Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Table: Round 2

We had a rare break in the weather over the last few week so all my spare time was spent riding/training for the upcoming season....whatever that's looking like. I had my first "official" race of the 2010 season last weekend as part of the Hincapie Spring Series held at the BMW Test Facility. This was a road bike race, and while I'm not much into that whole scene...the chance to race on the Test Track was just too much to resist. Plus the course suited me well, flat and smooth. Long and short of the race was that I was outsmarted in the last 500m. I felt good all race, stayed up front but stayed low in the last turn which allowed a group of six to charge high and cut in just ahead of the second wheel I was holding...forcing me from second to eighth with less than 200m to go. Ended up fifth in the sprint...won't make that position mistake again. Here's a cool pic that ole' "brokeback" (Thea) found while surfing the intraweb looking for pictures of me....weird, i know.

Enough with all that boring roadie stuff. The point to all the above rambling is that the table has taken a back seat for the last few weeks....coupled with he fact that my folks were coming and I wanted Dad around to bounce some ideas off. He and I worked for a day and half and pretty much got it all done except for the finish and the hardware that is purely decorative. Good times, and great memories. As of right now the top is in my dining room....barely fitting...and drying the last coat of dark walnut stain. Hopefully I'll have the top clear coated tomorrow night then continue waiting for the "treated" legs to dry outside so I can stain them. Should be all wrapped up in a week or so.

The first MTB race of the year is next weekend as part of the Chain Buster Racing 6/12hr series. Same series I raced in last year, just different name. As of right now I don't feel too good about my chances...legs feel heavy as does the tire around my waist. This season will really be interesting. More to come.

Monday, February 8, 2010

New Dining Room Table

So for the first 4 1/2 years of marriage Doctor J and I haven't had a dining room table. This hasn't really been a problem, especially for me, because all of our bikes over flowed from my "bike room" out into the dining room leaving me with plenty of room to do all sorts of things in my personal man cave....evidently this is no more. Doctor J has had her eye on this particular table from Pottery Barn for as long as I can remember and being the handyman extraordinaire that I am...I'm going to build it. Most folks have no idea that woodworking is a hobby of mine that I thoroughly enjoy and one I have very fond memories of my dad and I working on together. Now granted every time in the past that I have wanted to build anything I would just head out to dads garage and we would make thoughts into reality with all his tools....I however do not posses said tools. No worries, I think it can be done. And in the words of my new friend Bob, "All you need for woodworking is a good square and your brain". Well said Bob.
This is the table that Doc is wanting and one that I will undoubtedly rip off. Luckily our local Pottery Barn has this table on their showroom floor leaving yours truly to sneak in and take as many pics as possible. I was also able to find a cool video on YOU tube, how? I have no idea, about the "inspiration" of the table which shows a few good angles that I wasn't able to get crawling around on the PB floor. All that said...here are a few pics from this afternoons beginnings of my new table.

Yes my licence plate says TOYBOX3, deal with it. While the Element is perfect for 95% of everything I do...some days I do miss my truck.
Basically the idea is too make an internal frame, pictured, and then hang all the Poplar(Birch wasn't available)around it creating a very sturdy table top for the legs to attach to. If you look closely at the PB picture you see that the table is severely distressed. Obviously lumber isn't sold in this fashion so I spent the better part of an hour distressing my new 300$ pile of wood....crazy I know.
Trust me...there is a method to what you see. The large squares in the corner are twice as thick as well as glued and screwed into the frame which should make for a solid attachment point for the legs. Its a work in progress with the majority of plans still floating around in my head. Unfortunately, like I mentioned before, I don't have a garage, or a nice shop to work in....just the covered patio with Mandi there to help me. One day tools will be in their proper place on a wall of peg board long as the eye can see...one day.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

New Shop Location

So just a little FYI, the shop I've been working at, Carolina Triathlon, just moved about 1/2 mile further down Main St. here in lovely Greenville, SC. How does this affect me....mmmmm not that much. Actually now I have to take two more turns in order to complete my 1.5 mile commute each morning, I'm a little bitter. Here's a few shots after just two weeks of occupancy....slowly but surely we are making it home. Soon we will be able to really enjoy being literally across the street from the "little Fenway", home to the Red Sox organizations AA team...it's going to be great. If you take a look at the pic on the right you can see there is a loft over the shop...currently empty. The city just approved our "structure" so now the stairs go in which will give access to 400sq ft of storage as well as a fit area and "the BOSS'S" office. Hopefully they get this project done sooner than later, the space is already beginning to feel cramped with boxes.
As it sits now there are over 200 bikes on the floor and space for more...that's a lot of bikes under one roof. Specialized, Look and Cervelo with approx. 80% being Specialized. This crusty old fellow is Mark K...aka "Grumpy. Hands down the best mechanic in town as well as George H. personal mechanic...doesn't hurt having him on staff, if you can stand his jokes. I have to admit it's pretty cool to have some big name cyclist stroll in the shop...even if it is just for Mark to tweak their bikes The next few photos are some of "Yogi's" artwork...as I've been so affectiontly named. I will say the door handle was a team effort by "Mini Me"...aka Brian M. (There you go Goose, there's your props.) And I can't leave out my boy Kevin S. for sending me the pic of the Cannondale staff bathroom where I got the paper towel holder idea, pretty cool. In case your wondering, No, we didn't just cut up a random S-Works Transition frame...some lady ran it into her garage while it was on top of her car...now it's destined to a life of art. There you go, a little window into my daily life...the place that claims more of my time/money than my wife gets. So much so that I feel the need to make it my own.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Man I've missed you!! Not in the, "I cant get you out of my head, we'll be together forever, junior high love kinda way"...but more in the, "reuniting with an old friend on Facebook kinda way...glad to see them, but you could take 'em or leave 'em". The winter months have been somewhat kind...the weight only slightly increased while the workload stayed constant. Don't get me wrong, my diet sucked and the "internal training clock" was a little late flipping on, actually just two weeks ago, but all in all i say it was a success. Regardless of all that, i was able to get in some solid miles throughout the last few months of winter, I'd say average about 100-150 miles/week...give or take. Weekly shop rides as well as mtn biking a few times a week really helped maintain an otherwise lacking moral for training. If I may use another excuse...the weather did play a pretty huge role in the lack of "focused" training this winter. That being said, it did allow for some pretty fun little outings.

I've ridden in snow in years past, but one day last month me and the rest of the boys headed up to Dupont for a little mtb'ing. I can honestly say that I have not had this much fun riding a bike since proably the first time i ever rode solo for the first time...it was an absolute blast. It was like racing down a luge on a bike...every turn was banked perfectly. It was a riot!! The conditions were perfect...6+ inches a few days prior and temps that had warmed the top layer of snow just enough to freeze it solid, but soft enough to get a few treads in for all the turns. It gave me a chance to try out my new Ergon riding pack which i have to say works just as advertised, perfect. Ended up with a around three hours of riding in some pretty cool conditions, the crazy thing is that a week prior DZ and I were up there riding in shorts sweating our butts off...ah weather in the South. Fast forward a few weeks/storms and you'll see another "first" for me....Ice Climbing. I've seen it done but never had the opportunity to make it happen, finally i did. You may recall a few blogs ago about a road ride we did up Hwy 215 to the Blue Ridge Pkwy....same road, different sport. There is a section at around 4500 feet right before you hit the Pkwy that is perfect for some top-rope ice climbing. Granted it wasn't that tall, maybe 55' or so but the experience and technique was just the same. Luckily one of DZ's friends had all the ice gear and was more than hospitable for everyone to use it. Jeff P made the trip up mainly cause he wanted to get some rapelling practice in for some of his up coming adventure races, but in the end with the help of my boots he too was able to get a good session in.Although we didn't need them Tadd brought plenty of ice screws up just to practice setting, those are a pretty mean devices if you've never seen them in action. I was also able to bum a propane heater from Grumpy at work just to make sitting up on the 15 degree road side a little more bearable.Needless to say there were plenty of blog worthy moments the past few months, but due to the "holi-daze" that has befallen upon me i was lacking some serious motivation. Thanksgiving was a quick blur, basically a three day turnaround in Bham...Christmas was a first for us, no family just Doc and i here at the house with the dogs, different, but extremely relaxing. New Years was a blast at the Harris' house, as long with pretty much every Sunday for all the bowl games and NFL playoffs....thanks Jeff. Now it's time to get back to "focused" training while setting up racing schedules and for the next few months hitting the trainer pretty hard...the weather will change on you in an instant. 65 and Sunny last Thursday then 2+ inches of snow and ice Friday night....crazy. Needless to say the posts will regain some sort of regularity...now that "the season" is both behind and in front of me. Pedal on.

Friday, December 11, 2009


So this would be considered a "guilt-post", not a lot is going on at the moment to warrant any "good" blogs, so out of guilt for lacking follow through...I blog. For all those that are still waiting for pics from the Somoa trip, get in line. My travel partner, Matt, has yet to email me the two thousand pics we took during our journey, so you will just have to keep waiting, don't worry...patience builds character.

This is the time in the cycling world where those that enjoy cyclocross, keep racing...and those that enjoy time-off, do nothing. I report to the later locker room with all of my other off-season peeps. Pretty much this time of year for me consist of constant evaluation of how I came up short last season and thoughts of how to "Un-Clyde" myself, so far I've been doing a lot of both, but with minimal to no success. Don't get me wrong, I'm still putting in some solid miles, around 150-200 per week but there really isn't any motivation. No worries, this is the time for long slow miles with possible coffee shop stops mid ride...possibly why i find myself consistently singing, "Its the most wonderful time", during our rides. We've had a couple chances to get out and hike as of late, which is nice. You ride so often it's nice to hop off the bike and do a little exploring on foot, the cross-training aspect is a bonus as well.

Tomorrow starts the the UWBL, a winter series of progressively longer organized training rides with dedicated spring zones every Saturday during the off season. I've been told that George and Craig are regulars who like to "mix it up" with the mortals. Should be pretty fun. Tomorrows route takes us South to rolling hills in constant 30 degree temps for around 3.5hrs.....layer, layer, layer. Looks like i'll be helping lead the "B" group which will be around 65ish miles, should be a good time.

There has been the occasional mtn bike trip, but nothing like the summer ones. It's a little sketchy riding in Pisgah this time of year...the locals refer to it as "brown ice", in reference to the blanket of leaves over the already gnarly trails. I, for one, am not a big fan of riding by braille, not a good day. That being said every Monday, my day off, we have headed to either FATS, Charlotte or Spartanburg to ride a little more "organized" trail system with way less penalty for not seeing that rock.

Hopefully there will be more to come in the near future.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sweet Green River

While most of you are waiting to see pics from the trip South, I must interject and fill you in on my weekend. Don't worry as soon as the pictures download and the ink dries from the tip of a boars husk I'll give you the skinny on the island trip. Friday night I was chatting up a life long pal, G-Slim, and of course the convo was based around our love for all things awesome....kayaking is always a baseline in that talk. We're fumbling around the intra-web looking at the latest and greatest new kayak swag when I find some whitewater kayak event that's being held close to mi casa up on the Green River...what the hey, Dr. J is working tomorrow, I'll be adventurous and go check it out. I was shocked at what i found.

Only sure of the start time of the event, but not sure of the actual location i headed out early confident I'd find my way....no worries. Head North towards the mtns and what do i see but the Dagger team car ahead of me in traffic, surely they are going to the race...after a quick pow wow with team Dagger at the gas station, i keep heading North. Zig, Zag and finally find this extremely remote trail, the parking is already two miles thick along the two lane country road..."Just head down the trail", one paddler says. 1.5 miles later, I'm still hiking, down...steeper and steeper until i hear the river...there must be some serious water ahead. I had no idea. I pop out in a deep granite gorge next to a waterfall that's feeding an already full river....SICK! To be so deep in the gorge and feeling the water course threw like blood threw an athletes veins, feeling every pulse...deafening. I had no idea there was this kinda water around here....my heart almost jumped out of my chest for the next three hours.

Evidently the Green River Narrows Race has been going on since the mid 90's and is basically a race against the clock down whats called the "Monster Mile"....a one mile stretch of river that is nothing but class IV,& V+ drops....if that means nothing to you, then please, please watch this video. Majority of all the spectators planted roots at "Gorilla", the nastiest of all the drops, due to the sheer volume of water, the moves needed to set up, as well as the narrowness of the chute you exit in...amazing. Paddlers from all over the world converge just South of Asheville, NC to race in what is deemed as the "...most dangerous kayak race in the world.". For the next three hours me and 1000 like minded spectators cheered for the 162 competitors who charged every fall as if it was the last one they would ever hit. I was blown away at the burliness of the river, and all just 30 miles North of my doormat.Evidently this is an international competition attracting the worlds best steep creek boaters, and they were all out in force on Saturday. The Green River gets a ton of attention from paddlers all over the world for one reason....water. It's a dam released river, which is awesome, but the fact that it runs 300+ days/yr at full flow down IV & V moves it what is the real attraction. Ya, these were the best in the world and made most every drop look insanely easy and while several had to be rescued from some pretty nasty situations....i still must do this race, or at least run this section at some point during my stay on this big rock. To witness a boater slip their boat though granite boulders in the midst of a raging river that is doing all it can to wreck them, it's a beautiful thing. Dr. J will of course have nothing of this, but...forgiveness is easier than permission...right? Enjoy the photos, one day soon they will be of me in that fall.