Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve rolls around and I am awake at 6am, listening to the sound of rain hitting the metal roof on the half of the house that has metal roofing.  Then I start to wonder if the old part of the house/roof will leak or if the wet patch will continue to hold out.  That leads me into thinking about the next phase of our dream.  Who knows if it will become reality?  We really want to rebuild the roof on the original house, raising the pitch and adding metal roofing.  By doing so, not only will it match the rest of the house, but we will be able to raise the interior ceiling as well.

Its a bit of a daunting task because that involves calling construction people and hopefully finding someone who will quote a fair price and do what they say they will do.  I often consider doing it myself, but I want to make sure it is done correctly to insure resale value. 


The Wobblenaught fit seems to be treating me right.  I'm have a dull soreness all over.  I'm not sure how much to contribute to the fit and how much to wrapping gifts at REI for 4 hrs every evening over the past 8 days.   Tonight is the last night of wrapping, so I'll be able to get some rest from that.  One major thing I notice though is that it takes less effort to climb, and I am more balanced on the descents.  Another observation is my muscles, esp lower back don't feel tight after a ride.  We'll see if that changes once I do some longer/more intense rides, I don't expect it to.

And so, here we are,  Christmas Eve, drinking coffee, and looking forward to spending the day with my kid!!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

An Open Letter To The Oakley Elementary School Staff:

Dear friends, 
It is with great honor and pride that I write this letter to you.  My family wants to take the time this Christmas/New Year season to celebrate you and what you do.  We are very grateful for you and the part you play in our lives and in our neighborhood.  

When Jubal started kindergarten, we as parents, were nervous.  We didn’t know what to expect.  I (Stephen) was a missionary kid, moving around every 3-6 years for the first 20 years of my life.  New schools, new friends and a new language or two…every 3 years, left me feeling lonely and often rejected.  
The first day of school came, and we dropped the kid off for Kindergarten, then we walked out to the parking lot and cried (we have cried a little less each year since). 
As the days turned into months, then years, our confidence grew.  We gained faith and trust in our school system.  We formed friendships and our respect grew for the people who were responsible for our child for a large portion of the day.   

We want you to know that you all are doing an awesome job.  Sure, the little “life” things creep in- personality conflicts, stressful events, bad things.  But, good things happen too.  Not just good things, GREAT things.  This little kid, who just 3.5 years ago, could not read or write,  is now doing research, using creativity, critical thinking, using math skills that will soon surpass mine (I can still run faster than him).  The media simply does not spend enough time sharing all of the thousands perhaps millions of great things that happen at schools on a day to day basis.  

We notice.  We notice the little things: the warm smile, the comforting pat on the shoulder, the constructive criticism.  We notice the stacks of paper being graded, the cleaned out desks, the charts, the efforts to teach the kids more than reading, writing and arithmetic.   

This is a great school and spending time there has provided healing in my own life, along with insight on how to provide a better childhood for my kid, better than I ever could have imagined. 
We are honored to be able to say that we are part of the Oakley Family!  

Thank you. 
Your Friends,
Jubal’s Dad, Jubal’s Mom and Jubal

Thursday, December 20, 2012

First Impressions

I was finally able to take a ride on the two bikes that I took down for the Wobblenaught fit.   I was a bit concerned about the changes in positioning and wondered if it would cause any discomfort.   I also knew that there would be a time frame while my body adjusts to the new fit, where I would not feel very fit.  I was reminded to take it easy for several rides to let that happen.   This is difficult with my first race in 15 days, but it is important.

My first impression  is WOW.   Even though my muscles are not up to speed yet,  I am able to ride steady up and over hills with an RPE that is lower than previously.  Obviously, it would take a power meter to know exactly what the benefits are, but I don't have one, so we are going with RPE. 

