Sunday, March 29, 2009

Destination Brewpub

Rolled up to Frederick with DKEG today. Cloudy at first with the threat of rain, then the sun popped out as we approached Sugarloaf. This has happened to David and me in the past. A questionable ride turns beautiful in the shadow of the mountain. We made good time and decided to grab lunch and a beer at the Brew Pub in Frederick. An outside table on this beautiful day seemed like a good call and patio filled up fast. Joe and julie met us for a beer and the weather changed quickly while we ate.

Dark clouds and gusty wind moved in and the temperature dropped like a rock in a matter of minutes. Our beautiful day was slipping away and we were only half done with the ride. Moving inside, we finished our beers and decided to get moving. The sun re-appeared, but, ominous clouds were ever present. Headed south we were trying to out ride a fast moving front and got caught near Urbana. A little later that same fast front passed us and the sun emerged again. This was going the be the pattern until the rides conclusion. Our only real concern was the lightning we saw off in the distance. A little rain never killed anyone, but lightning......that's another story. We had to deal with some rain, but, the lightning and thunder stayed well clear, thankfully.

For a day that started off questionably, I must say we had a great ride. Sure, I had a couple flats, we got caught in some rain, but, considering the weather yesterday, I think we came out ahead. Just under 65 miles, a couple IPA's, a plate of calamari and a chicken wrap. That's a pretty good day in my book. Thanks for the ride DKEG!

and the photos.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Riding bikes is fun

.....or at least I thought it was supposed to be. I went for a little road ride today, trying to beat the impending rain. While I was out, I passed 6 other bikers. The first one looked like a casual kind of rider, no flashy kit or bike, just out for a ride. As I passed, I said howdy and he tossed out a waive and a smile. The next 4 guys were the polar opposite. Team kits, weight weenie rides, hell, one guy was simply sporting a euro bike cap sans helmet. I tossed out the same greeting to each of these guys and nothing. No nod, waive or acknowledgment that I was even on the same stretch of road. The last guy (#6) cruising down the road on his "comfort bike", he knew what it's all about. He took the nano second required and returned my greeting.

2 thru 4.......WTF??

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sherman & Veach Gaps, EF

The EF ride was awesome, even with all the mishaps. Camp had a plan, ride up Sherman, down Veach, over to Mine and hit stuff on both sides of the valley. It was going to be a long, hard day. Weather gods smiled upon us and it was going to be a spectacular day. 28 at the beginning, high near 60 meant extra layers were going to be shed. The approach up Sherman was rocky goodness. The first section paralleled the stream with not much elevation gain. A fine technical warm up before the hard work began. As the grade increased, so did our effort and the Big Dog was owning the climbs. JoeP and I were grinding up some steep stuff and Camp suggested we pull it back and save ourselves. "Lots more climbing ahead" he mentioned and he wasn't kidding. The trail took a turn for the nasty and we were doing a lot of hike-a-bike. Way more than I cared for and I started to question the route. The final pitch was simply ridiculous and Darius resorted to portaging his bike. I opted to push, but, had to carry it over numerous "steps" were your footing was questionable.

Dkeg suffered the first two of 4 flats after we made the turn onto Veach Gap. Insanely tight tires made these flats troublesome (to say the least) and our ride organizer was getting frustrated after getting his third just moments after 1 and 2. Fresh eyes and hands took care of the potential issue as we cracked a couple cold ones to pass the time.Patched and re-fueled, we headed down the Veach Gap. Each new high speed turn down the rock strewn trail made that miserable climb a fading memory. Our hoots could be heard through the woods as our group snaked down the twisted trail. A section of high speed double track caused David to suffer his forth flat and Darius' first. I'm sure these mechanicals weighed heavily on David as we entered the last section of rocky terrain and the semi-dry stream bed.

Wet tires and off-chamber rocks are hard to negotiate when your mind is clear (just ask JoeP who went OTB on one section), when concerned with multiple flats, I know it's hard to go with the flow. I assume this is what happened to David as he stuffed his front wheel in this section and went down hard, on his face. I was trying to clip in when I saw it happen and knew there was a problem when he just laid there, bike twisted on top of his body. I pulled the bike off him and saw a lot of blood on the rocks below. A major face plant resulted in a split upper lip and a broken tooth. Joe ran back grabbed David's bike and we got him moving after locating a napkin to handle the blood. The one saving grace was that we were at the bottom, done with the rocks and had smooth double track until meeting the others at the road.

We still had 4 or 5 miles of road riding before the cars and proper first aid kits. The road through the valley is beautiful, but, narrow roads and impatient drivers can make it quite dangerous. Another casualty of the ride was my camera that got dropped while taking a picture of an old well pump. JoeP suffered an apparent pinch flat on the road (not sure how) and we were passed by a runner for the second time that day. Our humbling ride ended with Darius patching up DKEG's lip with Steri Strips and beer. We dropped off Darius and decided to hit the ER at Frederick Memorial. Several hours later David's lip was all stitched up and looking better.

After all the chaos, all the flats, all the hike-a-bike, the one memory that out shines them all was that descent down Veach. It was that good and I want to hit it again.......soon!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Man, I'm slacking. Really doesn't matter as no one reads blogs any more. Apparently Face Book (and twitter) is where all the cool kids hang out these days. I'm going to hang out under the bleachers, smoking cigs, a little longer before I make the plunge. I really like to wait until a technology is on the down-turn before I embrace it. By my calculations, should be the middle of next week.

Outlaw ride and party a couple weeks ago was fun. Ricky and I switched bikes for a little. That old Specialized he stole is nice. The chopped down bars were squirrely, but other than that is was a sweet ride...and fast. We got razed by a bunch of bikers ( the leather clad, Harley kind) when we stopped for mid-ride beers at Daniel's. By the time we left, there were small groups of us talking story with the throttle twisters. One guy even stopped traffic so we could safely cross the street. That was kinda cool. Then there was the old guy in a pickup who cut in front of us and threw his door open. RiderX was all in his face ( never seen that before). Back at Jay's the beer was flowing and the food was abundant. We even got some business done in the way of jersey fittings. Fire pit in the back yard topped off a good day.

Let's see, the weekday rides have been moved to Thursday and we had a good one last week. Shed to Gambrill through the Valley of Death. Tough for sure. Nice to do an after work ride when the sun is still shining. This past Wednesday we finished off the Gambrill Graveyard Shift rides for the year. Only 4 in attendance, DKEG, RiderX, Victor and me. Fast laps, minimal stopping left plenty of time for brews at the Pub. No table this time, hung bar side, feasted on the buffet and got $2 dollar beers......sweet!

First day of Spring was today and I hit a "not-so-quick" recon of Schaeffer. Cleared a bunch of crap off the trails, tried to use the new "unbeleiveable saw" on some big stuff that kicked it's ass (and mine). Great saw for soft woods, not so great for 8" hard woods. I lost my GPS at some point. Went to check the time and it wasn't there. Musta has some good kharma working cuz I found it on the back side of a tree I hopped. Could have been an expensive day. Trails are in great shape and only have a few trees to cut. Need to take care of that soon as people have already created ride-arounds......on the first day. Geez!

Elizabeth Furnace with a strong crew on Sunday. I'll try to take pics and post something about the ride. Should be a stellar day.