Friday, December 31, 2010

ThE ThREE FiDdy Revisited...

I would like to claim that I was the very first to at least coin the phrase Tree Fiddy.

I was even going to make T shirts,m but there was no momentum.

BUT its important to rehash and recap what 3 fiddy is.

Its doing all the famous off road 50 milers that come at the start of the year in a row.

Now I would like to claim I was the first to do this, but I don't honestly know if I was.

BUT, I have done 3 fiddies every year for as long as I can remember. Sadly this will be the first year that I wont make them. I guess I don't see the financial investment worth it this year, not the Fitties fault because they are indeed fun and they are indeed great.

NOW whats the best Fitty in the state???

Well, the first one I ever did was Suwanee. I remember pedaling in the granny gear across the flat cause my legs were cracked. And it continued to be a challenge in the following years requiring even Naps to complete the rides. NOW, I smoke the trail on a geared bike and crush it on a fixie. This one has to be my personal favorite only cause of the fact that you get to sit 50 feet above the river and see some big rapids. Big for Florida of course. By far the coolest shirts are from this ride and the food is the best and they tend to have the cutest local chicks...LMAO...

I remember how I first heard about the Tour De Felasco. I was looking in Mountain Bike Magazine and read about this ride, it would be the first running and I was there. In fact I was there every year since and I never missed a one, this will be the first year I miss. It has the most climbing by far and some kick ass singletrack. The only issue with the Tour is that its almost always cold, but I still love this place, and its so much fun to clean all the climbs. The first couple of years I caught some of the worst cramps in my life out there. But I learned, I got stronger, and now Its a joy ride, even when its freezing. I liked it when their shirts perpetuated the conquistador theme and bones i.e. like the original shirt. Now they strayed away from that and I dont even wear last years shirt at all, it just hangs there.

Croom 50 went on for a long time before I got to experience it. And by far its the hardest of the 3 since its 99.9% singletrack and offers no place to venture off mentally and escape like you can do on forest road or on double track. This place requires 100% concentration. And contrary to popular mythology, this place is chock full of descents and ascents. Seems like there are barely any flats and it has some HUGE stuff way in the back that will blow your mind.. PLUS the folks from Swamp know how to put on a event, simply put, some of the most interesting sag stops from all three as well, although they did borrow the wine and cheese Idea from Ididaride. If you like to suffer and you want to make sure you can get registered into the ride, this one is by far the easiest to obtain a spot too out of the three. I like that they experiment with the swag. Sometimes they do a shirt, or socks or a mug, thats good, makes it different and I for one appreciate variety.

Now some rare few have obtained the sacred four fitty feat. And with that being said, the raddest fitty of the state is the Naked Indian ride. Why? Well its free and I made it up... email me cause its next weekend and if you wanna join you got to ask,


take care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Sunday, December 19, 2010

DaNGeH WiLL RoBinSOn!!!

As a rider, one who ventures into the unknown and one who takes his kid with him into he unknown, its important to know when to realize that there is a significant opportunity for danger.

What is Danger when you are riding a bike?

Traffic of course should always be considered.

Course conditions, steep drops, technical terrain as well.

BUT weather can be the biggest danger of all. Hypothermia, heat Stroke can all affect core temperature and potentially cause a life threatening situation.

And When we set forth this past Saturday to add some singletrack to the the Huracan route we fully expected rain, around 12 pm to 2pm and instead got rain about 9 miles into the ride. With no sun in sight, no warmth for miles what do you do.

1. We assessed what we did have. Two strong riders one 11 year old boy, two equipped to handle the conditions, one in cotton save for his socks.
2. We made a plan.
3. I insulated my wool shirt with paper and asked Rob who had 27 gears at his disposal, and the stronger rider of us two to tow Kai back to the start. We called a ride abandon, we figured after wading across the river there was no way we could get dry and handle the cold without the appropriate gear. I was unprepared.
4. Execute plan. As Rob prepared the Tow rope with Kai, I took off setting the fastest 85% tempo I could muster. I gave clear instructions to the team to keep going even if they caught and passed me. "I told Rob, get him back there, and get him warm."

1 hour, soaking wet in the cold for Kailan was totally manageable. But anything longer than that could potentially cause a drop in body temperature and a risk for a serious 911 emergency. The decision we made was the right one.

Team Kai and Rob, were not able to pass me, which was good, so we stayed together till the end. And once back in the car I warmed him up with a thick blanket and we called the day early, both agreeing that during the hard effort that we just mustered, we did not feel any cold, and truthfully I was not cold, I rode my ass off to get back, and every time that Rob would pull up next to me I would stand up and pedal, just to mess with him a little. Hey, towing is hardwork and I would like some first person point of view recognition on how hard what I do with my boy is, LMFAO!!!!

Even though it was a plug pulled ride, the adventure was still in the ride... Read this carefully folks, if your ever trapped in this situation, make the right call.

Later on that day, after that gigantic blob of precipitation did its business across the state, the temps were right where they should have been, when we were supposed to be mapping, o well right....

You know what they say about Florida don't you.... If you don't like the weather... Wait ten minutes... It'll change...

Take Care,


Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Saturday, December 18, 2010

HoW To TrAiN a DrAgOn

Two is the number of Florida State Champs that I have trained.

One was LIL NI who won the State Championship for the 6 to 8 year olds, even completing the season with a broken arm after a post ride accident in Tom Brown Park.

The Other was LIL'R NI in the 3 to 5 year old class.

Huge props to Dave Berger from Gone Riding dot com. Not only did he Literally give birth to the sport of competitive off road racing in the state, but, He helps families create memories that will last a lifetime and then some.

Recently I have decided that I wanted to give a gift to LIL'R NI. Give him the opportunity, if he so chooses, to become a singletrack samurai like his father. I am giving him the chance to enjoy and cherish the joy of off road cycling and touring and the special unique opportunities that it manifest for the participant.

I feel deep passion for the task of cycling. The whole reason I started single speeding and fixed gear shredding was to refine my skills. And I can tell that Kai Tai sees that. He asked me one day, when was he gonna start riding a fixie. I told him, soon enough.

We train Dragons in my house. AND the first epiteth of Dragon training requires a rider to prove mastery of one chainring and one cog before even bothering or attempting to master 18 or 27 or 30(goodness we are up to that many gears on a bike now arent we).

The ethos runs deep. The dedication unique. And I think Kai is learning to appreciate what his adventurous Daddy does for FUN. Like 200 plus miles over a Saturday and a Sunday.

SO it came to pass that another glorious weekend had reached its maturity and I didnt have any ride plans made so I decided Kai Tai Needed to go work on his tech skills. Afterall to be a true Singletrack Samurai you have to be able to ride anything, and comfort zones are meant to be explored and dominated all the while avoiding injury, cause injuries are not allowed.

The plan was to ride Santos, Edward, Kai and I, and work the yellows, then the blues and then some reds. Not a long ride, but a skills ride, a confidence building a ride, a ride to learn to find the flow.

And thats what we did, we had a lot of fun, I had to hold my breath in some moments as I would look over my shoulder and suggest to Kai that maybe he should dismount for the sake of safety, but NO, he was rolling some insane stuff that day. They both were. Edward caught the brunt of a couple of good NASCARESQUE crashes, which he shook off but definetely raised his awareness level.







Enjoy the clips!!!

Take Care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Sunday, December 12, 2010

TraNsFLoRiDa TuRkEy TriP






















(First and foremost, Huge apologies. This blog has become like a Flashback that you see in TV shows, so just imagine and enjoy flashing back to a couple of weeks back)

The dream was to take Kai and I across the state.
The Day before I thought it would be smart to start on the west and ride east, thus saving Edith less of a drive on Sunday to come and fetch us from the finish. Less of a drive to get home and begin the rest from the long journey.
So Impulsively I went with it.
That morning we were all packed up and loaded up. Chris Plesko, famos Single Speed Record holder for the Tour Divide, generously lent us a tent so that Kai and I could keep warm in the Florida chill we would surely contend with over the 3 day adventure. My plan was 65 miles or so a day. I figure, Kai might not be strong enough, but with a rope and some patience I was strong enough for two.
Talk about the mother of all Late starts. The day before that Faithful Friday was Turkey Day and ya know the deal with Turkey day, you celebrate, you eat, you drink and your merry. And we did all that.
So 1130 we roll to the Western most terminus of the soon to be famous Trans Florida Mountain Bike Route. Quickly the Bikes are strapped, Quickly we say our good byes, and my sweet Dear Friend Edita watches us pedal away with the plan to be, to see each other sometime on the east coast on Sunday.
I am blessed that LiL'R NI and I have such a Jovial and trusting relationship. As Soon as we Pull into the parking lot we could smell the salt air. The Terrain around here, was flat, but Rocky, Huge Limestone rocks abound, remnants of the attempt to cut Florida in Half.
We made quick time to the beach, we had to pedal out and back, somethign I dont necessarily like, but something that was totally necessary to get to the coast.
We documented the ceremony of the sacred wheel dips, Jovial as always, joking and making laughs, two videos and one pic later we are off.
The Plan was to two Kailan early so he could save his energy for the 28 or so miles of Santos singletrack that we had to deal with later in the day. Not cause LIL'r NI requested it, but because I was planning on strategy.
The towing was unexpectadly heavy. My legs were unexpectadly Brick like. I was unsure about why I was having to put in so much effort. Why it was so tough. Later I would find out why.
BUT, in the time being, I had no idea, and I figured it was lack of fitness or lack of pedal time or the stiff head wind that was constant in the direction. But Kai willingly agreed. We navigated the Technical Jeep Road that was finishing up that Florida Barge Canal Section when we got to the "sometimes Mandatory Hike a bike", we heard a siren. Now normally I would call this a " imminent bomb invasion alarm", and I explained what it was, and kept pushing on.
Some fence hops and head wind later, we were on a road heading east, watching an enormous storm cloud flanking us from the north. AND this sucker was big, both us impressed with its size.
I was concerned, I had not necessarily waterproofed my gear, I had not gone through the impressive pre care of bagging each and invdividual piece in left over wal mart bags how I usually do.
So I pedaled faster, hoping that along the way I would come upon a church or a shelter or something with a roof overhang that we could hide at. But as well time was an issue, we were already about 4 hours behind my manifest departure time, something in a way that I regretted, but in others I did not.
And as we turned from the last dirty section to the next dirty section, there it came the storm had caught us and started reminding us of its damp existance. I hung a quick right and found a tree to dive under quickly to make the adjustments to avoid soaking our clothes.
AND we got prepared and navigated the sandy road next to the railroad track. Pushed through the vanishing double track, then back onto Deltona Blvd (non paved sandy version of my east coast hometown), and eventually, got on the bikes to pedal again.
The most curious thing happens on the west coast of Florida. There is literally another version of my hometown, with identical road names, with more hills. Every downhill was a chance to rest, I could feel the work I was demanding from my body, I was tired, so tired, but we had to keep going.
Before long, the up and down road gave way to a convenience store, where I stocke up on candy bars and batteries. The day was getting late, and I knew for sure that darkness would catch us along the Santos segment of the greenway.
We stopped at Stumpknockers to feast and refuel, had plenty of laughs and good food and filled up on water, before we took off, still with daylight, heading towards the Haltapa Hell track.

LILR NI: " Papa, why do they call it the Helltrack"
ME: " Well, Kailehr, most of the time, its way more hellacious then what your riding now".
AS Lucky as LiL'r NI is, it was not that bad, good easy riding.
Kai proclaimed as we crossed Haltapa, how it seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere, and it was true, we were.
As darkness encroached to set a new standard for the day, we made it to Pruitt Memorial. I never ride just by it, I always stop to check it out. I mean,where else in Florida can you find a spot with HUGE boulders arranged in a stone henge like pattern. I cant think of many so I never pass it by, stopping to remember the pilot who died.
Kai Tai was cracked, wide open. I could tell that I was going to have to help him alot to get through to Santos. People were expecting us, but my partner and team mate were my priority, nothing else, so I let him rest till he was ready.
And even though there was no rush, he decided to get up. We went on to navigate 1/4 mile of dirty soft horseshoe poxed trail. As we pedaled along the old Limestone road, I told Kai my battle stories from being out that way so many times. The stories about the Boars, truthfully Kai's Fatigue was running deep and I was doing all I could to keep his mind off his tiredness.
Eventually we made 200, then made the start of the singletrack that would start our long awaited skinny trail journey into Santos. I engaged the Rope, there seemed to be so much climbing that I was bewildered. The good news was that Finally my body felt warmed up to the task, and the pain from earlier was gone.
We Got to the point on the Yellow where we cross 484, when Kai lost his front wheel in the sand, fell down, and I was yanked backwards off my bike, Ripping my Osprey Packs tow tab in the process.
No one got hurt, we crossed the road and got into the beginning of Nayl's and I had to put air into my rear tire which I suspected was out of Sacred Stans Goop. As I pumped air into the valve, my bike fell over, ripping the valve and forcing me to put in my only tube.
I made a quick change and set off to ride some seriously fun trail with Kai. It was exciting, for us both. Our faces were stretched from Huge endorphin fueled smiles as Kai was enamoured by the twisting, dropping and steep rising trail.
It was scary for me to see his bike disappear into a deep crevace, but then elation as He shot out the other side, no brakes, at times, losing control and overshooting the sharp turns.
But he was getting tired, and when we finally got out of Nayl's trail, Kai collapsed on the Limestone road, gasping for air, desperately trying to catch his breath, mixed a little bit with tears from frustration and exhaustion.
There was a clearly visible tug of war going on his little mind. He wanted to get to Santos that day, but he was so tired. I encouraged him to lay, encouraged him to rest, told him we could easily make camp there. But he wanted to keep going. I offered the rope, he declined. And we continued.
As we came close to the end and where almost at the Landbridge Trailhead parking lot. Kailan was panicked. He was out of breath and could not catch it, which was scaring him and causing him to panic and initiating a vicious cycle.
I was scared, but trying to stay strong for him. I thought he might of been having an Asthma attack although he had never been diagnosed with it. Donnie showed up and we both tried to calm him down so he could steady his breathing, but it wasn't stopping, and out of shear fear for my lil man's life I called 911.
After what seemed an eternity in time, the Ambulance pulled up. I admire the hard work that these men do, but sometimes their dismissive attitude is annoying.
"O he's moving Plenty of air" He proclaimed.
And he was right, but that was not stopping the gasping and panic stricken attack.
Donnie is a man of action and went on to the task of stashing the bikes. I grabbed our clothes and we rolled out, on our way to the hospital.
Minutes after being on the Ambulance, Kai was calm and breathing fine. And after filling out paper work we were now citizens of the waiting room.
I asked Kai if he was better. He said yes. I asked him if he wanted to see the doctor, He said No. So we left.
Why bother waiting...
Down the street we went, made our way to Duncan Dee to sip on some warm Coffee. Donnie came and got us quick and he invited us back to his home to rest and relax. We accepted of course, Donnie is the Salt of the Earth and a pretty bad ass cyclist as well.
After some conversation, we cleaned our legs a little, and fell asleep on Donnie's couches.
That next morning, we got up early and pedaled to Greenway Cycles. Kailan was done, sore, and tired, but still in good spirits. The trip was over early and not long after our arrival, Edith showed up to pick us up and take us back home.
You know everything happens for a reason. That next morning I woke up feeling sick as a dog, if we would have continued I probably would have had to pull the plug as I was so Ill that Sunday and so under the weather, the next couple of days proved to be a task as I had to deal with my illness and work, and do all the other things I have to do.
Since the ride I have practiced with Kai some techniques to avoid him having a hyper ventilation attack again. The plan is to prepare better for the ride, do a couple of more small overnighters before we go again. That first day was tough and those 65 miles proved to be hard and challenging on us both. Next time, we will make it across together.

Take Care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

MaKinG BiKe PeDaL

I saw it like a gleam of glass in the distant mountain range.

An Opportunity to go ride San Felasco with some of my Favorite Mountain Bikers, all in one place.

SO I seized it.

And thus it was on the First morning of the First Real Cold day in Florida, I met up with Rob Roberts, Mucaro MTB dot blogspot dot com and Afro Nipples.

Ya, I know I said I was breaking the War Machine.
(breaking it meaning, turning into a coastie single speed)
But I had "conveniently" not found the time to do it.

That day all I had is my fixie, who cares, its just a bike. I doubled up on my wool layers to combat the effects of the 37 degree chill. I was so happy to be hanging out with Robbee Rob, that I couldn't stop chatting, and talking.

Eventually, Mucaro MTB dot blog spot dot com shows up with Blond Afro.

As it seems to be the tradition of the clown like nature of Blond Afro. He took forever to get ready and I swear at one point he started installing brakes from scratch.

Not mechanical either,

Hydraulic.

Eventually, we were rolling only to hear B.A. comment on the needing of a nature break.

It was no real matter, I was happy to see them, and Blond Afro always makes me laugh so hard.
The pace was brisk right off the bat.
I was tired, man I had pulled one of my favorite moves and stayed up super late hanging out with a friend, barely slept and worked a LONG Hard Week. I was FEEEEEEEEEELING IT..( have I made enough excuses yet)
But I kept up. Spin spin spin, down down down, climb climb climb, pedal pedal pedal. Tech stuff, great switch backs, I was having a blast. I couldn't really keep their wheel, but I didn't care.
After more miles, I lost contact.
It was weird.
They kind of forgot, LMAO.
But I kept going.
Eventually passing the same exact sign 3 times.
I called Rob left him a voice mail.
I kept going, and then realized, I needed to start using my gps to figure out my navigational errors.

