Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So Much

So much to do, so little time.  So much that I wanna do, and so much that I was told I couldn't do, or it wouldn't be practical.  Practical for who?  You?  I'm not doing this for you.  And no it's not practical,  but what is practical?  Practical is based on presupposition, and each person seems to have his/her own presupposition.

So, I'm gonna follow my heart, my travelin' bone. Gonna pick up my wanderlust where I left off.  I'm gonna pack my bags and hit the highway. Let the wind blow through my hair, the sun burn my skin,  smell the fresh air.  I"m gonna get out of this city, and see some stuff. Maybe see the world. It's gonna be grand.

And then when I get to work, I'm gonna do my job.  I'll mingle around the water cooler and talk about the hardships of life.  I'll answer the phones and push the papers.  I'll explain things, encourage things, discourage things.   When quittin' time rolls around, I'll head back out into the great wide open.  I'll roll those wheels down the road.  I'll head south for a bit, then a little east,  and I'll be home again.  With the ones who love me, unconditionally,  who care about me and don't give up on me.  The ones who I live and work for.

And then tomorrow,  I'll get up and do it again.  And the next day, and on and on.  Until the weekend,  then it's the same, just no work.  Just fresh air and travelin' dreams,  all day long.

Have a great day.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Save The Trails...

It was a busy fun weekend.  I spent most of it outside.  The weather here has turned into awesomeness.  80's during the day, 60's at night, like a good radio station. 

Saturday, I rousted the family early for the Save The Trails Challenge.  It was a fun, laid back , event, and definitely challenging.  I opted for the 25 miler, since I had to be in Swannanoa for work by 3pm.   Since I don't get out to Dupont much, do to time constraints, I had no idea where I was most of the time.  So, I just got into a groove and rolled with it. 

A word of caution:   I had just crested a hill and decided to eat a gel.  I was still anaerobic, breathing fast, HR high.  Somehow, some of the gel trickled down my windpipe, and I started hyperventilating.  I stopped, and tried to relax, but couldn't catch my breathe,  about 10 seconds passed, which feels like 10 minute when you can't breathe,  and my body took over.  It was one of the weirdest feelings. All of a sudden, my body straightened up, my chest opened up and I involuntarily, inhaled deeply.  But with the constriction in my windpipe,  the resulting sound was the most horrible wheezing that I have ever heard.  After the deep inhalation, I was able to get a couple of sips of water and calm down.  Pretty scary.  Lesson learned though,  don't eat while breathing fast.

The in-laws were in town this weekend, and they actually made the effort to come hang out in the hay field and open air to see me finish.  It's rare for me to see family other than Rhonda and Jubal at my events.  That was pretty cool.  Family support regularly contributes to the success of endurance MTB racers.
Finishing in a little over 2.5 hrs, I got loaded up and headed home to lay on the couch and doze a bit, before heading out to earn a buck.

Sunday morning, a Mike ride was on tap.   I got up early again, and was dragging.  It took a while to get moving but I rolled out to meet him at REI by 8am.  We rode the Thrusday night Liberty Ride Loop, and wound up at Starbucks.  Fun ride, and great conversation. 

After bidding each other farewell, I headed home to spend the rest of the day with my wife and kid.  We hit Wendy's for some Frosty's, found a creek to sit in and built stone statues, found a pull off on the Parkway to hang out at, stuffed ourselves at Papas and Beer, then headed home for the night.  I was in bed by 7:30pm.  

Have a great day!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

You Become.....

....what you are focused on.

I realized that I have spent a lot of time lately focusing certain things.  Processing them like I do to try to figure them out.  This brain needs a break.  I am going to attempt to resolve the issues and move on, move out from under this cloud and continue to enjoy my life. 

Jubal put things in perspective on Sunday when I was calmly (on the outside) cleaning glass off of the truck seat.  He said"  Daddy, I have good news and bad news".  I forced myself to stop what I was doing.  After all, I would never experience this moment again.  I looked at him and asked " What is it?".  He said " The good news is, we saw a frog,  the bad news is, the window got busted".  

I smiled.   I looked at him and said" Jubal, I like hanging out with you, you make me laugh".  He said " I like hanging out with you,  you make me laugh and smile!!".  

