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  1. I have been working with Zane a 16 year old non-verbal autism boy at church for about four weeks now.  I would love to see a breakthrough but realistically looking at it if he hasn't had a breakthrough in 16 years who am I to expect anything now. Anyhow I was at a swimming pool about an hour south of where I live on Friday and there were only four or five people at the pool. I started talking with the one lady that was there and somehow I started telling her about Zane. She said that is really odd because she used to work with a little boy with autism who's name was Zane. She asked me if his mom's name was Lisa and I said yes. We both were talking about the same kid.  She works at an autism center and she said she always wondered how he was doing now. I told her how much I was hoping to see a breakthrough, at least enough that he could communicate because he gets so frustrated at not being able to talk. I asked her if there was much hope for someone that still couldn't speak at age 16. That's when her boyfriend who had been sitting beside her on a lounge chair spoke up. He said he had autism and was non-verbal and he didn't see any breakthrough until he was an adult. He said he was about 18 years old when things started to come together for him.  I told the director of the ministry I am working with about this meeting and the boyfriend who's name is Shawn and his coming out of his prison of autism as an adult and her mouth dropped open.  She said: "You met Shawn?" I have his book, I'll bring it in for you to read.  He has written a book about his experience growing up being autistic and the frustrations that he had. He now works as a reporter for a local newspaper. I am expecting a great breakthrough with Zane, this "random" meeting was destined to take place to encourage me to press on and not give up with Zane. I can see so much potential in him that just can't get out. 

  2. cda_trail_overlay_750.jpg


    Last year my wife and I rode one-way from point 38 (Plummer) to point 11 (Pinehurst) -- about 50 miles.  Yesterday, we rode from point 9 (Kellogg) to point 30 (Harrison) and back for about 80 miles.  The entire trail runs about 72 miles.  I took photos on the way out to Harrision and only a couple on the way back... which is kind of too bad because I think the view heading West to East is better.  Plus the weather burned off and there were clear, blue skies.  But I'm posting them all here because a ) it's easier than to hunt and peck for the best ones, and b ) why filter on my discretion?  c ) this way I can take up more server space.  They are almost all shots taken from my bicycle seat.

    So there's a lot of photos here.  Some good.  Some bad.  Mostly good.  Basically the trail follows the Coeur d'Alene River to the lake... with plenty of other waterways sprinkled in.  The photos are all in chronological order.


    Please see my previous blog for more details on the CDA trail.



































































































  3. This is really a great event. They work hard on the trails, they have the support of the community, they have a nice expo at the finish line, and they have a good after-party with a ton of give-aways (fat bike fenders, Marge Lite wheels, cranksets). I just wish I had better snow skills.

    The weather got too warm on Friday for this Saturday event. The snow turned crystally, sugary. The roads were thick with glare ice. But the event went on, and that's good.

    I went up to Marquette the evening before the event so I didn't have to drive on icy roads to get there. It was good to get there and have my packet. I installed my GoPro and my number plate on the bike that night. The next morning I saw on FB they were suggesting air pressures of 3-4 psi. I went with 4.5.


    It was neat to see all the trucks and some cars coming in with ONLY fat bikes!



    According to the FB page, 171 fat bikes started the 15 mile ride. It took a few moments for us in the back to actually start moving. With that many bikes riding on mashed potato snow, it was tough even getting started. People were falling off left and right. I was actually doing fairly well, but it got too slow for me to keep my balance. I put a foot down a couple times; the third time I let the people behind me go past. Wrong. Just keep going. 

    We had to use a road for a bit to get from the starting line to the single track, and the road was glare ice. I feel ok on ice, but I stayed on the sides like they told us to. A little slushy, but ok. I realized I forgot to get Map My Ride going, so I stopped for that. I was standing on some gravel that was peaking through some thawed ice on the side of a hill. I decided to hike to the top of the hill, but I noticed people actually pedaling behind me. I stepped into the road and onto the ice to let them pass. My feet were not moving, but I was sliding sideways down the icy hill! I think I slid like that at least 10 feet like that. Doesn't sound like much; but when you're holding onto a fat bike and sliding uncontrollably, it's quite unnerving. A few moments later I had to do it again. More sliding. Ugh! Then I got to ride again on the road for a bit. 

    Icy road

    The single track was really hard for me to ride. That was really sad because I know it was gorgeous just a few days prior to that weekend. I have been hearing many other people were having a really tough time on this trail, but at the time it seemed like I was the only idiot who couldn't keep rubber side down.

    Kinda rolling along

    I should have gone lower with my tire pressure. The trail ended up with a fairly deep rut running down the middle of it, and I kept getting hung up in it. You can kinda see the rut in this pic, but mostly I took it to show how a lot of the trail weaved through the trees. That's really a neat idea and quite pretty; but as you are rolling and start falling, those trees come up to your face pretty damned fast. I think 4 or 5 times I reached out a hand as I was falling to stop myself from slamming into a tree.


