Sunday, May 31, 2009

Good Rides

Saturday I headed up the Parkway to the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center. The road was open and I hadn't been up there in a while so I set off. I supposed to simulate race conditions so I pushed a good pace to the top. I was feeling good. It was a great day, clear sky and lots of sun. It got a little bit cooler as I neared the VC, but not a lot. I noticed that I was not really sweating, but attributed that to the cool temps. Once I got to the VC I felt a twinge of nauseousness. Hmmm, interesting. Not sure what was going on, and thankful that the ride back was a lot of downhill, I headed back after filling up my bottles at the water fountain.
Later, I looked at my intake, sodium/calories etc. It turns out that my math was off and I did not have enough electrolyte intake. The other thought was that I simply pushed too hard, for too long.

View of the mtns.
The temporary stoplight way up in the middle of nowhere. Me, way up in the middle of nowhere.

Sunday I set out again on a road ride. I decided to ride down river road, up Monticello, through Weaverville, up Ox Creek Rd, and down the parkway. It was hotter today than yesterday and I took a lower pace than I had taken yesterday. As I was nearing the parkway on Ox Creek Rd, I saw a chicken pecking at the side of the road. Interesting since there weren't any houses nearby. I almost stopped to take a picture, but decided not too. Literally not more than 10 pedal strokes later, a black bear cub popped out of the woods, then another, then a 350 lbs mama, then another cub, whoa!!! I tried to grab the camera, but if I had kept pedaling I would have run into them. I stopped and unclicked my left foot, and the sound sent them running down the hillside. I had only been about 30 feet away from them....
I continued my ride, noting that I sweat the entire time. Hmmm, I'm now wondering how heart-rate is correlated with sweat rate?

View of Ox Creek Valley before the climb. The road goes up to the gap at the right of the peak in the center of the picture, then over the other side to the Parkway!!!
So, there goes another great weekend!!!
Have a great day.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jubal's Race

Jubal raced the 2 lap kid's race Friday night at the Asheville Mellowdrome. The race was part of the Mountain Sports Festival. He lined up with several other kids, only one other without training wheels. It was shaping up to be a tough race.
With the wind in his face on the starting line, Jubal was experiencing the pre-race jitters. The starter sounded the bell and they were off. Each lap is 500 meters. I ran across the infield to cheer Jubal on while Rhonda waited at the start finish. He came by barely in the lead but pushing hard. I wasn't sure if he could hold that pace.
On the second lap he had lost the lead but was only a couple of bike lengths behind. He could still pull it off. I cheered him on and then ran back across the infield to the finish to greet him. His competition rolled in but Jubal was nowhere to be seen.
Then around turn 4 we saw him coming, somewhat slowly...hmmm... he was crying. We feared the worst, we thought he had crashed. I ran down the track to him but could see no blood or scrapes. When I got to him, 75 meters from the finish line, he got off his bike, crying and said that he had wanted to finish first.
All the people were cheering him on.... and then I looked up. Coming around the corner....was a girl....on a pink tricycle. No, Jubal was not going to get chicked!!!
After a long 20 seconds, Jubal, still crying, got back on his bike and finished. He did it on his own, it was his choice.
Second place finish!!!! Good job Jubal!!
Have a great day.

Friday, May 29, 2009


I woke up in the middle of the night two nights about with sever upper back and neck pain. The shooting kind of pain that let's you know it is there.

Yesterday I drove to work hoping that I would be feeling better and be able to go for a ride after work. I felt somewhat better and went for that ride.

I headed down to Curtis Creek rd to do a re-con for ORAMM and some intervals. That was fun.

I parked, get ready and hit the road. It is about 1 mile until the road starts to tilt upward.

As soon as I got on the bike and pedaled 100 feet, I knew why my back was messed up. I had made an adjustment to my seat and now I felt every little muscle in my upper back and neck screaming out in pain. I stopped and put the seat back and was able to ride for an hour and a half. It is amazing how a little 2mm adjustment can really help or really mess you up.

I took off up the road in the evening sunshine. The humidity was there in full force, and I was dripping. Legs burning, heavy breathing and loving the ride. It looked like, for the hour ride up, that I was going to stay dry for this ride.

A turkey crossed the road, saw me and ran for the woods.

The false summit on Curtis Creek is a killer. It is about 1.5 miles from the top, and levels out nicely. The scenery even looks the same as the top, it'll mess you up. Right after the false summit, the road kicks up again. You can almost here the mountain laughing at you.....

After getting to the parkway, I stopped to stretch. It was foggy up here but not raining. Then I heard the thunder rumbling through the valley. It was going to be behind me on the way down so I decided to try to beat it back to the parking lot.

Cruising down the hardpacked gravel road, I heard it, then felt it. The roar of the giant drops as they crashed down through the already soaked forest. The I was drenched, and starting to get cold. I stopped to put my wind vest on, and pushed it back to the truck.

When I got back, the rain stopped and I smiled.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Interestingly I found out recently that my cadence has been to high. About a month ago, I noticed that I could not exert force on the pedals in the same way that I have in the past. It turns out that while I have been training to maintain a high cadence, too high of a cadence caused me to lose that force. There is a delicate balance in finding the right cadence to optimize performance.

The same goes for daily life. How is your cadence? Too high and you are spinning and not going far, too low and you are wasting a lot of energy.

Find that balance and you will go a lot farther.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Stepping Back

Sometime you just have to step back. You've been working hard at something, training hard, practicing. Now it's time to step back and take a look at what you have accomplished. Maybe you have reached you goal, or maybe you are still going for that goal. So, step back. It's springtime, things have turned green, waken up from their long winter's slumber. It's raining again!! There are clouds wrapping around the mountains ( or around the buildings, depending on where you live).

Flowers in bloom, fresh fruit, sunshine.....and bike racing. ( i guess there might be some other sports happening too).

So, step back, look around, enjoy where you are, then keep reaching for the stars!!!

Have a great day!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Check List

I laid the hammer down, or rather picked it up this weekend and went to town on my house. Here is most of what I did: primed the gable, painted the gable, waterproofed the outside trim, finished the fence and gates, finished grading, stained interior trim, hung interior trim, finished closet, painted closet, moved into closet, painted Jubal's room, moved him into his room, hung curtain rods and curtains, and more, but I can't remember.....I'll get pictures as soon as I get rested!!

I got all of the major stuff done that I had on my list. It is such a great feeling of accomplishment. We bought this house 5 yrs ago, almost to date, and have been working hard to make it our home. We are so thankful that we are where we are now.

Back to riding and training. I haven't been on the bike in over a week!! I'm not sure exactly where to start in my training plan but I'm just looking forward to riding!!!

I have 4 weeks until the Cowbell Challenge. My first Cowbell was in 2006, on a single speed. That was when it was a 12 hr race. It was my first 12 hr mtn bike race. My pit was a cooler, underneath the information kiosk. That was fun!!

I'm looking forward to a different format this year!!!

Have a great day.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Look Out!!!

"John Henry" !!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I lied

I lied yesterday when I said that I was not really excited about Burn 24. I love that event. It is fun, grass roots, laid back and challenging.....

In life you make plans, and things pop up. Sometimes you can go through with your plans and sometimes you rearrange and make new plans and goals. Sometimes you look back and say, " what the heck was that", other times you look back and are thankful that your plans were derailed. Sometimes your plans are not the best.

In training, the goal is to identify stressors and eliminate them. That is another great principle to apply to life.

For me yesterday, my to biggest stressors were finishing the house, and training/ racing Burn 24. I attempted to make it without eliminating one but had to come to the realization that that would not work. I could do both, but not do both well.

So, I eliminated training/racing.

Instead, I'm doing what I am calling 24 hrs of Home Renovations!!! Or, the Home Renovation Blitzkrieg!!! I'm gonna do what it takes to get it done, get it out of the way, then resume training. While the family is disappointed, we realise that this is best.

You gotta do what you gotta do. And I feel great about my decision.

Last night, I built the closet and got the sheet rock hung. This morning, I taped and started mudding. Tonight I'll finish mudding and start finishing the floor.

Have a great day!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Swirling Thoughts

Burn 24 is in 4 days. The house has quite a bit of work left to do. I can't rest properly to get ready for the race because I am working on the house after I get home from work. I can't just put it off until next week and rest this week because I want to get it done so that it is not there to be done everyday when I come home from work.

