An 808 way of life

Photos

North Shore – I was there today

blue-sun-setting-at-kaiwela.jpgIf you’ve visited it then you know how unique it is and how much of Hawai’i is still alive in the surf mecca of the middle-Pacific. Some suggest it’s the mecca of surfing only beaten by “the big waves” off Maui at Outer Sprecks. Whatev. The North Shore is consistent year-round and a super relaxing part of Oahu. The photo for today was taken at sunset on the North Shore.

Aloha.


Micronesia? Iokwe (ee-awk-way).

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Is that a ‘micro’ sized version of “nesia?” Think not. It’s a real place that’s some 3,800 west of Hawai’i. Some travel. With jet travel by Continental Airlines (only), Micronesia is 4 or 5 hours from Hawai’i. Umm, so that’s a real haul from little ‘ol Tennessee. Attached is a photo that I uncovered from my searches of – specifically – the Marshall Islands. WOW. Can you soak that up or what. Robert Louis Stevenson called it the “Pearl of the Pacific.” More wow. I’ve thought about this photo most of the day (during free thinking moments), and there were so few that I’m now thinking about it again and WOW. I’m going there. Period.

I learned about Micronesia from a flight instructor I met while on the island of Oahu. His wife, from Micronesia, was lovely and they were a neat couple. They spoke so lovingly of Micronesia that – it was better than any brochure or website. It was – WOW. So – if and when the work-gods allow me to take a break, I’m haulin my happy ass to … Micronesia. I may stay there for a year or two or forever. Yeah.

Iokwe – translation – Welcome.


North Shore — looking North inward on Oahu

Kaiwela Town, Oahu

The sunset closes the day on the North Shore, Oahu. This a favorite photo looking toward the tip of the island. It’s a great section of the island because there is a strong flow of winds aloft that keep the area sunny most days. The clouds that form over the mountains pictured here give great lift for soaring.


“Grace is the absence of everything that indicates pain or difficulty, hesitation or incongruity.” William Hazlitt


Tattoos by the numbers.

This is my 1,000th post on the PhotoMotoBlog.

More than 574,480 unique visitors have been to this site since its inception.

The weekly average the past four months has been in excess of 14,000 unique visitor per week.

My busiest day was February 17th, 2010 with 2,359 unique visitors.

Folks logging on my site originate from 37 different countries and the Hawaiian Islands.

Google is used to translate my site into 12 different languages.

I’ve logged more than 400 hours creating the site.

There are 2,535 images contained in this weblog.

Interestingly, it uses just a ½ MB of space.

The masthead has changed more than 100 times.

The posting rules have been broken once; that person didn’t break the rules again.

My blog site ‘encouraged’ management to create a ‘blog posting policy’ within my company.

This site has spun off into 22 other weblogs that I’ve created; the unique visitor totals for all sites is greater than 4,000,000.

I’ve been repeatedly asked to monetize several of my sites (no ads please).

The best part is that I really don’t care what anyone thinks about the content, the images nor the layout.

Somehow I’ve managed to connect with people whom I don’t know … for those folks …  mahalo nui loa!

Thank-you for logging onto my site.

Aloha


“Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.”

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MG and her new ‘toy.’ Oh boy, what’s next, another tattoo?

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Weigel’s Family Christmas, 2008: Santa visited and the kids went CRAZY!

Enclosed herein is a selection of my favorite photos that I took today at the Weigel’s Family Christmas event. More than 170 kids along with Weigel’s chaperons made their way into the Knoxville Salvation Army (gym) to enjoy the celebration. With lots of food, treats, and of course, Santa himself, the event was a huge success. I enjoyed being included because the event reminded me that Christmas is about giving to others without any expectation of a return gift. I’ve not seen nor felt this kind of spirit in many, many years.

It certainly frames Christmas in a new light. Mele Kalikimaka.



Boomsday Photos – the dessert of a wonderful evening.

The final day of August left us with a real “bang” – as in the 11th annual Boomsday fireworks show. This year we enjoyed the show from high above Knoxville in the First Tennessee building with some friends, Jack and Cathie. The view was excellent from Jack’s office – and the best part – no smoke, crowds, traffic issues, the bathrooms were close by and the AC felt pretty good too.

If someone could figure out how to charge for the experience, we’d put “priceless” as a starting point. Enclosed is a brief gallery of shots taken from our viewing post – all of which were taken without a tripod – thus the blurring of city lights at the bottom.

Thanks again Jack and Cathie for a wonderful evening.


America, do we need a wide angle lens?


Batman fan gone ‘fatman’ overboard. Shop till you drop those LBs.


More from Tremont: Twice to Mecca on a Sunday.

The Duchess and I visited Tremont early this morning. Enjoying the quiet roadways, parkway and Mecca itself. Very few cars were moving – and even fewer toward the National Park. The access road to Gatlinburg is closed for a few days and thus car traffic was minimal. I visited Tremont just after the rain finished and captured these shots. Click to enlarge. Enjoy.



Joe Martin Stage Race: Elite Men – atop Mount Gaylor

The photos are few in number because the pros were moving … as if they didn’t (!) ascend the 9 miles to Mount Gaylor. They came up on us very quickly – jumped by us quickly – and were GONE.


Joe Martin Stage Race: Pro WOMEN – atop Mount Gaylor


Joe Martin Stage Race: Atop Mount Gaylor

After a brief ride on my bike this morning, I took a quick shower, ate some lunch and visited Wal-Mart. Yeah. I bought the Canon EF f/4.5 70-300mm lens for my 400d. Alas, most of today’s photos resulted from my purchase. I’m certainly no professional – but I do enjoy capturing what I see.  These are from the top of Mount Gaylor – from what’s left of the tourist stop on Highway 71. Prior to I-540, this was a stopping point for lots of travelers …. today it feels like a ghost town.


The Foothills Parkway: Spring has Sprung. Finally.

This past Sunday I traveled to the Foothills Parkway and enjoyed the mountain air, the scenic views and some climbing. Getting there was a challenge due to the line of cars backed up from the “open house” on the north side of the Foothills Parkway. I’m not certain what was served at the open house, but I suspect it was either money or alcohol (due to the number of cars – ha). The attached photo is just a Pentax snapshot of spring – springing in Great Smoky Mountains. I enjoyed it – a lot.


Hawaii: the TOP 10 Reasons to consider visiting.

With a four-day work-week behind me, I made time to consider the great state of Aloha. Ergo, I’ve developed my Top 10 reasons to visit the great state of Aloha … aka, Hawaii.

The Top 10
10. It’s Hawaii, do I REALLY need to enumerate the reasons? It’s far enough away that you feel far enough away.
9. Sun. Plenty of it and no industry to pollute the air.
8. No snakes.


7. You can enjoy a sunrise and sunset on the same day without flying.
6. The temperature is highly stable. Average high temperature in Hawaii in August: 88. Average low temperature in Hawaii in January: 75.


5. Great fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, kayaking, sailing and boating opportunities all around.
4. Beautiful wahines in tiny bikinis. NOTE: a wahine is a woman and when you pronounce it, it rhymes with bikini. Yes, now you get it.
3. Some of the world’s best beaches and scenic mountains are within sight of one another.


2. Almost no mosquitoes or flies. Well, there are mosquitoes, but few.
1. Laid-back lifestyle. The laid-back lifestyle and attitude makes Southern “front porch sittin’” seem stressful and hurried by comparison.


Tour de Ephrata: WOMEN’s CRIT – 15 photos past Firehouse


Diamond views from Hawaii. Just a few photos to illuminate the Pacific.

Plumeria is a small genus of 7-8 species native to tropical and subtropical Americas. The genus consists of mainly deciduous shrubs and trees. P. rubra (Common Frangipani, Red Frangipani), native to Mexico, Central America, and Venezuela, produces flowers ranging from yellow to pink depending on form or cultivar. From Mexico and Central America, Plumeria has spread to all tropical areas of the world, especially Hawaii, where it grows so abundantly that many people think that it is indigenous there.

A beach is a geological landform along the shoreline of a body of water. It usually consists of loose particles which are often composed of rock, such as sand, gravel, shingle, pebbles, or cobble. The particles of which the beach is composed can sometimes instead have biological origins, such as shell fragments or coralline algae fragments.

The State of Hawaii (pronounced /həwaiiː/ or /hawaɪiiː/; Hawaiian: Mokuʻāina o Hawaiʻi) is one of the United States, located on an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of Australia. The state was admitted to the Union on August 21, 1959, making it the 50th state. Its capital is located in its major city, Honolulu on the island of Oahu. The most recent census puts the state’s population at 1,211,537.


Size matters. So do Photos. We all know that Hawaii matters. And your bank account(s).

And a dozen other things that are mentionable but unmentionable. This photo is terrific. On oh so many fronts. I love the fact that life has its ups, downs and tallness to get us into noticing what’s around us. I notice so many things because of my career, my second career at UTK and because of the way I view the world – through a camera.

This coming weekend is a spring-fling of photos and we’ll find out what Mother Nature offered up this year by way of flowers, spring bugs and buds on trees. Later.


Vote. Or Vote for a No-Vote. Either way – you elect something or someone.

The last of the group presentations focused on “voting.” A burr under my saddle because I’ve got major issues with voting in general. Hanging chads, sneaky candidates, prostitute rings, mismanaging money, taking SUPER-long breaks from sessions, greasing PAC leaders’ vacation plans, etc. etc.

Putting those biased thoughts aside, I opened up to the idea of voting – again. Sorta like the second strike by MLB (I gave up on them and haven’t gone back to watching). Ok-Ok.

Much like the prior three groups – this was an excellent presentation. It was informational, newsy, and persuasive. I felt as if the team of students really dug in and worked hard to convince all of us (i.e., me) to vote. The call to action was a voter registration card! Go figure.

My vote will be cast — in the next presidential election. No worries. And to COM240 – great work!


Survivor in the middle of the Pacific. Way-out there in the midst of ahhh.

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You got to love it – it’s far, far, far away in a galaxy unknown to most of the world as we know it. Those who are in the know, divers that is, favor the region because days are generally “blue” and the sun shines like it’s stuck on SPF50. Divers favor Chuuk Lagoon for its array of colorful maritime species and its large proliferation of shipwrecks. The lagoon is littered with Japanese vessels that were sunk during fighting in World War II.

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Now the blah-dity-blah-blah … Micronesia consists of the Caroline Islands Archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean. In 1899 Spain sold the islands to Germany. Japan later occupied the region and fortified the islands just before World War II. In 1986 these 600 islands and atolls, formerly part of the U.S.-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, became self-governing in free association with the United States. American aid is crucial to the islands’ economy. Enough of the history lesson. Let’s see some good visuals.

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Ahhhhh.


More ahh – Hawaii-ahh. How Nice.

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Another week at the office. Another week at school. Another week that flew by me way-way too quickly. Another month gone.

Someone told me years ago that life speeds up (perceptively) as we age. My age must be moving pretty fast because the last two months were blurry.

Thinking of far away places like Hawaii consumed a few hours over the months of January and February – but not nearly enough. There were too many anxious moments dealing with things that were distractions … such as … 1) people who lack manners, 2) assholes who felt like proving they are indeed assholes, 3) people spending way-too-much time piddling in the kitchen with nothing to show (not even a few pounds of extra weight), 4) driving to and from the TH/CH and work, 5) time spent going to the store I HATE, 6) time spent trying to help a loved one who doesn’t want help, 7) time spent repairing reputations damaged by assholes who do push people under the bus, 8) dealing with people who lie to avoid being real, and various other crappy-crap things. Venting done.

On the positive side, I set aside time to feel good about my relationship with Ames, time to contemplate racing, time to prepare for my students – and interns, time to care-take of my body, time to care-take of my home, time to reach out to my family, time to dream, time to relax – but certainly not enough of that, and time to build my music library. Along with many other things – - –

March rolls in like a lion and I intend on rolling in with it – but with more smiles, more laughter and more thoughtful allocation of my time. Because as we age – and because time passes quicker as we age – I’m calling a board meeting with my advisers to reallocate the available time. I’ll get back to you about it.

Oh. The scene for today represents an important component of time: vacation. Ahhh.


Nuaailua Bay


Nuaailua Bay – along the route to Hana is beautiful. It’s on the windward side of Maui and accessed via the scenic Hana Highway. There are many, many terrific views – sites – sounds and fresh flower smells along the road to Hana. If you have the opportunity to travel via a convertible you’ll enjoy the trip even more so. Primarily because the lush vegetation overhead is fully visible and with the trees you also enjoy cooler temperatures. Mostly – that is. Aloha.


Waikiki hula. Oahu nights. Yes, it’s good. All good.

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Its hard to imagine that Waikiki was a hot spot for royal Hawaiians … a place for them to hang out in … let’s say in the 1800′s. The fact is, the area was well known for its swampiness and marshlands. Can you say hot and moist?

The first recorded history of Waikiki involved the chief of Oahu named Kalanikupule. In 1790 he hijacked a ship with the intent of attacking Kamehameha I. The famous battle of Nuuanu Pali began and Kalanikupule was defeated. Because the ship was hijacked at Diamond Head, the area became an important part of Waikiki history. As time passed, rulers brought many guests to Waikiki and some parts were known as private beaches.

In 1901 the famous hotel Moana (pronounced “moe-anna”) was constructed and instantly became a sore spot for natives. The locals began to see their land change, and with time, Waikiki was transformed from a swampland to a place of beauty. While the area had been called unsanitary and dangerous due to the mosquitoes (a plenty), the landing strip for them wasn’t added in last year (I just made that up). Actually the mosquitoes were large enough to require a landing strip!

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It was ruled that the swamp be replaced with a canal in order to drain it completely. The Ala Wai canal was constructed in 1921 that lead to a number of  hotels being built. With such, wealthy guests started flocking to the island. Today, Waikiki is the exclusive hot spot for Oahu. Beautiful. Full of bodies. Lots of beach front and yes, it’s a lovely place.

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Once Hawaii became a state of the union, hotels and resorts popped up like someone wanted to make money. The hotels and businesses clustered on the waterfront offered many cultural activities and the entertainment venues were endless. And this holds true today.

When you visit Oahu, please know that you’ll find shopping options similar to any top 10 city on the US mainland. If I remember correctly, there are two Tiffany stores on the same road. Plenty of bling-bling with the tan you bring home. Gotta run – Aloha.


Working out, working, working out … now what?

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Yes, the Tuesday workout began at 6AM – at TREC and it was a good ‘un. The workday unfolded with my class at UTK, meetings, and more meetings. Then a final workout of the day which included pain. Sixty minutes of fun and excitement. Not really. The wind was howling again but the temp was fluffy-warm. Blah-dity-blah-blah. Two hours, forty-five minutes of working out.

Tomorrow’s workout is basically 2.5 hours on the bike. I’ll watch some Tour DVD-action during the AM and if it’s raining (predicted) I’ll do the same after work.

Today’s photo is from the early years when riders in the Tour were not athletes. They were not sports figures. It was a method for making a living … “smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em.”


Something about rest. Coach says, “get ready.”

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The last two days (Sunday and Monday) have been comfy. I rode one hour on the trainer on Sunday and a half hour this morning. Ahhh. I’m rested. I’m ready and my coach says be prepared for what’s to come.  (Hard work.) I’d use the f-word but there is no need to emphasize the motion, pain, suffering, and shiznet coming with the next four weeks or the next six months. No need. If you read this blog you’ll hear about it.

