Sunday, December 30, 2007

Operation Fatten the Competion Backfires

Thursday night we were in the Navy Commissary and they had a special on some nice thick steaks so I grabbed several packages. On the way home I thought of a plan to ensure I would continue hold my own against the former Coast Guard Athlete of the Year, so I invited him over for dinner Friday night. He graciously accepted but he offered to pickup some desert. I figured I was safe thinking he would bring some Healthy Low Cal, Low carb desert he concocted in his blender. Something like pureed peach and pea custard or something to that effect. Unfortunately, he picked my weakness, pecan pie. That delicious mixture of butter, syrup, sugar, nuts, shortening, flour, and more sugar. I don't think there is a higher calorie per bite food on the planet. Damn it was good. We had a nice dinner and great conversation. I offered to let him take the remaining pie home but he told me to keep it so I had a piece for breakfast and another for lunch.

My sister Gina enjoyed herself so much at thanksgiving that she decided to come back. She even bought me a new pair of Oakleys for Christmas to replace the pair that I lost at the beach when she was her last time. I wonder if I lose my Jeep while she is her, if she will get me a new Wrangler next year for Christmas. Saturday we went hiking near Dillingham Air Station on the northwestern most section of the Island. The weather was perfect. We had great views of the ocean and gliders flying over the Wiainea range.

After we got done hiking, we went downtown and met one of Gina's co-workers who was also in town visiting her parents. She gave us a great tour of the major historic and government buildings and provided some of the History behind the different places.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Hawaiian Style

This was our 1st Hawaiian Christmas. We broke a few holiday traditions and started a new one. Normally we go to Midnight Mass but this year Courtney was scheduled to serve so we went on Christmas Morning. There was hardly anyone in the Church. Heather commented that it was like going to Grandma and Grandpa's Church. Father had a very funny homily. He had all the little kids come up to the alter and quizzed them on what was the perfect gift for the baby Jesus. He produced some example gifts to include one he referred as Holy Water: A bottle of Crown Royal. After Mass we went home and opened the rest of our presents. We all loved our gifts. Chris gave me the perfect Blogger's gift; a mount anywhere tripod for my camera. It will work perfectly on my handle bars so I can start producing exciting action shot and video's of my biking.

After unwrapping presents we changed and headed to the beach. Someone had put a tree up on the beach so we had to pose for a picture on it. Ginger enjoyed boogie boarding again.

We got home from the beach around 4 pm and all worked together to turn out a great meal.

Heather and I went hiking on the day after Christmas at Aiea Heights. This is normally a very easy 4.5 mile hike but that day the trail was covered with mud. Heather wore her brand new sandals she got for Christmas. The mud was so thick that sucked them off her feet a couple places. Luckily the mud rinsed off pretty easily.

I finally finished the Jake. Jim Phillips let me borrow his derailleur hanger alignment tool. It worked great. I was surprised how far off both the Jake and the Cube's hangers were off. I think I will finally have smooth shifts on the Cube which hasn't shifted very well since I arrived on the island.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hawaii Bowl 2007, Worth the Price of Admission

Being in the military as given me the opportunity to attend many sporting and entertainment events due to the geographic locations I have been stationed. While I was stationed in Europe, I watched several stages of the Tour de France. One stage I was even able to ride my bike too. In Omaha, I went to the College World Series. I have also seen many free concerts such as Montgomery Gentry, Clint Black, and Toby Keith. Today I attended my first bowl game, the Hawaii Bowl. I received 4 free tickets on the 5 yard line that were donated to the Military. Courtney wasn't interested in going so Chris, Steph, Heather and I went. The game was between Eastern Carolina and Boise State. I didn't have a real favorite although I liked Boise State because they are in the WAC but as a Notre Dame Fan, I couldn't help but be in favor of Lou Holtz's son's team ECU. We were on the ECU side of the field which was nice because the ECU cheerleaders:

were much better looking

than the BS cheerleaders

The game kicked off with a pretty cool Chinook Helicopter fly over right before the coin toss.

