Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bear Grylls on the importance of fruits and veggies

It works for Bear Grylls.

Order and inquire at: www.monktakesjuiceplus.com

The Last Thing by Monk Gibbon

My friend Stanley Hauerwas wrote that he reads this poem every day. That makes it good enough to print.

Who'd be afraid of death,
I think only fools
are. For it is not
as though this thing
were given to one man only, but all
receive it. The journey that my
friend makes, I can
make also. If I know
nothing else. I know
this, I go where he is.
O Fools, shrinking from this little door,
Through which so many kind and lovely souls have passed
Before you,
Will you hang back?
Harder in your case than another?
Not so.
And too much silence?
Has there not been enough stir here?
Go bravely, for where so much greatness and gentleness have been
Already, You should be glad to follow.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Eagle's Nest Camp

Do you know the camp that I have attended for 11 years? It's so influential, better not to write to much, but I will just share this video.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A win is a win--FHP

One of my very best friends, David Tallon, finally won today in Statesville, North Carolina. I was not there. The last time we raced I came ahead of him, but he slipped. I knew it was not his best day in Charlotte. I had a pretty good day, gutsy, but sloppy that day in Charlotte. Still, I broke through from several 10th place finishes to a 2nd.

Jack was there today. They went 1st and 3rd. Hard to say where I would have finished. Jack seems like a much better rider than me. Every time we are training at Forest Hills I have a hard time hanging with him.

Maybe we can all race together in Winston-Salem. I am happy to be beaten by these guys. I like them a lot. I am learning a lot from them, about cycling, and life. It's all good.

Then there are the elder statesmen and women, Josh and Angelina. We are all, all of us, just good buddies. We are the Forest Hills Posse.

I missed the cyclocross race today in Statesville. I hope it was a great one for the whole Durham Cares team and the larger, Forest Hills Posse.
I missed the race so I could stay home and prepare for church. It feels like the right decision. There was much praying and fasting that needed to occur in this transitional season for the Tobacco Trail Church. We take our worship indoors tonight and I believe it will be a great blessing.
Alta Walk Senior Living is hosting us for the next three months.
We have weddings to prepare for around Durham.
Christmas is coming and with it winter and cold temperatures. We are already experiencing the shortening days. Everyone gets bent out of shape that Christmas' date is close to a pagan holiday, but it's okay. The days are short and we do have the light, the Light of Christ, to look forward to that points us on our way.
Tonight we will explore Matthew 22 and the parable of the wedding banquet.

Throughout the Gospel of Matthew, we may recall that Jesus has come to feed us. He fed the 5,000 and the 4,000. We loathe the invitation to eat at tables that we think we are above.
Susan said to me yesterday, that we might be invited to have dinner with our hosts in the weeks to come. Will you eat at this Table?

The Alban Institute - 2010-11-15 There Once Was a World

The Alban Institute - 2010-11-15 There Once Was a World

Among the good quotes from this excellent article: "Regardless of the nature of change, the church affirms that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the God who has been active in history and who will be active in the future."

How are we responding to an era in the life of the church when we as Christians no longer have a growing presence in the culture? How is the church responding to meet an ever-changing world?

I believe one answer is the church in the market place. How are you being The Beloved Community where you work? This is not just a call for some, but a call for all who have chosen to follow him.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dog Days are Over

Did you know that happiness is coming and coming fast? You can't stop it.

Listen to Florence + the Machine

You should probably get up and dance to this song.

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
Can you hear the horses?
Because here they come

I'm reading more onto this song than Florence + the Machine might want, but such is the way with all art. I get to have my say as the listener.

I hear the horses thundering forward out of Isaiah's mouth (read chapter 40) and into this Advent season. The princes are brought to naught and such princes are brought to naught by the Prince of Peace not on a white horse, but on a donkey. First, the one for Mary as the Prince bounces along inside of his mother's womb. Later, the Prince strides along humbly on a donkey among palm fronds entering the gates of Jerusalem.
But in Revelation it is a white horse, a powerful steed and the rider has a crown.

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
The horses are coming
So you better run

Advent and Eschaton
The waiting we do at Advent, the hope we have in this season of expectation is the kind of hope we have for the End-Times, the Eschaton. God is going to come again and bring this project to fulfillment.

Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father
Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your love and your longing behind
You can't carry it with you if you want to survive

The kind of love that we leave behind is the love that has let us down. This is not God's love which never fails us.
We seek out the light for Advent, Christmas, and for The END that we can barely see. It is a long way through the darkest night, but reach out for Mother Mary and your Father in Heaven and the children of God and your sisters and brothers in Christ.
What we love on Earth are the things to which we hold to tight. Leave them behind. You can't take it with you.
We are not giving up on the world, but we hold it lightly because our tight hold is on the hope of Heaven. It is scary through the dark night, days are short in December, but light is on the other side. Reach for it. Run for it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chariots of Fire - They shall mount up with wings as eagles

This scene has been as much a blessing to me over the years as any portion of film I can recall and I've watched a lot of movies. Eric Liddell reads from Isaiah 40 that the nations are nothing to the Lord. They are like a drop from a bucket. The Lord, the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary.
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall run and not be weary.

At the end of this clip is Aubrey Montague finishing the steeplechase. He is exhausted and dejected, but he has competed in the Olympic Games. Aubrey serves as the narrator in Chariots of Fire. He is the poet for the film. He is not one of the star athletes, like the evangelist Liddell or the driven Jew, Harold Abrams. Aubrey finds himself watching and learning from the greats, but he observes cloaked by their shadows. Yet still, with less talent he has achieved his goal as an olympian. There is no medal for Montague, but is he any less a hero?

I looked at photos of myself running on Thanksgiving in a race near my parents home in Charlotte, NC. I feel like Aubrey Montague in these pictures--totally worn out. And yet, I ran a personal best last Thursday. I felt like I was moving through quick sand at the end of the race, dropping from 6th to 9th place overall. But it was the best I could give on the day and I was pleased with the effort. No matter the speed and talent of others, it is rare in our life-long habits that we breakthrough to our own best efforts. I've been running for 27 years and here I am in my mid-thirties setting new personal bests.

I must be honest, I've been waiting on the Lord for sometime and he has answered. He has helped me mount up with wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31). He has provided and blessed with the Tobacco Trail Church. Even other ministries are being considered in what might be called a two-point charge. I am open to it with God's help. I've personally and corporately developed partnerships with local para-church organizations: Child Evangelism Fellowship, Reality Ministry, the Durham County Detention Center, Habitat for Humanity, Alta Walk Senior Living, Durham Cares, Triangle Community Foundation and many others.

God has had me waiting all my life and 2010 has been a particularly renewed and strengthened year.

Chariots of Fire is on the top of my movie list. I always loved the running scenes as I have always loved running. More importantly now though is the marriage of running and faith. Eric Liddell exudes a confidence that comes only out of being a firm believer.

As he prepares for his last race, the 400 meters, he says to one of his competitors, "Good luck. Don't expect I'll see you until after the race." If you know any thing about running, he's trash talking, but politely. Liddell is implying that his fellow runners will only see his back. Some will say arrogance, but this confidence comes from God. Jackson Pollock, the great American sprinter, hands him a note from 1 Samuel chapter 2 which says, "He that honors me, I will honor him."

Do you believe this? Do you believe in a confidence that comes out of God's promise to honor those who honor Him? Consider.

Team Tobacco Trail Church at Habitat Halloween Ride


Here are just some of the members of our team that assembled as team Tobacco Trail Church from the left:
Jim Ray, Don Rose, Jason Scoggins, Adam Rust, Thomas Pafford, and me, George Linney.

Below are David Tallon and myself. David and I also race in a discipline called cyclocross in a 14 week fall and winter series for team Durham Cares.

