Tour de France: the mountains are calling. And yes, the Tour will be decided in the mountains. No doubt.
As The Boss suffered and agreed to stick to the plan, his mind wasn’t on the mountains – it was on the mountains. Staying seated means staying in the moment. If you give your concentration to another road, another route all you do is give up what’s in front of you. Depicted here I imagine my own ride would be a bit more cautious and SLOW!
None of us are worthy. Ride oneth.
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.
Always do right. This will gratify
some people and astonish the rest.
→ Mark Twain
The weather was spectacular this year for the Smoky Mountain Wheelman Fall Century “ride.” Just warm enough to keep the warmies safe at home in the drawer. The crowd seemed larger this year, but I’m not sure of the total. It certainly was larger than 2007.
The SMWFC is a “ride” – and it’s supposed to be more of a training ride than a tempo ride. I emphasize ride because one of my riding buddies elected to charge the first 15 miles as if we were in the race season. Oh well, warming up wasn’t in the cards. LOL.
Inevitably there are a lot of riders who charge to the starting line as “if” they are going to show their stuff, but are usually not seen ‘pulling’ or taking their turn putting their noses into the wind. This year was no exception. With Jeff’s race pace antics and Kent’s consistent 25mph pace, few riders were going to hang on long enough to ‘attempt’ to pull through. HA. Tim made sure the pace was even and kept forcing the peloton (those working anyway) to stay smooth. Somewhere around mile-45, the starting group of 60-something big shots was down to 20-something.
Edging over two hours we past the 50-mile mark and kept trucking. There were 7 of us working while the rest tagged along. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that some of the riders tagging along were working hard, and as such weren’t capable of pulling through. Or, had they pulled through a few times they would have been dropped sooner.
And drop they did. When we started spinning some of the more significant rollers, I tested my climbing legs and repeatedly pushed it. 20-something was reduced to the 13 riders very quickly. With a tight group, we sat up and everyone started chatting – which was a nice break. Look at it this way, the darn ride is a 100 miles and every rider has ample opportunity to “work.” Alas, enjoying the day IS part of the ride.
Somewhere around mile 75-ish we took a 5-minute food/bio break so everyone could reload and prepare for the finish. About 4 miles outside Madisonville the only real climb of the day helped us drop a few more riders. I actually led the climb and left everyone behind – except for Joseph who accelerated away from me at the very top. (All the hard work on the Foothills Parkway paid off. Yeah.) The last 15 miles were uneventful – except the group was reduced to 7 riders. We finished together @ 4:41 and some change. Not bad considering we took a 5-minute break and the course has almost 3,100’ of climbing elevation. I think we averaged 22mph.
The Centuries are done. Continue to ride oneth.
To see what is right, and not do it,
is want of courage, or of principle.
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.
If you have one eye on yesterday, and one eye on tomorrow, you’re going to be cockeyed today. ~Author Unknown
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.
At one point in my life I was a runner. I loved running. However, I wanted to see more, soak up more views and certainly take in more scenery along the way. Let’s put calories aside and focus on the views: if working out is both commitment and enjoyment (separate by some standards) then we’d best enjoy the view. When you ride your bike – you SEE more things, people, places, creatures, and certainly more cars, dogs and issues. I ride because I want to see more of life. Ride on.
Riding is fundamental to affirming our freedom as humans. Think about it: as a kid a bicycle ride was the ultimate ‘freedom’ … it was more freeing than anything else we experienced. It allowed us to venture well beyond the yard, the neighborhood, the streets most familiar and certainly the boundaries we established in our minds as “that’s a long way off.” I ride. Why not.
I recently visited family and the topic of why I ride came up in conversation. Naturally I responded with, “because I can.” The counter response was surprising — and included the words, “you’ll stop in a few years.” The follow-up response will be found here. I ride because I can. I ride because people like Oscar Pistorius would if they could. IN fact, I’ve been in several races with guys who have a carbon fiber leg … just like Oscar Pistorius. Ride. on.
May Day occurs on May 1 and refers to any of several public holidays. In many countries, May Day is synonymous with International Workers’ Day, or Labour Day, which celebrates the social and economic achievements of the labor movement. As a day of celebration, however, the holiday has ancient origins and can relate to many customs that have survived into modern times. Many of these customs are due to May Day being a cross-quarter day, meaning that it falls approximately halfway between a solstice and an equinox.
The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian Europe, as in the Celtic celebration of Beltane, and the Walpurgis Night of the Germanic countries. Many pre-Christian indigenous celebrations were eventually banned or Christianized during the process of Christianization in Europe. As a result, a more secular version of the holiday continued to be observed in the schools and churches of Europe well into the 20th century. In this form, May Day may be best known for its tradition of dancing the Maypole and crowning of the Queen of the May. Today various Neopagan groups celebrate reconstructed (to varying degrees) versions of these customs on 1 May.
The day was a traditional summer holiday in many pre-Christian European pagan cultures. While February 1 was the first day of Spring (season), May 1 was the first day of summer; hence, the summer solstice on June 25 (now June 21) was Midsummer. In the Roman Catholic tradition, May is observed as Mary’s month, and in these circles May Day is usually a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In this connection, in works of art, school skits, and so forth, Mary’s head will often be adorned with flowers. Fading in popularity since the late 20th century is the giving of “May baskets,” small baskets of sweets and/or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbors’ doorsteps.
A wet weather cloud followed SCO from its “Spring Forward Time Trail” (renamed the “Iditarod Time Trail” due to freezing temps, snow, slush and a very dangerous road) to its second event this year: the South Knoxville Time Trail.
Much like its first event – this one was wet, breezy and rather treacherous due to its location – Maryville Pike. I am thankful for the organizer’s attention to detail by arranging for ample law enforcement. With their squad cars visible and the bubblegum lights rolling, vehicles in the vicinity of the event slowed down considerably.
The rain clouds dispersed but not in time for the start of the South Knoxville Time Trail. The Pro1/2’s led off early in rather wet and breezy conditions. I parked near the starter stand just 1/10th of mile away from “go.” Next to me was Kent Bostick , former Olympian and Pan-Am Gold Medal winner. In the pouring rain he warmed up on a trainer while his wife held an umbrella over him to thwart some of the pelting rain.
Near my start time the rain trimmed back to a light drizzle (thankfully) and I warmed up for about a half hour. With my rain jacket on, the tunes blaring, and my water close at hand – it was all-good. The bike seemed more ready than me so I unhooked the rear trainer-wheel and slotted in the disc. The Duchess was ready.
At 8:53 AM I rolled off the line and had one thing in mind: suffering and pain and a fast time. My heart rate monitor read 90% max within thirty seconds of the start and headed north to 92% after cresting the first hill. I pushed hard and kept my eye on my thirty-second-man.
As I neared the turn into Stock Creek I slipped sideways and caught my rear wheel – then I stood up in an attempt to regain speed but the wheel slipped even more. The rain had created a slight film on the turn into Stock Creek … so I just sat my happy ass down and pushed. I crossed the line with a 7:12 (for a 5K or 3.1 miles). Not bad. I later learned I finished 8th overall and 7th in the 40+ Masters group (8 of the top 10 TT finishers were 40+ — just two were 30+!).
Soaked, I turned around and headed back to the car. I hustled to get my shiznet into the car and crank on the heat. No need to get a chill – as that would take a while to uncork.
I drove back to the house and immediately put my shoes in the dryer with the temp set on high heat. I then ate some food and jumped in shower. What a luxury to be so close the event. After an hour or so I re-packed the car with my road bike and traveled back to the start area. Our road race slated an 11:20 start. The race was 100km (62 miles) – with one decent but short climb and lots of wind on the back side of the circuit.
The start of a Masters race is usually like a Pro1/2 event – fast and to the point. No messing around, just pedals moving big gears. This was no exception. We rolled out (on a wet tarmac) and were quickly at 25mph within seconds.
The jumps, the attacks – the BS was non-stop for the first half lap. A couple of guys made it off the front but that head wind put up a good fight. Blah. One lap and we rolled on. On the second lap it was more of the same … lots of attacking and pushing and such. When we approached “Rooster hill” the leaders pushed hard … and I actually stayed with them. I was surprised – on so many levels. The peloton strung itself out and on the descent I felt uneasy because the road was still wet. A gap opened in front of me and Steve Bacon gave me a quick blast — “if you let a gap open – close the gap!” Heck, I wasn’t going to close any gap while on a wet road in a corner.
As we approached the head wind – several guys pushed hard and strung out the group. Those that were dropped on the climb struggled to catch us – and we pushed onward. Lap two down – and the group was together. I felt good – I went to the front and pushed. I chased some attacks. I also kept my position because I wanted to establish a presence for the sprint at the end.
Along the way, my chain had “dropped” twice but I picked it back up and spun on without a worry. A buddy of mine dropped his chain a couple of times as well – and he picked it up without worry. As we approached Rooster hill I commented (out loud) about dropping chains, and as I shifted my chain fell off … and the peloton kept moving. I gave the command (I cannot utter it here) and the chain did not respond with the appropriate action. I looked up and the field was moving ahead. I tried again – with the shifting action and the command. NOTHING.
The wheel truck asked if I were Ok?! I had to turn back and roll DOWN HILL. As you can imagine that’s the WRONG direction. Finally – I tricked the chain to do its thing … and the chain did jumped back in place. Oh well, the field was midway up the climb.
This SUCKS was the softer utterance I offered up.
I jammed gears hard and asked for my big ring then I gave it all I had. I tucked in behind the tire truck and had a breather for about ten seconds. When the driver realized she was helping me she stopped and I had to go around her. BLAH.
Lucky for me the leaders went harder on this climb than the last; just kidding. I caught the back of the pack (those who were dropped on the climb) and kept going – harder – faster – and way into max heart rate range (96%). I kept on going and could hear the breathing of the guys as I passed them. My breathing was significantly faster … I felt them stare at me as I past them … they knew I had been dropped due to the chain issue.
Cresting the hill I realized that if I didn’t catch the peloton on the descent that I would get dropped permanently (as in DROPPED). I shifted into the biggest gear available and PUSHED – into that freaking head wind. All my legs could do were complain. The 28-29mph seemed fast but it wasn’t fast enough …. everything moved in slow motion as I slowly bridged back to the peloton … slowly I might add.
While I was pushing hard (go figure), several guys on front elected to attack and one by one they broke away – six to be specific.
By the time I moved into the middle of the chasing peloton the leaders were GONE. I clearly had the legs to be with them … and I wasn’t. Enough teammates of those that got away were in our group, so getting away wasn’t going to happen.
The day was done. I gave the chain another comment (I cannot utter here).
The last lap and a half was without fanfare. Sure there were some jumps, lame attacks and a guy who ran his freaking mouth a whole-damn-lot. Too much for me. The kind of guy who never pulled but was touting how this was “his first race of the season … and he didn’t train that much.” WFE!
During the last three miles the tempo picked up but not so much that we couldn’t maintain pace. We turned into Stock Creek and at least 10 guys jumped (ha) – as if they were going to drive hard for 500 meters. Near the finish, I almost sat-up, but I stood up and sprinted (if you call it that) and moved around at least 10 guys … around those who were clearly fatigued.
My extra-effort placed me fourth across the line and officially 11th overall.
SUMMARY: TT> 8th; RR 11th, and 8th place overall (combined points). RR – average mph 22.1 – average heart rate 144 – maxed once.
NOW – the girls. I snapped some photos of the women’s group – because I missed the opportunity to capture the various men’s groups. Oh well.
People persuading People to Pause and Ponder: Probable? Possible? Practical? Pushy? Pesky? Perturbed?
Politically correct? Whatever – as long as it was persuasive the whole class was happy. At least I was happy. Why? Once again, COM240 performed more like veterans of the speaking world than college students with a few speeches under their belts. I’m continually amazed at the performance. And also at the excuses some students offer up for not having their work completed on time. Funny, the majority of the class ‘gets it’ and just a couple are coasting. I’m thankful that today’s photos are of those who truly get it.
Mr. Daniel Dale reminding us that students can co-exists in the dorms and the benefits are highly positive. Excellent speech – and well-delivered.
Ms. Caitlin Lindstrom reminding us that student tickets will be $15 starting this fall. WTF! And, we had best get ready for “financial contributors” to be seated along side student …. it’s coming. Well done!
Mr. Bristow reminding us that freedom of assembly and demonstration doesn’t give groups or people or causes the rights to invade, interrupt, or harass. Well done.
Ms. Lorrin Howard stating the truth: move-out day rules are not in favor of the students. The rules favor empty spaces. Nicely done – excellent!
Mr. Huffaker shared his views of second-hand smoke and suggested a smoke free campus. His presentation was not the butt of any joke – it was factual and persuasive. Well done.
One of my students wanted to be “cropped” or “shopped” (as in re-touched out or modified). I elected to crop as the time allotment for such activities isn’t available. Let’s just remember, life is life and what you see is what you are – or are not. We may not enjoy all aspects of life – or all views of ourselves as people. What really matters is how you feel inside your skin. Nothing more matters. The world’s reality isn’t our true reality. Remember: Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
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.
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.
I wrote Bert and Ernie (or whatever they call themselves) an email today. I seriously doubt I’ll ever hear back from the dynamic beer duo. My email vented some – mostly it just laid down the Sam Adams law. According to the rule book if the manufacturer of a product has a recall, some remuneration is due the consumer. After all, we spend our jack to buy some kind of crap. In the case of Sam Adams all I got was a link to freakin’ website landing page – and that was it.
The topper? Today – the day I sent my nasty gram – was the same freakin day that Bert and Ernie sent me a happy meal-message via their e-news. An e-newsletter that was all “happy” and “cheerful.” WTF???!!!!! Some marketing dweeb probably thought that the newsletter would be a great way to “stay in touch with customers.”
Look you bone heads, I’ve been brand loyal for 15 years. I have the glasses, the bucket, the bar opener, the coasters, the portable bottle opener, tried every variety, and I have turned down drinking a beer when a Sam wasn’t available. Hell, I’ve even consumed Sam that was past its “best consumed by” date. Which BTW happens a lot with Sam Adams beer … retailers sell Sam that is “dated” and frankly it sucks. Both the beer and the fact that retailers sneak it in on us.
To make matters worse — my BGE went to Kroger to purchase some Sam (to replenish my supply) and Kroger would not sell her the beer (she’s of age smart ass). Shelf stocked with Sam, but retailer not willing to sell??? WTF. Again, WTF.
IT’S time that I changed my beer consumption habits — maybe my penchant for Liberty Ale should shine through. After all, I love Liberty Ale. Better yet, why not stock up on some Bass. I’ve wanted to learn the proper way to pour a black and tan. Heck, with the budget I’ve allocated to Sam now REMOVED I can put in the keg system and enjoy some Bass.
My day started with 24 bright-eyed students who really get it. I’m talking every one of them. This semester has been a huge blessing on so many levels – especially with COM240. Seeing, hearing and watching a group of young adults show me (!) how to present has been … entertaining, challenging, stressful (at times), fulfilling, and it has kept me young at heart.
Seeing these folks “do their thing” while on stage in front of their peers is pretty kewl. Even with tough topics like Volunteering, Exiting the War — or Staying in the War, they gave their best. I see so much potential in them – in their futures. Wow is what I say! Rock-on COM240.
And the day was full of interesting twists of fate, agendas, issues and petty life-crap. At each turn, “life” reminded me of its simple premise: enjoy each day as if it were our last. Yet, I kept making it complex by thinking and re-thinking the days ahead … or years.
Each day most of us who are “alive” contemplate life – and specifically what it’s bringing us for the moment. We act as if “life” depends on the success of each interaction – each decision – each breath. Whatever. Complexity only means stress and with it a shorter view of the inevitable. We’re all going to die – when it’s our time. I subscribe to the philosophy that we had best make EVERY second count.
I’m certain that the men and women who served on the USS Arizona had no inkling that they would perish while harbored on the beautiful island of Oahu. What complex issues were going on within the families that were linked to those serving aboard the Arizona? Think about it. Can you imagine? Each person serving was connected with a family … somewhere … somehow. Each person had issues, dreams, problems, desires. Each had a choice as to how to view “life.”
Crazy as it sounds, I slept better because I realized that today was a gift. The moments I have – now – are the present. Tomorrow is uncertain. The “present” we’re given today had best be enjoyed for what it is — the present — a gift.
Across the street from Ames’ house; late night (10:30 PM) @ 30 seconds f/1.4.
Wide angle @ 17mm f/4.5 near a sunset pounding against my shudders.
Old Glory flying, sans Bradford Pear.
A racer buddy alerted me to the photo files of the “Spring Forward TT” … the event that was held in 28 degree temp, 20 mph constant wind, snow, sleet and slush. Yep, that’s me suffering in this photo. Warmer weather is ahead. Right?
Seems like people cannot focus on what is the “right thing to do.”
Rather than finding a good spot to just lunch-it, let’s take our family to a place where it’s more of a bar … and then let’s hang a Guinness tag around their necks because it seems cute. Later in life when they have a drinking problem – forget about owning up to it. There is nothing cute about taking your child to a bar for lunch. This is very odd to me. The older I get the more I realize how people replicate their habits – with or without me.
My alarm didn’t go off as planned. OOOppps. At 6:40 my day started in panic. Had I known that the fog outside wouldn’t lift for another two hours, I would have enjoyed my breakfast and made a leisurely journey from Statesville, North Carolina to New London. Mind you, when I asked for directions to “New London” – no one had heard of it. That was comforting.
With a “triathlete mindset” I organized my shiznet, ate, showered and shaved – packed the car and moved on down Highway 70 in dense fog. The fog wasn’t in my way – an “activity bus” was and there wasn’t room to pass. Again, had I known the fog was going to delay the start, I would have enjoyed myself a bit more.
Ok then. Upon arriving I realized one ‘visual certainty’ – the field I was going to race with would be large. And by the looks of who was there – it would also be fast. Damp roads (at that point), large field, small roads, bumpy-crappy portions of roads. Blah. After speaking with the officials of the race, I elected to get out and ride. I needed 70 miles and with a two-hour delay to start my day might end way late and I still had a 270 mile drive home.
Delays in racing do happen. But not two-plus hours. For those of us who regulate body function, eating habits and warm-up routines to the exact race-start know that two-plus hours is (!) significant. Not the organizers fault – Ok. It was Mother Nature. So I warmed up about 10 miles and headed back to the paddock area to learn more. Nothing had changed – it was going to be a two-hour delay.
With that in mind, I rode portions of the course and then jumped in with the Cat5-35+ race and cruised at the back. Their field was about 40 riders and within one lap it was down to 15. It was fun riding with them because I could move up fairly easily and even with a “pushed pace” on the climbs there was room to accelerate when/where needed. The speed was about 21.8 (average) and when they neared the finish I dropped off and rode around some more. Then I waited another 1/2 hour to get going with the Masters 35+ … which would prove to be a very different race – very different.
Somewhere around 11:40AM (2 hours, 10 minutes late) our race started. I felt “cold” because I sat on my bike 15 minutes waiting to “go.” After the first short climb, the race was underway. Two guys leaped off the front and I attempted to join them. I quickly shot into the ‘red zone’ and the official’s motorcycle helped me for a fraction of a second, but he pulled over and I was on my own. The two guys were 50 yards ahead and the field was 300 yards behind. I couldn’t bridge the gap … but also I knew I couldn’t maintain their pace the whole race so I sat-up and within 30 seconds got sucked into the peloton … rocketing backward to the very back. This sucked. The move I attempted to make cost me TONS of positions — and because the roads were very narrow I had little opportunity to move up.
The field was about 80 riders to start and we began dropping riders on the first climb, then the second and so on. By the last lap the lead peloton was about 35 riders. As we approached the finish, an ambulance was on the right of the road tending to a rider – with what looked like a broken collarbone. The first 15 guys blasted into the left lane (blind hill!) and the group scattered like a shotgun blast. Many of us mentally “sat-up” because “it wasn’t worth it.” BLAH.
Picture this: at the actual finished line, the camera and platform for supporting it and the official staff were up on scaffolding with plywood as a floor. They prepared a “tree house” to hoist up their camera and viewing platform. The scary part were the metal poles at the edge of the road – jutting out like poles of death. Only a series of plastic cones separated the poles from riders as they crossed the finish line. This, in my opinion, was highly unsafe and – honestly – it was stupid. What if ??
SUMMARY: Two short races – the first was 21.8 and I wasn’t classified in their field. The second race was short at 43 miles – average speed 24.2 – average heart rate 150 – maxed three times at 177 – and finished somewhere midfield.
I packed it up and headed home – first via Taco Hell to eat and then for the next two hours I drove in the rinse cycle as the rain poured. Thank goodness I can drive in heavy rain at 80mph.
Another week at the office. Another week at school. Another week that flew by me way-way too quickly. Another month gone.
Someone told me years ago that life speeds up (perceptively) as we age. My age must be moving pretty fast because the last two months were blurry.
Thinking of far away places like Hawaii consumed a few hours over the months of January and February – but not nearly enough. There were too many anxious moments dealing with things that were distractions … such as … 1) people who lack manners, 2) assholes who felt like proving they are indeed assholes, 3) people spending way-too-much time piddling in the kitchen with nothing to show (not even a few pounds of extra weight), 4) driving to and from the TH/CH and work, 5) time spent going to the store I HATE, 6) time spent trying to help a loved one who doesn’t want help, 7) time spent repairing reputations damaged by assholes who do push people under the bus, 8) dealing with people who lie to avoid being real, and various other crappy-crap things. Venting done.
On the positive side, I set aside time to feel good about my relationship with Ames, time to contemplate racing, time to prepare for my students – and interns, time to care-take of my body, time to care-take of my home, time to reach out to my family, time to dream, time to relax – but certainly not enough of that, and time to build my music library. Along with many other things – – –
March rolls in like a lion and I intend on rolling in with it – but with more smiles, more laughter and more thoughtful allocation of my time. Because as we age – and because time passes quicker as we age – I’m calling a board meeting with my advisers to reallocate the available time. I’ll get back to you about it.
Oh. The scene for today represents an important component of time: vacation. Ahhh.
Before my day unfolds, isn’t that a beautiful view?! What would we do if that were the view each day? What if. I’ll have lots more of these the day I start living there – physically – not just mentally. Now let’s get on with it.
Today was an interesting day. I had no idea of how I’d get it “all” done but I did. First, the decal for the license plate. CHECK. Then I pitted for some fuel. CHECK. With a nice morning at the office, I went to Free Service Tire and had my tires balanced. CHECK. One of my closest friends picked me up at FST and I bought her some lunch at Gourmet Market. CHECK. Well-well, now isn’t that nice. Meetings, more meetings and getting the interns ready for our Tuesday client meeting. Well, we met and met … and met some more. Meetingful as I love to say (HA@!). Near the end of the day, I talked with an intern to say, “I’ll be at the pool next Monday to learn flip turns.”
I came home – I cleaned the bath, hand scrubbed the floor, washed some clothes, cleaned the car, cleaned the kitchen, cleaned the kitchen floor by hand and helped make dinner. Umm. I prefer working out – at least the working is out.
Now the Hawai’i part. Just a photo for our eyes. A way to connect with the ocean … a source of life … and certainly a source of happiness for many, many people. Maluhia.
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.
Yes, I’m resting today after a lengthy cruise to the Smoky Mountains yesterday. Actually it’s a rest day because I’m in the fourth week of the cycling period, “Base 2.” I rode an hour – just to recover – and to stretch my legs. It was nice.
Base 3 starts on Tuesday and the intensity builds for the next month. My mileage goes up and so does the number of hill climbs. Oh boy. And I mean that too – I’m looking forward to making the hill work the best it can be … it will pay off later in the year. And yes, tomorrow is a day off too. I’ll ride for an hour as well but with very little intensity.
Why ride on a day off? Good question. The answer – to keep fresh, eliminate lactic acid and stay fluid. Heck when the Tour de France is in motion, the Pro Tour riders will ride 4 to 6 hours on their two days off during the race. I’m NOT a Pro Tour rider, but my coach has me more than convinced of the benefits. Rest on.
PS – I’m using my name in the blog post because it helps me with search rankings. I’m normally on page one of a google search for my name and lately I’ve been bumped to page two. None the less, I’ll find a way to endear a friend or two or three to add a page about me to their sites and my presence will expand on the web. Again, rest on.
About a year ago a larger group assembled and actually road together. The Knoxvelo group and folks from the “Zoo” saddled up and took a winter training ride together. Somewhere along the way these folks (who like each other) decided to pursue other winter riding options. I for one enjoy group rides on Saturday when it’s supposed to be ‘winter tempo.’ Otherwise, I’d best go alone. The season is VERY long and there’s no need in attempting to burnout mid-May by riding too hard in February. We’ll see.
The bike pictured here is a Spanish-made Orbea that I ride just about everyday. In the configuration seen herein, it weighs just 15.6lbs. That doesn’t include the water bottles but the total weight does include the pedals, cyclometer, and heart rate monitor. Pretty light – and very stiff. It’s outfitted with Campagnolo Super Record and Reynolds DV46 wheels. This is “Tour issue” equipment. Even the bottle cages are made of carbon – as is the handlebar, the stem, the brake levers, the crank arms and seat post. LIGHT – light – LIGHT.
Later this year I’m starting a project to build a sub-14lb bike. Yes, less than 14lbs. Roll on.
The four hour+ ride on Saturday was really nice. I saddled up with my buddy Tony and we went – somewhere. The route, for the most part, was familiar but many roads I didn’t know. With a blue bird day and warming temps, it made for a great day biking through Blount, Monroe and Knox counties. Four hours is enough – especially this time of year. Longer day are ahead. Yes, longer days – like 6 hours+.
The photos you see herein are taken at a feed mill somewhere in Blount County. Real signs, real deal, real old. If you need lawn services – you see the phone number. Ride on.
Some years ago I worked for a person who told me about themselves in the very first meeting. Rude, crude, avoiding, condescending, egotistical, and manipulative. Lacking social manners and the ability to be courteous, it was evident this person was either abused as a child – or had some screw turned a little too tight and their view of the world said, “it revolves around me.” I endured several years tolerating the behavior and a mean-spirited attitude toward me – and my team.
I spoke with a colleague about the situation and he offered some simple but profound advice. He said let it go. By that he meant that everyone now knows the truth – and it has nothing to do with me as a person – therefore let it go. Interestingly, I saw in his face the pain that I had felt for so many years. What I heard was a friend weighing in on the issue – to help me let it go.
It worked. I went home without a care in the world. I felt like a huge burden was lifted. Like most days, the photo has nothing to do with my post. Imagine that (LOL). The sunset was pretty kewl today – as it was on the Big Island I’m sure.
What a day. It ended last night at 11:30PM. It started today at 7AM. And at Noon today – we called it a wrap.
I calculated over 660 people-hours getting prepared for “today.” If I attempted to give you the all numbers for this pitch it would take several paragraphs. Suffice it to say – we worked hard for the last three months preparing for today.
Yes. We raised the fucking bar.
No matter what – we raised the bar with a 1.5 hour presentation that made one person mad … the very person who wanted “the” presentation. Why? Because our team delivered the goods. Today was our Super Bowl and the way I calculate it, the score swayed in our favor.
We did our best.
That feels good saying those words. We did our best.
There are so many people to thank: DJ for keeping it real – and fun and making sure the interactivity was spot-on. Nickie-Nick – super-bad-ass-creative-director – for staying cool and focused – and for creating the vision of the mountains. Ricky-Rick … with a Ph.D. in Photoshop and Sound Design – and god of iMovie … whoa. Rob-ster – for being a cool-collaborator and instrumental to the balancing act. CT – the steadfast vet of ads who is Mr. Authentic. Steve-O – Mr. Man-on-the-street. Guy and Cyn – King and Queen of monetary acquisition … cause they spend the money efficiently. Then the supporting cast is HUGE. No way we made 1/9/08 without: CP – who kept her kewl the entire time … things moved! Jeffy – with a slick webster approach that was eye poppin’. Kymmy-Kym … did you say the Olympics have a speed show for Shoppin (her motto – “Gold medal is not good enough”). Paul-ster – sly on the words and the man who wears camo when he delivers guerrilla ideas. Lest we forget Cave – cause DVD-dom isn’t done until he’s done. Amy – behind the scenes Duchess of Interactive. Barbara – the peaceful side of Meetings & Conventions. Sam-ster – fun with the camera and special effects-man. Jacob – the man, the web, the magic. Art – quietly contributing a difference. Lori – analytic Ph.D. with smiles that lift us all. Brian-P > the cacophony of spots rang loudly. Ellen – with helpfulness in spades. Gosh, then we meet the real Mr. McGiver (his stage name is Keith) – the man, the conqueror, the “knows-no-impossible” magic man.
This group of people work liked a team, performed like a team, supported each other in every way, gave creative feedback and input to improve our work … gave of their personal time … and did one thing no one can contradict: we raised the fucking bar.
The photos for today have nothing to do (whatsoever) with this post. I rode to Tremont after our pitch – because the mountains were calling me. I hooked up with a couple of friends and we put the pace on “race.” I averaged 20 – to and from Tremont … which included a little meandering here and there. Yes, it was fast. Maybe my race legs showed up – bowed up – because we … did you hear … we raised the fucking bar.
And I left work at 5:20 to ride for an hour. Burr. If those numbers don’t give you a chill then you’re ready for hibernation. Most of my body was comfy – my fingers actually got cold even in the lobster claws. My right foot was a bit nippy too – but I suspect it was due to a misplaced toe warmer. In mid ride my cheeks were getting cold but bearable. The finger issue needs tending to – and I’m not sure what to do about it. Possibly using toe warmers rolled up and placed in both gloves. I know it would solve the problem.
Ok then. There were no other cyclists out riding. I guess the cold weather and darkness were a little too much. And the runners who braved the cold (I saw 26) thought … “there goes a nut.”
When I saw the runners my thought was simple: where are the other riders? Cold weather isn’t an excuse to stay inside and ride the trainer. Much easier to say than do because no other cyclists were out. Another thought driving me: what is the lowest temperature that I’m willing to brave? As long as my feet, hands and face are comfy, then I’m good.
Today’s photo is taken from the Parkway – this time a year ago. Definitely icy conditions today – and a year ago.
I got up this morning and looked outside to see a random dog had “nested” (no other word describes what I saw) at the very back of my property – just under a Leyland Cypress where my neighbor’s yard borders mine. The dry grass clippings, now very brown, were the ‘bed.’
I usually look outside on Saturday morning very early to determine who kind of clothing I’m going to need for my ride. Naturally the random dog stood out like a skinny Santa on Madison Avenue. I opened the door – yelled at dog and it lazily got up and started moving. What was really bad – the dog’s testicles were hanging at least a foot below it’s belly. Something was definitely wrong with the random dog. This started my day.
Ok then. I got going and traveled a back road to Six Mile. To my surprise, along Piney Flats Road, a large German Shepard is blocking the road. As I roll toward the dog, it barks violently and turns its head down. At that moment I asked a question out loud, “did random dog send out a nasty gram in my honor?” Never mind the fact that three dogs chased me PRIOR to Mr. German Shepard. HUH? What, did these dogs get Viagra for Christmas – or a special dog nip!
I called the police on my cell phone while I walked my bike past the dog – with camera in hand to capture the insanity …
Alright – I continue down the road … and head toward Monroe County – turning on Highway 72 and circle back to Highway 129 – just so I know the distance from Big Gully Road to 129 (it’s 3.1 miles). I back track down 72 and head toward Knox County. When I reach Highway 411 (near Lenoir City) I meet up with four biking buddies that I know. Coincidentally this was the right time to circle back and head toward home. I need 100 miles and that was my turning point – and that’s certainly enough for a Saturday ride.
One of my buddies said he would show me an alternate route back to Maryville and so we split off from the other guys and headed into town via Niles Ferry. With a couple of switch backs through a neighborhood here and there we found ourselves nearing the Maryville Greenway.
I recognized the roads at that point and had a clear understanding of my route home. As we ascend a small hill, Trent (my buddy that I’m following) says, “left turn.” Ok. Left turn. I look back and see a car coming at me — and slow down to a crawl — then when I believe the driver is aware that we’re making a left turn I lead the turn and expect Trent to follow me.
Nope. The driver didn’t stop. In fact, as I’m turning left I see the car (it was red) coming at me and so I stand up on the peddles to brace for the impact. I hear a terrific screech of tires and then I feel the energy of the car shuttering though my left leg. The distance between the stopped car and my left leg was less than 2″.
The noun, “close call,” was what I experienced today. So f’ing close that I’m counting it as a true accident. Trent talked about it for the next 10 miles and nothing else. During the red-car-encounter, he was watching with (as he says), “an open mouth … unable to say anything.”
Even the cars approaching from the opposite way were stopped and dumbfounded that the red car coming at me, DIDN’T hit me.
I was literally on the yellow line turning left when the red car was trying to pass me/us to go around. WTF. How CRAZY is that? I’m turning left and a car behind me attempts to go around us while we’re turning. Has the human race lost its ability to think and operate motor vehicles concurrently?
The woman was shaken and very upset. Trent went up to her and politely said, “that’s why you don’t pass on a double yellow line.”
I blew her a kiss and THANKED her for not hitting me.
Something bigger than the woman kept me from getting nailed. I’m convinced of it. Shall we say, ‘whew.’
Be safe out there.
It’s been two weeks and my Seasonal Crap blog is up and running. I’ve built a blogroll to network and grow my potential commenter list. Either way I’m hopeful to make the next year rich with close views of holidays and the retailization of America. OH boy.
Lots of news out there about the retail holiday we call Christmas. Much more than I’ve ever imagined. Funny how millions of people frown upon the season and participate in it all the same. I’m one of ‘those’ people. I must. What about momma and her shoes? What about the gift cards? What if I didn’t give – would retail America single handily take down the economy??? Who knows. Just keep buying.
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.
Tomorrow we’re riding a slow-paced 80 miler. You can click the link herein to see the map. Ho-hum. A typical “PREP” period ride. Best to bring tunes, drinks and food. It’s a long 5 hours. Now for the rest.
Today’s photo is from Clingman’s Dome. And yes, it’s spectacular – very. No, it’s not near Tremont (my personal mecca) nor the Foothills Parkway. However, it does remind me of the Foothills Parkway. We need to vary it up occasionally. The photo is a very wide pan at 10018 pixels and a large 22mb file. There’s a lot of depth – even with the leaves gone and the ground clearly showing signs of sub-zero temps every night. What a beautiful part of the world.
I love you Amy-ames. My email today had you really worried! Yessur. Ok. I’ll post fun-fun for now and get back to the real posts for later. XO, D
The truth set me free this morning. It was a combination of great coffee – a little laughter from my friend’s blog about her cat’s toys (cute) and the fact that I’m spending the day off with my girlfriend, Amy. BGE for now.
The TRUTH: I’m often amazed at how people will tell you who they are – and they do so with every encounter. Some people have it all – and aren’t happy. Associated with my career I encounter lots of people – both in work and at the University of Tennessee. There are a few people I know who have accumulated real wealth – I’m talking real wealth. However, the businesses they own tie them down … to the business(es) and thus the money becomes a noose of sorts. When contemplating why people are so damn moody – it’s probably because they’d rather be out fishing or doing something fun. Imagine having enough money to do what the hell you want to do when you want to do it – and because you have some commitment to your business(es), you … well … cannot. If you know “WTF” – then “WTF!!!!”
I’ve been a whipping boy for moodiness long enough – I tend to ‘take it’ because I’d rather not push back due to the flack-attack or the ‘tude’ that comes with the response. Not any more. That ended with the last cup of coffee 2-Day.
The last few months have whipped my ass.
Here’s where I’m at on this topic: crabby people suck. People who say, “I don’t push people in front of the bus” (and DO) – suck. Even if they are paying clients – they suck. People who discount your opinion when you’ve got the most valid opinion (and knowledge) in the room – they suck too. What really sucks – is the fact that being happy and helping one another is a lost art and curt rude behavior is the accepted norm. When you leave horsepower at the starting-gate, you run a race less-than-your-best. How odd is that? I mean, if you had, for example, 550 hp for your race – wouldn’t you want to tap into it? Some people like placing a governor on the engine just to make sure we conserve fuel (LOL).
Some of us have simple pleasures in life that keep us tracking – fewer have none and they are even happier. I am in awe of the natural setting that surrounds us – especially here in east Tennessee. Just a quick bike ride and you’re in the National Park. How awesome is that?! Just a little further and you’re in North Carolina on the Cherohala Skyway. How awesome is that?! Post #1 today is from Tremont – at the creek – by the bridge – where the water runs peacefully – where I love to stop and soak up the world. Guess where I’m going 2-day: at-The-Creek-in-Tremont-Soaking-up-the-sounds.
And there’s plenty of salt in the Pacific Ocean. Kai, Hawaiian for “salty water,” takes you to a wonderful place today: the south east shore of Oahu. This photo was taken about 11AM with lots of sun overhead and plenty of ocean in front of me. With VERY few people around.
Unlike Waikiki or the North Shore, this area is not considered a hot spot for sunning, snorkeling, or much else. Other than a few guys fishing and some private homes it was way off the “I-want-to-be-there” scale. Right-on. I’m so digging the opposite side of Oahu. On one end Oahu is like New York City – and the other end – it’s more like the Hawai-i that most people know and love.
She’s able to leap creative hallways with a single click of the keyboard. Known to see through ‘group hub.’ Can navigate the most wicked of job sups and maintains the same full-smile demeanor. Yes, it’s Amy – interactive super-hero of the week. Amy is her name and she’s new to Tombras. But she’s not new to interactive – – she’s a transplant from L.A. (the real L.A., not lower Alabama) and has a knack for making things “work.” Mostly, I believe, it’s because she’s upbeat, optimistic and very personable. Check out her blog, “Keeping up with the Morrells” and you’re on your way to discovering more about Amy – the super-hero.
Throughout the racing year I seemed to be shooting for second place. Some guy off the front guaranteed the 2-10 placings. When you ask David Avery why he continued to race – the answer usually went something like this: “because I trained so damned much and it’s a shame to waste it worrying about what could have been.”
More racing news from David Avery in the coming calendar year!