Despite the deluges

I/we got some riding in. Sunday between storms:
First family outing with the trailer

First family outing with the trailer

Monday around them:

Me, caldera

Yay bicycles.
And wild irises:
Wild Iris


Shade tree wrenching under the flowers

Shade tree wrenching

I think I finally have my Kogswell PR dialed in. It is tricky to get the dirt drops right for me. I think I have the tops 1" above the saddle. I need to make sure that it is right and then I may tape the bars.

As you may note, the wrenching is done under the spectacular pinkish blooms of the hawthorn tree. I hate this tree, except for when it is blooming. We are at the tail end of the flower season now. All the fruit trees are done, same with the lilacs, tulips and daffodils. The lillies and the sages are up next.

I am glad to see that we will be getting cherry, apple, plum and peaches this year, the fruits are starting and are going well, barring the everpresent danger of the late may freeze. The apricot tree looks to have maybe a dozen apricots, which is impressive given the number of hard freezes we had during the flowering period. It looks like the grape vines will be flowerless again this year. Especially since the deers have got at them.

apple tree

See more at the everything in bloom set on flickr.


Knoxville road find

Channel locks

Knoxville road find

Found on the Gay St. Bridge on a night spin, took this photo when I stopped to pick it up.

Gay St Bridge at night

The nice JFG sign (Special Coffee, the best part of the meal) for the not so great local coffee that once was roasted in the middle of the city.

As I said last time Knoxville is ridiculously good for road finds. I was not in the city for more than 48 hours when I found this.


Big South Fork Mountain Style Biking

When I was in Knoxville a few weeks back, I was able to sneak in some mountain biking with much of Team Ed. Plans were afoot for multiple evening rides, but we were thwarted by an inch of rain a day. Cleverly, we took advantage of G's thursday off and a hole in the interesting talks at the conference to set forth to the TN-KY border where lies the well drained trails of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. We set off early in Gary's mini Race Squirrel and headed up to the Norris exit to rendezvous with Hammer and KD.

Mini race squirrel

We met up at the Starbucks at the Norris exit of 75 north. The fact that Norris rates a starbucks cracks me up no end. Poor poor waffle house, usurped as the default meeting point. After coffee and oatmeal and nary a grit nor biscuit, we headed into the wild jungles of northern Tennessee. Along the way I enjoyed the cultural dichotomy of the big cross over Adult World:
Cross plus adult world = goodness

Eventually we rolled into big south fork, unleashed the bikes and changed into our matching outfits:
Parking lot team ed!

After a few miles of gravel road riding we reached the trailhead:
Team ED - Trail head

And enjoyed 20 miles of swoopy fast, mostly smooth singletrack.

With gorgeous views:
Big South Fork

And tiny little bicycle men:
Big South Fork

And valuable trailside artifacts:
Are you threatening me?

Despite the torrential rains the trails were clear and fun. I borrowed a well undergeared singlespeed cannondale from an honorable judge and spent most of the day fruitlessly trying to keep up with the other three on their properly geared single speed 29'ers. After a while I pushed the hammer down and stole his bike and was relieved to be able to at least hang onto G and KD. While my single track skills have eroded somewhat, they are not as bad as it appeared.

After the ride we headed back, firstly negotiating the drive through big south fork canyon:

and then enjoying more cultural oddities along the way:
Unicorn Shoppe

Once back in town, I went back to the Tomato Head and ate my third (of four) Kepner Melt of the week.
Kepner Melt

As I was heading back to the hotel Clarko called and coerced me into attending Cycling Specific Pilates taught by the Geri Mewetmaster5000. Alas there are no photos of this event, but it was painful yet fun and I was able to see more people.

The day was capped by a visit to the bar in the sunsphere. The sunsphere was closed to the public for my entire tenure in knoxville, but now there is a bar up there and I was compelled to visit. G, KD, hammer and myself all met up there and were surprised to find the bar nearly empty. No matter, the beer was cheap and the views were great and the decor was barely updated eighties woodgrain lounge and the bathrooms sported black toilets. The champagne of beers was served in champagne glasses:

Champagne of beers in a champagne glass

G gets his Champie of beers on

After a short while a horde of identically dressed young women from UT and their prospective paramours ascended upon the sunphere for fancy attire drunken revelry. I do not really miss this part of knoxville at all. Fortunately when you are not living there anymore, it is funny.
Sunsphere bar idiocy

And with that, the long day came to a close. It was good to get back to Knoxville, I was able to see almost everyone through planned events and random occurrences. I want to thank Gary for making the mountain biking possible. It was great to see everyone.

The official Team Ed take on the day's activity.
Rest of the photos here


Say it aint so tommke, again, sigh....

I have grown tired of writing about doping and sports, both because it is overwhelming and because it is getting better coverage in the press. It seems like the tide has been turning. The truly unbelievable grand tour performances have been reward with two year suspension lately, hopefully indicating a cleaner sport. Now that baseball actually tests and players are getting suspended right and left, cycling does not look like the only pharmacy sport out there. I am sure both american football and the rest of the world football are not far behind. But as far as boonen goes? Well, go read this which I wrote last year.
At least he now admits he has a problem. Poop on all of you who said "it was no big deal, just recreational drug use". Recreational drug use that he can't handle, that is. He needs to get off the highway to Pantaniville. Just go read the post from last year, my feelings are the same, as I concluded with last year:

he needs to get turned around before the Tom Boonen memorial kermisse is all we know of him


Exploring the mini rainforest of downtown Knoxville

Tiny little forest

Back from journeying. Much to share. More soon.