Thursday, October 6, 2011

Portland, Maine


HR017326Ebsco Business Database Advisory Board’s meeting moved out of Massachusetts.  The meeting was held in Portland, Maine.  The board stayed at the Portland Regency, a hotel just up the street from the wharf.  I arrived late Monday afternoon catching a hotel courtesy shuttle ride with Eve and Alicia.  Sometime after 3:00 I was checked in and changed for a long run.  Having done my Google Maps reconnaissance over the past week, I found some link trails that began pretty close to the wharf.  I didn’t need to meet the group for dinner until 7:00 for Dinner at Five Fifty Five.  On the ride in from the airport, I was able to view Back Bay Cove.  With plenty of time I ran the waterfront trail until it connected to the Back Bay Cove trail.  Having mile markers on the Back Bay Cove trail allowed me to check my pace.  For two of the 3.5 miles, I was at a steady 10:05 pace and probably maintained that for the entire 8 mile run.  Even before I made it back to the hotel, my body was reminding me that I hadn’t ran more than 3 miles for the past month.

Dinner was fine after I finally made it to the Five Fifty Five.  I had hope to arrive a bit early for dinner and quickly checked the itinerary for the 3 days.  Of course I misread which restaurant we were dining.  After a fifteen minute walk to the wrong restaurant, fifteen minute fast walk back to the hotel to find the correct name of the restaurant, and a walk a block, job a block 15 minutes jaunt to the correct place I arrived only 10 minutes late.

2 beers into appetizers I began to relax.  The beers was absorbed quickly as I hadn’t eaten lunch.  Pre and post run protein bars only kept me from an absolutely empty stomach.  Unfortunately, my dinner was not very good or maybe I was crashing from the long run. 

A surprise from hotel was a workout room that allowed for a “real” weight workout.  The room included 5 or so cardio machine, an assortment of Cybex machines, and a free weight area including a Olympic bench setup.  I managed to do a full hour of chest/triceps while downing 4 cups of what I will call coffee water.

The all day meeting was engaging as normal.  During breakfast, Ken from Ebsco and I discussed Ebsco’s ebooks and what I am doing with ebrary.  Sounds like Ken and a colleague will be visiting Chicago to better understand what we are doing with ebooks and try to sway some of out business from ebrary.

During the meeting the weather has soured.  Prior to the meeting I invited Scott to go for a run during our stay in Portland.  We had decided the after the business meeting would be a good time.  I was so sore all day from overdoing the run the day before.  As the soreness increased I just wanted to go back to my room after the meeting and sleep.  But Dave got added to the discussion of running and there was no way to back out of the run.  Both were fine with backing the run down to 4.5 miles.  The temps were in the upper fifty’s with a steady rain.  My colleagues were pretty surprised that we were still going to run.  During the run I pretty much hung on right behind the 2 of them and my legs moved with the smoothness of concrete.  In spite of everything, I felt a level of achievement especially given the conditions.

Scott and I went out to eat a bit later.  Our first stop was a chowder house that seems to be filled with locals.  Nothing fancy here and I had a pumpkin ale along with a seafood chowder.  I didn’t care for the ale, but wanted to try it out since that is what Scott ordered.  Next stop was an Irish Pub that happened to have their homemade veggie burgers.  Scott has went with a vegan diet for 8 months or so (dropping 12 pounds along the way).  I decided to have a veggie burger along with Scott.  Abigail and I have veggie burgers at home pretty regularly.  The pub’s burger has a lot more flavor and was substantial in size.  Scott skipped the goat cheese staying vegan, but order 3 sides.  Given the run, he was hungry by the time we made it to the pub. 


The tourist day was just the right mix.  After Blantiff’’s for breakfast, we ride a Narrow Gauge Railroad.  When running I had ran along the tracks.  I had hoped that the train ride would include crossing the bridge.  Well that didn’t happen.  The Conductor told us that the bridge had burned 10 years ago and wasn’t going to be repair.  Anyhow, she says, the track goes from narrow gauge to standard on the other side.


After the train ride,it was off to the Shipyard Brewery.  Having been on a couple of brewery tours in the past, the bar had been set pretty high by New Holland Brewery and Sam Adams. In Shipyards case, there was little in terms of a brewery tour.  The video explaining there process, tasting a couple of blends, only seemed to ultimately end in a large gift/souvenir shop.


Capping off our tour agenda was a lunch on the restaurant boat DiMillo’s.  I had pretty reasonably, so I indulge in a bread pudding with bourbon sauce.  Osha is the master planning and made our whole time in Portland wonderful.  Osha’s bar is high and she never gives us a less than perfect experience in addition to the board meeting.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Making deliveries

This past Wednesday-Friday, I was scheduled to conduct a morning intermediate riding course in the morning and one in the afternoon.  Honestly, I hoped that there would not be enough students to run the course.  One must have at least 6 students to begin a course, otherwise it can’t run.  A full class is 12 students.  The morning class only has two people on the class roster.  Both of the people on the roster did not show up.  However 9 students got in as walkins.  The afternoon class had one person on the roster.  She did not show but 2 walkins showed up and the class was a no go.  For someone who is working full time plus full weekends, time off gets to be a treat.  I have scheduled off 3 1/2 weeks of vacation to teach motorcycle classes as well.

So what to do with myself was the first question to be answered.  Abigail, my wife, had done some major school clothes shopping for my granddaughters.  I knew that they really needed the clothes.  The forecast for Thursday was rain all day.  The morning class was overcast.  I went home after class, checked the radar and it looked like I could make it to Champaign dry (120 miles).  The ride home was questionable.  Nice thing about the Concours is that is has a great fairing and 3 hard cases. 2 were filled with the school clothes and one had what it always has, rain gear, tool kit, air compressor, etc…  The ride down was a breeze with a strong tail wind and completely overcast skies.  After dropping of the clothes at my daughters job, I dropped by the Motorcycle Rider Program Office to drop off a packet for a finished class since I was in the area.  Before leaving, the radar looked like I might get a little wet.  After leaving the office I filled up the Connie as it rain. 

HPIM7282It continued to rain the entire way home.  Just a steady rain, riding on superslab, with very little traffic.  All said, I enjoyed the ride home just as much as the ride down. 

Knowing that I would probably ride home in the rain meant I wanted to do it during daylight hours.  The only regret I have is that I didn’t stay around long enough to so see the granddaughters.  School is in session and they go straight to the daycare program.  Riding long along in the rain with little traffic allows one to reflect.  This ride I thought of how full and satisfying my like was when they lived with me for that full year.  My schedule was crazy, but I thoroughly enjoyed the daily routine with them.  Cooking breakfast and dinner with them.  They went on the long walks with the dogs (2 miles) every night.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

The 3 day weekend was the first weekend that I have had off from teaching MC classes.  It was the last weekend off until after Halloween.  According to the schedule I will have taught 37 basic classes and 2 intermediate classes.  The intermediate classes are a compressed basic class (10 hours) and the students need to come knowing how to ride along with already having a permit.  The class is designed for returning riders and riders who are looking to get legit.  There are so many riders who get without either the permit or a license.  I have taught of few of the intermediate classes over the last couple of years.  The first two exercises are meant to be screening exercises.  If the rider doesn’t demonstrate efficient shifting and stopping skills, he/she is excused from the class and encouraged to take the full basic course.

The weekend was punctuated by carpet cleaning Saturday, church and a 9.5 mile run on Sunday, and a bicycle ride with my wife on Old Plank Trail.  I had looked forward to riding beyond our normal turnaround spot in downtown Frankfort.  However, when we arrived to find a Fall Festival taking place in it’s downtown.  We parked the bikes and walked like cattle from one craft vendor to the next.  After a granola bar and a drink, we pedaled back to Matteson. 


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Five 20 hours motorcycle classes in 12 day

Talk about teach, eat, sleep, repeat!  I crammed in 5 class in 12 days.  3 of the days were evenings after work.  I burned a week a vacation and taught all day on the weekends around the 5 day weekday course.  I finished the last one last night.  As usually, they varied as much as human beings vary.  One class only had 4 of 10 pass while another had 11 of 11 pass.  Two of the days the students endured 96 degrees.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hearty students and brutal conditions

I taught MC classes Sat and Sun from 12-4 and 4:30-8:30.  The conditions were close to be the most miserable than I have taught in.  The high for Sat was 33 and 34  Sun.  In addition to the temperature, there was a constant wind that was 10 to 15 mph taking the wind chill down into the 20’s.  Yet in spite of the conditions, all twelve riders in each classes hung in there.  In spite of the temperatures and numb hands, all made it through to the end of the this weekend’s session.  It was cold enough that I did the long johns, jeans, and chaps (to block the wind) and I was still cold.  I am on the way to work now with a ruby colored face and a nose that is bright red front the cold wind.  The entire class is praying for a nicer forecast to allow for a more comfortable 2nd weekend of the class.

Monday, March 21, 2011

First Aid and turkey time

Saturday was a morning of Red Cross First Aid  with an afternoon of CPR.  My certifications expire this summer, so I needed to get this done.   One of the MC instructors does the training for the program out of his home.  Very interesting person, Gene is.  He works for Exxon and gets month long assignments.  He recently returned from a month in Angola.  The next assignment is Saudi Arabia.  He stays home for a month in between assignments.  For lunch he grilled burgers and what do you think 10 MC instructors talked about, motorcycles.  A couple of my favorite instructors were there so it made for a good day.

Sunday was a day with periods of intense thunderstorms and showers.  The seemed to be a slight window of opportunity late in the afternoon to get outside.  I had originally planned to just right the bicycle to the library and play on the netbook for a while.  I changed into some workout clothes, clipped on my new waterproof pannier on the mt bike, tucked in the netbook along with raingear.  It was 3:30 when I left the house.  As I approached the library, I decided that I would ride along a little farther, maybe down to Old Plank Trail.  Once I made it to the trail, I arrived at a natural point to pull off and make it a nice loop home.  Well, the sun was going to be out for a couple more hours, so I kept going deciding that I would ride to Frankfort.  Around 2 miles east of Frankfort, I came across a brood of wild turkeys.  For almost a 1/4 of a mile there is wire fencing bordering the trail as there are sharp drop offs on both sides.  I slowed as I approached and took out the camera.  I straddle walked the bike right past them and they kept coming closer. 



After several nice shots, I finished riding to downtown Frankfort.  I was thirsty, didn’t have a water bottle because I hadn’t planned on a long ride, and the water fountains were turned off (will have freezing temps for awhile off and on).  Lucky for me the convenient shop was open to get a low cal sports drink.  On the return ride, I fought the urge to ride harder.  A woman on a hybrid bike slowly passed me.  She had thinner smooth tires and was riding in a higher gear.  I was treating my ride like an early season ride, leaving it in 2 on the front, 4 on the back, purposefully working on a smoother higher cadence rhythm.  I knew that I could up the gears and pass her back up.  Instead I reminded myself that I was out for a nice ride and to work on the form along the way. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Slow, but still going

My 45th birthday was Saturday.  I enjoyed a late lunch with my brother at Flossmoor Brewery.  He was up for the day from Champaign.  He and a cousin went to a memorabilia show to get a picture together with Dick Buckus.  That evening Abigail and I kept it simple going to Cracker Barrel for dinner.  This was an un-birthday. What I mean was that is truly was like any other day with the exception of seeing my brother and calls from parents and siblings.  There was a part of me that wanted to feel special, to have cake and a party.  Since that wasn’t the case I locked into it’s my birthday, a good day, living a good life, it’s all okay. Living within a budget there was nothing extravagant to plan while we focus on 3 year debt free plan or a milestone (I have 3 years to plan or at least may sure I save up for my wife’s 60th).

To occupy myself while I waited on my brother, I turned my attention to some bike maintenance.  Bike as in the pedaling kind.  In particular, I hadn’t paid an attention to the mountain bike that I have used to commute to the train all winter long.  The most that I have done is to keep the chain oiled.  The bike got a good wash and the drivetrain took a while to degrease.  There was all kinds of grit in the chain, derailleurs, and cassette.  I ended up sudsing it up and spraying off with the hole some of the debris.  Then came out a bike chain cleaner contraption that finished the job.  I still spent more time with a rag getting the stubborn stuff out of the derailleurs.  After a couple hours of drying, on went fresh lube.  The bike has many nicks, scratches, and rough spots but looks good for a 10 year old well used bike.  With the cleaning a lube, it looks solid and rides smooth.  The bike will get me to where I need to go with a smile as well as take me through a second triathlon.  I somehow am identifying with the bike.

My workouts are increasing a little.  In particular, I know that I am not a runner.  I haven’t been one (a runner) for over 20 years.  I jog a couple days a week.  For the last 2 months I have added long slow (12 minute miles) on the weekends.  I do set the stopwatch to get a sense on how slow I am running.  Being a competitive person, it’s hard to keep the “you should be running faster” monster from harassing me.  I am running 10 minute miles for the short runs.  For the longer runs, I am just enjoying the movement, the process of slogging along.  If I am able to keep up the slogging, I may consider a Tecumsah Marathon in Bloomington Indian.  The entries are around 400, the route is 90% dirt trails while 3800 ft ascending and 3500 descending through 2 state forests.   I did it 6 years ago in 5:30.  For much of the race I was simply running by myself through forests. 

Side note, I ran across a coyote on the side streets while riding the bicycle to the train this morning.  It was almost like it thought I was chasing it for a moment until it made a quick exit after running for a block in front of me.  

Monday, March 7, 2011

Douglas / Saugatuck Michigan

My wife has been home for the last 7 weeks covering from a full knee replacement.  Her progress has been amazing to watch.  With today being her first day back to work, my friend offered up his weekend getaway home in Douglas, MI.   Wanting to miss any traffic, we left Friday mid-morning for the 2+ hour drive.  The weather held out and waited to rain after we arrived.  The weekend was very low key.  Staying at Paul’s throws one off for a little while as there is no cable TV.  However he does have Netflix and wireless throughout the 3 level 2 bedroom home.  To simplify the weekend (at keep costs down) we made a Wal-mart run in Benton Harbor. Our only outing of the weekend was a brewery tour of New Holland Brewing Company in Holland, MI.  The tour was fun although all of the standing wore on Abigail’s leg.  While most all of our eating was done at the house, we did go out to eat at our favorite place in Douglas, the Wild Dog Grille.  The food is great along with the modern setting matched with African animal photos and stuffed game heads. We both has Tilapia fish tacos.


I was happy to have a relaxing weekend with Abigail.  The view from Paul’s place adds to a sense of peace.  Both mornings there were 4-5 deer grazing right next to the house.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Let there be Range Aids

Now that all of the instructor updates are finished, the Range Aids in the program are able to sign up for classes to assist with.  This will be my step-son Neil’s 3rd season as a Range Aid.  Range Aids make around 8:50 an hour and get paid for 16 hours of work for each 20 hour class.  RA assist with setting up the range, getting the bikes ready, bringing bikes out and putting them up, swapping bikes out during an exercise, etc…  Neil has become quite the pro at changing out broken clutch and brake levels from when the students drop the bikes or have a crash.  It’s great for Neil while he is in school.  He is actively working around 15 minutes per hour.  The rest of the time he can stay in the shade and study (he is in a criminal justice program at our local community college).  Where RA make a big difference is while we are teaching on the range.  In between exercises, a RA can take up the cones from the previous exercise while setting up the cones for the next exercise.  This allows the two instructors to focus on debriefing the riders, breaks, and providing the instructions for the next exercise.  During my first two teaching seasons, I never had a RA and it just meant a little for work, but totally manageable.  RA allow the instructors a little breathing time.  Of the 27 classes that I am teaching this year, Neil will be working with me a RA for 20 of them.  He may assist me with ones during the weekdays depending on which classes that he gets into for summer session.  Of the 36 classes that I taught last year, Neil was my RA for 30 of them.

54890_610883996440_2910964_34538913_5062192_o (1)

That is pretty much the basics of the Range Aids in the program, but doesn’t provide  what prompted this post.  I will have been married to Abigail (Neil’s mom) for 8 years this August and we dated for 2 years before getting married.   Neil turned 20 two weeks ago.   While Neil does make mistakes in life or needs to be prodded to take care of a few things, I have not ever had an arguments with him.  I can really say that he is a great kid with a more than pleasant personality.  Such a contrast to me being a pain to my own step mother who married my father when I was in Jr. High School.  What I get from teaching the classes and having Neil be my RA is time with my step son that most parents never get with their children at this age.  Like any relationship, time spent in common provides the substance that needed to know and enjoy the other person.   In the midst of teaching the program, we can talk, laugh, find out what he is doing while not at home, etc…  I do look forward to the time when he decides to go through the instructor prep program.  Teaching classes with Neil as a peer will only enhance the experience with him.


I have be believe that Neil is just a little more safety conscious than other 20 year old motorcyclists.  Not just because of being with the Motorcycle Rider Program, but because he has seen the effects of even low speed crashes.  In particular, I don’t believe that he will ever were anything short of a full face helmet.  He was right beside me on a nasty crash during the braking evaluation.  The rider over applied the from brake, the bike went to the right and she went to the left.  The primary impact was facial on the rough asphalt parking lot.  The gash between her nose and mouth went all of the though the skin into the mouth.  There were also a few loose teeth but none lost along with scrapes on other parts like the hands and knees.  The rider wasn’t going any faster than 15 mph however the rider made the choice to wear a 3/4 helmet.  Had the rider choose a full face, it would have averted the facial impact altogether.  Half of the other riders in the class suggested that riders in the class should have to wear full face helmets for the class on the class evaluation sheets. 

Side note: The face crash rider already had taken deliver of a brand new HD and was determined to get their licenses.  Even as the rider was taken to the hospital by their spouse, she let us know that she would be back.  About two months later, she stopped by a class that I was teaching at another site.  She gave me a big hug and reported that she had retaken the classes and passed.  She healed up pretty good with a little assistance from a plastic surgeon to minimize the scaring. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

No bonus this year

For the previous 3 seasons, instructors who taught more than the average number of classes with the motorcycle program receive some type of swag.  This year there was nothing as the program was facing the red in a couple of accounts due to construction and other issues.  Maybe I should have noticed the pattern.  The first year for me we were issued Rev’it Meshing Riding Jackets, next was a neon yellow dry ducks top and bottom Frogg Toggs rain suit, and last year was a embroidered shade hat.  While I wasn’t teaching with the thought, the program is going to get those of us teaching lots of classes something special, it was something to look forward to for gear hogs like myself.  The year we got the Frogg Toggs, I had already but a pair on my Campmor wish list for that Spring.  Of the 50 instructors that attended yesterday’s, I was the only one who received a box of home made chocolate coverage peanuts (beyond delicious).  Turns out the class that I taught with Ezell had the highest single shirts/hats sales for a single class, $265.  I never push selling shirt.  Just happened to teach a class where one of the students (wealthier older male) had so much fun in the class that he bought the other 8 students $20 long sleeve t-shirts.
It did receive my 500 students taught plaque and my 700 students taught bar to add to my name tag.  My current total is 767 students in 4 seasons.  Least year I taught 36 classes which included 337 students (some classes only started with 8 instead of the normal twelve).  With me scheduled to teach 26 classes, I may cross the 1000 student threshold this year.
March 24th will be the first class of the season for me.  October 30th will be the last class of the season.  Here is to this year’s experiences.  May I have few crash reports to fill out and lots of satisfied student riders.  Oh, lest I forgot, may the rain gods be merciful and the gods of summer heat be kind.
This past weekend was the end of the 6th week of recovery for my wife from her full knee replacement surgery.  She drove the SUV for the first time since the surgery for around 30 minute.  Because it was a new movement (right knee replacement), it was a little bit of a workout.  By the time the real riding season, she should be able to ride with me on the Concours without the pain that she used to experience after riding for more than thirty minutes.  Here’s to the marvels of medicine and bravo to my wife’s extreme hard work at PT and home.  I am beyond proud of her. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Over the past half year I have been following Jill Outside blog.  The draw for me have been the combination of her adventures, the photography, and the writing.  She just finished the Sustina 100, a ultra-run event in Alaska, running a 100 miles in Alaska’s winter towing a small sled.  The video below gives a sample of her experience.

2011 Susitna 100 from Jill Homer on Vimeo.

I dream of adventures.  Last year, my adventure was completing an off road triathlon.  Half mile swim, 10 mtn bike ride, and 4 mile trail run.  Before committing to the preparation I had never swam for workout.  My prep for the race began in December and the race was in August.  I put in a lot of time in the pool, on the bike, and not enough time running (lesson for next time).  Knowing that the race would occur put a little mental pressure to keep up the preparation.  The race itself was a blast and I didn’t not even dream of being competitive (run too slow and carrying too much weight).  The hardest thing for me was the period after the race, the void of not having the triathlon to train for.  The prep and the adventure was over.
The same has happened with the few motorcycle trips.  I have only have one that I would consider a full on adventure.  I rode from Chicago to Denver.  My wife flew out and we spent 4 days at my uncles.  After Abigail left, I took an 5oo mile day ride into the mountains.  To add to the experience, I dealt with rain and winds throughout the drip.  I remember going back to work after a week and a half playing felt strange like I should still be out there on the road going somewhere
Here’s to getting in adventures.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Changes in store

I often have a desire to post a little more often.  This is due to enjoying the frequent postings on blogs such as Redleg's Rides.  The impediment for me is that this blog’s focus is motorcycling, which I do enjoy.  I am not a James Stewart who’s livelihood or passion is enveloped within the sphere of motorcycling.  Additionally, the scope of my fun expands well beyond motorcycling.   There is no great following of this blog and rather than create separate blog for life outside of motorcycling I am expanding my blog to more holistically reflect my experiences and reflections.  

My mother was admitted to the hospital late last week.  She has continued to undertreat both her high blood pressure and diabetes.  So her body suffers the consequences which has must a few hospitalizations over the last 6 months.  Saturday would be a drive down for a day visit with her.  I haven’t seen her for awhile and with you in the hospital again, I knew that I needed to go down to Indy.  The drive was good for me in that I don’t drive very often and for some reason I get a little anxious on long drives on the interstate.  This does not happen on the Concours mind you, just the car.  The ride both ways was fine.  As I was entering Indy, I spotted a nice Triumph headed north.  A hair over three hours later, as I was leaving Indy, I spotted the same Triumph returning to Indy.  I thought, a very different 3 hours for the two of us.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Letting them run and more

Saturday was pretty nice here in Chicago.  Now that the driveway was clear of ice and snow, I rolled out the Concours and Neil’s Ninja 250.  They both fired right up.  I hand pumped the tires up to their right pressure, at least for mine. Neil will have to do that himself for the Ninja.  After letting them run for around 20 minutes I took them up and down the block to run them through their gears.  Felt good.

I gave both bikes a good looking over.  I noticed the 250’s shifter was bent, and then I notice that the frame slider puck was missing a little plastic.  Then I noticed the frame slider was lose itself.  After an inquisition from me, Neil said when he was turning into a gas station, he hit a soapy patch (gas station with a car wash) and the bike went right down.   I warned him that he was going to have to take it in to get the frame slider bolt tightened.  Then I went back to the garage and spent the next hour removing his side panels, tightening the frame slider bolt, then reassembling it all.  Today was his birthday, I opened my hands like it was an imaginary card, Happy Birthday, I fixed the bike.  He is going to order a new gearshift lever (it’s bent and functioning, but the bending took off the powder coating and there is rust showing.  When the part comes in it can be a nice stepdad/stepson repair.

Long days ahead

This weekend is one of the all day instructor updates with the U of I motorcycle rider program.  From the signup for which classes you would like to teach, the program is trying another variation of schedules to get in as many classes as possible.  Last years schedule “overlapping” caused too much undo stress.  This years attempt will at least allow you a little more flexibility.  In order to get 3 groups through the class in 2 weekend the following schedule was created:

Wed 6-10 Sat 8-12 Sun 8-12 Sat 8-12 Sun 8-12

Thurs 6-10 Sat 12 –4 Sun 12-4 Sat 12-4 Sun 12-4

Thurs 6-10 Sat 4:30-8:30 ……….

The Thursday evening will combined the two classes in one group of 24 with only the lead instructors for the two sections present.  In order to only teach one night a week, I am primarily teaching the Thurs sessions and working both the 12-4 and 4:30-8:30 classes.  On the weekends that I teach, I will at least have the mornings off.  Hopefully bicycle riding with my wife on Saturdays and going to early church services on Sundays.  Last year, I was only able to attend church on holiday weekends from April 1 through Oct 31.  My soul will be better fed on this schedule.  Right now I am signed up for 26 classes for the season with 7 of them during 3 1/2 weekday M-F classes.  My real job have changed vacation accrual policy and I have a surplus of 5 weeks to burn off in addition to 27 more vacation day I get awarded in July. 

It will be a busy year, but there will be many weekends of not teaching for plenty of playtime.

Friday, February 11, 2011

No motorcycle show for me

The Cycle World motorcycle show is this weekend in Chicago.  I have gone to a few of them over the last few years.  However, this will not be one of those years.  When I look at my budget and try to be reasonable, I just don’t need to spend the money to get there, pay for parking, pay for admission, then the temptation to buy stuff that I really don’t need.  Coupled with that, Neil is going away for the weekend and it’s only been 3 weeks since Abigail knee replacement.  Instead I will take Abigail out to the show to see the King’s Speech that she has been wanting to see.  The show is part our celebrating her 57th birthday.

Additionally, I just do feel like I need anything right now for my motorcycling.  New helmet for Christmas, rain jacket, one piece rain suit, and another mc jacket this winter doesn’t mean there is anything else to replace or upgrade.  There is only one upgrade left for the Concours, Denali LED auxiliary lights from Twisted Throttle.  But that will happen after I have some extra money coming in from the MC classes.  It’s funny, in a way my motorcycling has lost “it’s a whole new world” feeling that I was experiencing when everything started back in 2005.  I enjoy riding, but I don’t seem to obsess about it like I did, which also included spending lots (or charging) of money on everything that I thought one needed to be a cyclist.  Maybe a better term to describe the mc facet of my life would be that it has matured, like a good relationship.  Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly can’t wait for the snow to melt and take the Concours out for a 30 degree ride.   I am even excited to know that my MC classes that I will be teaching will begin in less than two month.  I held back just a little bit and will be teaching 26 instead of the crazy 36 classes that I did last year.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Other wheels in winter

During the winter, I still get to enjoy 2 wheels.  Except for a handful of days, I have ridden my mountain bike to the commuter train stop.  This includes half walking and half riding the bicycle home the night of the blizzard in Chicago.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lacking enthusiasm

Got the email from Gil yesterday letting us know that the instructor signup system would be live in a few days. Did I get excited? Not this time. There will be many classes that I teach this year and I will enjoy each of them. However, this will not be another year of 37 classes. My signup will be in moderation (still ranging around 20 classes). My passion is leaning toward getting in more of my own activity. Some of it will be on the motorcycle. Other time will include another triathlon, an ultra-run, and at least one bicycle event like a touring ride. I have created a master list of possible events that I am supposed to review with my wife this weekend. She is more level headed on will help me narrow down my selections. Once that is set, I will fill in the left over weekends with the motorcycle classes. Not only will I enjoy teaching them, teaching them is a key part of my getting out of debt plan. This time 3 years from now I should have freed up 1200 a month in consumer debt payment (hence my wife is helping to shape my consumer moderation, okay yes she is holding my credit cards).

I particularly am experiencing some wanderlust. Some national park should have my name on it this year.