Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year that Lasted 12 Minutes

It appears that this will be my last past, dammit I mean post for the year in our physical time 2008. It has been the year that lasted 12 minutes and it is flying into the new which could break a record and turn out 12 months in about 8.283mins. I was fortunate to be on some great rides this year even though I had wished to squeeze in a few more. All have been documented in some form here on the bloggy but the most interesting ride of the year was back in April and can be read or seen in 5 parts here, here, here, here and here. I know that is a bunch of reading but if you want a laugh at the expense of me throwing up in my mouth at something like around about 20mph on a 2 day really long road ride it may be worth your time.

09 is now tomorrow, put the gloves on, buckle your helmet and remember that your bicycle actually supports the weight of your human form, the vessel that carries your spirit, soul and energy into the world ahead of you. Love your bike, handle it in a caring manner and receive with open Chakras what it gives back to you to be able to see. Ride on and follow the path of beauty.

Have a Pedally New Year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Queen City Has Big Balls

Yea, yea I know Christmas is thankfully and very joyfully over like almost a week ago now but if it can start the day after Halloween I can keep it real for a few more days. Check out these huge balls that our fine city and more specifically the failing bank Wachovia puts out for the people to cherish each year. These eye catching balls are bigger than you can imagine, ornaments of giants helping to bring out the real meaning of Christmas or at least reminding people like me that there is a ton of useful energy wasted that goes into the warehousing, transportation, set up, break down, more transportation and more warehousing of these over sized balls. I have watched the masses for the past month line up to have there picture made by friends or family in front of these gargantuan balls and have heard the comments. "Wow, what big balls!", "Mom look at these big colorful balls!" "Mikey will you take my picture in front of the large gold balls?" "Juan, go stand in front of the big red balls and I will take your photograph next to them.", "Hey kids, don't you love the big balls?" and my fav yesterday while working on gathering these images before the balls go away to their warehouse in upstate New York, "It's okay Shane you can touch the balls." This big ball document could go on for ever but as I have learned from the pros it is best to keep it short and sweet. Merry Christmas is over and I hope you like my big ball post!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Dura Ace Lay Out Rooby

Checking in with all the blog folk doing my rounds this morning I found a message to me posing the question about how to get an image up on the header. I thought I would take initiative and answer through my post today seeing that I really have nothing else to report from the long Christmas Hooliday other than that Shimano Cone Races do not have to be Dura Ace Specific to work in a Dura Ace Track hub. At least so far they don't. I have been without my work wheel due to major pitted corrosion on my drive side cone race and bearings for over a week now. I went to the Shop last week early and dug around in the axle bin of Death to no avail when I realized that the Dura Ace had a longer inside flange on the cone than any other. So I went away sad and continued to ride my LeMond Zurich which feels more dumb for work than riding the Zion. Dura Ace parts were ordered or at least the order was written on a piece of paper which wound up with a stack of other papers which wound up perhaps in the garbage. On gut instinct alone I went back to the shop yesterday with wheel/wheel parts in hand and Matt broke out a tackle box of Shimano Specific cone races which I went through with the excitement of a kid opening his or her pantookas on Christmas morning. I did not find a Dura Ace race cone amongst the masses but I found one similar in size just once again missing that beautiful elongated inside flange. Within no time I had the wheel back together feeling smooth on the spin with only a slight side to side lub dub, not perfect but well within the boundary of half assed. Matt promised that the correct Dura Ace race cones would be ordered and that they would come in sometime before I die. When they do I will take apart and rebuild correctly. For now I can head out on my Stay Alive with the work bike and give a could test to the new cone race that is not specifically made for my hub.

Okay now for how to get a slick header image up on the blog spotty.
1-pic out a good image which will be easy when you are living in the desert.
2-make the final composition look exactly like you see it with your editing software then save to your system.
3-log onto your bloggy and go to that cool behind the scenes template
4-click the tab that says layout
5-then click the add header image which will allow you to browse through your pics on your operating system
6-select that image by clicking it and it will go into that empty bar in front of you
7-click upload image and wait for crazy triangle question mark to disappear then click done.
8-save changes and there you have it...8 easy steps to putting up a header

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Random guy in parking lot took this picture of Bob and I using a half assed combination of timer and fob to manipulate the shot with my broken camera. Sorry those moving alive shots from in the woods will just not be able to happen until I get my shutter back. In the mean time check out the evidence of me riding with yet another giant. Mountain biking was in full swing this afternoon out in the Uwharrie National Forest's classic but rather mellow Keyauwee/Supertree Loop trail with my ole Marine Company G friend Bob Lasher whom I met on the streets of the Jar recently something like 17 years after I saw him in the quad last. The quad is where he was in formation with the rest of the suckers who were not getting out that day that I walked by looking back just once, 7 days after our return from the Persian Gulf. Anyways, after Bob checked into the blogowold of mountain biking by linking to everyone on my side bar and everyone on theirs and so on he immediately went out to his local shop not mine and hooked up with a new 29'r Specialized Rock Hopper size really tall for his 6'7" self. Everyone knows that life is better with a mountain bike so I say he spent money well.