We still need your help in meeting our fund raising goals to provide $500 to Habitat for Humanity.

One story:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our God - Chris Tomlin - Passion 2010

And if our God is for us,
then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us,
then what can stand against?

These most powerful words come from Chris Tomlin's, "Our God" based on Romans 8.

In the song it seems to serve as strictly a rhetorical question. In the tradition of the Black Church, and even as it was chanted at the Tobacco Trail Church this past Sunday, it often has the same tone--uplifting, rejuvenating, acting and voicing that if God is purposing our lives than what can stand against us.

But it's not always that simple. Matthew 19 tells of a man who stopped Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" Jesus said, "Why do you question me about what's good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you."
The man asked, "What in particular?"
Jesus then lists off some of the majors, no murder, no adultery, no stealing, but the man says he's been faithful to these laws and begs the question: "What's left?"
Jesus then really lets him and us have it in terms of what stands against us, as the song reminds.
"If you want to give it all you've got," Jesus replied, "go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All you wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me."
The man sighed a big sigh and with his chest and chin hanging on the ground he slipped away. As Peterson says in The Message, "He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn't bear to let go."
That's what stands against us, despite God being for us--all the things that possess us. And it's not just wealth, though that is high on the list. It's violence, and sexual sin, deception, loss of family, and hatred of the neighbor in our midst. How do we give up these possessions?
I don't really know. I'm trying to give them up every day with God's help. Thanksgiving is a good start--a time to share food, family, and friends. Advent is even better--a time for renewed hope for that child coming who stands for GOD WITH US.
See, this Emmanuel child means that despite my not knowing God knows. God is for us and while we feel the weight of all that possesses against us, he promises to be faithful to his people. We are riding out a powerful storm and remember that he will bring us safely to the other shore.
Confess, Repent, Swim Across to that other bank.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Charlotte CX4 Cyclocross 11/14/10

Last Sunday at Veterans Park in Charlotte was some of the most fun I have had in sports and I have been to a couple-three events over the last three decades. Sure, I finished well, second, in the CX4 cyclocross race. It was a breakthrough race and I am not quite sure what was different. Somehow I found myself near the front of the race early in the first lap which was new for me. In the previous four races I was dropped from the gun and as the field yo-yo'd I was somewhere in the middle of the pack.

But there was more than finishing place and that was only a feather in the cap of a day of biking and hanging with good people. There was a great vibe, great weather, great friends. I think a lot of us felt it. Dave, Joanna, Brett, and Erin--everyone seemed to be in great spirits no matter personal results. Josh, Angelina, and I couldn't let it go as we reveled in the post-race flow over fish tacos and margaritas in the NoDa neighborhood of northeast Charlotte. My hair was sandy. I mean seriously, sand-filled. My left elbow was lumpy from a cartwheel I managed to maneuver with a near perfect tuck where I landed on my back with my head in the sand, still clipped in with the bottom bracket of my bike pointed towards the blue sky.

This sandpit was more classically used for volleyball, but all traditional bets are off when it comes to cyclocross and we were riding through two, theoretically :), and carrying our bikes through the third pit because if you can ride through six inches of soft sand and make a 180 degree turn, well that's a neat trick. Now that I think of it, I'm sure someone can do it. There's is always someone who can do about anything on a bike, but consensus was that fastest way was to run the third sand pit as pictured above.

In Cross we run, ride, push, sweat, fall, gasp, and nearly puke over all types of terrain that one would hardly think to ride a bike. It is an absolute blast if you embrace it. I have only been at it for a month of racing and I am learning so much. Professionals and veterans roll through turns as if brakes never factor into how they cover the earth for an hour or less. It looks effortless like all great art does, but you have to know that inside these minds, muscles, and shifters flows the hard grinding work that only looks effortless. They have worked and worked and worked some more and it is shameful to say that it comes naturally and effortlessly, so I will neither say or write such fallacies. I have had that effortless flow from time to time in running and whitewater paddling and I intend to grow in the flow of off road cycling.

I have always shied away from mountain biking, but today my friend and Durham Cares teammate, DTallon, dropped off his mountain bike for me to borrow. Somehow, I gotta keep growing where off road cycling is concerned. If David (DTallon) had not lent me his cross bike last winter I would not be where I am today, enjoying a new discipline in what is still a new sport for me--riding bikes. Now David and I are running 1st and 4th in the CX4 point series and trying to get better every week, technically, mentally, physically.

This whole cyclocross vibe flows straight out of Durham too. We are well represented in the state-wide series. We have no less than four teams represented by our Bull City: Durham Cares, Garneau Custom, Bull City Cycling and The Regulators. We all train at Forest Hills Park and there are plans to unite the teams with something like a ghetto hat that reads: Forest Hills Posse. Look for it while sipping your next beer at Fullsteam.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Making Ready for Matthew 13

Tonight we will study The Sower at 630pm at the American Tobacco Trail Bridge over Lakewood Avenue. Van Gogh's masterpiece is inspired by a parable from Matthew 13 about seeds.
Some fell on the road and the birds ate it.
Some fell in the gravel. It sprouted quickly and withered quickly.
Some fell in the weeds and was choked by those weeds.
Some fell on good earth and produced a harvest beyond the farmer's wildest dreams.

Who is the farmer? Who are the seeds? What types of soil are we talking about?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This is a race report and letter on the USATF Trail 10K Championships. My friend, Jason Bryant, is the race director and this race report is from "Mole," a friend from the Trailheads. I did not run this year, but I hope to return next year. The problem is getting in shape in time to race by late August. Maybe next year we will get a break in the heat! It's a great race if you enjoy mountain goat climbing. You might want to add it to your calendar.

Mole wrote:

You weren't exaggerating about the inclines on that course. Hill training would definitely be a big help to up the pace for that race. Both up and down! My quads are a little tight which hasn't happened in a while. Race was great though, amazing course and definitely a test of trail running skills. Plenty of technical, turns, off cambers. I decided on second hill (longest of the 4 majors) that I'd be better off to walk short stretches as I was so maxed out and I think that was a good decision in end. Of course, rock garden was using all 4's to make it up. Weather was super humid but not too hot and course fairly dry, just some slickness and black loamy earth from all the dense undergrowth on one side of the mountain.

Highlights were some of the blitzing downhill stretches, seeing the finish line and having at least a little juice to kick it in a little and passing a Kenyan on the final climb ( I had met him prior to the race and he trains in Fayetteville on flat road races!).

Didn't even bother watching heart rate as I knew I'd be maxed out for the entire race as I usually am. Averaged 171 with my max at 180 for the race. Finished in 17th overall, 3rd age group for USATF and 5th masters (with top 3 all out of staters--VT, MA, CO) with time 50:56. Was really pleased. Never so out of breath at end of a race. Was really well put on. Ran into guy named Coates Kennerly who said he knew you I think from ministry and you had been out few weeks ago visiting him. Had nice talk post race watching runners.

Hope Shut In training is going well. Would love to get some hill training in with you at some point. I was thinking of trying to do Oconeechee trails at some point as they sound like good hills.


Craig S. Heinly

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Eagle's Nest Camp-A Reflection

I have not been writing here at cog blog in a while, but here is one place that has kept me from the computer. George IV and I went to Eagle's Nest Camp for an amazing eight days in August. We canoed. We ran. We sang. We played. We "how, how, howed." This last cryptic quote is part of an ENC tradition surrounding Indian Village and spirituality. In my cynicism of days gone by, I marked it as rude or condescending to Native Americans. Now I have grown up and opened my eyes. Helen, Paige and all the rest of us never intended any harm, only love, admiration, and humble remembrance for those that came before us on the land in Pisgah Forest, North Carolina. Cherokees and others lived here for years and many of us feel a connectedness to ancient ways as we wander around the Nest doing our thing with a few less of the creature comforts from home such as light all the time, or air conditioning, or constant access to cars and smart phones. We are not completely unplugged at ENC, far from it, but we make a nod to simplicity that goes a long way in the frenetic pace of life for many of us elsewhere.

On the final night of Session IV we celebrated a very rainy Indian Village. Now when the trees at camp are filled with water they hover like the thickest of canopies. You just do not get as wet in a light or medium rain as you would think. The trees hold so much of the water. I would call what we experienced 45 minutes of a light drizzle moving to a medium rain. Now, we were wet, but not that wet. Not as wet as a downpour over 3-5 minutes. Not as wet as an un-covered light rain for even 15 minutes. And ironically, we were still protected even though we weren't fully covered by a canopy of trees.

Indian Village is a naturally open-air stage. Somehow with surrounding old growth pines and old growth rhododendron and old growth other that I don't know as well by name, but some readers who have been to Indian Village will probably be saying under their breath, somehow there is an open space of pine needles that perfectly fits a semi-circle of about 100-140 in an audience and 15-20 players coming out of the woods and seated and standing center stage. Their are music makers and great chiefs, medicine women, and tribal chiefs. They all play a part in the drama we call Indian Village where we reflect on our time together at camp.

I thought to myself as I grew slightly uncomfortable in 45 minutes of light--medium rain and as I saw souls 100 pounds lighter than me grow even more uncomfortable, Eagle's Nest, as is true of many important communities, is not for everyone. Not everyone will find value being outdoors in the rain. Sure, this evening was debatable about whether or not we should have gone inside. We hoped for what happens more so than not, a light rain, turning to no rain and a beautiful hazy sunset on a mid-August evening in Southern Appalachia. But we took the risk and got something else and the night was what it was.

My son has been crying himself to sleep most of the last two weeks. That's how much he misses his eight days at Eagle's Nest. How is it that I am not overly concerned? Like him, I've returned to life outside the Nest after a second summer there as a camper. It was 1987 and Allison and I had spent seven weeks there as campers in Session II and III. Life in central Florida was fine, better than most 12 years olds lives' if I had to venture, but it wasn't a hill of beans compared to the time spent off 43 Hart Road.

I never was the same. I never really have been. It's alright to cry. Try to find something everyday at home that is good and different from Eagle's Nest, because though different, life at ENC and life at home can and should speak to one another. Hopefully, you will find your way back to the Nest, but if you don't, it was still time well spent.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

ride of my life

Click on details above to track the Garmin date. This ride is highlighted in the video below beginning at roughly the two minute mark. Check out the rest of our RAAM videos at: CASE STUDY: RACE ACROSS AMERICA

RACE ACROSS AMERICA: Day 3 (UTAH & COLORADO) with Team DurhamCares from Jesse Oxford on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

RAAM 2010: Day 1 with Team DurhamCares

Finally, after 40 hours of travel and logistics in beautiful Oceanside, California we were on our way. The camera does not hide our happiness and excitement about embarking on an adventure that had been months in the making. I talked the powers that be into letting me join for all of the first 16 hours of riding though my team was scheduled to sit out the first eight hour segment. My argument was threefold: 1) I might go crazy if I didn't get on the bike. 2) I could help us get up the first steep climb. 3) I could scout the transition patterns and relay that back to my team of four riders (Jenny, Chip, Henry McCoy and myself) so that we could learn from the practices of the first team.
My race began with a transition from Lance and I had two steady miles before I began a 6 or 7% grade climb. I felt alive, fresh, and excited. I knew it was early and I had many hours of riding before my first long break, but I didn't really care. I more or less motored up the hill as fast as I could. The race was still crowded and I enjoyed passing somewhere between five and ten other riders. Jesse was all over the place with his camera and it renewed my spirits to think I might be connected by video to the work happening at home. I couldn't exactly imagine what the front of Tyler's looked like, but I knew Heather Jones and the team would have it set up well. My legs were fried at the summit, but I knew I had ridden well. "Coach" Dave Williams seemed pleased and it was clear to me from then on that he and I would be in "sync," anticipating ideas, supporting other riders. He was such an asset to our progress down the road from the very beginning. By the third day, when things were going rough with all sorts of bumpiness and sleepiness and sloppiness, Dave and I were finishing each others sentences. My guess is this guy and I will work together in the future. In fact, and someone's going to make me choke on this one, I might have him devise a summer swimming program for me. Just for training, of course.

Cross-country bike ride benefits DurhamCares - Local/State - NewsObserver.com

A great article co-authored by one of my teamates, Christopher Gergen.
Cross-country bike ride benefits DurhamCares - Local/State - NewsObserver.com

Cross-country bike ride benefits DurhamCares - Local/State - NewsObserver.com

A great article co-authored by one of my teamates, Christopher Gergen.

Cross-country bike ride benefits DurhamCares - Local/State - NewsObserver.com

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tim James - American English

I rarely post videos like this and I actually happen to like Alabama, but this guy is hilarious. I want to see the outtakes, because it's sheer genius to have survived one of these clips without laughing out loud.
Politics sure are funny. The funniest part is to read some of the comments on Youtube. Of course, some use the comments as a forum to actually bash immigration. Good call. Good call.

Team Bandwidth.com's Pimpin' Ride

They did it in style and when you win, few make fun of going in style.
Congrats to our friends at Bandwith.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


RAAM begins at 2pm, but it is not yet 6am. I've been up since four, trying to be thankful for the five hours of sleep I received. My body is craving more rest, but I get what I get.

Time, time, time...
It's all about time for the 20 of us right now. When will I ride, sleep, eat, be in the minvan, be in the Ark or RV? What's the order of riders? How long will I ride for each time? 30 minutes? Less? More?
We have some plans laid out for each of these questions, but inevitably the plans will bend and flex for every reason imaginable.
I'm knee deep in the 14th verse and following of the Bible.
"And God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.'. And it was so.

God's time is so simple and if I flow with it, God gives me the commands of when to work and when to rest, to bike, to eat, and where to be. As Nick Drake says in the song Pink Moon, "set me down and give me a place to be."

My place to be is across America the next eight days. Praise to you, creator of the universe.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

18 charities

I'm getting ready to RAAM--Race Across AMerica. I am packing my last few things that did not make it on the motor home last weekend. Top among the list is one of my three race kits. It's an amazing kit, and I am scanning the
jersey and thinking how I need to know more about each of these 18 charities. So I emailed myself the "In a Nutshell" blurbs of each of the 18 charities listed below.

Durham Cares Partners

* A Helping Hand
* Achievement Academy
* Big Brothers Big Sisters
* Citizen Schools, Inc.
* Communities in Schools of Durham
* Crayons2Calculators
* Dress for Success
* Durham Eagles
* Durham Rescue Mission
* Durham YMCA
* Habitat for Humanity
* Housing for New Hope
* Kramden Institute
* Pregnancy Support Services
* Project Compassion
* Sales & Service Training Center
* Samaritan Health Center

One of my favorite logos is one I did not recognize: Housing for New Hope.

They provide a continuum of care for the most needy of Durham and Orange County citizens through outreach and crisis assistance, transitional housing, and permanent housing.

I've got a lot to do today, or it seems like I do. Saying goodbye to family, running a few errands, but it is good to make time for writing and reading about these charities. I like numbers and it seems fitting--I'm writing on a blog tagged 18 teeth and counting. I turn 35 in a few days, on June 18, a day where we might finish this bike ride or finish the day after. And there are 18 Durham charities that will benefit from this ride. I know a lot about a few of them. I know nothing about a few of them, and I will make it a goal to come to know all of them and their missions over the next ten days, but also in the coming months.

