Thursday, September 15, 2011


An Airborne Ranger learns to carry his gear and jump out of planes into dangerous often hostile areas.

Its Odd cause I am like an Off Road Architectural Airborne Ranger. Drop me anywhere and I will find the dirt and create a route.

I think it was a Friday night at the shop. Last day of my work week and I tell Geoff and Wes that I am going to create a ride coming out of the shop. Immediately I can see stuff to ride.

I let it go at that point after just a brief fleeting glance.

Monday at work I told the boss that I was pretty sure I could organize an Urban Assault type ride with a pretty unique route.

Mark's all for it and I immediately decided to just put something together. In no time at all, I was done with a preliminary route.

I immediately called Wes and told him to bring his MTB to work on Wednesday cause we were going to test out the future Bikeworks South urban assault route.

All day we were pretty amped up and I was Happy that Wes was excited about going out for the ride. I wasn't sure if he was gonna like the things we would encounter, I didn't even know what the route would be hold, after all I had just scouted it on Satellite images and had not ridden a single foot of it.

The first part of the route was sidewalk and back road, we crossed over John Young Parkway and hung a hard right into Town Loop Blvd and went behind Hunters Creek Middle school. From the images on the computer I could tell there was boardwalk and thought it may even be to a mile long. As soon as we hit it, were going over the actual Shingle creek and everything was dark green and beautiful. Before long we make a hard right down a small set of stairs (definitely adding to the urban ride effect) and we were now on creek ridge riding singletrack. SICK!

After about 1/4 mile or less we hung a left on the main access road. Hard pack shell with a neatly carved double track. As quick as we made it onto the shell packed double, we turned a hard right and started what was called East Pine Island.

The first Section rolled smooth, but as we rounded the bend things got muddy and I had to dig into my bag of shitty terrain riding skills which put me in front of my company by a minute or so. But Wes Hung tough and we came out of there Muddy, but feeling strong.

More Hard pack ensued as we approached West Pine Island Loop I saw a water crossing and figured if the east side was wet the west side might be wetter. We continue rolling along and BAM we come up on what appears to be a pond in the middle of the trail

100 thoughts or so crossed my mind. Maybe 100 is an exaggeration. But, fairly fast I wanted to finish the route and I was not afraid to cross a pond.

But, to err on the side of safety I asked Wes to watch my back as I first just took a couple of steps into it to see how deep it was. The water was cold, I thought for sure that it must be creek overflow. Since I had my bright Stella on my helmet I could see right down to the floor. It was hard shell rock. At that point, I jump on the bike and start moving across. I glance down and to my wheels and my bottom bracket to make a mental note on how deep it is.

Hub's are not submerged, bottom bracket is skimming the surface, If I increase the speed, I can break the water better and keep all my parts free from water. I make the other side fast and call out to Wes to come across.

We pedal a little more shell and come up right on a power plant. Wes suggest we Scramble left and after a little situation where he got stuck knee deep in quicksand, we ended up on a Golf Course green, turned off our lights and started riding the cement trail carved into the Golf Course hill side.

On We go. Next thing we know were at the Entrance of the hotel. Now being unsure of the parks boundaries and limits we took pavement till we saw a Duncan Donuts and took the dirt road heading off behind the building.

Were back again under the power lines keeping steady tempo and making good time.

I had mapped to eventually break right. As the terrain got tougher I waited for Wes at the turn and we rode straight into Sandy party town central spot where it was obvious cars or trucks come fairly frequently to drink and hang out.

I decide to by pass this section, knowing full well before I got there that this was a possibility. I pulled up my droid and looked at the google earth satellite picture and got us back on hard pack clay in minutes.

After a good little roll and a feeling of relief that the return to hard pack brought, we came up on fence. We circumnavigated it fairly fast and then were back on the road for a couple of turns.

Foolish me, I wasn't smart en0ugh to notice that Osceola Parkway is a toll road(what an idiot) and then we cut back to the original by pass.

There is a water management department warning to not venture forth, but we had no choice, the paved re route would of been long and boring.

On the other side we rode Combat style, no lights front or rear. After a couple of minutes our eyes adjusted, the night got brighter. We could see the parkway to our right and the cars headlights speeding along. To the front there was a big Orange nearly full moon filling the sky. Epic view.

After a quick map check, everything looked as it did from my eye in the sky route check. Everything was rolling fast and before we knew it we were on pavement and then the bike path.

It was very well used and we passed tons of water spots and places to sit and chat. As quick as we hit the path we were on grass again and then Shell rock and then back to pavement to finish up the ride.

It was awesome. Fast, beautifully scenic and challenging, all good elements for a route.

I think I may have a little something, time to tweak it just a little bit.

