Tag Archives: Swamp Rabbit Trail

I am a Swamp Rabbit Criminal

Yesterday I wrote how I was battling a stress knot in my neck. I knew that a good way to relieve some of it was to get out and exercise. So, shortly after 11:30 AM I rushed home to get changed to make it to Boyd Cycling for a lunchtime ride. I ended up learning that it pays not to be late.

I reached the start location off of Pete Hollis around three minutes after noon. It was obvious I was late because there were no riders standing around getting ready to head out. However, I didn’t know how late I might be. Perhaps I could catch them.

It was funny running up to the door of Boyd Cycling to check and see how much time would need to be made up. I didn’t get a definitive answer… It may have been 5 minutes. It may have been 10.

As I was talking another rider pulled up. It was Clive De Sousa, the owner of Glory Cycles. He said he would start off slowly while I got my bicycle off the car. I could catch up with him as we headed down the SRT toward Paris Mountain.

Finally, I rolled off at ten minutes after noon. I was cranking it too. From a cold start I was spinning along at over 300 watts. By the time I reached Furman I was starting to feel it in my quads. I’m getting too old to jump on a bike and push it without warming up!

Just after the train car by the Furman campus, I caught up with Clive. We then rode on to Paris Mountain maintaining a pretty good pace. There wasn’t any conversation until we reached the base.

We both agreed that we weren’t going to push it. At that point, I don’t think I could have! Clive was going to ride over and then return to town. I was going to go over and then return on the same route as we came out on. I figured at some point I would run into Boyd and company.

The ride up was fun. I didn’t look down at my computer the whole climb. We talked as we made our way up the 2.2 mile climb. Several times, I was getting out a sentence between deep breathes.

Having never met, we introduced ourselves and I explained why I was wearing the Trappe Door Cycling kit even though I wasn’t on the team. That lead to a short conversation about Worthwhile. Then I asked Clive about his business and he gave me some of the strategies behind Glory Cycles.

Shortly after the half-way point, Clive got an ear full of the I Do It For Foundation. It was kind of like having a captive audience. There wasn’t much place for him to go. He either had to sprint ahead of me or come to a stand still on the side of the mountain. Maybe I should take people on that ride more often!

Finally, we separated at the wall as I pushed it to the top. Clive was shortly behind and we took off down the mountain together. It was at that point we started coming upon the riders with the Boyd Cycling group. Then we went past Boyd himself riding clean up.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch them because I would have to descend and then climb back over the mountain. However, it would be a good workout and if I rode hard, I might be able to catch them before everyone left the shop.

Getting down fast was easy. It was a little harder going fast back up! However, I made decent time and before long found myself back on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.

At that point, I continued to push it. It isn’t something I normally do. It is actually a matter of pride that I don’t normally ride fast on the SRT. I’ve always worked to avoid getting Strava personal bests or KOMs on the stretch. However, this day I was just trying to get back to connect with the guys on the ride ahead of me.

As I pulled up to Sulpher Springs I heard something come up behind me. It was the motor cycle policeman. “Hey, did you know that the speed limit is 20 mph and that there is a $100 fine for not stopping at the stop signs?” He said that in a manner that indicated that I had not stopped at any of the stop signs. I replied, “I didn’t stop at the stop signs?” He said, “Not a one since Roe Ford Road.” Hmmmm, I thought to myself, I was positive I had stopped at the crossing roads. It popped out, “Seriously, I didn’t stop at any of them?” “Nope,” came the answer.

Well, I wasn’t going to argue with him. He basically gave me a warning and I said, “Thank you, Sir.” We then waited for the traffic to clear and I crossed to continue on my way. As I did so, I switched my Garmin over to show me the speed and made sure I kept it under 20.

I think the issue at the stops is a definition of stopping. No, I did not come to a complete roll back stop with my foot down on the ground. It would be more of a slow rolling track stand until traffic cleared or I was aware that no traffic was coming. There is no way I am stupid enough to go blowing through one of the signs. At the same time, it is a bear to lose your momentum with a complete foot-out-of-the-pedal stop.

Once again it reminds me why when I am doing anything other than riding with my kids I avoid the SRT. I’d much rather ride the newly smooth Buncombe Road and not have to worry about getting pulled over for speeding and it is actually nice to have the advantage of the traffic light system.

I really don’t like being a criminal… even if it is just a Swamp Rabbit Speed Bandit.

Lost boy, fast bike and near misses

Thursday evening my ride got off to a slow start. As I was getting ready to leave my office, I got a text from the Beautiful Redhead asking if I would be home soon. I let her know it would be about 5 minutes. Then she responded that she was driving around the neighborhood looking for Thing Three who had taken off on a bicycle and not returned. She wanted me to help her look for him on the way home.

I drove around a bit looking for him, but didn’t see him. So, I decided to go to the house and change for my ride and then kill two birds with one stone by riding my bike to look for him. Meanwhile, my wife left for her aerobics class.

Thing Three rides his bike during a charity ride

Thing Three rides his bike during a charity ride

However, as I was getting ready to walk out the door, a hot a visibly frustrated 8 year-old walked in the door. I asked him where he had been and he said that he “just walked home from Timmons Park.” I asked him where his bike was. He then started whimpering. “It is infested with ants!”

“It’s what?” I asked and followed with, “How did you ride it to Timmons Park with a fire ant infestation?” He answered, “They weren’t there when I was riding to the park, they got on the handle when I laid it down to get on the swing.” Ah, that made sense. Poor guy. No wonder he was frustrated!

We got in the truck to drive down to the park about two blocks away. We talked as we traveled about what he had done. I reminded him that he must tell his mom when he is out riding his bicycle. He responded with a typical cyclist answer.

“I was just riding my bike around the block,” he started. “Then I decided I would go to the park. I didn’t start out to go to the park.” “I understand,” I replied — and I did, I’ve done that kind of thing myself — “Still, in that case, you should have stopped back by the house to tell your mother.”

It was hard for me to be too upset with him. I am glad he likes to ride his bicycle. I am also glad that he has a sense of adventure. It is hard to balance protection with freedom. It is especially true during this day. However, I don’t want my kids to live a “riskless” life.

With him safe and sound at home, I headed out for my ride. It was a simple track down the Swamp Rabbit Trail to TR and then back into Greenville on Old Buncombe Road. This time I had my GoPro mounted on the bike with the wireless controller. It allowed me to start recording by just pushing a button on a wrist band. Here is a short comparison of my SRT and OBR routes.

The only instance I wish I had gotten was the one where I approached a couple riding side-by-side. As I neared them from behind another rider approached them from the opposite direction. The man in front of me started slowly moving into the line of the oncoming cyclist. Finally, the lone rider had to stop completely and call out to the drifting rider, “LOOK UP!”

After the errant rider jerked back to his right, the now upset cyclist continued on his way still calling out as he rode, “You’ve got to look up, people!” I must say, there are times when I definitely feel safer riding Old Buncombe Road than on the carless SRT.

Hoping for a day to remember

I was up late last night. That was partly due to the fact that I wasn’t able to start my trainer workout until after 9 PM. It was also due to the excitement of Thing Two.

The training went well. It was a short one, but a tough one. My coach called for me to warm up for 15 minutes working up to 260 watts. Then I was to go steady between 275 and 300 watts for 20 minutes. The last portion of the workout was a 10 minute cool down. The core of the workout – the 20 minute section – was to be at T-cadence: the revolutions per minute where I am at optimal performance. For me, that is around 95 – 98 rpm.

I pretty much nailed it with an average of 287 watts. The average cadence was 97 rpm. While it was hard – my current Functional Threshold Power is 285 watts – I felt that I could have kept it going for a bit more. It was encouraging.

Coming upstairs I tried to wind down a bit for bed. The kids were in their beds, but I could tell that Thing Two was restless. I spoke to him and then left to shower.

Later – around 10:45 PM – I went into the kitchen and who should appear? Thing Two. “I’m not tired,” he said. “Are you too excited to sleep?” I asked. “No” he replied in his crackling, changing voice. I knew immediately that he was.

Even after I got in bed he came knocking on the door. This time I sent his mom to deal with him. This was not because I didn’t want to deal with him. It was because he always seems to respond better to her when we tried to get him to sleep. Thankfully, this time it worked!

So, why was he so excited?

Tony Martin wins Paris-Nice

Tony Martin wins Paris-Nice by Jonathan Pait, Jr.

Today, I am taking off work for the afternoon. I’m taking Thing Two out of school. I’m going to pick him up when his class leaves for lunch. Then we’re going to grab a bit to eat together before we head out for a ride on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. We’re going to ride all the way to TR and stop for a cup of coffee. Then we’ll head back to Greenville.

Once we get back, I’m going to take him to a photo shoot where he’ll get a picture taken of him and his bicycle. Of course, he’ll be wearing this Low Cadence kit for the photo. I really hope it will be a fun day for him.

Thing Two doesn’t talk much. It is really hard to find out what is going on inside his head. I’ve always wondered what he thinks about cycling. The great fear is that I will push something on him that he doesn’t enjoy.

Sometimes He will express himself with his pen. He enjoys drawing and at 10-years old, he has free handed some pretty neat stuff. That is why it was really cool to see the ruled paper sketch he drew for me. It was a scene from the final stage of Paris-Nice. He had watched the race in bits and pieces with me. Of course, he didn’t say much about it. I think the picture does the talking for him.

I won’t lie. I hope today is an incredible day for him. I want it for him. I want it for me. I want it for us.

Cycling is an activity that the two of us can do together for years to come. It doesn’t have to be racing. But it is entirely possible that we could be riding together when I’m 65 and he is in his thirties. Who knows, I might still be able to beat him up Paris Mountain. 🙂

Maybe he will choose a different outlet for recreation and physical exercise. Whatever he chooses I am behind him 100%. The years to come will reveal the tale. For today, I just hope it is a day to remember as we turn those pages.

Keeping your conscience on the Swamp Rabbit Trail

The Rails to Trails conversion of the Swamp Rabbit Trail has been a great success. Perhaps it has been too successful. There are so many people enjoying the converted railway along the Reedy River it has caused some issues with a section crossing a railroad track.

Because of this the trail has been “closed” for a particular section. Of course, what happens in most cases is that people are ignoring the notices and continuing along their way. That might not bother some folks, but if you find your conscience bothering you about disobeying the warning, there is a way to continue on the trail without too much of a detour.

You can check out the route in the following video. You’ll find a map in the video along with a drive along the route so you can see exactly what you’ll see. I’m pretty sure most cyclists are aware of this detour, but there may be some recreational users who (because they are unaware of the area roads) do not know this route exists. They reach the notice and aren’t sure what to do. Well, you don’t have to turn around.

Keep enjoying the trail and be sure to keep expressing your enjoyment to the trail creators — and the rail road company. Word is that a solution is being sought. Until that time, I hope this detour will be a help.

Short video along the Reedy River

This blog often covers the workouts involved in my training. However, not all of the rides are heavy duty. Sometimes it is just an easy hour of spinning. Often, the course isn’t made up entirely of roads.

Such was the case yesterday when I went out for an early lunch ride. A thunderstorm was forecast for the early afternoon and into the evening. If there was going to be a ride, it would have to happen then.

Sorry that it is so shaky. I was using my iPhone and the sidewalk had slight ripples in it. Even with the iMovie image stabilization feature, I still ended up with the jerky movements.

Still, it is a enough to give you an idea why so many of us love Greenville so much. This is just a portion of the lovely areas that are available for you to ride — and walk. Now that the rain came and washed away some of the pollen, it is even better!

Who needs a power nap? Take a power lap.

Yes, it has been a busy week. I also mentioned that it has been an off week for my training. What this has led to is a lot of pent up stress and not much physical output. That equals frustration. Any of you who exercise on a regular basis and then miss for several days know what I’m talking about.

So, I simply couldn’t take it anymore! Even though yesterday was a very important day in my work schedule, I took 45 minutes to ride my bike. After a quick bite to eat at lunch, I rolled off from the house to do an easy spin out and back. It was the best thing I could have done — both for my training and my work.

The trees behind the house were swaying and as I rolled my bike out to start I could tell that the weather was fluctuating. Quickly I threw my rain jacket in my back pocket.  I also figured that the wind might make the ride a little uncomfortable. I didn’t care. I just wanted to ride!

It was one of those times when you find a smile spreading across your face. The weather was really just perfect. At least when the ride started there was no rain. The wind turned out not to be bad at all and was quite refreshing.

Heading down East North Street instead of my typical back road route, I managed to get green lights that allowed me to keep momentum all the way to the park. I avoided the climb on Woodland Way and turned right to head to the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Once on the trail I spun easily toward Falls Park, through A Children’s Garden (Linky Stone Park), and then to the end of the trail by the under construction Kroc Center.

Then I decided to do a little exploring and find where the trail picked up again. Following roads that seemed to be taking me in the general direction that the trail would follow, I did come upon more sections of the uncompleted trail. This led me to Pete Hollis Blvd. Once there, it was time to head back. Work was calling.

Taking a direct route to downtown along Pete Hollis took me by Hincapie Sportswear and then back toward Cleveland Park. In the park the rain started to fall a little heavy. Ahhhhh! It was sooooo good to smell the rain soaking the warm asphalt. After such a cold winter it was nice to feel the rain hitting me and refreshing me instead of freezing me!

Arriving back home I still had the grin on my face… well, it spread into a full smile. My legs felt loose and warm. The tenseness that had been building in my body over the last four days was gone. My mind was in a much more positive frame.

Forty-five minutes on the bike made the rest of the hours I worked Thursday more profitable. I’ve never been a person who takes naps. My wife is great at taking short “power naps.” I can’t. If I lay down for a nap, I’m out for an hour or more. However, I could get into taking “power laps” ever now and again. It does a body — and mind — good!

Hincapie Path Dedication

George Hincapie has left another mark on the City of Greenville. Under beautiful blue skies, the Tour de France stage winner and Greenville resident lead dozens of cyclists for a ride along the newly dedicated Hincapie Path.

The Hincapie Path is part of the Swamp Rabbit Trail which many hope will someday run from Conestee to Travelers Rest. The section of the trail bearing his name stretches from Woodland Way in Greenville’s Cleveland Park to East Faris Road near Greenville First Baptist.

Greenville mayor, Knox White, began the event explaining some of the vision for trail. George Hincapie said a few well received words following the unveiling of a trail sign bearing the name “Hincapie Path.” The Hincapie family then joined him and city officials to cut the ribbon to officially open the path.

Those attending with bikes then had the opportunity to ride the path with George. The ride included a loop through some Greenville streets before returning to Cleveland Park. Following the short ceremonial ride, George headed off on a ride with friends including fellow Columbia rider, Craig Lewis.

Many members of the Palmetto Peloton Project’s Challenge to Conquer Cancer riders were there to support this great addition to an active Greenville community. These riders recently returned from a week long cycling trip to Austin, Texas to participate in the LiveStrong Challenge.

Check out the pictures from The Greenville News at GreenvilleOnline.com.