Saturday, January 30, 2010


If I’m going to ride a trainer, it is going to be on my own terms instead of the terms of this weekend’s “I-40 Storm”. Bro Dave is out there in sunny California planning his day’s ride under the blue skies and warm temps. He called last night to see how our storm was going while he sat with BoBo, the Weimaraner, underneath starry skies and warm temperatures. I was pleased to report to him that all major roads into Western North Carolina were blocked due to the storm. I-26 was a parking lot in Buncombe County and I-40 was shut down completely at Old Fort Mountain. I-40 from Tennessee continues to be blocked due to a rock slide now several months old plus two new slides since the original.

So, another session in the basement on the trainer was not my idea of fun. My now “cycling-centric” neuronal pathways began to perk with thoughts of riding. The second pot of coffee kicked in. I made some changes…


(Yes, that’s right - SUMMER weight. Take that storm!) 


(Feeling “da luv of nature”!)


(Hmm, they don’t seem to cover this type of spring training!)


(Push through it now.Hey, who changed the flag?)


(Who me? No, I am NOT doping… Oh, I am a dope… Sorry!)

… and finally, with the finish in sight, I pummel the pedals until at last I can raise my arms in simulated victory just like the pros do on those stage finishes.


So, there you have it. Photographic proof that:

a) “I’m a Mountaineer born and a Mountaineer bred and when I die, I’m a Mountaineer dead.”

b) I have WAY too much time on my hands…

c) Bro Dave “can’t touch this!”

d) I have a VERY tolerant spouse, who agreed to document this entire non-event!


(Note: Kids: Do not try this at home. All simulated images of a training session were staged and planned by a man who knows not what he does. Had this have been a real training session, surely some sweat would have appeared on my brow. I take my leave now…)

Oh yeah, thus far the storm left us with 8.5” of snow at our humble abode and we’re still getting freezing rain/sleet. But, hey, we have a really, really nice smelling beef stew in the Crockpot! It’s to you Bro Dave!

Until later,

- Zeke

Friday, January 29, 2010


The second major snowfall for Western North Carolina arrived right on schedule and as predicted. What has been billed as “round 2” marched its way across the mid-west and arrived in Haywood County, North Carolina right on time. The first snow showers could be seen rolling over Richland Balsam and through Balsam Gap at 2:00 p.m. The temperature on Main Street in Waynesville dropped from 42 degrees to 36 degrees in the space of 30 minutes and the light snow quickly began to show up on the Courthouse lawn and nearby roads.


A quick inch of snow had fallen within the hour at our home in Bethel. We sit at 2895’ elevation. The birds were obviously anticipating this event as they have been cleaning out the feeders for the last two days. Thus far, the snowfall has not deterred them from their “eating rounds.”

















I’ve placed my trusty measuring stick in a good spot to capture the snowfall depth and will make some educated guesses at the snowfall rate as we go through the evening hours.


(Time image taken: 3:50 p.m. EST) 

Here are a couple more shots of the beginning of this storm. More to come…










You may be asking yourself what this has to do with a cycling blog? Well, that’s an easy one… It means I’ll be riding the trainer for the next two days!


Storm update at 18:00 hours 01/29/2010

Snow has continued to fall at a steady pace with only a brief letup approximately 30 minutes ago. We are again receiving heavy snow. The barometric pressure is remaining above 30” but is now beginning to fall. A quick view of the radar map on Weatherunderground shows that the vast majority of the storm is still to our west and headed this way.

SnoFall_012910_11(Time stamp of 17:55 hours – 4.5” of snow accumulation) 

Until later,

- Zeke

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Oh, it was going so well. Our cold winter weather had skedaddled and warmer Gulf Coast air had filled the void. Dreams and plans for an early spring were abundant in my mind even though I knew all along that it wouldn’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t last. I know we need more cold weather. It is wired into my brain that winter is for cold temps. Still, those couple of rides last week in “spring-like” temperatures got me revved up for more.

Friday night and Saturday brought back cooler, not particularly cold temperatures, but they were accompanied by heavy rains and winds making riding less than wise on our narrow two lane, no shoulders roads. I was getting antsy, grumpy, testy, and agitated. I wanted to ride! Finally, I had enough and decided to do something before the Vikings and Saints took to the field on Sunday.

I determined that I would take a nice Oceanside Ride around Hawaii. So, I loaded up and decided to ride with Italian coach, Marzia Cozzolino. We decided to stay close to the coast and avoid significant climbs today. Instead, it seemed like a good day to focus on spinning and intervals. There were a few rollers but really, nothing to challenge the climbing muscles. As Coach Marzia insisted, I focused on my spinning skills and keeping my heart rate in the training zone. She is always so supportive and encouraging on our rides together.

The scenery was beautiful as we circumnavigated the island. Traffic wasn’t heavy in most places. The bike paths certainly lent a more secure feel to the ride. I was impressed with the number of motorcycles out and about although each time I’ve ridden this particular circuit, there seem to be pretty much the same number of motorcyclists on the roads.

I was having a good workout and building up a nice sweat when my “best half” came alongside and started capturing the effort…





(Zeke following Coach Marzia’s directions)









(Hawaiian circuit on the big screen)









(Hawaii “in my mind!”)

Yep, I broke down and got on the trainer for the first time this year. I’d avoided it until now due to having maintained a riding schedule all but one week since late November. I first attempted spinning to a CD given to me by the “Woodman” but it proved not to be compatible with my system so I broke out my Global Ride “Hawaii series” and selected the Oceanside Ride mentioned above. I purchased this series when it was first released at Christmas 2008. I’ve previously reviewed my experiences with this commercially produced boxed DVD set of rides. I did get a good workout and this is probably about as close as I’ll get to really riding in Hawaii. I use my DLP ViewSonic projector to display the image on my screen so I get quite a large presentation of the ride. The sound runs through my sound system and 4 speakers and that certainly adds positively to the effect. I do have trouble following some of the spoken directions of the coaches so I tend to try to match their instruction while increasing/decreasing the workout as I need at the time. In lieu of getting out on the road, it keeps my cardio status up to standard and works on my spinning skills as well. I focus mostly on maintaining my heart rate and cadence count.

At the end of the session, I examined my tires and noted that I could see pockets of purple color beginning to show through the rubber on the rear tire. I’m glad to have observed this in the comfort of my basement rather than finding it out after flatting on the road. The rear tire in particular is shot so before I do get to ride on the road again, I’ll be getting new rubber for front and back.

Continental Ultra Race tires came on my Fuji CCR3 at the time of purchase and I’ve put a little over 1500 miles plus last winter’s trainer sessions on the tires. I’ve settled on going to Continental Grand Prix 4 Season Tires this time around. They get excellent reviews but are somewhat higher in price than the Ultras that I’ve been running. I’m currently awaiting a return call from my LBS to see if they stock them. If not, I’ll be heading to REI this evening to make the purchase. Tomorrow may be clear and in the 40’s! I may need to ride!

Until later,

- Zeke

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Rafael Giraldo, the south Florida teacher who cycled across America last summer, has announced the 2010 Tour of Discovery: Ride for the Republic. This year’s route will take in the original 13 Colonies and will once again focus on learning about America. Rafael will be joined this year by Jim Artis of Cycling Experiences as they leave Bar Harbor, Maine on their trip to Key West Florida. Jim introduced many of us to last year’s Tour through his extensive coverage of Giraldo’s efforts.

To see the ongoing development of this year’s Tour, visit Jim’s site Cycling Experiences.

Jim has been hard at work developing, enhancing, implementing, and refining the technological tools that will be used on this trip. Additionally, he is having Utah Trikes build him a special Quad Bike already named Fargo. The bike will have a decidedly stagecoach influence. Jim has been kind enough to let us go along on the journey of this build on his site and in the BROL forums.

CONGRATS JIM AND RAFAEL! We’ll look forward to another exciting and educational effort this year!


Yesterday was one of those great “gifts” that we get from time to time in the middle of the winter. We enjoyed temperatures hovering at 60 degrees and great blue skies. I was able to reduce a full layer of clothing when making the ride home yesterday. My 18 mile run to the house was quite enjoyable as I bathed in the late afternoon sun hitting my back on the segment from Waynesville to Canton, once again via Lee Road. We’re not far from seeing some of the earliest spring flowers begin to make their appearances.

While on the busiest section of the ride home between Clyde and Canton, I was riding “as far to the right as practical”, which is still a little further into the lane than usual because of leftover debris and some ice chunks that are resisting the warming temps. I was buffeted by a passing vehicle and then somewhat surprised to see that it was a Drivers Education vehicle from the local school. Your first thought might be that a student just learning to drive needed some instruction on sharing the road. After all, this road is a split 4 lane highway and there were no other vehicles in the inside lane that would have prevented the student from moving into that lane of travel to pass me. Imagine my surprise when I realized the car wasn’t being piloted by a student at all but rather by the instructor. I pondered for a moment the irony of being knocked from my bike at speed by a Driver’s Education Instructor. Ah well, the pass wasn’t close enough to cause me to flinch but was certainly not observant of the requested 3’ clearance. It did seem to merit a head shake in wonderment.

The rest of the trip home was simply enjoyable. I noted more people out walking around the local recreation park although I was the only cyclist that I encountered after leaving Waynesville. I did see one motorcyclist but that was the sum of the 2 wheeled transportation variety I encountered. I was treated to a very pretty sunset as I rode up river to Bethel. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a camera with me yesterday to document it so the image will just have to live on in my mind.

As I watch the rain move in today, I’m particularly thankful for having the chance to ride yesterday. If the forecasts are correct, we’re in for a return to some slightly cooler weather with rain for the next couple of days.

Before signing off, let me encourage you again to check out Cycling Experiences and follow the preparations for this year’s Tour of Discovery!

Until later,

- Zeke

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I promise. I had every intention of riding today. I planned it. I looked forward to it. I was eager to do it. I knew the weather prediction was for rain in the late afternoon and lasting through Sunday so my plan was to get a start on a ride by mid-day.

Funny thing about plans – it doesn’t take much to change them. I spent the morning doing my book keeping and attendance charting for my Rotary Club. I’m the club’s Executive Secretary so my duties need to be done promptly following our Friday meetings. I sucked down my 3, maybe 4 cups of coffee doing the work. My “best half” had departed to spend time with her Dad today. It was quiet and I was absorbed in the computer. I finally realized my coffee cup was empty (again) and looked at the clock. Oops, mid-day is here!

My next realization was that I had not eaten any food and I was beginning to vibrate from the caffeinated coffee. I knew that riding with coffee as my sole sustenance wasn’t a good plan so I prepared to run to my favorite cafe for some protein to fuel my ride. As I was stepping off the deck at our house, Mattie Anne, my father-in-law’s Golden Retriever greeted me with her big brown eyes. She has come to live with us now and is still adjusting to not having the full ability to roam where she wants. In this particular moment, she reminded me that I still had to fix the fence that the recent snow storm had made escapable. So, it seemed that a quick run to Lowe’s for some lumber was in order after lunch and before I could ride.

Once up town at the cafe, I remembered I had some brochures about a local mountain bike trail that just opened that needed to go to the local Mast General Store on Main St. So, I headed up Main Street, one pedestrian among many, many tourists in town today. Upon entering Mast, I realized that they had a really good sale in progress. The store was packed!

I finally got a chance to deliver the brochures and decided to check to see if my favorite new socks – SmartWool – were on sale. Yep, they were. Buy 3 get one more pair free! So, with great care in selecting the proper color and style to match just right with riding gear, I bought 2 pair for me and another pair for my beauty back home. Oh yeah, she got the 4th pair that was free. (You’re probably saying “What a guy!” about right now. This may rank up there with arranging that 14” heavy snowfall that kept us homebound for our recent wedding anniversary…)

O.K., back to the excuses… uh explanations…. I made a quick trip in to Lowes knowing exactly what I wanted and where it was located. In and out! Headed home and ready to ride. Well, knowing it was probably going to rain later, I determined that it was in everyone’s best interest if I went ahead and repaired the fencing for the dogs containment area. This shouldn’t take long I reflected to myself.

I managed to tear down the remaining destroyed fence and get the new materials up all while Zeke, Orla, and Mattie Anne graciously helped me by sitting under me, bringing me a ball to throw, and generally sniffing around the work area to make sure there were no OSHA violations going on.

Done, I’m through – I’m gonna ride! But, then I noticed the load of clothes in the washer that needed hanging up. Next, I skipped through the kitchen but I spied the dishes I had promised my wife I would wash and, of course, I hadn’t. Oh well, this won’t take long and then I’m gonna ride.

Finally, all is done and I glance up at Cold Mountain.


(49 degrees and rain moving in across Cold Mountain) 

---and what do I see? Rain! Not pretty white snow but RAIN! My motivation to ride in 49 degree weather in the rain just wasn’t there today. A warm shower followed by a nice steaming cup of coffee seemed like a much better idea.

I promise… I was gonna ride… No, really, I mean it….

(Note: In this post, I offer up a number of plausible excuses for not riding. Should you find yourself someday on the edge of being motivated to ride and in need of a somewhat reasonable excuse to AVOID riding, I hereby grant full access to use any or all of my excuses. I would point out that “my dog ate my homework” has limited application to this situation and would suggest that you not rely on it as a proper excuse in cycling matters.)

(P.S. On a more serious note, I just received a link to some images taken of our Main Street during the December 18, 2009 snowstorm. I’ll post the link for all to enjoy. Nothing to do with cycling – just some beautiful work done by one of our local craftsman, Ed Kelly. To see the images, CLICK HERE!

Until later,

- Zeke

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Take your pick of either of these well known songs. Gene Autry blessed us with the following lyrics:

Rockin' to and fro
Back in the saddle again
I go my way
Back in the saddle again


…and Willie celebrated with:

And I can't wait to get on the road again.
On the road again

Goin' places that I've never been.
Seein' things that I may never see again


Either one you pick pretty well sums up how I was feeling yesterday after getting back on my skinny tired Fuji. The anticipated warm-up got here just enough to overcome any temporary mood disorder I was suffering and I literally found myself “back on the saddle again” as I headed home from work yesterday.

I looked forward all day to getting back out on 2 wheels. The skies were partly cloudy but mostly sunny and the temps were climbing above freezing as I walked to the cafe for lunch. I ate like I was going to get to ride later and enjoyed every minute of it.

Finally, the appointed time arrived. I’m lucky enough to get to set my own schedule within reason so I headed out a little early because we’re still dealing with short days even though they are getting longer as each day passes. This was my first opportunity to try out my Pearl Izumi AmFib shoe covers. Along with my SmartWool socks, I had a feeling my feet would stay toasty warm.

In fact, as I started out the temps had settled at 42 degrees and I warmed up very quickly breaking a sweat about mile 4. In the past few days, my “best half” and I had driven a small two lane road that was near my normal route home. It had looked interesting as a cycling route so I decided to take it on the way home. After making my usual trip to the NC 209/Hospital Hill intersection, I climbed up Paragon Parkway and rode to the junction with Jones Cove Road.

It was here that I picked up Lee Road and had a delightful short ride of about a mile over to the Pigeon River just outside of Clyde. There was virtually no traffic on the road. It had two small climbs that warmed me up nicely and then a slightly longer descent to river grade. I felt the coolness of the brisk air on the descent but quickly warmed back up as I pedaled into Clyde. I enjoyed seeing the remaining snow banks in the yards and noting the icicles clinging to vines near the river.

I had to make a decision whether to take a 4 mile or so longer more picturesque route home or join back up with Business 19 into Canton. The picturesque ride would have been nice and it would have included a substantial climb near the end but I realized the sun was dropping and I didn’t particularly want to be out on these two lane, still icy roads after dark. I chose the quicker, more heavily travelled route to Canton.

Radio Hill climbing into Canton is almost always in the shade this time of the year and the temperatures drop substantially. Fortunately, I was still climbing so my body heat was being maintained nicely. The drop into Canton however cooled me down pretty quickly and I began to feel the cold seeping into my hands. My feet though were still toasty warm.

The sun dropped below the mountains as I was making the 5 mile run to the intersection of NC 110 and US 276 where I would turn west for the final 2 mile ride home. I was beginning to think it might be a good idea to stop and pull on my silk gloves under my Pearl Izumi winter weight gloves. Before I could make a decision to stop, I had made the final turn home and realized my hands were just cold – not freezing. I decided to ride on amongst the heavier traffic of the folks getting home.

Just as I approached the Bethel Baptist Church, I noticed a vehicle that looked amazingly like my “best half’s” Escape. Sure enough, it was her. Rather than waiting on me at the bottom of our gravel road that climbs to our house on the mountain, she had ridden down a mile to see if I might like to finish up in the vehicle. Given that the sun was now set, the temperature had dropped to 37,  and it was getting dark, it seemed like a fine idea to me. I loaded up and rode on home thoroughly enjoying the warmth of the heated seat! (I know, I know – disgusting isn’t it…)

I’ll have to give the Pearl Izumi AmFib shoe covers a grade of “A” as my toes maintained constant “warm” contact with my brain throughout. I was dressed almost perfectly for the ride yesterday. I was perhaps a little warm initially with the balaclava and just a touch cool on the hands near the end. Otherwise, I was dialed in for the ride.

I know I was one happy dude as I climbed the stairs to bed last night. The heavy legs served only to remind me that I had been “on the road again.” Thanks Willie and Gene for the inspiration!

Until later,

- Zeke


**Willie Nelson - On The Road Again lyrics are the property and copyright of their owners.

**Gene Autry – Back in the Saddle Again lyrics are the property and copyright of their owners.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Bear with me here. As I was perusing some of my favorite cycling related blogs this morning whilst enjoying my morning porridge (actually Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal – Banana Bread variety), an explanation appeared in my mind that will perhaps shed light on why I’ve been disgruntled and experiencing anhedonic-like emotions when it comes to riding this past week. More correctly, I’ve experienced anhedonic-like feelings for getting on my trainer as the weather here in the mountains of Western North Carolina has been less than accommodating to my particular riding style.

Since about January 2nd, I’ve had this malaise that has accompanied me from start to finish each day. I’ve struggled to get up in the mornings preferring to pull the blanket further over my bald head. I’ve managed eventually to drag myself to the shower to prep for the day, which includes removal of that stubborn secondary hair on my face and the remaining primary hair ring that has shrunk from the top of my head to somewhere just south of my ears. Yes, I’m a shaver… I admit it. In fact, I’m the first white guy I know around the old home locale to go au naturale.  I sported the shaved look back when Michael first made the statement.

But I digress…

I finally drag myself to work although that means that I carpool with my “best half”. We work only a couple of blocks apart from each other so it makes more sense economically and environmentally to share rides when we can. I then proceed to get through the work day moving from snack to snack (bananas, nuts, the occasional chocolate truffle) and finally return home as the light of day is dwindling. I find myself drawn to my recliner sitting only feet away from my super cool trainer. My Fuji CCR3 is upstairs on the main floor where it stays warm and comfy. I can’t seem to find the energy to bring it downstairs, pop off the front wheel, and mount it on the trainer for an hour or two of really spirited spinning. I seem to prefer to languish near the stove, in my recliner, and under the blankets until bedtime when the whole darn mess repeats itself.

I try to rekindle my desire to be active. I really do. Videos such as “Alaska Slickrock” by Jill Homer in her January 4th post show how exciting it can be to ride in much colder, snowier environs than what I experience. I feel the energies returning as I watch this very exciting video but, then reality drives another nail in the coffin of my mood. My skinny tire bike won’t ride on top of unknown feet of crusted over snow. Of course, we don’t have unknown feet of crusted over snow and that is a pretty big barrier to riding on the stuff. We do have a good solid 1/2” of salt brine on our roadways mixed with ugly, dirty, gray snowmelt guaranteed to turn the immaculately maintained Fuji CCR3 into a bucket of rusted bolts. Sigh…

Then Bro Dave, riding on the west coast, sends me inspiration. Seems he had a most excellent ride Sunday. He submits the following report:

I had a good ride this afternoon. I wore a long-sleeved jersey (for sun protection only). It was around 75 degrees. I took a decent camera with me today, but it was not nearly as clear as last week. I'll attach some pictures so you get an idea of where I was riding. I rode from the house today instead of driving to the trail head. This added some additional climbing. For the record books, I rode 14.4 miles with 1965 feet of climbing. Moving average was 7.3 m.p.h.


He also shared a couple of images from his ride:

Santa Monica Pier

(Santa Monica pier)









(Santa Monica Mountains)

So, with all of this fine inspiration along with other readings of cycling exploits in more extreme conditions than I face, how can I be experiencing this maudlin state of mind day in and day out. Well, here’s the good news. Being the professionally trained diagnostician that I am with over 35 years of experience in the mental health and substance abuse treatment arena, I have finally and, with great astuteness I might add, determined the cause of my condition. It all makes sense now. All the pieces are in place – the puzzle is complete. The TV commercials touting medications for similar conditions be darned! (note: family friendly term for stronger intended adjective.) I refute the diagnostic criteria found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – IV-TR. I am, and I say this proudly, I AM AN AMERICAN BLACK BEAR!

Let’s review the evidence. As the days shortened, I developed an overwhelming state of  lethargy, my girth has increased in preparation for the colder temperatures, I’m eating porridge every morning for goodness sake having forsaken my daily Sausage Egg “n Cheese biscuit from the local Burger King, I seem to growl a lot and I note that when I walk to lunch at my favorite local cafe, I seem to waddle rather than stride. Fortunately for the local populace, I don’t have any children for them to get near and raise my level of disgruntledness. I’ve also noticed that the remaining Florida tourists have been stopping their cars during my wanderings to lunch and taking my picture. One especially “bright” tourist tried to lure me into the open rear hatch of their SUV by spilling sunflower seeds on the carpet) And finally, the ultimate proof that I am an Ursus Americanus (are you ready?)…. The N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, in their infinite wisdom, has declared that my “best half” now has golden locks.

AmericanBlackBear(Snazzy image of my new found cousin Sidney) 

I feel much better now. In fact, I think I may get off my butt and go ride – tomorrow!


Until later,

- Zeke

Thursday, January 7, 2010


At lunch today, the southwestern skies were filled with heavy, flat gray clouds that seem to be harbingers of snow storms to come. We were in the midst of our warmest day in a week with the temperature headed toward a perfect snowfall range of the upper 20’s to low 30’s. These temps really provide for the proper moisture levels to get good heavy, wet snow, which is something that has been sorely missing around here for a number of years.

By 1:30 p.m., the snow was evident along the Balsams and Eagles Nest Mountain as the snow first began to fall at the 5500’+ elevations. By 3:30, the flurries had reached the valley floor and folk’s expectation of a snow became palpable. Now, as we head home, the flurries are heavier and the already cold ground and buildings are taking on yet another coat of white. Snow left over from our December 18th storm has finally survived until the next blanket appeared.

Of course, this means that, in my case, the skinny tire bike will stay in the house. I may have to break down and put it on my trainer because these last few days of bitterly cold (for around here) weather has won the battle for my dedication to riding. I’ve not been on the bike since the 1st.

One of my observations this morning would be the following:

That which shrinks slowly, expands quickly when attention is not paid. 

While searching my closet for the proper pair of pants, my eyes settled upon a recent acquisition at REI. I pulled my new gray pants from their hanger and proceeded to put them on one leg at a time just like everyone else I know. One leg in…the other leg in… pull uuup… With a grunt and a much needed inhalation, get ‘em buttoned and zipped. Exhale…. How did that happen? No, what is that? Turns out the old waist line has been REALLY enjoying all of that pizza lately.

Next brilliant observation:

One cannot eat while NOT working out as if one IS working out.

This seems very much akin to a much older brilliant observation I made during my self-imposed year of academic relief between my sophomore and junior years at Appalachian State University. That observation went something like this:

One cannot live in one’s mother’s house as if one were still living in a dormitory on a college campus…”

Thanks to some sage advice from my father, I learned that one pretty quickly.

So, having only a skinny tire bike, I’m relegated to reading a lot about riding rather than riding on this date. Some of my reading included the following and I pass it along to you “for what it’s worth.”

A sobering thought: The realities of skin cancer hit home on BikinginLA. Whether our destinies were set in motion with that first sunburn in our youth or become an issue in our middle ages due to the aggregate of our time outdoors, skin cancers are something that all cyclists and outdoors oriented persons should be ever vigilant about. Gone are the days of filling up baby oil with iodine and slathering ourselves with it to get that perfect tan. We should all be using a quality sun protector EVERY time we ride. Think about it…

A technical thought: My friend Jim over at Cycling Experiences is in the preparatory stages of a tour this coming June. He is sharing with us step-by-step details on his quad-ride-to-be that is being developed for him by the good folks at Utah Trikes. For a really well developed and technical journey on getting ready for this trip, jump on over and follow Jim’s path as he prepares for a great upcoming trip. While there, link on over to Utah Trikes and check out their product. For those of us who enjoy the techie side of cycling, Jim always provides a good read with lots of detail. Oh yeah, check back often as details of this trip get announced.

A sartorial thought: On a number of blogs that I read (Springfield Cyclist for one and mine for another), the topic of how best to dress for cold weather riding has been a well, hot topic, recently. To add to the quantity of the discussion, if not the quality, I offer the “lil black dress” as an appropriate cold weather riding option. Check out one example of this at The Fat Cyclist. See Fatty’s January 4th post. Here’s a little sumpin, sumpin to encourage you to consider your own sartorial splendor…

LilBlackDress(Heather’s image courtesy of

So, on this note, I bid thee adieu and begin my trek home for the evening where I know I’ll be greeted with wagging tales and slobbering mouths from Zeke and Orla. Oh yeah, I guess I’ll ride the trainer tonight…


Until later,

- Zeke

Sunday, January 3, 2010


This will be brief and to the point. For those of you not “in the know”, my younger, much more handsome brother David, lives in the outskirts of Los Angeles. He rides a Rans Dynamik Crankforward on the roads and trails near his home. We correspond daily for the most part on our rides and conditions. Of course, I try to keep him apprised of matters here at home in the mountain of Western North Carolina. For his part, he reciprocates with educating me about the southern California lifestyle that he lives.

Knowing full well of the arctic high pressure system that is governing our weather at the moment and keeping our high temps in the low 20’s and our low temps in the single digits, he filed the following report on his Sunday, December 3rd ride. I offer it for what it’s worth – one brother lovingly reminded another brother of his really GREAT weather…


Knowing that you were probably stuck inside all day, I will not talk about how perfect the weather was for a ride here today. Oops...I did already! It was 75 degrees and just some high clouds with a slight breeze. I headed into the mountains today. If my ascent data was correct on the ride Friday I had already surpassed that amount of climbing at .8 of a mile today. I did EXACTLY 10.0 miles with 1054 feet of climbing. I had some spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and West Los Angeles to Downtown. I took some cell phone pictures but they didn't turn out so good. Hope you all haven't frozen today.




I can hardly wait until the next time he’s enjoying the pleasure of 105 degree temperatures and I’m just back fresh from a ride through the incredible cool mountain air on a gorgeous summer eve. Yeah, I can hardly wait…

Until later,

- Zeke

Friday, January 1, 2010


Yep, here we go! A new riding season has begun. The 2009 goals and achievements are in the books and unalterable leading us toward opportunities for renewal and growth as cyclists and as members of our communities. To get the new riding season and the new year started in the right direction, it was important for me to get in a ride, no matter how short, just so I could record those first miles of the year on the first day of the year.

January 1st, dawned clear and moderately cold at 31 degrees. Today is also my “best half’s” birthday so riding needed to take a back seat to plans for celebrating. We were planning a movie and dinner so I knew I needed to get out and get my ride in mid-day, which also should coincide with the warmest part of the day.

ColdMtn_Jan0110_01(There is a reason they call it Cold Mountain!) 

Around noon, I headed to the office to get my Fuji CCR3 and get that short ride in for the record. I was starting out in 38 degree weather so I knew I was going to need my cold weather outfit. I modified it from my December 27th ride by adding silk gloves under my heavier Pearl Izumi gloves and by going with a full fleece balaclava. I maintained the rest of my riding outfit as noted in my December 27th post.

Ride_Jan01_Office2(Ready to ride!)

My original intent had been to put in a few miles and return to the office. I thought maybe 5 miles or maybe 10 would be sufficient for the day. After all, I was only looking to be able to say that I rode on January 1st. The quite brisk air as I started did nothing to dissuade me from my original intent. But then, something funny happened on the way to being able to say “I rode on January 1st!”

I took my usual route from the office and headed by the Waynesville Recreation  Department and out Howell Mill Road to Business 23. The cold air was seeping through my tights but my core was pretty dog gone comfortable wrapped inside my snazzy new Novara Stratos jacket. So, I kept spinning. As I got to Lowe’s and the beginning of NC 209, my usual haunt, I made an impulsive decision to head up Hospital Drive. I hadn’t climbed this hill in probably 6 months. It was one of the first that was a real “lung buster” for me a year ago. Then I noticed, “hey, I’m not so cold” and “gee, I’ve only ridden 4.5 miles. Hmm, I’m just warming up!”

Sooooo, I pedaled on. Next, I noticed some sweat starting. “Hey, it’s supposed to be cold out here”, I said to myself. Oh yeah, now I’m passing through Clyde, NC and I’m  just passing 7.5 miles. Hmm, let’s see if I turn around now and return to the office, I’ll get in a 15 mile ride today. But, wait a minute! Let’s think about it… O.K., I’m only 2 miles from Canton, NC. Maybe I should just ride on there and, gee, since I’m going to do that, I may as well ride on to Bethel, NC on NC 110. Oh yeah, if I do that – I’ll be at home!

I pedaled on… The climb into Canton from Clyde is a low grade but long pull and I had a pretty good sweat going as I topped Radio Hill and began the cooling off descent into Canton. Luck was with me today. I made every traffic light and didn’t have to lose momentum by stopping at red lights. As usual, I circumvented the Canton Rec Park and noted two couples out getting in a walk. I also passed the only other two-wheeler I saw all day while in Canton. A couple on their Harley were getting in their New Year’s Day ride. I remember when I used to do that! Oh wait, I AM doing that – just self powered at the moment.

I started the 5 mile river grade pull from Canton to Bethel on NC 110. It was here that the temperature really burned me up! Man, I was roasting at 44 degrees! Whew, I need to cool down! Shortly, I made the intersection of NC 110 and US 276 and headed north through Bethel toward the house. It was on this section that I experienced the most traffic of the day. Everyone was quite pleasant and gave me plenty of room. I’d like to think it is a sign of the times to come. I guess time will tell.

After a 2 mile run of mostly flat ground, I made it back to the house. I had to walk the skinny tire bike up our gravel road to the house. Other than being in my cycling shoes, it was a pleasant short hike up the mountain. My wife met me on the deck with a surprised expression on her face followed by the query, “Hey, where’s your truck?” I shared with her my discovery of this New Year’s Day ride: The ride from my office to my home is now the SHORTEST ride I take!

Ride_Jan01_Home3(Arriving home after my New Year’s Day ride…) 

I can now safely declare that the new riding season has begun – for me at least! Here’s wishing each and all a very prosperous and happy 2010 with wishes that you always keep the rubber side down!

- Until later,


P.S. Anyone interested in checking out the local weather in beautiful Bethel, NC may check out my Davis ProVantage II Weather Station.