Monday, January 31, 2011

Awesome Weekend...

What an awesome weekend it was!  The weather was great! Most of the weekend was spent enjoying the company of an out of town friend and riding the bike in this awesome weather on Friday and Sunday.  Today appears to be another nice day in regards to weather and I plan on busting out the sandals for the first time this year.  I'm looking forward to this next weekend in which I will make my way back down to Georgia for the 2nd Snake Creek Gap Time Trial race.  I'm feeling pretty good for the most part.  We'll see if the weather cooperates.

Here's a pretty cool video I stumbled across this weekend.  Enjoy and I will update more on the Uneventful Life as more eventful things happen.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Yesterday morning fared a lot better than the previous.  My commute to school was quite pleasant.  There was still a dusting of snow on the ground with temperatures in the mid 20's.  The nice part about the commute was that the clouds were nowhere to be seen.  I started my commute right at the break of day.  About a mile from my house, I cross over I-24 on Hwy 96.  Within the city limits of Murfreesboro, there aren't many hills.  The only elevation change comes from crossing the highway overpasses.  As I crossed the I-24 overpass, I had a spectacular view of my town with the sun rising in the background.  This view gave me a renewed energy for a new day.  This view was a welcomed change from the weather we have been having over the past few weeks. 

This brings me to my next topic.  I read a blog post from the one and only, Dan Hensley, regarding the relaxing aspect of driving a car.  He made several good points but the one point that stuck was, "When was the last time driving home from work helped you relax after a long, rough day on the job?"  While I was riding my bike yesterday, I thought about this quite a bit.  That is what prompted me to stop my bike on the side of the road and take a picture of the sun rise in the distance.  I almost always have my camera with me when I ride my bike.  I love capturing some of these moments when I ride.  However, while I was taking the picture, I realized I was the only one on the side of the road taking in the sunrise.  Everyone else was zooming by me in their cars.  Most were traveling 10-15 MPH over the speed limit and several had a cell phone plastered against the side of their head.  I was content with this moment.  However, I wish others could have joined me in the enjoyment of the moment.

I don't want to come across all anti-car.  Because I'm not.  I own a car, my wife owns a car.  I just choose to use mine a lot less frequently than most others.  My point is that I want people to slow down their minds a little and seek to enjoy life.  If you can do so while driving your car, then great.  Just be courteous of us cyclists who are outside of the box and enjoying our commutes as well!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cold As Ice...

Iced Cassette
If there was any day that I could have driven the truck into town instead of commuting by bike, yesterday was that day!  I know I gave everyone hell for not getting out and riding their bike in this weather.  I ended up eating my words during the entire commute to school yesterday morning.  Anyhow, I made my commute but morning ride was pretty frigid.  I got up a little earlier yesterday morning in an effort to get a head start since it was snowing pretty good.  Thankfully, I picked up a new softshell jacket the day before and decided to test it out.  I got started on the road around 6:45am.  I immediately started to feel miserable.  The snow was coming down so hard, I could only see about 50-60 feet in front of me.  The worst part was the snow was really wet.  As it would hit my face, the snowflakes kept building up on my chin fuzz and freezing.  Another thing that started to freeze was my cassette.  The roads were really slushy and all that slush somehow managed to make its way into my cassette.  Within 3 miles of my commute, I had lost the ability to shift.  I was stuck in my 28t cog.  This left me spinning pretty pretty hard for the rest of the commute.

I made it to class with little insult to injury.  Classes were fine and after a few hours, I came back out to my bike to find that the cassette was still frozen over.  I pulled out my bike tool and tried to chip away at the ice but it wasn't working.  I was able to pedal up the street to MOAB where I used their hot water and got the ice to melt.  I hung around the shop for a bit and let the water dry on the cassette so it wouldn't freeze again.  Afterwards, I made my commute home via the greenway for a few extra miles.  The commute home was fantastic!  It was no longer snowing and the path was really clear.  As I suspected, I hardly saw anyone out and about which made it nice for me.  I did come up on a female runner from behind and she did not anticipate my approach.  As I rode past her, she let out a yell of several profanities.  Not only was she startled but her outburst certainly startled me!  I politely apologized for startling her but she was even more embarrassed and could hardly respond.  Anyhow, I rode on and made it home safely and a lot more comfortably in the afternoon commute than my morning commute.  This was definitely a commute that I will remember!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Some Days Are Just Pretty Rad...

It's been a pretty cool day so I thought I'd share something that always makes my smile.

Its Snowing Out, Of Course...

Looks like it will be yet another snowy commute to school this morning on the bike.  Luckily, I threw on some 32c WTB Pathway tires that have a little bite to them for the road.  I also installed some new Velo Orange fluted fenders on the bike this week.  These fenders have been great!  They really cover both the front and rear tires really well.  On my rainy commute yesterday, I didn't get a drop of road spray on my feet or my drive train.  Anyhow, I'm not going to puss out this morning just because its a little cold and wet.  For those of you who are thinking about staying off the bike today, watch this and grow some balls!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


So, I've been slacking on the blog.  School has played a major factor in that.  However, I'm becoming more accustomed to my new daily schedule and will become more frequent with the blog posts again. 

Being a student has in fact increased the amount of riding I've been doing.  Having classes Monday through Friday, I now actually have a reason to get out and do a little riding.  There are a couple of commute distance options.  If the weather is shitty, I tend to take the 5 mile route to school via a busy highway into town.  If the weather is nicer (i.e. not raining), I'll typically take the 10 mile route via the greenway.  I've been averaging about 20-25 miles per day in commuter miles.  This has been a good way for me to keep up some base fitness throughout these cold months and stay off the trainer.  As for the weather that I've had to ride in lately, it's been awesome!  I thrive on cold and snowy conditions.  Something about a snow covered road or greenway brings back memories of being a child and playing in the snow.  We've definitely had a fair share of snow in Tennessee lately.  The ice, on the other hand, hasn't been very awesome.  I've had a few spills this year and one close call with traffic due to the ice.  I could definitely do without that!

Bike Commute Route
On Sunday, I decided to mix things up a little bit and get on the road bike.  The weather was a bit warmer than it had been for the last few weeks and it was finally dry!  I left the house with the intent to meet up with the Murfreesboro Bicycle Club down in Rockvale.  When I arrived at Rockvale Elementary School, there was a small group of the usual club riders.  Most everyone had done a hard ride the day before and the general consensus seemed to be that everyone wanted to go out for some base miles.  We all started together but I quickly got the urge to take off the front.  For most of the ride, I would hammer it from intersection to intersection and would wait up for the group since I didn't know the route.  When it was all said and done, I finished the 43 mile ride with an average pace of 21.1 mph.  This was definitely my fastest ride for 2011 but I haven't had many road rides to compare it to.  I was definitely satisfied with my stats. 

The next few weeks will of course contain a lot of daily commuter miles and some weekend hammerfests.  I've got the Snake Creek Gap TT coming up the first weekend of February as well as the first weekend of March.  I'm considering doing the Knoxie-Cross race following the February Snake Creek Gap race as well.  Then, I've got the Southern Cross race in Dahlonega, GA on the last Saturday of February.  My race calendar is going to be pretty full for the next few months.  We'll see how it pans out.  I'm really excited to be riding for the Ride For Reading Cycling Team this year.  Hopefully we'll make a good showing at some races and promote this awesome charity!

As for the blog, I'll try to check in at least a few times per week even if it's just to post something that is of interest to me at the moment. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Weekend Getaways and Wardrobe Changes...

I must say, this has been a very relaxing weekend!  Saturday evening and part of this morning was spent up on Monteagle Mountain at a cabin with some friends.  The drive to the cabin was great!  There was still a significant amount of snow up on the mountain.  The driveway into the cabin was still pretty slick and covered with packed down snow.  While at the cabin, we enjoyed each others company with a great selection of beer and food.  The nicest part of the weekend was just being away from our day to day lives and unwinding. 

Driveway to the cabin
Now I'm back in the Boro.  Once I got back, I decided to head over to the local Goodwill based on a lead from a friend.  I stopped in to find a perfectly good pair of yellow Specialized mountain bike shoes for $10!  Checked the fit and got my spot in line to checkout.  These shoes will make a great addition to my totally rad style on the bike!  Hell, I figured Dicky got a new pair of kicks for the season, so I should follow his footsteps of less-than-awesomeness and get a new myself a pair as well.  Turned out to be a great decision.  Maybe I'll get a little ride time on them sometime this week.

My kicks look better than Dicky's
Also on the list of wardrobe changes, I'll be wearing a new cycling kit this season.  Recently, I signed up to ride for the "Ride for Reading Cycling Team".  As many of you know, Ride For Reading is a charity setup to provide books to underprivileged kids.  All the books are delivered by bikes.  The organization has a grassroots cycling team.  This year, I'm stepping up as the Team Coordinator and hopefully we'll get to quite a few races and events to support such a great cause!

Tomorrow is MLK Day and I will be off from school.  I expect to run a few errands to pick up some last minute school supplies and books.  After that, maybe a good long ride will be in store?  We'll see! 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

When you motor away on the icey streets...

The blog posts have been not much more than a trickle lately.  It seems as though many of the blogs that I read are in the same shape.  My excuse, however, is that I am back in school.  Thursday, I attended my first class in nearly 7 years!  Things are going well so far.  I'm enjoying the class schedule that I have and think it's going to be a great transition.
Bundled up for my commute to school.
Being back in school doesn't mean I'm going to ride less.  In fact, I think I will be riding much more.  This week, I had to actually set my alarm clock.  I've been getting up around 5:45am, showering, drinking some coffee and on the road by 7:00am.  The temperatures have been pretty frigid around here for being in Tennessee.  Each morning during my commute, the temperature never got about 20 degrees.  I've adapted pretty well and it doesn't really both me too bad.  By the time I get out of class, the temps have been getting into the low 30's for a nice balmy ride home.  The commute to school is about 5 miles each way if I take the main highway into town or about 9 miles if I take the scenic route along the greenway.  Hopefully this next week will be a little warmer and melt some of the ice that is covering the greenway.  Until then, I'll have to stick to the main highway into town (which is pretty scary to say the least).

Our snow covered campus
As for my weekend, I'll be relaxing today and tomorrow up on Monteagle Mountain at a cabin with my wife and some friends.  I'm going to take a few days off from the bike and just enjoy things a little bit.  Word has it that Monteagle still has about 3 inches of snow covering the ground.  That should make for a beautiful setting to enjoy the weekend.  As for Monday, school is out but I plan on swinging by the bookstore to waste a few more hundred dollars on unneeded reading material for class and will probably go for a nice bike ride around the Boro.   

I've been really stuck on listening to some GBV lately.  They played a show in Nashville last night but unfortunately I missed it.  So, here's a little something for me to leave you with for the weekend!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snake Creek Gap Reflection...

I've been meaning to update the blog earlier this week.  Between playing in the fresh snow and making gallons of snow cream, I just haven't found the time to do so.  Since I'll be going back to school tomorrow, I figured I might as well give everyone an update.

On Saturday, I raced in the Snake Creek Gap Time Trial in Dalton, Georgia.  The wife and I packed up the car on Friday and drove to my in-law's house for the night.  Saturday morning, I woke up earlier than necessary and made the 45 minute drive to Dalton.  Once in Dalton, made a much needed pit stop at the local Race Trac gas station and met up my buddies from the Macon Crew for some breakfast.  It was definitely nice to catch up with all these guys since I haven't seen most of them since moving from Georgia back in the Summer. 

Not too much later, we were at the registration for the race.  I shot the shit with several other familiar faces and loaded my bike onto the trailer to be taken to the start line of the race.  Around 9am, we all loaded the bus and made the trek to the start line.  The bus ride was somewhat nerve wrecking as there were 40 guys on each bus probably average 175 pounds each.  Each time the bus would go down a hill, the bus driver would apply the brakes which would cause the bus to shudder really bad.  Anyhow, we made it to the start line.  Luckily, I got my bike and made it in the first 1/4 of folks for the start.  The race officials allowed about 4-5 people to start at a time in about 2 minute waves.  At the start line, the race official asked my last name.  I informed here, "Deane."  She responded, "Like James Dean."  I responded back, "Well yes, that is actually my name."  I felt really proud at that moment!  So proud, I knew I had to blog about it.

I started in the same wave as my buddy Mike Brown.  Mike gave me some advice to avoid starting to hard from the line.  Well, I didn't listen.  Pretty soon, Mike B was no longer to be seen in my vision.  I came to the first stream crossing which has been notorious for being flooded.  Luckily, the stream was low enough to ride across.  After crossing the stream, the race course continued to climb the ridge on an old fire road.  For the most part, everything was in great condition.  There were a few slick muddy turns here and there but nothing too bad.  Since I was riding a single speed, I had to watch myself on the climbs in an effort to make sure I didn't blow up too soon.  One of the APB riders came around me and I decided to catch his wheel for a little drafting assistance up the mountain.  We began to average a pretty good pace up the double track and soon came to where the actual singletrack trail starts.  During the first 17 miles, everything went pretty well.  I felt great and was very surprised when we made it to the halfway point so quickly. 

At the halfway point, volunteers had our sag bags laid out for us.  I scanned 20-30 bags looking for my bag.  It was a target shopping bag with my name drawn on it with a neon sharpie.  I had no luck finding my bag.  I then asked one of the volunteers and he replied that they are all right there.  I was bummed as I really wanted my Oreos and I had a bottle of diluted Gatorade that I was in need of.  Instead, I settled with refilling my water bottles with water and stuffed a few Fig Newtons in my jersey pocket from the aid station.  Luckily I didn't waste much time at the sag station and got back on the trail pretty quickly.

I had been warned about the second half of the course.  Many of my friends who have previously raced the Snake had advised to be on the lookout for the last 8-9 miles.  I was told that the last section of the trail had a lot of rocks that would jar the hell out of you.  With this knowledge, I decided to conserve some of my energy before that section.  At this point in the race, I was wheel to wheel with Jonathan Woody of Harpeth Bicycles.  He and I yo-yo'd back and forth a bit for several miles.  Woody was riding really strong and I enjoyed keeping pace with him.  After peaking over a ridge and making my descent, I pulled away from Woody just a bit made my break.  I was feeling great!  One concern that hit me was my water level.  I had been drinking a lot of fluids throughout the race as to not start cramping.  With my water bottles getting low, I was slightly concerned.  Luckily we came up on a water truck at the top of the last double track climb.  I filled up one bottle and hit the trail for the last section, the rocky section. 

At this point, I had caught up with good friends Monty and Charlie (Macon Crew).  Monte was having some mechanical issues and Charlie and I passed him for a moment.  All three of us yo-yo'd back and forth on our positions but soon enough I was in the front.  I was a bit concerned with leading through the rocky section as I had to take it a bit slower than others.  You see, I don't have suspension on my bike.  The rocks wer

I knew the race was close to being over.  I did feel a bit tired on some of the brief inclines but I still had a little bit of energy left.  About 1.5 miles from the finish, my buddy Mike Brown caught back up to me.  I was shocked as hell!  I just couldn't believe in my head that I had stayed in front of him the entire race and at the last moment, he catches up to me.  He could tell that I was wearing down a little bit and took the chance to get around me.  He made the pass and I tried to stay on his wheel but couldn't hold on enough.  We made it to the paved road that descends about a mile to the finish line.  I had Mike in my sights the entire descent but being on a single speed, there was no chance of me being able to catch him while doing 35mph down the road. 

I finally crossed the finish line with a time of 3:58:12.  I was super stoked to find out that I broke a 4 hour finish.  Mike had crossed the finish line in 3:57:36.  He finished 36 seconds ahead of me!  Regardless, I felt great with my finish.  The course wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be.  I definitely look forward to the next race in February.  I can't be any happier with the race conditions of this race.  The temps stayed in the low to mid 40's for most of the race.  We'll see how things play out for the next two races.

Tomorrow, I'll probably blog about the fun in the snow that I've had this week.  I think you all have read enough about my uneventful life for one day.

Friday, January 7, 2011

This week...

The Uneventful Life
Sorry for no updates on my uneventful life this week but honestly, things have been pretty uneventful.  Most of my week has involved watching the first 3 seasons of Entourage on DVD, eating and going for casual bike rides into town.  Boring, I know.  I decided to rest up some this week yet get some easy rides in before the Snake Creek Gap tomorrow.  I'm registered, I'm going and it may still be cold.  To all of my Georgia friends who think I will probably back out, it's not gonna happen!  The car has been recently repaired and there doesn't appear to be anything that will go wrong with it.  My wife is 100% supportive of this adventure as well.  She is even taking off early from work today so we can hit the road to stay at her parent's house tonight.

Tomorrow morning, I'll make the 45 minute drive from my in-law's place to Dalton, Georgia where I'll prepare myself for probably one of the hardest mountain bike races I have done yet.  The Snake Creek Gap Time Trial is a 34 mile course where you are shuttled to one end on a bus and you ride the course back to the finish.  The course covers some of the hardest terrain in North Georgia.  I'm completely prepared for the race.  I'm on the peak of my fitness and I feel pretty confident!  Hell, if Dan Hensley can finish it, I sure as hell can finish!  Anyhow, life is life and it's meant to be spent having fun!  With a cooler full of beer and 34 miles of some tough mountain biking, how can fun not be had?!?

One other important topic to mention on today's post is regarding an important registration date.  The Southern Cross Race is coming up on February 26th.  Southern Cross involves 50+ miles of North Georgia gravel and dirt road racing that finishes on a true cyclocross course at Montaluce Winery in Dahlonega, GA.  If you want to race Southern Cross and get a really rad t-shirt, you need to register by 5:00PM EST today (Friday January 7, 2011)!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year...

Well, it's here. Happy New Year 2011! Now time to get into the habit of writing the correct date on all my checks.

December 31st was my birthday and the day couldn't have started off any better. I got a 40 mile road ride in with some friends. The temps were in the low 60's which made for a sweat in my long sleeve jersey. The headwinds were a bitch but it was all good in the end. When I got home, the wife had a gift sitting on the kitchen table all wrapped up. I gladly ripped open the present to discover a brand new Brooks Swift saddle! I've been wanting a new Brooks for a while. I was then surprised with another present. I immediately opened it to find some matching Brooks leather bar tape! Now I can really get my touring bike looking nice!

Happy Birthday Me!
Later in the day, my folks showed up and we stopped by the local bakery for some cupcakes. We then hit the road to Loveless Cafe for dinner. If you have never been to Loveless Cafe, you are missing out! They have the best homemade biscuits. I selected the BBQ and Eggs as my dinner of choice. My selection fared very well! After stuffing our bodies with such great food, we retired to the apartment for an evening of relaxation and liquid spirits! I now prefer to stay in on New Years as you don't have to fight the crowds and high priced alcohol. Overall, this was the best birthday I think I've ever had and I was glad to enjoy it with my family!

Dinner at Loveless Cafe
On New Years Day, I said my goodbyes to my parents and they hit the road back to Knoxville. The wife and I made a quick trip to REI for the "Scratch and Dent" sale to only find an overcrowded store and all the good stuff already gone. Once back in the Boro, I met up with my buddy Eric D. We hit the local pub for some beer and food. Eric is started a local courier company in Murfreesboro that focuses on the use of bikes for delivery. If you are in need of a fast delivery in the Boro, check out Clean and Green Couriers.  Things are in the beginning stages but they have an awesome business plan that I am sure will be successful!  Anyhow, I got a quick ride in on the new saddle and loved every minute of it!  I'm looking forward to it breaking in a bit and then it will be really comfortable.

Sunday road ride
Sunday was mostly spent on a long road ride.  A small group of us hit the road towards Pulltight Road out in the county.  The ride included a fair amount of climbing.  I had never been this far out into the county and really enjoyed the ride.  The "Pulltight" climb wasn't as bad as its reputation.  For the most part, its pretty quick and steep.  We did the ride at a pretty casual pace and just enjoyed the conversation and Ellis' bitching.  We ended up with 54 miles of riding and blue skies. 

The climb up Pulltight Road
This week is gonna be spent getting things organized and ready for classes starting next week.  I'm definitely going to incorporate some riding plans in there.  My goal for 2011 is to ride 6,000 miles.  We'll see if that happens.  Anyhow, Happy New Year!