Umstead Park Again

Listener and I hit Umstead today. It was her first time there and my first time going deep into the park on the trails. Gore caught up with us in the park and we rode together to Reedy Creek Lake and back from the Old Reedy Creek trail entrance. Every time I go riding, I learn one more thing I can do to make the ride better or to get more power, etc. It was a great ride.

A Trek to Crabtree and Back

Yesterday I purchased a new Trek 4300 from Cycling Spoken Here. It was a great price and comes with free lifetime service at the shop. I also picked up an under-the-seat saddlebag. And then, gore and I hit the road.

We started at Maynard at road up the Black Creek Greenway. The Dynasty hill was tough, but I made it up without stopping and walking. Being able to get down into a low gear really helped. I didn’t stop till I got to Crabtree. That’s a small victory for me and it’s all because of the bike. It felt good, I wasn’t exhausted at that point like I used to be with my old bike. We pressed on into Crabtree trails so I could get a taste of the offroad. I enjoyed it a lot. And by the time I got halfway back home, I was finally starting to feel my energy waning. Though, I made it back with just a small stop before hitting the Dynasty hill once more. After the ride, I noticed a few things that were bothering me. So we stopped by Cycling Spoken Here and they trued my front wheel and adjusted the front derailer for me.

I wasn’t too sure about front suspension. It just didn’t exist when I was younger and it made the front end feel mushy. But going down any rough trails, I clearly felt a smoother ride and I felt the front wheel stayed on the ground better at higher speeds.

The $50 Bike

When I decided to pick up biking again, I found that my brother had left two bikes under my deck. One was worthless, but the other was workable and I cleaned it up some and pronounced it ride-able. I really wanted to use this bike and not buy a new one. I was trying to be thrifty or financially effecient. I’ve been riding three times now and after giving gore’s bike a try, I am convinced that the $50 bike is doubling the resistance on a ride. That’s not really a bad thing if your goal is to ride solo and feel like 3 miles is a brick wall ride. This bike also has a few features that I think are considered “retro” now. Calliper brakes, no real low gearing, and weighs close to 30 pounds.

So, I’ll be shopping around, looking for a new bike.

Umstead Park

Shew. I’m beat. Another day of riding with gore. This time we started out a little farther noth along the Black Creek Greenway at the North Cary Park. For my second time out, this time was much better.

Right out of the back of the park, the entrance to the greenway is a winding downhill path. The greenway path heading north was pretty nice and slightly downhill. A quick dip by Crabtree Lake still had me winded. We crossed the earthen dam and headed up the Umstead access road across highway 40. From here on up to the airport lookout was pretty tough on me. A steady, slow, uphill that sapped my strength. By the time we made it to the lookout, my legs were numb. Taking some Gatorade really helped a lot at this point. I could use more water on these rides. The ride back was awesomely fast and enjoyable. That long uphill turned into a good downhill with a very few uphills. We zoomed back to the greenway. It wasn’t a bad ride back from that point, but I had to take a few small breathers and walk up the final hill to the park.

So many people tell new riders what to buy or use. One of those things is a pair of riding shorts. This ride I had some and they really helped dampen the impact of a hardtail bike. BUT! I am really glad I did not buy them right off and never know why they are important, what they fix, etc.

I’m also not sure how much of my effort when riding is being directed at fighting my bike. It’s not a high dollar bike and has some hardware on it that is a pain. Nothing is quick lock, not even the seat. The brakes are calliper and don’t work so well. The frame is pretty heavy even compared to gore’s low-end Trek bike. So, I feel like the bike is making things a little harder. I’m not sure if that means a new bike, or a tune-up. We’ll see.

Black Creek Greenway

Yesterday afternoon, gore and I rode our bikes along the local greenway. It’s a first step in starting to bike. I probably rode to far, too hard, for the first time. So far, my butt is the only thing that’s hurting. Bike seats just take time to get used to. We went to REI afterwards since I wanted to get some riding shorts on the cheap (or as cheap as possible). Regardless of how rough it was, how winded I was, and how much my legs hurt, it was very fun to ride again.

I Want to Believe

Why do people let their desire to believe something become a barrier that seperates them from the truth of reality?

There is a book, “The Frightening Fraud” by Thierry Meyssan, that postulates that something other than a Boeing 757 crashed into the Pentagon. The author suppositions that the United States government performed some kind of fraud and lied about flight 77 hitting the Pentagon. You can read more about this here. I am not sure what Thierry Meyssan’s credentials are for aircraft crash investigation, but every aspect of this book falls apart under any investigation. There are also flash presentations and web pages that go over the same false reasoning. Being shown the right photos and given topical, leading statements, I am sure many people swallow this non-reality whole.

I watched a show on TLC or Discovery, I forget which. This program was about a group of amature investigators heading out to a Norwegian glacier lake to search for a mysterious monster. A few people on this team eventually came up with some evidence that rules out any very large creature living in the lake. Essentially, the lake lacked any real ecology that could support such a creature. The head of the team outright refused to acknowledge any damning evidence against the concept of a sea monster living in the lake. It was pretty obvious to me that this leader felt it was more important to believe in this creature than to find out the truth.

This motif is repeated over and over in TV shows, movies, and I even see it in some of my co-workers. An overriding desire to believe in some idea or concept that furthers their own personal world view. Holding such a belief leaves that person’s viewpoint of the world hanging in limbo when the reality comes to light in a way they can not avoid, overlook, or escape. Though, this probably doesn’t happen enough for my tastes. Being able to see the world from all different views and still maintain your own understanding of the universe is a hard thing to do, but it has great value.

Mini LAN Party

Yesterday was Labor Day and a LAN party broke out. We only played three games, and we probably overdid the Quake. We started with some 5 player Doom 3 deathmatch. It had it’s moments but Doom 3 multiplayer is really not that interesting or exciting. So, for some reason, we played the original Quake in cooperative mode. And I do use the term “cooperative” in the loosest way possible. We managed to essentially beat all four areas in one sitting despite our spawn frag fests. Though, I have to say that as fun as it was, we really played it too long. Then we moved on to FarCry. I was surprised at how fun FarCry is for deathmatch, team deathmatch and their assault mode. Despite the whole wall building incident, fun was mostly had by all.

Thunder Road

Last night, LouZiffer, Aetius, Ranger Rick, and I played another game of Thunder Road. The game has some serious problems that make it really boring towards the end of the game. We made some changes to try and fix it because it really is a fun game to play. One change was how you ram through wrecks. Instead of getting a 50/50 shot with any vehicle, you can ram through a wreck by rulling under the battle rank of the vehicle doing the ramming. This gives some utility to the larger vehicle while leaving the light buggy at the even odds. Next time we play, we’ll try adding a few more rules to try and give the light buggy some purpose and maybe the middle vehicle as well. I think when we are done, I will put up our modified rules.