Wednesday, April 29, 2009

GPTW & Chasm Creek

Still kicking it. T MINUS 9ish days and counting. I am starting to wrap up things at work and beat people into submission until they agree to take over my projects. I am not that important in the grand scheme of my company but I have met with great resistance in transitioning my projects because I am the only one in my team doing what I am doing and it may be *gasp* 'a lot of work' to try to do what I do. Vindication I tell you. And you thought my job was blogging. That is only a part of the day I tell you ;)

I have also had a bunch of my coworkers express real and true sorrow that I am leaving their humble abode. This gives me warm tinglies all over. Afterall, I am a valuable member of the party planning committee and part of the GPTW (true acronym for "great place to work") value system. When you work at large machine companies, they actually have to have GPTW as one of their core values in their mission statement. I always have been of the opinion if you have to say it, it just might not be true. Like how all the generic brands have the word "Quality" in them...hmmm....


Since I have been negligent with my blogs and/or photos lately, I thought I would add some pictures from a recent Sierra Adventure Race near Campe Verde Arizona that I volunteered for.

AB and I volunteered to test the orienteering course during the long paddle portion. Rick (RD) was even nice enough to show me how to actually use a compass to take bearings. It was pretty cool.

The Great Verde River.

I also got to play on the course photographer for the orienteering section which was at the end. I was amazed at how fast some of these teams blew through it.

Yoga Slackers on the move...they came in 2nd I think.

The winners Team Big Fish sprinting to the finish. I could barely keep up on my bike they were moving so fast.

Cooking meatball subs as the post race meal.

After we finished volunteering, we decided to go check out Chasm Creek which was the far point on the course. It ends at a little waterfall area in a canyon that was just beautiful.

Great light and beautiful colors on the hike back to Chasm Creek.

Dead trees = nice nature's sleeping bags.

AB checks out the little waterfall at Chasm Creek Canyon.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Five Years of Bliss

I went shopping over my lunch break day and I spent my five years of sweat and servitude at my company in one $24.99 moment of toilet paper and paper towel bliss. That's right, our 5 year service award which I received two days before putting in my quitters notice was a $25 gift card to Target. Oh how high I rose up the ladder of success before throwing it all away.

Maybe If I had stuck around for another five years or even heaven forbid ten years, I could have bought the super pack with the double rolls and still had enough left over for my favorite bag of Target brand Parmesan Cheese Hydrogenated Potato Products.

Happy Friday. Only 14 days left until my parole starts.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Urban Assault Ride

Urban Assault Ride: Road Bikes 1, Mountain Bikes 0

This past weekend was a return to action for me. Time to get back out on the bike after a long hiatus in Ohio and time to get the competitive juices flowing once again.

I spent Saturday morning struggling through one of those ride where you and the bike are not one. I changed a flat tire on Friday night in my garage, and that $7.99 tube lasted exactly 4 minutes on the trail before flatting. Then after putting a new tube in the tire, I somehow ripped the valve off during the inflation part of the clue. Anyhow so I spent $15.98 to ride those four minutes...swell. My four Team ODP adventure racing buddies had a swell ride after that though as we dragged my recently post ACL reconstruction beginner biker buddy AB up and down some non beginner hills.

Sunday was the Urban Assault Ride in Tucson which is basically a bike scavenger hunt through the whole city. I rode with BJ my cousin's husband, and he came pimping with a town bike loaded with fake purple fur weaved around the frame. I had my blazingly fast full suspension mountain bike with about 30 lbs of pressure (air kept leaking out). There were tons of people at the start, with every kind of bike and outfit imaginable. It was a cool vibe since the event was sponsored by New Belgium Brewery, and they know how to party. We had to answer a quiz to get our starting position, and due to BJ's great googling skills, we ended up in the first start group.

The first secret location we had identified was at a parking lot halfway up A Mountain. I have never road raced and so it was an interesting feeling as a whole group of us raced down roads in tight formation. It was easy to see that all of the road bikes were blowing by us. Since it was already hot and I had gotten little sleep Saturday night exploring 4th street's best haunts, I was quickly redlining. Once we got to the checkpoint and turned back downhill, I felt better. At each checkpoint we would get a bead to put on a necklace.

The next five checkpoints were basically in a big loop around the entire city. The standard feeling was that periodically, road bikers would pass us, but we made sure to not let the mountain bikers by us. At each checkpoint, they had fun activities set up that we had to complete. One was riding mini trikes around an obstacle course. Another was a blindfolded piggy back ride around an obstacle course. Because of my amazing biceps and the fact that BJ is a skinny man, I carried him...and passed a ton of people. Hah. We also did a ring toss, and a bike ride around a cone with a bowl of water balanced on our joke. The final event was a blowup obstacle course full of water. The water was much appreciated because it all the sudden is hot as hadies here.

