135: A new kind of paddle

This summer, in between a lower back injury and a new crisis with my shoulder, I managed to work out four-or five times a week on the stretch of flatwater behind my college campus, and complete a three-mile leg of a wilderness triathlon in a racing kayak.  Our runner was third on the trail, I was tenth out of the water, and my friend Tobias was somewhere in-between on the mountain bike.  We were tenth overall, in a field inclusive of multiple Olympians.  Thinking I can knock whole minutes off of my time next year if I can manage to avoid injury while training and before the event.  Here I am with the wing paddle I use, new out of the box.

134: A pig for Gibbs

I cooked a whole little 30 pound pig Saturday for Gibbs Knotts and his wife Stacy and daughter Whitney, all of whom are leaving our mountains for a new home in Charleston this month. His dad (the pig's, not Gibbs's) was a Berkshire Boar, and his mom was a Berkshire and wild Russian boar mix. According to Daryl Talley of Trillium Farms Natural Pork, his Grandmom was the first wild boar sow legally taken from next-door Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the European variety introduced by the Vanderbilts for hunting.   I'll let the pictures tell the story...

133: First real cook of 2012

After riding my bicycle 31 days in a row starting January 1, avoiding meat and alcohol for the month, and continuing to ride bikes all spring, I've lost 25 pounds and feel almost as fit as I did when I raced for so many years, as a younger man and with a singular focus.

But it's time to start cooking again.  From now on, I only eat pork when I cook.

Here,  I smoked 90 pounds of Boston Butt in just 6 hours.  Some of it was shy of perfect, but most of it pulled no problem after reaching 205 degrees.  I cooked at 300-315 to accelerate the pace.  I'd say another hour would have been ideal, although the meat that sat on hot spots was developing a very thick bark.  All pulled and mixed together though, it was good BBQ.  My standard will be slower and lower, though.

Add caption
Almost done -- look at that bark forming 

The hosts -- Mike bought all that BBQ for less than 30 adults

close that thing - if you're lookin' you ain't cookin'
Passing the time, working off what I'm about to eat

Pulling pork!

Ultimate approval:  "Dad, this pulled pork sure makes me sleepy!"

132: January Challenge

I'll update this post soon with more of an explanation, but this year I decided to jumpstart my overall fitness during the upcoming season by riding my bike every single day of the coldest, darkest month of the year.  I walked away from bike racing in 2006, when fuel prices were high and my firstborn boy started walking.  My last few years of racing, in my late 30s, were in some ways my best.  I had discovered track racing, and the closed short circuit, strategy, structure and rules, not to mention it being a natural fit for my fast-twitch sprinter's body.  Between 1990 and 2006, I've been dropped before the finish in more road races than I'd care to admit, and even getting to the sprint at the end of an hour-long criterium challenges me.  But a 9-minute track race?  No problem!

Anyhow, I'll post more about the January Challenge soon.  In short, I ride every day this month, be it outside on a road bike, a fixed gear, a mountain bike, or my single-speed mountain bike, or inside on the rollers (here) or even the Schwinn spin bike at the gym, on which my old Shimano Carbon racing shoes fit the SPD pedals.  It just has to be 30 minutes, minimum.  My friend Shane, also a product of early 90's racing and especially the East Coast crit scene, is doing his variation of the same plan.  So last night, he and his wife and three small boys came over, he and I spun for an hour while Sloan and A.J. made pizza, and the five small ones wreaked their usual havoc.  A.J. was indulgent enough to step outside and take this video.  Enjoy!

Video coming soon

About Me

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I use this blog to chronicle certain aspects of my life near the Smokies. I'm building a cabin. I kayak. Sometimes I bike.