat next to the fire and looked out at all the bright lights a few miles below. Ate two pots of Ramen, burned up all my firewood, and drank the contents of the flask I brought along. I was hoping that I would be drunk enough to sleep all night without noticing the cold (see simulated summer.)


That worked for about two hours. Then I woke up. It was 25 degrees, and the wind was ripping across the overlook I was sleeping on. I wrapped my ground cover around myself, hoping that it would keep some heat in.

It didn't. But it did keep some moisture in, and soaked my sleeping bag.

I drifted in and out of shivering sleep for the next few hours, then at 4:30 I decided to get up and start riding back to town. The sun was starting to rise when I got back to Skyline Drive, and the morning was bright clear. 


Pretty, but bright clear mornings are cold mornings. I thought my fingers were going to freeze and snap off as I descended the mountain back to Ohiopyle.

When I got back to town, I spent a long time thawing myself out in front of a little oil heater before I opened the store. Overall, it was a pretty good mini-bikepacking trip, even though hunting season kept me from riding all the trails I planned on. I ended up riding 45 miles the first day, and 15 the next morning. Not a bad little adventure from the front door.

The Dirty Dozen

Another year, another 13 hills down (one of the hills was actually closed for construction this year, but I made up for it by doing Canton twice.) I rode a single speed again, because that's all I have. Although it was my third time doing the ride on a single, it still hurt. Shocking.

Unfortunate photos were taken of me looking like some sort of dwarven monster:
Photo by Mr. Newman of the Bicycle Times 

I think it's the pants. They make my legs look short.

Relatedly, my tiny girlfriend also completed the ride this year. Those pants don't make her legs look short, her legs make her legs look short:

 Since I'm so darn proud of her, I'll defer the race reporting to her blog space.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Not Dead Yet

The Dick speaks, the people listen. It's not a Knobby Meats post, but I did finally get the opportunity to do some writing on the internet again. With mildly terrifying beaked baby shower bears:

School is absolutely crushing me this semester. Many papers have been written, books read, and computer screens shouted at. Which leaves little time for bicycle riding or writing. But at least it's almost over. And I'm doing my first cross race of the season this weekend:

I'm sure that Old Man Pflug and Older Old Man Shogren are quaking in their boots.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Revenge of the Rattlesnake/ Rattlesnack 2012

It's been a month since I've posted. Nuts. School has been especially time consuming this semester. But anyway, Revenge of the Rattlesnake (Or as the liability form put it, Revenge of the Rattlesnack)

"How rough is that course?"

"Pretty rough. Standard Davis riding," said the Birdman.

I figured that meant that it was pretty rough. And standard riding for West Virginia. I underestimated a little.

"Go!" I sprint down a bumpy dirt road next to the river. Spinning as fast as I can, but I still can't quite keep up with the front group. On the first section of single track, riders bunch up. I hop onto a few wooden bridges, try to make some hairball passes, smash my chainring into some rocks.

The group is cracked apart now. I'm riding with JPok, Big Henry Spreng, and some other guy. As one rider makes a mistake, we do the shuffle. None of us can get away from the rest. Everybody keeps saying that it's way drier than usual, but the rocks on the trail are still soaked and slimy.

Some mountain laurel snags my handlebars. I try to ride through it. It swings my bike to the right, and I slam into the soft dirt. Dammit. My pack of three starts to ride away. I jump up and chase after them. Can't let those guys go.

The guy in front rides into a shallow looking mud puddle. His bike stops, buried up to the hubs. He gets off, and sinks past his knees. Almost loses a shoe. Perfect. I hop off my bike, skirt the puddle, and attack up the steep run-up.

I finally drop the little group. Solid. Benji is the only single speeder still ahead of me, and there's a big gravel climb coming up. Should be able to catch him there.

Down the Mountainside, Meatside, or Morningside descent. It's so rough. Thousands of little sharp rocks. If I don't pedal, my bike bounces to a stop.

There's a guy fixing a flat. "Need anything?" I ask.

Then there's hissing, and I feel sealant spray onto my leg. Shit. I stop next to the guy, and we fix our flats together.

People start passing me. JPok goes by. In 3rd now. Then Gunner, then Dahn Pahrs. Damn. This is serious now. Don't panic. You can make up the time. The bead of my tire flops off the rim, sealant covers my gloves. Fuck. It's cool. You're fine.

I inflate the tire, and start down the trail again. I have the pressure in the tire up so that it doesn't pinch flat. Riding the thing is almost unbearable now, I'm bouncing around so much. Some guy squirms in front of me and crashes into a log. I swerve left to dodge him.

Onto the gravel road climb. I go as hard as I can. I've gotta make up some time. Near the top, I can see Powers. Turn onto the single track, and keep climbing. It's slower going now. I'm really regretting not putting a smaller gear on.

Finally hit the top of the climb. And lose the trail. Son of a bitch. I walk around in the woods in circles for a few minutes. Where the hell is it? Betsy rides up behind me.

"Betsy, I can't find the damn trail."

