Thursday, December 24, 2009

New 'Cross ride for Carter

Well, my plans to ride every day during my two weeks off at Christmas are rapidly falling to pieces. Rain keeps us off the trails and off the road. Either way, I'm getting cabin fever fast. There are two more races in the TN Cyclocross season, and I wanted to be ready for them...... Now I don't know if I'll even get to go.

On to the new bike. Carter is a student at my Alma Mater, and decided to re-start the cycling team that existed at the university when I was a student there. He's successfully gotten it going, and I'm impressed by that. The team has approx a dozen members, and a faculty advisor. I signed on as an alumnis member.

When I signed on, I had no idea what I could offer. I have little time for my own riding usually and I'm not sure I know many people that would help with sponsorship. I did work as a wrench for too many years however, and I figured when I could sneak in a lesson on bike maintenance for the members, I would do that.

Carter had just the perfect opportunity. He bought a Ridley supercross used from a member of our local Trails Association, and a $100 Ultegra group from another. After piecing the rest of the parts together, he called and asked if we could build it up.

I basically did a total frame up build for him while showing him how and why things go together the specific way they did. We finished it off with a good looking bar wrapping job and a ride to dial in the fit somewhat.

I'm really impressed with how it finished out. It needs proper 'cross gearing, but its a nice build overall. With some lighter wheels, it will finish out at a nice finished weight, and the gearing will make it just right for the local races.

With a little luck, we'll get to do a 'cross race in Columbia, TN.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Let There Be Light!!!!!!

Thanks to my buddy FastBilly, I have a new lightset for my bike. Now I can hit the trails at night and have fun with my buddies that already are doing regular night rides.

Setup includes a 10w and 15w light unit paired to a 3000mah and a 4800mah Lithium Ion battery packs. I dropped almost 2lbs from the original NiMH setup with the Lithiums. Conveniently enough, I rigged the whole setup to run with my airplane battery chargers.

The 10w head unit mounts to my handlebars and the 15w to my helmet. : )

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Herbs on the Cross Bike

Well, vacation days are meant for riding.

After getting the errands out of the way, it was time to head out to Herb Parsons Lake for a few laps. I did two laps and started a third. A portion of the way into the third, I was feeling really cold, so I turned around.

Its always good to get out and spin the legs at Herbs!

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Bar Tape for the Cross Bike...

Well, enough of my friends complained that the red bar tape on my cross bike did not suit it..... Sheesh.

The red was recycled from my roadbike, so I decided I might as well put on some fresh new tape. I used Deda this time. I've not used tape like that in a while, so it took a couple tries to get it right, but the results are good.

Somehow the yellow in the bar tape matches the frame decals perfectly. I feel like a hipster : )

Sunday, November 22, 2009

33 Miles of SingleTrack On The Cross Bike

Sunday morning, I hit Herb Parsons with Jacob. We cranked out 4 8.3mile laps around the course. Two of the 4 were sub 1 hour laps, so I'm pretty happy with that. The guys at the 6 hour race there were turning sub 1 hour laps on mountain bikes, so turning that time on the cross bike felt pretty good.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

2009 Outdoors Inc Cyclocross

Well, this race is in the books. Definitely a lot of fun, but I do wish I had felt better for my first Cross race of the year.....

The upper portion of the course was soggy and slow, with lots of hills to either ride or run-up. I ended up shouldering my bike every time for one of the hills. That area was followed by a severe off camber portion and more sogginess.... I think this might have been worse than other mud, because the soggy sod was more like riding on a waterbed.... you never found the bottom!

Next up was a set of s turns, followed by a stairway run up. The hills that followed were rough but plenty rideable. Only one traditional set of barriers on this section.

The bottom half of the course was hardpacked and straight. I drafted on that section when I could, while trying to pull out in front before the one barrier section on that portion of the course so I could make some time. That set of barriers was made from river driftwood. LOL.

I think I placed 9th out of 13 (there were supposed to be 13 starters in my class, and I showed to be in 9th...) so it could have been worse, but I really felt like crap today and just did not have the legs......

I am proud of one thing... I finally got my remount down. By the end of the race, something had finally clicked, and I was doing re-mounts like I should. I've worked on that for a lot of years, and finally have something for it.

All in all, it was a great race, and I encourage anyone and everyone to come out and race it next year!

After the race, I headed with a bunch of my team to Herb Parson's and did a lap of the trail there. Even got my new jersey from the team. I actually don't look terrible in it...... Not good, but not terrible.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Outdoors Inc Cyclocross Champs - Pre Ride

Its nice having a race in your own hometown!

I had the opportunity to get out to the racecourse today and pre-ride the thing. There are some really fast parts, a few tough climbs, and 3 sets of barriers.

One dismount is a set of stairs to a paved section where the remount will be important. The next is a traditional set of double barriers on an up hil.

The final mandatory is a set of 3 huge logs laying out on the riverbank. There is a shicane right before this set of logs, so slowing is not a problem. I did my dismount/remount pretty fast in that section. The others, I was stinkin it up today....

Final area is a tough hill that I'm not sure I can climb. its pretty huge, so I will likely dismount and run up it.....

Rest of the course is either bumpy sodded areas, or fast trampled down trail areas.

Wish me luck......

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wolf River Night Ride

I was dying to get out and ride, but the doggone time change has made that nearly impossible.

The guys from the Journeyman Race team shot me a message and mentioned that they were going out for a Tuesday night ride at the Wolf River trails. I thought it looked like a great opportunity to get out and turn the pedals over....

Bad news was that I don't have any good lights. In the end, I rode with an old set that put out approximately 15 lumens. This was in comparison to my buddies who were riding with combineds sets of 700-1000 lumens!!!!!!! Needless to say, I outran my lights pretty quickly.

The ride was really fun though. Fun enough for me to go buy some new lights! Charles and Shawn were fast as ever, Same for Billy until he ate it hard and bruised a rib or something, so he slowed a bit. Kurt was ripping along pretty good until some wierd shifting problems slowed him a bit.

All in all, it was a kickass ride, and my first ride on the trails with lights since I was in college!

Monday, November 9, 2009

2009 Outdoors Inc Cyclocross

Well, this will be my first 'cross race of the year. I'm excited like you can't believe.

I know I'm gonna stink it up, but at least I'll be out there.

With a little luck, I won't get pulled, and I might even have a picture of the disaster :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Back Riding in the States

Went for a road ride Sunday morning with my buddy Matt. I did better than I figured I would with that long of a layoff and being sick.... I rode a few times in Singapore, but not many considering I was there 5 weeks.

Anyway, while we were out there, we were rolling along and passed a big cotton field. Matt commented that it looked like the sunflowers from the Tour De France, but the 'redneck version' instead. Not sure why, but that was terribly funny to me at the time....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Updating the Cross Bike.... : )

While I was out of the country, I managed to snag an Alpha Q CX fork for my bike. I had an extra Chris King headset and a stem that was a perfect match for it as well.

Mounted everything up this morning and I'm pretty pleased with it! Knocked 1.3 lbs off the bike in total. Definitely very pleased.

Now, I just need an opportunity to race the dern thing!!!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cycling in Singapore part 3

Well, my business trip to Singapore is almost done. I've had a genuinely good time here, but I'm definitely also ready to come home. I miss my girls.

Today however, I had to burn out a few more miles before I left. I had the opportunity to hit the road with my buddy Marc. Marc and I rode together alot a few years ago, up until he transfered here to Singapore. When I got here, I knew we had to get out and hit the road a few times. Each ride, he or his wife cooked a great pasta dinner to get us ready and we headed out.

We rode the Changi/Airport end of the country again and it was HOT!!!!! I'm guessing it was 30 degrees warmer this time. Hotter than Memphis for sure. The heat really took its toll on me too... But it was a good ride anyway.

For the second half of the ride, we rode the beach path along the southern coast. I could not believe the people traffic. Chinese and Malaysians everywhere.... None of them knew how to ride a bike, but every one of them was trying (or falling down on rollerblades!) We dodged people traffic for quite a while, but eventually decided to hit the service road and ride back. Made much better time without all the Chinese adults on bike with training wheels around (thats not an exaggeration!

I'm glad I came. I'm glad I made it a goal to ride. (I rode over 1oo miles while on the island!)

Sunday, October 4, 2009


As I was putting up a post a moment ago, I saw that people had commented on previous posts done months ago...... I really did not think anyone actually read this thing...... I need to keep an eye on that in the future!

Cycling In Singapore Part 2

Well, this weekend, I had the opportunity to ride for the second time in Singapore. The offer came from a co-worker on the island. Seems he's not had anyone to ride with since he moved here 2 years ago and has not gotten out as much as he would like.

I was more than happy to accompany him out on the road. Since I rode the entire western portion of the island last time, we decided to ride the eastern portion. This section that we rode runs between the airport and the ocean, then heads into the hills and runs through the eastern portion of the city/country/state, whatever you want to call it. Finally, it drops down to the airport again.

While I did not see any monkeys in the road on this trip, it was no less spectactular. Riding with 747 jetwash hitting you is no small thing! The sounds at the airport are incredible. The views out to the ocean were wonderful as well.

Unfortunately, weather got foul during our ride and we rode in a near constant downpour. I'm not one to shy away from the rain though, so we soldiered on.

Through the hills, I fully expected my friend to stomp me into the ground as he had the last time we rode together back in the states, but that was not the case. Frankly, I was able to ride away from him. I genuinely could not believe that...... I thought he was letting me drop him, but that was not the case. I guess a little more fitness on my part and an absence of time in the saddle for my friend set the game where it lay. He's still a killer on the bike though, I know after a few rides he'll stomp me handily.

BTW, before we rode, he and his beautiful wife cooked up one of the best meals I've had in a very long time. Pasta with pesto and chicken! Absolutely awesome. I did not realize he was a dern good cook too.

Well, with any luck, we'll head out next weekend again. Hopefully we'll put a few more miles in too!!!!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cycling In Singapore

Saturday morning, I rode the ANZA 'SteadySteady Kranji' ride preceded by the Rats Corner Warmup ride. Great ride.

A very helpful lady named Julie helped myself and a Japanese girl named Karo find our way through the ride. We rode all the way from the southern side of the country to the northern coast.

Along the way, we saw Malaysia, the Singaporean countryside and several portions of the country. We also saw monkeys out in the road. How often do you see monkeys on your road ride?

We rode approx 80km's. Lotsa hills here..... Climbed the longest road climb I think I've ever climbed before.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cyclocross Goodness!!!

Well, even though I won't get to ride it for a while, I have gotten my cyclocross bike ready for the season.

Using some parts from the stash, as well as some parts from ebay, I made a change to the bike that will hopefully be for the better.

When I originally built the bike, I built it as a singlespeed. Unfortunately, the only guys racing SS are super strong around these parts. As I had my bike geared, I could make the climbs, but would spin out massively on any fast section.

I decided to take a Dura Ace 9sp shifter and cassette and gear the bike. I also had a chain without much use. I added a 42 tooth QBP ring and bashguard to the setup, and an NGear jumpstop to keep the chain on.

I really don't want to know how much weight I added, but on the few brief spins around the neighborhood I've gotten, it feels geared right for our races.

Hopefully it will suit me well!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

2009 MS150 Completed!!!

Well, the 2009 MS150 bike ride is over. I feel a little like a kid at Christmas. You look forward to it all year and anticipate it like crazy. Then it happens, and its great, but you really wish it was not over.

I've done this for 7 years now. 6 times I've ridden it. During that time, my team has raised over $30k for the charity. I'm proud of that.

When I first started this, I was significantly overweight - Try over 100lbs over my racing weight when I was in college. I tried every year to complete the ride and succeeded the past couple. I also tried every year to ride 'The Wall'. This year, I did it!!! It took me too many times, but I did it this time!!!!

Day one, I really did not feel that great. I finished in a fine time, but did not really feel great as I did it. Probably too much left over pain in my legs from hiking the previous weekend.

We spent Saturday afternoon hangin out in the casino and eating overpriced cheeseburgers. (have not had a cheeseburger in a long time)

Sunday opened with rain. And that set the stage for the entire day. I elected to stick my raincoat in my pocket, but never took it out. We rolled the first 30 miles rapidly and headed for the wall. To my amazement, I went right up it!!!!!

