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.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Random Things

Just a post of random things while I have the chance to jot them down.

What's spinning? I have been enjoying some county music recently. Not the trivial lyrics, over produced, dog-beer-and truck, hip-pop-country stuff. I am not a fan (and every genre has that kind of music out there). What I like about country music is the instrumentation. A steel guitar, maybe some banjo or mando. I also seem to gravitate towards music and artists that are songwriters and that write about meaningful things. I have enjoyed Margo Price's first two albums. Been spinning Beck's "Sea Change" in the car. Most recently though it has been Kacey Musgraves' "Golden Hour". Similar to Beck's swings toward country from the alt-hip-hop or whatever you categorize him as, Musgraves swings from the other side blending more modern sounds in with more traditional instruments.  Favorite tracks would include "Slow Burn", "Golden Hour", "Oh What A World". Her effortless singing sits right in with songs. Take a listen.

A small amount of progress on the stone surround for the new hearth. The walls will be framed with some heavy weathered timbers. I cut them down from some 4x10 hemlock. Still need to poly them.

It's what's for lunch. Wonder why we have epidemic levels of diabetes, heart disease, obesity.

The Ohio State Road Race is coming up on May 6. Turns out to be the same day as the new 6 hour race in WV that I was kind of planning to do. Instead, I will be working the registration table at Lake Hope. Want to volunteer? They need drivers and corner marshals. Find Team Athens on the Facebook for details.

Easter was another busy holiday while trying to get over being sick. Nice to live so close to so much family. Hard to live so close to so much family. Up at 5:30 am to get rolls rolled so they can rise and bake before I head to soundchecks at 8. Church at 10:30. Lunch with Shelly's grandparents and fam. Grab some coffee on the way to my folks for another meal. Home by 8. Lot of food. Lot of sitting. Good but long day.

Ankle update: about 90%. Most of the pain and swelling are gone. Still limited range of motion and discomfort. Maybe run again for the first time this week. Or maybe go for a swim?

The parking lot is once again filled with flood water. It gets better... the city just informed us that the sewer pumps are being turned off. So please hold it. 

On second thought a swim seems like a bad idea.

Thursday, March 22, 2018


The township cleaned the ditches this week. I guess I should be pleased that the mailbox is still in place.

The ole mailbox is looking pretty rough after being run over a couple times, hit by boom mower, thrown in the creek, thrown in the neighbors woods, and now had a ditch spun in front of it.

And, just when my ankle was almost its normal size, a wasp stung me just just above my sock. Result = cankle. Grr, wasps are jerks.

And since Ohio (as a lot of the country) is experiencing multiple rounds of weird winter weather and I still can't seem to get many rides outside, I am still using the indoor trainer. Last summer I bought a slightly used Tacx Vortex Smart. Fully controllable with BTLE or ANT+ (depending on the software and device). Here are a few thoughts on it and on a few of the available training software packages out there. The iOS Tacx apps work fine for calibration and firmware updates as well as just setting a power or slope point and rolling. All the weird issues and quirks seem to be with desktop apps for riding a virtual course. Depending on the software it may or may not use BTLE, it may or may not need paired again every time you use it, it may or may not work if your old iPod Bluetooth is turned on and sitting upstairs, it may or may not work is some Garmin software is running, oh, and the software support is pretty bad. The three packages I tried (Tacx, BKool, Rouvy) apparently are all translations from other languages to English, judging by the weird grammar, and have instructions like "pair the trainer".

Tacx was the easiest to pair to the trainer, as it should be, but I only successfully did a ride with it once. Instead, the app would regularly crash, without error, it would just disappear. It also needed to have ride videos pre-downloaded. These were big, multiple GB. And after downloading 3 GB only to have the app crash and the video disappear, let's say I was done using it.

The second app I tried was BKool. The challenge pairing with this was that it needed to use ANT+. But, if your Garmin software is running in the background it will prevent the connection, even though it can see it. And if anything BTLE is trying to connect to the trainer, ANT+ won't pair. This took me a while (days) to figure out. The software itself was stable. Browsing all the videos and routes was a little labored but I wasn't overly picky about the ride as long as it hit the time frame/distance/climbing I was looking for. I also don't use it as a game and ride with/against friends so I don't have any comment on that nor did I use it for structured workouts. I actually subscribed to BKool for a couple months and used it a couple times a week. The rides and videos were great and terrible. I got to ride in Moab, in Spain, New Zealand, etc. Some videos were well produced. Some were almost dizzying. Some were in beautiful mountain areas and some on city streets loaded with cars. Not a refined package, but solid. I would not hesitate to use it again.

