Friday, April 30, 2010


Thursday, I decided to try out the Liberty Bikes intermediate paced, 40-ish mile road ride.  Intermediate pace?  That envelope might have gotten pushed a little bit.  But it sure was fun cruising along the flats at 30mph!!! 
I also decided to get some extra mileage in and rode my bike to work.  I enjoyed the ride despite the 35 degree temps that were hanging around.  After getting off work, I rode to Liberty getting there for the ride with a few minutes to spare. 

Robert Watkins was there looking fast.  As the small group gathered, I looked around and wondered if I would be able to keep up.  This should be interesting. 

We rolled out promptly at 6pm, with Sam White and Kevin as our guides.  The group headed south on the Pkwy and kept an easy pace.  We wound our way out and around the countryside towards Mills River.  Everything was chill and manageable, until we hit a longer climb.  The pace picked up a little bit, the group split a little regrouped for the most part at the top, then someone laid the hammer down.  I hung on as long as I could, then got dropped.  Yeah, this ride was gonna hurt.  I pedaled alone for a few minutes before getting in with others who had gotten dropped and we formed a paceline. 

After regrouping, we headed out through Mills River and out through Fletcher.  I knew where I was at this point,  well, for a couple of minutes I did. 
Lots of rolling hills and flats gave us the opportunity to pick up some speed.  Along for the ride was a guy named Brian.  When he went to the front, it was time to buckle down, tuck in and give it all I had.  We were flying at over 30mph a couple of times.  It was all I could to do hang on.  Once the road tilted up a little, I could not hang on and got dropped again.   Getting dropped is not fun!
At some point we landed on Mills Gap Rd and I knew where we were, briefly, until we turned again.  The ride was supposed to last around 2 hrs, and I had two water bottles.  Even though the air was cool, I was getting hot, and worried that I would run out of fluids.  I kept sipping but also conserving.  I had eaten a Gensting Honey Stinger gel and now pulled out some Honey Stinger chews.  Those little morsels of honey and nutrients are delicious, easy to eat, and effective. 

We regrouped once again before heading down Hendersonville rd and back home.  Sam asked if I was having fun and the answer was "Yes".  He mentioned that joining this ride would help with my leg speed.  I agreed, and I'll be back.  It's a fun, laid back, intense ride and you should consider joining us.
As the Pkwy came up, I bid the group farewell and headed home.  The last mile and a half were a bit sluggish and my body felt spent when I got home.  Thankful that Friday is an off day, I ate a big plate of angel hair pasta with cheese sauce , a grilled cheese sandwich and several homemade chocolate chip cookies.   Yum!!

Have a great day!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I'm at a point in my life where I am working on letting things bother me less.  I tend to be concerned with other's opinions of me, which is not entirely bad, but when it is the the extent that I am constantly adjusting my actions to please or not offend someone, simply to gain approval, then it can be detrimental.  And less than genuine.

A long time ago, I had a friend.  Some things happened that caused me to considered said friendship and wonder if it was a one sided thing.  So, I put it to the test.  What I discovered was that it was one sided, and that I was not being myself.  Once I started pursuing my goals, doing what I wanted to, following my dreams,  the friendship fizzled.  I guess the individual didn't like who I really was, and didn't approve of what I was doing.   My plans didn't include them as much as they used to, and I was getting along fine.

People are funny like that.  Some have expectations for me, that I will never live up to.  They expect me to walk, talk, or even write a certain way.  They want me to stay inside the lines, to keep up with the joneses, and to fit the image!  

I've been down that road, and it wasn't fun.  I was created to be who I am, and to live in freedom, not to be chained down by other people's unrealistic expectations.  One I started to break free from that, it was liberating.  The world became big again, kind of like when I was a kid, and the possibilities became limitless. 

If you are bound,  break free.  It is that simple.  Stand up for yourself, and do what you want to do, and if  some relationships fizzle along the way,  maybe they were more in  the superficial/ one sided category.   It happened to me, and I have developed deeper stronger relationships with others across the country. 

But don't get me wrong, I'm not bitter,  really.  I was for a long time, but then I realized that that took too much energy.  If anyone shows up on my doorstep and needs " a drink of water", I'll definitely share with them. 

Have a great day

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


For the Big Frog 65 I fueled mainly with nuun, and  Honey Stinger. At aid station 6, I grabbed some pb&j.  I was wanting one at aid station 5 but they didn't have any. 

Nuun is really easy to use and come in tablet form.  It is packed in a small tube that fits well in a jersey pocket and does not take up much room at all.  The flavors are subtle and not too sweet.  Kola Kona is my favorite, with a little bit of a caffeine kick to wake me up.  Nuun really helps me stay hydrated. 