We must be doing something right!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Out on a Limb

I've been chewing a lot on "The Christian Church" and "Church Membership" lately.  I'm not convinced that joining a local church is mandatory.

The Church is believers world wide.  At some point the meaning of the word church was shifted and used to name the building that Christians-( the church) meet in.   I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest that that was a distortion of what God wanted the church( Christians) to be.

For most of this article,  Christians and the church will be used synonymously.

One method of looking today's "church membership" is this.  Take away the modern organizational structure of the "social club" mentality.  The mentality where there is a lead pastor, a pastor of music, a pastor of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts,  and remove all of the totem pole, hierarchy, chosen ones to lead mentality and reduce it to a world wide group of people who share a common interest.

Now what do we have?  We have reduced all of the church ( Christians) to the same level playing field.  Now what is a pastor supposed to do?  Well,  the pastor can still preach,  go preach: at the park, by the river,  on the hillside.  If you are preaching truth, people will come.  No need for a big sound system, power point display, cool haircut, wanna look like the guy from Nooma.  Just preach, expecting nothing in return,  trusting God to work.  ( consider John the Baptist, eating locust and honey,  he definitely didn't fit in).

What does the elder do?  Well, he/she still is an elder, older than other Christians and he is still required to take them under his wing and guide them.

The Deacon: is still a servant and helps people.

So we have a group of people with common interests.  Some leaders, lots of followers, some with skills, others with other skills,  each created differently, each given a gift ( gift=skills,  something one has a knack for or is really good at).

Let's use mountain biking as a case study.  We have a world wide group of people with the same common interest.  An interest worth fighting  for, worth celebrating, worth heated debate, ie trail access, trail design etc.  And this group is divided up into clubs,  sometimes several clubs in each town.  And the club has a leader, has elders, deacons and other people with other skills.  So, the club comes together periocially and meets together and decides what needs to be done to promote/preserve  mtn biking in each specific area.  My local club, Pisgah Area Sorba meets every other month, to discuss these things.  ( the board meets too, I'm not sure how often).

Once it is decided, how the club can benefit the majority of the community, dates are set, to go out into the community and serve:  Stage Race, Save the Trails Challenge, trail work days,  meeting with the US Forest Service ( ie god,  sorry , couldn't resist).  The club meeting happens once every two months,  and then all this outside of the building, service oriented, thankless, digging in the dirt, standing in the snow servanthood ops happen daily.

The board also does not get paid.  They volunteer.  The organization (IMBA) is supported by the followers, because they feel that the cause is worthy of the expendature.

Let's compare that model to modern church.

There is a group of leader types who come together and want to make a difference in the world.  So they set a meeting time, ( usually Sunday mornings, which by the way is a great time to sleep in and then enjoy the day recouping in the outdoors) they invite people to come, the people come in, some chit chat, some small talk, but no time to really share common interest, because there is just not the time in this type of format.  Then everybody sings songs, has the mandatory shake your neighbors hand and tell them you love them,and sit for another 30 minutes to an hour listening to someone preach, while daydreaming about food.  Oh yeah,  and you are prompted to give your tithe ( which is also not a New Testament concept,  oops another can of worms).

Where was I?
So the people come into the same room, chat, listen, chat, go get some lunch.  And they call this unity.

What if,  hang onto your seats.  What if,  some leader types got together, figured out a way to make a difference in this community, decided on events ( for instance, helping maintain local public parks) and met there, got dirty serving the people.  And then, people start to talk,  they start to bond, they start to look each other in the eye, help each other reach a common goal.  Then the project is through for the day and everybody is hungry,  so they go get tacos and beer.  And the conversation continues, and the brainstorming on what project to do next.  After a while, the group grows.  It grows because good things are happeneing, and anyone can join in.  And not just Christians, but anyone is invited without stipulation or judgement. And then the group splits, and the effort  is able to cover more areas of the city,  serving.   With no emphasis on membership, on attending every time the doors are open.   Just showing up when and where you can, and giving a little bit.

And on top of that, the leader types don't get paid.  They work a job like everybody else.  That way they don't have to convince the people that they need to "Give back to God".  They don't need to worry about bringing the people in to support them.  They have a job and they are serving,  because it is something they want to do,  with no return expected.

Hmm,  a lot more appealing than sitting through another "church service".


