Sunday, December 30, 2007
I read Louis L'Amour. He writes western novels. He was around when the west was being one and has been through a lot. Inevitably, the hero in his novels would make a sudden move, unknowingly moving out of the way of being shot. Something they dropped, bent to pick it up, at the exact time that his enemy was pulling the trigger. Any number of things happened and they usually missed.
Everything happens for a reason. I try to remember this when I am late. Or when I am stuck behind some slowpoke, who is out for a Sunday drive on Tuesday afternoon. If you could go back and write down everything you had ever done, and were able to compare it to everything everyone else had ever done, I believe that this life would make a lot more sense. But we can't, so what do we do?
Well, I just focus on what I am here for, to love my neighbor as myself. The ultimate reason for everything that happens? To bring us to a relationship with our creator.
My bro. Geoffrey introduced me to iTrain. This is a training program that you load onto an mp3 player and listen to as they guide you through a workout. That is the first time I have ever slobbered while riding my rollers. I think its gonna be huge in helping me develop some sprinting capabilities. I'll keep you updated.
Have a great day.
Yesterday, Rhonda and I went for a ride in Bent Creek. It was a foggy wonderland of trees enshrouded in mist. We were unable to see the ridge tops. We rode 15 miles.
Later, we went to Second Gear, this is a used outdoor gear thrift shop. You can find some really cool deals there. I bought a stationary trainer for Rhonda. Now she will be able to train in the shed, while Jubal is playing in the yard.
We also went to see " I Am Legend". The only hokey part about this movie was the people who were infected turned into some sort of vampire monster things. But, they did such a good job that I did not mind too much.
The idea that I liked best about the movie is that God speaks to us in many different ways. And he does have a plan for us. "But, what is this plan for me?", you ask. I would say that most likely that plan is doing what you are doing right now.
I currently work at Camp Rockmont, in Black Mtn. I work in the personnel office. I answer the phone, help parents get their kids registered, help staff get hired, and help whoever needs help around the office.
5 yrs ago I was into whitewater paddling. I was paddling up to 5 days per week. ( That was back when we had rain). I decided to pursue white water instructor status and get into teaching. I did this in Kayak and Canoe, two skills that are similar yet very different. After I got certified, we moved to Durango, Colorado, where I had found a job teaching paddling. Only, there is no paddling in the fall and winter. So, we found another job to subsidize ( more on that another time). Everything was lined up before we got there, even a place to live. It was great!!! Fairly stress free.
Then strange things started happening. The people we worked for for 5 yrs didn't tell us goodbye. We got to CO and the house that had been "lined up" had not been lined up. Rhonda was pregnant( this was not a bad thing, just with everything else going on, it added to the stress). And the list went on. I was not able to find another job that would support our family.
So, we had an option, to move to Las Vegas with my brother and his family, or move to Asheville, with some friends there. We chose Asheville. And in a nutshell, I got a job at Starbucks, then a job at a mental health agency, they cut funding, so I worked at Starbucks again, and roofing ( ouch, that hurts), then I got another job full-time job at Families Together Inc. It was a great job and I learned a lot. I worked there until one year ago. My supervisor and I had a great discussion. She basically said, " You don't like your job". I had to agree. So, they liked me so much, they kept me as a handyman to work on the new property they had purchased.
Then last March, the state dept. of mental health cut funds again. I got laid off. My boss gave me 4 months to find a new job. ( he said that this was one of the hardest things he had done). Two days later, I went to a camp job fair at App State ( yes, the national champions). Two weeks later, I had a job at Rockmont.
Don't tell me there is not a God who cares about us. He is real, and he is there, and he sometimes speaks to us in a still small whisper that you hear. That voice in your head that says to feed the hungry, or to care for the fatherless and the widows. The one that says to love your neighbor as yourself. The voice that says " Seek and you will find".
Never stop seeking.
Have a great day.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I had a big ride planned with some friends today, but I canceled that. I couldn't leave Rhonda at home alone. We will be taking a mtn bike ride at Bent Creek together. Then after that? Who knows.
Have a great day.
Friday, December 28, 2007
This is the elevation chart of our ride.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Since Liberty Bicycles is next to Starbucks, I went ahead and stopped in to get a new bottom bracket. Later, after getting back home, I replaced my entire drive train: chain ring, cog, chain, and bottom bracket.
Tonight is my Thursday night Bent Creek ride. Big ride planned for this weekend, details later.
Have a great day.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
We got to the trail and started hiking. The skies were gray and fluffy, although there was not precipitation in the forecast. 15 minutes later, it started sleeting. Jubal excitedly picked up the drops of sleet. The drops promptly melted. He wondered why? Very cool.
Needless to say, we didn't get snowed in and stranded. And we didn't have to live for days off of trash that we had in our car's trash bag. In fact, we made it out and home for some homemade tacos.
This morning we woke up to scattered slushy snow on the ground!!
Have a great day.
One of the Rhododendron tunnels on the trail
Water Falls on Slatey Creek
Jubal took the next two. This one is a rock with bear scat near the top.
This is the trail with a root and some leaves.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Yesterday, Jubal, Rhonda and I took a drive up near Roan Mtn to visit my parents and grandmother. It was a great relaxing trip. Usually when I go up there I take my bike and ride up to Carvers Gap on Roan Mtn. Today I decided not to, not sure why. But I was able to relax all day. And I enjoyed it.
Today, Jubal, Rhonda and I are just hanging out, being lazy.
It's funny, I have 5 days off is a row and I don't have any epic rides planned. Maybe it's because I have two epics and a race coming up in the next two weeks. Yeah, there you go, I 'm not lazy, I'm tapering!!! OK, keeping it real, I am feeling a little bit lazy!!
Well enjoy your day.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Then I can sell this on E-bay. I hope he is not reading this. Jubal's college education is a lot to put on his shoulders. But, apparently he is pretty tough.
In reality, I will keep this jersey for a long time. Maybe even put it in my will to wear it to the grave. Or, I'll pass it on to my kid, to represent the inspiration that Jeremiah gave to me. Jeremiah personally gave me this jersey with his autograph on it.
( my dad built the shadowbox, pretty sweet)
And to quote Jeremiah, "Go Big".
It's raining again. I hope that the areas on water restriction are getting some relief. Looks like a long ride on some wet dirt roads is in order.
Have a great day
Friday, December 21, 2007
Now, I'm going to go enjoy my 5 day weekend!! What am I going to do? Play with my family, ride my bike, and eat. Oh, maybe some sleep.
Have a great day
Thursday, December 20, 2007
It's Ronald McDonald.
I got up this morning hoping that I could ride my bike to work. I was happy to see that the rain would be just past Asheville by the time I left. I drank my coffee, ate my delicious homemade granola cereal, kissed the fam goodbye, and hit the road. After a mile, I turned around to go back home. I forgot to pack a pair of dry socks to wear after I get to work.
I took a detour today up to Bee Tree Resevoir. I got a great picture of the dam from below, but the gate was closed, so I could not see the lake. I was late for work though, oops.
Things I saw today:
-a NASCAR sign hanging on a mailbox that says: Speed Limit: NONE
-3 wild turkeys in a pumpkin patch
- a 5 mile long oil slick down the middle of the road
I also almost got creamed by some elderly woman who rolled through a stop sign and didn't see me until I yelled and she looked in her rear view mirror.
Have a great day
Here is the map of the short ride home. Click on the maps to see a larger version.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Jubal is following in my footsteps of being a multi-sport enthusiast. For Christmas he got a long board that a friend of ours built custom for him. He got to try it out yesterday and he loves it. He rode it half a mile.
Have a great day
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I bought a new cell phone yesterday. I got the $20 version, I might upgrade, it is low quality. You get what you pay for. It has a camera. It takes little pictures. I'll post some little pictures as soon as I figure out how to post the little pictures. The manual tells me how to take pictures, but not how to post pictures. I guess they don't want to see my pictures. They are afraid my pictures will look better than their pictures. They are right, but that is not what it is about. I can appreciate their pictures, they can appreciate my pictures. I wish they would tell me how to post them.
Have a great day
Monday, December 17, 2007
This morning's temp was 22 degrees, feels like 10 degrees according to Weather.com. I decided that today was not a good day to ride in the sub-freezing temps. I think 25 degrees with no wind is my cut off. And, it is winter, we are supposed to be hibernating.
I was thinking about life Saturday in Roanoke as I was riding around Carvin's Cove. It is amazing to me the ways the we make ourselves feel good. Some of those ways are fine and healthy, and some are not. Good food, exercises, sleeping in. These are all fine in moderation.
But that was not what I focused on. My thoughts revolved around how we can make ourselves feel better if we can find a characteristic in someone else that makes us look good. For instance, a person steals stuff. I say to myself, "Self, I am better than him, because he steals stuff and I don't". Yeah, that is some good logic. Let's continue: I don't speed, I am better than that person speeding, I don't overeat, I am better than that person overeating. I don't kill, hate etc, I am better than that person who does those things. I think you get my drift.
The thing I have learned that I still struggle with, is this: I am no better than anyone else. Once you come to grips with this statement, and embrace it, it becomes so much easier to love your neighbor.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
I was able to ride about 25 miles before I started to run out of food and drink. I had planned on being out for only 2 hrs. I ended up riding 3 hrs and barely had enough to make it back to the car. Too bad, I wanted to keep riding. I posted some pictures of the trail below.
These deer were about 20 feet away.
Mmmmm, that one is eatin' size.
The top, I rode up this trail, walked some of it.
Halfway down Hi-De-Hoe
View of Tinker cliffs on the AT, from Hi-De-Hoe
View of the lake: Got Rain?
Friday, December 14, 2007
Back to the parking lot, I met up with Megan, Eli, Lori, Chris, Mat and their dogs Lucy and Yogi. Lucy was a cool dog who would run right next to her owner. She would run along the trail next to him, sometimes so close that they were touching. Crazy dog. The funny thing about it is that Chris said that she seldom runs with other people and that she always stay beside him. About halfway through the ride, Lucy decided to run next to me. And she did for most of the rest of the ride.
Great night, great people.
Today, Jubal is singing in some sort of Christmas program at school. This should be entertaining!!
Have a great day.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I pour in the sugar and butter, start the boiling process, and stir vigorously. First mistake and second mistake in one move. The buttery mass starts to boil then the sugar separate into a bubbly mass of , well I can't think of non disgusting words to describe it. After the allotted ten minutes I poured it. It looked kind of like barfed up Play-Do, or what I think it would look like if someone barfed it up!!
I tried another batch and the same thing happened. I checked on the Internet. One web-site said to add water, which I did. I put by bark batches back in the pot and added water. Hmm, it dissolved nicely. I started the boiling process again. I must have added too much water, it was taking a long time. When it finally boiled down to what I thought was the right mixture, I pour it in the cookie sheet and went to bed.
Get up, run into the kitchen like a kid on Christmas morning. Arrgh. It is still runny. Now I am saddened like the kid on Christmas morning who got a Barbie instead of a GI Joe. I scrape the mixture back into the pot and start the boil process again. It begins to thicken. Ooooohh, a bubbly thickening mass of buttery sugar. OK, I think it is time. So, I pour it. 30 minutes later it is not hardened. I'm that disappointed kid again.
Oh well, gotta go to work, so I can spend my money on more sugar and butter.
-Toffee is butter and sugar
-Don't stir it too fast
-Don't burn it
-Don't pour it too soon
- And last but not least, if your kid asks for a GI Joe, don't get him a Barbie!!!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
3 of the last 4 miles of my ride is on Old US 70. This is a 2 lane road with a speed limit of 35 mph. It is well patrolled and people are respectful for the most part. There is one school bus driver who is overly respectful. She will not pass me even though we can see that there are no cars coming for a mile up the road. It does not matter how vigorously I wave her around, she won't do it.
My concern is that the people behind her, including the dump truck drivers who are on their way to the quarry, will become irritated and take it out on me as soon as they realize I am the cause of their irritation. So, I usually find a driveway to pull into to let her pass.
The there are the dump trucks. If there is traffic, I generally pull out of the road so that they can pass. Especially if they have a load and we are getting to a hill. My hope is that they will treat me and other cyclists with respect.
Have a great day and love your neighbor,
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Now the challenge is to find a restaurant that can order some for me through Sysco. That is what I did this morning. The identity will remain a secret for now, but within a week, I will be eating Gatorade Bars on my rides and during my races.
Look out world!!!
Monday, December 10, 2007
This brings to mind the value of things we do. What do you do and what value do you put on them? I value the opportunity to ride my bike to work, but I value more, the opportunity to let Rhonda and Jubal sleep in. Sometimes I am very selfish in the things I value. What about you?
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Fortunately for me, the rain let up. We came home from church and I got my things together and headed out.
The plan was to ride from home, to the Parkway, through Bent Creek, up Bent Creek Gap, and then see how much time I had.
I got going with short sleeves, and shorts with knee warmers. It was a little bit chilly but not too bad. The parkway is great for a warm up before getting on Hardtimes trail at the NC Arboretum. Going up Hardtimes, I decided that I would take my time and not push it. I took a left on South Ridge rd and the another left on Bent Creek Gap Rd. Things were going well and I was feeling good. After climbing up to the Parkway I took off down Wash Creek Rd. The choice now was to go down Trace Ridge, which I have done before, of go explore past Mills River into Pisgah, possibly up to Yellow Gap and maybe even Laurel Mt if I have time. I chose the latter, and decided that if I was at Yellow gap and the Laurel Mt trail head by 3 pm, I would go up Laurel Mt.
I rode up and over Yellow Gap, saying a prayer for the family of the woman who was murdered here recently, and hoping that they find out who did it, and catch them soon. I arrived at Laurel Mt trail head at 3:14 pm. There was a guy there getting his downhill bike ready so we chatted for a couple of minutes about the trail. This was my first ride on the trail. It is 7.4 miles long, with a couple of hike-a-bike sections. I decided that, even walking some of it, I should be able to make it in two hours. I took off up a little steep section. There are five little trails that suddenly branch out from the clearing. I had to yell back at the downhiller to ask which way to go. Once I got on the right track, I picked up a slow but steady pace. Up, up, up. This trail is far away from traffic, people and vehicle. While some parts of the trail were covered in leaves, other parts had absolutely no leaves. Some really great views, some really cool rock formations, one forming a cave over the trail. I could camp here if I had to.
Up, up, up. Pushing several sections that maybe I did not have to, but I wanted to make it on my own. Not push too hard and have to be rescued. About 2 miles from the top, I ran into Paul, a guy that I had pitted next to at the 12 hrs of Tsali last year. I'm glad, because he was able to point me in the right direction at one point where there was a trail that was not on the map!!
I finally make it to the top of Laurel Mt trail. This means that I have a half a mile hike to the Parkway. Riding on this trail is illegal. I finally get to the Mt Pisgah parking lot. It is 5:15 pm. The sun will set in 2 minutes, leaving me with about 30 minutes of light. I call Rhonda and ask her to meet me on the Parkway. I did plan ahead and bring my headlamp, which I attached to my handlebars, so I could make it through the tunnels without hitting the wall.
After 30 minutes of mostly downhill, Rhonda and Jubal find me. I put the bike on the rack, jump in the car, and head home for some homemade pizza.
10.5 mph avg, 45.83 miles, 4h 21 m riding time. Good day in the woods, and a new trail under my belt.
Hardtimes road in Bent Creek
South Ridge Rd, Bent Creek
Overhanging rock on Laurel Mt Trail
Mossy, wet, slippery trail,
Me at the top of Laurel Mt Trail
The Laurel Mt Trail follows this ridge line
The sunset on the parkway, on the way home
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Have a great day, and do something nice for someone.
Friday, December 07, 2007
I just had my suspension fork serviced by Suspension Experts, they did a fine job, but when I put my bike back together I tightened the stem too tight. This caused my steering to be too stiff. Half way up Ingles Field I stopped to fix the problem. This would make the downhill safer. I had turned my lights on at this point. Got up to Five Points and took off on Little Hickory Top. I was now riding into a headwind. With 35 degree temps, and a 15 mph wind, the windchill was around 20 degrees. Flying back down into the valley. Take the road back to the parking lot, hoping to meet up with the Biowheels dog ride. I ride up into the parking lot and there is no one around. Moments later someone rode up. Bruce, turns out that he lives right down the road from me. I joined their group of 3, making it 4. This group told me that the Biowheels group had left about 20 minutes before, and were going the same route we were. I figured that I could take off and try to catch them, but knew that when I did catch them it would be because they were back at the parking lot. So, I didn't try. It is cold and lonely out there at night. We took a slow but steady pace, giving me another 10 miles to make my total 20 miles for the night.
About 15 miles into the ride, I took a swig of my sports drink from my water bottle. Wow, slushy. The freezing temps had turned my drink into an icy drink. I'm sure that did not help the cold to the bone feeling that I was experiencing.
Coldest ride this year. I hope it snows soon!!!
Thursday, December 06, 2007
It is getting dark about half of the way home now. The sun sets here in Asheville at 5:11 pm. In Raleigh NC, the sun is setting around 5pm and in Knoxville, the sun sets around 5:17pm. Weird. I did some research and found out that the sun will not set later than 5:11pm here in Asheville. With winter solstice coming up on Dec 22nd ( shortest day of the year), that means that early January I will be seeing the sun set a little bit later each day. Sweet!!! Riding my mtn bike on trails at night is a blast, while riding home on the road at night is a little bit less fun. Might have something to do with all of those metal boxes on wheels.
Have a great day.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
When we moved into the house 3 yrs ago, it came with an oil heater sitting in the living room. Fortunately for us, there was already a chimney. All we had to do was find a wood stove. We bought a used one that we found in the want ads. It cost us a whole $100. We installed that, thanks to help from my parents and my friend Jared Mauldin. Then we sold the oil heater for $300. The people even came and removed it themselves. ( the guy also bought a stroller that I had bought to resell. I made about $20 off of the stroller, he he he).
We have not regretted selling that smelly old heater. To drive out, load the pickup truck with wood, take it home, cut it up, ( leaving sawdust all over the lawn which makes it look like snow), stack it in the wood shed, take it in the house, do it all over again, it makes me feel good and warm. Its great cross training too.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
The Trail ends in the beavers lake
Hike a bike up Spencer Gap trail
Somewhere out there