I did, it helped, I needed to kind of go NORTHWEST.
LMAO.
NORTHWEST.

I saw off in the distance, that there was a neighborhood, that I could, worst case scenario, get into and use google maps to get back to Alachua.

Rob Called.
I told him I am pretty sure I could get back to the lot on my own. I still wanted to ride.

So I did, I came a cross a guy, never got his name, followed him till I recognized where I was, and then just hammered my way along turning on every sign that said parking lot.

I got to the lot ahead of the others.

Great.

It was freaking chilly, but my 3 hours of sleep dictated some sort of napping. So I did a little here and there.

The guys showed up, they found Conquistador, which I really wanted to ride.

25 miles for me, 33 for them. We all had a great time.

Take Care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The 3 FoResT TouR

The spice of life is challenging yourself.

And because I love to travel and I love to ride, I cooked up what I believed to be a reasonably doable challenge for Kailan and Edward. 80 or so miles, 3 forest crossings.

It seemed like a good plan, and I had been Eye balling the Lake George forest since before the TNGA had a route mapped and after some conversation with Edward we decided to go for it.

No hammocks were packed as we were sleeping one night. The night was to be cold and chilly, so sleeping bags were had, but as it is sleeping bag would not have been enough to sleep if the temps got really cold in the forest. So the Goal for day one was the Florida Trail Camping shelter at the edge of the Seminole forest.

As I was rolling out, I estimated the distance to the shelter to be 40 something miles. Of course my estimates were off. But at the time we did not know that, we were all packed up, I was all sherpad up and we were rolling on the highway.

The Mood was good, but I could already tell that Edward was starting to go through some growing pains. Granted, he has never even ridden 10 miles, let alone the distance we were planning to cover.

The Lake George forest was pristine, forest roads hard enough to ride a road bike on. With about three miles left the boys were already begging for a break and with some coercion and some encouragement, we made it to the first break spot at St Johns river and Astor Florida.

14 miles in and we had 10 miles to go before we could take our swim at Alexander Springs. Those 10 miles proved to be hard, as Kailan asked for the rope, and I watched as Edward drifted way off the back. I could see him reaching deep into the pain cave.

But, the sun was bright and the mood was great, I was enjoying every minute of every mile. The music going, the Ocala National Forest wide open; huge and intimidating as always with its gradual ascents and gradual descents.

Both Kai and I kept turning our heads seeing that Edward was now becoming a small dot on the horizon. With only 3 miles left I figured he may need some reprieve, so I unbuckled the rope off Kai's bars, rolled it into my Osprey pack and sent Kailan ahead as I waited for Ed to catch up.

He caught up, I offered the rope, but to my surprise, he refused. I was impressed by his determination, and I immediately set off chasing Kailan, who had taken off as if we were in a race.

As I caught up to him I offered the rope and we were able to engage the tow rope while we were riding, wow, we have gotten really good at this rope thing.

We cross the river and turn towards Alexander and I can see the Brown National forest park sign like a small stain in the distance, indicating that we were now within sight of the finish of goal 2. BUT ahead there was small climb, that seemed to be a steady grade for 1/4 of a mile. Kai and I got to the park gate and waited for Edward.

Not long after he emerged around the corner I could only imagine his mind state when he came around and saw that beastly gradual long climb that he had to do.

We got into the park, had a little food, and went swimming and sunning for a couple of hours on the banks of Alexander Spring. The water was gorgeous and I imagined my Native cousins in this land would of thought this to be as much of a paradise as I did.

The boys had cooked up this great idea that they wanted to camp here. But after telling them, I would consider it, I had NO intention of cutting the day short. I could tell that after 24 miles under our belt, the party had bitten off way more than we could chew. There was no way we were gonna make the Seminole shelter, so I wanted to complete the second forest crossing so we could at least wrap up the day with some pride.

We could take paisley road across, but a couple of weeks earlier during the race, it proved to be a tough 7 mile grind. I figured 11 miles of singletrack would be better. I was itching to see what was going on with the paisley mountain bike trail since they claimed that it was closed for some kind of forest project.

4 miles into it, as the suffering really started to set in for Edward, I could see that there was nothing going on with the trail at all. Which was a bummer, it would of made for a real big difference during the CFiTT. Any how, Kai requested the rope and we did it up, and we kept going, and at mile 8, I let Edward know that Paisley was the finish line, we were cutting the trip short.

A cycle set in, Kai and I would ride,
put a gap on Edward,
wait ten minutes,
then roll on.

Admittedly, Paisley MTB is challenging, with its long gradual inclines and declines. I still had the CFiTT route loaded and I could see Paisley Road. I figured at this rate, Edward was going to really have to suffer with 3 miles of singletrack left, so I opted to try and get to Paisley road and that would put us miles closer to the extraction point. After some bushwhacking, we found a forest road that was showing on my GPS. A bit sandy in spots, but Kai and I worked together and after a mile or more we made paisley road, a little more distance and we made the shopping mart on CR 42 to the expected pick up spot, 40 miles after starting the day.

I was proud of the both. Riding in the forest is no easy taskl, and for a kid who has never even done 11 miles, 40 forest miles was HUGE for him. AND he did it under his own power, incredible.

We got picked up, went back to De Leon, where LILr NI, went on to attend a Fall Festival party,
I went on to take a nice nap,
and Edward,
eventually,
went to bed Early that night.

Take Care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Re YouNiON

20 years ago I graduated High school.

Somehow I missed my first reunion. But this year, I got on the ball, and because of magical things like Social Networking I was able to be aware of the event and I made it.

I was really interested and curious in seeing how everyone was doing.

I thought for sure that everyone was going to be a hot mess and that the years would not have been kind on them. Quite the Contrary as me and my wing man for the night arrived at Rt 46, everyone looked great. Amazingly great.

Sure there were a couple of folks in there that were a mess, but for the most part some people didn't look a day different since the graduation happened.

I drank, and drank, and chatted and danced, and had fun. Got to see some girls I had crushes on and was confessed about Crushes upon, who would of thunk.

As a teen I was obsessed with skateboarding and I had plenty of girlfriends, but none in my class, it was difficult. By the time we got to high school it seems that they had all chose to click up whilst I clicked solo with a few friends here and there. Interesting how even back then I kept it simple when it came to my associations.

That Saturday I mounted the road bike for the first time in months since I had to let my bladder heal, I could not attend the Catch 22.

I rode to Deleon Springs, beautiful ride, beautiful place, really enjoyed myself. Visited with a Friend and then rode back to meet up with the bus. I didn't want to over do it, since I was supposed to be recovering from the previous weekends 180 mile effort.

Life is funny, and I continue to try and figure out exactly wtf the great creator is trying to teach me. Believe me great creator my eyes are wide shut.

That night I went to a party and stuck around just to watch the drama. It was supposed to be an "80's" party, but hardly no one participated which I thought was lame. So I ate, drank and watched people interact and interacted myself.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw and experienced. But remain even more curious about how all this plays into my current state in life. Without a doubt in the past year or so my life has changed a ton, and I continue to search for understanding amongst it all. I think I am getting close.

Take Care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Sunday, October 31, 2010

AFteRMaTh

I have SOoooO Been meaning to get back to the daily act of writing.

I like to write, but life has been a handful lately, to the point that I don't want to dwell o n it.

Today's post subject, and I have quite a few to catch up on, so if all goes well expect a good week of blogging.

I would say that its official.

What is official? Well I think calling myself an Ultra Endurance Racer is truth. I have proven that I can compete in the long events and even do well.

BUT, what I have discovered is that it is punishing on the body in ways you could not imagine.

For Example.

After the Trans North Georgia, although my legs didn't swell up like some of my fellow racers. I did have two numb toes and that lasted for about a month.

After the Cross Florida Individual Time Trial this year, I still have some fingers that remain numb from the race and even ended up peeing blood due to riding too long with an empty bladder.

Finally the skin on my sit bones died and peeled off and my ass is so scarred from the TNGA bout with hives and from Saddle sores that I can pretty much kiss my possible and imaginary career in adult film goodbye.

Still, I cant resist the urge to go pedal for hours and days on end and I still see more on the horizon.

It's officially my off season and I am converting the fixie war machine into a single speed war machine and just spending alot of time bikepacking and having fun, tis the season after all.

The Black Beauty is still as dirty as the day that I finished the TNGA waiting to be dismantled and being sent to the painter so that I can someday ride that same bad ass bike from Canada to Mexico.

Speaking off, seems like Life may get in the way of me making that challenge in 2011, but I really see some changes on the horizon so who knows maybe I can turn the tide and still ride the divide.

Short, brief post, but tomorrow there will be more.

Take Care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

CFiTT 2010

What possesses a person to want to ride 180 miles of mostly off road terrain?

Now what possesses a Person to want to do it on a bike that has no suspension, does not shift and does not coast.

I don't know and now I have done it two years in a row.

Regardless I was gonna race it geared, but I really wanted to test my fitness and new things I have learned on my Fixie, plus my geared bike is not even cleaned or fixed after the TNGA.

So I had two goals, Beat my time from Last year and Beat as many Geared riders as I could.

Now be advised, Just because I am on a fixie, I have no respect for their gears and contraptions, I have no respect if your pro or semi pro, you line up against me I am going to attack, its a race and that's what I do.

And that Crisp morning after my Lil'r Naked Indian Reminder checklist was completed and the whole SSP clan rolled into the parking lot inside of Rob Roberts Rave Wagon, it was quick prep to get the ride rolling.

Once we did, I took off the front. Led the charge. The route had changed because we could not use the single track and I knew that I had to really work hard this first 40 t0 80 miles to keep myself in the race. And I was in front for a little bit, but when we hit Paisley Road I could not match Rob's Counter attack.

Eventually, as the wash boarded Chaos ensued, Bryan Frantz passed me. ThenTom Rassiga caught and passed me. I look back and there sitting comfortably was Roberto Infante and Lynne Daniels. I started wondering what happened to Mike, where the hell did he go?

As I thought that, Roberto Creeped up and passed me and I had to quicken my already fast cadence to keep him in sight. I knew if I could keep the three guyst in sight, when we hit Billy Bay I could pass them, maybe break their spirit.

Mike eventually comes up from nowhere and proceeds to chase down all the riders that had just passed me and put a huge gap on me.

Just as we start reaching the north end of Paisley road, the sand got deep, and I took advantage to slowly reel in Both Tom and Roberto, hit the pavement, and entered Billy Bay Determined to close the gap.

I see a rider up front, assuming that it was Mike Kanning.

I pedal, pedal, pedal and eventually reel the rider in and see it was Bryan Frantz. I thought, Damn, Mike put the turbo boosters on. I kept going, finished the road, got on the pavement, dropped my snickers, had to stop and grab it. As I finished up, Bryan countered my attack and caught me. I kept him in sight on the Dragon's Tail Forest Road, gaining serious ground on him on the climbs. But eventually as it flattened out and got harder packed, Bryan took off. ON Forest Road 10, Tommy Caught me.

I got to Silver Glenn, Got my supplies, and got into the water, fully dressed, got out and got on the bike. Bryan, Mike and Tommy were taking it easy, but I think once they saw me blazing through the swim, it forced them to hurry up.

Eventually on the pavement Bryan Caught me again, then Mike Kanning, Then Tommy.

All the work I did seemed to be lost on the hard packed forest road, it was obvious that I had to just accept the spot I had and hope I could stay close enough to close a gap if they got tired. As I entered Lake Eaton, I came across Bryan, I still had him within 20 minutes. So I got motivated to work again and had the worst and my first Off road over the bar experience on a Fixie. It was a little painful, but I got up fast and got through there fast, and chased on the forest road for miles, and It felt bright and hot, and I was glad I had dark glasses.

Right before making it across State Road 40, Roberto caught me. Brother was riding a good race, and seemed very calm as he pedaled no handed up the climb and ate food all at the same time. I was pretty smoked all that work I was doing was catching up to me.

I had only touched the bike once since the TNGA, I had done tons of work early, and had only ridden my fixie once since May, LOL.

Regardless, I kept my pace even, took my pics, kept hydrated, ate, rolled.

Cleared the River, Cleared the swamp, then got to the gas station, grabbed water and a sandwich.

As I finished Greenway cycles checkpoint, I look and see Roberto sitting there. Cool as a cucumber, waiting for a pizza pie. I go to the parking lot where his wife and Bryan's wife are at. I lay on the pavement stretching my tight back, the first real rest in 102 miles.

I felt so sore already, felt like I had done so much already, but I still kept my stop brief and rolled on, despite how sleepy I felt, I knew I had to try and clear as much of the Santos Singletrack I could before darkness.

At some point, I sat a bench to put on my lights and Team Tandem flies by.

I catch them at the Landbridge parking lot, give them some motivation and keep going. AT some point on Nayl's trails the exhaustion had gotten the best of me and I had to stop and just sleep right there on the side of the trail. I was riding really technical trail, feeling super sleepy.

I decided thirty minutes should clear my head. So I slept, and in the distance I could hear a bike and I see Roberto Roll up. I'm thinking damn he ate fast and left fast and is flying.

Then Team Tandem rolls up, and I sleep just a little more and get up and roll out feeling alot better.

Since about mile 60 I had been fighting cramps. Instead of stopping to let the pain overcome me and lock me, I would get off and walk, I figured any forward movement was better than zero movement.

At one point in Nayl's Trails, I cut a corner short, went over the bars, landed in the bushes, both my calf muscles locking up simultaneously. As I sat there and watched my calf muscles ripple in electrical painful backfires, I got a call from Rob Roberts.

He was concerned about some people he came across in Potts. I told him just to roll on through like he owns the place, he should be fine.

I got up, got going, and eventually as I emerged from the forest onto State Road 200 I caught up to Team Tandem.

I told them I was going to Wal Mart to try and put myself together. ON the road I was impressed at their speed. AT Wal Mart I drank coffee and used the facilities, changed my gps batteries and after a stretch rolled out.

I was feeling good, getting a rhythm going. Climbing, descending, coasting when I could. My right Toe got caught in the rear wheel. It was painful, but the bike stopped rolling. I get off immediately removing my tire, trying to smack it against a tree to get it straight.

But it didn't work. I didn't really know what I was doing. Plus I was tired. It seemed easier for me just to keep walking forward. So I did. I get a message from Rob saying he was done. Awesome, great ride. I keep moving.

Team Tandem rolls up and Paul said he could help me fix it. And he did, and about 1 hour or less later, I was on the road, pedaling again. I decided I would help them over the Haltapa hell track fence and stick with them for awhile, and not long after potts, as we negotiated the thick fog, I lost them in the hell track.

I waited at the end to help, but I got tired of waiting and went to the gas station on the route, to get more coffee and regroup once again. I was pretty hurt at that point, but happy that my cramps had finally stopped.

At the Gas Station I could see Jeanne was hurt, I encouraged her to rest, I was in no rush. At that point I was so happy to be alive, and still in the race. It had been such a hard day for me.

Amazingly enough we rolled on. We got on the levy, crossed the fence, got through potts, reached the caboose and after my picture I decided it was time for a stretch and take a nap.

Team Tandem joined me and we all snoozed right on the pavement, HOBO style.

That was probably a Bad Idea.

When I woke up, I felt so cold that I had to retreat to the bathrooms. I went in there and attempted to dry out, took another nap.

Decided I would get up at 6am, get dressed and leave.

This decision took some time. I was thinking maybe I could not beat my record and didn't know if I felt like bothering with it. But I didn't give into it.

I put on my dry socks.
I put on my wool base layer.
I only had a right arm warmer and a left leg warmer.
I put on my mismatch combo, zipped up my paper towel stuffed shirt and made the choice to pedal to the finish, I knew I could beat my time.

2 miles in I had to stop, the urge to pee was strong, but hardly nothing would come out, then I had to stop again. This went on for the next 15 miles, I didn't realize that I was dehydrated.

I kept going, and before long, as the day got bright I emerged at the Tucker Hill parking lot, satisfied that I had beat my record time by 22 minutes. Not the 18 hours I wanted, but maybe there will be another time.

Rob showed up. It was easy to cat nap. I must have been a comical sight in my mismatch attire.

I hogged out at Denny's, slept a couple more hours at his house and fell asleep super early that night. I was beat.

I was super impressed with how prepared everyone came out and how much homework they did. It was great to see the differences from last year to this year.

I was not satisfied entirely with my ride but I know I did ride strong and I rode hard and I finished.

25 hours and 15 minutes.



Take care,

Laters,

The NakeD InDiaN

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The LasT WoRd ON The TNGA

Yes, I know this post is about a week late, but what can I say, I'm back to 13 hour work days, coming home to cook dinner, then go to sleep to get up and do it all over again....

Regardless.

FIRST and FOREMOST. I am so FORTUNATE to have the Sponsors I have. Although they don't make my experience free, with their support and deep discounts, they make my dreams possible.

At the top of that list is Bikeworks Orlando, Especially Broadus Bunch and Carson Wampler. A 10 plus year relationship that continues hopefully to be beneficial to us both or at least entertaining. I may not be their fastest rider, but I am sure the one who rides the longest and farthest!

I already thank them once but Edith and Sarina Williams did a tag team effort to get my bike to Bikeworks for a final tune up and then brought it home to me. Working 13 hour days makes for little time to do much after, without them I would not have made the start line.

Marisabel Matta, My good friend, watched LiL'r Naked Indian and made sure he got him to school each day while I was gone.


Next, ENORMOUS thanks to all my other sponsors, Busby Flooring, Mountain Bike Feedbags, Specialized and SRAM.