Faster for me anyway.  I made it home in record time last night.  Even riding into a head wind, I was able to go faster than I have in the past!

The Pisgah Area Sorba: Save the Trail Challenge is this weekend.  I'm bummed because I won't have time to ride the Epic route this year.  The event was originally scheduled back in March, but with soggy weather moving in, they moved it to this weekend.   And with the opportunity to earn a little extra income to pay for nursing school and bike parts, well, that's life.

Have a great day!

Monday, August 23, 2010


Feeling blah this morning.  Trying to spin positive perspective on the day. 

The weekend was mostly good.  I stayed off the bike and spent as much time as I could with my family.  This week. 

Saturday rained most of the day.  We took it easy and played Monopoly.  The kid loved it.  For 2 hrs we rolled the dice and purchased property.  Then is was Shindig on the Green.

Sunday, we decided to  go on an adventure.  Go somewhere new, explore something different.  Down Hwy 9 there are a couple of gravel pull-offs.   Once while riding my bike out that way, I stopped and asked about the trails and got some good info.  About a 20 minute hike down to the river and another 15 minutes to some waterfalls.  Sounded perfect.

We parked and the owner of the land pulled up and gave us some details, told us to have fun.  He seemed nice.  We hiked down, into the lush green forest.  Down to the river, then upstream to the falls, stopping for a snack of PB&J and beef jerky. 

We got to a little hole above some falls and home made rock throwing games ensued. We found a frog and some snails.   We breathed deeply the fresh air.  We soaked in the sunshine and forgot about everything else happening.  At some point we decided we should start heading back.  We wanted to pull out Monopoly again, if there was time. 

Backtracking, we headed back up the trail.  As we got close to the truck I heard voices and what sounded like car doors slamming.   When we got to the truck, there was no one in sight.  I got a funny feeling in my gut and walked cautiously to the drivers side.   Looking through the window to the passenger side, I discovered the shattered window.   I opened the driver's side door to see what was missing.  The only thing they took is a wool army surplus button down jacket, that was super warm and great for cutting wood.......well, that and a little more of my sanity. 

I called the Sherrif's dept to file the report, which we did over the phone.  I was told that the only officer available was about 1 hr away. 

So, on to Monday.  I'd like to proclaim this week an International Drama Free week.  Please, leave me alone.  If you have a grudge, a bone to pick, if you wanna be a jerkface, or just think the world belongs to you,  please leave me alone.   Don't steal from me, don't disrespect me, don't be an idiot,  just take a deep breathe and relax.   I vow to do the same.

Have a great day.

Friday, August 20, 2010


The Thursday night ride turned out to be a little more intense last night than previous nights.  The speeds were high and people were being shelled all over the place.  And that is normal.  But when folks start applying race tactics and purposely closing in on my line to take the wheel in front of me,  then I am done.  I'm not interested in playing that game.

I am all for training rides that mimic racing.  If you race on the road, you have to practice and that's great. 

But, to this point, the Liberty Bikes Road Ride has not been designed to do that.  It is billed as a fast paced, no one left behind ride. 

I'm all for going fast, I'm not opposed to getting dropped, it happens all the time. 

So, I guess the thing that is bugging me, is this:

Is it proper etiquette to come to a ride, and ride in such a way that you change the dynamics of what the ride has been since it was started?

There are so many riders/racers in the area, and so many rides/races to choose from, why is it necessary to come to another ride and instead of joining in and contributing to a smooth ride?

Again, I am all for race tactics,  they have their place, but the Thursday night ride is not one of them. What's next?  Head butts?

That said, if this is the direction that the ride is going, then it's usefulness for me has run out, and I will gladly "move over so someone else can have my line and the wheel in front of me".

No hard feelings, just disappointed to lose something that has meant so much to me this season.

Have a great day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oh yeah.

Another day with not much time. 

Think about someone you can help today, then get out there and do it.

Have a great day!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

ORAMM re-do.

I couldn't take it.  I couldn't stand to have another DNF by my name and do nothing about it.  The day after ORAMM this year, I formulated a plan.  I decided that I was going to do the route again, in August, to prove to myself that I could still complete this course.  I had the hunger and the drive to finish it,  which is good because it turned out to be  a huge mental game. 

