Monday, September 26, 2011

Surrey BC: My Week

There is a group I belong to called the Forestry Resources Association.  This is a national orginization with regional associations.  I attend the twice-annual meetings that held in the PNW region, and this week it is in Surrey, BC.  It starts tomorrow, Tuesday.

For the first time ever I am going to participate in the Golf Outing part.  There is also a Sturgeon Fishing part being held at the same time, which I am going to skip.  Anyway, I am placed into a group of 3 others and we will see how I do when we actually keep track of the "real score".  The bad news is that today it is quite rainy, and this will make the ground soft and keep my ball from rolling into the hole.  Tomorrow it is supposed to be drier, with only 30% chance of rain, so we will see if it is better.

I get home on Thursday afternoon.  This place is only 120 miles away, so it is not too far.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Translating Passion Into Action

I am reading "The Pedouins" currently. This is an account of a middle-aged guy and his younger wife, and their three young children, as they ride a specially-built 5-person bicycle from Kentucky to Alaska. I'm about half-way through the account, and so far they are in Florida (yes, they didn't take the direct route). He has introduced the players, set up the conditions of the outset of the trip, and highlighted several incidents along the way that show the character and nature of our country, and the diversity of people that inhabit it. Adversity, perseverance, compassion, support from people they meet, problems with the bike, triumphs of the spirit, and determination shine through the tale.

The sheer audacity of the undertaking jumps up at every turn. The three kids are really young: 2, 5, and 7. The 2-year old has a seat but not pedals, if you are wondering! They are experiencing America in the first person, and the parents are using the experience to teach them things that stay-at-home kids would never learn. As I read this account I think of my own experiences in riding, and riding long distances. Their short daily rides are, I'm sure, limited by their riding experience, and by their perspective that they are in for a long ride, that will take a long time, and they are in no hurry. And, I think, the great weight they are trying to push along the highways of America. They camp at night, carrying an REI tent that they set up along the road, at campsites, and in parks. The kids play, as kids do. The parents plan the next day's route, talk about the state of the trip, and assess risks as they can.

Passer's by ask about the crazy bike and what they are doing, and in getting the story are told that they are trying to be self-supporting along the way. The passers-by go and get food, sit with them to eat it, and generally participate in the journey.

It is a tale of triumph of spirit, of support from unexpected corners, and travelers being welcomed as in times of old. I met a woman from Denmark several years ago in Lewiston, ID. I had ridden up the Lewiston Grade, an amazing road of some 10 miles length carved into the side of a giant hillside. It carves from the top of the ridge to the bottom of the valley in un-countable switchbacks and curves, at a steady grade up (and an amazingly fun ride down). After the ride I crossed over the Clearwater River and rode down the bike trial to the confluence of the Snake River, and then up the Snake a bit. She was camping in a park along the Snake, and was setting up her tent and sitting on a picnic table. She said she had originally come on a 3 week vacation to British Columbia, and was planning to ride the Lolo Pass to Missoula, and then beyond. She had come from Granger that day, down a long and winding road into the Snake River Valley. She said that she had been camping in parks and public places, and had been having a generally good time of it. I was surprised, honestly, since the Redneck inhabitants of these areas I thought might have hassled her about simply camping out, but she said she hadn't had any problems. She was concerned about the road to Lolo, and I told her that this was a narrow and winding road, and that she should be careful. I hope she was.

The connection here is that both The Pedouins and this Danish woman were living their dream, and their dream was seeing the world from the seat of bicycle. THAT IS MY DREAM TOO! I've been slow to ride even across Washington, and that is EASY in comparison to what these guys are doing. I need to step up my game and get with it. The idea of carrying the gear you would need and camping along the way is attractive to me. Self sufficiency, pushing along as fast and as far as you like, stopping along the way, meeting people, having adventures, and meeting the challenges of the road are what I would like.

After reading this book I am tempted to write a sort of composite summary of the several STP rides I have done and trying to make a composite narrative of them. What I know about riding with others, monitoring my own hydration and nutrition level, and those around me, and recognizing Bonking when it happens, I think I may have something to add to the body of literature that exists on this subject. Is there a body of literature on Bonking? I'm not sure...

Golf? Really?

I wanted to note for my readers that I have been trying to improve my golf game in anticipation of a couple of BRUKS Rockwood company events that will be happening in October. On Oct. 10 I am participating in a Golf Outing in Alpharetta where customers have been invited and I need to be at least OK. Then, on Oct. 21 and 22, I will be playing in the company "tournament" in Destin FL. This is a time of great razzing and hazing, and comporting myself well at this time will mean a lot.

Anyway, I have been playing as often as I can in anticipation of these outings, and I credit David Oldham, my golf partner in Snohomish, with improving my game tremendously. I am now shooting in the mid to high 80's, and this is a great improvement for me.

I also want to thank Chief for sharing his hybrid clubs with me. I have added literally 30-45 yards to the length of some of the short club shots I make (my 9 Iron shots have been about 100 yards, and now they are 135-145 yards, for example). And my accuracy has improved.

The one bad thing is that I shared Chief's putter with David, and he has improved his putting incredibly, sinking putts from 30-50 feet! And he doesn't miss the 6-10 foot putts anymore! Yikes! I was beating him because he 3-putted, and now he is 1 and 2-putting! HUGE DIFFERENCE!

Maybe I need to ask for the putter back?