An 808 way of life

From the road.

Luxury in a small cabin that gets you there and back in 2.5 hours rather than 10. Whew! Why did we wait so long to get a plane?



Sunset over the Mississippi in downtown Baton Rouge.

Gallery of Baton Rouge images taken while attending the LTPA Annual Tourism Conference. Click an image.

Sunset over the Mississippi River. Nice.

Jojo tagged along to Baton Rouge. What was I thinking?

Summer into fall, a lovely time of year in the Smokies.

Mountain time – Foothills Parkway – November 27, 2010.

When it’s cold out, it’s time for Kona Inn.

Why I ride: because signs like these are not in your backyard.

Some 40-ish miles from my house is the state line between Tennessee and North Carolina. Yes, it’s a sweet ride. Mostly it’s up and down. The trip traverses the Foothills Parkway (my personal sanctuary) and a good chunk of the Dragon (Highway 129).

I’m uncertain as to the total climbing elevation, but it’s more than most riders are willing to endure on a Sunday training ride (ha). At 4:40 total time, I burned 2,900 calories and was ‘dun’ when I arrived home. Along the way I reminded myself that I completed a one-hour weight workout at 6:30AM earlier in the day (double ha). “Ah” … that meant I could eat a dozen cookies after dinner.

Road signs along the way included the 12% grade which meant that I was going just as fast as the motorcycles … down hill. In fact, I passed two motorcycles going downhill this trip. All I got was thumbs up when they passed me on the next uphill. Ok then, why do I ride? … because …

A Coke and a smile mean the dog days of summer are still rolling. Yeah.

Rocky Top 100 (km), 2010: from the peloton.

At 8Am sharp a large groups of cyclists pulled away from Barley’s in the Old City in the 4th Annual Rocky Top 100. Most of the riders were saddled in for 62miles (100km) of adventure.

Funny how rides like this one (and so many others) include riders who have the intention of pushing the pace – somehow thinking they can manifest a quicker ride. Or outcome. By the first ‘climb’ (aka hill) the group of 50 riders was narrowed to 20 and as roller after roller passed by the group grew smaller and smaller.

While the RockyTop 100 (I call it the Firecracker 100) is a ride, it’s so much more fun to throw in some attacks, jumps, crazy downhill curves and a few dogs — just to keep things interesting. And yes, there was a Rottweiler that chased our group and snapped at the heels of one rider (I like the idea of carrying a .45, but that’s too loud).

Mile after mile passed and we chatted very little. If someone slowed on the front, the group would push onward. My own training program hasn’t included continuously hard efforts so this ‘ride’ proved to be challenging at times. None the less, when riders jumped – we all jumped. Although I can’t name the point where Stef left us for good, it was a clean break that was fun to watch. Then JC made a move up the last climb that was amazing to watch. Traveling at 14mph, he moved away as though we were moving backwards.

Alas, that was the serious break that unhinged the remaining group of 8 riders. Two were off the front and Jerry was struggling to stay ahead of me and Mike. In the end, Mike and I caught Jerry and we carried it home. The rockstars of the Rocky Top 100 were ‘all smiles’ when we arrived. When I arrived at 2:52 (several minutes after the rockstars), I didn’t ask for their times. Did it matter?

If you ask a Cat2 rider (at 20 years of age) their time, especially if you’re more than twice their age, it’s futile. No amount of training is help a forty-something to snag the parallel with a 20 year old. Even if you’re Bostick. Or Derk. At some point even those guys are outpaced.

My average heart rate was 151 (85% of max) – meaning I was above lactic threshold (for me) for (on average) the entire ride. I’m thankful to have completed the ‘ride.’

Until next year – ride oneth.

Cherohala, Ride the Sky: 105 miles of ‘not again next year.’

The weather was lovely – cool, with low humidity and the forecast called for 10% rain. The riders lined up … then we started. On time.

However, I went left rather than right. In hindsight that was a signal from the universe intending me to ride the 62 mile route rather than the 105 mile route. As I saw the larger group ride down a hill more than a mile away, I knew it was going to be a long day in the saddle.

Rather than warm up in a sensible manner, I went directly into time trial mode. Immediately. As I stomped on the pedals, my heart rate soared to 93% of max … oh boy. I was pushing 26-27mph attempting to catch the group and slowly made ground. I felt slow. My body felt slow. However, as I passed more and more riders getting shelled out of the peloton I knew I was making ground. There was a point where I seriously considered turning back and calling it a day. Really. There is nothing more aggravating than trying to catch the peloton during a ride (not a race). It took me 8 miles to bridge to the group of 20-ish riders. The pace wasn’t fast mind you, but as any rider knows – the ‘group’ (peloton) moves faster than a single rider.

For the next 40 miles we held a moderate pace that kept our average around 22.6mph. Not fast – but fast enough considering we were covering roller after roller.