I dropped Jubal off for his first day of school and headed out to Old Fort.  The sky was overcast and the air was muggy.  I got changed and headed out at 8:24am.  I wanted to start as close to the official start time as I could.  But things happen, so here I was, rolling out.  It was odd, going through all the motions with 399 less people riding with me. 

As I headed up the greenway, I was excited and feeling good.  Back and forth up the switchbacks, assuming a mellow, finishing pace, I was already drenched in sweat.  To compensate for not having aid stations to refill at, I had brought along my 70oz waterpack.  It was heavier and hotter.  It also turned out that it was throwing me off balance on the downhills.  I felt like what little techy skill I had was gone.  Frustrated and somewhat demoralized after 3 near major crashes, I popped out into the Old Fort picnic area. 

Out onto the pavement towards Graphite, I refueled with a chocolate Honey Stinger bar.  It was going to be a long day, but I tried not to think about that.  I thought about other stuff,  lots of other stuff.  The why's and what's of life.  Grinding away at the pedals and grinding away at the thoughts. 

Through Graphite and up onto Lower Heartbreak.  Riding the things I have walked and walking when I had to, I pushed on.  My body felt good but my mind was fighting me.  I stopped before heading down Star Gap, which is a really fun hidden gem of flowing singletrack and well built switchbacks.  I let a little air out of the front tire, hoping to compensate for my lack of skill.  It seemed that it wasn't working, then I realized at the bottom that my fork was locked out. 

Jarret's Creek rd went by without any issues.  Taking care around the long slippery corners, that puddles were full and frogs were swimming around in them. 

I stopped at Curtis Creek and sat down to have a sandwich, and text Rhonda to let her know my status: "Rest Stop 2, feeling good".  I kind of lied, because I didn't feel that good.  I was hot and drenched in sweat and feeling that fatigue from effort in the heat.   I had been riding for 3.5 hrs.

Taking a left onto Curtis Creek rd, I used up the last of my water.  110oz of fluids in 3.5 was just enough to get by.  I usually drink 24 oz of my secret performance drink containing NUUN, but due to not having access to water stations, I was going to have to go with about 1 bottle less.  This would begin to affect my calorie intake later.

 When I got to the spring, I stopped and filled up,  splashing some of the cool, clear water on my face and arms.  Even here, in the shade, deep in the valley, the air was thick with humidity.   The sun came out just as I started to climb again. 

As usual, the CC climb went on and on.  I focused on staying smooth and spinning an easy gear.  4-5 mph to the top, across the parkway and down the other side.  It was not very cool at the top.  Cruising past Black Mountain Campground, I started to have doubts about finishing.  The mental game kicked up a notch and I had to be very careful not to give in.  I made a goal of getting to the second bridge, where I eventually sat down for a little bit longer break.  I ate the other half of my sandwich and drank fluids. 

The last mile or so up to the parkway is long.  I could hear cars passing on the parkway, but the road meanders below before finally joining it.  I stopped again where the PAS rest stop used to be.  I longed for a Coke, like the one that Gordy had handed me last time.  Gordy, who volunteered his time with a broken colar bone.  We had made an agreement.  I would finish ORAMM, and he would follow Dr's orders to stay off the bike until he was OK'd.  I was determined to keep my end of the bargain.

As I headed south on the pkwy,  the nauseousness started to creep in.  Just like last time, same place, same feeling.  For some reason, I pulled the Fritos Corn Chips out of my pack and nibbled on them.  I forced myself to chew them and washed them down with water.  Amazingly, after about 15 minutes, I started to feel better. 

At the top of Heartbreak, I pulled the phone out to call Rhonda.  She was on here way to pick the kid up from school.  I asked her to bring my smaller camelbak for the second round of Kitsuma. 

The ride down Kitsuma was not great.  I was hot and not cooling off, but the corn chips had done something and I was invigorated,  I cruised down the mountain, determined that I was going to finish.  I pulled into Graphite right and the wife and kid did, made the switch and hit the road again.  Climbing like a snail up Mill Creek,  it went by way faster after having climbed Curtis Creek Rd.  

I walked most of the uphills on the Kitsuma trail.  It was hot and I was overheated.  Interestingly, the nauseousness came back, but after munching on some more Fritos, I felt better.  I'm going to add Fritos to my race diet.  I'm not sure if it is the calories, sodium or both, but they worked. 

