Thursday, April 17, 2014


I know, I know, I haven’t written a bloody thing for months.  I feel badly about it, too, knowing that BOTH my readers keep going to my site hoping against hope that I’ve finally written something.

It’s been a long cold winter in the Old Dominion; even had snow after my birthday (March 19) which is an incredible rarity. But winter finally seems to be behind us as the forsythia is blooming, daffodils have poked their heads up and the trees all have buds. Bradford pear trees are in bloom, too.
Bradford pear tree - Who was he?

Last weekend, it didn’t even rain! I was able to get a bike ride in both days. It was glorious, except for the hills of course. It was even windy one day but I was so happy to be out riding that I pretended like it didn’t piss me off. (It did but I grinned my way through it.)

I’ve been busy

I know that everyone says that but this time it’s true. I hit the ground running, or traveling, the first week of January and ended up on the road every week but one in the first two months of the year. That makes it really hard to keep up with so many things and when something has to give, it winds up being this blog. It’s a creative outlet for me and, since I don’t really consider myself to be all that creative, I leave it alone until I have something that’s just pushing to get out. (I’m not saying I have something now, it’s just the guilt has built up to a point where I have to write in order to keep my balance.)

How much travel have I had? Since my last post, I’ve been to: Southern California (twice) Atlanta, Jacksonville, Orlando (twice) Cincinnati, Winchester VA, and Austin TX.  All that and it still wasn’t enough to keep my status with American Airlines; not that I’m bitter. Maybe I’ll catch them again this year along with Delta.
Climb aboard!

So, what’s been going on outside of work?

In the woodshop, I’ve been building a fireplace mantel for a friend of mine. He’s the host of a regular poker game that I’ve played in for almost 20 years and he and his wife approached me about building this for them. Having not had a project for a while, I was very excited about doing it. We agreed on a design pretty quickly and I’ve set to work on a couple of weekends. At this point, the construction is complete and I’ll be applying the finish to it this coming weekend, installing next weekend.  Pictures to come.

My pool game has been pretty good. I returned to league play last fall and the team I ended up with for the regular season really meshes well. So much so, that one of the players changed his mind about taking the summer off and hung in for the next session. I’ve been dedicated about getting at least one serious practice session each week and the results have been solid.  I’m looking forward to playing in the VA State 9 ball championships in July, thinking I might have a chance to make some noise. (That’s only because I can talk loudly, of course.)
Wait that's a snooker table!

Cycling? Well, if I hadn’t purchased a new trainer for a Christmas gift for myself this year, I wouldn’t have gotten any seat time. Spinning on it is pretty mindless although I am able to catch up on the New York Times on my iPad while riding.

The weather was truly dreadful January and February. I managed to get 2 days of riding outside during that time, and 3 more days in March for a total of 150 miles. The good news is, the long range forecast for April is solid and I’m hoping to commute to work a few times and build up my base miles again.

Why? Well, it’s that time of year again. The Tour de Cure takes place June 1 up in Northern VA and I’m riding 108 miles as a fundraiser for Diabetes. Want to donate? See the link below to donate as little as $5. If I don’t get my base miles in, that ride is going to be ugly because it’s got about 7,000 feet of climbs in one 45 mile stretch, up in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Yep, it’s a real ride and when you’re not a real rider, it shows. (If you can't wait to donate, here's the link

Riding last Weekend

I have to share this story from last weekend. It was Saturday and I was just itching to get out. I jumped on the bike with a plan to ride about 35 miles along a couple of my usual routes.

About an hour in, I’m riding along Pin Hook road which is a nice 2 lane road that winds around for about 2 miles with some rollers. Cruising along about 16 miles an hour, I see a car approaching in my mirror just as I’m entering a blind curve that goes uphill. I swing out to take the lane and keep the driver from crowding me. I can see that she isn’t slowing down and suddenly, she swings out across the double yellow line.

Just as she gets even with me, a Ford F150 appears in the other lane, coming
Looks larger coming right at you!
toward us. Now, the speed limit here is 45 so the closing speed is pretty fast. The driver of the truck sees the car coming right at him so he stomps on the breaks and eases as far to the right as he can, putting his wheels almost in the ditch. The lady passing me, whips in front of me missing my front tire by about a foot and the truck by about the same amount.

I holler, “Are you CRAZY?!” as loudly as I can, shaking my head. Evidently she is because about 100 yards up the road, she comes to stop in the middle of the road. (I’m thinking she wants to apologize for scaring the shit out of me.)

As I approach the car, with all the windows rolled down, she starts yelling at me about how I put her in a bad spot. I point out, fairly calmly for me, that she made the decision to pass where there was no room to do it and had put all 3 of us in danger with that move. I said this as I was passing her car, continuing up the road.
I was about 100 yards ahead of her when she accelerates behind me and then passes again ON ANOTHER BLIND CURVE! When she gets up next to me, she slows down to scream at me, “Like you’ve never done that!”

I glared at her and yelled, “You’ve just done it, twice, and there’s another car coming you dumbass!” Sure enough, another car was approaching and she had to whip in front of me again just missing both me and the approaching car for the second time.

I could see her waving wildly at me in the mirror as she drove off. That’s also when I saw the irony in the situation.

Her car had Tea Party vanity license plates; you know them, the group that exhorts everyone to take care of their own responsibilities and, therefore, have smaller government. 
We don't need no stinking laws!
Evidently, personal responsibility is not practiced by all members of that party. I only wish I could have gotten the license number. She’d have been in a heap of trouble.  Hmmmm. Maybe I do need to get one of those GoPro cameras…….

I do find myself looking back at this occurrence and wondering what kind of person does this? Everyone is entitled to making a mistake; I think most people tend to drive in a state of unconscious competence most of the time. Cyclists don’t register in the minds of a lot of folks, which is what causes most of the problems. But she saw me, that’s why she swung out to pass and give me enough room. After realizing what was happening, she took evasive action and avoided a collision. (I’m guessing the driver of the pickup needed fresh underwear based solely on his expression; abject terror is unmistakable.)

The second interaction was just totally out of line trying to justify the action, and then to do it again? I hope I don’t see this car again but I ride that area frequently. Maybe I can get a license number next time.

Now on the Good Things!

I’m a big fan of the life choice, Do Good Things! Here’s your chance to help the country out and do a good thing. Did you know that diabetes affects at least 10% of the US population? Thirty Million people may have it and most don’t know it. The Tour de Cure is a big fundraiser, focused on finding a cure to this killer. (It’s also a slow killer for many people, contributing to heart and kidney disease. That makes it very costly, adding billions of dollars to our country’s health care costs.) I guarantee you know someone that is diabetic or pre-diabetic. Let’s help figure out a way to end this disease and soon.  I’ve made a big donation myself, my company matched mine and I’m asking you to make one, too.

Do yourself a favor, skip buying lattes for the next month, drink water, and donate 
the money to this cause. You’ll lose weight, help the country and feel good about it.  Please?

Until next time, keep two wheels, or more if applicable, on the ground!