Saturday, July 13, 2019

Lake Life

 I love the lake.  
The open expanse of water.  
Skimming across the surface.  
Pulling up to the beach. 
Jumping in the cool refreshing water.  
Dodging thunderstorms.
 Eating scrunched up sandwiches. 
Waving to the other boaters.  
Wishing I had  a bigger boat.  
Being content with my 12 foot little motor boat.  
The boat seems to shrink as the kid grows.   
Teaching the kid. 
Laughing with the kid. 
Providing for the kid.
Enjoying what I have,  missing what I don't have. 
 Practicing being kind.  
Practicing being selfless. 
 It all takes practice.
 It does not come naturally.  
It is intentional, worth the effort because it helps the greater good.
At the end of the day, focusing on who I am, what I am and being satisfied.
Just be.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Just Be

Self care, self improvement, self aware.... becoming a better person requires a lot.  Breaking the negative cycles and habits that were ingrained from child hood, requires a lot.  A lot of thought, a lot of work, a lot of new habits and new focus.    I've been doing that, to the nth degree,  but suddenly a though crosses my mind.  When am I good enough?  When will it be enough?  In my desperation to be the best dad, husband, neighbor,  I am now stressing myself out trying to improve. 

And then it dawns on me.  I have to take a break.  I have to relax.  I have to be.  I have to enjoy the work that has been done.  I have to be who I am and be who I have become.   I have worked hard, and the change is obvious (as reported by my wife). 

Is there still work to do?  Sure, but for a period, for a season,  I can relax and know that I have worth, that I have purpose and that I can enjoy the freedom that has been given to me. 

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Racing the Storm

 I set out in the sunshine and heat.  It was upper 70's in the shade but the humidity was thick, so it felt like 90!   Heading out the parkway and up Avondale, I was planning to loop back on Rose Hill for a lollipop loop.  Plans changed when the thunder started rumbling through.  I decided to turn down Concord and try to outrun the storm.
 I was successful for a while, but when I took a left on 74A, the wind picked up and the curtain of rain was closing in.  I ducked in to Dollar General for a little while.  When the rain let up, I headed up the road again.  When the next band of rain came through, I hid out at the produce stand.  After about 15 minutes, the rain let up and I took off.  

I made it home mostly dry,  just a little damp from road spray, but even more importantly, didn't get hit by lightning!
Home sweet home. 

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Scorching Hot

 Hot, almost metric century ride.
 It was hot, and I considered calling someone for a ride.  I wanted to finish this ride, though.  It has been a couple of years since I rode 60 miles. I ran out of fluids and stopped at a church to get some water from the faucet on the side of the building.  No one around.  A few minutes in the shade helped me feel slightly better.

I finished the ride.  I felt like crap, but it felt good to finish.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Milestones and Change

 As time goes by, I've been dealing with assorted issues and baggage that we accumulate as we travel through life.  I love the idea of Alpine style mountain ascents.  Travel light, carry only what you need, go as fast as you can to the top, then back down,  usually in one big push.  Maybe that's how I approach life.  Get rid of extra baggage, so I can travel light and get to the goal. 

10 years ago, when I was at a crossroads in life,  I had been rejected by few and accepted by many, I was ready to do something that I wanted to do.  I had to stop trying to fit in where I didn't belong, stop trying to be someone who I was not.  

I launched a ride program with the dream of getting kids on mountain bike outings in the woods.  The program has morphed and evolved as time has gone by, but I have always had the same dream:  to acquire a vehicle that I could use to transport kids and bikes out into the forest.   

The time came to move forward with that plan this winter.  There were several indicators that made this obvious, one major one being that I had put way to many miles on my personal vehicle, to the point that it now has some irreparable damage! So be it.  It was worth it to get the kids out of their environments and into God's creation. 
 Well,  I put the request out, and our awesome community, once again, stepped up to the plate and we purchased an awesome mini van for the purpose.  I decided to go all out and get the van wrapped as well.  Go big or go home, right?  
Yesterday, we had our first ride out in the woods.   I now take 4 kids at a time for a quality ride teaching them trail etiquette, riding skills and more.  Nothing but smiles all around!  

What a great day, not only for the program, but a milestone for me.  Change is good, reaching goals is good, and milestones give a the encouragement to let us know that we are indeed moving forward.   Sometimes slow, sometimes cruising along,  but moving forward is the process!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Wind Storm, Lake James

 The wind forecast was good for Lake James and better for Lake Hartwell.  I decided to go to Lake James because then I could be back home for family time.   I arrived and rigged up a 5.3 sail and got ready to head out.

As I was getting ready, I sneezed.... and pulled my lower back.  Dang it, not enough ham string stretching.

I turned around and looked towards the Linville Gorge and saw the giant dark gray storm clouds rolling in.  A couple of motor boats that had left the dock in a the past couple of minutes came flying back, trying to get loaded and out of the water before the storm hit. 
 I put rocks on the sail and board and huddled in the truck for 15 minutes, until I could see blue sky again.  The wind was cranking and I was nervous.  Why?  I don't know,  The recent trip to Ocracoke definitely boosted my confidence and skill, so I really have nothing to worry about.  Just relax and go windsurfing.  So, I did.  2 runs, and I came back in to switch to my 4.6 meter sail. 
I was absolutely flying across the water.  Sheeted all the way out (kind of like idling in a vehicle) and I was going as fast as the board could go.   I had to be careful as the wind wanted to slip under the board and push it up into the air.  I love jumping, but I also like to be in control! 

I was at the edge of control, but stayed out for an hour to practice.  Waterstarts, Jybes, Tacking,  I felt good through all of the maneuvers. 

I was  a bit tired and my back was hurting, so I called it a day.  Epic day, but definitely worth the trip!

Friday, April 26, 2019

N Mills

 I had to meat some friends for FLA USA to deliver some Bicycle Thrift Shop kits that they had ordered.  An awesome crew of folks from down south has adopted me and decided to spread the love,  so awesome!  

Since I was out there, I decided to ride N Mills River for something different.  Usually when I ride here, I park at Bent Creek and ride over.  The drive out there seems to take as long as the ride,  only with less ride time, so.....
 Another amazing day in paradise.  The above picture is where I want to build my house.  I'm sure the forest service wouldn't mind. 
 Creeks were high, so my shoes got a good rinsing,  it has been a while.  I'm really enjoying being on the bike this spring.   The past several years, I have been so burned out from training through the winter for the stage race, that I have not ridden much in the spring.  

This year is different, because I'm not really training for anything.  That was a difficult adjustment for me.  After having plans and goals for so long, how does a person transition back into being a recreational rider.  It was a difficult process, starting with realizing that I am at a different place in life than I was a few years ago. 
Now I ride to be fit, and once I'm fit, I hope to join in on a group ride here and there, or even possibly an event or race.  And if things go really well, and I get really fit, I will go on a bike-packing trip.  But, everything will have to line up to near perfection for that to happen!

In the meantime, happy riding!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

What Easter Means To Me

Its ok if you don't "go to" church. Its ok if you don't believe exactly like I do. Its ok if you have questions and things don't seem to line up. 
God is our creator and cares for us in his own way, providing for each of us differently, but sufficiently. 
Jesus died because people felt uncomfortable with a man who proclaimed the truth of freedom, a man who stated that things needed to change, a man who firmly resisted the practices put in place by ignorant, sometimes self serving humans. Jesus came to life so that we would have the freedom to be who we are and help each other reach our full, God given, potentials. Jesus rose from the dead so that we would not have to be bound by rituals but could flourish with freedom and creativity. 
While Scripture has a history of being abused for self gain (and still is) it is difficult to discount the way, the truth and the life.(Keep in mind, this is not a ticket to freedom stating that we can do whatever we want, when we want, we still have parameters and guidelines to keep is safe and healthy) 
Some people flourish under ritualistic practices and other people feel closed in and restrained. Its all part of the beauty of creation. Get up, go out, and do what you do with excellence. #loveyourneighbor #sermonfromalumberviking #dontfeartruth

Thursday, April 18, 2019


Normally this time of year, I am pumping up my tires, lubing my chain and slipping in to some lycra in preparation for the Pisgah Stage Race.  Not this year.  I've done that race 10 years in a row, the first 10 editions.  I love that race, but it was time for a change. 

I found a windsurf race on the Outer Banks and signed up for that.  Windsurfing is in my blood.  I made plans, made campground reservations and finally headed out.  My plan was simple.  Drive to Cedar Island, camp.  Catch the ferry to Ocracoke, spend the afternoon there and camp.  Then drive to Avon for the next 2-3 days camping there. 
I was impressed that I actually made a plan and was going to stick to it.  I usually make plans and then try to make better plans, which results in a lot of stress. Self induced stress.  This time was different.  I was determined to stick to the plan...... until I arrived at Cedar Island at 4:10pm.

When I pulled up to the Cedar Island Campground,  there was a line of cars and a ferry waiting.  I didn't realize there was a 4:30pm ferry to Ocracoke.  I confirmed with the ticket lady, paid my dues and got in line.  So much for sticking to my plan. 

Then I called Teeter's Campground to find out if they had a spot for me.  They did and I reserved it. 
The following night, I was planning to camp at the NPS campground that is a couple of miles out of town.  But, Teeter's is right in town, and after a full day of windsurfing, I decided to stay put.  I could get my camp set up and then ride my bike to get dinner and the local brewery.  Then for breakfast, I would ride my bike to Graceful Bakery for some delicious baked goods and coffee.  Perfect. 
Friday dawned,  and the inner struggle began.  I was in a perfect location, with the perfect set up, why bother driving north 2 hrs, when I could spend the time on the water?  Do I really want to race? Stand around in the parking lot with everyone eyeballing each other's gear,  racing and challenging before the race even started?  Is that why I was here?    No,  I just wanted to have fun.  Did I really want to share the water with 300 other sailors?  While that would be cool to see...... not really.   The struggle raged on all day and into Saturday morning.   But after eating a fresh scone and drinking some coffee,  I knew the answer. 
I went back to the camp ground and paid for two more nights.  Seriously a no brainer.  It turned out to be one of the best, most satisfying decisions I have made for myself in a long time.

The wind was great for four days in a row.  I spent time building my confidence.  Gradually working my way from my longboard, which offers more stability, down to my little short wave board, which is less stable but way more maneuverable and fun to jump and carve.   Each day, I spent as my time on the water as I could. 
I spent the time soaking up every moment.  I sailed all over the sound around Ocracoke.   On one day the wind shifted, which allowed me to sail back and forth on a 4 mile reach. 
Each day started with a bike ride to the bakery.  I ate my breakfast by the harbor, Silver Lake before heading back to camp.  I then packed up the roof top tent (which now takes about 5 minutes) and then head to Teaches Hole, where Blackbeard enjoyed anchoring his ship after raids.  Morning session lasted a couple of hours before heading back to the truck for some good old fashioned PB & J.  Then a leisurely drive on the beach to watch fishermen. 
Back to Teaches Hole for a couple more hours of the fun stuff.  I usually stayed out until I got really hungry, or until something started cramping.  One time my index finger cramped, not all curled up, but stuck straight out.  odd.  
After getting loaded up each evening, I headed back to camp, set up the roof top tent, (another 5 minutes) showered using the amazing outdoor shower, then head of to dinner.   Taco truck, Dajio's woodfired pizza, Howard's pub became favorites.    
After dinner, I rode my bike to watch the sunset.  After sunset, I headed over to 1718 Brewey for a beer and a tasty snack from the kitchen.   Chatting with other folks and people watching.  Often more entertaining that tv. 
When the time felt right, I headed back to camp and went to bed of hung out chatting with neighbors for a bit. 
There are so many amazing places to go and see in the country, and world.  But at this point, I'm content using my resources to visit this island and enjoy the simplicity it has to offer. 

I have spent the first quarter of 2019 trying to simplify my life and I'm on the right track.   This trip has definitely helped give me new insight and desire to continue simplifying! 
Until next time, Ocracoke!

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Check out the link below.  I'm hosting a fundraiser, so the program can purchase a van, so that we can get kids out of their environments and into the woods.   I was paying out of pocket with the van in my name to save money for the program, but found out that I cannot purchase commercial insurance if the van is not in the name of the program!  Argh.   Thanks to an amazing community, we are almost there.  Donate if you can, and please share the page with your friends!

Adventure Kids WNC Transportation Fund

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Guilt Ridden Life

 I'm planning a road trip this spring.  The goal is to pack in as much windsurfing as I can get.  Why?   I love windsurfing.  I grew up as a missionary kid and got into the sport on the island of Bonaire: Windsurfer's Paradise.   Since then, the island has produced many world champions and is one of the world's go to training grounds for world class windsurfers.    I taught myself and was hooked.

But now,  as I prepared to head to the East Coast, I'm riddled with guilt for leaving my family behind and spending time and money on myself.  Why?
 Another passion of mine is cycling.  I love to get out and explore new places, that's what gets me excited.  I love the community, the vast array of folks who ride bikes for assorted reasons.  I love to ride with people, and I love to ride along.    As I head out for a ride, I feel guilty.  Guilty that I am out having fun, while I could be doing other "more productive" things. 
Why so guilty?  I'm not sure.  I was raised in a strict "Christian" home.  Rules, chores and consequences.  I had to earn my freedom,  I had to work for my play time,  and more often than not, my free time was interrupted because I had not completed said chores adequately and had to go back and do it again, "and do it right this time".

I attended a "Christian" college that had so many rules and regulations that I was always second guessing myself,  wondering if I had followed all of the rules and knowing that I would get busted and reprimanded for the slightest infraction.   Needless to say, I didn't really fit in and several times was the first to get the blame when another broke the rules: like the time someone drove through the guard shack gate, shattering it to bits and kept driving.... it wasn't me, I promise.

If I am living the life of freedom,  then why all the guilt? 

Its that feeling of never being good enough,  always having to try harder, to be better, to be a little more perfect, to sin less.  Its like the cartoon of the carrot being held in front of the horse,  the poor horse works his tail off, but never gets to the carrot. 

Why all the guilt?  Maybe I hold myself to to high of a standard,  the standard that I was taught all of my life?  Maybe I need to step back, take a deep breathe and just be.  Be in the moment, love my neighbor, and be.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Rough Winter

Got my first single speed mtn bike ride of the year in this week.  It felt great,  I'm weak as all get out, but it was nice to be rolling through the woods again. 

This winter has been rough on me.  I'm normally training for the Pisgah Stage Race, which is also rough, but this year, with no set goals in mind (other than to be the best dad and husband I can be) I did not feel the motivation to ride through the winter.  It was actually nice not to have that pressure. 

The upside is that I have been getting out and exploring on foot.  Doing some trail running, that sometimes looks more like hobbling.
 Those days that are blustery and cold, and snowy are perfect for trail running.  It is so much easier to stay warm. 

And then there are the other days, when I go out a little farther and explore something new.  Feeling the sun gradually warm the earth as I run the Mountains to Sea trail along the spine of Shortoff Mtn! 

I love riding my bike, but running is so simple!

I'm hoping to keep some running fitness through this spring and summer, and looking forward to riding in shorts!

Thursday, March 21, 2019


The upside of being a missionary kid and traveling all over the world, is that I got to see a lot of cool stuff and live in different cultures and become a part of different cultures. Moving, settling and blending in became a way of life that is still ingrained in my being. 

I find it difficult to simply visit a place without feeling the urge to make a connection and contribute positively. We are making plans for our Ocracoke Island vacation for the 4th year in a row now. We have met and gotten to know some locals, and they seem to enjoy when we visit. The locals even let me help schlep fish at the fish market. I'm content spending my vacation time like that. 

The downside of traveling all over the world as a kid is the anxiety that new places and new faces stir up. 

 We all know that when  a person plans anything, it rarely works out like that.  Sometimes minor obstacles pop up, sometimes major.  Something always happens.  Well, add up 18 years of world travels and now I expect something to happen, I cringe, just waiting for it to happen.  And sometimes, I cancel travel plans because of that.  

I feel guilty for not getting my kid out and about more, traveling more, to see the things I have seen.  His situation is different than mine was.  We simply don't have the funds to be galavanting across the globe.  Or the time.  We are adulting now and doing a fine job of it.  

I'm attempting to cultivate that traveling bone in the boy, but I think it will happen differently than it did with me.   And I am coming to grips with that idea.  

I think back to when I was 14 yrs old.  Aside from the world travels, I have been able to give the kid lots of opportunities that I didn't have by that age.  That  helps ease the guilt.   

On top of everything else, I want to take the family back to my heartland, Bonaire, the island in the Netherlands Antilles that I spent my 10th- 16th years of life on.   That's gonna be a big chunk of change.  If I had to choose to go anywhere right now, that would be it.  

For now though, we will continue taking our annual summer trip to Ocracoke Island,  visiting, getting to know the locals and blending in as well as a Dingbatter can....