December 05, 2008

What's going on

Harvey's off-season, that's what! After racing XC at Alafia, I took the Halloween trip to Ellijay, came home and cruised right into post-season laziness. I did that for a couple of weeks until the anti-slug came out and got me moving again. I want to make a good run at Florida's winter enduros and time off followed by a full buildup has been the ticket the past few years. I'm in the middle of my 3-month weight program and have finally made good on my threat to take up running. I have decent running shoes now, so no more foot cramps. I eeeeaaaasssed into it to acclimate my muscles, and this morning did my longest run yet: 6 miles at a sub-8 minute pace. I know you runners out there are shaking in your shoes hoping I don't get serious about this. Don't worry - it'll probably go out the window in a month. I do intend to keep it up at least once a week. It's a nice diversion, a great way to exercise my dogs and it's so freaking easy to do: Lace up shoes and go. It's going to be my goto method of exercise when I'm travelling without my bike from now on.

I've been playing around with Facebook for the past month or so. Eddie O turned me onto it the last time I was up his way. Man, what a great way to keep up with everybody in the MTB community! It's waaaay easier than updating my blog and reading a bunch of other blogs. I fully intend to keep this blog going, but look up my profile if you want to keep tabs of me there.

In the short term, I'm looking forward to hosting Eddie and Namrita's winter training camp. I doubt I'll get to ride with them much during the week since they'll probably wait until noon to start and I have that pesky job thingy, but the weekends will be fun with people who don't cringe at the thought of a 4-hour ride.

I mentioned the Alafia XC race and even put the result over in my sidebar. My second time lining up against all the fast guys was just fun as at Tallahassee with the added benefit of familiarity with the "resting to puking up a lung in 30 seconds" concept. These two races were enough for me to decide whether to upgrade or downgrade my USAC license in '09. I'm going back down. I'm 42 years old, will be training less next year and will still be focusing on enduros. The real reason is that it's an extra $90 for what would equate to a status symbol for me. I won't race any national events where there's a pro class. I might race a few AMBC races, which is the only time it would make a difference. With the likely chance that I'll race the full FSC next fall, there's no pro class so I can race the fast guys in 19+, or play with slightly younger (than me) guys in 30+. I'm not going to go into my age group until I need to, but a few more podiums (and maybe even the top step) would be fun before I start getting old and slow.

I will be racing for the original Team Green in 2009. They have graciously accepted my services for another year and I'm happy to give even though my plans are kind of vague. I know that I'll race the 6 Hours of El Lagarto in January, 12 Hours of Santos in February (title defense!) and the Squiggy Classic 6 hour in March. After that I hope to hit up select enduros in the southeast, a few hundies and maybe some XC, probably finishing up with fall XC in Florida. A lot of this depends on the availability of cash, so we'll see as the year progresses.

December 01, 2008

Let's not forget about Fontana

Being that he's a refugee from the mountains, I don't have a known birthdate for Fontana. When he went for his first checkup on 6/1/05, my vet estimated him at 6 months, judging from the formation of his teeth. From that point, his birthday would be 12/1/04. Happy 4th birthday, you little wingbat!

We'll call this past weekend a combined birthday party for Fontana and Max. I was at Santos by 2:00 Friday, setting up camp for the weekend. The boys ran 9 miles Friday, 16 miles Saturday and 11 miles Sunday. The rest of the time was spent charming treats out of the hands of fellow campers. After their run Saturday, I went back out in the afternoon for a 30-mile jaunt. That ride, combined with the morning ride with the dogs, was my first 4+ hour ride since I was in the mountains for Halloween. It's time for long days in the saddle again.

About this time last year when I got Max, I wrote about the fact that Fontana had gotten a bit chunky. He was a portly 52 pounds then. Now he's down to a svelte 44 pounds. The haunches are back. So are the ribs. And he can run with the best of them. I doubt the difference can be seen at interweb resolution, but here's some before and after shots:

Summer 2007

A couple of weeks ago at Boyette

Now, thanks to Namrita, I have to come up with 6 things people don't know about me and write about them. Ugh. Thanks, Nam. ;-)

November 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Max

He turns 3 today. If I were to ask him what he wants, I'm sure it would be some of this:

or this:

followed by this:

Happy birthday, my dear friend.

