Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Red Bicyclette......shorts

Oh yes.....I wore RED bicycle shorts today. They would not be the bib shorts that I would choose to wear in a group ride, but I was the only one in the group today. The real reason for my red bicycle short wearin adventure today....was that I kept forgetting to do the laundry the last several, I really had nothing else to wear. So, I decided to make it fun for you, the viewing audience.......there probably ain't many of you out there...but, in my little world....there are a lot of you out there.....way out there! :D
I knew today was going to be a short ride, so I had to put some intensity into my ride.....and I need to get used to it since I won't be riding that much over the next 6 weeks. "No Time? Go Hard" according to Mr. Christopher Carmichael. So, I did...some intervals...the Under Overs, 2 minutes sustained max then 1 minute puke. And, I did them in my little red bicycle shorts.
Actually, what I have heard in hushed tones in small circles is that chicks secretly dig it when guys wear red bicycle shorts. If you search the web, there are some disturbing pictures of guys in red bicycle shorts. Uh, much more revealing than I care to be.
Anyway, I had a lot to do today, so a short ride was in order. Much of my "doing" this weekend has been focused on the anticipated arrival of my daughter next weekend. Her room is ready and I have a few other things I think she will like when she gets here. I'm not sure exactly how focused I want to be on biking. I'd like to keep some form so I can compete in the fall and winter....cyclocross maybe? Last summer I did a lot of fixed gear at the track and the road bike races at the track.....once a week kept me hot for the fall.
Today there was a huge draw of my physical being to a place along the parkway where I just like to go and sit and watch the view. Every year just before my daughter arrives and after she leaves I just go there without planning it, strangely this place that I just enjoy. I just like the view and the mental release it does for me. Surprisingly, it is just inches off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is a wooden fence to sit on and watch the terrain. Today was hot....didn't stay long...but, it is my transition portal to the next phase of my year.....the most special and meaningful time of my year. A summer hanging out with my daughter.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Bakery Ride: June 23rd, 2007

Why do they call this the Bakery Ride? Uh, it is because we meet at Fuddruckers.....? And THEN, we ride on the sidewalk to the Asheville City Bakery .....and run pedestrians off the sidewalk...or something like that. Idiots! Maybe collect a few more cyclist there. Then, we head out. Well, that is the way is usually starts....or, at least when I show up for this ride.

The Bakery Ride was kind of started by, then Health Net - now Toyota United, Justin England who wanted to have a winter training group ride here in Asheville (when he lived here in 2005 & 2006) on Saturday mornings. Justin is living (at elevation) in Boulder, CO now....but the Bakery Ride still goes on without him. The ride usually happens through the season when there is not a race in the area......and/or it still happens and non-racers show up. In the winter, the Asheville elite show up. And for me, just the average Frank, it is pretty cool to ride in such company.

Well today, about 7 local jokers and 2 out of towners showed up.....actually one of the out of towners just moved to the area from Raleigh. Over the last few days I had very little motivation to ride the bike....maybe a bug or something. So, last night I didn't think I would actually show up after getting an invite from Hairy Legs Fred (the Angry New Yorker) who is just a "stich".....I mean a ride with. Miraculously, after only a cup of coffee this morning (instead of my 3 to 4) I left my little pad and headed to meet the few people that I knew would be there.

I am glad that I did. The ride pushed me and I hung on. Any ride is enjoyable when Fast Eddie is there. Art is such the good samaritan, helping the lost Floridians with friendly directions.....and also talking peaceful conversations while a dog owner assists us with a dog bite.....yes, we had a dog bite today, luckily Ruco (?) had his shots and the owners were very friendly and helpful. Anytime you ride in Madison County NC, just take dog mace. There are no leash laws.

At the end of the ride I was beat.....and I could feel my couch reaching for me for an after ride afternoon nap. My computer showed about 4:01 hours, 67 miles, 4271 feet of climbing and 16.4 mph average. Most of the ride I did not know where I was....there was a long gravel road and few nice short climbs...."how'd we get here?". But, those are the best kind of long as someone else knows where we are. I guess I could find my way home if I had too.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Complete Guide to CLIMBING (By Bike) - John Summerson

Years ago a met a cyclist named John Summerson on the King of the Mountain list serve. He checked out my Southern Appalachian Road Climbs web site and then asked me to review some layouts, maps and text of his upcoming book, The Complete Guide to CLIMBING (By Bike). I said, "sure!" I was honored to have been asked by John to review it. Well, John just sent me a copy of the book. I was thrilled to see my name is in the Acknowledgments section.

Be sure to pick this one up. It highlights the 144 climbs across the USA. It also includes a top 10 list of most difficult climbs.

-Frank (wishes he was a climber, but he's a sprinter instead.)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

DON'T Let me NOT be Frank.

Rob - You should post....."It isn't NOT about the bike." reference to a future blog post.

What a weekend of fun. We bailed on the 115 mile Cherohala Challenge and settled for an epic 20 mile ride up and back to the top of Yellow Creek gap. We had just climbed this climb in the middle of May during the "Cherohala-Fontana" version of Climbing Camp. I never posted anything because I don't have the pictures yet. ":o

As we were driving to our ride start, we were descending down the Cherohala Skyway from Hooper Bald and we started seeing many many many cyclist coming up the mountain riding the Cherohala Challenge. Frank (that's me) was in rare (old) form this weekend......."we should, like, park down at the bottom of the climb and then ride up the climb (with our fresh legs), dropping all these them 'the look' and attack them up the climb".....their poor souls looked WASTED. The cyclist who we were seeing were the last batch of 75 or so of 400-ish starters who were at their 70-ish mile marker. They had just started up the long 13+ miles of the Cherohala Skyway. "We could like, sit on their wheel....and pretend we are talking to our team car...'sure Johan, attack now?'....then just drop them". Then, we see a guy on the side of the road stopped and bent over his bars......Frank's true form come out. "hey man, you okay?....there is a rest stop just up the road around the next turn" (there really was). Then, we started honking the CAR HORN OF ENCOURAGEMENT for the remaining cyclist encouraging them up the climb, fists pumping in the air. After several minutes of seeing cyclist after cyclist struggle up the climb, Frank says,....."let's tell them, that they are 'almost there' when we pass them...". LOL. We continued to honk to them waving our fists in the air. "you can do it, mon"., I wish I had my cow bell. Venga, venga, venga.

We got our lazy wine-drinking camping-butts on our bikes and ascended up Yellow Creek. I wanted to show Rob this climb, "it is really steep". He had just returned from Italy......and climbed the Zoncolan....he later said, "Frank, I've been climbing steep climbs for the last 3 weeks in Europe". Why should I think that Rob would find this hillbilly mountain climb incredible after that trip? I just don't have any idea what I was thinking. ....thanks for the cool Giro shirt. "I'll wear that to work next week".

Anyway, I watched the 145-pound Rob climb away from me with his seasoned Zoncolan legs.....and his American painted Colnago....with a TRIPLE, with like a 30x32 for his lowest gear against my SRAM 39x26. He climbed away from me....spinning through the 15% section...and then when the climb dropped to around 8%. I eased my way up to him slowly...he never looked back to see where I was. I targeted the last short pitch of a few hundred meters to catch him. It jumps up to about 10%. I shifted up two gears to eventually close the 250m-ish gap....but, to only just miss his wheel and a bike length across the finish....he heard me coming.....he never looked back the entire climb to see where I was.....I WAS WASTED....circling the top of the climb for some relief. He got me. What fun.
We got back to the campsite (Andy's 27 acre mtn property @ 4400' asl) and fixed us up a good ole stir fry frenzy. "All hands on deck" we are cuttin the vegetables and cooking them over the fire with steak and chicken. Everything was awesome. Along the way we started talking about "double negatives" and that is where the motivation for the title of this post was derived......DON'T let me NOT be Frank. I was frank that night, I guess. There was a lot of frank conversation, laughing, razzing each other, laughing, something something about Frank's Blog.....I can't remember much of the conversation right now.....but, recall that I was retaining my rare form from earlier in the day when we were passing all those cyclist climbing up the mountain.
Andy Z., Rob, and Me

Many dark hours and four smores later (11:30PM), we finished off that night with a late night drive to the top of Hooper Bald. It was a clear night and the Milky Way was laid out above us. There were two guys up there with telescopes looking at Jupiter, Saturn, etc. They showed us those planets and the Globular Cluster M13, which was directly overhead. The Milky Way looked like clouds in the sky....if I could only touch. Saw 3 quick meteors.
Rob, Stephanie (hammock), Debi (banjo skillet) and Andy

Woke the next morning (Father's Day)....slept like a rock! Always start the day with coffee. Not a whole lot else to report....uh, we didn't NOT not do a ride. Odd for a Sunday with no ride. What do I have to train for? Took out a few trees (Andy is clearing space for a cabin) and went home. Hit the slushy mart on the way home and purchased $10 worth of lotto tickets.


Far away Father's Day

Me - "Hey Dad! Happy Father's Day. Yes, we are in the woods camping and riding again."

I called my father in Ohio around 11:30 AM from a remote location off of the Cherohala Skyway, near the TN and Western NC border.....where my verizon phone gets a really good signal. I wondered, "when would my daughter call me?" It better be before 9 PM, like last year!!!!

Noon - no call.
1:11 - no call.
3:42 - uh, still no call.
5:20 - I texted her mother "IT IS FATHERS DAY."
6:15 - Arrived home.....still no call. :-(
7:30 - Turned on the shower to wash the woods off my body.....still no call. I let the water run...knowing darn well....."as soon as I get in the shower, she will call".
7:34 - I'm naked (picture deleted), I am pulling the shower curtain....."ring, ring, ring". It was her.

(Yes. I put some clothes on!)

Dad - (pretending to play dumb) "Hey, honey, why are your calling me today?".
Em - "uh, because I am".
Dad - "oh, okay, "....we started talking
Dad - "i got a copy of your report card". (It had ALL A's, more A's than I ever seen in all my years of schooling). "You got all As."
Em - "I got an award from the President.
Dad - "of the United States?"
....we talked some more.... about the summer, "yeah going swimming a lot".
Dad - "do you want to ride at the track this summer?"
Em - "Duh, YEAH!".
Dad - (thinking, I love it!) (can't wait!)
Em - "if we go swimming more, I will ride more". (okay, ms. negotiation......she did get all As...)
Dad - "you got it, how about camping and swimming?".
Em - "yes".
Dad - "so why did you call?".
Em - "Because, it is Father's Day". :-D
Dad - "I love you, miss you, can't wait to see you.".


Thursday, June 14, 2007

The path of (my) life....

Is it not a shame how most of us go from innocent little children to stressed out adults. Here are some picts of some good days!

I LOVED playing in the dirt with my Tonka trucks and matchbox cars. Tide box? I dunno.

My cousins.....which one is me?

Metal Head Banger throwin down some Slayer!

Me, a Dad, and starving graduate student.

Yes, I am in that tent. Cheah Bald Winter 2005.

"Dad, the race is over, can we go home now?"

Follow me to Mount Lemmon AZ.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

June is time for dance Ohio.

Each year, for the last 7 years, I drive to Ohio to see my daughter perform in her dance recital. We also get some time together to plan our upcoming summer together. There is no doubt where my focus is when I am with her. She has grown up so fast....too fast.... Soon, she'll be too cool to hang out with Dad. She made me sell the Burley tandem. But I have a surprise for her that I've been building over the last few months. I think she'll like it.

Me racing last year at this time.

I've been back on the bike, riding and things are going well. It is weird to have my spring not be focused on racing bicycles. I'm not sure where my motivation is right now......but, I do remember what it feels like when pumping out the high intensity. It is an addiction. I'm getting my sprint back slowly but surely. It is the zone 3 recovery that I'm having problems with. We'll see how well I'm going at the track tomorrow night.

A pict of me last year in a race in GA.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Life is to short to worry.....

It is like this Eddie McFreddie. Now, life isn't easy getting through. Everybody is going to make things tough on you. But, I can tell you right now that if you dig what you do, they'll never get you down. Because, life is to short to worry and life is too long to wait. It is too short not to love every body and life is too long to hate. I mean, a lot of men haggle, finagle all the time, trying to save a nickel to make a dime. But no, not, I ain't got the time.

Some lyrics by Todd Snider.