Saturday, June 27, 2009

I got 5 hours in yesterday and actually felt pretty good after my legs got loose. I was going to go on a long ride and possible overnighter with that Marshal character but decided not to. gotta call my cell. I don't pay the land line any attention.

I did re-injure my back AGAIN yesterday (muscle pull that I seem to get quite often). I may go out and ride the Tour Divide course north from Hartsel today and see if I can meet up with John who looks to still be in Kremmling.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I'm on the super duper plan to get ready for the race and I needed to get in 3 hours today. I got in 4 hours even with the rain storms. I'm already ahead of schedule. I'm eating bratwurst tonight so that could mean 10 hours tomorrow.

Thank you

Huge, public thank you to my friend Dan for sending me a care package that I got yesterday that contained oodles and oodles of really nice clothing that was left over from his THF team last year. I will put it all to good use.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I really like going to job interviews. Under most circumstances I interview well. However, I'm still disappointed at some things that I had to deal with this year and it's effecting how I feel about the quality of teacher that I am. I've had 3 interviews in the last 2 weeks. Personally, I thought the first one went really badly but I did get an offer out of it. I had another one a few days later and got an offer from that one too. Both are teaching positions and that's all I'll say about that right now. The last interview I had on Monday was for an administrative position where I would work for 3 surrounding school districts and I would be their Autism and Behavioral Consultant. Basically I would be the go to person to observe, document, and then implement a plan to deal with/change student behaviors (including social/communicative behaviors) that others can't come up with an explanation for or a plan of attack. It sounds pretty exciting and I think I'm ready for a new challenge but I'm not sure about the job. I should hear something about the consultant job tomorrow and then I'll make a decision. I should definitely know by this weekend where I am going to be working this fall. 2 years ago I made a promise to some 6th grade parents that I would be there for their children all through middle school. It truly saddens me that I may be leaving them in their final year. It frustrates me (and makes me angry) that, ultimately, the children are the ones that suffer. If I end up leaving my current school I will have to go to every one of my students' homes and tell them face to face. I owe them that much. Then I'll have to go pack up my room and move things and that'll take days. Something else to do other than ride.
Walmart was blowing out these pools for 10 bones and I thought Bodhi might like it so I got him one. Dharma thinks it's a giant water bowl. He wasn't sure what to think at first but he does like getting in there.

Need to be doing A LOT more of this or August is gonna be rough.


I knew I was enrolled in a grad school course for this summer but apparently I read the syllabus wrong and all of a sudden I had a really bad feeling today while we were running errands down in Springs. I checked as soon as we got home and I've now missed 2.5 weeks of class and several assignments and discussion boards. I wrote the professor a letter explaining the situation and am waiting a response. I have no clue what's going to happen but I've been beating myself up now for about 4 hours. Part of me says that there's just been so much going on this summer with my doctor's visits, family stuff, and the stress I'm dealing with about work (hence all the interviews I've had recently) that I just overlooked it. Certainly, part of it is simply that I didn't look closely enough at the syllabus and I can admit that. I'm mad. I'm so close to graduating and this could be a major setback not to mention that this class costed about 3 grand. Heather's really thrilled with me. I might have to bivy up outside tonight. Or sleep in the van.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

latrodectus hesperus

More commonly known as the Black Widow. I found this little bastard in my garage tonight. I managed to get him to roll over for a photo shoot. It is a draw when it comes to my fear of spiders and lightning. The worst would be to see spiders during a thunderstorm. Right now I'm ready to unleash some serious chemicals in and around the house. Spiders are so dumb.

It did not care for the starting fluid AT ALL.

You've spun your last web my friend.

