Thursday, July 31, 2008


So begins my tapering for Goldrush and more importantly, TransRockies. Neal and I did an easyish MTB ride around Lake Allatoona yesterday. We found some neat trails with some steep ups and downs, so I got to test out my Scott a bit more. I felt less top heavy on the steep downhills than any bike I've EVER owned and the uphills were even more shocking. I attempted to ride up a ridiculously steep pitch and somehow, I was maintaining traction and riding up it. It wasn't until I lost concentration and yelled to Neal "Holy $hit!! Can you believe I'm riding up this???" that I hit some loose rock and came off. My Turner is going to feel like a heavy beast at TransRockies after riding the hardtail for the last couple of weeks.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm so excited...and I just can't hide it!!!

Did I mention I'm really excited to be racing again? Because I am.. I LOVE mountain biking, but when it comes to RACING, I think I like AR's better. Perhaps its the camraderie and the crazy stuff that always happens..the falling asleep while riding your bike, setting your shoes on fire, or having to scramble down cliffs in the dark. Or maybe its the mental aspect - the navigation and strategy and a chance to use my big brain...I just works for me.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Easy Ride

Relatively..only 3 hours around Pine Log to test out the newly configured hardtail on something a bit rougher than Blankets. It felt pretty good on the gravel roads, and even handled the lava rock sections pretty well. It's well worth the couple of seconds I may lose on the descents to have a lighter bike for pavement, climbs, and any potential bikewhack sections. It even handled one of the rocky, rutted, doubletrack sections really well.

We saw some AR geeks out there (sorry guys, the map case around the neck gives it away) likely doing some recon for the upcoming Goldrush race. If we do travel to Pine Log, I hope it's during the night, because it was toasty hot out there on some of the exposed gravel roads.

After the ride, I hit the pool to do some swimming with my fins and realized just how tired my quads were from yesterday's bumblefart adventure. This week is all about recovery rides and runs and getting mentally prepared for Goldrush. No caffeine this week, although I have 8 hours worth of manager training tomorrow at work, so I may need to break down and pick up a sweet tea from Chick-fil-a.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Always an Adventure

Chris and I went out for a little Navigation practice along Lake Allatoona today. Of course it took about twice as long as I anticipated, I had some unpleasant wildlife encounters, and I'm currently cooking my phone in the oven to dry it out. I was also testing out my new ICEBug shoes - trail running shoes that have spikes in them - and they seem to agree with my feet, even when soaking wet.

Our course started out business as usual until our old roadbed "trail" ran out and our plan to run along the shore was quickly shot to shite by a sheer and undercut shoreline. So we had to whack through some moderately thick crap until we eventually hit a pretty deep creek that we had to cross on a skinny log. Chris walked across, but I kinda crawled across, as I didn't really feel like falling off and ending up neck deep in muck. He laughed at me...a lot...

Then our next trail had been developed into a "600's and up" neighborhood so we had to pound some pavement for a couple of miles. Click, click, click..remember my spiked shoes? I aerated some people's yards running along the side of the road. Once back in the woods, we ran a trail out to a peninsula, where we had planned to wade across a short creek inlet. It was probably no more than 100' wide, and looked benign enough. I even chose a place to cross that appeared to have a flattish, easy exit on the other side. gradually got deeper as we walked across, and I waited for Chris to go KERPLUNK and sink in up to his hat - there had to be a channel somewhere. I started swimming and when I still couldn't touch the bottom 5' from the shore, I started to question my attack. Great...there was a sheer bank on the other side, so I had to "seal" my way up onto the shore in a most ungraceful manner. That first step would have been a doosy coming from the opposite direction. Hmm..I think I will withold that information if it comes up in the I can laugh when Jay C and company sink in over their heads on that first step! Muhaha!

We picked up some trails that were complete with sticky spider webs every 5 feet, but at least we weren't bushwhacking. Once up on a paved road, we set off to find an old cemetery that ended up being on private property. I should have known better than to attempt the next "trail" as we had been on that particular ridgeline before and it was complete and utter hell. Imagine having to CRAWL through fox tunnels to get through the overseeded pines, briars and vines. I think it was even worse than the overgrown sections of Pine Log in the first Ultra O-gaine.

To make matters worse, I got stung by one of those same bastard hornets that attacked me at Dawson Forest a couple of years ago. Seeing as we weren't getting anywhere fast and I didn't want to find anymore hornets, we backtracked as without a machete, there was no way to efficiently get through what we faced. The first thing I'm going to do when I get my Goldrush map is put big red X's on this ridge, because I certainly don't want to go back there without a D.R. Brush Mower and a flame thrower for the hornet nests..

We had a refreshing swim to get across the lake and then it was just a couple of miles on some familiar doubletrack to get back to the car. Unfortunately, my double-ziplock bag on the cell phone didn't cut it, hence the phone in the oven. Chris managed to fall victim to four ticks, although I would have gladly traded those for the hornet sting. It's swelling up quite nicely and the entire trek it was throbbing away...grrr.

I'm going to ride my bike tomorrow and I'm staying ON the trails.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Aaahh..finally home. Now we can relax..I swear I need a few more days off to recover from traveling..

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Avg HR 176
Max HR 185

5 seconds slower than last year...Why would anyone want to do one of these?

Monday, July 21, 2008

T minus 12 hours...

Until I have to give that $%^&ing presentation!!! ARGHHHHHH!!!! I've been practicing, but I'm still convinced I sound like a moron. To make matters worse, I have to run the 5k an hour and a half BEFORE my presentation so I'll barely have time to run till I puke, shower, make myself presentable, scarf down some continental breakfast, and stumble up to the podium. I'm sure my old supervisor (the one at the job that I LEFT) is going to throw some annoying and tough questions my way - because I know he just won't be able to help himself.

Oh well, after tomorrow morning it will be all Mai Tai's and smooth sailing...if I don't have a nervous breakdown before then.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ridin', Runnin' and Swimmin'

Whew! I'm done with my day's training - although I'd hardly call it that, as I was just having too much fun. The morning was a ride on all the trails at Blankets on my Scott hardtail to see how my new setup feels. We lowered the stem, flipped it over, and moved the seat forward. It felt much better than before, so I'm definitely using it for Goldrush - way more efficient than the Turner on any road sections.

Workout two was a swim/run/hike along Lake Allatoona where I'm happy to say I didn't step on any yellowjacket nests, get bitten by any water snakes or lose my shoes in the mud. The swimming was quite refreshing and I had Neal to go first into any snakey, swampy looking waters. Thankfully we didn't have any wildlife encounters. I think I'm broken in for Goldrush and I'm really excited to be racing with my teammates Bo and Neal. We've never raced in this combination before, but I think it will be a good one.

Now its time to pack up the car for our trip tomorrow, but not before I eat some ice cream!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Getting ready for the Beach!

Tomorrow I'm squeezing in a multi-sport training day with Neal and then on Sunday we are off to the Beach for 4 days...St. Simons Island to be exact. The good - its a business conference, so I get paid to lounge around and play volleyball...The bad - Its hot as hell with 200% humidity and I have to give a presentation on Tuesday to a bunch of engineers who THINK they're smarter than me. Ugh... I think I'm going to change my topic to how to prepare for an expedition adventure race - at least then I know there won't be any questions that can stump me.

This trip is timed well, as tomorrow is our 5 year anniversary...whoopeee!!! I think we get wood or something like that...Geez time flies...we'll be old and grey before you know it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bitten by the Snake..

Carey and I rode up at Snake Creek Gap today, with plans to ride the entire 34 miles and then ride the roads back to the cars at Dug Gap. I started out feeling fine (probably because it is mostly downhill) but on the first extended climb out of Red Wine Cove?? I was starting to feel a bit tired. Normally I hate the rolling sections and like the long climbs, but today was the total opposite...loving the rollers and hating the longer climbs. When we got down to the parking lot on Hwy 136, I told Carey I wasn't really feeling up to going the whole way AND riding 20+ miles back to the car, so we decided to ride up Horn Mtn, descend back the same way and then take the roads back. Well, about 3/4 of the way UP, a rock came out of nowhere, jumped up, and mangled Carey's rear derailleur. It was bent up so bad that she had to remove it and convert the bike to a singlespeed. So it was DEFINITELY back to the cars now.

Her gear choice was too easy for the flat paved roads, but once we started climbing back up to Dug Gap, it seemed like a good gear to have. We still managed about 3.5 hours of riding, even with cutting it short, so it was still a good day.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


After going to bed at 3 am after the night nav, Neal and I headed up to Dahlonega today to ride the Fools Gold 50 route. No more than 5 minutes from the car, the thunderstorm rolled in and the rain and lightening started. I wasn't sure how long the ride would last, so I put forth a bit of effort on the climbs. The downhills sucked - I could basically not wear glasses and get tons of crap in my contacts, or wear them and have them fog up in less than a minute. Rain-X here I come..

After descending Winding Stair Gap, I told Neal I'd be more than willing to just head home and go for a run later. Right as I said that, it started raining harder - really hard actually - and the group decision was to bail on the ride and just ride back to the cars. We only rode two hours but that was enough to justify a trip to Moe's for some post ride recovery food.

Night Nav...I'm tired

Chris and I put together a Night Nav/Swim-O at Blankets to help folks prepare for the upcoming Goldrush Adventure Race. We spent the day out in our canoe hanging up bags and setting up the cave and submerged checkpoints. Chris initially went in the cave but curiosity got the best of me and I had to go in. The only thing was the entrance was pretty small and muddy and apparently there were 3" Indiana Jones style crickets all over the ceiling. I didn't look up so I don't know...Once in there it was fairly roomy and you could stand up and it went back a little ways. It was definitely in rock, but it looked as though it had been drilled out - perhaps a remnant from the Goldmining days.

We got a good turnout - almost 40 people and they seemed to have a good time. We went out in the canoe to watch the antics and saw people attacking some of the CPs by the path of most resistance. Watching all the people swimming back and fourth across the lake was equally entertaining. The few boats that were out thought they were going to be abducted as strange blue lights bobed up and down and came towards them. This was mainly due to a fishing boat parking about 30' away to our submerged CP. No you aren't THAT drunk..there really are 20 people with lights circling your boat...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Enough Already with the Afternoon Thunderstorms!!!!

We've been trying to get out on the lake every day this week to break-in the boat engine that Chris just rebuilt. Sure enough, the minute we get home, we get hit with thunder, lightening, wind, and a deluge of rain. Every day this week!! I was hoping tonight MIGHT be different, but judging by the amount of red on the doppler radar, I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wednesday EARLY Road Ride

Got up early this morning and met Neal for a fairly fast paced spin up at White. My goal was just to average 18-19 mph over a 45 mile route that I do up there, which should have put us a bit faster than tempo pace. Kim bailed out last night, so that meant we'd have to do even MORE work to keep the pace up, since it was now just the two of us. We were cruising well for the first half of the ride and averaged 20.5 mph up to that point. Surprisingly enough, my legs felt pretty good. Then we started heading back in, but a strong headwind slowed us down considerably. Neal was determined to keep the pace above 20 but the headwind wouldn't allow it. (He tried REALLY hard though..) I think I demoralized him when I told him we still had 5-6 more miles to go at the end of the ride, as he was thinking the ENTIRE ride was 45 miles, including the 8 miles to and from the Pine Log Parking lot. (But that really didn't was warm up and cool down) So we ended the ride with an average of 19.5. Neal was very well behaved today - no sprint-till-you-puke hill attacks, just a good steady pace.

After the ride we did a 2 hour hike near Stamp Creek. At one point we had to choose between walking through a briar field, stinging nettle woods, or the creekbed, so we hiked in the creek for a bit. I was pretty pleased with my Swiftwick socks..the tighter weave kept all the sand and silt from going through my sock and getting between my toes. Hard to believe a sock originally designed for cycling could be so functional for trekking.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Training Camp - Day 3

Almost overslept today and didn't wake up till 8 am. We were supposed to meet Kim at 9 and it was a 20 minute ride to get to her and it just didn't seem like that was going to happen. So we called her and told her to ride up the mountain and meet us so she didn't have to stand around. The ride was relatively "short" - just over four hours and not terribly hilly. No big climbs but a lot of rollers. By the end I was pretty spent and spent 10 minutes spraying myself down with the hose. Now we're all out on the back deck relaxing. I'm glad tomorrow is a recovery day!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Training Camp - Day 2

Getting out of bed was tough this morning - especially since Blue Ridge had a morning rain shower. The Greenhill's and Neal went to the Blue Ridge 4th of July festival while Chris and I slowly got ourselves together for a morning ride. He swapped out my brake pads, so I was actually able to stop on the downhills, which made them a lot more fun as I didn't have to check my speed so much. We rode Flat Creek a couple of times which was awesome. We rode it counterclockwise, so we got to bomb the rocky, rooty doubletrack section, which was a lot better than climbing it. After a couple of hours we returned to the cabin and had lunch.

Ride number two was a solo ride around Green Mountain, Lake Blue Ridge, Long Branch, and the Turkey Farm. I was dripping with sweat after Green Mountain so I ended up jumping in the lake down by the Turkey Farm. The combination of mostly singletrack and steep climbing left me pretty tired by the end of the second ride. I ended up with 5 hours and now I'm pretty pooped.

I'm trying to figure out where I'm going to ride tomorrow, as everything around here is pretty steep. Kim is coming up with fresh legs, so hopefully Neal will take her riding while I putz along by myself. Just the THOUGHT of having to work hard is making me grumpy.

Training Camp - Day 1

Day 1..done. Today's ride was about 80 miles. Total rolling time 7 hours 40 minutes. We started in Blue Ridge and rode over to FS 42 and up to Winding Stair Gap. Then we descended to Bull Mtn and rode up Bull/Bare Hare. After Bull, we rode up Cooper Gap, across the ridge and then descended Fish Hatchery Rd and headed back to Blue Ridge. The ride went well except for my front brake not working properly - stopping the bike was a bit of an issue, but I ended up just modifing my riding style a bit to compensate.

Tomorrow is the Blue Ridge singletrack with Chris.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008




Ugh...legs tired. What I THOUGHT would be a nice, easy road ride with Neal and Kim turned into a really painful pissing match. I was told we were being "too cocky" so SOMEONE decided to open up a can o'whoop yo' azz and attacked EVERY SINGLE CLIMB. Little ones, big ones, gradual, steep, didn't matter...if my front wheel got within a bike length of his front wheel it was GAME ON! I don't know why I fell for it each time, but I have a hard time backing down in a challenge. The good news is that it made the ride a lot more interesting and it went by a lot faster. It probably also helped me with some short intense sprints.

The worst though was the final big hill at the end of the ride. Of course he attacked and I had to answer..I got him but my legs were screaming, arms were like jello, and I was generally unhappy. As the grade eases up he comes flying by on the left, so I go AGAIN. I get him again..but he slows and then launches another attack. AND ANOTHER.. Damn you Neal, just crap out already!!!! I finally get him and declare that I am OFFICIALLY DONE with all this foolishness. So of course on the next climb, he launched another attack, but I let him was all his for the taking.


Thank you, Neal for the FINE workout today!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Found it!

Finally, after years of running around on and off trail near Lake Allatoona, we found "the cave" near Blankets Creek. The only thing is it looks more like a big mole hole than a cave right now because a grader went through there and pushed a bunch of dirt around. I wish we had a headlamp with us to poke around a bit more, but we'll save that for another day.

Tomorrow is a road ride with Neal and Kim, a warm up for my training camp this weekend.