Tuesday, August 31, 2010

you Tell Me

So in a couple of days I feel like I am finally ready, as ready as I will be to step up and do something I have spent countless hours preparing to do.

When I reflect, I see how much time, money and effort I have put into this Bikepacking/self supported racing thing, and now its time to make it happen.


I do not have the luxuries that some of you do. I cannot simply pick up and go. I have Children to consider, and I really had to go into full planner mode to make it so my 10 year old could be taken care of and get to school and back while I am gone for a week maybe more. I am after all a single dad...

Admittedly, emotionally, once again I have been given what seemed an insurmountable challenge. The changes at work, affected me physically and deeply brought back some deep harbored feelings of rejection that I thought I had shook.

It felt as if a fatal wound had been re opened and for a moment there I thought for sure, I was lost. Finally ready to run away to some Mountain Town and claim my life as an Perpetual Earth walker.

You name it, in the past 1 and a half months it has happened to me. Job loss, emotional pain, car stolen, mortgage issues, etc, etc...

One right after the other, often on top of each other, creating a perfect storm of disastrous life changing events. I wont even go into the details.

All the while, I was at work, crawling under trailers, in hot attics, up and down ladders, etc, etc, 12 hour days almost every single work day.

But, I persevered.

Like a warrior should.

I remember about a year ago someone teased my warrior ethos, but they just don't get it. That is my philosophy on life. I believe if I still existed in a tribe of my people I would be on a pony defending my clan.

I have no wars to fight, so I go out and create feats for myself.

I literally have spent the past 4 days sharpening my sword.

My sword being my bike.

I have spent the past four days, picking out my battle regalia. Going through every piece with a fine tooth combed, making easy decisions.

I call them easy because the job is simple. I will eat, I will ride, and I will sleep. That's it. That right there helped me prioritize the amount of gear that I REALLY NEED for a 4 day adventure. I am on a mission.

My goal is simple. I don't even have a mileage goal any longer. I want to ride, all day, till a little past dark, then get up at daylight and do it again. That's it. However far I go is however far I go, I will stop and smell the roses and I will not ignore any naps under trees. That is of course till I reach Dalton...What happens at Dalton? Well, you will just have to see.

While I ride from one side of the Great State of Georgia to the other, I am on a battle to conquer my own mental weakness. I can pedal that far. I can pedal that long. I got the strength in my body, and the ability. BUT, mentally I am a P****Y.

I am being hard on myself, but that is the truth. That is where the true war will be, in my HEAD. Every time I have given up, its been because of it and its horrible advice.

So, its time. It's time to make all my hard work and testing pay off.

See you other brave souls on the start line.

Have your stuff together. Its going to be a blast. I will find a way to enjoy every single lesson that the creator will teach me on this journey.

Even though I pedal through them mountains alone, I have not made it to the line alone.

There are so many people who have helped me along the way. When I reflect I have some beautiful spirits in my life and I dedicate this ride to all who have helped me reach the level I am at, I could not have done it alone.

I hope through my self imposed challenges and adventures that I share That I have brought some inspiration to some of you. That through me you see hope and you see in all my crazy feats a glimmer that with desire and drive you can do so much.

Its been one hell of a journey folks and its far from over.

Stick around will ya,

take care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Saturday, August 21, 2010

MOsT AGgReSSiVe

About a week ago Rob and I got up.

I am not the one to build much. I can build a bike, if I have a mechanic, a real mechanic right there to guide me.

Since about sometime over a year ago, I heard about a 2 piece crankset with a 29 tooth inner ring and how this was the cat's meow for a 29er.

Finally, a year or more later, I got some Origin 8 rings, 44 - 29, with a 12 - 36 9 speed cassette and went over to Rob's to put it all together.

Truth be told, I sat there and ran my mouth, while Rob put it all together and figured it all out.

The 44 sits where the 32 ring would and the 29 sits where the granny gear would allowing me to run my biggest and lowest combos' with no penalty.

The result is a gear combo ratio only 3 inches off the gear inches of a triple crankset.

Not bad.

I needed to test it.

