Friday, April 30, 2010

English Ivy

This month's invasive exotic species is the deplorable English ivy (Hedera helix). Native to most of Europe where natural controls keep this unwieldy vine in check, it has become a particular problem in the United States and Australia. Much like kudzu, English ivy will slowly take over a forest and eventually wrestle entire trees to the ground under its oppressive weight. On Earth Day '10, English forces joined the Friends of Rock Creek Park in an effort to halt the advancement of the English ivy take over. It is a slow tedious process, but I guess Rome wasn't built in a day. And all of this leaves me with an ethical dilemma. What should I do with the English ivy my grandmother gave me for my 30th birthday?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Baker's Dozen

What better way to get to know your new team than to race with them for 13 hours and then hang out around a bonfire with lots of good beer? Emily, Jessica and I came together as the Gripped Racing Chicks in the 3-person coed class. Although we knew the winning teams would most likely be comprised of a mmf combo, we didn't let that get us down. We fought the good fight and laid it on the line each and every lap. Jeff even joined me on a lap, sitting on my wheel and offering words of encouragement along the way (I think that ended up being my fastest lap). The course is fast and smooth, with only a few rock features here and there just to keep things interesting. Although we didn't take home the win (that went to Wes Schempf and Co.), it does look like we were the first all female team. Can't wait for next year, I hear there may be a 3-person category just for the ladies! Oh, and I forgot to give props to Amanda Watson for coming out with her drums! Hope you're killin' it down at Speed Week Amanda!


Things have been quite hectic lately, which has left me precious little time for the blogging. Right now I have a back log of three race reports, roughly five or six deep thoughts, two invasive exotic species of the month, some FBC news, and a few other miscellaneous items. For right now I'll do a brief race report from Tsali. (click photo to enlarge)

On our way down south, Jeff and I managed to talk past our exit forcing us to drive through the heart of Gattlinburgh, which is kind of the Epcot of Tennessee (Tennessee's Disney World equivalent being Dollywood). Although it's a big drive, I always welcome an opportunity to race on Appalachian soil and squeeze in a quick visit with the family.

Neither Jeff nor I had a fantastic race. Although Tsali is fairly untechnical, there are very few places to pass on the course as much of it is narrow, side-hill singletrack. I had a pretty bad starting position, which is really no one's fault but my own. Also, because the course wasn't too technical, it didn't really play to my strengths very well. I need to stop scrubbing so much speed on the berms.

Jeff had an amazing start with a four man break on the first lap, but then had a number of mechanicals including a massive gash in his side-wall, causing him to ride the last lap on a flat. He is a bigger person than I am. I would have made my way for the car after mechanical #2. (click photo to enlarge)

The biggest success of the entire weekend was Jeff's Autobottle (c). Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the Autobottle in action, but suffice it to say that the Autobottle is the latest in self-feeding technology.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Frederick Bicycle Coalition!

The Frederick Bicycle Coalition is up and running!!! Soon our website will be ready to accept member applications and donations. We are also hosting a fundraiser at AgorDolce on April 2oth. Click image to enlarge:

Happy Valley

Last weekend's trip to State College reminded me of why I love riding my bike in the woods so much. Accompanied by Jeff and my former housemate Jordan, we spent the weekend barrelling up and down all of my favorite trails in Rothrock. Going in through Shingletown, the trail snakes along Roaring Run and you are enveloped in a dense canopy of hemlocks. Even IMBA took note of these ancient hemlocks in the IMBA Epic ride description:

Pausing for some water and a bite to eat four hours into the legendary R3 ride, I'm mesmerized by the ancient hemlock forest. The steady rain has drenched everything and heightened the trees' pungent aroma. The country's oldest stand of hemlocks, protected here in the 90,000-acre Rothrock State Forest, are a defining highlight of the Roth Rock Ride.

After a long day in the woods, Jeff and I gorged ourselves on ice cream at the Penn State Creamery and then headed to Elk Creek in Milheim. It was so good to see so many old friends, it really is Happy Valley.

Unfortunately, I don't have a whole lot of room in my jersey pockets for a camera now that I only have one bottle cage (the only down side of full suspension) so I will have to dig into my archives of State College photos and rely on my illustrative talents.

In other news, my old truck has found a new home on the Kreitz
Show Cattle farm.