Friday, July 30, 2010

Feeling Good

I rolled out of the house yesterday morning to ride to work.  I was planning on doing the Thursday night ride with Liberty Bikes, but was not sure how I would feel after my 7hr "training ride" on Sunday.   Surprisingly, I felt good and hoped that my legs would hold up for the ride later. 

The time finally passed and I headed down Hwy 70 West, to the Blue Ridge Parkway, then up and over two ridges before coasting down to Hendersonville Rd and the shop.   I had about 8 minutes to spare, so I set about filling my water bottles and eating a little bit.   It was about 90 degrees out and I had already gone through one bottle of endurance drink. 

About 15 guys showed up and we headed out.  Everybody talked about the heat.  No one talked about the Tour de France.  The pace up the Parkway was fast but not as fast as normal,  that is a good thing.  I was planning on telling them to go ahead and then finish the route at my own pace.   I wanted to get time on the bike,  just didn't know if I could keep up. 

I was surprised that 30 minutes into the ride, I was still with the group.  They must have been feeling the heat, I was the first one to the stop sign at the church. 

We rode on, through Mills River, out through Fletcher.  Picking up speed, shattering then regrouping.  That is a nice thing about this group.  We go as hard as we can for a stretch, then we re-group and do it all over.  It's a great workout and it's making me stronger.  It's fun too. 

As we wound our way around the county and back onto Hendersonville road for the 5 ish mile cool down back to the shop, I commented that the shadows are longer now than they were 3 months ago.  The change of seasons is coming.  In another 4 weeks things should start to cool down a tad. 

Have a great day.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

uh oh

It's Thursday.  Do you know what that means? Fast road ride with Liberty Bikes.  It's gonna hurt and I'm gonna get dropped.  Come out and get dropped with me!  It'll be fun, I promise.

I just got word yesterday that the Pisgah Area Sorba: Save The Trails Challenge is on.  August 28th. 
Three courses available: Epic 50 mile route- single track & access roads route covering all sections of the forest. Advanced 25 mile ride - primarily single track & some access roads with lots ups and downs. Intermediate 10-15 miles - a shorter, route but still a few challenging sections.

You know which one I am doing.  Maybe it'll be really hot!

Click on the link above to register.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I headed out to Bent Creek for a dirt recovery ride. A huge storm had just passed so I stuck to the gravel roads.  It was hot but felt cool compared to the weekend.   My legs felt good, but my cardio system seemed to be suffering,  that helped remind me to keep it in an easy gear and just spin. 

Everytime I attempt a big event like ORAMM, the following week I feel like hammering. Either I feel so good that I finished, or I feel like I have to make up for something.  It's kind of funny.  Too many times, I have over done it and worn myself down. 

Spinning around BC, I thought about just how much I enjoy being out there.  There was mist in the deep valleys and blue sky overhead. The humidity was high but I'm used to that.  I watched the gravel slide underneath my Siren 55.  I looked into the lush green forest, through the trees.  I lifted my head and felt the breeze blow past.

Back in a place of contentment.  I briefly let my thoughts wander back a couple of months, to the confrontation, and then fast forward to now.  I wouldn't change anything.  It was a struggle that I am moving away from.  Empowered and moving on.  Just like pulling the plug on ORAMM,  I knew it was what needed to be done,  no regrets. 

And now,  the future.  It is wide open.  I have set some goals,  some things that I want to accomplish.  And I'll move towards those, without concern for being judged,  or rejected.  This is my life and I'm going to live it to the fullest.   

The fist goal will be helping Rhonda get through school and being there for her, like she has done for me so many times in my endeavors.  In two years, if you get sick, you better call her if you want the best freaking nurse in the world!!!   YEAH!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I have an Ego?

Aid Station #2- already hot.

As hard as I try to be humble, the ego still creeps in and tells me how great I am,  when really I am not.  Someone commented that having to quit a race is a huge blow to the ego.  And that is exactly where my head was spinning yesterday.  My body was fine, except for a lingering headache.  I didn't want to sell my bikes and actually wanted to ride yesterday, just didn't have time.  It was my ego.  I convinced myself that I could do it, and even left a little room for failure, but didn't focus on it. 

I think that is how it should be though. If I spent my time focusing on how I would fail, what I would do next etc,  there would be so much wasted energy.  My focus was on the goal and I do not regret that.  

