Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Elliots Knob


Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Man, it has been a while since I updated this thing. A lot has happened since the last post. It has been quite busy in the shop and now that the cooler weather is rolling in I should have a little time to search the web for funny you tube videos, great mountain bikes crashes, and finally look at all the bling pics from another interbike that I missed.


MHP(Montgomery Hall Park) now has a new piece of primo singletrack right here in the city limits. It is short but is muy fun.

We had another great Fall Foliage Bike Fest last weekend with 550 attendees this year. Black Dog Bikes was slammed Friday and Saturday with people taking advantage of our fall clothing sale since the weather turned chilly Friday and Saturday morning.

CX in Staunton.... Staunton's edition of the Blue Ridge Cup CX race was yesturday on a course designed by me and Mark R. We had well over 20 riders and plenty of spectators to cheers on the racers. Fun day for sure!

Heading out to the Tidewater Challenge this weekend in Williamsburg for the 6hr race. We'll see if I can still keep moving for 6hrs. I feel as if my fitness has dropped considferable after the SM100 in September as I was hit with on sickness after another. I am feeling a little back on Par, so we'll see how six hrs on my bike fgeels this weekend.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I've been heckled enough here lately about not updating my blog that Figured I should tell the blogospere about the eventful ride of yesterday. Sorry for the lag of postings to everyone that reads my blog. It has been quite busy here here in the shop with plenty of bikes to wrench and etc.

Yesterday Jon Sellers, Keith F., Vermonty Matt, and myself rode up Mills Creek trail up the switchbacks and down the Slacks trail, down White Rock Gap to Sherando and then back out to coal road where our cars were waiting.

Heading into the woods the temp was great, the skys were clear, and we were all ready for a great epic ride.......

Heading up Mills Creek Trail there is a section of trail that is enclosed by some small ornamental looking trees for around 200 yrds forming a really nice tunnel effect.I rode by a manmade looking pile of sticks in the trail and then a stick stuck up in the dirt with a Mountain Dew Bottle on top of it. "What the hell is that about" I rode up and under a low lieing branch with a lot of foliage on it and then all of the sudden felt a sharp pain in my arm and back........!!!!!!!!!!!.....I was confused and hadn't fully understood what was going on until I looked back at Jon S. who was running up the trail screaming as he stripped his clothes off and had a full buzz of wasp hitting him hard. By that point Vermonty Matt and Keith had already been hit hard by the wasp.

After quite a bit of screaming and flailing we had regained some composure and realized that their was a huge wasp nest int he branch laying across the trail that was right at shoulder level when on your bike. Jon, Matt, and Keith didn't have a chance after I realized that I had pissed them off by hitting their nest and those guys rode full tilt into the fury of pissed of wasps.

Ouch and now itchy, but I only got four stings. I think Matt and Jon got a whole lot more.

One for history. Pay attention to piles of sticks and other warnings that people have put down to try to warn others.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


The Middle Mountain Momma was this morning and we could not have asked for better weather for the race. Matt Trybus and myself headed over from Staunton to Douthat State Park to ride the XXC an endurance length 40mile point to point mountain bike race.

There were no water or rest stops. You were out in the wilderness by yourself for this thing and had quite a few monster climbs to tackle. You sarted from the start climbing for a full hour up to the middle mountain ridge top, and then had a killer climb up on the South side of the park that also lasted for around an hour that you started at mile 30. Thrown in for good measure along the way were some silly steep quad crushers that were only ridden by the superheros at the front of the ride.

At mile 15ish, after the really long stony run climb and numerous steep pitches on the Natl Forest trails Matt and myself split ways for a bit. His legs were feeling bad and we had covered two super steep climbs and one long climb but only 15ish miles. He told me he was going to bail when he got a chance, so I left him and laid the hammer down on a five mile gravel road climb as hard as I could and passed around 6 or 7 other XXC racers. I was proud of that and thought that as long as I could hold that position for the last 20miles that I would call the ride a success(even though later in the ride I decided finishing this hellacious 40mile epic was a success) so I kept the tempo up and ended up passing a few more XXC racers before the final slog up to the brushy mountain trail.

I ended up only going ass over tea-kettle on two of the many switchbacks and felt like I was able to finish strong so this ride was definately a success. AND THEN..... I roll into the finish expecting to see a dissapointed Matt that had stopped early because he was feeling bad, but.....there wasn't a bike(Matt's Bike) on my car, or near the car, or in the field where others were laying, hanging out, etc. around.......THAT DIRTY DOG KEPT ON TRUCKING! Hell yeah Matt. The 40 miles of nasty climbs and descents were all ridden by Matt. He also finished really strong in the group after thinking he would bail on completeing the enite ride.


Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Governor Kaine has proclaimed May is Bike Month. He will read the below proclamation at the State Capitol in Richmond on Thursday, May 1 at 9:00 a.m.

2008 May is Bike Month Proclamation

WHEREAS, for more than a century, the bicycle has been an important part of the lives
of many Americans, and today residents of all ages throughout our great Commonwealth
engage in bicycling for transportation, recreation, fitness, and fun; and

WHEREAS, bicycling is the most efficient form of transportation and offers independent
mobility for many Virginians traveling between work, school, and home, and the use of
bicycles for transportation benefits all residents of Virginia by easing traffic congestion,
reducing air pollution, and saving highway construction dollars; and

WHEREAS, bicycling is recognized as an activity that can reduce the onset of chronic
disease and reduce childhood obesity, and consideration of bicycling in transportation
and land use planning, and in programs such as Safe Routes to School will help create
healthier and more active communities in Virginia; and

WHEREAS, bicycling offers a unique perspective from which residents and visitors may
discover Virginia’s natural beauty, history, and culture, and a vast network of scenic rural
roads and pleasant weather conditions make the Old Dominion a favorite destination for
bicycling enthusiasts; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth contains more miles of the U.S. Numbered Bicycle
Route System than any other state, and is the only place where two routes intersect, and
Virginia is fortunate to play host to many organized recreational, charitable, and
competitive bicycling events, each of which contributes much to Virginia’s economy; and

WHEREAS, Bike Month provides an opportunity to increase public awareness of the
many benefits of bicycling, to promote bicycle safety, and to encourage bike riding
through organized activities such as Bike-to-Work events, club rid es, family rides, and
bike rodeos for children;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Timothy M. Kaine, do hereby recognize May 2008 as BIKE
MONTH in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the
attention of all our citizens.y 1 at 9:00 a.m.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Been a little while since I was on here so here is what has been happening.

  • The whole family was in town last week from SC staying at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel. My Sister, Nephew, Mother, Father, and Grandmother were all here hanging out and we got a chance to eat at Baja, The Split banana, and The Bistro while they were here so I had a little riding to do to make it back in shape after they left. They got back to SC Thursday night safely with my dad taking my truck back home with him.

  • Thursday and Friday I finally starting to get over the hacking cough that I had had for like two weeks that seemed like two months. I apologize to anyone that came in the shop and got coughed on or near by me.

  • Thursday evening I skipped the Thursday fast ride (still recovering from cough) and headed out to McDonough Toyota to pick up my new wheels. A black Scion XB. Friday morning I started setting up the Thule and Rocky Mounts racks to fit my new baby. She is a sexy black beast (see pic below, oh baby!) I drove over the mountain to Blue Mountain Brewery Thursday night to test the new ride and to get a brew and some pizza with Ms. Lindsay Douglas, a new bike owner that actually talked to me again after being hit on in the Bike Shop. Well they stopped serving pizza at the brewery so we settled for a sandwich and a fruit and cheese plate.

  • Sunday we started flagging the new trail corridor at Montgomery Hall Park. The Queen City Cycling Club is doing a joint project with Patrick McKeegan's Eagle Scout Project to add additional miles of trail to Montgomery Hall Park. We will be there again this Sunday with two separate teams working. One flagging where the trail will go and one team beginning to clear the trail corridor of brush.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thursday Night Lights

Yesturday was the third installment of the Thursday Night Fast Rides leaving from Black Dog Bikes. A great ride on great roads with great turnout made the ride well "great" The ride last night was also good for me in that there were quite a few workhorses up front doing the pulling out in the wind and I was able to tuck in the back and ride in their wake.

I am told that Patricio slammed up Mt Pisgah in his big ring, but I wasn't anywhere nearby as I was back there spinning out my compact crank 34 x 25. I gave the finish run into the city limits my all but still didn't have enough to get out front on the city limit sign.

I hope the turnout continues to be good for this ride, it sure is more fun when there is a big group to ride with.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Shenandoah Fitness

A new site is up and being updated to list events in our area here in the Shenandoah Valley. The publisher sent me a link and graciously added info about our clubs Century, Queen City Century, that is coming up May 18th. Check it out to get info about races, clubs, info on fitness events in the Valley.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Great cycling safety advertisement from England


Check out this video. Click on the link above and it should open in a new browser window. Be sure to follow the instructions to see how attentive you are.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I hate it when things don't work the way they are supposed to, or the way you hope things are supposed to work. It can ruin your day! damn it! :)

I did a ride with Pat and Ron S. yesterday and we headed south out to Miller Farm Road. On one of the many rollers out there I shifted to my small ring to climb up the other side and POP BANG DING BAM BOOM. My chain sucked up behind the chain rings from below and was somehow sucked down between the front derailleur and chain rings from above crossing the chain coming up from above. If someone had brought a bike into the shop with the chain like this I would really disbelieve that it would be possible to happen while riding.

