Friday, May 27, 2011

Rapha Continental Movie

I've always loved the bike videos that Rapha puts together.  I am too poor to be able to afford their clothing but I can still admire the quality of their films.  These rides have inspired a many a ride in my past and in my future.  Keep on keepin' on!

Rapha Continental – The Movie from RAPHA on Vimeo.

One "Hail" of a Storm...

Yesterday, I went back to work after several days off.  It's kind of weird to have a job that you look forward to going to after being off for a few days.  I really can't stress enough about how happy I am to be working in a bike shop again.  I hope to get back into doing some basic repairs soon.  As of right now, I'm mostly doing sales.  Our small community has a really cool group of cyclists and customer base.  After being in town for a few weeks now, I'm finally starting to get to know a lot of the cyclists.

Along my commute to work
While working at the shop yesterday, the clouds outside turned pretty dark.  This was kind of concerning as I rode my bike into work.  Those dark clouds started spitting out marble sized balls of hail.  The hail came down for a solid 10-15 minutes.  Unfortunately, the owner of our shop had just bought a new car.  Many of the cars in the lot were damaged.  The hail just piled up outside of the doorway of the shop and floated off in the massive amount of water that rained down with it.  In some ways, I was actually happy that I didn't drive in.  Luckily, there wasn't in hail at my house where my truck is parked.

As for the commute home, it was pretty nasty.  It rained on and off the entire way.  I stayed pretty dry from the waist up thanks to my rain jacket.  The night before, when I was working on my bikes, I decided to take off the fenders on my Surly Cross Check.  They look nice but riding with metal fenders is just not my thing.  They rattle just a little bit and I prefer to ride without any fenders or get some kind of composite ones.  However, I do wish I wouldn't have taken off the fenders until I had some replacements.  Oh well...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day Off Part Two...

Yesterday was yet another awesome day!  I got up pretty early yesterday and made it out to the bike shop to meet with some friends for an early morning road ride.  We all ended up splitting up part way through the ride due to different time constraints but we all got in a nice ride through an awesome area.  I did get a chance to finish the ride out with an old friend who just got a road bike.  I really enjoy getting to ride with folks who are just starting out in cycling.  Their excitement is inspiring.  My buddy rode really well for such a long first ride!

Little River along our road ride route

Looking back at where we came from
Later in the day I met up with my mom for an awesome lunch at El Sazon Mexican Restaurant.  After a long ride, Mexican food really hit the spot.  Since I've been home, I really haven't spent much time with my family.  Taking the afternoon to hang out with my mom was really nice.  She's an amazing person and has been one of my biggest influences throughout my life.

The new fixed gear is pretty much setup now.  The only thing left to change is the pedals and straps.  I'm waiting on those to come in as we speak.  The bike has turned out pretty cool.  Yeah, it's got a lot of neon colors and what not but I think it's a fun bike.  I played around on it yesterday by jumping off a few stairs and inclines around the house.  The bike feels pretty substantial enough to handle some abuse.  I also plan on using this bike to play bike polo with.  There is a polo match in Knoxville tomorrow night that I may try to make it out to.  I haven't played in several weeks and I'm having a jonesin' for it. 

The new freestyle fixie build
Anyway, enough chit and chat.  I'm running late for getting started on my commute.  Looks like thunderstorms are in the forecast.  This should be a fun day on the bike!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day Off...

Yesterday, I was off from work.  For my day off, I decided to hit up the local group ride from the bike shop (Cycology).  Around 10:30am, we rolled out.  There was a group of about 15-20 that eventually broke into two groups.  During the first 8 miles, I felt pretty solid.  I felt so good that I thought I would try to ramp up the speed a little bit.  My ignorance got the best of me and I hit the wall for a second.  I tucked into the back of the group and hung out back there for a little while.  After another 5 miles, I was starting to recover.  From that point on, the ride became a ton of fun.  I couldn't have rode in a more beautiful place and with such a great group.

