Sunday, July 30, 2006

Seeing bears

Everytime I turned over in bed my thougths would float around and come to rest ontop of eachother in a different order. Then I'd have to sort them out all over again. A lot of different ways to look at the same thing. Vacant thoughts.

I hadn't had too many conversations with my uncle. Never had much cause to. "I seen a bear." he said at a family gathering. "You did?" I asked, "Where?". He looked around into the air as if seeing into a memory, and a place beyond where we sat. "Oh,.. up on the ridge outside of town." "Really?" I said. "What was it doing?" "It was going down the ridge in front of me... It was a very unusual bear." "Really." "It had an unusual pelt; brown, tan... It was a cinnamon bear."

I don't know why I feel a sense of loss over something that I never really had and never really wanted. It's just greed that's all. Not really an empty feeling, more of a vacant feeling.

"He's always seeing bears." mom said. "Really?.. He told me a couple of years ago he saw a bear. " "Oh he just says that." she said. "I'm sure he did see bears, he worked his whole life in the woods cutting trees." I said. "Oh I guess." mom said. "Perhaps he is just telling a story that he remembers and it isn't important to him when it happened." I suggested. "Clifford says he sees too many bears." She said. And that ended our conversation.

Finally I felt myself falling into a deep sleep. As if I was wading deeper and deeper into the water and then fell into a dark hole, and went completely under black water. I found myself infront of the cabin in the dark. I was looking for something I had left outside. And then I saw something move in the dark. It was a bear coming up the hill. It woke me up out of my new found deep sleep. I've had that dream in different versions several times. And a bear did come up the hill one night as I watched. It was going to the orchard.

I got up and made some coffee and decided to take the skiff out into the bay. The water was still this morning and I did some fishing and took this photo as the sun came up. I split my time between fishing, drinking my coffee and taking photos. The morning was more restful than the night had been. I caught a whitefish, but I let it go. It was very happy to swim away.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Landis has balls

Landis denies doping after a the "A" sample taken from him at the end of his stage 17 comeback turned up positive for high levels of testosterone. If the "B" sample confirms, then he will most likely be stripped of his Tour de France title, will be sacked by his team, and will also face a 2 year suspension from cycling.

Either way, it he used drugs or not, I think it is safe to say that Floyd Landis has balls.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Haying season

Here is another photo from my morning ride. The convent is in those foothills on the left out of this frame. It's haying season now. There must have been thousands of bails in this field and the one behind.

Convent and solitude

Here is a photo of the convent that is on my ride. I was thinking it was monastary but it is actually a Dominican convent and girls school. It is in a beautiful location. The Ironman bike route goes right by it so it is a very popular place to cycle here. Sometimes while school is in session, all of the girls will be out playing basketball in long skirts and the nuns will sometimes take shots as well. Sometimes in the evenings when I ride there will be a nun out for a walk along the road. I've often wondered what life must be like for the nuns and the girls living there. And there is something european or Italian about it with the convent there and the cyclists going by. (I like to think that anyway)

There's also a feeling seperation and an isolation. I feel it when I ride by and I wonder if the girls who occasionally wave feel the same way. I came by there last Sunday while they were having mass. The door was open, but my place was on my bike. Now and then when I ride by, I'm part of their world, and they are part of mine if only for a short while.

Sister Wendy Beckett talks about solitude HERE I saw that interview on TV and they left out one of the most interesting things she said. She was asked if she would get lonely when she went back into seclusion, and she said; "Loneliness is needy, it wants. Solitude is fulfillment, it has." That always stuck with me.

BTW, I loved her PBS programs on viewing art. If you ever get a chance to watch them they are very good.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The old broom sweeps clean

I decided to ride my bike to work again as the heat came down a bit. It wasn't too bad this morning even though I was sweaty when I got to work. I had a ton of stuff in my backpack including my new white adidas that are now kind of old and dirty.

The nicest part of my ride that is on the bike trail at the foot of a mountain was kind of a mess. It is in the pine trees, but it is the place where I can't get good NPR reception on FM. But I can get Fox News loud and clear. So I was riding along and listening to a commentary about how we should turn more to nuclear power as it is so safe and clean now. I was thinking to myself, "tell that to the people in Ukraine." I was thinking as I looked at all of the traffic on the freeway, "why don't you tell more people to try riding a bike to work?" As again I didn't see anyone on the bike path.