Well I am still not used to the compact crank on my new road bike and find when I shift to the small ring it is too big of a jump down in gearing so I double shift to a few smaller cogs at the same time to make the gear change mesh a little better. With that much shifting going on at once I have to soft pedal a couple of times to make the shift happen without any bad things happening in the drivetrain.

I read before buying last years Sram Force group that a lot of people thought the chainrings were not stiff enough. Well.....I thought how stiff do chainrings need to be......and....well...I bent my outer chainring, sheered off two teeth on the outer chainring, broke my chain, and chipped a piece of clear coat of my pretty new carbon frame......DAMN

I fought the bike and the bike won. Next time I will softpedal when shifting both front and rear at the same time, instead of trying to stand and hammer to catch up to Pat and Ron.
Touche' Bike, we fight again tonight.
To be continued

Monday, March 10, 2008

Camp Hilbert

The first Camp Hilbert mountain bike race was yesterday. Staunton and the valley was represented quite well. Mark R, Jonathan Evans, Single Speed Joe, Matt T., and myself were there representing Staunton. Gene from W'boro and the entire Bike Factory crew from C'ville were also there riding strong.

The course is a fast six miles of single track with lots of roots to tire out your triceps. There are only a couple of fairly short puncher climbs each lap, but they definitely take there toll after quite a few times up them. The trail was fairly dry despite heavy rain the day before except for two major mud holes in two different low spots on the course. Mark, Jon, and myself did the enduro class which is a five hour race format where you complete as many laps as you can in five hours.

I felt good for the first three laps taking it real easy and slowing passing people as I got caught up in a wreck in all the traffic from the first lap and ended up in the back of the group. After three easy laps, I decided to lay the hammer down as hard as I could for laps four and five and ended up catching up to Mark R. ( who later rode away from me on a climb). Mark and myself rode together for around a lap and a half and then I called it quits a Little early after my seventh lap at 4:40hours. I probably should have went back out for one more lap because a few people I had passed went out for an eighth, so I gave away a few spots. I do think though that it was a wise choice to stop when I did because at the end of the seventh lap my legs were beginning to get the twanging feeling that cramps were on the way. I think an eighth lap would have taken me to a new category in pain where I could no longer call the race fun.

I was able to sit and relax while Jon and Mark finished their last laps and when I stood up to change into dry clothes those cramps started in my quads that I thought were coming. To fight them thankfully Mark had left out his bananas and cokes. Mark somehow was the only one of us smart enough to bring food, so there were a few other people I guess scavenging his food. (AND SHAKING UP HIS LAST COKE :) NOT ME) (really!!).

I didn't hear how Matt and Gene's races went but it looked like everyone had fun. I saw Matt's girls at the start/finish cheering and supporting all their peeps, and saw a lot of familiar faces from C'ville and abroad. Camp Hilbert is a fun venue. I will definitely try to be there for CHRS #2.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Itching to ride

I posted the regular Staunton group rides on Queen City Cycling Club's message board forum today and am itching to get out on some good group rides starting next week. The Thursday faster ride turned out to be a great ride last year and hopefully we'll get everyone back that rode last year plus some new people. I am really looking forward to both rides and know that everyone will beat me up for the first few rides before I get back into a little shape.

The route of the Thursday ride will not change this year and we'll do the same route each week. Last year I thought doing the same route every Thursday would eventually get old, but I found myself looking forward to it every week and it was nice to know what climbs were ahead on the route so I knew when I could push myself and when I needed to hang on to other peoples wheels. The great turnout made the ride fun each week, and made it interesting when some people sprinted to city limits signs and the tops of some of the climbs. I'll probably be hanging on to the back as much as I did last year, but hopefully I look real fast while doing it with my new road rig.

See all you guys out there!!!!

Sunday, March 02, 2008


(LONG SLOW DISTANCE) Mr Russell, our new Vermonty python friend Matt, and Myself went out for a long slow ride today and hit some sweet gravel road climbs and descents South and West of town. We were pleaseantly suprised by snow up on the north facing roads and got a little mud in our faces on the south facing roads.

