Thursday, July 31, 2008


OK, I've seen slugs before, but not slugs that look like little snakes. And I almost stepped on this one this morning!!! Six inches long? Colors of a copperhead? That is not what a person needs to see first thing in the morning. Just stay out of my garden or it is gonna be a slug-fest!!!!

Off to the permit office so I can delay working on my roof for another couple of months!!!

Have a great day.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Already Wednesday

It's Wednesday already. I have been trying to sort through my feelings of utter disappointment and discouragement. I have ridden ORAMM 3 times now, and every year gets worse. The first year, I had been on a single speed for 6 months, and had only been riding road before that. I finished in 7.5 hours and felt fine, tired, but fine enough to eat. Last year, I finished in 8.5 hrs on the single speed, and did not feel good enough to eat at the end. This year, I did not finish and wound up in the hospital.

What am I doing different? I know that the first year, it rained all morning and was quite a bit cooler. I think that that is what is different, the past two years have been much hotter.

I have two friends who ride a lot, one is a nutritionist. They both have mentioned that I have an electrolyte/fluid imbalance. The nutritionist has agreed to work with me to figure out what is going on. I look forward to working this out and enjoying the ride!!!

On the project front, I consulted a contractor about my deck roof. He came to check it out, gave me some pointers and told me to go for it. So, I drew up some plans and tomorrow I will be at the Asheville Public Works Bldg, applying for a permit. I really hope that it goes smoothly, but somehow I know that it won't.

Have a great day.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I did not finish again. I succumbed to heat exhaustion at mile 60 of the 64 mile route. I barfed and had to be treated. So, frustrated and discouraged right now. One more thing to add to my plate. I did everything that I know to do, drank lots of NUUN, ( which still rocks) drank water from my Camelbak, ate enough calories. From what I understand though, when heat related illness kicks in, the body does not digest nearly fast enough to keep up.
I'm strongly considering not going to the Fool's Gold 100. If I do go, I will only attempt the 50 miler. It gets hot in GA in August. I guess I will have to do my distance races in cooler temperatures.
At lest Jubal had some fun!!!!

PS: I am now in debt. If anyone has some any part time/ temporary work to offer let me know, I am for hire!!!!
Have a great day.
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Friday, July 25, 2008

2 More Days To ORAMM

65 miles, 11,000 ft of climbing.
I am getting pretty dad gum excited. This route is an epic route and a very scenic one to boot.

Yesterday I did one loop on Kistuma, opting to ride up the easier Old 70. I actually practiced riding slowly, listening to my body, maintaining a high cadence, rather than maintaining an average speed. I think riding like this in the race will really help with pacing for the long haul. If I can contain my self for the first 20 miles, I think I will do really well. I think this is the first time that I am going into a race with this sort of plan. I know that if I am averaging as certain speed, I am going to fast and need to slow down.

Have a great day,

Thursday, July 24, 2008


The whole family took a ride on the zipline yesterday. I'll be posting pictures as soon as I get them from the guy who took them.

3 days to ORAMM. I'm doing one last recon ride tonight, I might ride up Curtis Creek Rd on Saturday when I go pick up my packet. Saturday is always hard for me, since I'm not riding, I want to play with the family. That usually includes hiking, running, riding etc. Maybe I'll get a fishing license and take Jubal fishing. We'll see.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Whole Tooth.....

....and nothing but the tooth. 5 cavities, five shots of Novocaine, and $750 later the left side of my face is numb, 2 hrs later. I'm hungry. Maybe this is part of my improvised carbo loading program. I hope I can eat soon though, or I'm going to bonk and I'm just sitting here.

I go back in two weeks for the right side, it will "only" cost $250.

ORAMM in 4 days. I'm pretty excited. I keep repeating things to myself, " relax", " go your own pace" , " save it for the end". I'm also focusing on spinning on my work rides instead of pushing big gears. I am realizing that even though I am capable of pushing big gears, it is not always the best use of energy.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Anything else?

