Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

Well, it's that time of year again. This won't be short. Fair warning. There will be pictures, however...

Little Miss Bella turned 1 year old in January! She got her very own Pupcake and her brother even let her snuggle him.
For Valentine's Day, Sandie took me to Sacramento to see the prologue and start of the first stage of the Tour of California. I wish I had written a post about this weekend. It was awesome. The prologue was great because you get to see each rider individually and it's an all day event! The weather was perfect and only started to drizzle a bit toward the end. This was Lance Armstrong's first race on American soil since coming out of retirement. The crowd was insane when the bigger name riders came by but it was THUNDEROUS when Lance came by.
This photo was taken by a guy we met at the race named Jeff Hiroshima.

We brought Madison with us and she really enjoyed it as well. The next day was wet and cold but still big fun. We even spent some time in the Davis Bicycle Museum. The drive home was long as there was a huge snow storm in the mountains. Well worth it though, we had a blast! In case you don't know, Levi Leipheimer won the race for the 3rd straight year. Lance was riding in support of him. This was also the weekend that Lance's bike was stolen. If I had a dime for every time I was accused of stealing it when I got home...

Much to my delight, Shayna has taken up baking! She makes pretty pies... and I LOVE pies! I can't wait for Christmas, she is making an apple cranberry pie for the family.

This spring Madison's soccer team had a great season with only one loss in league play! They did great in tournaments as well, taking second place in the Comstock Shootout and going undefeated to win the Capital Classic!
We had the families pose in the picture because without them, this would not have been possible!

In June we had a cancer scare with the Chili Dog. Thank goodness it was NOT cancer. I don't know what I would do without him! Our friend Jon told Sandie"If it is cancer, there's not much they can do." Sandie told him, "Brent will spend every last dime we have trying..." She's probably right.

A friend of mine at work told me about a bike race that I had never heard of before. Funny, since it's the oldest race in North America. It is held every Father's Day in Nevada City, Ca. We hemmed and hawed about going since it was last minute, we had no accommodations, Chili just had surgery, and we had plans Saturday night. It would need to be a day trip. The clincher came when Lance tweeted that he was going to race... and he was bringing Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner with him! So after Shayna took me out to breakfast, we loaded the dogs and our hangovers into the Pilot and headed to Cali! What an awesome event! 40 laps around this little mountain town. When we got there, it was tough to find parking. We had a little walking to do. Once in the race area, we found a hot dog stand and had some lunch while watching the end of the pro women's race, then the elite men. We picked a nice spot on the uphill section and waited for the pro men to start. Lance and Levi broke away from the pack about 4 laps in with another rider playing wheel sucker while Lance and Levi traded turns at the front. Horner stayed back and paced the pack, grinning like a Cheshire cat the whole way. He was having fun. When the time was right (after the 3 leaders lapped the field), Lance took off and there was no catching him. The roar of the crowd as he came up the hill was like a jet flying over! This video (taken with my phone, forgot the camera!) was on his second lap off the front. The first rider through is Lance, the next is about to be lapped by the field, next is the field which has already been lapped by Lance.
As you watch, keep in mind that this is UPHILL! That is fast! Even if you are not "into" cycling, you should check this race out. It's electrifying. Here is a link to a photographer's blog I found. There are beautiful photos of the race. Very Americana!

In between soccer games (both girls), Sandie and I managed to get some riding in.
Marlette Peak overlooking Marlette Lake and Lake Tahoe
Diamond Valley, Ca

The biggest of which was The Death Ride. Sandie did great for her first big ride. We just got our tickets for next year too!

Madison went to her first sleep away camp this summer and really enjoyed it. Several girls from the soccer team went as well which eased the homesickness I'm sure. She was away from us for her birthday which I thought might kill Sandie but she made it through.
Shayna started her own soccer team to play in the City Adult league and asked me to help her out with coaching. I had fun working with the ladies and we put together a pretty nice season. They improved steadily all summer and even snuck into the playoffs! They all enjoyed it (and each other) so much that they wanted to stay together for the indoor season. We are 5 games into that now and just beat the team that eliminated us in the summer 8-3.

We took a family trip to Southern California again this summer. We usually go for July 4th but went a little later this year. Sandie and I took our road bikes this year and went on a couple of nice early morning rides down PCH.
After a couple of days with Aunt Sharon and Uncle Vic, we headed down to San Diego. We stayed in the Gas Light District in a nice hotel that was a stone's throw from PetCo Park. We spent a day at Sea World where Sandie worked as a teenager. The girls had fun petting stingrays and riding rides. Sandie said the place had changed a lot since she was a kid!

The next day was relaxation time. We went to a ball game (where Madison stubbed her toe). Sandie and I drank a bunch of beer, and then we all hung out by the pool! Good times!
Then it was back to Huntington Beach for few days before heading home.

Shayna started her senior year of high school and Madison started 7th grade. They are a handful but we love them.

Shayna is very busy with work, the leadership program, and 2 AP classes. She got a promotion and is now a Staff Lead so she's making good money. Between all of her school activities and work, she's hardly ever home but she checks in to let us know she's still alive every night. Hence so few photos of her. She has a set of senior pictures on a disc. If you would like to see them or have one for yourself, email me and we will email some choices for you.

Madison got her braces off and has become the dream of all the boys! She also made the 7th grade volleyball team and is having the time of her life! There were 3 agonizing days of tryouts! Now they are training 2 hours a day! She hasn't complained yet so she MUST be having fun.
Sandie did a weight loss boot camp with some of the moms from the soccer team just to dump the last 5 lbs that would not let go. It worked out great for her and she has kept up on her training. She did an 8K run on Nevada Day and made it in just over 48 minutes! The dogs and I wandered around downtown while she ran and we greeted her at the finish.

We got hit with a nice snow storm a couple of weeks ago, followed by temps as low as 20 below! The back streets are still caked with ice and it's like driving down crappy dirt roads. We got a little rain and then snow last night to make things that much worse.

I'm sorry this was so long, but that's what happens when we don't keep up on our blog!

Hope you all have a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Brent, Sandie, Shayna, Madison, Chili, and Bella

Monday, November 02, 2009

Dem Bones

More lunch time ride creepiness!!! Two weeks ago I found this pile of bones right next to my trail. Today when I rode by... GONE!!!

Just weird...

I can't wait to see where they turn up reassembled. Happy late Halloween!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Congratulations Contador!!!

The Tour de France ended today with Alberto Contador in yellow. He has been picked on in the media a bit, but he desrves the win and he has always deserved to be the leader of his team. I am a huge Lance fan, but I believe in my heart that AC was the best rider in the race.

Sandie might even be coming around as she suggested we open a bottle of Spanish wine to toast Alberto for the win.

One more thing... was it Alberto or was it Snake Oiler in the final time trial on Stage 18? Things that make you go, "hmmm."

So... A big congratulations to Alberto for the win, Andy Schleck for second place, and an even bigger congrats to the old man (Lance is 37) for coming in third with those two twenty-something whipper snappers! Not bad after being away from racing for over 3 years!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Death Ride Part 2: Enter Sandie

In 2007, he rode the Death Ride alone. In 2008 he was on the Mexican Riviera with his family. Now, in 2009, he has a sidekick... and they still only made four passes!

Oh well, it was a good time anyway.

Somehow I talked Sandie into suffering with me this year as we did the Tour of the California Alps. The whole ride is 129 miles, 5 mountain passes, with 15,000 feet of climbing. We did 88 miles, 4 passes, and 12,000 feet. Not too bad considering we didn't have time to train very well. It was harder than I remembered, but just as fun.

We started out from Turtle Rock Park just after 6am, about 30 minutes later than we had hoped but sometimes that extra half hour of sleep feels good. We really didn't have a plan as to whether we would stay together or ride at our own pace. I made the decision on the way up the first climb just to hang with Sandie and enjoy the beating with her. About half way up, there is a spot that levels out a bit so I stopped there to wait for her. This was the longest I had to wait all day, just over 5 minutes or so. After that, she stayed pretty close. She seemed to get stronger as the day went on.

At the top of Monitor, I waited for about 1 or 2 minutes so we could have our picture taken together at the top. Then we headed to the rest stop. We ate some food, refilled the bottles, took a "nature break", and headed down the other side to Topaz Lake. At the bottom, I grabbed a few gel packets (this turned out to be the only rest stop that had them as far as I can tell) and we made our way back up. At the half way point, the kids from R.O.P. had a water station set up. I stopped and topped off my bottles and waited for Sandie. When she came by, I had her hand off her bottle so she could keep going. I topped that off and set out to catch her. Once she had her bottle back, I continued on at my own pace. She has a Granny gear and I don't. This makes it difficult to travel at the same rate uphill. While she can spin a little easier, I have to work harder unless I keep my momentum up.

Once back at the top, we had a pair of fellow riders snap our picture with the elevation marker and went on to the rest stop. Sandie needed some vitamin I at this point and they weren't allowed to give her any and the medics had just left. Luckily I had a stash in my seat bag. We refueled and headed down the other side. This descent was pretty scary with the whipping wind. I couldn't go as fast as I'd wanted because of it. Then I came upon the youngest rider in this year's ride and her mother. She was 8 years old and was riding one pass to raise money for the arts and music program at her school! I just slowed down and talked to them for a bit till Sandie caught up. When we made it to the bottom, we made the left turn to tackle Ebbetts.

As we were climbing there seemed to be some discrepancy among the riders as to how long the climb actually was. I stopped to consult the map as Sandie rolled on. I caught up to her after making my best guess (the map didn't have that info) at 8 to 10 miles. Just as I was telling her this we came upon the rest stop where a lady was out on the road flagging riders down saying, "Last chance for water for 8 and a half miles!" So we stopped, I refilled Sandie's bottles and sent her on her way while I did mine and mixed up some Endrolytes. It took me quite awhile to catch her, she was running strong! I was actually wondering if I might not catch her before the top. When I got to her, she said, "I like this climb better than the last one. It has more recovery spots." To which I replied, "It gets tougher..." and continued on. We rode together through a few of the switchbacks until I had to pick up my pace to keep from overworking my legs. Shortly after the photo guy, I pulled off to wait for her. When she came around the corner, I started riding again. We stayed together for a bit and she told me that she was learning to hate Ebbetts.

Riders were coming down the mountain at a very high rate of speed and as I was passing Kinney Reservoir, a rider went by and it sounded like he crashed. I told the guy next to me, "That didn't sound good," as I looked over my shoulder just in time to see the guy that was following the other descender go down HARD. I could hear the "pop" of his shoulder breaking. We all stopped and a couple of riders ran to him as the rest of us were trying to slow down the other riders coming into the blind corner. Luckily for him there was a SAG motorcycle right there when it happened. He checked on the guy, then sped up the hill to get the ambulance. It was a very spooky thing to witness.

At the top, Sandie had a Cup-o-noodles, I had 3 V-8s, and we barely made the cut off time to descend the other side. At this point either one of us would have been happy to just turn around and head back. But I told her that this was the shortest of all the legs and we might as well do it since we'd gone that far. So down the hill we went.

At the bottom, we took a quick "nature break", scrounged up some vitamin I (these kind folks were willing to break the rules to help out people in pain). They told Sandie, "you MIGHT be able to FIND some over by that truck" and turned a blind eye. I had a V-8 and a pepsi, Sandie had a gel, and we headed up the climb.

We stopped for a minute at the top as I told her I would follow her on the descent. I was worried about her and she was a little scared to do it. That crash had everyone rattled. The roads were opening at this point so we had to worry about cars too. There is always safety in numbers though and we were in and out of groups of riders. We passed more people than passed us, so we felt good about that.

We stopped and shared a turkey wrap at the lunch stop. We refilled the bottles and headed for Turtle Rock Park knowing that there was no chance to make the cut off for the 5th pass... and we were happy about it.

It was tough climbing our way out of the valley to the park, but it felt good to me that we had no real problems all day. Sandie was still in a good mood and we did better than we really expected to since we knew we didn't train well.

Sandie climbed well and mostly stayed pretty close to me. She never stopped or walked her bike, like many people do. We made pretty good time when we were in the saddle. Our problem with time came at the rest stops. Sandie is a lollygagger at those stops! I think, more than anything she was enjoying the atmosphere at those stops. It is quite fun hanging out and chatting with the other riders and volunteers. I am very proud of her for doing the ride and finishing strong like she did. She also did what I was afraid she would not do. She listened to her body and did not go beyond what she was capable of doing.

Well, I'm hoping she will do her own post (hint-hint, Sandie) from her perspective... so I'm done.

Professional photos can be found at West World Images soon. Search Rider numbers 3566 (Sandie) and 2347 (me).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cancer Scare

Some of you know, most of you don't. We had a tumor removed from Chili's eye last week. It was on his lower right eyelid and it was ugly. When I picked him up from the vet, I was very anxious to see him and they kept me waiting forever! When they finally brought him in the room, the poor guy could hardly stand, let alone walk. He was still very groggy from the anesthesia. Add to that the big lamp shade on his neck. I had to guide him out the door so he would not run into things. I took the collar off as soon as we got out the door so he could get into the truck without killing himself. He was so messed up that he couldn't even find the truck!

When we got home, he kinda walked in circles and paced around. He got a big drink of water, walked around the couch and got another drink. He went to his bed, did a circle or two, laid down, got up, went to the water bowl... I had to lay down on the floor with him to get him to stay in one place. I have never seen him so loopy. It was sad and cute all at the same time.

He was much better the next day and seemed to be back to normal. On Sunday we took him and Bella to Nevada City for the Nevada City Classic bike race (which Lance won). A little daddy time on Father's Day...

I was trying not to think about the cancer possibilities. Not an easy task. We finally got the call on Tuesday. NO CANCER!!! WOO-HOO. He is healing up nicely and taking his meds and ointment like a big boy. He looks like a prize fighter though...

Sad and Tragic Day

The news of Farrah's death was enough to bum me out this morning. She was my first crush. A very sad ending to her life. Cancer sucks!

Now the news of Michael Jackson's death! Love him or hate him, no one can deny the impact he had on music and entertainment. His life became quite weird and sad over the last few years but he was an amazing performer.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009


As if lonely lunchtime rides in the desert outside one of Nevada's oldest towns weren't spooky enough... I came across this just before Christmas.

I have been building singletrack trails to ride at lunch for the past 3 years. A few of months ago I started to notice strange tracks on my trails. How did I know they weren't mine? I have a specific line I ride on each trail as I know them all by heart (having built them myself). When someone is not familiar with the trail, their tracks tend to "wander".

Fast forward to last month... I was at a turn off point in one trail when I noticed someone had extended it further into the desert so I decided to check it out. It turned out to be a pretty cool extension that led back to a fire road so I started riding it every day to get it good and distinct. After the following weekend, I came through and noticed the bones... weird.

It seems to be about 80% of a horse that someone took the time to reassemble and make look like an alien. It still creeps me out every time I pass it, but it's kinda cool.