Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008... I'm done with you

I wish I had some really huge New Years Eve bash to attend this evening but I don't. None of our friends are having a party. I would consider throwing one myself but since I have to work tonight, throwing down is out of the question. There doesn't even have to be a party in the making, I'm sure every bar/club/restaurant bar is having a band or a DJ playing horrible rap infused hip-hop to listen to. It's seems to me that no one really gets in the spirit of New Years Eve anymore. I guess it's a good thing, that way I don't have to be jealous that I'm missing out on all the fun.
This weekend should be a good one, it appears that we have a ride on tap in the Western NC area. I hope to get some footage on the Hero cam I got for Christmas. I took it out on a ride last weekend but that's all it did was ride around in my jersey pocket. (dead batteries) That won't happen again, I got em' charged up and ready to roll. I didn't bother with lugging the regular camera to Bent Creek last weekend because I had the Hero cam and I thought that would be enough so I really don't have anything to show from our trip except good memories.
I thought about rambling on about the past year and all the fun we had but I doubt anyone wants to hear about it so I'll save it for another time. I do have a few random pictures from the weekend. We were supposed to have Melinda's brother in town for a few days but that didn't work out so we made the most of our weekend. Melinda the dogs and I hiked some trails in our backyard that we'd never been on before. Sinking Waters Trails in the local state park meandered all over the hillside before dropping us down in a dried up marsh. The cool thing was the abundance of caves in the area with a stream disappearing into them. Hence the name "Sinking Waters".

I have been thinking about some goals I have for 2009. My main one and is probably the one everyone has or has had or will have, to lose some weight. No I'm not going to start some fad diet or join a gym like most Americans. I do have a list in my head of things I want to do to help me achieve my goal. 10 lbs. is my goal, I thought about 15 but that would really be tough to do and maintain. I don't consider myself over weight and according to the folks at the Health & Wellness center I'm right where I should be for my age and height. I wonder how they come up with those numbers. I just hope I can be unlike most Americans and stick with the plan, I plan to lay down later this evening. One other goal I have is to enter my 1st solo 12 hour race. I don't plan to win or even get in the top ten, I just want to give it a shot, ride for as long as I can while having fun, plain and simple.
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

12 Hours in Photos

A few days ago I posted that I planned to do a project,"12 Hours in Photos". I took a picture from my day,every hour on the hour, or 12 hours starting at 8am. Nothing too exciting but it was fun on my part. Melinda thought my idea was kinda goofy at first but halfway through the day she was reminding me to take pictures and sneaking into the shots with me. She even said something along the lines of doing the project herself. Hope you enjoy

Sunday December 28, 2008

8am - Taking out the dogs for their morning pee, it's raining.

9am - Morning coffee, yep I like it creamy.

10am - Checking the weather radar to see how much longer this rain plans to hang around.

11am - The weatherman says the trails are going to be wet for a while so I decided to clean out my bike tool box.

12pm - Lunch with Melinda

1pm - A break in the rain so I decided to put Melinda's bike racks back on her car.

2pm - The sky opened up again so Melinda and I decided to head to the Mall in search of some new running shoes.

3pm - Leaving the Mall, we didn't find any running shoes I liked. Off to Dick's Sporting Goods.

4pm - Just got home from shoe shopping. We both scored a new pair of running kicks, yeah!

5pm - Testing out the new running shoes at the local park.

6pm - Shower time, I got pretty sweaty during the new running shoe test.

7pm - Chilling on the couch with Melinda after a hard day of shopping, eating and running shoe testing.

8pm - Movie time

Thanks to Melinda for helping me keep track of when I was supposed to take my photos.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

Yep it's over, it was different this year not seeing my family over the holidays but I guess when you work weird shifts and you don't have kids (human) that's the way it goes. We did have a good Christmas and even though I worked Christmas day I really didn't notice because we celebrated on the 24th instead and what's a date anyway, it's just a number. Melinda has been off work for the past week and is off through the end of the year so it's been nice having her around when she's usually at work. I was treated to a nice breakfast yesterday just before 5am an she packed me an awesome lunch. That's not something I would normally see on a Friday morning. We snapped quite a few pics over the past few days running around town, hitting the trails with the dogs a few times and opening gifts from under the tree. What I thought was going to be a blue Christmas turned out to be pretty nice thanks to my honey. Thanks Melinda!

