Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fat Bike Beat Down

Five and a half hours into the ride we ran down our list of aches and pains. "Oh God my butt is KILLING me". "My hands are sore". "My back and neck hurt". "My knees are a mess". "The balls of my friggin' feet are sore" (Bryan was literally pedaling with his heels at this point).
It has been months since we've indulged in a beat down of this magnitude. Even longer since we've gotten up at 5:00am in sub-freezing weather for the beat down. 

Our Tour de Perkiomen (led by Rob - thank you FaceBook) used miles of scenic creek-side Perkiomen trail to string together a grind up the backside and down the front side of Spring Mountain and a spin around Knight Lake in Green Lane Park. Cool temps and a warm sun made for ideal riding conditions. 

Most of us were also on fat bikes which makes just about any ride more fun. Fat bikes are ironically very nimble and they go just about anywhere as long as have the legs to keep pushing the pedals. They also put smiles on the faces of civilians who think they look like clown bikes. 

And there is something immensely gratifying about suffering together and draining the tank bone dry once in a while.

Chris

"Suffering has a luminous beauty, and cleanses the mind in much the same way a wildfire clears an overgrown forest."
     -- Mike Ferrentino

P.S. Thanks to Kirk and Rob for the snaps.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Magical

Today was the first FHHR since the Kingdom '14 trip - a chance to catch up with friends I hadn't seen in a while (two of whom were Kingdom '13 riders who sadly couldn't make this year's trip).
Tangent: I'm embarrassed to say that I rode from the cheater lot (I didn't know how my back would handle the milk run the The Beer Tree). I'm glad to report that, while still a bit tender, it felt OK and I am optimistic about Allegrippis '14 which is just around the corner. Yes, two bike trips in one month. I am a lucky guy.
The Beer Tree flaunting
her stuff in the warm
evening sunlight
Dirty Penny Gets Nailed
at The Beer Tree
This Friday's FHHR menu included home-made beef jerky, one of Jesse's vegan chocolate coconut masterpieces, and beer "samples" from the up and coming Boxcar Brewery.

The company, the weather, and the low evening sun reflecting off the lake made it kind of magical. Especially the company.

Chris

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose."
     -- Dr Seuss

Making Omelets


$4 for a craft beer and a shower at Mike's Tiki Bar sounds like a pretty good deal. Add in seven guys with a long-weekend hall pass, a rented post-and-beam farmhouse with a million dollar view of Vermont's Green Mountains, and countless miles of world class singletrack and you've got more than a pretty good deal. You've got the  recipe for one amazing omelet.

Omelet? Let me explain. We'll start with the ingredients:
  • Mike's thatched roof Tiki Bar sits at 45° north latitude. There are not many Tiki Bars that close to the North Pole. Instead of Stripers and rum drinks, Mike had 25 varieties of craft beer on tap.
    Our perch overlooking The Kingdom.
  • We started with eleven guys prior to the trip, lost two to nasty mountain biking accidents, one to a sales conference, and one to the legal system, which left seven of us to carry the flag to The Kingdom. A couple nicknames were revived and/or earned, including Rug and Ginger Lips. I'm not going to elaborate, join us on a ride if you want to learn more.
  • Our base of operations was a rented post-and-beam farmhouse on about 15 acres of land on a hilltop overlooking The Kingdom. It was equipped with four bathrooms and a fridge large enough to (barely) hold a substantial supply of bacon, pulled pork, smoked london broil, and Cincinnati chili. I think there may have been some vegetables in there somewhere but can't be sure.
    Early Morning
    Wrenching
  • Over 100 miles of amazing singletrack, with many capital improvements since last year's trip. I don't know where to start, so I'll just mention that Farm Junk had a lot of work done on the top side. Riverwood was a tight twisty masterpiece which we rode in both directions - multiple times - and spurred many fruitless debates about which way was better (this type of argument is clearly a "first world problem" that we're happy to have). Leatherwood, Pines, Kitchel (Oh My God), Tap and Die, Troll Stroll, Webs, New Webs. The list goes on and on. 
  • Random ingredients added "to taste": Homey the Clown, a very angry guitar player, and a bottle of root. 
Broken Egg #1
(look closely)
We started mixing the ingredients Thursday morning at 5:30am and by mid-morning on Friday the Dirty Penny Fan Club was back in business (after 12 hours of unnecessary self-inflicted panic) and we were on the trails. By Sunday night we were sore from laughing and dog-tired from dozens of miles of single track, repairing a set of hydraulic brakes, and one marathon poker game. We had eaten a pig and probably half a cow and of course we had broken a few "eggs" for the omelet (actually a tooth, a chain, a shin, and a lower back). 

So sure, this recipe can be a little messy and takes some time to prepare, but it's a real crowd pleaser. A keeper.

Broken Egg #2



Chris

"If you want to make an omelet, you're gonna have to break a few eggs"
     -- Chris (one of the eggs)

"Fixing chains makes me gassy."
     -- Flatch

"Root makes me gassy."
     -- Flatch

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Calling an audible: MC 630 Phat

It was a good call and here is the photosphere to prove it. Give it a whirl (literally)...

 

More (and better) to come I am sure.

Chris

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose"
     -- Dr Seuss

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Brew Screws and Compounding Math

Victory! The newly installed
Brew Screw in action.
Tonight under the cover of darkness we would do some multiplication and we would screw a pedal into The Beer Tree. But first we had to get out of the parking lot which was proving to be a challenge. We were already two riders down, and both of these riders were centerpieces of tonight's ride. They were night riding newbies. Even better, for one of them it would have been his first time in clipless pedals. But they were last minute scratches due to a light failure (rider #1) and a logistical snafu (rider #2).

So we were down to six riders, clipped in and rolling into the darkness, when ChrisR quipped "wait, i have to take care of something" and abruptly turned back to the parking lot. How that something wasn't taken care of earlier we will never know, but it was promptly dispatched and we were rolling again into the darkness to do our math and to screw a pedal into a tree.

Bryan's dentist had no idea that a few short
hours after his root canal he would be
clipped into The Beer Tree serving
microbrews off the bottom of his foot.
The trails were dry and the lead-out single speeders were throwing up a lot of dust. With a light on my head it looked like I was riding through a thick fog. The narrow bridges and twisty single track all looked a little narrower and twisty-er in the dark and the gazillion-lumen light on MikeM's head (behind me) cast shadows on the trail ahead. Night riding turns familiar trails into unfamiliar trails and makes everything feel just a little riskier (probably because it is). It also feels just a little bit illicit which is articulated so well in this brilliant blog post about why night riding is like hotel sex.

A couple hours earlier Bryan was speaking with his dentist about his après root-canal evening plan. to ride a mountain bike in the woods at night. She said he was medically cleared but that his plans sounded dubious. She didn't know the plans also involved a stop a The Beer Tree where we'd do some compounding math by introducing another risk fun factor (beer) into our already complex equation of fun = riding bikes * in the woods * at night.

The Brew Screw newly installed on
The Beer Tree under cover of darkness
All singletrack eventually leads to The Beer Tree and tonight was no exception. After a CCW spin around The Double Bonus Loop we found ourselves in the warm embrace of The Beer Tree and what would be a special night for many reasons:
  1. Mark singing the Lowenbrau jingle ("Here’s to good friends, tonight is kind of special. So tonight, tonight, let it be Löwenbräu")
  2. Our first field install of The Brew Screw.
  3. Bryan clipping himself into The Beer Tree because... well... because now he could.
Around 10:00 pm we put our cold wet sweaty gear back on and saddled up for some more drinking beer riding bikes * in the woods * at night. Three riders headed to almost certain disaster on the new yet-to-be-named trail in The Forbidden Lands and the rest of us headed back to the parking lot, showers, and in my case half a pint of Ben and Jerry's "That's My Jam Core" ice cream.

What a great ride. Kinda special.

Chris

"Wait, i have to take care of something"
     -- ChrisR

Friday, July 18, 2014

Brew Screw

We've sunk to new lows and we think you should too.

Introducing the Brew Screw.

For about the cost of a six pack of craft beer you can convert your old SPD pedals into a nifty conversation piece and bottle opener with which to open that six pack of craft beers. If that circular reasoning is not enough to convince you, then you should also consider that:
  1. Repurposing your pedals is green in that "not actually green but makes me feel good about myself" sort of way.
  2. It is a definite conversation starter because people are still confused when they see a pedal screwed into the side of a tree.
  3. It was hand made by mountain bikers in a garage while drinking beer (more of that circular reasoning).
We recognize these are lofty claims so we produced the following video documenting the successful use of the first Brew Screw that came out of the garage off the assembly line.

video

We're a small operation and supplies are somewhat limited BUT we still haven't burned down the garage and we have plenty of beer so rest assured we'll be cranking these puppies out and hawking them on eBay as fast as we can.

If you have questions or comments or would like to pre-order, please shoot us a note at BrewScrew@hotmail.com.

Thank you for your support of this questionable endeavor.

Chris

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fiver

Kirk reconnoitering
"The Contraption"
"Kind of like White Clay" is what Bryan told us. But it's small and it's a bit of a haul (1 hour 20 minute drive from Lyndenwood) so it never quite made it into the weekend rotation. Finally this weekend with an appetite for an early 8:00am start, we made the trek to Trexlertown.
Tangent: "Early" start you say? Well yes because there are a lot dominoes that have to fall before a morning ride. The first domino is coffee and the forth or fifth domino is the 80 minute drive, but the problem is the approximately 20 minute delay between domino one and domino two. And you can't skip domino two. In my case, this game of dominoes translated into a 5:00 am alarm for me personally. 
The drive into the preserve reminded my of my rides in Wyoming and California. Small steep ravines, open vistas. The weather didn't hurt either (low 80s, dry air, blue sky, brilliant sunshine).

We saddled up, dove into the single track, and after a short climb (which, yes, could have been mistaken for White Clay) we were treated to some downhill flow like I've never seen on in SEPA (but did see in The Kingdom last year). Huge bermed diving turns one after another. Real table tops. Big pump-worthy rollers. Perfect flow through dense green cover mixed with excellent views. Most of the trails are directional - the downs obviously good for only one thing and the ups were deceptively gentle with lots of tight switchbacks that got us back to the top with seemingly no effort.

There were also a few miles of trails bench cut into the side of the various ravines. Fast and again expertly designed. There were also plenty of stunts in a small skills park as well as "The Contraption" (a compact collection of skinnies and ramps with at least a 6' drop on one side). We ogled but did not ride it although I think the wheels were turning in Kirk's head.

They've packed an incredible amount of fun into a small space here. It felt like about noon when Bryan told us it was 9:30. We were all giddy and couldn't believe we'd only been riding for an hour. So we rode another hour. And then we rode some more.

Thanks Bryan for your persistence. T-Town is definitely on the rotation now and I will have some super-sweet dreams tonight.

Chris

"Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for one more ride."
     -- Unknown