Friday, August 31, 2007

An end to another August

Yep! August 31st is about to leave us. Enter September. Here comes October. Too soon for November. Look out December.

7 minutes from my front door, climbing the parkway from the Folk Art center. Keeping the legs soft for some bicycle racing this weekend in SC at the NC/SC state championships.

Making the turn onto Town Mountain road. I was hoping to see some bear.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hello Buffalo Joe......Sloppy Joe!

Whilst I washeth my bi-cycle clothing in prep for tomorrow nights ride, I threw something new together tonight. Started with ground buffalo and a cAn of MANWICH Sloppy Joe sauce. I decided to add an eNtIrE pack of 3-grain Tempe and two whole Roma tomatoes. "I chop dem suckas up!" I threw in some garlic salt and let the juice from the tomatoes cook off. :: Click on the pictures. ::

I added a half eaten 1 and 3/4 ounce bag of Doritos (from Saturday's lunch stop at Subway) and a glass of freshly poured cranberry juice. Ah, can't forget le Bed of spYnAch. All served on a Wheat Honey bread. Then, I had another Buffalo Tempe Joe on a sesame bagel (initially from Saturday's race recovery food bag). I have enough left over Joe for two lunches.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hilly Hellacious Metric Century

The Hilly Hellacious Metric Century. 4 hours and 64 miles. 5380 feet of climbing. The first climb, Locust Grove, is one of the hardest short climbs I've done.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Salisbury: Too hot to NOT pass out.....

Early this morning I checked the hourly forecast for Salisbury, NC. By 1:00 it was supposed to be 101 degrees. Ouch!!! Our race start was at 1:40. Andre and I arrived and it was hot. But, our warm-up (ha ha ha) felt good and we both felt good.

In the first 10 miles I was having issues with the heat. I just don't do well in the heat. Felt like if I stayed on the bike I was going to pass out. I had no problems keeping up with the group, but if the pace picked up I could be in trouble.....where I thought an ambulance may be involved. The heat bouncing off the pavement was just unbearable for me and the white space around my vision was closing in. So, at the end of lap one, I turned for the car.

Once at the car I found some AC and my body just cried with sweat. I'm a guy who usually doesn't sweat that much. Once back to normal, I drove to the feed zone to hand Andre a water bottle if he needed it. He was unaware that I had dropped out, but we talked about what we would do if one of us dropped out. As his group came through, I couldn't pick him out. So, he didn't get a fresh water bottle.

So, I drove back to the start/finish and changed and picked up my camera to snap some shots. The Cat 4s came in and sure enough Andre was in the middle of the pack sprinting for the line. Not sure yet, but he certainly got top 15th. And the top 3 juniors get a payout. So, he probably has some winnings coming to him.

Here he is sitting up after crossing the line.
As for me, I wimped out on this race....but, felt I made the smart decision. I'm not going to bother with hot days like this again unless my race in early in the AM. I've never liked the extreme heat and over the years have not done much riding through the hot summer months. Today was a good reminder why.

A phone call from Asheville I heard it was raining and the sound of it through the phone sounded wonderful. As we drove out of Salisbury we saw a bank clock and the temperature read 105 degrees. Ouch!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hitting road to Salisbury

Tomorrow is my first road race since February. I will be taking a junior racer with me, Andre. Through the spring of 2006, Andre and I traveled to several races and got some great results. It was a great year and we are going to pick up where we left off.

Release the melon-lopes! I actually shaved for the occasion. Silky smooth and much cooler under the pants.

This is no after-ride dinner, because there was no ride yesterday. I threw together what was remaining in my little Kitchen of Coffee Stains and put this yummy dish together. Ingredients: Spinach, grated Parmesan cheese, whole wheat rigatoni, sliced almonds, onions, whole mushrooms, 3-grain tempe, and Roma tomatoes. Served with cranberry-gatorade mix and Chardonnay (that I didn't actually drink).

I've been sampling my African coffees looking for that special flava that I can't seem to track down. The Rift Valley blend is seasonal. I enjoyed this mug of Arabian Mocha Sanani before work watching the Morning Joe. But, it doesn't have it. I used to get it in an Ethiopian brew, but maybe the beans are off this year. Who knows?

Then, I went to work. This is me with the Bart-O-Mask 5000. You can't hear a thing through the ear muffs. I guess this is used to chainsaw trees and stuff. I put in on and it was so quiet that I about fell asleep.

Tonight's little dinner involved the RICE COOKER: Mahatma whole grain brown rice with shrimp, yellow squash, Broccoli and corn. I can't remember what I was drinking.

Salisbury bound in the AM. Good night!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Buffalo Burgers

Two days ago, I went over to a local buffalo rancher who is a retired geologist. He sells buffalo meat. So, I'm thinking that if I were a buffalo who was slaughtered, I'd rather somebody eat my meat instead of it getting wasted. 4 pounds later, I was out the door. Had a hard ride last night, so I needed something good for dinner. Buffalo is some of the leanest meat available. As I slow-cooked the burgers, I prepared my condiments and veggies.

Buffalo Burgers on Honey Wheat Berry sliced bread, with grated Parmesan cheese, ketchup, mustard, sweet relish, spinach, Roma tomatoes, and onions. Served with a glass of Pinot Noir. The burgers were very good. I've been craving burgers for most of the summer, but don't like the normal red meat beef burgers as a part of my diet.

Tonight's after race meal was a Frank standard, breakfast for dinner. The menu got a last minute switch from a bowl of cereal to eggs and toast, served with Gatorade. The race did not go well. A crash split the field and I could not catch back on. I am getting ready to race on Saturday in Salisbury, NC. Off the bike tomorrow and then a few short efforts on Friday. I don't plan to do well on Saturday, just want to see how long I can hang on. Need to gauge my endurance and recovery over the next few weeks.

Today was supposed to be Em's first day of school. But all the flooding in Ohio canceled school. She was all excited talking about it with me on the phone.

Em: "Dad, where is my High School Musical soundtrack?".
Dad: "It is coming."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Craving Salmon

Ingredients: Bed of Spinach, grated Parmesan cheese, Big chunk of Salmon, 3-grain tempe, onions, yellow squash, mushrooms, garlic, Roma tomatoes, and Freshly shaved Parmesan. Served with 100% Cranberry juice.

Here come the Buffalo!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Parkway and NC 215

Todays ride started and finished at the Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway, just east of the intersection with US 276. We dropped down the long US 276 descent and headed for Rosman, NC. After a little unplanned detour, we headed for NC 215.

Early morning start on the Parkway with Mike and Fred. These guys like to climb. Fred rides some of the most exciting and awesome routes north of Asheville. Remote country roads with some of the greatest climbs in the country, if not the world. They are just unknown! I keep forgetting how awesome the Parkway views are and the feeling you get riding your bike at high elevations.

Climbing NC 215 alone after 45 miles of intense riding with Mike and Fred. This was brutal! The 7% grades were killing me today.

The view at the top of NC 215. We are looking south . The long views have been hazy over the last couple months. I used to live for views like this. It is easy to take them for granted since they surround me everywhere.

It was a very busy day on the Parkway near Asheville. On the drive home I saw this guy on a bike. He was the tallest guy that I ever saw on a bike before. Notice his seat-height compared to the motorcycle.

After 80 miles and 6300 feet of climbing in the heat, all I could do was EAT and SLEEP!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

After ride dinner

The ride. Had to use the flashers tonight, got home at dark. About time to release the melon-lopes.

One of my special versions of a Quesadilla.
Ingredients: flour tortilla heated with olive oil, spinach, sliced Roma tomatoes, sliced Vidalia onions, dark red kidney beans, sliced almonds, California golden raisins, garlic, and grated Parmesan cheese.

Folded over, cut in half and served with a glass of Pinot Noir.

In the AM we have freshly ground and brewed Ethiopian Coffee in a new mug painted by my super daughter.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Nothing to see here, just another "Back on the bike" report

I've been "back on the bike" too many times this year. I started riding again on Sunday. The power and jump are there in my sprints, but the endurance needs work. I've started implementing "Ice Cream Intervals" on my sweat all the summer ice cream out through my skin. I also need to lose a few pounds. So, I'm not holding back and just digging in. I need someone to get on my case about doing weight-lifting and yoga this winter. Where is a good personal yoga instructor when you need one? I know that would help.

