Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunday Rides

Last Sunday I did the MTB ride from the rock to fell camp and back, it was the first of the season for me. It was a good ride and the trails were in good shape, except for the horse taters. The ride evolved into a rousing game of dodge the tater. On the way back from fell we passed a couple of guys and they asked where the trail ended. It turns out these guys are teachers at one of the local schools and fresh out of college. Russ and I stopped at Memorial Bridge to take a quick break and the teacher guys passed us and continued on. Russ and I were the only two, in our group on singlespeeds, and we had a good long climb ahead of us. Last season I had trouble with the last section of this climb and was determined not to walk or get off the bike this time. Shortly before the climb we passed the young guys and continued on, slogging up the climb. As I crested the last bit, very steep, I let out a whoop and peddled on. Shortly after I heard Russ with his incredible Hulk yell as he hit the steep part, no cursing, so I thought he made it and he did. As we rode I asked Russ if he thought the two guys we passed noticed they were being passed by two guys on single speeds. "Yeah, two older guys on single speeds", Russ said and we, of course, laughed. "Better yet, one a former cardiac patient". We both thought that was even better. Shortly after we noticed the yellow Publix balloon by the trail. "The ferral balloon, once it reaches a certain age loses its ability to fly and must face the dangers of the forest floor." I said in my best announcer voice and Russ posed nearby with said balloon.

We then left the balloon to it's destiny and continued on to the Rock. We discussed our mountain bikes and various upgrades we are planning on, I need a new crankset and bottom bracket, and Russ is wanting to get rid of the chain tensioner. I hope the trails are in good shape Tuesday, cuz I want to ride.

There has been some talk about an epic ride next Sunday October 1st. Starting at the 505/506 trail head and going all the way to Fell and back by way of Gratin's Bridge. Barring any emergencies, I'll be there.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ahoy Matie!

Yesterday was talk like a pirate day, so in the spirit of that check out this site.

Somehow Fartin' Wallace Dread, seems somewhat fitting.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Cooler Temps

The dog days of Summer are gone and Fall is just around the corner. I'm looking forward to cooler temperatures and the evening mountain bike rides. I have been on some trails this Summer, but it's not quite the same when it's 101F. I need to get my gear ready. My old steel mtb is coated with last year mud and needs a little love, the bladder in my hydropack needs cleaning or replacement as it has been setting half full for a couple of months. I also need to check my lights, things to do.

The bike is a Diamondback made in 1994, completely rigid with, what cousin Matt calls, pepperoni forks. So named because they are as thick as a link of pepperoni, no shock absorbtion there. Although it has semihorizontal dropouts, so with a half link I was able to turn it into a single speed when the shifters crapped out on me. I was able to get a wheel cheap from Lee. It was a freewheel type so all I had to do was respace, redish, and spin on a BMX freewheel cog. I thing I have a 35 tooth chainring up front and the freewheel cog is 17, that's close to the recommended 1:1 that singlespeed mountain bikers recommend. I could probably use an 18 on the back, but we'll see. I need to have the front hub repacked, it feels like there are pebbles in there not bearings, I'll have to see about that soon.

I'm waiting to hear form Grant, from Mercian Cycles. The frame I want build is in "queue" so things are progressing, but I was to get a copy of the work order so final changes could be made or I would just approve what the have. It's been a long process to get this far. I have started to acquire parts and either have or ordered just about everything I need, I think I have a package waiting for me at the post office now. I feel like a kid a Christmas. I just hope the frame gets here before then.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Where Were You When.......?

I think every generation has one of these moments. My parents had The Kennedy assassination and I have 9-11. The difference is they had one very important person killed in a shocking manner in front of the world, I, we had thousands die infront of us that day, each important in their own way. They were NOT soldiers fighting a war, they were men women, and children going about their day to day life. I often wonder what I would have done if I had found myself on a plane destined for a target such as the White House, the Pentagon, or the Twin Towers. Would I have the courage to do what those brave passengers aboard the flight that crashed in that field in Pennsylvania, to see my actions as the only choice available.

Where where you? I was at work on what I thought was a normal day. Jeremy and I got the boat and sampling equipment loaded up at went to fuel the boat and truck. When I went into the store to pay I got, "Did you hear someone flew a plane into one of the twin towers?" My first thought was of the bomber that crashed into The Empire State building back in the 30s or 40s. Just then the announcer on the radio in the store started yelling that another plane crashed into the other tower. That confirmed it for us this was a terrorist attack.

I got in the truck completely stunned an d numb with the news. I told Jeremy and he had trouble swallowing it, like many of us. We went about our task for the day, what else could we do? We listened to the radio as we drove to the southern end of Lake Greenwood and launched the boat and took the water samples as quickly as possible. We didn't want to say away from the radio too long. As we pulled out to drive to the next station we met some fishermen that had not heard the tragic news. I don't remember the exact words, but the gist of what they said was that someone will pay.

The day is a blur to me now, but the feelings, the emotions are still very vivid in my mind. The reports as the towers were burning were horrible, horrendous, no, no word can truly describe this, people were jumping from the building! At some point as we were between sample locations or on the way back to the office, the first tower fell. Then the second with thousands expected dead. Then the news of the pentagon being hit by another plane and a fourth plane missing. It was all too much.

We made it back to the office, parked the boat, and unloaded the samples. We rushed though our paperwork. Back in the conference room the TV was on the news and everyone was huddled around it. Images of the planes crashing and the towers falling played over and over for days. As I drove home still numb I noticed a strip club that always has a packed parkinglot was strangely quiet, no cars, no people. No one in the mood to dance, no one in the mood to watch.

I come home to a wife in tears. My daughter then two asks me what is happening. How do you explain something like this to a two year old!! That night I held my wife as she cried herself to sleep.

