Friday, June 28, 2013

Thursday Night Ride

The group of about 20 headed out together.  I sat on the front to control the pace.  Taylor hit the gas and surprisingly, no one followed.  The pace stayed chill up the BRP climb all the way to Brevard Rd.  At the stoplight,  the A group types made their way to the front.  When the light turned green,  I motioned to the guys ahead and announced that if anyone wanted to go with the A's,  there they are.  If you want ride with the B's hang back.  The A's left and the B's slowly followed.  

I'm really pleased that we can have that separation.  It makes a lot of sense for those of us who are not racing.  I still get the challenge and workout that I need, but don't need to hammer my brains out.

It was nice to see some new faces: Cara, Erica, Melissa and Blake. 

The temps were warm but the humidity was high.  I tried something a little different and drank a nalgene bottle full of Gatorade around 3-4pm.  I typically only drink water through the day.   I never got overheated, and was definitely sweating the entire ride.  The sky was fairly overcast.  I'll have to keep experimenting with it.  

Busy weekend ahead, I hope that I can find some time to ride....or sleep!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Here is a picture that represents how I am feeling, much better than the several paragraphs that I have typed and deleted.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Big Weekend in Pics

Still smiling on the way up to Mt Mitchell

Parking with the motos

Stephen, Varinka and Dave....Gordon was on his way.






Too Cloudy to see Supermoon, so we took pictures of the fog at Craggy Gardens VC

Friday, June 21, 2013

Thursday Night

Giant duck monster seen only in the reflection of the storefront.
A group of about 30 rolled out tonight.  I hung with the A pace until 191 when Kevin sent the A's ahead and we formed a nice steady B group.  Sam was absent, probably cutting his grass or watching football or something like that. 

Tonight I focused on enjoying the ride.  I was pretty excited after teaching a kid how to ride a bike earlier in the day.  I had hosted a Trips For Kids WNC ride with a group from Children 1st and one of the kids had to stay behind because he could not ride. 

I called the director and asked her to let me know the next time they went to the park, so that I could meet them there and work with him.  That happened yesterday and less than an hour later, he was riding and very excited about it!! 

That's why it was so infuriating, as we were riding single file down 280 (not the best road, but not the worst) due to a detour caused by bridge work.  I heard the car approaching, and turned my head to see if I was going to get hit.  I was surprised and angered when I saw the blacked out, dark grey Police style  Crown Victoria equipped with emergency lights in the front windshield (not flashing), buzzing our entire group of 8.  The cars in front and the cars behind this car gave us plenty of room and there is not reason that this one could not have done the same.  The driver was either careless or malicious. 

I pushed it to the back of my mind for the rest of the ride, but the rest of the group was shaken as well, and we continued to discuss the incident. 

We several of the guys were feeling the effects of some of the earlier efforts, so we attempted to set a steady pace.  When we got to my favorite climb on Hendorsonville Rd I hit the gas and broke away,  only to be stopped by a red light.  It happens every time, but one day,  I hope, I'll make it through....

Get out and ride, share the road, respect the stop signs!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

CX Ride

 I'm getting ready to take a group of kids for a ride, so this one will be quick. 

I rode the CX bike out to Bent Creek.  Saw a turtle and took a picture.   Made it all the way around the gravel road loop to Rice Pinnacle Parking lot.  My tools had been rattling the whole ride and I could not figure out why.  I found out when I went to pull out my spare tube.  I didn't have a spare tube.  I called the wife for a ride and waited.
 Cas pulled up and saved my ride.  She gave me a lift to Motion Makers where I got 2 tubes.  Thanks for the help Motion Maker Dudes. 
I called the wife and told her that I was fixed up.  While I was at MM, the rain moved in and poured.  By the time I was ready to go, the rain had moved on, so I saddled up and rode home.

Great day on the bike!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day

My wife and kid made Sunday really special for me.  As most of you know today is a tough day for those without fathers who are involved in their lives, and so it is for me.   

The wife whipped up an awesome breakfast of eggs, biscuits, gravy and cantaloupe.   After stuffing ourselves we loaded up the canoe and headed out on a date with a French Broad.  I dropped the wife and kid off at the put in, and headed down to Asheville Adventure Rentals to drop off the truck and get shuttled back.
 We had a blast paddling downstream, stopping for lunch and a dip on the banks of Biltmore.  We paddled up the Swannanoa a couple of hundred yard, and then headed back down stream.   The second part of the trip was  a little more exciting, with some eddy catching and wave surfing.  The boat is long, and harder to maneuver than the solo boats I used to own, but the whole family was together and that makes me happy. 
. The kid said he liked it but he was bored.  That made me happy because it means he is ready for the next level of moving water!! 

After the river, we went home, took a nap, played around the house and headed out for some grub.  We were hoping for some appetizers from Jack o The Wood, but they had a limited menu today, so we headed to Ashville Pizza and Brewing.  

Stuffed for the second time in a day, we headed back home where the hammock consumed a lot of my time for the rest of the evening.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

 I got in a nice ride on the CX bike.  Down the parkway and the gravel loop around Bent Creek and back.  Dark storm clouds loomed on the other side of the ridge.  I was ready, unless it turned cold, then I would have to ride harder.   The legs and lungs were not feeling great after being soaked in salt water for 4 days.  The forest is a deep lush green color, and the creeks are running strong. 
I had a lot more thoughts typed but then the electricity cut off and now my time is up.  I guess you didn't need to know what was on my mind today.  We'll save it for another time.

Get out and ride!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Beach Vacation 2013

 We made the trip to Charleston SC for some family time at the beach.  The plan was to camp out but with 100% chance of rain in the forecast, we decided to spend the first night in a hotel.  We were glad we did when around 8pm the skies opened up and poured rain most of the night. 

After arriving at the coast, we found a Starbucks to get coffee and make out hotel reservation online.  Then we hit the beach.  There were a handful of surfers out and a few people walking.  We waded out into the water and played in the waves.   A little while later, we saw a news crew on the beach and ended up getting interview (channel 2).  I was not sure why, but later found out that we were swimming in Tropical Storm Andrea!   I was not daunted,  I'm from the mountains and there we race bikes in this stuff!  Because weekends don't wait for the sun!
 Friday morning we hit the aquarium.  The place was packed out and I did not have a blast.  Too many people in that place.  The wife and kid did though so I made the best of it. 
 The kid caught a turtle.
 Friday evening, we met up with Joel, Marsha and Olivia at the Sewee Restaurant for some seafood.  It was great to see Joel and fam, and to talk about bikes, trips and surfing.  He offered to loan me his longboard, but the timing didn't work out.  The kid and I did go to Wal-Fart and buy a couple of $12 boogie boards with proved to be the way to go.  The waves were choppy and inconsistent, but only being waist to shoulder deep,  I caught way more rides than I would have if I had been on a surfboard.  I'm still on the hunt for a cheap surfboard that I can call my own.  That way I'll have one when I need it!

After dinner, I took the fam out to see the Palmetto Trail Trailhead.  It was less than 1.5 yrs ago that I was here and started my trip.  I couldn't help but think about another one in the future, but currently, most of the first 50 miles would be under water. 
Beach Bums

 While I was playing in the waves, for a time totaling about 15 hrs over the 3.5 days,   it dawned on my why I overheat so easily.  My blood is made up of mostly saltwater.  I feel as much at home in the ocean as I do in the mountains, and the thought of a riptide pulling me out and causing a huge rescue, somehow got me a little bit excited.....  after all, the dolphins are our friends!
 The kid had his first boogie board experience and absolutely loved it.  I was stoked to see him pick up this sport and enjoy the ocean like I do! 
 The campsite:  We stayed at the KOA in Mt Pleasant.  Not a bad little kampground.   The first night was peaceful, the second, not so much.  We had a fire and smores and crawled into the tent at 9:30pm.  All was quiet until 15 minutes later the neighbors pulled up.  It sounded like there were 20 people.  There were 6.  That's how noisy they were.  They were thrilled to be here, get some beer, start a fire etc.  Loud and obnoxious.   My blood boiled.  I sat up and said in my "stern voice":  "  Just so you know, quiet time starts at 10pm".   They made a couple of comments but ended up, surprisingly, moving their get together to the next empty campsite, giving a more bearable distance between us.  Although they continued making rude comments, I opted to stay in the tent and not escalate the issue. 

We were finally able to get some good sleep. 
 Sunday we packed up and headed to the beach again before the drive home.  The wind had died down and I stayed in the water for 2.5 hrs, searching and waiting for the perfect wave.  While conditions on the grand scale were not that great,  I had a blast, and realized that my love for the ocean will never fade.   At the same time I have grown to love the mountains as well, and don't plan to leave anytime soon. 
Tired and content after lots of time in the water.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Fletcher Flyer 2013

It nice to be smiling as I cross the finish line!

I woke up late.  Rain was pouring down, pelting our metal roof.   Light was starting to filter through the storm clouds.  The coffee was brewed, and I got out of bed.   I pulled my John Deere mug out of the cabinet and sat in front of the computer, wasting time while I waited for my body to get in gear.  I pumped the tires and lubed with extra ProGold Extreme Lube. The original plan was to ride to the start about 10 miles up the road, but with the rain, I decided to drive.

I arrived at the start line with plenty of time to get ready.  I got changed and rolled to the start to wait.

I joined Chris Strout of Cane Creek Components at the front of the group and we rolled out together.  Chatting about life, family and stuff.  We got to the first climbs of the day, and I decided to back off the pace.  I had hoped for sub 5 hrs, but was not too sure considering the rainy day forecast.   So, I backed off.

I rode alone for a while, then was joined by a guy named Joe.  We rode together until just before the 1st rest stop where the next group reeled us in.  We didn't stop at the rest stop, but I rolled through the parking lot, greeting the folks there with a whoo hoo!  I remember seeing Drew Hager, Tom Van Devender, Kent Cranford of Motion Makers and Marty of ProBikes.  Sorry if I missed anyone.  I was on a mission to get back in with the group.  But since they stayed on the road, they were stopped by the stop light and I had a 200 yard gap on them.  I decided to go my pace and see if they caught up.  It took them a little while but they did.  I rode with them until the next rest stop, but it was a frustrating display of what happens when you get a group of 20 guys of all different fitness and skill ranges.  Lot's of surging and sketchy riding.  About 1 mile from the rest stop, I attacked a little so that I could get in and out.  2 others came with me, and I was refilled and ready to go in no time.

Once again, I rolled out alone, a nice steady eating pace, so I could chew and swallow my PB &J.   And then I was rolling through Brevard.  Over 40 miles down and still feeling good, but about 10 minutes off of a 5 hr pace.  I knew that with the right group, I would be able to bring 5 hrs back on target.  After I rolled through Brevard, I was reeled in by a group of 4.  They didn't say anything as they passed but I jumped in.  This looked like my ticket to the finish line.   We worked together well and got a rolling paceline going that ate up the miles.  At the next to last rest stop, I had to stop to eat.  My body needed some solid food.  We all stopped briefly and I grabbed some food.  They didn't wait long, and we left together, but they immediately picked up the pace, and I had a mouthful of food with more in my hand.  I let them go.

Bruce from Chainheart was with us and he held up a bit for me.  I got back with him as David went on up the road, and Walt and the other guy dangled in front of us.  Bruce mentioned that he was done, and I concurred.  I had not snap left, only endurance pace.   We rolled through the out and back, and joked about posing a sprint for the photogs.  As we were coming back, I started to feel nauseous, and slowed way down.  I mentioned that I needed a Coke and then quit talking.  I knew I could still finish, but did not know how long it would take and that was disheartening.  But there was nothing to do but pedal.  I made it to the Asheville On Bikes rest stop.  A girl took my bike and Matt Fusco poured some Coke for me.  I made a quick stop of it, with only 10 miles left to go.  Sipping on the Coke did not bring immediate returns, but over the next 15 minutes, I started sweating again.  Then I was able to maintain a steady pace.  About 1 mile from the finish, I was feeling quite  a bit better,  but held steady.  The sub 5 hr was about 10 minutes gone.   I rolled across the line with a time of 5h 16 m.  My ride time was 5h 12m.  Not too shabby.

The rain poured on and off for the first 80 miles, with drying conditions the last 20.

Blue Ridge Bicycle Club and all of the volunteers, including The Bicycle Dealers Assoc of WNC do an amazing job of running this ride and keeping everyone safe.  I hope to keep doing this ride yearly.  And one day, I hope to break the 5 hr mark.  But I know that I'll enjoy it either way!