Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Happy Holidays,  time to ride, avoid the rain and enjoy family time.  I have absolutely no complaints about the warm weather,   the rain is slightly annoying and I could complain about that some, but at least it seems to clear up every other day so that we can get outside.

 Spent a little time in Roanoke riding around Carvins Cove.

 Back home,  I took a ride aruond Bent Creek. 

All this gravel grinding has me thinking about a proper gravel bike,  I could go a lot farther with something lighter. 

 And an evening sail with the family before the next storm rolls in!  Sunshine and smiles for miles!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


 Recovery from my tooth work and feeling  a little restless I got out for a quick gravel ride out at Bent Creek. It was not very crowded which was nice.  I might have seen a dozen folks and only about 3 bikes.
It was overcast in the parking lot then turned to fog, then cleared up and I could see a large cloud filling the valley below.   Pretty cool view.  Sometimes I wish we had less trees.  The forest is cool and all but we have some really great views that are obscured.  It is part of the feel and mystery though. 

I'm hoping to get out to ride today but life might put me on the rollers.  I don't hate the rollers yet, and could really tell a difference on yesterday's ride.    The key will be making sure I have good music to listen to while I ride.   That makes all the difference. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Crowned One

My name means crowned one.....not the type of crown I had in mind when I discovered the meaning when I was 12 years old.  

Head cold had me sidelined last week and then the dentist appt on Monday morning and the ensuing discomfort, kept me off my bike the entire day. 

I'm not sure what caused the most discomfort,  the dental work or the bill.  Holy toothache Batman.  With insurance, I paid $642.   Merry Christmas huh? 

I also can't figure out why the staff always smile at me so much when I'm at the dentist office.   Are they really happy to see me?  Do they feel sorry for me?  Are they excited to get in my mouth and poke and drill?  Kind of creeps me out.

Ugh,  I gotta get back on the bike.  It is always hard this time of year with so much going on and the kid being out of school.  Oh yeah, and rain.  Looks like some more roller work! 

Monday, December 14, 2015

2 Rides

 I got out for a ride on Sunday morning,  mostly warm but chilly up higher in the hollers.  I'm loving the warm miles I have been getting lately,   hopefully it will make the dead of winter from mid Feb through March easier to manage. 

Later,  the kid asked if we could go for a ride..... of course we can.  And we did.  We did a short 45 min loop and called it a day. 
I'm taking a day off from training today,  which works out well.  It is rainy and windy.  I'm planning on doing some core work, just need to get motivated to make it happen.

Christmas wrapping at REI Asheville started this weekend.  It is always a fund time, great way to spread the word about the program too. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

My weekend.

 I had the day open and planned a big road ride to get some saddle time.   This is one thing that I let slip the past couple of years and I paid for it.  The lesson: if you want to do long rides, you have to do long rides...

I rolled out of the house after it warmed up.  Wearing a vest, knee warmers and arm warmers.  The day was sunny and a high of 70 was forecast.  No complaints here.   I pedaled out through Swannanoa towards Black Mtn and eventually south on Hwy 9.

A quick stop at the spring to refill and I was on my way again.  Up and over the Eastern Continental Divide, my thoughts wandered.  Down through the pastures and farms, past the Straight Away Cafe, I considered stopping for lunch but it was a bit too early.

Winding around and mostly down, I spotted another set of tire tracks on the wet pavement in one of the curves.  I never caught up with them.

 Left turn on Old Fort Rd for the climb up and around Round Mtn.  The road turns into Bat Cave Rd and then descends down into the valley where Old Fort is.  I again considered stopping for food, but decided to just stop for water, eat a bar and keep riding.  
 I decided to take a right turn and ride through Graphite and up Mill Creek rd on the gravel.  I was surprised to ride past a small pond and see a bald eagle sitting on the edge.  At first I thought it was a decoy, possibly to scare geese away, and then did a double take when it turned it's head. 

 I climbed back up the mountain , through Black Mtn where I stopped for a little snack.  I was hoping for the prepackaged sandwiches, but they didn't have any, so I went for the honey bun with 460 calories and a Coke.   I should have only eaten half of the honey bun but I was so hungry.  My burps tasted like honey bun the last hour of the ride.  
 The last bit of the ride, I was spent and excited that I had gotten the mileage.  This was the longest ride that I had done in a very long time, and I look forward to building up over the next few months.  I love this loop, though I have only done it 3 times.  I have a couple of ideas to mix it up a little bit.  It is definitely nice dropping down in elevation and feeling the warmth on my skin.

Forgot to add:  68 miles of sunshine and smiles!  