Jump ahead. This blog is about racing. I’ve tried to show some cool photos and yes, some are kewl. However, the real reason for this blog is to depict the true suffering of a bicycle racer. Hopefully I’m not talking car accidents, road rash or other crappy-crap. What you’ll see, hear and read over the next six months on this site is a real-world perspective of amateur racing. I’ll share the prefacing work … then the racing season from a couple of vantage points. The first – from the saddle. The second – from a camera at the races, during the race, after the race and from the road.

Whatever. It will be full of photos and messages about the adventure. Ride on.
 


Orbea: my RR bike – by David Avery

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The bike pictured here is a Spanish-made Orbea that I ride just about everyday. In the configuration seen herein, it weighs just 15.6lbs. That doesn’t include the water bottles but the total weight does include the pedals, cyclometer, and heart rate monitor. Pretty light – and very stiff. It’s outfitted with Campagnolo Super Record and Reynolds DV46 wheels. This is “Tour issue” equipment. Even the bottle cages are made of carbon – as is the handlebar, the stem, the brake levers, the crank arms and seat post. LIGHT – light – LIGHT.

Later this year I’m starting a project to build a sub-14lb bike. Yes, less than 14lbs. Roll on.


Another photo from the David Avery gallery of images.

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Recently I was asked by a colleague to assemble a photo gallery of images. I embarked on assembling my ‘best’ 10 shots and created a poster for the event too. While talking with the fine folks at Thompson Photo, I realized the event wasn’t going to take place. The cost for enlarging my images totaled more that $1,200.

No framing. No matte. No nothing.

Well, a large image, but nothing more. If there were room on the walls of my home for more artwork, I’d move on this. But where the heck will these large pieces be placed, hung or displayed?

Alas the images are stored and gathering a little digital dust. In the meantime, I’ll share the 10 images over the next few weeks. Keep in mind I’ve exported each photo so it will fit on the computer screen.

Today’s image was taken on Oahu last year – just as a storm was rolling into Honolulu. Diamond Head is clearly visible – as is the Pacific. This is a great spot – a great shot – a neat moment. The file is more than 5,000 pixels in width. Enjoy.


David Avery photos – random shots for the day.

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We’ll stick with snow ….

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Getting to Indian Gap makes for a great hike. It’s an enormous, rock-ribbed peak looming above Newfound Gap. Lots of technical routes, it seems, to the summit. But no trails can be found. I think there is a negotiable route connection between the ridge of Clingman’s Dome/Mount Collins which leads over to Mingus. Otherwise, I think it would qualify as one of the few horns in the Appalachians.

This Dutch Roth photo is wonderful – taken on Indian Gap (the side of Mingus) – depicting the snow in a year when it fell heavily. I’d love to enjoy a hike in this weather!


White, black and green. Hawaii beaches rock.

green-sand-beach.jpgInterestingly, I learned on my first visit to Hawai’i there are no private beaches. I take exception to that factoid because the Robinson family (who owns Niihau) is totally private. So – I assume the no private beach rule applies to the other islands. Basically Hawaii is open to the public, however most visitors just go to the one closest to their hotel. For a more private experience all you have to do is leave the hotel district and explore less crowded beaches. You will find the sand, surf, breeze, reef and views change greatly as you explore each new beach.

In Hawaii there are soft white sand, black sand, gray sand, and green sand beaches, but not all types of sand are found on each island. The color depends what the sand was created from. In Hawaii the term ‘black sand beach’ is used only for beaches with a high concentration of grains of black volcanic glass. The black volcanic glass is created by molten lava flows entering the cool ocean causing the glassy rinds to shatter. True black sand beaches are only found in a few locations on the Big Island and near Hana on Maui. Today’s photo is a from a beautiful green sand beach on Hawai’i. Let’s start by applying some sunscreen. Aloha.


Another sunset … another Friday

one-sunset-1-11-08.jpg What a week. I feel exhausted from all of the highs, lows and no-shows. And somehow lifted by the fact that the sunset was really beautiful today. Reminding me – this too shall pass.

Peace.

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somewhere it’s going to be sunny

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It’s been crazy today.

I’ve thought about nothing more than work. Most of a day. Earning my keep has kept me from contemplating Kona … or any other warm place. The weather today was ultra-warm and so inviting. My bike hugged the roof rack as though it was ready to go … but my butt never sat on it. The warmth of the air was a signal to the chain to consider what kind of torment I might throw at it – but alas – nothing. I thought about it – and didn’t go.

For most of my working-life I make time for riding … even when the days are long and tight on time. Today I missed riding. A lot. Although I hit TREC early, and my time there lasted only 1.5 hours. I needed 3 hours today. Oh well, I’m glad I got up at 5:20 and was working out at 6AM~!

At high noon tomorrow my soul will rest some. So much will be behind me – and my team. I’ll take time to find my way to Tremont – the place I call my personal Mecca. I hope it will give me the respite I’m seeking. I know Friday I’ll have the time for sure.

The photo today is great. Enjoy.


9949 10708 SUNSET

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That’s about all I want to say regarding today. The sunset was lovely, seeing the BGE was terrific and I’m glad I’m healthy.

The list of reasons why I could be unhappy, sad or even depressed are many. I’ll pass on sharing them. All of the “no’s” came that today suggest one thing- they came all at once!

This is the very time I sit back enjoying a Sam Adams and contemplate a little Aloha.