More gear

After much deliberation, I finally picked up one of these babies last night. In my opinion, water treatment is a fairly significant issue for this race. Last year I used chlorine type drops (which was a pain) and I did end up getting giardia which is always sweet. I have talked to other racers that ditch any sort of thing like this and use drops to save weight but I think it's worth carrying. I know others that use a Steri Pen but I just wasn't diggin' it as much. Pictured, this thing is 14oz (but I only need to bring the actual pump/filter, hose, and drops) and I don't have to remove the bladder from the pack anymore which is a small thing but it sucked. I also have significantly decreased the size of my cooking kit. I'll take pics of all this stuff that's going this year. I'm embarassed to say that I will be probably almost 15lbs. lighter this year (not me...although I have lost 10lbs but I'm just talkin' bout gear). I learned a lot last year.

This was the alternative to getting a reliable purification system and just sticking with the drops but, for the life of me, I just couldn't figure out how to pack it and I looked like a damn fool with it hanging around my neck.


Yes you read that corrrectly. Heather and I talked about this for a while and then Bodhi made the final decision for us. I do not want to unintentionally slip one past the goalie. On Thursday I had this procedure done. This is the reason I have not been active on here. I've been doing NOTHING but sitting around and watching movies (Eastwood was phenominal in Gran Torino). I hesitated about putting this on here because some people were stunned by the decision and others didn't bat an eye. I had one guy tell me that I was now less of a man?? I always knew that day would come.

I have had an unbelievable string of luck lately and it continued with the doctor I selected for this procedure. Oddly enough I selected a guy (I wanted someone with first hand knowledge of the area and not just from books and clinical experience) and then went in for the consultation (which I essentially treated like an interview for him). Super nice guy that didn't make me feel any more awkward than normal as he talked about my twig and berries. Again...the icing on the cake was the doctor's name. His name is Dr. Gorab. (Now one of the things I do with my students is give them words and then change a letter in that word so they have to tell me what it says then. Most of the time you end up with a non-sense word but that's what I want. Words they've never seen before and actually have to apply the rules of the English language in order to properly pronounce the word.) So...I noticed right away (and I do this all the time) that if you remove the /r/ from the name and put in an /n/ whatta ya get? Dr. Gonad. Beautiful. Who else do I want to be in charge down there? He was very gentle and I wont go into detail about the procedure. Let's just say that for the last several days I have felt a lot like I did when I was younger and fell on the top tube of my BMX bike. Permanent cramps.

I'm hoping to get cleared to get back on the bike sometime this week. I'm super pumped about the CTR. The GDR riders should be coming through Hartsel (about 40 miles from me) sometime early this week and I thikn I'm gonna camp in the van and then hook up with the front runners and maybe ride with them for a day.

Happy Anniversary

One year ago today, Heather and I got married. The year just flew by. I guess it's all that marital bliss.'s been a wonderful year and I look forward to many more with my wife.Not sure what we're gonna do today but it actually looks nice outside and the sun is shining so maybe we'll sit outside.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Yesterday we hiked a bit and found some cool tunnels that were drilled through the mountain for maybe some train tracks? Pretty amazing how they blasted through this granite.

Only one of the tunnels had these supports. This one was long and Heather didn't wanna walk through it.

Most were pretty short.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Van envy

I saw this killer van coming into Woodland Park today. It's designed by Mercedez Benz and assembled by Freightliner. I think they have either V6 diesel or gas engines. Super roomy. I really wanted to look inside of it but I didn't wanna be creepy. I never thought I'd be so into vans.