Our group during yesterday's ride
That brings me to my next point.  I'm really glad to be back in East Tennessee.  I lived here for nearly 19 years of my life before moving away.  I always had an appreciation for this town.  However, after being gone for six years, I realize what I was missing.  For such a small town, there is so much here to offer.  The mountains are great.  We've got rivers and lakes to swim in.  The towns are pretty safe and clean.  Yeah, you've got some rednecks out in the country but that's anywhere you go.  Besides, they add to the color of the area.  I hate the circumstances that brought me back home.  I still don't know how to understand the situation I'm going through with my marriage.  But being in the place that I am really helps.

Last night, pulled out the work stand and started working on a couple of my bikes.  It seems as though I have neglected the upkeep on my bikes lately.  As I got into working on the bikes, I realized that I was missing something.  I ran down the street to the store and picked up a six pack of beer.  When I got back, I turned on the music, drank my beer and started back to working on my bikes.  The evening turned out to be pretty nice.  The weather was warm and the beer was cold.  I got a couple of my bikes back in good shape as well!

Life is getting better.  There's a lot left to look forward to in my life.  I just gotta keep saying that and look to the future.  Things could be a lot worse but they aren't.  Now it's time for me to get up and head out for a bike ride (my therapy)!  Y'all have a good one!

This song was done by a local guy, Jay Clark.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

No Bummer Summer...

I'm fixing to head out for a solid road ride with some of the locals.  This should be fun!  Not much has been going on besides work and a little bit of fun in between.  I'm back on the bike and commuting pretty regularly now.  Feels good to get back into that habit.  I always hated driving!  Life is getting better each and every day.  It's just all about making excuses to have fun instead of sitting on my ass complaining.  Anyhow, get outside today!  Life is too short to be stuck inside all the time!

For your listening enjoyment:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Awesome Weekend...

I had a pretty awesome weekend! Worked on Saturday at the bike shop and was off on Sunday. You know, working at a bike shop doesn't feel much like working. Yeah, sweeping the floors and cleaning bathrooms sucks but when I'm actually doing bike stuff, it's a blast!

With work going great, I've also been trying to acclimate to having a good time outside of work as well. I decided on Saturday morning to ride into work on the bike. I haven't been riding much lately and it really felt good to be back on the bike. I do feel like I've lost a bit of fitness over the last month. A lot of riding is in the plans for the next month as we approach the Cysco 6 Hour Race in Chattanooga. I've already referenced the biking in this town a few times on the blog but I can't say enough about how cool this area is for cycling. There isn't any mountain biking in the near vicinity but road riding is at its best around here. I haven't had any problems commuting either. For the most part, I can get to town via a connection of several greenway trails.

One of the few road sections along my commute to work.

On another good note, I've added a bike to my stable! Actually, I got rid of one in order to add another. Do you all remember that 1990 Proflex frame with the Girvin fork that I picked up a few months back? Well, I got tired of looking at that bike and thinking about fixing it up. I decided to offer it on trade plus a little cash to one of the other guys at the shop. In return, I got a Van Dessel "Straight Up". The bike has been turned into a fixed gear. I think originally, the bike was intended to be a single speed townie bike. However, I've got plans to turn this stout frame into a freestyle fixie/polo bike. First off, there are several changes that need to take place with its current existence. One of which is to remove the dreadful handlebars that came on it. They are too narrow and shaped like mustache bars. They are in no way comfortable! I've got some neon green risers and a matching saddle that I found last night in the parts bin that I will throw on the bike. Also in the works is changing out the wheels with a set of black Deep V's. I should have this bad boy up and running nicely in the next few days. I'll post more pictures when done but for now, this will have to do.

On a final note, I want to mention this whole Lance doping issue.  For all of you that think he didn't dope, you're in denial.  Nearly all these guys have doped at some point in their career.  Doping was either used to boost their riding abilities in order to get noticed by the pro teams or they used it for that last little boost to get the win at the pro level.  It is a simple fact.  Is it right?  Hell no!  Our sport is being dragged through the mud by all this shit.  The testimony of Landis and Hamilton are pretty shady to say the least.  However, Lance's old friend, George Hincapie, testified to a federal grand jury that Lance doped.  The friendship that those two have is one at which I don't think Hincapie would make this shit up if it wasn't true.  Hincapie even divulged that he also was one of the dopers in the past.  Lance can deny these allegations all he wants.  But that doesn't mean he didn't dope.  Lance has a huge enterprise at Livestrong to protect.  If he comes out and admits to doping, his charity would be doomed.  The guy has a lot on his shoulders.  There is no justification for any of these athletes' actions but there is a respectful way to handle them.  Landis and Hamilton may only be in it for the book deals.  But Hincapie seems to have handled himself in a respectful manner regarding the issue.  Time to move on.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's The End of The World...

