Wednesday, May 23, 2018


May. What a month. My current Garmin Connect report:

February was when I had a sprained ankle and I still did 5 times more riding than I have this month and that was mostly on the indoor trainer. Now to be completely fair I have ridden my bike to lunch a few times from the office, so maybe I should include those extra miles? But they are hardly high intensity rides.

Why? Shelly is totally overworked during the month of May. End of year reports, parent meetings, billing, all on top of her normal work. She worked until nearly 11 last night. Mother's day. Two birthdays. Rec soccer. High school track. Scholarship banquets. Sports banquets. Graduation. The grass started to grow and the rain started washing my driveway away. Wood boring bees. Church. Team Athens road race. Making sure my family is fed. Work.

How should one respond to all this? If I am honest with myself I am a professional dad, husband, engineer and not a professional cyclist. I shouldn't complain though I sometimes do. I shouldn't be discouraged though sometimes I am. It isn't like I am worrying about where to get enough food to feed my family. I don't worry about where I am going to work. I am not dealing with a school shooting, losing a child, or being deported. I just don't get to ride very much and I love to ride.

So yeah, I wish I was riding more, traveling to places, doing stuff. But sometimes there are more important things.

"what ever dad makes"
Got to drop by the Grill to see a friend play after one track meet.
This happened!
Brock had to share his birthday this year.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Rock-n-Roller Coaster

Last week saw thing 3 in a fight at school to the next day scoring 5th grade plus on a math assessment (he's in 2nd). Death of a pet to thing 2 setting his PR in long jump and his leg of the 4x200 and 4x400 and then getting a call that he was awarded another scholarship. Shelly on the verge of a meltdown because of work and being overly busy at home too, to picking up a sweet cherry red Epiphone Dot Studio. Or at least it is sweet now. The the week ended with word that one of our soccer families, people we have know since we were kids, lost their youngest daughter to suicide. She was only 12. Our hearts ache for them.

Life is hard. Plans never seem to go as planned. We are over worked. We are over stressed. We are under slept.  How do we deal with it? How do we change it? Everything expects everything of us and in the end there is often nothing left for ourselves and closest loved ones. I don't know the answers. We try to make the best of what we can. I may feel helpless but not hopeless.

I was a jumper in high school. Both the long jump and high jump resulted in a good deal of success. School record in the high jump and just a few inches shy of the long jump record. Ethan started jumping this year. Without much coaching or specific training he was jumping pretty well, in the 17' range. Last week I got to a meet to see him jump (the usually start the jumps before I can get away from work, so I had not made it yet). A couple things jumped out at me as I watched him take his first jump. Gave him some advice which he turned in to a TVC 5th place and PR jump beating his old PR by a full foot!

I have been watching for a guitar with humbuckers for a while. I love to play my Telecaster, but I would never describe it as a warm sound. I wasn't sure I wanted a Les Paul though, they are so heavy and I am not exactly a shredder. I love the looks and the feel of the PRS guitars I have held, but that is big money and seem to rarely show up used. A few weeks ago I saw a posting for an Epiphone Dot Studio. This is the less expensive version of the Dot which is the less expensive version of the ES335. The fret board does not have any inlays, no pick guard, and a single pot for volume and one for tone rather than one for each pickup. These are made in Asia to keep the price down and have less expensive pickups (open coil Alnico classic humbuckers).

I email the person and did not hear anything back. Oh well, must have sold it.

Two weeks later I got an email saying that he just found my message. The supposed story is that the guitar was won in a song writing contest by a friend of his who played and even gigged with it until this person bought it. It then sat in the case for a couple years.

Condition: dirty. The fret board, fret wires, bridge were green. The neck pickup was missing the springs to set the pickup in position and the trim ring was a mess. The first owner had put tape on it (I would assume to hold it in place since the springs were missing). But aside form a couple scratches/nicks the finish was in great condition, the neck straight.

A couple hours with some mineral spirits, 00 steel wool, cleaning rags, and elbow grease got the guitar in pretty decent shape. I had to sand the trim rings smooth and then spray with a clear enamel since the seller tried to clean the tape off with acetone. PSA: never use acetone on a plastic part. It will soften the plastic!

I noticed when I checked it out that the pickups did not seem to be original. The good news is that they had been swapped out with a set of Gibson '57 Classics! A trip over to StewMac for some pickup springs and I was back in business. A good, careful setup of the neck, bridge, pickups made for a really sweet, warm sounding guitar.

Finished out he weekend working the State Road Race Championships p/b Team Athens out at Lake Hope. I have worked this event for years (even raced it a couple times). Largest field of women and junior ever! Great to see. I am tired of hanging out with a bunch of up tight, well-off, 30 year old white guys. (I know that includes me, except I hope I am not up-tight and I am certainly not in my 30's anymore). Diversity is good for the sport. (Sorry, no photos from me as I worked registration. Didn't get to see any of the races).

Hope you can get outside and love others. Rock on.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Turning the corner, part 2

A few years ago we rescued a couple cats. In that first year, one of them was killed by a neighbor's dog. The other, Socks, was the one that made a trip to the church under the car and another car trip out where she apparently bailed along the road. She dislocated her hip and always had a limp. She was a little grumpy but pleasant. When we rescued two more cats, she always kept her distance. Earlier in the week she didn't show up at feeding time which was not like her. I saw her later when it looked like she was stalking something (cat's are little assassins!). Another day went by without her eating. Then Sunday afternoon she was asleep on the deck. She looked sickly but not in distress. I figured I come home Monday and end up taking her to the vet.

I came home early yesterday to meet a driver delivering a load of crusher run. I did not see her all afternoon. While I was fixing dinner, Brock was outside playing while Shelly was clearing a flower bed. I suddenly hear Shelly yelling. I rushed out to see Brock sobbing. I assumed he must have found a wasp nest since he was playing under the porch. Instead it was "hey I found Socks, oh, I think she died". Indeed she had. Shelly took Brock and I took care of wrapping her up in a blanket and burying her near the old ash tree where Rocket (Ethan's cat that was killed by dogs) is also buried. That was rough.

Continuing the comments about talent in our school from the last posting:
When I was a senior in school I was in the drama production. I don't actually recall the name of it, but it was small. Props were a couch and table. Lights? They were either on or off. Audio? Speak loudly. Singing? Nope.

We attended Alexander's musical production of A Little Mermaid. The school is lucky to have a few individuals that are passionate about the arts and drama in particular and volunteer tremendous amounts of time and energy on this. Much like we expect from our coaches and athletes, these folks have raised the bar for theater. The kids stepped right up too.  The result was a professional production. One that developed and showcased talent, not just of the "stars" but the crew as well.

Not that we didn't work hard when I was in school, but the arts were (and still are in many cases) something you did as a child, nothing to be serious about. Draw some pictures, get out some water colors, squeak on a recorder, maybe bang some cymbals, and when you grow up you also grow out of it.

I am happy to see the rise of the arts.

Bike tires:
Maxxis is a Team Athens sponsor. I will say that I am very happy with every Maxxis MTB tire I have used (even before they were a sponsor). This year I also picked up a pair of 700x25 ReFuse tires for my road bike. I really don't race the road so I didn't need a fancy racing tire. More, I needed a tire to ride broken chip and seal, something tough with some volume. I put them on a couple weeks ago and have a few miles on them now.

Narrow. Like crazy narrow. My last tires were a set of Michelin Pro 4 Endurance in 25. Even with the brakes opened up the tires would squeeze through the pads. Not these. I can literally remove the wheel without opening the brakes. They also feel stiffer, though it could be all because of the volume. Really, I can't get over how much narrower they are than my Pro4's. Can't comment on rain worthiness though, haven't been caught out in it yet.

I had over 2k miles on the Pro4's. The front still had some life left but the rear was pretty square so I finished it off with the trainer over the winter.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Turning the corner

Seems things are about to turn the corner. Like everything. Weather, family, health, work, home.

No surprise to anyone that the weather has been weird to crazy this year. From deep mud and floods to dry and red flag, from late season snows to 80 degree winter days. After a warm up last week before the senior Prom at school when the temps dropped back in to the upper 40's with a steep wind (at least the boys got to wear tux's, the poor gals with sleeveless and open shoulder dresses were not so lucky). Ethan got to take grandpa's 1970 Nova SS to prom, he was kind of stoked on that, but more he was stoked about turkey season. (He tagged a 2 year old 19.8 pound bird earlier that day). Today the forecast is sunny and 70 and gets warmer as the week goes. Just in time for the Lake Hope road race this Sunday. Though honestly I wish I was racing the Middle Mountain Momma, or even just wish I could.

My ankle injuring is about 99+%. The calf, is only about 80%. Apparently I have a pulled muscle. And just like sprains have degrees, so do strains. I have partially tore something in my right calf from the minor crash on my mountain bike. The worst part had to be waking at 2 am to cramps in the injured muscle. Why our bodies do this to its self is beyond my understanding. But it is getting better. I did a "log" run last night (3 miles) and only some minor discomfort. The foam roller caused all the real pain. Good thing I wasn't planning to road race this weekend. My legs are not in the racing shape. A side note though, I tuned 1000 miles last week on my second hand Tacx rollers. That is a lot of miles to roll in the basement.

I finished up a lot of documentation for a new product I have been working on for over a year. Still some work to go before they are rolling off the production line, but a major milestone none the less. Hope this means I can get to ride or run on a more regular basis.

May is the last month of school and Shelly's over the top busy time at work. Three weeks to two birthdays and one graduation. 4 weeks to the end of the school year.

Do you watch Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown series? It is excellent. This weekend was a show about WVa. It reminded me a lot of our area. Athens county has the highest poverty rate in the state and most of that is in the rural areas. Our rural school districts have been caught by inadequate state funding and low tax bases for years. It is about to come to a head for Alexander after a couple failed levies and the threat of cut backs looms. Even with this, I am impressed by the talent I see: singers, actors, artists, athletes, academics, community service, etc. Seriously gifted and hard working individuals are not reserved for the high class areas with high dollar tax bases.


Monday, April 16, 2018


By Thursday evening Brock was back to himself. Eating (some), running around, talking a bunch. Short lived bug that apparently has been making rounds at school with his teacher on the receiving end come Friday. Speaking of Friday, it was supposed to be in the low 80's in the afternoon and with lots of rain forecast over the weekend before temperatures dropping to near freezing with a snowflake possible I decided to take my d660 to work with me and take a couple hours of PTO to hit some dry trails.

After getting some drawings done and some orders made I headed out the door around 2p. I am tired. Like, I wonder if I have mono tired. So I knew I wasn't going to push it, but I needed the ride as much for the soul as the body. I rode down Hope drive to the Dow Lake Dam and up to Sundown Trail. Not far in from this end the trail climbs up and over some rocks. I have ridden this many, many times without issue. Today, taking it *easy* I spun the back tire over one of said rocks. This shifted me to the downhill side of the trail and over the edge. I got the right shoe unclipped but it was too late and head first I went sliding. No big deal. It was just a bunch of leaves, pretty steep, but I didn't hit anything. But wait, why does my calf hurt so badly? Ah, banged it pretty hard on the chainring. It will work itself out.

I kept riding. Met a kid and his dogs out loving the trails. Rode through some ramps. It wasn't working itself out. It became really painful to stand up and I felt every rough thing on the trail. I took the Scatter Ridge connector and connected with road to get back toward the dam dropping down the horse trail access back to Sundown and then back to the office.

Smells like Casa
I had to stop at my folks on the way home to fix their computer. Dad had somehow installed some Firefox add-in the was hijacking his searches. Home from there where I was supposed to get the boys before heading back out to meet my folks and my brothers family for some pizza. Got home to find E with a 103 fever. Shelly was gone for the evening so she dropped off Brock to my folks and I was going to get E to urgent care. He felt so bad he said he couldn't get in the truck. Ibuprofen and a nap then. After a while the vitamin I kicked in, dropped his temperature and he was ready to go. We just made it pulling in to Holzer at 7:57 (they close at 8). I really appreciate the staff seeing him, they could have turned us away. Interestingly they couldn't test him for flu because they have had so many people with the flu they ran out of tests. He had flu-like symptoms as well as suspected strep throat. Antibiotics and tamiflu. At CVS they could only partially fill the tamiflu. Again, so many people with the flu! Stopped at my folks again to get Brock, home at 10p and finally got to eat some dinner.

Everybody slept in on Saturday. The weather was still warm and sunny but it was going to be raining by the end of the day. I figured I better try to ride and work out my calf. Did a loop of back roads with a few big climbs. It felt OK until I hit a pothole or a washboard and it felt like I had a full on calf cramp. And the roads were not exactly in good shape. You could tell where the floods had been over the roadway in places of where it just washed out. One such road would have required a 4WD rock crawler to get through.

Hard to see, but it got a lot worse from here.
Back home and we tripped in to Athens to pick up Athens Marathon race packets. OVRC was packed! Shelly and E were supposed to run. But with E still recovering he just didn't have it in him. He missed his track meet on Saturday too. Felt bad since he had been working hard to be ready. Proud of Shelly though. A half marathon is no joke. Time and motivation to prepare is hard, especially when you are our age, job, kids, home. She stuck through it though.

And a smile.

Per Sonya Looney, 'Be Brave, Do Epic Shit" Epic is indeed relative.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Hold on

I shoveled out the ditch last night that the flooding rains filled up with parts of my driveway. While shoveling, a neighbor boy rode up on his bicycle. Ball cap, jeans, boots, riding his too small for him Mongoose. Made me happy.

Me this morning: Let's see, Brock has soccer practice this evening and I will just be meeting Shelly there and taking over so she can get her workout in for the Athens half this weekend. Oh, and the weather is going to be warm. Oh, and the trails are really dry. I have been working hard lately, I'll leave early for work so I can leave a little early, I'll take my bike and ride around the lake before meeting up with Shelly. Cool.

Life: Hold on

Brock: I don't feel very good... blows chunks.

Life: Boom.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Coming apart at the seams.

So. Much. Water. Heavy storms early in the week have left the Hocking River overwhelmed. East State St is closed due to high water this morning. Our parking lot at work is a lake. Sewer lift station pumps are still off. 


I still had a day left on my trial of Rouvy, I got set last night for a quick ride, shooting for a little more than a half an hour. Three miles in to my 13 mile ride, I can't seem to put any power in to the trainer without just slipping the tire.

Yes, the tube actually came apart at one of the mold seams. Seems to sum up my 2018 pretty well.