Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Race

The color was symbolic of the shivering mood at the start
Snow line just above the race line
Monday was the Stan Crane Memorial XC Race, and, well, it was par for it's tradition of cold, wet and muddy.

It was delayed by an hour because of ??? maybe the snowline was too low! WTF?

But surprisingly by race time the parking lot "was dry" as the ICUPracing tweet reported.

After lap one- still smiling. Thanks Jamie for the pic
The race ended up being fun. I tached out my heart rate early trying to keep up with the group and by the second lap (after this picture) I was anchoring the group. I just don't have the stamina. I pushed hard, dealt with a bit of chain suck and finished wore out and glad to have done it.
A bit muddy and not smiling so much by the third lap
I headed home, down the hill to the backyard party. The cold scared many away but the ones that showed had a good time and good food. My one lament... It was too cold to try out my new Sand Volleyball court :(

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Journey- Poison blowdarts and More

The team was just landing on the dirt air strip having brushed the runway to clear any cattle off so that we and they didn't turn into hamburger. Already, Within the last 12 hours we had flown into this little known country and hopped onto a rusty box with wings to enter this remote region on the Northern border of the Amazon rain forest. Our journey was just beginning. We spent the night camped in a school building (if you could call it that).

The next morning we took jeeps further south for 4 rough bumpy hours. Little did I realize that was the smooth part of the trip. The semblance of what was termed a road gradually lost its meaning. The road ended at the next village. After stretching a bit and transferring our gear we headed off sitting in an old wagon which was pulled by an even older John Deer tractor. How they keep those things running so long, so far away from the nearest dealer or fuel station, I'll never know. For 4 more agonizing hours I was jostle back and forth trying not to keep slamming my back against the wagon rail. Finally the thick jungle was looming and even the tractor could forge on no more. We still had daylight left and decided to keep to the schedule and continue on, on foot, until we would make camp. It was refreshing to stretch my legs. Initially, the way was relatively open and avoiding tripping on the slippery roots was my main focus. Gradually the Jungle began closing in on us and the air became thick and musty. Now the obstacles were all around; including vines, bugs, and webs above. We finally stopped to set up camp. While the guides were clearing the deep jungle to allow for our tents they advised us to do a tick inventory. A what? I looked down at my legs and they were peppered with ticks! We were informed that it was easier removing them early before they really drove their heads into our flesh-not to mention healthier! It took me about 20 minutes to find and remove about 24 ticks with my knife. It got to be fun after the initial shock of it wore off. I ate and slumbered down into my tightly zipped tent. Alas it wasn't tight enough. I felt a severe burning and stinging in my right arm and saw an ant crawl off which was at least 3/4 of an inch long. My arm ached and throbbed incredibly until finally the Lortab and the cacophony of the jungle noises lead by the Howler monkeys lulled me to sleep.

As the green of the jungle began to lighten in the morning, I awoke refreshed, without pain and ready to go for more. We packed up the damp tents and continued the hike. By mid-morning I was out of water. We couldn't carry enough water for the whole journey so we planned to dip into the multitude of puddles, treat them with iodine tablets and go for broke. I was REALLY thirsty before I could stomach drinking the stuff knowing I may have gotten some of the tadpoles-at least that's what I think they were- into my bottle. For lunch the Amerindian guides "treated" us to turtle soup. Not too bad. Only later did I find out that it was an endangered species.  Finally, after about another hour we reached the river. It was a beautiful, wide, rapidly flowing river which we were going to float down to our destination. We were handed off to the Brazilian tribe at that point and we parted ways with our Guyanese guides. Our new hosts and guides came up the river in huge dugouts. These were truly trees that were dug out. They were over 20 feet long and and nearly 3 feet wide. Each dugout took 3 of us, two guides and equipment. At least that was my last tick inventory.

