Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Track Racing

The weather turned cold, but the races were smoking. I am the only guy on my team, but fortunately, the C category is combined with the women. I had 3 female teammates last night. We worked well together, getting to the front, sitting up whenever one of our own attempted a break away!! None of us has the stamina to keep the gas on, yet, so we always got caught.

My bigger gear was better although as I am using more power, it will take some time to get used to. I did manage however to take 2place points in one of the 4 sprints in the points race. This put in in 6th place out of 17 for that race. Sweet!!

Before the race, I had to run to the trees to take care of last minute business. When I came back to the gate on the backstretch, there was a pro looking guy sitting on his geared bike. My friend Darren asked him about his kit ( cycling outfit) and asked if he road for Bissell. The guy said yes. It was Ted King. He had just ridden in the Tour de Georgia. I didn' t have time to talk, but introduced myself and took off to line up for my race.

Today I get to take Jubal to the dentist. Rhonda has done it for the 1st three and a half years of his life, and asked me to take him today. Apparently he hates it as much as me, and has to be held down to keep from running away. Should be some fun father/son times!!!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


It's cold again. And it's time for another round at the Asheville Mellowdrome.

Mellowdrome Cup Series Schedule Bunch Night #2 April 29, 2008
#1: “C-CATEGORY” - 8 LAP SCRATCH RACE - This is just a plain old 8 laps around the track, 1st three across the line win.

#4: “C-CATEGORY”- 8 LAP SNOWBALL RACE - This race requires some thinking and addition. The first person across the line gets points on each lap. The first lap is worth 1 point, second lap 2 points, 3rd lap 3 points etc. So, I could potentially win the last lap for eight points and win, unless someone else won the 4th and 5th laps for 9 points. Ahh, too much thinking.

#8: “C-CATEGORY” - 12 LAP POINTS Race RACE - This last race will have 12 laps with a sprint for points every 3rd lap. When they ring the bell, that signifies that the first four across the line will get some points. He/She who has the most points wins!!!

Should be fun,
Have a great day.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Own Tour De Georgia

My parents came to pick Jubal up on Friday. They were keeping him until Sunday. Hmmm what should we do? Just me and Rhonda. How about some Tour de Georgia? Sounds good. We got up at 7am on Saturday. Left the house by 7:30am. I was a little sad because I was not taking my bike. But, Rhonda and I would have some quality together time.

We arrived in Blairsville around 9:30am. Blairsville was the start of stage 6. It is a special day, a stage that most of the pro cyclists look forward to. One of the BMC guys told me this when I offered to ride in his place.

We got to walk around the parking lot, looking at $10,000 bikes, listening to the laughter and chatter of the teams getting their supplies and gear ready for the day. As we were walking, we saw a man and a woman walking and carrying a load of food, water and ice. Obviously struggling, we offered to help out. They gladly accepted and I was quickly loaded with ice. At the team vans, we were rewarded for our efforts with a pair of cycling caps. Sweet!!!

Rock Racing: the new guys on the block.

Rhonda and some bikes.

Levi Leipheimer: He was walking away and I said " Smile Levi"!!

This is Tyler Hamilton. My friend Kurt Begemann knows him. He walked over to sign some autographs. I said" Kurt Begeman says hello", ( even though Kurt had not said hello, I figured he would have wanted me to say hello if he had known that I was going to be where I was at that given moment). Tyler looked at me and said " Well, tell him I said hello"!!!

Later on, I would push Tyler up a small portion of the huge climb on Brasstown Bald.

After watching the start of the race, we jumped in the car and took off with 2000 other spectators, to go intercept the race at a different place. Our destination was the feed zone, about 60 miles into th 88 mile stage. We got there, had a little picnic lunch and relaxed. We then walked down to the team cars to chat and pass the time. We chatted with the folks from Astana. Alejandro, who is from Spain, would not give me an Astana hat. But the dudes from Team High Road did. Sweet, two more hats.

