Friday, November 16, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

boone cross racing

Lenoir Cyclocross 2007:

Note the rad crash, yours truly, andy riding with no seat, and numerous riders running/riding the run-up.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Parking Lot Parkway, Ron Fitzwater = idiot.

Here’s My Point: Bikes turn parkway into parking Lot
By Ron Fitzwater

Here’s my point; no one else will say it so I will, bicyclists
ridding on the Blue Ridge Parkway or any other narrow, non-bike
path equipped road are a serious danger to themselves and the
driving public.

How many times have you been driving along enjoying the
wonderful feeling of being on one of the scenic rural roads in the
High Country when you come around a curve and HOLY CRAP
there they are, a pack of cyclists not two feet in front of you and
moving a whole lot slower. Your heart stutters and your throat
tightens as you slam on your brakes and hope you stop in time and
that no one behind you knocks you into the riders. In most cases
the automobile driver is able to avoid killing a cyclist who usually
continues to pedal on as if nothing had happened, oblivious or too
good to acknowledge what they just caused.

Look, I’m all for getting out and enjoying Mother Nature
and if someone wants to get their exercise on a bike so be it, but
things have gotten out of hand. At times there are so many bicycles
clogging up the roads that traffic is slowed to a crawl and backed
up for what seems like miles when you’re the last car in line, and I
usually am.

What I see as the main problem is that someone forgot to
tell all these energetic riders some basic facts about automobiles
and their impact on the cycling hobby. First of all bicycles can’t go
as fast as cars; this is important to remember because they will be
coming up behind you at a rather considerable speed. They also
don’t stop as quickly as most drivers would like them to, even
with new brake technologies, of course barring the chance that the
driver is a trained psychic, when meeting bicycles in a blind curve
brakes are moot anyway. This brings up another important point—
cars are heavy and do a lot of damage when they traverse over
bicycles and their riders.

I am sorry that there are not more scenic roads with bike
paths or trails that go cross country, but the lack of available paths
should not mean that the public’s safety should be put at risk. It is
beyond my ability to comprehend how any enjoyment can be
gleaned from creeping your way up a hill with a line of angry
motorists behind you cursing you with every breath and waiting
for the tiniest extra space to squeeze between the bike and oncoming
traffic, only to be ridiculed and showered with gravel and exhaust
fumes. Really, I’m just trying to save you the trouble.

So here is an idea; why not trade in your bikes and get some
hiking gear. There are many fantastic hiking trails in the area and
the best part about it is there is not one exhaust belching, fast
moving car with bad brakes on any one of them. You could actually
see nature that way instead of staring at your front wheel, and best
of all it will get you out of my way.

Roads are made for cars and are not safe for bikes, these are
facts that are not debatable and it is time cyclists came to grips
with them. And all kidding aside the dangers are very, very real. In
what can only be seen as tragic irony, while writing this piece,
news came in that 43-year-old Lee Anne Barry, who was riding a
bicycle across the country to raise awareness for brain injuries
caused from bicycle accidents, was one of two people killed during
the final leg of the trip into South Carolina. Barry died after she
was hit by a van on rural US Highway 521. Also killed was Barry’s
riding partner, 49-year-old Thomas Hoskins, of Columbia, SC.
The pair was on the last part of a two-month tour when they were
struck by a van around 2:15 p.m. Monday.

Three more quick facts from the most recent available data
from the NTHSA; Total bicyclist deaths in 2005, 784—Up 26
percent from 2003; 92 percent of bicycle fatalities are caused by
motor vehicles, 720 in 2005, and finally, 45,000 cyclists were
injured by motor vehicles in 2005, up 9.8 percent from 2003.

Awareness by drivers and respect by cyclists for the drivers
they are sharing the road with could lower those numbers but only
by so much. So here’s an idea when cars are coming, get off the
road. After all, having to stop and start over again is better than
getting a real close look at the undercarriage of a Cherokee.

That’s my point.

To whom it may concern:

"Q: Is bicycling allowed on the Parkway?
A: Yes..." []

I am writing in response to Mr. Ron Fitzwater's commentary about "bicycling turning the parkway into a parking lot." First of all, he states "How many times have you been driving along enjoying the wonderful feeling of being on one of the scenic rural roads in the High Country when you come around a curve and HOLY CRAP there they are, a pack of cyclists not two feet in front of you and moving a whole lot slower. Your heart stutters and your throat tightens as you slam on your brakes and hope you stop in time and that no one behind you knocks you into the riders. In most cases the automobile driver is able to avoid killing a cyclist who usually continues to pedal on as if nothing had happened, oblivious or too good to acknowledge what they just caused." I would like to respond by saying that bicycles are vehicles under North Carolina Law (the state we live in) and that Mr. Fitzwater must certainly understand that: if he were "driving along enjoying the
wonderful feeling of being on one of the scenic rural roads in the High Country" and came upon a slower moving car (also a vehicle), tractor (also a vehicle) or slow moving farm truck (also a vehicle) that he would need to slow down appropriately and then pass such vehicle when it is safe (ie, when double yellow lines don't exist and/or away from the crest of a hill) and that if he was traveling so fast that "[his] heart stutters and [his] throat tightens as [he] slam[s] on [his] brakes and hope[s] [he] stop[s] in time" that he is clearly at fault for driving too quickly and not paying attention. If he were to come around a corner and collide with another vehicle, or perhaps i'll use the word car since he doesn't seem to understand that car ARE vehicles, that he would be at fault. Yes, scenic roads are scenic, but they are still roads, and if Mr. Fitzwater is so interested in enjoying the scenery perhaps he should slow down; I would also suggest that he doesn't photograph images while driving.

It should be noted that in many instances (especially in the high country) bicycles can "go as fast as cars." So Mr. Fitzwater, when we're descending the parkway (or other narrow scenic roads with 35-45mph speed limits) at 35-45 miles per hour, please do not pass us. I'm sure you are smart enough to not pass a CAR going 35 mph on the parkway since it would require breaking the speed limit. Please remember, as noted before, that bicycles are VEHICLES too.

"Travel on the Parkway forces us to slow down and examine a sublime nature, allowing us to drop our day-to-day cares and experience the glory around us that can appear as an unspoiled pastoral nature where cows munch bucolically near the road or as a ferocious assault from a sudden thunderstorm on a high wind-swept peak when the world disappears completely from view.
Don't even think about getting on the Parkway if you're in a hurry." [Tim Treadwell]

Mr. Fitzwater states "Roads are made for cars and are not safe for bikes, these are facts that are not debatable and it is time cyclists came to grips with them." I would like to know where Mr. Fitzwater found his 'facts.' Last time I looked up 'road' it seemed it was something like an "an open way for vehicles, persons, and animals." [] Mr. Fitzwater, I'm sure as a reputable writer you have sources for your facts... Would you care to share those sources of your "FACTS that are not debatable"???

I feel that Mr. Fitzwater crossed the line by writing about (using their full names) bicyclists who were killed recently and the sarcastic phrase " are heavy and do a lot of damage when they traverse over bicycles and their riders." I do not care to go on regarding this subject as it is difficult for me to imagine unintentionally inflicting more pain on the families of these cyclists he mentioned. I do feel Mr. Fitzwater should apologize to these families and resist referencing such tragedies in any of his future writing.

I'd like to invite Mr. Fitzwater to come ride bikes with me in the beautiful high country of Watauga County; I'll even provide the bicycle and a helmet. I'm sure we both have narrow scenic roads to cycle. I would like to assure Mr. Fitzwater that he would have a enjoyable time riding a bike and that I will even wait on him if it is necessary. I would also like to say Mr Fitzwater's "point" is not very well received by anyone i know.

Lastly I would like to suggest that the editor of the Mountain Times Ashe County Edition publishes opinions in the editorials section and saves the rest of his newspaper for articles based on facts. Thanks for your time.

Joseph Grimes
Boone Resident & Road Cyclist

I included some extra reading in case people haven't picked up their driver safety handbooks recently:

Bicycle riding is an important means of transportation, particularly for traveling to and from work and school. Because bicycles are vehicles, bicyclists must obey the same traffic laws as other drivers. Bicyclists usually ride on the right side of the lane, but are entitled to the use of a full lane.

Pass With Care
A bicyclist staying to the right in their lane is accommodating the following drivers by making it easier to see when it is safe to pass, and easier to execute the pass. Drivers wishing to pass a bicyclist may do so only when there is abundant clearance and no oncoming traffic is in the opposing lane. When passing a bicyclist, always remember the bicyclist is entitled to the use of the full lane...
Think Bike
Bicyclists can be expected on all roads except where expressly prohibited. Bicycles are narrow and typically operate at the right of the lane, so may be obscured and difficult to detect. Avoid the Left Cross, Drive Out, and Right Hook types of potential collisions shown below." []

"20-150. Limitations on privilege of overtaking and passing.

(a) The driver of a vehicle shall not drive to the left side of the center of a highway, in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and passing to be made in safety.

(b) The driver of a vehicle shall not overtake and pass another vehicle proceeding in the same direction upon the crest of a grade or upon a curve in the highway where the driver's view along the highway is obstructed within a distance of 500 feet.

(c) The driver of a vehicle shall not overtake and pass any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction at any railway grade crossing nor at any intersection of highway unless permitted so to do by a traffic or police officer. For the purposes of this section the words "intersection of highway" shall be defined and limited to intersections designated and marked by the Department of Transportation by appropriate signs, and street intersections in cities and towns.

(d) The driver of a vehicle shall not drive to the left side of the centerline of a highway upon the crest of a grade or upon a curve in the highway where such centerline has been placed upon such highway by the Department of Transportation, and is visible.

(e) The driver of a vehicle shall not overtake and pass another on any portion of the highway which is marked by signs, markers or markings placed by the Department of Transportation stating or clearly indicating that passing should not be attempted.

(f) The foregoing limitations shall not apply upon a one-way street nor to the driver of a vehicle turning left in or from an alley, private road, or driveway." []

Monday, September 24, 2007

12 hours of dauset: round and round and round...

so saturday, with the charity of boone bike giving me saturday off work, i participated in my first 12 hour solo mountain bike race. things started on friday, getting my stuff, darcy's stuff and then darrell's stuff loaded into my car and hitting the road. we started with a stop at BP giving some money to big oil companies and then to THE MAN at back yard burger. anyways, the burger was good. 6 hours later we were in jackson, ga. on the way we stopped at a gas station that was closed inside, but had a slot to put money through and get drinks/smokes/snacks through. it reminded me of why i love boone. i dropped darrell off at his hotel and proceeded to the trail/park area. we set up our tent/sleeping bags with the help of paul hein and ed hamilton. we both fell asleep quickly.

before sun was up we were loading our tents/gear/clothes/selves into our cars and moving our stuff down to the pit area. paul and ed scored a great spot right on the trail before it re-entered the woods.

we set up two of our KENDA tents and chairs and coolers and super cool cardboard box with homemade handles and bikes and more. after a quick (for me, but not most people) registration and a couple bagels, we were lining up for a lemans start.

i forgot to turn on my garmin gps computer so when i got to my bike i turned it on and waited hoping to get a quick signal. to my dismay and three minutes later, it was still searching, so i started riding (after the entire field was gone) and set it to work with gps OFF. things were still good, it told me my time, heart rate and elevation all day long. it's hard to describe what happened for the next few hours. i passed a bunch of "just doing it for fun" type riders and finally found some 12hr solo guys. i rode with a handful of different people trying to keep a slow and steady pace and not chase after each 12hr team racer that passed us. i rode with a guy named travis from douglasville for a while. he seemed to be a very formidable competitor. we took turns setting pace and passing each other for our first three or four laps. each lap is between 10-11 miles.

my first few pit stops were good. quick and efficient, though i stopped for 10-15 minutes once to change shoes and eat beef jerky. i was gulping down hammer sustained energy and heed for a while, getting a new sustained energy every three laps and a new heed bottle every lap. i was knocking out a few endurolyte tablets every other lap or so. i basically stuck to my plan of liquid diet with the exception of beef jerky. my mom kept offering chips/trail mix/granola/etc but i was like NO!!!! i'm sticking to my plan. the beef jerky was tasty because of the salt, and the taste stayed with me for most of the lap, and nutritionally i knew i needed some sodium and protein.

the only cool thing to mention during the first 6 laps was that i almost laid it down coming into the start/finish area full speed big ring pedalling across gravel with people everywhere and my pride ready to crawl into a deep dark cave and stand back up and scrape gravel from my skin and lower extremities, but i somehow kept the bike upright, sliding, but upright and unclipped my left foot and sort of moto-slid and scrubbed off speed thanks to my handy avid juicy ultimate brakes.

aside from that, its worth mentioning at the start, my goal for day the was to get 7 laps. i thought 7 laps would be good, but would allow for some stretching time and sitting around time. i kept moving things along, strapping lights on my helmet at the beginning of my 7th lap, which was surely to be during dusk. as 7pm rolled around and i finished my 7th lap, i realized i needed to set a new goal. and i also thought briely, well i got my goal of 7laps, time to stop. hahaha. that didn't happen.

as i coasted into the pit area after my 7th lap i said "two more." so i went out and rode two more laps, stopping only to get a fresh bottle of HEED between laps. as i was out on my 8th lap i started thinking about times, could i make it back to the start/finish before the cut-off time to go for another lap?? after i passed three 12hr solo riders i really got juiced up. and i started thinking about chopper reid and what he says. somewhere in my head i got thinking i had to be finished before 10pm with my last lap, but i don't think that is actually the rule. anyways, i rolled in after my 9th lap and looked at my buddies: Paul, Adam, Darcy, Mom/Dad, Cartec (Charlie) and said, i'm doing one more. i could feel myself moving up the rankings as i rolled out for the last lap and my parents worrying about the lighting situation. well, they were right!! as i was riding one of the last doubletracks i noticed my handlebar light was fading so i turned it off. usually they'll turn back on for a while after a brief rest, so then my helmet light was fading, turn it off turn on handlebar light. after a few more iterations of this process i was riding with no lights as matt hargrove and another racer pulled up behind me. i didn't know matt was there until he announced it, and the other guy had HID so i rode in his beam for about three miles. he pulled ahead and i convinced myself that riding his wheel was safe as long as he didn't go down. as we entered the moonshine section for the last time it opened up, the HID guy pulled away and matt was a little ways behind. i rode in the moonlight and matt's far off beam until he caught up, and we rolled into the finish together. i could hear bruce as usual... saying "we've got more racers coming in... one of them doesn't have any lights. i shrugged my shoulders as i passed him and finished my 10th lap and was essentially applauded and laughed at all at the same time. i rolled down to our pit area and laid on the ground.

afterwards we were worried about charlie, but he's okay i think. okay enough to type a long blog post on sunday, two days before i finished mine!!! congrats to ursula sandefur and nicki sutherland who 1-2'd the wmn's solo 6 hour race. also congrats to darrell's team "mean bean" who won the team 12 hour race. so anyways, i finished 14th out of 39 people or so. i am very happy with my ranking saturday and very happy that i continued to re-evaluate my goals as the day went on. i see more 12 hour solo events and 100 mile races in my future and maybe, maybe maybe a 24 solo next year at the BURN in wilkesboro. for now, thanks to:

my beautiful fiancee darcy, my mom and dad, frank and lingo for coming down from ATL, paul, adam, perry, matt, tom, ed, cartec (charlie), my pseudo CTS coach max shute, andy for letting me borrow lights and a spare bike even if the lights cut off!!!! dave terri and austin and joe for putting the race on, bruce for talking all day, carl mesta for taking incredible photos, kenda tires for hoooking us up!!!!!! shaw and sarah brown for letting me have the weekend off and the Columbus Bike Racing Team for supporting me even though i've moved away.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

2007 bridge to bridge century ride

the 2007 bridge to bridge century traveled from lenoir, nc to nc-181, a 12 mile climb and then followed the blue ridge parkway for at least 10 miles, then turned back on us-221 towards grandfather mountain then went up. not just up, straight up. by the end of the ride we were a mile high and on top of the world. or so it seemed. it was my first century ride and well, with how i fared, i may try for more in the future. but 12 hour solo mountain bike racing is on my schedule for this weekend. i'll probably get some pictures posted monday or tuesday. for now, all you get is this:

wondering how many more switchbacks?!? thankfully, the last one was about 40 feet ahead with a short downhill twenty feet to the finish. wheww.

6 hours 12 minutes 100 miles 9275 vertical feet 8 enervit tablets, etc... haha
212th of 499 finishers. blah.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

labour day 2007

before you give me shit about typing labour with a u lets remember: this is my blog. on your blog, spell labour with no u: labor.

okay, now thats out of the way.

check it out:


Thursday, August 30, 2007


please, even if you've never ridden there, say some good words about the trails at dark mountain and OVT. the bmcc guys are trying to lobby for a grant to buy a trail building machine, and if you appreciate mountain biking, please go to this website and help them!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dark Mountain 8 hour sesh. & water bottles. lunacy new bike

so tuesday august 28th included an alarm clock going off at 5:59 am. working for 45 minutes at boone bike in the 7:00 hour. a delectable bagel from mountain bagels. and a 45 minute drive to wilkesboro. i got suited up, got a wheel on my 'new' bike, and got rolling.

i should amend, the 'new' bike is little more than a new frame with my old tired parts and fork and wheels. but it has a nicer shock and cranks, so its 'new' in my mind.

here's the motionabased gps map & more

i won't type much more, just let the pictures do the talking:

i don't have a picture of my gps afterwards. i was pretty wrecked at that point... it would say:
7:54:08 ride time
50.5 miles
6.something average speed
26.9 mph max speed
140 bpm avg hr
168 max hr
7000~feet of climbing

i'm okay with that. the hardest part of the day:

cleaning these things!!!

thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

bike. riding 321 181 brp RV's nissan altima, etc.

so i've been slack and not riding. oh wait, i mean not writing about my riding. i've been doing a good bit of riding. i had to start running after the ORAMM to mentally take a break from bike riding. blah blah.

so i've gotten back on the bike a few good times. i did a 6hour mtn bike sesh at wilkes:

and two days later, tuesday, i did this:

and then i ran on wednesday.

no pictures for that one.

and then i did this on sunday:

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the ride was great. DC, ray, and wendy and i had a good time. 1 hour 15 minute ascent of 181 for me and wendy. DC and ray killed us by a few minutes, but i don't mind. welp. thats about it for now.

thanks for reading.


Monday, July 23, 2007

off road assault: apparitions on heartbreak

This is the elevation profile that haunted the deepest parts of my mind sunday. Here's the race report. As always, thanks for reading.


My Sunday started at 5:00am driving to Matt Shanly’s house. Already, we’re questioning what the hell we’re getting ourselves into. Nearing Marion we receive an inspirational voicemail from Smart Tom: “Get ready, we’re racing bitches!!!”

After the confusion of signing in, finding out the rest stops will not be as I expected, and trying to repack my feed drop bags, I start pedaling around. It’s not like you really need a warm-up though. So we line up to Bruce’s word of encouragement almost start the entire field with a dog in the road, and then take off around 8:15am. The first few miles are chill. Drafting ensued, hand close together, head low. We turn onto a Mill Creek Rd. It quickly turns to gravel. Dusty, dry, chattery gravel. Soon it’s the most heinous hike a bike ever and the entire field is standing. My ankles start to develop blisters. I knew I should have bought some cheaper, more hiking friendly shoes. Left onto some cool singletrack, and we dump out on the upper end of Mill Creek Rd. Some pavement brings us to the famous Kitsuma. It would have been a fun challenge of switchbacks, but again, the field comes to a dead standstill. I’m on my bike most of the climb to avoid growth of my blisters, granny gear, trackstanding, leaning on trees. The top of the climb brings false joy as we begin to descend, then stop and wait more. After the famous ripping descent we are on Mill Creek Rd. Again.

Climbing some pavement finally brings us to singletrackish stuff on our right. This is the most switchback laiden section of trail I’ve ever ridden. It was more fun to ride later in the day though, when people weren’t in the way. I rode a lot of uphill log crossing to the amazement of the people walking behind me constantly scrubbing my tires with theirs. Thanks guys. I’m pretty sure at one point shortly thereafter that I was on Raspberry Ridge, then Headquarters. The trail seemed to mimic some of my favorite local routes so well. Except after the descending there was more climbing. Riding this grassy roadbed was fun and chill until I feel the sting of a bee or ant or some other creature inside my jersey. I stopped to try to deal with this, and was passed by twenty people or so. Oh well.

The end of this road led us to the second feed area. I’m a little worried at this point, as the distance to the first rest area disrupted my scientific plan of eating/drinking. I should have been eating salt tablets and drinking more and taken at Hammer Gel from the first rest stop, but I pretty much forgot. I stretched for a bit, removed my helmet, and prepared for a few hours of uphill. My garmin died at this point. Thanks guys.

A short pedal on gravel brought us to the infamous Curtis Creek Rd. I don’t really know how to describe it, except to say it was like Roseboro Rd gradient, with Edgemont Rd length. Although it seemed a bit more like 18 mile rd… around every corner seemed a corner I’d just ridden past. The lower section didn’t hurt me. Near the top I ran out of water and could barely choke down a Clif Bar. This was the point I’d wondered about: total breakdown. It didn’t really surprise me, though I still had thirty five miles to go. Near the top of Curtis Creek I began cramping. First it was just my left leg, then both, then my hands. Fingers straightened. Others curled uncontrollably. A woman rolled by me on a bike and said blah blah blah. My iPod earphone in one ear and the other facing away from her seemed to tell me she said something .3 miles to the feed area. Then my wandering mind asked if she said three miles?!?!? I kept the pace chill, not that I could really do anything more, and rolled into the rest stop with joy. I ate some Endurolytes (Salt tablets), some Hammer Gel (espresso with caffeine, mmmm), and refilled my water bottles and camelbak. As I walked toward my bike to lube the chain I was forced to remove a pair of shorts from my handlebars. A volunteer from Bio-wheels apologized and assured me they were his and they were clean. It was still a bit odd. With a lubed chain I started what was one of the easiest sections of the ride. The Blue Ridge Parkway.

I’m used to riding on the BRP so I selected 32-32 for my gearing and trudged along. Riding through a tunnel was really cool. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. A fifty mile per hour (seemed like it) descent led us to the hike a bike steepness of a wall on our left that led to heartbreak ridge. Someone assured us that after the 300 yard hike it was “all downhill.” Well. Heartbreak was great. Although I think I saw a small black bear walking towards me near the top and I shrugged it off. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t real and my mind was totally gone. My legs began thoroughly cramping on the descent, which lasted at least 15 minutes, and getting off my bike to step over a two foot tall log put both legs into total cramp mode. I made it down the rest of the singletrack and to rest stop five with relative ease, refilled my water bottles, but not my camelbak (idiot) and asked how much farther. TJ from Liberty said well, you just have to ride Kitsuma again, so however long that’ll take. This was possibly the low point of the whole day. I’m hoping to big ring it downhill on pavement to the car and I’m faced with another brutal climb/hike with cramped legs and developing blisters. I wanted to punch the guy in the face that said “all downhill.”

Riding up Mill Creek Rd towards Kitsuma was brutal. A lady from Raleigh pulled up next to me and I realized we were both dead but still pedaling and that I could hang with her as inspiration to stay in my middle ring. We got to Kitsuma together and she pulled away on the into and then on the switchbacks. Every time I mounted and dismounted I had total cramping of both legs. I kept doing this though as it kept my feet from experiencing US military style torture.
The rest of Kitsuma was fun. Full speed descending followed by leg torture hike a bikes. Finding myself in the parking lot at the bottom was perhaps the best part of the day. From here it was a simple descent on the road, mostly big ring riding. I put the hammer down as hard as I could. I was thinking I don’t know what hour mark I’m gunning for, but maybe I have a chance. Well, I rolled in somewhere around 9 hours 15 minutes. Maybe a little less. I found Matt at his car, he’d ridden it in 7 hours 15 minutes and had to wait around for me. We hopped in the car and had a chill ride home. Windows down, no music on. Matt says once, “I could’ve saved 80 dollars and stayed home and rode the forest, and had just as much fun.” I see his point, but I think it was worth it. No faked mechanicals to slow me down. Pushing through cramping legs. And a time I can hopefully improve upon next year. For me, it was a great ride.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

clemson. 13th blah long. rides wedding planning

so i've been racing a bunch of weekends in a row and i think it finally caught up to me all the way. i had a good time but it was hot hot hot and humid so i didn't feel like i did so well. 13th place though and got to 4th in the overall series so i'm happy with that. right before the finish i took a digger going around a turn too too too fast and thought i was about to plow into a bunch of kids and grabbed the brakes and pedaled and slid and fell and popped up and dropped my chain and ran and hopped on the bike and didn't know the chain was dropped but some guy yelled chain is off and so i just coasted and when the downhill stopped i kept running and well if you don't believe so then here:

that was the race and i didn't lose any spots by falling and i wouldn't have gained any had i not fallen. it was just a bit scary i was worried i broke my carbon bar or brake lever. wheew.

so its been just normal had a weekend in town and celebrated my roommate matt's birthday friday and darcy went out of town and we went to an italian restaurant owned by some italian mafia mob guy. scarrrryyy!!! yep

so sunday david forkner and tom forkner and me rode bikes in the wilson creek area and we rode for 4.5 hours and barely rode 25 miles but it was good ORAMM thats off road assault on mt mitchell training. of course oramm is 65 miles so we didn't even ride half of it but still sitting on the bike that long is good.

wedding stuff got a monkey wrench thrown in by crestwood. sneaky folks tried to add in extra charges and well, i think we are going to shop around but don't worry. i've got a few new places in the research mode of my mind. yep. i'm interested in the shady grove gardens near creston, nc.

so in closing here's a picture of darcy and i that i absolutely love. we were playing frisbee golf around the ASU campus and paused for a moment for some very professional style photography:

thanks for reading and/or looking.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Columbus GSC Race

off the line i was fourth into the woods. i held this spot, staying in the big ring, through the entire wooded section and out into the short track area. i passed a guy, third now. then someone passed me. fourth again. about halfway through this lap i realized i only had half a water bottle left from my warm up. i never switched bottles!!! continuing around the lake and on new trail i thought to myself, this place looks great. i'm sorry i wasn't able to help with the new trail. i crossed the rock section boldly, as the guy behind me sort of rattled his way across it. into the woods and back to the final straightaway i dropped down to about 7th or 8th place. as i came charging through the feed zone with a guy on my wheel i reached for a cold new full water bottle and only managed to slap it out of darcy's hand. the water bottle flies to the ground, screeching halt, trackstand, she picks it up and hands it to me. two riders pass by. i sort of do my own thing and recover a bit throught the early tight twisty trail. my second trip through the uphill rock garden was better than my first, i dismounted (think cyclocross) and ran all the way to the open trail again and hopped back up to my pedals. i passed one rider here. i began hydrating every second i could and found myself on the wheel of a pro woman rider. i did my best to stay on her wheel through the end of the lap. this kept me moving faster. i pretty much followed her and traded places a couple times with the pro woman through the rest of the lap.

climbing through "my trail" as barry called it was a very humbling experience. when i reached the final straightaway all i could do was pass a 30-39 rider. no 19-29 sport guys were in the way, or i would have surely passed them. big ringing it along the way i felt the great satisfaction of racing on a great trail in my hometown. i'd been cheered on by roadies and mountain bikers, old friends of mine, and been cheered with "go columbus!!" i crossed the line in 7th. about 6 spots lower than i'd been hoping for. but i had water bottle tragedies and general inexperience riding in the 106 degree heat (i'm used to upper 70's lower 80's... come ride in boone!!!) as a weak excuse. i'm happy, though, with my finish, and very happy about the day.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

fontana dam jam

for the first time since i've been to fontana village, this past weekend it was dry as a bone. and that meant fast, fast, fast singletrack. as usual, they started us straight up the road with heat beating off the pavement reminiscent of the hill on wildcat rd. left turn onto singletrack, i'm probably #14 into the woods. great... only 4 people behind me. pass a couple guys on a technical uphill turn. 12th place. after the mostly downhill, somewhat technical, too narrow to pass singletrack we spill out onto a very steep fast loose gravel downhill. a guy i'm familiar with, joseph irwin from ocala, florida, comes screaming by on the far left. he loses traction as we try to turn right onto some uphill singletrack, overcorrects, tires bite, he flies off the left side of the trail, over corrects again and slides along on his left side to a standstill, i yell rider down and ask if he's okay as i'm passing. he's fine, just out of the race with a broken derailleur. well, i passed one more guy... 11th place. i'm not exactly happy to have passed him via a crash, but he shouldn't have been going so fast.

blah blah blah, we spill out onto the loop trail uphill and i'm big ringing it along and turn left onto the nasty singletrack downhill. a floridian guy rides behind me and announces "we don't have this stuff in florida!! i am thinking "wow, blatant announcement of the obvious?!?" after a couple steep climbs we dump out on some pavement and he passes me as i'm drinking water. i wanted to yell to him, we don't have 90 degree heat in boone, as my excuse for getting passed but well, i don't think i felt like talking then. back into 12th. little ring climb up and shift to the big ring following the figure 8 trail intersection and middle ring climb it back up to the downhill trail. i am confident to say i didn't lose any time to anyone on this portion, as i only began braking as i neared another rider.

exit onto the main road and drink an enervitene and finish off a bottle. my fiance and her family cheer me on and feed me, then its a turn onto the softball field and a very insane cyclocross steep run-up style thing. i rode it no problem. one lap down. one to go. i'll spare the description of this lap only to say i climbed the big paved road at my pace, middle ring the whole way and rode most of the singletrack on my own. i passed a 19-29 sport rider at the point the florida guy passed me on the first lap. back into 11th. the rider i passed was looking around asking everyone for water. genius, it's 90 degrees bring your own water!!!

i don't think i was passed by anyone on the second half of the lap except for ryan woodall and another pro rider hot on his wheels. after the downhill, passing a female rider i hammered up the main road to the softball hill climb. mostly out of the saddle telling my right leg it would not be successful in cramping, which it was trying to do every second i was out of the saddle. i finished in 11th. i'm happy with my finish since its a climber's course (racking up 2400 feet of climbing on my two laps), and at 174 lbs even though i live in the mountains, i'm nowhere near what you'd call a climber. my finish kept my in 8th place on the SERC points standings and moved me into 1st place for north carolina sport category with so i feel good about that.

i am looking forward to the relatively flat race at flat rock park coming up. see you all there.

darcy and i are planning our wedding. we are pretty much set on 6.29.08. we are planning to have it at crestwood inn.

its in blowing rock. we're both very excited. welp, thats all for now. jg

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Engagement/Ducktown/Snake Mountain

So, i've got great news. A week ago, I asked Darcy Lynn Alexander to marry me. I got down on one knee and held out a diamond ring, and she took a minute to answer... but she finally kissed me and said yes. It was one of the scariest and best moments of my life. We were in Maryville at her parents house, and she ran upstairs and told her sister, then ran down stairs and told her parents, i mean, woke them up and then told them. They already knew because i asked them if it was okay on friday. They took a vote, and Doug, Diane, Dana, and their dog all voted yes: that i could ask darcy. So the next day we headed down to Ducktown, TN to the Ocoee White Water Center.

the ocoee whitewater center is now officially one of my favorite mountain bike venues. the trail system starts just across the river from a large parking area. starting the race from a very cramped start area, we speed down a concrete path, twist, turn uphill. big ring out of the saddle. fork locked out, lactate threshold. i'm 5th or 6th into the woods. so, for the first time since i've started racing bicycles, we climbed for probably 10 minutes on singletrack. climb climb climb. i passed a couple people on technical sections that had more than one line through them and was 4th into the first downhill. i felt very very good at this point and rode for quite a while in 4th. our field had spread out pretty quickly. i looked back and did not see another rider at all. after a very fun, fast downhill with multiple chances for plenty of air i managed to stay on the ground and kept pedaling. the trail basically ran along the left side of a ridge for a few miles. we switchbacked under some power lines and began climbing, but it was very powerful climbing. still middle and big rings. by this time a few people had passed me, but as far as i could tell, it was just the leaders of the 30-39 class. i got out of the saddle on most of the rolling uphills and chilled on the forest road downhills and still managed to pass people (mainly the women experts). after a bit more climbing we began a very phenix city-esque technical descent. i felt very good on this and caught up to a group of four. kayla whitaker was in front of me going over a wooden bridge and took a very nasty fall. i asked if she was okay (from the speed of her fall i can barely imagine that she WASN'T hurt) but she said just go don't worry and i shouldered my bike (cross style) and hopped over her, landing my shoes on the same muddy mossy wet slick wooden bridge that took her down. i shuffled my way across it and proceeded to catch a few 30-39's near the highway. we did a very nice paceline allowing me to rest and still accelerate to 18mph as we rolled near the start/finish. as i finished my pull i went off the front rather than to the back of our line. i rode most of the second lap on my own, another guy in my class passed me as my legs started burning. i was okay with this because i have taken the past two weeks away from serious training. i certainly planned on racing at ducktown, but i want to aim my fitness towards dauset and fontana. as i reached the long gravel road downhill i shifted to 44-12 or so and kicked it. my heart rate felt like it had a good rest and i went into ex-downhiller mode as i descended the technical singletrack. i saw a photographer ahead of me and recognized the bit of trail and aired over the rock garden that had taken some of my speed on the first lap, as i reached my highest point of flight i heard the shutter snap and i hope that photographer posts his pictures. anyways, i passed the sport guy that had passed me earlier on the lap. got into a wicked tuck and used some of my roadie skills to kick it through the parking area and to the finish line. i was hungry. if there was anyone in front of me i was going to pass them. there wasn't but i was ready anyways. i crossed the finish line and hurried to my car. i had more important things to deal with than waiting for the results to be posted. i had to get back to a engagement celebration dinner with my fiancee's family. yes, i said fiancee. i'll see you guys at dauset.

i finished 7th at ducktown. i'm sitting in the top 10 for the series. i'm not sure exactly what place... i guess i could look. or not. umm. so that was racing. this is a random picture i took while on top of beech mountain a few sundays ago. i zoomed in to take a picture of banner elk, then a self portrait and forgot to zoom out. not too bad though. sorta artsy.

i've been slack last week and today was the jump-start my training needed. we went out for a 55 mile ride. when i rolled into my apartment parking lot my garmin showed 73 miles.

the highlights really involve the gentleman's pace set up three top and then down to 88. max and i were off the back cruising down the gap and had to work hard to get back with the group. finally, we got on and all took turns pulling. we were moving fast. i looked at my speed while i was pulling and it was 31mph. the other guys were were working even harder. on the flats down to peak rd we had a couple guys go off the front. ST and aran were among the break. DG, max and ray all worked hard to bring them back. at some point i closed the gap and cruised to the stop on aran's wheel. the others arrived shortly. so much for gentleman's pace...

our paceline on hwy 88 was awesome. very pro. taking turns, smooth transitions. ahh, then left onto sutherland vally road. real estate talk ensued, and then a max, ray and donovan went off the front. some of the others were holding back, taking a break, and so i tried to hang with DC. max and ray were gone, i think max was the first to the top. i kept donovan in and out of sight, but was fourth to pottertown gap. snake mountain was fun. especially with a group. i've only climbed it once before, in my granny gear. solo. today i went up it mainly in my 34-23. most of my out of the saddle climbing was done in 34-21. that made me feel good. coming down the front i proceeded to hit 53mph while DC and others were going 56mph or so. after climbing snake, some of the sane guys went back via nc194 and some of the others went back via big hill rd, railroad grade and castleford. i sort of blew up on castleford road, but i don't mind. i just cruised along at my own pace. rode with the other guys the rest of the way on 194. so... enough talking. pictures and garmin info remain:

Garmin Stuff, can you tell which one is Snake Mtn??

Shaw Brown's bike laying on the ground:

DC and DG as we're rolling out of Todd:

The crew just before Snake Mountain:

#1 and #2 climber guys:

DG Stretching:

Brown, DC and Aran:

Slow Guy: