Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Well now that's a bummer.

About this time of year everybody starts doing year in review shit. I won't waste my 3 readers time by doing such a thing I will reflect on a real bummer I ran across the other day. I was riding a very under used south Atlanta MTB trail the other day and ran across a dude who was also riding. It was one of the few times I have seen another rider on the trails at the beach or Clayton County International Park. It was the sight of the 1996 olympic beach volleyball tournament. Somewhere along the way some guys carved out an alright set of trails with some county support many many years ago.

These trails have maintained on and off by a various person or people. Nothing ever coordinated and I don't think the county really care that these trails exist except when they have to do their annual "Trail of terror" Halloween thing. I had ridden these trails a fair amount when I first moved to Georgia and even did some trash clean up while I was there. I moved from the county for school and have not been there in prob about a year or so. These trails are about ten minutes off I-75 and 15 minutes from 1-675 on HWY138. It's not a destination MTB trail. One problem is that these trails are not really maintained and poorly marked. Besides that the local SORBA chapter has decided to invest it's time into trails that are used more often which means anything north of I-20.

Don't worry I'm getting to the bummer part.

I'm just a little surprised that these very local trails just are not ridden that much considering the neighborhood they're located close to. I really wanted to get these on the map when I first moved here, life got in the way and along those lines I prob upset some folks somehow. Despite neglect and poor maintenance and a shit ton of tennis courts that hardly get used the small trail system lives on. I digress. Anywho this dude whom I'd never seen before gave me the local scoop since I really don't keep up with things like that.

He told me that the Epic Bikes shut their doors for good back in the early fall. Now that was a real bummer. I tried to support the shop as much as i could and often dropped by just to drop off beer to the guys. I don't know the whole story. I won't risk to speculate, I just know from my limited reading that it ain't easy being a specialized dealer. Let's face it those cats are known in the cycling community for being a bit heavy handed when it comes to their business. I liked the shop and the owner and the guys who worked there. I truly wish them all the best in their future endeavors.

I was also told about how the county is going to put in a "test" paved bike path of a few miles. Which is frightening because as I was riding the trails I saw hundreds of trees marked with engineers tape which means they'll be cut down. There is apparently some master plan it's just been my experience being a native of this county that traditionally they are not very good with the follow through.

This little park lost a fair amount of money over the summer when they closed down the water park located there and the "muscle beach" fitness center. Like I said there is a opportunity for great development of the trails and facilities there it's just that no one is interested. I tried when I first moved there, I was not taken seriously.

There was some good news one is that I noticed that the trails were getting marked. It seems like a local retired dude is going through the trouble of doing this arduous task. The trail system IS confusing with dead ends and a shitty off camber switch back. I don't know about the mapping at least someone is trying there. At this point I know someone should say "Well bro if this place needs that much love why not step up?!" I tried like I said before and it did not work out too well. I decided that if anything were to happen then maybe the dude who lived in Colorado for so long should shut the hell up and let things run their course. I have and they are.

Other good news is that Chiplote opened near these very same trails. I know it's not an Illegal Pete's, it's still a descent burrito from a Colorado company. Yes, yes, I know it's a corporate chain just ya gotta cut me some slack here. I find Colorado where I can now a days.

Does this make a difference in my day to day riding life? Not really I don't live up that way anymore. I hate to say this but I do live closer to a much better trail system now with out all the crazy politics of Clayton County. It is what it is as they say here.

I have not ridden lately because of the holidays and a lingering semi-cold which I am trying to fight off at the moment with plenty of rest. I may go out for a spin either on the 31st or 1st. I'll see how I feel.  Thanks for reading.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Inspiration on a Sunday morning

 This morning I woke up with the thought that if I put a solar panel on the camper shell of the truck that it would make a fair amount of wind noise when I was driving. "A faring" I thought as I sat on the edge of the bed rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. "Nah, well maaayyybee...if I put it on a rail system like for a bike rack, shit that would cost some money though." I trundled to the bathroom and took a leak while looking out the window on an incredibly rainy day.

