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

Tude

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.

Peace.


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.

Aloha


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.

me_and_dayna

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.

funny-thanksgiving-turkey-joke

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.

road_bike_riding

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.

photographer-15

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.

fall-is-almost-over


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.

Peace.


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.

Peace


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.


The Tour de France is coming. Even the breakfast food is talking about it.

Early morning – coffee is brewing – toast is toasty – eggs are scrambled – the potatoes are greasy and the plate talks back! Whoa. Now what message is it sending us? I suspect it’s date-oriented – as in July 5th, 2008.

This is a critical touch point in the world of professional cycling. This year’s Tour will be void of time bonuses, excessively long stages and team Astana. It will be the year of no-drugs (right; ) and the year we miss a prior year’s victor. Much to talk about – much to contemplate – and yes, even the food is talking about it! Ride on.


Why I ride: it feels like a small connection with the Tour.

Knowing the Tour is coming (as in Tour de France) … well, it makes life grand. When July arrives, umm, it feels like a whole month of racing activity is before us. And yes – it’s grand.

It’s a driving force behind why most of us train, endure hard winter rides and long race seasons. Not because we ever have a chance of riding in the tour, but because we feel more connected with someone who endures the time trials of truth, the long miles of multi-day races, and the mountains of pain. One thing is certain: the Tour is coming. Viva la Tour.


Guess how many people are waiting for the Tour? (ANSWER: lots. and lots.)


Just an image for Wednesday – to tell a bigger story. The Tour is coming … soon. : )


The Institute at Tremont – get on with it.


The photo is taken from the bridge that leads to the Institute at Tremont. Look how lush compared to the late fall 2007. Whoa.

We enjoyed (the BGE and moi) a little Tuesday ride on the scooter. In less than two hours we motor-paced to and from the Institute at Tremont in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s 42 miles up and back and we covered it in 55 minutes up and 50 minutes back. Good times. Scootie and BGE did “good.”


Another day – another ride. Briefly.

I took a half hour to stretch my legs and enjoy the weather. Thank goodness – I was way-tired after a weekend of hard rides and such. Sunday I stripped the Panasonic down to the frame and trashed all but the breaks, frame and fork. It’s a time for a fixed gear ride.

Looking ahead, I’m close to a track bike purchase. I’m really close to making a deal. Via an exhaustive search I found a custom-made Marin originally fitted for James Carney (of the Shaklee team). Carney and Kent Bostick, former Olympian and fellow rider here in Knoxville, were teammates on Shaklee. Bostick was a former pursuit champion as was Carney; Bostick was on the 1996 and 2000 US Olympic squads.  Interesting that I found a Marin out in Oregon. We’ll see …. track on.


Why I ride: Motor-pacing is part of the regimen.

If you’re lucky enough to have access to a scooter then you appreciate the added-value a scooter brings to the training plan. Having a scooter isn’t enough – you’ve got to have an able-bodied driver too.

And not just a driver, you need a person who “gets it.” When you find someone, you’re darn lucky. Mine happens to be the BGE.

The premise behind motor-pacing is simple: increased speeds for longer periods of time. It simulates racing and time trialing all in one work session. Our work session yesterday was 75 miles – that included covering the Foothills Parkway and assorted hills coming back along Six Mile Road. At just under 3.5 hours, it was as close to race-pace as I could stomach. The very fact that so much ground is covered in a short amount of time feels good. It opens the day up for other activities.

Get a scooter. Find a driver. Scoot on.


Settlers Life Omnium: Inside the Peloton.

Hot and hotter was the theme of the 2008 Settlers Life Omnium. 94 on Saturday and 95 on Sunday. Blue skies and a little breeze. Summer-time. More organized than in previous years, the recent version was lively on all fronts: road race, time trial and crit.


As I’ve learned from my recent adventures in racing, the fewer number of mistakes usually translates to better placing and more fun overall. This weekend I made several mistakes – one of which that continues to plague me (more on that later).

Road Race
I lined up with the Masters 30/40 group and we left the parking lot ‘sorta’ on time. (Much better than last year where we departed an hour and twenty minutes late.) Within two miles three guys were off the front and beginning to work – and within another mile it was four. Our group settled into a simple and even pace that felt like a winter training ride not a race. Sure, on a couple of climbs we stepped up the pace, but overall it was steady and certain.


We exited the loop (the 20 mile extension) and returned to the “highway” where the pace quickened. In fact, we set a tempo up one small climb without regard for the Category 1 (yes, Category 1) climb at the end of the race. Naturally there wasn’t a feed zone so what you brought to the picnic is what you ate, drank or puked. Imagine that I didn’t bring enough fuel! Mistake two and three were layered upon my biggest mistake (number one), not fueling appropriately for the race itself.


Let’s back up. The prior weekend some of us (a few) accepted the Challenge – the English Mountain Challenge. Dehydrated and crumpled from the 109-mile adventure I never really recovered from the long, hot ride. My carb intake wasn’t near enough for the week nor was my rest. I awoke every day (Monday-Friday) exhausted. I felt like I could have gone back to bed for a few more hours each morning. Thus, my biggest mistake: arriving at an “A” event without the glycogen reserves to contest my position. Back to the race ….


Mistake two – not carrying enough gels (I took one) and mistake three – not carrying enough liquid (I took two bottles). My weak condition combined with inappropriate off-the-bike refueling was a sick combination. Rather than staying with the lead group, I bonked in the first ¼ mile of the final climb.

Sadly I suffered the last two miles – at one point ready to quit the whole race – I was that “done.”
Frankly, this issue has followed me for two years now. I start the season strong with consistent top 10 finishes, but when the season ‘heats up’ my performance sags a bit.

After reading a bunch about carb intake I realize (now) that my eating habits have been hampering performance rather than building it. Lack of carbs at key times (particularly after a workout) are actually reducing muscle mass. I’ll continue reading and learning to thwart these and other nutrition issues in the future.
Wrap up: 8th place in the 40+ and I was just glad to be done.


Time Trial
Now let’s move to mistake four, five and six.


I arrived early (imagine that) to find NO shade for warming up. It was 94 degrees so that sounds a bit funny to say, “warm up.” In any case, I moved up to a nearby hillside at the Borla Exhausts complex. My bike was ready in advance; check. My gear was ready in advance; check. My pre-race fuel (what it was) was ready; check. My watch was working; check.


My start time was officially 6:06PM – and I arrived at the start gate at 6:01; check. After circling for a few minutes I asked an official to provide the “official time” and affirmed it on my watch. I was told “we are running about 5 minutes late.”


Ahhhh. That was enough time to circle the entire route and be back in time for my start time. WRONG> we were not 5 minutes behind – we were 3:20 behind. BLAH. WTF cubed!


When I arrived at the start gate and saw another rider with a number that was behind me I asked the question, “where is my placing?” And the lead official’s response was, “you are late, you left 1:32, 1:33 … ago!” BLAH and WTF triple-cubed.


I hurled my water bottle in the grass and got on course with a very loud expletive – which was certainly heard by everyone in the area. I made SURE it was heard. It was like a set of rockets launched in my legs and I stormed away with fury. On the final portion of the course I clipped the corner and crossed the yellow line adding ten seconds to my overall time. When I crossed the small hill prior to the finish I was out of the saddle and I drove hard. My rear wheel was slipping and jumping sideways and I pushed.


With a 1:32 delayed start time, and the ten-second penalty I had a 6:57. That felt lovely. NOT. The real time was competitive (approximately 4:15).


SUMMARY: Get to the course early. Be ready early. When you arrive at the start house early (less than 10 minutes) DO NOT MOVE FROM THE AREA.

Crit Time
New day – new attitude – and new information. I drank sports drink prior to the event (a first). I actually consumed a gel pak ½ hour prior to my start (another first). I even warmed up using a mix of Gatorade and water (half and half); it seemed to have a positive effect.


