Monday, April 21, 2014

Weekend Project

 A couple of years ago, I sold one of my bikes.  I promised the kid that I would use the money for a family project.  We settled on a halfpipe in the back yard.  Knowing that the project was not at the top of the priority list, we hid the money and waited for the right time. 

That time rolled around this weekend. 
 I am super proud for kid ( and I told him ).  He helped me out all weekend.  Even later Sunday afternoon, when we were both tired.  He was dragging, but he hung in there.   It was a great opportunity to teach him about good work ethic. 

Spending the weekend together gave us lots of time to talk about life stuff as well,  girlfriends, respect,  working hard,  being a neighbor etc.  Definitely a special time.

 Pizza and Coke for lunch is mandatory for hard workers! 

The rest of the pictures tell the story better than words. 


Friday, April 18, 2014


I have ridden my bike 2 times in the past 3 weeks, so I thought it might be  a good idea to start out with the A group.

I arrived at Liberty for the Thursday night road ride, and  chatted for a while.  We rolled out and hit the first climb,   several guys off the front and I was setting the pace up to the I-26 bridge.  Over the top and someone else took the lead.  We rolled down the hill and onto 191.

We had a group of about 12 now, and I was hoping to hang on for a while, but reality told me I would get dropped.  And I did.  I was pleased to hang on as long as I could.  While the overall pace was ok for me,  we hit one of the larger grunt climbs and I couldn't sustain. 

I held steady and kept spinning, keeping the group in sight.  I managed to catch up at the stop sign only to get dropped again minutes later.  And so it goes. 

But, I had a blast.  I realized that mixing it up like this was a lot of fun, and with the B group to scoop me up, decided that I would try to hang with the A's each week.  Maybe by the end of the summer, I'll be faster. 

The rest of the ride was pretty steady,  Kevin and I ended up mixing in with the B group, and doing a lot of the pulling.  The sun was setting and it was getting dark.  I bid the group farewell and headed up the parkway, tired, hurting but happy for the challenge ahead.

And looking forward to riding my bike consistently!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cut, Split, Stack

Its that time of year again, when I sacrifice some ride time, in order to get the firewood we need for next winter.  Getting it cut, split and stacked is a huge job, but if I get it in there now, it cures all summer and we have heat next winter.  I have to plan ahead, but its cool because when its done, its done. 

The job must have some sort of health benefits too.  Fresh air, exercise etc.

As I was working I was thinking about what it takes to raise up a kid,  thinking about how to learn to be confident.   I didn't get my confidence until a lot later in life, when I actually had the guts to strike out and learn some things on my own.  To fight for my rights, to work for what I wanted in life. 

I realized that you have to let a kid be successful.  You can't nit-pic everything they do and show them what they did wrong.  You have to tell them what they are doing right.   There is definitely a time and place for correction and showing them their errors,  but that should be overshadowed by telling them what they are doing right,  what you like about them, that you are proud of them. 

I caved in to the family this winter and we got Netflix.  It was a cold long winter so, I caved.  And they ganged up on me. 

Catch your kids, (and peers, co workers, spouse etc for that matter) doing something good and praise them for it.  Make a habit of it and I guarantee that one day, they will turn around and return the favor.   There is no feeling like my 9yr old telling me that he is proud of me for something!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Jason's Birthday Ride!

 I got the invite to join Jason Luque on his birthday ride, and even though I was wrecked from house remodeling, and I had not ridden in over two weeks, I could not turn down the invite.  37 plus miles of Pisgah with a bunch of cool peeps, on my single speed Siren.  Great idea.

I got to the Bracken Parking lot and only Wes Dickson was there.  I had woken up late.  Fortunately, our neighbor's dog was in the process of running away, and I was awakened by her yelling at the dog to "come here right now".  I assume it was a dog,  could have been a boyfriend. 

Anyway, I woke up late and got going.  Loaded up and out the door,  I was looking forward to the day, knowing it would hurt. 

About 15 people showed up, Chris Coney, Patrick Mc, Todd B, Jason, Adrienne and a whole slew of FLA PEEPS. 

We rode downhill to some pavement,  made some turns and eventually got on some gravel.  Past Kuykendal, uphill, then turned onto some FS road that took us to Butter.  (I'm not sure of all the road/trail names, and I'm not too worried about that...)
The Birthday Boy
 I was feeling good and enjoying the day,  chatting with friends old and new.  We rode up to the lower water fall and took some photos, then headed up the FS road past the upper falls and onto Daniel Ridge Trail.  Someone mentioned something about a hike a bike.... That was fun, then I started riding.  I got in behind Wes and Todd.  We made the right turn up to the ridge that takes a person to 225 b.   That's where I failed.  I failed to wait at the intersection for the person behind me.  And they went straight over the ridge and down towards the intersection of Farlow and Daniels Ridge.