"Oh, well it has to be around here somewhere," she says. Sue Haywood is right behind her. "Sue, where's the trail?" Betsy isn't at all distressed. She sounds like she can't find a spoonful of sugar for her tea.

"Right here," Sue keeps riding. The trail is on top of a weird spine on the outside of the stream bank. Of course. We're riding through a gently descending stream bank now. Every time I get some momentum, a big mud puddle or pile of rocks stops me. Betsy and Sue are rolling down the hill, and I can't keep up. They're just floating away. I sink into another mud hole. God this is discouraging. How are they rolling so much faster?

Now I'm alone in the woods. I'm still moving forward, but probably not very fast. My bike keeps bouncing to a stop. And bouncing to a stop. And sinking into a mud hole. Such slow going.

Apparently there was a section of smooth trail at some point. I don't remember it.

I ride another hour in a half-daze until I hear a rider behind me. That wakes me up, and I hit it. Four miles to the finish. Back across the bridges, through a trail that doesn't actually have a clear path. I'm just riding through the woods, connecting yellow blazing to yellow blazing.

I roll across the finish. I'm so sore, I can barely get off my bike. My back feels like it's going to explode.

Not a good race. But I wasn't the only one with issues. Cinder Bloch dropped out 15 miles in. The Birdman broke his shoes, another set of Crank Brothers pedals, and had to use a rock to fix both. Mayor McCheese had four flats on Mountain/Meat/Morningside Trail, all within the space of a hundred feet.

So you may wonder, who didn't have issues? Dahn Pahrs. Dahn Pahrs had no issues. Or, in his words: "DAHN PAHRS! WIN! Glad Dahn Pahrs skipped Peanut Butter Festival, because Dahn Pahrs the fastiest here!" Bastard.

I learned a few things from that race. Don't bring a used bicycle to Davis. It will break. Brand new equipment only. "Pretty typical" in Davis means extremely jarring. Not super technical like Michaux, but way more of a beating. Hellbender's burritos are good, but I still don't like Mexican food.

And burning pallets makes most of that ok:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Return

Back from the long road trip. When I got back into Ohiopyle, there were 5500 miles on the trip odometer. Going up to Vermont for Single Speed USA wasn't quite as on the way as I thought it would be.

But it was a good excuse to wear my favorite foam banana:

It was a neat trip. I was on my bike riding new single track for about three hours everyday. I did rides in Vermont, the Adirondacks, the Front Range, Winter Park, Salida, the Monarch Crest, Crested Butte, Fruita, and of course, Breckenridge.

Here are the links to my Breck Epic stage reports over on Dirt Rag:

Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4,5, and 6

Breck Epic was a great time. Staying in the condo with a dozen or more (I can't remember what the final math was) other dudes was fun, even if it was a little smelly. I almost miss waking up every morning to the sound of Cinder Bloch throwing dishes around and Don Powers hacking up phlegm.

Instead of feeling burnt out after all that riding, I'm more excited to shred the proverbial gnar than ever. Mountain bikes are fun.

Colleen was nice to have along, and she even stayed awake to keep me company for the 36 hour haul from Stowe to Boulder. Most of the time:

And she was almost tall enough to see over the steering wheel. With a booster pillow:

A big trip like that isn't possible without a bunch of friends, so before I get into the meat of the trip I should do a quick thanks list:

Josh the Bushwaka Matta, Sam Pro-Meat Scissors Morrison, and Anna Mudd for harboring us. Don Powers for paying the security deposit on the condo, and everybody else for letting us have a reduced rate for sleeping in the hallway. Mike Mac for letting me race Breck Epic. Kas at Wilderness Voyageurs for letting me take off for the busiest month of the year. It's pretty cool to work at a place where the management understands. And Industry 9, Ergon, Twin Six, Niner, and Cycle Symphony for helping with equipment. Swell stuff, swell people.

I'll get some trip posts up at some point. And yes Meat Scissors Morrison, I know I owe you a worship post.
Sam Morrison, Pro Mountain Biker

Few more races this season. The last race of the Michaux Series is coming up. Since I raced like ass at the Curse right after my staph infection, I'm 20 minutes back from 1st overall in the series. Unless my competition is forced to shower with a garden hose for a few months, I'll have trouble making that time up.

After that, the Month of Mud starts. Registration has entered the digital age and is up on Bike Reg this year.

The last race of the series is the Super-D/ Super-XC/ Race-With-a-Big-Downhill-that-Requires-Occasional-Pedaling-by-XC-Weeny-Standards-but-an-Unbearable-Amount-of-Pedaling-by-Gnar-Huxster-Standards-Race. I'm pretty sure that we're getting a band to play at the Falls City Pub after awards, so it'll be a party. Bring party pants.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Breck Epic Tomorrow

Breck Epic starts tomorrow. 11 of us are checked into the single speed frat house in Breck, and the other two will be here later today.

I'll be posting results and updates after every stage on the Dirt Rag site:

When I get back to Pennsylvania at the end of the month, I'll have some stuff to write about the rest of the long road trip.

Monday, July 16, 2012


After Stoopid 50, I was feeling strong. Then I got a bad staph infection and spent a week sitting on my ass.