I finally got to the last downhill bit, taking it easy because everything was slimy.  I popped out into Old Fort Picnic Area, surprising a 60 plus yr old couple that should have gotten a room,  and out onto old Hwy 70.  

The 3 mile grind back to town was a victory for me.  It has been a long time since I have ridden this stretch of road.  Too long.  It felt great riding back into town.  I was there, all alone.  No banner, no music, no beer.  Just me, my wife and kid...and the lady at the museum.  And I was ok with that.  This is why I ride.  Not to be recognized by the world,  not to see where I placed, or who I beat.  I ride to finish. 

And that is what I did. 8hrs 25 minutes: 64 miles!!  Done!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I finally got around to putting a fresh look on the blog.  I hope you like it. 

I don't have time to write anything of substance today, I'm taking a day off to work huge project.  Hopefully, I'll complete it today and have a good story for you tomorrow. 

Have a great day!

Monday, August 16, 2010


We headed up higher in the mountains to pick blueberries: 
Cobbler, Jam, cereal toppings, smoothies.....etc:

Little berry,  large wallop of antioxidants:

After picking, we went for a hike:
Jubal got uber excited about hikng a backpacking:

Hiking up Black Balsam with Sam Knob on the right, little Sam Knob on the left:

Jubal said we could backpack in, camp, hike the next day, camp and then go back home:

Walking back up the pavement to get the van:

Blue Ridge Parkway traffic:

Sleeping good after a day of fresh air:
 I did not take my family for granted today!!
Have a great day.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Wednesday night I went over to Liberty Bikes to buy a new chain for my road bike.  Mine, unfortunately  was beyond worn out and I had waited longer than I should have to change it.  I rode to work and realized that only the three inner rings on the cassette were jumping. 

Thursday morning I set out to ride to work, looking forward to the Thursday night group ride.  As I pulled out of my driveway, I could feel and hear a disgusting grinding in the drivetrain.  And then as I rode up the hill, the chain jumped.  I realized that I might not be able
After work, I headed towards Liberty with hopes to be able to make the ride, despite my drivetrain's ailment.  I figured that if things were not working out, I would just limp home. 

I pulled into the shop with 10 minutes to spare before the ride started.  I mentioned to Tyler what was going on and he said they could get the cassette switched out before the ride started.   I excitedly told him to go for it.  He and another mechanic jumped to the task while Than ( who had gone above and beyond the day before) stepped up to take my money.  Amazingly, they had me out the door and ready to roll, just before the ride rolled out.  You guys rock!!

The ride was fun, strung out, fast and hot.  Sam always complains that he does not feel good and then proceeds to hammer.  I'm gonna try that next time.

As I waved goodbye and headed up the Parkway, my thoughts turned to earlier in the day.

I had prayed for the courage to confront my fear, and that is what I did (thanks to friends who prayed for me).  I looked it in the eye and with butterflies in my stomach, shaky voice and a small boost of confidence, I did what I felt was right.   The funny thing is that it was fairly anticlimactic.  There was no sudden ridicule, no put downs.  There was definitely  acknowledgment as to how what I was presenting, which was good to hear, further confirming that I'm not crazy and I should not feel like some issues are my fault.  It was more of a calming experience than anything.  It was one step in the process that continues, but it was  a meaningful step for me.

One step at a time, one day at a time.  Working through the baggage built up over the years, and looking forward to a bright, exciting future!

Have a great day.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fight or Flight

I'm way better at the flight aspect.  I have been laying awake at night over processing something I am going through right now.  Last night I woke up at 3:30am, and didn't drift off until 5:30ish.  But the thought of confronting the issue scares the crap out of me. 

I started thinking about why that is.

I have learned to start at the beginning, so that is what I did.  I traced my lifeline back to the beginnings, when I was a kid who had ideas and dreams.  Who had a wild and free imagination and wanted to do great things. I pondered things that I was taught, and how I was treated, and the reactions I got from family and friends as I was growing up. 

What I came up with is a list:
  • Rejected
  • Put Down 
  • Ridiculed
  • Ignored
  • Told what I did was not good enough
  • Hold my tongue, that I didn't know what I was talking about
  • It's not worth fighting for (translated, your feelings are not worth it)
  • etc. it's quite a long list
I feel like I should be able to walk up to the person and say something like" Hey,  I know that you are doing the best that you can,  but I want you to know that this process has left me feeling blindsided, and feeling like my needs are unimportant".  

Instead, I come up with all kinds of excuses why I, if I do that, I will be rejected, put down, ridiculed, told that I don't understand the process, etc.

My fear, in fact, is so great that it is equivalent to another fear that I am struggling to come to grips with: fear of the dark.  It's that panicked feeling that leaves one almost paralyzed with irrational fears.

So, what am I gonna do?  Don't know.  It is starting to get light outside, the darkness is fading,  there is always hope. 

Have a great day.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


This is how I am feeling this week, like a big green turdish looking caterpillar.  Most of the time I can put a positive spin on things and get through.

Lots of little stressors adding up this week to drain my energy.  The heat is killer too.

I only rode 1.5 hrs yesterday,  I called it quits 30 minutes into the ride and the rode another hour.  The energy sapping stress, combined with the heat.......it wasn't good.

On the way home I stopped and bought ice cream to take home for the kid who really impressed me earlier in the day.  And I told him as much.  He rocks!!

Tell someone you love, that are proud of them today!!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Same 'Ol

Things are a bit boring around here lately, but sometimes boring is good. 

Get Registered: click here.
Have a great day!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Good Weekend

I got in another great ride this weekend.  In between playing shooting each other with dart guns, running around the yard, eating Papa's and Beer, wandering aimlessly around Lame Depot...I mean Fun Depot.

Sat evening I headed out into the woods again,  basically the same loop as last weekend.  I rode down the parkway, through Bent Creek, up and over the Gap, to the bottom of Trace Ridge, up Trace to Spencer.  Then back up and over to BC.  Taking a left turn on Sidehill, to Campground connector, re-filled my Camelbak at the Campground, then headed on back up Hardtimes, up the Parkway then home.

50 miles, 4.5 hrs, a mix of pavement, double and single track.  I got home tired and hungry.  I ate some pizza and relaxed.  Now it's back to work for another week, then hopefully do it again.

Have a great day!!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Under The Bridge

The weather was sketchy again as I left work.  I was looking forward to the Liberty Road Ride.  I headed up the road and this time I was facing the menacing dark gray mass of cloud and rain.  At this point there was not lightning, so I rode right into it.  The rain started about 1 mile away from the Parkway and it was heavy.

I kept riding hoping to get to the parkway, then turn south and skirt the storm.  It didn't quite happen that way.  The rain did let up a little bit, but then the clouds wrapped around and lightning started hitting the surrounding ridges.   2 miles from Liberty and 1 mile from home, a couple of bolts hit pretty close.  The kind of close where you can feel the light when the lightning hits.  Then the thunder is only a split second behind.  

I scrambled down under the parkway bridge at hwy 74, hoping that I was not going to stumble into a hobo party. It was dry and dusty, and vacant.  I waited as the lightning moved a couple of ridges over.  It was a couple minutes before 6pm, and I knew I would not make it in time for the ride.  

I headed home, and was cresting the last ridge, 4 houses up from my house.  I looked over to the east, at the huge storm,  when 5 bolts of lightning ripped through the darkened sky,  simultaneously hitting the ridge about 1 mile away.  

Group ride another day.

Have a great day.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


A huge thunderstorm rolled in around 4:15 yesterday.   I figured it would be gone in 45 minutes, when it was quittin' time.  I was wrong.  The cell settled on the ridgeline above camp.  I watched the weather radar for 30 minutes, looking for movement and hoping it would move away.  It never did. 

As my co-workers fiddled with plastic garbage bags, trying to figure out how to stay dry while walking to their cars, I was glued to the radar.   Finally the thunder let up for a moment, and seeing that the yellow zone on the radar, extended only to the end of the driveway, and the rain stopped in Swannanoa,  I headed out the door into the deluge. 

Without warm up, I time trialed down the road, soaking wet and listening to the thunder claps cause by lighting high up on the ridge.  As I rode away from the storm, the sun peered around the clouds and the road was less wet. 

After I was in the clear, I turned to see a mass of dark gray clouds obscuring the view of the mountains.  I could hear the rumble of thunder even after getting home.  

