Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve rolls around and I am awake at 6am, listening to the sound of rain hitting the metal roof on the half of the house that has metal roofing.  Then I start to wonder if the old part of the house/roof will leak or if the wet patch will continue to hold out.  That leads me into thinking about the next phase of our dream.  Who knows if it will become reality?  We really want to rebuild the roof on the original house, raising the pitch and adding metal roofing.  By doing so, not only will it match the rest of the house, but we will be able to raise the interior ceiling as well.

Its a bit of a daunting task because that involves calling construction people and hopefully finding someone who will quote a fair price and do what they say they will do.  I often consider doing it myself, but I want to make sure it is done correctly to insure resale value. 


The Wobblenaught fit seems to be treating me right.  I'm have a dull soreness all over.  I'm not sure how much to contribute to the fit and how much to wrapping gifts at REI for 4 hrs every evening over the past 8 days.   Tonight is the last night of wrapping, so I'll be able to get some rest from that.  One major thing I notice though is that it takes less effort to climb, and I am more balanced on the descents.  Another observation is my muscles, esp lower back don't feel tight after a ride.  We'll see if that changes once I do some longer/more intense rides, I don't expect it to.

And so, here we are,  Christmas Eve, drinking coffee, and looking forward to spending the day with my kid!!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

An Open Letter To The Oakley Elementary School Staff:

Dear friends, 
It is with great honor and pride that I write this letter to you.  My family wants to take the time this Christmas/New Year season to celebrate you and what you do.  We are very grateful for you and the part you play in our lives and in our neighborhood.  

When Jubal started kindergarten, we as parents, were nervous.  We didn’t know what to expect.  I (Stephen) was a missionary kid, moving around every 3-6 years for the first 20 years of my life.  New schools, new friends and a new language or two…every 3 years, left me feeling lonely and often rejected.  
The first day of school came, and we dropped the kid off for Kindergarten, then we walked out to the parking lot and cried (we have cried a little less each year since). 
As the days turned into months, then years, our confidence grew.  We gained faith and trust in our school system.  We formed friendships and our respect grew for the people who were responsible for our child for a large portion of the day.   

We want you to know that you all are doing an awesome job.  Sure, the little “life” things creep in- personality conflicts, stressful events, bad things.  But, good things happen too.  Not just good things, GREAT things.  This little kid, who just 3.5 years ago, could not read or write,  is now doing research, using creativity, critical thinking, using math skills that will soon surpass mine (I can still run faster than him).  The media simply does not spend enough time sharing all of the thousands perhaps millions of great things that happen at schools on a day to day basis.  

We notice.  We notice the little things: the warm smile, the comforting pat on the shoulder, the constructive criticism.  We notice the stacks of paper being graded, the cleaned out desks, the charts, the efforts to teach the kids more than reading, writing and arithmetic.   

This is a great school and spending time there has provided healing in my own life, along with insight on how to provide a better childhood for my kid, better than I ever could have imagined. 
We are honored to be able to say that we are part of the Oakley Family!  

Thank you. 
Your Friends,
Jubal’s Dad, Jubal’s Mom and Jubal

Thursday, December 20, 2012

First Impressions

I was finally able to take a ride on the two bikes that I took down for the Wobblenaught fit.   I was a bit concerned about the changes in positioning and wondered if it would cause any discomfort.   I also knew that there would be a time frame while my body adjusts to the new fit, where I would not feel very fit.  I was reminded to take it easy for several rides to let that happen.   This is difficult with my first race in 15 days, but it is important.

My first impression  is WOW.   Even though my muscles are not up to speed yet,  I am able to ride steady up and over hills with an RPE that is lower than previously.  Obviously, it would take a power meter to know exactly what the benefits are, but I don't have one, so we are going with RPE. 

I think that the fit on it's own would make sense.  But with the added benefit of Eddie's instruction,  it really is the whole package.  He answered a lot of questions that I have had for a long time.  I'm not saying that Wobblenaught is the one and only way.  There are a lot of other fit processes that are done by people I respect.  What I am saying is that I notice an immediate difference, and can't wait until my muscles catch up!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Th, Fri, Sat ,Sun

Wow.  What just happened?  A whirlwind hit and now it is Monday and I am most likely the only person in the universe who is glad that it is Monday. 

