Friday, August 1, 2008

Guatemala for Rachel, Princeton for Me

Rachel leaves with her mission group for Guatemala in a few hours. She has to be at the airport by 3:00 AM for a 5:30 departure. It would be nice if she could get some sleep before she has to leave but as pumped up as she is I'm not sure she'll sleep much. Hopefully she'll nod off on the plane.

There was a meeting last night for all the kids attending the trip and their parents. It gave everyone a chance to get answers to any last-minute questions and send the kids off with a heavy dose of prayer. They also hooked up a skype connection with the people already in Guatemala who are heading the project on that end. The project they're working on is the building of a home for a missionary couple who are leading a church there.

We got Rachel a new digital camera since her other one died recently. She should be able to get some nice photos. she'll also be able to recharge her camera as they use the same voltage and electrical connections as we do.

The kids put together a few skits they're going to perform for the youth in the churches when they're in Guatemala. Here's one they did last night. You may recognize Rachel. ;)

I don't speak Spanish and I can't remember exactly what Rachel said they were saying; something about the house being on fire. I'm not sure how this skit or the others tie into their mission work but if the Guatemalan kids have a similar sense of humor as our kids, I'm sure it'll go over just fine.

It's back to work tomorrow for me so I used today to catch up on a lack of bike time the past few weeks. I was on the road by 8:45 trying to get some miles behind me before the winds picked up. I was about an hour late for that. I started out intending to ride to Rogers and back (a little over 100 miles) as I hadn't done that route in a couple of years. The day was beautiful and one that I wanted to take full advantage of.

The winds held me back some but I got to Rogers by around noon. Most often when I'm riding I can sustain my energy needs with whatever Hostess has to offer. Usually, it's their cupcakes. That wouldn't be enough for me today. I'd need something healthier. DQ! I made my way to the local DQ where I grabbed a seat after placing my order. I'm glad I wasn't in a hurry as I think I must have waited ten minutes for my food: a double cheeseburger. Maybe I'm spoiled but ten minutes seems a long wait for a simple hamburger at a fast-food restaurant.

My legs were feeling good so I thought I'd extend the ride to Elk River and add another 15 miles to my total. Once I got to Elk River I saw a sign for Princeton stating it was 18 miles ahead. I'd done this ride 3 or 4 years ago but I wasn't sure if I was up to the distance today. I went for it anyway. I knew that if the winds continued I'd have a tailwind for the trip home but I wasn't sure if they'd hold up or if they'd change direction. There was one way to find out. A stop at the Princeton Flight Service Station would give me all the info I would need and it would be a good excuse to possibly see some of the folks I worked with early on in my career.

I'd need to refuel first. This time Burger King got the nod and within just a few minutes I had their version of a double cheeseburger in addition to a large strawberry shake in front of me. DQ wins for taste but BK was hands down the fastest.

The Flight Service Station was just a mile further down the road and when I arrived there I paused to get a photo of some signage out front. Lockheed Martin acquired the contract from the FAA to run Flight Service a couple of years ago but you wouldn't know it from the outside. (From the inside, yes, but that's another story.) Maybe I missed it but I saw nothing with LM's name on it—just a bunch of leftover FAA stuff. Maybe that was a bit of wishful thinking by the folks within who would love the chance to finish out their careers with the FAA and actually realize the retirements many spent a career working toward but were denied.

Once inside I was greeted by Brenda Nash. She used to work Flight Data where I work but transferred up to Princeton around 2000 as a specialist. She recently took a supervisor position. I mentioned to her some of the names of people I used to work with but the only one there today was Randy Bohn. I worked with Randy from 1983 to 1985 at the Flight Service Station in Huron, SD. He was one of the lucky ones. He was able to get his FAA government pension when Lockheed Martin took over and then go to work for them. He transferred to Princeton last summer and plans to spend another 2-3 years there before calling it quits. I was under the impression that LM was looking to close Princeton in the near future. I could be wrong.

Randy caught me up on several names from the past: Joe Gray, Arlene Bauder, Elaine Dargets, and Willy Kutter. They were some good folks to work with. I left Huron 23 years ago this month. It seems more like maybe 10 years; definitely not 23.

Brenda checked the surface wind forecast for me as I was getting ready to leave and it was good news. The winds would remain there for me for the ride home. I'd need them.

I was making good time until just north of Rogers when my rear tire flatted. I couldn't complain as it's been at least a couple thousand miles since my last flat tire. Easily the longest flat-free stretch I can remember.

I stopped a couple of times throughout the day to pop some Advil to help lessen the pain in my knees but once I got beyond 130 miles there wasn't much the Advil was going to do for me.

I pulled into the Holiday station 20 miles from home in Shakopee to refill my water bottles one last time but I didn't feel I needed any food for the rest of the ride. That was a mistake. No more than 5 miles out of Shakopee I was feeling like the bonk was chasing me down. I couldn't allow that to happen with the climb from the river bottoms on Hwy 5 just a few miles ahead.

If you've never bonked you don't know what you're missing. It's a horrible feeling where your glycogen stores in your muscles have been depleted and your body is left to burn fat for fuel. Fat is not nearly as easily converted by the body for fuel as is glycogen. Once your body switches over to fat for your energy needs you have two choices. You can either slow down, which isn't a very desirable option for a cyclist or you can eat something which your body can easily digest and get into your bloodstream quickly. That's why Hostess is usually my main choice.

I found a BP station in Savage and pulled in. I went inside and asked the Asian lady behind the counter if she sold Hostess Cupcakes. She questioningly tried to mimic as best she could what I'd asked for but I felt it would be faster to do a quick scan up and down the isles rather than try and explain to her what I was looking for. I told her it was alright and she smiled as I headed toward the back of the store. I couldn't find any, in fact, I could find very little in the way of quick energy food. I reached for a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup and headed toward the counter. I was handing her some money when I spied a rack off to the side with a bunch of Mrs. Freshley's pastry stuff. I put the Reeses back and grabbed a couple of packs of donuts and went outside and sat down next to my bike. Mrs. Freshley's donuts are no match for anything Hostess. The things were 60% fat. Oh well. They'd have to work. And they did.

Within a few miles I was feeling my strength return and glad that I was nearing home. It'd been a long day plus the battery on my Edge 305 GPS unit was nearly dead and I really wanted to capture the entire ride.

I got home and Tammy came into the laundry room to meet me. I did my best to make it look like the ride didn't beat me up nearly as much as it did but I'm not that good an actor. I saw Rachel in the kitchen and asked her how her day was. She didn't say much about her day but she did tell me I was a bit gross. Actually, the look on her face said it all.

I'd been texting my brother Bryan occasionally during the day and sending him some photos along the way. I got home and texted him that I'd finished the day with 154 miles. He replied that that trip would've cost him $36 in gas for his truck. I think I got by for around $17. His truck at 23 cents per mile vs my bike at 11 cents per mile. I think I got my money's worth today.


David Bryan Gilmore said...

Funny how some old friends don't change in you mind even though their bodies do. I noticed he was covering up is ID badge for the photo and there was a game show on the TV.
Rachel will have some stories to tell I'm sure. Skype is great for things like that.
I didn't realize you were in pain along the trip. I only dream about Ding-Dongs and Twinkies anymore. I can't recall the last time I had one or a I sugar donut.
I hope my miles info was close to accurate. I was guesstimating it looking at the map. I don't think I have ever did more than 75 miles in one day on a bike. That was in San Diego a million years ago.

Kevin Gilmore said...

Yeah, Randy hadn't changed much at all. I think I'd have recognized him anywhere.

The Skype connection was a bit choppy at times but it served its purpose. That sort of stuff is only going to get better.

The pain is an odd thing. If I ride infrequently it's a problem. If I get out 5-6 times a week I have very little trouble.

Yes, your estimates on the mileages was good. I figured Elk River would be good enough for me but the lure of a round trip to Princeton was too much to say no to with the weather as nice as it was. Thanks again.