Sunday, July 13, 2008

Holy Rollers 2008

A few pics from last years Holy Roller ride.

ID3 Race Report: TT

Ok, its been a long time since my last post but finally revisited my blog and found several unfinished post. Here is one from the Mill Mnt Time Trail.

Seth and I did a bike race over the summer and made China's CCTV News! Here's the funny part. They were doing a segment on how cycling is a "family" event. We'll my ex-wife and her 2 children from her current marriage were there to watch Seth. After the race, the TV crew saw the 5 of us together, asked if Seth was our son and if the other children were his brother and sister, then made an assumption that we were married. The interviewer said, "you seem like happy family, do you mind if we interview you?" Mary and I looked at each other, smiled and figured it would be too difficult to explain. So, we went with it. Good thing her husband wasn't there too, that would have made the interview very interesting! Its about a 4 min video and we are at the 2:25 and 3:00 mark. Check out the link below for the story.

Below are a few pics.

ID3 Race Report: Crit

My first criterium!!!!!!!

Crash in turn 2

Maybe the picture tells it all. My first crit. I was real excited about racing and also a little nervous. Although I have done several Road & Mtb races, I have never done a crit. Crits are really fast and furious. If you have never watched one, then you need too. Way more exciting than watching generic cars go around a track. And there are no caution flags to regroup the field. Pit stops? Forget about it. Don't have time to stop!!!!!!!! Not to pick on you NASCAR fans but. . . OK, one last jab. I'll even use a Indy Car quote instead.

Ah, now that is racing--Indy style!

"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"

Mario Andretti

My Cat 5 race consisted of about 25 riders. We line up for the start and the gun sound. My objective is to hang with the stronger riders and DON'T CRASH. After a few laps, I was feeling confident and at ease in the corners. I'm around 5th place and hanging on Gordon's wheel. I knew Gordon was one of the strongest. I begin to pedal a little more in the turns trying to get a feel of the pedal clearance. I knew as the race went on, I would have to increase my speed in the turns and wanted to be as efficient as possible in and out of the turns by getting in a few extra cranks before and after the turns.

I guess I tested it a little too much. I went down in turn 2. My pedal hit really hard sending the rear of the bike out from under me. All I could think about was get the heck out of the way of the other riders. Once everyone passed, I quickly mounted my bike and took off again. Below is Ron on another guy's wheel in the same turn. That is exactly what happened to me.


After getting back on the bike, I took off to try and catch the leaders. Remember there are no caution flags. If you are dropped, then too bad.

Donnie and I worked together and picked off several riders.

Notice the above photo. Check out the little bit of clearance my right pedal has. ahhhhh. Actually, the pedal hit pavement again but not hard enough to throw me off this time. Gordon and the leaders were lapping the field and caught up with me. That was OK. Besides, I wanted to see if I could hang with the stronger guys. My goal of not crashing failed so lets see if I can hang. We take a couple of laps and I'm hanging on. Alright, feeling good, keep it up. Then we hit the main straight and I flatted. AHHHHHGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't believe it. A flat tire. I was now ticked. Wreck. Hey, that's ok. Now I'm out of the race because of a flat. Oh well. Good news is I really enjoyed my first crit and look forward to another one.

Here's a slideshow of this day.

ID3 Race Report: Kid's Crit

This was Seth's first criterium. We'll, mine too. He was pumped and excited about the race. We made a couple of laps around the 3/4 mile course so that he knows the turns. I should have taken a better look at some of those turns. I had a wipe-out in one of them.
I'll save that for the next post.

See the big chopper bikes on the right.
The kids line up and Seth displays his race face. He asked, "Daddy. Which one do you think is the fastest?" I looked at one of the older boys with the chopper bike, pointed to him and said, "He looks fast." He responds, "Ok, I'll hang on his wheel." Yeah, he is already picking up on tactics and race language!!!!!!!!!!!
The guns goes off and the kids are flying down the first stretch. Seth is near the front heading towards the first turn. When Seth and I do triathlons together or just out riding bikes, we talk about the proper techniques of riding and what helps you to go faster. I watch him fly around the course and see he is trying to get in a tucked aero position. I had to smile:)
They make it around the final turn and head for the finish.
Seth is in 4th place trying to catch 3rd.

