Lining up with all the fast locals at the race on Friday, I was excited to get going. It was hot and humid and the pace was going to be fast. With 5 miles of pavement then one steep climb before the single track, I knew that I needed to get in with a fast group and draft to conserve energy.
We took two laps around the Mellowdrome. I had flashbacks of when I raced fixed gear out there a couple of years ago. The pace was already high, higher than I would have liked, but I i was feeling ok so far.
As we took the right turn out of the track and onto the greenway, the experts laid the hammer down and were gone. I was left in no mans land with a couple of other guys so I tucked in. After a couple of miles we were caught by a group of about 5. I pulled some and drafted some. Patrick Mcmahon was in the group. As we turned left and up the hill, I needed to recover. But a steep hill is a bad place to recover, so I just put it in an easy gear and kept it steady. My HR was well above target range for an endurance race, but this race was going to last less than 2 hrs.
My only concern was that I had forgotten my Camelbak at the office. It is in the freezer, probably frozen solid by now. I had called Rhonda and asked her to bring an extra bottle of nuun and a bottle of water. I think that I have figured out how much plain water vs sports drink I need to be drinking. I was carrying 1 bottle of water and 2 bottles of nuun. I was going to be a little short on water.
As I topped out on the steep hill and coasted down into the park, I noted that I was not sweating and realized that I should slow down. Interestingly enough, as soon as my HR dropped to 154 I started sweating.
The single track was some of the most fun trail that I have ridden in a long time. Tight and twisty yet lots of flow. We were doing 3 laps on the 3 mile course. It took the majority of the first lap to get the feel of the trail and relax.
Starting the second lap, the looming thunderstorm let loose. Several lightning bolts hit within 20-30 feet and I was thankful for the huge drops of rain that started falling. By the end of the 2nd lap, it was dumping on us and my temp was regulated. If the heat had continued I would have been limping home. But the drenching rain, even though it turned the trails to mud, was good for me.
Halfway through the 3rd lap, I caught D-Dub!! He was riding a single speed cross bike and moving along pretty well. I got passed him and managed to stay ahead for a little while. Coming out of the single track, I downed a Honey Stinger: Ginsting and back onto the pavement he caught me. He is a really nice guy with a really nice family. He is also as strong and fast as a gazelle. I figured he would drop me when the pavement flattened out. To my surprise and to which I was very grateful, at the bottom of the hill he turned and said "hop on". So, I tucked in and we took off. Rolling around 21-22 mph was a blast. I was at my limit and I needed water. I conserved and drafted. The rain had stopped and I was heating up again. Another rider was about 1/2 mile back and slowly reeling us in. I pulled around to take a pull. I was feeling strong but knew that I could not keep the pace. So, I kept the pace......
I don't know how long it took to get to the right turn on Amboy rd, but we were moving really well. It is such a great feeling to work with someone and share the load, helping each other succeed and reach goals.
In the last mile, the dude caught us. We rolled together until we hit the greenway. D-Dub got the jump and pulled away. I stood up and tried to catch on to no avail. The dude rode around me and caught him. I tried again to catch up but now they were battling out in a sprint finish. I looked over my shoulder to see if there was anyone back there. There was not, so I kept it steady.
The finish line came up quickly with the wife and kid cheering me on.
It was a great race and I have no idea where I placed. As curious as I am to know, it doesn't really matter to me as much as it did in the past. I raced the best race that I could have, with the exception of not having enough water. I did everything else right, pushed myself to the limit.
The Siren 55 SL was amazing on the tight twisty trail. The bike definitely helps me go faster in the woods. It is so stable in the corners and climbed the muddy steep bits while other were walking.
Thanks to Siren Bicycles, Okie Dokies Smokehouse, Liberty Bikes, Kenda, nuun, Honey Stinger, Kinetic Koffee, the wife and kid and all of the others who show up and encourage me to race my bike!!
I've started writing my thoughts 3 times this morning, and nothing seems to be flowing right.
I have the opportunity to gossip everyday. Several times a day. In the office, at home, on Facebook.... it's wrong. It doesn't help anyone. It does way more harm than good, and I don't know that it has ever done any good.
If you have issues with someone, go to that person and work it out.
Do everything you can do to keep the peace.
Simple principles really.
It's different is you are struggling with what someone is doing and you need advice on how to love and support that person. Then definitely go to a trusted friend and share your struggle. But that struggle is about you, not your problem with someone's lifestyle. And the advice session should focus on you. Because in all likelihood, you are being prideful and judgmental.
Oh, but you don't understand..... oh but I do. I am prideful and judgmental. I know how easy it is to make myself feel better, by gathering friends around and ganging up on someone. It makes me feel good to have a majority who agrees with me. A group of like minded people who will willingly cast the first stone. That feels really good.
But its wrong.
So, don't do it. Don't throw the first stone. Take the 2x4 out of your own eye, before you take the speck out of someone else's eye.
My road wheels are being rebuilt by a friend. My 5 yr old rims were pretty dished out and I was concerned about rim failure leading to a face to pavement at 35 mph incident. That would not be fun. I was pricing wheelsets, and when my friend, who loves to build wheels, offered to take care of the build, I jumped at the opp!!!
So, I'm riding the Siren to work. It is just as comfortable on the road as it is on the dirt. Mtn bikes I have had in the past, tended to get uncomfortable when I road them on pavement, in the same position for extended periods. Not this one.
It's always exciting to get unexpected items in the mail. Even more so when the item is white and it matches my bike!!! Check out Kinetic Koffee. I'm drinking some limited edition Guatemala Santa Isabel right now. Kinetic is some of the best coffee I have ever tasted. Well balance roast, no ashy aftertaste. Mark loves what he does and it shows in the coffee. And he donates a portion of proceeds.
Well, I signed up for a race. I was feeling a little off kilter, not having any races going on. So, it worked out for me to sign up for this one. It's gonna be a blast!!
Tuesdays at Bent Creek are less crowded that Thursdays. Being so used to seeing people on the trail, it was a bit eery when I rode for an extended period of time without seeing anyone out there.
The trails were damp with some small mud holes, the air was cool and the foliage a dark shade of green.
I headed up to ride my normal "outer loop". I was feeling tired but for some reason I was also feeling strong. Strong for me, anyway. I 'm able to push bigger gears for longer periods of time. It takes several weeks to start feeling this good and when it finally happens, it is so worth it.
When any goal is reached it becomes very apparent that the sweat and the toil was worth it. You have to hang in there, to stick with it. Even when its 44 degrees and raining and you have 30 miles to go. The end, the personal victory is totally worth it.
Winding my way around the forest, I didn't think about much. I have dealt with a lot in the past 3 years, worked through it and am at a point where I know there will be more issues to resolve, but for today, I'm feeling good. Feeling strong, like I can and will go on. There will be challenges in the future, large and small, but with a renewed sense of purpose, and some new goals in life, it will be enjoyable. Because the goal is so worth it!!
It was a weekend that would be difficult to put into words. A time of rest and relaxation before the summer season at camp begins. We scraped together our money and headed down to the beach. It has been two years since we went down, and I hope it will be less to the next visit.
We arrived on Friday and got camp set up before heading down to the beach to check it out.
We were pleasantly surprised that the water was warm enough to swim in and not freeze. Jubal, to our delight, promptly started jumping the little waves rolling in and got soaked. Cool.
The next morning we hit Starbucks for breakfast and headed to the beach again. Being fair skinned, we cannot stay out in the blazing sun all day, so we planned a morning of it. There were small sets of 2-3 foot waves rolling in and no very many people were out. I plucked up the courage and walked out to where the waves were breaking over my head. As I was standing there talking to a surfer, a large fish jumped about 50 feet out. Another surfer commented that it was a Black Tip Shark. He said that they wouldn't bother me and that they were seen often. As I made my way back in to shallow water, I told him that we don't have sharks in the mountains. He laughed.
Saturday afternoon, we spent at the Aquarium. Snakes, penguins, alligators, fish, birds and people.
Saturday night, we stopped and bought some fresh Grouper, which we took back to the campsite. I fried it like I used to fry fish when I lived in the Caribbean. Salt, Pepper, and butter. Simple and delicious!!
Sunday morning we headed back to the beach after packing up our camping equipment. As we crossed the dunes on the boardwalk, we saw dolphins slowly swimming out in the distance. The wind was calm and there were still some good waves rolling in . I was standing in chest deep water, watching the surfers and dolphins and enjoying the power of the ocean crashing into me.
I noticed that the water in front of me was swirling a little bit differently than the rest of the ocean. Hmmm. Then about 5 feet in front of me, I saw a long fish dart away to my right. I kept watching, subduing the panicked feeling that was mounting, my gut telling me that there was a shark. Suddenly, about 15 feet away, the dorsal fin surfaced. The 5 foot Black Tip was slowly making its way through the surf looking for tasty fish. We watched it for about 15 minutes before it moved further down the shore.
It's gonna be hard to get up and get back to work. Summer camp training starts today and it's going to be 12 weeks of controlled chaos. It is summer camp!!
My friend and fellow Mtn Biker is hosting a World Bicycle Relief fundraiser:
My business Affordable Bedding @ http://www.GoToAffordableBedding.com/ will be sponsoring a four man mountain bike team I will be racing in. During the race we will be raffling off a brand new $600.00 queen mattress set. All the proceeds will be given to World Bicycle Relief.
People in underdeveloped regions of the world are suffering every day due to lack of access to health care, education and economic development opportunities. Bicycles are simple, sustainable and appropriate technology to support people in developing nations and disaster recovery.
Make a donation here:
If you want to donate $10 for a raffle ticket call me at Affordable Bedding 828-254-5555 and I will make sure your name is entered in the raffle for your chance to win a brand new queen mattress set. I will call you if you win.
Below is a link to the race if you can make it.
We got together with few family members to pool our money together so that we could get Jubal a new bike for his birthday. He has been riding a little bike for two years now and he had out grown it. He was really off balance, and while he handled it well, it was holding him back.
Jubal and I went to Liberty Bikes to test ride it a couple of weeks ago. Anytime we go to Liberty, he always tries out the kids bikes set up on the stationary racks. That day though, we took one of the bikes outside!! He looked so smooth and stable, not wobbly like on the little bike. I paid for the bike then and there, without him knowing.
I had to wait for 3 weeks to bring the bike home. It was hard. I was so excited. To be able to give this gift to him, so that he could progress, and we could spend that time together.
So the 19th finally rolled around. His birthday is the 20th, but we had to celebrate on the 19th due to conflicting plans. He mentioned that his birthday was the 20th and I told him we could wait if he wanted to. He didn't want to.
I got off work early (thanks to my cool bosses) and headed to Liberty to pick it up.
The smile says it all:
His reaction was great. It was like he was hallucinating. He couldn't believe that it was his.
So, we loaded up and headed to the loop out at Azalea park. The first part of the ride, he was so enthralled with the stability and the speed of the bigger wheels. The second part of the ride, he was more relaxed and started getting real chatty!! Good times.
By the end of the ride, he had slowed down. He mentioned that his legs were tired and that he was hungry.
We loaded up and headed to Texas Roadhouse, his choice for his birthday dinner. We had never taken him there before, but he had a coupon for a free kids meal. He picked the Kraft Mac and Cheese with steak fries covered in cheddar and bacon.
I headed out to Bent Creek for some mountain bike action last night. The air was humid and the trails were dry. In an effort to be social, I hooked up with Gordy, Than, Stephen, Steve and another guy. It was a fun, laid back group. A little too laid back for what I had on my training plan though. I rode with them for about and hour and the parted ways.
I was feeling good and could tell that I was getting stronger. I was climbing faster with a lower RPE (rate of perceived exertion). I was sweating, maintaining my core heat, and basically enjoying the ride.
The foliage is thickening and turning a darker green. The sky was bright blue with giant puffs of white clouds. The humidity was high, but the air was cool. I have learned that even though the air is cool, with high humidity, I can still overheat.
I made my way up to Bent Creek Gap then turned around and came back down to Sidehill. Sidehill is a fun trail that winds back and forth around the contours of the mountain. With a couple of stream crossings, and some good views of the forest falling away below.
At the bottom of Sidehill, I headed up the gravel road to Hickory Top. I took this trail to Five Points and took a minute to decide if I had time to head up to Green's Lick. I decided not to tonight. As I headed down Ingles Field, I was feeling good. I let the Siren glide down the trail, aiming for rocks and roots instead of hitting the brakes to slow down and pick a smooth line around them.
Back at the parking lot and feeling good, I loaded up and headed home. 2.5 hrs on the dirt felt great.
