Monday, May 21, 2012


 So, after nearly pushing myself too far on Saturday at the P111K,  we slept in on Sunday to start the kid's 8 yr birthday celebration day.  He would later sum the day up by calling it " The best birthday present ever"!

After a hearty strawberry pancake and bacon breakfast, we headed out to Camp Pinnacle for GNAR,  the gnarliest kid's adventure race ever.  The elements had not advertised so we did not know what to expect, other than a huge slip and slide and we needed our bikes. 

We arrived at the venue, checked in and walked to course.  The kid was soaking it in and I was excited to share my race knowledge with him.
 At the start line, with  8 minutes to go, I shared with him my techniques for calming amidst the chaos.  We were right next to a nice lake which is what we chose to focus on,  I pointed out the small things that made the lake beautiful and we found some chill space for a few moments in time.
 Then it was 2 minutes to go, and finally we went,  hard.  A sprint for a 1/4 mile to the belly crawl,  I seriously thought my body was going to give out, but there was no way, I was going to make the team slow down.  Skin tingling and lungs burning we dove onto the hot dry grass and hopped onto our bikes.
Suddenly, even though my heartrate was way too high, I felt comfortable,  I was in my element and I could relax.  The mtn bike section was a long grassy climb to double track that dumped us onto a long swoopy downhill finishing on the pump track....awesome.

 We dumped our bikes and headed into the woods, traversing the climbing wall, and then to the rope swing, balance beam, target shooting, hoop throwing, tightlining fun times.   Coming out of the woods, we were excited to get into a boat.  There was a time when I was ACA whitewater canoe and kayak certified, and it had been a while since I had been in a boat.  It came back quickly and we were greeted with cheers of excitement as we slid through the water.   The kid did a great job in the bow, executing a perfect backpaddle to get us turned around to head back to the dock.

 Out of the boats, the course took us up the hillside,  through a cabin and onto the slip and slide for the finish. We dove and slid like nobody's business under the finish banner. 

 After the race, no results were posted until the awards ceremony.  We hung out with the rest of the families at the camp, swimming, sitting in the shade and eating some BBQ.  I was cooked and enjoyed the down time, chilling with the fam. 
The awards ceremony was a bit nerve wracking, and although we knew we were fast, we had discussed earlier not to get hopes up and count on a medal if we didn't know for sure.  Yet, finally, they called out," with a time of 16m 23 sec for First place in the Adult/Child category: Lazer Penguins ( the kid's choice for our team name). 

I'm proud of my kid.
(thanks to the wife for taking photos)
We'll be back next year!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I rolled out of bed at 5am to start eating some food and drink some coffee.  I was excited about the challenge ahead and tried to ignore the nagging sinus crud that I had been struggling with for a week.  I had been taking meds to try to kick it, and was feeling funky.   I got the bike lubed and loaded and headed down the road, nibbling on a 560 calorie honey bun. 

I stuck to my plan and held back at the start.  After about 20 miles, I usually warm up and find a groove, but that never happened today.   I kept focusing on my form and being smooth, but it just was not happening.  I wasn't done yet though and rolled  in to the first rest stop determined to finish. 

The next several miles was spent contemplating yet another DNF.  I have quite a few on my resume and of course don't want any more but a guy has to know when to call it quits.   But,  I wasn't ready to throw in the towel, so I kept eating and drinking holding a steady finishing pace. 

I got to rest stop 2 refueled, greeted the wife and kid and headed out for a loop in Mills River Valley.  It was fun but I noticed that I was getting slower.  I continuously went back and forth, reasoning and weighing the decision. 

My conclusion was that I felt like I could finish.   It would take a very long time, but it could be done.  The clincher was that I was signed up to race as a team with the kid at a kid's adventure race on Sunday.  If I had not had any responsibilities and could have laid around all day, it would have been different.  So I pulled the plug. 

I ran out of water and rode the last 45 minutes hoping that I would make it to Yellow Gap where the family was waiting.  I rolled up and stopped and explained my reasoning. They both agreed.

We packed up and headed to the finish before heading home.

52 miles in 6 hrs 16 mins,  not super fast, but not too shabby either.  It was a good day in the woods and I am pleased with what I did.

Thanks Pisgah Productions for putting on  such a stellar race!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

ABRC/ Liberty Ride

We rolled out hot and heavy, cruising down the parkway with not much of a warm up.  Someone on the front drilled it and we were flying.  We were riding all the way to 191 because it appeared that someone influential complained to the park service and now there are signs prohibiting us from crossing over the Mtns To Sea Trail.  The reroute is a little longer, but not more than 10-15 minutes. 

I sat up and waited for a few people who got dropped.  I was unmotivated and wanted to enjoy the ride, not arrive home totally depleted.  A few of us decided that we would form a B group so the ones who wanted to hammer, would not have to wait for us.  