He stands and sprints for the finish!!!

4th place out of about 12 riders!!!!!!!!!!
Way to Go!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Daddy? Where Are You?

It's really cool how children teach grown ups about God. I'm beginning to understand why Jesus adored children and said things such as, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these" (Luke 18:16). In fact, Jesus often reprimanded the arrogance of the adults and stated that our faith should be like that of a child (Matthew 18:4-5).

Seth is always teaching me about my relationship with my Heavenly Father. Most mornings I arise well before Seth. Typically, I piddle around on the computer, read and spend some quite time with God. I find the mornings so refreshing. Even if it is for a few minutes, I try to be still and quiet so that I can hear the voice of my Heavenly Father speaking. I hear the birds chirping and the cars whizzing by. And, just as I reach the point of quiet surrender, I hear a familiar voice call out, "Daddy, where are you?" I respond loudly, "I'm upstairs." Seth says, "Ok. Just wanted to know." Twenty minutes or so goes by. I walk downstairs thinking I would see him playing video games or playing with his cars. Nope, he is sleeping peacefully in bed.

Have you ever wondered where your Heavenly Father is? Maybe there are times in your life that you feel He has left you or abandoned you and you call out, "Where are you?" Whether you are awake, busy in the day or sleeping, do you have a sense of peace knowing your Heavenly Father is near you. Know that your Heavenly Father is ALWAYS with you. "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5). Being assured of my presence, he was able to sleep peacefully.

Come to me, all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

Saturday, June 28, 2008

UGA VI 1999-2008

thanks for the years!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There're Signs

I was visiting a hospital the other day and came across these signs. I tend to find humor in most anything. This one just made me LOL and say "Hum," Let's see. Bathrooms and phones are 2 germ infested areas. Maybe they have a good idea. Maybe instead of a magazine rack next to the toilet, there's a phone to pass the time. Maybe these phones are in a shape of a toilet. I wonder if they provide wireless on the john. Let's see, yep. I'm up and going. People keep knocking on the door. I wonder if someone needs the phone.

Ok, here's the other. If I do have a cold or flu, isn't it too late by the time I read this sign. This is one is found on the surgical floor, not the main entrance. Does this sign apply to employees too or just visitors? Hum?! Ironically, this sign was next to the bathroom/phone sign. Ah, that makes sense. If you read this sign and realize you do have a cold or flu, you then have a isolation room to prevent further contaminating of others and a phone to call a Dr. for help! I hope there is toilet paper in there:)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Kayaking, Abram & God

What does Kayaking, Abram (later named Abraham) and God have in common? Let's see if I can link them together. For 6 months my son, Seth, has been voicing his desire for a kayak on his 7th birthday. There are only a few kayak manufacturers that make specific kid's kayaks. I heard about a family owned company called Jackson's Kayaks. I've been taking Seth canoeing for 2 yrs and he seems to love the water and rapids. We've watched some hardcore whitewater kayakers diving off waterfalls on TV and he said, "Daddy, I'm going to do a waterfall like that one day!" Well, his birthday came and he got his Jackson Fun 1 kayak. I'm still a little hesitant on how he will handle it and the rapids, but I like to provide him opportunities to find out what he likes or dislikes. Not forcing him into what I like or want but providing a safe environment for him to "test the waters" of what life brings. So off we went to a local swimming hole.

In Genesis, God promised Abram that he would be the father of a great nation. "The Lord said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people, and your father's household and go to the land I will show you' " (Genesis 12:1). Many of us do not like to travel anywhere unless we know where we are going. Some of us want to know how long we will be, what we will need, and how we will get there and who will be with us.

Throughout history, God simply doesn't work that way. God has ALWAYS said, "Follow me and I'll show you the way." Jesus continued to work from the same paradigm as he calls a hodgepodge of people to "Follow me. . ." (Matthew 4:19). He went on to say, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the son of man has no place to lay his head" (Matthew 8:20).

However, God promises us that when we do follow, we will be blessed and protected. "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Genesis 12:2-3).

