Friday, August 31, 2007

Momma That Man Is Naked

I usually ride with a group on the road on Thursday. We have a nice 30ish mile route that has a few rolling hills and one really good 2 mile climb near the end. It is great training. After the weeks I have had so far, I needed this ride. Wouldn't you know I'd get stuck at work and I'd end up leaving at 5:40 for a ride that leaves at 6:00 and it would take 20 minutes to get there.

My options were to get there asap and time trial my way to the group already en-route or get ready on the way over and make them wait until I finished (like I haven't had that done to me before).

I started at the first red light. Shoes and socks gone, shorts, jersey and socks laid out on the console ready and waiting. Next red light comes the hard part - the shorts (I wear bibs). The trick to changing in traffic is to pull up short of the cars next to you, that way you are out of the line of sight of the drivers around you. I had a big truck on one side, a minivan on the other, I was good. Here I go making the switch the only problem was my shorts got hung on the lever that moves the seat back and the damn light turned green. I am now driving half-naked to the next light. At the next light I have the minivan again and now a VW on the other side. I had already managed to get my shorts free before I got there and all I had to do was get them up and get my jersey on. About that time I see a kid in the minivan waving at me.

I waved back and wondered what he thought ( he couldn't see anything except me doing some strange movements and pulling a jersey over my head).

Ah finished. I made the ride on time and ready to go and it definitely was what I needed.

Good luck to The Great White Goat heading to the SM100 this weekend and also I have several friends competing in the collegiate race this weekend being held on the campus of East Tennessee State University. Good luck to all of you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Joys of Home Ownership

Tuesday is one of my training days. Having a family and full time job means riding and training gets scheduled just like any other thing. I woke up Tuesday morning and on my way out the door to work, I admired our new indoor fountain. You know the type that has a stream of water that runs down and offers peaceful ambiance to your home. We just got it.

Oh, on Monday we called it our water heater.

Yep, I went to the Temple of Duckman - aka the garage, to get my bike and stuff to ride and I am met with 50 or so gallons of water in the floor and the water heater looking like a damn fountain. So Tuesday's training was pre-empted by cleaning up water and the closest I got to a bike was moving them out of the garage to get the old water heater out.

A trip to Lowes and $350 later and I have a shiny new unit ready to be installed. My buddy David was drafted (he picked the wrong day to stop by for a visit) and while Nancy got me a sandwich, we had the garage cleaned and the old water heater out pretty quick. With the new one in place and wired up, all I needed was to make one more trip for a couple of hoses and I am done. I had beaten the odds that say each project of this level requires at least three and no less than three trips to the home store. The first trip is for what you think you need. The second trip is for what you forgot or didn't know you'd need and the third trip is for the stuff you really need because all the **** you got on the second trip was wrong.

I was gonna do it in two. Or so I thought.

It seems that my fixtures on my house are from the Late Ming Dynasty and aren't compatible with anything made in the last century. The first hoses I got fit the heater but not the water pipes. The second pair of hoses I got (that were supposed to fit - thanks Lowes guy) didn't do it either. So at 9:00 last night I realized I'd be making that third trip and we'd be taking cold showers this morning.

Thankfully it has been so hot in the South lately that the water wasn't that cold and I now now there's some odds you just can't beat.

Monday, August 27, 2007

No Dr Skip's For Grannygear This Year

Since 2000 and the 24 Hours of Snowshoe, Dr Skip's Medicine Show has been an icon at Grannygear events each June in West Virginia. This year, we planned to go big and contend the National Series by attending the 24 Hours of Big Bear, the 24 Hours of Conyers and the 24 Hours of Landahl and we had hopes of taking the National Championship in the 35+ Vet Division.
Well stuff happened and we didn't get to make the first two events and now it looks like we're going to miss the Landahl race as well. Two weeks away from the event and there's only about 13 teams total registered and no Vet teams. Landahl is a long way from East Tennessee and with all the costs involved, we as a team decided that we'd rather not go to all that trouble to race against ourselves. I hate it for Laird, the promoter, because he is a good guy and puts on a good race. I don't know why the midwest race hasn't taken off like the others.
So for the first time in seven years, Dr Skip's Medicine Show will not be at a Grannygear event.
Here's to '08

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What Next.............

A lot of times, I get depressed in the days following a big race. Racing is my drug and after the high is gone, I am left waiting for the next hit.

At any rate, I am really pumped with my year so far. It has been a breakout year for me with all the solo singlespeed stuff I have done (and lived to tell about it). I am not new to singlespeeds. I have been toying with them for several years. It was just last year though that I gave the geared bike the old kick to the curb and went full singlespeed monty. I am well pleased with my decision. I have been able to do some fairly hardcore stuff that just a few years ago, I would have never dreamed of doing.

I hear that alot of racers get depressed after a race so I guess it is something in our blood.

At any rate, what's next for me is more training, a much needed vacation Labor Day weekend and them comes the 4th Annual 6 Hours of Warriors Race/Cookout on Sept 15.

This is a totally grassroots affair that has riding, racing, eating, skills clinics, first-aid clinics, bike maintenance and more. It is hosted by the Northeast Tennessee Mountain Bike Association at Warriors Path State Park in Kingsport, Tennessee. It's a real hoot and alot of fun to be a part of and is designed to give back some to the sport.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Maybe I don't Suck After All

I just got the results for the Fool's Gold race and I ended up 25th OA (19th in Male Open) in 6:32. That's pretty good as far as I am concerned, way better than I assumed I was doing after 3-4 hours into the race. In fact, had I known I was only 37 minutes out of a top ten finish, I could have maybe pushed a little harder - who knows. What if's have always been a part of racing.

I am happy with that also since I choose to do my bidding on a singlespeed and in most cases I put myself at a disadvantage by doing so. I like singlespeeds and the benefits of riding one outweigh the liabilites. It is fun to beat geared bikes and it is more fun to beat geared f/s bikes on a really rough course like the Fool's Gold one.

I digress.

I am not in this to beat others - although that is fun, it is not what motivates me. I like to push myself just to see where I will break. Rich Dillen puts it best "I want to see how big of a scorch mark I leave on the Earth when I finally burn out". Yeah that's how I feel.

I am still new to the solo racing thing and I am still learning. Team events are a piece of cake now. In the early days, I'd get nervous and all spastic before a race and now I am as calm as a cucumber. I have only done one solo 24, three Marathon XC's, and four 12 hours and in each one, I doubt myself, I doubt my abilities, I get discouraged. You can really get in a deep, dark mental hole during one of these events. The encouragement from family, friends, other racers and spectators is really helpful. The funny thing is that the more I learn from reading blogs of others and talking to more people at the races is that everyone has the same issues. R.E.M was right - Everybody Hurts.
Gee, I thought it was just me. Maybe I don't suck after all.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Fools Gold Recap

The Emperor's New Duds. (The coffee is not team issue)

The Fool's Gold 50/100 wasn't even on the radar when I penciled out my racing calendar for this year, in fact I only decided to do it 3 weeks ago. I had just got the deal with Vassago and since it was a Vassago Sponsored event, I wanted to be there.

Our plan was to leave JC early enough Friday to be in Dahlonega and at Camp Wahsega before 9:00 to pick up the registration stuff since there would be no Saturday sign in. We executed it with the deft precision of a train wreck... Several circumstances arose and we didn't get to leave until after 5:00. For awhile, I thought we might make it anyway and it wasn't until around 9:30 and we were somewhere in North GA I realized that the word Dahlonega must be an Indian word meaning there's no easy way to get here. We went through town after Mayberryish town (some of which had already rolled up their sidewalks and turned the lights off for the evening) and finally got there and into our motel at about 10:00. Five hours of sleep later and we were off to find a race.

As luck would have it, the first person I ran into was Vassago teammate Chris Davis who was standing in the parking lot of this restaurant waiting for it to open. I asked him where the race was because the directions I had were a little vague and he got us heading in the right direction. Camp Wahsega is a 4-H camp that is located adjacent to Camp Frank D Merrill - a Army Ranger training facility and the Chattahochee Nat'l Forest. It is one of those places you will never just stumble on when you are out driving. You have to want to find it and you have to want it really bad, otherwise you'll never see it.

I first looked up my other Vassago teammate and race co-promoter - Namrita O'Dea and she got me hooked up with registration (thanks Namrita!) and the went to get ready as the 100 mile race started in the dark (6:30). I was still trying to wake up and bitching a little about it when Nancy reminded me that most of my races are already 2/3 over by the time this one starts. In effect she was saying "quit whining you wuss, and go ride your ass off"! Got it.

After a few words from Race Promoter Eddie O, Bruce "the mouth of the South" dunno his last name gives us the "ready,set go"' and we are off.

Pre-race coffee and wake-up ride.'s dark.

Here's something to try. Go out next Saturday and get up at 5:00, be on your bike no later than 7:00 and immediately, without any warm-up, climb for 5 miles. Howzat feel?

Yeah, that's what I thought too about 4 miles into the first climb. I was actually faring pretty well. I had all the leaders in sight and found a pace I could live with. The first selection of the race had been made and there was a group of about 30 of us. Then things got ugly. We came around a corner and it got steep. I went with it for awhile but I soon found myself waaay down deep in my pain cave - too deep for this early in the race, so I backed off. I even pushed for about 50 yds just to get my heart rate down. One thing about Marathon XC type events that always gets me is not knowing where the hell I am. In 12/24 hour events, you can not know the course, take a couple of laps to learn it and you have it down cold. You know where everything is. Not so in Marathons. You don't know if that climb is 100 feet or 1000. You don't know where you can go hard or where you need to back off. I get such a feeling of isolation and it drives me nuts. For example, if I had known that climb was only another 500yds and there was a long recovery after, I would have just gutted it out instead of pushing.

After about 3 hours, I got really discouraged. I realized what was going on in my head and I just tried to ignore it. Besides, my legs felt pretty good and the trails were awesome. I had a group of 5-7 riders that I'd pass on climbs and they would pass me back on the other side. We did that for awhile and that kept my mind occupied. The singletrack parts of the course were sweeet! Eddie and Namrita really did a good job laying it out. There was alot of fast, flowing stuff, just enough technical to keep your mind focused and plenty to hurt. The big line at the beginning on the course profile is nothing to be concerned about really. It's all those little squiggly lines near the end that get you. There was one short, ass-busting climb after another in the last 15 miles of this thing. It really was a fun and demanding course.

I hit the wall again at about 4:50 and just cruised on home so to speak. I started catching and passing some of those that rode away from me earlier and that helped with my encouragement. It was getting hot now and the race was really getting tough (all the training I did in the heat helped though. I had no heat related issues.)
I came in at just over 6:00. Not sure exactly where, we had to leave before the results got posted. I came, I saw, I rode really hard. That's enough for this time.

All in all it was a great race, well organized, the course was good and well marked and the beer at the end really hit the spot.

The stupid song of the race. Each race, I get a stupid song stuck in my head. This time it was "Uncle Tom's Cabin by Warrant. I could not get that damn song out of my head.

My record still stands. I have not crashed in competition a single time this year (cue sound of me feverishly beating on wood). The race was crash-free (for me) and my Jabberwocky worked like a champ. The more I ride that bike, the more I find to love about it.

This was my 25th endurance race (12/24, XC Marathon combined) and I learn more and more about myself every time I go out.

Many thanks to my sponsors: Vassago, WTB, WB, Bike29 and Cane Creek. A big thanks to Eddie and Namrita O'Dea and all the volunteers and sponsors that helped put this race on.

Lastly, a huge thanks to my wife Nancy. Having you at these things is really, really nice.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Flight 121 For Dahlonega Georgia Now Boarding

The truck's packed and me and my wonderful pit crew/coach/soigneur/cook who is also my wife - Nancy are leaving JC in a bit for the Fool's Gold race tomorrow. The temps are forecast for 95 degrees but only about 50% humidity so it should be a piece of cake.
My ride last night went well and my legs feel really good. On the 2 mile climb up Buffalo Mtn, I pushed the pace to see what was there and I felt really good.

I think all the training I have been doing in the heat will really pay off - or not. We'll see.

I'll be back Sunday with a full report.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Is it Jabberwokies, Jabberwocky's, Jabber wocki?

What is better than one Jabberwoky? Two Jabberwockies! I have been sitting on what will be my main race bike for a few days. I have lots of goodies from WTB to go on it and I am guessing the yellow will stand out like um...........a schoolbus. Yeah that's the ticket. I have the wheels laced up but I won't have a chance to tension/true them before this weekend then I need to finish the build and give it a few rides before it's first race at the 24 Hours of Landahl in Missouri next month.

The black one I have been riding will be used for training, beer crawls, and as a back-up for the solo enduro stuff.

Many, many thanks to my really cool sponsors: Vassago, WTB, White Bros, Bike 29 and Cane Creek and especially our Team Manager Misty for hooking me up with the goods.

Muchas gracias.

A pile of bike.

Spokes prepped and ready.

Soon, another Jabberwocky will be unleashed.

There's Gold In Them Thar Hills.............

I just hope there's Gold in them thar legs when I get to Georgia Saturday. I went out for a training ride last night with my little sister (well she's 26 and not that little anymore but she'll always be my little sis) and my legs felt good. I wanted to push it but I didn't and that is usually a good sign for me. My sis is a pretty accomplished snowboarder plus she runs and bikes. She is moving to Mammoth Mtn in California in a couple of weeks to go to work there at the ski resort.
I wish the punk all the luck in the world in her new home.

I made the decision last night to run 32X19 gearing Saturday. I had been using 32X20 and while that is good for long climbs, I spin out really fast on rolling stuff. I am not a spinner. My riding style is more like mashing grapes. There's never a perfect gear on a singlespeed, it comes with the territory. It's all good though. From Namrita's description of the Fool's Gold course, I think I'll be happy with my choice.

Tonight is bike prep and get stuff ready night and I'll ride again tomorrow on the road.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hell has Indeed Frozen Over

LOS ANGELES, CA -- August 13, 2007

Beginning this September, in what promises to be the most exciting live tour this year, Van Halen will embark on a national concert tour throughout the U.S. and Canada with its original lead singer David Lee Roth for the first time in 22 years.

Considered by fans and media alike as one of the most highly anticipated tours in rock and roll history, Roth, guitarist Eddie Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen will perform with Eddie's son, Wolfgang who joins the line-up as the band's bass player. Van Halen and Roth have not performed or recorded together since 1984's classic multi-platinum album 1984 and subsequent tour, making this tour truly a historic event.

25 dates in all were announced today for the tour which is slated for a September 27th kick-off in Charlotte, North Carolina. Tickets for select dates on the tour go on sale beginning on Saturday, August 18th and are available on A complete list of confirmed dates can be found HERE. The Van Halen tour is being produced by Live Nation. Individuals who have the Citi® / AAdvantage® card, the official credit card of the tour, will be offered access to purchase preferred seats to all U.S. shows.

Fans can enjoy the ultimate Van Halen experience including concert pre-show parties, backstage access, premium seating and more. For additional details go to

Fans are encouraged to also check in at or for additional information.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fools Rush In

It's T-minus one week until the Fool's Gold 50/100 in Dahlonega Ga and I have the motel booked, the plan in place and the legs are (hopefully) ready. With the temperatures we have had lately, I am planning on the worst. With that in mind, I took the last opportunity I had for a long ride yesterday and spent it at Bays Mtn Park in Kingsport. While Nancy and Nathan rode around the Nature Center, I headed for the hills for some pain.

Bays Mtn is near zero on the scale of sweet singletrack or technical stuff. It has lots of hiking trails that are all off limits to bikes (one section of mtb-accessible singletrack that's so-so) and a really nice nature preserve to take the family to. What it does have for bikes is several miles of fs type roads and some really nasty hills. Since my biggest weakness is climbing, Bays Mtn is the perfect place to work on that.

The angle of my bike gives some clue to the hills

I had originally planned to do hill repeats on some of the bigger climbs but it was so damn hot that I decided to just say no. I got plenty of what I came for as it was.

This is steeper than it looks.

Cooked yet? Not quite.

Competition, heh, heh, heh.

This little one has some spunk.

Disclaimer: No family members or wildlife were harmed in the making of this post.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Hey, where'd y'all go?

I was dreamin' when I wrote this
Forgive me if it goes astray

But when I woke up this mornin'
Coulda sworn it was judgment day

The sky was all purple
There were people runnin' everywhere

Tryin' 2 run from the destruction
U know I didn't even care

'Cuz they say two thousand zero zero party over
Oops out of time
So tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999

So long Disco..............................

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Do I need a Dress to Race Cross?

Cross season is just a few weeks away. Where endurance races are all about suffering for the long haul, cross is about going WFO, full-tilt gonzo for 30 minutes and they kill you.

But they are a total Blast.

My buddies at TCRC are putting together the Mud, Sweat and Gears Cyclocross Series once again and it should be another great Fall of racing action. I will be there on my Vassago Jabberwocky giving it my best shot.

The fun begins Oct 13 and continues 10/20, 11/3, 11/10, 12/1 and 12/8.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Real Men (and Women) of Genius

In the summer months, I do a major amount of my training on the road. It's just easier to roll out of my driveway for a good 2-3 hour ride than it is to load up, head to the trails and only get to ride for an hour or two. Road riding will never replace mountain biking, it is a means to an end. I do enjoy it though and having a road bike in the stable just gives me depth to my cycling as it offers a chance to deal with certain obstacles I will never see on the trail.

I call 'em "Real Men (and Women) of Genius".

East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western NC is full of these morons that own cars, some of which also mistakenly believe they own the particular road that we may meet on. The first one is "Mr Lane Hog".

Mr Lane Hog usually has a big SUV or huge diesel truck, the latter usually has lotsa chrome and those big plastic bull balls hanging from the trailer hitch (dunno what statement that makes, maybe if you can't have a set of your own, hang some from your truck). Mr Lane Hog doesn't let a little bicycle with some lycra wearing sissy get in his way, hell no. He sees the bike and blows past with little or no concern as to how close his west coast mirror comes to knocking someone out.

Next is Buzz Jr and his posse. Buzz typically has 60% of his cars value tied up in a huge-ass muffler, wheels and stereo. He travels with his homies and they all hunker down in the car until all you see is the tops of their heads. Looks kinda like a car full of Prairie Dogs. You can always hear the thump of the latest Hip-Hop or whatever all the other posers are listening to and then as they blow past in Mr Lane Hog fashion, you hear the deafening drone of their wimpy 4 cylinder rice-burning power plant churning out 110 horses to the tune of a Cessna. Every now and then one of Buzz's gimps will lob a bottle or some other projectile out the window. Fortunately, Buzz and co have notoriously bad aim. I have never had one get closer than 30 feet from me.

Finally we come to Mr Neverpass. I love Mr Neverpass. You know they are there behind you, backing up traffic for miles, pissing off all the other drivers behind them all because they can't bring themselves to pass you. Older people, people with poor depth perception and cycling groupies all fall into this category. The ones that genuinely have compassion for bikes and are trying to wait until it is safe to pass also are here and I appreciate their concern. It's the others that worry me. Are they searching the back seat for that piece of 2X4 to swing at me? Did they drop the bottle that they were about to toss or are they just taking time to aim. Maybe they are just taking time to admire my lycra-covered ass, honed to near perfection from thousands of miles of saddle time (in some cases that is acceptable, in others, downright scary). Who knows. For whatever reason Mr Neverpass has to not pass me, he/she usually compounds their folly by doing something really stupid like passing on a blind corner or at the crest of a hill.

So to all of you morons, I tip my cycling cap to you and loft my water bottle high in your honor.

Monday, August 6, 2007

No turning back now.

The former flagship of the Royal Duck Fleet, the Dean Colonel has been sold (I should say stolen) on Ebay. I now have virtually no remnants of my former 26" life save for a few semi-worn tires, some tubes and a couple dozen spokes of various lengths.

There's no turning back now (not that I am worried about it). Like when I made the decision to go all-rigid and one-speed (try to find a derailleur cable in my garage, HA, fat chance!) I am now full into 29'ers.

So long Dean. Good luck to you.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Going to the Turtle Farm

So here's the 'sitch. I wait all day long yesterday until I get off work so I can go ride. Like most of you reading this, I cherish my riding time. It was a beautiful day, sunny, 80ish - that is until I started heading toward the trails. The closer I got, the darker it got. Grrrrrrr.

I am not against riding in the rain. In fact, most of the riding I do is in the rain. It is sometimes so bad that I have been associated with some black magic and implicated in causing it to rain. Ok maybe that's exaggerating a little but you get the picture. Anyway I have been dying to get my Vassago Jabberwocky on some familiar trails to see what it would do and there's perhaps no trail on the face of the earth that is more familiar than the ones at Warriors Path State Park in Kingsport.

When I got there, there were a few people standing under the kiosk out of the rain. Damn the rain and full steam ahead, we're riding.

Disclaimer: I do not advocate riding trails that are sensative to wet riding. The trails at WPSP were designed to drain well and are generally very durable. Occasional wet riding does not hurt them. I would never ride a trail wet that could be permanently damaged by doing so.

Warriors is very rocky and rooty. It is a place that will bite you hard if you are a little lazy or not paying attention.

Warriors is also one of the biggest turtle refuges in the Southeast. I counted 7 yesterday (which averages 1 per mile) a buddy of mine found 5 in a single puddle the other day. For years there was one turtle that someone stuck a Mavic sticker on roaming around there. They mythical Mavic turtle hasn't been seen for awhile. Dunno if he died or if the sticker just came off. On most days it is hard to go there and not see one somewhere.

Anyway, the ride was great and further solidified my joy with my Jabberwocky. It handled the tight singletrack at Warriors like a champ. It climbs like a monkey on crack and sticks the turns like I am on rails. I had no trouble feeling confident stuffing this bike into rooty wet turns or going through some of the many rock gardens at WPSP.

That's my story anyway.