This was his first ever mountain bike experience and what better place to be on this misty fog covered day. The trail was actually not soupy but for sure the root and rocks were a little more of a challenge than normal. It was strange and fun nothing but positive to be sharing a ride with someone who I knew so long ago and who has the motivation to be out there with me today. In the foggy warm hills I contemplated everything from how spies would engage their mark to the relevance of Israel being real or in the right tense of thought, Israel is real. I heard him occasionally back there laughing and sometimes on the verge of bitching but overall I think he managed his first trail ride with an over all positive demeanor. Bob fared well around the double trail loop and seeing that earlier in the day he ran 1 mile short of a half marathon for fun we opted to not turn it around like usual.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Warrior Training/Major Funny in Lot

Zion bike, Hayes Stroker brakes, RF seat post, carbon bar, Thompson stem, Sidi shoes and wool YAZOO socks all donations from my friend TEAMDICKY-
note: green wool scarf not from Dicky's private wool stores but actually issued to me in 1987 courtesy of my former sponsor the USMC
here is a self timed self portrait of Zula and I yesterday after her first experience free running the trail with the intent of training. 10 second Timed shot actuated with remote fob because shutter button fell off. This little kid did quite well indeed managing half of the normal loop that I do at her pace. The parking lot was quite empty of the usual over zealous thrill seekers, the gray skies and cooler temps giving the perfect scenario for some K-9 training. There was a leash in my pocket right next to the small bag of emergency treeeeeaaats which in a high pitched voice has her running to the source. Pavlovian for sure and very responsive to strength and enforcement for good deeds. Good Dog, very good dog. Her entire experience was positive, there were no confrontations to be had and if there were I prolly would have seen it coming and been able to avoid with movement. I'm very happy with Zula's training thus far, so much so I even taught her to drink from a water bottle.
As a side note of hilarity: As I was loading up after this picture 2 guys were standing at the back of the UN Montero and checking out the cool desert storm paint on my Zion when I heard the one who turned out to be John say to his friend, "Hey, I think I have seen this bike on Dicky's blog." Hahahahahahhhahhahah. "No kidding, why have you not seen it on my blog?", I responded with a laugh. "I may have off of his actually", John said. As it turns out I asked John if he knew Rich and he did not but admitted that he was a closet fan of Dicky's blog from Gainesville Florida here on holiday visiting friends. Dammit, well you should have seen it on my blog even though his is the best blog in the whole world and he is way faster than me too, Bastard. Living in the shadows of someone who only creates enough shadow for like the left side of my waist down is a real bummer, or not, maybe it is just hilarious and the funnest thing ever, plus I occasionally get some of his extra free stuff. Oh yea, I plugged Jerry Reed's blog work while I had the chance to get him some new hits in FLA, of course I told him he could get there from TEAMDICKY's blog very easily because everyone(except those living in China) knows where that is!
Merry Hoo Ha! Stay tuned for Christmas day annual ride shenanigans and report soon.....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Flash Back Germany

This past weekend a family of new friends stopped by for tea, some sweet treats and a conversation by the fire that lasted over 5 hours. I took out my camera early on to make a document of the discussion when I discovered to my shock, awe and border line insane laughter that the shutter button was once again missing from the diggy. As you may or may not remember because it was prolly not that big of a deal in your life the shutter actuation mechanism more simply known as the button you push fell off a few short months ago in June. Sony held true to the warranty by fixing the problem and then returning to me with a quick turn around. Someone told me then that Sony never intended the camera to actually be used as much as I use it, I think that whoever said that may have been right. Now I am hoping that the Camera Shop in Connecticut subbed out by Sony will stand behind their work which is less than 6 months old.

