Jay Thomas – The 6 Hours of Cranky Monkey Endurance Mountain Bike Race

March 28th, 2013 by

Jay Thomas 6 Hours of Cranky Monkey

6 Hours of Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike Race Recap

Wow, what a day! Jim Harman and the crew at EX2 Adventures really know how to do it and do it well. After a few years of negotiating to get a race at Rosaryville Park in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, they were able to get the “thumbs up” and scheduled the race for Saturday, March 23rd.

The week leading up to the race meant training as usual. Despite the desire to rest I felt the need to keep things going as I have another solo endurance race on April 13th (Leesburg Bakers Dozen – 13 Hour Race). Spin, yoga, core, and indoor trainer were on tap and have been my “go to” routine during this years training season. Feeling good come Thursday my mind started to think of what I would have the night before the race. I quickly messaged my buddy Bart who races in the North Carolina circuit as well as other states along the East Coast. When in doubt have some pasta! Who am I to say no to that. My typical diet consists of protein, veggies and light carbs. Given the length of the race and solo effort I felt carbo loading the night before the race was acceptable. Bite to eat, a movie and in bed as early as possible as 6am would come soon enough.

The night before any race I get the “jitters.” Surprisingly enough I actually had a decent nights sleep and woke up 10 minutes before the alarm. Up, dressed and in the kitchen packing the cooler and having some coffee anxious to get on the road. Nela, my wife is a Saint! She’s so supportive and having her there in the pits always helps me mentally knowing that she is there. She too was up and ready to go, coffee in hand. In the car and on the road at 7:00am meant our ETA would be 8am with plenty of time to get setup, prep and attend the pre-race announcements.

Thanks to my buddy Brian having to setup the tent/table was already done as he drove down the night before, camped and snagged a primo spot for our group of racers. Nela and I arrived a little after 8am and were able to get things setup rather quickly. Wondered around, saw friends and chatted about how it was the first big race for everyone and how everyone felt. It was clear we all were excited about the course and ready to get started. Registered, got my packet, number, and headed to the main area for the pre-race briefing. Rules, course descriptions, sponsors recognition, etc., etc. Headed back to our pit area, got dressed and hopped on the bike to do some warm ups. Typically I am always asking Nela “what time is it” every 5 minutes but not today. I was surprisingly in a relaxed mood despite this being my first solo endurance race.

After warm ups, final intake of food and water Brian, Mark and I headed up to the start area. About half way there I noticed my back tire was a bit flat. Given how close we were to race start I was unable to head back to put more air in my rear tire – oh well! We chose to post up in the middle of the group which was just fine with me. Five minutes to go I talked to another fellow single speeder about gearing. He had some good insight on the gearing I ended up choosing (32X20) but learned that I might run into over working the legs due to the style course and the likelihood that I would be spinning a lot to keep momentum.

The countdown began….4 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute and the blown horn sounds! The ringing of cowbells and “Woo-Hoo’s” filled the air and put a smile on my face. Then, “rider down, rider down!” One of the racers had gotten caught up with another and quickly went down. Everyone went to the right and left giving them ample room to get up and get rolling. Into the field we went, through the time area and finally into the woods and single track. The first few miles were tight w/ clusters of riders getting bogged down and “bottle necked” which is normal when you have a few hundred racers at one time.

Lap 1, as expected, consisted of groups of racers, fast, slow, fast slow tempos and me learning the course. I knew it was a fast, rolling course that was just about 11 miles long. Not knowing exactly the type of climbs I would encounter made me a bit nervous. Fortunately there weren’t too many steeps…only one at Mile 5 that was fairly steep that allowed me to get up and out of the saddle and really mash the pedals. Overall Rosaryville is a smooth, twisty and rolling course. Not a lot of technical features but Miles 7-9 had some logs, table-tops, drops, and roots which I quickly told myself I would need to save energy for, including the climb at Mile 5. After passing the last aid station I felt really good and was mentally preparing to come into the pits. Out of the woods and into the field I made my way to the time area, dismounted, walked through the timing area, and down to our pit area. Feeling good and the need to hit the porta john (Too Much Info?) Nela had a bottle ready to go. I nibbled on some small bites and hopped back on the bike to head out for my second lap.

