Friday, July 30, 2010


Our BicycleHaywoodNC sponsored ride for new and newly returning cyclists  on Thursday night completed the 5th of 6 planned rides last evening. We were pleased to have our largest turnout yet with 14 cyclists. The rides are intended to acclimate new riders to riding safely within a group, offer an opportunity for newly returning riders to ride back into shape, learn and re-learn the rules of the road, and create situations for the motoring public to get used to seeing cyclists on the roads. I think I can safely say that our expectations have been far exceeded by the response from riders and motorists alike.

Our riders have turned into a mix of new to cycling riders, visiting tourists to the area, renewed cyclists, and our Council members. Thus far, everyone has been quite satisfied with a cruise around Waynesville of about 10 miles. I have been most impressed by the motorists on the road, who have uniformly gone out of their way to be courteous letting our entire group cross in front of them at traffic lights or stop signs, giving plenty of room as they passed, and even helping to trigger a couple of automatic traffic light panels that we just couldn’t get to trip. I think that as close as we’ve been to discourteous behavior was one young adult male, riding in a pickup truck, hollered out at me “way to go Lance!” Hey, I’ve been called much worse and insulted by much better than that!

Officer Jim cruises Brown Ave.(Jim cruises up Brown Ave in the Village of Hazelwood) 

This week we were joined by a young couple from Raleigh, who were visiting in the area and saw our ride listed on a local website. We also had 5 other folks join us for the first time. Two were just back from 3 days riding the Virginia Creeper Trail.

We decided to change up our route a little bit this time and ended up adding about 2 miles to the overall trip. “Cross Country Stan” was our Ride Leader for the night and he added a couple of short climbs to the menu. We’ve been staying pretty flat or at least as flat as possible given that we live in the mountains. Everyone hung in there and made it to the tops of the climbs. A couple of folks got to the top by combining their hiking skills with their cycling skills but that was o.k. They get A+ for effort.

Big J tops a short climb(Big J tops a short climb up to Grimball Dr.) 

Grouped up on Grimball(Part of our troupe of 14 on Grimball Dr.)

The ride took a new turn down into one of Waynesville’s residential areas and along some back streets before the last little climb up Marshall Street and a return to Rolls Rite Bicycle shop. Judging from the post-ride remarks, I think we’ll call it a success.

My Massage Therapist chimes in…

Regular readers of this blog will recall that on Tuesday night of this week, my left calf went into full cramp while I was sitting at a traffic light in Canton. I was unable to get my foot clipped back in so had to do some odd combination of pushing, gliding, grimacing, and one-legged pedaling to get through the intersection. Fortunately, today was my scheduled monthly massage. My left leg has had what felt like a baseball sized knot in it since Tuesday. Wendy, once she quit laughing at the spectacle of me getting through the intersection and went to work on my knotted muscles, kindly informed me I was a “train wreck.” It’s always good when a professional opinion affirms what you think is your reality…

Until later,

- Zeke

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I managed to catch some sunshine and no sign of a thunderstorm on the horizon at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 27th as I was finishing up work. Weatherunderground verified my local observations. Nothing in the way of a thunderstorm or shower was popping in Western North Carolina. The nearest rain was in east Tennessee some 2 hours away. IT’S RIDING TIME!

My plans have been to ride parts or all of the Blue Ridge Breakaway metric century route. Tuesday seemed like a good day to catch parts of it. I left out of my office skirting around as much of the end-of-workday traffic as I could and cruised on down NC 209 where my plan was to jump onto Iron Duff Road at the intersection of Coleman Mountain Rd. and Iron Duff Rd. Known locally as the triangle, this was my jumping on point for part of the BBR route, which I have since discovered goes by the name Trout. Hawk, I believe, is the name given to the century ride.

I was about .5 miles into Iron Duff Road and some 7 miles from my office when the first drops of rain began to fall. Ah, a cooling light mist I said to myself! Enjoy. After all, the day is hot and you’ve worked up a sweat getting here.

As I was making the slight uphill climb before dropping down to the river basin, the cool mist was reviving me and reducing the muggy feeling in the air. Another mile down the road, the slightly heavier mist was beginning to resemble something called rain and my glasses were getting wet on both the inside and outside of the lens making vision difficult. Finally, as I slowly descended through the last left hand turn before crossing the Pigeon, I could feel the rain running down my back and my chest and legs were, of course, soaked.

I made the right hand turn onto Riverside and began my trek up river toward Crabtree Church Road. The rain had become quite heavy at this point and I began to worry that my unprotected cell phone and camera might get ruined by the merciless downpour that was now assaulting me. Well, O.K., it wasn’t quite that bad but I was soaked. When I saw the small minnow come flying out of my right shoe, I knew that I was thoroughly soaked. My feet were squishing out water with each turn of the crank only to be replaced by new rain running down my legs and getting filtered through my socks where the never ending loop of water-in, water-out was taking place.

I was basically riding blind by that point because I had nothing dry left with which to wipe my glasses. The few oncoming vehicles added to the rain pelting me as they threw up spray as they passed me by. Surely, that wasn’t a big grin on their faces as they rode on down the river. For 3 miles, the rain was my companion. Gosh, I was having fun!

