Wednesday, March 31, 2010


The ride in to work was a great way to start the day.  It had rained overnite and the clouds were moving out of the area.  The grass  is turning a deep shade of green, and the air was chilly.

After work, I went for a 40 mile road ride.  I did the Bat Cave loop which takes me up and over the Eastern Continental Divide 2 times.  I'll be doing this ride a lot this spring and summer.

The above picture was on the first climb.  After chopping and stacking wood for 3 hrs yesterday, my legs were not feeling "fresh", but it was good to get out and ride for more than 1 hr after work.  And I wasn't even racing daylight.

A nice steady climb up one side, and a 35-40 mph decent on the other side.  Going to Bat Cave I had a tail wind.  From the top of the Divide to Fairview, I had the worst headwind I have had for a long time.   Spinning at 12 mph where I usually go faster is draining!!

Time to start tapering!!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Do What You Love

I was thinking today about how I am not going to get nervous going into this weekend, and how I am going to control my pace, and not push too hard.  About how I am not going to let people passing me, get the best of me.  I thought about my nutrition strategy, and my race strategy, and how many laps I want to do. I even did the math, and figured out according to last year's lap times, how many laps I could do this year.

And then I started to get stressed, and get anxious and get worked up.

It was then that I realized.....I don't like to push the limits in that way.  I don't enjoy trying to be faster than the next person.  I don't enjoy getting worked up and stressing out when I miss a training day.  That is just not who I am.  That is not my personality.  It is great if that is what you do, I respect that.

I like to win,  who doesn't?  You get recognition and cool stuff.  And sometimes you get money!!!

But I don't manage the stress that comes with the winning drive, very well at all.

So, I'm going back to my roots.  Going back to where I was when I did my first road centuries, ( Ride For Raptors and Isaqueenas Last Ride), to my first off-road centuries ( The Iron Wheel 112 mile, the Cohutta 100 and the Burn 24).   I wasn't there to be the fastest, the get the prize.  I was there to challenge myself and to enjoy the satisfaction of giving it my best shot. I like to ride long,  and it's fine if I am out there solo.  As long as I am moving forward. 

I no longer feel the need to try to get as fast as Jeremiah Bishop, or outlast Andy Applegate.  I am who I am, and I am going to pursue what I enjoy:  riding my bike for long distances.

So, I'm still gonna train, still gonna push myself.  But, not so I can get a top 50, top 20 or top 3.  I'm gonna do it because I enjoy it.... a lot!!!!

Have a great day!

Monday, March 29, 2010

6 days

6 days from now I will be headed to my first race of the season.   I'm pretty excited to try out the new things I have learned and to see how far my legs take me this time.  The temps are supposed to get up near 80 degrees which is not good for me, but with what I have learned, I am thinking that it won't be an issue.  Then again, I will probably learn something else.

My weekend was not very exciting and slightly restful. 

Saturday, after dropping  Jubal off at school for the snow make up day,  Rhonda and I headed out to the Blue Ridge Bike Expo.  On the way we tried to stop at Tupelo Honey Cafe for breakfast but the didn't open until 8:30am and it was only 8am.  So, we headed on up the road to the Shoney's breakfast bar.   There is no way we could have known that 3 minutes after sitting down with our plates full of food,  a little girl was going to run down the isle, hands cupped to her mouth, oozing and dripping vomit.....  So much for appetite.  We managed to choke our food down.  The kind manager ended up comping our meal. 

The Expo was a lot of fun and a good crowd showed up.  It was great to see so many people out!

We then headed back to pick the kid up from school.  We had intended to swing by Bluegrass and BBQ at the Asheville Farmer's Market.  We ended up hanging out with the kind Okie Dokies Smokehouse peeps all afternoon!  Fun times.

Sunday, I did not get to go on a long ride due to the rain storm that was raging.  Instead I spent the morning adding on to our woodshed so that we would not run out of fire wood like we did this year.  Except for 3 pieces of wood, I was able to use scraps for everything. 

Have a great day.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Nolan and I met up with Chris to take him on his first trip down Kitsuma.  Fortunately for us it was a rest day for Chris, so he was taking it easy.  I got there really early so I got ready and headed up the switchbacks on my own.  The skies were overcast, gray and looming.  The weather radar showed a huge green blob headed our way, and when I got on the trail a few scattered raindrops his the ground. 

I took a medium pace going up, visualizing the pace that I need to adopt as my race pace.  With my goal of finishing all of my races this year,  at the finish line, not in the back of an ambulance,  I am definitely taking on a new race pace.  So far it has treated me well. 

