Friday, August 28, 2009

Colorado Rockies Baseball

My wife and I met my nephew and his wife for a Rockies/Dodgers baseball day game at Coors Field.
Being BoSox fans, my wife didn't want to make anyone feel bad the the Sox beat the Rockies in 2007 for the World Series, so she wore a different cap that at times seems to get a bigger response:

Was a great day for a game, weather was perfect, so was the beer and the view. Should have taken a shot and tried to get the Front Range as it could be seen from our seats. Sweet view of the mountains as we relaxed at the game.
Photo copied from this article which talks about passing an ordinance not to block the view.
This worked out great as we got to see Manny....if you follow baseball you know who he is, for sure. My nephew scored us some great club level seats at 1/2 price each, so that was cool, as well.
Manny taking a mighty swing.
OK, Manny standing and his teammate running....Manny being Manny?... again??Proof that Manny can run.
And a pic of a bike, just wouldn't be complete without one...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Colorado, the Truth

OK, mountain biking isn't the reason this trip came about. My hard working wife is attending a conference where she'll be awarded her final Insurance designation in her Human Resource continuing education program.
Hope the plan comes together to get done with the race in time to get to Denver to see her get her certificate.....

X-Gon...29er back on the prowl

Broken x-cal frame is gone, all parts got moved to a new Paragon frame, becoming a new x-gon.
Back on the prowl thanks to Bear, Garett and the crew at UPHill Grind.
The white fork fit nicely into the color scheme.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mountian Bike Race 2009: Tipperary Trail Winter Park

Race info.

Technical Information
Distance: 25.8 miles
Start Elevation: 8,756 feet
Finish Elevation: 9,080 feet
Low Point: 8,745 feet
High Point: 9,945 feet
Total Climbing: 4,011 feet
Do I have any clue what I'm in for???

Few more Tipperary pics from 2006. Had a fun time out there, of course.
A few days later had my 2003 29er x-cal stolen off my Jeep.
Had to throw this on. Same trip but from the South Boundry Trail out of Toas NM.
One of my favorite bike pics.

Blue Mounds Race

Well, The 12 Hours of Blue Mounds is in the books. OK, we got 3rd out of 3 teams in the 6 hr. 2 person duo, but hey! at least we were out there trying! We're on the left.
This year is was decided to skip the expert loop, which consists of mile or so of brutal rock gardens in favor of a couple miles of brutal hill climbing.....
These were some sick hills and just because we didn't do the expert loop doesn't mean that rocks were totally avoided. There were still plenty to go around.
Blue Mound is well known in these parts for some rock sections that are very, very technical and mistakes can easily be translated into a split sidewall (which there were many), pinch flats (why I went tubeless) and falling on these rocks either by becoming air borne due to a sudden stop when your front tire can't get up and over a rock or just flopping over sideways, can be harmful to both rider and bike. Many a derailleur has been bent or even broke off when coming in contact with the Rocks of the Mound, not to mention body parts, as well. Many a bike in this area has scratches and dents from getting intimate with the Rocks of Blue Mound.

After a few days of pretty steady rain, race day dawned clear and sun drenched. The 12 hr group had to deal with a few wet spots as they started at 8AM and the 3-4 steeper hill climbs were pretty much hike a bike, from what I heard, due to being too slick and steep with the loose rocks and exposed wet roots.

By 1PM, when the 6 hr race started, it was much better. Wade
my 6 hr duo partner, took off first and handed me the reins a little after 2PM. Being my first race since last Feb. at the Birkie, where I had some issues due to low iron and fatigue, I wasn't sure what to expect. But, I was satisfied with my lap time of 1:16 (fastest lap of the day was around 55 minutes, I believe) and I didn't seem to exhibit the same tiring symptoms as when I raced the Birkie.
I have to give props to the Race Directors, Nate and Kevin, as the course was laid out great and especially to Blue Mound Trail Boss Walt for the super condition of the trail. Of course, there never could be any races without the myriad of volunteers, a big "thank you" to all of them, as well.
My second lap was slower. I just wasn't in good enough shape to pound up the hills and I couldn't avoid the leg cramps that started on the first hill and that continued to nag me the rest of the lap. The first lap and between laps there was no sign of cramps so I didn't bother with electrolytes. It was a mistake not to down a few when I had the chance.