The dogs waited patiently while Melinda and I had breakfast/lunch before hitting the trails.

coffee at Panera

Melinda and the dogs heading up the trail.

I learned alot about the inner workings of our toilet over the weekend. I made alot of unnecessary repairs because of all the learning mistakes I made but it works flawlessly now.

The Carr family tree, a real Frasier fir "The Cadillac" of Christmas trees, or so they say.

Melinda always likes to break out her funny Christmas socks.

Moonshine was definitely on to us and what we were hiding in those big socks.

Melinda and her new Walz cycling cap!

Jackson and Moonshine got more gifts this year than anyone at our house.

My new helmet cam, this blog could get interesting very soon.

cooking breakfast Christmas Eve morning

The dogs were worn out after all the mess they made.

The infamous "Santa" that has caused quite a commotion at our house lately. He recently lost his a$$ thanks to Moonshine.
Sometime this weekend I plan to start a project, "The 12 hours in photos". I plan to take a picture every hour on the hour from 8am to 8pm. Not sure if I'll do it Sat or Sun but I'll post up the photos later this week.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy Trails

Yesterday we started the day off right with a big breakfast and we watched the dogs open their presents and then tear up their presents. One by one Moonshine proceeded to steal and hide all of the new dog toys, hers and Jackson's, but I don't think Jackson really cared. We did have to have a showdown over one of Jackson's toys a fancy stuffed Santa. Moonshine finally gave it up but had it again this morning, I decided not to fight her for it but I told her not to chew it up like the rest.
Santa was good to Melinda and I, he brought me one of these and Melinda got me a pair of these! I can't wait to get the Hero figured out so we can hit the trails and make some cool videos. We had to go ahead and celebrate our Christmas early because I'm working today and tomorrow. Kinda sucks but the extra holiday pay will make for a nice paycheck.
Yesterday Melinda and I got out and hit the trails for a nice Christmas Eve ride before returning home to grill out some steaks. The trails were in great shape considering all the rain we've gotten this month. Their were a few muddy spots but the trails should be perfect after a couple of dry days. No family from my side in town this year, everyone decided to head north to the folks house for the holidays. Because of my work schedule we are stuck here for the holidays but we'll make the best of it and get some riding in.
Melinda's bro and family are coming in town tomorrow evening for a couple of days so we should be hitting the trails everyday and maybe even a daytrip over to Pisgah somewhere. Good times!

Have a Merry Christmas and watch out for the fudge, it'll slow you down out there!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

last minute addition

Last minute addition to my Christmas wish list if anyone was having a hard time trying to figure out what to get me.

size lrg

bloggin around

When I started up this blog I didn't think I would last as long as I have. I started a boring post here and there nothing too exciting. Every once in a while I would have something halfway interesting to say. Then I got curious and put a stat counter on my front page and I'm almost up to 4000 hits. After I noticed I was getting some hits I decided to throw in a Cluster Map just for the heck of it. I don't know how but I've gotten hits from all over the world. I wonder how it is that somebody in China or Australia found me? I do read a few blogs of people with like minded interests but I'm nothing compared to them when it comes to blogging. Anyway thanks for reading I hope I didn't bore you or waste too much of your time.

On the work front we have had Christmas party after Christmas party and there are a ton of homemade deserts laying around just begging me to eat them. Everytime I walk through the breakroom 2 or 3 of them jump off the counter and hit me in the face. I'm trying to fight the urge to not eat anything but everyday there is something new to sample. When you work with a bunch of country boys there is no such thing as store bought cookies and cake in their vocabulary. I tried a rum cake yesterday that did a drop kick on my jaw, wow it was strong. Good thing I didn't get called up for a random drug test. It's a good thing we have an elliptical trainer in the building or I would have already put on 5 lbs. I charged up the ipod today and threw in some new tunes cause tonight I'm going to have to put in some serious time on the trainer.

Have a good Christmas and stay out of jail. The Holidays can cause us to do some funny things.