I ran out of coffee and am brewing up some Irish breakfast tea with a little honey. My throat is a little scratchy because of some sort of funk I caught either at work or from youngest nephew's cousin who has to put his mouth on everything he touches which is strange for a 13 year old kid. I digress.

I'm sitting in front of my laptop and was looking for a little bit of morning inspiration to help me rocket through the day. I think I found it over at semi-rad:

I should be worrying over the upcoming semester and changing majors at age 44 but I am not. I have a bit over a week and a half until school starts. Instead I am thinking of the open road. How to prepare for it and how to pull it off. I'm trying to think of which two bikes to bring, how things should fit in the truck how to make it a better home for an extended period of time. How do I pull off being a dirt bag mountain biker, because frankly I'm tired of being a responsible adult.

My own answers I have discovered do not lie on the "traditional" path. The wife and kids ship sailed long ago. I don't think I'll ever own a house nor have a real 401k or have the camaraderie that I have so fleetingly in my professional life or rise above the current position I'm in. If you think about it in the context of glass half full then it's sad. I don't I think of it as that in my own way I am free to make my own choices with little worry of their ramifications. I've done enough good in my life to reward myself in some small way everyday until I pass on into the great beyond.

I cracked a big smile watching the video and close my eyes thinking of the great American west and all that it holds. Could I ride Buffalo Creek and the Colorado Trail one last time? Will I be able to stand at the edge of the Pacific and realize that to us all the vast ocean makes us all feel so small? Will I ever make it to the Northwest ever again?

I know that plans rarely see the light of day. The plan is that there is no plan and to only prepare. When the time comes it will make itself known and then the adventure can begin.Thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Final thoughts on xmas

                                     Can you tell who is most distressed? And about to vomit?

So ends the xmas holiday season of 2014. Thank heavens it's over. Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday movies

I'm not one for the common holiday movies. Yes I do have a soft spot in my head (yes, I said head) for A Christmas Carol. Back in DenCo some friends and I would go to the play every year, it was honestly great fun. See, I got some culture dammit. And yes "It's a wonderful life" after so long can come off as trite and saccharine. It's a holiday classic for sure, just now a days not so much my cuppa Joe. Then comes what has become a pop culture fave over the years "A Christmas Story" a fine movie in it's own right it just lacks the dirt under the fingernails feel I like.

Don't even get me started on "Santa Clause" or any of the idealized xmas fair that splashes itself across our screens during the silly season.

So what the hell do I like in a holiday movie?

Well dear readers (both of you) I tend to jump on the way back machine to the 80's. I was a teenager during a majority of the 80's and with that bit of info you can see how I'd lean towards that era. Three holiday flicks come to mind the first reminds me to a small degree of my holiday travels back to the A-T-L during this time of year. The hilarious "Planes, Trains and Automobiles"

The next couple let's say are a bit more gritty and to a degree stretches the holiday genre a bit. I ask that you open your minds because well unlike most holiday movies these concern an always male favorite of gun play and large explosions.

That's right the first installment in the Lethal Weapon series. When I was a teenager I liked the flick because frankly it was an action flick unlike anything I had seen before. As I have gotten older I see a deeper context to the movie than what I saw when I was a rotten teenager. Riggs is damaged and even flawed character and to a great degree a lost dirt bag. We see that in the regular cut of the film. In the directors cut we get to see the more lonely side of him. Do yourself a favor and watch the directors cut and you'll see what I mean. The story is one of redemption and acceptance. Although Riggs is a basket case he's accepted by a warm and loving family. Most of the format of holiday movies follow this formula LW1 does this plus there is a bunch of gun play and martial arts.

"Die Hard" is also a story of redemption (a common theme for xmas film) I won't bore you with the plot, we all know it by now and man the film is packed with a fuck ton of action. What more is there to say about such a uber-film? It's about xmas right? Absolutely. There is snow (cocaine) plenty of lights (Ho..ho..ho..now I have a machine gun) and plenty of holiday cheer "ARRGH...I WANT BLOOD!" what more could you ask for in a flick?

