Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What day is this?

Just a quick blog as an update.

I hit the ground running when I got home from HHH. I was dog tired but we are having a Marriage Matters seminar at our church and I really wanted to hear this. It's been really good and funny! Lynn Jones (the wife) has a Texas accent and her husband Jerry Jones is non stop cut up. Some of the wise cracks he makes I can't figure out if he just made it up or if it's part of the show. Either way it's a hoot. There is one more night tonight but I'm blown and have got to crash out a moment.

The upcoming 2 "chapters" of my HHH road trip should be out on the blog tonight. They are long!! So I hope you'll enjoy the reading as much as I've enjoyed writing it.

I'm glad the tropical storm didn't do much mainly for those folks down there but also because our new jersey's are ready to be shipped out from Plantation, FL. Yep, I'll post a photo of them as soon as they come in.

Gotta get back to work...

Hotter'n Hell 100 Road Trip -- Day 3 Sunday

John enjoying the morning news

Keith and Chris. Keith had on a great t-shirt. It was something like, "I'm a superhero but without powers or motivation."

Hey Geo, enough with the photos man, we gotta go!

Most of the crew on the morning after

The bronze yee-haa statue outside our hotel

Yes, this was "my space" for the ride. It wasn't as bad as it looks.

Mr. Cafe Americano

It least we didn't have this during the ride!

Run Toto Run!!!!

DUDE! That was an awesome road trip! Yep, ya know it's been a good trip when you visit the hospital and wake up the next morning not knowing where you are and finding you only have one lens left in your glasses! Party on!

Road Trip day 3

I woke around 6:30 or so and pushed the coffee button. Gimme caffine and now! I quitely began to pack my things and put up the sofa bed. I had slept like a baby after yesterday's ride and excitment. I walked down to the paper box and got the next to the last paper. Several stories about the ride. It was fun to get a paper packed full of bicycle stuff. This is what every Sunday paper should be like.

John and Diane woke and came in the den and headed straight for the coffee. Then John took my paper and made himself at home. Ok, maybe not. I was finished with it. I went out into the indoor court yeard and saw Yale and Jo and we took a table in the corner. A few moments later more of the crew were walking their bikes to the cars and soon everyone was loading up. I went to the room and as I was coming back out Jenn walked by and I half expected her to yell, "Fast Girls Sloew Guys".

As we were all about ready to leave it began to sprinkle. Oh yeah, Keith was looking like his old self. He had color. I lugged a container of Gator and a container of water.

First stop was the c-store to get more newspapers. Everyone wanted an issue to take home. Several loaded up with cokes but I was going to hold out until we found the Starbucks. On the road again and heading toward home.

I kept looking for the fake Wichita Falls but somehow I missed them. Oh well, maybe next year.
We got our little auto pace line going on and most of the cars seen had bikes on them.
Headed through Lawton then on up to OK City and stopped at the Starbucks. Java Chip Frap! Oh yes! I can feel it hitting my viens. Sweet caffine. Several went next door to Wendys and got lunch stuff and we all ate out on he patio of Starbucks.

Back in the cars and next stop was 20 miles west of Ft Smith for lunch. I don't remember the name of the town. Several went to Subway and the rest to Arby's. I was part of the Arby's gang. I called Terri to let her know where we were. We had been riding in the rain most of the time.
We rolled over the river and through Ft Smith and then we seemed to head into harder raines. It would come and go but when it rained it rained hard now. As we got to Russellville it began to really pour. Enought to make us slow way down and use the flashers.

Soon we were heading through Conway and the clouds began to break up. Finally!

We got back to Cook's Landing and Terri arrived shortly afterwards. We said our goodbys and headed to the house.

It was a good road trip and honestly one of the best I've had. I was a whole lot better than the Ride the roses trip to Austin last year.

Hotter'n Hell 100 Road Trip -- Day 2 Sat (The Ride!)

I woke at 4:40 a.m. not really knowing what time it was. You know those hotels always have lights shining at the windows. The inside of the Remington Hotel is like an indoor courtyard. It's really nice but it's also lit 24-7. I laid there before I looked at the clock on my cell phone wondering if it really "time". I felt like an expectant mother... "Harold, It's time!!" As I started t get up I noticed that I could see a shadow going by the window then others. There already people in the courtyard? Yep, in fact there were lots of folks eating already. We still had plenty of time. I have coffee and Diane's awesome oatmeal cookies and we talk while scurrying around.
I pushed the start button for the coffee since John had set it up the night before and began to check things yet again. Everything was fine. We all got kitted out in our Arkansas Bike Club finery and started for the door. John turned and said, "Geo, you might want to take your bike." No man, I ain't nervous! HA!

We head across the indoor court yard past the masses of final stage carbo loading cyclist. We looked really good too! Serious! We all had on our matching duds and they thought we were a pro racing team. You know they did! We proceeded to the backdoor and out into the hot morning air. It's pitch black out here but it's also like a colony of fire ants. People everywhere! Cars coming and going. We met over by Yale's car and wait a few more moments for those guys like Keith Hill and Christopher Irons that had to "do hair". Everyone smile for the group photo. Flashes of light then you hear the "Oh, hang on! One more!" Jenn wouldn't let anyone lve until she has your number and makes sure you have the sheet with everyone elses. I didn't get one yesterday when she gave them out because I thought she was just giving them to the drivers. No biggie, I've got several folks numbers in my phone. If I crash in the west Texas desert, the buzzards don't care about the phone anyway.

So we all head down the street a couple of blocks to the starting area. We look about 75-100 yards from the start but then I'm bad with guessing lengths. I can tell you this. When you turn around there are already blocks of others behind you now. Man, this is a crowd! We all prop up on our bikes and talk. Some just stare wondering what their life will be like 4 hours from now. Some are an A.M. life of the party. Christopher and Rebecca Irons were next to me and the boy is usually a quite person whenever we start rides early but he was a grabbering manaic this morning. Laughing and carrying on. He told Rebecca he had to go to the rest room and asked if she would hold his bike? She was laughing and said she got to touch his Madone (the model of his bike). I just this is something she isn't allowed to do much or purhaps a form of foreplay between them. Who knows? They just got married remember?! HA!

You could see flashes of light going off everywhere as everyone was really begining to pack it in. There was a large bank building a few blocks away and it gave the time and the temp. It was like a hot version of Times Square at New Years Eve. Closer and closer to 7 a.m. we got. Exciting. Nerve wrecking. Gotta go whiz sort of scary. You name it and all the emotions are on fire! It's getting a to be a little lighter now and the giant inflatable guard of the hell is visible. It's evil looking hulk thing. Everyone has been talking about the start.

It's 7 a.m. and time for the gate to open... tick tick tick... The national anthem is played and everyone turns around as two fighter jets fly over. I got chills. Not from nerves but from knowign the we have freedom to ride. We can ride without road side bombs. That so many people have given up so much for this country.

B-O-O-M-!!!!!!!!!! The famous cannon fired and the ride is on! Lots of hoots and yells. Then we wait. It takes several minutes before we even start to move. Do I clip one foot and push along with the other? Do I just walk my bike? Yes, I'll just straddle my bike and walk it. The pace picks up a notch then faster as we get to the starting point then stop. Everyone is trying to move and clip in. I didn't see anyone fall but there were some wobbles going on. We get to the gate and off we go. Yesss! We are riding slow and there are hundreds of folks in front of us. Over the bridge and I see a couple folks from Bike Journal go by. I see various Texas club jerseys coming by. Oh and yes, I actually do pass some folks. As we make it over the bridge the pace picks up and riders are working to get their clubs together and paceline it. Chris Irons had told me the secrect which was to get in a paceline and then as a faster one comes by get it in and keep doing that until you're comfortable. So I work on that. Man, some of the pace lines that came by were blistering fast. As they passed I wondered to myself if they kept that pace throughout the day.
I hook up with Tim V for a little while and he was keeping a great 20mph pace. He pulled and I pulled. We talked a little bit and I told him I felt bad about all the crap that had happened with bike boards and emails this week. We both agreed to let it be over with and have a great time riding and that's exactly what we did. We turned and train tracks?! No not train tracks! I slowed down but the tracks were much less threatening than our local tracks. Yale and Becca and Wayne come by and I began to speed up and ride with them. Folks were doing the speed up and slow down gig and it was making several nervous. I have a new hearing aid remember? I can hear folks dissing each other now. HA!

After going through the neighborhood we head to the open road. I'm riding with Will now. Man, lots of flats already! There's been a crash up ahead and they are off to the left. Looks like several bikes. We all slow and someone is blowing a whistle. Just as we pass I feel the dreaded movement of my back end. No!!! I'm flat. I work it over to the side and lucky that I have a driveway to change it in. Several of my guys ask if I need help and I wave them on. Diane rides by and she stops until I get moving again which was fairly quick. Thanks Diane! It stills feels off but I'm riding and I know there is RS #2 just ahead. While I'm riding along David Kincannon, Talima (sp?) Tammy and HiGuy from Canada ride by. They are folks. David is swinging hes camera bag around like a rock star with his guitar. I start speeding up because I wanted to say howdy but man my bike is sluggish. Just about that time a paceline begins to pass me and then another on the outside begins to pass them. It was pretty cool to watch then suddenly the outside paceline starts moving in to the right. The other paceline is trying to hold their line but it's getting tight. There are slower riders on the right and two pacelines coming through. This is insane. Even more insane when one of the guys in the middle paceline gets a backwheel shrew caught in the slow riders wheel then bang the middle pace line guys bike bounces on the back and the rider is unclipped and catches the bike and was able to remain upright. The slower rider looks stunned but he did nothing wrong. The outside line was riding too agressive in my book. How one one went down is amazing to me. The all stopped except for the fast paceline and they barreled on through.

