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 |

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 |

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:

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.
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