Finally I started using Rouvy (Virtual Training). Again, terrible instructions with weird grammar. I can use BTLE but only after you make sure every other device isn't trying to connect to the trainer. Also the trainer must be connected in Windows Bluetooth devices and then you can finally connect in the app. Oh, and when you restart the app you apparently have to re-do the Windows paring/connecting and then reconnect in the app. Supposedly an issue that Rouvy knows about and says that it is Windows' fault and the solution is to buy another BLTE dongle or repair each time. Not sure how much I buy in to that since the Tacx software paired fine. The software itself is much more refined than BKool. It has been very stable thus far too. I can stream the videos as I ride and don't have to use 4K either. I like the interface. This morning I rode in Red Rocks, so that was cool. Again, I have not tried any races, and structured workouts, or self created routes. I can subscribe monthly for about $8 so I may likely use it for a couple months.

Indoor trainer riding is hard mentally. Last year I rode more miles on rollers than I had ever in the past. I doubled that this year. Much more entertaining. I wasn't sure if a smart trainer would be worth the cost but will say that if you ride inside, it is.

So what's spinning? Been listing to a couple things lately. I got an Amazon Unlimited music account so I have listened to a lot of different stuff including some Grateful Dead. Actually listened to a live version of Dark Star that lasted so long it finished just before I got home on my half hour commute! I also really like the new U2 album, Songs of Experience. Some of their best of recent years. Check them out. Looking forward to the new Jack White hitting tomorrow.

Rock on.

Monday, March 19, 2018


I heard the term Leguary recently (so I can't take credit for it). It's true. Legs that may spin some through the winter are never really ready for that first long ride of the year. This year was going to be different. I put the longest trainer rides I have ever done only to set myself back playing soccer.

This past weekend should have been the Gravel Rouser. It was also the end of spring break at school. I have been hitting it pretty hard at work trying to meet deadlines and do what we used to do with twice as many staff.

So I had Friday off from work and Sunday off from playing guitar at church. We had planned a quick trip to the Blackwater Falls area/Davis/Thomas WV for some hiking and food. But as luck would have it we ended up under a winter weather/freezing rain advisory when we would have been traveling. Instead we headed to Casa for breakfast follow later by some pie from Fluff. After getting some stuff done I got out with the ole Redline d440 and blasted some back roads for a couple hours and my legs could tell.

Saturday was spent watching it rain and then moving and splitting firewood (for next year since we are still without the wood stove). I loosely planned to make Sunday the big ride day. It was supposed to turn sunny and in the 50's. Before I could finalize a big back road rouser, Ethan asked if we could hit the trails. We ended up at Lake Hope for the afternoon. Ethan is still getting his bike legs but did a good job trying to keep up with this old man. In the end we did 19 miles of trails before running out of food and water.

And today was near 60. After work I took the chance to replace the brakes on Shelly's car. Now to settle in for the next winter storm that is to follow the rain coming tonight and tomorrow. 2 to 4 inches of wet snow predicted.

Hope you can get outside.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Cat 2

I wish this title was regarding my license upgrade to Cat 2 (well, actually I don't know that wish is the right word). Rather it is referring to the category 2 ankle sprain I received almost 2 weeks ago while playing indoor soccer. The high school has held open gym indoor soccer through the winter since I was in school. Ethan has been asking every week if I would be playing and I finally did. First time and last time for the season. While putting my left foot out to block a shot, the offender kicked and rolled my ankle pretty severely. The result is a lot of burning pain, partially torn ligaments, swelling, and some pretty purple colors. Recovery? "Should" recover within 8 weeks.

Not my foot, but it looks exactly the same. (Photo courtesy of OrthoInfo)
For anyone from this area of south eastern Ohio you know what the weather has been like. A few heavy freeze and thaws with lots of flooding rain, from 3 inches of snow in 2 hours to 82 F a couple days later. For the rural folk, this means mud. The township roads are falling apart. Our driveway is falling apart. Last week I rented a dump trailer and hauled 15 tons of crushed limestone home and spread over our driveway. Unfortunately I could not pull the hill with it loaded and had to dump in to the front bucket of my tractor and spread it that way. Worked fine and I am grateful for my tractor, but it did take a lot longer that way.

Even with 5 tons this truck tows so nice. Until you have to turn around a 22' long truck with 14' of trailer.
I got a good start on the new hearth for our wood stove. The base is still at the welder's, but I told him not to rush since I had so much more to do. We picked out the tile for the floor and the veneer fieldstone for the wall and have it on order too.

Hopefully this will look a lot different in a month.
Not riding, though I may switch to flat pedals and give it a try soon even if only on the indoor trainer. Even the thought of trying to unclip makes me want to pee myself. Running? Not even on the radar at the moment. Sad too, I was going to try and run the Hope Iron Furnace trail run this year (the 4 miler, not the half).

From 77 and 3 inches of rain to 37 and 3 inches of snow back to 82 and 3 more inches of rain.