After a few minutes, someone asked where Joe was.  Missing.  I rode back down to look for him knowing it was my fault.  I found him about half way down and sent him in the right direction.  Some hikers told me that someone else had ridden by and they described Patrick.  Dang it.  I rode all the way down to the intersection of Daniel's and Farlow, but did not see him.   I figured he knew his way around so headed back up to join the group.

I climbed up to the ridge again looking forward to hearing the laughter and chatter of the group.  All I heard was my heartbeat in my ears and the wind in the trees.  They were gone.  Dang it.

 The heat, although not that hot, was getting to me.  I was running low on liquids but calculated that I could make it to the Fish Hatchery if I rode conservatively.  Nothing else to do but ride. So I did, and I enjoyed it.  It was an awesome day, and an awesome route. I figured I would catch the group at the Hatchery,  and I did. 
 After a long rest, we got ready to head up the gravel road of never ending death.  Rich Dillen and his crew rode up and stalled our progress.  After a little bit of chiding and chatting, we all head up the road.  I was feeling the long miles, fatigue and warm temps.  The thing about this time of year is that there is no leaf cover.  We take the full rays of the sun, and in those little hollers, where the wind does not blow,  it can get quite steamy. 

I found a pace I could maintain and rolled with it.  The group spread out and regrouped at the Bracken Mtn trailhead.  It was good to know that I was not the only one hurting.  Several other people we feeling the pain. 

We bombed down, each as best as he/she could and finally crept into the parking lot.
Balloons and cupcakes to finish the ride.   I bid farewell and headed back home to see the family.

Awesome ride with cool friends.  Can't beat it!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blue Bird Sky on an Early Spring Day

 Temps just above freezing.  Fingers feeling it.  Breathing heavy,  soaking in the cold clear mountain air.  Spring is springing in town but not up here in Pisgah..  The cold duff almost screams for some warm sunshine.  The seeds and buds wait in anticipation to break through last fall's leaf cover. 

The cold mountain stream rushes, feeding the roots that reach out.

The air is still and the sky clear and bright blue.  I had the woods to myself,  peaceful, quiet.  Climbing up and gliding down the trails.  Relax, breathe, think. Breathe, relax.
 Places to go, people to see,  but not right now,  one more trail,  one more climb,   just to stay a little longer.  Avoidance?  Perhaps,  more like making the most of the moment, where I am here and now.  Not allowing the experience to slip away without milking it.  This is what I came for,  no need to rush away. 
And then I was back in the lot, loading up and heading back to civilization......

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fun Weekend

 Another fun weekend came and went.  I headed out to Bent Creek on Saturday and climbed up to Bent Creek Gap for the first time in a long time.  I had changed out the 21 tooth rear cog to a 22, and it made a huge difference.  I can push the 21 but for a long ride it might do some damage. 

I ended up doing a "big" 16 mile loop around the lake, Explore Loop Ext, Sidehill, Hickory, Ingles F, back to the lot. 

I'm getting used to the feel of the big wheels and realized that for a long time, my body weight has been a hair too far forward on descents.   By leaning back a little more, the bike absorbs rocks and roots a lot better and I feel like I can let go a little more.  Always something to learn!
Last week I was slammed with getting bike clubs and ride up and rolling.  Definitely a busy time of year, a good change to all the logistics and planning I have been doing.  This is why I do this, to ride with kids! 

Now with a winter storm rolling in, it will be a few days until I ride again.   That is spring in the mountains!


Friday, March 21, 2014

It begins, again

The Thursday night Liberty Road Ride started up again last night. 

We rolled out with an A and B group forming on the climb past Biltmore baptist.  I stayed back in the B group hoping for some smooth steady paceline action.   Several of the riders were a little rusty and needed some coaching but we managed to roll through several times.  I focused on staying smooth and not killing myself. 

The air was almost warm but with a strong wind, the temps felt pretty chilly.  Somehow, I had layered perfectly and was comfortable for the whole ride. 

I was wondering if the 1- 1.5 hr single speed  MTB rides had been doing anything for me.  While the legs quivered and  burned occasionally,  I felt surprisingly good. 

As I type this I'm not feeling as badly as I have in the past.  I guess I'll keep riding single speed MTB for a while! 

Towards the end of the ride, my SRAM front derailleur did something weird, jamming the chain and leaving me almost unable to shift into the big ring.  That was slightly frustrating, but that's the way it goes.  I'll be stopping by Liberty Bikes and letting them work on it.  I tried and it didn't work out for me. 

This year I have less aspirations other than ride my bike.  Let in the year when I am stronger, I'll probably try to hang with the A's periodically,  but will most likely be riding in the B group.   And if I'm not feeling that.... might drop off the back and spin around the countryside alone!   I burned myself out last year and don't want that to happen again!

Looking forward to next week.