Monday, September 21, 2015

Oakley Swings

Momentum is growing. We are now at $6720. I would be stoked to get to $7000 by Oct 8th, the next PTO meeting! Click below to donate now! Thanks.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Oakley Swings

$320  donated to date.

Consider this:
 Besides being an enjoyable activity for children, research supports that swinging is very beneficial for physical, social, and cognitive development for children and can also be used in therapeutic situations. Physically, children develop gross motor skills, including locomotion, balancing, and body coordination, as they run and jump into swings, push others, develop pumping motions, and jump out of the swings. They also develop fine motor skills including hand, arm, and finger coordination, grip strength, and circling motions of their arms and legs.
“Function and Value of Swings: The Benefits of Playground Swings.”

We are up to $300 now.  Keep spreading the word.  How awesome would it be if we reached our goal by Christmas?  I say freaking awesome!!!

One week into the Oakley Swings fundraiser and we are already on a roll.   $160 raise so far and word is just getting out.   Don't miss your chance to be a part of this project!!

Join on Facebook and spread the word:

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Smells Like Another DNF

Soooo,   Monster Cross rolled around again and I felt ready.  Tuesday I took a 40 mile ride with Jason L and felt great.  Tuesday night the crap hit the fan....

I couldn't sleep.  I've been working on a project and I was running into roadblocks.  I was getting frustrated that I couldn't move forward and could not understand what the problem was. 

On top of that,  the stress of helping the kid start middle school added up and add in other general life problems and BAM.  Suddenly, I was losing my appetite and losing sleep. 

And then Friday evening, my body responded by shutting down.  I was in the bed by 6pm, unable to eat.  I finally a little bit of mac n cheese around 8pm and hoped that going to bed and sleeping would help me feel better. 

5:45 am,  the alarm went off.  I went back to sleep and woke up at 6:05am.  I decided to get up and give it a go.  As I quietly got the bike and food for the day ready, I wished that I had slept in.  But, it was early, and I always feel like crap in the morning.  I got some coffee and tried to eat,  managing to get half a bagel down.  I just wasn't hungry. 

I hoped that as the ride went on, I would start to feel better.  That's why I drove out and lined up at the start.  I rolled out and kept hoping for the best.  I was on my single speed, so the long ride out the pavement was boring.  My legs felt good when I finally got on the gravel and up to Gloucester Gap.  I had high hopes as I coasted down the other side and then pedaled to Hwy 215.   But, the spark was not there.  And I was having trouble eating, feeling nauseous.  Not good. 

I pedaled up until the pavement started to turn up and I stopped.   I knew what was ahead and I knew what I was capable of.  I could continue on,  I could drive myself into a hole.... etc.  Or I could turn around and go home.  

DNF is never easy, but it was the right thing to do.  It wasn't like I just got a flat and lost the lead group.  If I had continued on, I would have driven myself into the ground. 

I chose home and the upside was spending time with my family, no regrets. 

As I unloaded my bike from the SAG vehicle, and started the "walk of shame" to the timing tent to report my DNF, Eric Wever walked up to me,  shook my hand, looked me in the eye and said: "  Welcome home, beer is in the cooler, burritos on the way".

A perfect ending to an imperfect ride.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Bring Back The Oakley Swings

In the Spring of 2015, Oakley Elementary won a grant to build a playground.  The grant was funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield.  One of the unfortunate grant stipulations was that all of the old playground equipment had to be removed from the school grounds.  This included a large 3 bay, 6 swing swing set.

Everyone I talk to misses the swings.

During the process last year,  a few of us committed to raise the funds and install a new swing set to finish out the new playground.  

We have to install a "Commercial" set which drives the cost higher, and also install a border to hold mulch that has to be 12 inches deep, over 2400 sq feet.

The $10,000 needed for the build seems high at first, but to us it is worth it.   After seeing so many new families out using the playground this summer,  seeing people making friends, and seeing kids outside, away from electronics,  the swing set becomes priceless.

I'm sure you know what is coming next:  We need you to Donate!

Our fundraising page is here:

And if you want to spead the word on Facebook:

Please help with whatever you can and continue making Oakley an amazing neighborhood! 

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Just another day in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Gravel Crushin'

I'm running low on time and written creativity.  This might turn into a photo blog for now.

Enjoy the ride.

Friday, August 28, 2015


At some point over the past 8 yrs, Bikepacking became an integral part of my life.  A challenge, sometimes an obsession.  Poring  over maps,  grazing the internet and blogs to find details about routes.  Packing and repacking.  Trying out new equipment. 

Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.   This year though, has been tough.  I've had a lot on my plate and not much time to ride with the consistency it takes to make a long distance trip successful.

I had planned to leave this week to take a trip on the Trans North GA route.  I didn't go.   Timing wasn't right.  And I'm a little gun shy.  The last trip I took, back in the spring,  I didn't have the time in the saddle and I wound up in the hurt locker.   So much so, that I pretty much scared myself.  It served as a wake up call, reminding me how fast things can go south, and if the training isn't there,   I can't simply push through and be ok.

Add to that, the kid starting middle school.  That's a pretty big transition period and I want to be here for him and support him.  I remember middle school.  I was in the Caribbean,  on an island called Bonaire.  They spoke Dutch in the classroom,  Papiamentu on the play ground, and we spoke English at home.  I felt alone, lost, and scared.  I was able to make friends and try to blend in, but overall, the experience was pretty miserable.

I didn't tell the kid how good he has it,  how much easier his transition is than mine.  It doesn't matter.  If he is having a hard time, I have no right to compare that to my experience.

He started school last Weds, and joined the soccer team as manager.  Apparently, the state of NC does not think that 6th graders can handle sports and the transition to middle school at the same time.  Another one of those outdated laws.....

Anyway, the kid is doing well, and I'm glad I'm here to help him through this part of his journey.  Bikepacking can wait.

So, what now?  Am I done with the sport?  Am I quitting the hobby?  No, not at all.  I just have to wait for the right time, and make sure my family is taken care of first.

The cool thing is though, I have no regrets.  The kid is important to me, and I want to be here for him.    I'd die for him,  no questions asked.  I love bikepacking. But by investing time and energy into the kid,  I help not only him,  but his kids and their kids.  Way more reward.

Enjoy the ride!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Chris King's Gourmet Century

 What do you get when you combine the beauty of Western North Carolina's mountain roads and some delicious locally sourced food and beverage?  A nice ride.  But,  add to those ingredients an amazing staff and on top of that 150 laid back people on bikes,  you wind up with Chris King's Gourmet Century
 We started the day meeting at Taylor Ranch off of Cane Creek Rd.  Secretly hidden behind the ridge, once leaving the chaos of Cane Creek, one finds a peaceful ranch sprawling across the valley.  Longhorn grazing, turtles gently surfacing in the pond, and breakfast.

 An amazing spread of tofu scramble, grits,  coffee and my all time favorite, biscuits and gravy.  After a leisurely breakfast, small groups gathered and headed to the parking lot to change and roll out.  I joined up with Cameron, Tom, Mike and Lauren.   We ended up riding together for most of the day which turned out to be a lot of fun. 
 We rolled out under overcast skies, a hint of a cool breeze and the typical humidity that hangs in the hollers this time of year.  Pedaling along, from one valley to the next, following the winding, twisting ribbon of pavement.   

The first rest stop at mile 12 offered the awesome Ally's Bar,  a sweet potato based bar that you have to try.  We stopped briefly and continued on our relaxed journey.  Chatting and cracking jokes.  At mile 24, we stopped at the local fire department for lunch. 

Macaroni salad and a choice of turkey, ham or veggie sub on a fresh roll hit the spot. 

 We wound our way around and into Fairview, up the 74A climb to the divide, then down through Gerton for another rest stop.  This one featured tofu tacos and beer.  I just filled up with water, because on the climb up to the divide, someone had upped the pace, and the turkey sandwich now sat as a large lump in my stomach. 

I added some nuun to the water and sipped on it. 

Down towards Lake Lure, right on hwy 64, the another right to take us up through Edneyville and back to the ranch.  At the last rest stop, around mile 48,  I decided to continue on solo and finish the ride.  I wanted to get home to get a shower and spend some time with the family before we headed back to dinner.   A cat nap on the couch was a bonus!

 Dinner time rolled around and we mingled, chatting and enjoying the views. 

Delicious smoked pork right out of the smoker with some rice and Pisgah Pale hit the spot.  We enjoyed the meal and I sat back and relaxed. 

 This ride was about community.  About spending time with good people.  About enjoying the scenery and stopping to smell the roses. 

I wondered at the beginning how it would pan out.   By the time I got home after dinner, I had a warm glow in my soul,  knowing that I had shared  a very special day with a lot of people. 

It was definitely a great change of pace from the typical life of a cyclist who is trying to get fit and stay fast. 

 This is a ride that you don't want to miss out on next year.  I'm already making plans!

Thanks Kris Bedsaul, Chris King and crew.  Thanks for the challenge, the food and the community! See you next year.