Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's

    It's only a little over a day until the new year. As of right now I have no plans for New Year's Eve. I guess I'll just sit here at home and wait for the ball to drop. It will be a fitting end to a strange and trying year. Next year I hope to be able to celebrate more. The year will start great with a FROTY (First Ride of the Year) at Candler's mountain. Hopefully we will have a large group of mountainbikers for a fun ride. Also it will be the start of an attempt to blog everyday for the entire year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solstice Eclipse

   Early this morning was the first Winter Solstice full Lunar eclipse since 1554. I was excited, I've always had a great interest in Astronomy. So I set my alarm for 3am, plenty of time to wake up, bundle up, and get outside for the optimum viewing time of 3:17. That would be in the middle of the 72 minute eclipse, when the color of the Moon would be at it's deepest red. My alarm went off, I got up. But when I looked outside, disaster. The forcast for a clear night was wrong. It was completely cloudy. Oh well, maybe next time.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hoping for Snow

The forcast-  3 to 5 inches of snow possible tomorrow. That would be a good amount, unfortunately it is supposed to mix with ice and sleet in the afternoon. That's never fun. I will definitely take the Jeep to work. As long everything doesn't turn to ice, there's not much that can stop the beast. I have an important appointment tomorrow at 4:30. The weather had better not cause it to be rescheduled!

Monday, December 13, 2010


   Christmas is sneaking up on us. I can't believe it's less than two weeks away. I am looking forward to having the week between Christmas an New Year's off from work. I would like to find a good New Years party and it's time to start thinking about resolutions. One will be to try to blog everyday for the whole year. The challenge was put forth by my cousin and Angee has agreed to do it too. Of course there will be a few missed days here and there, but I will do my best to post something everyday. Even if it's just a "hi". I'm also going to start taking a picture everyday so at the end of the year I can do a time lapse video of myself. :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

2 Weeks Til Christmas

   I can't believe there's only 14 days til Christmas. There's still much to do. Most of Tyler's presents are done, but we still have to get gifts for the parents. Tomorrow I am driving to Northern Va for a friend's retirement party. Then Wednesday the 22nd we are having our Christmas lunch at work, I need to decide on a dish to make. But tis the season I guess. But even with all the fun Christmas stuff going on, there's a bit of sadness mixed in. The future is a bit cloudy, but it's Christmas and I am going to be happy. :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Tonight is the Christmas party at the inlaws. I'm actually looking forward to it. I have very cool inlaws. They are lots of fun. There's always good food and drinks at their parties. I am lucky that Jess's parents have a great sense of humor, and plenty of sarcasm. :)  Time to go party!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NBM #30 End of the Month

Well I made it. 1 month of blogging, although I think I missed two days somewhere in there. Thank you Angee for putting the challenge out there. And Missy for being there too, blogging along. I've had my blog for well over a year, but had gotten away for updating it more many months. Hopefully now I can keep it going.
This has been a good month. Of course Thanksgiving is always great, and I grown closer to some very good, understanding friends. I hope to continue to open up to wonderful caring people like them.

Monday, November 29, 2010

NBM #29 Work

   It always seems so hard to get back in the swing of things at work after a long weekend. I guess it's not as bad as coming back from a vacation, but I didn't have one this year. The four days over Thanksgiving seemed to go by so quick. I'm ready for the week between Christmas and New Years. The whole company will be shut down then. I'm sure that time will go by equally as fast. Maybe I should take an extra week then. I have the leave time built up. I could use a real vacation. Daily stresses build and build.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

NBM 27 Thr tree

    The day after Thanksgiving is our usual day to put up the Christmas tree and decorate it. Our tree is never anything elaborate. We have used the same artificial treee for years. It's not huge, it's not very full, and it's not pre-lit, but it's ours. We put one set of white lights and two sets of colored programmable lights on it, and top it with a star lit with white lights. We have a hodge-podge of ornaments. These include standard colored balls, Star Wars and Star Trek, Hello Kitty, VW, Batman, a Red Lobster ornament (no comment about how I got that), and some homemade ornaments from when Tyler was little. This year I found a cute little red, glittery high heel that I added to the tree. I love watching tv at night with all the lights out and the tree lit up. It's definitely the season of joy!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

NBM #25 Thanksgiving

   I had a great Thanksgiving today. I went to my grandmother's early to help get the food ready. Jess and Ty came out later. Right before it was time to eat, I got a call from Jess. She had a flat tire. After going to pick them up, we had a delicious meal. When we went back to put the spare tire on, I found a large chunk of metal in the flat tire. Then we went to her parents for a while. Home now and still full. :)
   I am very thankful for my great family and all my good friends.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NBM #24 Pre-Turkey Day

   I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. For us, it's more like lunch. My grandmother always has the meal eady around 1pm. This will probably be the last year that she make Thanksgiving dinner. It's so much work for her. She loves doing it, but it's gets more and more difficult for her each year. I will be heading out to her house early to help. Maybe next year I'll take over the family Thanksgiving duties. It makes sense, I love to cook. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NBM #23 Riding

   This is one of the great benefits of cycling a lot. After riding on Candlers mountain tonight, with lights, I come home and have a bbq sandwich, and bunch of hushpuppies, and a latte. I would be in trouble if I had not burnt off a ton of calories earlier. :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

NBM #22 Politics

   I am not one to discuss politics very often. I think it usually boils down to choosing the lesser of two evils. But I just saw a Facebook status that said "‎20% of Americans are considered to have mental illness. 20% are also considered to be liberal." Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I think it's the whole 2 party system that's dragging us down. People on both sides blindly follow what their party tells them is right. If we could ever have a nice blending of the two, we might get somewhere. For most politicians, if you align with a certain party, then you are pretty much locked into voting how the majority of that party votes. There are some that walk on both sides of the line, but they are rare and will never carry much clout with their party leaders. There's too much "us against them" attitude. How about voting for what the peole you represent want? Well unfortunately, it seems most common people like that "friend or foe", gotta vote how they tell me, mentallity. Two strict options just aren't enough. Just like how America was the "melting pot" of the world, taking all kinds of people and making a great nation, we should have a melting pot in politics and maybe we can get the best parts of both sides.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NBM #21 Sundsy

   It's Sunday again. Unlike meny of my friends, I don't care about football in the least. So what do I look forward to on Sundays? The Walking Dead zombie series on AMC. There's only 3 episodes left for the season. The bad part of Sundays is going back to work on Monday. At least this is a short holiday week. :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

NBM #20 Saturdat Stats (format borrowed from a great friend)

1. Life is good. No matter ups and downs there are, I am very thankful for all I have.

2. My family members may be very quirky, but I love them all and they love me.

3. I have a very loving and caring wife. She is a wonderful person.

4. I have some of the most understanding, non-judgemental friends. Without them I may not have such a good outlook on life.