The rest of the day, I rolled along with Patrick and Adam. They made good riding partners for as long as I could keep up with them. At the finish, the BBQ was as good as it gets!!!!

In the end, I had an awesome time, and I truly cannot wait until next year!!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

MS150 2009

I really cannot wait. I look forward every year to this ride.

The truth is that this is a 150 mile long party on the road. This year will be my 7th year to be involved with it, and I've enjoyed it every time.

For this year, I have a new bike, and a new body to push it. Sub 200lbs for the first time this year!!!! : )

I've always hated the number plates flapping around on the front of my bike and the zip ties scratching the frame. So this year, I decided to make something a little special for the bike.

Using some sheet stock, I cut, drilled and bent up a little bracket for the back of my bike. It is a blatant copy of the number plate brackets found on the pro's bikes. Maybe it adds a little to my bike.... If nothing else, I don't have to listen to that number flapping in the wind the whole time : )

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fun riding at Herbs and some numbers.......

So, this weekend, I get the hall pass from the wife, and its time to head out to Herbs.

First lap around, I was all by myself and I was absolutely flying. I was carrying speed through that course like I've not done since I was in college. I also did the entire course without a single stop and felt strong enough to easily do many more.

Then I ran into Jacob. We've tried to get together to ride so many times, when the opportunity came up, I could not pass it up. Jacob was riding very strong that day. Compared to last winter, he's made a huge improvement in his strength and his fitness. In all, we did 2 laps. (He had already done one lap also). For him, that was his longest ride ever (over 25miles) I'm glad I was able to be part of that!!

When I got home, I pulled out the cross bike and headed out around the neighborhood to see if there was anywhere I could build a 'cross course. No beans though and the wife called me home....

What about the numbers? Well, I found a cool website,, which gives watt numbers based on other inputs you fill in. So what did it say? Well, according to the calculator, it says that on my last group road ride, I averaged 223 watts for the ride. Interestingly enough it also said that during the 'shake n bake' sprint, I was cranking out over 500 watts for approx 2 mins. That my friends is some serious power!!!!

All good fun!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Milestones and Upgrades!

This past week was full of killer riding, and hitting milestones.

First off, I'm finally down to 195lbs - no longer a clydesdale!!!!!

Next up, I rode a total of 126 miles last week. Highest mileage in quite a while! Started with doing the BikeWorld group ride on Tuesday night. We kept up a blistering pace and I almost stayed with the A group.

A 22 mile ride from the house the following Thurs felt great and encouraged me along.

Saturday, I did the LifeTime Metric Century, and we averaged just under 20mph. That was a good ride.

Then Sunday, I went out with the guys and we hit Herbs hard. I rode my SSCX while everyone else was on suspended, geared 29'ers. I held my own though!

Finally, last night, I hit the Tuesday night BikeWorld Ride. To my amazement, I finished with the A group. That included two signpost sprints that went over 33mph, and we finished the ride at 20.3mph!!!!!! This is the first time I've stayed with the A group on the ride. It feels good!!!

With my weight what it is, and finally staying with the A Group, I upgraded my bike a bit. I added a DA7800 Rear Shifter, along with a SRAM 1090 chain, and a SRAM Red 11-26 cassette. That cut the weight down, and lessened the gap between cogs : )

This has been a fun couple of weeks. I hope the MS150 goes as good as I intend!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Legend of Stanky Creek!!!!

Awesome race this weekend!!!!!

When I got there, I walked a few parts of the course to check out the best way to ride them. Frankly, I was scared of this course - really. There were a couple sections that were simply hard.

At the start, I knew I had to get a jump on everyone to get into the woods fast. Succeeded big time on that. Managed to get a jump on everyone in the start line sprint and entered the woods first!!!! Yee haw

As soon as we entered the woods, I turned up hill and promptly detonated at the top........ I guess I put too much into that sprint.

Later on, after the tougher blue section, I started to open it up a bit and find my groove. I was really pretty happy with how fast I was able to get moving. Then I started catching some people from my group and other groups and started rolling as hard as I could.

In the end, I took 8th place in my age group. I'm excited, and looking forward to the next race! (6 hours of Herb in October)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Legend of Stanky Creek this weekend.....

Can't wait, Legend Of Stanky Creek mtb race is this weekend.

I'm gonna leave work early today and go pre-ride the course so I don't have any surprises.

This will be the first MTB race I've competed in in about 8-9 years. My only goals are to not get hurt, ride fast and have fun!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Interesting day riding.....

Went out Sunday morning with a bunch of buddies from down south that are entering the triathlon this weekend. Rode with them around the sprint course road section. We had a fun ride and got home safe. Only bad news was losing several of the group at different time. Could not keep everyone together.

Anyway, when I got home, wife was taking our daughter to go swimming.... So seeing an opportunity, I headed back out to Herbs to do some SSCX riding. I ended up doing two laps, but was totally bonked at the end because I did not eat right. I guess you have to eat right even when you're just bombing around the trail!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cool Bikes In My Garage.....

Last night, I was talking with a buddy about all the cool bikes that have been through my garage in the past year..... I built a few of them, tweaked a few of them for people, and just drooled over a few as well.....

Trek TTX - full DA and Zipp

Specialized Tarmac SL- Full SRAM and Zipp

Cervelo S1 - Full Ultegra

Cervelo S2 - Full Ultegra SL

Pinarello Prince - Full Super Record 11

Vellum Equilibrium - Full DA

Scott Addict R2 - Full DA

Sunday, July 19, 2009

11th Wedding Anniversary

Well, for our 11th wedding anniverary, my wife asked if we could go for a ride.

No better way to spend the day : )

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tough year for equipment.....

I've had a tough year when it comes to equipment....

Earlier this year, my cross wheels started to pull themselves apart, so I had to replace them.

Then I broke a computer wire.

Next up, I bent my road frame.....

And now........ I've destroyed my rear Easton wheel. Could not believe it when I saw it. I was riding at Shelby Forest, and heard some rubbing on the first big climb of the day. When I got off the bike to check it out, the wheel was pulling itself apart. Spoke nipples had pulled themselves right through the rim. Unfortunately, the wheel would not even spin, so I ended up having to have a buddy go rescue me...