In the mean time I cannot bring you those pictures that I was planning to make this week of the HUGE Christmas balls strategically placed all over the Jar but instead reflect backwards in time to last years Trans Germany. I made this picture on day 3 as we climbed the first mountain out of Heidelberg after 56km of flat that had Becky and I off the back on our Single Speeds being escorted by the Polizei. As you can see evident from the riders coming towards you as soon the mountain started we were not able to shift so we started passing some folks. Our stacked thighs and mad endurance although important are not the point of me selecting this image to share with you today. What is, is the green moss covered cement and stone infrastructure in the center of the frame. Curious as I was the answer came at the top of the climb from some German Tifosi chanting Hop, Hop, Hop, Hop.....Hop, Hop, Hop. The first day someone yelled that to me I actually got off my bike and started jumping up and down like a bunny rabbit. Ask Becky, she'll tell you. One of the very smart Germans immediately pulled me aside and let me know that Hop means Go in their country. Oh, I get it now. Anyway I asked one of the Harley Riders at the top of the climb about the big cement chunk down lower on the hill and he told me that it was what was left of Hitler's pre WWII Auto Bahn road plan that was never built because well, in theory we all know how WWII turned out for him. Hitler was planning an east to west highway that would never be finished due to the fate of history but the remnants remain.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Locked Up

Various members of the CMA have stepped forward and asked me to share with my blog readers this fine example of how to secure your bicycle to one of the many few bike racks that the city of Charlotte has put in place to encourage people to ride their bikes to work. This bicycle belongs to a veteran Barista operator at Cafe de Bucks who proudly rides in every day from the corner of Cool and Cool as long as it is not too hot, too cold or raining. It appears that this hip chain and lock bicycle security system is fail proof. I mean besides the fact that an average strong human with even a little will could simply pull the loops apart with leg strength who would really want to. Grab your bike and ride to work, it builds character!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Urban Ick=Black Feet

Yesterday morning's Stay Alive was interesting due to the fact that it has been very foggy and London damp without real rain in the QC pretty much all week. The constant spray off the front wheel kept levitated 2 feet before my face and eyes for the entire commute. I watched almost in a meditative state thousands of little dancing beads of black water playing to the constant beat of my ride in to the tune of 10 mile. Black water, very black not clear as it is if it were raining but instead the carbon laden road grime was simply liquefied into what appeared to be black used motor oil and then it spun off the wheel for me to stare at. Spun, like time undone. When I got to the Coffee house De Bucks I noticed how gross my legs and feet actually looked which would explain why those folks were staring at them on the elevator, I caught the look of disgust on their faces in the reflection through the mirrored doors. I know, I know, get a front fender.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's Christmas in Cotswold with.....

all of the useless entropy of an entire nation desperate to hold on to the change not change that is coming our way with the collective step forward in awareness of our culture, the finest culture on earth but only by proxy of the fact that we were born here. I mean if I were born in say, Zimbabwe I prolly would not have this freedom: Freedom to be pulled around the parking lot of a sprawly strip mall in a faux Santa train powered by a 14HP Craftsman Lawn mower covered with the cut out of a train engine spewing out poisonous carbon as if this summer forward future it will not be hot enough already. The other day as life goes I found myself directly involved with the rescue and then placement of a dog that has been mistreated for most of it's life by it's owners. Operation Project save Zulu(not to be confused with Zula) went to H-hour Saturday at 1035hrs which put me and Ms. Arcen at the sun lit patio of Star Bucks(I did not buy a coffee just so I could throw away a cup, sleeve and lid, however if I had I would have demanded a for here ceramic mug) in Cotswold waiting for extraction instructions a few hours later. While we waited and watered Zulu this little faux Christmas train adorned in the finest glittering chince came by and dropped it's load of passengers excited to have made it from the bookstore across the parking lot to the Bucks so that they could buy an overpriced coffee which helps with that pile of cups, sleeves and lids growing to exceed the size of Everest somewhere on the continent or perhaps even off shore. At any rate, just as the guy was shifting into G4 to pull away Ms. Arcen, Zulu and I decided to jump on and see where this magical train would take us. We were instructed by the engineer(lawn mower operator) to sit in the first car behind him which gave him better control of the train and us a face full of that loud spewing hot carbon. Ms. Arcen was immediately and most naturally let down by the circumstances we now found ourselves in. Amazing to think that a kid's hopes are real and when they realize what is going on behind the front, that let down is real too. The next thing I knew we were on the other side of the over crowded parking lot laughing at each other and both hoping that the train took us back to the patio where at least we would not have a loud exhaust pipe blowing hot carbon directly in our faces. After upsetting a few more car viper drivers trying to over come the impediment which was us in the parking lot our little train wound back around to where we started and the three of us ran for our lives. Merry Christmas Folks and do not be upset if I make fun what people are doing to celebrate it at least once more before it finally gets here. Big thanks to the awareness of my kid, Project Zulu was a huge success and the little dog will now be safe until she leaves the earth.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Interstate Bike Commuter of the Year

