Sunday, December 31, 2006


Spent Christmas in Virginia with my girlfriend's family. Her dad has a farm outside of Orange. It is beautiful there. I was able to ride out his back door on country roads with very little traffic. Seeing all the grass and the hills was a nice change from the pine trees of Georgia.

I am back in Georgia now and I am getting ready for my first attempt at the Snake. The Snake is either a 17 mile or 34 mile point to point time trial. 34 miles doesn't sound like much but apparently the trail is very rocky and steep. I checked out some peoples times from last year and I think it will probably take me between 5 and 6 hours. The cool thing about it is that the promoters give you three attempts at the trail (one in jan, one in feb, and one in march) all for one price of $55.

I thought about just doing the 17 mile version in January to get a feel for the trail then moving on to the 34 mile version in February and March. For some reason the promoters don't want you to switch mid way through. They make you pay twice if you want to switch. My cheapness overrode my wimpyness and I signed up for the 34 miler. It should be good practice for my attempt at the Cohutta in April.

Monday, December 18, 2006

4 more weeks on my winter plan

Did my performance test on Saturday. I planned to do an hour, but I quit after 20 minutes. I was just not having fun. My average watts for those 20 minutes was 1 Watt higher than the test I did 8 weeks ago before I started training and 15 watts lower than the test I did 4 weeks ago.

Not sure what happened. I did the first two tests on the road and I did this one on my trainer. Some people say you get higher numbers on the road.

The second test I did I went out really hard and faded the last 10 minutes. That might have artificially bumped my numbers up on the second test.

Who knows? I am not going to think about it too much.

I have four more weeks of training before my winter plan is up. I figure the best thing I can do is concentrate on that and execute the next 4 weeks to best of my ability.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Amy and I went on another one of our "adventure's" yesterday. An adventure consists of

  • a long drive to a bike trail with lots of conversation and bonding between Amy and I

  • a bike ride with both party members lasting approximately 1 hour on a fun trail

  • the ride should be peppered with frequent words of encouragement and praise

  • after the ride there is more bonding with hugs and kisses before the party members separate for a short period

  • Amy will take the car and find a local restaurant for some lunch. After lunch she will spend the remainder of her time exploring local cities looking at shops, neighborhoods, and tourist attractions. At the end of explorations, she will return to the trail and her read a book.

  • I will take his bike and finish off his workout for the day. Riding his bike at whatever pace his workout calls for hoping to get enough endurance to finish his next race.

  • After James finishes his ride, the party members will reunite at the car. I will stretch and eat any goodies Amy purchased for him on her exploration.

  • After the leaving the trail the party members will start the drive back home and stop along the way for dinner. Both party members will share any fun stories from their time apart.

Our first adventure was at Chicopee Woods in Gainesville, Ga.

We rode down to the waterfall and back to the parking lot with a little exploring along the way. After our joint ride Amy went for lunch and learned her way around Gainesville finding a cool "Old Town" district. I rode the red trail, zig zag, outer loop (twice), some new trail I found that I probably shouldn't have been, and the lake loop. We tried to find a barbecue place off exit 13 on 400 on the way home but couldn't find it. So we ended up at our favorite Mexican place on exit 7.

Yesterday we went to the Dauset Nature Trails in Jackson, Ga.

We rode the entire 3.3 mile beginner loop together. Yay Amy! I think this was Amy's longest ride to date. She rode really well and didn't have to dismount for any of the tricky sections. At the end the ride, I asked her if she was tired and she said not at all. Next time she suggested we add in some more sections. The trail is kept up really well and it is very scenic especially with all the fallen leaves. We stopped several times picking up nicely shaped pine cones for Amy's home decorations. After we separated Amy drove to Jackson and Locust grove and explored those towns. She found a really good barbecue place called Fresh Air Barbecue.

I rode the expert loop. Then I finished off with a repeat of a Pine Mountain and backwards up Huff N Puff. We stopped at the Cracker Barrel on the way home. Great day!

Yesterday also ended my three week block of tempo rides. I have a performance test this weekend. I think I am going to skip my 20 minute time trial on the Silver Comet and do an hour time trial on my trainer. I know I would get higher numbers on the road, but I can't justify driving 3 hours to do a 20 minute time trial. Plus an hour long time trial would be better for estimating my functional threshold. Maybe this is dumb idea, but it wouldn't be my first.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Tried to make a cake for my girlfriend's birthday like the cake mama made for her birthday last Saturday.

Mama was nice enough to give me a recipe for the ganache and the mousse, and my girlfriend gave me a recipe for the cake.

I am not much of a baker, but I tried to follow the instructions the best I could.

I think the icing and the mousse came out pretty well. However the Droste cocoa

I used for the cake made it taste a little funny. It was almost hot and spicy instead of milky and creamy. I had never used the cocoa before but it looked fancy and was expensive so I thought it would have been good. Oops.

Plus the cake was a little dry. Not sure how I messed that part up. Next time I think I will just be safe and use one of the mixes from the baking aisle.

Betty Crocker knows her stuff.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Stanley Gap, Flat Creek

Went on a fun ride this weekend. We rode the Stanley Gap and Flat Creek trails. This was my first time on either trail. The trails were tough but fun. The climbs were long and sustained. A couple of the climbs had some good technical sections. The descents were brutal though. I did my best to try and keep up with the other riders, but they were too fast.

I ended up taking a pretty good header on really steep downhill with a log crossing. Tweaked my knee and shoulder. Broke my rear shifter. Had to do three quarters of the ride with only my front derailleur. Luckily the chain was in the 26 tooth rear cog when my shifter broke, and the chain stayed there for the rest of the ride. I had just enough gear for the climbs and the downhills were so steep I didn't really need to pedal anyway.

The ride was organized by a local bike goddess named mama. She is famous for taking regular joe schmoes like me on these long epic rides. She rushes ahead with her super human strength, gets out her camera, takes pictures of you suffering, gets back on her bike, and catches back up to you in a blink of the eye. Later she writes up these really funny ride reports for everyone to enjoy. Here is her report from this weekend. I really like this picture.

It really shows the steepness of the trail.

The ride was little longer and much more difficult than my training plan called for but I am so glad I went. Mama and her husband raja are awesome people. They have a huge group of friends and it is always fun and to meet and hang out with their group.

Since Saturday was so tough, I knocked a couple hours off my Sunday ride to try and get my total TSS for the weekend to what the training plan called for originally. Other than my weekend deviations the rest of the training for my week went really well.

My girlfriend let me put her stereo in the basement where I do my trainer rides. I downloaded some new music from itunes, and I have been rocking out while I ride. The music really helps me get pumped and angry. My intervals are so much easier when I am in this state of mind. I can't wait for tomorrow to do my last three day block of tempo rides.