I finally get to the rest stop but no longer see the anyone I know.

I spot a bike mechanic tent (Plano Texas cycles) and roll over and get in line. 3 folks ahead. One was the guy that just caught the shrew. Maybe this won't take too long. The Asian guy who just got nabbed was not looking too happy at all. He had a nice Colonago (sp?) bike with a special paint job that included sponsors. He really looked like a racer that was just out for a ride today. The mechanic looked at the busted spoke and told him they didn't have any like that?! Man, what kind of gear was he riding because the mechanics had a truck loaded with stuff. The rider then told the mechanic about what had happened and showed the mechanic the crack. Oh man, this guys frame was cracked from the accident. Not a cheap frame at all. Asian dude is P.O.'d big time There is nothing that can be done and it's not ridable. It is but it will soon break. He has to leave the bike there and tols to go over to the radio tent and call in so they can take him back to the start.

The two mechanics are working hard and moving the crowd. It's my turn and I tell him whats wrong as he puts it on the stand. The over to the side comes one of their regualr store customers. They stand and talk about the ride and I smile and be nice. Then the guy works on the line cutters bike. Hell-o! He finishes quickly and back to my bike. He made and adjustment then another regular customer comes through the side and cuts the line. They talk and then make adjusts on his bike. I would like to be at Hell's Gate by the noon cut off and time is slipping fast! He starts to put real air on my tire and another guy comes up but this time I tell him that I'd really like to get riding again. I think he catch the tone of my voice. At least I hope so. I got the bike and knew I would have to hump it now. I quickly spotted the restrooms and walked over and the line was all women?! The I spot the guys section and laugh out loud! The guys section is between two 4x4 pickup trcks that has a blue plastic tarp half way half way up for privacy. There was a line of guys all the way down the fence line just a whizzing away and I joined the whizzers. As you walked past the truck the was a handmade sign that said "Guys only! No Women! Please don't pee on my wheels!!!" I love the hmor these folks have. As I was walking my bike back to the course a guy at a water table said "let me fill your bottles right quick before you go." Gee thanks minister! You made my day!

I'm getting back on the road and it has been a flipping h-o-u-r!!! I see all these people star and then stop and get off their bikes and stomp. It was funny. As I clipped in I then knew what they were doing. I couldn't clip in either. Red clay mud caked the bottom of my shoes. I stopped and got off joined my follow riders in the ancient Texas Cowboy Red Clay dance. You stomp 2 times then stomp the other foot 2 times then you look and the bottoms of your shoes then repeat. This is also the cow pile dance step as well.

So off we go pedaling like there is no tomorrow. There is no one I know but hundreds of riders. The pace is quick and everyone had just taken a break so good to go. I jumped in and rode with several guys from Tusla. They were taking about the pace and we needed to pick up more but the gate should still be open. Suddenly it was like some of our Fast Girl sprints. They were moving! I hung on for a bit then thought best not to blow it all because stil a long day ahead. I drop back to a comfort 20 and the wind was nice and pushing us along. I got in a group that was moving the same as me and we were enjoying the ride and everyone seemed comfortable and took turns pulling. This was great! We came to an intersection and blasted right through. A few moments later I began to really began to have a feeling that I missed something along the way. All the signs only said 100K. Where are the 100m signs??? I realized at that moment that I was now on the 100K route. I missed the turn at the insection. No one turned there. I sort of felt bummed and then told myself, you know it doesn't matter what distance you ride, you are here to have fun and enjoy the day so enjoy! I stayed with my group which is getting smaller and down to about 6 of us. Everyone seemed to be away from their groups but we all seemed to comfortable riding together. No one was running with scissors or eating playdoh.

As we rode along there were more and more folks on the side of the rode fixing flats or having mechanicals. Almost all had another person near or stopping and we continued on. A few moments later I pulled off to the left as I took a break from the pull zone and as I dropped back there was another guy that had joined our group. I small gray headed guy. Gray headed as in old. He told me I pulled great and that alot of the lines in he been in were doing the speed up /down down. I have always liked it with someone more senior than me tells me I did something good.

We get to the next rest stop which is blasting out becah boy tunes and giving everyone lays (however you spell that). I'm doing good and had just sucked down a gel and wtaer was in good shape and I can hear ice still inside. I continue on my way. I'm alone and see no pcelines to jump in. I look around and enjoy the scenery. It's really pretty country. Different but pretty to visit. I see a couple of riders that look like they are coming well but watching them much longer and I can tell one was struggling. We do have a little wind but feels more crosswind. I ride by and notice the front guy speeds up and gets behind me. No problem. I'll pull since I was ridng this pace anyway. A few minutes later I look back and they are nowhere to be found.

I'm solo again until I ride up on a big guy in a yellow jersey with one of those hook up bikes that allows a kid to ride along and pedal as well. Yale and Braxton ride those sometimes. I wished we would have had those when Ty was little. I did ride him in a bike bucket seat when he was little. Anyway, I said to the kid, "Tell you daddy to pedal faster." Wrong thing to say because big daddy did exactly that. The next thing I knew we are riding a pacleine with daddy pulling. 20mph. This little group came up to 2 more dads with sons riding the same type set up. Now how cool is that? We all ride for a long time.

I see the next rest stop and pull in for a piece of pickle, chunk of banana and some ice. The stop my have been 10 minutes. I'm back on the road. Ridng, just riding. No one is pacelining much and the party feeling seems to be wearing off.

About that time the road curves and we hit the service road. Folks were driving down the interestate honking. I was a nice boost. The wind. Oh man, the wind was getting tough and the heat seemed to go up several degrees in minutes. Everyone break apart and it becomes everyone for themselves. No shade, no shield from the wind, no rest stop. Onward we go. I see folks on the side of the road and notice that we are going up. It's mentally messing with my head so I stop looking ahead and look only in front of me. When I do finally look up I see what appears to be a rest area but it 's only a highway rest area with a coule of trees and picnic tables but there are tons of people there. As I ride by I notice a lady and sone that was maybe 13-14 sitting on the curb. The kid was bright red and you could tell she wa trying to give him a break but also knew they needed to move on to the real rest area. I'm drinking when I notice I've gotten very low now. Please be a rest stop ahead or this is going to get ugly.

Like an oasis in the I see these 3 tents appear on the horizon. Oh thank you Lord! I ride up and really am starting to feel bad. I see the toilets and walk right up. No one is whizzing anymore. If it wouldn't have been so hot I would have just stood ther all day. Just the stop suddenly brought the real feelings out. I walk over to the tent and get in line with the rest of the zombies. What am I in line for? Who knows. I'm just doing what looks like I'm supposed to do. I see small cups on the table and wonder if they are checking for doping. Oh no, those are little cups of pickle juice for cramping. A lady comes up behind me and puts a ice cold wet towel on the back of my neck. It felt so good. I walked over to the rest area and sat on the end of one of the Mash like cots. They were working on an older guy and wouldn't let him go back to ride. He gave in to their suggest really fast. I sat there talking to a couple really nice guys from Dallas. They told me the words I wanted to hear. "You've done the hardest part." I got up and walked toward my bike and a guy gave me and orange slice which was cold and juicey. It was good! I finally pulled out my MP3 player and plugged it into my hearing aid and clicked it on. Screaming heavy mental... no!! I kept changing songs until i hit Rascal Flatts. I settled in and hummed along to Melt. I was in the slow lane and wasn't passing anyone so it was safe to listen to the tunes. Then a funny thing happened. The song Fast cars and Freedom came on and I was singing along, just making it through the ride when a group rode by. I guess I was singing loud enough because one of the girls slowed down beside me and was singing what Rascal Flatts was singing. It was funny and hen I made sure I was singing very quite from then on.

We got up by the bridge to turn and go ver the interstate and noticed more and more people on the side of the road. It was really looking bleak. I got in with the Bike City club and rode a little bit untl I dropped. Where are these folks getting this energy at? I'm riding along at 14mph now. I look up and realize we are going through the air force base. I say "Thank you sir" to each soldier that is holding cars for us to pass through. We get to ride down between several aircraft and these is really awesome but I feel really crappy. We ride a little further and I see another rest stop. I ride almost passes then stop and a girl gives me a cold towel. Those things are heaven! She also gives me a Sonic cup with cold water. I pour half on my head and try to drink half but pour the remaining on my back. Back on the road I just ride. There are more riders off to the sides. Under trees. One guys is barfing. We are now leaving the air force base. Man, please tell me this thing is about over. It's not fun anymore.

I'm riding along and I look down to see myself going 10mph. I don't care that others are passing. Go on, beat me you young 20 something snot ball. I just don't care! Then a magical thing happens. I see the skyline of Wichita Falls. I want to laugh. I want to cry. I want to dance on the pedals. I want to do anything but I've only got it in me to just keep pedaling. Not faster, not slower, just pedal.

I finally round the corner and head for the finish. Ahh sweet finish! I roll through and hear jenn scream, "GEO!!! Go Fast Girls!" I hope I smiled. Then I spot Diane and Wayne 's wife waving. I slow down and someone gives me something small and I tuck it in my jersey. Later I find out it's a finishers pen. I roll over to get some water and see a tent with bales of hay. My shoulders were killing me and I thought it was a massage tent and I needed it bad! It was just a resting place.
I saw my friend Vince Cucco, yep, the Joe Martin Stage race guy, and spoke with him a little bit. He said that he had gotten here about 30 minutes ago. I finally got up and rolled over to an opening and slowly rode the block to the hotel.

I stood in the cold shower for about 3 hours or at least it felt like it then crashed on the sofa.

Back later for the conclusion of ride day.... Keith's big adventure coming up so stay tuned!!!

The after burn of Hell (Ride day Part 2)

Later that day...

As I was flipping channels and relaxing John and Diane came in from the ride. Diane had been at the finish for a while and was waiting for John to cheer him on through the finish. They came in telling stories of their adventures. A little late Jo stopped by and her and John were talking about the ride especially the last part. Everyone talks about the last part. No one can say that ride was easy.

One of the best stories to come out of the ride is the excellent tale of teamwork and the spirit that pushes us to extremes. John Barton, Jo, Keith Hill and John Martin all got to continue the ride together. These four hung as a team and earned the "Fast Girl" title. The rest of us have to take the "Slow Guy" title but everyone came out a winner. They made it in time for the cut off to Hell's Gate even though the officials closed it an hour early. Chris Shaw also made it through and was working on a personal best time. More on his story in a moment. It seems that the 4 Fast Girls rode along together taking their pulls and talking each other through the down times. After they past the air force base, like everyone, they too began it fade. The heat, the exhaustion, it was becoming too much. Finally Keith annouced he was finished around mile 94. He couldn't go on and to make matters worse, he was clipped in with a malfunctioning pedal and the only way off was to remove his shoe. It would stay attached to the pedal or he would have to ride unclipped which would have been harder. There had been several rest stops that had run out of ice. They were riding by a c-store when they all pulled in and bought a bag of ice and laid it across Keith's legs and then JBar worked one leg while Jo worked the other. JBar told me that that was something that he would not have done for just anyone. It reminded me of when I rode from Ft Smith to Cook's Landing last year and Paul Britt's foot cramped and I was sitting on the parking lot of Sonic working the cramp out of his foot. There are things you do as a team that are different then when you are solo. Anyway, John told him he didn't come down here to ride the HH94 but rather the 100. Back up on the bike and slowly they continue on. The 4 of them cross the finish line together. A true team in the highest sense. To you my friends, my helmet is off!

Ok, Chris Shaw story. This young gun is one of our fast and strongest riders. I think he has placed in every race he has entered this year. I continue to hope that he will exel to make a Cat 2 or 3 someday. Chris was out to play witht eh big boys today and sounds like he did very well until the very end. As with many ace riders, he suddenly lost the steam. He told me the last few miles were some of the hardest he had ever riden. He had called in to let Jenn know he was 40 minutes out. It ends up being more like an hour. He made it through.

There are still so many stories or trial and triump. Fonda, Yale's sister riding and Yale returning to the course to ride in with her. The story of Patrick walking in the last few miles pushing his bike. One of my favorite stories was hearing Jo talking about the girl on the side of the road. About 20 miles out from the finish was a girl dressed in shorts and a sprots bra type thing for a shirt. Talk was that she was really a cutie and on the side of the road with a flat and every guy just flew right on by. Jo's remark was something like, "Ok guys, you know it's too hot when no guys stop to help a girl looking like that." Another tale was the guy hanging over his bike barfing and someone asked if he was ok and he said no and the other rider side well ok and kept riding. Yes, real thougths and actions were not registering with anyone at the end. There were stories of riding along and seeing "bike skeletons" along the side of the road. Those bikes that had had a mechanical problem such as a flat and part of the bike was missing and the rest lay abdonded on the sides of he road.

So we finally head over to the steak house which is just blocks away. The wait will be an hour. It was longer. We spoke with others that had rode that day and talked up the BDB 100 that happens in LR/NLR on Oct 1st. Finally our table was ready! I had my first glass of sweet tea from the whole weekend. It was good too! We acting like rabid hyena's over the appretisers! We about killed each other when our salads came. Waynes wife decidied she wanted my salad and the waitress gave it to her and I watched everyone else start eating their salads. UGH! Ha! Then the steaks came. Cooked just right and cut with a fork tender! Oh man, it was heaven. Everyone was enjoying their meal when suddenly there was excitment at the other end of the table. Keith Hill had just said he wasn't feeling good and passed out. The day had taken a lot out of him and was having a delayed reaction. Dehydration. He was white as a ghost and came around within seconds but it seemed like minutes. Very very long minutes. Everyone was freightened. Is there a doc in the house? Call 911! Lucky for us there was a nurse at the next table as well as a table or two away. They came to our aid and although we don't have their names we are forever grateful. Their calmness soothed us and we knew it was going to be ok. The EMT's did come and so did fire and rescue. Keith was up and moving now and declined the ride to the ER. Several of the team took him a little bit later. Funny story about the hospital: Yale and Jo were there and they would take turns checking on him and one Yale got up to go check and Jo got over to Yale's couch and stretched out and fell asleep. Keith got a double shot IV and was sent home around 1 a.m. Long day huh?!

Yep, you could say it was hell... but we all lived though it and have some great memories!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hotter'n Hell 100 Road Trip -- Day 1 Friday

Hey everyone! Thursday night's pasta party was an absolute blast! One of the Fast Girls Slow Guys sponsors gave us a Hotter'n Hell 100 send off party and it was awesome! Jenn Shaw was one of the ring leaders and had some great prizes! I got out with a Starbucks gift card! Gotta feed the addiction!

I slept pretty good considering all the excitement. I packed the night before so I wouldn't have to worry but still checked everything over and over. I woke at 4:50 a.m. ready to run out the door and go sit at Cook's Landing and wait for Keith and Keith.

Terri and I drove over to Cook's and the Keith's came a few minutes later. Terri took a couple of photos and we said our good bys and off we went. First stop would be Starbucks in Conway.

We had fun warming up to the road trip ahead and got to Conway and took the exit and BOOM!!!! The semi truck in front of us blew a tire. Rubber flying everywhere and way up in the air. I don't think none of it hit Keiths truck but boy did it slow down the exiting traffic. We got over to Starbucks and KM (Keith Moore) and I go into SB's. Keith Hill (KH) boldly announced he didn't drink coffee. That's like someone saying you're baby's ugly! HA! He had a big container of water and Gatorade he would work on all day.

As we were about to get back in the truck a orange Element full of juvenile delinquents pull up and throw down some words about bicycle riders. Keith grabbed the driver and threw him in the dumpster while we laughed. Ok, maybe not. It was Yale our fearless leader dawg. As we pulled out of the parking lot he was still in the drive through trying to sweet talk the window host into free coffee. Hey, speaking of free coffee, I bought KM’s coffee and when I paid for it with the gift card all the sudden this big long receipt came out and I won free coffee! She said it was something like one in 10,000. Cool coffee beans!

Back on the road and I asked KH about his shirt, “LR Marathon FINISHER”. Whoa, he’s one of those guys! He was telling us about all the time it takes to train for the marathon. Said he may do the half this coming year. I couldn’t do a 10th. You runner folks are awesome! The Keith’s started talking about movies and road trips and both had seen a movie called Swingers and it was about guys going to Vegas on a road trip and how they first start and everyone’s all excited and saying “Vegas Baby!!!” After several hours of saying it then it gets old but makes the movie funny. I plan to rent it over the Labor Day holiday.

Next stop is Morrilton for the real group meeting spot. Gangs all here, we eat, we talk the McDonalds chick out behind the building into taking out photo. She stands in the drive through line go get the right angle. Man, you can’t get customer service like that these days. Everyone piles into the car and off we go! Oh, I saw Charlie Hight in McDonalds and he was asking about our route and I told him we were going to get on this road out here and next stop was Vegas Baby! He laughed.

Back in the car and all the gang’s traveling now. I say some pretty dumb things on this trip and the first one is just about to come out of my mouth… KH asked what I did and I told him I was a recruiter for the hospital and said something else and then said something about being on this road all the time. Well there was a farmer in a truck, some cows and I think a girl and it sounded like I drove up and down this highway trying to recruit whatever was around. That was when I first heard KH’s infectious laugh. He has a great laugh. The kind that when he laughs it’s makes others laugh.

So we are riding along and Chris and Rebecca Irons come driving by and they pull a bit. Not that we needed the pull (tomorrow we would!). Riding along and then they start to exit at Clarksville. Gee, they can’t hold it very long. As we start to pass them KM called Chris on his cell phone and we are right beside them and Keith says, “On your left!” Irons busted out laughing!

Things sort of settle down a little bit and somehow, and for the life I don’t remember what led to this conversation, I said my next dumb remark. Something about “You know like those mushroom people on Holly Hobbit.” Take it from me, not a thing to say in a truck with guys on a road trip! “Well, uh, Geo, we don’t know about Holly Hobbit”. Then I said Strawberry Shortcakes and KM remembered that. Said something about scratch and sniff stuff that smelled like nasty plastic. KH was unbuckling trying to jump out of the truck by then. I told them I grew up with all sisters so I knew all sorts of girly things. HA! That was about the time KH turned the tunes up so I’d stop talking. HA!

We stopped at the OK tourist stop where there were teepees so we got to pee pee at the teepee!

A little later the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby came into the conversation and The Keith’s had seen it. Emily, my daughter, had seen it and told me about this part. The prayer scene about Sweet Baby Jesus. The Keith’s were laughing so hard and telling about all the different ways Will Farrell’s wife talks about the different Jesus’. There’s teenage Jesus, Carpenter Jesus, etc… I have to go see this movie.

As we are heading down the highway a sign on the side of the road reads: “Infant Jesus of Prague”. It was a sign for some church like the Sainthood of the Infant Jesus of Prague meets here. It was almost too much for the Keith’s.

Then we were talking about the different names of the Oklahoma towns and there was a sing for Lotahwatha Road. 2 seconds later we rounded the bend to see a big lake. Yep, there was a lotta water!

Next stop was around Ok City at the Burger King for a quick lunch break. Jenn was walking around checking off who was here and making us take numbers for going to the bathroom. “Do I have you’re phone number?” “Why, ya going call me in the restroom to be sure I went?” HA! We all LOVE Jenn Shaw! She earned the nickname Momma by the end of the trip.