Honey Stinger products are made from pure honey.  That is only one of the reasons that I like them.  The gels have assorted flavors including Strawberry, Banana, and Chocolate.  The Chocolate is a no-brainer,  I love it.  I normally don't like the fruity flavors, and don't like anything Banana in general.  But, when I tried the Banana and Strawberry on a training ride,  it was different.  The balance of fruit taste and honey is such that.... I actually like it.  The chews are really good to, easy to eat, and I can definitely feel the difference once they get into my system.   I'm hooked on Honey Stinger and look forward to continuing to fuel on honey for a long time!

I'm still working on getting my calories that I need.  But the last two races have been as close as I have ever been.  I'm  not bonking, getting hungry occasionally, and even sometimes eat too much. 

I apparently took too much food with me and sent too much to the aid station because I had a lot left over.  At the aid station when I picked up my drop bad, I'm sure I wasted time packing my pockets with the extra Honey Stinger and nuun products,  but there was no way I was going to leave it behind!!! 

If you have not try them you really should, it's good stuff.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


And so, the first training cycle is complete and successful.  I get to take  a couple of days off the bike and let my body rest. 

Thinking back on the past 4 months and how training was a little limited due to the winter weather that we had here, I am very pleased with how my training has gone.  In the Big Frog, I placed roughly where I placed last year, and last year.   I am consistent in my finishes and that is good. 

As I was riding the single track at the race, I realized that I had not spent much time on single track this year.  It is just the way it happened.  I decided to back off training just a little bit so that I would have some digits left.  It was cool, because I could see the difference that it made too. 

My endurance is good, even my tech skills were consistent, I just didn't have much speed or power.  Those are my limiters. Now, I need to figure out how to add those in. 

I also need to figure out why my core temp gets so high so fast.  Is it genetics?  Is there something I need to do differently?  The first 5 hrs of the race, until it started raining, I was sweating.  This was something new and exciting for me.  I was able to manage that by staying within a specific HR range.  I have noticed that when I go above this range for an extended period, I overheat and stop sweating (I'm not sure which one happens first).  My guess is that it is more related to my body than electrolytes/fluid etc.  I'm not sure though,  any thoughts?

Next up is ORAMM
This was my second endurance race.  In 2006 I rode a Specialized Hardrock Single Speed and finished in 8h29 min.   141st out of 296 finishers.  I was pumped.  In 2007 I rode a Bianchi WUSS SS and finished in 8h 38mins.   2008 and 2009, I DNF'ed (Did Not Finish). 

So, my goal for this year?  8 h 28 mins!!  That's an average speed of 7.6 mph...I think I can do that!

Have a great day.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Big Frog 65

I took the day off of work on Friday and kept Jubal home from school.  Rhonda went to her class.  Keeping her out of school is like keeping me off of my one benefits.  We got loaded up and headed towards Ducktown TN, home of the Ocoee Whitewater Center.  We decided to try camping out this year instead of hoteling. It turned out to be a great decision.  I was able to get up, get dressed and ride right to the start of the race, with out having to roust the family too early.

I ended up checking my watch every 30 minutes after midnight, because I was paranoid that I was going to oversleep.  When I saw 5:00am on the watch, I got up and got some hot water going for some Kinetic Koffee.  I prepped the Aeropress, and drank some water.  I fiddled around getting everything ready to go.  This year, I am fueling with Honey Stinger and nuun,  both of which have been very helpful in my training rides. I drank my shake for breakfast, drank Koffee, and changed.  Time was really dragging by, and I realized that I could have stayed in my sleeping bag another 30 minutes.   I guess I am so used to having to drive to the start.

Finally 6:45 am rolled around and I rode to the start.  The 100 milers went off at 7am, and we waited a long 15 minutes to get going.  It was nice to finally be rolling, and I jumped up with the leaders at the start, only to let them go.  I was going to go my pace no matter what.  It had rained off and on during the night, and today there was supposed to be a huge storm front rolling in.  Right now though, it was overcast, hot and humid.  I monitored my pace and RPE, and cruised through the single track, eating and drinking.  I let several faster groups pass on the single track and didn't even feel inclined to chase them.

The single track is fun and flowing, and it dawned on me how much single track I did not ride on through the winter.  I just kept spinning along.  We hit the first water station and I filled up.  It was time for the gravel road grind and I was ready.  I took the left turn and started grinding up the first hill.  On the gravel I can turn my mind off and focus on the task at hand.  On this trip I didn't let my mind wander, but stayed in tune with my body.  I wanted to finish.

