Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Night Train...

We were teased by the weather gods with mild temps over the weekend, and plans for the Pirate Night ride were sounding better by the minute. That was until the minutes turned to days and the days became hotter than fresh shit. I don't know what the temp was when our train pulled out, but it felt like we were riding into an elephant sized hair dryer and the humidity had to be at 102%. Nonetheless we were determined to have a kick-ass time riding bikes in the darkness, and the clan of Ethos jerks who showed-up to ride was a good crew to make crazyness happen.
The Manimal and I had scoped out some new trail and had an actual plan of what our loop would be, and it was a good loop. We mixed it up a bit with some paved trail for recovery, gravel double track and miles of dusty single track.
The Bald Chimp was sporting a sweet rock climbing helmet and headlamp, always just ahead of the trend. Coletrain was there to experience the event as well as Pyro and the usual suspects; The Kid and The Manimal. We had zero mechanicals and our lights burned bright for two hours, just shy of 20 miles and around 900 ft of elevation gain.
It had to be in the first fifteen minutes of the ride that Coletrain biffed some evasive maneuver and tweaked his knee, only to push on an hour further until he DNF'd. I was the only other to eat-dirt during our ride and that was due to being plain worn-out from chasing the big guns on my fixed gear (and afterk a pre-ride beer). I was hurting but that's sometimes just part of the game.
A good ridewas had with some stand-up fellas, followed by some lounging in the backyard - sipping barley-pops under the stars. Lets do it again next week!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tall Oaks Challenge...

I’d had a crazy week that was more than filling up what limited time I don’t have. The Manimal and I had ripped-it-up during our weekly night ride and I was feeling pretty good in the cycling scheme-of things and he talked me into NOT cleaning out my garage, but instead driving three hours southeast to Binder Lake for the Tall Oaks Challenge 6hr race. I do love endurance racing, so the twisting of my arm was short lived and I was good to go. I feel like, in the overall bike racing scene, that endurance races are the real deal. This is where hard dirt single track riding meets not only fitness but mental will power. If you are a bad ass at endurance racing, you are a bad ass all around in my book. Just because you can ride fast and win some XC or CX races does not make you a man in my book. It’s the long haul or chopped balls as far as I see it, and the Ethos posse saved face and threw down on Sunday. All you shit talkers can eat my shorts!
The Tank Posing
As it goes The Manimal, Pyro and our pit boss Double D all headed out at 6 a.m. in the Vdub, luxury style. We arrived, set up a nice pit area right on the course, and readied our rigs and minds for the fun 6 hours on what turned out to be a crazy fast single track system. We were all kitted-up, had nutrition laid-out and ready for a quick hand-off and lined-up for the mass shotgun start.
The Course = Stellar!
JP was first into the woods, killing it. Travis was not far behind and I was in my typical mid pack position. Considering the train of riders, peeps were pushing hard and there was no real congestion on the trail. At about mile 1.2 we hit a loose and fast downhill section. This is where the race changed for me. Just two places ahead of me a rider crashed hard into a tree. I guess my past working Search and Rescue, being an EMT and understanding the value of time if hurt in the backcountry made me stop to check the situation and see if things were o.k.. As I arrived a women was curled-up sitting and rocking, guarded and moaning in pain. Her helmet was cocked-back and I could tell things could possibly be bad. She had hit HARD! After a minute or so she finally was able to tell me her name and I did a quick and dirty assessment of her condition. I felt she could possibly have a concussion and broken arm, so I asked a few riders to spread the word to get help and I stayed with her to see if she would come out of the almost shock-like condition. Thankfully she did and after some words I felt she was o.k. to walk out. I helped Mia and her bike off the course, leaving mine in the woods; I planned to return once she was in better hands and finish my race. We made it back to the pit area, I handed her off and proceeded back to my bike.
Mia and I after the race
Now for more trouble. I decided to start cutting switchbacks as I ran back to my bike. This was a jackass maneuver and I found myself lost in the woods. I could not find my bike and the trail did not look familiar. Finally I heard some riders and was running down the trail just as The Kid and The Manimal whizzed by on their second lap. At this point I knew I was out of the race. There was no way I’d make up a lap +, so I decided at that point to hop on my rig and do some blocking for the team.
I rallied it hard on that first lap, red-lined the whole way trying to stay in front of the 4th position rider and see if I could scrub even a few seconds off his time when he caught me and wanted to pass. I was no jackass, I just wanted to see if I could push the pace and also help out my team. I arrived back at the pit area where I dismounted for a break, knowing that I was now riding just for the fun of it. I stepped next door and checked on Mia, and she was doing WAY better, which was a huge relief. NO race is worth someone being left injured in the woods, and I was more than happy to help her out with no feeling of anything owed to me in return. I was having a hella-fun day!
The Kid riding into the finish - last lap

