Sunday, January 31, 2010


Friday after training, I headed over to Bent Creek to get a ride in before the snow hit. I got to the parking lot and could see snow flurries higher up on the ridges. Excited about a ride with snow falling, I got changed, and hit the road. It was cold, but I was dressed perfectly..for now. I took my time warming up on the gravel road before hitting the first single track. Again, staying away from the lower trails that don't dry out very quickly. Soon enough, the red clay that is Ingles Field showed around the bend.

This is about 20 minutes into the ride:
I rode on up Ingles Field, thinking that a couple of Dirty Thursdays will have this trail draining and drying really well. I also realized that, now that I was riding solo, and slower, I had pushed too hard on Thursday's ride...and I was feeling it today.

On up Ingles Field to Five Points, then up the double track towards Greens Lick. The view of Candler/Asheville and the mountains beyond was impressive. Dark clouds above, snow falling and collecting on the ground.

45 minutes into the ride:
I got on Greens Lick and headed down, it was frozen and sketchy so I took it slow, the slowest I have ever gone down this trail. It was in good shape except for one spot that needs to be drained. Once I finally made it down, forearms burning from braking, I considered Hickory Top, but decided to head down the road to Sidehill.

At this point, the snow was still coming down, and it would for the rest of the night and into the next day. I considered heading back to the truck and leaving, knowing that if much more snow accumulated, I would not be able to drive out of Bent Creek. 2-wheel drive F-150's don't climb well in the snow.

I made the decision to keep riding. I figured that if I got stuck, I could just ride my bike home. As I climbed Sidehill, I was again impressed at how well the Siren climbs. A friend has likened the 69er climbing ability to that of a mtn goat. I would agree. Up and around the contours of the trail and eventually down to Bent Creek Gap Rd.
1.5 hrs into the ride:

I took a left and knew that I should head to the truck. I also knew that I would not be getting a ride outside for a couple of days, and possibly more. So, I did what any sensible endurance racer would do....I kept riding.

Taking a right on South Ridge Road, the snow was starting to cake onto the bike. The brakes, drivetrain, tires and wheels were starting to be affected. The chain started to skip on the rear cassette, but I found that when I shifted several gears, back and forth, I could settle into the gear that I wanted.

On the road were a set of paw prints and two sets of footprints. It appeared that I was not the only one out here. I was feeling good but starting to think about heading home. My thighs would accumulate snow on the downhills, and they were stinging.

When I reached the Explore Loop connector, I heard voices. I finally caught the runners, and they were contemplating direction. I tried to tell them where to go and how to get back to their car, but it didn't work to well. The went on down the road, and I decided on the shortest route back to the parking lot. I road gingerly down to Explore and followed that past Pine Tree. The last bit of Explore, the techy rooty part to the lake, I ended up running with the bike. The snow was really caking on the bike and I had to stop every 20 step and bounce the bike to shake it off. The snow was sticking, caking to the bottoms of my shoes. I found roots to scrape them on as I ran. hmmm, cyclocross!

I had worn an old pair of gloves that were warm, but not at all waterproof. The snow had melted on them and my fingers were getting cold. Once I finally got to the road, and got back on the bike, I upped the pace to get warmed up again. I headed past the lake and out to the pavement, then back to Rice Pinnacle.
After 2.5 hrs of riding:
That was the fun part, but the excitement was about to start. I had already passed a couple in a pick up that had run off the road and smashed into a tree. The couple was not hurt, but could not get a tow truck to come out, apparently they were all busy.

I got changed and loaded up. I knew that I was going to get stuck on the last uphill going out of Bent Creek, there was now way my 2-wheel drive F-150 was going to make it up that without help. I knew that if I could get into the Arboretum I could get out the front gate and to the main road. I called the Arboretum Public Safety and he basically told me that they could not help me...

I got back in the truck and headed down into the valley, sealing my fate. There was a bout 2-3 inches of snow on the ground, and sure enough, as the road headed back up, I spun and slid. I tried, without any progress, to inch my way up, but it was not happening.... and it was not even the steepest part.

After about 15 minutes a guy on a bike rode by. He told me that he was parked at the top of the hill, and would give me a ride if I wanted one. I declined. I was not ready to abandon ship just yet. I sat on the road, with the heat on trying to decide what to do. Although it was an option, I did not want to ride my bike another 9 miles to get home. After about 30 minutes, an H-3 (Hummer) appeared in the driveway next to where I was sitting in my truck. I got out and the guy rolled down his window. He asked if I would like to be towed up the hill. I sheepishly told him yes, if it was not too much trouble. I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I hooked the chain under the truck. Less than ten minutes later, I was up the hill and heading home.