Finally the tour cars, marshalls, police started coming. Then we heard over the radio that the riders were two minutes out. Then there was utter controlled chaos. The peleton came by, grabbed their musset bags ( lightweight cotton bags that are filled with food and water bottles. The guys sling these over their torso, take what they want and discard the rest on the roadside). People start running, scrambling for free water bottles and other souvenirs.

We then jump in the car again and head to Brasstown Bald. We have to park 1 mile back down the hill from the spur that leads up to the top. We hook up with Mike Keeley and friends. Mike's brother Scott is pushing us up the hill because he has tickets to the VIP area. I don't have tickets, and so Rhonda and I opt to stop at 2 miles to go.

Again we wait. People walk by, some ride by, a couple pulls up next to us. The woman has asthma and it looks like she might die. To our relief, she recovered. Then come the train of lead cars. Then the lead group goes by. Now the fun begins. I run next to the cyclists, ask if they want a push and if they say yes, I push. I know that I helped the following: Dave Zbriskie, Tyler Hamilton, "Fast" Freddie. They were all very appreciative. After pushing Zabriskie, I turn to walk back down the hill, and this dude with an Aussie accent says" Ay mate, don't be thinking that your job is through," I told him that if his job is not done, then my job is not done.

Every time I pushed someone, I asked them for their jersey. No one obliged.

After all they cyclists passed, followed by the broom wagon, and the ambulances, we headed back to the car.

Now what? How about Athens, we could watch some more racing at the Twighlight Criterium.

Cool, we hop in the car and take off. Upon getting to Athens we find that they are charging $10 to park. We pass a fire station where the firemen are playing some form of baseball, using a tennis ball and a stick. They direct us to a parking lot that is free.

We head up into town and catch some more racing action. Wandering around, we get hot dogs for dinner, and run into some friends. We end up watching the very exciting men's race under the Bianchi-BMW women's tent. ( thanks Cara).

With the race finishing at 10:45 pm and no other races going on, we head out. What to do? Camp? nah, too late and we'd like a shower and a bed. Hotel? Nah, I don't want to spend $70. Home? OK, 3 hour drive, I can do it, and if I get tired, I'll give in and get a hotel. Just past Spartanburg, I stop for a Red Bull. We get home around 2 am!!! 19 hours on the road, two big races, one Red Bull!!! Fun weekend.

More Pictures here:

Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Roof

Take a look at where the power comes into the house. It meets code, but the meter is outdated.
A closer look at the wires.

My neighbor is an electrician. I asked him to come over and assess the wires and the proximity to the new roof. He said they meet code, but it would be a good idea to replace the meter and the wiring because they were not up to code. He went on to tell me how to do this on my own. Just climb up there, snip the wires one at a time, pull them back and put a wire cap on them. He said it is no big deal, the thing to remember is not to get "in between them".

Uhhh, I'm going to call an electritician.

Have a great day.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bike Day

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Kids Don't Care About Results

Cohutta results are up: I placed 33rd out of 42 in the single speed cat. ( not last, one goal met)

Overall I placed 132 out of 171, (still not last).

Yesterday, I went to visit Jubal and his classmates. It was bike day for his class and the teacher asked me to come ride my bike with them. No problem. This was one of the most hilarious things I have done in a long time. There were kids all over the place. Zig zagging, ride straight, pushing instead of pedaling, going the wrong way. The one bit of advice I gave them was to smile while you ride. Smiling makes it that much more fun. I'll post some pictures tonight.

I'll be smiling when I get the roof built over my deck. Last night Rhonda and I erected the 8 foot tall posts with two 2x6x16's bolted together for the cross beam. We used ropes, levers and props to get it up inch by inch. Then we took turns steadying the whole thing while the other person hammered the posts into place.

I got two temporary rafters up last night. This morning I got 3 permanent ones cut and notched for a custom fit. I'll post pictures of that later too.

So much for a resting recovery week!!

Have a great day.

Cohutta Afterthoughts

As the time grows between the race and now, the pain fades. I want to do it again. I want to do it again soon. I've learned a little bit more about fueling my body for a long race. Timing is key.

In 5 weeks I have the Burn 24. It is a lap format on a 7-10 mile loop. I 'll be able to try out my new nutrition plan then. Ideally I'll take a long ride in the woods in a couple of weeks and take some liquid nutrition with me. We'll see how that goes. Oh yeah, it will be on my geared bike too.

With the fading pain, I have decided that I am not finished with racing single speed. It will continue to have a place in my racing life. I like to do things well and feel good about it, and I have finished but not finished well, yet. I am pretty sure I will race the Cowbell Challenge in June on the single speed.

Have a great day

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I came, I saw, I finished...

" This is then second dumbest thing that I have done in a long time" I thought to myself as I fought nausea, the first being that I tried this last year"!!!

I took Friday off, so we could take our time loading up and heading out. We were out of town by 10:30am. Things were going smoothly and Jubal took a nap in the car. It was sunny and cool. We made good time to Murphy NC, where our hotel was waiting. We pulled into the Days Inn, one of the cleanest, friendliest hotels we have stayed in. I checked in, but we didn't unload, as Jubal was still sleeping. If you have kids, you know that a well rested child is a happy child. That goes for well rested spouses too.

We headed on down to the Whitewater Center at the Ocoee river. We parked, picked up the packet and waited for the Trek/VW team to show up. We were waiting, because Chris Etaugh, six time 24 hr solo mountain bike World Champion. He promised to meet me at registration, to sign 20 copies of 24Solo that I had to buy in order to gain the movie rights for a one time showing. So, I did not mind waiting for him. We spent time talking to friends, Jubal threw rocks in the water, I wandered around.

Chris showed up. I could see them from a distance. I waited a couple of minutes before approaching him. I didn't want to pressure him or cause any stress. He was coming to defend his race title, which would in turn set him up to defend the NUE series title. I walked up and introduced myself. I told him I didn't want to pressure him, but asked him when he wanted to autograph the dvd's. He asked me to give him 10 minutes. I told him to take his time, I would hang out with my family and wait near my car. Cool enough.

While we were waiting, I looked up and saw this cat ride by. Floyd Landis. He was the 2006 Tour de France winner. I'm not sure if he still is or not, he got accused of doping. I think they are still waiting to hear the verdict. So, innocent until proven guilty, I'm sticking to that. Anyway, I have a hat that I picked up at the '05 Tour de Georgia. My friend Mike, his brother Scott and I had ridden our bikes around. We ended up finding some swag. I found a Phonak hat. It could have been Landis'. So he rides by my car in the parking lot, riding with two other dudes. I think one is his dad, not sure who the other one is. I yell," Floyd, Floyd, Floyd", he doesn't stop, I yell some more, grab my hat and start running. He lifts a hand in the air, but does not stop. I hate being ignored. I guess he thought there were throngs of people waiting to mob him. I look around. There are maybe ten people who saw the scene. I say, " He didn't stop", feeling rejected, I get a little angry. "Way to work the crowd, Landis" I think to myself.

We continue to wait for Chris Etough. A little while later, Floyd comes back by. I see him coming and walk back to my car where my Phonak hat is. I turn and look him in the eye. I say in a bland voice, " You have time to sign a hat?". He tells me to come down to his car, he has to get out of here. So, I grab my hat and run down to his car. His entourage standing around, he signs my hat, I tell him to " Have a good race". I also tell him that the hat is from the 2005 Tour de Georgia. He said," That was a good one".

I am walking just in front of him at this point. I got his autograph.

A few minutes later, Chris comes over. I am thinking that he is busy, focused, and he doesn't want to be here. If this is true, I am totally fooled. Chris sits down in the shade, chats with my 4 yr old boy and my wife, and take his time signing the dvd's. We chat about his experience in Africa, he gives me some tips for advertising for the 24 Solo viewing on the 29th of May. We talk about his wife and kid. I'm nervous that he wants to get going, that he has better things to do. But by the time he leaves, I feel like he would rather stay and chat in the shade, than go ride his bike. Thanks Chris.

By the way, if you want an autographed copy of 24 Solo, let me know. For a minimum of a $50 donation to World Bicycle Relief, you can have one. Just contact me. While supplies last.

