Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I Wear White Shoes After Labor Day...

So, who was the idiot that made up this rule that you can't wear white shoes after Labor Day?  That's ridiculous!  In fact, the only pair of white shoes that I have, I typically wear between Labor Day and Memorial Day.  Why?  Because they are more comfortable to wear in cool weather than they are when it's hot.  To rise against this ridiculous faux pas, I will be wearing my white shoes along with my white sunglasses today.  I'm sure there will be an explanation on my friend's fashion blog (Secrets of a Belle) regarding this subject in the next few days.

I break rules!
On to something more non-fashionable....For one, I got a new job today!  Going to be staying in East Tennessee for a bit longer, it appears.  This is great news because I love it here.  I hope to still be working at the bike shop part time but we'll see how that works out.  Hopefully, I'll have the time and money to actually race a CX season this year now.  I'm definitely down for racing the Knoxie-Cross season in late January and February.

As for everything else, I'm just enjoying life.  With the new job, my social status should be updated soon from being that creepy guy that lives in his parent's basement to that creepy guy who has a one bedroom apartment across town.  I guess things are looking up!!  Anyway, it's time to get off this damn computer and go ride the bike in this awesome monsoon that has hit the region!


Friday, July 29, 2011

My Life Is Better Than Your Vacation...

Photo courtesy of Drunkcyclist.com
I kind of stole the title of today's blog post from another blog post I saw this morning on Drunkcyclist.com. They had a picture of a sticker that read the same phrase. I thought it was catchy and meaningful to what's going on in my life right now. I mean, how many people have the ability to say their life is as cool as everyone else's vacation?

These past few weeks have been pretty good. This summer has really been a huge transition for me. I'm almost through with my divorce and still trying to get my life on track. I've made up my mind that I'm going to continue to pursue my dreams and build on my ambitions. This has been the hardest thing to face. Life is so easy to just settle for things sometimes. I'm done settling. This is my life and I'm only getting one of them. So, I figure I'll live it to the fullest and whoever wants to join me is welcome.

Over this last weekend, I was offered an awesome opportunity. My old boss at a bike shop I used to work at in Georgia had called me up and offered me a job to help him run his shop. I was really torn about making the decision. You see, I'm in a really cool location right now. I've got the mountains, rivers and lakes right in my back yard. Not to mention, I've got some of the coolest friends anyone could ever ask for. I've dreamed about moving back here to East Tennessee for so long and now that I'm finally here, how can I leave. So I had these two options weighing down on me. I kind of got depressed about having to make the decision. So, I took the kayak out to the lake and paddled around for a couple of hours. While on the lake I was looking around at the hills and back in the coves. I then realized how much this area means to me. This is not only where I'm from but also where my family, going back many generations, is from. This is home. I love it here. Even though this opportunity in Georgia was exactly what I wanted in a job, I couldn't grasp leaving my roots yet again. So I decided to respectfully decline the offer.

So this goes back to what I was saying about my life being better than your vacation. Truthfully, it really is. I live in the place that you probably want to go for your vacation. I wake up everyday and have a full view of the Great Smoky Mountains. I work in one of the best bike shops around. I swim in the best swimming holes on earth. And I have some of the greatest friends to share all of this with!

My home

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More Eventfully Uneventful Things...

Where I work
Had a pretty awesome day yesterday!  I went to work to what initially appeared to be a dead day at the bike shop.  And I don't mean we were playing the Grateful Dead.  I really can't stand it when things are dead at work because it leaves you searching for random things to do.  Anyhow, I decided to build up some bikes to restock for the floor inventory.  While I was sitting there working on some bikes, I realized what I was doing.  I'm working in a freakin' bike shop!  For some odd reason, that thought really boosted my morale for the rest of the day.  I realized that I had a hand at making someone smile by making their bike experience better.  When I was working in insurance claims a year ago, my life was surrounded around telling people bad news.  Having a job that I get to have positive interaction with the public is really awesome.  Yeah, the pay may not be much but I can adjust my standard of living to make that work.  Life is too short to be stuck doing jobs that suck!

After work, I met up with my buddy for a quick rendezvous to the bar.  The trip was short and mostly was to just catch up on some scores on Sports Center as well as the local gossip.  I'm trying to taper down the booze intake now.  Starting today is a new focus on my cycling.  I figured that I'm in a new position where I have to figure out what inspires me in life and what I want to set goals for.  I've always considered cycling to be that experience.  Therefore, I'm going to put a new found focus on dropping some weight, getting healthier and mashing those cranks pretty hard.  I realize that I'll never be a pro cyclist.  In fact, I don't even think I would want to.  However, I do have a competitive nature and I want to make the best of what I can in the amateur bike racing world.  We'll see what happens.

Life is truly what you make of it.  Lately, I've been abusing my life.  I haven't had any expectations or ambitions.  This isn't going to change immediately overnight but I do feel a change coming on.  I've got some great friends who have helped give me a little push and yank me up by my sandal straps.  A little outside motivation goes a long way.  So that's about it for now regarding the uneventful life of Jimmy Deane.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bike Training...