Now am I forgetting others? Absolutely. I saw "All is Bright" the other night and found it a worth while rental. Naturally there are childhood faves (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer) that are worth watching again and again. There is also "Trading Places" another 80's movie and along the more historical a personal fave "The Crossing". Let's not forget "Scrooged" and "Bad Santa"

For those of us who are not christrans it can be a tough thing to find some holiday entertainment that does not rub our noses into the "reason for the season". Which brings up a fave thing I like to post this time of year:

I also have not posted any holiday cleavage just yet..so here ya go:

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Maah Daah Hey

Mountain Biking on North Dakota's Maah Daah Hey Trail from Gear Junkie on Vimeo.

It's a trail I have dreamed of riding since I read about a few years ago. I even have the map sitting on my shelf beside my guide books at the house. The trail is around 96 miles long and can be done in a couple to a few days. When will I get up there? Well I really do not know. It's a thought to do it over the summer if I decide to go out that way. Anyways solo MTB distance "bike packing" is what it's all about.

It's a nice distraction from the holiday season. Thanks for reading.

Also don't look at this it's bicycle equivalent to porn

Monday, December 15, 2014

Waiting for the temprature to rise..... my temprature is rising.

With a promised high temp in the 60's today, I'm waiting for the old thermometer to warm up it gives me a chance to reflect on holiday obligations. I had the chance to go to an old neighborhood friend's holiday/bday party this past weekend. It was as usual a very awesome affair although there was a lack of single women there was plenty of beer. It's always good catching up with the old neighborhood friends. This party was not an obligation if I showed up cool if not then that was fine too. Although I felt awkward at first after a bit I settled in, a little bit of beer helps.

As we march towards the xmas holiday the obligation meter starts to get pegged. Big sis is having her usual thing on xmas. Then there is Oldest nephew who has decided to have his own thing on xmas eve.  Naturally everyone wants you to show up. I'm going to agree with my own mother for once and say that frankly I'd rather be by myself than have to drive all over the south side of Atlanta over those couple of days. And I mean drive, I won't get into the logistics of it all it gives me a headache just thinking about it. After the 2nd police check point and the several near misses with impaired or distracted drivers it makes me wonder if it is worth it.

Whatever happened to just chilling out at your own place and having a movie marathon of sorts while getting slightly buzzed on holiday drinks? An old ex-girlfriend is smart like that.

I decided that a possible simple solution is to go camping & mountain biking over those couple of days (24th and 25th) and "forget" my cell phone. By doing that I figuratively stick my finger in my family's eye on the holiday. I don't need to be around a bunch of relatives to feel alone over the holidays I can feel alone quite well all by myself thank you. If I disappeared over a holiday feelings would be hurt and then comes the head splitting hand wringing that comes with family. I have not decided what I am going to do just yet. I frankly want the whole damn mess to be over with.

This hanging over my head explains my increasingly foul mood. I explain it like this. Not only do I work my shifts I also stay at mom's place more and more. Let's face it spending time in the house where your Father died and where your Mother is a shut in is depressing. I cannot cough in that house without getting a knock on the door asking me if I'm ok. There is a whole element to Big sis's place over the holiday that concerns youngest nephew whom I'll start calling Lazy 8. That should explain it well enough when it comes to certain things.

I'm just glad I don't buy gifts anymore. I'd really lose my shit then.

I think next year I will just announce that I'm going camping someplace here in the southeast or say I have to work and just show up on those days and tell the job that I'd rather be there than with family. Why can't we just enjoy each other throughout the year without all this damn pretense?

