Friday, May 15, 2015

2 days to go....Does anything ever go the way we plan...NOPE....The AOMM training update.

The Assault on Mount Mitchell is in 2 days 18 hours and 9 minutes. I know because I downloaded a app for my phone 180 days ago.  It has not provided me with  motivation,  anxiety and great joy.  When it said 140 days, I felt like I was in a great place training and physically for that time in the winter.  I never ride my road bike in the winter. NEVER. Then things went NORMAL.

3 kids, one kid gets sick, everyone gets sick, but that cycle takes 3-5 weeks in a family of 5. I avoided the stomach bug, but got knocked on my but with a fluish type thing, got a terrible head cold, then realized how TERRIBLE riding on a trainer was after dinnertime, fighting to get 3 kids in a bath, in bed, juggling artwork and then disappearing to a trainer to listen to really dorky sounding training videos without angering my wife.

Then the days got longer, and I could get outside, forget the things I told myself about focused hi intensity training and no long junk mile rides. I'm going outside to ride junk miles.  Trainer time is over.

First test was a group ride with some folks I know who do train in the winter and are strong B level.  I've ridden with them before  and knew they would be strong a good test to my winter fitness, I hung in, and felt good.  19.5 avg for 25 ish miles first ride out after the winter, I was ok with that. Still work to do but I was happy.

Few weeks later a 45 mile gravel/road ride with some friends. I felt like a knife was being stabbed into my right knee cap. After a week off the bike....5 miles out, it returned, 5 miles home pedaling with one leg.  Doctors visit...Bursitis..... stay off the bike for a week, it's caused by repetitive movements...WONDERFUL.

I stayed off for 2 weeks, got depressed, missed 2 races I've waited all year for, and no 100 mile training ride or any rides during my week off work for spring break.

Went for a ride at the end of 3 weeks rode a few miles at a time worried to death....made it 30 miles with no trouble. Have done a few others since. Rode 60 last week, no trouble.  3 weeks of lost fitness is not what I wanted this close but it happened, and it's exam time, the kids are sick and my wife is MIA due to wedding season in full effect, so my Saturday morning rides are over.

Now I have not really ridden in a week, one training session Monday and now my left knee is giving me terrible trouble, not Bursitis just hurts and feels inflamed  and I can't walk right. This is not very unusual and I live with constant discomfort from my knees. So my Taper work outs are now; forget it whats the point lets just see how this goes.

On top of all this, I will be painting at a wedding Saturday all day on my feet, and driving late night to my hotel in Spartanburg before the ride Monday. So all I can do now is pray I will finish the thing. I feel ok about at least making it to Marion. After Marion, who knows, I have freaked myself out really good that I will end there.

Did I mention that the highs will be record Highs and a 80% chance of rain.....YUP. So much for the Cool ride of the LAST 4 years...I checked...It's all my fault I apologize to anyone riding.

But I said the countdown timer gave me joy. There has been some good to this.

The winter is hard for us all, especially parents of any number of kids, I say 3 is worse than your 1, but your kid may be more nuts than mine...We all get stir crazy, kids start going nuts in late February/March...I work with these crazy people, in a room with no windows and teach a subject that maybe 2% of the people I teach actually want to hear about or let me tell them about it without interrupting or saying something really rude.  Most teachers are not generally in a good place in March, "survival mode" we call it. Especially ones who have year long classes instead of semesters like me. That along 15 long years in, I am in a funk with my profession and ready for a life style change, but unfortunately have no fall back plan as my degree is rather useless out side of my world. unless you are hiring, I am interested.

So with a funk like I am in and the way my brain is wired like a crossed up mess that McGruber may encounter I am all sorts of messed up this year. But that counter..... That counter has given me so much to be excited about, to work for, to remind me how much I stinking love my bicycle..this much.

We all need things to drive us....its so good for us. I may not survive this ride Monday, but I sure am excited about it. I have been all winter.  That timer, helps an ADD mess of a brain like me.  Healthy stress, focus, reminder, something to take my mind off my struggle with my job and reflect on something awesome. Like Bikes.  Riding Bikes. Working on Bikes. Riding Bikes with my kids. Buying a new Bike. I really love Bikes.

 But when I am on my bike I am on a whole different planet. I love the suffer, the pushing my body, the things my brain can do, think about, look at.  It's so awesome. I've never done any drugs, but this is why. I get high from the bike. I really feel bad for people that can't appreciate what riding a bike or doing anything that gives people like me that awesome brain sauce's a cool read about bike and kids and ADD.

I just wonder how messed up I would be had I not given myself anything to work for this winter when I was in a mess mentally. I have lost 8 pounds getting ready, stopped eating sweets(maybe once a week) and nothing but water in months(not counting the cold beer as a recovery drink).  I may be at my wits end with my job but I sure am excited and happy when I see that count down timer.

So after dreams of having the time to train to be on the local race team one day, I think just being in fair shape going into this ride is ok, and I know I will have a good time, I know I will suffer, hurt and get rained on during the event.  I will also love every second of it when it's over. Though I do have to be at school the next day to give exams, and figure out how to get my car from Spartanburg.