Had a great after race BBQ after I secured some charcoal and the race directors/club Prez scored some good Furthermore Fatty Boombalatty.

Took the GoPro helmet cam out with me the on the 2nd lap and also did a pre-race vid of the initial downhill. You can't tell much from the vid, but it can be tough stretch, especially later on in the race when everyone gets a little tired.

3-4 years ago a guy went OTB (over the bars) and cut his face up pretty good. 2 years ago, I went OTB and my hand hit a rock as I tried to break my fall. Not a break, but a somewhat severely dislocated finger.
Last year a guy went OTB in the same section and he was taken to a hospitable for a gash on his forearm.
This year a gal went OTB and crashed on her wrist. It was in some kind of splint at the end of the race, not sure of the extend of the injury.

Some vids of the race.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Alaska nocturnal activities

Forgot to post this little story.

The second to last night we were in Ketchikan, staying in the Gilmore downtown, about 10:30 or so we started to hear a lot of loud voices outside in the street. We were on the top, 3rd floor. I split the window drapes and I could see a guy standing almost below us.
He was standing right across from a bar that is next door to the Gilmore, called the Totem. The totem was the only bar we were told to stay away from when we first came to town and we talked to the person at the Visitors Center. Seems it gets a little rowdy at times.
I had popped into the Totem earlier in the day, about 5PM. While there, I got the feeling you get when you know people are looking at you. A very friendly guy sitting at the bar next to me told me that the locals hang out there and they have been known to get a little feisty at times. I left after 1 beer.
So, back to the guy in the street. I couldn't totally understand what he was saying, so I opened the window. When I looked out, we weren't the only ones who wanted to get a better listen. People from 4-5 of the rooms had their heads sticking out their windows.
A few of the people were heckling the scene below. I just notice we looked like Hollywood Squares and spoke out "Circle Gets the Square" which brought a few laughs.

Seems the guy on the street got thrown out, either by the management or another patron and he was told not to return. The guy stood in the middle of the street yelling he could go and do whatever he wanted and anything he pleased. About that time another guy came bolting out from the bar and it looked like he meant business. As he raced toward the middle of the street, the first guy turned and ran, away from the Gilmore and the spectators down a side ally with a not so friendly looking guy on his heels.
Within seconds, 3 police cars came up on the scene.

Well, we thought, that was interesting. We had an uneventful night from then on.

The next morning, due to wifi issues on the 3rd floor, I was having a cup of coffee sitting at a table on the landing of the 2nd floor. They had a public PC there, as well, but I was using my laptop.
A couple guys in their mid to late 30's were online and talking about issues with an airplane.
After a bit I started talking to the guys and asked them what the issue was, curious because we were going to be flying out the next morning.

Seems these guys were from lower Michigan. One had a private plane license and they flew up to Alaska and like us, Ketchikan was their last stop before heading home. When they landed a day or so before, one of the engines stated making noise and they were basically waiting for local mechanics to take care of their airplane problems.

I asked them if they heard the ruckus the night before and they asked what time, I said 10:30 or so and they said no, as they had been out checking out the local bar scene.
I asked how that went and they told me that had gotten kicked out of 2 bars. The first because the boyfriend of a gal that wanted to play pool with them didn't like that idea. They were told BYOW (Bring Your Own Women) and were asked to leave the bar.
After a couple words were exchanged the 2 guys left. Seems after a bit the boyfriend, with backup, followed the 2 guys to the next bar and had them tossed out of there, as well.

The guys then told me that they came back to the Hotel and they had talked a couple gals to join them. That's when the fun started. Seems a couple hours into the "getting to know you" routine, they fell asleep and the gals took all their cash and snuck out of the room.

But, that wasn't enough, they stopped at the front desk and called the cops to report they got raped!
The guys were cleared of the rapes but weren't able to get their cash back.

Hope they made it home ok.

Later that evening, while talking to the hotel manager, she informed me that the night clerk, who she went to HS with and she knew well, wrote up a detailed, very professional report as they are sometimes used as a court document. On a separate sticky note he wrote:

"I know that gal, she does this kind of stuff all the time!"

The gays out number the gals 10 to 1 in Alaska. But, as the women say up there: "The odds are good, but the goods are odd"

Slovakian name change

I'm not Scottish, even with a last name of Scotch.

My Great Grandfather came from Slovakia and when he came in the USA via Ellis Island his last name, spelled Skac, is pronounced SCOTCH.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Alaska...THE END

Final shots of Alaska.
Escargot anyone? Taken on my walk to the totem village near Ketchikan. Raining like hell!
A real off road bike.
Shots from the totem village in Saxman.
I guess it's only fitting that we needed to take a ferry from downtown Ketchikan to the airport, which sits on a separate island than the island Ketchikan is on. 6:30 AM
Over looking the Ketchikan harbor from our Hotel room at the Gilmore, our last night in Alaska, Nuff' said...... THE END

Back in the saddle

Got back from Alaska last week Tuesday evening.
Wednesday was near the Underdown Mountain Bike Trail for work and had to get back on the bike.

Broke the chain within 1/2 mile of the trailhead. The mosquitoes were so thick I decided to go back to the trialhead to fix it. I had forgotten my glasses and didn't want to have "issues" by not seeing well enough to break out the bad link and inserting a master all the while having all my blood sucked out of my body. 3 weeks in Alaska and not a skeeter, first day back in WI and they are thicker than tadpoles in a mud puddle.

1:45 later I finished.....note to self, don't pick one of the most technical and most demanding trails in WI to ride after taking off 3 weeks. MY ASS IS STILL KILLING ME!!!

Rode 3-4 time since, getting ready for this, assuming it is dry enough Saturday.
60 degress and raining hard in central WI today.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ketchikan Day 4

Art we ended up purchasing in Anchorage, Ketchikan and Juneau.

All pieces are native items, which includes: petrified mammoth bone, petrified moose/reindeer antler, current age reindeer/moose antler, walrus tusk (ivory), jade and marble.
The natives can kill walrus and use the ivory/tusks. Jade is the state gem-stone of Alaska and they have numerous varieties/shades of marble.
There is always a supply of petrified bones and antlers due to the gold digging in the mud and permafrost that has preserved these items for thousands of years.

We have the names and villages of the artists. All are up near Nome.

Ok, the Alaskan Amber beer bike jersey was not make in Alaska, got me there!

I liked the flow of this piece. The kayak appears to be at the top of the wave (petrified wolly mammoth bone.) The expression of the kayaker seems to be "oh shit!"
The kayak is walrus jawbone and kayaker ivory. Beaver skin surrounds the cockpit opening.
The artist that did this piece is from Gambell on St. Lawrence Island.
Lynn picked these out. She liked the smiley/contented face of the Eskimo. We didn't see any green polar bears, though.
This small piece was neat in it's simplicity. A carving of a kayaker with a speared seal. The base is petrified whale rib bone (appr. 2,000 years old) and the carving was done on petrified caribou antler. (appr. 200 years old) Couldn't seem to get a real clear pic of it for some reason.I think we did some decent negotiating on all of the pieces above, except for the jersey (it was priced decently, anyway). Basically got 30-35% off list price. Cash.

This Eagle was on display as a way to raise funds for an animal shelter associated with the Southeast Discovery Center in Ketchikan. The Eagle had gotten it's back talon cut off when it stepped in a trap. Without it, it couldn't grasp it's food or perch too well. Eagles and other raptures frequently go after the bait in a trap and get wounded or even die.
Look left.
Look right.
Look down.
Look OUT!
Ya gotta click on this pic and expand it then center it on your screen. Feel free to use it...but don't sell it!!!

They had a Screech Owl there, as well. It was raining when we were watching the birds.
If I've got my numbers correct, Alaska has 1/2 of the total number of Eagles found in the 50 United States. Of that number, 50% of them live in SE Alaska. As it rains 220-250 days a year in and around Ketchikan, it was no wonder that the Ranger was making a little fun of the women who thought him cruel a few days previous who felt he should have an umbrella the eagle could sit under. When it rains too hard, they take them back to the shelter.

We went to a museum that housed a number of original totems, all sealed in glass to keep the Western Red Cedar from rotting. The Natives felt that as the totems were made in large part as memorials, they should only last as long as a human life, which is about how long it took a cedar to rot once cut.
Many of the totems one sees outside in SE Alaska are replicas or were made by the CCC back in the 30's to make work and to try to preserve the art of totem making, the designs of the old totems and the stories they told.

Some, like the one below, are left to the whims and designs of nature.