I think that the fit on it's own would make sense.  But with the added benefit of Eddie's instruction,  it really is the whole package.  He answered a lot of questions that I have had for a long time.  I'm not saying that Wobblenaught is the one and only way.  There are a lot of other fit processes that are done by people I respect.  What I am saying is that I notice an immediate difference, and can't wait until my muscles catch up!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Th, Fri, Sat ,Sun

Wow.  What just happened?  A whirlwind hit and now it is Monday and I am most likely the only person in the universe who is glad that it is Monday. 

Here is the low down:
I was listening to Mountain Bike Radio and scored a Wobblenaught fit.  Wanting to do it right, I made arrangements to drive down to Atlanta to visit Eddie O'Dea of 55Nine Performance to get the fit done.  I also forked out the extra dough to have my road bike adjusted along with my mountain bike.  I was pretty excited leading up to the trip and on the way down.  I have had a couple of fits before, and they were great.  This was supposed to be more in depth and I was looking forward to it.
 I got to the studio and Eddie got to work.  The entire process with 2 bikes took about 4 hrs.  The first 1.5 hrs was spent measuring my body size, weight, arm, leg, torso length etc.  Standing, laying, squatting,  needless to say, the process was already very thorough.  After getting my cleats realigned, I got on the Siren and started spinning.  One of the benefits of the visit was having Eddie teach me proper techniques for pedaling, sprinting, etc.  The whole session was filled with tiny little tidbits of info, that when added together, make a lot of sense.  And then, we repeated the process with the Foundry. 

After that, I was hungry, and since it was on my way out, I met Jay Dillard at The Varsity: "What'll ya have!" But first I sat in traffic for 30 minutes, taking said amount of time to move 3 blocks.  I heart Asheville.

Friday:  unload the shop and load the trailer for the used gear sale.  Then go wrap gifts at REI,  we are doing that for free through Christmas eve.  Come see us.

Sat and Sunday:  Used gear sale at the NCCX races, and more gift wrapping.  

Today?  I have  a lot to do, but am determined to ride, even if it is on the rollers!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Goin' Boatin'

So I sold the bike. That bike I didn't realize I had grown attached to.  6 years ago, when I bought the bike, I needed to do something to scrape the money together.  That was back when gas was cheaper and I was paddling whitewater 4-5 days per week. 

I paddled some of the big rivers here in the S East.  Tallulah being the biggest, and was working my way up to the Green Narrows.  Wilson Creek, Nanty, Tuck, Noli, French Broad, the Dirty Bird, Little River Sinks, Big Creek, New River, Gauley....and then some.   I started out in a canoe, went to kayak, then switched to C-1 and OC-1.  One of my favorite accomplishments was rolling the open canoe.

I studied the art of paddling and worked to get my American Canoe Instructor Certification in Kayak and Canoe. 

And then gas prices went up and my kid started getting older.  Old enough that I didn't feel right being gone so much.  I sold my boats, all 4 of them to help buy the Bianchi Giro. 

As the kid gets older, I yearn to share life with him.  To introduce him to activities outside of cycling. 

When I  found out about the canoe, I knew what I needed to do.  At first I was sad, and will cherish the memories of that bike,  but it is totally worth it, essentially trading something that brought me so much challenge and joy, for something that will do the same and hopefully form a strong family bond.  (and possibly some long, multi day, solo trips).

I can't wait to get on the water. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


After sitting around the house all day,  keeping watch over a sick 8 yr old, and keeping him quiet while the wife slept after staying out all night,  I was able to squeeze in a 45 minute hike..... and for that I was thankful.  The wind was biting and it felt cold enough to snow. 

And then it was time.  Time to say goodbye to my faithful Bianchi Giro.  The bike that carried me on many trips over the past 6 years.   I was thinking back to when I bought it, how excited I was to bring it home and ride it.  The derailleurs had been installed wrong and it wouldn't shift.  I was disappointed and frustrated.  I took the bike to Liberty Bikes,  they fixed it and earned my respect. 