The rain began to abate and sure enough the blue skies returned looking crisp and clean. The musky smells of the local agricultural lands and freshly mown grass rose up to meet me as I climbed Crabtree Church Road, the second climb of the Trout route. I took a short break at the United Methodist Church at the intersection of Crabtree Church Rd. and NC 209, which will be the site of the first big water stop on the BBR. I needed to clean off my glasses, check my phone for working order, and call the Navigator to report my whereabouts. It turned out she had called me during the little rain event as I now refer to it but I didn’t hear the phone ring.

After giving a short progress report and assuring her I was fine, I returned to the Trout route and made my way to Big Branch Rd., precursor to the climb over Hyder Mountain. I had not ridden up this side of Hyder Mountain. I knew it to be a longer climb than from the Clyde side but not near as steep. I was eager to see what it was like.

Big Branch Road Lead-in(Big Branch Road after the rain passed) 

The climb started out with a mild grade and surprisingly stayed that way. I was able to stay on my middle ring for the full ascent of the mountain. This is a very picturesque part of Haywood County with family farms lining the roads and the mountains in the background.

Family Farm on Big Branch(A family farm along Big Branch, part of the BBR ride)

After topping Hyder Mountain, it was a swift descent on the steep side of the mountain back down to river level. I took my normal route toward Clyde, NC on Hyder Mountain Road. This section down to Clyde is also part of the BBR ride. At this point, I was about 18 miles into my ride and feeling good so I decided to take the longer Thickety Road path to Canton on my commute home.

As I approached the last steep climb on Thickety Road, I was still feeling pretty good although, by this point, I could tell my legs were tiring. I was drinking and eating my Power bars on a regular schedule because I knew I still had approximately 17 miles to get home. Traffic was light and the air temps remained cooler than before the rain. Getting to Canton occurred without incident until I had to stop at a traffic light at Fiberville Rd.

When I tried to start up, my left calf went into a full fledged cramp and I couldn’t get clipped in. I was scooting, hobbling, semi-gliding my way through the intersection so I could get to the curb and work out the cramp. I feel certain that the onlookers in the intersection wondered what kind of new riding style they were seeing! I managed to get moving again and was alright except for a notable tug in my calf. It seemed that as long as I could spin the crank, I wasn’t going to cramp again.

Finally, I made it through Canton and past the Recreation Park. I was riding up river along NC 215 to Bethel trying to get home. I called the Navigator and politely encouraged her to come down the mountain and pick me up at Bethel Grocery Store. By the 34th mile, I felt like I was spinning about 20 revolutions and having to stop and coast. If the goal of a workout is to achieve a burning sensation, I was having one heckuva great workout! I recall Bob Roll talking about the pros being popped when they started pedaling squares. Heck, I was pedaling polygons at this point!

All good things must come to an end though and the Navigator was patiently waiting for me as I completed my 35 mile trek home. It felt good to get the mileage in and to preview part of the Trout route. It also sure felt good to get in the car with a little wider butt support and then it REALLY felt GOOD to get in the shower!  Next up, will be doing the Stamey Cove climb, which is clearly the steepest more difficult climb of the Trout route. We get to enjoy both sides of that climb coming and going on the Trout route. I’ll hopefully get that in this weekend sometime. Tomorrow, I’ll be helping lead our new riders group in town and that will be at a slow leisurely pace.


Bro Dave is enjoying his new Salsa Fargo out on the west coast. He is giving quite positive reviews to his 29’er and has managed to get in a few rides in between work and being the up and coming new COACH OF THE YEAR in his daughter’s Rec League basketball conference/district/group (not sure what to call it…).













He sent along a couple of shots overlooking the Encino Reservoir and the San Fernando Valley. Here’s hoping he’ll be proudly hoisting a championship banner on the back of the Fargo! Go Coach Bro Dave!

Until later,

- Zeke

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


The  Association of American Retired Persons (AARP) featured an article on cycling in the July – August 2010 Bulletin. The article titled Biketopia covers the increase in American cyclists and how one town, Brunswick, Maine, has increased their cycling infrastructure resulting in an increase in ridership. There are also 5 helpful hints on how any community can become bike-friendly. Author Rob Gurwitt connects with numerous over 50 years old cyclists involved in the cycling culture around Brunswick. He reports that years ago Brunswick “made  a commitment that every middle-school-aged child should be able to bike safely anywhere in their town.” Episcopal priest John Balicki, 60, former Maine Department of Transportation bike/ped coordinator says “we're not there yet. That’s our next frontier.” It is refreshing and affirming to see that the elders of our generation are taking cycling to heart. It also shows the breadth of the cycling movement in America, i.e., you don’t have to be spandex clad roadie or a MTB flash to enjoy cycling! (Not that there’s anything wrong with it….)

For the on-line version and to see a well done video on the Brunswick bike path, visit Biketopia.


This past Saturday I had the opportunity to drive with Ken Howle, one of the coordinators for the inaugural Blue Ridge Breakaway, around the metric century route of the upcoming BRB. We were using multiple gadgets to get altitudes and mileage measurements for the route. It also gave me a chance to preview the route from the comfort of air conditioning!

