Monday, September 24, 2012

Shriners Hospital has to charge families of Children

A long time ago, my family and I spent a lot of time at the Shriners Hospital in Ladue.  When I was but a wee lad, I had some bone problem in my lower legs.  X-rays showed quite a bit of my tibia's were dying, showing up as dark grey or black instead of the usual white.  There were days that I couldn't walk, couldn't go to school, couldn't sleep due to the pain.  That was a problem.  And it was a bigger problem for a poor family like mine.  We went to Shriners sometimes weekly, and spent all day in the waiting room, waiting for the nurse to mispronounce my name and call us in.  I had full leg casts at one time, crutches many times, and numerous braces.  But it was all paid for.  Free. 

I eventually grew out of the problem (there is a name for the disease, but I don't know what it is).  Without Shriners, though, I would have never gotten any care other than a wheel chair and pain killers.

It pains me to read that Shriners Hospitals will no longer be able to provide these services for free.  LINK.  Now, just like most health care facilities, they will have to charge customers and bill insurance companies.  It's a sign of the times.  But I am saddened by the loss of a crucial safety net for less fortunate families.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Another 'Cross Photo

Thanks to the people at WildTraks for the great race and this cool photo.  Lots of dirt means a good time for the mountain bike guy.  You can see Sam Moore under my arm, and you know he likes the dirt, too.  Good day for dirt guys.

SuperPrestige Cyclocross at La Vista

Cyclocross returned to the Alton area again today for the La Vista event.  Seriously, could the weather have been any better?  It was mid-60's, sunny and breezy.  Turnout was very good, too. 

The course was excellent.  Short and steep rolling hills, lots of 180 degree turns on mainly a dirt course.  There were a couple of cool barriers that I could bunny hop every lap, and very little pure-strength flat stuff. With a good start, I was able to hold on to 3rd place.  You don't see that every day.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Harlem Wizards Come to Town

The Harlem Wizards came to Affton High School tonight for a fund raiser.  It was an awesome show!  Think Harlem Globetrotters and you've got the idea.  The opposing team?  Affton teachers!  It was a PACKED house, too.  Here the boys pose with Swoop, formerly of the Harlem Globetrotters. 

I highly recommend seeing the Wizards if you ever get the chance.

Rex is his name

Rex is his name, but I just call him Floppy.  He is so uncoordinated.  His paws are huge, his legs are long, his head is big...he just flops around.  He can be so sweet when he isn't biting me.  This is a rare moment.

Monday, September 17, 2012

More Dentistry for Dummies

I have dealt with my dentistry woes on these pages before.  It was only two years ago that I had a broken tooth capped.  Soon afterward, another molar broke.  And when I went to get that checked out on Friday, I found that I had two more broken molars that I didn't know about.

Why so many broken and cracked teeth?  Silver fillings.  Round about 10 years old, I had a spate of cavities that would have made grown people cry.  My parents did cry because of the bills.  I have had no cavities since then, so it was some sort of internal issue.  But, I digress.

The silver (and mercury!!) fillings expand and contract at different rates than the tooth.  So, thirty five years later, presto, cracked teeth.

How wonderful.  So I have a big blob of tooth-like material where my cracked tooth was while I wait on the cap to be finished.

At least my temporary isn't gold, like the last one.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dogfish Hermann Cross Race Under the Lights

I've done each version of the Hermann cyclocross race under the lights.  They started doing them in 2008 and they are super fun.  The the level of competition is usually quite high and the courses have always been very fast (mud race excepted).

The courses usually don't play into my "strengths".  Long straights and flowing turns keep the speeds high and that is bad news for me.  I don't have the power.  Still, I like the race and I chose to do the Open race instead of Masters.

Despite being very sore today from the 4 dismounts per lap (twelve do the math!) I had a really good time.  My start was good and I rode pretty well.  I swear I saw stars a couple of times as I tried not to fall back too far.  I was so deep in the red zone so many times.  There was no rest anywhere on the course.

I was heckled into oblivion, too.  I guess I should expect that, bringing a mountain bike to a cross race.  I would like to remind many of those hecklers that there were quite a few guys in the Open race that were behind the mountain bike.  I was 14th out of  32 starters and just 25 finishers.  Just sayin'....

Maybe next year I'll race the master's category.  I was the oldest guy in the Open race, not that age is the be-all in performance.  But, I would like to race at the front of a Hermann Cross race just once.

She makes me so Proud!

Hanna has inherited a nickname from her volleyball mates.  It brings a tear of joy and pride to my eye.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

SuperPrestige CX Alton Cyclocross

 Thanks to Mike Dawson for the great photo and of course, always the nice comments to go with it.  :)

The people Alton sure know how to put on a 'cross race.  Fun course on perhaps the finest weather day of 2012.

Twisty, fast, diverse...there are so many superlatives to describe the course.  There was this big wooden "jump" thing that proved to be too much for many racers and they removed it before our race.  I wanted to lead the race so badly for just a little bit...and I did.  For just a little bit.  I went into the first corner okey-dokey and in first, but the second corner, merely 30 yards away, provided my first crash of the day.  Totally no big deal, just clipping my pedal on an off-camber at 4mph.  That did cause me to go into the red zone, scrambling back into the race, holding onto 4th.  Then 3/4 of the way through the first lap came my second crash.  A guy completely endo'd in front of me and I monster trucked into him.  No pain, no broken parts, no problem.  Except being in last place and my chain was off.  Blah, blah, blah, lots of effort and suffering, and I got 6th place an hour later.

Still a complete success in my eyes, and a great start to the 'cross season.  My bike set up was good, my fitness was at least adequate, and the desire to do better next time.  It's all good.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Cliff Cave Today

Our trails have been so dry this summer due to the extensive drought.  Crazy dry and dusty.  That's why Cliff Cave was so delicious on my mountain bike ride today despite the recent rains.

"Hero Dirt" is what the Keyser calls Cliff Cave.  You know, the dirt that seems to repel all but the worst weather, both dry and wet.  But the summer heat turned even the Hero Dirt of Cliff Cave into powder.  True to form, though, this little bout of rain turned the trail into virtual railroad tracks for my bike.  And whatever rough stuff was left was smashed into submission by my new Anthem.

Looking out at the rain right now, I'd bet Cliff Cave is a little wet right now.  Check it tomorrow, though, and it may just be perfect.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Hanna and whats-his-name

Whats-his-name is very floppy.

Eli's Big Bike Racing Adventure

 Eli and Gus, ready to tackle the kids races at St. Francis Park.  Eli flashed us the horns and won his race pretty well. Lately, he has been very aggressive on his bike, as if he just realized how to make it go really fast.
 Flashing us the horns again, while taking a swig from his favorite Big Shark West water bottle, en route to another run away win at the Hill race.
Eli and his proud Papa.  He won a Build a Bear for his effort at the Hill.  And by the way, that Sponge Bob jersey has been on the backs of all three of my kids at one time or another.

Ol' what's-his-name

This is our new resident.  We don't know what to call him yet.  Sleeping is about the only time he is not getting into trouble.  He and Rosco do not get along as yet, even though they are the same size.  This guy wants to play, Rosco does not, violence ensues.  They better get it sorted out before this little dude is 50 pounds.

Sing this Anthem

Took me a while to get this one together.  It's about 85%, but close enough to snap a photo.  Can't wait to get it on the trail, although I think the rain will make that tough for a few days.