Friday, December 04, 2015

Not Yet Cold

 The air is cold, but the ground and trees are not yet frozen.  I can still smell the warmth of the leave decaying,  still smell the dirt.  In another month,  it will be frozen, and smell like ice.  It will feel like the inside of a freezer.  Frozen solid radiating ice.
December is in full force.  Always a crazy busy time of year.

Word about The Bicycle Thrift Shop seems to be spreading.  I love being able to help people, I'm just the middle man though.  Community members donate bikes and The Shop gets them to new homes! 
Ride on!

Thursday, December 03, 2015

National Guard

With the most recent attacks,  I can't help but think about the 3rd world countries that I have lived in.  Countries with civil unrest, stringent gun laws, high crime and their people divided. 

Reminds me of the time the town of Rubio, Venezuela was under curfew.   I was out in the school yard playing basketball with some friends, one evening, and a tank rolled slowly down the street,  turning it's turret to aim towards us and the soldier telling us to go inside...

I'm saddened and infuriated by the increased attacks by Americans.  Americans attacking their own.  Shouldn't we be calling them traitors? 

The war is here and it is not going to get better.   People get upset and want more gun laws,  I'm not going to argue that perspective,  enough people are already doing that. 

We need viable solutions, now.

How long until someone reaches out and organizes the traitors for a full scale attack?  I'm not CIA think tank, so it would surprise me if this hasn't been thought of already.

We need to do something now. 

The National Guard comes to mind: " Under State law, the National Guard provides protection of life and property and preserves the peace, order and public safety". (source:

Each state has their own force,  can we start with schools, posting 3-4 armed guards? 

What do you think?

Under state law, the National Guard provides protection of life and property and preserves peace, order and public safety. - See more at:
Under state law, the National Guard provides protection of life and property and preserves peace, order and public safety. - See more at:
Under state law, the National Guard provides protection of life and property and preserves peace, order and public safety. - See more at:

Running With Refugees

In this time of crisis around the world,  I have a friend and Trips For Kids WNC supporter who is raising funds and awareness for a people group that I had not heard of.  They have been living in refugee camps for 40 years,  in the Saharan desert.
photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Outdoors
 Read the story here:

photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Outdoors

It is a pretty amazing survival story.  A peaceful people, with hope for a better future.

Monday, November 30, 2015

T-giving Weekend

The wife and kid headed to visit with family and I stayed behind to help with the rescheduled AVLCX race at REEB Ranch. 

Without having people running around the house, distracting me and getting in the way, I decided it was a good time to patch and paint the kitchen.  We painted it 11yrs ago when we moved in, and it has had some wear and tear.  I also decided to stain the kitchen cabinets to add to the freshness. 

What should have taken a day or two, turned into 3 days of work.  The staining was tedious, but bearable.  The painting alone would have been fine.  But, I decided to get creative and picked out a color that was way too bright.  I finished it and went to bed hoping that it would make more sense in the morning.  Up at 7am and off to HD to get the proper color and start over.  I was able to get one coat on before heading out to the races and then got the final coat on later that night when I got home. 
 Race day went well and AVLCX pulled off another stellar season of local homegrown grassroots racing.  Its cool to see people driving from hours away to participate in these races.
 Sunday finally rolled around.  With my project gone bad turned good complete, I had all day to play.  My legs aren't quite ready to go all day yet but I needed to get at least 3 hrs in.  

I parked at Rice Pinnacle and headed out towards Bent Creek gap.  Pavement- Lake Trail- and eventually Explorer Loop to Bent Creek Gap rd.  Up and over the ridge, Specner Gap- Spencer Creek- Never Ending Rd- Fletcher Crk- Lower Trace (out and back)- Wash Creek Rd- back over the ridge- Sidehill, Campground Connector- Hardtimes- back to RP. 

27 miles and I felt like I could keep going.  Common sense and the rain told me to pack it up for the day.  Its good to see my endurance coming back and the consistent riding paying off.   I'll be starting my more focused training soon,  looking forward to getting some "snap" back into my legs!
Shout out to the assorted friends I saw along the way.  Its cool to know that on any given weekend, I will most likely cross paths with a friend or two, out in the middle of nowhere!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

This Life

The most successful people I know are passionate about something,  helping others.   When you devote your life to helping others, regardless of how much return you get,  life tends to make a lot more sense.  

There are still a lot of things that don't make sense; hate, greed, war, etc.   But when a person invests time, energy and money into making the world a better place,  a sense of self worth is born. 

