Monday, December 21, 2009

Marking Time

Back in the day when I performed with band/Drum and Bugle Corps. We used a technique called "marking time" to keep tempo while playing; it helps you put feet motion together with the music and accelerates the pace at which you learn marching (the actual movement part). Bascially, you lift just your heels off the ground and make sure they hit the ground with the beat.

The point is that you're doing something, but not going anywhere; kind of how I feel at the moment.

Still, some good luck coming my way: I managed to pull a B- out of my a$$ at school and now get the chance to petition for my degree. It's long story, but suffice to say I might be getting out of UCSD. None too soon.

This past week, Luke and I slapped together a ride at the last minute. I spent all day Friday putting a new rim on the race MTB (found a crack back in October) and Saturday we met up in Trabuco Canyon to hit Harding - Upper Holy Jim. I was beat from a big training week and hoping for some chill dirt miles.

I was stoked to see James and Ryan pulled into the parking lot as I haven't seen them in a long time.

Once through O'Neil Park, we headed up past Cook's Corner and over to Harding. I wound up sucking Luke's wheel for most of the day while James hammered away up front.
Ryan mentioned something about coming down with a cold. Kudos to him for hanging in even though he was under the weather. He's the dark dot in the shade of the tree.Harding was the long, uncomfortable climb I remember it as. Similaryl, the climb from Modjeska to Santiago Peak was as rocky and gnarly as ever. It all went by much faster this time than previously, though. I felt like I was climbing pretty well compared to last season; Luke noticed the difference. He can still drop me whenever he wants, though. LOL!

Rest stop at the top of Upper Holy Jim. The guy in the green jersey is James' buddy, Loren. Lots of strong dudes on this ride. I was hurtin' for certain just trying to keep up! P.O.V. shot. This is why I love MTB'ing, folks.I followed Luke down Upper Holy Jim and we were soon faced with DEEP rain ruts and some gnarly rocky sections. Instead of trying to ride the sections, we swallowed our respective prides and walked the rough stuff. No use getting injured now: way too much racing in the coming months!

Money shot of James exiting Upper Holy Jim.
Sunday I headed out to Daley Ranch, met up with the Mann's and picked up the start of Holly's MTB build. I think the 29'er will be good for her to learn on since the bigger wheels are more stable. Plus they gave us a killer deal on the frame/fork combo. I look forward to putting it together.I'm doing the Xmas shopping thing this week and couldn't resist picking up a little something for myself.

Merry Christmas everybody!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Melvin Donald "Don" Palmer

Last Thursday I got a call from Mom that 'medics had taken grampa (Dad's Dad) to the ER and that they'd only say "We're working on him". I spent 10 years as a Paramedic saying those words to familes when the outlook was dire. Mom called back 30 minutes later and told me what I already knew: my grandfather had died.
Grampa was born in Missouri and eventually moved to So Cal with his parents. He started his military career in 1944 and was scheduled to get shipped out to the European theater of WWII but the war endeed before he had to go. He and grandma were High School sweethearts and she traveled by train from So Cal all the way to Pensacola FL so they could marry. My Dad was born in 1945.

In 1948 his unit was recalled for the Korean War where he served as a carrier pilot aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard. He stayed in the Navy after the war and wound up flying everything from single engine to multi engine and even helicopters.
Grampa eventually found his way into photo intelligence and worked at the Pentagon in the Chief Naval Officer's Office. Grampa was there when Gary Powers got shot down over Russia in a U-2 and grampa was on board the USS Essex at the Bay of Pigs.
Needless to say, Grampa had the best stories.
What I treasure most are the things he taught me: Golf and the infinite patience it takes to teach someone how to play, especially a 12 year-old. And words I've lived nearly my entire life by: "If you don't love what you do, you ought not to be doing it"
Thanks for reading, if you still are. I guess I just need to say goodbye and I'm having a hard time doig it.
Goodbye Grampa, I'll miss you..

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Turkey Weekend

Oh the drama.

Wed. night, Holly and I loaded up the Jeep (cat included) and made the trek up to Mom and Dad's house in the OC. I pulled three workouts and an 8-hour shift lifeguarding and still summoned the energy to pack up and drive 85 miles. Needless to say we piled into bed pretty late.

Thursday morning, I bagged the Rock N' Road annual climb up Harding in favor of sleeping in. I took a leisurely spin around the Fullerton Loop before Holly and I cruised over to her parent's house for the requisite Thanksgiving stuffing (us, not the Turkey). Holly's mom did an awesome job and it was cool to hang out with her family for a change. However, with 3 brothers, 6 cats, 2 dogs and assorted friends, the house got crowded fast.

Friday morning I slept in again (woot!) and headed over to Fullerton Loop for the 6th Annual Le Tour de Tryptophan: underground 24-Solo in the heart of OC. Low key and always a good time.
Tools of the trade.
Sweet T-Shirts. Proceeds from T-Shirt sales go to help a different charity every year. This year it would be the Brent Thomson memorial fund (Bootleg Canyon founder) and help pay medical bills for Dave Collins who has terminal cancer. Ride on, man.Pre-race meeting in the Courthouse parking lot. Quite the turnout!How'd I get out front on a single speed when it's flat!? Gene immediately behind me would be going for the record: 17 laps, which calculates to nearly 190 miles.Geared bikes would pass me on the flats and downhills, but I'd reel 'em all in on the climbs. By lap 5, I was out front by nearly 30 minutes. Rollin' on the big wheels for this one. I think 29'ers fare better on courses with wide open sections. The jury is still out on whether 26" or 29" wheels are better for XC racing (for me at least). Rolling handlebar shot.I pulled the plug after 5 laps like I had planned. Hard to do considering the lead I had, but I'm looking at the big picture.
Saturday, we just chilled. One of my fav. places to eat in OC is a tiny little Mexican food place in Placentia near where I went to high school: "Q-Tortas". THE best mex food in the area. Stop by if you're ever near Cal State Fullerton.

Sunday, we ran some errands and started getting ready for the trip back to S.D. When I went to get my oil changed, the guy tells me my drain plug is stripped and he couldn't change it. My buddy Alex wrenched on cars for a long time and tells me about oversize drain plugs for just such and occasion. I bought one, started the install and...snapped the insert off inside the oil pan. Sh!tty.

Monday I took the car to the mechanic: part's on back-order, lemme see what I can find.

Tuesday: Got the part late and we gotta clean it. It'll be tomorrow.

Wed: Truck's finally done...$750 bucks! Friggin' robbery. Mom and Dad to the rescue again (credit card in hand).

This week is all about buckling down for my last final exam of my undergrad degree (hopefully!). Training's taking a back seat for now, but I'm looking forward to cranking it up once I'm done with my final. Wish me luck!