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Tuesday, October 17

The '17 Bicycle Times Adventure Fist: Part Two

Wake up in the garage, but in the daylight this time.  I wander into the lodge and see the staff moving about.  They have things to get done.  Bill Nye and I have none.  There's much activity buzzing about, and slowly the main room empties out, no one left inside except us.

We decide to hang out and wait until things are less moist outside.  Mebbe when some of the other Charlotte people arrive, we head out on bikes for the purpose of finding joy.  Eventually, noon rolls around and we haven't eaten since 3:30PM the day before, so we plan on heading into town for Thai food...

At the same restaurant we went to a month ago when I lost a car key and Bill Nye forgot his jacket in said restaurant.  I mean, what are the odds that we could be that stupid again?

Scott, Bill Nye and I arrive back at camp around 2:00PM.  A scheduled group ride was heading out.  We miss it.  Watts, Lee and Courtney are in the same predicament tho, so we do a group ride of our own on Lookout Mountain.

Anything eventful happen other than a good time?

photo cred: Watts
Mebbe.  Something not worth sharing but very distracting on the climb up Hankey.  Mebbe also watching Watts pilot a full squish bike down the mountain quite well until he didn't and ended up ass over tea kettle in a nasty rock garden.

Or Courtney trying to pop her eye out of the socket with the end of her handlebar negotiating the rocks at the bottom of the descent.

Anyways, we got back in with plenty of time for a cold shower and... the evening went somewhere.  I know it did.

A campfire?

Drinking some sort of liquid that tasted like Listerine and Dr Bronner's bath soap/hand soap/laundry detergent/dish washing liquid that the Lauf guys had?

Moonshine?

Somehow, I ended up back at the lodge before the evening was over, and once again, being that my tent was far away up the hill, I made the presumption that the empty garage couch was mine unless told otherwise.

Monday, October 16

The '17 Bicycle Times Adventure Fist: Part One

I'm out the door forty minutes late because the adult things won't stop coming into my world.  I hop in the Honda Fit of Rage knowing full well that the "business" ain't done yet and won't be for some time.  The Pie is gonna take the brunt of it while I'm out playing in the woods for the next few days.

Scoop up Bill Nye and stop for broceries.  Make our way north and east... again.

We stop at Carvin's Cove in Roanoke, because the weather is looking pretty iffy later when we get to Stokesville.  There's a surprising number of people in the parking lot, considering that it's the middle of the day on a Thursday.  We jump on our bikes and head down Hi-Dee-Ho, which is actually two miles with 883ft of up because I don't read maps so good.

"You should let the geography major look at the map," Bill Nye grumbles.

Whatever.

Upon further review, it appears that most of the trails fall off the ridge line where Brushy Mountain Fire Road sits.  The only "easy" way up is the five miles gravel road from the marina, which I remember from the race last year... which means there is no easy way up.

Down the OG Jump Line...

and the geography major amongst us is much happier.  We shoot back up the top for another run because our ride plan is, if anything, fluid.

OG to Gauntlet and I realize that the things I thought we had time for, we didn't.  If we wanted to get something to eat and set up camp before dark, we had to start heading back to the car.  Up the Trough and down Hi-Dee-Ho and on our way to Mexican food and then Stokesville.

Fortunately (or not), The Pie needed much adult information from me over the phone throughout my meal.  Fortunate because I had signal and could respond.  Unfortunate because I don't even remember eating or if my food was any good.  Meh.


Into Stokesville just as the sun was diving down behind the mountains, set up camp in front of my parking lights, and head down to the lodge to look for the Bicycle Times/Dirt Rag folks.

Drink beers into the late hours of the night.

Scott asks us if we'd rather sleep on the couches in the garage instead of schlepping all the way back up the hill to our moist tents.

"Yeth."

Scott asks us if we'd like blankets.

"No," we reply for some reason other than that it would have been the smart thing to do.

I spend the night pulling cushions over myself for warmth.  Eventually, I awake with the desire to pee... hard.  I stumble around the garage in the dark looking for a side door only to discover none.  I find the door into the lodge, come across a bathroom, make good use of it, wander back to the garage, enter, shut the door...

it's pitch black.  Within seconds, I'm walking into chairs, tables, corners, bikes... everything.  Everything except my couch.  I'm starting to panic a bit, as I think my only option is going to be sleeping on the garage floor, and then a hand reaches out and grabs mine.

"What are you doing?"

"Where am I?"

"You're in the garage at the Stokesville Lodge."

"Where's my couch?"

Bill Nye walks me the five steps from his couch to mine, and within minutes, I shiver myself back to sleep.

Monday, October 9

Who hit the pause button?

Meh.

Life.

I've been dealing with the kind of adult world reality stuff that limits my time that's normally reserved for staring at bikes I'm never gonna buy, being all social mediarific. and MS Paint "work."

The kind of stuff I normally like to avoid has displaced my unhealthy distractions with angst-riddled restlessness.

I still think about bikes.  I even ride them sometimes.

I'm probably not gonna get all my ducks neatly in rows before Thursday, but I'm headed out to the Bicycle Times Adventure Fest with Bill Nye regardless of my level or preparedness.  I'm hoping the very limited phone signal and internet access will do me some good.   I'd like to sleep through the night without fever anxiety dreams and alarm clocks reminding me that I need to get up and get shit done every day.  Ride, drink, sleep, repeat.

Like Dog wanted it to be, before it all went to shit.

And mebbe come back with some good stories and even some better news that all this other crap will soon be over with and life can go back to staring at bikes I won't buy etc.

Monday, October 2

Short, sweet... like me.

A great weekend celebrating the birth of our lord and savior, Leaf Life.

A ride on Big Creek, which I haven't done since I had back issues... two years ago?

Super dry conditions.  Emboldened by the omega traction, I made that stupid move on Laurel that I don't even bother trying much any more.  I credit the mid-plussers and how early in the ride it was that my legs were fresh enough to do it.

Zac made it as well, but being that he knows how to hop his bike around and doesn't mind some occasional consequences (as witnessed later on the Lord of the Rings trail), expected.

 It was the kinda ride I look forward to all summer.   Cool temps, all day with no agenda, trail beers.

 Others, including the birthday boy, showed up sometime after the Saturday ride...

and before we knew it, the time was 11:30PM.  I had decided to sleep in the dirt.  I haven't just slept out in the open on the ground in awhile.  I probably won't do it again for a very long time.  Ditch lifestyle ain't necessarily for me anymore.

Another shorter ride within the tolerance levels of my self-sabotaged body on Sunday with even more friends in tow.

An amazingly crisp September day.  Conditions so dusty that we had to leave a gap between riders coming down Spencer in order to be able to see the trail ahead.   Sick.

Despite getting lit up by yellow jackets coming off the last trail of the day, it was an incredible way to spend a weekend.   They are assholes, tho. 

Two more weeks and my favorite seasonal loop is open.  Even more buenos.

I know everyone says this, but I love fall.

Except the leaves... and the cold... and pumpkin beer.

Thursday, September 28

We have a few items we want to straighten out first...

or you might be looking at three actors...

who really don't feel like making a Geronimo picture.

*skipping forward a few lines*

You hit Harry Flugleman on a bad day.

I threatened to race cyclo ross this past Saturday, but I woke up that morning with a text inviting my sorry ass on a trail ride.  I shifted my gears... in the most figurative of senses.  Mountain bike cycling with friends beats grass racing ninety nine times out of a hundred.

Fun trail ride and fidget spinning at Poston and Rocky Branch with Claudio, Daily and Mills...

and then supposed to go to a party Saturday night, but then things happened, or more to the point, didn't.


I'm weak.

A last minute cancellation Sunday morning due to my riding accomplices drinking too much the night before rendered me open to creative time consumption for my day.  I just rode south and east and poked my head into some green spaces on the map looking for adventure.  It was found, but not grand by any means.  The rest of the day, watching football at The Spoke Easy, even tho I heard football is ded like single speeding and 29" wheels and also 26" wheels and 27.5" and assuredly fat bikes.

Obviously, I've been hit with a case of the lazies.  I considered racing this weekend up in Roanoke, but the distraction of pain is not a true release from boredom.  I'm more than likely ending up in Pisgah to celebrate a birthday and ride a trail that somehow I've ignored for years.  Big Creek, AKA The Death Descent, so named because we first rode it back when v-brakes were as good as it got.  Which was pretty much death.

Sorry(esque) for the recent silence, but the lack of bike cycling happenings recently combined with the overwhelming nebulous stream of conscience in the forms of arguing over things that don't matter and an observed flurry of self-serving self-promotion of self temporarily squashed my desire to express myself in the long form.

So, the desire to get into the woods for 36 or so hours is strong.  All I really wanna do is ride my bike.

Friday, September 22

I'm not a dope(r)

Jeebus.

I guess after getting a very well thought out and lengthy comment from "anonymous" on my last post, I should clear the air.  I won't be doping or looking to do anything unethical or perilous to make more great bike race in 2018.

Seriously.  Aside from my unhealthy love of beer and certain processed foods (Pringles and Peanut M&M's, I'm looking at you), I don't put a lot of crap in my body.  I don't even like to take ibuprofen.  It has to be a pretty extreme circumstance for me to consider putting a pharmaceutical in my body, like when I rolled my toe under almost a year ago.  Even then, I didn't go to a doctor, because I knew they would just prescribe a narcotic pain killer... which I just don't wanna take.

I still can't bend my right big toe.  Dammit.

I allow myself a few supplements.

My regimen.
Multi-vitamin.  Because.

Iron.  I live in a mostly vegetarian household.  It's hard to get my daily intake in my diet, and after being anemic in the past, I don't wanna do that again.  Ever.  Check the iron content in a bag of spinach, figure out how many bags you'd need to eat daily, get back to me on that.

Magnesium.  Google it.  Being an older "athlete," it's super important.  Also, hard to just get it in your diet naturally.  Meh.

Vitamin D.  When you're young, you can get it just standing in the sun.   As you age, your body loses that ability to synthesize it from UVB exposure.  So I take it.  Double meh.

I hate having an old person "pills of the week" box, but I've accepted it as a part of life.

I did use CarboRocket Rocket Red this past "season."  Once again, the semi-vegetarian lifestyle thing.  My lab work is never that great when it comes to all the factors involving the transportation of oxygen to my muscles.  I feel zero guilt using it.  Beets are still not on the WADA banned list so okay.

Lab work?  Am I so interested in performance that I go see a doctor and get my blood drawn in the interest of making great bike race?

No.

I've just settled into the somewhat adult concept that if something's going wrong, catching it sooner rather than later might not be a bad idea.  Almost annual physicals aren't a terrible thing, I have insurance that pays for it, and the doctor's office is only two blocks from where I work.  I have no excuse to not go.

Other than my fear of needles (so much for transfusions).

The only other thing I do during the "season" would be chocolate milk with some L-Glutamine.  Once again, google it.  Another thing that your body doesn't do so well as you get older.  That and I love chocolate milk.

In 2018, I've got two (or three) options.

1. "Train" smarter.  Not just head out on the bike with no agenda other than saddle time.  Hill repeats and other such silliness.  Something my body would need to recover from, which means the next day I can just sleep in (also bueno) and just do my short commute and my job.

2. Keep doing what I'm doing.  I want to be strong enough that I can enjoy longer rides, so that's what all the junk miles have been about for the last few years.  It gets the job done.  But it's probably stupid.

3. I guess I could not do anything, but that won't work.  I still wanna enjoy long summer days in the saddle.  Big Pisgah rides.  Mancations.  I can't pull that off if I take it easy, so... not really an option.

I already know that I'm leaning towards the first option.  It seems like a better use of my time.  It just requires more planning and and follow through.  Fortunately, it's free, legal, healthy, and still involves riding a bike.  Which is all I want to do in the first place.

The last time I can say that I was actually motivated about making truly great bike race was July '13 at ORAMM.  I went there with what an "athlete" would call "goals," and I achieved them.

My only lasting regret from that experience would be the cargo shorts.  Like Cher said, "If I could turn back time, I'd wear jorts."

Those were the days... and I'm okay with that.  I cared about something enough to be a "trier," and it worked out just fine.  Since then, it's been all about fun.

And I don't think doping ever helped anyone have good time.

But when I turn fifty in '19?  It might be time to race my age group peers on even ground... on a single speed... rigid... because you can't untrain stupid.

Tomorrow (unless I change my mind), I hop into the local cyclo ross training race and compete "pan y agua."  I hope I can go the distance.

Wednesday, September 20

'17 Fool's Gold (not quite) 60: Rear View Mirror

That was my third third place in four tries at the Fool's Gold 60 (or 50).

Brad Cobb has occupied a step or two above me on all those occasions.

Anyhoo, I mighta figured out why I actually race my bike just slightly after I kicked the self-doubt feelings outta my head part. I need it somehow. The adrenaline, the excite, the ups, the downs, the what have yous. It's truly some sort of addiction. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's giving into my vices.

I also know why I tend to get burned out early on in the "season," give up on being a "trier," and then somehow get re-energized later in the year... when I've already lost a certain amount of fitness and put on an uncertain amount of weight. Those hard races in May stacked so close together followed up by the Trans-Sylvania Epic. It just kills me. I don't recover, and burnout settles into my core being. And it's not even June yet.

I don't recover for multiple reasons, to include sleep, beer, age, lack of desire to participate in "active recovery" the day after a big event, and also preparation. I've read/listened to multiple sources about how to stay fast as you get older. It requires "effort."

More to the point, concentrated effort. It's not so much about time in the saddle, especially when you have decades of base miles (I haven't been off a bike for more than four days in a row since Sep '96). You gotta go hard and recover harder. My greenway and bonus commute junk mile mornings just aren't gonna be enough anymore... if I wanna be fast, even though I still probably rack up ten to fifteen hours in the saddle every week during the "season." Meh.

So strangely enough, I probably need to ride less in the future but make that time count for something. Stop staring at the geese and deer and the cute old couple pushing their dog in a stroller and bleed outta my eyes a little bit every now and again. So...

Have you seen the Icarus documentary?

It was good. Real good.

And if you were mostly interested in where the original intent of this film was meant to go, this podcast on Cycling Tips delved way deeper into the topic of a doping amateur cyclist.

And this part really made me aware of the things I'm up against as a 48+ year old "athlete."

"BF: Exactly. And it’s never ending. And then what you see, which is so interesting… And again, not to be pro-doping or anti-doping, whatever you want to call doping… “Okay, so I’m a 44-year-old guy. And by the nature of me being a 44-year-old guy, my testosterone level is like 400. And if you’re a 21-year-old guy, your testosterone level is, let’s call it 900. Now you’re talking about a level playing field. Well, if you’re truly saying that you’re competing on a level playing field, shouldn’t I be allowed to bring my testosterone levels to 900 so that I can compete equally — if I have the athletic ability and the training and the prowess — with the 22 year old? Why, because my body has stopped making a hormone that I need to stay competitive, why am I not allowed to supplement that hormone to actually be on a level playing field if that is the concept of what a level playing field is?"*

I had a short conversation with Thomas Turned about this after the Fool's Gold race.  At times, he was looking at me like I was an alien, but I think he gets it... sorta.  My point was more that it's incredible how much the body changes with age.  Amazing to think that guys my age are going to the doctor and saying "I'm tired all the time" and "I don't feel as horny as I did when I was twenty years old" and walking out with a prescription.  And it's okay for them... but not if you race a bike... or run a 10k... or compete in tennis matches... or league bowling?

Dunno.

Pretty sure that if  I get faster by actually doing what I should be doing next year (intervals, recovery, sleeping, so forth) Thomas is gonna think I'm on the T.  He had that look on his face, you know?

Anyways, I had a "blast" racing my bike at the Fool's Gold 60.  My only disappoint was that without the NUE hundie going on, nobody wanted to stay the night and drink a few beers... which is the other reason I do these events.  Races like those put on by Pisgah Productions, the Shenandoah Mountain 100, and the Lula Lake Land Trust 5 Points 50 coming up soon (which I did last year and will sadly miss this time due to a schedule thing) really hit the mark so well, it's hard to settle for less.

If I wanted to be bored, I'd buy a road (or garvel or grass racing) bike.

I want it all.  Is that too much to ask?

Oh, and I also don't wanna suck at making great bike race either.

* Don't judge the whole thing on that one quote.  Give it a listen or a read when you have the time.  Is buenos.