I went outside this morning and was messing around in the van when a cop car pulled up in my driveway. Ruh Roh. He asked if I had seen a bear come through my yard in the last 10 minutes or so. I hadn't but I told him I'd go check behind the house. I walked up the hill and looked left. Nothing. I looked right and did a double take at this image. By far the biggest Colorado black bear I've seen to date. Pictures don't do justice as it's tough to get an accurate scale but when he was on all fours, the top of his back was easily right below my chest. Normally we see younger bears or a momma and her cubs but this was a mature male and he was hurt too. Something was wrong with his right front paw. He had dug quite a hole in the dirt at the base of this tree and was resting. The department of wildlife will not assist a bear as long as it can move on it's own. Another cop approached it until it started to slowly move along. I wish they'd have just leave him be. He wandered over to the cemetary that's just over the hill from us and bedded down there. I was able to zoom in pretty close with our little Canon camera. No need to get near him.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weather has been super iffy lately. Today we had tornado warnings most of the day. I did get out for about 2 hours this morning and it looked like a tornado might have touched down last night in the town down the mountain. There was debris all over the road and trees down. The real tradegy was when I stopped at the pond down in Green Mountain Falls to use the bathrooms and when I opened the door I saw the biggest, whitest butt I've ever seen. It was bent over and it was definitely a trainwreck. The woman yelled at me. Me????? I should have been doing the yelling.
I did some more playing around with the Alma yesterday and it feels like I'm riding an old friend. Wait....that didn't come out right. It feels good again. I got in 5 hours on it yesterday and I felt great other than not being able to stop thinking about California Pizza Kitchen for the last 3 hours of the ride. Guess what we did for dinner last night? It's now 4 a.m. and I woke up starving again so I'm downstairs raiding the fridge and now my gut hurts. I'll probably squeeze a ride in this morning and then I think we're going to take Bodhi to a reservoir and see if he likes to swim. I think he will be a good water dog and I'm hoping to be able to take him fishing with me. His newest thing is to get in the bathtub. No water in it...he just likes to be in it. He likes to lick up the water after we've showered. We couldn't find him the other day and then heard a weird noise. He was conked out in the tub and snoaring away. He's really starting to come around now and he's not all that annoying anymore.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Alma used to feel so comfortable when I got on it. I put on a new stem that isn't negative (I hate the way it looked) and it does not feel good. I also used my new Pearl Izumi shoes and I think that the mounting depth of the cleat is different than my Specialized shoes. Feels like I'm on a circus bike. Probably woulda been a good idea to check that stuff before leaving eh?

Got in about 3 hours on the mountian bike today with a lot of hike a bike. I did repeats up a mountain that's just too steep to ride. This particular stretch of trail is part of the Ring the Peak trail. When you access it from the bottom (at the top of Picabo Street for those here) there is a wooden sign that someone's made in their woodworking garage and it says "Mount Esther Trail....foot traffic only....respect private property". 20 yards past this sign are markers for the RTP trail which is completely open to bikes. If a rider were coming from the top, there are no signs at all (other than RTP markers). This section here is actually Pike National forest property and I've never seen any No Tresspassing signs there. I had a hiker get all bent outta shape with me this morning. When he encountered me, I actually had my bike on my bike and was walking up some wooden steps. I even yielded to him. He told me it was foot traffic only here. My response was, "That's why I'm walking". He didn't like that. I don't get it. He couldn't answer my question as to who designated it foot traffic only. At the top of this ridge is a fork. The right will take you on RTP and the left puts you out on Pikes Peak highway. I've gone to the left once and then took the highway down to the gate where several rangers were waiting for me. They were going to ticket me last year but I pleaded my case to them that there are no signs saying you can't ride. They agreed and we agreed that I wouldn't do it again (although it was fun screaming down that highway). I've encountered lot's of hikers along the Esther Trail and no one's ever said anything to me. I suppose I could ride portions of it but I always hike a bike it. If anyone (perhaps Marshal or Scott Morris) reads this could you tell me if you've had any issues up there? Who designated that FT only? A buddy that lives down there says that some neighbors decided to do so and try and discourage anyone from riding it. If that's the case then it kinda makes me wanna hike it more while pushing my bike. I always respect private property but I really don't think this is private.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tour Divide 2009

I hope all of the racers have a kick ass time and a safe race this year. Last I checked there was 41 people lining up in Banff for the start on Friday. The course is 2,745 miles long and will end in Antelope Wells, Mexico. When it's all said and done, these guys and gals will have climbed about 200,000 vertical feet. I hope to try to tackle this one soon but we'll see.

