Sunday, June 22, 2008

Big Numbers

Some big numbers have been popping up in our life lately, and this weekend was the biggest of all. Normally this blog features only things pertaining to my life as it relates to my bike. It may appear that my life activities consists solely on a bike. Contrary to the illusion created, there are other aspects to my existence.

Without my family, there would be no me to have a Life on a Bike. This weekend, a big number took center stage with my family.
We were so excited to be celebrating Dad's 80th birthday!

Dad is not the only one turning 80 in 2008. The Varsity and Mickey Mouse are also turning 80 as well, so it was pretty obvious what had to be done.

We threw a birthday party with all his friends and included Mickey and The Varsity as well.

My parents are not your typical 79 & 80 year olds. They have a list of friends thicker than the White Pages and a social calender of a 30 year old. They are firm believers in the value of friendship and nurturing relationships from generation to generation. The guests ranged in age 15 to 93. You're never too old or too young to be a friend. Mom and dad never met a stranger. Once they befriend you, you're in for life.

My cycling friend, Cam, has been joining in the family parties now for the past 7 months. His sister, Cary, and brother-in-law, Grant, were brought into the fold this weekend. It just so happens they live a few doors down, and are now considered part of the family.

Adding to the fun for the evening, Cam arrived riding on his Penny Farthing.

That's the number of spokes in that big 48" wheel. He says it's a bugger to true.

It fit in perfectly nestled behind the pictures and memorabilia adding a bit of nostalgia. We teased dad saying that was the kind of bike around when he was a boy.

It was a fun evening with one of the highlights being dinner by The Varsity!

You have to ride alot of miles to work off chili dogs, onion rings, and fried apple pies. I got a kick out of seeing the faces light up as they walked off with their plates piled high. "What'll ya have, what'll ya have?"

Everyone was intrigued with Cam and his strange bike. A demonstration was in order.
He makes it look easy. It is not.

He had a captive audience.

That's the number of years mom and dad have been married.
There is always something to celebrate in my family. We go Big in everything we do. Happy Birthday, Dad!!!

That's the degree of temperature I had 5 days earlier as I lay lifeless on the sofa while Raja was out riding all over town. With a mere 2 rides under my belt for the week, all plans were thrown out the window with this unexpected visit from an evil bug. There was no reason to make Raja suffer with me. He logged in countless hours of fun at Big Creek, Blankets, and even a day off from work up at the Pinhoti. I appeared to be green with envy, but it was really the greenish hue from being so weak and sickly.
"Are you sure you don't want me to stay home with you?"
No! Go out and play. Somebody needs to be having some fun around here!

That's the number of mountain bikes Raja has been through in his search for the perfect bike. Elroy Ellsworth is on the auction block already. More testing has to be done. He tried out a carbon Trek FS on the Pinhoti. A good testing ground.
While he was riding every bike in town, I stayed in bed trying desperately to get well (I had a big party that needed attention. No time to be sick!).

As if on cue, I was all better by Saturday afternnon just in time for the birthday bash. Early that morning I tried to get back on the bike for a quick spin, but was still too weak to make a go of it. Maybe tomorrow.

I whined and cried enough to make Sherpaman build my Litespeed singlespeed back up. I have been wanting to ride it for a while now, but my mechanic has been too engrossed in his own bike buildup world to fool with that. Riding a singlespeed does wonders for your strength and technique, and I could tell my lack of it was beginning to show.

We packed up the Titus and Litespeed and headed to Blankets. I was not sure how I would feel after 5 days of being sick and 3 days of no food. Seeing our crew of familiar smiling faces in the parking lot was all I need to lift my fears. It never matters how you ride when you are with your mountain biking buds. It is always a good time.

Robin and Colin were there; a double treat. Jdubbya, TreyBiker, and Fatlipsmith rounded out the group.

Trey always has his singlespeed out at Big Creek. He is one of the ones responsible for making me hungry for my Litespeed again. And of course, the Surly Captain. He tears up the new Van Michael trail on his SS. I want to be like him.

If I am dog tired and try to ride my full suspension at Blankets, it feels as though I'm lugging around a sack of potatoes. But if I'm tuckered out and ride my singlespeed, somehow it just works. My SS is only about 2 lbs lighter, but the lack of drivetrain drag and the beautiful mental state you enter on a SS makes it all possible.

I did not say it was easy. My legs had to work hard, and I was horrified at how lame and weak they were. Almost a year off from riding singlespeed had made me soft and lazy. It was a satisfying and rewarding workout, unlike the type ride I would have had if I had been on the MotoLite.

That's the massive mileage I did for my first ride back. We did the Van Michael loop first (the best), a Dwelling, and then a South. That was the toughest for me. The hardest part for me of riding my Litespeed is dealing with the hardtail. An hour and a half is about all I can take of getting beat, bucked, and bounced around over rocks and roots. I will have to confine my singlespeeding to the new loop and Dwelling where it's smoooooooooooth sailing.

I was thrilled to run into Jay Franklin, a good cycling friend we go back with a long time. Always good to see you, Jay! Also ran into Carl and mtnman Jay.
I got more compliments on the jersey I was wearing....every female I came across said something about it. Give Andres a call at ZerieUSA, he'll hook you up!
I need one that says, "Singlespeeding is NOT for Dummies".

That's the number of pictures I took at dad's birthday party. So photoninja took the rest of the weekend off. Besides, riding my SS took all my concentration. I have yet to develop the talent for riding a singlespeed, jumping off to snap a shot, and hopping back on to catch up and do it all over again! Better yet, I think I'll just eat some onion rings instead and watch everybody ride by.

Happy 80th Birthday, Dad!


Anonymous said...

There was a whole lotta red attire for Red's birthday

Cam said...

That was just way too much fun.

Becky said...

So there is life off the bike too?? You definitely do go BIG in everything you do! Looks like a fun party. Glad you're feeling better!