The sun was bright, the trees and vegetation a deep dark green.  I pulled, I drafted, I got lost in thought.  I've been spending a lot of time being introspective lately.   Getting in touch with who I am, what I am capable of and what I want to do.  It is a topic I visit a lot,  each time defining myself a little bit more and becoming more confident in who I am.  The difficult side of the conversation is admitting what I am not good at.  Letting go of the pride that tells me that I can do anything.  There are simply some things that I cannot do well, or even do at all.  I can try, and if life requires it, I can survive, but I will not be building my profession around said skills. 

And once I accept what I am not good at, the path in front of me becomes more clear, and I am able to move ahead with an irreplaceable confidence.  When I come to those conclusions, I also realize that I begin to enjoy life more. 

As we turned onto Hendersonville rd, the sun was dipping behind the trees.  The air was a bit cooler and the cooling sweat felt good. 

I took one last attempt at a breakaway before turning onto the parkway.  I got lucky at the group got caught at a red light.  Victory at last.....

Eric White made the turn to ride north on the parkway with me.  A little chatting followed by me tucking in behind him as he pulled me the rest of the way home.  

Friends are good to have,  and be.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Rain Ride

I set out, knowing that there was a good chance I would get rained on, so I packed arm warmers and rain jacket.  It was going to be one of those rides.  I have not had a proper rain ride yet in the past 6  months and I figured I had better get out and ride in a good downpour to get comfortable with it.  The P111K is coming up and, well it is spring so there is a real chance it could rain.  I want to be ready. 

I don't have any aspirations of winning the race, it is going to be grueling and long, but I do have a goal of finishing and feeling good. 

As I arrived at the Arboretum to access Bent Creek the deluge started.  As I filled my water bottle, I considered turning back because it was a little chilly as well, but I pushed on.  The roads were soaked, and my glasses fogged up.  The glasses I had were not the ones I normally where when mtn biking and I'll never wear them again.  They were not at all anti fog and I could not see.  But if I took them off, on the gravel decents , eyes sucked in mud and sand. 

As I made my way up, down and around South Ridge Rd, it happened.  I got frustrated and very glad that I had done this ride in the rain.  Chainsuck.  My chain sucked up into the frame causing me to come to an abrupt stop, barely backpedaling in time to release the pressure and the chain and start pedaling again.  It was then that I remembered the chainsuck from last fall, the last rain ride I had done. 

I cut the ride short, heading home and to Liberty Bikes to overhaul the drivetrain.   New chainrings, chain and bottom bracket and the bike is ready to fly. 

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


I had the privilege again this year to police FS 50515 at the Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventure Race.   Once again, I set up shop to serve grilled cheese and cold cokes.  I was prepared with 20 loaves of bread and 200 cokes.  Last year I had half that and ran out.  This year, I was on the path of a checkpoint that was not mandatory, but I was still hoping to see a lot of people. 

It turns out that the route was fairly lucrative,  either that or the rumors spread and people changed their route just to get some of the golden gooey crunchy goodness of a grilled cheese sammy, washed down with an ice cold coke.  

I arrived at 8am and set up.  It was 3 hours before anyone showed up and had me wondering what I was going to do with all the food if no one showed up.  For a brief second, I even wondered if I showed up a day early....

At 11am the first team showed up and teams streamed through until around 4:30 pm, with a few teams trickling through later.  

I was responsible for manning the post until 8pm.  I was relieved when the last team left at 7:30pm.  They had some trouble with a flat tire, and didn't have what they needed to re-repair the tire, so they were bailing and asked for a ride.  Fortunately, some spectators showed up and they were able to get rolling again.  

At 8pm on the dot, I called it a day, considered heading to the finish, but headed home. 

On Sunday, I was to go for a 65 mile ride with the Fletcher Flyer Training Program and I was tired.

See you next year!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


 I got to go for a ride today.  It was good to get some fresh air and clear the head.  It brought clarity,  rides do that for me.Knowing what I need to do and doing it are two different steps, but once it is done it tends to feel better.  Although when the task involves exposing personal feelings and beliefs, with the chance of rejection increasing, the task can be more difficult.  Here's to hoping for the best,  and that is what motivates me now, hope.
I headed out to Kistuma.  The trail is getting broken in and the deep wheel sucking grade reversals are taming down enough to keep some speed over. There are a few farther down the trail though that need some help. 
The views were amazing, the air humid but cool and the Mountain Laurel is in full bloom.  After spending so much time in Bent Creek and on the road this year, the quiet woods were a welcome change. 
Bombing down Jarrets Creek rd, my tires hardly making a sound on the hard packed sand and gravel,  I rounded a bend and spooked a turkey.  It jumped up, startled and with barely 3 feet between us, we both stood there looking at each other for a few seconds.   The turkey did not fly away as one normally would so I sat and watched it.  It was then that I noticed a little turkey the size of  an orange walking around in the brush on the side of the road. 
Lots going on and rain in the forecast.  I'm signed up to ride the Pisagah 111K.  I hope that my rides can stay consistent up until then..  I have plenty of base and know that I can go the distance, just not sure how fast I'll be going.  But is the weather is nice like it was on today's ride,  slow will be just fine!