Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fire in January CD

Children of the World ProjectI 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.
It will take me a while, as I am slow, to figure out how to add my own music to this site. I decided to make a movie of my photography, which shows some of my life and some just the sky, with the second piano composition "Bible School Crush" as a musical background. I hope it works.
video

Friday, May 23, 2008

Waffles


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

Incredible People


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.

video

Friday, May 16, 2008

Nemo has new pedals.

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

Future Plans

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

Flowers on the side of the road.


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.
Rickie




Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Miracles do happen.

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!
Rickie