Thursday, December 31, 2009


It's 2:41, Friday morning, 2010. The new year has begun. Hopefully it will be a good year, better than the last. Not starting so great for mountain biking though. The foul weather lately has foeced me to abandon the FROTY in Roanoke. If I can get my ass up in time, I'm going to go on Paula Dahl's "Ride the temperature" road ride. By the forcast, it looks like we will ride about 44 miles. If I can get up. Does tequila make anyone else's lips numb? :) Time to get the year started! Goodnight.

New Year

I tried to get this blog going again early this year and didn't do much with it. Starting on the 1st, I'm going to make this an all inclusive blog, not just cycling. Maybe I'll be more apt to write. We'll see...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Middle Mountain Momma XXC at Douthat report

Dateline- May 3rd 2009, Location- Douthat State Park, Event- Middle Mountain Momma XXC, Forcast- Showers and T-storms. This was my first mountain bike race of the year. 40 miles of beautiful trails at Douthat. The T-storms never arrived, but the showers turned into heavy steady rain. The XXC race was delayed for an hour while the park authorities decided if they would even allow a race with the rain and rising waters. In the end, the XXC was on but the 20 mile races were cancelled.

Even with the rain, there were more than 40 people in the race. The start is a 4-5 mile climb, that really spreads out the riders. This is followed by a long steady downhill to a fire road. This is where I realized that I had made a huge mistake. I had set my bike up to be as light as possible, which means that I was using the tubeless wheels with V-brakes. When rain was in the forcast, I should have switched to disc brakes. After the first downhill, the dirt, mud, and gritty grime had destroyed my brakes. By the time I was heading back down to the park, about 30 miles in, I had adjusted the the brake as much as I could and could pull the levers until they bottomed out against the handlebar and still could not stop. Finally I had to stop, get out the tools, and tighten the cable at the brakes. Now all I had was the plastic of the brake pad frame running against the wheel, but I could at least slow down when I needed to.

The only thing worse than the pouring rain and mud being slung in my eyes and all over me, was the soft sticky mud on the double track. It was very difficult for single speeders. Only the geared bikes, in granny gear, could ride through this stuff. It was a soul crusher. I felt like it would never end. On the last mountain, I got a second wind and probably made up some time.

In the end, it was still a good day. Allen placed 11th and I think I may have been around 15th. We cut an hour and a half off last years time, even with the conditions. I could have had a better time if I had used disc brakes and I had some chain issues, but overall I was happy with my performance. The rain continued all day and as soon as people finished, there were told to move there cars because the bridge going to the start/finish area was about to be covered by water.

Now it's time to get ready for the Fat Tire Frenzy in Bedford on May 16th, The Central Va Bike Festival century on May 17th, and the 24 hour Burn on May 23rd and 24th.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Angels Race Tri report

April 26, 2009, Angels Race sprint triathlon, Lynchburg, Virginia.

This was second time I had participated in this race or any triathlon. Last year I felt that I had done well for a first timer. This year I felt like I was in better shape. I had been doing a lot of road riding when it was too wet to mountain bike. I had not, however, been swimming in the pool since last year's tri. My swim time was so slow last year, I figured it could not get worse.

This year, the weather called for temperatures in the 90's. A huge difference than the 40's of last year. As usual, I had over an hour and a half after the first starters before I would begin. Jess and I walked down to the first left hand turn on the bike course. Here we could see the first people go out on the ride. Soon it was time to get ready to swim.

I was dreading the pool, but I knew it would not be long before I was on the bike. I actually got a few full laps before I had to slow down to catch my breath. This year I did not get passed in the water like last year, I managed to pass a few people. At least I was not freezing in the first transition like last year. I got my bike gear on and headed out. If I were serious about tri's I would invest in shoes that I could slip on easier and not need socks for. Luckily I did have a better bike this year. I had been riding a old Trek 1000 with downtube shifters. Early this Spring, I bought an '07 Lemond Alpe D'Huez. There were many people on the road that were faster swimmers, but not fast on the bike. I was passing someone every couple minutes. Soon I was facing the big climb back into Lynchburg. I was lucky enough not to be behind anyone on the bridge where passing was not allowed. I passed a couple more on Main and the second short climb. I had an average speed of about 21.5 mph.

I had a fairly quick second transition and was soon out on the run. My legs felt like jello. I felt like walking many times on the run course, but I kept going. The toughest part was the two block steep uphill on ninth street. At the top I saw Allen, who had ridden his mountain bike down to the race to cheer me on, he was now barefoot and there to run the last few blocks with me. He helped to push me to the end. We sprinted the last 100 yards to pass two other runners.

After cooling off in the water sprayer tent and getting my stuff packed up, we waited for the awards. I like to stay and cheer the winners even when I'm not getting anything. To my great surprise, I was called for second place in my age division (35-39). Somehow I had taken a minute and a half off my swim time and I was 3 minutes faster on the bike. My run was almost the same as last year.

The Angels Race is extremely fun. I would recommend it to anyone wanted to challenge themselves. I will do it again next year. I've thought about possibly doing some others later in the year, if it has a pool swim. I don't want open water.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thunder Ridge

Last Saturday I decided that it was time to take the road bike out for a long ride. I wanted something more challenging than just tooling around Lynchburg. So, I decided that I would ride from my house to the Blue Ridge Parkway and up to Thunder Ridge. I left Lynchburg via 501, which has a pretty steep climb to get to the Eagle Eyrie Conference Center. After crossing over that, there are some sweet downhill switchbacks. Soon, I was riding beside the James River, heading into Big Island. Luckily, the paper mill there was not too stinky that day. One mile after leaving Big Island is the junction with the Parkway. This begins the 10 mile continuous climb to the Thunder Ridge overlook. As I settled in for the long climb, I caught up to guy slowly, but steadily heading up the road. I got beside him and we talked for a minute. He was riding from Waynesboro to Roanoke, so he was in no hurry. I told him that my wife and stepson were meeting me at the top for lunch and that he was welcome to join us. I got back on pace and soon his was too far back to see. The views from the overlooks are amazing, unfortunately, the wind there was very strong. Trying the ride with one hand and video with other as I passed the overlooks doesn't help either. I was finally nearing the top, when I saw Jess's blue Kia coming up the road. The timing could not have been better. I rode into the parking area as they were getting out of the car. After taking some pictures at the overlook and eating my sub, I was ready for the descent. About half a mile down, I saw the other guy. He was on the side resting, he smiled and waved. 10 miles of downhill can be tiring, espescially when you are in your top gear trying to assist gravity. Soon I was at the bottom. I told Jess and Tyler goodbye. I still 20 miles to get home. The rest of the ride is pretty uneventful, except for the fun downhill switchbacks on 501 are now uphill leg burning switchbacks. After crossing that ridge again I was back in Lynchburg and soon home. It was a great ride. I will be doing it again soon. I may make it a loop that comes back through Bedford.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Against the Wind

No, not the Bob Seger song, but the theme for today's road riding. After days of rain, no one was complaining much about the wind, but it made riding very tough and sometimes dangerous. It seemed like no matter which direction you traveled, there was always a head wind or cross wind, threatening to push you off the road or into traffic. Still, I took a long 16 mile route to get to the Angel's Race group ride. Road the 15.5 mile course, then back home (shorter route). The wind was continuous and brutal, like riding a mountain bike in sticky mud, I hate it. Steady at 20 to 25 mph and gusting to 35 or more. It was still worth getting out on the bike. Plus, since it's like climbing constantly, it has to make you stronger. I hope tomorrow is calmer though. I'm riding to work, then I'll have about 2 hours to ride before the first of this years Root Beer rides at Blackwater bike shop.

Friday, March 27, 2009


What will my future hold for cycling? I wish I knew. With the demise of the Derailer Series, I feel like I do not have a structured race plan like last year. Of course, I will be riding in some of the XXC races and the Shenandoah 100. And some of the former Derailer races will still go on. Now that I have a good road bike, I will be using it to help train for the endurance mtb races, but the more I ride it, the more I want to keep riding it. So I think i may try to find some road races or crits. I love my mountain bikes, but I finding an equal love for the road bike. Even today, when I got caught in pouring rain on the way home from work, I was still enjoying the ride. I even took a longer route that added a few miles. Decisions decisions... probably will be a mixture of both.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Angel's Race group ride 3/22/09

Every Sunday at 3PM, until the Angel's Race in April, there will be a group ride that starts at the downtown YMCA. This was the second one so far. The turn out was great, around 40 riders. We took off through downtown and hit River Road. I came up behind the two lead riders. I didn't know who they were, I don't many of the local roadies, so on the long climb, I decided to go around a nd take off. What I didn't know was that these two were very strong riders. Within 2 miles, they had caught and passed me. It was all I could do to keep them in sight. After the turn around, they pulled further away and one other rider passed me. At the end of River Road the lead two had stopped, so I stopped and chatted. Their names were Barry and Brad. Didn't get their last names. They were glad when I had passed, gave them someone to chase. The catch came quick. They are good friends with Puala Dahl and when they rode back down River Road to meet her, I followed. I know now that I have a lot of training to do to keep up on the road. I figure that it can only help the mountainbiking, especially the XXC's and the Shenandoah 100. The new Lemond is great to ride. I'm so glad I bought it. I hope the weather will be nice this Sunday too.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


It was a short but fun hike on the Appalachian Trail yesterday. We started at the Foot Bridge on Rt 130. Crossing the bridge was windy and cold, but once we got in the woods it was warmer. Jess, Tyler, and I walked about 2 miles before eating some food and heading back. We found some very nice places to camp and will probably be heading back once it warms up a little more and spending a night or two. Right now everything still looks pretty barren with leaves on the trees. Too bad you can't mountain bike on the AT.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday 3/21/09

I have not posted anything for quite some time. I'm going to try to start doing more on here, so stay tuned.

Today, Jess, Tyler, and I are going to do an "out and back" hike on the Appalachian Trail. I packed up our three bags last night with water, pretzels, poptarts, and Jess will add peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches this morning. Should be lots of fun. I wish I had the ability to take off from work and hike for a week or more on the trail.