Friday, July 30, 2010

WNR # 20

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Racin Rob, Charlie, Kevin, Bobbi, Cheryl, Damon, and Kevin's girlfriend (sorry, it's been a super busy day at the office and I can't remember your name).

Weather: Good.

Trail Conditions: Excellent.

Sorry I don't have more to report, but it's almost seven p.m., I'm still at the store, and I have to be back in ten hours. Have a good weekend, and stay safe. Over and out.

PS I've got some plans in the works to make the WNR posts a little more interesting. More next week after the madness that is Regatta has subsided. Over and out.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Monsoon Madness

Monsoon season is upon us up here in the high country.  Relative to Arizona standards, humidity is high this time of year which causes the building of monster cumulus clouds that hammer down on us with heavy rain, thunder, and lightning almost every afternoon.  Unfortunately, this sometimes makes it difficult to get a ride in.  I had three hours in between doctor appointments on Thursday, so I played hooky from work and tried to squeeze in a quick ride out at Campbell Mesa.  The sky was a bit overcast with no immediate threat of bad weather when I started; but, as the miles rolled by, the weather got worse.  I could hear a thunderstorm building in the distance, but I thought I'd still have time to finish before it hits.  No such luck.  Before I knew it, the storm was right on top of me.  3 miles from the trailhead, I maintained a fast cadence in an effort to avoid getting struck by lightning.  All of a sudden, a lightning bolt raced across the sky directly above me.  I did the "one - one thousand, two- one thou..." thing to gauge how far away it was.  Well, let's just say that I didn't get past one - one thousand before the crack of thunder absolutely scared the sh*t out of me.  At this point, I pedaled as fast as I could to get off the mesa and back to the truck.  With about .4 miles to go, I passed one of the strangest things I'd ever seen while riding.  As I crested a small hill and made a corner, there was a ponderosa pine tree completely engulfed in flames about 15 feet off the right side of the trail.  It had to have been hit by the same lightning bolt that I saw only 2 miles further back on the trail.  Boy, did I feel fortunate that a ponderosa was the target of that bolt and not me.  I made it back to the truck, called 911 to let the proper authorities know that a tree was burning (you know what Smokey the Bear says, "Only you can prevent forest fires."), and headed home for a shower.  Long story short, especially during monsoon season, keep an eye to sky and be safe while having a blast mountain biking.

Although not related to the above post, I found this video quite interesting.  I know it's easier when living in a larger city and dependent on what you do for a living, but perhaps we could learn something from our friends in the Netherlands and become less dependent on foreign oil.  Happy Trails.

Bicycle Rush Hour Utrecht (Netherlands) I from caguta on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

WNR # 19

Attendance: Myself, Sarah, Bobbi, Cheryl, Sherri, Benson, Secret Steve, Doug, Damon, Racin Rob, Kevin, Charlie, and Joe.

Weather: A little hot, but not nearly as bad as last week.

Trail Conditions: A bit sandy here and there, but other than that excellent.

I've always thought it was just a matter of time before the man (Boyne security) would pitch a hissy fit about us parking at the bottom of that end of trail. Last night it happened. A security guard on a four-wheeler actually chased us around all the way up to Graham Chapel. We lost him after that, but he was waiting at the cars when we got done. We had committed not one, but two violations. Some of us were parked on the grass (but not anyone's yard), and the trails were closed at the time of our riding. Doug chatted with the dude for a couple of minutes, and then he was off. Doug also decided that he'd hadn't had enough climbing, so he led a group up the paved climb and back down to finish off the ride. I had already loaded my bike onto the car while he was talking to the rent-a-cop, and I figured beers afterwards would be short lived if they happened at all due to our run in with the law so I left. So I don't know where we're riding next week, but I'm sure I'll find out within a day or two. Have a good weekend.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Christmas In July

White Ind. Freewheel, Ready to Roll
Yesterday was like Christmas in July for me.  My much anticipated White Industries freewheel arrived at Absolute Bikes on Friday, so I dropped in and picked it up yesterday after my ride.  With an ailing ACS freewheel that makes more noise than I care to deal with, I decided on Tuesday that it was time to get the real deal and order up a higher-end freewheel.  The initial appearance was enough to tell me that I'm getting into something pretty sweet.  The machining is sleek and smooth without a single flaw.  After installation this morning, I could tell that there will be a world of difference between this one and the previous...  even by just spinning it with my fingers, I could tell this will be a pleasure to use.  I'll give a full review after a few rides, but I think it will likely get five stars from this guy.

Since we're talking about Christmas, I thought this might be a prime opportunity to pitch a local frame builder here in Flagstaff.  If a custom mountain bike frame is on your wish list this year, I urge you to check out Steve Garro at Coconino Cycles.  Steve builds some of the sexiest frames I've ever seen that stand the test of time as far as durability and dependability is concerned.  Please check out this link to the Flag Live article on Steve.  It's definitely a good read.  Beyond building some of the world's finest mountain bike frames, his life story as a pioneer in mountain biking in Flagstaff and what he has overcome to get to where he's at today is truly amazing and inspiring.  I often see posts from Garro on the Arizona forum at mtbr.com, and he truly is a wise man in the sport, the environment, and life in general.  If you want one for Christmas, you should call him up right now.  This one-man show has a waiting list at least three or four months deep.  If you do order one, I'm sure that he'll even let you come observe him in action as he welds your frame in his shop in Flag; but, if that's not an option, you can always watch the progress on Steve's blog.


Well, like any kid at Christmas, I'm eager to hit the singletrack and try out my new toy.  Happy trails.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

WNR # 18

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Racin Rob, Secret Steve, Charlie, Doug, Damon, Kevin, Keri (not Kraze, his new new girlfriend from FLA), Sarah, Amber, Hugh and Denise, and Cheryl. I think that was everybody, but it was so fu**ing hot I may have forgotten someone, sorry.

Weather: As I said, hot. Close to 90 degrees and muggy.

Trail Conditions; Wide open, but particularly sandy among the pines.

Considering my legs felt absolutely horrible on Tuesday when I went for a 30 mile recovery ride on the road, I was feeling surprisingly strong last night. Some others were feeling strong as well apparently because the pace on the way out was super hot (something like 12 mph I think). So the riding was good, but the bugs were out in full force when we finished so I left after two beers. Next weeks WNR is at the Highlands. We'll be parking off the two track at the bottom of the north end trails near the country club. Call if you need more specific directions. A little parting video for inspiration below. HTFU.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Boyne Mountain XC Marathon

Holy crap, was that ever a tough race. The course itself was hard enough, 11 miles a lap with just shy of 2,000 ft. of climbing. The heat (high 80's for most of the race) and the fact that I was running the singlespeed made it even harder.

Lap 1: I went off in the Advanced Singlespeed division with 5 other racers. I slotted into third place for the fist couple of miles, but as soon as the first climb started the dude behind me came around. I kept up a probably slightly higher pace than I should have through the first half of the lap. Eventually, things started to string out a little and I backed off the gas just a touch. It's right around then that I noticed my right grip was starting to loosen up. After a couple of more minutes, it really started to loosen. Like you're bombing down a steep technical section of trail and all of a sudden your right wrist is pretending that your bike has a throttle. It was kind of sketchy, but more annoying than anything. I finished off the lap without incident and stopped long enough to dig out my allen wrench and tighten it down (or so I thought).

Lap 2: Not too much happened to start off the second lap. I was tired to be sure, but I felt pretty good all things considered. This is the lap where Lianne wanted me to try and push my pace a little. I was trying to lift it a little, but anytime the trail turned up or we rode out into the sun I would start to overheat. I was okay around 164 beats a minute, but anything much higher and things would get real fuzzy real quick. Then my fu**ing grip started loosening up again. I stopped at the top of a particularly long hike a bike and went to tighten it up, again. I realized then that I hadn't loosened it up enough after lap one to get it all the way back on before retightening. I did that this time, and the grip was no longer an issue for the remainder of the race. The second lap finished much the same as the first. A ripping fast descent down a paved cart path to the bottom of the course and through the village to the start/finish.

Lap 3: I actually felt pretty good on the last lap. My legs were constantly on the verge of cramping, but I kept sipping on the Heed and H2O and they never did. Instead of getting passed, as was happening from time to time on the first two laps, I was passing people. The heat and climbing was definitely taking it's toll on some of the racers that maybe started off a little too fast. It's a difficult distance to pace for, very similar to xc ski marathons. You can't go quite as fast as a normal xc race, but you can go a lot harder than you would in a 100 miler. Anyway, I finished up in 3:33 (4th of 6). I was in the car with the a/c pumping within about 5 min. of my cooldown ride. I had a sandwich while Sarah drove me back to town, and then I went to work.

HTFU

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sundays With Sarge

A quick introduction for those readers out there that don't know me...  I'm a former resident of Harbor Springs, MI - transplanted in Flagstaff, AZ about 7 or 8 years ago, a lifetime member of Team Terpening -  I was there in the beginning, and an avid mountain biker - I love the single speed.  I've wanted to post here on Peter's blog for quite some time, and we've finally got our act together to make it happen.  I haven't been able to keep up with a blog of my own, so I felt that a weekly "column" would be right up my alley.  In a nutshell, my plan is to make a weekly, perhaps every Sunday, posting with some bicycling related news from Flag.  I hope you all enjoy my posts, and please feel free to leave feedback via the comment link.

