Saturday, August 28, 2010

A New Kind of Pain

So I ran/walked a little over 2.5 miles on the singletrack behind the house yesterday afternoon. Then we walked to Hugh and Denise's and back for dinner. I don't know why exactly I get the urge to take up running from time to time, but I do. This time around I figure there are going to be a couple of hills that won't be rideable on the singlespeed at the race Oct. 2, so I might as well get my run on now so I can run up them then. Also, since I'm going to be bikeless on vacation this fall I figured it'd be nice to be able to go for a run to get some exercise while I'm gone. Finally, from what I understand running is good cross-training to prepare for cross country skiing. My legs are sore today to be sure, but not as bad as I thought they'd be. While I've run sporadically at best in the past, I have a feeling it might finally stick this fall. So if anyone is interested in some trail running to supplement our biking this fall let me know. Have a good rest of the weekend.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

There's No Crying In Mountain Biking!!!

The organizers of the upcoming race might disagree. And after riding just one lap of a course that may become a well known race, three or more laps may leave you doing just that. Crying for mom and reaching for your little wubby to hold back the tears! This is a good course though. It’s local, it’s different, and has a little bit of everything. Singletrack, doubletrack, hills, sand, and more hills. Plus, there is plenty of room to pass or be passed. Which is good. I just hope the grappling hook I’m going to bring will land on the rider in front of me and help drag me up what will be soon famed as “Crybaby Hill”!

For some readers, a short introduction is in order. I’m Charlie, commonly known on the trail as Action Chuck, a nickname that has sort of stuck since the days of the Pier Restaurant. It came from the creation of a humorous comic book series one of my co-workers drew up…ahh the good old days! Anyways, I started riding with Team Terpening late last year, and I am happy to have become part of the group. I used to ride quite a bit in my younger years; I took a rather long break, and in the last 2-3 years I’ve been hitting it more seriously and T2 has helped ramp up the friendly competition to improve myself. Not to mention the advice and encouragement to join a few races…I’m still recovering from my first Ore to Shore!

Back to singletrack, Action Chuck wasn’t the only one tearing up turf on this adventure. Chris, New Chris, Rob, Pete, Bobbie, Joe, and Cheryl rode along. While Cheryl wasn’t joining us for the Crybaby course, she set herself an amazing accomplishment on this very ride. In her first real year of mountain biking, tonight she rolled the odometer over to her first official grand! That’s right; my girl turned her wheels enough to ride 1000 miles so far this season! She would also have you know that she did it all on her Paddle Pedals…if anyone knows how hard it is to climb WITH clips, you’ll know that her miles were well earned! Congrats Cheryl! (fist bump) Or should we say Action Cheryl?

On the other side of the trail, our lap started casual. A short jaunt from the NCT led us to backyard of Nubs and onto the Crybaby course. Chris and Pete were leading the way and leading the charge. Joe, Rob and I were trailing their knobbies. New Chris and Bobbie were right on their tail. Not far from our entry point to the Crybaby, we were rewarded with an awesome downhill singletrack that soon spilled out onto a sandy maintenance road which rolled down the bunny hill and past the lodge. Rolling around the next corner we met our first hill. Rob and Joe took off in a powerful first climb that dropped the rest of us; I tried to hang on, but Action Chuck’s legs had no action on this day.

For the rest of the course I watched their tires roll further away into the distance…but especially so when we encountered Crybaby hill. THIS mini-mountain is surely what the course was named after. I think instead of aid stations here, a couple of Kleenex stations might be more appropriate. Maybe a towrope?! Thank goodness for the granny ring! The remainder of the lap was peppered with hills, fast corners, and enough sand to keep you awake should the oxygen become a little too thin. The Crybaby will tease. You see, as soon as you crest one of the small hills, another hill can be seen in the distance…so mentally, you prepare to climb. However, once you roll over the hump, the hill you thought you’d be climbing veers left or right, and then you get to climb a completely different hill; sometimes harder than the one you were prepared for! After we flattened the hills, a quick jump back to the familiar NCT got us back to where we started. Great job to Rob and Joe, (fist bump) they were tearing up those hills and makin’ it look easy! Despite the screams our legs sounded off, everyone agreed how cool this course actually is.  Pete is enthusiastic about signing up for this one, and my guess is the rest of us will be riding this home course and even a few will be bringing it home!