Peace.


brisky icey

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Yep, it was cold yesterday morning. However, with a 1/2 day workday coming, I had to get my happy (not) ass out of bed and get going. I started off with a 1.5 weight workout prior to the ride. In addition to the ride, I had a few other Saturday morning tasks to complete. Once again I almost turned around before I started. The neighborhood bully-dog came at me while traveling up the street. Hell, I wasn’t three driveways from home!

I made a left turn and a punk kid ran a stop sign without even looking. I elected to slow down and give the car the right of way (smart thinking). As he passed I shared my enthusiasm for his driving expertise. As loud as I could. So loud his passenger (what looked to be his little brother) heard me. After another four dogs tagged along “wanting to play” – I wasn’t in any mood to ‘play.’ I don’t mind the doggies who have a little run behind me or beside me and bark some … no worries. But when they lower their head and flap those ears back, I would rather get off my bike and walk. This added up to enough crap and I was ready to call it quits-for-the-day. On my way home, I stopped long enough to capture the photo of the day on River Road. I like winter but I’m ready for spring.


Happy-Happy New Year

northshore-near-knoxville.jpg   My workout yesterday was pretty tough: 2.5 hours on the bike followed by a 1 hour weight workout with single leg squats, lunges and blah-dity-blah-blah. More than enough to empty my stomach. 

What’s funny about my eating habits is the simple fact that I eat a lot of calories. Usually more than twice the amount an average male consumes. During the  “off” season I eat about 4,000 calories per day. And in the racing season I consume approximately 6,500 calories per day in food – with 1,000 calories of fuel on the bike. A 7,500 calorie day is not uncommon.

With an empty stomach yesterday I was ready to feast. Ames and I set about making a great meal and a New Year’s celebration quietly at home. Last night was super-fun. We cooked up multiple treats: filet of beef, crab cakes, escargot, prosciutto, stuffed portobello mushrooms, tasty wheat bread with cheese, salad with mango dressing, spinach dip on the side and carrot cake for dessert. Red wine flowed and it was mighty difficult to stay awake after the “feast.”

I stayed awake until 11:05 – then crashed until 11:59 – when Ames woke me up for the ball drop in NYC and a midnight kiss.  I actually stayed up till 1AM to just “stay up.”

Today I got up and ate (ha) again. We started off with buckwheat pancakes, syrup and bacon. I added a banana in for my fruit selection. Within two hours I ate again. Oh well, I knew I’d need fuel for a New Year’s day bike ride. The wind was howling and the temp was pretty brisk.

Outside it was 36° but it felt like 26° (wind chill due to 20-30 mph winds – gusting at times to 35mph). Burr. I rode for an hour and 40 minutes.

The photo of today was taken near Northshore Drive. Even the ducks were sitting on the water.

Have a blessed New Year. 


The year-end. Happy-Happy

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It was a great year on several levels. I’m thankful for so much – mostly because it was a year of good health and safety.

The year rang in with a big bang at the girlfriend’s house — with the kids — and we keep rocking from there. While I didn’t take a “formal” vacation during the year, I did take time out to travel to races and to South Carolina for a long weekend. I visited my dad – and mom – and was in Arkansas three times this year but didn’t see my family who live there.

I put 37,000 miles on my car, 12,349 miles on my bicycle(s), and flew several times for business with untold miles. What else? I should have counted the Sam Adams beers I consumed (ha!). The numbers are really funny – especially when you think about a full year. Numbers can take you just about anywhere. Nuf said.

I visited Tremont today and enjoyed my journey through Townsend into and out of the National Park. The photo and movie are just down from the Institute’s office. Happy New Year.


Another rainy day … somewhere

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And it was here in Maryville as well. Rainy – gloomy and gray. It poured at times and others it drizzled as if the sky was reloading or something like that (ha). I sought brighter skies and more pleasant thoughts of basking in the sun – even getting sunburned! Ah – now that actually sounds nice (just a little burn – nothing serious).

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I’ve attached two photos from the Big Island of Hawai’i. Yep, Hawai’i. The first is from a famous and highly visited waterfall named “Rainbow Falls.” Along the Wailuku River, the Rainbow Falls area is part of a Hawai’i State Park. So – no taking water back to the mainland. Although beautiful to observe, it’s a dangerous diving, swimming and wading area.

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Therefore, pull out the camera and snap some shots for those rainy, gloomy and gray days of late December, January and February.

Aloha.


A new flag

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I bought a new flag today – an American flag. When I was shopping at Lowe’s I noticed their selection and picked out  a nice embroidered flag that should last for a couple of years. Of course, I bought painting supplies, lights, bulbs, tape, and several things not on my list. The to-do list just got longer.

I had a Tennessee state flag but it was literally ripped off the flag pole and I’ve not found it yet. Oh well. It was faded and worn.

The photo for today is an American flag flying over the Arizona Memorial. This shot is really interesting because it captures a portion of the Memorial itself and the flag at a full rip. The Memorial is open and allows wind, rain, snow (no, just kidding) and other elements like birds to engage with the site. Seems like the wind is constantly howling in the Harbor (Pearl Harbor). 

I’ve been so locked down with chores today that I didn’t get an opportunity to photograph my new flag. I will photograph it once the blue skies return. We’re likely to get some rain tomorrow – so I’ll wait.

Aloha.  


Mele Kalikimaka!

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And the story says, on a bright Hawaiian Christmas day, the island greeting is what they say.

