Saturday, December 29, 2007

The crossroads

photo: Patrick Hartford

I've been getting some decent riding in with my time off this week. On Wednesday, we set forth on the Lake James (bitch!) loop. Nothing like a 5 hour road ride to set some perspective in your life. Given the fact that this was the longest bike ride I've done in about 2 years, it worked out pretty well. But I just couldn't leave it at that...

Jeff and I got Brian to cover the shop today (thanks, B-Rock!) so that we could meet up with The Mayor and Preacher Todd for a dirt road ride out in Collettsville. We met up at 10am at the "Hard and Flossie Clark" Park (I swear that is its name) and departed down Hwy 90.

Just as Hwy 90 is about to turn to dirt, there is a road to the right. This is Anthony's Creek Road. Anthony's Creek is paved for a couple of miles and then turns to dirt. When the pavement ends, the climbing begins. And climb it does. Up and up and up it goes with Anthony's creek sinuously winding from one side of the road to the other. Almost from the gun, there is a beautiful waterfall that cascades through a jumble of granite blocks covered in green moss and algae. The air was crisp and cool, but the climbing caused us to warm up pretty quick. Towards the top I had to stop and get rid of some layers as I was starting to soak my wool jersey through with sweat.

We got to the top, a little community known as Gragg. We rode along a ridgeline and then descended down towards Wilson Creek and the community of Edgemont. We rode through Edgemont and on toward Mortimer. Just past the old CCC camp there is a little store. The store sits at the intersection of Hwy 90 and Brown Mtn. Beach Rd. This is a fairly important little intersection when cycling in this area for, as Jeff put it, this was "one of life's crossroad moments"; a decision point. At this point we had been riding for 2hrs and 45 minutes. Take Brown Mtn. Beach Rd. and we're back at the car in about an hour; take Hwy 90 and we have about the same ride time but with a lot more pavement. Or option 3: take 90 for a bit and then turn onto the all dirt "18 Mile" road and add another 2+ hours of ride time. Guess which option we chose?

"18 Mile" road is a beautiful, if not jagged, ride that has many ascents and descents and goes through at least two distinct life zones before dropping you onto Adako Rd. I readily admit I had a few dark moments towards the latter sections of the road, but it was worth the extra mileage.

Upon returning to the car, I immediately dubbed this loop the "7 faces of death" ride, but we were all in agreement that we seemed to not feel as beat up as we did at the end of the Lake James (bitch!) ride on Wednesday. I regret not having brought a camera, because the views were stunning and pictures would serve as ample inducement to get you to ride this route, but I also regret that I have not developed the habit of applying Chamois Butt'r before doing these epic rides. I keep trying to remember, but the habit just isn't ingrained yet. However, I do have a deeply ingrained habit of complaining about not using Chamois Butt'r at the end of long rides when my hind end feels the way a baboon's butt looks.

I got home, got a big hug from Owen (and his assistance with putting the wheels back on my bike), jumped in the shower and took off for Sledgehammer Charlie's in Blowing Rock. I hadn't been there since they moved, but Chuck had been talking about the food during the ride (never a good thing on an epic ride) and so visions of brisket and apple crisp sundaes danced through my head as we hit the road. The food was excellent, Owen ate his weight in french fries and baked beans (I'm sure an interesting diaper story is imminent) and I ate like there was no tomorrow. And now, since I feel somewhat human, I'm gonna call it a day and go crash out.

And Todd: today's ride was totally blog-worthy!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy holidays! - or: how I survived the shop party and saved Christmas for a little girl on Christmas Eve.

The shop has been hopping for the past week. A big thank you goes out to all of the people who came in and, in one way or another, expressed the sentiment that they were trying to do all of their holiday shopping with locally-owned businesses. Amongst all of this holiday shopping, many of our regular customers and friends came by bearing gifts of a decidedly belgian flavor. By the time we shut the doors on Saturday, our 'fridge had to have something propped up against it to keep the door shut!

We had told everyone we could that we would have an informal holiday party during our shortened Christmas Eve hours from 10am to 2pm. Jeff and I were a bit nervous that although people might come, they would also bring more libations with them and our huge collection of belgian beer would not easily diminish.

By noon, no one had stopped by for the party and I quietly went to the fridge, pulled out the first bottle, popped the cork and set out upon the grim business of consuming our Christmas booty. Fortunately, people began to arrive shortly after. Jeff and I were heartily helped with dispensing with all of our holiday good cheer and a good time was had by all.

I got home and hung out with the family. Owen was ripping around on his little trike, his stuffed puppy draped across the bars when there came a rapping, a tap-tap-tapping upon our front door. Golden answered it and told me that our neighbor had an emergency with a Trail-a-bike that they had purchased from the shop. Now I have promised to not use the real name of this neighbor, so let's call him: Farley Chrye. Farley's wife had come to get me and Golden later recounted the look of desperate panic that was in his wife's eyes when Golden greeted her at our door. So I took off to see what was up.

She took me to their neighbor's garage. I walked into the garage and was greeted by the sight of the trail-a-bike lying on its side, a cordless drill with a large drill bit in it, a pair of channel lock pliers, a seat attached to its seatpost and the attachment collar for the trail-a-bike. I turned to her and asked, "what's the drill for?" Now as a long time professional bike mechanic I have come to realize (without a small measure of trepidation) that nothing good ever comes from the introduction of power tools into the bicycle repair equation when a layman is involved. Farley's wife just said, "I don't know" with that tone of voice that drips with the undertone of my-husband-has-done-something-stupid that I personally know all too well.

At this point in the story I must put forth that I am not immune to the occasional stupid act. I have locked myself in the closet while no one else was home, swallowed a nail while doing work around the house and set my porch on fire while trying to start a charcoal grill with white gas. Now I say this to establish that I am somewhat sympathetic to the plight that Farley was in.

Farley came into the garage with his neighbor, Paul. Paul is a nationally-known comedian who for some ungodly reason decided that he absolutely had to relocate to Lenoir, but that's another story... Paul immediately started laughing and explained that he had tried to be the voice of reason. I asked Farley what he had done and why, to which he answered, "I'm an artist not a bike mechanic." Duh. So I replied with, "I wonder what the labor rate should be for an after hours house call on Christmas Eve?"

Now partly out of empathetic pity for the situation Farley was in and mostly because this was a gift for his cute as hell, 4 year old daughter Gwyneth, I said, "Let's go to my house where I have the right tools." On the walk, I was regaled with the tale of how Farley had tried to wedge the wrong sized adapter (he had thrown away the right one) onto his seat post using lavender scented massage oil (Paul kept calling it "love oil" and explained that all of the original "spooge" had come off the post while they were working on it) and using the drill to try to ream out the plastic adapter.

Long story somewhat shorter, I got the trail-a-bike installed on Farley's bike. Farley thanked me profusely and about 20 minutes after leaving my house brought back a portrait of me that he had painted a while ago and gave it to me in appreciation for helping him out. This morning, they came by with Gwyneth riding on the trail-a-bike, a huge grin on her face. Her mom told her to thank me for helping her Dad not ruin Christmas, and she did.

As a postscript to this story, Paul point blank told Charlie that this kind of thing was the "moments that he lives for" and that he would probably be blogging about it, but was definitely going to include this incident in his next book! You can check it out at Paul Stoecklein.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Goodbye Heat Miser!

So long, for now

The day started out chilly and grey and just got colder and nastier from there. Different Charles and I went for a ride this morning out towards Collettsville. It was all good until we encountered this freezing fog that seemed to drop the temps a significant amount. At some point, my left hand turned into a block of wood and I began to feel a sense of urgency about getting back to warmth.

I hit the shop doors and felt immediately warmer, but then my hand started thawing out and then the pain hit. Wow, that unfreezing process will make you do a little rictal dance of displeasure like nobody's business...

We piled the fam into the car and took a little xmas shopping trip to Hickory this evening. The usual selfish, reckless driving behavior of Hickory was in a serious holiday upswing. Everyone surges forward without regard to anyone or anything except for their god-given right to be ahead of you, no matter what the cost. We got the supplies for our gift project and headed to Atlanta Bread Company for dinner. To me, Atlanta Bread Company is almost always a mildly disappointing experience. The food is lackluster and is nothing more than fast food with fresher ingredients. It also attracts an odd collection of middle class America, from the bulky father-son pair who communicated in little more than drawled monosyllabic grunts to the pair of Hickory Hipster decked out in corduroy, tweed and argyle suits, beards and big chunky black hornrims. They looked fresh out of the pages of Art in America and out of place by a few time zones.

The weather has really socked in. Cold, rain and high humidity make for unpleasant riding conditions. We'll see how things are in the morning. Maybe a bit of white stuff on the ground?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Say it ain't so!

You mean to tell me that cycling isn't the only sport on the planet that has a drug problem?! It looks like the Mitchell Report is going to make a lot of Americans do some soul searching about whether or not they think a doped athlete is okay. It's funny how in denial the MLB has been about its fairly obvious doping problem. Barry Bonds is not alone in amassing a huge amount of muscle bulk in a fairly quick amount of time. It will be nice to have another sport become the center of the doping spotlight for a while. But it won't be all bad for the MLB since they have not accepted membership in the illustrious club of sports that submits itself to the humiliation and degradation of WADA (and for that matter, the smug buttheads at USADA). It is refreshing to see that Team High Road is living up to its name and is joining Team Slipstream in acquiring the services of the Agency for Cycling Ethics. If cycling has to be embroiled in this mess in order to correct the indiscretions of the recent past, then it's good for other major sports to have to face the same scrutiny.

Congrats to Bob Pugh for finishing 22nd in the 40+ B men and Bobby Lindsay for finishing 61st in the 30+ B men at Cyclocross Nationals in Kansas City.

Group ride tomorrow at 10 am from the shop!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Inuit Summer


This blast of warm weather has been a burden almost to great to bear within the confines of the workplace and the work week. Day after day of glorious, unseasonable weather has made me ache to get on a bike and blow off everyday responsibilities. Fortunately for me, tomorrow is my last day with students and Christmas break will begin. Now if the weather will just hold out long enough for me to take advantage of it!

We've been busy around the shop getting things ready for the holiday shopping season. Everything is stocked up and we have A LOT of stuff on end of season sale for those of you who have been staving off the idea of upgrading your equipment. There really are some deals to be had if you just stop by and check it out.

The Saturday group rides should be a bit more populated now that 'cross season is over. This Saturday we will do the regular ride at 10am from the shop, unless the weather is poor (i.e. rainy) and then we will do a dirt road ride meeting at the Hard and Flossy park in Colettesville (the park on Adako Rd. just past the fire dept.). While a 'cross bike isn't a requirement for riding on dirt roads, don't say you weren't given a heads up on the fact that a dirt road ride is a ride that travels on dirt roads. As in: not paved, but instead, made of dirt.

Now is the beginning of base mile season which means slow, talking pace rides. Putting in hours, not miles. So let go of the concept of average speed and enjoy the comraderie of winter riding season. And if you haven't been doing group rides, now is the perfect time to start since the group will not be out to hammer or otherwise go fast. Remember that next year's riding season starts now. So whatever your goal might be, winter is the time to lay the foundation!

I have to say that I'm glad 'cross season is over. It was exhausting and I really had to let some things slip in other areas of my life to make it possible to race. That isn't my favorite thing to do, but I really enjoy 'cross racing. I won't miss the time away from home every weekend, but I will miss racing and hanging out with old friends and all of my new teammates. A break to recharge, train, get strong and then on to the '08 road season!

Email-

From: Jack Brown
To: Shawn Moore
Subject: Hey Shawn, you know how I know you're gay?

This picture

And the fact that you eeked out a top ten finish again, just in front of me. Dick.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The hard day

We hit the road for the final 'cross race of the NC series at 5 in the am. We had to head out early 'cause it's about a three and a half hour drive to Cary. Jeff and I were in one car, while Jack and his son Harrison followed. As has become our normal routine, we stopped off at Cracker Barrel for breakfast.

While I waited for my sourdough french toast with blackberries, Jack showed us a neat feature on his cellphone. When he checks his text messages, he pushes a button in the robot-woman voice reads the text messages aloud. I looked at him immediately and said, "You shouldn't have shown us that." Jeff and I took turns texting Jack some pretty rough messages and the beauty of it was that the robot-woman reads EVERY word. Join the fun; email me and I'll give you Jack's cell number! I'm sure he'll love the text messages!

The only way to describe Cary was: hard. 2 run ups, a super tight twisty course a couple of climbs and a bit of sand for flava. I got a good start in the CX4 race, but couldn't hold the pace. Still, I had the best finish of my season with an 18th place. I turned myself pretty inside-out in the process, but I still lined up for the Master's race. Several of us doubled-up trying to get as many points as we could for the team competition. Everybody gave it a good effort, but I don't think we were able to close the gap on Boone Velo in 2nd place.

Jeff had a solid race, but he got caught up in some lapped traffic in the crucial final turns and missed the podium for 4th place. He was also just shy of the points needed to go from 3rd to 2nd in the overall series results.

After all the racing, we had a few hours of pretty hard spectating. In fact, we spectated so hard, we had to wait around a bit before heading for home. We finally got home about 7:30 and I was pretty knackered. Today, I was pretty useless. In a way, I'm glad the season is done 'cause I'm exhausted. But some of the team doesn't feel the same way. Bob and Bobby leave Wednesday morning for 'cross nationals in Kansas City. It's been great racing with so many teammates this season and I wish those guys lots of luck in the last big race!

Friday, December 07, 2007

finally


























Thanks to Shelli for the pics from the Boone 'cross race!



I have been so busy this week. I'm just glad it's over. One more week of school and then a break! I'm still processing all that happened this week, but the true highlight occurred Thursday. Our school had the extreme pleasure of hosting a group of 24 educators from Egypt. It was a remarkable experience and one that will be with me for a long time.

Monday, December 03, 2007

quick race report

Boone is in the books! Jeff Welch won his first race of this year's NC Cyclocross series. Other race results:

CX4:
Chris Behrman 10th
me 21st (dammit)
Big E ?
Other Charles ?

Master's 45+:
Bob Pugh 5th

Master's 55+:
Howard Hesterberg ?

I will post photos tomorrow night and also fill in the blanks in the results.

Want to ride trainers at the shop tomorrow night at 7pm? Call or email me to reserve a spot!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Timing

An open letter to Bob Stapleton, general manager Team High Road (formerly T-Mobile)

Dear Mr. Stapleton,

I recently had the good fortune of coming into a large sum of money through several internet related sources. While I certainly do not scoff at the prospect of such a windfall, I cannot dismiss the timing of my good fortune occurring so near your loss of title sponsorship from you team as being merely a coincidence. Because of my deep love for professional cycling, I can't help but think that I can turn my good fortune into something positive for you. Now, believe me, I do not make this offer selflessly. I am also motivated by the fact that once again, George Hincapie seems to be drawing the short end of the stick. Now, in the twilight of his career, George has signed with your team and now, that team seems to be in dire straits. I would like to see George finally pull off the big win, so we have to keep your team solvent enough to get through the spring classics. With all of this being said, my proposal is this: if you are interested in me giving you the $3 million that I have won from 2 separate foreign lotteries, as well as the 10% dividends that I will receive for helping a UK oil conglomerate extricate funds from the US, then I think that rather than giving these groups my financial information, you could just give them your team's information. If this idea is amenable to you, just contact me through the email link on this page.

We'll see if Mr. Stapleton takes me up on the offer. If I were him, I'd be in a scrambling panic right now, but he seems to be pretty calm about the whole implosion that he seems to be in the middle of. The damage to the sponsorship climate at the Pro Tour level can only be estimated at this point. Who knows what is going on behind the scenes of other top-level teams. The one thing that is certain is that now the war on drugs will get very heated. Given what is going on with Iban Mayo's doping case, things aren't going to get any better, though. Mayo's A sample was positive, but then his B sample was negative. So the UCI then has the B sample retested. It comes back negative again. So now, they want to take the B sample back to the lab that found the A sample positive and have them re-retest the B sample. I gotta say that that seems to be bordering on a witch hunt.

Jeff and I stayed at the shop late tonight unpacking and stocking the 11 boxes worth of Specialized stuff we got in today. We've got soooooooooo much new stuff in from Specialized it ain't even funny. Come check it out if you're down our way!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A hard decision

I'm quitting my teaching job. This has been a hard decision to make, but one that I feel is ultimately best for my family. Given the amount of time that will be required of me to help facilitate the large money transfers for the Star Energy Group, PLC, I feel it is for the best. I feel that the winnings from the UK Promo Lottery will serve as an adequate cushion in the transition time between teaching and my OPEC career, so I think we'll be okay. What really pushed me over the edge was the recent news that I received that I had also won 1.5 million dollars in the Foundation de France sports lottery. I think that my time now can honestly best be spent sitting back and letting the money come to me. I think that my big problem has been the spurious belief taught to me by my parents that you have to work to earn money. Apparently, that is not the path to wealth. So for now, a big "Hello, gravy train!!!"

A couple of shop announcements:

We are very excited to be able to announce that we are now a Specialized Accessories dealer! We have a large shipment of products that will be landing on our doorstep in the next few days, so come check it out!

Due this addition, we are closing out all of our in stock Adidas cycling shoes for 50% off! We have Adidas Tri-star, Race, and Vueltano road shoes as well as mtn. bike shoes and some women's specific road shoes. Get 'em before they're gone!

If you would like to attend a group trainer ride on Tuesday or Thursday night, please call the shop or drop me an email. We will be there if you want to come, but if no one expresses a desire for a particular night we will consider the ride canceled.

Don't forget 'cross racing in Boone this Sunday! It should be very good 'cross racing weather and I'm sure the beer tent will be the prime place to catch all the action since the course goes past it about 5 times per lap! See you there!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Lucky day!

Thanksgiving came off without a hitch. We got up and started cooking and got the turkey in at about 12:30. Cooking the Thanksgiving turkey is the high wire act of holiday dining. If you cook it right, then the meal comes off without a hitch. But screw up the turkey and people will talk about how you ruined thanksgiving for years. The worst is going to someone else's house and being served some super dry turkey and knowing that you could do a better job. So it was great to have a great meal with great food and great friends...

As if all of that wasn't enough, I received this email:

Dear Friend

Let me formally introduce myself to you, I am Mr. Raymond Wessel
president/founder STAR ENERGY GROUP PLC, we are OPEC members who deals on
crude oil and raw material and export into the America,Canada, Europe,
Africa South America and Asia.I will want to solicit for your assistance
to help collect a cheque that is due for payment to me for services and
supplies i rendered to my a client.

Please if you are willing to assist, i will want you to furnish me with
your particulars, so as to enable me give you further details. Please,
you have to be an honest and trust worthy person, as more payments
will be made through you in the course of this transaction.And more so you
will be entitled to 10% of every payment that you are able to receive
for us from our customers.
Provide for Us Your personal and banking details.

We look forward in working with you.

Sincerely
Raymond Wessel (Mr.)
Chief Executive Officer
Star Energy Group Plc


Now, it isn't often that this sort of windfall comes into my life, so I plan on taking full advantage of it. Given my extensive background with helping out exiled members of various Nigerian royal families, I have worked out some foolproof ways of dealing with these delicate money transfers.
1) I only accept gold bullion or uncut diamonds; no wire transfers!
2) I transfer the money to Mr. Wessel by purchasing iTunes gift cards in the total amount needed in $25 increments.

This is win-win for both of us. In fact, Mr. Wessel can buy a lot of digital music, burn them to disc multiple times and make a killing selling bootleg music on the black market.

As if hooking up with the Star Energy Group weren't lucky enough, I also received an email informing me that I had won a UK Promo Lottery by having my email randomly selected from a worldwide email list! What are the odds of being so lucky? Should be a good Christmas around the Moore household...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Eve of destruction

The turkey is bathing in brine in the fridge and the pumpkin pie just came out of the oven. Thanksgiving is nearly here. I really enjoy Thanksgiving. I love the cooking and the hanging out with friends and family. I love the food and even dig the leftovers.

Jeff and Shelly are joining us for Turkey day tomorrow. We have a little feast planned and it should be well worth the effort. Our menu is as follows:

Roast Turkey (bathed in brown sugar brine)
Belgian mashed potatoes with caramelized shallots
cooked cranberries
string beans
salad
sweet potato biscuits w/ orange marmalade butter
deviled eggs
pumpkin pie
Belgian beer cake with dried fruit

Jeff and I went for a little ride this morning as a way to pre-burn the calories we are going to consume tomorrow. It was a little chilly, but warmed up nicely during the ride. The weather for a turkey day ride is not looking hospitable. Better make it an early one or you're gonna get wet (hopefully). The saturday Luna group ride is moving to 10am starting this weekend. Hopefully, that will make the start a bit warmer!

We will be closed tomorrow and Friday, but will be open Saturday for all of your shopping needs! We have a lot of end of season sales on bikes and accessories, so come by and take advantage of us!

Monday, November 19, 2007

3 helmets to the 'cross gods





No snow materialized for Hendersonville, but Saturday was bitterly cold. The ground had a thick layer of frost and was as hard as concrete.

When we got to the venue, it was 7:45 am. I had not gotten much sleep since I had been out at some friend's art gallery opening and didn't get in bed until about midnight. I had gotten up at 4:30 am to start getting all my crap together for the drive, so not much sleep had been had. I had that fine, subtle jittery feeling that comes with sleep deprivation, but I wasn't daunted.

Got everything together, went through the smoothest and fastest registration process in the history of bike racing (thanks, Tim!) and started getting ready to race some 'cross. I got to the line and wound up beside Howard Rhyne, as usual. It's good to be near somebody you trust at the beginning of a 'cross race. This season has been some of the roughest and most aggro racing I have seen in the NC series, so I welcome the chance to be near somebody I know won't do something stupid. Howard and I even managed to talk the UCI commissaire into letting us line up on the front of the grid, but I couldn't follow through with it. Instead I ended up on the second row. The commisaire was doing random call ups and I stuck with the European line up method: if they point in your general direction, assume they mean you and roll up to the line. We started on a paved track, so I knew the start would go ballistic from the gun and sure enough we took off and I began downshifting immediately. My problems started when we came out of the turn onto the paved straightaway and I shifted into my 12t cog. As soon as I completed the shift, the chain jumped off the cog and jammed between the cog and the dropout. I stayed upright and pulled off to get out of the way. I jumped off and started working the situation out. Then the women's field started. All the women went by me before I got the chain sorted out.

I took off and started picking my way through the women's field. Halfway through the first lap, I caught the back of the men's field and settled down to business. I stayed focus on catching, passing and dropping as many guys as I could. I drove it as hard as I could, for as long as I could. My final trip down the fast downhill, off camber grass turn ended in me smacking the ground with my head so hard that I broke my helmet and bent my derailleur hanger. I knew it was bad because I heard all of the cow bells stop ringing and a collective "Oooooooooooooooohhhhhh" rise up from the crowd. I remember my teammate Bob yelling for me to get up and go (thanks for all of the cheering Bob). I sorted myself out and took off. I caught a few more people and rolled across the line in 22nd place. I had caught and passed over 40 guys and gotten one of my best placings this season after spotting the field a 2 minute head start!

Jack Brown finished 4th, Chris Behrman finished 5th (and took over the series lead), Bobby got 15th, Charles Hicks finished 43rd, Jeff finished 4th in a strong Master's field and Howard Hesterberg secured 2nd overall in the Master's 55+ series (and also caught many 45+ and 35+ racers!).

In retrospect, I'm pretty sure I got a mild concussion from my crash, but that didn't deter me from racing on Sunday. However, the effort of Saturday took it's toll on me and I could not capitalize on a great start and ended up in 20th place. Oh well, it's not like I won't be back to do it again next year.

So, I broke my helmet in a crash; Jeff broke his helmet when it slid off of his head after his race and Jack broke his helmet when he decided to do a high speed turf sample on the final lap of Sunday's race. That must be some kind of record...

Jack Brown with turf buddy

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Uh-oh... snow?

It looks like nature is going to play a part in this weekend's NC Gran Prix of Cyclocross. The temps are plummeting and snow is swirling all around us. The 9:30 am start for the CX4 race is going to be in the downright welldigger's butt crack chilly vicinity. I'm sure the ground will be frozen solid. Last year this meant zero traction in crucial spots and more than a few warm-up lap crashes transpired. The master's race will neatly bookend the day with a 3:30 pm start. By that time the ground should be mushy to partly goopy. I'm not sure which condition will be best...