The overcast skies continued to build, and there was an occasional blast of cool air.  I knew that the thunderstorms would roll in, but didn't know when.  On to aid station 2, where I started feeling bad last year.  I felt good this year.  I stopped to fill my bottles but not my camelbak.  A guy named Bill introduced himself.  He is from Chicago and volunteers for World Bicycle Relief..     I was going to fill the camelbak at the next stop, which I estimated to be another 10 miles out.   10 miles later, I ran out of water.  I mistakenly thought that there was a rest stop, where there was not.  oops.  I had some nuun mix left though so I was fine.  I did lower my effort a little so I didn't run out of that.

Every hour that went by, I made not that I was still sweating.  Even 4h  into the race, I was still sweating.  That is good.  I have found a heartrace/pace that my body likes, and I'll need to build on that. 

Back around the "Big Frog" loop to aid station 3, which was also aid station 2,  I made a quick stop and got on the bike again.  I was pleased that my aid station stops were not lasting very long at all.  I was taking the time to refill, and that was valuable time, but way better than not finishing.

The next 10-15 miles got really interesting.  At first there was lighting and thunder on the other side of the ridge.  Here in the mountains, it is hard to tell when or where the storm is going.  It could be headed right for you, then you go around a bend and the storm has moved on, or is stalled.  It is hard to tell.  Today however, I rode another 20 minutes, went around a bend and lightning hit, within 1 mile.  Then another bolt, closer. Then the skies let loose and dumped.  I thought about the "torrential downpour" in 24 Solo.  I was hoping Pos would bring me a shell or something....

I plodded on.  The rain drenching me.  I knew at this point that the tables had turned.  I no longer needed to worry about overheating, but now I had to think about hypothermia.  I stopped to put on my windbreaker vest and shortly after, stopped to pull on my arm warmers.  Even though they would be soaked, I would be a little warmer.  I took off on the downhill to the last aid station.  The gravel road that had been dry and dusty was now soft and mushy.  The mud splattering my face didn't help much.  I was cold and shivering and hungry.

Rhonda and Jubal were at the aid station.  So were Carrie L and Zeke.  We had some sort of a conversation, about Jubal looking exactly like me, only he needed some red fuzz on his chin, about Pisgah Stage Race, Trans Rockies, suffering etc.  I think that it was more of a one sided conversation where they said something and I looked at them, until I remembered that I needed something. I would go back to what I was doing, and they would say something else. I  would again look at them, not knowing what to say, or even how to say it.  I was tired.
 I ate a bit of a pb&j and rolled onto the last 12 miles of the route.  This last 12 miles is not easy, and it is not all down  hill.  This last 12 miles will put you in the hurt locker, make you cry for your mommy, and chew you up and spit you out.  I didn't want to do it.  I was hoping in a big way that they would call the race and send us home the short way.  It never happened.

The trails were now rivers.  There was nothing left that was dry.  The rain was off and on, but it didn't matter anymore.  I was almost warm on the climbs, but chilled right away on the downhills. I just shivered thinking about it.  I ground away in an easy gear, tired and quietly excited that I was not feeling bad.  I didn't feel what a normal person would call good,  but I didn't feel bad.

Winding around on the single track, I tried not to think about how far I had left to go.  It helped some, just to enjoy the wetness, and the fresh smells of the forest.  But when I finally got out of the woods, I was elated.   I tried to pick up the pace on the last mile of pavement, but it didn't happen.  I was wet, cold and there was a headwind.  Through the parking lot, across the bridge, greeted by my support team.  I crossed the line in 7hrs 10 minutes.

I was pleased!!  I pumped my fist and raised my hands to the sky. Although the top riders had finished long ago, this was a victory for me.  I had finished, and that is what I was going for.  It was a good day!!!

Now at home, a couple of days later, I look forward to building on what I have learned.  I am taking a transition week to relax and then starting a new training cycle.  I'm very excited about the future and learning and hopefully getting a little faster each time!!!

Have a great day.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Last night we pre-viewed Veer.  I was not sure what direction this documentary was going to take, but I will say that I was very  pleased with the way the movie ended.   There are several different story lines running through it, each with a different idea and goal, yet all with the same motivation.....bicycles.  You have to see this movie, don't miss out on an opportunity to be inspired!!
Coming to Asheville Pizza and Brewing, Merrimon Ave
May 6th, 9:30pm $3 per person,  proceeds benefit World Bicycle Relief.

I did some t-shirt sample for a local camp.  They turned out really nicely.   If you have t-shirts that are already printed, I can die those too.  The 3 shirts in the picture are printed on the front, but they are being kept secret for the time being:  Remember,  I am currently donating 100% of profits to a charity that helps children in the Caribbean. 

World Bicycle Relief has revamped the fund raising portion of their web-site to make it more user friendly.  Check it out:  Team World Bicycle Relief.  If you want to help even more, you can join the team and create a page for yourself!!!

 While you are clicking, click away on my sponsor's web-sites on the left,  you won't find better quality and service anywhere!!!