I've taken enough time off the bike lately.  Probably a lot more time than I should have.  Now it's time to get focused a bit and set my sights on cyclocross season coming up this fall.  Starting tomorrow, I will begin a training plan of on bike and off bike workouts.  This year, I'm going to throw in more variety in my riding by doing a little more mountain biking with the mix of road riding.  Hopefully, the mix of mountain biking will sharpen up my technical skills a little more.  

As for races, I'm not sure what my race calendar is going to look like.  That will be something to figure out at a later date.  I do know I'm planning on doing the 3 Peaks race in North Carolina as well as Southern Cross.  There will be plenty of other events thrown in between as well.  I've also got my eyes set on going to Kentucky for the USGP race.  If everything plays out this year and I can get my upgrade to a Cat 2, I'll definitely go up to Wisconsin for Nationals and race in the Single Speed class (with no chance in hell of winning).  I gotta set me sights high but it should be a fun season regardless!  I really can't wait for all the mud, crashes, snow, more mud and even a little bit of mud mixed in!!

All this stress has really taken a toll on my riding.  I've gained some unnecessary weight and just don't feel great.  I wish I would have used my riding as a way to handle everything but it just didn't happen that way.  There have been a lot of realizations over the past couple of days that have given me a little bit of focus on reality.  That's why I'm getting back on the bike.  The one true love that I have left in life is cycling.  It would be pretty hard to take that away from me.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wisdom of a Los Angeles Cowboy...

Wow, has it been a long and crazy week!  I'm not saying it has really been bad, just crazy.  Over the course of the last week, I've had to deal with a lot more transitioning.  I'm still trying to get my life figured out with this divorce on the horizon.  As life closes one door, maybe a new one will open and my existence on this earth can prosper. 

One bit of advice I received came from a cowboy from LA.  I was sitting in the bar the other night after work and started talking to this guy who was about to go on stage later in the evening.  The man's name is Crosby Tyler.  Crosby is a singer songwriter from LA who has been traveling the roads for many years doing what he loves, playing music.  He and started talking about my new job and how I'm in a transition point in my life.  I told him that each day, I wake up and I'm super excited to be going to such an awesome job!  Yeah, my job pays scrap but I can adjust my standard of living to make things work.  Crosby explained to me that life is really too short to chase just money.  He said that you have to look for love in what you do and the people you are around.  If you find that, you've found your next path for life.  This was somewhat of an awakening for me.  With all the shit I've been going through over the last month, this really brought light to who I am.  Honestly, I don't know if I'll be working in a bike shop forever but I do really enjoy being in that industry.  I obviously have a passion for bicycles.  Working in the bike shop allows me to express that passion each and everyday.  As for right now, I'm going to continue on that path, make some changes in my life and see what happens.  Ever since I moved back to East Tennessee, I've really just been living each day as it comes.  This has been really liberating in the sense that nothing has been too complicated. 

As for the rest of the week, I've met some other amazing people with yet more amazing stories.  I'm also still finding myself running into old friends each day.  This has been pretty awesome!  I remember leaving my hometown ready to go anywhere but staying here.  Now I'm back and I find a lot of peace here.  There's the mountains, the rivers, the lakes, the people, the music and my family.  I don't know if I'll be here forever but again, I'm living for the day right now. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Rapha Continental Movie

I've always loved the bike videos that Rapha puts together.  I am too poor to be able to afford their clothing but I can still admire the quality of their films.  These rides have inspired a many a ride in my past and in my future.  Keep on keepin' on!

Rapha Continental – The Movie from RAPHA on Vimeo.

One "Hail" of a Storm...

Yesterday, I went back to work after several days off.  It's kind of weird to have a job that you look forward to going to after being off for a few days.  I really can't stress enough about how happy I am to be working in a bike shop again.  I hope to get back into doing some basic repairs soon.  As of right now, I'm mostly doing sales.  Our small community has a really cool group of cyclists and customer base.  After being in town for a few weeks now, I'm finally starting to get to know a lot of the cyclists.

Along my commute to work
While working at the shop yesterday, the clouds outside turned pretty dark.  This was kind of concerning as I rode my bike into work.  Those dark clouds started spitting out marble sized balls of hail.  The hail came down for a solid 10-15 minutes.  Unfortunately, the owner of our shop had just bought a new car.  Many of the cars in the lot were damaged.  The hail just piled up outside of the doorway of the shop and floated off in the massive amount of water that rained down with it.  In some ways, I was actually happy that I didn't drive in.  Luckily, there wasn't in hail at my house where my truck is parked.

As for the commute home, it was pretty nasty.  It rained on and off the entire way.  I stayed pretty dry from the waist up thanks to my rain jacket.  The night before, when I was working on my bikes, I decided to take off the fenders on my Surly Cross Check.  They look nice but riding with metal fenders is just not my thing.  They rattle just a little bit and I prefer to ride without any fenders or get some kind of composite ones.  However, I do wish I wouldn't have taken off the fenders until I had some replacements.  Oh well...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day Off Part Two...

