Archive for November, 2013

ride report – 11.23.13

Posted in ride reports with tags , , , , on November 26, 2013 by 41flyersracing - o'kelley


I had originally planned to ride at Oak Mtn the afternoon of the 22nd, but my hypoglycemia kicked into high gear that morning and caused some serious heaves in the parking lot of my office.  After finally feeling better it was time to call it a day anyway so I postponed my ride time until Saturday.  With lots on our family schedules as always, I had limited time to ride.  The weather was overcast with temps in the low to mid 50s…..typical Alabama autumn day.  I decided to head up to the top of Double Oak Mountain on the EBSCO property to do some climbing.

Once crested, I rode the pavement for a short while then turned around and headed downhill on the jeep trail to EBSCO gate #1.  Along the way I bumped into Mike, who patrols the acreage for EBSCO, and had a short chat about large cat sightings.  As always, Mike was a good resource for what’s going on up there.  Heading downhill on some of the steeper sections, I had some leaf slide-outs that led to some very close calls in terms of wipe-outs.  I did have one pretty good wipe-out, but luckily it was more of a slide and had no real impact….unlike the crash I was to have later in the ride.

After hitting gate #1, I simply turned back around and headed back uphill on the rather steep Category 3 climb to Double Oak Way.  Due to how many leaves have fallen, even during just the two-week span since I had last been on these trails, it was impossible to get enough traction to climb all of the hills.  So, I had to walk my bike a few times to get over some of the super-steep sections.  The rest of it was good riding though.

My original thought had been to backtrack my way to the Forest Parks neighborhood, head down 280, and then get on the Dunnavant Valley Greenway Trail at Soccer Blast.  However, knowing how many leaves must have fallen on that trail, which is treacherously rocky in some places, I opted instead to hit pavement back to Hwy 41.  From there I went to the opposite trailhead for the DVGT, taking it inward until the first rocky section that would have required walking.

On my way home I decided to add another mile or so to my ride by doing the lake trail at Mt Laurel.  During the last 10 yards of trail before it exits back onto the lawn at the lake, I took a wrong line down a rock chute and did a hard endo over the handlebar.  I must have hit a rut that was buried under some leaves, because my front tire just nosedived into the ground, sending me butt over head onto some large rocks on the ground.  Knowing some folks were at the lake and likely had seen it, I quickly hopped up to make it not seem so bad and then rode on out.  Upon riding out, I noticed that it was Travis and his family that were at the lake, and he had in fact witnessed it.  We chatted for a few minutes before I headed home to deal with my wounds…..just a shame that it wasn’t caught on tape.

After a few minutes the pain started really setting in.  By Sunday morning it was unbearable, so I reluctantly made a trip to the ER.  Diagnosis was a small shoulder separation, sprained finger, and fractured forearm near the elbow.  That one small decision I made to take the lake trail rather than go straight home cost me lots of pain and some upcoming time off of my bikes.  Not one of my finer decisions.

Ride link can be found here.  Pics are below.

double oak way

double oak way

double oak way, looking down towards hwy 41

double oak way, looking down towards hwy 41

"guitar house" at shoal creek visible through trees

“guitar house” at shoal creek visible through trees

massive leaf cover

massive leaf cover

massive leaf cover

massive leaf cover

view towards the narrows development

view towards the narrows development

view taken shortly after wiping out on leaves.  looking towards hwy 280.

view taken shortly after wiping out on leaves. looking towards hwy 280.

more leaves on trail

more leaves on trail

looking towards highland lakes

looking towards highland lakes

at dunnavant valley greenway trail

at dunnavant valley greenway trail

the least of my injuries

the least of my injuries












Ride report – 11.16.13

Posted in ride reports with tags , , on November 17, 2013 by 41flyersracing - o'kelley

Been over a week since my last ride and just had to get out. Had only an hour so I went to the top of Double Oak Mtn for some trails. For some reason I just wasn’t feeling it, so I ended up doing a couple laps around the lake at Greystone Farms.








ride report – 11.03.2013 — EBSCO property

Posted in ride reports with tags , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2013 by 41flyersracing - o'kelley

After a couple of early morning pavement/gravel/dirt rides to dial in the geometry on my new Stumpjumper, along with a counter-clockwise ride of the old loop at Oak Mtn State Park, I had a couple hours to spend on Sunday afternoon getting to properly test out my new bike on the hills above Mt Laurel.

After leaving my house, it was down Hwy 41 to the steep uphill road of Double Oak Way….i.e. my usual way of getting to the top of the mountain when I don’t want to deal with the hike-a-bike from the lake at Mt Laurel.  After cresting the hill on Double Oak Way where it takes a 90-degree turn to the left and becomes fairly flat, I continued on for a short distance to simply keep warming up.  Then I opted to hop on the singletrack that is alongside the paved road (the trail was put in by motobikers), but that was very quickly short lived since my drivetrain immediately got clogged up with fallen leaves and a small twig.

Back on the pavement, I headed southwest on Double Oak Way (towards the way I came) and then continued straight onto the jeep road after Double Oak Way turned hard right to go downhill to Hwy 41.  It had been a few years since I took this road all the way down to Hwy 43, so my plan was to stay on it until Hwy 43 and then turn around for a good uphill.  With all of the recent leaf-shedding by all of the hardwoods, the leaves really made things slippery going downhill and I almost lost control on more than one occasion.  Nevertheless, it wasn’t too muddy and generally was a fun ride down.

Hitting Hwy 43 (which is at EBSCO gate #1), I rode northeast on the pavement until reaching EBSCO gate #2 on the opposite side of 43.  Having explored back here a few times on my mountain bike in the past, I knew it has miles upon miles of jeep road options to ride on.  I opted to simply head uphill for a bit and then backtrack until reaching Hwy 43 again, albeit about a half mile to the northeast (at gate #3).  Then it was back on some pavement until I got back to gate #1.

