Aug 14, 2017

Gimbals and Swivel Mounts; oh my!

I'm back! Another weekend at Blue Mountain, yielded another sore ass, dirty, sweaty pads and of some decent new footage from behind, over and around the bars. Pushing pride aside in the name of creative exploration, I hit the trails looking like R2D2, just to see if I could get some more exciting yet steady footage of what I enjoy most. I picked up a Rhino Swivel mount from Amazon to take advantage of the 360° coverage as well as a cable extension for my gimbal, which I mounted to my chest. The results are shown below. If you compare this video the last video I posted here, you ought to notice a lot more image stabilization. As I continue to ride at Blue Mountain, my cajones grow larger which means more speed and more exciting footage. For now, here's the latest from phattire headquarters!

Aug 2, 2017

DH ride at Blue Mountain

Fortunately, I got a few XC rides in this summer and for that; I'm thankful. A ride up in Jim Thorpe, PA and a few trips to my local trails at Hashawha have quelled my thrist for dirt and speed.

Although over the past few years, like the mold in my vegetable crisper, the urge to get into downhill (DH) mountain biking has been steadily growing. What once was an exciting thought has now become reality. A few weeks ago, I picked up a  used DH rig that I found on Pinkbike. It's a 2015 Specialized Status 1. In all my years of riding, this is my first "Spesh". After a quick bleed of the breaks, new tires, flat pedals, and overhaul of the drivetrain, she's running tip-top.  I took it out to Blue Mountain and we put eachother through our paces. I was exhausted after only 5 runs down the mountain. 7" of front and rear travel makes for a lot of bike but I am absolutely loving it! This is not to say DH riding is new to me. "Back in the day" I was quite a ballsy freerider, spending most of my weekends riding pirate huckle up at the Frederick Watershed. Those were the days. My bike was a beefy hardtail and my body was made of rubber. Young and fearless, you might say. Things are a little different today. I was quite reserved during my first day of riding this bike on the mountain. I got some hangtime and I carved some berms, but a lot slower than the rest of the riders at the park that day. Nevertheless, I did have my Gopros running and I put together the 3 minute video you see below. More soon.
Above: 2015 Specialized Status 1

Aug 22, 2016

Burroughs Range revisted

Back on July 12th, I posted with great enthusiasm about a recent re-hike of the Burroughs Range in the Catskills. This was awesome, but a killer for me. I'm pretty out of shape. Nevertheless, I packed light and planned to make the same 15 mile day-hike I had done years ago, into a two-day hike. I thought it'd be fun to take my time and enjoy it over a couple days at a leisurely pace. However, it was super hot, humid and muggy. I ended up putting in a good 10 miles on the first day because I couldn't decide on a good camping spot, and for a while had to hike until a legal site was available (There's no camping over 3,500'). And I got tired. Really tired. At times I thought someone would probably find my body (my sweaty, out of shape body) collapsed over a rock cairn; two empty Nalgene bottles at my side. Someone would say: "Geez, this guy was in rough shape! ...See if he's got any change in his pockets." Nevertheless, I traversed Wittenberg, Cornell and Slide Mountains and made it out with only the loss of one Teva. I am sure someone scratched their head upon finding only one Teva sandal on the trail. 

Aug 10, 2016

Phat biking

It's been quite a while since I made a video. This one, was fun to make. The entire video was shot using my iPhone 6S and edited on my iPad Pro. Im super happy with the results. It was a lot of fun to make for a few reasons. For starters, it was a perfect evening after work. I really wanted to be in the woods and the setting sun, smell of the pines and lush trails were just what I wanted. Secondly, it was a 'back to basics' ride; I used flat pedals, took no tools with me, and just wore a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. No lycra. No SPDs. No camelback. Just the essentials; like back in the day. At any rate, good times. Need to start doing this on a regular basis again!

Jul 12, 2016

The mountains are calling

I have not blogged in a coon's age, but I'll tell you what; I have been one busy man. A week off of work doing the things I most like, has gotten me really excited about backpacking again. Last week I hiked a nice 15 miles in the Catskills along the Burrough's range and Panther Ledge. I also spent part of the week with my girlfriend, Sara, in my childhood playground; the Adirondacks.  Just being up there in the mountains has really gotten me pumped about hiking the High Peaks of the 'Dax'.  Tonight, as I read trip reports and blogs of others who have hiked a lot of the exciting alpine routes of the park, I plan my own adventure along the the Lower Great Range Traverse in Keene Valley. In my delusional quest to conquer all 46 of the High Peaks, this traverse, albeit challenging, would bang out a few of the peaks in one shot (Upper & Lower Wolfjaw, Armstrong, Sawteeth & Saddleback). Stay tuned!

