Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring Break and Base Camp Recon

It always fun for me to write these blogs as I get to do them in some very different places…this one (when I started it) is from a log cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. It is really nice to be out of the flat land for a week.

Let’s start with old business...

First – I got some cool pictures from guyz from Tampa…

Will Larson from last weekend…very cool image – you got the cover shot baby!!!


Michael Bowen takes the tough guy award for a good bounce off the deck and still landing on the podium – NICE!!!


Karel sporting the new Lindner kit – check out VMS on the shoulder – looks good.


Curtis is pimping a very fly Herbalife kit.


New Business…

This weekend is New Orleans 70.3 and Ironman California 70.3. Good luck to the crew…James Sweeney and Danny Domingo in the bayou and VMS #1 Paul Cantin in Oceanside. Fast guy Billy Hart is in Clermont for an Olympic Distance race – medals or medical!!! My neighbor and camo loving tough guy Peter Litsky is heading for the Gulf for his 1st even triathlon – a half ironman – dude – start bigger next time :) Peter is strong right now and he should go 5:15 or better and on Mildred (my bike) he will be the best outfitted 1st timer ever!!!

If I missed anyone – I apologize – Kia Kaha to all those racing.

My standard disclaimer – if you have anything better to do – stop reading now… or I am not responsible for the self inflicted waste of time…you have been warned :)

In 19XX – I went to school in South Carolina near the mountains and went to Florida for spring break…

Now I live in Florida and head for the SC/NC border for the mountains for spring break and to recon our routes and plans for the Fall VMS camp.

Wet t-shirt contests and bar specials have been replaced by slingshots by a creek with a very cool roommate.


Times have changed :)

In one sentence – The NC mountains and Gatlinburg, TN are AWESOME -= picture Panama City Beach with Terrain :)

Rednecks and 5 year olds love the same things…candy shops…Ripley’s believe it or not and air brush t-shirts :)

And last time I checked…If you hear banjo music – you are not far from the hills.

I am getting seriously spoiled this week as I have gotten to ride 3.5 on Sat, 2.5 on Sun, 3.5 on Mon, 3 Tuesday, 1.5 on Wednesday, 2.5 on Thursday……mix in 3 hours of running so far and that is a pretty strong training week. My mileage is almost nothing but I am over 16K+ of climbing in 4 days..It is amazing to me how easy it is to have a really steady power file at 7mph :)

The weather here is REALLY cold in the mornings…34-36 degrees had me pulling out all the snivel gear.

Other than a few miles on some 4 lane roads, almost all of the riding has been devoid of cars and fantastic.

Day 1 was from Asheville, NC to Chimney Rock, NC – picnic lunch when we got there…hike…explore…trail run…water falls…and then off to Bryson City. The cabin in Bryson city was really cool – very remote (wish I had Kava with me) but no internet – VERY BIG BUMMER…

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Day 2 was from Bryson City to Cherokee and then over the gap (5,000’) to Gatlinburg. It was snowing lightly and icy at the top so I jumped in the car for the descent. We spent the afternoon in Dolly World and the Cirque d’ Soleil show was so good we watched it twice. We spent the night in Gatlinburg and had a cool dinner and walked the streets surveying the airbrush t-shirt and of course ….NASCAR shops.






Day 3 was an early start…1h+ trail run in the Smokey Mountains thinking I was Jack London Call of the Wild until I was startled by a sound which turned out to be 2 grandma’s drinking chai tea lattes on their morning stroll – apparently I was not as far from civilization as my mind allowed me to wander. After the run, breakfast and quick shower…headed to the Gatlinburg Aquarium. Stayed for an hour or so and then headed out to ride while Drew and Bone lounged and lunched. Another 3 hours and 4K of climbing and I was back in Cherokee and ready to jump in the car – it was pretty cold.


Day 4 was raining really hard so I opted for a 1 ½ on the trainer early then played games with bone…when the rain stopped we went to Tsali for him to mountain bike and I trail ran behind him. Long HARD run pushing the little man up the hills. Later we went to Nanahalla Outdoor area and it was spectacular!!! After that, off to Chattanooga.




Day 5 was up early and climb to top of Lookout Mountain. Did a map recon but I choose the wrong route and ended up on the Chattanooga equivalent of Phillips Highway at rush hour and it was NOT good…got really scared and found my 1st turn off and took it. The climb and the top were incredible. 2.5h and 3K later I was back the hotel for a quick shower and then off to the iMax and the Aquarium, The rest of the day was walking around in a warm dark friendly settling with lots of park benches (I had to stand as the training makes 2:30pm nap time :))



Tomorrow is supposed to be a little rainy in the morning and then better in the afternoon so we’ll see…

Building a plan to train and vacation with the family at the same time is tricky…I try to create balance…this time was more play than training…I finished almost everyday by 11am. Also, I would not recommend this without a REALLY supportive crew – thanks Drew. It’s great to be able to get into a warm car after a chilly ride…find a bagel, recovery drinks and clean dry clothes.

I will definitely be coming back…NO DOUBT…

Next time…all the munches…more friends…more events…White Water Rafting and fishing…and last…Kava to keep the Bears away and let me sleep better – damn those Banjo’s :)

Kia Kaha!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dude, this is funny. We hung out near Walhalla and did the Smokey Mountain Train ride in Bryson City on Monday and stopped at Nanahalla Outdoor Center. Got the same freaking pictures too. I seriously thought about Chimney Rock, but was vetoed for Biltmore.

Ron P.