My Gift Catalog:

My Gift Catalog:

Hello Friends,

January 13, 2012 marks my 41st year on this Earth. In those 41 years I have received a great many blessings and gifts. On this birthday I would like to take an adventure. As many of you will not be surprised, I want to use my bicycle for this adventure. Here are the details?.

On Friday, July 13, 2012 I will ride my Giant Defy Advance from Indianapolis, IN to Brown County State Park and then switch to my trusty Trek Fuel EX 8 and continue to ride laps until I have ridden for 12 hrs. My hope is you will help me stay motivated during my 12 hour adventure. You can help me stay motivate by accepting my challenge.

The Challenge! If I complete my 12 hour adventure, you will donate a goat through World Vision. Simply follow this link to My Gift Catalog, select a goat and purchase it on line. My goal is to have my friends, family and colleagues purchase 41 goats.

Why Goats? Goat?s milk is very nutritious for young children. The families can also sell the milk products in their local markets. The addition of just one goat can bring much hope to a needy family. Please help bring 41 families this hope!

Please feel free to pass this along to others.


“Is it wrong for me to want to be better, to get faster, and to want to win?”

I finished reading Running with Joy, by American Marathon Record Holder, Ryan Hall about a month ago. Hall caught my attention at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in 2008. At the trials held in New York City, Ryan ran away with the title. He also spent the last 50 yards praising God. He has always been open about his faith with his fans and sponsors. You can watch several of his You Tube Videos chronicling his training and see how faith is pivotal to his life.

Back in 2010, after a less than stellar year, Ryan held a press conference to announce he was parting from his long time coach and the rest of the “Mammoth Track Club”. His reason for the separation was to allow God to have more control over his training. You can imagine the critiques’ articles.

The book I mentioned earlier is a journal of Ryan’s 2010 season. In the journal he shares his training schedule, work outs, emotions and Spiritual thoughts. It is an easy read and I enjoyed it on many levels. I encourage you to pick it up and spend some time with it.

Through out the book it is obvious that Ryan longs for his running to be a joyful experience no matter what place he finishes in the race or how successful his training run felt. I enjoyed seeing a “Pro Athlete” struggle with all the doubts and emotional lows I struggle with as I train for an event. Many times, Ryan would come back from a key work out emotionally drained and disappointed because he was only running a 5:50 mile pace for ten miles instead of the 5:40 he had planed! I caught myself thinking…”Who would be disappointed with that?” I mean here is this guy, who gets paid to simply train and run (Something Ryan admits is a dream come true for himself). I kept thinking why isn’t he satisfied with what he has? Ryan struggles with this question too, through out the book!

Last night as I sat down in front of my training log for the first time in several weeks, I saw how far off my training plan I really am. A week of allergy/ cold; a week of house repairs and cleaning so we can sell the house and bad weather all add up to three weeks behind my goals. I felt myself start to get frustrated and bummed. Then God reminded me of the pages in Ryan’s book. I felt/ heard God say…”Why can’t you be satisfied with what I give you? I give you time to ride, and a body that can experience all of it!” I argue back, “You gave me this personality, the drive to be better, not to settle!” I continue, “Is it wrong for me to want to be better, to get faster, and to want to win?”

I would like to say, God gave me a clear answer to my question, however I can’t. I guess I need to figure out why I want to be better? Is it for me or for others, who am I trying to glorify? Am I in the middle of my due “Mid-Life-Crisis”? What price am I paying in other areas of my life? If God wanted me to excel in endurance sports, wouldn’t he have given me better genes? All of these questions are valid and need to be answered by me. Until then, I will not be prepared for the answers God has for me…

I think tomorrow I will leave a little early for my ride to work. Catch an extra 20 miles and discuss this further with God! I will keep you posted!


My New Bike

This is my new Giant Defy Advance. This is also my first full carbon frame bicycle. I decided to sell my Litespeed and try a full carbon ride. I am not racing on the road any more, so the endurance geometry is a good match for my riding style and needs.

I have a bout 100 miles. I have been pleased. The carbon is noticeably more stiff than the titanium. The ride feel is wonderful. Everyone who has ridden in Indiana in the early spring, knows the roads are trashed with pot-holes and grit. The bike has handled all of these obstacles very well. Never have I long for the smoothness of the Ti frame. The carbon seems to deaden the road feedback, yet at the same time I still feel connected to the road! The bike is slightly lighter than the Litespeed. As pictured it sits at 17.5 lbs. Because of the nature of the titanium, I had Mark Degunya (Wheel Builder Extraordinaire) create a very stiff wheel/ hub combo. The Aero Head/ American Classic hubs are light and stiff. The same wheel set is great match for the carbon frame too! So over all I am very pleased. I will admit, however, if I were still road racing, I would opt for the Giant TCR. I think the TCR's shorter wheel base and fork rake would give it a snappier feel.

Of course I transferred my Campagnolo groupo onto the Defy. The carbon cranks just look great on the bike!

So do the Campagnolo Record Carbon Shifters!

I will check in later this spring to update the review! Enjoy the spring!


Faith Like a Child

I was able to take Saturday off from work and enjoy Peter’s basketball game. He is a defensive dynamo. What is more important, he is having a ball! Peter, unlike his elder brother, could care less about the score (In Up-Ward k-2nd Grade, they do not keep score). He just enjoys the running, jumping, shooting and passing. He also enjoyed blocking shots this weekend. Faith of a child…….

After the game, I was able to arrange a road ride with a friend. We met at the park and headed south on Mann road. The first hill past the golf course and I was loosing contact with Eric. I stopped at the top to check my tire for a flat, or maybe my brake was dragging. No such luck! It was me, my legs were cooked and I was not able to keep up! Eric noticed I feel off like a rock and circled back for me….Our training ride quickly became a social ride.

I was embarrassed, angry and disappointed. The dark clouds above us mirrored the dark clouds in brewing in my head. As I sit here today examining Saturday’s events, it reminds me of my walk with God. So often I find my self not following and having to trace my steps back to My Lord. The whole journey back to my Savior, I am rationalizing, arguing, hurting and weeping. I am embarrassed, angry and disappointed. I fear facing my Savior, even though I know what His response will be.

I think many people have been here before, face to face with their Creator knowing they have sinned! We hesitate and question ...Some get angry and refuse to take the final steps into His arms, others run the opposite direction because they have never known such Love. Some have so much pride; they think they should be able to fix their sin themselves before retuning to Him.

What ever the circumstance is behind our hesitation, we have no reason to worry! The price has been paid already! We are already forgiven; He only wants to pull us closer, for there we will find peace! God is not keeping score, he only wants us to run, jump, shoot and pass the ball! He wants us to enjoy His creation and His Love. God knows we are going to step out of bounds. He knows we are going to foul each other, its part of the game. He is only concerned with our Hearts!

So the next time you find yourself off His path, don’t stop and think, just turn and run all the way back to His arms and rest in His Peace and Love. There is Joy in this, This is called faith like a child.


Sram XX

I finally pulled the trigger and up graded my Trek Fuel. I added some select Sram XX products. My goal was to move to a 2x10

drive train, reduce the Q-actor and save a little weight. The Sram XX was just the ticket…….

The components have a great look and add to the over all eye appeal of the bike.

Love the matchmaker clamp. Allows me to clean up the dash board.

Race wheels with new components bring my endurance rig down to 25.5 lbs.


Spring, Embrocation, Evil Temptress and The Razor's Edge

Last entry to this little corner of the cycling world was focused on sickness and setbacks! This entry could easily continue that theme, but I refuse to give in! Like Jens Voigt, I am a head banger and must always be pushing forward, attacking.

In the midst of all the negative news and circumstances today, there is much to be joyful about and rest assured the biggest event is the Good News, which we are reminded of each spring! The next big good news is the assurance that warmer and more enjoyable riding time is moving closer!

I was first introduced to cycling by an older kid, who lived across the street from me in Evansville. It was 1985 that Mike told me about a bicycle race in France, where the fittest rider was not the winner. He was forced to wait for his team leader. I was confused, but captured by the concept! It would be another two years before I ever ventured out on a ride with Mike.

I tell you this story to help you understand that I have been seriously pretending to be a serious bicycle race for well over 20 years! In that time I have developed some spring time rituals!

  1. Early spring rides are to be epic! These are the rides we share at the coffee shop with our friends. They include words like cold, punishing, bonk, suffer fest and ridiculously steep! These stories bond all cyclists of all levels together. We all suffer on our bikes, our passion for the two wheels hurts at times and no cyclist can escape this fact!
  2. It is hard to explain, but at some point during the spring, the switch comes on and I decided to shave the legs. To be quite honest, it is a pain to keep up…But this act of converting hairy, coarse legs into smooth, pedaling pistons just fires me up and mentally prepares me for war! It also allows for easier application of embrocation.
  3. Embrocation is a ritual I learned later in my cycling life. Now if the temps are below 55, I can’t imagine starting a ride without it! Again, it is a ritual of cycling that is passes from master to journeyman. It is potent, just the smell of it makes my twitch with anticipation of a ride!

So there you have it, James’ spring cycling rituals. No great wisdom, but plenty to share at the next coffee shop stop. One last thing, mostly a warning about the evil temptress that lurks around this time of year. She made her self know this weekend at our home….Samoas….need I say more? Sorry Allison, shouldn't have left me home alone with an open box!



Ok, I have been under the weather since Friday night. Just some light stomach flu and fatigue. Because of this, I have not done any training. It is so early in the season, I can take this time off and not feel too guilty. (Repeat this line three times)

As I spoke about in a past post, it is difficult for us athletes to handle the various interruptions that life sends us! I new friend was telling me about some injuries that happen just before big races and he had to make the call not to race. As he spoke, I felt that dreaded knot in the pit of my stomach too. No athlete likes to cancel a race or important training ride due to illness, injury or other life happening. Yet, it is here we can set an example to our love ones.

1. As Christ followers, we should be at peace. I know that none of us are perfect, and I am a very poor example of peacefully accepting set backs. However, with prayer, I also know I can overcome my very goal orientated nature.

2. As Christ followers, we know how our true worth is measured. My worth is not based on race results or local training ride status.

3. As Christ followers, we must be ready to lay done our nets and follow. Our set backs may be an opportunity to do other Kingdom building.

One last thought today, It is February. March will be roaring in soon! My motivation is high and I am itching to get to riding outside again. This transition from winter training to spring riding is very precious to me! In the 24 years I have been riding, I have developed some traditions! My next post will focus on these!