Take Care,


the NaKeD InDiaN

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

FoRt GaTeS FeRRy ToUr

"Keep the truck in the middle of the road, seems firmest there"...

Were speeding down the infamous 599 forest road, aka The Dragon tail from CFiTT fame. Its 10pm at night and I am doing all I can to give my girl instructions on how to navigate this wet hilly forest road in my truck and not get stuck.

In the back of my mind I worry a bit, but try to calm my nerves by reminding myself that the conditions are not all that bad and that Edith for sure can handle the return trip to tarmac.

When you have to actually work instead of ride for a living and you still yearn and crave the adventure that comes with off road touring, you have to do crazy things like getting dropped off on a sandy wet fire road in the middle of the night.

Curt Reffner should have already made camp by now. He rode out from his house, because of my other obligations and because I wanted to have dinner with my girl before I took off for another weekend long adventure, I had to meet up with him at the stealth camping spot instead of rolling out together.

The entire ride out to the forest after we left the Cuban Restaurant was filled with mental checklist that had me prepared to get wet or soaked the minute I stepped out the car.

Alas, it was all for naught as not a drop of rain caught my brow. I gave my girl a big hug and kiss and watched as she drove away asking her to text me as soon as she hit the pavement again.

I rode out following the green breadcrumb track I mapped on my etrex when it turned off and refused to turn back on.

Angry at the fact that my very expensive and essential toy was malfunctioning, I carried on. I knew everything and where I was going on this route all the way till I crossed the river on the historic fort gates ferry. By that point I should be able to access map my ride and glance and look at the track and follow it, plus Curt had his track and gps as well.

Onward I went, I got the text from "E" and I relaxed. Log hops ensued. Flowing downhill singletrack ensued. Nice little long flat looking climbs ensued. There was alot of ensuing.

I hit the boardwalks that mark the location of our camp for the night and find Curt all set up and comfy.

I say my greetings and get to work on setting up my Hammock. It doesnt take me long to settle in and put something dry on and arrange my gear in the branches to keep it all off the ground.

After some conversation, we both turn in knowing that Saturday was going to be a big day in the saddle.

That Cuban Coffee I had was a fail. It kept me up too long or made me sleep to light. I felt like the forest was alive and teaming to the point that I did not sleep soundly till closer to the morning when the nocturnal citizens decided that it was even too late for them.

I open my eyes and its bright outside. Look through my hammocks mosquito net to see Curt is almost done packing. I jump right out and get to work on packing up, it was 728am.

I really didnt bring any food except for a plastic container full of dark chocolate roasted almonds. AS it was I wasnt hungry, so we hopped on the bike and took off riding after discussing the days plan and options.

So far I liked traveling with Curt. He seemed to be pretty realistic and trusted my ideas on where to go and what to do. We had agreed to hit Juniper for a water refill and a soda and then push on to Silver Glenn. I told him if he had never seen the Glenn he really needed too and it was only about 6 miles round trip.

Juniper went fast, the forest roads were rolling fast I couldnt help opening up the legs and stretching them a bit. Eventually passing an SUV in the process.

We reunited and continued on the pavement. The morning was Humid and over cast with a slight chill. I was actually comfortable in my rain vest. Only one other car was at the Glenn and after buying some peanut M and M's a Coke and a peanut roll, we walked to the waters edge to eat our breakfast. `

Its been a good year since I had been to the Glenn and I noticed that there were about a dozen Turkey Buzzards just hanging around.

I get to my peanut roll discovering that its a pretty discusting candy and start slowly feeding the buzzards. In fact I got them about 3 feet away from me allowing Curt to snap some pretty good up close pictures. They are actually very interesting animals when you get a look.

Not long after I hand fed the buzzards, we remounted our rides and left the Glenn ready to ride more skinny trail. The plan I told Curt, was a hot Lunch in Salt Springs and according to the new maps I have, there is singletrack all the way into town.

I have never ridden this section of skinny in the daylight and was quickly pleased by all the cool things we came across.

A gigantic sinkhole in the middle of the forest. A Huge pond with green water and steep edges all the way around. 20 foot tall hunting stand. I was amazed by how big Hopkins Prairie was and enjoyed the challenge of navigating the 20 plus downed trees that littered the Hopkins Prairie rideline. At times I was forced to dismount but I managed to pedal around and up and over some pretty big stuff.

After several hours of singletrack bliss I could see the road, in my head I was thinking how we pretty much just completed an Ididaride and it was only 1pm.

I stopped in at the usual restaurant that I go too, but they didnt open till four. I asked at the local convenience store if there were other options and was told about Square Meal. Immediately I took off racing, according to the intel I just received it was going to close at 2pm.

We made it in time, ate our fill and the sat outside for a bit talking and digesting our food. We had done about 65 miles already and I was feeling great and snappy and ready to pound out more miles.