EVen for me, its hot as hell out, but Rob was in to ride and so was I. I wanted to do my normal Clermont loop backwards, then ride into Astatula into the Apopka preserve, hoping to hit the wolf head hike a bike and get some aggressive bike pushing in.

My miles are way down from what they were. And my TNGA training is pretty much out the window. But I went out and did some intervals, worked on leg speed, did big gear drills, basically attempting to feast on all my training drills in one day.

God works in mysterious ways. And although installing is grueling work, it is definitely got me Lean and its definitely got my heat tolerances and suffering ability up.

If Rob and I were a two man peloton, I would easily be voted the most aggressive. As soon as we hit grassy lakes, I started launching the attacks on Rob, my goal was to make it to the tops of as many climbs as possible before Rob.

In no imaginary world do I claim to be faster than Rob, but I was riding aggressive and strong and putting the pressure on.

Eventually somewhere towards the last peak on Buckhill I pOppED, but still kept rolling regardless at my own pace, eventually catching up to Rob and launching attacks again.

I gasped at Rob that I was trying to stay away.

He offered some advice, "Don't attack on the Downhills",

I told him I thought it about it long and hard and figured that was my best bet.

It didn't work, but I still kept riding strong.

We eventually got into Astatula and I noticed my water levels were low.

Still pushing the pace, we hit Wolf Head Road, and amazingly enough my leg speed drills paid off as a quick spin cadence kept me floating on the sand and we cleared the section without having to walk.

I got water and a soak at the fire station and we continued. I knew we only had about 7 miles left so I really picked up the pace and made it a point to stay in front through Grassy Lakes and eventually we made the end, both of us hot as hell, thirsty and hungry. It was way too hot to be riding out there.

I am hoping to at the TNGA that Rob and I can ride together. Although my training has fallen off, I am still riding amazingly well and still have hopes of making these last two weeks pay off, pedaling and riding as much as possible. After crawling climbing and working all day, I admit its hard to motivate myself to get on the bike, but I am going to push myself.

I really don't know what will happen in TNGA, but my mental is resolve. I am determined to finish. I am leaving the ego at home. My goal day one will be to acclimate and finish the miles that I want to finish. Not go hard, not blow up, feed on a regular basis and keep myself healthy and patient. No secret here folks, I am speed touring the route, I hardly consider myself a racer of it.

But, I am experienced in this type of event. I do have a slight advantage over the competition and I have a feeling that If I stay healthy and I stick to my ever flexible plans, I should finish well, I will call a prediction now and say that Rob and I will finish in the Top five, maybe even the Top Three, but I don't expect to finish before Rob, but would love to finish right next to him or right behind him.

I am ready, to go out and do, once again, the hardest thing I have ever done on a bike.

I hope I never ever am able to stop saying that.

Take Care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Monday, August 16, 2010

ThRu DyInG

So, the other day Rob and I were having a conversation about self supported racing.

I was telling him how many more variables go into Self Supported racing vs. the normal type of racing most people are used to That I expect those who have never done it to Fail.

Of course I am going to say that. Do you have even the slightest Idea how many trips I have gone on and crumbled and failed. How many times I have gone out and turned myself inside out to the point where I completely cracked.

TOO MANY TO COUNT.

But through all those failures, all those critical moments, all those bad experiences I have learned how to succeed. Through my disappointments I have learned to overcome.

So I don't have a lot of faith in new people stepping into the game. My attitude is to expect them to fail. The learning curve is steep, the climb is long, and until you have done it, its a whole nother world that your stepping into.

The TNGA is right around the corner and it will be the biggest challenge that I will ever face.

Physically I am ready. I feel strong. Surprisingly all this installation work has increased my tolerances for the horrible temps that are out there.

My kit is ready and the bike is ready. I reconfigured my 2 x 9 set up and its optimum for climbing. I am literally missing only 3 inches of gear ratio from someone running a 22 x 34.

I dont know who the other racers for the race will be, but I venture there are not many champions stepping up to the line, and after all I am the Cross Florida Fixed Gear Champion.

So, physically I am ready, the bike is ready, the kit is ready and I have done enough self supported ride to feel that I am experienced enough.

