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Dean and the Start of my Day

This morning was like most mornings, mixed all around

Dean woke up in search of his fire (fire=pacifier, his modification of the word. Although I had a firm rule about reinforcing a child's mispronunciation or misconception of a word, we let this one slip through the system.)
As our room is right next to Dean's I could hear him up and looking around for his fire. As he searched around his bed he called out, "mommy, where us my fire? mommy? mommy?" I got out of my warm bed and was able to find his fire only after climbing over him several times and pulling the bed away from the wall and then climbing over him to retrieve the fire from the crevasse between the bed and the wall. Dean was waking slowly and asking for mommy. He is accustom to the routine, "mommy is working." He does not like this answer, yet he understands it. But once the fire was passed off to him he slammed his head down on the pillow to steal a few more Zs. I rushed to the mommy bed to do some of the same. Roscoe and Brutus were both in Lisa's spot sleeping comfortably. I watched the clock and made sure that I did not sleep past 8 as so not to allow Dean's sleep cycle to go through too much of a shift. He is staying up too late and I feel that if we allow him to sleep too late that his will become his natural cycle.

Dean woke up slowly and we started our morning chat. We looked out the window and watched the cars pass and birds fly by. Dean made mention of "daddy's car"
I told him it was broken, Dean said, "you have to fix it."
I tried to explain that I had tried, but was unable to fix it. We moved to the next step. His mood was fairly positive. Although he had mommy on the brain. The changing of his gear from pjs to day wear was easier than some days. He said he did not want to go to "art class and would not need his backpack." I feared that this could lead to difficult moments ahead.

There was no toying with him.
It was my feeling to stick to the program, let him know we were going to "art class."
He was hesitant so I carried him downstairs He wanted a juice I offered him a banana As I was fixing up his juice he raced into the kitchen just as the juice cup was being sealed He rushed back to the couch to enjoy his juice

I got him a banana, peeled it, and placed it into his free hand At a closer glance I could see a single tear drop resting on his eyelash. He was a little sad I asked him why he was said Dean slowly responded, "never......Callum never comes over to dean house anymore."
We spoke about his buddy Callum.
And I assured him that he would see him again It was cute and sad at the same time. Callum is a child that he has grown with for the last two years was now stripped from his life. He clearly misses him. They shared the same nanny, Mayra. But as she has been recovering from surgery we have been forced to find a temporary replacement. As chance and opportunity would have it. Our temporary fix is going to become our permanent fix.

We had to move forward. Having carried him down the two flights of stairs and dropping him on the couch I started to try and pick up some momentum.
His shoes were put on his feet, he told me they were "too tight"
I made sure I had the shoes on the correct feet and wiggled them a bit as to make them more comfortable And went for my jacket As I got up I made mention to dean that I was going to get my jacket Dean chimed in, "get dean's jacket."
This was a positive switch in his attitude He was ready to go He wanted to go So I got my jacket, got his jacket, hat, and gloves He also asked for his backpack With some swapping of the juice hand and the banana hand the jacket and backpack were put on We headed out the door All the while roscoe and Brutus were running around gathering shoes in anticipation of their morning walk They are not use to the new routine. Before I would leave in the morning with the dogs and Dean Now I leave with just Dean.

With the door locked behind me.
The dogs noses pressed against the glass within the house I tossed Dean onto my shoulders so he could concentrate on the juice and banana as we walked the cold two and a half blocks to Rosemount. No tears. No complaining. Nothing. We got to the door of Rosemount school. I lowered dean and opened the door. Again no tears, this is an improvement. We got to the classroom. The teacher Laura was a little aggravated that Dean had breakfast in his hand. More because she wants him to arrive hungry so she can feed him. But I explained that he was hungry as we got up And would not leave the house without the banana and the sippy cup. As I removed the jacket I was forced to remove the banana from Dean's hand Dean backed up my argument by immediately demanding the banana I took the juice cup and tried to leave with it, Dean asked that I put that in his backpack.

With the juice cup in his backpack, and the backpack on Dean's back I put dean in the chair at the table I asked dean to give me a high five Then went around the table requesting "high fives" from all the children at the table Each child responded excitedly and gave me a high five Well except for the last little girl Then I worked my way back, finishing with Dean He seemed content So I said a quick good bye and evacuated before he changed his mind.