November 03, 2008

Pics from Mulberry Gap

I'm gonna go against the grain to start my account of Halloween weekend and let some pictures do the talking. Pictures never do nature justice and the pictures are really good. Words will follow, but for the time being Eddie has a good account of the weekend and Saturday's epic.

October 15, 2008

Random thoughts on XC racing

It hurts like hell when you're doing it. Just when it starts hurting really bad, it's over. My legs were tired Monday, but when Tuesday rolled around I was fine. No cankles! No feeling retarded for days!

Flying through the woods at XC speed is just plain fun.

The Florida XC crowd is a great bunch that I've missed being around the past 2 years.

When you haven't gone anaerobic for a loooooong time, going anaerobic and staying there for a while really freaking hurts.

This was my first time lining up with the fastest guys in Florida since upgrading to semipro in 2006. Knowing how long it had been since I've done a "sprint" race, the plan was to start conservatively and up the effort as the race progressed, munching carrots along the way. That's pretty much how it went. I was 2nd to DFL at the end of the first lap, but the thing that got me was the top 2 guys in 30+ expert, who started 2 minutes behind me, were breathing down my neck by the end of that lap. Am I really that slow? It turned out that those 2 guys posted the 2nd and 3rd fastest times of the day and nobody else from that group caught (or virtually beat) me.

As was the plan, I munched lots of carrots on the last lap when I discovered that I could actually stay anaerobic for a long time. I started feeling twinges of cramps in the last 5 minutes, which prevented me from munching one last carrot. With the way I drilled that last lap, I was wondering whether I went hard enough the first 3 laps. The cramps answered that question.

My 10th place finish out of 15 starters might not look that impressive, but my time would've put me 3rd in 30+ expert behind 2 guys who probably should be racing pro/semi, and I would've won in my 40+ age group. Given that I'd rather challenge myself against better riders vs. a guaranteed podium spot, I'm right where I need to be. That answers the question of whether to upgrade or downgrade next year, as long as I don't have to pay a silly amount of money for a pro license.

The Bent's Cycling team is one of the best groups of people around. Leroy offered to give me feeds, which he did flawlessly, and Ali volunteered to watch my dogs while I was racing. Thanks. You guys rock.

I'm looking forward to doing it again on home turf next weekend.

October 03, 2008


Long road rides, riding out my door, have been putting me waaaay on the positive side of the "1 hour driving per 1 hour of riding" rule. If I'm gonna drive to ride, I'm gonna drive to a trail. If I'm gonna ride the road, I'm gonna ride out my door. 2 weeks ago I rode 105 miles without using a drop of gas. That was one of my "Tour de Tampa Bay" rides. I left my house, rode into Pinellas using my commute route then over to the coast. I used combinations of road and the Pinellas Trail to get to downtown St. Pete, then headed back home across the Friendship Trailbridge. Last weekend I was a bit less ambitious, but still ended up with a nice 80+ miles with no driving.

That being said, Tallahassee is calling my name. The FSC hits Tom Brown Park next weekend. I love riding there and am in need of a diversion. 2 weeks later the FSC will be in my back yard. I know I said in my last post that I had no interest in XC and that my "season" is over, but I have a nice bit of fitness built up and need to do something with it.

I've spent the last couple of weeks "tapering" and seeing what kind of explosive power I have in my legs. Let's just say that it'll be good entertainment for the spectators watching a guy who's focused on endurance for the past 2 years try to sprint off the line against the fastest guys in the state. It'll look like I'm pedaling backwards. I think I'll just start in the back and see how many guys I can pick off as they blow up.

September 18, 2008

It's over

Right after I re-opened it, I'm closing up my 2008 "season". The only thing going on in Florida is the state XC series and I've all but lost interest in short races. It's too much travel for too little riding. I could hit a few late-season endurance races sprinkled around the southeast, but again, it's too much travel for too little riding. See a recurring theme here? Travel costs are ridiculous. I'm even limiting my local dirt rides to no more than 2 hours round-trip and usually only do that once a weekend. Anything further away (Santos) requires an overnighter to make it worth the gas. Summer is finally releasing its death grip on Florida, so I'm sure some weekend camping trips will pop up.

I'm getting pretty strict about the "1 hour of riding per 1 hour of driving" rule. If I break the rule, there has to be some major fun factor involved to balance the equation. This event (scroll down the the September 3 post) fits into the equation perfectly. 4 days of riding, fall mountain weather, a dog-friendly host and lots of cool people and libations will be good for the soul.

Priority #1 is still getting my life in order. It's coming along slowly. There's also the Ridgeline project at Boyette to keep me busy. Lately it's been all we can do to keep on top of the summer growth and erosion on the existing trails, but come fall we should be able to start knocking it out. I'm really motivated to get this done because Lauren's Overlook sits in the middle of it. It's built and almost ready for the dedication. We just have to be able to get out there without crawling through the brush. I have a really special dedication ceremony in mind. It will be a beautiful tribute to a beautiful person.

The tentative plan for 2009 is to be race all the winter/spring enduros in Florida, then spend the spring and summer hitting select enduros in the southeast. I don't see myself travelling all over the U.S. chasing pack fodder glory anymore, except (hopefully) for the SM100. Man, I missed that race this year.

September 02, 2008

There was a little race last weekend

To say that the last 6 months have been a rollercoaster ride is an understatement. Riding obviously took a back seat for a while and became what it was years ago: Simply a way to get away from life's stresses. Structured training went out the window, replaced with a "ride however I feel" philosophy. I got back to regular riding in May and the hours have steadily gone up, but the new philosophy has stayed. Long rides have been few, but I have gotten in at least one long ride per week for a while now. I've also felt like I've been building some form again.

Roll back to about two weeks ago. The 8 Hours of San Felasco was on the horizon and I asked Kurt if he wanted to race it on a duo team. It seemed like a safe way to jump back into racing. A week went by and I started getting the solo itch. I got Kurt and Greg DeRosa to join me at Croom for a running of the Croom 50 course. We rolled it in a solid 4 hours in stifling heat, leaving Kurt to the vultures in the process. Based on this, racing for 4 hours was very doable. Racing for 8 hours would be a challenge. I needed a challenge.

It was good to have a goal for a week. I tapered, did some intervals, obsessed over lap times and fueling strategy, just like old times.

Fast-forward to Sunday, August 31. I had done as much prep work as I could, or at least I thought so. I'm standing on the line, chatting with old friends, the countdown starts and my heartrate starts to climb with that feeling I hadn't felt in a long time: Nervous anticipation. The horn goes off, we run a short distance to our bikes and we're off. I find myself with Greg and Jay Ulloa. Neither Greg or I had ridden the course yet, so we let Jay lead for most of the first lap. He attacked a few times, but came back quickly once he realized we were having no part of it - yet.

I had some mechanical issues to sort out during the 1st lap. My shifting was a bit wacky and a few turns of the barrel adjusters sorted it out. I had some skipping problems in the big ring that I couldn't sort out. After I finished prepping the bike Saturday, I looked at the big ring and thought it looked kind of worn, then I hung it up on the wall. It was worn out. Every time I tried to push up a climb in the big ring, it would skip. I just kept things in middle ring and I was fine.

The 3 of us stayed together until the end of the 2nd lap, when I pitted and they didn't. I ate the only solid food I'd eat all day. That half-bar sat in my stomach like a rock and I knew I'd have to rely on liquids and gels to get through a day that saw temps in the mid 90s all day. My pitting gave Greg and Jay a gap which allowed me to settle into my own rhythm. I ended up catching Jay at the end of the 3rd lap, but Greg was gone. Jay fell off the back and I was on my own.

You enduro freaks out there know that your mind has a lot of time to wander over the course of a day in the saddle. My mind started wandering to Lauren. San Felasco is one of those places that I visited with her more often than without. She had ridden every Tour de Felasco since the beginning. I thought about buying two entries for it next year and riding the course twice - once for me and once for her. I thought about how this would have been the kind of race she would've loved to race with a team of girlfriends. I thought about how if she didn't race, she'd be pitting for me, giving me invaluable support and encouragement. I was on the verge of tears at least 5 times out there. It would take me off my game and I'd think about how she'd want me to push through the adversity, to keep going. I thought about doing this for her, and keeping riding strong for her.

Lap 6 was my toughest. I was mired in a bonk and in a real funk. I decided that when I finished the lap I would take a short break, try to eat some food, get my head adjusted and go out for two more laps at a more "enjoyable" pace. On the way to scoring I saw Eddie. "Eddie! Got any Burn?" He just happened to have half a can in his hand that he'd just given to Namrita. He told me I was in 2nd place and not too far back from 1st. So much for the break. The racer took over, I grabbed 2 bottles and headed out for a much faster lap. Eddie was there again at the end with another Burn, this time a full can, to ensure I was bouncing around the trails like a pinball. I could make it back before cutoff if I really pegged it, but I ran the risk of making it and having nothing left for another lap. I kept the tempo high, but not so high that I left it all out there. I missed the cutoff by a few minutes and wasn't exactly bummed that I did.

Thank you Marcel for the pic. The effort was good for 2nd overall, which I was very happy with. Greg has been working his ass off this year and it shows.

It was good to feel butterflies while standing on the line again. It was good to push through adversity and come out of it stronger. It was good to see lots of old friends. It was good to hear the cheers of the crowd every time I rode through the pits.

It was good to be racing again.

August 29, 2008

It's time... wake up.

Lauren died April 29, almost 1 month after something went horribly wrong and left her in a vegetative state. Despite being operated on by one of the best neurosurgeons in the country and being cared for by one of the best neurological ICUs in the country, everything that could go wrong went wrong.

I'm not going to go into a lot of detail, but the days that followed have been some of the darkest of my life.

Eddie and Namrita bagged the race they were going to do the weekend after Lauren died and came down to spend the weekend with me. They say that when times are really tough you find out who your real friends are. They're two of the best. The first day they were here we headed to
after sleeping off hangovers. It was my first time on the bike in a couple of weeks and I had a blast.

The next day we went to Boyette with the dogs, and it was a whole different story. Lauren loved Boyette. Many of the rides we did together were there with our dogs. I have many fond memories of time spent with Lauren there, and they all came flooding back. The tears flowed fast and furious on that ride, but with them came the realization of what I had to do.

I had to build a trail there and dedicate it to Lauren.

The trail was there, waiting to be built. We laid it out in November. I talked with the SWAMP brass about it, and Wes helped me find a beautiful overlook just off the trail. Just in time for the summer heat, I tackled it.

It doesn't look like much now, but off to the left is a grove of sugar maples, a very rare thing in Florida. I'm going to put a bench next to the tree (behind Max) and some kind of sign dedicating it to Lauren. It will be my place to go for quiet reflection of the life and love we shared.

Now we just have to build roughly 3 miles of trail before I can have the official dedication. SWAMP is still trying to get some excavators out there to tackle the extensive bench cutting. I've been going out and working on some of the ridgetops where machines can't go, but after almost passing out in the heat a couple of times I've lost my motivation. It will be cooling off soon and I'll be back out there.

In the mean time, I've started to feel like living again instead of just going through the motions of life. I've kept myself in the company of a close circle of friends and it's time to venture out of that cocoon.

I'll end this post with a few memories.

My beautiful bride, May 4, 2002.

Porcupine Rim, Moab, October 2002.

Key West, November 2003.

Somewhere off the Florida Panhandle, June 2004.

Chillin' in the Ocoee, July 2005.

Ellijay Georgia, October 2006.

Cedar Key Florida (our 5th anniversary), May 2007.

Douthat State Park, Virginia, September 2007.

March 20, 2008

Cohutta 100 ticket for sale

It's not happening for me this year. The 100 mile race is sold out, so here's your chance if you want in. I'm asking what I paid for it ($140) plus any transfer fees to the promoter. Send an email to if you're interested.

Friday edit: The Extreme Tomato will be taking my place at the Cohutta 100. Looks like he'll be an honorary Team Green Tomato for a day.

March 12, 2008


I hadn't touched a bike since unloading them off the roof after the Hospice race. I had to take my car to my mechanic yesterday. I always take the bike when I drop off the car. Even though it was on the road, in the city at rush hour, as soon as I started pedaling I felt like a kid again. Wind through my helmet, caressing my head and putting sweet music into my ears. Heartrate rising, sweat starting to form. Cars in a hurry to get me out of their way meant nothing. I was turning the cranks and I was transported to Nirvana.

I took the long way home. I think I'll do it again tomorrow.

March 06, 2008


This would be my report on the Hopsice 100K. I got 4th and gave it what I had to give to an XC-style race 2 weeks after a 12 hour. Once again, I loved the course and the race. Markham Park is fun.

Monday we got up for work and Lauren (my wife) doubled over with the worst headache of her life. A brain aneurysm ruptured behind her forehead. She spent the day in surgery and is now in ICU. Luckily it was mild and I know she will make a full recovery. 3 days later, she's doing great, improving daily. The next few days are critical, then she will be able to begin recovery.

It's going to be a long road and I am going to be with her for every bit of it, doing what I can to bring her back to her old healthy self.

Y'all have fun at the NUE.

February 26, 2008

IF frame raffle

IF Racing is raffling off a steel IF frame. The winner gets a full-custom steel IF frame of their choice, with the opportunity to upgrade to ti or carbon for an upcharge.

Clickety-click. It could be the best $10 you've ever spent.

New look

I've brought my blog into 2008. My race schedule is now over on the right, along with reports from 2007. Blogger links have been updated with many of the cool people I met in my '07 travels. Florida bloggers have exploded recently, so they get their own section. The colors are staying green because, well, I like it, and I'm just not visual or patient enough to mess with it.

The team kit gets a crisp, new look. I'm pumped about the move to Giordana. I've always loved their stuff and it will be great putting it to the test this year. I hope my taint likes it too.

I noticed when I was creating my '08 race schedule sidebar that I have a string of 5 enduros spaced 2 weeks apart, starting with the Cohutta 100 in April and ending with the Lumberjack 100 in June. That's a pretty big chunk to bite off. I think back to last year when I strung ORAMM, W101, Fool's Gold and SM100 together 2 weeks apart, followed by the 12 Hours of Dauset 3 weeks later. Those went well except for the W101 hiccup and Cohutta-DSG-Tsali-Mohican-Lumberjack isn't much bigger of a bite. Coming off a 12-hour into back-to-back 6-hour races the next 2 weekends should tell me whether I'm being over ambitious.

Speaking of ambitious, I'm looking forward to throwing down with Team McCarty and Pacer this weekend in their own back yard at the Hospice 100K. I hope that coral rock doesn't bite too hard.

February 19, 2008


Or maybe "the power of positive thinking".

After the 6 Hours of El Lagarto answered many questions about my fitness and quelled some doubts I had about how things were coming along this year, I started to believe it.

I was going to win the 12 Hours of Santos.

It was a tough decision after the loss of Razorback put the future of this race in doubt. I thought about going to Texas and jumping into the USAC series, but staying home and saving a buttload of cash to do a race that's 3 times as long sounded more appealing. I also wanted to support Dave's efforts to keep a prestigious 12 hour race in Florida.

Then the race became a late addition to the USAC series and people started to take notice. There were some big names on the pre-registration list. Whenever doubts started to creep in, I'd chase them away by thinking "I'm going to win this race. No matter who shows, they're coming to my house."

It became my mantra for 3 weeks.

I took Friday off to ensure a stress-free day. Since it was so close to home, Lauren and I decided to sleep at home so we headed up Friday morning to set up my pit and check out the course. I snagged prime real estate for my pit and rode 2 laps. I rode 1 lap easy to feel out the course, then headed out for a 2nd lap with some openers. Max really wanted to go with me and he can hang through my short hard efforts, so we headed out, with Lauren hanging back a few minutes with Fontana so I could get a gap.

2 minutes later, Fontana was with me. That dog has a mind of his own and he will run with whomever he damn well pleases, thank you very much. It didn't really matter because my attempts to crank out some openers were feeble at best. I was pretty tired from the previous 3 weeks' riding. I didn't stress about it and just cruised with the dogs.

We were back plenty early Saturday morning, but with signing in, preparing my pit and bikes and getting my bike to the corral, I was on the line with zero warm-up. Even for a long race, I like to loosen the legs up a bit before the fun begins. So with no warm-up, the horn went off, we started the run, and my quads immediately started screaming "What the hell are you doing to us??? That hurts! Stop!!!". I ignored them and ran faster. I got to my bike and got into the second group that formed. Aaron Snyder was in this group. I knew he'd be a guy to watch. Chris was off the front with the expert team guys, setting a blistering pace.

Within a few laps, Chris and Aaron had built 3+ minute leads, but I didn't worry. They'd come back. Sure enough, I started catching glimpses of Chris ahead in the woods. He was coming back. I caught him and rode behind him for a while, chatting and getting a feel for the race situation. Aaron and another solo rider were ahead. Chris said they were going way too hard and he let them go. We got to the technical end of the course and Chris started doing multiple downshifts to get up the short steep climbs instead of punching up them. I was running into his wheel and knew it was time to go. As soon as it opened up I passed him and drilled it through scoring and kept going through the technical first part of the course before backing off.

I was in the zone all day and night. I was smiling all the time, chatting it up with the racers and spectators, and having a general blast. I never felt bad or wanted to quit. I loved every single minute I was out there. People told me after the race that I looked so calm and focused. I had lots of positive energy coming out of me, and it seemed it was going out to the crowd and coming back to me tenfold. I was an amazing experience.

While finishing my 6th lap, I saw Aaron heading out for his 7th. He was close and I had been bringing him back for a while, but it wasn't time to go for it yet. Rolling through scoring, I picked up Tim Cornelius, a local who puts in a ton of time working at Loyce Harpe, and all-around nice guy. He rode behind me through the technical stuff, then since he was on a team I let him pass once it opened up. He picked it up, but not too much, so I jumped on his wheel. The pace was high, but I figured I could catch Aaron easily this way. Sure enough, within a couple of mintes we blasted past him and I was in 2nd. I kept with Tim for the entire lap, picking up some serious time.

I never saw when I passed the 1st place rider, but after looking at the results it was somewhere during the 9th lap. Lauren and Chris' mechanic thought I was ahead earlier, then weren't sure, then thought I was ahead. Racer #16 was very elusive. Typical lap race chaos.

I finished my 15th lap 3 minutes before cutoff. Everybody in the pit was sure that I didn't need to go out again, but I didn't want to risk it. Lauren went to scoring to figure out the situation and look out for #16. I'd check in with her from a vantage point above scoring that was about 5 minutes into the course. Nobody really knew and I was through the toughest part of the course. After 135 miles, another 7 easy miles was nothing to seal the victory, so I rolled a victory lap.

I have to thank my wonderful wife Lauren for taking to day to tend to pit duties. She was awesome, allowing me to pit with machine-like efficiency. I was off the bike 3 times: Once to switch to my backup bike so Kurt could prep my bike for the night laps, once to get back on my main bike, and once to change batteries.

Then there was Kurt, who hooked up my lights, cleaned my bike, rode 2 laps with me after I passed him on a night lap, gave me an update on my chaser during my 15th lap, had half my pit torn down and even cooked my buffalo burger after I finished. Kurt kept me motivated and re-kindled the fire in my belly when I started getting complacent. Thanks Kurt, I'm lucky to have friends like you.

There were racers like Tim, who pulled me around my entire 7th lap, and the unknown racer on the 2nd place sport team. After Kurt told me my chaser was only 5 minutes back on my 15th lap, I was having trouble getting motivated to really push it again. This guy came around me and I jumped on his wheel. He got me to pick up the pace and pulled me around the rest of the lap.

Last but not least, a huge shout-out goes to Bruno at IF Racing and the entire crew at Independent Fabrication for continuing to believe that this old fart still has a few matches left to burn.

February 06, 2008


I guess a 2008 preview post is a little late since my first race is in the books, but better late than never, no?

I will be racing for Independent Fabrication again this year. I don't race for them because they give me free shit (they don't). I race for them because I love their bikes. I bought my first steel Deluxe in 1998, when it was just the "Deluxe". Steel was the only material they worked with and the employee-owners were the original crew that rose from the Fat City ashes. The next few years brought the migration of many Merlin employees to IF, including Matty B and Tyler, which led to their getting into titanium. In 2002 I got the chance to upgrade and went for it. I still have a steel Deluxe and a steel Crown Jewel in my garage, but my ti Deluxe is now my go-to bike.

Why all the love? There's many reasons, but the ones that stick out are that they've taken care of me and they treat their business like a business. I've had some warranty issues over the years, and many non-warranty issues, and they've always gone the extra mile to take care of me and get me rolling again. That's a breath of fresh air in a bike world filled with big companies who look for reasons not to honor warranty claims. And while the guys at IF are all craftsmen/women who are very passionate about what they do, they still run a business and treat it as such. As a person who busts his ass in the business world, it can be frustrating dealing with hobbyists who try to turn their hobby into a business. With IF, you get the best of both worlds: A small company that's focused on exquisite craftsmanship and busts its ass to take care of its customers.

My race season is going to look something like this:

Jan. 26: 6 Hours of El Lagarto, Lakeland FL. Finished 2nd solo. I love this local race.

Feb. 16: 12 Hours of Santos, Ocala FL. With the demise of Razorback, the race that had gained so much stature was in jeopardy. With a late addition to the USAC ultra-endurance calendar, it looks like the tradition will continue.

Mar. 2: Hospice 100K, Sunrise FL. 10 laps around the best course in south Florida in a benefit race for HospiceCare of Southeast Florida. I had a blast last year and I'm going back.

Mar. 8: Squiggy Classic 6 hour, Tampa FL. I won this race its first 2 years and skipped it last year in pursuit of XC glory. Since I've forgotten what XC is, I'll be back at the race that's 25 minutes from my driveway.

Mar. 14-16: OMBA Spring Break FTF, Ocala FL. After all those winter/early spring races, I'll be ready for a break. Hanging out at Santos, riding for fun and drinking lots of beer will be just the ticket.

Apr. 19: Cohutta 100, Ducktown TN. Stop #1 in the NUE series, which I'll be focusing on again this year.

May 3: Dirt, Sweat & Gears, Fayetteville TN. I heard lots of good things about last year's race and have to check it out for myself.

May 31: Mohican 100, Ohio. Stop #2 in the NUE series. Gotta love that course and last year's race was awesome.

June 14: Lumberjack 100, Michigan. NUE #3. It's a long way to go to ride something that's not mountainous, but I did really well there 2 years ago. The course suits my flatlander riding style and hopefully I'll have a repeat performance.

July 27: ORAMM, North Carolina. This is the race where I got bit with the enduro bug. I can't think of a better way to spend a day than pounding out 65 miles in Pisgah.

Aug. 16: Fool's Gold 100, Georgia. I turned in one of my better performances last year there. The talent should be a bit deeper now that it's on the NUE schedule. Bring it!

Aug. 31: Shenandoah 100, Virginia. I think I'll have to be dead to miss this race anytime soon.

Sep. 20: 12 Hours of Dauset, Georgia. Things are winding down, but it's an enduro a half day's drive from home.

Oct. 11: Dirty Spokes 12 Hour, Conyers GA. This will be my first opportunity to experience the pounding of Conyers granite for 12 hours straight.

There's some other races on my radar, most notably the Tahoe-Sierra 100. I've never been to Tahoe and this could be my chance, if getting from Virginia to California via Florida in 6 days doesn't prove to be too much of a logistical and financial challenge.

The next step in graduating to 2008 is updating the sidebars on this blog. There's tons of really cool bloggers I met last year that need inclusion on my list, new team sponsors and a new race schedule. Maybe I'll even put a picture in my header.

February 04, 2008


...keeps on ticking, and next thing you know it's been almost a month since I've posted anything to this blog. It's not that there hasn't been anything going, but quite the opposite. Life has been busy and this "creative endeavour" is the first thing that gets neglected.

So, what's happening? Since my last entry I've not only survived commuting in peak snowbird season. I also:

- Rode the Tour de Felasco on Jan. 12. I've always loved the San Felasco trails. They're a bit of a hike for a day ride, so this is my annual opportunity. The ride has always been great, but I could do without the sandy horsey doubletracks used to make the 50 mile ride. This year my prayers were answered with copious amounts of singletrack and minimal doubletrack, and none of the equestrian variety.

- Spent many, many hours at Croom. I've been the route coordinator for the Croom 50 for a few years and I take my job seriously. I rode the entire course at least twice leading up to the ride. I wasn't training. I was checking out the course and mileage splits. I even went out for more one day after riding the 50 mile course. I wasn't training. It takes a big effort to get the course marked the weekend before the ride, but I always get a big volunteer turnout that makes the job easy.

- Kicked off my 2008 season with the 6 Hours of El Lagarto. The results are here. I placed 2nd solo again, this time to the Ryno himself. I was happy with my effort. I was able to peg it XC-style for a couple of laps then settle into a consistent pace.

It was good to get back to racing again...

...but this guy stole the show.

January 09, 2008

It almost happened

Yesterday on my commute home, I came the closest I ever have to being plowed into by a car. I'm not counting the time my front wheel was run over by the asswipe who overtook me in the middle of a right hand turn. That was intentional. I'm not counting all the times I've been cut off or any of the other malicious acts that have occured by people who would rather run me over then add 2 seconds to the time it takes to get to the Most Important Event In The World. This was an act of inattentiveness, and it was freaking scary.

I had just gotten off a bike path and was on a main residential street heading east. As I crossed an intersection with a side road, a westbound car suddenly made a left turn on the side road, not cutting me off, but heading straight for me. Thankfully I'm pretty good at getting into the mode of thoughts turning into action in mere nanoseconds. I veered right, gunned it for the curb, and yelled simultaneously. I think the yell woke the driver up because she slammed on her brakes, stopping less than 1 foot from me. I don't think I would have made it out of her way had she kept coming.

Having just come off the bike path on the mellow first half of my commute, I admit that I wasn't into the ultra-defensive mode I'm usually in on the mean streets in the afternoon. That incident woke me up and really put me on edge. I was cussing out (under my breath) the boneheads who zoomed in front of me just to slam to a stop 100 yards ahead. I was my usual cynical self and I was pissed off.

Then something else happened. I was trackstanding, waiting to cross a 2-lane road that was gridlocked both ways. The nearest lane cleared and a car waiting to make a left turn in the farthest lane went, opening the road. I looked left and the farthest lane was clear for maybe 300 yards before it hit gridlock again. I couldn't make it and clipped out. Then the driver across from me saw me and motioned me across the road. Wow. Somebody not bent on hurrying up and waiting.

Maybe there's hope for mankind after all.

January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Hope you welcomed the new year in a way that makes you happy. I did: 40 miles of sweet dirt. It was almost twice as much as I'd planned on riding today, but the odds were against me. It was my last free day off for a while, the weather was beautiful, a little overnight rain had packed the trails. I rode both Croom and Boyette today (afternoon spin with the dogs) and conditions were perfect.

I have a nice string of big weekend dirt rides going. Last weekend I rolled a beautiful 50+ miles at Santos with Eddie and Namrita O, Patrick and Chris. Before that there was 40+ at Croom, 40 and 55 mile rides at Santos, and lots of 2-3 hour rides at LHP, getting that place dialed in for a certain 6 hour race at the end of the month. There's nothing like 6 hours of fast but technical trail to kick start your season, right in the nuts.

Fontana has lost 2 pounds since he went on his diet. We still can't see his ribs, but he doesn't look quite as fat. Max keeps him honest. That dog loves to run and his endurance is building rapidly. He rode 22 miles at LHP with me last weekend at a nice pace.