Monday, November 28, 2011

Tale of a Good Ride...

P-dub came over last night. He's in town from Cali and we always plan some kind of shenanigans when were together. Tall Bitch wanted in on the action, and he too is always down for craziness; So the night began...
P-dub and I started the evening with some backyards skills course action. Conditions were grim, slightly muddy which made the skinnies and log rides wicked hard, slick and scary. I was egging [him] on to keep trying all of the stunts. I think there was only one really good crash before we heard Tall Bitch driving up the hill in Quadzilla (the 4x4 van monster travel machine) and we headed back to the house for refreshments.
Soon we were fueled with all we needed for an evening in the saddle. The three of us hit-up some nice dirt singletrack and gravel, eventually leading us to a nice little area with ample lumber and picnic tables that just screamed 'playground'. We moved things around and constructed a good little up ramp to two linked picnic tables and then a steep down back to earth. Many attempts were made until we started getting too cold, and we headed out for more single track goodness.
One small detailI forgot to mention is the fact that I loaned my only light unit to P-dub. I was doing the entire ride, by choice, sans light. Why not make things more challenging right? Next time my light dies on the trail I will be one-up on those who never train for it.
I think all said and done we rode for around 2 hours in the sub-freezing temps. We had a great time - it was good to see ol'  P-dub. The post ride refreshments were excellent and after chatting it up into the wee hours, we called it a night. Riding bikes is stupid fun.

Thanksgiving in Photos...

I had a wonderfully relaxing week in Colorado with my family and friends for the holiday. Non-bike related so I'll save you the torture of words, but here are a few of many images that describe our adventure. Cheers!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Trick Fixed...

I have a few pals into riding what they call Trick Fixed.
I think I'm liking the idea, might have to give it a try.
 Might have to get one of these...

Be Skinny, Live FAT...

I got the first of many NEW ladder bridges finished and installed in the Backyard Skills Trail over the weekend. The previous bridge at this location was the first one built about four years ago, and had broken last week due to age (and The Manimal being so beastly riding it). Just kidding on The Manimal part, but he did ride [it] more than any of you jerks.
So, here she is. A little wider, a little less steep but solid. The leaves off to the side give the illusion of safety, however it's a good two foot drop to a pile of random, leg-crunching rocks below. Just keeping it real.
In the photo below you can see a few of the other features we've got in the yard; The Log Skinny, Long Ladder Bridge and Ghetto Teeter. I really want to pimp this place out, get some new stuff built and some pumpish features to keep the flow. Winter is here. Time to build trail!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Backyard Skills Rebirth...

The Backyard Skills Trail is now a whopping 4 years old. I had constructed all of the wooden features out of scrap lumber, much of which was not treated. In short; the stuff is showing it's age. Today I started to rebuild. Here is half of the first up/down skinny that I hope to install this weekend. I'm planning to rebuild and add new features as I can over the winter so that we have some sweet stunts for spring. If you have any treated lumber you want to get rid of, send it my way (leftovers from that fancy new deck?) If I can get a dump truck load of dirt I'll also be adding a pump track. If you have any ideas for free dirt, let me know!

Fixie Friday @ BuRP...

Friday was a good day. My friend GB called and asked if the kids could come over for a play date. I said sure. Justin called and asked if I could come out and play. I said sure.
Burnsey approaching the hard coner on Highline
We met at BuRP for a short lap of the good stuff. The day was perfect for riding, a great change from the freezing cold ride a few nights ago. The wind was howling but inside the canopy of the trees it was perfect. Justin is getting stronger by the day and was enjoying a little more play time on the hard rock challenges that BuRP is known for. We did the Wagon loop then headed over and up to the East Side, dropped back into Little Moab, under Martha Truman and climbed out to finish our ride on Highline; the beast of them all. We played around a bunch on the technical stuff. If we did not send something the first time we'd try again and again until we were either totally denied or able to send.
Justin on one of the many rock playgrounds
on the North section of Highline
At some point I realized that I was running way short on time to get back to meet the babysitter, so we started rolling faster to get back to the cars. Of course that's when Justin blew his rear tire; what looked to be a 1" tear ended up being two holes. We were able to toss in a plug and let the Stans Sealant do the rest and we were back up-and-going in seconds. We made it all the way out of the trails but when we hit the pavement, the plug shot out of the tire and it was like the fourth of July; Stans was shooting everywhere (but eventually sealed). We made it back to the cars without another repair stop.
Justin refusing to take any Sally-lines
I am still feeling like a chump, riding slow and poorly. Must be something in the air, but I still have hella-fun. The bike felt good, the ride was good, the company was good. Thanks GB for giving me the time, Thanks Justin for the motivation.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ice Cubed...