With Dean successfully dropped off at daycare I moved forward to try and accomplish the rest of my tasks of the morning. Once back home the dogs were wagging their tales and ready to go out. They were leashed up and out the door, the door locked behind me. I had forgotten my coffee. Back up the steps, unlock the door, grab the coffee, back out the door, lock the door, and head towards the woods. As I waited for there to be a clear spot in the traffic of our oh too busy street in front of our house. Roscoe could not wait. He lifted his leg right there and began freeing a long yellow stream. His eyes rolled back in display of great pleasure. He had held it long enough. With a clear gap for crossing I tugged at Roscoe's collar and told him we needed to move. He cut his stream short, but more than a gallon had already flowing down the street. Roscoe was willing to oblige me. We crossed the street into a small section of Rock Creek. The leashes were removed and the dogs went looking for trouble. My eyes scanned the area for dangerous obstacles, no cats, no deer, and no homeless campers were in sight. We looked like were were headed for a quick spin in the woods "incident free."

We did our morning look that interestingly loops behind the Rosemount daycare center. A beautiful building with classic Spanish architecture that before was just a building, but is now part of my life and my child's development

The C&O Canal in a day...
(again, not about dean, but a good story)

my weekend
that is if you care......

Well I did it
now it is done
on another day in half the time (well nearly half the time)
or at least half the pain

I figure that i spent twice the energy to go nearly half the speed
mud is no friend to the cyclist

it seemed like a good idea
get dropped off in cumberland
set up camp for a bit
catch a few ZZZZs
and pedal on into DC
take the C&O canal its 186 miles from cumberland to georgetown (and then the last few miles would be icing on the cake as i stride on up to mt pleasant)
((remember some things are often more easily said than done))

well it started wonderfully
cool weather and a full moon
lisa and dean dropped me off in cumberland
I loaded up the bike and headed to the start (well actually the end) of the C&O
pedaled in two miles
went off trail a bit and set up a hamock/tent that i got as a wedding gift
this was the first use of this handy little toy
I was amazed at its comfort and with the clear sky I opted to go "flyless"
watched the moon overhead
the netting on top worked great
but the contact to the backside was perfect for mosquito attack
I was victimized
this made for some adaptation and some itchiness and some trouble falling asleep

finally asleep it was time to get up
checked my watch
slept through my alarm (as short as that sleep was)
got up a half hour late
it was 3:30 AM and I was excited to get things started
tore everything down
packed everything up
I was on my way
dc here i come
I ran head on into a thick wall of fog
my headlamp reflected right back at me
so I rode with my fingers crossed that no trees had fallen in the nights prior and
gripped the handlebars bracing for any unseen divots or rocks
a touring white knuckle adventure

the fog dissipated
and the wild life was booming
deer shot across the trail right in front of me from both sides
and frogs foolishly played chicken with my front wheel (I did not feel any slippage, so I think I avoided all of those brainless amphibians)
a variety of birds did their morning feeding and swarmed about
and the miles started to add up behind me

the early stretches of canal are some of the most scenic
wide open farmland and a wall of mountains ride to the right of the trail
the potomac somewhere over there often close, often unseen
along with the natural beauty there is also the architectural ruins of another time
numerous iron bridges and devices rusting away
recalling the last time a train touched their tracks
and the buttressing of a bridge that is not there

finally getting to the pawpaw tunnel
a trail highlight
a mile of darkness (well not for me with my nightrider light system)
bats swooping over head
and the spooky sound of water dropping from the ceiling to the canal and echoing all the way
it is quite the feat
and it keeps the trial level
to have to climb to the mountain peak would make for a very different riding experience

this would be an email as long as the ride if I continued reviewing each mile for you
long story short (and we all know i have no short stories)
what was fog on my side of the paw paw
was rain on the other
my trail which was a little moist and slow on the early stretches
turned into a intermittent puddles and occasional mudbog

the first 60 were harder than 60 miles should be
but things were only to get worst
conditions were to get sloppy and slow
and my strength was only to weaken
and my moral was to drop

only two flats (neither pinch)
one rack repair
and the need to disconnect the rear brakes
and I made it home in slightly less than 20 hours

being the athlete that I am I survived off
circus peanuts, breakfast sandwiches at the SHEETZ gas station
over priced and marginally prepared burger and chilli dog in Harpers Ferry
lots of caffeine flavored sodas
several gallons of gatorade
and a variety of powerbar products
caffeine was the life saver all the way

other than the bike
my greatest casualty is the numbness to my hands
and the pain in my shoulders
I rode my cross bike and the body position put me in a position on the bars which fried my shoulders

when I got home my hands and feet were corrugated with the folds and fissures that resembled the rugae of the brain

but I did finish it
show that it could be done, even on the worst day
on a dry day it could offer greater pleasures (sunburn and heatstroke I guess)
(oh did I mention that the last 40 miles were accompanied by a thunderstorm and a downpour?!)

in addition to the wonderful ruins, the pain and hallucinations
the wild life was a plus
box turtles, snapping turtles, and a water variety which I would call a slider (marc may call them the american chicken turtle)
no snakes
all sorts of birds: finches, robins, different types of woodpeckers to name a few
several types of deer (all of which were as scared of colliding with me as I was with them)
fish jumping
fishermen fishing
and boaters boating, american life at its reddest
a few touring cyclists
most going the opposite direction
those that I had caught up to talked to and then passed were all doing 12 to 20 mile stretches
a couple starting a trek to Vancouver, looked like a great way to start a relationship (or to end one)

much more to say
but I have said enough already

I am going to ice my knees and take some ibuprohen

I know this is not about Dean
but all of these stories about Dean's Dad
give more insight into Dean's world

and this one does mention Dean's girlfriend Zoe's parents

how does this happen?
my life is not a movie

so I a heading up Lamont Street after a days work
this new cross bike has put a little zest in my pedal
so I am trying to finish my post work ride strong
as I pass david, sharon, their two dogs and their newborn baby ZOE I give a half hearted hello
I am distracted
things are not as they should be
the spot where I parked my car the day prior is filled by a cab

I turn back down the block
and scan for my big blue truck
no sign of it
this truck is hard to overlook

I pass david and sharon again
they laugh and ask if I am trying to get a little more exercise
I tell them my truck was stolen or towed
sharon laughs and says something to the effect of how stupid we can feel when we forget where we parked our car
but I know where I parked my car
and it is not there

I do one more scan and even try one street over
I resign myself to the fact my car has been stolen
my heart rate has not changed
this is life in the city
getting angry will not bring my car back

I go home
check some emails
make sure I did not get the latest email virus
then jump into the shower
get out
dry off
no real rush
only just had my truck stolen
I scan the phone book for the nonemergency number to call the police
and in walks lisa with the baby and the dogs
I tell her the news.....my car was stolen
she says she saw it going down lamont just seconds ago
she figured it was me driving
she knew it was my car by the red bumper sticker that reads, "follow me and my SUV to the next gas crisis"

she thought it was parking in front of the halfway house
a second does not pass
I am on the line with the police
as I search frantically for my license plate information
I give the police the information
and rush to get a bicycle to see if I can chance on meeting with my truck

no lights
no helmet
no geeky reflective vest
I rush down the block like that crazy little chicken
only my exclamation has nothing to do with a falling sky
but with a 17 year old stolen truck
my rant seems almost as as absurd

I get down the block and there is my truck

oh silly me

sharon is right
I do feel stupid

I head for home
and think about how stupid I looked
as I approach up pulls DC's finest
they are sent on their way with my humblest apologies

I walk in and tell lisa that I was wrong
it had not been stolen
it had been parked it further down the block
she assures me that she saw it being parked and assumed it was me driving it

without a word I rush back
sure enough
the engine is hot
and their is a trail of various fluids still damp in the road
showing the curve of a well parked truck
off to the neighborhood 7-11 to get a flat foot
no luck
back to call 911
as I spot a black and white, only it is red white and blue with graphics that would be more fitting on a clown car, but go unnoticed since they have decorated the cars for nearly a decade
he is headed the other way
he call it in
it is my job to go back and guard my car

things start to feel a little crazy
am I mad?
the facts are reviewed and reviewed again and again
surely that car was not there 10 minutes prior
there is no way I could have passed it
am I high?
is this a scene from Memento?
what is happening here

as I wait for the police to return to the scene
the tale and all of its pieces are shared with any random passerby that will listen
my rants are mad
one woman allows me to use her cell phone
as I call 911 again a suspicious car makes its third pass down the block
she gets the plate

the police arrive
there are several cars
my story is told and retold
action is not happening
no one is interested in dusting for prints
my story is unbelievable
to the officer the engine is not hot
the drops of various fluid are not a trail of clues in his eyes
the engine does not appear to be hot to him
the doors are locked
no evidence of forced entry
no jimmied ignition
just the rants of a bald bearded man

the story deviates very little as I tell it for the 50th time
yet they seem less than convinced
the facts are there
car parked there
now here
engine hot
I ride my bicycle to work

what more do they want!
my car was stolen!

all the long I am thinking
is my car stolen every day?
at times I notice the gas seems to be significantly lower than the last time
but it is always dispelled as my usual paranoia
and the car runs great for months and then something dramatic is different
to me this is the character of the car, but has someone been driving this car daily?

the car was well parked
a good parking job especially with the brakes failing as they are
and no disrespect to the car
sure the steering wheel and the seat are in a position for a much shorter driver
but no trash or cigarette butts

it is all too weird
no X-files weird
but violated weird

the range of emotions have left me energized and confused

what was lost
is now found
that big piece of steel that I love so much is back
thought it was out of my life forever

truely wacky
again, not about Dean
but about Dean's Dad as a child
if you can believe it
this following writing was something I did in an effort to get some design work
it got some nibbles but did not set the hook
it was fun and creative just the same
and came with a cartoonish illustration

hello again
here is another mass email from joel trying to make contact with you or someone within your organization who may need some Print Design services
read the little story
look at the little cartoon
laugh (at or with doesn't matter, just laugh)
hit delete or pass this on to someone who may be interested in my services
either way
I appreciate any assistance anyone has to offer

Early each spring in grade school at Our Lady of Lourdes the younger and less jaded students would each be given a helium filled balloon and a stamped postcard. Each postcard was self addressed with a short message to the recipient to please sign the note, address it, and mail it back. Then the uniformed students would all march single file into the parking lot with balloons in hand and a post card on a tether for the mass release of these multicolored balloons. Almost every year there was a child who could not wait and had to send his balloon off first. At the teacher's signal there was a mass release. The boys in their light blue shirts with dark blue ties and the girls in their green plaid skirts would watch as the red, blue, green, yellow, and orange balloons rose rapidly into the clouds; the balloons appeared to shrink as as they drifted further and further into obscurity. Some students stood stupefied, as their balloons had been stopped short by a power line or by a leafless tree branch. After a few years of this ritual, finer strategies evolved (yet still there were students who would release the balloons right into the grips of the trees and power lines). My last memory of this event is when I joined forces with a few of my friends, and we agreed to use several balloons and one postcard. We launched our balloons in an area where we were sure to be free from obstructions and watched our balloons head for the clouds. Then, with all the students all lined up, boys in one line and girls in the other, we headed back to class with thoughts and anticipation of where our balloons may go. While others may have declined to entertain such thoughts, recalling that only a small percentage of the balloons in years past had been found and returned. In many ways this was somewhat of an anticlimactic event, especially for the short attention span of the average child. There was the immediate excitement of hope at the release, but then the long period waiting and unknowing. It was not soon after this day that the whole event was forgotten.

But then after a few weeks had passed some of the students started to receive responses. There were messages from the nearby surrounding counties, one from as far as Ohio, and a few others from bordering states. Each day there was a another postcard from another destination. Then there was some real excitement, our group's multi-balloon release brought back a card with a postmark from Canada. Our combined effort had managed to travel the furthest distance...unbelievable! This balloon had made it all the way to Nova Scotia!

I am still not sure what this lesson was to teach. A random geography class? A test of the powers of the jet stream? A test of a child's interest or patience?

This release of my resume may act in the same way. There are so many power lines and tree branches to try and float past, not just on the release but also on the descent. Just like the balloons that may have traveled great distances only to land in an area that they would never be seen or found, this resume may bring only a few responses back to me. But I must try. I will send out my balloons and wait in anticipation for the that response.

I may not be looking for a job in Nova Scotia, but it is fun to dream.

pardon the delay on this message
the message was started on monday, but was forgotten until today
it is neither clever nor cute
but just as my racing is out of shape and needs to get into a groove
so is my reporting
hope it is a moderately interesting read
if nothing else it is long (as to be expected from me)

if this does not inspire you to ride
it may at least inspire you to turn off your computer

RACE REPORT: A Dan's Race at Camp Hilbert (6.22.03)

The mountain bike race season has been off to a slow start. The rain has been coming down in Biblical proportions, thus leaving little time for riding on the dirt. Some races have been canceled while other races have been held only to offer the racers a slow painful slogging through deep mud. This weekend proved to be a tad different. The forecasted scattered showers were not enough to rain on our parade or more importantly rain on our parade route! On Saturday I watched the weather overhead as well as the updates on WEATHER.COM. I had been depressed about missing the Middle Mountain Momma the weekend prior, and would not let my sub conscious convince me to weasel out of racing this weekend. So I tuned my mountain bike which had not been touched since the 12 Hours of Lodi farms some 5 weeks prior. The tuning process was short and sweet. My initial intention to repack my hubs was cut short as many of my tools are still packed away from our recent move into a new house. The tuning process was more of a matter of trouble shooting the issues that plagued me in the 12 hour relay race at Lodi Farms. With a twist of a hex key there and a spray of lube here, and some grease applied to the cables the bike was ready for a 35 second test ride! BAMM! We are ready to race. Perhaps not as thorough as it should have been, but I had to host a birthday party for my son Dean who had just turned two.

Racing can be an anxious experience (all the way down to the race report.) I am going to try and avoid having this be another race report that goes into great detail about the drive down to the race. But somehow it is all part of the day. The drive to a race can be a race in itself. Always trying to chose an efficient line while always trying to gain and pass the next car with a bike on the roof rack ahead in the distance. On this day I was scheduled to pick up a late adolescent hitchhiker who found my contact information on the team website. We had plans to head down together, he bagged out early that morning. Lucky for him, my manic behavior can be heightened by the Road Trip scenario while the volume gets amped up from the excitement of the race to come, and then there is also the never-ending power of Red Bull. All this can be a bit overwhelming for the passenger, all the while there is no escape until the truck stops at its destination. It is clear he made the right choice. As for me I forgot to put the face plate on my car stereo...a man left alone with is thoughts (this can be a scary thing).

I arrived early for race sign up. There was ample time to shake hands, kiss babies, and get votes. There was a gathering of the usual suspects. The rainbow colors of skin tight suits displayed the logos of various shops and various teams. Kevin Dillard was there feeling spry after the day prior's 2nd place finish in an Exterra Event while City Bikes Club Member Brian Hoyt was looking sharp in his IF green and yellow suit. When I arrived for sign up I considered just racing Sport Vet due to the presence of only one other Clydesdale signed up for this day's event. But as I waited in the registration line I saw fellow clydesdale Don "Firedawg" Watkins pull up in his 4X4 and figured that more were on their way. With the cloudless sky and the dry earth at our feet Clydesdales were coming out of the woodwork. I asked around if once been NCVCer and fellow Clydesdale Bill Davis to was planning to show up. He had beat me on this course before, and I wanted another shot at him today. Not that I had any great amount of training behind me but I certainly had the desire. After signing up and handing over my 28 bucks there was plenty more time for greeting and salutations. With my gear on and my bike tuned I went out for a quick prerace spin, just as much to burn off some anxiety and occupy my mind if nothing else. As I headed down the road I linked up with Don and his sparkling new double banger (dual suspension bike), he was riding in style. We chatted as we spun down the lane. He was looking spry and his attitude was all about business. He started to worry me. There was talk of his recent road racing. While his body was looking trimmer, it was his attitude that was heightening my anxiety. Don was there to make a showing. His energy gave me a rush...what I was going to do with that anxiety was going to decide the fate of the day.

After our little warm up spin we headed back to the race starting line. There were still a few minutes to say hey to old friends and also to start making new ones. Dan brought the racers together for a pre race meeting and delivered a short memorial speech for an Expert Vet Racer who had died suddenly of unknown causes just a week prior. There was a moment of silence. It was a somber moment. Even not knowing this man there was a sensation that overwhelmed all, friends and strangers alike. Just to think that a person in their prime could be stripped from this earth only to leave behind their wife, children, and all the other things that they loved about this world. Knowing him was not important...knowing the loss was pain enough. After that the minute of silence attention was drawn to the flag as the star spangled banner was played (5 dollars off entry fees to all active duty racers) this too was a somber moment as we were given a chance to reflect on the state of the world.

Then it was back to business... RACE TIME!

We all gathered down a loose gravel road and lined up in our perspective categories. Clydesdales were at the tail end of the pack, standing 7 strong, with Bill Davis no where to be seen. Guess we will have to duel another day. It was a good day for the Clydesdales, it is a known fact that big guys sink deep in the mud while the smaller lighter riders are able to skate on top. So with the prospect of the course being dry the number of racers increased at this event. Dan greeted and sent off each category in several minute gaps...first the expert men, then the expert masters, sport.. and so on...Until finally it was the Clydesdales. Anxiety was mounting. I looked over the competition to get a better idea of what chance I had to win this class on this day. It was clear to me that Don the Firedawg was gunning for a victory. So I kept my eyes on him. I did not want to fall back in the pack as this race is nearly 100 percent single track and passing can be a bitch. Dan counted down.....5, 4, 3, 2, 1....it was tough to contain myself from a false start and we were off. Don and Tubey were our in the front and I sprinted forward to hang with them, determined to win the "hole shot." I called out to Don as the trail curved if we continued right as I was not sure which way the race course went, he kindly gave me an affirmative that Right was the direction to go. With a little more push I was in the lead. I had won the hole shot I was the first of the Clydesdales into the woods.

Immediately into the woods there was an odd set of dippty doos each about 3 feet high and three feet apart. A very strange arrangement to say the least. I muscled hard to work my bike over these oddly arranged obstacles. In addition to them being a technical feat for cruising up and over and around there was this issue that this area was moist and spongy, sucking the tires in like some sort strange all natural Velcro that grasped rubber bicycle tires. This continued for 23-30 yard and then there was a stretch of single track and then around the turn was another set of these dippty doos, like some sort of kiddie roller coaster, yet this set was harder to ride and shorter in length so I dismounted and ran to get past them...then back on the bike into some single track only to come around the bend and find another long section of this odd obstacle course. Fighting to maintain speed yet having the velcro grab my tires forcing me to expend a grand amount of energy just to keep the bike moving forward. Once off this last set of velcro coated kiddie roller coaster dippty doos we were into the woods...onto a different type of dirt, hard packed dry clay that was allowing the wheels to roll. I mashed the pedals in an effort to get some distance on Don. I could feel his breath right behind me. I wanted to try and build a gap and try and get a mental advantage on him. The Red Bull ingested on the drive up was teamed up with the generic cola that I sipped from the start line. I was burning off the sugar and caffeine. At this point I was trying too hard to get away to allow myself to slip into a groove. The course rolled through tight trees...up and down little rollers...up and over sections of roots...up and down dips that were shockingly dry as I thought they would be creek beds after the season's rain. Some time passed and within the first lap I was already reeling in some of the racers that had been let out in the classes minutes ahead. I politely requested to pass, "when you get a chance...can I get by on the left." always departing with a thank you and a joking request that they don't let anyone else past. It is a nice little tactic to try and not only build a gap in distance but a blockade of people. It is not uncommon to come up on a group of riders moving through the trees. Their speed may be good, but usually they could be going a tad faster. Logic would say..."if I caught them...then I am faster then them" don't be fooled and become another segment of the single-track caterpillar....if you are not careful it may end up being an inch worm.

Things seemed to be going well. The course was in far better shape than I had anticipated. Sure there were those velcro dippty doos, and there were patches of earth that felt like peanut butter that slowed my wheels to a point where I was confident that I had two flats, but other than that there was some fast hard pack that offered some serious swooshing through the trees. This race was reminding me what I love about mountain biking. That rush that I got the first time I went trail riding was as powerful on this day, only on this day I did not have to get off the bike and walk up the climbs! As the race twisted and turned there were a few points where I was able to catch a glimpse of Don. He was trailing not too far behind, clearly too close for me to settle into a rhythm. I had to keep up the pace, if he were to catch me...I was sure that my pace would drop. So the pedals were pushed harder and harder. A few times in the race I came to a good spectator vantage point I saw Don's wife. It seemed like a good idea that I ask her to stop Don and give him a big kiss for racing so hard! Forget the Kiss! Just Stop Him! I am not sure how long I can keep up this pace.

Finally the first lap came to an end! The course was a tad more familiar and my legs were warmed up. I tried to slip into more of a groove. Still catching and passing a variety of riders. Almost crashing at each slippery off camber turn that I had nearly crashed on the lap prior. There were a few times were efficiency was lost as I tried to bomb down sections only to have to bring my speed down to make the hairpin turn at the base of the roller coaster descent. This could not be avoided..I WAS HAVING TOO MUCH FUN. Along with the fun came the pain....My back started to hurt a bit, reminding me that I had not been on this bike in over a month (no dirt on any bike) to compound that my seat post had slipped down a few inches, but I was not sure if I wanted to slow to make the adjustment. Rather I waited till the 20 yard mud bog to dismount, so I could slam down my Gatorade and adjust my seat. That time did not come soon enough, yet I waited just the same. As I dismounted the bike and ran through the mud and climbed up the hill just beyond the dirt I pulled the Gatorade bottle from my water bottle cage opened the cap and slammed orange flavored Gatorade all over my face. A few ounces reached my mouth and the rest splashed all over and drained down my neck, returned the cap and put the empty bottle back in the cage. Once onto of the hill I went for the quick release on the seat post, raised the seat to what I thought was a desired height and climbed back on and started pedaling. The seat was clearly too high, I made some turns and raced the bike, but I felt like I was going to be thrown from the bike as I went screaming down the next twisting downhill. Thus I was forced to adjust the seat with a tad more accuracy this time. Again sacrificing time, fearing Don to come around the bend only to greet me with a hardy, "hello" to go past me and closer to the finish forcing me play catch-up. In addition to the seat post slipping down I was having some serious anxiety about steering. The steering seems to be stiff. This is not a joke. At each moment in the race each rider is inches from a broken clavicle or worse. It was hard to diagnose. As I rode on lesser technical sections I rocked back and forth trying to evaluate if it was one of the legs of my shock, then I would ride a short wheelie (as a short wheelie is all I can ride) and would turn the handlebars from side to side with the wheel in the air to see if there was any major resistance. With all the testing I figured that it was a mal adjusted headset, in my hasty adjustment I had tightened things down a little too much. Anxiety would be me through the rest of the race, fear of my bike failing me. This could be dangerous if not just a little painful.

Being a Clydesdale is hard on the equipment. It is not always a sure thing for a Clydesdale's wheels to remain true throughout the race. I was forced to loosen my brakes to assure myself less friction as some of the bouncing around had put my wheels out of wack. This adjustment was done on the move. It is a simple enough adjustment on the brake lever, but not such an easy adjustment when at full pace on winding single-track and with fatigue and exhaustion setting in.

Then finally the last lap....
By this time I was pretty familiar with the trail, but only vaguely familiar. Again I tried to ride the dippity doos and set my eyes on another objective. By this point I had passed NCVCer Kevin Dillard on the trailside as he was repairing his chain. Casualties of war. It is a reality of the game. Mountain biking is tough on equipment. Kevin suffered some basic equipment failure. I took this as some silent advice. As I had had a few occurrences of chain suck due to mud splashed on the chain I had to be careful not to fully commit to each chain stroke. With more and more riders in front of me my next goal was to try and reel in a few more racers from the other classes. It is a tight course and passing is difficult. But it is vital, getting pinned behind another rider can really alter the pace of the race. The more time behind them the more time added to the lap time. SO I wanted to try and get past as many of these other racers so that I could make a greater comparison to Sport Vet class. I figured that I had in a time trial sense been able to bring myself up to a fairly fast time. Energy was starting to drag. I had consumed my only GU packet (actually a Honey Stinger) mid way on the second lap. All the caffeine and sugar was long gone, the cold burgers and bananas I had for breakfast were burned away long ago. I was running out of steam. My memory of the course was fading. I could not remember how much further to the finish. My legs and lungs still felt strong, yet my my head was not entirely in the game. My control was getting a little sloppy. The lines that I was choosing were becoming a bit less efficient, if not dangerous. There were moments where I got a tad squirrelly. That can be part of the rush! A slip here and slide there, gets the adrenaline pumping. A few turns later and I was at the end of the course, no dramatic sprint to the finish. It had taken me by surprise. I rolled in and got off my bike and drank about 6 sodas on the spot. That is the clydesdale way to consume the twice the calories that I just burned. I had finished first in the Clydesdale Class. My pace would be more greatly explained when I reviewed the lap times on the web site the next day. Don was fast, but not the threat I had feared. But it was that fear that caused me to ride with the vigor and attack that I had ridden with.

There were a few minutes to change out of my sweat soaked cycling apparel and get into some civilian gear. Greet some fellow racers and take in the whole experience. As I had promised my wife that I would be home in time to man the BBQ. I approached Dan the race promoter and asked what he was doing for prizes. Dan being a friend to City Bikes and Clydesdales alike immediately realized that he had a pair of XL shorts for the prize table and asked if that would do the trick. I thought it was a good idea, but I feared that I may be an XXL....everyone knows I have some junk in the trunk...a bit of a big back yard. Dan ran off to his supply truck and grabbed shorts and let me off to man the grill. It was a long drive back up 95, with intermittent stops all the way. The drive to a race is always faster than the way back. But I made it back in time to fire up the grill, toss on some burgers and some sausages and eat a meal cooked in the spirit of the Clydesdale. (oh, and I did a drive through at the Taco Bell when I stopped for gas.)


Fire (Pacifier) and Blanket (no cute name, just "blanket")
Dean asks for them by name

Dean is very advanced
as he is strong in some areas he may be average in others
but he definitely is not deficient in any
sure he loves his blanket like Linus
and his pacifier like Maggie
[please visit Peanuts and the Simpsons for a lesson in POP CULTURE]
but he does not get either unless it is bedtime or
getting up from bed time or
trying to go down for bedtime or
naptime or
crying in such a way that it is the only way to make him stop

that is not to say that he is wandering the ZOO dragging his blanket, this is not permited, not even with the "uncontrolable tears claus"
nor is he sliding down the slide with his pacifier in his mouth
that would be completely unacceptable
the pacifier and blanket are strictly for bedtime and in the house
well, he can take the blanket into the car if we are going for a long roadtrip
but definitely not a trip to the grocery store
and it stays in the car when we get to our destination
unless of course he is crying uncontrolabley and this is the only thing that can make him stop
but it still stays in the car
no tears lets that thing out in public
there have to be some rules
it is not a matter of being overly concerned with what people think
it is a matter of control
and holding one's ground
of not giving in totally to everything
even under the conditions of uncontrolable tears

and no
I will not buy him that toy in the store just because he falls to the ground and can not move unless I pick him up
the behavior is not to be rewarded
he has that same toy at home
and he does not play with it there
why must I purchase it here
definitely do not buy him that toy
well unless it is under a dollar
this is not because I am cheap
it is just a matter that it sounds like an inexpensive way to stop the tears

dean is awesome
he is the wonder child
he looks like he is just over 5
when he is just over two
he loves to talk
he loves to play
being chased is
he goes through rotations of favorite activities
Play Doh is a new favorite
the bicycle has yet to catch....but it is on his mind

he loves to run and be chased
he is very good at staying on the trail when we hike
but his love for being chased can change that

he loves tools and prefers to work on his bike than to ride it

swimming is his main sport
but the season for that activity is behind us
although he is only two he is a natural swimmer
he wears a life jacket and maneuvers about the pool on his own
gets himself out and runs (but walks when we command such) to the
diving board and jumps off
he can do this 10-20 times
no exaggeration
no parental boasting
just fact
it is funny, he is in control....he knows what he is doing...he loves
to be in the water, he loves to jump in the water
he loves to have me throw him into the water
his lack of fear scares me
the ocean
he loves that too
with the life jacket on...he swims around on his own
rides the small waves
totally conscious of the world around him
and the potential for life around him
shells, starfish, fish, and dolphins all entertain him as he swims
he shouts out to the birds and the moon

oit is wild stuff


dean....I love him more than I love my dogs
dean is awesome
he is the wonder child
he looks like he is just over 5
when he is just over two

he loves to talk
he loves to play
he goes through rotations of favorite activities
Play Doh is a new favorite
the bicycle has yet to catch....but it is on his mind

he loves to run and be chased
he is very good at staying on the trail when we hike
but his love for being chased can change that
he runs towards danger just to see me FREAK OUT

he loves tools and prefers to work on his bike than to ride it

swimming is his main sport
but the season for that activity is behind us
although he is only two he is a natural swimmer
he wears a life jacket and maneuvers about the pool on his own
gets himself out and runs (but walks when we command such) to the diving board and jumps off
he can do this 10-20 times
no exaggeration
no parental boasting
just fact
it is funny, he is in control....he knows what he is doing...he loves
to be in the water, he loves to jump in the water
he loves to have me throw him into the water
his lack of fear scares me
and he loves to be out of control
he can not get enough of being thrown in the sky
but weighing in at nearly 40 pounds I get enough after little time

the ocean
he loves that too
with the life jacket on...he swims around on his own
rides the small waves
totally conscious of the world around him
and the potential for life around him
shells, starfish, fish, and dolphins all entertain him as he swims
(always aware of "the shark in the ocean, yet not afraid")
he shouts out to the birds and the moon


dean and rowan fought vigorously over the glow stick
the both lost as they bonked heads


Dean Dean Jelly Bean
the most handsome man I have ever seen

dean oscar's the name....
hanging with my mom is my favorite game

I would type this for you
but I am only two

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