Previous record holder Jay Petervary is returning again this year and will be riding a tandem with his wife. Good luck and be safe JayP/T-Rex.

Chris Plesko will also be showing up with a sexy new white rig this year. Be safe and have fun Pivvay.

Many of the riders will have spots and their will be call ins so it will make for good armchair watching. Check out the tour divide website and the blog for updates.
I squeezed in a 4 hour ride today and it didn't feel too too terrible until that last half hour and that hurt. Sure is nice to be able to eat proper again. Tonight I had 3 bratwursts and 1 chicken breast. Tomorrow I have a doozy of a workout planned and then an easier day on Friday that will consist of a hike after I'm done with my morning interview. I'll try and get some pics tomorrow and I'll for sure have some nice pics of Friday's little adventure.

Circle of life

I think that all things in life come back to Seinfeld. Or beer. Heather and I are currently at odds with our HOA. Now...I never had an HOA before moving here but I actually like the idea. If done correctly, it can keep your neighbors from piling up their crap out front and making your property look like hell. However, if not done properly, it can be quite annoying. $140 a month gets my driveway plowed (which I never worried about with the Jeep but now with the Van it's been nice), my house re-stained, deck painted, any outside repairs (including roof) taken care of, and.....lawn work (to include landscaping). This is where the problem lies. This is a shot of a retaining wall on one side of the house. It was probably built with the trees that were cut down to make room for the house and now they are rotted out and worthless. We were supposed to have this rebuilt with stone a year ago. It looks terrible and we're getting ready to write a formal letter of complaint and request to have it fixed. There are HOA meetings each month and we are going to start going to them. I'm thinking of running for President of the HOA. Like Morty Seinfeld did down in Del Boca Vista. I'll call it Greenway Court....phase 2.

Here's a shot of our hosue and my neighbor's house. There is a retaining wall on both sides of our houses and one in teh middle of them and they are all in a state of disaster. To make matter's worse...a guy up the street (who I really like) kicked his wall down and they replaced it. He just moved in last year. I'm thinking about putting on some boots and doing some night work. You can also see the lovely lawn. It get's mowed approximately 2x a year. It's knee deep right now but they wont mow it for a while. For some reason, our lawn is solid weeds and the other homes all have wild grass which looks really nice. Ideally, I'd like to have wild grass and wild flowers. However, we're not allowed to make any modifications to the outside of the house (lawn, lights, wind chimes, etc. unless approved by the HOA). I have a problem with this.

This is what we decided to do yesterday. Now personally...I think that having a killer van in the driveway does nothing but add serious curb value but Heather wanted more.

Almost done.

It turned out nicely and now I'm waiting for the phone to ring. It'll be the HOA yelling at us for making changes.
My immediate neighbor's son in-law is a landscaper so he's gonna come over and help me identify what the various plants are in my yard and then let me know what I need to do in order to have it look a bit better. I'm not gonna allow the HOA to touch my lawn anymore. They come in and mow all the flowers down and then they don't even come back to clean up any of the clippings. Let Phase 2 begin.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I decided to stay in town for my ride today. I think I'm dehydrated from the purging. I struggled riding down hill on my first loop and I'm pretty sure I may have cried a little on the way back up. I stuck it out though for a bit under 3 hours and just treated it like some of those days last year where I was hurting on the trail but had no other choice but to pedal.

Heather and I are going out to do some lawn work for the rest of the afternoon after I put the hurts to this ice cream.

I'm back BABY!!!

Heather and I went out for a late dinner at Chili's of all places last night and I strapped on the feed bag. I was feeling a bit nauseous until later in the evening but I went for a ride around the neighborhood in sandles and felt better. I did have clothing on but was just pointing out that I rode in sandles.

It feels like I don't have much time left to get ready for the CTR. I probably have more time than I think I do but I'm worried. I still have some key pieces of gear that simply have to get sorted and they're not real cheap but they have nothing to do with the bike and this is concerning. I'm trying to prioritize things but I'm gonna run out of money for sure. It'll happen. I'll just be bringing some Duct tape along for the ride.