5. Cycling is more than a sport for me. It's a passion and lifestyle. It helps keep my sanity. There's no better therapy than a long ride.

6. I have a cat with the funniest personality, Bud is more than a pet, he's a family member.

7. I used to care what people, who are not close me to me, thought of me. I've gotten to the point where I realize more and more that narrow minded opinions don't matter at all.

8. Big changes may be on the horizon. I need to prepare myself mentally and physically. I hope I make it through ok. That's where the great family and friend come in. :)

9. I try not to unfairly judge people. I love to laugh and joke at everyone. But when it comes down to it, I will not judge individuals on any stereotype that has been applied to them by society.

10. I wish the world would be more open and forgiving.

Friday, November 19, 2010

NBM #19 Spa

   I'm thinking tonight will be a spa night. A nice hot bath, then fresh nail polish for fingers and toes.Most guys would not be caught dead doing such things, but it's part of who I am and I love it. :)  If not tonight, then definitely tomorrow night.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NBM #18

   Just a quick note. I'm closing on my refinancing in the morning. Going from 7% to 4.5%!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


   Tonight I went to one of our Dire Wolf Cycling team meetings. It's been a year since the team was formed. In years past a few people have tried to start a local race team here in Lynchburg, all have failed. So when Elery Brown decided that he want to get a team started, most people just laughed. Elery was very picky in who was asked to join at first, wanting to have a strong team to get a foot hold in local racing. I feel very honored to have been part of the team from the beginning. Against all the odds, Dire Wolf is still going strong and growing. The coming year will see real sponsors coming aboard, a women's division, and more team members. Now every race we go to, people instantly know who we are. There were very few races last year that at least one of us were not in the top 5. The best part about the team is how well everyone gets along together. It's like a big family. Hopefully it will never get too big for it's own good. Now it's time to see what Dire Wolf can do next year. We also have a new website that should be active in a week or two,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NBM #16 Tan Lines

Well, we are over halfway through the national Blog Month. So far good. :)

   There is a sure fire way to tell who does a lot of cycling in the summer. Cycling tan lines. Very distinct lines marking the transfer from very tan to very light on the arms and legs. This could easily be mistaken for a farmer's tan, until you notice the outline of fingerless gloves on the hands and wrists. Most cyclists wear this tan as a badge of honor. Proudly displaying it whenever possible, hoping someone will ask about it so they can tell of their love of the sport. Which all well and good, but not for me. I do not like these tan lines and I try to avoid them with sunscreen. I still end up with them though, and it's not until mid winter or early spring that they fade. When I wear a tank top or a shirt with very short sleeves, which most of mine are, I really don't care to see those annoying lines. I suppose I could go to a tanning bed, but it's expensive and too harsh on the skin. So I guess I'm doomed to have tan lines. I could cover them with shirts and shorts with longer sleeves and legs, typical "guy" clothes, but that's just not me. :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

NBM #15 ?

Had a topic, but thought it best not to delve into it at this time. So I'll just say that it's cold and rainy and I think that I need some soothing hot cocoa. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

NBM #14 Ride

   We had a great team ride today up on the Blueridge Parkway. 11 of us met at the James River Overlook and headed North. It's a very long first climb through the tunnel and to the top. Probably 9 to 10 miles of almost constant uphill. We continued on to Rt 60 where we turned around to head  back. the last section was now a long steady downhill. We all stayed together and had an impressive pace line going. Finally we made back to where we started. It was a nice 38 mile ride. A little chilly at first, but not too bad. It's an absolute joy to ride with great friends in beautiful surroundings.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

NBM #13 Zombies

   First to recap the cookout last night. It was a great time. We had around 25 people or so. We did some night racing with jello shots thrown in, had lots of good food and drink, and a warm fire. It turn out that if eat a lot of jello shots, drink a couple vodka and juice drinks, and have a bunch of shots of Evan Williams, you will get very sick. I was throwning up well into wee hours of the morning. Somehow today I have felt pretty good, other than just tired. It was worth it though. :)
   This evening I started a new book that my mom gave me. It's called Day By Day Armageddon. It's about a zombie apocolypse. I also have the sequel to read. I love anything to do with zombies. I get it from my mother, she does too. I'm halfway through it already. It's a very fast read. And tomorrow night is the third episode of Walking Dead on AMC. It is an excellent show. I'm ready for the zombie attack!

Friday, November 12, 2010

NBM #12 Cookout

   Tonight is our Dire Wolf racing team cookout and bonfire. We are all meeting at one of the team members house. He has a full cyclocross course in his backyard. We will have lots of food, night racing, and a big bonfire to help keep us warm. We are also planning on having one race where the leader of each lap has to take a shot of vodka as they go by! :) It should be an excellent time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

NBM #11 Friends

   I feel so lucky to have so many caring friends. When the world seems to be harsh and even the people close to you, who should support you, are not. I know that there are people who love and care about me and will always have an ear for me to talk to. And in return, I am always there for them. A good circle of friends is the best defense against the anything that gets you down. Some of these friends I have known for many years and some I have met on Facebook. I am equally grateful to all of you for all that you do for me. I like to surround myself with friends that are as open minded as I am. I have friends from all walks of life. It doesn't matter what you believe, what you do for work, or what you do in your spare time. As long as you don't judge other's by their looks or stereotypes and are a good person. I am very pround of my friends, I love you all.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NBM #10 Heat

Today was very warm. After Fall went missing and temperatures dropped like a rock, today we almost went back to Summer. It's no wonder so many people are getting sick. Can't we have a nice gradual cooling into Fall?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NBM #9 The Future

   Nobody knows the future. And for good reason. If you knew the future, it might affect your decisions, thereby altering that future. So the original one could have never existed in the first place. A paradox. The future is a dark highway. We try to shine our headlights to see the way on our journey, but it only illuminates they time we are currently in. Your future is never set in stone. Good and bad choices affect it equally, and in the end, it's still your own future that you determine.