That evening, at the hotel, I decide to check my bike one more time. I tighten bolts, check the brakes, then go to work on get the right chain tension. On of the axle bolts is still not tightening up. I just paid $41 to get the axle replace, because I thought it was getting stripped out. Weird. A flash of panic courses through my body. I gently back the bolt out and realized that the head on the bolt is about to twist off. There is no way that it will tighten down enough to get me through this race. I drive to ACE. They are closed. I find a Lowes, they don't have metric threads. I find Advance Auto Parts. The have a bolt with the correct threads, but it has a different head. I think it will work. I drive back to the hotel. The bolt tightens down, I am hoping it will hold because it does not match up with the special washer.

Wake up at 5 am to rain. Get loaded up, eat a bagel and drink some coffee on the 30 minute drive to the start. I opt not to warm up on the rollers. Instead I take my time getting ready, and head to the start. I ask around for an axle bolt. I finally ask one dude. He has one. He says his name is Wes. I need to find out who he was. I'll have to do some research. I switch it out, and give him the bolt from Advance. I tell him to keep it as a souvenir.

The Start: We all feel kind of like this:

I find a spot about 40 people back in the group of 250 racers. They say go. The girl in front of me bobbles, she can't get clipped in. She wastes 30 seconds, I can't get around, I find my self 30 seconds off of the lead group. Instead I fall in behind two other guys. Up the first 3 miles of pavement, I realise the importance of warming up. Even if it is only for 15 minutes. That first shock to the muscles is better felt on the rollers.

Into the single track I am feeling good, feeling confident. The miles tick by, it has been sprinkling on and off, now it starts to rain. It lets up. We hit the Old Copper Rd. I take my time, and get something to eat. I get to the bridge at the WWC where my family cheers me on.

Then off into the wilderness. I pass the first rest stop at 20 miles. The second stop comes and I'm still feeling good. I take some time to eat and fill up on water. By mile 40, I realise that I should have already been drinking my energy shake. That's all right, I slow down and eat some energy bar.

The problem now is that I am burning so many calories, so quickly, that my body cannot digest solids fast enough to replenish what it needs.

By mile 65, I am starting to feel the oncoming nausea. Same as last year, only a little later in the race. Some improvement. Every time I push it just a little bit, I get nauseated. I start to look for a way out. But, at this point the only way out is to wait for the SAG stop to close up after the last rider goes past and ride with them. That could be a very long time. I continue to ride. My energy shake that I had at mile 50 is long gone. I should have brought more. I know this is the only thing that will help me. I am drinking plenty. At mile 75 I pass a guy on a bike with a trailer. I hear him ask the guys in front of me if they need anything as he has supplies. It turns out that he is the sweep for the 65 mile race. He has some energy shake. I take it from him and thank him. This helps immediately. I recover enough to keep moving. Rest stop #5 I stop, sit down, and drink a bottle of water with some NUUN tablets. I eat half a power bar. I think it is about 10 minutes, but it was probably more like 30 minutes later, I start to feel better. I scrounge another half serving of energy drink from another racer.

I continue riding, keeping the effort low. Even riding downhill, if my heart rate goes up, the nauseousness sets in. I finally get to the 12 miles to go mark. I get my chain lubed at the rest stop. The lady is very cheerful. I count down the miles. That is a very bad thing to do at this point. It takes forever. 8 miles to go. I pass the spot where I laid for 2.5 hrs last year. I stop for a moment of silence, well really to pee, but I do look around and remember. Not this year though.

On and on, this trail last for a very long time. Winding, twisting, climbing, dropping, crossing streams. I walk the short steep pitches that are totally ride able under normal circumstances. I finally get to 3 miles to go. My gut tells me that it is all downhill to the 1 mile of pavement. I gently nurse myself down the mountain. Ahh, there is a truck, and a dirt rd, and a guy saying something. He points, I turn and go. Another person. They say something, and point. I go. Another person, I don't know if he said anything, but he points, I go. 1 mile left. I am going to finish. I gently cruise, I'm not going to push it. If I do, I won't finish. I get pointed on to the bridge, there is my family on the other side. I cross the finish. Done. I am done, it is done.