The following is a little gross.

When my shin looked like it was growing an inflamed baseball and started to jiggle as I walked, I decided it was time to go seek some professional advice. I went to Med Express the next day.

The nurse came in to see me and asked about my medical history. I looked over while talking. She was writing down everything on a napkin. Confidence inspiring.

Then the PA came in, and informed me that the little staphs had built a megalopolis under my skin.

"It's very hard," she says while squeezing my infection. "I can either try to drain it, or give you some antibiotics."

"Well what would work best?" I ask.

"Oh, it's really up to you."

"Up to me?" Seriously? I came here for treatment, not choices. I could get information that general from the internet. "What do you recommend?" I say.

"Well, we could do either one"

Damn her. Not helping. But I'm paying $115 dollars to be here. I better get my money's worth and have her slice something.

"Fine. Just cut it open," I say.

She moves me to a different room, and pulls out a tray full of shiny sharp things.

"Ok. This'll pinch," she shoves a needle into the middle of my infection. It feels like she's driving a piece of hot rebar through my leg. Then she does it again. And again. My toes clench. And another needle. Jesus. And another one.

"Thanks for not kicking me in the face," she says. She looks excited. "Now I'm going to start draining it." she picks up a scalpel. I can't watch. I turn my head and grab the rails of the bed.

Now she's squeezing on my leg. I've never been in so much pain. Squeeze squeeze squeeze.

She almost giggles. "Ok! Got some out. Do you mind if I save some of your pus?"

I nod weakly. There's blood all over the chair. She wipes some off my flip-flop, slaps a bandaid on my shin, and sends me home. I can't walk for the next three days.

Although I'm not totally sure how I got the infection, I'm guessing that it had something to do with the sub-optimal hygiene conditions of my home:

Or with the garden hose we use as a shower:

The Impending Long Drive

Only two weeks left until the big Breck Epic via SSUSA in Vermont road trip. The little red truck, (which I'll refer to as Uncle Beefwagon from now on), isn't ready to go. It needs some care. It'll be spending next week in the shop.

My New Zealandish girlfriend is finally back from her four-month vacation, so we were able to try camping in the custom bed-in-bed that I built.

Much nicer than sleeping in a tent on a pile of rocks.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Stoopid 50 2012

"Yeah dude, you should definitely come. It really isn't that hard. You'll have a blast," I say. We're three hours into the Beer and Gear Festival in Ohiopyle.

"Ok, you know what, I'm gonna to do it. I'll go get my stuff," says Ben. He stumbles away, pint glass sloshing.

Outside of Somerset in the little red truck.

"My longest ride has been 20 miles this year, but I'm excited. I think I'm gonna do pretty well. I just hope Jamie takes care of my dog. I left him tied to my Jeep. So what's the name of this race?" Ben says.

I laugh and tell him again.

"Oh, ok. I just hope Jamie doesn't get so drunk that she forgets about my dog. I left him tied to my Jeep. And my sunroof is open. I hope I didn't forget anything."

I kill the headlights as we roll into the starting area. It's 12:30. Ben unrolls a sleeping pad in the grass, and I crawl into the bed of the truck.

5:30. Ben slams the tailgate of the truck open. I flop over like a fish. Goddamit dude.

"Man, I'm covered in slugs from last night. Sorry I just need to get something," he says. He rustles around through his bag furiously. I grumble. An hour later, I'm up and drinking coffee. One of the guys parked next to me walks up. He points at Ben's slug covered sleeping pad.

"Hey, sorry I pissed over there last night. Had no idea you were sleeping there," he says.

"Oh it's cool. That was my friend, not me." Serves him right for waking me up.

Dahn Pahrs and Cinder Bloch ride over. Gnarmire is missing. We agree that he must have stayed home because his mangina was sore.

The moto revs. We roll away down the gravel. Stay to the front. Can't get stuck behind on this first section of single track. Just stick to Ferrari. The single track is coming up. The pace picks up a little. I see the turn. Hit it.

I cut to the inside of the turn, and slot into the single track in the top ten overall. Perfect. Ferrari is a few riders back. Sharp rocks everywhere on the ridge-line. Stay smooth. A guy in basketball shorts stops. He's way too far up. Another dude keeps yelling at me. I let him pass in a rock garden. Not sure what he thinks he's doing. He sprints around, then Stan's sprays all over the rocks as his tire blows out. Dumbass.

"Go left!" Ferrari yells. I follow the Scott guys and go right. I don't make the move. Ferrari passes. Shoulda listened.

Thunk. I feel the rim. My back tire is going soft. But I can't stop now. If I let people start passing, I'll never make up the time. Ferrari flats. This trail is eating people. I'm in 6th overall. Just keep air in that back tire. Thunk. Thunk. I try to put all my weight on the front wheel.

I'm in the back of a pack of four. Little Dylan Johnson is in front of our group. We hit a fork in the trail.

"Which way?" Dylan yells.

We don't know. Didn't see any arrows. There's tape going to the left. Dylan goes left. We follow. A few minutes later, we come out on a road. It's not the right road. Shit.

One of the guys thinks he knows where we are, so we sprint to the right. Bummer. Suddenly we're back at the climb where we need to be. That was quick. There aren't any tire tracks.

"Hey, I think we're ahead of everybody now," somebody says. Somehow we ended up with a shortcut. This is way worse than being behind. We agree to stop and wait. A couple minutes later, the lead two pass us. The other guys give them 30 seconds, then start chasing. I put some air in my tire, and decide to wait for Ferrari. I don't have to wait too long.

I ride up the climb behind him for a while. I'm a little bummed. I don't know if I'm going to be disqualified, if I should even keep racing. Ferrari attacks. He bridges back up to the pack of geared guys, where I would be if I hadn't taken a shortcut then stopped. Nuts.

Decide to keep racing. I put my head down and grind across the top of the climb, down the fast jeep trail, and into the single track.

Rocks everywhere. Logs, thrashing mountain laurel. This is awesome. I love these trails. Lunging up big boulders, rattling through sharp limestone teeth, winding through tight trees. I wish I could spend all my time pounding rocks like this. I forget about being disqualified and behind.

My back tire is still going soft. Should be using something a little bigger than a 2.1 Nano Raptor. A geared guy moves over to let me pass. I'm ripping now. Down a steep descent. Little too fast. There's a big rock on my left. Three feet high, completely flat face. I'm bouncing right towards it. Balls. I'm gonna hit this thing.

Slam into the rock. Tire bangs, rim crunches, spokes pop. My bike comes to a stop. I turn the bars to the right and slowly slide away from the rock. I can't believe I rode that out. Now my front wheel is buckled, and rubbing badly on my fork. I laugh. I'm good with it. A broken wheel is better than a broken face. Only 25 miles to go. I'll just ride it out.

Voot voot voot voot. My front tire slips along the edge of my fork. Vootvootvoot. I pick up speed on the gravel.

At the last aid station, I stop. Maybe the tech support guys can get it to stop rubbing. I hand them my bike and hang out for a few minutes.

Ferrari rides through the aid. Hell in a beef basket. How is he behind me? Apparently I was winning. A minute later, another single speeder rolls through. This tech stop just cost me first place. I gotta go. I grab my bike and sprint down the road. The guys at the aid station succeeded in making my wheel rub on the left side instead of the right side. And now my spokes sound like they're going to rattle out.

I chase the first single speeder down and start one of the last climbs. Then he surges and pulls away. Voot. Voot. Voot. I'm trying to go faster. I'm not going faster.

The last climbs hurt. Damn Chris Scott and his damn hard finishes. I round another turn, and see another false summit.

On the last bit of gravel. This is it. Finally. I turn onto the single track descent. My spokes are rattling like a box of tic-tacs. I pick my way down the hill and cross the line. 4:30, third single speed. Not bad, but I felt really strong. I could have done better. Shouldn't have made that wrong turn and hit that boulder. I'll get it together eventually. Preferably by August 12.

An hour later, Dahn Pahrs makes it back to the start. He doesn't look too good.

"Every time I got into the sun, I threw up! It was just like BLAAAHHH! Coming out my nose! Stopped at an aid station, threw up everything I ate! Everything I drank! Everytime I was in the sun I threw up! Everything! Everytime! DAHN PAHRS!" Dahn Pahrs yells.

Four hours later, Ben pulls his bike out of the back of some local's beat-up Honda Accord. He missed the last turn onto single track, and rode back onto the start of the course. When he hit the base of the first climb again, he stopped and thumbed a ride.

"I was going up this steep gas well, had no idea where I was, and I wanted to cry. It was so hard," he said.

"Yeah, sorry I told you the course wasn't that bad. I think I forgot," I say.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mohican 100k Race Report

I feel like a brick. I'm pedaling up the big climb out of Loudenville. It's taking a big effort to keep up with the other single speeders. Gnarmire is ahead of me. I sprint to pass him. This isn't good.

Over the crest of the hill. Nate, JPok, the Pflug and company speed away down the road. I should be up there with them. Actually, I should be ahead of them. I'm doing the sport race, I only have to ride 60 miles while they're doing 100. But there they go.

Into the woods. I try to pass a get around a long train of geared guys. One sprints and tries to block me. Two miles into a 100k race, and the guy is blocking.

"We're not in the same class friend. Let me go please," I say. He lets me pass.

The first miles are different than last year. Steeper, more climbs, more running. It hurts.

I ride into the woods and start the State Forest loop. The trails are perfect. A little rain tacked the dirt down last night. Spots of sunshine flicker as the trees wave in the breeze. Turns sweep left and right. Hop over a little root, down a buff descent. It's 65 degrees. This is Ohio at it's best. I still hate it.

JoeJoeJoe Malone is following me like a shadow. I've gotta get away from him somewhere. I ride off the trail into a pile of sticks. My bike stops. JoeJoeJoe stops and waits for me to get back on the trail in front of him. This is going badly.

More miles of flowing state forest trails. There's a crash behind me. JoeJoeJoe is picking his bike up out of a mud hole. This it. Need to get away. Right now. I sprint.

