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.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Video from BMW Performance Center Series

Here is the video I said would be coming. Sorry there is no voice over telling you what is going on. I'm still learning about the video stuff... Enjoy.

This is some video from the Masters & Juniors race.

Here is a longer video from the Cat. 3, 2, and 1 race.

If you have any suggestions about how to do a better job with these videos or something you would like to see in the videos, please let me know.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Spinning a tale

Go team!

That is about all I can say about the race last night at the BMW Performance Center Test Track. In our 4's and 5's combined race, three Greenville Spinners finished in the top four. I'd like to think I had a small part in it. If I didn't, don't tell me. I will enjoy my fantasy.

Work got me off to a late start. By the time I got there, signed in, and got my number on I only had a couple of minutes to warm up. Then we were called to the line.

The track is like a cross between a road race and a crit. It is too long really to be a traditional criterium, but it has some corners that definitely give it the crit feel. What else to you expect at an automobile test track?

This made me a little nervous. The last time I raced in a crit, I went down. As we went into the first left turn which then turned into a right turn and then back to a left, I was on the inside. Wow, you really have to trust people in there!

I have to admit, I wasn't very trusting! Each time through for the first several laps, I lost ground as I tried not to be the cause of a crash. Thankfully, I never even came close.

Then we hit the back stretch. This is a long straight away that leads the length of the entire course and then ends in a sweeping left turn that puts you onto the front stretch. From there it is a pretty straight shot to the finish -- though it is also an incline.

The race was to ride for 35 minutes and then two laps. For the first 10 minutes I was wondering what I was doing out there. Not being able to warm up meant I was feeling pretty rotten. Honestly, I was just hanging on. Add to that the turns and I was ready to go home.

As we hit the 20 minute mark, I started feeling a little better. My legs were coming to me and I started riding to the outside of the pack going into the turns. Not only did that allow me to avoid some of the close quarters, but it also allowed me to make up quite a bit of ground.

Before I knew it, there was only two to go. I knew there would be another bunch sprint if things continued the way they were. If I was to stand any chance at all, I would need to be near the front.

Coming onto the back stretch, I passed a good part of the field by going wide out of the turn. Then I settled in until we reached the final two turns. As we were going through the turns, I heard someone telling me to "Go! Push it!" Then I found myself in the awkward position of being right on the front -- three abreast.

I had a choice to make. I could check up and force the pack to come around me making someone else take the lead, or I could lead out a Spinner's train into the final lap. In just the few seconds it took for me to think it through, I decided to pull.

My reasons were 1) while I figure I could get a top 10, I don't think I was in shape for a top three -- which was all that counted; 2) I did not relish going into that first group of turns in a pack -- if I was on the front, I could pick my own line; and 3) it would be kind of cool to play a part in a Spinner win.

So, as we came out of the final corner, I pegged it. The one time I glanced back, I saw a bluish purple kit and a Spinner's kit. At least, I knew I had one of my guys back there. Hopefully, there were more because if there was only one, we would be in trouble.

I'd like to think I stretched the field out a bit as we headed down the front stretch. I went into that first turn alone and pulled through that section. As I came off the corner onto the back stretch, I knew I had to get out of the way. I went wide right.

Several riders went by -- including Spinners -- and then I heard the sound of a crash behind me. Suddenly there were riders jumping to take advantage of the pause. I just kept going at my slower pace. Then three quarters of the way down the straight, I started feeling a little recovered.

I even picked up the speed to jump into the main pack. But as we came around the final corner, I pulled up to look ahead and see how we finished. A Spinner got second. I believe it was Brian Flinte. It was cool to see Tony get fourth.

It was fun. Next time, though, I'm going to sit up and make someone else do the work! All I would have to do is survive that one section and I think I could have made up for it on the back stretch and final turns.

There was some other racing going on. I plan to mention that later in the Cycling blog.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What goes up... gets to come down

Here is a video of the downhill on the Furman side of Altamont Road. I'm sure there are people who could make this much more interesting by letting it all hang out on the descent. I'm just not one of them!

Looks like it takes me around 4 minutes to go down the road. Right after this video I climbed back up and it took about 13 minutes.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

We Remember.

Thank you.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Two Hours of Power

Saturday morning I dragged myself out of bed and headed over to Sunshine Cycle Shop for the morning Hour of Power. Having not ridden last week except for Thursday night, I was curious to see what would happen. For sure, I wasn't going to push it early.

There were about 9 to 10 of us starting out and it started out slow. Normally, I want to get up and go, but I was thankful to sit back and take it easy. It stayed that way until our normal first sprint point on Tanner.

When the pace picked up, I just slid to the back. If I was going to try something during this ride, it certainly wasn't going to be now! We turned onto Meece Bridge and I was starting to feel -- as they say -- "froggy."

It takes a little while to work up to the place where we begin the attacks. I determined to play this one smart. So, I read the group around me and knew I could sit in and take my chances.

Then I noticed Art trying to go off the front. At first I stayed in and let him create a gap. I knew there was a lot of wind and as you begin to line up on Meece Bridge you get hit with it in the face. That would probably slow him down.

As we started the last 100 yards to the normal sprint zone Tony started coming around. Now I had two players that could give me trouble. I decided to use Tony to help bring me up to Art.

Sure enough Tony amped it up and we were moving. I waited and waited until the finish line came into view down the long straight away. At that point I jumped and didn't look back until I neared the line. Glancing beneath my arm, I realized that basically I had sprinted the distance alone.

Wow! It felt good.

From there the normal Saturday ride changed. We started taking roads I had not taken before. Frankly, I would love to do that more often! There was some great scenery and the roads were awesom with little traffic.

All the variations in routes brought us back to a normal sprint point -- the race for the entry of Paris Mountain State Park. Things started going wrong real fast. Doug and Web went off real early. Then Tony started off... He was determined to be my thorn on this ride!

I told myself to be patient. In this case, that was the wrong thing to do. I thought there would be some people who would start out after him. As time passed, it looked like Tony was just going to get away.

Then Art went flying by. I thought for just a second. Nothing ventured... Nothing gained... I jumped on Art's wheel and wondered if we just might be able to catch Tony on the final climb.

Then Art slowed. I launched on around him. Tony actually seemed to be coming back to me just a little. I knew that even if I caught him, it would be nearly impossible to beat him. I would have expended too much just getting up to him.

It was then I noticed that John had gotten on my wheel as I led the attack to bring Tony back. While I might not be able to beat him, perhaps I had led John up enough that he could take him. If you can't win, second best is to give a good lead out.

Then I blew it! When I had glaced back, I had noticed his wheel to my left -- even though we were near the left side of the road. I made a move to the right to let him by. As soon as I made the move, I knew I had done the wrong thing.

By moving to the right I actually cut off his line and broke his momentum. At that point, it was all Tony. I should have gone much earlier and just hugged his wheel until we kicked up the final climb. Oh well, you ride and you learn.

Nature trail was pretty much the same. Tony took off and this time I stayed near his rear. Problem was my lack of stamina was starting to get to me here near the end of the ride.

Still, it was so near the end, I wanted to give it my best. So, when I saw John start around my left and Tony slow in front of me, I dug in. Here I was in the front! I heard John say, "You've got it Pait." Then I heard all kinds of noise as someone was trying to find a gear.

I didn't quit, but I didn't push quite as hard either. Then I saw Tony come up on my right! I tried to react, but as we passed the first man hole cover Tony was in the lead. As we passed the second man hole cover, I was in the lead. Guess it all comes down to which cover is the right one...

Again, great ride. I'm glad I have it stored in my Garmin Edge 705. I'll probably take that ride again. We had about a ride of about 35 miles over a two hour period. Guess it was more of a Hours of Power ride...


Monday, May 19, 2008

It's a miracle!

I survived the Miracle Hill Cycling Challenge. I rode 100 miles with a ride time of 5:57 and entire time of 6:15. It was pretty tough, but the organization of the ride was wonderful and I had some great guys to help me finish strong over those last 50 miles.

Thanks, Billy and Louis, for waiting for me at the top of Caesars Head.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Back in the saddle at last!

Last week was not a good one for riding. I did ride the fixie to work most days, but that certainly isn't the workout that I need to keep up with everyone. Plus, I have the Miracle Hill ride this coming weekend (100 miles) and I really need to get ready.

So, I asked my son if he would mind if I came to his game a little late and made plans to join the Sunshine Cycle Shop guys for the Hour of Power. Thing Two was just fine with that, and I headed over to the shop around 7:30 AM. I was pretty excited to ride with a group again.

About eight riders were there. John and Tony would be riding and the way John has been acting "racey" lately, I figured we would probably go out pretty fast. Actually, all of the riders would be able to hold their own, so this ride would be a workout.

Sure enough, we rolled out at a good clip. Thankfully, I was rolling right along with them. The true test would be what would happen when the sprints came along.

The first one left my fingers feeling alike rocks. I sat on Matt's wheel right until the end and then swung around him for the line. That early effort definitely made me realize that it could be a tough morning.

Even so, the next couple to sprints I managed to pull out a second place finish - I lost to Bob on Meece Bridge, and then got schooled by Tony on the quarry road. On Meece Bridge, I eased off when my heart rate hit 190. I knew I didn't have that many bullets left in my gun!

On the quarry road, I felt sorry for Art. We all ganged up on him and made him pull us halfway up the climb. I figured he was probably done when he pulled over and we went on by him. Yet, a little later, I looked over to my left and there he was. He definitely held his own under the attack.

From there I eased off a bit. Just as I finished the sprint up the quarry road, I felt like I might throw up. It had been a little while since I had given my body this much exertion!

As we neared the Paris Mountain park entrance, I figured I would give that sprint a try and call it a day. I got in behind Matt because I figured he would be powering along and at about 6 feet 4 inches and 215 pounds, he blocks wind really well! Sure enough, he moved us toward the front of the line.

Matt will tell you he isn't a climber. However, he can put out some serious wattage. My thought was he would go hard down to the base of the final climb and then ease up. Or if he did attack the incline he would fade toward the top. Nope.

Matt went in hard! It caught me flat footed and I really had to work just to hang onto his wheel. About halfway up, I nearly quit. However, I really wanted it. So, I dug in and started pulling even with him. As we made the final slight right hand turn I gave my last push and then threw the bike forward beneath me right at the line.

I heard Matt say something like, "You got me." However, I don't think so. I guess it all depends on where the line is. It was a tie in my mind. It was also one of the most fun sprints I have ever done. Matt told me afterwards that with my weight and speed, I must have been putting out over 1400 watts up the hill.

From there I took it easy - though I did climb Oak Leaf - and made it back in time to catch the last half of my son's game. Tell you what though, I wasn't much good for anything for the rest of the day. I've got to get my legs back before this weekend!


Thursday, May 08, 2008

What not to wear - or wear...

Rule number one when you are commuting to work on your bike while wearing slacks: wear something to secure your pant leg to keep it out of the chain.


Rule number two when you are commuting to work on your bike while wearing slacks: if the band you are using to secure your pant leg slips off your pant leg while riding a fixed gear, stop and put it back on.


Oh, well, I never liked those slacks anyway...


I need your help!

I really need your help! I have signed up for the Palmetto Peloton Project's Challenge to Conquer Cancer ride that will take place in October. This will be a 24 hours a day relay ride from the "Hills of Hincapie to the Land of Lance." 1300 miles from Greenville, SC to Austin, TX. However, it isn't the ride that seems so daunting to me... it is raising $5000!

I have committed to doing a major charity ride each year for the purpose of raising money to fight cancer. You can learn more about why at the site I set up to chronicle my fight against cancer one pedal stroke at a time. Visit to learn more. You can also click here to visit the Web site to learn more about what that organization is doing to battle this killer. Want to donate right now? Follow this link...

I've never expected much of my readers. Actually, I've been surprised how many there are! I'm now asking you to take a moment to give a little something... not to me, but to the Greenville Hospital's Oncology Research Institute. The money you give will go to this local organization to help find ways to improve the lives of those battling cancer... and who knows, perhaps find a cure.

$25... $50... maybe a little more? I'm certainly going to be doing my part and giving myself. I just need a little help. Of course, your donation will be tax deductible. Just give and I'll do the riding!

You can bet you'll be taking the trip with me as I will be reporting on the preparations for the ride as well as the ride itself. My plan is to blog the ride as well as to capture video of the event to upload as we go along or to place on the Web upon our return. Much of that will depend on the bandwidth we have available to us and the logistics of the road.

I'll be honest. I don't have $5000 to put up for this myself. However, I am trusting that there are enough good people out there who will take an interest in this project and join me. I know the courageous battle my friend Mike fought against the cancer that attacked his body. He faced the insurmountable with faith and an indomitable attitude. Certainly I can follow his example in something less daunting.

Thank you so much for considering to help me. I look forward to seeing how much we can raise together. Remember, you can easily donate online.