Monday, November 23, 2015

Dog Gone'it

Soccer season has ended. The boy's did well, making it to regional semi-finals. Now I get to come home from work and eat supper together, even if dark out (sunset yesterday was 5:08 pm).  The weather has been mild enough that I still get some lunch trail rides from the office.

This past Saturday I even got out for a long ride (targeting 50 miles).  About 40 miles in, a youngish dog ran out from a yard and began to run along side me. It seemed non-aggressive, and my usual tricks to get a dog to stop did not work either. It followed along side me for another 50 yards or so and then suddenly dove in to my front wheel. It was a short fall to the ground and the dog just kept running.  I landed on my shoulder which is still a little sore, but thankfully no road rash and no broken collar bone.  The bike frame still seems solid, though I will get a professional opinion on that today. A bit of peripheral damage to the bike. I continued on for about another 5 miles before getting a ride home.  I felt OK, but the bike wouldn't shift right and I didn't want to damage anything (plus my lowest gear was making a lot of noise and I knew I need it to get up my driveway).

Sadly, dealing with dogs is something we just have to do in order to ride. Even good dogs like to run.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


The birthday thing just happened. I decided to take a couple days off work and try to enjoy what was left of fall. The foliage was nearing peak and temperatures were in the 60's. With very little planning, over two days we managed some dual sport motorcycling, mountain biking, and a long ride on my Buell.

A pair of KTM 640's on some back "roads" of Vinton Co.

Stockport Mill and Dam as the sun was just starting to lift the fog off a cool start to the day.

Just out of Stockport along the Muskingum River. Site of  the Big Bottom Massacre of 1790. Lenape and Wyandot Indians surprised a European American settlement at the edge of the flood plain, or "bottom" land of the Muskingum River; they stormed the blockhouse and killed eleven men, one woman, and two children. Three settlers were captured while four others escaped into the woods. 

Big Muskie drag bucket. Big Muskie was a coal mining Bucyrus-Erie model 4250-W dragline (the only one ever built) owned by the Central Ohio Coal Company (formerly a division of American Electric Power), weighing nearly 13,000 metric tons (13,000 long tons; 14,000 short tons) and standing nearly 22 stories tall. With a 220-cubic-yard (170 m3) bucket, it was the largest single-bucket digging machine ever created and one of the world's largest mobile earth-moving machines.  It operated in the U.S. state of Ohio from 1969 to 1991. I can still member driving past it sometime around 1990 while it was operating at night. A sight to see.

Amish corn harvesting in Morgan county.

I made it 40 years, but after trying to keep up with Ryan (on his Cannondale F29 carbon) and feeling the beating I decided it was time to rebuild and install the White Bros Magic 80mm fork on my single speed.

View from Carpenter Hill on a road bike ride.

Fall in South East Ohio.

Soft fork meant riding over them there rocks.
And with that, it started to rain as the remnants of hurricane Patricia went through. Thanks for checking in.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Mid Life Crisis?

I am rolling up on my 41st birthday.  That's right, I am 40 years old. Middle aged white guy with a career, family, house, etc. All that responsibility kind of stuff. Work schedules, family schedules, church schedules, soccer schedules. Managing a hyper active 5 year old around all those schedules. Trying to find time on occasion to spend time with my wife.

I am tired. Worn-out. When I get to ride my bike, I have to try to cram as much in in as little time as possible. Motorcycle? It must be that I am riding to work, so long as I am not picking up a kid, pizza, etc. Having "fun" is a lot of work, especially when the work just piles up while you are away to have said fun.

Understand that I am not complaining. It does get somewhat overwhelming at times, discouraging, disappointing even. Plans are planned but rarely come though. But, I am not complaining. I am thankful for the few times I get to date my wife, play with Brock, go single speeding with Ethan, play my guitar, or just ride a motorcycle to work. I have a house in the middle of no where and vehicles that get me somewhere. I have a job that I generally enjoy and live near a town with good food and good friends.

I will stop short of claiming God's blessing because of these things since that would imply that if one doesn't have them that they somehow lack that blessing. I do however claim to be thankful, grateful, appreciative. Generally speaking our stress is man-made. We overstretch ourselves with regard to time, money, material stuff and then get overwhelmed while we try to manage them.

I just looked back at my last posting on this blog and saw the list of bike races I planned to attend. Well, I only raced once. Other races were removed from my schedule by kids birthdays, weather, and to be honest, some times a lack of physical condition and motivation.  The one race I participated in I won. But, I also was the only one in my class (and now that I am 40, I can race in "masters" classes). So I guess it means I also got last place.

I had also planned a bike packing trip this year. My goal was to ride from home to Davis, WV via Spruce Knob over 5 days. I scheduled a week off from work, a friend planned to go along, I got the bike ready, my gear ready, and myself ready to ride 300+ miles. The day came to leave and we got delayed a day. It was OK, I had already planned an alternate route if we needed to cut out a day. So day 1 for me was about 20 miles from my house to Athens. Day 2 was from Athens to North Bend State Park via the North Bend Rail Trail. Great day, 80 mile ride. I will say that riding through Belpre (and almost being hit by a car), and Parkersburg (and being called a "dick" by a skate boarder that we startled since he was rocking out with ear buds in) and then riding out route 47 with heavy traffic weren't my favorite parts of the day, but the rest made up for it. By the end of the day my friend, Ryan, had started to get some pain in his left knee. Ryan is one day older than me. He has ridden his bike from the right to the left coast. He is single, without kids. I state all that as I was more concerned about my physical shape than his. Anyway, we camped at North Bend for the night. The next day started slow and quickly got slower as we rode east. By the time we made it to Ellenboro (6 miles from the park) and got some breakfast, Ryan was in a considerable amount of pain.  We still had about 70 miles left with some big climbs to get to our next stop, Audra State Park. A couple miles later, we pulled the plug, turned around and made the 40 mile ride back to Parkersburg where we got picked up for a van ride back to A-town.

I still had the week off, Shelly and the boys were looking forward to picking me up in Davis (as they got a camping trip out of it), and I still had some miles in my legs. I took the next day for a 50 mile ride around the back roads of Meigs and Vinton counties while Ryan was trying to figure out his knee. I decided that I would head down to WV the next day via motorcycle. I wanted to get in to the area early so we could get a good campsite. There were several folks heading down and the Revenge of the Rattlesnake was happening plus bear season starting, so I knew sites would go quickly. Thursday morning I headed out. About a quarter mile from my driveway, a hornet flew in to my helmet ans stung me just below my eye. I rode to Casa for breakfast as my face swelled. I ate, took a longish route home and watched soccer. It just wasn't meant to be.

I loaded up the truck for Friday and picked up Shelly and the boys at noon. We drove down and got a great site. Good thing we came down earlier too, by 6 o'clock most sites were gone, especially any that could handle all of us. We had a great burger at Tip-Top in Thomas and then headed back to camp to make s'mores and wait for the others to make it in. We spent the rest of the weekend enjoying the mountains, biking, food, camping, and some hiking. Back to work the next Monday to what seemed like two weeks worth of work for my one week off.

I think I need to give up planning.  Few things go as planned and planning sometimes creates expectations that when not realized lead to disappointment. I was certainly disappointed that the week didn't go as I planned. Still, I got to ride my bike, camp with my family and friends, eat, and not go to work.

Speaking of planning, a new race was added this year at Spruce Knob. A three day gravel stage race. It was initially slated for summer but was postponed to fall. They have set the date for the weekend of Oct 16, 17, and 18. Soccer on the 17th, my dad's annual birthday cookout on the 18th as well as Mountain Stage at OU for his birthday gift. Won't be racing that one either.

Trying something new. 

No longer a pre-schooler.

Quick trip to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

First and Last.

The aunts/uncle/dad.

I managed to commute to work once. The sunrise was worth it.

Packed and ready.

Waking up at North Bend.

Hornets are jerks.


View from camp.

Ethan riding in real mountains.

Lindy Point

Not enough of this.

Monday, March 9, 2015

3.5 Days

Kind of like the old owl in the tootsie pop commercial, I have discovered that 3.5 days of life without electricity is when you find the center due to the outer shell cracking.

We were right in the cross hairs of the winter storm last week that started with about 2" of rain, flooding roads and melting most of the snow that was left from the last go around.  Then the temperatures dropped drastically and quickly and proceeded to leave us with nearly 13 inches of snow in about 12 hours.  Shortly after the snows started, our electricity also went out.  The heavy snow collected on the trees, bending and breaking them.

Trees are remarkably flexible.

The next morning, I made coffee with my camp stove and french press (using a UPS to run my grinder) and then hooked up the Generac ix2000 generator to keep our fridge going, get the TV on, and keep our phones charged.  Luckily, we have the wood stove to keep us warm as the temperature was predicted to continue to drop to a record low over night.  (Due to a level 3 snow travel emergency, even Sunpower closed for the day).

We waited until the afternoon when the snow stopped to venture outside and shovel a path from the barn (wood pile) to the back deck.  While the kids played, I got the tractor out to push some of the snow off the driveway so we could at least walk down to my truck that I had left parked by the road.
We finished off the day with grilled cheese and tomato soup, cooked on the grill followed by a movie, Night at the Museum.

Friday morning was -9F and clear blue skies.  Once I got the house taken care of, I used the generator to run our propane water heater and we took showers and headed to town.  I had to go to the office for a bit while Shelly ran some errands and Ethan worked on his blizzard bag of school work.  We even got a hot lunch and some pie and coffee before heading back home.  Once there, I scraped some more snow off our driveway in preparation of it being in the 40's on Saturday.  Then I headed to the neighbors driveway to do the same, though only doing about half of it before I slid off his driveway.  I ran Ethan to church for the youth group trip to play laser tag in Columbus while Shelly made another meal on the grill.  Finished off the night with Night at the Museum 2.

We had convinced ourselves that the power would be back on over night.  We woke Saturday morning without it however.  Some more camp stove coffee making and a load of wood to the house.  I was about out of gas for the generator and we were also out of food that could be made on the grill, so we loaded up in the truck and headed to Albany for baked steak at Ray's and a tank of gas.  On the way home, we passed an electric utility truck just about a quarter mile from our house.  Surely the power will be back on now!

Umm, no.

I got up early Sunday morning and started the generator, loaded the stove, and headed out for sound checks at church.  Shortly after, I got a text from Shelly that the generator wasn't working (even though it was running).  I dashed home between sound check and the service.  Found the problem with the generator (more below) and we headed out to the truck down the now crazy icy driveway from the thawing of Saturday followed by the re-freezing overnight.  I barely got a warning to the boys out of my mouth about the ice when Shelly landed on her backside.  This is where we found the center of the tootsie pop.  She was done to say the least.  We headed to church and then to my folks for a hot lunch.  It was around noon when our power came back on, almost exactly 3.5 days after it went out.

Normally I love to ride in the snow, but with a bottom bracket height of 11.8 inches, the BB would be under snow.  And since it was dark in the basement, I didn't ride the trainer either.  I checked my log for the year, and thus far I have ridden outside twice and done 93.5 miles on the indoor rollers. That's barley enough for basic physical well being, hardly what I might consider training.  The Gravel Rouser is going to hurt.

The generator (a mini review of the Generac ix2000):
The ix2000 is a 2000w (2200w peak) invertor-generator.  It is quieter than a regular set and it can adjust the engine speed to match the load (as opposed to a 3600 fixed RPM machine to make 60Hz).  I say quieter as it does not compare to the Honda invertor, but at half the price I did not expect it to.  It is also light.  2000W is enough generally, easily taking care of the fridge, TV, and hot water.  It is absolutely miserly with gas.  It ran somewhere between 30 and 40 hours and used about 3 gallons of gas.  The only issue was with the outlet.  On Friday, the fridge shut off when the generator was still running.  I discovered that one of the contacts in the outlet on the generator had a broken contact, presumably from the  vibration.  I moved the extension cord to the other outlet.  The second failed on Sunday morning.  I did not try to repair it since the power came back on a few hours later and because it is under warranty.  The warranty states that repairs can void the warranty, so I guess Athens Sport Cycles will get to look at it for me (would be an easy repair, takes a standard 20A 120V outlet right behind the front panel held in place with four screws).  Other than that, it was great and I am pleased with the purchase.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Two and a half weeks

Two and a half weeks to the 2015 Gravel Rouser and just under four weeks to the Lake Hope Road race.  Am I ready?  Nope.  I can barely get one trainer session in a week, just enough to keep my legs spinning and burn some winter calories.

I am now on my third round of winter illness too, this time, just a classic cold.  This past Saturday morning Shelly asked what I had planned for the day.  I responded that I would go easy, move some firewood and maybe put a new set of tires on my rouser bike.  Those plans changed quickly a short time later when Shelly yelled from the shower.  I went in to find her holding the shower head in her hand.  The shower arm had broken off in the wall.  This was then followed by a text from the middle son with a picture of his now swollen wrist and that they don't think it is broken.

I managed to get a replacement part to get by for the shower late in the afternoon and Ethan doesn't have a broken wrist.  Hopefully next time he decides to try a front side 720 with a snowboard (or maybe it was just he and a friend building a small ramp) he will be more careful.

On Sunday, the rains came (and melted a bit of the snow).  I finally did just rest through the afternoon until playing indoor soccer with Ethan.  I have two blisters, a bruised shin, and a sore hand.  Why yes, I was the oldest person there.

I managed to mount those tires though.  I had ordered a set of Continental Race King 29x2.0 tires thinking they would be fast and light for riding back roads but still have some volume and grip.  I set them up tubeless on my Sun Ringle NoTubes ready rims.  If you intend to do the same with this tire, just know it will be work.  Two days in and I am still finding leaks in the sidewalls.  But if it works, I hopefully won't end up flatting at the Hilly Billy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Winter Cross Training

Shoveling is cross training for a cyclist, right?

Several weeks ago we had a bit of a thaw with temperatures even hitting 60F.  The thaw is always rough on our 600 foot long driveway, even though we have put over 300 tons of crushed limestone on it since we built it in 2003.  I managed to get the topper off my truck and hauled three loads of stone (two loads of 304's and one load of 8's).  All in, I shoveled about 11,500 pounds of stone in under a week.

Fast forward a couple weeks and we have hit record lows and multiple snow falls (and a week worth of no school snow days).  The first couple of snows were fairly low on the moisture content and I push broomed the driveway clear.  This seems to work well for up to 4 or 5 inches, as long as the driveway is frozen and the snow is light and powdery.  The most recent event dumped around 8 inches of wetter snow on top of the 5 inches already on the ground.  This one took about 5 hours with a shovel to get two tire paths down the full length.

So you may be asking, why not use the tractor?  The thawing helped make tire ruts on the driveway, lower than the middle and the sides.  The tractor does a great job of removing the snow from the middle and then packing it tight in the tire tracks.  After sliding down (and even getting stuck) in the past years I have learned it is better to try it by hand.  Besides, I need the winter core workout.

Intense game of mini pool on a snow day.

Where I spent 5 hours of my Sunday.  Guess which path got sun during the afternoon?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A snowy 20th

20 Years.  Yes, 20, married to my best friend.  We never got to do a honeymoon after we got married.  We were both full time students and I had an exam on the Monday after our wedding.  Soon after, we started our family.  We still haven't had a honeymoon or any other significant "just the two of us" vacation in those 20 years.  This year, we actually left town though after my folks offered to keep the boys, get them too/from school.  Mom didn't have to twist my arm and I made a reservation at the Cooper House (a bed and cocktail in Thomas, WV).  When you get married in February, you expect winter weather, so we went to where the is a solid winter, Thomas, just minutes away from Canaan Valley.  We have been there before to take Brock camping or to ride mountain bikes, but this would be our first trip during the winter.

We left Athens after grabbing a quick breakfast at the Fluff and drove across the double lane covered bridge in Phillipi, WV on our way to Thomas. Thomas is a hip little town with a main street lined with Tip-Top (coffee/cocktail shop), art and antique galleries, the Purple Fiddle (restaurant, band venue, hostel), and the Cooper House.  Our first stop is always Tip-Top for a good cup of coffee.  Much to our surprise, they are closed on Wednesday.  In fact, half of the town is closed.  Instead, we grabbed a sandwich and cup of coffee at the Purple Fiddle before checking in to our guest room.

We were greeted by Joy and her dog Scruffy at the Cooper House, who will instantly make you feel like you are visiting a friends home rather than staying in a hotel.  She showed us to our room, we settled in, and headed over to Blackwater Falls to see the frozen falls.  The lower set of stairs was closed (due to them being covered in ice and snow) but we still got a view of them with a little hike through some snow.

Back at the Cooper House, we enjoyed chatting with Joy beside a fire while locals trickled in to visit.  We were invited to grab dinner next door at Salud, where the owners were preparing tacos.  (I never turn down good tacos).  It really felt like we were crashing the locals hangout.  Everyone was super friendly though and we enjoyed the food before heading over to the Tip-Top who had opened for a couple musical acts that would perform.  (I got my cup of coffee after all).

We woke the next morning to cold.  Highs were single digits with windchill in the negatives.  It had also snowed about 3-4 inches over night.  We tried to get breakfast at the Flying Pigs, but we were surprised to find them closed.  Luckily Tip Top had bagels and we had coffee and a light breakfast.  From there we made the drive out a snowy route 32 to Whitgrass with every intention to rent XC ski gear and spend some play time in the snow.  When we got there, the wind chill was -4.  We headed in to the lodge only hear about how dangerous and cold it was out, and that was from folks in proper cold weather ski gear.  We just had layers on, not proper snow clothes, it hurt your face to be outside.  Instead of skiing, we hung out a bit, had some soup from the cafe and watched the hard core folks head out.

Back in Thomas, we warmed up at the Cooper House and then went out for a short, easy hike on the Blackwater Canyon Trail to see the beehive coke ovens and Douglas falls.  The sun was out, the temps had risen to the low teens but the valley trail was largely protected from the wind.

From there it was time to get ready to see the Black Lillies.  They were in town to play at the Purple Fiddle.  Luckily Joy had recommended we get our tickets in advance as the show was sold out.  The show also filled the guest house with others, in town specifically to see them perform.  We had some drinks and lovely bread/sausage/peppers and visited with the other guests before heading next door to a crowded show.  The show started a bit late, but they really made up for it.  These folks have a lot of fun playing and the energy is shared with the crowd.  They ended up playing for about 3-1/2 hours after playing one more song about seven times.  It has been a while since I have watched some good live music and even longer that I was out past midnight, and except for having to move away from the hip-hop, honky-tonk young couple dancing without a care in the world, I'd do it again.

Friday, we got up early since we needed to be back to get the kids from school.  Again, we found the Flying Pigs closed, so we grabbed a cup of coffee, loaded up the car and head out to Elkins for some eggs and toast on our way home.

If you are looking for a fun place to stay in the Canaan Valley area, I would highly recommend you give Joy at the Cooper House a call.

20 years isn't enough and neither was 2-1/2 days alone with my wife.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The year for Gravel biking?

Growing up, we all rode our bikes on gravel roads.  That is what we had.  I can't even count how many times I got a flat tire after getting a real road bike and still putting miles of back roads on those skinny, sketchy tires.  Little has changed really.  I still have to drive unpaved roads to get anywhere and still those skinny tires are sketchy.  However, I really like riding around on those back roads.  Aside from a occasional dog (or even coyote), there is little to worry about besides the road.  I had been putting miles on my old Redline d440, truly my first ever real mountain bike, rigid and steel 29er.  After switching to a Redline Monocog Flight 29 years ago, the geared d440 was dropped as my mountain bike and just used for those back roads.  It is slow as the bike weighs 27 lbs and has 2.3" wide tires, but it is very stable on any kind of road I hit, which sometimes can be mud, freshly graded 57's, loose 8's, or chip and seal.  Over last fall I changed the bike up a bit to be a more dedicated back road tourer, bikepacker, gravel rouser.

It is now setup with tubeless wheels (Sun Ringle Black Flag Expert), dirt drop bars (Origin 8 Gary bars), 1x10 Shimano drivetrain (SLX 11-36 cassette, SLX 9 speed rear der).  For shifting, I am using Retroshift CX1V (now Gevenalle).  I like this setup a lot.  Shifting is easy and I have 5 hand positions.  I could still use a good set of mechanical brakes.  These are low end stuff and they squeal, a lot.  I also want to narrow the tires down.  2.3 is super comfy, but a 1.9 or even 2.0 tire could drop a pound and perhaps be faster.

Since gravel biking is suddenly "in", it means there are some good events to be had for this style riding.  Athens Bicycle hosts the Grvael Rouser each year, set for March, it is an early event to burn the legs after a long winter.  After that, there are a couple of Roubaixs within a couple hours drive, the Amish Country Roubaix and the Hilly Billy Roubaix.  The Hilly Billy has replaced the Wayne Ultra on my list of try to get to events this year (since the Ultra was also dropped from the schedule).

I managed a few miles over the weekend of some frozen, some thawing back roads after the temps got above freezing and we even saw the sunshine.

Photos from the Garmin Virb, mounted on my bars.  Fun little camera to play with.  #getoutside

Monday, January 5, 2015

Birthdays, holidays, the year past, and the one ahead.

I realize I haven't posted for a considerable time.  Various factors I suppose.  A little bit of lack of motivation, a lack of time, and the thought that maybe I shouldn't share everything I think on the Internet.  To quote U2's Bono from  LITTLE BOOK OF A BIG YEAR: Bono's A to Z of 2014:

"B IS FOR BLOGOSPHERE It's enough to put a fella off free speech... the problem about finding out what people think find out what they think." 

A funny thing my father-in-law said also comes to mind.  After mentioning that a mutual friend had posted something on Facebook, he commented that he had gone to Lake Hope Lodge for dinner and didn't even text anyone about it.  All that said, I thought it good to write down a few things about 2014 and start planning for the next year.

As an adult, your birthday becomes less and less of a thing.  Perhaps an excuse to go out for a nice dinner, coffee, or some other self indulgence.  We are still young enough that the kids aren't going to do anything special but yet we are old enough that our parents don't make much to do about it either.  Shelly's birthday was nestled in between high school soccer and my mountain biking trip to WVa.  We tried out best to do Casa for dinner with some friends, but Brock was crawling on the floor and I had to leave early to pick up Ethan from a soccer event.

Between birthdays we filled the time with the high school soccer tournament, a wedding, OU homecoming, and a severely sprained right ankle from lunch time soccer at work. 

Four weeks later, it was my turn.  However, this was the big 40 for me.  I planned to take a few days off of work and spend some time on two wheels.  While I did get to ride both my bike and motorcycle, it was a cool, rainy few days that ended with a viral respiratory infection as a final gift.  No grand, mid-life crisis adventure, just a ride on my motorcycle to Grayson lake and back, plus a bit of a road bike ride the day after.  No parties, no gifts, just one day I was 39 and the next I was 40.  Even my mom, aside from a birthday card, seemed like it was a forgotten day.  We had just a couple years before celebrated what would have been Eric's 40th with a party, cake, and 40 helium filled balloons that we released while singing happy birthday.  Shelly would ask me days after my birthday if I would like to have a surprise party and who I would like to invite.  I guess the one mid-life crisis thing I did do was get another tattoo.  I had been thinking about it for years but more worried about getting a bad one than anything.  I got a cog on my right forearm, specifically, a Chris King single speed cog.  I did a play on words with it and had the artist (though Aaron would call himself more of a craftsman than an artist) change the words to read CHRIST KING.  I can see it while riding.  It is my subtle reminder to keep things in perspective.

From there, it was a race through the holidays.  First up would be Veteran's day. This happens to also be the anniversary of Eric's death.  A tough day.  I took the afternoon off work and took the KTM out around the unpaved roads to St. John's cemetery.  It was good to ride for the afternoon and be in my own thoughts.  Ended up running in to my mom and dad at the cemetery and we chatted a bit.

November was also tough as a good friend was dealing with an unexpected relationship problem.  What can a guy that has been married for 20 years offer a guy that is dating and dealing with what seems like high school drama? Not much but a supportive shoulder and a listening ear.  We did some riding, some drinking coffee, and he did lots of talking.

One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving.  Something about the idea that we look around and feel grateful for where we are and what/who we have.  The food and afternoon of shooting shotguns isn't bad either.

Then it is a mad rush to Christmas.  We just finished thinking about all we have only to about face and want everything we don't have.  Our families are getting better about trimming down the materialism of Christmas, but we still do multiple parties, over short a amount of time.  While Brock wants to play with his new toy, we have to tell him to put it away for now, we have another house to go to.  By the end Christmas day, Brock lost it when my mom gave him a yellow spoon rather than a purple one.  Dad was surprised.  I had to remind dad what Christmas must be like for Brock after 4 parties in less than 24 hours.  On top of that, I started to get sick on Christmas eve.  By the end of Christmas day, I was losing my voice and feeling pretty worn down.  Friday brought on the fever and a sinus headache with lots of coughing.  I finally got in to my doctor on the following Tuesday where I received antibiotics and the diagnosis of a sinus infection.  No wonder it felt like I had been punched in the face.  After 4 days of fevers and so much coughing my muscles were sore, I was glad to finally get on the mend.  Not much of a Christmas break though.  I spent a lot of time on the couch, reading or watching soccer on TV.  While that sounds great, it isn't me, I like to be out!  No riding except for a couple of trainer sessions over the whole break.  No cutting firewood which I had also planned to do.  Brock and I did take a couple of hikes in the woods.  Something about boys and creeks.

Not a lot to report on the bicycling front for the year.  I only competed in one race.  I did earn a Wolfman award at the Gravel Rouser though. According to my records, I only did 1596 miles for the year (combined road and trail riding) and climbed over 96,000 feet.

I am starting to give up doing too much planning since as Alison Krauss sings, "the planes I had my plans in never got off the ground".  Shelly and I hit the 20 year mark this year.  We never got to go on a honeymoon, so we have been stashing money away to go on a real vacation, just the two of us.  I also hope to get away for a motorcycle camping trip.  Other than that, I have been putting together a list of races and other events I want to consider hitting:

  • The Gravel Rouser - March 19-22
  • OSRS #2 Lake Hope P/B Team Athens - March 29
  • Amish Country Roubaix - April 19
  • Middle Mountain Momma XXC - May 3
  • Mohican 100 - May 30
  • Hilly Billy Roubaix - June 27
  • Race to the Hills XC - August 2
  • Slatyfork Ultra XXC - August 22
  • Revenge of the Rattlesnake XXC - September 19
I probably won't race the Revenge of the Rattlesnake, not on a rigid bike.  That course beats me up.  But we will likely ride it anyway.  The Mohican 100 is a long shot too.  OSRS #2 is a road race that is organized by Team Athens.  I am not much of a road racer, but will probably be there to drive SAG.

Happy new year all.