I got to the top, turned around and headed back down.  When I got to the parking lot, no one was there.  I got that sinking feeling in my stomach that I had been stood up.  I, for some reason have been stood up a lot, I'm not sure why, but it happens frequently.  But, I also knew that these guys would not stand me up for no good reason, so I held the hope.  Sure enough,  within minutes they both showed up, got ready and we were underway. 

It was a great ride with great laughs.   The weather was warm again, opposite tonight's forecast of  32 degrees!!

We wound our way up and down the mountain.  The leaves are still covering the trail in most areas since the trail did not see much traffic since fall.

We had some good times out there. Some good laughs, almost lost Chris a couple of times because we failed to wait for him at a couple of intersections....sorry Chris.  The scene where we tried to describe the ORAMM route to Chris was hilarious. 

Instead of going up the Greenway, we opted to ride up Mill Creek Rd.  It is scenic in a different way. 

Great ride with some great friends and great conversation.  I got in the truck and headed home to some homemade blueberry pancakes, and bacon,  yum!!!

Have a great day.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Have you ever heard people saying things like:"  wow, I feel like something great is going to happen", "  Get ready, because God is about to do something great",  or "as soon as my stars align" etc.  

As humans we tend to look for the things that are great, exciting, huge.  A fireworks display of glory,  a waterfall of excitement.  But, in our search for something "great"  we forget that we woke up this morning.  As far as I am concerned that is one of the greatest things that has ever happened.  I woke up.  All of the minute little things that had to happen for me to wake up, from the alarm on my watch, to the oxygen in my blood,  to most of the neurons firing in my brain.   That was great.

In my Environmental; Studies class in college, one of our activities was to go outside, sit on the ground and use a piece of string to form a 3 inch diameter circle.   We were to study the contents of that circle for 5 minutes ( a long time to sit still ), make notes and report what we found.  If you have never done this, you should try it.

I never knew that so much was going on in such a  small space.  Plants, bugs, dirt, sticks, etc. A lot of little things going on.  

So, don't always look for the big things.  I'm not saying I don't get excited about a fireworks show,  I do.  But don't be so consumed with looking for the big things, that you miss the little things.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I got an great dirt ride in on Tuesday night and still made it home in time to hang with the family.   I headed out behind work to ride up and down the steep mountainside. I realized last Thursday night that I had not really been riding much single track this winter. I 've been getting some road and gravel road rides but the punchiness of riding singletrack is so much different.  So, with the temp around 34 this morning, I opted to drive in to work with my bike and ride after work when the temps were above 50.  That was a smart move.

I ended up riding about 1.5 hrs and that was enough to make my legs tired and  a little bit sore.  The sunshine felt great, but with a stiff wind howling over the ridge, it was a bit chilly in the shade.  Still I was wearing short sleeves, so I'm not complaining.

I think I'm going through some sort of seasonal depression though.  I feel like I'm running into a mental wall and need to move on, but can't.  Kind of like a Rubics Cube,  certain things have to move before the other ones can fall into place.  I'll keep you updated on that, should be a fun journey.

Well, don't stare at the above picture too long, you might drool on your keyboard.   With nuun in my bottle and Honey Stinger in pocket,  the Siren 55 SL took me up and down the steepest parts of this mountain with ease.  As I was writing this, I realized that I had not been on the technical side of this mountain on this bike.  I was again amazed at how steep the pitches were that I was climbing, and how smoothly it took me down the mountain!!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Monday morning I was sitting at work and feeling motivated to get some projects done at the house.  So, I took the afternoon off and came home and got to work.  I finished hanging some siding, and caulked.  As soon as we get some warm weather I'll get it painted. 

Then I went to work on the wood pile.  We have used up all of the firewood that we stored up last year.  I cleaned out the wood shed and started chopping and stacking wood. I was glad it was snowing and not raining.  Several hours later, satisfied with a big chunk of progress I finished up for the day. 

As Rhonda and I were sitting in the living room last night, I started thinking about titles and how people tend to take them too seriously.  I know that titles are important in that they tell me who a person is and what they do, but when they use that title to separate themselves from other people of less importance, then I feel that it is inappropriate. 

For instance,  I knew someone once, who moved to a big city, started a mega church and then decided that his "people" should no longer refer to him by his first name, but call him "pastor".....and stand up when he walks in the room.  And what about "Reverend"?  "One who is to be respected": Wikipedia.  Aren't we all supposed to be respected?  So shouldn't we call everybody reverend?  Look at the history of the use of the word and you will see that it is no longer necessary today. 

The term Doctor is a good one.  I have friends who are doctors.   One is a close friend and in everyday life he does not introduce himself as "Doctor..." but uses his first name.  He puts himself on my level and lives his life that way.  And I am for knowing you are a Dr if you are a medical Dr.  That is an important useful term.  But for someone who has read more books than me and passed more test than me, and has more "book knowledge" than me?  Good job!!   I guess you earned that title, but it is still a title!!  I respect that you went through that and learned all of that valuable info, but don't think you are better than someone else because you have a title. 

And then,  guess what?  Some people get an honorary doctorate.  That's right, they just act real smart, and they get one.  I'll never get one of those, because I act real, I don't think any organizations give out honorary doctorates for "keepin' it real"!!   

And you know what?  I don't expect people to stop using their titles, I'm not upset and looking for some kind of change.  There will always be titles and people who use them properly and that is fine.

But,   I'm sure that it makes some people, who have titles and letters in front of their names, to talk to a normal person like me.  So, from here on out, if you are not comfortable with just my first name,  you may call me Dr. Reverend M. Stephen Janes.  (putting the middle initial in before your first name says something about status too).  

And the rest of you?  You can keep calling me Stephen.

Have a great day!!

Monday, March 22, 2010


Saturday promised temps in the high 60's and it did not disappoint. 

When I woke up the temp was around the time I rolled out the front door at 9am, the temps had climbed to close to 40.   I was only a little chilly at first but warmed up well on the first climb.  That was the last time all day that I would be chilly.  

I headed south on the Parkway for my regular 4 hr loop around Bent Creek and back home.  I'm a creature of habit, and when I find a route that works really well for me, I stick to it.  By the time I rode through the gates of the Arboretum, the sun was shining brightly and I peel off my wind vest and arm warmers.  It felt so good to have exposed skin that was not freezing and numb. 
Today, with what I learned last weekend about RPE( Rate of Perceived Exertion) vs HR ( Heart Rate),  I was more focused on RPE.  I wanted to learn to listen more to what my body was telling me, and how I was feeling. 

As I headed up Hardtimes rd, I took it easy.  The rest is a blur of single track and gravel road.  I was excited that 99% of the trails were dry and packed hard.  It dawned on me after the first bit of single track, how long it had been since I had ridden extensive single track.  Riding on the road does not prepare one adequately for single track.  I have a little bit of conditioning work to do!!

Another hour into the ride, and the sun was up and warming the earth.  As I rode around, my thoughts wandered.  I thought about what I do, who I am, and how I am contributing to my neighbors: next door and worldwide.  I thought about "health-care reform" and wondered if it would be such a big deal if we were all making an effort to care for our neighbors. 

I thought about bicycles and what they have done for people around the world.  I thought about what they have done for me.  I contemplated the people I have met due to riding a bicycle.  

I wondered what the future has in store for me.  I want to do something more, to help, but what?  I want to do something unique,  not necessarily original, but unique.  I have lots of ideas I am chewing but I have to wait for the right place and the right time. 

There is so much potential, so much opportunity.  The difficult thing is working around the American mentality of capitalism.  Why not just do something with no return?   Other than knowing that you helped a fellow human being?  

I wound back around through the Arboretum after hitting Lower Sidehill, Hickory Top, and Ingles Field.  I stopped on Ledford and cleaned out a drain that was causing some puddleage.  I then headed back up Hardtimes and back to the Arboretum to fill up on water.  Once back on the Parkway, I found a steady pace and cruised back home.   After 4 hrs of riding I was tired but not totally fatigued.  I was still able to spend the rest of the day working on the chicken coop and chasing Jubal around the park!!  

Have a great day!!

Friday, March 19, 2010


I met up with Chris, Eric, and Greg at Bent Creek last night.  We started out a little too fast and the pace only got faster.  I have not ridden that fast in a very long time, if ever.  Chris and Greg were on fire, while Eric and I tried to keep up.  It was Chris's first time at BC and being the stellar rider that he is, I think he was riding with one eye closed to make it more challenging.  After an hour Eric did the smart thing and headed back.  Greg must have been hurting and I know I was delirious because, I let him talk me into doing Sidehill the wrong way.....downhill.  He knew that if we went uphill, I would have been to strong to keep up.   You gotta stay on your toes around these guys!!

I ended up bailing after that since I had to head over to Asheville Pizza and Brewing for Women of Dirt.  I had gotten great response about the movie coming to town and was excited to see who showed up.  I arrived early, got things in order and sat down for some food.  The Arty Spin Dip is delicious and the portion large enough to share.  Fortunately,  Frank Obusek came in and helped himself to the rest!!

We had approximately 100 people show up for the movie.  And the people loved the movie so much that they cheered and clapped when it was over.   And, we raised enough money  for World Bicycle Relief to send two more bikes to Zambia!!

Thanks to Bones Over MetalAsheville Pizza and Brewing, and the people of Asheville for the support!!!

Have a great day!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Chris sent me a message reminding me that it is sometimes impossible to remove oneself from negativity.  He reminded me that in that situation, reaction is what is important.  Reacting in a positive way to a negative person can be a challenge, but it is quite important.   There seem to be several responses to negativity.

After thinking it through some more, I realized that the following are some of my responses:

Sometimes I withdraw.  I say all kinds of things in my head,  most of which if said out loud would make the situation worse.....but they sure are funny.  I get quiet.  I have found that sometimes to say something to someone who does not "get it" in the first place, will not do any good at all, and in fact will exacerbate ( good word ) the issue.

Other times I respond with something positive.  For instance.  Last fall, some friends of mine were complaining about how it never snows around here, and if it were going to be cold, why couldn't it snow...blah blah blah.  Guess what? They got snow!!!!  And then halfway through the winter, who is complaining about snow?  Yup,  the same friends.  I gently reminded them that they had begged for it and now they had it.  They didn't really complain about it anymore!!
Thanks Chris for the reminder.

So,  if you are being negative, then start being positive.  

Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


It is not quite dark when I roll out the front door for my ride to work.  I probably should have brought my light, but I didn't want to mess with it.

After work I met up with Chris Strout , mountain bike pro,  for  a road ride.  He just moved down from Chicago a couple of months ago.  I decided to take him on a tour of the Swannanoa vallley.

We left camp and headed towards Black Mountain on North Fork Rd.  Through the town, and east on Hwy 70.  We went out to the Point Lookout Greenway trail, and down to the flag pole that marks the Point Lookout.  There used to be a restaurant here with black bears in cages.  It was the cool place to go on Sunday afternoon.

We headed back west, following Hwy 70 to old Hwy 70, and then out and around Warren Wilson College. Winding around through the valley, up and down the hills, enjoying the scenery and the company.  After close to 2 hrs we parted ways.  I gave him told Chris how to get back to camp and we parted ways.

On the ride we discussed a lot of things but the one thing that sticks out to me and is important to me was positivity.

Here are some thoughts.  At one point in life I spent time with people who were overly critical.  They thought they had it figured out and everybody else did things wrong.  They didn't offer solutions to problems but they definitely knew what people were doing wrong.

Then I took a road trip with a friend.  The difference was amazing.  He was positive and complimentary.  My eyes were opened to a new way of thinking.  When I got back home I decided to shed the negativity and to be a positive force.  As I started to pull away from my negative friends, and spend less time with them,  I found that the security they provided was merely a false sense of security.

As I surrounded myself with more positive people, I found that I was enjoying life more.  And I didn't regret my decision.  Of course it was my fault that I didn't call anymore, and I was the one with the problem, the one who was distant and had "changed".  But, their opinions didn't bother me anymore.  I was free.  Free to be happy and be positive, and help people for the better.

Are you surrounded by negative people?  Are you that negative person?  If so, then change.  It's not easy. It's a habit, and you have to retrain yourself.  Even offer compliments to people who in your eyes don't deserve it.  Say positive things.  Only be constructively critical.  Only point out problems if you have a possible solution, and are willing to help with the solution,  or are open to another solution. 

It is not always easy,  but go for it.  You will be a lot happier, and enjoy life a lot more!!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


4 days until spring is officially here.  Currently it is 40 degrees in Asheville and with a high of 52, I won't have to dress in full winter gear.  This time of year is tricky, because the morning commute can be 20 degrees colder than the evening commute.   I usually end up a little cold on the ride in, so I don't wind up overdressed on the ride home.

Above 40 I usually wear knee warmers, bibshorts, and a short sleeve jersey with arm warmers or a long sleeve jersey.  I'll also wear full finger gloves, usually a midweight, that I stick in my jersey pocket if my hands get hot.

The smells this time of year are more prominent to. Riding to work last week, I smelled coffee, pancakes, sausage, biscuits,  and of course, since I ride right past Okie Dokies Smokehouse, I smelled BBQ. ( I'm hoping he will start serving breakfast!!).

Smelling breakfast on an early morning ride is not very motivating.  I have often considered stopping to knock on the door and ask for leftovers.  I have enough trouble eating first thing in the morning, but then after 30 minutes of exercise, I am sure I could eat some bacon and biscuits with gravy.   But alas, when I get to work , I stick a bagel in the toaster and eat that.  Biscuits another day. 

I was enjoying riding in the light.  Not only are the days longer, my work hours are shifted 30 minutes earlier.  I can now get a 3 hr ride after work without lights!!  But,  with Daylight Saving Time, the sun does not rise until 7:40am, so I get to ride in the dark for the first 30 minutes, longer if it is overcast!!   Only for a couple of weeks, but it's still adds to the excitement.  

Have a great day!!

Monday, March 15, 2010


The day started out bright and clear.  I had stayed up way to late have a great discussion with friends.  I figured it was good training since I rarely sleep well the night before a race.  I rolled out of bed, drank some coffee, and got my gear ready to roll.  The plan was to ride the same route as 2 weeks ago, but this time ride all the way home without having to call for a ride.  I was tired and glad it was not rainy or cold, because I really wanted to go back home and relax.  
I kept a steady pace as I rode up Hwy 70 through Swannanoa and Black Mountain.  I was going to attempt to eat a little more food today to see if my current nutrition plan was sustaining me properly, or my body could absorb a little more.

Due to feeling sluggish and the heavy rains the night before, I decided to skip Kitsuma and head down Mill Creek rd.  The Kendas stuck to the gravel road like tires should.  I wound around and down into the valley, relaxed and enjoying myself.  Across the creek where ORAMM rest stop 1 and 5 are, then a right turn up the steep hill, across the train tracks and into the woods.  Crossing the train tracks at this point is a lot like entering the Wardrobe and finding oneself in Narnia.....Mountain Biking Narnia!

Feeling good and cruising along, my thoughts drifted to my goals this year.  I imagine that my current pace is close to my race pace, although in another 3 weeks when racing starts, I hope to be  a little bit faster.  That's what intervals are for.  I'm not planning on killing it this year,  simply planning on finishing.  Although, I don't plan on taking all day to do it.  Slow and steady is  my motto.

I climbed up Lower Heartbreak and dropped over the ridge down Star Gap.  This is one my my favorite area trails.  Good views,  less traveled,  nice switchbacks, trail that winds along the contours of the mountains.  Down to Jarrets Creek rd which winds around and up and down for about 1 hr of double track.  There are clouds building in the sky, and the temp feels like it is dropping ever so slightly.  Rain is forecast to move in around noon, and I am hoping to be home by 2pm.  I'm also hoping that the rain will be late.

Riding out of the woods and across Curtis Creek, I nod to the fishermen.  Out on the pavement, I stop briefly to take a picture of the first signs of looming spring.  I'm running out of water so I pull into the EMT station on Hwy 70.  Dismounting, I lean my bike up against the building and walk up to the door. Hand raised to knock, the door opens and two EMT 's are there, clipboard in hand, already assessing the situation.  I'm pretty sure these are the same ones who took me to the hospital 2 yrs ago, but it is hard to tell since I was not really coherent at that time, laying in the grass, dry heaving.  I ask if I could use the water spigot to fill my bottles, and they  laugh and told me that would be fine.  I respond by assuring them that if I can fill my bottles here, they will not have to give me an IV.  We laugh, I get the water I need and head on down the road. 
Up to this point I have felt good, but as I pass through Old Fort, I start to feel a little funky.  I drink some water and eat some food hoping the feeling will pass.  I adjust my speed and my heartrate drops.  I work to bring it back up to my endurance zone and start feeling funky again.  I try several different things and then a bit of something I read or heard popped into my head.   Something happens when you are out there for that long.

Quite simply put, after x amount of exercise,  ones hear rate drops and more effort is needed to keep the heart rate in the target zone.  Not realizing that this was an important part of the ride, I have been ignoring RPE ( rate of Perceived Exertion ) in favor of maintaining my target heart rate.

At this point I was still 15 miles from home,  a little over 1 hr.  I felt like vomiting, it was cold, windy and storm clouds were building in the distance.  I wanted to pull the phone out and call Rhonda for a ride home.  I also wanted to let her know that I was alive, and how long it would take me to get home.  I decided not to do either, because I knew that if I did the latter, I would also do the former. 

With the light bulb now on in my head, my brain churned while figuring out what to do.  The result was less attention on Target HR and more attention to RPE. 

I started to feel better after that.  I put the bike in an easy gear and spun down the road.  I was actually starting to enjoy the ride again.  I was feeling good,  like I could have kept riding, although at the moment I had no desire to do so. 

I managed to get home before the rain/sleet started to fall.  5 hrs 45 minutes, 61 miles.  I am pumped now about going long again.  I feel like I found the missing link,  the key to my frustration.   I have read about it, and talked about listening to my body, but until  this ride, it just did not make sense.  !!!

Home, tired, ready to get cleaned up and go get some Okie Dokies BBQ with good friends.   I splurged and went for a half rack of ribs.  The juicy meat, seasoned to perfection, fell off the bones and melted in my mouth.  The baked, beans, hush puppies and fried pickles,  rounded out the day quite well!!

Have a great day.

