Ok, long post here. I'm way past due and need to spend a few minutes getting this caught up. Below are all the reasons I haven't been posting...

Will has his first bike!

Spencer started Kindergarten! A picture from her orientation.

Trips to the Zoo.

Whitney went to the beach with the a friend and all the kids (five little ones).

With the house to myself it was a great time to catch up on home projects. I didn't. Instead I packed up
and did a few bike rides that I never get to do.
The first was a cool road ride on Hwy129. A world famous destination for motorcycles and
sports cars. 318 curves in 11 miles cutting through the mountains between TN and NC. A big thanks you to the guys who sit up there and take pictures all day. I'll stole a few.

The next ride was a HUGE ride the locals call the Heinous Loop. 63 miles and approx. 8,000 feet of climbing crossing in and out of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park with three really big climbs. It's not just the hardest ride I've done in years, it is probably the longest ride I've ever done, 4 hours and 55 minutes total time with few stops. It was hard but a whole lot easier than I expected. I've gotten much better at managing my effort and keeping fueled during long rides. Glad to have it under my belt, but I doubt I'll be doing it on a regular basis.

Greenway rides. I used to spend every Wednesday with an underlying anxiety that it might rain and ruin my Wednesday night mountain bike ride and social gathering. Now I secretly hope it will pour so the muddy trails will force us to hit the weatherproof Greenway. It's less riding and more social with a beer stop or two mixed in. Always a good time.


Did my first cross country race in three or four years. I learned (or was reminded of) a few things.
  • Racing really hurts.
  • Before entering a race one should consider actually training.
  • Racing really hurts.
  • Carbo loading the night before is great, but not when the carbs are in the form of too much Mexican food and beer.
  • Racing really hurts.
  • Don't wear baggies and a t-shirt when racing in 90 degree weather.
The baggies and t-shirt were kind of a "I don't really race bikes and I'm not taking this too serious" statement, just in case I came in last place. Looking around the starting grid I was thinking last place would suit me well. Everyone was 15+ younger than me, a whole lot skinnier and didn't look as though they had been partaking in too much Mexican beer. I offered to arm wrestle the guy next to me (buck twenty, soakin' wet) for a ten minute head start. He politely laughed at my bad joke, but declined.

Luckily the race promoter made a start line decision to send us single speeders off a few minutes before the much larger Sport class. At least I felt a bit better knowing I would have a clear track for most if not all of my race.

The gun went off and it was the usual blast down the road trying to beat everyone else to the single track. I laid back knowing that it was a pretty long race and I had better save my legs if I was too have anything left in the second hour. Losing sight of the two leaders on the first climb was the best thing that could have happened for me. I relaxed a bit, settled into my own pace and once we hit the first big descent I was surprised to be back on their wheel. Their pace in the single track was just a bit slower than I would have liked, but this was good as it let me stay fresh enough to stay with them on the shorter climbs.

Heading towards some of my favorite trails rider #2 started to drop back just a bit on a climb. Watching the leader pull away motivated me to ride over my head on the climb, knowing I could recover in the tight fast stuff and still put some time on rider #3. The leader and I settled into a really fast pace. He offered to let me around several times, but I know from past experience I'm much better to let someone else set the pace. Given the lead I will always ride way too hard and blow up. Always.

We ended up trading the lead a couple times through the rest of the lap, but I knew that I needed to drop back a bit. I could do one of two things, keep the leaders pace (with no hope of actually winning), implode somewhere on lap two and be lucky to finish or slow it down and hold what was likely to be second place. Being old and wise, I opted for the latter. This is big deal for me. I used to subscribe to the "win big or fail big" philosophy and spent many races shaking or cramping on the side of the trail.

To keep a long story from being longer - I finished second about two minutes off the eventual winner. He told me after the race that he was last years Jr. State Champ and was in the points lead for this years Single Speed Jersey. All in all I was couldn't be much happier considering my part time bike rider status. I hope to fair pretty well in a couple other races this year. Maybe I should start training...

A couple pics from the race.


I won't post too much political stuff here, but I'm so blown away by the actions of our nations leaders on the subject of oil that I can't help but share my thoughts.

Nancy Pelosi, third in line for our Presidency, has been calling for the release of 70 million barrels from our nations Strategic Oil Reserve. That's right, all it will take is Bush choking on a pretzel and another Cheney heart attack and this genius could be calling the shots of the most powerful country in the world.

"Matt", you say, "How in the world could you be against a plan to lower oil prices!?!?". Fair question until you find out that we import 12 million barrels a day and the current consumption rate is around 20 million barrels a day. So the best plan our nations leaders can come up with is to deplete 10% of our nations oil reserve set aside for defense and emergencies, to save ourselves six days worth of imported oil!

What makes this all even scarier is the fact that this plan almost became a reality with a House vote of 268-157 last week! Almost two-thirds of the vote was in favor of this doomed plan. Hard to believe, even for Washington.

Ok, it's off my chest and I promise not to do that too often.