Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pisgah riding

Day 1: 18 miles, 2:30, avg 6.8, max 38.5, avg HR 156. Route: Fish Hatchery up FS road to Farlow Gap, down Farlow Gap trail to Daniel Ridge Loop back to Fish Hatchery. Crashed coming down Farlow Gap and landed with my thigh slamming onto a major root so it hurts and is swollen a bit but otherwise a okay. Nothing a little stretching and riding won't hurt.

I think tomorrow we're heading to Dupont. More details and pics later.

Sorry for the lack of activity in awhile. Look for more! Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Right then, I know it’s been awhile since I posted and for that I have no real excuses. I could yammer on about how I spent the summer trying to balance work overload, training, a new girlfriend, etc but hey, I know everyone has the same stuff to deal with so I’ll spare (even myself) that boredom. Since my last post, I have done a couple of different races:

24 Hours of Conyers by Granny Gear (
Dog Days Crit at Grant Park sponsored by Aarons’ Cycling (

I’ve spent a great deal of time this summer getting back into SORBA ( and trying to get some things launched with the Atlanta chapter, which has all but fallen off the map over the last several years. It’s sad really when you think about SORBA having found it’s start with a small group of mountain bikers in the city who wanted more places to ride because land owners were quickly shutting out bikers. Now that SORBA has grown to (23) chapters in (6) states, the place where it all began finds itself in dire need of help. There are things that we’re working on – 10 miles of singletrack INSIDE the perimeter just (2) miles from GA Tech – for one example but it’s all long range stuff. The low hanging fruit gets missed so for once, I’m trying to focus on short term stuff instead of long term. I’m trying to get us connected with local neighborhood organizations and Boy Scout troops and build relationships with intown residents who look at cyclists as a bunch of suburban white folk with too much time and money on their hands. There are ways to get our message out to the masses without even talking about dirt trails – bike rodeos, basic maintenance, bike safety, traffic safety, etc – are all things that kids who ride their bikes on overworked city streets need to learn. There are local state parks that offer mountain biking opportunities that I’ve just learned about, actually through another cycling organization. It’s a shame that we’ve missed out on leading efforts at these locations.

Let’s see….this weekend Sarah and I (that’s the girl’s name) are heading out to do the Cox MS 150 Challenge or whatever shameless self promoting thing Cox is wanting it called this year. Bottom line remains, it’s a great fundraiser for awareness and finding a cure for MS (multiple sclerosis). Details are at If you want to donate to the cause, please go to Donations can be made online through that link and are tax deductible. Oh, I should mention that I’m riding for Team Shepherd / HDS Vans. From the website (

“Shepherd Center specializes in the medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injuries, acquired brain injuries, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and other neurological conditions.”

Other upcoming events that I’m planning are the Dirty Spokes 12 hours of Conyers in October and possibly the Swank 65 in November. I’d like to get some at least one other 12 hour in but we’ll see.

As part of SORBA Atlanta, I’ve started a weekly ride called the Turtle River Rumble. This ride is every Thursday night at Sope Creek. The intent is to start getting riders together and working together instead of all of us keeping a low profile by not banding together. There is more low hanging fruit for us to latch onto at this park (Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area) and we’re missing it. I love riding and running and otherwise playing in this park and now that I’m in a position where I’m not traveling, I wanted to jump headlong into getting some stuff happening out there. For more info on this ride, stay tuned to www. under the Rides section.

Oh, the last big bit of riding news is that I’ve been asked by SORBA to lead a team as part of the Team IMBA program. This program is basically set up as a fund raiser for local trail efforts. We’re looking to partner with a local race director for the Dirty Spokes series for 2009 and have at least one multi-person team and a solo rider or two involved at these races. If you are interested in being a part of this team for 2009 or want more information, please email me at More information including benefits of being on the team (jersey, training plans from Boulder Peak Performance, etc) can be found at If you would like to donate to trail efforts in the metro Atlanta area, please go to Again, these donations are tax deductible and do NOT go to me or any member of the team but are handled through IMBA and SORBA.

Since this is getting long (that’s what I get for not posting in awhile right?) I’ll start wrapping up. Earlier in the summer / late May I met a young lady named Sarah who is a cat. 3 roadie and concentrates on crits. She races for Sorella Cycling ( which is a team / club focused on promoting cycling for women. They are a great group of gals that ride road, dirt and all disciplines of each. I’ve really been blessed to have her in my life and we are very much enjoying the time we spend with each other, whether it’s riding, paddling a quiet lake, or hanging with family.

