Sunday, September 28, 2008


For only the second time since being down here did I really feel like I was in the South. Or should I say closer to the south. Even Memphians acknowledge they are only Mid-South. Yesterday I decided to make another attempt to find Shelby State Park. I had been told there was some exceptional riding out there. (Those rumors proved to be very true.) I tried to ride out there once, but got very lost. Unlike like KS, these roads do not run in perfectly straight lines. So yesterday I drove out there. Found a general store and saw a group of bikers who were taking a break to refill some bottles. After some introductions I joined in on the riding bliss. They took me down a route that contained the "Three Little Pigs." (Very, VERY big hills.) It was pretty intense. After we had finished up with 74 miles, we came back to the general store where my truck was parked. We were welcomed by some banjo pickin' out on the front porch.  Seemed like a scene straight out of Deliverance, right? Not to mention we were a group of spandex clad bikers. But, to put your mind at ease, this ain't the movies. The guy was damn good and it was a nice end to an even better ride. 

The guys I met were from a local tri team. After checking out their website I found an excellent commentary to a question I know a lot of us struggle with.

The competition, the clock, or one's self? 

Do we push ourselves as athletes to beat the clock or the competition? Or is it a combination of both? On the other hand, could it be that we just want the best from ourselves? As athletes we talk about our finish and may refer to who was in front or behind us in the race. We may also say, "I wish I would have pushed a little harder on a particular section of the race." So are we competing to beat the competition, the clock, or ourselves.

Or is it possible that the race is just within one's self? The competition and clock may come into play just because we ned a way to mark or justify our intensity to our given activity. During the race we may say, "I am not going to worry about my finish time as long as I finish." Then, the next morning regret that a fellow competitor beat us by just a few seconds. An old saying states, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." So, if the saying is true we are just competing against ourselves. But, if we are concerned with who finished in front of us, then we are racing the competition or the clock.

So, as athletes, can we agree that competition is at its finest when the competition and the clock produce the best in one's self?


Friday, September 26, 2008

Hope you have a minute...

Well, this is obviously a long time coming. In my defense, I don't have internet where I'm staying. Where to begin, I guess where I left off.

After settling in I decided to spend my first weekend by going to a race down in Oxford, MS. I hitched a ride with a local racer and we thought it would be best to go down and pre-ride and camp on Saturday. All that did was wear me out. There's a bit more climbing down there. But, I guess the fact that there was not a rock in sight made up for it. Just wide open, blazing fast singletrack. I was loving it until the bear attack. I blame him for my fourth place finish, not the fact that I was suckin' wind and frying up some lactic acid in the legs on those climbs...

Silly bear, bikes are for humans.
My beautiful bike basking in the sun.

The following week I was able to get out and explore my surroundings a bit. I rode 'Stanky Creek.' It's the most popular trail in Memphis. It's pretty good stuff, very tight. No big climbs and tons of roots. I thought I was going to be preparing for the 12 hour race there, but I quickly found out I was going to VA Beach instead. I'll take it I guess. I can ride trails any time, it's not every day I can go to VA Beach. My calendar didn't stop from there, I've since added Baltimore, MD, and Japan to the travel schedule. I'm pretty excited about that. 

Besides riding, work has been great. My co-workers are really taking care of me. Between home cooked Italian and BBQ ribs I don't have much to complain about. Hmm, this leads me to make a very important observation. I'm going to have to watch my back around here after saying this, but the BBQ is kinda weak. Some KC BBQ is where it's at! Now, let me clarify a bit. I've hit up the bbq chains and the mom and pop joints alike down here. And it's nothing you can't get at Bobby D's. It's not bad, it's just not special. It wasn't until I went to the "Smokin' by the Lake" BBQ cook off that I found the true southern BBQ. My point is, you won't find stellar BBQ in the restaurants down here. You'll have to make friends quick and get the home cookin'! 

Well, my mind is being pretty scattered right now and I'm probably forgetting fun stuff to tell you. I would also provide more pics, but frankly, I decided I wasn't going to take my camera on rides with me. I wouldn't get any riding done! Maybe I'll take it downtown with me tomorrow and share that with ya. Anywho, love you all, wish every last one of you was down here with me. I absolutely PROMISE the next post won't take as long. Maybe I'll look into getting a sprint card or something. Adios!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Yes, another post.

I know, I'm really laying it on you guys. But, I thought I should inform everyone that I am safe and sound in Memphis. I crossed the mighty Mississip around 2pm and headed straight for the bike shop. The bike will be tubeless tomorrow! I did receive the news that Hurricane Hanna was en route to Jacksonville, so they called off that trip. That's okay I suppose, maybe now I can 'train' a little for the race this weekend. I suppose that seems to be it for now. 

Monday, September 1, 2008

Missing the Action

Well, I heard there is some trail work under way back in Emporia. I am quite upset to not be a part of it. But, I did manage to have a great day anyways. After some early morning shopping, (had to get some big boy pants for the jobby job), and some wonderful leftovers, I hit up the trails. I needed to avenge myself in this town with some good riding. As soon as I pulled up I was fortunate enough to meet up with a few local riders. After some introductions (The two Kyle's and Nick) we got on some singletrack. And it was amazing. It's no wonder these MO boys (and gals) know how to rip it. Immediately descending right from the trailhead, a bit loose, but nice and flowy. Across a bridge or two, through a parking lot, and then the rocky climbing. I guess when it comes to bikes, what goes down must come up. We passed by the Devil's Ice box (A cave) and kept on shredding. Shortly after however, one of the Kyle's broke his rear derailleur. That kinda ended his day. We parted ways and I kept on the trail. It was a long walk back to the parking lot, so after some exploration of my own I happened to pull back in at the same time as these guys. The Kyle with the good bike hadn't had enough so we mounted up and went for round two. This time we went the opposite direction and rode all new trail. I was told there was 22 miles worth of trail in the park! Does it get much better? With about 1/2 a mile to go, Kyle bent the master link on his chain. We slapped it back together and rode easy, trying not to put any stress on it. After making it back my mind definitely wanted more, but I had already been there for 3 hours, so my body won that argument and I called it a day. I venture on to Memphis tomorrow morning, I'm not excited about the drive, but I am ready for the adventure! Tune in soon for the updates.

p.s. I know, no pics. My computer isn't wanting to pick up the pirated signal anymore, but they're coming. I promise!