Sunday, May 28, 2006

Mmmm, rewards!

Sometimes it's hard for me to get out the door. I'm sure you've had it happen to you too. The alarm clock goes off, it's the weekend, you're bed is really comfy, you don't really have to get up. You play mind games. "I've ridden hard Tuesday and Thursday. I can skip a training ride. It's the weekend!" Yep. Happens to me. Especially when the weather gets hotter. You have to get out the door early to get in 3 or 4 hours before you get cooked. It's getting that way now.

This Saturday we planned a quick 50 before noon. West on RT460 out of Roanoke to Ellsiton, Seneca Hollow Rd (that's where the pic was taken) to Friendship (hilly, damn!) Rd to Shawsville and back to Roanoke via RT460/Wabun. Cool ride, except for the 15-20 mph headwind - both ways! But let me tell ya, getting out the door first thing on another Saturday morning to ride another three hours...

I've worked out a system. Work = rewards. 50 mile road ride Saturday mornings = smoothies. Mmmmm, smoothies. Beer is awesome, sometimes. But the warmer it gets, the more smoothie-craving I become.

I've worked out a smoothie system too. Simple. Way simple. Take one blender. Add half a bag of Kroger frozen fruit blend for smoothies, a cup and a half of orange juice, two scoops of whey protein, one egg white, then puree. Viola! Smoothielicious!

Friday, May 26, 2006


One post, many subjects. There is so much that has happened over the last few days that I can't keep up on this here blog, so I'll have to condense it a bit.

First of all, you'll notice a few new links over to the right. The "Sign up for trailwork" link takes you to the Vast Network site where you can find all the latest news on trail and Greenway projects in the Roanoke Valley. If you haven't already, be sure to add your name to volunteer list by going to the "Join the Trail Crew" button in the middle of the page.

There are also two new non-cycling related links for all you multi-sports types. I'm a huge baseball fan. My good friend Bill is a huge baseball fan also. He's taken his passion for the game to the next level with his new ventures: and . Check these sites out for some fine bats and accessories!

So, in my last post I wrote that I thought we'd see more wildlife at Carvins Cove on our weekly Get Dirty ride...I was right!

Wheels rolled along the dusty Enchanted Forest floor. The groove was on! Across the log sidewalks built to keep the mud at bay in wetter days, now just wood embedded in the dry, crusty Earth. Mostly brown. Some green plants line parts of the trail. I was grooving about 100 yards in front of the group when he caught my eye. Just off to the righthand side of the trail. I only caught a glimpse, but my brain processed immediately what it was. I stopped about 50 feet further down the trail, and as the group came into sight behind me, I started screaming "Don't stop! Do not Stop!". I waved my arms frantically for the other riders to get up to the point where I was before they planted their feet anywhere. Once regrouped ahead of the danger, a few of us sneaked back calmly to get a little bit better look. We saw him and heard his rattle at about the same time. He was about 3 feet long, and fairly angry with us. We knew two more riders would be rolling up behind us in a minute or two, so we tried to get him off the trail by kicking up lots of dust and tossing sticks and such his way. Reluctantly he slithered away from the trail to go torment rodents or something. Next week, we're hoping for a coyote.

The design for the new team kit is awesome! Check them out and order something for yourself at the following link:

I'm excited that I start a new (old) job in a few weeks. I'll be going back to one of the best companies who make some of the best products you can buy. Check out to see what I'm talking about. One project that I plan on pursuing is the development of a high security bicycle lock like nothing you've ever seen before! What I'm also excited about is the 10 mile, almost flat commute. I have been looking for an excuse to buy or build a fixie!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wilder by the week

Every Tuesday while Pookie is off doing the Chicky Ride at Explore Park, I try to get in two or three hours at Carvins Cove. I ride alone with my Static-X, Rage Against the Machine and Hatebreed. I call it my "zone" training. I'm not talking about being in a particular heart-rate zone, but being detached mentally from everything but moving the bike forward for a few hours without stopping. Almost like racing.

I also visit the trails weekly at The Cove with our Thursday Get Dirty group. So I end up roaming around out there for at least 3 to 4 hours every week.

Every ride for the last three weeks has yielded an encounter with a black bear. Last Thursday, a group of 11 riders watched as a bear checked us out from a distance while on the Enchanted Forest trail. After a few seconds of curious on-looking, he lumbered off.

Last night, about 3/4 mile up the 1000 foot climb, a bear and I met along the road, scaring the hell out of each other in the process. I think I would have normally heard the bear tramping his way through the brush, but I didn't hear a thing as I heavy-metalled my way up the climb. I'm not sure what the bear was listening to, but it seemed like he didn't hear me until the last moment as well. Luckily, his "flight" instinct took over and he was gone in an instant. I'm happy about that.

I would imagine that we have a good chance of seeing some more wildlife this Thursday on the "Get Dirty" ride. It's been getting wilder by the week.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

So, how'd ya do?

This past weekend Pookie and I took a bit of a mini-vacation to Pittsburgh to visit family and friends. The WVMBA schedule had an interesting race slated for Sunday the 14th called the Hancock 100. Since we were already close by (Pittsburgh is just about an hour from Tomlinson Run State Park in WV where the race was held), we figured it would be a good opportunity for us to test our early-season fitness.The 100 refers to time in minutes, not distance. Experts race for 100 minutes, Sports 75. Hmm, that should be different. The deal is that if you reach the 100 minute mark at the same time you are completing a lap, then you're finished. If you are in the middle of a lap when the 100 minutes is up, you are to complete that lap - So your time would be 100 minutes plus whatever amount of time it took to get back to the start/finish line.

Sounds simple. It wasn't. Some serious hic-ups happened with the timing of the Expert, Vet Expert and Singlespeed classes. I passed a guy on the second lap who finished second in my class, but according to the scorers, I didn't place in the top three (???). They announced a guy who got lapped as the winner of the Vet Expert class, and a whole bunch of people had no idea where they placed - me included. I felt great, and raced strong. Last year at this time I did a WVMBA race and came in last in the Singlespeed class. (Those WV boys are waaaay fast) The winner beat me by about 40 minutes. This time around I rode within sight of him the entire race. I was in the hunt the entire time. Former Diamond Back pro and WV resident Gunner Shogren smoked the entire Singlespeed field. The battle was really for 2nd & 3rd. I beat a decent amount of Experts on geared bikes, so I feel really good about how I rode.

Pookie came off the line flying after a bit of a hiatus due to a knee injury. She wrapped up 2nd place in the Vet Women class. In WVMBA they group all of the 35+ women together by age, not by ability. So it's an "open" class to Sports and Experts alike. Excellent job Pookie.

My nephew TJ Platt won overall. He's way silly fast. No doubt.

I'll let ya'll know what the results turm out to be once they are posted.

Our next race may be Race the Trace in Charleston, WV on May 28th, but that's still up in the air. Anyone up for it?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Day Creek Epic, not.

Plans were for a big Sunday. 30+ miles, 5 hours or so. The weather made us modify our plans a bit.

Pookie and I were able to squeeze in a couple hours in the Jefferson National Forest on the Day Creek Horse Trail before the deluge arrived. Two tough hours. Lots of rocks and loose climbs, but an awesome ride none the less.

I call the ride we had planned the Day Creek Epic. You can call it whatever you like. Beginning at the Day Creek Horse Trailhead near Montvale, VA., this loop has lots of climbing, great technical singletrack, a healthy dose of fire road, and even a little pavement.

I've ridden all the components of this loop separately, but - thanks to today's rain - still haven't had the opportunity to connect them all together. Some of what I enjoy most about this area is that it's never crowded, alway very challenging, and just 30 minutes from my home in the Raleigh Court area.

There will be another Sunday soon when the clouds will not be there, and the Day Creek Epic will happen.

Until then, I can study my maps, do some more planning, invite some more friends to join us, and look forward to next time.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Getting Dirty at the Cove

A group of 10 met for the first weekly Carvins Cove ride this year. We'll be there every Thursday at 6pm until October.

We headed out the Four Gorge Trail and across where a bridge will soon be built.

We were all smiles on this awesome (almost complete) new trail.

After a bit of climbing, we decended the Hemlock Tunnel of Death (aka Clownhead) - clipping and scuffing trees and schrubbery all the way.

The first "Get Dirty at the Cove" ride was a great success.

See ya there next week!