Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ride or run

When the alarm woke me up this morning it was raining, so I had to make a difficult choice. Do I want to ride in the rain or run the rain- I couldn't make the call so I decided to sleep on it and I went back to bed. I guess I have to go tonight, but the question is still the same- ride or run (afternoon nap might win).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

New Teams- Yet, I still need this group

Team one- City Works
Team two- Gecko Racing

City Works is very similar to our old GC team. Great guys to ride with that want to ride hard, but the individuals of the team are more important than the pace of the race. We joined this group thanks to Dave (Mindy's Uncle) and usually only get to ride with them once a month if we are lucky. Mindy is the glue that makes the Blue train (new kit color) work for me. It is the closest thing we have to the GC train. About the same amount of guys with about the exact team dynamics.

Gecko Racing is a neighborhood morning ride that is similar to a bike shop team ride. There is a A group and a B group.  The A group is all about killing each other for 30-40 miles on Mon, Wed, and Friday mornings. Great guys that will slow down at the top of a climb for the Tandem, but that is it. No climb and they will drop us if  we can't keep a wheel. I love it!!!

You might be wonder why I'm back on the GC blog, well the one thing these teams can't give me is the greatest things about the old GC team- (City Works is close, but not enough family) time to catch up with each others and hear about each others riding/family adventures. I miss that part of the ride as much as the GC rides. So for this reason I'm back- New teams, new adventures, but I still need to chat with the team that understands the rider that I am and get the craziness of  epic group rides.

Let the new adventures start-

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A day to remember

This hasn't been the easiest of weeks for me. I feel like I have been hit from every angle - work, family, and mostly thinking of the events from last year. I had a little bit of an emotional breakdown. I guess we all have our moments and weaknesses. I have so many things I want to talk with him about. He was one of those people that could always understand me, not many of them out there. I don't know what it is, but after I would talk and talk and talk to Doug about all my stresses and worries, I would feel better and ready to move on. He would always have a story or way of making me realize the answer without saying it outloud. I keep coming back to the quote from Pres. Monson -

"Perhaps my greatest hope as a parent is to have such a relationship with you that when the day comes and you look down into the face of your own child, you will feel deep within you the desire to be to your child the kind of parent your dad has tried to be to you. What greater compliment could any man ask?"

I can only hope to be half the father Doug was to me.
Ethan, Liam, and I playing on a rainy day!

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Lotoja Forever

On Monday, I came up with this idea. I had just finished my first cyclocross race of the year. I upgraded to the A's and got my butt kicked - took 5th. I realized I wasn't in the best shape for cross, but at the same time I understoof with four kids and a new job, life sometimes gets in the way. I'm ok with that. But I needed someone to talk to. That person was always my dad. I could always tell him everything, especially about cycling. He always understood me. It just felt better to have someone who always "got it" too. Since I cannot talk to my dad directly any more, my bright idea is to use this blog to write out thoughts and stories to my dad.

Lotoja is today. Lotoja is a bitter sweet word for me now. I have many fond years of riding with my dad and family on the 204 mile trek. I always looked forward to the challenge and training of the ride. Doug always impressed me with how strong of a rider he was. He was an inspiration to me and many. Doing the race for so many years, bumps in the road were bound to happen: broken bikes, bonking, injuries, and sickness. No one would have expected what happened last year, it had never happened in the 30+ years of Lotoja. I don't want to dwell on that experience today, it was a very painful time for me. There is one memory of Lotoja that stands out to me and showed my dad's pure grit and determination.

As I write about this I picture me and my dad sitting on the couch reminiscing about our grand adventures on the bike, laughing as we recall all our funny moments: me riding behind my dad and literally pushing his butt up the King of the Mountain climb because he was totally bonked, Kim using the bathroom, or how good watermelon tasted. The story that comes to mind today was when my dad rode Lotoja on a broken leg. Before Lotoja my dad was in some kind of an accident, I don't even remember how it happened? Funny how over time the details seem to fail me. But my dad had a hairline fracture in his leg and there was a huge bump on his shin. Riding a bike was extremely painful. Somehow - he did it! I don't know how, but he did. As you can see from the picture, it was very painful for him. The part that was the most amazing to me was that he never complained about it. I would have been whining like a mule (total Doug saying, I know). It was a real world experience for me, with a little determination and grit we can get through tough times in our life. There have been times since in my life where I didn't think I would be able to do it, but thought of him and put my head down and made it through.

As those riders ride on today, including Adam, Mindy, and Loren, I know my dad is riding on in spirit. Wish I was there to ride it one last time for him. Doug will always ride on in our memories forever.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Just thinking. That's all.