We have been teaching Jubal to "never give up".   I realized when I pulled the plug, how difficult it was going to be to tell him that that was not entirely the way to go.   Actually,  the telling part is not that hard,  I was hoping that he would comprehend. 

I had a conversation with a friend who said this, "He also needs to know that you must count the cost . Having a living dad is better than a dead one . When you have loved ones depending you ; discretion is the wise part of valor".
Have a great day.

Monday, July 26, 2010


As I sit here today a torrent of emotions floods through my head and soul.  Quitting sucks, plain and simple.   It doesn't matter if it was for all of the right reasons.  For safety, health, etc.  It just does not feel good.

I toed the line for my 5th try at ORAAM.  A 63 mile mountain bike race that climbs up and over several mountains with a total of 11,000 feet of climbing.   I was trained, ready and somewhat confident.   What had me concerned was the heat.  It ended up reaching 95 in the shade, and I have no idea what the heat index was.  But, it was hot.

Within the first hour, halfway through the first trip up Kitsuma, my skin was already burning hot.  I was keeping my targeted heart rate, but it wasn't keeping me cool.  I was sticking to my plan of ignoring the race and going my pace.   And that felt good.  There was no frenzied pace, just cruising,  passing and being passed.

I had been following Van Rogers on Kitsuma until he did the coolest pass I have ever seen.  In a matter of seconds, he put 3 people between me and him, and he was gone like a flash.  We rolled up to some logs across the trail and while these dudes were struggling to pick their bikes up and climb over,  I looked up and saw Van chuck his bike in the air,  take 3 quick steps, launch himself into the air,  grab his bike, clip in and then land.  It was crazy.....

On down through aid station 1 and feeling good.   The kid got stung by bees at the start and that's what he told me about.  Rhonda told my I was looking good and sent my on my way.   Up and over Star Gap to Jarret's Creek Rd,  feeling good and taking a slower than normal pace.  The climbs faded easily and I was pleased with my fitness.  I was now more confident than ever that I had trained well and would finish.

Keeping the steady pace, I rolled into aid station 2 and chatted for a bit.  Rhonda said I looked good.  Jubal was excited and hopeful that I was going to finish.  I rolled out and left Patrick and Van there.  The climb up Curtis Creek was blazing hot this year.  I wasn't the only one suffering,  not feeling terrible, but definitely suffering.  There is typically chit chat between riders as they head up this climb,  today there was none.  Barely a hello.  That was eerie.  Hordes of cyclists, strung out on the road, sharing the same passion, the same pain,  maybe uttering "keep it up" or a mere "ugh".   This was not looking good.

Aid station 3, I filled bottles and rolled out pretty quickly.   There was a nice long downhill and I was hoping that this would cool me down.  It didn't help much.  I wasn't feeling too bad, though.  I was hot, but not yet blown up.  The issue for me is, when my core temps rise, I stop digesting,  even though I am still eating and drinking, I am not processing and things start to slow.   My legs and lungs felt good on the climb up to the Parkway,  so good that I decided to up the pace,  but then seconds later, my body told me to slow down,  it still couldn't handle the heat.  I stopped two times at creeks, once to sit for a couple of minutes, and once to fill a bottle with water to pour on my head. Although it felt good, the relief only lasted for a couple of minutes.

Once at the parkway, aid station 4 manned by Pisgah Area Sorba,  I knew that I was not going to last much longer.  I questioned whether or not I could make it back to aid station 5, where Rhonda and Jubal were waiting.  I grabbed a coke and went for it.   The steep hike a bike, was a slow, push a bike section for me.  Once I got to the top, I didn't stop,   just let her rip.   It was more techy than I remembered and took a little while to adjust, then I cruised down, at a pace that was fast for me but safe.  I tried to enjoy the ride,  take in a little scenery as well.   I cleared most of the downhill switchbacks and only blew 2 of them. 

When I finally hit the bottom, with about 1 mile to go, I was relieved.   Could I keep going?  Yes.  Did I want to keep going? Yes.  Should I keep going? No.   The questions and balance of success/failure had been battling in my head for the past 15 miles.   I wanted to finish this so bad, but I was suffering, and I don't know what I could do differently. 

As I rolled up to the family cheering, I gave them the signal that I was though.  It was a sad thing to throw in the towel with only 13 miles to go. Approximately 1.5 hrs of riding.  But that was a long time, and I didn't want to find out if I could finish or not.  Maybe I could have, but I didn't.  And that is what I have to live with.  Another DNF. 

It's been a good year so far, and I have had quite a few successful rides, in the heat even.  This just wasn't the day.  It would be too easy to dwell on this one failure, this one shortcoming out of the year.  This really is the only bad ride I have had all year.  Not bad considering my history of DNF's.    I tend to dwell on what I didn't do, where I came up short.   52 miles in that heat ,  with 9000 ft of climbing is huge, and something to be proud of,  that is what I need to focus on.  

What's next?

Have a great day.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ride The Divide

We had a great turnout last night for Ride The Divide.  By my count there were at least 3 Divide finishers in the room.  I didn't realize that there would be any in attendance,  a round table discussion would have been pretty cool.  Another time maybe. 

I think my favorite parts of the movie is when they take time to showcase locals.  Locals are what make a town or area unique and I appreciate that aspect.

We raised around $170 for World Bicycle Relief.  The cool thing was that just about everybody who came out of the previous movie ( Ironman) picked up stickers, WBR postcards, and RTD post cards.  One guy, I think his name is Robert, bought a DVD to take home and watch!!  Cool stuff.

The movie is great, if you have not seen it, it is totally worth the money.  Go HERE and purchase a copy for yourself.  I also have a couple left over if you are local and want to save on shipping,  let me know before Monday,  $20 each.

2 days until ORAMM!! 

Have a great day.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lightning Fast

I did not know that I could go that fast.   The trail had turned to a small creek, the wind was whipping around the contours of the rain soaked ridge and I was going faster than I knew that I could.   With lighting hitting the trees around me and wet cold branches slapping me in the face, I let the bike roll over the slimy roots faster than I normally would.  Maybe it was a burst of adrenalin, or some guardian angels keeping me upright but I was flying.

I arrived at the parking lot and seeing no one else at the appointed time, rolled out alone.  I spun up the switchbacks, finding a smooth pace and visualizing the race coming up.  By the time I had gotten to the top, the rain had started and the thunder was rolling.  I thought about turning back but had a 3 hr ride planned, and knew that these storms typically blow over pretty quickly....this one did not.

I never really noticed how much of a ridgeline the trail follows until this trip.  Interestingly enough, to the north I could glimpse blue skies, but to the south there was only dark grey punctuated by flashes of light.

As fear mounted up, I reminded myself to relax and have fun even thought conditions were borderline epic.  And that is what I did.  I focused and I got back down into the valley.   I only went down once,and landed on some soft clay, no harm done.

I got to the picnic ground and hung out under the overhanging roof of the smelly outhouse.  I was not fearful enough to hideout inside.
My faithful steed waited patiently with me while the storm rolled out.  After I felt safe enough to go again, we rolled up the pavement then to the gravel road climb.  I had hoped for some heat acclimation, but with the temps hovering around 70, that was not going to happen.   I tested my gears and found a good pace, again visualizing the looming race.  Or as Chris calls it, " a ride with 400 good friends".

As I ground my way up the road, I was pleased to see that the gravel was compacted and smooth, which will make the time on the road less, come race day.

I didn't get 3 hrs in, but I was greeted by a yearling black bear.  Of course the pictures did not turn out, so you will have to trust me.  We looked at each other, about 40 ft apart for a couple of minutes, before going our own way.

Encouraged and feeling peaceful,  experiencing the calm after the storm,  I loaded up and headed home to the loves of my life.

Have a great day.

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Time to Go In

It was sad for the kid last night when he couldn't go to the neighbor's house to play.  They had to go inside and get ready for bed.  

It was great for me, I asked him if he wanted to go for a bike ride.  Of course he did.

We hooked up the Trail a bike to the Trek Beast and headed up to the Parkway.   The kid is getting  stronger.  He told me to stop pedaling and was excited that he was the one propelling both of us.  The delight of discovery!  We rode for about 45 minutes and headed back home.   I asked him if he wanted to go bike-packing and of course he said yes!!  There is not enough time to squeeze all of the fun stuff in!!

6 days til ORAMM.

Have a great day.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I've been pretty open, blunt and vulnerable in my writings over the past month.  It has helped me unload and helped me move on from the abuse and a rotten past.  But, it is never that simple.  There is always collateral damage and issues that surface.   I'm about to be completely open and vulnerable about myself.  It is in an effort to find answers, to heal and to be a healthy human being. 

I'm afraid of the dark.   It is difficult for me to camp out in the woods alone, much less walk out to the corner of my backyard. 

Whenever I encounter a problem, I always ask why?  Why is this happening?  Why am I reacting this way?  And then I work towards a solution from there.

Looking back on my life, my first memory of being afraid of the dark was when I was 6 or 7 yrs old.  We had just moved from Monte Carlo, Monaco, France, to Longview, Texas.  We had a bathroom window with a Cedar tree outside.  For some reason, I was afraid that someone was sitting in that tree looking in on me.  Totally irrational.  But why?

Since then, I have had an irrational fear of the dark.  And I can't explain it.  I would like to.  I would like to be able to go out into the woods,  the forest that the Creator created for me to enjoy, without fear of the "boogie man".  But, I can't.  I still go, filled with fear, but I go.   I would go farther, longer and enjoy it more if I didn't have this fear.  But, it's there.  What to do.

My therapist agreed that it is possible that I did not get the nurturing that I needed when I was 7 yrs old.  I was never comforted and nurtured and those I trusted never helped me work through that fear. 

Have you faced the same thing?  If so, how did you deal with it , how did you cope?  

I have to figure this out. Have to move on....

Have a great day.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Cried

I cried tonight, watcing Friday Night Lights.  It was never ok for me to cry when I was a kid.  It was always "stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about".  or  "quit crying"  or " what are you crying for? toughen up?".  What  is that?

It's ok to cry.  It's ok to show emotion.  It's ok to feel passionate about things in your life.  It's ok!! 

Go ahead and cry.  Go ahead and make yourself vulnerable.  Go ahead and fail.  It's ok.

I get so pissed when I fail. Why is that? 

Just tonight,  I attempted to sew some bike bags for myself. When I failed, I took it out on my wife.  What kind of crap is that?  You don't take things out on your wife, your kids, the ones you love, when you are the one who came up short.  And over some freaking bike bags? Or anything else!!  Who cares if you can sew bike bags?  No one.  

Sure it would be cool if I could sew bike bags, but I can't.  I failed at that, but who cares.  I can save up a little money and buy some bike bags.  It's ok to rely on others.  I don't have to be the best at everything I do.  I am good at some things and other people are good at other things.  If we can work together, we all get what we need. 

What can I do?  I can love the ones I live with.  I can empower them to feel, to cherish, to be proud of what they do.  How?   By feeling, by cherishing, by being proud of what they do.

So, when my wife wakes up at 5:45am tomorrow morning, to go to work her tail off as a CNA.  I want the world to know that I am proud of her.  Proud of her for following her dreams, and working her tail off to do the dirty work, so that she can go to school and earn a Registered Nurse degree.  And I will work a second job with pride to pay for that degree, and I will have no regrets.  It is her dream and may I be damned if I stand in the way of my wife's or my kid's dreams!! 

Have a great day!


We had a huge group of guys come out for the ride last night.  19 total of different skill levels, which was cool because while we pushed hard, the pace was not insanely blistering like last week.  In fact, several times, Sam, Kevin and I sat on the front and rode our own pace until someone felt frisky enough to go around, then the chase was on. 

Huge kudos to the guy in running shoes with clips,  who never used his big ring but somehow made it through the whole ride.   It is guys like that who keep me humble. 

I didn't get to talk to everybody on the ride, but had some good laughs with some people. 

I just finished a batch of hoodie sweatshirts.  A blend of cotton and polyester these turned out great!  I added a little more dark colors to match the mood of winter with enough brighter colors to keep some warmth in it.  The are brushed on the inside for warmth and they turned out really cool.  Get them while they last.  $45 plus shipping! ( all proceeds go to help a charity for kids in the Caribbean).

Have a great day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


After lots of encouragement from several friends, including: Brendan, Mary, Brian and Stephanie,  I dragged the wife and kid to the fabric store with me yesterday.  I picked up some fabric, needles, thread, and velcro.  We came home and I went to work measuring and cutting to create a frame bag.
Because of the design of the bike, there is not much room in the frame triangle, but by removing the water bottle cages, I'll end up with quite a bit of room.  I can use a pack for a bladder, and possibly mount water bottles somewhere else on the bike.

Sitting here writing this, I figured out how to leave one bottle cage without losing too much storage space.  It looks good so far, we'll see how it goes.  I was pleasantly surprised that I had plenty of material left over. I only bought 2 yards.  I see a seat bag in the future. 
I don't know if I'll get to it tonight, but Friday night, I should get it pretty close to finished.

Then what? 

I have some ideas for some trips.  I plan on doing a couple of one-nighters to get my set-up dialed, then some bigger trips.   I'm gonna wait to share those until later.  Might be an epic ride sometime this fall!

Have a great day.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


In less than two weeks I will be lining up at the start of ORAMM.  I have been out to ride the lower loop of the course several times this year, starting back in January.  I decided to get out and ride Kitsuma last night,  just to take  a refresher course on techy downhill.   The results were a little better.  I'm a bit stronger than I was in January, and while my techy skills have not improved much, I got to the top of the first switchbacks with less effort. 

During the ride, I realized that I am nervous about the race.  In 2008 I DNF'ed,  ending up in the ER with heat exhaustion.  In 2009,  I got sick again at the top of Curtis Creek Rd, and turned around for another DNF. My best time at this race was on a Hardrock Single Speed,  and this year I have finally figured out why.

It was my first year racing.  I had done the 12 hr Cowbell Challenge on the same bike, and it was gear low.  It was a spinning gear and virtually impossible to push too hard. Not knowing that I was doing it, but keeping my effort low by spinning and walking areas that were too  steep,  I maintained a steady effort and finished feeling great!.  That was 2006. 

In 2007 I was on a Bianchi WUSS, SS,  and geared a little harder.   I finished, but did not feel great at the end. 

2010:  as much as I want to go fast and push it,  I have an imaginary check point that, until I cross that line, I won't be pushing.  I have to figure out how to endure before I can endure with speed.  The Big Frog 65 was a success, and now I'm determined to have another successful race.

Of course it helps to have an excellent bike to help me succeed, and all of the cool people at the companies listed on the sidebar,  rooting for me, not to mention all of the friends old and new!!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ride The Divide

July 22nd, 9:30pm  $3 per person.  Benefits World Bicycle Relief.

The wife and I sat down to watch this movie for the first time last week.  I had heard great things about it, but am skeptical.  I have heard great things about other movies that turned out to be quite a bit less than great.   One of the star, Mary, is actually Siren Bicycle's frambuilder's wife.  Pretty cool!

The movie started and I immediately got chills.  I have watched the trailer repeatedly and looked forward to seeing some details.  The movie follows the stories of 3 main characters, but does a great job of showing what is going on around them.  There are some really unique takes of locals in their element. 

As the movie rolls, we got more and more drawn in, and when the unplanned happens, we find ourselves in tears.  Having been on several epic adventures of my own, I can relate to the emotions on a much different scale.   It is tough, it is lonely,  it can be dangerous,  but in the end, the reward is indescribable. 

As I watched the movie, I thought about my upcoming challenge the next day.  I really had the feeling that the people on the screen, if they were sitting next to me,  would be as excited that I was riding a metric century the next day, as they would be if I were doing the Tour Divide Race. 

While they were racing, a lot of camaraderie and friendships grew out of the effort.  While racing is about winning, the idea that was conveyed to me was one of " just get out there and give it your best,  if you do that, you have already won".

And that is probably the biggest thing that I have learned from racing mountain bikes.  I would love to win, to stand on that podium, and there is always that chance.  But just getting out there, day by day, training in all types of weather, and then toeing the line on race day.  I win.   I don't have to rip someone else's legs off, I don't have to grind myself down into such a state that I need IV fluids.   But, I do have to give it my best. 

That is the easy part!  Because I can take pride in that and help people while doing it. Because that is what I really want to do: help people.

Have a great day!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Devil's Fork

The alarm went off at 5:30am.  I was only about half excited.  It had been a while since I had gotten up this early for an event and I was not thrilled.  But I was up for the challenge.  I got some coffee and ate some breakfast.  Getting my nutrition in order for the day took a lot less time and thought.  For this stage in my cycling life, I have it dialed.  I know how much I need to consume for a ride.  That really simplifies and takes the guess work out of it.  I always bring a little extra though. 

I pried the family out of their beds, loaded up and we hit the road.  It was only a 30 minute drive to the start which was nice.  It had rained Friday night, but was supposed to be clear and 80 degrees on Sat. 

I got ready while the wife and kid hung out. Rolling up to the start line, I lacked the nervousness that I have experienced in the past.  I knew what I could do, and I knew how to do it.  I was relaxed, ready to get going.  My only concern was that I would have some leftover fatigue from the Thursday night ride.

After the riders meeting, we rolled out and the pace got pretty fast pretty quick.  The first 20 miles of the course had been changed and I didn't know what to expect. 

What I got was some steep longish rollers that eventually turned into a steep long 4 ish mile climb.  I hung onto the lead group of about 30 guys for the first ten miles.  Knowing that I was going too fast, but also knowing that a little push in the beginning would be helpful to get some mileage.  As the road turned up, I settled into a slow climbing pace, keeping my heart rate right where I wanted it.  The air was humid and I was soaked.  The kudzu smelled fresh with rain and the sky was mostly cloudy.  As I got to the top, I ate a Honey Stinger and sipped on some nuun.  

I rode alone for most of the rest of the ride.  Occasionally getting in with a small group on the flats.  The next 20 or so miles was a great mixture of steady climbing, twisty descents and some flats.  After the next aid station got in a 3 person train with Marcus from Carolina Fatz and another Fatz rider.  We rode well together and rotated through a small paceline, pulling each other to the next climb.
The climb is a kicker and has a false summit.  The rest stop is in the saddle at the false summit.  I'm not sure if I would prefer it at the real summit but I stopped and filled up. Knowing that it was about 15 miles to the next rest stop, at Sam's Gap, and that there was a 6 mile long, steep climb to the top,  not only did I fill up, I grabbed and extra bottle to dump on my head. 

Cruising down into the valley, keeping a good pace, all alone, I didn't see anyone behind me.  As I started the climb to Sam's Gap, I spotted a person about 1/4 to 1/2 mile back.  This became my incentive to keep a steady pace.  I usually get passed a lot on this climb.  Today would be different.  In fact, the only person I saw was the one behind me, who never gained any time on me.  I again, stuck to my target HR and although I could have pushed harder at the moment, I knew that I would not feel good later. 

I got to the top, where the temps were a lot cooler than they have been in the past.  I was feeling really hungry so I grabbed a Coke from my SAG team, filled my bottles, ate a Honey Stinger gel and took off, hitting 45 mph on the decent.

At the bottom, a guy named Jason caught me and we road together for about 10 miles.  It was nice to have someone to work with through this section.  It made it go by a lot faster than riding alone.  He said he was not feeling great, so I offered him my Coke.  He was grateful.  On the last stretch into town I picked up the pace.  Any other day, I'm sure he could have stayed with me or even dropped me, but today he didn't have it.  I saw to riders ahead and went on the prowl.  Catching them and passing them I greeted and smiled.  They counter attacked and I sat on a wheel.  Two little grunts left before descending into town.  The first one we rode together. Near the top of the second one I smiled and put in an attack,  one guy groaned.  I got a good gap and put the hammer down.  I could see that they were trying to catch me, so I kept the pedals turning.

Rolling down through town and across the finish line,  my family and all the volunteers cheering.  It was a good day!! 
65 miles,  4hr 7mins.

Have a great day.
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Friday, July 09, 2010


I overheated.  I was able to know what was going on and recover, but I went over the edge.  It was hot today, close to 95, and going all out with the Liberty Bike Road Ride was what pushed me over the edge.

The first 30 minutes of the ride, I sat on the front and controlled the pace.  It was a false sense of control, but we were going my pace.  I was waiting to be passed and for the pace to pick up.  It happened eventually,  the paced ramped up slowly,  slow enough that I could hang on.  But fast enough that I was border line overheating pretty quickly. 

We regrouped at the church and then held a steady pace for a while.  A newbie was on the front and sat up, he didn't know which way to turn.  I pulled around and took the lead again,  going my pace.  30 seconds later, 3 people blasted by. Then some more....  we were no longer  a group,  I waited for everyone to pass me.  Last to pass was Robert,  I hopped on his wheel.  Robert is strong and fast but smooth.  It hurts but getting on his wheel is like being pulled by a locomotive.  That's when I overheated.  We passed everybody before the stop sign though. 

My skin was hot,  it felt like I had a fever.  The air was hot too.  A large cloud obscured the sun, so we weren't getting blasted by the rays. 

Liberty was hosting Zipp Wheels so most of the guys had swapped theirs out.  They said they were nice wheels.  I kept my own.  They were brand new, and I was excited to be riding them.  DT Swiss rims with an Ultegra rear hub.  Sweet!!!

I managed to stay in contact with the group for most of the rest of the ride.  I let Sam and some others know that I was overheated.  Just an FYI.  I was out of water too.  I had a little sports drink, but the way my body felt, told me I needed plain water.   I was a little behind, and didn't want to miss the train going down Hendersonville rd,  but when I saw the spigot at the office complex, I pulled off and filled up.  I looked in the bottle and the water was filled with bugs.  I quickly dumped it out, and filled it again, this time no bugs.  Rolling up to the group that was waiting patiently, I thanked them,  took a deep drink and dumped some on my head. I started to feel better.

We rolled down the road towards home.  A couple of guys who didn't get the memo about the cool down portion on the ride, went off the front.  We let them go.  

Great ride with great guys.

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 08, 2010


I was hesitant to write this entry, because I don't want this blog to be a vent for my issues that will bring people down.  I want to write things that will encourage and challenge people.   I want to be transparent so the reader and fan will know that either I really am crazy, or  you will be able to identify with me and know that you are not the only one who deals with things. 

I'm depressed.  I wouldn't say that I struggle with it, but it is definitely there.  A couple of weeks ago, I slept for 11 hrs.  I have never slept that long, even after racing 24  hrs on my bike.

It hits in waves.  One moment I feel good, normal, then next moment, there is a dark cloud over my head,  the sky and surroundings darken, everything goes into slow motion. I can still laugh and joke around with friends, still talk and fake that I am fine, but inside I feel despair. 

I'm not going to fight it because I feel that it is a way of helping deal with my recent conflict.  I feel that my subconscious is at work, processing thoughts.  Interestingly enough, periodically, a memory will pop up out of nowhere.  Something that happened in the past, related to my verbal/emotional abuse.  And when those memories pop up, I finally have clarity and understanding as to why I might have felt scared, alone or even devastated at that time and place.  

And that keeps me going.  Knowing that I am working through my baggage.  Working through the things that have held me back and kept me from being who I want to be.  

It also helps to have an awesome wife who understands and helps me, and is non-judgmental.   And I believe in a creator who cares about me, and provides for me, and won't let me experience something that I am not capable of handling.

I've been depressed in the past.  But I think I suppressed the reality of it.  In college they told me that it was demonic oppression,  so I spent some long nights on my knees, praying and rebuking. (  it didn't work ).  Others told me to cheer up and move one ( sweep it under the rug) and that is what I did.  Until now.  This stuff is coming out. 

Depression has a bad name.  There is no shame in being distressed.  It is a byproduct of trauma.  It is a signal to those who are close to the person who is experiencing it, a flag waving for help, love and comfort.  And it is going to take time to work through the past.  And it is something I am willing to endure and experience if I can be stronger and more confident on the other side.

Have a great day! 

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

If not you....


Have a great day.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, the wife and kid went to Roanoke for a week.  I decided that I was going to take a long weekend and ride up there from Asheville, on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  A self supported bike trip.  I have never done a self supported trip before, and I figured I would try it out. 

After borrowing a BOB trailer and figuring out logistics,  I realized that there was no way I could take any time off work.  So, that plan got scrapped.  I then planned a two night trip in the area, but then remembered that I had to work on Sunday.  The trip turned into one night.  I pulled the BOB to work, fully loaded, intending to camp Friday night, and the ride home the long way on Saturday.

I was pulling the BOB with my Siren 55 and it did fine, but after 15 miles I was a little concerned that the side to side torque of the trailer might cause some damage to the frame, if not immediately, over time.  So,  I rode back home.   ( I since contacted Brendan and he said that the frame should be fine.)

The other issue for me is that I have only one race bike.  I am concerned that the wear and tear over time might leave me without a race bike.  I also want a go to bike that I can have ready to pull the kid on the Trail a Bike, without having to switch out the seatpost.  So I went about building up my old Trek frame. 

For now it has a Reba on it but I'm thinking about switching it out for a rigid for that will hold a set of panniers.  Maybe this winter when I have time I'll sit down and sew some bags.   Or maybe I'll just order some....

Here are some pictures of the beginnings of some fun times:

Have a great day!

Monday, July 05, 2010

No Ride

No ride this weekend.  I picked up some part time work to help cover the cost of Rhonda's nursing school starting this fall.  So, instead of riding when she got home from work, I went to work.  A different change of pace and definitely not as fun, but it's part of the deal!!  And I'm pumped that I get to help her reach a life goal. 

I have spent a lot of time processing my feelings and wounds since my confrontation last month.   After realizing that I can be who I want to be, and that I don't have to act like I was taught to act (growing up),  I started to change my patterns.  I made a conscious effort to react positively to those around me, not calling people names and not belittling them. 

One of the most immediate changes I have seen it that I no longer have a raging angst built up inside.   For the past 3 yrs, writing this blog, I have been on a mission.  A mission to encourage people to do good, to love your neighbor etc. I realized over the past week or so, that the writing has been fueled by what I thought was passion.  At this point I don't think that is true.  I believe that rather than passion, it was angst, it was out of a struggle with myself and what I was going through. 

And that's where I am today.  I still urge you to love your neighbor,  to care about those around you.  But don't do it to make yourself feel better (although this is a positive by-product),  do it because it is the right thing to do. 

Have a great day!!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Thursday Ride

My summer hours have been changed back to  9-5.  I was not sure if I would make the commute to Liberty Bikes in time for the ride, but I went for it.  I maintained a steady pace and with the help of a tailwind coming down Hwy 70,  got to the shop with 10 minutes left to spare. 

We had about 15 guys show up tonight.   About 12 of them were really strong and fast.  I knew that this ride was going to hurt.

We set out on the parkway and I pulled for the first couple of miles.  I peeled off, and not being used to such a long paceline, it felt like it took a long time for the back of the line to come up.  Over the hills and through the woods. 

As turned off of Long Shoals Rd, the pace slowly picked up,  I hung on.  Knowing our route a little better helps me hang on. It is not fun being 10 bike lengths back, going over the top of a hill and missing the train as it pulls away on a flat.  I have noticed that I can continue riding, a little longer into the red  zone, than I did 4 weeks ago.  I felt a little weird today though,  maybe I was pushing harder, maybe I was holding my breath,   but when I started to feel a little bit dizzy, I decided to back off;  and the train left me. 

I didn't totally sit up though, I kept a pace that was somewhat comfortable, and before long Sam and Robert came up behind me.  I jumped on the mini train and we caught up to the group waiting at next intersection. 

The next few miles of flat to rolling hills through farmland is scenic, but I didn't have time to look around.  The train was flying and I was focused on staying smooth.  " Relax, breathe, pedal, relax, breathe, pedal"  Someone peeled off the front, the group surged, " Relax, breathe, pedal, relax, breathe, pedal".  There was a lot of surging in the group tonight.  It was not the smooth paceline that we have experienced in the past. 

When we got to the last couple of hills before getting to Hendersonville road,  I was done.  I usually go on the attack here, just to see what I have left.  It's Kevin's fault,  he usually says something that encourages me to go.   But today, I had no attack left.  I kept a steady pace and watched the group ride away.  I did my best to keep them in sight but could not.  I really hoped that they would wait for me, because Hendersonville rd would be a lonely ride by myself.  When I got to the intersection, there was lots of traffic, but I wove in and out,  made the turn and was relieved to see the group waiting.

The cooldown was nice. The sky was cloudy and I could feel fresh bursts of cool air.  It felt like air conditioning.  It was refreshing. 

Including my commute to and from work, I logged 66.66 miles and 3 hrs 45 mins!

A good ride with good people.

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

July 22nd
Asheville Pizza and Brewing Co, Merrimon Ave
$3 per person
Proceeds benefit World Bicycle Relief