We topped our water off and sped on down the forest road following the signs for the Fort Gates Ferry. We didnt know if we would have cell coverage at the rivers edge or if we were going to have to wait for a car to show or try to flash the ferryman with our bike lights, but luckily we didnt have to improvise. I got the ferryman on the phone and told him there were two cyclist needing to cross. He came after 20 minutes of wait just as a jeep pulled up. Either way we would of gotten across.

Once on the other side I managed to pull up the route using the map my ride app and just remembered what streets to follow as Curt backed up the info.

After a little bit of forest road and then pavement the route had us make a right into what looked like a long driveway. Sure enough when we got to the turn where the route was leading us there was a house. The owner came out and asked if we needed help and I explained that when I had mapped the route there were street names on this road and asked if it was all private property.

He explained that it was all supposed to be a part of Whispering Pines but eventually that plan was cancelled and it was parceled out. I asked him what was the quickest way to get to Whispering Pines since I had seen the name on the map when I had looked before leaving the fish camp ferry station. He then gave us permission to cut threw his land cause that was the fastest route and it felt like the score of a lifetime cause we were able to follow the dirty route and we had permission.

The route continued to be sweet, even the pavement was nice and after a break we started crossings Lake George Conservation area, a section I had done before when I had rode to Ft Gates, but I took the shorter more northernly route across. This was when we encountered the sandiest section of forest road eventually requiring us to take a small break once we finished our traverse to let our legs and lungs sync up again.

Eventually the route wanted us to turn left but it seemed like a dead end so we continued straight and took pavement. I told Curt once we hit the convenience store, let's look at the route, cause he had suggested that we should be able to avoid 40 almost entirely and get to Astor. I was all for that and it was pretty easy to follow google maps while riding and we managed 10 miles riding side by side without a car every coming up behind us. I declared it HERO TARMAC.

In Astor we crossed the river to eat at the Black Water Inn. The food was fine and Edith came and joined us, we even had some Celebratory Alcoholic beverages. Very good times. We took a Lil longer at dinner knowing we only had to ride 4 miles to the camp spot I had picked out. Apparently at this little park they had grassed in and outlined in rocks a little picnic spot peninsula. Very pretty during the day, I figure it should be beautiful at night.

We made it to camp quick. It was the perfect dessert after our dinner and I suggested to Curt we camp out of view and found a natural tree formed cove were I could hang my hammock and he could set up his tent.

It was 930 or so and I fell asleep fast. We had done nearly 100 miles that day and if you had told me I needed to continue I gladly would have. I daydreamed as I drifted off to sleep that if I keep improving like this, I am going to be tough to beat at the CFiTT.

It was 530 am when I opened my eyes and I felt rested and ready to move on. I packed up the bike fast, in ten minutes I was ready to go and did everything with time to spare and watched the River Swallow the moon while I waited for Curt.

15 fast miles later we made it to my girls house at 730am in De Leon Springs. She had coffee ready and made us delicious Omelette's to fill our bellies, it was by far the perfect way to end a nearly perfect tour.

Zero mechanicals, 118 miles, 13+mph avg, perfect weather as well. What more can you ask for??


The NaKeD InDiaN

Monday, September 05, 2011

DoUbLe TrOuBLe

My first Dream bike was that Salsa Mamasita two niner.

Why was this bike so spectacular?

The Scandium mixed with the Carbon seat stays really made for an extremely comfortable bike.

Now I am riding "Beast Mode", which is an awesome ride. Sure its Aluminum(poor mans titanium), but Specialized has done a fantastic job of dialing in the geometry on their 29Er's and the thing hammers and climbs and descends, just exactly what I need it to do.

BUT, its currently not as comfortable as My Mamasita was. Even though were probably talking about a total of 24 inches of Carbon from one bike to the other I have initiated operation "make it more compliant". At work I have been slowly making a list of the carbon bits that I want to swap out on my bike. I found a huge special on an S works carbon stem, A Lil longer, which is good for my wobble naught fit, and a little lower, again good for my fit.

Slapped it on my bike Wednesday. I also want to get the Carbon version of my bars for my bike and the FSA mini Carbon aero bars and either a Carbon Seat post or a moots Titanium seat post. Even considering putting on a Carbon fork for my next Tour Divide attempt, all in the realm of possibility.

So let's do the math. The 24 inches of carbon that I am missing can easily be made up by replacing all these items.

BUT, you know how things go, this is an experiment and I may be wrong, LOL.

Friday at Work a customer came in that's new to mountain biking and a regular. RaFa really wants to do a ride with me. He does not know who I am, meaning, the blog, or the accomplishments or lack there of, or the Singletrack Samurai Productions thing, but he still wanted to ride.