Prior to the Cherohala climb, I encouraged a ‘group break’ to fuel up. Most everyone did except for a few folks who needed a head start. Within 4 miles, 6 guys were away. As I saw them ride away from me, I felt as if I was rolling backwards. I wasn’t, but it felt that way. Somewhere around mile 56-ish, I stopped at one of the ‘rest stops’ to fuel again as I knew the top of the mountain wouldn’t be reached for more than 2 hours. As it turned out, that proved to be a smart decision. Having the extra fuel helped me make ground on the other riders who got a head start.

Mile after mile churned below me as I slowed to 7mph in many sections. I passed lots of riders. Finally I came upon one of the 6 guys that got away from me earlier. We rode together and found another one of the original 6 standing along the road side … why I don’t know. The three of us rode to the top and re-fueled … then departed together. On the return trip down the mountain it is mostly downhill, but there are several sections with short/steep climbs. Let’s just say there was enough climbing that we passed yet another guy from that original 6. At that point only 3 of the 6 guys (who got away from me) were in front of us … and that’s the way it remained. Funny, we passed a bunch of 62 mile riders on the way down the mountain. Imagine, our route was some 43 miles further and we were ahead of them!

When we neared the finish line, we agreed to cross the line together. Doing so was a polite way of saying – it’s a ride, not a race.

Summary: 105 miles, 5:52, average heart rate 143 or 81% of max, 4,953 calories burned. I then drank a Coke, a Coke One, ate a cheeseburger from McDonald’s with fries and another Coke. When I arrived home I crashed and woke up 2 hours later to eat again. And for dinner I consumed another big plate along with ice cream, cookies and strawberries for dessert. What a day.

At bedtime I stopped to think … what was the 62 mile ride about?

Attitude: It’s so hard when I have to, and so easy when I want to. ~Annie Gottlier


When we walk into a sand trap, step on the land mine or fall into the pit, the mind can whirl its configuration to keep us there for a while. Climbing out of the bunker, picking up the torched leg or climbing from the pit can be as easy as thinking positively. Easier said than done. Trust me, my Wednesday was a challenge on all three fronts. The power to convert those strong negative feelings requires great mental fortitude and the ability to focus on one thing. If the mind races around the mental house like a broken bottle rocket, it will likely explode in the wrong place.

What to do; thought from over ‘n here.

Some folks consume more adult beverage than needed and others take similar routes. I prefer the vigorous routine of working out – by riding my bike for an extended period. This might be a preference for many people. A vigorous walk, a hearty yard cleaning or a phone call to a friend might work as well. What does work – and I mean really work – is thinking and emitting positive energy. “Do” is the answer.


Bike Porn Saturday. It’s so hot, it’s rated R1. Scott Addict – soon to be in a garage in Maryville, Tennessee

Tour de Blount 2010

Remember: it’s a ride, not a race.

Somewhere around 8:30 we rolled out from Heritage High School on a 70 mile adventure around parts of Blount County. The guys that felt the strongest where pushing the tempo early – as if it were a race. Naturally several of us allowed them to pull, push and strain over the small hills early – knowing that it was an unnecessary waste of energy. Rather than ‘hurry’ to catch someone on a small hill, we’d roll a little faster on the downhill to catch them.

At the Montvale Road turn there were several people who elected to sit up front but those folks were left behind en masse. Approaching the switchbacks, there were four of us at the front and the stragglers dropped one by one. Only two guys crested the climb ahead of me. The first was a CAT2 racer (23 years of age) and a mountain bike racer (about 24 years of age) then me – at 47 years of age. We took the descent safely waiting a bit to regroup as there was 50 miles left in the “ride.”

The lone CAT2 racer took off – as if it were a race. Interestingly, the Tennessee State Road Race was being held at the exact same time – which is where this young Turk should have been. Had he been in that race it would have been very different outcome for him (it was a 110 mile race).

Ok. It took 5 of us about 30 miles to catch him and from there we grouped up and rode together. Nearing the 62 mile mark, CAT2 racer attacked (WTF?), and we reeled him back in the group. He did it again at the 65 mile mark and we just let him go. No one cared about this ‘move.’

It was most laughable. Especially knowing that had he raced at the State Road Race – he probably would have been in the back of the field at the end.

As we crossed the timed finish (3:30ish), we laughed at the youthfulness of our fellow rider and said aloud: it’s a ride, not a race.

Ride oneth.

PS: now there’s a guy who was ‘timed’ to be the #1 rider in this “race” as it was being called by the KnoxNews folks. NOTE TO KNOXNEWS: You’re information is in ERROR. Ok. Mike Barrett – was not in our group. He was not in the lead group – period. I was there and well, he wasn’t.  John Crowson (CAT2 racer) was the fastest in the 70 mile ride.

Happiness is where you find it.

