Wednesday, January 30, 2008


It is pronounced NOON. It is an electrolyte replacement that does not have sugars or carbohydrates in it. It is a sports drink. It comes in little tablets like Alka Seltzer. Drop it in your water bottle, and voila, proper hydration. I'm going to try it out at the race this weekend. High is supposed to be 57 degrees. We'll see what happens.

I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of howling wind and 20 degree temps. I turned my alarm off and went back to sleep. That means time on the rollers when I got home. I hate the rollers. All that effort and I go nowhere. It will pay off in the long run though. Dilligence.

Dilligence pays off. That's what they say. How many times are we dilligent, only to learn that we are beating our head against the wall. Dilligence in moderation, I guess. Something to chew on.

Anyone ready for sping time? I am.

Have a great day.

I'd Rather Ride a Bike

Imagine, you are a medical worker, and you don't have a car. You have patients spread out all over the region that you need to reach. It will take you about 1 hour to walk 2 miles. Or, your city has just been demolished by a natural disaster. People are injured and need medical supplies. Motor vehicles are useless. It will take all day to walk across the city. Then you have to walk back for more supplies. Not a good scenario.

Now imagine that someone gives you a bicycle, equipped with a basket to carry supplies. Feel the wind on your face as you pedal 10 miles per hour. You can be across town, visit patients and be back for dinner. In addition to the bicycle, you are trained how to repair the machine that you will grow to love and rely on, so that when something needs adjusting, or a flat tire repaired, the bike isn't left leaning on the side of a building, rusting. It will be repaired, and used, and loved, and help in saving lives.

Now imagine that you can help save these lives. That is exactly what I imagine myself doing. That is why I have joined up with World Bicycle Relief.( click on the name to go to the web page). The cool thing is that each bicycle, including training, costs only $109.


"I am a Midwife. I look after 450 pregnant woman and then visit every house with children in the village, about 3000 people. I travel by bus and foot. Recieving a bicycle will help me tremendously. Currently I can visit about 10 houses per day. With the bicycle I can probably double that."

"In Zambia there are over 1,000,000 orphans and vulnerable children. Over 30,000 are born with HIV/AIDS. One out of five will not see their 5th birthday. Delivery of 26,000 bicycles over the next three years will make a difference. It is a time for hope, and a time for action."

Please consider donating, (these people are you neighbors after all), and saving a life.

Photos courtesy of: Leah Missbach Day

If you would like for a representative to come to your organization to speak about World Bicycle Relief, just let me know.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I had none yesterday. After a weekend including a long ride, cutting and chopping wood, and chasing the kid around, I had no power in my legs. All I could do was spin along. I was surprised however that I was not too much slower than when I am feeling good.

The second Snake Creek Gap Time Trial is this Saturday. High of 55 and sunny. Should be a good time. Hopefully I can shave some seconds. My downhill skills have improved a smidgen, and my fitness is good. I know better where to take it easy, where I can push it a little more, and where I should just pick up the bike and run.

Have a great day.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Who Needs a Gym...

...when you have a wood stove? I spent most of the day Saturday cutting firewood. A guy let me on his land and asked me to cut down some dead trees. Yeehaw!!! I have never cut down a tree before, but I have seen it done before, so I figured I was good to go. And I read about it on the internet. I cut 4 of them down, 12 inch diameter and about 30 feet tall. That's a lot of wood. I'm getting to the halfway point of having enough for next year. I like to go ahead and start gathering it now, so that the wood will be really dry when it comes time to burn.

Sunday, I took my normal Sunday Bent Creek loop. I had originally planned to ride up to Craggy Gardens on the road bike since the high was supposed to be 50 degrees. Factor in 15 mph wind and it feels like 35 degrees. I rode about 1 mile down the road, turned around, came home and got my mtn bike. Off to Bent Creek, via the Parkway-Hardtimes Rd.- paved road to Rice Pinnacle-towards North Boundary rd-take a left to stay on the dirt road that goes below Ingles Field- Right on Bent Creek Gap Rd-left on South Ridge Rd- Hardtimes to the Arboretum- back home on the Parkway=2.52hrs, 38 miles.

As I passed the sawmill on the way home, I noticed the huge log that had been sitting there for a month had been chainsawed into 2 foot sections. The log was about 3 feet in diameter. I couldn't let that go, so I took 30 more minutes of cross training, split the huge chunks in to big chunks, threw them in the truck and stacked them in the yard. That's a lot of work.

And lastly, these Daffodils are as excited about spring as I am:


The Snowstorms that we have had this year, combined with consistently cold temperatures, have thrown WNC mountain bikers for a loop. The trails are in a thawing freeing cycle that leaves them too muddy to ride, lest they be destroyed. Some are traveling to dryer places, some hit the road. I have toyed with the idea of road riding. I usually still ride the mtn bike and stay on the dirt roads. Bent Creek has some great dirt roads that are very family friendly. And also great for a good fast spin that really helps fitness.

Have a nice ride.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


After getting excited about upping my mileage last week, I didn't break 100 miles for the week again. I decided the pain and freezing of riding when it is 12 degrees is not worth it. And hey, I still get paid if I don't ride my bike. Last night was a workout on the rollers again, more sweat, and lactic acid.

The workout is downloaded on my mp3 player. There is rock and roll music and some dude telling me to " come on, give it a little more", " 1 more minute". And my response is, "whatever dude". I would even say it to his face. If I had a coach, it would have to be someone special to put up with my antics.

This is though, the most fun I have had being torturing myself on stationary rollers. Even more fun would be one of the roller races that are held:

I got a new hat yesterday. It is a cycling cap. Instead of the old style cotton fabric, which are very comfortable if it is not too cold, this one is made of a rip stop nylon windbreaker material:

I put it on, in fact I have it on now. Then as I was sitting in my chair, watching tv, for some reason I smelled the hat. Hmmmm, it has a sort of sweet, herb like ( if you know what I mean) smell. I wonder where it was made? I looked at the tag, Columbia. And I'm sure it is not Columbia SC. Well, it could be incense.....

Have a great day

Friday, January 25, 2008

Everything Went Wrong

I got the the 24 hr race early, set up my tent and pit stop in perfect spot for quick stops. Also it was on a high spot in case of rain. The sky was sunny, the air was warm. I hop in the car to run to the store for last minute supplies. Then it all goes down the drain. While I am gone the storm clouds roll in, the sky grows dark, and the rain falls. Lightning lights up the sky as I park and head to my pits. The only thing is, my pits are not there. The caterer has set up tables and chairs for 500 right where my stuff was.

Where is my stuff? No one know, so I wander around looking for it. 500 people in the muddy field getting ready to race. I don't have my rain gear on and am soaked to the bone. I finally find my tent, laying on the ground, crumpled up. The horn blows, the race starts. Where are my shoes? My helmet? I can't find anything. I can't find my nutrition. Anything. The race started without me. I spend the night looking for my stuff. I can't believe this is happening. I don't even complete one lap.

The next morning, the sun finally comes out. Bright and shiny.

I wake up, safe and warm in my bed.

It was all a dream, a very vivid dream.

Have a great day.


I pulled up to the free wood section at the local sawmill and saw that there were about 20 maple logs, 15-20 feet long. I also saw some dude there with a huge pickup truck and a huge trailer that I could fit my little pickup truck in. I rolled down my window and asked him if he was going to take all that wood. It was obvious that he was planning on it, but I asked anyway. He paused for a moment and said, " No, come get some". I didn't have my chainsaw with me so I told him I had to run home and get it. I said" I'll be right back".

Minutes later I was back and ready to wrestle some wood. I picked a small 15 foot log and started cutting. I cut it into pieces and threw it into the back of my truck. Meanwhile Abdul, that is the guy's name, is telling me that he retires in one year. And that he works manual labor and this work is nothing for him. Then he says, " Hey listen, I'll cut a bunch of wood for you". I guess he felt sorry for me as my chainsaw was half as big as his. ( there seems to be a theme here). I said the obligatory, " Really? Are you sure?" He said", Yeah man, you coming back here is a blessing to me. It helps me know that I am not being greedy. See, I can help you get a load of wood, and still have plenty for me". Wow, this is cool. So, we load up my little truck with a little load of wood.
Seeing that there is still more left, he starts cutting for himself again. I decide to start grabbing logs and throw them on his trailer. Before we know it, there is nothing left. We knocked out that pile of wood in no time.
A little team work goes a long way. Two people trying to help their neighbor.

Who are you going to help today?

Have a great day.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


It's snowing again, sort of. Nothing heavy, but pretty nonetheless. The ridge line is covered in thick grey clouds. I am sure it is snowing up there, we are getting flurries. It is definitely cold enough.

Tonight's ride should be fun, cold fun, stone cold fun. I plan on ramping up my Thursday night training to be less social, and more race pace. Whatever that means. Race pace for me is different than race pace for someone else. I want to ride fast and steady, not fast enough that I feel that I will puke, but fast enough to feel I like I went fast enough at the end of the ride.

Training and having a family is difficult. If training was my full time job, I would be more serious about it. But for now, my family is first, then work- it pays the bills- then training. On that note, I have decided, for now, to postpone the 70 mile ride that I talked about earlier. My temptation is to do too much too soon. And while I believe that I am capable of riding that distance now, I'm going to wait.

I have another Snake Creek Gap TT in 1 week. I think that I will do the long ride two weeks after that. This will give me enough time to recover between the time trials, as the 3rd one is at the end of February. Until then, I will continue to do my 40-50 milers on Sunday afternoon, riding from my house. That leaves all day Saturday to hang out with my family.

So, anyone up for a fast ride tonight?

Have a great day, and do something nice for your neighbor ( either the one next door, the one down the road, in the next office, etc)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Good Morning

It's amazing that 35 degrees feels warm. Several weeks ago ( months?) when the temps dropped to 35 it was cold. Now? It feels warm. It looks like the weather will be in the warm 30's and 40's for the next week. I'm hoping to start upping my mileage as the days get longer. not much, but 30-40 miles per week would be helpful.

I'm feeling good about my laid back training though. Felling strong. I ran the data from my ride on Monday and I climbed around 4500 ft in 37 miles. The Cohutta 100 climbs 14,000ft in 100 miles, so the elevation was comparable.

One Saturday soon I am going to do a long gravel rd training ride. I'll leave from my house, go through Bent Creek, up to the Parkway. Then down Wash Creek Rd, right on Yellow Gap Rd, to hey 276 and back. That will give me 70 miles total. I'm not sure what the elevation gained will be but the terrain is similar to the Cohutta.

There are a lot more challenging routes that I could take. I will be passing most of the classic singletrack trails in Pisgah on this route. But, I am going after specific training. Distance at a steady speed on dirt roads. That is the name of the game. I'm hoping that I will end up with an average of 10-11 mph. If anyone wants to come along, let me know.

Have a great day.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday's Ride

37.5 miles. I left the house around 11 am. After becoming increasingly ansty, waiting for the temps to hit 28 degrees, I went outside and decided to go ahead and ride. I didn't want to leave too late, and then in turn get back home late.

It was 17 degrees when I left, but the wind was light and the sun was shining. I managed to layer properly and was able to control my temps by zipping and unzipping my shell.

The ride on the parkway is always seems to take a while. It is a great warm up though. Eight miles of pavement on a single speed is not ideal. But, there are three hills that I try to push hard on, so, there is one benefeit of riding to Bent Creek. Once to Bent Creek, I rode up Hardtimes Rd. The plan was to stay on the dirt roads, thinking that the trails, if thawed would be muddy. I did venture onto a trail at one point. I did not need to worry as everything was frozen solid. Riding around the roads, I took in the beautiful sight of the snow all over the hills, and the bare trees standing quietly. South Ridge Rd had the most snow as it is in the shade most of the day. A vehicle of some sort had driven through, probably yesterday, leaving a packed 8 inch wide trail that I could cruise on. This allowed me to keep up a good spin, without getting bogged down in the snow.

I passed 3 mountain unicyclists. We chatted for a couple of seconds before I headed on, my tires crunching on the snow, and the sunlight glistening. What a great ride, I was thinking to myself. And not too cold. A mechanical would have been cold though. I got back out to the Arboretum and turned onto the Parkway access rd. Up until now, I had been comfortable. Then, a cold blast of wind hit me dead on. Owww! If this keeps up I'm going to be frozen when I get home. I turned onto the parkway, and the wind turned into a tail wind, eventually dying out. The trees on the parkway do a great job of sheltering the wind.

The parkway was closed, so I was able to cruise without worrying about getting creamed by tourists from FLA of USA.

I got home, changed , got Jubal up from his nap. We went to the park and played tackle soccer. Fun Stuff!!!!

MLK Jr Day

I get off today: MLK Jr Day. I'm hoping that it will get warm enough, and I will convince myself to pry away from the comforting warmth of my wood stove to go for a ride. It is 8 degrees as I write this, so a ride does not sound very appealing.

Last night I read an abridged version of Oliver Twist to Jubal. I wonder how many people read that book thinking what a nice story it is, without realising that it represents a real situation for real people in this world. Even people in your town.

What are you doing to cintribute to your society?

Have a great day.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

30 Degrees in the Shade

High of 30 forecast for Asheville today. Hopefully it will get up to 35 so I won't freeze on my ride.

We ended up getting some snow yesterday, not much though. I spent the day with my family. 30 minutes on the rollers with iCycle. Put some puzzles together, chopped wood. Chased Jubal around the yard.

I was thinking about criticism. Why are we critical? It seems that we are critical of things when they are not as we would want them to be. If the person in front of me is driving slower than I am, I am critical of their driving, without thinking that there might be a reason for them to be driving too slow.
Sometimes criticism is good. Constructive criticism. This is usually preceded by some compliments and intended to build a person up, to explain how to do something better, or achieve a higher goal. More like advice.

Plain old criticism can become a bad habit. You can get to a place in life where nothing measures up to your standards.

Criticism is often times unneeded, and it would benefit us as a person to take a deep breathe and relax.

Have a great day.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Like a sucker, I believed the weather forecast, and now am disappointed that there is not 3-4 inches of snow. Waaaaah!!!

We did get to sleep until 8am though. I feel very rested. I rode on the rollers last night. 30 minutes of sprints. Yowzah!!!

Some friends invited me to go mtn biking this morning. I opted to spend time with my family. Good choice. It looks like it is raining where they are riding.

So, not sure what the day will bring. Kinda nice not having any plans. Just meander through the day. Which is fine with me.

Have a great day.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thinking on Friday Morning

Thinking on a Friday morning can be different than thinking on a Monday morning. Think about that. It is Friday after all.

I've been thinking about nature lately and how she sometimes mandates that we stay inside and rest. Like Wednesday morning for instance. It was way too cold for me to be out, but being stubborn and feeling like I need the miles on the bike, I went out. And last night, I rode in 3 inches of melting slush, which I did not enjoy at all. I knew both times that I should not have ridden but I did. Sometimes I just don't feel like it and have no reason, other times I really don't feel like it and have a reason. The latter, I am learning, is when I need to stay home.

A person cannot go 100% all the time. ( and it is quite impossible to go more than 100% at any one time). We are designed to need rest, to slow down. And it will be ok. I get caught up in feeling like if I am not riding 5 days a week, then I won't be able to be competitive. But, I have come to realise that rest can also help one function better. A delicate balance that I will continue to struggle with , and will change constantly depending on weather, life stress, illness, etc.

So, with the forecast this morning of freezing temps, and ice on the road, I decided to let my body decide if I was riding to work. I didn't set my alarm. That was the test, plain and simple. The results? I didn't wake up until 7:30am. Too late to ride. Maybe I'll get to ride tomorrow.

Rest is good.

Have a great day.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tomicog Review

I got my Tomicog. I was super excited to get out and try it. It is a cog that mounts on the rear wheel of a mtn bike. It creates a fixed gear for you. Again, I was super excited about something new and different. I'm not so excited anymore. The cog did what it is supposed to do, and it is great quality. It just isn't my thing.

I am selling it, if you think it might be your thing. I'll sell it at a discount if you want it, let me know. It just might be your thing. Not my thing though. Too bad. Could have been fun.

Have a great day.

More Snow

Our Christmas tree from 3 yrs ago.
Our fence.

The forecast was for snow. It looks like we got 2-3 inches. Sweet.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


That's what I felt last night when I was trying to get the tailgate on my pick-up to open. Then it opened, right into my thumb, jamming it and twisting it in a way that it isn't supposed to be twisted. After pulling on it, holding it, and dancing around my driveway, I assessed that it wasn't broken. I then took a couple of deep breaths toe insure that I was not going to pass out. I haven't hurt that bad in a long time.

Today's weather: Winter storm warning. As far as I can tell it is sunny and cold. Too cold for a bike ride, that's for sure. 20 degrees left me with icicles hanging from my goatee. I think 27 degrees is the limit for riding my bike. Any colder than that is idiocy. For me anyway. That means that the Iditabike is out of the question. They only have one spot left anyway.

I hope this winter storm hits hard and I can curl up on the couch tomorrow morning with my hot wife and cool kid, watching the snow fall and feeling the heat radiate from our wood stove.

Have a great day

Monday, January 14, 2008

1-13-08 Map and Profile

Two of the roads are not on TOPO so I attempted to create them. I came up 4 miles short but close enough: Approx 6500 ft of climbing...

I Fixed It

My Tomicog came in the mail today. I now own a fixed gear single speed mtn bike. "Why?" you ask? "Because I can." I answer. Something new, different, it doesn't make sense, so don't try to make it. Just enjoy the ride. I'll let you know how it goes. It might be for sale soon.

Have a great day.

Round Two

I met up with Jeremy again on Sunday afternoon to go round two with the Goat Ride that we had attempted on New Year's Day. This time it was just us. The only thing that would hold us back would be my lack of downhill skills. ( Thanks Jeremy for waiting for me).

We left the parking area around 1:30pm. With the sun setting at 5:30 ish, we had about 5 hrs of light left. We ended up riding into the night.

Up Yellow Gap Rd, up Laurel Mtn. The forecast was a 40% chance of rain. We had both looked at the weather radar and it looked like the rain had passed. Half way up Laurel, it didn't rain, but started snowing. By the time we got to Pilot Rock trail, it was sunny again, with clouds roiling around the mountains all around. The temperature felt like it was around 30. It was probably a little cooler.

I have done Pilot Rock trail 2 times this year, in fact 2 times my whole life. This is the most intimidating trail that I have ever ridden. I really have to focus and stay relaxed. Hanging off of the back of the seat most of the time. Arms burning, brain screaming, breathe, relax, hit the brakes. I plan on doing this ride more. I know that I lack technical skills, and I know that it is because I don't ride technical trails much.

Down to the forest service rd, we turn right, then take a left on another rd. This is new territory for me. Left up Frying Pan mtn Rd? Not sure, but I am sure that we went up, and Jeremy was pushing a fast pace. After Saturday's ride, I wanted to relax, but at the same time was glad that Jeremy was pushing, that way we wouldn't be out too late. And it started raining, I'm sure that back up on Laurel it was snowing, but we were at a lower elevation now, so it was raining.

By the time we got to Horse Cove, it had stopped raining, then it started to clear. With fog gathering in the valley below us, we could see patches of blue sky overhead. The trail was slippery from the rain covered leaves hiding roots and rocks. It was a delicate balance of riding 2 inches from the edge and a long tumble in order to avoid being thrown over the edge by the wet roots.

We took Squirrel Gap to Laurel Creek. It was now starting to get dark. We had prepared well and brought lights, but didn't want to take the time to put them on yet. Towards the end of Laurel Creek, Jeremy said" I forgot to tell you something and you are going to hate me for it". We had come to a knee deep creek crossing. Very cold. I only hated for a second.

By this time we are both tired and ready to be done. We are cold and hungry. We set a medium pace up the last dirt road, as the sun sets and darkness finally closes around us. We wonder how many other people, out of all the people who live in the area, get to see the sunset while out on a bike ride. About 4 miles up to Yellow Gap. We use the light of the moon to guide us. On a downhill I hit something in the road, my rear wheel kicks out like a bucking bronco. I manage to stay upright, and we keep spinning the cranks. We stop for a minute about 1 mile from the top. I take the opportunity to mount my light, we'll need it for the descent on Yellow Gap Rd. I then realize that I brought the mount for a larger diameter handle bar, so the light is loose.

On up to Yellow Gap, we give ourselves a small cheer. And hit the downhill dirt rd. I hit the first washboard at full speed, my light loosens and points straight up, into my face, I see nothing but a bright light, ( is it the light at the end of the tunnel? ) I decide not to give up this life just yet. I hit the brakes, Jeremy who is behind me, almost runs over me, he laughs. A minor adjustment to make sure this doesn't happen again. Down, down, down, following the beam of light, like a moth to a flame.

We arrive to the vehicle about 6:45pm. Great ride, I'm tired, let's do it again!!!

Have a great day.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Soybeans and Cottonfields

I made the trek down to Shelby, NC yesterday to go for a ride with my friends Mike Keeley and Roger Ivestor. These two guys really inspired me back in the day, when I was going through tough times. They taught me not by talking but by living their lives. They are some of the most positive people I know. Rarely critical, and if they are critical they are attempting to find a solution to the issue at hand. I respect that.
I got to Mike's house right at 9am and we left about 15 minutes later. We rode out past PPG to meet Roger who lives in Boiling Springs. Out the time trial rd, I had flashbacks of when I first moved to Shelby. I used to show up at the group rides scared. I knew that I was going to get dropped again. And get lost. Hopefully I would be able to find another farmer to ask directions of.
One time as we were riding along, hammering rather, ( Hammering: riding at a very fast pace), I heard the guys talking: " Why are we riding so fast?". The response:" We are trying to drop Stephen!!!". ( Drop: to ride so fast that the individual cannot keep up.) That day they did drop me. It took me 6 months until I was finally able to keep up for the entire 40-60 mile ride. Then I started sprinting with the guys, and taking longer turns pulling ( pulling: leading the group and allowing them to rest in your draft).
We rode along, yesterday, discussing anything from synthetic oil, to seat posts, to single speed mtn bike racing. Rolling through cotton fields, soybean fields, and farmland. There was hardly any traffic, and the weather was great. The hills that used to make me slow down and crawl up, I was able to tame with nary a thought. We had some headwind, I had forgotten about headwinds since moving to the mountains. I mentioned it to Mike and he informed me that this was not really that bad!!
We rode through Ellenboro and Lattimore. Mike decided to get competitive and started sprinting. Mike is a sprinter, Roger and I are climbers. Needless to say, Mike won most of the sprints. We stopped at Ambassador College for some coffee, then headed back to Mike's.
It was a great day of riding. We logged 44 miles. I came home and entered the information for the elevation chart and found that we had climbed a total of 919 feet. That blew my mind. I get that much climbing on my 14 mile work ride!!!!
Mike, Roger, thanks for the ride, the laughs and the positive attitudes.
Have a great day.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Goin' East

Today I'm going to Shelby. We used to live in Shelby. Shelby is where I learned to ride my There is a great group of cyclists there who challenged me. Once they said that if I could lose 5 lbs I would ride faster. So I started riding more. I gained 5 lbs.... of muscle. But I still rode faster.

I'm going down to meet up with Mike, Todd and Roger. Their rides usually involve a coffee shop. Good stuff.

After Shelby, I'm driving past my house, to Johnson City to meet Rhonda and Jubal, their ride from Ohio will be meeting me there. Yahoo, I get my family back.

Have a great day

Friday, January 11, 2008

Feeling Friday

There was a cat fight on my porch last night. My dog, Texas, went crazy. Those are some of the weirdest noises that I have heard.

My heart is heavy this week. A man was arrested and charged with kidnapping and murdering a hiker in Georgia. He is possibly linked to a killing in Florida and possibly the killings/ kidnapping of couple here in Pisgah National Forest.

Several forums are discussing what can be done about these types of situations. Should one carry a firearm? Should one not go into the forest if they don't feel safe? And a multitude of other questions and opinions.

There are times that I do not feel safe in the woods, out there alone, riding my bike around. But I am not going to stop going out, just in case something bad happens. That would be silly. I still ride my bike to work. There is a greater chance of me getting hit and killed on the street, than there is of my being abducted and murdered in the woods. There is supposedly a greater chance of being mugged walking around downtown than there is of being assaulted in the woods. ( although in my case, I have been threatened more times in the forest than on the streets. Not counting the time that some dude in Little Five Points in Atlanta, told me he was Superman and to get out of his face or he would rip me to pieces. I kept walking).

My point is that I am not going to stop going into the forest, alone, just because there is a chance that something might happen. I think that unfortunate things happen everywhere. I also think that positive can come out of the negative. So, should we encourage the negative so that positive can flourish? By all means no. But we should continue to love our neighbor. Continue to reach out to those who are in need. Continue to show compassion in the multitude of ways that compassion can be shown. Continue to forgive. I read this morning a story of forgiveness that is amazing. Chew on that.

Have a great day.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Feeling Good

My legs are really feeling good on the bike these days. The last couple of weeks of December I had thoughts of taking another break, I was feeling sluggish on rides, and even sometimes wishing I was at home sleeping.

But, this week I am feeling good. My legs feel a little peppy, and I'm enjoying the ride. I think a lot has to do with getting home while it is still light. It is barely light, but cold, dark rides home are not the most fun I ever had, even though I am still on a bike. Last night I was able to take my favorite route home. It consists of some backroads going through the campus and cow fields of Warren Wilson College. But, I also have to ride and cross a very busy and congested section of hwy 70. So, I don't do it when it is dark.

This warm weather has helped too. Today it is supposed to rain, but I might still be able to get my Bent Creek ride in, due to the warmth. If it is cold and rainy, I usually don't ride. I get too cold too quickly and would wind up a human popsicle for some bear to lick on. But, riding in the warm rain is so much fun. Jubal loves it when I come home muddy too.

What can you do today to make the world a better place? Or just your neighborhood?

Have a great day

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Rhonda and Jubal leave today to go to Ohio , to visit her grandmother. Her dad came to Asheville to pick here up. They will return on Saturday.

That leaves me here, alone, in this cold house, hungry, lonely, sad.

I'm starting a food tree for me, so if you would like to sign up, let me know. You can also send gift cards to restaurants.

Usually when my family leaves I do a large sized house project. I get a lot more done without having the little rug rat running around "helping". But we are in super saving mode, trying to store up our meager earnings. The plan is to start a search for a newer vehicle. Our '97 Honda Accord has 260,000 miles and our '91 Ford Ranger has 108,000. We have been blessed and both run well, but it is time.
The funny thing is, I have never paid more than $1200 for a vehicle my whole life. And that was for a VW Vanagon. Anyone know of any good deals on nearly new vehicles?

Have a great day

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Big Mac and Five Bucks

Last night was girls night out. That left Jubal and me to fend for ourselves. Jubal said he wanted a hot dog, and wanted to go to McDonald's. We ended up at McDonald's. ( Who is Mc Donald anyway, didn't he have a farm? That must be where he gets all that good meat for those big juicy burgers). So, I got my Bic Mac fix, found a five dollar bill, Jubal got his 4 pc Chicken Mc Nuggets of which he only ate two, got his little robot toy, and played in the play place ( I wonder what kind of nasty germs he picked up there). Every once in a while Jubal would look at me and say" Mc Donald's is nasty". I taught him that. After I would agree, he would say' Naw, just jokin'". He doesn't quite believe how disgusting it really is. He'll understand as he gets older.

Remember the drafty cold hotel room? It is at the Days Inn in Dalton GA. Don't stay in room 121. I finally got in touch with the manager. We had a nice chat. Since we will be going back to Dalton for 2 more races, I let him know that I would like to stay at his hotel, it was very clean and spacious, but I didn't want to be cold all night. He said he understood and that he would give me a discounted price on my future stay. The funny thing is he quoted me $1 more than the price I paid!!! So we went back and forth, me talking him down, comparing his price to a hotel up the road. I told him I would call him back. He then asked me how much I wanted to pay. Ooh, good question. I gave him a price, he countered and I agreed. I ended up getting two nights for the price of one. YEAH!!!!

Have a great day

Monday, January 07, 2008

42 degrees?

If the forecast is a low of 42 degrees, don't believe it. That's what it was supposed to be last night. I thought it was a bit chilly when I let the dog out this morning. I thought it was a bit chilly as I was riding down the hill out of my neighborhood. I should have checked the weather, or even looked at the thermometer on my porch. But, I didn't, and I suffered. I dressed for 42 degrees, and it is closer to 32 degrees. I'm just now thawing out, 1 hr after I got here. Yeowww!!!

We took a leisurely 8 mile family ride at Bent Creek yesterday. The lake out there is frozen over with about half an inch of ice.

The legs are feeling good, planning on pushing a little harder at the next round of Snake Creek Gap. 2-3 people who finished with faster times were only seconds in front of me. I have a month to think how to shave seconds!!!

Have a great day.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

This Just In...

34 mile single speed results:
7th out of 24,
I also placed ahead of the majority of geared bikes!!!
I'm stoked. Glory to God.

The Snake

The Snake Creek Gap TT Race Report:

We had a really great trip. We left Asheville around 5 pm and got to Dalton around 9 pm. It was a very long drive that seemed to go on forever. We took 40 to Knoxville then 75 south. Coming home we took 64 east from Cleveland, passing the Ocoee and Nantahala rivers. This way seemed to go by quicker, I'll have to Google maps it and see.

We stayed at a Days Inn that is being remodeled and was already looking very nice. Apparently they have not replaced the doors yet, as ours had draft all the way around the edges. Fortunately I had some electrical tape and I taped it. We didn't want to switch rooms because we didn't realise the problem until we were on our way to bed. The heater almost caught up to the cold but not quite.

After the obligatory night of restless sleep, we got up and headed to the free breakfast. A bagel from the bar and some french press Starbucks coffee that I brought.

This race is cool because registration goes until 10 am. So we didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn. We ate, packed, I pumped the tires up , and we loaded up and headed to the mayhem of registration.

There were people everywhere, bikes everywhere. I make my way to registration, sign the waiver, get my goody bag, and get out of there. We then beat the crowd and head to the start, about 30 minutes drive into the country. We are the first to arrive and I take my time getting ready while Jubal and Rhonda go pet some horses.

The shuttles and trailer arrive with the racers and bikes. By 10:30am the organizers yell that we can begin the start process, and please come to the start line. We line up four across, and they send us off in waves of 4 racers, about 1 minute apart.

We tell the starter our last name, which she writes beside our number, she counts down," 5-4-3-2-1". And I'm off like a tightly wound spring being let loose. Hopefully the spring will stay springy.

The first couple of miles is dirt road. Around mile 4 we come to some single track and some uphill. After that, I don't remember details. The trail was a great combination of smooth single track, dirt road, steep, and very technical single track. The route winds up and over 4 (?) major ridges before reaching the end. Some of the time is spent climbing to the ridge top, then riding along the ridge, then dropping down the other side into the valley. 4 times.

The first 17 was fast and flowy, some steeps sections but nothing very technical. Halfway down the trail to the bottom of the valley that holds the mid-point SAG stop, I let out a whoop to let my SAG ( Supply And Gear) Team know to be ready.

He looks ready...

She looks ready...

After a quick stop, some energy shake, and fresh water bottles, I'm off. This section is supposed to get harder and more technical. It starts off with a long, fairly steep uphill climb. It was definitely worth stopping to refuel, because, no there is not time. At some point, we cross a creek and come out onto a dirt road for a mile or two. Next time, I'll remember to spend a lot of time eating and drinking here. We come to a spot where people are directing us into the woods. My average the first ten miles was 10mph, it is now around 9.5 mph, in the next 8 miles to the finish it will drop to 8.6 mph.
I ask the people what the mileage is, and they say 8 miles to go. This is the toughest 8 miles of trail I have ever ridden. The trail consists of short steep ups and downs and rocks of all sizes strewn everywhere. It is difficult to describe. Picture a dump truck with large rocks the size of a truck tire, rocks the size of soccer balls, rocks the size of softball, baseballs, goat heads, chicken heads. All distorted in different shapes with the sharp edges sticking up. The dump truck drives along the trail and covers the trail with these rocks. That's the last eight miles. I saw everyone walking sections. My arms hurt in places that I didn't know they could hurt. A guy passed me and said at the 4 mile mark, it is all down hill. Don't ever listen to anyone who says it is all downhill. It never is. I pass, I get passed. I pass a guy with a bloody face, I pass people with flats, I get passed by several fast riders, one chic. We finally come to the water tower on top of the ridge. The lady tells me it is 2 miles of downhill from here. I believe her because I can see the road drop. The dirt road dumps onto the paved road. 39mph down the paved road to the convention center and the finish.

My SAG team is there ringing bells and yelling.

I'm not sure what my total time is I'll let you know when the results are posted. My riding time is 3h55m, but then I have to add in the short stops and the hike-a-bikes. I'm thinking 4.5 hours.

Great race, great people,

Have a great day

Friday, January 04, 2008

One More Day....

until the first race of the season. I get to this point, and I am so excited, that I am already having stomach issues, butterflies, etc. My heart beats fast as I get a burst of adrenaline just thinking about the race.

A lot of races start around 6-7am. This one starts somewhere around 9 am. And the hotel we are splurging to stay in is 5 minutes from the registration/ finish line, and only about 30 minutes from the start. This means I will be able to sleep until a normal time and eat a normal breakfast. I really have trouble eating a decent breakfast at 5 am.

It is supposed to be 32 at 6 am tomorrow in Dalton, with a high of 52. I packed 3 different sets of clothes with multiple layering options. You just never know.

Rhonda and Jubal come along with me. They are a huge support, cheering me on, handing me fresh water bottles, and cheering me on. Jubal loves to ring his cowbell for me.

I race and train on a Bianchi WUSS. It stands for White Ugly Single Speed. It is sweet. It only has one gear. Why? I like to try new and different things. It really is a lot of fun too. I never have to worry about adjusting the shifter or any of that. Most races have a single speed class of their own now too. Try it sometime.

Race report later this weekend.

Have a great day.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I Can't Get No Resolution

You may have noticed that I did not post my new year's resolutions. Then again, maybe you didn't notice. I didn't post any, because I don't have any. (the crowd gasps). No resolutions? How could you? I could because I don't believe in them. I don't believe they work. Not in and of themselves anyway. One year is a large chunk of time, and a large goal. Too large for a lot of people to swallow, myself included. That is why resolution are often broken. A couple of weeks pass, or months, and there is still such a long time to go to reach the goal. Then distraction sets in, and one gets off track. And, before you know it, boom, no more resolve.

Let me propose the daily resolution. Pare down your resolution, your goal, to daily or even weekly, but for the first month, no longer than that. For instance: If your goal is to exercise daily for a year. Simply say, I am going to exercise today. Then do it again tomorrow, and the next day. Then suddenly, after 5 days, you have achieved 5 goals. That is so good for the self-esteem. After all, goals are meant to be achievable, and realistic.

Try it, let me know how it works.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Blizzard of '08

Ahh, another day off. This is what we woke up to this morning. The forecasters finally got it right!!!! So, I am drinking coffee, Rhonda is making pancakes and bacon. I hope she will share with me, yum.

No bike riding today, I'll probably take the next 2-3 days off. We leave on Friday for my first race of the year. The Snake Creek Gap TT in Dalton GA. ( carpet capital of the world). This race will consist of 34 miles of singletrack, narrow trail about 1-2 feet wide. I'm looking forward to riding somewhere new, meeting new people, and challenging myself.

Have a great day

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Ride

Jeremy Arnold, organizer of the ride, feeling frisky.

The big ride turned out not to be so big, but I am definitely tired and made it home in time for a nap before the little kid woke up.

We had a 9am start which was great for me. There is also a "winter storm warning" for the area. So, keeping an eye on the sky, 8 of us headed out from the Mills River bridge. We had spent the time getting ready in the parking lot, shivering. It was cold. The first 3 miles was a climb up to Yellow Gap. Several people had over dressed and had to stop to shed layers. It was good to be warm again

We got to the top, and started down the other side of the mtn. The plan was to take a right up Laurel Mtn trail. Everyone did this except the really good rider from Greenville, SC. I don't remember his name, I'll call him Greenville. Chris went after him but did not find him. We started up the trail and left an arrow for Greenville. He ended up catching us in a couple of miles. Laurel Mtn is a classic trail, somewhat technical , mostly steady uphill, meandering up the mtn, just below the ridge line. And then you get to a killer hike-a-bike. It is best to carry the bike and take your time here. This kept us in the sun and out of the wind most of the time. We could tell how cold it really was when we got to a gap and the wind blew through.

We stopped several times to regroup, and to re-fuel. At the top, we descended Pilot Rock/Cove. I'm not sure if the trail names are right, but they were all legal. We descended back into the valley via the Pilot Rock overlook. This is a beautiful overlook where the only development to be seen is the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Down the steepness of Pilot and back to Yellow Gap Rd. Technically we are halfway through our ride, but due to stopping so much, we are concerned about having enough daylight to finish the ride. Jeremy did plan well though as we were about 5 miles from the cars on this rd. We talked about what to do, threw around ideas, and finally, reluctantly, I decided that it was in my best interest to head on home. Apparently the rest of the group had reasons for going home too. So we took off up Yellow Gap rd. I took the opportunity to try to keep up with Greenville for some uphill workout. Up and over Yellow Gap, down hill 3 miles to the parking lot. Change clothes, say my goodbyes, and head home. Approx 23 miles, with 5000' of climbing.

The best part comes next. Fresh, homemade fettuccine Alfredo, and homemade french bread!!

Happy New Year

I'm going to ring in the new year with an epic mtn bike ride. I'm joining some friends for a ride in Pisgah. With the winter storm blowing in, it should be interesting. I'll post the story later.