On my right is Barbara Borders, the race director. She is a great lady!!

I'm not sure what I am doing, but it looks like I am smiling.
My bike.

Sunday after the race, we went to the NOC at the Nanatahala, and just hung out with the family before heading back to Asheville. Thanks to those who support me, especially Rhonda and Jubal but also: Ergotech Cycling Dynamics, World Bicycle Relief, and all the friends who encouraged me.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's about time...

In 24 hrs I will be 25 minutes into the Cohutta 100. I am very excited and have decided that I am in fact going to race as opposed to riding it to finish. I have trained all winter long, ridden my bike in 25 degree weather. I am ready to race. I feel like I know now what my body wants and needs, and when it needs it. It's funny though, my biggest concern is equiptment failure. I guess I will always have that naggin feeling that I should have changed my chain sooner, or I should have replaced my brake pads. But all that costs money, and I don't like to replace things until they are worn out.

Chris Etough of Trek/VW mtn bike team has been very kind and is meeting me to autograph some items that I will be auctioning at the showing of 24 Solo in May.

I rode an easy 10 miles at Bent Creek last night and I am a lot less jittery today, still jittery, just less jittery.

Well, I gotta go pack and get the bike ready,

Have a great day.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Here are a couple of pictures of me at the Mellowdrome on Tuesday night.

Courtesy of Jim White:

I'm Gonna Puke....

and the race has not even started. I get all jittery and excited. I try to lie to myself, and distract myself ( Jubal and I washed the car yesterday!?). It doesn't work. I don't sleep well, I'm so excited, but I am so ready. I have prepared, I know my limits. My biggest concern this year is equiptment failure. The more I learn about my bike, the more I learn that can go wrong with it, and the more I realise that I should have changed a part sooner.

This week for instance, I had my rear axle strip out. I had to have a part sent from Cali. Fortunately, Jenny at Liberty Bicycles took care of it.

I have my bike back. I'm going for an easy ride today at Bent Creek. Probably about one hour.

I'm gonna puke!!!1

Have a great day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tuesday Night Track Race

It was a fun time. The C category had 3 races: 6 lap scratch- the peleton races 6 laps, first one across the line wins. I suffered here. I realized after the 1st lap, that I was severely under geared. Meaning that for every rotation of the cranks, my bike traveled, on average, 10-20inches less distance than my competitors. I came in next to last out of 20.

The next race was the 10 lap- Point-a-Lap: the first person across the line each lap, gets one point. Knowing that I had no chance in the sprints, as soon as the whistle blew to signify the start, I took off. The solo breakaway lasted about 3/4 of the lap until everyone blew past me.

The 3rd and final race was the points race. 12 laps, every 3 laps the official rings the bell, signifying that on the next lap, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th person across the line get points. So, out of 4 sprints for points, I was able to hang in there for some 3rd place points on one lap.

Over the course of the night, I gain quite a bit of confidence, and was able to get a better feel of riding on the track. I have ridden fixed gear on the track less than 10 times. I also need to get a bigger gear so I don't have to spin as fast to keep up.

I had a lot of comments, some quite funny, but the one I keep thinking about is that Jim McMillan came up to me to ask what gear I was running. He told me they had bets going as to what I was running.

Have a great day

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Track Racing

Track racing is a very exciting sport. You take a bike, with no brakes, no freewheel ( meaning you can't coast) add an oval track and you have the ingredients for fixed gear track racing. Most fixed gear tracks are called velodromes. These are shorter tracks with steep banking in the corners. The Asheville Mellowdrome is different. It is a 1/3rd mile track with mellow banking. It is actually an old Nascar track, the very one that the Petty family cut their teeth on.
As I have mentioned before, I have officiated and help promote the racing here for the past 2.5 yrs. This year, I have decided to try my hand at racing. Not only will I get to spend more time with my family between races, the shorter, sprint competitions will help improve my mtn biking. I am looking forward to seeing improvements.
The field is split into A,B, and C category. Everyone starts in the C's unless the promoter feels that you are someone special and decides to bump you up. I am actually looking forward to starting with the C's. I know how to call the races, relegate racers, but following those same rules will be a little different while in the pack. Starting in the C's allows for a good, solid learning curve before moving into a faster more competitive level of racing.
Since I am using this series for training purposes, I will not be going all out for the win. I will take a win if it is there, but I want to continue to focus on the training benefits while staying away from crashing. Although, as they say in NASCAR, "Racin' is Rubbin'", such is not the case in fixed gear racing!!!
Have a great day.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Save the Trails

Saturday was the Sorba Save the Trails Challenge. We got suckered into volunteering. We were asked to show up at 7:30 am. Uhh, you didn't tell me that when I signed up to volunteer!! We almost camped out the night before at the location in Dupont. But, when I got home from work, there was a good chance of rain and thunderstorms. We opted to stay home, because one of my least favorite things is a wet tent and a damp sleeping bag. Jubal camped out in his room. Here are a couple of pictures of our rest stop.

We saw a couple of people almost run into the ditch behind the big tree behind us, we were telling folks to slow down ( only the people we liked)

This is Cara McCauley-Applegate: she rides for the BMW-Bianchi team.

Sunday brought cooler weather. I wanted to ride, but was not sure where. I needed to take it easy, so I opted to ride on the road. Then I had to decide distance. It was quite windy, but I opted to ride out Bear Creek Rd, to Marshall and back up river road. I fought head winds and gust all the way out. The reward was a strong tailwind most of the way home. I was able to hit 25 mph on some stretches of flat road. 55 miles, 3 h 11 m, 4500 ft of climbing.

Ahhh, back to work.

Have a great day.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 10, 2008

In Perspective

I have often wondered about walking to work instead of riding my bike or driving. 14 miles one way. The average person walks 2 miles per hour. It would take me 7 hrs to get to work and 7 hours to get back home. If that were the case. I would walk to work on Sunday night, spend the week at work, and walk back home Friday night, to spend some time with my family, before leaving them again for 5 days.

With the power of the bicycle, even without a motorvehicle. I could easily make the round trip everyday. Think about it.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Here is a good one

Here is a good picture of me whooping up on my older brother at the top of Mt Mitchell, USA:

It is his fault, really, that I am have have improved to the point that I am today. A long time ago, about 11 yrs ago, I was living in Wise VA. Geoffrey came out for a visit and I proudly took him on the 12 mile loop that I used for my daily workout. He made me feel slow. The problem was that he was living in Charlotte, ie: flat, and I was in the coal country of south western VA, ie: mountains. Well, he came up from the flat lands and put his coal country mountain brother to shame. After that, I decided I would never let him do that again...... and he hasn't.

Thanks for the motivation, brother.
Strange thing happened last night. Some dudes ran out of gas in front of my house. This is strange because it is the second time this has happened since I moved in. Different people though. I have never given away so much gasoline.
I went out to ask why they were parked in front of my house. They told me they ran out of gas. I told them I had half a gallon and went to get it. When I came back and started to pour it, the dudes crowded around me. I thought," OK I'm going to get the snot beat out of me". Then they backed off a little bit. The driver, who had been talking on his cell phone the entire time, reached into his pocket. I saw, out of the corner of my eye that he had some dollar bills. I turned to him and said," I don't need any money". As I said that, I thought," I need money, gas is almost $4 per gallon". The dude said, " What". I repeated" I don't need any money, that's what neighbors are for". As I said that, I looked down to his hand. In his hand was $400 in twenty dollar bills. Ahhhhh, just jokin dude, I do need money!!! Too late to take that back!!! Oh well. The car started and off they went.
Have a great day.


Therapeutic message last night. I get one of these about once a year. Pros get them about once a week. Another good reason to go pro.

I'm taking one more day off of my bike.

Have a great day

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Highest Point

A couple of years ago, when I was working in the child mental health field, I had some clients over in Sylva. In order to get to Sylva, I passed the Blue Ridge Parkway by taking hwy 74. I started taking my bike with me so I could get a ride in after seeing my clients. Usually I went south up to Waterrock knob and back, but this day I decided to go North. I don't remember the mileage or my time. I do remember the warmth of the sun, the great views and this motorcycle gang at the top.
I reached the highest point of the parkway, and they were there, with their chaps and soft fuzzy seats. Naturally I struck up a conversation. They were from somewhere up north. They asked me to take their picture, and I agreed, on the condition that they would send me a copy. Several months later, they did.
Have a great day.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Ride

We were headed to Boiling Springs NC to visit some friends who are moving to India for 2 years. I figured I would make a training ride out of it.

I hit the road at 11:30 am. With overcast skies and cool air, I wore arm warmers, short sleeve shirt, and shorts. I had a vest in my jersey pocket, along with some food, repair kit, and telephone. I rode out of the neighborhood to the Blue Ridge Parkway. North on the Pkwy, East on 74-A. I pretty much stayed on 74-A the entire way. Riding the 4 lane out through Fairview, up the winding switchbacks to the Continental Divide. I put my vest on at the top for the long descent into Lake Lure.

Down, down, down some more. Following the winding Rocky Broad river, nodding to some kayakers getting ready to paddle. I remembered back to a couple of years ago, when I was on that river myself. After walking most of the big rapids, the ones that would keep you there for a long time, if you messed up, I was tired and ready to get off the river. My nose clips broke, and I took that as a sign to get off. So, I got out of my boat and into our support vehicle.

After riding to the bottom of the valley, the road continues to wrap around Lake Lure until reaching the Broad River on the other side. 74-A continues to follow the river until shortly before Rutherfordton ( pronounced Ruffton). It was in the town of Ruth, between Ruffton and Forest City that I got in touch with Mike. Reception was bad, so I kept riding. On Main St Forest City, we made contact again. He was 10 minutes up the road. He and Alan Weddencamp had ridden from Shelby to meet me. I am very glad they did, as it broke up the monotony of riding alone, and I was able to take the scenic route while enjoying good conversation.

We wound around on some country roads, riding through Ellenboro and Lattimore. We stopped at City Hall in Lattimore to make use of their spigot, filling up our water bottles. I decided to go ahead and escort Mike back to his house, it was still to early to show up at our friend's house. After leaving Mike, I continued to ride. I was feeling a little tired, but still strong. I found my way out towards Boiling Springs, still taking scenic detours, trying to get in a couple more miles.

When I finally made my way to Grant and Charlene's house, I had to ride past their house for 2/10ths of a mile. There was no way I was going to stop with only 99.8 miles.

100 miles in just under 6 hrs, 5500 ft of climbing, my first sub 6 hr century.

I will take the next couple of days off of the bike to recover, then do some easy rides. Over the next week in preparation for Cohutta. I feel strong and ready, I've got my nutrition plan ready, I feel like I am in touch with my body and it's needs, and most importantly, I'm going into this planning on having fun!!!

Have a great day.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Setting Pace

Today I had the privilege of being the pace cyclist at the Black Mtn Greenway Challenge. The race was great. The 10k runner in the lead was fast. He almost caught me on an uphill. I was daydreaming, enjoying the scenery. All of a sudden I heard heavy breathing and footsteps pounding right behind me. I sped it up and paid attention the rest of the race.

Other highlights include:
- The college student volunteer on her cell phone, not telling racers which direction to turn.
-The local police, not helping out at one of the busiest intersections. ( I don't think they realised how fast the front runners were going to be!!!
-The people in a neighborhood on the route, it took them 3 hours to get their camper trailer backed out of their driveway. They ended up getting stuck in their yard and had to call a tow truck.
(photo courtesy of Asheville Citizen Times)

All in all, it was quite a fun day. Before the race, we drove around town asking for donations and hanging up fliers for the viewing of "24 Solo".

Epic ride in the plans for tomorrow.

Have a great day.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

New Team

I am riding with a new team this year. I ride for World Bicycle Relief.
(I will actually continue to ride for ECD on the track and WBR for my mtn bike races.)
I am excited about raising funds for this organization. Imagine having clients that you are responsible for over 12 miles away. It would take days to walk that distance. Imagine, someone providing you with a bicycle that would take you that distance in one day. Imagine how many more clients you could reach.
In that spirit, I want to give away one of my bicycles. Here is the deal. It is an '05 Specialized Hardrock, Single Speed that has a Derailleur hanger on it so it can easily be converted. It is in fine shape and has lots of miles left on it. ( size large) I am going to give it to one person. The catch is I want to raise $500.00 by the end of April.
How this works: you make a donation to the Paypal account by clicking on the PAY NOW button to the left. Then you send me an e-mail stating who you think should be the recipient of this bicycle. After I get $500 to donate, I and a panel of friends will choose the recipient that we think would make best use of the bicycle. And give it to them. ( if they live outside Asheville, they are responsible for getting it)

Last night's BC ride was a good one. It had rained all afternoon, but I was determined to ride anyway. It quit raining by the time I got one mile into my ride. I started out with the long climb up North Ridge Rd to the top of Greens Lick. I turned around and rode back down the dirt road, the took a right turn to do my usual gravel road loop. I focused on keeping my pace steady and keeping my legs spinning smoothly. Still feeling good, I hope this good feeling lasts another two weeks, or gets better!!

Have a great day.

Another Thursday

Yup, same old, same old. Some would call it a rut, I call it rhythm. This is what I do every Thursday night. Ride at Bent Creek. As the days get longer, and I don't have to get home to watch lost, I'll have time to climb up and over the ridge to Trace Ridge. But for now, it is a 20 mile loop at BC. And I love it. Just out there. Sometimes ride with people, sometimes I only cross paths with one or two others. Just riding around. Pushing myself a little, stopping to enjoy the view.

I am feeling really good on the bike these days, I just have to keep a relaxed frame of mind. I'm feeling strong on the climbs, and my legs feel good and solid on my rides. With 2.5 weeks left to the Cohutta, I'm pretty excited about my fitness. Sweet!!

I bought a new weed eater yesterday. 30cc engine, whatever that means. That thing rips!!! It is way better than my old one that lasted 9 months. As much as I hate cutting and trimming the grass in my yard, there is something about it that just looks good.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Above is another picture from High Mtn Camp. We are standing in the road in the middle of Kona, NC. This road is also on the Burnsville Metric loop. Shortly after rounding the bend past the church, a deer crossed the road about 30 feet in front of me.
Last night I finally got a good roof on my woodshed. It cost me a whole $42. That is still way cheaper than a heating bill. The weather seems like it will be warming from here on out, so I'm going to start spitting and stacking and stocking for next winter. I I think that I have close to enough wood for next year. So, I won't have to worry about it for a while. In the late summer I'll start collecting wood for the following year.
In the garden, Rhonda and Jubal have planted onions and potatoes!! Yum!
Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Getting Soft

I must be getting soft in my old age. I have a ton of ideas rolling around in my head. Today is April Fool's day, and I usually get some folks pretty good. But I guess I have a lot of other stuff on my plate and don't feel like scaring the u know what out of people. Because I care. That's why, there I said it, it is out. Maybe it is because of the very recent trauma ( early this morning) what happened, could have been much worse. We are just so thankful for everything we have and realise even more how quickly it could be gone. The fire department said that we did everything right. And fortunately we live 1 mile from the Oakley Fire Department. We got out of the house, called them and they got there. The stove pipe for our wood stove, caught on fire, but the chimney is not damaged. The ceiling above the stove pipe is gone, leaving a gaping hole that give a nice view of that wretched crawlspace. I might redo the entire ceiling with some sort of nice tongue and groove paneling.

But anyway, I hope you all have a nice April Fool's day, and can appreciate my April Fool's joke. ( I guess I'm not getting soft after all!!!!) The only thing that woke us up this morning, was Jubal calling us to come cover him up!!!!!

Have a great day