The roads were dicey, and the drivers dicier. As I headed towards the interstate, I got my momentum going and kept it up. I saw a car spinning and watched it stall on the side of the road. I got behind a slow car and was thankful that it was a downhill stretch. The car turned to get on the interstate, I followed. Once on the interstate, I was pleased to see that both lanes were plowed. I passed and was on my own for a while. 200yards ahead was a snow plow which I quickly caught. It was in the left lane, I passed on the right.

Another two cars in front of me, not going very fast. I got in the left lane and got some momentum. In a quarter mile the road when uphill. Going at this pace, there was no way we would get up the hill. I passed on the left without problem. I had good momentum and had to give it a little gas to get up the hill. I felt the rear slipping several times but had the momentum to get to the top. As I crested the hill, I look in the rear view mirror, to see one of the slower cars doing 360's and finally resting next to the guardrail...they lost momentum and used too much accelerator.

I figured that I would have to park about a mile from my house, on the outskirts of my neighborhood. I knew that the roads were not plowed yet, and I was right. But when I got there, a couple of vehicles had already gone through and I decided to try it. For some reason, I'm calling it a miracle, I got traction, slippery traction, but traction and made it all the way up the hill and home.

I backed into the drive way, unloaded, went inside and had some homemade soup.

Have a great day.

Friday, January 29, 2010


I really wish that I had not forgotten the camera on my ride last night.

After spending the day in Campminder training, I got to the trailhead right on time. Nolan and Greg rolled up shortly after and we were off. Basically the same route as last week, we had good reports about the trails. Heading up Rice Pinnacle rd, we chatted and pedaled. Up Ingles Field, there were a few spots that were muddy. These are spots that are still muddy a week after it rains and are on the PAS list of things to work on. Past 5 points to Greenslick. I was surprised at how dry the trails already were. We then took a right turn up Sidehill, which was mostly dry, except for a few wet spots near the bottom. The upper portion of that trail is my favorite in the area.

Nolan had been having some shifting issues and wasn't feeling it, so he headed back down Bent Creek Gap rd to the parking lot. Greg and I headed out South Ridge Rd.

The sun had set by the time we got to the top of Greenslick, and now it was really dark, except for the light of the moon. The air was warmer than it has been for a long time and I daydreamed about warm spring and summer nights.

We took a left on Hardtimes trail and headed back to the parking lot. Satisfied with a 2 hr ride!!

Have a great day.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


It looks like another snow storm is whipping up for the Ashevillle area. Should be a fun time. All the snow is supposed to dump on Friday night and Saturday, then be really nice on Sunday....well, freezing cold but sunny. We'll see how this plays out.

At least I have the top secret, state of the art training center to train in when the weather goes crazy. Not bad, just crazy.

I also have added a 19"tv to the room. Some friends of mine called me and said they had to get a new tv, so they had one to give me if I wanted. Sweet. Now it's like a theatre/training room, I just need to get some surround sound and a pizza factory going in there, then it will rock!!

I'm starting to get that good feeling on the bike again. It has been 4 weeks since I started training, and I'm starting to feel good. There is one kind of hurt. It feels the same, whether you are in shape or not. It burns, it fatigues, it hurts. The difference is that when you have fitness, you move faster when the hurt kicks in, you get to the top of the hill faster and more smoothly. And that is a feeling you get, only with consistency in training. Another 3-4 weeks and I'm going to be feeling great!!

Have a great day.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I woke up in the middle of the night and looked out the window. Snow. Sticking to everything but the roads. I figured it would be a good day to take the Siren on my work commute and ride the dirt up and over the ridge. The snow was only a dusting so it should be pretty.

With the temps around 24 degrees, I was actually warm for once. I had splurged and bought some waterproof/breathable cycling gloves. These things are lightweight and warm, and kept my hands warm. That was nice for a change.

I rode cautiously down the parkway. There were thin sheets of ice spread all over the place. The ice was thin enough that I had traction, I just did not want to have to hit the brakes. As I made my way through the Swannanoa Valley, I came to a steep hill down by the river. This area is right next to the river, and the road was a solid sheet of ice. I had to ride on the shoulder in order to safely navigate the stretch of road.