I'm sure I had some bad days on the bike,  those have faded from my memory though,  it is the good days that I remember and cherish.  The wind blowing through my hair, the clicking of the chain as it passed over the chainrings, the crunch of the tires on fresh chipseal.... fun times. 

But it was time to sell it,  to open the door for something that I walked away from about 6 yrs ago.  Something that I won't write about until the deal is sealed..... today is after all, the end of the world!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Mop

If you ever wonder why I wear a hat all the time, this is why.  I hate my hair.  It is wavy, and poofy.  Especially in the humid south.  I could never get it to do what I wanted and anytime I went to the barber shop,  they cut it weird,  like opposite of what I wanted....every freaking time!

As a kid, I was never allowed to have long hair.  Like they were afraid that I would gain a Samson like strength if my hair grew long, fearing that if I had more power than them, I would rule them.... or something.

I did end up growing it out,  it was midway down my back at one point,  then I cut it and donated it to Locks of Love.  Probably not cool.  Some kid is wearing my bad hair.  I tried. 

So I started wearing a hat.  The only problem is, there is some weird superstition that wearing a hat indoors is disrespectful.   I don't know,  the mop on my head seems way more offensive than wearing a hat that tames said mop. 

And besides taming the mop, a hat is functional.  It keeps my head warm, keeps the sun out of my eyes,  looks classy ( you might disagree, that's fine,  it's my hat)  gives clothing critics like Kevin Hessler something to comment on, and makes everyone else jealous that I look so stunning ( again, you might disagree.  Again, that's fine).

So now you no longer have to wonder what is under that hat.  You no longer have to surmise that I am covering up horns or something of the sort.  You have seen and have been amazed and you can now appreciate the hat.

Monday, December 10, 2012

For Sale: Bianchi Giro

Bianchi Giro   Size 57 cm,   $450,  Shimano 105 components,  Ultegra rear hub. Aluminum Frame, carbon fork.
My old steed is for sale at a great price, (if I must say so myself). 

I would still be riding it had I not won the Foundry back in May.  This bike is fun to ride and handles well.  We have been through a lot of adventures together, but now it is time to sell it, to facilitate some new adventures,  sort of a cycle. 

If you are interested, let me know:

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Flippin Fun

 Not a whole lot going on in the life of Asheville Janes.  I've gotten into a good rythym and feel like there has been huge progress in making peace with my past.   I didn't realize how much of my time had been spent still trying to work things out in my head, rather than accepting the facts and focusing on the good things happening in my life: ie my wife, kid and the 1000's of people who have made Trips For Kids WNC possible.  I've been sleeping better lately as well.  Its weird how much the subconscious continues even while the body is trying to rest.

This has been a dream of mine for a very long time and I am very excited to a part of WNC during this time of growth and change.  I'm a little less excited about the growth in numbers because that means motor vehicle traffic increases,  but the influx of creative and driven people moving into town, will help the growth of the cycling community and greenway push. 

It is very exciting to see the greenways plan, which was a dream only a few years ago, coming to fruition!  I can't wait to take kids for rides across town, all on a greeway.
And so the journey continues.  I keep looking forward, doing what I can to make this world a better place....and riding my bike because its flippin' fun!!

Monday, December 03, 2012


 This weekend was another whirlwind, but one of the first this year that included a ton of family time.  I aim to change that for next year. Saturday started with a ride, and ended with the kid's first basketball game and some Okie Dokies Smokehouse BBQ!

 Sunday was another ride.  I took a wrong turn and rode up the east side of Webb Cove Rd.  Wow,  it was supposed to be an easy ride, so I rode slowly.  I'm glad I found this beast.  The route was way better than the route I had planned, it will make a great 1.5 hr loop from my house, with two major climbs. Or longer.....   Nice.
Then I got home and went hiking with the family.  We hiked for close to 2 hrs.  It was awesome spring weather in December and  we wanted to take advantage of it.  The kid wanted to know if we could ride bikes on the Mountains to Sea Trail.....nope, but deep in my MTB heart there is hope that one day we will.  Foolish hope maybe, but its there.

