Thursday, September 29, 2011

Attitude Adjustment...

It was a big night for the P-ride in many ways Wednesday night. First off, we had a big turnout...almost too big. Second we had some big guns show, which meant the pace was going to be ugly. Third, we had a few mechanical's and a big late start.
I knew things were going to be out-of-the-ordinary when peeps were arriving for the ride a half hour early. First things first peeps; I am never on time and when I say 8:30ish it means be at my place at no earlier than 8:30 to get ready to ride. If you show up early and get all antsy in your pantsy's sorry for you, but I'm not leaving w/o the whole crew. Secondly, don't be late. I'm not gonna leave you, but I am the one who gets the heat for it. Third, this is a group ride. Say it with me..."Group Ride". That means you wait for the group and make sure no one is lost in the woods. With that said, here is what went down during our epic ride.
We had a huge turnout. The P-ride is more typically a half dozen or so close bros having a good night ride. Recently I've been allowing folks to invite friends and I too have opened up the invite to those who are up for some shenanigans. This week there were fifteen people for the ride. I think half of those people showed up around 8 and the rest casually arrived up until the minute we rolled out, at a very late 'almost 9', when we then anxiously headed out for our dirt addiction. I was honored to have a few new peeps show up that were a pleasure to ride with, namely; Farmer, The Trail A$$hole and Taylor. There were a couple fellas from BikeSource as well as Hector who were rookies to the ride, and were a pleasure to meet. Other's who showed there mugs to rally were Sarah, Justin, The Manimal, Coletrain, Cliff, Nick, Pyro, and Gabriel. Aside form the rookies (only because I don't know them) I knew we had a solid crew that could handle the epic ride planned for the darkness.
The loop is about 20ish miles. I'm guessing that the mix of trial is something like 75% singletrack, 15% gravel and 10% random pavement connectors. Most of the singletrack is mid to advanced level trail and keeps you guessing. A solid loop for sure.
About half way through the ride we, at a faster than usual pace (we should pace off the slowest rider, yet we had some peeps gunning it a bit hard) we lost 4 of the 15. After waiting about 5 minutes, The Manimal, Gabriel and I rode back about a mile and did not see hide nor hair of the 4. The Manimal decides to go on a search, and then too either rendezvous on the planned loop or back at the Pirates Lair. Gabriel and I head back to meet the remaining crew, who were very anxious to keep riding. At this point I was getting a bit frustrated and just led-out and did not stop much, only at intersections to make sure folks went the correct way. By now we had done some 13 miles of good trail. We had one flat and I loaned out my only spare tube to keep the crew moving, though only Justin and I stopped to help. We had one light that was not working great and still the group was fairly motivated to keep rolling.
We hit a paved section and let everyone catch-up before diving back into some dirt. This particular section is fast yet can cause some casualties due to a good amount of large tree roots, rocks, random off-shoots and fallen trees. Coletrain took a good over-the-bars fall at some point along the way. It was a fun spill to watch as he used his cat-like reflexes to catch his carbon bike before it crashed into the rocky earth.
I thought the rear of the crew was keeping watch on each other and I'd ask every ten minutes or so if everyone was accounted for. At some point we in fact lost 2 more riders. WTF people? If I am leading the ride I cannot very well babysit the back, and no one was willing to be the sweep who knew the trail, so things were deteriorating into a fairly good case of the shit-circus. I was not even aware that we'd lost these 2 until we were long gone.
I hate it when we loose people on a group ride. I hate it when people don't enjoy the ride. I hate it when I get back to the campfire and some of the group is missing. NOT COOL! When we were riding back up to my casa at the end of the ride we see three cars leaving, the peeps who had been left behind; that felt like total shit to me. Maybe some of you did not give a rats ass but I was not too psyched about it. It was almost like the walk of shame; for them or for me, either way...not how the P-ride is meant to be, no way.
So all in all, those who finished the ride had a good, long, epic ride. For those who got lost in the woods; I am terribly sorry. That was not cool on my part. That was not cool on any one's part. It was lame and I hope it doesn't detour you from coming again.
I asked the groups opinion about what the ride should be all about and what we needed to do to make it better. I had mixed responses. One thought was to be dick's and make the ride harder, faster and a bit more crazy. If we did that, only a few would come and ride. I've decided against that train of thought. We will NOT be leaving anyone behind. The pace will be notched back to accommodate everyone who rides. The campfire will be surrounded by ALL of the group! The P-ride will continue and get better - it's no weenie roast, nor is it an elitist, leg shaven, sprint of a training ride...
So, a success for some and a failure on my part for others. I guess life is all about living and learning...and I am sometimes a slow learner.
Until next week...Cheers!

Note: Please come prepared for this ride. It is not easy to bail out mid-ride unless you know the area well. Bring the gear you need to fix your bike if it breaks. I am tired of giving out tubes! Make sure your gear is working before you are sitting in front of my house, making other's have to loan you crap or wait on you. Just be prepared, use common sense and know that this is NOT a walk in the park, but an adventure ride that can be hard on you and your gear. Be ready for two hours of pain, fun and socializing around the fire.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Screw Racing, Let's Ride...

So R.I.M. was cancelled. I vented and all is said and done. Now to make it all better, The Manimal, Old Man Winters and I made plans to head out to Crowder on what would have been race day and ride the trails anyway. We knew the course was trimmed and prepped for the race, the weather was bomber and Doug Long had invited everyone up to camp and drink some Tallgrass Beer race or no race. We could not make the time to camp, but we sure the hell wouldn't miss out on killer trail and free beers, so we loaded up the Greasecar and headed North.
Upon arrival we met up with Little Kevin and Justin. None of us knew the trail system so we winged it and rode the three main loops. We had only done about six miles of trail an knew there had to be more. We doubled back to camp and Doug hooked us up with some additional beta, followed by "if you like epic rides...", so we now had a plan, a solid kick-ass plan.
The first six or so miles of groomed trail were great. The climbing was as hard as it gets here in the Midwest and half of our crew could not make most of the long, rocky climbs. The descents were good until you hit the hard packed corners which were covered in acorns (ie: ball bearings!) and would keep your sphincter puckered tight. Once we finally made it out on our epic second half of the day ride, we were warmed up and psyched for an adventure.
We dropped into the Thompson South Loop and then onto the North loop. Both were indeed epic, with trees down, un-groomed trail and horse prints making for some grueling maneuvers at times. We rode over dozens of logs, along a beautiful river and back up through some fields back to camp. We had a hella good time riding unfamiliar trail for around 3 hours and just shy of twenty miles. My legs were cooked. After a brief hello to a few other KC folks and a quick visit to the cooler for some tasty beverages, we made the 90 minute drive back to KC. I have to say that this was one of the funner rides I've done as of late. Great crew of guys having fun riding bikes. No time clock, no awards, no loser's....all winners. Cheers!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Snake Charmer...

It was business as usual on a Wednesday Night at the Pirates Lair. The nightly routine went as planned and 8:30 was closing in fast. I walked outside to check the weather, as it was looking like we might get spit on minutes earlier, but all was good. Temps were I'm guessing in the high 50's and the ground was bone dry. Perfect night for a ride!
Peeps started arriving one by one until there were a solid pack of ten ready to roll out on a night adventure in the woods. A train of ten headlamps zooming through the woods is a sight to see, especially on switchbacks with the group spread out a bit; it was just cool to see folks above and below you illuminated by a small white glow. The guest list included the usual suspects; The Kid, The Manimal, Pyro, Sarah, Cliff and rookies Kevin, Gabriel, Justin and Nick.
We added a short section of new single track to our ride tonight, deleted other sections and made a brief stop about an hour and a half into the ride so our ten could become 9. From there we were cruising at what I am guessing was mileage in the mid teens when I got a good 1/4" tear in my front tire. I tried to plug it but the tear was far too big, even for two plugs. Of course I was not practising what I preach and was running a crappy Conti Mountain King instead of my trusted Specialized Captain Grid. My bad! I had to install my first tube in at least two seasons of riding, bummer! Shortly after installing the tube I was trying to catch up with the front of the group when I was suddenly attacked by a rare and vicious beast, known here in the Midwest as the 'Black Boa'.
Fortunately Gabriel and Justin helped me pit-crew style and we had this very tube reinstalled and holding air in minutes and were back riding.
Beer Hill(s) tonight were a bust. Not a single one of our crew made any of said climbs. We did however manage to stick together, have fun and maintain what I would consider a pretty darn solid pace. I was riding the rigid Fixie, and not too well, but managed to keep up...or at least did not get left in the woods.
Some notes on the ride: there are a shit-ton of logs you must hop, a fair amount of climbing and loads of rock to keep you on your game. Yes, at some times we hit some gravel or pavement between sections of dirt, but for the most part the loop is no weeny roast and keeps you guessing.
Per the standard post ride protocol, the crew gathered around the campfire and/or dipped in the hot tub while sipping suds and telling fishing stories until we realized it was getting way to late to be out on a school night. Good times. Thanks for showing up and I hope to see you jerks next week!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Urban Jungle...

It's Wednesday. It's gonna be one helluva a good ride tonight. I'm super psyched and the crew is in for some treats. Beer Hill x3, need I say more?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rapture Cancelled...

Major Bummer on all fronts! This was THE race I had been looking forward to all season long; R.I.M. 6/12 hour kick-in-the-balls endurance race at Crowder. You have to admit; being in the saddle on hard single track for 12 hours at a race pace is true man-style and what it's all about. How long can you suffer and can you actually do it?
I had skipped the SAC River 3/6 in order to juggle my schedule to do R.I.M.. I had done the same for Burning at the Bluff. It was all in for R.I.M.. and now I just have to sit here and cry about what a killer race we are all going to miss, and for what? Is it because far too many of you wimp-ass-chumps complained about no local races in years past only to be a NO SHOW at most of this year’s events? Was it all of the ultra-gay CX jerks who started the season early this year, like they can’t ride at the park anytime of year? Why the F#&K would you rather ride in circles on grass between two pieces of tape for an hour when you could be riding dirt surrounded by nothing but nature for 12? I'm not pissed at the promoters, they are stand up guys. I am friggin’ pissed as a pit-bull in a cage-fight when I say that IF this race was cancelled due to CX season OR because of you no-show mo-fo's, I'm gonna cut your toes off one by one, then hang you off the plank with those nubs dangling in saltwater, till your day ends deep in Davey Jones Locker as shark food.
I suppose my anti-cx race idea may in fact have to come to fruition this winter...if you dicks can handle what the ol' Pirate has brewing when XC meets CX on the battlefield. Something a little more brutal and more dirt than this kick-a$$ video demonstrates...
And to further rag on about random B.S. in the works, or not...I will have to do a few of those CX races this season in true Pirate form to make some things happen on the black market side of things. Watch out you circle-jerks, Here comes one pissed off Irishman with full body hair ready to get dirty...back alley style.
See you out there.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jet Lag Night Ride...