Nearing 4Pm I realized the day had been the typical blur – and my mind raced ahead to the County Clerk’s office where a small, tiny decal awaited my check. The only ‘thing’ in my way was the distance between the office and the Clerk’s office just 18 miles away. The sun was shining – the birds chirping – the blue sky was clear – the clouds few and puffy white – the music a little sweeter – the inevitable Firerock Pale beckoning my tastebuds.

All was good.

Within five miles of the office the traffic slowed to a 5mph crawl. I knew something was up – but I had no idea how bad or what it was. The clock ticked away slowly at first and when the hand touched 4:15 I knew that the Clerk’s office would be closed if and when I arrived.

As I opened the sun roof of my car (I rarely do that) I felt the sun on my face, the wind in my hair and smelled the cigarette smoke from a man smoking in the car next to me. For an instance I thought, “how dare you ruin this moment” – but I continued to smile. Sure I was annoyed. But what could I do?

Stop for a moment.

Have you ever stepped up to the bathroom sink, reached for the toothpaste and squeezed the tube but nothing was left in it? At that moment you either threw it down in anger or shrugged your shoulders and brushed without the paste … or found another tube somewhere hidden under the sink.

No matter – it was what we decided that determined how we felt and in doing so it attracted more of what we felt.

Back to the drive home, I shrugged my shoulders and said aloud, “toothpaste.” I then laughed. I raced, mentally ahead in wonderment of what lay ahead at the dreaded intersection of Topside Road and Alcoa Highway. It’s notorious for accidents – and I’ve witnessed more than 10 at that location over the years.

Nearing the intersection I could see that we were being diverted onto Topside – and that seemed odd until I saw three fire trucks and countless police cruisers. THP had a video camera set up and was filming the extraction of ‘bodies’ from a car. A pickup truck was in the northbound lane – smashed and lifeless. Police were allowing northbound lane traffic to pass single file but nothing was going south.

As our single file lane neared the intersection I saw a black bag – then two. My heart sank deep and I realized the crash involved fatalities.

At that moment I was angry, annoyed, happy and a whole bunch of other things all at once. Angry that it happened (isn’t it time that we change the rules of road for that intersection!!!), annoyed that police were on the spot but are no where to be found (daily) when traffic is attempting to turn left onto Alcoa Highway, and happy … well sort of happy …. that I was alive.

The tiny decal for my car’s license plate isn’t that important after all.

What is important is that I appreciate each day as if it were my last.

In that moment I figured out why I’m so damn happy when I’m in Hawai’i. Why I’m so content when I visit – why I’m so eager to return again and again. Why? Because I noticed EVERYTHING and in doing so time slows down and I’m in the moment. I’m into life itself and I soak it up as if I have just a few days to live. I’m in the moment so vividly and clear that I soak up everything – including those things that typically annoy me. But when I’m there (in my paradise) I’m super-happy. Not because it’s Hawai’i, but because I’m living life.

As I turned the corner onto Topside I realized something very, very important: happiness is a state of mind. Either you’re in it. Or you’re not.

I’m in it.


If Paul Harvey were alive, he’d offer the rest of the story:

APRIL 9th, 2010

In a press release, Sgt. Bud Cooper said Jean Smith, 82, of Oak Ridge, and Clara Miller, 75, of Clinton, were killed in the two-vehicle crash.

At 2:50 p.m., Smith, who was driving a 2006 Toyota Camry, was attempting to turn left onto Alcoa Highway northbound from Topside Road when she failed to yield and pulled out in front of a Dodge Ram truck driven by Brandon L. Barnes, 23 of White Pine, Cooper said. Barnes hit the driver’s side door of the Camry.

According to the press release, Smith was killed instantly. Miller was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center where she died as a result of injuries from the crash, Cooper said.

Cooper said Barnes was taken to Blount Memorial Hospital and is being treated for his injuries.

When the shoe fits, wear it. I noticed this applies to several.

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.


The Saturday Evening Post: Just a gallery of family.

After a few days of gathering, eating, playing cards and visiting, the cameras seem to be obsolete. But, each year that I’m in Jonesboro for Thanksgiving, I try and capture a few images. Herein are some family pics when we visited Warren and Mila on Friday evening. More pics to follow.

The day after Thanksgiving, can it be so? Black FRIDAY. I wore the appropriate attire for the celebration. No shopping though.


The term “Black Friday” originated in Philadelphia in reference to the heavy traffic on that day. More recently, merchants and the media have used it instead to refer to the beginning of the period in which retailers are in the black (i.e., turning a profit).

The news media frequently refer to Black Friday as the busiest retail shopping day of the year, but this is not always accurate. While it has been one of the busiest days in terms of customer traffic, in terms of actual sales volume, from 1993 through 2001 Black Friday was usually the fifth to tenth busiest day. In 2002 and 2004, however, Black Friday ranked second place, and in 2003 and 2005, Black Friday actually did reach first place. The busiest retail shopping day of the year in the United States (in terms of both sales and customer traffic) usually has been the Saturday before Christmas.