Days after the country was united in it's grief. "Those responsible will be brought to justice", was what President Bush had said and everyone nodded in agreement. Bumper stickers saying Never Forget appear on cars and trucks. As a country we were pissed and looking for some payback. What now? Five years later we whine about Iraq. I hear people say,"Why shouldn't Iran have a nuclear power plant"? Some people have already forgotten.

Two years ago a lady in my wife's book club shared her story of where she was on 9-11. She was in New York and told in horrific detail her experience, of running from the cloud of dust and debris, and of the kindness of the strangers that jerked he into a store just before the cloud caught her. Yes I shed a tear as I read her story. I shed a tear for the children lost, for the parents who grief, for husband who has come home to an empty house because some don't like Americans.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Ok, I've promised pix, so here they are.
Ok, what we have here is the facility we went to for the field portion of the class, and yes the brown stuff is pretty much what you think it is.

The lady in the center is one of the EPA instructors, to the right of her is Kevin from the Greenville office. The thing behind them is a clarifier, the name says it all, the water in this was the brown stuff in the first photo.

Another, closer look at the weirs on the clarifier, they cut the grass today just for us.

Lewis, and the operator demonstrating the use of a Sludge Judge. Notice the top part of the tube is clear and the bottom has the brown stuff.
Sonja, Who's buying the beer later?

Bradley with his new ride and Russ on the Saturday ride. I didn't get any shots on Ft Jackson due to the weather.

Russ on his Mercian and Dr. Bill on his Quickbeam with John and Drew in the rear.

Russ doing it fixed up the rail trail.

Bill Evans on his single speed Quickbeam.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Long Weekend

Friday, Robbie came home. She is using a walker to help with her balance, but is doing well and is in fairly good spirits. She can't do what she wants, when she wants and it has made her a little grumpy. People from her work are bringing food over, and we still have a cold cut tray I got from Debbie where I work, Thank You all! Life is starting to get back to normal, sort of. I'm a little worried about the radiation, it's not supposed to be nearly as bad as it was for her breast cancer, but you never know. Keep up the prayers.

Saturday, I got in a club ride with the Greenwood group, Russ and I on fixed gears, of course. Dr. Bill Evans shows up with his quickbeam as a singlespeed, but he has a track cog on the flip side of the hub. I'll post pix later. Bradley Cox makes an appearance with his new Grostiener Specialized. I jokingly ask him if it's plastic or aluminum. His mom laughs, but I'm not sure if he caught the joke and he tells me it's aluminum. Jim, Bradley's uncle shows up with his pink sox and bar tape. John Lake and Drew Richie round off the group. We settle on a route and head down the rail trail. Russ asks me, in a bad Irish /Scottish accent,"Ya eat yer oatmeal lad?", at witch I reply with an equally bad, if not worse accent,"Aye". We take a right at the end of the trail and enjoy the countryside and nice weather. Soon Jim and Bradley are up ahead and I can't let them do that, so I give chase and catch them. I stay on Jim's wheel, waiting for Bradley to try his new bike, but he doesn't take off. Shortly Bill streaks by and yells,"Come on you slow pokes". I give chase and stomp up the next hill, fully expecting Bradley to be in the mix, he wasn't, oh well. Shortly after Jim and Bradley peel off to head back and the rest of us rolled on. It was a good ride, I got just under 30 miles in. Russ, John Drew, and I went across the street for lunch and had a very deep discussion ranging from biodesel, to Islamic extremist, to the antichrist, it was a full day.

Sunday, stayed home, slept late and got some R&R, nothing worth writing about. Just an e-mail about Penny spitting(your secret is safe with me).

Monday, Labor Day, no work, so I got a ride in with the Laurens folks. I was checking my e-mail before I left the house and saw where Steve Irwin, The crocodile Hunter died. I was a bit shocked He has a little girl about the same age as Miranda, and a son not yet three. I feel for his family. The irony is he was killed by a stingray, a very non aggressive animal. Only 17 people world wide have been killed by stingrays. One would have thought that a venomous snake or a croc would do him in. I'll have a Foster's in honor of ol'e Stevo. I rolled out of my driveway digesting that bit of news just after 7:00. I just missed the dogs on Brown Rd. and made it to the Bi-Lo in Clinton with time to spare. It was a pretty big group, but started out foggy. I was beginning to worry when my glasses fogged up so bad that I could see better with out them. At one point David Craig nearly bought it when he hit some uneven pavement, he dropped his water bottle and pulled to the side of the road, then he hooked left infront of me. Definitely a high pucker factor moment. I missed him, but not by much. It reminded my of one of Jim's stories about Norm. Our route lead us to Bush River rd. and some of the group elected to head back to town and the rest decided to follow the 30mile FOTD route. I told Adrienne that I would be home by 11:00 so she could go to lunch with one of her friends. So, at around 9:30 I was thinking of picking up the pace to get home on time. At a stream crossing I build up a little momentum on the downside and catch Dan and David C. on the up side. I pull past and slow a little to see if they would catch up. They didn't, they wanted to take it easy. I soon find Jose on my wheel and pick up the pace. At some point I look over my shoulder and he is no where to be seen. Half way up Old Milton Rd. I down a gel and maintain a good pace, as I wash the gel down I raised my bottle to a couple of hunters as they wave. Old Milton is a piece of work, it looks flat, but is a steady shallow climb that can demoralize you if you didn't know it's secret. I had 40 miles under me and was maintaining a 18-17mph average. This is pretty good, but by the look of the grade one would expect to pull off 20 easy, not so. I make it to the light where the road crosses Hwy 72 and becomes Charlotte's Way. The light turns green and I go straight. I pull into the drive at 1045, early with 54.6 miles for the day.