Because if I get it done and out of the way, then I 'll be able to train/ rest properly for the Cowbell Challenge in June. I'm more excited about the Cowbell than I am about Burn. I think I am slowly realising that I am not a 24 hr rider. Long rides...I love. But I also need my sleep. I never pulled an all nighter in college, and can probably count on my hands how many times I have stayed awake all night, maybe even on one hand.

So, what to do, spend the weekend working on the house? or put it off and go race with tired legs, and take a whole lot longer to recover?.....this is my dilemma.
Last night I opened up the closet space in the wall. This is a view of the new room from the old bedroom. Not having enough space to build a closet, we have lived with an open air closet for 5 yrs!!
This is from the new room, looking into our old bedroom/ Jubal's new bedroom. The is the openeing for the closet. Jubal's room will have a smaller closet.

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Monday Ride

A couple of weeks ago my friend Mike Keeley called and said that he had signed up for the Assaut on Mt Mitchell, a 102 mile road ride that starts in Spartanburg, SC and ends on top of Mt Mitchell. I told him that I would try to get a day off, since the ride is on Monday to avoid user conflict, and ride part of it with him.

Monday morning rolled around bright and early..and chilly. It was a perfect day for a ride. 46 degrees, sunny and blue skies. My day started with some Kinetic Koffee, meal replacement shake and then hit the road.

I immediately knew that I should be back in bed. After laying the wood floor all weekend, my legs were heavy, my body tired and my sinuses were feeling a little congested. I was on the way to getting a cold. I was not going to turn back at this point though. I wanted to see Mike and ride with him.

Out hwy 70 through Black Mtn, past Ridgecrest, down the Point Lookout Greenway trail. A quick/ awkward stop at a little diner in Old Fort to get a water bottle refill. The smoking customers were expressionless.....

I stayed on hwy 70 to the intersection of hwy 80 and waited for Mike there.

I also called Rhonda, my queen of SAG ( supply and gear ) to change plans. Originally I was going to ride with Mike all the way up hwy 80, south on the parkway to the entrance of Mt Mitchell State Park, the follow the Parkway back to Asheville. And Rhonda was to drive north on the parkway from Asheville until she saw me. But, considering my condition, and that I have a 24 hr race coming up at the end of this week, I decided to just ride up 80 to the parkway, then turn around and come back down. I called Rhonda and she was cool with that plan.

Mike and his friend Mike showed up. Mikes friend Mike had to drop out at this point. 75 miles into the ride, but my friend Mike was ready to roll. We rode through the 3 mile flat and then started to climb. Conversation drifted here and there, and the road wound upwards. Stop halfway to fill water bottles and continue up. I love that climb!!!

At the Parkway we part ways, he goes up and I go down. When I get back to the intersection, Rhonda and Jubal are there waiting. We ate the lunch that Rhonda had made and then went for a little hike at Curtis Creek.

We wandered up the little path to a small beach area that had a large amount of flat stones, perfect for skipping. So, that is just what we did. Jubal had not learned to skip stones yet and today was the day. The joy and excitement on that kid's face when he skipped his first stone was amazing. We, as adults need to slow down and enjoy life for the first time!!!

Later, when we were settled in and relaxing, the phone rang. It was Mike. He made it in 7hrs22 mins. Great job. He told me to guess where they were, and I couldn't. He said that they were leaving Marion. It had taken 4 hrs for his bike to show up...........

Have a great day.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Weekend

Saturday marked out 11th anniversery. We celebrated by working. Rhonda went to her CNA job and I laid woodfloor in our addition.
Below is the transition piece from the old house to the new house. The old floor and the new floor match perfectly:
The finished living room:
The other side of the living room:
Taken from the kitchen:
I still have to put in the strips alond the wall. I'll need to borrow a table saw for those. Next is building a closet, hanging the door, painting, and trim work.
But not today, the Blue Ridge Parkway is calling.....after I finish this Morning Mayhem!!
Have a great day.
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Friday, May 15, 2009

Seeing Green

The electrician finished his work late Wednesday afternoon. On the way out the door, he indicated that he might be calling the inspection in for Thursday. Since the same inspector does the building and electrical inspections, I called in the final building inspection, so he would only have to make one trip and we would only have to clear out schedules for one day.

