Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Just another day in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Gravel Crushin'

I'm running low on time and written creativity.  This might turn into a photo blog for now.

Enjoy the ride.

Friday, August 28, 2015


At some point over the past 8 yrs, Bikepacking became an integral part of my life.  A challenge, sometimes an obsession.  Poring  over maps,  grazing the internet and blogs to find details about routes.  Packing and repacking.  Trying out new equipment. 

Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.   This year though, has been tough.  I've had a lot on my plate and not much time to ride with the consistency it takes to make a long distance trip successful.

I had planned to leave this week to take a trip on the Trans North GA route.  I didn't go.   Timing wasn't right.  And I'm a little gun shy.  The last trip I took, back in the spring,  I didn't have the time in the saddle and I wound up in the hurt locker.   So much so, that I pretty much scared myself.  It served as a wake up call, reminding me how fast things can go south, and if the training isn't there,   I can't simply push through and be ok.

Add to that, the kid starting middle school.  That's a pretty big transition period and I want to be here for him and support him.  I remember middle school.  I was in the Caribbean,  on an island called Bonaire.  They spoke Dutch in the classroom,  Papiamentu on the play ground, and we spoke English at home.  I felt alone, lost, and scared.  I was able to make friends and try to blend in, but overall, the experience was pretty miserable.

I didn't tell the kid how good he has it,  how much easier his transition is than mine.  It doesn't matter.  If he is having a hard time, I have no right to compare that to my experience.

He started school last Weds, and joined the soccer team as manager.  Apparently, the state of NC does not think that 6th graders can handle sports and the transition to middle school at the same time.  Another one of those outdated laws.....

Anyway, the kid is doing well, and I'm glad I'm here to help him through this part of his journey.  Bikepacking can wait.

So, what now?  Am I done with the sport?  Am I quitting the hobby?  No, not at all.  I just have to wait for the right time, and make sure my family is taken care of first.

The cool thing is though, I have no regrets.  The kid is important to me, and I want to be here for him.    I'd die for him,  no questions asked.  I love bikepacking. But by investing time and energy into the kid,  I help not only him,  but his kids and their kids.  Way more reward.

Enjoy the ride!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Chris King's Gourmet Century

 What do you get when you combine the beauty of Western North Carolina's mountain roads and some delicious locally sourced food and beverage?  A nice ride.  But,  add to those ingredients an amazing staff and on top of that 150 laid back people on bikes,  you wind up with Chris King's Gourmet Century
 We started the day meeting at Taylor Ranch off of Cane Creek Rd.  Secretly hidden behind the ridge, once leaving the chaos of Cane Creek, one finds a peaceful ranch sprawling across the valley.  Longhorn grazing, turtles gently surfacing in the pond, and breakfast.

 An amazing spread of tofu scramble, grits,  coffee and my all time favorite, biscuits and gravy.  After a leisurely breakfast, small groups gathered and headed to the parking lot to change and roll out.  I joined up with Cameron, Tom, Mike and Lauren.   We ended up riding together for most of the day which turned out to be a lot of fun. 
 We rolled out under overcast skies, a hint of a cool breeze and the typical humidity that hangs in the hollers this time of year.  Pedaling along, from one valley to the next, following the winding, twisting ribbon of pavement.   

The first rest stop at mile 12 offered the awesome Ally's Bar,  a sweet potato based bar that you have to try.  We stopped briefly and continued on our relaxed journey.  Chatting and cracking jokes.  At mile 24, we stopped at the local fire department for lunch. 

Macaroni salad and a choice of turkey, ham or veggie sub on a fresh roll hit the spot. 

 We wound our way around and into Fairview, up the 74A climb to the divide, then down through Gerton for another rest stop.  This one featured tofu tacos and beer.  I just filled up with water, because on the climb up to the divide, someone had upped the pace, and the turkey sandwich now sat as a large lump in my stomach. 

I added some nuun to the water and sipped on it. 

Down towards Lake Lure, right on hwy 64, the another right to take us up through Edneyville and back to the ranch.  At the last rest stop, around mile 48,  I decided to continue on solo and finish the ride.  I wanted to get home to get a shower and spend some time with the family before we headed back to dinner.   A cat nap on the couch was a bonus!

 Dinner time rolled around and we mingled, chatting and enjoying the views. 

Delicious smoked pork right out of the smoker with some rice and Pisgah Pale hit the spot.  We enjoyed the meal and I sat back and relaxed. 

 This ride was about community.  About spending time with good people.  About enjoying the scenery and stopping to smell the roses. 

I wondered at the beginning how it would pan out.   By the time I got home after dinner, I had a warm glow in my soul,  knowing that I had shared  a very special day with a lot of people. 

It was definitely a great change of pace from the typical life of a cyclist who is trying to get fit and stay fast. 

 This is a ride that you don't want to miss out on next year.  I'm already making plans!

Thanks Kris Bedsaul, Chris King and crew.  Thanks for the challenge, the food and the community! See you next year.

Friday, August 21, 2015


 Another Thursday night ride went off and I almost didn't make it home.  After spending last week at the beach and the first half of this week hangin' with the kid and off the bike,  my legs were C quality.  And it hurt.    I managed to have fun though because I was on the bike. 

I find that I tend to talk less on the bike than I used to.  Observing and absorbing what is going on around me.   Focusing on my pedal stroke and trying to be be smooth. 
 A dozen folks showed up and Andy Kimble is now leading the B group which makes it nice for folks who get dropped from the A group.  Especially if it is new people, who don't know where they are.  I remember asking a farmer outside of Shelby for directions once when I got dropped from that group. 
I looked fast though thanks to Kevin Hessler.  I wore Liberty Bike's new kit and some sweet Defeet socks.  The designs are wild and as always, the socks are comfortable.  

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Back at It

Dropping the kid off early gives me a couple of extra hours to get things done and go for a ride.  I'm planning on being a bit more disciplined this year and getting out the door earlier, so I can have some extra time in the saddle. 

I registered for the Pisgah MTB Stage Race yesterday, and I'm looking forward to actually training for it this year. 

I rode up Elk Mtn and was warned of bears,  they must have gotten spooked because I never saw them.  But, as I rounded a bend on the Parkway,  a 6ft tall mama was standing on her hind legs looking around.  I stopped about 75 yrs away to take a picture, but she dropped on all fours and pounced a little giving me a short warning charge.  I put the camera away and backed of some more.  Her movements happened so fast and smooth, I didn't realize what she was doing.  Had I been stupidly  close, I would not have know what hit me.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Back To School

Good luck, little buddy!   You got this.  You are a smart little dude and you have a great life ahead of you.  Take advantage of every chance you have to make yourself a better person.  It will be hard, challenging, but it will also be fun and rewarding.

I know it is scary and frustrating, but I know you can handle it.  Or else I wouldn't make you do it.  Just remember,  there are a bunch of other kids who feel exactly like you do right now.  The teachers and staff understand and they are there to help. ( and discipline if necessary ).    Stay out of trouble, choose good friends,   be a great friend, be a leader, be a servant,  respect yourself, respect others. 

You are going to do some cool stuff and I look forward to being there with you on your journey.

I am proud of you and proud to be your dad!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Meet The Teacher

This is it.  Meet the teacher at Middle School.  Another step in my life as a father.  Another step towards adulthood for this kid.  I'm honored that I can be here to support him.   I'm scared that I'm gonna screw up.  I know I will, I'm human.  But as time goes by and the more time we spend together, the more I realize that if I treat him with with respect, he will do the same. 

I tend to worry sometimes that as he gets older, he will leave and won't come back.  I realize that leaving is part of life.  I also realize that the more bonding time I have with him now, the more things we can do to form a common bond, the more likely our relationship will continue into adulthood.  I don't take for granted that since he is my blood, he will always want to spend time with me.  

He is my shadow and wants to be like me.  I have to remember to treat him like I want to be treated,  every second of every day. And not just treat him right, but everyone around me,  be the person who I want him to be. 

I hope I get it right.