Brand New Cyclist, Thanks to RAM Influence
Nov 2011 04

The Kevin Morris Story by Masher

I’ve known Kevin Morris for almost two years now, since I joined forces at Team Fayette as an employee in the  H2O Maestro plumbing division of Fayette Heating & Air. Kevin is a commercial service technician in the HVAC department and is also a licensed electrician. I see Kevin almost every morning in the break room before we begin our work day, however these days we are starting to see a lot LESS of him.

Morris is an outgoing guy, the kind of person that probably never met a stranger growing up. He is very good at talking to anyone and everyone, finding out what he has in common with you, and proceeding to make friendship through it. He is a family man with high interests in the outdoors, especially fishing and most recently bicycling. Kevin is a typical blue collar American with an extraordinary story of improved fitness, and his story holds some chapters not yet revealed, it’s a work in progress. Check out the recent conversation Masher had with Kevin Morris and listen to some pretty motivating words if you are trying to lose weight. It’s also interesting how his perception of cyclists has changed from “dorky” to “a new love in life.”

If you’ve ever needed to lose any weight, whether i’ts 10 pounds more than 100 pounds, there’s a good chance that you also wanted to lose that excess weight. And it’s completely normal, if you tried one or two or more different methods, but failed. Some failures are caused by health reasons, while others are simply a lack of commitment. It’s never easy, I know personally, having gained and lost, lost and gained weight several times in my adult life. I certainly need to shed some excess pounds right now, and have failed to commit myself to a plan, but I’m very motivated by Kevin Morris’s story. You see, Kevin made a commitment, and is on the brink of losing 100 pounds. And he is not finished!

QUESTION: So what was different about this time? Surely you tried a diet plan or two in the past, and what have you done that has allowed you to follow through this time and what convinced you to do it most?

ANSWER: “Commitment is absolutely the key to success in losing excess weight. When I decided to get on this (no sugar, low carb) diet, I made myself go four months before I cheated, and I only cheated then by having a dinner out and piece of cake with my wife on our anniversary. Then it was straight back to the meal plan. It probably sounds somewhat corny as an excuse, but I was convinced I wasn’t going to be the person who couldn’t be active with my son, who is only one year old now.”

QUESTION: Why the low carb, no sugar meal plan similar to the “Atkins Diet?” There are so many options out there, what made you try this one and stick with it?

ANSWER: “I struggle with too many options, such as a “Weight Watchers” plan or counting calories, etc. I needed a plan that had more limitations, so I would know I can only eat this or that, and it’s a lot easier for me to plan my meals this way.”

QUESTION: Don’t you get burnt out on the same old meals?

ANSWER: “No, it’s amazing how diverse a salad can be when you change it up by adding or subtracting the foods that are on the plan such as meats, cheese, and nuts. And it’s not salad all the time, but salad is something I love so I eat it as often as possible. 0-sugar peanut butter has become my dessert, and I look forward to my spoonful every night!”

QUESTION: So exactly how much have you lost, you look like a different person? Of coarse, seeing you all the time, it’s not as noticeable every day, but it’s crazy to look back at a picture from the old you.

ANSWER: “Well, I was around 350 at my heaviest, and I’ve sort of plateaued over the last two weeks, but I now weigh 255. My original goal was to get to 265 with out having to exercise. I hate exercising, in fact, I told myself I would quit the plan before I start a workout.”

QUESTION: Almost 100 pounds? WOW, that’s amazing!!! You obviously changed your mind about exercise since you recently bought a bike and began cycling, right?

ANSWER: “Sorta, kinda. In my mind, I consider exercise as working out indoors, at a gym, etc. Since I ride my bike outside, I just feel like I’m relaxing in the outdoors more. I perceive bicycling more as a recreational sport, than a workout or exercise plan.

MASHER COMMENT: “I can relate somewhat, but I know for a fact, that I can get as much out of a bike ride as I put into it. As a former moderate runner, I compare the two sports by claiming that the worst part of a run is the run and you always feel better when you finish, but the worst part of a bike ride is the end, and the best part is the ride! Either way, I would much rather be outside than inside on a treadmill or stationary bike any day.”

QUESTION: So why cycling? Of all the outdoor “recreations” or sports you could have dove into, what made you pick bicycling?