The wheel is still under warranty, so hopefully I'll get a replacement soon.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

New Harmonica : )

Got myself a new Missippi Saxophone. I've played Hohner BluesHarps for a long time, but wanted to try something new.

The Suzuki Pro-Master really lives up to its name. It sounds soooo good. The bends are very clean and easy to modulate.

I'm still not much of a player, but at least thats not because of having bad equipment.

While I was at it, I bought my first harmonica microphone. I got an Egg-Static harp mic. Very cool little mic. Works well with my Crate guitar amp and sounds pretty cool.

Kickin it SSCX style at Herbs

So this year, I really want to do better in the fall cross races. I've been riding the single speed a lot to get myself built up for it.

I think its working.

So today, I headed out to Herb Parsons for some SSCX action. I took my Labadie out there and met up with Allent17 from the MSTA boards and rode one and half laps. He's faster than me, and was on a full suspension bike, but I guess I held my own.

I really am finally starting to feel a difference when riding the SSCX and I have the power to punch it up the hills without problem.

The new wheels are super cool as well. I'm very happy with them.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Getting a new guy out on the trail!

Today, I got my buddy Matt out on the trail for his first real mountain bike ride.

Matt is in great shape overall, but definitely not yet adapted to the mountainbike. He did great, no doubt, and I expect he'll be stomping my ass pretty soon. Next time I get a buddy into mountainbiking or cycling in general, I need to pick a guy that is slower than me!!!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

My First Road Race

This morning while most of America was asleep, and a few cycling fans were turning on the Tour on the Versus Channel, I was getting ready for my first road race.

My buddy, JR, convinced me to come over to Arkansas and do the Tour De Horseshoe road race. This is not a large sanctioned event. Instead, its a small local road race put on by the locals. Its a run-whatcha-brung deal with any bike accepted.

When we got there, we were the first to sign up....a little scheduling error there. Gradually the field began to fill up, and some more serious riders began to show. JR recognized a few of them as people who could really go. We headed out for a brief warmup and got ready.

The race took off from a Y in the road and we headed for the dam. Just before the dam, everyone surged, hoping to knock people off the back. Unfortunately, it almost shook me off the back too! I sprinted down the top of the dam and got back on with the front half dozen riders. A few other riders got there with me too.

As soon as I caught on, they surged again and the front 4 broke loose. A second intermediate group formed too with me in it. I held my position for quite a while then dropped......

After a few miles in the wind by myself, a guy blazed by me on a Merlin and I hopped on his wheel. We clipped along at a solid 25mph for a couple miles and got back to the intermediate group. Unfortunately, that effort was my undoing, and I fell off the back again, never to get back on.

I rode out the last few miles by myself in the wind and got passed by a couple people, dropping myself from 10th overall to 14th by the finish line....

In the end, I won my age group (no cats in this race) and took 14th. JR on the other hand kicked ass!!!! He won his age group and the overall!!!! He put in a very solid ride, and never went to the limit in the race. Congrats JR!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cyclocross wheel score!!!!

Last week, a local guy posted a set of Bontrager wheels on the MSTA website for sale forum. The price was great, so I shot him a note and we made arrangements to meet.

I picked up the wheels, and they're pretty cool. They're Bontrage Race-Lites and I picked them up for a song. The rear even had a 9sp cassette on it.

With the blue annodizing on the rims, and the paired spoke setup, they are the schizzle!

Mounted them up on the bike and I'm pretty happy with them. They're lighter than the junkers they replaced as well.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hard Climbing!

My parents moved to Northwest Arkansas 13 years ago.

Ever since that time, I've wanted to ride the roads near where they live, but something has always gotten in the way.

Well, this year, I decided nothing was getting in the way. I rode from their house out to the peach orchard near their home. It was only a 14 mile ride, but the climbs were absolutely insane....... Some of them were over 20% grades.

The ride was definitely fun however, and definitely worth it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!!!

This weekend started a bit rough.... I headed out after work on Friday to Shelby Farms for some MTB riding. Unfortunately, approx 2 miles in, I endo'ed hard and did a massive faceplant. I hit so hard I shattered my helmet. I finished the lap, but did not go for another as planned.....

After buying a new helmet on Saturday, I managed to get out on Father's Day for some riding. The wife asked me not to go out on the road because of the heat, so I decided to head out to Herb Parsons on the singlespeed. I rode 3 laps out there in the heat and had a dern good time.

I felt stronger out there than I have all year. I could not believe how I was able to pull through areas and climb on that single gear.... I was really happy with how it went!

Maybe 'cross season won't be so bad this year. Maybe I'll even not finish last!!!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Shelby Forest Road Ride

After the weather last night, I should have figured that the park would be trashed. Memphis had 80 mph winds heading towards it, and the river bluffs where Shelby Forest resides were the first to feel the brunt of the weather.

Mark and I headed out into the park and hit Jackson Hill. I ended up walking up part of it again. However, Mark's Garmin told us that the steepest part of the hill is at least a 20% grade!!!!!!!!

We continued on and did another 20+ miles before heading back into the park. Once back, we decided to hit the 3 Pigs. I think I got SwineFlu on the 3 Pigs too! His Garmin put the hills at 18%, 16% and 14% respectively. I did well on those hills, but they kicked my arse.

Back out of that section of the park, and out onto Watkins again to push our mileage up to 44 miles. I would have liked to continue, but my head was pounding by then.....

All in all, it was a fun ride.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cyclocross Practice

I'm really hoping to do better at the 'cross races this year. Last year, I was terribly out of shape, and my form over the barriers just plain sucked.

This year, I'm in better shape (though no where close to any of the other competitors in my area) but I'm hoping to have much better form.

To get there, I decided to do at least some 'cross practice every 2 weeks until then. Today, I rode out to Shelby Farms on my SSCX and rode the MTB course. Then after one lap, I pulled up on the empty RC Airfield runway and practiced mounts and dismounts repeatedly at a slow speed.