I cant say enough How well my kit worked, and 90% of that KIT was created by Rob Roberts. Its a dream come true having a Best Friend who makes great bags, on top of it all Rob put my drivetrain together for this ride.

What drive train was that? Well I rode the ride 2 x 9, no granny gear, 44 big ring, 29 middle ring, 12 - 36 9 speed cassette. I think it worked awesome, the Sram XO drivetrain was flawless.

For the Ride I used Water Bottles, and my Mountain Bike Feedbags on top of holding some small essentials held one water bottle in each, I liked my set up, no complaints.

For lighting I alternated between my Light and Motion Stella and my Princeton Tec EOS bike light, again, perfect for what I was doing.

I have to thank Sean Crichton. For the first time in my Cycling Career I trained hard, and it was his plan that I followed. Truly helped me a ton, I feel kind of bad that I actually achieved the goals I was after, to ride the ride and enjoy it with minimal suffering.

Marcel Aguirre played a huge role in getting my support out to me for possible pick up and to bring out the tubes. Where I was, there was no cell signal and I was able to get a hold of him and he coordinated it all, HUGE THANKS TO YOU BROTHER!!!


Mulberry Gap made so much possible for me, cause Logistically things were not looking up. Rick Moon saved me from not finishing, I have to thank him for that as well. Mulberry gap is the place to be and I see lots of associations for us in the future.

I tried to pack as light as possible. I didn't take any toiletries except some baby wipes so for days I took no showers and didn't brush my teeth. I focused mainly on bringing items that would keep me speedy and comfortable in the temperature changes and I think I achieved that. I had some thin wool socks, some thick wool socks, a wool base layer, some Capri Hoss Shorts, 2 bibs and one shirt. Every morning I started with Fresh Bibs and on the cold mornings and at camp I wore my thick wool socks. I used that wool base layer many a time. On Tuesday morning I was quite the sight. I was wearing my wool base layer, arm warmers, and bibs only. Did I mention that my wool base layer was sleeveless? I must of looked like some sort of freak, but I was warm. I like to put a cargo net on my rear pack and its the perfect way to dry gear as I ride, also a quick way to access gear while riding. I tied my other pair of bibs to dry and sun bake. The UV rays throughout the day will bake them and kill any bacteria on them essentially cleaning them. Also my socks and arm warmers would be tied back there making for quick changes. The race really tested the extremes as it started and peaked with 40 degree weather and then got way up into the 90's before it was all said and done. I had rain gear as well, and I used the jacket on the coldest of morning, choosing not to put on my wet shirt and letting it dry on the rear pack. Everything worked great.

Unfortunately I had an issue with my front tire flatting. During the final tune up, I asked them to re stans the rear wheel, I should of had them due the front. On top of that, I should probably send that tire to specialized its probably got over thousands of pavement and dirt miles on it, been riding that particular tire hard since January 2008. All my fault really, I could of been better prepared, but like all my challenges I learned alot and the Tour or whatever my next Enormous challenge will be, will go alot smoother for sure.

The TNGA has by far been the most beautiful experience I have ever had on a bike. No matter what, It was great to be up there, pushing up over that peak, then sitting in a truck driving around doing Tech work.

Cant wait till my next adventure, which will be the CFiTT on October 9th, which I will go and attempt to break the fixie record, in the process of tuning my bike now. I have not ridden since the TNGA, but I figured that was best, let my muscles heal and my body recover, I feel great, just got to tune up the war machine so it feels all day ready.

I am planning on painting the Mamasita, so I will probably move some parts over so that I can be a serious threat even to the geared riders at the CFiTT.

Take Care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Thursday, September 16, 2010

TnGa StaGe 4.5 The CHAsE

I heard the distinct sound of tires crunching gravel.

I could see two sets of headlights pulling into the parking lot.

I look at my Droid, its 630am.

I watch from my camouflaged perch, half expecting someone to jump out the car and call my name. My extraction team had come.

But when they get out the car and start talking to one another I cant understand a word they are saying.

I figure it's maybe hikers or bikers so I get out of my hammock and walk down from the high position I had mounted my hammock up on the mountain side.

I cant make out any faces, but it looks like its 3 men and one woman. As I get closer, I realize the reason I cant understand them its cause they are speaking some sort of Asian Dialect.

No matter, I ask, "are you guys bikers or hikers?".

No response.

Then after what seemed like an eternity one of them conjures a spell of words in his best broken english "Whadda R U Doin Heyre, You Sleap Here??" I try to explain to a group of folks who don't understand that I am a mountain bike racer, I started several days ago in South Carolina, that I had flatted.

But no one understood me so I walked away and went back up to my loft on the mountain side.

As I sat there and heard them talk some more eventually I watched as they loaded up their shot guns and walked up the trail towards the peaks.

Marcel told me they were close.

In retrospect I wish I would of known the rules better cause I could of accepted a tube from Ruth and not had been penalized.

O well, My fault, right!

Marcel said they were coming.

Eventually, I see a familiar car tearing into the parking lot, moving at a speed that resembled an emergency of life or death. It was my new best friend Rick Moon!!

I was so happy to see him. He offered me a tube. And I took not one but two. He also told me there was a creek on the trail up aways over the peak that I could drink at, and it was safe.

This was of course not my first visit of the morning.

Ruth and Jeff had pulled up two hours earlier. I told them my predicament. Like I said Ruth offered help, but I declined, again, because I didn't know the rules enough.

Rick was my second visit, and when he offered the tube, I didn't hesitate to accept. I didn't care, I had worked hard to get here.

This had been a route that I had known about for almost 2 years and wanted to do.

This bikepacking race, my third to be exact, was something I had been training and preparing for.

I was not going to let my hard work go to waste over a flat, that's bullshit. So I tubed up and got ready to roll out.

Rick left, on his way to work.

Then Dianne From Mulberry gap pulled up, and I took more tubes for her.

As I got ready for battle, I packed one tube in my Front bag and tied two tubes to the net on my rear bag, I was determined to finish and if I could Chase down my fellow racers Ruth and Jeff.

Off I went.

Railing the single track when I could. Hitting the jumps when they called upon me. Shredding the trails like a well crafted swordsman. Climbing in the saddle when I could, and pushing when I had too. Taking a break here and there, each time telling myself, I bet they walked this one, and they had to have taken a break too.

Eventually I see wet tire tracks on a huge creek crossing that actually had metal grates installed in the middle of it.

I turn up the heat, and on a downhill come around the corner to find my fellow racers.

I tell them I will wait at the road, cause I can hear its close.

We meet up, turns out Jeff Flatted. We were all low on water. I had one bottle left and so did Ruth and Jeff was out. He wanted to go to the store. I only had one mission. Forward.

So I took off.

As I was riding away from them, whilst pushing up singletrack, here comes little red Shredding Hood Ruth passing me on a climb that I was walking(how embarassing), dancing on the pedals like a ballerina dancing on cracked ice. It was effortless and I was dumbfounded.

I admit it motivated me and when I got back on, I was really mashing the gears.

And then on a downhill, there she is and here I come, the Big Bad Wolf, hunting for Red Shredding Hood.

I pass her, making a sound and spooking a little. I will fully admit, I was not going to let anyone finish in front of me if I could help it. But I also know, that she would not leave Jeff's side cause she was not 100% solid on navigation. So Even though I would gap her in certain sections, where I would attack and attack, if a tricky intersection came I waited for her, but trust me, she was right there, I wasn't waiting long, this girl is No Joke.

And we rode, pretty much the whole way out, even taking time to ride next to each other, even though we were keeping the pace high.

On the rail trail we came across the rabid dogs that Rob Rob spoke off, and I told her to ride off that I would handle them, and I did. Neary a problem they were to me as my Yelling of "STOP" did indeed stop them.

I spot a church and we stop to get water, and Ruth offers me some country time Lemonade.

When I got there, I Immediately chugged a bottle. Then I chugged a lemonade filled bottle, then I filled up two bottles and we hauled ass.

That sugar hit me like a quadruple espresso shot. This section of the route reminded me of the old enterprise rail bed that I have trained constant hours on and I got into my freddies and started flying away.

If I can smell the finish line I can go like a PRO!

We hit pavement and we are absolutely flying, the both of us.

Andrew from Mulberry gap is on the side of the road, he tells us we got three miles left and we are off. I am really putting down some serious Tempo.

I look back and Ruth is Right there. Damn. I though for sure I would pull away.

As I keep the Tempo up, I look and she flies right by me. Little Red Shredding Hood was on the attack, or so I thought, but she did fly by me.

Even though I am almost pegged, I dig deeper, and I pull myself up to her wheel and I wait.

Wait for her head to pop up just a little and I come around her, having to full on pedal sprint as hard as I can, get around her, tuck into the freddies and go.

