Friday, June 23, 2006

Cross Country

The story your about to read is true, the following takes place between 2:00am Wednesday, and 2:00pm Thursday. Needing a more reliable vehicle I decided to see what was out there for sale at a decent price. I found it on e-bay (laughter), it was a 1995 Land Rover Discovery, described as mechanically sound with a few fixer upper problems. A Land Rover? In my price range? too good to be true. I bought it. Where was this fabulous "deal of the century" located? Why Newark New Jersey of course, a scant 950 miles from home, a long days drive, just a bit further than Estes Park Colorado I reasoned. I gave travelocity $146.32 for a ONE WAY ticket to the biggest City in North America. After bribing Scot and Megan with pork chops and poker they offered to give me a ride to the airport in Moline, we hit the road at 3:00am for my flight out. I divided the task into five stages. Stage 1; Make it to Newark New Jersey via Atlanta by 12:00 noon Wednesday. Stage 2; Use New Yorks mass transit system, subway-bus-train, to reach the sellers dealership. Stage 3; Make the deal, or turn around and leave. Stage 4; Drive an unknown, untested vehicle from the East coast back to Iowa before work on Friday. Stage 5; Live to tell the tale. Stage 1, the easiest because they won't let me fly the plane, I asked nicely. Stage 2, you've seen how gritty and dirty and bleak a N.Y. subway looks in countless movies. Gangs "taggin" every inch of their turf with messages only they can read, trash everywhere? Well that's not quite accurate, its MUCH WORSE!!! What you don't get from film is the stench, and the feel of the seats on a hot summer day, and being absolutely overwhelmed by the fact that I have NO idea where the hell I am, and less sure about where I'm going, But a kindly bus driver with a THICK Jersey accent got me to the train on time. Bus driver "where you from again"? Me "Iowa". Bus driver "yeah, Iowa. Ain't that where they grow potatoes?" Me "no Sir, that's Idaho". Bus driver talking loud enough the whole bus could hear now " WHATEVER, So you out in the big city all alone?" Me, "uh Yeah". Stage 3, The seller was two hours late for the meeting, I drove the thing for approx. 5 minutes, handed him a check. Stage 4, left around 9:00pm headed west on I-80, cheapest fuel is $3.10 in Pennsylvania. A V-8 Land Rover, full time 4X4, gets almost 15 mpg, Did I mention the seller forgot to bring the removable stereo face plate, instead, I'm listening for the dreaded "death rattle" that will end my adventure all too soon, it never comes and I pull over for a short nap during a monster storm in Ohio, its 3:30am Thursday morning when I close my eyes. 4:45am I'm going 80 mph, the truck is smooth but I'm gettin passed by EVERYBODY on the road, kinda like every race this year. Chicago is ALWAYS in a state of road work, today is no different. By now I'm not freaked about the way this truck drives on the freeway, lets give it the stop and go, stop and go for an hour and a half, during a torrential downpour test. So far so good, There's a bridge up ahead that looks like a big "H", I did not eat anything but a tobasco flavored slim jim and a bag of dorito's, except the FOUR gallons of truck stop coffee, Iowa NEVER looks as good. Its 2:30pm Thursday, I looked in the mirror when I got home, big mistake...Stage 5, sleeeeeeeeeppppy time. Who wants a 1987 Jeep Grand Wagoneer, mechanically sound, but a few fixer upper things????

Monday, June 19, 2006

Where is this going?

Had a great time at the races this weekend. I knew the expert class would be tuff goin in but WOW! There are alot of fast people out there, like, ALL of them. I'm still not fighting to get in the woods first (or, is that in the WAY first) cause I don't want to slow anybody down, just running at a pace I can maintain and get an idea for racing in the future. For me, its always been about the people you meet anyway that makes Mountain biking a blast. Did what I could in the time trial, Hill climb, and the short track on saturday, had Taco's with the coolest of the fastest on saturday night, thanks for the grub kids!! Tried to recover enough for the XC race on Sunday. I felt pretty good, no wrecks, no damaged equipment, I just gotta speed it up a bit. The Mrs. had a good race as well although if I don't fix her pedal I'm gonna be HAMBURGER. And speaking of ground FLESH, I may be going out of town this week, I may not be going out of town this week, depends on OMAR! Dude, WTF is goin on??? I expect california casual but New Jersey?!? SHEESH! I let Mr. Chocolate out your HAMBURGER. I realize this is in code and I'll explain later, maybe... OOOoo, foreshadowing keeps the reader in suspense.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Famous WOODIES you may have seen!

The "wagon queen family truckster" is a bit more famous than I imagined. I've spotted them in various movies and commercials, including; Capital One spot-the "Raider" shoves a Christmas tree thru the back glass. The Dark Half-Steven King Book turned movie. Blade III- The new Vampire Killers ride. Bring it On- Cheerleaders dig wood! Kingdom of the Ants- Giant Ants take over the world! Law and Order SVU- Accused rapist drives one. Insomnia- Robin Williams is not funny in this movie! Next time your watching TV, see if you can "SPOT THE WOOD"

Sunday, a day of rest.

