Rush Limbaugh has his . . . well, here is mine. This is my record of news stories and issues that interest me. You can also find more headlines at the site where I serve as editor: The Common Voice.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Quick update before I go play with the kids

I just had to post after the come back that Gordon pulled off yesterday. Had a couple more cars had fuel problems and he would have come even closer to pulling off an improbably win. Of course, we'll know more tomorrow what the results will be of the infractions of this weekend. I have a feeling he is going to need all the points he can get!

Team Pts
Pts Team
paitracing 427 vs. 360 Super_D
BBuck 439 vs. 347 DraftingWithYates
A_Junior_Fan 332 vs. 95 thewildcard

It was also kind of fun to listen to the race while driving to my parents for vacation. I had to be careful though because when you start getting caught up in the race you have the temptation to put the pedal down! Good news is I didn't get a ticket and I maintained my lead on the fantasy field.
Team W L T
paitracing 14 2 0
A_Junior_Fan 10 6 0
BBuck 10 6 0
DraftingWithYates 9 7 0
Super_D 4 12 0
thewildcard 1 15 0

I'm also looking forward to getting a lot of miles in this week. This morning I did 50 miles. I averaged 19.4 mph for the ride. I managed to maintain a 20 mph average up until 40 miles and then I just started slowing down. It is a lot different riding here. You don't get any opportunities to coast. You just pedal, pedal, and pedal.

It is also hot and humid (it is low altitude with swamps all around). I stopped every 5 miles to tank up with fluids to keep from bonking. As it turned out, it worked. I'm sitting here now just a little tired but my legs feel really good and I think I'll be ready to put some more in tomorrow.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

What's Up?

Ride for Mike

We are up to $2545 in funds raised for my Ride for Mike fight against cancer ride. The last donation was annonymous for $250! Thank you to whoever it was that did that.


Things ain't looking good for me on Sunday. I guess that is just as well. I won't be able to watch the race because I'll be driving on I-95 (which is about like Daytona). Still, I don't like the thought of losing two weeks in a row. The gap could close this weekend.

Why is that? Well, with Gordon and Johnson getting put to the rear of the field due to some inappropriate modifications to their cars and my best driver in the group (Kyle Busch) starting in 24th place -- things don't look to good. You might get away with it at a super speedway, but Sonoma? Don't think so.

At least Gordon named his daughter something normal. Ella Sophia is a very pretty name. Better than what Tiger Woods named his little bundle of joy: Sam Alexis - not Samantha Alexis, just Sam.

Computer problems

Thanks to my wife for letting my use her computer. My Mac's harddrive bit the dust today. The worse thing is that I am leaving tomorrow to spend the week at my parents. I love them and I can't wait to go -- but they are in the sticks! I mean there isn't much at all there and my cell phone is on constant roaming. I'll have to pack in all the technical stuff I'll need. I've ordered a new harddrive and will have it delivered there.


I'll be taking my bike with me. It will be a big change to go from the hills of Greenville to the flats of the swamps of southeastern North Carolina. I'm also having my new cycling computer to my parent's house. I should be able to do some max heart rate testing there where I can do some good sustained rides.

I'll say though, I have a ways to go. Today, I did the same 35 mile ride that I did on Thursday. Paris Mountain is still kicking my posterior. Part of it is because I can't get into the last three rings of my rear cassette without my chain slipping. I either slip and lose momentum or I have to go harder and wear myself down. I just can't seem to make progress.

Well, that is what is up. Not sure I'll give many updates over the next week. I can get a dialup (about 21 kbs), but it can be a real pain.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

What an ordeal!

I got on my bike last night for the first time since Monday. I had a funny feeling that it was going to be an interesting ride, but I decided to do the US Pro Cycling route.

My stomach wasn't feeling that great and I was kind of tired from changes in my schedule. Still, I headed out and by the time I got into the park, I was thinking to myself that this wouldn't be so bad. I had finished a lap of the park and was about to head downtown when I looked to check my heart rate. My monitor wasn't there!

I turned around and backtracked, scanning the road for the watch. This particular HRM is a watch and you can mount on your handlebars. I ended up riding all the way back to East North Street. As I started the climb I heard a car hit something and saw something black pop up into the air. Instantly, I knew what it was. It was the rubber holder that goes between the watch and the handlebar.

I got off the bike, picked up the holder, and then started to look for the watch. Up the road a little farther I saw portions of the wrist band. As I got closer, I was able to see multiple piece of the monitor. It was gone.

Home seemed kind of inviting at that point, but I got back on to finish what I had started. Back through the park and over the Pete Hollis. As I approached that road, I grabbed my gel bot to get some gel and water. No gel - just odd tasting water. Sure enough, my flask cylinder had fallen down in the bottle.

Then on to Paris Mountain. At the base I had averaged 18 mph - that wasn't so bad considering. Ahead of me just as I turned up Altamont was another rider. It would be nice to have some company. I came up behind him and we started to climb. I shifted down to the lower gears and my chain started jumping causing me to lose momentum and ticking me off. The last three rings on my rear cassett just would not work. The chain would slip back and forth. So, I had to go in a harder ring. Well, the guy in front of me was spinning away - and pulling away.


Finally over the top and back home without further problems. As I came back through Cleveland Park, I noticed I had put in 27 miles to the point. It kind of surprised me. By the time I got home it was 34 miles. That ended up being a positive.

I hope to get my attitude straightened out before trying to go out again. Also on my to do list is to get that derailer fixed and see if I can get a new HRM off of eBay. I'm looking at the Garmin e305.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Check out Cody

Let me introduce you to Cody Webster. He is a man of mystery - a hero of damsels in distress. Actually, he is the hard working people who go to work everyday and make things happen. They are the everyday heros.

Even heros need a little help. So, The Worthwhile Company steps in with Hero Support. No need for the hero to be sweating about those things that should be obvious. He needs to be focusing on saving the girl!

The goal is to move this series of videos into a viral situation. If you live in Greenville, you will find "movie posters" around in various places. Cody even has his own MySpace and Facebook accounts.

We'll see how it works out. For now, say hello to Cody!


Monday, June 18, 2007

A service of praise

I got up this morning to board a plane to fly up to Raleigh for Mike's funeral. I was joined by David Orr and Jeremy McMorris. We landed in Hickory, NC to pick up Dr. Bob and then it was on to Raleigh/Durham. After a short drive, we arrived at the church where Mike's funeral service was held.

Looking out the window of the plane thinking of Mike.

There is something about being a Christian when it comes to face the death of a loved one. Certainly there are feelings of sadness. However, you can't come to a conclusion that the one you love is gone. It is as though they boarded a plane and flew to some distant location. You don't see them, but you KNOW they ARE. You have not faced the end of their existence. They exist - in a sense in a way much greater than they did when they were with you.

That is the feeling I had as I looked at the wooden coffin holding the body of Mike. It was not him. Yet, he IS. The sadness is in not having him here with us. The gladness is knowing that we will be with him again. The sadness was in seeing his family knowing that they would not feel his hugs or hear his laughter any more on this earth. The gladness was knowing that they are not without hope.

The credits song to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, "Into the West," came to my mind. It is the song about the ships sailing into the west to take the elves away from the changing Middle Earth to a new land. "What can you see on the horizon? Why do the white gulls call? Across the sea a pale moon rises. The ships have come to carry you home. And all will turn to silver glass. Light on the water, grey ships pass into the west."

Mike has boarded the ship. The ship will return for each of us and we will board it. We'll leave the fading world and enter a new one that is made new. "The white shores are calling. We will meet again." Mike is not dead. He is simply waiting.

Michael T. McCaskill April 27, 1981 - June 16, 2007

Thanks, McCaskills, Lora, Carl, Johnny, and all the folks at Catawba Springs Christian Church. You are an inspiration and testimony.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

My heart wasn't in it.

NASCAR ran today in Michigan. Before the race, I checked to see who I would be up against in the fantasy league. Ironically, it was Mike's team. I certainly didn't have the desire to see my team win today. Sure enough, I lost - and I don't mind at all.

Team Pts
Pts Team
Super_D 260 vs. 511 BBuck
A_Junior_Fan 446 vs. 419 paitracing
DraftingWithYates 177 vs. 73 thewildcard

We'll keep Mike's team for the rest of the year. I have been running his team anyway since he got too sick to deal with it. I'll tell you, with Truex starting to come on it is a formidable team -- Truex, Johnson, and Earnhardt (today Mark Martin - no slouch - was on the bench).

Here is how the fantasy league stacks up right now:

Team W L T
paitracing 13 2 0
A_Junior_Fan 9 6 0
DraftingWithYates 9 6 0
BBuck 9 6 0
Super_D 4 11 0
thewildcard 1 14 0

Of course, the big winner for today was BBuck! I know Carl Edwards was glad to get a win - probably not more than his crew member...
He then gleefully took a pair of scissors to team member Tom Giacchi's shaggy beard, clipping off a chunk of hair that had been growing since the two vowed in late 2005 that Giacchi wouldn't shave until Edwards' next win.
That was quite a beard!

My mind has been on the funeral that will take place tomorrow. There was a memorial service tonight in Apex, NC for Mike. I'll be leaving in the morning to attend the funeral service at the church there. The family will then take Mike's body to Tennessee where they will have a service and burial.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

New Ride for Mike Web sites

UPDATE: After posting this entry, I visited the site where messages are left for Mike and his family. At that time, I learned that Mike passed away. I'll miss you, Mike. But I will see you again.

Check out the new Ride for Mike Web site. Chris Hartzler was really nice to redesign the site and create a really nice logo that will go on my jersey. The logo will also be going on t-shirts that will be available for purchase with all the proceeds going to the ride in honor of Mike.

Mike is not doing well. We do not know how much longer he will be with us.

This morning was the Sunshine Shop Ride. John and Tony, our two normal leaders, were not on the ride this morning so it was kind of a self guided ride. It also meant that I was one of the top riders out there.

I was a little tired at first because I had ridden 20 miles just the night before after being off the bike since Monday. However, I got my legs under me and for the sprints I tried, I did pretty well - finishing 1st or 2nd. I even had someone jokingly ask me if I had a secret coach.

The Paris sprint was the most fun. About six of us started a break away and I purposefully went to the front to bring up the cadence. Then I backed off to allow five riders in front of me. We crested a hill that would start the downhill before the last climb. I moved into the big ring and tucked in. The draft allowed me to slingshot around the outside just at the base of the climb.

I used the momentum to take me into the climb and smoothly transitioned into a lower gear. As I climbed, I looked back between my legs and there was no one on my wheel. I pushed a little more but let up a bit as I neared the end of them climb. Then on my outside a rider came rolling by. At that point, we were just five yards from the entrance to the park and I couldn't get up speed enough to pass him back.

Foiled again!

The best thing though is that I have been able to earn the respect of the riders I'm with. They know I can hang with the best of them, but I'm not a dangerous rider. Frankly, that makes me feel pretty good.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

More on Marion

I figured I'd keep a copy of this here for posterity.

It has taken several days for me to recover from the Marion ride. I figured that I burned in excess of 3500 calories during the trip. That was like burning a day of my life!

Also, I'll record here that I averaged 20 mph for those 74 miles. The guy who finished the Assault of Mount Mitchell averaged 20 mph for the entire 103 miles - including the climbs! For me next year? Don't think so...

Due to schedule, rain, and just being plumb tuckered out, I haven't been on the bike since Monday. I'll get back on tonight and get at it again. The old body is starting to miss it.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pray for Mike

My heart really isn't into writing anything today. I have learned that an earlier MRI that showed swelling on Mike's brain possibly shows that the swelling was actually more growth by the tumor. Unless something amazing happens, they will be taking Mike home.

I have my own problems right now, but how insignificant and puny they are.

Mike, I want you to stay with us, but how selfish of me to want to hold on to you when you could be where I should desire with all my heart to go. I am praying for Lora and Grace - and your parents and all.

To God be the glory - you have already been a testimony for Him and you will continue to be so should He give you to us or take you home to Himself.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Assault on Marion

The day arrived. I woke up at 4:15 a.m. and really never went back to sleep. The alarm went off at 5 a.m. and I got out of bed, showered, got everything together and headed out the door by 5:30 a.m. I swung by McDonalds to be my favorite before morning ride meal (a steak and egg bagel with a black coffee).

Here I am after resting a bit once I finished the Assault on Marion.

The service was SOOOO slow. It was getting closer and closer to the point where I would end up really pushing it to make it by the start time. Finally, I got it and headed up I-85 to Spartanburg. I didn't get much coffee down because it was very hot. Still, I got enough and made it to Spartanburg at 6:15 a.m. - that put me at the back of the field.

I had not been there long when the countdown started. The riders clicked in and everyone started - and then stopped. With only about 200 riders behind me, we did quite a bit of starting and stopping until everyone got underway.

Once we got to rolling I stayed in the main pack, but soon grew antsy because they were just taking their time. Me, I was hoping to finish in 3:30 minutes. With the size of the pack I felt hemmed in, and kept looking for ways to thread through the group.

Finally, about 10 miles in, things started to spread out just a bit and I was able to jump on the wheels of other riders coming along the outside of the slower riders. Within 20 miles there was no longer a large group, but various smaller groups of 10 to 15 riders.

I would merge with one of these groups (at that point we were averaging anywhere between 22 to 26 mph) and then work my way to the front. At that point, I would often see another group up ahead and I (and often another rider) would break away and try to draw in the distant group.

That is what really tired me. Reeling in those groups meant I would be out there by myself. No drafting or pacing. Still, I was happy that I was able to do this over and over before we reached Bill's Hill.

Just before the hill, there was a long climbing stretch - nothing too steep, but a long gradual climb. I felt like King of the Mountain as I was climbing through all the riders struggling along. Dog gone it! My chain fell off and wedged between the gear and the hub. I had to stop and pull it back on. All those people I had passed, passed me back.

Before we reached Bill's, I had made up the ground. I caught some more on the way up the hill but then my chain did the same thing again! Once again, I lost ground but passed the majority of those riders again. Coming off the hill, there were no groups. The hill had busted them all up and you would see riders spread all over.

At 20 miles I was feeling really good! By 36 (basically halfway) I was finding a groove. At 45 (Bill's hill) I was starting to feel it. I just aimed for the 53 mile mark. Got it - 20 miles to go.

After that I just kept trying to focus on the 63 mile mark. Man! the cyclometer was moving awful slow! Then salvation! A group came up and swallowed me up. I hopped on and we did a pace line that lasted past the 10 miles to go goal.

Then we hit the last gradual climbs before coming into the Marion finish line. The group came down to about three. At the 70 mile mark, I started to pick it up some and up ahead I only saw two riders. Then there were just two of us.

We came down an extensive downhill and my computer showed 72 miles. "Hey, we're almost there!" I thought. So, I let up a little and just continued with the guy in front of me. He got upset and told me to lead some. I was wondering why since we were almost there. Anyway, it kind of ticked me off, so I came out of the saddle and just dropped him.

Oh boy, the 73 mile mark came and went - where was this Tom Johnson Camp Ground? Did it exist? I had just pushed expecting it to be right around the corner, but it wasn't there. The thing that kept me pushing was I didn't want that guy to pass me!

Finally, when my computer showed over 74 miles, I saw two riders ahead turning into a new road. As I caught the two of them, I saw that the end was just ahead. I made it!

3 hours and 46 minutes. The lead pack had entered Marion at 9:50 a.m. (3:20) and I followed 26 minutes later. It made me wonder what I could have done had I gotten to Spartanburg early enough to get in that lead pack. I also realized that I had riden my bike from my car to the starting line. It added an extra mile to my computer.

Next year, it's all the way to the mountain. I've decided I am just going to work to get in the best shape of my life and then when I do the ride, I will not try to bridge the gap between groups. I will settle in with a group with a pace that I like and stay there.

Off to Mt. Mitchell - as one man said who rode by and asked me what was going on, "God bless 'em."

By the way, the first rider to the top of the mountain did it in 5 hours and 22 seconds. That means he climbed the mountain in 2 hours and 2 seconds. Wow!

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Better to be lucky AND good

It took them about six hours to get half of the Pocono race done. That was quite the call by Steve Letarte, but had the race continued for even half a lap more it might have been another story. They say it is better to be lucky than good. Well, tonight the 24 team proved it is better to be lucky AND good!

paitracing 492 vs. 338 DraftingWithYates
BBuck 416 vs. 182 thewildcard
A_Junior_Fan 334 vs. 390 Super_D

I felt bad because I was thinking that I had made a good change for Mike's team (A_Junior_Fan) when I benched Mark Martin and put Martin Truex on the track. It would have worked only the person you didn't expect to mess up did - Jimmie Johnson.

So, here is how things stand in our fantasy league:

Team W L T
#1 paitracing 13 1 0
#5 A_Junior_Fan 8 6 0
#6 DraftingWithYates 8 6 0
#3 BBuck 8 6 0
#2 Super_D 4 10 0
#4 thewildcard 1 13 0

Tomorrow, the focus turns to the Assault on Marion. Part of me wishes I had gone ahead and purchaed a number for Mitchell. Still, prudence is probably the best course at the this juncture. I can wait another year and just stick to my original plan. I'll tell you though, just going to Marion is going to be anti-climatic.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

The sickening thud of a falling rider

The Assault is Monday and I've been gearing up for the girlie portion of the ride - the Assault on Marion. As I've mentioned before, I hope to have a better chance of getting a number for next year's Assault on Mount Mitchell by riding this shorter route first. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not prepping for the AOMM - I'm only going 73 miles and not 103.

Last night I rode my normal 20+ miles in one hour and then this morning I got up to ride with the Sunshine crew. Once again I determined I wasn't going to push it. Hee, hee.

The ride started off a little faster than usual. John (shop manager, Cat 3 racer, and founding member of Les Amis) and a Junior racer were up front. I wouldn't say we were flying, but where we normally would have been spinning along at 16 mph, we were pushing 18 to 20.

There were also two other riders that I remember from last year who weren't there last week. These guys were right up there as well. Feeling pretty good in my legs, I decided to join them.

Everything was fine until we got on Meece Bridge Road. Another rider had joined us after we left the shop and he was up in the front of us. As we approached a bridge (maybe it is the Meece Bridge) I saw the rider check up and wobble. John and I were right behind him and we split on either side.

Soon after we passed the end of the bridge, I heard it. It was that thud of a cyclist going down. My first thought was hoping that there wasn't anyone coming up fast behind him. Looking back, I saw that it was only the one rider.

I didn't go back for a closer look. I stopped at the next curve to motion cars to slow as the approached the bridge. After a time, he climbed back on and we continued. It appeared that the only damage to the bike was a broken brake lever. He didn't seem to have any scrapes. He certainly slowed down enough. Perhaps he just wasn't able to get his foot out of his pedal and he fell over.

After that excitement, the group was blown to pieces. It took a while for the group to pull together again, but we finished the ride without anymore excitement.

The good news for me is that I continued to pull with the big boys. On any sprint I decided to try, I did pretty well. Granted, today I chose my battles!

The most fun sprint was up to the intersection of Hwy. 253 and Darby Road. At first I thought I would hang back but I was able to jump on the wheel of a rider (I had never met) who came flying by me. I knew he was going somewhere, so I let him create our path.

We went flying past some of the riders in the rear of the pace line but then the line broke and it was each man for himself. The jockeying started and a couple of times I had to avoid another rider. Then there were just four of us (John had slowed for some reason) and the guy whose wheel I had enjoyed missed a shift up ahead. He did a great save! His rear wheel fishtailed, but he gathered it back in and kept going.

Sorry for the long post, but man! that was fun!

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Friday, June 08, 2007

My first broken chain

The plan last night was to adjust my riding style to give myself a little more energy at the end of the ride. The route was the US Pro route starting from my house with plans to tack on some extra laps in Cleveland Park to make it to 35 miles. My plans blew up on the backside of Paris Mountain.

Sorry it is out of focus, my cell phone was on "close up" mode.

Things were going great. I kept a high cadence to the base of the mountain and was just under a mph off my normal average to that point. Now just to take on the climb with the same control - relax, spin small, and keep rolling.

I shifted down to the lower ring to follow my plan. Ever since I had the new gearing system (has it been less than a week?), I have had issues with the lowest gears. I kept putting it off because I wanted to ride - not have my bike in the shop. Well, haste makes waste - or don't sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate - some deep saying applies here.

Suddenly, my pedals started flying and I heard that "shalank" sound of a dropped chain. No problem, I'll just turn around and pull the chain back on the ring. That is when I looked down to find the chain dragging beneath my bike.

I pulled out my chain tool and commenced to separate the links. I was feeling pretty good about my progress until I tried to reconnect the links. Being the neophyte that I am, I had taken the pin out backwards. So, now I was trying to use the tool within the frame of the bike. Dumb.

Then Max, an angel in spandex, happened along. He asked if everything was okay. At first I was too proud to indicate that I was having trouble, but I think he sensed it. He turned back to help and in less than 90 seconds, he had my chain back on. He pulled the chain out and rethreaded it through so that the pin was on the outside. Duh, why didn't I think of that?

Then he was off. I had visions of following him up the mountain, but one glance at his quads and I knew it was a delusion. Me? I am delusional, so I took off after him.

Since he had a head start, I tried to close on him. I made up about ten yards and then I saw him come out of the saddle. I followed. Looking down I saw 14 mph on my computer and he was starting to pull away. I had to back off. For about half the climb, I could see him as I came around a curve offering a clear view for a ways. Then I saw him no more.

Man! To be able to ride like that! I'm a newbie in more ways than just chain repairs!

Thanks, Max, for the chain help and giving me something to aim for.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Gel-Bot review

Recently in the Facebook group "I love cycling in Upstate SC" the question was asked, "Has anyone ever used the new gel bottle? Those bottles that you can but gel in it and water? I know they are very new and wondering if they are catching on." I had seen one in the cycle shop but had never noticed anyone riding with one in their cage.

That's when I figured I would buy one, try it out, and then give a review of the thing here on So, I headed over to Sunshine to start my service to all cyclists everywhere. Hmmmm, maybe I'm not that interested in being of service - the price tag showed just under 17 bucks (online at you can purchase it for $15.95 plus shipping).

There were two of them on the shelf. So I picked one up and went to the counter. I asked if they had sold any other ones and was told that they might have sold two of them before the one I was about to purchase. Obviously, the things weren't flying off the shelf. I hesitated again - I mean, no one wants to be a dork...

I bought it and took it home. Now I had to decide what gel to put in it. I hate gel. I'm the kind of person that chews Jello. So, putting a glob of gel in my mouth while I am riding gets me all messed up. The only thing to do is to get some water in there fast! Of course, juggling a gel pack and water bottle can be dangerous.

At the heart of this device is the little internal gel cell. It is a tube with a plunger located at the bottom. When the rider pushes on the bottle with the valve set to gel (just have the valve closed), the water in the bottle pushes the plunger up and a small amount of gel comes out. The rider can then pull the valve open and receive water.

Did it work? It did. I put a gel pack in with some water and hit the asphalt. I went through my normal motions of reaching for the bottle. With one hand I was able to pressure the bottle and get varying amounts of the gel. I found that it helps to suck on the valve as well as push. If you just push, it can cause the bottle to leak water (that could also be that I didn't have the lid on tight enough).

I then pulled the valve open with my teeth and easily transitioned to water. Wow, that was easy and I wasn't left gagging on a glob of gel! Back in the cage the bottle went and periodically I repeated the process. Before I knew it, I had emptied the cell (It will hold up to two gel packs - I had put in one).

Downsides? The bottle has a different flow for the water than I am used to. It did tend to leak until I sucked on the gel. This led to things being a little messy at first. Also, it is one more thing that you have to clean - though cleanup wasn't really that bad.

Upsides? It made taking in the gel much easier. If you are used to drinking water on your bike, you'll find this makes taking in gel just as easy. You also don't have all the packaging to worry about and buying a bottle of gel is much cheaper than paying for the individual packets.

Is it a gimmick? I don't think so. Granted, I probably will use it primarily on long rides. However, it allowed this guy who up to this point avoided gels, to make use of this quick way to get a little more energy.

Just call me a dork... though I'm not alone. That second bottle I had seen on the shelf was gone when I stopped by the shop later.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Bakery Ride

Here is the first of several rides that I hope to publish in a special list that will appear in the right column of my blog. This seems like a great one to start with since it is a favorite ride for most cyclists in the Upstate. If you haven't tried it, get a group together (it is always more fun together) and head up some Saturday morning.

The blue line shows the route from North Greenville University to Saluda. Click here to expand the map. Once you have expanded the map, click on it to be able to view more detail.

There are several places from which folks start the route, but I've always started from North Greenville University. Some park on campus and other park along the side of North Tigerville Road. Sometime this year, I plan to make the trip from Greenville. I suggest you start with this route first.

The Bakery Ride - 35 miles
Head North on North Tigerville Road
Turn left on Old SC 11
Turn right on Dividing Water Road
Turn right on Old Highway 25
Turn right on County Road 23-17
Cross SC/NC border (becomes Mountain Page Road)
Turn right on Main Street (NC 176)
Get yourself a sticky bun at Wildflour Bakery!
Turn left on Main Street (NC 176)
Turn left on Mountain Page Road
Cross NC/SC border (becomes County Road 23-17)
Turn left on Old Highway 25
Turn left on Dividing Water Road
Turn left on Old SC 11
Turn right on North Tigerville Road
You've worked off that sticky bun!


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Hmmmm, will I make it for 73 miles?

When I got back home from a 30 mile ride, I looked at my spread sheet that I use to track my mileage. So far since March 27, I have riden 673 miles. The majority of those have been around 20 miles or so. My longest ride during that was 36 miles (a week ago when I climbed Caesars Head). I'm glad I've been able to get some time in the saddle considering my schedule, but I have a concern.

My muscles are basically trained for that 20 to 30 mile ride. Well, Monday, I have the Assault on Marion which will be around 73 miles. I haven't riden that far since August 2006. Hopefully, though, I have learned to recover and with some support from a pace line, it won't be so bad. I am a little nervous...

Tonight I headed out from my house down East North Street and into Cleveland Park. After one lap in the park I headed for down town and then on to Old Buncombe Road. Twelve miles after leaving the house, I reached the base of Paris Mountain on the Furman side. It took me fifteen minutes to climb to the top (not my best time). Once off the mountain, I crossed over Piney Mountain and headed for Main Street by way of Pleasantburg and Rutherford.

I followed the USA Pro Cycling Championship course through the downtown area until I was back in Cleveland Park. Then I climbed home arriving in my driveway after an hour and forty-five minutes in the saddle. My average was 17 mph. The most fun was big ringing it down Old Buncombe topping out around 32 mph for a couple of minutes. The least fun was worrying that the guy that went past me as I climbed Paris and he decended would come climbing past me on the way up!

He didn't.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Dover's Done

Dover went down today while I was at work. I got to see the start while at home for lunch, but was only able to check the scoring sporadically this afternoon. I checked just before going into a meeting and I was getting destroyed in my fantasy league. BBuck had over 400 points and I was just around 300.

Super_D 297 vs. 189 thewildcard
BBuck 316 vs. 410 paitracing
DraftingWithYates 432 vs. 361 A_Junior_Fan

When I came out of the meeting, the score had flip-flopped. I still didn't know what caused the flip. Actually, at the time I'm typing this, I don't really know what happened in the race. I know that Martin Truex won, but not sure why Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick ended up falling back.

Gordon must have had some trouble as well -- but not too much trouble. With a nineth place finish, he maintained his point lead over Jimmie Johnson. So much for the Hendrick COT dominance. Still, the Paitracing lead continues!

#1 paitracing 12 1 0
#5 A_Junior_Fan 8 5 0
#6 DraftingWithYates 8 5 0
#3 BBuck 7 6 0
#2 Super_D 3 10 0
#4 thewildcard 1 12 0


Saturday, June 02, 2007

My first shop ride of the year

I haven't been able to participate in the weekly Sunshine Cycle Shop "Hour of Power" ride this year. The ride falls right during the time that my wife does her arobics. I can ride anytime, but she can only go when the sessions are offered. So, that means I have been home with the kids on Saturday mornings.

Today we worked it out so that I could go. I'm hoping that we can make these arrangments every weekend. I enjoy riding with a group so much more!

Everybody meets at the shop around 7:45 a.m. and things get rolling well before eight. Today there were about 15 riders or so of varying levels. It was cool to see a father there with his son who appeared to be 10 to 12 years old. There was also another rider who told me he was just getting back on the bike after a 20 year hiatus.

The route takes us into the Rutherford/Stallings area. Then we work our way over to Sandy Flats. At that point we are working our way towards Paris Mountain and end up on Autobahn before winding our way through back roads back to the shop. All told it is about 32 miles.

The fun part, other than just gabbing with the other riders, are the sprints. Of course, this being a shop ride, it doesn't get too intense. Still, when a certain stop sign or hill top is just ahead, the lead riders start jockeying for position and then the dash is on!

One sprint concludes at the entrance to Paris Mountain State Park. I was in a drafting line near the rear. I had used myself up on some earlier sprints and I really didn't think I could make it. Well, for some unexplained reason, the line splintered and everyone slowed.

Because I was in the back my momentum carried me to the outside of the line and I found myself at the front. Up ahead were two riders. "I can take them," I thought to myself and since no one else was pushing I figured I stood a chance of being first to the top.

I caught the two riders easily and passed them, but with about twenty feet to go, Tony, one of shop guys came flying by me on my right. Rats! I had never been first on the sprint and he stole it from me. :-)

Overall, I felt very good about the ride for being my first time back. I hung with the top riders all day, won one sprint and finished in the top three or four during the other sprints. Mostly though it was fun to work as a group and then hang out at the shop afterwards drinking coffee and eating bananas.

Thanks for the fun Sunshine!

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Thanks, Eric

Yesterday I had a nice thing happen. I called an acquaintance to see about getting a logo screenprinted on a cycling jersey for my Ride for Mike. My hope was to get a one off print for as little as possible.

Turns out, Eric knows Mike and Mike's parents are one of Eric's customers. So, he responded that the printing was on him! If you have priced a custom, one-off screenprinting job, you know how nice that is.

He'll be printing it on a Hincapie jersey. I'm hoping that I can get a jersey donated from Hincapie Sportswear and get a reprint on it so I can give it to Mike after the ride in September.

If you ever need some marketing items, be sure to give Precise Imprintable Products a call!

Oh, I took the new crank out last night. Had to ride a quick hour between my kids' soccer games. I averaged 20.2 mph again. With the changes to my bike, that seems to be my new baseline. I can hit that average every time out. With a little conditioning, 20.5 is definitely in reach.

My bike is still popping though. It wasn't the bottom bracket - at least not completely. It appears to be the frame itself or maybe the seat post. Anyway, when it starts popping, I can put my hand down and press down on the frame and the popping stops. I'm going to ride tomorrow with the Sunshine crew. Hope they can figure it out for me.

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