So, the other day after a great Mountain Ride we were on our way back to The Jar merging onto I-85 South off of the U.S. 74 at Kings Mountain when low and behold(Swayze, sitting behind Rich loves when I use inappropriate euphemisms as if I understand our English Language-notice the look of disgust in the shadows) something very interesting appeared before our eyes. My brain started to itch, the confusion in the car was as thick as Swayze's disapproval of me posting pictures of him crashing on Farlow. What could it be? Were we witness to the one, the only Interstate Bike Commuter? I mean how synchro is that, four seasoned Charlotte Bicycle Messengers and daily urban bike commuters ourselves driving by this brave, brave soul headed from Cleveland County straight to Gaston. I always knew they did things pro level in both Cleveland and Gaston Counties, now I have the proof. Check the commitment tied in a knot with the fashion sense to at least have on the very appropriate cotton hoody, jeans and gloves. That attire helps him get closer to that 65mph speed limit posted ahead....
The by pass is to the right, Interstate ahead, this guy has a direct route from his trailer in Shelby to the Western Auto Warehouse in Bessemer City where he works 2nd shift Sunday thru Thursday filling orders of up to 1,100 car tires a day. I'm all about the Stay Alive bike Commute theory but for Christ sake man, route planning can help you avoid the purple roads from the west!
Notice that the Interstate Bike Commuter's Mantra stays true: "No need for helmet when it happens for there will be nothing left anyways."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Zoo Mullet on Bike

photo of me and my mullet by Dude(I never examine pics of myself) I shaved my head dropping the hair on the barn floor just over 2 years ago when the Good Spirit passed, since then I have only had like 2 hair cuts(trims off the neck) from Rhonda the 10 dollar barber lady. In addition I cut the back of it once not so long past in an effort to let the front catch up to the back. Now, today this magical instant before us I have a MULLET or at least in this picture it appears that I do. Some people say that having long hair is a characteristic of vanity but I say see how dumb my hair looks flying out of the back of my helmet as if I were trying to be like Mosi Tatupu sans the thick creepy mustache or his son Lofa. No kidding most of my awake life I tie the thing up in a back knot and never really get to see what it looks like in it's natural mullet state flowing like the river Thames off my neck. On the Farlow ride Sunday I found myself a little foot loose and fancy free motivated by my Life Is Good base layer T-shirt with a cartoon bubble of the goofy little guy on a mountain bike riding down a cartoon mountain in a cartoon landscape so I decided to let it be untied. That's right folks the Life is Good Corp now has a line of pro level tech gear which will help this new age of sport enthusiasts fight off the pangs of depression, a little LIG goes a long way. This gear will help you feel much better about your life, trust me it really does all you have to do is actively not think about anything that is really happening-it's a choice and it's all yours! My friends were talking quietly every time I rolled up then they would awkwardly change the subject, now I realize they were making fun of my mullet. I will try to avoid being caught with such an awful hair style from this point hence forth.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Heading to Farlow Gap

Spirit of the rising sun, love me until I die. First order of business is for me to please ask that you click here or simply scroll down past this post and have a look at the lunar images that I made of Friday night's Gemini Moon. Now onto the Brass Tacks of Sunday's Mountain ride with 9 of my friends in the Pisgah. Rich, Skiddaladophy, Swayze and I rolled out of the Jar around sunrise in the dirty box. Somewhere around Shelby we coordinated on the 65mph fly with the Rubicon piloted by Clint with passenger Eric K. A few more miles west, quick pick up another on the train behind the Rubicon was Ben Cohen. In the parking lot we met Dude, Jonathan Tyson and Bernie. 10 fellows with nothing more important to do on this fine Sunday other than go for a great ride up 475 to Davidson River trail, back to 475 up to Farlow Gap. Down Farlow to right on Daniel back to 475, a little ways up to 5095, traverse to Long Branch and then down back to the car parked at the Fish Hatchery. Here are some pictures and perhaps some smart ass commentary about them, both produced by me.