My buddy Saul (yeah right Frank) sent me an email saying he registered for the US Pro Championships this year. I hope he has a good comeback. He is my new American favorite. Go Saul.
Here is the overly ambitious Fall Race Schedule:
8/25 High Rock, NC Road Race
9/1 NC/SC Championships
9/8 - 9/9 Carolina Cup, Greensboro - I won the Tour of Oaks last year, Cat 4.
9/16 Knoxville Crit
9/22 Rock Hill, SC Crit
10/13 - 10/14 Greenville Cycling Classic

This is cool.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tonight's after ride dinner

Here is tonights after ride dinner, prepared and served by yours truly. Ingredients: Bed of spinach (pronounced SPY-NATCH), grated Parmesan cheese, 100% stone ground Penne Rigate whole durum wheat pasta, Vidalia sweet onion, yellow squash, choppin broccoli, shrimp, sliced Parmesan cheese, garlic, Italian seasoning and glass of chardonnay. Are you hungry?

This is the entrance of Pisgah National Forest on US 276 near Brevard, NC. Some of the best mountain biking trails in the country are located here. I used to come here from Atlanta almost every weekend to camp and ride until 2002. In 2003 I moved here and picked up the road bike. Tell me, is this picture "photoshopped" or not?

I was completely unaware that Em took this picture of me. I can't remember who I was talking to, but I must have been really focused.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Half my age

Well, I know at least my Dad is reading my blog. So, here is one for you.

I was 35 when my dad turned 70. On September 11th, 2004 we threw him a surprise birthday party....his birthday is actually the 15th. Before we got in line to eat, he got up and gave a little speech. During the speech, I remember him saying at that point in time that I was exactly half his age and this was the only time during our lives that this would be the case. Now, I think if we do the math the exact 1/2 way point falls on March 10th 2005. This was pretty mind blowing stuff. You just don't stumble across something like that without taking some hours to think about it to come to that realization. Below is an actual photograph of him giving the speech.
So, on Saturday during our road trip to Ohi-ya, Em and I figured out when she would be half my age. It will be the year 2021 on November 11th. November 11th was her mother and my wedding aniversary date. What a coinky dink that is, huh?

Also, I am happy to report that Em's little brother is home and doing just fine. He spent a couple nights in the hospital. What a relief.
Chill out little rockin dude.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Road trip, tripped up.....

The planned 570 miles turned into 740 miles, round trip. Em's baby brother had an high-fever incident that resulted in an ambulance ride to the Cincinnati Children's hospital. So, we met them there instead of Korntucky. It made it a littler easier for me to let Em go since her mother and brother needed her. I hope they'll be alright. It was nice to see their family again. They are great peoples!

I arrived home about 1:30 AM. No traffic on the road for the last 100 miles or so. Em and I were amazed at the number of Ohio license plates that we've seen lately, both in Asheville and on the interstate. Just about every 3rd car was from Ohio. Apparently most of Ohio went on vacation or something.

I did not leave Em's cross bike with her. I brought it back with me since no one had a locking bike rack and they were going to be in Cincinnati over night. I had switched out the road tires for nobby tires, and they look great. I may just ride them on my cross bike this fall.

Enjoying the coffee.....SBX has a great Rift Valley Blend that has that winey taste from Africa that I love. Very rare over the last couple years! I had been missing it, but I have found it for the time being.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Summer's End: Road Trip Prepperoni and Ghosts at Home

I have about 570 miles of driving to do today. This is it, the summers end. We have everything packed up. My CRV is repaired and we have arranged the logistics of Em's Asheville departure and Ohio arrival. We had a great summer full of memories and pictures and expectations for the next year.

Late tonight, after I return home, I will face the ghosts of the summer...the sounds of TV shows, the visions of scattered art work and belongings across the floor. I will face a silence and loneliness that I have not experienced since June. The remnants of our time together will physically be with me and she will not. Initially it will be hell to pick up after her when she is not here. The Bicycle has always been there for me since 2001. It will be there for me these next few days until I can wrap myself up in my little world of wake, work, ride, sleep....wake, work, ride, sleep.

Furthermore, I am anticipating life-changing curve balls over the next several weeks. My little life could really change....actually, it has to. I believe the time has come. I can see the boat parked just off shore. I don't want to miss it again. I am the captain. I need some divine intervention and a small crew. It will float to new opportunities and adventures.
Here is a little poem I wrote and picture I put together and gave to my daughter years ago. I am going to work so that the Spirit of Frank is not extinguished.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

not so fast....

We got about 2 hours out of town and things got a little hot. Found out a short while later that I have a cracked radiator. We slowly returned to Asheville safe and sound.....on stand by for the road trip to Ohio.....which will be truncated somewhat. :( The result is bonus time for Em and I. :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007 is here.......POOF!.......gone.....another one bites the dust!

We wrapped up our summer in Asheville together with a trip to Gatlinburg's Splash Country water park. Visiting a water park, in addition to many other mainstream cultural draws, re-enforces why I like to stay fit and ride. Yikes, there is a serious weight problem in this country.....sorry, I don't want to sound to uppity. But, it is enough to inspire the Col d'Obese educational awareness ride for the children.....or how about the "Fat Gap Century"?

Here is a sweet picture of us through the chiminea.

Store-bought Pepperidge Farm chocolate B-Day cake from the freezer department and homemade ice cream.....shaken in a bag. Stay tuned for spinach shrimp pasta. (yeah, yeah, yeah.....I say something about the fat problem, then I show a picture of cake and ice cream....I know.)

What would a birthday be without laser tag!

I've been living in Asheville for over 4 years and never had been to the Biltmore Estate. We went there on Monday and it was a nice time. Nice house! Way tooooooo big for me. The walk from the bedroom to the kitchen to make coffee, and to the living room to watch Tour tapes on the TV would take me about 45 minutes. If I were a kid, it would be a great place to have a Big Wheel or Green Machine....remember those? The 3rd and 4th floors of the "house" were stuffy and uncomfortable. It was hot! AC was not an option back then. I think it is a waste of space unless you have someone waiting on you hand and foot.....but, that is just not me. Small, cosey, comfy with just enough space is the way I would like it. The winery was cool. We learned a lot.

Weaving a walk down Wall Street.

Up early in the AM for a road trip to Ohio for a few days. Should be back soon, back in the grind. Stay tuned for shaved cantaloupes.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Meet Luelaiy

The mad creation of my daughter at Asheville Art Museum Summer Camp. Her name is Luelaiy (pronounced Lu-Lay, Lula for short) and she lives with me throughout the year in place of my daughter......Em said that she can't take her home, "it would scare my little brother".
She was made with newspaper, paper mache, paint, glue, yarn and buttons.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

For you....

And now I wait my whole lifetime, For you
I ride the dirt I ride the tide, For you
I search the outside search inside, For you

To take back what you left me
I know I'll always burn to be
The one who seeks so I may find
And now I wait my whole lifetime

Outlaw of torn, And I'm torn

So on I wait my whole lifetime, For you
The more I search the more my need, For you
The more I bless the more I bleed, For you

You make me smash the clock and feel
I'd rather die behind the wheel
Time was never on my side
So on I wait my whole lifetime

Outlaw of torn, And I'm torn

Hear me
And if I close my mind in fear
Please pry it open

See me
And if my face becomes sincere

Hold me
And when I start to come undone
Stich me together

Save me
And when you see me strut
Remind me of what left this outlaw torn

Music and Lyrics by Metallica

Pancakes and Potter

Does it not look as if their wheels could just slide out from underneath them? Chris and Nate racing the Pro 1 2 criterium at the French Broad. There were quite a few crashes on this corner. We had one occasion where a lady, under the influence of taunted stupidity, walked out in front of a chasing group. Of course there was a crash. The lady was hand-cuffed for a short time and received a ticket from the officer who was stationed at the corner.

On weekends we have pancakes. The first couple pancakes always come out a little more brown than the rest of them. The last couple usually come out a little thinner. I rarely eat pancakes except for the summer. But, there is something comforting about making pancakes on a Saturday and Sunday morning with coffee.

Mellow Mushroom seems to be our favorite place to do our spontaneous shroomin. We usually order the pretzel bread sticks with Parmesan cheese. You have to be hippified and tangleheaded to work there. It is a perfect restaurant for Asheville.

We managed to see all 5 Harry Potter movies in about 3 weeks. We both agree that the 3rd one is the best. Em never liked Harry Potter until this year. All of a sudden, we were making trips to Wal-mart to be the DVDs for $9.44 each. It cost $16 to go see the 5th movie in the theater.

Sorry to say that the bicycles have not seem much action lately. I've had two sessions on the trainer lasting about 40 minutes each. The race next Wednesday should be interesting. I am anticipating a fall race season assuming the rest of my life gets in order. I may have to live out my race ambitions through the fall cyclocross season. I was going to do this last year, but lost my motivation to race in the fall. For me, the fall is a time to rest and do other things, like go camping and work on personal projects.