The plan: Meet Dominic at 8:00am for a 50+ mile training ride. Nothing too serious,just some miles in the legs. The plan comes apart: I'm LATE, its 8:10am, I see Dominic a 1/4 mile up the road already; NEW PLAN, see if I can catch him. After 15 miles averaging 24 mph, SOLO (nice east tailwind) The "Dominator" has increased the gap to about 1/2 mile and is ACCELERATING, I'm going 27 mph thru middletown past the ammo plant, STILL losing ground! Can't hold at 27 mph for much longer. When my heartrate monitor starts blinking,its cause my max. rate is above 190 BPM's, or I'm in cardiac arrest. My "base miles" ride has become a TT! Did I mention that I am in winter clothes? Cause its 52 degrees, but now I'm sweating like a horse! New Plan: Dominic heads thru Geode State Park, I take the "short cut" around Geode to the dam. Now I'm waiting for him and FREEZING, we head for Hwy 218, still have a nice tailwind and I have a wheel to follow now. We meet "Farmer Bob" at a gas station, he remarks "I hope you boys get wet, we need the rain" ,he gets his wish, its starting to sprinkle now. Dom hits the gas and while I'm coughing up blood he's checking cell phone messages. The sky opens up, 35 miles left after the turn around, riding into the now 12-15 mph headwind, driving the rain into our faces, along with the roost from the bikes, SOAKED! GASSED! FREEZING! I'm about to get dropped on the flats of hwy 34!, My CAT-EYE shorts out with all the water, we had been doing about 21 mph when it died, Heart rate has been between 181 to 192 for 1/2 hour now, its all I can do to hold Nick's wheel. Hardly a drop of rain in Burlington, I'm wearing 50 pounds of cold soggy clothing and I can't feel my feet. An EPIC road ride???? For me, YES!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Snakes vs. Product test

Since I'm about as near sighted as a person can get, every couple of years I gotta get my eyes checked and get my prescription updated. Thank God I haven't had to get bi-focals (yet) cause I don't need any reminders of my impending mortality, also, I think I'd rather have a vasectomy with a dull butter knife than have "Dr. Stygmatism" blast my eyeballs with laser beams, so glasses it is. I had to be careful when picking out new shades for riding cause "wrap around" frames and prescriptions DO NOT mix well as they tend to bend light and the trail becomes "warped" like a great acid trip. (guessing!) So I picked out these Rudy Project Kalyos frames that could handle an "insert" for my prescription, they are "OK" at best, the insert needed to bent into shape still, and peripheral vision is "untrustworthy", also the insert is so close to my eyes I get to rub my lashes on them. But they work and I can see well enough to navigate in the woods, although I'm going to get yellow lenses soon because the blue is WAY too dark in the trees. I found this out because the 3 foot long snake I found snoozing on the trail last night at Geode looked innocent enough, plus I always thought snakes are kinda cool, I just wanted to have a look at him and send him on his way. Living here for my whole life I've heard over and over again about rattlesnakes at Geode, BULLSHIT I'd say, I've been to 4 different deserts across the western states, the Rockies countless times and never seen ANY rattle snakes, always hoping to just SEE one, but no luck. So "Steve Irwin" style I picked him up and said " your alright Mate! Isn't he a BEAUTY", but He didn't want to play and was desperately trying to BITE yours truly. While I was putting him back on the ground he made a noise that sounded exactly like a Chris King hub coasting at 10 mph, Only then with my limited vision did I notice the neat pattern of diamonds, the triangular shaped head complete with sensing "pits" and the little button on the end of his tail. SHIT A RATTLER!!! I've been to Geode a thousand times and always heard about Timber Rattlers and never believed it, always looked for em, NEVER saw one, until then. About the time he decided to slither off Mrs. Brakeville was pulling up, and was NOT happy that I had given chase, He actuality stopped for a second, in between the front spokes on my wheel then took off. Did I mention that my new shades are too dark in the woods???

Monday, June 05, 2006

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Weekend Update updated...

Forgot to mention a few things, first I hope everyone who hit the deck over the holiday has a speedy recovery. Nothing worse than having to sit out and be a spectator. Had to get our "kitten" declawed, I'm trying not to laugh too much as its just deserts for the little bugger for all the curtains climbed in my humble abode. Not to mention the fact that the kids named him "leatherface" first, changed it to "Eddy", and finally found out he's a she after all. Now I know why Tater says "Pete Basso is awesome"! Cause he was unfazed by the B.O.D. (that's bridge of DEATH) in Dehn's, took me a couple of times before I'd even attempt it. It was cool to show Pete and Landon our little slice of single track goodness. I'm a dope part two; I thought my rear derailer was acting up, cause every hill in Dehn's I got to hear and feel chain rippin nastiness, turns out the middle and big chain rings on my less than a year old XT crank are SHOT. DOH! Anyone notice that these are less than stellar rings??? That means chain, cassette, and new rings OUCH$$$ I'm glad I didn't buy the "old" new XTR stuff, Cause the NEW 07 stuff is coming out, kinda funny really that I still like the 2001 LX shifters on my bike, they ain't goin anywhere till something bad happens. I'm a funny Guy (not) part three; Mrs. Brakeville demanded that I remind the readers that while she was the first woman across the line in the QC Crit she was also the ONLY woman in that race (CAT 5). I left that nugget of info out for effect...:) I plan on racing CAT 4 at the "Hummer Hammer" this weekend, no more "open" stuff, then I can leave the Road Bike at home for awhile and "HIT THE DIRT" ...