We finished out the weekend by attending the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club's annual end of year meeting.  I love that club and the people that make it up.  It was cool sitting in the room full of people passionate about cycling of all kinds.  Marshal, the 75 yr old National Champion was in attendance, along with a bunch of other cool folks!

This week looks like another week of warm weather.  Get out and ride, or walk,  or lay in a hammock!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday already!   It has been a whirlwind of a week, and I'm hoping things slow down in the near future.  I was sick over the weekend and then again early this week so that put a dent in my riding.  Things are looking up now though and the weather is looking awesome! 

The positive thinking process is going slowly, but it seems to be working.  Whenever a negative thought or memory creeps in,  I replace the thought with anything else positive.  Long rides are a great time to practice this.  I wonder how long it will take for it to become a positive habit in my life? 

My friend Karen took a trip recently on the Silver Comet/ Chief Ladiga trails......I added those to my list.   

Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Weekend

 Some friends were in town and I had planned to take them on a road ride on saturday.  But with temps barely breaking 45 and sinusitus in full swing, I made the tough decision not to ride.  I felt bad about canceling but sent them a map and they later said they enjoyed the loop.  I sat around most of Saturday.  Took the family and the dog to Tractor Supply for rabies shot (for the dog) and stopped on the way home to pick out our Christmas Tree. 
Sunday rolled around and the wife was feeling the after affects of the mandatory flu shot that Mission requires of it's employees.  They say the shot will not make one sick but we have proof,  she is sick.  But, she was well enough to watch the kid while I got out for a ride.
 I met up with Tom of Motion Makers, Megan and Brian from Johnson City TN.  We had fun cruising around Bent Creek.  I love that place and while it is not techy like Pisgah Proper,  it will still teach a person how to climb and make the lungs burn.
 I got home in time for leftovers from our Thanksgiving "Feast" and played outside with the kid until our hands froze. 
I finally sat down and wrote out my training plan for the first half of the year.  I'm looking forward to racing again on a regular basis this year.  And hoping the timing is right for some bikepacking trips!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve/Day

Let's see, where was I? Oh yes, riding around Bent Creek in shorts again, the day before Thanksgiving.  Thinking about how at this time I was supposed to be riding on the Parkway for my annual trip from Asheville to Roanoke.  Thinking about how the weather this year was awesome and.....and then refocusing my train of thought.  Not thinking about what could have/should have been, but thinking about what I have.  A wife who loves me (and I love for the record) and a kid who feels the same.  Awesome.
So Thanksgiving day rolled around and we got to spend the time together.  There were no visits with family due to various reasons.  There was no turkey in the over, no traditional pie etc. I went for a ride in the morning.  Later in the afternoon the wife napped to prep for working the night shift.  The kid and I went to Starbucks to play war and Old Maid.  That was great.  
The kid and I decided to take the wife to Cracker Barrel so she could get some turkey and dressing.  I was torn about supporting a restaurant that was open on Thanksgiving Day, but we went.  With a 40 minute wait,  we didn't have time to stay.  We wound up at Waffle House and had the whole restaurant to ourselves.  We left an extra large tip and a cheery " happy holiday".

It was a great day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Funk

It feels like things in my head are starting to clear.  I'm hoping so anyway.  As I progress in this life, people making little positive remarks help me in ways that no one can imagine.  Never let fear stop you from saying something positive to someone. 

As I was pondering the other day, I wondered what good it does to tell about the funk if it never ends,  and if it does end, how did it come to be?   I looked back on the year and what I had done, where I have been and a slight feeling of being overwhelmed entered my mind. 

Then I did the math:  I did a lot, attempted a lot, failed a lot, accomplished a lot + I am tired =  hmmm.   So, add to that the things from my past that try to drag me down,  the daily stress that we all experience ( more than deciding what to wear) and the list grows. 