I have a few sweet miles of solo riding. Then I hear brakes warbling. JoeJoeJoe is back. Dammit. That guy is persistent. And he needs a new mechanic. And I need to piss. I'll just wait until we hit the road. I think there's only a mile or two of state forest left.

Pass the 19 mile sign. Then 20. 21. I can't hold it much longer. 22. 23. Have to stop. I pull off. JoeJoeJoe doesn't stop to wait this time. That's fine. I'll catch back up to him. I get back on the bike. I see him on top of a switchback and start counting seconds. 14. No problem.

A few miles later, I still haven't caught back up. I'm getting worried. The Birdman is standing standing next to his bike.

"Birdman! What are you doing here?"

"Waiting for you," he squawks.

Moving slowly up the hill, ankles turning on loose, muddy rocks we start to bitch.

"I don't know why I'm here again."

"Yeah. I hate the course, I hate this mud, I hate these rocks, I hate this hill. I hate Ohio."

"Fuck Ohio."

"Yes. Fuck Ohio."

"Are you dropping out of the 100 mile?"

"Why do you think I waited for your ass?"

Sweet. Someone to complain to. This should make the day better.

Ian Spivack is at the bottom of the next hill, squeezing the rear end of his bike. The Birdman asks what happened.

"I hit something really hard in the back, then it just exploded everywhere. It sucks because I was riding it sooo hard," he says.

"Anything I can do?" says the Birdman.

"Want to give me your back wheel?" says Ian.

The Birdman pauses. "No. I'm not helping that much." We ride away.

Out onto the pavement and gravel. The wind is ripping through the brown fields. We pedal for a couple hours.

"Fuck these cornfields."

"Yeah, fuck the cornfields."

"And fuck those vultures flying around up there."

"Yeah, fuck those vultures. And the wind and this gravel road. Actually, fuck Ohio."

"Yes. Fuck Ohio."

I've pretty much given up on catching JoeJoeJoe. We hit one of the last big gravel climbs. The Birdman flies away to catch Jason Cyr, who's also having a terrible day. He does. Then he stops, picks up a baby shoe, turns it around in his beak, squawks, and throws the shoe at me.

The shoe bounces off my helmet. "I hate you." My legs are completely shot. I barely roll over the top. Roll along more pavement towards the finish. We're moving at a very conversational pace. Actually, we've hardly been moving for the last 30 miles. I can't believe no one's caught us.

Into the last few miles of single track. I try to go fast for a mile or two, then give up again. Screw it. The Birdman flaps away. 20 minutes later, he's waiting for me around the corner from the finish.

"Alright Birdman, are we gonna sprint for it?" I yell.

"Fuck you man, I've been towing your ass around all day," he says.

I sprint hard and edge him out at the line. Victory.

But not really. JoeJoeJoe has been in for 10 minutes. I walk over and congratulate him.

"Nice job man. I kept trying to dump you on that single track, but you just wouldn't go away," I say. He smiles. No one should smile in Ohio.

The Birdman and I hang out at the finish for a while. We're done. We were slow. Felt kind of tired. Oh well. I blame Ohio and a lousy nights sleep.

Then Christian Tanguy rolls in. 6:37. A hundred miles in 6:37. He tries to lift a leg off his bike. Can't do it. Then he tries again, and gets it over the top tube. He hobbles over to the shade of a scrubby tree, propping himself up on his bike. The guy is moving like a 90 year-old. Nobody in the crowd really notices him.

The Birdman and I look at each other. We suck. Birdman grabs a pint glass of full of water and takes it over to him.

"That was awesome man, great work," he says and pats Tanguy on the back.

"Ooh, that hurt me so badly. I am in pain," Tanguy says . He takes off his wire rim glasses and wipes dried sweat off his face.

This guy absolutely crushed himself, can barley walk, barely stand. I gave up because... actually I don't have a good reason for giving up. Unlike the Pflug, I haven't found a tick on myself (unless I count the one that was buried in my scrotum earlier this year.) I just rode like a wiener all day. Had no guts, no determination, nothing. I was just a slab of meat on a bike. Being pulled along by the Birdman.

For my lack of effort, I win $200.

I'm disgusted with my race. For the first time, I start to realize that it might not be Ohio's fault that I was slow. It might have been my fault. Tanguy clearly wasn't having the funnest day of his life, but he crushed it anyway.

After I get my envelope full of money, we go over to the go-cart track and smash into each other. It's awesome. I think about switching to go-cart racing full time.

Back at the cozy cabin, the Birdman drinks a four-loko. His face is redder than an inflamed saddle sore. He points at me.

"Dude, you we're horrible today. You're a total turd," he says.

"Yeah, you failed big time n'at. YOU FAILED! FAIL! FAIL! BAD! DAHN PAHRS!" shouts Dahn Pahrs.

Cinder Bloch nods and eats a big fork-full of pasta salad. Gnarmire giggles while tickling his new slam-piece. I agree with all of them. Next time I do Mohican, I will not suck. As bad.

Or maybe I will, and I'll complain about Ohio some more. I like whining about that place almost as much as I like racing my bike in other places. Screw it.

Beer and Gear this Saturday, Stoopid 50 on Sunday.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wisp XC and Some Other Stuff

A quick update while I have a chance to steal some internet.

Last week was JR's Wisp XC. I won, and turned the podium box on it's side so that I would be taller than Dahn Pahrs and Cinder Bloch.
It was sweet.

The Mohican 100 is this Saturday. I'm doing the 100k sport race, because I hate riding flat roads in Ohio, and the 100k course has 40 miles less of them. After the race, I plan on snuggling with the Birdman in the cozy cabin love nest.

Epic Pro Cycling Team Pro-Cyclist Sam Meat Scissors Morrison was back in Pennsylvania last week, but we didn't ride bikes. As he put it, "Waaaa, I'm Sam and I'm sick. Bikes are stupid. Waaa." 
Sam Morrison, Pro Mountain Biker
I only mention Old Meat Scissors because I wanted to post that embarrassing picture of him again. I don't really care that we didn't ride bikes.

In a couple months, I'm leaving for the Great Breck Epic via SSUSA Vermont Trip. I need to ride up a bunch more mountains between now and then. While I'm standing around on concrete selling chips and Gatorade, my toughest competition is at Transylvania Epic tuning up the race legs.
I'm intimidated.

Completely forgot to mention this in the Cranky Monkey thing, but Cinder Bloch is still narcoleptic. I exchanged the beer he fell asleep with for a sausage. We took a picture.
Then he woke up, spiked his sausage into the dirt, and shuffled away to pee on somebodies tent. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

9 Hours of Cranky Monkey Race Report (2012)

Got a little behind on this, but that's the way it goes living in an information dead-zone:
No convenient internet around here. The trailer is an addition for our new Jamaican cook. Can't even buy a newspaper in this town. Time melts away. Soon it'll be time to head west and do Breck Epic again. Anyway, the Nine Hours of Cranky Monkey.

"I have to help open the store in the morning. I'll be there around nine," I wrote.

"Woah...dude. Last year there was a large line in the morning. You're doing the first lap," wrote Gnarmire.

"You get race on time better. Gnarmire look for a new teammate. DAHN PAHRS. smash bye." texted Dahn Pahrs.

"I'm really curious how this is going to work out. I think I'm going to drive myself so that I can leave when Montana doesn't show up on time," wrote Gnarmire

"I'll be to the damn race on time," I wrote, getting pissed.

Everybody went to Maryland the day before the race to pre-ride. I had to work the morning of the race. I knew that I could easily open the store, then drive an hour to the start line. But as our pre-race electronic correspondence showed, Gnarmire and Dahn Pahrs weren't so confident. Gnarmire spent all night before the race chewing on his finger nails and crumpling his panties into little bunches.

At 7:30, I leave Ohiopyle. At 8:30, I pull into Rocky Gap State Park. I get a text from Dahn Pahrs.

"Are you on the road yet?"

"Just left. It's gonna be close, but I should make it before 11," I said, hoping to stop Gnarmire's fragile heart.

I pull into the parking lot and carry my dufflebag over to the Pittsburgh West Virginia tent area. I look left. There's not a line for registration. There definitely isn't a large line for registration.

"Oh, Gnarmire, hurry! We have to register! There's only two and a half hours before the race starts, and I still need to eat a pickle and fill my water bottles!" I yell.

We fill out the registration forms. Then we sit around for two and a half hours, because we're there two and a half hours early. I give Gnarmire dirty looks behind his back for doubting me.

Two and a half hours later, I set my bike down, and run over to the start line. It's a Le Mans start. I jump up and down a few times, and wish my West Virginian arch-rival Nate Anon good luck.

"I don't like you and you sound like you just had a peanutbutter-novocaine shot in the middle of your tongue," I say.

"Go!" says the guy with the stop watch.

In a few steps, I look back. I already have a big lead. Cyclists are so bad at running. First to my bike, I jump on. Sprint out of the field and onto the pavement. Jason Cyr burns past me. He's fast this year. That diabetes causing African virus he got is really working well for him. I try to hang on, but it's no good. He's moving up the road too quick.

I turn into the single track with Nate behind me. Skid into the first tight corner, straighten it out, and into the next one. Nate's right there. We hit a wide spot, and he passes. I stick on his wheel.

Through the rock garden, back down a little hill, and around the lake. Jason hits a tree or something. His tire is rolled off when we pass him. That's a bummer. Up the big climb, I stick right on Nate's wheel. I have to try to get away from him somewhere.

We hit the only descent on the course. I rip down it, then look back. I pulled away by about 20 feet. A few seconds later, Nate passes me again. He's riding gears, and I just can't get away on the flat course. But he can't get away either. I sit behind him and we rip into the start finish area together. I punch the little plastic baton card, and hand it off to Gnarmire. He rides away with Nate's teammate JPok.

Back at camp, I eat a couple pickles, drink some water, and sit down. Little over 30 minutes later, it's time to go again.

Gnarmire hands me the punch card. JPok is going out again. I sprint out of the start with him. We crush the lap. At the end we pull up behind Gretta Daniels. There's no room to pass on the tight winding section. JPok sees a hole, and shoots through it. I've gotta go with him. Try to follow, and run into Gretta's handle bars. She almost crashes into the lake.

"Oh shit! Sorry about that! Didn't mean it," I yell apologetically. That went badly. I pedal hard to catch up with JPok. We roll through the start finish and I hand the e-punch  to Gnarmire. He goes out against Nate. Gretta rolls through the start finish and punches me in the back. I deserved that.

The break goes fast. I barely have time to sit down before Gnarmire is back again. He's a little bit behind Nate.

I go out for the lap alone. Nate's out of sight, and my legs feel heavy. I'm grinding up the climb on the backside of the course. Jim Mayuric sneaks up behind me, then spins away. Shit. Now we're in 3rd. I try to go with him, but he's climbing too well.

Back into the start-finish behind Jim, and a little farther behind Nate. I give Gnarmire the punch and walk back over to the tents.

The Pflug rolls into the pit. He's racing solo. One of his carbon crankarms is wobbling badly.

"Rob can you go grab me my other bike?" he yells to Cinder Bloch.

"What happened Pfluger, did that crank arm come apart?" I say. The carbon is splintered around the bottom bracket.

"Yeah," he says.

"I bet they're really light-weight though. Think all those weight savings made you faster?" I say. The Pflug glares at me. I'm glad he doesn't have room for his gun in that kit.

Grab the punch from Gnarmire. Out for another lap. It starts to rain. By the end of the lap, the backside of the course is a sloppy mess. I can't put anytime into the Nate/JPok or Mayuric/ Mold teams.

Gnarmire can't either. We do more laps, the course gets worse and worse to ride, and we solidify our position. We're about six minutes behind 2nd, and 20 minutes ahead of 4th. Before the last lap, I talk to Jim.

"Hey man, if we get in right before the cut off, want to just call it instead of going back out there?" I say. He agrees. JPok agrees as well. The course is miserable at this point. We clean off and change clothes.

Nate gets back 10 minutes before the cutoff. JPok tells him that everybody right behind him. Nate looks sad, then goes out for another lap. I laugh. Mould gets back a few minutes later. Jim doesn't go out. Gnarmire rolls in right after the cutoff. I don't even have deal with the guilt of quitting the race. Sweet.

And that's the end. We finish a solid third overall out of around 160 teams. First single speed team.

Then there was a shot-ski and the burning of some dumpster wood. To appease Prof. Gnarmire, I will write nothing more of that on the public internets.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Michaux Maximus Race Report (2012)

"Are those painted on?"

"They've gotta be."

Cinder Bloch and I are eating fine meat burgers at Shipwreck in Shippensburg. The waitress is wearing the tightest pair of black tights I've ever seen. Ever curve of her vagina is clearly visible. Now she's bending over a table, taking orders from a family with a bunch of little kids. Can't believe that's legal. This place is awesome.

"So should we camp, or stay with JPok? He said that there's one bed, and no floor space, but we could probably make it work," Cinder Bloch says.

"There's no way I'm sleeping in a crusty one-bed motel room with JPok. Let's take our chances camping. Maybe it won't rain," I say.

We finish our meat burgers, then wait for the waitress to take our money. And wait. And wait. So much for setting up tents in the daylight. Finally pay our bills, drive out of the town, out of the ticky-tacky development, and into the big empty forest. Motor around on dark back roads for a while, and thanks to Cinder Bloch's magic phone, we don't get lost.

There's fire at the edge of the big big grassy parking lot. An electric hoola-hoop is flashing around in the dark.

We walk over to the fire. Topher is wiggling around with one of the hoola-hoops. His Osama beard is dancing under his chin.

"Get it up on your belly! Use it like a shelf!" somebody yells. A blonde girl is giving him instructions. The hoola-hoop passes to another crusty stoned dude. She yells at him for his incorrect hooping technique. Buck is talking about his moon mat. It's made out of sheets of leftover ear plug material.

"No! You're doing it all wrong!" the girl yells at somebody else. Cool. That's enough of that. I walk into the dark field. Lay down in my tent.

I wake up. Hit the glow button on my watch. 2:30. Dammit. I'm freezing. I wrap my pillow around my face and slide deeper into the sleeping bag.

Crawl out of the tent at seven. Pretty chilly, but the sun is out and it's starting to look like a good day. I eat a couple pickles, then smear peanut butter on an expired pop-tart.

By start time, it's beautiful. Perfect blue sky, and warm enough to ditch my arm warmers. This is gonna be sweet. We line up on the gravel road. The Open Men's class is released. The single speeders shuffle forward. This is a long race, don't burn up in the first few miles like last year.

Go. A guy in a skid lid and Dickies shorts gets out front. That's fine. I sit on Skid Lid's wheel. We make a right turn. The single track is coming up. I spin fast and shoot around Skid Lid, slid into the turn and start climbing the first hill.

The double track is covered in sharp rock. It looks like somebody shattered a huge limestone window and scattered the pieces through the woods.

Pass some of the guys in Open. Riding well, just stay smooth. I hit a short steep piece of trail. There's some grinding, and a guy on a single speed shoots around me. Fine fine. Just stay with him. He's going hard over the rocks, and climbing well. We cruise through some tight single track that's barely wide enough for my handle bars. Mountain laurel scrapes at my face.

We start a descent. There's some rattling. Then a thud. I look down. Shit. Bottle ejected again. I stop, grab the bottle, and bend my cage back. The guy is gone. Gotta chase him down now. I get a few glimpses of him  through the trees. Then we hit a gravel road. I pedal hard. Almost got him.

Swing around a gate on the road, and scrape into a stick. I take another pedal stroke, and lunge towards my stem. Chain dropped. Goddammit. I get the chain back on. The guy is way up the climb now. Settle into this climb, and go get him. You're fine.

I start cruising up the hill. I feel strong. I pass a couple guys, then a couple more, then the guy on the single. Sweet. Keep it rolling.

The climb goes on forever. Up and up and up. Finally hit the top, then start winding through some super rocky single track. I'm riding smooth, and I think I'm opening up the gap a little. I don't see or hear anyone around me. Just rocks and red arrows on the trees.

I pick my way down one of the descents. Big rock drop after rock drop. You have the lead, just ride smart. No reason to risk a flat.

Through a switchback section. They're 180 degrees, with a big rock drop in the middle, and barely long enough to get a bike turned around. Back up to the top of the ridge, over some huge boulders. I dab a foot, stop, then clip back in. I'm half way through a pedal stroke, and flying over the bars. Shit. My front tire was butted right up against a little stump. I push my bike off me, then roll over in the soft dirt.

Flowing down a smoother section of trail. Making good time. I've got this. I'm finally gonna have a good race in Michaux. I roll over a rock. There's hissing.

Stan's is spraying all over the trail. Fuck no. I get off my bike, and shake the tire. Not sealing. I look at it closer. Just a little puncture. I spin the wheel. And an inch-long sidewall cut. Fucking shit. Another sidewall cut. That's the third time this month.

It's fine. Don't panic. Just get it fixed. I undo my stuff strap. JPok rides past towing a single speeder. I get the tube in. The single speeder I was chasing before rides past. Screw in the CO2. Two more guys and TJ on a single speed rip past. I put a Cliff Bar wrapper against the cut, blow up the tube, put the wheel on, set my bike down, and take a pee break.

You've got some work to do, but you can still win this. I get back on my bike and start hammering. I catch TJ at a stream crossing. Then ride a hill that the a few other guys are walking. Keep it going. I'm winding through a pine section, roots going every direction. I see JPok and the other guy up ahead. It looks like I'm closing the gap.

Out onto a steep 4x4 road. JPok is farther up, but I can see the other single speed. Get him on the hill. I spin up until I'm right on his wheel, then give it everything to accelerate past. It hurts, but I keep it going until I have a big gap. Gunnar and the Pflug always drop me like that.

The gaps open. Awesome. It worked. I keep going hard through the single track. I see JPok up ahead occasionally. I stop at the third aid.

"How far to the finish?" I say.

"2.5 miles," he says. He's filling one of my bottles.

"That's it? Just 2.5 miles?" I grab the bottle. This thing's almost over. I grind up the last climb, turn onto another road. There's the finish. Damn. Already. I sprint down the road, and under some red streamers.

"Where's the finish?" I yell to some spectators. They point back to the streamers. That was supposed to be a turn. You dumbass. I sprint back, make the turn, and cross the line.

Won it. I'm stoked. It wasn't a perfect race, but I kept it together.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Moving Dirt in Ohiopyle

Original post over on the work blog.

We've been discussing doing some trail work for a few years. Yesterday we finally got started.

The Lytle connector is a piece of trail that goes up from Lytle Road to Presley Ridge Trail. Clearing it off has been on Ohiopyle State Park's to-do list for a while, and the trail director told us that if we got it done she would be happy to consider approving some new single track in the park.

 Lytle is on the opposite ridge from Sugarloaf Knob. The tire lever is pointing to the start of the trail. After work we headed up the mountain. There were seven people, three chainsaws, two dogs, and one rake. Next time we might bring more rakes and less saws. We tried to double our body count, but the rest of the company was already busy:

  They were having a vigorous debate about which piece of furniture in the house needed to be burned next. It's a rough life.

The trail used to be an old logging tramway, but over the years it's narrowed down to about three feet wide. It's steep and should make a fun descent. We chainsawed all the big trees out of the bottom section, then got creative near the top.

The top of the ridge is full of big boulders and natural features.

It has the potential to be a really awesome piece of singletrack:

By the time it got dark, we had about three miles of rideable trail done. It was a solid start.

Our ultimate goal is to make Ohiopyle into a mountain biking destination. We have the elevation, we have the terrain, we have the post ride beer spot, and now we have the blessing of the state park.

It's a good time to be a mountain biker in the Pyle. We're going to make Wednesday evening trail work a regular thing, so if you want to come out and help, get in touch with me through the comments or email.