Friday, December 19, 2008

fun ride

Thursday night a few brave souls embarked on a rainy (misting rain actually) ride through Kingsport's infamous Greenbelt. I would not say it was a ride of epic proportions, it was a ride on a nicely flat, paved path in the "misting rain" and fog. I thought the general consensus was to ride road bikes and although I kinda wanted to ride my mtn bike I decided to swap out the slicks on my CX bike for the new knobbies I had bought earlier this year for the much anticipated Mud, Sweat & Gears cyclocross series that I failed to race in. I left the house just before 4pm to run a few errands via my CX bike and it's brand new shoes with gray but dry skies overhead. According to the Weather Channel there was only a 30 percent chance of rain. I think that was only for the first hour of my ride and then they must have changed it to 100.
After I finished my errands I met up with the rest of the folks over at Salsaritas. More people showed up for the ride than I originally thought. By the time we got started the rain had already started in on us and as the night wore on the foggier it got. Riding the Greenbelt is nothing too exciting, it's where you find most of your non bike riding folks who have decided they're going to try riding again. Needless to say there wasn't a soul out there so we had the whole place to ourselves. I've ridden the Greenbelt from end to end but I never really knew where I was at either end. The end we came to dumps you out into a neighborhood and until last night I didn't realize it takes you right into downtown Kingsport. We cruised around downtown and since we were there we figured that we might as well stop by the Kingsport Grocery for a refreshing beverage and get out of the rain for a bit.
I think this is definitely a ride we'll have to do again but next time Melinda and I will have to break out the cruiser bikes. I would have snapped a few pics but it never stopped raining long enough to get out the camera. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

48 degrees and raining

Yesterday I was watching the weather radar like a hawk. With all the rain we've had I knew riding the dirt was out of the question. I was feeling like a run was in store with what looked like a window of opportunity on the radar. I planned to get outside a little sooner than I actually did but I was moving slow and ended up procrastinating longer than I should have. When I finally made it out I headed downtown for a little urban action. I was looking for a little change of scenery and some more mileage to kick up my running a notch. I ended up at the start of the World's Fastest 8k with dry skies and nothing but endless asphalt in front of me. Less than a mile into my run I was feeling good and keeping a steady pace when I felt the first drop of rain. I wasn't too excited about running in the rain so I decided that when I reached the halfway mark if it was raining harder I would skip out head home and break out the dreaded trainer.
Upon reaching the halfway mark it was raining but not really that hard, just a sprinkle and I was plenty warm and feeling great so I decided to keep going. The longer I ran the harder the rain got and I started noticing I was getting some funny looks. I told myself that they were just jealous that they didn't have what it takes to get out and run in the cold rain like me. I knew I was just fooling myself and they were really pointing and laughing, saying look at that idiot.
Close to the end of my run I did have the opportunity to run through the new veterans memorial Kingsport has erected downtown. I was amazed at how much nicer it is than what you can see from the road. They really did a nice job with the memorial and it really makes you stop and think about all the sacrifices that were made for this country.
By the time I reached the car the rain was coming down pretty good but I swear I haven't felt better in a long time. Had it not been for the rain and a lack of time I could have kept going. Next time I'll get going a little earlier and make the most of my window of opportunity.
I noticed today that the first mtn bike race of the 2009 season that's on my radar is just around the corner. Last year was my first year racing at the Icycle and it was a really fun race that alot of my friends attend. I wish I could say we are going down for the weekend and staying in a cabin but I seriously doubt we will since they're probably not dog friendly. I haven't even ran this event past my social director yet so everything is up in the air as of right now.

I seriously hope we get to make it to this one, I had a blast last year at this race and we got a really cool pint glass just for entering the event. With the race scheduled smack dab in the middle of the winter your sure to have some nasty conditions but a ton of fun.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

spring is in the air?????