Once I hit the dirt climb up the ridge, I was really excited. A slight dusting of snow on the ground, the cold wind blowing through the naked trees, my Siren 55 SL climbing like a goat. It was a good morning.

It has been a while since I have been up on that ridge, and once I connected with Rockmont property, I was littl bit disoriented. After sorting out which way I wanted to go, I bombed down the mountain to the office.

Something I am doing differently this year is wearing a balaclava. I have had on in my drawer for years but never used it. Now, I can't go without it. It is better for on the road though, when I am climbing through the woods, I get overheated quickly. But on the pavement sections of my ride, it is really nice to have. This past weekend I spotted a wool balaclava at REI. Hmmm, gotta save up for one of those!!

The trip home was basically a reversal of the trip to work. Less icy, but fun. Got home after dark, due to the thick gray clouds covering the sky!!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I got some news this week, that bummed me out. I rode the PAS "Save the Trail Challenge" last year and had a blast. It is the only time I have ridden Dupont, due to time constraints and priorities, and I loved it. The route was great and it was well supported. I was looking forward to it again this year. I just found out though, that the date was moved to April 24th. The same day as Cohutta 100. Bad move. From what I am being told, this was the only day given to the club by the Forest Superintendent.

I'm bummed on multiple levels. First off, for myself, because obviously, I'm going to Cohutta. Then for the club, because while I'm sure there will be good turnout, I'm guessing that there will be 50% less people signing up, because they will also be going to Cohutta.

PAS has done some great things, and I really hope the event is a success, it's tough when your hands are tied and you can't choose the date that works best for the MTB community as a whole, I understand that. I'm still bummed.

Now, I also don't have an event in March, which I had hoped for. If you know of an endurance MTB event going on within 4 hrs of Asheville, in March, let me know, you might make me very happy!!

On top of that, Cowbell Challenge has been indefinitely canceled. What in the world. I read through the blog, and the accusations, and none of it matches up to the person that I worked with, in 100 degrees temps. That is a bad way to treat someone who has done so much for endurance MTB racing in the Southeast.

So, now June is open too. I guess the upside is less wear and tear on the body, and more money to save for the Pisgah MTB Stage race!!

Have a great day!!

Monday, January 25, 2010


As I rolled my bike outside, the excitement building, I wondered if I was going to get wet. Actually, I knew that I was going to get wet, the real question was, how wet? The sky was grey and overcast as it had been all day. And with the chance of rain increasing as darkness grew closer, I knew that it was only a matter of time before the skies let loose.

I rode up to the parkway, going a little too fast, anxious to cover some ground before it started raining. Thinking that if I could get far enough into the ride, and it started raining, I would continue the ride instead of going home early.

I had almost two hours to ride until sunset, which on a clear day would have given me about 3 hr to ride without needing lights. Today I figured that I had right at two hrs before it got really dark.

I rolled down the road, small drops of water hitting me in the face, the knobs on my mtn bike tires buzzing. As I got to Bent Creek, I climbed up Hardtimes Rd and decided to take Owl Ridge the over to Rice Pinnacle to do a gravel loop, since the trails were very muddy.

The air was cool and damp, and the drops started to fall as I climbed higher. At first I was not sure if the drops were falling from the clouds or from the trees. I kept riding, climbing, descending, twisting, turning. I opted for a shorter route, and made the climb back up Hardtimes Rd, then descended back down to the Parkway. Heading home now, darkness fell. I turned the light on and road through the damp darkness, spinning my way home.

2.5 hrs after getting started, I rolled up to the house, satisfied.

Opening the door, I was greeted with heat from the woodstove, and the warm smells of homemade beef stew coming from the crockpot.

Have a great day!!

Friday, January 22, 2010


I went to the dentist yesterday to get a crown replaced. I have another tooth, the rear lower molar that had been filled recently, and it was still painful. The Dr had told me last time that if it was still tender, it would also need a crown. I told her about it, but she decided to adjust the bite, ie. grind some of the tooth down so it would have less contact with other teeth. So far so good.

To get an old crown off, they have to cut it out. A carbide bur is what they used, from what I understood of their conversation.

Interestingly, there was not as much conversation during this two hour procedure as when they are simply filling a tooth. I guess this requires more focus and concentration. Although, the supplies sales lady did come in for a visit at one point, and there was a lot of discussion about." Order some o-rings, and order some trash bags" etc. Interesting.