ECU drew first blood with a field goal on their first drive. BSU jumped right back when they ran the kick off back for a TD. However ECU dominated the first half and scored several more times. BCU almost completed a Hail Mary pass right as the 1st half drew to a close. It looked like ECU was going to run away with the game. During Halftime, we were treated to a Hawaiian dance review. We had perfect seats for watching a beautiful sunset during the 3rd quarter.

ECU scored pretty quickly in the 3rd quarter and appeared to have the game locked up. BSU came alive in the 4th and brought it to with in a td. They looked like they were going to tie the game up when they turned it over with a little over 1 min left in the game. ECU chose to run the ball hoping to burn up the clock. On their third down they were running a sweep when their back coughed up the ball. BSU scooped it up and ran it back 50 yrds tying the game. All BCU had to do was hold ECU and the game would go to OT. ECU had been stopped every time they got the ball in the 4th quarter. Until this time. They took the kick off up the field to the their 40 yard line. BSU held them for the first couple of downs then a 3rd down pass was completed and the back ran the ball to the BSU 25 yrd line. ECU ran the ball to the 15 yrd line and got it placed in the middle of the field. They kicked the game winning field goal as time ran out. It was a very good spectator's game with almost 80 points. ECU 41, BSU 38.

Christmas Spirit in Hawaii

I have lived over 30 of my 40 years in the Midwest. Midwestern Christmases mean cold weather, early darkness and occasionally snow. This year is our 1st Christmas in Hawaii which means temps in the low 80's and an occasional rain shower. Initially I found it kind of difficult to get into the Christmas spirit. I don't think it was the lack of snow, we had several years without white Christmases. I think it was the lack of change. Normally I am used to 4 distinct seasons. With Fall marking the football season and preparing us for Christmas. This year with out a calender, I couldn't tell it was almost that time of year.

One thing that does bring home the fact that it is almost Christmas is the light displays. I remember climbing up a latter on the days following Thanksgiving and trying to string lights in 20 degree weather. Not a lot of fun. Here that isn't an issue and people take full advantage of the fact. The light displays around base housing are quite interesting.

Even the bases get in the swing of it. Trippler lights up the hospital.

Hickam Lights up the Water Tower so that it looks like a giant Christmas Tree.
The tower has an interesting history. It stored the water for the base before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Luckily the Japanese thought it was a church and didn't attack it saving over 55,000 gallons of fresh water for the base.

The granddaddy of light displays is the Honolulu City lights: Tonight the HACC Daddy set up a ride with several other clubs to ride past the city lights. We met at the Bike Shop and rode along the city streets taking in the lights at the water works as well as the city hall. Afterwards we stopped for coffee at Starbucks. Heather and I did the ride then Chris, Steph and Heather met us for coffee. Some of the riders went way out with decorating themselves and bikes. HACC daddy dressed as Santa.
We had Rudolph as well as several other reindeers.
It was a great time. I even won a prize by decorating my bike with the centerpiece I won at our Christmas Party last night

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Week in review and lessons learned about wet pavement

Wow this week flew by. It is hard to believe that Tuesday is Christmas. Still haven't finished the Jake, sorry Jim. Hopefully I will this week and take it out for a Tuesday ride after the 1st of the year. One of my roles at work as the senior enlisted person is to try to keep up morale by coming up with team building activities. On Wednesday our team building activity was 6 person outrigger canoeing at the Hickam Beach. Last time we tried this only myself, My Boss and one other person showed up. this time we had 9 people so we used both boats. We started with some lessons on proper technique with the boats on shore then we paddled around the harbor. Not a bad way to start a Wednesday.

Friday morning my office met at the Wright bro's cafe along the mouth of Pearl Harbor for breakfast and a holiday staff meeting. While we eating a couple of HACCrs rode by at a snail,s pace. It was falsely reported in that I was seen eating a high fat high carb breakfast. This simply was not the case. I had a very healthy, nourishing breakfast that any self respecting cyclist would appreciate. An omelet, WW toast and about 6 cups of coffee. After the breakfast we went back to the office and played a round of hallway golf, ate Christmas Cookies, fudge and were released at 1200. Not too bad of a day. Heather and I played a round of golf at the par 3 course in the afternoon. That makes for 2 rounds of golf in a week not including the round of hallway golf. Maybe I will give up cycling and take up golf. Both let you wear colorful clothing and are popular on the Island. Golf doesn't allow you to enjoy the feeling of maxing your heart rate up pineapple hill only to be passed by Bryant. I think I will stick with cycling and only play golf when I need and opportunity to play sport while drinking a beer and smoking a good cigar. Two pleasures that don't mix with cycling very well unless you are riding along the hickam bike path on Pearl Harbor at a snail's pace.

