Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Day

From the Liberty Bikes Web-Site:

The weather is looking iffy for New Year's Day - please be safe and don't try to get out on icy roads! We will post here if the workday is postponed or cancelled.

Polar Bear Ride, Friday January 1
is now the Polar Bear Workday!
The recent snowstorm did alot of damage to the Bent Creek trails. So the Polar Bear ride will be a trail work day, with the help of SORBA, who do so much to maintain the trails in WNC. Instead of riding we will be clearing the trails. We will still meet at Trails' End at Bent Creek at noon, and hot drinks will be provided - and you will still get plenty of exercise!

Sounds like a fun time!! Who is in?

Have a great day.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


6 yrs ago, I was sitting in Las Vegas, with Rhonda, visiting my older brother and his family. We had moved to Durango, CO to work in public schools teaching abstinence as a way to prevent STD's and pregnancy.....amazingly enough it works!. After moving to Durango, promises were broken, things were not how they had been presented, and we were being treated poorly. We confronted the boss first, and with no response or change, we confronted the board. After some long stressful days and sleepless nights, we walked away.

Sometimes you stay and fight, sometimes you have to let go.

I searched for a job, high and low. There was nothing available that would support us. Rhonda was pregnant and due in 5 months too. We had several options but the best one seemed to be to move into a friend's basement in Asheville, NC.

We continued to look for a job for the rest of January and moved in February. The day I picked up the moving truck, I got a phone call saying that there was a job opening. By that time I was so worn out, I declined and drove the truck home to start loading. I sometimes briefly wonder what would have happened had I taken that job, only briefly though with no regrets. Then I think about all the things, good and bad, that would NOT have happened had I taken that job.

As a last hurrah, CO dumped snow on us as we loaded the truck. At that time we had a VW Fox station wagon, and a Honda Accord. The VW we loaded onto a trailer, packed full, with boats on top, loaded the truck which I drove and put Rhonda and Texas in the Honda. Finally, late one snowy, dark cold night, we headed down the road towards Albuquerque, NM.

Looking back on the past 6 years and the things that I have learned, more about myself than anything, I don't regret that decision at all. I have realized that there will always be other things that I want to be doing, places I want to go, and it is good to have dreams. But if those dreams distract me from what I am here to do now, they become a hindrance.

I think that there are periods in life when everything works out and a person has a chance to wander around this world, free and unfettered, and then at some point, other things work out and a person buys a project house, gets a stable job, has a kid and becomes content with living right here, right now.

So, here I am, 6 years later, still dreaming of doing big things in this world, but realizing that it is the small things that often have the biggest impact!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Not Complaining....

It's cold!!! Having been off the bike for 4 weeks now, it is difficult to find the motivation to get out. I have nothing to maintain!! Everything I worked for before the surgery is gone and I am starting over. So, why not put it off a little longer. Plus, the kid is on winter break, and if I don't ride, everybody gets to sleep in. And I'll have more time to finish my current project, the super secret, state of the art, indoor training facility.

In addition, 25 degrees with a wind chill in the single digits does not sound even the least bit enjoyable. I think I'll put the riding off for another couple of days and hopefully get some long ones in this weekend!!

Snake Creek Gap TT is this weekend. This is one of two races that I look forward to immediately after finishing. It is a fun, friendly and challenging atmosphere. The scenery is great and it is just a blast!! But with no training going on and the first on in less than one week, I'm going to skip it this year. I can't justify the Feb and March races this year either, with the costs involved, and the bills that I owe. Hmmmmm, I'm still keeping hope that maybe I can go in March. I dnf'ed the last one last year and want to ride this one well, but it might have to wait until 2011. The plus side is that we will have less travel for the next 3 months, and maybe we'll take a trip to the beach on of these weekends!!

The first race of the season will be the 6 hrs of Warriors Creek, followed by the Pisgah Area Sorba: Save the Trails Challenge, and then the Cohutta 100, another favorite.

I'm looking forward to the New Year and what it will bring!

Have a great day.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I started my yoga routine again this morning. After a 4 week break I am a bit "stove up". It feels good to be back!! I'm hoping to start riding again tomorrow, with a high of 35 degrees and low in the low 20's, I might be using my new indoor training center.

The long Christmas weekend was nice but lacked any outdoor adventures. I made a point of doing nothing other than spending time with my family on Christmas Eve and Day.

We didn't do much, but did a lot at the same time. It was relaxing and fun.

This morning, I plan on heading over to Mission Hospital to find out if they have any treatments for large sized medical bills. I have gotten a lot of good advice from quite a few people and heard several different experiences. The main thing I am getting is that they will work with me.

Have a great day!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Eve..

Christmas Eve 2009:

Enjoy your day, whatever you might be doing.

Don't go to Wal-Mart, everybody else is there.

If you have not finished shopping, go online and get a gift card, it will be less stressful, and just as satisfying.

Unless it's for a bike person, then go to your local bike shop and buy them a gift card.

Whatever you do, don't buy them something you think they need or want, they probably don't...need or want it.

Coffee is a good option, even for a non coffee person, because if they don't want it, they can give it back.

Don't buy a bunch of stuff for the kids, they already have a bunch of stuff. Get them one or two useful, educational, functional items that they will use for a long time.

Money is always good, help someone pay their debt. Sure its their debt but who cares, the help will be appreciated.

Love is even better.

Money and love is better than good. ( and chocolate).

Relax, focus on the positive, improve on the negative.

And if you can't think of anything, you can purchase a bike (or 2 or a dozen) in honor of someone.

Have a great day!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Easier said than done. As hard as I am trying to wait and see what is going to happen, I still mull it over in my head. I was sitting at work feeling sorry for myself and decided to take the rest of the day off, and go do something constructive, literally. I was get ready to leave the office to go work on the house, my awesome never-ending project, when my cell phone rang. I immediately recognized the number as my dentist's.

Hesitantly, I answered. The cheery receptionist on the other end informed me that if I could get there in 45 minutes, they could take care of my two fillings, (old fillings that needed work), and the crown ( old crown that needs to be replaced), could be done in January.

This was not really the way that I wanted to spend my afternoon, but I went for it because, then it would be done with.

As I was sitting in the waiting room, I started to wonder. Why is it that all of the staff are so cheery? In fact, I know several dentists, and while they are all very nice people, they are a little too cheery when it comes time to give shots and drill on your teeth. And then I started to think that there must be some sort of masochism involved. Because when the dentist pulls out that 2 foot long polish stainless steel syringe, the one that was used in the middle ages as a torture device, there is a little twinkle in their eye that lights up when they say, " This is going to hurt a little bit".

At that point I got called back. It was my turn and I was not looking forward to it. But it had to be done, unless I want to lose all of my teeth.

As I lay in the chair, getting stuck with needles, and drilled on , suctioned, sprayed, rinsed, the cheeriness continued. Chit chat about music, where to park, what to eat...... I learned all kinds of things about my dentist!!

As I headed out the door though, I realized how nice it was to have a dentist who is confident in what they do, efficient and genuinely cares. If you need a good dentist in Asheville, call Dr Rodriguez. I had one other dentist group in my life who really took care of me in the past who I want to give props to. Young and Associates in Shelby, NC.

After getting home, since I was feeling motivated and could not eat, I got started on the house project, and was thankful that I have friends and family around me who care!!!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


On my way home from Roanoke I got a call from a good friend who is also a physician. When he told me he had read my blog post and that he was going to "be a bit presumptuous", I was a little concerned about where the conversation was going to go. There was no need for concern though, because he is a good friend and had some great advice. Thanks for that call!!