Oct 18, 2015

Life on the ol' farm

Hello interwebbers. Time for a serious update from phattire headquarters. I'm speaking to both of you, who follow this sad little blog. I am renting an excellent old farm house in Manchester, Maryland. The house was built in 1900 and is rife with character and the general old-timiness that  I love so much. It's lonely, but it's perfect for me. It's nestled right in the middle of a cluster of horse farms and the views out my windows are amazing. I don't think I'll ever get tired of walking out through the fields around my property. I have plenty of garage space for my bikes, it's got a great basement with a workshop, a timeless attic for my backpacking gear, hardwood floors, a great wood stove in the living room and here's the cherry on top: It's got a wood shed in the back, so my firewood will stay nice and dry as I burn through it this winter. It's been ages since I've posted, but I was up for the sunrise this morning and walked the frosty fields with my new camera, and just wanted to get some images up on the ol' bloggidy blog here. The rest of the day, holds a few projects for me. I've got the first batch of this year's pineapple-orange marmalade simmering away; so I've got to jar that. I'm also planning on filling a growler with some local IPA from Johannson's in town, so that I don't get thirsty watching a little football this afternoon. Perhaps a quick burn on the cross bike before I head into town... Be well friends.

Aug 2, 2015

Taking the plunge

Ever since I was a wee lad, I've been jumping off of the bridge that spans the junction between 6th & 7th Lake, of the Fulton Chain Lakes in the Adirondacks. It's been a cheap thrill each and every time. It was a pleasure to introduce my young nephews to it this summer! 

Jul 30, 2015

Dirt biking in the Dax

Yesterday was pretty epic. Since childhood, I have wanted to cruise around the Adirondacks on a dirt bike. Yesterday, that happened. I've had my Honda CRF 450X for about three years now, but it was broken for half that time and I haven't got a lot of throttle time accumulated. I'm still a bit timid on the bike but am feeling more and more confident with every ride. It was just great to rip through the logging roads and snowmobile trails up here in the 'Dax'. 

Jul 27, 2015

Family Vacation - Adirondacks

Well, I spent the last week and a half in Munich for work. Now I'm off for a week to vacation with my family in the Adirondacks. Of course, I brought my camera, and have been taking advantage of the sites. I'll try to post some pictures every other day or so, but the wifi at the camp we're renting is spotty at best.

I'm fairly happy with the way this shot of the moon and starry sky turned out. I sat on the dock with a cold Utica Club while I played with the settings to get a decent exposure. I ended up shooting with my 35mm lens at f/1.4 for 2 seconds, then processing in Adobe Lightroom.

This morning I woke up at 7:30 and drove about a mile up the road to the old mill on Moose River. I've driven past this mill since I was the age of 10 and have always been curious to see what's inside. Here are a few photos from this morning.


Jul 12, 2015

Updates, get your updates.

Hello world wide web. I haven't not contributed to you since March 15th; let's fix that. Sounds like a general update is in order.

Work has been rough. The new position, which is not so new anymore, has certainly brought a lot of challenge and stolen more time from me that I imagined.  At least I'm down to working 11 hour days as often. It's getting easier, but there's just so much more responsibility in this role than I had imagined, and I'm not so great at delegating, so I end up working myself to death. I'm learning though. Overall, still happy I took on the challenge. I'm the Director of Quality, for a major player in the rail industry. I'll take a pat on the back for that. Oh, and the travel has been awesome. I love to travel, but I'll write more about that below.

Home life:
Home life is good. Debbie is happy. The two bunnies seem happy; I haven't heard them complain. We got new couches which are pretty awesome. The old couch was a monster that just gobbled you up and forced you to slouch down until your chin touched your chest. I do not miss it. Plus, new couch has foot rests that pop out... and drink holders. Win. Landscape wise, I've been enjoying mowing. It's just satisfying. We've had a couple fires in the backyard this summer which were fun. Not so many rabbits in the yard this summer, but I have seen a lot of coyote poop and my neighbor caught a glimpse of some coyotes early one morning. This would explain the pieces of rabbit and bird we've been finding.

Work has taken me to some pretty awesome places: Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, France and Spain. Oddly enough, I do not mind sitting on the plane for 10+ hours. It's worth it to get to experience the sights, sounds, food & culture. The Bavarian Alps are beautiful. The Czech Republic strange and has a phony/corrupt feel to it. Paris is amazing, as always and Madrid has the feel of NYC, but with an old world feel. I love how much history this European places have. Our country is so new, by comparison. Still I love living in the US; it's the by far the best! On Tuesday I'm headed back to Munich for a week and a half. Looking forward to it!

Debbie and I went camping with her Brother and his family last month at Laurel Hill State Park, and it was awesome. We even cooked crawfish that we ordered from Louisiana. They were delicious. Of course we ate steaks as well. Plenty of relaxing, hammock time, kids getting dirty chasing crawfish (little ones, too small to eat) and swimming.  Debbie's two brothers and I had another super rainy backpacking trip at Ohiopyle State Park as well. Total sog fest. But a blast nonetheless. The weekend I get back from Munich, I'll be driving up to the Adirondacks to spend a week soaking in the lakes, and hiking some of the High Peaks. Gothics is at the top of my list!