I'm going to be stepping up to the line with a new piece of equipment this weekend. Due to the big break between the CX4's and the master's, I will be using the ZIPP 303's with Tufo Flexus 32's that Jeff has been hogging thus far this season. These wheels will drop 2lbs. off of the total bike weight. I can't even fathom what that is going to feel like! Now I will really be on a no excuse bike.

There is a new forum up for cycling in NC. Check out and use bikingnc.com and try to make a statewide cycling community! I'm in the process of revamping this 'blog, so if you have any favorite bike sites you think I should put up permanent links to, send 'em my way.

Group trainer rides will start the week after Thanksgiving on Tuesday and Thursday night's at 7:00 pm. Let us know if you are interested by either emailing or calling the shop.

Lastly, I wanted to post a few pics from Pinehurst that Jenna sent me.



Post race recovery/Jeff's impromptu birthday party

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The day after the day after

It's always the second day that gets you. You know, lift weights or run or do anything physical and the next day you feel okay. Maybe a little tired and sore, but decent given what you did. But then the second day hits and you wake up seriously tweaked. And seriously tweaked is the state I am in right now. I think my right leg is shorter than my left one due to an angry calf that has curled up into a tight little ball of pain. Or the right hip flexor that likes to let me know it's displeasure with sharp stabbing pains when I move just right. I am not the victor in this weekend's battle in the sands. I think I would rather crash on rocks than suffer through the sandpits again.

I'm going to try to get a massage before the races this weekend. If you are in need of some muscular work, make sure you give Brian Pleasants a try. He has partnered up with Shelli at The Perfect Fit and by all reports he is an excellent sports masseuse. His number is (704) 895-2360. A good massage can make a world of difference in your performance, so don't blow it off as a luxury!

Now is the time for another great performance enhancer: bike fitting. We have entered the slow time in the shop and have the luxury of being able to spend a good deal of time with you working out your fit issues or even just tuning up your position a bit. We also have some new products in the works that will further increase the amount of customization we can do in order to help you achieve maximum comfort and performance on the bike! Give us a call if you would like to set up an appointment.

This weekend is the double race smackdown known as the NC Gran Prix of Cyclocross. It is in Hendersonville at a new course from the past few years, Flat Rock Middle School. The course looks like a doozy with long straightaways punctuated with sharp, twisty, s-curves and hairpins. It looks to be a long course, too. See you there!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Greetings from the 1st ring of Hell

Sandhell. Pinehurt. Call it what you want, but today's race was no joke hard in a painful, energy sapping kind of way. The course was modified from that of the past few years and it was an improvement to what was already a stellar course. For the first time in the series, barriers proved to be a definite technical issue due to their placement at the beginning and end of a sloped u-turn. Numerous (really numerous) deep sand sections(several of which had to be run to maintain speed and position) and a torturously long, deep sand run up added more than enough spice to this bouillabaisse of pain. Our merry band had a decent day with Chris Behrman 2nd (CX4), Howard Hesterberg 3rd (55+), Jeff Welch 4th (35+), Bob Pugh 4th (45+), Jack Brown 13th (CX4 and an unknown placing in 35+) and me, somewhat ignominiously, 28th (CX4) and 27th (35+). Yep, I just can't get enough of that painful stuff, so I gotta go and do the double up racing back-to-back. My 7th, 8th and 9th trips up the sand run up were the very definition of pain. A lady was talking to me, telling me to "keep up the pace". I said, "Ma'm, this is the pace".

Thanks to everyone for cheering for us and thanks to my teammates for the post race libations! I'll post pics when they are emailed to me. Thanks, too, to Jenna for coming with us and helping out with all of our race needs and for also putting up with our numerous pee breaks on the drive down!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

it's about bedtime

We're rolling out for Pinehurst and the Sandhell 'cross race tomorrow morning at about 4:30 am. There is no good way to get from here to the Sandhills region of NC. The most direct routes take you through so many small towns with traffic lights that it makes the circuitous interstate routes significantly speedier. So we leave at the butt crack of dawn, stop along the way at a Cracker Barrel for breakfast and then try to make it to the race with enough time to get a decent warm up and be able to scout the course before hurtling down it at mach 10.

Jeff won the master's race in Johnson City today. He's doing a back to back race set this weekend to prep for Hendersonville next weekend and the NC State championships/Boone races the weekend after Thanksgiving. Me, I'm just trying to suffer my way through with a healthy dose of smoke and mirrors in the hopes that one weekend will be MY weekend!

The last few Saturdays in the shop have been pretty slow. The whole downtown seems to be slow on the weekends. As Christmas season approaches, try to give your local merchants a shot at fulfilling your gift needs before you head to the mall or the big box stores. Remember that of the 7.5% sales tax that you pay on purchases, 2.5% goes to the county. By buying locally, you are adding money to the county coffers; money that is used for all sorts of public services. Support Locally Owned Businesses!

I'll give a full rundown of tomorrow's sandy funfest as soon as I recover enough to type!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

I jumped on the 'cross bike and took off to work this morning. About 2 minutes in I realized it was cold. After about 5 minutes I realized it was pretty damn cold. My fingertips and toes got that burning, tingling sensation and my sinuses felt like I had just sucked up too much milkshake too quickly. Kind of off the bat in my commute I have a pretty decent hill that takes a good 10 minutes to climb. I stood up and pushed a big gear up it, trying to stoke the fire and get warm. It worked well enough to last the rest of the ride. When I walked into school, my students got all wide-eyed, so I must have looked a bit rough.

I have failed to mention it, but I have been riding a new 'cross bike since the Lenoir race. I built up one of the Argon 18 Arsenics that we got recently. It is an all carbon frameset and is the stiffest and smoothest riding 'cross frame I have ever been on. It has a massive bottom bracket area that keeps all of the pedal force going into the rear wheel. I was impressed on the 'cross course Sunday, but I got a different set of impressions when I outfitted it with road wheels and rode it to work this morning. It is a buttery smooth ride and the carbon frame attenuates the road vibration. Argon 18 seems to have done a good job at maximizing the potential of carbon.

With the onset of a windy cold climate, it is time to think about riding indoors. There has been some interest in trainer rides at the shop. I am thinking that we should start the week after Thanksgiving. How does Tuesday and Thursday nights at 8 pm sound to everyone? Give me some feedback so we can get it right!

For those of you looking to take some time off the bike, now is the perfect time to get an end of season overhaul! That way, when you take the bike out to ride again, everything will be smooth, perfect and brand spankin' new!

This weekend is the Southern Pines stop of the NC Cyclocross series. Affectionately known as "Sandhell", this course features the sandiest conditions to be found on any course in NC. Sand is one of those tricky, unpredictable surfaces to race on. Sometimes you cruise on the top of it, sometimes float through it, and other times you bog down and slip and slide through it in an unpredictable dance that can throw you down without hesitation. I have never done well at this course. I have gotten good starts and had moments that were encouraging, but it hasn't come to fruition. Perhaps this time will be different...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Big sigh

I don't seem to be recovering quickly from these weekend 'cross efforts. Mondays, I'm pretty wiped out. Tuesdays, I'm better, but still fatigued in a droopy kinda way. By Wednesday, I'm starting to feel a little more normal. I think what I really need is a good massage. My kinks have kinks in them.

I've gotten a few photos to post, but I need to wait until I have the faster computer to actually put them up.

Up next on the agenda is the Southern Pines race this weekend. It is a hellishly sandy course with a dastardly run up and some grassy power sections. I'm just glad I don't have school on Monday, afterwards!

My students are finishing up their Nascar presentations and it is pretty obvious how much work some of them put into them. Even my diehard Nascar fans have learned something about the sport. Next up, we learn about magnetism and electricity. Not sure how I'm going to tackle it, but I'm working on it.

Lastly, Deb Venti's write in campaign for Mayor of Lenoir came up just short as incumbent David Barlow edged her out 661 to 619. Maybe a full campaign is in order the next time around? I also got to talk to city councilman TJ Rohr who was doing the meet and greet at the downtown polling place. He said something to me about how he knew I wasn't going to vote for him as we disagree on the recycling issue. I was a little shocked by this, I mean true, I'm right and he's wrong about the need for municipal recycling (just joking, TJ!), but I respect the fact that he has a unique point of view and brings a different perspective from the norm to our local political scene. Also, he's a genuinely personable guy and in no way resembles a stuffed shirt. I told him that I appreciate viewpoints on the fringe, since that is where my own political views lie and even though our fringes are on the opposite sides of things, we can at least keep the middle honest!

