Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Starting the week right

 Ah,Monday.  I think I got you figured out.  1 hour single speed ride first thing followed up by.....

 .... homemade coffee, biscuits, gravy and bacon! 
After such a great start, I should just go back to bed!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Dirt Diggler, 2018

It has been a while since I was able to get in on one of our local races.  I finally worked up the fitness to be able to survive at least 50 miles, so I signed up for Dirt Diggler. 

I decided to make a mini adventure out of the next 24 hours, so I reserved a campsite at The Bike Farm.
I had never been here but have known the owner/operators for a very long time.  A stay was long overdue.  Cashion set me up with his favorite campsite, #7, all the way at the end of the road.  When I checked in, I was welcomed by Joel, who was super friendly and accommodating. Joel gave me the details in a nutshell and sent me up the mountain.

The winding, single lane, gravel road took me up towards the ridge until the road mostly leveled out and I found my site.  I got my camp set up and then just hung out, by myself, enjoying the solitude.  I thought about walking up the road to chat with other campers, but decided to just chill.  Sometimes, a guy just needs silence! 
I slept like a rock most of the night.  I woke up around 3 am and heard something walking around the campsite.  Something lightfooted, sounded like the hoof of a deer on the gravel.  I went back to sleep and woke up at 6 am to the sound of an owl hoot.  So quiet, so solitary.   

Rise and shine! On to the Diggler. 

I timed my commute perfectly to arrive at the start about 15 minutes before the 8am start time.  I was a bit nervous, but mostly excited about riding bikes with 200 or so friends.

I rolled up to the back of the pack, waited 2 minutes and then we were rolling out.  The rest of the day is a blur with some distinct moments. 

I caught up to Bevin  about 10 minutes in to the race.  Cool,  somehow we seem to have similar fitness and end up riding together when we ride the same events.  Great, positive company to be in.  

About an hour into the route, there was a somewhat gnarly downhill gravel portion.  Broken bones and wounded people laying on the side of the road.  A quick check to make sure help was on the way, and I rolled on.

Eric Partin and I yoyo and chat a bit through here.

I remember a super long paved decent, dropping us into the valley.  I was reserved and wound up in no man's land at the beginning of the long flat along a river.  2 guys caught me and I graciously sucked wheels  for the next 8-10 miles! 

Refill at the second rest stop, heckle Mike Pierce, alone for a little while.  The gravel road around Cascade Lake is nice and I ramp it up to catch a  group ahead.   I end up overdoing it and the last 8 miles, I soft pedal in.  As much as a person can soft pedal a 20% + grade!

The final single track and then the finish line.  4hr9min.  Great ride! 

A quick rinse in the creek, a Coke and pulled pork sammy, then I head home.  I was hot and tired, and I think I left before the podium presentation,  I figured they were already done!  Sorry about that.

I'm looking forward to the next one!

Friday, September 21, 2018


Who is ready for some Dirt Diggler?

I am, for sure.  I'm excited to get out on my bike, with a bunch of like minded folks and ride. 

The past couple of years has been a tough transition for me.  Going from training and successfully completing endurance events, to not training consistently and successfully failing at endurance events. 

I had to admit to myself, that while I am still capable, I simply don't have the time to put the time into training  and prepping properly for these events!  My priorities have shifted and I've got 4 years to invest into my high school kid before college.  That's the choice I've made, and I had to adjust. 

Its not easy though.  I love being out all day, for multiple days.  But, that's where I am, and it took me  a while to work through that.  You have to try things, different combinations.  If you don't, you will never progress, never evolve, never figure out what works for you.  If you are not willing to bend and bow, not willing to go with the flow,  you become stiff and eventually break. 

So, tomorrow, I saddle up for a little under 50 miles, with my sights set on having a good time. 

See you there!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Week Off

 After a week off the bike, during which I windsurfed until my arms almost fell off, I dealt with an unhelpful insurance agent who told me to go find another agent and some unruly parents at a soccer game,  it was time to get back on the bike. 

After all, Dirt Diggler is two day  away....  47 miles of gravel and pavement should be manageable though.  I'll have to wait and see, and keep pedaling!
 I spotted a couple of little bears in Bent Creek today.  They were pretty friendly but didn't really want to stick around to chat. 
 I also came across McHoney, ridn' his pony.  We chatted and laughed and rode.  It was quite a bit warmer than last winter when we rode up the parkway together.  We rode into the maw of the storm,  6 degrees and butt cold. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Hurricane Florence: Windsurfari 2018

 I've been watching this storm for a week and a half.  Anticipating, hoping, planning and finally loading up and heading out.  I was not sure what to expect.  My first stop was Dreher Island State Park on Lake Murray which is west of Columbia SC.  My plan was to stay close enough to the hurricane so that I would have good winds, but one step ahead to stay out  of danger. 

The plan worked really well.  Until I got tired.  According to my quick calculations, I windsurfed 6-8 hrs in a 36 hour period.  I want to head back out as I type this, but I'm worn out!