2 hrs later, I was done, for today. I currently have a temporary crown, and I go back in a couple of weeks to get the permanent installed. In the meantime, hopefully the bite adjust on the other tooth will work. A sensitive tooth can only take so much pounding.

I had planned to ride dirt after work, but it was rainy, cold, muddy, and I was worn out after two hrs of involuntarily tensing up.

I decided to do a roller ride after I got home. I managed to get 1hr15 mins, while doing some cruise intervals and watching Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. So, much can be said and learned from the trials faced in these movies.

Today, looks like some showers this morning and clearing later for a nice weekend. I think I'll attempt a ride to work, it's me versus the rain again!!

Have a great day.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Today I go to the dentist. I need to have a tooth crowned. We tried to fill it but it has too many cracks. Apparently, I clench, not grind, my teeth and this is causing them to crack. Similar to smashing concrete blocks together. Now I have to look into a mouthpiece to wear when I sleep. But, insurance doesn't cover those, even though it would help prevent thousands of dollars of dental work that the insurance co. will have to pay for, they won't pay $350 for a device that will prevent the damage that would have to be repaired. I'm not sure I understand.

I have to have two crowns, actually. One is older that needs to be replaced. The worst part is the needle they use to inject my gum with numbing agent. The needle is stainless steel and about two feet long, not including the foot long handle. Then they stick it into my gum until is rests against the jawbone.....I can't go on.

So, that's my sad story for today, if you want something a lot more exciting and innovative, go here, or here.

Have a great day

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Tendai's Dream
( from the WBR website)
In order to go to school, Tendai lives with her grandparents in Chilikwela Village, nearly 5 miles from Chiyota Basic School. She is separated from her family, with her mother and two brothers near Zambia's capital city of Lusaka, more than 12 miles away. Tendai dreams of completing primary school in order to go on to teachers college.

Each morning before school, Tendai fetches water for the household. Midday, she returns home to cook lunch for herself and her grandparents, and to fetch more water. In the afternoon, she returns to school for preparatory classes for major exams in order to advance.

"I used to walk long distances to school, and because of that, I would be very tired when I go into class which made me fall behind in my studies," she tells World Bicycle Relief. "This made me feel so depressed, like I would never achieve my dream of reaching grade 12, finishing my studies and going to college to become a teacher."

Tendai received a bicycle as part of the nearly 50,000 bikes that will be distributed by World Bicycle Relief's Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program. Launched in June 2009 in partnership with the Zambian Ministry of Education, World Vision and several prominent NGOs, BEEP will empower students, school volunteers and administrators in the poorest districts in Zambia.

With the long distances she must travel and the lack of markets between her home and school, Tendai especially likes the fact that she can turn to the World Bicycle Relief-trained local Field Mechanic to maintain her bicycle. "He visits the school once a week and helps us with our punctures or loose parts."

On weekends, Tendai visits her mother and younger brothers. On the way, she often carries vegetables to sell at the market, helped by her bicycle. She knows this is important for her family. "With the money I will buy my clothes and shoes for my brothers," she says.

"Because of World Bicycle Relief, I know I will make it," she says. "I can build a good job."

A donation of just $134 provides a bicycle to a student like Tendai.

World Bicycle Relief

Have a great day!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Family Hike

We loaded into the van yesterday to do some exploration on foot. Not sure exactly where we wanted to go, we headed out to Mills River and FS1206. I have ridden this road a lot, driven it a handful of times but never hiked it. We drove through the campground and headed up the road. There was still snow in the woods, and some ice on the road, but it was mostly muddy. The gate was closed at the intersection or FS 5051, so we parked. I had never been up FS 5051, I had no idea what was up there. I pulled the map out and realized where the trail went, and we started hiking.

We have not hiked much as a family, but plan to do more of it this year.

I was excited about exploring a new area and wanted to make it all the way up to the ridge line where the trail led, but I had to remember that if I made this a miserable experience for the kid, then that is exactly what it would be. We took it easy, walked slow, told "knock-knock" jokes, took short breaks, and kept walking. After about an hour of walking, Jubal was getting tired and slowing down. I decided that is was probably time to eat some lunch. I coaxed him a little bit farther and then we stopped.
Below is our lunch view:
After lunch we were messing around and spotted some snow still sitting in the shade. A snowball fight ensued. Actually it was mainly Jubal and I trying to hit Rhonda with snowballs....that was fun!

