31 October 2009

Who needs T.V. ?

I am off on Friday's and I stay at home with my 5 year old. Daddy and me day!This past Friday we are eating lunch at the kitchen table and out from the side of the window comes our lunch time entertainment.

That's right seven white tail deer in the back yard! Glad to see that they are enjoying the new grass that I planted 14 days ago. At $80 a bag that's some good eating!

They are beautiful but they can cause a lot of damage to your landscape. But I guest I have impacted their world by building a house here. So I guest we will just have to learn to live with each other. Who needs T.V. when you have this in your backyard!

After lunch we where heading out of the house so mom could get some work done. So I took the little one out for some geocaching. This was her first time and it turned out to be fun for the both of us. We found two out of three caches and found an illegal tree stand in the park. That is the second one that I have found in the last 4 to 6 months.

The fall colors are that their peak. This is Gill Fire Road and is named after my wife's family. So that was our Friday. Who needs T.V. when you have all of this in your backyard. Glad to get out for that unstructured kids play.

23 October 2009

Race Across the Sky

Last night my son & I went and saw the exclusive one night showing of Race Across the Sky. It was a documentary covering the 2009 Leadville Trail 100 bike race, one of the most intense endurance races of all time. Go to here to see the trailer and you can find everything you want to know about Leadville here Leadville 100

I find watching mountain bike races not as fun to watch as road racing, but this was different. This documentary had an imax movie feel to it. I think the word that comes to my mind is epic. This is an epic race in which the course is set in the beautiful mountains around Leadville.

Yes the movie set set around Lance, David, Travis and some other well know pro riders but it was also about the regular racer and their story. One thing you get from the film is that the pro's think it cool lining up with the regular joe. Lance said that this was the race that made him come back to cycling and that wining was not number one. He did win the race and broke a new course record.

I hope that if you miss going to this movie that it comes out on DVD for you.

I am going to put this out here. I don't care if you like Lance or not or care if he wins another tour. But I do think that him coming out of retirement will do one thing. I think cycling will become a much bigger main stream sport in the United States because of him. I think in the next two years we will see some of the big series cycling event both road and mountain. Think Coors classic of the dirt and maybe Tour DuPont for the road. Let see if I am wrong on this.

"Your better than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can".-Ken Chlouber-Leadville 100 founder

18 October 2009

S24O- Ultra-Light Backpacking SNP

As I posted a few days ago, this week I was to ride the C&O Canal and that did not happen. So working things out with the wife I plan for some outings during the week to make up for the trip, and be around the house to help her out with her work load. First was the night ride, second was the group ride at Powhite, third was a afternoon on the trails at PSP, and fourth was Solo Sub-24hour Overnight ultra-light backpacking trip.

The plan was to go on a Solo overnight trip to the Shenandoah National Park. During the week I did not know if I was going to do this by bike or by foot. About mid-week this was looking more to a backpacking trip than a bike trip due to the weather. Either way the weather was not going to support a fall trip to the mountains to see the leaves at their peak.

My window of opportunity was to be on the trail by 3:30 p.m. on Friday and return home on Saturday between 5 and 6 p.m.. My daughter was to have dance class on Friday morning and my wife should be home around 1:00 so I could hit the road. That was the plan!!

Before dance class I am putting the finishing touches on packing my gear and packing up the car. I do one last weather check and this is what I am looking at for the next 24 hours,

About 1:00 I get a call from my wife asking me what time did I need to leave? Well, I said, I would like to be on the trail by 3:30 p.m. and it takes about 2 hours to get there. She was out having lunch with the girls. No problem, my wife does not get to have a girls lunch out and I can adjust fire on my start time. Anyhow my wife had me drop the little one off with her and I headed out to SNP. This only put me behind by about 15 mins.

My plan is to enter the park at the Swift Run Gap Entrance Station and park my car just inside the gate. Now the price for the entrance fee has gone up a bit for one car over the last few years. Now it's $15 for 7 days. You would think that my tax dollars would pay for this, but how many things can you pay $15 for and use it for 7 days? You can't go to the movies for that anymore.

I go to pay the Park Ranger at the entrance station and the first thing she ask me is " Do you know what the weather is going to be like during your stay"? Well yes! It is calling for some rain today and rain and snow for Saturday. Then she goes into this speech about am I prepare or do I have a Walmart sleeping bag and if the weather gets bad they will close the park down. Glad I am just wanting to get in the park and not across the US Border.

Now I have parked the car and I am loaded up and ready to head out. I am going to catch the Appalachian Trail (AT) north and head for either Lewis Mountain Campground or Bearfence Mountain Hut to spend the night. That's about 7-8 miles up the trail. After about 15 mins of hiking this is what I run into. Call it fog and mist, I call it a cloud. It is like this for miles.

This is where it gets good! I am about 4.5 miles from Lewis Mountain when off to my right I hear something that sounds like the top of a tree is falling. I look up to the top of this tree about 30 ft away and there is a 150lb black bear coming down the tree. The bear is coming down the tree and I start to run up the trail knowing I can't out run him. Well the good news is that we scared each other and he ran down the mountain and I covered the next mile in about 10 mins.

Around 6:30 p.m. the fog/mist/cloud is getting really bad, so I take the fire road from Pocosin Cabin to the hard ball and hike the last 1 1/2 on the road to Lewis Mountain Campground. I guest it is about 7:30 p.m. when I arrive at camp and could not see a thing.

Not by best set-up but it was home for the night!The tarp was more for keeping the rain and ice off of me since the bivy would keep me dry.

Early morning ice..

This was a cool set-up. I would have never found this Friday night!

The plan for Saturday is to finish hiking to Bear Fence Mountain Rock Scramble and then make the return trip to the car. This is what I saw at Bear Fence overlook about a 115 ft from the scramble.

On my way back to the car on the AT I came up on this nice little climb at Baldface Mountain and the fog/mist/cloud got worst about a 1/2 mile down the trail. The AT was about 200 yards to the Parkway so I made my way back to the hard ball.

About 2 miles down the road it cleared up and I made a stop at the South River Picnic Area to take a break and chow down on some food and to do a map check. This is a nice area to bring the family.

From the South River Picnic Area I made my way back onto the AT with only 3 short miles back to the car. I arrived back at the car around 3:15 p.m. on Saturday. There I made it just under 24 hours. Oh, one of the cool things I did run into on the trail was a retired couple who where section hiking the AT. They had complete all but 500 miles and the where doing the 105 miles in the park over the next 8 or 9 days. I was the second person on the trail that day that they had seen. They took down my info about my trip and asked me for my trail name. Very nice people, I wish them luck.

The end!

11 October 2009


Second group ride of the weekend at Powhite Park. I will get back to Powhite , but here's the deal. I have been planning for months to do a self -supported trip of the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal. That's about 334 miles from McKeesport, PA to Georgetown, VA. As of two weeks ago the trip was just going to be two days and 184 miles of the C&O Canal and as of this past Thursday it got axed because my riding partner could not get out of work this week. Hope to try again in a couple of weeks, if not it will be April of next year.

So I had taken off from work for the week and the wife is loaded with her work, so we made a deal with group rides and one S24O ( look that up if you need to) or a overnight faskpacking trip.

Back to Powhite! Powhite park is an urban park in the City Of Richmond located across the street from a Hospital. You have to love that! It is a small park with a network of about 4.5 miles of trails. Look here for a map http://gpstrailsource.com/Maps.aspx?MapID=11Park Map

Metro put the ride on and Monkey, Petrol, DavidR and myself put in a two hour ride in. The thing I like about Powhite is it has something for everyone. There are hill climbs, rock gardens, a half-pipe, fast single track and the list could go on. Here is a little technical feature
It might not look like much from my sorry picture but this was a big tree and the ramp lead to a downhill and a left turn once you cleared the ramp.

Fun was had by all and I hope to get back soon. This is a great place to ride in the city and you can link this ride to the trails down at the river.

10 October 2009

Waning Gibbous-AKA Night Ride

Richmond-MORE Night Rides @ Pocahontas State Park. This was the second scheduled night ride at the park and the first one that I have made it out to. There was a good turnout of around 16 riders. For three riders this was their first night ride. The ride leaders made two groups, one fast and one slow and it was no drop.

Here is a special note, the weather. It was hot! In my mind night riding and cool or cold temps and brown leaves go together. But not this night!

I rode over from the house as it was getting dark. I went out with the fast group and about 45 mins into the ride my battery runs out. I went to hook the second battery up and.... you know what is going to happen. The second battery has no charge. Man it's dark! I had to wait for two other riders to come by and I had to ride between them. Kevin P. was one of those riders and we go back 10 years. I have not ridden with him in years, but I was glad he was there to get me out of the woods.

I did not want to cut his or the other guy's ride short so I rode the entire loop with them. We made it back to the parking lot and then I was off to ride back home. The only light that I have now is my red blinking light. I took the fire road back and I was afraid that I was going to hit a deer.

Lesson learned, you bet! The batteries have been on the charger for a day and-a-half. I am also going to buy a back-up Princeton Tec light.

01 October 2009

Ned Signed it!

That's right! You are looking at the signature of Ned Overend on my 98 Specialized M2 frame. I got him to sign my bike after I finished the 2000 Richmond Xterra. That year I did the Xterra as a mix team and we placed 4th overall in the team event and 2nd as a mix team. Back then I used my Bontrager as my training and fun ride bike and the M2 was used for racing.

Since I rebuilt my Bontrager I have not had the desire to build this frame up. The M2 has to be the most rigid bike that I have ever ridden. I have to use a shock seat post to take the edge off. The Bontrager is far easier on my back and it is a fully rigid bike. Now I know why I love steel.

So a couple of months ago I was thinking about putting it up for sale on ebay. So I watched to see what a M2 was going for about a week. Anywhere from $75-$125 for the frame maybe a seat post and stem. This was not what I wanted to see. Since I don't see any bikes with a Pro's signature on them I think I could get more, but I don't know. I don't want to give it away! For that price range I might was well keep it.

So here I am, I want a bike with a front shock and the Judy XC that was on this bike is shot. I could get Hippietech to rebuild the shock but that would cost me about $200 or try to find a good used 80mm fork for the same price. I would also like to try out a single speed and could do it with this bike. I would also like to try out a Titec H-Bar since the price on a JJ bar is cazy.

So give me some feedback. Do I build it back like it was in 98? Rebuild the Judy to keep the 63mm handling or do I sale the frame and the old Judy and take the money to repaint the MB-1? Or do something different with it?