James Pearl Thinks Blogging is Dead


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Can't tell from the leaves, but the flowers on the bush look like azalea. At least very similar.


Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Transition: Day 9 (of 26) - Finally, a Full Length Run


The morning is berm raking, which is the exit of Original Spin which is now the entrance of 1 of our 3 main runs. I prep for the day by clearing off all the junk accumulated on the trail over time. This is one of the older trails so it's reasonably well-burned in. But the raking process in this system is a never-ending task.

I do my homework for the most part of the 7-10:00 block this morning, with a brief break to have breakfast with D. I work on a Performance Analytics module, which is this sort of "reporting trends over time" thing that people want their static reports to do. It's sort of a hot-ish thing, though in my experience nobody ever has the data to support this kind of shit. Most orgs have garbage for data. Plus it's really complex when you dig into it.


I jump out on the road at 11:00 and what a fine day it is. I do a moderate loop because I know I'll be out on the trails (Kingdom Fails? I always liked the show Gravity Falls but I can't work that in. Either way I need to name this thing) later in the afternoon. The day is just amazing. Every day should be like this with maybe rain every 7th day (Tuesday) so you know how awesome you have it the other 6 days of the week.

When I get back I take the 2 older ones to get those signs you put in your yard for graduates. Normally this is probably not something we would do but I think they kids need anything right now. I actually feel bad that they have almost 0 social interaction in their lives. Julia asked me what we're going to do with them this summer and I asked her what she wanted to do. She replied that there's really not anything we can do. I'm not sure what to say to them.

We eat lunch then I go out and do some work to put more boards on the log ride. The transition was ok but required full attention. As this is part of the "return" to the top, we discussed this and wanted to make this a bit more autopilot and less all-hands-on-deck, if you know what I mean. My sander ran out of paper so they came out a little imperfect but when you ride it you'd never know.


Actually did a work call with one of the kids there and helped him out with something. We talked a bit about his future here and after this. I was pretty much his teacher while he was here so I do feel a little bad about leaving him in a lurch. In just a week he says that things have started to go sideways a bit but this doesn't really surprise me. I've been seeing this for however many months. It's likely only going to get worse.

After this we went outside to work from 3:00-5:00. I finished up the log ride above with Simon, and we graded the intro to this a bit. There's a stretch of dirt between the end of the Boardwalks and the start of this (Leroy the Ladder?) with a log pile in between. We groomed the piece between the log pile and Leroy. The flat bits of trail are not exciting for anyone, but now and again I like to try to make it all smoother.

Then Zac and I got to work on the big project of the day. The former exit of Original Spin. The rocks on the left have been there for 3 years now, and we basically removed 2 full wheelbarrows of dirt to get this to the below state. You come tearing into this at high speed so we wanted to make this pretty angled. As much as it is, it's still not enough to stop me from breaking into this. I need to cut the wall down lower and remove some of the dirt on the right.


We used 1 wheelbarrow of dirt for Charles Barkley and the other for the crossover fish berm (below). The far side is dug out on the right and the near side is dug out to the left. So you sort of crossover this thing when you ride. Ideally you're coming at this from the left, towards the camera. You then exit onto the run into the kicker. In between the Fish and Charles, the trail really needs to be dug out properly because we're kicking up shit left & right now that we're actually riding it a bunch.


We end up riding for almost 20 minutes moving time. While I still think we have a bit of room to work on this, it's starting to get to the point that doing session work is really a bunch of fun. I'm starting to think that June 1 may be optimistic in thinking the whole thing will be at some v1 state. Actually, I guess that's not fair. We're probably already at a v1 state. But every time we ride we stop, fix stuff, ride more, fix stuff, then tomorrow we'll wake up and pick up yet another new project to work on.

So here is 1 of the 3 full runs. This is probably as complete a run as we have to this point. That said, towards the end we have a roughed in piece of ST that needs some work.

The thing you come to realize as you ride it a bunch is that things fall apart, fast. For each jump we put in, we're constantly riding on the edge, kicking junk onto the trails. upending rocks, ripping rocks out of the ground, and causing things to fall apart. The dirt dries out really fast and our filtering method makes that worse. Any clumps of dirt we dig up go through the filter, so they end up being unpacked and put in. We can step on it, tamp it, slap it with a shovel for a while but it takes a long time to really pack in.

In the evening when I water the grass I also bring the second hose out and water the things we've built. It may actually make some sense to put a watering can up there and when we build something, water it on the spot. I know it'll take some time to properly wear in. But anything we can do to speed up the process would be good.

I built Adirondack chair #4 and it looks nothing like this, which is sitting out front of our neighbor's house. I wonder if D would let me take it, add it to the system, and plant flowers in it.



Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Transition: Day 10 (of 26) - Then There was Warmth

Slept in today, which for me is 7:00. A fine mist hung in the air but the reality is that I was so tired & sore that sitting at the table, drinking espresso, and having a toast seemed like a better idea than getting up and going outside. Somehow almost an hour passed before I knew it. By then the mist had gone nowhere, and the weather report said it was going to be warm today. So I deferred my outside adventures to a later point in the day and got to my homework, which is much more interesting today than anything else this week. This homework block has 4 parts, and I finished up the first just as the house was waking up for the day and the sun was coming out.


I sneak outside for 20 minutes mid-morning, just to do a little pre-grooming before the day starts. I'm going to focus on the stretch between Fish and Kicker-1. This is a problem area where lots of rocks and junk is being kicked out onto the trail. I pick up 2 buckets (5 gallons) of loose rocks, which tells you just how much crap we’ve upended in a few days. I trim the edges and rake it out. It becomes obvious very early that today is going to be warm.

I spend the remainder of the morning at the kitchen table with Simon, trying to focus him on doing his homework while D tries to get something finished for work. For those of you unfamiliar with Simon’s focus, let’s just say it’s sort of like keeping @pooriggy on point. He has a Zoom call then I do a Zoom call and over the course of 2 hours he gets some stuff done. I eat an early lunch because it’s one of those hungry days. After lunch Simon and I go downstairs and I build chair #5 while he does his Social Studies homework.


Early afternoon and I head outside then Simon follows shortly after. We groom the Fish-Kicker1 connector and build up a small bump (above) on the right/landing side of Fish. I get a watering can and water the new stuff in hopes it will pack in better. We then randomly pick some rocks and build up the entrance of the first roller of the main run. Simon runs away and Zac comes out, and we move to a larger project where I trim & shape the berm he built a few days ago (below) and then we dig more extra dirt from yesterday and add 2 rollers to the connector on the main run (2 below). We don’t have names for these yet. Suffice it to say that we added 2 mounds of dirt to the main run on the stretch of trail that wasn’t actually cut properly yet.



Goddamn it’s hot out.

Went for a road ride with D and my legs, and in fact my whole body, were exhausted. Normally the bulk of Monday through Friday are spent sitting in my comfy office chair working. Even if I ride every day and do stuff all day on the weekends, there’s a lot of sitting time. Right now, I’m not resting as much and it’s starting to add up. My back started complaining while I was out digging with Zac today. All that said, it was a nice warm day to be outside.


Came home and destroyed some pizza for dinner. We’re tired of cooking.

Watered grass, then settled in for the Green Mountain Showdown presented by Mountain Bike Vermont. I will say that maybe earlier today or yesterday an oppressive sadness hit me when I thought about how our Vermont bike trip just isn’t going to be the same this year. This too shall pass, of course. But it makes me sad nonetheless.



Captain Wildcat
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I will say that maybe earlier today or yesterday an oppressive sadness hit me when I thought about how our Vermont bike trip just isn’t going to be the same this year.
Got an email from KT today. We can still go, we just have to tell anyone that asks us that "yes, we did the 14 day quarantine when we entered VT."


The Opinion Police
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Right now, I’m not resting as much and it’s starting to add up.
Your preaching to the Choir, I am now finding fridays being worst then mondays. This old man is breaking down and I ain't got no way out :) too many years of manual labor catching up.


Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Transition: Day 11 (of 26) - Matty B Sighting

I'm just sitting down now for pretty much the first time today, at 9:40 pm. I don't mean this is the first time I have sat down. I mean, my day of doing things finally ended. I'm going to need a vacation soon.

Random thoughts:

* When I woke up today my back was in near traction. I don't really know what that means but it's more sore than it has been in a long, long time. This manual labor stuff sure is hard on you.

* I decided to go out for an easy hour on the road this morning because it was so nice out. And it was, so very nice out.

* When I came back home I made a cup of coffee, drank it, then went back out to run some backyard sessions on the same run, which I would call the primary run, or Run #1. I just did this over and over for a bit until @mattybfat showed up to drop off some wood he had laying around. We will soon be constructing the Matty B Fat Memorial Kick-a-poo Jump. He took a stroll through our playground and we stood around and shot the shit for a while. It was really nice to see another human being in real life.


* D and I went to 2 local greenhouses today to get some flowers.


* Caught the hummingbird on film!


* I finally took the time to cut down the garden doorway from the full 8' height of the 4x4 to just 4'. Well, something that should have taken 15 minutes took almost 90 because I ended up pretty much rebuilding the whole damn thing. This is why I have avoided that for so long.

* Took care of a road bike squeak that developed on the ride yesterday.

* Spent some time prepping for the next big project, which will be the biggest in Kingdom Fails history.


* Dug up and filtered 2 wheelbarrows of dirt to add to Jump #1 on Run #1. This is one that, as Kevin says, was sort of like a dome sat on flat ground. I am adding dirt to make this longer. We took a look at one at Nassau last week and even the "small" ones are so much bigger than you think. Just keep adding dirt.


* Watered the grass, strawberries, flowers, and 50 feet of trail tonight with the boys outside. Just hung out and sat on the wall a bit after that talking with Zac about our plans, which was nice as it was a splendid evening out. Then the bugs showed up and we went back inside.

* Did another homework lesson which I didn't get to yesterday nor this morning. Did not have time to join the team call this evening because I am running behind on a lot of things I want to get done. If only I did not need to sleep.

* And tomorrow is another day. See you soon enough.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I can council you on lack of sleep issues and how to function...I am a black belt. As an aside, I love the Kingdom Fails theme


Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Transition: Day 12 (of 26) - A Pecan Pie

As today wraps up, I now have 2 weeks of transition. Technically I have 3 days of work then 11 days off. But here's how it will really go: 14 days off.

More random thoughts on the back half of the weekend:

* Did a homework module early this morning then I caught up on the last 4 issues of the Times. I also watched the video about the bigger kicker and drew up some sketches with dimensions. I'll use the Matty wood to build this.

* Went to Six Mile this morning with D and the boys. Zac and I did the full loop while D and Simon did the Canal-side only. I have to say that Zac has become a legit rider now and we tore up the full loop in 1:19. We didn't go all the way to the 27 lot but we did the full dragon otherwise. Place is getting more and more fun with jumps and stuff being built. It's about time for me to start showing up to the bigger rides on the weekends with Zac. I think he can handle himself just fine.

* Came home and ate lunch and did another homework module to finish up the course. Done now with 10 of 17 and I'm hoping to wrap up the last 7 in the next 7 days. I want to keep on with these but I will admit this is getting boring because some of this stuff I know perfectly well already.

* Did some work on jump #1 on run #1. Added another wheelbarrow of dirt and that was it for that. I'm not sure how much more dirt we need to add to that as the runway before & after is a little limited. We also worked on a pre-berm for the berm #1 which has now become berm #2. It's a sort of flip-flop berm that you use the first to turn in and really dig into the main one, which is the berm jump. Here's a blurry pic of how it came out:


The transition between the 2 needs to be dug out a bit because it kicks you up a hair when you go from first to second. This also causes you to ride that second one higher, which is fine but it also means we need to dig in and build up that second one more firmly now. That was built in the pre-water & sift days so there's a lot of junk in there we're going to need to weed out.