I get around her, but she still holds my wheel. As we hit a climb, I am gassed, but she stays behind me, we pedal across another little flat, and she is back there. At that very moment, I think of Rob Rob...."Attack on the climbs...." and as soon as the road kicked up just a little bit, I got up on it, opening up a bigger gap. Big enough that when we got close to the line I coasted across the line with Ruth 2 seconds behind me.

8:15pm with 27 seconds, 4 days 11 hours and 48 minutes.

Almost a full day behind my dream time and within my realistic goal time.

56000 feet of climbing 343 Gps miles, probably close to 360 real miles with all my missed turns and repaired based detours.

I hike and biked and camped along the way from one side of Georgia to the other, hitting every freaking mountain along the way. To say I am proud is an understatement.

I eventually received a 12 hour penalty for accepting the mobile support, but no matter, I had accomplished a dream.

Admittedly, and I hate to say this, but, this was not the hardest thing I have done on a bike. Admittedly I have spent a lot of time preparing, so a dream was fulfilled cause I was able to do a long bikepacking tour and I was able to enjoy it and not suffer. I didnt get a single saddle sore, I didnt get any knee pains and never even had a cramp. Sure I had my moments, but the beauty remains and the fun was there.



Admittedly I don't even know if I want to do the Tour Divide now. A 20 day commitment might be real hard to pull off for a single dad. Maybe I will wait another year or five or maybe I will go do the shorter races first, like the AZT and the CTR. Or maybe not. The allure of riding from Canada to Mexico by bicycle is very strong. The desire is still there. Its just hard, with all that is happening to see me being able to finance such an endeavour. The challenges right now seem insurmountable, like I said, I am the one who has to move mountains before I can climb them.

Regardless, when it all comes right down to it, I am very confident I can do the divide now. My preparation is right on track and I want to be there as long as I can make it happen.

Expect one more Wrap up Post, giving out the much needed thank you's to all that helped make this thing possible for me.

Check back tomorrow or Sunday, LMAO.

Take Care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

TnGa StaGe FOuR MuLBeRRy GaP To SQuiRReL GaP

I admit I was apprehensive after listening to the other racers.

I had a slight fear that I would become so comfortable at Mulberry gap that the next morning I would see it better just to pull the plug then to keep going.

But that morning, as I saw Matt Lee pack up and leave, and I caught a little more snooze, there was no apprehension as I loaded up my bike, ate two of the Best Bacon Egg and Cheese Sandwiches ever, and rolled out for second breakfast on Pinhoti 3.

I was now beginning my third official day of Eat, Sleep and Ride, and I felt great. As I made my way up the Pinhoti, I was savoring every morsel of dirt that laid before me. Thankful, that I had finally found the balance of riding hard everyday, in a consistent manner, then waking up the next with the legs still feeling crisp and sharp.

It was sheer pleasure to be had the entire time, when I finally reached Tatum Lead, I saw bear cub on one side of the old overgrown road, and Immediately and Intentionally Yelled to spook the animal, sure enough another one charged out the woods right behind him.

This was my second bear sighting of the trip. The first one was on the fire roads in the Cohutta section on a downhill I watched as one darted across the road as I made my way down.

I felt so blessed by this sighting that once I reached a peak, I stopped to give the world of MTBCast and Update.

Called my Mom as well to let her know I was OK, cause I know she was worried about me being on this adventure.

As I got back on the bike, it seemed like in no time at all I was on the pavement, and I tucked deep into the freddies to make my way to Dalton. Once I was sure that Pavement was all there was left, I took my Bandanna off my Aero bars, soaked it in water and placed it on my head under my helmet to keep me cool.

The road to Dalton was going to be a hammer fest for me as I had every intention to make some good time.

Being from Florida, I am real strong on Flats and Rollers so I took advantage of them and kept the pace Scorching across the Valley.

Right before reaching Dalton I saw a Person waiving to me on the side of the road and as I approached, I saw that it was my new Best Friend Rick Moon. We chatted it up, He reminded me who he was and I told him I had not forgotten. He Told me that I had some tough singletrack ahead and I was off to eat, and stock before heading up the mountain again.

You would think after 3 days I would have learned my lesson regarding lunch. The lesson of not eating too much and getting sluggish, but I am dumb. I ate too much and the climb up to Dug Gap was Hard. Had to talk myself out of walking on the road and I didn't walk, merely to avoid embarrassment.(from the passing cars ya know)

AS I finally reached the Top of the ridge, I was having such a hard time staying cool. I touched my lips and they were noticeably swollen. I drank and drank but nothing would quench my thirst. I eventually just took my shirt off and broke a cardinal sin of cycling, riding shirtless while wearing bib shorts. But, I knew I was alone, so I didn't care. Who was gonna see me. I had seen Jeff and Ruth in Town, but they had to restock, so I knew that there wasn't anyone for miles.

On top the ridge it immediately gave way to the most technical Rock garden I have ever ridden. 4 miles of rock garden to be exact. But, I live for stuff Like this. I live to push my technical limits and actually fantasized about riding it on my Fixed Gear War Machine. Technical Mayhem for miles and miles, O what a RUSH. Eventually I Flatted my Last tube. I was so concerned at this point and that I started to kicking myself in the ass for not fixing the issue when I had the chance.

After the fix, onward I pushed and eventually I got control of my body temperature and put my shirt back on.

Before I reached Dalton,
Before I started riding the Ridiculous Rock Garden,
I had made a pact, that I would take it easy till Dalton and then I would turn myself inside out, no matter how long I would ride, to finish. All night if I had too.

This was my plan and I had the energy and the lights to do it. I wanted to Catch Cricket. I knew that once the Sun Set she would stop, and I would pass her, maybe chat, before continuing my 24 hour self imposed solo.

So I was rolling, the day once again gave way to the night and before I knew It I was descending the last 100 feet of Squirrel gap and my last tube Flatted. I cursed. I felt it in my heart that my race was over.

I walked to the parking lot, only to find I had barely a hair of cell signal. I first attempted to patch the tube. But I had no luck. Then I walked up the mountain to try and get a call off, but no luck. Eventually I decided to just put up my hammock and wait the daylight. I decided, just on a whim to see if I could get a hold of my friend Marcel in Florida via text message. I did and He said he called Mulberry gap and left them a message. I figured my race was over and decided to enjoy my last night in the woods. It was 1030 at night, and I was out of water.

After putting up my hammock I searched for a creek or anything, but all was dry. I decided to just enjoy the night and slept well in my little hanging Cocoon.

Over and Over in my head, I played out all the chances I had to fix this tire.

Over and Over I played in my head this exact dialogue:

I have had this front tire since January 2008. Have ridden and raced it, in the CFiTT, 2 PMBARS, 10 50 milers, tons of mapping rides, several bike commutes, the Huracan 300 and almost 300 miles of Georgia mountains. I guess I could of got a new front tire before the race.

Even with all this playing in my mind, My body didn't have any trouble finding a deep, deep restful bliss.

Last Part Tomorrow,

Take Care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Sunday, September 12, 2010

TnGa StaGe ThReE, LoNg BrAnCh To MulBeRRy GaP

The weather was perfect Monday morning as I got up and got packed up ready to start my day on some singletrack.

As I was finishing packing up and getting ready to go, I see a dog dash through the creek followed closely by some hikers.

Cordial everyone was as pleasantries were exchanged and they continued on their hike.

I ate my breakfast which consisted of a couple of candy bars and rolled out, happy to be starting my day on some skinny trail instead of Gravel.

By this day I was happy to be doing something other than Gravel Grinding.

I had seen all types by then. More Gravel road then I ever thought imaginable, I consider myself and expert now.

As I made my way up the single track and down the single track I was having so much fun that before I knew it I popped out on the same parking lot I had started the night before.

At that point I wished I had bothered to at least took the cue sheets for the single track as the GPS Green Line I normally followed was not very accurate.

I remember something about a green mountain and that was the only turn I saw, so back I went, re rode half of the trail, went up green mountain, only to do an excellent descent to another parking lot and then get even more directions from a guy who lived in a cabin and waived me over.

For a second I thought I was going to get an offer for coffee, but instead he was able to give me a better Idea in which direction I should be going, and all my detours eventually were for not as I was on track.

The wonderful skinny trail gave way to gravel and pavement, and at some point I started running low on water. I saw a gas station and asked them if they had any vending machines and they said no. I kept going on route, saw a church and after some searching found a water spickett under the building and was able to at least get water.

On I pushed up and down some pretty big rollers. On this day I had found a new rhythm in my climbing. Some Climbs I would actually push the big ring and push the big gear and climb standing, others I would spin and grind away, and others, I would get off and push. But the rhythm was well established and much of the slipping from climbing that I did in day one, had passed to well seasoned adaption to the current conditions.

At some point I pop out on pavement and see what I think is a sign for a grocery store in the distance and pull up front, park the bike and get a huge amount of food to consume.

I sit, eat, drink, eat, drink, eat, and then before I know it, Cricket and Stephen pulled up. Once again I was happy to see them and at the same time disappointed that I had been caught. Once again we rolled out together and spent a minute of discussion, talking about distance goals.

