Tuesday, August 17, 2010

NAMI Bike Ride

Check out Our Tree Squirrels NAMI Bike Ride Post!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Russ J***** Talks to Animals

45 Miles

I rode up on a wood chuck sitting on the road today.
"Hey woodchuck.  You're going to get run over." 
(Woodchuck doesn't move.) 
"What's the matter woodchuck?  What's it like to be a woodchuck?" 
(Woodchuck looks up and bolts.)
"Alright then.  Nice talking to you woodchuck.  Say 'hi' to your mother for me, OK." 

I approach a deer as I'm climbing the toughest part of the hill with the wind in my face.
"Hey deer.  How's it going?  Hey dear, give me a tow, would ya!"
(Deer looks at me and bounds off leaping over the fence and disappears.)
"Alright then.  Nice talking to you deer.  Say 'hi' to your mother for me, alright"

If you didn't get it, watch this SNL link.

I got up early this morning and pedaled over to Mike's house in the dark.  I watched an awesome sun rise over my shoulder.  I've never appreciated sun rises before I began riding with Mike, mostly because I'm never awake enough to see one.  It's all up hill to Mike's house and I was struggling to wake up in the 8 miles before I met up with him.  We finally met up and pedaled down the trail.  We took it easy, gabbing and catching up from our two week hiatus.  Round trip, I had in 27 miles before I even went to work.  Add in my 3 mile round trip commute to make it an even 30 miles.

I don't really know what possessed me, but I decided to do a lunch ride up to Pictograph Caves and back, another 15 miles for a total of 45 miles today.  It was really cool outside when I started the ride, probably about 60 degrees.  That was part of the appeal.  It was also overcast and somewhat drizzling on and off.  I started out cold but eventually warmed up as I cranked it up Colburn Road to the TV antennas.  I made really good time even though I fought a slight headwind on my way up. 

As I approached the drop off on the other side, I determined I had time to go to the bottom and come back up.  I'd have a headwind going down so the ride back up shouldn't be so bad.  As I flew down the hill, I gripped the brakes hard.  I was uneasy with the combination of speed, wind and wet asphalt so I played it safe.  I still had some time when I made it to the bottom so I went the rest of the way in to Pictograph Caves.  I've never made it that far during a lunch break. 

As I turned around at Pictograph Caves something horrible happened.  The wind shifted and picked up.  I was now fighting the wind that was supposed to blow me up the mile and a half long hill.  Grrrrr!  I shifted down and grunted as I cranked the pedals, thighs burning.  That's when I came across the wood chuck (ground hog for you Easterners) and I actually did speak to it.  "Hey woodchuck.  You're going to get run over!"  When I had to swerve because it didn't move, I did ask "What's the matter woodchuck?"  I exagerated the rest.

Still huffing and puffing up the hill, I came upon a doe mule deer.  She bounded away from me effortlessly up the hill.  I watched in amazement and that's when I mustered the breathe to shout "Hey dear, give me a tow, would ya!"  Again, I exaggerated a little after that.  I promise, talking to animals isn't a normal occurrence, besides 'mooing at the cows, but it did give me that extra push I needed to get me up the hill and take my mind off the wind and cold.  I was glad to get back to the office, also a rare occurrence.

After work Sarah and I played three aggressive games of racket ball.  I'm pooped and I still have to get ready for our 33 mile NAMI ride tomorrow morning.  Hope I survive the weekend.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Been awhile

18 Miles

Its been awhile and although I have been riding, I haven't been riding enough.  Deadlines at work and projects at home have gotten the best of me.  I've been so exhausted lately that I've been lucky to hop on my bike to commute to work.  I did get a few lunch rides in during the last two weeks but I struggle to open my eyes even at 7am right now so morning rides were out.  So it was great that the youth in my ward decided to do an evening bike ride on the rims before their "Iron Man" activity celebrating their completion of reading the Book of Mormon in 60 days.

I took advantage of the opportunity and left work early to pedal the mountain bike trail on the east side of the rims to the parking lot where we'd be meeting.  It may have been my desire to get in some extra mileage or my dread of climbing 27th Street.  Its one tough, steep climb with cars whizzing past your elbows.  The route I took was a combination of paved trail and single track.  I had a great time flying over the obstacles and even tried the drop that Mike and I discovered last time we rode the trail.  I didn't completely make it but I stayed on the bike.  I need to let go of the front brake and I think I'll do fine.

I met up with the youth exhausted, hot and sweaty.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep up or perform very well.  We sat around, tinkering with bikes and waiting for others to show.  The longer we waited, the more energy poured back into me.  By the time we left I was ready to roll.  I was directed to lead the pack.

We had a slow start but quickly gained momentum.  I stopped the group as we approached the large drop off of the boulder to warn them of the obstacle ahead.  I leaned over to another leader, Nathan, and asked if he was going to do it.  Of course he just jumped on his bike and rolled right of the edge.  Nothing to it.  Except that in my last attempt, which was successful, I busted my bike up pretty bad and had to buy a new crankset and saddle.  It's freaked me out ever since.  Since Nathan made it look so easy, I felt obligated to drop of the rock as well.  That dang ego of mine!  I approached but couldn't get clipped in in time.  I yelled, "I'm not going to do this!" but by then Nathan had already pulled out the camera.  I went back for a second approach but still couldn't clip in and stopped again.  What the heck.  I let go of the brakes and rolled right off the edge down the crevasse in the rocks and cleaned it (without being clipped in) with little effort.  What have I been so freaked out about.  I think I finally got over my mental barrier.

I found myself leading again down the trail.  I slowed as we approached another obstacle to warn the riders behind me.  Its an easy roll down the face of a rock onto the trail, a sharp turn, and then back up the hill but I have seen it get the best of a couple riders.  The last thing we needed was a broken leg or bad gash from a crash.  I went first and showed the kids how to get down.  I navigated the obstacle perfectly.  However riding back up the trail my back wheel slipped and my front wheel grabbed in some strange combination that left me completely helpless.  Yes, I crashed.  I smacked a tree and went up and over the handle bars.  Hurrying to get out of the way of the other riders, I tugged on the bike but the bike tugged back.  Somehow some brush got caught in my rear spokes, cassette and derailleur.  It may have even caused my wreck.  I had to carefully pull the brush out of all the components before I could get back on the trail while trying to regain whatever pride and composure I could muster up.  Unlike most of my other crashes, this time I had witnesses.

I lead the pack the rest of the way back.  We finally made it to the church house, 45 minutes late for the activity, wolfed down whatever food they had left and enjoyed the remainder of the program.  After the activity, I pedaled home and cleaned up.  While sitting on the couch with Sarah almost an hour later, I looked down and saw this:
I don't know what that lump was.  I didn't notice it in the shower. I showed Sarah a nasty scratch on my shin after I got home and she didn't see the lump either.  I just reached down to scratch it and there it was, a big honkin' goose egg about 5 inches long and raised an inch or two off my leg but there was no discoloration and it didn't hurt.  Sarah freaked and wouldn't look at it.  I quickly put an ice pack on it and it disappeared just as quickly as it appeared in the first place.  Weird.