Masters 30/40 Crits are just a joy (NOT): hard from the get-go, repeatedly hard and hard yet again.

The first 15 minutes were full-on and then the heat of the day (we started at 11AM and the temp was about 92) began affecting performance. We slowed a bit and then the second wave of attacks started.

Coming out of turn three I shifted down and stood up ready to jump on the back … then it happened … my chain wrapped up in my rear derailleur and my momentum jammed me into my bars and top tube. My left leg was coming up and smacked the left handle bar … which unclipped my left foot and my right foot slammed to the ground only after it bent my ankle out of position.


Both my “package” and my ankle HURT. Yes, I yelled out in pain. However, I got off my bike and remained calm. I was just thankful I didn’t face-plant it … and I was VERY close to going down hard. With my chain back on, I rolled to the official’s stand and asked for help: I got a free lap (the rule) and when the peloton rolled by I got a push-off to catch back on the end. I did and moved back into position.
I was timid about shifting – thinking something was broken but I quickly forget that and keep on doing my thing: racing.


Hurting I couldn’t stack up one jump after another but I held my own. I sprinted, if you call it that, and finished 5th in the Masters 40 category. I was thankful I had not gone down. Luckily I was able to ice the ankle after the race and walk around to capture photos of the other races.


SUMMARY: I will work on reducing mistakes. And I will be on time for TT’s.


8th – RR … 4th – TT (last) and 5th – crit. This “combination” placed me 2nd in the overall Masters 40+ Omnium with a payout of $40.


I left the race, went to McDonald’s, and I bought myself a cheeseburger Happy Meal. Race. On.


Why I ride: Because the Equipment is Kewl.

When I look around my garage at multiple bicycles I see kewl stuff. Flashy wheels, carbon fiber, unique forks, unique shocks, interesting lighting systems, more carbon, and slick bags for extra wheel sets. No matter how you ride, you take pride in your gear. It’s root is the bike store – the birth place of all that is kewl with cycling.

When a cyclist enters a bike store we revert back to kid-status and begin drooling at the sights, sounds and smells of new bikes and the gear. A visit to the bike store forges a bond between your need for going further, faster and easier and your wallet. I visit my bike shop, ETO, three or four days per week. Some people call it church, I call it nourishment for the soul.

All it takes is a little plastic explosive called “VISA” and you’re rolling on a new set of ZIPP wheels. Or riding a “Focus” track frameset.  Sometimes it might be as simple as a new set of rubber.  The reasons for riding are endless – and one of which most riders will espouse is “kewl equipment.” Ride. On.

Today’s photos are HOT. Look at the carbon. It spells F-A-S-T. Look at the designs. You might find them in a Victoria Secret catalog one day. Looking …


English Mountain Challenge – May 31st, 2008

English Mountain Challenge. The short version is this: it’s about 110 miles with lots of climbing, scary descents, gravel in odd places, cars that DO NOT want you on “their” roads, 22% grades of climbing around the 87 mile-marker, more hills, lots of wind and at the end, pizza. Go figure. We pay $40 bucks for a ride with a cheap tee shirt and pizza at the end.

Were we supposed to obtain something “good” out of this?  Much like the Tour de Blount and the Smokey Mountain Wheelman’s “Fall Century” the overall ride value is MI$$ing. Look at the dwindling numbers in each event.

Summary of the event: there were a few “bike Nazi’s” at the beginning … riders who “thought” they were in a race. Can someone explain this to me???? Especially one fellow in a Liquigas pro kit. LOL (many times over). What’s up with riders who wear pro kits???? They obviously don’t realize how pathetic they look.

Mr. “Liquigas” rides off the front about a mile from the start. It was hilarious – seriously. Somewhere at mile 5 we settled into our pace … and passed the “pro” rider. HA. After the first climb and scary descent I looked around and there were 7 of us total. No one else was in eye sight and I strained looking back on several long stretches of road.

In the lead group — ahh — mo-fo “Adam” had it in his brain we were supposed to ride 110 miles at or near race-pace. At one point the punk mo-fo who was leading the painful pace on our “ride” had daggers aimed at his back. Somewhere at mile-marker 40, four of us sat up and said (collectively) – “we’ve had enough. IT’S A RIDE – NOT A RACE.”

Ok – Ok. So we pulled our collective attitudes together and pacelined back to the three guys in front and stayed with them until English Mountain. At which point I sat up and did the sensible thing – I rode easy.

There is NO money to be earned at the finish line. And NO NOTHING to be earned by making the ride (emphasis “ride”) more painful than required.

Three of us rode the last 15 miles together – with the punk mo-fo leading his own brigade, followed by another loner – followed by a pair – followed by three of us who said, “20mph is enough when the wind is blowing 20mph.”

We completed 109.46 miles in 5:38 with two stops along the way. At the end I drank 3 Cokes and ate three pieces of pizza followed by two bottles of water and Chick-Fil-a sandwich and another bottle of water. Two hours later I ate a ham-wrap and cheese with more Cytomax. I finally peed about 2 hours later. I have no idea how much we climbed – I’m guessing it was over 6,000 feet but I’ll check on the total this week. EMC – ride. on.


The Great Smoky Mountains National Park: bike riding is better than expected.

I visited some of my clients in Gatlinburg today – which was very nice. Afterward, I drove back toward Townsend in hopes of riding from Metcalf Bottoms over to Wears Valley. Well, I did – and I enjoyed the ride a lot. When I returned I traveled back toward Gatlinburg along “River Road”  – to extend the ride and snag a little climbing.

Training on a different road – at a different time of the day – with nice weather makes for an enjoyable experience. Ample rest helped as well. Thursday was full of interesting ‘finds’ – like NO power when I came home. Oh well, I missed the bill somehow and the fine folks in the City elected to turn it off. Thank goodness for the BGE, and for her flexibility in letting me ‘just show up.’ Ahh. I got a warm shower, ate some tasty vittles and watched the ending of the “Bee Movie” with the kids. This was a solid ending to Thursday.


Why I ride: so many miles, so many roads.

So many hills, so many dogs, so many horses and so many folks sputtering along the rural roads of our neck of the woods. Yes, I ride because of the hills, to avoid dogs (when possible), watch the horses and pass sputterers. I ride because there are so many miles to cover – so many roads.


Auto Moto Bicycle Poster-Photo

The attached is a historic poster that I’ve recently captured via a search for vintage bicycle photos. How much time was dedicated to creating this piece of art? What artistic method was employed to create the overall composition? By hand. Certainly. Use of a computer. Certainly not. The imagery suggests a day when riders consumed wine and smoked en route to the Alps or Pyrenees. Imagine, we’re just seven weeks from the greatest race in bicycle-dom: The Tour de France. Let’s hope Astana has a shot.


Hawaii Luau — with the Funky Monkey Family

Jojo’s cousins sent this photo to us – taken at a recent luau they enjoyed while staying in Hawaii. From the left is Mickey, Sissy, Betsey and Bob Funky (the Funky Monkey family). The kids are drinking non-alcoholic beverages while Betsey and Bob are consuming Volcano Lava (12 shots of alcohol each drink!). Looks like they had yummy pork on a plate with some fresh pineapple to finish the meal. Mickey tried surfing and was sorta Ok according to Betsey who took the photo. She sent us an email and said they were enjoying the ‘free’ bananas (ha).

His form is lacking but he’s getting into it. We’ll see more from the Funky Monkey family and their adventures on Hawaii. Aloha and mahalo for the photo.


Tour de Ephrata: Pro 1/2

Photographs from the 2008 Tour de Ephrata on Elco Road.


Tour de Ephrata – April 26, 2008: inside the peloton.

The Amish countryside near Myerstown gave a few hundred racers the opportunity to test their ability to push, recover, and push even harder. The weather in the early part of the day was sunny and clear. Within hours however the skies clouded up and the temperature dropped significantly.

Let’s see how this short and painful road race unfolded.

Accustomed to jumping from the get-go – that’s exactly what I did. It was met with frowns and some odd looks. By the first turn the pace heated up. I held a line and got pushed aside. I touched a guy on the hip and it offered up some words that didn’t feel right. He ended his sentence with “fuck you.” Several of his teammates from the “Spinners” did more of the same – three of which pushed me out of the pace line. I suspect my jersey was foreign to them and they had no intentions of allowing me to stay in the pace line. Within the next mile the field jumped three times and five guys were off the front.

Not knowing anyone in the race, I would assume the few guys that launched an attack were actually elite riders who were Pros or CAT1’s.  They were away – and with a strong and steady headwind for half of the course, we weren’t going to catch them unless the group worked. Clearly no one wanted to work. However, the pace and the movement on course felt more like a crit than a road race. How I wished we had a real hill to climb – to weed out some of the followers unwilling to work.

The smell of fertilizer and chicken houses (grow-out houses) was all around us … it was strong. We were in the middle of farming country with many growers laying down fertilizer most of day. I stayed near the front and worked – not with “bridging the gap” in mind – with the hopeful attitude that a few of use might make a break. No luck. Not on any lap.

The last leg of the race had us fighting a terrific cross wind and it meant that most riders were in the gutter with nothing to do but push.

The “sprint” started sooner than expected, and with about 500 meters the group strung out. I went into my best TT position and pushed. I passed six guys and crossed the line 17th. Glad to be “DONE.”

Afterward I spoke with Ellen Dorsey, UCI Commissaire about the interaction on-course. Funny, we both agreed that the rider’s sponsors wouldn’t appreciate showcasing a “tude” while racing. Moving onward – yes.

SUMMARY: 35 mile circuit race – average speed unknown (computer didn’t track it) – average heart rate 161 (whew) – new max heart rate at 191. 17th place in a field of 62 riders.


The is no FINISH line in life: so get to work.

I am amazed at the ability of those around me – so much talent, knowledge and yet, a lack of drive. In my work-life, I observe lots of hope but not near enough drive, and I certainly witness it in student performance. What’s up with that? Anyone know??? I realize that each of us are “lazy” in some way. Occasionally, and I mean rarely, living a day of life in a “lazy fashion” can be a good thing. Some folks, however, are just plain lazy the majority of their time. Or, they are “all about lists: and “talking about” what they did rather than just gettin’ shit done. Or even worse, they make a big push for a few days then revert back to what they used to do (reminds me of people who attempt to go on a diet but stick with it for the month of January).

Me? Well, I’m lazy. Never mind the fact that I have two careers, I train 20 hours per week for cycling, and have a nice home that I maintain. I have a girlfriend and I befriend several people around me.

Truly I’m lazy. I have spare time. In that spare time I could: learn to speak another language, learn to read another language, take online computer courses to improve my knowledge of the internet, work on improving my home, meditate, help those less fortunate, and the list is so long I need not ‘go there’ in this post. My point – EVERYDAY I make an effort to do, go, enjoy, get ahead, work, and constantly visualize “hope” but I believe I can and should do more!

I owe the philosophy or attitude to my mom. Her career path and the success she’s enjoyed is what I follow. My mom is the person who influenced my dual career path. (Three years ago I had three revenue streams from three separate paying positions: advertising, teaching at UTK and teaching on the race track). She taught me to work hard, go further, do more, and do more. It was not a “talking lesson” – it was a lesson I learned through observation. There aren’t too many people I know that truly have been-there, done-that. She has done-that. And continues to do more.

Life deals each us a number bumps, laughs, opportunities, failures, etc. Each of these are accompanied with a life-lesson. Some are fun and memorable – others are just memorable. Many of life’s lessons relate to how we prepare or don’t prepare for (fill in the blank). We revert to the lazy side (not the dark side) of our personalities and wonder … “why did this occur? why did this or that happen? WHY ME?!” I have fleeting thoughts like that on occasion but those are quickly replaced with, “this will NOT do me in – it may not be something I like but it will NOT do me in!”

Every second counts. Every second. Hard work and a little hope are keys to making this thing we call life – more enjoyable. For me I’m going to use all of those seconds I’ve been alloted – to move the ball forward. Heck, it’s time I learned another language. Hawaiian is “in” this year – guess I had best get a tutor and some study material.

For now, Aloha.


Cherohala. It’s coming soon.

Please link over to the site for the Cherohala Skyway. You’ll notice ICE & SNOW in the header photograph. Snow – ice – as recent as last week. BURRR. Warm is coming when? The Cherohala Challenge is coming soon to 400 pair of legs just hankering to hurt. The attached photo is a reminder of what’s coming. Distance junkies are readying their bikes, bodies and water bottles. I’m doing my part to suffer now – so I can suffer later. 9%- yes, that’s close enough to 10.


Foothills Parkway. Ride the moutains rather than the crit.

I elected to stick to my training program rather than veer from it. The downtown Maryville crit was tempting, but not tempting enough – on a multitude of levels. Most importantly – my Sunday routine calls for climbing: at least four hours worth. Several key races are ahead — and two of them have significant finishing climbs. My bet is that the crit work helps but not when you’re hauling your ass up a mountain climb of 10K.


Ergo – my happy ass did a double climb of the Foothills Parkway – starting with a time trail up the first three miles (for good measure). The rest – well – it was just peachy. Happy trails.


Jo-jo monkey-boy. Surveyed the food, and my ride, and then ate my food.


Walnut Grove, South Carolina. Upstate Weekend Bicycle Racing.

The short version: the weather was perfect, the road course was rolling and fairly nice, and the field was full with ample competition.

Now the up front shiznet: Awoke early. Ate early. Left late. Drove fast. Over 100 at times. Missed the turn. Went 19 miles to far (out and back). Got a ticket (75 in a 45). Yelled FUCK as loud as possible while getting the ticket. Officer returned with a “tude.” Reduced the ticket to 55 in a 45 (Yay!). Got directions. Asked if the posse was coming – “no” was the response. Arrived in time to fill bottles, finish suiting up, pump up tires and lock the car. Rolled to the start without a minute to spare. Again, I missed the MASTERS field. WTF.

I had every intention of making the MASTERS field today. After all, the reason I traveled 200 miles was to ride with the MASTERS. The race series separates the 35+ from the 45+, which I like a lot.

Oops. I didn’t make it. I rode with the CAT3’s again.

The start was without the fanfare – as I imagined. I was “cold” so there would be a few miles of “warming” up — and I was right. Within two miles we were hammering. Oh boy. Since I was pissed at the situation (that I got myself into) I elected to jump … and jump again. The first six breaks I chased down and loved every minute of it. Nothing like a ‘racing warm up.’

Near the end of the first lap (27.5 miles per lap), we cruised hard toward the finish area and it was our opportunity to view the road, the narrow road with a faded yellow line and the assigned area (both lanes) for sprinting. More of the same from the first lap followed the start/finish line. Attacks, bridging, more attacks, working hard, etc. Soon after the first lap, I rubbed wheels with a CAT3 woman riding in our group and nearly went down. Yes, this event was full of shiznet.

The last few miles were much like the first few miles. I sat in 8th place riding toward the finish, but a little wheel rubbing from someone in front of me sent the field flying to either side of the road, and several of us touched our breaks for just a second to avoid what we thought was a crash. Thank goodness the two riders that touched stayed upright. The race, however, was over for those of us who touched our breaks.

SUMMARY: 55 miles total racing. Nine hills with one real climb. Average heart rate 140. Maxed at 189 which is a new “high” for me. Oldest in the peloton by 6 years. Average speed 24.1. Placed 18th.


Upstate Race Weekend: Greenville, South Carolina. Inside the Peloton.

The race series going on in Greenville, South Carolina always produces unexpected turns, weather, starts and outcomes. Today was no exception.

What seemed like a quick-trip to the race course turned into an “I’m lost and I best ask for directions.” Never mind the fact that I’ve been to the course at least 8 times. Well then, maybe the racing gods had something in mind when I inadvertently took a wrong turn.

I arrived with just 30 minutes to warm up, but the weather had a mind of its own – as in Mother Nature. She unleashed lightening, thunder and heavy rain. Had I been there “on time” I would have been soaked. The delay in arrival was a blessing – yay. After registering – in MASTERS 45+ – I went back to the car and covered my seat with a plastic bag to keep it dry. I changed inside the car — all the while with the seat heater set to max. The rain was pushing some colder temps into the area.

Alright then.

I saddled up and pedaled over to the lead official and was told that we had a ’30 minute delay.’ With a little time on my hands, I headed up the road into the 20mph+ wind and did my pre-race gig: warm-up.

The race was ‘supposed’ to start at 11:10, but the additional 30 minutes meant the start would be around 11:40. At 11:35 I returned to the start/finish line and overheard the starter give the one minute warning. WTF? I needed a bio-break and wanted to toss the rain jacket — so I whipped my bike over to the car and did both. I heard “go” and damn – when I shifted to “go” my chain dropped. This unto itself isn’t a big deal, but at the start of the race – not-so-good. After a short chase I caught the train and was on the back of the peloton.

Looking around I noticed that some young folks were in the group. “Umm?” I asked a guy next to me (who looked to be 20 years old) did he ride in the MASTERS group very often. His reply was funny, “man, you’re in the CAT3’s, you’d best get to chasing – the MASTERS group left 5 minutes before us.”

The thought bubble above my head was a huge: WTF!

I was in the wrong group! Again, WTF!. My number was in the sequence of the CAT3’s but I registered as a MASTERS 45+. Go figure. My mind was in turmoil … I stared ahead at the wet roads and I knew my day was over. By that I mean, I felt as if I would be DQ’d because I was in the wrong group. As such I wouldn’t’ place with the 3’s — and thus, the Saturday race would be a bust. Again, WTF!

After the first lap, I elected to make the workout a hard one. Why not – today’s plan called for a long race at max intensity. Midway through the second lap I left the group and rode ahead and no one followed. I tucked into my TT position and moved along at about 21 or 22 …. into a 20mph headwind. Nearing the start area four guys bridged up to me and I jump in with them … moving as efficiently as possible. Luck was such that the rest of the peloton jumped hard and was coming up fast. When we grouped, near the first turn, we bunched and several guys pushed hard into the corner (which was wet – with standing water – slippery-slip-slip). One rider went down in front of me – another locked up his breaks and popped a tire (it sounded like a loud firecracker going off).

No one jumped (as is norm when a crash occurs) but the field pushed hard. I noticed the peloton was smaller (we dropped some folks), and with fewer riders it was evident that the average age might have been 25. Then at the top of the climb I went to the front and pushed again. And again. Especially when we cut into that nasty headwind.

The last two laps were without fanfare. Jumps, chasing, slowing down to 15mph, more jumps, and then a strong tailwind. 13 riders were left. And I was one of them.

The last stretch of road (of the last lap) was fast – we cruised at 31, 32 – then 33mph. A guy jumped and left us and my response was nothing more than a TT position big-gear-push. More riders came up and jumped. I waited. In the field sprint I was 8th. Two riders had gotten away – and that meant 10th place.

I spoke with the official afterward and there was a mix up with my number – so they classified me with the 3’s.

RECAP: 5 miles of warm-up. 55mile race. 8 miles of cool-down. Average HR 138 – maxed twice. Average speed 23.1 – Placed 10th. Average age 24. Next age (close to me) was 31.

More from the peloton tomorrow.


Between you and them. I’m gonna win.

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People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and the Universe.
It was never between you and them anyway.


Meet. Meet. WHAT??? This week is over. Time to race.

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I’m really tired. Friday started with a couple of “huddle” sessions then we met some. Umm. Meetings with interns, met with my bike mechanic while cramming my sandwich down. Met again with my interns.

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Met with colleagues. Supped, drupped, hupped, cupped, bupped, etc. Then packed it up and traveled 200 miles to Statesville, North Carolina. The best part of today was dinner: 7oz filet medium rare, fresh asparagus, salad with plump tomatoes, fresh bread with cheese, the Buckler non-alcoholic beer, a Sam Adams real beer, and relaxation. I packed the dinner – and enjoyed eating it. A lot.

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Tomorrow is going to be race-day. Best get some shut eye and mentally prepare. Good night.


Meet. Meet. Meet. Does that word appear to be misspelled?

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Thursday was a HUGE blur: meetings had meetings and then it was time for a second workout. Huh? How does that happen? Get up – workout. Go to work. Meet. Meet some more. Meet at lunch. Meet after lunch. Meet during the meeting. Meet again. Finally the end of the day. Workout again. Go home. Clean the bike. Pack the equipment. Prepare the race gear. Pack lunch for Friday. Make breakfast Friday – and Saturday. Make dinner for Friday. Pack fuel for the race. Wash some clothes. Pickup the house. Eat at 9PM. Struggle with staying awake. Go to bed. That was 14 hours.

Good night. 


Springfield, Tennessee Opens Ski Resort. Details at 11:00

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In the Middle Tennessee metropolis of Springfield – near West Sandy, a new ski resort opened on Saturday. At my dad’s house. Snow was blowing and naturally the locals tested their equipment to ensure the slopes were ready. Unfortunately with 3″ of base, it was difficult to get traction in the turns. It was noted that school was closed – but then again it was Saturday. Go figure. Even WalMart was open and selling milk like gasoline – expensively. When is spring going to spring? In Springfield it was winter time on Saturday. I suspect the fish were bitin’ today – since the temps soared to – oh – 64. Spring best get here — soon.

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Three workouts today. Double Posts.

It’s going to be a long day. 11AM is a weight workout with a focus on legs. Then I pack my lunch and head out for the Foothills Parkway. I’ll eat while I ride (can you imagine the dedication!) and go climb for about four hours.

Now where the hell is that coming from? I mean, where will I get the shiznet to manage that kind of workout??? Who knows, but one thing is for sure: the Amgen Tour of California is wrapping up later today and those guys are doing a much harder, longer workout than me – after 6 days of racing – so I suggest no whining.


The racing season is underway. Officially it started today.

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I drove 200 miles (one way) for a race at Donaldson Center Industrial Air Park in Greenville, South Carolina today. Sponsored by Hincapie Sports (that’s George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong’s chief lieutenant for all of his seven Tour de France wins), this is the fifth year of the series. A few years ago the fields were small and tight. Bicycle racing popularity has dramatically influenced field size – meaning more racers for each category.

Even the women’s field was full today.

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Alright – the loop around the airport is six-something miles. Lots of wind and a couple of decent climbs make the course tough … with wind, but not so much if the wind isn’t blowing. Today it was howling at 20+mph. Blah. I started on the line at the right and quickly moved my happy ass to the first corner in the front. I had no intention of dealing with a full field, navigating the first turn of the first race of the season. Oops, the freakin race computer didn’t work. Ergo – I had only my heart rate monitor to refer to for “data.”

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Somewhere nearing the 3/4 portion of the first loop a couple of guys jumped — I did too. The peloton picked us up quickly. The race continued and three guys went — I did too. The third surge was met with more guys than the last. The fourth surge and two of us were away … swept up within a 1/2 mile. Again the field surged (each time into the wind, not with the wind) it was becoming harder because there was no true recovery between surges. Near the section where the wind switched from “in your face” to “at your back” a group of two went hard. They moved away very quickly.

Ok. We’re (the field) now shooting it out for third place unless we catch them. (I doubted that because David Grice from Hearn’s Smith Barney was one of the two).

The field pushed hard on the second loop near the first climb … and the front of the field surged again. With the wind howling in our faces – someone kicked it one mo’ time near the top. Thanks goodness I was near the front otherwise I would have been dropped. (Yet another reason to be in the front!) I had very little ump in my thump, but somewhere in my heart rate monitor I saw some room to go with them. I’m glad I did. We were first a group of four – then five – then six – and me seven; we time trailed into the wind and within one mile we had a :40 gap. “FuckinA!”

I think we wanted to break away – more so because it was safer – and secondarily because we knew we’d have a better chance of placing if we gapped the field. I kept looking at the heart rate monitor, and it read ‘high’ numbers. At 92% (of max) there wasn’t much room. I wasn’t breathing hard, but the lactic acid in my legs made them feel like lead. I kept telling myself it didn’t matter … this was a first race … “it  doesn’t matter!” i.e., no points for USCF ratings, so I dug in way deep.

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On the fourth lap, the two guys in front of us were 1:20 and the field behind us was 1:20. The time gaps (front and rear) stayed pretty much the same for the remainder of the race. Three guys attempted to gap from the field to us but we re-grouped and rotated pretty hard for a couple of miles before they got sucked back into the field. It was a hard race – especially because I had not trained (yet) in those heart rate zones (90 to 95% of max).

My mind kept struggling with WHY? And WHY was I doing this – how crazy is this??!! I mean, you can be fit by riding your bike and hitting the weights a couple days per week. BUT you will not be super-fit if you don’t train to race – and then race when you can. And the real answer to WHY is this: the season is VERY long. It starts in February and we continue racing through September.

RECAP First race: Donaldson Center Road Course — average speed 23.8 — average heart rate 154 — touched the max heart rate twice — finished 8th. Out of 54. (and it was a three-way tie between 6,7,8 and I was on the outside of the camera so I got the number 8. The guy on inside got the 6 and the guy in the middle who truly was 6 got 7 — so I’m way-ok with where I finished. We dropped the damn field and that felt good.)

Good day, good first race. Ride on.

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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.


Climbing is beautiful – better than stairs – better when ready.

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This weekend marks the first full week of Base 3.

My Saturday workout calls for a day of full-on climbing. A real workout.  I like steep climbs. The accomplishment of dragging me and my bike up a road that most people wouldn’t walk is kewl.  The feeling stems from a combination of many things – mostly from a willing spirit that suffers gladly. 

Staying focused when the searing pain is burning my lungs and legs is a challenge. I like it because the roads on steep climbs are usually void of heavy traffic – so suffering is worth the quietness and solitude. Ahh.

Relaxing while in pain is an interesting combination that borders on something sadistic. I suspect most cyclists who race are considered to be in that elk – as it requires mental tenacity to overcome the body’s overt white flag to surrender. Yet we keep going.

Tomorrow will be mostly climbing. 2.5 hours or more. Of the workouts during this week, I’ll enjoy this one the most.

Photos to follow.


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.
 


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. 


Christmas-eve Sunset over the Foothills

1500-sunset-photo.jpg  Another great day of riding – along the back roads of Blount County. Just three doggies out today keeping me fast and to the point – moving. I found it difficult to let go of and totally forget about work  – it’s been crazy-busy and full stress these last few weeks. Normally when I ride I can just zone out and soak up sites. Not today.

I realized that several people were gone before I had the opportunity to say, “Happy Holidays.” DJ, Ames, Toe, Cave and Kymmy-Kym. It was a fast ‘last day’ of the week with lots of people scrambling to finish up and get gone. Peace to all. Thanks for being so friendly and authentic. Merry Christmas … and Happy Holidays. 

I stopped and took the attached photos at the end of the day near sunset. It was a beautiful finish to a productive and exciting day. Lots of miles along the back roads – a few doggies – some nice sun my face – quiet roads – moderate temps and no flats. Good day.  Peace out.


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.


Calling all ducks ….

Well, some ducks came and many, many others elected to fly further south for the winter. When the ducks fly, callers call and guns come ablazin.’ When the bullets hurl toward their feathered bodies – they fly faster. I’m convinced of it. After seeing them fly fast – and then move out a little faster when steel shot is coming ever so close to them … they have built in radar! Ok – a short post – and a video: West Sandy.


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.


In the middle of somewhere.

I’m visiting my dad in Springville, Tennessee.

The trip over was mighty nice: few cars and fewer super-Troopers. At 301 miles from Maryville to Springville the trip is just about 4 hours. The other side of Nashville I tucked in behind a Trooper and cruised at 91 (my preferred speed ironically).

Alas, I’m on Kentucky lake near fishing and duck hunting and such. We’re not close to Paris, Tennessee but close enough. We’re not close to Camden, but close enough. We’re in a remote section of Tennessee where schools can be purchased for a mere $20,000. Land and homes are easily acquired and that includes finding access to the lake. Enough of the geography lesson. Best get to bed.


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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If that wasn’t enough.

Let’s go a little deeper in the photo archive. Umm. When last on the island of Oahu, I visited Hanauma Bay. I actually road there from Waikiki on my bicycle – then about 1/3 around the island. This spot is favorite among tourists staying for a three or four day excursion. The trip is fairly quick from Honolulu and removed enough to give the beach goer a taste of Hawai’i. Interestingly, the day I was there I saw cars waiting to pull onto the road – to take you to the parking lot – to park – to visit the beach. So much visitation that a Park Ranger was counting cars to keep from an overfill. UMM. My little 16lb bicycle wasn’t in the way – and so I took my happy ass down to the beach. It was an eye full. I’d settle for the North Shore. It’s lots less crowded and much more Aloha. Peace out.



A post.

It was a wonderful Tuesday – with lots of sun – better, warmer weather and a nice day overall. I took advantage of the weather and ventured outside after work for a ride in the dark. Yeah. Best bring warmer gloves for tomorrow night. Ok – overall this week is going to be great. Great. Because it’s all about having fun from now on. I sound like I’m convincing myself, but really it’s all about fun. Do you ever look at folks – say in their 60’s – and wonder … have they had fun in their lives? What are they living for? What is their retirement plan? What … what … what if … why … are they having fun? Have they had fun? What’s the word fun mean? My def: F-U-N > smiles, laughter, people talking, music, mental vacationing (regularly), and a general mental attitude of … “I want more of that please.” Nuf said.

I continue to notice one thing: people postponing fun tend to have less fun. ERGO – Let’s have more fun. Can I get a right on?!

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Random image of the day – very random. Figure it out. Yeah, it’s the garage, well a small corner of a 2,100 sq ft garage.It feels more like a gallery with some kewl “shiznet” in it than a garage. I’ll snap some mo shots. But it’s my escape from the world of riding, the world of racing, the world of advertising and the University.

It’s a great place to peel off a few hours while doing nothing but care shiznet.


Mile Marker 423.9

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The route for my Saturday bike ride started in Greenhills (actually near West End Avenue) and carried me through Belle Meade out to

Old Hickory Boulevard down Vaughn Gap and over to Old Natchez Trace Road. Naturally this has been replaced with the highly modernized Natchez Trace Parkway stretching 442 miles in total length. My ride wasn’t that long. Well, for today anyway.

I covered a mere 73 miles – starting at mom’s house and traveling to mile marker 407 on the ‘new’ Natchez Trace Parkway. I soaked up the entire route – as much soaking as you can do when it’s 35 degrees. This route was a favorite when I was in college. I’d ride this road three or four days a week. The Old Natchez Trace road is strikingly similar to River Road near my home in Maryville. Nothing odd about that … I suspect I enjoyed it so much while in college that I subconsciously moved near a similar location to continue enjoying it later in life? Not sure – but it’s interesting.

At Mile Marker 423.9 along my route I stopped for a water bottle change (I consumed four total) and grab a snack from the rear pocket of my jersey. With the trusty Pentax, I shot the panoramic photo.

This spot, in 1796, marked the location between the United States to north and the Chickasaw Nation to the south. Ergo the Valley Divide. No arrows were found – but I did run into some biking buddies on the Parkway. Another story – another time.

Bike riding has a history lesson associated with just about every ride. Sometimes it’s a “don’t ride too close to cars lesson … other times it’s a slow down you fool you’re not going to outrun all six of those dogs (LOL) lesson.” Today’s lesson was a reminder that the smooth-as-glass, no road signs, no commercial trucks, no stop’n-robs – no nothing (!) road that we call the Natchez Trace Parkway was once known as the first American interstate highway. Long ago, at its best, it was a wide path.

The ‘new’ Natchez Trace Parkway has two lanes that are extra wide, and in most locations it has a shoulder. If you travel the road just make sure to take food, drink and a cell phone. There are no places to stop and replenish supplies.

Although no photo was taken, my turnaround spot was mile marker 407 – site of the Gordon House. In the early 1800’s (like 1801), the Gordons operated a ferry that took passengers across the Duck River. The house was built later in 1818. Long time ago and yes, the ferry has been replaced with a bridge.

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The second photo, taken on the ‘old’ Natchez Trace Road, tells the rest of the story.

Ayali (ah-yah-lee). Goodbye in Chickasaw.


Briktops.

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Last night we (mom, Thurman, Amy-Ames and moi) traveled to “Briktops” on West End Avenue. My treat. IT was yummy. The restaurant is the site of the former Houston’s Restaurant (a long-standing Nashville favorite) – just about 3 minutes from mom’s place and is well worth the visit. It’s nice to step out and get away from the gobble-gobble of turkeyville. I ate enough turkey for next year.

On Thanksgiving we ate at the Country Club — and I had (!) scrambled eggs with cheese, roast beef, grilled asparagus, shrimp (chilled), garlic crackers, Starchuck coffee and some chocolate silk pie to wrap it up. Blah-blah-blah. Here is the photo of the day – me and Ames at Briktop – smiling and having fun. Yeah.


It’s called: dreaming.

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Ever wonder why we wear what we wear to work? Or to the mall – or to the grocery? Ever think about the “wearables” for the day? When we plan our wardrobe we are in essence planning the future. I believe that our future is “dreamed” the same way — we plan it out or it’s planned out for us.

Think about this – how are you going to work tomorrow? What turns will you make along the way? Can you make choices that change your path but allow you to arrive at the destination just the same? Yes. Yes. Yes.

Dreaming about our future is exactly (!) the same way. Meditation experts recognize the importance of thinking clearly and also the significance of “imagining” our destination before we arrive. Some life-coaches call it thinking from the end – backwards. The focus is on the process — with a goal in mind. Ergo – when we discover the vision of what we want – and can then go about taking the steps to arrive at the blue suite, black shoes, white shirt — or — jeans, hiking boots, sweater, backpack — blah-dity-blahblah. You get it.

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Today we’re reminded that somewhere on this planet warm weather abounded. Yessur. The goal. Steps to realize the goal include distinct visioning so we’re reminded of the goal with clarity and vivid detail. It encourages realization. Find a photo of what you desire – and focus on it.

It could be success at work. Or, family harmony. For some – the ability to climb a mountain. Others – to make sure their family is healthy, happy and love. From my spot on the globe I’m thinking of a warm destination in the middle of the Pacific. So – we have a view from Hawai’i. I do imagine that on a routine basis.
Enjoy – Aloha.
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Big Egg. Big Bub. Big Junction.

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Ok – first – the Big Green Egg. This ginormous egg is a terrific ceramic smoker. This lunker is stashed off River Road and hasn’t been used now for many months. I suspect an offer of $1,500 would snatch it .. but I’m not sure. I’ve got the “mini” and it’s been in operation for about 10 years now. It’s easy to cook on/with – using both direct and indirect heat. You can get a 6 hour cooking cycle from one small batch of charcoal. It uses real coal only. And with a 6 hour cycle, you can change the smoke every 40 minutes based on what you cook. Start with steak – using pecan. Then cook some fish – using cherry. Finish off with some pork chops – using hickory. YUM-yum-Yummy. Visit Big Green Egg and find out more.

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Why the hell is it that folks have to deface signs in an effort “to leave their mark?” I’m amazed at the lack of respect – and the attitude that joins forces with penmanship like we see here. Such antics affect me … why? Is it because some of us want pristine signs giving us information? Or possibly that additional graffiti detract from the sign itself? If you look closely, “Bub and Lisa -07″is written in black ink at the top of this sign. Can I get a “WTF.” If my can of gasoline were handy I would have erased this tacky addition.IN any case, the mountains of North Carolina are in the background and are easily viewed from the Cherohala Skyway. Enjoy.


And more rain. Two days now?

Whoa. Can you imagine – two days in a row that it’s raining in east Tennessee. How nice. What’s even nicer is the fact that I feel good about it raining. As much as I love the rain, I’d prefer not to ride in the rain. I did yesterday but it was just wet, not raining. Needlesstosay – no other riders were outside working out. AND – very few cars traveled the boulevard nearby. Yea.

Enough of that shiznet. Travel to my YouTube video: lightening on the Parkway to see and hear a storm blowing in from the east. This video footage was taken looking toward Townsend, Tennessee.


So it rains. Finally.

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After much ado about dryness, we’ve got a little wet weather. That should clear the air and provide a fresher smell come Thursday. Let’s hope so. The fall has been dry – yet we’ve enjoyed tons of bluebird days. My gut tells me we’ll endure more rain over the winter months than in previous years – and with warmer temps – more rain than snow. Oh well – enjoy each day as though it were the only day we’ve been given. Had I reflected upon that thought earlier this week I wouldn’t have posted some of the nasty-gram-posts that appeared in my blog. Whatev. It’s all about being human, right? Today’s photo is just that – rain-full and peaceful cause it’s taken near Townsend, Tennessee. Where’s my Gortex?


No# 2. I don’t mean business. Unless you know I mean business.

A day off from work. How lovely was that (it was very lovely). Aside from the fact that I didn’t sit through a long series of meetings at the office – most of which could be shorter and kill less trees. No need to use the high-tech shiznet in our conference room – it’s best to print, print, print.

Ok then. I took Friday off and Monday off – and I did what I wanted – GOOF OFF; that was fun. I hadn’t had time to just “be” in way too long. Should I say – not in a long time. Rather than take a “formal” vacation this year, I elected to purchase a Yamaha 150 scooter. Now that might cause some folks a little pain (whatever … vacation or scooter – let me see??). I went the scooter route because it was needed. Is needed.
“Scootie” is a nice addition to the stable of four vehicles, five bicycles and such. Why? … motor-paced training. In the coming year I plan on opening up several cans of whooooop-ass during my races. Training via Scootie will give me an edge. It’s the equivalent to training at race pace and allows for the kind of hard riding associated with racing (24+mph). With Scootie, I can go faster – I can go further – I can train longer – I can train when I need to versus when a group of buddies is ready to train, and I can train even when it’s F’in cold outside. Unless the BGE isn’t in the mood for cold. She’s been good so far – – – we’ll see.

Now for today. I drove Amy-Ames to the Cherohala Skyway. Pointing out the significant percentage grades and the required climbing – particularly as we drove up Montvale and over to “Sweety Pie” (a 17% climb that makes MY legs hurt). The first panoramic photo for today was take atop Sweetie Pie. This is, by the way, just below the top of (- you guessed it -) the Foothills Parkway.

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The second – much more impressive photo – was taken atop “Huckleberry Knob,” one of the highest points in the eastern US. Approximately 5,560 ft and it provides a 360 degree view. There is NOTHING blocking the view. Not a tree. “The hills are alive with music … ” LOL! It’s a bald spot on an otherwise nothing spot. There was a Geo-cache bottle hiding near the summit – and we added our own little treat. With a short wooden pencil I had in my backpack, and using some paper we pulled some paper from the Geo-cache, we created a rubbing of the grave marker for Andy Sherman. If you hike to the summit, the grave is clearly marked with a metal cross. Again, I’m talking about  Huckleberry Knob  just off the Cherohala Skyway. The geo-cache was a nice and interesting ending to our picnic atop Huckleberry. We also found two firearm rounds (a .44 and a 9mm) on the ground. Umm, are guns needed on this hike? I’ll save the answer for another day. Peace. 

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Liftoff. Check.

Herein are some photos taken along the airstrip on the North Shore. This little airport is situated well outside town and certainly off the beaten path. Well – sort of. On this end of Oahu, crime was once very high. Due to its isolated location and proximity to an off-road trail leading to the mountains, this became a fox hole for many criminals doing the “hit and run” on local well-to-do homes.

 

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The road is now paved – for a good stretch (about 8 miles – I’ve ridden it on my bike) and development regulations have minimized potential hotels or resorts from popping up. Ah, the airstrip, Dillingham Airfield – please use these words “supa-badass” when referring to the location.

With mountains as a backdrop and the Pacific just off the north, it’s a hub-bub of flying frenzy. You can wave-soar off the mountains due to the continuous airflow or drift inland and thermal-soar to gain altitude.

Feeling gutsy? Go off shore over the Pacific for some aerobatic flying … I did. Probably the very best activity I’ve ever enjoyed while on vacation. I learned to fly an ASK-21 back in the mid-80’s and it was same model I flew over the Pacific. The only (mega) difference – we flew the plane as it was designed to be flown – as an aerobatic two-person sail plane. Again, ‘supa-badass.’ Click over to my youtube videos and check-m out.

See my videos here through these links: a) Inverted, and b) Two-g’s. Enjoy – I did.


The Duchess visits Tremont.

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Yes, you heard correct – the Duchess of Plasma visited the Institute at Tremont Saturday. The motorcade traveled from near Maryville out River Road then through Townsend. Most motorists along the way were peaceful and watchful.

A few drivers came a bit close to her – I assume to verify that she is indeed the Duchess of Plasma. With a minimized wind resistance, she traveled 321 at a speed of 24mph (cruising speed). The brief stop at Tremont allowed for a jel-pak and water bottle refill. And a photo. With refreshments, the Duchess was in the mood for some faster paced travel back to Maryville. Existing Tremont we then traveled to the Parkway at 30mph and 25 for most of Highway 321. The trip back home is always a bit faster (mostly downhill) and the wind had settled somewhat. Ahh, the sound of a disk wheel, the aero position, the aero water bottle – and plenty of ‘tempo’ on the Nano.

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Nearing the Avery Estate (known as the Country House), she requested a brief respite for another photo capture. Ergo the panoramic insert taken one mile from home. Enjoy.


Palau

Another beauty for the eyes. Yes, it’s WAY out there in the western part of the Pacific. That pearl is called Palau. I would have loved to be there today – sunning and relaxing (not sure if I could relax but I’d try). With a tropical paradise surrounding you, what else is there to do? It’s an awesome natural environment to snorkel, scuba, hike or just watch the sting-less jelly fish. Yes, there is such a thing.

Take a look-see at the photo gallery (since I’m all about photos you’ll find these exceptional and worth viewing), and you’ll discover several visual reasons for at least a mental visit. I suggest the mental visit first – as it’s 4,609 miles from Honolulu (like flying from Atlanta to LA) and most folks fly to Hawaii then to Guam then to Palau. Did I hear two weeks of vacation required??? Rock on.


Mecca – at last.

After a weekend full of working out: Saturday was slated for three.point.three hours of motor-paced riding with the BGE (that is Ames), with another three hours of power-washing the driveway – then grilling some tasty steaks (YUM) and football.

WHOA. I’m tired.

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Today, I worked for four hours and then road to my favorite place – “Mecca,” a.k.a., The Institute at Tremont. Today’s image was taken at the wooden bridge which carries you across to the Institute itself. I thoroughly enjoy stopping there to take in a moment of silence. The water is very peaceful and the autumn air felt great today. The lack of noise pollution is refreshing and I mentally go “there” when life’s stresses pinch me during the day. Today I added a .mov to give you some sound to the silence that awaits the visitor. Enjoy.


Real Diamond.

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The Diamond of today is on Oahu – just a stroll from Waikiki Beach – looking in all directions around the island. The photo is cropped in the photomotolog header – and one of my favorites. I could see nothing but blue stretching out in front of me – and so I pulled out the Pentax and snapped away. Rock on. I’ve enlarged this photo for friends and everyone asks, “where did you purchase the photo?” I usually reply, “on Oahu.” (with my own eyes).

Aloha.


Mecca. @ Tremont

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The personal mecca that I enjoy riding to is the Institute at Tremont, just inside the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This beautiful site is just 21 miles from my back door (yeah). And if I could ride there on a daily basis I’d be most happy indeed. My favorite stop on the trip to Mecca is the wooden bridge that carries you across the creek to the Institute itself. I’ve stopped on this bridge many times – in each season – and in all types of weather. My trusty Pentax is with me usually to help remember the visual image my eyes truly enjoy. The panoramic photo from today is actually three images that were stitched together – providing the perspective of what the eye sees when standing on the bridge. Visit the Park and stop at Tremont – it’s mecca. Enjoy.


Makiki (pronounced: ma’keykey) as in Heights:

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The Hawai’i Five-O show was filmed mostly on Oahu – in and around Honolulu. As a favorite show from my youth, it was a catalyst in driving me to the Hawaiian Islands – as a visitor. On my most recent trip, I raced in a time trail up Makiki Heights, a famous uphill section of Tantalus Drive.

This exclusive residential area of Oahu is spectacular. Other than homes (many of which are multi-millions), there are a few roadside pull-off areas. Terrific views – and that’s it. Jack Lord – who played Steve McGarrett in Hawai-i Five-O, visited Tantalus in several episodes. One of the most talked about, “Death Wish on Tantalus Mountain.” The very road we race our bicycles up – ha. The view from above is magnificent because you look out toward the Pacific and are above Diamond Head. Enlarge the photo and find Diamond Head in the distance. Enjoy. I did.


Comics for Tuesday

Did someone tell me it was a work day or what! I’m so into the blogster and now I’ve missed a day. Oh what fun it is to slave away the day. I did create a little ditty from my photo archive taken this past weekend. Herein. Me and Ames traveled to — you guess it – the Parkway. She was ready for home – I wanted to ride. Ha. More later – peace.foot-hills-fun.jpg


Luxury Lifestyle. Looks from the Parkway.

Traveling the Parkway yesterday was a little crazy. LOTS of motorcyclists, even more cars, leaf-peepers, dead squirrels (cause they think their invincible), very few clouds and some random turkeys trotting the roadside. Other than that – it was a wonderful day. Evident in my photos, the view is looking like a luxury lifestyle you’d only experience … well … on the Parkway. A mere 11 minutes from home, the Parkway is a must-see for tourists and a must visit for cyclists. (Click the photo below to see the full framed version.)

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Ok then. The first three miles are uphill – a CAT 3 climb. It takes a good cyclist about 13 minutes; the average joe on a Trek, about 22. The Parkway drops then for a gradual descent that is about 1.1 miles and you climb yet again. The second climbing section is again a CAT 3 that is about 2.5 miles and has a false flat. (Click the photo below to see the full framed version.)

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The road turns up again for another 1.7 miles and a brief downhill before you arrive at the summit. It’s a very easy climb – if you’re climbing easy. It can be a leg-full if you drop the chain to – let’s say – fifth gear (cog-17). Then it’s a WORKOUT. With the right legs, a 17 delivers 13.5 minutes on the first section and a sub-40 minute to the actual descent on the other side. Which – bTw – is 8 miles downhill. The roundtrip to the end of the Parkway (at HWY 129) and back is 52 miles from my back door. I’ll blog about it tomorrow after I ride this route – today.


Blinded by the Camo.

Whoa. My first instinct was to look for the gun turret. Then I realized I was looking at my dad’s new duck blind. Some blind: seats 6 men, houses the requisite dog, has a heating unit (!), fridge, satellite TV (kidding), a fridge (not kidding), room for the john-boat to get you there. What else – room for lots of dead ducks, shell casings and such.

This thing is so camoed-up that ducks will likely land near it for protection only to find that 18 shells can be emptied quicker than you can say, “INCOMING!” (Quietly you say ‘incoming.’) I’ll get my first up close view of this blind later this year. More from the field then. Otherwise, did you see the blind or was the camo too much?

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Old Glory worthy of salute.

Over the Arizona, floating in Pearl Harbor, Old Glory flies — brilliant — the Stars & Stripes are powerful in red, white and blue. She’s beautiful and full of life. For those that see this particular flag, you cannot help but understand what she represents. It’s a powerful and an inspiring image. So many have died fighting for her – defending her – proving that freedom is worthy of life itself.

I’ve visited the Arizona twice. Both visits yielded the same observations: young people (those less than 25 or 30) walk around and chatter about what they see and hear. Older than 50, the look is somber, the eyes wide open and the mood is very different. The younger group has no real sense of what occurred at Pearl Harbor – even with the video they see. Anyone over 50 years of age and you notice the tears. Imagine this — it’s been more than sixty years since its occurrence, and the site still affects people very deeply. Their sadness is highly evident as they reflect and ponder what occurred December 7, 1941.

Before you exit the land-side exhibit, a movie about Pearl Harbor is shown. The movie is etched in my mind so clearly (and I’m sure thousands of other people) – the images are so vivid, real and believe it or not, very ‘current.’ Touring the “Remembrance Exhibit” reiterates why: 2,335 servicemen and 68 civilians killed, 1,178 wounded. Of those that perished were 1,104 men aboard the Battleship USS Arizona. The men aboard the USS Arizona were killed as a result of a 1,760-pound air bomb that penetrated the ship’s forward magazine.

I respect the flag of the United States of America … Old Glory.
Forever may she wave. old-glory-over-arizona.jpg


What ‘is’ chain-flap?

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It’s the message of what our eyes see and the camera delivers. It’s the view from the road while free-wheeling along at 40mph. Sometimes it’s the sound of iPod clicking in my ears telling me to go faster. Better yet, it’s a magical moment when the chain is being forced up or down the cog because of some immediate need to climb faster or go faster. Chain-flap is all about fast – it’s all about telling us something. Sometimes worthless. More often than not it’s just a conduit for presenting a photographic image of the world I live in.

My friend Lori taught me about making the world bigger. Her view is simple: engage with the world and experience what it offers – ergo – the world never shrinks. It grows. If you allow the world to narrow, it gets small very quickly. Much like a business, if it’s not growing, it’s shrinking. So is life. If it’s not growing (in terms of experiences, adventures or memories) it’s shrinking.

For me – I’m all about keeping life large. Rock on.


Clarksville, WHO?

Tennessee, as in Clarksville, Tennessee. Yesterday a friend of mine and I traveled to meet with some folks in the Mayor’s office regarding ‘branding.’ “Let’s put on the map,” the rally cry for the day. Most don’t know it but Clarksville is the fifth largest city in Tennessee and ‘owns’ (stakes claim to) two-thirds of Fort Campbell. In any case, the trip was terrific having plenty of time to rehearse and even more time to catch up on what’s going on and not going on at the office. BLAH. Who-knew.

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My photo of the day is taken directly across from ‘city hall’ which isn’t like the city hall you would imagine. It’s a five story building with lots of glass – and it faces the Cumberland River. More about this adventure later.


Rusted Tractor Pull.

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The depth of rust carries a hew of early 19th century (1807 to be exact) in this photo of the day. Parked near Cookeville, Tennessee we saw this rust-bucket next to a BBQ stand …

… operating out of a defunct SubWay shop! Ha. With good smells nearby (hickory wood and BBQ cooking), it gave me a ‘yesteryear’ experience … just for a moment.

Then I snapped the photo and laughed. Why is this sitting here? The owner of the gas station bought it at an auction 15 years ago with hopes of restoring it. Guess his passion for cooking good BBQ got in the way. As evident in the defunct SubWay shop (remember it’s the number one selling franchise in the world for a reason). “Russ-ted.”


An adventure in blogging starts over.

Ok. I resigned my typepad account in favor of wordpress. I’m starting over – which many people would not want to do. However, I wasn’t happy with the whole carbon junkie thing. After talking with my friend Paul, the creative bent he shared was about the energy of riding. I naturally like the energy that is stored and released via carbon – in my bike frame, handlebars, wheels, etc. So I am a carbon junkie – I’ve got multiple pieces laying around and any time I can lighten the bike with more carbon, I do so. However, as much as I love bicycling – and specifically racing them – I’ve got more going on than that (some question the truth in that statement though).

The new blog is much more about “chain-flap” and that is basically – conversation about what I see, hear and do. Nothing more – rather – it’s the important shiznet to me. It’s my blog –

Enough said. Today’s photo is the the masthead. And that is to become the true test of my blog. I am a “junkie” or sorts about panoramic photos and aspire to own a real panoramic camera. The photo of the masthead is was taken from Diamond Head – in the early afternoon last summer. The sky – the Pacific – the mood – all were rich and vibrant. Some photo considering it was taken with a (!) point and shoot Pentax 6m waterproof camera.

The Pacific is like home to me. Don’t know why – but it is. With five visits to Hawaii (where I amassed some 30 days on the islands), it will be my home one day. Why? Take a look at the photo and you’ll find it to be a mecca of sorts. The image is burned into my head and it’s a huge driver of my daily thoughts. Enough for now. WordPress is in order and working.


Oh – and the Wheelman Fall Century

I hauled my Pentax around with me today – but it never came out of the backpocket. Why? Well, we hauled ass in the 100 miles we covered today. The starting group was about 79 riders (riding 100 miles). And by 55 miles the group was mostly intact. We were – however – moving at tempo (a fast pace). Somewhere around 80 miles we covered on significant climb and that ended the “group” thing (which I don’t like – just so you know).

We dropped about 20 riders and narrowed the group to 12.

At the completion of the event, we covered 101 miles in 4:32 – averaging about 21.5 mph. Not fast – but way beyond a pace that the typical cyclist can endure. Especially for 100 miles.

I’ll make sure that next year I DO NOT begin my fall weight lifting program until this ride is completed. I was fatigued and honestly – I hung on. My ability to endure is directly proportional with the races that I entered and completed this year (32 total). With that much racing, suffering is accepted. Fatigue is a given. Haulin ass is welcomed. Because, frankly, dropping riders who can’t maintain the pace is fun.


And what were you thinking?

We are always getting ready to live but never living.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Sometimes missing you isn’t so much fun.

Yes, I am able to put my emotions “in check” just long enough to make sure I can survive on my own! And I did that very nicely today. I slept in, ate late, watched the Tour, watched it rain, napped some and then ate again. Watched the Tour and then – yes – I road for 2.5 hours.

I realize how much I want you in my life and need you in my life. Heck, life isn’t all-that unless we’re together. Maybe you felt that way long ago. I know at one point I was head over heels and then felt taken advantage of – and I backed way off. I’ve not come back to that space and likely won’t. I’m fearful of your willy-nilly ways of making rash changes in life that have deep and earth moving ramifications. It’s good that I backed up and decided to walk a little slower. Year-two of our life together is better and it seems better every day. Except when you’re far away.

I wish I were with you guys, but then again how the hell would I ride? Funny to think about it. Maybe a beach vacation next year together and then I can take my bike. Ha.

I love you Amy – and hope to talk soon.

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