Thursday, September 25, 2008

Can't Trust It

I want the Bush Administration to 'handle' the economic crisis like I want another hole in my head.

Like they handled hiring in the Justice Department.

Like they handled Osama.

Like they handled Iraq.

Like Cheney handled Valerie Plame's identity.

Screw bad debt and screw Wall Street. Let 'em suck on it, the greedy bastards.
I don't remember them worrying about all the $$ they were raking in and trying to give it to the Treasury. Nope, they were busy hiding it off-shore and using tax loopholes to keep $1 TRILLION out of the Treasury.

Letterman and McCain, Couric, Palin and more!

Read this!

I watched the Letterman bit and it looked like he was really upset. Click on the pic of McCain and Couric. It's pretty funny but you can tell Dave was upset about McCain not showing up more than he was trying to attack him.

I watched part of the Palin bit and she still looks as dumb as a sack of hammers. Couric looked great and was tough. Palin... what can I say. Forget experience, how about some intelligence! She's been handed a vice presidential nomination and it sure does look like she didn't have to work for it. Standards for leaders in Alaska must be pretty low. I'm sure she's a great mayor but...

FSM save us from this presidential ticket!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Presidential Choice - Shortcut

Having trouble figuring out who will best represent you in Washington, DC, come Jan 2009? Here's a quick picture that should help you break it down.
Thank you for your attention.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Birthday!

To all of us!

Today is Constitution day. 17 September 1787 was the 'birth' of the US Constitution. Here's the Wiki on it.

What can that old piece of paper expect on its birthday? Nothing. There's no gift you can give a piece of paper. All you can do is what you think it would want you to do. You'll have to read it to figure that out.

I think a big issue in America these days is lack of respect for each other. Divisive politics and social issues are making two Americas. It's talked about all the time as 'Red and Blue' states, counties, cities, people... It sucks. Even the people that complain about the division talk about it in these terms.

These divisions are what keep America from real social progress. Do we all worry about the lack of healthcare for many Americans? That a national healthcare plan would take the burden off of our US industries and help them compete worldwide? I mean, US industry is cutting healthcare benefits already in order to compete globally and we aren't doing anything to back OURSELVES up? Crazy.

Meanwhile, all of the 'free-market' Republicans are busy bailing out investment banks and Wall Street with $1 trillion dollars worth of loans and US taxpayers now own 80% of an insurance agency! WTF! $1 trillion on a war (almost) to private contractors and underpaid US military in Iraq and another trillion to bail out unadulterated greed.

This from a guy who's been 'saved.' It's a good thing he's not still a coke-head. Even if he was, he couldn't have done much worse. I know a few drug addicts smarter than this knucklehead.

Don't worry, if you need help with your mortgage or if you get sick and lose your health insurance and job, the gov't will be there to... uh... well, they won't be there.

Values. Leadership. Intelligence. It sure would be nice to have some in the White House. I'll take the 'shallow nothingness' of hope to war in Iran. Nobody should talk about war as an option. War is the absence of options. War is the failure of hope and intelligence. The start of a war means we all lose, especially those who lose their lives. McCain should know better. Politics as usual.

We'll be safer if the world thinks that they don't have to defend against a war just to live with a strong America. A strong America doesn't have to go to war, a weak America does. Learn some international relations before you start calling for war.

Tough day for Big Daddy. Please vote for Obama. It's GOT to be better than what we've got now. Please.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Great Op-Ed from the NYTimes

Making America Stupid
Published: September 13, 2008

Imagine for a minute that attending the Republican convention in St. Paul, sitting in a skybox overlooking the convention floor, were observers from Russia, Iran and Venezuela. And imagine for a minute what these observers would have been doing when Rudy Giuliani led the delegates in a chant of “drill, baby, drill!”

I’ll tell you what they would have been doing: the Russian, Iranian and Venezuelan observers would have been up out of their seats, exchanging high-fives and joining in the chant louder than anyone in the hall — “Yes! Yes! Drill, America, drill!” — because an America that is focused first and foremost on drilling for oil is an America more focused on feeding its oil habit than kicking it.
Why would Republicans, the party of business, want to focus our country on breathing life into a 19th-century technology — fossil fuels — rather than giving birth to a 21st-century technology — renewable energy? As I have argued before, it reminds me of someone who, on the eve of the I.T. revolution — on the eve of PCs and the Internet — is pounding the table for America to make more I.B.M. typewriters and carbon paper. “Typewriters, baby, typewriters.”

Of course, we’re going to need oil for many years, but instead of exalting that — with “drill, baby, drill” — why not throw all our energy into innovating a whole new industry of clean power with the mantra “invent, baby, invent?” That is what a party committed to “change” would really be doing. As they say in Texas: “If all you ever do is all you’ve ever done, then all you’ll ever get is all you ever got.”

I dwell on this issue because it is symbolic of the campaign that John McCain has decided to run. It’s a campaign now built on turning everything possible into a cultural wedge issue — including even energy policy, no matter how stupid it makes the voters and no matter how much it might weaken America.

I respected McCain’s willingness to support the troop surge in Iraq, even if it was going to cost him the Republican nomination. Now the same guy, who would not sell his soul to win his party’s nomination, is ready to sell every piece of his soul to win the presidency.

In order to disguise the fact that the core of his campaign is to continue the same Bush policies that have led 80 percent of the country to conclude we’re on the wrong track, McCain has decided to play the culture-war card. Obama may be a bit professorial, but at least he is trying to unite the country to face the real issues rather than divide us over cultural differences.
A Washington Post editorial on Thursday put it well: “On a day when the Congressional Budget Office warned of looming deficits and a grim economic outlook, when the stock market faltered even in the wake of the government’s rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, when President Bush discussed the road ahead in Iraq and Afghanistan, on what did the campaign of Senator John McCain spend its energy? A conference call to denounce Senator Barack Obama for using the phrase ‘lipstick on a pig’ and a new television ad accusing the Democrat of wanting to teach kindergartners about sex before they learn to read.”

Some McCain supporters criticize Obama for not having the steel in his belly to use force in the dangerous world we live in today. Well I know this: In order to use force, you have to have force. In order to exercise leverage, you have to have leverage.

I don’t know how much steel is in Obama’s belly, but I do know that the issues he is focusing on in this campaign — improving education and health care, dealing with the deficit and forging a real energy policy based on building a whole new energy infrastructure — are the only way we can put steel back into America’s spine. McCain, alas, has abandoned those issues for the culture-war strategy.

Who cares how much steel John McCain has in his gut when the steel that today holds up our bridges, railroads, nuclear reactors and other infrastructure is rusting? McCain talks about how he would build dozens of nuclear power plants. Oh, really? They go for $10 billion a pop. Where is the money going to come from? From lowering taxes? From banning abortions? From borrowing more from China? From having Sarah Palin “reform” Washington — as if she has any more clue how to do that than the first 100 names in the D.C. phonebook?

Sorry, but there is no sustainable political/military power without economic power, and talking about one without the other is nonsense. Unless we make America the country most able to innovate, compete and win in the age of globalization, our leverage in the world will continue to slowly erode. Those are the issues this election needs to be about, because that is what the next four years need to be about.

There is no strong leader without a strong country. And posing as one, to use the current vernacular, is nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Big Weekend!

Redneck fair in Anne Arundel County on Friday night... A bit rainy so no one was there. Got an Obama sign for the front yard. First time for me, with a sign in the front yard.

I was all signed up to race at the Giro di Coppi but we had a wedding on Sat morning and no child care so Susan just took Emma. MattyD got third! Huge. What a stud. That kids rocks!

Saturday morning, Jeremy and I went looking for fossils at Calvert Cliffs State Park down in Calvert County. He played on the beach, I stared at the sand for a few hours. Fun stuff. It's a nice hike down to the fossil beach and Jeremy was a trooper. We ran across a frog getting eaten by an Eastern Water Snake (non-venemous, as if the frog cared). Talk about Wild Kingdom. For us normal folks, that's pretty rare to see that. OF COURSE we have pictures!

This pic is not a bucket eating Jeremy but a bucket-headed hiker, in search of fun. He was banging it with the shovel. Smart kid. I had him stop at least that part of it.

I carried the change of clothes, food, two liters of water, towel, camera and little boy half-way down the 1.8m hike and half-way back. When he wasn't taking it easy by riding on daddy, he was running.

Here's the snake, getting lunch. It was a war of attrition. The snake was just biding its time and the frog would rest, jump, not get away, croak and then try to jump away again. Once every five minutes or so. We didn't see frog-snake on the way back so I'm assuming that Kermit was being digested under a log somewhere in mr snake's belly. Correction: lumpy belly. Here ya go. I hope you aren't eating lunch!

In more pleasant news, my dealer delivered on Friday. I got the goods. Straight off a plane from Seattle. I'm talking the killer hook-up. 4 lbs, delivered. That will only last us a few months.

Of course, you know I'm talking about C O F F E E!

A buddy is a bit of a coffee snob and he says that he found the WORLD'S BEST COFFEE near his place in Seattle so whenever he's out there, he brings me back 4 pounds. It's good. It's not the darkest stuff in the world, but it's pretty damn good. We grind it for drip at home in the morning before heading out for work and I have some espresso with a co-worker around 9:30 or 10, just to make sure the morning is as productive as possible. Yeah, I have an espresso machine at work. It's the 'burbs so we'd have to drive for 1/2 hour round trip to buy it so we have no choice. People make fun of us at work... they think we are brewing ground up tires...

And of course, nothing in my life happens without some sort of child story. How am I going to work E or J in with a coffee anecdote you ask? Jeremy INSISTS on running the grinder in the morning (he'll come running if I try to grind without him) AND he has to 'mull it' before it gets dumped in the coffee dripper thingy. In J-world, to 'mull' something is to 'smell' it. And he puts his whole face in the grinder to get the full boquet. He's a master. Jedi master...

Speaking of which, we went to see the Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie today with the kids and it wasn't horrible. I actually liked it more than all 3 of the prequel movies, but that's not saying much as they pretty-much sucked, 1, 2, 3. It was more fun and less drama. I read a few reviews to get myself psyched up to see it and all of them said 'it sucks' so my expectations were low.

Plus, I had Jeremy on my lap yelling 'YEAH! GET HIM!' at the movie, which is rad. Especially when EVERYONE in the theatre can hear and I can hear them laugh at him too.

Saturday night (I'm all post-modern with my timeline in this post, like it?), we went to my sister's house for ribs and beers. Bro-in-law's son was in town from the UK and my sis had some friends over. It was mellow and fun.

I cut Jeremy's hair again, threw him in the tub, read some books and threw E&J in bed. I got some new music, played guitar, wrote this post and now it's off to bed. It's late for a school night.

I'm listening to 'Whip It' by Devo right now. How f'in cool am I... After finishing the pic-posting, Dinosaur jr is playing right now... And I'm out...

Comedy: Still More Instructive That Regular Media

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Spend Five Minutes, Please.

They're Here!

I'm a slacker. I got the brakes today. They are hot.

Many thanks to Jonathan Seibold at Family Bikes for getting them for me. Maybe he's gonna hate me for telling, but all I do is just text the guy and he lets me know when the stuff comes in. Not sure if that's some secret communication strategy for me or what but I guess I'm regular enough. Anyway, it's a nice touch. I don't like buying stuff online. I'm glad that FBS got to check them out. I'm not sure if this is a stock item for them. At $200 a wheel, they ain't cheap.

I haven't gone downstairs yet to see if the rear hose is long enough to reach under the bottom bracket on the way to the rear mount but the night is still young.

Avid/SRAM says they are stronger than Juicys with better modulation. If that's the case, I'll be in good shape on the bike. Plus, the red will go nice with the brown and orange. And when I say it 'will go nice' I really mean, this bike will be one sweet ugly monster on wheels...

Ride report soon when I don't feel like I just got run over. Pretty early for the first Fall sickness but it's just a cold. Should be gone tomorrow.

Oh yeah, did I post up about DCCX reg being open? I guess I did.

DCCX Reg Open!