Upon arriving back, chairs out and clothes changed, we joined for a few post bicycle ride beverages (insert PBR plug here), Rob’s traditional pretzel sticks, and good conversation. It was a beautiful night for a ride, and as the dark surrounded us, Mother Nature felt it necessary to cool us down a little. No wait. Actually, a lot. We’d have done well to build a fire! We were shivering messes out there. But as mountain bikers, it’s all part of the territory. The finishing touch was the setting sun tinting the clouds a beautiful pink color for all of us to enjoy. Good times and happy trails…see ya next week and start thinkin' about bringin' yer lights!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The End Is Near

You can feel the end of summer right around the corner. It's getting dark earlier and earlier in the evening. Things at the store are slowing down quite a bit. There is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel that is summer for me. I like fall; and while I may have originally thought my season of bike racing was over due to a trip to Vermont in the beginning of October, I've decided to stretch it out and get in one last race a couple of days before we depart. I figure it'll keep me riding steadily through the month of September, and it will allow me to leave the bikes at home for the first vacation without them in I don't know how long. We'll be previewing the racecourse on this weeks WNR. I don't much care for the name of the race and the course probably isn't going to be that great, but it's the least amount of driving I'll have ever undertook to get to a mountain bike race. And I feel like I should support local bike events and sh*t. I'll be racing in the expert/singlespeed division, but there's a category for everyone so come on out and race. BTW, there are two new miles of sweet technical singletrack at the highlands. Near the back corner of the pines hang a left and check it out. Over and out.

Friday, August 20, 2010

My $0.02

I recently read a post on regarding fixed gear bikes that got me thinking.  And as I sat at a stop light on my way to work one morning, I watched a track stand being performed in front of me by some punk in skin tight black jeans on a fixie, obviously showing off for whoever was around... and I started thinking even more.  And so, I've basically come to the conclusion that I really don't care for the whole hipster, fixie movement that presents cycling in a bad context (at least in my mind).  For all you bike messengers on fixed gear bikes keepin' it real:  you're cool.  For all you hipster, poser, punk mutha fu*#^rs on fixed gear bikes:  you annoy the shit out of me.  As an avid cyclist myself, I normally wouldn't bash on cycling in any form; but I guess I just don't understand the attraction.  For one, I really enjoy having brakes and being able to stop on a dime, especially in traffic.  Two, I don't remember the last time a saw one of you dumbasses with a helmet on...  your little bike hat isn't gonna save your dome in an accident.  Three, I'm definitely not into the pastel, fashion show color schemes most often found on these bikes.  Four, the only time your not pissing me off is when your walking your bike (which happens a lot because you just want to be seen)... and I'm usually laughing at you.  And finally, I support all forms of cycling that gives the sport a good name; it's hard enough to stay in good standing with vehicular traffic without you hipsters weaving in and out of traffic like a bunch of assho*es.  I suppose all forms of cycling should be celebrated, but it just bugs me that fixies have become such a "scene".  When I think about all the reasons why I ride a bike, "because I want to look cool" never even makes the list.  I think I'd be less inclined to be so negative about fixies if these posers decided to learn how to ride like this:
One gear No idea from chris akrigg on Vimeo.

P.S.  I'll post some local pictures of Flagstaff Fixie Poser Punks when I get a few more minutes.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

WNR-Avalanche Bay AWESOME! (insert fist pump)

Attendance: Myself (Sarah), Cheryl, Bobbie, Pete, Benson, Charlie, Kevin, and two other Chris’s.
The Boy’s and Bobbie took off, not to be seen by Cheryl or me until their second lap, except for Pedro and another stick in the derailleur incident….
Paddle Peddle Cheryl and I started off at a great pace and were flying down some awesome downhills, when her water bottle cage kept bouncing on her back tire at every descent. Since I carry tools at all times, ( Matt N flatted at O2S and found a good stranger to give him a tube and a pump because he wasn’t carrying), I pulled out my multi and fixed her right up. From there we were gliding up those root covered hills and flying down the twists and turns giggling the whole way!
While enjoying the beautiful view from the top, we noticed for the first time that the days are getting shorter. Fall is on its way and with that comes lights for night riding. Cheryl may have convinced me to try it, at least once.
As always it was a great time to catch up on our week’s news and ride an amazing trail that never gets old. We had a great ride with no need for speed; we played and stayed rubber side down!
My quick note from O2S weekend: I don’t think I have ever had this much fun with this group of WNR’s! All of you have come a long way with your riding and I just wanted to say, you guys rock! To come to the WNR every week must mean something to all of us because we keep coming back for more!
Congratulations to all of my friends and husband on a great race!
I had fun!

