Archive for April 2015

zomething different

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light".  Oh sorry, Dylan Thomas came to mind as I think about our plans for the weekend.  No,, nothing morbid, but more of something you want to fight against even though you should just go with it.

We have race plans for the weekend in Augusta, GA.  Big race for some, others...well, not so much.

Exciting yes... Fun..probably so.  This will be different.

We just want to go out for a beer, but no!  Saturday's race is something else.... something odd, not normal.

Full report on zomething next week.  Until then, I leave you with odd photos to hold over.

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Gimme' a beet!

No, not this...

And if you watched that, please keep it to yourself.

What I am talking about is this...

We have enjoyed beets for some time now.  Roasted beets, beet salads, and beet juice.  I am not a scientist, a doctor, or health expert so I am not going to attempt to explain health benefits of beet juice.  The interwebs is full of juicy information for your entertainment.

Over the past year and a half or so we have used straight up beet juice for smoothies, pre-race/ride concoctions and such.  While this is fine and dandy, juice presented a burden.  More difficult to travel with bottles and chugging beet juice... well we will just say it does not always agree with the tummy.

So in comes Pure Clean Powder.  We found our answer to beet juice bottles!  This stuff is easy peasy lemon squeezy.  You can get it in bulk containers or single serve packets.  Love the packets!  They travel like a boss.

Highly recommend checking these guys out.  And hey... you don't have to be a crazy mountain bike riding person.  You can just be a beet luv'n smoothie person.

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I'm Your Dingleberry

“I have to keep going,” I said to Mark (he and Jeff were stopped) and flipped him the middle finger as I rode down the trail.

I was mad.  The pace seemed too fast and I was hell bent on letting him know and that he wouldn’t be able to keep it up like that for the whole ride.  We were only an hour into our four hour ride at URE and I felt beat…totally beat.  My legs usually woke up after about 45 minutes were still in sleep mode and did not seem to want to wake up.  So I was mad.  Mad at myself for feeling crappy and defeated and decided it was Mark’s fault…it wasn’t, but it made me feel better temporarily.

After riding alone down the trail for a few short minutes, Jeff came up behind me uttering some BS about how I was really hammering that section.  Of course this was not the case.  Mark apparently told him they needed to slow up or he would be hearing about it later.  Jeff completely understood.  Jeff is a smart guy. After all, a man can be right or he can be happy.

Jeff said, “Rule #5.”  Crap. He was right, so off we went for another 3 hours.  It was a sufferfest for me, and I wasn’t entirely sure why…maybe it was my long week at work, not enough sleep or the 3 dirty martini’s (ample size) the night before.  Either way my body was not having it and I was in a bad place.  Well not really a bad place...  I mean, I love riding URE and I was excited to get to ride there with Mark and Jeff.  But my body was weak…or was it my mind?  Either way it doesn’t matter.  All I knew was I felt weak and whiny and wanted to cry. You know those times where you have no idea why you are doing what you are doing and contemplating turning around, walking or just quitting.  You are like a dingleberry just barely hanging on by hair…that was me.  

So I dropped back and rode alone while the guys hammered up ahead.  Feeling sorry and weak I had a bit of a meltdown as I rode along.

When I finally I caught up with the guys Jeff asked, “You have yourself a little cry?” 

“Yup,” I said because my broke down, whiny girlie self did cry…just enough to about hyperventilate (BTW I do not recommend crying while trying to climb rocky single track-you really do need your oxygen to deal with the effort). 

He said, “Feel better?”

“Yup,” I said.  It was time to get my crap together and finish this ride.  I was hoping I would get that second wind at 3 hours like Mark said I would…so I could stop being whiny.

Damn it did!  The 3 hour mark hit and it was on.   I couldn’t help but hear LL Cool J singing, “Don’t call it a comeback!”   Feeling like my legs might actually belong to me I headed up (and up) the trail.  I surprised the boys when I caught up with them so soon, ha.  “I’m gonna knock you out”… and just like that 4 hours was done.

Back at the parking lot we all had a beverage and talked about the day.  Ran into a few other friends who were heading out to ride and told them about MY day.  It was funny how every one of them  seemed to know exactly  how I felt.  With nods and smiles they confessed they too have had their own whiny, weak, meltdown and cry moments…even the guys.

Just goes to show we all have bad days, but even a bad day on the bike beats a stellar day at work.

Pedal dammit.

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Last Sunday

As John Fogerty once said...  "Who'll Stop the Rain"

It's been raining all week and you are probably wondering how our last Sunday went.  You can stop the now.

Sunday gave us the chance to get out of bed before dawn again.  Yay!  We drove over to the Pisgah Ranger Station to meet up with Emily, Tom, Tim, Mike and Greg.  We pulled into the parking lot and what?!  Sandy and I are the first ones there.  What nonsense, we are never early.  Come to find out we were so we sat back and enjoyed it.

As with any group bike ride, we spent an hour just trying to decide on what route to ride.  After a few back alley deals and odd looks we made a decision.  We would shuttle out of Turkey Pen and work our way back to the Ranger Station.  This made for about a 23 mile ride with 4,000 feet of elevation gain.  Yes sir, just the way we like it.

I must say the ride was just peachy.  We did our own thing on the trail and re-grouped at junctions.

If you ever wonder what goes on during re-groupings, nothing much really.  Stretch our legs, discuss our bikes and eat a snack.  Well...some of use eat a snack.  Others not so much.

Yes that is a ham sub, or what is left of it.  No idea where one stores a sub sandwich.

Carrying on with Saturday's theme, we made sure to take in the views.

Obligatory group shot with hills and stuff in the background.

Another Sunday fun-day was in the books.  Hoping the weather will break and we can get on more trails this weekend.

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The Amazing Purple Pack People Helper

This was one great weekend.  Perfect weather, great friends and pristine trails.

But there was this one piece of equipment that just blew our minds.

It was a purple pack...!

This pack had everything.  Pockets, compartments, straps, zippers, trap doors, you name it.  It could also do everything.  Carry water, food, tools, almost pull you off a log bridge when the contents shift your center of gravity.  Again, it was mind blowing.

The purple pack also helped fix things like broken chains.

The purple pack kept our little crew out of trouble and allowed us to enjoy some great trails in Pisgah.  It allowed us to remember to share rides like these with friends and to slow down once in a while and catch gems you may otherwise pass by.  Gems like a cemetery tucked away in the woods.

Emily's purple pack was the star of the day. 

Keep tight, Sunday's ride is coming soon....

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Southern Cross'eyed

Gonna kick things right off with Southern Cross.  Have to back things up a bit since this is a new blog and all...

We decided to try out a gravel race, or in this case a mud race down in the hollers of Georgia.  Southern Cross is a 50 miler dirt road race with about 6,000 feet of climbing. The decision to do this race presents not only a challenge, but also allow us to check out new places we otherwise may not visit.  Dahlonega, GA is just such a place.

We went about our usual last minute hunt for some kind of backwoods cool little cabin we can call home for the weekend.  We typically bring our two dogs, so the cabin in da woods had to be fido friendly.  We are pretty good at finding such little hidden nests and boom...booked one in less than a day.  I should correct myself and say Sandy is pretty good at finding these places.

So the race is on Saturday, March 14.  Postponed from February due to a random crazy ice storm that hit north Georgia.  I know crazy like trees down, power out, and penguins running amok.  Anyway, we make the decision to leave early Friday after work.....uh late Friday after work.  We finally arrive to the Dahlonega area a bit later than planned.  Hit up a great raw bar joint in town then head to the cabin.

Finding the cabin in the dark was interesting.  We are in a place we have never been and well.... its really dark.  Like I mentioned above, we are in the hollers of the Chattahoochee National Forest.  Finally spotting an odd turn-off to a gravel road, we find it.  Home sweet home for two days.

Unload the car with a flashlight at 9 or 10pm, feed the dogs, prep our STUFF for the race, let out a sigh then hit the sack.

Wake up pre-dawn to a damp chilly morning, get to the race venue and then..... this...

Thanks to Gravel Cyclist for capturing the moment.   Check them out when you have a minute.

Sandy did great... me on the other hand, not so much.  At the start of the non-road stuff I hit a pothole and my rear wheel went underwater.  Evidently that triggered a small fire in my rear hub and burnt out my bearings at some point.  I would have been better off dragging an anvil around with me.

For about 4 hours all we could think about was "man, it would be nice to have some chocolate with all this damn peanut butter we are ridding in."

At the end of the day this...

Photo Cred Tim Anderson
 One nasty day ended with burritos and beer from the gracious hosts of Mountain Goat Adventures.  What a great race!

Off to the hills after work to enjoy a couple of days riding choice singletrack with some great friends.

Peace and hair grease,

Muddy Mark

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