After a few fun rapids our hosts wanted to stop and go fishing. OK! I was all over that- until they pulled out  1 1/4 inch steel hooks on thick steel leaders. What the..? I was nonchalantly informed that we would be fishing for Parana! I had just been wading in that water! But Wow! Was that ever fun! We baited the hooks with some bloody fish and threw in the line. That's all it was, was line, that we would hold in our hands- no pole. Within a few seconds the water was boiling and I was pulling the line in as fast as I could without falling in. The disappointing thing was how small those bloody bastards were! They weren't much different than an overgrown sunfish or bluegill- WITH RAZOR SHARP TEETH. I quickly gave them my respect, though, when my steel hooks would come back bitten in half- Ouch! After about an hour the fish were bagged and we headed down again- with arms and legs firmly in the boat.

A short while later I heard some excited shouts in the dugouts ahead of us. Our guides pointed out a Tapir was swimming across the river. Oh cool, I thought, we can watch it gently swim across and take some pictures. Ah well all of a sudden our dugout started moving pretty fast right towards the mammal. Oh! And the guy up front was pulling out a cute homemade bow and arrow set! OMG! We were on a hunt! It was incredible how focused and frenzied these hunters became. We did not exist and were just along for the ride. By the time the tapir lumbered onto land it had 4 arrows in it. We hit the banks and our hosts were gone, leaving us white folk slack-jawed and looking at each other in amazement. We heard a warrior-like scream that even now sends chills up my spine. By the time I stumbled out of the dugout and hiked about 100 yards to the kill, the hunters were starting to dress the deer-sized animal.

We were at the village in another 20 minutes or so. The hunters were welcomed as heroes, having brought home fresh meat, fish and white men- or was that white meat :) ? The kids were swimming out to greet us! What the....? (Side note: later I noticed that some kids were missing toes and I asked the head teacher why- Paranas! Crazy.)  Over the next three days we set up a clinic and saw everyone in the village, discussed all of their ailments they had over the past year, mostly couldn't help them with them but pulled what seemed like hundreds of teeth.- short version. We ate with the villagers and left the inch and a half cockroaches to do the dishes. We did some first aid teaching and played with the kids- no swimming.

The village we went to apparently was so isolated that just about 5 years prior was the first contact they had with the outside world and shortly thereafter, they got a village shot gun for hunting. Prior to that they were hunting with poisoned tipped blowguns which now they felt were obsolete. I was able to trade for one of the last two they had left in the village. An souvenir to top all souvenirs.....

I reflect on this trip as the greatest journey that I ever had and likely ever will have. I cannot imagine a trip more exotic. There are so many times I get jolted by these memories, that I had to share them.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Soldier Hollow Race- Why do I do it?

CLASSIC! Keith, the hanging bibs, the view, the dressing teammate, sum it up. We all have our reasons to be there. Mine: Well because it makes me hurt- Really. Before the race today I flippantly asked several racer why we pay for the anticipated pain. Well during the race I thought about this deep and hard. I was doing a'right for the first two laps (that's a relative term) then all went to pot when the rest of the group passed me on the third to leave me alone thinking among MANY other things, why do I do this?  I was soo hurting that I thought about quitting, hoping for a flat, having to go to the bathroom, where else I'd rather be etc...but I finished- last. At the end I did wonder why... Well where else can I make myself ride so hard for 2 hrs 37 minutes to the point my legs cramp, tell me F.. U when I ask for more and barely let me finish. NoWhere! Being in a race-even placing last- makes me ride so hard that there HAVE to be benefits to it-conditioning, strength, improved lung capacity, better living etc. I just can't make myself hurt so bad if it is a simple training ride. The race hurt so bad, it was good. Maybe someday I'll see the results of this.........

Friday, May 20, 2011

DAD- Resolution

Joey cruising Bear Claw Poppy in St George
 This year I made a 'Dad' resolution to go on more family rides and race less. So far we've been on a couple awesome family rides. I can't say with the weather the way it has been that I've raced much more than that.