The air was cooler than it has been, around 75 degrees, but just as muggy. As I spun down the driveway and onto the main road, there was blue sky, huge white clouds and even bigger gray clouds. The sun felt good on my skin and the wind on my face was refreshing. I had made it through Monday and was riding my bike. I was relishing the moment.
I looked forward to getting home and spending time with my family, but for now, I was on my bike. Just me, the open road, and my ride.
I was in a really good mood. After semi-celebrating out 12th anniversary over the weekend, and getting to see my younger brother and his wife, I was feeling a peace that I have not felt before. A peace that comes from the satisfaction of doing things right, not because it always feels good, or is comfortable, but because it is the right thing to do.
My brother and his wife are on a road trip. Moving from Chicago to LA. On the way, they are stopping in select towns to photograph and document a specific sub-culture. He is following a dream and I am proud of him for taking the risk, for going on this journey. I told them I was proud of them too. It takes guts to pack up everything you own and move across the country. You just don't do that unless you believe in your dream, and you don't stay put just because someone else does not believe in your dream. He is a great guy, and he is my brother.
As I road through a local park, I heard a stream that normally is not running, actually there has never been a stream there before. I tried to figure out where the rush of water was coming from. As I rounded the bend, I saw a wall of water falling out of the sky. I had just a few seconds to pull my wind vest on, so I would not get chilled. Then I was soaked. The rain drops were huge! I imagine that only a couple thousand feet higher they were balls of ice, and nearing the ground they had melted. If it had been hail it would have hurt.
1 mile later, the sun was out and I rode out of the rain. It felt like a symbolic washing, a reminder that my Creator is taking care of me, watching over me. Not like a guard watches a prisoner, but like a father watchers a child, to take care of him and gently guide him. It was a comforting moment.
It was hot and humid and the morning of blue sky was being displaced by the dark gray storm clouds moving in. After checking the weather map on the internet, I knew there was a chance of being caught out in the middle of the parkway in a thunderstorm.
Jubal was excited about the trip and so was I, so we were not going to give up without trying. We were planning a ride from our house to his friend's house for a birthday party. Once I finally got the trail a bike attached to my road bike, we set out.
We decided to ride to the top of the first hill, about 1.5 miles up the parkway and see what the storm was doing. All the way up, we were staring into the heart of what appeared to be a big thunderstorm and it looked like it was headed our way. At the top, he wanted to keep going so we did.
We soft pedaled down the hill, crossing the train tracks, Sweeten Creek Road and the Hendersonville rd. As we watched, the storm seemed to be stationary, for the moment. Passing this "point of no return" I knew that there were two more bridges we might find shelter under if we needed it. We kept riding.
I told Jubal that if it started raining, we could find shelter under a bridge. He said" Or we could keep riding"! Right on!
Up and over the last long hill, we crossed I-26 on the bridge. Jubal was pedaling in quiet amazement. He was thrilled to be going on a long ride with me, and that made me happy. Riding down the hill towards hwy 191, Jubal said" Daddy, I got cold but then I started pedaling to warm up". We started to see and feel some rain drops. The sky in front and to the left was dark gray with the storm. We could hear the occasional clap of thunder. The sky on the right was blue with white clouds. Such a contrast. We were thankful that at hwy 191, we were turning right.
Once we got on Brevard Rd, the storm started to follow us, so we just kept pedaling. Jubal asked how much farther. I replied, "20 minutes". He was getting tired but still having fun. As we turned onto our friend's road, we both felt the excitement of reaching our goal.
We got to the house early and didn't want to wake the family up, in case they were napping. We snuck into the garage, I changed clothes, the we went down to the lower portion of their property and hung out until party time. It was a great day and a great ride!!
This morning I woke up at 6am and got out to do another batch of tie dyes, adult female cut T-shirts. The air was heavy with humidity and the biting bugs were out in force. I braved the elements though and got the job done. Sometimes when one is working hard, it is easy to forget the reward. Other times, while keeping the long range goal in mind, one is surprised by an unexpected reward or something special. Today was one of those days. It was not hard for me to be out there tie dyeing early in the morning. The quiet of the morning, the birds singing, an occasional bug bite. Small cost compared to what the kids go through, the ones who will benefit from the sales of these shirts.
