Thursday, August 15, 2013


Man!  I love that I can exit my new home in Harrisonburg, VA and be starting a 50-minute long climb in the Shenandoah Mountains and the George Washington National Forest in an hour.  And if it's not a crazy big day I can just turn around and come home in time for lunch.

When you are gasping for air up Reddish Knob you will find yourself at a deficit again with the breathtaking views at the bottom with the finish visible on a clear day from the lake seen below.  You will not see a house and sometimes even a car since it's a scenic byway and "Ain't nobody got time for that".

The top of Reddish Knob is the real prize as you reach a road that can fit only one car that winds its way up to a plateau where the road ends and the trees are no higher than your line of site, offering a panoramic view of West Virginia and Virginia and all the mountain ranges and valleys sprawled across as far as the eye can see.  There's even a Naval Information Operations Command visible in the Potomac Highlands that is home of parabolic antennas acting as "the Navy's ear" gathering communications from Navy planes, ships and stations around the world.

I am told that Reddish Knob is the highest point in Virginia.  Anyone participating in the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo will get a chance to see this and many views.  I snap a few pictures here and there but I hate exposing my complete lack of photographic genius that I blame primarily on my lack of photographic device.  Alas - a couple shots from this weeks riding:

At the top of Rt 33.

Potomac Highlands from Reddish Knob.

Riding with Nick Waite and Jeremiah Bishop aka Fred Astaire from this photo.
We go big!

Going to climb those rocks one day!

Last chance to turn around.  It's straight up from here.

There's a story or twenty on every ride, but one worth noting happened on a 5-hour ride I completed yesterday.  I was 2 and a half hours into the ride about to turn left onto the Reddish Knob climb on the Moyers Gap Rd. side.  I was keeping the route simple, go West, go South, go East, go North and I figured I wouldn't get too lost.  On these big rides figuring out watering holes is more crucial than the route planned.  I saw a convenience store at the corner and figured everything was just fine, but I'd later find out it was closed a long time ago due to lack of customers.  A man pulled up in an old Ford truck seconds later and told me the misfortune of bigger stores and gas prices in the cities nearby pushing him out.  I asked him where the next closest place to find refreshments was and he chuckled indicating that I had a bit of a ride ahead of me.  Now, I wasn't in a "spot of bother" and would have been able to get anywhere I needed before bonking or becoming overly dehydrated, but he offered to let me fill up my bottles at his house next door.  I talked to him about how I just moved here and was loving the riding and he told me some good places to ride and just carried on about the peacefulness living in West Virginia.  He kept insisting that I take some gatorade until I couldn't refuse and he sent me on my way insisting just as hard to remember, "Jesus loves you".  

I took off on the climb to continue my ride with 80 ounces of fluids, weighing me down, and started to think to myself that I'm pretty sure if I lived out there long enough I'd find Jesus one way or another. The bike gods were quick to interject and I sliced a tire on a shale rock that had been kicked up on the road in one of the many switchbacks.  I'm not a believer in anything too clear, at least not clear enough to explain in a way that makes since to many, but I definitely feel like someone is looking after me.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I've been negligent in keeping up with what's been going on, because too much has been going on!  I got back from the cross country trip I tried to chronicle with the idea I'd be able to take it easy for a little while.  Instead I found myself sleeping on a couch for two nights and then heading up to Hunter, NY for the Tour of the Catskills.  Most of my teammates were toast from all the travel that I had so enthusiastically encouraged them to do... so I felt the pressure to go to this race and represent for the team since I felt responsible for their fatigue.  And represent I did with my teammate Jon D'alba, who I shouldn't even mention, since he said he won't read this anyways... but it was awesome racing with him in very trying conditions where we were clearly marked despite being a fraction of a team due to our clubbing at Killington Stage Race some months back.  Absorbing a ton of blows and the elements I walked away from the 3-day stage race 2nd overall.  Not bad for running on fumes and yearning for that night I'd get to sleep in my own bed again.

After one night of sleeping in my bed, I woke up to a phone call from my coach Jeremiah Bishop telling me I needed to get to Harrisonburg, VA by next week to buckle down training for the UCI 1.2 Bucks County Classic in PA on September 7th.  So much for August being a month of partying in DC with the friends before I move away.  Instead I crammed as much dancing, drinking, riding around familiar roads, bike shop hopping, and other general hanging out options to include Settlers of Catan in less than a week while trying to meet with potential subletters and packing up to hit the road again.  Oh yeah, I went rock climbing too and successfully ascended a 5.9 with a roof my first time!  This was while an old roommate of mine was making 5.12's look easy... but I was happy with passing the belay test and climbing for a couple hours with little to no experience prior.

I know, I'm totally skipping the entire trip from Oregon back to DC.  It was awesome... seriously the best part of the entire trip.  I just don't have anything extraordinary to say about it, I didn't take a lot of pictures, I just soaked it up with Kevin Gottlieb and Chris Keeling as we hit amazing host house after amazing host house, amazing ride after amazing ride, and amazing views after after amazing views. Except Kansas... Kansas wasn't fun or interesting, at all.  Sorry, but I'm glad I'm not in Kansas anymore.

So here I am, living in Harrisonburg, VA!  I've been here two days and I was introduced properly with a 6-hour ride to include riding up Reddish Knob and a stint in West Virginia and the George Washington National Forest.  You can keep up with some of the amazing routes I go on by following me on STRAVA.  I don't put all my training up there, just the fun or distinctly epic rides.  Nobody wants to see my 2 hour interval rides back and forth on the same roads.

#BUCKSORBUST - This is what it's all about for me right now.  I've shown teams that I can play domestique or ride for myself and generally overcome a ton of stress, illness and injury living on the road for a few months.  I've shown I'm not afraid to make sacrifices to get where I want to be and that I will continue to make the steps necessary to reach the highest levels in cycling.  September 7th is a huge day for me as I take everything I've learned this year and the years before with a month of dedicated focus to Doylestown, PA where I have every intention and ability to put Kelly Benefit Strategies and Diamondback Bicycles on the podium of a UCI race.

In the middle of Nevada with the Sun to our backs for the next few days.

The Great Salt Lake

We made sure to touch the Pacific Ocean before heading south through the Redwood Forest

That thing was REAL.  Any closer and it started making demon noises. 

Make every stop worth it.  Skipping rocks.


Riot Girl Punk Show in DC - Fort Reno.

First ride w/ JB starting in Harrisonburg and going places I didn't think I could go.

Locked outside of an IHOP, my Diamondback Podium 7.

Going to miss these roommates.  Taco and Margarita night.