The View of the Schultz Fire From My Driveway,
Those Aren't Clouds in the Distance
It's been a rough couple of weeks for me as far as riding is concerned.  It all started a few weeks ago when I left the house with a course set for a Fort Valley/Schultz Creek loop.  I managed to make it 1.25 miles from the house when I had what would turn out to be a fortunate mechanical problem.  I somehow, probably on a previous ride, had managed to shear off a chainring bolt and bent the chainring itself, causing the chainring to rub on the frame a bit.  I don't normally say that a mechanical issue like this was "fortunate", but it kept me from riding right into the middle of what would turn out to be a 15,000 acre forest fire that started at the top of Schultz Creek trail, directly in the heart of some of Flag's finest trails.  The Schultz Fire kept those trails closed for a week, even longer for certain trails.  All of this because some a**hole was too lazy to put his/her campfire out.  Thanks for burning my back yard, fu**er!!!  After receiving some new parts to fix my bike, I finally got out a week later to ride the loops out at the "unburned" Campbell Mesa Trails.  The following week, my job had me working in beautiful (not!) Holbrook, AZ and scrambling to finish a deck side job in the evenings.  Unable due to time and lack of energy from working early morn til late evening, I didn't get in a single ride last week.  I was able to breath a sigh of relief when I finally finished the deck on Friday morning, though.  In lieu of riding on Saturday, Kristina and I attended the first annual Flagstaff Hullabaloo, a festival of all things Flagstaff (primarily bikes, beer, and live music).  It was set up as an alternative to the New Belgium Tour de Fat which made it's last appearance in Flag in 2007.  The New Belgium festival has not returned due to several reasons, but primarily underage drinking, extremely intoxicated people being served even more beer, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, etc.  It has been said in the past that the Flagstaff festival consumed more kegs of New Belgium than any other stop on the tour, and I believe it.  It's Sunday now, the Schultz fire is out, the trails are opening back up, and it's a beautiful day (a little overcast).  With that said, it's time to get back in the saddle again and go ride a few laps out at Campbell Mesa.  Happy trails everyone.

Flagstaff Schultz Fire from Charlie McCallie on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

WNR # 17

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Racin Rob, Secret Steve, Doug, Charlie, Sarah, Sherry, Cheryl, Hugh and Denise, and Bobbi.

Weather: Hot and humid. Temps. in the high 80's.

Trail Conditions: Pretty good for the most part. Pond Hill is looking particularly awesome right now.

I had a decent enough ride. My legs have been a little slow coming around from the extra working/riding of the last week and a half. But after the race on Saturday, I've got a real easy eight days of recovery on the schedule. Then it's back to work for what I'm expecting to be a good solid build up to the Ore to Shore. Next weeks WNR is starting at the Pleasantview Township Hall, and the ride will head north on the NCT from there.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Breakdown

So I'm cruising along in the woods this past Sunday, the fourth of July. I've just finished up an 11 hour shift at the store, and it's something like 90 degrees out. Still, I'm having a pretty good ride. I'm just about a half hour into my ride and getting ready to start a 20 minute interval when disaster strikes. I'm hammering along pretty good when I hear that god awful sound of a stick getting all up in my rear wheel. Only this time it must have been a really big stick, and before I even had time to think about stopping I stopped. The damn stick (pardon my language but I was pretty ticked off at the time, still am for that matter) tried to move my derailleur over to the other side of my bike. Of course the wheel got in the way and stopped that foolishness at the cost of three spokes. But now, the derailleur is wedged in behind the cassette making in impossible for the wheel to rotate in either direction. Not that it would matter anyway since the derailleur was all bent to sh*t. Oh, and since the spokes broke the tire went flat and the dropout is now bent. Anyway, it's back to the singlespeed for me now until I get all this business sorted out.




Thursday, July 01, 2010

WNR # 16

Attendance: Myself, Benson, Rob, Damon, Charlie, Bonnie, Sarah, and Cheryl.

Weather: Awesome. Sunny and 65.

Trail Conditions: Perfect.

I had a good ride, and I can't speak to dinner at the Red Mesa because Sarah and I headed home after the ride. Next weeks WNR at the HQ. Sarah will be in touch if she needs you to bring anything. Have a happy fourth and all that sh*t. Sarge, are we going to get some input from Flag or what? Over and out.