I was talking to a friend and we were discussing depression.  I mentioned that I deal with depression.  I have for a long time.  I remember back to the uber conservative Christian college that I graduated from.  They told me it was demons oppressing me.  I spent so many nights on my knees, "fighting"  asking God to fight the demons,  asking for forgiveness for whatever I did.  It didn't work.  Some would blame God for not helping me.  I blame the teachers for not helping me. 

15 yrs later, I have worked through all of the symptoms and have figured out the root of the issue.  Lack of nurturing and poor roll modeling are contributors. 

I don't have all of the answers, but I believe that I serve a power that is greater than me.  I have been given the options to look at myself, change and become  a better person.  The wife says that I have been successful. 

But guess what?  I still get depressed.  Knowing the triggers, I am now more aware of when and why.  The neighbor yelling at me and blaming me for everything brought back a flood of memories.  Being able to identify that, helps me work through the feelings and emotions and get my head on straight again.  One thing I have noticed though is that my depression is similar to a cold.  One day I'm sluggish and tired.  The next I'm down. And then, it takes a couple of days to feel back to normal.   Sunshine and fresh air definitely help, but in reality,  it just takes time. 

Why am I sharing such personal info?  Because I know a lot of you are going through something similar.  You don't even have to tell me, I can see it in your eye,  hear it in your voice. 

Life is tough and we have to stick together.  Draft off of each other. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Crazy Stuff

It is great to be back on the bike.  I feel like a new person with new motivation.  I feel like I have finally figured out who I am.   The key to contentedness is mixing who we want to be, with our circumstances and accept who we have become. 

Things at home are great.  We have all settled into a rhythm and help each other out on a regular basis.  Communication is great too.  

I was able to get out for a long ride this weekend.  Look for more in the future.  We talked about it as a family.  About how it challenges me and makes me happy.  We agreed to make time for it. 

 3.5 hour ride and I was feeling awesome.  Tired but awesome.   I decided to tackle  a project that has been in the works for years.  The neighbor's driveway blocks the water flow in my yard and threatens to flood my crawlspace.  He agreed to let me install a drain to help alleviate the problem.  The problem is, the is another neighbor who uses the drive way to access the property that he is living on.  He is not the owner of said property and only has right of way to use the drive way.  Therefore he has no say in who digs in the driveway. 

Well,  he got riled up about what I was doing to improve the area and called the Buncombe County Sherrif's Dept and told them I was destroying property.   Nice.  CPL Ice showed up and I told him what was going on.  The neighbor, James, got more riled up and argumentative when the officer told him I had a right to do what I was doing.  2 more officers showed up and I got the project wrapped up.  From what I understand, the deputies were concerned for my safety and stuck around while I finished up and went home...... 

Then James' girlfriend, Elaine (these folks are like 70 yr old) walked up to me and hissed, " You're an ass".   I just kept my mouth shut. 

I think the drain looks pretty good.  I turned on the hose to test it out and it seems to shed the water well too.  But now, since I did the work,  its not gonna rain for 3 months!  

 I can't figure out why people are such jerks.  I'm just minding my own business, trying to make the world a better place and people freak out. 

After a lot of pondering,  I thought that maybe these stupid interactions happen simply so I can show the kid the proper way of handling the situations.  If he can learn how to confront with tact and stand up for what is right in a peaceful manner,  then bring it on.  Then it will be worth it. 

 Back to winter riding.  Thanks to a lot of help from my friends, I'm pretty well outfitted to ride in the cold.  It was windy and near freezing, but I was comfortable and enjoyed the ride! 
 Thanksgiving week, coming right up!

Thursday, November 12, 2015


 We had a teacher work day, so I took the kid fishing.  We have been trying to fish more recently, without much luck.  I'm definitely enjoying the time with the kid, but come on,   let us catch some fish.  I spend a lot of the time wondering if I should cast on the other side of the boat, like Jesus told his disciples to do.  Ah, the ingrained thoughts.  

We got a couple of nibbles but nothing hooked.  Suddenly, the kid thought he had a snag but it was a fish.  Then his reel fell apart.  I told him to pull on the line but it felt like there was nothing there. 

I put his reel back together and started to reel the line in.  The fish was still there.  I handed the reel to the kid so he could finish the job.

Then we came home, cleaned and filleted it and fried it up.   Deliciousness!

I'm proud of the kid,  all I caught was a cold. 

Sunday, November 08, 2015

The Funk Root

 So,  it seems the funk has gone, but a bit of the stench remains. 

Two weeks ago, I went for a ride with Kevin Hessler.  The guy is cool.  After the ride, I realized how much I enjoy riding, challenging myself, hanging out with other people.  I realized that deep down inside, I really do miss the racing scene.  But not just the scene, the community that is the core of the scene. 

I had backed off and just done a couple of local races, ORAMM, Pisgah Stage Race, attempt at P111k.  But,  not having set goals, I wandered around, training when I felt like it,  giving a half effort.  It didn't work for me.  Low to no success is not what I was after. 

I realized last week that I should try adding a couple more races to my schedule next year and get some consistent training in.   I never want to feel as badly as I felt for that long again.  

The thing is, I love helping other people.   But I have realized that I have to balance that with me time.   I overdo it on the former and don't pay attention to the latter.  I do this a lot.  Sometimes I even feel guilty for going out for rides.  In my head, I tell myself that that time could be spent doing something productive for someone else.   I have to train my brain to understand that if I don't take time for myself, that I won't be healthy enough to help people around me. 

Now I gotta look at finances and schedule, to see which races I can get to!

Lookin' forward to 2016!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Salt Life

 I really do have salt water running through my veins.  There is no where that I feel more comfortable than in a sailboat on salt water.  It smells good, it feels good.  The salt water spray, sun on my skin, wind blowing.  Amazing. 

The kid had a long weekend, so we loaded up and headed to the coast.   Arriving Friday evening, we settled in and waited for Saturday morning to roll around.   The wife woke up with a headache, so the kid and I reluctantly headed out the door without her. 

We drove out to the Isle of Palms Marina to set the sailboat up and go for a sail.  This was the first time that we had launched from the marina so it was a new experience but everything worked out great.  We paid the launch and slip fee and were able to not only launch the boat every day, but we trailered the boat and left it at the marina.  Super convenient. 

 The downside was that we were pretty far from the Charleston Harbor, it would be a full day trip to get there and back.  Not out of the question, but I don't think the wife and kid want to be out there that long.  One day maybe. 

We launched the boat and headed up the Intercoastal Waterway.  Lots of other boats around, sailing yachts, fishing boats, the Dewees Island Ferry.  We had to motor the first 15 minutes before raising the sails because we were heading straight into the wind.  After getting under sail we tacked up into the opening of Dewees Inlet and closer to the private island.  All of a  sudden we started seeing dolphins.  They seemed to be swimming and feeding all over the inlet. 

We tacked back and forth a couple of times before heading back the the marina.   The ride back was amazing.  Running from the wind which was blowing about 15 mph at this point, we picked up some speed and were skimming across the water.  The kid was having a blast, which was a very successful breakthrough. 
 On Sunday, we headed to the Patriot's Point memrial/battleship tour.  We had promised to take the kid there.  My advice, if you are thinking about visiting is, don't.   We ended up walking around for about 5 hrs, looking at the inside of ships.... painfully boring.  Spare yourself the agony and spend the money on some crab legs.   (don't get me wrong, I respect the armed forces and the men and women who have died and who still fight for our freedom.  But, I can think of better ways to show my respect that to walk around looking at bunks, galleys and heads...) 

The day was saved when we finally headed back to the marina and hoisted the sails.  With the wife aboard this time, we again headed out to Dewees Inlet to look for more dolphins.  We were rewarded and sat in amazement, watching the sleek creatures surface withing 10 feet of the boat. 
 Monday, we were back on the water.   The wind whipped up to 25+mph, so we didn't even raise the sails, just motored around a little bit before packing up and heading towards our mountain home. 
 On the way out, we stopped at the beach to play around and ended up saving a bunch of starfish which were trapped in quickly draining tide pools.  We also found a sand dollar, some horseshoe crabs and sea urchins. 
I cannot wait to get back.  We need to find a little bit more affordable lodging though.  That would be awesome!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Slow Bloggin'

My blog has definitely slowed down quite a bit lately.   My life has changed though and I'm not sure you want to hear about it.  I started writing to talk about daily life and my adventures.  I still have daily life,  most of it pretty boring and my adventures have all but vanished.

Take today for instance.  I dropped the kid off at school before the sun had officially risen.  I went back home and ate a bagel (my go to breakfast) and coffee.  I went to The Bicycle Thrift Shop and worked on some bikes,  then went to Liberty Bikes to pick up some donated bikes and gear. 

After that, I went back to the shop to drop off the donations.  I then went to The Regeneration Station to check on the booth there.  Then I went to my office to work on e-mails etc. 

I squeezed in a 40 minute run, had some lunch, did some more boring office work.  I often stop around 2pm and realize that I am close to putting in an 8 hr work day.  But then remember that I still have another  8hrs to go before bed. 

I pick the kid up from school, do some yard work, take the family out to dinner for some pizza.  The wife heads to work her night shift, I take the kid to the park to play soccer.  We hang out at the park with a bunch of other neighborhood kids.

A quick stop at the Oakley Food Market ( livin' on the edge I know) for some ice cream.

Then back home for the bed time routine.  

And, that is why I'm not blogging much at this point. 

I hope that I will be having more adventures in the future and can entertain you some more! 

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Got out to take a spin in the boat the other evening.  That boat is sweet.  I'm dreaming of a multi day coastal trip now..... 

There were several other club members out on the water enjoying the evening.   At least 3 of them tried to sail near me, in the same direction,  testing to see how their speed measured up to mine.   I out ran all of them!!  Sorta funny. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


I should probably consider riding more than once or twice per week if I am going to have any fitness by the time the stage race rolls around.  But, for now that can wait.  It was a long,slow ride up and over Beaucatcher, then up Elk Mtn.  But I did it, and I enjoyed being out. 

My running legs are definitely better than my riding legs at this point. But, if I remember correctly,  in the past, my running legs have transferred well to the bike.  Should be seamless when I start training again. 

For now?  I'm just ridin'.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

O'day Daysailer Project

 One day this boat followed me home.  I couldn't turn it away.  I was attached to the Widgeon, but this boat was better suited to my growing family.  But, it needed a lot of work. I went to it.  Bleach, soap, scrub brush, sweat.  Took it out for a spin and found out that it leaked.

The hull was painted (for no good reason) with 3 coats of thick rust oleum like paint.  
 I trailered the boat and headed home.
 After some ingenious rigging with straps and ratchets, I got the 500 pound boat up on it's side and started sanding. 
The first coat went ok,  I had to buy a radial sander. 

 The second coat was a bit tougher and I was feeling discouraged.  I dove into the 3rd coat.

 I had started the process with 60 grit sandpaper and was working up to 2000 grit wet sanding.  5 different grits to finish it out.  But,  I wanted to make sure that I was going to end up with a good outcome so I finished up a little square.  Once I rinsed and dried it, I could see the reflection of sky and trees in the shine on the hull.  I got really excited.  
 I finally got it complete sanded down and polished up to a shine.  I removed the center board and found a big crack in the hull which I epoxied. 
Finally got it back down to the lake recently and out for a ride.  The Widgeon is fun to sail, but I'm going to enjoy this bigger faster boat.  The family is too.  Can't wait to get it down to Charleston!

Monday, October 12, 2015


I ran today.  Not enough space to carry a camera so you get no selfie. Right about an hour before getting to work. 

I went out to the shed on Saturday and started cleaning some stuff out.  I took a bunch of cycling clothes and part to The Bicycle Thrift Shop.  Kind of weird donating to myself.  I didn't take a tax credit for it, so I think its legit. 

I also pulled out some family "heirlooms".  
Lots of random stuff.  I'd like to find out what it is all worth, but don't know how to go about doing that.  It would be awesome if it were a small fortune, and I could pay off the house!   I'm not counting on it though.

Some of the stuff is made in France, Austria and Switzerland, while some is made in Japan..... Oh well,  back into the shed it goes.

I'm trying to figure out what is next.  My birthday is coming up and I always do some sort of adventure to celebrate.  I'd like to to the Art Loeb Trail but logistics are pretty tough for that one.   I also thought about running the Black Mtn Trail up to Mt Mitchell and back.  So many options.  I've only been riding about 1-2 times per week so a bike adventure does not look too good. 

I think I am finally seeing the light at the end of the funk tunnel,  that's exciting!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Fall Is Here

Here we go.  Fall is in the air, and I've been in a funk.  I'm not sure why.  I think it is a combination of lots of things and I'm plain worn out.  From the playground build last winter/spring, the busy summer and now the push to raise the funds for the swingset,  I realized that I have not had much time for myself and have not had many personal successes, as far as athletic endeavors, this year. 

I finished the stage race and that was great, then I finished ORAMM which was great too.  But,  I didn't get much else done.   Probably the least amount of events that I have done in a year, in a very long time. 

I didn't think I would miss it too much, but I do.  I love the specific training leading up to the event, then the actual event. 

I have accomplished a lot this year for the greater good, and that has been time and energy well spent.  I'm going to have to look for some more balance next year though. 

Balance is so important in every aspect.  

I've gotten back into trail running, as I often do this time of year.  I'll run for another month then start focusing on the bike again,  keeping running as an option for when the weather turns nasty!