Tag Archives: south carolina

2013 Schedule


While it is easy to get carried away with my plans for next August, there’s a lot to do between March and July in order to succeed in the Alps. With that in mind, I put together an ambitious schedule for the coming year.

Last year the goal was to ride the four or five toughest centuries in the southeast. I succeeded in that challenge, at least in riding the popular centuries that are argued to be most challenging. However, my list was not definitive. There are lots of rides in the southeast, some of them could be tougher than the ones I attempted last year.

For this coming year, my goal is try out new rides in different parts of the country. The only duplicates on this schedule are Assault on the Carolinas and the Assault on Mount Mitchell, both of which I will ride for my third time. The remainders are all new, and some are further out of town.

These are just organized events. We’re already talking about training rides in between. Needless to say, there will be a lot of climbing in 2013.

Assault on the Carolinas Brevard, NC
Cheaha Challenge Piedmont, AL
Burnt Mountain Century Cumming, GA
3 State 3 Mountain Chattanooga, TN
Assault on Mount Mitchell Spartanburg, SC
Mountains of Misery Roanoke, VA
3 Mountain Madness Winston Salem, NC
Cherohala Challenge Tellico Plains, TN
Roan Moan Bakersville, NC
Haute Route Geneva, Switzerland to Nice, France

These rides all stop at Haute Route. There are other rides I’d like to try in the late fall, such as Tour de Gaps, Hincapie, and I’d like another run at Bridge to Bridge. Whether I do them or not will depend on how I feel.

2012 Ray Tanner Home Run

As an avid South Carolina Gamecock fan, the Ray Tanner Home Run was an event I’ve wanted to run for awhile. I couldn’t three years because of my running injury, and the last two were date conflicts with cycling events. With my recent injury, it looked like this might be another scratch, but determination counts for something. I kept my registration with the intention of walking the course.

Ray Tanner, for those who don’t know, is a local legend. He was the Baseball coach who led the Gamecocks to consecutive College World Series championships. He has since been promoted to Athletic Director, and is now overseeing the best football team in years under Steve Spurrier. On the day of the race, the football Gamecocks would be away playing the LSU Tigers. A win would vault them to the national championship race. Needless to say, this is an exciting time to support the program.

What’s great about this ride is the location. It begins bright and early at Carolina Stadium, where the Gamecocks play their home games. It ends at home plate, with the awards presentation at left field. With just over 1,800 athletes participating, it was a crowded and festive atmosphere.

Because of the Ray’s new position and the LSU game this evening, he could not make it to the event. Instead, Karen, his wife, hosted thousands of riders, family members, and volunteers. She gave us some thanks and words of encouragement before a young girl (sorry, missed the name) started the race with an air horn. The 12k runners started first, with the 5k pack leaving half an hour later.

The weather changed my plans. It was a cool morning in the low 50s, with a chilling breeze. As we lined up, I moved further and further towards the back of the pack. I was only allowed to walk, as I kept reminding myself, and didn’t want to be motivated by other runners.

The race started, and I started walking with the pack. This wasn’t working. I had to jog slowly to warm myself up. Oddly enough, it felt alright. I kept at it for maybe half a mile. Then I forced myself to stop and walk. I walked/jogged the rest of the route, not wanting to push myself further into injury. When I crossed home plate, it had taken me 37:29, which I will take for my injured state. According to the official results, I finished 393rd out of 659 finishers of the 5k. Having expectations of being close to last, this was fantastic.

The run was encouraging. The hip was slightly sore afterward, but it mostly held up. It should be fine to train on in the next week or two. I could also tell that the rest was good for me. I had a lot more running power than I expected, especially on the hills. There were times I felt I could pick up the pace, but kept myself in check just to be safe.

The event was awesome. It is a great feeling to finish at home plate to a cheering crowd. The ride director, Ken Lowden, did a phenomenal job. As Karen said at the beginning, it simply would not happen without he and his volunteers.

Running is probably not going to be in the training plan for France. This will most likely be my last one for quite awhile.


Sending the Bike West ..

My bike arrived yesterday in Colorado. Next week I’ll be joining it for some fun in the Rocky Mountains. For now, I’m hanging out in the rainy and hot Southeast, doing some cross-training to keep myself in decent riding shape.

To my surprise, a number of people have asked about the process of shipping the bike cross-country. I had no idea there would be such interest in such a mundane topic, but I guess it is not something that is done all the time. Why not blog about it, eh?

This was a new experience for me. I did my research, found out the cost, and weighed that against the alternatives. The only real alternative in this case is to rent a bike while there. Even though shipping is an expensive process, it was a better for option for me. Rentals for a comparable bike run high, close to $100 a day where I would be. Most rentals are for 24-hour periods. Since I will be there for a total of ten days, that could add up. If I decided to skip a day or two, I would have to take it back to the shop, then get re-fitted when I rent again. It would be expensive, inconvenient, and I would most likely not get a comfortable bike.

The decision was easy. My gorgeous Cervelo would get a taste of the Colorado Fourteeners.

Since I have no mechanical ability whatsoever, the first step was to get the bike dismantled and into a box. My good friends at Summit Cycles were happy to oblige for $50. I would need to find a bike shop at the other end that would receive the bike, unbox and put it back together. Big Ring Cycles in Golden, CO is doing that for me for another $50. They will also give it a minor tune-up while rebuilding, and do a re-fit when I pick it up.

When Summit finished, they sent me on my way to Fedex. I lugged this gigantic box into the nearest Kinko’s and placed it on the scale. It weighed 25 lbs, heavier than I expected. He asked the value and I gulped. This is not exactly a cheap bike. I wasn’t crazy about revealing the cost to a stranger, but I had to insure it for the proper amount. When I told him, he blinked. He then looked inside the holes in the box, trying to figure out what was so special about the dismantled carbon fiber inside. “You’re serious about cycling, aren’t you?” he asked. Yep. He then proceeded to ask me if I thought Lance Armstrong doped, which is pretty much what every non-cyclist asks me.

The total for shipping was $98. Yikes!

I’ll be looking at roughly the same price to return it. That added to the reboxing and unboxing, will make this whole thing in the $400 range. It is certainly expensive, but this is a vacation, and I will have the bike I love so much for 10 days in the Colorado mountains. I cannot complain about that.

The next question was the timing. Colorado is a thriving bicycle community, and I could tell when reaching out to their bike shops that they had a lot of ongoing service work. Not only did the package have to beat me to Colorado, but it had to get there early enough for them to have the time to rebuild it. The last thing I wanted was to show up and it not be ready. In light of this, I probably sent it a little too early. I sent it Monday. It arrived Thursday. I’ll arrive next Friday. So the bike shop has a week to do their work, plenty of time.

As it turns out, it has rained just about everyday I’ve been without a bike. It is weird with it not being around, but I haven’t actually missed it. I take comfort knowing that it’s a mile-higher than me, waiting patiently.

New Section: Climbs

This is a new area I have been working on for awhile that is finally ready to publish. This is a directory or index of sorts that lists the climbs I have explored in various states. Right now the majority are in South Carolina and North Carolina, although I expect this to expand the more I ride and blog. Right now everything is on one page and may seem a bit messy, but in time I plan to split it into separate pages for each state and possibly for each region, depending on how well I can populate it.

You can access the new section anytime from the top navigation or by following this link: Climbs

You are welcome to suggest areas for me to explore either on Twitter, Comment or Email.