Have a great day.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Yesterday's commute was great.  After taking 3 days off the bike, (due to overtraining), I got back on to see how my body was feeling.  The ride in was good.  I just took it easy.  

On the way home, I put in a little more intensity and felt really great!!  I was getting up hills in an efficient way that I have not done all year.  Over the top of the hills, I was recovering quickly and still motoring along at a steady pace.  
As I was cruising down a hill and around a bend, I noticed two women in a driveway.  They were looking at something.  It was  a full sized turkey.  I stopped to take a picture with my phone.  They laughed.  One said" that would look good on the thanksgiving table".  We all laughed!!   The other said to me" You should have been here 30 minutes ago,  the big bear was here!".   

Have a great day!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I started a Facebook page called: Tie-Dye for a Cause.  I'll post pictures and info there about current stock and projects that I am dyeing for! Check it out and share it with your friends, and share it with people who are not your friends!!!  

I have already acquired 500 toothbrushes and 500 tubes of toothpaste.  I am pretty excited that the ball was rolling even before I mad the announcement about the project.  I went about pricing the cost of shipping yesterday and was shocked to find out that a 5lb box, 5x7.5x8 inches will cost $120 to ship via UPS or Fed-EX and $50 via USPS.   That's not going to work out so well. 

So I went back to the drawing board and contacted a travel agent who also has a blog and I asked her if she would be interested in recruiting people to carry the items down in their luggage.   She was excited to help so hopefully that will be taken care of.  Check out Bonaire Bliss.

On that note, I have decided to halt on collecting product until we can figure out a better plan and simply collect monetary donations.   And of course continue to make and sell the Tie-dyes and donate the proceeds. 

Thanks for reading,
Have a great day!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Get Ready

I am so excited about a new project that we are taking on.   First a little bit of history.

As a 10 yr old, my parents moved, as missionaries, to an island in the Caribbean called Bonaire. Being only 10 yrs old, I moved with them.  We spent 6 yrs on the island.  It was a great time and a great place to spend that part of my life. It was a sad day when we left the island and moved to Charlotte, NC. I was 16 yrs old.  I have never stopped thinking about the island, the experiences I had and the people who helped make me who I am today.

Through a series of circumstances, Bonaire has come back into my life, and I have a passion to give back to the people there.  Bonaireans are a happy people.  Laid back and embracing life.

What I want to share with you today is about Pasku Briante. (Bright Christmas)(Facebook Page)

I have been reconnected with an old friend from Bonaire.  He works for the Bonaire Youth Outreach Foundation (BYOF).  Every year, the organization collects items to fill shoeboxes. At Christmas time,  they then donate the shoeboxes to children on the islands who would otherwise not have a Christmas.

I have teamed up with BYOF to help collect these items to get them to the kids.  I will periodically be posting different items that are on the wish list.  Amazingly enough, these items are easily accessible to us here in the USA.  These are items that we walk past just about any time we go into any grocery store, gas station or the dreaded Wal-Mart.

The current need is pencils.  Plain and simple.  I need to collect 500 pencils. 

I have provided a Pay-Pal link.  If you don't want to buy them and send them to me,  I will gladly purchase them with the money you donate!! No Problem.

Once the goal for one item has been reached I will be posting another item.   For a quick overview,  we need:
  • 4 piece car sets (matchbox type)
  • soap
  • erasers
  • crayons sets
  • combs
  • hairbrush
  • t-shirts
  • hats
  • and more (I currently have 500 toothbrushes and 500 tubes of toothpaste sitting in my bike room!!)
500 each,  always 500!!

But that is not all.  Several years ago, I was partial owner of a t-shirt screen printing business.  I then pursued an interest in tie-dyeing.  The interest in tie-dye has been rekindled and in an effort to subsidize this project, I will be selling an assortment of different tie-dyes.   Proceeds will be going to the project.

Currenty I have 18 month onsies in stock.  ( I had to start somewhere ).  I have long sleeve and short sleeve.  $20 each plus $5 shipping, unless you are local. 

Example of a longsleeve:

Example of a short sleeve:
  I only have 20 of each in stock so get them before they are gone.  Once these are gone, I will do another batch of something else, probably t-shirts.
I can also do custom orders too: event t-shirts, towels, etc. (any color scheme too.  Sorry, I can't do images of Jerry Garcia or Jesus)  If it is cotton, I can make it look HAWT!!
If you want to place an order, simply use the Pay-Pal link.  If you don't have a Pay-Pal account, it is free and easy to sign up.