Friday, March 12, 2010


I never believed in Karma....until last night.

After Kenda agreed to help help me out with some tires this year, I did a lot of research to figure out which ones to run.  Tubeless is a no brainer.  I got lots of good advice from lots of friends and made my choice.  If I didn't follow your advice, don't think I didn't chew on it for a long time.

Until now I have been riding a Maxxis Crossmark on the rear and a Bontrager Jones XR on the front.  While I have had success with these tires,  never had a flat or burped them,  I never felt really confident in the corners. 

Last night I got to try out the Karmas in the worst conditions.  I was on private property and mostly double track so I did not have to worry about trail conditions.  There was mud and grime, and wet nasty mountain bike grime. I was impressed with the climbing, not once did I spin out, and with the descending. 

During descents I felt more response and more control. I rolled over some fairly techy terrain and let loose a little bit.  The tires gripped the wet rocks well and I got to the bottom of the hill in fine shape. 

What I did experience last night was chain suck.  Boooo.  That is the worst I have ever had, and I felt like crying.  I'm not sure why it was worse this time, and I think I have experienced this one time before. But never like this.   Time to call the bike shop, any ideas?

Have a great day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

No Rain

With the 90% chance of rain yesterday, I was sure that I was going to get wet on the way home from work.  The rain ended up going south of us and we stayed dry.  After checking out the radar this morning, it looks like there will definitely be some rain today, but I think most of it will go around us.

Another movie coming to town: Veer

This is sponsored by the Asheville Mountain Sports Festival.  Make plans to come check it out.  May 6th, 9:30pm,  $3 per person.

Do something good for a neighbor or friend today!!

Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Ah yes.  I got a scheduled workout in last night and loved it.  I added some intensity in to some hill climbing and amazingly got up the hill faster.  It's nice and easy going in the easy and moderate training zones,  but the hard part is that it takes so long to get up a hill!!! 

The weather was warm and chilly at the same time.   The sky was overcast and there was a steady  headwind.  I ended up wearing knickers and arm warmers for most of the ride.  I really was longing to see the rays of the sun beating down on me, but those days will come, so I am not going to wish for it too much, just look forward to it. 

I actually saw other cyclist out today too.  Over the past 6 yrs I have seen the number of daily cyclists grow, and that is exciting to me.  With all of the health problems going around,  just a little bit of self control in what people eat, and a little bit of exercise,  there would be a lot less strain on the health system.   And you wouldn't even have to go wild with the exercise,  just 30-40 minutes per day.   Most Americans watch at least 5 times that much tv, while eating potato chips.    Try it....

Check out this blog entry , and next time you decide to complain, ( and complaining is a choice) think about Tendai, Mary and Maureen,  and ask yourself, " What have I done to make the world a better place?"

I have officially registered for the Cohutta 100.   I'm really excited about my goal of finishing and feeling good,  even if it takes longer than I think it should. I have learned so much about myself and what my body needs.  I'm convinced that my problems have in some way been attributed to nutrition and pacing.  I can't go all out for 100 miles.  I really can't go all out for more than 1.5 hrs,  probably even less than that.  So,  in my head,  I am stepping away from the race mentality and grasping at the tour/self challenge mentality.  I'll still give it everything I have and go for a personal best, but I won't be sacrificing my self to get it.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


So, I'm not sure what to write about this morning. So many cool things happening in my life right now.  There are crazy things happening too, but somehow the cool things are drowning out the crazy things. 

Like the $1500 we owe the government for a mistake we made on our 2008 tax return....oops.  Thankfully we are being provided with enough of  a tax return this year to pay for that.  We might not get to go on vacation again this year, which bums be out but not too bad.  I'm bummed but happy at the same time. 

We would have run out of firewood this year.  We started the winter with a full wood shed, but since the winter started in November.....and it's still going.  But a friend called me and asked if I needed wood.   Again, we have what we need.

We won't be doing any major house upgrades this year, which Rhonda was bummed about.  I helped her out by telling her that that means we have more time to play. That cheered her up.

Even as I sit here and write, I feel a little dumb because the things I am listing are rather silly.  I have food, I have a warm house, and a vehicle to get me around.  I have friends, I have family, and bicycles. 

There is a lot of stuff that I want,  but I want for nothing....

Just like the birds in the field have everything they need, I have everything I need.

Have a great day.

Monday, March 08, 2010


There are reasons for the things that I do.  99 % of the time, these reasons are cool, calm and calculated.  I know what I am going to do and why, well in advance.  If I go somewhere, if I do something, if I invite someone or go by myself, I have thought it through and made a decision. 