The only thing left, the only thing I have to make sure of, is that my head game stays on the end game. And the end game is crossing that Alabama border. My end game is to stick to my goals, yet stay flexible enough to alter it. And most of all, to have no quit in my heart.

After all, through all my failures, I feel I have finally found the key to succeeding in the self supported racing game.

Take Care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The PaPaKai ToUr ParT 2

We waited, ate, and chatted while the storm soaked the earth. I looked at the Weather Map on my Droid and saw that we had a good clear line down the middle, in between the storms. I figured if we moved out now, and kept a high pace, we should be to get there without a soaking.

So, we mounted up and rolled out.

3 miles later as we approached Oviedo, Kailan said his rear tire was flat and at the stop light confirmed it.

I noticed that the storms that were on both side of us had closed in pretty quick and as the soaking started again, we made shelter under the carport of a church.

I went right into repairing the flat, concerned that I had got a flat to begin with, and how I was about to use my last tube.

The Storm Raged long after the repair. Not interested in getting a soak, we waited. I thought it was best.

While Kai played his DSI I cat napped on the rug. TOOK such a delicious rest, such a deep slumber in such a short time. 40 minutes later the storm stopped and we began the Cross Seminole bike trail.

3 more miles later, Kai's rear tire explodes.

DAMN!!!

I pull out my droid and do a gps location based search for a bicycle shop. I find there is one off trail about a mile, call and get directions and I tow him on the rim till we get there.

At the shop, I discovered that the rear tire popped cause the tread was separating. I bought two tubes and a new tire, mounted it all, the guy was nice enough to give me some patches and we were off.

I thought the adversity was over, but then the rain storm hit.

Regardless, I was pushing the pedals and actually keeping a faster pace then the day before. I had adjusted to the 120 lb extra pull and I was literally flying. Even with the soaking, I was still making great time. I gave Kai my sunglasses to protect his eyes from my poisonous rooster tail.

With 3 miles left disaster struck as we made a tight corner and Kai collided with a bike trail cement Island, landing on his chest and sliding on his face. Luckily He was not hurt, just a little bruised on his shoulder and we were off again.

We arrived into Lake Mary. Hit the Publix to get out of the wet clothes. I was proud of Kai's ingeniousness to dry his socks as he wrapped them in paper towels and pressed them.

We emerged dipped in our street clothes and pushed the bike to Papa Joe's to enjoy a meal.

We ran into some friends and we all went and watched "The Other Guy's". When we finished we were all sitting having coffee or coffee drinks, when Kai asked our friend for a ride home.

We had about 28 miles left and one more night of camping, but the last thing I wanted to do was FORCE Kai to do it. So since he requested it, we went home that night, arriving around 1130 pm.

It was a fun tour. I got to practice my speed mechanic skills. Got to practice my ingenuity and problem solving skills and got to spend time with my son. The good news is, he wants to go on another tour and like always, I am already cooking up a plan.

What a blessing it is to be able to tour by bike.

Take Care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The PaPaKai TouR

I dreamt this up in March.

I was thinking of things I could do with my boys.

Unfortunately LiL NI was not available, but LIL'r NI was.

I got on the bikepacking forum and asked about tow ropes and over time the plan festered and developed little by little.

I had a route in mind, a route that would have some backwoods, but plenty of civilization and destinations to keep him goal oriented.

Eventually, the weekend was penciled in on the calendar and it was time to be off adventuring as Father and Son.

I wanted to bring a tow rope to spare him the pain of pedaling farther then he had ever pedaled all year, let alone his life, let alone on a bike that would be heavier then what he was used too.

PLUS, I knew we were going to have to ride some BUFF singletrack on the first morning to traverse the Econolokohatchee forest and I knew he would need his strength.

In theory I have enough bikepacking gear for three people to go bikepacking. And a starter kit is not expensive, nor hard, just takes a little imagination.

I loaded Kai's bike Light. Mine's was not even that much heavier.

I gave Kai my Mini Newt and I used the Stella and we rolled out Friday evening ready to adventure.

We both chose our riding outfits. My plan was one riding outfit each. We both had a set of Civilian attire and we both had toilettries, swimsuits, raincoats and towels.

I have a completely different philosophy then the average person. My TNGA set up wont be much different then this minus the street wear. I actually rode Chamoisless this ride as the experiments continue and I completed the tour without a single chaff or sore.

Not even 3 miles away from the house we had to turn and go back. By that point, Kailan had decided He would accept the tow rope and we were starting to groove till his Bottom Brackett seized up.

This of course was not his fault as I have NEVER put a bottom bracket in that bike since I purchased it in 2005.

I had a back up bike, and had to switch all the gear and the seat, etc. Many times this weekend I felt like the Domestique as I was the lead mechanic and the main PULL for the team.

The swap was done and before we knew it we had Cleared Section 1.

The section was only 8 miles long, but I broke it into sections so Kailan could better wrap his mind around the challenges that lay ahead. It worked. At stop one we got water, and then continued on to section 2 which was another6 miles or so. Each section included one big climb and although I was towing him, He was required to pedal to assist up the inclines. As it was, it was taking some pedal power to keep us both moving. Towing 120 lbs is not easy.

After section two we consumed liquid calories and finished off the final part of the trip including the 1/2 mile of off road riding we had to do to get up by the river camping spot.

After a bit of searching I found a good spot, but in the end it worked out better for Kai as my hammock set up didnt turn out to be so optimal. The night we spent in the woods was as restless as the first night I spent out there. The whole night the Forest was alive with movement and often it sounded like footsteps. The chances I did get to close my eye, I would awake startled. Kailan and I pretty much spent the night, restless, barely sleeping, waiting for the sun to rise.

At first light we were both up, ready to haul ass, frustrated over the weirdness of the forest.

I made Kai pack his clothes and show him how to roll up his handlebar bag, as I did all the hard work once again of loading up two hammocks and packing up my own gear. We got on the road and began the hard traverse of the white trail. The white trail in Econolokahatchee will kick anyone's ass, and not soon long into the trail I was wondering what in the heck I was thinking bringing Kai's very unpracticed ass down such a buff trail.

Eventually, after noticing and hearing how hard he was cracking I became more active in helping him. I would help him to remount, tell him to dismount and hike, and on we went for 1.5 miles till he was able to finally plop his ass down up against a tree and rest.

For a brief moment I thought we should pull the plugg and head down some doubletrack out of there, but the double track was worst than the singletrack with the lack of traction. So I told him he had to HTFU and we continued on to the swim spot. He actually was able to ride a lot more and the entire ride to the Swim spot we hiked less, even though we still hiked quite a bit.

At the swim hole we swam and recharged and then had another hard fought battle in the forest.

Kailan was close to an emotional breakdown, smoked, just completely taxed, when I pulled out the tow rope and started pulling his ass out the forest. At one point we lost the trail, and I followed the GPS arrow towards the closest road which was taking us down an ancient double track with tall willow like shrubbery that was gently ripping at our ankles. Even when we hiked I biked I was towing him, and before we knew it, we emerged on to that road.

I thought for sure Kai would collapse at that point. Google Maps Droid App indicated McDonald's was close and as soon as we hit the pavement Kailan demanded that we continued on, "let's go". At that moment I felt such a great sense of pride. Seeing him going from Resting his head on the bars, tears welling up his eyes, to conquering the very buff singletrack that had brought him almost to tears. Not only conquering but demanding that we Charge ahead to BRUNCH.

While we sat and ate at McDonald's, I let him in on the news that we only had covered 7 miles, we still had at least 20 more to go. Just as I said this the Sky opened up and a storm started raging. Kai didnt even flinch as he knew very well, that those 20 plus miles would be on the rope.

Part 2, tomorrow.

Take Care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Saturday, August 07, 2010

videoAt the swim hole.

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videoKai popped 1.5 miles into day 2. What was I thinking. That singletrack was way buff.
videoIn a hammock down by the river!!!

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Friday, August 06, 2010

videoWow what an evening so far. Lilr nakedindian s bottom brackett quit 3 miles into the ride. Were back on track about ten miles left for the eve.

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videoAnd were off on the papa kai bike tour, 17 miles to econolokahatchee.