Our town is at a serious crossroads in its infant rebirth. Our downtown revitalization effort has not just stagnated, but seems to be losing ground. There is a dearth of empty retail space for lease, with no apparent prospects for new business. Fewer people are coming to downtown Lenoir and the effect on business is chilling. The loss of Sledgehammer Charlie's shows how important a strong anchor is to fledgling businesses. That coupled with the advent of out-of-town landlords who swooped in and bought up retail space as an investment in Lenoir becoming the next "big thing" has led to some serious issues for anyone wanting to open a new business downtown. We must do something to encourage an environment that is conducive to small, locally owned businesses starting, growing and thriving in the downtown business district.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Lenoir 'Cross Race

I'm too tired to write much about today's phenomenal race here in Lenoir. Suffice it to say that much verbiage and as many pictures as I can round up will be posted here in the near future. A big, huge thank you to all of the volunteers who helped make this event possible. The past few days have been a whirlwind of last minute details and a huge amount of physical labor to put the race together and take it apart afterwards. Thanks to everyone who participated and spectated. We hope you had a great time!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

spooky, spooky

A little bit of Halloween tonight. Not too many trick-or-treaters visited the casa this evening. Owen ventured forth, dressed as a skunk, in search of animal crackers. He pulled through like a trooper, especially given that he lasted 10 minutes in his costume last year. I went to school dressed as a rock star. The beard I've been growing was all in preparation for the trucker 'stache that served as the foundation of my costume. I also had a wig, but couldn't stand to wear it for too long. I don't see how people deal with hair; I think I prefer being bald...

Alright, cyclocross comes to Lenoir this Sunday at Zack's Fork soccer complex starting at 10am! Here is the homepage for the NC Cyclocross series where you can find the flyer for the race. Don't forget that you can register online!

I'm a little more interested in getting pumped up for the race than just reading the flyer over and over. I highly recommend checking out cyclofile.com a weekly cycling update that focuses on all the major domestic cyclocross races and has some well produced video clips to show the action! See you Sunday for the race! Last minute 'cross practice may be at 4:30 on Saturday, but since we will be setting up the course - I'm not sure...

Monday, October 29, 2007

wakey, wakey - wow I'm achey




Round 2 of the NC Cyclocross Series is in the books. Fall made an appearance for the stop in Salisbury and for the first time in a long time, there was a debate as to whether or not arm warmers should be worn during the race. The day started off with the short drive from Lenoir to Salisbury. I was accompanied by mi familia and everyone was ready to watch bikes and ring some cowbells!

The CX4 race got off to an interesting start and I wormed my way into the lead group from the gun, but didn't have the power to stick it through to that sweet relief point that occurs in a 'cross race. You know, when the drill-fest tones down to a manageable pain level. I rode like crap for two laps and then started feeling decent the last two laps, but it wasn't enough and I finished 20th.

A brief respite and it was back to the line for the Master's race. Now last week I just rode the master's race as extra training miles, but this week I wanted to make a hard effort and see how long I could stick. To aid this endeavor, I downed an Enervit Cheer Pack shortly before lining up. If you have never heard of this product, we affectionately call it the "crack pack" for the extreme rocket fuel nature of the day-glo green liquid inside. The cheer pack's effects last for about a half an hour; too bad the Master's race is 45 minutes. In short, I felt like a rock star for 3 and a half laps, but totally shut down the last two and a half. I could hear Scotty yelling at me, "I'm givin' 'er all she's got!" At least I actually raced for a while...

The weather has taken an excellent turn as we head towards the Lenoir 'Cross Race this weekend. Jeff is putting in overtime making sure that everything is as perfect as possible. The course has the flavor of the Winter Cup course, but there are a few surprises in store for everyone, too. I want to encourage all the spectating I can, so bring your cowbells and a drink to keep you warm!

Just a reminder that the "Carbon Fiber Love" sale is going on through the end of this week, so if you are interested in anything from carbon bikes to carbon bottle cages or anything in between, make sure you stop by and check it out!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Soggy and groggy

The new Luna Cycles' Cyclocross Pit Kit

I can't believe that it has been steadily raining for 3 days! I know this will barely put a dent in our drought situation, but it's much better than the weeks and weeks of dry, hot weather that have been the norm. The downside is that the cold and the wet have made me forgo my usual nighttime run. That's probable a good thing considering how sore and tired I am today.

As the time change is coming up and the weather seems to be making a permanent change towards Fall, I wanted to find out if there would be any interest in group trainer rides at the shop. If you would be interested, give us a call at the shop or drop me an email.

Tomorrow I am going to Charlotte with all of my students for a field trip to Hendrick Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing. We are working on a Nascar Physics unit and the trip should provide some pretty real world examples of how physics is used. The kids are pretty stoked and have been thanking me for the trip and we haven't even been yet! I'll post some pics soon.

Last, but not least, Deb Venti (owner of Venti's Casa and Chicks with Sticks) is running a write-in campaign for Mayor of Lenoir. She is running against the unopposed incumbent David Barlowe. If you are interested in an alternative, drop by her store and see what she has to say!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

wetter and wetter

It is still raining! 3 days in a row of slow, steady, soaking rain. What more could you ask for? Conditions for Salisbury this weekend should be slick and slippery if the course has some of the same elements as last year. One thing is for sure on that front this year: the Maxxis Raze tires that I'm running this year will be a dramatic improvement over the Vittoria Evo Cross's I rode last year. The Vittoria's are a tire that we have affectionately dubbed the "slip and slides". Last year in Salisbury, I ate it pretty hard in a slick, muddy turn during my last warm up lap. Nothing like showing up to the line with your whole left side black with mud! I was the guy that nobody wanted to line up beside at the start and who would blame 'em?

I got absolutely drenched on my commute from school today. It's hard to complain about rain, but man, I got that cold, wet body thing that seems to contract your bladder and for like the last mile or so of my commute I had to pee like nobody's business! I ran into the house and tried my best to get out of wet clothes as quickly as possible without making a mess, all with the urging of an unhappy bladder. Such is the fate of the commuter...

We are in the process of building up the Argon 18 Krypton and the Arsenic 'cross bikes. They are, as Jeff put it, "Bad-mobiles". I can't wait to take them out for a test ride to get a feel for them. They have some unique design characteristics and we're eager to see how that translates into ride feel. Stay tuned for pics and reviews.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Weather Channel

It has rained two whole days in a row! While that doesn't do jack for the drought situation we are experiencing, it is certainly a step in the right direction. The weather is weird though. I dragged myself out for a run this evening and it was kinda muggy and warm. It's weird to get the humidity sweats at night at the end of October, but that's exactly what happened. I ran in shorts and a t-shirt, too. I'm ready for Fall, but it looks like we might just bypass that and go straight to Winter.

Jeff is predicting that we may actually have to race in arm warmers this weekend. He has his own little weather report that he calls "The Real Deal". All I know is that he is pretty obsessive about watching weather radar on the internet and he likes to argue with the written forecasts that get posted on some weather sites. It reminds me of Golden back in her racing days when if the tv was on, it was on the weather channel. I mean hours and hours of the weather channel. I mean shoot yourself to end the misery kind of situation. There have always been certain aspects of science that have just never grabbed my attention. Weather, geology, botany have just never been my thing. Oh yeah, and Chemistry. I suck at Chemistry. Ironically, now I have to teach Chemistry. I don't think that that is entirely bad since I can empathize with the students and maybe help them through my own life experiences.

As you can probably tell by the rambling nature of this little entry, not much went on today. It didn't start off with much promise since I have managed to develop the very bad habit of turning off the alarm clock in my sleep. Yep, I have absolutely no recollection of doing it, but it was off and I was dead asleep. Nothing like starting your day off in a panicky scramble to set the tone...

There was, however, one huge bright spot:

From: Shelli Welch
To: Shawn Moore (and a whole bunch of other people)

Greetings Friends and Clients:

I am happy to announce that Brian Pleasants of Pleasant Results Bodywork will now be in residence at The Perfect Fit in Lenoir!