       Jonny with my little sister behind him

Dot's been doing really well back on her bike but still not willing to push it racing.
 (read here for historical details)
The fam after the ride----good times
Draper family ride.
Too bad Joey couldn't look past the front wheel to enjoy the view

I'll have to ride with him alone next time. He was waiting too much for Joey and I.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another revolution around the sun

I had one of those days that come around once a year whether you want it or not. It serves only as a marker of the number of revolutions around the sun that we've survived. But in the end, it is just another day- actually a hard one for me since I put in a 14 hour shift that day. But what made it special for me was the cards my boys made for me. Joey (8) used the computer importing pictures and clipart to design a card all by himself. And Jonny (10) in his "finest" writing- I say tongue in cheek- designed a card with 'work' coupons and an awesome sentence at the bottom. Translation, "Your the fitest 45 year old I know." It's a good thing he doesn't know many of my fellow racers that kick my arse routinely....

Monday, May 16, 2011

ER moment

I love the special statements that come from some of the kids I see. Here's a recent good one.

A 4 year old little boy came in with a cut to his chin. As with all kids at this age he was terrified and he cried. He cried while we were setting up. He cried through the numbing. He cried  while I was washing it.

And then I put the first stitch in and told him one was done.
He immediately stopped crying, took a deep breath and sputtered, "I cried for nothing!"
He didn't cry anymore the rest of the time.... :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Little man- Black

5 years, nearly 5 grand and my little man- Jonny earned his Black belt. I don't think the significance of it has sunk in for him. It has been half his life that he has been working towards this point. What he will do with it- time will tell. As with everything else he does he has been intense with Karate and it shows.

I missed the Mad Dog sponsored race at Soldier Hollow, but it was worth it. It was a proud day for his father- me.

His favorite part: a sword given to him by his instructor.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I used to blog about my mountain biking with a cool bike. It was a great era. But I am more than biking. I love my job and I am passionate about my boys. And therefore this blog: Bik'ER Dad

Biker: I still love mountain biking and racing mountain bikes. However, at this time I am somewhat in a transition mode. Due to many reasons- health, time, passion, and bike issues I need to step back a bit. I intend to race and be part of the Mad Dog team which is an integral part of me but the the intensity may be more limited and thereby my training and subsequently my performance.

ER: I love working in the ER. It is full of incredible experiences-both funny and sad- that I've been wanting to share. Yes, I vow to keep my patient information private, but the general cases and events can be intriguing, heart wrenching and even uplifting. Then there is the team of dedicated health professionals I love to work with. Without them I could not do my job. When it comes to treating multiple critical care patients in the ER a team approach is indispensable.

Dad: My boys are the reasons for all I do. I had a good life before they arrived. I feel I lived it fully- indeed more so than most. But now my focus is to be the best dad I can be. That includes feeding, sheltering and protecting them as the basics. But I feel I also owe them the skills to survive emotional and physically in this world once I am not there. That includes education in school and the real world. It includes showing them right and wrong and maybe the in-between. And it includes showing them the boundless love that I have for them.

And that is perhaps the biggest reason for this blog. I am not a very fluent conversationalist and fear that what I communicate to them verbally is limited. All kids to a certain extent have short attention spans and very little of what we tell them is retained. I too forget many events in the past and will appreciate reminders of my thoughts and reflections of our activities. I will strive to make this blog a chronicle of my thoughts, feelings and actions in the journey of their upbringing. This is in the hope that some day they may stumble across our documented history and perhaps glean a better understanding. A better understanding of what we experienced as a family-perhaps from the parents point of view. And maybe this can serve to strengthen our love and family bond even greater.

So why not just write a private journal? I am not delusional that I will have a large audience and perhaps that is better. Nevertheless, I feel that putting this information out in a public forum would keep me motivated to write as well as help draw out topics of general interest. It could provide an open forum and even feedback to help me channel the conversation. To keep it more honest and interesting.

I hope not to be soo serious in further posts. I was caught in a contemplative mood.

Keep tuned in if you'd like.