Take a few moments and reflect upon your life. Can you truly believe that you are where you are, with who you are with, part of the family you have, doing what you are doing? When we set out in life, we may think we know where we are going but do we really know? When I embarked upon the call into ordained ministry, I never thought I would end up at a Erskine Seminary creating life-long friendships. I never thought I would meet my wife in seminary only to have it end in divorce seven years later. I wasn't keen on having children and never thought I was capable of loving someone as much as love Seth. For he is truly the greatest blessing of my life. I never thought I would be sitting in the Civic Center in Roanoke VA during the VAUMC Annual Conference writing this blog:) Oh yeah, wearing a yellow bike jersey, spandex shorts and white crocs! Hum, more on that later but you can check it out at

As you reflect upon your life, what does it look like? Has it been smooth sailing or full of dangerous rapids? My guess is both! So Seth and I took to the rapids. At first we paddled in the calm waters getting a feel of the new kayak. He would practice rolling out of the kayak, swimming to shore, emptying the water out and hopping back in to do it all over again.

After about an hour of play, he began to look further upstream at some rapids. He felt the call to a bigger and more dangerous path. He didn't want his "trick" kayak to paddle in the flat, calm waters. He wanted the "trick" kayak to descend waterfalls and shoot the big rapids. He wanted a new adventure, not the complacent status quo. I asked if he wanted to try the rapids and he said, "No, they look scary." But he would slowly work his way up stream contemplating the rapids. About thirty minutes later he said, "Daddy, I'm ready. Let's do it."

"So Abram left, as the Lord had told him" (Genesis 12:4).

So up the rapids we went. Seth wasn't strong enough to carry his kayak while wading upstream. So kayak in one hand while Seth held my other hand, we worked our way through the slippery rocks above the rapids. I had a friend help him into the kayak and hold him until I waded downstream to take pictures and prepare for any problems.

Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him (Genesis 12:6-7).

Through a long journey, Abram's name was changed to Abraham. He and his wife Sarah had a child very late in life and named him Isaac. But that wasn't the end of their journey. About when Isaac reached maturity, God instructed Abraham to follow unto top of a mountain and sacrifice his son Isaac, literally slay him with a knife upon an altar. Sounds horrible and in one sense maybe so. Abraham trusted God knowing and proceeding to carry out His command. This is cool. Abraham so believed in the power of God that he said, "We (Abraham and Isaac)will worship and then WE will come back to you" (Genesis 22:5). An angel of the Lord stopped Abraham's hand from harming Isaac and then pointed into the thicket towards a lamb to sacrifice (Genesis 22). And Jesus cried out from the cross, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

Life is much like paddling the rivers. Moreover, we are CALLED to paddle the rivers. Yes, there will be rapids. Yes, there will be times in which the boat will capsize. Yes, there will be times in which storms come and we get scared. However, our Heavenly Father is with us every bit of the way. Just as I provided a safe environment for Seth to learn. God provides those opportunities for us to grow.

So trust your Heavenly Father with your life. Trust Him as you paddle the rapids and He will lead you into the waters of eternal blessings!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Top 10 Lessons Learned from a 24 hr mtb race


10. If it can break, it will.

9. Don't start off too hard, it's a long way till the finish.

8. If you have a RV, you can actually get some sleep!

7. No, I didn't pee in the sleeping bag, its called dew--Seth

6. You need more than a flash light zip-tied to your helmet to ride at night--Greg

5. Aliens are real, I saw them several times around 3am!

4. If teenagers are on your team, they will fall asleep & not show up at the transition! And a 7 yr old can not stay awake all night either.

3. If you wake a teenager from sleep, he may curse you out!

2. The sun will rise! Hang in there

1. The 5am shadows are not really bears and the roots are not really snakes.

OK more than 10.

The top thing I learned from the 24 hr mtb race is:


24hr Burn: Yeah a 24 hr Mtb Race. All night!

24hr Burn Mtb Race
I know. WTH! Or you nuts again. Everytime I set off for one of my adventures I call my mom and tell her. She always responds, "You're doing what?!" followed by a big sigh. Sorry mom for all those years I have taken off your life:)

Ok, here's the deal. I find out some of the RCO guys/gals are doing this 24hr mtb race in Wilkesboro, NC. I couldn't resist. I called a few guys to get a team but was willing to try it solo if necessary. See, I enjoy these long distance suffer fests. They help validate the idea that I have what it takes. Maybe it's ego, maybe not. Maybe I feel I have something to prove. Maybe I simply enjoy it. Whatever the case, many well qualified people have made attempts at analyzing this narcissistic behavior. My longest event has been an offroad ironman. It took me about 20 hrs. Well thank goodness I had a couple of teammates to help out with this one!

As with all of my events. Main Goal is to HAVE FUN! The race is basically do as many 7.5 mile laps as possible in a 24hr time frame. If you have teammates, then you can alternate laps and get some rest in between. There were some solo nuts out there and they did about 30 something laps. That's over 200 miles on the mountain bike. WOW.

I pick my #1 teammate up from school. He has just turned 7. That's my boy Seth! I told him we were going to do a 24 hr race, get to camp and eat campfire meals. He loves those army MRE meals! His reaction was priceless. "Daddy, do you mean I get to stay up all night?" I responded, "Yep, it sure does." Seth raises his arms high and shouts, "Yesssssss! Up all night and nobody telling what to do!" WHAT? Where did the "nobody telling me what to do" come in? He's only 7. Oh well, I knew he wouldn't make it past 10pm.

He found some friends and this trike bike. Boy did they have fun riding those things. When darkness fell, he stayed close by the campsite, cheering on the riders and helping us with the water bottles and food. About 10pm he said, "Daddy, I think I'll get in the tent for a little while." He crawls in his sleeping bag still cheering riders as they pass by. A few minutes passed and I heard no sound. He was out till sunrise. Lesson learned. Give kids some freedom to do things. Instead of saying "NO" you can't stay up all night, say "YES." He managed to get to bed on his own at a reasonable hour. Saying "YES" often takes away the desire where as a "NO" increases the hunger to do whatever it is.

Greg Bartocci and myself make up the team. But wait, we found another kid at the race that was looking for a team. 15 yr old Randall Charwood from eastern VA. He and his family were there with 2 other teams. His dad was looking for a cool team for him to join. What cooler team that 1 Preacher 3 Sinners team. Yeah, that's our name. I knew it would raise questions and it did from the moment we registered. Ok, let's do the math. 1 Preacher 3 Sinners = 4 right? They kept wanting that 4th teammate to add. Ah I question, is a preacher above sin? It took a few minutes but they got it. Do you?

So the race starts. I took the first lap and you would have thought it was a 1-2 hr race. People were going nuts. I'm like, come on guys, we are going to be out here all night. Sprinting up this first hill isn't going to win it for you. We started out taking one lap at a time which takes about 45 minutes. That leaves a little more than an hr for rest between rides. Ride a lap, come in, eat, rest, head out for another lap. During the night I doubled up some laps because of the kids needing their beauty sleep:) These trails rocked. Below is Greg getting some air!

Things going well near sunset. Feeling strong but hungryAh nothing better than hot food to get you through the night. Lets see. I had Mountain House Beef stew, Chili Mac, Lasagna, 4 Latte's, 3 Burns, 1 bottle of hammer gel, too many Enduralite caps and anti fatigue caps to count. Countless bottles of heed. 4 peanut butter sandwiches, bag of chips, 4 cliff bars, and other food that I can't remember. And I still lost 5 lbs. Go figure? Thx to the rescue squad next to us that had a fire going. I got cold and wet. Fire and food are the number one thing for survival in the wild:)

Randall road great! His father said he was a trooper and that he was. He rode strong and with determination. He flatted twice on his first lap which took him about 1.5 hrs. I saw him coming out of the woods carrying his bike for another 1/2 mile to the transition. Way to go Randall!

Ok, below is our camp. Look closer. Do you see that huge 75ft RV! Seth and I arrived at the site and saw it with our RCO sign. He said, "daddy, is that ours? That's my team!" Our yeah, the team was pimped out in this RV. Check out Warren's (the other warren) blog for full report.

Check out this sign. We were so styln at this race! If you don't get the D-listed Race Team name check out Warren's blog for an explanation! Great name guys and Paula.

Oh yeah, speaking of Paula. Things get a little crazy in the night. People see things like aliens and wear strange clothing.

Remember? The race is about having fun and we did. I'm chilln before the next lap.D-Team might have had the RV. But we had the toys. Remote control trucks, Put-put course, trikes, golf clubs, etc.Well Seth and I signing off. Until then remember to:

Ride hard for the end is near!