Monday, October 25, 2010

Mountain Biking and An Antelope Among the Cheetahs

Even though I promised to publish at least weekly blog posts for my 2 dedicated readers (my wife and my mom) it has been over a week and a half and the blog has been silent . Well I have to admit, after the excitement of the Antelope World Cup, I needed a refractory period to recover. Had there been an internet when I was teenager, I am sure I would have been able to blog several times a day. I was literally bursting with content. As a young man I could have easily blogged once a day. Now, as I approach my middle years, the refractory times between blogs seems to grow ever longer. In fact I am lucky if I can blog twice a week.

I realize there are other guys who are my age but can still blog every day. I totally respect these guys who  must have an extraordinary level of...content. Not everyone is blessed with high levels of content and we just have to make do. Of course it is well known that most women can easily blog about 26 days in a row, and, if they choose could blog several times a day. Most women, however, choose not to blog as much as they are physically able, preferring to blog only if they have some really good content.

Despite my refractory period, I have managed to keep riding regularly and had a great cycling weekend.  Like many avid cyclists, I go “both ways.” Yes, in addition to being a roadie, I mountain bike.  In October, the call of the single track becomes overwhelming, so when a buddy suggested a trip to Western North Carolina- I was ready to go.  I had all the ingredients for a perfect mountain bike weekend: 4.5 inches of suspension front and back (this is my minimum for even a sidewalk), beautiful weather, and a biking buddy with predilection for strippers and  beer. My buddy, who for confidentiality’s sake let’s just call "Haun" has his family and work colleagues fooled into thinking he is a mild mannered, somewhat geeky, and dedicated family man. But get him up in the mountains away from the diapers with some knobby tires and his inner beast erupts.

Single track ,strippers, and Beer, Bring it On!

For those roadies who wonder about mountain biking, you can find an indispensable guide from a talented blogger by clicking here.  The riding and the scenery was beautiful. Here is a view from one of Tsali’s look over points.

Hardly anyone falls off the side of the mountain into that lake. The trails are pretty and fast and mellow actually.

 At night it was a bit nippy and the strippers kept complaining they were cold so we built a roaring fire.

Fires burn upside down in NC

Because I am deeply dedicated to my relationship with MHW (“My Hot Wife”) I was a good boy and neither looked at the strippers below the neck or touched any part of them.  So I am unable to provide any pictures.   From my friend Haun’s description, however, they were true HillBilly beauties. Here is an artist's rendering of them:
You fellers want a lap dance?

Although I can’t provide any pictures of the strippers I can show you a naked and racey  up shot of my mountain bike, from the rear:
Over 4 inches of travel and ready to ride

Three days of mountain biking proved to be great training for the real challenge of the season, preparing to be the last Antelope dropped at the Winter Bike League rides. This past weekend I decided to go to the “Day After Ride” which is the Sunday ride following Single File Saturday (the summer WBL) so I could begin getting used to riding with the Cheetahs. I wanted to make a good impression on the local Cheetahs, so in order to prepare I visited my special advice web site:

I learned that wardrobe is key if you want credibility in fast pelotons.   So I made sure that my high viz, Nashbar jersey was clean. I found that I had other important equipment that would mark me as a fast guy worthy of respect including an adjustable stem, hairy legs, and non-bib shorts. I was looking and feelin fast!

Whose the Fred now baby! Let's ride!
I was a bit nervous in the Jittery Joe’s  parking lot. At first it looked like the ride wasn’t going to happen-- only one other rider was there but he informed me that cheetah rides don’t start until 15 minutes after the posted time and that most cheetahs don’t show up until 14 minutes after. Also cheetahs almost always ride to the start of a ride. I was really learning a lot. Sure enough at 9:14, the head cheetah arrived.

Good morning gentlemen.

He was actually a very nice fellow. I did notice later during the ride that he seemed to have some sort of lower leg deformity. There were lumps growing out of his calves.  I didn’t get a picture while we were riding but they looked kind of like this:

I was worried that this deformity might affect the poor guy’s speed and decided if he had any troubles I would go back and pull him to the group. It turns out those leg lumps are actually muscles and they really help pedal a bike.   I wondered if they were the result of some of those experiments I read about on the internet where someone injects their body with stem cells. If that’s the case, I hope he is being careful. I heard there have been some really bad results with stem cell injections. For example, here is a picture of a woman, who as a young girl had anal stem cells injected in an area above the shoulders:

Overall, I was quite relieved when only 6 people showed for the ride and everyone was over 40. I figured maybe the pace would be mellow. We started out a reasonable pace but the head cheetah really hammers no matter who is in the group. So I grabbed a wheel and prayed for flat terrain. Another interesting thing I learned was that Cheetahs don’t need to eat or drink on rides.  I have to drink a ton, as I am what is known as a “heavy sweater.” Here is a picture of me during a typical winter work day.

So I have had to develop a special system for hydration since I require a gallon bottle of water per hour I ride. Here is my special concept design bottle cage, which I refer to as my "hydration system":

Anyway, with my hi viz jersey, adjustable stem, and gallon jugs nothing could stop me from riding in top form.  It was a beautiful fall morning and with the Cheetah King pulling us through the wind we did 40 miles at a 20 mph average.  Despite a couple of iffy moments, when I cried quietly to myself  , I managed to stay with the pride the whole time.

So I plan to keep on training. Next Saturday the Cheetahs are doing the Jittery Joe’s Fall Classic, an ideal time to try and grab hold of some cheetah wheels and see if Ican do a metric in a 3 hours (saddle time that is, gotta get a banana and a refill at the midway sag). Any antelopes want to join me?

Pedal Hard

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