We rode as hard as we could the whole time, but there were periodic road bikers passing us the whole time so we felt like were were towards the back of the back. When we finished though, I looked around and realized that almost all of the bikes lined up at the finish were road bikes. Small victories are victories I say. We ended up finding out that we finished 14th out of 96 coed teams. Not too bad for having a really good time the whole time. We also got two free NB beers at the end and a bunch of snacks. I recommend this race to anyone in it's path.

Maybe someone needs a road bike at some point...

Friday, April 17, 2009

An opportunity to get back out there.

So I have been bummer lately that due to my inability to run, I have had to give up many of the adventure racing type competitions that I so enjoy. I know I can always walk the trekking parts, but I hate being non competitive in something I am spending money on.

Well, this weekend I finally found an awesome substitute. There is a bike scavenger hunt in Tucson called the Urban Assault Ride which is sponsored by New Belgium Brewery. It is a biking only scavenger hunt through town that also has a lot of strategy involved in both the clues given to find where checkpoints are located, as well as the fun obstacles that must be completed at each point. They give you 5 known checkpoints that you can plot ahead of time to determine the fastest way to bike in between them. They also give you a crossword puzzle that you need to fill out and then use the clues to come up with a 6th secret checkpoint. At that checkpoint they also give you another set of clues to figure out a 7th checkpoint on the fly. The order in which you leave the start is also created by who places the highest on a 20 question quiz we had to complete today due by 5.

Already it has been lots of fun. There appears to be a lot of fun activities we will have to do like bike limbo and slip and slides, etc. I will let you know how it goes. The winning duo gets a set of cruiser bikes and you know what, I am in need of a new around the town type bike. Bring it on you spandex road weenies...the mountain bikes are coming.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Procrastination Inspiried.

I am finally back in the land of sand and sun and it feels good. I miss the desolation of the desert when I am away for long. I have a burning desire to go climb a hot dusty mountain or bike down a rocky cactus strewn path. While I love home and love my family, this place has definitely become part of the fabric of me.

It have a strange feeling right now, and by now, I mean for the last couple of months. It is like I am in the process of closing up one chapter of my life and beginning another and I have weird moments of nostalgia that are intermixed with the immense feelings of relief. This is normal I am sure, anytime you shake off the old to make room for the new, it brings back tons of memories, both good and bad. I really am closing up shop on this career I have had as an engineer, for the past 10 years (including college). I have never minded the challenge of it all, but in the end, it just wasn't enough for me. I want more. I have more to give than what I currently give to the world and I am happy that I realized it in enough time to actually make a difference.

There are definitely some material things that I will miss, money being just one of them. It is easy to take for granted free diet coke and color printing, awesome health insurance, and the ability to have an off day at work without anyone getting hurt. But more than often, I just marvel at the thought that I am actually going to be starting on this dream that has been just a glimmer in my mind for so long now. At first the glimmer wasn't even concrete, it was more like a whisper in my mind that said "there must be more than this". It took three years to become a concrete path towards the medical field and another 2 years to become an achievable reality. I hope that everyone has one dream in their mind, something that may be scary to even acknowledge, that one day they are able to achieve. It is a great feeling.

Here are a couple of photos from the last 10 days in Ohio.

The Wedding. The happy couple is in Hawaii, but apparently one volcano bike ride wreck may have added another knee injury to the mix. My bad luck is contagious.

My new rock band. I think I am bringing them down.

There was a surprise 30th birthday party for my buddy Chris while we were at Tom's family home and our theme was to dress like he does. We raided his old childhood closet and came up with these old gems.

Easter at the farm. This followed the egg hunt and what I like to call "how to gain 3 lbs in one day".

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Still in Ohio

I am now getting yelled at for not blogging. I suppose this is the highlight of my blogging career.

I have been in Ohio for a week now and have successfully gotten the sister married off. I have also successfully taken a walk through a snow storm, spread shit on a garden and then tilled it, planted 300 bulbs of lillies, tromped through a muddy creek, and have brought both my parents and Tom's parents homes into the 21st century with wireless internet. It is just another spring week in Ohio. Snowing one day and then sunny and warm the next.

I meant to blog about a day at Campe Verde two weekends ago in which I volunteered at an Sierra Adventure Sports race and learned how to really orienteer. I also meant to blog about numerous other mini adventures I have had, but I find when I am home I spend a lot less time online and a lot more time outside, playing games, or just hanging with the family.

I will resume my blogging activities with more gusto soon. I promise...fingers crossed.