Friday, February 28, 2014

Blue Bling

 I finally did it.  I blinged out a bicycle.  I've never done this before for a couple of reasons.  Available funds being one, and I also just didn't see the need. 

But, when I decided to go single speed for a while, I decided to start putting blue bits on the bike and take it from there.  At some point I just let go and started searching for anything blue,  all the way down to the chainring bolts. 

And then I had saved enough money to purchase a set of I-9 wheels. 
 I feel guilty doing this all for myself,  I'll admit that.  I'm not accustomed to making my things look good and flashy. 

It has been a blast though.  And yesterday, while taking the virgin wheelset for a trial run,  I looked down at the bike and grinned, ear to ear. 
 Thanks Brendan at Siren Bicycles, Liberty Bikes, Shanna at Endless Bike Co, The Fellas at I-9, Eddie and WN Precision for the power, Dave Wood and Mark Smith. 

And of course my wife for being enthusiastic about the project.  I had her full support from day one,  that means a lot!
 I just need to get some blue skewers and a better fork and this piece of art will be ready to tackle Pisgah!!

See you out there.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Livin' The Dream

I use that phrase often, and I'm serious.  I'm not livn' the dream that I thought I would live, but once I let go of preconceived notions, woke up and smelled the coffee, and accepted where I am,  my life became a dream. 

On a large scale can't have what I want, went I want it, or go where I want to, when I want to. But with some careful planning and patience, I have gotten to go a lot of cool places and see a lot of cool things. 

Sometimes we have to readjust our dream 

I have more than one dream.  I have the dream I am living:  Awesome wife, cool kid, project house ( that is nearing completion, which is another dream altogether!),  bike rides, bike packing etc.  This is my here and now dream,  the dream I'm livin'. 

Then I have other dreams,  goals so to speak.  To travel, "Ride The Divide",  hike the Appalachian Trail,  take the family to visit Bonaire, where I spent 6 of my formative years.  Big dreams that might or might not happen, but I'm gonna keep hope that they will.  

When you ask what I'm doing and I respond, " Livin' the dream",  although my life is fill with the blood, sweat and tears of everyday living,  just know that I am indeed serious. 

I love the life I live!

Here's to "Livin' The Dream"!!  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Less Riding,

This weekend was amazing weather wise.  I didn't get to ride much, I opted to help a friend with his house remodel project and then spend time with the family.  I did get a short ride in on Sunday morning, though.  I'm not following a training program yet this year,  just trying to get some saddle time and build some strength. 

I managed to get my bikepacking bike built up and rolling, so whenever the whether is ready, I'm ready!!  

After dinner, we drove up the parkway and I took some cool photos of the family jumping off the guardrail. 

A little bit of cropping and these will look really cool.

And now back to the work week.

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Back in the Saddle

I managed to squeeze in a long ride yesterday.  It was warm.  It felt great.  I wasn't sure what I would feel like after an hour, but I felt fine.

I ended up having to stop and pull off my arm and leg warmers.

It was good to see Jamie Pittman and Greg Leicester out and about.  I can't go anywhere in this town without seeing someone I know.... and I don't mind.  I like people!

This morning its pouring down rain,  so much for a morning ride.  I'm not even going to run in this.  Good old fashioned spring rain.

Probably won't ride again until Monday.  I have a busy weekend planned.

That's about it...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Don't Postpone Joy

I keep writing things, and then erasing them.  The stress of life muddling the thoughts in my head.  I try to sort them out,  the who, the why,  and how they affect me......

Its a weird week,  having to face several different situations at the same time.  I'm not sure why, but its happening.  And I can't stop it.

But that's fine.  A friend reminded me: " Don't Postpone Joy".  And while I am usually pretty good at that,  this reminder came at just the right time.

Its difficult to walk into a situation where you know you will be treated with a lack of respect.  But in these situations,  attitude really is everything.

I'll spend the time focusing on the joy in my life:  The wife and kid, the bicycle community and the individual that bring a positive spin to my days,  upcoming bikepacking trips,  "Mike rides",  remodel projects..... and so much more.

There are days that will be tough, with that dark cloud over our head,  but reminding ourselves that we have something to live for, will make all the difference.

I believe that we have to have bad days, to struggle,  these things make us stronger.

Try it today: Don't Postpone Joy!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

No Fun Like Snow Fun! (photos)

 Well its snowing again in Asheville.  The school's snow make up day got cancelled.  Its windy and cold, not sure what we are going to do.  Here is a photo update from last week!

Hiking on the deserted Parkway

Milepost 386, the starting point of many adventures.
Old fence in the woods.

Sledding with the fam

Obligatory topless snowboarding with the kid throwing snowballs at me. (its a family tradition)

We left the dog at home,  when we got back he had found a new friend...

The neighbor one upped everyone in the neighborhood

Stayed up til 1am building this.  Slept in it for an hour the following night,  until the call of my warm bed lured me in.  It was pretty cozy though!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Winter Water Park Fun

This weekend we headed over the mountains to Sevierville to hit up the Wilderness At The Smokies.  It is a whole hotel/water park package.  

We arrived late evening on Friday and decided to head to the room to relax before spending all day Saturday at the indoor park. 

Wave pool, hot tub, wave ride, water slides etc, kept is busy and occupied.

The highlight of the trip, which we only did once due to the long, slow moving line was a 4 person slide called Storm Chasers.  The 3 of us climbed into a 4 person inflatable and proceeded to "plummet 55 ft down a thrilling, dark tunnel ride before dropping through a zero gravity fall into a funnel where they experience several fast oscillations before splashing into a pool below".   Somehow, I ended up going backwards through the entire slide.  I couldn't see where we were headed or when the drop was coming up,  all I could see was the kid's face.  Sitting directly across from me, and looking terrified.

