Friday, February 27, 2009
So where were you the last time you knew your life was going to make a major change in some way shape or form? For me, that's today.
I was sitting at my desk, 11:30 in the morning and Miranda calls. Have you checked your text messages she asks? Nope, I've been buried trying to figure out the next batch of work orders on this stupid casino and in and out of my office trying to keep my anxiety and stress levels manageable. Well, she says, do you want some good news? I had a pretty strong instant notion of what that news would be as soon as she coyly asked me. Indeed, we were pregnant.
I think I flipped through a million emotions in all of 2 seconds flat. Apparently it was a bit longer though as Miranda was concerned over my silence. I was happy, I was scared, I was... everything all wrapped in one big package of emotion. Being that we were trying to get pregnant and it will be our 2nd child, I guess I'm not overly blown away or caught unawares, but its still a life changer for sure.
Now the worry starts along with the elation and anticipation. I as set here and type this, we're setting in the middle of a massive recession (some people say its a depression), our retirement savings plummeted by over 1/3 in the past year, and we have a few thousand dollars in liquid cash. I know we made the right decision when we started trying again, but the analyst in me still looks at the frightening stats and wondering how it will all come together in the end.
In my head I've all ready started a plan for things that must be completed, changed, built, sold, etc in the next 8 months. Its crazy to even begin to fathom how much must be taken into account and readied for. 8 months seems like eons from now, but I know that time will still run short and things won't get done. However, life will continue and I imagine we'll soon find ourselves fully ensconced in the new changes and enjoying the arrival.
I guess this is as good a place as any to voice my wish for us to have a boy (all ready having a girl) and not planning to have any more after this one. However, I'll be supremely happy just to have a healthy beautiful baby to call our own. Here's to you our little baby, I can't wait to meet you, Daddy.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Heh, you can't imagine how long I've been waiting to use that shot!
We headed off through Berwick, Bondurant, and out towards Chataqua park before making a quick stop at the bridge. We found a bit of wildlife hanging out under the bridge snacking on some varied carcasses that had been dumped (thankfully not human). The wildlife had to antagonize the wildlife so it made for a couple good shots.
We rolled back with a hefty tailwind and fairly well flew back towards Ankeny. Conlan peeled off to head back to his truck while Squirrel and I tagged on another 20 minutes rolling down through Berwick again before heading back. Unfortunately we'd rolled south of our starting point and had to turn back north into the wind again. I decided to crank it up for a bit and rolled off into the wind alone, but a slight miscue in merging with traffic left me hanging out on the side of the road as Squirrel rolled by to leave me in the dust again. Something about slow and steady wins the race came popping through me head about that time...
I headed back home and as I was just about there a friend called needing some assistance with a flat tire. I halted my search for grub and went to play knight in shining armor for a bit. We changed out to her spare and headed back to my place to plug her tire and get her back on the road. I didn't feel quite right about sending her another half hour down the road running on one of those damn donut spares. I'm sure it would've been just fine, but when you've got the tools and time handy, why not get it done?
I finally made my dinner run after 7 and sat down to watch some trash TV and enjoy a brew or two. The hot tub siren song was singing so I grabbed another beer and soaked my legs for a bit. That was all she wrote though and I was down for the count at 9:30. I couldn't even make it through a quick conversation with Miranda before the combination of beer, biking, and the hot tub effect had me swooning and needing to lie down or fall down.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
The winds were whipping and the people were bailing so I bailed on the ride too. In retrospect, fighting the winds would've sucked nearly beyond comprehension, but it would've made me stronger and now that I look back, richer (or at least less poor). Pete and I shot over to the center trails in hopes that the ice had melted off and the trails would now be a nice frozen pack. Well, they were indeed frozen, but they were also covered in large sheets of ice. We rode just enough of rollercoaster to kill our buzz and head off in hopes that Denman's would be less icy. Wrong again. By now we were about 30 minutes in and still trying to salvage something, anything.
We crossed the little bit of track left on J11 and hopped on. Eureka, we found a little bit of track that wasn't a solid sheet of ice. We made a lap and headed back for a second round. At the very end we had to cross a bit of a brush pile and sure enough I found a thorn and an instant flat. Not really into changing a tube in freezing weather for another 10 minutes of riding I opted to walk it back to the truck as Pete took another spin through. I made it back to the truck pretty quickly by cutting across the tracks and through the bottom of rollercoaster. That's where things went awry.
