Saturday, March 29, 2008

Back in the Midwest

I flew to Ohio on Monday to go to my Grandfather's Funeral. I landed Tuesday morning in Columbus, rented a car and headed north. On the way I stopped at an old friend Esther's house to take a shower and change clothes for the visitation. She was at work so I didn't get to see her but her daughter let me in. While I was there my friend Clay (Esther's Ex) called. He lived about 20 minutes south of her house. I still had some time so I drove down for a visit. It was nice seeing him after so many years. We reminised about the crazy things we did as kids. I took a picture of him and his new wife:

Ohio is such a contrast to Hawaii. There are tons of lightly traveled roads running through acreas of farm land. I snapped pictures of the towns and farms along the way.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sad News

At 5 am Friday I received a call from my parents informing me that my Grandfather "Red" passed away. I always enjoyed spending time with Red because he loved the outdoors. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. He had a great collection of guns. He gave me my first air rifle, target rifle, deer rifle and slug gun. We went walleye fishing on Lake Erie and pheasant hunting in South Dakota. Red was a man of many talents. With only an 8th grade education he survived the great depression, served in the Navy during WWII, built a successful business and raised 4 extremely successful children. An electrician by trade, he also mastered watch making and wood working. He could take a block of wood and and create an intricately carved gun stock. He was one of those people who could accomplish anything he wanted too.

Growing up, we never call him grandpa, he was always "Red". I am not sure if the Red came from his red hair or his hot temper but it fit him either way.

The Hawaiians would say he could really "Talk Story" as he was very good at telling stories from his past. I remember listening to his vivid descriptions of WWII serving as a SEA BEE in the Pacific. I wish he could have come for a visit while we were stationed here so he could tell us about Pearl Harbor where he served shortly after the bombing.

On Monday, I head to Ohio for the funeral. I am going to wear my uniform as I know he would have liked that. It will be nice seeing all my relatives again. Unfortunately as with most families, the only time we get together is for funerals.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

10000 feet of climbing

Thursday 20 Mar 08, the HACC took its annual pilgrimage to Maui to climb Haleakula. Haleakula is a dormant volcano that extends from sea level to 10000 ft elevation in 36 miles. It is probably one fo the very few places in the World with climbs of this magnitude. We got up at 4 am and headed to the Honolulu Airport with our bikes wrapped up for the 37 minute flight to Maui.

Once we arrived at Maui, we changed in the Airport, unwrapped our bikes and

headed out about 0730. Ben met us at the Airport with a van full of water, Gatorade, cookies and sandwiches to give us the energy for the climb. We tooled out for a 10 mile gently rising cruise to a little town where we stopped to refuel. There was a sharp climb out of the town then a unmarked right turn. As I started up the hill, I realized my rear tire was low so I turned around and replaced the tube. Jim Cain and his friend were also experiencing mechanical difficulties as bolt holding his friends seat on broke. I fixed the flat and headed up the hill. I road right through the turn and kept climbing until the road came to a dead end 7 miles and 2000 feet of altitude gain later. Luckily I had a cell phone signal and was able to call John for help. He had Ben head my way to meet me and bring me back to the group. By the time we caught up, the group had spread out. I rode with Jim Phillips until we got to the ranger station where we met up with Gil. The three of headed up together. We stayed together until the 9000 ft mark where Jim we spread out. Grampa Gil showed us young whippersnappers up as he completed the climb about 200 yrds ahead of me. Jim was pretty close behind me. The big thing is we all made it to the top. We stayed up top for about 40 minutes, changed in to warm clothing as it was in the 40's before heading back down. The down hill started out quite fun as John, Bryant and myself flew down the hill about 40 plus mph. about 8000 ft we hit fog and rain which lasted for the next 3000 ft of decent. We flew the rest of the way down averaging over 45 mph. We were rewarded at the bottom at a really nice Italian restaurant.

I replenished my glycogen stores with chicken Parmigiana and a cold Kona Pale ale. We stopped for Krispy Creme donut which I brought home for the family. We arrived back home about 9pm then I headed to church for eucharistic adoration from 11pm-12am. I was sooo tired. Check out Ben's Blog for more pics:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sunday night in the Islands

Tonight we headed west with Ben to the Ko'olina Resort where Ben's Aunt was singing at one of the outside Bars. It was the second time I had been in the area and the first for Chris. The area is beautiful. It is a very fancy resort area that doesn't have the crowds like Waikiki. Our table faced west so we got to watch a beautiful sunset behind where Ben's Aunt was singing. It was kind of funny because Ben's mom and a few of her friends were also there as well as Ben's cousin who was visiting from San Diego.

The kids: Ben, his cousin, Chris and I sat at one table while Ben's Mom's friends sat at the big table. We enjoyed listening to Ben's aunt and talking about everything from kids to guitar hero. I think I will try to talk my folks into swapping one of their time shares for a week at Ko'olina.