I knew I wouldn't have time to do the full Saturday ride and when Ben said he didn't either I suggested we ride from Hickam. Word got out and we had 6 riders show up to ride today: Ben, Corey, Cassey, Jim, Steve L, Slider and Slider 2 (me, explain later). We started with out Tuesday route out to the tower. The pace was pretty mild until Steve L pushed it to the front by the sea breeze. I caught his wheel and we pushed a 24 mph pace out to the tower. On the way back Steve sprinted at the overpass and stayed out front until he made a pit stop at the beach for some bladder relief. We headed out to Lagoon Drive. Cassey took off on lagoon. I pushed it to catch his wheel and we did a strong run to the parking lot at the end of the road. I could tell Cassey was feeling his week of hard riding as I was able to catch his wheel. We headed up to AMR to do a couple little climbing. The small hill killed me on the first pass but I recovered and felt pretty good on the big climb. I was in the lead coming down the hill and feeling kind of cocky. That feeling ended abruptly as I leaned into the turn by the gate. I didn't even think about the wet pavement until the bike slid out from under me and proceeded to slide across the road. The wet pavement was a bit of a blessing though the water offered a buffer saving my shorts and bike and only costing me some skin on my hip and elbow. Luckily my cell phone was in the opposite pocket and I didn't bring the camera or the crash would have been more costly and probably more painful. The Dog seemed quite concerned however. I am also experimenting with a new hair style, something that makes a statement yet is easy to maintain.

My wife Chris had a tough week. On Monday she woke up with a stiff back and when she bent over to put on her pants her back spasmed. It pretty much kept her down all week which was tough with everything required to getting ready for Christmas. She did manage to go to my Directorate Christmas Party but ended up leaving shortly after the meal missing me doing the Cha Cha slide with our div chief. Hopefully no one got pictures.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Football on the Beach and Jake part 2

One of the things Heather wanted to do when she came home from school was take Ginger to the Beach. For some reason the beach appealed to her. It must have something to do with spending the last week of school dealing with 12 inches of fresh snow. We were going to go on Saturday but Friday night, Ginger got into a bag of flour eating most of it. She wasn't feeling too well on Saturday so we decided to wait and go Sunday after Church. We went to our favorite beach, Kailua. It was pretty windy so there were many kite surfers decorating the skyline. After doing a little bogey boarding, we decided to have a football game with Steph and I taking on Heather and Courtney. Ginger also decided to play mainly for Heather's team. The game was pretty close but Steph and I won by 1 touchdown. We played for almost an hour stopping when Heather got stung by a jelly fish.

I was able to squeeze in some time to work on the Jake, I installed all the cables, fenders, and new bar tape. I just need to add the new chain and the cassette then adjust everything and cut the cables. I think it looks much better although the job I did on the bar tape isn't going to win me any style awards.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Overhauling the Jake Part 1

While I was stationed in Germany I bought 3 bikes. The most practical of these bikes is my Kona Jake the Snake Cross-Bike. I bought it because I can ride it any where except for very technical single track. Originally I equipped it with a rack, panniers, and full fenders. The Jake has been my utility bike and has not received a lot of TLC. It is 5 years old and still has the original cables, bar tape, cassette and chain. The Chain has some of the worst stretch ever.

The Bar tape was scraped up shortly after I bought it when i tried to lean into a sharp turn on a 30 degree day on a wet road. A few weeks ago I made a performance order for new fenders, new chain, and cassette. I already had the cables and bar tape. The box has been sitting on my Lanai while I devoted my free time finishing up my online class. Last night I submitted my paper so now i can work on bringing the bike back to life.