* Took Julia for a short walk after that then we all hung out a bit outside while D and Simon worked on the garden. It looks pretty neat now. Hopefully it bears some fruit!


* Got back on the bike and sessioned the trails for 30 minutes which is the longest yet. Zac really wants to build yet another cross-everything trail and I'm hesitant because it means we need to kill another tree and pretty much destroy a berm we spent countless hours on. I'm starting to think he would rather build these than ride them, which is a little crazy. I want to fix the ones we have as these are really nowhere near done yet.

In any event, being able to run laps on these for 30 minutes is a huge accomplishment.

* After I showered up I started to make a pecan pie for D's birthday (tomorrow) but the pecans we had were rancid, so I went to the food store then came back, made the pie, ate dinner while on a Zoom call with her family, then went outside to water the lawn and the trails. Also talked to my parents before taking Julia back to her mother's.

The pie was yummy.



Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Transition: Day 13 (of 26) - Birthday Ride at Nassau

Today is @Dominique's birthday so I will wish her a happy birthday here, again! Some random thoughts from the day:

* D got breakfast in bed from the boys and I. It was her birthday and all, which earns you breakfast in bed around here. We hung out for a bit then the reality of Monday took over. Well, for the 3 of them. I'm on sabbatical now.


* Touched base with my new boss today and walked through some day 1 stuff plus some logistics we need to iron out between now and then. Enthusiasm still pretty high on this one, from both sides.

* Spent some time after lunch clearing the runway for the Greatest Show on Earth to come to Kingdom Fails. See the evolving canvass at the end of the log ride:


Meanwhile, Zac did some work on what will be after this, which I can appreciate as this is pretty forward-looking of him. And yes, the tree is in the way. We may need to drag that berm 2 feet out because we're going to come into this pretty hot.


* Went to Nassau with the boys, met @UtahJoe & Bob as well as @Glenn Rides After 4 PM CST for a solid hour of fun. This place is great. I think the drop isn't aligned correctly though. If you really send it you end up on the weeds to the right.

* Got sushi for dinner. D loves sushi. I like it too. Yummy time!


And behind the sushi place is big rocks:



Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Transition: Day 14 (of 26) - Stephens with Lenosky


Rode Stephens this morning with @UtahJoe and Jeff Lenosky. Got up early and started around 8:00, which is pretty outside my wheelhouse these days but I wanted to get up and out of the house early. The loop was a bit different than some of the stuff I've done there before. Some was the same of course, but some was different. We ended up doing like 5 super fun downhill runs including this new Tally Ho, which is really solid. That said, it's over pretty fast so don't blink.

We also did Burger something as well as something else and some other things. Following Jeff is really cool but before you know it, you're not really following him anymore when the hill goes down. This is fun, to be sure. Riding with these 2 guys I felt slow as anything today but then I think I managed 9 PRs on the ride today, and 16 top 3-PRs. So I guess it wasn't that slow.

The Hally To climb is ok, but needs to be run in a bit more to be less of a grind. I'm thinking that with that climb in there, the place could be a legit enduro candidate. @mattybfat says there are like 9 distinct runs here. I need to ride here more.


Came home and had an orange then went for a walk with D. It was a pretty damn fine day out again today, so it was nice. Back home and we had a salad then she went on with her work day and I did something else, but I pretty much have no idea what. I guess I read for a little and maybe...no, really, I have no idea. Oh wait I guess I did start a homework lesson but I made it halfway and got tired of that.

My current boss' boss Alex called me this afternoon to ask if everything was ok. I guess he wanted to channel @jmanic and say so long, and thanks for all the fish. But I never gave them any fish.


Then I went into the dungeon and built the @mattybfat Memorial Kick-a-poo Whatever-I-called-it the other day. Finished product below. I did not make the angle as steep as some of these others because I am a little afraid of going too vertical too soon around the house.


And the execution is here: