Monday, June 12, 2017

Tour Divide MTB race, furbaby pics, Minnesota calling

Hello...just a quick post before I fly to Minnesota to help care for my mom (TOMORROW morning, EARLY!).  There's a lot going on right now....the annual Tour Divide mtb race is started last Friday morning with the Grand Depart in Banff Alberta. It's a 2700 mile SELF SUPPORTED ride/race following the continental divide from Canada to Mexico. It has OVER 300,000 feet of climbing. The Mens record was set last year by Mike Hall, (I believe somewhere around 14 days) with a blistering pace of over 200 miles a day! The ladies current record was set in 2015 by Lael Wilcox, and she wasn't that far behind Mikes pace (albeit a year earlier). Nobody this year is challenging either record, but that doesn't mean that some of the riders aren't killing it, cuz they ARE! Here's a link if you are interested:

2017 Tour Divide live tracker

 I love following this's just so INSANE! Most riders do well over 3000 miles as they routinely ride off route to get stuff, such as FOOD and WATER, or a place to SLEEP! (not everybody uses a sleeping bag..some actually plan on hotels the entire way). The fast people ride 20 hours or more a day. On a Mountain Bike! If you go to the link, up top you get the map showing all the SPOT locations of all the riders. Below that you see the altitude profile...looks a teensy bit intimidating if you ask me! Can you imagine getting up every morning after spending 20+ hours on your bike the day before, and the day before, etc etc, and to keep going? With NO HELP? You need something, you ride till you find it. Bike breaks, you fix it w/ what you are carrying or you carry/ride it until you can find a shop (you are allowed that). By the gentlemen's rules you're not supposed to render aid unless it's life threatening (ie: if I am carrying a part that you need, I'm not supposed to give it to you). Anyway....I find it so off the charts unimaginable that I follow the racers...if you click on their SPOT link's you get a quick blob of who they are, what bike they are riding and a bit more. But off to the right you can pick between all the race categories, and if you click on the riders there you get their full bio, including links to their web site if they have one. One of the guys (he's in the top 10 right now) is from Attascadero CA (about 70 miles away from me) tho I don't know him. Still fun to follow a local guy!

OK...enough on that. I have more pictures to post of our monsters.

 Our little darling napping on the top of the couch cushion. She likes to climb UP on things.

Just living the good life.

 Bonding (NOT) with PG. You have to give her points for trying.

 Snoozing in Jeannies good chair.

Now they're playing in Jeannies good chair.

 Oh look, we're just little angels!

 Abbey also likes to climb INTO things. Such as the pantry while Jeannie is cleaning it out.

 Nothing to see here folks, just move along and leave me with all this dog food! And can you show me how to use the can opener before you go?

 Some people call their pets "house plants". Here's Abbey imitating one.

It's like she's part cat sometimes. She loves getting up into the shelves for some reason.

 And here she's helping Jeannie clean the freezer.

 Sophie and Abbey napping ON MY LAP. Two cuties for sure.

Seriously, I wasn't snoring, was I? Really? Are you sure? I don't think I snore...not me.

And that's all the pics for now. As I said, I"m off to Minnesota for a few weeks...possibly 3 (my plane ticket has me coming home on 2 July, but if Mom is doing good I might come home after 2. We shall see and make the call at that time.

I will have my laptop with me, so I'll have connectivity to the world. Wish me's going to be an interesting trip. 

Later gaters!


  1. I'm hanging out in Alex (what the locals call Alexandria) MN. So far, so good. Mom is doing pretty is blood work, and tomorrow is a double chemo day so that will change things a tad (she had last week off...her chemo is a double dose 1st friday, single dose 2nd and 3rd Friday, 4th week this for 6 months). Good weather, pretty toasty and humid. My shuttle-van from Minneapolis/St Paul airport broke down in almost the same spot Jeannies did 3 weeks ago...pretty humorous for sure. No biggie...I just smiled and rolled with the punches. It can ALWAYS be worse. The hardest part for Mom is her husband John isn't doing so well (Parkinson's and Leukemia) and she has been his caretaker as he slowly declined over the last few years. Her cancer has really hit him hard and he declined fast since the diagnosis. He's in a nursing home here in Alex (where his daughters are semi-local) and he SO wants to come home, but Mom can't possibly take care of him right now (he truly needs professional care). It's killing my mom to leave him there, and he's begging her to bring him home every time she sees him. It's a really crappy situation for sure. Trying to keep mom's spirits up in all of this I think is my primary mission...and to take any burden I can from her (paperwork, of which there is a LOT...the state is wanting any $ it can squeeze out of them). Getting old is SCARY for sure.

  2. Hey Matt, hope everything is going ok with your Mom. And so sorry to hear about her husband too. Will he need to stay in the nursing home from here on or be able to come back to your Mom when her treatment is over & she goes into remission? I feel for you all & yes, getting old is scary! At least your Mom has you & your brothers & I'm sure that gives her much relief. How long has your Mom lived in MN?

    LOVE the pics! Abbey had grown so much! I especially love the photo of Sophie & Abbey together "posing" in Jeannie's chair. It's like you said "cheese!". :) Abbey cracks me up, I think she's a born ham. Gosh, it seems like yesterday that Sophie was the "baby"! Will you be able to dress them up at Halloween like you did your others or will they be too rambunctious?

    And RAE, so HAPPY to hear from you! I've been worried that something had happened so am very relieved it was just your browser! How's everything been going with you? Like both you & Matt, I just haven't watched much cycling this year. Mostly because it's not been on TV either at all or before 1:30 AM(!) Eastern time. I was also hoping Boonen could go out with a splash at Paris-Roubaix but at least he finished & with that race, that's always iffy. One more guy of the 2000s era has now retired. There's almost no one left of that group. Do you know what Spartacus is up to these days? I occasionally see Jensie's twitter but Fabian doesn't tweet much.

    I hope I get into the Tour this year but right now, I'm not feeling too enthusiastic. Usually by now, I'm chomping to get it started but I guess with Tejay not riding & Cav barely being past his illness, I'm just not into it like I usually am. I hope to buy one of the Tour mags this week & that should spark me up. I did read that Lance will do a daily post-race re-cap this year on his podcast & I would listen if I had a personal computer, etc. It will be interesting to listen/read how the mainstream media tear in Team Sky THIS year at the Tour after this past year's revelations. If Froome & Brailsford thought it was bad previous years, they better prepare themselves. Of course, if all the crap that came out about that team had come out on any OTHER team, would they even BE at the Tour or be suspended? And what really makes me snort is when the MEDIA says "oh, it's not anything like what Lance's team did..." ARE THEY KIDDING?!

  3. Ooh, & that Tour Divide is unbelievable! I admire those folks but also think they are a bit insane. :) It sure must give one tons of self-confidence if you can actually even attempt such a thing. Unfortunately, I just don't have that "gene". Heck, I wouldn't even want to drive by myself in a CAR over that approximate route!

    Speaking of driving around, a former co-worker that retired about 5-6 years ago, drives all over the country by herself on trips. If she feels like going some place warm, she decides roughly where she wants to go & off she goes. She's crossed the country several times, gone up & down the East coast & even stopped into Greenville, SC this year (she liked it very much). Aren't you about a year or so from saying "sayonara" to the old grind, Rae? Do you have any plans for what you'll do? Maybe you can go to the Tour one year & be the official IA correspondent! :) Soon as I finally win the lottery, I'll join you! :)

    Hey Matt - do you & Jeannie still plan on coming to Richmond in 4-5 years? And will you go someplace warm doing the winter? Have you thought about an RV or 'Tiny House' for those months? And that way you could move around each year. AND take your doggies with you. :) I do worry how you & Jeannie will adapt to East coast humidity after all those years of "humidity-free" West coast livin'. But at least you won't have to worry about earthquakes (much) or yearly canyon fires. :)

    Alrighty, gotta get back to work. Let's cross our fingers for an exciting & SAFE Tour. I'll check in every day in case ya'll want to chat about the Tour :)

  4. Gosh, I just found out that Fatty is no longer writing The Fat Cyclist! I didn't realize it had been since early November that I last checked his site & just went there & found out he stopped around Thanksgiving! Matt - do you know why he stopped? Does he think he will start it up again one day? I'm just stunned as I guess I thought he would always keep that site going as he had so many readers & raised SO much money for various charities.

  5. Hey, lots to talk about. Yes Abbey is doing good...I would like to dress them up for Halloween, but we shall see. She's a true terror right now (I'm just back from MN). She's teething...and OMG! As a terrier she likes to climb, go into things, while I was gone she get up on my 'office' chair and then onto my desk...pretty much everything up there is now on the floor and in some state of 'chewed up'. It looks like someone threw a hand grenade in there...(seriously). I haven't even touched that yet...Sunday I had to fix the kitchen sink started leaking BAD about 2 days into my MN trip...poor Jeannie lived w/out it most of my trip.

