Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Riding again!!!

Well Ladies and Gentlemen, I am hitting the road again. I haven't posted in a great while, however I am expecting this to be picking up more speed as I once again work on incorporating it into the classroom. I expect to be creating a lot more media uploads this upcoming summer when I am on the the bike. I am actually receiving said bike on the first of February where my training will begin in earnest. I am currently killing time in the Anchorage airport waiting for my cast to come off and here what the specialist has to say concerning my hand. Part of me wants to hear good news, but it would bring with it the bittersweet feeling of wasting time in airports when I could have just removed the cast myself and saved myself two days of traveling. Bah, Doc's orders and Ann would fly up from Mexico to lynch me if I didnt follow through...(though I'll be jiggered if she could find a tree out here for 70 mi or so) However once the cast is off I have been told by the physical therapist that I can ride in the next two weeks as long as I have a brace. Overall not too bad.
As for training I am hitting the rollers with some intensity come the arrival of my bike, the shoes and pedals I ordered last year and could not cancel arrived over the summer so I have an extra set to put to use on this bike. I am not in as bad of shape as I was last year at this, but I would like to get somewhere close to bike and build physique by the start of the trip. I think it is at least approachable, last year I was feasting off of pizzas everyday, and then bulk orders of girlscout cookies. This semester I have over 60lbs of frozen stir fry vegetable left and 16 weeks to eat them all in. ALong with 30lbs of chicken 30 lbs of ground beef and about 20lbs of ribeye steaks. I have been getting lazy with cooking but I have to eat 5lbs of meat a week and about 4lbs of vegetables. Well see how I handle it...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Charge of the Bucket Brigade

Well Ladies and Gentlemen, back into the saddle out here and there isn't any time to relax. I thought I would be able to kick back and have a lazy sunday, but while I was enjoying my morning coffee one of my students came up to my window and mouthed "Fire" and pointed towards the inner village. I jumped up and threw my boots and hustled out to the village and found that the fire was in a shack outside my old house! There was already a bucket brigade forming so I jumped in line and we were able to move quite a lot of water in five gallon buckets from this swampy pool to the shack. We got most of the fire out by the time they were able to hook up a hose and water pump to the swamp. It ran for a short while and then there wasn't really any water being sucked in. so the hose kind of failed, but the buckets kept coming and there was minimal damage to the structure of the shack just most of the stuff on the inside gut burned up.

After we were able to break the bucket brigade down I was able to visit with some of the villagers and it turned out to be a good way to meet a bunch of people and talk about summer. After a little catching up I headed home and decided how I was going to try and tackle the mountain of things that stand at the beginning of every school year. Well see how the blogging holds up this year.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

CHarlottesville VA DAy 6&7

We spent two days in Charlottesville, we got in pretty early after my first ride with hills that I actively enjoyed. They were rolling hills which for everyone back home in flat IL means the hills have a combination of uphills and downhills but they are spaced closely together. If you shift your gears correctly you can use your momentum going down thehill to pretty much carry you up and over the next uphill. It is pretty exhilarating and I definitly enjoyed the ride. It ended witha massive uphill ride into town and I had to get off the bike and walk up it. My body just was not ready for it yet after all of the other hills that were ridden, however it has kind of given me a starting off point by which to measure my progress. We got to stay in a sorority house and had some pretty pleasant accomodations.

The following day was a build day and I got to work on my first habitat home. It was pretty exciting although our first site got raineed out, there was a second site in town that needed quite a bit of work done on it. I was asigned to eb on a painting team, and we got the entire interior of a house primed and painted in a day. It was a bunch of fun as I re called memories of working a summer painting apartments, I do kind of like the feel of a roller in my hand and making a paint job look good. Other groups got to put up sheetrock and did some other stuff in another house. There was a lot of work that neded doing, but we rose to the task. The old adage "Many hands make light work " held true in this scenario and three houses had significant immprovements constructed in them.

My old juggling buddy Tony Gonzales was able to meet up with me in Charlottesville because he lives just in a neighboring village of Waynesboro. I hadn't seen him in years and was surprised to learn that my route passed so close to where he ended up livig and working as a journalist. We caught up a lot on what has happened over the years, and after a hard days work meeting him kind of rejuvenated me and gave me a fresh burst of energy or my second wind. We got together and juggled for a bit and afterwards he headed back out.

I can't wait until Effingham where I will get to see more of mty friends and family, it really makes this trip so incredible, I mean when we are travelling from town to town, all paces seem kind of foreign, but seeing a familiar face from the past really help kind of smooth the transition along and make each stopping point mor eentertaining.

I am a day behind with the posting so far but i have to get sleep. TSil the next time I have Internet.

Tank Crossing???

Day 5
Waverly -> Blackstone
We are continuing to ride through Virginia and the terrain seems to become a little more hilly with quite a few inclines and oddly enough never as many downhills as one would like. We passed quite a few gravesites and I could just think of my parents tracing geneology, so I decided to make some stops and take some pictures of headstones. There were actually quite a few that dated back to the Civil War (Confederate side) so I snapped a shot of them and a couple other interesting signs along the way. One of them being “ Tank Crossing.” We were riding through a military base out there and one of the riders actually got to see the tank! When I saw the sign I kind of went into the same mode as when you see a deer crossing sign on the side of the road. You kind of get ready for a deer to spring out at anytime, well the same thing kind of happened to me with the tank, I was just waiting for one to crash through the trees out of the forest and onto the road.
I was struggling through more of the hills and we ended up doing detours and getting lost for a great portion of the ride but eventually made it into the Blackstone Campus and we were surprised with beds for all of to sleep in for the evening. It was a dorm but kind of nice they had a swimming pool that we all made use of. And then after dinner we decided to have a night out on the town. We went to a little tavern called Sully’s and pretty much doubled their Saturday crowd as 20 of us entered the bar. We shared some drinks with each other as we related tales, and learned more about each other. We had an early morning of riding tomorrow so we didn’t stay up too late or imbibe too heavily. I attempted to type this journal entry yesterday I was simply too exhausted. Better late than never…

Gold Bonding....

Day Four

Well today day was one of the shorter rides ofr our trip we ended up being able to make it around 40 miles ad it was a pretty nice ride. A little stressful on stretches of some of the busier roads, but overall prett easy ride. Or would have been had my cleat not separated from my clip on pedal and left me to pedal with one foot for about 7-8 miles. That part was not so cool, but it was a relatively quick fix during lunch and I was able to take it easy for the last couple of miles after lunch. I had an interesting experience this morning when I was brushing my teeth. Five riders came in and one right after another, they put on the counter Gold bond body powder bottles. It was almost synchronized, one after another I looked at them and asked “Guys am I missing something, whats the deal with the gold bond?” They informed me that it was a good way to keep the unmentionables clean and healthy, and they strongly recommended that I get some. Well after we made it into Waverly I stopped at a pharmacy and I picked some up as well as a delicious chocolate shake. I applied it after and actually it was quite refreshing. I think I am goin g to try and make a habit of using it. I will be able to engage with the other males in the ritual of morning application.
Overall the comraderie of the group is growing, as we go through the rides we end up talking to each other more and we are becoming pretty close. I keep coming to the conclusion that this is probably the best thing I could be doing with my summer.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Day 3 Suffolk

Day Three: Destination Suffolk
Today was our first real day of riding. Our scheduled trip was around 45 miles of traveling, and we accomplished the first 30 miles of it before lunch after getting the van packed and ready to go. I lost my queue sheet with the directions on it in the first three minutes, but I didn’t think much of it because of the numerous other riders I was following. We made some good time cruising along the shaded patches of Virginian woodland and we decided to make our first detour and visit a fresh farmer’s market. We picked up some peaches that were delicious. After a quick pit stop, one of the other riders, Alicia, and I found ourselves as the only two bikers at the market so we decided to saddle on up and head on out. Alicia took point due to my earlier blunder of losing the directions, and she set a pretty quick pace. I have been getting the hang of the clipping in and out of my bike now as we have to do it for most of the red lights we run into. It gives me some time to readjust my seating position and make sure that blood is flowing to all the parts that it needs to visit. When we hit our first lunch break I noticed riders doing some stretches so I inquired further and found out that we have a pretty good foundation for healthy body maitanence. I was provided with a few stretches to try and loosen muscles in my lower back, which is really the only area of my body that was sore. I think it either must be due to my inflexibility, or simply to the way in which I sit upon the bike. I am not 100% sure which one it is, but hopefully I will be able to figure it out before we get too much further on in the trip.
We took quite a circuitous route book after checking out some of the scenic sights on our way to Suffolk, like the small airport, the garbage dump landfill, and then almost getting on a highway heading back to Virginia Beach! Needless to say everyone was a bit confused and it wa a great relief when we were finally able to roll into the Westminster Church, and hit up showers at the YMCA. After our showers there was a hot dinner waiting for us prepared for by the talented cooks of the Homeward Bound group. After our stomachs were satiated I fulfilled my end of the bargain of organizing a binder of dates t satisfy the 8 hours of sweat equity requirement for the trip. I spent some time while I was collating talking to another rider, David, and we kicked some ideas around about why we are on the trip and what part of our lives we are at. Turns out that although we taught it two very different parts of the world, our experiences were pretty similar. I can’t wait to learn more about other people’s stories, I think lately I have been doing too much of the talking about Alaska and I think I want to try to engage some of the other riders and learn more about them personally.
I have another ride tomorrow this one around 40 miles, going to Waverly, VA. I am going to call it a night for tonight and catch some shuteye. Hopefully I will kick this cold which has degenerated into a cough. I am drinking some warm liquids, but I ma y have to pick up something a little stronger in Waverly tomorrow. Til then all!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 2 Virgingia Beach

Day 2 5/20/09 Virginia Beach
What level of nakedness are we okay with on this trip?- David Day 2
Well ladies and gentleman we found out the answer to that question today. When you have thirty people needing to change clothes, use showers, and try to just get through the day and limited bathroom space. You find yourself just dropping your drawers and hitting the YMCA with the best of them. I really didn’t have too much of a problem with it, all the steams in Alaska kind of prepped me for this trip. This coupled with prevention techiniques against chafing kind of opened the group up to discuss things not generally discussed in your normal everyday company. We ended the day with a couple of “Butt’erfly” creations and I believe we have achieved a new level of comfort with each other.
Well today we had a rather packed schedule, I seemed to be in the throes of jet lag, and woke up around 5 in the morning. Although this gives me ample time to write, I would kind of like to get on a normal sleeping schedule so I will be able to function as the rides become more strenuous. Today we had our first shake-down ride to see how our bikes handled and to try and get comfortable riding around in a group. This was my first ride with the bike and I had to get used to these new type of pedals that you actually clip your shoes and become attached to the bicycle. This helps increase your pedaling power, however it poses a problem, you have to a special move to get out of your pedals by twisiting your ankles, and if you fail to do so you can lose your balance and fall slowmotion-like with your bike onto the pavement. It hasn’t happened to me yet, however I feel my time will come, one slip up is all you need to fall. The ride was completed wqith a few detours and wrong turns but everyone made it back goodhumored and excited for what the trip will hold for us. Prior to riding I was quite anxious, it seems a little absurd, but I was thinking in my head, “Man alive how am I going to complete this ride” I kind of psyched myself out and there turned out to be little reason for it. We got to go through the scenic military base, and I have never heard so many fighter jets in my life. They are loud and almos tall conversation ceases when they fly overhead.
I am learning a bunch of things about bike maintenance and also one of our leaders, Brian, is really serious about photography, and he is kind of showing me the ropes on my camera. Which is kind of neat I was thinking I might have to sign up for a class to properly learn how to use it but he was able to provide me with a pretty informative rundown on how things like shutters, apertures, and ISO’s work. As well as some of the functions on my camera. Thanks to him I should have some snazzier photos coming on the way.
We had a good meeting with the church members in Virginia Beach and I got to learn a little bit more about how the building part of our bike and buil trip works. I think I could really get into talking to people and just finding out about them.
We are going to try and get up early tomorrow to catch the sunrise on the Atlantic, I may just stay up. This jet lag things has to work its way out of my system, I think it will eventually, happen. We have a forty-five mile ride into Suffolk, facing us tomorrow and I am pretty excited. Today we just got a taste, tomorrow will probably be more of a light lunch in terms of riding distances. Til next time guys and gals!