Monday, September 25, 2023

Let's talk about buttered sausage

What do you do the week after Marji Gesick? Besides talking about buttered sausage, where it comes from, what it does, and why it's doing what it's doing, of course. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it means you're behind on what the "kids" are talking about nowadays, and you probably need to look up "Gary Busey buttered sausage".

But first, please, if you do nothing else today, scroll down and take a look at the elegant gallery of Simon. After reading the rest of the blergh, of course.

Ok, on we go. I had a lot of bike work to do after Marji Gesick, some of which was getting to use a q-tip for yet another unintended purpose. I mean, seriously, has anyone ever actually used a q-tip for what they're supposed to be used for?

A q-tip and isopropyl alcohol is a great way to clean sticky brake pistons. Push the pistons out as far as is reasonable, wipe 'em down with the alcohol-soaked q-tip (that sounds like an insult), and push 'em back in. Normally, hopefully, sometimes, they're good as new. Or at least better than they were. In my case, I got them pretty darn good; at least enough so that I won't just wear out one brake pad and not the other.

The SRAM G2 brakes have been solid, but even good brakes need love.

This week was actually pretty busy for me, because I started going into Quaker Valley to shadow a teacher as part of my teaching certification program. It's actually pretty cool, because I get to shadow my favorite teacher who taught me math for two years in high school. Between going into Quaker Valley and attending classes at Geneva, my days have been full of school. Still, though, I made the time to get as much riding in as I wanted to this week.

Several days this week I actually stayed out longer than planned on my rides because I was just having so much fun despite my legs being a little tired. It was definitely worth it; the Sewickley trails have been riding super nice recently.

On Friday I got together with the Goat Wrangler, and before I left his place, he gave me one of his bikes and a few parts so I could sell them for him, in exchange for a commission. He's too busy building a new patio for himself to sell his own bike, and lets he honest, the Goat Wrangler isn't exactly an expert in bike specifications. I think you read this blergh sometimes, Will, and I think you know I know you know I'm right.

So... does anyone want a 2019 S-Works Epic full suspension? Or an almost new Royal Control SL boost rear wheel? Or what about a recently serviced Specialized brain shock? A carbon S-Works stem and handlebar, anyone? Like I said, I get a commission, so you'd be supporting a Hamburger.

A great road somewhat close to the land of Thad

It took a while for me to figure out what ride to do Saturday, but after a lot of back and forth with a few people, I plotted a 75 mile gravel route from Bavington to do with Rege. Between kids baseball games, work, and other adult things, no one else could join me and Rege.

The ride itself with Rege was great. Starting from Bavington - maybe 40 minutes west of downtown Pittsburgh - we quickly get into some of my favorite roads. The last time I did these roads was back in February, and this time around was a lot more pleasant in terms of weather. Instead of mud and 25 degree temps, the worst Rege and I faced was a light mist at the end.

Among many great roads on the ride, the best name was without a doubt "Shades of Death Road" near Avella. I swear, that's a real road name. Sadly, all of the signs have been stolen, but you can look it up on Google Maps and see that, yes, that's the actual name. 

Another thing of note on the ride is the absence of the bridge across Raccoon Creek. Going back to 2020 (the picture of the still-intact bridge), I've always loved riding across that old rickety bridge. The combination of the ghost road leading to it, the piles of dirt you had to weave around to enter the bridge, and the apocalyptic nature of the bridge itself made it one of my favorite parts of any ride. I guess it must've been getting unsafe, because the township took it out.

Despite the fact that I sort of already knew the bridge was gone (thanks to Dave J.), I still made Rege hike over downed trees 73 miles into a ride to go look at it. Sorry Rege, haha. Although, as I told Rege, my motto is that it isn't a ride if there isn't hike-a-bike involved. All in all, it was 77 miles and 9,500 feet of climbing.

While the weather turned out to be nice on Saturday, there was no such luck for Sunday. After raining most of the previous evening and night, I woke up Sunday morning to even more rain. Luckily, it was only light rain, but still, I was worried about the trails.

I talked to Jesu and he decided to get a rain check for his Sewickley guided tour, so I reached out to Simon to try and convince him to drive over and ride with me and Zach. Sure enough, after sending Simon a picture of dry dusty dirt under a pine tree in my yard, and assuring him the trails would be good, he agreed to come over and ride.

The rain didn't stop before we left, and actually, it ended up raining for most of the ride. Fortunately, it was only ever light rain, and the temps were such that we were never cold. The trails were muddy at points, but as I had expected, they were mostly just greasy. Don't get me wrong, we got covered in mud and it was wet the whole time, but the amount of actual mud bogs wasn't too bad. We even saw my parents and uncle out riding in the Sewickley Heights Park, so we rode with them to Big Boulder Trail and talked for a bit.

We ended up with almost 3 1/2 hours of riding (moving time, that is) and 33 miles of mostly singletrack. It was great, and despite the mud, I think Simon was glad he came.

Alright, now for the part everyone has been waiting for: the gallery of Simon. Take a look at him doling out the punishment to a couple of elderly women. Never mind that these are masterful photoshops; damnit, I want to believe. I mean, come on, if Simon can be the 2023 NUE singlespeed marathon series champion, surely he can outdrink a couple of grandma's, right?


Some of these are so well-photoshopped that it makes you wonder... maybe Simon did have a phase as a crazy cat person, or maybe he did have a few wild and crazy nights with some octogenarians.

But in all non-serious seriousness, these are just too darn good not to share. Remember kids, with enough hard work and dedication, and photoshop skills, you too can go from throwing them back with grandma to winning national bike race series.

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