Monday, November 8, 2010


   I have, what I think, is one the coolest cats ever. His name is Bud and he's going on 12 years old. When I was renting a room from a friend in a townhouse on Timberlake Road, her Cailco cat had a litter of kittens. Most were also Calico, but there was one solid black kitten. I decided to keep him. Soon my friend moved back to Delaware and I took over the townhouse. I would let Bud out to rome daily, he would be back in a few hours. One time, after he had been out for a while, I suddenly heard high pitched sqeeling from outside the door. I opened it find a baby rabbit in Bud's mouth. I took it from him and saw that it was not seriously injured. I ended up releasingg the rabbit a few just outside f the city that evening. A couple weeks later, I opened the door to let Bud in and he had another baby rabbit. This time, he must not  have wanted me to take it because there was only half of it left. Bud was having rabbit for dinner.
   One Sunday, when Bud was about 1 year old, I let him out as usual. The next morning I was leaving for a business trip to Puerto Rico and Bud had not returned. I asked my girlfriend at the time to come by and let Bud in that  evening. I was sure he would come back soon. Tuesday morning I got a frantic call, she had found Bud at the door. He had drug himself there with one of his back legs barely hanging on by a little skin. She took him to the emergency vet. They off what was left and stitched him up. We never found out what happened, but the vet said it looked like a clean cut. I think maybe he got into an engine compartment and got caught in the fan. When I got home later in the week, I found a 3 legged cat. He healed very quickly. Within a day or two, he was hobbling around and had figured out how to walk well with 3 legs in a couple weeks.
   Now, 11 years later, he still gets around great. When he runs, you would never know a leg was missing. Since I had his front claws removed after the accident, he was never an outside cat again. Although he has managed to escape a few times over the years. But he's always back in a few hours. He loves to sit in an open window and watch birds and squirrels.
   Bud is one of the few cats that loves people and will let you rub and play with him whenever you want. When we have parties, he always makes the rounds to all the guests, looking for attention. He even hops a little more to get people to feel sorry for him. When the day comes that he dies, it will be a dark days. I am not looking forward to it. But for know, I will continue to enjoy my cat that beat the odds.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


   It's that time of year. All the food holidays are coming up. It's time for me to get back on my nutrition plan.  I've fallen off of it over the last couple months. Starting this week, I will go back to my large breakfasts, mid sized lunches, and light snacks for dinner. Hopefully I can keep off the holiday weight. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

VA Tech Cross

   Today was the cyclocross race in Blacksburg. This was a fairly large event with around 70 to 80 racers total. When we arrived, the temperature was 36 degrees and it didn't warm up much, if at all. The cold wasn't the worst part. The  course was very tough, a lot of steep climbing and sketchy downhills. After 1 lap, I was hurting. I settled into a groove and tried to hold my position. Finally after 5 gruelling laps, it was over. That seemed to be the consensus from all the racers all day, "I'm glad it's over". I ended up in 6th place out of about 15 in my class.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Jeep

   I love my old Jeep Cherokee. I was never big into SUV's or 4 wheel drive vehicles, after driving aircooled VW's for many years. But when my first Saturn coup was totaled, which I love them too, I found a great deal on an 89 Cherokee. It was nothing special, slightly bigger tires and a 5 speed. It would go anywhere and everywhere. There's something about the older Jeep transmissions. Even some of today's computer controlled All Wheel Drive systems don't perform as well. After a couple years, I sold that Jeep and bought another Saturn. I still wanted another jeep though. Finally a friend was selling his 89 Cherokee and I grabbed it. This one is automatic, which I don't like as much as the 5 speed, but it already had a 4.5 inch lift and 33" tires on it. After making some much needed repairs to it, I have been driving it for over 4 years now and it is well over 200,000 miles. I wanted a safari look, so I built a full roof, and then some, rack for the top, with a ladder mounted on the side to climb up. It's now badly in need of some body work and new paint, which I hope to take care of next Spring. The old Jeeps seem to go on and on. Hopefully this one has a lot of life left in it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NBM #4 The mall has it all!

Or does it?  I think Lynchburg has quite possible the worst mall in Virginia. The worst that I have seen anyway. Even when I came to this area in the mid 80's, it wasn't great, but it had decent stores and was clean and modern looking. Still nothing compared to the malls in Northern Va. Now, the same decor from 25 years ago doesn't fit well in 2010. Many of the popular brand stores are gone and only the same old tired names remain. Most of the newer stores coming in are super cheesy clothing stores or dollar stores. There's one saving grace, and I believe it's a last ditch effort to save the mall. They built a new, large movie theater. The old one was terrible, tiny theaters and uncomfortable seating. Now it's a stadium seating style theater. With not much else to offer though, I wonder how many more years the mall will survive.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

#3 NBM ???

Wow, day 3 and I'm already getting stumped for topics. I have a lot I want to write about, but I want to save it for later in the month, when the crunch is really on. I guess I should make a list of possible topics. So today will be about the onset of Fall. It's my favorite time of the year. The air is cool and crisp and the leaves are so pretty, well usually. This year the trees seem fairly drab. The rain at the very end of Summer was not enough to make the colors as vibrant as usual. I still love it though. A nice jacket, a hot cup of coffee, and sitting on the porch. Which reminds me, I want to look for a new jacket. Maybe some kind of peacoat or something with some warm fuzzy faux fur around the collar and cuffs. :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day #2 NBM, Cyclocross

   Adding to the list of firsts for me in bike racing this year, is cyclocross. Cyclocross is a strange thing. You take a slightly modified road bike frame, put thin knobby tires on it, and go go race Criterium style through fields, mud, and rocky terrain. It's very intense and exhausting, with virtually no chance to rest during the 45 minute race. Of course I don't have a cyclocross bike yet, but I have borrowed one for a race( 4th place) and I've used my single speed mountain bike in one race ( 3rd place). Mountain bike races are still my favorite, but cyclocross is definitely getting my attention. Unfortunately the season only lasts 2-3 months. I guess I need to add a cyclocross bike to my want list, along with a time trial bike. :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

National Blog Month

   Ok, I'm back. I've let this go for too long. My dear friend has challenged me to blog with her everyday for the month of November. So this will not be just about cycling, but nything and everything I can think of. Since I'm blogging about blogging, this counts as day 1.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

24 Hour Burn 2010

   The 24 Hour Burn us one of the largest mountain bike races on the East Coast. Over 350 riders, solo and on teams turned out for a full day of the pain train. Last I (Cliff) attempted a solo ride. I had to abandon after 9 hours with saddle sores. This year it would be a team race with fellow Dire Wolf teammate, Quinn. To round out the team we had Chris Willis and Ben Waren. We had a camp setup with 3 teams and 2 solo riders. Friday evening, we needed all those riders to hold down our canopies as a huge thunderstorm hit the area. Very strong winds and driving rain destroyed a lot of other teams canopies and tents. After it passed, the weather cooperated for the rest of the weekend.
    The race started at Noon on Saturday. It's a LeMan style start. A team memver has to run around the camp area and tag the first rider. Ben did our run and I was the first rider. After a trail mix-up that had us do the beginning twice, the first lap went pretty smooth. We would switch riders every lap and the times were all within 10 minutes from the fastest to slowest.
   When it got  dark we switched up and rode 1-2, 1-2, 3-4, 3-4 to try to get some rest. Of course the times got longer at night, moreso closer to morning when the dew made the roots very slick. On my 3rd lap, my battery died halfway through the course and i lost about 8 minutes.
   When the sun comes up in a 24 hour race, it rejuvinates you. Amazingly, we all started pulling times close to the ones at the beginning.  Our recovery surprized all of us.
   In the end we were in 11th place out of 50 teams, with 32 laps. We were within 15 minutes of the top 10.  It was tons of fun. Everyone had a good time. Special thanks to my wife Jess for cooking for everyone throughout the night and Richard for keeping us organized.  Someday i will go baack and try it solo, but the team aspect is so much fun!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chesapeake Time Trial