Have a great day.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Chuck Norris

This weekend we went to the Chuck Norris Action Fest and saw the legend.  It was a bit disappointing seeing him there, meekly walking around in a black suit, but he was there:

We pulled up and found a place to park, getting there early so we could have front row seats.  Several of the best stuntmen in the world were on hand to show us how it was done.   Unfortunately,  I was in awe of the dude flying 40 feet above our heads with a jet pack strapped on his back, that I forgot to take a picture.  Here is the pack without the guy attached.   As he came over the theater, they warned us to plug our ears.  What they did not warn us about was the sand and dirt that would be whipped up by his backwash when he landed 15 feet in front of us.   I sacrificed my body to dive on top of Jubal to protect him from the sand blasting.

Do you remember Delta Force 2?   Where Chuck Norris ( or rather his stunt double pushed the bad guy out of the plane without a chute, then dove after him?)   Well, the same stunt double did it again today,  except for the part where he pushed someone out of the plane.  

And with the wind blowing hard with 20mph gusts, he did a good job.  While missing the intended target 20 feet in front of the crowd,   he landed right in between the orange fence and the front row...

Next the same dude suited up in fire resistant clothes and got torched.  Again, I was so in awe that I forgot to take a picture.  I didn't realize that they hold their breathe for the entire burning and extinguishing process.  It seemed like he held his for 2 plus minutes!!

Jubal wants to be a stunt man when he grows up!

Be sure to check back tomorrow,  I hope to have some exciting news posted.

Have a great day.

Friday, April 16, 2010


My legs are toast.  I attempted a 3 hr ride last night and 1.5 hrs into it, I headed back to the truck.  I felt like I'm on the verge of overtraining, so I'm gonna quit while I'm ahead and take a break.  The Big Frog 65 is in 7 days!!

Everything with leaves is a bright green color that I have not seen in a while.  The past couple of years, spring has lasted about two days.  The temps went from around freezing to the 70-80 range.  This year the temps are hovering in the 40-70 range which has been great.  And with the wet winter, all of the vegetation is super happy and showing it with the display of flower and leaves!!

Even when I am hurting, I am able to look around and enjoy what is going on around me.  It would not be worth it if I didn't look around.  Even the simplest plants are awe inspiring, but when I see millions of plants together on the same mountainside.....breath taking.

Have a great day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Mary has been putting a lot of time into upgrading the Siren Bicycles Web-site. It looks awesome!!   Check it out.

I've been slammed at work and at home so have not had time to write much.  Hopefully taking a long ride tonight with the camera, ( if I get my work finished up),  I'll at least have some pictures tomorrow!!

Have a great day.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Heat Acclimation

I 've been doing a lot of research on heat acclimation and how do go about it properly. As with anything in sports there are a lot of theories.  So, I put some theories together and attempted my own acclimation process. It went well but it turned a fun ride into a not so fun ride.

I set out for my 2.5 hour ride with long finger windproof, water resistant gloves on.  I wore thin wool 6 inch sock, a warm short sleeved base layer, shorts and short sleeve jersey which I kept zipped up.  I also wore a ripstop nylon, windbreaker hat. 
I made sure that my hydration and food intake was normal.  The idea was to take this 80 degree day and make my body think that it was warmer.  Then when I ride on a hot day, my body would be used to those temps. 

I rode south on Hwy 9 , up and over the Eastern Continental Divide.  I was hot but kept my temp under control by controlling my pace.  I was sweating and wanted to unzip my jersey and take my gloves off.  Up and over the mountain, down the other side, I spotted another rider off in the distance.   I wanted to catch up, but I didn't want to overheat so I kept a steady pace.  After a couple of miles, due to some road work, I caught up.  We chatted for a minute, he tucked into his time trial bars and took off up the road.  I still kept my steady pace. 

As I turned back towards Fairview and the climb back up to the Divide,  I could see the other rider up the road.  He waited and I caught him.  We rode most of the climb together.  After a while, he dropped in behind me and we got quiet, just spinning up the hill.  I don't tend to talk a lot while I am riding.  I think sometimes people think that I don't like them, but I am simply relaxing and focusing on what I am doing. 

I attempted to keep my target HR but ended up settling in about 8 bpm higher than I should have been. 

And then it happened.   Sweat had been pouring down my body for the last 5 minutes.  I was sweating like I don't normally sweat.  I thought it was odd, but was glad that I was sweating,  it was a good thing, I thought.  Then the nausea hit, and I had to let off the gas, and slow down.  My new friend, Joe Miller, went on ahead, which was fine.  I didn't want to ruin his pace.  So, I slowed, and ate and drank.  I waited until my heartrate dropped really low, before I started raising it again.  After a few minutes of recovery, I started feeling better.  I never recovered to where I felt as good as I did before, but lesson learned. 

I pulled over at the Gerton Community center to refill my water bottles.  I still didn't feel 100% and assumed my target heart rate.  At this point I unzipped my jersey and got back on the bike.  It wasn't until riding through the cool breeze on the other side of the mountain, and reaching the bottom that I felt better. 