Turkey-ful Thanksgiving Thursday.


All were here (in Jonesboro, Arkansas) with the exception of a few folks. Very few.The food was wonderful and tasty – as was the dinner conversation and such. As soon as it began, it ended. Funny how that works – hours to prepare, minutes to consume. Aunt Martha worked tirelessly to have the house and food ready for everyone.

Either I’m getting older (a little too quickly) or I’m just old. But at 9PM I was ready for bed. Need less to say, the rest of the crew wasn’t. I believe the poker game extended itself well into the night and the gamers were gaming for much of the same.

My sinuses are continuing to drip in the back of my throat and as soon as I lay down, I feel as if I want to cough. At 9:30 or so, I took two Benadryl and went to bed. (Wish I had the red syrup with me!) I didn’t drink very much (I had a single beer) and felt better for doing so. Oh well, I slept for 9 hours – which made up for the (approximately) 6 hours the night before.

Good day, thankful for Thanksgiving. Gobble on.

Reason enough to drive safely on Thanksgiving. Be careful, it’s easy to get sideways.

I took these photos on I-40 West on east side of Jackson, Tennessee, November 26th, 2008. I’m unclear as to what happened other than it looked like a one-car (small SUV) wreck. This wreck occurred shortly before passing it because traffic was moving along, but the THP, accompanying firetrucks nor an ambulance were present.

I believe they (THP) were out trying to catch speeders. “Ok then.”

Drive safely. Please.

The Sunday recovery ride: hauled ass and then some.


Yes, I was tired, but I also felt it was an opportunity to gauge my fitness. No surprise, it’s dropped some because the racing season is now two months behind me. However, I cranked the bike up to 22+ for most of the trip to and from Treemont, my personal Mecca, and the numbers on the heart rate monitor were surprising. Most of the ride the numbers remained lower than 78% of max – which is great news. Cool weather conditions aren’t my favorite, but we’ll deal with them while counting down the days until spring.

Ride on.

Crumpler camera bags: room for the brew.


Recently I purchased a Crumpler camera bag — so I can fit all my gear in one pack with proper protection for the valuable lenses (especially the Canon EF 70-200 IS/USM 2.8). It was a fun purchase too – I made it while in Hawai’i. The size of the bag looks as if a six-pack should be easily fitted … possibly ice too?

Fall is almost over. Spring arrives on March 20th, 2009. The countdown has begun.


COSD 9th Annual National Conference, San Francisco. Photo gallery.

Yesterday was full of meeting people and capturing images of the COSD National Conference. The highlight of the day was the concert given by Marleena Coulston last evening. I’ve injected just a couple of photos from last night due to the limitation of time. However, a larger gallery will follow soon. Enjoy.

Atrium in the daylight, San Francisco Hyatt Regency, Airport.

San Francisco Airport, Grand Hyatt Regency: October 26th, 2008.

I woke up at 5AM (PST) and decided to get my camera out so I could snap some early photos of the atrium below my room. Interestingly, the whole room seems to glow on digital but is much softer in real life. It’s time for some coffee before the crowds arrive at the StarChuck’s stand (Starbucks). Later.

When your happy ass wears out, this is how it looks. I’ll buy two next time.

After many thousands of miles (and I emphasize many), the Flite seat I bought about a year and half ago is toast. I kept it long enough to wear the leather coating, then the raw leather and then down to the padding. I replaced it with another saddle which is “broken” in (LOL) and might last until spring. Funny thing, once you get them softened up, they tend to wear quickly down to the padding. Maybe I’ll have a saddle in my goody bag this coming Holiday. Ride on.

The Dragon, otherwise known as Deals Gap.

People from all walks of life are drawn to the seducing curves of the Dragon at Deal’s Gap, also known as US Hwy 129. They make their pilgrimage to test their skills, or in some cases, to be bitten by the Dragon or photographed by no less than three independent photographers.

The area surrounding the Dragon was one of the last areas of North Carolina to be settled due to its inhospitable terrain. For thirty-six miles along the TN/NC border the GSM are more than 5k feet in altitude with 16 peaks stretching to more than 6k feet. All of this altitude translates to treacherous travel, especially for the pioneers in their day, but also for us as motor-sport enthusiasts today. Earlier today I traveled exactly 40 miles (by bicycle) to the Dragon and stopped at the tree you see pictured herein.

Yes, I marked my territory (LOL) with a brief bio-break, sandwich, gel-pak, and a turn around to head home. As I departed four Tennessee Highway Patrol officers were parked on the northbound lane shooting radar. They clocked me at 13mph (going uphill). They laughed outloud as they told me my speed. I “politely” asked if they thought they could ride a bike moving their jelly donuts any faster than me? Their faces turned from smiles to … well … I headed home on my bike!

Just when you thought it was safe to participate.

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long
run than outright exposure. Life is either
a daring adventure, or nothing.

Helen Keller

When it rises, it sets somewhere. I suggest making the best of every day.

Many fine things can be done in a day
if you don’t always make that day tomorrow.

Life flashes before us. Snap a great photo of today.

It’s best that we remember that life is full of opportunities to chill, pay attention, do, relax, learn, grow, explore, help someone or give of yourself to those in need.

Or a million other things.

But make sure each is ‘well done’ because one day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure its worth watching.

Make sure you do your best today.

The more I live, the more I’m encouraged by the success of those around me.

The summer internship created a big buzz this year. Why? Because Maggie, Carrie, Chris Ann, Madhuri and Amanda made a HUGE difference with many clients within our agency. Their collective spirit, energy and enthusiasm is greatly appreciated and certainly not to be forgotten. You encouraged me (!) ladies. Rock on.

Aim high. Reach further. Dream often. And when someone tells you it can’t be done, use the word “off!” You’ll get it at some point.

A person who aims at nothing is sure to hit it.

Allanti Cycling Classic: State Road Race – Inside the Peloton; August 2, 2008.

For the State Road Race this year, organizers moved the race from Liepers Fork to a new location in Watertown, Tennessee. Although the road course was void of a significant climb, the 15 mile loop was full of rollers that when combined made for a difficult race.

The Masters 30/40+ group began 15 minutes late with a total of 39 riders. Little did we know the heat would reduce the field quicker than the attacks. Temps were moderate when we began and quickly soared near 90 and then to 94 within two hours of the start. The heat index was 104 – which reduced the ability to recover after hard efforts.

Lap one was marked with several attacks and counter-attacks. In fact, four riders were off the front within the first mile, but were reeled back in by mile 8. Coming through the feed zone as we completed lap one, I elected not to take a bottle. This was tactical mistake number one, and a serious one. In retrospect, I should have taken a bottle on every lap. The temperature was warm enough that a cold bottle of water would have lowered my core temp and allowed me to conserve some of my glycogen reserves. Live and learn.

As we cruised into lap 2, the attacks began again so I chimed in with my own and a group of 8 riders broke away from the pack. Within a mile the entire peloton was back together again; less another 7 riders. On the back section of the course, three rollers (back to back to back) were steep enough and close enough together that it was difficult to recover between them. This section allowed for a serious push by the strong men – and we dropped 3 more riders. Nearing the feed zone on lap 2, I moved over and snagged a bottle. “Whew – thank you cycling gods” was all I could offer. The bottle was a HUGE help. Most of it went down my jersey to cool my body and a few drops were my refreshment.

It’s not common to attack in a feed zone, but the leaders did just that – and we were pushing pretty hard before I could stuff the bottle into my jersey. The constant push from the front made it difficult to maintain contact with the leaders – and I truly believe it was more difficult because the heat was unbearable.

At one point I looked at my legs and arms and it seemed as if I had just stepped out of the shower. My sunglasses were stuffed in my helmet because the sweat kept pouring down my face. All I could think about was stopping the insanity by literally stopping. Yet, I kept moving.

By the time we hit those triple rollers, the lead group was down to 15 riders and we kept pushing. I maintained a mid-field position just to ensure I wasn’t yo-yoed at the tail end of the peloton. In the feed zone I attempted to snag a bottle but nothing was handed up. The leaders attacked again (just to make it interesting I’m sure) and I fell off the back. Thank goodness they sat up on the next downhill section to drink — that gave me enough time to rejoin them along with Dave Hickson.

At this point the peloton totaled 13 and none of the other riders were in sight. They had either dropped out of the race or were creeping along. Ahh, the triple rollers were coming again and I knew my expulsion off the back was forthcoming. I stayed intact on the first two, but the third roller came and I sat up. My body felt ‘cooked’ … I got chill bumps on my legs and arms (a first sign of heat exhaustion). I slowed and realized the last 9 miles would be soloville. Stars were moving in front of my eyes and I felt dizzy – my stomach cramped and I wanted to stop oh-so-bad. But somehow I kept rolling, keeping the air flowing over my skin. And too, I was concerned that anyone we had dropped might come up behind me and pass me. (Like that mattered at this point.)

Near the end of the race, I noticed a woman in the feed zone – and she was packing up her bags. I asked for a bottle and she said, “all I have is Gatorade and it’s sorta frozen.”

Had I not been in a race I would have stopped and hugged her. I said thanks and got moving again.
The icy drink felt so good tucked in my jersey – and I would have fought anyone for it at that point. Looking ahead I could see the finish line, so I zipped up my jersey and put my glasses back on. Passing over the finish line, a photographer pointed his camera my way and snapped a photo – I smiled big and showed him the “prize” I had been given. Frozen Gatorade. WooHoo!

When I stopped on the other side of the finish line, I opened the bottle again and within three gulps the bottle was almost empty. Stopping wasn’t such a good idea – so I kept moving. Heck, it was three miles back to car! I laughed out loud as I wondered why the hell I was riding around in Watertown, Tennessee in the middle of a HOT August day.

It remains a mystery.

After returning to the parking lot, I located a water hose nearby and stood under the cold water for about 15 minutes. Several other riders came over and did the same. We laughed at how “cold” the water felt — even though it wasn’t. The impromptu shower lowered my core temp and my heart rate too. What a day.

RACE SUMMARY: 5 miles of warm up (like we needed that). 60 miles of racing – average speed 22.9 – average heart rate 156 – over-maxed to 188 one time. Finished 13th overall and 3rd in Masters 45-49 – so I earned the Bronze medal. What I really earned was a 16oz cold Coke and another and another.

It’s hot out there. Ride with plenty of fluids.

Anne Frank and her date with August. Which second was that?

The diary, which was given to Anne Frank on her thirteenth birthday, chronicles her life from June 12, 1942 until August 1, 1944. It was published as The Diary of a Young Girl and eventually translated from its original Dutch into many languages and became one of the world’s most widely read books. There have also been several films, television, theatrical productions, and even an opera based on the diary. Described as the work of a mature and insightful mind, it provides an intimate examination of daily life under Nazi occupation and in hiding; through her writing, Frank has become one of the most renowned and discussed of Holocaust victims.

In my last vacation to Amsterdam, I visited the Anne Frank house. In my tour, a range of people (varied ethnic backgrounds, various ages) were present. Observation of faces and body language were as interesting as the “house” itself. The majority of younger people moved quickly about and chatted among themselves – many with smiles and an occasional giggle.

Older folks – those who appeared to be over 50 – had distinctly different dispositions. They were somber, quiet and reverent – and the energy felt spiritual. Many of us were overwhelmed with emotion.

I’ve given lots of thought to Anne Frank’s view of time, and her value of life itself. Her life, as evident in her diary, was lived second by second. It was vibrant, real and highly authentic. The undertone of her message: seconds do count – each one is a blessing.

As we crest the first of August, I’m mindful about the seconds. Each one counts.


Keep smiling – people will wonder what you’ve been up to.

Repeat outloud: Every second counts. Especially now.

My day – Wednesday, July 30th – was full of “now.” Staying in the moment, living the moment – carefully listening to the clock ticking. Besides work – riding my bike – and working more, I hung out with some folks whom I enjoy to be around and I lived in the moment. All the while the clock was ticking.

As I waited for my friends around the town square in Dahlonega after dinner, a hearse passed and circled the square. Something of a farewell – at least that’s what the landmark sign touted as I read it (eerie). The hearse and the sign re-reminded me (as if I needed it) that every (!) second counts.

Nothing stops the clock. Nothing. It moves even when we’re not. Eventually we mentally move the clock forward – some of us fast-forwarding to moments we are not guaranteed to see or enjoy. Moments lived out in an imaginary world of fantasy. As I lived today I was more aware that all I have is now. This second. The next. Nothing more.

When reflecting upon that thought, it’s unsettling somehow. I suppose the acknowledgment feels as if I’m acquiescing to a doomed future. Shortened because I’m giving into the acceptance that life is short. Yet, life is oh so short. Blink and a month is gone. Blink again and a year passes. Blink one more time and we’ve moved through a decade.

The bigger question – “does time fly?” No, it moves second by second. Granted, it was created by man to capsulize movement of the sun and moon — and for a bunch of other reasons. What matters is simply this: what we have is now. To quote Lance Armstrong, “every second counts.”  My own addition to the quote: Especially now.


STS Marketing College – strong day – lots of ground to cover.

Whew. What a day. I rode my bike for about 3 hours this morning and tried to expend as much energy as possible so I could relax and focus on the material for DIY-Research (my topic for the 2008 STS Marketing College).

With so many folks to address – and potentially so many questions – covering a lot of ground was probable but not likely. I erred on the side of “too much” – and we ran out of time. The energy felt good – and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the people – there were lots of smiling faces and oh so many good questions. I only wished that I had time to help them all …. but again, time ran out.

The other story of the day is that I found a bike on the road this morning while riding. A ROSS with semi-vertical dropouts and very little rust. The tires were missing as were the cables but the overall condition is suitable for a fixed gear bike. Coincidentally I needed a frame in order to build such a bike. Imagine the cycling universe laying such a ‘gift’ on my route today.

I’m blessed. I’m thankful. The here and now is just fine. “More of the same, please.”

Ride on.

Climbing in the Tour de France. Easy or not?

It’s relatively easy to climb (via bicycle) the roads in the Pyrenees or in the Alps. Riding up is relatively easy. The difficulty of climbing is exponentially elevated by the riders who push (and pull) hard on their pedals. Thus, pace is what makes climbing difficult. It’s the high, average mph – and certainly multiple accelerations along the way. Dare not think it’s easy. It just looks easy.

Monday Decal. Set for a Tuesday ride.

Didi — more than ready — three days and counting

The Devil does love the Tour de France, and contrary to rumor, is a very nice guy, actually. Didi the Devil is the alias of Didi Senft, a cycling fan whose unmatched passion for the sport compels him to don a full devil outfit–complete with shiny metal fork–and attend professional cycling events across Europe. He jumps for joy when riders are suffering. His spirits lifts others around him to yell a little louder, “THREE DAYS AND COUNTING!”

Brayton Mountain, near Dayton, Tennessee

(click to enlarge)

On a “recon” mission, I visited Dayton, Tennessee, a quaint little community near the Tennessee River (very close) and just an hour and a half from Maryville. Later this week a bike race will convene at Rhea County Elementary School. Not a swap meet, a race. Ergo, my happy little (emphasis on little) ass visited the school, the community and I rode the course.

As you exit RCES your bike jumps around on Delaware, then Florida, then Brayton Mountain Road. Eventually you begin climbing (for over five miles you climb). Along the way, I passed many trailers (mostly single-wides), dogs on chains (thank-you Lord), Confederate flags (“Hey, I’m from Memphis, deep in the South ….”), and yes, a lovely mountain called Brayton. Actually, Brayton Mountain is located in Graysville – on Graysville Road (Brayton Mountain Road becomes Graysville Road), just when you think you’ve reached the summit, the darn thing kicks up again … and again … and even a third time. As evident in the photo I took (after traipsing through poison ivy: ), it’s situated up above the valley floor.

Just after taking this photo, I stopped to ask … “where is New Harmony Road” – and the fellow that answered (a postman) said, “you missed that turn about four miles back ….” Thanks. Ok then. I realized my water bottle was running low, my stomach needed food and I wanted to be done with my workout. Launching back toward New Harmony I traveled onward. Eventually NHR turns onto Highway 30, and after making a right turn, I continued toward RCES. In my way were ten rollers that can be race-definers …. as though the five mile climb is ‘easy.’ Ha.

While on Highway 30, my first bottle was MT. That’s pronounced, “M – Tee.” (I picked that up from working at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona – the very year we won the race outright – the very year I bought my own Rolex Daytona watch).

Ok then, back to the ride.

In the midst of single-wides, abandoned cars and homes, I noticed two kids sitting on the side of the road, in little kid-like foldout chairs, at a kid-sized table, with a kid-made sign and Dixie cups. Now I don’t know about the rest of the world, but stopping to show my support sounded fun. Fun it was.

When I pulled into the gravel driveway, ‘mom’ soon appeared while I ordered-up a cup of the house lemonade. It looked cool. The little boy (Steven) said, “you want a large or small?” I said, “I’ll take a bottle full.” His quizzical look was funny – truly. I reached into my little bag underneath the seat and produced a $5 bill. His eyes widened and he seem to smile, but wasn’t sure what to do in the transaction. Mom grabbed the pitcher and I asked her to pour it in the bottle -which she did. I then asked, “how’s business.” No response from Steven nor his little brother (who sat there idly, probably thinking of the Cartoon Network) … and mom didn’t respond either. Oh well. I then suggested that he raise the price of a large cup to at least $1 (it was .50) and charge extra for ice. Steven smiled.

I handed him the $5 bill and said thanks – keep the change.

I’m not a betting man, but I suspect that Steven closed up shop and called it day.

Oh. The product taste-test! Well, I assume that Steven made it … as the ratio of ‘ade’ to H20 was on the sweet side. One good thing, my mph went up, my legs had a little more kick and I had a huge smile on my face. After a few more rollers I caught the downhill into Dayton … four miles of 8% downhill …. at 45mph …. with trucks near me …. and cars. Whew. The smile that a little lemonade stand created was with me all the way down to the car, and it stayed there. And it’s still there today.

I’m not sure about the race on Saturday (to go or not), I’m thinking that July 4th requires ample celebration and merriment, all of which are not conducive when preparing for a race next-day. Maybe the BGE and I’ll travel into the National Park and enjoy some creekside grilling at Metcalf Bottoms … along with a nap and some light reading. Ahh, rest day. The Firecracker 100 launches from the Old City at 8AM on Saturday and then finishes at Barley’s with pizza and beer. That sounds pretty good – a ride versus a race on a Saturday morning. Now that creates an even bigger smile.

Ride on.

Didi the devil is ready for the Tour. Are you?

Dieter “Didi” Senft (born 1952 in Reichenwalde, Germany) is known as the Tour de France devil or El Diablo. Since 1993, he has been seen in the Tour’s many stages wearing his red devil costume and painting a trifork on the road some miles before he’ll show up. Senft attributes the inspiration for the costume to German cycling announcer Herbert Watterot who called the last lap of local criterium races, “the Red Devil’s Lap.”

He is also an inventor who has created over 100 bicycles, including the largest in the world. He is listed in the Guinness Book of Records.

On the 2006 edition of Tour of Switzerland, Didi Senft painted his signature trifork on the road the day before the competitors came by his door. But later that day the Swiss police came by and said it was illegal, and he had to pay a fine or go to jail. He was also forced to remove the painting from the road. This sounds like something the French would do, not the Swiss. I suspect Didi’s been carb-loading and readying his outfit for Saturday. It’s coming ….

It’s a Black Beauty Friday. BBF if you know the short code.

I’m off next week and I have plans to get BB out for a stretch of her legs. Yep. And I’ll likely come by the office since several folks have been asking for a ride. Maybe?

In any case, the has been asking me (LOL) for some warm weather touring so I had better switch the bumper for the street version (the track version is too low) and make some noise. Maybe a trip out I-40 past exit 407 where we can open up … ? The last time I was out there we touched 182 before backing off the throttle. No need to wind up in jail over a joy ride. Another Friday – let’s ride on.

Thursday’s were meant for fastness. 911-fast.

This Carerra, whom I named “Hudson” after my dear friend from Atlanta, Laura Hudson Smith, is smooth, fast and wonderful on-track. Notice how the car sets up and digs deep into its springs. That rear wing is applying huge downforce – and thus a great “in the seat” driving experience. What is more important about a 911 Carerra is this – it connects you with the road — through a wide body, wide wheels and tight seats. I’ve had cars on the brain lately – maybe because it’s warm weather or maybe because it’s time to think about another ride. After all, with a six-car garage and only four cars there is room to add something tasty. Ahh, more fastness please.

The way I felt. As in new Felt.

Slipstream-Chipotle riders will have a new weapon in their quiver for next month’s Tour de France courtesy of team sponsor Felt Bicycles. Riders will depart from Brest on new AR road frames that add credence to the idea that the war of bicycle aerodynamics is no longer limited just to time trials.

Felt learned a lot of aero lessons in developing its DA time trial/triathlon and TK frames so it should come as no surprise that the new AR includes attributes of both. The down tube, head tube and seat stays are all aero-profiled and the deep-section seat tube shields the rear wheel all the way from the bottom bracket shell to the seat stays. The down tube is also slightly dropped and the lower edge is slightly profiled to smooth the airflow coming off the front wheel.

As on the DA, derailleur cable housings are internally routed and enter the top of the frame directly behind the stem; the rear brake line is also internally routed but is set in a more conventional location. Naturally, the new fork is also aero-shaped and well integrated with the frame. Felt will build the new AR frame and fork with its top-end Ultra Hybrid Carbon blend of Toray SB60, M30S and T700 carbon fibers, all held together with new nano-enhanced resins. According to Felt, the new resins will provide a stronger and more robust exterior surface as well as improved compression and sheer strength. Ride on aero-style.

Four hours – six bottles – five snacks, one close call.

The need for a long ride meant several hours on my bike along the Foothills Parkway and over to Highway 129. It was a perfect day for a long ride. And when I was ‘done,’ I then mowed the grass, cleaned the house, packed my bags for a trip over to the BGE’s house, and completed a weight workout that took an hour.

So, add an hour to four and we have five.

Oh. The close call. It was just an SUV “in a hurry” … not a bike lover … at all. I’ll savor the payback at a future date.

Why I ride: because riding by yourself proves useful

The very short version of the Avery Trace Road Race is this: it rained prior to the start – and continued to sprinkle as we pulled away from the start area .. at least for the first few miles.

The course included several climbs each with a nasty hard left turn at the bottom. For the first descent the entire peloton backed off and we crawled through a soggy corner. We tempo paced the first climb and then began the first steep descent. Anxious, the peloton strung itself out as all riders were cautious. My rear tire was super-twitchy and soon I was at the very back of the pack. Opps, I backed off too much and the peloton accelerated.

After time trialing for about a half-mile, I was back on – – – but we started to climb again. “In the red zone” I was cooked. This wasn’t like any race I’d ever experienced. Ever.

{The fact is, I made a tactical mistake on Wednesday of this week. I didn’t replace the rear tire on my racing wheels. The reason – I had hoped to get one more race out of them. With a tire that is ‘flat-worn’ across the top, a wet corner creates a twitchy feeling in the rear.}

After being dropped on a down hill descent (LOL), I rode the remaining 38 miles alone. My average speed was 20.2 … pretty good considering there were lots of rollers and three climbs along the way.

I could have cut the course short and gone back to the car. I could have thumbed the wheel truck and sagged back in — but neither were on my mind. It did me good to ride my own race and think about the importance of my decisions. I passed three other racers along the way — and made damn sure none of them tagged along.

There will be a next year. Yes, I will continue to ride on.