Friday, March 28, 2008

One of those days.

Jason , Frank and I loaded up and headed out on what was shaping up to be an incredible Wednesday after work ride. I had already done a 45 minute warm up loop in the southern half of "The Shed" and we were headed to points north for the main attraction. Frank busted out the RFX for this excursion so I thought it only appropriate to suggest the old free-ride trail. This is a great little section of trail that has a lot of natural and a couple man made TTF's. There are some great little rock drops, skinny slab rolls and a ladder thrown in for good measure. Frank was on point, I was rolling second and Jason was sweeping. Frank was picking all the right lines and it was BY FAR my best run down that trail. Everything was just clicking. I was trying to stay on the doctors tail and flow his lines as he found a rhythm that couldn't be beat. We stopped at one particularly questionable drop to scout it out. Trying to figure out if it was rollable, if it needed to be hucked or if we'd just wimp out and take the cheater line to the right. Jason and I wimped out and took the easy line to the right. Frank had other plans. After spying a decent landing zone Dr. Longtravel did a small pedal kick to lift the front and half rolled/ half hucked the rock. Stuck the landing like it was his job and left Jason and I standing with our jaws agape. I got one shot of the drop and was able to convince him to roll it again for a second picture. The good doctor obliged and made the second one look just as easy as the first. I wish I could say the same for my picture. In my excitement I got the drop at it's apex when I really wanted to capture him with a bit more air between the rock and his Turner. Still looked good and we were humbled by his......fortitude.

High 5's all around, I packed up the P&S and we pressed on down the trail. I was still having the ride of my life until a small gap in a couple rocks caught my front tire and drove me into the unforgiving rocks. My left leg took the brunt of the impact. I sizable piece of flesh was removed from my shin, a divot to the knee and one to the ankle were my offerings to the trail gods. I was the "official" blood donor for the ride. Stiff and in pain I walked it off a bit as the guys took care of my bike. A few minutes went by to regain some sort of composure and we were off again, only this time my mojo was gone. The one saving grace is we were almost to the bottom when my mishap occurred and all the good stuff was above us.

Dumped out onto the goat trail and I had doubts as to the length of my ride. The leg was twitching like a typewriter and the endorphins were noticeably absent.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cool animation

Every once in a while something on the internet crosses your path and you just have to share. This animation is one of those things. Office and child friendly (a rarity) that will entertain and amuse most people.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tuning trails

Spring is in the air and for many people that means March Madness and baseball. For mountain bikers it means trying to get back into shape after a long winter hibernation and spring trail work. I was hoping for a little of both on Sunday, but only accomplished the latter. Gambrill State park was the venue du jour and we had a crew of 15 or 16 people show up, not bad for a rainy Sunday morning. RiderX had gone out the day before and flagged the problem areas. He was hoping to send out several "teams" of people so we could get more done in less time. I think we split up into 4 groups, I lead a merry band of misfits out to the extended yellow loop. 4 of us (including myself) had the pleasure of de-berming turns, clearing out water bars and general water management maintenance. Hophead, Becky, FrankC and yours truly took care of all the problem areas RiderX flagged and one or two little things we thought would help. We then moved over to the section of yellow past stegosaurus rock. We were to hit the flagged sections there and work our way towards DKEG and Stephen. As we are working the ground we could hear the scream of David's saw buzzing through the woods, all the while joking about his misplaced affection for said tool. After adding more rocks to the root-ball ride around, we caught up with the saw miester and his swamper (Stephen) just below "pollywog pond".

As we headed back up out of the valley DKEG thought the root ball needed more rocks. In fact he wanted to fill in the entire hole created when the tree fell over. Let me tell you, it was a big hole. Stephen chopped away at the roots with the axey-hoey thing (Pulaski), as the rest of us looked for rocks, stumps and anything else that would fill the large void. By the time we were done, it actually looked quite safe...believe it or not. Not bad for a bunch of knuckleheads with picks and axes.

We hiked out of the valley and hooked up with the rest of the crew as they recapped the mornings work. Unfortunately most everyone left their bikes at home, so, an afternoon ride wasn't to be. The conversation then turned to beer and food of course. Hop and I cruised over to Il Forno for a pie and a pitcher. Another group made their way to the Brewpub, a post ride/work staple in downtown Frederick.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pickin' and a grinnin'

Last night saw the whole band back together for a fine "after-work" ride. I use the term after-work loosely because I had to roll out at 3:30 in order to secure "wee one #2" from daycare before heading home and getting all my gear together. #1 was home sick with the flu or some other nasty bug under Mommies ever watchful eye. Once home I had to rush to accumulate all my stuff and grabbed an extra set of lights for DaveG. Apparently he left his lights at home and our ride was to maximize all "legal" riding time in the Frederick Watershed. That means 1 hour AFTER official sunset. This is a good thing because it's hard to complete a decent lap there in less than 2.5 hours. Our normal ride times are around 3-3.5 hours in "the shed".

Upon arrival DKEG's only request (other than slowing down :-) was that we hit Super Sweet. A very easy request to accommodate as that is one of the finest sections of trail up there. With the addition of Brown Sugar last year the sweetness got even sweeter. I've been packing the dinky camera on most rides these days and got a couple good shots of the crew on Brown Sugar, specifically the log bridge prior to a nice drop turn. Of course SweetCheeks had to comment on my shots being a tad Full Keg heavy. "Man Crush" were his actual words, what can I say, David's beard is just too sexy.

DaveG was sporting his new Fox F29 fork on the Sultan and Jason busted out his seldom used Truth. There were lots of discussions comparing the various 29er forks on the market and well as the whole Fox versus Rock Shox debate. Until Dave realized his headset wasn't 100% tight he had doubts about the F29. He and Jason talked about the Fox "clunk", not sure what that is, but, it's doesn't sound normal.....or good. A couple adjustments later and he was quite happy with the over-all performance of his new fork. Jason had a similar positive experience on his Truth, which apparently has been a "troublesome" bike in the past. You know, one of those bikes that never quite works the way you'd hope. I almost forgot, even Dr. Longtravel was sporting a new Mary bar on his single gear steed. David and I have been touting the comfort of these bars for a while and Frank finally drank the koolaid.

As expected we had to power up the lights for the final push back to sand-flats. It's an odd thing to go from natural to artificial light during a ride. Your eyes take some time to adjust and the shadows are quite different around dusk. Two more hills and a couple rock gardens left and we soon found ourselves back on the road for a quick spin back to the cars. Our first official after work, non night ride of 2008 and it was sweet. That's a good thing because the weekend looks to be a rain out.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Everyone else is doing it.

So my buddy DKEG shoots me an email asking some questions about his blog and how to embed a hyper-link. "I'm not really sure" was my reply as I've never had one. Then I go on and throw some html text his way, like I know what I'm doing....which I don't. Then I spout off about http this and html that. You know, trying to impress him or stroke my ego. Not sure which....probably both. All the while I'm thinking there has to be a simple button in the text editor that allows him to make a link. I didn't feel right asking him for his user name and password, that's kinda like asking a buddy to borrow a pair of unwashed baggies. You just don't do it. Anyhoo, I think maybe I'll just set up a simple blog, hell I already had a Google account, why not? This way if he hits me with any more questions I can test them out in a controlled environment. A simple click in his blog and I'm on my way to becoming yet another statistic. One more white guy that rides bikes and has a blog. Like the world needs another one.