As I was sitting, stranded on the interstate turned parking lot, I had lots of time to mull things over. I thought about my life, about this blog, about friends and bike races, about family.

As I finally laid in bed at 5am, I realized that there is not much more that I can do about my hospital bill, than I could have done about being stranded.

The message here is to wait. I can't fix things, or find a solution that will make problems suddenly dissolve, I need to wait, simply wait.

It's difficult to explain, because I am in the middle of it right now, but as things pan out I'll update so you can celebrate with me.

Have a great day!!

Monday, December 21, 2009


My boss let me off at 10 am on Friday. I headed home got packed and pushed the family out the door. We had planned on leaving later in the afternoon, but the snow was actually coming down, and I felt that we would be able to make the drive to Roanoke. I have plenty of experience driving in winter weather and knew that we could make it.

We left Asheville and headed up I-26 over the mountains. It was a raining at this point which was fine with me. Traffic was flowing nicely. We attempted to hit the Chic-Fil-A in Johnson City but that place was jam packed with traffic. After finally getting out of there, we headed on up the interstate and found a Cracker Barrel that was not too crowded. After stuffing ourselves we hit the road again.

Around Bristol, TN the rain started to mix with snow, and within the next 5 miles, it was all snow. A steady snow, sticking to everything. We had to slow down to about 45-50 mph but traffic was flowing well. People were really good about not blocking the left lane too, so we could cruise on part the slower drivers.

Then we started to see carnage. Cars in ditches, a charred truck on it's side, a couple of vehicles on their roofs, a mini van in front of us sliding, swerving, spinning before finally getting wedged in a ditch. At this point we could have turned back, but being half way, it didn't make sense. It would be slow going either direction.

As darkness fell, I was surprised that traffic was still flowing. It was around 6pm when I decided that we should stop and get some food. We only had about 50 miles left in the trip, but I knew that there was a good chance that the interstate could turn into a parking lot at any moment.

As we got back on the interstate, after buying a lunchable for Jubal and a gas station pimento cheese sandwich and chips for me, I mentioned to Rhonda that I thought it was a good idea to get some food. Less than 10 minutes after finishing my sandwich, traffic slowed to a crawl and then stopped.

At this point, the time line gets a bit fuzzy, but I will do my best to recall the events as they happened.

My first thought was to be thankful that i had a full belly. On the south bound lanes of I-81, we could clearly see the reason for the back up. We were facing a downhill which placed the opposite lanes on an uphill. Trucks and cars were getting halfway up the hill and slipping, not able to keep the forward momentum. They would then stop and spin their wheels in a futile attempt to gain some ground. One thing about driving on the snow is that if you lose your momentum you are done.

I think that we sat there for about an hour, I vaguely remember that a wrecker or two, and a couple of state patrol vehicles went past on the shoulder during that wait. Traffic started to crawl, then slowed to a slow motion crawl, then sped up to a speeding crawl. We went through this cycle several times. We stopped for a small duration of time several times. Once we were moving again, traffic had gone into a single file line for some reason. I noticed that both lanes had snow on them but both were plowed. I got into the left lane and started passing people.

Suddenly, traffic there was no traffic in front of us. We were at the front of the line. The hold up was a tractor trailer going about 25 mph. We led the charge and were going about 45 mph. Nothing but snow and darkness in front of us. We got very excited about the prospect of getting to the in-laws within one hour. That would put us there around 8pm.

We made good time for about 8 miles before traffic appeared in front of us and we came to a dead stop. The road here was wide, with wide shoulders. There were tire tracks on the shoulder on both sides of the road. Occasionally an emergency vehicle would come past on the shoulder, then some 4 wheel drive vehicles came by and then a mini van. We debated for several hours about whether of not we should make a dash for it up the shoulder. My reason for caution was that I did not want to be the one to block emergency vehicles.

I recall that we sat there and debated it for about 3 hrs. I finally decided to go for it. I walked up to the guy in front of us in a Jeep Cherokee and told him I was ready to go for it, but I could not go unless he went. Someone behind me yelled something so I walked back and chatted with her; a super nice African American lady in a big Chevy Tahoe 4-wheel drive. I told her that I planned to go for it, and she said" Honey, I'll be right behind you, I've been following you, and I'll just go where you go".

So we went for it. Weaved over to the should and started going, the shoulder was fine. At this point, I should mention, there was about 1 foot of snow on the ground. From the feel of the traction, the left wheels were on pavement while the right wheels were not, it was difficult to tell though. As we drove, there was a car stuck on the shoulder, blocking the way. I watched the jeep weave back into the parked traffic, I followed, we were able to get around the car and back onto the shoulder. The forward progress felt good.

As we neared a tractor trailer, and were about to pass it, some dude stepped out in front of me. Knowing that if I stopped I would be stuck, I hesitated......then hit the breaks. The dude turned around, looked at me and shrugged before walking away. I was mad but focused on the task at hand. I gently coaxed the accelerator and spun, then felt the front of the van sink into the snow. It appeared that we were done, stuck on the shoulder, blocking the remaining open lane.

I jumped out of the van and went back to chat with the Tahoe driver. I told her why I stopped and she was upset. I then had a thought. I said," Hey, I'm stuck and we are not going to get out. I lost my momentum and got stuck. But, if you give me a push we can get going again". Fortunately, she thought that was a great idea. I was not really worried about any scratches that would come from the push, I just wanted to get my family to safety.

I coaxed her up until she made contact with the van, the bumpers barely matching, jumped in the van, heart pounding. She pushed, I eased onto the gas, I spun the tires, let off, she pushed, the tires got traction and we were moving again!! We went another hundred yards and were forced to stop next to a tractor trailer.

For some reason this truck driver was spinning his tires trying to get unstuck, even though there was nowhere to go. The cars in front finally moved up enough that I could pull up, but now the lady in the Tahoe was next to the spinning truck tires. So I started going forwards and backwards and edging over in front of the truck, so the lady could get out of the way.

The truck driver jumped out of the cab and made a bee line for the van. He was yelling and cussing about his 80,000 lbs load and how if he slides into someone, he would kill them and if someone runs into him it won't be pretty.... So, I stopped for a moment, he got back in the truck and started spinning again, I went back to making room for my friend in the Tahoe. This set him off again, and he came to my window yelling again. So, I stopped. He went back to his truck and started spinning again!!!!

I got out of the van, went over to his cab where he sat towering above me. He rolled down his window and I said' " Look, I'm not trying to be a jerk here, I'm just trying to get my wife and kid to her parents house, our exit is 2 miles up the road. I'm also trying to get out of the way so the lady in the Tahoe can get out of your way. It looks like I'm not going anywhere and you are not going anywhere so I will chill if you will chill". I repeated the offer once or twice, he calmed down and agreed to chill. ( though he did calm down, he did continue to spin for about an hour or two before finally settling down).

By now it was close to 10 pm and we were stuck, several 4x4's went up the should but every single one had difficulty. The shoulder on the left was decent, but blocked by a truck about 100 yards up. If it moved over about 1-2 feet we could get through.

Bored, and not wanting to sleep for fear of missing a chance to get through, I dozed here and there for 5-10 minutes. Jubal finally went to sleep around midnite and Rhonda dozed. I got out of the van, walked around, talked to people, dug a latrine down the median for Rhonda, walked the dog. We were prepared with winter clothes, food and enough water for now. Around 1am, we were running low on water, and apparently others were too. There was lots of freshly fallen snow though, so I was not too worried.