I put the bike in the truck, got my deflated tire/wheel put into the back of the truck and headed towards the shop to fix the flat. I remember hitting the stop button on my bike computer to shut it down and that's the last I remember seeing it. Now, if I just lost or broke my bike computer, I wouldn't be too upset. Shoot, I've got 3 or 4 setting in my bike box. Nope, I managed to lose a REALLY expensive bike computer. The cheapest replacement I've found is a shade under $200 for a refurbished unit off ebay. Doh! Not exactly what I want to be spending my money on right now. I've got a lot bigger fish that need that moolah.
I tore my truck apart, searched my bike clothes and gym bag, and even took a trip clear back to Ashworth pool parking lot in hopes that a lack of people using the trail Saturday might have left it laying in the parking lot. Near as I can guess, I probably took the computer off my bike and sat it on the bed rail of the truck. I simply forgot to grab it in my hurry to head off to the shop and it simply fell by the wayside. The only other thing I can think of and isn't as likely to me is that I left it on the bike and someone decided to crawl up in the back of the truck while parked at the shop or down off Court avenue and steal it off the bike. A pretty unlikely scenario in my book, but still possible. So, I'm pretty pissed at myself for being that dumb. Man what a bummer.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
If weather holds, I may try to get this thing going again next weekend as I need a good warm up before Cirrem.
Friday, February 20, 2009
View Larger Map
Here's the anticipated loop for tomorrow's 3 hour tour. Should be roughly 3/4 gravel on this route. *Disclaimer- route may change pending weather, participants whining, pace for making it to Vaudeville by 1pm, and/or any other whim as I may deem fit.
Ride is still currently a go unless we get a bunch of ice with the snow tonight. In case of snow, I might recommend something with a little fatter tire just in case there are any hidden ruts or other dangers lurking out there. Cross bike should still work fine depending on your comfort level. I probably won't make a final decision on what to ride until morning.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I'm looking for a couple of guys to join in. Pace will be mostly mellow depending on your riding form this year, but nothing killer. A good mix of hills, flats, gravel, and pavement. Laving at 10 AM, making a stop at the CITA meeting at 1 and then looping back to my place afterwards (if you aren't riding to the start) Your choice of cross or MTB. As long as the snow doesn't hit hard Friday night, I'm planning on the cross bike. See you there!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I'm not down with this due to scheduling. (and I'm bummed)
I'm also down with this.
Oh ya, and this one to.
Some good early season fun built in this year. My only problem is lack of any long rides. 3 hours has been the single longest ride this year. I've only done that once outside and once on the trainer. Beyond that I've got a lot of 2 hour rides in. That may be ok prep for some things, but I definitely need to hit a few long days before Almanzo rolls around. My goal is to beat last years time of 8 hours. Not getting off course for 6 miles and taking less than a 35 minute break at the checkpoint should be good for taking at least 45 minutes off my time right there.
Beyond that, I need to set down and evaluate the IORCA schedule for the year and single out some important races as I can see right now there is no way I'll be able to race everything listed. I'm hoping to hit maybe 6-7 of the races in that series. Add in possibly doing a road race or two and some local crits and it's a damn full season considering the things I also need to get done before fall rolls around.
So how is my fitness you ask? Well..... Actually, I think I'm probably as fit right now as was at any point last year and maybe even more so. I know I've done a ton more focused riding and spent more hours on my bike than ever before. I just don't know what kind of snap I have. Another big question in my head is how I'll feel once the ride goes past the 2-3 hour mark. Even though our gravel grinders from last winter were pretty slow, they gave me some experience with going long in the saddle. All in all, it looks to be a fun year. I think I'll be competitive moving up to Cat 2 (the old sport class) in MTB and starting as a Cat 5 on the road until I get enough mass starts to move up. I guess that means I should go ahead and drop the $ to get my license coming now.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Corley waiting for a 3 MPH ball to ease its way down the lane
Part of her victory dance when any pin was knocked down
Pete giving Ava a pointer or three
I can't quite tell if she like bowling or not...
Friday, February 13, 2009
I'm supposed to be working, I'm supposed to be training, I'm supposed to be getting things done around the house, I'm supposed to be happy. Yeah, all them things I'm supposed to be just ain't really happening right now. I need some sort of kick in the ass to get things jump started again. I thought the huge weather shift from last week and hours in the saddle would get my heart pumping and motivation rolling for the upcoming season, but the joy was pretty much limited to while I was on the saddle with no real carryover.