So, as I was bending over, taking for granted that I have running water, I looked down at some wild strawberry plants are growing around the hose.....and I smiled, how could I not smile?
Staring up at me with a huge smile was this little wild strawberry.
When they had to cut down this big Ash tree, I asked if anyone had claimed it or if I could take some for firewood. The pictures tell the answer:
Jubal came with me to hang out and supervise while Rhonda spent the evening on the town, celebrating the end of her first class that will lead into nursing school. I brought the camera hoping that Jubal would take some pictures. I asked him to take lots of them. He did and they are really creative. I was very impressed.
The creativity and the angles were all his idea, I was too busy sawing to give him any guidance. Being goal driven, I wanted to get the job done. He took about 25 pictures, and had fun doing it. This kid amazes me. He is reading at a 2nd grade level too. I look at him and wonder what he will be when he grows up. No telling at this point. Whatever it is, I'll be proud!!
Fulfillment in getting the woodshed stocked and seasoning, ready for winter time.
The Lake Eden Arts Festival was this weekend. The fun music festival comes 2 times each year, and transforms the Camp Rockmont property into a huge community of musicians, artists, and lots of other interesting folks. In the past we have made it a point to catch lots of bands, dragging the poor kid all over the place and boring him to tears. This year, I decided to chill and do fun kid stuff. It was so much more relaxing.
The instrument petting zoo:
A little bit of devil stick action:
Breakin' it down with Secret Agent 23 Skidoo:
And one of our favorites- The LEAF Parade:
And to top it off, Okie Dokies Smokhouse:
Another great weekend spent with the people who I love and would die for...
The Blackberries are blooming and a cold front moved in. It happens every year and the old timers call it the blackberry winter. We really should pay more attention to what is happening around us.
My work ride yesterday was cold on the way in and chilly on the way home. I got home just as the first rain drops started to hit the ground. I tried not to think too much about stuff, sometimes I get too introspective....over-introspective and that can be a bad thing. I start to think I know what other people might be thinking which is definitely a bad move.
The problem is that I don't know what other people are thinking. Actually, not really a problem, unless there is a problem and I don't know about it. I can assume everything is fine and go on through life, or I can assume that they have a problem with me and wonder what I should be doing differently. I err to the side of thinking that people have a problem with me and I probably tend to over correct to make sure I am doing things really well. Then if I over-achieve, how could they have a problem with me, or what I am doing.
I constantly put myself next to the self made ruler to make sure I am measuring up. This is good to an extent, but when taken too far, one can go crazy from trying to measure up to everyone's standards.
So, how does one find a balance? I suppose simply trying my best, and with the knowledge that I am going to screw up, keep moving forward. But, even then my focus is on screwing up. Should I blind myself to the fact that I will let people down and act like nothing is wrong?
I'm not exactly sure, but I'll keep chewing on it. There will always be a part of me that wants to measure up. That wants the approval of peers. Isn't that part of friendship? Isn't that part of what makes us want to spend time with certain people? We find acceptance and approval? Or is it that we find unconditional love?
After the long night on Wednesday, and getting medicine on Thursday for Jubal's ear infection, Friday turned into a chill, hang out around the house day. That was fine with me, because I was with my kid. Still, I have trouble sitting still, so we got creative and started to clean out the shed and build some shelves. Fortunately, Jubal did not want to go to the hardware store to get wood for the shelves, so we scrapped that plan.
Next, I dug out some webbing that I have kept since my boating days and stung it between two trees. I have wanted to set up a slack line for a long time, but we never had trees that were strong enough. Now we do, so here we are. Slack lining is supposed to be great for building core strength and balance. If I could simply stand on the line, I'll be happy.
After a few minutes I was tired so I hung up a hammock. That seems like a reasonable thing to do when one is tired. Some chill hammock time ensued, until I got restless, then I went back to the slack line, and repeated this vicious cycle, all in a chill manner.
Saturday rolled around, and I rolled out. The wife and kid chose to chill some more, and I went for a ride. After looking out my window at 7:30am on Sat, I was not sure I was going to ride. There were dark gray, stormy clouds blowing around. But by 8am, with the 20 plus mph winds blowing, they moved on. I was glad I was mtn biking. The wind was insane. Riding down the parkway, I repeatedly heard deadfall slamming into the forest floor.
This spring has been so vibrantly green. It is amazing. Below, is inside the NC Arboretum, at the bottom of Hard Times Rd. Next up is a 15 minutes climb up. I am finally starting to really feel consistent strength again. I'm starting to be able to keep a steady, more powerful pace up the long climbs without being totally blown up at the top. (of course, all I have to do is ride with someone else and realize that I am not really going that fast).
It was another great ride, that I didn't want to end. Down the parkway and around Bent Creek. It is not the most technical place in the world, but it is close and allows me to get in a longer ride, and still be home to be a good daddy and husband.
As I rolled down Hickory Top to Five Points, I was greeted by piles of logs and logging machinery. I'm not sure yet how I feel about this:
I didn't stay long, I didn't want to ruin a great ride by pondering something that I couldn't change right here, right now. I took off down Ingles Field (giving right of way to people climbing), hitting every wall ride I could find. My Siren 55 SL has given me confidence over the past year. It handles really well, so well in fact that I had to remind myself at one point today, that I really need to pay attention to the trail....
Today was the first long ride with my new Sidi's. I won them in an essay contest back in February. I didn't want to start using them before the Big Frog, so I pulled them out.
First Impressions: Out of the box, they look and feel really nice. I wanted white, didn't want black, so I went with blue. ( they offered blue or black). They look really cool. I put them on and felt that a ratchet, dial and velcro strap was a little bit overkill. But halfway through the ride, when one foot was slipping a little bit, I reached down and turned the dial one click, and the problem was solved. Hmm, maybe not overkill after all. The shoe is comfortable, and fits like a glove. It was cool today, so I'm waiting to see if they stay cool in the heat, that is a huge issue for me. And, as I was concerned about, I would not complain if I had a pair of road Sidi's!!!
Wednesday night, I got a total of about 2hrs of sleep. Not consecutive. I didn't want to miss the Thursday night ride at Liberty so I rode my bike in to work and rode to Liberty for the ride after work. Passing the short cut to my house, all I could think of was wanting to take a nap. I headed on to Liberty.
There were about 15 guys. We rolled up and the group stayed together for about 30 minutes. Then Sam went to the front and the pace picked up. I knew that I was not going to be able to hang by tried anyway, because you never know. Fortunately, the pace was a hair slower than last week and I was able to hang on for most of the ride.
A thunderstorm in the distance shadowed us for most of the ride, but it never came near us.
About 3/4 of the way into the ride, I got shelled. It was a longish hill with a moderate grade but I simply could not keep the pace. So, I backed off, ate a delicious Chocolate Honey Stinger gel, sipped some nuun, and maintained my pace knowing that the group would splinter and I would get in with a couple more guys who had gotten dropped. The only problem was that it never happened. The group stayed together and I watched them roll out of site, up and over a couple more hills....and then I was alone. I rode on, coming to a stop sign and didn't see anyone. Now what? I got dropped and left behind on the no rider left behind ride. My inner child wanted to sit on the side of the road and cry. My inner clown laughed uncontrollably!! In reality, I did circles for a minute until I flagged down a motorist and asked if they had seen a group of cyclists. She said they were just up the road.
This is what is looks like to get dropped
I headed up the road and got with the group. After a bit of joking and laughing at myself, we got going again. The combination of the gel and the slower pace helped me recover enough to go off the front with Kevin over the last group of grunt hills. That felt really good.
It was a good ride and I cannot wait until I will be able to hang with the group again. It has been a long time since I have done any riding at this intensity, and I know that it is going to make a difference. Plus while not during the hottest part of the day, the pace is causing me to push my temperature limits as well. I am most likely going to have to leave the camera at home from now on and use the space to carry a spare water bottle in my jersey pocket.
Register and log your miles here from April 1 through September 30. Your cumulative miles will be listed, with the person logging the most miles at the top of the list. This advocacy project will have several benefits! First, the participating organizations (Liberty Bicycles, Blue Ridge Bicycle Club and Asheville Bicycle Racing Club) will contribute a penny for each mile logged by their affiliated riders up to a cap decided by each organization. This money will go directly to RiverLink for the Hominy Creek Greenway Extension project, which is working to connect Carrier Park with the Buncombe County Sports Park in Candler. Trek Bicycles and Quality Bicycle Parts have also pledged financial support to this effort. Second, your hometown data will help prove to local transportation officials just how many people are riding bicycles in the area - the more the better even if your're unaffiliated! Click here to sign up.
I did my typical Bat Cave Loop after work last night. As I headed up highway 9, I was pushing the pace a little harder, just a little, than I have in previous weeks and I was feeling good. I typically peak about 1-2 weeks after an important race, so here I was, cruising up the climb to the Continental Divide, feeling unstoppable. And that is how I felt for the whole 45 mile ride.
It was hot and humid, there was a good breeze blowing and I was keeping the pedals spinning. It was one of those days that I arrived to intersections before I realized where I was. The sun was bright, and the tree filled with bright green leaves. I had mentally prepared for a couple of longer grunt climbs, I arrived at the top and the climb seemed easier.
Through Bat Cave, the Rocky Broad looked inviting. Pedaling up Hwy 74, a dog ran along the cliff above me to the right. Winding my way higher, the air cools a little bit. A quick stop at the now closed Mama Gertie's to fill my water bottles at the spigot outside. I continue climbing, I wonder what I'll eat for dinner, I get excited about getting home to see my family and push the pace a little more, only to slow down to a more manageable pace, so I can make it home.
I sip some nuun and chew on some Honey Stinger Chews. My energy level stays steady and I cruise over the top of the mountain. On the valley floor, headed towards Fairview, I turn left and cut through farmland on rolling hills. The smell of sourwood blossoms, freshly plowed dirt and young hay floats through the air.
Turning left on Cane Creek Rd, the right on Concord I start climbing again. Someone yells out their window at me, the cows look at me. I keep climbing. I have not been out here in a long time, but the turn on Merrils Cove rd is suddenly on my right. I turn and keep heading up. I have forgotten how long this road is, and how many false summits there are. I keep a steady pace, feeling good. I slowly wind my way up and over the ridge, and down the other side.
The shadows are long as I start the last mile long climb up the parkway. Pushing the pace a little more to the top, I smile and am thankful for a good ride and a safe warm place to go home to!!
Everyday I get up, I think of it as a chance to try it again. New experiences doing the same things means the opportunity to try it a little bit differently, to see if I might be able to improve just a little bit.
Yesterday's ride to work was pretty fun.
I woke up around 3 am to hear the pouring rain pounding on our metal roof. When I woke up again at 6am, it was still raining. I had every intention of getting up, but when I woke up at 6:20am, I realized I had overslept.
I got up and the rain was still falling. Checking out the weather map, it looked like it would clear up later. It is a lot easier to ride to work in the rain, knowing that the ride home would be clear. My concern was the low visibility due to the heavy downpour.
I asked Rhonda if I should ride. She said" Only if you want to get drenched". Well, who doesn't want to get drenched? That combined with the downpour letting up to a soft rain, helped me get on the bike and out the door.
Some of my co-workers think I am crazy. I told them it is fun to ride in the rain, they told me that they would never find out. Some of my other co-workers understand. My boss ran the Black Mtn Marathon in Feb, 2 others ran a 50 miler a couple of weeks ago, and another couple is running a 50k this weekend.
I ran the Run For Peace marathon in Charlotte a long time ago. My training was going great until 2 weeks out. I finished my long run, got showered and changed and realized that something was wrong. My ITB band hurt really bad. 2 weeks later I started the marathon on a clear cold morning, and finished 6.5 hrs later in the snow.
May and June are wide open for me right now. With Cowbell Challenge not happening, I'm trying to find something to ride/race. There are a couple of events happening, but my schedule conflicts. Maybe I'll just go do some long rides around here.
Whatever I do, I'm going to try to improve a little bit each time I do it....never give up.
Wow, I overslept this morning... oh well it felt good. Here is a summary of the weekend.
We now have adult and youth sized t-shirts in stock, washed and ready to go: $25 shipped in the USA. This batch turned out really colorful and bright. I can do custom colors, team colors etc, lemme know.
Saturday and Sunday Jubal and I did some lumberjacking. I can't wait till that kid can swing an axe, safely. We will make quick work of some trees. We went out into Pisgah to collect firewood out there. My chainsaw wouldn't start. I work on it for 30 minutes to no avail. I then took it to the dealer who sprayed some stuff in it, cranked it up and sent me on my way.
Sunday, with the wind howling, we went to the park to fly a kite... fun stuff.