Sunday, June 29, 2008

Catching up, getting ready for vaca

A long week of anticipation. We are headed to Missoula, MT for a 10 day vacation to visit family. I haven't posted much so here is a picture update.

Sunday, was a work day with the CITA crew. More pics on Flickr, but we had a good turnout and got a lot accomplished on the hillside. Pic below was the crew that hauled in a 16ft bridge to install over the creek/ravine. The rain that we have had in the past month has ruined most of our trails. At least we reclaimed the Hillside area. More to come next month (I hope).
Friday night was at the Des Moines Art Festival with the family. I was taking creative license from Justin and shooting candid shots on the way back to the car. Pic of me and Holly.
Mid-week was spent building birdhouses with the girls. I can't believe that I've put this off for this long. It was a lot of fun and they had a great time. Here is Maddie learning to run a hacksaw.
Hannah with here completed birdhouse. Do we have any bluebirds in Iowa? Send them our way as we now have two bluebird houses ready and waiting.
Last weekend, Maddie and I went to cheer on the Hy-Vee triathletes. We had to get our picture with the devil.
Who knows how often I will get to post from Montana. I'll surely post some pics and commentary from the cell phone to Flickr. Probably some shorter updates to the blog. I do hope to get a gravel hundy in on Sunday. Should be scenic :)
(my proposed out and back hundy)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lunch with the girls

The ladies came downtown on Monday to take me to lunch. I picked old school Italian at Tumea and Sons. Only the 2nd time that I've been there and the 1st for the girls. Everyone loved it and you can tell by the amount of sauce on Hannah's chin that she was digging the spaghetti.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The camper is gone.

It is finally gone. Sad, but true. After 2 years of talking about selling it, we finally did it. We had only used it about 6-8 nights each of the past two summers. We were tired of paying $$ for insurance, license, storage and interest. Hannah cried as the new owners pulled it out of the driveway. I have to admit being sad to see it go, I hope that we don't completely give up on the camping scene as the whole family loves it.
The new owners, pulling out of the driveway with it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

June Hundy in the books

With no partners to take on this month's hundy, I wasn't really looking forward to it. However, I have plans to attempt one while on vacation in Montana over the 4th of July weekend. Looking ahead, I'll need two weeks to recover before then, thus I had to ride this weekend.

My route was to head south of Booneville, then towards DeSoto and up to Redfield. The first 30-35miles are the same as last month's hundy. After that it was all new roads, heading up to Panora, then east and south to Adel and familiar territory again. My original plans were to ride around Lake Panorama, but I had already taken an unplanned detour down south and didn't think I was going to need the additional miles.

The morning started off uneventful. I was concentrating on eating better this time. A Clif Bar for breakfast and then Hammer Gel every 30mins, a Balance bar at 1hr in, and all seemed to working well. Even though I had a slight headwind, I hit 33miles in 2.5 hours. At that time, I decided to try for a new personal best.

Between Redfield and Panora was some really scenic country. The only bad thing was that the roads had been freshly graded, it was to stay this way for the next 50 miles.

I came around a bend and saw this farm. A good looking place that the owner obviously cared about. Just after snapping the photo, I realized it was a hog farm (and a big one). The next 5 minutes had me breathing through my mouth and not my nose. :)
Slightly further down the road was the town of Mindon (or Lyndon). This picture is of the downtown. The neat thing about these gravel rides is that you find these throughout the state. They were probably the center of the farming community in the old days, now there are a few old and empty buildings.
Panora was at the 55mile mark. I had been working on keeping my average speed above 13mph and made that goal. Given the headwind and poor gravel, it was work to accomplish that. I stayed away from the pizza this time and went for cheese and crackers (protein, fat and carbs). It seemed to be a good decision.
On the road again, I now had a tailwind. I added a few sections north to get more miles. I knew that it would be close to the 100 mark by the time I got home. In fact, I added another loop south of Waukee and should have went farther. After taking the long way into the neighborhood, I hit 100 exactly and hit a new personal best. 100 miles in 7:14 (ride time) and 7:44 (overall time). I even had more climbing this time out (5000ft).
I felt really good this time out. I need some new gloves and shorts and need to find out why my feet hurt so bad at hour 5 (my feet seem to be swelling).

I ran into a former co-worker around Waukee. Jason N. had ridden to Redfield and back. He said that he saw others riding gravel in that area. Anyone else go out later in the day?

Here are the ride stats:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cubbie Bear attacks my honey

Holly and I went to the Iowa Cubs game on Tuesday night. Guests of United Way. It was a good time and we got to meet some new faces. All was going well until Cubbie showed up and tried to steal my "honey". Hands off Cubbie Bear!
I'm planning on my June Gravel Grinder this Saturday. I haven't heard of anyone else joining, but I figure that I'll leave near 6am and possibly head north to Seven Oaks. Maybe I'll get lucky and be able to ride a lap or two before coming back. That should get me close to the required 100miles. Chime in if your interested in joining, then we can arrange a meeting point.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Flooding, BRAMCO and Father's Day

What a busy week! Sorry for the delayed posting, but with the flooding it was a crazy week. The picture below is on Friday afternoon at the crest of the flooding near downtown Des Moines. My office building is over the levy to the left and down hill about 10-15 feet. If the water made it over, or if the levy failed, we were going under. As such, we evacuated on Tuesday and moved to a temporary location. The company and staff did an amazing job. 95 people and all the stuff except the cubicles were moved from 3pm to 10pm. They were working at the temp location by 8am the next day. Hardly any downtime.
By Saturday, I deserved a good, long ride. I had called Sammy and Jason and scheduled a trip to ride BRAMCO (bike ride around Madison County). This is the same county as "The Bridges of Madison County". I've done this ride three years now and have yet to be disappointed. Decent hills, good people and 60miles makes for a good outing. More ride pictures are in the Flickr link on the right.
Sunday was spent with the family for Father's Day. The girls treated me like the king that I am :) and I ate it all up. Lunch and a trip to the mall for new clothes, then a little car shopping. Nothing bought yet as I can't make up my mind, but good times. The weekend weather has been perfect. No rain, 80's and little to no humidity.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Trying to dry out....

Rick and Steve pondering our next move

This update is for those that read from out of state.

Yes, we are still dry at the house, but many parts of Des Moines and the rest of Iowa are getting worse. We need some dry weather. It's all very fascinating for me. Growing up in the mountains, you never really saw flooding. If anything, it was because of a quick snow melt and was more of a flash flood. They were also contained within a canyon or riverbed, but were just very fast flowing.

Iowa is very different. Being as flat as it is, when a river goes above flood stage (which doesn't take much), the water spreads out very rapidly. It also undermines the roadbeds and causes great damage. I must say that it is very impressive to watch.

We have several inches of rain in a 24 hour period a few times in the past week. When the ground is already saturated, the water has no where to go. Amazingly, the sewer systems cannot handle the flow and it actually pushed manhole covers off the holes and floods the streets. A few downtown buildings have been flooded this way.

For those that want to see the coverage, check out our local paper.


As for the weekend. I had a good ride with Rick and Steve. We managed to get 51 miles, but not without hitting some flooding ourselves. Check out the Flickr photos to the right to get an idea.

Still trying to sell the camper and Holly and the girls are hoping that I get rid of my car before we drive 24 hours back to Montana for 4th of July. I have one spotted, but we'll see if I can make it work.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Welcome to baby Zoe

I almost forgot to add that my brother "Uncle Trouble" and his wife "Aunt Toad" had a baby last Thursday. Welcome to the world baby Zoe!
She was about a month early and only 4lbs 2oz, but everything else is good. She is still at the hospital, but should be home soon.

Nice family weekend

Our weekend started with an impromptu gathering of neighbors on our deck for some drinks. It was nice and warm outside and none of us had really sat around and BS'd with each other since last fall. We didn't stay up too late, but 11pm felt late to us. We really have a great bunch of friends in the neighborhood.

Saturday morning found Tom taking his car for a check-up at the dealership. Of course, that took most of the morning, but he did get a chance to look at a few possible replacement cars. Madison's last soccer game was that night in Ankeny and she played goalie during the last 1/2. Their team lost (again), but they did play well. They are just missing that "killer" attitude and once they get behind, they just seem to give up. Here is a picture here drop-kicking the ball to the other end.
On Sunday, we left the house for a long distance bike ride. Tom is wanting to push the girls farther and farther on the bikes. This was their first ride over 10miles. We did 9 into town and then the 9 return trip for a total of 18. Here is the GPS log of the ride:
We are going to call this one the Sunday Subway ride, and Tom hopes that it will be something that the girls will continue to want to do. They did great on the way down, but coming home was more of a challenge. We stopped around the 14mile mark at Burger King for milkshakes. Maddie was really struggling to make it home and didn't have the energy. After the sugar rush from the milkshake, she seemed to have fewer problems for the rest of the way.