    As to le Tour, I'm going to up my Satellite service any day now and record/watch it daily I hope. I think when it starts I'll get into it's the one race I do like to watch.

    Still planning on Richmond...I figure about 5 to 6 years (5 1/2 is when I'm 62 and 'could' retire...then it's selling the house here and getting Jeannie transferred). I lived in Norfolk/VA beach for 4 years, know what the lovely humidity is. I'm going to miss the mtns tho mostly...Richmond isn't the mt epicenter of the world by any means...I'll be doing some driving to ride. And still plan to check out Greenville, Asheville, etc etc as a place to do winters.

    Gotta Monday is almost over...hooray! Time to go start picking up my office.

  6. OH, and Susie, Fatty quit writing his blog seemingly AGES ago...he SAID he was going to be writing for RKP (Red Kite Prayer) but so far I've only seen like 1 or 2 posts by him. He was working on his webcasts, but haven't really seen nor heard much from him. I guess you can't do what he did forever, much as we FOF's (Friends of Fatty) would have liked. I really miss his near daily posts. But I did get to meet him and a BUNCH of other FOF's thru our fundraising years, and many of them are now lifetime friends. We may not see each other very often, but when we do it's like we have been hanging out all along. I really need to get up to the San Jose area to ride with some of them more. But my work at Sunnyvale has dried up completely these last 2 years. But I'm hopeful to get back up there...we still have work and people...I just haven't been one of them. He still does for WBR(World Bicycle Relief...I've also been fundraising for them for several years now since I switched from LIVESTRONG). He does one fundraiser in July and another in Dec each year. One day I WILL win a bike on his awesome prize lists!

  7. One of Contador's Tour to-be support riders just popped for EPO, so he has to be replaced 4 days before the Grand Departe. Not a good start for Trek! What's REALLY funny is that the guy just joined Trek this year & during the previous 4 years he rode for "the Clean Team" - Garmin/Cannondale. Yep, tell me again how cycling or ANY pro sport is clean these days.

    I guess with you back home early that means your Mom is doing well? Please pass along my best wishes.

    Did Fatty explain why he quit his site? It seemed very abrupt. What do the other Fatty friends say? I was always amazed how he could write so much on that site, take care of his late sick wife & his many kids, bike & run in training AND competition, AND have a full-time job, which he changed several times during the years I read his site more regularly. I hope everything is ok with him & his family.

    Tonight is the beginning of the USA Swimming Championships which is carried for 2 nights on NBCSN & then 2 nights on Universal HD & then on NBC on Saturday. Just the latter overlaps with the Tour thank goodness. :)

    Speaking of the Universal HD channel, it will become the OLYMPIC CHANNEL on 7/15. Yeah! Do you get that channel, Matt? It will now broadcast Olympic sports competition & other Olympic-centric programs 24/7. At least I hope 24/7! Hopefully, there will be some "reality-show" type programming showing how various athletes live & train. I'd love to see that.

    Give Abbey, Sophie & PG some smooches for me & some doggie treats & tell 'em they are from their "Aunt Susie b". :) :)

  8. Hey Matt & Rae, are you ready for the Tour?! I bought my TDF Guide yesterday. Barnes & Noble only had the Velonews version this time (I like to look at cyclingnews' version too & either get both or pick my fave) & it is a bit pathetic - only HALF the size it used to be but cost even more - $10! The entire TEAM section is gone, where they used to list all the riders of each team, what bikes & equipment they use, their jerseys & a little blurb about the team's Tour prospects, all gone! Still, I HAVE to have it, don't think I could watch a Tour without my trusty Guide in which to make my notes - the weather each day, the stage's winner, who's in Yellow, any catastrophes or triumphs. BTW, there's only a couple mt-top finishes! Boo! And what a shame : there's finally more than just a few sprint stages again & Cav probably won't be able to really compete. I'm thinking the ASO designed this course specifically to give Cav a chance to break Eddy's record & crap, he got Epstein-Barr!

    I also got my hands on NBCSN's TV Schedule & like the past few years, there are some days in which there is NO Primetime show, for example, the 1st Friday & Saturday I think. I HATE that! I guess we should be grateful they still offer daily LIVE coverage.

    I have to tell ya, I always worry about everyone's safety at the Tour & THIS year more than ever! Let's keep all our fingers & toes crossed for NO incidents!

    Gotta run, Vive le Tour! :) :) :)