I called the inspector at 9am to find out when he planned on coming to my house. He said he would have to call me back to let me know. Two hours later I had not heard from him so I called again. He had forgotten to call but it was ok because he is a super nice guy and was going to get over in about 20 mins.

I left work, picked Jubal up from school and we headed home. Then I started pacing. Waiting for him to show up, wondering if there was something major to be fixed, wondering if the electrician would have to come back out etc.

He finally showed up and the inspection started. He is very thorough and quiet. The whole inspection took about 10-15 minutes but felt like 45 minutes.

Then, he pulled out a green sticker and passed us....aahhh.

Now we are waiting for the electricians bill, the last major payment on this project, to see if we will become one of the victims of the horror stories that you hear about. How one price was agreed on, but somehow a lot of other mystery charges appear....we'll see.

So, what now? I still have to install the wood floor, trim and interior door. On the outside I have the gutters, some minor trimwork, and the final grading inspection ( for some reason I am not worried about that one).

With the weekend to myself, I wonder what I'll be doing.....

Have a great day!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


While students everywhere are taking final exams, we are waiting for our final inspections. The electrician finally finished up yesterday and we made appointments for the final building and electrical inspections. I hope it goes well!!!!

Have a great day.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Safe Routes to School

I saw this on : "Take Action! Give Fat Kids Safe Routes to School"

Go check it out and send an e-mail to Senator Burr. Even if you don't live in NC, I'm sure you are gonna move here one day because it is THE place to be....

( I wonder if they will let the skinny kids ride on the Safe Routes?)

Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Blackberry Winter

Every year, when the blackberries bloom, the temps cool a little bit. The old timers call this the blackberry winter.

We had to light a fire this morning to ward off the chill.

The house addition is coming along, the electrician will hopefully finish up today. It will be nice to get all of the contractors paid off and on their way. One step closer to being finished!!!

Not much else going on at the moment.

Have a great day!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


For years I have been a fan of Starbucks. I have worked there several 3 different times when I needed a good job fast. They were great to work for and taught me a lot about coffee, quality and the "Star Standard": the idea of product quality, that when a person should walk into a store across the country or in another country, that it would feel like walking into one's home store. Smiling faces, good coffee, similar decor, a " home away from home".
Recently though, over the past two years, I have been less than satisfied with the service and product at Starbucks. It seems that the standard has slipped, and I will leave it at that.

So, I went looking. I would have loved to endorse a small coffee roaster, but for some reason, small coffee roasters tend to have coffee that tastes burned and leaves an ashy aftertaste. No good. I want a coffee that is smooth, full of flavor, no burned after taste.

It took a while and now I have found one:

Not only does it taste great, it is roasted in small batches and mailed directly to my doorstep. I could even join the Koffee Club and have coffee automatically mailed to me. Sweet!!! And to top it all off, they donate 10% of their net proceeds to charities!!!

Check it out: Kinetic Koffee.

Saturday I had a great 3 hour road ride. I've been working with Namrita O'Dea to dial in my nutrition and I think we finally have it. I was sweating the entire ride. That is something that has not happened for a while. Hopefully next weekend I'll get out for a longer ride and continue to test my nutrition plan. Here are some pictures from the ride:

The French Broad River from the Marshall Bridge:
A field on Bear Creek Road:
Horses on Bear Creek Rd

Have a great day!!!

Thursday, May 07, 2009


I went for my evening mtb training ride last night. I got in 3 hrs and 20 minutes. The ride was fairly uneventful until the last twenty minutes....

It was raining and chilly when I started and the temps hovered around 65 degrees. It was humid though. Winding up and over the WNC mtns, the lush green similar to a rain forest. The trees and weeds drenched in water. Roots wet and slick as ice.

I'm not great at going downhill fast, add some moisture and I'm terrible. I timed myself on one 6 mile section and I am about 1 minute slower than when it is dry. Gotta work on that.