By the end of the practice, I had done approx 30 dis/re mounts at a slow speed. While they were still ugly, they at least were smoother than before, and maybe closer to my ability when I was younger : )

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Another Killer Road Ride

I guess sometimes things just come together right. Last night, the group ride at Bike World was simply huge. There were approx 2 dozen riders there and the weather was cool.

We took off at a reasonable pace and then shifted to a significantly harder pace almost immediately. I managed to keep with the A group for approx 12 miles before I got dropped. Then I came around a corner a half mile later and there they were! They had made a wrong turn and took a 20 second diversion.

That gave me an opportunity to get back with the group. I spotted DavidF and decided that I was going to try to stay on his wheel no matter what for the rest of the ride.

A few miles later, we split off the back of the A group and formed an 'A minus' group between the A's and the B's. We managed to hold that to the finish and finished out the ride with an avg speed of just over 18mph!

When I got home, my new computer mount was there, so I spent a few mins installing my computer on the bike.

Yesterday was definitely a good day!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Great Road Ride

Well, Sunday the heat finally arrived. I managed to get out on the roadbike for a 43 mile road ride. It was a great ride in spite of the heat. I think staying out until 2am the night before and the heat took a lot out of me, but it was a lot of fun anyway.

Also interesting was the fact that the ride was a bit like a highschool reunion. : )

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Bike, Part 3.....

Well, I have two rides now on this thing, and each ride it gets better.

Climbing is excellent on this bike. No bottom bracket flex at all, and I gotta say that I think I can tell that the chainstays are absolutely huge on the bike. It just does not have any give.

Same thing goes for sprinting on it. When I stand up, there is no flex in the frame, its smooth and accelerates well. Makes me want to stand up on it more often.

Seated riding is excellent as well because of how muted the frame is regarding frame buzz. There just isn't any. I can actually stay seated more often over rough stuff that I might have stood up on before. I finished both rides on it so far feeling like I was not as shaken or stirred.....

Weight wise, I'm slightly dissappointed in it right now, but that will change soon. The frame is lighter than my previous ride, however the headset, frt der clamp and seatpost clamp are all much heavier than my previous, so it is heavier overall. I'll change that over the next few months with a few careful purchases.

Like I said earlier. I'm loving this thing!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Bike, Part 2

Finished bike is just over 15lbs ready to ride. : )

I'm really happy with the ride itself. The bottom bracket is absolutely huge, so there is no flex at all in it. However, the ride is genuinely vertically compliant, resulting in a less than beaten back end (my previous road ride was a scandium alu frame). It climbs extremely well either sitting or standing. It also sprints very well with that stiff bottom bracket. I think the oversized front end contributes to the good sprinting characteristics.

I need to ride it some more to get it completely dialed in, but I'm very happy!

New Bike!

No time to write about it now. Time to go ride it!!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Damn Good Cross Ride

Well, yesterday issues conspired against me doing my usual Tuesday night road ride with the group.

After the wife and daughter headed off to dinner with Papa, I managed to sneak out to Shelby Farms for a ride on my cross bike. I could not believe the difference in my riding.... Last time I hit SF with the SSCX bike, I barely made it up the hills. It was really pretty embarassing.

Yesterday however, I was absolutely flying on the thing. I could not believe what a difference there was. I was flying up the hills and rolling on the flats. Frankly, I think I'm at the point that if I improve any more, I'll likely have to change my rear cog size on the bike......

While I was out there, I also ran into a racing buddy of mine from 10yrs ago. I had not seen him probably since the last Memphis race I did, but I recognized him immediately. It was very cool finding an old friend again and remembering the 'old days'.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Waiting Begins

This is going to be a painful week for me. I'm waiting for a shipment of my new frame/fork for my roadbike. It will look a lot like the bike in the pic below when I'm done (same frame/fork)

Looks like it will deliver sometime late in the week. I have to be there to sign for it, so I'll have to be there when it delivers.

In the meantime, I'll have to just sit and wait. Ok, I guess its a good/ frustrating thing : )

Hopefully, with a little luck, I'll have the thing built for the ride Monday in La Grange!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Great Ride / Team Journeyman Racing

This weekend was wild. I finally decided to join Facebook. In doing so, I found friends that I had lost touch with as many as 10-15yrs ago. It was really pretty cool hearing from so many people.

While doing this, I also 'friended' my riding friend Brad. Amazingly enough, I found out that we know all the same people. I'd never met Brad before a year ago, but there in his friend's page were a whole slough of people I grew up with.

Brad and I got his new bike out (a Gorgeous Scott Addict) and put in 42 miles. I bonked hard during the ride. Got to the point of feeling sleepy on the bike. Took me wayyyyy too long to get back up and running again. We finished well though. I gotta remember to eat better next ride.

While we were out riding, Brad told me about his informal team he's putting together. He calls it Journeyman Racing. He plans for it to be something of an all inclusive group without some of the elitest attitudes found on some teams. Should be a lot of fun. I may not be fast, but at least I participate!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Cycling Fan In America......

OK, I'm an American cycling fan. I admit it. Probably need to enter a twelve step program for it too.....

I'm an 'active' fan as well. I ride and even race occasionally. I'm no where near competitive, but I like to get out there and do it. I follow pro-cycling and watch every race I can. I know all the riders stats and their successes and failures.

Years ago, at the beginning of the 'Lance Era', I got satellite TV and the Versus channel. I did so just so I could watch the tour. I paid all year, just so I could hear Paul and Phil calling out the moves as the Tour wound its way through the French countryside. Since then, of course, I've tried to watch Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Paris-Roubaix, etc. I was a huge fan before that, but only followed the sport through print pubs like Velonews. The occasional coverage on the major stations was pretty weak, but I devoured it when I could.

I can't get enough of the stuff.

Baseball, Football (American) and Basketball don't capture my interest at all. At parties, I'm useless to talk with because I don't follow any leagues or any teams. If it involves a ball, I can't keep up. My Wife floats all the conversations there as she is not only a fan, but was also a great player of any sport involving a ball that a girl could have played.

Our Euro friends have it so easy. Click the TV Remote and watch a race. No thought, no effort involved. Just click and watch. No need to troll internet forums looking for where the next race will be broadcast. Yes, I'm green with envy!

