Friday, April 29, 2016

Messing with my phone never gets old, huh?


It's never been a good idea to leave your phone available to Hanna.  Never.  You WILL end up with some funny stuff on there, trust me.  I only chose the two best this time.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

30 Miles on the Ozark Trail

I remembered to bring $3

I had a chance and I took it.  I drove down to Council Bluff so I could put some real mileage in.  I didn't do much of the lake loop.  I had my sights set on the Middlefork split.

My plan was to ride out 15 miles and turn around.  Along the way, most of the creeks were full of water.  Not Raging Rivers sort of water, but plenty enough to make them tricky and get my shoes wet.  The trail surface, however, was unparalleled.  It was in fantastic shape.  A few trees down, a couple of them were huge.  I was feeling pretty good at 14 miles, and I figured I'd go an extra mile or so, maybe to 16.  Then I ran into Doug and Sunny, who had their own crew out on a ride.  They were going the opposite direction. 

I pedaled on and right at 15 miles I had the sense to turn around.  It had taken me exactly 1.5 hours...10mph average speed.  At that pace, I would be finished right at the 3 hour mark.  That's long for me, and I was going pretty good.

The way back started very well.  I was thinking I might go beyond the 10mph average.  I met back up with Doug and Sunny, now going the same direction as me.  Doug was flying so I sped up to stay with him....and THERE was the mistake.  I went into the red zone.  He peeled back to get the rest of his crew and I bade him farewell.

From that point, about 7 or 8 miles to go, I suffered.  I made it back to Council Bluff and could not have been happier to see my car.

It was, however, still awesome.  30 miles, 10mph average.  Lots and lots of calories burned.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Car Watching - 1970-72 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

 What did my wandering eyes find today?  A beautiful yellow Corvette.  This car, known as the C3, is my favorite...but only the 70-72's.  Why?  Well....Corvette, that's why.  Actually, the body lines of the C3 are cartoonish, something out of drawing class in high school.  It screams FAST! COOL! AWESOME!  But the 70-72 for a couple of reasons.  One, the bumpers are so dainty.  Small, elegant chrome bumpers, not the plastic ones found on later cars.  Two, the bulging fenders not found on the 68 and 69.
 These cooling ducts on the side, just below the "Stingray" script get me every time.
 The body on this one was pretty darn nice.  Not many flaws here.
 To my eye, the best view of any C3 is the rear.  The tail lights, the bumpers, the square exhaust tips, the concave tail light panel...just perfect.
 I've always been a fan of the trim rings and center caps of the Corvette.  Actually, the 60's and early 70's had quite a few cars that used the same idea.  Not cool mag wheels, but a great way to show off no-nonsense wheels in style.
 The front fenders.  Perhaps the greatest fender in automotive history.  If you've ever sat in one of these, the fenders rise from either side of your view from the windshield.  You never forget your driving a Corvette as long as you can see those fenders.
And what's under the hood?  Mostly, there were a variety of 350 V8's, ranging from 270hp to 370hp.  There were also some fire-breathing 454's, although this is not one of those cars.  Although I couldn't snap a good shot of the interior, let me assure you this this one has the M22 4-speed manual.  Not a fun transmission to shift but a righteous Corvette should have a manual.  And before I left the scene, I found out that this car has had a transplant.  It sports a 383 stroker with fuel injection.  This owner is NOT missing that 454 at all.

Monday, April 04, 2016

April 4, 2015 - Twenty Five Years Later

I've thought about this off and on today.  I haven't given it the time I should have, I'm really distracted this April 4.  But this is an important one.  Twenty five years ago today my dad died.

How strange that I came to the place that I arrived yesterday, the day before the big twenty five.  My dad handed me my future when he drove me to the track in 1979.  He watched almost every moto, every semi, every main over the next four or five years, until he was too sick to go anymore.  I will admit to never giving it much thought, but I was constantly being told by other adults around me how proud my dad was of me.  Did he really say that?  He didn't talk much.  It was hard to imagine him saying that.  Today I like to think that if he only said 50 words a day, how graced I should feel if some of those precious words were about me.

We traveled to Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Kansas in his old jalopy, the 74 Torino.  Once, when I was 14, we had traveled to Indiana and he fell ill.  He would do this from time to time, but this was worse than usual and I had to drive from somewhere in northern Indiana to some other city overnight while he laid down in the back seat.  I had never driven a car before then.  We usually didn't tell my mom about these things.

Something that I always think about: I was born when he was 49 years old, the same age I am now.  That's a pretty advanced age to have kids, made even worse with failing health.  That also means he was 61 when he took me to my first BMX race.

He would be 98 years old this year.  Hard to comprehend.  1918 seems so far, far away.


Sunday, April 03, 2016

Pedal. Brake. Pedal.

I decided that I would stop racing bikes.  It's been decided for me, by the universe.  Maybe those around me, those that know me, those that care, aren't really raising an eyebrow.  I think I might be the only one that didn't know it was over.  Or maybe I couldn't admit that it was over.  While I was making excuses for not racing, it was apparent that I don't want it anymore.

I guess it's the "brake" part of pedal-brake-pedal.  It does mean something to me.  It's not just a goofy name for a played-out blog.  It's a somewhat childish metaphor for life.

Pedal.  That's go time.  Things are happening when it's time to Pedal.  Make it count.

Brake.  Things end.  Things change.  Evolution or even revolution has to happen when it's time to Brake.

Pedal.  Again.  Always Pedal again.

There are the physical reasons.  I can't explain them away.  The shoulders.  The knees.  The elbow. The hip.  The ankle. The neck.  The back.  The eyes.  The breathing.  It mounts.  It mounts.  Always mounting.  To ride is a triumph.  To ride fast and well is a fairy tale.

There are personal reasons.  Family.  Kids.  Job.  Jobs.  Money.  Pressure.  More pressure.  There have always been questions about my loyalty to all of the things aside from the bike.  I can't live with those questions anymore.

There are philosophical reasons.  Unacceptable performances.  Feelings of obligation.  Searching for reasons to race.  Searching for reasons not to race.  Worry.  Fear.  More fear.

When I was 12, there was no way to tell how long I would race.  Or how many times I would race.  What I would race. If I would ever be any good.  No concept of how it would shape my life.  That it would become my life.  I downplayed that it was my life.  I don't do that anymore.  It was my life.

That life and I have diverged.  I can't pinpoint when.  That's my blindness.  It did diverge, and it's gone.  It's glad to be rid of me.

I started life as a physical mutt.  No talent.  No natural ability.  No muscle.  No strength.  I was timid.  Bookworm.  Comic books.  I wanted to be a comic book hero.  At a very early age I questioned my own worth. Bike riding opened a door that was never there.  It's been 37 years.  Maybe it should have been 20.  Or 25.  It's been 37.

I love to ride bikes.  Love to ride hard.  Love to ride fast.  Love the push.  I love to see 180 beats per minute.  47 miles per hour.  5000 feet of elevation gain.  Bike parts.  Cool bikes.  Cool bike riders.  Working with my hands.  Make something work that didn't. 

Pedal.  Brake.  Pedal.  It does mean something.  To me.