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Showing posts from October, 2009

God's paintbrush

Sometimes life is good.

And sometimes it gets really exceptional.

Check out my photo (top image) from this past Sunday, atop Grandfather Mountain near Linville, NC.

Sitting at a majestic 5946 feet above sea level, Grandfather Mountain is a go-to destination for nature lovers. The surrounding hiking trails and nature areas make it a special outdoor environment. One of the top attractions on the mountain is the Mile High Swinging Bridge. I'm scared of heights so it amazes me (from

This is a good time of year to reach out, to explore and enjoy the traces of fall in your area. We each have special places we like to retreat to; for me, Grandfather is a favorite on Sunday after church. My day usually consists of some light hiking, meditation, and an overall period of thankfulness for my place in life.

There is sunshine and dark clouds in all of our lives. But when I can look down on the beauty and color below, it's…

Guest blog

Here's a guest blog entry from a master competitor who continues to fan the flames and and keep the lifestyle alive. I can wax on ad nauseam and it doesn't always hit the mark like Robert's message.

FYI the shout out to David Bailey is re: his return to the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon after many years away. Bailey led for awhile and took second in the wheelchair division.

Thanks Robert, it's all good when you're living and loving the sport of motocross!

Hi Tom,

I think it was Racer X Magazine, from a report on this year's Daytona Bike week that put me on to your blog. Your gentle insight and interesting idealism keep me coming back; and, your inspiration.

Attached are two photos. The first (thin.gif) is of me in 2004 on a 1974 Honda Elsinore 125. At 47 years young then, I was reasonably fit and mean; entered three intermediate classes that day at the vintage race at Strawberry Hill MX in South Carolina and won all three going away. If you can believe it, the second pho…

What's the next move?

Hello to all. My blog is on life support. Haven't posted because Tommy master competitor is living a rather nondescript life.

My wisdom for the day is this...keep on keeping on. Sometimes it's not sexy or glamorous, but we're doing the workouts and the days slip by from summer into autumn. That's how it works on most occasions. It's not the epic stuff, but the day to day momentum that keeps us in forward motion.

Went a a community yoga session on Wednesday evening. The mayor of Boone had called for a fitness and lifestyle theme in the community, and the public was invited to attend. As usual, it was 30-40 undergrad females, 2-3 undergrad males, and and old man who can't bend named Tommy Terrific.

I do like to go through the yoga motions and no one seems to judge me for my inadequacies. I may not be pretty but I am tenacious. Yoga forces an extended stretching period and I find that more necessary now than the need a few years prior. I'm becoming more…

Hard to the finish

What can happen, will happen. That must be the amazement demonstrated on my face after finishing the Cumberland Trail 50K in Tennessee.

I'm talking with race promoter Susan Donnelly at the finish. She is fit and trim and I dragged my blobby blob blob body through the muck to beat the 10 hour cutoff.

I wish photos could capture the event in its reality. I forgot how alive I can feel at a technical ultra event, where senses sizzle and are heightened.

This event did not allow headphones so instead of podcasts and metal music it was just my inner thoughts and the trail. I did a lot of business with myself and felt ready to return home and embrace my new life in a mountain town in North Carolina. Ultra trail events are so pivotal in my life that it has become a lens to all other activities.

Don't know if that is how it will remain, but for now, I am validated as an ultrarunner at least one more time. The journey will continue, but I don't know at what pace or for how long.


"It's the real thing"

That's the quote from venerable 100-mile runner Wes Fenton, who was working the first aid station at the Cumberland Trail 50K in Tennessee last Saturday.

It was the real thing alright. No kindergarten games at this event. We pushed hard through the dark hours and made that first check at the 5.5 mile mark in 2:14. I knew a tough day was ahead.

The course, designed by Susan Donnelly and Rob Apple, had it all. Rocks, rain, primitive bridges, waterfall crossings, climbs to 3000 feet, then descents to 1400 feet and back to 3000. And at the turnaround point, the race organizers arranged to have a wild elk on the course! Try to find that at most of your local 5 and 10K's.

The race about did me in. Missed a turn leaving Cove Lake State Park off the start and lost about 30 minutes, then got off course again (all this before sunrise) when I made a climb up the wrong trail. Finally got back on course and made the halfway point in 4:47. Not much margin in a 10-hour cutoff.

So, while…

Cross racing

Not the best of photos, but I hope you get the idea. This is cyclocross outside Boone, North Carolina.

I have been in and around the cycling community for over 25 years. Never saw anything quite like this.

Cyclocross is somewhere between road riding and mountain biking. Bikes are purpose built, rigid, and light. A closed course weaves through grassy fields and up hills...riders sometimes have to dismount and carry their bikes over obstacles.

Twenty-seven experts went off the line at 7:30 pm. It was dark. Few ran lights. I was amazed at the speed top riders carried, blasting down descents with little vision of the trail ahead. The top classes run one hour. That's a ton of time at the intensity required.

Here's the rub: Though I enjoyed observing, I had no passion to give it a try. That's a shift for me, Tommy Terrific wanting to experience every new endurance sport opportunity.

But my interest is waning. I attended the Appalachian State bicycle team meeting last night.…