Friday, March 14, 2008

New Wheelset

Today my new wheels came in. I did a lot of research on wheels and found these to be the best deal for the money. I added the ceramic bearings but they haven't arrived yet. Even with out the better bearings, these wheels are so smooth. Look out Ben and Casey, I am coming for you. You can check out the specks at I will let you know how they perform for me.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Google Analytics, Beer, Nacho's, Skinsuits and My Hero Ben Sambrano.

The Great Sambrano in his skinsuit

I installed Google Analytics on my blog to track how many people read my blog. Unfortunately, my readership has been well below that of the Great Sambrano's. In an effort to increase readership I have decided to jazz it up a bit with some spicier subject areas. This is my first attempt. Hopefully when all of Ben's fan club catches wind of this, my stats will hit the roof.

Nacho and Beer Night at Jr Rockers

Casey and Ben sharing a warm embrace. Aren't they cute.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Courtney's Band Concerts

Courtney has had two Band Concerts the last two weekends. The first was at Moanalua HS. It featured the High School and Jr High bands from 3 of the local schools. All the bands were very impressive. Courtney's Jr High Band sounded better than many High School bands. The Moanalua High School Band was extremely good. Courtney said she had heard they were one of the top 10 bands in the US. I wouldn't be a bit surprised.
Tonight Courtney participated in the Honor Band Concert. This Concert featured the best 7th, 8th and HS musicians from all over west central Oahu. They have been practicing since January. The concert featured guest conductors from the UH and University of Washington. I thought the 8th graders sounded as good as the High School. We are very proud of Courtney's musical talent.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

119 miles, 19 mph avg speed, 6 1/2 hrs riding time, Not bad for a 41 yr old

A few years ago, I started the tradition of taking my birthday off and spending the day riding. One year I rode from Ramstein Germany to the French Border, another year I rode every bike path in Omaha for a 75 mile ride. This year, I decided I wanted to try to ride a loop around Oahu. My past rides had been solo as it is hard to find folks willing taking vacation time to spend the day riding in Omaha or Germany in early March. This year I invited anyone who was interested from the HACC to join me. Steve Lindsey and John Girmsey were ready from the get to. Jim Philips was interested but not sure if he would be ready for the long ride but he decided to give it a try. Scott Kimsey had his flying schedule changes the last minute and was able to join us.

We met at the Shoppette and hit the road at 0700. We had the pleasure of passing cars who were tied to the morning gridlock. We made pretty good time from Hickam to Honolulu until Jim got the first of the 4 flats. We changed his tire, Indy style and were back on the road. We spun through Waikiki and headed to Hawaii Kai. We took a detour to avoid traffic and take in some more scenery then Steve had the second flat.

We road up by Hanauma bay through Kailua where we decided to stop for a cup of coffee. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery on Kam Hawaii where John got the third flat and me the forth and final. Wen, from Momentum Multi-Sport, our new team sponsor, caught up with us in Kanohea and road the rest of the route with us. We managed to avoid any more flats but Scott broke his chain on Kania road. Luckily we were able to fix it and make it back to Hickam.

No injuries, only minor machanicals, all and all my best birthday ride yet.

After I got home, I opened my presents. Chris got me a hawaian dirt shirt I have been wanting since I moved here. She also got me a cool biking t-shirt and a poster from the 2004 Tour. The last tour, I was able to got to before we left Europe. We went to the gym then to JR Rockers for Supper where Ben and Casey joined us. It was a great Birthday.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Pizza, Beer, 80's trivia and a Suprise Birthday Party

An email went out to the HACC stating that there was going to be a Critical Mass ride Friday night . Critical Mass rides are demonstration rides where cyclist purposely block traffic. The point is to increase awareness of cyclist on the road but they often have have a negative effect. As we tossed around emails about why the HACC shouldn't participate, Habi mention that he would be drinking beer and eating Pizza instead. Ben emailed him back and asked where, then I emailed as suggested we meet at my house. That started the wheels a turning for a fun night.

Ben arrived first bring a "secret" Desert. Habi and his family arrived shortly afterwards with lots of soda. We ordered Pizza and got down to drinking some beer. After a while I decided to pull out the 80's trivial pursuit cards out. Ben and Chris both graduated in 84, I in 85, Habi in 87 and Habi's wife Theresa in 88. Casey and my daughter Steph were both born in 85 . We also had my daughter Courtney and Habi's son Brit who are both in 8th grade. They seemed to enjoy reading the questions and watching us reminisce as we explained 80's terms and activities to the youngsters in the audience.

Casey had just got off a long shift at work. He was a little off his A-game when it came to 80's trivia.

Ben brought some desert. I couldn't understand why he insisted I didn't look at the desert until it was served. I thought he brought another hi cal desert like the pecan pie he brought last time. I was surprised when he brought out a Birthday Cake, as well as a present, a new bike helmet. It was great. I brought out my bottle of Irish Whiskey. Ben and I had a couple mixed with diet coke. It went down very smooth. The next morning when I got up to ride with Ben, the Irish whiskey was setting pretty hard in my gut. It took two tower laps to sweat it out and a good Wright Bro's Breakfast to make me feel pretty good. This was probably not the best way to prep for the time trial.

We rapped it up around 10 pm. I guess when you get old, you don't party until the wee hours. The aftermath of the