DC's only cx race is coming! Details:

DCCX race registration is live on bike reg:

Other race info listed on the team website:

This race was a ton of fun for everyone. Forget racing, it was just fun to hang out and watch! The race is SUPER spectator friendly.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I'm Getting Caught Up

I wish we could focus more on the issues of the actual presidential candidates but here we are, focusing on the newcomer. I'm actually more confused about McCain's positions as he has changed quite a bit from when he was a 'maverick' now that he is 'Candidate McCain.'

Read up. Palin's dealio.

And for the first time, I have contributed to a presidential campaign. I just can't see a positive outcome if we don't get Obama elected president. I'm checking in here to get some ideas and get started putting in some time for Obama. I hung my head in shame when that knucklehead got elected in 2000 and 2004 (thanks Florida!) and I just can't stand seeing America go down the wrong road again. We have problems and we are far from perfect as a nation and a country but I'd rather see a hopeful leader with positive, uplifting policies that may not affect me personally too much but would seek to improve the lives of those who are wanting. Greed is no good and not helpful (see: our current economic situation) and I'd rather curtail the effect of greed on our economy than protect corporations instead of working Americans.

I'm glad that we are going to have such an exciting election. I'm glad it's close as I think that close elections (generally) make better leaders (notable exception: current president).

Good luck Mr Obama. I'll do what I can.

Monday, September 08, 2008

McCain and Palin

McCain was a maverick, like his seat-holding predecessor before him, one Barry Goldwater. One of the father's of modern American conservatism. Goldwater is largely credited with removing control of the Republican party from the east coast members. It's the GOP you see today.

But he's a maverick no more. Getting the nomination for president has either forced him or allowed him to move to the right and support policies that earned him my respect in the past. I'm all for campaign finance reform. I thought he was principled, like Hillary. Now I realize that he just REALLY wants to be president.

It was smart to chose Palin as he got the attention that he was looking for as well as exciting his base. He cannot win without his base (neither can Obama). Electoral politics is simple at the national level: do enough stuff to please your base so they'll vote for you but do enough stuff to anger your base to get independents to vote for you. There's no other way to win with 1/3 of the electorate split between R, D and I (or small 'i').

Palin makes me nervous. I don't trust anyone who misrepresents themselves and it seems like her home paper has some concerns about her rhetoric. If they are worried, I'm downright scared. She took the 'bridge to nowhere' money from Congress and spent in on other stuff. And it's not a 'bridge to nowhere,' it's a bridge to the airport in Ketchican. But the road TO the bridge to nowhere is still being built, as AK would have had to give that $$ back, had they not built the road. So they are building the road to a beach. Seriously.

I still think this election is wide open.

And I don't like Biden, either. I went to see him speak on Capitol Hill about 10 years ago at a small event (at a bar) and he said 'Trust me, I'm serious, I mean this' about a million times in 15 minutes. That makes me nervous. I brought that up to a friend of mine the other day and then I saw a little article about this issue in Newsweek near the front. I think they counted these types of phrases from his nomination acceptance speech at the convention. I guess I'm not the only one to notice...

Plus, he's from Delaware. Is Delaware still a state?

'Hi, we're in Delaware.'

My biggest memory from Delaware is being in an accident with a buddy of mine from college, pulling a dead woman from her car that was leaking gasoline and having the state police tell me 'oh yeah, this happens all the time at this intersection' on Rte 13 north.

Great. Thanks. Delaware = death.

Boy, this really got off the tracks. Did I mention I'm voting for Obama?

Very simple: it would send the best, most positive message to the rest of the world about the US.

You've got your reasons, I've got mine. Things won't change that much even if you put a trained monkey in the White House.

Don't believe me? How about the last 8 years? See!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Welcome Little Foley

For those of us who care, I am pleased to announce the arrival of Joe Jr (aka Sam) Foley. Reports are good. Pics of cute baby here.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

New Brakes On the Way!

What a coincidence. I looked in to getting new brakes for my new bike and it seems they are available. Jonny-boy over at Family Bike Shop got some on order for me and they'll be here tomorrow. I'm stoked.

I've been running the Juicy brakes from Avid (SRAM) for a few years now. Four? I think I got them the year they came out. I have a set of Juicy 5s, had 7s on my other bike, had some Carbons on the 06 stump and now I'm stoked to be waiting on the Elixirs. There's a ton of info out in the world about these. SRAM launched them at Sea Otter this year. Here's Bike Mag's review. PinkBike got their hands on them. That'll keep you busy and make your mouth water. Stronger than the Juicy brakes and lighter? I'll take it.

New caliper with less moving parts and seals, new lever with tool-free lever adjustment and pad contact. New lighter rotor. Even upgraded conical washers! Stainless! Woohoo!

PinkBike has lots of good pics of weights and the pad spacer with integrated bottle opener. Another coincidence, I planned on a few beverages while installing! Bonus!

Same bleed as the Juicy brakes. The pads are new with vented pistons... I'm just regurgitating the specs. I'm excited.

The Maguras that came on the 08 stump pro carbon are crap. They work until they don't. I had a few fade issues at the 100 on Sunday. At the end of a long day, that's the LAST thing you want to have to deal with. The only reason I know what brake fade feels like is because I have ridden Maguras a few times over the past years... Too light and not built for big boys. I know that Specialized knew that when they spec'd the brakes. It's a small price to pay for a rad bike.

$200 per wheel ain't crazy either. That's with carbon lever! Nice work SRAM. I may be technically sponsored by SRAM but only because I wouldn't run any other brakes... And lord knows their not checking up on me...

Support Continued Energy Tax Credits

When Congress does something right... From

U.S. wind energy capacity surpasses 2-gigawatt mark

Sept. 4 -- Installed U.S. wind energy capacity has blown past the 2-gigawatt milestone, achieving in two years what had taken two decades.

Wind provides 20,152 megawatts of electricity generating capacity in the United States, enough to serve 5.3 million American homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Wind power supplies about 1.5% of the nation´s electricity, but is well ahead of the curve for contributing 20% by 2030, said Randall Swisher, executive director of the AWEA.
In 1985, the United States had 1,000 megawatts of installed wind capacity. The industry surpassed the 1-gigawatt, or 10,000-megawatt, milestone in mid-2006. It has taken two years to double that capacity.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My Spoon

I just finished my oatmeal lunch. I walked over to the sink to clean out my bowl and wash off my spoon. I looked down at my spoon as I rubbed the stubborn uneaten oatmeal off of it and realized something odd about this spoon.

It's just a spoon. It's silver, of the tablespoon size as opposed to what the kids call 'little spoons.' It's a bit fatter at the handle than the scoopy part and has a bit of a raised, twisting pattern with a few raised flowers for extra grip, in my opinion. Subtle, not flashy. A working spoon, nothing of beauty but a bit of flair.

I've had this spoon for a while. I remember that it matches an old set my parents had. Mom probably bought it at Sears back in the late 1980s. It's that kind of spoon. I wonder what she did with the rest of the set, minus one spoon. Probably took it to a local church. She does that a lot.

I remember when I 'stole' this spoon from my parents. I'm sure we had all used this spoon many times at Casa de Klasmeier in Arden. After college, I rolled out to CA for some fun in the sun. This spoon was one of the last things that I grabbed as I over-packed my 1986 Jeep CJ-7 Renegade for the long haul across the US. It was 1996. June.

In San Diego, I ate with it. It traveled to work with me at Bikes USA (gone now), Speedplay and Bikes By the Bay (also gone). I made hundreds of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with it. Spoons are better for PBJ, by the way. It's all about spreading the PB with the back of the spoon and scooping the jelly. Don't try this at home, I'm a pro.

I made a few hundred more PBJs at Calmar Cycles and Trail Head Cyclery in San Jose. I never got sick of 'em. I'm a big strawberry guy when it comes to jelly and I like the big chunks. Skippy Super Chunk is my favorite PB but it's nice to go creamy every once and a while. Boysenberry is good. Whatever is on sale is also good when you are a broke-ass bike mechanic. Oh, and wheat bread... Never white.

This spoon has been camping at races. It followed me to more PBJ at the League on K St then to City Bikes in Adams Morgan and Chevy Chase. It stirred quite a few cups of coffee, too. I wiped it off on a napkin after licking it clean almost every day. I almost never washed it and it didn't care.

It lived with me in Takoma park through three roommates, surviving the move back from CA to MD. My future wife moved in and it witnessed me living in sin. I'm sure we've both used it. It moved from Takoma Park to scenic Crofton. It even survived new silverware. Did I know it was special or old or well-traveled? Maybe, but I never thought about it one way or another before. It's just always been there. And now kids. I bet the spoon never saw that coming!

These days, the spoon has a relaxed life in my desk drawer at work. It rests in my orange plastic bowl, also destined for legend. It scoops grounds for espresso and soups for lunch. It stirs oatmeal before and after the microwave then delivers warm goodness to my belly.

It's a spoon. It's a spoon that I've had for a long time. I don't think I'd be terribly upset if I lost it as it would just be time for another spoon. I can't even imagine what this poor spoon thinks of me...

Long Live the Spoon!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Little Politics

I'm not voting for McCain. No biggie, especially not in MD. I did read an interesting article about his choice for VP. It's here. The author is a Democratic consultant and is surely biased but it does reflect how I feel about the situation. The whole issue with Ms Palin and her personal life means not a thing to me in this election. I find it odd that many Republican pols are crying about her morals and how upright she is in her personal life but what the American people see is bankrupt morality with Sen Craig, Katrina, Iraq, anti-choice, politics in the DoJ and generally irresponsible leadership from Bush/Cheney. I don't know how anyone could vote for McCain in this election. I think the guy is amazing and I have a lot of respect for him but I don't want him to be president.

Give me a scholar for a leader, not a soldier. Soldiers are used to cure the failures of leaders.

Whatever you believe, vote your conscience. Don't forget to vote. This election will be very close. Not in MD, of course, but in America.

I'm voting for Obama. I wish there were more alternatives but this will work.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Shenandoah Mountain 100

Yesterday was the 10th annual Shenandoah Mountain 100. 100 miles and 14 thousand feet of pain. Pics here and here. Thanks to Punga for the first album of DCMTB riders at CP4. Jonathan Bruck took the rest. Results are up. 10:30:07 for me. Scardaville pics here.

Alastair and I rode down on Saturday morning to meet up with the DCMTB advance team. MattyD and Katie headed down on Friday to ensure that we had a spot for camping. We knew this was going to be a big year. Not only was it the 10th anniversary, but there seemed to be a buzz around the event this year.

I have heard rumors at races all year about who's coming to this event. And the rumors were that EVERYONE was going. And it sure looked that way. 550 people. The only reason it wasn't more was because that's all Chris asked for on his Forest Service permit. I know he's worried about too many people in the woods and the support required for that many but from a rider's perspective, nothing suffered with all of those people there. From the middle of the pack, things looked as good as ever. Thanks again, Chris.

Sunday's wake up call came too early, as usual. This year, we had the special pleasure of an increased knucklehead contingent, setting off fireworks well into the night and making plenty of noise down in the pavilion. I'm not some stud that can drink all night then get up and ride for 100 miles so I don't really have an appreciation for that anymore. Say what you will, I'm just not into it. I'm glad that Susan decided to keep the kids at home as it would have been an absolute nightmare trying to get them asleep and keep them asleep this year. As it was, I didn't sleep much but that was from just being too keyed up.

But I digress...

It was warmer just before dawn this year as opposed to year's passed. It was appreciated. MattyD, Alastair, Kent, Prince Harry, Alex, Evan and I suited up and headed down to the start. No shivering this year. And Chris joined in the race! Cool. We took up a chunk of the front line with Eric, Anna, Gwadz and Wheaton joining us on the starting line. That's 8 DCMTB team members. Cool.

The race start was only slight more of a CF with all of those people scrunching down to 14 feet wide to snake out of the campground and over the iron bridge. I rode with Prince Harry and Alastair for a while until the dirt. MattyD caught up and I took off just a bit. MattyD caught up with me on the first climb up to Cookie. We stayed pretty close with Roberts with Roberts and I riding the downhill together. We caught MattyD before the Lynn climb and rode the sketchy lower part together, cleaning it all. MattyD sat in right behind me as we passed walkers and cushioned ourselves so that people getting off wouldn't cause us to put a foot down. It worked and we continued up to the first switch back about half-way up. We both ended up getting off. We got in line and walked the rest of the way up the rocky switch backs. I flatted at the top of Wolf Ridge before the descent really got going. I flatted right where some dude was already changing a tube. While fixing my flat, another guy flatted. First guy left then another guy flatted. Tough spot. Weird, for sure.

I caught up to Joel who was stuck behind some roadies on the descent. At the bottom of Wolf on the fire road, I took off and stuck in behind two guys cooking on the road. Nice speed and nice rest. I caught Wheaton right before the aid station. He said that Matty was 5 minutes ahead. That would last for the rest of the day. All I could do was chase up Hankey Mountain, kill it on the descent into 3, climb up to and out of Ramsey's Draft up to the Dowell's descent into 4 then try to find some guys to work with on the road up to 5. I was on my own from 4 to 5. It sucked. I later found out that MattyD and Kent worked together up that section. If I didn't flat, I probably would have been close and might have been able to make all three of us faster but there was no way for them to know where I was. I made it up to 5 after Shawn let me know that I was still about five minutes behind him.

After a few pieces of pizza and a coke or two at 5, I headed up the rest of the way up Shenandoah Mountain for the fire road and meadows climb. Just so you know, there are 13 meadows up on Little Bald Knob. 13. I counted this year. I was all by myself and it was all I could do to keep motivated. I was actually counting each meadow like The Count from Sesame Street. Out loud, at the top of my voice you would have heard 'Ten! Ten meadows! Ah, ah, ah.' It was getting bad. But I felt pretty good. I was just trying to keep my mind off of the climb. It worked.

Two dudes jumped in front of me on the descent. I tried to cut one of them off going into the woods and dude asked if I minded if he rode behind his buddy. I blurted out 'Sure, but you guys better haul ass. I've been stuck behind knuckleheads all day.' Dude said, 'Don't worry about us' and took off into the woods. I ended up having to worry about them about 3/4 of a mile in. They graciously let me pass.

And I continued to haul the mail down the Chestnut Ridge. I was in a hurry. And it was fun. Really, really fun.

I passed a few more people coming down the rest of the descent into checkpoint 6. I stopped for some HEED and headed up to the final climb up Hankey Mountain, again. I didn't break any records heading up but I made it and got onto the fire road. I cranked around the fire road and caught up to a pair of horses at full gallop on the trail. They called me through and I passed quickly. They told me they were racing me to the bottom and I hollered 'Right on!' and kept hauling it. I dropped into the last singletrack through the campground and tried to holler but I couldn't find my voice. I kept trying and on the third try managed a proper 'WOOHOO!' It feld good. I was happy.

I cranked through the bottom part of the campground, turned into the finishing slot, rang the gong and grabbed my pint glass at 10:29. I was ten minutes behind MattyD. So close. I was only 2 minutes behind Roberts.

Fastest time. Last year, I wanted to finish under 10:30. This year, I wanted to ride with MattyD and have a good time. I got to do both. I started out slower, kept a great pace throughout the race and only pushed it at the tops of climbs and at the end of the race. I had power at the end which is a big goal of mine.

I want to see how many people DNF'd this year. I talked with a few people who had concerns about the number of novices were out there. I think the race got a lot of new people this year and I'm just hoping that it ended up being a good thing. I talked to a few racers out on course and half-way through, they were surprised at how hard it was. One guy had already done four 100s this year. And he was really worried at mile 60. People don't realize that there isn't somebody at each checkpoint waiting to shuttle you back to camp. They think that they can just opt out at any time. And for some reason, a lot off people think that it's all down hill from mile 75. Ouch. Did I mention 13 meadows? That's 13 climbs up to each meadow and that doesn't count the fire road climb just to get up to the meadows part of the climb. All after mile 75.

Whatever. The race is amazing as ever. Support crews at each aid station are worth their weight in gold. They almost hurry you out of the aid station with your camelbak and waterbottles full, lube on your chain and a handful of food. They are great and we all owe them a huge 'Thank You!' I thanked every one of them (I think, things got a little blurry).

Great time, thanks again Chris! See you next year? NO WAY!

Ok, maybe just one more time... Pics are (from top) our host Chris Scott of Shenandoah Mountain Touring, Evan, MattyD and Wheaton.

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