I like the idea of a bike ride from my house that tours the sites of each of these 18 charities. Later I will map out a ride to all of these locations. Will you join me for this ride?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shut up and ride

In the spirit of "shut up and ride," as my sports psychologist reminded me to do, here are the details from my last workout for RAAM, a week ago. Oh yeah, this loop is named after said psychologist.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Some of the places I will try to stay awake for during RAAM

Jake North is one of the photographers for RAAM and he's got me thinking about the route and some of the noteworthy places we shall peruse during our little bike ride.

It's all got me thinking about Bob Dylan's Slow Train Coming. Written during his "I found Jesus" years, the song is a kind of ode to the Eschaton. I like it.

Henri Desgrange, worthy of consideration

He wrote in L'Equipe article of 1902,
I still feel that varable gears are only for people over forty-five.
Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer?

We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!

He's so right and yet so many other cycling disciplines have their place too. But I'm not going to defend all the other ways to ride a bike just now.

I love my fixey. It makes me want to see to building a velodrome in downtown Durham. It makes me want to junk all other bikes. Even with platform pedals, I feel more connected to the simple machine than I do to one with a freewheel even when I am clipped in. Fixey is so fun. It's so simple. It's tough. I want to try climbing huge mountains on my fixed gear bike. I want to race on the track. I want to descend with my feet off the pedals and tucked up as close to the saddle as possible as the crank arms fly around and around without my feet catching up and finding their place again until we soar through the trough or valley and gravity begins to slow the machine down just enough so I can stand on the pedals and help stomp up the next hill.

RAAM Ready

It's early on Tuesday. Not sleeping too well, but that's normal before a big event. Thursday we fly to California and Saturday we start riding our bikes across America. My understanding is that our total crew will include 20 people. That is an overwhelming number of people for an RV, two mini-vans and an errand car. I know it is going to all workout, but it is tough to imagine a rhythm forming in a 16 hour cycle that includes 30 minutes of biking and 90 minutes off, then repeat four times. That summarizes the eight hours "on" and then eight hours "off" and then repeat that 16 hour cycle over a seven or eight day period. It's pretty daunting when I write it down.

Perhaps I am missing the point of this endeavor. Perhaps the task is to find rhythm in the nonsensical and complicated. Focus on the simple daily acts of prayer and reading. Enjoy the company of others and honor everyone's role in the trip. Focus on recovery and good nutrition. Finally, funnel all of the hard training on the bike and on foot this last year into each effort on the bike. Ride as hard and as fast as can so that God will be glorified by drawing attention to no less than 18 charities in the city of Durham. Be prepared for flexibility and to ride or not ride at a moments notice.

As part of my Road ID reminds me: Ride for Christ.

Below is a video from WRAL where Henry and Chip effectively convey our mission.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dr. John Perkins--Hope for a Reconciled World

I was not able to attend this year's Summers Institute put on by the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School. Too much going on in June with Durham Cares/RAAM, but I did happen to cross paths with the group walking to lecture and there I quickly said hello to old friends, Catherine Piwang, David Higgonbotham, and Chris Rice. I desperately wanted to join for worship, but the week just did not permit. One person I did not eye was saint John Perkins, but seeing this image of him at work below reminds me of the way he shapes the things I do and the kind of evangelist I try to be.

He is pictured here in what I can only caricature as his soft and compelling evangelistic style of teaching and preaching.

I first encountered the man as the overarching hand of influence in Grace Matters written by Chris Rice and John Perkins' late son, Spencer Perkins. Years later, I met him through a friendship with John Blake brought about through shared ministry at the Durham Nativity School. John Blake and I arranged for John Perkins to speak to the middle school students at one of the weekly chapel sessions. They were awestruck by his story of salvation, his boyhood hatred of whites, his conversion through the witness of his son, Spencer, who had come to know Jesus through Good News Clubs of Mississippi decades ago.

I was sorry to miss the witness of saint John Perkins this week at Duke, but I am so pleased that others heard some of how he follows Jesus Christ.

He said in an interview: *On the Church as community: “We are called to die to ourselves and have new life, and we live out that life in the Beloved Community. The church was supposed to be a neighborhood and we’ve made it into an institution.”

Here I am on a Sunday morning writing in the quiet of my office when guilt and obligation say I should be with some church, some people, worshiping the Lord. And I would like to be, but I am too tired and too determined to be where God is calling me. And my Lord has me right here, right now, trying to envision a beloved community that is less institutional, and more about neighborhood.

Some of us, thanks to Durham Cares, are taking this neighborhood on the road by bikes in six days beginning in Oceanside, California and ending in Annapolis, Maryland--this neighborhood we call Durham, North Carolina. I feel like in so doing, I am a minister to the city, and yet I struggle with that because it is so conceptual and abstract. I am formed as most Christians are formed that the first place church is--is inside a building at 11:00am on Sunday morning. And I am not there. What would John Perkins say?

I'm open to hearing that I am just plain lazy, or miss-prioritized, or vain because I don't particularly want to go somewhere where I am not leading worship.

But I am hopeful that these conclusions are incorrect, and God help me if I am wrong. I think God is telling me to lead on the American Tobacco Trail in every weird creative way imaginable. I think I was leading God's church at the front of 700 person bike race yesterday morning. I think I was leading in the form of coaching 12 runners in the NO BULL training clinic these last nine weeks. All of these are weird ways to lead. I didn't have a robe or a stole on. There was no altar present. And I take those symbols very seriously for my mentor in five of the last six years has been Timothy Kimbrough, an anglo-Catholic who taught me so much about the traditional gestures of Christian worship.

But perhaps Jesus asks us to part with those symbols from time to time, because a stole would get caught in the chain of a bike or a heavy wooden altar just isn't all that mobile.

The Israelites really struggled to move the Tabernacle all through the desert. Maybe they were in a season of minimalism and they should have left the altar because their mission was mobility, to travel, to move. I'm not looking to move very far, just around Durham, but I can't take brick and mortar of a church building, or the elements of communion, or an altar to every corner of Durham on a bike without at the least a car or even the help of the Army Corps of Engineers and somehow that defeats the purpose of the manner in which I should travel--quieter and more sustainably.

Paul says to the Ephesians, "as shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace." The word whatever indicates to me that it will be different shoes or modes of transportation in different seasons to different audiences, worn by different evangelists. I'm grappling with what I know in my heart is true, there is not one right way to worship the Lord, at least not now, before he reveals himself again.

The church has its institutional place and identity, but it cannot be just that. It must be neighborhoods again. It must be mobile. It must not fear change and humiliation, and that at times for this community it will be difficult to articulate what and where this community is. Jesus was nothing if not misunderstood. If our present day Beloved Communities are at first, unintelligible to the world, that might just be a sign that we are on to something.

Pray for this endeavor and learn more at: http://tobaccotrailchurch.web.officelive.com/aboutus.aspx

*Image and quote taken from Chris Rice's blog: http://reconcilers.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

First time on P4 by monklinney at Garmin Connect - Details

First time on P4 by monklinney at Garmin Connect - Details

This was my first time practicing with the Time Trial bike that I will use on flat stretches during RAAM. It was very windy and I was comfortable in the aero position as much as I would have liked, but it was good to get some time on the bike.

Split 3

3 00:02:05 (Time) 0.81 (Distance) 23.4 (Average Speed)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Taqueria La Vaquita

I have been meaning to give a shout to the Mexican food at Taqueria La Vaquita. It may not look like much across the street from fancy old Four Square restaurant in Durham, but you won't be sorry if you like Mexican food. Try it.

Here is what they say:
In the “Taqueria la Vaquita”, we offer the best of the Mexican food, authentic tacos made with homemade corn tortillas, a bit of meat, garnished with slivers of radish, avocado and a lime wedge. We also have homemade “sopes”, “gorditas de chicharron”, barbecue, chicken, “carnitas”, “chicharron with nopales”, “azados”, hot dogs, “quezadillas” and shrimp cocktail. All tortillas are warm and handmade. To drink we have juices made with natural fruits, not from concentrate, horchata, an agua fresca made with rice and almonds, and coffe.

Pedal to Run Fast

My friends at:
Indoor Cycling - Yoga - Wellness
Durham, NC

sent me this great article titled: Pedal to Run Fast. I think there is a lot to it and it is definitely worth a read. I am confident that this season of aggressive cycling is going to offer some sweeping improvements to my running come fall. I even noticed from only two cycling classes at SYNCStudio that I was better at climbing hills on my road bike which I am sure will translate to better hill running when I revisit some fall trail and road races. And then there is always cyclocross...

Hilton Head native Butler climbing in world of cycling | islandpacket.com

Chris Butler is a recent Furman graduate and now a pro cyclist for BMC. Hope to see him in some grand tours in a few years. Go Paladins!

Hilton Head native Butler climbing in world of cycling | islandpacket.com

Saturday, May 22, 2010

56 cm Klein Q Pro road bike w/ Sram Red - $2300 (Chapel Hill)

My buddy Matthew is selling a really nice road bike if you are in the market.

Link is: http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bik/1752509987.html

Running of the Bulls 8K, June 5

Register Now>>>

Running of the Bulls 8K is a community road race and the USATF-NC Championship race! This scenic course will start and finish near Durham's Central Park and Farmers Market, and will wind through downtown Durham, American Tobacco Campus, Brightleaf Square, and Trinity Park and Old North Durham neighborhoods. The course is slated to finish inside the historic Old Durham Athletic Park!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday Night Training Ride

This was our chance to practice riding with front and rear lights and a vehicle following. I was really pleased with our group effort. We did a 20 mile loop from Maple View and then two more 10 mile team time trial-esque loops. At times, we were practicing going really fast in the dark and trying to stay relaxed and comfortable.

It was a beautiful night in Orange County, North Carolina. The evening was clear, star-filled, and a bright half-moon lit our path. We began in a 7:30pm sunset and concluded just before 11:00pm. I slept hard and welcomed the rest. I'll ride again on Saturday, early in the morning.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Putting on the right shoes

As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:14-15

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove quotes this text from the New Revised Standard translation on page 57 of his recent, Wisdom of Stability.

All day long I'm in the foot business, measuring, watching their movement, their pronation, their rigidity, their abduction. Feet are largely overlooked in out society. We are usually embarrassed by the look of them, the smell of them. To many, they seem awkward and even shameful. Outside the cultural norms relative to childrens feet in Montgomery, Alabama, feet are usually covered.

I like bare feet. It feels good come summer to strengthen and harden and callous the skin that cover my feet. It takes me back to childhood. At the least, I want to be in sandals as much as possible. More and more, I'm wearing my running shoes without socks and this seems to toughen up my feet.

This larger pericope from the last chapter written to the church at Ephesus is usually known by the phrase from verse 13, "put on the whole armor of God." To callous and harden one's bare feet is to at least start the process of armoring the feet before shoes are even considered.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Benefits of a road bike for fixed gear cycling

The combo of a geared road bike with 53/39 in the front and a fixey with a 42 x 16 setup is having some amazing effects on my fixed gear riding. I thought it would be just the other way. I thought that the strength and turnover, the general pedal efficiency gained from fixed gear riding would be solely beneficial towards riding a road bike.

But here is how I am finding it works the other way. I am starting to learn how to really hammer down hills when I want to on the fixey. The geared bike allows for really hard smooth pedaling downhill when the chain is in the big ring in the front and one of the smaller rings in the back. If you have ever pedaled with this set up rather than simply coasted downhill at the speed which gravity sets, you know how fun it is. Before when I was racing on the fixey I felt like the only thing I knew how to do was try to relax my legs and hips, not bounce too much and just let the pedals flow underneath. I would try to remain composed and I was learning about high cadence where I know the number was exceeding 150 spm (strokes per minute). But thanks to the geared bike I am learning a new way to approach certain downhills--step on the gas. Lean into the pedals and actually stomp on them. This is faster and I actually feel more in control. Now I am hitting speeds of 30 mph on short steep downhills. Before when I was letting gravity dictate, I was only going about 24 mph. It's really fun.

There is one more way to go downhill on the fixey. Take your feet off. A year ago this was terrifying and rightly so. This technique means that the only points of contact are your hands, your butt, and the wheels. It's a pretty squirrley feeling. But as my comfort and bike handling skills have progressed, I use this technique sometimes because it is the only way to give a true breather to my legs.

To brake or not to brake, that is the question.

I have kept both front and rear brakes on my fixed gear bike. To some this will make me an embarrassment to the fixey community, but I don't care. I don't own really tight jeans anyway. I've ridden many city miles without the use of any brakes and it is fun, but generally I have two trumping priorities. First, I want more facilities at my disposal when encountering objects such as people, trees, and cars--particularly the last obstruction on the list. My experience is that drivers do not compress their brakes more and earlier just because I have none to use. I ride with pretty "big muscles" on the road, figuratively speaking. I take my space on the road and try to imagine myself firm and resolute. I still don't want to get hit by 2,000 pounds of car particularly when brakes could have avoided or slowed the impact.

Second, and actually much more important to me, I don't want to apply all that reverse pressure on the pedals. The only way to slow down without brakes is by applying negative pressure on the pedals. I like to go fast and I think it is an awkward motion at high speeds and puts a lot of pressure on the back of the knees. I do think this muscle contraction can be built up slowly, but I don't want to overdo it. I like to balance my use of reverse-pressure pedaling and standard brakes. Yes, the bike looks a lot cooler without brakes. But come on, my bike still looks cool. This really isn't debatable.

Skid stops--haven't figured that one out yet and trying to avoid the temptation. I disdain punctures and don't want to put undue stress on the rubber which is so important in the riding experience. In the fall I experienced a month or two of hair pulling frustration when it seemed I couldn't ride a mile from the house without a flat. Never could figure out the cause, but once I lowered my air pressures from 130 to about 100psi (pounds per square inch), I have been good to go. Flats are so deflating.

Night Funeral In Harlem - Poem by Langston Hughes

Night Funeral In Harlem - Poem by Langston Hughes

Makes me think of Emmett Till. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/till/
I don't think this poem has any particular relationship to the events surrounding the murder and funeral of Till, but it still makes me think of what many consider the start of the Civil Rights Movements.

There is a professor at Duke, Karla Holloway, who has written a book called Passed on: African American Mourning Stories, a Memorial. She spoke last year at a conference I attended walking us through black funeral processions while a vocalist belted out spirituals. There is much to be said about African American funerals and most of it I have no business saying. I have been meaning to read her book, well because, I need to know more about funerals, and more about black folk, and more about mourning. I am a minister so I'd better read on before I write on. I told her after the event that I wanted us to do something together, teach something, preach something, do something. I still want that to happen, whatever it is.
#dcaresraam 1/2 team pic.... Is tweeting on bike illegal? on Twitpic

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Reflections on: Ides of May on the Crystal Coast

Reflections on: Ides of May on the Crystal Coast

Hopefully, I can drag myself out of bed and ride with the Durham Cares team in the morning before preaching at Lystra Baptist Church. I have felt very supported and nurtured during this week of training. When a friend or two sent me a note that they had donated to Durham charities through Durham Cares I rode a lot harder. I felt responsible to give all I could rather than "dog it" while on vacation. Thanks friends.

This RAAM team is working hard to get ready for this event. We are meeting early on Sunday mornings and sacrificing all kinds of time and energy that is usually directed at family, work, etc. We are all a little nervous and scared, but putting forth our best effort in training. I can feel it translating to the rest of my life. I may be a little naive about this next one, a little hokey and spiritual sounding, but I think I feel this work ethic and dedication emanating across Durham. Maybe it is just endorphins or springtime, but this town is in conversion mode. I think we are converting to letting go of cars some of the time, losing preconceived notions of friends and enemies, rethinking who our neighbor might be, or might not be. I felt it at the National Day of Prayer in Bay 7 of the American Tobacco District. I felt it at Philosopher's Way last Saturday (we will grandfather our Chapel Hill/Carrboro neighbor's in for the moment. Let's be honest. They are jealous of Durham, despite what you might hear :)

Good things are happening all around if we will only have the eyes to see and the ears to hear.

Ides of May on the Crystal Coast

Here's my cycling data from the Garmin over the first 15 days of May. I am on schedule for my goal of 1000 miles for the month.

May1-6, 2010 (4:23pm) "Progress Summary Report for monklinney"

Count:,7 Activities
Distance:,197.19 mi
Time:,12:22:58 h:m:s
Elevation Gain:,"6,723 ft"
Avg Speed:,15.9 mph
Avg HR:,120 bpm
Calories:,"6,377 C"
Avg Distance:,28.17 mi
Max Distance:,59.48 mi

May 1-15, 2010 (8:32pm) "Progress Summary Report for monklinney"

Count:,15 Activities
Distance:,632.18 mi
Time:,36:19:34 h:m:s
Elevation Gain:,"14,338 ft"
Avg Speed:,17.4 mph
Avg HR:,116 bpm
Calories:,"17,339 C"
Avg Distance:,42.15 mi
Max Distance:,108.47 mi

There were two major highlights from the last five days of training at Emerald Isle.
1) I rode 108 miles on Thursday. The longest ride of my short cycling career by nearly 40 miles.

2) This morning I woke up with the crud. Couldn't be avoided. Every other person in my family has had the plague for a couple of weeks and I fought it as long as I could. Still, rode two 15 minute time trials with donuts and coffee at the interim.

36:44 on the way out, 24.0 miles per hour, down wind, you think!

46:46 on the way back, 18.8 miles per hour, into the nastiest headwind of the week.

I was very proud of this final effort mainly because of all the miles I had on my legs. I think it shows I am recovering well between rides and this is one of the most important factors come RAAM on June 12.

Hopefully, I can drag myself out of bed and ride with the DurhamCares team in the morning before preaching at Lystra Baptist Church.

Read more at: Reflections...

Details of the rides below.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

108 mile ride

This morning I was headed West on HWY58 on the way through Emerald Isle by five after five--am. I wanted to be up at 4am, but I guess I slept in. Lazy! I went easy over the bridge and headed all the way to Maysville where I hit HWY 17 North.

When I was a young boy we moved a stone's throw off of HWY 17-92 in Maitland, Florida. I don't miss much about life down there, but whenever I see HWY 17 up and down the East coast and never far from the beach, I think of my formative years in Central Florida. I was not riding bikes back then, but some teams down there did teach me how to push hard during training. My mama spent her early years off of 17 in Port Royal, Virginia. An important road for our people.

As I headed north on 17 I hugged the shoulder and was only scared off the road to New Bern once. I know that truck brushed me just because he could. Most gave a few yards, and for the many considerate drivers I was thankful.

In the first couple of hours I was mindful to keep the pace relaxed and also mindful of the headwind coming from the West and North. My heart rate was rarely in triple digits even when I was upwards of 20mph. My muscles were working pretty good, but my ticker just will not pump that fast in the early morning. It is not a time for sprints and such, but definitely a time of day for efficient slow-twitch work. I knew I would be thankful for the easy effort later on in the morning. I drank a lot, ate some snacks. I was a little depressed when the iPod battery went dead less than an hour into the ride, but no use crying over spilled skim. Better to enjoy the views and sounds of the early morning. It was a sleepy Thursday morning and I could sense the napping students on what I'm sure were long school bus rides in these rral Crystal Coast counties.

I rolled into a New Bern McDonald's at mile 50, ready for a break and some breakfast. I was anxious to know a way back other than turning and retracing my steps, never my first inclination. I knew I had been headed basically West and North and I needed to make my way East and look for signs to Morehead City and/or Beaufort.

After a nice breakfast of coffee, biscuits, and a top off of Powerade in one of my bottles (good to remember that McDonald's has an energy drink among the many fountain selections), I tried and failed to get directions off my phone. I headed in the same direction and quickly saw what looked like an Interstate, but the road was marked 70 and pointed towards Morehead City. I was thinking that 70 should be manageable and not truly interstate-like, but the first few miles felt like I-40. I got off at the next exit and decided to look for a back road. This took me into downtown New Bern and I recognized the historic area where I had not been since Hugh Bailey's wedding about eight years ago. Kristen and I were engaged and readying for our own wedding in August 2002. My how time flies. I crossed over a big waterway in a long line of cars who had awaited the drawbridge and I took the lane back onto 70. Now it looked more manageable. Still 55 mph for the cars, not for me, though I guess I could have if I was Cancellara, but a big shoulder where I could dodge debris and enjoy the next hour of tailwind. I could get down in the aero-bars and do 25mph easy or sit up for a breather, and spin to an easy 22mph. What fun!

I rolled into Morehead City still without my barrings, but looking for the Dunkin Donuts I love that marks 15 miles back to the beach house. Somewhat sadly at the time, I went the wrong way on 24 and that added about 10 miles. Tack on the 3-5 before I remembered to start the Garmin after rolling out of McDonald's and I rode somewhere between 110 and 115 miles. Still, 108 it is because the Garmin is what is keeping me honest. I'm well on my way to 1000 miles for May. Maybe I can get even closer to 1500 if I work really hard. The longest I had ridden before was 72 miles about a month ago with David Tallon. 40 more miles was harder, but not unmanageable. I was ready to get out of the saddle when it was over, but I know my first century is going to pay dividends getting over the Appalachian mountains somewhere around June 16 as our RAAM team turns the final chapters on our epic adventure.

I have bought a RoadID and it is making me feel safer on the chance that I wind up a tangled pile in a ditch. The last line reads, "Run and Ride for Christ." I am trying.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A post on Darn Tough Socks by Michael Baucom

I was on the Thirsty Thursday run when Tres demo'd the Mountain Masochists and also gave away some DT socks. I unsuspectingly took a pair since I'd never worn any type of wool gear (cycling/running jerseys, socks, nothing) and I figured a free pair would be the best way to confirm whether they would itch once I started sweating in them (which I had always assumed). Now I've become completely addicted to these socks and am resorting to wearing this one pair embarrassingly often and in conditions that repulse our dog and definitely wouldn't pass Health Codes if I were a restaurant worker (e.g. a 40-hour stint of continuous wear that included two long, muddy trail runs, 2-ish days of casual wear and an overnight of sleeping in them -- I'm not proud, and I fully admit that I've fallen a long way from basic human standards when it comes to these socks, but it's not all my fault as I'll explain below).

To confirm what I'm up against and that I'm not the only one in this pickle (and that I'm confident you'll sell plenty of these socks once you start carrying them), I described my struggle to a friend in Boise, ID, who had mentioned Darn Tough socks some time ago. I told him how I hate to take them off and that I really only remove them when my wife demands them from me in order to wash them in the SuperAggressive washer cycle that usually includes most of my other running clothes, but that I promptly yank them from the dryer to get them back onto my feet pronto. He understood immediately and empathized since he had experienced the same addiction issues when he innocently came across DT socks at a local outdoor shop and wore them so continuously that he wore a hole in the heel, sent them back to Darn Tough for replacements (awesome guarantee), then wore those out as well while also somehow turning all his toes bright red (something his doctor described as "chronic excessive continuum of abrasive exposure to fine merino wool syndrome", commonly known as "DT-itis"). He had to quit DTs cold turkey for nearly a year until he could resume a 12-step program of gradually reintroducing them into his wear cycle. Now he's doing fine and has adjusted to wearing a more typical variety of socks, but he'll always be a recovering DT-holic and is very worried about me and the slippery slope I'm undeniably on.

Clearly Bull City Running is partly (even mostly) to blame for my DT cravings and sad hygienic predicament since it introduced me to these socks but now won't feed my pathetic jonesing since I'm limited to this one overwhelmed pair from Tres. In this case, the drug dealer-like "first one's free" method of introducing a product to a naive customer has unquestionably produced a fast convert-turned-addict, but unlike Crack I can't get any more DT socks from my Dealer. Makes me wonder if my "DT" abbreviation might also imply the dreadfully uncomfortable DeTox I'll be going through if I don't find a source soon for more Run/Bike No-Show Cushion #1416 socks in Light Grey, Natural and/or Black (just in case Tres didn't tell you exactly what he pulled out of his goodie bag that evening). If I don't find a solution soon, I anticipate the Trailheads periodically coming across me lurching aimlessly and wide-eyed through CNF while wearing a pair of Crosslites and exceptionally tattered Darn Tough socks and mumbling gibberish about Bull City Running, one single pair of DTs, a once-happy, mainstream life and a rapid collapse after a seemingly innocent demo run with a sock rep.

Respectfully (but in kind of a desperate, demanding way),

-Michael Baucom
PS -- So really, will you please start carrying them??

--We have started carrying them at Bull City Running Company and they have a lifetime warranty. Come try a pair.

Six Carbon 6 by Cannondale

This is a picture of my new road bike. I've put in about 300 miles on it so far and I really like it.

Boston and London--Marathon Inspiration

This week I watched Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, Sammy Wanjiru, and Tsegaye Kebede all run two hours, five minutes to win the 2010 Boston, 2009 London, and 2010 London marathons, respectively. Cheruiyot is 21 years old, a puppy by marathoning standards, and he crushed the previous record on the hilly track from Hopkinton to Boston by nearly two minutes. On Universal Sports I caught the replay of last year's London where Sammy Wanjiru won the prestigious marathon. By my count he has run six marathons since 2007 all in the 2:05-2:06 range. Many consider his Olympic win in the Bejing heat to be the best marathon performance ever. To the right is a picture of Wanjiru entering the Olympic stadium. I want to be like Sammy!

Kebede clearly put in the work to make sure he came ready to win in London this weekend. From the early press releases, he broke with six miles to go and won by over a minute. In some of these world majors such as Berlin, Chicago, and London it is very difficult for a non-kenyan to win. For an Ethiopian such as Kebede or an Eritrean, Moroccan, or American to win, one has to often go it alone. I mention these as just a few of the countries that have produced elite marathoners in recent years. Often the two or three pace makers hired are Kenyans which means they know whoever the Kenyan favorite is through a history at training camps or world class events. You could see in the coverage of the 2009 London marathon that when Hendrick Raamala of South Africa wanted the pace quickened and began to move to the front, the three Kenyan pace setters were a little thrown off. They did not want to make a move unless Sammy Wanjiru, a kenyan, wanted to quicken the pace. Advantage Kenya. Disadvantage--rest of the world. Hats off to Tsegaye Kebede for breaking through the Kenyan juggernaut and winning in London this weekend.

The picture above says it all for me. Cheruiyot the younger, as he is becoming known, and Merga of Ethiopia cresting Heartbreak Hill. I thought Merga seemed confident and in control of this race throughout the early miles, though Cheruiyot looked as smooth as a gazelle. The young articulate Kenyan ran negative splits at Boston. Negative Splits! That means he ran the second half faster than the first (1:03:27 for 13.1 miles then 1:02:25 coming home). This is not uncommon for elite athletes, but it is not common for anyone at Boston. This oldest of marathons is significantly faster and downhill for the first half of the race. Without manually checking the splits of the nearly 23,000 finishers I am confident that less than one percent of the finisher recorded negative splits. This tactic and result by Cheruiyot may tell more of us how we should approach our grueling 26.2 mile efforts in the future. I mentioned that many consider Wanjiru's 2008 Olympic win to be the greatest marathon performance of all time. Well, there is a new consideration and it is Robert "the younger's" 2:05:52 on Patriot's Day six days ago.

We should all stand in awe of these three champions. Someone will soon break Gebreselassie's 2:03:59. Will it be one of these runners or someone else? My money is on Zersenay Tadese. Never heard of him. Look him up.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reverse Brick

I ran 13 miles this morning at a little under 7 minute pace, 10 minute break to change and transition, and then a 40 mile bike ride holding 19.2mph. A very good workout in preparation for RAAM.
click map for details

click map for details

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Commuter junk miles Sun night - Tues am by monklinney at Garmin Connect - Details

Commuter junk miles Sun night - Tues am by monklinney at Garmin Connect - Details

I feel connected to my city in a much more visceral way when the car stays in the garage. It is also good for the heart and lungs.

Tweet Tweet

These are the baby bluebirds. They are out of focus, but that is only the fault of the camera. I think I see three from the five eggs. Maybe all five are smushed in there. Go birds.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My wife is so proud of this blooming rhododendron. She has grown a green thumb and it leaves its mark all around our front and back yards. She used to say that all plants died in her presence. Not so anymore. This flower is not far from the eggs pictured below and soon I will post a picture of what has become!


This project will explore a new passion of mine, new in the last year or so, cycling.

What's a cog?
A cog is another name for a sprocket which is a toothed wheel or gear that is part of a chain drive. Originally, "cog" referred to just a single tooth on a "cog wheel." Then "cog wheel" was shortened by popular usage to "cog."

I like to rhyme. Most writers do if they write with their ear, because readers and speakers love to rhyme. This dates as far back as the invention of the wheel when the cooks yelled out, when you finish with that you can have your dinner." But of course it sounded better with, "finish the wheel if you want your meal."

I tell my students to look for rhyme, repetition, and alliteration in their reading and writing. Simple concepts and easy to practice. It's kind of like cycling. You begin where you begin, maybe staying upright on the thing and one by one you learn a new trick, a new technique. I liken writing to cycling. Everyone thinks that Faulkner and Fabian Cancellara were carved out of stone as phenoms, but that's not true. They practiced and practiced and practiced some more. They listened to every thing and every one that would share secrets. And then they became master thieves and stole all the tricks from their mentors and worked them into their own tricks and trades. Sure, I'll concede that for the truly remarkable there is talent woven in which the rest of us could only dream of, but a craft well mastered is mostly about habit forming, practice, and the occasional calculated risk.

Is this about writing or cycling? Well, if you know me, and you probably don't, I'll make analogies of anything. Running and Writing, Cycling and Writing, Prayer and Yoga, Running and Faith.

Back to the Bike

I began with a fixed-gear bike called a Cannondale Capo. Thanks to my friends at REI I made this purchase in the Spring of 2009. My bike is black and white, simple and sleek. The rear wheel can be flip-flopped so it also doubles as a single speed with a free wheel. When it is set up fixey the crank arms stay in motion when pressure is applied. It might be easier to explain what the bike won't do, which is coast. The cog pictured above (or soon to be) is the original rear cog that came with the bike. It has 18 teeth or protruding points that grab hold of the chain as it rattles by again and again and again. Eighteen is also the day of my birthday in June so when I removed this cog, cleaned off the grease, the idea of this blog began to blossom. I just switched my fixey set up form this 18t cog to a 16t cog so that I could spin a little slower on the downhills around town as I commute to and fro. It also makes me work a little harder on the uphills which is good for overall fitness and a big race I have coming up in June.

This blog will include posts on cycling, spiritual escapades, my travels up and down the American Tobacco Trail hoping to meet the face of Jesus as pastor of the Tobacco Trail Church. On the lighter side, it will contain reviews of products related to biking, running,and maybe even church. I might review endurance nutrition supplements or global politics. I'll try to keep cycling somehow related, but no promises. Comment harshly if necessary when I diverge, but such less traveled divergences worked for Robert Frost so no promises that I will stay the course.

I also want to trace what I am learning as a budding cyclist. There is so much beta out there, so many experts, most generous, others more guarded. Their stories and advice may be helpful along the way. I am getting interested in various cycling disciplines: fixey, road, cyclocross, criterium and maybe more. I feel like there are insights along the way worth noting because I feel like once someone has become a master tradesman and habits become innate it is more difficult to re-trace the learning and growing process. I hope to map out some of my findings along the way. I hope you will join for the journey.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wisdom of Stability

My friend, Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove, has written a new book and it is about being grounded. We went to seminary together and I learned as much from him as I did from my greatest professors at Duke. I can't wait to read it, but I already know some of how it will work. It will lack glamour and glitz. It will be about investing in the small plot where you currently reside. It will be about taking that sense of restlessness that so many of us have, so many of us should have, and not running away from it, but turning it towards something simple that is right at arm's reach. Here is a great article about Jonathan and the book and a way to get a copy.

N&O Article

How to Purchase

I turned over our compost pile with the help of my two year old this morning. I took a picture yesterday of five blue bird eggs that grow in our backyard. I felt stable. Simple things like these make me hesitate to leave Durham, North Carolina. All one has to do is get in the car or get off a plane to be able to imagine greener pastures, but more of us belong where we are.

I imagine a church someday that I will pastor, where regularly I look out at the faces of squirminess and restlessness and I will say, "Did you know, that God has you right where you belong, right now. You are not supposed to be any other place than right here. Rest and Rejoice."

Looking Back

I had cause to look back at the beginnings of this project, At Water's Edge. I've crested two years of inconsistent writing at this site. Nobody much is reading, but that's okay. At the least, I am putting stuff out there and every once in a while some folk responds back and I feel like my words matter to more than just me. Plus, I know that most of what I read on paper and online, I don't respond to, so who knows, maybe folks are reading. Whatever.

I was doing a little self-flogging yesterday in awe of a friend who churns out book after book. He is such a great writer, far better than I could ever be, and that's not modesty, but just the honest truth. And I was feeling sorry for myself that I have not published, but who cares. I will someday if I have something good enough to say. For now, I am just happy to have the time to write. And I don't feel so bad, there are 71 going on 72 posts to this blog. That's something. Other folks jot that down in three months, but I'm not other folks. I'm me. And that's good enough for today.

As I was looking back at those first posts, I was remembering how turbulent life was two Lents ago. I was preparing for ordination to the ministry in Christ's church. I was scared out of my mind. I did not know what it would mean for me. I still don't know. I am as much a wanderer as Abraham. That line is straight out of a recommendation letter written on my behalf by the man who helped marry me, the Rev. R.E. Owens. And he was right then and I'm right now. But I can deal with a comparison to Abraham. He wandered, all over the place, but faithfully to the end. I don't have a church, which I wish I did. I'm working on that. I have, however, since ordination married a few couples and been proud to do so. Whether in retail or on an airplane I am humbly proud to say that I am a Baptist minister if the conversation turns that direction. I am always intrigued by people's reaction. All kinds of reactions. Where is your church?...Oh, that's nice...Really, well I'm a Christian too. You must come visit our church. The truth is I really enjoy every response. It's always a little surprise and I am surprisingly not anxious about others reactions. The only bother on the subject of late is a few close friends who have taken to calling me rabbi. I find it insulting to Jews and insulting to me, because that is not what I am. I guess they are somehow confused or uncomfortable around me. I'm not sure, but I wish they would quit calling me rabbi. It's really not appropriate and in no way funny. I would guess these two have never been to synagogue or else they would hold Jewish priests in higher regard. I'd be proud to be a rabbi if that were what God had laid out for me, but I am Christian minister, and a Baptist one at that. Some will water things down and say, well, isn't it really all the same. No, it's not. No disrespect, because a rabbi and a pastor would know exactly what I mean. It's not the same and we don't help one another by watering it down.

What jokes do you tell or names do you call that seem harmless but might need some analysis? For the rest of Lent, I'm going to examine the jokes I make with friends and acquaintances. I feel sure that some are more hurtful than I realize and I can expunge such habits if I pay attention.

Lord Jesus, you draw us into the shadow of your cross. By your blood you set us free. Help us to walk with you in your hour of blood and sweat and pain. We seek to be with you in these final days of Lent, and empowered by your Spirit. Show us the Way.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Turn Your Face

My mother's book, Turn Your Face, is available for purchase online. Everyone should go and buy it right now. It is an amazing read.


Friday, March 5, 2010

I'm leading The NO BULL 8K Training Program offered through Bull City Running Company! In another way, it is the All Bull program because we will be running in our beloved Bull City, Durham, North Carolina.

Kick off date is Thursday, April 8 at 6:00pm. Group runs will be offered on Tuesdays at 7:00am and Thursdays at 6:00pm. This 9-week clinic is geared towards runners who have been comfortably and consistently running and are trying to improve fitness, add a little speed, and learn new training and injury prevention techniques. On several of the Thursday night sessions local experts will cover topics including strength training, yoga, and chiropractic techniques. Cost is $100 which includes the 9-week clinic, entry fee to the Running of the Bulls 8K on June 5, and a synthetic running hat. To register, please stop by the store or email with any questions at: bullcityrunning@gmail.com.

Most runs will start and finish from the Bull City Running store at South Point Crossing shopping center, but we will will venture out to some other fun locations. I hope you will consider this clinic as a way to jump start your Spring and Summer season of fitness, running, cycling, triathlons, or curling. Okay, I know nothing about curling, but I can help you with all the rest.

What's Calling You Now?

My alma mater, Furman University is offering a retreat for alumni over a long weekend at the end of July 2010. Looks like a great opportunity and I wanted an excuse to post this beautiful picture.

We should all be asking the question daily, what is calling me now? Seems like such a big question, but it can start rather simply. What song is tugging at your for a click on your iPod? Where do you get your news? Whom do you count among your friends? Your enemies? Start small and God will pull you into the bigger vocational, familial, geographical sorts of directions.

Someone from the Midwest was complaining that Durham's roads are the worst he'd ever seen. No road leads to where he thought it would or should. It's all twisty and windy around here. Our city planners don't seem to get the concept of "grid." I like that it takes a lot of time here to learn one's way. It takes patience and humility. One needs some time on task before knowing where to go and how to get to the destination. There is rarely one way to get there. How are you being called to get where you are going?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Green Silence

Myong, A faithful runner and friend to Bull City Running Company logged 14 miles in her new Brooks Green Silence this morning. She says that she is definitely using them to race in next week at the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon. The Green Silence is a super flexible eco-friendly shoe that work well as racing flats and lightweight trainers for runners who do not require a lot of support. We were thrilled to get early feedback on this very intriguing new shoe from Brooks. Come check out the Green Silence at Bull City Running Company.

Go Myong and all our other friends who are headed to Myrtle Beach the weekend of February 12-14!