Sunday, May 31, 2009


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Bump'n'Grind is a great race, on a great trail, at a great park, put on by great people. I've ridden it every year I possibly could since '99. I'm more into endurance these days, but the BNG is near and dear. I'll make an exception. This year my family came with me. We spent the whole weekend doing cool stuff, seeing good friends and eventually racing, or at least I was racing, you get the idea.

Saturday morning we hit the road.

Vanity plate.

 1 - Blk Knt

Oh, Black KNIGHT. Got it. Not the first thing that came to mind.

My bike's been in the hospital for a week, in Douglasville. Fortunately, Douglasville is between Cumming and Birmingham and we were able to roll by and pick it up.

It was like a whole new ride.

Apparently at Yargo, a bottom bracket bearing had seized up, the crank wallowed out the hole and it was just riding on the plastic ring. I didn't even notice, that's how muddy it was. Glen hooked me up with a new spoke, new big ring, brand new Chris King BB, rebuilt rear hub and a serious tune up. Ahhh, el luxurio.

Bike Shop. Waffle House. Back on the road.

When I'm in Alabama, I'm drinking Dr. Pepper. No matter where she is, Kathryn is drinking an iced, decaf, soy, 2 pump peppermint, 3 pump mocha.

 2 - Alabama Dr Pepper

Yeeeeeeeee Haw!

 3 - Talladega 1

 4 - Talladega 2

I joke, but I'm well into redneckery. For instance, it was in the 90's all day and I've got no AC in my truck. Yeah, I could stop right there, but there's more. We rolled to Birmingham with the windows down, and as such, my left arm got a wicked sunburn. Only my left arm. Yeeeeeeee Haw!

I'll be smarter tomorrow though. The commericals promise. It's magic.

 5 - Holiday Inn Express

We checked in quick and bailed out even quicker, to the zoo. One of my best friends of all time, Kirk Beeson, lives nearby and he met us with his young son Jack.

The Birmingham Zoo is good. Especially the Lorikeets. There's this big aviary with like 50 birds that you go into and you can buy little cups of nectar. The birds love the nectar and they'll fly down, sit on your arm and drink it.

But you can fool them too. Even if you don't buy the nectar, you can just hold your arm out and they'll jump on. This one climbed up on my shoulder, chomped all over my ear and groomed the heck out of my hair.

 6 - Lorikeet Chomp

Sophie and Jack loved it, but Iz just thought it was creepy.

 7 - Sophie and the Lorikeet

Spike the camel was cool. All the kids got a ride. While they were riding, Dr. Livingstone called and asked the camel dude for his outfit back.

 9 - Sophie Riding the Camel

 10 - Iz Riding the Camel

Near the front, there's a lake with a fence around it and a gum machine full of fish food that you can feed to these ridiculously big Koi. A pair of swans live there too, and the male attacks anyone who gets within a foot of the fence. Sophie tried to feed him and almost got chomped. Pretty soon we were all teasing the swan, and then it bit the crap out of me. Yeah, that's what I get.

The zoo was cool.

What's with all the vanity plates though?

 11 - Dr Smuv

We ate at Macaroni Grill and tried to go see the statue of Vulcan, but the park was closed for some private event. Blah. Kirk lives like a mile away though. We hung out at his house for a while and eventually went back to the hotel. The girls and I watched the second half of Night at the Museum and I crashed out for the best night's sleep I've ever gotten (at a hotel) in my life.

6 AM.
Check out.


I went to check the air in my front tire and that little presta-valve screw thing had broken off. Weird. No problem, I have a spare right? Nope. No spare. Glen did though. Thanks for the rescue man. But that was just one problem. Oak Mountain eats tires, and it's foolish not to carry an extra tube. For some reason I had 3 road tubes. Oh well, better than nothing. Problem solved.

Warm up time. I guess 2 days of commuting and a walk around the zoo are good prep. I felt just right. No need to warm up too much, time to do some visiting.

Teammates and friends.

 12 - BORs

 13 - Brooke

 14 - Russell

Kathryn tried to take a pic of me starting but some dude stepped in the way at the last second.

The course was fast. The race was fast. I ended up sparring with one guy all day. It was everything that I love about racing.

The first half was uneventful. I went into the woods mid pack and worked my way through traffic. Nobody got past me on the forest road. I led the mean little climb off of it and put distance on some folks on the next descent. I pushed hard on the fire road climb, picked off a few more riders and slammed it across the top.

And then, disaster. A stick jammed between my chain and rear cog and would not clear. I jumped off, pulled it out, jumped back on, tried to pedal, jumped off again, fiddled with the chain, jumped back on... Finally. At least 7 riders passed me, but I could see them and there was a long descent ahead. Lucky me. I picked them all back off, and a few more.

On to the Bump Trail. Woohoo!!! Cleaned Blood Rock. Passed 3 riders in the chunk below it, and all of a sudden everything got loose. My front tire was washing left and right. I thought I'd flatted, but then it came back. Must have just been the trail. Weird.

Crossed the road, pulled into a series of climbs, and pretty much stayed on the gas from there on. A train of riders pooled up behind me and I just could not shake them before the last section of trail. We crossed a little road and pounded up the worst climb on the whole trail. I absolutely hate that climb. It's short, but it's just ledge after ledge after ledge, and steep. Today I had it though and started creeping away from the train. The last few miles are rolling and twisty; Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, they call it. Every turn I put a few feet on the train. Soon enough, they were gone.

All done.

The only thing that sucks about Bump'n'Grind is that it always, every time, without fail, takes hours and hours and hours for them to post the results and even longer for the awards. The heat just adds insult to injury. Today was no different, except that this time my family had to wait with me. Kirk showed up though! That was cool. At infinite length, I found out how I did. 10th. Not what I was hoping for, but it'll do. Glen got 6th, Russell got 3rd. Nice job guys.

On to the beach. Earlier I was saying that Oak Mountain is so great. It is. Lakes and beaches. Delicious. I can't even describe how good the water felt. It's just not possible.

 15 - Sophie in the Sand

 16 - Iz in the Sand

 17 - Kathryn in the Sand

I didn't want to get out but we had to get going.

We grabbed some lunch at The Purple Onion, which is sort of a Mediterranean fast food joint. I'll go back, but next time I'm just ordering 1 gyro plate and sharing it with somebody. There's no possible way an individual human could eat all of that. No possible way.

The drive back was miserable. I was short on fluids and getting sleepy. Kathryn and the kids were already crashed out. I had to stop twice for drinks and candy. We made it though and I feel fine now. Maybe I'm just coked up on Mountain Dew. Either way, good weekend!

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