Monday, December 29, 2008
My new Terry is not as cushy as my old Terry Fly Cromoly, but after just one ride, I felt comfortable. The seat is much lighter and the leather is soft and subtle. My sits bones fit the saddle perfectly and it is much more comfortable than the Selle. I was so excited about experimenting. I had to eliminate some strain in my peroneus longus muscle in my right leg. I rode my bike in conditions favorable for heavy thunderstorms. I lowered the seat about 3mm and moved my right shoe forward by adjusting the cleats on my speed plays. My left leg was perfect, and I suspect one of my legs is shorter than the other by a very miniscule amount. The minor change help me feel much more powerful and the setup felt better. Only a long ride will expose the results of the position change. I am hoping this change will help me to avoid injury. Considering my age I am suspect that I may be experiencing osteoarthritis as is in my family history. I hope to continue cycling for as long as possible. Though I had started out just for a short ride, I was enjoying myself so much that I just kept riding. I decided I had better get home and it started raining hard. I got soaking wet, but the temperature was very warm and I was thrilled with the ride.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
The new saddle looked great, but after a fair test of a little over 18 miles, I couldn't imagine riding 100 miles on the thing. Though padded and well made, the saddle caused me some pain that I honestly felt would not get better, and only worse over time. Because the saddle was very expensive, I had to be assertive and just send it back. My terry chromoly saddle has a split in the cover and has been ridden 3800 miles, so I will try a leather covered Titanium railed Fly. If the formula works, perhaps it is best to use what works. It was sad that the seat was so un forgiving, but a saddle is a very personal thing. I plan to do some long endurance charity rides next year and perhaps a race and I don't need any un-necessary physical problems. I have found small problems become big problems over a long ride. Best to get all the kinks out.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Nemo's seat arrived one day after I ordered it from competitive cyclist. She had picked up a lot of dirt as we had to take a brief muddy detour at the end of today's ride. I left the UPS guy a note to just leave the package if I was away and I found it when I got home. I will need to dial it in over a period of time and my butt may have to get use to the new seat. It isn't as cushy as the Terry, and so it may need to be broke in. It is much lighter than my last seat which the covering had started to crack. Like most things, it was very expensive and I hope it is as good as it is hyped up to be. The new 2009 Selle Italia Flite Gel Flow Saddle looks stunning. I tried to match the measurements of the last saddle, but the dimensions are not quiet the same, so I will need to experiment with it. I used a level after cleaning and lubricating the bolts. For fun, I may later experiment with red bar tape like Nemo had when I first got her last year. I have a lot of work to do while it is cold and I am thinking about focusing on charity century rides next year. I may even think about going to Texas to ride in the Live Strong Challenge. Who knows, I may even feel up to Racing in the Joe Martin Stage race in May 2009, but that race is extremely difficult. Time will tell.
Friday, December 5, 2008
The bike trails were totally amazing and winded for close to 13 or so miles around town. Not only were they well designed, smooth and wide, but they designed some areas that went under the major highway through tunnels. It was a great adventure of which I completely underestimated for their length and freedom from traffic. A person could speed as fast as physically possible or just take it easy. I saw several bikers of all levels and even several people walking which I let know that I was slowly approaching them from behind.
I found that these trails will make a perfect place to build up fitness after being off the bike. It is also mostly out of the wind as opposed to the road, and very easy to just relax and pedal slow. I did loose contact with the trail at the end of my ride which took me about 8 miles from my house, so I just took the road which immediately let my body know I was totally out of shape. I had to sprint in traffic after the light and I was in the cold wind which was very hard on my lungs.
All in all, I never regret my rides when I make the effort to get out on my bike Nemo. I do feel like all the clothing restricts my movement, but I am also out of shape. So my focus will need to be core strength and it will be time to get a head start on my base miles and general form.
It amazes me how out of shape I felt, but I did climb well enough at the end of the ride back to my house. That is always the real test and it won't take too much time to get back into riding form. The biggest benifit from making my lazy butt get out on the bike is how inspired and enthusiastic I am when I get back. It puts me in a better frame of mind. I'm definitely exploring tomorrow as it is suppose to be a high of 51 degrees F.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
This is actually a picture of White Rock Mountain, but it pretty much describes the conditions of my mountain bike ride. My favorite trail at Devils Den State Park was far Rockier and rough than it has ever been. The Huricane that passed over the state a couple months ago ravished many large trees as they layed across the trail about every 20 to 50 feet apart. The trees are huge and not just a technical challenge, but several were at chest level or full of limbs and debree. Aside from the extreme number of small to large jagged rocks on the trail, everything is covered with leaves which hides any true line that might present itself. Because I haven't ridden a mountain bike in a long time, or at least the technical sections I use to ride, I had to walk several sections because they were too dangerous or the trail was blocked by large trees that had been blown over and ripped from the ground from their roots. As I rode on, my mountain biking instincts began to come back and my technical skills were not that bad. However, because I was riding a borrowed bike that I was not use to, and that seemed to sag the bottom bracket too low for rocky conditions, I found my pedal hitting rocks and I just didn't feel set up for some of the more challenging and scary spots, so I just used good old common sense and hiked the scary sections. I got some really good down hill experience where my balance and forward scanning came back into play, but I felt I needed to be extra careful being away from medical help if I needed it. If I get a mountain bike in the future, it will definitely be a full suspension as a hard tail would have beaten me to death. Very hard work out. I felt strong and my endurance was good, but the trail was too rough and needs attention. Besides the very cold north wind, it was a glorious day to be out in nature and on the bike.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Thursday morning I am going to borrow my friend, Ranger Tim Scott's mountain bike and visit my favorite mountain bike trail. Mountain biking use to be my only form of riding and I put a great deal of energy and time into it. Well since then I sold my equipment and then later migrated to Road riding. What I loved about mountain biking was the fact that I had to focus and get into a zone, not only physically, but mentally or I would suffer possibly hazardous results. It use to be my form of meditation where after an hour or so, the problems I felt took a back seat to living in the moment. I look forward to my ride tomorrow. It is suppose to be colder than the last few days, but being in the trees deep in the woods shouldn't be too bad. It will certainly be a change of pace.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Well now it is getting cooler. I am less motivated, and I have never really enjoyed cooler air. I would do more on my bike, but I don't want to put a lock on my road bike to do errands. I am thinking about getting a light cable lock and putting a terry cloth around it so it won't scratch my bike. I am considering finding a place to do weight training or core exercises during the up coming winter months. My big goal is to get my truck fixed and taken care of as I certainly can't afford to get another one. Anyway, this picture pretty much describes my mood lately, tumultuous. I am needing something positive to focus on, so I think I will just go for a ride as a good form of meditation, come home, and clean my house. The tour de cure ride went well, but the wind the second half of the century was murder for everyone. The roads in Missouri were rough. I took a wrong turn at the end of the ride just a few miles from the end and ended up doing 105.36 miles. I did ride a little before the event to warm up, but most of the added miles were from getting lost. I felt pretty good except for a little tendinitis from working so hard in the wind. I rode 13 the next day, and then did 40 the next week, and then 35 the next week. I guess I need some cross training, and I am thinking of borrowing a mountain bike to do some single track next week.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
It is Saturday, October 4th, 2008 and seven days until I ride the Century at the Tour De Cure for diabetes. Today is a very special day for me, a very personal anniversary, but not a birthday, but a kind of re-birth, a second chance at life, which has lasted 19 years. I am grateful that at age 50, I still have relatively good health. I have started to notice the little things that I assume comes with age and is controlled by genetics and the life long experiences my body has had to endure and heal over time, but generally I am in OK shape. I am in as good of condition as I can get before the 100 mile ride. My average speed with out pushing myself to my limits has crept up to over 16 miles an hour over distance, anywhere from 26 to 51 miles. But to survive the century, I know I will need to keep my average low for most of the ride to ensure I don't bonk, or over tax my body. My max distance at one time is a little over 62 miles. My last 26 miles felt very good, but I can see where I need far better discipline with regards to keeping control of my effort and speed. My "yard dog" mentality doesn't help me be consistent. Around other bikers or racers, I catch myself trying to keep up at their tempo and not mine which can be disastrous to my performance and endurance goal. 16 is almost always in my range of average speed taking into consideration the hills I often climb and the changing wind