So as I type this, the kilos are ticking away in the Giro D'Italia. Sivstov is in the lead and praying he can stay away to the finish (with about 10k's to go). Universal Sports is broadcasting the event, and really its pretty good coverage. As they rip across the cobbles in Bergamo, I'm smiling, because for now, I've found a way to get my 'fix'.

Tomorrow, I'll miss the coverage, as I'll be out on a 50-60 mile road ride. Trade one 'fix' for the other 'fix'.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Well, after 2+years and over 3k miles, I managed to bend my beloved Quattro Assi somehow. I love this bike. I paid next to nothing for the frame, and I've really taken my time getting it dialed in and really comfortable to ride.

I'm simply not sure how I bent the thing, but on a Thursday night ride a couple weeks ago, I heard some rubbing going on. I stopped at a park to check it out. I actually found two rubs. The first was my computer cable rubbing on the front tire. No big issue and nothing to fix that problem.

The other problem was the rear wheel. The tire was rubbing the left side chainstay. I checked the quick release to find out if the wheel had shifted. It had shifted slightly, but when I pulled it back straight, the wheel was still significantly cocked to the left side.

Back at home, I checked the dish on the wheel and found it to be within .75mm of dished correctly.... :( That meant the frame was wonky. A few measurements on the frame found the whole rear triangle bent to the right about 7.5mm's.

In the end, I decided to build a new roadbike. I searched high and low for a new frame. A Cannondale from a local rider looked promising, as did a Bianchi from a local shop, but in the end, I opted for a full carbon frame bought from the US distributor. I picked up a 'Vellum Equilibrium' from the Vellum distributor.
Hopefully, I'll get to build it over the Memorial day weekend. I'll post pics when I'm done.....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Memphis Heli Classic is a Wrap

Well, the Memphis Heli Classic was a huge success.

Bad weather (wind) could not keep people away, and everyone in attendance had a great time.

Personally, I really enjoyed putting the thing together and the results!

Next year, I'm pushing to have the event as a two day event. That should give the club a little more benefit, and ensure that more people attend!

There was some good coverage on the internet as well -,,

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Own Personal Roubaix!

Went out this afternoon for a spin on the roadbike. Was hoping to do better than 30 miles this afternoon. At around the 15 mile mark, the rain hit. was not too bad, but decided to turn around and head back the way I came. The roads I was on are super bumpy and poorly patched. Looks like the crews have not gotten out and patched the patches yet either. Hence, my own personal Roubaix.

Turning around was a good choice, as I rode out from under the storm and the sun came out! Within a few minutes, I was nearly dry and cruizing along comfortably again. Frankly I was so comfortable, I decided to stretch the ride to 40 miles and headed toward more sun.

I may have pushed it a bit too far though..... When I got about 3miles from the house, the rain hit HARD!!!!!! and I mean friggin hard. The wind was howling, it felt like the temp dropped about 20 degrees and big raindrops were hitting me horizontally!

After only a couple minutes of fighting into the wind and rain in my granny I spotted a garage open. I dove in it and the owner was nice enough to let me stay in there for a minute and wait for the rain to pass.

I finally worked up the gumption to get back on and fight the last few miles to get home.

A really hot bath brought my temperature back up to normal. Everything I own was soaked from the rain and will take a bit to dry out.....

However, I did 39 miles today. A really good ride, in spite of the rain!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Killer Riding At Shelby Forest

This past weekend, I got out on Friday to ride at Shelby Forest with JR and Chris. Those guys are 100 x's better than me, but are nice enough to wait for me at the tops of some of the climbs.

So Friday, we head out to do the normal Jackson Hill and 3Pigs loop. I did Jackson hill once, then did the Pigs 2 1/2 more times, along with the hills that precede Jackson Hill. It was absolutely intense getting up those hills.

On past rides out there, my goal was simply to get to the top of those hills. I often had to stop and walk portions of them. They may not be the Gerardsbergen or the Mur de Huy, but they are tough.

Friday, I was able to stand up on the bike and power over them. In total I rode 0ver 20 steep hills and powered through all of them. I did have to get off at Jackson hill for a short bit, but was able to get back on and finish well.

Recovery after the hills seems to be getting a little faster as well!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ride Into Spring

Rode the "Ride Into Spring" this morning. Took the 35 mile route. I did not figure I could pull off the 75 miler.

Was a pretty nice event. Route was well marked, and the crowd was good.

I was about the 20th into the parking lot, so I made pretty good time. Weather was perfect too.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Helicopter Invasion....

I've been a fixed wing flyer for almost 30 years now.

The heli bug has hit, but this pic says how bad it is......

Truth is these are some of mine, as well as a few of Matlok's......

I have some paintwork to do between now and the Fly-in.....

Monday, March 30, 2009

Layin Some Paint

Painted up a new canopy for my T-Rex 250. Wanted something visible to make flying easier.... I like how it turned out.....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

2009 Wolfman Duathlon

I'd been getting ready for this event for a few months now. It has been 17 years since I did a running event. Plenty of cycling, but no running.

Well, my buddy who did the running leg of our team last year had another event to get to, so I had to do it on my own.

As can be expected, my running leg stunk. I think my time was 36:30 for 3 miles..... sheesh.... However, when I got on the bike, things really opened up. I passed a ton of people and really felt pretty good rolling along.

Unfortunately, I then got passed on the last run by many of the people I passed on the bike. C'est la vie!

All in all, it was a really good time though. I got to see a bunch of the guys from the MSTA forum and shoot the bull with 'em.

Next year, I'm going to do even better..... : )

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cool bikes in my shop

I help out friends with their bikes. I do small tune-ups for them and install the odd component or two as well. I've also helped quite a few with used bikes and getting them to running order.

In the past year, I've gotten to work on a Specialized Tarmac S-Works with SRAM Red and Zipp 404's that weighed in at 13.5lbs. I've worked on some badass tri-bikes too.

During the past week, I've been helping a buddy upgrade and tune his Cervelo for the upcoming tri-season. Its been fun.

When I started, the bike weighed in at just a smidge under 20lbs! Since then, I've added a KCNC cassette, KCNC brakes and a set of used Neuvation carbon aero tubular wheels shod with Zipp Tangente tires.