They wanted to get past Mulberry, I was content with just reaching it, after learning that my distance estimates had been way off and after comparing mileage with them I had covered at least 15 more miles then they had.

They apparently came across the guy who gave me directions, and we continued on wondering when the Pinhoti would come.

Once again, the road kicked up and once again Crickett and Stephen drop me and once again I had ate too much and had to rest and ride, rest and ride, till I felt better.

More road unfolded in front of me. And then it gave way to Gravel, and then I recognize and notice that I am Big Ring climbing a part of the Cohutta Course that I had to walk a couple of years before. Interesting how time changes things. Since I recognized and new part of this area, I was able to hammer the huge rollers and use the big ring to motor halfway up some of the climbs and really let go of the brakes on the downhills.

Finally after some gravel grinding, I was back on the skinny trail and back on the Pinhoti.

The day gave way to dark and creek crossings. As I crossed some creeks I started noticing wet tire tracks and that eventually pushed me to pick up my pace. And just as I was wondering, looking my odometer estimating when Mulberry gap would appear, I come up a small incline and find Cricket and Stephen. They tell me they had been walking, I don't bother asking why, and Stephen tells me they will probably bivy there, I was motoring on to the Gap. He told me he estimated it to be 4 miles and I really picked up the pace.

Up and down, executing some sweet fully loaded bike jumps along the way and finally after a couple of false endings, I come out on Cosamunga road and I know I am close to Mulberry Gap, but nothing looks familiar.

As I see the start of Pinhoti 3 I Look behind me and see the sign that says .4 miles to Mulberry gap and I take off, wondering if I anyone will be up, or what will happen when I get there.

As I make the steep climb up the access road, I hear yelling and cheering, roll right into an interview with Joe Polk from MTB Cast. All this was very surreal for me, as I have been listening to MTB Cast for years, it was just an awesome moment for me to be on it.

Awesome moment, after eating, doing laundry, showering and getting changed, to sit there eat food and chat with Matt Lee, and Eddie and Nam O'Dea and Joe Polk. All great story tellers, I was so entertained. Charley a fellow racer was there as well and so was Amy and some others from Mulberry gap. It was so nice to be done with a huge chunk of the route.

As I drank some beers with Joe and Matt, I eventually settled into my cot with some warm blankets drifting off into one of the most dream like, satisfying slumbers that I have had in years.

Wow, is all I can say about the ride and the experience up to this point!

Part 4 tomorrow!!!

Take Care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Saturday, September 11, 2010

TnGa StaGe TwO, MiLL CreeK RoaD to LonG BraNcH TrAiL

I was fortunate that I had come prepared.

That morning was cold.

No other way to say it. I got up, put my fresh pair of bibs on, my thick wool socks, my long Hoss shorts, my arm warmers, showers pass jacket and wool based layer.

I figure I wanted to be comfortable in the cold till my core warmed up.

I jump out the back of the trailer start packing things up and tying things to my rear pack when I discover that my front tire was low on air.

No worry I think, I will pump it, spin it and it should seal fine. Well, not the case at all as when I look for my mini pump, it was gone. Must of shook off on that crazy gravel rocky road I rode the night before.

I cant really describe the sense of frustration that I felt at that moment, mixed with a sense of panic. I knew I still had 20 plus miles to Helen for a chance of repair. I didn't remember the rules well enough to know if I could of accepted assistance from a fellow competitor, and I didn't have anyway to repair it.

I call MTB CAST to give them the update.

And then I start walking.

I decide to stick my thumb out, but not a single person wanted to respond or help.

I only had my emergency calories left, so I was chowing down on Almonds and cranberries as I walked and stuck out my thumb in hopes for a ride to Helen, then a return to where I left the course to continue with the race.

SO, I walked up the road, and down the road and up and down, then I reach an intersection. The road side points to the right and says "Brasstown Bald" which I recognize from the Tour De Georgia cycling race. I see a road sign after that says, "12 miles to Helen". I was devastated. I was going to pull the plug, there was no way in hell that I was going to walk 12 miles.

Just as despair and defeat were settling in, 2 cyclist pull up asking if I needed anything and I said, "Yes, do you have a mini pump". Dave did, and sold it to me after my generous offer of $20. I would of needed this pump the rest of the race, so the investment was worthy to me. I tried to seat the bead and get the Stan's to work, but it seemed to have either evaporated or leaked out. So, I took out the rim strip and pumped up the tube and hauled ass out of there back the way I came to return to the route.

I updated MTB CAST.

As I climbed up the dirt road, I had little water left and down to my emergency calories. As I am pedaling the endless but beautiful uphill Gravel road, a blue truck pulls along my side and ask if I was "Karlos".

"I said yes" and "they ask me why I had gone off course". At that point I knew they had been watching the race.

He offered me a coke and I accepted the coke and the brownie and the Gatorade and I got rolling again. He continued up the road to see if he could see any other racers, a virtual rolling Trail Angel, how awesome!

I don't know how many Racer's had passed me during the time consuming detour that I was forced to take, but since he continued up the road I assumed there were some I could catch and the race was on and my pace was combative as I ascended Tray Mountain.

At the top, I turn and see the helmet of Ruth Cunningham, riding along with her was Jeff Papenfus and after quickly catching up, I pass by and start riding some kick ass buff singletrack, my first real taste of the trip.

I had so much fun going down that mountain, and riding that crazy rocky gravel road that reminisced me of a triple wide version of Farlow Gap, I was in Mountain Bike heaven once again, just enjoying the fact that I was out riding and enjoying some beautiful Georgia trail.

As I popped out on the Road I let out a Huge Yell as I am over the top happy that I am finally back on pavement after completing another Dirty section of the TNGA. I tuck into the Freddies and Haul ass to Helen, passing 30 cars along the way.

Briefly as I passed the Woody's bike shop sign I considered going into see if I could re Stan's my wheel, but didn't think I would have another flat during the ride so I hammered on for food, refreshments, medicine and restock at Helen.

When I pulled up to Betty's Grocery, I see two bikes outside, and like a kid at the grocery store I start Scavenge hunting the store going Row by row till I find Stephen Huddle and Criket Butler over joyed with happiness that I had found some other racers. Hug's and hand shakes were given and I proceeded to eat my butt off and restock on meds and supplies.

At some point while in the store, my scalp started itching, and I started noticing Hives on my neck and my arms. That venom from the Bee must of exceeded the strength that my body was used too and I had to take even more benadryl.

After quite some Bewilderment on my part, I pack up and we all leave town together. There pace was quick and I was not able to keep there wheel, and before I knew it the Endless Tour De Georgia Road stage began, complete with ridiculous steep road ascents and descents and endless climbs for miles of miles.

Twice I had to stop on the side of the road, feeling so sleepy and tired, at the time thinking that it was the effect of the Benadryl.

Twice I rested, till I would relax a little too much and think I would hear the sound of a shifting bike and demand a rise from my flesh to get back to the task of going Forward. Forward to chase Cricket and Stephen.


My goal was clear I wanted to Make Mulberry Gap. Eventually, I started to feel better, and I the blood started flowing. I knew if I wanted to make the Gap tonight I had to light the matches so I started playing the music.

And my pace was strong and good, and before I knew it, Darkness had come and I as I made my way up a graded Fire road that reminded me much of the Forest Roads back home, I saw a campfire at the top of a climb and heard the cheering of fellow cyclist.

Apparently at my Helen Pit Stop, Ruth and Jeff had passed me and there they all were including Cricket and Stephen. They had made camp, and had made a beautiful fire and they were hoping I would join them.

But, as perfect as it was. I was not tired, and the last thing I wanted to do was lay in bed awake hoping to fall asleep. As beautiful and poetic as their fire and warmth and company would have been, I needed to pedal on.

And I was glad I did, as it was downhill for miles and miles and the stars were so beautiful that I had to stop and stare and marvel and tell the whole world about what I was seeing.

Some where along that part of the course a Huge rock kicked up and hit my Big Ring. I kept pedaling hearing a weird sound as the big ring was now rubbing the middle ring.

I stop and look to find that 4 teeth had been completely sheared off and two were bent. So I found a rock of appropriate size and I bash the rings that were bent straight and file down the others. I need and use the big ring often, so I had to make some sort of repair.

Eventually, as I am climbing up another fire road I get lost for a minute to discover that I had to navigate to a parking lot and jump on some more single track! WooHOOO, I was so excited, and the track was sweet. After riding hard, and railing the turns and enjoying some downhills, I crossed a creek and decided that at 130am it was a good time to stop and rest for the night.

I set up my hammock, got changed, and started feeling the itch from the Hives returning, took more Benadryl, and drifted off to sleep. The temperature was perfect and my dreams were filled with more singletrack riding.

Part 3 Tomorrow.