ANSWER: “Well, I have to give that credit to you, Pearl (KP the Masher). I didn’t have the first clue what to expect from bicycling, but I remember passing people on bikes on the road and thinking they were a bit dorky, and slowing down traffic. Now I am much more aware of cyclists on the roadways and am happy to be riding myself. I had no idea what I needed to get started and where to go get it, so that’s where you came in and gave me great advice. If I didn’t know you and pick your brain about cycling, I’m confident I would have never given it a thought. I owe a big thanks to Masher.”

QUESTION: What keeps you motivated? You have slowed down some on the weight loss, which typically means you are getting close to your target healthy weight, so what will keep you on track now?

ANSWER: “That’s what I worried about, but staying focused is part of the commitment. I know we are going into a tough time of year for cycling because the days get shorter, and the weather gets tough to ride in, so I already got a membership to a local gym, and plan to do exactly what I thought I never would. I plan to work out and stay on the same diet, it’s worked for me so far, and I know it has. Looking at some of the old pictures of me are a brutal reminder of where I came from, and that is great motivation to stay on track.

MASHER CLOSING COMMENT: “Kevin is a very good friend, I am proud of him. He has given me more motivation, that I need right now, to improve my health. I have ridden over 2500 miles this year to date, including 3 centuries, and in 3 different states, and I feel like I’ve got a good grasp on my exercise, however I definitely can improve my eating habits. I WILL have my own weight loss story soon, too, I am confident of it, because I am ready to make a commitment. It is very gratifying to hear him give me credit for him becoming a new bicyclist. As our Mission reads here at RAM Cycling, we are committed to raising bicycling awareness, and what better way to do so than to add people to our bike population. In fact, Kevin also bought a bike for his wife, who is an avid runner, and she is also enjoying getting started in our beloved sport, as is her cousin, who followed suit. Thanks to RAM Cycling, we have added 3 bikes to the area! Keep up the good work Kevin, I hope you join RAM Cycling for a century ride next year, and you have plenty of time to train for GABRAKY 2012, also!

Constant Goals Focus is Necessary
Dec 2011 08

I began road cycling in 2006, and have ventured somewhere between 15,000 & 20,000 total miles on a bike since that first ride on my dad’s Trek hybrid. I challenge myself to stay in shape year round, and complete century rides throughout the riding season, however this year is the first time I ridden more than one century in a single year, having completed 3. I enjoy the time I spend on my bike, and thoroughly look forward to any challenging ride, it helps me motivate myself to train a little harder in preparation. Recently, I was thinking as the 2011 season begins to wind down, now is a great time to set some goals for next year. So many folks, myself included, wait until New Years Day to start trying to achieve new goals, and our thought process behind this idea is that we can waste all of our hard fought effort to be healthy for the first ten or eleven months out of the year, and just be a slob around the holidays. After all, it’s cold, wet, dark earlier, etc. All good reason to slow down on exercise, and pig out on the season’s comfort foods, right?

The answer to that question is, as one of my drill instructors at Parris Island notoriously repeated to us, “Not only no, but oh hell NO!” In fact, it is as simple as efficiency! In this day and age, with so much focus on people to make use of their time wisely, and use products that are highly energy efficient, taking care of  our body is no different. I know in my line of work, a couple of simple techniques: never set your heating and air unit thermostat more than six degrees away from where you intend to run the unit when you are at home, because it kills the efficiency of the unit trying to play catch up when you thought you were conserving, it actually uses more energy to get back to normal operation and causes more wear and tear than needed. Likewise, it makes little to no sense to heat water in a storage tank, and keep reheating until you are ready to use it, and then hope you have enough, when the technology is now available to heat your water on demand using less energy and never run out. Well we can get so much better results out of our workouts and stay healthy if we utilize these same concepts, and just like professional athletes, stay in shape throughout the off season.

The reason so many “New Years Resolutions” fail, is simple. We dig our hole too deep in the months leading up to that day when it is supposed to suddenly automatically change for us. In reality, yes our bodies do need an off season, but that doesn’t mean to shut it down 100% and lose focus on what you are truely trying to achieve in life. I propose that goal setting is essential to surviving the down time in the off season, and the more regular you can stay healthy, the more efficient your body will remain. Maintaining constant focus on your goals is necessary to achieve them! Also, it is important to set new ones as you reach your current goals, and don’t get discouraged if you have a minor set back in your routine, understand that any set back is only as temporary as you allow it to be. The better you stay focused, the better chance you have to not only achieve, but exceed your goals.