A little after 1am, we got word from the trucker that the National Guard had been called out. I figured we would not see them until day break, and they would most likely make sure everybody was safe, before trying to clear the road. Around 2pm I dozed again. I woke up every time the truck's fan cycle kicked in as it sounded like a snow plow coming along side us. I woke up disappointed every time.

2:45am, I was once again wakened by loud engines. This time it was snow plows coming up the right shoulder. I had to take a second look to make sure. The rolled past us and stopped. I jumped out of the van to see what would happen. I walked up to talk to the drivers who had walked up to talk to the truck driver whose truck was blocking the road. They said that we were stuck, because they were afraid that if the truck moved, he would slide into another truck beside him. I went back to the van and made sure the path in from of each wheel was clear. I cleared the snow out, down to the pavement so I would be sure that I could get going when it was "go time".

Suddenly, I heard the truck crank it's engine, saw the snow plows moving forward, and the line of cars moving past. I jumped in the van, cranked it up, waited for a gap and pulled in. Rhonda hurriedly got Jubal buckled and we were moving.

Cautiously elated we got passed the truck that had been blocking the road. Beyond that was smooth sailing. We were about 5 cars behind the plows and got up to cruising around 35 mph. We were about 2 miles from the next exit, where we could take city roads to Roanoke. But which would be a better choice. Stay on the Interstate where the National Guard would be focusing, or risk getting stuck on a deserted city/ county road.

The 2 miles gave us time to think, though. There were trucks and cars all over the place, mired in the snow, but only one lane was blocked, if we could have gotten past 6 hrs ago, we would have been clear.

I hesitated at the exit and headed down the ramp. I figured that if we had to, we could get back on the interstate. Once we got off the ramp though, the roads were plowed and there was little traffic. We were at the in-laws in less than 30 minutes from the time we got off of the interstate.....4am.

Have a great day!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009


I was cleared to ride 2 days ago, but I have yet to find the time to get on the bike. Bummer, It looks like I'll start up this weekend again, after the snow melts. Forecasters are getting a little ambitious and calling for 10 inches in Asheville. When school officials caught wind of that, they closed schools. So, Christmas vacation starts early for the kids. I'm sure the teachers don't mind, the kids are pretty wound up and they need a break. The kids don't mind either, I have no doubt about that.

I would think the group that is hit hardest when school is canceled, is the single parent working 2 jobs to stay afloat. Now they have to take a day off of work because they can't afford child care. They can't really afford to take a day off of work either but, they have value in their child. They have all the same bills to pay as everybody else, but life dealt them some tough blows and here they are struggling. I wonder if they can even afford health insurance.

I wonder what happens when someone without health insurance has an emergency appendectomy. Do they ignore it because they can't afford to go to the ER? Because they know they could never pay off the huge bill? I tried to ignore mine, but I had the safety net of health insurance. My bill is up around $7000, so far. (excluding my mortgage, which is more of an investment, this is the most I have ever been in debt. If I don't have it, I don't spend it).

Which begs the question, how am supposed to pay that? I don't have that kind of money hanging around. I'm glad the other $10,000 is covered by insurance....

What is a person supposed to do? I can totally understand how easy it would be to get into illegal work to pay off this bill. I had 40 Percoset pills that I didn't use. For the record, we disposed of them properly. But, the street value of those pills? I could have made a small dent in my debt. All kinds of other illegal activity runs through my head, but I can see how easy it would be to fall into that trap.

The helplessness, the overwhelming loss of hope that comes with a large debt, can be difficult to manage. And the irony? The day I went into the hospital, was the day before payday, the paycheck that paid off my previous debt for Jubal's dental care.

What is a person supposed to do? Should I work my day job, then go work another 6 hrs at McDonalds? Then get worn down, not see my family, get sick etc. Maybe. Maybe that's what I have to do. That's a crappy way to live life.

I don't know that we need health care reform as much as we need health care COST reform.

Have a great day.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cleared.... ride!!

I left work yesterday afternoon to go to my follow-up appt. Full of anticipation, I waited for 1 hr in the waiting room. At least it was spacious and not crowded. When I was finally called back, I waited another 15 minutes until the PA came in. She looked at the incisions, said they look good. One has a little lump that might be the suture being rejected by my body. She said that if it start to stick out, that I should just trim it.

I asked about riding and yoga. Her response was that I could begin to resume normal activity, but to take it easy and don't do anything that would strain the abs. She told me no jumping on the bike and no steep hills, for a couple more weeks. As for yoga, I'm not aloud to do any of the "crazy" poses.

Yeah, it's on!!!

Have a great day!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


..... a few good people ( or lots of good people would be good too), to help spread the word about "The Power of Bicycles".

The feeling I get as I think about kids walking 5 miles to school each way, or medical workers having to walk 12 miles, each way, to offer medical care, is helplessness. The despair that I imagine normal everyday people experience as they try to deliver goods on foot, and make enough of a living, not to enter the next race, but to purchase the next meal, is overwhelming.

But the despair is abated, and the helplessness turns to helpfulness, when I pull on my World Bicycle Relief Kit. I know then that people are at least gaining the knowledge about WBR. But when someone asks about the mission, and then donates so that some kids can have reliable transportation to get to school, or a medical worker gets to make more visits in a day, or a small business owner can carry 12 times as much product, that is a feeling of pride. That little old me is actually doing something to make the world a better place.

And you can help. World Bicycle Relief has made the Logo merchandise available to anyone who wants to spread the word. I have been purchasing and riding in my own WBR kit for 2 years now and the quality is unbeatable.

I challenge you in this coming year to do something other than just ride your bike for fun, or to simply challenge yourself. I want you to continue those things, but I challenge you to add the component of speaking out for this organization and our brothers and sisters around the world who gain a better life through the help they receive.

And when you do receive your kit, send me a picture that I can post here.....I'll make you famous ;)

See you out there.

Have a great day.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I got to spend some time alone this weekend and decided to hit Kistuma. The pace was definitely slower since I was hiking instead of riding. The scenery the same though and totally worth it. My legs were fatigued when I got back to the truck an hour later.

3 more days until my follow up appt. I'm feeling really good, and the incisions are healing well, according to my untrained eye anyway. I am getting restless and ready to roll again, but waiting patiently until the right time.
Saturday night was the Pisgah Area Sorba Holiday Party. It was held at Asheville Pizza and Brewing Co. on Coxe Ave. World Bicycle Relief sponsored a showing of Klukerz, a history of Mtn Biking, and PAS held a silent auction with proceeds, over $250, going to WBR.

There were two I-9 wheelsets given away, volunteer recognition, MVP award to Carlos. The Bicycle Dealers Association of WNC recognized several people's efforts by awarding them a $50 gift certificate to local participating bike shops. I was honored when the called me up to receive one too.
Sunday I helped Chris Strout unload his U-haul, a few other guys were there too which was good because I can't lift heavy items yet. Chris is pumped to be here, and I can't blame him. Chicago to Asheville? Good move!! Welcome to WNC.

Well, one of my friends commented that my posts are probably getting boring, since I'm not riding, and that I'm going to lose my fan base. So, if you are bored, bear with me, I am bored too!!! I'll be back on the bike with some exciting stories soon.

Have a great day!

Friday, December 11, 2009


For at least two years I have been wanting to get this personalized plate, but things that were more important kept popping up. So, finally when someone sent me a little monetary gift for my birthday, I set aside the necessary amount and placed the order!!!

Over to the Fat Cyclist fundraising Blitzkrieg:
Livestrong: $61,610.50

World Bicycle Relief:

Wow, so amazing. Fatty posted a video of Johan on his blog, go check it out.

