Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tulsa Chicken-Fried Redneck Christmas Blizzard of 2009

Tulsa, Indian Territory, 1893.

Me mum insisted that we all fly to Tulsa and be home for Christmas—that would be great but we’ve no money this year. But my mom paid for a ticket for me as Little Egypt and Rico went by car—her not held down by employment, and Rico not yet starting University until Deux-mille-dix, hence they arrive by auto.

My Brother and all his offspring would drive as well; because work called—this left me to have to fly in and then out. My mom paid for half the ticket.

In Dallas, Texas I waited for my short 50 minute flight to Tulsa. Ice came and all the airstrips were closing except one. It took two hours of waiting—in the plane—for our turn to dee-ice. They sprayed this green slime on the wings.

This green color was the shade of mine and my fellow passengers’ faces as we endured some Dumb Okie parents trying to entertain their no-neck heathen spawn. I could tell I was near my Oklahomeland as those of the population of that Fair State, whom have DNA issues, stick out like sore-fucking –thumbs. Obese rednecks speaking hog-tied English.

At first my fellow travelers were polite—but after an hour of momma’s incessant baby blabbing with her youngins, it came down to, “Lady. Shut the fuck up!”

I landed at Tulsa International Airport, Christmas Eve, in a balls-to-the-walls raging blizzard. Little Egypt was there in a four-wheel drive jeep she borrowed from my Brother-in-law—and drove to the airport at risk of life and limb.

I told my dear wife that I was looking forward to a cold one when we arrived over the river and through the woods—but I was told that alcohol was strictly verboten this Christmas!

Say What?

Turns out that somebody—a distant relative—who would not be at the Christmas Dinner because he lives 500 miles from Tulsa, Oklahoma—has entered rehab. This was all whispery and hush-hush, and I still don’t quite get what’s going on—but when my un-knowing Brother-in-law showed up the next morning at Christmas Dinner with a case of beer, he was soon considered Brother- out-law—and the beer was not allowed inside but made to stay on the front porch in the snow.

Anyway, sneaking beer into the house was no problem. Only thing is that my Brother-in-law is a connoisseur of cheap beer. This particular swill he brought was called Pig’s Eye—and it was pretty awful.

Dinner was fun

All the family stuff was fun

We were snowed in

Going crazy

Dug out mom’s car

Marched two miles to the Mall in 14 inches of snow to go see Avatar

It was a long movie—I had to get up to go pee twice

I finally got home

God Bless Tucson, Arizona! Happy New Year!

Cheers! Bruce

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Molino Basin -- Catalina Hwy

A beautiful day to be on the bike.

I met up with fellow Randonneur Alan, and he took me on one of his favorite Tucson training routes--and it was a blast, Gentle Readers of This Blog! It was a most beautiful and sunny weekend for being outside--we saw many riders--all smiles and waves!

The East Coast was being pounded by a blizzard while we enjoyed mid-70's and sunshine. I've had my share of blizzards and snow while at university up in South Dakota, as has Alan, being a Native New Yorker--today the Bike Gods were smiling on us.

Alan leads the way up the Catalina Hwy. We'll ride to Molino Basin and then turn around. Snow is on the road and in the mountains but we won't go that far--it would be too cold.

Today we'll take it a bit easy as both of us have chores and time commitments. I was just getting over my 27 mile commute and sore legs from last week. I like the fact that we started at 8 a.m. Earlier than that means cold and more clothes to carry.

I hope my legs hold up for the climb...

Going up...

We're riding at a good pace and enjoying the sunshine--and it's warm--the sun feels good.

On the way to Molino Basin, up about six miles from the bottom at mile marker zero on the Catalina Hwy.

Alan knows how to train--and let me in on some great ideas to help me get into shape for this coming-up Brevet season. Mt. Lemmon has everything a cyclist needs to gain fitness--from time-trial rider, racer, and randonneur. That's why Lance Armstrong comes out here to ride the Catalina Hwy. We're just riding up to Molino Basin--once--Lance and local Cat 1 and 2 riders will ride up further, and to the top--twice or three times!

I can hold my own on the climbs--it may take me a little while, but I can do it!
If you like to descend, then the Catalina Hwy is for you, mes amis.

Today on the way down there were some cross-winds. I took it easy but Alan went on ahead--you can ride 45 to 50 mph on the way down. Be careful!

Riding up Craycroft for the trip home.

This ride was about 47 miles and I liked the pace we kept. On the way home we took River Rd to avoid some construction on Skyline--now that it was later in the day there would be traffic. We climbed up Craycroft which is long and straight--normally I'm flying down this road at 35 to 40 mph going into the Desert San, which is right at the bottom. I'm glad we made it out on one of the best weekends ever! Cheers! Bruce

Thursday, December 17, 2009


My neighbor has a new job that’s less than three miles from my office. So we decided that we’d try where I would bike from Dog Mtn to the Desert San, and then in the evenings I’d ride to her office and get a lift home. My neighbor has a shamelessly huge SUV that is totally bling!

Gentle Readers of This Blog—I had forgotten that this long commute route is just over 27 miles. I left Dog Mtn at 5:30 a.m. and arrived at the bike lockers at the San at 7:15 a.m. That’s almost two hours. Dang… I am out of shape, mes amis. But I am happy to report that I just found a groove and kept moving.

Temperature was 41 degrees but on parts of my route I know that might dip a few degrees. Most the trip is all climbing, so I stayed warm dragging my butt up the road. Only my toes got cold. Note to Santa—I need some toe booties. I will leave the traditional Scotch Rocks and cigarettes there for you by the chimney, Santa Old Chap!

I am also happy to report that my old friend Jack, a teacher who commutes on my route, pulled up and joined me for the long climb up Ina and Sunrise to Campbell. His school is on top of the climb. It was good to have someone to talk to as the sun slowly climbed up the Rincon Range east of Tucson. Jack said he could see my red blinky lights from way way back—and that they were almost blinding! He knew it was me. He’s fit because if he was way way back, he caught me pretty fast.

Jack showed me his new light set up too. He had two super blinky red tail lights, and one on his helmet. He also has a bright white strobe light on his handle bars like I do as well. He said he’d almost been hit by motorist by the right hook—where they pass you and turn right suddenly. You have to stop quickly to avoid hitting them as they turn. And then he said he had several motorists turn left in front of him. They could see him, but they just thought they would turn anyway.

My Layton Light with the Hub, I am happy to report, is freakin’ bright. Even Jack said he could see it and he was amazed at how bright is shown. Really Gentle Readers, if you are going to commute, you must have the brightest lights you can get, and have several. It may look even dorkier with your kit, but as Jack told me—it seemed like my bike and I were a shooting star in the bike lane.

So now I will report on riding to my neighbor's office and getting a lift.

First of all, my legs were mighty sore. Second--about 3 p.m. I was falling asleep here in the office. To stay awake, I did little things here and there to keep me moving--things like recycling all the papers I don't need, packing up all my clothes, and figuring out which ones I could pick up the next day when I drove. Finally 4:30 rolled around and was out the door and soon on the bike.

What I thought were three short miles actually turned out to be over eight. I'm not sure what I did to mess that up--but it took me 35 minutes to get to Heather's office. Now that I think about it--I had to take the long way around because I have to cross over the river and avoid some major busy streets, streets you don't want to ride on when it's getting dark. The sun is going down by 5:20 p.m. now.

When I got to Heather's office, I saw her at her office window--and none of her colleagues were around--so I threw a small rock at the widow and she immediately jumped out of her chair! That same moment she knew it was me because I'm the only one she knows that would be so immature.

What can I say? The drive home in traffic was a slog. Bumper to bumper Tucson traffic. Now I can see how I can get home by bike in almost the same amount of time; we were crawling in what seemed endless streams of human encased in steel and glass.

No mater--we had fun talking and laughing. The big SUV was warm and comfortable. I got home and still had the evening to do a lot of stuff.

I don't know--part of me enjoyed the ride, but I think I would be much happier gliding on that little ribbon of bike lane--taking my chances--than sitting, and sitting, and sitting.



Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Lance in Tucson

Mr. A Strong in the House

The new Radio Shack Team, with Lance at the helm, is in Tucson for a week of training. I think that's great, but too bad it's turned so cold here. Where the team is staying is not far from the Desert San--so if I were commuting into the office, chances of me seeing them ride past would be 1 in 100 instead of 1 in a million.

There have been pro teams and pro riders around here before--and I've seen them. I rode with some French Canadians one morning as I was heading to UofA where I worked a few years ago. It was pretty apparent they were big-league boys--and I was just a local roadie going to the daily grind. Still, they were enjoying the sunshine and the good roads and bike lanes Tucson has to offer.

This week however, is cold for Team Radio Shack. I wish them the best and I'm glad they're here. Any other time it would be great to ride up Mt. Lemmon--but today the road up is closed because of heavy snow.



Training Camp Blog by Johan Bruyneel -- I think they have video of 'em riding in Tucson