I got to the state park and the staff told me that if I wanted to cancel, they would give me a full refund.   I decided to stay one night, so took the second night's refund.  I parked in my spot at Angler's camp circle and went about rigging up.  I had a great afternoon/evening sailing with a 6.4 and Bic Astro Rock.   The wind picked up a little more later.  Today was just a warm up and getting comfortable being on a wide expanse of water alone. 

 I set up camp, ate some freeze dried dinner and went for  a bike ride around the state park.  In bed by 9pm, and true to form, the camper 2 sites over woke up and rustled around all night.  I got intermittent sleep but, ugh.  Why are people so self centered?  I finally got some solid sleep from 4:30-7 ish, when I woke up to whipping wind!  I took my time feeding myself and drinking coffee.  By the time I rigged up, the wind was blowing strong enough that I was able to take my "new to me" Bic Electric Rock out for a spin.  The board is identical to the Astro Rock, just smaller, better for higher winds and smaller sails!
 I was out for 2 hours and decided to head in and pack up.  I got everything loaded and set my sights on Hamilton Branch State Park, about 1.5 hrs away.    When I got there, the wind was perfect for the Astro Rock and 7.5 m sail. 
 I headed out for an hour, getting lay of the wind direction and heading out to the center of Strom Thurmond Lake which is also the Savannah River.  If I had kept going all the way across, I could have windsurfed into Georgia! 
 I was getting overpowered, so I came back in for a snack and a drink and headed back out on the Electric Rock and 5.3m sail.  That left me a little under powered, so I came back in and upsized to a 5.7 which was perfect but I was getting tired and the wind was gusting to 25-30mph.  Whew,  fun, but once the fatigue starts to set in, a person starts making mistakes and things can go downhill fast.  I took one more sloppy run and headed in to the campsite. 

 At this point, it was only 3pm.  What to do?  The campsite was barren, 1 other camper down the way.  I could use some solitude.  Looking at the Saturday morning forecast, there was a chance of rain, and the wind was going to be in the 20-30 mph range. I looked at all the options and examined my feelings. 

 I didn't think I would have the energy the next day to sail in such strong winds.  I had definitely gotten my fill of windsurfing,  although one never really gets enough.  I had gotten all I could handle.  I decided to head back to the mountains, thankful for the experience, and looking forward to spending the next day with the family! 

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Alternative

 Well,  8am Saturday rolled around and I was still in bed.  And it felt great.  The family was still asleep and I had no plans to ride my bike, much less act like I was going to race Pisgah Monster CX.   Someone bought my entry last minute on Friday afternoon and I was off the hook.  

We decided to hit the lake and the kid decided he wanted to give knee boarding a try.  Sweet.
 It took him a couple of tries, a bit of a fit, a little frustration and feeling sorry and then finally one more attempt and he was up and carving.   I'm so proud of him.   I remember my first time knee boarding....  I hope he looks back on this moment fondly. 
 We always stop at Subway and take sammiches with us for dinner, then we stay out as late as possible,  making it back in time to be off the lake by dark, and to DQ for desert.   The DQ in Old Fort is hit or miss though.  Tonight we walked in and there were 8 people waiting for frozen treats, and one dude making them.   Not tonight.  We piled back in the truck and went to our back up, McD's drive through.  Chocolate shake for me, no whip, no cherry!
Am I sad that I missed Pisgah Monster CX? Yes.  I worked hard to get ready for it.  It just didn't happen.  But,  I also got to participate in an amazing day with my family.  We did things, we accomplished things, we grew together and went home satisfied.  So, I'm satisfied.  

The upside is, I'm in better shape than I would have been 6 weeks ago, and I feel like I can do a 50 mile day.  One way to find out: Dirt Diggler  (unless the wind is blowing, then I'm going windsurfing!)

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Know when to fold 'em.

There are times when you gotta push the limits and other times when you gotta realize your limits. 

It is time for me to realize my limits and pull the plug on Monster CX.  I'm good for about 45 miles and after that it would be survival mode.  Add heat and high humidity and who knows what could happen. 

Actually, I know.  I've been there and done that.  The IV in the back of the ambulance felt so good.  All 3 times.   Lots of people thrive in these conditions, but I don't. I've tried.  Don't want to go back.... ever.

Its pretty simple really,  I just didn't get the training in to give me the confidence that I can make it the 70 miles without going into survival mode.  I don't mind fighting and working hard for something,  but I'm not willing or able to to that right now.

I have probably spent way too much time processing this.  Thanks for putting up with my drivel and thanks for the encouragement. (and the  heckling too). 

I'll tell you what I know though.   I'm gonna have a lot of fun spending the day with my family!

Monday, September 03, 2018

Bic Electric Rock

I added another board to the quiver.  I cannot wait to take a spin on this.  From what I understand, this is very similar to the Astro Rock which I already have an love, but smaller.  If I like this board, and it works for me, I'll be able to narrow my travel quiver down to two boards,  one "long" board and one "short" board! 

I am so excited about this that I even dreamed about windsurfing last night.  Strong steady winds and a good session.  Hopefully dreams come true! 

Gotta get through this week and Monster CX, which I am totally stressed about....  If it stays hot like this, I'm don't have much hope of a finish!  Here's to cooler air and strong winds!!