I'm starting to feel quite a bit better. My digestive tract is feeling normal again and everything seems to be running smoothly. My energy is up and I am able to start using my abs to breathe, sit up, get out of bed etc. The incisions are healing, I'm scared to take the steri strips off though because I don't want anything to pop open.

I thought about getting some fake, nasty, festering wounds to put on for my doc's visit next week, but something tells me the doc does not have much of a sense of humor. He is probably not real happy already, due to the fact that my appendix was wrapped around my colon...... anyway, too bad cause it would make for a good laugh!!

So I have a weekend with stuff that needs to be done around the house, but can I do it? nope, so what to do? I'm sure I'll find something creative to do. I'm thankful that I am healing so well.

I'm not sure if Snake Creek Gap is gonna happen this year. If I can only go to one, I'm not sure I want to pay the fee... just for one race. But, it is one of my favorites, and, well, it's one of my favorites. Maybe we'll make a long weekend out of it!! Wait and see.

Have a great day!!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lose Yourself

The world does not revolve around me. I am a part of the world, but I am not the center of the world. I have been created and placed here to play a part. A part in a worldwide play, a musical of sorts, only not the corny musical where everybody sings their part. That would be annoying. Then I would have to sing my blog and you would not enjoy it as much. You are welcome to sing my blog if you want to, but please don't sing it to me. That would also be annoying.

Along the lines of yesterday's post, the self centered, thinking too highly of myself approach is not the intended way to go through life. When I start acting, and it seems to be a natural tendency, like the world revolves around me, things get a little weird. I start to alienate people, get prideful, look down on my fellow man and forget my purpose, forget my part in this universal play.

Take a real play for example. If I am assigned a back-up part, or even better, if my job is to run the lights. ( I really did run the lights for a show back when I was in HS). I run the lights during the many rehearsals, and then the time for the big show arrives. I decide that the dude who is in the lead role is not the right guy for the job. Seconds before he comes on stage, and I time it perfectly, I prance out and do his song and dance.

Two things happen. First, the lights don't happen because I have left my post and no one else knows the combination of blues, reds, greens, yellows etc. Second, the play is terrible, because although I know all the lines, my acting is terrible, and people go home disappointed.

So in the great play called life, we are all given roles. But, does that mean we are stuck here? Doing the same monotonous things everyday for the rest of our lives? For some I say yes. For those that don't have the courage to step up and follow their dreams, yes. For those that are afraid of failure, yes. For those that think that hobbies or dreams are a waste of time, yes.

My first 34 years of life was spent exploring, figuring it out. I don't think that I tried to take over someone else's role exactly, but I did try some things that I was not meant to be. And I learned from those experiences. I learned a lot. I learned what I was good at, and what I was not so good at. I learned that some things I am good at, I don't enjoy so much, but that I could endure those things so that I could achieve other things that I totally enjoy.

So, here I am, 37 years into life, and I have found a role that I enjoy. Some aspects are not my favorite, but I can see how those aspects allow me to do things that I really love, ie. spending time with my wife and kid, and racing my bike!!

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo

Have a great play!!!!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


"Do not judge...."

Great advice, but one of the most difficult things for a person to do. Totally possible, but difficult.

I have judgmental tendencies. I tend to look at a person and scorn them for the position that they are in. And look down on them because they made decisions that they could have made differently, and if they had made those better decisions, then they wouldn't be in such a predicament. As if I know all the right answers and I was in their shoes at the moment of their decision, and I would have made the right decision. As if I could have done things better, and by saying " that's really not the way you should have done things", or " you should do this" ....blah, blah, blah. As if I am that much better than my fellow human, that I can be so haughty, so prideful, such a jerk.

Don't judge.
It's not my job to tell you that what you are doing is not to my liking, to tell you that you should be doing things this way. It's not my job to make sure you make all the right decisions. It' s not my job..... not my job.

As I said, I have judgmental tendencies. So, what to do? Retrain the brain. When I catch myself being judgmental, I stop myself and start over. I have not right to judge others. Why? Then I take a look at myself....... I see fault after fault. Sure, there is a lot of good stuff too, but that's not my focus right now.

I believe that when we judge others, we are placing ourselves in a position above that person.

#1 who gave me the right to place myself in a position above others?
#2 who gave me the right to place myself in a position above others?

It smacks of pride. A big pile of rotten, smelly, disastrous pile of pride. And it's not right.

My desire is to serve my fellow humans. To work together with them to make this world a better place. To live together in harmony. But that cannot be done if we are constantly judging each other, and using other people's faults to make ourselves feel better. It's wrong, don't do it.

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Fat Cyclist

I posted over the weekend about a fund raising challenge issued by Johaan B from Team Radio Shack Cycling, to Fat Cyclist. Fat Cyclist had written a letter to Johaan, explaining why he should be a part of the Team. Johaan Challenged Fatty to raise some funds for World Bicycle Relief and Livestrong.

At this point he has raised:
for World Bicycle Relief: $34,350
for Livestrong: $ 31,395

That is so awesome on both fronts. As a fulfillment of the challenge, Fatty gets to go ride with the Radio Shack Team at their training camp!

Congrats Fat Cyclist!! And thanks for helping out two very worthy causes.

And if that was not enough, yesterday, Johaan upped the ante:

Dear Fat Cyclist -

I don't know you personally, but I'm very very impressed with what you and your friends have done in a very short time. I always want to see my riders succeed, and the same goes for you, but I never thought you would accomplish the two goals so quickly!

I must say - you have a very clever and generous fundraising strategy. You could have easily taken the signed Trek Madone 6 series powered by SRAM bike for yourself, but you used that and a SuperFly bike (which you got on your own) as giveaways.

So Fatty, we will see you at camp!!! And to be honest, I'm very much looking forward to seeing your cycling talents. If they're anything like your fundraising skills, then maybe it's time for you to quit your day job!?!

So congratulations to you and everyone who has helped you along the way!! World Bicycle Relief and LIVESTRONG are two causes that I'm very supportive of and it's been nice to see such a great response!!

But that's not the only reason I'm writing.

We were talking about you this morning at the breakfast table. I saw you were approaching $25,000 for each organization and everyone was telling me that I couldn't let you just stop there. One rider said, "It would be like me winning Stage 3 and then stopping! Make him go for MORE!!" It's tough to argue with that logic. So I made another call - This time to Trek Travel President Tania Worgull to see if she wanted to set a new goal for you. And it just so happens she did! So here we go ... The BIG prize!

By Friday December 11, 12:00 PM US Mountain Standard/Tucson, AZ Time you must have met the following criteria

- A Grand Total minimum of $50,000 for World Bicycle Relief


- A Grand Total minimum of $50,000 for LIVESTRONG

If those two criteria are met by the stated deadline, Trek Travel will donate one 2010 Paris Finishing Package to witness the finale of the Tour de France!! And yes, airfare will be taken care of.

Now how about THAT for a prize?!?!

World Bicycle Relief -

And you still have time to donate. Each donation enters you in the drawing to win some cool stuff. So, go donate, make a difference, feel good about yourself!!

Have a great day!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Back To Work

I realized last night as I was laying in bed, that I was not dreading going back to work. I don't really want to go. I would rather lay around the house for another week, at least this week I could go for some walks around the hood. But no, I don't dread going in. That's a good thing. I have had plenty of jobs that I dreaded going in every morning.

Back to Work.