But what really made my commute to work disapointing was that someone had gone along and kicked gravel out onto the trail for about a half mile. It was a deliberate act . The gravel on the shoulder of the trail consists of really sharp little rocks. And there was no way to avoid these hazards on my road bike. Easy to get a flat on the skinny little tires we run that have so much air pressure in them. It was either done by kicking rocks out onto the trail by foot, or it was done with a mountain bike spinning them onto the trail. The more I think about it them more the Mountain bike scenario makes sense.

Once or twice a year they sweep the trails clean, but I realized that this wasn't going to happen anytime soon. So I took it upon myself to go out there with my old broom and sweep the trail clean. After all, it is like I'm the only one using it for going to work, so I took ownership. Tonight I rode along with my broom and swept the rocks off of the trail when I came to them. I got some smiles from other road bike riders as I did ths, but it ended up being a bigger job that I had thought. I should have gone to work and gotten a big push broom.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Club cards and a lemon

I used to shop at Albertsons grocery store. My bank has a branch with ATM in there and life was good. I could get some cash and then buy what I wanted. And the prices weren't bad. Safeway grocery store moved in across the street. higher prices but nicer store and harder to get to in traffic.

Then Albertsons decided that all customers must have a club card. No big deal, right? But I didn't want to give them a bunch of personal information. The form to fill out was extensive. I decided to go to Safeway despite having to have a card there. I gave false information to Safeway. I'm known as dan at Safeway. I was so mad at Albertsons that they would do this. It used to be that you could go in there get a good deal and know what the price was without any question. Plus Albertsons always had long checkout lines. Safeway did not.

But it was really the way they post the prices at Albertsons that made me leave. $10 when you buy 3 with card. Non-club members pay $5. each. So if you don't buy 3 then how much do you pay? I don't need three. I just want one. Am I going to get screwed if I don't buy 3? And people have said to me you still get the 3 for $10 price, but I do think it borderlines on false advertising. It is deceptive at the very least and hard to know how much you will pay in the end.

Plus I don't want them tracking everything I buy. (We see that don bought beer again! We can sell this information to his health insurance company!) Why do you think they collect this information? They sell it and someone wants it to make even more money off of you. And don't kid yourself into thinking that this isn't a real concern. They know what items are selling. They don't need your information.

So tonight I'm at the bank in Albertsons and decide I need a lemon to make a chicken marinade. I have everything else, but I don't want to drive across the street in all of that heat and traffic for one lemon.

The marinade it is killer by the way. Olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, Italian parsley, sea salt and cayenne pepper flakes. Just put the skinless chicken in that for a while in the refrigerator for over an hour or so. Use it to wipe on corn on the cob. Also shrimp before grilling. Saw it on Everyday Italian. HERE

Anway I go to the produce section and all of the lemons are really pathetic. And they all have a multi-color decal on them. Wouldn't it save money if they didn't take the time to make a decal and place it on each lemon? I don't want a sticker on my lemons. I will have to remove it and the wash off the glue. I'm not going to read the sticker. I know it's a lemon! The sign says Lemons 2 for $1. card members. Non members pay 79 cents each. Almost 30 cents more. The bastards! Shouldn't there be just one price for lemons? The reason I stopped shopping there is that I want to know how much each item is and not have a question about it in the checkout line.

Anway I took my one lemon to the check out stands. There were all of these self scan isles. I look on my lemon and there is no bar code just the sticker that says it's a lemon. If they are going to bother with a sticker then make it a bar code! You scan your own item and then stick money in the machine and then do it all yourself. Albertsons is to darn cheap to hire a person to do this for you. But they have people watching all of the self check out people to make sure they don't cheat. Plus they have surveillance. But no bar code on my lemon.

So I'm forced to go to the regular checkout lines that are all backed up. I've already prepaired my statement about not having a card. The cute young checker takes my lemon, types in a bunch of numbers and says 50 cents. The checkers have the option to over-ride the club card swipe if they type in a generic number. (very lengthy number and that is why most checkers won't do it) And I know she did this. So she saved me 29 cents. She had asked the guy before me for his card and he didn't have one and I saw her type in the same number sequence.

But I have had jerks who just stiff you when you don't have a card. They ask you for your card and I say, "I don't have a card, so you will just have to over charge me." That usually works but not every time.

But to her great credit this cute young woman sold me this lemon for 50 cents and another cute young girl (bagger) handed it to me in a little plastic sack and they gave me this big long receipt for it. It was about 12 inches long. I start to think about how I can make other use of the receipt. I could collect all of my receipts and use them for fire starter in the winter or something. (always need to be thinking outside of the bubble)

Well Albertsons just got bought out. I quit going there because of this card nonsense and they way they post the prices. And I also know how they treated their employees. Keeping them on part time to save on wages health care and such, and installing all of these self checkout machines. So screw Albersons. They used to be my favorite store.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Gay republican dies

Watched the final stage of the Tour de France this morning. I'd say Go Floyd but he's done going. Then I went out on my bike to the hills to some riding in the woods before it got really hot. The last time I heard it was 103 but I suspect that it has gotten a little hotter than that. Normal is 82, but we're really not normal here, I've always felt that. The asphalt is getting sticky so I'm inside, but I did manage 19 .3 miles before I stopped. It was actually quite comfortable up in the hills but when I decended back down to the valley the heat started to set in. The up-side to all of this heat is that my tomatoes are doing well. I planted Roma and.. well, round ones. I suck so bad when it comes to growing anything.

The environmentally conscious state of Idaho has issued a statment telling motorists to turn off their cars if they are going to idle for more than 30 seconds. I'm sure that is going to make a big difference in the air quality here. I'm sure people from Idaho are going to do this!. No emissions testing for north Idaho for cars. And this coming from a state where Helen Chenoweth's campaign slogan was "Earth First? hell yes, we'll log the other planets later!"

I forgot. No politics. But since I brought it up,.. Our beloved ex-mayor of Spokane, James West has died of cancer. I'ts sad. The republican anti-gay poliitcian who got caught in a sting soliciting sex in a gay chat room. He was forced out of office. The republicans didn't like him, the gays didn't like him. How can you screw up more than that? See,.. we aren't normal here. (NO I'M NOT GAY, despite being single, wearing spandex and having a cat) I'd have a dog but they don't manage their waste very well :) And it is sad about West. It's just pathetic.

I hope people don't confuse the world championship colors on my bike socks, but I'm sure they might. The bicycle world championship colors are in this order blue, red, black, yellow, green. I'm not man enough to wear a championship jersey. I would if I were world champion. But sadly I will never don that jersey,.. or, don will never wear the jersey, something like that. Out of respect for the sport. It's ok to wear the socks. Respect! I respect those who sport the ranbow for other reasons.

I once knew a republican who had a very nice boat and was into trout fishing. I wanted to make a decal for his boat that said. "Rainbow Trout Coalition", and put it on his boat without telling him. And while I'm thinking about boat names, republicans and cancer, one of the best boat names I've ever heard was "Sclerosis of the River".

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Small window of the world

Photo by don (off of the TV)

I took this photo of Andreas Kloden off of the TV today, and believe it or not it turned out just like you see it. I did not edit the photo to get these effects. It just happened and looks exactly the same on my camera. You can see the reflection of the window shade on the right hand side. That was a mistake, but I think it actually adds to the motion of the photo. I did shrink the size of it to post it.

I wanted to get a photo of Kloden on his time trial bike as he has such great form and that is why he is one of my favorite riders. Ulrich also looks fantastic on a bike as did Riis. BTW, it sounds like T-Mobile gave Ulrich his walking papers. That is so sad.

It was so darn hot here today, over 100. I did go out on the bike this morning for 23 miles before it became too hot. There is just no way you could cycle out there now. I think I'd actually welcome riding in the rain right now. And there is no relief in sight.

I was worried about my cat in this heat so I gave her a bath. That went well... I stepped on her foot in the process and that didn't help any. But the bath did make her more comfortable.

Landis will win TDF

Floyd Landis will win the Tour de France tomorrow. He pulled back the time he needed to on Pereiro and of course Sastre. But Pereiro had a great ride to hang onto second place in the tour. Kloden also had a great ride knocking out Sastre for third spot on the podium. Kloden looks so good on his bike. And we can't foget about Hontchar. He won both time trials for Ukraine. Leipheimer will end up in 13th posiiton. He won't be happy with that, but it is really a good finish.

So good for the bulldog Landis bad hip and all. They won't attack him tomorrow as they never attack the race leader on the last day. And I think we can be pretty sure he did it without the use of drugs.
After tomorrow the question remains, what in the world am I going to watch on TV? Guess I'll have to forget about the TV and get to know my bike a little better.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Floyd Landis has put himself right back into the Tour de France. I had written him off as did everyone else. It's his first stage win. Nobody would have thought this possible.

So now the standings are like this. 1. Pereiro, 2. Sastre at :12 seconds back, 3. Landis :30 seconds back (with the help of :30 seconds of time bonuses) 4. Kloden still at 2:29 5. Evans the aussie at 3:08 6. Menchov had a hard day at 4:14 back and 7. The Frenchman Dessel who crashed on the final decent but got back up raced on is at 4:24.

Landis now has a real shot at winning the Tour de France and keeping the title for the USA. He only needed to be within 2 minutes going into the final time trial on Saturday. The big danger now for Landis, is to not miss a breakaway in tomorrows stage. T-Mobile with their strong team will be charging tomorrow. The race for the win will most likely come down to the final time trial on Saturday as they won't attack the leader on Sunday into Paris.

Landis is back

Great riders are just that. I woke up this morning to find that Floyd Landis has broken away from the pelloton. The pelloton is riding on dial up today. Landis has taken back 8 minutes and is the virtual leader on the tour with 25 miles to go. If he can end the day within 2 minutes of the lead he will have a chance to win the tour, and it will be one of the biggest comebacks in recent history.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bark and bite

The sun has gone down and there is a nice breeze blowing. It will be cool tonight and I'll sleep well. It will be cool tomorrow and then it will heat up through the weekend. I'm determined to be on my bike as much as possible.

I had a very nice commute to work today. It was cool and I rode into the rising sun which illuminated the cheat wheat along the side of the road. I'll try to get a photo of this but I left my little camera at work and don't want to haul the big one on my bike. I'm blessed to have such a nice route to work. I really feel sorry for those poor commuters who have no options or give themselves none. They are stuck in inside those SUVs, many making payments on vehicles they can't afford while gas prices rise, and they have no options. It becomes their lifestyle and they have built their whole world around it. Most people can't imagine going anywhere without getting into an SUV, truck or car.

It is almost as if the gas powered vehicle has become a prosthetic, an obscene extention of our healthy but otherwise dormant bodies. The scale of this disability is pandemic as this car crazy culture that we have created for ourselves is slowly spreading around the globe.

And it isn't just our physical health that is in atrophy. Our mental health is also in decline as a result of this car culture. While we are in traffic we adopt aggressive behavioir. Road rage. Everyone knows what I'm talking about to some degree. It touches all of us. A car or SUV can transform the otherwise meek into a vicious road warrior, who has little tolerance fo anyone in their path. Bicyclists become sub-human without even the status of a fit adversary. Nothing more than an insect on the windscreen. I've been yelled at, had things thrown at me, cars have swerved at me and I've even had some kids shoot a bee-bee gun at me. Thankfully it hit me in the butt and not on my bike. And also I did get hit by a lady in a car who just turned into me. I was lucky it didn't crush my ankle and lucky I had my helmet on or I would have been scalped as I landed upside down in the gravel.

Another time I had a very old lady in a Pontiac just scream her head off at me, I think, because I was over the shoulder line. There was nothing but gravel on the shoulder and she had two lanes going in her direction to be in with no other traffic. But she had to change lanes. I looked over to her and motioned, "what?" I couldn't hear what she was saying as her windows were rolled up. It would have been funny if I thought she was rational enought to be driving.

I remember thinking: You are an old lady, you have plenty of room with two lanes. Would you be so courageous if you were out of your car and looking up at me? Would you still scream in my face? I might grab you by the throat and take away your false teeth.

Just kidding. I'd never do that. :) But her bark was as bad has her bite. She did have some teeth in her 3000 lbs Pontiac. I found that out the hard way when I got hit. And this old lady didn't have her emotions in check.

Cars do empower people beyond reason. Anyone who ever spent any real amount of time getting around on a bike would see the other side of things. But most people will never see outside of the bubble.

But who knows? Perhaps cyclists are actually getting more respect these days. Motorists seem to be more tolerant lately of me anyway.

And we as cyclists can do our part: Never loose your cool. Always hand signal. Don't zip through stop signs.

And motorists can keep this in mind: If you hit a cyclist in the state of Washington, it is like hitting a pedestrian. You will most likely pay. Believe me as I can tell you first hand. So keep your cool and use your head.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pow wow and sailing

There was a big Pow Wow on the reservation at the lake this weekend in Montana. The tribe comes together, and they dance and have other activities. It's pretty cool as you can hear the drum beat at the end of the bay in the still of the night. Boom boom boom boom. It's really cool to hear that at night, and something I've heard every year growing up. The tribes are Kootenai and Salish, but there may have been other tribes at the pow wow. The Blackfeet aren't that far away but I'm not sure if they get along. I should have gone down there today as I would have been way outside of my bubble. But I also would have been in their bubble and even though they are cool about it, I didn't feel comfortable. I think I'd have to hate white people if I were a native american. But they are cool about it. There were some tribal members staying at the place next to ours to attend the pow wow. The kids were paying in the water and making a sound as they attacted eachother that you might expect a native american warior to make. I got a kick out of that. The were nice kids. They spend a lot of time in the evening doing their hair and such before they went to the pow wow.

A while back, there was a young girl sitting on my pier who was staying next door who looked bored out of her mind so I asked her if she wanted to go sailing on my Hobie Cat with me. She jumped at the chance, and we had a nice sail. She was taking photography in college at SKC, so we had a lot in common.
Here is a link to Salish and Kootenai College.SKC She had never been sailing and it was a nice experience for both of us. She couldn't believe how quiet and smooth is was. The Hobie Cat just cuts through the water and you sit on that trampoline and it is very smooth compaired to other sailboats.

She was from Portland. She ended up being a city girl. We were fllying along on the catamaran and I told her that it made me feel like Kevin Costner in the movie Water World. She just cracked up at that one. :) I've been told my voice is like Kevin Costner. I didn't intend to make a reference to Dances With Wolves. But she did pick up on that and we had a laugh.

There used to be a young checker at the grocery store who couldn't get over my Kevin Costner voice. So then I started to play it up, and come to think of it, I do sound like Costner! So I started to say lines from Dances With Wolves to her when I went through her line like, "tatonga"/ buffalo, and make horns with my fingers, (and BTW I also went to M&S Meats this weekend which is just a few miles away, and bought some more ground buffalo as it is so much better than ground beef. You can order on line!) Anyway, sometimes I would just walk by her line and make the horns with my fingers. We would laugh and laugh about this. I need to add Dances With Wolves to my favorite movie list.

Here is a photo from a few weeks ago when I took Lizzie and my mom out on the Hobie Cat. I got to spend some time with Lizzie this weekend also so that was cool too. We had a nice chat, and I greatly valued the time I get to spend with her.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Common ground

Today I rode to work, rode at lunch and then rode home, a total of 27 miles. I'm kind of tempted to go back out as I'm feeling kind of fresh despite the windy conditions today. I really need to keep my digital camera with me at all times as photo opps are always there when I don't have it. I did bring it to work in my backpack but did not take it on my mid-day ride. On that ride I first rode up on the wheel of two gals. I love riding with women as they are usually friendly and usually aren't trying to prove anything. Plus the conversations are almost always more interesting than conversations with men. They were very nice women and there was some good spirit in them as we joked about the wind. I did have a time frame and was trying to get miles in so I rode on, but I would have liked to have spent more time with them.

Then I passed two LDS missionaries going the other direction so I waved at them and they both waved back. It was kind of odd as I had missionaries in the back of my mind since coming across Diane's blog. I got to my turn around point and knew I'd catch back up to them so I decided to see if I could find some common ground with them despite our differences. I'm on my racing bike with my spandex and they are on their mountain bikes all kitted out with their LDS cycling outfits. (black slacks and shoes, white shirts, neckties, helmets, backpacks and mountain bikes.) So we do have our differences but at the same time, we share the same beautiful day and nice bike path. I figure we must have some things in common in a bicycle log sort of way.

I did ride up on them, and to my good fortune they were stopped along side the trail and one of them, the leader was writing something in a little note book. Clearly there was a leader and a follower. It took me only a few seconds to figure this out. So I slowed down and came up to them.

I'm always friendly to missionaries. I try and joke with them and send them away with some positive vibes. I know they must have some very unforgiving days. A good show to watch if it ever comes on PBS again is Get The Fire. It was on Independant Lens. HERE It is about LDS missionaries in Germany.

How's it going? I asked. Good, how are you? they responded. Not bad. (I circled) Do you guys keep track of your miles? No! the leader responded. and he kept writing in his notebook (I'm thinking, I'm not going to find any cycling common ground and I've made them uncomfortable as I initiated contact) Well how many miles each day do you think you ride. The follower smiled and said About 20 miles a day. Cool I said. You will be in good shape at the end of the summer. I figured I had rattled their cages enough and I still had lots of miles to get back to work on time. But I left at least the follower with a big smile on his face. So perhaps we did find some common ground.

But they were slacking a little or perhaps on their lunch break. And this has to be the easiest place in the world to be on a mission. But who am I to judge?

Who will win Tour de France?

It has been a strange Tour de France with Basso and Ulrich out. Landis is now in the yellow jersey after the fist big mountain stage. At this point he looks hard to beat. My man Levi Leipheimer (from Butte Montana) had a good showing and just missed out in a sprint for the line. So it went Menchov, Leipheimer, and Landis 1,2,3. I was supprised to see Kloden dropped so close to the line but we will hear more from him. Perhaps his team-mate Rogers on T Mobile is the one to watch.

To make predictions I think we need to look back at the stage 7 time trial. Landis got second in the Time Trial behind Gontchar who is now probably out of contention at the ripe old age of 36. Menchov todays winner was 10th in the stage 7 TT. So he is a real contender. Carlos Sastra now sitting in 5th over all was 18th in the stage 7 TT so he replaces Basso (out due to doping suspicion) as CSCs leader. One of my favorites Andreas Kloden is 2.29 back and still in contention, was 8th in the TT. Rogers however is 3.06 back and was 4th in the stage 7 TT.

Levi Leipheimer who is now in 13th position at 5.39 back was 96th in the stage 7 Time Trial. But there is something odd about that poor performance in the TT. Leipheimer might claw his way onto the podium but it will be hard for him to take 5 minutes out of Landis.

It looks to me like Lance Armstrong's teams hopes are over for this tour. Hincapie and Salvodelli are both over 20 min off of the lead. Azevedo is in 18th position 7.29 back from the lead. Plus he only got 42nd place in the stage 7 time trial.

So I'm thinking the guys with the best chances at the podium will be Landis, Menchov, Sastre, Rogers, Leipheimer, and Kloden. Probably in that order. But a lot can happen between now and the finish.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I checked my blood pressure today and it was 123 over 78, and my pulse was 63. I'd like to have my pulse lower but I doubt I can get my blood pressure much lower.

I made a sticker of my name for my bike. It is kind of cool and looks like it came with the bike. When I take my bike into the shop they always notice it. Here is a photo.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I rode 25 miles on Saturday and 30 miles today. I cleaned the heck out of my bike and rotated the tires.

I was in the shopping line and the tabloid NEWS had a headline; Forget about hell, explorer discovers HECK! (please forgive me for using the H word.) But I thought that was really funny. :)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Gontchar gets yellow jersey

Sergei Gontchar won the first real time trial of the Tour de France. So cool for Ukraine. I think that is the first Yellow Jersey for Ukraine in the TDF and perhpas the first stage win. So piva all around! My man from Montana, Levi Leipheimer had a very bad day. He is now over 5 min down. But he can really climb so he might be able to pull that back.

Leipheimer did the Western Montana Hill Climb in 13 min and set a hill record for his age many years ago. He was 13 years old back then. I did it as an old guy recently in 18 min. My goal was to break 20 min so I was happy. But something went wrong with Levi today as he can also time trial pretty well.

Floyd Landis got second so he is on form. He had no excuses and gave full credit to Gontchar. He is a good sport. His parents are from a strict religious background. I doubt very seriously that Landis has ever used drugs. I'm at the point that I suspect everyone.

T-Mobil has a very strong team even without Ulrich. If I were going to pick one of them, I think the guy to watch is Andreas Kloden. He got 4th on the time trial stage today I think. I remember 2 years ago he was very strong in the TDF. He can climb and time trial. I'm not sure how well Gontchar can climb. But he has the yellow jersey now and he will have it for several days until they get into the mountains. So we can watch T-Mobile and get kind of a feeling for them.

Landis can also climb. My prediction is that it will become a battle between Landis and Kloden. But who knows? I'm sure Gontchar will stay in the mix.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Paceline shot

The cable guy came today and gave me a new digital box. It is small and that's good but it doesn't have any controls on it so you do have to use the remote. I found out that I wasn't the only one to get hit in the neighborhood. The Cable guy was a trip.

Here is another old photo from this computer. I was on a bike tour along the Columbia river. The two women infront of me were racers from Seattle as well as the guy with the white shorts. I got in with this group and stayed with them all day. I found out that the guy with the white shorts was an animal on the bike. We passed some port-a-pottys and he decided to take a "natural" break and told us to ride on. I was going to stop with him and help him ride back up to the group. But I went on with the others. There were about 8 of us. The word went out in the paceline to make short pulls on the front. (You would go to the front and then just roll off to the back of the line) We were going around 21 mph doing this. I didn't think this guy was going to catch back up. While I was in the middle of the line my front tire punctured. The riders came around me from both sides and asked if I needed any help. I just said "no go on without me, and thanks for the pulls." I watched them as they looked back and then rode off into the distance.

The side of my tire had blown out. So it was a bad flat. I used a dollar bill to re-inforce it from the inside of the tire. While I was making my repair, the guy with the white shorts came by. He was really flying. He asked if I needed help and I said "no but thanks." There was nothing he could do. I got the tire to work but just barely. It was a nice tire too, a Vittoria Open Corsa. That's the problem with clinchers. If I'd been using tubulars, I would have had a whole new tire and tube. Not just a new tube. Plus when the tire went flat I was very lucky it didn't roll off of the rim causing me to crash. Tubulars are glued to the rims and usually stay on even when flat. My next wheelset is going to be tubular.

I got in another group but didn't want to be on the front with this tire. I could bring them all down so I sat on. They did't understand so it was uncomfortable, but I wanted to get done with this ride as soon as possible.

In the photo I noticed the girls were tucking in their jerseys. I've never seen that before. Makes it kind of like a skin suit. Anyway they were fun to ride with and very friendly.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Lightning struck

Well today there was a thunder storm while I was at work and my house either got hit or it had a serious power surge. I lost my computer and my surround sound system. The cable box also went out and my VCR. I do use the VCR to record ski races and bike races when I'm not home. I do have insurance but it would only save me half of the cost and I'm not sure I want to make a claim as it might be better to just pay. None of my TVs were lost but they aren't very expensive. So now I'm using my old computer and it is crawling. Plus I can't manage new photos. So I'm going to be getting a new computer. But I can't decide what to get. I'm really sad about my sound system as it was so nice and there was no reason to upgrade it. God has a problem with me I guess.

I did find some old photos on this old computer. So if this works here is a photo from a bike tour. I was riding with the local racing club. I used to take a disposable camera and would get snaps from the riders viewpoint. I was the only rider that wasn't a club member staying with these guys. They didn't mind and were actually pretty cool about it as I remember.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Fireworks on the 5th

This is what fireworks look like on the 5th of July. People "celebrate" our independence by wasting money, playing with fire, and polluting our environment. They make an attempt to clean this up but it always falls short.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Bears are back

The Bears are coming out in Montana. They are kind of cool if you haven't seen them before but I'm getting tired of them. They make it dangerous to be out after dark. I took this shot a few miles from our place on the lake. This sow (female) has a little cub that she is looking back for. Cute little critter the cub was. But there are more and more of these things for some reason. We are below them on the food chain.

Can't help a drunk

There are new renters in Aunt Gertrude's old cabin at the lake. (She would roll over in her grave) The guy owns a company, but basically they are out of shape mullet wearing, trash mouthed drunks who drive great big vehicles including their boat, a 28 foot Bayliner. (pictured)

Montana doesn't require any boating certification for the operator. Any idiot can buy a great big boat and jump in and go. (I have a Washington certification, not required yet even in Washington) Flathead lake is a very big freshwater lake with many bays. I've known people to get lost during the day let alone night. I grew up on the lake and had my own little skiff at a very young age so I literally could find my way home in the dark. I joked with Christine about this last year. But if I'm going to be out after dark I do leave the dock light on, and I have every docking movment planned in advance including line/rope placement on the boat. Anyone who has sailed or motored with me would tell you. And with a big boat it is important. If the wind comes up it is critical.

So Saturday night I'm sitting at the fire by the beach and the new neighbors decided to go out on their Bayliner. They were arguing about going and one guy gets in the boat and takes it out from the pier and waits for the others to come down and join him. When they do he backs the boat up to the pier. Not something you ever do. The prop can strike the pier. None the less they all jump on and go. Hours later they return around midnight. But they are clearly drunk as the water is still and we could hear everything they said. (another thing you learn if you've been around for a while) They can't tell in the darkness where to dock. So I hear them say "can anyone tell us were we live?" and they laugh. So I turn on my flood lights that light up all of our piers including the one they need to find in the drakness. But they don't get it. They drive on lost. They go down to the end of the bay and out of sight. Then they go way back up to the other end of the shore and start looking at all of the piers again. A process they would repeat for 2.5 hours.

The neighbor, Steve, from Alaska, and used to helping others comes over and we try to guid them in with a light. But they are clearly drunk. They are fighting for the controls of the boat and just out of control. We use a light to flash at them but they take it wrong and start yelling at us. We debated on just calling the sheriff and they would have gotten DUIs as they were clearly drunk, but since they were the new neighbors and nobody else was on the bay, we gave them a break.

They came by again and this time I flashed the flood lights. They were right infront of the right pier. The guy told me to "Turn The XXX Light Off!! so I said "Ok just trying to help" I knew when I turned the light off they would never figure it out. And they never did. Then I sat there and watched them for a couple of hours go to each end of the bay. Stupid bastards. Each time they came by I could hear every word they said. Once when they came by looking again, Steve came back out to try and help them. I told him that we had tried and they are beyond help, and I was enjoying watching them try. He said "Ok don, screw em."

Steve told me that they came home at 7am the next day. I ususally try and help newcomers as it is kind of a dangerous place to boat if you don't know what you are doing. The wind can come up and the waves get really big, and the pretty boat can be lost. But screw these guys. I'll never help them. You can't help a drunk.

And all drunks are the same. Doesn't matter how much money they have.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

TDF day 1

One of the things I like the most about watching the Tour de France on TV is seeing all of the places in France that I'll probably never get to go to. I just like looking at all of the scenery and all of the buildings big and small. Perhaps someday I'll be able to take a bicycle tour vacation in France. Our company gives away a vacation to one employee each year. It isn't enough to pay for everything but might pay for the flights. If I won I'd probably use it to ski race.

My body is on the mend. I don't think I've ever been that sick. I lost 10 lbs in the process. In the last three days I've only had 1 bowl of corn flakes, one piece of toast, some yogurt and some pasta salad. I did transport my bike to a place on the Centenial Trail where it goes along the Spokane River in the trees. A place I used to ride with my friend Yulia. It was almost 90 degrees but somewhat cooler along there. While I was unloading my bike at the trail entrance two riders came up from the trail looking for water. They asked me where they could find water. I only had my bottle. I told them where there was a drinking fountain and it was about 7 miles away. They weren't out yet. The riders were middle aged men and quite over weight at least for cyclists, but they had some very nice equipment. I have to give them credit for getting envolved in the sport. I was a little concerned however as it was really hot and I have seen people down with heart attacks. It could happen to anyone.

So I crawled on my bike and was very glad I did. I went very slow and listened to classical music on my headphones. It felt really good to be back on my bike and out of my sick bed. My stomach could feel every bump in the trail. I only went 6 miles and very slowly. I happy about this weight loss, and I need to capitalize on it and cycle more miles each day.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

I live

I'm alive. I took Friday off only to wake up sick with the flu. Lizzie had it last weekend and that would be about the right incubation period if I caught it from her. Or it might have been the chicken I cooked thursday night or the salad dressing that I probably kept too long. None the less I was really sick. I couldn't sit up or do anything. I'm still in pretty bad shape but I'm going to try and crawl on my bike ride around the neighborhood, and try to get my system back to normal. I did eat some solid food this morning.

I didn't get anything done as I had planned. I was going to pull some bushes out of my yard but that is totally out of the question now. I did get to watch the World Cup yesterday between Ukraine and Itally. For a while it looked like Ukraine might stay in the game but then it got away from them. But they have to be pleased with how far they went.

The Tour de France started today. I'm happy about that. I am disapointed that Basso and Ulrich are out it is a different tour now. Floyd Landis has a chance at it, and of course I'd like to see Levi Leipheimer do well as he is from Montana. So I'll have to pull for Leipheimer now. Clearly something has to change in pro cycling with regard to drugs.