Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lessons learned

This post will be a combination things: experiences from Madison that need some explaining, a lesson that my bike taught me yesterday, and a little something about impressive creativity...but not in that order.

First, check these out:
We had a bunch of banners left over from the Subaru UAR series and thought we'd be resourceful. Becky Gould, a participant from Austin, wrote us about using some of her past race shirts as shopping bags. I asked her what she could do with banners. She came up with some SWEEET tote bags. I don't often find myself getting excited about tote bags, but I can't wait to use these! She even added some cool details like cut-out stars on the handle junction. I can't wait to see what she can do with our old billboards! Thanks Becky!!!! If you want one of these for your own uses, let me know and I'll see if Becky wants to get into the bag business.
Here's Rasta modeling one.
In Madison, we went out after the staff meeting. This is Thomas and Hans. Thomas rounded up the troops to work the Madison event. He runs a boat rental joint called Supreme Water Sports. You can check out dolphins and some sweet steel drum music on his website here. He took us out for a night on the town. Here's Hans experiencing a 'boot' from Essen Haus. It was definetly an experience. You can only imagine what the men's bathrooms were like considering that most folks were drinking out of two liter containers.
We polished off a couple boots and listened to polka.
Hans showed off his Van Halen tatoo (he says it's not a Van Halen tatoo, but don't believe him). Thomas proudly displayed this lovely homage to his favorite tennis shoe manufacturer.
My camera is waterproof, so I wanted to see if it was beer proof (It is). So this is actually what it is like to look through beer goggles. This can only be done in a glass the size of a boot, you see. We also used the camera to record some inebriated banter that I can't post on this blog as it's not quite family-friendly. But let's just say that if you ever want to be embarrassed, record you and your friends after drinking from footwear. Wow - it was quite the night. Thankfully, Jackie doesn't drink much beer and she got everybody home safe and sound.
The next morning, Brian took me a on a lovely ride to Paoli. I was not quite recovered and not my converstational self, but it was a nice ride nonetheless. Brian's rocking and rolling with Death's Door Distillery. He's all about using local wheat to make these beverages which 1st began with Capital Brewery (our Madison beer sponsor) Island Wheat Beer. He's a great guy and he's all about bikes, booze, keeping it local. We like those things - a lot. He also won the Madison race last year (the epic one in 50 degree rain) - but this year he came out to cheer everybody on - and let his little boy Otto enjoy the big wheels. Brian is one of those people that we meet in our line of work that makes it all so much fun.
Then is was business as usual. You know, like hauling 4 very large rubber ducks across town. I wanted to roll down the windows and blast some Sword of Doom - just b/c so many people were looking at us all strange...I figured that some metal might just be the icing on the cake. But I didn't want to embarass Hans. Always looking out for 'Hansy'.

The Madison race went great. You can see the photos in the previous posts.
We had a day to recover, so Jackie and I enjoyed the East Side of Milwuakee. We saw these crazy upright-bike-paddleboat-float-things - and took a couple out for a spin. Pretty silly, but at least you can pedal them.
In the airport, we spent some time in the "Recombobulation Area". Seriously? Somebody paid to have that sign made? 1st off, how many people have ever heard that word. I hadn't... I just figured it was the opposite of 'discombobulation'. I suppose I felt a little discombobulated after the airport security charade. And it was really reassuring to know there was place for people like myself to recombobulate. From now on, if I don't see one of these signs after the security screening, I'm going to run around waving my arms in the air shouting "Please help me! Where do I recombobulate?!" I'm pretty sure no TSA personel will know what the hell I'm talking about - unless I'm in the Milwuakee airport. Then they can just point to the sign.
Now on to the lesson that my bike taught me yesterday. This photo is of the "Link Trail" which links Boulder Canyon to Betasso Preserve (Boulder's closest MTB trail). It's a very steep, loose climb, and I've never made it up completely before. But yesterday I told myself it would be different. My friend Ben told me the other day that he made it and so did his friend Jim. You can just hear the peer pressure, right? So I told myself that I was going to make it. At 1st attempt, my rear wheel spun out about 1/2 way up. I turned around and headed back down. I hit it with a bit more speed, keep looking ahead about 15 feet, and.....had to touch once when my wheel spun again. But then I finished it off. Doing way better than ever before. Next time, I KNOW that I will make it up. So what's the lesson? Once you see/hear/read about something being done, then you know it can be done. Just that knowledge made it a lot easier for me to climb this hill. But what's really cool is to be a 'trail blazer' and do something for the 1st time. And that's what I took away from it all. I'm going to work hard to do something new and different each day. Maybe it's a new sustainability idea, or a new way to get more people on bikes more often, or just maybe a new physical feat to be proud of. Just something new - to keep things moving forward.
And when you do make it up the climb, this is the type of trail that rewards you. Buffed out, swoopy, and a great place to reflect on this crazy life. to the Farmer's Market. Jackie wants to get a bushel of peaches for making preserves. We're taking the BOB trailer. Then we're taking the pups for a nice long hike. It's Labor Day weekend!!!

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