Once at gate #1, my plan was to simply go back the way I came, which would have been a decent climb of around 1.5 miles and over 600 feet of elevation change (topo change, not cumulative gain).  I got to a fork in the road and inadvertently took a right when I should have stayed left.  So, I instead ended up with a climb of around 3 miles and close to 800 feet of elevation change.  Plus, I had absolutely no clue where I was.  For quite a while I actually thought I was much further to the southwest because I had skipped another right turn and stayed left, not recalling staying right at the very first turn.  When it eventually dumped me out at the bottom of the Double Oak Rollercoaster I was very surprised.

At that point, I had only ridden a little over 10 miles and wanted to put in some more time on my bike while I had the rare window of opportunity without other obligations standing in the way.  So, I once again headed back to the southwest on Double Oak Way, and once again stayed straight onto the dirt once the pavement turned downhill towards Hwy 41.  But instead of continuing all the way to Hwy 43 again, I took the jeep road spur that leads to Forest Parks.  [One of the great things about this dirt road system is that you can access Forest Parks/280, Jones Valley Urban Farm/41, Hwy 43, and even Hwy 25].  This fun section of fire road eventually ended at the top soccer field at the Forest Parks soccer complex.  [Another side note, Forest Parks has a fun, albeit fairly short, trail that I have taken a few times on my way through there….not this time though].  Next I would simply cut through the neighborhood to pick up Hwy 280 at Essex Road.

Hwy 280 was unusually busy for a Sunday afternoon, so I road on the narrow sliver of gravel on the shoulder until I reached Soccer Blast.  Once at Soccer Blast, I hopped on the Dunnavant Valley Greenway Trail.  This trail is great for trail running, and so-so for trail riding.  Most of it is actually very fun to ride, but a few portions near the middle are permeated with rock gardens that require you to dismount a few times (at least this time of year with the slippery leaf cover).  It was at one such rock garden that I came upon a group of hikers and one of them had twisted her ankle pretty badly.  The trail was very narrow and it was going to be slow going getting around their group, so I ended up just chilling by the creek for five minutes or so to give them some time to get out in front of me.  I eventually caught them again, but by that time I was almost to the trailhead parking lot and could ride around their group.  By the time I reached the trailhead my phone was buzzing with a text message asking when I would be home (my wife had plans with some friends) so I made a beeline along Hwy 41 back to the hood.

Final ride stats were around 20 miles with 2500 feet of climbing.  Strava link can be found here.  Random photos below.


on Double Oak Way


trail next to Double Oak Way


fire roads on opposite side of Hwy 43


fire roads on opposite side of Hwy 43


EBSCO gate #2


EBSCO gate #1 – heads uphill to Double Oak Way


very steep section of doubletrack


at top of Double Oak Rollercoaster – looking towards descent to bottom


Forest Parks soccer field complex


Forest Parks soccer field complex


creek along Dunnvant Valley Greenway Trail


Dunnavant Valley Greenway Trail


Dunnavant Valley Greenway Trail

Stumpjumper Carbon Comp 29er – initial impressions

Posted in gear review, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 4, 2013 by 41flyersracing - o'kelley

After having my trusty aluminum Stumpjumper 29er hardtail stolen, I was able to obtain some insurance money thanks to USAA and purchase a new bike.  I went with another 29er Stumpjumper, this time in carbon.  I have had this bike just over a week and can offer the following initial impressions based on around 65 miles of riding on pavement, jeep roads, gravel, and singletrack.

First off, this bike is extremely comfortable and very smooth.  I knew the carbon would smooth out some of the ground chatter, but did not expect it to make such a difference.  Granted, my aluminum bike was four years old and I had been running a rigid fork for almost two years.  But, it definitely makes for a nicer riding experience.

The fit is what I expected from a Specialized race hardtail, which is a low-slung, stretched-out stance.  I really prefer to ride with my bar as far down and as far out front as possible, and this bike suits me well.  The first thing I did when I brought the bike home was invert the stem so that it would drop substantially rather than keep me in a more upright position.  At first I was worried that I needed a longer stem, but after a few rides I think the stock stem will work well for me.  I also had my doubts about whether the size Large was the right size for me, as my old bike was a size X-Large.  But, I’m glad I listened to Joe and Geoff at Bike Link and went with their recommended frame size.

I immediately converted the Roval wheels to tubeless, which was easy considering they already had rim tape and came with spare removable valve cores.  This shaved exactly 0.5 pounds from the bike weight, which dropped it to 24.2 pounds.  Not bad for a bike of this size, with rather heavy/cheap Shimano pedals.  Over time, I could easily shave this bike down to closer to 23 pounds with a carbon seatpost, lighter pedals, and lighter cassette….all things that will be done as the original parts start to wear out on me.

The massive bottom bracket area dishes out a ton of stiffness and is very responsive when pushing on the pedals.  Pretty much what I expected, but still something that is noticeable.

The bike came with a Specialized Phenon saddle, which is my all-time favorite saddle.  This is now the fourth bike of mine to run a Phenon, and I am always comfortable on them.

On a recent ride at Oak Mtn State Park, I set somewhere around 7 or 8 personal records on Strava for various segments of my 17-mile ride.  What stuck out to me about that though is that I was not trying to do so….I was simply out riding with the same exertion level that I typically ride with out there on my old bike.  So, the extra speed must have been a direct result of simply having faster equipment this time out.  Definitely a plus there.

Lastly, the bike just plain looks good….stealthy in fact, with the black on gray on carbon color scheme.  Some random pics are below.