I’ve also had the pleasure of getting to know the Dusacks – Chris, Bridgette, and Norah – over the summer. Hopefully we can get together for Fall weekend of camping and riding. Oh yea, thankfully Sarah can ride a mountain bike pretty well and doesn’t mind it either!

Well, I figure that’s about enough to digest in one sitting but should bring you pretty much up to speed. I’m sure we’ll have some good pictures from the MS ride to post up so I’ll get them up Monday.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Ft Yargo Aftermath (seems to be the new word for race wrap up)

Two 100-mile mtn bike races in two weeks. Not a bad way to start off the riding season! Yesterday's race was held at Ft Yargo State Park in Winder, GA just south of Athens (for all you Dawg fans). The weather report was 60% chance of thunderstorms but I had been praying all that God would hold back the rain or divert it or something, mostly because I don't have the money laying about to rebuild the drivetrain a second time in two weeks! Rainy mtn bike races wreak havoc on bike parts.

Anyway, all was going well -- got to the arena fine and found our pit area. Oh, I should mention that I was pitting with Xray_Ed, PedalHard, and Nikki. Duckman was nextdoor and was quite the friend by saving our spot for us when he got out there on Friday. The girls from Sorella Cycling were on the other side of Duck and it seemed that there were 30 people over there and I don't think they stopped bringing stuff from their cars until the race was over - it was an endless supply chain! On our other side was Carebear, Shane, and Scott. All in all, surrounded by good folks.

Race start was 10am and so far not a drop of rain. During the first hour and half, however, there were some very light showers on the east side of the lake which simply knocked the dust down and packed the trail in a bit better. Otherwise, the Lord heard the prayers of this sinner and diverted the rain to the south of the race! Not that I was the only one praying He would hold off the rain, mind you. Anywho...I was well hydrated and fueled and had a basic nutrition plan lined out for the day.

My goal was 100 miles then see how I felt and how much time was left. The format for Yargo varied from the Cohutta race in that this was a 12 mile lap and the goal was to complete as many laps before the time cut off as you could. I made short stops after each lap for food and bike adjustments. Some breaks were a bit longer than others but I was okay with it.

Halfway in, at the 50 mile mark for me, I made a nutrition error that you don't hear much about -- I ate too much. Most folks eat too little at these things. Well, I now had to deal with the fact that I was asking my bodt to digest this extra food while still producing the same power it had been. Nothin' doin! Miles 51 to about 65 sucked as I struggled about the course. Finally, I came to the realization that I was completely overthinking this issue and I needed to just ride my bike and have fun! After all, the I'm not honoring anyone represented on my jersey by feeling sorry for myself here. Once I got past that, I did start enjoying the ride again. Unfortunately, my average speed had dropped almost 1 mph which I had to work hard to make up. (I never did).

In summary, I got schooled by the legendary Norma Rainwater who, although we were leap frogging each other on course, finished a lap up on me. I also got schooled by Xray_Ed and Duckman who are both further along in years than I, but my consolation is that neither had done the 100 miler at Cohutta ;)

Final Stats:
Avg speed: 9.9 mph
Avg HR: 152
Total distance: 99.63 (close enough to 100 for it to count)
Mechanical issues: Zero
Crashes: Zero
Near misses with trees: several!

Pictures below:
1. Thanks to Duckman, pre-race -- No I didn't pose for this, he caught me doing a mental check on my gear
2. The mass start
3. A nice jump to have made had I known there'd be a photographer there and what the landing zone looked like. Well, that and self preservation since this was taken on lap 2.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Recovery and race prep

Let me just say that last week was a definite learning experience for my cycling career. I felt great after the C100 – did a 12 mile recovery ride on the road Sunday, took off on Monday, easy MTB ride Tuesday, then hit it hard Wednesday with a 1300m swim and 5k run. Then came Thursday. Thursday I met up with Tucker to ride at Blankets Creek in Canton. It’s not a technically challenging trail and is a nice place to go get some easy mileage and have fun with the ride. The first lap was a bit faster than I would have liked for a warm up, but I felt fine. I kept tabs on my heart rate (HR) though, and was a little concerned. Instead of riding South Loop, which has a bit more climbing and higher technical difficulty than Dwelling Loop, I asked Tucker to do another lap on Dwelling. I kept noticing that my HR on certain efforts was about 30-40 bpm lower than it typically is, so I really got concerned. I bowed out after that lap and decided to not workout at all over the weekend so that my body could fully recover.

So after taking the weekend off (except to cut grass at my parent’s house), I did a 10k trail run Monday then rode Blankets again last night. The legs are a bit tight which I’m not happy about but it’s manageable. I’ve been stretching (thanks to the constant reminders running through my head from Sarah getting onto me!) and I think I’ll just do some good stretching tonight instead of a swim, since I won’t get to workout until about 9:30 pm.

This coming weekend is a 12 hour MTB race at Ft Yargo State Park in Winder, GA. I was given a free entry from one of the sponsors so I want to do well. I hate that I’ll be missing Pedalpalooza with SORBA Woodstock and the Bike Fellowship gang. The goal this week is another 100 miles. I’ve heard the course is ~15 miles so if I can knock out (7) laps I’ll be happy with that effort. This course is drastically different than the C100 course in that there’s only about 100 ft of elevation gain per lap. Good you say? Well, what that means is there’s no recovery like a long downhill to let the legs rest. You’re constantly on the gas at Yargo. Looks like I’m pitting with Duckman, Xray_Ed, and Pedalpusher so it should be fun at least. I don’t know Pedalpusher, but I think I may be the youngest in this crowd so I have to make sure not to let the old guys take advantage of me! Duckman is strong and rides more in a week than I get to in a month so don’t let age fool ya! It’ll be a good day for racing!

Keep the names coming – I got (3) last week of soldiers KIA overseas. I’ve started a list for them on the left sleeve of the jersey. I do plan to wear it for Ft Yargo this weekend.

One last thing, I have emailed the race director (RD) for the Cohutta 100 about a rule violation that I committed. By accepting food from my support outside of a designated aid station, I broke the rules. I knew it was a violation but I was not really concerned with it at the time. It did not cross my mind at the finish and none of the other racers I was racing with said anything about it. It is grounds for my disqualification but I’ve not heard from the RD. I doubt anyone really cares since I came in 120th but rules are rules. If she does write me back, I’ll let you know.

Now, get back to work slackers!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cohutta Wrap Up

Here's the summary with pictures.

Total race time: 11 hours 48 minutes
Total time off bike: 1 hour 19 minutes
Avg speed: 9.6 mph
Avg HR: 148
Max speed: 43 mph

Targets were:
10 hours plus breaks
Avg speed: 10 mph
Avg HR: 150

The weather straight up sucked for the start of an all day epic. It was raining and cold (about 50 degrees) for the first three hours. Course conditions were mush. There's nothing like slogging up a 10 mile climb at 6 mph knowing that ~50% of your energy is getting sucked out of each pedal stroke because of the mud. Once the rain stopped, it was actually pretty nice. On the east side of the Cohutta Wilderness the sun had been out and it was about 75 degrees. It was a bit cooler at the finish but who cared at that point, right?!

The brief:
The first bit of the race flowed very well on the Brush Creek trails. The downhill back to the Ocoee Whitewater Center was a lot of fun and I was able to push past some folks who were being overly cautious on the rock gardens -- something I'm not. I use those spots to make up time and work my way through the field, which worked very well yesterday. Once back at the Whitewater Center, we crossed the foot bridge and as I set up to make the left turn onto the Bear Paw trail, my front wheel went sliding on the wet pavement and I took my token digger (I always crash once at the Tanasi trails), messing up my left knee and left shoulder. All those folks I passed on the downhill and rock gardens caught and passed me right there ---GRRRRR! On the same mile, a bit further up trail, I had my only mechanical for the day -- a broken chain, which was quickly repaired because somehow the Lord only let one link come out so I didn't need a tool or anything. I just grabbed my SRAM quick link, slapped it in, and got back in the race.

Quick stop at Check Point 1 (CP1), then it was onto fighting fireroads for the next ~60 miles. I caught Jono at CP2, grabbed (4) chocolate chip cookies, some chain lube then we were off. Andrew was supposed to meet me at CP2 but we missed each other somehow so I was elated when he came rolling up behind me about 5 miles later on top of the ridge. I grabbed a sandwich, some BURN energy drink, e-caps, changed gloves into some dry ones, and since I was shaking from the cold, I had to get moving again. CP3 took a little longer for me so I could get some ointment on my knee and clean off the drivetrain since the weather was breaking and the course conditions weren't so bad. Grabbed an orange, some cookies, another BURN, maybe an Ensure and a Snickers Marathon bar and was off to Potato Patch. From CP3 along the south side of the Cohutta Wilderness, I know the road so it was nice to be on familiar grounds.

Potato Patch is just past halfway for the day which meant the worst of the climbing was done. Basically, from about mile 28 to 52 it's all climbing. Sure there are a couple little descents but they just tease you and feed you into yet another climb. From Potato Patch to Lake Conasauga is rolling and not bad. From the Lake, it's mostly downhill to where CP4 was (I don't have a clue where on the map it was but it was sunny, warm, and at the bottom of a long downhill)!

From CP4 (about 68 miles into the day) to 5 was about 10 miles. This piece was mostly flat and allowed me to stretch the legs of my Salsa Dos Niner and see what she could really do. Let me say, it was good to have big wheels!! I felt great rolling out of CP4 and managed to catch and pass several riders who were on traditional 26" wheeled bikes. The Dos Niner has 29" wheels which, once you get 'em rolling, it's much easier to keep pace. I caught these two guys who were teammates and using a roadie thing known as drafting -- basically just working together to conserve energy. As I passed them, they tried to catch onto my wheel and draft off me but I shifted up and was going to make them work for it. The next time I saw them was CP5. There was a nasty bit of a climb after the flats but that led to a nice descent into CP5.

At CP5, I took some time to grab some food because I was not planning to stop at CP6. So after yet another BURN, Ensure, beef jerky, gel, e-caps, etc, it was off to fight the last bit of fireroad.

CP 6 was at the start of the last bit of singletrack to the finish, 10 miles to go! The last section of trail is a 2 mile descent called the Thunder Rock Express, but in order to get there, we had to pay for it by doing a 2.5 mile climb from CP6....ARGH!! At the top of this climb, I got hungry but refused to stop and eat -- a mistake which caused me to suffer a bit and go slower on the singletrack than I should have. But I was pushing to make the top of Thunder Rock, knowing it was an easy fast downhill to the finish.

When I finally made the top of Thunder Rock, I grabbed an oatmeal creme pie (number 4 or 5 for the day) and took off for the final descent. I caught a couple other riders, including my friend Jono, which gave me a boost. We rolled out onto the pavement together and made the final push for the finish line.

All in all a good race and a good day. I am pleased with the results and how good I felt for most of the day. Riding in honor of Those Who Serve was a huge encouragement as well. When I started feeling down or wondering what I was doing, I looked at jersey and was quickly reminded that I was riding to honor those who are represented there.

A big thanks to Andrew for driving the course to meet me with food and encouragement and for the pictures which you will enjoy here. A big thanks to all who said a prayer or called or emailed with words of encouragement -- it truly helped get me though.

On a side note, Andrew is starting up his own photography business so if you are in the north Georgia / Atlanta area and need pictures for your youth sports team, family portraits, engagement, sporting activites, church event, whatever, drop me a line and I'll get you hooked up with him. He does a great job as you see below.

To Jono: it was a pleasure doing battle with you this day, my friend!

1. Starting line
2. Here we go!
3. Just an idea of how the roads looked
4. CP3, Peter (Solo Slow Guy) in the blue helmet.
5. Lubing the chain
6. Pushing through Potato Patch
7. Downhill to CP4
8. Victory!
9. Jono finishing

Friday, April 18, 2008

C100 Pre-Race

Race day is finally here! I want to thank all who have given me names of people you know who are serving in the armed forces and as missionaries. There are a few names of people that I've included who neither but they are special to me -- family, friends, my pastor, music minister, etc. As promised, here are pictures of the jersey that I will be wearing not only tomorrow, but for the 12 hours of Ft Yargo by Dirty Spokes Productions in two weeks and the 24 hours of Conyers by Granny Gear in 4 weeks.

There's plenty of room on the back yet so please, if there is someone who is serving overseas that I can honor with you, please let me know.

I want to add a very special thank you to Sarah for the idea of dedicating the miles and to my best friend Andrew for writing the names on the jersey last night and this morning while I packed. You are both very much appreciated!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dateline: Ellijay (again)

Took off after church today for another Cohutta training op with Jono. Yesterday's Bull Mtn plan got rained out so I took the option for a 10k run instead, well two 5k runs at different paces. Today the plan turned out to be a Bear Creek / Mountaintown route, which we've one before and knew the route so we weren't worried about nav errors!

How was it? Well, GREAT! We had no mechanicals, no nav errors, and no injuries. We DID have a few snow flurries at Potato Patch (much more welcome than the biting gnats last week). We DID experience a drop in temperature. Most important, we had a great time! Total distance today was about 24.5 and the avg speed a bit low at 8.7 but if you don't know Mtn Town, there's about 23 wheel washing opportunities (creek / river crossings) and at times we felt like we were doing some cyclocross training with all the downed trees. Some of the water crossings are rideable, many are not and today were thigh deep in places. That's some COLD water boys and girls!

It was a good recon day for the condition of FS64 which helped us make final tire selection for the race. I'm sticking with my worn Kenda Klaws as they have enough tred to dig on the fast descents but not so much that they cause too much resistance on the climbs. The road is in great shape and I'm praying the Forest Service does not do anything to it this week, like adding a bunch of gravel --- that would not be fun on Saturday.

This week, I plan to rest, swim and do some weights. I'll also probably run some, but I need to get the bike cleaned up and prepped for raceday so I doubt it'll see any use this week. The cross training has been suiting me well this spring and I plan to stick to it.

Oh, there's been a change in the jersey I'll be wearing for the C100. I decided not to get a US Army jersey, but to wear a solid color instead with the names of those who are serving in our military and as contractors overseas. I got to thinking today that I might wear it for every race I do this year and folks can add names as we go through the year. It'll simply say "For those who serve" and have their names all over it. Nope, it won't be fancy, but we need them to know we appreciate what they're doing and we support them. Please, if you know someone that is serving and have not already given me their name, let me know who it is. I'm still a few short of a hundred right now.

Well, it's 12:44am and I'm going to try and get some sleep for the second time. Maybe this time it'll work!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Sunday Wrap Up

38 miles, a little over 4 hours ride time, Jono snapped his rear shift cable, a truck ride, two navigational errors yielded us almost to Chatsworth -- who knew FS68 went there?! I thought it ran north / south. Lesson learned: take a map that has more of the surrounding area and better detail.

Ride Details:
The day started fine with arrival to the trailhead on schedule (by2pm) and both Jono and I feeling pumped for a great ride. Route plan was the Firewater 50 route but shifting the start to Bear Creek. There were several hikers about and all were friendly except the guy who parked his Jeep right in front of the trailhead so he, his wife, and two kids wouldn’t have to walk 20 more steps. C’mon, you come to the woods for a hike and you have to save yourself 20 steps? I’ll stay off my “Americans are lazy, self centered……” soapbox but hopefully you feel my pain on this account. The sun was shining, the trail was wet from the rain on Saturday and off we went. I decided to carry a different pack today since we were going self supported for 50 miles. I had entirely too much food packed but I didn’t discover that until later. I’ve ridden with that pack before in Pisgah but today it was too much.

Jono and I joked and razzed each other all the way up Bear Creek but I couldn’t keep pace for some reason. My heart rate was hovering in the 170’s and I couldn’t get it to back down despite a couple of quick stops on FS 68 up to Potato Patch. Once on the FS road, the gnats came out in force which was adding to my frustration – having to swat every few seconds. Thankfully the Lord cares about things about this for us so I prayed that He take do something about the gnats and soon I found that they were not bothering me, even though they were still buzzing about.

We made Potato Patch in reasonable time and made a stop for food. After about 5 minutes, we were off heading toward Lake Conasauga. We were back to our joking and racing each other on the flats and downhills, which was an event that repeated itself all day. I like riding with Jono because we push each other and have fun doing it. We were diving into turns, sprinting out of the turn, faking each other out on passes, etc – just generally having fun with the ride.

We made the top of Windy Gap in good time and started down. We got passed by two (2) dirt bikes but we made that up when one of them got stuck. It was a father-son duo and the son got his bike stuck and dad was yelling directives to him. As I passed the dad, I let him know he should be sure to tell his son’s friends that he just got passed by a spandex wearin’ leg shavin’ cyclist and his response was, “ yea, and one wearing pink no less!” I loved it! After a brief stop at the top of the rocky climb before the big descent, Jono and I dropped in. now, if you’ve not ridden Windy Gap, you have no idea how sketchy, rocky, fast, fun, and dangerous this trail really is. The switchbacks are tight up at the top. The rocks are plentiful, big and loose. Once clear of the rocks, it’s wide open whoop de doo’s and berms. There are sections of the rock gardens that I am still not sure how I got through without crashing. I left Jono somewhere along the long and just let the Salsa Dos Niner (aka PT-6) do it’s thing. As long as I can keep it upright and straight, it will flow. There are no lines through most of those rocks – you just point and go and let off the brakes until you need to adjust.

By the time you make the Milma cut off, the adrenalin is pumping, your heart is bouncing between perfectly calm and “Oh my God I’m gonna die!” Off we went on Milma, heading to Tibbs, still doing well on schedule and the ride plan. Milma is another fun trail with some ups and some downs and creek crossings and rock gardens. At the intersection with Tibbs, we decided for a food stop and to check the map. Now, the map I brought was one that basically just had the FW50 route on it and not much else of the surrounding territory. This intersection can be a bit tricky and since we had each only been there once before, we thought we made the correct decision on our route. After we started riding, and I mean 10 seconds later, Jono’s rear shift cable got caught in his chain and snapped. How the heck did that happen?! I have no idea but it’s one reason I do not like downtube cable routing. We cut the cable and Jono was now relegated to riding with three (3) gears. Fortunately, the chain was stuck on the small cog in the back so he could use his big ring on the DH runs. We knew we were to be climbing back to the ridgeline but somehow we weren’t. We came to this one climb and I thought “Ok, this is it. Elevator up!” Then we dropped again….hmmmm…..As we came into another intersection at the bottom of a climb we knew we were not where we meant to be. We checked the map….checked the compass….and decided to head East on FS 78-B (which was not on my map). We kept staying left at turns and I was hoping and praying that we would come into FS 68, below the Bear Creek trail.

After riding this FS road for longer than we wanted – and praying that we would make it to a road we knew before dark – we popped out quickly onto FS68!! We checked the compass, rode up the road a bit to the cut off for Mulberry Gap (again, not on my map), and stopped for discussion. We both thought we remembered that FS68 ran north / south and if we headed south, we could make the paved road and ride it back to the Bear Creek parking lot. So we headed down the mountain instead of up. Down, down, down, down………still no paved road. As we crossed a river and rounded a right hander, Jono had an epiphany and he knew exactly where we were. He’d been there before on another ride. He said we were near the proper start for the FW50, which is on the Eton / Chatsworth side of the mountain. I disagreed until we found a kiosk with a map. Then all I could do was laugh!

Darkness was setting in as we discovered our exact location was nearly 15 miles from Chatsworth, instead of Ellijay. We were left with the toughest decision all day – to ride up up up up to the Bear Creek cutoff or to hitch a ride. There were some teenagers hanging out nearby and I frankly did not have the legs for the climbing that was before us. We were looking easily at 11miles of nothing but up. Jono tried to motivate me for the climb, but I was having none of it. It was already after 9:00pm, we had both missed dinner appointments, he was down to (3) gears – none of which were ideal for this climbing – and I was beat from carrying too much extra weight. We opted to hitch a ride and this kid Zach very willingly agreed to help us out. He realized how bad it could get for us with the sun gone and the temperature dropping and us being so far off our plan.

We had Zach drop us at the Bear Creek cut off and we dropped in from there for the last section of trail to the truck. Overall it was a great day of riding which my body has taken all week to recover from. It’s Friday as I write this and Jono and I are planning another venture up to Bull Mtn tomorrow. It’s been a very long time since I’ve made navigational errors like the ones last week but I’m glad we were able to enjoy it and ride the week on the adrenalin and memories of Windy Gap and simply enjoying trails that we otherwise wouldn’t have known were so good.

It was great training. Tomorrow will be great training. Next week, I will swim and catch up on sleep in the final days of preparing for the Cohutta 100 next Saturday. I will NOT carry my 2000 cu inch Camelbak tomorrow. I will carry my Camelbak Mule and I will have a better ride. I’m also getting used to the iPod while I ride, it’s actually quite nice –but one earbud only—I still like to hear birds chirping and squirrels scurrying about.

1. Pink Turtle and Chief Hairy Scary at Bear Creek
2. PT-6 at the Windy Gap / Milma intersection
3. Big Chief finishing Windy Gap (he wimped out on the jump :(

Friday, April 04, 2008

Need some pictures!

I was perusing the blog here last night and realized that you guys might want some pictures. I didn't realize that I had made so many posts of just writing so this weekend I'll get some fresh pictures up -- and hopefully some will be from a big ride I'm going to do Sunday afternoon.

In the meantime, here's a litte warm up. I'm watching a friend's dog for a couple days so Mollie (my great pyrenees) had a playmate. Bear is a good dog and I'm glad I was able to help her out.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter Weekend

Just wanted to say that I hope you all have a great Easter weekend no matter where you are and what you'll be doing. If you are in town (Atlanta) you are welcome to come by my church tonight for our Good Friday service. It will be a music and arts presentation that you will not want to miss. the service starts at 8:00pm and run time is about 90 minutes. Don't forget Easter Sunday morning -- we have two services at 9 and 11:15 with a buffet lunch following the second service that's being catered by Proof of the Pudding. Details and reservations for lunch can be found at Sunday morning service is broadcast live each week so you can tune in even if you're not in the same building. And since I'll be singing with the choir, you really can't miss that!

You are all in my prayers and thoughts as I know a few of you are having some tough situations to face this week with family illnesses, loss of a loved one, or that you live and work with the unknown just outside the front door. I hope you too take time this weekend to remember that Christ came to earth with the sole intention of dying a brutal death on a cross so that we don't have to face an eternity of torture and separation from God. It was no accident or decision of man that put Him there. That's how much God loves each and every one of us. Oh yea, and He doesn't care how messed up we think we are - He already knows that. The great thing is simply this: God accepts us -- and all of our baggage -- no matter what. I don't know anyone here on earth that does that all the time. Parents forsake their children; friends cut each other down with spite or simple meaness; people we care about don't accept us completely, but God does. We don't have to do anything, pray the right way, pay money or anything -- God, through His infinite grace, accepts us and loves us.

Ok, I know some of you tuned out a minute ago, but I wanted to share that with you this Easter weekend. Please take care in your travels this weekend and know that you're all very important to me and I appreciate the friendship and love you have shown me.

On another note, I have a post about a ride that I did last weekend with Jono Senk of Hairy Scary Evolutions located at There are some pictures posted as well for those who like them. I would post them up here but it's just been a crazy week here in a lot of ways so I've not gotten around to it. Chief Hairy Scary and I will be doing the Cohutta 100 together, but I fear he may have a higher pain threshold than I which should make for a great race.

That's it for now. Gotta get moving with the day, ya know. Thankfully my black tea and honey is still warm in my stainless steel Starbucks travel mug!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Cohutta Planning

As I stated yesterday, I have decided to go ahead and race the Cohutta 100 mountain bike race on April 19. This will be my first 100 mile race but I am getting some good training so I'm confident that I'll be prepared for it physically.

Mental preparation is always the hardest for these endurance events. A couple days ago, someone mentioned that I should dedicate each mile to someone and use that as motivation throughout the race. Well, that's where you come in. I have decided to dedicate these miles to members of our Armed Forces and contractors who are working in Afghanistan and Iraq. I'm saving some space on the list as well for a couple friends that I have working as missionaries in different parts of the world like India and the Ukraine. I plan to write these names on a new jersey from Primal Wear Clothing with the US Army logo on it and wear it for the race. That way I have the list with me during the race and I can look down and see the names of these
folks and after saying a prayer for their safety, keep on with what I'm there
to do. Here is what the jersey will look like (

Therefore, if you know someone who is serving in Afghanistan or Iraq --whether they are a contractor or military -- and you'd like me to add them to the list, please send me their name and location. Same goes if you know a missionary you'd like to add. I will put this info on the jersey like this "Elbert Hwang, Afghanistan." The week before the race I will post a picture of the jersey covered with these names on this page. If I need more space, then I'll get the arm warmers as well!

I know this is a bit different, but thank you for your time. I'm sure that our
folks overseas appreciate our thoughts and prayers so let's not forget them!

Thank you!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Maybe one day I'll figure out how to change that huge picture at the top of this page!

A lot has happened since my last post. I got a new job working with a mid sized commercial general contractor in Atlanta, I moved this last weekend into a new apartment, my nephew, Isaac, had yet another surgery (thank God there were no complications at all this time), and my social life is not suffering either. I’ve also been presented an opportunity to go mountain biking in Tibet for a few days this summer. Of course, after all this starts happening, I get an email today from a firm that I wanted to work for about a job in Kabul that they are looking at me to fill.

The last two months have been an absolute whirlwind of happenings and emotions. At the start of the year, I was planning to put my life on hold and head back to Kabul and here I am back in Marietta where I have family not far to the north and south, friends, my church, my job (relocating in April to 10 min from my apartment) and, oh yea, a great trail that’s a 3 minute ride from my front door. I live next door to the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area, aka Sope Creek. Sope just happens to be one of my top 3 favorite places to ride. There are some challenging technical climbs backed up with fast sketchy descents and if you clean everything you try, well, it was a great day! I can get a 13 mile loop there so with (6) of these technical climbs tossed in there, it makes for a great workout.

Along those lines, I’ve decided to do my first hundred miler. I was planning to do this race last year before I went overseas so to get the opportunity this year is great. I’ll be doing the Cohutta 100 which is just up the road a piece in beautiful north GA, with the start / finish being at the Ocoee Whitewater Center near Ducktown, TN. This will be a good precursor for the Tibet trip and will be a big accomplishment. Of course, I have done centuries on the road, but a mtn bike century is another deal indeed. I’ve been getting some great workouts in that include running, swimming, weight training, and riding so I believe that I will be prepared physically. My goal is to complete this race in 10 hours, while being happy with 12 ;) Of course, I’ll keep you posted here with a race report and pictures.

No back to our regularly scheduled program.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

It's a nogo

Here's a funny little I accept this job back in November with the Army Corps of Engineers to go spend 13 months working in Kabul right? I turned down a couple other offers for jobs here in ATL so I could take this one, btw. My first deployment was scheduled for 06JAN then it got pushed back to 21JAN (tomorrow) because of the holidays. This last week they played a wicked game of tug o' war -- you're cancelled. No, you're going. No, you're cancelled. No, you're going. Finally on Thursday afternoon I was advised that the folks in Kabul rescinded the offer and my deployment was cancelled.

Here I am, got rid of my TV, mattress, box spring, dishes, pots and pans, etc because the plan was to buy new ones when I got back in a year. The remainder of my stuff is in storage and I have no job. Pretty funny huh?! At least now I still have time to salvage some time for training for a few races this season!

Well....maybe. I still have a couple options with contractors -- not the US gov't -- to work in Kabul again. Meanwhile, I'm just leaving it up in God's hands to take me where I'm supposed to go. I mean, what better time than now to start something new right? We'll see what happens. I had an interview on Friday that went pretty well and I'll hear back from that firm by Tuesday. I'd be working in the ATL metro area with little travel outside of it for work. Plus, they're building a new office like 2 minutes from where I was living so YIPPEE!!!! Of course, I'd have to find a new place to live but I'd stay in that area. I needed to get out of that old house anyway.

In the meantime, I think I'll go ride tomorrow...or take the dog for a the middle of the day....just because I can!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Deployment Delayed

So it appears that for whatever reason, I am not leaving next week. Something came up and I've been pushed back two weeks. I'm actually good with this but now I must review the IRS regulations on my time allowed in country and such. I may have to do my trip "home" to the UK, Bahamas, or someplace else. Drats! I'd hate to come home and have to spend a couple weeks in the Bahamas for holiday. Who wants to join me?!! That's what I thought ;)

Things fell into place with getting packed up in Pensacola and Marietta. I'm officially unemployed until I report so I'm going to take advantage and get some riding and running in. I've been a slug since I got back from Pensacola and I need to work out. At least this delay gives me time to burn off a couple pounds before I weigh in for my new clothes.

Right O' then. I'm off. Much more slouching to do today.