Thursday, July 31, 2014

Taking a break from biking.... but not completely.

The lumber is  paid for and the sweat begins

This summer I decided to move forward with some home improvement projects that had been pushed aside for too long.  Tired of having rain, snow, and ice falling from the roof of the house onto the front steps and occasionally the backs of our necks as we try to get through the front door, I finally put priority on building some porches and finishing the house that we've lived in for over 2 years now.  Unfortunately, this would mean a little break from cycling.

Although I've had motivations in the past to tackle this project by myself in the past, I am by no means much of a skilled carpenter.  I feared having porches that were not level nor square.  So, I sought guidance from my uncle.  With a week and a half off from work, we began the project in mid June with the help from my dad, brother, and nephew.

I've worked labor jobs in the past...somewhere like 20yrs ago.  I had not realized how physically unfit I had become.  Digging post holes, lifting 16 foot long 6x6 posts, carrying 4x8ft sheets of OSB up ladders had given me a level of upper body and back soreness that I had not seen in a long time.  But, I have enjoyed every minute of it.  It was a break from my normal routine, the first summer vacation in 12 yrs, and an opportunity to spend time with family and friend that would show up to help.

Should have left these posts that long.
Would have been great deer stands

Although, I have gotten very little time on the bike in the past 6 wks as we continue to finish these projects, I have gotten to participate in events that I would normally miss due to my usual work schedule:

Watching my nephew Kyle with two solid hits to win a little league championship

Kyle smacking one to the outfield

Teaching nephews, Kyle and Darren, how to search for night crawlers and catch their first fish

Farm pond fishing
No better place to learn

Kyle's 1st fish

Darren's 1st fish

The porches have given me the opportunities to relax in the evenings and watch thunderstorms, wild life, morning sunrises, and evening sunsets.

Strong storms and Tornado warnings
(not sure if we had a funnel cloud starting)

Doe and her two fawns from the front porch during breakfast

Now, I didn't give up cycling completely during this time.   I managed to take on a few mountain bike races this summer to stay in shape.  And to my surprise, I even managed to take a step onto a few podiums at that.

The Big Bear 2x12:  1st Place Vets

Big Bear 2x12 start
(Surprised to be beside Gunnar...briefly.   The last that I would see of him) 

Big Bear 2x12 Podium
with Stew of CER

The Henry Clay 30K:  4th Place

Henry Clay 30k Podium
(was sure I didn't finish well enough for this podium and surprised to be called up)

Dobbin House Classic:  3rd Place

Dobbin House
very technical, rooty course

Dobbin House Podium

And, the White Park Throwdown:  Crash and Burn

White Park Whipty-do Endo

I haven't gotten the miles on the bike that I had hoped for this summer.  And, I continue to put in 12 hour days at work one day, then work on the porches until sunset the next.   (Almost done)

But, I've had a blast getting to try a new skill, spending time with family and friends, and relaxing on the new porches.