Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Full Weekend

I was able to get out and fly my RC plane a couple times over the weekend. It's got more power than my last one but it's still too wimpy. It's a simple trainer though and that's what I need to learn with before I'm ready for something more powerful. When I stop crashing it I'll know that it's time to move up and I'm not there yet. I do tend to have this fascination with seeing how close I can have it pass by me as I'm standing in the field adjacent to Hosanna's parking lot. A bit of a game of chicken with me controlling both players. I did nearly crash it into myself when I lost it in the sun just before it flew past me. The phrase, 'thinning the herd' comes to mind.

Tammy, Rachel, Josh and I spent some time at Hosanna yesterday for Project 363. The link speaks for itself but I'll say that it's a remarkable story of the difference one person can make in the lives of so many others.

Mr. Law spoke to our group of volunteers to tell us a little about how the project began and how it has become his every waking hour preoccupation. He said that he sleeps just a couple hours a night, usually in his van by one of the lakes near Minneapolis. I wondered as he was talking to us if he has a home? His entire focus is amassing whatever food he can and then distributing it to people in need. Quite a guy.

I believe the goal for Hosanna is to make and ship out 40,000 sandwiches this weekend for donation to the project. They cycle teams through every two hours. There were several tables set up with about nine people at each table working together to make and package the sandwiches. I talked to one of the organizers who said that Hosanna would have over 1000 people volunteering this weekend to help make it a success. It's well orchestrated and I suppose it needs to be with that many people involved.

Speaking of projects, Tammy and I put in several hours this weekend on the stained glass panel we're working on. I really want to keep pressing on with this one and get it done so I can satisfy my curiosity about how it's going to look above the entertainment center and whether or not we'll need to make some changes before continuing on with the other five panels. It's a lot of work to have to redo the panel if necessary but considering how long it will serve its function I'm not opposed to doing what I need to so as to get it right.

I was walking past John Kline's house while out with the pups this morning. John was sitting on the tailgate of his truck reading the paper. We chatted for ten minutes but we never once spoke of politics, unlike the last time we talked. He's no doubt a political junkie and lives for that sort of thing but I have to believe that even he needs a break from it even though he signed on for that sort of life when he chose to run. Could I talk bikes all the time? Probably not.

Speaking of which; I've spent the last eight days off my bike and considerably more time off the rower. I've been battling what I think is bronchitis all week and I could tell that my last ride didn't help it any. The rower is another story altogether. I've got a persistent case of tendinitis in my right forearm. I developed it at least six weeks ago (I assume while rowing) and I've only attempted to use the rower a few times since then. I don't notice the pain when I'm using the machine; in fact it feels just fine. It's nearly any motion with my arm other than rowing which causes the pain. I don't get it.

I rode out toward Randolph this afternoon under sunny skies and temps in the mid 50's with little wind. I was heading east on hwy 86 coming into Castle Rock when a Dakota County Sheriff passed me. He pulled into a gas station on the right then circled around and waited for me to pass by. When I did he pulled up along side me. I thought for a moment that he was going to hassle me about using my mp3 player while riding. Nobody's ever said anything to me but it wouldn't surprise me that someone may have a dim view of me using it.

I looked over at the car and the officer in the passenger's seat had his window down as was saying something to me. I pulled my left earbud out just as he was pointing to the driver. It was my neighbor, Bob Stowell, with a big grin asking me if I could go any faster. I dialed it up to 30 and stayed in front of them until the train trestle then they passed me and sped away.

I continued east to hwy 56 then headed north toward Coates. Somewhere just south of Coates my quads began to cramp up and my water bottles were empty. Cramping up less than 40 miles into a ride just doesn't happen to me and eight days off the bike can't account for it. There was definitely some sort of electrolyte imbalance going on. The only thing in my diet which has changed has been the lack of a glass of California red at night since giving it up for Lent. I can live with the cramps.

If I stayed seated I was okay but once I stood to pedal, putting my full weight on my legs, my quads would immediately cramp up. It reminded me of the time I was racing the Headwaters 100 in Park Rapids eleven years ago.

Excuse me while I go into reminisce mode.

I was with the main peloton of riders some 50 miles into the race when we traversed off one highway to another in a sweeping right turn. I was on the outside and forced off the road by the guy on my right who swung too wide. There was a 3-4" drop from the pavement to the gravel shoulder I was now on and it was everything I could do to keep the bike upright. I had to stop to get my bike back up on the road. Just as I was about to do that a logging truck came toward us and I had to wait for it to pass. It allowed the peloton to leave me several hundred yards behind by the time I was able to get back on the road. I spent the next 20 minutes working my 19 year old retro Colnago harder than I wanted in an effort to get back into the slipstream of the pack. I only had two water bottles with me and by the time I'd rejoined the pack both bottles were empty and my quads were cramping badly.

This wasn't a race where they closed the road to regular traffic. I remember thinking how we all dodged possible tragedy had the logging truck been there as we came out onto the highway with not enough time for a bunch of amateurs to safely react to the truck hidden by tall pines as we approached the turn say nothing of other traffic too. The next several years they ran the ride as a tour rather than a race but it's back on the racing schedule in recent years.

It would be another 20 miles of soft pedaling within the peloton before my quads would recover. There was no way to take on more water once the race began unless you had somebody waiting for you out on the course to provide you with a 'hand-up' which wasn't allowed but several guys did it anyway.

The last 15 miles of the race were a blast with plenty of small rolling hills to power over as the peloton dialed the speed up to another level in an attempt to catch a group of 3 who had gotten off the front more than an hour earlier. My quads recovered nicely and I went on to finish in 3:57 averaging over 25 mph for the 100 miles.

So much for my racing career.

Here's the latest video of the pups. We had them out to Three River's Dog Park southwest of Lakeville last night. Charlie is quite a bit lighter than Allie but nearly as long as she is. We think he's got potential to be a super-sized Shih-tzu. We'll know soon enough.

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