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Sunday, May 19, 2013

2013 Tour de Cure is History - So are Chainrings

My Jersey Number
Back from the 2013 American Diabetes Association Spokane Tour de Cure, and it was fun again this year. But, not without hiccups, all of my own doing.

Me! Wearing the 2013 TdC Jersey

Props to Ted Duncan and his volunteers for organizing a good event. Plenty of parking at the Dwight Merkel Sports Complex - part of Spokane Parks and Recreation (pay attention Ms. Knope!), pre-ride snacks, a special tent for Red Riders (those of us with diabetes), and the promise of a post-ride lunch. Didn't get in enough miles this cold and rainy spring to do the 50-mile route, so settled for the 20 (more on that later). The hilly ride, with about 600 feet of climbing, ran mostly along the Spokane River, partly on the Centennial Trail, partly along good paved roads.

On the second climb, I dropped my chain and had to stop. First hiccup. I'd had some signs of wear on my old Campagnolo 9-speed chainrings, and they're just about impossible to replace with original equipment. So, I bought some French TA rings sized for Campy. However, unlike Campy rings, the TAs don't have a forged pin to prevent chain drop; instead, they have a screw-on pin using a torx bolt. One one of my rides, apparently, the pin fell out and was missing when I shifted down to the small chainring on that second climb. While I put the chain back on the ring, I was passed by about five riders. I caught two on later climbs, and had a third in my sights on a flat stretch, in the big chainring, down in the drops, when he just disappeared.

Everyone Got a Public Address Greeting
When I came to a familiar on-ramp, I realized I'd missed a route sign for a turn. I doubled back and - since it was a ride, not a race - took my time riding back to Dwight Merkel. Added about five miles to my ride, but that's OK. I crossed the finish line to applause and cow bells, and the announcement of my name by the public address gal (OK, everyone got the same enthusiastic greeting).

Since my blood sugar was in my zone, I treated myself to lunch (pulled pork and cole slaw on a bun, with Diet Coke, courtesy of American Deli), a session in the portable photo booth (my new Facebook profile shot), and a neck and shoulders massage, courtesy of Inland Massage Institute; I think I proposed to the masseuse.

Don't Try This at Home
Lots of riders, some seasoned veterans, some young and just starting out. This guy was my favorite, and not just because I looked like him at his age. This is the second year this young Red Rider piloted his unicycle along the 2.5 mile loop. Looking forward to the day he rides with us geezers on two wheels.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Walk of Life

Finishing construction of a house is not the end of a process, but rather the beginning. Meadow grass is growing across the former construction site, as are the wildflowers - Grass Widows, Shasta Lilies, May Flowers, and Love Darts - but the area between the front of the house and the gravel driveway is still mostly dirt. And when it rains, it's mostly mud. Time to build a walkway.

We'd talked for some time about using rock from our 66 acres for paving stones, and during the past five years we've collected them into piles at the bases of two large pine trees. We've also identified some areas near our top meadow where there are a lot of flat granite slabs.

So, last week, our good friend and neighbor, Dave, brought up his baby Bobcat and scraped down about 4-6 inches from the concrete front landing to the gravel road, piling the soil for use later in the process. During the next two days, I shoveled about a ton of gravel from the edges of our half-mile driveway into a large yard cart, and drove the yard cart up and down the driveway - maybe 20 trips - in a trailer hitched to my ATV.
5 Buckets and 8 Bags of Sand

5 Buckets and 43 Bags Later
Two years ago, after a hard spring flood had subsided, Karen had shoveled sand the flood had left behind near our spring into five 5-gallon buckets, which we'd tried - largely successfully to keep out of the rain during the home construction process. That was the first sand to go into the walkway hollow. Not nearly enough. Off to Home Depot. I figured eight 50-pound bags would be enough. Was I wrong. 43 bags and two additional trips to Home Depot later, there's just enough sand to provide a stable base for the rocks.

Next step: collecting and placing the rocks. Maybe tomorrow morning, when the day is cooler.