Having said all that, now it’s time to follow through! The warm riding season is officially over, I think it left with daylight savings time, so let the off season begin. What are my goals? I have given serious thought to these, and a couple are very lofty, but I feel like I’m ready for some tough ones, because I’m not going to let all of my 2011 fitness and shape go down the drain over the holidays, like I normally do. This year I’m getting a jump start on the next season, there is no better day to set out to achieve your goals than today! So today, I begin the path towards Masher’s 2012 Cycling Goals:

1. PARTICIPATE IN AT LEAST ONE BLUEGRASS CYCLING CLUB RIDE PER WEEK. I did this a few years ago, riding mostly with the folks in Frankfort out of Capital City Cycles, and it improved my speed and stamina greatly. The club offers rides every day of the week in different locations, so I can’t use work as an excuse, if I miss Monday, I still have 5 days to get to one!

2. PARTICIPATE IN AT LEAST ONE BIG GROUP RIDE PER MONTH. Most of these will be charity or fundraiser rides, and will allow me to visit different places and ride on new roads. April through October is the bulk of the riding season, and there are plenty of rides to find. I will.

3. COMPLETE THE RAIN RIDE WITH MY CYCLING COMPANION, THE RENAISSANCE MAN! RAIN Ride stands for ride across Indiana, it is a one day trek of about 160 miles one way across the Hoosier State. We talked about it this year, but were at Panama City Beach on vacation. The most miles I’ve ridden in a single day is about 115, and it felt like enough at the time. I will need to be in top shape to complete it.

4. LOSE FIFTY POUNDS. I know that sounds like a lot, but it’s where I need to be, where I want to be, where I will be.

5. INFORM MORE PEOPLE ABOUT RAM CYCLING AND ADD AT LEAST 5 NEW BIKES TO THE IMMEDIATE AREA. This one has nothing to do with my personal fitness, it has everything to do with my passion for cycling and how Renaissance Man & Masher intend to raise cycling awareness. This will always be on my goals list, hopefully, the others will get checked off and replaced about this same time next year.

*Masher

New Year, New Goals – Renaissance Style
Dec 2011 13

2012 Cycling Goals – Making it Happen!

Wow, 2011 is almost over!  I cannot believe how fast this year has flown by and how many miles the Masher and the Renaissance Man have rolled out.  By some standards our 2011 mileage may be small, but for my first full year in cycling, it was a big first step.  So after seeing that all things are possible on a bike, I am setting some pretty big goals for 2012.  So let’s get started:

Goal #1 – Ride 4,000 miles.  This represents a 60% increase in mileage over 2011 mileage of 2,500.  This is very attainable if the weather cooperates and I get the winter miles in that I skipped last year.

Goal #2 – Ride 6 Century Rides. – 2011 saw the RAM Cycling team burn up 3 century rides.  2012 is going to see us move to double that number.  We are already working on our calendar and feel very confident in meeting this goal.

Goal #3 – Ride more hills and more rides per week.  This is my only goal that I do not have a firm number to measure against.  How will I know that I succeeded?  The test for me will be in October at the annual GABRAKY ride.  The big hill on Day 3 – there will be no walking.

Goal #4 – Increase my average speed to 17 mph.  As a beginner cyclist in 2010 (and a hefty cyclist weighing in at 270 lbs.) my average pace was a less than respectable 12.3 mph.  2011 saw me increase this 16% to 14.3 mph.  Why the increase?  Weight loss, better conditioning and a new road bike all played a part.  How do I plan to get to 17+?  I plan to be more consistent in my training and to work hard at achieving the goals above.

To be successful in achieving these goals, I must work hard to integrate the goals into my lifestyle.  Ride more frequently and shorter distances (2011 saw an average ride distance of 26.1 miles per ride) at a faster pace.  I am definitely excited to get rolling in 2012!  So let’s make it happen in 2012!  Follow the adventure right here at www.ramcycling.com.

 

 

Importance Of Proper Bike Fit
Apr 2012 23

As the season winded down in 2011, I had my mind set on a new bike purchase and pulled the trigger in October, buying a new Jamis Zenith Pro road bike. I was anxious to begin putting miles on the new wheels, so I chose to take the standard set up on the bike and hop on. Hind sight proved that was not a smart decision. I rode moderately through the winter months, and with the mild weather, began accumulating great base miles in March, but I was not comfortable on the new bike like I was the old one.