Apparently the rapture is supposed to have started in some parts of the world...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Today is Today...Yesterday was Yesterday...

Things are getting better each and everyday. I keep telling myself to live life just one day at a time. The past three days, I've been off from work and more or less, I've been catching up with my friends as well as making new ones. I'm really digging Maryville. Even though it's a town full of blue hairs and Cadillacs, it's a beautiful place as well. The biking is good, even though I haven't been on the bike as much as I'd like. Hopefully, I'll be back on the bike in the next few days and I can get some kind of routine going. I've got the Cysco 6 Hour coming up in about a month and I'm in no way ready to be on a mountain bike for 6 hours right now.

Not much else to really blog about this morning. I could follow Dicky's lead and show all the bike parts in my plastic tubs but I don't think that would be too interesting. I'll get back to ya when I have something interesting to blog about.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Life As I Know It...

Wow!  So much has gone on in this last week.  I'm still trying to shuffle my life as I know it.  A lot is still going through my head and trying to figure out the future.  Sometimes I think I just need to slow my roll just a bit.  Time to let things be and live from one day to the next. 

The new job in the bike shop is working out great!  All the folks at the shop are great and I'm starting to meet everyone in the cycling community.  I finally figured out the perfect commuter route into work.  It's about 13 miles each way with quite a bit of it on the greenway.  The countryside here in Maryville is beautiful.  Rolling hills with huge mountains in the backdrop.  I couldn't ask for better scenery on my rides!  I hope to have some pictures posted pretty soon.

Last night was my buddy's birthday.  After getting off work, we made some rounds to a couple of bars and then grabbed a six pack and headed up to the top of the Foothills Parkway.  There was a storm rolling in down in the valley.  It was pretty rad to watch the rain roll in.  Definitely, one of those nights that feels like it stands still. 

I'm off work for the next three days.  Looks like the weather is turning to shit but I'm going to try to get some rides in regardless.  For now, I've got to finish all this unpacking so I can find my bike stuff! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Moving Forward...

I realize the blog posts have been non-existent for the last several weeks.  Honestly, my life has somewhat fallen apart.  Without going into too much detail, I will say that I am moving forward.  This last weekend, I packed up all my belongings and moved back to Knoxville, Tennessee.  Unfortunately, I'm going to be making some adjustments in my life over the next few weeks, months and years.

On to some good news...I have finished my first semester of college.  I came out with all "A's" in my classes.  This was certainly unexpected when I decided to go back to school.  When I was in high school, I sucked at making good grades.  I never applied myself.  After taking 7 years off from school, going back brought a whole new focus.  This semester, I applied myself where it counts.  There is the saying, "Work hard or work smart."  Why not do both?  The current plan is to transfer to the University of Tennessee for the fall semester.  We'll see what happens.

On another good note, I was able to land a job yesterday.  I'll be working at Cycology Bicycles in Maryville, Tennessee.  This is an awesome shop with some of the best guys you can find in a bike shop!  There is such a pleasant and chill atmosphere throughout.  I'm really excited to be a part of their crew now.

As for bike riding, I haven't been on the bike much lately with everything that has been going on.  This morning, I decided to commute by bike to my new job.  Where I'm living is right off a four lane fast highway.  It's going to take some time to get used to that.  Otherwise, the commute has been pretty pleasant.  Most of it is on the Maryville-Alcoa Greenway.  This is a beautiful place.  The greenway connects both towns and has several arterial routes.  I'm looking forward to utilizing my new commute route.
Along my morning commute
You know, life isn't too bad.  Even though you get down at times, there's always tomorrow.  Count your blessings and move forward.  I think I'll be just fine with time.  Being surrounded by good friends and family makes a world of a difference as well.