May-lay-ka-lee-key-ma-ka” translates to Merry Christmas in Hawaiian. The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night. From the land where palm trees sway – let’s get on the plane and get our happy asses there – like – To-DAY!

Aloha.


Nine x

10 (ten). 9×10=90. As in ninety. Miles.

When I woke my intent was to ride 85 miles, but the road opened up and I just agreed with it. It wasn’t the best ride ever. More about that herein.

When I left the house this morning at 7:30, it was about 39 degrees outside. Cold enough: a) to make my nose run, b) my legs feel like lead, and c) more than enough cold to say “go get back in the bed.”

“Base 1” is the specified time of the year when we saddle up and ride – ride – ride. Not for speed, but purely for time. So why the mileage? Because it forces you to accept “time” and the “time” can be either a friend or something you dread.

Early out means less cars and less dogs. Not always, but most of the time. I headed out Davis Ford and then over to 321 – across and keep going. Down Blockhouse and over to the area parallel to the Foothills Parkway. Once on Six Mile Road, you travel six miles. Thus, the name.

When I cross Highway 129 I don’t know the name of the roads, I know the sites. Your eyes take in all sorts of trailers, mobile homes, abandoned cars, trucks with trees growing in the engine compartments, a horse here and there with a swayed back – many of which look ready for the glue factory – and all sorts of stuff. Mostly it looks like people are poor. Every church has a reader board – analog style. “Without Christmas there wouldn’t be an Easter,” one sign read. Several signs touted Holiday Cantatas with multiple showings.

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I stopped for a bio break at a church – hoping to refill a bottle while sharing one on the ground. Nearing completion, the pastor pulled up – I departed (the church lot).

During the core riding period (Build 1 and 2), when I’m training this road, I don’t really look around – I look at the speedometer in front me. My focus is on maintaining speed – at 21 or 22mph. It requires intense focus to keep your legs turning over even when the road rises in front of you. Dogs help your speed because they give you a reason to jump. But I don’t see the shacks, the mobile homes, nor the areas where it’s obvious that people don’t have much. This time of the year it hits home a little harder.

In the current training period (Base 1), I’m focused on distance and time. Longer is better – or so I’ve been told. What I know is that I traveled far enough today to bonk. Probably a combination of not eating and drinking enough during the ride, and due in part to the “test” (strength) I endured after work yesterday. No matter – it was a long day.

If that isn’t enough, look a little closer at the math. Ninety miles by yourself equates to a 128 mile group ride. I use softer math than what Borysewicz used. Eddie Borysewicz the former coach of the US Cycling Team calculated solo rides of 65 miles to be equal to a group ride of 100 miles. I soften the math to a 7/10 metric. You get the idea.

Either way – 90 miles or 128. It’s a long way. Think about a car ride that far. You’d check your gas gauge for sure. When I got home – I PIGGED out!

My sweet heart is pictured herein. She’s been with me for almost three years. Today when we stopped the mileage year-to-date is just over 12,000. Better gas up.


Correction – STOP the press

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Ooops. I was in error. My exact time was 6:03:57. That’s closer to 6:04 rather than 6:02. And I finished 6th not 7th. I don’t give a rat’s ass about position – I DO care about the time. The ride was 117 miles not 115 as stated by the official. Several of the leaders checked odometers at the beginning and end: it WAS 117 miles. The clock – was it our friend … (?) … heck I wasted two minutes at two stops just trying to eat and reload liquid. Never mind the fact that we could have hauled ass down the other side of the Cherohala Skyway. Meaning – rather than cruise at 40mph, we could have turned on the power and eked out 45mph … again, trimming time. SO much to think about – and so many months to prepare. (double ha!)

It’s good to think back and remember the details of events.


Retro Cherohala

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Back in June of this year, I participated in a “ride” that was timed. Meaning, it was an organized event (not a race) that was open to anyone with a bicycle and a helmet. Pay your $40 and you’re in. The ride is called the “Cherohala Challenge.” It’s not just a ride, it’s a race against the clock. Of course, I didn’t know that until after I completed the event. Umm.

So – there are some 300 plus people lined up with the intent of riding this “beast” and somehow enjoying some (ha!) portion of it. Let’s put the ride in perspective – it’s 117 miles, includes 9,800′ of climbing elevation, one climb is 9 miles at 9%, the Dragon is full of curves and motorcycles, and a lot of people who ride the event at the ‘front of the pack’ are riding over their heads. So you best come prepared.

The night before I was eating steak, drinking beer before dinner – wine with dinner – and just imagining the fun I’d have the next day (double ha!). Little did I know that many of the guys I race against in the Masters division would show up and use this “ride” as a training race during the transition month of June. Oh boy.

Ok – the first 40 miles are fine – we’re cruising at 28, 29 and 30 on the flats. And a group of 110 (or so) riders are together — meandering through the back roads of Monroe County wiggling over to the Dragon. Several of these “riders” are getting a little edgy — many of which have ‘tudes about the (!) slowness of the pace. Naturally the true bike Nazi’s in the group are annoyed with the ‘tudes and basically scoff at their jumpiness near the front. I’m particularly annoyed because nearing the first serious climbs my water bottle cage BREAKS and I lose the full bottle … not the near empty bottle. The language wasn’t pretty. SO — I’m basically begging riders to snag water and fill up the empty bottle while we’re cruising toward the first climbs. NOT GOOD. REPEAT. NOT GOOD. I was in a position to get dropped if I couldn’t replenish liquids along the way. Cause there was NO stopping with this group. Thankfully a kind rider gave me a full water bottle.

As we approach the first section of the Dragon, I anticipate a surge by the ‘tudes — and I was right. There was. However – their eagerness was dramatically overcome by the sheer might of the leaders’ pace … and within one mile of the start of the climb the field of 110 was cut down to a tight 12. I was in 7th position. This felt good. Except for the fact that my heart rate monitor read OVERLOAD and my legs were screaming WTF, WTF, WTF! We continued climbing and then enjoyed the first descent. Then climbed again – to descend again. On the second descent, we dropped two riders who weren’t willing to let go of their brakes. Now we were 10.

Nearing the Cherohala we began climbing – and climbing – and climbing. I had ridden the Cherohala twice before and anticipated the hard portion, but the climb leading us to the Cherohala was new. And it was hard. The pace was firm. The grit in everyone’s eyes said something interesting: we’re pushing hard and not stopping for shit. On the 9 mile, 9% climb I was dropped. The photo herein is when I was at my worst on the ride. A photographer called “Killboy” (who shoots the crazy bikers on the Dragon) was shooting us. Probably laughing his ass off – and shaking his head at the foolishness of the Challenge. Whatever. Six riders got away – and I was left behind with four other guys. We dropped one and then the three of us traveled the last 30-something miles together.

Close to the finish I dropped the two guys I was with and crossed the finish line in 7th position with a time of 6:02 (six hours, two minutes). Had I known that a sub-six was a “big deal” I could have done a sub-six. Ah, the pleasure of knowing it will be on the list for 2008. Triple Ha. Afterwards I ate three hamburgers, two bags of chips, drank two Cokes, ate three cookies, two bananas, a 32oz protein drink and went home. In route home I bought a super-sized Smoothie at Smoothie King. I ate again that evening and it was another huge meal. I calculated my calorie burn at 6,000 calories for the day. Is this crazy or what!

If you care to join the ride – be prepared. It’s nothing but climbing that’s in your face. And best of all, it’s got killer views all along the Cherohala Skyway. Peace out.


The blinders are off

duck-blind-view.jpg I’ll be brief today – partially I’m tired – and more so because I’ve got a lot on my mind. Much of it taken away from the trip these last few days and even more from a drive with nothing to do but think. I affirmed that only I determine the outcome of my life … each and every day.

We influence and live our future long before it plays out on life’s stage. Imagine the clothes you selected to wear today. At some point you envisioned wearing those clothes, and made the choice. Life is really that simple. You envision something happening and then it either does or it doesn’t. I’m specifically talking about choices. We choose to do or not do. Try or just “get-it-done.” Eat healthy or not. Over drink or moderate it so we feel better the next day and accomplish more. Take time to improve our health or detract from the life we’re given by the Big Man who’s driving this gig.

Our overall happiness is determined by the choices we make, the drugs we consume and the way we interact with others. Sometimes life isn’t fun – sometimes it isn’t “happy-happy” – it’s got bad news piled upon sickness and all kinds of crap. When we layer on nasty vices that pinch our lifespan, we only compound life’s problems.

Now the great news. Brian Regan kept me company for many of those 301 miles today. Big HA’s everywhere.

Herein is view from my dad’s duck blind on the West Sandy. The photo was taken on a calm day – little wind – misty sky – and moderate temp. Nice pan.


We’re not all here because we’re not all there.

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It was a very long day today: up at 4:45AM for some pre-packing and readying for duckville on the West Sandy. Ducky stories and video will arrive once I’m home and can log in with a faster connection … the videos are ready and the photos are too. I’ll add more in the coming days.

After a morning trip to the lake with Scotty-Ray (Mr. Hollywood), Johnny and his son, Ethan … and his dog Bud-dy (not Elroy), I came back and ate “again” … this time turkey, eggs, smoked ham, gravy, more coffee and juice. I felt like a nap after that – as it was misting outside and kinda foggy. Nope. I picked up my skinny ass and layered on the gear with a few pieces to shield rain. I headed out from Crows Nest loop and traveled out of Henry County to Vale and then to Marlboro. The “distance” from my dad’s house is “far”- – – and with fog and mist even further.

On the return visit I saw a sign worthy of photo-sharing. There is no way that I could tell the story about the sign you see herein without a photo. Now the Paul Harvey ending — when I finally open the restaurant on the Big Island of Hawai’i, it’s going to be called, “You’ins R Here.” Just know that I’ll have killer steaks, whole wheat pastas, smoked chops, moist and tasty chicken – with the best vegetables available. Much more to follow.



Sandy was calm

The West Sandy was very calm. Nothing moving – except for a few squirrels who got the news that a new cowboy had arrived from Maryville. With his personal pop-gun outfitted with a scope sighted in and ready for some action.

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Not a creature was stirring nor the wind nor the rain. In a one hour, forty-five minute trek on the wet roads of Springville, I spotted 9 cars and one school bus. Other than that – it was very calm. The rainy weather pushed out just after lunch. And the roads, while still wet (and slippery), were ridable.

