Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday already!   It has been a whirlwind of a week, and I'm hoping things slow down in the near future.  I was sick over the weekend and then again early this week so that put a dent in my riding.  Things are looking up now though and the weather is looking awesome! 

The positive thinking process is going slowly, but it seems to be working.  Whenever a negative thought or memory creeps in,  I replace the thought with anything else positive.  Long rides are a great time to practice this.  I wonder how long it will take for it to become a positive habit in my life? 

My friend Karen took a trip recently on the Silver Comet/ Chief Ladiga trails......I added those to my list.   

Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Weekend

 Some friends were in town and I had planned to take them on a road ride on saturday.  But with temps barely breaking 45 and sinusitus in full swing, I made the tough decision not to ride.  I felt bad about canceling but sent them a map and they later said they enjoyed the loop.  I sat around most of Saturday.  Took the family and the dog to Tractor Supply for rabies shot (for the dog) and stopped on the way home to pick out our Christmas Tree. 
Sunday rolled around and the wife was feeling the after affects of the mandatory flu shot that Mission requires of it's employees.  They say the shot will not make one sick but we have proof,  she is sick.  But, she was well enough to watch the kid while I got out for a ride.
 I met up with Tom of Motion Makers, Megan and Brian from Johnson City TN.  We had fun cruising around Bent Creek.  I love that place and while it is not techy like Pisgah Proper,  it will still teach a person how to climb and make the lungs burn.
 I got home in time for leftovers from our Thanksgiving "Feast" and played outside with the kid until our hands froze. 
I finally sat down and wrote out my training plan for the first half of the year.  I'm looking forward to racing again on a regular basis this year.  And hoping the timing is right for some bikepacking trips!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve/Day

Let's see, where was I? Oh yes, riding around Bent Creek in shorts again, the day before Thanksgiving.  Thinking about how at this time I was supposed to be riding on the Parkway for my annual trip from Asheville to Roanoke.  Thinking about how the weather this year was awesome and.....and then refocusing my train of thought.  Not thinking about what could have/should have been, but thinking about what I have.  A wife who loves me (and I love for the record) and a kid who feels the same.  Awesome.
So Thanksgiving day rolled around and we got to spend the time together.  There were no visits with family due to various reasons.  There was no turkey in the over, no traditional pie etc. I went for a ride in the morning.  Later in the afternoon the wife napped to prep for working the night shift.  The kid and I went to Starbucks to play war and Old Maid.  That was great.  
The kid and I decided to take the wife to Cracker Barrel so she could get some turkey and dressing.  I was torn about supporting a restaurant that was open on Thanksgiving Day, but we went.  With a 40 minute wait,  we didn't have time to stay.  We wound up at Waffle House and had the whole restaurant to ourselves.  We left an extra large tip and a cheery " happy holiday".

It was a great day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Funk

It feels like things in my head are starting to clear.  I'm hoping so anyway.  As I progress in this life, people making little positive remarks help me in ways that no one can imagine.  Never let fear stop you from saying something positive to someone. 

As I was pondering the other day, I wondered what good it does to tell about the funk if it never ends,  and if it does end, how did it come to be?   I looked back on the year and what I had done, where I have been and a slight feeling of being overwhelmed entered my mind. 

Then I did the math:  I did a lot, attempted a lot, failed a lot, accomplished a lot + I am tired =  hmmm.   So, add to that the things from my past that try to drag me down,  the daily stress that we all experience ( more than deciding what to wear) and the list grows. 

And again, I asked myself, what good is it to know the root of the problem if I don't have a solution.  And like that, the solution seemed simple..... but would take some motivation and hard work: simplify and focus on the positive.  

That's it.  Simplify.  Focus on the positive.    Some of the things that have been dragging me down, have demanded way too much of my energy and focus.  Trying to figure out what went wrong and how to rectify the situation.  Its not going to happen,  I need to turn my focus and energy on what positive things will be happening, on the great things that have happened in our community over the past year.  Simplify and Focus on the positive. 