The decision is made based on many different factors.  Sometimes it is to help you reach your goals, sometimes to help me reach mine,  other times neither.  But each time, I have calculated and attempted to run through the scenario in my head.  I ask myself how the decision will affect those around me, those involved, those not involved, those who want to be involved, etc. 

I also consider who would benefit the most, who would appreciate the most, who would learn the most, who has the most need etc. 

Often times people disagree with me and get their feelings hurt.  They take my decision as an attack on them for not adhering to their advice, for not including them, for not keeping them updated on my progress. Then they are upset with me and refuse to understand why I do the things I do.

side note( that concept has always frustrated me.  When I hear of a friend doing something I want to do, but I did not get invited, sure, I feel a twinge of jealousy,  but most of what I feel is their excitement, their happiness, their success.  They stepped out and did something that they love to do.  Who cares who got invited and who didn't.  They had a success and I am happy for them.)

And then I hear about it.  Why didn't you call me, why didn't you tell me,  I didn't know you were going to do that, you should have told me I would have helped you, etc.  And then, at first I feel like I have to explain to the world what I do and why I do it.  After processing though, I realize that I don't have to do that.  It would be way different if we made plans and I stood you up ( which has happened to me,  and if you wonder, you know who you are, that's why I don't make plans with you.  I don't  like to be stood up.)  

I don't have to explain myself to you.  I can make my decisions based on where I am in life and what I am trying to accomplish, and I can feel good about my goals.  And instead of being jealous of where I am,  how about rejoice with me, and I will with you. 

Get excited with me about my goals,  I get excited with you about yours.  We don't have to have the same goals and aspirations to be excited.  It is not a competition to see who has the coolest goals.  We can help each other reach those goals. And sometimes the best way to help someone reach their goals, is to stand on the sidelines cheering them on (literally and  figuratively),  even if it is 100 degrees out and it does not make sense to you. 

Set your goals high, and go do something that will change this world for the better.  Whether that something is global, or local,  it is going to improve this place for your grandkids and theirs.  ( if you can't figure out what to do, send me an e-mail and I'll help you out).  Just stop getting tripped up on the little things.  Look past yourself, get out and do something positive!!

Have a great day.

Friday, March 05, 2010


The weekend is finally here signaling the end to my rest week.  With the kids going to school Saturday morning, it looks like I will get to go for a ride during that time. 

4 weeks until 6 hrs of Warriors Creek.  After last weekend's long ride, my confidence is back up. 

I have been toying with doing the Big Frog 65 again this year instead of the Cohutta 100, but after the 6 hrs on the bike and feeling good, I'm leaning back towards the 100 miler. 

April will be a big month.  6hrs of WC, the next weekend will be a fun road ride: Assault on the Carolinas,  a metric century,  and then 2 weeks after that, Cohutta. 

No real plans laid out for the weekend.  I've got a bit of a head cold, I'll see how I feel and that will dictate what happens!  Rest is good.

Have a great day.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


Last Friday I mentioned a contest that was going on.  I was hoping to recruit your help with winning the grand prize, but I didn't make the cut.   I'm only a little disappointed,  because I did make the top 50 and won an awesome prize.
I have never owned a pair of Sidis.
So when I saw the contest at Sidi America, I got creative.

The instructions were to write a less than 350 word essay on why I like my Sidi shoes so much. 

Here is what I wrote:
Ahh, Sidi. I have heard the name.  I have seen the shoes.  I have heard stories about the shoes.  About the history of the shoes.  About Dino Signori starting a small company, at the edge of the Alps, specializing in  mountaineering footwear.  About how the lure of cycling overcame and steered the company towards crafting quality cycling footwear. 

I have felt the shoes,  looked at them, tried them on.  But never actually owned a pair of my own.  I have dreamt about them, drooled over them and wondered, even realized that the fit, comfort and durable quality would make my feet happy while I ride over hill and dale. 

It's not only that they look good.  Their sleek lines, the beauty of the curves, the colors blending perfectly to bring aesthetic joy to the eye.  It is more about the quality and care that goes into each pair of shoes. As if each pair is being crafted to be hand delivered to a champion,  whether a world champion or a neighborhood champion.

Ahhh, SIDI.  What it would be like to own a pair of SIDI.

I was really excited,  as I sat in disbelief when I got the e-mail confirming that I had made the top 50.  The e-mail also requested that I send in my shoe size and the model that I wanted.

The top ten were posted on the web-site yesterday, and I didn't make the cut.  But I'm not really disappointed, because I never thought that I would get top 50.  In fact, after I sent in my essay, I forgot about the contest!!

Now I wait patiently by the mailbox for my shoes to arrive!!

Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


School was canceled again on Tuesday, due to the impending snow storm.  Let me rephrase, that all of the school districts except one were closed on Tuesday.  The one, North Buncombe county opened because they have missed more days than the rest of the districts.  Stay with me here.
The rationale for closing schools is so the kids will not have to travel in the alleged poor conditions to get to school.  So, they close school, but because one district had been closed more days than the other districts,  they open,  thereby risking the lives of all of the kids in that district,  just to get on an even playing field with the other districts.  That tells me that  the schools care more about the number of days attended than the kid's safety,  and  that it would have been possible for all of the districts to attend school and avoid going this saturday..........why? 

Let me propose that we don't close schools when we freak out about the snow.   Even if busses can't run, the majority of parents will get their kids to school.  After all,  they will get them to the mall when the schools are closed!!!

So, yesterday, Jubal's school was closed, but Rhonda's was on a 2 hr delay, until noon when they announced that school was closing at noon.....

Road conditions started to get concerning to my bosses in the Black Mountain area, so they sent us home.  Jubal and I got to spend some quality snow time together while Rhonda stay home and baked bread, cookies and made so delish split pea soup!!
We went sledding, but the snow was so fluffy and deep we had trouble going fast. 
We built a snowman with green hair.  The kids are studying Dr Seuss, Tuesday was crazy hair day.  Jubal had green hair, and so does his snowman.

I am loving the snow,  can't ride outside, but it has been a fun time. 

Have a great day!!

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010


I'm feeling quiet this morning.  Sleep last night was restless.  But, this morning, with the snow quietly falling outside, the fire blazing inside,  my wife and kid still snuggled in bed,  I am at peace....content. 

Content is different that happy.  Happy is more of an emotion that ebbs and flows.  Content is a state of being.  A person could be content in any circumstance,  from changing a tire on the interstate in the pouring rain, to sitting in a mountain cottage in a snowstorm, nestle by a raging fireplace. 

I'm content.

Sometimes, it is something that I have to work towards.  Other times I arrive there not knowing that it was my destination. 

Peacefully content.  I sit here typing away, thinking what the next step will be, but then I mentally fall  back into the easy chair, take a deep breathe, relax and enjoy the  moment.  I don't need to worry about when I'll get my next ride in, when I can work on the house, when I will spend valuable, irreplaceable time with my family.  I sit back and relax and enjoy the soothing quiet.

I don't need to worry about how I am going to afford the next race,  how I am going to pay for new parts to replace the ones I wore out long ago.

I don't even need to concern myself with what I am going to wear today.....actually, I rarely even consider this so it doesn't count towards this reflection.

The woodstove crackles, a car drives by outside....a bit too fast,  Jubal sneezes.  My coffee cup is definitely half empty.... it is the last of my coffee,  I need to order more.

I sit and relax.


Have a great day.

Monday, March 01, 2010


6hrs on the bike this weekend, approximately 50 miles.  The longest ride since November and feeling really good.  I felt great on Sunday too, telling me that my body recovered well. 

I left the house and rode out through Swannanoa, stopping by OJ's house to take him along.  We headed out through Black Mountain,  past Ridgecrest and finally up the switchbacks of Kitsuma.  The trail was frozen hard and at the top was snow/ice.  We started to drop down the other side of the ridge when another mtn bike was coming towards us.  He said the ice/snow got worse up the trail.  I decided that I didn't want to wrestle ice/snow all day so we turned around. Back on the pavement we took a right turn and headed down the mountain on the dirt road.  At the valley bottom, we hung a left, and headed into the woods up Lower Heartbreak. 

The ground was frozen here too, or else it would have been somewhat muddy.  Up lower Heartbreak to Star Gap which was dry and fast.   We took a left turn on Jarret's Creek rd, following the ORAMM route.  Towards the end we ran into some snow/ice/mud, and had to dismount and walk some sections.

Heading down the mountain into the valley we got on Curtis Creek rd and headed to Hwy 70 west.  We followed that through Old Fort, then got on the Point Lookout Trail and headed up.  I was still feeling good, and was very pleased.  At the top we backtracked and headed back through Black Mtn and ended up parting ways somewhere on old US 70.  

Just before 6 hrs  I called Rhonda to let her know where I was and how I was doing.  I was determined to make it home, but I had only planned on being out for 6 hrs.  There was a fierce, cold headwind blowing in my face.  Suddenly, I was tired.  I think mentally and physically I was done.  I knew that on a good day, the ride from Swannanoa  to my house would take 30 minutes.  At this point it could take an hour.  I didn't have it, or didn't want it, not sure which, but within 5 minutes of the first phone call, I called in for a pick-up!
 Tired but happy, I ate went to Subway and ate some food while I waited!!

Have a great day.