I've been looking at a lot of things lately and viewing all the stuff in my basket. A lot of it is there by choice and is cluttering things up. I think its well past time to start weeding it the lesser important things out of there and sharpen my focus. A few things I see needing to get gone would be- an engine project for a guy that has lasted a few years now, my play car needs to get running and probably sold, finish out the last 10% of our basement remodel, and do a major sort and purge of stuff we have stored both at the house and our storage unit. I think getting a few of these items and many more small details crossed off my list will help change things out and freshen life back up a bit to help focus.
I hope this Friday the 13th turns out to be more Friday than the 13th for you!
Monday, February 09, 2009
Now done with the hard part, I was wondering which route to head. Apparently I thought I must have gotten cheated out of something on Wednesday nights ride as I headed off to do somewhat of a reverse of that loop. Actually, I was trying to figure out someplace to ride to and get dinner and a beer. I ended up settling on El Ray over on Grand which actually meant I'd be riding the entire loop before hitting dinner. So, I better get moving. The first misstep came when I headed up the trestle to trestle trail. I was heading over to Johnston in hopes of looping through Urbandale and then back down the Windsor Heights trails. I completely forgot about T2T being built up with mud due to the floods of last summer. 10' into the mud, my memory was quickly jogged as my drivetrain clogged and drug me to a stop. I doubled back trying to keep as much mud off of me as possible and took surface streets over to Beaver and jumping back on the trail.
The rest of the loop was less exciting, but still interesting in its own right. Urbandale sucks for not plowing their trails! I jumped back off them quickly and hit city streets again. Then back on the trail the melting led to some interesting conditions. Low spots were dominated by 6-8" deep puddles that were punctuated with large ice chunks and/or on top of sheet ice. It made for a few puckering moments to say the least. 3 hours down and I made my well to El Ray for the burrito and beer recovery food group. MMMMM.
I started off Saturday with my mind set on a nice easy 2 hour spin. I had to be back at the house by 9 so I was off nice and early. Most everything was still thawed out from the warm temps and I took the cross bike as a respite from the heavy resistance of studs and knobs. Off towards Carlisle and ultimately Summerset park I headed. The sun was coming up and made for some very welcome warmth on my face along with setting a few nice pics.
I wondered if they even plowed the Summerset trail when I took off. Even these guys out in the sticks apparently know that you should plow trails (hint Urbandale). Unfortunately, not far outside of Carlisle the trail crowns pretty heavily to both sides leaving a lot of missed patches with ice build-up. After dodging a few and a runner informing me it only got worse down the trail, I opted for the gravel. The gravel was actually in almost perfect condition. As I got to the park, my options were to turn back or suffer some hills and loop back through Norwalk. At this point I decided I might as well hit it hard and see what popped. Funny enough, my legs popped about halfway through the rollers headed to the West. I barely made it home in time, but another 2 hours and 30 miles were down for the count as I hit the showers and headed off to our appointment.
Friday, February 06, 2009
Lots of grippy things (aka crampons)
The shoes are Atlas 1125 series along with Atlas collapsible poles. I went for something with a lot of grip in case I ever find myself scaling the hills of Colorado or more likely southern Iowa at our farm. They definitely work as advertised as I took off sidehill next to the levee trail towards the Denman's entrance. Sidehilling was pretty sweet as I barely slid at all. The only thing I really noticed right off the bat was these things fling snow. I mean like over your head if you get moving! I think it has something to do with the binding being set on a pivot point that is supposed to help pick up the tail when you walk. They definitely do that! I actually zipped my jacket up to keep any additional snow from shooting down my back. Beyond that small gripe, these things rock.
Don't you wish you were hot like me?
I tromped through the woods for close to an hour and worked up a nice little sweat. The one thing I noted about Denman's is that unless you see someone on the trail while you're riding, you really never get a feel for how close the various tracks run to each other. Walking through, I could hop from track to track to track and barely cover 50 yards of distance and in some cases much less. Once everything grows up in the summer, you'd never know how close that other track is. This is definitely a way to get a better perspective of the woods and the flow. I'll have to get back out there and do a little more off trail hiking/exploring this spring and summer for sure.
I ran across a structure I hadn't noticed before. This shelter is a scant 20-30 yards off the main track and I'm guessing must have been put together this winter. I thought it might be a bunch of flood debris from afar but as I got closer I saw this:
Are there tree spirits active in Denmans?
Apparently they like fires and sitting around them...
Still spooky looking
Maybe Squirrel or someone can shed some light on who put this thing up. Looks like it would be a great winter camp spot.