I loved the feel of my new ride, the new components & gears, and the look. However, when I went out for a 15-30 mile ride, I experienced finger numbness, lower back pain, and some moderate knee soreness. I actually caught myself thinking at one point “I wonder if I could buy back my old bike?” That’s when I got some much needed advice in the form of a referral from my good friend and cycling companion Tim, the Renaissance Man. “Call Pedal Power Bike Shop and schedule a custom fitting with Alan. Trust me.” So I did. I spent about three hours on a Saturday early in March, being custom fit with my new bicycle, and I am proud to say we are now a real pair. Since being fit by Alan Brady at Pedal Power, I have accumulated over 500 miles on the new bike, and it feels great. No more pain and discomfort on an average ride, and no more thinking about the old bike . . . it’s now a great memory, but a good bike for another new local cyclist!

I should have known sooner to ask Tim for help, because he went through a similar experience. As his first ever cycling season closed out in 2010, he completed a ride across the state of Kentucky on his Giant hybrid frame bicycle, and decided he was committed to cycling. That’s when he got a new Litespeed carbon frame road bike for Christmas, and began the new season a lot faster than the previous. After completing his first century ride in April in Georgia, he began to have some serious discomfort on the new bike. He had purchased the bicycle online, taking advantage of some points that had built up on an account. He had the bike adjusted and fit at a local shop, but as he began to feel comfort issues arising, he began to question some of the settings. He, like me, loved the new bike, and just thought he had to suffer through some of the new pains.

In the month of May, he completed the Horsey Hundred century bike ride in our hometown of Georgetown, KY. Following the Memorial Day weekend riding, he could not bear the pain any more. Now, the numbness in his hands was occurring even when not on the bike, and he got to a point when he lost all strength in his hands, making it nearly unbearable to ride. After seeing several doctors and specialists in the medical field, and being recommended for surgery, he decided to follow his original gut instinct and have a second opinion on his bike fit.

He was spot on! He visited Pedal Power Bike Shop in Lexington, KY and had his custom bike fitting session with Alan Brady. Alan is certified by the Seratta International Cycling Institute (SICI), and uses the techniques and standards that he learned at the SICI school. Both Tim and I highly recommend going to see Alan and Pedal Power if you experience any discomfort on your bike. Trust us! A direct link to Pedal Power is on the right side column of this page and our home page. Please feel free to click on it and check out all of the services that they offer.

I would have to say that my custom bike fitting with Alan Brady at Pedal Power Bike Shop is one of the most thorough experiences I’ve ever had with my bike, other than an actual ride, and because of that experience, my rides are once again enjoyable. So if you’ve added or lost weight, or had any uncomfortable rides lately, maybe a custom bike fit is just what you need, whether you have a new or older bike. Please feel free to share this info with all of your cycling friends and tell Alan that RAM Cycling sent you!

*Masher

The Assault on Mt Mitchell Ride Review
Jul 2012 25

May 21st 2012, thousands of cyclists would gather in Spartanburg and bicycle 101 miles to the top of Mt. Mitchell. This is not a ride to do without some planning, so let me back up…

The Assault on Mt. Mitchell is a ride I have done several times in my past. Beginning in my 20’s, I have ridden this event once each decade of my life. The last time I biked this event was in my early 40’s. It was during my 40’s my life got a little busy and my bicycle began to collect dust. When I turned 50, my doctor placed me on two different types of blood pressure medications. Between that and the fact that I weighed 278 lbs, I realized it was time for a life style change. I knew I needed to exercise more and so I turned to what I have always loved, cycling.

I started bicycling again in April 2011. I went for a 7 mile bike ride. When I returned back home I felt horrible. A short hill almost had done me in. I had never been so out of shape before. I was wondering if it was even possible for me to get back anywhere near the shape I had once been in. My oldest son began to ride with me and encouraged me to continue. We set a high goal to be able to ride the Assault on Marion in 2011, which was only a month away. 7 miles turned into 14, then 20 and so on. I was building, but this was a slow process. Before I knew it, the Marion ride was upon us. My son and I with two other friends decided to use Mt. bikes to ride the 73 miles to Marion. With my weight, a street bike was not comfortable and I needed a more upright position. My weight at this time was close to 250 lbs. It took me 6 hours to go from Spartanburg to Marion in 2011. It was a long time on the bike, but I felt really good about it. I then set my goal to ride to the top of Mitchell in 2012.

I continued to ride, adding mileage and shedding the pounds. I complained to my Doctor about one of my BP prescriptions called a beta-blocker. It was keeping my heart rate down and made me feeling like I was fighting with my heart rate on the hills. When I got my weight was down to 240 lbs, the beta-blocker was removed.

