February 29, 2008
Wow, this has been a LONG WEEK it seems! Not sure why as I have been busy but it sure has taken a long time for Friday to get here so HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!
Had fun last night and hit Spezia's with some friends for a birthday celebration (Happy Birthday Mackie!). I had the Lamb and it was good. We also shared a bottle of Chianti which was also good. Then on to Monks for more wine! Three of us shared a bottle f DaVinci Chianti and it was also good! We tried to solve the worlds problems, what our goals are for the summer and what if gas becomes $4.00 a gallon. We decided that the world's problems would never be solved, goals were for some of us to bicycle more and others it was to golf and ride horse more. Then came the $4.00 a gallon of gas issue. UGH...actually each of us thinks that maybe we do need to get out the Ol'bicycle and ride to work when the weather gets nicer (nicer= no ice and a bit warmer). In the long run it would save all of us money and help us get into better shape. It would force us to pack our lunches instead of running home for lunch or going out for lunch (I would still need to ride home to get ABEZILLA at lunchtime but I think I can do that)....resulting in a healthier meal and also helping the environment. It all sounds GOOD! We will see how well we do!
This weekend is going to be spent doing house stuff. Raking the roof to get snow off it. Finish painting the hall outside the bathroom, hitting the home show to DREAM and then need time to relaxing a bit.
Book counts....Ok, so, some of you know that I am not a huge book reader and more of a magazine gal but last year I started reading a bit more. I read 7-books in 2007. I have read one book already this year (Into the Wild) and have started reading another book called 28 Days Behind Bars....can you guess what the book is about?......It is about a guy who is biking from the west coast to the east coast. Not the bars you were thinking was it!? So far it is good. I think my reading goal this year is 8 books in 2008...we will see!
All of those people traveling to the South Dakota Bike Summit this and friends traveling out of town this weekend.....TRAVEL SAFE!
February 27, 2008
I heard on the news today that they are talking $4.00 a gallon gas this summer! I might have to become a bike commuter! The problem is that Abe (my dog) comes to work with me in the afternoons so I will have to get the Nashbar kid trailer (buggy to Abe) outfitted so he can still go to work with me. This would also mean riding the bike home for lunch to get him. I am maybe 2 miles from home so I think it should work. We will have to see. Of course I would have to drive the Sidekick on Wednesdays as that is golf night in Brandon. Still have to do some thinking and planning on this! Occasionally I have to go to a contractors office or architects office to pick things up so that could create a bit of an issue also....more pondering is needed!
February 25, 2008
Good job, Levi Leipheimer, winning the Tour of California. His team worked very well to give him the victory but the deciding factor in my mind was the KICK A$@ time trial Levi did. He was smokin' fast! WOW! Kudos to team Slipstream also for winning the team title! I am sure they will get an invite to all the big races! Astana is making waves and proving they should have the invites to the big races also. I hope they will get an invite. If you have not signed the Let Levi Ride petition....GET IT DONE!
Friday night I got on-line and purchased a few new things for biking. New bike gloves, Terry Liberator saddle, C02 pump, and front and rear lights for the bike. I think I am pretty well set but still have rainpants to order. Hard to know what size with the weight loss so going to hold off a bit on those. I went through all my bike gear stuff yesterday to see what I had and if I needed anything else yet. I think I will have to get another pair or two of bike shorts sometime soon but I think I am set otherwise. Go the jerseys, shorts and socks out of the bag and washed them to freshen them up a bit.
Got the snowblower out of the garage to try and thaw out the ice that had formed in the auger making it unable to turn. I got my revenge and it is ready to go. The upper 30 degree temps melted it so I started it up and took if for a drive down the driveway and back to the garage. I AM READY! Not happy about the weather today...rain, ice and SNOW! I think we are only suppose to get around 2-3 inches of snow but we are to have ice first...I DO NOT LIKE ICE!
February 22, 2008
Will the Tour of California be decided by the time trial today? Can Fabian make up 13 seconds on Levi who has the yellow (Lead) jersey? WE WILL SEE! I am excited to listen and HOPEFULLY watch today. The telecast was not great yesterday because the weather was crappy then they had to refuel the airplane that sends the images out which took about an hour!