It was a long strange trip out to the West Coast to do some work. As you see in the photos below…I had a good time when not working by sampling as many local beers as possible, visiting the beach and relaxing. I had flown out to L.A. on 9-11, a great test of fear control and patients. The local media and law enforcement were having their hay day and I was business as usual. The flight back made a stop in Denver, then on home to KC., just in time to get my kiddos to bed and suit-up for a much needed spin around the local trails with Cliff and Coletrain. Temps were totally kick-ass perfect for riding. Though the usual suspects claimed their individual excuses why they did not show for the ride, these two jerks found the time and we made the best of it.
For some reason at least once a year I clock-the-shit out of my left knee with a direct hit to the ass-end of my stem. With this knee already jacked, I was hurting for the last few miles of our ride…and still today. I’m sure there is at a minimum a pea sized floating piece of bone just grinding away flesh hidden just under the skin. I need to have this looked at before it ruins my biking ability. I also have a non-working rear brake issue that I should probably address before I eat another tree…or I should just stick to the fixie for the rest of the year. Hydrolic brakes are great until you get an air bubble in there, then it’s a crap shoot as to when things are going to work…or not.
Fourteen miles of solid single track in the dark, followed by what else but beers and a warm campfire that nearly melted my leg hair off to match the silky smooth variations of others. Good times for sure. Assuming the trails are dry I am looking forward to a large crew this week, see you then!

Cali Trip in Photos (2)...

Cali trip in photos (1)...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rain Dodging...

Nothing quite like a good ride at Landahl. One of the best trails around KC for sure. Lots of fun technical features, mine now being the newer technical offshoots on the Family trail. The rock gardens and ribs of limestone that you have to ride up, on, over and down are endless and exciting; especially when the rock is wet and things are scary. The Manimal was testing his metal on the fixie and doing a fine job. Old Man Winters was humoring us with his laid back style and random comic relief. At some point during our 2.5 hour ride, we ran into The Kid who was out for a long training ride. Lucky for him he ran into us to show him how it's done old man style. Go ride Landahl...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Skid Row...

Shiver me timbers! Last nights ride was a huge success. We had the usual crew; The Manimal, The Kid, Pyro and me. Also joining us to test her sea legs was Sarah, who just so happens to be the only women in the KC Metro with enough huevos to ride with us, little lone keep up. Our 8:30ish start pushed to 9:00 and it was starting to get darn right chilly out. A few of the crew dawned arm warmers and vests, which were quickly stowed during the first mile of our ride. We have a pretty good 2 hours loop dialed-in and we busted it out in prime fashion. The Kid, in standard 'The Kid' fashion, crashed his brains out at least a few times. I wasn't short on antics or evasive maneuvers either - falling over or crashing repeatedly in random and stupid locations. I remember doing a climb up a steep bench cut and hearing a crash behind me. I glanced back to see the damage only to fall down the hill and into a tree like an idiot. It was The Kid going over the bars behind me and doing the running man for a solid 30' that caused the initial racket. Unscathed we pushed on. I do recall Sarah taking a good spill and maybe even the Manimal. Heck, even Pyro went down. It was anarchy on bikes, skid row madness and dirt hugging good times. Our loop now incorporates plenty of spinning, technical rock gardens, dozens of logs and some long, leg-burning climbs. We plundered the full Pirate Loop, and other than the lack of trimming on our rogue journey, it was a killer-good time.
Temps fell to the fifties and we all hopped into the tub for post ride muscle relaxation and barley-pop drinking. After turning into pumpkins the crew called it a night (shortly after The Kid Poofed) sans fire and headed to their respected homes. Fall is coming...then winter. It's all good on Wednesday nights!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Post Ride Rewards...

Ahoy there landlubbers! Things are looking better than excellent for tonight's Pirate Ride. Hope you shenanigan loving fools can make it.

Lets see...
  • Beer
  • Single Track
  • Bikes
  • Campfire
  • Hot Tub
  • Cool Temps
Yep, all things check! Psyched!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Bike Closet...

My garage...Oh how it was a freakin' disaster zone. I had things with wheels all over the godforsaken place. I needed a storage solution; something that was freestanding, mobile and not hanging from the ceiling. I asked the locals for a solution, and had some good feedback. Then I hit up old Craigslist and this baby just happened to be available. After a bit of playing around and modification, here she is is her current state of pure awesomeness - The Bike Closet. Kinda makes me feel like I'm dating the entire Swedish Bikini Team for some reason.