Sunday, June 28, 2009

For Haven.......

Some of you know of this, many of you do not.

Two very good friends of mine Kris Fowler and Misty Bateman, owners of Vassago Cycles, have a very sick young daughter - Haven. For two years now she has been battling a rare and terminal form of cancer. She has been treated at Johns-Hopkins Hospital where she is right now with her family. She is undergoing a very agressive chemo threatment that will require her to be in a "clean room" (read completely sterile) for 5 months as her immune system is completely destroyed and allowed to renew itself, hopefully disease free.

Please taken a moment to say a prayer for this family, add them to your prayer list at church, spread the word.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Riding, rednecks and things that go bump in the night.

Today's group ride with the Tri-Cities Road Club was a little different flavor than last week's climbfest. We rode a route that I had not ridden in about 10 years that was full of rolling, small hills that you could absolutely hammer on if you had a good group of people. You could easily (well, sorta easy) do the whole 48 miles in 2 hours if you played your cards right. Mmmmm. Can you say big ring?

We left from Kingsport's Meadoview Convention Center a 9:00ish and headed out towards Baileyton. My legs felt a little like a pair of dead carp for some stupid reason. I have ridden nearly every day this week but not hard and not for long so that shouldn't be an issue. I am stressed to the gills right now with various things, maybe that plus the riding had something to do with it. Anyhoo, it took me the better part of an hour before I felt really warmed up and like riding.

On some road, somewhere, (I don't know the names of these places, I just know where I am when I am there) a nice paceline developed and we were tooling along at around 25mph. I got to the front and pulled for a really long time and finally my legs showed up for the ride. Pulling off, I saw that our group had lost a few off the back, oops, so I tucked in behind the last rider and thought I'd ease up on the next pull. Everyone else pulled really hard too and by the time I got back to the front I figured, when in Rome.............. So I let it rip. It felt good and made me feel better about not racing this summer (I have been really bummed about not having a race to aim for. September seems so far away right now.) because this was fun!

At the mid-point of the ride we stopped at a store to regroup and grab some drinks. I remember the days when I first started riding (many moons ago) and I'd leave the house on a Saturday morning with friends, a bike and a few bucks in my pocket and we'd ride all over hellandback stopping at these little stores along the way for such treats as Moon Pies, anything made by Hostess and who could resist having a Coke and a smile (whoever coined that phrase had to be a cyclist because a Coke under the right conditions will definitely put a smile on your face.)
The return trip was a bit more hilly than the one out and it didn't take much of a 25+mph paceline to make my legs start bitching. Still, we hammered pretty good on the way back until I think everyone was pretty well trashed.
It was a great ride...

One thing though, file this under "S" for Stupid, On the way to Baileyton, some tool riding in the back of a pickup tried to dump a whole gallon of gasoline on us! Luckily we just got a little of the mist from it but shit! I can never get over how damn stupid some people can be. Just a few weeks ago somebody threw a natty light bottle at me (rednecks usually have bad aim, this one didn't do anything to change that opinion) and then just a couple of miles down the road TURNED INTO HIS DRIVEWAY! I already had his tag number and now I had his address, if I was the type, I'd go back there and give him his bottle (someplace rather uncomfortable for him perhaps) but I let it go...... after I called the cops and told them the whole thing FWIW.

Never, never, never underestimate the power of stupid!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

M is for Mountains.........

Hello, my name is Brian Archer, some know me as Duckman, and it has been 4 weeks since my last race. I am dealing with it the best that I can but it hasn't been easy. I just take life one pedal stroke at a time.......
It was hard talking to my friends on their way to the Cowbell Challenge Marathon/XC that was held this weekend at Fisher Farms in Charlotte. I always love going to Charlotte to race for the competition and the races are always fun and challenging. Due to working too much and having too little money, the Cowbell just wasn't in the plan for me this year.
Instead of racing, I hooked up with the TCRC Saturday for a fun day in the mountains of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. I rarely go on group rides anymore since I am always training for a race, racing or recovering from a race. None of those are very conducive to group ride etiquette. I was looking forward to this one for the fun of riding with a group also for the route - US 421 over Holston Mountain, is one of my favorite roads to ride around here.
We met in Bristol and headed out promptly at 9somethingish. The first dozen miles were rolling hills through farmland and we all hung out and chatted about whatever. The climb up Holston Mtn came next and there we kinda got strung out a little as everyone climbed at their own pace.
At the top, I turned and rode back down a couple of miles until I caught the last riders up and I rode back up with them. I love climbing Holston. Since I work in Bristol, it's nothing to go over there and ride it after work. The climb proper is about 5 miles long and not very steep, something like 5-7% overall but it will get your attention.
After grouping up, we headed off the mountain and into Shady Valley and then on to Damascus Virginia. The run into Damascus is a total blast. Slightly downhill the whole way, we rode in a paceline and pretty much maintained 30mph the whole way with speeds sometimes edging near 40. Of course it's not hard to go that fast downhill, it's still a lot of fun. Not often do you get to break the speed limit on a bike. In Damascus, we got some food, water and made a couple of bike repairs before heading back over Holston again and home.
The ride back (uphill all the way) was waaay less intense than the ride in. It was hot now and really muggy. We just chilled, so to speak, and cruised back over the mountain. It was time for some real food!
4.5 hours and 70something miles of riding with friends..........Good times.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Missing in Action

That's me. Like many, I have been hit where it hurts by a shitty economy and the trickle down effect of cutting back to survive. I am one of the lucky ones (relatively speaking) as my job is relatively secure (that could change at any moment) although I have had to work much harder and longer to take up the slack left from people that weren't so lucky and were "cut".

Therefore, my racing has suffered as the number of available weekends that I am not working plus the disposable income that just isn't what it used to be have caused unavoidable changes to my racing schedule. Gone are the Disc Burner (held last week, heard it was a great one..), the Cowbell Challenge, and ORAMM plus a couple of local road races that I had planned on. This has put a huge hole in my summer at least as far as racing goes. I am still training hard and hope to add a 100k mtb race that looks like will happen just a few miles from where I live. There's a Omnium road race in July that I'd like to go to as well. Beyond that, I am basically training for the Cyclocross series that begins in October and I plan to do well in that this year. I am looking at the 12 Hours of Dauset in September and maybe the SM100 Labor day weekend. We'll see.

For now, I am training hard, saving cash where I can and just riding the storm out. Hope all of you are doing well.