Saturday, December 29, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dumb ideas, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Bears will eat anything, Guns & Ammo.

Recently I've been tearing bikes apart and swapping components from one to another, posting unwanted items on ebay, trading stuff with other local cyclists, etc. The usual. Well, these fancy XT cranks have been sitting on my work bench collecting dust. "These would work well on the Rig." I thought. So off with the Bontrager Race Lite ISIS cranks and on with the XT with outboard bearings. While I was installing them I discovered that they were 170mm. I have always run 175mm crank arms on the Rig. "How big of a difference could it be? It's only 5mm." my mind quipped.

On Christmas Eve morning, Pookie, Skip, Chris, Chas and I met at Carvins Cove to enjoy the bright sunshine and tacky trails. We got so little rain this past year that I was looking forward to the dampness the snow brought to the trail system the Friday before.

We set off riding up Hi-Dee-Hoo to the intersection of Four Gorge trail. This initial gradual climb is a good warm up - usually. I felt like I was trying to pedal a tricycle. This crank arm thing was a bad idea. Let me tell you friends, a 5mm difference in crank length equals a whole lot of lost horsepower on a singlespeed. Everyone got to listen to me complain for the rest of the ride. I changed back to my 175s as soon as I got home.

Poor Chris...about 3 miles into the ride his chain exploded while on the tail end of Four Gorge. None of us had any spare links to lend him. I felt bad as he only had about an hour to ride to begin with, then his bike craps out, then all of his unprepared friends let him down by not packing any spare parts. Sorry Chris. Chris peels scooter-style off back toward the parking lot and the four of us head up toward Jacob's Drop.

When we reach the trail intersection, an interesting puzzle awaits us. What has been happening to some of the new trail signs on Brushy Mountain? Small holes in the face of the signs almost look like holes from a BB gun. Skip tells us the sign for Guantlet further up the mountain has the same type of damage. But why would someone walk four miles up the side of a mountain to shoot at a sign when they could shoot at the ones in the parking lot? Upon further examination, we could see no BBs or pellets stuck in the sign, and no exit wounds in the back. Could the holes be caused by woodpeckers? The damage to the edge of the sign leads us to believe otherwise. Something has been clawing at the face and edges and has left fur dangling from a few splintered areas of the post. It's either a black bear or Sasquatch. I'm thinking of setting a camera trap to get to the bottom of this!

Our Christmas ended with a bang...literally. It's holiday tradition in these parts to gather friends and firearms to celebrate the coming of the Savior.
The firepower was pretty awesome:
  • Two Glock 9mm handguns (bicyclesoup could have just as easily been Glocksoup)
  • One semi-auto 22 caliber rifle
  • One 22 caliber crack-open singleshot
  • One 22 caliber/410 over-under
  • One 12 gauge single shot (shooting slugs!)

And so another holiday is behind us. Soon another year will be in the books. Where does the time go?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Quote of the day

"Don't buy upgrades, ride up grades." - Edyy Merckx

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I was surprised that quite a few folks showed up for this year's edition of the Skmeetz Christmas Party given how miserable the weather was. For those who braved the cold and rain to visit: Thank you for everything! For those reading this that couldn't make it: May your holidays be filled with joy and good cheer. And may your stockings be filled with bike goodies.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Never a dull ride with Racing Yenski


And so by the light of the moon you shall go, my friend. Into the darkness where beast and lost souls rome about unhindered. Where man is out of his element. The darkness closes in and brings things upon you that you cannot see, only hear. These are the things to fear. this owl for instance that flew into the side on Donny's head on Wednesday evenings' ride at PH. The little fellow was pretty woozy after crashing into Donny's noggin. He just sat there and stared at me while I took pictures of him. (The owl, not Donny)

And so we continued through the neighborhood to sample some festiveness. It's the most wonderful time of the year. I was singing Christmas songs as we rode in order to make the experience that much more special.

There's something special about gliding quietly (except for my poor caroling) through the city to look at exterior illumination. Now if we only had some snow...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Warm, cold.

Snapshot of the warm glow of the late afternoon sun setting in Roanoke taken on the way to this past Thursday's 27 degree Explore Park Mountain Bike Ride. Sometimes beauty sneaks up on you.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fa la la la la....

Gotta get one of these! I especially like Santa's Ho Ho Ho jersey!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Crossing Over

Life is too short not to try new things. I started racing mountain bikes in 2003 and was hooked instantly. I had never done anything so hard yet so rewarding before in my life. Over the last few years I've worked hard to become a better racer. I tried my hand at road racing in 2006 and was humbled. Racing on the road lends itself to a skill set opposite of what I have. In fact, I've become so disenchanted with road racing and road biking in general that I've listed my skinny tire bike on ebay. In it's place is a new LeMond Poprad cyclocross bike.

I'll be trying something new this season; All of my base training will be done on my 'cross bike. I can get in the long miles and toss in some gravel roads and dirt for variety. New epic rides will emerge as I will be able to reach places with my skinny knobbies that I couldn't reach with my road bike. The mountains surrounding my home in Roanoke are rich in forest service roads and will become my new playground.

I'll also be racing my first-ever cyclocross race in NC this coming January. I'll be a novice again and have to learn a new set of skills in order to be competitive. I am awe-struck by how seasoned cylocrossers make dismounting and re-saddling their bike look easy. The speed at which they can pull this off is amazing.

So for the next month or so, I'll be jumping off of my bike to hurdle imaginary barriers and attempting to re-mount without inflicting too much permanent damage to myself. Nothing like trying something new...