    There was one lady who was having almost as hard a time as I was, and we kinda rode together for a while. She eventually got her shit together and left me in the dust. Maybe she aired down and got better traction? I don't know. I hope she got going ok. But here she is, and here is how pitiful my performance was. (In a little bit of my defense, this is a very switchbacky stretch of trail called FreakNnature. I'm sure it's a hoot for those who know how to handle it; I am horrible at it.)

    Mostly falling

    I found this guy's video of the short route. About 14:45 in he slips and falls on the icy road, around 38 he's on FreakNnature, about 54:30 he gets to the area of the pic above, and about 1 hour and 9 minutes in, he gets farther than I did. I like that his posted comment states "14 miles of stupid." Ha!

    Another racer's perspective.

    Ya, I did horribly. I had practiced and trained for the three weeks between the IronLine and this Polar Roll, but you'd never know. I know that's not a lot of time, but it wasn't my first day on a bike even though it felt like it. I gave out about 7 miles into the 15 miles. I wasn't super tired, but I was very discouraged. I was so frustrated, I cried. Just a little though. 

    The nice lady with the red van hauled my bike and me back to my truck. I changed my jacket to a little bit warmer one, drove to the finish line, and checked out the expo for a bit. I was soaking wet; every footstep felt like my toes were stepping into puddles of water. I went into the warming tent and had a cup of post-ride stew.


    I was shivering while I was eating it. But I still wanted to look around a bit.


    I decided I needed dry clothes, so I cut it short. I headed over to the YMCA and took a shower. Just getting into the locker room warmed me up. My clothes were so wet, I had to peel them off. The chatty little girls showering after pool time with their moms made me smile. And the dry clothes made me feel much better. I headed over to Border Grill (a major sponsor of the Polar Roll event) and got some late lunch. I hung out in Marquette for a couple hours waiting for the post-race party. I got there, and there were free little plates of Border Grill food. Yay! And there was BlackRocks Brewery beers. I dove into a 51k IPA. OMG, did that beer go down well! I saw two guys who put on the IronLine race three weeks earlier and talked to them a bit. They each won swag (Marge Lite rims and a crankset!), and I was happy for them. I hung out for about an hour and then headed home. I promised myself I didn't have to put stuff away, but I did. I threw my clothes into the wash, unpacked everything, patted my bike and said, "Good ride," hung up my now clean clothes, and went to bed. The next morning I counted my bruises. It took a couple days to find them all, and there were many. My chiropractor appointment Monday was a little dicey... Ouch! Not there! Ok, that's fine. Ouch! Not there! Ha!! 

    I checked out the FB page and realized I didn't do as horribly as I thought.

    Polar Roll FB

    Today I talked to the LBS owner, and he said the people he knew who rode were all bruised up too. 

    It was truly a test of a rider's mettle. One guy commented it was a very humbling ride. The event was put on very well, but Mother Nature sure had her say. And Smudge has her say: my fat bike is for playing, and there will be no more fat bike events for me. I enjoy getting outdoors, but these events were not fun for me. Not my cup of tea, I guess. Playing with my fat bike is fun. Running with cars on my "city bike" in New York is fun. Rolling all over the countryside on my Roubaix is fun. Winter fat bike events just aren't for me.

    But I'm still glad I did it.


  4. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/21/us-usa-cyclists-crash-idUSBRE98K0F320130921

    (Reuters) - Two cyclists died in New Hampshire on Saturday when a car slammed into an annual group bike ride up the New England coast that draws up to 1,600 riders a year, police said.
    The 40th annual Granite State Wheelmen Tri-State Seacoast Century Ride had been on the road for less than two hours when a car driven by 20-year-old Darrien Hess crossed over into oncoming traffic and hit a group of four, according to a statement by the Hampton Police Department in New Hampshire.
    Pamela Wells, 60, and Elise Bouchard, 52, both of Massachusetts, died in the morning crash, police said. Two more cyclists, as well as Hess, were taken to hospitals with injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.
    The police statement did not say whether charges would be filed.
    The ride has been hosted each year by the Granite State Wheelmen bicycling club since the group's inception in 1971.
    It runs over two days in late September and features routes ranging from 25 to 100 miles along the Atlantic coast, starting and ending at New Hampshire's Hampton Beach State Park.
    Police did not say whether the event would continue on Sunday, and calls to the club phone number on Saturday were not answered.
    It was unclear how many riders had signed up for this weekend's ride, but the event site said the club limits registrants to 1,600 riders.

    UPDATE 9/24/2013
    'I saw car coming right at me,' says survivor of fatal cycling crash Woman strikes, kills two Massachusetts women in Hampton

    Driver charged in crash that killed 2 bicyclists Seabrook 19-year-old charged with 2 counts of negligent homicide

    UPDATE 9/26/2013
    Woman accused of giving driver drugs hours before fatal crash

    3rd person charged in connection with fatal Hampton crash