I had planned a ride with Mike Rittenhouse, a Lil resistance training, since he has been putting in the pavement miles in prep for the CFiTT and now wants to incorporate the dirt. He also told me about his "hill workout" so I decided to take him on the Hilliest West Volusia Mix ride available.

BUT, my life is not ever so simple. If anything, the new job leaves me more time to have fun and be social and I have been taking full advantage of that. So this weekend was booked solid.

Still I invited Mike and RaFa to ride early in the a.m. The early a.m.

Here is what the schedule looked like:

Saturday, 7am ride, then back to the house to clean, prep for race, prep for Kai's birthday, visit my mother and brother and nephews and then off to my girlfriends mother's house to Celebrate Sarina's Twentieth Birthday. Phew.

The ride started late.

RaFa showed up behind schedule.

And as we made pace on pavement and Dirt, we hit the hilliest section of the route, and they both were pleasantly surprised with lumped throats as to just how hilly Deltona Florida is.

To me, its not so hilly any longer, but the new position on the bike, even though were talking just degrees and millimeters, but it was requiring me to engage slightly different muscles then I was used too, by rides end, I was a Lil sore.

The rest of the day as busy as it was went smooth and I ended my evening trying to go to bed early to make my way to Trevor Busby's house early in the a.m. 630am to be exact, Sunday was going to be my first Lap race in a long time. I told Trev I was available to help if needed, and I was called upon when a team mate backed out at the last minute.

Lately I have been going through some physical transitions as I mentioned in my last post and although I was excited to be with the team, riding as fast as I can for 10 miles at a time is not what I am used to doing. I am used to riding hard with a 70% to 80% effort over 100 or more miles. This kind of racing requires you to go hard at 80% to 90% effort over a short distance, something I have not done in about 3 years.

Regardless, it was nice to joke and hang out with my team and make new friends and see people I have not seen in awhile. Being a part of the MTB community for 11 years, you end up knowing a lot of people and the list gets longer every year.

My new Team Mate Aaron was up first. And he put in the best work he could considering he has never had to sprint and jump on a bike before. Then Trevor who's on the road to recovery, turned out an amazing first lap, and then there was me.

I took off standing, pushing and pulling the pedals, amazed by how much that first grassy climb sucked. Amazed by how Sandy and worn in the corners were. Exposed roots, I seem to remember San Felasco being so pristine, not the case at the moment. I was having to taper back and be cautious in the corners to avoid over shooting or crashing. As it stands I am still trying to learn the side knobs of my renegades and didn't want to lose time on a crash.

Eventually I hit a grassy straight and I see a gone riding arrow and a brown sign that said turtle something and instead of going straight it somehow caused confusion in my brain and I went about 1000 feet or so up a trail to discover I had made a wrong turn.

"Awesome I thought" , upset I made my way back on course and started seeing riders on course. Slowly I made a game of stalking and passing and attacking, all the while thinking that I was going way too hard and my stomach was in my throat. But still, on I pushed, up and over, attacking the flats and the climbs trying to keep my effort under control. Eventually, as I overtook my last rider in the final mile, I was overtaken just a second before the line and I overhear Dave Burger say over the PA system that Orange Cycle and Bikeworks Orlando were locked in a battle?

I did my hand off and the race continued.

I tried to eat sensibly and supplement sensibly as I waited my turn. All the while hoping it would rain to pack down the dusty loose conditions. But it never happened.

My turn came again and I watched as team 590 took off ahead and the same guy who passed me before lap ones end was stuck waiting on the line.

Before we finished the Grassy first energy sucking climb I ate 590 alive.

My plan was to run, run, run. I knew 579 was faster than me and my only hope was to go as fast as I could and hope I could make the lap before being caught.

There I was, really leaning the corners. Really letting go of the brakes, being a Lil less cautious now that I had time to memorize the course.

Then right around 3 miles from laps end, the wind from my sails failed. I was struggling, trying to keep my momentum, but eventually, 590 caught me, then 579 came around and I just did the best I could and made the line to hand off to my team mate. Feeling drained, but happy to be done and off he went.

Luckily my effort to still keep going even though I was bonking and their effort to push fast we closed the gaps and passed 579 and 590.

I stood on the line, after recovering, ready to take the baton one more time for a 9th team lap, and Trevor B who rode a blazing lap, missed it by a minute.

At least we got them back. You have no idea how much I was beating myself up in my head while the bonk was going on. I was echoing in my head, feeling awful how I let my team down. I still didn't stop, I still stood up to climb and I rode till I fell down on the ground after handing off the baton.

The rest of the day was spent congratulating my other team mates who managed a beastly 5th place and other riders I had met that day who had outstanding rides.

It was fun, eating, and laughing and talking to the people that I have met knew and known for so long.

Take Care,


The NaKeD InDiaN