Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dave Glasgow hit by Taxi Cab

Gentle Readers of This Blog, I received a phone call from John last night just as I walked to my car to go home for the day. Dave Glasgow, a.k.a. “The Leprechaun” Le Super Randonneur, my coach and mentor, was hit by a Yellow Cab on Broadway Blvd last week. Word got to us days later after his surgeries, and then the call on the cell. “A cab hit him…” I wait to hear the damage done during that long pause. “His leg is broken pretty bad. I’m going to see him at Good Barbara’s house, where he’s recovering.” Says John. “I’ll meet you there…” says me.

All I can say is that I held in my rage as Dave described to us the indifferent cab driver who said, after running Dave over, “Watta am I supposed tah do?” And the flippant Tucson Police Officer, who tired to find out what law Dave broke to get himself hit.

At least they called an ambulance, those sonsabitches. Of course it was totally the cab driver’s fault. He was coming out of a business and going to turn left onto Broadway. He was looking at traffic coming from the other side and never looked to see if anyone was coming from the other lane—so he just drove right into Dave, shattering his leg and knocking him into the busy Broadway traffic.

Like a good coach and mentor would do, Dave talked me through my anger—but I feint calm. I’m still feeling the frustration and emotion from the ordeal—because we all know that nothing will be done about what happened. There won’t be any citation or fine given to the cab driver. Yellow Cab Co. will not bear any of the cost of the medical. And the cock-sucking Police will still have the condescending attitude about cyclists.

Dave looks in fair shape, but drugs are keeping the pain away. There is a titanium rod in his leg, lots of swelling, and scars from surgery. And there will be more surgeries and some time to be in rehabilitation. I don’t want to say but this was a bad one. I think Dave knows this as well. We will have to wait and see.

“We will all meet our yellow cab one day.” so says Dave...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mononucleosis—and Recovery Chapter 3

September approaches and that’s when I will be back on the bike. I have to tell you all that I am feeling good. Great in fact. I can sleep and that is a wonderful thing.

I had nightmares-- I’ve had these nightmares before. They contain a theme of exceptionally long-life but mechanically assisted.

The most vivid dream is that I’m trying to escape what seems to be the center of an old town. There’s a fountain with statues and water. The town has been long forgotten, and it is not my town or place of birth—I don’t even think it’s my county. A black car pulls up—it’s the car of a wealthy person. The person is a young woman dressed in black—and she is looking for me with some urgency. I know who she is—she is very much her mother’s daughter, or grand daughter or great grand daughter—or great great grand daughter—as there is a span of time so vast between her arrival and this moment. She has what appears to be body guards/goons. I am, or what ever I am, is desperately attempting to fade into the shadows. But I am mainly mechanical; lungs, arms, and legs—If I had a face it would show my fear. But it seems frozen in metal and plastic. My heart and mind have been tormented for a hundred years. It is me living inside, and I do move, but it is not with the speed I need to distance myself from her.

I am found this time—they have found me. I suddenly feel great shame and great heartache.

My clothes are of a ragged homeless man. But I am not decrepit or hunched over—and I do not feel old or ill. I am not a monster. My arms and legs are refined. They give me human form. They were made to be better than real. They don’t seem to operate too well at this moment. They were issued a very long time ago.

What she wants from me is something deep from my memory. I believe it could have been from a time when I was a young man and among her people. That was when I was without these scars. I have lived so very long—but I am not old and I am not dying.

Sometimes I feel like I have been captured and I’m being held and they’re watching. But they never asked me the question that the woman needs to know. Somehow I am able to elude her.

Freakin’ weird, mes amis!

Read Part I
Read Part II

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cycling Heroes Ride to the Grand Canyon

Lots of pictures and lots to tell you all about the ride, Genlte Reader of This Blog. Being on the injured list, Yours drove the Mystery Van. I provided junk food and ice water, moral and spiritual support to our Heroes: Alpha Dog Team Member Mike, and Alpha Dog Team Memeber Steve a.k.a. The Star of This Blog.

The ride was a challenge--limits were pushed and pushed some more. I mainly pushed buttons to adjust the swell air-conditioning of the Mystery Van--maybe so much so that my poor fingers became a bit tingle-lee. But that is nothing to compare to Alpha Dog Team Members fighting sleep deprivation, head winds, oppressive heat and burning sun, dehydration, hunger, five flat tires, cell phone service for shit, and my infamous horrific snoring.

First of all--I drive from Dog Mtn to Muledale. I say to Kim, to Mike, to Steve--I take a leak, and Kim gives me a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich for the road. We have a two hour drive to Prescott and we don't waist any time. Prescott is pronounced "press kit" or "biscut" Gentle Readers. What ever--I used both on this adventure.

Everybody wakes up at 4 a.m. The good news is that it was reported that my snoring didn't keep our heroes awake. That's also good because it means I'm healthier and the mononucleosis has pretty much run it's course.

My job will be to carry all the bags down the stairs, which will be about six or seven trips. But I'll go back to bed for a few hours then rendezvous with Steve and Mike in Chino Valley for breakfast.

Mike and Steve at appox 5 a.m.

The sun comes up fast. The lads have a strong tail wind--they are making good time. Here they are on Hwy 89 North.

One of many flat tires on this day. Maybe two flats the first 30 or so miles to breakfast.

Here's the breakfast place... The name should be changed to Iron Lung Restaurant: all the patrons looked like they had led hard lives--drinking, smoking, and bad diet. The poor souls were over-weight, bloated, and red-faced--diabeties and heart disease seemed the order of the day.

Steve's Denver omellett

Breakfast gets burned off pretty quick--the heroes are on their way to Williams, Arizona. That's where we'll have lunch. But first the guys have to ride on Interstate 40, heading east, for about 25 or 30 miles. Lots of climbing and truck traffic. I really couldn't pull over to take photos Gentle Readers--and anyway, Mike and Steve were feeling strong and taking advantage of the tailwind to make the difficult climbs to the lunch stop.

This is the parking lot of the Williams, AZ Dairy Queen, Gentle Readers. Mike and Steve decide to ride on ahead as there's some kind of car show going on and the streets are blocked off. I get the Chilli Cheese Dogs that Mike A wants so freakin' bad--and then I will rendezvos avec les Heroes. As I wait and wait and wait and wait, rain clouds appear.

In the meantime, the lads are enjoying a cool rain. They've ridden through Williams, and now are on Hwy 64 North to the Grand Canyon.

I'm following behind in the Mystery Van with lunch. Here's the sign to point the way.

With a tailwind pushing them right along, I'll drive up ahead to find a place to pull out for a stop.

All the way from Indiana for a Chilli Cheese Dog--vacation is complete!

This is Valle, AZ. I stop on the road. I'm actually across the street at the most expensive tourist trap in Arizona. The locals pick the pockets of the visitors as the head to the Canyon. The road you see in the picture goes on the Flagstaff--I can't recall the name right now--but one of my friends Bryan told me it was the most dangerous road in these parts. The locals take it, drive way to fast--mixed in with tourists, people crash and burn. I rode up this piece of shit road on the 600 km brevet back in May with Steve. It is a wonder we were not killed.

But hey we're on a good road! The Grand Canyon is straight ahead, Baby!

Inspired by Chilli Cheese Dogs, both nutritionally and spiritually--Mike Alexa c'et pret por adventure mes amis!

He look! It's Steve! Unaffected by DQ CCDogs. Bravo!

Entrance to the Grand Canyon. We made it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mono—and Recovery Chapter 2

Here is Part I
Here is Part III

John called me up and said I should meet the gang at breakfast. So early Sunday morning when I awoke, I made it a point to turn on my cell as they were to call when they neared Dog Mtn.

Sure enough, John calls to say they are at Tangerine and Interstate 10, and they will call when they pass my place at Tangerine and Dog Mtn Blvd. I go back to sleep because I know they have a 6 mile climb to that point—and they say they are going to continue up Tangerine to Oracle Rd then head up to Claire’s CafĂ©. I’ll meet them there via chez voiture and we’ll have a laugh or two over coffee and chicken-fried steak.

I didn’t sleep very long—John calls and they are at the light. That was kinda fast, guys, I thought to myself. Well, I have some time to feed the dog, wake up a little, etc. It is not an easy climb all the way to Oracle via Tangerine, mes amis. Oh—Eric is also on the injured list. He starts the ride but pulls out heading home.

So I figure I can take my time—I’ve been trying to get to bed early and get some rest. I’m actually sleeping—for months I didn’t sleep well and what a difference. The world is no longer dull black and white but vivid with color again!

I’m driving and I expect to see the lads pushing up the road. I see many other riders out. I see two riders changing flat tires. Lots of rain so the roads have thorns and all kinds of other debris all over. Everyone is out riding; thin lanky young guys riding strong. Fat guys, fat girls—oh, and that woman I keep seeing ripping down Tangerine, and sometimes I see her on my commute route… She looks like my friend Stef if Stef was a woman—Stef with long blonde hair. He’s an ex rugby player and all around fit muscular hunk of triathlon-machine/eye candy. But I digress… It is just a beautiful morning and not to be wasted.

My cell rings while I’m driving up the road. John and Larry are already at Claire’s. I’m still about 10 minutes away. They say they’ll sip coffee and wait my arrival. Gosh, I feel like I just earned a JackAssPass—a phase coined by Dave Glasgow to bestow on us when we slack off, and he turns around and rides back to see where the hell we’re at on the road.

So the guys are already at Claire’s.

Our perky cute waitress happily takes our photo when food arrives.

Breakfast! John tries the chicken-fried steak.

Larry sticks to pancakes.

Larry told us this great story about Eric ordering a huge breakfast one time on a ride. The waitress brought everyone’s food, and Eric’s order had like five plates—he had ordered two breakfasts. Then later he got real sick and puked it all up!

John has a bunch of bikes, and sometimes he messes with them and switches out wheels and cranks other componets to see what happens. I guess he wondered what it would be like riding a girl's saddle--see the pretty butterfly? Aw, that is like--so cute!

Okay. Well, John and Larry say I'm looking like my old self. For a few months I struggled with the mono and and its affects on me--but they said I'm actually looking healthier. And I am feeling better quickly. Maybe I can get on the bike early and start gearing up for Fall and cooler weather.

Having breakfast cheered me up and I'm glad I was invited to go up to Claire's.

I'm still a little weak as after I got home I tried to do some work around the house, and soon found myself taking an early afternoon nap for several hours.



Thursday, August 09, 2007

Mono—and Recovery

Here is Part II
Here is Part III

Gentle Readers of This Blog, you must know that I’ve been back to work now since Monday. I was out July 26th through August 5th—recovering from Mononucleosis. A rather severe case I might add; I was quite miserable. But I am happy to report that I’m on the mend—I believe to be on the safe side, I’ll stay off the bike for the month of August to recover fully. This is because there’s a risk of not getting enough rest and then you stay weak and sick still. There is risk of rupturing your spleen. I could do that by riding too much, or if I had a spill or crash, I would need to be taken to hospital and have life-saving surgery. I will avoid life-saving surgery this time around I do believe, mes amis.

I think I was sick starting back in April, where generally I felt like shit most of the time. Probably stress from many different directions. I actually checked myself into Urgent Care a few days before Bev arrived from Afghanistan. I didn’t want to be sick on our vacation and during her time off. I thought I might be developing pneumonia again—but they said I was just a little under the weather (they didn’t do a blood test for mono however) and sent me home.

After the cruise down in Old Mexico, I wasn’t feeling that great while we were visiting Bev’s cousins in California before coming home to Tucson. But I sucked it up and went back to my routine.

I was probably fit enough to fight off the affects of mono for a few more weeks. The commutes on the bike were rough, and I attributed the lack of energy to headwinds, temps over 100 on my rides home, and sleepless nights—often I felt I had no rest after waking in the morning.

On the eve of a planned Marana-Scottsdale-Marana trip, I caved in and quickly developed chills and fever. For three days I stayed in bed to try and fight it off, but I wasn’t getting any better. My throat, gums, and tongue swelled up due to the infection, and finally I dragged myself to the Urgent Care to get checked out when I felt I could drive.

I’d had a temperature of 102 for several days, and what first the doc thought was strep throat, turned out to be mono after a blood test because the strep test was negative. Having mono meant there was nothing they could give to me to keep my fever down or give me any relief. I just had to go home and stay in bed—and rest.

As I’m mending, I can feel that the mono/heavy fatigue I had for months fading away. I’m getting stronger each day—and sleeping better. I still don’t have much of an appetite so I need to be sure and eat and not get weak and run down.

I won’t be able to ride in the 252 mile Cochise Classic this year. October is fast approaching and I don’t think I can realistically recover and get fit for the ride. When I did it in 2005 I was probably the most fit I’ve been in many years. Actually it was discouraging this summer to be training with Steve and John, Eric, Cathy and Larry—and not make any progress on the bike, or at the YMCA. Now I’ve set my goal to ride El Tour de Tucson in a respectable time—just be fit for it and have fun, and take the camera and relax.

The day in San Manuel was very relaxing and I’m glad I felt up for that adventure—it was exhausting and I slept most of Sunday to recover. Luckily that day it was cooler and I was able to kick back and look at airplanes.

Training for El Tour should be a good transition into the 2008 Brevet season.



Tuesday, August 07, 2007

1946 Ercoupe

Bryan is a long-time friend from Oklahoma. He’s currently working on assignment out in Bullhead City, AZ—and the chance to buy an airplane presented itself.

The plane, a 1946 Ercoupe, is sitting in Prescott, AZ, however the current owner does not have insurance on the plane, so Bryan couldn’t fly it to check it out—and said Ercoupe in Prescott has been sitting for five years.

Bryan found an Ercoupe instructor and certified Ercoupe mechanic in San Manuel, at a little airport. Bryan will fly the Ercoupe in San Manuel and get the details of flying such an aircraft. San Manuel is not that far from Dog Mtn, and I know its location as Steve and I have ridden past on our way to Mammoth and Winkelman.

Bryan, Parrish, and I un-load Parrish’s Ercoupe from the hanger. Parrish is the resident flight instructor/manager of the San Manuel Airport.

An Ercoupe is different from other airplanes as it has no rudder pedals on the floor. When you fly, its like driving a car. Having never flown one of these little gems, Bryan wants to be sure he knows some of the characteristics of its performance.

Pre-flight check of the engine.


Bryan and Parrish taxi out to the airstrip for take off.

The unmistakable tail of the Ercoupe

Bryan flying the aircraft

There's that tail rudder again... You know this plane would fit in my garage. Its very small and way cool.

While Bryan and Parrish fly, I explore the little airport here in San Manuel. A good friend of Parrish's, a really cool guy named Eric, has shown up to work on his own Ercoupe. He bought in Kentucky and he and Parrish flew it back to Arizona. Eric and Parrish both grew up in San Manuel--Eric does specialized above and underground digging for the mining industry, traveling all over the country, while Parrish was in the Navy and also the Army, recently retired after 16 years and two tours of Iraq. They're back home and plan to make the little airport a happenin' scene. According to Eric, Ray Blair lived here by the airport for years and kept an eye on all the planes and airstrip and such.

Bryan is quite pleased with the Ercoupe and Parrish is quite impressed with Bryan as a pilot skills.

Parrish asks me if I'm up for a quick ride--but will I fit in the cockpit?

I'm strapped in and we're set.

About to take off.

Flying over the now defunct cooper mine.

The cooper mine has been closed for a few years. It was bought by a company in Switzerland which immediatley shut down the mine--to raise the price of copper on the world market. Everyone that lived in San Manuel and worked for the mine lost their jobs.

Flying over the airport. Parrish gives me a few pointers and I am flying the plane, mes amis! Pretty scared and nervous at first, but with a little coaching, I'm flying and turning, and going over the basics. This is fun!

Coming in for a practice landing--I get to land and do the touch and go exercise.

It would take some getting used to, but I think I'd like to learn to fly one of these babies! It would be an expensive hobby--probably much safer than cycling to work even!

Bryan logs his time--and absorbes the flight, the plane, and the details and advice from Parrish about buying the plane and getting it ready to fly.

We had a great day flying and Parrish and Eric were good guys--for everything we did, they wouldn't take any money and did not charge us anything. That was cool--Bryan and Parrish did go over many details about the plane Bryan wants to buy up in Prescott, and of course, when the time comes, Bryan will pay a premium for the expertise Parrish has concerning Ercoupes. Mainly, checking out the Ercoupe to see if its even worth buying and if it can even be flown down to San Manuel--were it will take several thousand dollars more to have it inspected and made ready for Bryan to fly it it from there back to Tulsa--probably then on to Alaska where Bryan may spend the summer. The main thing is that Parrish represents a disinterested third party. If Bryan buys the plane, the Prescott machanic selling it for the owner (one of Bryan's co-workers) gets 5 percent. Kind of like a realtor type thing where they get their cut.

Should Bryan buy the Ercoupe and just so happen to leave it in San Manuel, you can bet that I will take good care of the aircraft and have a few lessons and keep things tip top. Who knows? The blog could be filled with pictures of clouds, airplanes, and my babalicious groupies.