Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Fun

Shoveling snow with my able assistant; Sabaka!
Hi all,
A very Merry Christmas to you all. This morning dawned with a beautiful sunshine and 4-5 inches of fresh powder snow on the ground. A quick check of the Snowbird snow log showed 14 inches of new powder at mid mountain. Yahoo! Great skiing of all disciplines for all! I guess this means I can head for Solitude XC Center this week.
It has been a wonderful day, spending time at home with Kathy, along with Jon and Amy here from Arizona.
As I write this, there are fun gifts to play with, new clothes to try on, and turkey in the oven. Utter peace, what could be better? Well, taking Brian around on the sled, but that will have to wait for next year!
Here are a few snapshots of having fun shoveling snow and other normal winter activities. (Well, normal to some of us!
Hope you all had a joyous holiday!

Look at that road, begging to be ridden!

Really, cycling is fun anytime!

Ok, No more Christmas Candy for Jim!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Too Late to Save Christmas..."

A lovely snow in our front yard...
"Too late to save Christmas." Quite possibly the most disturbing quote I have heard this Christmas season. I read the quote as a part of a Friday headline on MSN. It was in reference of course to the fact that the last minute weekend shoppers would not spend enough money to “save Christmas.” But, it was really upsetting to learn that Christmas needed saving!

A lovely sunset color in our backyard...
Last weekend on CBS Sunday Morning, Ben Stein provided a lovely editorial noting: “That nowhere in the Bible is the word shopping mentioned.” After being bombarded with last minute ads, and high-pressure advertising, it was a refreshing view. After all, would we enjoy the Christmas season if we never received a gift? Never gave a gift? Would we still appreciate the birth of Christ and what He brought to the world? Of course we would. It might actually be in clearer focus to us. Now, I am not advocating the end of gift giving. Not at all. In our house, there has been plenty of gift giving, mostly little things that we, or our loved ones need. The gifts are an expression of love and kindness. Sorry, but no 5 carat diamonds or 50,000 dollar cars under our tree! I even found joy and laughter in the lump of coal that I received as a White Elephant!
See! A Cyclist's Dream! I got carbon for Christmas!
Every year, I watch for Christmas to arrive. It rarely comes where I expect it. It arrives in some form of love expressed; love accepted; grace expressed, grace accepted; The love of family in our house, the love of family far away; The joy that we have health and home. One only has to read the adventures of a fellow cyclist; The Seattle Randonnuer whose house was flooded a month ago to truly appreciate all that we have. This fellow cyclist has found out in a thousand ways, that the world is actually NOT filled with angry and selfish people, and now, so have I.
Santa DOES exist..
Back to the search: This year’s search for Christmas was no different. I was working a graveyard shift the other night, and I came across a cartoon that another controller had (against facility policy) stuck to the wall. It was a wonderful expression of everything I am writing about today. Now, I am sure there is some sort of copyright law about publishing this cartoon on my blog, but I will take the risk. I really tried to find a way to make a link from the author’s website, but I failed in my efforts. For me, the cartoon crystallized what is important in our country, in our communities, and in our families. Please enjoy it here:

To all of you who take the time to read along with my cycling and editorial adventures on these pages, I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Season's End

Hi all,
Well, this week’s blog post brings a transition from the sublime temperatures of Hawaii two weeks ago, to riding and training in the winter cold. Yes, it seems we can’t stay on the islands forever; enjoying the warm ocean, the gentle breezes, and the everyday 80- degree temperatures. Enjoying the islands and the nice weather without actually having to work was truly the sublime part!
For the last ten days, I have been away from the bicycle and the weight room. In fact, I haven’t made time for any exercise at all. Between work, the winter weather, and the business of the Christmas season (note I said “Christmas,” not the politically correct euphemism: “holiday season”) 10 days flew off the calendar in the wink of an eye.
And this break was not altogether a bad thing. It gave my mind and body time to make a transition from the 2007 cycling season, toward the 2008 goals. A coworker asked me last week if I had marked my calendar for my long rides next year. And in actuality I had. I have peeked at the Idaho, Utah, and Arizona brevet schedules, and the 2008-century ride schedule in Utah, and at least marked some tentative dates on the calendar. Then last night my son, Paul even asked me what my mileage goals were for next year. He had a suggestion that if I set my goal at 2,500 miles, that I could draw the parallel that in meeting that goal I would ride the equivalent distance of riding from New York to Los Angeles!

So, with all this thought processes about riding in 2008, it was time to get out for a ride. Right now, I want to thank my new friend Mike from Salt Lake City, who came up to my neck of the woods to drag me out of the house to go for a ride. Mike is an experienced rider, but new to riding recumbent bikes. We had been talking back and forth on the Bentrider online forums for a few weeks, and finally our schedules and the snowy weather allowed for time to ride. Mike is a fine rider, and we had a great time riding the causeway, then up to Buffalo Point for a 20 mile loop. Yes, it was cold. 27 degrees and a brisk wind will definitely clear your mind! And of course, for the third time in three rides this month, I got the requisite flat tire!

Isn't that a lovely shade of purple!

Yours Truly, all bundled up
Mike is riding a lovely Bachetta Giro 20, and is already on the prowl for his next recumbent! He took a spin on my Barcroft, and I tried out the Giro, too. One thing I really liked about the Giro were the “U” shaped handlebars and the perfectly relaxed hand position. I am going to research the feasibility of converting the Barcroft to what is called an open cockpit style, with “U” shaped handlebars. Any ideas Bill?

That’s all the news for today. Next up, a post from the weight room and the pool.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Hawaii in November

Hi all,
Well, two weeks between posts means I went on vacation! Yes, we went to Hawaii for a family reunion of sorts. All in all it was a great trip; plenty of time with family, great scenery and warm weather, and lots of time spoiling my grandson, Brian! Speaking of warm weather, as I write this, it is 16 degrees with 8 inches of fresh snow on the ground here in Layton. No walking the beach here today!
Dusk on the north shore...
Enclosed here are a few pictures from our travels. I enjoyed using my Nikon D-50, taking 445 pictures in 8 days. Now, if I got 8-10 real “keepers” out of the bunch, it will have been a successful week.
Sandy Beach, looking towards the Blow Hole
I am sure I have made this quote in this blog before, but it bears saying again. My dad Austin used to say; “The most important tool in photography is a hungry trash can!” And he is right, only now in 2007 it isn’t the trashcan, it's the delete key! So, I just kept shooting; sunset pictures; grandson pictures; family pictures; and whatever came to the mind’s eye. Speaking of taking pictures, there is a manager at work who just purchased a new Nikon, and he has been pressing me on my techniques in taking landscape photography. One day he asked me in exasperation: “What buttons do you push to take all those great pictures?” I pondered this for a brief second before answering: “The big shiny one on top!”
The Chinaman's Hat on the north shore...
Enjoy a few nice pictures, and I will write about cycling and the snow on the ground next week. I would highly suggest "double-clicking" on these images to truly enjoy them at full size.

Sunset from Waikiki
Looking west from the top of Diamond Head

In the rain, hiking to Manoa Falls
Two opposing views from the 17th Tee at Ko'Olau Golf Course