Friday, June 30, 2006
And then on the other hand it opens the field for American Landis to rock the joint. Landis is a hoot but a master on the bike. Pop a wheelie for us!
Thursday, June 29, 2006
I got a great surprise at the top of the hill. Some old buds, Paul Britt and Robb Carr where out riding and jumped in out group for a bit. I rode with them when we did the Across the State in a Day ride. This is Robb withthe Red/white jersey.
Now that was fun! But getting there wasn't! I got off from work, and headed over to the ride. I needed some more ice for the drinks so I stopped at the store closest to the ride, ran in, paid for my ice, jumped in the car and rat-di-dat-de-dat. Dead battery???? I opened the hood to find the negative cable covered in corrosion covering the negative post. I ask a guy in a camo painted suburban if he could jump me (I have cables). Starts right up. I get on down the road and into the parking lot for the ride. Dump the ice in and start getting my bike out and ... flat tire... the rear one no less. So I spend some time getting that fixed and finish in plenty of time for the opening of the ride. I stuck the key in the car and it started right up so I do the treasure chest giveaway, listen to announcements and then off we go... Take The Hill! Nope, not so fast. Chain comes off. In trying to get ready so fast I forgot to check the chain. This just took a couple of moments and I was caught up to the team.
It's a large group and everyone is in really good spirits! Small pirate flags on folks bikes or helmets. Skull and cross bone tattoos on bare skin. Plastic parrots, eye patches, you name it. We kept the speed down and due to such a large group many folks stopped walking and watched us ride by. It seems to amaze them that there are so many road bikes with riders in colorful jerseys casually riding along chattering. None look upset in fact most are smiling. Some even wave.
Someone lost something small and silver and as it rolled into the weeds it looked like it had 2 AA batteries, a tail light maybe? I stopped to check and couldn't see it in the tall weeds so I jumped back on my bike and pedaled hard and caught back up with the group. I caught them just as the hill began to climb to the fort. Most were way ahead. Yale had a flat and was in the process of fixing it and Rebecca Mac was aiding him. We later saw him coming to the top as we were heading down. he fixed it pretty quick!
While we were at the top I noticed a couple of guys not a part of our crew and it was Rob Carr and Paul Britt, two guys I rode with last year on the ride across the state in one day. Both are great riders! It was good to see them and got them to get in our club photo at the top of Fort. Man, there were a lot of bikes!
We all headed down and around toward the crack house for a purchase of bike doping meds. you know all bikers use these now. EPO is our friend! At least that's what the officials in Spain think.
We head back up toward fort for the second climb and the youngsters along with Paul and Rob are buzzing along the road. Will and I ride together a bit and Will is a very strong rider and I was surprised to see him slacking at 20mph. He was saving it for the hill. Sure enough we start climbing the hill and within a few moments, zoooom, there he goes. I'm keeping it right about 10mph (the fast guys do this at 15 and up). All to the top and take a break. More photos and we try to get a guy standing in the doorway of the Ft Roots fitness center to come out and take the photo but he thought we were just waving so he waves back. Then he makes faces while Jenn Shaw is taking photos. Then he turns around and acts as though he's going to moon us but doesn't. He laughs and walks back away from the doors. They will miss us! We will miss them as they close the gates keeping everyone off the compound.
Back down we go and back to Cook's. Before the ride started I announced that if you get back fast then my car would be unlocked and there are ice chest full of water and gator. I said it loud enough for the whole parking lot to hear. Everyone was laughing and where I was leaving the keys. The fast folks did help themselves as I was hoping they would. Several a little shy about it so I grabbed the cooler and brought it out on the parking lot to the excited hoots and hollers! We had our fill of water and Gator and headed back out.
The last time at the top of fort was sort of bitter sweet and several rode the loop a few extra times since it was the last. It was beginning to get dark and we headed back to Cook's. I was sort of in the front group for a bit then dropped. Ironman came up behind me, passed and said come on! So I pushed harder and keep falling off. Just couldn't keep up with him moving along at 23. We finally got back together towards the end and smiled upon ending a good ride.
Back at the parking lot we had the rest of the bottled water and gator while folks put up their bikes and got ready to head home for a bite to eat. i loaded up and ... aww man... rat-de-dat-de-dat!! the battery again. I walked over to Yale and asked if he could give me a jump and as I turned around two fishermen that were parked next to me were already turned around and had pulled their van up to the car. We got it jumped. The kindness of strangers has been shown to me today. 2 times!
I got home had a chicken sandwich and fries from Wendy’s and crashed out cold around 11.
And a good time was had by all!
Tonight at 6 a bunch of us are riding up Ft Roots maybe for the last all the way up the hill ride before the big new gate closes us of. So in honor of the closing we are having a "pirate" ride. Really it's just a basic ride but with some swag thrown in at the end. I really want to tell about the stuff but folks actually read this blog for some weird reason. I'll update with what was in the treasure chest and load up photos tonight (Yes, Yale, by 11pm! HA!)
It's been a good week with lots of good hires and some outstanding interviews. I hope the trend continues. New fiscal year starts on 7/1. It's funny how some folks are freaking out right now because of the end of the year but it's nice not to have that worry.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Tyler stopped by the house and showed us a little box for a special girl. There were big sparkly rocks in that box! Yep, here's come the bride in my family before long. No date set or any of that stuff yet. Not even sure if he has given her the ring but she doesn't read this blog.
I was about to head out to ride when he came so I hung around and glad to do it too! I did go ride about 7-ish and knew the club was already over the bridge into LR so I stayed on the NLR side and did repeats of Ft Roots. On my third time down I caught the sight of what looked like a couple of my guys on up the way so I figured I'd try and catch. I took me a bit but I did catch up.
Sort of glad I missed the ride tonight after I got to Cook's there was some dicussions going on about different things that happened. All in all sounded like a good ride for the most part but there was some sounded off going on. With the club getting bigger (24 riders tonight with several regulars missing) there is a different group dynamics going on. Safety issues will probably be discussed before the next ride.
Well, I just wanted to stop for a sec and blog a moment... back to work for me!
Monday, June 26, 2006
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Here's Mt Nebo/Mt Magazine report from Matthew:
Chris Irons, Patrick, and I set off on a noble quest to conquer the forbidding rampart known as Mount Nebo early this morning and ended up getting more than we bargained for.We met at Cook's Landing slightly before 7:30 am and were all a little excited and at the same time apprehensive about the ride ahead. Mount Nebo has a reputation as a challenging climb and would soon live up to it. All of the other FGSG's seemed to have something come up and couldn't attend (surprising number of out of town relatives coming in on a non-holiday weekend?!!) so we set off towards Nebo just the three of us. After a pleasant drive we arrived in Russellville and then drove through to Dardanelle and parked at the Burger King. Chris got out a elevation chart he had printed and it showed near vertical gradients. We held it up to the horizon and much to our horror it matched the profile of Nebo! We put our bikes together and donned our requisite helmets and started off down the road. We had a couple of miles of gently rolling hills to warm us up and then we arrived at the base of the mountain. A quick left turn and then up, up, up. And up, up, up some more and then more up. My quads are screaming at this point as I've already done the equivalent of a Triple Bypass and there is no end in sight! Did I mention this was steep? Finally, after more climbing the road levels off and I see a picnic area on the right. I must be at the top but I don't see Patrick anywhere (yes, he smoked me ladies and gentlemen) so I continue on. I turn the next corner and Holy Mary Mother of God that's the steepest road I have ever seen! What self respecting highway engineer would design a road like that? Folks, this ain't no 18% grade. 18% is just the average of the whole mountain as there are sections easily exceeding 30% at this stage. Sitting and pedaling is no longer an option at this point no matter how strong your legs are. I stand up and press on one pedal stroke after another. My speed has dropped to 3 mph and I'm thinking about stopping to rest but decide against it. No way to get unclipped or clipped in again on this grade without falling down. I've slowed to the point that I'm having trouble balancing my bike and I'm putting so much pressure on the crank that I begin to worry about snapping the chain. Finally, after an eternity of brutal climbing I crest the final rise and find Patrick. We wait a few minutes and soon Chris tops the rise and joins us for a breather. A guy in a Toyota pickup stopped by and started talking cycling with us. He says he climbs Nebo five times a week and can do it under twenty minutes now. Patrick, Chris, and I decide not to challenge him to a hill climbing race! Well, we start back down and soon find that it is impossible to keep one's bike slowed to a safe speed. I'm squeezing my brake levers so hard my wrists hurt. Youch! After a terrifying and painful on the wrists descent we finally arrive back at the base of the mountain and head back to town. When we get to town, Patrick says Hey, let’s go climb Mt. Magazine. Chris has a prior afternoon engagement and has to head back to the Rock so we say our goodbyes and Patrick and I head off to our second mountain climb in one day. We drive 46 miles and can't seem to find our next mountain. Then we cross over a ridge and down into a valley and Um Patrick, that sure is one TALL MOUNTAIN in front of us! It's almost twice as high as Nebo! We couldn't find a place to park at the base so we drove to the top and parked at the visitor center and decided to coast down and then climb up. While we are getting our bikes set up two park rangers walk up and ask if we are the cyclists that had to be carried up the mountain earlier in the morning! We said no and one of them explained that some cyclists had a wheel spoke break which then caused a chain to snap. Not a good omen for sure. I asked them which side was the most challenging climb and they suggested riding down the back side towards highway 10 as it gave over six miles of non stop steady climbing! The back side it is! Patrick and I start riding down and it doesn't seem too steep. The road has far fewer switch backs than Nebo and quite a few long straight always. There is a fair amount of wind slowing my descent so I don't use the brakes much. We keep going down for a long time and we're still pretty high up the mountain. Starting to wonder if there is a bottom to this thing? Down some more, then some more. My god will we ever get to the bottom? Finally we arrive at the base of the mountain and look back up. That sure is one tall mountain and now we have to climb it to get back to my truck! The climb seems easy at first about like Fort Roots. But it doesn't end so soon! Patrick sprints off and starts getting way ahead of me. I stand up on the pedals and start shifting up gears and soon I'm cruising along at a steady clip and regaining ground. After a while, I get tired and sit back down to resume a steady pace. There's a lot more mountain to climb! My steady pace pays off as I somehow end up ahead of Patrick and keep climbing. It had seemed like it took for ever to descend Magazine and it takes even longer to climb it. Finally we crest the last rise and pshhwup! Patrick's rear tire explodes at the top of the mountain! Glad that didn't happen on the descent! It's beyond repair with a three inch long split in the center of the tread so I ride less than a quarter mile back to the visitor center and get my truck then drive back and pick him up. As we are on our way back to Little Rock, Patrick suggests doing the Nebo/Magazine Torturefest again next week! Ha Ha Ha, I wonder how many of the FGSG's will have those out of town guests back next weekend?!!! Any takers? It's not that bad, REALLY!
Geo's comments: Ya gotta love those guys. Ya read the report then see the last statement about it not being that bad. Next week they will say something insane like being the first cyclist to ride Everest! Great report and fun reading!
Here's the Wye Mt report from Will:
Here's my report from the Saturday morning Wye Mtn ride.
Chris, Jen, Will, Denise, Yale, Becca, and Rebecca all showed up at 8-ish for a (having read the Nebo report) pleasant counter-clockwise ride around Lake Maumelle via Wye Mtn.
We all set out working together to reach the base of Wye Mtn. Communication concerning road hazards such as cars, road hazards and aberrations, and dissolving shoulders between the team members was excellent. A reasonable pace (for the group) was maintained. No rider was left behind in the ride to the base.
However, as we all know, all bets are off on the way up Wye Mtn. The leading climbers to the top were Chris, Rebecca, and yours truly. We waited near the top for everyone to regroup which didn't take long. The air was humid but the temp reasonable. There was a bit of rain/mist along various parts of the ride which led to newly wet roads as well.
Off we were again through rolling hills to regroup at the hwy 300 / 113 split.
Off once more for the mostly downhill ride to Hwy 10 where we once again regrouped.
Off once more until we met again at the Barrett Road exit from hwy 10. We're almost home!
We're all starting to feel the hills by now but make it back to the Pinnacle Mtn picnic area intact, energized, no flat or exploded tires and with no rider left behind.
Kudos to Jen for hanging tough on this ride so soon after her recent injury! I think many of us would have taken the day off or at least wined along the way under those conditions. Not so for the tough one! Kudos again.
All in all this was one of my favorite rides of the year. Thanks to all who made it a success!
Geo's comments: Another great report! Wished I'd been at both.
I'm about to leave and go do the homeless cookout with the church group. Since we should finish by 6, I'm hoping for a sundown ride. I'm missing the shower for Chris and Rebecca Irons and I'm bummed about that in the biggest way but I'd promised to be a part of the homeless gig long ago.
This coming week is a busy one for me! Several projects at the office I'm starting plus Monday night has crit race practice (Yep, I hear you laughing! I'm just asking the bike gods to just let mehang on to the wheels). Tuesday night is club ride. Wednesday night is only free night. Thursday night is club ride. Friday night is eat all the pasta you can get your hands on because Saturday morning at 6am is 1st century ride. 50 out, 50 back. This will be a good practice run and a reality check on my fitness level for the August HH100 in Wichita Falls, TX. And then the next week is July 4th holiday!
Maybe I'll ride and write more later tonight.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Sad thing happened this morning with the dogs. Sadie and Max were out on the deck and Max got too rough with Sadie and she started whinning real loud and I went to the door and looked out and usually Sadie and push Max off when he is getting like that but this morning he had Sadie by the thoat and when she yelped I opened the door real fast and started to yell at him but intead I was greeted with a growl. I keep telling myself that it had to be because I startled him but still. I told Emmy that if he ever did that to anyone or I catch him hurting Sadie again he would have to go to Seans to live. I just won't have htat. Emmy and Sean both understood. I told Terri during dinner tonight that I didn't want to get rid of Max because he is a sweet pup but just big and powerful. I thinkhe might do k if Sean took him home and was able to spend a lot more time with him ad trained him some more. Sean is a good trainer. we'll see hw this all plays out.
Teri is home from her convention. She planned and pulled off a great one and the mistakes no one who doesn't know would ever figured out it was a mistake anyway. She said she feels like a few days after Christmaswhen you finally have to say,"Ok, let's put up the toys." She glad it's over! I am too!
I took the kids to US Pizza last night for dinner and had a good time. I dream of the day all places are smoke free. Some smoke doesn't bother me but there are certain cigs that when I'm around that smoke my head still hurting. Last night was one of those. Strange how for years and years smoking was ok but once you get in a non smoking environment and are aware of your health then smoking just seems like a rather dumb thing to do.
So why am I not riding right now? Well after my shower it was sunny on one side of the house and when I went to set the spranklers I walked out to dark clouds. Oh man, not again! I walked back in and turned on the tube and the rain is south of here. It looks to be raining hard in Benton. I decide on waiting it out a bit since the doppler thing shows it going south. I rode in the downpour last Sunday, I'll pass today! HA! It really looks like it's falling apart and should be clearing up here before long. I'll do my house chores and then maybe it will be good so I can go burn off last nights 3 slices of dough.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Ok, let's see how far back do I need to go? Let's see, Tuesday night ride I wrote about so i get to start with the really high point of the week! The races!
Wednesday I took off work a couple minutes early and headed over to Burn's Park for the summer seres crit races. I was going to work registration. The first time you do this part is sort of tough because there are forms and money changing hands very fast. These guys want to get the stinking paperwork done so they can ride. The races cost different amounts. You can buy a one day license for Cat 5 races but that's the only one. Some races have sveral Cat's lumped in together and ya gotta know which is which. But it really went smooth and I checked with Ian a couple of times to see if everything was coming to the line in order. They take roll from the registration list at the start line.
Cat 5's are out of the course which I can see from my table. Looking good! We've got 3 of our Fast Girls & Slow Guys riding club out there. Chris S, Matthew and John. They are fighting the guys like Carve and the Ride (Conway) and a herd of guys from Joneboro. I continue getting the next cat's racers signed up and keep looking over at the race and thinking, "Am I seeing our guys up front?" Yes baby!!!! I was glued to the race and one of the next cats racers had finished his paperwork and was talking to me but I was completly absorbed in the race going on. It was funny when I snapped out of it! I guess it was sort of like watching someone when they are daydreaming and all the sudden they realize your talking to them. Registration continues and I continue stealing glances over at the race. Ok, final 2 laps and they guys are picking it up a bit. Here they come... YES!!!!! Chris grabs 2nd place, Matthew grabs 6th with John chasing a few spots back!!! WOOHOO!!! That was Chris and Matt's first race and look what an impact they made! So much so that it was overheard that some of the others racers were saying those new guys are fast. I love it I love it I love it!!!! The whole club is doing the "Yes, in fact, I DO ride with him!" Way to go guys! You really rocked the joint!
So Thursday come around. The office day was good and I got a lot done which is always nice because it sort of shapes Friday to be an easier day. I left the office and parked over at Alltel Arena and rode to the ride. There were threatening clouds and I was really hoping that I wouldn't get 7 miles away and the rain start making me ride all the way back in the rain. I've already done that once this week. On the way there is a short wooden bridge and just after I cross it there was a huge snake (black) about to cross the path. He was a grandaddy snake. No threat to me and I gave him plenty of zone. We had one of those quick snake and rider conversations that goes something like this:
Snake: Here comes a bike dude
Bike dude: Here comes a snake dude
S: Yo bike!
B: Yo slethering dude!
S: (Slethering off) Man, that guy was fast
B: (Rding off) Man, that snake was fast
Anyway... I get to the ride and the gang's all there and a few calling in to let us know they're coming but stuck in traffic. I-430 traffic has been real crop-o-la this week according to them. Yale gathers us all up and into new folks and gives the route directions and off we go. Everyone working the line getting settled in to their spot. Temp is a hot, humid 90 degrees. we curve to go over the little wooden bridge where the snake was and "Rider down!" alerts are being shouted. Jenn has gone down on the front. She leaned into to the curve and the bike slipped out from under her and sent her off the path. Blue skid marks tell the story. She is standing and has a copule of road rash spots. Let me tell you, they might not be big but road rash stings like a big momma dog! She's checking her bike and gets back on and rolls out. The compassion of our club is second to none. Everyone stopped to be sure our rider was ok.
We continue on just as we were about to hit Ft Roots for the climb I noticed a familiar red Subaru over at the skate park. Sure enough Muncho (Tyler) was over there. He had the street section of the park to himself and was enjoying some sick kick flips and nooley's. We got caught up on the weeks evens and I told him I'd cook grilled chicken Friday night if he wanted to come over. So I headed on up Ft Roots and got there just as the gang was heading down. At least I made it to the top so I wasn't slacking. Down the hill and around "crack house loop" and then pacing it back to Ft Roots for a second climb. Up the hill we go again and everyone is looking strong and eating the hill up bite by bite. I luck out a pass a rider or two and then as I get toward the top I get passed by a few. Everyone makes it to the top and down we go again.
Ridng back along the trail to Cook's is good and I get with the front group (insane thing to do , I know!) but the guys are keeping it about 22 so I enjoy the ride. Chris S is one in front of me and the leader pulls out and Chris is about to pull us. I quitely confess all my sins, promise to never eat 24 Oreo's in 5 minutes again, never to cuss, and always use bathroom spray because I know what my life is going to be like in the next few minutes while Chris ups the speed making it feel as we are entering the gates of hell. 21... 22....23.....24.....23 I lived to tell about it! Chris pulls out and I'm big dawg puller now, ain't that special! Moving along at 22 and pop....owwwww... right in the eye! Out of the line, don't slow 'em down...dang it hurts! I pull over and stop and blink 500 times. It feels like it swelling inside my eye. weird feeling. The second group hasn't come in site yet so I continue on solo. No probs, I'm fine I tell myself and pick it back up to a comfortable 20. Get back to Cook's and wait for the others. Jenn gets the med kit out of Yale's car and dotors herself up and is ready for the second part of the ride.
We head out again and climb ft roots. Yes, Rebecca Irons does sit in the back waiting for me to start climbing and lo and behold, here comes the little snot! I tell her to cut it out (joking) and stand up to try to stay ahead of her. She starts attacking again and I call her a do-do head. She laughs! Then she cuts loose and raors up the hill like Basso will do next month. I can hear her silently saying, "Eat my shorts you old fart!" Serious, she is be few one of the best climbers I've seen.
At the top we stop and I'm behind Jenn and Yale and notice the Jenn's leg is shaking really bad. I guess it's a muscle spasm. It looks like it's messing with her mentally as well. We all start heading back down the hill and Jenn gets to mid group and I noticed that Rebecca was on the phone and not coming down yet so I turned and headed back up to be sure we both get down to the bottom safe. We have a rule that we watch out for each other and no one is lefted behind.
At the bottom Rebecca turns and heads toward Cook's and I turn and head toward my starting point. There are still lots of riders out so I know Rebecca will be fine getting caught up to the group.
Even with the crash and myself getting bug-eyed, it was an overall good ride. Chris, matthew and John all rode strong even after their racing the night before.
I'm back to working on our new club jersey's so I'm bent on getting some cool stuff done on those this weekend.
Sat/Sun will give me a couple of smaller rides but Terri is out until Saturday afternoon and I need to work around the house.
Looking forward to some down time!
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Emily called a few moments ago and said she had gotten up and was about to turn on the light in the bathroom and the shower was running! She ran out of the house, got in the car and headed to McDonalds. Ok now something tells me if I was about to got in the bathroom and I thought someone was in the shower... and why would a burgular be taking a shower? It's not like there's a special fancy shower head in there or anything. So she calls me to tell me this and I start laughing. I told her to go back to the house. She calls a few moments later and sure enough the shower was on a little bit. I must have bumped it or something when I got out which is really weird because I dry off in the shower so I don't get the floor wet. Reason I say that is because the shower could not have been on... hmmmm. The case of the independent shower.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
A shot of some of our new riders tonight. This guy (yellow jersey)can move!
I had to return early to get back to the house so I could give Emmy money for pizza over at the friends house tonight. But I took time to ride the Medical Mile right behind the Peabody and these are some of the art peices on the walls. Cool huh?
Tonights Fast Girls and Slow Guys ride was a blast! Great group. We had several new riders and they weren't to shabby either!
Yale and Jenn gathered the group for the route directions and regrouping places. Gave introductions to the new folks and off we headed. Jenn and Rebecca "Yes, as a matter of fact my man did sign me up to climb Mt Nebo Saturday" Almost Irons took us out and did a mighty fine pull. As usual the beginning of the ride had that nervous energy, find your spot in the line stuff going on but we always do that. Some are in social mode, some are in the "I gotta get to the front" mode. It all evens out within a few minutes and we are zipping along in a nice paceline.
We had some great pullers tonight. The nice steady sort that makes the ride stressless. Jo pulled and I was behind her and man the wind seemed to be throwing it at her. She did a great job and then it was my turn. I seem to hit the pull zone right about the area before the rehab center. That's also the place where the youngsters cut it loose and sprint. Most of our heavy weight sprinters were elsewhere tonight so I just pulled along at 21-22. We lucked out and got to get on over to the regroup spot and wait with no traffic problems. When we stopped I turned to look back and was pleased to find a large group stayed at the front. The second group seemed to be several minutes back and I'm not sure why. Someone could have had techno probs or a flat or maybe a newbie getting his barings. Hey, we've ALL been there.
The gang's all here so Yale gives me the OK to head on over the bridge. Dang wind! I dropped us all the way down to 14 but the wind wasn't letting me have any slack. We all made it over and rode lesurely through town and hit the sidewalk for a few moments in order to get back to the regular riding trail. I hate riding on the sidewalk! I mean I really hate it even though there are no folks walking in the area. Oh well, it's that or the road and it's a busy one!
We get to the baseball field and have to stop for a couple of cars and then head on out to Riverdale. Everyone sort of uses that side road as a fed zone because in a moment we'll kick it up. We get on out the and a couple of the guys take off and I'm riding along and I can't seem to get back up there even at 22-23mph. I'm sort of feeling the effects of the windy pull but feeling good at the same time. I pull out and cheer Jo to go get 'em and sadly drop to the back of the line. Dropping to the back is always a mental blow to me. Anyway, I keep it moving and then slow and turn around at the golf course because I know I need to head back to get to the house since Terri is out of town. The ride back was solo and there's that wind again. I didn't really feel like hammering across the Broadway bridge even though now that I think about it, it would have been tailwind. I dropped down behind the police station and rode along the river and the medical mile and looked at the artwork.
It was an enjoyable ride and I got home just as Emmy was leaving to go to her friends house. Go timing!
Sunday, we got up and made it to early service at 8 and I was a little smarter this time. I had 3 cups of coffee before I went and was awake the whole time! Then Brain made coffee for our class and I had another so I was buzzing by the time I left church. Terri made a great lunch with the veggies I had picked up at our hospital farmer's market. It was great to have a meal with just us for a change. Everyone's schedules are so crazy these days that it's impossible to get a meal with just the 4 of us. Don't get me wrong, I love the kid’s dates, but something about just the family really has a special meaning.
Well I decided to go ride Sunday afternoon. Nice puffy clouds and blue sky. Off I ride from the house and cut through the neighborhoods and as I top the hill at Remount Road I'm looking at dark clouds and barely able to see the skyline of Little Rock. I decide to turn around and head the opposite direction and work on the hills of Batesville Pike and ride out toward Cabot. The clouds are heading off to the side and not directly toward me.
I pass a HUGE pile of catfish that have been gutted on the side of the road. Serious, I bet there were at least 20 big fish. Nasty!
I fly down the hills and cruise along enjoying the ride. As I top the next hill I turn to see exactly what I was running from. The clouds have come after me! I turn around and the only thing I can do is ride straight into it in order to get home. The wind picks up which I hear later was gusting at 20mph. I'm climbing a hill that's tough even without the wind. I'm standing and pushing with everything I have and begging my metal games not to let me think I need to go to the granny gears. Push man...push!
I make it to the top and I have three choices of streets to turn on to get home. One is fast but it makes me ride on Hwy 107 for several blocks. Not a good idea for Sunday afternoon. The next is around the airport and drop down the hill and back through a couple of neighborhoods. I choose that route and just as I turned the bottom fell out! Huge raindrops pelted my helmet like a hammer. I had to stop right quick and drop my hearing aid into my baggie to keep it dry and I start laughing because as I'm doing this there is a guy that is mowing his lawn and I guess he is bound and determined to get finished so he is running across his yard mowing as fast as he can. I know it's dangerous but it was a hoot to watch. I ride on and I see a truck slowly riding behind me. Crud, I get tense because if I slip and go down i just hope he can stop. He's not that close but close enough. A second or two later he pulls beside me and it's one of my advertising vendors. I yell howdy and let him know I'm fine and almost home. He pulls ahead and then into his drive a few blocks away. Ok, it's raining cats and flying monkeys and there are creeks in the road now. I putt along hoping I make it to the house without sliding my butt across the pavement. I make it. Everything soaked to the bone.
Several of the club riders repeated the Lollipop ride out west and sounds like a great ride but a very challenging one. It was tough the first time. This time added a bit more heat and humidity. There was talk of some over heating but nothing serious. Yep, that's summer in Arkansas.
Terri leaves today for Hot Springs for their annual convention the rest of the week. She made a menu and it's on the front of the fridge. She told me under no circumstances can Emmy and I eat out every meal. What the means to me is that Emmy and I will go out but have to order giant dishes of food so we can bring the leftovers home. Sometimes we actually cook. I said sometimes. HA!
I'll ride earlier after work and meet the club and ride with them a little then head home. Tomorrow night I'll be helping with the Burn's Park Summer series bike races. Thursday night I should be riding again with the crew. Oh, am I supposed to fine time to mow the lawn too? I always tell everyone, "I'm letting it reseed itself." It's really true because this summer I've let it produce seed heads and that does seem to help. The lawn looks pretty good and thick this year.
Ok, lunch is over...back to work. More later.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
I know my Dad will never read this but I figured I'dwrite it anyway. I suspect he's taking a nap about now after having a Sunday lunch. I suspect he got up this morning and made his way to the den and turned on the tv to check out CNN and make sure Bush is doing what he is supposed to. I suspect he once again felt a little depressed about the time church started and he wasn't there. Bless his heart. Going to church and driving whereever he wanted to was his lifeline. He was always one to go visit friends of his that were in the hospital or sick at home,now they come to visit him. He was always the one to drive on the family trips but now we drive him. He was always the one... Yep, that sums it up for me. My dad...he was always the one. He still has a great laugh and I can help him get into trouble as fast as ever. In fact, we might sneak off and go to the new Hooters in North Little Rock. Funny thing about Hooters is that yesterday I went over there and bought him a Hooters t-shirt for fathers day! HA! Serious! I had been threatening him that I was going to do that for years now and I just figured, heck, why not this year. He laughed and promised to wear it. I think mom about had a heart attack. If the room would not have been full of family last night she would have sentme to my room no doubt! That was the first time I'd been into the new Hooters that just opened here and it was bascially like the Back Porch in Destin. Open air, lively music, loud laughing, and yes the girls. But then the Back Porch, AJ's, Popano Joe's and all those beach place dress the same as the Hooters girls. Anyway, back to Dad... he seemed to be having a good time last night with all of his family gathered around for BBQ from the Rib Crib in Benton. Good stuff!
Thanks Dad for always being the one! I love you too!
Friday, June 16, 2006
I'm thinking of getting out and pedaling a little after work. Terri has been busting it getting ready for their state convention next week. She's the planner and there's a 1001 details that go on behind the scenes of those things. So she will probably crash when we get home and I'll get bored.
Last night's club ride? Oh yeah baby it was wicked! Hot, tired, competitive. I parked over by the dog park and rode to the ride. I passed the Arkansas Game and Fish officers doing diver training in the river. There's was a wonderful tail wind pushing me along as I enjoyed a summer afternoon. I had a thought as I was riding and it took me back to my youth when I would ride down Salt Creek road to my friend’s house and then we would ride forever. Sometimes we'd be a ways from the house as the sun set on those summer afternoons but we always made it home. The thought goes hand in hand with what I was doing at the moment. I was riding to meet my friends and we would ride until the sun went down or got bored or got into some sort of trouble. I got to Cook's Landing where 18 others were getting ready to ride.
Off we go in a social mode. Slow and chatty. This is the part of riding that I am more nervous about than any other. The social riding. The wind blows in my hearing aid and it's deafening. Sort of like riding a jet at take off. So I turn it all the way down and that makes it where I don't hear much at all. I get my new hearing aid in about 2-3 weeks and it has a wind sock feature I can use.
Anyway... back to the ride... we keep the pace as one of the slowest I can remember us riding until we got past the Game and Fish training area. Kick it in time! We moved along at a new pace and some split off for the road version of the climb and others stayed on the trail version and merged back together again at the top. Yes, us trail version riders wanted to beat the road version riders but it's all about the same.
On out and heading toward Ft Roots. I pushed upward wanting to be one of the top climbers and think I ended up about 6th. Everyone climbs it at their own pace but still there is a sense of competition among us. We're always pushing each other to try a little harder. So I end up between the first group and the second and I can hear some folks talking behind me then all the sudden they were in front of me! It was Rebecca "I just started riding 4 months ago" Irons (Well, she's almost an Irons; give her a few more weeks!). Rebecca gets this what I call New Age higher plains Zen voodoo mojo hooky-pooky strength that just floors me. I 'm serious now. She comes from out of nowhere and just eats your grits leaving you with nothing but a dumb look on your face. We all make it to the top and feeling dandy! Still have 3 more climbs to do for the night.
All head down and I'm behind Robb and Mathew. They are going way too slow for them. Then I realized Matthew pointing at something on Chris S's bike (a Specialized) and realized that Robb was talking shop. Robb works for Arkansas Bike and Fitness where I bought my bike. I know what you're thinking, "So Geo, why no link on your main page for that bike shop?" Because they haven't updated their site in 2 years at least. Maybe Robb will talk 'em into an update. Don't get me wrong, it's a great shop.
Anyway back to the ride... again... So I pull on around and we all ride down to the turn around called the "crack house loop" because of the rehab center right there. OK, Chris S up front, Tight your shorts baby cakes and watch his neck. If he stretches the muscles in his neck then it's a dead give away that he's gonna dance the pedals. I somehow once again end up between the two groups and Jenn S and I are riding along trying to catch the front group. Then it's like someone tossed us like a hand full of gravel. At the turn onto Ft Roots drive, there was a car at the corner coming out, a small group of cyclist stopped and a couple of slower cyclist right in front of the turn off. Crap! I had to go straight on, slow down and circle back. I was planning to get close to being a front group climber.
We climbed at a new steady pace and Jenn S and I ended up climbing together. I swear we end up riding the same more than I do with anyone else in the group. Almost at the top she pulls over and yells, "Great climb guys!" Always a cheerleader. The rest of the group comes on up to the top and we then head back down and to Cook's. After a few minutes there some opt to call it a day and others gear up for part two. We repeat what we just finished. Riding along and everyone with us is riding strong even though they, like myself, have these funny looks on their faces. Riding along the river, it really just doesn't get much better!
We get close to turning up Ft Roots again and Robb had jumped to the front. Someone wanted to go straight. Robb doesn't shy away from climbs and he turns, Patrick turns, I turn and Rebecca (Zen climbing hot shot) turns. We get to the top and Robb says, "Now that feels good!" I agreed with him. When I've done repeats, which I enjoy doing when riding solo, my third climb is my best. My first climb always has to do with controlling my breathing which I have a lot of work to do. My second is usually finding the groove. My third I can keep a steady pace.
So the 4 of us head down and along the river to Gators. The others have already come and gone. We stop a moment under the bridge and then head back. Robb and Patrick are moving along at about 22-24 while Rebecca and I are a little bit back but with a steady 20-21. I yell back and ask if we are climbing again and she said "NO!” I think if there was ever one time this season I would have a chance to beat her up the hill it would have been then but didn't happen. We grouped back up with Patrick and Robb and ride on in. I dropped off at my car and bidded them farewell.
The sun was setting and momma would be calling me in...
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Joe has a new book about to hit Sept 1st. Last summer he took his son's Quinn and Enzo (cool names huh?!) on a bike ride. Ya ready for this? Joe PULLED the kids across the country. His bike ended up being 14 feet long. The December issue of Men's Journal had a short essay about the trip. Well, I got an email from Joe yesterday (it's a form of torture he enjoys sending me) and it's the first part of the new book. He can't send anymore due to publisher contract and he knows it was just enough to make me beg for more. I even asked him to have Quinn and Enzo draw pictures of the next chapters and I'd try and figure out what happens next.
Here's Joe's website and below is the first part of the book. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
If you need the website address it's on my main page as a link as well.
By the way, if you order directly from his website the book is going to be a fund raiser for Camp Creative. Do me a favor and support this guy and his cause!
***OK... I talked to Joe and I need to remove the pasted version. If you read it already, you got lucky. If it being removed while you're in the middle of a paragraph, well then now you know how I feel! HA! Anyway, Joe is sending a clean copy and some other stuff so watch for a new blog posting in a few days with the sneak preview. I promise it's worth the wait!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Our very own Patrick getting ready to bank the curve.
I went out last night with the club and blew it. It was one of the worse rides I had this season. It just was not in me to keep up so I ended up dropping out of the group and riding solo a bit. Then rode with Barry who is one of our guys but having to take it easy due to an early season crash breaking a shoulder or rib. Then with Mike and Lee, a couple of guys from church, were out there and I rode with them down and part of the way back.
So today I told myself that since I had the car I was going to head back out there and get it back in gear. I rode a nice solid 20mph most of the time only slowing for walkers and slower riders. I rode down and back then stopped at the summer series crit races in Burn'sPark and enjoyed some good racing among friends. I hung out at the back curves with Jenn "I dream of being a podium girl for Tom Danielson" and Christopher "I could whip my bosses butt on that bike" Irons. I'm not telling you who Christopher's boss is...but he is good!
We had a couple of our own club riders racing. Big John and Patrick. We hooted and hollered for them. The last race is always the one to watch because it's the best in class. They had Carve, Tyson, and a couple others I'm not sure who they were but this is what they did. They take off and ride 35 or 40 minutes then 2 laps. During the timed part they will throw out prizes to whoever wins that lap. Usually a small prize like a six pack or something but it makes them crazy and they start picking the speed up. The last lap had them flying through and has they rounded the last corner and broke out into a finishing sprint they hit speeds of 40 mph!!
After the race and I knocked out another "down and back" and headed home for the evening. Tomorrow we stay on the NLR side but we ride what's called the Root Canal. It includes climbing Ft Roots 4 times.
It was good to be back out there and feeling good. I really had worried about last night and why it just wasn't happening but some days are just likethat Iguess. Ya got it or ya ain't.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Hotter than Hell 100
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Wichita Falls, TX
I'll be there!!!!
I got signed up today to HH 100 and now I'm excited! The Fast Girls and Slow Guys club I ride with is heading down for a century (100 mile) club ride. Emails have been flying around all day about others that have riden it and their experience. There are over 10,000 riders in this ride. It's mind boggling to think of that many folks on bikes in one place. I went to Austin last year for Ride for the Roses but did it more as a solo rider. This ride will be as a group of friends out having a good time. Man, I can not wait! Serious, now that I signed up I'm almost giddy!
Club ride tonight after work and the weather outside is really nice!
Sunday, June 11, 2006
There has only been a couple of times that I can remember getting dehydrated to the point of chills and a starting headache. Today will go on the books as one of those. Yes it's summertime here in Arkansas and yes it was 95 degrees with the humidity up there. The ABC ride started as usual about 1 and we had a nice little group moving along about 18-20 and as we hit the road we upped it to about 22 and kept a nice pace. We did the usual slow down through the baseball fields then kicked it up on Cantrell and over the train tracks and into downtown. Of course we hit about every red light there is. Finally heading over the Broadway Bridge everyone was riding strong! The gang was all together. We pacelined on the road by the rehab center and Chris Shaw threw a little canjun mojo powder on the line and BAM! We were kicking it and loving it! Up Ft Roots we go and back down and pace it to Cook's. On the way to Cook's those young guys kept the pace up there and I slowing dropped off the back a bit. Jenn and I took turns pulling at about 19mph on in to Cooks. Everyone was drenced in sweat. We all talked and tried to breathe and cool off. The plan was to ride the triple bypass. We got heading back and the line was great. Lots of families so we made sure we slowed and said howdy to the families and young riders. We got to the road and cranked it back up to 22mph and As Mark pulled out from the pulling the group it was now my turn. I was eager to prove I could pull for distance today. I would glance down and we stayed at 22 and we continued until we banked the curve and headed to the side street to get to the bridge. We slowed a bit of course and as we got to the stop sign it was clear which is unusal for that spot. I was still pulling and took us over the bridge. I was feeling good about the distance then wind. Smack me in the face and call me Moses! Just as we crested the rise in the bridge the wind was hitting me head on. I dropped all the way down to 14mph. We all got on over the bridge and the light stayed green for us to turn and that was it for my pull. Not bad but not great. I'll vow to pull better next time. We were taking a bit of a break then speed picked back up and then slowed just before hitting the road by Alltel (Pronouced aww-hell). The pace formed and off we go then that weird sense of somethings wrong began to creep in. I was still with the group but I began to get big time chills. Oh crap! As I was dropping Jenn, who is fighting a sinus infection, was dropping too. I pulled the two of us for a while and I was honestly about to give out and speed was dropping to 14mph and she came around and pulled us on in. Thank you Jenn! A true friend. Chris, her husband, was sticking it out with the young whipper snipper group ahead of us. I drank almost all the water and GU2O I had left and sat on the tailgate and cooled down. I began to feel better fast but knew my body was telling me to take it easy back there. What could I have done different to prevent that I keep asking myself. Anyway, all in all it was a great ride and there were a couple of new folks riding with us. Patrick is still working in Boston and thank heavens otherwise our 22 mph would have been 26.
I told Terri I was going to be in bed by 9:30 reading.... with my eyes closed.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
I started preparing for this ride last night. Went through the check list and got the ride ready. Woke about 6:30 got ready and had pancakes, a must pre-ride meal, and even went down to Starbucks for a Vanilla Latte. Research shows that coffee drinkers can sprint longer than non coffee drinkers. Trust me friends, there as no sprinting for me today.
Left for the ride about 7:45 or so and as I got over to Burns Park I knew it was going to be a great ride. Cars and bikes in a long line all heading to the same place. When I got to the starting area the lot was almost completely full. I was excited for CARTI. Last year there were about 300 total and there's no telling what this year was. Saw lots of friends. Got my number and headed back to the car to get ready.
Everyone began heading up to the start point and and I wedged in with my Fast Girls and Slow Guys club. Was strange having several missing. Chris, Christopher, Robb, Patrick and several others. Yale was there with his som Braxton for the family ride. Rob Lambert gave the here's what we're gonna do and where we're gonna go speech and out we go. Most started fairly slow and we picked up and picked up and picked up. On the river trail was fine but baby once we got to the open roads we upped it. I was rarely going under 22 mph. I hung on until the break with the rest stop where I had to cross the road and I bidded farewell and told Dean to go with the front group, which he did till the very end. Way to go Dean! I rode solo for a bit and kept a steady low 20 high 19 pace (with wind thank you). Had a chance to rest a tad and have a gel and water. About that time a couple of guys came by but I just wasn't ready to jump so I continued on. A few moments later a paceline came by and I recognized several of them and began drafting. Not sure who the guy in the Sierra-Nevada jersey was that pulled but he pulled through some wicked wind. We kept our pace and took it on in once we returned the the river trail. Good ride!
I picked up a drink from the FUZE tent. AWESOME STUFF!!! Geo, don't forget you just rode hard for 35 miles, slow down on the sweet drink. A few minutes later, "oh my tummy." I changed clothes and hung out on the back of the car for a little bit and watched riders come in and to let my tummy settle before walking over and watching the crit races. Met up with Kyle, Doug and Doug Pope. Oh gosh, Doug Pope knows Doug Childress... heaven help us! HA! We all watched a race and my tummy still is reminding me of my sin but it's livable. We all left and the guys headed for the food and I headed for the car.
It was a fun day and I hope CARTI will continue to do this and it continues to grow.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
The weather report says we have a 40% chance of showers today. Well it started raining about 11 and has been light rain since. I've finished my "have to do" list and pondering what to do after work now.
Can't ride. Club ride will cancel anyway.
Can't mow. However I did mow the front last night. I told the kids to get out in the back yard and clean up after their dogs. "We'll do it tomorrow." So now there's wet doggie piles in the back yard. I hope there's not wet doggies out there too. Nothing worst than a wet dog that is happy to see you! And Max (Sean's dog) is sort of like on the Flintstones when Dino greets Fred. Yep, he's getting big.
By the way, Sean is Emily's boyfriend. I think several folks thought Sean was one of my kids. He might as well be.
I'm already thinking about the weekend since the CARTI ride is coming up. Here's the website if you want to see it: www.tourderock.org It's a fun ride where you can ride between 2 miles to 33 miles. I'm excited about the 33 miler because you have to average 14-18mph. I'm hoping to ride with the big dogs on this one. The bigger dogs will be racing the crits so it sort of leaves room for old guys like me to stay up front a little longer. I'm hoping the course is cleared so we can hammer it out at times.
Oh well, back to work...
Sunday, June 04, 2006
We all rode down and out to Cook's and more socializing. The plan was to ride back over the river with them and climb Overlook, and River Mtn and recovery speed on the way back to the car but as we kept the pace around 20-ish and slowing down for famlies and other bikes, I seemd to run out of steam. I knew it wouldn't be fun to try and keep up after doing repeats already. If it would have been a slower pace I would have done it but I'm not one to ask for a slower pace. So as we got to the turn off I bid farewell and headed to the boat ramp and the car.
Back up a couple of frames and let me tell you about Robb. He was riding along and started doing his hot dogging and I got so tickled I was weaving and laughing so hard I could keep the pace and breathe.
I put sweet tea in one of my bottles and there's just something about it that calms me down. It's funny that so many people tell people who are active in hot weather to be sure and drink some Gatoraid when it is really one of the last things we want. It makes our tummies cramp. Sometimes we slice it half and half with water.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Funny story: One of the guy's that was supposed to lead the ride had knee surgery on Thursdaay and he was so bummed about not riding that he came out to Cook's and pulled out a lawn chair and talked t us until we departed. Doc told him he could be back on his bike in 3 days. Tomorrow is the third day! Bill Stewart, get well soon!
Friday, June 02, 2006
This is one of the forest areas you get to ride through. It's not unusal to see folks with a nice bass or two on a stringer walking back to their cars. This is also where the deer walk through at sunset to get to water. I yelled "DEER" more than once on a group ride.
Same spot as above but you can see the Arkansas State Capitol and if you look to the right and you can see the building with black windows? That's Arkansas Children's Hospital. My employer (and generous sponsor).
And another switchback