My body seems to be mending well. I sneezed yesterday for the first time since Monday. That really hurt, and I am very glad that I did not sneeze earlier in the week. After each sneeze, I had to take a moment to recuperate. It felt like I had gotten a good stiff jab in the stomach.

We went downtown to the " Big Crafty" yesterday. I walked around and did fine. Although I was a bit tired when we got back to the van.

One of the things that was difficult this week, was breathing. Due to the swelling of the abdomen, the ab muscles were not effective in the breathing process, and this made me feel short breathed. Odd sensation, and added to the sensation of being out of shape.

I'm not overly concerned with losing fitness at this point. It's gonna happen and right now there is nothing I can do about it. I'm hoping to to some walking during lunch time, that will be helpful. Another plus about my job is the location tucked back in the fold of the Black Mtns.

Since I will be driving to work for a while, instead of riding my bike, I looked into the bus schedule. That's not gonna happen. I would have to be walking out my door at 6am, and not getting back until 7:30pm. That's not going to happen.

14 days until winter solstice!!

Have a great day.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Help Me Help "Fatty" Help World Bicycle Relief

First Fat Cyclist issued a challenge to Johan Bruyneel. Then Johan responded the "Fatty's" challenge.

Pretty simple really: so donate now, and help me help fatty help World Bicycle Relief!!!


I went for a walk yesterday, 3 houses up the road and back. I didn't realize that I would be so tired. I guess I have not really been sleeping well. The night of the surgery, I was waking every hour so they could take my vitals.

Then the following nights, I have some trouble going to sleep, only to wake up a couple of hours later, wide awake. I've had some pretty freaky dreams too, that made me not want to go back to sleep. One that I remember, I was being chased by freaky Chucky looking puppets.

So, I was thinking yesterday about walking. I'm looking forward to the doc visit in 1.5 weeks so I can find out when I can ride again, but as cross training, I am hoping that hiking will be an option. It would be easy around here to get some long walks in in lieu of long rides, and keep up my aerobic conditioning. Gotta have options.

So today, I have just finished a scrambled egg with toast and jam, working on a cup of coffee, and I'm going to watch The Star Trek Movie.

Asheville is under a winter storm watch, so it could be an exciting weekend!!

Have a great day.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Monday morning I woke up feeling fine. I didn't ride my bike to work, #1 because it was raining, #2 because I was starting my full training schedule again. Monday would be my rest day for the remainder of 2009 and through the 2010 season.

Around 10am I felt bloated and gassy. I also felt hungry and a little nauseous, so I ate a bagel with cream cheese and drank some water to make sure I was hydrated. I figured I was having gas pains and I would be fine as soon as I could fart!!

Around 12 noon, my co-workers, with love, told me I looked terrible and that I should go home. So, I did. I could not get comfortable though. I tried all sorts of positions and wondered if there is a yoga position to help alleviate gas pains.

Rhonda called our doctor and got an appointment for us. It was time for Jubal to get out of school so we went by and picked him up. ( we do everything as a family). When we got to the doctor's office I could not even sit in the waiting room but knelt on the floor with my head on the seat.

Clue #1: If it hurts that bad, it's not gas.

I was taken back to an examination room and laid on the chairs. Then doc came in and with quite a bit of shock asked me what was going on. I told him that I didn't know. He checked me out and sent me to radiology at the hospital to get a ct scan to see if they could find anything. As I was laying there in pain, the doc told me he could call EMS if I wanted him to. I told him that it costs way too much, and had Rhonda take me. She did just fine driving me to the hospital.

I made my way to the check in desk and once again squatted down. I really should have gone to the ER but trusted where my doc had sent me. After shedding some tears, and walking all the way across St Joseph's, I crumpled again to the floor while waiting for someone to show up at the desk, after I rang the bell on the desk.

A doctor came out, and asked me if he could help me. I told him I hoped so, and they finally got me on a gurney. Minutes later I emptied my stomach on the side of the gurney and the floor. The doc started freaking out about how I didn't need to be there, but in the ER. He called someone and repeatedly stated:" This guy does not need to be here, he needs to be over there" (at the ER). He finally communicated that they needed to send an ambulance to pick me up and take me to the ER. I almost opted for Rhonda to take me, because, once again, ambulances are not covered by insurance and they cost a lot. But, before I could oppose, they put an IV in and there was no turning back.

I arrived at the ER around 4:30pm. They put me in an observation room, took vitals and left me there. I ended up falling asleep and woke up around 6pm. I was feeling a bit better and was starting to think about going home. After discussing the possible ramifications of a ruptured appendix, I opted to stay and get the CT Scan done. Around 9pm, I finally got the scan and the result was appendicitis. By 10pm, they put the mask on my face and I was out.

I slowly awoke around 11pm, with lots of people bustling around me. At some point I guess they were all satisfied that I was back, and they all disappeared. A short time later, with a heart rate of 40bpm, they wheeled me to my room where I would spend the next 14 hrs.

The morphine through the IV helped dull the pain, but I was wondering what I needed to do to get out of there and back to my normal life. The PA came in later and let me know that if I was off the IV, eating solids, walking without dizziness or nausea and taking pain meds orally, then I would be free to go. By noon I was doing all of the above.

I was out of there by 2pm, in time to pick the kid up from school on the way home!!

So, now I'm at home recovering, resting, and not doing much. I'm a little anxious about the bills that will come from this, but that usually gets worked out, even if not in my timing.

I will be off the bike for at least 2 weeks, possibly longer, to let the ab muscles heal completely so I don't get hernias. I'll willingly stay off the bike as long as I need to in order to avoid another surgery. And this will give everybody a chance to catch up to my fitness level so we can start 2010 on an even playing field!!

I have an appointment with the surgeon in 2 weeks where we will discuss my options, and we will take it from there.

Have a great day

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Friday I headed out Bear Creek Rd, down to Marshal and back home via River Rd. The gusting winds, up to 30 mph, were a tough battle most of the way, but once I got on the river, they helped me most of the time. There was snow up on the distant ridges, and the whipping wind was bone chilling. The temps in the sunlit valleys, out of the wind chill, were quite a bit warmer than the temps up on the ridges.
I was feeling good and enjoying riding long again. I was worried a couple of weeks ago, because I had no desire to get out and ride long, despite the warm temps. Today, however, with temps in the low 40's, and added wind chill, I was glad to be out there turning the cranks!!
Great ride!!

Friday: 55 miles; 3.5 hrs; winds gusting to 35 mph:

Saturday and Sunday I was too tired from my past 3 days of rides to get any more long rides in. I took the kid for a couple of 1 hr rides each day though. I figure I'm still turning the cranks, still training, and getting quality time!!!

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Black Friday

A good thing about living here is that I have options. Lots of them. I posted a couple of days ago that all of the options made things difficult. Well, yesterday I realized that I often don't decide where I am going until very shortly before I roll out the door.

I had planned to ride my Big Bent Creek loop this week, leaving from home, but that has not happened yet. I'm not quite mentally ready to ride the parkway on my mtn bike. So, yesterday morning when I got up, I decided to bail on that idea and hit a road loop that I rarely do after mtn bike season starts up again.

I headed down the river, up through Weaverville, up Reems Cr, Ox Cr, to the parkway and back home. The skies were bright blue, the sun was up, and there was a cold wind blowing. Good day for a ride. I was home by lunch time!!

The rest of the day I spent hanging out around the house. Playing outside. The kid told me he wanted to build some ramps, so that is what we did. How could I resist?
At first we built it, but then he wanted it higher, he rode that for a while, and wanted it higher again!! Yeah!

Have a great day!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pre Thanksgiving Ride

Wednesday the boss let me off at 11:15 am. Sweet!! I got home, ate a little food and hit the road on my road bike. I decided to get some base miles and eliminate climbing, mostly. I headed down to the river and followed river road to Marshall, turned around and headed back. 49 miles in 3 hrs, I made good time and felt good most of the way. My average speed was about 1.5 mph higher than any other time I have done that ride. And my speed was steady, another small improvement.

It's great to be riding long again, I missed it. I just did not realize how much I missed it.
Another long ride planned for today!!

Have a great Thanksgiving!!

It's Time

It's that time of year again folks, where everybody is rushing around, packing, traveling, cooking, eating, socializing, stressing.....etc. I found long ago that it is so much less stressful not to travel on or around holidays. I can spend just as good or better quality time with friends and family any other time of year, without all the traffic and craziness.

So, don't try to rob my house this week, because I am going to be here, and you will regret the attempt.

I get to ride my bike 4 days in a row, long rides hopefully, 2-4 hr rides. Yes. I'm excited about being on my bike again. My friends at my birthday ride helped me remember what a long ride is like and how fun and painless it can be (at the right pace).

But, now my problem is that I have so many options. North on the Parkway? or South? Dirt ride? where? Ride from home? Drive to the trailhead?

As usual I will most likely pick the ride from home option as this affords me more more time spent with family. I might not be getting out to the gnar of Pisgah on a regular basis, but I am getting to ride, and for that I am thankful.

Now that it is dark 15 minutes into my ride home from work, I am trying to decide on which route is safest.

Option 1: the darkened alley called the Blue Ridge Parkway. During the day, it is great. Long line of sight, people relatively respectful etc. At night, with no streetlights, it is a darkened alley way...

Option 2: Cross over Tunnel Rd, one of the busiest roads, and the sight of a recent cyclist shooting, (although I have figured out how to get across by using the timing of the traffic lights, and having virtually zero traffic for about 30 seconds), down a neighborhood rd, through the Wal-mart, Khols, Pets Smart, and 25 other little stores parking lot, up through another super busy intersection... but all lighted with street lights.


Have a great day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

4 More Weeks

4 more weeks of darkness. More than that really, but in 4 weeks, the darkness reverses. The sun starts setting later, by about 1 minute per day. Then I start to feel better.

This time of year, time moves like molasses. I dream of ways that I could squeeze in long rides. I panic about not having enough base miles. I worry that I won't have enough money for traveling, or race registration, or more importantly: bike parts. Then I panic a little more.

Then I get lost in a daydream of a perfect ride. Sunny and warm, sweat glistening on my skin that is warming in the sun. Smile on my face, pedaling up a long hill, long and scenic. Then I shiver back to my senses, because it is the end of November and starting to get cold. I throw another log on the fire and I can hear the rain dripping on the metal roof. I hope that it is just dripping off of the tree and I will get to ride to work today, and back home. Then I will get two hours of training today. And that will be enough to keep the fitness going until I can find some large chunks of daylight to ride long.

And when I get home from work, and it is dark, and I only have 2 hrs of training, I take a deep breathe. I walk inside. I smell the delicious aromas of whatever Rhonda has decided to make for dinner: fajitas, rice and beans, homemade soup and bread.... Then I put my bike away, get changed and walk into the living room. Without fail the kid jumps on me, and we take it to the couch for another wrestling match. And I relax about base miles and enjoy my time with my family.

Have a great day.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Another Weekend

The Big Birthday BBQ Ride went off without a hitch, mostly. Except for almost getting creamed by a big white dump truck with spikes on his front wheels, while riding south on Hwy 9, everything was good.

As 1pm rolled around, it looked like it would just be Mike K and me. But within 5 minutes, Gordy and Mike P showed up. OJ, Erica, and Frank rolled up on their bikes, but they had been out all morning, so they only rode the first few miles with us. It was good to chat with them.

The ride took us south on Hwy 9, up and over the continental divide. We took a left on Old Fort Rd into Old Fort. We then got on the starting mile of ORAMM, up the Point Lookout Trail. We stopped at the lookout for the picture below. On up the greenway, past Ridgecrest, through Black Mtn and back into Swannanoa. About 45 miles in less than 3 hrs. We kept a mellow pace until the end when we had slight downhill and tailwinds to push our little paceline over 30 mph!!!

Rhonda and Jubal met us halfway to refill our bottles. Everybody was excited to have the support. We only went with water at the SAG this year, so that next year, I can have room to step it up and maybe bring cookies. If you over do it the first year, it's difficult to do better the next year!!

And of course, the food after the ride was most excellent. Okie Dokies BBQ is simply delicious: Pulled pork, jalapeno hush puppies, fried pickles, mac n cheese= yum. Some other friends showed up for dinner to help me celebrate. It was great to see everyone. Thanks for making the day special. And to top it off, when I went to pay for my food, one friend told me that he was going to pay (thanks), only to find out that someone else had already paid!!! Sweet.

Sunday we headed to check out the UCI Cross Races at Hendersonville's Jackson Park. It was cold and drizzly, but Jubal got out there like a champ and raced. He was the youngest kid but rode his hardest. He tore through the off-camber turns on the grassy muddy slope, hit the uphill, jumped off, pushed the bike up, and then did a surprisingly clean remount with out losing much forward momentum. Yeah!!!

Below you seen Evie having fun in the rain. It started raining hard as the women's race got started, so we headed home. We didn't get to see Andy Applegate race, see you next time Andy.

The one and only D-Dub, showing how it's done, single speed style!

Have a great day.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Customer Service

I am very appreciative when I get good customer service. And when the service is everything that one could dream of when dreaming of customer service, then I want everybody to know about it.

I bought a wool hoodie from Patagonia about one year ago. I wore it to work, and around town. I took care of it and expected it to last.

When the temps dropped this fall I pulled it out of storage and wore it. I was disappointing to see a couple of small holed forming in the fabric. Not realizing that the company might do something I continued to wear the sweater.

One day at work a co-worker told me about his Patagonia product. He told me that his had worn out too. He wrote the company a letter asking if there was anything that could be done. In response they sent him a brand new replacement.

I didn't hesitate and contacted the company. I sent the sweater 2nd day air via UPS as they requested. It went in the mail on Tuesday, arrived in Utah on Thursday. Then the waiting began. The website advertises a 6 week waiting period. I expected to have to call several times to check on the progress.

One week later, on the following Tuesday, I got home to find a box on the doorstep. Hmmm. I didn't get excited. I opened the box, expecting to see my old sweater in there with a note saying "too bad", in customer service wording.

I was really surprised, when I opened the box, and found a brand new edition of a wool hoodie, that was actually is a higher retail value than the old one.

Great company, great service. More companies should pay attention!!

Have a great day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's not over!!!

Saturday, November 21st, 1pm:

I'm inviting all of my friends for a 40 ish mile, mellow ride from Swannanoah, through Old Fort, back up the Point Lookout Greenway, through Black Mtn, and back to Swannanoah. Then we are going to head over to Okie Dokies Smokehouse for some BBQ and fried pickles!!! Let me know if you want to join us!!

Bring your change!!! I am bringing some water bottles to collect spare change. Let's see if we can get enough spare change to purchase 1 bicycle for World Bicycle Relief!!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Red Wolf vs Coyote

My gut told me that it was too good to be true. I was convinced on Monday that we had seen a red wolf. I have seen coyotes, and they tend to look a little slinky, like they have done something wrong and they are trying to slink away:
The animal we saw was not slinking. It was standing proud, head up, like it dared us to come mess with it. That's what a wolf should look like.

I wanted to report my finding to the Wildlife commission. I have yet to talk to a person who studies the wolves but I'll keep trying. In the meantime, I found a lot of info about Red Wolves.

There is an on-going Red Wolf Recovery Project, sponsored by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Apparently the population of wild wolves dwindled in the 80's to 17. Some very wise people captured those wolves and bred them in captivity, with the goal of re-introducing them to the wild. The Red Wolf, before we greedily decimated their population, were the top predator in the Appalachians. Now, there are none. The only known (key word) population is in NE North Carolina, where little more than 150 wolves have been release into the wild and appear to be doing well.

Cool stuff.

So, while I was initially disappointed that we had not, in all probability, seen a Red Wolf, I then realised that we did get to see a coyote. Another animal that is not easy to spot in the Appalachians.

Let's take care of our resources people!!!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I posted a couple of days ago about imbalance. When something is hurting in the body, there is usually an imbalance. A muscle on one side of the body pulling everything off kilter.

Core strengthening is a great way to create balance in the body. I have tried different routines for years to get my core strong. Sit-ups, push ups, pull ups etc. But my problem is that exercise has to be interesting, and fun.

A couple of years ago, we purchase a Pilates DVD and attempted that. For some reason, the exercises hurt, not a good hurt, but painful and uncomfortable. So, on to more crunches....boring repetitive crunches.

Cue Yoga. I have never done yoga. I have heard about it, and friends have done it. I have friends who are instructors. I have been told that it is great etc. I decided to try it for myself.
I purchased this "Yoga For Cyclists" DVD and gave it a try.

I was surprised to find a workout, 30 minutes in length, that was fairly easy. The stretches are working parts of my body that I knew I needed to stretch, but did not know how. The strengthening exercises are subtle but thorough. The routine is challenging yet relaxing.

I can tell that my posture has improved, as has my position on the bike. I feel better, and look forward to what this routine will do for me over the next couple of months!!

If you have having imbalances, check out for a whole slew of different Yoga DVD's. Or if you have the cash flow, join a local Yoga class.

Have a great day.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Great Weekend

The weekend was great, even though I didn't get on the bike one time. I talked to my bikes, and reminded them that there will be other weekends, but I didn't even touch them.

Saturday, the kid and I headed out to Pisgah to do some trail work. We reconstructed (?) a section of trail that runs on an old road bed. The trail ran down the middle of the road bed, which also fills with water from rain and a nearby creek. We did some rock work and zig zagged the trail a bit to keep it on high ground and out of the water.

Saturday evening, we previewed Klunkerz for the upcoming showing at the Pisgah Area Sorba Holiday Party: December 12th 7pm. Stay tuned for location and other details. They have offered to sponsor a used gear silent auction to benefit World Bicycle Relief. So, bring some old gear and have some fun.

Sunday, I told my kid that I needed to do some work on the house. He reminded me that it was Daddy/son day and that if I did that, he would not have anything to do, and I would be working all day.

Lesson of the weekend: Listen to your kids.

A light bulb flashed on in my head and I ran with the idea. I decided that progress on the project was less important than teaching him valuable life lessons. I proceeded to enlist his help with the project, giving him the important roll of measuring and remembering the measurements so I could make the proper cuts. Then he did some nailing for me. I can proudly say that he understands the concepts of fractions of an inch.

After my sweet wife got home from work, I decided to forgo my evening ride. Partially because I am not ready to ride for extended periods in the dark, and partially because I wanted to hang with the fam.

We loaded up and headed to the parkway with a picnic dinner to watch the sun set. I didn't even think about riding while we were up there chilling.

On the way back down we saw a large, dog looking animal that at first I thought was a red fox. We pulled over and watched it for a few minutes before it wandered into the woods. As we were driving again, I was thinking back to college days. I and some friends had a camp fire up in the woods. We made some chicken fajitas and tossed the leftover chicken bits in the woods, just outside of the firelight. Later, a red fox approached quietly, eating the scraps. It was then I realized that we had not seen red fox, but what I believe be a red wolf!!!

A great end to a great weekend. We all took a moment to thank our creator for the animals.

Have a great day.

Friday, November 13, 2009


For the past 3 years I have been using a handle bar mounted Nite Rider MiNewt dual for my night rides. It has worked for me. When I got them, the price was good and I was satisfied knowing that I could not afford more expensive, brighter lights.

I rode those through dark, rain, snow. On long night rides. Their beams casting light, enough to see what was about10-20 feet in front of me. It is a little like riding through a tunnel. A very long tunnel.

This summer a good friend hooked me up with the Nite Rider Rage. I mounted it on my helmet for my ride home last night. As it started to get dark I switched on the MiNewt on my handle bars. I rode like that so that oncoming traffic could see me. When it got even darker I turned on the Rage that was mounted on my helmet.

That moment (and all the ones that led to it) will change my nite rides from here on out. I could see the light. Not only could I see what was 20 feet ahead of me, I could see 50 feet ahead. And I could see to the sides, down up and back. Wild. It was such a liberating moment for me. And when I passed through the little dark, spooky, wooded section, I was not nearly as spooked as I have been for the past 3 years of night rides. I'm looking forward to an extended ride in the woods to see if the fear creeps back in, or if I have found the answer to my unexplained, frustrating and inhibiting fear of the boogie man!!!

There is a trail workday tomorrow in Pisgah. Meet at the Daniel Ridge parking area at 9am. Todd Branham is heading this one up.

Have a great day!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Not Much

Not much going on right now in the life of the Asheville Janes. The racing is over, the training is mellow. It is dark, a lot. Kind of depressing, but knowing that our bodies are intended to slow down makes it more bearable.

Interestingly, it has affected the kid too. He is grumpier and more irritable. I imagine that for the little ones, the time change and season change is somewhat confusing. After all, kids ( and some adults ) tend to see the world in about a 10 foot radius. Anything outside that boundary is something of another world. It is so important not to lose that childish point of view.

Last night I came home and found a spaceship in my living room. The futon and chairs had blankets thrown over them and were converted into a Mars landing vehicle. There was a pod on the outside for the pilot and a compartment inside for the passengers. He had even picked up some aliens which were inside the compartment. He let me ride in the compartment, and my job was to take care of the aliens: a green rubber bouncy ball, and my old Super Gonzo doll. Then the kid let me take it for a spin. That was fun.

I haven't mentioned World Bicycle Relief in a while, so don't forget to check out the cool things that are happening with bicycles in Africa.

Have a great day.

Monday, November 09, 2009


My ride home last night turned out to be interesting. I took a longer way home to get a little extra time in the saddle. As I was riding up one steep hill, a dog came after me from across the road. This dog is big and bouncy and probably friendly, but you never know. I was going to keep riding when I heard a motorcycle coming from behind, I slowed, knowing that if the dog came after me, he would likely be t-boned by the motorcycle. I waved my arm to the left to motion to the motorcycle that a dog was there. He slowed down and rolled up next to me, he continued to go as slowly as he could. I hesitated for split second, until I realized that he was blocking for me. I got pedaling and the dude on the motorcycle blocked for the whole 100yrd length of the dog's property, really cool!!

Then I went up and over the next hill, just over the top, as I was getting speed again, I almost t-boned a rabbit!!!

And finally, as I was descending that same hill, I saw that oncoming traffic had slowed to a crawl, with one car flashing headlights, often a warning to oncoming traffic to watch for danger in the road. It was pretty dark by this time as the sun had set and the sky was overcast. Then I saw the reason for the caution. There was a pile of leaves all the way across the road, about 6 feet wide, and 2-3 feet tall. All the way across the road, and two dudes with blowers, blowing them out of their yard into the ditch on the other side of the road. Weird.