Here goes,  when a negative thought creeps in,  I slam the door and think something positive.  It could be something as simple as appreciating fresh air,  noticing a flower.  Anything works really. 

Simplify and Focus.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Birthday Ride

 The weekend started off with the grand opening of The Bicycle Thrift Shop.  We had quite a lot of people stop by over the course of Friday and Saturday to buy some of the awesome stuff that we have for sale in the shop.  (not just marketing hype, its true, but you would have to see it for yourself).  Friday night, a bunch of folks hung out in the BAD ( Bicycle Arts District) and drank a few beers while enjoying the awesomeness that is Okie Dokies BBQ!!

Sunday, I headed out for a ride. 
 I joined up with a bunch of guys that I normally do not ride with.   It was good to get out for a social ride and celebrate my birthday on Laurel and Pilot.  While getting ready to leave, I got a call from the wife saying that the kid was sick and she had been called in to work that night.  She had planned a party for me which was now canceled, and my ride would be cut in half so that I could get home to watch the kid while she took a pre work nap.  Ah, the life.
 We meandered up Laurel, taking our time and socializing.   It was a great day to be out, but I was distracted by other stuff and was all over the trail, wobbly and missing lines.  I knew I needed to get it together before descending Pilot so I sat up, relaxed and focused on the positive.  I got my game face on, so to speak, and focused on riding my bike. It went much smoother after that and I started to enjoy the ride more.
Getting up to Pilot, I took the last place in line.  Riding my hardtail Siren, I was the only one without full suspension and these guys know how to rip.  I focused on following the lines through the switchbacks. I have been focusing on these turns recently as they are a limiter.  After discussing proper techniques with Mike from Suspension Experts a couple of weeks ago, I have improved and today was great.  I rode turns that I have not ridden before and the decent seemed to go by faster and smoother than before.

All in all a good day in the woods.

And then since my party was canceled, I had my ice cream cake from The Hop all to myself!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Heading Home

 And then it was time for the main purpose of our trip to Florida.  Our good friend, Jared Mauldin married Caitlin Janelle.   It was a great wedding, filled with laughter and lots of support from family and friends.  We got to meet a bunch of cool people and hang out in a beautiful area.  Congrats Jared and Caitlin. 
 On the way out, heading for home the next morning, we drove past Daytona Motor Speedway.  We wanted to stop in for a look and a tour, but with an 8.5 hr drive ahead of us, we decided to save it for another time.   We did get to hear some cars speeding around the track though.  Maybe one day we'll be able to swing some tickets.
We broke up the ride with a stop for lunch,  while my family ate at Wendy's I went across the parking lot for some local GA BBQ,  tasty.   

And then we stopped in Columbia to stretch our legs at the Riverfront Park.  This park is part of The Palmetto Trail so it was cool to show the family. 

And then, after stopping for dinner at a Waffle House  that still allows smoking,  we arrived at home sweet home.   Good trip, fun times.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 5: Surfing

 Saturday dawned and we found Salty Dog Surf Shop,  one of the only surf shops that was open this off season.  I picked up a rental surfboard and wetsuit and headed across the street to the beach.  I admit while I was excited to try this, I was also a bit skeered.  Looking up and down the beach, no one was in the frigid water.  The waves were choppy and the wind was blowing pretty good.  I thought back to my days of windsurfing and thought about how conditions would be perfect for that wind powered sport. 

Back to the task, I asked the lone lifeguard if it was safe to go out, and he said yes.  I thought about sharks and wondered if I would make it out before I got eaten alive.  I laid on the surfboard and started paddling.  I had only attempted surfing once before in my life and don't really count that time because I had no idea what I was doing.  This time was not much different, other than being confident that I was capable of doing this.

My arms were burning as I reached the break and seemingly huge (2-3 ft) waves crashed in front of me.  I turned and looked back at the shore and it was a long ways away.  A swell came towards me, I paddled into it, got some momentum, stood up, fell over and got thrown around under water.  It was then that I realized that I was on top  of a sand bar.  I stood up.  I made the decision to attempt surfing the waves after they had broken over the sandbar.  By timing properly and pushing off the sand, I could catch the wave and gain enough momentum to stand.  After a couple of attempts, I was standing and riding what was left of the wave.  It wasn't epic, I wasn't shredding, but I was surfing, and I loved it. 

I reminded myself that I was a beginner.  It has been a while since I was a beginner at any sport, and it was humbling to not be good at something. 

 I stuck with it for 2 hrs.  Until my arms were limp and I was having trouble popping into the standing position on the board.  With my lack of upper arm strength, I decided not to risk drowning and headed in. 

I had surfed and it was good.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 3 and 4: Legoland

 Legoland was cool.  I didn't know what to expect.  All I had to go on was childhood memories of theme parks and state fairs.  Of getting sick, hungy, hot, tired and everybody being a bit on the cranky side.   This trip was healing in that I found that with a little self control,  I could enjoy myself, eat well and be a good dad.  One thing I made a point of was not making plans set in stone.  We would do what we could but not stress ourselves out trying to get to a show or a ride.  The plan worked and halfway through the day, I realized I was enjoying the place, and I was able to relax and watch my kid grow up.
 Project X,  the kid's first roller coaster might have proved to be too much.  The big drop freaked him out and he was done with roller coasters.  I had to pay him $10 to get him on another one,  and by the end of day two, we had ridden every roller coaster in the park.

 I just wanted to get off.  It was the end of the day, and the operator kept the ride going extra long.  I wasn't really having fun any more.....
 We bought second day tickets for $15 which was awesome, because we got to go back a do a couple of rides that we had not been able to do, and ride some rides again, hitting the favorites from the day before.

And we were there for the grand opening of the Star Wars mini land exhibit. 

And then it was time to leave.  We were worn out, and still had to drive back through Orlando to Ormond Beach.  But we wanted to get there so we could go to the beach before the wedding. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Road Trip: Day 2

 Day two we took our time eating breakfast.  Forget about waking up at the crack of dawn and hitting the road.  This was a good way to avoid stress.  After breakfast we packed up and headed down the road.  In the Starbucks parking lot, the kid realized that his Wendy's kid's meal toy had been thrown away in the hotel room,  so we headed back and got that sorted out.  Then we hit the road again, and thanks to a mini vacation guide provided by Jason Luque,  we hit several highlights along the A1A.  (thanks for the offer to make breakfast, but I think it was lunchtime by the time we drove past your town).  We rode the St Johns' River Ferry, and drove south.
 Somewhere, we stopped on the beach to walk and chase seagulls.
 And then we stopped at Marineland.  I remember stopping there as a kid, a long time ago.  I don't remember anything else.  I do have a bumpersticker from the place, but that's it.  Maybe that's all we did,  just stopped in the gift shop and bought a sticker.  Anyway, we paid the fee and entered the gates.  We got a personal tour of the aquariums,  and got to stand 2 feet from where the dolphins were surfacing to check us out.  It was a very different experience from when I swam and sailed with the creatures in the Caribbean.  It was great to stop and experience that with the wife and kid.  A peaceful time.
And then we headed south again, stopped at another beach, stepped on some sand burs,  and finally wound up on I-4, heading towards Legoland.....until we hit traffic in Orlando.  If you live in Orlando, get out while you can,  if you don't,  don't move there.   15 miles of 8 lane interstate crawling along at 10mph,  that's a lot of traffic. 

We made it to Winter Haven,  passed on the $139 hotel and found a decent one for a lot cheaper and hit the hay with sweet dreams of legoland dancing in our heads.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Road Trip 2012

So I've been off the bike for 16 days now, and its cool.  We were getting gear up for a road trip to Florida to see our really good friend Jared get married.  We had little desire to take an 8 hour road trip, after just having gotten our feet back on the ground financially this summer.  We were definitely concerned when we got the invite, that would not be able to make it.  But things turned our way and we decided to go for it.  I worked an extra job to save up some extra money and off we went.

I remember as a kid that family road trips were always stressful.  I wanted to experience a new kind of road trip.  One where we got along and enjoyed the ride.  I made that one of my goals.  From packing and loading the van, to all of the other details,  that's what I wanted.  It worked out really well too.  I have a great wife and kid and they make great traveling partners.  
Our first major stop was in Savannah, about halfway to Florida.  We found a place to park and walked down the riverfront.   The guy at the visitor center told us about Bull St, the "most famous walk in America".  We grabbed a map and headed up the road, through a series of gardens.   It was pretty cool, and was great to get out and stretch the legs.

Back in the van and headed south, we made it to North Jacksonville before calling it a day.  The Quality Inn was clean and comfortable.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Day 12

12 days off the bike.  I'm doing something different, top secret that I'll tell you all about when I finish.  

Friday, November 02, 2012

Day 6

 Going on day 6 of no riding,  and no desire to do any riding.  Well maybe about 1% desire.  But not much.   I'm tired,  possibly a little burned out.  I got to ride a lot this year, and had a great year, both by myself, with friends and with Trips For Kids WNC.  

So here I sit,  nice balmy 36 degree weather outside, and I look at my bikes.  I did take the time to clean up the Foundry, replacing the shifter cables and housing.  It shifts much better now,  at least it does on the stand.  
 And the Siren and SS CX bikes sit there, collecting dust.  I should probably clean those bottles soon.

And there hangs my trusty bikepacking steed,  waiting for another small window of time to open up so we can get out and explore.  In the meantime, exploring will be relegated to the internet.
Speaking of exploring, there appears to be a lot of gravel road between Big Creek and Hot Springs,  its just a little too far to explore on a daily basis....

So, here we are on day 6,  and with my schedule next week,  I might be going 14 days off the bike.  I'll listen to my mind and body and enjoy the down time.  Maybe go out and rake some leaves,  maybe not. 

Whatever I do,  you can read about it later on Facebook....

Thursday, November 01, 2012


Sometimes there is so much going on in my head that it is hard to figure out what is going on.   I attempt to compartmentalize, to sort, to deal with each issue.   Then I remember to focus not only on the bad, but attempt to focus more on the good, the positive, to think the good thoughts and act on those. 

But, in reality, it is difficult if not impossible to separate one thing from another, because each decision, each choice has resulted in another decision or choice, they are intertwined.  

One of the most difficult things for me is learning that, realizing that some things I was taught as a child are not accurate.  They don't line up with how things really are in life, how the world really turns,  how people really feel, act and react.   I realize that it was skewed view on life, a view that was created to protect self from dealing with the reality of life, from facing facts and confronting them to create a better world.   And that skewed viewed might have been started generations ago.

And f to learn that view and try to survive in reality, is difficult.  

I realize as time goes on that life is not about a path that is laid out in front of us.  Life gives us a series of choices and we create our own adventure, make our own bed to sleep in.

But what happens when we make all the right choices and things still fall apart?  Should I have chosen differently?  Taken a different path?  Who knows.   If I could answer that question, I could write a book and be  rich. ( I don't really want to be rich).

And so I continue on, attempting to learn more, to respect and not judge, to help and not hinder,  to contemplate and not criticize.   I think that in the end, life is going to hand you lemon,  we will get pushed down, dragged out and beat up.  I think that by persevering, we are taught to rely on others, that we cannot do this alone.  I hope that by persevering and believing, that there is something greater down the road for us. 

And so, there is hope, and there is life and I'm going to continue believing,  not always in what I was taught as a kid, but also in new things that I learn.  And I will continue getting knocked down, and then I'll get back up again, because I am not going to give up.  I am going to reach for the goal.  And at the end, I hope to hear the words "Well done".

Keep living, cause if you are not living, you are dying!