To sum it up this is how foul my mood is concerning the next 10-11 days:

Yup this had nothing to do with riding, more with the "Head full of weird"

Thanks for reading.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Cool weather returns

I got up this morning and checked the weather it is now around 40 degrees. Yes I know in the grand scheme of things not that cold.  I'm going to go ride today no doubt I just know it's going to be a slightly chilly one. Fortunately I have not given away or gotten rid of most of my winter cycling gear. I have found that keeping my knees covered helps out with some aches later on.

I also have my chrome knickers that I bought on super clearance a few years ago oddly enough they still fit. I don't really need to bust out the heavy duty stuff like the endura jacket or my old quite worn ground effects jacket. Both are ultra warm and have stood the test of time. Then the jerseys and arm warmers. There has been some elastic breakdown in my old knee and leg warmers which makes me sad cause I wore them SOOO much back in DenCo.

Speaking of jackets I did have small surprise the other day when I found my old bike beat wind jacket. I found this thing for under 10 bucks at veloswap in DenCo years and years ago. I should post a pic, I just won't cause I don't want to go thru the trouble. I wore and wore this thing until the elastic in the wrists gave out. Then I had a buddy's sister fix it. Well I THOUGHT she was going to fix it. Instead of using good elastic she put rubber bands into the wrist which lost their elasticity in very short order. I should have taken it to a professional seamstress and paid. I chose free and I got what I paid for. At least I got the jacket back. The bike beat wind jacket is just...damn weird. It has to be seen with things like "Pets or meat" anarchy symbols and smiley faces printed on it it just gives off a very punk rock vibe. It's orange and white. I love that wind jacket, damn I need to get it fixed (writing note to self)

Onto another tangent...the holidays.

We're humming along pretty well here.

I have intentions on working on a couple of gifts, I just really need to knuckle down give it a day and get shit done. Yes it would be easier to go out and buy shit. I just am just following the holiday path Reverend Billy has set down. I think the only gift I will buy is an angel for Mom. The one I gave last year was a hit so I'll stick with that theme. Alrighty I gotta wrap up get loaded up and head to the trail. one last holiday thought:

The unforgettable movie "Trading Places" If I remember I'll post movies in which I think are true manly holiday classics. I gotta tell you polar express and little drummer boy ain't even in the running.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mileage Monster

I was on the trail a little while ago and had a trail side conversation with a fellow rider. It was a damn fine day to be riding. I was huffing it out on the single speed and ran across this dude on a great full suspension rig.

I'm a hard tail steel kinda guy, I won't rule out a carbon or suspension bike (I own a carbon road bike) Honestly I'm not some sort of hard tail steel snob I just cannot afford a suspension bike that I want which is the awesome Yeti 575. Ranging from 3500-10 grand depending on the grupo you want to go with. Even at the low end it's out of my price range. I do have an old friend in Colorado who prob could swing me a last year's demo bike if I was not picky about color and such still I don't have the funds for such awesomeness at the moment. I digress though.

We got to talking and he told me that he'd been riding this particular trail system for over a decade and logged "over 20,000 miles" there. Then he went on to tell me he had logged many more miles on his nice suspension rig. He asked me how many miles I have put in. I had a simple answer which was "I don't keep up with that kinda thing." Sure there was a time when I really kept on top of my miles then I got here to Georgia and just went "Meh" on the whole thing.  It no longer became important to put in the miles it was quality not quantity I'm looking for now. Besides that I did not have the Colorado Trail system at my feet to jump on when ever I please. My other thought was that as a Soul Rider you point the bike down the trail and go mileage and strava be damned the point is to have fun.

I'm sure I could keep up with the miles easily enough on the cell phone or other bit of technological whiz bangery it's just not that big a deal with me when mountain biking on a loop type trail system. Road biking yeah I can see the importance otherwise not so much.

I'm not bashing this rider. He was a totally nice guy we just have different priorities when it comes to mountain biking. I rarely race I think the last time I was in a MTB race was back in 2004 at 24 hrs of Moab. My view is that on my death bed I'm not going to remember that I logged tens of thousands of miles, what I'll reminiscence on is the rides. The near endless (and wonderful!) Telluride to Moab with friends, riding all those times up on the Colorado Trail and Buffalo Creek camping out on the trail. Riding the high country on part of the 10th mountain division trail, Tsali, Dupont and Pisgah in North Carolina. I'm not looking for the miles, I'm looking for the adventure.