Yesterday I woke up sometime just before noon, no I'm not that lazy I worked the night before. I knew the rain was coming in later that evening so I decided to get a jump on the weather and get out an ride the trails with Moonshine and Jackson. As I was getting ready to leave I went to consult with the thermometer before I picked out what to wear. 60 degrees!? I couldn't believe it so I stepped outside just to make sure. It was warm and sunny, a complete turn around from the cold weather we've experienced lately. I've heard recently that we had record cold weather for the month of November, some days never reaching 30 degrees. That may not be unusual for some but here in the south we've been known to wear shorts in November.
I still couldn't believe how nice it was when I arrived at the trailhead. Although the sun didn't stick around all day it did stay warm. I was surprised to see the amount of cars in the parking lot. Usually I am the only person there at noon on a Monday but yesterday there were several cars at the trailhead with two more following me in. Everyone must have decided to call in sick and go ride. I don't blame them it was a great day to be in the woods. It was one of those days where is was just cool enough that I didn't need that gay sweat band of mine but warm enough to leave the long sleeves at home.
It appears that I have about a three hour window of opportunity to get outside today before more rain rolls through the Tri so I'll shut up now.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

air guitar hero

I'm sure everyone has heard, seen or at least played Guitar Hero in the last year or so. You know the PlayStation game that allows the non musical population to attempt to see what it's like to be a famous musician rocking some heavy metal power ballad in front of virtual screaming fans in the comfort of your own home. Although I have played Guitar Hero we don't have it or a PlayStation at our house. Melinda and I have never been fans of video games unless it's one of those arcade racing games complete with a steering wheel, gas pedal and a stick shift. (We love to race each other and Melinda usually rubs it in my face on the unusual occasion that she beats me with some very un-sportsman like conduct.) Anyway since we don't have Guitar Hero I tend to play alot of air guitar. The cool thing about air guitar is you can play anywhere, no PlayStation required. My bad habit of playing air guitar has even earned me the nickname of "Bon Jovi" at work. I know it's a pretty cheesy nickname but some of the guys I work with have alot worse names like Buckethead or Hog. Sometimes at 3 am I 've been known to play a little air guitar in the control room in an attempt to stay awake or pass the time.
Last night Melinda and I had a few friends over for cocktails and a bonfire when I decided to play a little air guitar and Anthony started to dance. Upon seeing this Abby, Andy's girlfriend, told us we should stand up on the furniture for a more dramatic effect. We agreed and I went for the closest thing, a wooden bench. The funny thing was that I stepped a little too close to the edge and it flipped up on it's end sending me crashing down on the floor. Not only did I drop my air guitar but I dislocated my shoulder slightly. It wasn't a full separation, it just tends to come out of socket slightly but pops right back into place with a little adjustment. Needless to say it's pretty sore for a few days afterward. The first time it happened to me was at a ski resort when I decided to try a table top jump that was just a little out of my league. Since then my shoulder has never been the same. Who knew playing the air guitar could be so dangerous. I think I should be able to ride this week but I have a feeling it will have to be with the help of some strong ibuprofen.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Random thoughts

This week I've kinda been at a loss for words. Nothing exciting to talk about lately, just work and doing odds and ends around the house while mother nature plays catch up. I'm trying not to complain about the rain we're getting but I'm itching to ride and the trails I'm sure are a swamp. I'm going to do something outside tomorrow come hell or high water and with the weather we've had it's sure to be interesting.
I've seen a few bloggers out there writing about their year and what they've accomplished or what's coming up for next year and this to has been on my mind but I'm not too sure what I'm going to say. I'd like to list out a page of races I plan to attend and the mileage I plan to get under by belt but I'm kinda afraid to and plus that gets kind of boring. Last year I came up with a list of races I wanted to attend and the list was pretty long but I only managed 2 of them. Being on the injured list sucked and it kinda got me depressed but I'm over that and I'm sure people are tired of hearing me cry about it so I won't bore you with any of that crap.
My prediction this year is going to be simple, have fun. Ride as much as possible but only if I'm having fun doing it. I'm going to try to not think about it as training because what am I really training for? I'm not a sponsored rider and nor do I want to be. I can wear whatever jersey I want, attend whatever races I want and I don't have to worry about keeping anyone happy. Sure it would be cool to get alot of free stuff or even get paid to ride but I'm not sure I've got it in me. Not that I really have to worry about all this I'm not that talented anyway. I don't foresee anyone knocking on my door in the near future. Not really sure where I'm going with this. I think I've gotten off on a random tangent.
Back to what I want to do next year. I'd like to ride some new places and get my dogs out on the trail more and not just the same old trails we ride in our backyard every week. I feel like we kinda got stuck in a rut this year and stayed close to home. Don't get me wrong we have some awesome trails right here in Kingsport but I need to see something new. Maybe it was the high gas prices that kept us put this last year.
I want to commute more next year as well. Riding my bike to work has been a losing battle with Melinda. She does not like the idea of me riding to and from work on busy highways in the dark. I do have a new plan of attack but I've yet to work out all the details. The Holston River runs right past my neighborhood just one street down from mine. It twists and turns for about a mile or so before running right through the middle of the plant I work at. In fact the gate I enter through is on the river's bank. I would like to buy a kayak this year and paddle to work, sounds really cool huh. There are a few details I need to work out before I sink my money into a boat though. The bank of the river is not that easy to reach in my neighborhood so I need to scope out a good place to put a boat in. Another is there is a TVA dam just a few hundred yards upstream that generates on a weekly basis. No problem going to work but I would never make it back trying to fight the current going upstream. I'm not even sure I can fight the current going up stream when they aren't generating but I plan to borrow Scooby's kayak for a couple of test runs before I throw down any dough. Luckily TVA does post their generating times online. Another factor is going to be darkness. Even in the summer I will be paddling in the dark at least one way. It may or may not work but I plan to give it a shot.
I wish I had some cool pics to share but nothing good in the camera right now. I try not to be one of those boring wordy bloggers who ramble on and on about the boring details of their workout or a trip to Dollywood. I'm afraid I've already gone too far with this one, sorry.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Santa....Is that you?

Santa and Mrs. Clause came to visit our house a little early this year!

It's funny what you can get a dog to do for a little bacon.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tight squeeze

Nothing too exciting going on here, the weather has been real crappy and I'm working nights so my excitement has consisted of working out in front of the TV..... Yeah! The dogs are hating life but I think they realize I'm not out riding the trails without them. My bro n law did send me a disk with some more half way interesting footage of our ride up in PA back in October. It ain't no Red Bull Rampage but we're not professionals either.

Hope you enjoy


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

bike rooms and bomb shelters

With all that's going on around our house I've had a hard time trying to get outside and exercise. I've not been on my bike since the Wed. before Thanksgiving and I've not been running since the Turkey Trot 5k. I have been exercising everyday but it's been in the form of an elliptical trainer, stationary bike or strength training. If I'm not at work, Melinda and I have been working around the house trying to get it looking good for the holidays and we are having our house appraised this week as well.
Our house is looking quite festive this year, Melinda has been working hard and has done an excellent job. We're not getting to see much of our families for the holidays so we're trying to make it as festive as possible.
Yesterday I decided to tackle the project of cleaning up our basement. It's the one place in the house that I'm totally responsible for so obviously it looks the worst. Yesterday I cleaned and organized the main part of the basement and today I worked on the bomb shelter. Yes, I said bomb shelter and no it's not a name I've given an odd place in our house. We really do have a bomb shelter under our house, I spoke to the weirdos who built it. It was built back during the Cold War but the interesting thing is, they did it after the house was built and it's pretty big.
I wonder if it will bring more value to our house knowing that we can survive a nuclear attack? You would think I would make a cool bike room out of it but I can't get bike in it. To enter the bomb shelter you must make a series of turns down a cramped hallway with low ceilings. It does make for an interesting conversation piece at the parties we throw and I usually end up taking newbies on a guided tour against Melinda's wishes.
Maybe one day I've knock out some cinder block and make a new doorway so it's easier to access and then I can make it into a cool bike room but that's more work than I want to do right now.
I've got a pretty cool bike room upstairs right now and since we don't have any kids it should stay that way for a while. I thought I might post up a couple of shots of my bike room it's my favorite room in the house. No pics of the bomb shelter though, if you want to see it you have to sign up for a guided tour.

This is also Moonshine's favorite room, she guards the bikes when we're gone.

My collection of random bike toys and Mexican "Day of the Dead" art. It also serves as a work table and a tool, spare part and cold beer holder when I'm busy wrenching.

The roadie section.