January 2008
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Month January 2008

head’s up!

just got this fyi forwarded to me…. i might be riding tanasi this weekend, but luckily that’s before this construction is going on.

> Just a quick note that TVA will be flying electrical towers into place
> using helicopters beginning Feb 4. It will last all next week.
>
> The flight pattern will be from the Stump Fill road (near Hwy 64) across TR
> Xpress & Thunder Rock Hiking trail.
>
> This will be a long-line operation over the Tanasi trail system so heads up
> when the helicopter is flying overhead. If anything goes wrong in flight,
> the first objective for the pilot is to punch off his load. So avoid being
> under the helicopter if possible. If it is in front of you, slow down
> until it passes by.
>
> Please pass the word around and be safe.

gotta love my crazy friends

an email received this afternoon:

We are planning the inaugural Sick Bird for Feb 2nd. Start time is 9am at the commons area on Lookout Mtn.
The Sick Bird consists of:
Riding off lookout and over to Raccoon Mtn visitor center. Run the 11 mile loop (trails).
Ride back up Lookout Mtn and finish by running Big Daddy 12.5 miles.
If you’re interested this is a self supported deal.

i might create the injured bird variation (run only 1 of the loops – not quite up to that much volume. close though!) IF my road bike arrives this week. (supposedly it is being boxed up and shipped out tomorrow… JESSE, ARE YOU READING THIS?!? :) if it doesn’t arrive, maybe i’ll join folks at raccoon for a run, then ride my mtn bike. and i could graciously become a support vehicle as well…

btw, there are a few other crazy events like this. the official Big Daddy event involves road biking, trail running, and Spam. ick.

Inauguration into the cross scene

Originally I had wanted to go down to Thomson Days last weekend, but I needed to get some work done for clients, so a weekend away wasn’t doable. Instead, I took a day trip to do my first cyclocross race in Columbia, TN. Jim, Emma and I carpooled there; I was white knuckled half the time with Emma’s crazy brit driving. I figured if I survived that, the race should be a piece of cake! (speaking of sweets, I had bought a white chocolate raspberry scone from Stone Cup for my post-race indulgence, but that was sacrificed to Maggie the dog during the car ride over). 

Once at Chickasaw State Park, we got registered and had only about 30 minutes to warm up before my start. This was not easily done with temps hovering around 30 degrees, with the wind chill in the low to mid 20s. At least it was dry there; Chatt was expected to get more snow (although Atlanta sucked it all up, leaving Chatt with none of the white stuff). I got in 1 ride of the loop and practiced a few barrier dismounts/remounts. That is still an artform to be mastered, but my dismounts aren’t so bad for only learning last weekend. (The remount however… can’t quite get the hang of it. It can be a rather..uh… painful experience if not done properly!) 
So, the race…  the Cat4 women lined up with the Cat4 men and juniors, although we started 30 seconds behind to let the guys spread out a bit. There were 8 of us at the start line – about half were on cross bikes; the rest on mtn bikes, like me :)  At “go” we lept forward. There was a short time until 2 tight switchbacks and I didn’t want to get stuck in them. 1 girl sprinted forward; I was right there with #2. I was caught on the outside of turn #1 which I had hoped would set me ok to catch the inside of the second, but she got just enough ahead of me to cut me off again. I stayed within a few bike lengths of her for about half a lap before she started to pull away a bit. I held on, hoping that one of them would fade (before I did). I kept looking back to see where 4th place was… thankfully if I could see them, it was across the field and several turns back. I just hoped I could hold on! 
The course in general wasn’t very technical: long flat/rolling sections to get some speed on. (which ended up slowing me on a mtn bike which likely weighed about 5-7lbs more than the cross bikes). While there were no run ups, there was  nice steep hill about 2/3 thru that put some hurt on. There were 3 double barriers, 1 set being on a hill that I never got style points on. There wasn’t much mud; just bitter cold to contend with. And my lungs, which don’t like to operate in cold weather at this high effort. Yeah, I’m definitely built more for endurance.
Anyways, towards the end of lap 3 – I was still easily holding 3rd place – I looked at my watch and figured we were done. Our race was to be 30 minutes long. However when I got there the official held up the sign with 1 lap to go. Yikes!! So I kept at it, not wanting to falter and give up my place. Finally, 4 laps and about 44 minutes later I was done! The results initially were a bit f’d up… it had me in 5th! Apparently lapping a few of the girls and squeezing in 4 laps confused them and they had me down as 3 laps. Luckily all the women racers were huddled in the little room keeping warm and we easily got it figured out. 3rd place it was! I came in right behind the 2 women that are leading the state series, so I was pretty psyched with my results…. esp being on a mtn bike and still not being in race condition (only my 3rd weekend back out at it). 
Big thanks to the Columbia Cycling Club for putting on a great event with great awards – etched glasses (I’m getting a nice collection of barware from races – I love it!) I didn’t make it back to Sunday’s event, but I heard it was a fab, tough course! (I went on a trail run at Raccoon instead.)

testing!

doing a quick test post from my new iphone!  it’sa awesome! will be fun to post when i’mI’m out & about. you’ll have to excuse the typos while iI get in the swing of things

wed night run, take 1…

warnings of a winter weather mix this evening of course had me quite excited. this coming on a wed night, when our weekly trail run has moved to signal mtn, made me extra excited, as i was certain i’d see some white stuff. i left work early to scoot up the mtn. little bits of ice danced off my windshield – so fine you could hardly even see it. once on top of the mtn, i actually had to use my wiper blades a bit. only jim & david were in the parking lot… jim still huddled in his car, wearing shorts. he quickly told me he was bagging the run; david was undecided. we chatted a few minutes, the ice/sleet/snow mix quickly accumulating on my car. we decided that while we wanted to run in the winter wonderland, it was probably safer to head back down the mtn. then sol arrived… ready to run. dan arrived; ready to immediately leave (something about his trainer set up in front of his fireplace seemed more enticing i guess). david decided to run; i followed dan down, hoping the drive would be safe. it was, although i slid a bit in the parking lot. nice time to remember those 2 new tires i need for my car. i’m such a procrastinator.

wed night run, take 2….
after a quick stop at the grocery store (another thing i tend to procrastinate), i went home and immediately set out on a run – hey, i was already dressed for it…  it ended up being an awesome run. the snow was drifting down, coating everything white and bringing a peacefulness about. snowflakes caught on my eyelashes, then would slide into my eyes with a cold tickle. for some reason i usually don’t like running from my house, but tonight was on. i cut across the north chatt ridge, went across veterans to downtown, and hit walnut bridge after a short city loop. walnut bridge was a bit tricky – it was pretty slick. frozen wood?? next was a warm run up tremont, then back across the ridge to home. a bit more sleet was coming down at this point, as there was a faint sound – sorta like rice crispies – filling my ears. mapmyride.com says it’s just over 6 miles, which makes for a great route to remember. my back deck had a fluffy coating of snow when i returned; my footsteps were completely covered up by the time i got out of the shower! boot camp tomorrow morning should be interesting :)

back at it… and bruises to prove it

It was a beautiful weekend – blue skies & temps climbing into the mid-50s. While I had to work a lot, I was able to squeeze in rides both days at Raccoon Mtn. It was like pulling teeth to find people to ride with, but kman joined me Sat & farmer on Sun. My body & lungs are feeling much better than last week. The rides were leisurely and we took time to work through a few obstacles and practice some skills. Some things I did successfully; others, not so much. I did a flying superman dive after a log on Saturday (the clearing of leaves I created in the process was still there today). No big injuries, although my foot cramped up when I hit (which was fun dealing with when I was still clipped in). I did twist my ankle a bit, so I cancelled today’s run to play it safe. Today was pretty good until I didn’t make it up some rocks, sliding out and knocking the hell out of my left knee twice, in the same spot (actually have a nice cut there now). Nothing is worse than rock on bone. Took a bit of time to shake that off. Then going thru the pines (tight & twisty), my shoulder caught a tree and nearly wacked me off the bike. 

Rock/Creek Race Team

This year, I’ll be joining the Rock/Creek Race Team  at events all over the southeast. While the team primarily focuses on endurance trail running, I think they are pretty cool with my multisport adventures. The team is a great group of very talented athletes – I hope some of their speed wears off on me :)   We’ll be working closely with the Boonies on a new trail running series that will be kicking off soon – more details on the series to come.

Big thanks to Rock/Creek Outfitters for their sponsorship and support, as well as Patagonia, who will be supplying great gear for us to race in. 

highs and lows of the weekend

highs:

i finally got back outside! the dr gave me some antibiotics on thurs and i was feeling a million times better by saturday. i got a short trail run in at lookout (45 min – didn’t want to push it on day #1 back!). on sunday i headed up to raccoon for a lap. it was perhaps a bit more than i should have done, (i was wiped out at the end!) but the temps were warm, the company great, and i’ve missed my bike a lot (haven’t been on since thanksgiving). we even went on some new stuff that was a blast!

ice on lookout mtn from last week’s hard freeze

lows:
on new years day, meredith emerson went hiking with her dog at vogel state park in blairsville, ga… a place i’ve trained and raced in many times. she never came home. the story was all over the news and it really hit home, even if i didn’t know her. tonight her body was found in Dawson Forest – the site of the two Midnight Rush Adventure Races Kevin Fordham and I put on a few years back. we knew that area like the back of our hand. to think of what happened there gives me the chills.
my run on saturday was solo. i must say i looked over my shoulder a few times and left the ipod at home. granted, i was on well-traveled trails, but that just isn’t enough sometimes. there has been much talk on the trailblazers message board about all the solo training we end up doing, whether it be on foot or bike. it’s always nice training with a group, but with work schedules, family commitments, etc, inevitably we go about it alone. shoot, even small groups aren’t foolproof. last fall i was with star & lisa on a 4+ hr ride on the forest service roads south of tanasi when 3 guys on motorcycles went by. we kept moving forward until we saw them stopped up the mtn a bit; we promptly turned around and hauled ass out of there. luckily they didn’t follow. 
this brings up the question (posed on TBARC) of personal safety when training in wilderness areas. i was surprised to hear how many folks have handguns they carry. but would it do any good in a pack? in your saddle bag? i don’t know what the answer is, but i think a lot of us will be searching for one. it won’t stop me from going out… and i don’t think that i have to be with a male at all times (as has been suggested by some people). but i will definitely be more aware, try to make smart decisions, and let people know where i am + for how long.
my prayers and condolences go out to meredith’s family & friends.

Holiday Adventures

So the holidays are officially coming to a close and while I had a great time with family and friends, training has been nil due to this lingering cold. (day 15?? honestly! might be time for the doc…) I’ve missed a lot of important trainings that would have kept me on track and primed for Mitchell, including today’s annual Frosty Challenge. The silver lining is forced downtime which means added recovery for the groin pull. I got one short run in down in FL inbetween the sniffles that felt pretty good with no soreness the next day.

Here’s a few pics from adventures with my nephews, who kept me on my toes all the time. More pics posted here.

me, erick, evan, ethan, liz, kevin

helping ethan clean his first doves!


evan on his new scooter

the boys monkeying around

ethan & evan testing their new cars


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