The ride made for a great elevation profile with three big gravel road climbs and descents on Troxel Gap Road, Hite Hollow Road, and Old Parkersburg Turpike. Those roads are great climbs and scary descents but I have decided I need to ge tout and more rides like the today as it was fun to have a lot of variety in the road surface. 65 miles in March felt good and should be a good leadout for the five hour Camp Hilbert enduro next Sunday.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Howling at the Moon

Let this thing slip for awhile (Wow almost a month) and the crickets started chirping there for a few weeks.

It looks like the weather here in the Shenandoah Valley may start getting a little nicer in the next few weeks. DST changes March 9th and MR. Russell, Joe, and myself will be hitting the trails in Camp Hilbert the same day. I am looking forward to see what five hours on the bike will feel like after a winter of short rides and general slothfulness.

Did anyone else out there feel like howling at the moon last Wednesday night during the lunar eclipse? I did a spooky night ride over in C'ville at Walnut Creek and felt like getting the howl on every time I looked up and saw that Cheddar cheese colored moon.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Product review here at James Likes Bikes

That's right everyone. I think I might get in the mix and change up the format here every once in a while so I can thow out some useful information and probably ocasionally some useless information. I come across alot of bike related products that seem quite brilliant and a lot of them that are quite dumb if I say so myself. So occaisionally I might start doing a couple of impromtu product reviews.

I can assure everyone out there in the blogospere that no companies are paying for their productss to get a favorable review. You know what I mean, all those positive reviews in magazines for every imaginable product in every imaginable segment. You would think occiasionally those reviewers would come across something they don't like, but if your on trinkit gizmo's payroll you better give trinkit gizmo a good review......right?....er... well here we go.
Wipperman Chain Wear Indicator.
I have to start by saying this little guy just dropped out of the sky and into my lap here at James Likes Bikes a couple of days ago(well not the one above, but a cheap plastic version) . Really. Wipperman decided to manufacture a consumer version of their chain wear indicator that is made of plastic instead of steel like the one pictured. I guess they thought they would get in good graces with this product reviewer on James Likes Bikes by giving me a free one so I got a free one in the mail with the launch of the consumer version. Really their marketing department probably thinks they will sell more chains if more people know their chains are worn out.
This little tool does just that it tells you when your chain has worn enough to cause measurable stretch. I honestly think this is a tool that everyone should own and use often enough to notice chain wear before cassettes and chainrings are worn.
I have been using park tool's chain wear indicator for awhile but now find I have more than one choice when reaching towards the tool box, so this reviewer names this product the best of the best when it comes to prodocts that capture your attention by dropping into your lap free. Get yours for $9.99 plastic - $19.99 steel - connexchain.com

Monday, January 28, 2008

Back on the Road

Hit the road yesterday for a three hour ride with Bob Wooding of MVC and he thankfully took it easy on me. We rode over to his backyard on a few roads that I usually do not make it out to. The weather turned nice as the sun came out and temps hit the low 40's. I have neglected my road bike since fall so it was nice to get out on it and know what three hours felt like on the road again.

I did have a dog run out from a house to the road to say hello to me and Bob during the ride. At first he seemed to be friendly and ran up beside me in a way that looked liked he was just interested in us and wanted to say hello. He did not bark or seem aggressive, but then he ran up beside me and bit me. Usually aggressive dogs go for you ankles on the bike and you can just kick them away and you pedal by. This dog though was a great dane and bit me up on my hip. As I realized he had hold of my tights I realized a kick wasn't going to help, so I sped up the pace a little and rode away from him. I was more shocked that he bit me because I thought he looked friendly than the fact that I had been bitten by an unknown dog. I love dogs and usually can tell when they just want to say hello and be friendly vs. aggressive behavior that indicates they want to do you harm, but I may need to rethink my feelings on the subject as I thought he was going to be friendly.

If I ever have dogs be aggressive with me I feel no sympathy for the dog or owner and call animal control. Especially after I got back to Staunton and found out that he slightly broke skin on my leg though three layers of fabric. And DAMN! I have a hole in a pair of shorts, insulated tights, and a pair of thin tights that was not there before. I called and had animal control head out to where the incident was and to talk to the owner of the dog. i would expect the same if my dogs ever got agressive with someone, but they are sweet lovable creatures.

I also learned from the county animal control that here in Augusta County any citizen can go to the animal control office and report animals that are loose if you have the exact address and location and they will be ticketed based on your complaint. An animal control officer does not have to see the animal loose or aggressive. They only need your complaint to write a ticket. Good info for future animal harassment while out on the road.

Monday, January 14, 2008


In this area, just the mention of the word "SWITCHBACK" brings certain pictures to the minds of people. If they are local mountain bikers than almost certainly they will think immediately of the top of Turkey Pin in the Sherando Recreation Area. The almost seemingly never-ending steep section of that trail is feared and hated at the same time being loved respected by the people who look at the switchbacks as a challenge.

Also numerous roads in area have switchbacks that Roadies love to hate. Whether you’re climbing Rt. 56 from Vesuvius or Reeds Gap you know a switchback when you see on. Of course on the road switchbacks cause a mental dilemma to most road riders. They are faced with the difficult decision of whether to hammer the steep line up the inside of the switchback or spin around the gentler slope of the outside of the corner. Usually for me this is more of a survival decision. Usually I will take to outside to keep forward motion. The opposite of forward motion sometimes happens if I decide to take the inside lines. Also as in the case of the Blue Ridge Extreme Century Ride two years ago when I had overeaten at each rest stop the inside vs. outside choice changed to a vomit vs. no-vomit choice.

Switchbacks, whether you love them or hate them, they will always be out there in the world waiting for you to let your guard down. I found this beauty on Hite Hollow Rd. outside Craigsville, VA yesturday.

Friday, January 11, 2008


I came across these beauties in the catalog yesterday and have to say that I think I know the bike they absolutely need to be rockin out on. And....... it is.....
I mentioned them to Sara and surprisingly her exact words were "I'm happy with my Magura's" Well I tried........

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Whetstone Ridge

Mark R and myself Joined up with a crew of guys from CAMBC to ride Whetstone Ridge Sunday. I had a sore throat and felt like my sinuses were bothering me the morning of the ride, but I could not complain that I wasn't 100% because Mark must of came down with a stomach flu that morning and really suffered on the ride. It is a real difficult ride without felling bad, and poor Mr. Russell looked like death was coming. Usually he is up front leading the pace and smashing the climbs, so I could tell something was wrong when he dropped back a little. Unfortunately he either had to finish the ride or camp out deep in GWNF. He finished the ride and I must give him props for it b/c I think I would have laid down and died after the abuse of all the hike-a-bikes combined with a debilitating stomach problem that prevented him from taking in calories on a long ride.

We'll have to do this trail again when Mark is 100% so he can enjoy the ups and downs.

link to info on ride: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/4732781

Photo's were taken by Ted Gayle. Thanks Ted

Friday, January 04, 2008

More Darkness Please!!

That's right!! Lights, ghetto wind proofing via packing tape, and a far superior hydration bag.(bonus points from big Jon hopefully)

Night riding in the SSOS (Staunton Secret Stash of Singletrack)(That's right SECRET) was very cold last night. Only took a couple of minutes to warm up though and fun was had by the parties involved. I am already very ready for the days to get longer. Come on DST. Looking forward to March 9th, but for now night riding is a lot of fun.

Share the Road

Good things are happening in Augusta County to help the awareness of bicyclist rights to the road. The Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission's Bike-Ped committee has helped get "Share-the-Road" signs up on Rte. 250 bewtween Afton Mtn. and the City of Wayensboro, and also has helped in the process of paving shoulders on certain roads that are more traveled by cyclist. An article was in todays News Leader highlighting the progess mad by the committee and has a great quote by yours truly. http://www.newsleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080104/NEWS01/801040319/1002

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Happy New Year

I am back in the valley after a nice well needed vacation to South Carolina for a week. I always am scared to close the shop for a week do do trips like that because I know it only takes one bad experience for a customer to decide he or she doesn't like a store or business. I am sometimes afraid that that one bad expierience will be when someone drives to see the shop and I am out of town and have the shop closed. I always put a sign up weeks in advance to let people know I will be closed for awhile, but it never fails that there are rude and patrinising messages on my aswering machine that someone is calling during the regular business hours and I haven't awsered in three days! I understand some poeples frustrations but being most of the time a one man operation here at Black Dog Bikes, I have to get away to see family and to relax for a few weeks out of the year. I was able to visit with the folks and my Sister and Nephew down in SC, and enjoyed riding at Paris Mountain State Park on the days it wasn't raining.

I got a years membership to the YMCA here in Staunton for X-mas so the membership to Golds will have to disappear as the YMCA has loads of extra stuff that Golds does not offer. I saw on their schedule that they do a race day spin class. This sounds cool. Maybe a distance or wattage measureing computer tells the instructors who has gone further and harder during the class. I will to ask around about this and maybe get my race on this winter. I also know Mr Russell has a membership to the YMCA so we will have to get our race on if this is a cool class.

Happy New Year