Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wrain Storm

A good old winter rain storm is raging outside,  the wind is gusting to about 30mph, supposed to get stronger as the day goes on. 

It is days like today that I decided not to take racing as seriously.  I'll probably ride the rollers a little later, but maybe not, and if not,  I'll only lament the fact that I didn't get to exercise today.  I won't lament that fact that I lost a little bit of fitness.  

Interestingly,  even though I decided not to "race",  I attempted to stick to a more structured training schedule than I have in the past.  I succeeded about 80% of the time.  But when days like today roll around,  I lack the motivation to go that extra mile.  And I'm ok with that. 

At the same time,  I realized I don't like that much structure.   I started riding my bike because it is fun.  It is a release.  I added in the racing/training option to see what I could do.  I came, I saw.  It is time to go back to having fun. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Long Winter

Good gravy, it feels like this winter has dragged on for a very long time.   Being in 65 degree temps at the SE Bike Expo yesterday didn't help coming home to cold and overcast.   And its not that it has been that cold, just cold combined with lots of rain,  making it almost impossible to ride outside on a daily basis.

I'm not sure why this winter is dragging for me.  I do miss long rides in the warm sun.  I miss the fresh air blowing through the windows.  I have a new bike packing bike that is waiting for a ride.  First though, I am committed to getting through the Snake Creek Gap Series.... going for the belt buckle.

I love this race and love the course.  The local Sorba club does an excellent job of putting it on and I recommend it.  But I'm falling more in love with going my own pace,  sleeping under a tarp and packing up at the break of dawn.   At the same time,  I'm not keen on doing so during the winter because laying in my sleeping bag for 12 hrs of darkness, and 30 degree weather is simply not my idea of fun.

Someone mentioned that I should pick up an additional hobby.  Maybe I should, but everything that I find interesting, would only raise my cost of living....

So, I sit and wait,  for warmer weather and longer days.  This could happen anytime now,  3-6 weeks and I'll be saddling up for a long one.

Can't wait!

Monday, February 11, 2013

TNGA planning....continued

Planning, possibly the next best thing to actually executing said plan.   I have been eyeballing the Trans North Georgia Route for way too long now, and that doesn't look like it will change anytime soon.

I'm hesitant for a couple of reasons, the biggest being logistics.   I don't feel inclined to ask my wife and kid to drive the 5 hours to Rome Ga to pick me up when I finish.  I don't have the funds to pay Mulberry Gap to run the shuttle for me, part of which includes them driving my vehicle for the shuttle.  I'm sure they are nice people, but in general,  I don't let people drive my vehicle.

I looked at renting a Uhaul truck as an option-  $300 plus gas is more than I have right now,  but possibly an option in the future.   There are no car rental companies that rent from West Ga to Asheville.

Greyhound would let me ride for around $70 for a 16 hour trip...  I'm not good with strangers in tight spaces though,  I'm not considering that an option until I get desperate.

As we were driving through the Ocoee River Gorge last weekend, heading down to The Snake Creek Gap TT,  I caught a glimpse of the Cohutta and Big Frog Mountain Ranges.  The wheels started turning, and I realized that there must be a way to ride part of the TNGA route, and then ride north to the Ocoee Whitewater center.  2.5 hrs instead of 4.5-5 hours. 

So, I took the maps off the shelf, unfolded them and started searching.  After some google mapping, I pulled up the route for the Cohutta 100  and found my answer.  The routes intersect at aid station #3 and #6 of the Cohutta,  and share the same route to Jack's River Fields. 

And there is was,  an alternate route plan that will simplify logistics.  Just need to figure out what the mileage is from the eastern terminus to Jack's River Fields....

....and wait for the right time!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Looking for something new...  new to me, for a big bikepacking loop.  There is a serious lack of gravel in WNC.  I'm sure some local knowledge would be helpful,  there are probably options, but I'm struggling to find much.  

This winter has been tough,  since I missed my thanksgiving ride to Roanoke, I have been itching to get out in the woods for a trip,  but don't want to lay in my sleeping bag for 12 hrs of darkness.  Spring is on its way...  until then I'll keep dreaming,  and looking at my bike!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013


Upper 40's and sunshine made for a good ride.  As hard as I tried to prevent it, my mind kept drifting to the negativity in my life.  I found out that I had been taken advantage of.  I had helped someone get what they "needed".  "Baby on the way" etc.   Then I saw it for sale.  I guess they just wanted to make a buck.  Which is fine,  don't we all?  Need to pay the bills.  I don't mind that.  Don't play on my kindness and then flip it around to benefit yourself.

Then, as I was riding the gravel road, there was a dude walking 3 dogs off leash.  That's fine too,  but the freaking dog is in my lane and not moving.  I had to stop and unclip so I wouldn't run over the dog.  The dude acted like that was normal, saying" How ya doin'?"

I started wondering what is up with people?   Simple gestures to let people around you know that you care.  A simple apology for an inconvenience.  Am I entitled?  Can I not expect common courtesy?

I wonder how many times I get in the way and am oblivious.  If it happens, I do what I can to make it right. 

Common courtesy.  We are not in this world alone, we are not entitled.  We have to share,  we have to move over to pass,  we really need to start using our turn signals.  We need to take the time to stop for 30 seconds to let someone back out of their driveway.  What happened to the days of helping the old lady across the street?

And so went my ride.  Awesome weather, fun route, overpowered by this crap.

Today, I am looking for the good in people.  I'm attempting to get past the crap and focus on the good.

Bring it on!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


I get to go to CPR  re-cert today.  I'm going to ask if the on line re-cert courses are legit.  I've taken this course so many times that for once I can ace a test without studying.  I tried that a lot in college but it didn't work.  Actually, I studied, but the things that were interesting to me, we typically not on the test.   The library was a good place to meet people. 

Highs in the low 50's today and I'm gonna be stuck inside, with no chance to ride,  in fact, it does not look like I will get a ride in at all today,  that's life. 

I got the bikepacking bike built up and ready to roll.  I was planning on a quick trip this weekend but then started thinking I should take the family camping.  Yeah, that would be more fun for everybody,  guess we'll wait til the last minute and see what the weather does!

One month to go til the next Snake.  I'm looking forward to improving.  I think I know what I need to do to shave a little more time off, and I plan on working hard to get there.  I would really like to reach my PR of 3:58.  That happened on the single speed at the first race I did out there.   That's how my PR's look,  ORAMM's PR is also on a single speed, the first year I attempted it: 7:30,  without structured training.   Maybe I overthink things these days.   I'll see how the snake goes then re-assess.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Snake Creek Gap TT #2

 With the temps in the upper 20's and the sun barley peeking over the top of the ridge, we lined up for the start of the 2nd installment of The Snake Creek Gap TT.  If the temps warmed up, I would be overdressed, but it the clouds rolled in and the precip came as was forecast,  I would be fine.

Right away after the start, I knew that the lobster gloves were a poor choice.  They were doing their job and keeping my hands war, but it was difficult to brake and control the bike with only 2 fingers and a thumb on the bars.  

I reminded myself to control my pace and headed down the gravel road warming up.  As I came to the big creek crossing, I slowed, stood up and pedaled through.  My feet dipped slightly under and seconds later, the water seeped through.  Not soaked but wet.  I was glad that I chose to wear my woolie boolies! 

In some ways, that is the worst part of the ride,  the wondering how wet its going to be for the rest of the ride.  Once the feet get wet, knowing how cold they are going to be, I can stop thinking about it and focus on the rest of the ride.  

Onward and upward,  about an hour into it, the sleet started to fall,  weather.com was spot on this time.  I was feeling good,  watching my pace and eating.   The worst I felt was the second hour.  Quite possibly because I had trouble eating much more breakfast.  But as I continued eating and drinking, I was able to bring my body up to speed.  I was feeling good, not great, not powerful, but steady. 

I made it to the halfway point and met my support crew.  Rhonda replaced my water bottles and the kid watched from the back of the mini van.  It was snowing and cold.  I decided to keep the thermal jacket but change my socks.  At the last minute, I added the toe warmer the wife and kid had given me for Christmas.  While it was not like sitting by a toasty fire, they definitely helped keep my toes from going numb! 
 Starting the second section I was optimistic.  Hot and humid shuts me down,  cold and rain is miserable,  but snowy and cold?  I dig it.  It is so peaceful and quite in these conditions, the trail tends to harden and except for the icy glaze on the rocks, it makes for a fun ride. 

With about 8 miles to go, I came upon an old man, backpacking,  strolling along and enjoying the woods.  As I passed, he greeted" May the Lord bless you".  Cool.

On through the rock gardens, walking some riding others, always moving forward. 

 And then after hours, I came to the towers, attempted to spring the last 300 yds, backed off the pace, and hit the gravel road down to the pavement.  When I hit the pavement, I asked the volunteers if it was icy,  they said "not too bad".  Unsure if that meant there was ice or not, I use a lot of caution on the wet blacktop.  Down to the finish, to be greeted by my crew and some hot peach cobbler. 
 Good day, good ride, one more and I get a belt buckle!!

Around the toes are covered in ice,  the toe covers are dry where the toe warmers are.