Normally, I don't work on bikes to much on Sunday, but today after Daren and Joanne left I needed a quiet time to be close to Doug. Working on bikes is one of those places for me. Cross season starts very soon (tomorrow actually) and I have been procrastinating the task of getting Doug's cross bike ready to race. It's amazing how comforting it is to take apart a bike and put it back together. I get terribly engulfed in the work. Today though I was doing it to be close to my dad.

Daren and Joanne came for a quick visit to drop Erin off in Eugene to attend the U of O for grad school. It was so nice to see them and have them here. We are very excited to have Erin and Pat close by. We don't have much family this way. Even though Doug and Daren have different personalities, there are so many similar mannerisms  that I couldn't help but be reminded of the old man.

Daren and I were able to get away for a few hours to ride the back roads of Eugene.  When Doug would come in to town, the first thing he would ask was, "When can we ride?" He loved the beauty and quiet roads of Eugene. They are country roads with little to no cars. You can ride double on most of the roads, allowing you ample time to catch up and talk. It was great catching up with Daren on our ride. I was reminiscing and talking about the last ride I did in Eugene with my Doug, Wolf Creek. It's an old logging road with trees so dense that they form a tunnel around you as you ride. He always wanted to take a detour and ride all the way to the coast, but I never got to do that one with him. On our last ride on Wolf Creek I was pulling out my camera to take an action photo of him riding and my camera slipped and broke. Never took pictures the same after that - a little blurry.

I think I realized how much I miss the little things with my dad. Erin and I had to go to her apartment to sign papers, but when I came back Daren was outside in the backyard playing with my boys. My dad loved to do that. It makes me sad to know that my kids are going to grow up without their grandpa. He really loved them.

I am grateful for family in that they can help fill these voids in my life. It will never be the same as having my dad back, but it helps.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

This one's for you old man!

I am not really expecting anyone to read this, I am doing it more for myself. It’s pretty rough. I don’t plan on editing or rereading, just letting my thoughts and emotions flow. I have wanted to write about my dad for a while now, but haven’t been able to fully take on the emotion of doing it. What a better time to remember him than on his birthday. People have frequently asked me, “And you still ride your bike?” after hearing about my dad’s accident. It’s hard to describe to someone how much closer I feel to my dad when I am on my bike. This is my attempt to share some of those feelings about something we both shared together – the bike.

I would have never dreamed that when I was younger that I would someday grow up to be passionate and competitive about riding a bike. I still remember some of those early days on the bike. My dad started riding bikes when my Uncle Daren moved back from Ohio. With his return to Utah came a new passion for cycling. My dad was never one to be outdone, particularly by his younger brother, so he bought his first road bike. It was a pink Schwinn. It was no wonder my first thought of the sport was that it was pretty girly – spandex! Pink bike! I remember taking it out of the garage and using the curb to get my leg over the bar. I had to stretch on tip toes to reach the pedals. On every down stroke my bottom would collide with the top tube. It was exhilarating to look down at the computer and see I could reach speeds of 14 or 15 miles per hour.

Things changed as I got older though, other sports started to take precedence. Somehow while I was in high school, my dad talked me into going on a 50 mile bike ride to Brigham City. Twenty-five miles there and 25 miles back. I’m pretty sure the conversation went something like this: Doug: Don’t be a wuss! Me: I’m not a wuss. Doug: You’re going to let your old man beat you on a bike? Aren’t you some big, bad football player? Me: Fine. I’ll go. But I’m not wearing spandex. And I didn’t. I got out on the tandem with my basketball shorts on. I was too cool for that tight stuff. Luckily, Adam was on the front to help pull me along. Riding out to Brigham on the old highway I thought to myself, “this isn’t too bad!” We were flying down the road at around 28 miles per hour. It was a beautiful fall day and I was really enjoying myself. Then we hit the 25 mile turn around spot. I quickly realized as the wind hit me straight in the face why we were going so fast – tailwind, which was now, a headwind. We limped back into Ogden going 12 miles per hour, using all of my strength to hold on. Adam pretty much dragged my butt home. I was complaining and swearing never to ride a bike again. Doug would look over at me, smile with that gleam in his eye and give me his profound advice, “You have to earn it, Bub! Enjoy the suffering.” Enjoy the suffering? Are you crazy.

Needless to say I didn’t get what he was talking about. And it took me a few years before I ever got back onto another road bike again. My ideas about cycling started to change when I discovered a love for the mountains and hiking. Doug and I would frequently walk/jog up over Indian Trail. It was amazing to look out over the Ogden valley and have that time with my dad. Just he and I talking about life and finding our own pathway through it. This was a difficult time for me and I found peace being up in the mountains. During this time Doug convinced me to try riding again, but on a mountain bike. Heck, you could wear baggy shorts! I cherish that time we had to be up in the mountains together. Doug always had a way of listening and giving advice, without being authoritative or condescending. He would simply tell you a story or get you to come up with the answer on your own. Also, it was the quietness that surrounded you as you could think take in the beauty around you. I miss those times.

It wasn’t an easy decision to move away from home, and it wasn’t easy telling my dad. He and I were always close and he took it as a surprise to hear we were moving to Eugene, Oregon. We had been there before for track meets and fell in love with the area. Doug liked the idea of frequently visiting Track Town USA. Shortly after moving to Eugene my mountain bike was stolen. On the first night I put it outside. I even used two locks. I went without a bike that first summer but found I really missed being on the bike. I talked my dad into letting me have his old Specialized Allez because he hadn’t been riding for a while due to shoulder pain when he rode. It was a new world to be out on the road. I quickly got to know the back roads of Eugene and found myself excited to discover the new beauty in an unknown area.

My weekly calls to my dad describing my rides got him excited again about the possibility of riding, so he got himself a bike. But the pain didn’t go away. Fortunately for me that meant he had a bike to sell. I bought my first real road bike from my dad. It was the Specialized Tarmac, fit with zebra print to match the flamboyant style of Mario Cipollini. It didn’t take many phone conversations for my dad to realize I had fallen in love with cycling and that he wanted to have that connection again. Naturally, he got another bike. Once Doug had something on his mind, it was good as done. He was a pretty stubborn man at times. Very driven.

I miss the phone calls with my dad. Hearing every exaggerated detail of a race. Telling me how he was training specifically for cross. How he was trying a new diet. Mostly I listened. Listened to a man I love share a passion that brought us together. Good old honest Lance was right, it isn’t about the bike, it was about a connection between me and my dad. When I would ride alone I would push myself up that hill because I knew in the back of my mind Doug was there saying, “Quit slacking and go harder.” He drove me to push myself. This drive lead me to push myself outside of cycling as well. It was on the bike that I felt a closeness to him. It was my time to listen to him. Listen to myself. Listen to everything around me. Even though we were miles apart, I still felt that closeness to him when I rode.

Through the years I looked forward to my dad visiting so that I could show him how much better it was to ride in Eugene and how he was missing out living in Utah. For months I would tell him about a ride we had to do when he came to visit. Our favorite was Wolf Creek. It is an old logging road that winds around the outskirts of town through a densely populated pine forest. It’s beautiful to say the least. He loved it. Every visit we had to do that ride together. Doug couldn’t do a casual ride. It was always an all-out race! I would push him until I made him crack up a hill. When he would get to the top I’d say some smartalic comment, “You’re getting too old for this pop!” To which he would reply, “Nice ride, Bub. But if I was your age I would have finished two minutes ahead of you.” He took pride in knowing that I could whoop him. He was so competitive and hated to lose, but I knew deep down he was proud of me.

I don’t remember much about the day or phone call I received telling me my dad was in an accident. I do remember thinking that my dad was a fighter and everything would turn out ok. Unfortunately, his race was done. I am grateful I was able to spend some time with him before he passed on. While he was lying in his hospital bed I would talk and talk. It was different. Usually I was the one listening. I still remember how his face lit up when I talked about our riding adventures. Doug fought a hard fight, but his time to hang up his bike had come. So why do I continue to ride my bike? Because my bike is my dad and represents the time I had with him. I can’t give that up. It would be like giving up on my dad. I feel a closeness to him. And he is, forever drafting behind me as I continue on with the race. You are missed old man! But you carry on in me. Happy birthday pop!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

I'm Back

I have never in my life had to quit a job, that is until Thursday. As you may have heard my school is closing this year, along with 6 other schools in the district. They asked me to help facilitate the moves this summer, which means move them. Right from the start though I was having some back issues. It was pretty painful and I would come home and lay down all evening. I quickly realized it was not worth it. I had three older ladies (and others) working with me that thought it was pretty funny that I had to quit and they didn't. I am trying to keep off it and heal it up before Saturday.

I am realizing very quickly that the Seattle to Portland is coming. Sutt and Doug will be here on Tuesday. Excited to see them, but hoping the back will hold. I have been toning down the riding due to the back and prep for the race. I would like to report that the DZ stache started late. I have had to meet with the superintendent of the school district and didn't want to show up with a nasty stache. But it is growing now. It has been growing for a couple of days and you should be able to actually see it by Saturday. It is pretty embarrassing that someone my age still can't grow facial hair. Thanks pop for the genes on that one! 6 days to go!