I switched over to riding my Trek 5000. It was very uncomfortable at first and I had to raise the handlebars. I continued to train to achieve my goal for Mt. Mitchell. I have always set myself goals as it helps to keep me focused on target. At this point I had one goal and one material reward set. My goal was to make it to the top of Mt Mitchell in 2012 and the reward was going to be a new bike when I lost 50 lbs. It was around August –September I weighed in at less than 230 lbs and the purchase of a new bike was made.

I was increasing my training adding mountainous climbs, longer rides and continuing to drop more weight.  My average speed was increasing and so I began to join a few local group rides. I was now able to average 15 to 16 mph on a 30+ mile ride. To a lot of folks this may not seem like much, but I was very pleased to be making this kind of progress. My son, 28 years of age was still riding with me and whooping me on the bike. There was one time I recall my son and I were on a hill climb and he was asking me numerous questions. I finally said to him “Do you want to ride or talk, because I can’t do both?” as I was gasping for breath.

After a year of training for the Assault on Mt. Mitchell, it was now upon me. I had pre-registered and had a room at the Marriott at Renaissance Park. The Marriott is very close to the starting line and the closer we got the more bikes we saw. The town has been invaded by high dollar two wheeled vehicles.

As I tried to check in, I was informed there were no rooms ready. I guess there is some type of local event that weekend and the rooms were slow to be cleaned. While waiting for a room I decide to head over to the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium and pickup my packet and information. There were thousands of packets lined in alphabetical order. I located the “S” table where I had to sign and show a photo ID to pickup my packet. The fellow assisting me was very helpful, offering additional advice for the ride. He suggested making use of the baggage ticket so that I would be sure to have dry clothes on top of Mt. Mitchell or in Marion when I arrive. The trucks were already in the parking lot and being loaded with tote bags. I cannot begin to grasp the overall logistical nightmare of planning an event of this magnitude combined with its unique dynamics. Overall, the volunteers, support crews and organizers did a marvelous job!

I finally get situated in my room so I can now head out for dinner. I take in some pasta and salad, then stop at the local store and get a few bananas, snacks and cereal and then back to my room. One thing I always do is wipe down and wax my bike before a ride. I check the chain, shifting and then oil. If you want the bike to take of you the next day, then you better take care of it the night before. The night before is also the time to get the rider number on your bike and jersey. I was not using the rider number for the tote bag, so I attached it to my bike in addition to the bike number. Often I have seen rider numbers in the roadway during a ride and I did not want to have any conflicts with identifying my bike later. Finally, ready for sleep…

Monday, May 21, 2012 morning comes fast. 4 AM wakeup. I fix myself a small bowl of cornflakes and have a banana. I double check my bike, Garmin, water bottles and so on. Clothed and ready to roll head downstairs at 6 AM. As I arrive at the 7th floor elevator, there were several folks waiting with their bikes. Each time the elevator opened, we could not get in because they were already full. After about 4-5 full passes of elevator door openings we decided to press the up button. The “going up” elevator door opened and it was empty. We were able to get 6 or 7 people with bikes into that space. As we continued our trip up, the door would open 2 more times and I could hear the aggravation in the voices of those still waiting for an elevator.  That elevator stopped at almost every floor on the way back down.

Free! I made it to the lobby and then out the main doors. Bikes were everywhere! A cyclist’s paradise. I remember looking around at the variety of bikes and thinking about how much money invested in bicycles that was located in this one place and time. Then I began looking at the cyclists themselves and feeling slightly intimidated. I proceed to get inside the pack and lined up a little more than half way within the group. I stood there for about 10 minutes before the start and made idle chat with those around me. Where you from, what is your goal to the top and so on. I had set my goal at 7 to 8 hours to the top, remembering it took me 6 hours to get to Marion last year.

As the timer counts down those last few seconds of time, all you hear is the sound of thousands of shoes clipping in. When the start kicks off, it was another 15 seconds or so before I was able to begin moving. Alertness is on an all time high for the 1st 20miles. Folks were losing their water bottles causing cyclists to brake and swerve. The one term you will consistently hear is “SLOWING”. It doesn’t take long for you to get tired of hearing this term. I tried to locate a smooth and consistent rider to draft off within a larger group. I found a nice group of about 20-30 riders that seemed pretty steady until Bills Hill. After Bills Hill the group broke apart and dwindled in size.

I was trying to get to Marion as quick as I could yet not burn myself out in the process. I did not stop at any aid stations along the way to Marion. I was happy when I rolled into Marion in 3 hours and 35 minutes with a 21+ mph average speed. At this point let me reflect, 2011 in 6’ verses in 2012 in 3’35”. Now that is personal improvement! My wife (Beverly) was on the edge of the roadway waiting with refreshments. I changed out my water bottles and ate a pack of crackers. I guess 10 minutes or more went by and it was time for the fun part, the climb.

Only 25 more miles, but… They are the most difficult miles of the ride. A little ways into Hwy 80 you start to wonder if this is the climb and begin to think that it is not that bad. It sure doesn’t take much longer to realize you were not on the climb at that time. Heading toward the Blue Ridge Parkway is a tough climb, but you are still comparably fresh on the ride. I opted to bypass the aid station at the entrance to the parkway and continue on. The ride was slowly turning into a hard steady grind of pedal strokes. It was on the Blue Ridge Parkway where I began to feel a little fatigued and I was running out of steam. My legs were feeling the steadiness of pushing uphill for such a long time, but were still doing fine. It was my body that needed fuel. I did not take in enough fuel along the ride. 80+ miles into the ride all I had eaten were a couple bananas, pack of crackers, gel pack and two power bars during the ride. Along with the small portion of cornflakes and banana that morning, it was not enough food.

I knew I was on the edge of Bonking and arriving at one of the aid stations on the Blue Ridge Parkway I stopped for the 2nd time. I ate a few oranges, peanut butter and Jelly Sandwich, Lay Potato Chips. I drank some powerade, a small coke and water. Stretched my legs while doing so and soon I was back on the bike. But it was too late and I had biked too far without taking in fuel. My stomach was full, though my body was still waiting for the fuel to arrive. I would stop 2-3 more times for a couple minutes on the Blue Ridge Parkway before arriving at the Mt Mitchell entrance. Once while I stopped on the Parkway, another cyclist stopped, then looked at me and said “I will NEVER do this ride again”.

At the Mt. Mitchell State Park entrance there is approximately 5 more miles of climb and I’m there. Five miles may be a short distance, but not in time. I was slowly recovering from lack of fuel intake and was feeling much better. I was in a steady spin at about 6-7 mph. There were cyclists both ahead and behind me. After this many miles you can bet that most of the riders around you are your equal in ability. Behind me I could hear a female cyclist talking to a male cyclist. The male’s voice was faint, but the female’s voice was loud and constant. It was fine at first but for some crazy reason her voice was becoming annoying. They were not passing me and I didn’t have enough left in me to pull away. I was trapped, forced to hear her conversation. I finally stopped and waited for them to pass. Normally that would not have bothered me, but the mind goes to new places when broken down and tired.

I rolled across the finish line in 6 hours and 55 minutes. Within that time I had 45 minutes of stop time and burned over 9,000 calories. The volunteers took my bike and placed it on the bike rack to be transported back to Marion. A couple of my friends who I often ride with were already finished and waiting on others to finish. I spoke with Ryan and asked him how he had done. He said he had a time of 5’16” and placed 14th overall! I placed 226th out of the 768 riders that finished. Over 25% of those registered for the Assault on Mt Mitchell did make it to the top.

Beverly was near the finish waiting for me. She had taken the bus ride from Marion to the top of Mitchell. It was great to get out of the cycling attire and into dry clothing that she had brought. They had food at the top, although I didn’t feel like eating. I was ready to head back down and so we got on the bus and waited for it to fill. I guess it took about 20 minutes and we were on our way back down the mountain. As the bus traveled down the entrance to the parkway I was watching the cyclists who were still climbing the Mountain. I noticed two more Melo-Velo riders (my hometown cycling club/team) making their way. Yes, I was glad to be on the bus.

The bus ride was about 2 hours long and we were back in Marion about 3:30. The bus route goes almost into Ashville NC and then back to Marion to keep the congestion down along the Mt Mitchell ride route. Back in Marion it was “wait on your bike” to return. Beverly and I decided to drive into town for an early dinner. When we returned back to the Tom Johnson Campground my bike had still not arrived. It was shortly after 5 PM when my bike was unloaded and I was free to go home.

I am planning to ride The Assault on Mt Mitchell again in 2013 if all works out to do so. I have set myself a goal of 6 hours or less. It only makes sense that as I get older I should get faster, right?

Keep riding and stay healthy and safe!

Jim Simes

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