Thursday, November 29, 2012


Amazing dirt.  That can pretty much sum up what's been happening lately.  Not always the holy grail hero dirt, but way better than it's been all year. From chilly night rides, to before work dirty action, the trails have been busy working my body, bike, and lately, pedals over.  I believe that for 2013 I'll be making the switch back to SPD's.  I'm just going through way to many Crank Brother pedals as of late.  It's a bit ridiculous, and has more than once left me stranded on a great ride unable to finish what I started.

So I'm going to have to step up on my soap box for a minute.  It involves Shawnee Mission Park, or SMP as some call it.  Apparently they have winter hours and now the park closes at 8pm. This I didn't know, just figured the 10pm curfew was in affect. 

It happened last Friday night.  A friend was in town and we all gathered for what should have been a fun evening out on the trails.  We left the lair at 8pm, and dropped into SMP via some rogue trail/bike paths.  Fast forward an hour and we find ourselves bombing down the trail over by the marina.  We see a spot light flash us but don't pay much attention as we are all trying to pay as much attention to not eating dirt as we slice through what was a beautiful night on the trail.

Just shortly after I snap a chain.  Being a dumb dumb, I don't have a quick link and we have to resort to manually fixing it.  Long story short it was a cluster fuck.  Our hands were cold, Mark's tool was crap, and after having to fix it not once, but twice, we finally got it back in place and ready to roll.

That's when a light flashed on from our left and we were told "Stop, Police!"  What the fuck.

Ten seconds earlier and we would have been gone, fleeting into the dark night.  But no, the fact that we had to re-fix my chain meant we now had to walk our bikes out like idiots followed by mister Police man.  Apparently he wasn't very happy because he made the comment that if we tried to get on our bikes and ride away he would TASE us.Yes, we were threatened to be shot with an electric gun by a cop.  I have a feeling our lycra get-up wouldn't have done much to stop that volts either.

To make matters worse he walked us out via the longest route possible.  What should have taken 5 minutes turned into a 30 minute hike a bike over what is already rough rocky trail.  This pretty much shredded my brand new neoprene shoe covers I had literally just bought before heading out for the ride.

So we had to walk out, be questioned where our buddies were, where we came from, blah, blah, blah.  Mind you it was just past 9pm right now.  Not 3am or any crazy time like that.  They had two cop cars out where we were, and we were told by the group that didn't get caught that there was another patrolling another area of the park with spot lights.

We both ended up getting a $45 ticket.  For riding our bikes.  At night.  Sure the park was closed but they had no good answer as to why it should have been.  The cops argument to me was that if we were to get hurt back on the trails that we would be risking the health of the emergency people who had to come get us because it was dark.  He must not have realized it get's dark at 5pm.  The park doesn't close till 8.  That's 3 hours of darkness.  Argument failed.

*  I will say that as much of a dick the guy was at first, both he and the lady that helped him ticket us were actually not bad people.  They were fairly nice, mainly just doing their job.

So why does Shawnee do this?  Obviously they still patrol the park past hours, so why not at least leave it open for us to enjoy?  Why have Summer hours and Winter hours?  If your going to patrol past 10 in the Summer, why not in the Winter?  Because it's dark?  You patrol for obviously 4 hours in the winter anyways, so whats 2 more?

And why the hell would they go through all that trouble and hassle us for a couple $45 tickets?  Do they think that's going to work?  It's not.  If anything it just pisses me off and makes me want to go back and ride it past hours even more to get my moneys worth.  Maybe that's my skewed self, but the whole thing stinks like shit.  Giving us a hard time for doing something productive and healthy.

Sorry for the rant, but I think the whole ordeal was wrong.  I don't know what needs to happen to fix it, but either way it's kinda a joke. 

I was more or less pissed that it ruined our night and I didn't get to spend it riding with our buddy who was in town just for a few days.  They took away a good night riding experience with 5 of my closest friends.  That's just fucked up.

So back to normal riding, the other trails have been stellar.  Been riding trails 4-5 days a week and more or less just enjoying the nice weather, good friends, and great dirt.

I also did a cross race last weekend.  We happened to have on out at our shop, so I figured why not.  I chose to race the Epic though because I've ridden my cross bike behind the shop plenty to know it's not that much fun.  I chose to take comfort over speed, even though the Epic is a pretty fast little devil in itself.  I managed to do decent on it too, coming in 2nd behind Shad Smith.  I just didn't have it in me to keep his wheel, but I did manage to have the coolest cross finish I've ever had with a sprint against teammate Coe with a bike throw at the line to determine 2nd and 3rd.  I think my fat tires helped. 
Yes, I showboated a little bit.  But I didn't DNF! The berm was just too much fun not to have fun on.

Riding behind Shad, overall winner.

That was my official cross season.  One and done.  Now back to some more dirt action, and getting this engine ready for next year!