Brian graduated from the Edmund Morgan School of Massage Therapy in Cornelius, NC. http://www.edmundmorganschool.com/ and comes highly recommended by my friend and massage therapist, Scott Herman (former owner of Muscle Works in Hickory and now in private practice in Boone). The Edmund Morgan School is one of only a few massage therapy schools in the state that offers special certification in neuromuscular release massage. (Scott has taught classes there)

Brian is not only capable of performing neuromuscular/myofascial release massage therapy but is also trained in performing regular deep tissue, swedish and will also be offering hot stone therapy.

To start, Brian's hours will be as follows: Wednesdays 7:30 am - 2:30 pm and Fridays 7:30 am to 6 pm. Brian will be available as of Wednesday, November 7th. You can call to schedule an appointment with Brian at (704) 895-2360 or by email at bnginnc@bellsouth.net. If you have to leave a message because Brian is in session, he will respond to you before the end of the day. Hour massages rates for personal training clients will be $60 per hour. $65 for the general public. Rates for a half hour massage will be $35 for either party.

For those of you that are not familiar with where my personal training studio is located, we are in the Russell Banks State Farm Insurance building on Harper at 520 Harper Avenue, Suite B. If you are coming into town from the crossroads, we are located right past the Sonic (our building will be on your right), located in between the old East Harper School and the American Trade and Loan. Russell's office space is on the left side of the building, we are on the right. We have plenty of parking available.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 828-729-1233.
Regards,
Shelli Welch
The Perfect Fit



If you have never had a good sports massage, then you owe to yourself to try it. It is one of the most significant things that you can do to improve your athletic performance, to recover from hard training or racing, and to help prevent injury. It will be money well spent!

Monday, October 22, 2007

How 'bout just listing what isn't sore?

On the line at Meredith College

I fought to not drag around all day. After yesterday, I don't want to have to stand up and accelerate a bicycle for a while. Someone said that there were like 50 accelerations per lap. I have no idea, but it felt a little more like 500 or possibly 5000, but who was counting. The results got posted today and congratulations to Jeff for finishing 3rd in the 35+, Chris Behrman for 8th in the CX4, and Howard Hesterberg for 4th in the 55+ categories. I know that more of the team was there, but I'm not sure of how they finished since only numbers (no names) are listed for the larger categories. I finished 32nd out of 96 finishers in the CX 4 and then pulled out the big last place in the 35+ race!

In other 'cross news, Czech rider Zdenek Stybar pulled out the BIG win in the first world cup in Kalmthout, Belgium on Sunday. His analysis of the race was that he attacked at the beginning of lap 2 and rode as hard as he could without looking back. He went on to say that his watch alarm went off signaling that one half of the 1 hour race was over. He thought, "I don't know if I can last." I know exactly how he feels, only when I get scared about that last 30 minutes of the race I'm only about 30 seconds into it! Anyway, leave it to the belgians to be so sure of a Sven Nys win that they didn't even have the Czech national anthem to play for Stybar! Watch out for Stybar and Lars Boom to make life uncomfortable for Nys this year.

Big news at the shop: we just received our first inventory from Argon 18! Argon 18 is a French-Canadian company out of Montreal that has some great carbon bikes. We have a carbon-aluminum Triathlon/TT frameset called the Mercury, 2 of the all carbon cyclocross framesets called the Arsenic and the entry level carbon road frameset called the Krypton. Since we bought in at the end of the model year, we got some special deals on these framesets that we want to pass on so that we can get some of these bikes out there! Speaking of deals, we will be having a Carbon Fiber Love Sale this week. If it's carbon, it's on sale! We have bikes, Adidas carbon soled shoes, Ritchey forks and seatposts, Look Keo carbon pedals and a bunch of other carbon goodies on sale. Give us a call or email me if you want more info - or better yet, why not come by and check it out yourself?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The magic number

Jeff, Big E and I headed out for Meredith College this morning for the first 'cross race of the season. Jeff and I stopped at the Barrel for a little pre-race grubfest. I tucked in to a massive plate of sourdough french toast with blackberries, two eggs over easy and some turkey sausage. I washed it down with hot coffee which tasted like brown with a hint of burnt.

We got to Meredith College and did an initial survey of the course. You needed at least a graduate degree in trigonometry in order to fully grasp every twist an turn in the course. There were two extended switchback hookylau sections plus a decreasing radius spiral that somehow spit you out into another section of the course through some rent in the space-time continuum. There was a tiny bit of brick paved section that dumped you into a very deep, descending leaf-mulch mix that was akin to a sandpit only browner and with bigger chunks.

Now Big E swore up and down that he didn't think that many people would show up. I think he needs to start deciding how he wants his crow prepared because the CX4 class saw a record 106 starters. Let me spell that out for you: one hundred and six starters in a CX4 'cross race! I found myself about third row in the middle of the mass on the start line, conveniently located at the base of a 4 tiered, grass-covered hill. It certainly seemed in my appraisal that a good, if not great, start was going to be the only way to even dream of contending. The whistle blew and I proceeded to zig and zag, bob and weave and any other thing that I could think of to get to the outside and start shooting up the mass of riders. I fell into line somewhere in the teens as we headed for the first skill required twisty section. The sheer volume of riders was incomprehensible. We went up a climb, took a right hand turn, went down a 200 meter straightaway, u-turned, went down a companion 200 meter straightaway, took a left hand turn onto a section that ran in the opposite direction to and parallel the initial climb and THERE WERE STILL RIDERS RIDING IN A SINGLE FILE UP THE INITIAL STARTING CLIMB! I could not believe how far ahead I was from just being heads up about the start. The race is just a blur: people passed me, I passed people. It was the hardest 'cross course I have ever raced and the hardest I have raced in a very long time. I think I finished somewhere in the 20's, but I honestly have no clue.

After crossing the finish line and riding into the finish chute (to aid scoring), I felt the immense and pressing urge to throw up. A little rest, a little small talk with some teammates and I made my way towards Jeff who was lining up for the Master's race. Now earlier that morning, I had registered for not just the CX4, but also the 35+ race. One was at ten, the other at eleven; seemed like a good idea at the time. But at this point, it seemed like a stupid idea to race back-to-back on this brutal course. I was going to tell Jeff "good luck" and inform him that I would not be racing the Master's race, but somehow my calorie-deficient brain got into the group at the line and thought "screw it" and I decided to race anyway. I begged some water off some people on the sidelines and mentally prepared myself for 45 more minutes of pain. I admonished myself that if I started, I would finish. DFL maybe, but not DNF! Long story short, Jeff took 3rd in a smoking fast race and I pulled out the Lantern Rouge finish in limping, muscle aching style!

Congrats to all of the Sledgehammer Charlie's team: Jeff, Big E, Bob, Chris, Bobby, Howard and all the others that I met today, but was too brain dead to fully grasp their names. See you guys in Salisbury! I'll post results and pictures as they come in...

and so it begins

Dawn is creeping up on me this morning as I prepare to take off for Raleigh and NC Cyclocross race #1 at Meredith College. There is more than a bit of anticipation for this race among the Sledgehammer Charlie's team. 'Cross practice yesterday was a good way to make some efforts and clear out the legs in preparation for today.

Not many of us are making the trek from Lenoir, but we will be joined by teammates from Hickory, Charlotte and T-Vegas. It'll be good to see the whole crew again. Good luck to everybody and I'll post the low down soon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

going down

Our mechanics have a lifetime of experience!

The first 'cross race is in the books. Two top 5's for the Sledgehammer Charlie's team in the Master's race: Jeff took 2nd and the Preacher took 5th! Jack was giving it a serious amount of what-for, but multiple dropped chains took him out of the head of affairs. I opened up the season in the CX4's with a decent race, hovering in the top 15 until a serious moment of introspection brought on by a sudden drop to the ground coupled with a violent kneeing of the stem bolt. I gathered my thoughts for a few minutes, gamely managing not to throw up from the sharp pain in my knee. I got up and got back in it, but the damage was done: 24th place. Not bad, not great, but a definite improvement over the start to last season. This weekend marks the start of the NC Cyclocross series in Raleigh. See you on saturday for 'cross practice!

And with that subtle reminder to come ride Saturday afternoon, a little heads up that the Saturday morning ride is going to be starting at 9am due to the shift in morning temps toward the bluer end of the thermometer. But don't let the temps scare you off, now is the perfect time to ride. The weather is fantastic, the pace of the rides are conversational and relaxed! What more could you want? Don't let Bridge to Bridge define you as a cyclist! There is a whole wide world of cycling out there and some of the best riding in our area has just begun! There are people who pay big money to come ride the Blue Ridge this time of year, so don't squander it just because it's free! And if the weather or time isn't conducive for making the ride, be sure to pop your head into the shop to check out what's new and shoot the sh*t with us for a while!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The eve of pure, sweet hell

'Cross season officially gets underway here this Saturday. I haven't ever raced the Bristol course in the MSG Cross series, but it looks like fun from the aerial picture they have posted at their website. We raced in Johnson City last year and it proved to be a very cool atmosphere and a fun race course. I have no clue what kind of shape I'm in right now. Some days I feel good and strong, others I feel like I can't get out of my own way. We'll see... One thing is for sure: the weather is cooperating to make it feel like 'cross season!

Be sure to check out the flyer for the Lenoir 'Cross race to be held Nov. 4th. Check out the purse for the Pro race! Jeff is working his butt off to make this a race to remember! He is already topping himself from last year and he has some surprises in store for the winners of various classes; surprises in the truest Belgian 'cross racing tradition!

One thing I know for sure is that Owen is getting ready for the Lenoir night criterium next year:


video

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Cookie Monster

Much love and big ups to Charles Bennet for laying the smack down on the field at the Tour de Pumpkin, Saturday. With 60 km to go, Charles decided that the field wasn't working together well enough and so he accelerated on a long climb and soloed the last 60 km. He made the move and stuck it! F*ckin' spot on, Charles!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Un-fricking-believable

I can't believe that I actually have to respond to this. You may or may not be aware of a certain rumor being bandied about with regard to the Lenoir Cyclocross race on Nov. 4th. The rumor is that if you do not come to one of our Saturday 'cross practices, you won't be allowed to race on Nov. 4th. This is utterly and completely stupid, let alone being asinine and nonsensical. The reason offered for this supposed little "rule" is that so many people were injured during our winter cup race, that we, the organizers, felt compelled to check everyone off as being competent enough to race our course.

I-call-bullsh*t No. 1: there were not a lot of injuries at the Lenoir winter cup race. Besides the usual scrapes and bruises, there really wasn't anything in the way of injuries. If you are afraid of the odd slip-and-fall or shin banger from the barriers, don't race 'cross 'cause minor things like this can and do happen. But, any of the myriad of criteriums in NC is far more dangerous than any 'cross race.

I-call-Bullsh*t No. 2: since when do we, as grown-ass adults, not enter any cycling event (even cookie rides) without signing a waiver that says we accept responsibility for anything that could befall us during the event? Anytime you are upright on two wheels, you have some risk of injury. But what are you going to do, sue your driveway because it reached up and popped you on the noggin while you were showing off your no-handed riding ability? If so, you're an idiot. When have you ever heard of a cyclocross promoter requiring some sort of pre-race safety check-off? Never. We have 'cross practice every saturday to work on the skills required for 'cross, like dismounting and remounting at barrier sections. We are trying to build the sport of cyclocross in our area, not pretend to be the keepers of the holy grail.

If you have not heard this rumor, then disregard what I have said, but if you have, understand that it is a pure fabrication and is out of touch with reality. As we strive to build our cycling community, we have dealt with many idiotic rumors of similar ilk to this one. If you ever want the straight truth, just call us at the shop, we'll be more than happy to set things right for you.

And with that, why not join us for the first shake out race of the 'cross season at Johnson City, TN next saturday? They have great courses and a laid back atmosphere, perfect ingredients for starting the 'cross season. To all our Sledgehammer teammates to the south of us: give us a ring at the shop to coordinate this little jaunt and let's make a strong impression in TN this weekend!

Monday, October 01, 2007

The road to recovery

Lack of sleep and jet lag caught up with me and made for a slow and sleepy Monday. I definitely had that bleary-eyed, out-of-sorts, wake up call at 5:30 am. The shock of it all was almost more than I could bear, but I soldiered on.

I'm still processing all of the sights and sounds of Interbike. I saw a lot of really cool bikes, many bad-ass 'cross bikes (usually full carbon and tricked out with SRAM Red), interesting accessories and a whole host of lost souls pedaling some strange widget that is supposed to revolutionize cycling as we know it. One of my favorite bikes at the show was the commuter from Civia. They were very clean and modern bikes that harkened back to a certain mid-century European utilitarianism. There were several things that we got excited about with respect to the shop, but I must remain coy about these potential additions for now...

'Cross practice was definitely the last nail in the hurt locker for Jeff and me. By Sunday, I was dragging something fierce. To shake it all out, I went for a run this evening. It hurt like hell at first, but moved through tolerable to enjoyable in due time. I've been commuting on the 'cross bike to get used to it.

The turnout for 'cross practice saturday was the largest yet and I hope that it will continue to grow in our area. Golden brought Owen out to practice and he was able to work on the finer points of cowbell ringing. Look for the littlest 'cross fan at the NC Cross series this season! If you have never experienced the fun of 'cross, but want to, come to the 'cross practice this Saturday at the Zack's Fork Soccer complex at 4:30 pm. We provide the barriers and advice, you bring everything else! For those of you that have been procrastinating: 'cross season starts in 2 weeks! Yessiree bob, the MSGCross in Tennessee begins Oct. 13th in Bristol. This will be the perfect warm up to the NC Cyclocross Series that starts Oct. 21st in Raleigh, NC! Get ready to break out the Belgian Knee Warmers and race some 'cross!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Reaping the whirlwind

Daybreak at the Luxor
We are in the airport waiting for our airplane. Jeff and I both are worn out having only gotten a total of 8 hours of sleep since we left wednesday morning. We have seen so many bikes and so much clothing and accessories it would make your head spin...
US National Cyclocross Champion, Ryan Trebon, on his way to winning 'Cross Vegas
World Cyclocross Silver medalist, Jonathon Page at 'Cross Vegas
Flagstaff homeboy, Ben Proctor shows how spectating is done!

We hooked up with a lot of old friends, saw a bunch of famous racers, talked bidness and listened to an untold number of mind-numbing sales presentations. We've gotten excited about a few new things and have lots of things to discuss. We gambled, drank, watched bike races, hung out, caught up with old friends and have generally been going non-stop since we hit the ground. There are a lot more pictures to show you in the coming days. See you at 'cross practice tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vegas Adventure - the beginning

Mmmm, mmmm good...

We are sitting at the Charlotte airport waiting for our flight. We just consumed a Cinnabon and too much coffee. Not sure how the caffeine is going to work with sitting confined in an airplane for 4+ hours, but that's what alcohol is for...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Owie, owie, owie...

First 'cross practice was an eye-opening experience, as usual. It just hurts. Hurts in that deep soul searching kinda way. The kind of effort that gets that little voice going inside your head, telling you "the pain isn't worth it", or "you can't do it". And then you just go and ignore all sense and reason. The good thing is that you don't realize what you've done to yourself until after you stop and then all of the sore and aching parts of your body start checking in with the brain. Somehow, I bruised the thick pad of my right hand under the thumb. Not sure how that happened.

The new bike rides great, handles like a laser beam, and soaks up the bumps like a dream. I think it is going to be a great bike for the season.

All the usual suspects showed up: Jeff, Preacher Todd, McMenemy the Enemy (and Josh, his son), Eric, 'Cross Ron, Howard Hesterberg and Nicole. We did some barrier practice for a while. I was nervous and lousy at it and then went downhill from there. Guess that's why we're practicing... We ripped several laps on the Lenoir 'cross course at race pace. I was pretty sure I was gonna vomit, but that never became a reality.

Now Jeff and I are just good and primed for 'Cross Vegas on wednesday night. Interbike is going to be a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too. It's going to be great seeing Page and all the other pro men racing under the lights in the desert. I'm pretty sure that Jeff and I will visit the beer garden in the infield as well...

Brian is going to be solo at the shop Wed-Fri, so drop by and visit him if you get the chance. Repairs will be on a slower schedule until we return from the show, but then we'll be back up to speed. Bear with us this week as this trip to Interbike is a big part of us taking the success of Luna Cycles to the next level! And don't forget to come out to 'cross practice next Saturday at 4:30. Bring anything with two wheels and we'll show you how to have more fun than you can stand...

Friday, September 21, 2007

File under: Yeah, No Sh*t...

Genevieve Jeanson admitted to having used EPO during her career, today. This comes as a shocker to exactly no one who ever even read about her exploits on the bike. Genevieve was well known for her tried and true method of winning bike races: solo attack from the gun and let everyone else ride for 2nd place. In big stage races, when the Pro Women would start 15 to 20 minutes after the Cat. 3 men, Genevieve would catch, pass and drop the men's race that started 20 minutes ahead of her. That isn't talent, that dear friends is dope.

On other doping fronts: I don't know what to think about the Landis decision. I really thought the long delay boded well for him, but no, it just wasn't in the cards. Given the nature of the decision and the weirdness of the T/E ratio test is flawed, but then the follow tests aren't, just doesn't seem kosher. The system seems rigged...

Got the new 'cross bike built up. It is a Blue CXc with SRAM Rival components. Initial shakedown ride impression is that the bike is very nimble. Tomorrow's 'cross practice should provide much more of a ride impression. See you at the soccer field at 4:30! Don't forget the morning group ride at 8am, too!

And now to leave you with the ultimate in athletic psyche outs: The Maori Haka as performed by the New Zealand All Blacks National Rugby team.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Now, let's get down to business

Up and coming two-wheeled bad ass, Owen McCormack Moore

Bridge to bridge has come and gone. Congratulations to everyone who participated. Big shout out to the top hometown Homeboy, Jack Brown! He looked good from my vantage point towards the top of 181 and by good I mean not horribly bad. Let's face it, nobody looks spring daisy fresh on a long, steep climb going some ridiculous speed for any measurable length of time. I think next year will be time for me to participate in the B2B again.

Now that B2B is past, there are a few notable changes in the group ride schedule. The Tues./Thurs. night rides now meet at 5:30 due to the dwindling light conditions. And starting this Saturday, we will begin cyclocross practice at 4:30 at the Zack's Fork soccer complex. This will give you some preview of the Lenoir 'cross course that will be a part of the NC Cyclocross Fall Series on Nov. 4th!

Speaking of cyclocross, our new 'cross bikes are on the way. I'm going to stay mum on the particulars in an effort to build up the suspense in anticipation for a big reveal. To help wrap your head around the implications of the looming 'cross season, check out Chopper Reid's advice for life: (a word of caution if you are not fond of the f-bomb!)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Eve of the Bridge

We stuffed 900 rider packets this evening for the Bridge to Bridge particpants. Big thanks to Jenna, Tammy, Mark, Mark Hites, Charles, Different Charles, Jack Brown, Mikey MC and B-Rock for lending a big hand to get it done. Jeff has been in overdrive getting all the last minute details straight for this weekend. We now have Luna waterbottles and new Luna T-shirts in 3 different styles in stock. We are stocked up on every conceivable item that a would-be Bridge rider could possibly want and to top it all off, we're having a sale! All sunglasses, shoes, Mavic computers and Sugoi shorts and short-sleeve jerseys are on sale for 10% off! We also have 2007 road and mtn. bikes on sale! If you've been waiting to wheel and deal, now's your time!

We will be having a mellow spin ride Saturday morning at 8 am, leaving from the shop. Our hours will be extended this weekend in order to accomodate the Bridge to Bridge schedule. Saturday we will be open from 11 am to 7 pm and Sunday from 7 am to 9 am (B2B start time). I will be doing a feed towards the top of 181, so come see me if you want me to hand up bottles and/or food to you.

It has been a long week and the weekend will hopefully be a busy time. If you are coming in from out of town for B2B, be sure to stop by. We will be more than happy to give you the beta on the new course, make ride suggestions for any pre-ride spins you want to do and we can also offer local knowledge on dining options and that all important Sunday morning caffeine urge!

Don't forget that once Bridge is over, the riding season is still going on. We are fortunate to have a fairly mild winter here, so outdoor road riding is a year-round possibility. However, as the weather gets cooler and the days shorter, it comes time to explore other 2 wheeled pursuits like mtn. biking. For us at Luna, Fall means one all consuming two-wheeled passion: CYCLOCROSS! We will once again play host to a cyclocross race here in Lenoir, but this year we are now a part of the prestigious NC Cyclocross Series Fall Cup! Our race will be Sunday, November 4th. Saturday, Sept. 22nd, we will begin cyclocross practice at the Zack's Fork Soccer Complex every Saturday at 4:30. Bring any bike you want, a helmet and you'll be one step closer to running through barriers and doing two wheeled drift turns in the drops.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The worm is turning...

I have come down with whatever funk Owen brought home from daycare. I'm not sure if I'm going to still have a voice tomorrow, so teaching should be interesting. I'm going to limit my students to yes/no questions 'cause then I can just nod one way or the other. It'll be good for 'em...

It has been a while since I last blogged and many things have transpired that were worth mentioning, but the moment has passed. We can never capture the time that was lost, so we should get past it and move on.

The big thing to move on to is the greatest part of the cycling season: CYCLOCROSS SEASON! You can see who the real 'cross junkies are right now. They'll be the guys shuffling around the bike shop wanting to discuss the merits of various 'cross tubulars or feverishly asking when 'cross practice starts (4:30, the saturday after Bridge to Bridge, Zack's Fork Soccer Complex) or asking to see pictures of the new 'cross bikes from different manufacturers. Well, the first fix is almost here fellow 'crossers! There will be a season opening tune-up clinic/race in Salisbury on Sunday, September 30th. Details to follow soon. Jeff and I will get the true whistle whetting experience during Interbike in Las Vegas as the Cross Vegas UCI race will be held while we are there. 'Cross World's silver medalist, Jonathon Page, is a confirmed starter. It should prove to be a fun night of 'cross and beer gardening!

Hopefully some of you will be able to tear yourselves away from doing 181 climbing repeats this weekend long enough to make the saturday morning group ride at 8am. The group has thinned out substantially as Bridge to Bridge draws nigh, but hopefully things will be back to normal once it is over and done with...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Viral attack

I have on very sick and pitiful little baby. Owen has a severe sinus infection that blew up this weekend. It is really heartbreaking to see just how miserable he feels.

Time is in short supply for me right now, so not much posting here. I am happy to report that there was a HUGE turnout at the County Commissioner's meeting monday night. So much public outcry against the proposed Wilson Creek PUD seems to have definitely made the difference. We must remain vigilant so that our open spaces won't be cavalierly developed for such silly reasons as "someone is going to do it eventually". On another happy note, the Lenoir Convenience Center is open! Now get to recycling!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mark it on your calendar!

Here is more of the story on the proposed development of Wilson Creek. The County Commissioners meeting is this Monday, August 27th at 6 pm. We need as much public opposition to this proposal as we can muster, so please, please, please come out and lend your voice to the cause!

In reading the News-Topic article, I especially like the developer's comment that Wislon Creek is going to get developed eventually. You know, we don't have to roll over and play dead for land developers. Development of wild and scenic areas is not inevitable. But just like any treasure, someone will surely steal it for themselves if you don't protect it!

Got a good soaking on my afternoon commute yesterday. I also managed to break a bolt that holds my panniers to my dropout. Fun times limping it to the shop, hoping that the friction of my fender being pushed against my tire by a pannier loaded with textbooks wouldn't cause the tube to explode going down the one sketchy descent. It broke up the routine of my twice daily rolling meditation.

I enjoy my solo morning commute the best. The air is cool and there is usually a slight mist close to the ground. Traffic is light and I am left to my thoughts. Maybe it is the fact that I am not fully awake when I leave, but the whole commute seems to take on a transcendental mood. I find myself to the point of disconnecting my thoughts from the rest of my body. I can feel myself pedaling from a distance as my mind seems to be more immediate. I kind of dig that feeling...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Immediate attention required!

Our fair county has decided to lift a one year moratorium on development in the Wilson Creek area in order to slip in a big land development deal. You can get the full story here. You can email members of the County Board of Commissioners here. Please voice your opinion to leave Wilson Creek undeveloped and stress the importance of outdoor areas for recreation. The future of Caldwell County lies in the outdoor recreation opportunities that are here and are just now beginning to be truly shared with people from outside of our region. We need to allow the developments that are already being built in the nearby Collettsville area to be completed (and their impact assessed) before irrevocably damaging the beautiful Wilson Creek Gorge area! This will be discussed in an upcoming board meeting. I will keep you updated in an effort to rally some vocal opposition to this proposal at the meeting!