And again, I asked myself, what good is it to know the root of the problem if I don't have a solution.  And like that, the solution seemed simple..... but would take some motivation and hard work: simplify and focus on the positive.  

That's it.  Simplify.  Focus on the positive.    Some of the things that have been dragging me down, have demanded way too much of my energy and focus.  Trying to figure out what went wrong and how to rectify the situation.  Its not going to happen,  I need to turn my focus and energy on what positive things will be happening, on the great things that have happened in our community over the past year.  Simplify and Focus on the positive. 

Here goes,  when a negative thought creeps in,  I slam the door and think something positive.  It could be something as simple as appreciating fresh air,  noticing a flower.  Anything works really. 

Simplify and Focus.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Birthday Ride

 The weekend started off with the grand opening of The Bicycle Thrift Shop.  We had quite a lot of people stop by over the course of Friday and Saturday to buy some of the awesome stuff that we have for sale in the shop.  (not just marketing hype, its true, but you would have to see it for yourself).  Friday night, a bunch of folks hung out in the BAD ( Bicycle Arts District) and drank a few beers while enjoying the awesomeness that is Okie Dokies BBQ!!

Sunday, I headed out for a ride. 
 I joined up with a bunch of guys that I normally do not ride with.   It was good to get out for a social ride and celebrate my birthday on Laurel and Pilot.  While getting ready to leave, I got a call from the wife saying that the kid was sick and she had been called in to work that night.  She had planned a party for me which was now canceled, and my ride would be cut in half so that I could get home to watch the kid while she took a pre work nap.  Ah, the life.
 We meandered up Laurel, taking our time and socializing.   It was a great day to be out, but I was distracted by other stuff and was all over the trail, wobbly and missing lines.  I knew I needed to get it together before descending Pilot so I sat up, relaxed and focused on the positive.  I got my game face on, so to speak, and focused on riding my bike. It went much smoother after that and I started to enjoy the ride more.
Getting up to Pilot, I took the last place in line.  Riding my hardtail Siren, I was the only one without full suspension and these guys know how to rip.  I focused on following the lines through the switchbacks. I have been focusing on these turns recently as they are a limiter.  After discussing proper techniques with Mike from Suspension Experts a couple of weeks ago, I have improved and today was great.  I rode turns that I have not ridden before and the decent seemed to go by faster and smoother than before.

All in all a good day in the woods.

And then since my party was canceled, I had my ice cream cake from The Hop all to myself!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Heading Home

 And then it was time for the main purpose of our trip to Florida.  Our good friend, Jared Mauldin married Caitlin Janelle.   It was a great wedding, filled with laughter and lots of support from family and friends.  We got to meet a bunch of cool people and hang out in a beautiful area.  Congrats Jared and Caitlin. 
 On the way out, heading for home the next morning, we drove past Daytona Motor Speedway.  We wanted to stop in for a look and a tour, but with an 8.5 hr drive ahead of us, we decided to save it for another time.   We did get to hear some cars speeding around the track though.  Maybe one day we'll be able to swing some tickets.
We broke up the ride with a stop for lunch,  while my family ate at Wendy's I went across the parking lot for some local GA BBQ,  tasty.   

And then we stopped in Columbia to stretch our legs at the Riverfront Park.  This park is part of The Palmetto Trail so it was cool to show the family. 

And then, after stopping for dinner at a Waffle House  that still allows smoking,  we arrived at home sweet home.   Good trip, fun times.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 5: Surfing

 Saturday dawned and we found Salty Dog Surf Shop,  one of the only surf shops that was open this off season.  I picked up a rental surfboard and wetsuit and headed across the street to the beach.  I admit while I was excited to try this, I was also a bit skeered.  Looking up and down the beach, no one was in the frigid water.  The waves were choppy and the wind was blowing pretty good.  I thought back to my days of windsurfing and thought about how conditions would be perfect for that wind powered sport. 

