brickhouseracing

December 12, 2010

Syllamo- the Google Earth Adventures

Filed under: Trail Riding,Training — Andrea @ 10:14 pm

After using Google Earth to find some really fun stuff to add to local road rides, I wanted to see if there was anything of interest in the area near the cabin at Syllamo. I’ve always wanted to figure out a way to get up & down the mountain to Hwy 5 without using the death trap that is Hwy 9 (the road that takes you from the White River to the cabin neighborhood). To my surprise, there is a whole network of unmarked roads just across the highway. We found our way down and back up without too much trouble.

We also explored an abandoned forest road (apparently part of Old Hwy 5) that cut across the Orange and Blue Trails. The end result was a little less singletrack that what we normally get on a Syllamo trip (also, in part, due to halfway bonking on Saturday and an Arctic airmass w/25mph winds on Sunday). We still rode through the requisite rock gardens, ate catfish, and put some Christmas lights up on the cabin as a surprise for my parents (I wasn’t going to post the photo or say anything on here about it, but since they said that they may not make it back over anytime soon, I figured they’d want to see).

Speaking of rock gardens- SYLLAMO’S REVENGE IS AN NUE RACE IN 2011!!! That’s right… 100 miles of racing on my most favorite trail system ever. Can’t. Wait.

I feel like I’ve been a little off my posting game lately. Eh. It’ll come back like rock garden mojo…

December 9, 2010

Busiest day in the world

Filed under: non-bike — Andrea @ 11:03 pm

Well, in mine, at least.

Before I head off to bed, here’s a rundown:

Woke up late- 5:30am, immediately changed and went to the gym to lift, shower, snack, drop Thor off at the vet (in Germantown) for 2nd round of kitten shots, drove downtown for a “business” breakfast at The Arcade (OMG, sweet potato pancakes!), back to Cordova to the grocery store, drop of groceries, pick up Thor & drop him off at home, go to work, build a bike, other random stuff, re-organize the shoe section, have lunch (at 5:30), prep singlespeeds for Syllamo action, get home at 9:00, have dinner, pack, and type this somewhat uninteresting post about my day. I believe I’m just about ready to become one with my bed.

In blog geek news, I’ve been playing around with the Woopra site stats analyzer some more, and am happy to see that the birthplace fanbase in Evansville, IN still seems to be growing. Memphis and the surrounding area still gives me the most traffic, though- you all are easily more than half of the 150-250 visitors I get every day. Glad to know that I am keeping the hometown entertained.

Mountain View, I haven’t forgotten you, either. Ryan & I will be out that way this weekend for some singletrack. For now, though, it’s bedtime…

December 8, 2010

And, in squishy news…

Filed under: Product Reviews,Trail Riding — Andrea @ 8:39 am

The Jet9 is back in working order now.

Following the Fool’s Gold brake destruction, I took the Avid brakes off of it to use on my One9. After much unsuccessful cleaning/bleeding, I finally sent the Formula R1s off to Formula for service. They have a quick turnaround, and the tech I talked to was very nice. They replaced the diaphragms inside both brake bodies (they’d apparently imploded when the pads wore through to the backing and the pistons extended too far), a piston, and cleaned the grit out from behind the pistons. All done at no cost to me other than shipping. Thanks!

Though they did take a fair amount of bleeding (lots of air trapped in the calipers), and a little cussing and shimming to get centered/not rubbing, they are now back on the Jet… though I might swap them back over to the One9 since I find them irresistibly sexy in both looks and feel (also part of why I call them the “high maintenance boyfriend” of hydraulic brakes).

Ryan and I are heading to Syllamo this weekend, but I’m going to leave the Jet at home for now. It’s all shiny and clean, and therefore looks really nice in my living room.

December 6, 2010

And, in bike news…

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 9:14 am

Yea, two posts in one day. Seems I’ve got a lot to talk about this morning.

The wheels are starting to turn on an Air 9 Carbon build. Once again, I need some help from the studio audience. This is going to be my primary race machine. While I plan on racing singlespeed whenever it’s either a)offered as a women’s category or b)not offered, but not a disadvantage, either (example of a “good” singlespeed course: Syllamo; example of a course where it’s a disadvantage against geared riders: Shenandoah 100)

Bottom line- there are going to be times when I want gears.

