Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Upcoming Rides in WNC Released!

The following information was just received from Blue Ridge Bicycle Club’s Publicity Officer. If you are visiting the area or a local rider, there looks to be something here for everyone!

Weekly Rides and More! May 27 – June 3
For additional upcoming rides, including  non-club major local events,
visit the website calendar:
(Be sure to click on an activity on the calendar
for the details, which will appear inside a popup)

Thur: Cloudy with scattered afternoon showers and T-storms, 60%.
     Lo: 62
     Hi: 81
Fri: Partly cloudy with morning showers, 30%.

     Lo: 57
     Hi: 76
Sat: Sunny.
     Lo: 59
     Hi: 79
Sun: Mostly sunny.
     Lo: 62
     Hi: 81

Thursday May 28

SPRING FAT BURNERS: Weaverville/Mitchell
Departs sharply at 7:00am from the large parking lot in front of Office Depot, located at

Innsbruck Mall on Tunnel Road (behind Burger King).
We’ll carpool/drive to the 8:00am start in Weaverville. We'll probably use the ole route

down 80 to Burnsville, and not Little Switzerland, which will give us more time for lunch on Mitchell.
Wes Garbee 274-5315 or

These rides leave by 8:00am and we try to be back by 6:00pm. These are not races; these are all day

leisure rides to shake off the winter doldrums. All rides are about 100 miles and have 7-8,000 feet

of climb.

Mountain Sports Festival 5/28-5/31
Staging Area is at Carrier Park on Amboy road in Asheville.
Whether you’re a hardcore athlete or a newbie trying an event for the first time, the Mountain

Sports Festival offers something for you. From intense trail running to laid-back disc golf, from

adventure racing to the Iron Kids events, from high speed track racing to whitewater kayak

clinics; there is something here to entertain and challenge you!

Free music and kid events all weekend long.
CONTACT: Christen McNamara 828-251-4029 or email:


Saturday May 30

Bike Lane Cleanup
Hosted by the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club:
Meet 8:30am at the Clingman Avenue Cafe in the River Arts District for breakfast.

We will begin our cleanup at 9:00am.
Please bring gloves, shovels, brooms, and clippers.
Come out and meet some people and help keep our bike lanes clean and safe!!
Ellen Bailey at 253-3303 or

WOW: Not So Hard River Ramble Lite ($5 ride)

Weekend On Wheels
Begins 9:00am at the Ingles on US-64 in Etowah. A moderate ride (REI 43) of 33.3 miles,

total 1294’ climbing. We'll have lunch, BRBC members receive $5.00 towards lunch.

Non-members can join for $5.00 off the membership fee.
Cue sheets:
Jason Wilde at

Wheel Ride for Food (Part of the Mountain Sports Festival)
To raise money to provide food and services to local homebound elderly.

Begins at 8:30am at Carrier Park (the old racetrack)
Early registration $40.00 / Day-of registration $55.00
Price includes ride, raffle, souvenir shirt, sweet swag bag and lunch!
65 mile and 32 mile routes beginning from Carrier Park, in conjunction with the Mountain Sports

Festival, and takes riders through scenic parts of North Asheville, Weaverville, Marshall, Ox Creek,

Town Mountain and downtown Asheville before returning to Carrier Park.
Registration can be done through ACTIVE.COM or by calling Terri Bowman at Meals On Wheels: (828)253-5286.
The ride is organized and managed by local cyclists and volunteers.

Sunday May 31

Your best chance to compare and test the best in road and mountain bikes, for free!!
Come out from 10:00am – 4:00m to Alexander Bike Park for this Demo and Expo,

all supported by the largest bicycle manufacturers and local bicycle retailers.
Sponsored by the Western NC Bicycle Dealers Association as part of the Mountain

Sports Festival.
Alexandar Mountain Bike Park is located on Hwy 251 (Riverside Drive), 3/4 mile

past the Alexander Post Office.
Craig Friedrich at 828-254-2771 or

Tuesday June 2

Departs sharply at 8:00am from Liberty Bicycles, on Hendersonville Rd.
We’ll ride out though Fairview, down to Old Fort, backroads to Marion, up Hwy 80 to the Parkway,

on to Mitchell, then home on the Parkway.
You’ll need lights for the tunnels and a jacket for Mitchell’s unpredictable weather.
Wes Garbee 274-5315 or
These rides leave by 8:00am and we try to be back by 6:00pm. These are not races; these are all day

leisure rides to shake off the winter doldrums. All rides are about 100 miles and have 7-8,000 feet of climb.

CASUAL Road Bike Ride from Fletcher Park
Begins promptly at 10:30am from Fletcher Park, located off of Howard Gap Road.
For folks who want to enjoy the company of others. Ride about 2 hours, 16-25 miles,

no-one gets left behind. No ride in inclement weather or if under 40 degrees & windy.
CALL FIRST. Claudia at 274-2453




Presented by the BRBC and the WNC Bicycle Dealers Association
Full Century (100 miles), Metric Century (62 miles), and Half Century.

Rain or shine, HELMETS REQUIRED.

Register Online:

Saturday registration/packet pick-up from 10:00am to 3:30pm.
Ride Day Registration/packet pick-up opens at 6:30am.
Routes: Full, metric and half century rides that wind through the valleys south of Asheville. It is

the least Hilly ride in Western North Carolina, but it has plenty of rolling hills to keep all riders

interested. There is terrific mountain scenery without the long mountain climbs.

Well stocked rest stops along all routes, SAG support, after ride meal and snacks (included).
Complete details at


*** Notice the Time Change ****
THURSDAY MORNINGS: Fletcher Blue Sky Road Bike Ride
Meet Thursday mornings and depart promptly at 10:30am
for this road ride. Route and meeting place will vary each
week, so either contact John or watch the listserv for this
week's meeting location and route.
Ride distances vary from 20 to 35 miles, and the ride pace
will average 12-15 mph.
No one will be left behind.
John Loia 696-0877 or

**** New Ride ****

THURSDAY AFTERNOONS: Sunset Mountain Road Bike Ride

This is a show-n-go ride, meaning it may not have a regular attending ride leader.

Meet 5:00pm in the parking lot behind Asheville Brewing and Pizza, located on

Merrimon Avenue. Ride up Sunset Mountain using low trafficked streets to Town

Mountain Road, then up the Parkway to the first tunnel. Return using the same route.

Contact Rick Hester at 776-4071 or
SATURDAY MORNINGS: Gary Arthur Ledges Park Road Ride (33-35 miles)
Departs at 9:00am from Ledges Park, located on Riverside Drive
6.5 miles off of the UNCA Exit on I-26 (Hwy-19/23).
Ride north beside the French Broad River to Marshall, where
we'll stop for coffee and to regroup. The return route will
include Ivy Hill and subsequent roads.
Jones P. Byrd at
SUNDAY AFTERNOONS: Folk Art Center Road Ride
Departs sharply at 1:30pm from the Folk Art Center on the
Blue Ridge Pkwy. This is a Show-n-Go ride which means there may not
be a regularly attending leader. Call or email Bill beforehand to check.
The route this year will vary each week, distance will range between
25-35 miles. Pace will be about 12 mph. Some of the routes suggested
are the Town Mountain Sunset route, various routes to Black Mountain,
and the Parkway to Elk Mountain or Ox Creek Road, just to name a few.
Bill Crownover 713-8504 or
Liberty Bicycles is a BRBC Business Member:
Begins promptly at 10:30am at Liberty Bicycles.
For folks who want to enjoy the company of others.
Ride about 2 hours, 16-25 miles, no-one gets left behind.
No ride in inclement weather or if under 40 degrees & windy.
** EXCEPTION: On the first Tuesday of each month this ride
meets and leaves from Fletcher Park, same time.
Claudia at 274-2453

Until later,

- Zeke

Monday, May 25, 2009

Musings on Memorial Day as the Showers Continue to Fall



Yesterday and today (Memorial Day 2009) have continued to be wet days here in the increasingly green and lush mountains of Western North Carolina. Having risen early this morning to keep from awakening my “better half” on her day off, I managed to get some office work done and “listen” via VeloNews to today’s stage race of the Giro D’Italia. I appreciated the running commentary of the “announcers” and enjoyed sort of virtually being there as they called what seemed to be a pretty interesting event. I’m still impressed that Lance Armstrong is riding so strong after his return to racing. I wonder how much of Levi Leipheimer’s energy reserves  depleted when he flatted and had to catch back up to the chase group…

This coming Saturday (May 30th), I will have the pleasure of accompanying 100 WWII Veterans to Washington, DC to visit their memorial. This will be my second trip to the Memorial but first going on the chartered jet. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to escort these ladies and gentleman to and from their Memorial.  For those unfamiliar with the HonorAir Flight Network, it is an outstanding program that helps the remaining WWII Veterans get to Washington to see their Memorial, which was finished way too late for most of their comrades to see. NBC Nightly News just featured a brief segment on our May 16th flight. You can view it HERE…  Being a Guardian for 3 Vets this coming weekend means that I have to function as host, companion, first responder, and “pack mule.” Since the youngest of our group will be 82 years old, we don’t want them lugging around jackets, water bottles, cameras, etc. so those duties fall to the Guardians. I knew that I needed to improve my backpack situation seeing as the only small pack I had was not much of a day pack and wouldn’t carry sufficient materials. I also wanted to improve my ability to carry items when commuting from work to home on my Fuji CCR3. So, I started working on “killing the proverbial two birds with one stone.” 

My initial research led me to look at the Ortlieb Flight Pack but I couldn’t find one to purchase locally and I couldn’t find one on and other USA based retailers. I did find several European retailers from whom I could purchase but, being on a time limit, I opted to continue searching for just the right option. My search took me to my local Mast General Store where I explained my goal to Jay Schoon. Jay has been featured in a couple of local newspaper articles on his dedication to commuting by bike. I see him often as he comes and goes to work. While agreeing that the Ortlieb product was, in fact, a fine piece of craftsmanship, Jay suggested that I look at what he has used for the past 15 years. He reached into the closet and pulled out a messenger bag that had clearly been used for awhile. I was also impressed with the weight he was carrying in the bag!

Showing my ignorance on the subject of messenger bags, I expressed to him that I was really looking for something that wouldn’t swing to and fro as I rode. It was then that my lesson in why professional messengers use bags instead of backpacks began. Jay whipped out a large Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag. Timbuk2_ClassicMessengerBag

Hooking me up and explaining the cam lock system took all of 30 seconds. He then connected the short strap running from the bag across my chest that holds the bag securely in place.

The bag is waterproof and quite large so I’m feeling pretty confident that I’ll be able to handle my “pack mule” duties this coming weekend. I’ve had one chance to try out the comfort of the bag while riding and I must admit I was quite pleased with the result. While I didn’t carry much weight at all, i.e., sandals, shorts, cell phone, etc, the bag rode solidly on my back and did not manifest the weight shifting that I had concerned myself with in my ignorance.


As you can see from the image to the left, the bag has lots of undivided space along with several pockets for storing smaller items. There is also a zippered pocket underneath the lid that contains a key tether. This particular model also comes with reflective strips to highlight your presence when riding at night. Advertisements indicate that there is an additional loop for attaching a flashing light. I’ve yet to discover that particular loop but I’m probably overlooking it.  I’ll certainly have a closer relationship with this bag by next Saturday night when we land back at the Asheville, NC airport. I’ll update this review after my all day experience with the bag. (Please note: both images of this Timbuk2 Classic Messenger bag were taken from the Timbuk2 website and credit for the images should go accordingly to their photographer.)

I hope each of you have a safe and memorable Memorial Day Weekend and that you stop and give a nod of thanks to those who sacrificed so much for us!

Until later,

-- Zeke

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Legislation, Meetings, and Trivial Observations

We are finally getting a day or two break from an especially wet spring season. It is a season that we’ve needed seriously so I’m not complaining at all about the interruptions due to rain and severe thunderstorms. The really good news is that we are now officially out of our 3 year long drought status. Of course, more rain means more grass mowing and other activities required to keep the yard from being reclaimed by the wilderness. I’ve joked to my friends about needing to find a way to mount a 46” mowing deck to a mountain bike in order that I be able to multi-task. I can just imagine the leg strength that would require!

Several different items of interest have been popping out over recent days. The N.C. legislature finally stepped up to the plate and passed a serious “no smoking” law that the Governor has already signed into law. While the law has its detractors, the good news for the rest of us will be the ability to go into public places and not have to inhale second hand smoke! The legislature has also considered some bills regarding cycling safety. House Bill 1451 addresses issues related to Bicycle Operation and safety. The bill contains specific language addressed toward harassing or endangering bicyclists by passing motorists (establishes $250.00 fine). The bill also speaks to what portions of the road/lane may be used by a bicyclist and requires that cyclists use bike lanes when they are available. This language is more vague than similar legislation that was just passed in Colorado. Dave Moulton, in his Sunday May 17th blog entry, has addresses the very issue of sharing the road. I snapped up this image from Dave’s blog because I thought it does a nice job of making the point about passing safely.


Senate Bill 955 addresses the requirement that all bicycles operated from sunset to sunrise be outfitted with proper lighting. 

In other news: The next meeting of the Haywood Bicycle Advocacy group has been set for Tuesday, June 9th at High Noon in the Gateway Club in Waynesville, NC. This newly forming group will continue to work toward identifiable goals and selecting an appropriate name for the group, which now numbers 15 members. At last month’s meeting, the issue of Cycling Safety was paramount. This will likely help the group to focus in on helping identify safe cycling corridors within the local community. Our hope is that this will be the “pebble in the pond” that sends out ripples resulting in increased cycling awareness.

The fight against cancer: The Seattle, WA version of the Livestrong Ride is rapidly approaching. Kent Peterson, at Kent’s Bike Blog, has been challenged to raise $1000.00 for the cause. Kent has promised to shave his head IF his “team” meets/exceeds the goal. So, to aid Kent in achieving his goal, I’ve made my own personal donation and encourage others to do the same. You can help Kent get to his goal by donating via his Livestrong Page. So, check it out and, if possible, let’s send Kent to the barber!

And in the end… I was pleased and thankful to catch some time and sun to get to ride home yesterday. I noted a couple of things as I made the way from my office to Pisgah High School where my niece and her teammates have started their move into the State High School softball playoffs: 1) Two weeks off the bike DOES make a difference in your conditioning. (I already knew this… I’m just reminding myself AGAIN.), 2) Groundhogs can be irritable little critters when you surprise them by interrupting their meals along the roadside, and 3) there are lots of dead animal carcasses lining the gutters of the roads. It seems like I dodged 25 dead birds and other critters on my way home yesterday.

Until later,

- Zeke

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bicycle Advisory Committee Holds First Meeting in Haywood

Well, we finally did it! Our community’s first ever Bicycle Advisory Committee met this past Monday evening for the initial time. We held our meeting to coincide with National Bike Month and National Bike to Work Week. To get things started, part of our crew was able to assemble for a picture. Shown below are 8 of our 13 charter members.


Pictured l – r are: George Ivey, Scot Worley, Ron Leatherwood, Brandon Anderson, Fred Baker, Marcia Tate, Joey Massie, Cecil “Zeke” Yount.

As would be expected for a first time meeting, the agenda was mostly to get acquainted and begin to focus in areas where we feel we can have our greater impact. We enjoyed a wide ranging conversation as we “broke bread together”. The over-riding subject that all things related back to was rider safety. Comments regarding specific roads were discussed and different approaches to sharing the road in a safe manner flew around the table. The issue of Safe Routes to Schools was also included and members were encouraged to contact our local US Senator and urge his support of funding for the Safe Routes to Schools bill currently in the US Senate.

Some ideas were also generated about soliciting the general public’s input regarding issues of sharing the road with the hope of developing some public education materials that would begin to have a cultural shift in how motorists and cyclists co-exist. We also agreed that working with our local officials to identify safe corridors of travel for cyclists and generating local bike maps would be an early project that could get underway. Mention was also made of examining ways in which we can begin to positively affect the overall health and fitness of our community with a special focus on reducing obesity.

On a personal note, it was gratifying for me to see this group of folks come together with a positive “can do” attitude. I’m looking forward to working within this group to affect positive change in our community. We agreed to meet again in one month and continue our efforts. Several organizational steps need to be taken including coming up with an appropriate name for the group and continuing to sharpen our focus on achievable goals.

I know that we are following in the steps of many successful organizations across both our national and global communities. I hope that any reader of this blog will feel invited to comment on our efforts and lend us any constructive criticism/suggestions that you might deem helpful.

Thanks to Haywood Bicycle Advocate Fred Baker for bringing this to our attention. Colorado passed Senate Bill 148 and the Governor signed it into law yesterday.

Until later,

-- Zeke

Friday, May 8, 2009

Research Underway To Improve Training Outcomes

Bicycling Magazine’s June Issue carries an intriguing, but brief, article by Lisa Fields on improving training for fitness through sleep ( pg. 64). After reading the article, I was covering some of it’s finer points with my good buddy “Bad Axe Bob”, himself a local cyclist of absolutely no note. To the best of my knowledge, BAB still holds the record for longest finish time over the shortest course in Western North Carolina history. BAB once set out to conquer the climb to the highest point of the Blue Ridge Parkway. He figured the headline in the local paper would read “BAB BOPS BRP”. Unfortunately for Bad Axe, his training program apparently left something to be desired and he was only able to complete a short assault beginning on the Balsam side of the mountain. One trial learning taught him that a cadence of 10 rpm is slightly less than required to keep a bike vertical when climbing. I mention this only to validate Bad Axe’s unqualified stature as a pundit on matters of training and cycling.

I was explaining to BAB the generalities of the article in which Fields posits that 6 hours of sleep for cyclists in training is insufficient and that 8 to 10 hours of sleep is an aid to an overall training program. Fields goes on to discuss the different stages of sleep and their importance. Field’s article includes a suggested cycle of sleep in order to get the most out of your overall training program.

Knowing of the importance of proper sleep patterns from my 35+ years as a behavioral counselor, I thought that I might assist Bad Axe in his ongoing training by helping him to understand the importance of good sleep. The Field’s article was an excellent introduction to my conversation with BAB. I found out pretty quickly that BAB had his own thoughts on the matter and it became necessary to overcome a few of the deeply cherished training techniques that he felt led to quality sleep of 8+ hours. Here are his top 3 training tips, in no particular order,  that no one of any decent reputation would support.

  • Beginning approximately 6 hours before bedtime, consume between 8 and 12 16 oz beers leading up to a final glass of your favorite red wine 20 minutes before bedtime. The red wine assures that you are getting anti-oxidants to fight off all those nasty free radicals in your system. (Note to self: continue to fight BAB’s belief that free radicals are ex-hippies that come to your rally at no cost.)
  • After passing out and awakening in the middle of the night, recall that you must get through ALL of the sleep cycles in order to get the maximum benefit of healthy sleep. In order to return to sleep but assure yourself of the necessary time to sleep, pick up the phone and call your boss’s extension at work. Explain that you must have eaten something bad and are feeling sick. Assure him/her that you will be in to work noonish. (It is important in this step that you DO NOT confuse your boss’s work phone with his/her home phone. If this happens, much can be lost!)
  • If you feel that you must go to the bathroom at this point, DO IT even though it may harm your body’s efforts at producing melatonin. Your day will start off in a much worse state of mental health if you fail to heed your body’s call to the toilet. The risk of negatively affecting melatonin production is considerably less critical than the risk of waking your loving spouse as you change the sheets under him/her. (For more information on the importance of melatonin production, the reader is referred to Field’s article.)

As you can see, I was up against a fairly tough customer in Bad Axe Bob. In fact, at one point in the conversation, BAB lowered his early morning beer to the table, glared across the the slightly grimy surface into my eyes and said “if yer so smart, why don’t you follow that great sleep plan?” So, never being one to shy from a challenge, I immediately assured BAB that I would do so. I offer the following image only for the purposes of documenting my ongoing research project into healthy sleep patterns and improved performance. It is my strong belief that given sufficient sleep time to consider my cycling goals, I will eventually conquer my personal Rush Fork.



Upcoming items of interest! The Giro d’Italia starts today.  While Team Astana will start in their Astana kit, will they finish in it? Our local effort at creating a Bicycle Advocacy Group is only 3 days from kick-off! More to come… 

O.K., I’ve got to get back to my training. Until later,

-- Zeke