Back to the task, I asked the lone lifeguard if it was safe to go out, and he said yes.  I thought about sharks and wondered if I would make it out before I got eaten alive.  I laid on the surfboard and started paddling.  I had only attempted surfing once before in my life and don't really count that time because I had no idea what I was doing.  This time was not much different, other than being confident that I was capable of doing this.

My arms were burning as I reached the break and seemingly huge (2-3 ft) waves crashed in front of me.  I turned and looked back at the shore and it was a long ways away.  A swell came towards me, I paddled into it, got some momentum, stood up, fell over and got thrown around under water.  It was then that I realized that I was on top  of a sand bar.  I stood up.  I made the decision to attempt surfing the waves after they had broken over the sandbar.  By timing properly and pushing off the sand, I could catch the wave and gain enough momentum to stand.  After a couple of attempts, I was standing and riding what was left of the wave.  It wasn't epic, I wasn't shredding, but I was surfing, and I loved it. 

I reminded myself that I was a beginner.  It has been a while since I was a beginner at any sport, and it was humbling to not be good at something. 

 I stuck with it for 2 hrs.  Until my arms were limp and I was having trouble popping into the standing position on the board.  With my lack of upper arm strength, I decided not to risk drowning and headed in. 

I had surfed and it was good.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 3 and 4: Legoland

 Legoland was cool.  I didn't know what to expect.  All I had to go on was childhood memories of theme parks and state fairs.  Of getting sick, hungy, hot, tired and everybody being a bit on the cranky side.   This trip was healing in that I found that with a little self control,  I could enjoy myself, eat well and be a good dad.  One thing I made a point of was not making plans set in stone.  We would do what we could but not stress ourselves out trying to get to a show or a ride.  The plan worked and halfway through the day, I realized I was enjoying the place, and I was able to relax and watch my kid grow up.
 Project X,  the kid's first roller coaster might have proved to be too much.  The big drop freaked him out and he was done with roller coasters.  I had to pay him $10 to get him on another one,  and by the end of day two, we had ridden every roller coaster in the park.

 I just wanted to get off.  It was the end of the day, and the operator kept the ride going extra long.  I wasn't really having fun any more.....
 We bought second day tickets for $15 which was awesome, because we got to go back a do a couple of rides that we had not been able to do, and ride some rides again, hitting the favorites from the day before.

And we were there for the grand opening of the Star Wars mini land exhibit. 

And then it was time to leave.  We were worn out, and still had to drive back through Orlando to Ormond Beach.  But we wanted to get there so we could go to the beach before the wedding. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Road Trip: Day 2

 Day two we took our time eating breakfast.  Forget about waking up at the crack of dawn and hitting the road.  This was a good way to avoid stress.  After breakfast we packed up and headed down the road.  In the Starbucks parking lot, the kid realized that his Wendy's kid's meal toy had been thrown away in the hotel room,  so we headed back and got that sorted out.  Then we hit the road again, and thanks to a mini vacation guide provided by Jason Luque,  we hit several highlights along the A1A.  (thanks for the offer to make breakfast, but I think it was lunchtime by the time we drove past your town).  We rode the St Johns' River Ferry, and drove south.
 Somewhere, we stopped on the beach to walk and chase seagulls.
 And then we stopped at Marineland.  I remember stopping there as a kid, a long time ago.  I don't remember anything else.  I do have a bumpersticker from the place, but that's it.  Maybe that's all we did,  just stopped in the gift shop and bought a sticker.  Anyway, we paid the fee and entered the gates.  We got a personal tour of the aquariums,  and got to stand 2 feet from where the dolphins were surfacing to check us out.  It was a very different experience from when I swam and sailed with the creatures in the Caribbean.  It was great to stop and experience that with the wife and kid.  A peaceful time.
And then we headed south again, stopped at another beach, stepped on some sand burs,  and finally wound up on I-4, heading towards Legoland.....until we hit traffic in Orlando.  If you live in Orlando, get out while you can,  if you don't,  don't move there.   15 miles of 8 lane interstate crawling along at 10mph,  that's a lot of traffic. 

We made it to Winter Haven,  passed on the $139 hotel and found a decent one for a lot cheaper and hit the hay with sweet dreams of legoland dancing in our heads.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Road Trip 2012

So I've been off the bike for 16 days now, and its cool.  We were getting gear up for a road trip to Florida to see our really good friend Jared get married.  We had little desire to take an 8 hour road trip, after just having gotten our feet back on the ground financially this summer.  We were definitely concerned when we got the invite, that would not be able to make it.  But things turned our way and we decided to go for it.  I worked an extra job to save up some extra money and off we went.

I remember as a kid that family road trips were always stressful.  I wanted to experience a new kind of road trip.  One where we got along and enjoyed the ride.  I made that one of my goals.  From packing and loading the van, to all of the other details,  that's what I wanted.  It worked out really well too.  I have a great wife and kid and they make great traveling partners.  
Our first major stop was in Savannah, about halfway to Florida.  We found a place to park and walked down the riverfront.   The guy at the visitor center told us about Bull St, the "most famous walk in America".  We grabbed a map and headed up the road, through a series of gardens.   It was pretty cool, and was great to get out and stretch the legs.

Back in the van and headed south, we made it to North Jacksonville before calling it a day.  The Quality Inn was clean and comfortable.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Day 12

12 days off the bike.  I'm doing something different, top secret that I'll tell you all about when I finish.  

Friday, November 02, 2012

Day 6

 Going on day 6 of no riding,  and no desire to do any riding.  Well maybe about 1% desire.  But not much.   I'm tired,  possibly a little burned out.  I got to ride a lot this year, and had a great year, both by myself, with friends and with Trips For Kids WNC.  

So here I sit,  nice balmy 36 degree weather outside, and I look at my bikes.  I did take the time to clean up the Foundry, replacing the shifter cables and housing.  It shifts much better now,  at least it does on the stand.  
 And the Siren and SS CX bikes sit there, collecting dust.  I should probably clean those bottles soon.

And there hangs my trusty bikepacking steed,  waiting for another small window of time to open up so we can get out and explore.  In the meantime, exploring will be relegated to the internet.
Speaking of exploring, there appears to be a lot of gravel road between Big Creek and Hot Springs,  its just a little too far to explore on a daily basis....

So, here we are on day 6,  and with my schedule next week,  I might be going 14 days off the bike.  I'll listen to my mind and body and enjoy the down time.  Maybe go out and rake some leaves,  maybe not. 

Whatever I do,  you can read about it later on Facebook....

Thursday, November 01, 2012


Sometimes there is so much going on in my head that it is hard to figure out what is going on.   I attempt to compartmentalize, to sort, to deal with each issue.   Then I remember to focus not only on the bad, but attempt to focus more on the good, the positive, to think the good thoughts and act on those. 

But, in reality, it is difficult if not impossible to separate one thing from another, because each decision, each choice has resulted in another decision or choice, they are intertwined.  

One of the most difficult things for me is learning that, realizing that some things I was taught as a child are not accurate.  They don't line up with how things really are in life, how the world really turns,  how people really feel, act and react.   I realize that it was skewed view on life, a view that was created to protect self from dealing with the reality of life, from facing facts and confronting them to create a better world.   And that skewed viewed might have been started generations ago.

And f to learn that view and try to survive in reality, is difficult.  

I realize as time goes on that life is not about a path that is laid out in front of us.  Life gives us a series of choices and we create our own adventure, make our own bed to sleep in.

But what happens when we make all the right choices and things still fall apart?  Should I have chosen differently?  Taken a different path?  Who knows.   If I could answer that question, I could write a book and be  rich. ( I don't really want to be rich).

And so I continue on, attempting to learn more, to respect and not judge, to help and not hinder,  to contemplate and not criticize.   I think that in the end, life is going to hand you lemon,  we will get pushed down, dragged out and beat up.  I think that by persevering, we are taught to rely on others, that we cannot do this alone.  I hope that by persevering and believing, that there is something greater down the road for us. 

And so, there is hope, and there is life and I'm going to continue believing,  not always in what I was taught as a kid, but also in new things that I learn.  And I will continue getting knocked down, and then I'll get back up again, because I am not going to give up.  I am going to reach for the goal.  And at the end, I hope to hear the words "Well done".

Keep living, cause if you are not living, you are dying!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

First Snow

 A hurricane blew through and dropped  a little bit of snow on the mountains around Asheville.   Yesterday evening, the kid and I headed up to Craven Gap to hit the hillside.  We were poorly dressed and were only able to get a couple of runs in before heading for the warmth of the truck.   Heading down Beaverdam rd, we stopped for a picture and realized that we were out of the wind.  We threw some snow in the back of the truck to take home, threw some snowballs and built a snowman. 
 I have sandbags in the back of the truck and chains under the seat,  I ain't skeerd....
I can't wait to take this kid snowboarding at a real slope this winter!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lower Trace

I met up with Julie White on Thursday to continue corridor clearing on the Lower Trace re-route.  This approximately 1.5 mile trail will omit the eroding fall line trail of the current lower trace. It was an awesome day to be out in the woods but after 4 hours of sawing, I had no desire left to take the short overnight bikepacking trip that I was considering.  White Duck Taco made up for it. 

We were able to cut through 99% of what needed to be done so we were very pleased with the progress.  Pisgah Area Sorba's goal is to do all the tread work by hand in an effort to create a rugged back country trail that will fit within the guidelines of the USFS,  but this is going to take a lot of man hours.  I really hope people will rally around this project and get out to dig in the dirt together.   Looking around, I saw lots of rock chunks and slabs laying around that could be moved to make the trail more technical.  I'm not sure what the parameters are on moving rock though.

I do know that the USFS is watching this project closely and if we as a club can't pull this off, we won't have much clout in the future.

As for the current Lower Trace, I am torn about losing it.  While I can't ride the entire trail, I have friends who can.  But the trail has its challenges to me and them.  I hope that the new trail will have challenging features so that I and others can continue to hone our skills.

So, get out there and lend a hand,  let's create something awesome.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Anti Bully

 I've been struggling quite a bit lately,  wrestling with the demons from my past,  working on stuff,  chipping away at the crap that brings me down.  I'm always working on it, attempting to become a better person all around.  Sometimes it hits me hard though, and from out of nowhere.  I'm sure you know the feeling.  Contrary to what I was taught as a kid, no one is immune to life's struggles.

And then the Lance Armstrong debacle came to a head and I must admit, while not surprised, I am very disappointed.  I hate lying and cheating.  I could care less who wins a race,  but if you do it by lying and cheating, then......well, not cool at all.  And bullying?  It turns out that ol' Lance is quite the bully too.  Which brings me to my point.  My life parallels this story in that a bully played a major role in my life for a long time.  Until I confronted the issue, then it became a dodging defensive game.

It is very difficult to confront and pin down a bully,  somehow they seem to always get the upper hand.  They dodge, and cast blame,   and use intimidation.  But I went ahead and tried, and it didn't work out as planned.  I had hoped to make friends with the bully, but the bully didn't like me pointing out the bullying habits, so needless to say it didn't end well.  The one upside is that the bully left me alone, maybe that's an upside..
And delving deeper, the whole situation can be applied as an example to any abuse case.  The perpetrator bullies to a point that the victim is afraid to seek help, and when the victim reaches out, the bully  belittles and dodges.  Unless there is concrete evidence, or unless multiple parties involved, in the confronting, it is very difficult to confront the issues.

So what to do?  Confront.  Do it, get yourself out of that situation, get help,  don't seek revenge or vengeance,  that is not your job.  Take care of yourself, so that you can take care of others.

I hope this inspires.