Yesterday was yet another awesome day!  I got up pretty early yesterday and made it out to the bike shop to meet with some friends for an early morning road ride.  We all ended up splitting up part way through the ride due to different time constraints but we all got in a nice ride through an awesome area.  I did get a chance to finish the ride out with an old friend who just got a road bike.  I really enjoy getting to ride with folks who are just starting out in cycling.  Their excitement is inspiring.  My buddy rode really well for such a long first ride!

Little River along our road ride route

Looking back at where we came from
Later in the day I met up with my mom for an awesome lunch at El Sazon Mexican Restaurant.  After a long ride, Mexican food really hit the spot.  Since I've been home, I really haven't spent much time with my family.  Taking the afternoon to hang out with my mom was really nice.  She's an amazing person and has been one of my biggest influences throughout my life.

The new fixed gear is pretty much setup now.  The only thing left to change is the pedals and straps.  I'm waiting on those to come in as we speak.  The bike has turned out pretty cool.  Yeah, it's got a lot of neon colors and what not but I think it's a fun bike.  I played around on it yesterday by jumping off a few stairs and inclines around the house.  The bike feels pretty substantial enough to handle some abuse.  I also plan on using this bike to play bike polo with.  There is a polo match in Knoxville tomorrow night that I may try to make it out to.  I haven't played in several weeks and I'm having a jonesin' for it. 

The new freestyle fixie build
Anyway, enough chit and chat.  I'm running late for getting started on my commute.  Looks like thunderstorms are in the forecast.  This should be a fun day on the bike!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day Off...

Yesterday, I was off from work.  For my day off, I decided to hit up the local group ride from the bike shop (Cycology).  Around 10:30am, we rolled out.  There was a group of about 15-20 that eventually broke into two groups.  During the first 8 miles, I felt pretty solid.  I felt so good that I thought I would try to ramp up the speed a little bit.  My ignorance got the best of me and I hit the wall for a second.  I tucked into the back of the group and hung out back there for a little while.  After another 5 miles, I was starting to recover.  From that point on, the ride became a ton of fun.  I couldn't have rode in a more beautiful place and with such a great group.

Our group during yesterday's ride
That brings me to my next point.  I'm really glad to be back in East Tennessee.  I lived here for nearly 19 years of my life before moving away.  I always had an appreciation for this town.  However, after being gone for six years, I realize what I was missing.  For such a small town, there is so much here to offer.  The mountains are great.  We've got rivers and lakes to swim in.  The towns are pretty safe and clean.  Yeah, you've got some rednecks out in the country but that's anywhere you go.  Besides, they add to the color of the area.  I hate the circumstances that brought me back home.  I still don't know how to understand the situation I'm going through with my marriage.  But being in the place that I am really helps.

Last night, pulled out the work stand and started working on a couple of my bikes.  It seems as though I have neglected the upkeep on my bikes lately.  As I got into working on the bikes, I realized that I was missing something.  I ran down the street to the store and picked up a six pack of beer.  When I got back, I turned on the music, drank my beer and started back to working on my bikes.  The evening turned out to be pretty nice.  The weather was warm and the beer was cold.  I got a couple of my bikes back in good shape as well!

Life is getting better.  There's a lot left to look forward to in my life.  I just gotta keep saying that and look to the future.  Things could be a lot worse but they aren't.  Now it's time for me to get up and head out for a bike ride (my therapy)!  Y'all have a good one!

This song was done by a local guy, Jay Clark.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

No Bummer Summer...

I'm fixing to head out for a solid road ride with some of the locals.  This should be fun!  Not much has been going on besides work and a little bit of fun in between.  I'm back on the bike and commuting pretty regularly now.  Feels good to get back into that habit.  I always hated driving!  Life is getting better each and every day.  It's just all about making excuses to have fun instead of sitting on my ass complaining.  Anyhow, get outside today!  Life is too short to be stuck inside all the time!

For your listening enjoyment:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Awesome Weekend...

I had a pretty awesome weekend! Worked on Saturday at the bike shop and was off on Sunday. You know, working at a bike shop doesn't feel much like working. Yeah, sweeping the floors and cleaning bathrooms sucks but when I'm actually doing bike stuff, it's a blast!

With work going great, I've also been trying to acclimate to having a good time outside of work as well. I decided on Saturday morning to ride into work on the bike. I haven't been riding much lately and it really felt good to be back on the bike. I do feel like I've lost a bit of fitness over the last month. A lot of riding is in the plans for the next month as we approach the Cysco 6 Hour Race in Chattanooga. I've already referenced the biking in this town a few times on the blog but I can't say enough about how cool this area is for cycling. There isn't any mountain biking in the near vicinity but road riding is at its best around here. I haven't had any problems commuting either. For the most part, I can get to town via a connection of several greenway trails.

One of the few road sections along my commute to work.

