Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tour de HolySh...

Sometimes our BIG ideas become an overwhelming reality.
Other times our BIG ideas smack us hard in the face
and we retreat to more MEDIUM sized ideas.

The BIG idea:
We could ride the epic single track trails from Stokesville in George Washington National Forest to Douthat State Park, then connect to Jefferson National Forest to finish in Blacksburg completely unsupported while carrying all of our gear, food, and water.

The BIG Smack in the Face:
Francine and I drove into Blacksburg after work a few Fridays ago, picked up my friend Tony, and headed to Stokesville. We arrived around midnight and found an empty camp site at the base of Hanky Mountain, the first climb in the tour. That night, we came to a harsh realization: our sleeping bag liners would not be sufficient for the weather. In preparing for this trip, we made several assumptions. One big assumption was that the nights would be relatively warm since it was mid July. As many of you know, it was an unusually cool July this year in Virginia, and temperatures dropped to near 50 degrees at night in the mountains. In preparation for the trip, I decided that silk sleeping bag liners would be sufficient to keep us warm at night as I remembered sweating at night while camping at Douthat during previous summer trips.

The first night, before the tour even began, Francine and I were both shivering throughout the night. But, we decided to go ahead and deal with it.

Lesson 1: Expect the weather NOT to cooperate.

Day 1:
Since we stayed up so late the night before, we started our tour just before noon on Saturday.

We began our journey with an awesome climb up Hankey mountain.

The weather was great at around 80 to 85 degrees, sunny, and not too humid. We quickly learned that climbing with all of our gear was not such an easy task, especially when considering the steep grades on Hankey Mountain. A bigger issue, though, was Francine's pack. It was too big, and there was really no way to secure it better to fit her small frame. As we climbed, I watched her pack creep over to her left shoulder and sit there. It looked painful.

Notice something wrong with this picture?

I knew this would be an issue for the entire trip, but all we could do at that point was try to minimize the issue.

Upon reaching the crest of Hankey Mountain, we ate a couple of bagels with pepperoni and cheddar cheese and took in the view.

We headed down Dowell's Draft for what should have been a screaming descent. Unfortunately, Francine's gear kept her from bombing the descents. Her pack would ride up her back (still against her left shoulder) preventing her from looking up as it was coming into contact with her helmet. So, she basically had to creep down the mountain. I didn't really have any problems with my pack or gear, but my pack didn't weigh 1/3 of my body weight. So I would bomb a section, wait, bomb, wait... I felt bad that Francine couldn't enjoy the downhills since that is the best part, but it was too late to fix.

Lesson 2: Get fitted by a pro before purchasing a pack for bike touring.

We returned to gravel and rode a short section on US 250 to the next single track trail,

Georgia Camp Hollow.

According to the National Geographic topo maps, Georgia Camp Hollow appeared easier than the climb up Hankey with only a moderate grade. In reality, the grade was generally fine for a well groomed, hardpacked, dirt trail. However, most of Georgia Camp Hollow was not well groomed, hardpacked, or dirt. It was heavily overgrown with

stinging nettles and other herbaceous fun

mixed with loose baby heads and short steep impossibilities.

See what I mean?!

Are your legs itching and burning yet??

Lesson 3:

If you'll be riding in George Washington National Forest, WEAR LONG SOCKS!!

Honestly, it's a great trail that I would love to tackle with long socks and no gear on my back... Unfortunately, the heavy packs made lots of the trail completely unridable for us.

So, we walked a few miles to the fire road at the top.

At the intersection,we took a left turn uphill for some more climbing. After a mile or so of steep climbing, we reached the Shenandoah Mountain Trail(SMT) at 3,700 ft!

The SMT follows the ridgeline of Shenandoah Mountain and includes the Southern Traverse. This was our first time on this section of the SMT and it was a great ride!


The ridgeline trail was super fast and fun!

We had planned to ride the entire SMT and Camp at the base of Little Mare on the first day; however, with the late start, we were running out of daylight (and I was out of water). So, we completed a few miles of the SMT before descending down the west side of the mountain on Benson Run Road. About 1.5 miles down the mountain, we found a nice perennial stream to filter water and there were a couple of decent choices for camping spots. We filled our packs and bottles with fresh water, set up camp, and cooked an awesome meal (Mountain House Lasagna).

I'm not so sure Francine was enjoying it, as she told me, "I don't like this part". She was referring to the stinking, non-bathing, and bugs everywhere biting us. In fact, the bugs were so thick and persistent that one of us had to swat them away while the other would take a bite of food. Then we'd switch. This continued until we had finished our dinners. It was pretty damn funny. Really, I'm sorry I didn't get any video footage.

As soon as we finished eating, we scrambled into the tent to safety. That night, we reevaluated the course, trying to make sure we would be prepared for the next day.


5 hours and 25 miles of riding, 6,500 feet of climbing, several miles of hike-a-bike, lots of stinging nettles, massive amounts of biting flies.

Day 2:
We froze over night, which lowered our responsiveness to the morning sunlight; additionally, we camped on the western side of the mountain, so we missed out on the early morning sun. Again, we started riding too late.

Lesson 4: Camp on the east side of the mountain, where the sun shines early.

We started the climb back to the SMT around 9:30am, arriving in about 40 minutes. The next 11 miles or so was sweet and fast ridgeline riding along the Southern Traverse!

The last (and the only previous) time we rode the Southern Traverse trail, the trail was covered with deep leaves that render much of it unridable. This time, however, the trail was clear and for the most part free of debris. We dropped down the mountain to SR627, a gravel road, and saw the trail continuing across the street. We took the trail, and hiked almost all of the 2 to 3 mile trail . Somewhere, the trail just disappeared, so we followed the trail on the GPS until we dropped onto SR678, an asphalt road.

So, was that a trail??? What the ??

The asphalt section continued for 5 to 6 miles before we started our climb on gravel to the Little Mare trailhead. We were looking forward to an relatively easy climb up Little Mare as the map rated the trail as "Easy"! We really needed a trail we could actually climb without having to jump off and push.

We filled our Camelbaks at Thompson Creek, climbed SR683, and arrived at the Little Mare trailhead at around 4pm.

The trail was 6 miles long, all climbing.

We planned to complete the climb and descend to a known campsite near Douthat State Park, or just keep riding into Douthat (bypassing the hike-a-bike up Middle Mountain).

As luck would have it, the first mile of Little Mare trail was double track and sloped gently uphill, giving both Francine and I the idea this trail would be mostly rideable and a needed break from hike-a-biking.


When the trail became singletrack, it seemingly jutted straight up the mountain! Like clockwork, we cranked as hard as possible until our bikes stopped moving forward, jumped off, and uddered groans as we pushed up and up.

After a couple miles of this (intermixed with short sections of rideable terrain), the trail became a bit more rideable.

To give some perspective, when I say more rideable, I mean that we were both in our granny gears with a cadence of...uhh 40.

Well, shit happens, right?!

Apparently, there are plenty of Bears on this mountain...

They must be BIG bears!!!

Along came the chill of the late afternoon and it was approaching 6pm. Francine wanted to push on and get down from the mountain (believe me, I did too), but I had a sense we wouldn't make the crest by dark. I was also freezing, completely soaked through with sweat, and tired.

It seems like Francine and I get ourselves into all kinds of trouble being determined, adventurous-minded people (e.g., nearly freezing on Big Levels near Sherando while biking on snow during the winter without the proper gear).

Sometimes, you should be safe and not sorry, and I felt this was one of those times.

So, we camped on the ridgeline at 2,800 feet.

We found a spot right next to the trail and set up camp.

Again, we had some delicious dinners by Mountain House (I really should be sponsored). This night we ate Mexican rice with Chicken and Pasta Primavera! Damn that stuff is good! It was warm that night, and we finally got some nuch needed sleep!

Day 2 STATS:

37 Miles, 6,000 feet of Climbing, more hike-a-bike, lots of bear poop.

Day 3:

We awoke, thoroughly rested, to the distant sounds of thunder. Since we were on the ridge, we had a rare opportunity to make a phone call. So, I called my dad to see if he'd check the radar. It wasn't looking good. He said there was a severe thunderstorm over Roanoke that was headed due North, directly toward us. To make matters worse, the forecast was looking bleak as well. The previously forecasted "Isolated" thunderstorms became "Scattered" thunderstorms over the next three days. This news gave us motivation to get going to avoid being caught on this ridge with no place to take cover. It also made us concerned with the remainder of our tour.

We packed quickly and began climbing Little Mare again (it should really be called Dead Man's Ridge or something more ominous). We climbed for about 30 minutes before the storm hit.

Lightning was striking all around us!!

We dropped our bikes

Ran down the side of the ridge about 30 feet

And took cover beneath a small sheet of plastic.

The storm continued to pound on us with lightning strikes shocking the mountains and ridges all around us. We just sat there, getting soaked and cold for nearly an hour and a half...

(See Lesson 1)

When the lightning finally decided to move North, we jumped back on the bikes and crept up to the crest of Little Mare at around 3,500 feet. This section of the trail was mostly wet rock, which made riding difficult.

Remember, we were carrying nearly 40 lbs of gear, each.

The 500-foot descent to Little Wilson Creek at the end of the Little Mare Trail was technical, rocky, and steep-



section of trail.

The rain was becoming a light drizzle at this point, so we took a short break at Little Wilson Creek. After crossing the creek, we hike-a-biked again to 3,700 feet on Brushy Mountain to reach the long descent to FR194 (an alternate route we decided to take since the weather was uncooperative).

Hey Buddy! If we lick your back, will we puke orange?

Sorry... A.D.D. moment... Where was I?

The descent was again technical and rocky, and I took a nice header (i.e. I flipped over the handlebars and tossed my bike down the hill) trying to descend down some slippery rocks. Francine took a couple of nice spills as well.

I'd rather not land on my ass when I fall on rocks, but I guess it's better than my face!

MY busted ASS PIC not inserted due to graphic nature.

We dropped down Brushy Mountain Trail (456) and veered left at trail 620 descending to FR194. What an awesome trail! Technical as hell, steep, rocky, narrow, overgrown with blueberry and mountain laurel...

What more can you ask for?

Well, a pack that fits, I guess... Sorry Francine...

I really enjoyed the downhill and after a few miles, we were back on roads. We took FR194 to SR629 and rode into Douthat, straight to the campground showers!!

After our showers, we decided rather than continue to Blacksburg with three more days of thunderstorms on different mountain ridge trails (the remainder of the tour was mostly ridgeline riding), we'd try and work a transfer back to Blacksburg (my car was waiting there).

I made a couple of calls and discovered that my friend, Aaron,
was on route to Blacksburg from Vermont.

When I asked him if he could take a short detour to give us a hand, he said,"I think I may have passed it already... Where is Douthat? I'm at Lexington right now."


I said,"Dude, take a left!" and he met us at Douthat in about a half hour!!


Thanks Again, Aaron!

So, we bailed. It was a hard decision, but I think it was the right one. We'll come back to ride the section from Douthat to Blacksburg sometime soon...

Day 3 STATS:

18 miles of riding/hike-a-biking, ~2,000 feet of climbing, 1.5 hours of sitting under a tarp in a crazy storm...and we bailed.

The next day, we worked in a hiking trip up to Dragon's Tooth on the Appalachian Trail.

What an amazing view!

and A great trail! Good Times...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Prelude: Stokesville to Blacksburg

Tonight, Francine and I will be heading to Blacksburg, then to Stokesville to begin our first, ultralight mountainbike tour! We will be taking as much single track as possible one way to Blacksburg. As many of you know, these mountains are beast!! So, I expect some serious leg pain (the good kind), epic riding days, and lots of sleep!

Expect a long update soon!!! We'll be back on friday next week!

Here is the route:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thanks to Dave K., Justin R., and...

Sometimes priorities change and things that used to be super important become another thing making your life busy. That is how I've felt about racing this year. I was unemployed for a few months last year, then I got a sometimes 60+ hour per week job, and I decided to prioritize the career over almost everything.

Francine has pushed me this year to keep racing and to not worry about the results, however bad they may be... as my training has been limited by my new work schedule. So, I decided I'd sign up as an Expert and just lose.....and lose I did. The first expert race I competed in was a bit of a disaster as I was dropped by several sport class riders in the beginning...

Then came the Rappahannock Adventure Triathalon. Francine had preregistered for this race long ago. I figured I'd give it a shot since I rode a few times and ran a few times over the past couple of weeks. So we showed up at 7:30am in Fredericksburg with kayaks, bikes, running shoes, and camel baks. I borrowed a 17 foot long boat from Lee Wilson, which he described as "a very fast boat", which I needed since my sholder has been acting up. THANKS again, Lee.

The race format is this: 4 mile white water paddle, 11 mile mountain bike ride, 5 mile trail run. However, due to high water in the Rappahannock River, we were set to paddle the flat water option. This changed the race format: 2 mile flat water paddle (down stream and then back up stream), 2 mile run, 11 mile mountainbike ride, and a 3 mile trail run to finish.

Prior to the start of the race, I noticed my bud, Dave Kelnberger was not in attendance. He usually destroys me in this race. Additionally, the "fastest man in VA", Justin Riddle, was not racing. So, looking around, I figured that if my shoulder could handle it, I might place well.

The race started with a high paced paddle down the Rapp. I jumped in behind the leader after figuring out how to steer my boat. It tracks well, but turning takes some experience. I followed the leader to the turn around spot where I was dropped. It took me a LONG time to turn the boat around... good thing the boat is fast! I dropped several places, but quickly jumped back in at third place. At the end of the paddle, I was back in second and only a second or two behind first!

Out of the water, I transitioned quickly, changing into my running shoes and hitting the 2 mile trail to the main transition area. I was leading the race, but I was caught by two people during the run. I began the bike in second place again, with third right behind me. At this point we discussed the possibility of catching the guy in first place. Not a mile further, we caught him and passed. At this point, I was in first place and holding it - for the first time ever. I cranked hard on the climbs and carried my momentum through the flats to try and keep my position. I expected that I put a minute or so on the second place guy, but I knew other riders would be screaming through the trails soon. So I pushed real hard to try and create some space. After the ride, I'd have to run another three miles- and running is not my strong suit. So I thought, "Kill it on the bike, and hopefully, I'll still be able to hold off most of the solo racers during the run."

By the time I reached the transition area to jump off the bike and start the trail run, I was feeling pretty spent. But somehow, I was still leading the race! I swapped shoes, dropped the helmet and gloves, and started the final leg of the race- the 3 mile trail run.

The trail run doubles back on the end of the mountain bike section, so I was watching to see what kind of lead I had on second place. I saw nobody as the trail run section veered away. This meant I had at least a 6 minute lead on second place!! How could THAT be??!! I'm thinking, "I might actually be able to win this race!"

I tried hard to keep running even though my legs were screaming at me to stop. I ran hard for the most part. Breathing hard and on the verge of passing out, a monsoon began. The wind picked up and the sky opened, which caused me to run faster and cool off! There is NOTHING better than a cold rain shower when your overheated in a race.

When I dropped out of the woods, I saw Francine at the crossroads and she looked strong! We exchanged some cheers for each other, and I searched behind me for up coming runners coming to take the lead- nobody in sight. WOW. I kept the pace through the end and finished at 2 hours and 22 minutes (or so), and 1st Place overall.

As I recovered in the transition area, I thought to myself, "I'd like to thank Dave Kelnberger for allowing me to finally win a race (due to his absence), along with Justin Riddle and everyone else out there who put me to shame on a regular. I'd also like to thank Francine for the strong encouragement."

Final results: Paul Leeger- 1st Place male overall, Francine Rapp- 1st Place Female overall

Winning a race is definitely a great feeling, but the best part was the comradery, beer, and bbq after the race!! Thanks Conrad!

Good times.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Welcoming in 2009

What does one do to break in the new year? Party Hard? Ride Hard? Well, I've got these friends who thought it would be cool to blast out a 100 mile road ride on New Years Day. I'm thinkin, "THAT is a friggin' GREAT idea!!". So I plan to meet them at 9am on the 1st. ONE PROBLEM: These friggin' senior citizens decide they should move it to 7:30am!! What the?!! Man, I'm no early bird! I would have to wake around 6am to get there that early! Also, I had plans to hit Jared's place to party in the New Year the night before.

Something had to give, so I bailed on the 7:30am meeting and told them that I would try and catch them for the second half...

New Year's eve was a blast: partyin at the Stangle's place with Francine and my bro Kelly, making pizzas with Jared, Jay, and Travis, and sippin sweet tea vodka while Jared danced around like a madman. Needless to say - I was up late... hit the sack around 2:30am.

When I awoke on the frigid new year morning, I saw that it was 10am and 25 degrees outside. OUCH!! It's been a LONG time since I braved that kind of temperature on a road bike.

The Early Birds: Kevin Cox, Scott Davis, and Todd Green
These guys somehow mustered up the strength to start riding in the bitter cold at 7:30am. I'll likely never be that guy, but I'm definitely impressed with the dedication fellas. Although-- I did hear that somebody was scared...

I got my stuff together, bundled up, and hit the road at a bright and early 11:30am - and by the way, it was still 25 degrees when I left the house. Since the Early Birds had a 4 hour head start, I knew I was too late to catch them for the second half. I still headed that direction, though, because things have a way of working out... About 6 miles in, I stopped to rip off my face mask that was making me sweat like Richard Simmons to the oldies (err HipHop).

While I was stopped, I called Kev-man to find out the Early Birds were already about 60 miles in. I was still too far away, and we knew we'd likely not catch up since we both were headed west. I kept on chuggin and reached the west end near Kev's house about 20 minutes later. Up ahead of me, I see three "roadies" rollin' up and hear a "Paulito? Is that you?" Somehow, the ice crystals had converged. The Early Birds were just rollin from Kev's house for the last 40, so I was able to jump in on the New Year's group ride! We headed west on River Road, looped north to Broad St., and then back to Kev's house - a chilly 38 miles.

I was only around 55 miles into the ride, while these guys had 100 finished. Luckily, I was still invited to an awesome breakfast with Kevin, Scott, and Todd: french toast casserole, bacon, fresh squeezed OJ, and coffee!! Thanks Kevin and Tanner for the grub!!

I headed home and finished the day with 70 miles under my belt for a new year opener! Good Times! My only setback: dry eye from the freezing wind left me with blurred vision in my right eye for a few hours.

Now, let me drop some praise to the Viginia Tech football team for figuring out what they needed to figure out. After the UVA game, the Hokies were sent to the ACC Championship vs. Boston College for the second year in a row. BC put the beat down on Tech during the regular season, so I didn't know what to expect. Hokies take 'em to the WOODSHED, making Virginia Tech the ACC Champs for a second straight year!

Next- Hokies go to the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day. VT with a 9(W) and 4(L) record, set up to bang out 60 minutes against Cincinatti, who had an 11(W) and 2(L) record. Cincy showed up strong for the first drive, scoring a touchdown with ease. Then Hokies showed up to tell Cincy players and fans that they should head back to Ohio where they are safe.

Cincy would be shut down for the remainder of the game and VT worked it like . Final- VT 20 Cincy 7. The Hokies deliver Beamer's FIRST BCS Bowl WIN! That's what I'm talkin' about!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

I've been back to Blacksburg on many visits since graduation in 2002, but never have things come together to make the trip as sweet as this Thanksgiving weekend. The plan: Drive up to B-Burg with Kevin and Dan on Friday, Watch the VA Tech vs. UVA football game Saturday, and hit Brush mountain Sunday. I have a friend, Tony, that lives in C-Burg and the plan was for us to crash at his place. Well, he was out of town but gave the nod for us to take over his home for the weekend. Thanks T!

We arrived in downtown Blacksburg around 8pm - just in time for some dinner, drinks and pool at the old standby, The RiverMill (or LiverKill). It was a great night, and what made it better was running into my old friend Ben. I last saw Ben when I was in Salida Colorado in 2002 while riding the Great Divide MTB Route. He and another good friend, Angie, had met me in Salida to hang out for a day before I hit the trail again. Anyway, we lost touch after that and it was great catching up over some brown ales.

Saturday's plan was to ride our mountain bikes to the game from C-Burg (about 7 miles), then party until they kick us out and ride back. So, I get a call in the a.m. from my buddy D-Rob, who used to live in the Burg. He was up for the weekend and told me to stop on the way to the game by the Tech Airport. So, we rode from Tony's to the airport and...

D-Rob and I jumped in a Cessna and flew a loop around Blacksburg just before the game. I didn't have a good camera with me, but I had my cell. Here's a pic I took showing Lane Stadium and much of the VT Campus.

Or better yet, how about a closer pic of the stadium with the flight crew!

and lastly, here's the stadium view while we're swinging around to land...

The whole flight took us around 25 minutes. After we landed, D-Rob was going to take Kevin and Dan up for a loop, but some guy on the radio warned us of the temporary flight restriction beginning at 11am. It was 11:05am, so Kevin and Dan were bumped until next time. Sorry guys.

After the flight, we headed into town for some Gillie's Breakfast - a tradition I've continued since graduation. It was there, that we met with Kevin's girl and then separated. Dan and I rode to the game, D-Rob watched it at the LiverKill, and Kevin walked with his female companion to the game.

We were an hour late, about half way through the second quarter of the game. Game tied at 7. Then UVA drops another 7 on us and we shake it off over Halftime with swigs of Jager. In the 3rd, Tyrod Taylor has an awesome 70 yard scramble to the 10 yard line of UVA, which led to a tying touchdown. VT's defense shut out UVA in the second half and VT won by tapping in a short-yardage field goal in the fourth. final score VT 17 : UVA 14!

Somehow, after a tumultuous and painful to watch season, VA Tech is going to the ACC Championship (again). It will be a rematch against Boston College this Saturday. -Party at my house!!! (in case you haven't heard, though, I'm unemployed.So it'll be a BYO Everything event.) I'll have the HD ready.

After the game, we had a good meal at Bogens with Kevin's family (providers of the tix), and the rest of the night was spent nonsensing around Blacksburg on the bikes... At 1am, Dan reminded me that we had to ride the bikes back to Tony's. It was spitting freezing rain and the wind beat on us like Peter Griffin beats on Chickens.

After a short grumbling, we headed to Gumby's Pizza for a quick meal. I worked there for years while at Tech. My buddy, Joe (the GM) was still there, or had returned, so we caught up and he let me make a pie. It was great to hand toss and make my own pizza again but not great enough to do it for a job again. Dan and I sat and ate and then braved the inevitable trip back. Luckily, we planned well and brought lights, but... mine died and we we're half blind in the rain at 3am... Still, though, a great time. Since it was raining (and we were slacking) we bailed on the Sunday mountain ride and opted to sleep in and hit Gillies for brunch before heading home. Ah yes, one last meal from my favorite place in Blacksburg.

So - it was a great trip. I wish I could say that I'm going to the ACC Championship game, but...$$ no mas. I hope you all had a great Holiday Weekend!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Will Ride All Day Long for Food!

My enthusiasm for writing has diminished over the past few weeks, but I'm back. I'm still unemployed and always looking for leads. Sometimes, though, I need to get away from it all and explore what I love most... riding my bike in the mountains, camping, and chillin at a campfire. While everyone was sitting at their desks or working in the field this past Monday and Tuesday, I was camping on Tillman Road, riding all day, and sitting by the fire sippin from flasks at night.

Sunday (Nov 9, 2008) marked my last race of the season - and thank GOD! My friends, I have been slackin like nobody's business. Riding maybe once or twice per week and not pushing hard...at all... The Twistaed Tire MTB Race showed expected results: I have slowed down a lot, but I can still crank out the laps. I pulled out seven laps (roughly 52 miles) in the Enduro race, which was good for 14th place. Somehow, I held onto the 3rd place overall spot in the VORS series - good for a sweet Salsa jersey and riding cap. Francine held second place - good for a sweet JetBoil system. Our team, Richmond ASR, held second overall team - good work!

So, after the race and festivities, we headed home and I packed for my Monday trip. I met up with a riding buddy, Russ, on Tillman Road (part of the SM100) at lunchtime on monday. We set our tents and headed up Heartattack Hill to Wolf Ridge for a sweet 15 miler before getting the campfire and beers out. My legs were pissed, but the rest of me was all about it. The Wolf Ridge descent revealed some awesome things happening out there - TRAIL WORK! Apparently, SVBC and JMU are working together to reroute the lower (super steep) section of the trail. It looked like the re-route would add lots more super fast singletrack!! Keep your eyes out for this section.

Tuesday, we decided to ride the road up to Reddish Knob and take Hearthstone Ridge back to camp. The ride up was great! My legs cried and moaned... but it was only a 2,700 foot climb over nine miles! I had no idea. At one point, we saw a "6" painted on the asphalt. We decided that we had climbed 6 miles at that point. We were wrong. We still had 6 miles to reach the top. ouch! It's cool though, I love a good long climb.

One of my favorite climbs that I remember was on the Continental Divide Route (toured it in 2002) in Southern Colorado. I was riding with my friends Pascal and Rebecca, and I broke two spokes about "nine miles in". I ended up sending them up the mountain saying, "I'll catch up". The day's ride was to encompass a 4,000 foot climb over 20 miles and then rollin around in the uplands for another 20. So, I turned around and headed back to the town that we had just left to get a new wheel. After four hours, I had returned to the spot where I'd left my group. Then I killed it. I climbed for a loooong time, and reached the top only an hour or so behind the group. When I reached the camp, they were only there for about a half hour. Good times. Did I mention that I love a good long climb?

Back to Reddish Knob:
We Arrived at the summit around 1pm. Ahh yes, my legs were hurtin soooo good...
The best thing about the climb? The view from the top was great, but the dessert was even better: An 8 mile, 30 mph screamin blur! We were flying down the mountain so fast that the blurred trail looked like a bobsled course! What a great trip! Thanks for hanging out Russ. Can't wait till next time.

PSP for Sunday - anyone interested?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Time Served.

I was sentenced to six years of hard labor. A couple of weeks ago I was informed that I would be freed. My last day was last Friday...and now I'm a bum. It's surprising that even with all of the current work they have, I still had no job security. I was layed off because some of the other employees don't have work. They will be trained to fill my position, even though they have no desire to do that type of work. At least they will still have their jobs... I guess...

The good part of this is that it pushes me into CHANGE. I admit, I've been lazy. I've talked about going back to school, getting another job, and getting more certifications...but I've done nothing. It's easy to get into the grind of daily life and just maintain the current position you fill. So, in the spirit of making benficial changes in my life, this is a VERY GOOD thing.

I've had a couple of interviews so far. There are some good opportunities out there and I hope to join the workforce again soon. Until then... Got some change?