Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dragon: #1 vs. Jay: #0

G$ and I headed north Saturday after work to Salem, Va. After some pre-ride beers and final four action, the Dragon was to be slayed on Sunday am . We awoke to a beautiful spring morning w/ a slight chill in the air. The chill would be long gone by the 10 o'clock start. Our bellies full of Starbucks and the free continental breakfast we were off to the race staging area 20 minutes away. The drive was awesome through the Catawba valley with towering ridge lines all around. We knew it was going to be a FUN day...

We began with a short, 5 mile, motor paced start where G$ and I found ourselves in front of the 50+ competitors all out to slay the Dragon. This was some good PR for our sponsors. Once we turned onto the 1st gravel road I settled in to my pace while G$ took off to stay up front where the true studs live. We knew there were creek crossings but not 6 of them and not mid-thigh deep!!! What better way to start 40 miles, than get your feet and shorts wet in the first 12 miles. I sure was glad it would eventually be 70+ degrees.

I hit the 1st true test of the day: the Grouse trail, a 2 mile, 1500ft climb to the ridge. The 1st time up would be challenging but also making mental mile markers as I would repeat this trail in about 1 1 /2 hours. The Grouse was painful. I rode some of it, walked some of it, and even had to scramble up some. I did notice in sections it was just wide enough for me to walk, let alone push my bike. I wonder if the descent we're going down is like this????

I hit the ridge for the first time, hung a right, and proceeded to walk/ride the ridge top. 3 miles later I would encounter our 1st descent of the day. Hang a right on the Deer trail for 1 1/2 miles of downhill action!!! This trail wouldn't be very technical, but proved to be every bit as difficult as any dh trail I've been on. It was narrower than the Grouse trail I just went up and way FAST! At the bottom we crossed a road and on to "the Ring of Fire" a fun, narrow, and twisty single track that ended @ the 1st rest stop.
I refueled a bit, got some h2o, and took off down the gravel road. I was headed back to the Grouse trail for round #2. I wasn't fired up or feeling well @ this point in the ride. I got to the singletrack and just didn't feel it. However, against better judgement or common sense I headed up toward the ridge. It seemed like it took a week to get there but I made it and headed left or north toward rest stop #2. I knew from #1 to #2 it was 15 miles; Once on the ridge it would be 10 miles. This would be way more technical, more rocky, and more up and down than Walden ridge. I walked and pushed some along the ridge. By this point my body was not cooperating in my attempt to complete the 40 miles. My legs were cramping, my calves began to hurt from walking, and my stomach didn't want any more food or water. For those who really know, I don't like to eat or drink on rides no matter how long they are. I was doing all I could to ensure a good day on the bike despite my recent riding deficit.

I pushed on and found my self getting some very short lived spurts of energy and no cramps. I would ride more than walk, especially the short downs of the ridge top. It was so narrow in one spot I got my bars stuck between 2 trees. I had consumed 100 oz. H2O in the 1st 20 miles and had just run out of my 2nd 100 oz in 1/3 the distance...I was in trouble!!! I finally reached the EMT dude on top of the ridge. He asked if I was ok? I said in not some many words, NO!!! He gave me a few sips of his H2O and I sat down for a break which ended up being a 15 minute, flat on my back in leaves trying to take a nap! I got up and asked how to get off this ridge? He said I had to go 5 more miles to rest stop #2. I said NO and asked where that trail went? Pointing @ some singletrack going down and named the Turkey trail. I had heard rumor of this trail and how kick ass it was. The EMT informed me I had to go to #2 if I was going to DNF. I told him NO, in nice way, and informed him I would be going down the Turkey trail and call whomever he needed to tell 'em I DNFed!!!
I descended the 2 miles or so of Turkey trail, which was the BEST downhill of the day and totally kicked ass! I hit the gravel road from 5 hours ago and met a family out on a ride. They asked if I was racing? Which I replyed I had just quit. They also mentioned I didn't look very good and offered a shuttle back to the start/finish. I quickly took them up on their offer.

Once back G$ was already there, DUH??? He kicked ass doing all 40 miles in 5:16 for 13th overall and 1st on a SS. I knew he was strong but DAMN!!! Jeff Schalk former Trek/VW stud, hey I won Cohutta 100 last year, did it in 4:06!!!! I knew I had hurt myself today when G$ offered me beer and I said, "NO". I ate a little, we loaded up, and headed back to K-town. All in all, I did ride 30 or so miles, w/ 2 kick ass descents, and I had some FUN in a sick twisted way...the rest of you mtn bikers will understand!!!!


That's what I said. It was the last thing I was having on Sunday!!! This was by far the MOST DIFFICULT trail, race, ride, or whatever it was I've ever done. Now, I'm not racer boy superstar or anything but I have ridden many really tough trails. This was simply soul crushing! It was however, probably some of the BEST trails I have ever put tires on.

G$ and I looked @ this numerous times but forgot to read the bottom of the elev. porfile where it mentions 8110' climbing over 40 miles...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Training ride...

As you know, I got all fired up for about a month and a half. I rode my SS several times a week w/ fury. I even road tripped to Pisgah 4 weeks in a row. I was training!!! Then, I fell off the wagon. It's been over 3 weeks since I rode my SS, I've been on a DH bike 2x since then, and I rode the tricross for the full moon.

I've had this event on my radar for about a month but didn't know whether I was going or not. W/ PMBAR lurking right around the corner; I thought it was time to get back on the bike. Yes, I know you don't begin a MAJOR construction/home improvement project in the spring!!! So yesterday @ work G$ and I signed up for the Dragons Tale; This after we commited to go Tuesday night @ AJ's baseball game. Of course, G$ can be a bad influence. I n his words,"Nobody comes off the couch like you do!" We'll see about that...

Its 40 miles w/ 2 rest stops and from the pictures: looks like it will be a SH*T load of FUN!

So in typical Jay fashion I stuck with my normal pre-race preparation. I rode exactly half the race distance last night on the greenway to the PUB for some carb-o loading. Jen and I joined the group from the house for a 22 mile cruise through west Knox into market square. Good friends, bike ridin', pizza, and of course, BEER drinkin'! GOOD TIMES...

We'll have a post-race report next week. Until then I'll be training

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spring has sprung

We've been busy as little... well you know! Jen has been working herself silly w/ a major landscaping project. She decided she needed a new flower bed but also wanted to take one out. Her plan was to remove the river rock edging from a bed on the front of the house and build a rock retaining wall in the back. I took her several days but she got it finished and created one heck of a muddy mess in the process. You know she did all the work during the recent monsoon season!


This is the bed she took the rocks from. Eventually, it will be much smaller and have a tree in the middle. We haven't decided on the tree: I voted river birch and Jen doesn't know what she wants? Any thoughts? Leave us a comment w/ you recommendation or vote, PLEAESE!!!


Jens' newly constructed retaining wall and some transplanted Iris.


Some of our bulbs begining to SPRING from the ground! Get excitied...


The bed in front of the house. It will eventually have the bush, on right, removed a stepping stone walkway, some sod, a tree, and shrink in size.

Beside the laundry room construction project, I've been busy too. It was round #2 of Amish Friendship bread. I have to awake really early to get in bread making mode. As you remember from a couple older posts; it's a very time consuming process. But I gotter' done!!!


What a masterpiece and oh so good...don't you wish you had some???

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We're getting there...

The construction project is pluggin' along at a snail's pace. I find it difficult to work @ the shop all day and come home to do more than ride my BLUE couch or mow the yard! Sunday was a BIG day! I hooked up the 22o dryer plug w/o burning our house down! I also finished connecting the 2 hot/cold supply lines that feed H2O into the laundry room. This was the adventurous part of the day....

If you're not into caving/spelunking, this isn't the job for you! Plumbing is simply not my cup of tea. To say the least I won't be quiting my day job to take up a new career! However, the invention of Pex pipe and the shark bites connections make it soooo easy a CAVEMAN could do it! As long as you cut the connection end of the pex perfectly square. They even make a handy tool for disassembly that only cost $1.50!!!

Monday, was the day to finish up the framing, hang some drywall, and get a door. After demo of the back wall was done. It was time for insulation and new drywall. The insulation was simple, stuff it in between the studs and staple into place. The drywall would give me fits on this day. That crap is heavy and I wouldn't advise hanging it by yourself! I got 2 of the 6 sheets hung and it was time to move on to framing the 2x4 wall.

The wall went together seamlessly! Getting the proper measurements for the rough opening of the door was the real fun part. They recommend 2" + whatever the door size is. I wanted a 36" door= ease of moving washer/dryer in/out of laundry room in future! It was of to Home Depot to buy a door. I got a SMOKIN' deal! I wanted an insulated door b/c we won't have heat in the room. They only sold insulated doors w/ drilling for a door knob and dead bolt. Who needs a dead bolt in a laundry room? So I found an all oak wood door, unfinished, pre-hung, and single drilled hole. Oh and did I mention it was a LH swing. All for $90!!! I'm thrifty...



Once the door was home, I measured it, roughed the opening 1/2" smaller than I had planned, and put that baby in. The opening was all square but it's funny how out of square the door was. Good thing I went ahead w/ the purchase of a pack o' shims. Installing the door wasn't rocket science. It went way better than I'd expected. It opens and closes w/ ease and stays put where you stop it. There's also a nice even crack all the way around between the door and the jam when closed! Watch out I'm gettin' dangerously good @ this; Maybe I will quit my day job...


Tuesday, proved to be another adventurous day...it was back into caving mode to hook-up the washing machine drain. Crawl under house, dry fit 4 90*'s, 40' of 1 1/2" pvc, hold it in place to get the proper fall, and tie it into the existing sewer; Simple, right? I was under the house for over 2 hours dry fitting and cutting. Once I began gluing it all together it went pretty quickly, I think...I may have passed out a few times from the pvc glue/primer high!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Makin' bread...

So this past week has been quite the blur! We went to a b-day party last weekend for Noah. He got a really cool new bike and was super fired up about it. Brian and Tara gave us a starter of Amish Friendship bread. If you haven't had it...u don't know what you're missin'! I was placed in charge of the daily bread obligations: letting the gas out of the bag from the fermentation process and "mushing it" daily. After a few days, you add some milk, flour, and sugar; then repeat a few more days and then do a whole lot to it! The recipe requires a ton of stuff but the finished product is, well...TO DIE FOR!!! After all is said and done you have two loaves and four starters to give out. Anybody wanna make bread?

Construction is coming along slow but steady. We are making progress and doin' it the BEST way I know how. We are into part of Phase#3/Walls and Phases' #4/Plumbing & #5/Electrical. Basically the plumbing and electrical had to be routed underneath the sub-floor and through the existing garage wall into the crawl space of the house. This required some fancy tools I didn't need to purchase. THANK YOU Jason Stephens for supplying me w/ the BIG ASS drill and hole saw. This made life sooo much easier.




Saturday was the 1st annual AMBC Poker Derby produced and directed by Harvest the Ride fame, Thomas Gaines. It was a beautiful spring day for a cycling event. The people came out of the wood work for this one. I never heard a final head count but it had to be close to 80!!! The coolest thing was watching the controlled, mass start roll down the greenway behind the shop. It was AWESOME seing all those bikes headin out for a FUN DAY! A post ride awards was held @ El Mezcal and party followed @ Union Jacks where the Yazoo Brews flowed.

Sunday required a break from construction. What better way to rest than go to Windrock for some DH action w/ the gang. The word was out and people showed up from all over. 1Speed Brian, Murray, Eric, T, Profro, Loonatic and his boys, Lil' Joey, B.Hann, and a few others rode on one heck of a spring day. Many runs were made, new trails were worked in, and FUN was had by all. The gang seems to be fallin' into the groove of DH @ Windrock and all are kickin' ass! Its fun to have some fresh faces around to ride w/ up there. Not that I'm tired of chasing T down the hill. He still challenges me every run we make together.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


For those of you who know...I didn't stay @ the Holiday Inn last night?!?

I just think I know what the hell I'm doing here! A little history to shed some light on our current situation I've gotten us into....I HATE HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS!!!

Over a year ago, I talked Jen into me attempting to tile our kitchen floor. It took countless hours, some really BIG tools (not me or Brett), and countless BEERS to demolition and remove the numerous layers of old flooring. There were many head-scratchers along the way: the numerous layers of old floor, whether to take out the cabinets or not, and finally, the sub-floor in the pantry was rotten b/c the washer hook-ups had been leaking for who knows how long? All damage repaired, tile floor in, and life back to normal, right???? WHOA Mule!!!! I made the executive decision NOT to put the washer and dryer back in the kitchen pantry. They didn't fit anyway b/c, you know who, didn't measure before we bought 'em to make sure they fit. So we've been going to the redneck laundr-o-mat for a while, now that we have $2000 of laundry equipment rendered useless just sitting in the garage.

We decided it would be easy to build an 8'x8' laundry/mud room inside our existing garage. Simple right? B.Hann drew me some plans in 2.4 minutes on a 2x2 post-it note. I'm GOLDEN, Baby! This was 2 weeks ago and after several bids of $85/sq. ft. x 65 sq. ft. = Jen and Jay can't afford it!!! I decided, it's not "Rocket Science", I'd build the laundry room myself.

We began this past Sunday w/ phase #1: Demolition. We had a small room in the back 1/4 of the garage that had to be removed before we could build anything. It was 2x4s and Sheetrock...nothing too difficult to tear out, unless you don't have the right tools! It's like trying to build a bike w/ a straight screwdriver and an adjustable wrench?
As you can see, most of the wall/room is gone and we're on to phase #2:Sub-floor construction. This process required way too much thought. Measure once, cut 5-6x??? Get the board level??? Make it square, what? How do you do that?

As you can see, I've made ok progress. I still have all my fingers and toes. We're @ stopping point b/c it's now time to figure out the whole electrical & plumbing thing and where it all needs to go. We may have some professioanl help on the way:

I LOVE this sport! It's the only other thing besides mountain biking I can drink BEER while participating!

Maybe by the weekend we'll have moved on to phase #3: Walls????

Friday, March 13, 2009


We live in a pretty sweet location for riding some really kick ass places!
On Saturday, Jen and I hit the Snake in Dalton, Ga. Sunday, I was able to hit the DH scene @ Windrock w/ Profro, the Champ, T-Dog, Patrick, T. Gaines, and 1speed for most of the day. We were killin the runs when Thomas washed the front wheel out in a rock garden on the old windmill. His right hand took the brunt of the crash. A lengthy trip to the ER revealed NO break, only a major impact which will result in severe bruising. I'm sure glad it wasn't broken! Following the incident everyone bailed on me; so I hooked up w/ Tryon, Josh, and Tommy from Nash-Vegas for a few more runs. All in all I got 12 runs, 2 crashes(myself), and had one killer 2nd day of the year on the DH rig!
For a recovery ride, BIG Al, Burrito, and I headed to BSF on Monday. I can't say enough about this place. It's simply MARVELOUS!!!! Joe Cross has done a tremendous amount of hard work to keep the trails in shape and advocacy for mountain bikers to time share several hiking trails. We rode Grand Gap loop and John Muir for 20 or so miles of the most scenic singletrack trails you can ride in the South. We didn't see any other riders, only a group of backpackers from Ohio on a spring break trip. Rumor has it there's going to be a race there sometime in '09!!!
Team Ed decided to properly celebrate daylight savings w/ a Tuesday night "Full Moon" ride. Nine souls arrived @ the Back Porch in Walland for a cruise into the Cove. We took the greenway to "Y" hung a right and headed up into the Cove. Upon our arrival, the moon was Full and brighter than I'd ever seen. Cades Cove was lit-up w/ minimal clouds and no fog. We cruised from the gate to Rich mtn road where we lost 2; the rest of us continued around the Loop to Hyatt Ln. After a quick G$ photo shoot, it was off to climb Rich mtn and to the cars. It was AWESOME being able to ride the Cove and the climb up Rich mtn w/o lights. We made it to the car where our sub-3 hour 35-mile effort was handsomely rewarded w/ a nice cold BEER!!! Courtesy of this guy????? It was a FANTASTIC ride w/ GREAT company, and SPECTACULAR scenary. The post-ride Huddle House was extremly good. Thanks "TINY" for the waffles, oh and Wally needs more BUTTER!!!!
It BLOWS my mind that more people don't do this ride or for that matter, get the F' out of Haw Ridge for one weekend a month and travel outside Knoxville! I mean REALLY? A short 2-2 1/2 hour drive you can be at any one of a dozen destinations that will blow your mind w/ killer singletrack, tech descents, breath taking views, and the real deal BIG MOUNTAIN ride vibe that you can't get ridin' the greenways of HAW! Comeon' R U SSSSSSKKKKKEEEERRRRREEEEEDDDDDD???WTF!!!!
I'm off my box...