Heat acclimation is not fun,  and I don't know that I will do that again.  I learned another valuable lesson and am convinced that heat is my biggest adversary.  I  am learning the symptoms of my body overheating and that is valuable info.  I don't think that I can hydrate enough to prevent it,  I think it is simply something that I will have to monitor closely.  I feel like I now know my target heart rate and how hard I can push it before I overheat, and so, I will stick with that info.

Overall a great experiment and a great ride!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Short and sweet.   I'm working on some things and don't have much time to write today.  Instead go here,  read these stories and consider how good you have it......then consider donating!!

Have a great day.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Monday= another week of bike rides!!

Thurday and Friday, I participated in and completed a USFS Sawyer Certification Course.  It was a challenging and intense course that taught us how to safely clear trees for the purpose of trail maintenance.  The first morning consisted of lecture and short instructional videos.  At lunch I was so overwhelmed with all of the new vocab and processes that I was not sure I was going to pass.   But the rest of the day and all day Friday was spent in the woods, hands on, clearing trails and felling trees.   Fun stuff.

Saturday I met up with Mike and Mike for the Assault on the Carolinas.  It was a cool morning, cold acutally, that turned into an awesome warm day, with bright blue skies.  We just took our time, talking along the way and enjoying the scenery. 

10 miles from the climb up Cesar's Head, I went to the front and pulled the group through the headwind to the base of the climb.  Mike and Mike did a great job of drafting.  Just like I taught them.   As the road tipped upward, Mike K said, " Alright Stephen, see you at the top".  I slowly got into a comfortable pace and ground my way up to the top.  

Today, I was going slower than I would have if I was by myself, yet I did not regret it one bit.  I was enjoying myself, enjoying the company, and still challenging myself.   Maybe this would be my new race pace! 

As I neared the top, I spotted the Vassago Jersey that I have missed over the past several months.  It was Brian Archer, and he was looking fast!  I passed him with a pat on the back, he matched my pace and we chatted up to the top.  It was good to see you back out, brother!!
The top of the climb was a welcome sight.  And of course Jubal and Rhonda made it that much better.  This morning on the way to the ride, I turned around and looked at Jubal.  He looked tired, and not excited.  I said, " Jubal, in a couple of years, we will be driving to your races".   His big grin was the only response I needed!
The trees are leafing out and the overnight cold snap seems to have had no affect on the vegetation.
Table Rock, SC

M&M made it up to the top in good time, we re-filled water bottles and headed down the other side.   Once at the bottom, after the swooping fun decent, I assumed the lead of what was called "The Janes Train".  We got a steady pace going and were headed towards the finish.  At the last little, I stepped on it to reel in a couple of people ahead and went for the finish.  I turned around just before the finish so we could cross the line together.  I waited and they didn't come.  So, I went back.  Mike R had flatted,  100yrds from the finish.  After a "45minute" tube change, we rolled down the hill for some food!
According to this photo finish, I got 1st......

Have a great day!!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Thursday, April 08, 2010


I got in a couple of good rides yesterday. On the way to work I did some hill climbing intervals.  After work I did a longer 40 mile ride, the long way home.  I realized something about my training.  I know most of the pieces, I'm sure there are some things I don't yes ( yes, hard to believe), but piecing everything together at the proper time is turning out to be quite difficult. 

I was thinking as I rode that I have never been at this stage of fitness, in the past 3 yrs, at this time of year.  I typically start training around Thanksgiving, making sure I have plenty of miles in by the time Cohutta rolls around in April.   This year, however, I only started training in January, and really am lacking the confidence to attempt a 100 miler on dirt,  in the heat.  So, I made the switch to the Big Frog 65.  I did this one last year, and it is a lot of fun!!  I feel much better about it, and the pressure of the 100 miler is gone.

I was thinking about how I felt, how my legs felt, and how my body was responding to training.  I tend to compare myself to how I felt last week, last month and last year.  I think that I am not as fit as I was last year at this time, because I don't feel as good as I did. 

That is an odd way to feel considering I just finished 1 more lap than last year at the 6hrs of Warrior Creek. 

And then my thoughts drifted to life in general.  I often think back to periods in life and how I felt at that time, and wonder why I don't feel like that anymore.  Sometimes, I think it would be nice to be able to recreate that feeling here and now.  Whether is was a feeling of security, joy etc.  It does help me to look at my circumstances of the time and realize what was going on that was making me feel good. 

But, I wonder if we spend too much time trying to re-create the past.  Do we try to live today, how we lived in college, or childhood, or parenthood?  Do we try to do the same things, or similar, to bring back that good feeling?  Do we talk like we did, act like we did, and in a sense refuse to change or mature, because it was right at that moment,  like a good movie that can be replayed. 