Today was an easy day of recovery – after a serious workout yesterday at TREC. I completed lots of leg work and my personal favorite exercise (leg lunges) topped off the day: 60lb x 30 steps, 70lbs x 30 steps and then 80lbs x 40 steps. If you’ve not tried these – do so. Take twenty pounds in each hand to see if you can “lunge.” If you can’t then reduce the weight. But imagine, I’m up over half my body weight and by a 40th step I’m breathing heavy like I’m climbing a step incline. Whew. 

The photo seen below was taken near dad’s house on a bridge at the West Sandy. Notice the water’s calm appearance, and the reflection seems as if it’s been “shopped” in versus looking natural. Believe me – it’s natural. 

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A few doggies came out to visit me – but none were willing to play. Ha! I suspect the color weather and wetness had them thinking of warm fireplaces and doggie treats, not my skinny ass. DoubleHa!!

This final pan of the day was taken about 1/2 mile from dad’s place and it’s just another little house in the neighborhood – nice and clean – leaves gone but the pond looking very calm. Did I mention the air wasn’t moving?

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Largos (not in KeyWest)

Last night dad took me on a ride to the Kentucky border. At first I thought it was about 10 minutes away from his description. Umm, at 25 minutes we were still going north. Along the route, a f*&^#$@ fool was on the right side of a dark, two-lane back-country road facing us – with their lights on?!?!??! WTF! We weren’t sure if the road veered off right of the truck – or what. Again, WTF! With a little light rain and some drinks brewing inside dad made the right call and went left. It didn’t feel like left was the right call but – WTF!

(Here’s a photo of dad’s fishing-Christmas tree.)

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Ok – we landed at Largos. Steaks were sizzling on the outdoor grill. And there were several peps inside this roadhouse that sits – literally – on the Kentucky/Tennessee border. When you park, you’re in Kentucky. When you walk to the door – you’re in Kentucky. When you step inside, you’re in Tennessee. If you want to dance – you go to the Kentucky side. If you want to drink like many good Baptists do, you visit the Tennessee side. I would suggest that if you’re not accustomed to breathing volumes of second-hand smoke, best bring an oxygen mask. Even my third layer tee shirt reeked.

Now the reason for the visit. Largo’s serves steaks on Thursdays that are grilled outside. It might seem like a no-big-deal-kind-of-thing, but it’s a big deal. Think back to the best steak you’ve had (other than at my house) and your taste buds will suggest that you enjoyed a wood-fired/grilled steak. Largo’s restaurant isn’t equipped with a “Morton’s of Chicago” style grill (LOL), but outside, they equalize the grilling field. YUMMY – I ate the entire 12oz ribeye. Then I did what I normally don’t do, I ate on a baked potato and chewed down a white bread roll (just one). I led off with a bluecheese soaked salad, and a cold Corona. As a true roadhouse, there is no blog, nor website nor referring website to show you a visual. I snagged a poster from the bathroom wall to prove I was there. No I won’t be there on 12/15 for Bluesianna music.

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UP and at it. Dad has outfitted my kitchen with a new stainless steel coffee maker – as though I needed one. But it’s kewl. The timer function is nice and it’s all stainless and such. The real goody is the juicer. Now that’s a goody. First thing up was a two-banana, one-apple juicy-juice. I envision some great uses for this gift – like using all the fruits I purchase versus throwing away the aging limes or lemons … or an apple that’s past its prime eating date. More about the juice-eventures in future posts.

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The photos of today’s long post are from the front and side of my dad’s lake house. It’s a log cabin (three stories) with four bedrooms and three baths (sleeps 21). Comfy. Cozy and there’s no noise pollution. Look closely and find that he has 2 (TWO) dishes. One for TV and the other for the computer. He prefers to have TV and computer operations running with ample steam to deliver the news, emails, and such.

From the front porch I bagged a squirrel this morning – and will find his furry body later today. Did I hear juiced squirrel in the background? I can cook it and then juice it – and give it to some of my co-workers who truly need a juiced lifestyle. Can you say WTF!

Peace out.


Beauty – that’s kewl.

Beautiful images are what I’m trying to write about – to share – and to offer up. Today’s image is just that. BEAUTIFUL. Taken on the Cherohala – one of my personal favorite riding spots in this part of the world – it’s a distant shot of the descent back into Tennessee from the North Carolina side. The slit in the mountain is approximately 10 miles from where the photo is taken. Please click to see the full view.  Peace.

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Compare and Contrast.

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The draw of the mountains (for some people) is undeniable. Similar to the draw of the ocean, it’s where life originates.

Headwaters trickle from streams atop mountains, flowing to nearby rivers, and then to the oceans of the world beaming with life.

The lure of the mountain’s call is a definitive source of energy for me personally. It’s probably the internal compass leading me (and many, many others) to tap in the unseen energy. Much like a radio station frequency, finding it and locking into it requires focus but once there you can push the “button” and tap into it. Probably the very reason I live so close to them. This may assist my internal compass in finding the radio station much quicker – maybe. The magnetism of the ocean, for me, is an equivalent draw and a powerful one as well. Ergo the reason I write about the ocean (specifically the Pacific) so frequently.


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Attached are two photos – very similar to one another. The first is 2/3’s of a pan and the second is a full pan. The difference is significant. Both were taken on my back deck this morning at sunrise.

“Back in the day” I used film and piecing techniques to create similar photographs. However, the process was much slower and room for error was huge. The mountains in the background are the Foothills of the Smokies. Just an eye shot from my back door. I’d best visit them today. Peace.