Wednesday, December 17, 2008

17 December 2008

Wow, I haven't been on a bike in over a month and I hate it! Been working alot of extra hours, Christmas is coming, yadda yadda yadda...
I am not without a plan, however. Seeing as I own Mt. Mitchell in the 2009 Assault (at least that's my goal :) ), I have got to get cracking! I am on the treadmill daily, trying to drop some weight; I tried to carry too much rider up the mountain last year. I am realistic, however, in that Christmas is coming and the food is too good to not touch it. So, I'll try some moderation to go with my exercise.
Also, I have asked for an indoor trainer for Christmas so I can start putting in the miles in spite of the weather. I am getting excited about this and looking forward to a great season on the bike.
Be safe, be blessed.

Monday, December 1, 2008

1 December 2008

Now that my riding "season" is over, I have headed back to the woods to do some hunting. The deer season in SC (longest in the nation) ends New Year's Day, so until then, I am pretty much off the bike. I know my buttocks shall greatly regret this, as I will have no callouses between me and the seat when January rolls around, but we will manage. In the mean time, I am spending some awesome time in the great out-of-doors. Just this morning, I got up well before the sun to go sit in a damp, chilly forest. It was too windy for deer movement, but as the sun came up, the woods came alive with color. And so peaceful; no phones, no lights, no motorcars....
It's a good time to reboot and get my head clear. I love my family and my job, but everyone needs a break now and again. So, if you're still riding...
Be safe, be blessed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

25 November 2008

Well, the Tour de Camden just didn't work out for me this year, but I do hope they had a good showing and were able to raise some fundage for Habitat for Humanity and the retired racehorses. It was too cold for this old racehorse, and I had other obligations; where do I sign up for next year?
The TdC would have been my last ride for the season, so I guess it's over for me this year. Kind of. I will hit the treadmill hard and hope to purchase a trainer soon so I can keep my "bike-butt" toughened up for next Spring. I am already counting down the days until the 2009 Assault on Mt. Mitchell (174 days!). I tried to do it last year, but only made it to Marion, NC. Still an impressive feat if I do say so myself: about 74 miles with roughly 5000 feet accumulated climbing. Not every 42 year old fatboy could get off the couch and go do that!
So, anyway, next year is a new year, and I am gonna own that mountain. My goal is to lose some weight and spend time on the treadmill and trainer, and as soon as it warms up, I'll be in the upstate every chance I get. The only way to be a good climber is to climb. Oh yeah, this is South Carolina, so it rarely gets too cold to do some mountain-biking!
Keep pedaling something. Be blessed, be safe.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

8 November 2008

Well, next Saturday is the 2008 Tour de Camden so my brother and I, along with his brother-in-law, got together today to do a training ride. It was a great day for it, though it was really windy. The temp was 70-something and the sun was shining, so we took off down through the country to parts of Lee County. Thirty-two plus miles of rolling hills, farms, and Autumn leaves. What a way to spend the afternoon!
Of course, any calories I may have burned on this ride (about 2600) I negated at the Camden House of Pizza. They have THE BEST spaghetti I have EVER eaten at a restaurant! So totally worth it. I just may go back next week after riding my metric in the TdC!
Be blessed, be safe!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

30 October 2008

It has been a few weeks since I have been able to ride with my pastor, but today we finally got to go for a short haul. Didn't have much time, 40 minutes, but we did manage to do an almost 8 mile loop near his house. I enjoy spending time with my pastor, and unlike Obama, I know alot about the man. He is a man of God that puts God first, and stands up for all people regardless of their race. My pastor's only agenda is to preach the Word and let It speak for Itself. It hasn't taken me 20 years to figure that out, either. Oh, he's pretty good on a bike, too.
Be safe, be blessed.

2008 Leaf Tour

I went to Tigerville today and got my butt kicked in the 2008 Leaf Tour sponsored by the Greenville Spinners Bike Club. It wasn't a race, I am just in no shape to be riding in the hills! A big "hats off" to Ken Drescher and his crew for doing such a great job supporting the ride.
It started if kind of nasty, about 59 degrees and wet. Off and on misting/raining,the first ten miles or so were not good. But as the day wore on, the weather cleared and we finished up at 72 degrees and beautiful blue mountain skies!
We left Tigerville Elementary School and rode out toward Table Rock, with a couple of GOOD climbs, to Aunt Sue's on Hwy 11 where we all enjoyed a great lunch. That cup of chili was what I needed to get me back!
The return trip through Slater meant old-fashioned hand-made milkshakes at Slater's Drug Store. Neat store and excellent shake!
So, overall, my cyclometer registered 49 miles at 13.51mph, with a maximum speed of 37.95mph (fatboy loves a downhill!! Woo-hoo!!). Great ride, but in the past I have been using a product called Perpetuem and didn't have any for this ride. I had a little difficulty making it back to Tigerville because my legs were weak and wanted to cramp. All I could do was spin up the hills in low gear. BUT... I finished the ride and was not the last one back into the parking lot which is my ONLY goal when I ride. I am too heavy and too old to think I am getting out front and staying there.
I call this ride a smashing success because although I got tired and wet, I finished, I enjoyed the company I was in, and any day on a bicycle is a great day.
Be safe, be blessed.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

23 October 2008

Back in the day, Joe Piscopo used to portray Andy Rooney on Saturday Night Live, and always said, "You know what bothers me?" In that vein, I too will say, "You know what bothers me?" It bothers me how life gets in the way of biking. I want to ride more but instead I work more, do more tasks around the house, etc. It is my goal to finish the 2009 Assault on Mt. Mitchell next May, but the only way that'll happen is to get riding.
So, I am not ready because I have not been riding, but I am going to ride anyway, in the Leaf Tour, sponsored by the Greenville Spinners. It's 46 miles in the SC upstate between Tigerville and Table Rock. I want to do well, but at this point I'll be happy to finish.
Then, next month there is the Tour de Camden, a metric century (along with some shorter rides) that is part of Cup Week. I rode last year and averaged almost 18mph, and I'd like to do better.
For my training, I bought some new tires for my mountain bike, a dual-purpose tire; smooth tread in the middle for on-road, and lugs on the outer aspects of the tire for off-road. Put the tires on this past Sunday and while just test-riding in my neighborhood, hit a curb at about 2mph and went over the bars in slow-mo! It's like at the top of the flip I had time to think, "man, can we just get this over with?!" Once I hit the pavement, my next thought was, "okay, who saw that?" Took me a minute to get up and I really felt it the next day. The riding is great, but I'm getting too old for falling.
Thing is, I just want to ride more. Being on a bike is therapy for me, a time when I can forget about work and other life obligations that are weighing on me. It is ALWAYS worth the pain and expense to be able to ride.
Be careful, be blessed.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

8 October 2008

Yesterday on the phone, my brother reminded me that November would be here soon, as would the 2009 Tour de Camden. I have not been riding as much as I need to so decided to get on it. Tomorrow.
Well, today is tomorrow, if you follow my thinking, so I planned on trying to get a high-quality ride in today. However, the weather had other plans. Rather than getting 30 miles from home and having the bottom fall out on me, I left my road bike hanging and pulled down my mountain bike. This is a page I pulled from my brother's playbook. Hammer hard on a heavy bike for awhile, do some uphill sprints, and get a few miles in; then, when you pull out the ol' road bike, instead of 20+ pounds, it feels like 10 pounds!
Off I go, foreboding clouds above and lots of neighborhoods around me, I hammered away and knocked down over 25 miles. I am exhausted now, but a little more ready for TdC. Last year I averaged 17.77mph, I'd love to improve that this year.
Be careful, be blessed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

7 October2008

It's been over two weeks since I've posted, guess that says alot about how much I have been riding- NONE! Acutally, I did ride last Monday, 12.42 miles with my pastor. Every time I would stand up to climb, or brake aggressively, the front wheel made some strange pinging noises. So, being the experienced roadie that I am, I took the wheel off and promptly carried it to my local bike shop, Harrell's Cycle World in Columbia, SC (highly recommended!), because I didn't have a clue. Paul builds a pretty good wheel, though, and I get it back today. Hopefully this afternoon will involve a spin.
When I dropped my wheel off, I bought one of those tools to check chain wear, because I am a big boy and I try to do a lot of climbing (getting ready for Assault on Mt. Mitchell, 2009). So, I am now buying a couple of chains when I pick my wheel up. It's always something, but the benefits of cycling far outweigh its costs.
Be careful, and be blessed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

21 September 2008

Tomorrow is the first day of Fall, but I think it is here already. The mornings have been wonderfully cool, down in the 60's, and feeling great. My daughter wanted to spend last night with her Gami after we all had dinner last night, so my wife left our girl and her car over there. I decided then that I would ride over this morning on my bike before worship and get the car and my girl.
I love this time of year, any time of year when the seasons are changing. There's a slight chill in the air that makes me wonder if I really want to ride a bike or not. The first 15-20 minutes are a bit cool, but being the Clydesdale that I am, I warm up pretty quick. I was able to turn my 13 mile trip this morning into a 25 mile trip, and some of the roads I chose were very much in line with the whole "Fall" thing; cool, hilly like the foothills, I'd heat up climbing them, and get chilly flying down the other side. Years ago when I drove an 18-wheeler, we called this "dragonfly;" you were draggin' up one side so you could fly down the other.
So, I had a great ride, picked up my girl, and headed home so we could get ready for church and go worship the One that makes these beautiful Fall mornings. I hope you know Him and how much He cares for you, and wants to join you on your ride through this life. Be blessed, and thank Jesus for it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

17 September 2008

What a GREAT morning for a ride!! Unfortunately, the wife and I had an appointment in Columbia so I had to cut it short (that's okay, I have a great wife that I'd do anything for); it's one of those days where you want to ride till you fall over.
An awesome man, who is not only my pastor but my friend, and I ride together every (almost) Wednesday morning, for an hour or so. This morning it was misty, somewhere between trying to rain and a thick, wet fog, about 68 degrees, and felt fantastic! We went out through the country near his home, and where there is normally low traffic, for some reason this morning was busier than I have seen it. You'd think these gas prices would get some people off the road but it hasn't happened yet. Other than that, it was alright; only one dog came out to say "hello."

Saturday, September 13, 2008


By the way, have I said just how much I love

13 September 2008

I started early this morning so I could ride through town. When I go that route before all the cars get flowing, I remember why I wanted to live in Lexington. Before 8am (on the weekend), it is still a small, southern town, bathed in peace and quiet. There's not enough peace and quiet anymore. Populations, even in our small town, seem to be so dense (I'm talking numbers, not intelligence here) and everyone is so busy; I would bet that if you sat at any intersection in my town and watched cars, over half the drivers would be on cell phones. With the price of gas nowadays and the risk of driving while on the phone, why don't more people just sit on a porch or at a kitchen table and have these same conversations, perhaps face-to-face over a cup of coffee?
I digress,please forgive me. Anyway, I had a fantastic morning riding through my small town, to the edge of a peaceful lake, and around some of its shore through remaining farmlands, back to my home which most of the time is a bastion of placidity. I wish everyone the peace I feel this morning. God bless you all.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

6 September 2008

Once a week or so, my pastor and I get out on the bikes and take a nice, slower paced ride. He's training to do an upcoming mini-triathlon and wants to work on his biking, so we'll hit the road for an hour or more just riding through the country. We left after Men's Prayer Breakfast and did a 20-mile loop to Batesburg-Leesville and the mornings in South Carolina are getting just right for this as the temperature when we pull out is from 68-73 degrees F. I am hoping my schedule will lighten up some soon so I can get more miles as the weather improves. We'll see.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

1 September 2008 - Happy Labor Day!

Rather than being lazy on Labor Day (as one should!) I got up early and met my brother for a long ride. It was awesome! The morning was cool, traffic was nonexistent, and my legs felt great. We began about 10 miles or so east of Camden and did a loop to Hartsville and back. Nothing to brag about, averaged 15.6 mph, but it felt good.
Cool note (at least I think so): about 16 miles from finishing up, we stopped on a bridge in a swamp to take a breather. I've got this thing about water so I crossed the road to look around. About 15 feet below the bridge a water moccasin was just floating there as if he (or she, I didn't ask) hadn't a care in the world. In its own environment, this deadly terrible thing that was better off wearing tire tracks (after all, "the only good snake is a dead snake!") was a fascinating creature of God, surely with a reason and purpose. It looked almost poetic as it swam off gracefully, never acknowledging our presence. Okay, end of note.
I was entered in the 2008 Assault on Mt. Mitchell and for the rider I am, I feel I did well. I made it all the way to the campground in Marion before I threw my bike in the ditch! Just kidding, but I did have to bail in Marion. I have ridden the 14.xx miles up Hwy. 80 from Marion to the Parkway, and suffered. I knew with Spartanburg 74 hilly miles behind me, I was not ready to assault anything, let alone a mountain. So, rather than throwing my bike in a ditch I turned in it to one of the incredible volunteers (what a group of servant-hearted people!) and hopped a bus for the top of Mitchell so I could see my brother cross the finish line in a hair over 9 hours (on his first attempt at Mitchell!). Another buddy of mine I ride with on occasion made it in 11 hours, but hey, anybody who finishes this ride is an awesome rider.
So, why did I say all that? Because I am training for the 2009 Assault on Mt. Mitchell on May 18, 2009 and I AM GOING TO THE TOP, on my bike, NOT A BUS! I don't have to be first, don't want to be last, I just want to finish. My plan for the coming months involve lots of miles and dropping some weight. It's difficult to be a fat mountain climber.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Yesterday's Ride

So, this is my ride I did yesterday. I had intended to do 50-60 miles, but I haven't been riding as much as I should be and I have done some "de-conditioning." I still had a great ride, though. I always encourage myself by saying, "How many 42-year-old guys got up this morning and jumped on a bicycle and rode x-amount of miles?" I know there are plenty out there, but we are still in the minority.
I left home about 7am and rode through Lexington while traffic was still at a minimum, and headed out toward the Lake Murray dam. Just before the dam, I hung a left and followed the shore (what I could see of it, development and all) and headed toward the country. Lexington county still has some beautiful farm areas and a hint of cow poop in the air is WAY better than exhaust fumes! Speaking of cows, I am privileged to see horses, goats, rabbits, and even the occasional fox and coyote.
I have said before, I am not a great, or even good rider, but I did manage to stay on my bike for nearly 30 miles before dismounting at a Shell station on Hwy. 378. (They are always pretty nice there, they never act like you're a bother to come clicking into their store in bike shoes and sweaty spandex.) But at this point I was starting to wear thin, so rather than heading around to the bridges, I turned toward home. Seven or so miles later, I am on the phone (I HATE cell phones, but will NEVER ride without one) with my beautiful wife/SAG angel, asking her to fetch me please. I did manage to get 41+miles out of my tired body before she showed up to rescue me, so I am not disappointed.
Big lesson I have learned in biking: it's one thing to push yourself and try to get more, it's another thing to be hard on yourself. There are plenty of folks in this world to beat you up about something, no need to join them. Always be good to yourself and take some pride in your accomplishments; just remember, they are pats on the back to push you forward, not trophies to shove in others' faces.
Until next time, enjoy God and His creation, and hammer safely as you do so. God bless you.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Welcome to Me!

Hey, my name is Mike and I am new to this blogger-business, but excited. I am an ER nurse (more about that later) and I have been riding on the road a little over a year now. I bought an aluminum Mercier 8 speed with a triple last June and have put over 3800 miles on it since then. I have completed several metrics, like the Tour de Camden last year; attempted the 2008 Assault on Mt. Mitchell but bailed out at Marion (73 miles of hills- still proud of that!); did my first century this year in Santee, the Tour de Cure for the American Diabetes Association. I am not a great rider, heck, I'm not even a good rider, but I love doing it and love the improvements I have seen in my performance. I ride around the midlands of South Carolina (Harrell's Bicycle World, woo-hoo!) and out of Murrells Inlet when I can (Grand Strand Bicycles, woo-hoo!) and am always looking for folks of a caliber similar to my own with whom I might ride. On a Saturday morning about daybreak I like to set out to do 50 miles or so at an average speed of 15.5-16.5 mph. I am working to improve that but it's been a busy summer, not a lot of miles. So, that'll get us started for now, looking forward to writing more about my rides and reading your comments. Until then, keep hammering. Mike