I do need to start getting some longer rides in. I have a plan put together that should have me ready but everything's gotta go my way the rest of the summer. Unlike last year, I have other stuff on my plate this year and it's difficult to just focus on one thing. I have a job interview on Friday so I need to spend some time this week getting some things together. It's for a position in a day treatment school down in Colorado Springs that services low cognitive and behavior disordered students from surrounding schools that can't handle them any longer. It sounds a lot like how I started my career off. I'm not sure I'm in a position where I want to possibly have to put my hands on kids again (restraints when they're going to hurt themselves or others) and that's concerning. I should also have another interview towards the begining of next week and I'm super psyched about this possibility. I'm not gonna say much about it but it's a really good opportunity for me but I have a lot of research to do on it. I also promised Heather that we'd do way more camping this year and I've gotta make good on that one but that's easy.

I'm going to try and get in a longer ride today but it may be in rain again. I think I'm going to head up and ride from Lake George today and go towards Jefferson or Hartsel and then back but we'll see. I really wanna bring a fishing rod with me cuz I'll be near some sweet water but I'd probably look really silly fishing in lycra huh?


The fat man loves to sleep on the back of the couch and across the anyone's kneck. He makes a nice neck warmer but he's heavy.

This is how the gauge turned out in the van. It was the best place I could find for my tastes.

Monday, June 8, 2009

What a night last night was. I won't go into detail and you're welcome. I got up this morning and my doctor actually called to see if I wanted to come in early. I ran down. We got there and I was more than a bit nervous. I do not like being put under at all. It's very nerve wracking. Anyway...the folks at the office were wonderful and I can't thank them enough. Funny story and I waited to tell this but when I originally scheduled this procedure I, again, did my normal protocol and searched for an Asian doctor that was female. My general practitioner is a small Asian woman. There's a reason for this and I hope I don't offend anyone here. I have always known that there would eventually be a point and time when a doctor would have to either do a prostate exam or actually be more invasive. Personally, when this time comes up I do not want a doctor that is male. Nothing against males and it's not a homosexual thing at all. Dudes have bigger hands. I don't want some guy with big hands that cracks his knuckles all day long to be doing any.......inserting in that area. A doctor that can palm a basketball is no doctor of mine. Think about it.

So...I originally scheduled this procedure with a doctor that I did some research on (height, general demeanor, glove size, etc.). She came highly recommended. When I confirmed the name of the doctor I knew I had a ringer. Dr. Hor. Yes that's correct. I scheduled an appointment for Dr. Hor to go up my bottom. Unfortunately, Dr. Hor had to go on vacation and since I wanted to get this thing done I decided to go with a guy (I know) named Dr. G G. I like that name. Super nice guy....not the kind of guy that wears class rings but he's proud of his accomplishments. When i shook his hand I was pleased. Nice firm shake but not overboard with the pumps. Just enough to let me know he had confidence.

The whole process took about 20 minutes I guess and I can't recall a thing other than him saying, "The lights should be going out pret........". They did find a polyp (but not my dignity) and removed that so that's good I guess. Now...for anyone who's ever had a colonoscopy (my brother's in arms....or rears) you know the wake up procedure. There's only one way to expel all that gas they've put into your colon. I want you to imagine the symphony of sounds from a recovery room where there were probably a good half dozen patients all in various stages of recovery. It was comical being so competitive....I wanted to out do my neighbor but there was a lot of initial stage fright. Oddly enough...with the window cracked open on the way home...there was a strange whistling noise that I think was from my butt. I'm home now and I'm tired. I already wolfed down a 5 dolla foot long, chips, and 3 cookies. Right now I'm having the best damn cup of coffee I think I've ever had. Tonight I'm planning on throwing down with the food. can expect your video just as soon as I get it uploaded.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

So I had a decent amount of beer last night to prepare for today. It didn't help at all. Today I can only have clear things. So far I've had a bit of chicken broth. Let me tell you something. We've all had chicken broth. Campbell's CB is not to be taken lightly and I will never scoff at it again. Heather picked up some organic CB from Whole Foods. It's gotta be close to drinking mucked up pond water. I have also had a bit of water. It's really hard to throw down the water when you know what's coming. I'm hoping that having less water in my system will minimize my bathroom time this evening. The highlight of my day was when I drank about half a Sprite. It was like the nectar from the gods.

At exactly 3 oclock, I took 2 innocent looking little pills and laid down for a nap so I would maybe stop thinking about food. At precisely 7 oclock I woke up to a thunder from down under that I can't even begin to describe. I made a dash for the bathroom that far surpassed anything that Mike Weiss used to do back at the old days at 6606 Delmar after a night of raising the roof at one of the various loop locations with throngs of FOM's. I cannot begin to describe the events that unfolded in that bathroom. However, I would like to offer a public apology to the folks of Woodland Park for what is currently moving through the towns pipes. I'd also like to apologize in advance to my toilet for what it's about to go through.

Right now I am sitting here drinking the magical elixir that will occupy my evening. I must admit I was a bit shocked when I removed the plastic drinking bottle from the box I received from the Walgreens pharmacy. It looks like something that anti-freeze comes in. However, I did get a bit excited when I realized there was 4 different flavors of drink that I would have to work through. Pineapple, orange, cherry, and strawberry. I decided to go with pineapple first for no particular reason. I gagged and wretched with the first drink. Filthy ass mop water has got to taste better. Then I read the directions. Oh dear lord. I have to drink 8 oz. of this every 10 minutes. I'm far off the pace. This stuff makes the solution you drink before a CAT scan seem like a delicacy.

So sorry if I seem cranky. I am.

OK...gotta go. Literally.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


My family has serious issues with colon cancer and cancer in general. My father-in-law is currently dealing with his colon cancer. So....Heather and I thought it would be a wise idea for me to get checked out. So.....I am currently preparing for a colonoscopy or as I like to think of it.....a good snaking. Today I can't eat anything that can't be chewed. My lovely wife just enjoyed some delicious looking pizza. I have had a bowl of cereal and a bow of mashed taters today. We went to test drive the van tonight and happened to stop off at Whole Foods. I love Whole Foods but.....not when I can't eat. While I did enter the store with her, I eventually ended up walking out and I sat in the van (back seat mind you) and talked on the phone with my friend Scott. I can drink beer so I'm doing plenty of that tonight. Tomorrow I can only have clear things. Chicken broth. Beef broth. Water. Zema was/is clear right? Monday morning will be the second time in my life that I have been put under with the uh........anasthetic. The first time was last summer when my wisdom teeth were yanked. I cried like a school girl before I went to la la land. Very freaky. I'm not lookin' forward to it. What's worse....someone's gonna shove (cuz there's probably no easin' it in there when I'm knocked out) a camera in me and take a look at my damn tonsils. Wonder if they'll find my damn dignity in there???? What a way to start off the summer.

I'm so hungry. My lovely wife ate some delicious looking food tonight. I actually licked her plate while she was watching tv. I don't know how tomorrow is going to go. It's not gonna be good.

Van stuff

The 2.1 motor has some really sensitive oil pressure issues so, after a situation the other day that necessitated I pull over and turn off the key and make sure that nothing catastrophic had occured, I decided to install a gauge today. Like normal, I ordered it from Van Cafe (you can see the snackies). Installation was pretty straight forward. Kind of a pain to run the wires since the one leading from the sending unit to the gauge needs to go so far but not too bad. Here's everything before I started.....sans coffee.

This is hwat it's supposed to look like but I found that there were some issues with the double pole sending unit. It seems to less sensitive than the stock VW low pressure sending unit and I was having the idiot light come on at idle after the motor was hot. To get around this I ditched the elbow and installed a T and used the stock VW sending unti for the idiot light and then only used 1 pole to run the new electric gauge. So far so good.

