Monday, July 28, 2014

Hooked for life. My adventures at "Ship Rock"

What is up everyone??? So my last post was full of cycling goodness. The epicness of ProGold Cycling Products. The post before that I promised: climbing adventures, gorgeous scenery, route sharing, possible gear reviews, and possible basic instruction in the future! Well! Here I am to deliver. But I want to add one more goal. I want to inspire people from all over to try this amazing sport. It is definitely one of the most amazing sports out there and no one should miss out on an opportunity to try it.


Today I got to have my first real taste of rock climbing. All I can say is that is had to of been one of the most exciting/amazing/epic things I have ever done in my life. I got to know some incredible people, see some absolutely gorgeous scenery, and I got to do some fantastic climbing! So! Shut down that Facebook tab and be prepared for to have your mind filled with wonder, and adrenaline laced photo's. It is no wonder why once most people climb for their first time outdoors, they're hooked for life.

  So it all started in Charlotte! I hooked up with a couple guys who I had met at the gym and drove out to the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Boone, NC area. (Mike and Taner) Mike said this day would absolutely change my view on climbing forever. Boy was he right! We arrived at the parkway a couple hours after leaving Charlotte and side stepped off the parkway into the forests of North Carolina. We then started our ascent onto what I believe was Grandfather Mountain. Let me go for the record here.... If my guess is right, it was in the mid 90's in Charlotte. Here at Ship Rock, the temps were in the low 70's. AMAZING weather.
Anyone want to take a stab at how many pounds that bag weighs?

  We were climbing up to the walls when to my surprise we suddenly met droves of climbers. Haha I didn't quite know what to expect. People hanging from the cliffs above, as well as their belayers below. Everyone communicating climber to belayer, belayer to climber. Everyone having a fantastic time. Now... I am typically not for this thing.... But there was this guy there... He had a pair of American flag tights on. I kid you not. They were epic tights. But here is the thing that gets me... I'm used to dealing with very large ego's in the cycling community. Nobody seemed to have one out there. The climbing community is full of the kindest, most selfless people I have ever met. (Heck... There was this lady... She gave me Starbursts.) :P I once asked one of the guys who helped me get into climbing why climbers were like this, and he responded with "You never know when your life could be dependent on the random climber you just met in passing. When you need someone to save your life, you want to hope you are on that persons good side." 

  So here we were! We made it! Since there were a large number of people up there it took us quite a while to find an open wall. But we found it! A solid route starting with a crack climb. Taner climbed first. Placing cams as he went along. Cams are built to fit inside the rock to protect the climber if he/she were to fall. It works by turning the outward force of the cam being pulled out of the rocks by the falling climber into pressure being exerted into the rock above and below the cam placement. Fantastic little devices! Although, they are a little pricey... But they are a climbers best friend. Click the hyperlink to check them out: Black Diamond Cams
Taner (Top) putting in the first cam placement. Once he had it in Mike (Below) could begin belaying him. (Sending him more rope as he climbs and pulls it tight if he were to fall)
 Now... I just need to say... Taner placed the cams and climbed that thing like a BEAST! He was finished in a matter of minutes.
Mike Belaying Taner.

The view from where the climb was.

Almost to the top!

Next it was Mikes turn! Double checking all of Taner's cam placements as he climbed before it was my turn. It takes a ton of experience to get the placements just right as every crack is a certain width and there are many sizes of cams.

What's up! Mike is! He is almost to the top of the route here. About ten more feet to go!
Next it was my turn! Since there were anchors at the top of the climb I did a type of climbing called "Top Rope Climbing" as I took out all the cams and attached the carabiners to my harness.

After we had all done it a few times it was time to move on to the next route. We packed up and moved on to a route titled "Edge of a Dream". The title is so true on so many levels. The first move sends you hanging out 60 feet above the ground. We began the same process for preparing the route as we did the last and began climbing.
Mike was awesome enough to take this epic shot of me next to the climb. What a view!!!

Taner prepping the route.

Mike Belaying Taner as he climbed.

Another picture of the view!

Hanging over the abyss.
  We later moved onto the next climb which was a solid 60 or so feet of climbing. As always, the views were fantastic as were the rocks.
Haha Taner going beast mode on this climb. :P

Looking for possible cam placements?

He reached the top and set up the anchor.
The next part was amazing. We packed up all our gear and since we were on the "Upstairs" climbing walls, there were "Downstairs" climbing walls. So we found anchors for a climb below us and repelled down the mountain on the next climb. That was fun, but not as much fun as checking out the next climb. It had a rated difficulty of 5.11. Taner was the first to claim finishing the route. I attempted with no luck. At one point it was like climbing up a glass window. Very difficult. But then Mike made very quick work of the climb and we finished out our day.

Taner at the most difficult part of the climb.
At this point we finished out climbing close to 9:30 and prepared for our trek down the mountain. Personally I was very tired but it was worth every second. I cannot wait for our next climb and cannot wait to see what the future holds for climbing and I. I love it. The comradery, the views, the difficulty, heck! EVERYTHING! About climbing makes it worth it. If these pictures don't convince you, I don't know what will. I cannot wait to share the many more adventures to come. Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Charlotte Veloclean Goes Gold!

  I must first start off with, I didn't have high expectations for bike cleaning products on the market. So when Bruce Dickman from ProGold Bikes recently contacted me and offered to send me samples of their products, I was skeptical.

Now! Let me tell you where I am coming from. I run a small business called Charlotte Veloclean which is a small bike cleaning business here in Charlotte. The first business to offer a pickup and drop off bike cleaning service. I have had experience testing almost every product on the market for cleaning bicycles and was never really impressed. Finish line products were incredibly expensive and never did a very good job at cleaning and took forever. Treacherous would define it very well. I tried quite a few that I honestly cannot remember the names of, and I finally settled down with a product that I could use for cleaning bikes, no matter how dirty they were. It would typically take about 45 minutes/Bike to get to the level of clean I considered to be my standard. I take a lot of pride in my work and would say that I could take bikes to a level of cleanliness that they only had when they were brand-new. So I stuck with that product and life went on. Then I got a package in the mail.....

What I was told should be in my Arsenal. Are these the weapons of bike cleaning awesomeness?
It arrived. To be honest... I wasn't too terribly excited when I received the package especially after my experiences in the past with other cleaning products.... Sorry Bruce! Today I made sure my bike was as dirty as it could possibly be. It had mud and grit everywhere. I'm unsure what was on the down tube, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was bits of old road kill that had been sitting there spoiling for months. Oh yeah! Bits of dead worms. Bits of dead worms everywhere! Why? I don't know. ANYWAYS! It would make any mountain biker proud! Before I started what I believed would be a project that would take forever, I took a few pictures of the bike...
I typically don't leave my bike in this much disarray... I have been cleaning many other people's bikes instead.


Mud/Lube/Grit mixture. The bike cleaner's worst nightmare.

I have nothing to say about this one...
  I took the pictures and so it began. Out with the bike stand, the ProGold cleaning products, and the bike. I had started the tests by spraying the Degrease + Wash. I started spraying it on the frame and sprayed the cassette just for fun. It was at that point I remembered that I typically spray down the entire bike with water before I start cleaning it. When I finally did so, this happened...
To my surprise, the entirety of the area I had sprayed became COMPLETELY clean.
I stood for a moment not able to comprehend what had just happened. I was astounded and speechless. So I took a picture! I typically spend a solid ten minutes trying to get the cassette, chain, rear derailleur, and main cogs perfectly clean. It took me only a couple minutes and the old lube literally fell right out! Not just that, the areas I had sprayed with the Degrease + Wash on the frame took the dirt right off. I took a cloth, wiped down the frame and it was almost perfect. I took the bike, put it on the mechanic stand, took off the wheels, and cleaned it with the "Carbon Frame Bike Wash". I was at around 10 minutes by the time I was finished getting every speck of grease, mud, and dirt off the frame. Then I applied the "Bike Shine". Can I just say one thing? I can typically get bikes CLEAN. I mean... Cleaner than anyone else in Charlotte can typically get their bikes. Like I said... I prided myself in making bikes look new. Or at least I thought I could... I was wrong. Their "Bike Shine" product fills in all the micro scratches on the frame and adds back the original gloss of the clear coat. My bike is a 2009 Cannondale Carbon six. It wasn't mine until February of last year and I have put nearly 10,000 miles on it. Needless to say, the clear coat has started suffering thanks to all the sun it has been exposed to. Along with all the scratches from being used in sandy areas and travel. I applied the bike shine, and that is no longer the case. It literally looks like I just walked out of the store with a new bike.


Veloclean standard cassette cleanliness.

The Bottom Bracket typically looks scratched, used, and abused. Not anymore.

Absolutely Incredible!
 My conclusion? I wish I had taken a Pre-Cleaning picture of the top tube. Seriously. The difference is incredible. In the end I applied the "EXTREME CHAIN LUBE", (Yes... It's all Caps... Because it's AWESOME!) went for a ride and haven't heard a squeak from my chain. I am now a huge fan of ProGold and will never go back. But you don't have to take my word for it. Make a great investment in the life of your bike, check out ProGold Bikes and buy their products. You won't be disappointed.

  A big shout out to Bruce Dickman of ProGold bikes. It was a challenge cleaning bikes. But it is no longer.
As always, a big thanks to Sandy Kreif Smile Train Athlete! My business wouldn't be where it is today without you!
Don't forget to check out Charlotte Veloclean!!!
If you have any questions or comments about ProGold and their products, or if you want your bikes cleaned, please feel free to contact me at (980)298-2044
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

What's new???

  Hey everyone! So it has been quite a while since I have written any posts. Since my last, my life has made a series of up's and down's. Unfortunately due to too many bumps to the head I cannot race bikes any more. However, I landed a fantastic job as the head of IT for a small airline and will start flying. Since I cannot race, I had to find another adrenaline laced activity that's... A little safer. After some searching, I found it. Rock climbing. I tried it out with some friends I figured out that I absolutely LOVE it.
  "Now! why is he sharing all this in his blog?" might you ask. Well! I wanted to start writing again. What better way to write, and share my rock climbing adventures with my friends and family than through this? Facebook is cool, but I feel that I can share more this way. Anyways! Lots more to come! I'm uber excited. Hopefully I can drag some more friends, possibly some random people on the internet into this fantastic hobby. So sit back and be ready for climbing adventures, gorgeous scenery, route sharing, possibly gear reviews, and some basic instruction in the near future!

                                                                                   Thanks all! -Eric
Photo credits courtesy of