All up weight is now 17.96lbs and it definitely feels better.

The other interesting detail I found was that while my buddy is significantly faster than me, his bars are much higher than mine when on the tops. We're in the process now of looking to see how low we can get him and still keep his efficiency high. Low is useless if you can't breathe and pedal!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Shelby Forest - Forest of Pain.....

The past two weekends, I've hit the road hard. They were not long rides by distance, but by pain they were huge. We hit Shelby Forest and all the things that includes.

Last week, we hit Jackson Hill, the 3 Pigs and a long run down Watkins to finish up around 22miles worth of climbing.

Today, we headed out and did the same, however somehow JR set us up to do multiple loops of the 3 Pigs. I actually got better as the day went along and made it up the climbs in pretty good shape later in the ride, while having to walk portions of a few earlier.

This coming weekend is the Wolfman Duathlon. Should be a lot of fun. Maybe Amy will come out and take some pictures.....

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Herb Parsons 3/07/09

I managed to get out this weekend and hit Herb Parsons. I was not planning on going out there (spur of the moment deal) but decided to anyway. When I got there, I rode in about a mile and decided it was too muddy, so I rode out.

When I got back to the parking lot, two college girls were getting ready to ride. They heckled me because I did not want to ride in the mud (don't care about mud, but I don't want to destroy my favorite trail).

So off I went again. I rode pretty hard the first lap and ran into SteveK putting in this new log bridge. Bridge is pretty nice. No one else seemed to be able to ride accross it though...?

In the end, I did two laps, when I was hoping to do 4.....

Oh yeah, the trail was in good shape except the holiday loop......

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Well, I thought for sure that the weather this weekend would have made it too wet to ride.

Good news was that Herbs drained and dried well as always. I hit the trail with Jacob and put in one lap. We started a second, but I had a flat as we entered the woods...... The Bontrager sealant in my tires has dried up.

As soon as I got home, I put the thing in the workstand and pumped in fresh sealant. Of course it sealed immediately.....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

No Riding or Flying This Weekend!

Weather rolled in and means that I'm grounded and stuck inside.....

What to do but clean up the shop..... OK, maybe after the ATOC on Versus, I'll clean my office!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Great Road Ride!

Well, I won't be able to get out on the trails this weekend, so I hit the road on the roadbike. This was really my first time out on the skinny tires since spending the winter on the trails.

Riding that crazy SSCX bike really has made a difference. I felt stronger than ever climbing the hills near my house and was carrying more speed on the flats. On top of that, I did not have to stop on the entire 20 mile ride. Just cruised right through.

Frankly, when I got home, I felt like I could have easily kept going if it had not been dark!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bar Top Levers and some good flying!

Saturday, I woke up and mounted some great looking bar-top levers on my cross bike. When I ride this thing on singletrack, I never feel like I have the control I want- especially while descending. So the levers cost me $5.

I absolutely love them. They really make the bike more comfortable for me. Ended up doing 3 laps of Herb Parsons with the thing and it was great!

I also got an opportunity on Sunday to get out and fly most of the day. Lots of heli flyers were out, and we also had lots of profile 3d'rs out. As they say "a good time was had by all!"

Getting out both days of the weekend was a real rarity for me too, so that made this an extra good weekend!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tennessee Bicycle Law

The other day, I was talking with a non-cycling friend. It was an interesting conversation. He 'quoted' to me what he believed TN cycling law to actually be and informed me how horrible all my cycling friends were.

I had to agree with them that they were/are bad if they break the law. That however was where the agreement ended.

I had serious issue with what his interpretation of the law actually was. First off, in TN we are viewed the same as motorists. Next, TN is a two abreast state. IE, we can ride two abreast when riding. Finally, we are allowed to ride on the road. There is nothing in the TN code that says we can't.

If you'd like to read more, this site has all of the cycling related code extracted and presented for easy use.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

3 Laps of Herbs

Today was a great day to get out!!!!!

Doug M and I hit Herb Parsons for 3 laps. Seems like everyone was out there. Charles, SteveK, Brad C. You name 'em, they were there.

Frankly I feel beat up. Not entirely sure why, maybe because its been a while since I've ridden out there.

Anyway, one helluva nice weekend to get out and ride!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

2009 Memphis Heli Classic

This year, I will (along with my club) be hosting the 2009 Memphis Heli Classic.

We're hoping to make this an annual event and a good all around time. Attendance looks better every day and that is definitely a positive.

If you're reading this and you're a heli pilot, I hope you come out!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Good CX Ride and End of Duck Season

Well, this past weekend, my father and I headed back into the woods to finish out the duck season. Arkansas' season ended this weekend.

Before I headed over to AR, I managed to get in two laps of the Tour De Wolf Trail on my SSCX bike. The trail was in great condition and was a lot of fun. Very fast rolling on those narrow nobby tires.....

Saturday was a good day with everything right about the weather except the wind.... Everytime we'd get a group working down to the treetops, a gust would come along and blow them away (literally). Got pretty frustrating, but you can't control the weather.

Then Sunday rolled in. Again, we were heading for the woods of Bayou Meto..... As we loaded in the boat road and got the WarEagle on plane, the water was nearly freezing on my face as it splashed up.... it was cold like you don't feel otherwise. Normal people don't get to have experiences like this.

As we rounded one of the corners around Hallowell, we saw a few boats pulled up against a little island just off the boat road. As we went by, people started hollering and flashing lights in our eyes. We rolled on past and they yelled louder. At that point, I told dad to pull the boat over. As we did, it got stuck in a shallow spot and one of the people at the island started screaming that 'you wouldn't be stuck if you'd just pulled over when I yelled at ya!". I replied "I don't know who you are or what you're doin!" The guy then hollered at me that he had yelled "Game Warden", but I could not hear that over the boat motor- and I told him so.

It was a pretty interesting situation. Boats lined up like cordwood against this island in the woods at 4:45 in the morning with skim ice floating around the bases of the trees..... A group of hunters was gathered around a bonfired the gamewardens had built on the island. They might as well have gotten warm as they all were getting tickets.

The wardens searched our boat and checked over our licenses as well as our guns and our shell bags. As we floated there, wardens kept yelling at boats coming around that corner.........

I'm not an outlaw, so we got out of there with no citations and no warnings. Definitely a good thing.

Back on the boat road, we raced on down to the new hole in the woods we had scouted out the previous afternoon. This area was in an area of the woods that not many people went to because there was no way to get your boat to it easily. Good news was that the wind was gone..... Bad news was that it was replaced with ice on the water and heavy cloudcover. Well, the ducks don't like the woods when its cloudy in my experience, and watching the fields as we left that morning, all the ducks were in areas they were able to keep free from ice. I'm guessing between the clouds and the ice, we just were not bound to see a duck - and we didn't...

Next season will be fun. We found a few new holes to hunt, and I learned a few tricks to create opportunities to hunt. I just have to make sure to take advantage of what I learned.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Eager To Get Back On The Road.....

I am missing road riding again. Can't wait for a warm afternoon to get out and head out on the pavement.....
Two pictures from the past 5 years..... Guess which one is the earlier....

Monday, January 19, 2009

One Lap At Herbs

Made it out to Herbs for one lap, but I just plain felt like crap...... It was 35 degrees out, so that was not helping at all.

It drives me nutz! Over the holidays, I got in a lot of riding and eventually got to the point I could stay ahead of some of my riding buddies..... however because the past two weeks have been so busy, I've apparently lost everything I had built up- Today I was lucky to even keep up.........

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Horrible Cycling Weather

Well, its just plain been aweful cycling weather the past few weeks. I think I actually heard my roadbike say "I'm lonely.... ride me".......

Between rain to keep me off the trails, and cold to keep me off the roadbike, I'm guessing its now time to set up the trainer and go from there....... Kinda a painful thought- I hate the trainer. However IF I'm going to hit my 2009 goal of getting to 180 by September, then I'm gonna have to do it......

Saturday, January 17, 2009

T-Rex Night Flying

Last night while waiting outside to pick up some take-out food, I rigged up my T-Rex for night flying.

Used some Align blades I'd picked up some time earlier, and an Electrifly light kit I picked up at the LHS. I test flew two packs through it and its not terribly easy to see, so I redid the lighting on the canopy and the fuse. On the canopy, I moved it 1/4" away from the black window paint. I'm hoping this will get the light reflecting from a lot of white paint.

On the structure, I re did the lighting alignment so it would show in every realm of flight.

I also noticed that these blades tracked worse than any blade I've flown yet. I'll have to re-track them when its warmer.

In flight, the thing really was a dog because of the cold. I could not believe how poorly the batteries performed. That was until I got in the truck and realized it was 21 degrees........

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Memphis Indoor Classic 2009

Its been a week since I last posted......... and its been even longer since I've thrown a leg over my bike.......

Thats because I was incredibly busy last week.

Last week was the Memphis Indoor Classic. I've been working on this race with Al Glenn for several months. First off, he deserves all the credit for getting this event together, and simply consider myself lucky enough to have helped.

I started the event the week before in building my newest design. It still does not have a name, but it flies well. I finished that airplane on Wednesday evening. Thats the cool thing about FAI F3P-A, finish your competition airplane in 4 hours instead of 400.......

People started showing up for the event on Thursday night. While I tried to stay out of trouble with the wife, RJ and AC showed up and started working on RJ's latest prototype. FancyFoam had shipped the raw kit to my house along with prizes for the competition. After laying a simple but attractive paintjob on the bird, RJ took to framing it. For me, it was a bit frustrating to watch, as it took RJ about 4-5 hours to complete, and I can do the same job in less than an hour....... However the results were pretty awesome.

We showed up at the facility on Friday morning and helped Al set up the facility with tables and concession stand. By 10:30 we were flying, trimming and practicing. I put up approximately 15-20 practice and trim flights just in that one day. By 5pm, we were handed the unknown and sat down for a pilots' meeting. The unknown looked scary on paper, but was really not that bad in the air. It certainly was not easy (it was an ass kicker) it was just not as hard as it looked on paper. That was definitely a good experience for me. We finished the evening when Riley K's father brought pizza in for all the pilots.

Saturday began very early and very rainy. Thank goodness we were flying indoor! We started the morning by realizing 2 of the pilots we were sure were going to fly backed out. Their loss. We flew 2 rounds of F3P-A and 2 rounds of unknown. I felt really good about the known flights and my first unknown flight. My second unknown flight was going great and I managed to zero the last maneuver!!!!!!! Thank goodness we were allowed to drop our worst flights.

After the morning precision contest, we had open flying for several hours. People flew all sorts of flying, and we managed to get some impromptu pylon racing in. That was some of the most fun I've had at a contest in a while. I flew my trusty little SCAT delta (own design) and whoooped up on everyone else. By the last race, one of the HobbyLobby guys finally had his bird tuned to outrun my airplane on the straights. At that point, I genuinely had to outfly him on the course to beat him- and I did!!!!!! Of course that was all just for fun. : )

Saturday afternoon, we got ready to hit the freestyle section of the competition. Frankly, I flew my first flight to a new song and the routine just plain sucked...... Then I flew to my 2008 ETOC music and my routine was significantly better, even though I had not flown it in almost a year....... and then I crashed. I genuinely think that d@#$ airplane was jinxed. Needless to say, I won't rebuild it.

The real freestyle competition was between Riley K and RJ. Both put up absolutely killer flights. They were on fire. Well choreographed, challenging maneuvers and sequences and pretty dynamic overall.

In the end, RJ came out on top on both Precision and Freestyle. Huge congrats to him.

Personally, I came out in 4th place overall. I'm actually pretty pleased with that. The competition in front of me was/is pretty doggone good.

After the competition was over, we sat down for some 'Interstate' barbeque. There is nothing that compares to Memphis bbq. I had not had any bbq in so long (still trying to lose weight) it was really nice to have a plate of it. We spent the rest of the evening flying helis, some more pylon and generally acting stupid.

Sunday, we flew a bit and helped clean up. I ended up having to work Sunday morning, so I missed most of my friends before they left.... : ( but I'm glad I was there to help Al wrap everything up.

Next year will be an even better event!