   A couple weeks ago, I travelled to Chesapeake to participate in my second time trial. This one was shorter, only 12 miles, and was straight and flat. Friday evening, Jess and I drove to Yorktown to stay with Angee and Wayne, family from Tyler's side. We got to their house and went out for a great dinner at Quaker Steak "The Lube", a really cool restuarant. We had a lot of fun with them and will hopefully go visit again soon.
    The next morning we left around 6:00 am. After about an hours drive, we were close to the race, or so I thought. I drove around and around looking for the race. I was getting very frustrated and worried that I would miss my start time. After looking at a .pdf map of the area, I realized that my direction were way off and we were about 15 miles away. Now it was a race just to get there. Finally we found the race. We pulled in, I sent Jess to get my registration and race number, while I got the bike ready. Once I got up to the start area, I had a whole 4 minutes before my scheduled start time, so no warm up for me.
    As I got closer to the start line I saw that there was one water puddle anywhere in sight and they put the start line right in it! WTF!!!  When it came to be my turn and I took off, my back wheel spun. Luckily I didn't lose control or fall. As I got out on course, my legs were screaming from having no warm-up. After a mile or two, I got into a groove. I rode 6 miles, made a U-turn, and headed back. I had passed a few racers and was never passed by anyone else. I crossed the finish feeling pretty good just for making the race. When they posted the Cat5 results, I was shocked to find myself in 6th place out 32! Not bad for almost missing the race completely.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

6 Hours of Warrior Creek

   This trip could not have started much worse. Jess, Tyler, and I were leaving on Friday afternoon, bound for Wilkesboro, North Carolina. We were actually ahead of schedule, but before we got out of Lynchburg, the front right brake caliper on the Jeep started sticking. So we had to head home and cram a Jeeps worth of stuff into a tiny 2 door Saturn. Needless to say, it was a long cramped ride. The rest of the evening was nice, I hung out in the hotel lobby with a bunch of fellow racers from Lynchburg and Roanoke.
    We got to the pit area at the race and set up a tent city, with all our friends. I went to get my race number and started to get worried. My number was 13! Soon it was time for the racers meeting and to line up for the start. Luckily Quinn suggested that we ease over to the start line. We ended up being just off the front for the start. When we turned around, racers were lined up down the road almost as far as we could see. The start was crazy, 250+ riders taking off at once. There was a very long uphill on the pavement. I was giving everything I had to keep up with the singlespeed. After about 2 miles, we finally entered the singletrack.
   The first lap wasn't too bad, except for all the traffic. The second lap was much better. Most of the racers had spread out. The course was fun and fast. It was fairly smooth and had high banks berm turns. Very enjoyable to ride, but it gives you no time to rest or recover. By the third lap, I was feeling the pain. The second half of each lap had a lot of short steep climbs. I was starting to walk a few of them. Lap four hurt even more. When I got to the pits, I had half an hour before I had to start my last lap, which meant that I had 2 hours to finish it. The fifth lap was extremely painful. I did have a little energy at the end to race a fellow singlespeeder to the finish line. I crossed the line about 10 feet in front of him.
    When it was over, I finished 5 laps in 6 hours and 16 minutes, putting me in 13th place in the singlespeed division. Warrior Creek is an awesome race. I will be back next year!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dismal Dash

    I had to get up at 4:00am on Sunday morning, the 14th. To make it worse, it was the night of the time change, so I lost an extra hour of sleep. I gather my stuff and was off to pickup fellow teammate John Tardy. Three and a half hours later, we finally arriveed in Suffolk, VA. There we met up with Eric, our other team member racing that day. Cat 5's were going to be the third group to start. The course was a fairly flat 12.5 miles out and 12.5 miles back. I was the first of our team to start. Heading out, I was immediately hit by a steady headwind. It made the first half very difficult, but coming back was much easier. I had saved a little bit of energy to push hard over the last 5 or 6 miles. I even passed one of the hardcore time trial guys that had passed me on the way out. These guys have dedicated TT bikes with full carbon fiber wheels, teardrop helmets, and do TT's all the time. When I finished, I was surprised how tired and sore I was. It's hard to pu out constant 100% effort for an hour and 9 minutes, but that time put me in 14th place out of 49 racers in my class. Eric came in at 26th and John was 40th. Everyone had fun and even with the wind, the weather cooperated, keeping the rain away. I think I am going to do more TT's. There's another flat TT in Chesapeake in April, the Mill Mountain climb TT, and the Wintergreen ascent.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bedford MTX finals

    Last Sunday was the final race in the Mountain Cross series. After two races, I was in 5th place overall, 19 seconds from 3rd. The weather was perfect. 60+ degrees and sunny. The course was also longer, with more singletrack than the previous races. And most of it was actually dry! As the race started, I knew I had 3 people to keep an eye on. Dave Tompkins in 3rd overall, Mark Zhu in 4th, and Warren, who was right behind me in 6th. Mark raced in Sport class, so he had a 2 or 3 minute head start. Dave and Warren were in my class. The first last, Dave and I went fast and furious. It would be our fastest lap by 30 seconds. After that, we got into a pattern. Dave would pull away on the flats on his geared bike and I would catch him on the long grassy climb with the singlespeed. On the 3rd lap, we caught Mark. Starting the 4th, Mark tried to pull away on the paved part of the climb, Dave hung with him and passed at the top. I had to sit back and watch, I was maxed out on the ss. Half a lap later, I had them back in my sights. Warren had faded a bit, so these two were my only focus. On the last lap, Mark was looking tired. Once I got past him, he fell off quick. I could see Dave about 50 yards ahead, but there was no way to catch him. We were both maxed out. In the end, he finished about 20 seconds ahead of me, in 3rd place for the day. This is how we finished for the series too. I got 4th, Dave 3rd, Scott Fitzner was 2nd, and Paula Schimizzi was the overall winner. She deserved it. She gets out there and puts her heart and soul into her races.
    I can't wait for this series next year. It's always a good time with good friends. Kenny Palmer does a great job putting on these races. Now on to the rest of the racing season.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bedford MTX #2

   Ok, just a quick note about last week's race. I've been slacking and not blogging this week. The super wet trails at Falling Creek Park meant that much of the course would be on pavement and grassy feild. There was on section of very nice, dry singletrack. The race started at 6pm, meaning everyone needed lights. It also meant that the temperature would be around freezing. The race went great for me, I felt good and pushed hard. I ended up in third place. I was very happy with that. Now, in the overall standings, I'm 19 seconds out of third. Tomorrow is the final race of te series. The course should be about twicw as long as the first race and have a little bit of every type of trail. The weather will be perfect. Sunny and close to 60 degrees! Last week I rode Quinn's Raleigh singlespeed 29er and I will use it again tomorrow. I really like that bike. A 29er ss will be in my future this year!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bedford MTX #1

   Finally, the 2010 race season has begun. Even though the Bedford MountainCross series is more of an early season training gauge, there's still plenty of intensity. MountainCross is a blend of pure XC and cyclocross racing. The race is technically one hour long and start times are based on a handicap system, where less experienced riders go first and the more experienced have less time to make as many laps as possible.
   The course for the first race was about one mile long, but the conditions made it feel like 5! Other than the paved loop around the park center, the trail was a narrow track of snow, slush, and mud. Lot's of mud! By the end of the race, nothing but mud, the consistancy of wet concrete. There were no barriers to hop over this time, but there was a steep run-up, about 6 feet tall and the final slippery climb cause a lot of walking.
   I was in the Veterans Expert Class, along with my Dire Wolf teammate, Quinn. A quarter way through the course was a nasty double track downhill, littered with rocks and roots. Mud was slinging off my tires all over me. About halfway down on the first lap, a big chunk of mud flew up under my glasses and derictly into my right eye. With riders in front and behind me, and nowhere to pull off, I had to try to blink as much of it out as I could. there was no way to let go of the handlebars with one hand to wipe it out and not crash. Once I got to the bottom, I felt that I had gotten enough out to keep going.
   I ended up following Quinn throuhout the race. He pulled away a little on lap three, but I managed to pull him back on the next lap. We passed other riders here and there, and of course we were passed by Gordon about halfway through. On the last lap, I got a little caught up behind another rider. There were very few places to pass clean. Quinn was gone. He ended up about half a minute ahead of me. I saw my friend Warren up ahead on the last climb. I tried my best to catch him, but could not do it. He finished about 10 seconds ahead. Nine of us ended up with 6 laps. I was in 8th place. Covered from head to toe in mud.
    Everyone had a great time. These races are always fun and the weather was perfect. It was great to see all my cycling friends. Next week will be a night race. Hopefully the trails will dry out some before then.


Monday, February 15, 2010


   T-Minus 6 days and counting...  until the first race of the year. The first race of three in as many weeks at the Bedford MountainCross will be held on Sunday. The conditions are not looking good. All the recent snow and cold temps have kept all the local trails covered. But these are "postal" races, they are run no matter what the conditions are. I hope it does not deter too many racers. I doubt there will be much singletrack in the first race, I know Kenny Palmer does not want to totally destroy a great trail system. To help get ready, I am riding to and from work all week, and hopefully a lot more from now on.
   It's going to be a fun race and series, no matter what!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

   It's been a busy week. Monday was my furlough day from work, so I decided to get some riding in. I left my house at 8:15am, temps in the low 20's, on my singlespeed mountain bike. I rode to Candler's mtn. I rode around the house on the snow before I left and found that I could ride on top without breaking through. When I got on the trails, I found the snow and ice a bit softer. There was no way to ride this snow. The front wheel would immediately break through and dead stop. The first trail had been beaten down by hikers, so it was ridable. But if I strayed by a few inches, an endo was likely. I did this once alond a steep bank and ended up sliding down a 30 foot hill on my back.
    Most of the trails ended up being hike-a-bikes. I was glad to finally get back to the roads and head home via downtown.

   Tuesday brought more snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Just a dusting during the day. But enough of a coating overnight to make Lynchburg side streets very slick.

   Thursday was Jess's 35th birthday. We were able to get Tyler an extra day and went to her parent's house for dinner. My parents were also there. Jennifer always cooks awesome food. We had country fried steak in gravy, creamed potatoes, mixed veggies, and cheesecake for dessert. I had to turn off the nutrition plan for a day, but it was worth it! Everyone had a great time.

   Friday was fairly uneventful. We did finally watch Inglourious Basterds. Good movie, a bit cheesy at times, but classic Tarentino.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snow Ride 2.0

   Well I did get to ride in the snow yesterday. Davy from Blackwater Creek Bikeshop got some  riders together to explore the streets in Boonboro. Davy, Allen, Scott, Quinn, Phil, Brent, and I met at the Kroger on Rivermont. All the streets seemed to be clear and just wet. We all had single speed mountain bikes, except one with gears and one single speed cross bike. Once we were a couple block off the main roads, we found the snow. To ride in it, you had to stay in the tire tracks. Getting into the untouched, heavy snow would strip all momentum away. We eventually made our way downtown, with a rolling snowball fight down Rivermont! The fight was continued in a bank parking lot for about 20 minutes. By this time, everyone was getting cold and wet. It was getting late so we made our way back to Kroger. Scott put it best, that it was like being a group of hooligan kids again, roaming the neighborhood. Good times!
   In a stroke of incredible luck, my friend Chris and his son Cashion were coming out of Kroger while Allen and I were loading up the bikes onto the back of the Jeep. We talked for a minute, then he mentioned that he had a huge plate of fresh baked, made from scratch, brownies that his wife, Morgan, had made. They tasted so good and were still warm! Perfect after two hours in the cold and wet.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow 2/5/10

   Compared to last weeks powdery 12 inch snow, this round brought 4-5 inches of wet, heavy snow mixed with sleet and rain. The temperature this time has been hovering around the freezing mark, last week it was in the teens. All this combined with tons of chemicals have mostly kept the snow off the roads. What's left is a wet, slushy mess. There will be be no snow ride this time. The mercury is supposed to dip lower tonight, so the plan now is to try riding on Candler's mountain in the morning. I was there Thursday night with Quinn and Scott S. It was very difficult to ride. Some hikers had been on the trails, but no other bikes. It was pretty soft and slushy and cut our normal speed in half with double the effort. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow. Looks like a trainer day today. :(

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow Ride, Jan 30, 2010

   Every Saturday we have a Dire Wolf race team training ride. This week the forcast called for heavy snow. Not the ideal conditions for road biking. Many team members were going to Snap Fitness to do some spin class style training. I absolutely hate spinning! I can't spin and spin and not go anywhere. My plan was to take the mountain bike up to Candler's Mountain. A few inches of snow would make for a fun ride. When I woke up Saturday morning, there was already 6-7 inches on the ground and still pouring snow. My friend Allen was planning on riding to my house and then we would drive up to Candler's. So I suggested we just meet somewhere and ride aound Lynchburg. The snow was getting way too deep to ride singletrack.
   We decided to meet at Sheetz. The temperature when I left the house was 20 degrees! I had many layers on and my was using my snowboarding gloves. Since I ride a single speed bike I would not have to worry about shifting. My road had not been scraped, only a set of tracks. Trying to ride in these tracks was very hard. If you vere into the deep snow, you stop immediately. Lakeside Drive had been scraped and was much easier to ride on. Not much traffic. A few vehicles here and there. When I got to Sheetz, Allen was waiting. We rode up to the building, as I tried to hop over the snow bank, my front wheel landed on the curb buried in the snow and I instantly went over the handlebars. It was hilarious. The best thing about riding in the snow is that crashes don't hurt as much.
   We left Sheetz and headed down 221 toward Graves Mill. After a quick stop to talk to Davy at Blackwater Bike Shop, we were on our way to Wyndhurst. Across the street from Food Lion there was a car stuck in the entrance to a parking lot. We decided to stop and help. After a couple tries with the help of the passengers, we were able to get the car unstuck. Back on our way. Enterprise Drive had been plowed, but still had a lot of loose snow. The going was tough here. Especially the long steep climb past the YMCA. Halfway through Wyndhurst there was another car stuck, this time in an intersection. We stopped again and got this motorist on his way.
   Timberlake Road was a liitle busier but easier to pedal on. The temperature was now in the teens and it was taking it's toll. So we decided to stop into the Shell station and warm up a bit. Inside, the lure of the mega sized microwave burrito was too great and we each had one with a coke. Now we were refueled, warmed up, and ready to continue. Our next stop was the Exxon at Leesville Road. As we crossed the intersection, Allen's chain snapped. Luckily he had extra links and tools. Soon we were ready to travel again.
   Now on Fort Avenue, across the street from Advance Auto parts, there was a minivan stuck. This was stuck good. It took us, an Advance employee, and a couple friends who happened to be in Advance to set it free. Our friends said they saw two cyclists across the street and knew there were only two guys who would be riding in that weather. haha  Next we were heading down Fort Avenue. We cut across Oakley Ave. and planned to stop at the Exxon there. As we came up to the intersection, a car was spinning trying to get up the hill on the other side. A group of 4 or 5  people pushed the car for about 10 feet then walked away. We pedalled over and pushed him the rest of the way. After warming up for a few minutes, we were ready to make the last push to my house.
    Oakley Ave. was very difficult to ride. Once on Lakeside, it was a little easier, but the constant snow had buily up and was making the climb up from Lynchburg College a killer. Finally we made to my house. We stayed inside for about an hour thawing out. The shot of whiskey we had helped. :)  Now Allen had to ride back to his house, off Old Forest Rd. So I decide to ride with him halfway back, so our mileage for the day would be the same.
   In total we road about 15 miles in 4 hours. By no means a speed record, but the effort made it feel like 60 miles. In the process, we helped 4 people get their cars unstuck. Hopefully, Karma will pay me back. This was the best ride I've had in a very long time. It was so much fun! And all the blank, unbelieving stares we got were hilarious. There will definitely be a repeat of this ride if we get another big snow!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Monday was an unusually warm day for the end of January. It was in the upper 50's by Noon. It happened that my day off from work was the same day. Sunny warm day and no work equals bike ride! The mountain bike was out of the question. Heavy rains on Sunday had soaked all the trails. So I decided to pack up the road bike and head to the Parkway. I drove out 501, through Big Island, to the James River Park. On the bike, I began the long 13 mile ascent of 3350' to the highest point on the Parkway in Virgina, Apple Orchard Mountain. I was very warm with my Underarmor shirt, short sleeve jersey, and regular riding shorts.

After passing Petite's Gap, I saw the gate that closes off this section of the Parkway during the winter. Of course I went around it and continued on. Another mile or so up and saw a rider ahead of me. I gaining quickly. After catching up with him and talking a while, I found out that he was from Amherst and was riding after a 6 mile run earlier. He was probably in his mid 50's. Very impressive. I said goodbye and pulled away. Soon I was nearing the Thunder Ridge overlook. Snow was still piled along the edge of the road. Around one curve, there was a huge boulder, about 8 feet in diameter, in the road. It had broke free from the hill side and crashed through the payement. I would hate to be the road crew that has to remove it.

Finally I got to the turn-around point. The entrance to the radar station on Apple Orchard Mtn. Since I had brought a camera, I decided to climb another 250 feet up the steep access road to the station. Once on top I found a group of rocks that would be the highest point for many, many miles in any direction. After taking pictures, I realized that as the sweat from the climb was evaporating, I was getting very cold. As I hopped on the bike and started down the access road, I was beginning to shiver. The temperature was probably in the mid to upper 30's at best. Now for 13 miles of decending. I really believe that hyperthermia was not far away. Luckily the air was getting warmer and warmer the further down I went.

Overall it was a great ride. I had considered climbing it twice, but after getting so cold, I was done after one.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Beef Bourguinon

    In the movie Julie and Julia, Julie was prparing all 375 recipes in Julia Child's French Cooking book, over the course of one year. One of the most difficult recipes was the Beef Bourguinon. It is basically a French pot roast, but like many French dishes, it is very complicated. The beef is cubed and seared, then braised in red wine. It has carrots, pearl onions, bacon any many more ingredients that all slow cook together with the beef to make a slightly thick sauce. The whole cooking time is nearly 5 hours. Jess's mother is a fantastic cook and after watching the movie, she decided to give this recipe a try. In total, it was two days of work, with all the prep time. It was worth every minute. What she ended up with was some of the most tender, flavorful beef I have every eaten! Served with rice, homemade garlic bread, and a nice glass of Shiraz, it was the perfect meal. Julia Child would be proud and so were we. After all the work that went into it, Jennifer said this would be the only time that she made it. I have a feeling though, that we have eventually have it again. If she doesn't make it, I will!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cycling 2010

   This year is shaping up to be a busy one for racing. Now that I am on the Dire Wolf Racing team, I will be adding road races to my schedule. No road races are set in stone yet, but I'm sure there will be some crits, some time trials, and some distance races. Of course there will be mountain bike races too. One that will definitely be a team effort, is the 24 Hour Burn. Someday I will go back and try  it solo again, but it will be so much more fun on a team. I have already signed up for all there races in the Bedford Mountain Cross Series in February. These are extremely fun races that combine singletrack mountain bike racing with cyclocross style obstacles and a handicap style start, where slower races have a longer amount of time to complete as many laps as possible. The 6 Hours at Warrior Creek is another race I want to try. This one will be solo. Of course the XXC races are always fun, but the road races may take priority over them. The Shenandoah 100 is a definite. This will be my third year at this pain-fest! Although I may try gears this year, not sure yet. If no other races coincide with it, I would like to do the Angel's Race triathlon again here in Lynchburg. Last year, I was second in my age group and was 16th overall in the bike section. I would love to break into the top 10.
   I think my racing slacked off a little last year. Mostly because of not having the Derailer Series to compete in. It kept me motivated to stay on top of my game. This year, being on Dire Wolf, I will have plenty of drive and determination.
   Bring it on!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Night Rider

   Nothing can make the trails you ride all the time, new and exciting again, like riding them at night. All the dynamics completely change when it's dark and you have to rely on your head or bike mounted light to keep you on the trail. Strangely enough, I've only ridden at night twice this Winter. This year, the Bedford Mountain Cross will have one race at night. Should be a super fun time.
   Today the temperature finally got significantly above freezing. A perfect evening to ride. About two miles in and I was at Five Points. I decided to head down the backside toward the Perimeter Loop. It had to be around 45 degrees. As I decended the ravine, the temps dropped faster than the altitude. Soon I was crossing icy puddles and frozen ground. The difference from top to bottom was amazing.

Monday, January 11, 2010


   I really like my job. I enjoy creating parts in a 3-D modeling program, then seeing them made in our machine shop. I'm just not sure if it's what I want to do for the rest of my life. I'll always loved cooking. So, I'm thinking about taking some cooking classes. I need to find some close by, that are not super expensive and are not just basic, learn to boil water classes. I think being some sort of chef would be a great job! Maybe a side job and not a career, or maybe it could be. I have been inspired by a friend who has started chef school recently. I know she will do well. For now, I'll keep experinmenting in my own kitchen. :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Training day

   It's Saturday. That means one thing, Dire Wolf training ride. Dire Wolf Racing is an upstart team in Lynchburg, 12 members so far. Should be pretty strong team, we have some good riders on board. Every Saturday, we have a scheduled training ride, usually 25-50 miles. Today promised to be nice and cold, about 34 degrees. Breakfast was French toast I made with cinnamon raisin bread from Panera, cut very thick. Actually I had a big bowl of Special K when I first woke up around 9. I knew I had to eat something before Jess and Tyler got up. We had the French toast around Noon, so I had to get moving to meet to ride at 1.
   The route for today would take us just over 28 miles. 6 came out to brave the cold. Luckily there was not too much wind. We worked on some climbing and a lot of pace lining. Once we got a few miles in, it didn't seem as cold, especially during the climbing. Everyone had a great ride and a lot of fun.
   Now I'm home, had my shower, and started on a glass of wine. All in all a very good day!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Good Stuff

We had a nice evening tonight. Jess, Tyler, and I went to Panera for dinner. Well Tyler had dinner. Jess had coffee and a small pineapple upside-down cake. I had a latte and a muffin top. We started at a table, but were able to move to the sofa and cushy chairs beside the fireplace. Tyler had the laptop and we had our phones to surf. I started a crossword puzzle on my Pre. Now we are home and I am having my daily glass of red wine. I've decided that a small glass every night will healthy and tasty. :) Here is a repost article about it.


Does red wine deserve its reputation as a healthy choice?
It has been linked with all sorts of health benefits over the years: the heart, the lungs, prevention of breast cancer, prostate cancer, tooth decay, longevity and just general wellbeing. But can this be true and how can one drink affect so many parts of the body?

Our reporter Dr Andrew Rochford uncorks a few reds to investigate the truth.

The whole idea that red wine keeps us healthy comes from something called the French Paradox. Scientists noticed that despite a diet loaded with saturated fat, very few French people actually croak it from heart attacks.

Just 83 out of 100,000 Frenchmen die from heart disease compared with 230 in the US. The difference? The amount of red wine they drink.

Family doctor Philip Norrie is such a red wine advocate and fan that he bought his own vineyard in the New South Wales Hunter Valley. He's also written several books and a thesis on red wine and its health benefits.

"We're all going to die from something and what I'm trying to do is delay your death," says Dr Norrie. He says the wine has been used medicinally for over 5000 years for antiseptic (treating wounds, water and preoperative), as a tranquiliser or sedative, and as a hypnotic.

This 'wine doctor' is a devoted disciple of red wine — he recommends it to many of his patients.

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in Australia. They're triggered by a build-up of plaque in your arteries. So how does red wine help? It contains anti-oxidants, and the most important of these is resveratrol. It keeps your arteries clear of plaque therefore reducing the risk of heart disease.

"An anti-oxidant is a thing that stops oxidation. Oxidation is basically rusting, so when we're ageing we're oxidising or degenerating or rusting, so if you can block that process then you get all these health benefits because vascular disease, dementia, diabetes, all these cancers are forms of degeneration or oxidation," says Dr Norrie.

So drinking red wine is good for your heart, lungs, kidneys, brain and more.

But it's important you only drink two standard glasses of wine a day. Anymore and you risk the downsides of excessive alcohol intake: raised blood pressure, potential damage to the heart, liver, kidneys and brain. Over consumption of alcohol can also cause impotence and infertility, while during pregnancy it can damage the foetus.

"You've got to get the Goldilocks dose: too much is bad for you and abstinence is bad for you, whereas moderation's good for you," says Dr Norrie.

Also, people with high blood pressure, enlarged hearts, liver disease or anyone with a family history of alcohol abuse shouldn't be downing this daily dose.

So we've established that red wine is good for us in moderation, but is there any difference in the kind of wine we knock back? Most of us have champagne tastes on a beer budget so is a cask wine as good for you as an expensive bottle of red?

Professor Geoff Skurray has the answer. He researches the molecular content of red wine and the ways to increase the medically beneficial compounds in wine for the University of Western Sydney at its Yarramundi winery in Richmond.

Using some fancy machinery, the Professor can measure the levels of resveratrol — the good compound — in different bottles of wine and tell us which one is best.

So is there any difference between cheaper wine and the more expensive wine? Actually, yes.

According to Professor Skurray "there's much less anti-oxidants in the cheaper wine but you probably drink more of that than the other one so you make up for it."

It comes down to the way the wine is made. Cheaper wine doesn't have the rich fruit. You have to have really good fruit that has a lot of colour and anti-oxidants — this is what goes into the more expensive wines.

Professor Skurray's tests showed a $300 bottle of wine had twice as much resveratrol as a bottle costing about $10, while the cask wine had a quarter of it.

But wine lovers shouldn't despair.

According to Professor Skurray while the cheaper wines may contain less anti-oxidants, it doesn't mean we have to go without anti-oxidants because there are still health benefits in drinking two glasses of cask wine.

So why just red wine? What about the white varieties? It's because red wine is made using the skin and seeds of the grape and that's where all the goodness is. If you're not a wine lover, you might decide to just eat grapes. But you'd have to eat half a kilo a day to get the same amount of resveratrol contained in one glass of wine. Anyway why not make the most of it?

It's not often something so nice turns out not to be naughty after all.

Great news for wine lovers!

Lance Armstrong also drinks a glass a day, so it has to be good!

Monday, January 4, 2010

1st Day

   Today was a day of two firsts. First day back to work after a week and a half off and first day of my fitness plan.
The Good- I'm excited to get back on my fitness plan. To help me along, I have a couple good friends who are starting it at the same time. I really hope it works for them, it has worked great for me in the past. Even when I wasn't following it strictly, the habits it helped me form stayed with me. Eventually I would like to start an online consultation for fitness, but for now, if anyone wants to try it, just ask and I'll send my plan to you. Dinner tonight was a roasted pork tenderloin, mac and cheese, and creamy mashed potatoes. it will make a tasty breakfast.
The Bad- Going back to work after a long break, well, sucks! We have a lot of work to do in January, but still have to take a day off every two weeks without pay. :(  Hopefully things will turn around and more work will come in. I would not complain at all about having to work some overtime.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Nutrition Plan

   One thing that I did not mention in my resolution post was going back on my nutrition plan. I've been really slacking this winter so far. Now that I'm on a cycling race team, Dire Wolf Racing, I need to be in good shape by early Spring. My plan is nohing like Atkin's or other super strict diets. No one should be told not to eat bread! I focus more on watching fat grams and eating big in the morning and tapering off from there. Of course I need to get on the bike more too. That means bundling up for the cold. I refuse to sit on a trainer and spin in one spot for hours. The first race on the year will be the Bedford Mountain Cross in February. Time to buckle down.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Appalachian Trail hike

   So I had a crazy idea. I wanted to hike on the AT while there is still a lot of snow on the ground. With the holidays over and going back to work on Monday, today was the day, 01-02-10. I wanted to get a nice lond hike, so I woke up at 6:30, had breakfast and coffee, and was out the door by 7:15. It was 25 degrees when I left the house. I arrived at the James River Foot Bridge at 8:00, grabbed my pack and hiking staff and was off, heading South. The Foot Bridge spans 665 feet across the James River. It's usually windy because of the gorge funneling air along the river. Today it was especially strong. Almost enough to knock you down and COLD!
   After getting to the other side, I was fairly protected from the wind by trees. It's about a mile along the river before turning left and following Matt's Creek and slowly climbing. Another mile and I arrived at the Matt's Creek shelter. It's a wooden three sided shelter, about 15 feet wide, there for any hikers who want a dry, elevated place to sleep. There was a group of 6 people just waking up. I talked to one, who said they would be hiking up to the Marbleyard later. I crossed Matt's Creek and started a long, steady climb. About 2/3 of the way up, the trail and surrounding area became completely snow covered and would be for the rest of the hike. Most of the trail above this point had 6 to 12 inches of snow on it. It was frozen so I was able to walk right on top of it.
   After following the spine of a ridge for a while, the trail cut along the side of a steep slope that went straight down to the river, about a thousand feet below. Kinda scary at points, when you don"t have much grip. The trail turned downward and over another creek before rising steeply again to cross Sulfer Springs Trail. In the next section I came across two hunters, possible father and son, who were using dogs for bear hunting. Great, just what I need, hungry bears in the area. Maybe they like granola, doubt it.
   After I passed the connector for Belfast Trail, I went another quarter mile or so and found a nice big rock to have lunch on. Now most hikers would be content with a sandwich and water. Not me, I had to bring everthing I needed to make espresso! Sterno, collapsable Sterno wind breaker, Italian 1 cup Mocha (like a mini purcolator made for espresso), espresso cup and spoon, Illy espresso, and sugar. After hiking for 3 and a half hours in below freezing weather, there is nothing better than a hot espresso. Now I was recharged for the hike back.
   The return hike was pretty uneventful. I saw the hunters again and passed the 6 hikers on their way to the Marbleyard. Then I found a vine hanging beside the trail, attached to a tree about 40 feet up. It was about 1.5 inches in diameter and would support my weight. So of course I spent the next 15 minutes swinging. By the time I got back to the Foot Bridge, I was getting pretty tired. I was glad to get in my warm car.
   It was a very fun day. Somewhere around 15 miles total. The only problem I had was that my water tube from my camelbac kept freezing. I think that I will do some more winter hikes. I want to find some parts of the trail that are a bit more knarly. This section had some great climbs and views, but not much in the way of boulders to climb over. Might even try and overnighter, we'll see.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Resolutions, to do's, goals, and projects

Ok, so here's my list. Not complete, I'm sure more needs to be added.

Clear a spot in the back yard for a small garden

Paint outside of house

Replace gutters

Paint rooms inside

Use the bar and rec room area downstairs more, maybe small informal get-togethers

Repair rust on the VW bug and put in on the road

Finish the MG and put it on the road

Fix the rust spots on the Jeep

Jeep camper project

Make off road style bumpers for Jeep

Buy a 29er single speed mountain bike

Ride as much as possible, mountain and road

More hiking and camping, sections of the AT

Finish my 3rd consecutive Shenandoah 100 mountain bike race

Try road racing on the Dire Wolf race team

Start hiking the high points of each state, maybe a few each year

Get out of the house more

Being true to myself and not what society tells me I should be

And keeping this blog going

I'm sure there's more, but that's the short list for now.

New Year's Day

I woke up this morning feeling surprisingly good. No headache, maybe just a little sluggish. The FROTY was definitely out for me. The New Year's, Ride the Temperature road ride was not looking very appealing either. So, after a few cups of coffee, I decided to go on a solo road ride. Nothing to strenuous, about 15 miles of steady riding. I decided to cut through Blackwater Creek bikeway, mistake. Most of it is still completely covered with snow and ice. I was able to summon up my mountainbike skills to ride through it until it turned to solid smooth ice, then I had to walk some. Finally I got back on the streets and finished out a nice ride. I am thinking about going on a long day hike on the AT tomorrow. I will probably start at the James River Foot bridge and head up Thunder Ridge, we'll see.

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