Sunday, February 22, 2009

RAAM and Winter Riding

The island, from Bluff Rd. Nice day for riding...
Hi all,
Well, yet another busy week has passed, and I am finally enjoying a few quick hours to get in some winter riding.
It just snowed, and snowed on Tuesday!
Of course, it hasn’t been a real wintry week, or wait, maybe it was. The weather can’t seem to make up its mind what season it is. It was kind of like being on a rollercoaster! Early this week on Tuesday, 14 inches of snow fell in 24 hours. Then, the sun came out, the ground warmed up a little, and the roads cleared quickly. So much so that Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, I was on one of my bikes. Today, (Saturday) I was able to take the Barcroft Virginia GT out for 25 miles, with a starting temperature around 42 degrees and I was actually quite warm when I got back from Antelope Island.

Speaking of Antelope Island, I was out riding the causeway today, and I saw a huge flock of Canadian snow geese out on the mud/snow flats. A bird counter was perusing them, and he told me that they are very rarely seen here off the causeway, and usually they are way down south near Delta. We had a nice conversation as I took a few pictures.
Such a nice day to be out...
My education about RAAM, (See last week’s post) is ongoing. There has been a little confusion as to what my role (or roll) was going to be on TeamType2. Let me clear up a little misconception. No, I am not riding as a competitor. Are you kidding? These creaky old legs racing? Racing for 3,000 miles? Be serious, people.
The Snow Geese in the distance...
Yes, I am going on RAAM, but only as race/crew support. My initial task is to be a motor home driver for the off duty racers. There will be tons of extra tasks besides just being a driver, but I am happy to be a member of the team, and look forward to meeting out goal of 8 riders across the USA in 7 days. I will write more about the mechanics of crew support, and how our team is going function in a later post. Anyone want to teach me how to drive a 35 ft. motor home?

One more thing: Alan Barnard, web administrator for ECOVELO (see tab on the right) trying to shake away the winter doldrums is having a photo contest. I along with many other cyclists have entered our photos in the contest. So, while you’re drinking your coffee, slide your mouse over the right and check out the entries. There have been some excellent pieces of photography posted, and I think you might enjoy the artwork.
See you down the road.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A New Door is Opened

Our new doorway/window in the new tech. booth

An antique fuse box we found in the crawlspace under the church...
This week’s blog is about doors. Not the kind in your house, or the one to the new tech. booth at Aldersgate, but the ones that are opened to you when you least expect it. Last week while working a graveyard shift, I found the time to browse I usually check there on the mids as I can sometimes find my friend, Pete from Canberra. Since Pete wasn’t around (I found out later that BROL had crashed on him) I decided to browse a bit and see what was new in the world of ‘bent cycling. I read a post from my friend, Denny who was recruiting for volunteers to be crew/race support for RAAM, The Race Across America.

Now, a few folks had responded to the general post with the generic response of ”Well, I sure would like to, but I can’t!” And then something clicked in my head that said: “Well, I will be retired, I can!!” (This is a not too subtle hint to note the retirement counter to the right). So, not to inundate you with all the details, I enjoyed two phone interviews with Denny, and then Dave Eldridge, the team leader, and just like that, I am on the team! We are TeamType2; an eight-man racing team made up of cyclists from around the country who are type-two diabetics.

3025 miles, 7 days, only 50 miles on interstate...
Now that you have come this far, what is RAAM anyway? RAAM is a 3025-mile cycling race, from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD. The race proceeds around the clock, and is made up of solo racers, two man, four man, and eight man teams. The teams all have support crews in the form of volunteers riding in vans and motor homes whose only goal is to shepherd the racers across the country. Did I mention we ride around the clock? It is going to be an exciting week. Yes, I said an exciting WEEK. Our goal for TeamType2 is to start on Sunday, June20th, and be in Annapolis on June27th.
Ok, how hot was it in Adelaide?
I don’t know what drove me to open the “Events” section of BROL, it isn’t a usual browsing place for me. But, there was the doorway, and I looked inside. The upshot of this new adventure in my life is that as I edge closer to retirement from 33 years of air traffic control, is that I am learning about all the new horizons in my life. I don’t know where this new adventure called “retirement” will take me;
Rest assured, I will not be spending my retirement like this fella...
I am not sure if I will take on a new job, torment high school students as a substitute, mow fairways in Arizona, ride a brevet super-series, or just finally fix everything in my house! But I do know that I will be most aware of the doorways around me, and that I will be ready at a moments notice to open a few of them and peek inside!
14 inches of snow this week, spinning in the garage until it warms up!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Contrasting Subjects...

I took this sunset waiting at an intersection near the mall. I just stuck the camera out the window and pushed the button!
Hi all,
This past month has been a month of contrasts. I have spent a lot of time working on black and white digital photography as the winter weather has brought a lot of grays, whites, and not a lot of color to my world. I have been studying books on Adobe Light Room software, and have enjoyed experimenting with some older images.

Almost reminiscent of a WW I battlefield...
One set of images comes from 2007. When I went to Bryce Canyon to hike with friends, we stopped on the way home near Cove Fort to photograph the massive damage from huge brush/forest fires that had destroyed several hundred thousand acres north of Cedar City.

Note the scorched ground...
I recall that when I took the photos, I visualized how stark the landscape would appear in black and white. Now, that I have some decent digital photo processing software, I think I have been able to depict not only what I saw, but what I felt at the time. The sheer destruction as far as the eye could see took my breath away. I hope these two images bring that to light.

Banner Peak 12, 936 ft. - 1974 (ish)
One other picture I have been working on is a scan of a black and white print that I took way back in 1974 or so. I had been on a backpacking trip with my sisters to the Minarets National Wilderness area of the Sierra Nevada, and I had risen at sunrise to go take a few pictures. As I recall, I was using a little Konica rangefinder 35 mm camera, and took some lovely landscapes of Banner Peak, and (I think) Thousand Island Lake. As far as I know, there is only one print from my dad's darkroom of Banner Peak. (My dad always told me that 8 x 10 paper was expensive!) Recently, I scanned the print, hoping someday to see what I could make of it digitally. It was an interesting experiment, given that even with Light Room, I couldn’t make many changes to the image as it was a scan of a photograph, not a pure digital image.
Not sure where the bike would go, I picked this one out for Jon!
Another contrast to the regular information on this site is that I have been researching the purchase of a new car. It’s funny how that works these days; trying to match one’s requirements, (carrying recumbent bikes) to what the manufacturers are building this year.
More practical, a Subaru Forester!
At the big car show, I tried to explain the length of the LRB to the sales associates, and I got a lot of blank stares when I explained what I wanted a car to do for me. Of course I want the car to carry all my bikes, all my family, and get 40 mpg!
The old ceiling in the tech room. Note the speckled paint!
The church construction project has been eating a lot of time as of late. I am sure learning a lot! This week, we ran conduit in preparation for relocating main power to the tech room on Saturday. It has been a huge undertaking, and in the long run, will be a great benefit to how we run the soundboard, projector, amps, and all the hardware we use to run a service.
I did manage to take the Redline out for a ride on Tuesday; I was going to ride to work yesterday, but overslept! Hate to waste a 35 degree morning!
More news down the road.