Cleaning out for 2011

After last year's post that, by the number of comments left, was sooo popular (0 comments, which is about what it is for every post), I've decided to write another end of year post, to summarize the frequent posting I have done over the year (14 total, just got past the 1 per month mark). Actually, I'm just cleaning out my computer, saved links, etc., etc. and thought I would post about some of the junk I've been keeping in my head and on my computer over the past year. I hope its an enjoyable read, probably won't be short.

As every other year, I tried to draw a line in the sand and say that I was going to get in better shape, lose weight, etc just like every other schmuck out there. I even created a post about it and promised to "step outside my comfort zone" and talk about my progress or lack of it. I managed to keep that up for a couple weeks, maybe. The good news is that I did lose some weight and have gotten in better shape. The even better news is that I am still at it. Fell off the good nutrition wagon over the holidays a little, but managed to keep exercising for most of it and have a renewed interest in it all.

Nashville had a flood. I took some pictures and helped some folks out....like everyone else in Nashville. That's a good thing, not really the taking pictures, but the helping some folks out. Good job everyone!!

I am still racing bicycles and managed to get fed up with being one of the lead guys for organization of the team. I think I'm over that now, but still don't enough time to work on it. I did manage to make it on a podium or two. I even soloed an Adventure Race and came in 3rd in the solo division.

Kids and family kept us busy. Work kept me travelling. That's the wrap up of the blog and personal stuff.

As I sit here and clean out bookmarks, favorites and other earmarks on the web, I can't find one thing that is interesting to post about. Here are a few things that are kind of useful, but not that interesting.

KeyRingThing.com: This site can take all of your club card barcodes and put them all on one card. Or you could just cut them down to size and tape them to a business card like I did.

Thank you! or Danyavad : How to say Thank you in many languages (that's Hindi)

Resolutions for the new year? I don't really have any. Yes, I have goals and some plans. They are the same things that I usually try. Lose Weight, get faster on the bike, be a better something or another. The difference in this year over past years is that I've actually made progress over the past couple of years. I've lost some weight, close to 50 lbs over the past two years. I've gotten stronger on the bike through riding more and be lighter. I think I've become a better parent and a better manager over the past few years. So, my big goal for 2011? I want to continue to be a work in progress. I hope everyone out there can do the same.

TDS (Totally Different Subject): If you are looking for a good book to read, check out "Born to Run". Even if you are not a runner, it's an interesting and fun read.


Keeping it all going

When you start something there is some responsibility to keep it going, if its worthwhile, maybe even if it's not. It can be tough. If its an organization with several people involved it definitely becomes a living thing. It grows, it gets smaller, things change, faces change. As the person that started it you normally don't want to see the familiar faces change, you want the faces to stay the same, because that's what you are used to and some part of you feels that the original look is what it "should" look like. But, like most things in life, it has to change to keep going. If it doesn't change, it will die. You know somewhere in the back of your mind that one of the changes will probably be that your face won't be in the picture anymore, or at least not as prominent.That normally has to happen for an organization to keep growing and succeeding.

Why such a cryptic paragraph? I don't know, just something I've been thinking about over the past few weeks. My race team is changing, losing some big time contributers. I'm happy for them though, they are moving to a place they need to be to meet their goals and that is what is all about. Sad for the loss to the team though, but maybe it will turn out to be a good thing. We have several promising folks coming on board. We can also still focus on being a little more laid back for another year and growing the team atmosphere. It also has me thinking about the other projects I am involved in, particularly Scouting. I helped start a Cub Scout pack at NCS. My youngest son is getting closer to finishing up cub scouts. When that happens I will let someone else take over my committee chairman position, if I don't do it before then. I have been involved with that pack since my 12 year old was in first grade, he's in 7th now, so that's 6 years of continuous involvement. To to the above point, my involvement has been very heavy at times and in the past couple years not so much. Things change.

The same thought relates to my personal and work friends. Things change, as everyone knows, even though we want it to remain a certain way. That "way" is usually some perfect point in time that only existed for a few weeks, days, hours, minutes, but that's what we strive for, to get back to, or to have in future friendships. Then sometimes its time to move on.


So You Want To Start A Cycling Race Team....

A little over a year ago I was looking for a team that I could ride with. A group of guys a little more organized and serious than my normal group of guys. However, I did not want to lose the loose group of 5 or 6 guys that I had started doing 12 hour MTB races with. Around this time I was invited to an organizational meeting for a cycling team that I knew a few people on. Meeting went well, I liked the vibe of the group that was there. I was pretty much ready to join up. Then one of my normal group came up with the idea of starting a race team, starting one that would be geared towards us. I instantly thought, "This sounds like a lot of work." I knew a local shop owner, very close to my house, so I went to talk to him.

I was totally prepared with an "elevator" speech to get my idea across to him quickly. The shop was busy the day I went in, so I just asked him if there was a good time to come back, I had something I wanted to discuss with him. He asked me what it was. I jumped into my speech, but only got the first two sentences out before he said, "Sure, let's do it." Or something like that. Point is, it seemed way too easy to get his support. He had already been thinking about the idea, but didn't have the time to get it organized and going. Seems like I did, or everyone thought I did.

Next step? We scheduled a meeting, invited some people, stood around in the shop and talked about it. People raised their hands when asked if they wanted to race, people raised their hands when they were asked if they could be committed to a team, people raised their hands when they were asked if they would purchase a race kit. And they did. Some raced a lot, almost every weekend. Some raced a little and some were in between doing what they could.

We didn't have people racing like we expected, myself included. Why? Life. We had a flood in Nashville. We had kids to take care of. There were business trips to be completed. There were Boy Scout trips to go on. Some just didn't realize what it would actually take. Some wanted to do other types of racing and didn't realize what that would take. Like I said, "Life". We did have some guys that raced a lot and reaped the rewards from doing so. A statewide award was won. A local series award was won. A TON of experience was gained by anyone that even came close to participating in a few races. Not only, in racing, but in the team experience. Organizing and running a team. What it means to be a part of a race team. 

Now the year is coming to an end. The "normal" season is over and cyclocross is taking over. We have to start looking at the 2011 season and wondering where that will take us and what challenges we face. What will the team look like for the new year? Who will be there? Who won't? What kind of commitment are we going to see out of the members?

Personally I wonder what my commitment will look like in the end. At this point, after seeing some personal goals met (not all, but some) I am more committed to racing than ever. I need some more bigger successes this next year to keep me going and I'm willing to put in the time and work to get there. I may not win, but I feel I have the talent and ability to finish with the pack and make a contribution to the team.I know more important things may get in the way, family, work, etc. That's fine if it does. The point is to try. Try to start a team. Try to create something that will last. Try to succeed.

See you up the road.


The Nashville Flood: Clean Up (My Insignificantly Small Part)

A few days passed, we got power back, then cable. We salvaged what food we could from our coolers. Began figuring out how we were going to make it to work. Watched the news to see if the boys would go back to school the next day. For the most part, going about our daily lives. It was different though, we did have to figure the above obstacles out, we did have to drive by houses that now had a watermark on them and belongings that were beginning to be piled up along the side of the road.

I wanted to do something to help out, but I had work. I considered just going on and not bothering with it, I thought there would many others helping, they won’t need me. It kept pulling on me to do something. Luckily there were several organizations that were organizing clean up efforts, including Bellevue United Methodist Church, my church. All one had to do is show up and someone would send you out with a crew to work. Doris and I went Saturday morning. She went first and I showed up directly after a bike ride. We worked for about 8 hours that day. IMG00059Completely ripping out on condo in River Plantation. There were probably 5 units in this one building, when we were done you look between the studs and see the far exterior wall. A sad thing considering each one of these units was someone’s home. The next place we went to, had to have the same thing done, including a wood floor that had to come up. We spent the rest of the day there, then I went back on Sunday to finish the job.

There were tons of volunteers from all over. We spoke to a girl from Boone, NC. that was here with Samaritan’s Purse. One of the volunteers with us, had gotten some visiting friends from D.C. to come help the day before they were to return home. There were several companies helping out with food and supplies. Logan’s Roadhouse had a trailer set up to server food. Waste Management was there serving food. It was a good feeling to be working so hard and to be supported so well by so many. I know there were some neighborhoods that didn’t get this kind of support, but I hope they got some. Everyone really needed the help. IMG00069

I only spent about a day and a half helping out. It felt good to try and help folks affected by the flood. Its pretty insignificant amount of time considering what the flood victims are going through and the amount of time other volunteers have put in. I’m still glad I was able to help that little bit and I hope that it actually did someone some good.

The Nashville Flood: The Flood

Yes, I know I kind of repeated the title. No, I’m not going to take this real seriously. Yes, its a bad thing, but that’s how I deal with stuff sometimes, most of the time.

The rain finally stopped sometime Sunday night, after shutting our power off and destroying one Blackberry Tour (that could probably be blamed on me, but the rain seems to be a good scapegoat at this point). Monday was turning out to be a nice day. High of 81 degrees, a little foggy in the morning, and most importantly it would be dry. We started the morning by having breakfast at our place with the H’s. BH and I planned a bike ride to see some how some of our local riding roads looked, but not before Doris and I went looking for gasoline and ice.

We headed down Hwy. 100 thinking we would just go to Dickson like BH and I had the night before. Once we got to Hwy 96, we realized that would be a bad idea. They had shut down I-40 due to flooding. That’s right, I didn’t believe it myself until I saw some news footage. But huge sections of I-40 was under water. That’s why I re-stated the title a little. The flood didn’t really happen until after the rain quit. Traffic was being diverted off of I-40 onto Hwy 96. We could have made it to Dickson in about 30 minutes, but with the traffic, it would have taken us a couple hours to come back. We turned around and headed down the Natchez Trace hoping to find something in Leipers Fork. The Shell on the corner of Pinewood and Hwy 46 was open, although they had had about six inches of water in their store. They were real troopers, they had all kinds of obstacles, buckled floors, sporadic credit card service, but they kept their business open. We drove on down by Puckett’s grocery and they had even had water in their store. Not sure if it was from a high creek or river, or if it was just from water run off, either way they were open as well. The houses  just down from there apparently go hit hard, because they were pulling all of their belongings out. This was the first of the personal damage I had really seen. Before it was just damage to roads and such. I was more in shock of the places that the water actually got to. I just never thought some of these places could/would flood. Apparently a lot of other people thought the same because they didn’t have flood insurance.

We followed Hwy 46 on down to Hwy 96 and headed back towards the Trace. Traffic headed towards Franklin was still bumper to bumper of course. Luckily we were headed in the opposite direction, however at one point were slowed by a land slide that took out half of the road. This was going down the hill right before you get to the Natchez Trace. We made it on home without any additional blocks.

I hooked up with BH and went for a tour on our bikes. We covered about 20 miles or so, but it was all within about 5 miles of Traceside. We would head down one road until it was flooded out, turn around and head down another. We went out the back Traceside onto Sneed, then turned right on to Old Natchez. That took us down to a flooded road just 28356_1450702912303_1375156526_1243915_4464623_npast Moran. We came back to Moran and went around by Alan Jackson’s house, just beyond that was a lake, the day before it was a soybean field. The road was underwater as well.  The bridge at Sneed road was something to see. The water was still up so that it just barely passed under the bridge. DSCN0399Funny thing about that, that just now occurred to me. All of that water didn’t really make a sound going under the bridge, or at least I can’t recall it. The road on the farDSCN0392 side of the bridge was washed out, not completely gone, but jacked up pretty good.  The tour continued out through a couple of the subdivision closest to the bridge. A tornado had touched down here and there were many trees down. It seemed that not much was damaged from the tornado, several folks seemed to be drying their houses out though.

We came back over the hill to Temple road and went both ways on it. First to the right where we knew some houses had been flooded. This was when it really started to hit home how bad the damage was.DSCN0409  I really could not believe that the water got this high and did not get into our subdivision or even to our house. This part of Temple partially backs up to Traceside. You can see by this picture that the water had already gone down quite a bit when we came by. There are probably 5 or 6 houses that got hit hard in the section. We have friends that live along this road and the water came up to their house but no further.  It was good to know they were ok, but still tough to look at these other homes that were completely trashed. On down the road about a tenth of a mile past this house there were two pickups that looked like they were parked to block the road. SB (my friend that lives on Temple) told me that they came from elsewhere and were just moved down there by the water.

The other side of Temple was pretty much the same. The damage on that side of the road was to the rock walls that are all over the place here. They hold some historical value I’m sure and they are just cool to look at. Several had been knocked over by the force of the water though.

When BH and I returned, we had promised our boys that we would take then over to the YMCA parking lot which was flooded. We had been there the day before and ridden through it on our bikes just goofing around trying to make the best of being stuck. The water had gone down a good bit, but the road into the parking lot still had water across it and some good slick mud.

Before you say anything about safety and not playing in the flood water cause its got bad stuff in it, let me tell you my reasoning….Well, ok, I don’t really have any reasoning, other than boys will be boys and we like to play in mud, on our bikes, whenever we can and it makes us happy, it was worth the risk. The boys had been cooped up for a few days and needed something. Yes, we wrecked, fell down in the mud, etc. Yes, Moms and wives were not thrilled when we returned. All of this points back to a very good time being had.



What do you have to do when you get a few males together on bikes in the mud? Have a race!!! Very friendly, not very competitive, just fun and I thought the beginning looked cool when they all hit the water. Will is just fooling around at the end. Good times were had by all.

During all of this.  The flood waters were still rising around downtown. The Opryland hotel had been evacuated the night before. We were having a good time but knew that we would be helping to clean up soon.