After lunch, we headed back down the road. We didn't get to the top, but for once that was not the goal. The goal was to get out and enjoy creation. That goal was accomplished. The sun was bright and warm, there was a slight breeze blowing. The views were something that would not be seen in the summertime, due to the leaves being gone. And we found a new place. A new place to hike, and a new place to ride!!

On the way home we refueled at Sonic with shakes and fries. We were gonna have tater tots, but they ran out....

2 hr hike, and family time, it was a good day!!

Have a great day.
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Saturday I finally got out for my first long ride this season. I was feeling a little lazy at home and didn't get going until 10 am. As I went up the first climb on the parkway, I was feeling a little overdressed, but going downhill on the other side I was layered perfectly. It was one of those overcast days that would get too hot if the sun came out, but if it stayed overcast, I would be dressed perfectly.

I rode down the parkway and up the climb to connect with Hardtime Rd. I decided to skip the Arboretum portion because I figured it would still have snow and ice. Hardtime rd was slow going in spots and it was a relief to drop down onto the trails around the lake.

I had planned 4 hrs of riding, knowing that I might not be ready to go that long.
Below is a picture of a mini glacier on Explorer Loop. All of the creek in Bent Creek are carved out at the edges from mini glaciers. The one below is complete with mini fissures and crevasses. Pretty cool.
I wound around the woods taking my time yet keeping a steady pace. Up Explorer, to Bent Creek Gap rd, to Sidehill Connector. I had wanted to ride up the road and down Sidehill but opted not to, yet. Taking a left on the FS rd, I went up to the bottom of Hickory Top and started climbing. I was day dreaming about something, I can't remember when all of a sudden, there was a voice behind me asking to pass. I moved over and he came around on the left. It was a dude decked out in an Ouch/Maxxis kit on a single speed and he was moving pretty good. I thought about trying to keep up, but decided not to push myself.
On up to Five Points and feeling good, I let loose going down Ingles Field. With my newfound confidence in the Siren 55's ability to handle the trail, I was going fast, ( fast for me) and feeling good. Halfway down I spotted the Ouch/ Maxxis dude. It was on. I pushed myself and relaxed. Leaning the bike into the turns, hitting the little wall ride, ( whoa, I haven't done that one before, I was always going too slow there). Rolling over the trail faster than I remember going before. On the last steep downhill before the gravel road I caught him. Startled he started to pull over but I yelled for him to keep going. That was fun.

I wound down Wolf Branch and back out to Bent Creek Gap Rd. I like the climb up Hardtimes rd to the parkway but again decided to skip it due to the snow still on the road. I cut through the Arboretum on the pavement and back to the parkway.

Taking it easy on the way home, I took advantage of the mile markers on the Parkway to calibrate my odometer. I have not been able to get it right, and with six mile markers, I was able to get it dialed in!

So, 3 hrs and 15 minutes on the bike. The first long mtn bike ride this year felt really good. I'm glad to be back and I'm glad to be riding a bike that will help me push my limits!!!

Have a great day

Friday, January 15, 2010


I got to the parking lot, parked and got out of the truck. I started shivering, a little bit. I had flashbacks of Wednesday's way too cold ride. Nolan and Greg pulled up soon after and we were ready to roll. I was thankful to have the company on my first mtn bike ride since.....November 8th. That is a long time to be off the mtn bike!

I was pleasantly surprised when Nolan and Greg showed up on time and were ready to go shortly after. I come to ride, and when I'm done, I go home to see my family, that's how I roll.

I met Greg at a trail work day and got his phone number. Earlier Thursday I sent him a text that told him the time and location to meet. Since I'm not a stellar texter, I didn't give him my name, assuming he would know. He didn't know, but showed up anyway!!

We rolled out of the parking lot after discussing the best route due to there still being lots of snow and ice. We headed up Rice Pinnacle rd, to Wolf Branch, up to the road where we stopped momentarily. The choice was up the road or up Ingles Field, they let me choose.....up Ingles Field.

We headed up and they commented that I was looking good for just getting back on the bike. I was feeling good too. This was my 12th ride this year, and the 12th since surgery weeks ago. I was feeling, not 100%, but pretty good. In fact, my legs have felt good all week, for that I am happy.

We kept a steady pace up to 5 points, and took a left on Hickory Top. Greg warned us that there were some icy spots farther on down. They sent me in the lead, saying that they would go slow because they had rigid forks, lame excuse to send a friend to find the ice patches! Don't think I didn't know your plan. Next time I'm going to bring some excuses of my own!!

At the road, we flew down, gliding over the ice like skaters, and convened at the intersection of Sidehill. Instead of climbing Sidehill, which I usually do, we headed over to Explorer Loop. I was glad for that because my legs were feeling a bit fatigued.

As we rode along, I thought about how great it was to be outside, to be alive, to see the darkness and ride through the sleeping frozen forest. I thought about bikes and what a cool invention they are. I pondered racing this year and took a deep breathe thinking about my more laid back approach, and reminding myself to enjoy the scenery. I envisioned myself at the Cohutta 100 tooling along, at a steady pace, sweat running down my face, eating and drinking sufficiently. I envisioned myself, possibly, maybe riding parts of the Cohutta with a group, rather than trying to rip the legs off of everyone around me.

We took Explorer Loop, to Pine Tree to the lake and then the road back around the lake. We talked about riding on the lake but opted not to. (I think Greg and Nolan said something about rigid forks again, but I can't remember).

We got back to the parking after 1h45min of riding. The longest ride of the year, and many more, longer rides to come!!!!

Have a great day.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Wednesday morning, I checked the weather, currently 15 degrees, high of 45. For some reason my brain focused on the high of 45.

I layered up and rolled my bike out the door. 15 minutes into the ride, my heart rate monitor started freezing and giving me bad readings. 20 minutes into the ride, my fingers got cold and would not warm up. I kept going thinking that I would warm up.

25 minutes into the ride, I tried to get some fluids in me. I was feeling weak and knew that I would start to bonk soon. I squeezed the bottle and got a couple of sips. My drink was a slushee and the nozzle was frozen.

It was not a good situation for me. I kept spinning, knowing the route that I was taking and how long it would take me to get there. I craved the warmth of the sun. I could see the sun shining on the mountain tops around me, but it did not quite reach down into the valley where I was suffering.

30 minutes into the ride, my fingertips started to hurt and go numb. I kept going, telling myself to remain calm. My core was warm, my toes were chilly, just my fingers were in trouble.

10 minutes from camp, I finally, briefly, rode into some sunshine. At this point it didn't help much, I needed to get out of the cold, and get the blood flowing into my fingertips.

Up the last hill and to the office door. No one's car was in the lot. I had to dig around for my keys, unlock 3 doors and get inside. Fortunately, with the cold, the bathroom heater is left on at night so the pipes don't freeze. I rolled my bike in my office and made it to the bathroom, where I sank to the floor. I looked down and my chest and noticed that it was covered in thick frost, my goatee encrusted in ice.

I peeled off cold layers, wishing I could just lay down and sleep. I started rubbing my hands together, thankful that I had a heat source. It felt good as the blood started to flow again, then it started to hurt....

An hour later, after an english muffin with p-nut butter, and a couple of cups of hot tea with lots of raw sugar, I stop shivering and started to feel normal again.

Last night at dinner my right ring and pinky finger started to throb. I think that while they were numb, they were being jammed against the inside of the glove, the cuticle area is very tender.

This morning as I type this, the two fingers still hurt, and my fingertips are still a little tingly. I guess I really figured out my limit. I'd like to try 20 degrees, but I know that I will be fine in 25 degree. 20 degrees is not that different from 15, so I'm going to stick to 25.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Work Ride

As I pushed m bike out of the house yesterday morning, the excitement built up inside. It had been 6 weeks and 1 day since my surgery and a little more than that since I had ridden my bike out side. I have 8 good roller rides under my belt and was ready to feel some wind on my face. The sky was overcast with a little wind blowing.

I made my way up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and noticed how quiet it was. It turns out that I had the Pwky to myself. It is still closed although the road was clear. It is strange being somewhere by myself after getting accustomed to cars whizzing by.

By the time I got near Warren Wilson College precipitation was falling. The temps were below freezing but it was not snowing, yet. It was a freezing rain that was sticking to everything, my bike and myself included....crazy.

20 minutes later when I got to Camp Rockmont, it was snowing. It snowed for a couple of hours. Great way to start riding again!!

The trip home was more of the same except that I was riding into a headwind. There was snow off in the distance, and little bits of ice bouncing off of my face. Cold enough to freeze in my goatee though. The kid could not believe that I had ice in my beard until I told him to touch it. I'm pretty sure that his respect for me went way up at that point. I mean, what other kid in his class has a dad who comes home with ice in his beard!!

The riding felt good. I felt a little weak in the legs but not as bad as I thought I would. I'm thinking that I'm going to come back fairly quickly!!

Have a great day.


Well, it's been 6 weeks and 1 day since my appendectomy. I have not ridden a substantial distance outside since the surgery. ( I rode around the backyard a couple of times). I have ridden on the rollers 8 times this year, and am ready to move outside. At least I think I am ready. The current temp is 27, the high is 32. That's cold.

I was trying to remember what my limit for riding in the cold was last year, but I can't. I arbitrarily picked 25 degrees, so today is good to go. And it looks like this is going to be the coldest day of the week. I am convincing myself that I need to get out there, rather than putting it off to wait for warmer temps. I'm also convinced that we have another 2-3 months of cold temps and precipitation to come. If I put the training off another day, that's another day gone, with the chance that tomorrow might be colder.

So, here goes, layering up, and doing it. I'm sure I'll be glad I did it after the first 10 minutes, but that first 10 is mostly downhill. I have considered warming up on my rollers before going out, but if I build up even a little perspiration, I'll freeze. Good stuff!!

Have a great day!

Monday, January 11, 2010


I've been chewing on this all weekend. Trying to figure out how to go about writing this.

I thought about writing a long detailed story about what I do and don't believe in. Even now, as I attempt to expound on my ideas, I am getting tripped up. I'm glad there is a backspace button, so I can keep starting over.

So, here it is: I believe in a God, who is the creator of all things. I believe that he cares about us and provides for us. This definitely leads into a huge debate as to why he provides for some and not others etc. Trust me, I wrestle with that thought on a daily basis, as I drive my warm truck to work and pass the homeless dude walking to wherever he walks. Or when I hear stories of street kids living off of dumpster food. I wrestle with it. But I still believe. Why? Because, in my own life it has been proven over and over. Ask me about it sometime.

Right now, as I write this, I have food, water, a warm house and clothes to wear. Everything I need to live, and enough to share with others.

Right now, as I write this, we have been given enough, that the medical bills from my emergency appendectomy, are covered. As it looks, hopefully by the end of this week, I will not owe one penny for the bills.

Thanks to friends, family and work, and a God who created us with emotions such as generosity, we have been taken care of once again.

Have a great day.

Friday, January 08, 2010

One Day

sometimes I lay
under the moon
and thank God I'm breathing
then I pray
don't take me soon
cause I am here for a reason
sometimes in my tears I drown
but I never let it get me down
so when negativity surrounds
I know some day it'll all turn around
all my life I've been waiting for
I've been praying for
for the people to say
that we don't wanna fight no more
they'll be no more wars
and our children will play
one day
it's not about
win or lose
we all lose
when they feed on the souls of the innocent
blood drenched pavement
keep on moving though the waters stay raging
in this maze you can lose your way (your way)
it might drive you crazy but don't let it faze you no way (no way)
sometimes in my tears I drown
but I never let it get me down
so when negativity surrounds
I know some day it'll all turn around
all my life I've been waiting for
I've been praying for
for the people to say
that we don't wanna fight no more
they'll be no more wars
and our children will play
one day
one day this all will change
treat people the same
stop with the violence
down with the hate
one day we'll all be free
and proud to be
under the same sun
singing songs of freedom like
one day
all my life I've been waiting for
I've been praying for
for the people to say
that we don't wanna fight no more
they'll be no more wars
and our children will play
one day

Thursday, January 07, 2010

2 Hour Delay

I woke up this morning, glad that I woke up. I had overslept by about 30 minutes, but was cool with that. I checked to see if Buncombe county schools had yet another 2 hr delay. They did not. I got the fire going to warm the house, and woke the R and the J. ( that is how I will refer to my family from henceforth( I am also going to make a valid attempt to speak more Old English).

We have had a 2 hr delay since coming back from Christmas break. I prefer that more laid back schedule. I think that having to get the kids up at 6:30am is a bit ridiculous. I also think that an 8 hr plus work day is a bit too much.

I have worked a lot of jobs, some 24/7 on call, some part time, full-time, part time and full time, at some points 3 jobs.

I propose a 6 hr workday (school day), with the same pay/benefits.