The dash in the van is so nice. It's actually a metal dash so even though it's 20 years old, there's nerry a crack in it. I couldn't bear to drill a hole in it but this was the best place I could find to mount the gauge. This motor produces some silly low oil pressure. At hot idle it produces about 3-5 psi and at 2000 rpm's it produces about 17 psi. My 2001 Jeep Cherokee produces 40psi at a hot idle. I love my van.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

RIP David Carradine

As a kid I hardly ever missed an episode of Kung Fu (repeats of course). Carradine was pure genius as Caine. What a horrible way for me to start the morning off. You will be missed by Master Po. You will be missed by Master Kan. You will be missed by me. Rest in peace grasshopper.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tonight I decided to run the crap out of Bodhi in the hopes that he would sleep the rest of the night. I can walk that jerk for over an hour and when he gets in the door he will tear the house up. So tonight I ran him for 1 solid hour all over this town. That little piece of crap has been going redline since we got in the door.

I went to pay his baby sitter today. I told her I didn't have the money but that I'd give her him until I was able to round up a few bucks. She actually said she'd just wait for the loot. Of course I was kidding and had the money all along but it just shed some pretty serious light on the magnatude of my situation. This lady works at the local shelter with dogs that Teller County residents don't want. What does that say about the fat man? She paused when I asked her if she'd be up for watching him again. Kinda like when a female asks if she looks fat in something. YOU DON'T PAUSE!!!
The Yakima 1A Raingutter is probably the easiest roof rack in the history of roof racks to install on a vehicle. I've been trying to get this one on the van for weeks now. This same rack has been on all kinds of vehicles and it's been passed around from the Corbitt brothers to me. In fact, I used this rack to haul a tricycle home from St. Louis in treacherous winds on our last trip (it belonged to Adam's girls and it now has been retired to a house decoration and a mighty fine at that). Every time I go to install it there is entirely too much play where it attaches to the gutters. I have all the correct pieces for it. The clips are fine and the gutter is in fine shape. It's so sketchy that I wouldn't even haul a scrap 2x4 on top of the van. I called Yakima today and they were no help which I knew would be the case as it's pretty hard to diagnose that over the phone. Next I decided to head to one of my Colorado Springs Yakima dealers. First the guy told me that I had to have the riser kit in order for the towers to fully secure. I tried to explain that the risers are simply for clearance between the roof and the mounts. He insisted that it made the rack more secure. OK. Next I installed it so he could see for himself. Then he tells me that I just need to get a Vice-Grips and torque down the knobs a bit more. Then I explained that, in my experience, those don't need to be that tight. Again...they need to be super tight. OK. Then he tells me that it's simply because the towers are old and that I'm gonna have to fork over 160 bucks for a new set. In a side by side comparison, the towers and clips are identical but a new set does clamp down enough to where I'd be comfortable putting a bike up there. OK. Finally....the creme de la creme. This guy tells me that what I really need to do is take the afformentioned Vice-Grips and modify my raingutters to see if that will allow the clip to have a better grip. I looked at Heather and then back at him and asked him to re-state that. He did. To SEE IF it will work. First off...I would never do that to any vehicle b/c it's just hack mechanics. Second...what if it doesn't work??? Then I've mangled up something that was perfetly fine?? Not sure what to do but I really want this to work.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Liquid sunshine

For some reason I have really been fearing that the weather will wreak absolute havoc on me for this years CTR. 2 days ago I was in Mexico sweating my brains out. Yesterday and today it's been cold and raining. Today its 40 and feels like 30. There's a chance for snow today and tomorrow. I don't so much mind riding in the rain but it is cold out here. Back home a little shower would be refreshing but here it hurts. As long as the lightning stays away I suppose it'll be fine. Should be real fun.