Here is the low down:
I was listening to Mountain Bike Radio and scored a Wobblenaught fit.  Wanting to do it right, I made arrangements to drive down to Atlanta to visit Eddie O'Dea of 55Nine Performance to get the fit done.  I also forked out the extra dough to have my road bike adjusted along with my mountain bike.  I was pretty excited leading up to the trip and on the way down.  I have had a couple of fits before, and they were great.  This was supposed to be more in depth and I was looking forward to it.
 I got to the studio and Eddie got to work.  The entire process with 2 bikes took about 4 hrs.  The first 1.5 hrs was spent measuring my body size, weight, arm, leg, torso length etc.  Standing, laying, squatting,  needless to say, the process was already very thorough.  After getting my cleats realigned, I got on the Siren and started spinning.  One of the benefits of the visit was having Eddie teach me proper techniques for pedaling, sprinting, etc.  The whole session was filled with tiny little tidbits of info, that when added together, make a lot of sense.  And then, we repeated the process with the Foundry. 

After that, I was hungry, and since it was on my way out, I met Jay Dillard at The Varsity: "What'll ya have!" But first I sat in traffic for 30 minutes, taking said amount of time to move 3 blocks.  I heart Asheville.

Friday:  unload the shop and load the trailer for the used gear sale.  Then go wrap gifts at REI,  we are doing that for free through Christmas eve.  Come see us.

Sat and Sunday:  Used gear sale at the NCCX races, and more gift wrapping.  

Today?  I have  a lot to do, but am determined to ride, even if it is on the rollers!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Goin' Boatin'

So I sold the bike. That bike I didn't realize I had grown attached to.  6 years ago, when I bought the bike, I needed to do something to scrape the money together.  That was back when gas was cheaper and I was paddling whitewater 4-5 days per week. 

I paddled some of the big rivers here in the S East.  Tallulah being the biggest, and was working my way up to the Green Narrows.  Wilson Creek, Nanty, Tuck, Noli, French Broad, the Dirty Bird, Little River Sinks, Big Creek, New River, Gauley....and then some.   I started out in a canoe, went to kayak, then switched to C-1 and OC-1.  One of my favorite accomplishments was rolling the open canoe.

I studied the art of paddling and worked to get my American Canoe Instructor Certification in Kayak and Canoe. 

And then gas prices went up and my kid started getting older.  Old enough that I didn't feel right being gone so much.  I sold my boats, all 4 of them to help buy the Bianchi Giro. 

As the kid gets older, I yearn to share life with him.  To introduce him to activities outside of cycling. 

When I  found out about the canoe, I knew what I needed to do.  At first I was sad, and will cherish the memories of that bike,  but it is totally worth it, essentially trading something that brought me so much challenge and joy, for something that will do the same and hopefully form a strong family bond.  (and possibly some long, multi day, solo trips).

I can't wait to get on the water. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


After sitting around the house all day,  keeping watch over a sick 8 yr old, and keeping him quiet while the wife slept after staying out all night,  I was able to squeeze in a 45 minute hike..... and for that I was thankful.  The wind was biting and it felt cold enough to snow. 

And then it was time.  Time to say goodbye to my faithful Bianchi Giro.  The bike that carried me on many trips over the past 6 years.   I was thinking back to when I bought it, how excited I was to bring it home and ride it.  The derailleurs had been installed wrong and it wouldn't shift.  I was disappointed and frustrated.  I took the bike to Liberty Bikes,  they fixed it and earned my respect. 

I'm sure I had some bad days on the bike,  those have faded from my memory though,  it is the good days that I remember and cherish.  The wind blowing through my hair, the clicking of the chain as it passed over the chainrings, the crunch of the tires on fresh chipseal.... fun times. 

But it was time to sell it,  to open the door for something that I walked away from about 6 yrs ago.  Something that I won't write about until the deal is sealed..... today is after all, the end of the world!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Mop

If you ever wonder why I wear a hat all the time, this is why.  I hate my hair.  It is wavy, and poofy.  Especially in the humid south.  I could never get it to do what I wanted and anytime I went to the barber shop,  they cut it weird,  like opposite of what I wanted....every freaking time!

As a kid, I was never allowed to have long hair.  Like they were afraid that I would gain a Samson like strength if my hair grew long, fearing that if I had more power than them, I would rule them.... or something.

I did end up growing it out,  it was midway down my back at one point,  then I cut it and donated it to Locks of Love.  Probably not cool.  Some kid is wearing my bad hair.  I tried. 

So I started wearing a hat.  The only problem is, there is some weird superstition that wearing a hat indoors is disrespectful.   I don't know,  the mop on my head seems way more offensive than wearing a hat that tames said mop. 

And besides taming the mop, a hat is functional.  It keeps my head warm, keeps the sun out of my eyes,  looks classy ( you might disagree, that's fine,  it's my hat)  gives clothing critics like Kevin Hessler something to comment on, and makes everyone else jealous that I look so stunning ( again, you might disagree.  Again, that's fine).

So now you no longer have to wonder what is under that hat.  You no longer have to surmise that I am covering up horns or something of the sort.  You have seen and have been amazed and you can now appreciate the hat.

Monday, December 10, 2012

For Sale: Bianchi Giro

Bianchi Giro   Size 57 cm,   $450,  Shimano 105 components,  Ultegra rear hub. Aluminum Frame, carbon fork.
My old steed is for sale at a great price, (if I must say so myself). 

I would still be riding it had I not won the Foundry back in May.  This bike is fun to ride and handles well.  We have been through a lot of adventures together, but now it is time to sell it, to facilitate some new adventures,  sort of a cycle. 

If you are interested, let me know:

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Flippin Fun

 Not a whole lot going on in the life of Asheville Janes.  I've gotten into a good rythym and feel like there has been huge progress in making peace with my past.   I didn't realize how much of my time had been spent still trying to work things out in my head, rather than accepting the facts and focusing on the good things happening in my life: ie my wife, kid and the 1000's of people who have made Trips For Kids WNC possible.  I've been sleeping better lately as well.  Its weird how much the subconscious continues even while the body is trying to rest.

This has been a dream of mine for a very long time and I am very excited to a part of WNC during this time of growth and change.  I'm a little less excited about the growth in numbers because that means motor vehicle traffic increases,  but the influx of creative and driven people moving into town, will help the growth of the cycling community and greenway push. 

It is very exciting to see the greenways plan, which was a dream only a few years ago, coming to fruition!  I can't wait to take kids for rides across town, all on a greeway.
And so the journey continues.  I keep looking forward, doing what I can to make this world a better place....and riding my bike because its flippin' fun!!

Monday, December 03, 2012


 This weekend was another whirlwind, but one of the first this year that included a ton of family time.  I aim to change that for next year. Saturday started with a ride, and ended with the kid's first basketball game and some Okie Dokies Smokehouse BBQ!

 Sunday was another ride.  I took a wrong turn and rode up the east side of Webb Cove Rd.  Wow,  it was supposed to be an easy ride, so I rode slowly.  I'm glad I found this beast.  The route was way better than the route I had planned, it will make a great 1.5 hr loop from my house, with two major climbs. Or longer.....   Nice.
Then I got home and went hiking with the family.  We hiked for close to 2 hrs.  It was awesome spring weather in December and  we wanted to take advantage of it.  The kid wanted to know if we could ride bikes on the Mountains to Sea Trail.....nope, but deep in my MTB heart there is hope that one day we will.  Foolish hope maybe, but its there.

We finished out the weekend by attending the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club's annual end of year meeting.  I love that club and the people that make it up.  It was cool sitting in the room full of people passionate about cycling of all kinds.  Marshal, the 75 yr old National Champion was in attendance, along with a bunch of other cool folks!

This week looks like another week of warm weather.  Get out and ride, or walk,  or lay in a hammock!