Have a great day.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Truth.....

....shall set you free.

Warning: religious rant will follow.

So, coming from a Christian home and being raised to go to church Sundays and tithe 10% of my income, to give to the church, has been quite an interesting journey for me. 

I have been struggling for a while with the concept of a pastor getting paid to preach.  It appears that theologians have taken something that is supposed to be free, and supposed to free and put a price on it.  I have never understood that.  And then when I attend a church, am compelled to give 10% because that is what I have been taught, then have to get a second job to pay the bills while the pastor lays out by his swimming pool and drives a fancy pickup truck.

It seems like if a pastor really wanted to reach people, he/she would get a job in the real world, and be in the midst of the people he/she was trying to reach, thereby earning a paycheck, and not burdening the congregation with financial needs.   Just think what their $40,000 per year salary could do in the community. 

From what I understand though, getting paid to preach is the same as getting paid for services rendered. 

From that struggle and discussions with a friend who is an actual pastor, came a comment on tithing ( giving 10% of your income to the church).  He mentioned that tithing is not in the New Testament.  I was interested and did some research and found that he is correct. 

Surprisingly enough, pastors use this Old Testament command to remind people to give to the church (so they can get paid), and they use it often. 

But, if I am going to call myself a Christian (which I don't really go around calling myself my descriptive names) but if I were, I am no longer required to give any percentage of my income.  I am not required to attend church (social club) every Sunday, and I am no longer required to live by Old Testament standards.


There are still guidelines, intended to keep me healthy, and to keep society rolling along in a healthy manner, but the piddly rules that are listed in the OT, are no longer in effect (there are a lot of wise recommendations that should not be disregarded.  I can drink wine (in moderation), eat pork (in moderation), give all of my money/ time or some of my money/time (in moderation).  As long as I am loving my neighbor( everybody in the world),  and taking care of my family's needs.  

It really is pretty simple if you take out all of the rules and stipulations. 

Just some stuff to chew on.

Have a great day!

Monday, August 02, 2010


I rolled out of the house and up the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was 4pm and I was headed out for a long ride.  I was hoping to get at least 3 hours in, more if possible.  It is difficult to stay motivated to ride all day, instead of heading out first thing in the morning.  But, I if I wanna ride, this is my time slot.  After doing Yoga earlier and chasing the kid around the park later, I was also not sure that I would be up for a long ride.  

As it turns out it was fine.  My body felt good and I was able to leave the sluggishness behind,  trading it for a refreshing fall like ride in the middle of the summer. 

I met with Nolan and Chris at the gates of the Arboretum, and we headed up Hardtimes rd to South Ridge Rd.   We took an easy pace until the first downhill, where I glared at Nolan, scared him and took off,  leaving both of them in my dust.....

Up, over and around the contours of the road that I have ridden countless times in the past 4 yrs.  Thankful to have some gravel to grind when BC gets muddy.   We took a left on Bent Creek Gap Rd and headed up.  As we climbed it got cooler and the clouds turned to a fine mist, enshrouding the mountain tops. At Bent Creek Gap, Nolan turned around and Chris and I headed down the other side.  After a brief comical discussion, we decided to ride down the road and back up Trace Ridge, to Spencer and back to the road. 

I love that trail and the challenge that riding up it presents.  It is so impossibly steep and loose.  The steep sections rise up like giant waves of rock, ready to send you sliding backwards if you lose your momentum.  We struggled on up to the top then cruised down Spencer Gap.  The ride took a  little longer than we had anticipated and I was calculating two things in my head: Could I get to the Arboretum before they closed so I could refill my water? And could I make it home before dark?

Chris was parked at Mills River and it would have taken 10 minutes to get to his car and a ride home.  I couldn't do that though.  I had roughly 1.5 hrs of light left, and I felt that I could make it.  Chris escorted me up to the Gap and we then parted ways.  I headed down the gravel road and through Bent Creek.  I kept a steady pace and was able to get to the Arboretum with 10 minutes to spare. 

I called Rhonda and told her I would be home in 45 minutes.  As the darkness started closing in, I crested the last climb and coasted down to the shortcut.  I rolled through the neighborhood feeling really good and like I could keep going.
4 hrs 30 minutes and 50 miles. 

Have a great day.