conditions. Wind is my biggest enemy and when hit with a wind or hill challenge, I give up on my average and just do the work. I allow my self to be slow. Often, it is benificial to train slow and build up slowly. I try to be mindful and listen to my body signals. It takes these old bones and muscles several miles to warm up, but after about 13 miles it seems my body gets into a pain free and comfortable posture. Things that bother me like a knee, or an ankle, or back pain seems to settle out and I feel free of pain. Occasionally it takes a little longer, but if I drink enough, stop to stretch and just take it easy, my body responds. Most importantly, I have to ride my own ride and do my own pace. I will also try to eat and get my glycogen levels up before the ride and hydrate well. I have a hard 3 and half days of work to contend with, and then I will need to be well fed, hydrated, and rested. The lower back exercises and stretching exercises are helpful, but I haven't kept them up and I can't change much in a week. So hopefully, my basic fitness will be enough if I keep my speed and effort low at first and try to conserve energy.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Nemo has new bar tape, a new hg 105 10 speed chain, and stunning white fredestein tires. She is getting all gussied up for the October 11th, 100 mile ride at the Tour de Cure. in Northwest Arkansas. My co workers at Walmart Optical Lab in Fayetteville are helping to raise money and sponsoring me at this years tour. I am very humbled by their generosity. I have ridden 3373 miles this year and even then, I am nervous about the ride. It is difficult for me to pace myself. I did 51.01 miles the other day with a 16.01 average with windy conditions and long climbing sections. It was the first time in a long while that my legs were sore and I felt bonked climbing the drawn out hill back to my house. Even though my legs were wanting me to stop on the last hill, I carried on. My bicycle, Nemo, has been such a blessing for me personally. She is a well designed hand made Italian road bike and made of columbus nemo steel, with assorted carbon fiber parts. She is very well balanced and has performed extremely well in all conditions. Thanks again Tom at GVH bikes for putting her together. Hope to see you at the Tour.
Monday, September 1, 2008
I love this painting on the side of an old bike shop that once flourished in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This outer wall on the small building says it all about what makes me feel and stay alive! Bicycling has saved my life in so many ways, and I am very grateful. I am looking forward to the Tour de Cure on October 11th. I will be riding the century, and I am trying to raise 500 dollars. I hope I can do it... I think I can.... I think I can... I think I can.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Never mind the pillow in my jersey, I've started raising money for the Diabetes Association's Tour De Cure. Please visit my Tour De Cure web page by clicking here. I will be riding the century on October 11th. Thanks so much for your contributions which will help fight to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Today I rode my bike 61.2 miles and took my new bike route which presents me with mostly back roads where traffic is not as intense, the views are beautiful, and the route presents a plesant ride that is not too difficult, but challenging enough to get a mix of a variety of conditions. My ride started with three bottles of electrolite drink, two on my bike, Nemo, and one large bottle in my riding jersey. Foolishly, I didn't eat breakfast. My camera phone is not a good camera, but was easy to carry and document my ride. I first take a right down the hill, which I have to climb coming home and always presents a challenge at the end of the ride. It is the last major stressor in my ride and I judge my conditioning by it's precieved difficulty. I then take a few quick turns to a road that is often used by road bikers and the sign with a picture of a bicycle on it says, "Share the ride." Most roads allow bicycle traffic in Arkansas, but trying to tell the motorist that. After a quick and long slight down hill flat area, and with the wind at my back today and the temperatures like fall after the cool front came in, I start a one mile slight incline that always is a good measure of fitness as it always kicks my butt. After the long slight climb the course takes the new turn. I turn left off the hill and the road winds down and up several short but extremely steep little hills that eventually crosses the main highway. After the highway crossing, the road again is serene and relatively traffic free in comparison to the main highway. This road eventually connects the town Farmington and I have to take a left at the main highway and ride about 3/4 of a mile before I take a right on another country back road which is again relatively traffic free and serene. I pass several beautiful houses and some newly built mansions. I love the old brick church and a brick house along the country road leading to the bottom of the hill on the highway to Prairie Grove. At the top of a long shallow, but deceptively difficult climb into Prairie Grove is the Prairie Grove Battlefield Park which the locals have done a wonderful job recreating the history of the area decide to ride on towards Cove creek which goes to Sulfur Springs which is another back country road that is surrounded by farm fields and the higher hills in the distance. This winds back toward an area used by the Joe Martin stage race in a little town called, "HOGEYE." Only in a place like Arkansas would a person find a town named HOGEYE. I decide to take a smooth country road that again connects to Prarie Grove a different way and reconnect back the way I come. The temperature was unusually cool, and didn't start to heat up until I started to return to town and into the wind. I had to stop and refresh my water supplies and my right leg knee area seemed to be a little cramped from standing and pushing hard on the steep little hills coming home. The hills are not long, just very steep. I am planning to ride a 100 mile ride in October to raise money for the Diabetes Association, and I couldn't help but note, that my conditioning is good, but I have a long way to go. Thank goodness October will be much cooler.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
I did 15 miles after work Wednesday to get my body ready for thursday's ride with a strong and fast rider. The ride went well and it was nice to ride with someone else for a change. Though my body hasn't felt as athletic or energized lately, I was on that day a little stronger than my friend. Thankfully, she is one who tends to over train and I lucked out to catch her on a day when she was very tired and sore from working out and running. I'm certain she would normally kick my ass and twice on Sunday. I decided at the last minute to see if I could photo graph some fireworks, but my vantage point wasn't as close or high up this year and it was just an excuse to get out of the house for a little walk. This is the second year with out TV coverage of the tour, so I will have to get my fix via the internet. This is my second year without family stuff on the 4th of july. It is time to get out more. Since it is clearing outside, I think I will go for a ride.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Starting to think about a new bike project. This bike will be able to tour and handle rougher conditions, but also be fast when needed or carry weight and have a very wide range of gears. Should prove to be a challenge. Nemo, my best bike hopefully will enjoy having a new little brother around the house. She will always be my main girl as far as a bike is concerned. I would like something that I can rough a round a little that can take a beating and keep on ticking. Nemo is a sweet steel Italian road bike, but she has no braze ons and is not a touring bike, but a road racing bike. She has proven herself on the road, but I just don't want to put a lock on her or take her to work or down some dirt roads. She is a road machine and built to speed, a thoroughbred.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I have had a couple of good dreams lately. The day before yesterday, I dreamed I had a good job where I wore clean and pressed kacky pants and nice shirt. It was a technical type position that apparently paid well. In my dream I jump for joy physically that I had a job that I enjoyed, and gave me a since of fulfillment. My other dream this morning before work was that I was spending time with my estranged spouse and she was kind to me and things were good. It was still an odd dream, but a good dream that was healing in a way. My best friend Toni is moving away and I am kind of at a loss. I have sort of resigned myself to doing what I am now doing forever and just the acceptance of the whole deal seems to give me an surrendered calm. It is like I just got tired of trying to make things different. My life is like riding my bike. I can ride my bike slow or fast and I don't have to be a speed demon or to suffer above my level. Just time on the bike is making me better. Trying to eat like a vegetarian has been difficult since I have never been a cook, or a good eater. So I am learning a lot. Silent meditation is kind of where I am at right now. I have had way too much trauma and I'm tired.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
I know I don't have to follow the crowd and I have been given a good mind and the freedom to think. I think I will try it for a while, learn to cook, learn to play my guitar, ride my bicycle, and get to know myself. I would like to get connected to the universe somehow, and find closure from the past, and open some new door into a new part of life that I have been blinded from. Of course, I'm talking to myself, but I know what I mean. I think I will try baking. Exploring art and culture, start reading more, and getting out more. I saw the movie, Kung Fu Panda, and I laughed so hard. It was really good to laugh. Perhaps, I will travel. I have also enjoyed photography. I will find my place somewhere in the still of the universe, but right now it is a storm inside myself which means change.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
I went to the Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood concert at the University of Arkansas Razorback stadium. The stadium is just down the hill from my little red house. Dee, my little sister, and I had a good time. We even got the snow cone girl to give us a smile for the camera! We enjoyed the charming ladies sitting next to us. After taking their picture, I got them to photograph Dee and me. We don't spend much time together, so getting to go to a free concert was perfect. I had fun photographing the event while taking a ribbing from my sister about taking pictures of all the pretty women. Of course she was right which is the point of this blog. I'm a guy! What can I say....... I took the top picture and edited it a little to make a point, and that is this: My mind and camera work alike. Everyone else in the top photo are not as in focus or colorful when the young woman suddenly caught my eye in the crowd. I guess I can't help it. Life is beautiful in so many ways, and often spontaneous! Keith Urban walked into the stands while performing a song and actually gave his guitar to a guy in the Audience. Wow! what a great performance by both Artist and what a fun crowd.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
I wanted to try to add some of my piano compositions to my site. Here is the cover of my next project, which has been on the shelf for a long time. My first CD, Fire in January, is my piano cd recorded and copyrighted in 1998, and recorded at Melody Recording Studio in Fayetteville, Arkansas. My friend Donn Young let me use this photo from the Atlas Mountain Children in Morroco for my next project. I can't decide on the title.
Friday, May 23, 2008
All this talk about waffles has made me realize how hungry I am. It is off the store to buy a waffle iron, and I will soon be looking into recipe books that get me away from my typical meat and fried food diet. It almost seems impossible for this old dog to change, but I know I can do it. Increasing my miles on the bike sure helps the need to eat right. Evidently there is a "World Vegan Waffle Day." I'm not there yet, but I am improving.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I never realized how totally intense cyclo cross is. I have raced mountain bikes before, and it totally kicked my ass from the word go, but watching the women's 2007 cyclo cross world championships showed me just how incredible amazing these women athletes are. Having visited Christine "Peanut" Vardaros's blog and web site, I apparently under estimated the herculean strength and endurance these athletes must have to compete at the highest level. I have never been so inspired to ride. Thanks Christine for all your hard work and dedication. Also, I wanted to give a shout out to my friend Donn Young. Donn for his 50th birthday in the early summer of 2000, crossed the United States on his mountain bike from the Canadian border to the border of Mexico. I crossed Wyoming and part of Colorado with him on his Journey. It is people like these that inspire me to be the most I can be. Here is a funny video of my friend Donn and some friends from New Orleans taking in some trails at Devil's Den State Park. Mountain biking at its finest here in Northwest Arkansas.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Purchased a new pair of speedplay x2 pedals. It was one of the those impulse long term wants I felt like satisfying. Before the purchase, I woke up to a head cold or allergy problem which I found very annoying and frustrating. After working all week and looking forward to a nice few days off to enjoy riding, I wake up with this crud. My half day wednesday, I ended up helping move a friend out of his old apartment. I felt like I got into some mold or something. I didn't think I would ride or feel like it so I spent most the morning doing my laundry and trying to take care of myself. Then I decided to bite the bullet and buy the pedals at a local bike shop. I spent a while getting my old cleats off my bike shoes and fixing a screw insert, and then I tested the pedals. I had to go back and take off the cleats as they were too far in front of the ball of my foot, but after I did some adjustments, they felt ok. They were a little stiff. Just testing them was enough to motivate me to go riding. It was a perfect day and I mean perfect. I didn't intend to ride far, but I felt like Forrest Gump, first I went to the end of town, and then I felt like going farther, and farther.... I got in a good hour and fifty minute ride. My breathing was ok, but I forgot to bring a hanky and so I tested out the cloth pad on my new gloves. I didn't stop, which is unusual, but good. I practiced drinking while riding which always seems to be something I need to learn and keeping myself hydrated. I was very strong and allowed myself to go easy and spin. I also seemed to have good form and could speed for long distances with a smooth high cadence. What a great ride and Nemo looks really good with her new pedals.
Monday, May 12, 2008
I have been stuggling with what to do with myself. I have contemplated quiting my job and going on a bike tour, but I realize that I don't like that kind of riding. Of course I enjoy seeing the sites and just riding and exploring, but I actually don't like camping all that much and unless I rode with a group or a good friend, I don't think I would enjoy it. I like the freedom my road bike gives me. I don't want to be weighted down with equipment except for the essentials such as a repair kit, small multi- tool , some essential liquids and food for needed energy. My bike is light and geared just right for this area, but it isn't a tour bike. Nemo is a thoroughbred and not a mule. I was thinking of doing long day trips to cool destinations that had a nice hotel and restaurant. I think that would be more enjoyable. I could ride and be free and then enjoy the comfort and security of nice lodgings at night. Perhaps a small guided tour that stopped at bed and breakfasts. Something fun. Perhaps I just need a friend. Though I am needing a change, I have been thinking about quiting my job I have been at for almost 6 years. This isn't the immediate answer, but possibly a long term goal with needed planning. I did check to see how much I would get from my small 401K and did the calculations of approximately my long term expenses if I did want to cross America, but right now, it would be a huge gamble to come back to a month or so of having my bills paid, but with no job. Better think this one out. I do want to do something, and I can feel the doors of change starting to swing open to new opportunities. Nothing will happen if I don't take the initiative and do the research and planning. I will at some point have to make a decision as I am not happy and for my mental and emotional health, I need something new and positive. I love my bike. Perhaps I am just bored and lonesome, and just need a change. Hopefully this isn't me trying to sabotage myself because I am sad about my up coming divorce. Being separated for over a year now has really taken me on a long emotional roller coaster and I think I just need to feel different and have a new way of experiencing life. I am now 50 and I keep saying that, but I feel if I don't do something, I am going to rot, or die of high blood pressure, heart disease, and all the rests that goes with this melancholy.
Friday, May 9, 2008
The masters and Cat 3 - 5 races are tomorrow at the Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Since I don't feel up to that level physically, I felt I owed myself the oportunity to ride the course or at least part of it. One of my favorite loops is to take a right to Prairie Grove at about 14 miles from town before what is called the "Hogeye Mall" a small gas station, but at that particular intersection, you take a left for the race course which soon hits what is affectionally called the wall which is a very steep but short hill. Later, the course takes a right at West Fork and travels towards Devil's Den State Park. The first section is up hill. After taking the first part of the wall, I took the second hill and took a right, with more climbing. After a while I changed my mind on my planned ride, so I decided to turn around and enjoy the extreme down hill section towards West Fork and onto the major highway back to Fayetteville. The hill is so steep that I feathered my brakes to keep it under control. The total miles back to my house was 30.38. The wind is always going one direction it seems on highway 71 B going back to town and a cyclist can really hall some major ass and a person can often see cyclist blasting down that section of highway because of the wind. It was a wonderful ride as yesterday's clouds and morning rain gave me the blues. I tired my new trainer, but I didn't like the way it caused flex in my steel italian frame, so I figure I will find an old used bike to use on the trainer. Rollers would eliminate this problem, but I have already put out for the fluid trainer.
I read constantly where bikers are hit by motorist, and on the way up the first steep curved hill, just going out of Fayetteville, there are two crosses that remind me of the two cyclist killed there. That particular section always scares me as there is no shoulder and the hill winds around with a blind side to it. One day I was riding this section and a truck drove by in the wrong lane with a guy hanging out of the open passenger door screaming, get the #@$%$#@ off the road you crazy bastard, and I'm thinking to myself, who is crazy here, me or this maniac hanging out of a truck in the wrong lane traveling 50 miles an hour.
Though I had a really good ride and realized my condition is much better than I thought, I feel kind of down. It was really nice just riding and not having to push so hard. I enjoyed the peaceful site of beauty, the birds, the wild flowers, the clouds, and that big dog that got my attention right before dazing off before the big climb.... thanks dog for not biting my leg. You sure got my adrenaline pumping. But still, sometimes I get a little depressed after the adrenaline wears off. I'm eating and everything, but after putting so much into my ride, I feel a little empty. Perhaps it was the crosses on the side of the road.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
A year ago, I wanted to get a road bike really bad as I was trying to keep up with my friend Toni on her carbon fiber Trek, and I on an old Schwinn High Sierra mountain bike with fat boy slicks on them. I did pretty well, but pushing the heavey bike, plus my fat ass up the ozark hills and trying to catch her wheel was way more training than I anticipated. I was the "Heft on Wheels" poster boy and horribly addicted to store bought bake your own apple pie and belgum cigars, not to metion my lack of proper diet. So one day, bound and determined to buy a road bike, I contacted GVH bikes in oregon and mailed him a starter check to purchase a frameset with plans to build it slowly. As I was getting off the phone with Tom, I heard a pounding on my door. Evidently a driver of a large truck had hit my small truck in my drive way. I felt sorry for the gentleman as he was very upset. The damage to my truck was not too bad, but the insurance company decided that the left side quarter panel had to be replaced. So I decided to live with the dent, and work on my biking skills. Needless to say, the dent in my truck helped finance my new bicycle. Since then, I have quit smoking, started eating better, and have improved my overall outlook on my condition. I am now contemplating quiting my job, cashing in my 401k and riding across the continental United States. Several of my friends look at me like I'm pretty foolish, but something in me drives me to do something adventurous and new. I crossed Wyoming and part of Colorado with my friend Donn Young to celebrate his 50th birthday in 2000, and I was thinking an adventure like crossing the country might be a good way to celebrate my 50th birthday. I could use a break from the factory life, and I love my bicycle. Time will tell. I'm not riding with Toni anymore, but if I was, I still couldn't keep up with her. She's one of those girls that kick ass!