In other news, Bodhi and I started going through gear last night and making decisions about what I'll bring along. Things are looking good and I'm actually about done. I have a few things in the "debateable" pile and we'll see if they get to come along. They are what I consider more luxury type things but if the weather is an issue this year they become mandatory for safety reasons. Regardless, it's disgusting how much less stuff I am bringing this year. I really learned a lot last year and that's gona help out. I think about these guys who had done (and have done this year as well) races like the Arizone Trail, the Grand Loop, etc. They must have so much more knowledge about what to bring and what to not even consider. I'm getting there.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Good stuff today

It rained pretty much all day and quite heavy at times with some hail thrown in but I still managed to get out and get my time in even though I had to wear clothing that I shouldn't have to have on at this time of year. I had some time left to kill so I decided to head up to Divide and when you're coming back down into Woodland, you can hit 35 pretty easily on the final drop into town. I was almost taken out by a guy turning left out of the Country Inn Hotel onto highway 24. I was full on with both brakes but it just wasn't enough. Luckily he must have seen me at the last moment and I was able to lay off the brakes and jump out further into the highway (after making sure it was clear behind me) and get around him. It was a close call for sure and the wet roads made it more interesting. I think it would not have ended well for me. He definitely knew how I felt about the deal.

Big props to fellow St. Louisan Brad Huff on his 2 wins at Tulsa Tough and the Omnium win. Way to break the streak Brad. Hopefully that momentum will carry on to the Tour of Missouri.
The resort was the Valentin Maya.

My last breakfast before leaving for the airport.

If you fed these guys the little flowers they couldn't get to or some fresh fruit, they'd follow you for the day.

I think this was a small jellyfish that got washed up on the shore from high tide.

This was a training bike that the resort provided for me. It's all custom including the salwater corroded parts. I'm thinking of running this full time. I might change the grips or just install them so they're both on the same way but that's about all.

This was a coffee shop that was only open in the evenings and that's probably a good thing. If it would have been open during the day I would have spent the whole day there. Unbelievable coffee.

That's one of the swim up bars to the right.
A little chapel at the resort.

A Mexican ground squirrel.

Just a random shot of part of the resort. Funny story. These pools and fountains are all over the resort. They are very shallow (maybe 6" and lined with smaller rounded stones). We met another couple from St. Louis of all places. After we established where they went to high school (a St. Louis thing) we all went to dinner and sat at a table right next to one of said pools. Another couple went to sit down at the table next to ours and the woman fell into this pool. This will sound terrible but it was perhaps one of the funniest things I've seen. Imagine the sound and then to look over and see a woman laying face down in this pool. If it would have been deeper it might not have hurt so much but.....6" doesn't cushion the fall much. I'm sure she was drunk and we speculated that her high heel probably slipped off the edge and then she lost it. I have no idea how I kept it together through the ensuing rescue effort that took place but I did it. It hurt but I did it. Sadly, the woman broke her wrist in the fall and the couple left after she was pulled from the depths. Picture the trail of water that followed her as she slowly limped away. Kinda like slime leading to a snail.

A shot of the beach. Notice the lack of people. This friendly staff member is about to bring me yet another beverage of my choice.

Really hard to get a shot that isn't ruined by people.

A chest that hasn't seen the light of day in eons. I got A LOT of looks and heard the phrase, "...looks like a damn fool" more than once.

Our bathroom. Perhaps the biggest disapppointment for me. Some of you know that I have long dreamed of utilizing a bidet to....clean house with. Apparently only the top of the line rooms have the bidet. This is not the way it was pitched to me at all. There was some words exchanged and I'm sad to report that I have no pics or even video of it's use. I did try buying someone that was staying in said upscale rooms some drinks in exchange for 15 minutes of time in their bathroom but they respectfully declined. I also managed to locate a garden hose but the bush wasn't quite as protective as I'd like and I do get stage fright.

The porch.

The bed. Let's keep this civilized shall we?