This weekend hitting breakfast with friends then a little shopping but mostly WORK! Next week is a nasty bid week with a lot of bigger jobs bidding...should be FUN!
Thursday was the Austads warehouse sale. I really didn't see much I needed and I kind of already decided that I want to spend more on my biking stuff this year as I spent a lot on golf equipment last year (2-new pairs of shoes and a push cart OH YA and BALLS!) I am thinking about doing the MS150 this year (Sioux Falls to Vermillion) and so will look at what I need to purchase for that ride and the training rides to get me there. I will keep my road bike (I think-unless I make LOTS of money from my second job!) but I will need a new saddle, pedals, shorts, rain pants, front / back light and a C02 pump. I have a few jerseys already (thanks to Harlan's sale), a good bike jacket, gloves, shorts, computer, helmet, camelbak, bottles, socks and shoes. If you have any other suggestions let me know!
February 20, 2008
The UCI is promising to throw it's weight around! They are behind an effort that would allow Alberto Contador to defend his 2007 TDF title. The UCI president (Pat McQuaid) basically said that the ASO decision was unjust and unjustifible and was made by people who do not understand the sport! YOU GO PATRICK!
Will this shake things up a bit?...I hope so but we will have to "weight" (haha) and see!
Meanwhile Johan (Atana -general) has been meeting with the team sponsors to make sure they are still behind the team and of course they are. They realize how ignorant this stance really is and that it is political and NOT ABOUT THE FACTS! Is it because Astana has a team that could win and the French can not stomach an American on the podium again?......MAYBE or maybe they have a power ego that is fueling this. Come on people...there are plenty of other teams out there that have very tainted past and are still racing! Double standard?
Tyler Farrer (USA-Team Slipstream) is in first place after the stage yesterday by one second!
The race was wild and Tom Boonen won the stage but man it was crazy with the weather (rain), all the teams moving around and the winner of the stage the day before flatting out with two laps to go! Glad no on crashed!....well there was rumor that a couple riders went down early and also a moto-photo-video motorcycle went down but that was all that was said about it by Frankie and Joe (amgen TOC broadcasters).
They think today is the day that Levi Leipheimer will make his move. We will see. There is a pretty good climb in todays race which the GC guys will be all over I am guessing!
I can't wait until it starts today!......
Other noise...it is DAMN COLD this morning 19 below zero with the high today of 5 below zero!...I am REALLY DONE with the up and down temperatures. I guess I need to look to the weekend....which they are saying the highs to be in the 20-30...ABOVE ZERO!
February 19, 2008
If you are into bike racing and like watching and hearing the action then tune into http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/ and follow the stages...it's FREE! They are showing video of the race and you can also pick your riders you want to watch and the GPS will follow them on the course map.....well at least that is the idea. Each bike is equipped with a GPS unit (white thin card) under their seat and some have been on the forks. That part worked for a bit yesterday and then it stopped working. There is also a live chat on there that you can sign up and jump in for race comments. Happy Rider from Rapid was on there as we chatted a bit but some of the chat is delayed and gets kind of strange. I was pretty much in Heaven watching it yesterday! VERY COOL!
February 18, 2008
Bridge City was great last weekend. Got down there late Friday night. (thanks again Rose for turning up the heat a little earlier so it would be nice and toasty when we got there). The ice was going to be the battle of the weekend. Saturday moring it was getting up and formulating the game plan on how to attack the dreaded ice mess. They designed the eave downspouts not very well so all the water drains out on to the sidewalk and then freezes and makes for a nice ice skating lane to the front door of the clubhouse. (thanks again Rose for trying to get rid of the ice with the the ice melt) Anyway, off to Ace Hardware to get a ice chopper. I am one that does not buy the cheap ones anymore after having purchased a couple of them in the past. They do not last so I was in search of the "MUTT" which is the brand we have at home. Well, it was no good. Could not find that brand but I did find an animal called the "BRUTE" It looked similar to the MUTT but had a longer handle. So I picked it up after tooling around the bike shop at Ace Bike and Fitness at Ace Hardware. (BTW-looked like they had some good prices on Trek road bikes there if anyone is interested) Anyway, got back to the clubhouse and dumped more ice melt on the offending party and let it do its magic while we headed to Wausa NE to pick up more of our beef from the meat locker and also picked up some beef sticks and salomi..YUM! Then it was back to attack the ice. It was decided to make a bit of a holding pound in the grass area for the water to drain into. The neighbor had purchased an extender for his downspout and it didn't fit so he installed it on ours and man this was just the ticket! After chopping and scooping and chopping and scooping I think we have the problem solved for now. Ok, so it had to be tweaked a bit sunday morning when the wind had blew the downspout away from the holding pond. We placed two small bricks one on each side of the downspout to keep it in place. The driveway was almost dry when we came back to the clubhouse later that day! I did complain to the association president about how the driveways and sidewalks are not being cleaned off as nice as they should be but not sure I got any satisfaction from his answer. I guess people were complaining more about them cleaning them off in a timely manner so they can get to work and not about the quality of work they are doing. To me it should be both but I guess I am a minority on this situation.
My Godparents invited all of us out for brunch on Sunday..YUM! Homemade waffles, eggs, bacon..the works. It was wonderful as always. We had a lot of fun sitting around and telling stories about our vacation and of course lots of laughing. It is so good for the soul to feed it with good food, laughter and family!
February 13, 2008
Astana is not invited. The ASO (owner of the Tour De France) stated today that Astana would not be invited to any ASO event it organizes for the 2008 season. It stated that the "damage caused by this team in the TDF and cycling in general, as much in 2006 as 2007" is the reason. They went on to say that it would be inapropriate to allow the team to compete dispite a complete shake up of the teams management and the squads roster. WHAT? Alexander Vinokourov tested positive for doping during the 2007 tour. He denied doping and retired from the sport. Andrej Kashechkin tested positive during an out of competition testing August 1, 2007 and is not on the team.
ASO is saying that it does recognize the reorganization of the team but the team still needs to prove themselves since the team had been reorganized in 2006. They did however say that basically if Astana can stay out of scandals and suspicions that it would consider a bid from them for future events.......UGH.
Johan Bruyneel was not happy and would not make much of a comment, Levi Leipheimer will not speak about it until the press conference for the Tour of California, Alberto Contador (who has been linked to Operation Puerto but cleared then suspicion then cleared...OH GOD who can keep track of this anymore) heard the news during a race and took off like a so called "bat out of hell" to be later swallowed up by the peloton. He was very upset and shouted at a Spanish TV camera at the finish of the race "Astana, en el Tour!"
I guess time will tell..............again we will have to see how the year unfolds!
Last night we wanted to finish scooping out the driveway. I had scooped the sidewalk over my lunch so that was done but I had decided to use the snowblower to take care of the driveway. Well that didn't happen. We used the snowblower at the beginning of winter and have not used it since because it is a good workout scooping by hand. If you follow my blog you might have read about the snowblower issue I had a year ago or so. Anyway last night I went out to start the snowblower and got it started as I stood in line with the exhaust that permiated my clothes so that was all I could smell the rest of the night and of course my coat smells like it also so the smell has followed me to work this morning.....anyway I digress.....I go to advance the snowblower out of the garage and start the auger and the engine died. DANG IT...so I got the extention cord out to hook it up to the electric start again and it started off but the same thing happened...it died when I tried to start the auger. I looked to see if anything was impeeding the auger.....of course there was...it was not the shopping news that I ran through it that created problems the last time but this time it was a HUGE chunk of ICE that was keeping the shaft from turning......DAMMMMMMMIIIIIITTTTT............I banged on the ice a bit with the hammer and thought, OH HELL, so me and the roomy SCOOPED the driveway. I guess I have some snowblower work to do but if I wait long enough it will fix itself once the weather is nicer.
Heading to Bridge City this weekend to relax after a WILD work week. Lots of bidding going on for this time of year which is strange and the phones have been nuts so my desk looks like paper EXPLODED all over it! Oh well..it is all GOOD...I guess!
Still fighting a bit of a cold. Little stuffy today more so then the last few days. I think that is kind of odd but I will survive! At least I can blow my nose. My sister had surgery on her sinus a few weeks ago. She had a hole that was leaking spinal fluid into her sinus and then out her nose. She is doing well but they packed it with disolvable packing so she can't blow her nose for a few weeks...UGH...I would be a freaking wreck if I could not blow my nose so I guess I am lucky I can still blow my nose!
Can't wait for supper tonight. We put a pork roast in the crock pot with potatoes, carrots and onions..YUM! Should be a good supper!
My weight lost so far...15.4 pounds since last summer.
Roomies weight lost so far...17 pounds since Thanksgiving...you go girl!
February 12, 2008
Seems a lot of riders are a bit on edge waiting for their team invite for the Paris Nice this Wednesday.
Speculation is that teams that are left off the invite list for Paris Nice will be left off the Tour De France invite list but ASO (Amaury Sports Organization) has final say on the berth of teams in the Tour so teams listed can be taken off or teams can be added.
This will be EXTREMELY hard on sponsors as they will have no return on their investments, again creating a mess of the cycling world. Teams have really struggled to secure sponsors for their teams for this year because of all the doping messes. It will be hard on the riders also that have trained hard for this season for naught.
The Giro d'Italia left the following teams off the invite list Astana (Levi Leipheimer, Alberto Contador, Andreas Kloden), High Road (George Hincapie, Mark Canvendish), Credit Agricole (Thor Hushovd) and Bouygues Telecom (Thomas Voekler). This is the first major tour of the season and speculation is that the Tour De France (TDF) will follow lead with the same "uninvited" teams.
I can understand if a rider is still being investigated for doping than leave them off the team roster until their name is cleared but with riders changing teams and different management for teams is it fair to not invite the team because of the bad people from last years team that aren't even there anymore? I don't think so especially when individuals that have messed up are being dealt with or are still being investigated. To me this is just a cop out for the powers that be to basically throw their weight around AGAIN or is it because they do not fully trust their "biological passport" and the testing that is being done? The jury is still out on that one. Truth is that a lot of these teams have put up a LOT of money to make sure that their team is dope free. Is this a slap in that face for the teams that are doing this and they still do not get invited to the Tours? I would think so but again we will find out as the season unfolds. (Keep in mind these are my opinions only!) Nevertheless I am still EXCITED for the racing to begin!
Remember to watch Versus this Sunday for the Tour of California! Can Levi Leipheimer defend his title?
February 11, 2008
This weekend was all about getting the house and our bodies back to "Normal" after vacation. I am battling a cold so that is not so fun but we did get everything unpacked from vacation finally and still have a couple loads of laundry to do yet. The other good news is that we are back to our pre-vacation weight so it came off quick which is always good.
We watched a lot of movies this weekend. The Lake House (I liked it), The Last King of Scotland (intense), Fantastic 4-Silver Surfer (liked the first one better), Breaking Up (bad movie-Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Anniston), Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Johnny Depp version-he is creepy in this!) and Gameplan (The Rock plays a QB- Good Disney feel good movie).
We also watched Versus on Saturday late afternoon. It was the pre-show to the Tour of California. Should be a great and fun tour to watch (starts next Sunday the 17th). Versus is going to have it on every night of the tour but it will be LATE....I think 10:00pm and then on the weekend it is earlier. It gets a person into the upcoming race watching season! Kind of cool listening to Al Trautwig's voice and the intro music for bike racing that Verses uses during all the bike races! I can't wait to see how things shake out as to what teams will be the power houses. There are some on paper that look great but we will see how they all gel together. Will it be Slipstream,The High Road, Astana or CSC?......stay tuned!
February 8, 2008
I got the lead motorcycle then a little pause before another motorcyle and then the peloton. The guys on the scooters behind the peloton were carring the spare tires for the riders. A little different than the Tour De France with team cars!
This clip was from the stage 2 race of the day (Nassau - Feb 2nd) a 42 mile circuit of 7 miles each. The winner of the race was Tyler Farrar from Team Slipstream.
February 7, 2008
Sorry for the long post but lots to tell!.........
WOW...what a wild time! First off we are all so glad to be ALIVE and also we are very thankful for what we all have.
We hit Florida last wednesday night and got the rental SUV-Toyota Highlander (nice ride) and traveled to Jacksonville. We had reservations at the LaQuinta Inn and of course wanted a no smoking room. Well that didn't happen but they gave us our room for free once we complained about a non-smoking room that was really smokey!
Thursday we drove to Dawn's friends house and met her (Sandy-the travel agent) and her daughter (Shannon). They are really great people and fun to be around. We got on the ship around 1:00pm for our cruise. Of course the boat didn't leave port until 4:00pm. The booze was flowing on the cruise. I could not believe how the wait staff was pushing adult beverages. I had a couple beers but that was it. I have to admit I was a little nervous about drinking and being on the ship. We had a life boat drill then headed off down the river out to sea. We saw dolphins playing along the shore of the river and went under a HUGE bridge that was being worked on. The workers were REALLY HIGH up in the air and were waving at us. Pretty cool. We met a couple guys from Georgia, I think, had fun with them and a iceball (shaved ice from our bucket of beer) The iceball was made and thrown at them and later made the daily cruise video. The first night sleeping was interesting. The ship moves side to side which I was not expecting so I didn't sleep all that well but others in our party slept fine as it rocked them to sleep.
Friday we hit Freeport Bahamas. This is a very industrial port and not much to do unless you take a long cab ride to town. We did see flying fish fly/swim out along side the cruise ship which was cool. We opted for a Jeep Excursion Tour of the island. It was a great way to see the island but our speaker didn't work in the jeep so we had no idea what we were looking at half the time. We decided to make up our own commentary...."and on the right we see a pine tree leaning on a power line"...."and on the left we see more pine trees". We did visit a beach and got into the COLD ocean, had lunch, visited a cave with a scary circular staircase and of course the wonderful driving on the left hand side of the road. Got back to the ship and watched us depart Freeport. Oh ya, it was Gilly's birthday so we had fun telling a lot of people we ran into that it was her birthday.....I think she got tired of it but was a good sport. It was also an adventure finding her birthday cake we had ordered before the cruise that was suppose to be delivered to her room then to our dinner table then we had it poolside later that night.
Saturday we docked in Nassau Bahamas. This is a much nicer port but is about a mile walk to get to the entrance of the town from our dock. We had not really planned anything at this stop except to see the bike race (Tour of the Bahamas). We talked with some lady at the information desk and she got us interested in a taxi tour for 2.5 hours at the cost of $25 / person. This proved to be VERY INTERESTING! We had to wait about 45 minutes for this lady to try and get 2 more people for this tour. We were to the point of asking for our money back and then they got us in the mini-van with two other people. So we had six people in our mini-van plus Joan our driver. Off we went almost taking off two mirrors from other vans in the lot. The Bahamas seem not to believe in traffic signs much. You would pull into an intersection and tap your horn a couple times to let people know you are going through and away you go! Can't tell you how many close calls we had. The tour was funny. We pulled up along a building (sometimes not even stopping), Joan would give her little talk and then we were off. We did see some neat things like Eddy Murphy's private island, Al Capone's house, an old Fort, the Aquarium at Atlantis Resort then the places that "normal" people lived. She showed us the middle class areas and then we went to, what she said we call the HOOD in our country..OH MY GOD! Let me tell you it was a place I didn't really like being and really wanted out of there fast. There were groups of guys standing around that looked suspicious, prostitutes and just very unclean, povertiy stricken areas. There was also the corner hand pump for water. Joan stopped the van right next to this and told us this guy was getting water for his family. The poor guy had his two kids with him and they all starred at us. Talk about uncomfortable. We tried the local beer called Kalik. We had asked if we could have some beer in the mini-van and she said of course but not to buy it at Atlantis. She would stop at a place downtown for us to buy beer. We all kind of forgot about it untill she went zipping around a corner and told us, "GET OUT" we said "WHAT?", and of course she repeated herself "GET OUT", so me, Dawn and Gilly got out and left Kris with the two other traveliers and the driver. Joan told us to get our beer in this building that was not in the best shape. We tried the door and it was locked. You had to RING THE BUZZER TO BE LET INTO THE LIQUOR STORE! We walked in and of course we were the only women except for two behind the counter and we were the only white people in there. I tried not to make eye contact with anyone and headed to the beer cooler and grabbed 4-Kalik Golds and up to the counter we went after one of they guys told us that he was getting his kick and we would also from the beer. We had no idea what he was talking about at the time. We paid and they grabbed our bottles of beer and opened them for us then back to the mini-van. Joan then took us back to the area were we started this adventure....WOW! We walked over to the Duty Free Liquor Store. We found out we were suppose to have our beer bottles in brown paper bags when drinking them in public so they were kind enough to bag our beer. We bought some rum and bought another round of Kalik. We found out that the Kalik Gold was over 7% alcohol ( I guess that was the kick that guy in the liquor store was talking about) and that not many of the locals drink the Gold...we were very proud of ourselves! We went to a place for lunch called the Bahamian Kitchen (Conch bites, Conch salad and Grouper fingers-YUM). The food was great and so were the locals that had bellied up to the bar. We had a good time there. We made two passes through the Straw Market and that was all we could stand of people begging us to buy some of their stuff. Amazing....didn't like that part of our adventure either.
We did get a cabbie talked into taking us out to the bike race after bartering with another cabbie (I had giving up on seeing the race at that point) This guys seemed nice but they want to get you in the cab and then talk price later. We didn't fall for that and worked out the price to start with. On the way to the race he stopped to get gas. You have to pre-pay for gas then a guy comes out and unlocks the chain holding the gas nozzles securely to the pumps. $4.70 / gallon for gas...OUCH! We got to the area where the bikers were racing. What a cool thing. I will post the video sometime soon that I took. They are something to watch but went much to fast to see who the people were so that is way we took video. We only watched 2 of the seven laps as we had to get back soon with the taxi guy. Ends up as we were heading back to the mini-van there were a couple of racers that wanted a ride back to their hotel and asked if they could hitch a ride. They had finished their race before the pros started and were pretty tired. They were very nice people from Maryland. David and Cheryl Osborne and raced for the Artemis team. Very neat to talk with them. He road a Giant carbon fiber and she had a CSK. I had never heard of that brand bike before but it looked pretty cool. Of course they both had the carbon fiber wheelsets.....very nice!
We headed back to the ship, had supper in the dining room and then out to the back deck of the ship to watch it take off. It sure is amazing how they can move the big ship and ours by no means was BIG like some of them! Ours looked like the S.S. Minow compared to the four other ships docked at port that day.
We had a day at sea to play and do whatever. We watched the hairy chest competition and as stiff as the drinks were I could have entered but I refrained. It was won by a 70-something guy from Minnestota with his six chest hairs. I think the thing that won it was his pick up line. All the guys had to give the judges their best pick up line and his was..."I would like to check you for ticks!" OH MY GOD. We were laughing so hard. He was having a good time. We went to the super bowl party that evening and it was ok. Not much of a fun party. Then it was back to the room to load up the suitecases. You had to have your luggage outside of your room door by midnight so they could put them in the cargo hold. If you didn't do this you had to lug your luggage and it would not have been fun with all the stairs and you would have waited forever for the elevator.
So we made it through customs and headed to Disney for a short stay. We stayed at the All-Star Sports resort (value resort) It was fine and I would have to say if it were the only way I could afford Disney I would do it again but the rooms are smaller and the travel distance from the parks to the resort is longer. We didn't eat there so have no idea about the food.
We had supper on Monday night at the California Grill at the Contemporary Resort and watched the fireworks over Magic Kingdom from there. Amazing how far back the fireworks actually are from the castle when you see them from that angle. It was a late night and we could not believe how may kids were still up and eating at that time of night (9:10pm reservations). Tuesday we spend all day at EPCOT and had a great time. Ate sushi at the newly redone Japanese restaurant. Then we went to Fulton's Crab House for supper (YUM!-Crab legs and Milk Chocolate Creme Brule!) Wednesday morning we checked out and hit Wolfgang Pucks at Downtown Disney for lunch before heading back to Sanford to catch Allegiant Air back to Sioux Falls.
All in all like I said, I am greatful for what I have in my life, the cruiseline was a fun time and of course you can never go wrong with Disney.....the down side.....with all the food and beverages consumed me and Kris gained 5 pounds each even though we didn't eat that much bad food and didn't partake in the beverages all that much. We did walk a lot so that was good. The Disney EPCOT day we walked almost 8 miles! Can't imagine what the weight gain would have been if we had not walked!
Here's to getting my land legs back SOON!