Everything I do turns to poop. I have the anti-Midas touch. I now find out that I need a permit to build the roof over my deck. I have to submit 3 sets of construction plans, including drawings, and $300, so that someone can come out and tell me yes, it is good, or no, it is not good.

So, how do I figure out how to build something to code? I don't know, not even the Residential Plans Examiner, who I talked to in person, couldn't tell me what I needed to do.

Anyone know about building codes?

This has to get better at some point. And there has to be a lesson learned here too. But what is it.

Oh yeah, I was up half of the night last night with diarrhea. And tomorrow I go to the dentist to start my dental work.

When is it going to let up??

Have a great day.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sunday Then Saturday

Sunday we went for a relaxing family hike. I needed to soak my legs in some icy cold water, so we headed up to this little spot off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We hung out for a while and then discovered quite a few salamanders also hanging out under the overhang.

Saturday we got to go sailing out at Camp Rockmont. It was Jubal's first sailing trip so he loved it. He even got brave and sat on the front of the boat, to let his hands drag in the water. He also got to man the tiller for a little while.

6 days til ORAMM!!!
Have a great day.
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Friday, July 18, 2008

The First Visit

So, I get to the dentist office yesterday. I'm ready to barf. I wonder, is it the money involved or the actual drilling that makes me so afraid?

I go in, they take x-rays, the dentist pokes my gum and teeth, asks questions etc. Then she starts saying stuff like, "hmmm, there's something going on between 12 and 13", followed by" let's do another bite wing so I can get a better look, I really don't want to start drilling and find that there is nothing there". Hmmm, sounds like she knows what she is doing. 3 sets of x-rays later, she decides that there is a cavity there. Not only is there a cavity there, she finds 3 other little cavities that need attention. Dang it!!!

I now realize that it is the $1200 dentist bill that I dread, and not the actual drilling. I guess we are gonna be eating lots more beans in the near , make that near and far future.

Rhonda called me this morning, it appears that the electricians finally decided to show up. Yipee!!

Have a great day.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


How could I forget? Yesterday, Jubal, my favorite son went down the zipline here at camp for the first time. Unfortunately we did not have a camera around, but there was no way that I was going to ask him to wait. He decided that he wanted to do it, and he did!!!! I'll get some pictures as soon as possible!!!


The Hot Doggett:
I placed 47th out of 98. That is in the top 50%. I'm pleased with that!! ! I remember when I used to be one of the last people in from a century, sometimes 8hrs. Fun times.

One Down.... to go. I sold my fixed gear track bike last night. It was sad to see it go, but now I have more room in my shed, and a college kid has a sweet bike. The kid is very excited about starting up a team at his college this year, and was very excited to get into a new discipline. Sweet.

Last week I mentioned that I was going to be going to the dentist on (last) Friday instead of this Thursday. Well, the dentist got sick and I have had to wait until today. A long wait it has been, long and dreaded. Hopefully it won't cost more than I have in savings.

The electrician still has not come out to do the work on the house. The guy who was supposed to come, could not come because his mom fell and was injured and he needed to go help her.

Do you ever feel like you are stuck in a rut? I've had the deck roof framed in and ready to cover since April!!!!

Hopefully I'll feel like going for a ride tonight after the dentist. I've been off the bike since Sunday!! I'm ready to ride again.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Good For You

Grape Tomatoes
Green Tomatoes
Baby Tulip Tree
Baby Hickory
More Daisies
Pine Cones on a Christmas Tree
More Sunflowers
This is what I wake up to every morning, what I come home to every evening. It is a good yard I have. Lots of yummy veggies, lots of little trees. All of it environmentally safe. Good for me.
Have a great day


Still resting. I might start some cross training tonight, in the form of cutting the grass. I might get on the rollers, I might not. Jubal has been with my parents for a couple of days so I'm sure he'll want to play soccer, Frisbee or wrestle. If so, the grass can wait another day. I figure the lawn needs recovery days too.

The bad thing about rest days is driving so much, my gas costs double during these times. The good thing about rest days is resting.

The countdown continues, 1.5 weeks until the Off Road Assault on Mt Mitchell. I really want to do well, but I really need to just enjoy the ride. This might be my last one for a while as I might get additional responsibilities at camp next year. It just depends what day the race falls on and what the summer camp schedule is like.

I have realized, not learned yet, but realized that I really need to race my race. One cannot race faster than they have trained. I can't keep up with National Champions who are on training programs and have coaches. I need to remember what I average training speed/time etc is and stick to that.

This should be easy, as I have been keeping track of my speed while riding Kitsuma and Mill Creek Rd. So during the race, if I am going faster than my records, I need to slow down. I also need to remember that the race will not be won, in the first 5 miles. There is so much time to make up spots. When the organizer says go, I need to let them go!!!

In other news, I have a new radiator: cool!!! And the electricians are supposedly coming today, and I have the dentist appt Thursday. Wow, I'm going broke in one week!!!

Have a great day.

Monday, July 14, 2008

What to do?

I counted my bikes. I can only ride one at a time, but I have 4 different bikes. They all serve a different purpose. I have them and use them all, but not that much. I should sell some, I could do without two of them. I like to live simply. It's nice having extra, just in case I want to use it, or ride something different. That's the American way huh? Get a bunch of stuff, just in case I need it, or rather, think I need it. I'm trying to convince myself not to sell two of the bikes, but I'm having trouble finding good enough reasons.

I have a Bianchi Pista ( 57cm) track bike in excellent condition. I tried racing fixed gear, and while it was fun, I decided it wasn't my thing. Not to mention I don't really have the time or money to squeeze it in. I also use this bike as a commuter, and it is fun, but I suppose I could do fine without it. I'll let this one go for $450. It comes with several different sized cogs, fixed and freewheel, flip flop rear wheel, two sets of handle bars, one for the track, and one with a front brake for the road. Both handle bars are deck out with Celeste bar tape, the bike is shiny chrome.

I also have a Bianchi WUSS, single speed Mtn bike ( 19.5 in). This bike is a whole lot of fun, but I can only ride one bike at a time, and I don't have a lot of time. So, why let it sit there, waiting for me to ride it, just in case one day I might ride it. I'm going to sell this one for $950. It includes several different sized cogs and Cane Creek bar ends. It is white and decked out with celeste water bottle cages.

Now, I just have to let go. One of my life mottos is, " Simplify". It's not always easy to do, but once it is done, life is so uncomplicated. I feel better already.

Have a great day.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Humbled by The Doggett

I woke up at 5 am to get my system going. Some coffee, a lot of water, some peanut butter toast. I can't eat much because I feel nauseas. I can't eat at 5am on a normal day. My body simply does not function at that time of day. Once, I worked at Starbucks. It was a great job with great people. My manager decided that I was doing such a good job, she would schedule me for the morning shift. The morning shift starts at 5:30 am, to prep everything to open at 6 am. Even back then, without knowing much about nutrition, I knew that I would be non-functional at that time of day. I recommended that she not schedule me for that time. I told her I was not being lazy, just that I would not be functional. She smiled and put me on the schedule anyway. The day of my first morning shift rolled around. I showed up on time and proceeded to attempt to function. I did not do so well, and she never scheduled me for that shift again.

So, we loaded up and headed to Mars Hill. Check-in , registraton, rider's meeting, start. Off the line the pace was hot. I was 45 riders from the front. At the first turn, I saw Andy and Cara Applegate, 2008 Tandem RR National Champions leading, I hung with that group for 30 minutes. My idea was to push a little harder, get some fast pulls and get a jump start on the day. First mistake. I should not have gone out that fast. ( I have trouble learning that lesson). I didn't realize that until later.

I felt fine, for the first 50 miles. I felt good going up the 6 miles of Doggett Mtn, a really cool winding road that I want to ride again. 1 hour into the ride and the temp was already hot. I was dripping sweat which is good. One of my new strategies is to drink everytime I think about drinking. Even if I glance down at the water bottle, I drink. I'm trying to make this more of a habit. I'm also trying to empty my two 20oz bottles between rest stops. I came close to this in the first 50 miles.

I rolled into Hot Springs, which is the half way point. Rhonda and Jubal were there waiting and we talked about how hot is was getting. There is a 2 mile climb out of Hot Springs where I started to falter. I had drunk an energy shake at Hot Springs and by the 2 mile climb was over, I was already hungry, I should have eaten a PB & J. I continued on. On the next climb I cramped. It was my left inner thigh. I stopped, streched, rode, drank. I remembered the first 30 minutes, and realized I should have gone out slower. I really need to ride my own ride/ race my own race.

On the climb to the final rest stop, I bonked. I made the mistake of trying to make it to the next rest stop before eating. I need to add, " eat now" to my " drink now" strategy. I guess it has finally dawned on me that with my faster speeds, I am putting in more effort, which in turn means that what has worked in the past, will not work now. " Eat now, Drink now".

I got to the last rest stop at Sam's Gap. The sun was blazing, but the air was cooler, and I was still sweating. 15 miles to go. 2 miles downhill at 40 mph.

Up until this point I had been drinking NUUN and water. No Gu2O. I figured I would switch it up and have GU2O for the remainder of the ride instead of NUUN. I thought the extra carbs and calories in the sports drink would be helpful. After getting halfway up the next hill with 10 miles to go, I took a couple of swigs of GU2O. 30 seconds later, WHAM, a wave of nausea. I had not felt nauseas up to this point. I had felt hungry, tired, cramped, but not nauseas. So, it must be the GU2O that is part of the problem. Now I have a useless bottle of sports drink that I don't dare use.

I get off my bike in some shade, stand there for a few minutes, get on , ride uphill some more. Stop again. I take a swig of the water bottle that has plain water, and it tastes really funny, not pleasant at all, and it is difficult to drink. By this time I am not sweating, and I should be dripping. I decide to call it a day and start looking for a SAG vehicle. Grant Grosch comes around the corner, but his car is already full. People are dropping like flies. Grant tells me he'll be back in 15 minutes. I say cool and sip that funny tasting water. I get on and ride a little more, and then I start sweating!!! Then I sip a little more and keep riding. 5 miles to go, Grant comes back, but I refuse to stop at this point. I keep going, and manage to make it across the line in 6:52.

I didn't get either of my goals but I definitely learned a little bit more about my body and what I need:

-I'm through with GU2O for longer rides. I'll drink it on a 30 miler but that's it. I'm not sure if it the sugar of what, but I'm going to cut out all sports drinks.( for now anyway)

-NUUN rocks. It always tasted fresh, and never really got old. I should not have switched it out at the last rest stop. I'll keep using it.

-" Eat Now, Drink Now". That's my new mantra.

The Off-Road Assault on Mt Mitchell is in 2 weeks. I'm looking forward to that. I'm looking forward to trying my new mantra and racing my own race.

Fool's Gold 100 is in 4 weeks. I'm considering only doing the 50 mile option. But, I know I can do 50. I want to do 100 miles, and do it well. The 100 miler is the 50 mile loop 2 times, so it will be logistically easy to bail after 1 lap if temps go crazy hot, or any other reason.

I now have 2-3 days off the bike to recover. What am I gonna do with all that extra time?

Have a great day.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


The alarm went off at 5 am. I made my self feel better about it by telling myself that this is only 1.5 hours earlier than my normal wake-up time, I feel much better now. The world has a different feel to it at this time of morning.

A few minutes ago some hooligan backed into our driveway, then spun the tires slinging my fresh gravel all over. Don't you have something better to do?

Rhonda told me the MSD( the city sewer people) stopped by yesterday. They told here that they needed to located the city sewer line that runs through our backyard. Interesting, don't they know where it is? Even more interesting is that they were doing this at the request of Bruce Alexander, the developer from Lifestyle Homes. The one that already dug through our yard once this year. Rhonda made sure they were not going to dig the backyard up. They assured her that they would not. Why would Bruce need this information? Maybe he is trying to figure out how many houses he could put on my property!!!!

Time to go stretch and spread some Chamois Butt'r

Friday, July 11, 2008

Good Ride

I did one Kitsuma loop last night. It was muggy. It is more difficult to breathe in the high humidity, kind of like trying to breathe water, but not as bad. I felt good, but decided to drive to work today, saving energy for tomorrow. I should not have cut the neighbor's grass on Wednesday, I could feel that in my legs, but, you gotta do what you gotta do, eh?

The Hot D will be the first paid road ride I have participated in since.....uhhh.... I can't remember. It might have been Tour De Leaves last October. The last Century I did was the Nantahala Nightmare 1.5 yrs ago. It was 32 degrees at the start and did not get warmer than 38. That was a cold 100 miles!

I'm looking forward to tomorrow, except for the 5am wake up time. I have to get up early to get my system going. I am hoping to get with a smaller group of savvy riders who will work together and not stop too long.

Two goals: 1. Finish under 6.5 hrs, I've never finished a century under 7 hrs and I think I am finally in shape to do it. 2. Finish feeling good, with some left, as this is simply training for Fool's Gold coming up in August.

I'll let you know.
Have a great day.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

In the Dirt

Last is the first night that I cut grass for money since I was in college. That brought back some weird memories of people I used to cut grass for.

I got a call from the dentist this morning and I am now scheduled to go in Friday afternoon. Great, now I only have 36 hours to dread rather than one week. I knew things would get better soon!!!

The car goes into the shop on Monday morning to get a new radiator.

Hopefully I'll stay away from crack for a while.

Kitsuma ride today, probably just do one lap so I can feel good on Saturday for the century!!

Have a great day.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Crack Problem

Hi my name is Stephen and I have a Crack Problem.

Cracked tooth, cracked radiator, what next?

I get to go to the dentist next week. I have sever anxiety over seeing the dentist as I now have a lump in my stomach that will likely stay there until I pay off the bill for services rendered. I would not be going if I had not cracked my tooth.

The radiator in our car is cracked too, that will cost less than the tooth to replace. The only thing that makes a cracked tooth better than a cracked radiator, is that a cracked tooth does not leak antifreeze!!!

In response to my sudden cracks, I am hosting a virtual bike ride/tour/race to raise money to offset the costs of my apparent crack problem. The ride is virtual so you don't even have to own a bike to ride. All you have to do is register, using the paypal button on the left, simply pay the $20 registration fee and you are riding. Hurry though, registration fills fast and registration will close as soon as I raise the money needed to pay for my addiction.

Then I'll quit crack!!!

The good news is that the electricians will be coming out today to get our power meter and outside wiring up to code.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Yesterday's commute made realize that I needed to take a few days off of the bike this week. Even though I rested all day Sunday, my legs were tired and heavy on Monday. So, I'll take two days off, then ride some trails Thursday night, rest on Friday, then ride the Hot Doggett on Saturday.

I pulled up the Off Road Assault on Mt Mitchell web-site today and found this:

The course is still not finalized yet this year but will either be the same as last year or as in 2006. There is a $500 bonus offered to the rider that can beat Harlan Price's time of 4:54:49 if raced on last year's course, or Jeremiah Bishop's time of 5:08:05 if raced on the 2006 course. Regardless of which course is used Mill Creek Road will be paved this year, so the record will almost certainly be broken and the bonus awarded!

It says that the long dirt road climb out of the valley to the Kitsuma trailhead will be paved, which will make for faster climbing, but I have seen no sign of any plans to pave that road. I'm not going to hold my breath as I don't think that will be accomplished in the next 3 weeks. If they did manage to pave it though, my training rides up that road would really be worth it. Imagine training on a rough dirt road and then racing on the same road with totally smooth pavement. I could make up some time there. We'll see.

In other news, our yard is put back together, there is grass growing already where they dug the ditch, and the electricians are supposed to come out on Wednesday to finally upgrade and move my electric meter, sweet.

Have a great day.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Group Road Ride

I think I was spoiled years ago when I lived in Shelby NC. I rode with a group of guys who pushed me, dropped me, and dragged me around the Cleveland County. When I moved to Asheville, I had high expectations of finding such a group to ride with. I have been on several group rides here in the past four years but have been consistently let down. Either the pace was too slow for my interest, there was too much stopping and waiting, or the people were just not fun to ride with. For instance, one time I got yelled at while rotating through the front of the paceline. The guy in front of me pulled off and surged. Wanting to contribute to the group and keep the paceline rolling smoothly, I pulled off and let off the gas just a hair, enough so that I would drift to the back of the line. As soon as I let up, some woman started yelling about me speeding up to close the gap!!!! What???

So, I gave up on group rides, got tired of getting stood trying to ride with individuals, and tired of having to conform to someone else's schedule. I ride alone a lot, and that works for me. But now, I am tired of 4-7 hours rides in the woods alone, and would like to hone my fitness. I went to the Liberty Bikes web-site and found that they have a Saturday morning group ride. I decided to try it out.

The Result? It was fun!! About 10 people, a nice 17.5 pace, we stopped to re-group several times but did not wait long for the folks to catch up. I wound up with 52 miles, went home and spent the rest of the weekend with my family. I'll be back to try that group ride again in two weeks.

Have a great day.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July

Who would have thought, 200 years ago, when we declared Independence, that we would be paying $4 plus for a gallon of gas?

Kitsuma was great yesterday. I hope that someday, I'll be able to lay off the brakes a little more and just flow with the trail. But, until then, I'll keep supporting the break pad companies!

As I was riding up Mill Creek Rd the second time, I passed some 14 yr old boys. The were using pocket knives to cut some saplings, not exactly sure why, but use your imagination. They had two dogs with them, on leashes. One chihuahua looking dog, and one border collie looking dog. As I rode by, the dogs attacked me. I deftly swung off of my bike and used it as a shield. The kids started yelling at the dogs, and apologizing to me, saying" Sorry, they don't like wheels"!!!

Have a great day.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Thursday Dirt

Ahh, once again it is Thursday. That means I go mtn biking. I am going to Kitsuma again and looking forward to 2.5 hours of riding. If you have never been to Kitsuma, you should. It is a great hike, and even better ride. One time for my birthday, I ran the whole 10 mile loop. It was about 35 degrees out, and it took 3 hrs. That was fun.

So, it's off to ride. One of the coolest things about this loop is seeing the looks on people's faces. I'm talking about the people who are sitting out in their driveways, relaxing, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. As I ride by I imagine what they must be saying. Things like: " There goes another one of them dad burned bike riders". The looks I am referring to is when they see me come by the second time. I imagine them saying something to the effect of" That dad burned bike rider must be lost. I surely hope he don't go up the wrong road, or he might not come back". One day I am considering stopping to ask for directions.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tasty Water

I've had some recommendations to try some active recovery so my body can slow down slowly and not come to a sudden stop at the end of endurance events. I will be trying that as well as focusing on drinking more. As far a finding a way to want to drink more, I think I will need to go with a variety of drinks, rather than one specific drink.

This morning, on my work ride, I tried a packet of Emergen-C in one water bottle. The result? I enjoyed it. I do think that this would get old after 8 hours, but I think rotating with the drinks that I currently use will be a great addition. I also felt good after drinking it, felt like I got a little extra kick. I'll have to try it on some longer rides to make sure it is not all in my head.

Good stuff,

Have a great day.