Holy crap! Temps here in KC have dropped! It's full on winter temps, but with no snow or rain the trails are in perfect condition for riding. You've just gotta man-up to get out and take advantage.
Last nights P-ride was chilly business. It did not feel too bad as we geared-up to roll-out, but by the time we actually got rolling, the thermometer was dropping to as a guess - the twenties. The Manimal, who's named not only for his grizzly riding style and fearless go for it attitude, but for his layer of man-fur that keeps him warmer than the average man. Tonight was no different; he was in shorts and summer riding shoes. I on the other hand was prepared for blistering cold and still ended up with frozen fingers and toes towards the end of our 3 hours ride.
We thought it would be a good idea to start off the evening by riding a few laps on the backyard skills course. The Manimal was on top of his game while The Kid, Billy and I were having more falls than success. Here we have The Kid riding the Stone Skinny with a foot out for balance, a tricky little obstacle.
The Manimal hit the Log Skinny with success from both directions, after almost OTB'ing it at least once. Here's video evidence.
We finally head out with a few new objectives for the night, first being a ride up some steep switchbacks that we normally only ride down. We were surprised at how doable they were, though we did not send them perfectly, it's obvious that they will go. At this point The Kid is having pedal issues; coming un-clipped on every Log-hop or rock obstacle and decides to head back for repairs. In his absence the rest of us do a loop of sweet single track and then rendezvous with The Kid, only to ride the switchbacks a second time.
At this point my legs go bye-bye. We've been out an hour and I am already riding like a chump. It is what it is so we keep going. We hit some steep climbs and one of the potential future Pirate cXc courses. More hills and were back on rogue trail. We eventually get to the fast wide single track once again and play around on a few log crossings, log skinnies and technical climbs. When there's only four of us riding, it allows for a lot more horsing around and less hammering. I like that.
So now we'd been out two plus hours and were all getting cold. Time to head back home and call it a night. We arrived back at the lair at near midnight. Wow, we'd been out a while! All good times must come to an end, and even though the bonfire was prepped and Hot Tub ready for bodies, we called it a night after swilling a few barley pops and talking shop.
I had a helluva time sleeping last night. The P-ride kick-my-ass, hard. I am hurting. I feel like I got run over by a train and then beat with a lead pipe in a dark alley...or maybe it had something to do with riding my rigid single speed on all those rocks...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Luv and Hate...

My new Groovy Cycles Luv Handles arrived over the weekend. I am super psyched to give these suckers a test ride. They are pretty bitchin'. I'm thinking the comfort factor is going to be at an all time high, especially running a rigid fork.
On a side note; I mounted-up the CX tires that Dirt Dobber gave me. I HATE SKINNY TIRES! Do I need to say it again? As you can see, they look mega-stupid on my 29er. I've already de-mounted those suckers and am going to pay them forward. Skinny tires remind me of elitist, smooth legged girly-boys. I just can't go there.
Instead, I mounted up a set of Specialized The Captain Grid UST (2.0 rear, 2.2 front). Now [these] are some  real man tires! I'm all kinds of ready for winter conditions with the Cappy's.
I do still plan to follow through on racing a CX race before the season's over. I'll just be doing it on a mountain bike instead of a roadie-bike-on-steroids. You're allowed to bunny-hop those dumb barriers right? I prefer to stay on my bike (because I can).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lumber Jacked...

Last night my legs exploded all over the trail. Maybe they imploded. Whatever happened they hurt like a mofo this morning. The Kid and I went for a good 3 plus hour ride in the dark last night. We started out playing on the backyard skills trail; riding the skinnies, rock obstacles and teeter. Doing [that] stuff by headlamp is pretty insane. I mostly sucked, but it was still fun. Eventually we decided it was time to get in some mileage. The Kid had already been out for at least an hour scouting trial to see if anything was dry enough to ride, and when he rolled-in without a muddy bike, I knew it was game-on. Heading down the Lawrence hill is always a slap-in-the-face in winter months. The cold crisp air, cooler and cooler with every mph gained and foot of elevation lost. By the bottom you're frozen, not even close to being warmed up. Before you know it you're looking at a solid climb up and into the singletrack. After another ten minutes our bodies had warmed up, but the temperature was falling fast.
The Kid is always good for some horsing around, and so it goes. We'd stop and ride over, hop over or just fall over Logs that we otherwise might ride around. We'd try to run fallen trees as skinnies. I mostly crashed a lot and just tried to keep up; it was one of those rides. I just never got my legs and was hurting the whole time, yet still had a good time fo sho. 
One of the 4,268* logs on the P-ride loop
Post ride; what else to do on a chilly night but crack open some brewsky's and sit in the hot tub under a full moon and talk bikes, racing and training. I really need to train. I hear that helps. 
Sorry all you bitch-ass-bitches missed out. I'm sure these hard rides make you stronger...or so I'm told.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sand Loop...

This Weeks Pirate Night Ride was postponed. Bummer but so it goes; we needed the rain. Tonight (Thursday) we will do a P-ride with a bit of a flair. Due to wet trails, we will be headed off scouting some good future race course options for the upcoming  Pirate cXc Series. This series will be a blend of XC and CX style racing, at night with courses that are good for both bikes types. More info to come in the following weeks. The Pirate cXc Series will bridge the racing season gap between XC and CX, so welcome to year round racing!

Moving on... last night I could not keep myself off the bike. My cousin Brad caught word that the LRT was dry, that he had a new light system he wanted to test out on the trail and there was a full moon. I was totally IN. I drove to Lawrence around 8:30 to meet Brad for a good ride on the Lawrence River Trail. This trail is super fun, smooth and fast. Brad must have been sneaking in some ride time recently because his pace the entire loop was rock solid. He gave me a tour of the new Sand Loop, which was good training for CX with all of the sand pits and cornering. The trail was perfectly tacky, unlike I'd ever experienced there before. Even with the monsoon rains we'd had the past two days straight, the only water we encountered was the creek crossing, and that's because it's a creek. The moon was rocking, the air crisp, and the trees along the river are flippin' HUGE! I forgot how awesome the trees are.
After the ride I headed home to enjoy the moon, stars and a dip in the hot tub. Man, what a fun night. Just what the doctor ordered.
Thanks Brad for the motivation. It was a great pseudo Pirate ride after all!

Full Moon, Giant Trees, Crisp Air and Dry Trail!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Trouble Cometh...

I've gone and done it, opened my big mouth and made a deal with the Devil. The one and only Dirt Dobber was giving way some of his old cycling junk. I chimed in and said that if he'd hook me up with some CX tires, that i would do a CX race this year. I guess he really wants to see me suffer because these sweet Maxxis tires arrived, hand delivered today.Well, I guess I'm going to have to pick a good, MTB style course in the upcoming months, preferably on a cold, rainy and mud filled day to get my CX on, because I said I would... and I'm good for it. Tires were all I needed to get my Monstercross on the course, and so it goes.
Recommendations for the most bad-a$$ race around KC would be appreciated.
Headed out to get an appropriate CX uniform now! Cheers!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Another Day, Another Bike Build...

I'm not sure why it is exactly that I am so OCD about what components I choose to ride. I just have to have certain parts on my bike that I trust, look great, perform and keep me happy. To me it's about piece of mind. To you I might just be nutty. I just cannot buy a pre-built bike. I 'd have to change every component.
So this is the first of many posts pertaining to my 2012 race bike build. Below are the first of a handful of new toys I will be running next season, and as I get the bike built-up I'll post photos, and as I get to ride the completed bike I'll give feedback on how things are or are not working. Below are a few goodies I have en route and am anxious to get my dirty little fingers on.
White Brothers Loop 29er Suspension Fork. I've always loved WB's products. I've had two of the old Magic forks in the past and currently run the Rock Solid Carbon on one of my single speed steeds. Love them all and hope that all of the hype with regards to the new Loop are true. If so I will be one happy camper.
White Industries ENO Single Speed Cranks. Simply the best, most simple single speed crank on the market. Runs on the old square taper BB with a splined chainring interface. I currently run a set of these that I bought eons ago from Cameron Chambers. Still takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Bomber and classy.
This time however I'm going to try out a Homebrewed Components Ti Chainring. Pimp, perfectly round and solid. Built to last. I'm going Black crank arms and naked Ti ring. Yummy.
And last but not least coming in a brown box this week are a set of the Groovy Cycleworks Luv Handles. I've been wanting to try out a pair of these custom bars for years, and finally have them coming. More sweep than an average riser, less sweep than a Mary Bar. This will help with elbow and wrist strain for sure. It's going to be perfect. The one I have coming is black. No need for Snake Print here boys...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Double Duty...

Today I made up for my crap day at Swope. I got a load of housework done, much needed. Then the entire Pirate Clan suited up for a ten mile ride out to watch the Boulevard Cup Cyclocross action at Stump Park. The Mill Creek Trail is an easy paved ride next to the creek and woods, great for the whole family. We saw many friends at the race and heckled/cheered on a few of the ladies; Sarah who got 2nd and Karen in 4th. Nice work!
We also ran into Steve-o who took 2nd in the old fart class, and T-Donn was gearing up for the fast group - though I heard later that he had a mechanical early in the race that pretty much closed the podium door.
The Pirate Posse
After a good lunch, haircut and some time with my boys I headed out for a quick pre-dinner lap at SMP with Justin, Sarah and Nick. This was a last minute deal for me because I had dinner plans and was not going to ride, but with rain forecasted for the next two days...I just had to get out and force my wrecked ankle back into go mode. It worked, and at least right now, I am in minimal pain and can walk easily to and from the beer fridge. The ride was super good, trails tacky and fast, and my sweet technical outerwear worked like magic.
Team Lumberjack
Now I'm just keeping fingers cross for the Wednesday Night Pirate Ride to be a go, though the weatherman is calling for two days of rain before, and a low of 31 on ride night. Argh! Winter is coming fast, better ride faster!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Had a good shit-eating time at Swope with Cameron, Travis and Garet. Those three had already done a lap at BuRP in which Cam mentioned crashing like 400* times. I guess the tires were not hooking-up on all of the leave covered rocks. I was ready to get some riding in with my good pals and keeping my fingers crossed that this was going to be the warm-down version at Swope. Usually these fellas mash my d*%$ in the dirt so I was going to have to do whatever it took to keep up. 
The Man, The Myth, The Legend
We rolled out and into the good old Woochuck Run first thing, moving pretty good but at a comfortable pace. It usually takes me a solid half hour to warm-up, and I was hurting a bit but the fellas were in it for a good time, not to beat any records. Cam was on my wheel and we were jibber-jabbering it up as we rolled into 8-pins. I dabbed a million times, feeling all gumby-like and not having an on day. We continued into phase four and were enjoying the fun down hilly section with the nice bumps for good air time. Wanting to play a bit I chose to cross-up my bars on the last big hit and landed slightly tilted, burped my rear tire, grabbed too much front brake and nose-wheelied into a tree. That was crash number one for me, the first of many. It seemed to be the theme of the day.
We did make a stop to play at Marci's playground and the Whales Tail. I tried to ride up one of the 2' rock drops only to crash, requiring tools to fix my bike. Cam was having a lot of fun since he has been riding a bit more of this style stuff since his move to Colorado. Here is a clip of Cam on Whales Tail. Not as impressive as it is in person.
We then headed across the road and onto Woodchuck Run once again. This is a technical section of trail with many rock obstacles and a few variations with drops or weird but cool features. Garet at one point crashed and required tools to fix his bike. I once again crashed hard just after the surfboard, going OTB somehow and crunching the lights outta my ankle. I could barely get back on my bike and make it off the trail and back to the car. I'm not sure what my problem was, but I was THE shit-circus of this ride. Kind of a bummer when you had hopes of riding hard, but at least I was with friends and they are good at just brushing it off as another ride with Burnsey. Thanks for putting up with my freak show excuse for a ride.
I am so looking forward to this ankle healing and getting back out on my bike and riding it like I know what the hell I'm doing. The Swope ride was embarrassing. We all have our off days.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Alone in the Dark...

This weeks Pirate ride was a no-go due to some cold-ass temps and rain, rain and more rain. We were in dire need of the moisture so all was good, but I was in dire need of some time riding time too. Thursday night came around and the weather had been bomber all day. Though night had come, the temps were still bearable. After lolly-gagging around a bit after getting the boy's to bed, I finally motivated at 9:00 p.m. to layer up for a two hour ride in the dark, alone. Night rides in the woods alone are one of my favorite things to do. The solitude and crispness of the night air, the quiet darkness, the uneasy feeling of something or someone around the next turn when you hear leaf rustling not far off. I just love it.
A few things I've learned from my lone-ranger night-rides; be prepared, be prepared and be prepared. You don't want to be lost in the woods, have a mechanical that you cannot fix, a light go out or crash your brains out when solo and far from help. Just using some common sense will get you a long way (not just in riding bikes, but in life, generally speaking). I was prepared, I was psyched, and I was dialed. It was a great ride, good times had and not once did I have to do the 'double-take'; was that a cereal killer hiding behind that long' rubberneck maneuver.
Winter is fast approaching. Time to get the Fixie primed for some good old fashioned Wudchuck and Pirate rides. Man, if you can stay psyched, winter is not that bad for riding. Staying psyched is key. Do it.