Today was an amazing day spent with new friends and old, that included plenty of bikes, oyster shucking, and mild temperatures in the mountains. First off, I want to say we have a super cool and supportive bike community in Asheville and WNC. I sometimes forget just how great our community really is. Everyone is so friendly and supportive and just wants to have fun in the woods riding bikes with friends. I am so thankful to be a part of this great community. We started the day at 11am with a group of fun, new to me friends for the first annual Ride and Roast. Ride and Roast was a house warming party/ride organized by my friend Becky who owns Mountains to Sea Acupunture and Herbal Medicine in Asheville. She planned a group ride in Bent Creek with an oyster roast/house warming party following the ride. We had nine people show up for the ride and what a fun crew we had. It is so nice to ride with a group of people that just want to go out and have a good time in the woods riding bikes. I have been riding solo a lot lately and I forgot how fun it is to ride with a big group. Everyone had varying abilities and yet we had a super cool ride that was good for everyone. If you wanted to go fast, you went fast, if you wanted to take it easy, you could take it easy. There was no pressure and there was no race, which sometimes happens during some group rides. We all were just riding and enjoying each other’s company. The day started out pretty cold at 30 degrees at 9am, but quickly warmed up to a moderate 59 degrees later in the day. I rode comfortably with shorts, arm warmers and my summer riding gloves. I started with a vest, but quickly shed that after the first climb. The entire day we all chatted and regrouped at every trail junction and chatted some more. Everyone was in a great mood and everyone was being supportive of everyone. We talked about the warm day, bikes, our jobs, our passions, you name it. All day long I was in biking heaven. We hit one of our signature trails, Greens Lick and everyone was all smiles on the super fast downhill. The trails were flowing smoothly and the camaraderie was even better. After the ride we met at Becky’s new casa for the oyster roast. She brought in a huge bushel of fresh North Carolina oysters from the Outer banks and we fired up the grill and had an old fashioned oyster shucking party. I hadn’t had oysters for many years and these were fresh as can be. About 30 people showed up and we ate the succulent oysters for the rest of the afternoon. Once again conversations were had and general good camaraderie ensued. Now I sit here, thinking back on the wonderful day I had with friends, and the many things I am thankful for in my life. The week has been a very positive week. I had an amazing last day before Thanksgiving break with my students. We all shared things we were thankful for and I went into break with a very humble and inspired mind. My wife Shannon and I went to her parents in South Carolina and had a good visit with her family. The food was tasty as can be, and the conversation and company was uplifting as well. I was reminded at the beginning of the week that I love my job teaching and I am thankful for the challenge to help kids everyday. I was reminded in South Carolina about the importance of family and talking together. I am so thankful that I have family to spend time with and that care for me unconditionally. Then today I was reminded of how important it is to be with friends and to exercise and socialize together. I am thankful for my health and the ability to ride my bike with friends and I am thankful for inspiring people that just want to socialize and support each other in sport and camaraderie. I am thankful for my lovely wife, who kicked butt on the ride today, and I am thankful for my two kitties, who are watching me type this story as I type. I am thankful for love, health and sport. I am thankful for the little things, like sunshine on a late fall day and the opportunity to grow each day in my life. I am also thankful for this moment right now. Moments like these are all we truly have, and I hope I have many more moments like the ones I had on this perfect day.