Saturday, July 13, 2019

Lake Life

 I love the lake.  
The open expanse of water.  
Skimming across the surface.  
Pulling up to the beach. 
Jumping in the cool refreshing water.  
Dodging thunderstorms.
 Eating scrunched up sandwiches. 
Waving to the other boaters.  
Wishing I had  a bigger boat.  
Being content with my 12 foot little motor boat.  
The boat seems to shrink as the kid grows.   
Teaching the kid. 
Laughing with the kid. 
Providing for the kid.
Enjoying what I have,  missing what I don't have. 
 Practicing being kind.  
Practicing being selfless. 
 It all takes practice.
 It does not come naturally.  
It is intentional, worth the effort because it helps the greater good.
At the end of the day, focusing on who I am, what I am and being satisfied.
Just be.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Just Be

Self care, self improvement, self aware.... becoming a better person requires a lot.  Breaking the negative cycles and habits that were ingrained from child hood, requires a lot.  A lot of thought, a lot of work, a lot of new habits and new focus.    I've been doing that, to the nth degree,  but suddenly a though crosses my mind.  When am I good enough?  When will it be enough?  In my desperation to be the best dad, husband, neighbor,  I am now stressing myself out trying to improve. 

And then it dawns on me.  I have to take a break.  I have to relax.  I have to be.  I have to enjoy the work that has been done.  I have to be who I am and be who I have become.   I have worked hard, and the change is obvious (as reported by my wife). 

Is there still work to do?  Sure, but for a period, for a season,  I can relax and know that I have worth, that I have purpose and that I can enjoy the freedom that has been given to me. 

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Racing the Storm

 I set out in the sunshine and heat.  It was upper 70's in the shade but the humidity was thick, so it felt like 90!   Heading out the parkway and up Avondale, I was planning to loop back on Rose Hill for a lollipop loop.  Plans changed when the thunder started rumbling through.  I decided to turn down Concord and try to outrun the storm.
 I was successful for a while, but when I took a left on 74A, the wind picked up and the curtain of rain was closing in.  I ducked in to Dollar General for a little while.  When the rain let up, I headed up the road again.  When the next band of rain came through, I hid out at the produce stand.  After about 15 minutes, the rain let up and I took off.  

I made it home mostly dry,  just a little damp from road spray, but even more importantly, didn't get hit by lightning!
Home sweet home. 

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Scorching Hot

 Hot, almost metric century ride.
 It was hot, and I considered calling someone for a ride.  I wanted to finish this ride, though.  It has been a couple of years since I rode 60 miles. I ran out of fluids and stopped at a church to get some water from the faucet on the side of the building.  No one around.  A few minutes in the shade helped me feel slightly better.

I finished the ride.  I felt like crap, but it felt good to finish.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Milestones and Change

 As time goes by, I've been dealing with assorted issues and baggage that we accumulate as we travel through life.  I love the idea of Alpine style mountain ascents.  Travel light, carry only what you need, go as fast as you can to the top, then back down,  usually in one big push.  Maybe that's how I approach life.  Get rid of extra baggage, so I can travel light and get to the goal. 

10 years ago, when I was at a crossroads in life,  I had been rejected by few and accepted by many, I was ready to do something that I wanted to do.  I had to stop trying to fit in where I didn't belong, stop trying to be someone who I was not.  

I launched a ride program with the dream of getting kids on mountain bike outings in the woods.  The program has morphed and evolved as time has gone by, but I have always had the same dream:  to acquire a vehicle that I could use to transport kids and bikes out into the forest.   

The time came to move forward with that plan this winter.  There were several indicators that made this obvious, one major one being that I had put way to many miles on my personal vehicle, to the point that it now has some irreparable damage! So be it.  It was worth it to get the kids out of their environments and into God's creation. 
 Well,  I put the request out, and our awesome community, once again, stepped up to the plate and we purchased an awesome mini van for the purpose.  I decided to go all out and get the van wrapped as well.  Go big or go home, right?  
Yesterday, we had our first ride out in the woods.   I now take 4 kids at a time for a quality ride teaching them trail etiquette, riding skills and more.  Nothing but smiles all around!  

What a great day, not only for the program, but a milestone for me.  Change is good, reaching goals is good, and milestones give a the encouragement to let us know that we are indeed moving forward.   Sometimes slow, sometimes cruising along,  but moving forward is the process!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Wind Storm, Lake James

 The wind forecast was good for Lake James and better for Lake Hartwell.  I decided to go to Lake James because then I could be back home for family time.   I arrived and rigged up a 5.3 sail and got ready to head out.

As I was getting ready, I sneezed.... and pulled my lower back.  Dang it, not enough ham string stretching.

I turned around and looked towards the Linville Gorge and saw the giant dark gray storm clouds rolling in.  A couple of motor boats that had left the dock in a the past couple of minutes came flying back, trying to get loaded and out of the water before the storm hit. 
 I put rocks on the sail and board and huddled in the truck for 15 minutes, until I could see blue sky again.  The wind was cranking and I was nervous.  Why?  I don't know,  The recent trip to Ocracoke definitely boosted my confidence and skill, so I really have nothing to worry about.  Just relax and go windsurfing.  So, I did.  2 runs, and I came back in to switch to my 4.6 meter sail. 
I was absolutely flying across the water.  Sheeted all the way out (kind of like idling in a vehicle) and I was going as fast as the board could go.   I had to be careful as the wind wanted to slip under the board and push it up into the air.  I love jumping, but I also like to be in control! 

I was at the edge of control, but stayed out for an hour to practice.  Waterstarts, Jybes, Tacking,  I felt good through all of the maneuvers. 

I was  a bit tired and my back was hurting, so I called it a day.  Epic day, but definitely worth the trip!

Friday, April 26, 2019

N Mills

 I had to meat some friends for FLA USA to deliver some Bicycle Thrift Shop kits that they had ordered.  An awesome crew of folks from down south has adopted me and decided to spread the love,  so awesome!  

Since I was out there, I decided to ride N Mills River for something different.  Usually when I ride here, I park at Bent Creek and ride over.  The drive out there seems to take as long as the ride,  only with less ride time, so.....
 Another amazing day in paradise.  The above picture is where I want to build my house.  I'm sure the forest service wouldn't mind. 
 Creeks were high, so my shoes got a good rinsing,  it has been a while.  I'm really enjoying being on the bike this spring.   The past several years, I have been so burned out from training through the winter for the stage race, that I have not ridden much in the spring.  

This year is different, because I'm not really training for anything.  That was a difficult adjustment for me.  After having plans and goals for so long, how does a person transition back into being a recreational rider.  It was a difficult process, starting with realizing that I am at a different place in life than I was a few years ago. 
Now I ride to be fit, and once I'm fit, I hope to join in on a group ride here and there, or even possibly an event or race.  And if things go really well, and I get really fit, I will go on a bike-packing trip.  But, everything will have to line up to near perfection for that to happen!

In the meantime, happy riding!