Thursday, July 30, 2009


Last Friday my wife and I traveled to Old Fort near Asheville, NC for ORAMM. We stayed at a neat Inn about 25 miles away from the race venue, very quiet and the back yard was a golf course. On Saturday we went to Asheville and to our surprise a Blue Grass festival was going on during the weekend. Spent a few hours there then went to pick up the race packet and scout part of the course, specially the 9 mile climb to the Blue Ridge pkwy.

The race started promptly at 8am with a 1 mile controlled start and a paved 3-4 mile climb to the first single track which we would hit again on our way back to town. Very rough in some sections but a lot of fun. We hit a few more gravel road sections some pavement and some double track and soon we were hitting the 9 mile climb. The first climb of the day after the controlled start was a big ring climb, at least that's what I felt. I started having second thoughts when I passed other riders already on their granny gear spinning at 150 rpm's.
The nine mile climb started after going dowhill for what seem like an eternity, you know it was along downhill when your forearms, wrists and fingers are hurting from so much braking. One thing I'll like to say is most mountain bikers don't know how to corner on gravel roads and that's were being a roadie for so many years comes in handy. On the long gravel road downhills I was blowing by full suspension bikes and 29ers like they were standing still. Anyhow, I did the nine mile climb all on my middle ring although there was times I wanted to shift to the granny gear, but I'm to stubborn and I had decided at the start of the climb that it was going to be a middle ring climb. The climb does give you a little bit of rest once in a while but not for long. At the top, aid station 3 waited patiently for you to get there. Fill up the bottles and took off on a 3 mile downhill that lead to another 3-4 mile climb on double track and gravel roads. Back on the B. R .pkwy for about another mile and the you hit the hike a bike from hell, if you think the hike a bike portions at Mohican are bad, try doing this race. I pushed, carried, dragged the bike up that hiking trail, believe me if I would have had a rope I would have walked all the way up and then pull the bike up. It was that steep or was it that it came after 45 miles and it hurt a lot, take your pick. After that it was more fun single track mostly downhill with a few ups to brake it up. Did I mentioned I hate switchbacks, there had to be at least 30 or more switchbacks, some rideable some not. After I fell a few times or almost went over the edge I decided it was easier to dismount and get a running cyclocross style start. After the hike a bike from hell we hit the same single track section we hit on our way out of town and this is were I would say made my only bad mistake. When you are tired you don't react fast enough, on a section I had cleared in the morning that was really rough and difficult for some reason I'm still trying to figure out, I hit the brakes instead of floating through it like I had done in the morning, the front wheel twisted and I flew over the handlebars like a missile. Luckily I hit a deep patch of dust, got up dusted myself, took inventory of my bones and everything seemed ok until the rider behind me said "dude, check your elbow". Blood was gushing out, no first aid kit, 4 miles from the next aid station, I closed the cut the best I could, remounted and rode to the rest stop and go figure, I get there grabbed my last two bottles that I had in my drop bag and didn't even bother to check my elbow
or clean it up. After that it was all I could do to stay on the bike because of the cramps I had. I thought I drank enough and had taken enough electrolytes but apparently I didn't. It came to a point where I was walking the bike up very small rises because I would cramp just trying to put power on the pedals. The last 5 miles I was able to get into some rithym and was able to finish strong. At the finish I went to visit the EMT's and they strongly adviced that I should go to the hospital and get stitches. I didn't think wirth all the cramping I had I was going to place but I finished second in the 50 + and 147th out of more that 300 that lined up. By far the most demanding hardest race I've done. And the elbow was put in a half cast after spending 4 hrs at the county hospital. Overall a great race and I'll do it again.

Ther's really some weird people living in Asheville.

On the way back we stopped at Mammoth Cave National Park.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Before I go into the weekend I posted a couple more pictures of the dog below. Prepare yourself they are bad. The dark color is the bruising he sustained from the bites. I'm happy to say that the owners have agreed to take the dog to a farm and never to bring him back to the neighborhood. A dog like that does not belong in the city, the same way he attacked our dog can do to a child. And Cody, he's bouncing back, he's face is finally showing happiness when he sees us, before he was just groaning and wimpering.

Anyway, had a good week of riding went twice to Reagan park and rode to work once. Thursday it was just a two hour receovery ride to get ready for the Rain Ride in Indiana, 160 miles, one day one way.Steve, Joe and myself were riding, PJ and Peggy were our "PSV" personal support vehicle. We arrived at the hotel checked in and went out for dinner. Before I go on, earlier in the week I called the hotel to confirm the reservations and to my surprise they had been cancelled. I went into panic mode with 1200 riders and a golf tournament in town, rooms were at a premium I called a dozen hotels and checked online for about 3 hours. Finally found rooms available at the Holiday Inn. After dinner we came back to the room and started getting ready for the ride. I looked like a mad scientist mixing all kinds of Hammer Nutrition stuff, in all I fixed 8 bottles of Perpetuem and Heed together with powder electrolytes.

Got up at 5am got ready and headed to the start. Got there got our bikes ready and rolled right through the start line. The ride "race" (it's not officially a race but when you time and event it turns into a race) we were about 10 mins. ahead of the first pack of riders which flew by us at about 26-28 miles an hr. When the second pack came around I told the guys to hitch a ride. We weren't planning on going as fast as we did because it's the first time for Steve and Joe riding that distance, I did the ride back in 2006 in 97 degree temps. We held on to that group until the first of my many stops to pee. The temps held steady in the mid 60's all day and I wasn't sweating what I put in. I appreciated the guys waiting for me and not complaining. My other group of riders I ride with would have thown bottles, yell, smack me over the head with a bottle and left me to ride by myself. Well, I think they would have waited but make me go take moster pulls to make up the time. We didn't waste too much time at the scheduled rest stops, PJ and Peggy had everything ready for us, they were such great help words are not enough to thank them. Our longest stop was lunch since they wanted to eat something, myself I just stayed with my Hammer mix and gels, the only solid food I had was two bites of a ham and cheese sandwich.

The rest of the day was spent riding hard and catching groups of riders, resting and then hitting the gas again after resting. And of course we had the stragglers trying to hitch rides and don't do any work but everybody that knows me knows that I put and end to that right away, you either help or get out of our pace line. The ride itself doesn't have any steep or long hills, it is full of rollers and they hurt at end but it is worth doing it at least once. Total ride time not including the rest stops was 7:28 and a 21.3 mph average. Our total time has to be a little over 8 hrs. The weather had a lot to do with the pace, in 2006 it was very hot and humid at 97 degrees and we managed a total ride time including stops of 7:46 and a 20.5 mph. back then I was sweating and didn't have to stop once other that our regular stops to fill up. Joe and Steve rode a superb ride and we all finished strong. After the ride we went to a hotel at the finish, cleaned up and went to dinner. We went to Chucks in Richmond and hit the jackpot, "all you can eat ribs for $15.95. Four of us order that and ate until we couldn't eat anymore. The place even switched one of their tv's to Versus so we could watch the Tour recap and even let us take home whatever we had left.
Overall a great time and again a big thanks to PJ and Peggy for their support and willingness to be our "PSV". Below are a few pictures, later in the week I'll post more whenSteve gives me a cd with all the pictures.
Next this coming weekend is "Off Road Assaultt on Mount Mitchell" hopefully I'll be fully recovered or I'll be in a world of pain for 65 miles and 16,ooo feet of climbing.

Our support vehicle

No set of pictures is complete without my smiling face.

Dog pictures

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What an end to the week.

I had a good week of training with 12 hours on the bike and a couple of gym sessions in between.
I thought I would be on the bike this morning for another two hours of easy riding but it was not to be. Last night my wife went out to walk the dog as she usually does every evening and on the way back our medium size bichon was attacked by the geman shepperd two houses down from us. For some reason that we just can't figure out, this g.s. hates our dog. On one other instance he was loose and she was able to lift our dog over her head before he got a hold of him. He got loose and came after him. This time he was loose with the owners sitting on their driveway and as Nancy turned the corner she went to the opposite sidewalk not knowing that he was loose. He was stalking him from behind some bushes and came from behind and according to the vet "went for the kill". Nancy jumped over the g.s. back and open the dogs mandibule to pry our dog out of his mouth, in the process our dog bit her not knowiing it was her. Out dog won't kill a fly, he'll rather play with the fly than kill it. you can't really see how bad it is from the pictures below but he spent a night at the vet and later I'll post more pictures of how he really looks. Bite marks all over the middle of his body but thankfully no broken bones. We think he's going to be ok but that vet was very honest and said that if he gets infeted he can die. Nancy risk being attack by that dog but her adrenaline was flowing and she just reacted. Knowing how I can go on a rage I would have choke the dog to death, I've been known to go after drivers and try to open their car doors to pull them out and beat them up. Rage is a very dangerous thing and I always ask God to keep me from it. So far is working, don't get me wrong my rage is directed at people that try to hurt you on purposse while riding, never against my family or friends.
After picking him up this morning he just looks so bad and sad is not a pretty sight but I know he's going to get better.
It's a difficult situation because the owners of the dog are very nice people, we already talked and everything is going to be taken care off. The dog warden is coming over on Monday and we'll see what happens, I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Twin Sizzler road race.

Headed out to Medina to race at the Twin Sizzler race today.
Signed up and went out for about a 30 minute warm up with Ken.
Lined up and waited for our turn. They send the race horses out first and then every age group after that. They have been doing this race for many many years and they also have a 5k and a 10k race. The gun went off, well not really a gun but a guy in a very low tone of voice just said go.
Right off the bat we had to squezze by a semi that had been parked on the road about 50 meters from the start, tight squezze but everybody made it safely, at least that's what I think I never looked back until Kennard hill. I looked ahead and there was a guy on a cruiser bike with tall handlebars leading everybody up the first grade, his 5 minutes of glory were erased as soon as we hit the grade, swallowed by the peloton. The first few miles were spent sizing up who ever was in front. I pulled a page out of Ray Chester school of cycling and never took a pull until we hit Kennard road hill. This is not a very steep or too long hill but is enough to split the pack. Inmediately after we turned, Ken went to the front and took a hard pull with me right behind him. As soon as he started slowing down a bit I took over and hit it hard, as we got to the top of the hill I looked back for the first time to see what kind of damage we had done, only six of us made it together to the top. At this moment is when I went to Lances mode and started telling everybody that we had a huge gap and we had to keep it going. After the hill there's some rollers and then you start going down to Vandermak road, we hit almost 30 miles an hr here. At Vandermark you have a really sharp right hand turn and if you don't slow down enough you hit the ditch, which I have seen people laying there in past races. We were still working hard but slowed down a bit to rest since we had a huge lead. We caught the juniors and the women which had started about 5-15 minutes ahead of us. The six of us worked really good together, everybody took their pulls and nobody complained which is what happens in some races, sometimes one guy is doing all the work and nobody else wants to work. We hit Smith road and got going real good when we caught up to a dropped rider from another age group and he tried to stay with us but was really getting in Ken's and my way trying to keep the pace line going. At this moment I told him to let us in because he wasn't in our group and he got offended and said we were slowing him down. I barked right back at him and told him he was the one that was going to slow us down. As soon as I said that he takes off on a small hill and goes to the front to show me off, well he didn't last 60 seconds up there and we blew past him while I just looked at him and gave him a big smile. Listen buddy just because you are wearing a Livestrong kit doesn't make you as good as Lance, let that be a lesson to you, boy. Anyhow, where was I, o yeah, we kept it together all the way on Smith road and as I'm going next to Ken to ask him where were the last set of railroad tracks I see the turn coming up going to the finish. My confussion cost me precious seconds and maybe the race because I was feeling it. One of the guys jumps the others follow and I had to waste energy before I wanted too trying to chase. I did come close of chasing everyboody down but I needed another 25 meters, at the end I finished fourth. Great race great workout and I had a ton of fun. Ken had a great race and at the end he doesn't like to get mixed up on the sprint and he pulled off before the final 100 meters. Henry just nipped Ray at the line Ray and Henry finished in the top five in his age group. Henry only rides a couple of times a week and then goes out and kicks our butts. I hate to ride with him if he ever rides 6 days a week. Ross and Tiffany were there and had good races also.

Friday, July 3, 2009

From Wednesday's commute.

The bike and hike bridge over Vallet View rd.

The skies looked ugly, but it never rained on me.

As usual, I have to post a smiling picture.

And finally, I found the best way to use an old monitor.

Lance and his fight

Lance is racing the Tour De France again. It's going to be an interesting and exiting 3 weeks
The main reason he came back to racing is to spread his message about fighting cancer. Click the link below for a short video about his message, very powerful stuff. Don't forget to watch the Versus channel if you are lucky enough to have a cable company that includes Versus for free.