I must admit that this is the most scared, I have been on a thrill ride since I was about 8 or 9 years old. (or whenever my first ride was).  The 3 of us got out of the raft shaking from the adrenaline.

We decided not to give it another go due to the long line, and stuck to the other rides.  We were glad however that we waited until the last day to ride this one.   All the other slides were a bit tame in comparison!

Fun times with the fam!  Can't wait until the next adventure.

In the meantime, I hope we can make it through the week without a snow day.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Still Runnin'

So, after stating in my last post that my running days had come to a close,  things happened and that window of opportunity opened.  I wasn't sure about my fitness so I took a short easy run the day before to find out. I felt decent and close to where I was before the flu, so I started finalizing plans.

I dropped the kid off at school and drove out to make waterbottle/snack drops along the Mountains To Sea Trail.  I was excited and nervous while driving back home and changing into running clothes.

The temp was close to 30, where it stayed all day, and the skies were cloudy.  I would prefer it to be a little bit warmer, but these conditions were nothing to complain about. 

I started out at milepost 386 and headed north.  My first destination was the Folk Art Center.  I made it there,  roughly 5 miles in 1 hour.  I refilled my water bottle and headed south.  My next turn around point was the French Broad River Bridge.

After doing some research, I found that the distance on the trail from the Folk Art Center to the FBR Bridge is 13.3 miles.  Hence the out and back. 

I'm not too keen on out and backs, but this was the easiest way to accomplish this goal.

I've been wanting to run a trail marathon for a very long time, and was prepared to go for it this year, when the flu knocked me down.  It killed my momentum and my fitness. 

As I ran, I thought about second chances. 

Back to MP 386 and my first dropped, I swapped water bottles and grabbed the rice crispy treat.  Delicious. I continued running.  Not fast, but steady.  I'm told that's what wins the race.

At this point, I was not convinced that I would be able to go the distance. 

45 minutes later, I crossed Hwy 25 and came to another drop.  Water, Fritos and a couple sips of Coke, saving most of the bottle for the return trip.

I was feeling good, but still not sure.  Thinking positive thoughts, and reminding myself to keep forward motion, I ticked off the miles.   

Rhonda called and asked what I needed.  " A PB and J would be great".  She headed over and met me to make the hand-off.  Just what I needed.  Seeing her and having her support lifted my spirits. 

4 hours into the run, I reached the FBR Bridge and another drop.  At each drop, I left a special snack.  This one was a Jack Links Beef and Cheddar stick.   I only eat these when I'm doing an endurance event.  The thought of them makes me gag,  but when my fuel is being depleted, these are a go to snack. 

Turning around to head north, I started to realize that there was a good chance I was going to make it.  The body was past aching and now hurting with every step.  I was starting to run with bad form, hunching over and had to be aware: stand up straight,  short steps,  walk the steeper uphills....repeat.

Up and over I-26,  my head started to feel a little foggy.  I plodded along, thinking about pizza. I suddenly realized that I had missed my next drop.  I checked my water bottle.  Half full,  I figured I had enough to make it to the final drop.  I couldn't remember if I had water there or not, but I knew that the Coke was there. 

Finally back to Hwy 25, I estimated about an 1 or less.  I was hoping for a sub 5hr, but at this point, I changed that hope to a sub 6hr.   The Coke and Fritos hit the spot, and it turned out I had a full water bottle. 

I was in familiar territory now and was checking off the landmarks.  I called Rhonda and told her I would be finished in 10-20 mins. 

And then it was over.  26.6 miles in 5 hrs 47 mins. 

While my body is stiff and sore all over, it feels great to complete a goal that I have had for so long.  I'm very pleased with my time and how things turned out and currently have no desire to ever do this again.  But I'm sure as time goes by and the pain fades,  I'll be looking into another running adventure next year!! 

Wednesday, February 05, 2014


Did you feel that?  That subtle tremor that shook the earth,  that sudden change,  that brighter outlook? 

I rode my bike and the world is a better place. 

With the rainy chilly weather, I'm staying inside on the rollers for now,  but I'm riding again. 

I had wanted to run a marathon distance on trails, but I "ran" out of time.  Maybe next year!

3 cheers for riding bikes!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Breakfast Bar Project

 I had not planned on doing this project so soon,  other projects are high on the list of things to get done, but when I stopped by Sunrise Sawmill to figure out pricing,  things snowballed.   I asked Don about materials for a breakfast bar and he had exactly what I needed and a deal I could not refuse. 

And so it began. 

First I tore out the wall between the living room and kitchen.  The idea for this project started 9.5 yrs ago when we bought the house.  I knew that if we could open up this wall, we would have one huge open room. 
 I got it cleaned out and got the stove moved back, providing more room in the little kitchen.  After that, we splurged, heading out to Blue Ridge Surplus to buy some cabinets.  The cabinets are oak, made in NC.  Pretty cool. 
 I built a half wall that would be the back of the breakfast bar.  On the kitchen side, I used the plywood from the ceiling in the old bike room.  It felt really good to be able to recycle that.  On the front I was not sure what to do.  I went to Home Depot to look at the 1x6 planks, but then headed back to the sawmill.  Again,  I found some really cool poplar 1 by's that would do exactly what I needed. 

 I cut them, sanded, coated them and then screwed them in place.  It was time for the support posts, which I also screwed/bolted into the wall.  This thing is going to be solid.  The post is 4x4 solid oak, that I got in a 12 foot length, also from Sunrise Sawmill.  I sanded all of the wood a little bit, but wanted to leave the rough cuts and marks from the saw. 

And around 8:30 pm, after about 40hrs of work, Project Breakfast Bar is complete:

I'm pretty proud of how it turned out.  With the different types of wood, it really softens up the room, and paired with the wood stove, really makes it feel more like a rustic cabin.