After party T2 Headquarters North

Race Face

Sunday, August 15, 2010

2010 Ore to Shore

We had one hell of a team turnout for the race this year: For the 48 mile (in order of finishing I think), we had Doug, Secret Steve, Racin' Rob, Charlie/Chuck, Myself, Kevin, Bobbi, Hugh and Denise (aboard the tandem), and Matt. And on the 28 side of things (I'm far less sure of the finishing order so feel free to connect), we had Benson, Damon, Cheryl, and Amber. Honorary team members for the day were Damien (a former local Marquette native that works at the store and will be starting college in the fall) and Ulle (a Petoskey guy who's been around the races this year and attended the after party at the campground with Secret Steve). So, without further ado I give you my story of the race this year.

I had the goal of finishing the race in under three hours, and I've spent a good deal of time training specifically towards that goal. Alas, it wasn't meant to be. I lined up a lot closer to the front end of the field than in previous years; that did make a difference in the beginning. Most notably, the climb up the luge run went much more smoothly than normal. Even just a little further back there are often people getting off their bikes to walk, and just basically getting in the way. Just before we got out of the woods in downtown Negaune, Secret Steve and Racin' Rob caught up to me. We worked together for the next few miles, but by the time we got to the first section of the power line climbs they had dropped me. This is also right around where Doug caught up and passed me. I haven't been able to pinpoint the cause, but the heat yesterday was having a dire effect on my race. Right after that section of climbs (which is merely a warmup for the bigger climbs to come), my legs started cramping. Every time I tried to put in a little extra effort over the top of a short steep hill or tried to bridge a gap my quads would seize up. I immediately let up on the gas and assessed the situation. It was just over an hour into the race, and I knew that if the cramping continued it would be a long day indeed. I finished off my first bottle, had a gu, and chugged some more water out my pack. I started to come around a little, but it still felt like I was burning up. At the bottom of Misery Hill (the longest steepest hike-a-bike on the course) I took a second to remove my little cycling cap and shoved it into my pocket. The effect was not immediate, but by the top of the climb I was starting to feel a little better. Oh yeah, Charlie and Kevin had passed me by this point as well. So I was feeling better, and I got into a good group of four or five other riders. We stayed together trading pulls through almost all the road section. Near the top of the last paved climb, our group went by Kevin. I said "Hey" and continued motoring up the hill. I was hoping to pick off a couple more riders from our group, but it didn't happen. For most of the last 15 miles or so I rode alone. I picked off a few riders here and there, but right at the bottom of the last wood chip hill I put the hammer down and started passing people left and right. My legs were totally cramping up, but I was close enough to the finish that I just rode right through them. So in the end it was 3 hours and 17 minutes for Pedro. Not at all the result I was looking for, but that's mountain bike racing. Things do not always go as planned, and a big part of bike racing (and xc ski racing as well) is learning how to adapt on the fly. I've done enough racing and suffering now, that I knew as soon as I started cramping it would have been really easy just to shut down with negative thoughts and the like. Instead, I did what I could to salvage my race and put up a respectable time. To all my team members, great job. It's so nice to ride together every week, but all of us taking the time and effort to come out and race the Ore to Shore is fu**ing awesome. Props to Sarah and Jess for hosting the awesome BBQ at the campground afterwards. We should do all of this again next year, and the years after that as well. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

WNR #22-Meadows

Well, it's the last Wednesday Night Ride before the Ore to Shore so under the guidance of Benson the crew headed out to The Meadows behind Boyne Highlands for a nice easy ride. This week's attendees included Benson, Rob, Charlie and Cheryl, Bobbi, Steve, Kevin, Joe and for a moment Emily (until she figured out Joe didn't pack her front wheel...Joe probably sleepin on the couch) and special guest Chris McKay. Since it is only a few days before a big race we took it easy. In other words Charlie and Rob had to stay in the middle of the pack so they couldn't try to kill each other and drop the rest of us in their never ending quest for the elusive polka-dot jersey. As we took of it started to sprinkle a bit and as I had checked the weather before leaving the house I was pretty sure that we were gonna get soaked. Luckily, it just rained a little bit, making the trail very tacky but not at all slippery. Other than the 80+ temperature and 90%+ humidity that almost requires scuba equipment it was a great ride. Benson lead and kept everyone in check. We headed up along the 2 track, out to the bridges, did a short lap out into the pines and down the red, headed back to to the stuffed lamb, up to north peak, across to south peak, down the new trail and back to the lot. We rode for a little over an hour with no stops. Only one good crash on the ride by Chris on the final descent with no injuries. After a few rehydrating beverages in the parking lot and the usual post-ride discussions everyone headed home. Good luck at the Ore to Shore everybody!! Can't wait for the Post Bicycle Refreshments after the race.

Monday, August 09, 2010

The Plans Are Almost Complete - Stoked!!!

It's been over two years since I've taken a vacation, and so... it's time.  With a wedding for Kristina's cousin on the horizon in early September, I see this as a perfect opportunity to ride some sweet singletrack in locations away from home.  The plan:  We have to be in Ridgway, CO (located between Ouray and Telluride) for the wedding over the weekend, and from there we will make our way to Fruita, CO for a day or two of riding.  From everything I've heard and read, this is the place to be for singletrack.  It kind of sounds like Chutes and Ladders, Lunch Loops, or 18 Road Trails are going to be the choice trails to ride.  I need to do a little more research for post-ride activities, but I'm sure that they will at least include a picnic on the Colorado River and a visit to Colorado National Monument.  From there we will be on our way to Moab, UT for two days of riding.  I'm thinking Porcupine Rim Trail (pregnant Kristina can shuttle me to the top and pick me up at the bottom...  thanks, babe!!!), Bartlett Wash, or, perhaps, Sovereign Trail.  Our stay will definitely include a tour through Arches National Park, a seat at the Moab Brewery (beer for me, tea for Kristina), breakfast at the Jailhouse Cafe, and maybe even a stop at the Hole-in-the-Rock (or some other corny tourist trap).  I can't express enough how excited I am to be heading north into Colorado and Utah for a week, or even just taking some time off of work.  The weather should be perfect that time of year with average high temps in the mid 80's in Moab and Fruita and the low 70's in Ridgway.  I'm also hoping to get a glimpse into fall with the aspen leaves changing to bright yellow.  All in all, we are excited to go.  I'm definitely open to any riding suggestions, or suggestions regarding post-ride activities in Moab or Fruita, so please leave a comment below if you have one.

On another note, I was stoked to look at the Local Forecast on the Weather Channel this morning and not see thunderstorms across the board for this week.  Looks like the next three days are going to be perfect trail riding conditions.  The weekend was a bit of a bummer due to the precipitation that lasted all day and night on Saturday and threatened harshly on Sunday.  I didn't get a single ride in this weekend.  But, it's a new week, and it's looking fantastic.  I have some awesome rides planned for the next three days.  And, so, as though the clear blue skies were not enough, I leave you with a little video (not of Moab or Fruita, but still cool) for some motivation to get out and ride.  Happy Trails.

Chris Akrigg TEOCALI.0 from chris akrigg on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

WNR #21 - Setting the Bar

Rider Roll Call: Me, Pete, Rob, Kevin, Charlie, Cheryl, Bobbie, Sarah, Hugh & Denise.
Plus post-ride guests: Katherine, Scott & 4-week-old Finn!

With only 10 days to go until Ore to Shore, everyone has been looking to squeeze in a few more miles in preparation for the event. Due to the style of course on which the O2S is run, Pete envisioned a portion of the old North loop for a more 'road-centric' spin/ride with some good climbs, dirt roads, a bit of single track and maybe some more good climbs. There was even mention of throwing in Wasson's Grade in near the end for some more good climbing...sounded like fun (a little warped & sadistic but fun!)

So the group ride began, heading north on Terpening (except for Sarah & Cheryl - they headed out behind the house on the single track) & I'm not sure where we dropped Hugh & Denise - the Mtn. Tandem duo because, as we climbed the first hill, a couple of us (myself included) thought a hill sprint would be a good warm-up...the beginning of the end (of relaxed riding anyway.) Racin' Rob even upped the ante by starting his stomp on the shoulder, in the dirt I might add! Competitiveness took over from there with Rob leading the charge, only slowing to look back for ride, (or should I say race) directions. Did I mention that he had put in a 3+ hour, solo, 6-lap, 42 mile marathon on the Wildwood trails the night before? Evidently he needed his head light & a couple more laps.

The chase continued down Boynton to Townline, north to Middle Village, on to Lone Rock then down Robinson to Good Hart. A bit of single track through the Readmond Township Park trails to get to Lamkin and then south past Church Beach (which, surprisingly, Charlie had never been to before) and on to the S. Lamkin grind. If you aren't familiar, this is a steep, narrow, semi-paved, mostly hot-patch, 1.1 lane road that side-cuts the bluff to connect Lamkin to M-119/Shore Drive. The climbing competition continued, this time with Charlie leading the charge. Pete's bike had other ideas at the start of the climb when his chain hopped up over the cassette; no damage done, just a forced stop at the base of the hill, getting temporarily dropped by the group that wasn't about to back off mid-climb - he'll catch up! Once on M-119, the push continued & cutting through Surfwood seemed more apt than the early notion of climbing up Wasson's. So it was, up through Surfwood to the back end of Troup road and back to HQ...most of us semi-racing to the imaginary finish line. I'm not sure there was a clear winner but it made for an intense but fun ride and a good look at what might happen come race day.

The post-ride appetizers, dinner & dessert was exceptional and certainly refueled the hungry crew. We were even introduced to the newest future WNRider as Scott & Katherine brought their new boy Finn to join the group for dinner. As always, there was good conversation around the table much of which centered on cycling, training theories & practices leading up to the race. Should we taper off & rest or continue to ride hard? Regardless, it should be a great year at the Ore to Shore, in fact, this may be the most well attended year by the WNRiders. I think just about everyone that rode will be in Marquette for the race, not to mention, several others that weren't able to make it to this ride.

Thanks for reading, it has been a while since I've posted on the T2 blog but Pete has thrown down the gauntlet & opened up the WNR reporting to weekly volunteers and has put a 6-pack of fine beer on the line for the best post of the month. Basically, someone new will take a turn at the weekly report and at the end of the month, our impartial, Flagstaff-based rider & blog judge, Sarge will determine a winner. As you can see, I'm going for volume & hoping that word-count least I didn't double space! Next week's ride at the Meadow for one last ride (hopefully mild not wild) to give us some nice single track to enjoy before the race.

Here's a late picture addition of Finn Alexander...for cute points! (tugs at your Daddy-to-be heartstrings doesn't it Sarge?) Thanks to Sarah for the pic!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

A Preview and a Review

The Preview:

As some of you may have recently heard, Kristina and I are expecting a child on Dec. 20th!!!  We are so excited and extremely stoked to be parents.  I've been a bit preoccupied lately with the thoughts of being a dad.  As well as reading lots of books and pamphlets, I've been doing quite a bit of research on the internet regarding what to expect as we get further along in pregnancy.  While doing this internet research, I'm easily distracted, though; and, as I cruise a handful of bicycle blogs that I like to read on a regular basis, I found the two videos below.  I suppose there is some new meaning to these now.  Something for me to look forward to teaching and watching my son or daughter do on a bicycle.

I think I'd get this kid some pedals, but he sure does stylee maneuvers without them.

This kid amazes me as well; i can only dream of shredding the gnar like this.

The Review:

As I had posted a few weeks earlier, I finally broke down and bought a high end freewheel for the Surly 1x1.  My initial, pre-ride thoughts regarding the White Industries 16 tooth freewheel were very positive and encouraging that I had made a great purchase.  After several rides using this new, thread-on freewheel, my initial thoughts were confirmed.  It is so reminiscent of when I got my first set of Chris King hubs.  The engagement action is great, it rides smooth, and it's everything I ever wanted in a freewheel.

I'd give it thumb's up as well, Chuck.