On another good note, I've added a bike to my stable! Actually, I got rid of one in order to add another. Do you all remember that 1990 Proflex frame with the Girvin fork that I picked up a few months back? Well, I got tired of looking at that bike and thinking about fixing it up. I decided to offer it on trade plus a little cash to one of the other guys at the shop. In return, I got a Van Dessel "Straight Up". The bike has been turned into a fixed gear. I think originally, the bike was intended to be a single speed townie bike. However, I've got plans to turn this stout frame into a freestyle fixie/polo bike. First off, there are several changes that need to take place with its current existence. One of which is to remove the dreadful handlebars that came on it. They are too narrow and shaped like mustache bars. They are in no way comfortable! I've got some neon green risers and a matching saddle that I found last night in the parts bin that I will throw on the bike. Also in the works is changing out the wheels with a set of black Deep V's. I should have this bad boy up and running nicely in the next few days. I'll post more pictures when done but for now, this will have to do.

On a final note, I want to mention this whole Lance doping issue.  For all of you that think he didn't dope, you're in denial.  Nearly all these guys have doped at some point in their career.  Doping was either used to boost their riding abilities in order to get noticed by the pro teams or they used it for that last little boost to get the win at the pro level.  It is a simple fact.  Is it right?  Hell no!  Our sport is being dragged through the mud by all this shit.  The testimony of Landis and Hamilton are pretty shady to say the least.  However, Lance's old friend, George Hincapie, testified to a federal grand jury that Lance doped.  The friendship that those two have is one at which I don't think Hincapie would make this shit up if it wasn't true.  Hincapie even divulged that he also was one of the dopers in the past.  Lance can deny these allegations all he wants.  But that doesn't mean he didn't dope.  Lance has a huge enterprise at Livestrong to protect.  If he comes out and admits to doping, his charity would be doomed.  The guy has a lot on his shoulders.  There is no justification for any of these athletes' actions but there is a respectful way to handle them.  Landis and Hamilton may only be in it for the book deals.  But Hincapie seems to have handled himself in a respectful manner regarding the issue.  Time to move on.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's The End of The World...

Apparently the rapture is supposed to have started in some parts of the world...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Today is Today...Yesterday was Yesterday...

Things are getting better each and everyday. I keep telling myself to live life just one day at a time. The past three days, I've been off from work and more or less, I've been catching up with my friends as well as making new ones. I'm really digging Maryville. Even though it's a town full of blue hairs and Cadillacs, it's a beautiful place as well. The biking is good, even though I haven't been on the bike as much as I'd like. Hopefully, I'll be back on the bike in the next few days and I can get some kind of routine going. I've got the Cysco 6 Hour coming up in about a month and I'm in no way ready to be on a mountain bike for 6 hours right now.

Not much else to really blog about this morning. I could follow Dicky's lead and show all the bike parts in my plastic tubs but I don't think that would be too interesting. I'll get back to ya when I have something interesting to blog about.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Life As I Know It...

Wow!  So much has gone on in this last week.  I'm still trying to shuffle my life as I know it.  A lot is still going through my head and trying to figure out the future.  Sometimes I think I just need to slow my roll just a bit.  Time to let things be and live from one day to the next. 

The new job in the bike shop is working out great!  All the folks at the shop are great and I'm starting to meet everyone in the cycling community.  I finally figured out the perfect commuter route into work.  It's about 13 miles each way with quite a bit of it on the greenway.  The countryside here in Maryville is beautiful.  Rolling hills with huge mountains in the backdrop.  I couldn't ask for better scenery on my rides!  I hope to have some pictures posted pretty soon.

Last night was my buddy's birthday.  After getting off work, we made some rounds to a couple of bars and then grabbed a six pack and headed up to the top of the Foothills Parkway.  There was a storm rolling in down in the valley.  It was pretty rad to watch the rain roll in.  Definitely, one of those nights that feels like it stands still. 

I'm off work for the next three days.  Looks like the weather is turning to shit but I'm going to try to get some rides in regardless.  For now, I've got to finish all this unpacking so I can find my bike stuff! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Moving Forward...

I realize the blog posts have been non-existent for the last several weeks.  Honestly, my life has somewhat fallen apart.  Without going into too much detail, I will say that I am moving forward.  This last weekend, I packed up all my belongings and moved back to Knoxville, Tennessee.  Unfortunately, I'm going to be making some adjustments in my life over the next few weeks, months and years.

On to some good news...I have finished my first semester of college.  I came out with all "A's" in my classes.  This was certainly unexpected when I decided to go back to school.  When I was in high school, I sucked at making good grades.  I never applied myself.  After taking 7 years off from school, going back brought a whole new focus.  This semester, I applied myself where it counts.  There is the saying, "Work hard or work smart."  Why not do both?  The current plan is to transfer to the University of Tennessee for the fall semester.  We'll see what happens.

On another good note, I was able to land a job yesterday.  I'll be working at Cycology Bicycles in Maryville, Tennessee.  This is an awesome shop with some of the best guys you can find in a bike shop!  There is such a pleasant and chill atmosphere throughout.  I'm really excited to be a part of their crew now.

As for bike riding, I haven't been on the bike much lately with everything that has been going on.  This morning, I decided to commute by bike to my new job.  Where I'm living is right off a four lane fast highway.  It's going to take some time to get used to that.  Otherwise, the commute has been pretty pleasant.  Most of it is on the Maryville-Alcoa Greenway.  This is a beautiful place.  The greenway connects both towns and has several arterial routes.  I'm looking forward to utilizing my new commute route.
Along my morning commute
You know, life isn't too bad.  Even though you get down at times, there's always tomorrow.  Count your blessings and move forward.  I think I'll be just fine with time.  Being surrounded by good friends and family makes a world of a difference as well.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Life sure is pretty tough sometimes!  Sometimes there is that feeling of being backed into a corner and not knowing how to move forward.  I'm in that position right now.  It sucks!  As I sit here this morning, reading my favorite blogs, I start to think.  I can move forward.  I can overcome obstacles.  It's kind of like cyclocross barriers.  You come at them with full speed, dismount from the bike and run right over those barriers.  It's not easy to do but with time, you learn how to do it efficiently.  I don't have much else to really say today and sorry if this is a downer for you.  Hopefully there will be something more positive to say in the coming future.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Weekends are a time for us to take a break from what is routine. For me, that is school. This weekend, I happened to look at a calendar and realized that finals start next week!! I've got several papers and a project due by next Friday! Honestly, I haven't even started on my history project. So a lot of shit is starting to pile up and needs to be cleared. Well, I didn't even think about it this weekend. Instead, I spent some quality time with my wife on Saturday and rode bikes with friends on Sunday.

My wife has been at the office quite a bit this last week. On Saturday, we got up and ran around town for a few hours. Almost the entire day was spent together. It is always great to have that quality time with the one you love. My wife has always been a huge supporter of my ambitions. I can't thank her enough!

As for Sunday, I spent most of the day with some friends while the wife hit some work back at her office. Met up with Patrick and Eric pretty early (for a weekend) and we hit the breakfast buffet on campus. A few waffles and sausage later, we mounted up on the bikes and hit the streets of Murfreesboro. We stayed out for a few hours just riding around town at a chill pace. Made a stop on the greenway to watch some boaters flip their canoe in the cold water!! Hilarious! The afternoon was spent in the front yard of Patrick's house listening to Hunter S. Thompson recordings, drinking beer and soaking up the sunshine. Really not much to report about but it was a great day!

I'm not sure when I'm going to get back into race training. Right now there are a lot of things that are more important to focus on than racing my bike. As for now, the bike is going to be my transportation. If I can squeeze in a fast road ride here and there, I'll be happy. Life has priorities and I'm starting to realize that bikes can't always be #1 for me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Gran Torino...

These guys came out of Knoxville, TN.  I grew up in Knoxville.  I remember these guys very well.  They frequented many of the dives that I was legally too young to go to.  I remember the first time I heard a Gran Torino song.  It was in like 1997 or1998 on WUTK Radio.  Gran Torino was probably one of the best acts to make it out of Knoxville.  Sadly, they're no longer together.

Club Ride Apparel...

Nothing would be cooler than to roll up to the start line of the next road race wearing one of these jerseys! These jerseys are a new line introduced at Sea Otter Festival by Club Ride Apparel. I've gotta pony up and get one of these!

Everyone Needs a Wheelie Bar...


Friday, April 15, 2011

Slow Motion Paris-Roubaix

Cyclist Down

I meant to also mention, my buddy Kenny Sharber got hit by a car two days ago.  The truck fled the scene of the accident.  He's out of the hospital but still in pretty rough shape.  Everyone raise a beer for Kenny this weekend!  He's one lucky dude!

Bike Polo and Boobies...

So my buddy, Dicky, seems to gain a lot of blog attention by posting boobies on his blog. Well, I thought I'd do the same and see if it helped boost my viewership on the blog.
Click here for the boobies!!

Ok, now that we've got that out of your system, we can resume our daily blogging.  Last night, several of us met up for some weekly bike polo.  We've got a pretty dedicated group in the Boro now!  We're evening filing the papers to become a Student Organization!  Last night, we scouted out some new places to play our matches and found a church parking lot that is lined on all sides with curbs and a small enough gap on each end to set up our goals.  This place was perfect for our polo match.  We got in two matches before dark and then we had to move it back to campus.  Our crew played really well last night.  Our ball handling skills are improving quite a bit.  I got to test out my new mallet which was perfect.  The mallet is made by Eighth Inch.  You can really slam the ball pretty hard for those distance shots!  I have come to the conclusion that I need to build up another bike.  I'm thinking a 26 inch Single Speed mountain bike.  I've got a friend with a Surly 1x1 for sale.  I may have to look into the purchase of it and turn it into a polo bike.  I want something with some seriously beefy wheels, single speed and nimble handling.  The 1x1 should fit the bill.  We'll see as the pocket book increases a bit.
New Mallet and my Chrome Bag

Ball in!!

Smile after a score

Patrick making his move
Eric D trying to look like he's doing something...

The ride home
As for my other riding, I've not been in the saddle much other than my typical commute.  Honestly, I'm not burned out from cycling but I'm ready to take a break from racing for a bit.  I had a strong CX season throughout the fall and winter.  I also made a few mountain bike races and one road race this season.  I'm just ready to step back a little bit till CX season and just enjoy riding for me, not for a race.  It's kind of weird to be in this mindset at the moment as all my other friends are gearing up for races every weekend.  Anyhow, I'll be back soon enough.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Paris-Roubaix Without a Saddle...

Pretty insane to have riden 20km in the Paris-Roubaix without a saddle!

What To Do When It Doesn't Go Your Way...

Life has dealt me an interesting stack of cards this week.  The funny thing is, all these cards are face down and I have the chance to pick and choose which cards I'm going to play.  I can turn a few things around, make some changes and I'll be back on track and going in the right direction, hopefully.  When times like this hit, the mind does a lot of thinking.  All this thinking wears down on you a little bit.

So most of you are probably wondering what I'm getting at.  Well, this blog is a little too public to really spread my mustard on so we'll just leave it to the above paragraph.  How does this relate to biking?  It relates to biking specifically because biking has been my escape.  It's been my way to deal with my problems.

Yesterday, I went to class and decided to hang around campus all day.  Mid day, I met up with my buddy Patrick and we did a little riding around the Boro.  We stopped in at Smoopy's Vintage Bicycles and picked up some Bike Polo Mallets that just came in.  I'm pretty stoked about the mallet and looking forward to using it in tonight's polo match.  After hanging out with Pat for most of the afternoon, I started making my way back to my place.  As I was pedaling along through downtown, I realized that I didn't really have anywhere to be by any specific time.  Why was I hammering it out?  So I slowed down a little bit.  Instead of taking the short route home, I hopped on the greenway.  The sun was in its last hour of the day and it cast a bright glow from behind all the trees.  While on the greenway, I popped in my earbuds and turned on some Mumford and Sons.  The tone of their music was pretty fitting for the mood that I was in.  My pace was pretty easy, the temps were warm but I wasn't even sweating.  My legs started to move the pedals with the tempo of the music.  I was in a trance of sorts.  All of a sudden, I felt amazing!  It was just me, my bike and some music.  All my problems didn't go away, I just had a new perspective on some things.  I really don't know how to put my feelings into words but I am thankful.  I have so many good things in my future.  I want to share my future with those who are close to me.

So this has been a pretty random blog post.  This was about as free form as my writing gets.  I'm not in the mindset to go back and change anything.  I'm gonna push forward, ride my bike and love those around me!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

More Tour de Fun...

Here's some more coverage of Tour de Fun.  I've been off the bike the last few days and nothing really going on anyhow besides getting ready for finals at school. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tons of Fun...

WOW!  What an eventful weekend!  I'm probably going to have to change the blog name now.  From the moment I woke up on Saturday morning till I went to bed Sunday night, I was on the run.  The weekend was filled with politics, bikes, beer, more bikes, more politics, coffee, more beer and then more politics. 
The leaders of the Rutherford Democrats.  That's me on the front left.

As soon as I woke Saturday, I hit the ground running.  I suited up nicely and joined my wife in attendance of the Rutherford County Democratic Party Convention.  At the convention, we had a large group in attendance!  It was quite inspiring for our party.  The convention lasted several hours and we elected our Executive Committee and our Officers.  I was elected as 1st Vice Chair of the County Party!  I'm pretty excited to be able to serve my community and to help spread the idea of Democratic values!
Taking care of business
Immediately after the Convention was over, I rushed back to the house, changed clothes, got the bike and headed back into town for Tour de Fun.  My original intent for the afternoon was to go to Nashville for the East Nashville Beer Festival but I considering how late I got out of the Convention, there was not enough time to make it up that way.  Tour de Fun ended up being an awesome alternative.  When I arrived, there were nearly 400 people on bikes!  It was a site beyond my comprehension in Murfreesboro!  I don't know how the organizers of this grassroots event were able to get that many people to show up.  The whole idea of Tour de Fun is to ride your bike from house to house and enjoy lots of different bands at each house.  The beer, of course, ran a plenty as well!  It was an amazing experience to meet so many new people as well as kick it with old friends.  The party lasted from 2pm till 2am.  After all was said and done, everything happened without any problems.  If you want to join in on such a huge party, prepare to attend Tour de Fun next year!  You don't want to miss it!

Sunday was still pretty busy, none the less.  As soon as I woke up, I realized my duties that are involved in being an officer for a political party.  Checked my emails and returned as many as I could.  What I like is how organized our local officers are and how enthusiastic we all are to be involved.  Between all the emails and phone calls, I was able to get a little quality time in with my wife.  We made a trip up to Nice Mill Dam for a little while to hang out by the river.  The water was cold but that definitely didn't stop anyone from getting into the water and doing a little swimming.  There is a nice set of rapids that a lot of folks were body surfing along.  My wife called it "Hillbilly Surfing". 

All in all, it was an awesome weekend.  Now it's time to get back to concentrating on school.  I hope to do quite a bit of biking this week as well.  I was planning on doing the Aaron Shafer road race this weekend but instead, I'm going to join my wife for a trip to Chattanooga to see our family.  So it looks like I'm not going to be doing anymore racing till May.  Over the next few days, I'll keep posting more Tour de Fun pictures.  Unfortunately, pictures don't do the event full justice. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Life and Bike Polo...

Photo courtesy of the Wall Street Journal
I'm quite aware that there was no blog post yesterday.  I figured that my life had been so uneventful on Wednesday, that I wasn't going to bore anyone with a bunch of nonsense.  As for yesterday, my life got a little more exciting.  Last night, I made my way back to campus to hit up the weekly Murfreesboro Bike Nite.  Bike Nite is a weekly urban ride around the Boro that is mostly about just kicking it with friends.  The pace is extremely chill and lots of people turn out for the ride.  Before Bike Nite, we got a bike polo match going on the quad.  I haven't played any bike polo since leaving Georgia.  We had a 4 on 4 match going.  I had forgot how intense a bike polo match can get.  You are constantly in motion, sprinting for the ball while making sure you have your bike under control.  Our crew in Murfreesboro has built up a pretty active group.  Apparently, Nashville has a really good group as well and the Boro folks have gone up that way to play a few matches.  I'm definitely looking forward to getting in on future matches!
Local graffiti along my commute
Along my commute on the greenway
Also to note, the weather has been awesome for most of this week!  My commutes have had perfect temperatures and the greenway is finally cleaned off from the earlier rain during the week.  I couldn't get much happier than I am right now with life!  School is almost over for the semester.  I've also realized this week that I have so many great friends and an awesome wife who supports everything I do in life!  I'll keep rolling on this "High on Life" attitude for as long as I can!  Some pretty cool things are going down this weekend.  With as busy as I will be, I doubt I'll have any weekend posts.  However, tune back in on Monday for a weekend recap. 

But if you do want in on the fun, scan this for a treasure map!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Unbelievable Flip...

This video was too rad not to post!

Spring Is In The Air...

I was pretty lazy yesterday. The only riding I did was with my commute. I opted for the short route on my commute, figuring the greenway would be flooded from the previous night's storm. Turns out, I was right. As I traveling over a bridge that crosses the greenway, it was completely flooded. It will probably be several days if not the weekend before I can go that route again. Every time it floods, most sections are covered with mud until the city is able to scrape it.
Along my downtown commute.  Spring is in the air!
On other news, I'm working on defining my race schedule for the next few months. Looks like I'll be racing in the Aaron Shafer Road Race in Sparta, Tennessee. The course is 40 miles and should there should be a pretty good showing of racers considering there aren't many road races on the TBRA calendar this year. Last race, I was a little under hydrated. Between now and my next race, I'm going to make it my goal to keep hydrated properly. Being dehydrated has left me pretty tired in these last few days following last weekend's race. Me being tired sucks pretty bad!

On a last note, I'd like to give my thank you speech to all my blogisphere readers. The past few weeks, my viewership has jumped through the roof. It's no longer just my mom! Hopefully, I'll keep the posts a coming and you'll keep on reading. In the next weeks and months to come, I'll start doing a few review write ups on my bikes and various pieces of gear. All y'all know I got some opinions to share.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Surprising Finish!

After watching Cancellara pull for nearly the entire race, he turns his head, only for Nick Nuyens and Sylvain Chavanel to take advantage and sprint past to the finish!

Music On My Mind...

And let's take it back a moment!

Movin' On Up...

Well, I'm a moving on up!  I got confirmation from our local USAC representative that my upgrade to Cat4 has been approved!  I was honestly quite surprised that the upgrade came that easy!  I suspected that I would at least have to get a few more races under my belt.  Regardless, I look forward to racing in the 4's and hopefully moving up into the 3's by the end of the season.  It's going to take a lot of work and will definitely be a learning process.  

Also worth a mention was my commute yesterday.  On my ride home, the tornado sirens were blaring on campus as a storm was about to shake the town.  About a mile from my place, the rain started coming down and the wind was so ridiculous I could hardly keep the bike stable!  I've rode in all kinds of weather and I'm no amateur to storms but this was the worst ride in a storm that I've ever had!  I felt really happy to be home and immediately hunkered down with the cat and some flashlights!

What will today bring?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sandbagger...A Race Recap

Click the picture for a tutorial on sandbagging
So I raced in the Hell of the South Road Race over the weekend.  I raced in the Cat5 field with 50 other riders.  I was able to pull out a win as well.  I'm pretty stoked about the win however, I should have built a wall of sandbags around me to prepare myself for the flood of criticism I've received since the race!  Seems as though everyone thinks I'm a sandbagger for winning the Cat5 race even though this was my first ever road race and I had no other option besides entering the Cat5 race.  99.9% of my racing experience has been in Mountain Biking and Cyclocross.  So, I guess if winning the Cat5 race makes me a sandbagger, then so be it.

Saturday morning, I woke up nice and early.  I had the hardest time sleeping due to the excitement of entering my first road race.  I loaded up the truck, checked to make sure it would start and headed off to Lewisburg, Tennessee for the race.  I showed up just shortly before 8am and there was quite the showing already.  Made it through registration where yes, they checked my road license to make sure I registered in the correct category.  I then suited up and did a little warm up with my team mate, Chris W.  Everyone was talking about the gravel section of the course.  As Chris and I warmed up, we found a little gravel area and tested our skills.  To my surprise, my road tires handled the gravel chop pretty well.  Anyhow, we finished our warmup, hit some energy gels and lined up with the rest of the Cat5 racers.

At the start line, the officials went over a bunch of the race rules.  Many of these I'd never heard before, because I've never raced in a road race.  After a long introduction, we were given the ok for a rolling start.  As soon as we crossed the start/finish line, the group was still chit chatting with each other.  The pace was around 17-18mph.  I just kept thinking through my head that this would only be a 28 mile race.  Why were we going so slow?  Before the race, I had heard from some guys that raced last year that the group led out a really slow pace till nearly the gravel section (mile 6).  Instead of me hanging around and chatting, I decided it was worth the effort to go ahead and make a breakaway since I figured no one would take it seriously off the start.  When I started my break, I was in a full on sprint.  About 200m into the break, I looked back and realized that no one followed!  This partly excited me and also somewhat concerned me.  I now knew that I would be riding by myself for some portion of the race at the very least.

About 2 miles into the course, the road was a little rough and started to cover some rolling hills.  At the crest of each hill, I would give a slight glance behind me to see if anyone was in pursuit.  Still no one.  The lead vehicle was keeping a great pace and never allowing me to get too close.  I have to admit, I was trying to catch the officials vehicle as best as I could.  I considered the officials vehicle to be like a dangling carrot.  Around mile 6ish I was descending pretty fast and noticed "Slow Down" painted on the road.  I told myself, "Hell no, I ain't gonna slow down!"  This turned out to be the section where the road turns from paved to gravel/dirt.  Luckily, my CX instincts kicked in and I made the transition turn perfectly.  My heart started pumping out of excitement for being on a dirt road.  I picked my line which turned out to be flawless and made it through that section with no problems.

Following the dirt road section, there were more hills but the roads weren't as bad.  At this point in the race, I was starting to focus on ways I could keep the pack from catching me.  Each hill I hit, I hammered it.  On the descents and most of the flat sections, I made sure I was down in the drops.  I concentrated on my each and every move.  I also concentrated on giving myself a little recovery when needed.  When it was time to drink, I drank.  When it was time to eat, I ate.  Even though I was by myself, I was still racing.

Finally, I came across what was setup as a neutral feed zone.  As I passed the feed zone, I heard a few cheers from some familiar faces.  I knew the feed zone was placed near the close of the loop and was intended for the Cat4's and higher.  This gave me the signal to really gun it to the finish and not allow any gap I made to be closed.  I gave one last look back and still didn't see anyone.  On the last stretch to the finish, I gave it all I had.  I was seated in the saddle, hands in the drops and sweat pouring from my brow.  I saw the 2k mark, then the 200m mark.  At the 200m mark, I was filled with so much excitement that I nearly teared up crossing the finish.  I won my very first road race!!

I waited around the finish to watch for the 2nd and 3rd place finishes.  8 minutes after my finish, a group of 3 came riding in.  At the 200m mark, you saw a paceline break apart and a sprint ensued.  This did not look like a Cat5 sprint finish.  This looked like these guys had some experience in what they were doing.  And to be honest, I'm glad I wasn't in that group because they probably could have beat me if it came down to a sprint finish.  Anyhow, they crossed the finish nearly wheel and wheel.  It was a spectacular finish!

After the race was over, I stood up on the podium and accepted my trophy and some prize winnings.  I was elated by the experience.  I was also proud with the showing that our team made.  The Harpeth Bicycle Race Team had 3 spots on the podium between the Cat5 race and the Cat4 race!  Of course, I've got the heckling from all my friends calling me a sandbagger.  Again, if winning your very first race makes you a sandbagger, than slap me and call me Shirley!  Somebody has got to win!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Wet Weather Road Rides...

I saddled up on the road bike yesterday.  Considering the way I've been feeling this week about riding, I'm surprised I did it.  But once I got on the bike, I felt great!  The roads couldn't have been any wetter.  In a lot of places, there was standing water.  The temperatures weren't very cooperative either.  Temps were hovering in the high 40's for most of the ride.  I left my place with no particular destination for the ride and planned on keeping the pace pretty chill.  On the way out, I had a nice tailwind that helped to build my ride motivation a bit more.  About 6 miles into the ride, I decided I wanted to hit a little climb to stretch my legs and expand my lungs just a little bit so I headed towards Whitus Road.  The climb isn't much but for around here, it is one of the more extended pulls.  I felt pretty solid at this point in the ride and decided to put a little effort into it.  I finished the short ride with another 26 miles under my belt.  I was able to pull off a 21.8 mph average which made my happy considering my returning headwind.  After it was all said and done, I was happy to have gone for a ride.  You know, you have to do these kind of rides sometimes.  It just makes you that much stronger when you face these kind of conditions in a race.  
This is my happy face.
Looking towards the climb up Whitus Road
Road before the climb up Whitus
As for today, I'll commute into class on the bike but will lay low and get some rest otherwise.  Hell of the South is tomorrow morning.  I've got a lot to get done between now and then.  The bike is a mess from yesterday's ride, I need to switch out wheelsets and cassette, swap over tires, tune up my rig and get my race bag ready.  At least I didn't procrastinate on registration this year and miss the early reg discount!  Anyhow, I'll probably post up a race re-cap sometime later in the weekend or on Monday morning.