Tales of Broken Parts and Awesome Hair

I hoped to write a post today about the fun mountain bike ride I had this weekend, but as luck would have it, this is a different story.

We loaded up and headed to Mitchelsville Store to meet up and discuss where to ride.  We met a couple there visiting from Fort Campbell checking out the Shawnee.  I’d been messaging these guys on smbatrails.com answering questions about where to ride and what not.  Kind of wild we would run into them.  Schedules didn’t allow us to ride together, they were doing a hike Sunday afternoon, but the guy had really good things to say about the trails he had ridden and the campgrounds.

So ended up going to The Back Nine, which is essentially is the hollows around Pounds Hollow.  About a half mile into the ride I ran over a stick which tore my derailleur hanger off, again.  Normally I might get kind of mad, but I just kind of accepted it.  Just another ride that ends with me walking.  Anyway by now I should learn to carry an extra hanger.  Shauna was nice enough  to come pick me up but I had to walk a couple of miles to the highway so she could find me.

Broke Down

Broke Down

IMG_20150928_141546_190It was raining by the time I got home, since i was all dressed up I got on the road ride and went all out for 43 minutes burning all the energy I would have used in a 3 hour mountain bike ride.  Riding in the rain was invigorating and fun.

Rolled out my bike to ride this afternoon and found that the rear tire was shredded.  It was missing rubber everywhere.  This is the second Vittoria Rubino Slick that has done this.  I was riding so hard yesterday in the rain that the wheel was spinning out occasionally in the rain, but I can’t believe that I did that.  The tires been on the bike for about 3 months.

While I was riding in the rain Sunday Peter Sagan was busy winning the World Championships which was held in Richmond VA this year.  Finally a world class rider with hair that can match the Great Chippolini.  Seriously I want Sagan’s hair.


Peter Sagan (Slovakia) on the podium after winning the Elite Mens Road Race at the 2015 UCI World Championships

Peter Sagan (Slovakia) on the podium after winning the Elite Mens Road Race at the 2015 UCI World Championships


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First Day of Fall

“Here we come to the turning of the season, witness to the arc of the sun.”
From the Decemberists’ song “Don’t Carry It All”

Here’s some of my recent photography some are from around Harrisburg and some are from Bell Smith Springs.

I took a few artistic liberties with this picture concerning the foliage.  Photoshop makes early fall look even better!

I took a few artistic liberties with this picture concerning the foliage. Photoshop makes early fall look even better!

sunset selfie

road less traveled



cemetery again

rock cubes fallen

natural arch

fragile system

bell smith springs


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The Ruby and Flat Tires


We layed up this tree to make it a bit easier. 

I’ve been on a roll the last couple of weeks.  In my last two mountain bike rides I’ve had to push my bike out of the woods because of flat tires.  The first one was a 5 mile push caused by a tire that came apart, the second one was a flat on my Bandersnatch and I’d forgot to bring a wrench to take off the back wheel which bolts on.  It was only a 2 mile walk.

Yesterday I managed to actually complete a mountain bike ride without a flat, though the tire went flat overnight.  I actually bought an almost brand new “Racing Ralph” take off tire from Dan’s Comp when Shauna and I went to Evansville recently. I mounted this tire tubeless with Stans on the Bandersnatch and it performed really well yesterday.  The Racing Ralph tire seems to have a really supple ride even with 35 pounds of pressure.





Having a good time. 

Sadly when I looked at my tire several hours after the ride it was almost flat and has a slight cut in the sidewall, of course the trail we rode is pretty harsh on equipment.  We rode a trail called “The Ruby” it’s one of the best trails in the Shawnee.  It has a mix of very technical rocks, switchbacks, and some climbing, along with some fast, fun, flowy sections.  It’s very rocky and tough on the bike and rider.  I don’t think the tire is ruined but it may need some patching inside to hold air.

The Bandersnatch is by far the best bike I’ve ever ridden for the technical trails.  It’s so stable and it seems like you can push it through anything.  The Shimano Alfine 8 speed rear hub is still performing flawlessly with zero maintenance since I bought it used.  It’s a fantastic system once you get everything set up right.  The only thing better would be for me to quit being a wuss and actually go single speed.


Joe on a Switchback

One of the guys with us is an awesome road rider, but doesn’t get on the trail all that often.  He did very well, his biggest problem was the real technical stuff where pedal control is very important.  A section of trail that goofed him had a rocky step up that he didn’t make.  I approached the section and tried to pay attention to what I was doing, see if I could get an idea what I was doing different.  As I approached the rocky ledgey step up without thinking I set my pedals nearly horizontal and a quarter second later  yanked the front wheel up with a timed pedal stroke that bashed against the top of the step a bit but propelled the rest of me up and over the ledge with a thump.  Now a good rider would have unweighted the back wheel and lifted the front even higher to seemingly float the back wheel up and over the ledge, but I’m a basher.


Drew may be having second thoughts here.


Dave and Joe

The trails have finally dried out and the horses are starting to pack in in the dirt. Temperatures are going down and the foliage is starting to thin out a bit. Mountain Biking is starting to get good.

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The Program Trailer

I knew there was a Lance Armstrong movie in the works for a long time, even long before his downfall.  I wasn’t sure what they were going to do with it, but from this trailer I just watched it looks amazing.  I’ve read alot of this stuff and this just seems to fit.  Chris O’dowd is a fantastic actor and Ben Foster looks to have Armstrongs mannerisms down, he even looks like him with a cycling cap on.  Whoever they have playing Doctor Ferrari could pass for the man.  I can wait for October 16th to see “The Program.”

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Riding with the Tri Crowd

triathletesSo I took off for a little ride last night, without any real desire or direction I headed out to Bluehole where I’ve been doing hill repeats of late.  On my 3rd hill repeat I saw a rider near the top of the hill.  On my 4th hill repeat I saw some more riders gathering at a nearby house for a ride.  For a cyclist like me who loves to ride with other people, and lives in a place where so few other people ride seeing a group ride forming up is an exciting prospect.

The guys invited me to ride out to Glenn O Jones with them and even though I’d told Shauna I’d be home in an hour I thought, this only happens like, well never, so I’m in.  Turns out the 3 guys are planning to do a half ironman in November.  I knew all of them, but not well.  They all rode tri bikes, and almost immediately dropped down into the super aggressive aerobar position.  Using my finely tuned personal communication skills I immediately told them most road bikers don’t like triathletes.  After I pulled my foot out of my mouth I explained how i didn’t feel that way, but some of the road bikers I had ridden with in the past have a chip on their shoulder about triathletes.

Riding with people on aerobars changes the dynamic of riding just a bit, one of the first things I noticed was how fast they were downhill, at the top of a hill I began to coast and they all coasted away from me.  I usually tend to be the fastest rider downhill.  On the 5 mile flat road out to Glenn O we hauled, the tri bikes are truly in the element o a road like that.

Now as I said, “I don’t have any problem with triathletes on road bike rides,” but I’m not real keen on the aerobar position in groups, I have personally seen and heard many stories about guys riding aerobars in a group coming to ruin. Unless you are the front rider you really need access to your brakes, that’s just a fact.  These guys stayed on their aerobars almost the entire ride, which is impressive to me, and when we rode single file, they kept a healthy distance apart, in short they rode very well and left me with no reservations about riding with the tri-crowd.

I have the utmost respect for triathletes, the amount of work it takes to be competitive in 3 separate sports is staggering.  I’m just barely able to ride enough to be a decent cyclist, I can barely jog, and I’d drown in the pool.  Hope to ride with them again.

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Happy Labor Day Comrades

P9060128 - CopyI had a few options for riding this fine Labor Day.  A couple of mountain bike options and my parents were doing a hilly road bike ride from Eddyville.  After some consideration I decided to ride with my Mom and Dad, they’ve been putting on massive miles this summer, almost twice the miles I ride, and I knew they would be in good shape for the hilly ride.  The route was one of my favorites from Eddyville to Golconda and then on towards Bay City.  The roads are fantastic, as long as you don’t mind almost constant hills.

Welcome .

Welcome .

This route was originally planned many years ago by my friend Terry who has moved on from riding.  Terry loved to plan super difficult road bike rides that he was just barely able to finish.  He would often be desperately searching for a shade tree near the end of the ride.  We had no such problems today, everyone finished strong, my Mom took the QOM on the final climb. We decided to dedicate the ride to Terry, so man, where ever you are, awesome route.

P9060132 - CopyI took lots of selfies in honor of the day, woo, I think that’s the first time I used the word selfie.  Upon returning home I stepped on the scale to find myself 2 pounds lighter then when I left.

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A Fine Day in the Woods



Sunday morning is the traditional weigh in for the Matt and Shauna weight loss competition, I won for a second week in a row.  I’m still trailing Shauna by about 50 dollars, but I could come back.  I lost 2.5 pounds to Shauna’s 1.5

Sunday the gang got together for a ride at One Horse Gap.  We’ve taken to riding the Gap a bit differently then we have in the past.  We’re parking at Hogg Cemetery and starting on the East side of Benham ridge and riding the new benchcut trails all the way up to Benham ridge road and back.  The trail was really good, almost completely dry.

Hogg Cemetery is out new launch point

Hogg Cemetery is out new launch point

Sometime back the crank in the Bandersnatch failed and I haven’t rode it in  months.  I swapped out the chainring and put in my old LX octalink  crank  with internal bottom bracket.  I don’t think I’ll ever buy another outboard bottom bracket crank again.  I’m going back to octalink or square taper from now on.  I’m tired of throwing away seized up bottom bracket bearings.  The Bandersnatch has still got the Alfine 8 speed drive which I’m happy to say was flawless.  I ran the tires a bit on the low side hoping for no pinch flats and it worked out great.  The low pressure made the ride so much more enjoyable on the rigid ‘snatch.

Completely bonked

Completely bonked

At the beginning of the ride i felt fantastic, about an hour in I was feeling hunger knocks.  We stopped and I inhaled a cliff bar.  About 15 minutes later climbing the 3 mile “Coon” trail I bonked.  I shifted down and just spun up the hill almost in a daze.  I’m quite certain the bonk was from low blood sugar.

At the top of the climb Drew hooked me up with some candy orange slices, the first candy I’ve ate in 2 weeks.  After resting and cooling off I had my energy back and rode fine for return trip.

It was an excellent ride with the guys and I’m looking forward to the next.


You can’t take Barry anywhere.

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