Take Care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Friday, September 10, 2010

TnGa StaGe One, The GrAvEL GrInD to MiLL CReeK RoaD



This had to have been the coldest September morning I had awoke too in a long time. My alarm had gone off at 3am, and the snooze button had been my friend. It was time to get my finely tuned kit put together for the adventure that was about to begin.

Out the corner of my eye I see a bouncing LED light, typical of what you would see on a helmet, and as the Light approached I recognized it to be no other than my good friend Rob Roberts.

I immediately noticed Rob was fully dressed and ready to go.

Panicked I said "what time is it"??

"4am".
**Note to reader, were supposed to leave at 430am**
I immediately go into panic mode.

I pack up my gear quick as I can, throw all my stuff in a bag, grab my other gear, run up the mountain, do what I must in the bathroom and get there in time to eat, before we loaded up and ROLLED OUT.

In the back of the Limo I could hear the chatter of the riders as they discussed various subjects.

To my left, driving the stretch Limo and listening to Kick ass tunes was my New Best Friend Rick MOON.

The chaotic morning had finally calmed for me. Whilst feeling relaxed, I still felt anxious about what was yet to come.

At the start, I immediately started strapping the bags and getting all my final last bits together. I had received a bunch of food from Mulberry and I didn't want to throw it away. So at the last minute I strapped it onto my bike in a HoboTic fashion.

Looked not so good, but it was food that I may need.

David said some quick words regarding the route and the event, and then we were off.

You would of thought that it was a 35 mile race instead of a 350 mile race, as Stephen Huddle was off the front tucked into his Aero bars in a move that reminisced something out of the Tour de France.

Seemingly the group ignored the attack. I looked around as everyone just kind of stayed bunch up as we started to go through some North Georgia Rollers.

Then on a downhill I decide to gun it, Open up the legs, and at the same time, test my set up to see if I could chase down Stephen.

Immediately I am gone, Rob follows, tells me not to get caught up in the pace..

And after we all pass Stephen, cause he stopped for a moment, we hit Gravel and the race really picks up.

Immediately there is a split in the Front as Matt Lee, Eddie Odea, Rob Roberts and a few others start pulling away.

A split had already formed in our tight little group and off the back but catching up was Mark Donagehy.

Matt Fusco, Brad Kee and myself were in the chase group.

We hit some Rollers and flow sections of double track that I was really able to just get ahead of my little group.

But once we hit a climb they would slowly creep past me and we would rinse and repeat.

I have no idea how much time had passed but this craziness and chaotic feeling was persistent.

Eventually, I saw Cricket creep up and she past by as Matt and Brad all left me on a longish Gravel Climb.

As I crested the climb, from an even steeper Road above me, descend Brad, Matt and Cricket, after apparently taking in some extra elevation meters.

Cricket stopped to wait for a friend and we continued on.

The rhythm of the race at this time persisted in that same little dance, of downhill small gap, uphill small gap, till after a turn on a climb, they all disappeared, Matt, Brad and Mark were gone. I picked up the pace, then climbed to a road going left, thinking I was following the Green line on my Etrex Well, only to end up at the threat of a Jack Russell two pronged Terrier attack at the front of someones yard.

My first Navigational error had occurred and it cost me the spot I had worked pretty hard to get in the chase group next to Matt and Brad.

No matter, I was really liking the section I was on. Overgrown double track climbing, I stopped to take a mental break, and tighten up my Hobo gear that had been starting to Lop to the right.

I kept going, seeing Brad Kee's Boot Tracks in the Dirt. Hoping If I did enough Modest work, maybe I could see some of them again. At least See Mark.

I eventually cleared the first Forest Section, feeling proud and defiant. Feeling like I was not only riding in this thing, but I was racing it as well, which was kind of the point. This whole thing is kind of like the Dare of Dares, the Feats of Feats. Pack your shit, go out and ride the ultimate Dirty Enduro and let's see in what order we get to the finish line. I love how Wild this type of event is. I love how Poetic the spirit of the event is. We go out and do it for the ride of it all and nothing more.

On the road, my Freddies were my friend as I tucked deep and kept going, searching for the way point that told me where there was a store.

Interesting, no way points could be found, and I realized that after spending Hours looking on Google Earth, making way points on the route to help me with reloads and mileage goals, I had forgotten to hit the load way points button when I loaded the route on my GPS. Costly mistake, but it was too late to make tears over.

I take on some liquid calories, and load up on snacks and roll out.

I learned something critical. During my work day on the bike, snacking is the only thing I should do and save the big meal for before bed. Now I didn't learn this day one, but I did this day one without even knowing it.

Onward I rolled. I thought I had about 30 or so miles to Helen, and I ended up being wrong. It was more like 60, but at the time I was rolling on an "I got 30 miles left for the day pace."

Up I went, down I went, this went on for hours.

Big Rocks little rocks all over the roads.

Too big to climb steady, too big to corner hard.

These Little Rocks made every type of riding a chore.

After climbing my umpteenth mountain, I stopped and eyeballed a sweet little pocket of warm sunshine that was shining on the clay, perfect size for my frame to rest in.

I laid there resting, and easily drifted into dreams, waking 30 minutes later, feeling like a new man.

I pulled a snickers out the frame bag and ate, tasting the chocolate and enjoying the flavor. As I sat up in a Yoga like pose to stretch my back and arms, I felt the familar Sting on my left Calf muscle, but wanted to dismiss it as a rock or a poke from a stinging Nettle Leaf.

I instinctively smacked only to find in my Sweaty palm, a dead Bee.

I have Not been stung my a Bee in 15 years or more and this past 8 weeks I have been stung 3 times. The first time was at work and the effects sent me panicked to the emergency room thinking for sure that I needed medical assistance to stop the Histamine reaction that was racking my body. But alas, that day when I left the hospital, the doctor told me, if this happens again, "just take some benadryl."

AND it did happen again, at work, and I DID what he said, and It DID Work.

But At this point I could not believe this was happening during the biggest challenge of my life.

WTF, for real?

Any how, I took the benadryl and got rolling. After a good little downhill I was pushing uphill when my heart started pounding in my chest making the veins in my skull pulsate.

Then the itching began, all over my back and buttocks on my arms neck and scalp.

I continued pushing, till this histamine reaction got the best of me and I forced myself to sit like a huge pile of allergic bee poison on the trail, thinking one thing and one thing only:
This is gonna cost me some time, will someone finally catch me now. I would love to see another face, someone to talk too and tell them how awful I was feeling at the moment.

But through the ordeal, no one came.

I forced myself to stand. Forced myself to push the bike uphill attempting to ignore the itch, but sometimes I would just give in.

AND I got back on the bike and kept the pedals turning, grinding the gravel away, while my body complained of Bee venom.

And eventually, as the night got dark and cold, I put more clothes on, and continued my forward movement. The torrential physical downpour that my body was experiencing subsided and dried up. The Deluge of itch was gone.

And I felt fine. Had to put on the lights. Had to put on my wool shirt. Had to keep going forward.

I got on some pavement, and I was looking around at the houses, trying to figure out how I had not reached Helen Yet. My math was apparently off.

I spotted a trailer home that looked dilapidated and kept going on my way. Got to an intersection, asked my GPS how far Helen was, and after riding all day long, since 8 something A.M., it was 1030 at night and I still had 25 plus miles to go. I was not ready.

I went back to check out the trailer since I knew that this evening would be the coldest of the three evenings I didn't want to hang in my hammock and not be able to sleep.

The back had an opening in what would of been the Trailer homes hallway, and I parked the bike, climbed in and jumped in my sleeping bag wearing all my clothes. I knew this would dry me by the morning.

Although my body slept, one lEar was always alert. I could hear the Nails from the Mice running underneath where I slept. Sometimes I would have to roll from one side to the other, but I slept good.

Part 2 tomorrow.

Take care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Friday, September 03, 2010

TNGA

So I am here. Sitting in the Recreation Room at Mulberry Gap, basically relaxing and killing time before dinner.

Its been one hell of a journey to get to this point. Even at the very last minute my bike was without brake pads on the rear and I was pinned at work unable to retrieve it once the repair was done.

Thank fully, due to the kindness of Edita and her Daughter Sarina, I was able to have my bike, and get everything I needed.

I rolled out of my house to drop off Lil'r NI only to realize that I had to return back home cause I forgot my Net that attaches to my rear pack.

I Zombie drove to Rob's house and before long, he awoke from his nap and we rode out. I slept on and off the whole way here. We hit a couple of stores and its been a marvelous day so far. I feel very relaxed without a doubt.

There is away for you to follow the events of the race. I am not guaranteeing blog updates but they may happen.

BUT, I have a SPOT tracker at http://trackleaders.com/tnga that will allow you to see my progress on the course. I will also make my MTB Cast Debut, through call ins at http://mtbcast.com/site2/. This is gonna be the biggest challenge I have ever faced, but I am composed and ready for what the ride will bring.

Take care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN