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Showing posts from November, 2011

Forest touring at Oak Mountain trails

I was able to make another trip to Oak Mountain State Park for a second loop at the mountain bike trails. I veered left instead of right at the first fork in the trail and traveled counter-clockwise around the course.

I coined the term "woods touring" in a previous post and I'm now finalizing my form of riding as "forest touring." That's the essence of what I do with my off road bicycle pursuits.  On this day, I was more of a trail nuisance than anything else.

The core of successful off road riding is rhythm and momentum.  I caused the reduction of both by being on the trail.  I'm slow, ride a hardtail, and dismount often for rough sections.  The park was packed and others on the course were carrying a pace 2-3 times my speed.  I attempted to move aside but it's hard when there's no exit ramps or passing lanes.

One guy came up from behind and said he was retired and finally had the time to get into mountain biking.  He was riding a nice dual sus…

New running loop in Birmingham, AL

I busted our early on Thanksgiving Day and laid out a new running loop in Birmingham.  Weather was sunny and 50 and in the perfection zone for fall running.

I'm not quite techie enough for "map my run" or similar social network sharing sites, so here's the next best thing:  Put your finger on English Village on the map at right and follow along.

I went out of English Village on 21st Avenue, which merges onto Fairway Drive. I hung a right onto Somerset Circle, which took me to Lane Park Road, then south to the entrance to the botanical gardens.  It's a nice run inside the gardens, many paths meandering around nature settings.  I used as much real estate as I could, culminating with the Asian gardens and the adjoining footpaths.

Came out of the park around 35 minutes and continued south on Lane Park. That turned into Cahaba Road going south and in a bit I picked up trail to the west along Mountain Brook Parkway.  This is a neat section with two small water crossing…

Oak Mountain trails will rattle your teeth

I made my way south of Birmingham to take on the Oak Mountain red loop. This state park riding area is maintained by BUMP (Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers) and it's one epic ride.

The day began at the south trailhead, water bottles full, E-gel and phone packed. The main loop is 17 miles and there have been add-ons; my guess was 21 miles on the day. How long could that take?  I ride 18 at Wilkesboro in around 2:15, so it was going to be a smooth, fast morning spin.

Delete comment above.  This riding area is wonderful and well prepped but there are an abundance of rocks and roots.  Some sections are quite rideable while other sections were dismount and walk - see image at left.

Stopped to talk with one older guy on a truly retro bike and mentioned I was going the entire loop. He gave me a cautious stare and pointed up to a treeline.  "That's where the red trail goes," he stated. "You can try it but there's always a way to bail out onto the road and ride bac…

Elite Kenyan loses feet in Alaska

Sad news out of Alaska, as reported by the Reuters news service:

(Reuters) - A top college runner from Kenya who spent two days lost in an Alaska snowstorm earlier this month had to have both of his feet amputated due to frostbite, the University of Alaska, Anchorage said on Monday.

Marko Cheseto, a two-time NCAA All-American runner, disappeared on November 6 after leaving the university campus during a heavy storm. He walked into a campus hotel more than 48 hours later severely hypothermic and suffering from frostbite.

Both of the 28-year-old star athlete's feet later had to be amputated because of severe frostbite, the university said.

"As some may know, I've been going through a lot of personal issues," the runner said in a statement released through the university.

Body Fortress whey protein is rocket fuel

In an ongoing effort to become slim and ripped, I veered away from Naturade soy protein and jumped onto the whey bandwagon; many suggest whey assimilates better into the muscles after a workout and also builds the guns to fire-power proportions.

So for those reasons - and a really low price point at Wal-Mart - I grabbed a jug of Body Fortress Whey Protein.  Of course, it's the "Super Advanced" version.

What's common with whey protein these days is that it's not just're getting a bunch of other weight builder goodies that are supposed to convert a tubby master man into the Incredible Hulk:

"Body Fortress® Super Advanced Whey Protein features a scientifically designed  Super Recovery Blend to further enhance the benefits of our premium Whey Protein Blend. Each scoop provides high quality creatine in combination with the important amino acids crystalline taurine, glutamine, leucine, isoleucine and valine."

I'm not going to go all hard …

Boone Running Club makes it fun to run

There's an emerging good times movement in Boone, North Carolina and it's coming from a group of citizens who are bonded by one of my favorite sports...running.

I turned out for a Boone Running Club run yesterday morning.  Not that I haven't wanted to attend prior, but Saturdays are usually reserved for off-the-mountain cycling this time of year (I missed a great 100K yesterday in Wilkesboro with the Brushy Mountain Cycling Club, but that's another story).

What I like most about most any community is the opportunity to socialize through endurance sport.  If you want to get involved, find a posted date and time and make the effort to attend.  I went to the start point at the National Guard armory.  Club leaders Valerie and Jay were welcoming and motivated.  Wayne and his wife Suzy were also on board for their first club run.

I did the first loop with the group, a nice jog up the greenway, around the new high school and back into the park.  It was a tad faster than I usu…

Ashland Dave is at the center of the universe

One good thing in the podcast world leads to another...I was listening to Dirt Dawg's 100th episode ( and noted a reference to Ashland Dave's podcast

Ashland Dave is an ultrarunner who likes to tell a few stories and lives in Ashland, VA.  Of course, that's the center of the universe.  One has to appreciate Dave's ethnocentric view.

Communication professors teach about all things mass media and that includes social media.  None of us truly understand how to use or measure it, but of one thing I am sure:  Some of my favorite media choices are non-commercial podcasts.  It's not about a mass audience, nor does it rely on revenues to be successful.  It's citizen journalism at its finest.

The latest episode on Ashland Dave's show is about the 2011 Mountain Masochist 50 mile.  I have completed Masochist 2-3 times (can't remember brain is fading) and it's a tough mother.  Dave features some gr…

Andy Jones Wilkins pukes like a champ

If you haven't yet done so, click through to Ultrarunner Podcast and check out the latest interview with Andy Jones Wilkins:

AJW is one of the top masters ultrarunners in the nation. He races - a lot - has numerous wins, and here's the big one...has never DNFed.
Here's what I find most amazing about the guy. He has completely normalized puking as part of the ultra experience.  I'm sort of an iron gut and never blow cookies, but AJW sees it as part of the racing action.
Don't believe me?  Check out this "interview" at the Leadville 100.  Enjoy.

Lake James State Park at Paddy Creek

We knocked out another 60-mile loop around the Lake James area this morning. Club go fast guy Steve Lambert posted the ride and I was the only one who showed - that meant trouble from the moment we clipped into the pedals.

Steve is an exceptional rider and he spent most of the day waiting for master man.  I was riding race pace while Steve was talking about building base miles for the winter.

During the loop, we detoured into a new section of Lake James State Park, to the Paddy Creek beach and facility.  This entire area is amazing; new roads and bridges, bike lanes, new cut hiking trails and this amazing public use facility that looks like an executive retreat!

While taking a break I chatted up a runner who disclosed he had just completed a 29 mile run. That begged for more discourse and I soon learned he was training for the Table Rock 50 mile on December 10 (I'm entered in the 50K).  I happened to ask where the race started and he said "right here!"

I don't know w…

My new blog: Retro Motocross

I'd been playing around with photography from my motocross years, taking time when available to digitize the old black and white negs and slides.  Every time I do, it evokes positive emotions from my seasons on the national MX and Supercross circuits, 1979-1984.

An audience may exist for this journey through motocross yesteryear, so I built a new blog and will be featuring images and comments.  If you're interested in reliving pivotal MX history, such as the era of Donnie Hansen and Johnny O'Mara (photo here, maybe shot in 1980?) you might want to check in or subscribe to the site.



Master Competitor

Creating the body you always wanted

I wanted to blog today and make it I came up with a great post title that should give me great ROI in my SEO that's for a communication prof spouting out the acronyms?

Here's the bottom line.  I turned into pudgy man.  After the bee sting debacle and blown shoulder I came way out of sync with my training plan and my diet crashed and burned shortly after.  It was a bad state of affairs where several building blocks in my life were removed - blood pressure checks morning and night, meticulous attention to MyPlate entries for diet and exercise - and of course then shoving tons into my pie hole with reckless abandon.

MyPlate serves as both a good friend and stern adminstrator.  It keeps you accountable and gives constant feedback on calories burned vs. ingested.  Stop using MyPlate and you can live free...if free means digging in the peanut butter jar at 10 pm and dumping 500-600 calories into your gut.

(FYI, the image posted here is the new U.S. government M…

My Alabama Russian ride

I was able to catch up with the Birmingham Bicycle Club for the Russian Food Festival ride.  Program marshal Eddie Owens has been the ramrod behind this event for over 20 years and has developed quite a following.

We rolled out of the Cantina (restaurant) near downtown Birmingham at 9 am.  My rural roots were challenged by this urban exit through factory areas and across railroad track junctions.  About 7 miles out we hit some country road, with a few small climbs en route.  All good fun and great camaraderie with this new crew of cyclists.

Our destination was the Russian Orthodox Church in Brookside.  Crowds were already forming for this historic event...which was driven by a full menu of Russian goods.  I went directly to the bakery sale and grabbed a round honey cake.  Others in the group were getting full sit down meals, but the smell of borscht and other cabbage based fare was a bit much for me to consider with a 20 mile return ride.

Cycling is magic in that you can simply arrive…

Plantar Fasciitis: "...and then it just went away"

When you're struggling through long term endurance sport injuries, I don't think much can be worse than foot damage. It's something you just can't pamper, because it's not as if you can stop using a foot, like one can with a wounded arm or shoulder.

I've been communicating with several other hard core runners about my plantar fasciitis.  The common thread in those discussions is how long and severe the pain can be...but then how quickly it dissipates.

Check out the following from ultra icon Eric Clifton, winner of the Badwater 135 and record holder at JFK 50 mile:

Hope the pf and assorted ills are getting much better. Sounds like you have a handle on the pf. I had it in both feet for 3 years. The cure for me was a little extreme. Going up one of the many steep hills at the Barkely Marathons in the middle of the second loop I noticed that my pf had completely disappeared in both feet, never to return so far. I think all those really steep hills finally "supe…