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Showing posts from July, 2008

I'm great at making foam...

Check out this wonderful shot from New Zealand...nothing but open water and the horizon ahead. Long distance swimming at it's finest.

Let me make it very clear - that is not me.

Despite best effort over many years, and even swim coaches in my triathlon days in the 1980's, I never mastered the art of swimming.

When it comes to head knowledge, I have it all. The concept, the stroke, understanding deficiencies in the kick, bilateral breathing, and other indicators of the perfect form in water...but when I try to put it into practice, I move forward at a turtle's pace, and create a lot of foam.

Hey, it's not really that bad. I started swimming again a few weeks ago, and the benefits to my physique are noticeable. My upper body is showing great definition, and the repeating action of the reach and catch has been most excellent for the bad disc in my back.

As a creature of habit, I perform the same routine each time. Thirty minutes freestyle stroke with a swim buoy in betwe…

I feel the need for speed...

Photo by Rich Cruise

I want to use this blog to reflect on important individuals and events that have shaped my life. This blog really isn't about me, it's simply a vehicle to facilitate thought about your life, and those important elements that have meaning for you.

The dude in this photo is David Bailey. Once a world motocross champion, then later a winner of the Ironman Triathlon in the wheelchair division.

A lot happened between those two worlds. I knew Bailey since he was an upcoming pro racer in the late 1970's, and was later his promotions agent during the 1983 and 1984 championship seasons. My recollection of the epitome of the two-wheeled world was when I traveled with the U.S. team to the 1986 Motocross des Nations in Italy. The Americans cleaned up, and Bailey was clearly on top of the world, riding the now legendary RC500 factory Honda.

A few months later, that chapter in Bailey's life came to an end. He missed a jump at a local race in California on Janua…

The art of making friends

Due to a change of season in my life (check out Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) I'm in a position where it's important to make new friends.

Fact is, my phone isn't ringing, and few people invite me to do things. That's not a complaint, just a fact. So, it's important that I make an effort to build my base of friends, and fill my calendar with new things to do.

There is no shortcut to making friends, and it's not always an easy task. It is similar to finding a new job, or having a career in sales.

Here's a few tips from the master competitor on expanding your base of acquaintances:

If you see someone you want to meet, walk over and talk to them - immediately and at that moment. If you pause for a second, there's a big chance you'll talk yourself out of making that connection.Just like sales, this process of making friends will take time. You'll be the recipient of several rejections and false starts, but that's the only way you'll get closer to find…

Striving for agape love

Seems that animal images are becoming quite frequent on my blog, but at this place in my life, it seems appropriate.

If you have been blessed with a pet, you know the unconditional love that is offered. No matter how bad the day, or how you respond, your beloved pet is at your heels, showing how much he/she loves your presence.

The bible models, through Christ, agape love. Is is unattainable for the most part, in that agape love is about caring and loving others, without any thought of reciprocation. I have made half-hearted attempts at agape love, but before long, I want ROI (return on investment) and expect attentiveness and my own gratification in response to my actions.

Loving and caring for others through agape love is a noble goal in life, something to aspire to, yet something I will never attain. But when one understands that giving love does not necessarily imply love in return, this world becomes more tempered, and the rough edges become a bit more smooth.

The path may be roc…

A thief and the loss of my "old friend"

This past Saturday, I was doing yard work at my house...trimmed and pulled weeds, then went inside for a shower.

When I came out about 30 minutes later, me beloved Haro commuter bike was gone.

Yup, I'm guilty about leaving the garage door open, while most in the neighborhood keep their homes buttoned up like a thick sweater on a cold winter day...but I was trustful, and now my bike is gone.

Now several days later, I am depressed and at a loss. I rode that bike every day, and was trying to be a full time bike commuter. I had really nice rear panniers from Canada, and a new light kit front and rear. And a nice rain jacket for those wet days.

All gone.

I filed a police report, and of course chances are slim or none regarding the return of my bike. Since the thief came into the garage, it's a burglary, and a detective has been assigned to my case...along with about 100 other bike theft files that are on his desk.

Life has ups and downs. But the loss I am feeling is oppressive.

I dou…

House concert with a message

Last evening, I was invited to something totally new in my life.

It was a "house concert" with Lauris Vidal and Kelley McRae performing original work, in front of family and friends. The concert was hosted by Jan Vidal, who with her husband work as chaplains with Legacy Ministries. This couple serves the powerboat racing community at events throughout the United States. It's an effort rather dear to my heart, as I started the powerboat Sunday services over 15 years ago.

The night was intriguing. Though the performances didn't have an overt Christian overtone, the presence of a common believe and faith was in the room. It was a feeling of comfort, something I have been longing for over quite some time.

In one of his originals, Lauris sang of using your life up, giving it to others - so that when it's over, there really isn't anything left. It was food for thought, thinking forward to just what it means to give to others. I am coming to believe it's a wa…

Brooks apparel is eternally good...

Check this out...yours truly acting rather chipper the first time through the horse station check at the Mohican 100 - about 35 miles into the race in 2002.

I was having a good time, and was coming off my PR year, 24:32 at Mo in 2001. This time around I was just having a good time, and my finish was somewhere around 25:30. Please remember that this was on the old Mo course, where we would come out of the woods at Rock Point at 76 miles, and have mostly country roads to the finish. Now, mountain bike trails have been added, and runners don't make their way to Rock Point until mile 90.

What I like most about my retro photos, is that they don't look that much different from my current images. My fitness and physique is relatively similar, and I'm still wearing those shorts and singlet on a regular basis. I just packed my bag for school tomorrow, and plan to run at lunch with some new friends...and, that same Brooks top is once again going into motion.

I like to take care of…

Making time on the downhills

It's time for bed, but I couldn't sleep and was feeling rather satisfied about the course of life over the past several years. There have been ups and downs and bumps in the road, but also some great memories and fine athletic performances.

Check out this photo from 2004...this is prior to my move to Florida, when I was still dealing with my Ohio bred stocky body. Though a bit more thick than I like, that old frame used to pull me up and down the hills with surprising speed.

This is the descent portion of the JFK 50 mile...the first 15 miles are pretty much on a rocky, rough stretch of the Appalachian Trail. Then, a series of switchbacks takes runners down, down, down until you merge onto the towpath along the Potomac River.

The 2004 JFK represented my PR for 50 miles - 8 hours, 53 minutes. Not fast my elite ultra standards, but fast for me. I made it through this section on an 8-hour pace, and then faded during the final portion of the race. But, on that day on the descent…

Lightning on the water

Check out this photo...if you've never seen a F-1 tunnel hull powerboat race, make an appointment to do it soon.

What a rush.

These IndyCars on water run to about 130 mph, and then make hard 90 degree turns at speed, with little deceleration.

To be honest, this sport hasn't been top of mind for awhile, but I lived it full time when I was marketing director for Mercury Marine's Hi-Performance division from 1989-1993. Mercury managed both the U.S. and International tunnel hull championships, and it was a rare weekend that I wasn't working an event on the water.

An old friend stopped to visit with me today, Laurie Vidal. He's a chaplain on the powerboat circuit, and we were able to rehash old names, events and activities from over a decade ago. I was involved with bringing the first Sunday chapel services to the powerboat races, and individuals like Laurie have soldiered on, caring for and supporting the racers and their families on a full time basis.

Though I live in a …

We're heading for the hills...

Looks like the kindergarten games are over...we're going to head north to Dahlonega, Georgia in late September, and join hundreds of other cyclists in riding the "Six Gap" 100 mile bicycle tour.

Check out this description from the event web site:

"The Six Gap Century’s ultra challenging route takes you up and down six of the steepest climbs in the North Georgia Mountains. Test your stamina with more than 10,700 feet of vertical climbing over the 100 mile course. Elevations for the six gaps in this ride range from 2,949 feet to 3,490 feet. The toughest climb, Hogpen Gap, will test even the strongest riders, averaging a 7% grade for seven miles, with sections as steep as 15%. 100 miles. 10,700 vertical feet. 2,500 friends."

Sounds like serious business to me. Don't know if I have the stuff to make a fast run at this course, but I do believe that if cautious and conservative, I'll make it to the finish.

This past Thursday, I received a stern lecture from my …

It's B-a-a-a-c-c-c-k-k-k

Ouch.

Five months post nerve-block injection, pain started to radiate down my left leg. It was all too familiar, the same suffering I dealt with after the big blow-out during Christmas.

The dreaded disc at the L-5/S-1 was rearing its ugly head once again.

I immediately started the progression of doctor's appointments that are necessary to appease my insurance carrier; 1) first to the sports med doctor on campus, for a referral from her to the back surgeon, who in turn 2) will authorize an appointment with the radiologist for 3) another nerve block.

All in all, about $1600 and maybe a month's waiting time.

But this time, I am better prepared with the knowledge to fight back. I am doing core strength exercises, and creating a better posture for the disc to slip back into place. The mornings are dreadful, when I have to straighten my hunched over back, which sends shock waves of pain into my leg. But once I'm standing tall, the pain subsides, and I have been getting in comfort…

Check out my ride...

A good friend of mine made a nice gesture, and because of him I am able to revisit a hobby from many years ago - mountain biking.

Check out my "new" ride. My friend has long since set this Trek Fuel on the sidelines, and is now riding a Specialized S-Works...which is so far out of my league, they may as well sell it on Mars.

I grew up with Jeff in Wisconsin, and now, 30 years later, we are together once again in Gainesville. When I asked about buying the Fuel, he said, "just take it and ride it, it's been sitting there a long time."

I brought my new bike home, and started to wipe away the cobwebs, lube the friction points and chain, and polish the frame. What I found was that a wonderful ride was in my grasp...full suspension, beefy, yet light.

I was obsessed with mountain bikes when the sport hit in the mid 1980's. At that time, I had great connections at Scott USA, and was buying a new mountain bike about every six months. I'd ride it, sell it, and t…

Hanging out with Burt...

I'd guess you'd call the photo above one of my "money shots"...it made the cover of Cycle News East in the early 1980's.

What an experience. "Cannonball Run" was filming in Atlanta, where I lived at the time, and Doug Domokos, the Wheelie King, was doing stunts for the film. Doug had become a friend of mine, and it was fun hanging out on the set and watching things unfold.

We had been promised a publicity shot, and so I waited...and waited. During this period Burt Reynolds was a very hot commodity, and getting a sliver of his time was worth gold.

But finally, Burt Reynolds - and Dom DeLuise - step out of their trailers. I had about 60 seconds to make the shot, so we crowded everyone around the Harley Doug was riding in the movie. One thing I do know - these professional actors made great cheesecake. They became animated and photogenic, but after my minute was over, they turned it off and meandered back to the set.

This was quite the life, considering …

One of the greatest photos of all time...

OK, so maybe I'm a bit over-stated.

This is the great motocross photo of all time, and I took it.

Hey, I'm biased...but within my entire career as a photojournalist, this photo probably told the biggest story. In this case, a picture was worth 1000 words.

Johnny O'Mara, a relatively unknown (at that time) racer from California, came east to race in the 1980 Mid-Ohio 125cc United States Grand Prix.

At this point in history, the European riders were still tops in competition, and the Americans had their hands full keeping up. The best 125cc riders in the world converged on the Mid-Ohio race course.

And then it rained...and rained...and rained.

Everyone on earth knew that west coast fast boys could only ride hard-packed, dry race tracks. No chance any of them could make time in the muck, right? And, on top of that, who was this O'Mara kid? And he's riding a what? A Mugen? Never heard of that, nothing much to see here folks...

That seemed to be the opinion of the day,…

The glory days...

Need I say more? Just look at the build on Darrel Shultz, the 1982 AMA 500cc National motocross champion...and next to him (on left) is Chris Haines, Darrell's tuner for his championship season.

This photo was part of a pictorial that year, of all the factory riders with their mechanics and works equipment. I just loved to show the readers at Cycle News the behind the scenes stuff, and used to publish photos like this on a regular basis.

Shultz was an amazing character, his antics were legendary. I remember when he won the Trans-USA race at Road Atlanta, he took the trophy - and the trophy girl - and rode off into the sunset. Darrel was just that way.

And, he was the pain master. He told me "you can't remember pain" so he knew once he dealt with it, it would be in the past.

At the last race in the '82 championship, Shultz had blown out his knee, and had a collapsed lung.

He raced anyway. They had to carry him onto the bike, and Honda had a medvac helicopter on site…

The race that never happened...

For the first time in its 35 year history, the Western States 100 mile endurance run didn't happen.

Ground fires near the course -which runs from Squaw Valley to Auburn, CA - and also poor air quality led race organizers to cancel the event.

This turn of events was devastating for the entrants. Most had trained, saved money, and prepared for this race over many months. And some, like my friend Wayne Gregory, made the trip all the way from Sydney, Australia...to find out he didn't have a course to race on.

I'm not about to get into the pros and cons of what has transpired. Some simply accepted it as fate, while others ranted and said ugly things on web posting boards about the race organizers.

Personally, I would have hoped that an impromptu event - possibly a 20-mile loop out of Squaw Valley five times around - could have been implemented. But I wasn't there, and don't have the knowledge nor authority to make such decisions.

Western States is the grand daddy of ultr…