Thanks for  reading.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Yada...pedal...yada...pedal...yada...pedal some more.

You may be familiar with Yada, yada, yada from Seinfeld:

I mention this because yapping during a ride or a run for that matter irks me. It is one of the central reasons that really except for rare occasions that I prefer to ride or run alone. Now the exception being bring a friend new to mountain biking along or when SBC and I were roommates back forever ago in Colorado. He and I had the same view about not yapping during a ride.We were trail buddies and understood one another pretty darn well

I wanna REALLY be in my own head when I am riding and let's be honest here I need every extra breath I can get while being physically active. It gives me a chance to expel some of my inner demons for a little while and sing songs in my head to myself. Someone talking to me and expecting a conversation in return is going to be disappointed in my behavior during a ride. I'm looking at the trail and doing my thang. I'm not opposed to trail side conversations or even post ride chit-chat. During a ride not so much. I'm a soul rider and a majority of the time a sole rider.

I was at a local trail that I frequent a bit more often now. I'm a different person and a bit of an enigma I suppose. My bikes have gotten a fair amount of attention because I suppose they're not what you see normally at the trail head or on the trail. Which is normal for a MTB type to notice what the other person is riding. I tend to keep to myself, I'll be friendly when approached at the trail head or trail side and carry on a conversation.

I was JRL (just riding along) when I passed a couple of guys. They said Hello and I returned the greeting. As I was riding past one said "Oh wow a voodoo" to which I replied "Steel is real!" I then went into the big ring to get some momentum before the next climb. Imagine my surprise when I hear someone flying up behind me and saying something a couple of minutes later. It was one of the guys I just passed trail side. I did not stop then because I did not want to carry on a conversation. I'm not being snobby I am just wanting to ride. This rider who caught up to me (it's not that hard to do) is wanting to talk. He says he owned a voodoo way back when and how they were nice steel frames. It sounds like he knows a bit and I would have loved to talk to him about it, problem is that I'm riding.

He tells me he saw me the other day on another section of the trail and that he's ridden every day for the last week. He seems like a generally interesting dude and could probably grind me into paste. My convo is minimal because I'm riding and not blabbing. I'm not in as good of shape as this guy I need all my lung capacity. We come to a fork in the trail, I decide that I'm going to go on the side of the fork that he is NOT going because I want to ride and not chat. He says he's going one way and I tell him "See ya later bro."

I got the distinct feeling that he thought I was snubbing him. I wasn't, so it goes.

I get chatted up a little at the trail head. I had one dude who I have seen a fair amount ask me how many bikes I own. Which oddly enough I ALWAYS have to think about, which is five. Not bragging if it was not for my short stint in a couple of different bike shops then It would probably be two. I'm reluctant to swill beer at the trail head because I'm not sure about the locals even though I've been going there long enough to be considered local now myself. Beer tends to make you wanna hang out after a ride and chat. Alcohol is funny that way.Besides that it's a hassle and expense to stop by the store and buy beer on top of that I can't keep it at any of the places I live at because any alcohol despite a minimal consumption is frowned upon. This is not about my personal beer deficit though. Let's move onto the weather shall we...

Today has a lot of promise. For all my moaning and complaining about Georgia I can't complain about the December weather at the moment:

As opposed to the old 303 area code:

Yesterday evening I was grilling out in shorts and a short sleeve shirt in 70 degree weather. Sure I brag now. You'll be hearing me bemoan the weather the instant a little bit of snow hits the ground around here then it's snow apocalypse for anyone in the southeast.

I'll wrap up here I'm going to head back to the trail and ride the kona today. Thanks for reading.

Oh I forgot my holiday greeting: