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, June 28, 2008

Lead Out

I was supposed to get up around 4:45 AM so I could be at a training ride for the Austin trip. Unfortunately, my body clock didn't agree and I overslept. I missed it and decided to take part in the Sunshine Cycle Shop Hour of Power.

The groggy feeling wasn't gone even with the extra sleep I got. Thursday night I had raced in the heat, Friday I rode again in the heat, and the body was telling me to chill out. Still, I dragged myself out onto the bike and met with the guys.

There was a good group with several new folks along for the ride. We started off with Bob setting a nice pace. However, it seemed that everyone had different views about how fast we should be going. The group kind of splintered right off the start.

I decided to just hang out until we got on Meece Bridge. It was fun catching up with the other guys -- finding out how they did Thursday night and other cycling stuff. Before we knew it we were crossing the bridge on Meece Bridge. It was time for the sprint.

Near the front, I tried to play the old jumping on the wheel of the people who try to pass you. The plan was to do that until we got over the rise onto the final straight. The timing didn't quite work out and I found myself up front before we crested.

There wasn't much I could do but just try to go for it. Then I heard a freight train coming behind me! Peter and Matt went by me like I was sitting still! I tried to rise and counter, but my legs said, "Huh, huh." I sat and took it easy from there. Matt ended up taking Peter. Give the guy a relatively flat road and he will flat crank out some wattage!

From there I decided to see if my legs would give me a chance at the quarry road. I've found that sometimes my legs take a little bit of time to get going. I can actually do better in the later sprints.

Just before the climb we had a long portion of road. Some of the riders formed a pace line and pushed it a bit. I sat back knowing we would regroup before the climb. Several of the better riders were also back with John who was staying with some of the slower riders.

We started up. Louis and Blair started off pretty fast. Blair backed off and then it was Louis, Art, and I. Web and Doug also came up beside us for a bit, but by the time we reached the flat before the final climb it was back to Louis, Art, and I. Though Louis had a pretty good gap on us.

I started spinning like mad to catch Louis and I knew Art was right on my wheel. Finally we caught him and I grabbed a few seconds of breath on Louis' wheel. Art came around me and I then jumped on his wheel. Then we both kind of sat up to see who would make the move.

When I saw the finish line, I picked it up and just pushed to the end. I had these visions in my head of Art coming around me just before the line. However, the line came and went and the gap held. The best thing is my legs felt much better.

On Sandy Flat Road the guys who regularly ride the route took the leisure approach since we have not been sprinting on the road lately. However, a group of about six riders who weren't aware of the change came blazing past us. It was kind of fun to watch them.

There was one girl, Sam, I think was her name, who gave those guys a run for their money! Still, it was Peter who ended up taking the "illegal" sprint. The rest of us slowly climbed up to join them.

I sensed that the POA guys were cooking something up for the State Park sprint. I'm not sure, but I thought Tony and Matt were also planning to do something. So, I pulled up to Peter (a fellow Spinner team member) and offered to lead him out. He replied, "No, I'll lead you out."

We made our plan. He would pull me to the downhill. We would sweep around the other riders as we bottomed out at the bottom and then he would pull me up about halfway before dropping off. I was supposed to take it to the top from there.

At first I was a little concerned because the group really started picking it up. Matt, Tony, Blair, Billy, and Louis were all there. However, one by one I watched the lead out men for the "other teams" start dropping off. I was sitting there doing basically nothing. Peter was just sucking me along.

We swept around the final rider just as we planned. Then it was just the two of us. I felt bad about having Peter do any more work, so I started off for the top a little sooner than we had planned. I ended up with a very comfortable margin.

Man! When you can have someone like Peter doing all that work for you, winning a sprint seems pretty easy! Next time it will be my turn -- though I don't think I am as race smart as Peter is.

The only other thing of interest in the ride was when I went for it on Nature Trail, I was able to hold off Bob, but I nearly puked at the top. It was getting pretty hot by that point and I think I participated in one sprint too many!

For the fun of it, we all weighed ourselves when we got back into the shop. A couple of guys that I thought I would be lighter than ended up being several pounds lighter than me. They sure look like they have more muscle than me, but I guess my couple of inches more must add a few pounds.

At 167 at 6' 2", I really don't want to be much skinnier!

Thanks Peter for that lead out. It was the most fun I have had on an HOP in some time.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some Paris Mountain trail video

I came across these videos on Youtube. They are of a relaxed ride through a couple of the mountain bike trails in the Paris Mountain State Park. Enjoy!

The last time I tried to record a ride on the trails I think I shook my camera into stupidity because I couldn't get the video to convert. Seeing this makes me want to give it another try. Maybe if I use a demo bike from Sunshine instead of my old rattle-trap, I'll be able to make it without all the shaking!

I'd love to give better credit to the guy who recorded this, but he hasn't responded to me yet. I think it would be cool if we both went and recorded together. I'm also interested in knowing what camera he is using.

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 19, 2008

More Mitchell Motion

Here are some more videos from the Assault On Mt. Mitchell. They are actually more like slide shows, but they are significant because they are interviews with the top finishers of the ride. I can remember being around these riders in the beginning and middle of the ride... but not the ending!

I finished into Marion before her, but she still beat me to the top by 45 minutes.

This interview helps show the way the AOMM is a race and still a ride. There are all kinds of neat stories to be told and heard about the event. The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is seeking to collect them and is even offering a prize of $300 to the winning entry. Learn more about it at

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

So, that explains it...

In the recent Dauphiné Libéré, George Hincapie had what I considered a disappointing finish in the individual time trial. It was called "solid" by the cycling observers, but something didn't seem right to me.

Then the other day I stopped by George's site at and found this video.

Seeing this video was the first I realized that George had fallen. That would explain why he got passed by Leiphiemer there towards the end. Ah, cycling coverage...


Thursday, June 12, 2008

33rd Assault On Mt. Mitchell, Part Two

Here is the second part of my video diary of my first Assault On Mount Mitchell. This is definitely the one that gives a better idea of the magnitude of the event. Even so the video doesn't truly capture the full scope of it.

One thing I have noticed recording video with my helmet cam: it is hard to show the perspective of a grade. When you are recording straight ahead -- even on a 8% grade -- the road looks flat. Believe me... there were plenty of grades!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

33rd Assault On Mt. Mitchell, Part One

Here is part one of my video from my first ever Assault On Mount Mitchell. Whew! It was one of the hardest things I have done in my life. Of course, it doesn't seem that way in this first part. This was actually not bad at all.

Just wait for part two! I should be posting it tomorrow.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Garmin Field Test or Getting Lost

Yesterday I went out to test my Garmin 705. Having never used the "Find Places" feature on a bike, I wanted to give it a try. I had mixed results.

On the video you will see some footage of the Garmin pointing me to a "convenience store." You'll hear me comment that the Garmin should have a rating system as to whether you actually want to go to the place it suggests! Take a look at the location and you'll see what I mean.

I did end up being told by the device to go down a small dirt "road" that looked more like someone's driveway. It also was showing the trail to be named another road (which I never did find, by the way). However, the device recalculated and I arrived.

On the way home (the Garmin allows you to push a "Back Home" button that will take you from where you are back to your starting point) I had worse luck. This time I was sent down another small dirt road -- we're talking just wide enough for a car (or tractor) to go down.

I decided to give it a try. As I continued down the road I ended up on a dead end into a corn field! There was no road. While trying to turn around in the deep sand, my wheel got twisted and down I went. I rode the rest of the way home covered on the right side with dirt.

Once again, though, the Garmin recalculated and sent me back on a proper road. I made it back to my parents' house without further harm. A little water and I was good as new.

Overall, I enjoyed using the GPS. You obviously have to combine the use of the device with the use of your brain. The primary problems were not with the device itself, but with the maps. My guess in more urban settings, you wouldn't have as much of a problem.

Stay tuned for more Garmin 705 stuff in the future. I plan to post a link to my Assault on Mount Mitchell stats tomorrow or Tuesday. Hope the battery lasts!

Labels: ,

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Bladenboro to Fayetteville

Vacation has kept me off the Internet. It isn't that I wouldn't have liked to have put stuff up here. The problem is that my parents didn't have access -- well, they did have access but it was an incredibly flaky dial up -- and I just didn't get on.

Now I've got them on DSL! They still can't get cable run to the house, but I'm glad I can now check my mail and keep the blogs updated. If you e-mailed me, just be patient. It could take a while to get to all of them.

To the topic at hand... here is a video of my 70-miler from Bladenboro, NC to Fayetteville, NC. It was in this area I did my first century, but not this time. The Assault on Mount Mitchell is Monday and I did not want to overdo it this week.

Can't wait to get back to those Greenville hills!

Labels: , ,