Davidson River trail
Eric and Clint
475 and 229/Gloucester Gap?
Self Portrait
Hey Bill Nye, there was ice
Big Ice wall or little one?
More Difficult, bah!
Swayze fueling up at the top of Farlow
Mad skills with unpredictable bouncy bike part up front
Swayze about to touch the floor in the first technical section on Farlow
Don't feel bad Patrick, I cleaned this section without fancy fork and the advantage of your youth.
Stand up, Stand up, for the Champions Stand up!
after a gully crossing Bernie leading out, look up the hill behind them
now it's just who wants it most! for the champions, stand up! looks like Hillary's step in 96'
Major trail damage, an entire section slid down to the river below. Riding not possible, running with bike only possible if you are Clint. I crossed in a semi low crawl, bike in right hand, clumps of roots in left.
Before the clog
Swayze with a sweet line
Someone catch my glasses if I fall in, please!

What's left of the original group, 2 of the 3 were taking care of a flat and then heading up to Butter Gap, bastards. Not sure where Bernie was but I know he made it out alive.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gemini Moon-ACHTUNG!!

Last night at around about 2200hrs I broke out the Electro Camera, tripod and remote wireless shutter with thoughts of capturing a moon that had enough presence to be able to send a message to all Gemini's, Pay attention especially during times of vehicle travel. Bah, I got the message earlier in the week from friends, cops as well as the news paper and will be traveling to the mountains tomorrow anyway. This moon Friday night was amazing which is why I reckon that I got the Gemini warning in triplicate that this is an extra close moon with significant pull. Here is a small sample of my photographic attempt to transfer an image to you from a set I shot last night.

a slight shadow enhancement

Sepia tone which as Jeff told me is a black and white image that the silver is removed and replaced with Sepia. These last 3 are toned in that manner, digitally of course.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Once A Marine

Billy Fehr and Sean Radford somewhere below Kuwait City in February 91
Always a......well not always but every once in awhile I am reminded that I actually was. The infinite power of synchronicity never disappoints me. Yesterday in the warm rain I left the courthouse with a very few jobs in the bag and headed west on 4th a little behind schedule. Walking on the inside side walk towards me at the 600 block was this tall Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Deputy Corrections Officer who stuck out not only in height but in stature or maybe better yet reproach. In a passing flash I saw backwards in time. Passed forward, was it Connecticut? No, it was the SUCK, what we used to call the USMC. Holy crap, turn around go talk to him. Just as I got a meter or 2 behind this Deputised Human he spins around and shouts with a positive tone "I was in the Corps with You!" No kidding, Lasher, Bob Lasher! 2/4, that's right Golf CO, weapons platoon. The Persian Gulf and the whole dress rehearsal thing. I was amazed that I actually picked him up on my radar because he looks ten years younger than I remember and healthier. We chatted under the dark gray moving skies for awhile and learned somethings about what each of us have been doing with the past 17 years since we last saw each other, the week I got my DD-214 in June of 91. Thinking back I can picture us in the field being frustrated at moving our gear and equipment around for no reason other than command had to justify it's own existence so it would just delegate to the troop level without thought. Laughs, tons of laughs and smart ass comments to keep from loosing it completely in those field situations. It was quite brilliant to run into you Lasher, all things happen for a reason so let's go on a ride soon.
Semper Fi

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pictures Creating Document: Catawba

I have not ridden there much since the recreational industrial complex known as the U.S. National Brown Water Center went in on top of the landscape I had for more than a decade previously known as Catawba. Seems as if the Corporate Plan of Aggression repelled me from this local Mountain Bike Park and then when the planners of all that is good for Charlotte decided to start charging to ride the trails hid behind a parking fee I just could not justify in my mind why I would go. Reflecting back I can remember being on a ride just before they closed the park so that the sprawl in the woods with 5 dollar beers could be constructed seeing a 60 or so acre patch of trees destroyed along side the trail. Who ever was with me said something like wow, they really are on the way in. We both agreed that what we were looking at was just the beginning. Fast forward to the now.
This past Sunday while on the trail early enough that not so many thrill seekers were out I ran into flowing brown water crossing and under different sections of the trail. The first defacto stream I rolled over immediately caught my attention. It was out of place and not there the last time I was. I stopped up the trail, turned around and went back for closer examination. Camera out. The directional source of the BWF(Brown Water Flow) meandering through the trees down the slightly sloping terrain was coming from the base of the big berm holding back the land at the lower pool of the faux river fun. Assumption: in this case I feel it is fair to make one. Question: in this case I feel it is appropriate to ask one. Is this Brown water flowing downwards through the woods towards the real Catawba River(Largest river basin in NC) chemically treated but unfiltered overflow from the happy place above? This investigation is just the beginning as the Kudzu gets closer, water is liquid with a source and a chemical make up signature. The self initiated Boycott is on all over again, not a dime.