We used a SPOT II, a Garmin Oregon 400T, and Ken’s Smartphone using an included maps program. The course had previously been mapped on MapMyRide by the event organizers. Our goal was to compare and contrast any differences we found. Well, to no one’s surprise, we did get differences in both mileage and altitude gain. The MapMyRide result had substantially longer mileage and greater elevation climb than any of the other programs. The SPOT II turned out not be very helpful because the points were “as the crow flies” and did not take into account the road’s twists and turns, which, of course, adds mileage. Our handwritten notes transferred to a spreadsheet matched up best with the Smartphone app used by Ken. We were relatively close in both mileage and elevation gain. We also made liberal use of Google Earth in post drive editing.

Regardless of which instruments was used, I can tell you that the organizers have laid out a very challenging route for both the century and the metric century routes. The metric century and century routes start at the open air gymnasium at Lake Junaluska Methodist Assembly and proceed west on US 19/276 before heading north on US 276. A right hand turn on to Coleman Mountain Road will feature the first climb of the day. Rides will peak out at 2870’ elevation before taking a winding descent to Iron Duff Road.

Turning left on Iron Duff, riders will have a descent to the Pigeon River (elevation 2463’) where the century riders will turn northwest toward Panther Creek and the metric century riders will turn east along Riverside Road. The century riders will proceed along 2 more climbs before getting to Fines Creek and a turn back southeast onto NC 209 and a long climb up the backside of Rush Fork Mountain. Metric Century riders will ride along the river to Crabtree Church Road and a climb up to NC 209 where the first water stop of the day occurs and the two rides rejoin.

Following a short pedal to Golf Course Rd. and Big Branch, both groups will then climb the Crabtree side of Hyder Mountain, which peaks at 2827’ after a climb up from 2492’ at the beginning of Big Branch. This side of the mountain is a longer climb but substantially lower grade than climbing up from the Clyde side of Hyder Mountain.

After descending Hyder Mountain, the riders will make their way to Clyde, NC along Hyder Mountain Road and then cross over Main St. and Carolina Ave. in Clyde. The next climb of the day is Stamey Cove Road with a peak elevation of 3040’ after a steep ascent featuring hairpin turns. This is part of the old Bele Cher race route from years ago although that route went in the opposite direction. From the peak, riders drop down to the Pigeon River again just above the town of Canton and make their way along NC 209 to Wells Road, which connects NC 209 and NC 110.

The second water stop of the day is planned for near this location. Riders will continue on south on NC 110 to the intersection of US 276/NC 110. The route crosses over to one of my favorite rides in the area and one I’ve written about many times – Love Joy Road. At the intersection of Love Joy and Lake Logan Road riders will make their way south toward Lake Logan and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Another moderate climb will greet the riders as they spin their way to the top of the ridge above the lake. At the bridge crossing the upper end of Lake Logan, a 3rd water stop is planned.

At this juncture, the century riders will continue on NC 215 (Lake Logan Rd) to the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is a long climb of another 10 miles or so. The grade picks up above Sunburst Campground and remains around 5% or so to about 2 miles below the BRP. The grade really jumps up the final mile before reaching the BRP at 5340’ elevation.

Century riders will turn south on the BRP and then climb to the highest point of the Blue Ridge Parkway at Balsam-Richland (6052’ elevation) before dropping down to Balsam Gap (3340’ elevation) and then climbing another 7 miles to the top of Water Rock Knob (5722’ elevation). Following a descent to Soco Gap (4340’ elevation), riders will turn east on US 19 and return to Lake Junaluska Assembly.

Metric century riders will use the Lake Logan water stop as their turn around point and will retrace their way to Clyde including another climb over Stamey Cove before dropping back into Clyde. A slight change in route will include a return to Lake Junaluska and the assembly grounds via Old Clyde Road and then along South Lake Shore Drive before a very short segment along US 19. All riders return to the open air gym for the finish.

I was tired just thinking about these courses. It should be a great day of riding in beautiful Haywood County. Come for a visit and join us as we thrill in the climbs and descents of our very old, very beautiful mountains! To register and get more details, visit Blue Ridge Breakaway.


… and irritatingly timed! Our area has been visited by strong thunderstorms and heavy rains the last week. Unfortunately, they fire up just about “riding time”, which is the end of the work day for many of us. Last week’s BicycleHaywoodNC new riders group had to be cancelled due to inclement weather and my own ride yesterday was stopped due to thunderstorms. Today’s forecast looks worse than yesterdays. I need some miles under me so I can survive the Blue Ridge Breakaway. Maybe today – but probably not…

Until later,

- Zeke

Friday, July 23, 2010


The local tri-weekly newspaper, The Mountaineer, just brought on-line their new website. Featured in this past Monday’s edition was a story that details the efforts made by our local bicycle advisory committee, BicycleHaywoodNC.

Stina Seig photo courtesy the Mountaineer(Pre-ride safety chat before new riders group ride) 

Stina Sieg, a new reporter for the Mountaineer and new resident of Haywood County, met with members of the Council on 3 occasions including accompanying us on two rides as she took photos for the story. The story focuses on the origins of our Council, the goals of the councils, and some personal stories of the cyclists.

Check out the full story at the on-line edition of The Mountaineer.

Until later,

- Zeke

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Tuesday, July 20th, was a day like so many other days here in Western North Carolina this time of the year. It was hot and muggy – hotter than normal for this time of year, which seems to be our trend for the summer. A nice late afternoon shower rumbled through close enough to end of work time to make me question if I’d get to commute home as planned. The Navigator was scheduled for her water aerobics class and missing my planned ride would mean hanging out in my office another 90 minutes or staying around town wandering aimlessly – well, I could have gone to Wal-Mart and wandered aimlessly there…

The shower was heavy while here but fortunately short-lived. The sun was quick to return and heat up matters again but, I clearly was going to be able to ride home. I had not ridden since the Wood-man’s and my jaunt around 25 miles of island this past Friday. I was ready to go.

I headed out on my typical ride home opting for the Lee Road route and across Old Clyde Highway to Canton. It was a pleasant ride without incident and I came into Canton feeling good about the ride. My first new discovery of the day was about to glide by me on 2 wheels.

As I came around the bend at the Canton Rec Department, I was met by a cyclist clearly loaded for touring. We spoke as we passed and I thought to myself “I’ll bet this guy has a story!” Knowing that the Navigator was still a good 40 minutes from heading home, I circled around and rode beside this gentleman and struck up a conversation. He let me know he was on day 19 of a tour coming up from Florida and on his way to Asheville, NC to get some brake pads. He had climbed Soco Mountain out of the Cherokee Indian Boundary in 3 hours and then descended it in 12 minutes.

As we chatted, he asked what my line of work entailed and I provided him with that information. To which he says, do you know “so-and-so”? To which I replied, “yes, he is a co-worker of mine!” So, Discovery #1, it really is a small, small world. What are the odds that this gentleman and I would intersect in time and space in that location and that time and then discover we had someone in common? I promised to let old “so-and-so” know that we had met and give him my companions best wishes. Turns out he had stayed with my co-worker this past Monday night. We rode on a moment and I assured him he was headed in the right direction. I said my good-byes and wished him well as I turned back to my route home. Having such a nice encounter buoyed my spirits and made a pleasant ride more pleasant.

As I was passing Rogers’ Express Lube, I noted the owner’s sign. He typically has some kind of inspirational or other saying posted. I liked today’s so stopped and grabbed a picture of it.

Words to the UnWise!(Truer words were never posted!) 

I was reminded that what we put out there to the public whether words, dots on a screen, or our actions cannot be taken back. The sign also made me think about wasting too much time being in the “poor, poor pitiful me” place I sometimes go to in my head. Again, time lost that will never come back…

I spun my way on up to Love Joy Road and hopped across the intersection of US 276 to extend my trip home a few miles. Doing so led me to what I still consider one of the prettiest, most pleasant roads to ride in Haywood County. Love Joy is simply a joy! The fertile valley is over running with abundant crops growing, the West Fork of the Pigeon River makes its way along parts of this road, the family gardens are well kept as are the homes, and the folks sharing the road have always been pleasant.

On the upper end of Love Joy, the trees arch out over the road and create this wonderful enclosed space. Following yesterday’s showers, the wonderful scent of the soil, grasses, and leaves were fully in “bloom” and my olfactory senses relished in the experience.

A Love Joy Shed and Garden(An example of the family garden along Love Joy Road) 


(Love Joy Road in the quiet of the evening)

As I finished up the Love Joy portion of my extended loop, I caught the sun illuminating Riverside Baptist Church. This pretty church sits alongside the West Fork and is one of many of the community churches that I ride by on a daily basis. You can’t ride far in Haywood without passing a church of some denomination.

Riverside Baptist Church(The sun sets on Riverside Baptist Church alongside the West Fork) 

So Discovery #2 for the day or, more properly, Rediscovery #1 is a reminder of what an incredible portion of this earth I am able to reside in and enjoy. The contrast from yesterday’s ride and my recent weekend in the hot stickiness of the Low Country couldn’t be more well defined than by what I enjoyed Tuesday.

O.K., so what was Discovery #2? Well, it goes back to my encounter with the touring cyclist. I contacted my co-worker and found out the name of the touring cyclist (Charles Pahl) and many other things. This was not Discovery #2 – The real Discovery #2 was that my co-worker is a cyclist and blogger! Jack’s blog “Velohobo” is very interesting and well done. I’ll be adding it to my list of recommended readings shortly.

If I were riding home in my car with the windows rolled up trying to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, I would never have found out any of this information. Only because of cycling and commuting did I get to enrich my life on Tuesday, July 20th. Thanks to the “powers that be” that brought all of this to me yesterday!


Until later,

- Zeke

Saturday, July 17, 2010


We are in our 3rd day in Dave Moulton country, the low country of South Carolina. We’ve been enjoying the Isle of Palms and our quite nice site at the Mt. Pleasant KOA campground. Normally, I’m not one for commercial campgrounds but this one has proven to be a notch above others. We’re not jam packed awning-to-awning as happens in so many of the commercial campgrounds. We’re beside a nice small lake. Our air conditioner unit has gotten a good workout for the first time in its history. Given the temps of mid 90’s or higher each day, the AC has been a must for our survival. I am, after all a mountain man, not used to these temperatures on a daily basis. Actually, it isn’t the temperature as much as the humidity. We’ve had the same temps this summer at home in the mountains but not the same humidity “stick to your skin” heaviness in the air.

Crossing the IntraCoastal Waterway(The Navigator grabbed this shot as we crossed the Intracoastal Waterway) 

Most of our time until today (Saturday) has been spent with the Wood-man and the Navigator’s sister at their accommodations at Sea Cabins on the Isle of Palms. While the Navigator and her sister enjoyed a crowded beach on Friday, Wood-man and I were out and about on a 24 mile ride around Mt. Pleasant, Patriot’s Point, Sullivan’s Island, and the Isle of Palms. After watching Friday’s stage of the TdF, we headed out across the bridge connector from Isle of Palms to Mt. Pleasant.

Marsh view from Isle of Palms Connector (The marsh between Isle of Palms and Mt. Pleasant)

The bridge provided the only climb of the day. My bike computer measured it at 5%. We briefly had a 3rd rider on our rear wheels but, when an opening in the traffic pattern occurred, he headed out on his own. I don’t know if he was starting or ending his ride. Our ride began around 1:00 p.m. and 93 degrees in temperature. After crossing the connector, we turned south behind one of the major shopping center complexes on Mt. Pleasant and made our way to Rifle Range Road.

The roads leading up to Rifle Range Road were quite broad and dual lane so traffic was very accommodating to us. Most traffic seemed to recognize S.C.’s 3’ law passed last year. Once we made it through a couple of traffic circles and found ourselves on Rifle Range Road, the landscape changed quite significantly. The road narrowed and there were no shoulders. It was tree lined so we did enjoy some break from the sun. It was along this segment of our ride that we’d experience the only unpleasant part of the ride. Someone laid down on his horn behind us for way too long, pulled up beside us, could be seen yelling at us, and was giving us the international sign we’ve all come to love and enjoy – the one finger salute! As he passed us, we noted he wasn’t even from S.C. but was running New Jersey plates leaving us only to contemplate the mysteries of holding up a tourist for a few seconds.

A few moments later, a van ran alongside us and the occupants yelled out some words of encouragement that could have been “Way to go Mr. Zeke. You and the Wood-man look really, really outstanding on your bikes. We bet you could probably ride competitively in the Tour De France. We hope you enjoy your stay in our lovely State” or they could have simply yelled “Get off the damn road.” I’ll leave it to your imagination as to which it was. 

The pleasantries of bike-to-car communications aside, we did shortly find ourselves on Coleman Boulevard making our way toward the Cooper River Bridge that spans, amazingly, the Cooper River and takes travelers across to Charleston proper. Along this stretch we discovered bike lanes that made for less irritating travel. Oddly, the bike lanes would go on for a couple hundred yards and then end only to be restarted in seemingly another couple of hundred yards. It was the same road and the same width so I didn’t understand why the gap in striping the bike lane portion. Nevertheless, traffic drove as if the bike lane still existed and we simply kept the same line going as if did exist.

Patriots' Point roadway(Cruising Patriots’ Point) 

Just short of the aforementioned bridge, we came to Patriots’ Point, home to a U.S. Naval Museum, the College of Charleston athletic facilities, and a nice looking golf course. Several cyclists and joggers were out and about here enjoying the day. We circled around the Point and took in some views one of which turned out to be numerous signs warning of the presence of Coyotes. The signs noted that the creatures were smart and should not be trifled with! It just goes to show that the Coyote can adapt itself to pretty much any environment. I’ve never seen Coyote warning signs before. I should have, but didn’t, get a picture of one.

I did get a picture of the U.S. Submarine Monument however.

U.S. Submarine Memorial

Submarine Memorial Plaque

Patriots’ Point turned out to be our turning point and we headed back to Isle of Palms. While we did retrace some of our route, we took the 2 lane road back over Sullivan’s Island again crossing the Intercoastal Waterway.  Traffic was building as it was a Friday and folks were beginning to find their way to the islands for the weekend ahead. The bridge over the I.W. here rotates rather than raises. It was damaged quite a bit during Hurricane Hugo some years back but has been fully restored to its functioning level now. At the time of Hugo, my recollection is that it was the only road over to Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island and that created lots of problems in the aftermath of the massive Cat 5 hurricane.

On Sullivan’s Island, I made my “bone-headed, dumb cyclist” move of the week. We had come to a T-intersection and were at a full stop as we should have been. A break in the traffic let the Wood-man across and I quickly determined that I was in good shape to get across in front of a vehicle stopped on my right. For some reason, my brain was thinking that traffic was only coming from that direction so I made my way across and then realized it was a thoroughfare. Unfortunately for me, there was an elderly lady coming from my left. While I still had plenty of room to accelerate in front of her, it did shock her to see me come out and she blew her horn at me. I fully deserved it for not making a safe move. So, to all elderly female drivers, who remind me of my mother, please accept my apologies for an unsafe move and thank you for not running me down!

Drama over, the Wood-man and I made our way safely back to Sea Cabins and the end of an enjoyable ride around the islands. It was time to turn our attention to the evening meal. My sister-in-law wanted to have her birthday meal at Huck’s Lowcountry Table on the Isle of Palms and had already secured a reservation. As I wrote in my previous post, I was on the hunt for Shrimp ‘N Grits.

Upon arriving at Huck’s, we were ushered to our table and informed that the menu had changed from what was currently published. To my inquiry as to whether Shrimp ‘N Grits had been dropped, the waitress quickly stated that couldn’t happen or they would be run off the island and out of business. So, my order was in and I was ready to taste test yet another version of the Low Country’s marvelous meal.

Huck's version of Shrimp 'N Grits(This is for the Mountain Turtle!) 

This image doesn’t do the presentation justice. The bowl you see was massive. I could have bathed a small child in it! Shrimp ‘N Grits is one of those meals that can be so individualized by the Chef that the experience is simply different from one Chef to the next. In this case, Chef JJ Kern, prepared a spicy version of the meal. The grits, as must be the case for a proper meal, were creamy and the shrimp were properly cooked – not overcooked as is so easy to do. The roux was where the spiciness came in. I questioned as to what ingredient Chef Kern used to spice it up and was informed it was merely Texas Pete! Hey, a readily available ingredient and allows for increasing or decreasing the level of spiciness per consumer preference. All in all, this version of Shrimp ‘N Grits was quite good. I would certainly choose it again but probably not make a special trip to eat it, as I would to Magnolia’s on the Battery of Charleston for their version.  Recipes abound on the internet for this Low Country dish so if this tickled your palate, find one and give it a go!


Just prior to departing for our weekend, Bro Dave informed me that his purchase of the Salsa Fargo was made and he had just made his first ride of 10 miles on it. He purchased the large frame version, which initially felt to big but he reports that he adapted quickly to it. He is looking forward to commuting to work at the FOX Studios this summer.

Until later,

- Zeke

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Zeke Freakin'

I just don’t get it… I don’t mean not riding. I understand why I’ve not ridden since last week. I’ve let too many loose ends, errands, and other commitments get in the way. It has kept me off my Fuji. I get that.

What I don’t get is the glee with which so many “fans” of cycling seem to get from Lance Armstrong’s run of bad luck in this year’s Tour. Maybe I’ve come late to the party or something.


Maybe somehow battling cancer that nearly took his life and returning to competitive ANYTHING is cause for happiness at seeing him flat on the pave. Or maybe, seeing LiveStrong grow into a global force fighting cancer is such a dastardly enterprise that we should all jump for joy when he catches a clip and rolls a tire and does an impersonation of an Olympic luge athlete. Yeah, good for you Armstrong, you really deserved that 60 kilometer per hour slide on your backside. Maybe it’s that, as a famous professional athlete, he actually seems to provide for the children that he sires. Surely that calls for derision piled upon derision. I guess winning 7 Tours de France makes you eligible for and open to receiving hostility. Maybe the fact that all these “fans” seem to want him to turn up guilty of doping despite years of ongoing clean drug screens can be somehow stretched into the malice that seems to come his way during this 2010 Tour.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know he isn’t walking on water and that he has his flaws. We all do. My last vestiges of trust in a public official/personality were smashed into smithereens by John Edwards so I’m not trying look at Armstrong with rose tinted glasses. I understand pulling against him from a competitive perspective just like I pull against the Yankees or the Islanders, or, hell the Netherlands. Well, actually, I didn’t pull against the Netherlands – I don’t care for soccer so I didn’t/don’t/won’t care if Spain won or the Netherlands won although

being the home of Penelope Cruz PenelopeCruz should give Spain some bonus  points from my perspective. I get that! But, hey, I don’t wish the other teams ill. I just want them to lose. I don’t wish Contador bad will although I’d love to see Levi or Andy take top honors at this year’s tour.

I just don’t get the animosity toward Armstrong… Here’s something else I don’t get. Why aren’t there any Fuji bikes being ridden in the tour? If there are, where are they? (Whew, what a segue…This somehow doesn’t seem to rise to the level of a major concern. I’m just curious. Hey, Fuji, where the heck are you?)

So, anyway, I was very happy to see L.A. riding strong today. I liked that he was still up with the leaders although he and most everyone else fell to the withering pace of Contador and Schleck. It was good to see that 38 year old man out distancing the Yellow Jersey, who cracked badly today. Oh yeah, all you naysayers getting down on Levi saying he can’t climb might want to review those tapes tonight.

Enough of my min-rant. I’m off to this month’s BICYCLEHAYWOODNC Advocacy Council meeting and then it is prep time for heading to the Low Country of S.C. where the Navigator and I are going to enjoy some fine Shrimp ‘n Grits this weekend.


I’m looking forward to turning over the wheels on a few miles down in Dave Moulton country. If anybody needs to see a Fuji being ridden, don’t look at the tour – come on down to the Low Country. I know at least one will be getting is some time!

DY_WinningImage bikes_fargo1-500pxx372 
Bro Dave and a Salsa Fargo…

Don’t they look good together?


Oh yeah, good luck to Bro Dave out on the west coast on landing the Salsa Fargo today. He should be testing it out just about now as I post…

Until later,

- Zeke

Friday, July 9, 2010


A group of 10 cyclists enjoyed the 3rd outing of the Thursday night New Riders Group ride on Thursday, July 8th. Despite near record high temperatures for the area, a mix of new and newly back to riding cyclists along with Council members and visiting experienced riders made the latest installment of this BicycleHaywoodNC sponsored group ride another enjoyable event.

The riders led by Advisory Council member and Rolls Rite Bicycles owner John Mudge, pedaled the 9.5 mile loop ride taking in parts of the Waynesville Greenway, Recreation Department facilities, retail sales areas, and residential streets. The route again covered what Council members hope will become the backbone of an officially approved bike route through Waynesville.

Riders at the mid-way point!(Taking a short break at the midpoint at Wal-Marts in West Waynesville) 

The group ran into a conundrum on the return loop when the traffic light would not change to allow access to South Main St. Despite a number of cyclists being over the magnetic sensor, it would not change and vehicles that could have changed it were stuck behind it. A decision was finally made to go through the light despite its not changing after several minutes of a extended wait. Traffic was piling up behind the group and also being held up. Otherwise, the evening spin was again well received by the participants.

Single file riding along South Main(The group making its way along South Main St.) 

The Thursday evening rides are part of the outreach of BicycleHaywoodNC to encourage more beginning and intermediate level cyclists to get out and enjoy the local area in a safe manner. The group also hopes to raise the awareness of the motoring public by seeing more cyclists riding safely and obeying traffic regulations, stuck traffic lights not withstanding. The rides will continue for a minimum of 3 more weeks and will be extended if demand is sufficient. For more information about specific ride schedules, call Rolls Rite Bicycles Tuesday through Saturday between 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at 828-276-6080.

Until later,

- Zeke

Wednesday, July 7, 2010



*credit below…


Well, I don’t know that yesterday was lazy or hazy but it certainly was crazy. It was just one of THOSE days. I don’t know if it was the result of  poor sleep the night before or maybe the after effects of a crappy “Monday on Tuesday” work day. Maybe it was simply Karma rebalancing my universe from lunch when I had an enjoyable chat with a reporter from our local paper. I was extolling the virtues of cycling and what a great area we have here in Haywood County for experiencing the beauty of the area from 2 wheels be they motorized (as in motorcycle NOT as the accusations leveled toward Fabian Cancellera this season) or self-powered. Whatever it was, yesterday was one of the hardest days of riding I’ve had in a long time…

I seemed to start out o.k. although the heat of the day surprised me when I left my office at 5:00 p.m. It was still 93 degrees according to my thermometer. That is, of course, strength sapping heat. I decided, foolishly it turns out, that I would add a loop over Hyder Mountain Road to my normal commute home. Hyder Mountain is a serious climb that has an average gradient of 7.42% over .85 miles but turns up to 11 or 12 percent for the last 60 yards or so. This climb is part of the upcoming inaugural Blue Ridge Breakaway and I wanted to test my general fitness over this part of the course.

I had a good start to the day even though it was hot. I seemed to be climbing well going up the initial portions of Hyder Mountain but ran out of pretty much cardio and leg output as I was headed toward the final climb portion that tops out at Fincher’s Chapel. I tried to push through it but even going to my “Lance spot” didn’t help on this day. My heart rate had climbed to 182, I was dizzy, and seeing black spots so I called it quits. Knowing that I was riding solo, I didn’t want to get myself into a heatstroke situation or worse.

As I was cooling down and letting my heart rate drop back to normal, I greeted a cyclist, who was making the climb quite nicely. He had a nice steady cadence going and was out of his seat as he crossed through the gap and out of sight. I briefly considered another go at the mountain but ultimately decided to leave it for another day. I gave a nod of respect to the mountain and descended back to my normal route home along the Pigeon.

It was along the section from Hyder Mountain Road to Clyde, NC that I realized how much was taken out of me on the mountain. I felt I was pushing too high of a gear on my way to Clyde because my legs were just drained. I went to shift down from my big  ring to my middle ring only to discover that I was already on my middle ring. It was really a struggle to get home from this point and I had about 15 miles to go.

Zeke pushing to get home!

(Struggling on a crazy summer day…)

Along Thickety Road...








(Farm land along Thickety Rd.)

Man's "best friends" along the way!








(A couple of my regular greeters along the way!)

Horses along Thickety!








(Some gorgeous horses call Thickety Rd. home)

As I proceeded along Thickety, I passed one gentleman watering his lawn. I briefly considered asking if I could ride through his yard to cool down. I thought I was beginning to recover somewhat at this point but still had two climbs to go before making my turn south toward home.

Welcome descent...








(A cool descent under shade… finally!)

Ascent to the church








(Ascending to the church on the first of two climbs)

It was an uneventful run in from the intersection of Thickety Rd. and Champion Dr. for the final 8 miles to Bethel. I was very pleased to see the Navigator waiting on me at Bethel Grocery for the ride up the mountain to our home. It was an evening of cramping legs and feet at home as we watched the carnage of Stage 3 of the Le Tour on Versus’s recap of the day. I’m glad this day and ride is behind me. Even though it was somewhat painful on the day, I wouldn’t trade it away. I’m already looking forward to my next ride up Hyder Mountain!

Until later,

- Zeke


* Lyrics credit:

Lyrics – Bradtke, H; Carste, H; Tobias, C
Song – Those Lazy, Crazy, Hazy Days of Summer
Performer – Nat King Cole

Sunday, July 4, 2010




Best wishes to everyone for a happy and safe July 4th! I hope that you find time today to be with family and friends and that you make a moment or three to reflect upon the enormity of this day in our history as a still young country! Let’s all send thanks out to our men and women serving in the Armed Services around this global village we know as Earth!

Of course, the big news in the cycling world is the beginning of Le Tour! I’ve certainly spent more time watching cycling than either riding or writing these last two days. The coverage on Versus has been great so far. I’m glad to see what I think is the best coverage team in all of sports back together again! Phil, Paul, Bob, and Craig add much to the proceedings and take away nothing! The countryside we’ve seen so far is just amazing to me and the crowds have been outstanding thus far. In response to one of Lance Armstrong’s post-race Tweats, someone did the math and calculated that 2.7 MILLION people watched today’s Stage 1 as the riders covered the distance from Rotterdam to Brussels. Now, THAT’s and audience and didn’t even include those of us tuning in via TV and other media sources.

The good news is there are 23 more Tour days to go! Of course, the bad news is there are only 23 more Tour days to go…

Last Thursday’s Beginner’s Group Ride…

The second week of our 6 week New Rider’s Group saw an increase in participation this week. We had 11 cyclists on the ride, which was up from 5 cyclists the previous week. We were joined by a couple of individuals returning to cycling and working their way into shape, one very new cyclist learning how to ride in a group, and a part time resident, John, who is here at his mountain home for a couple of weeks and enjoying his return to cycling following a significant accident that kept him off his bike for an extended period.

Pre-ride Meet & Greet

(Prepping for departure…)

Pre-ride strategy








(Now, if we take a left at the old Oak tree and then a right at the locust fence post we should come just up to Old Man Sawyer’s barn…)

The ride was pleasant and another easy cruise through Waynesville. As we had some new riders this week, we stuck with the same route as last week. We’ll have to build in some variance next week to keep everyone sharp!

Brown Ave. return leg (Transiting Brown Ave. in the Village of Hazelwood on the return leg)

Several of our participants were interviewed by a reporter from the local newspaper, The Waynesville Mountaineer,  just prior to the ride. We are anticipating a principal article in an upcoming addition about our efforts as BICYCLEHAYWOODNC to increase safe cycling in our area through education and riding experiences.

The 3rd of our six planned rides will be held on Thursday, July 8th.Gathering time is 5:30 p.m. at Rolls Rite Bicycles on N. Main St. in Waynesville. Helmets are required for all riders and any rider below the age of 15 must be accompanied at all times by and adult or guardian.

Fargo’s 4th of July Celebration…

For those of you wondering about the outcome of Jim Artis of Cycling Experiences and Fargo’s recent tour, I can report that the debriefing/deconstructing phase is well underway. Jim, along with Ashley from Utah Trikes, are well into their post field test analyses. Jim has been weighing Fargo’s component parts looking for way to cut weight.

Well, it’s time for the old Zekester to shut the lid on the ‘puter and go give my Fuji CCR3 a 4th of July bath and drive train cleaning!

Until later,

- Zeke

P.S. – Couldn’t stand it. Had to post it. Here are my 2 two-wheeled darlin's fresh and clean post 4th of July bath!

July 4th Bath Time

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I had a last minute appointment cancellation and, thanks to brilliant pre-planning on my part (some would say luck!), I managed to get in a commute home yesterday. Somewhere shortly after starting, I realized I didn’t want to ride the same route home as usual. Then it hit me, I can go home the same way differently!

Soooo, rather than my typical run down NC 209, I headed southeast out of town on some city surface streets, took a little jaunt across Sunnyside to Raccoon Creek Rd. and proceeded up Ratcliffe Cove Rd. crossing through Poison Cove Gap and the Clyde side of the mountain.

From there, it was the old/now new run into Clyde proper, or as proper as Clyde gets anyway, a crossing of Broad St. and the Pigeon River before heading east to Canton on Thickety Road. I was now back on my usual run to the house but had added a moderate level of climb through Poison Cove Gap plus the fun descent down to Stamey Cove Road.

The ride was pretty much the usual although today I was hoping to get an inkling of what happened to the dog that chased me into traffic four weeks ago and was run over. This was my first ride back by that house. When I reached the intersection, I stopped and surveyed the house and area looking for the dog but did not see any evidence of it. Of course, I had only seen it that one time anyway so I didn’t want to draw negative conclusions about not seeing it yesterday. My next leg of the trip took me over I-40 and to the intersection of Thickety Rd. and Champion Drive in Canton.

Thickety & Champion Dr. Intersection (Hmm, Ingles has some good old chicken breasts on sale!)


Thickety Community Churches (Welcoming sign at Thickety Rd/Champion Dr. intersection)

This is a busy intersection and the main entrance off of I-40 to Canton and the Evergreen Packaging mill. Lots of traffic accompanied me through town. I circumnavigated the mill and headed south on NC 110 on a very pleasant evening. Upon reaching the intersection of NC 110 and US 276, I knew I wanted more mileage plus I was just enjoying the ride. I knew the Navigator wasn’t home yet so I continued my ride by adding the Love Joy Road loop.

As I turned back north on NC 215 at the end of Love Joy, I passed a small Baptist Church along the river, whose parking lot was packed with the cars of worshipers. It was then that I remembered it was Wednesday night, which is a “go to church night” throughout our community. Something clicked for me as I was riding peacefully by the church. It was a connection to the words of Kent “Mountain Turtle” Peterson in his June 30th post “What Do You Win?” 

In the post, Kent speaks of his "practiced answer” to this question on his recent Great Divide Ride and Prologue” and the truer, some would say deeper, aspects of what he “won.” As I say, his words resonated with me this date and, as I was riding by this small country Baptist Church along the rippling waters of the West Fork of the Pigeon, I recall acknowledging that the many worshippers in the sanctuary were being with God in their way and that I too, at that moment, was also in God’s sanctuary – I was on 2 wheels quietly  gliding by and being overwhelmed with God’s handiwork all around me.

May Peace Be With You and Yours…

- Zeke