The gravel road section was fast. I did see some tire tracks but not another person on a bicycle for the entire ride. Riding up and around ridges, the bright green leaves creeping up to the highest mountains. The mist in the valleys and the dark, menacing rain clouds blanketing the sky, threatening to let loose at any moment.

Cross the creek, wave to the lone fisherman, hit the pavement and spin through town.

20 minutes from the parking lot the light dims. I start to pull out my cell phone to call Rhonda, decide not to. 20 seconds later I drift to the left of the path and see a 3 foot long copperhead on the right side, less than 5 feet from me....I probably would have run over him if I had been on the phone.

Startled now, the sky goes dark and I throw my training limits off the side of the mountain. I don't want to get to the parking lot after dark because of the possibility of sketchy people. I get there right as the darkness sets in and sure enough, sketchy people hanging out. 1.5 minutes later I pull out of the parking lot and the sky lets loose. It rains the rest of the night.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Did You Know....

I participated in a great training yesterday. Here are some highlights. Look into it, talk about it......get educated:

What is child sexual abuse?
Any sexual act between an adult and a minor or between two minors when one exerts power over the other.

Some Facts:
-Experts estimate that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthdays.
-1 in 5 children are sexually solicited while on the internet.
-Nearly 70 % of all reported sexual assaults , including assaults on adults, occur to children ages 7 and under.
-The median age for reported sexual abuse is 9 years old.
-Most child victims never report the abuse.
-30-40% of children are abused by family members.
-As many as 60% are abused by people the family trusts- abusers frequently try to form a trusting relationship with parents.
-Approximately 40% of sex offenders report sexual abuse as children.
-Approximately 70% of sexual offenders of children have between 1and 9 victims. 20-25% have 10 to 40 victims.
-Serial Child molesters may have as many as 400 victims in their lifetimes.

So what now? 7 steps:
1- Learn the facts and understand the risks
2-Minimize Opportunity
3-Talk About It
4-Stay Alert
5-Make a Plan
6-Act on Suspicions
7-Get Involved

The training is from a grass-roots national non-profit organization called Darkness to Light.
Please go to their web-site and learn more. And consider getting the training for yourself, friends, group, church, school etc.... anyone who knows kids. They are our future and they need us to protect them.

I know this is a heavy and can be a scary topic. Don't let it bring you down, but focus on what we can do to help.

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Seasons is a film that follows seven of the world’s top mountain bikers through the course of four seasons of one year. The film explores what it means to be a full time rider as told through the lives of downhill racers, slopestyle competitors, and big mountain freeriders.

Thursday night, May 7th. 9pm. Asheville Pizza and Brewing on Merrimon Ave. $2 donation at the door. All donations go to World Bicycle Relief.
Thanks to the Mountain Sports Festival for partnering with us.

Have a great day!!!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Blue Ridge Parkway

Saturday, I decided to take my first ride since the Big Frog 65 one week earlier. I took the week off in between to work on the house and to hang with my family.

The ride was great, about 3 hrs. I started in rain showers and ended in golden sunshine, enhancing the already bright green of spring. It was great, hard to put into words.

I was disappointed when I got to the Craggy Gardens picnic area and found that the road is still closed:

Milepost 367.6 to 355.3 – Asheville Area
A rock slide and roadway failure has closed the Parkway to all activities including foot traffic and bicycling between the entrance to Craggy Gardens Picnic Area and the entrance to Mt. Mitchell State Park. The picnic area is accessible driving north from the Asheville area and the state park is accessible via the NC Highway 80 entrance to the Parkway.
For northbound travelers, exit the Parkway at US 70 East in Asheville, follow to the intersection with I-40 East, and at Exit 86, follow NC 226 back to the Parkway near Spruce Pine.
For southbound travelers, exit the Parkway at NC 226 (Milepost 330.9), follow to I-40 West, and at Exit 55, follow US 70 West back to the Parkway.
The detour is approximately 45 miles in length. This road closure will remain in effect until late spring 2009.

Sunday I took another ride with Jubal on the Trail-a-Bike. We rode for almost an hour, finishing in the rain. We both loved it!!!

This weeks marks the start of a new training cycle. I'm looking forward to seeing how my body responds!!

Have a great day.

Friday, May 01, 2009


....wind jacket!!