About Me

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Vacaville, California
I started this to chronicle our first tandem bike tour. Not sure where it will go from here. I do know that where I go I hope Deborah goes. "Life is not just a destination but a journey. While the expedition can be long and arduous, it can be full of beauty and pleasure as well"

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Life goes on after set backs. My first Crit

Tomorrow I go to my orthopedic doctor to find out how everything is healing up.  I still feel pain, numbness and some discomfort. Nothing that I can't handle. I know that I am getting better but I sometimes get a little impatient to be 100% again.  I have lost a lot of strength but am slowly getting that back by spending some time in the gym.  I should probably spend more time working on that but have been doing other things. Now that I have written that down I believe I can do something about it.  I just have to focus and not get sidetracked to much.

Last Saturday I entered and participated in my first Criterium Road Race.  I raced in the Cat 4/5 45+ Cal Aggie Landpark Crit.  I talked myself into it and Deborah came down to support me in my efforts.  I got in a good warm up on my own, not knowing Dustin was coordinating the warm up for the team.  I wandered over to the tent and Dustin immediately set up a trainer and got me going.  It made me feel a part of the team.  He gave us quite the warm up and I was ready to race when he let me loose.  I had time for a quick lap and ended up at the start.  I had 3 other team mates in the race but they were more experienced with racing and familiar with each other so I was more or less on my own.  I really had no idea what was going to happen or what strategy I needed.  My only goal was to stay upright, not re-break my collarbone, ride as hard and as smart as I could and not have anyone yell at me for doing something stupid.  I accomplished all of my goals.  I did not finish the race.  As I look back I realize I had poor position in the chicane and would up blowing a lot of energy sprinting to catch up to the pack after getting slowed and compressed in the turns.  I made it halfway through, got spit out the back and gapped pretty good.  I decided to pull out instead of riding around by myself and getting lapped by the pack.  All in all I felt I did okay, rode smart and had fun.  When the race started I got an amazing feeling of calm and concentration wash over me.  All my senses were on hyper-drive and I knew where everyone was and what they were doing all around me.  I had one moment where someone cut in on me  entering the hard left turn at the beginning of the S turn.  I had to bump my brake a little but I did not overreact and was able to avoid a crash.  I felt really good about that. I want to race again but the next race is Cherry Pie and it is hard for a beginner.  It has a big downhill with a hard right turn at the bottom.  It has a long uphill culminating in a very tight 180 degree turn. Leon told me I should sit this one out because my shoulder is not 100% yet. I will take that into consideration as I think about it.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The other thing I love besides cycling

I realized, after that last post, that I have only been talking about cycling and running.  I decided I needed to at least mention the sport that has been #1 in my life for the last 36 years.

I started flying hang gliders in 1975.  I have continued in that sport ever since with a few periods of inactivity.  Flying is a sport that lets you participate with friends but it is for the most part a singular activity.  I find I am drawn to sports that require you to concentrate on the task while paying great attention to many different things going on at the same time.  It forces you to discipline your mind to take in lots of data and to make decisions quickly and decisively.  You are moving in three dimensions, while reading the weather, looking for lift and maintaining your flight based on the power of mother nature alone.  The sights sounds and experience are unparalleled

The last flight I had was Labor Day Weekend in Indian Valley.  I went up there with friends to fly a site I hadn't flown in several years.  It is one of my favorite flying sites and a great place to spend a weekend.  I've had many wonderful hours soaring at altitude with my good friends, ending the day with dinner in Greenville accompanied by good cold beer.  This weekend was no exception although there was a special task that needed accomplished.

The first day we went to the mountain it was later in the day and my fellow pilots all decided to spend the afternoon working on clearing all the overgrown brush on launch.  The launch is a very shallow slope and can be difficult.  It is easy to underestimate the difficulty and your launch technique must be right.  Too many doink around and wind up breaking gliders and body parts up there.

The next day found us arriving at launch a little earlier than many.  We set up and didn't waste any time.  My launch was good and I caught lift right away, taking it up to 8K quickly.  I flew around up and down the ridge but never made the jump across the gap.  A storm front started blowing in and several of us decided to leave the air before it got there.  A wise decision as several people reported severe turbulence.  Landing was not good but not bad either.  Bottom line was nothing was bent, broken or damaged.
You can see launch Just below my wing tip.  Look for the tiny gliders getting ready to launch.

I let Steve's ashes loose so he could thermal up with me in a nice fat 800 fpm thermal.  He was soaring with me that day.

Flying out over Indian Valley.  The LZ is down lower right, in the field behind the housing across from the football field.
My beautiful, sleek wing that takes me on adventures in the sky.

I will continue to fly as long as I can still launch a hang glider.  It is something I love and I cannot imagine not flying anymore.

Another Chapter in the Journey

Today is January 2, 2012.  I decided I needed to try and keep this a little more up to date.  The last time I checked in I was hurting a little bit and waiting for the surgeon to fix me up.  On October 3rd I got a nice titanium plate and 12 screws installed.  The drugs were good and it didn't hurt to much.  Seems there were a lot of small pieces that he couldn't screw together but he figured they would knit okay.  I think the worst pain was in all the groin and leg muscles I pulled.  That slowed my running way down, that and running with one arm strapped to my chest.  The balance thing is not over rated that's for sure.  So my training was slowed down but not stopped and I pretty much continued my program of running with 40 mile bike rides on Sunday's.  The bike rides helped a lot.  I got off the pain meds within a week.  I hate feeling like that.  Deborah helped me to focus and as I was not working from the end of September until October 24th, I had lots of time to train and rest.  My weight dropped down to 137 at the lowest.  I was eating but I guess the healing took a lot of energy as well.  This is what I looked like on a run.

 The weekend of the Big Sur 1/2 Marathon finally came.  We went to the expo on Saturday and managed to spend a few dollars and talk to a few people.  It started raining the night before the run.  It stopped just before we went to the start line.  We finished the run in 2hrs 17mins.  I was happy to finish.  I got a lot of people yelling out "Hey broken arm guy, way to go".  Sometimes it was just "one armed guy".  People were very supportive.  It started raining a cold rain within 10 minutes of our finish.  We went straight to the car and didn't hang out.  We stayed at the Jabberwok Inn.  It is our favorite B&B and I strongly recommend it if you are going to Monterey.  You won't find a better place.  Our room had a Jacuzzi, fireplace, a beautiful view of the bay and a decanter of brandy.  Needless to say we stayed in the tub for a long, long time and we demolished the brandy.  It is a recovery drink I'm told.  That night we had a wonderful dinner with a bay view.  The next morning was my birthday and we spent the day cruising Carmel shopping for Christmas and then wine tasting in the Carmel Valley.  The next day we had a leisurely breakfast and drove home.  I can't think of a better way to spend a birthday weekend.