Monday, June 29, 2009

It's Hot

Sometimes, you just gotta lay in shallow a mud puddle and wallow a bit. (after urinating in it)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Father's Day Extravaganza 2009

This past weekend was packed start to finish.

A friend of mine and a helluva cross racer, Travis Book and his band the infamous stringdusters came to town Friday and I decided I was going to go see them. His wife also happened to cross paths with him this particular evening and she opened in a solo act for his band. She did a Blue plate special with WDVX on the radio and they both brought down the house that evening. My interest in live Bluegrass and the like were rekindled by the night's performances.

My first blue plate special at the new venue.

Travis and his wife live on the air.

The Infamous Stringdusters burning it up and kicking ass!
(as I blind them with my flash on...oops, amateur move)

Before the show we also stumbled across the Knoxville 4 square guild. They play every Friday night they can on the stage at Market square. There were girls in dresses, little kids, and even dudes with megadeath and my bloody valentine shirts playing. The most aggressive and dastardly players were actually the little kids as they were so damn low to the ground it was hard to cover their shots. My first round I tried to take it easy on this 5 year old with a snap on bracelet and she spiked it in my face. Needless to say the next time around I had no qualms shoving the ball at her with some speed. I made my way to the "King" square once. Up to this point in my life I had never played 4 square so I had a blast.

Abby also found a dachshund puppy she just had to hold.

The following morning at 5:45 Am Abby and I headed home for a father's day ride with mom and dad. We rode from the 421 Bridge over Holston mtn down past backbone rock and into Damascus. It was nice to see my old stomping grounds and riding to Damascus reminded me how painfully long it's been since I rode mtb there. I feel a challenge loop trip coming on soon on the old Iron mtn trail.

Our Route.

Elevation covered (small hill repeat on the way back)

A mailbox at the boat ramp was properly themed for the weekend's ride.

Riding up the winding road to the top of Holston Mtn.

Coming into Shady valley. Cloud cover stayed with us most of the day making a day that was supposed to sweltering, not to shabby.

Shady valley is absolutely beautiful and has lots of neat things to look at like this stone barn and grain elevator.

421 through Shady valley is diverted for motorized traffic past this point. A huge sinkhole opened a few months back, due to draining of the underground water aquifer and it was still expanding when we rode by it. It was amazing to see it slowly just sinking before our eyes. It looked like the pit in return of the Jedi where Jaba the Hut throws all his debtors.

Another view of country roads through the valley.

In the fall the cranberry festival in Shady Valley is where it's at.

Sorry Knoxville "the Dragon" doesn't have anything on "The Snake". This tower at the main motorcycle stops will gladly attest to that.

In July the country store plays the Tour De France live for all the motorcyclists to watch. Last summer we stopped in and there were a surprising number of them watching. The motorcyclists up here also seem to be a bit more tolerant of cyclists railing down the corners on the mtn.

There are two types of fuel here for you motorcycle.

Venomous with a little heed might just be the secret to success in the mtns. I'll test it next time.

Tater wedges and a big sandwich in Damascus helped power us back over the mtn.

Dairy King is also much better than the Queen.

Apparently the firefighters here are a little non traditional when it comes to training.

A neat display on the side of someones barn just outside of Damascus.

A few years back this thing was a rust bucket, I think it's been painted since then.

Looks better in B&W anyways.

TN never lets you forget you're coming into our great state.

The backbone rock area has a nice stream for dipping into, good shade, and scenery...ahem Caleb and Andy take note (just a few miles out of Damascus and worth the trip).

Backbone rock.

Climbing back up into shady valley. We met a few TCRC people on the way back and rode up into the valley with them.


By the time we looped back by the sinkhole it had deepened about 8 feet and the road around the hole was beginning to collapse...crazy.

Clouds started looking less friendly and more ominous. Descending on the frontside of Holston ran into some sprinkes and made it back to the car just in time to avoid a spectacular thunderstorm.

At home we watched as my parent's resident fat chipmunk battled with birds for feeder supremacy. The munk won most of the time.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Back" in the swing of things…

Commuting is back in full swing and my back is doing much better. I can put in long slow miles without my it complaining too much now, which is a welcome change. Last month I got a commuter award that motivated me further to avoid taking slack days by just riding to the bus stop and as a result I’ve put in several hundred miles plus in the previous weeks of commuting. (Big for me especially with loaded panniers) Last week was the longest in a while with a total tally of 165 miles from Monday through Friday.

It's a major award! Not quite as a good as a leg lamp, but it will do.

Stashed a "greenway broom" along this wall near walmart to sweep off glass from above.

I need to remember to bring some spray paint to disguise the new public tool.

Somehow I’ve been dodging most but not all of the afternoon thunderstorms. (yesterday I got hammered in a severe thunderstorm shortly before getting home) For a few I’ve had to hunker down in park shelters, but for the most part I’ve been hitting the lulls in between well. The weather for morning commutes has been cool and damp followed by hot clammy afternoons, so motivating myself to ride in the mornings has been a lot easier.

Looking out the lab windows some days...

It feels safer to stay a little later and get some extra work done.

Torrential rains always generate interesting water hazards.

Fenders are good.

Condo construction is bad.

Complaints to the city that make them repave quickly...good.

Lots of debris on the way these past few weeks.

Strawberry and banana shakes await me at home in the evenings as I sit on the porch and watch the distant thunderstorms.
Got out for a little trail work here and there and now I’ve really got the hankering to get back on the mtn bike. I’ve got it all adjusted and set up, I just need a week or so of dry weather so I don’t go shredding up wet trails.

Finally got a weekend to take it a little easy, did some yard work and a nice long rec road riding with D, DH, and E out far west on Sunday. I now have an upgraded cycle computer, which lets me log some ride data. I'm most interested in the elevation profiles, but I'm sure I figure everything out in short order. Here's my first attempt at a data log from our nice easy little ride...
Our route.

Speed? Clearly something happened here...

Elevation profile seemed to work well.

Looking forward to fat tire riding in the very near future...

In other news the new "Earth Unfare" opened at the old Bi-Lo site. While I support a message of sustainability their example is laughable. The parking lot was full of people from the Sequoyah hills area who drove their suburbans anywhere from about 1-3 miles down to the store (probably alone). I observed a woman in an Escalade parked with its engine running to keep the A/C on, while talking on her cell phone as I took a picture of this...

This is a bin of water bottles for people on the greenway to entice them into the store where they can buy a $5 head of organic lettuce trucked here all the way from California in much smaller quantities than your typical veggie shipments. (Don't worry it was probably solar powered) Bottled water is perhaps the pinnacle symbol of modern day wastefulness and unsustainability in a community where public water supplies are perfectly good to drink from. However, they did have a recycle bin next to it so the bottles could be trucked away, reconstituted releasing a variety of "toxic compounds" and resold to another customer who has been brainwashed into believing everything public is going to give you cancer. Funny thing is there were 5 empty bottles on the ground and 2 in the recycle bin when I went by. I challenge anyone who says our public water is bad to go to Mexico and have a cool glass of water without getting a raging case of GI disturbance. Until people learn to reproduce responsibly, organic sustainability is a waste of time as our carrying capacity for the planet is already reaching critical levels with current food production.

At least the New Earth Fare is in the third creek watershed vicinity so if you need an extra organic, chemical free, spring fed water bottle just head on downstream to the TN river pollution booms at the end of the tainted tributaries and pick one up.

And this morning another frivolous adventure in excessive over activism...