Next stop was going to be Wichita Falls!! We’re off and running and see Patrick on the side of the road at an exit and on the phone. We had a map and buzzed by laughing at them. We knew they weren’t in trouble and Jo, Jenny and Patrick probably had some wild discussion about which way to go. As we head south the excitement is building! So much so that we go through a toll booth and short the guy a quarter. Patrick and the fast girls get ahead of us. Crud! Then Keith takes off and says we need to put some distance between us and the toll booth. I start seeing visions of being in a Texas jail and it’s not pleasant! HA! To make it worse, I noticed that Keith’s tag was expired back in June. He laughed and said, now you tell me. He got his June tag last December. We all just laughed. My Daddy told me I would spend eternity in Hell if I ever let my tags expire. So we get them early. I know…you nerd!

We got to see one of those dust devils spinning out in the farmlands. That was cool.

A little later you could tell we were getting close! Bikes on lots of vehicles all headed south!

We were on a toll road and stopped at the service station island in the middle of the road. I saw one of the guys I met the afternoon before at Arkansas Cycle and Fitness in Sherwood. They had a HUGE RV with a SUV behind it. Now that’s traveling in style until he told me this was his 3rd stop to fill up.

KM came out and said, “Geo go take a photo of the men’s restroom door.” Ok, what’s the catch here? He just said go see the door and take your camera. It’s a road trip and I’m up for a few wild memories go I go it and walk back there. I bust out laughing because the icon of the man has his legs crossed and holding his self like I gotta go bad! I raised the camera and shot the photo and right then the door comes open!!!! The guy just looks at me and I turn real quick like and b-line to the front door and hope I never see him again! HA! The Keith’s bust out laughing! Pigs!

One the road again and we get to Wichita Falls! We have a debate about these grand falls as you enter town. OK, all the creeks and rivers are pretty much dried up but oh no, there’s a huge water fall of pretty clear looking water cascading down these rocks. It’s fake I say. No, it’s the Wichita Falls. Ok ok whatever…

We get to the hotel parking lot and get out of the car and everyone just sort of stands there looking thunderstruck! OMG!!!! It’s HOT. I mean some serious hot! Really, later we found it out was a record breaking heat day! Even when I went to bed on Friday night the Weather Channel was flashing 96 degrees. I really did feel like you were standing in front of a big fan blowing really hot air on you.

I got my key that John and Diane had left for me at the desk and got my stuff put in the room. We had a suite that was really nice and it gave J&D some privacy as well. I think they’ve reserved it for next year as well.

We finally found the room that John Martin and KH would share. It was up the stairs, around the corner, down the hall. KM was going to leave his bike in their room since he was staying with an air force friend in town. KM also rode his bike down the hall. I joked about them have illegal sprints down the hall in the middle of the night.

Met up with everyone and we walked about a block to the convention center to get out numbers and goodies. Man, thousands and thousands of folks everywhere. The line moved quickly but it stretched all through the corridor of the convention center. I saw the booth for Pickle Juice Sports drink. I was given a Snickers Marathon by one of the vendors. I love those things! We got our numbers then moved into the trade show to get our shirts and shop. There were vendors from everywhere. The Orbea guys from North Little Rock were there. I left the show with just my goodie bag.

I walked outside and around to the side because I saw the Toyota United tents. I didn’t know they were coming. It was all blocked off and no life in sight over there. I then browsed the Specialized and Cannondale tents. Nice folks. After that I saw a tent with folks gathered around and a guy was cleaning a bike. There were a dozen bikes that were spotless laying on the ground beside the tent. It was Purple Passion Lube guys. This guy was a riot and told us all sorts of tricks to clean your bike. I had gotten one of the free samples while I was in the trade show. Plan to stock up on their products. As I was about to leave he told me if I would bring my bike over he’s clean and lube it for free! Cool! I was going to have to go get my bike and take it back then get back and get it again later. That just sort of made me nervous since I wasn’t sure where we’d be at what time and I could just see him packing up and leaving.

As I was walking back to the hotel I saw Jose out by his red Sram Volvo. I said hey to him and he said hi and we shook hands and chatted a moment. Folks needed him to check their bikes.

When I got back to the room John and Diane were there. We hung out a bit waiting for dinner time, a pasta dinner at the hotel. John went in the bedroom and came out with a guitar and played a few tunes. It was awesome!! They all had to do with “love” and “my baby”. He would belt out the tune and look right at Diane and she was reading the handout paper about the event and she wouldn’t look up but she would be smiling. Folks, these two really do enjoy life and each other. She later asked me if I watched the weather channel as much as they do? I told her I was a weather channel “Local on the 8’s” sort of guy. She said her and John have danced to the background music. I believe her!

Dinner time! Pasta everywhere. I had 2 plates of it. We had a table and 3 firefighters from Dallas joined us. Nice guys. One was going to race the course tomorrow. That’s serious insanity!

Everyone returns to their rooms pretty early and start getting things in order and checking bikes for the big ride tomorrow. 4:50 a.m. was going to come early and no one ever sleeps that well in a hotel.

Nite nite y’all!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Geo's off the soapbox and is gonna ride

Peace out y'all ! Yep, the emails are flying and the boards are burning but I think me and my gang are just gonna go ride and people will talk as people always do. You can't please everyone and some folks live to gripe and there's really nothing you can do about those other than feel sorry for them.

Big party tonight and man am I excited! Serious! Me and my gang (don't ya love that Rascal Flatts song?!) are carbo loading tonight in prep for the HH100. I hear some fantastic tortinni is on the menu. YUMMMM!!!

Most of us are taking the night off from our usual Thursday night ride for this and then to go home and stand in our closets and wonder which jersey to wear to the event this weekend. Hmmm, do I wear my ABC with the razorback on it? Do I wear my ACH because it's a lighter color and easy for the gang to spot me if I fall on the side of the road and am being pecked on by Texas buzzards. Oh and shorts... y'all stop laughing. I'll wear the Toyota racing bib since I've worn them on several long rides with no problems.

I can't wait... excitment is building! WOOOHOOOO!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Oh man, Geo's on his soapbox y'all!!!!

I got out to the ride just as the club was leaving so I spoke to Mark for just a moment and then Paul and I rode together then Mike Mitchell jumped on and then I rode with Becca for a little while then got to draft behind Wheatie for a bit. Even though I was late and stopped and talked I could still see the club up ahead and at the rate they were riding I could have caught them. I'm scratching my head wondering what on earth is going on up there. Another rider and I were 2 up and he said, "yeah, we got in trouble." I almost wrecked. You what?! In trouble for what? Speeding on the river trail. Ah, it suddenly made sense. The famous posting on the bike club website. Here's the deal. Someone who rode with us last year and rode fast is now on a campaign to crash our party. Well tonight the club was spooked. It was like watching someone with a BMW and their foot all the way down on the gas but the other foot on the brake. A sad sight.

Now on to happier things. The club had a great ride once they got to the road and cut loose. We passed Ken (past president of BACA). Judy was embedded in our group with no complaints at all. On the way to the ride I saw several groups and one was a pretty big group and they were moving but no problems. Several other smaller groups of roadies came whizzing by and no problems. Hey, everone was out having a good time. It was a beautiful summer afternoon with HH100 on the brain. Oh yeah, Charlie was out there too and was at the detour and his group and my group came together at the turn and there were no problems. So exactly where is the problem folks?

Ok, butt report... HA! The ride was fine and I think it really was the old shorts that was causing the problem. Those freebie Toyota Racing bibs I got free are awesome and I think I'll wear them to HH100. Now, what jersey? My ACH jersey is white and would be the coolest I think. I wished we had the FGSG jerseys. Of course they arrive next week. Crud! Y'all need to get JBar to talk about what he was talking about out in the parking lot at the end of the ride. Funny and gross. The girls will especially love the story. Tell 'em John. HA! (He's gonna kick my butt).

After the socializing at he end of the ride (Thanks everyone who brought drinks!) I rode back to the car. I can tell summer is ending because it's almost dark at 8 now. I saw Yale and Becca coming in and when we saw each other we all started laughing and yelled, "Love you!" Gosh, what a fun group. I saw Robb heading back too. He had stopped to help some folks with bike trouble. The cool thing was that one had on one of the Ar Cycle and Fitness jersey's where Robb works. He would have stopped anyway to help someone but to have a guy that works at the shop where you bought you bike stop from a group ride and help you is over the top customer service in my book.

Well, it's a couple of minutes before ten and I've got to run off Emmy's boyfriend...

Back to the basics?