My theory is that with the extra time at home/play, people would not only be more rested, mentally healthful, they would be more productive at work. With less time to get it done, there would be less time for hanging out at the coffee pot. More time to be spent taking care of things at home. Hanging out and enjoying your family, and of course more time to train!

So, who is with me?

Have a great day.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


I didn't do a year in review or a top ten list of any looking back on the year. I didn't feel like it. It was a good year and earlier last year I did a sort of reviewing, covering things I had learned.

I did, however, sit and think about the direction I want to take this blog and you the reader.

I have always wanted to challenge you in ways that you aren't being challenged, and that is what I will continue to attempt.

I don't want this blog to be a place that I vent and whine. I do want to vent, consider problems, but always consider possible solutions as well. I always want to consider a solution, if I am going to spend the time considering a problem.

I want to spend this year being satisfied. That does not mean that I will not be striving to become a better person, better cyclist, friend or husband/father. But that I will strive to be satisfied with what I have. Not always wishing for more, whether that "more" is time, money, Lactate Threshold, etc.

I have everything that I need right now.

Thanks for joining me on my journey, I hope that I can challenge you to be satisfied this year.

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Here is a post from my blog in 2002 when I was preparing to ride across America:

Thursday, January 3, 2002

First, I wish you all a happy new year. I got back from Chambersburg, PA yesterday.

Northerner's are great people, although they have an odd tradition. At midnight everyone grabs pots and pans. They then go out on the porch (in the freezing cold) and start banging and clanging. I have to admit that it was a lot of fun.

As I write this newsletter a very rare thing is happening. SNOW!!! Ok, if you are in the north it is not a big deal. But to those of us who live in the south, it is quite exciting. I haven't been to the store yet but I'm sure there is no bread, milk or eggs left on the shelves. I don't know what they do with them but I guess they have eggs sandwiches with milk!!!

The south pretty much shuts down during the rare snow "storm". School is cancelled and all that!

I am a little different. I look at snow as an opportunity. An opportunity to venture out, to explore untraveled roads. When the forecast calls for snow, I plan on going hiking!!! ( sometimes I even go mountain biking in the snow). What an opportunity to see the environment in a covering of white.

When I was in college, 5 years ago, I would talk a couple of friends into going driving with me. In Northeast Ga. there are a lot of State game lands and forests and therefore a lot of dirt roads. We would drive all over the mountains in my little front wheel drive VW Fox. The nice thing about driving was that if I were to get stuck, my friends got to push while I drove. This is why it is good to have strong friends.

To end the day we usually went to a local restaurant, Hickory Mtn. Restaurant or Betty's in Helen.

So today, instead of going for a ride on the bike, I will head out in my Fox station wagon, looking for adventure.

The moral of my story is: Don't let an opportunity pass by without at least considering it.

Have a great day,

Stephen J.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


When I was a kid, probably about 13 yrs old, I read a book titled: " My Side of the Mountain". Few books have given me real direction in life.

Most books, to me, are simply someone blathering their opinion or theory about something or someone, and usually they are simply reacting to someone else's theory on something or someone. I'm sure there are tid-bits of good things in those books, but I'm tired of wading through all of the blathering to find those morsels.

"My Side of the Mountain" was different, and maybe it ruined me for life, but I have been able to enjoy a lot of adventures that I don't think I would have, if I had not read this book.

It is the story of a young boy who leaves his life in the city to live in the wilderness, living off of the land, following the teachings of Thoreau.

So, I read the book and was inspired. Inspired to do things a little differently than the norm, to take a risk and see a side of our planet that a lot of people don't see.

I had forgotten about the book until 5 yrs ago, while working in a classroom with one of my clients. It was on their required reading list, so I borrowed a copy and read it again.

Then I forgot about it once again. Yesterday, as the kid and I were walking in the store, we came to the $5 dvd rack. I am needing dvd's to keep me entertained while riding the rollers in my top secret, state of the art training facility. First, my eyes landed on "Neil Young Live". 100 minutes of Neil Young should provide a good workout. Then as I searched for another dvd, I spotted, "My Side of the Mountain"

Jubal could sense my excitement and waited all day, patiently to see why I was so excited.

As we watched, Jubal sat riveted, soaking in every moment, and of course as a 5 yr old does, asking questions.

So, what now? Did the movie inspire him as much as the book did me? Let's hope so.

Have a great day!