I think we tend to do these things.  Just like in training, I try to replicate last year's plan because I was seeing lots of improvement.   We tend to replicate an activity, a family gathering, a hobby.  We tend to do these on a regular basis, trying to replicate the good feelings that came from it.  

But just as in training,  we need to adapt,  we need to change.  The situation is different, and if we try to stay the same it won't work. 

What if we spent the energy living today.   Going through what today presents and not trying to re-create yesterday. I ride the same trails because they are fun, but I never ride the same trail the same as I did last time.  It is impossible to do so. 

So, stop trying to re-create yesterday and start living today.  There are a whole slew of new experiences waiting for you!!

Have a great day.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

2nd Day Off

Another day of fun with the family.  We parked at the French Broad River Park and rode our bikes up the French Broad River Greenway to Hominy Creek and back.  We stopped at the track at Carrier Park for a couple of laps.

We then turned around and headed back.  The Greenway is a great addition to Asheville and provides a great place to go for a chill family ride.  It would be really cool if the Greenway extended another couple of miles to the Arboretum. 
There are some really cool trees along this route.  A trials rider could have a lot of fun.   Jubal attempted to ride over a stump, but wound up endo-ing and going over the bars.   That one hurt.

I've been continuing research to try to figure out why I overheat so easily and what I can do about it.  The only thing that I have found so far is to lower calorie intake.  One source said that " the rate at which one burns calories contributes to heat stress".  Burning calories causes body temps to rise.  On a cold hike, or while camping in the cold, I have eaten a bit of chocolate to stay warm.  When it is hot out, and I eat, my body creates warmth, although I don't need it as much as I do when it is cold out. 

I read another article that stated that pigs actually eat less during the warm summer months, in an effort to keep core temps lower. 

Then I think back to my personal success at Fool's Gold 50 when it was blazing hot and I lowered my caloric intake. 

It could be that at the 6 hrs of Warrior Creek, I simply consumed too many calories.  Something to continue to work on.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Family Hike

Monday, we headed out for a hike. We hiked about 3 miles round trip. Up the Pilot Cove loop. We had the woods to ourselves and took our time.

At the top, we laid on the rocks and enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine. We chilled out for a while, until we decided to move on so we didn't get sunburned.

This is not what I had planned for spring break, but I am glad it has worked out. I'm spending time together with my family. I can't really ask for more than that.

My family rocks!!

Have a great day.
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Sunday, April 04, 2010

6 hrs of Warrior Creek

 The day dawned long after I was up and on the road.  I woke up at 4:30am and could not go back to sleep.  I had planned on sleeping in until 5:30am but, by the time 5 am rolled around, I decided to get up and get moving.  I got my things together, loaded up and headed out.  The first stop was Starbucks for a big cup of coffee.  I had some perfectly good Kinetic Koffee at home, but this is a pre-race ritual.  The paper cup and decent coffee is all part of it.  A Grande cup of Kimodo Dragon was on tap.  

The next stop was the gas station where I bought a coke and two bags of ice.  The coke was for after the race and the ice...well, you know.  The temps were supposed to be close to 80degrees!

I got on the interstate and noticed some fires burning on the mountainside.  The firetrucks were already there.  It looked like a small sized fire.  Pretty eerie actually.  As I drove through the pre-dawn darkness, I had a lot of thoughts,  some of which I didn't really mean, ie I hate mountain biking.....  I was pretty relaxed, and excited about riding my bike with 299 of my best friends. 

I managed to get lost somewhere between Morganton and Lenoir, and after stopping for directions and getting pointed in the wrong direction, I got back on route and was running about 20 minutes behind schedule.  I was really surprised and glad when the phone rang, and Nolan informed me that he had a spot in the pits that he was holding for me.  That was HUGE, as by the time I got there, the place was packed out.

 I finally got there, and backed into the corner.  The time passed, I got signed in, and sat around waiting for the start.  We went through the riders meeting.  This is usually about 30 minutes before the race starts and goes like this: " Blah blah blah, blah, blah blah blah, blah blah blah....." 

And then it was go time.  I went to the back of the field and we discussed how many people were in front of us.  About 290 riders.  When they said go, it took several minutes for us to start moving, so true to my sarcastic nature, I started yelling, at the top of my lungs" GOOOOOOO!"   It only made people laugh.  

 Nolan getting ready.
The first lap, I did everything I could to hold back.  It was going to get hot, and I didn't want to overheat.  I managed to keep the pace steady, it was still a little faster than I wanted to go.  

The trail is one where you almost constantly pedal.  There are a couple of short downhills, but I was mostly pedaling.  There are a couple of short climbs and lots of swoopy, tight singletrack.  It is a fun course, but you better come ready.  

I finished lap 1 feeling good. I switched my bottle, refilled my Camelbak and hit the trail again.  There was a lot less traffic now and I was able to keep a steady pace.  I passed and got passed,  and it had no affect on me.  That was nice for a change.  I was hoping to get 5 laps in, but halfway through the second lap, I realized that 4 laps was a more realistic goal.  So, as easy as pie, I changed my goal. 

I came into the pits after lap 2 and realized that it was starting to heat up.  I knew that I had at least two more laps in my legs, but also knew that it was a race against the heat,  my biggest competition.  I continued my steady pace as I had plenty of time to complete 2 more laps.  I was feeling good and not worried about overheating,  just monitoring.   Halfway through lap 3 though, something told me that I could be in trouble.  I'm not sure if it was psychological, but something snapped in my head. 

Last year, I bailed halfway through lap 4.  As I thought back and assessed my current condition, I thought that I would be able to make it. 

Rolling in from lap 3, I could tell that the heat was having an affect on me.  I was taking in enough calories and knew that I was taking in enough fluids.  I would later realize that I might have been taking in too many calories, and possibly not enough electrolytes.....
One quarter of the way through lap 4 I stopped to pee.  I had only gone once in the race about a lap and a half before.  As it turns out, I would stop 3 times in lap 4.  Hmmm, this had me concerned.  As I got rolling again, I was all alone and thought it would be nice to have some company.  God must have heard my plea, because a group of 3 rolled up, and I ended up riding with an Inland Construction rider for about 7 miles.  We didn't talk much, but just enough to keep my mind off of the pain. ( Thanks, whoever you were).

I got to the midway point of lap 4, where I bailed last year, and felt decent.  Not great but not terrible.  A couple of miles later, I knew that there was a chance I would have to bail again.  Nooooo!!  I was hot, and not feeling decent anymore.  I had brought an extra bottle of water, so I started dumping a little bit on my head to stay cool.  I managed to stay cool for a while but when that ran low, I blew into my Camelbak to pressurize the bladder so I could cool myself down.  It worked.  I walked up the last couple of hills and was able to roll through the downhills at the end of the lap.  I even picked up the pace a little and passed someone about 200 yrds from the finish.  

Getting back to the pits, I sat down and gently dumped water on my body to cool down.  



I ended up 59th in the male solo cat.  More importantly I got one more lap than I did last year.  Improvement for sure.  What went wrong?  I'm not sure.  But,  searching on the internet, I found that pigs eat less food when the temps get hot, in order to stay cool.  Hmmm, something to think about.

Have a great day!!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Bring on some Recovery!

Wow.  My  rest week this week has not gone as planned.  But what do you do when you have things to do?  Well,  do them.  Since I am reducing my status to non-competitive racing, I'm not stressed out about it, but I am really tired.  Hopefully, going to bed early tonight will help!! 

I headed out to Bent Creek for an hour slow spin, and my legs were tired.  Probably the work on the wood shed, and the chicken coop didn't allow for proper recovery.  Then to top it all off, on the way home I passed the sawmill and they had some white oak logs that had my name all over them.  I went home, changed, got my chainsaw, then went back and started cutting.   When you scrounge for firewood, you gotta get it when it's there.  The upside is, if I can fill the woodshed this spring,  it'll be done. 

I have a really cool project that I am working on.  I need to get a few more details together before I present it to you.  It would be great to have a collective effort on this one.  Stay tuned to see if you can help me out.   I'll post it next week. (Hint: the project's focus is kids!!)

Have a great day!!

Thursday, April 01, 2010


Today is the big day. The big chicken day. Jubal and I gave Rhonda chickens for her birthday back in February. We didn't actually give them to her, we told her we would build a coop so that she could get some chickens. Did you know a baby chick only costs $3? So, after the snow and freezing weather passed, we were able to get to work on the project. And with yesterday's temps close to 70, there was only one way for men to work, shirtless!!!

I was able to use mostly scraps that we have around the yard, so the project was pretty inexpensive. You can see below, the main coop, with the chicken run and chicken door on the right and the laying box with lid that opens on the left. There is a little bit of debris that needs to be cleaned up on the ground still. For the gate, I cut our old screen door in half and used the bottom half. The fence is pieces of our old picket fence. That thing has been recycled several times.
My tapering continues, i'm probably not resting as much as I "should", but I have trouble sitting still, expecially when there is stuff to do around the yard. I'm hoping to get all of these bigger projects done, so that later in the summer, I can come home and watch the garden grow. We'll see how that works out.

Happy April Fool's day. I'm not gonna play a joke on you this year like I have in the past. I woke up and thought it was Friday........

Have a great day.
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