Yesterday, ( in the post: The Swank), I mentioned that I had a change of perspective. A couple of people mentioned that I should not give up, don't be discouraged etc. I guess that I failed to communicate that I am not at all giving up. I have started training and expect to do better than last year. I already feel stronger!! But, I am not going to entertain the idea that I could beat the likes of Jeremiah Bishop on a 50-100 mile race. ( obviously if he had a bad day, flatted, etc. I would finish before him, but I think you know what I mean.).

So, no worries, you will see me out there next year, duking it out, going for the hole shot, digging deep, but not overdrawing the account!!!

Have a great day!!!

The Swank

Saturday I met Heather out at Cove Creek to do some trail marking and find out exactly where I was supposed to be for the race on Sunday.

We were both overdressed as we headed up out of the cove onto the ridge line. There was not a cloud in the sky, the sun was warming the forest quickly without leaves on the trees to provide shade. It was a perfect day for a leisurely ride through the woods. We stopped every so often to hand Kenda tape from branches, especially at trail or road intersections. We were out there for about 3.5 hrs. Nice easy riding.

Sunday, Rhonda and Jubal joined me. They were going to hang out at the start/finish while I went out to direct the racers. I headed back up the trail to Daniel's Ridge, double checking the route markings as I went. I got to the intersection a little early so I sat down to wait. It took about 45 minutes for Sam Koerber, the eventual winner to come by. By noon all of the racers had passed and the sweepers showed up around 12:20pm. I packed up and headed down Daniel Ridge to Farlow Gap trail. I hung out with a small group of folks by the creek while we waited for some folks to heckle. Sam came by, still in the lead.

I headed down the trail to the rest stop, double checking the route markings as I went. After hanging out there for a little while, I decided I should not let this warm weather and the chance to ride Cove Creek trail again, slip away. So I headed up the long dirt road to Cove Creek and headed back to the finish line.

Rhonda and Jubal had volunteered to help there. Jubal was calling out numbers as racers came in, and Rhonda was taking names. I was happy that they had found something fun to do.

It was great to sit around and chat with friends that I have made over the past two years of racing. The mountain bike community is a group that I cherish and as I stood there after dark, looking around at the faces, it was good to be among like minded individuals.

A Revelation:
As I was standing in the middle of the woods, watching the top riders cruise past, then the middle of the pack, fighting for a place in the middle, then lastly the people who were out there doing it, either because they lost a bet, or they wanted a challenge, I had a revelation.

I'm never going to podium in an open category, ever. There are lots of people who are faster than me. They have coaches, more time to train, and the talent of racing for 10 plus years. I'm not going to beat them so I'm going to stop trying. Don't get me wrong. I'm not going to stop racing, and training and giving 100%, but I am going to re-assess who I am and what I want from the sport. I have limits, and I have spent the last 3 yrs fighting those limits. I know my limits, and know what I am capable of, so I'm going to train for it and get out there and do it.

So, just know that when you see me out there, ( or if you are so fast you don't see me out there), I am out there because I want to be, and I am going to be pushing, and grinding away, because I love to be out there, and I love to be out there with like minded people. And I'm going to do the best that I can, and train hard in the rain, snow, or sun. And I'm going to get stronger, and hopefully ride faster and still challenge you. And when I don't come in in the top ten, I'm going to be satisfied, because that's how it worked out!!! (so, don't stop looking over your shoulder, I'm still back there somewhere).

Long live, long rides!!

Have a great day.

Friday, November 06, 2009

It's Friday

Finally. This week has dragged by. The past 3 weeks have. This past week went a little bit faster. Time usually seems to go by faster when I ride my bike on a regular schedule.

I'll start that again in December. I remember last year getting started with a scheduled training plan in November, and by March I was ready for a break. But with the Cohutta 100 in April, that did not work too well. So, I'm gonna ride some without a strict schedule for November and then get down to it in December.

New Leaf Adventures just announced that the Cohutta 100/ Big Frog 65 is on April 24th this year. I plan on signing up for the 100 miler like I did last year. Last year I ended up doing the 65 miler because the Wednesday before I barfed my guts out half the night for some unknown reason.

This year I am making long rides a priority. No excuses. I also won't be helping to build an addition this year so I'll have some extra energy.

The Farmer's Almanac is forecasting a colder than normal winter this year. Good thing I'll have the Super Secret State of the Art Training Center up and rolling. I'm thinking about adding an espresso bar with barista and massage therapist. I thought about a hot tub but that uses a lot of energy, I might look into a wood burning hot tub some day.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to 2010.

This weekend is Swank 65, it is filled up but come on out and volunteer, heckle,spectate etc. I'll be out there helping out!!

Have a great day.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


This word has been stuck in my head for several weeks now. It's one of those things that I am chewing on and I have realized that it has a lot to do with pretty much everything.

In life, we need balance. For instance: in endurance racing, a person needs water, not too much or they wind up with a condition that is too difficult to spell at 6am. Also, not too little or they get dehydrated. And the amount can change due to external circumstances which include but are not limited to temperature, exertion, and diet.

On the bike, if one leg is pedaling faster/ stronger than the other, this creates an imbalance. If the handle bars are slightly twisted to one side, this creates an imbalance.

At work or on a sports team, if one person is not carrying their load, or not communicating, or complaining instead of working to reach a solution, this creates an imbalance.

At home, same issues, if one person in the family is not doing their part to contribute to the common good, there is an imbalance.

We must seek to be balanced.

Balanced does not always mean comfortable though. Like getting up early to exercise, or have some alone time. Seeking balance will push your limits and that is rarely comfortable, but often worth the discomfort.

Look to nature, you see balance everywhere. A constant was created and woven into everyday life that we can look around and see with our own eyes. Look at the ants, whatever you believe about the age of the earth, the ants have been collecting food every year, getting ready for the season ahead. Watch them, and learn from them.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


My 2010 training starts today. It's 33 degrees outside and I think I might regret it, but I'm going to get back on the bike today.

Most training plans tell a person to set some goals for the season before the season begins. I suppose one common goal is to win a race. That would be cool and all, but my focus this year, again, is going to be to finish my race!!

In the past, my attempts to go fast and win have resulted in the opposite result. So, I'm going to continue my plan of approaching a race calmly, riding well, and finish.

My goals are to challenge myself, to do the best that I can with the time that I have to train.

And my ultimate goal is to spread the word about the "Power of Bicycles".

Thanks to people who support me in this mission ( listed in the left hand column), I'll be able to do that again in 2010.

One thing that I really learned about last year is the importance of intensity in training. I didn't realize until late in the season that I was not approaching this aspect correctly, or at all really. Once I added that in, I saw myself getting faster and stronger.

Something else I did was shorten my training cycle to 3 weeks instead of 4 weeks. I started taking a rest week every two weeks instead of every three. This seemed to serve me well and let me recover better from my longer more intense rides.

Another thing that is difficult from now through March is getting long rides in. With Rhonda working every other weekend, it is close to dark by the time she gets home. I can still ride with lights, but the the ol' fear factor comes in to play. Boo! So, I'm going to need to get creative with my time. I hope to have my super secret state of the art training center complete within a month. Then I'll be able to spend some hrs on the rollers..... ( I've never ridden the rollers more than 45 minutes, anyone have a small tv/dvd player they want to donate?).

Well, here is a toast for the 2010 season!!

Have a great day.