Again I just haven’t found writing time

It just seems that I forget about this place from time to time. Or until I realli start thinking deep thoughts that I want to get out of my head. This time it centers around family.

You know that group of people that can make your life seem totally fulfilled and then want to rip your hair out within microseconds of each other. Yea that one.

Well my epiphany this time occurred a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling all sad about traveling and dealing with other distractions and my youngest really got to me. Not so much directly but in one of those round about plant a seed type moments. AK simply asked me to go with her and mom on her mother daughter weekend. I hAd things to work on around the house but relented and had a blast. That weekend turned around a dysmal fall for me. It is amazing what a small amount of joy can do for ones soul.

34th Annual Mt. Mitchell ride file and information.

Absolutely a great ride and event. Thanks to all those that volunteer for this special event. The men and women at each of the rest stops were nothing but helpful all along the way.

If you are planning on riding a major event this one is it. The scenery is gorgeous the route is well put forth with markings on the road and people directing at every single intersection.

I can’t wait until next year and doing the 35th annual ride. There are 15-20 lbs for me to lose between now and then and a whole bunch of power spinning to do. Gotta get on the stick as next year will be here before we know it.

Now to the bad part of the ride. As great as all the volunteers are the transport off the top was horrendous this year. I have no basis of comparison, but the volunteers reported that they started two hours late on the bike loading.

This caused a pile-up of bikes at the top that was immeasurable in amounts. Each bike was leaned against a wall with subsequent bikes stacked up against them. By the time my slow group reached the top in a little over 9 hrs. those that had arrived 2-3 hours before still had bikes resting along the walls. The system became a last in last out.

My bro-in-law and I tried to help load bikes as a lone woman was pushing bikes from staging to the trucks. Our help was definitely self serving as we worked on the area of bikes that had encapsulated even our bikes in the short time that we were at the top. Once the truck was fully loaded down to the bottom we went.

The bike saga continued, as I saw my bike exit the truck to be placed on the ground. As I stood watching the truck and waiting to pick up my bike better than 30 mins passed. With people at Tom Johnson’s having waited more than three hours, and I am sure stretching into the five hour mark this ride will take a beating elsewhere. But the volunteers were gracious and courteous throughout the whole ordeal.

Now back to the good points. The ride started fantastically in Spartanburg. Temperatures were perfect for riding shorts and a jersey, 50 degrees, no wind. My buddy Randy lead us out and promised to keep all five of us in check and riding at a moderate pace. Well he did assume moderate. In less than two miles we were sucked into a group of riders doing 20+ on average. For me that is scorching for others just a liesurely day in the park. We hung with this peloton to the 42 mile rest stop and averaged 20.6 mph. Then it was just Kevin, Randy and I as we left the stop not knowing where the other two had gotten off too or when they would be catching up.

On to Marion with Bill’s hill and all, average of 18.6 mph with parkway and Mitchell still to come. My left knee was giving me heck and I was in serious pain, but the push would continue.

So it was up 80 or whatever that road is to the parkway. Totally a big blow to ones ego as to this point the rollers are quite simply rollers and fast. Now it is time for the 6% grade and the slow 5 mph cranking.

It is as if satan himself has put you on a trainer set the tension and told you that if you stop you will perish. The only problem is that he failed to tell you that it would be a short hour before you would get to slow down. So up up and up further you go. Oh how sweet the oranges are at the mid-point rest stop. Oh how evil my left knee as it locked getting back on the bike. Just a mere 15 miles or so to go, the torture and thoughts of not finishing squeezing through my mind. The click goes the pedal and off again I go. Kevin and Randy at this point are long gone. So up and up I go again.

To the parkway where there is another big stop as you go to get on. I do not stop for fear that my left knee may prevent me from clipping in and finishing the ride.

Parkway here I come. Now I am onto the parkway and pedaling lonely up the last 14 miles. No way that I can make it I have gone down one hill and locked up the left knee again. At this point I have decided that at any opportunity I must continue to spin.

Somewhere along the way Randy and Kevin have caught up and we are hooked up and riding again. My bladder is taking a turn for the worse and Randy has Advil so we pull over on the side to relieve the pee per say. James drifts up having stopped in Marion and gathering his car and announces we look fit and healthy and ready to finish the ride.

I swing my left leg over the bike and unusually clip in my left foot first and take a few spins. The road is still 6% but we are moving again. Slowly but surely closing the final distance. My day is continuing to be long as we over 6 hrs on the bikes at this point and regions south are hurting and wanting relief.

Randy and Kevin are still kind enough to pull me along and not take off and leave me sitting and spinning. We stop at the next two rest stops and enjoy the people and the food. Then it is down and into the final climb up to Mt. Mitchell.

At this turn you think that you will be right there as you can clearly see the lookout and where you should go. Someone forgot to tell the parkservice that it wasn’t nice to put in an 8% grade road this close to the top. So 2 miles more of 8% climbing. Then you get to the park rangers house.

From here it is easypeasy. Don’t listen to anyone you can power that last two miles easy enough as over 1/2 is flat to 2% grade and the 0.4 miles everyone comments on really isn’t much over 4%. But I listened and held back. Randy and Kevin had finally decided to go on to the top and I held back thinking there was a big climb to come. That climb never came up.

But the ending was sweet as everyone was still there waiting on me to finish.

Can’t wait for next year. Even as my legs make it almost impossible to walk and Elizabeth rolls her eyes. I am dreaming of next year and the ride up that face and to the top. In my youth I dreamed of nothing more than speed, as I age I dream of nothing more than the endorphins and energy that flows through my body while I hit a new physical high for me.

Will the ride ever be as breathtaking and aweinspiring I don’t know, as clearly I know what to expect and my training will be more regimented, but each ride will still bring that pain and exhiliration of making it to the top.

Best of luck to all in their endeavors for me it is off to the next event. The maiden Mitchell will sing her sweet 35th song next year and I am sure that I will hear it and be off again.

It is coming ready or not

Mitchell will be here on Monday whether or not I am ready for it. So tonight we simply enjoyed life as it would be.

The Greek festival is in town and the food was simply excellent. No way that it could be better and the carb loading has started.

Tomorrow I will fix a nice spaghetti dinner and load up on as many carbs as possible. My legs are going to be fried by sunday night. Hopefully I will have a great write-up on the blog for everyone to read no later than Tuesday.

Lula Assembly of Praise Century

Where to even start on this wonderful event. The beginning is probably the best place.

Back in march when I was diligently trying to plan my Mitchell training rides kevin said that he has heard good things about a century in lula, ga. I thought yea right who drives to Georgia to ride a century the week before Mitchell. As time approached something was tugging at my gut. So I signed upsaying that I should do a century before Mitchell.

Turns out that really wasn’t the reason I was lead to lula to reaffirm my faith in humanity and myself. After a spring of riding with my buddies and being passed by rude motorist I had lost faith that anyone other than a cyclist could be kind and courteous. The folks of lula proved me wrong. As my buddy and I drifted last through each sag stop they cheered and chatted. As slow as we were riding we never once felt rushed or that we were inconvieng them. I felt encouraged and heartened by each comment.

As myfriend gave up the ride at the 68 mile SAG I knew that I was then the last rider on the course and I internally pushed for speed, but the kind folks of LAP pushed me more without knowing it.

This push and encouragement came at just the right time along the way. From the clown at the midpoint to the ladies at the 75 mile SAG and of course the group cheering at the 2/3 Pie stop each added something special. These are truly God’s people.

Our world could take a lesson in how to interact with people from this fabulous community. So if the desire to take a long bike ride hits you one spring, look up this ride it is well worth the travel. Praise be to god for such an awesome church and event.

Getting ready for Mitchell

Well Mitchell is less than one and a half weeks out. My training has been sporadic at best this year. I have completed several long rides and several short rides.

But at this point I just feel a little ill-prepared for the upcoming event. However no matter what I am going to be doing the event.

Then it is going to be off to bigger and better things. For the remainder of summer I am going to be training like a mad man for the SC 1/2 Iron event. Then the big question of whether I am ready to compete in a full Iron is going to occur.
Holdbacks from a full iron are numerous but surmountable for the most part. The biggest issue will be balancing family and training. I think it is doable but I need to get into training first to verify. My daily training will start early in the morning hours and my trainer is going to become my best friend I suspect.

Just glad that I live in sunny, SC and have the opportunity to run outside for virtually the entire year. So only once or twice a week will everyone in my house be disturbed with me making the great noise of riding the fluid trainer.

But back to the task at hand. This weekend brings Lula and the LAP century ride. Hopefully I will complete it with no big issues and will have a great wek to recover. Off to Lula and thank goodness for a supportive family in all of my craziness.

New Years opportunities and upcoming schedule.

Well I have finally set the schedule for 2009 and am a little scared of the actual effort that it will take.  From top to bottom it is going to take at least two training sessions per day for most weeks with a long ride or run on Sats. and Suns.

What are the events that I will work on:

April – Anderson YMCA Sprint Triathlon

May – Mt. Mitchell Challenge – Just a 100+ mile bike ride to the top of Mt. Mitchell.

June – Nothing scheduled currently but thinking about trying to find an Olympic Tri in the upstate area.

July – Tuning up and have agreeed to do the Assault on Mt. Mitchell Mt. Bike event with my bud Kevin.  This one is a maybe but we will see how I am doing at the time.

August – Nothing on the schedule just trying to tune up for the fall.

Sept. – Lets get up and ready for the Tri-the Ridge sprint triathlon.  Second time on this one and it is a training event for the big one.

Oct.  – SC Half Iron.  Holy smokes am I really going to try this one.  I guess that it will be the case.  Total time may be in the 4 to 5 hr. range, but do I really want to go here.

I think that is a yes, I really want to target the half this year.  Maybe next year will bring a full.  I have always considered it an insanity plea but there is just something about pushing your body to the limit and a full Iron would serve that purpose perfectly.  But to get going I have to get training, my Christmas bulk is up in the 210 lb range now and that just won’t do as by Oct. I need to be in the 165 lb. range.
Time to just Tri I guess this year.

Getting ready for the Christmas season.

Well the gifts are getting ready.nbsp; Only a few more things to pick up and christmas will be upon us.nbsp; Today was the last day at work for at least 2 weeks as I take my standard Christmas /br /We are planning on finishing up the treehouse for the girls this weekend and then moving on to AK’s birthday on Tuesday.nbsp; Hopefully I will be back to my excercise routing sometime around the start of the year and ready for the Mt. Mitchell ride by May, 18th.nbsp; I guess if I am not I will simply struggle for the 100 miles to the top of the trail.nbsp; Hope everyone has a great Christmas and a perfect new year.nbsp; I will try to update the blog on exactly what gifts have been given and /

Choo choo city this weekend.

Went up for our annual polar express train ride and tree hunt.  Totally awesome experience if you ever get the opportunity.  The best part of the whole thing was the look on the girls faces as they got onto the train and rode into the night.

We sang carols until I was hoarse and absolutely had a blast.  Thanks to everyone on the Bryson City Express car for making a memorable night for the whole family.

Finally back stateside…..

Well I finally got back to the states after a two week trip that started on election day.  How did it go you may ask, well very interestingly for work while also very stressful.  I enjoy Germany but hate being away from my family and worrying about them.

There is not a lot that you can do to help your family if something were to happen so while the days are always hectic the nights and evenings can be a little lonesome.  I truly wonder at times how people in the olden days survived cross atlantic adventures and how the families ultimately made it.  

Oh well Germany ultimately had great beer and great schnitzel.  Not to say you can’t get both in the states but they just don’t seem to exist in the quantities.  

But the downside to the food is the upside of my weight.  When I left I hovered in the 191-195lb range, now I am back to the 195-200 lb range and need to be down to about 180 lbs by the time May rolls around.  So I have a total of about 15 – 20 lbs to drop in a matter of six months.  Possible yes but my favorite eating holidays approacheth.  I will try to blog my workouts so everyone can track my progress.  

Here is to getting back to a shape other than oblonged and beer gutted.