Enter the SRAM EP (employee purchase) program. I can get an XX group (including the fork and brakes I need for my SS build) for less than retail price (the first rule of EP is that you don’t mention the actual cost of EP). My original plan was to utilize the XX crank and hunt down a SS ring to convert it much like I have the Noir crank that I use on my One9. However, I found this memo from Niner:

There appears to be a compatibility issue with the GXP version of the SRAM XX crank and our CYA system. The GXP design has 4mm of float built into the system. This can in some cases allow the CYA cup to push out of the frame 4mm and cause the chainring to rub the Ti guard.  If a customer wants to use the XX crank on the AIR9 Carbon it should be in the BB30 style crank set.

So… this throws a proverbial wrench into my plans since the Niner EBB isn’t made for a BB30 crank. Sure, I could just have two cranks (a SS one and a BB30 XX one) and two BB inserts (the EBB and the BB30), but that would mean spending more money and time when I want to jump to gears and back. I’ve been researching and sorting through options, and this is what I’ve come up with so far:

-Get the XX group minus the crank and purchse a different crank that uses an EBB-compatible bottom bracket. Get a crank that can be run with either 2 rings or 1, such as the triple (with some modification) from e*thirteen.
-Get a nice SS crank (such as the one on the e*thirteen site linked above) and a chain keeper (again, refer to above link). Go 1×10. This represents my simplest option. No front shift housing/derailleur to mount, and no chainrings to change out. However, is it the most advantageous from a performance standpoint? Simplicity is good, but being able to go fast is the #1 priority.

So… what do you all think?

Google Earth Adventures

Filed under: Training — Andrea @ 7:36 am

Lately I’ve been put on a diet of long aerobic rides. Relaxing, yes. Boring? Also yes. In an attempt to add interest, I’ve taken to scanning Google Earth for “roads” that aren’t shown on the normal map. The result- discovery of the “remains” of the housing market that imploded upon itself circa 2006.

First, I found a couple of neighborhoods out in the Galloway/Hickory Withe area. These were projects by “Renaissance” Realty that were apparently cleared and subdivided for large estate homes. In two very large neighborhoods, I only saw a couple of houses, though. The streets were nice, but not really what I was after.
Next, I found Milton Wilson Road in Arlington. And yes, for you local people, I know that if you look on a map, Milton Wilson Rd. is on the other side of the city, but I’m just reporting the name that I saw on the street signs…

arlington

It’s essentially a 4×4 trail that goes from one spur of road to the other. The associated neighborhood has been under painfully slow construction since before I “learned” to ride a bike. I highly enjoyed the very non-road-bike-friendly trail (despite almost biting it when a stick momentarily lodged itself in my front fork), though it did employ some basic off-road handling skill. Proceed with caution.

The highlight of the ride, however, was the ruins of a Cordova neighborhood that I didn’t know existed until my sattelite view search. It’s a blocked-off road that I (as well as many other cyclists in the area) have ridden by hundreds of times on Latting Road without giving it much thought.

latting

What we found was pretty surreal. It looked as if the land was cleared and subdivided for small, close-together houses. However, that’s about as far as it went. In its current state, the road is now collapsing in on itself (including one road-width sinkhole that required some off-road excursion). Random piles of construction trash are everywhere, and trees are beginning to re-claim the asphalt…

trash

sinkhole

inthehole

tree

road1

road2

Sunday, my exploits took me north and east to the Lambert/Old Solomon Mill area. I ended up riding for just over 4 hours, and arrived home just before the sun started to set. I love the scenery in that area and need to get out there more often. The locals are pretty nice, too…

12_4n5_10 Gravel

December 1, 2010

Filed under: non-bike — Andrea @ 7:32 pm

I generally stick to the self checkout line at the grocery store. Today, though, they were down for service. So, I went through the full-service cashier/bagger line.

The woman bagging my groceries (Dora, according to her name tag) and I had the following conversation:

Her: You’re so beautiful and your skin is so nice, why do you have to do that? (she waves at her lip/nose area)

Me: I didn’t say anything, I just ignored her

Her: I know, I always say that to you when you don’t use the self-checkout

(I can’t remember the last time I used a full-service line or talked to this woman if I did)
Me: Yeah, that’s why I usually stick to the self-checkout, but it’s not an option today.

(Cashier laughs uncomfortably)

Her: Blah, Blah, Blah…

At this point, I bite my toungue. You see, Ms. Dora is overweight. I am sorely tempted to say something along the lines of, “You’re such a beautiful woman, why do you have to consume excessive numbers of calories and live a sedentary lifestyle?”

I took my groceries and left.

You know what? I have piercings. Ears, labret, and nostril.
You know what else? I have tattoos, also. Starting from the earliest…

Tribal calf band: My high school graduation present to myself. I picked it off the wall at Underground Art. It’s my least favorite, and I’ll likely get it covered up with something more creative in the future, but, no, I don’t regret getting it.

Wings: They’re just below the anterior waistline, and aren’t for general public viewing.I can assure you they look nice, though.

Phoenix: It covers the top half of my back, and is a representation of the general pattern of my entire life thus far.

Revelations Dragon: This one was inspired by a late-night radio sermon given by Jerry Falwell. I heard it on the way home from a bike race.

DSC_0666

The Dragon is not finished yet (it’s more complete than the posted photo, but still not fully filled in). With my recent change in employment combined with monthly payments to The Wizard, I just haven’t had the cash to get the work done.

That’s besides the point, though.

I think I’m going to start criticizing people’s choices in accessorizing themselves in ways that I don’t approve of:

Hey, lady, you have such gorgeous salt & pepper gray hair, why do you color it?
Dude- your pecs and shoulders are gorgeous, why do you cover them up with that horrible Abercrombie T-shirt??
Wow, man, that a Corvette makes you look like you’re a douchebag having a midlife crisis, why do you drive it???
Ya know, that button-down shirt makes you look like a working stiff who hates his life.

Or, I could just mind my own business and take comfort in the fact that choices in self-accessorizing are what makes people different from one another. I suggest you do the same. Or not. It’s whatever you want to do.

November 29, 2010

ISO Gravel

Filed under: Training — Andrea @ 9:07 pm

I am having to work hard to keep my solo road rides interesting. Sunday, I came up with a route that incorporated 3 different gravel “roads” within its 60 miles:

Gravel #1- Nuckolls Rd. from Macon to Jenkins. I usually use that one, so I didn’t take any photos. It’s pretty straightforward hardpack. No real turns or rough spots.

Gravel #2- Fletcher between 196 and Collierville-Arlington. Probably my favorite. When you turn off of 196 to head towards Collierville, there’s a giant “road closed ahead” sign. I’m not sure if it will always be “closed,” but apparently they’ve closed a bridge and the adjoining area where I-269 is under construction. It’s not passable by car because of the concrete barriers, but if you’re willing to portage over those, grind/slog through some rutted up construction mud, and navigate a small ditch of baseball-sized rocks on the other side, you can totally ride through it.

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2

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Gravel #3- Wolf River Greenway between Collierville-Arl and Bethany Rd. “Technically” speaking, this might have been the toughest section. The gravel is more loose, there are people on horses, and the low water crossings have taken down at least one person attempting to navigate them on a road bike.

4

I’m always on the lookout for more gravel. Once my prescribed routes get closer to the 4-hour route, I’ll head up north a little to the Lambert/Solomon Mill area. Need. More. Suggestions?

November 27, 2010

Seriously?!

Filed under: non-bike — Andrea @ 8:38 pm

Ok, so I look at my blog stats every day. One of the things included with the wordpress stats report are search phrases that brought users to my blog. Apparently, some one found this site whilst searching for “cold wet tits.”

Really? Have I actually ever typed that phrase on this page? (before tonight)

Who sits at home and does web searches for that?! I guess I’m lucky that no one is finding me while google-ing “underage horse p()rn”.

November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Photo Dump

Filed under: non-bike — Andrea @ 6:51 pm

Menu: barley stuffed acorn squash, rosemary sweet potatoes, garlic green beans, pound cake, and fat tire beer…

How come most beer-drinking nights at my house usually end up with someone riding a wheelie through my kitchen?

November 23, 2010

Syllamo Sunday

Filed under: Trail Riding,Trails — Andrea @ 8:37 am

I realize that my previous post about Saturday’s ride at Syllamo was rather brief, but it was generally an ordinary (if you can call it that) ride at Syllamo- lots of rocks, some hike-a-bike, and a nice 3 hours of enjoying the singletrack. What made it even nicer was watching Ryan get better & more confident at riding his single speed through some of the rocky stuff (first time singlespeed on “real” trails for him).

Sunday was a fun change from the usual solo riding. We met up with a couple of friends from the Roadbikereview Lounge. The original plan was to ride the Yellow trail, though that was foiled when Scott went face-side down when he got squirrley down one of the hills. He broke a shifter, bar end, bent an axle, and generally roughed himself up in the process.

I’ve done more than one trailside singlespeed conversion out there, so I helped him rig his bike to a suitable gear, and we made our way back to the red trail (much more do-able on a broken-ish bike). After a scenic lap, we drove down to the green trail for a touch more rock garden and overlook (Scott hiked while Ryan, John, and I rode)

Even with the technical difficulties, it was a great morning with friends on the trail. It was a nice change of pace from the usual solitude that comes with riding such an isolated trail system. Looking forward to next time!

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