All in all, a nice way to kill off an hour on a warm afternoon. I've got to invest in some gators or snow pants as the snow flipping off the tail soaked the back of my legs from the knees down. Of course this might not be as much an issue in below freezing temps. The shoes worked pretty flawlessly other than that. Even the poles worked great. This was quite excellent considering I noticed I forgot to take off the plastic caps that cover the spikes as I was putting them away after my hike... Ooops. The poles are definitely a worthwhile add when buying some shoes though as they help to keep your entire body more active, plus work well for testing any possibly wonky areas you're getting ready to traverse.
I'm headed out for a couple hours tonight. The singletrack sure appeared to be rideable. I'm planning on giving it a try. There were even a few areas of bare dirt! Woohoo.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
It started off getting ready to go in the office. Hmm, seems I forgot my bike computer. Ahh well, I can live without it. Wait a minute, where are my bibs? Shit, now I have to go home. Sure I could run for a couple hours without my bibs, but really, I enjoy that layer of diaper between the seat and my junk. So, instead of meeting at the shop at 4:30, now I had to run home and grab a few odds and ends and figure out a new meeting spot. We settled on Principal Park and I boogied to get down there in time. Once home I found my bike computer wasn't charged yet, double strike for that now. At least I plugged it in for a few minutes to the portable charger and got a little data.
From there I jumped in the truck and sped off to rendezvous with the boys. Once down there, I went to put my lights and such on the bike realizing I'd now forgot my main battery sitting in my gym bag at home. Doh! Ahh well, I still had my helmet light, which anyone that has ridden with me, knows its enough to vaporize most anything that comes into its path all on its own. So, I suit up and hit the trail. all is right in the world now.
We loop back through Grays and Waterworks, heading back towards Windsor Heights and Chad splits off for home. Once up in Windsor Heights, my plan was to work over to Urbandale Ave and hit the interurban for a loop back downtown to my truck. Conlan and Gov'ner pulled off to head back going down Beaver and I headed onward. By now dusk was settling in around 5:45 and it was time for headlights. That's really odd, my vaporizer headlight wasn't lighting up. Apparently the battery was either dead from the last time I used it or had drained down to nothing. In either case, I was a man without a light.
Luckily it wasn't that dark yet, but by the time I worked my way down towards the botanical center, darkness had pretty well set in. The dead end road where the trail comes out was a massive ice field that I felt lucky to escape with nary a fall. Beyond that, it was pretty uneventful heading back to the truck. I shorted myself to 1.5 hours out, but at least it was outside. On the plus side, I made it back in time to scarf some burgers and head out for a couple hours of rec league volleyball with my wife to finish off the night.
I'm shooting for an hour or so snowshoeing through Denmans tonight right after work if anyone happens to be interested. Might be one of the last days possible with all the warm weather headed our way.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Sorry for being short and cryptic, but I've got a ton on my plate at work and need to get some things shipped out to various people today as well.
Monday, February 02, 2009
Actually, I don't think I missed too much other than some suffering, sloppy roads, and a grime covered bike. Even though I was rocking fenders, I still didn't miss this action. Kurt was wishing for some fenders I'm sure.
Above pics were all stolen from Squirrel!
Sunday I was in for a nice recovery spin. No takers on some cross bike/road action and I was fine with that. An early breakfast and then a rollout from our usual spot had me heading out towards Maffit for a planned 2 hour spin in zone 2-3. After yesterday averaging zone for for 3.5 hours, I needed some relief. I pushed a few hills, but for the most part, I let the legs spin. Ever the number junky, I was severely disappointed when my garmin failed to fire up. It was locked up and I'd forgotten the secret combination of buttons to push to get the thing running again. Ahh well, I just used my best judgement and felt good at the end of the ride. I broke out the Ritual Route for the most part, but did an extra out and back past Maffit reservoir for some bonus mileage and some nice scenery over the lake.
I was rocking the IPOD for only the 2nd or 3rd time ever on a ride. Tired of my workout mix, I hit random. Only one problem with that. I've got over 100 kids songs loaded on there for playing during drive time with Corley! Doh, nothing like jamming along and having Frosty the Snowman or the theme to Sesame Street as sung by Elmo pumping out through your earbuds. Actually, it brought a smile to my face as I felt myself singing along with a couple of the songs. All in all a nice way to spin out the legs. I'm still feeling it this morning, but at least the progress in my fitness is coming along.