Nothing in my life has every gone as planned, but I ALWAYS see some good in EVERYTHING after all the crap/smoke/knee pain and distractions have cleared up.

Next post....After the finish.....

Thursday, May 7, 2015

DIY Art Equipment

I wish I was smart enough to make things from scratch out of my head, but I am smart 
enough to copy others.  As an artist I know deep down everything is a copy, I mean 
inspired, remixed, influenced by....however you want to put it we all copy each other. Not a Steve Jobs fan boy but he does have a neat quote about this: 

"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something,
they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things."

So I like to find neat things I can't really afford and just make it, or piece it together and then realize I should have just bought it to begin with. I will go straight to spending money when it comes to HVAC. I don't mess around with that. 

I've been wanting a cool pallet for my paints, so this is what I came up with.

I used these little hinges that slide apart so it seperates into two pieces.
Not tried it in the field yet, but it sits/clamps to my set up just like I want it to.

I made the box from the little craft packs of cheap pine wood at Hobby Lobby when I was there the other day for some framing. 

The Ceramic pallet I made from some scrap white earthenware we had left over from when I was doing the clay unit with my high school students. 

The stain is from soaking a steel wool pad in a few cups of vinegar for a few days.

Glued together with a little Gorilla Glue, clear coat, throw in some paint and a water brush...good to go.

Gets a strong testing this weekend as I paint a wedding in Young Harris Ga, at a Beautiful resort then, driving to a Spartanburg hotel to rest, and prepare for my attempt at the Assault on Mt Mitchell on Monday.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Class outside today..

"Please take us outside to draw Mr. Springer" they said... 25 minutes of complaining.... 1) it's too cold(due to insufficient material covering the body) 2) there's is no more stuff to draw (say what?) 3) I'm done (after 5 minutes of drawing) 

I am really confused what else I can do for the kids of 2015...they have forgotten how to enjoy outside and look at things. Drawing or not, they don't know how to sit still unless they have a device in hand. If I don't involve an "app" they are not interested.

Some enjoyed it anyway, and they did really cool stuff. Here's mine. Not quite done but not bad for 25 minutes of painting and convincing kids there is plenty to draw.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Assault on Mount Mitchell Motivation

My entire life I have needed motivation. As a kid I was not motivated by grades unfortunately but more by the threat of my dads punishment and being grounded from going outside to jump ramps or take something apart. I have been trying to recount my history of my love for bikes. There are a few important time stamps.  My first bike(I still have the wheels for some reason).  My first mountain bike(which began my love for Cannondale, though it was a LLBean bike made by Cannondale).

Since my current journey is road bike related, I want to pin point where my road bike passion began. My uncle used to fix up old lawn mowers and sell them in his front yard in Wadesboro, NC. One day on a visit I noticed he had bikes out front.  I was immediately went to check them out, as I was not real interested in mowing grass at the time. I can't find a picture of it but this is what it was....Just in red, and well loved.. After some serious haggling in the loving comedic spirit my uncle had, I was the proud new owner.  That bike carried me all over the place around my hometown, then spent the remainder of its life at our home at Ocean Isle, NC rusting out in the salty air from carrying me and a surfboard to the beach.

The real reason for an interest in a road bike during this time of my life is hearing and seeing an older cousin of mine, Troy. I did not see him often and he was 7 years older than me so we were not real tight. Because I loved bikes, I thought he was cool because he rode bikes. I saw his freedom, freedom to just go Pedaling around my Free Spirit F500 was hard work. This freedom I am sure was my appeal as I was not aloud to go out of earshot at my age.

In 1988 I was 10, Troy was 17 and he did the Assault on Mt Mitchell.(9hrs 3min 52sec 843rd of 1292 11.2 avg speed)  I didn't know or care at the time but I have in the last few years really wanted to do this ride.  It has always been  one of the "big rides" on the East Coast and I thought it would be cool to honor him in my mind. 

Here is a video I found about the 1988 AOMM. Really cool that this is still around. If you are as into the AOMM as I am.

After I some mental debate I finally decided I would go for it. Troy is my reason, my motivation.  I wanted to do it in his honor. For no other reason than it makes me feel good, and if he was alive I am sure he would be glad to ride it with me. A search of his name Troy Randall Hildreth found me this. I did not realize at the time that he died riding just a week after the AOMM, nor did I realize he rode with any friends or family. As I read on for me it was really special to find out he rode on a Cannondale.  I have owned a Cannondale since I began seriously riding from my first mtb to my current ride. That was cool. I also reached out to his dad who I am still close to as he is family, and he was able to find these gems for me.

Troy and his step dad David Spear.
Troy in his 1988 Cycling attire, my how things have changed.
Someone WILL be taking this picture of me in the same place in May.

So now after a month and a half of training the living room(now 2 1/2 since I typed this)  receiving these pics have helped to renew my motivation. This year Troy would have been 44 and I am finally ready to attempt it. (I have paid and want to get my money's worth) I am personally motivated to get me and Troy to the top.  I'll have him with me for the whole journey from here on out, to remind me of my motivation. I will have a picture of little bow legged me standing in front of him taped to my top tube for the next 46 days.

Go find some motivation.  I never get in cycling shape in the winter for myself. I need a reason to suffer. Go find an event to work for. Find a reason to do it. Remind yourself of all the neat little stories in your life that have brought you to this point with your love for bikes, or whatever that thing is.  People don't remember enough. Then you forget. You forget why you do it in the first place.  You loose the joy. You get bitter, and when the joy is gone the fun goes too. You start trying to race people on the "Sunday Ride", driving around in your car to hunt Strava Segments, asking what other peoples avg speed was instead of "how was the ride", starting your Strava after the neighborhood warm up so it won't lower your AVG....Everyone has been around that person, has been that person or will meet them soon enough...

Be motivated in joy, fun, and happy thoughts! Life is much more enjoyable that way.

On a side note, I was able to be one of the lucky to get signed up for BSG in June as well. Not sure what I'm thinking but, figured if I was going to jump, may as well jump big.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Not a resolution. Assault on Mt Mitchell

It was made official yesterday the 31st. I officially am registered for the  Assault on Mt Mitchell. I just did the full membership to the Freewheelers to lock in my spot without having to worry over it.
The folks that put this thing on work like crazy to make it one of the best rides on the east side so I figured an extra 15 dollars would be least I could do. I also plan on consuming plenty from the sags, as well as everything I can at the finish IF I make it that far. I am starting to get worried, as I had the Flu type thing over Christmas(when we had many sunny 50 degree days, I have no wheels currently on my road bike, and there are now only 136 days until I ride the longest and hardest ride I've ever done.) 

 This will be the 40th anniversary of the ride, and the 27th anniversary of my motivation to even do the ride. Saving that for another post as I would like to keep this thing going. As much time as I waste on my phone I would like to attempt to keep this thing rolling just for journal of this venture. Hopefully in 137 days to have a positive review of the journey. 

Maybe still thinking about the ORAMM to complete my total assault goal this year, but that is starting to scare me more than the  AOMM.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tis the season for Art Work

Been doing some little pieces and a few big pieces for various folks during the holiday season. Thought I would share a bit of where my late nights go once the kids go to bed.

Assault on Mount Mitchell?

Talk a lot and then never follow up on stuff like this, bail or just move on.  The story of my life.  A great idea that never happens, I come up with some cool stuff  that never get done. If I treated my job like I did my personal life last year I would have much more to worry about.  Just ask my wife. I really screwed up last year, and the 2 before that were not really awesome, actually I've not really been on top of my game since at least 2007.  I was super stressed, gave so much of myself away there was nothing left for my family, my wife, my health, my mind.....Just come home and go to bed tired, upset or depressed....

I hate blogging it's been a long time, I have not had a site hit in years, but something just compelled me to do this that it may help the cluttered mind relax or be fun.....I give my self 6 weeks before this thing is growing mold again.( I am the problem apparently)

Stumbled across a few folks blogs like this guy and this guy  and it got me thinking, maybe if I blog a bit, it will help the turmoil that is an ADD brain and extra motivation/documentation of the year of 37.(I need to come up with a cool name)

I decided about 6 months ago that 37 would be my most physically in shape year ever.  NO I am not starting cross fit or a gym membership, but doing what I love. Riding my bike. It fixes my ADD, my stress, my worry and gets me into better shape.

I work much better when there is fear involved. Not bad fear but good fear....Fear of unknown, not finishing, hard work....So I have decided to give myself 2 goals that started as one.  The first is to Complete a ride in honor of a cousin who I think sparked my interest in Road biking as a kid.  He died shortly after finishing the Assault on Mt Mitchell in 1988. he was 17 years old. I don't remember every discussing riding with him as I was 8 years younger, but the few times I saw him I sure thought that freedom was cool.  This being the 40th year of the ride and I need some motivation to start my year off right I decided this is the year.  My wife's cousin who I was a crew chief for the RAAM in 2007 has also done the ride in 2005.  He is a machine and is a terrible comparison for me but at least has first hand knowledge for me to learn from.

My AOMM times for comparison: Troy age 17 1988-9hrs 3min 52sec 843rd of 1292 11.2 avg speed
                                                         Jason age 32 2007-7hrs 46min 44sec 960 of 1001 13.1 avg speed

What this has done is make me realize I actually need to ride my bike hard during the winter to peak in June like normal Fred types and not September like I would normally do by riding as little as I can or when a friend asks me to ride,

Then I got to thinking.... IF I actually do this, and IF I actually put the training in it would be really cool to do both Assaults the on road and off road "ORAMM"  So that's Where I am at right now.  My 2015 Cycling Goals, the year of the Assaults.  Which will also be my first ride of 100 miles on the road (unless my training gets that high) and certainly the longest MTB I will have done ever. (ORAMM is 60 miles)

So I am motivated, have someone/thing to ride for, all the parts to making this one step closer to actually happening.  Only issues are I have been spending very little time on any sort of bike, its cold, Christmas time and I have just sold my road bike wheel-set, Oh boy.

151 Days until AOMM
221 Days until ORAMM