Lap 2, wow, this was a reality check. Both mentally and physically I was feeling fine. Just past mile marker 2 I came across my buddy Mark who was standing at a creek “drop-in” and wasn’t looking happy. “You all right, what happened” I yelled. “Blew a tire” Mark said. Definitely a bummer that early in the race. As I approached the climb on Mile 5 I started preparing. About halfway up I started feeling a slight twitch and immediately eased of and into a lighter cadence. “Uh-Oh” I thought. Up the hill and back into the woods the twitch turned into a light spasm. I quickly hopped off the bike to stretch. Throughout Lap 2 I battled with twitching and determining when to go hard and to ease off. Back into the pits I take the same approach and not thinking of the amount of liquids I was consuming Nela felt I was drinking too much. More small bites (added banana), drank some Acai juice, a refill of the water bottle, and back out I went.

Lap 3, the cramping on the previous lap really got to me. Was it something I ate, didn’t eat or drink prior to race start???? Easing into my pace and finally on my own and alone in the woods I sat into a zen like state and just kept pedaling and tackling each mile/section confidently. Did I continue to worry about when/where I might cramp, yes but thankfully it was not as bad as what I experienced in Lap 2. After my first 2 laps I was starting to remember the course, where I was and improving my flow. Climbs and obstacles were imbedded in my brain so the need to anticipate when/where they were was not an issue. As I passed the aid stations I decided to partake and consume small cups of Gatorade. Yep, I was going against the better judgement of Nela and continued to consume mass amounts of liquids. Back to the field and timing area I found myself back at our pit area needing to pee…..again! Should have taken Nela’s advice.

Lap 4, here we go, getting towards the end and my original 6 lap goal was definitely not going to happen but was okay with it. I noticed my upper back and neck were starting to hurt and began to shift my mind on other things to push away the slight pain I was experiencing. Was I ready to be done? Almost, but knew I still had 20ish miles to go. Passing, being passed, seeing other riders sidelined due to mechanical issues only and thankfully not physical issues was a sigh of relief. There were only 14 Single Speed Solo racers and didn’t see much of them given the length of each lap and the total amount of racers. When being passed by duo and trio teams I started getting a bit “snooty.” I assure you this is not normal for me…I think. Trying to suppress my “stinkin’ thinkin'” I told myself to “get over it.” At this point the course was the course and where I was really didn’t matter – all I knew is that I was approaching Lap 5. Out of the woods, into the woods and into the timing area I go! If you were wondering if I needed to make a quick stop at the porta john again…yes, I did. Must have “broke the seal” too early! Last refill and back out I go for my final Lap.

Lap 5 was definitely the most fun. Having navigated the course for 44 miles and just under 5 hours the need to think was low if any at all for me. Knowing where I was, anticipating the climbs and preparing for the technical areas was a breeze. No cramping and had a really nice pace. Got some positive “shout-outs” from fellow riders of encouragement that really helped me end strong. Did my mind wonder, oh yeah! At one point my thoughts were of how much I loved the Fall season and how it was the best time of year to ride. This quickly caused me to feel as if I was in the month of October given the leaves on the ground, yaddi, yaddi, yadda. That made me “LOL” and knew I must have been doing something right as slight fatigue was setting it. After each mile, climb, obstacle, and pedal stroke I got closer and closer to the end of the course. Mile 8, 9, 10 and finally out into the field and heading towards the finish – I was a happy camper and ready to be done.

Since this was my first solo endurance race a lot of things had been going through my mind prior to the event. Was I ready physically and mentally? Would I be prepared if I had a flat? What was the course like? All of my thoughts came and went but were unable to be put to rest until the day of the race. Overall I felt really good at my performance and placement – 7th out of 14 racers in my category. Rosaryville was the perfect venue for this kind of race and am so thankful to have registered and finished without any major issues. Will I be racing there next year??? Oh Yeah!

A big thank you to my loving and always supportive wife, Nela. Just having you there puts my mind at ease and appreciate you spending the day and “manning” the pit area for me.

I would also like to thank Jim Harman, EX2 Adventures, all Volunteers and race sponsors:
EX2 Adventures – www.ex2adventures.com
The Bike Lane – www.thebikelane.com
SEAVS (Exotic Animal Veterinary Services) – www.seavs.com/
Lucky Foot (Premier Walking & Running Shoe Store) – www.luckyfoot.com/
POW HER (Chiropractic & Wellness Center) – www.powherchiro.com
Drink More Water – www.drinkmorewater.com/

Northern VA Buzz – Sadie’s Smile Foundation 5K Run

May 16th, 2012 by

Northern VA Buzz’ follow up to the first annual Sadie’s Smile Foundation 5K Run. The weather could not have been more perfect! Volunteers started trickling into the downtown area of Purcellville, VA. around 6am for instructions. Most of the early morning activities were volunteers hanging banners, placing parking signs, setting up tables, transporting food, water, and getting the registration area ready for the over 400 runners that had registered. What turned into a few hundred quickly doubled within a week of the event.

As the Leesburg, VA. Keller Williams Realty volunteers gathered to be given parking attendee instructions kids, families and runners started making their way into the event. As the crowd grew the DJ started announcing the events, sponsors, vendors, and race details. Promptly at 8am the kid’s 1K race started. As they jetted from the start line sounds of cow bells filled the air.

After the start of the kids 1K race those running in the 5K started making their way to the 5K starting line. After brief announcements from Sara Ablar, the event creator and coordinator, the DJ gave the “are you ready racers?” command and the count down began….”Five, Four, Three, Two, One….Go, Go, Go!”

The weather could not have been any better and the volunteers worked together to make the first annual Sadie’s Smile Foundation 5K run a huge success.

The Open House Myth – Who Benefits?

April 10th, 2012 by

Has the Open House Myth changed? Who really benefits from this procedure? Have the efectiveness of an Open House been outlived? Recent survey’s state that public open houses may be more beneficial fors realtors than home sellers. Studies taken by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University show that thirty-two percent of the total 97% who responded believe that public open houses attract potential buyers. A whopping 41% of the agents that responded to the survey felt that showcasing the home in an open house was beneficial. In reality, buyers that are attending public open houses are more likely to buy a home other than the one being held open.

Are those attending open houses simply “kicking tires” and in the beginning stages of their search? Possibly. Sixty-two percent say most people attending open houses are not serious at all.

There are benefits to holding an Open House but feel they marginaly benefit the seller. While Open Houses are meant to bring in buyers, they create opportunities for agents to meet the neighbors, establish relationships within the community and obtain new business/listings.

Opening the home to potential buyers is part of the process and can be productive – 45% of buyers used Open Houses as an informational source in their new home search. Of the 45% only 11% learned about the home for sale through an Open House. Today, buyers are looking online and have realtors who are searching the Multiple Listing Service on their behalf. Eighy-nine percent of buyers are searching for their next home online.

As a realtor setting the expectations of the Open House Myth is key. Effectively marketing the home in ways that we can control (price and condition) will produce ready, willing and able buyers.

Morning Buzz 03-26-12

March 26th, 2012 by


My wife and I headed to DC yesterday afternoon for the Washington Capitals game. What a game! The first period was a bit of a snoozer but things ramped up in the second. Ten minutes into the second period #25, Jason Chimera scored the Capitals first goal by an assist from #28, Alex Semin. With 5 minutes to play in the second Washington Capitalized on a power play – #85, Mathew Perrault had a tip of assist from #20, Troy Brower to increase the CAPS lead to 2-0. As goes #8, Alex Ovechkin goes the CAPITALS! Within the first eight minutes of play in the third period #8, Alex Ovechkin fired a slap shot after an assist from #90, Marcus Johansson capping their lead to 3-0. The Capitals slid back into the number eight spot for the playoffs and take on the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow night in hopes to solidify a playoff spot.

Prior to the game my wife and I had dinner at MatchBox – a restaurant just a block behind the Verizon center. Great little spot for fans and all. Their signature appetizers are the mini burgers. These little baby’s were deliscious! They have plates of 3, 6 and 9 that sit between a large portion of curly fried onions. A few of those, a cold refreshement and that’s all you’ll need. Their pizza selection was amazing! After placing our order we noticed a few others had chosen to do a “half and half” which we plan on doing next time.

Great vibe, great location and great food! What else can you ask for in Chinatown and near the Verizon Center? Until next time….



Our Funny and Crazy Dog Jodie

March 23rd, 2012 by

Is it true that dog’s and bees smell fear? We’ve had Jodie for almost 7 years and by now you would think she would slow down, sleep a lot and always eat. Oh no, not our Jodie Girl! Jodie is a rescue dog from The Lost Dog and Cat Foundation. Nela and I started looking at dogs online and considered contacting local breaders but felt better going through a rescue foundation was the better choice.

While enjoying our glass of wine Jodie gave us the entertainment we needed after a long day. Af first we were hesitant on letting her jump around and chase the bee but after a few minutes it was clear she would be unable to jump the heights needed to catch the bee. Through her hard efforts it’s clear that Jodie has successfully entered the “Catch the Bumble Bee Club!’ It doesn’t help that we have 2 large holly bushes at the edge of our fence and deck that attract all kinds of bees.

Yes, I know, Jodie could be allergic and will always keep that in mind but until her bee catching skills improve we’ll allow her to have fun and bee a dog.




Sadie’s Smile Foundation – 03-21-2012

March 21st, 2012 by

Sadie’s Smile Foundation is a local non-profit that is raising funds for the Smile Train foundation on behalf of Sadie Grace Ablard. Sadie Grace Ablard past away a few months ago and her parent’s are raising donations for Smile Train in Sadie’s honor. Their first annual 5K run will be held on Sadie’s birthday, May 12, 2012. All proceeds from the race will go to Smile Train. For more information on the 5K and or to make a donation, ”like” their page on Facebook – Sadie’s Smile Foundation and at www.sadiessmilefoundation.org.




Publice Visual for Marine Corps Pilot Captain Michael Quinn

March 12th, 2012 by

Public Visual to honor Marine Corps Pilot Captain Michael Quin. Purcellville, Va. Hall Funeral Home. 8:30pm-9:30pm.

There will be a public visitation at Hall Funeral home in Purcellville, Va. tonight from 8:30pm-9:30pm to remember Marine Corps Pilot Michael Quin.
People will be asked to line the sidewalk along North Maple Avenue, and East Main Street between Maple Ave. and Nursery Ave. Purcellville Vol. Fire Co. and Loudoun County Dept. of Fire & Rescue members will be at 200 North Maple Ave. to pay their respects.

Officials also say there will be a public visitation on March 20 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Purcellville Baptist Church at 601 Yaxley Dr. There will also be a Celebration of Life at the Purcellville Tabernacle at 250 South Nursery Ave. between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Take the time to stop by Marine Corps Pilot Captain Michael Quins’ public visual.

Capt. Quin will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on March 21.

8 Chains North Winery – Cabin Fever Party

March 9th, 2012 by

Last night, my fellow realtors and I spent a fun evening at 8 Chains North Winery for our annual Cabin Fever Party. Perfect amount of guests, food and music! Krista, the manager was very helpful. A month before the party we had a chance to taste their variety and selection to determine which white and red we would have. We chose their 2009 Sauvignon Blanc that is done in a Fume Blanc style that is a 100% and aged 7 months in neutral French oak, sur lies, producing a firm yet well rounded structure with classic notes of sweat pea and citrus zest.
For our red selection we chose their 2008 Furnace Mountain Red which is a blend of all five Bordeaux reds sourced from their Furnace Mountain Vineyard, Tranquility vineyard, and Hidden Croft Vineyard. This wine is complex and well-rounded offering a firm structure on the pallet and supple, lingering finish.
The tasting room at 8 Chains North is very inviting. Their open floor plan has tons of space with comfortable couches, table tops and large bars to accommodate individuals and small to large groups. Since it was so nice yesterday we were able to utilized their large patio that overlooks the first plantings at the Waterford sight. Bill, the owner is currently adding 4 acres for their upcoming Albarino harvest.
Guests started arriving at 6pm and the sounds of Gary Smallwood filled the air. Gary started performing at the young age of 16. Gary’s love for music started as a percussionist in the 5th grade. Last night’s Cabin Fever Party consisted of classic rock, soulful blues and some great hits. Throughout the evening we sold raffle tickets for our 50/50 raffle that would benefit our KW Cares funds. Oh what a night! We are so blessed to be able to spend time with each other and have the support from our top vendors. Thanks to Champion Title & Settlements, Inc., HMS Home Warranty, eState Pro, and Country Termite and Pest Control. Without their loyalty and continued support we are able to have fun events throughout the year.
If you have not had a chance to experience the variety of wineries in Loudoun County be sure too and especially be sure to visit 8 Chains North. You will not be disappointed.

Until Next Time…

Country Termite & Pest Control – 540/338-7821

Morning Buzz – 03-07-2012

March 7th, 2012 by

Check out the FIRST video in the new Morning Buzz Series!
Brought to you by Jay Thomas.



Double Your Money – Real Estate Investment – Uncle Sams Says So!

February 29th, 2012 by

What’s the rate of return on savings accounts these days? How about in the stock market? CDs? Bonds? This stuff changes every day, but one thing I know for sure: none of them are anywhere near 100%. Heck, they’re not even in the double digits.

How Tax Law Can Help You Make Even More Money in Real Estate

Just based on my cash flow formulas alone, real estate can consistently bring you a 20 to 30% return on your cash investment. In fact, I advise you to walk away from any deal that would net you less. Just try getting that kind of interest rate on a savings account.

A 30% return is pretty amazing on its own. But guess what – your net return on investment will probably be even higher. As I’ve said before, smart real estate investments can consistently bring you a 70, 80, even 100% return.

How is that possible? Believe it or not, it’s all thanks to Uncle Sam and the U.S. tax code. Just by filing your taxes, you can save thousands – and double or even triple your rate of return.

In real estate, we talk a lot about appreciation. But when real estate investors (or our accountants) talk taxes, they talk depreciation – the amount that the asset loses in value each year.

Uncle Sam says that land doesn’t depreciate – but the structure on the land does. Luckily, the value of the land is typically only about 10% of the total value – check the tax bill for the property to be sure. But for our purposes, let’s say we’ve got a $100,000 property: the land is valued at $10,000 and the structure at $90,000.

Uncle Sam has also decided that structures last 27.5 years. (Don’t ask me where they get this number – I think they pick it out of a hat and they seem to change it every few years.) So to figure your structure’s rate of depreciation, you take the structure value listed on your tax assessment and divide it by 27.5. In our example, that comes out to $3,272 and change.

Now here’s the good part: the law says you can deduct that annual depreciation amount directly from your gross annual income. That means that if you make $50,000 a year before taxes in salary, you only have to pay taxes on $46,728. If you’re in the 28% tax bracket, that will save you a little more than $900.

When you figure that tax savings into your rate of return for the property, you can see how easily your rate of return can jump from 20 or 30% to 70, 80, even 100%. And remember that if you have multiple properties – and you should – you can deduct depreciation for each one.

If thinking about the IRS makes your stomach churn, don’t worry – you don’t have to be an expert in tax law to take advantage of these savings. When I got started, I didn’t even know the tax advantages existed – and I didn’t care.  I made my investing decisions based solely on the cash flow return, sticking to the 20 to 30% rule, and my accountant figured it all out for me at the end of the year.

That’s just what you should do too – focus on the cash on cash return and leave the rest to the experts. If you get that right, you get all the rest whether you know how to figure it out or not. Think of it as a bonus from Uncle Sam – and yet another way that real estate can put money in your pocket.

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