Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The year was 2011

I made it to Asheville, and since then have even managed to leave North Carolina once. Here are some details.

The Drive:
I was planning an epic blog about the drive, having mounted a camera to my dash and taken about 6000 pictures on my drive to be condensed into a stop-motion movie. But then somehow in the last twenty miles of the drive I lost two full memory cards and my battery charger, so I only have pictures from the first day. And that's emotionally crushing enough that I blocked the drive from my memory and don't really want to talk about it. BUT I can say that at first I had a lot of respect for truck drivers because they seemed to always know what was up and drove pragmatically. THEN about halfway across Wyoming in the middle of a blizzard I realized they're actually probably just bat-shit crazy a-holes who drive one speed constantly. They were literally being blown off the road by a strong crosswind on black ice, then two semis in front of me plowed into a third semi that was stopped. The visibility was about 10ft but they couldn't be bothered to slow down below 40mph. I ended up in a ditch to avoid it but got out unscathed and even got THE WHOLE THING ON FILM but now can't find it. This is why I'm not talking about the drive.

There was so much ice built up during the drive it actually pulled the fender liner off the inside of the wheel well:

In lieu of my video, this is pretty much what it looked like the whole way, except the mountains turned into blizzard about halfway there:

One very cold night in Missouri...

...but when you're carrying everything you own, it's easy to keep warm, even if it means space is a little tight:

Asheville:
I rolled into Asheville at 11:30pm on New Year's Eve, having made the 2800mi drive in three days. There have been a good number of bike rides and dinners with friends since then, and all in all things are great. We had great weather, then snowy weather that was still great, and very little of that middle of the road crap that just makes you grumpy. One day was snowy-icy and we just drove down to Greenville where sun and dry roads awaited. Camp starts in about three weeks, and until then I look forward to exploring and settling further before the chaos of the season kicks in.

The new place. Thankfully my roommates are more design savvy than me:

First ride in town. Also the only day without sun since arriving:

It was a little awkward having the new bike with the old ones... the old ones were clearly insecure about the new one's seatpost length:

Snow biking on the Blue Ridge Parkway:

Winter in North Carolina is... still winter:

Carolinians are even more afraid of snow that Seattleites:



The TUNNEL:
The most recent excitement was a wind tunnel session in Charlotte the last two days. I kind of knew what to expect, but also had really no idea what to expect. It was all very educational, not in the silver-bullet kind of way, but more like the new-tool kind of way. Long story short, my position isn't radically different but I have a better concept of what goes into a solid position (for me) and what to work on and think about in the future. And sometimes it's just as good to come away knowing that you don't need to change a lot and can trust the path you're on.

Pre-tunnel bonding time with the new bike:

Getting set up. The first time you're locked in and the fans start winding up is a little intimidating, but on the whole it's very user-friendly and comfy:

The fans at the back suck the air past. We couldn't bring any climbers because they would also be sucked through:

You sit at the front of the tunnel, held in place on the platform:

Back of the tunnel where the flames shoot out:

Front of the tunnel:

Here's one position captured top...

...side...

...front...

...and on video:
video

My session was fairly relaxed, but I did get a chance to witness the chaos of Zwiz and Rory's sessions complete with media, sponsors, etc. It was pretty phenomenal to work with Chris Boardman, but equally great to have the full support crew complete with tunnel guru Mike Giraud, multiple mechanics, tons of equipment, and many others. By the end of the two days it really started to sink in what a big year is ahead, how many people are involved and care, and what potential it brings with it. This was a great way to kick off 2011 and set a very professional, intentional tone for the season.

Some idea of the scrum, but this only about a third of the people present:

There were always lots of opinions floating around. Almost all were tried:

Tons of equipment means tons of wrenching:

Three different frames for the year, all awaiting testing:


And by the way, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club narrowly edged out Beirut for the best roadtrip music:


1 comment:

  1. As for your road trip soundtrack--I could see you listening to Beirut _before_ you ended up in the ditch and BRMC after that!! BMRC seems much more appropriate to dark thoughts about truck drivers.

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