For my second lap I thought I’d push it to see what kind of lap times I might have averaged if I were still in it for the money. Karma lap two began as I ran upon Gino pulling pit-crew for some fella who busted his chain. Me being all helpful-like overheard the need for a quicklink and stopped to oblige. There went my lap time once again. The course however was ripping, and I did manage to pull of some sweet moves, and during said lap hit a sweet log skinny on the right side of the trail with the skills of a squirrel on a wire. I also proceeded each lap to catch major air on the two dirt jumps out on the grass,,, if you raced you know the ones. Too bad the photographer gal was not standing close enough to catch my X games-like stunts on film; only then would you know how bad-ass I truly am.
The Pirates Lair
Back at the pit I get this idea that it’s beer-thirty. I also decide that it would be a good idea to let Peat Awesome bunny-hop me as he plowed through the pit area. Unfortunately Peat is so awesomely fast on that old POS bike that all I could catch was this sweet wheelie, which he could have ridden to the booby barn and back no problem.
Peat Awesome showing his Superior Awesomeness
Finally I did toss back another lap as well as three Boulevard Singlewide IPA’s, which was just enough carbo-loading to send me out on a last lap chasing The Manimal and Coletrain for a burning 39ish minute lap that truly felt like the best of the day.
The Kid in GO mode
The team killed it as usual today; The Kid and Pyro wining the duo, JP and The Manimal pulling in a tight 6th, Sarah and FM somewhere closer to first than last, Coletrain with a 5th in the solo (on a SS), Kay with 1st and K-Rocket with 3rd in the solo, JDoug and Craig I'm sure did a swell job too, but my memory fails me as to what level of kick-ass they performed. For myself, I succeeded in pulling of my standard goal of ‘Finish, not last’, which is a wonder since I was for the most part hanging at the pit area drinking barley pops (thanks FM!) and eating team Rocket's Ginger Snaps. The three hours back to KC went well post Mexican food and Margs. Hope to see you punks at Casa De Burnsey for the Wednesday Night Ride!
JP explaining the nutritional value of Ginger Snaps

The Manimal after his hippy shower in Binder Lake
Coletrain got his spine back  - 6 hr SS

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Feeling a little Surly...

Awe Yeah, another fine night ride in the books. The Manimal and I took a tour of some undisclosed trail where we did in fact meet some rock obstacles, some nice dirt and 3,624* giant spider webs. I think we may have ridden until dawn but as Casey F. Ryback would say, The Manimals light got it's wrist snapped at 2.5 hours into our ride, so we cut it short only to find ourselves slightly less chilly than the barley pops we ingested. Temps tonight are perfectly cool.
Rolling the anti-freewheel machines once again we had a great time. I have to add that what in years past would have been referred to as the super heavy, unresponsive tank-of-a-1x1 fork, is now a well built stroke of 100mm corrected Surly genius. The 2011 version is way better. I do like it, even better than the Pace carbon I was running prior. Nice work Surly. I'll drink another one to that.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Weekend Madness...

Twas a grand weekend here at the Pirate Lair. We started off the weekend with my little big man learning a lesson about bringing a weapon to a fight, and how that weapon can always be acquired by the enemy and used against you. Here we have my vicious guard dog who was being chased with a baseball bat around the house. Two minutes later my little big man was running around the corner screaming and the mutt was close behind...armed and ready for revenge.
Then it was off to Smithville Lake to pay tribute to the local trail building not-for-profit ERTA. We met a whole posse of trail users, ate some incredible food (free), drank some Beer (free), Donated some gear to be raffled off to benefit the trails, went on a family bike ride with my wife and kids (me and little big man hooked together; me on the Monkey and he on his new trail-a-bike (which is awesome!) and Mrs. Pirate hauling the Burley trailer with big little man). It was a great night to be outside, cool and with a view of the sun setting over the lake. Granny & Gramps Pirate were there too, and Granny P won some sweet gear from none other than Chamois Butt'r. Of course I did not tell her what the product was used for until after I snapped this sweet photo.
Today I did another good Family ride on the paved trail, pulling kids and having fun. If you need a little bit of training Pirate style, drag your 35# kid around on a 30# trail-a-bike for an hour and a half a single speed geared way to tall for climbing hills with a load. That will teach you something that those skinny tires and tights won't. Heck, go old school and try the same load up Ogg Road and see what kills you... You'll learn really quick that it's better to burn-out than to fade, and those endurance races just got one step easier.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tall Gra$$ and Haulin A$$...

To all you sucka-pants that didn't show up - you missed out on a hella good ride. Five brave souls took to the woods from the Pirates Lair last night for the second of many-to-come Pirate Night Rides. We hit-up all kinds of trail; hero dirt, overgrown jungle, gravel double-track and of course a handful of secret shizzle that I can't even begin to write about here.
The Bald Chimp and The Kid showed for the ride after doing the sit-n-spin roadie ride, so they were warmed up and ready for the real deal. Tampons were removed and balls dropped back into true position.
I'll say the ride was a great success. We had zero mechanicals and all of us had a good time. All but Flatman (who since being dubbed said nickname has upgraded to Specialized Grid tires, tubeless set-up and has had ZERO flats) were riding one gear. The Manimal and I spiced it up a bit and rode our fixed steeds, which turned out to make for even more fun than could possibly be imagined. I had not been on a 26" wheeled bike in months and my Gunnar made me feel like a kid at the pump track. The Bald Chimp was riding my 29er SS, which I call The Tank, and did at some point manage to grab a stick with my rear wheel and knock that sucker right out of true; but she's a tank after all, and TBC kept her rolling.
It was good to have the crew (most of them anyway), as all these fellas are my racing pals from Ethos, show up and have a good time. THIS is what makes a team great, more so than podiums, training hard, fancy bikes or fame & glory - but rather getting out and having a good time with friends that you know and love.

 For those of you who missed out...there's always next week. If you do show up next week, please double check that all of your gear is working before you drive out to B.F.E. only to get shut down by some issues, like a non-working light for example. We will only feel sorry for you for the 30 seconds it takes for the crew to leave you with your pants down as we ride out of site...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Weekly Pirate Ride...

I'm a busy man. I can't seem to figure out a way to get in enough time on my bike so I am officially brewing up my weekly group night ride. Usually this event is a winter activity but times they are a changing. 1 1/2 - 2 hour ride, pace depends on who shows-up.
This is an invitation only for like minded folks who are cool with the shenanigans related to a typical ride with the Pirate. If you are offended by sex, drugs, rock & roll, hookers, poaching, trespassing, booze or having a crazy good time - don't bother showing your ugly mug at this ride. This is a self supported ride - bring the tools/parts/tubes/air to fix anything that might break. The group is not going to hold your hand when your 10 miles from nowhere with a flat or broken chain and don't have the goods to fix it. We'll help you pit crew style...if you have the stuff to deal. If you are a tool instead of bringing one...see ya. Make sure your light is good to go, battery charged and bring a back-up!
Post ride b.y.o.b. at the Pirates Lair. Once the weather turns cooler we'll do a fire and/or hot tub'n. Optional backyard skills course runs are always welcome. SS or Fixed gear a plus but if all you have is one of those geared tanks, we'll still have you.
Get in touch with me if your game. Check the Weekly Pirate Ride header at the top right of the main page for current date, time and location.

Note: 9/10/11
So far so good. We've had a handful of folks ride each week and the typical agenda is; show up at 7:45, gear-up and we roll around 8:00 sharp. Average 2 hours / 15 mils ride +/-, each week taking a different route on varied terrain (be prepared for anything). The campfire is feeling great with the cool temps, and the Hot tub has seen it's fair share of sore muscles post ride. The crew's been dispersing around midnight in case you want to know when to tell your momma you'll be home. Though 'The Kid' can't seem to figure out what BYOB means, the barley pops have been a flowing and good times had. Chipotle is our weekely ride sponsor so be prepared for antic-awarded burrito possibilities.
Don't die wondering...Show up and get your bike dirty.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fear is an Illusion...

Who did you want to be when you grew-up? Remember?
Danny Boy remembers...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Dope on Swope - Spoke Pony 3/6...

The much awaited, feared, loathed and loved endurance event 'Spoke Pony Showdown 3/6' did in fact go down as scheduled at the bad-to-the-bone trail system simply dubbed 'Swope'. Friday the trails were blasted with multiple thunderstorms, yet the course was ready to go race time Saturday morning. Those who dared to test his physical and mental strength showed face to rally and experience a sick course. The Trail Hermits spare no expense putting on the show, and they'd staged the trail with points of entertainment to keep you smiling from ear to ear throughout the entire event.
Dead Hooker and The one and only Trail Asshole
My plan was to show up, chill with my pals and ride bikes for six hours. I really enjoy being in the forest, albeit in the heart of a large city and still feel like your miles away. This trail system is indeed a gift to KC, and a favorite of mine for sure. I can't say that a bad time could be had, unless you just let a mechanical or a run of bad luck eat at you. I was in it for a good time, nothing more, and damned if anything was gonna change that.
All the usual Ethos suspects were there, you know the ones. The Manimal and I were going to battle it out in the 6hr Single Speed Open. Travis and Garet leading the fast train, Kevin rallying his usual carefree race ethic, JDoug pushing his technical comfort level on the slick rocks and Sarah throwing down in her usual bad ass style. We also met up with a few pals; Peat Awesome was there. Good ol' Peat will keep you smiling with his daredevil skills and topping off his typical shenanigans - he raced some real p.o.s. bike from the 90's that most folks would use as a boat anchor. As they say and as was proved's not the bike, it's the person on it. We also met up with a few of the Team Seagal Jerk's, who were so kind as to give the one finger salute each lap and provide some tasty PBR's for post race rehydration. These fellas are all stand-up guys who seem to be on the same page as the Pirate - Just out for a furry good time!
The mass start lined up for a climb to separate the 'contenders from the pretenders'. I rolled into the single track in a good spot and did not really have to wait in any kind of heinous train of slow jackass riders like times past. I enjoyed watching crash after crash on the slick rocks and bike shifting tree roots. The dirt was great but the rocks...deadly.
My legs were feeling bombproof, my style and grace impeccable, my body temp however was rising and I was feeling like a prom queen the morning after; worn down and just plain confused about why my body felt weird. Each lap I'd stop a little longer at the pit area to run cold water over my core, rest and get my head on straight. I killed major time but as usual had toat the very least finish the race. At this point that was my goal and I was no longer worried about the time.
The course was, simply put, awesome. THE best course I've been on, ever. If you missed this race, you are going to die wondering. Heartland always kicks it up a notch and this was no exception.
After rolling into the gate with time for a last lap, I decided to accept a beer hand up from Shoffner and call it a day. I knew I had 3rd in the bag and saved my juice to ride another day.
A couple notes: there were two forms of good luck for my race. 1) My number plate was significant.  2) As I was prepping to race a sweet Vdub bus pulled up and made me smile. I knew it would be a good day! To top it all off my Wife and two boys showed-up to see me standing on the podium which really made for a perfect day.
The Seagal Salute
Ethos finished up pretty well, with the following podiums;
Burnsey 3rd 6 hr SS
Manimal 1st 6hr SS
Sarah 1st
Jason 5th
Travis 1st
Special Thanks to the volunteers and the Trail Hermits for putting on an amazing event! Mad Props to the Manimal for pushing himself hard and cranking out 8 laps on one gear...your a bad ass! Travis killed it with 9 laps, unheard of on trails this sick. Congrats fellas!
SS Podium

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Good Spin...

It's been hot as hell here in the Midwest for most of the summer; blistering death! Riding bikes around here as of late could be easily compares to riding in a wind tunnel turned up to hairdryer temps and just cooking your innards along the way. Last night The Manimal and I kicked back up the Thursday Night Ride.
It's that time of year - Spiders (this one the size of a golf ball) are out in full force, their webs spanning the trail seemingly always at face height. 
This is the same old ride we do all winter but we spice it up and change the course each time out. Last night was no different. We headed out from Pirate headquarters at the stroke of 9ish. The wind was feeling cool and we were psyched to lubricate our legs in preparation for the Spoke Pony Showdown 6 hours of torture we are to endure on Saturday at Swope.
We set a casual pace, one that might make you think we had whiskey in our water bottles, yet moving good enough to elude the mysterious mountain lion (our imaginary friend that summons the fear and adrenaline required to really sprint when needed). We hit some sweet rogue trail, and every time we ride this particular stretch we think 'man, I love this trail'. We hit some overgrown deer trail that had a bunch of fallen trees that we nimbly maneuver over like cats. We hit some gravel double track for just long enough to prep for the steep ass climb that neither of us successfully rode. We hit-up miles of dusty single track; mostly flowing but often broken-up by a rock garden or improbable switchback. We rally back to the pirates lair and push hard up the Lawrence hill - always a nice yet feared end to a great ride.
To beat the heat, Thursday Night Rides are officially back in season. As the snow comes we will be switching over to fixed-gear mountain bikes and following rides with hot tubbin' and campfire action, and of course a few Barley Pops tossed in for good measure.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Riding bikes to me is all about fun. If it's not fun than I'm not gonna do it, nope. I just picked up this little Specialised Fuse and am dubbing her 'coffee', as I will be hitting the bike park on my to work in the mornings to relive the fun I had as a kid; jumping and crashing my brains out till I puke or just am awake. That should set me straight for the rest of the day, every day. Yeehaw!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

six @ swope...

Course Map
Spoke Pony Showdown 3/6 - Big time endurance mountain bike race this weekend here in Kansas City. The temps have dropped and it's time to take a ride on the pain train. Opt for three or six hours of single track bliss, full of all that you can (or can't) handle. Swope is the king of kings around here; dialed trail that works you like a minimum wage job. Don't even bother coming out to race without a few extra tampons in your jersey pockets you roadie jerks, this is the real deal. I'll be there for the long haul, loving every grueling minute. You better be there too; unless you're a tool. See you Saturday for dirt loving good times.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fourteen Hours West...

Say it with me...ROAD TRIP!
Full report coming very soon...