I've thought long and hard about what the problems might be this year with my riding. You know when you start trying to analyze something like this and your imagination runs wild. Well, I did that and survived. But it just keeps bothering me over and over. I was sending an email to a friend that was expressing his concern and when I typed in the words "core training", the light bulb came on. Maybe that's the difference. Last year I was using my lunches in the fitness center focusing on core training. Could that really make such a difference? The I also remember last year my trainer telling me as I was several weeks into it and before the state tour ride that he and another trainer were really worried because the first day I came in and was assessed they thought I wouldn't last but with the training I did manage to ride 14 consecutive days of almost century per day rides. I had cancelled my fitness center membership because it was spring/summer and I would rather spend my time out with friends and coworkers eating and laughing. I rejoined and will start going back after the ride this weekend. Maybe it will give me the edge I need for the BDB100 on Oct 1st. I know some of you docs and fitness folks read this so send me an email to and tell me what you think.I got my own MP3 player yesterday. Actually it was a part of the fitness challenge stuff. It's about the size of a lighter and holds 126 songs. I had a blast going through the ITunes last night and downloading songs I hadn't thought about in years. I even loaded up some funky tunes. There was even songs from the soundtrack of Forrest Gump. Cajun bluesy stuff. It's the sort of tunes you listen to on the front porch on a hot August night when there is no wind blowing. Pass the crawfish!Oh, hey, we have a new place opening probably this weekend while I'm gone called Gabriel’s. It's a Cajun place and I can walk to it from my house! My nephew Matt is going to be working there. Ahhh yea-us gumbo has come to the neighborhood! Matt said the owner is real cajun. I will be there as one of the first customers! Y'all come over. It's Gabriel’s and it's right behind Taco Bell on the corner of JFK and North Hills (across from the North Hills Country Club).Emmy returned to school yesterday and they had drama the first day... of course. Seems all the seniors painted their names on parking spots all across the front (hummm, is that not vandalizing?) and the kids that got to school before the Sr parade arrived parked in those spots and the seniors were all mad. Don't you miss those days? Me neither! HA! Other than that everything seemed to have gone smooth. I hear the new principal is sharp and is about to crack down with the no cell phone and dress respectable code. Yea, I would say put him on your prayer list too! HA!Tonight is club ride and I'll be out there. No, I don't know if I'll ride the whole ride since I still have blister butt but we'll see. I rode a few days after I got it last time and was fine.I'm really looking forward to the coming BIG ride this weekend in Texas! 7am departure time! The club is having a carbo load party on Thursday and we'll have one at the hotel on Friday night. The ride is on Saturday morning and return home on Sunday. Yep, I'll load up the photos but it will be when I get home on Sunday.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Best quote I've heard in a looooong time!

Quote of the day from Calvin and Hobbes:
“Some days even my lucky rocketship underpants won't help.”

Saturday, August 19, 2006

What's the cause? Or Pity Party Part III

What's the cause of this? I have dropped from rides I could once pull. And... I had some adjustments made and I keep getting a blistered butt. Serious (y'all stop laughing!) it's shaped just like my bike seat. Looks like someone branded my butt with an upside down "U". I rode centuries for days on end last year with no body problems but this year I'm riding like someone from a retirement center and it's gotten old. This morning I got up and felt great and ready for the last long HH100 training ride! My bud Bill Stewart was leading so i knew it would be a fun ride.The nice thing about the ride was that it was going to start just a couple of easy miles down the road at St. Vincent North. One of the guys got there and forgot his helment so I rode over by a couple riding buds that live on the next block from the hospital but both looked closed up and families still sleeping. So I volunteered to ride over to my house and let him use Terri's helmet. Not the best but it worked. We had to ride to catch up with the others but they were dropping down through a neighborhood further out so I thought we could take a short cut and see them but a minute too late. These guys were riding fast! We rode along, the 3 of us, and got to the coffee shop in Cabot. It's an awesome little place with great hostesses. They fill your bottles with water and ice. I wanted regular tea but all they had were special teas so I got Orange Blossom on ice and sugar. It was great! Everyone back on bikes and heading through Cabot. Most folks in Cabot are really nice to bikes but every now and then you'll get someone that buzzes you pretty close. The fast goup finally kicks it up several notches and I ride with Jim Britt and a girl and we take turns pulling. We worked well together and made it through the head wind. Actually, truth be told, Jim did most of the pulling. Then something happened. I was fading. No! I told myself it's a mental thing. You have eaten, you're drinking, you pulled a lot on the ride to the coffee shop and those were hills, you are on flat lands now and that's one of your strengths, tap into it. Sing a song to yourself, hum Long Train Home by Pat Methany, something but don't you dare drop. But I did. I limped along solo until I got to the c-store on this side of I-40. I found out a little later when I go over the bridge the rest of the club is at the c-store on the other side. Sorry guys! I filled up my water bottles with ice and bottled water and a guy that comes in from DeWitt (He's stationed there but is actually from central Arkansas) rode together over the bridge. After a few moments the club was ready to ride again. Nice pace through Lonoke and we turn to head back out on farmland and take it home. As sudden as it happened last time, I drop. The group is getting smaller and smaller. The winds are coming in a bit more it seems or maybe it's just because it's farmland. The sun is high and it's 11 o'clock. I know where I am and not worried about that and decide to kick into touring pace mode. 16mph. I know, some of you guys would fall off your bike going that slow. I'm wearing the other trial hearing aid today and I hate it! It started whistling feedback and it's eaten into my brain. I flip the switch to phone mode and all goes silent. If anyone honked I didn't hear it...(insert evil laugh) "Too bad!" I ride through Furlow and stop at the c-store there but only to rest a moment and drink some icey water in my bottle. Back on the bike and riding to South Bend I really start weirding out. I mean really bad. I'm shaking and have chills, my stomach is in knots. I keep having to blink because things are looking sort of glazed like I have a film over my eyes. A couple of times I reach up to rub my eyes and want to scream when I do it, the burn! I ride past a couple of c-stores and tell myself, "Come on buddy, you can do this. You're not that far from home. You like doing this route." But nothing was working. I was beginning to not care about anything. Riding through gravel patches, swerving out into the road without checking what's behind me. Several times I rode though the freaking glass. Man, this isn't me. On the outshirts of SouthBend, if there are outshirts, I pulled into a Texaco station to rest yet again. I find a shady spot and half fall off my bike. I lean against the wall on the sidewalk and close my eyes not really caing that there are people walking around. I feel homeless, just needed the clothes. I start to get up and it's not happening. Serious, I felt better and I reached back to get up and nothing. I whip out the phone and call Terri. She was home and on her way. I told her I was going to ride right into J'ville on Military road. After I hung up I tried again to get up and make it part of the way and that was it. I'm back where I started. I tried several times and I give up. I called Terri again and gave her my exact location and she was already at the J'ville exit. I thought to myself, thank goodness we live in Sherwood! I take my gloves off and unzip my jersey some. About that time Terri flies into the parking lot. Thank you dear, it's times like this I love you even more! We got the bike loaded and I get in the passengers seat and feel the cool AC air. Never felt AC that felt that good. Terri was trying to talk to me but I was just sitting there in both exhaustion and disbelief that I've done this several times this season. However it was the first time in 3 years that she was called to come get me. That's got to be worth something.We get home and I head straight to the shower and just stand there leaned against the shower wall. I'm completly drained. I coach myself to turn it off and make it to the bed and crash. I mean really crash. I wake up a little over an hour later. I spent the rest of the afternoon on the sofa watching tv with a blanket over me. A blanket? Yep! Seems whenever this has happened this season after I finally get a grip and become social again I freeze to death and this afternoon was no different. I wonder if it has something to do with dehydration? I mean I'm the guy that kicks the cover off the bed. Terri had to run over to the school and Emmy went with her so I finally start feeling well enough to eat and I headed straight for the left overs from Cozamel's last night. Oh man, good as ever! We had a little avacado dip we brought home too and it was slap yourself hot today. It wasn't like that last night. I still ate it. I know, this was a depressing journal entry but some days are like that. We all have them huh? Oh, don't lie. A great date starts out and flops later, a baseball game, or a bike ride with friends. I guess tomorrow will be an off bike day due to the blister. I really wouldn't mind riding in the morning but we'll go to early service and I spotted a roast in the fridge so I suspect we'll be having a Sunday lunch. No complaints there! Later tomorrow afternoon I plan to go visit my folks in Benton and get home in time to hopefully run off Emmy's boyfriend so she will be in bed a little earlier sinc school starts on Monday. Hey, she can drive this year so we don't have to worry about that! WooHoo!!! We have one more week with Max (the boyfriend's dog) then he's out of here. I really am to the point of not caring where but not in our house. Sad isn't it that it's come to this but I gave them 1 month to take this over to Sean's and he's still here. He has to be gone when I get back from Texas. It really is sad because although he is a big dog, he is a very lovable dog when he's by himself. Just as laid back as he can be but with Sadie he is Alpha Male and makes everyone in the house crazy.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Just a quick update.

I was told I was speaking softly during an interview this morning? I was what???!!! No one has ever told me that before.

I tried the restaurant program during lunch. Jason and I went to Popeyes and it was crowded and their was music blaring. I flipped the switch and oh man!!!!! I could still hear a tiny bit of music but I could hear EVERY word Jason said as clear as glass. I was told the mic would only pick up what was directly in front of me. It worked! I also turned to looked at another table and I could hear waht they were talking about. Their boss was a jerk according to them! HA!

Man, there are so many phones ringing on my floor. I can hear them all I think! HA!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I didn't know that sounded like that (New hearing aid day)

It's really not to often that I am so stunned that I don't know what to say but tonight has proven to be one of thse nights. I went over to our Audiology dept this afternoon and worked with Mary with my new hearing aid. I actually have two to choose from. Unitron and Phonak (Yes, as in Floyd Landis Phonak). Both are awesome. Right now I'm jammin to IPOD tunes pumped right into the aid! Serious, it' like a THX surround sound into my head! Weeeee!

I spent the whole afternoon in awe. I heard things I've not heard in years and years. I can hear a keyboard clicking. (Sorry but I have to interupt this to remind one of my riding buds something... click click click... fix your bottom bracket) Ok as I wa saying something about hearing things I've not heard in years. I could carry on a conversation in the car. With older hearing aids the roar of the car is so loud you can't hear the radio or people speaking. When I would go to lunch with my coworker Jason I could never hear the guy.

The radio in the car sounds really good too! I rocked out with "Working for the Weekend" by Loverboy on the way to my ride tonight! I got out of the car and the was a breeze and what was that noise? A couple of dry leaves rolling across the parking lot. I had forgotten how they sound. I just stood there for a moment and soaked it all in. Something as simple as a couple of leaves blowing across a parking lot was about to make me tear up. I could hear someone talking. Oh man, they were on the other side of the parking lot. I just stood and smile.

I hopped on the bike and started riding to the ride and Ian came riding up. I told him I was testing my new hearing aid and we carried on a social conversation while riding! Too cool! Usually all I hear is wind noise.

We arrived at the ride and was greeted by a whole pack of riders. I know what it's really called but I'm trying to see how many names I can come up without using group.

Yale gathered everyone up and I stayed in the back and heard every word he said. Then off we rode. I and conversation with several in the group and it was just too overwhelming. I'm hearing everything. I heard gears shifting. I had felt mine shift before but I'd never heard them. Man there were a lot of gears clicking too. I heard lots of birds. Tweet Tweet Tweet.

We made it to the first hill climb of the night and everyone was climbing good, well except me but I was having a blast because I was listening to a conversation going on around the switchback, just up the hill. I know you're tired of me saying this but it was just too cool.

We got to the top and I could hear several converations going on and I could actually clue into them. I know that's considered eves dropping but well get over it! HA! After a few minutes we head down the hill and I go slow meainly because I can hear my bike like I've never heard it before. Did you know the tires make this whizzing sound.

We did a repeat and then back to Cooks. Hung out there a few then headed back for the second part of the ride and I dropped off at my car. I wanted to go and hear more new things. Wow, my car door sure sounds different.

I was welcomed home to a sweet wife that has a different voice. It's a lot higher pitch then it was this morning. I had gone to the farmers market today at the hospital and had bought some squash and other stuff. Terri Googled Dixie Cafe Baked Squash and got the recipe and had it waiting. It's my favorite and her's taste just like theirs! Ok folks this day cannot get any better!

Emmy and Sean came in and Terri said something about you better be careful he can hear everything now. I turned around and said yep, I sure can!

What will I hear tomorrow? I ain't wait!!!!

Looks like a great day ahead!

Looks like a great day ahead... photo shoot with ACH at 9 then lunch with a friend at 1, then new hearing aid (yes, for real!) at 3 then ride tonight at 6!

I kept getting bumped from the hearing aid to let kids have the appointment afterall, we're there for them. I was alays happy to let a child have ht etime slot but today they said is my day and no bumps so... and they are excited to because I'm he first person to get this new technology so it will be a new toy to them as well!

More tonight...

A Ride for a Better Life

Ride For A Better Life!
Better Life Counseling Center
1605 James Street
Jonesboro, AR 72401
Contact: Tammy Evins

Medic One has partnered with the Better Life Counseling Center to sponsor the Medic One Ride for a Better Life on Saturday October 21 st. In 2005 we had over 70 riders for our first cycling event; we hope that this year's ride will be bigger and better. There will be 10 mile, 20 mile and 62 mile courses available through scenic Crowley's Ridge in and around Jonesboro, AR.Lunch will be provided after the ride.The Medic One Ride for a Better Life is open to all riders. Pre-registration has begun and riders may pre-register for $30. All Adult riders who pre register by October 1 st will receive a cycling jersey, those who register after October 1st will receive a T-shirt. Registration will be available the day of the event for $40. Children 12 and under may register for $15.00 and receive a T-Shirt. Each participant will receive a rider packet with free items from our sponsors. All proceeds from the ride will benefit the Better Life Counseling Center's "Samaritan Fund". Better Life Counseling Center, Inc. (BLCC) is a nonprofit faith-based organization that provides Christian counseling to families and individuals. BLCC uses its 'Samaritan Fund', comprised of donated money from individuals, businesses and churches, to adjust clients' out-of-pocket costs according to their ability to pay.No one is turned away because of their financial situation. If you would like more information or entry forms for the ride go to our website at If you would like to volunteer or become a sponsor for the event you may contact Tammy Evins at 870-935-4673 or for more information.

This was one of my favorite rides last year and I plan to do it again this fall! A few rolling hills otherwise farmland flat!

Y'all sign up! I was home by 2 that day... yes from J'Boro.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The race horse that found us

I spent the day in a seminar doodling drawings of bicycles, eating cookies and counting down the minutes til it was time to run to the car and get home, change out our to the river. I get to ride one of the regular group rides. My other family.

I parked over by the dog park and rode to the ride. Paul Britt and I had a nice social pace ride over to the start point. As we got to the end of the trail or Cook's Parking area, it looked like a Saturday. Cars everywhere! There are a massive amount of bikes and riders all standing around talking and laughing. Yale herds the group for annoucements. I can feel my phone vibrating but missed the call. I click the recall and talk to Brandon. He was just up the road. The group is slowly beginning to move (yep, like a herd HA!). Brandon jumps out and throws on shoes and gloves which he was laughing about because they are old Pearl's his has had since high school. We move along and I told him we should catch the very back end of the group. The only folks we pass are Barry who is back out on his road bike and recouping really well and Paul who has been working hard getting his bike fitness up there. He's doing a great job too. We can see the group heading over the bridge.

We make it over and Brandon tells me he has never been over here before. I give him tips on certain places like having to ride the stinking sidewalk, the post in the middle of the trail at the bottom of the hill, the curve where the sand washed out in the middle, blah blah blah. I told him too that when the front group gets over here to the LR side once they pass Alltel they crank the speed. Once we get over to the golf course Brandon cuts loose and it's like watching a race horse out in the field. You get excited because you know what can become of this young man. Ah yes, another Chris Shaw is born. Have mercy!

I did get to ride with Blake, our youngest speed demon. This guy is rocking it out at the age of 11. But he's a big guy like his dad and his mom works with me at the hospital. Super family. Hey Blake, keep it up man! The whole club is proud of you!

We are closing in on the stop point where Dr Mark has his Highlander open and tossing Gators and water. The group is so big it looks like one of those critical mass rides you read about in the bigger cities. I heard someone say 48 when I rode by. 48??!!! Wow! I'm not sure if that was really a real number or if they were joking of my slowness. HA!

When I got stopped and hung out with Brandon and intro'd him around to a few folks. I pointed out our turbo racers. About that time I heard the familiar zipping sound of bikes coming down Overlook. Here comes Brian flying down the hill. There are a couple of others as well. Man they were moving!

As the group begins to start heading back I look at Brandon and point out Chris Shaw and told him to go and keep up with him. He smiled and took off. Yep, the new race horse STAYED with the front group all the way back. He was all smiles when I got to the parking lot. I was glad he did it. Ok, we are talking about a young man who bought a road bike 2 weeks ago and he is already smoking. If he jumps on the race train, look out Carve! HA!

As I rode back to the car over by the dog park I spotted something small and white hopping through the grass. Awww, someone's little white dog. He's got long white hair and cute. then... he turns around and he has a black face... YIKES... the shunk!!!! He looks right at me and then turns around and tail goes up in the air. I confess my sins and get ready to ride right off into the river because this is going to be really bad! But nothing... huh?! He puts his tail down and heads on his merry way. I warn a group of oncoming riders and wish them well.

It was a fun ride tonight and was good to be back. Thursday night the Maumelle Monitor is coming out to see this latest bicycle craze. Cool!

HH100 is just about 10 days away! I'm ready for a road trip!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Later on Sunday...

This has to go down as one of my favorite all time rides on the river!

I held out on all the possible rides today so I could work around the yard and help Terri get things ready for small group at our house. And here's what happened...

When I worked in the yard I was drenched in sweat. Yep it was one of those nasty ring it out t-shirts by the time I was done. I was thinking about the FGSG ride that started that morning and hoped that they had made it back in. I thought about the 1pm ride in hopes that they were going to be able to manage the heat. Yep, all I could think about was riding and kept telling myself that I could ride at sundown.

I cooled down a bit and was planning on bike maintenance as soon as Terri and Emmy got back from Wal Mart. They were picking up some degreaser since I had run out. They bought this stuff called Greased Lightening BLAST. Wow this stuff is awesome! When I read the label it reads like one of those clean all products that Billy whats-his-name is always selling on TV. I'm seeing shiney new bike silver! All cleaned up and ready for lube. Awww crud! No Triflow oil for the chain. So I shower and head over to Acdemy Sports since it's just through the hood and Arkansas Cycle and Fitness is closed on Sunday as is all the bike shops. I find this stuff called XR1 lube over with all the other regular bike stuff. It says it's formulated for "speed"! Red Bull in a bike lube huh! Su-weet! HA!

We had small group and after they left Terri went over to her uncles to visit her parents, Emmy went to b-friends house. I had 2 choices, sit at home or go ride. The choice was so easy! HA! I was's where I finish the story if you've been reading.... suited up and out the door and driving to the river. I got out and it was so cool! The sky was the blue of a post cold front. I was on the bike and there were hardly no one on the trail. I saw several small puddles of water which were tattle tales of them getting rain and we didn't. The skyline was washed in orange and the river calm. The geese were out socializing in the water. I look over at the bank temperature display and see heaven! 78 degrees! Yes!!!

Off I head down the trail and there is no wind. 20 mph was done with ease. I get to the hill going down into the forrest and look over to see a beautiful sunset with the Arkansas Queen riverboat coming around he bend. Man, I needed that camera right then.

I move along with ease and look down to see 21mph. Where is this coming from? Out to the hay field and suddenly I'm blown away by what I'm looking at! The storm that past is on the hornizon like looking at the rocky mountains. It's sundown down here but the clouds are like a huge mushroom painted in oranges, purples and whites. I actually stop and just stare at it a moment. Serious friends, it was breath taking beautiful.

I continue on my way and head over the little bridge an curne into the jungle. The road is wet and the air cool and thick with the smell of wet earth and leaves. I wish someone could bottle that smell because other than fresh cut grass, sheets that have been hung on a clothes line and steaks cooking on a grill, this earhty smell is one of my favorites. As I rode there the was a white crane standing out in the water. Riding I bit further I spot a doe with her fawn. This fawn looks really young.

I make it on out to cooks and ride down by the new almost completed bike bridge. It's looking good! Can't wait for it to open.

The I start heading back. I see one other person on a road bike. He's slim and seems to be moving fairly fast. I sight him him in my mental scope that I would like to catch him. Off I go. Man, the youngster is moving. 21...22...23...24. Oh man I'm not blowing out! I'm not catching up either! HA! I keep a great tempo all the way back to the turn off to riverfront park and my unknown bud curves on around on the road and heads like he'll be going back over the bridge to the LR side. Whoever you were, thanks for a great ride.

The speed, the views, the end to a perfect day.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday 8/13/06

Fancy title huh? I couldn't really think of anything to call it.

We went to early service this morning and it was empty. I bet we don't have the double services again next summer. It started really popular but as the summer has worn on there has been a switch to most going to the later services which is really our regular services. I really like our new pastor, Greg. He has really brought in some good changes in the 5 months he's been here. I seem to enjoy going to church more now.

I woke this morning to find soreness in my calves. Strange. Where did that come from? I'm wondering if the seat on my bike might need adjusting or if it was just me trying to keep the club pace while riding solo yesterday. Who knows. It was gone by the time I left for church.

Several of the club was to head out this morning around 8 and ride the same ride I did yesterday. I thought of them as we got at of church at 10 and there was not a cloud in the sky. I'm hoping they had plenty of water and found quik stop stores once they got to England. Sometimes small towns still close up on Sundays. Remember when EVERYTHING used to be closed on Sunday. What did we d back then? Oh yeah, Mom sent me to the neighbors to borrow a stick of butter or a cup of sugar.

After we got home from church Terri made brunch and it was good! I then helped her get the house ready for company since we are hosting small group at our house this month. Then I headed out to mow the lawn and boy was it hot! My t-shirt was ring it out wet. 3 bottles of water and glass of lemonaid consumed too. The funny thing is... it's only 1:06 in the afternoon. If I hadn't sweated so much I might would have gone down to the river and ride and see if the cub comes in from England. Hopefully they finished about an hour ago. If they are still out there riding through the farmland with few trees well it's certainly the training you need for the HH100 ride coming up.

I plan to ride the river after small group tonight so maybe I'll take my camera and shoot a few shots while out there.

More later...

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Man, this feels good!

Just admiring the countryside.

It was sooo hot that even the signs were melting!

This is one of my favorite houses along the ride. If you look through the bushes back there you can see the lake/river. I always said if I ever build a weekend house this would be it.

This is along the way and it's what I'm seeing as I talk in the blog about hearing the splashing down below.

I got my bike back and today was the first day I got to go back out on it. I rode the ABC ride out toward England. I returned just shy of England and rode back to Cook's as a solo rider. It was good for me because I couldn't tuck behind the line and draft. When I train sometimes I prefer to work solo. You can't complain about pity stuff and you know you have to take it home.

By the way, I saw Chris and Rebecca, Patrick and Paul Britt as they were getting ready to go climb Petit Jean. Gosh it was great to see them. I felt like it was long lost freinds! Oh and John Martin drove up from down by the dam. He had been running.

We had a great group heading out with Charlie and Tom as our leaders. Sort of the sad part of the ride was that several of the riders picked up the pace and dropping several riders including the leaders. I had mixed thoughts as the break away group broke and as we were approaching the skate park area I pulled next to Charlie and Tom and asked if those guys up ahead were part of our group. Tom replied, "Yeah, I guess." I rolled on up to the front group and we rode at a nice 20mph most of the time. We got out on Hwy 161 and pulled into the quick stop for a regroup and drink load. As the group started back out Charlie was still getting his gear back on. Be there, done that before. We rolled on out and dropped into the Willow Beach neighborhood and I expected the group to be slower just as a courtsey to allow the leader to jump back in. They were getting away. I hammered along at 22-24 mph for the longest and could not catch up with them completly. Crud! I would start to close in then they would rotate out the pull man and it would pick up again. I finally gave in to the wind gods (Ok, maybe it was the light breeze gods) and dropped to 19-20mph. I kept them in my view while I had a banana. I wanted to drop the peel in the middle of the road so the next riders would know they were on the right road but I didn't. Chunked it in the weeds right on top of a racoons head! (Ok, that didn't really happen but it made good reading huh?!)

Funny thing happened. The next thing I know they have rounded the corner and all turned around and were heading back at me?!? They had missed the real turn off. Honey Bee Road.
I bidded happy trials and started back toward Cook's. I told myself this was a training ride and to keep it at least 18mph. I did for most of the ride back. I was riding along and realized I had not stopped for a break since the store and that was really at the sort of beginning of the ride. I stopped and took a photo of a turn sign that I've always thought was funny. It looks like it's melting. So that was a 1 minute stop and then I took a photo of the irrigation area that looks like it would have huge fish but it's strictly off limits. While I was stopped and shooting the photo I could hear something BIG down below in the water. I relly hoped i would get to se a bear or something not normally seen. I could see the ripples in the water and could hear the splashing but could never get close even to be able to see down the hill.

The ride back was pretty uneventful. I got past the hayfield where I saw Denise and Will heading my way. we howdyed on the pass by. I got down to the little bridge and my legs started a protest. Not cramping but just hurting. They were tried pups. I kept it going but dropped down to a panesy 16 a couple of times. I was never so happy to see the end of the trail. I had parked down in the grass due to the MASSIVE amount of cars there this morning. Unclipped and stopped. What??? The right foot would not unclip. Finally got the little snot loose and opened the car and loaded up. That car air never felt so good.

Got home and hit the shower and had a glass of sweet tea. Did I tell y'all I have swee tea in my water bottles sometime? It's sort of like some Zen treatment for me. It settles me down. I also read in Bicycling magazine that Ivan Basso's coach told him once to "relax your face and the rest of your body will follow." I tried that today as my shoulders where getting tire and it works some. My favorite "best advice I ever got" was when someone told me to pretend I was a kitten (Yep, I hear you laughing!!) being held by it's mother by the nap. That really works.

Anyway, Tyler came by and Terri and her folks left to go look at houses and Tyler went over to Backyard Burger and got us lunch. I seemed to not be able to get get enough to drink. I waqs drinking everthing in the house. We watched Nascar of Tv and it was actually fun because it wasn't the big Nascar but the step down or the guys trying to get there. ther was a couple of girls that raced and one had Hamburger Helper as a sponsor. I was cracking up! That big talking glove was painted on the car. She wrecked but no other cars were around.

Ty left and went to play frisbee golf. That sounds fun. He was showing me the putter and driver disc. A lot flatter than a regular frisbee and they are different weights which made sense.

We all will go over to Mexico Chiceto (sp?) for dinner with the in-laws around 5:30. I'm in the mood to eat tonight!

I meant to tell you that Brandon Sigel rode with us this morning. Great rider! He bought is bike drom his old college roommate for 300. It's a very nice Trek. Said the guy also has a Trek 5200 and the 5500. Lord blesses some folks huh?! Ha!

Friday, August 11, 2006

TGIF several times over!

Ok, where to begin...

It's been a fast week but man I’m glad it's Friday! Let's see, where to start... We had a storm at the house while the hospital had sunny skies. The power was out for about 4 hours. But Terri and Emmy went to US Pizza to eat with her folks and I had picked up my bike and was going to go ride but a big dark cloud came over the house and I decided against it. I went about a mile from where the ride was to start and hung out at American Pie Pizza with the Arkansas Bicycle Club.

My club was like I said just a mile or two away and experiencing the biggest show of riders to date. Over 40 riders. Holy Shimano Batman! And it was the most muggy, hot, bug sucking blood out of your body if you stopped afternoon if there was one. Chris said they added 5 new members to the email list this morning. What's going to be funny is that when the members don't use the digest version in the email settings they will suddenly become flooded with emails if something is going on in the club... and trust me, something is always going on in the club. That's not meant in a bad way at all. We are just a social bunch. By the way, I won a cool Giant bike cap at the ABC meeting last night for knowing the date of the BDB100.

Hey the jersey is done and being made! WooHoo! It's very cool looking and I got an email from them at 11 last night saying... now are you sure? Any more changes? I wanted to send them over the edge and say, yep, change the colors to brown and gray. Our jersey is really awesome with hot pink as the base color but most of it is dark gray, almost black and grads to a bright blue inside the flames. No it doesn't look like a total chick jersey but it be warned it does have hot pink. We should have them the week before the MS150 so everyone can wear and wash before the ride.

Speaking of the MS150. Now these guys have got the idea right! I signed up on line last week to ride with FGSG group and I get an email from the website. Then yesterday when I got home, I had a small package in the mail. OH COOOL!!!! MS150 socks and a newsletter about training and stuff. Now this is a very smart move on the MS150 coordinators part. All the riders singed up will be out sporting the MS150 socks BEFORE the event. Rolling billboard-ettes. Seriously, think about it, how many events would get even more folks if they would but promo stuff in the hands of riders, runners, etc. BEFORE an event? I know Hotter'n'Hell brings in 12,000 riders to Wichita Falls Tx but think of how many guys and gals would have their HH100 2006 t-shirts on while traveling to the event or out at the local Home Depot or something. I hope Cranford (advertising agency) and the Big Dam Bridge event staff do something like this.

Ok, so I've been off the bike right? It was in the shop plus I've had something to do around the house but you know what's been nice? Folks saying, "Hey man, where are you? Come out and ride with us. We miss you." It's just nice... I feel the love! HA! I've seen a couple of times on the club emails that JBar who has taken a few days off the bike as well has been missed too. I think the club is just weaseling out and want JBar back up there to pull 'em. HA!

There was some discussion about some of our club memebers have actually crashed their bikes into garages. Some bike racks are on top of cars and you forget they're up there and ooops! Honestly, I always thought this was just a cartoon. I didn't know it really happened.

For Saturday I'm looking at heading out on a 75 mile ride and actually it could be even longer if Terri needs the car in the morning since I would have to ride to the ride and ride home from the ride. I've had it the past several weekend mornings and her mom's in town so they may have shopping on the brain... or looking at houses. Anyway, it starts at Cook's Landing and goes to England and back. I love this ride! It's country roads, little traffic and just enjoyable for me. The pace out will be slower than FGSG ride but usually with when Charlie is leading a ride he will cut the front loose and say see ya at the cars as the group gets about 30 miles from being back. I enjoy riding with Charlie, he's a great guy with a sense of humor. He just can't help it that he's a politician. We all have our faults ya know!

Sunday is looking like the usual down by the river ride. I thought about riding in the evening after small group leaves our house about 6-ish. I don't know, I'll just play it by ear. FGSG is riding a big ride and as much as it sounds fun, it just doesn't work for me on Sunday mornings.

Well lunch is over, my slice of pizza has been eaten, my water drank.... y'all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Not really a lot to blog. Bike wasn't ready. I spent most of the day in meetings. Blah blah blah... But I will tell ya that I got an email from my nephew and he was telling me how he could see snow covered mountains from where he lives but could ride over to the beach if he wanted to. Fresno, CA sounds like the place to live!

Oh yeah the jersey is almost a done deal. Should be in the printers hands in the next day!

Ride tomrrow night at 6!!! Whooo Hoooo!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Emmy minus 4 teeth

Emmy got her wisdom teeth out yesterday and did great. No swelling but had a little pain. She slept most of yesterday and most of the morning today. The rest of the day was spent on the couch sleeping off and on. She seems to be coming to life tonight as her and Terri "had" to get out of he house and go to Sonic for a diet coke. Sorry, she said no photos allowed. Nothing to see anyway since there was no swelling.

I worked from the house today and that was sort of nice. I kept wanting to go outside and do Saturday stuff but figured I best stick close. I watched 7th Heaven and Gimlmore Girls with her and was about ready to pull my teeth. All I needed was some herbal tea and small cookies. Right Mrs. Doubtfire?

Our club jersey is just about ready to wrap up. Since the club is called Fast Girls Slow Guys the jersey will be screaming pink with these cool flames that go from black to bright blue. The proofs are cool looking. Trust me, they'll stand out! HA!

I sent a thank you note to the Church of Christ in Wichita Falls, Texas thanking them ahead of time for opening their doors to allow cyclist to camp indoors as an alternative lodging option when 12,000 cyclist arrive their in a couple of weeks. What a great why to show you care by opening your church for a bike event. If their was ever anything like that in Sherwood I would beg our guys to open our church. That's just an act of kindness... pure and simple.

Speaking of church. I read on my nephew Jim's blog that he leaves for a speaking engagement the day his family arrives in Fresno. He has been out there for a couple of weeks and Mandy and the girls have been in Marble Falls, Tx getting ready to move out to CA. They are like a little ant farm huh?

Feels sort of weird not being out on the club ride tonight but the bike is still in the shop. I mentioned that i was going to ride with some other guys this Saturday to sort of mix it up. Charlie and Tom are leading a pre-HH100 ride this Saturday from Cook's to England and back for a flat 75 miles. I love that ride. I've riden with Charlie and Tom before and they are a hoot to ride with. When I put it out on our club board that I was looking at riding this ride one of the Fast Girls Jo reminded me that that was when we first met last year. I remembered then also remembered what a good rider she was and still is. I'm hoping that riding a tad bit slower will improve my riding attitude.

I'm looking forward to the road trip to HH100 and then BDB100 on Oct 1st. Good rides ahead!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A day without riding...

Since I put my bike in the shop for a tune up and wheel truing then I was bikless for the first time in a long time. We went to early church and it's fun to get out by 10 and have the whole day open. We were having small group from church over at our house tonight so what that means is that the 3 of use had to do a bunch of "company's comin'" type house work. I already knew I would be working around the house so Emily and I put this heavy traffic carpet cleaner on the sat in the floor and laughed and cut up while we scrubbed the carpet like slaves. It really looks good. Got the vaccumming done then I told Terri I would be outside for the next couple of hours. Front yard mowed...check. Back yard dog toys picked up...check. Mowed...check. Cleaned garage floor..check. Washed Explorer and Honda...check. Spray off sidewalk...check. Terri said I was like the engerizer bunny today. I felt really good and I think it might have something to do with taking a break from the bike. I used to spend the whole weekend working around the house and yard back in the days before bike riding. Sometimes it seems that the riding has taking over. I think I'm probably going to cut back after we return from Wichita Falls HH100 ride. I'm thinking I may have burn out. I've been riding serious for 2 years and all together it's been 3 years since I started riding. I'm not saying it's not fun by no means. I'm saying I just think I might pull back a bit. I go out with these guys that are in their late 20's and 30's and try to hang with them the whole time and end up dropping like a rock. Oh well, chicks dig it when we all ride by. HA!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Oinking and riding.

A beautiful cool morning just outside of Conway. Mist rising from the valley.

The ABC group got to ride with for a while.

The rest stop was manned by the Adkins 4H group. There was another little girl that was out on the road making sure all the riders were taken care of with water, cookies and fruit.

Below are some storm damage photos.

I've got to stop doing these early morning weekend rides. I woke at 4am and worried I'd not wake up in time to get to the ride this morning. Thing didn't even start until 8:30. We were to meet at Cooks Landing at 7 and carpool up there. The parking lot at Cooks was packed at 7 but not all of those folks were riding the Oink. We sae Monty, Jess and Tim out there getting ready to ride out to England.

We all piled into the cars and trucks with bikes mounted we looked cool. Very team-ish. HA! Heading out to the main road we turned and a tool box goes a flying and tools everywhere. Several cars stop and pick them all up. Wayne had left the box on his bumper while searching for a tool for Keith. Back on the road in 5 minues or less.

I was hoping Yale was going to spot the Starbucks in Conway but no luck.

Into Morrilton we go through the drive through at Mc D's and on over to the ride. Lots of bikes out there. We head over to the registration table and I had sent in my check a couple of weeks ago so I didn't have to stand in line but for a second. I got my goodie bag and began to walk back to Keiths truck when him and Paul Phillips (as in Dr. Phillips at ACH). I opened the bag and awwww now this is crap-o-la Morrilton! I mean ready come on! It was an ugly heather gray sleeveless tshirt and you couldn't even see the logo. Only 4 sponsors on the back. Nothing else in the bag. So lame Pig Out organizers.

So we all head to the start point and everyone seems in a good mood and there are jeresys from everywhere. We take off and there is a big mixture of rider types and styles. The lead group is gone and after a few miles we spread out and FGSG's began to form a paceline. Looking good but we were running up on slow riders that where ahead at the start and it was causing so slow down speed ups. There were a couple of times I just went over in the other lane to pass folks. All systems go.

We rode awhile and I kept having a weird feeling something was wrong with my bike. It doesn't seem to have the smooth roll I like. I check the brakes and nothing rubbing. Guess it's just me. We turn and take the hills and again, there is something wrong in Denmark. I began dropping. What on earth is going on with my riding this year? My mind goes into the "am I sick?", "Is the bike broke?" Sadly I got out of the pace line and watched the club whiz on by. It hurt that I was dropping. What is the difference between this ride and the ride I felt 200% even with the wreck on July 1st. Other than the hills? It's not making sense but I continue riding. A few other groups that I had passed are now passing me. Their thoughts are something like, "Yep, you shot out of the cannon too fast and now your paying." I found another group of older guys (actually guys my age) and they were pacing at 17-18. Ah, now that was a lot better. We enjoyed conversation while keeping the pace steady. Some other guy were waiting on them so they stopped and I rode on.

I jumped on groups here and there but never got back in the groove I needed so I rode solo. At time I would rde slow just to see if anyone else would come along and I'd jump on their train but no such luck. I got to the rest stop manned by the Adkins 4-H club. Nice folks and they worked hard for the riders. Ian, Will, Denise, Ian, Holly, Diane (JBar's wife) all came riding up as I was about to leave. I was glad to see them. We all left together and the pace was 18 most of the time. We were moving along nice then for crying out loud, I was blowing again. What now I kept asking myself. Was this a mental ride? I was dropping out in the milo fields. Diane had dropped too. The group was getting smaller out on the horizon. I rode solo from here on in. As I came to Morriton I was beginning to notice tree limbs on the ground here and there. The closer I got to the city the more there were then there were trees down and folks working in their yards and folks just sitting on their porches. No power. I stopped to talk a photo in front of a house and a lady came out with her 2 little scotty dogs. She said that they are saying straight line winds but the neighborhood thinks it's a tornado. I beleive her. She said she was on her way back from Mississippi and had to drive through it 2 different times. She said it was rough. I asked if her home was ok and her family and all was good but no power. I told her the power trucks were just around the bend and they were working. That made her smile. I felt sorry for them and I hope things get back to normal soon. It's a pretty neighorhood.

I rolled in going about 11 mph. I was just glad to be done. I wheeled over to get a finish line drink and there were a couple of cups and a water cooler?! I guess the pigs got to there first. Man that was bad because there are still a lot of folks out on the ride that haven't come in yet. Once again the Pig Out organizers could have done a better job.

Keith told me my back wheel was out of true which means it's bent. I took it over to Arkansas Cycle and Fitness and it will be getting the cleaning as well so I'll be set for Texas.

Keith and I headed back to LR and both of us were planning to eat and nap. He said he was gong to work in his yard and I wa actually going to do some stuff outside but after I woke up Terri had bought me a late lunch when she and Em came in from shopping and Tyler came over soon after and he showed me some thricks for Photoshop. I have just gotten this software and knew some but he was blowing my mind with his skills. I can't wait to play with it and design some really cool stuff.