Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lianna Bikes Europe!

Hi all! As many of you know, I'm headed to Europe for a solo cycle tour. So, in honor of the occasion, I've made a blog just to detail the trip. Haven't heard about my travels? Head on over to: Lianna Bikes Europe! the whole post

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The travel bug bites!

The travel bug has jumped aboard and planted its suckers firmly in me. Soon, very soon, the academic semester will end, I'll finish grading the finals, and then it will be time to wander.

I have no specifics in mind, but I reckon I will squander my frequent flier miles and what little money I have to get myself and my (cyclocross) bike over to the European continent. I have only two stops so far: Cortina D'Ampezzo in the Italian Dolomites, and somewhere an old, local brewery. From there, who knows. Any recommendations? Any one want to join in the fun? the whole post

Monday, January 03, 2011

Christmas Break

First off, it rocks to have a three week vacation from work over Christmas and the New Year. Yay, teaching! I spent the holidays lounging on a beach in Mexico, which for most people is the perfect vacation. But I won't lie, at first I thought this plan was going to be BORING. Lounging on the beach is not my idea of Christmas vacation...non-stop powder trees or long nordic treks are more my bailiwick. Not wanting to be the stick in the mud, I prepped myself to enjoy the trip. Lots of "when in Rome" kind of thoughts. And what do you know.....I had a great time. Largely because of the awesome company, but also, there was a profusion of really awesome dead things that washed ashore. It took us three days to figure out that the thing that looked like an unholy union of a head of cabbage, a horse heart, a jellyfish and some chicken livers was in actuality a sea slug. YUM!

Trips into the nearest town/village were both exciting and exhausting. Simple interactions like buying groceries turned into epic struggles to find the right words for chicken breast, shrimp, and coconuts. We almost bought a roll of polenta before we realized it was actually one huge tube of More pictures to follow. the whole post

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Teaching Thermodynamics II

As many of you know, I've been out of the bike racing action due to an unlucky crash and a dislocated elbow. As I work my back into full range of motion (physical therapy is an exercise in pain endurance), I've been busy with my new job: Teaching at the Mechanical and Aerospace Department of at UCCS (University of Colorado at Colorado Springs). I have been pleasantly surprised with the level of devotion to the topic by the students, as well as the intellectual challenges to myself. Thermo is not easy to learn, and I'm discovering it's even harder to teach. But very fulfilling. And, I have a captive audience for my bad jokes. Ha! the whole post

Monday, August 09, 2010

Off the back...

OK, OK, I'm guilty! I've been busy riding bikes and not posting in my blog.
But I've got some pretty neat stories to share, so here goes the first one:

Just last Tuesday I was out on a ride with my good friend (Sp)Andrew, who was visiting from the lovely Houghton, MI. Lately we've been having these wrath-of-God thunderstorms, and while we were out on the ride, another one brewed up. So, with lightening slamming into the peaks and foothillls around us every minute or better, we put our collective tails between our legs and rode the most protected way home I could find. We stood just inside the door, taking off wet helmets and gloves, when


I knew we'd just heard a tree blow up. We opened the door, and agreed that the chunks of tree hadn't been in the drive when we'd walked inside just thirty seconds ago. I was really curious to see where I'd come from, but the sky was still throwing itself at the ground, so we had to wait. Fifteen minutes later we ventured outside to discover our neighbor's tree split down the center, with half of it falling on the roof of the garage. Turns out our neighbor had been inside that garage when the tree landed on it.....very luckily the roof held. CRAZY!

The remains of the tree as seen from our yard the whole post

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Travels and Riding: Colorado Springs to Houghton

You know those adventures that you dream up when you're feeling trapped at work or school? The ones that take far too long to pull off on the measly two weeks of vacation most American jobs offer? Well, I just finished one. For the past four weeks, I've been travelling and riding, in both familiar places, and new. First up, Houghton.

After becoming unemployed, I spent a week getting my world in order, sorting through paper from COBRA, the unemployment office, and the like. This was practically a full time job in itself. Then I set off in my trusty (rusty) 1990 Subaru Legacy (bet you're jealous!?). I took my leisurely time, stopping within the first couple hours to ride in Boulder with my friend Karl and catch up over a burrito with my friend Lindsey. That night I drove through a snowstorm in Wyoming and came very close to bogging my wagon down in the muddy road leading to my planned camp spot. Luckily, judicious use of the handbrake and a new set of tires prevented me from living my own version of Deliverance in BFE Wyoming.

Then, I was off to see the sights! I'd never been to Rushmore, so I planned my drive to go the the Black Hills of South Dakota. While the monument itself was a sight to behold (see below), I found myself more impressed with the general landscape. The area is full of steep rolling roads that made me want to come back just for a long weekend of road another week of mountain biking. Certainly I would plan such a weekend for no later than Memorial day; Although it was almost deserted when I pulled through in late April, the town of Keystone looked like it becomes an insane hive of tourists in full summer. Not so cool.

George's nose is twenty feet tall! When he blows his nose, does he have rock boogers? If so, they must be the size of boulders!
After 17 hours of driving, I made it to the Twin Cities, where I enjoyed the good company and hospitality of my mentor Nick Chope, and got to hear about qualifying for wave 1 of the Birkie from Tim Martin. Way to go, Tim! As nice as the Cities are, I was anxious to get to open water and sweet trail, so I hauled through the last leg of the journey to Houghton in time to drive directly to the trailhead at the Tech Trails and get a couple hot laps in.
Now, I have to brag a little. Houghton is the center of one of the best trail networks and biking communities I've ever seen, and I've ridden quite a few places now. There is, literally, a group ride every night of the week, and weekend adventures regularly being planned at the group rides. I rode in Copper Harbor (pop. 70), home of an incredibly active non-profit dedicated to making and maintaining trails in the Harbor, the Copper Harbor Trails Club. They even have a full time trail builder, Aaron, whose work includes running a jackhammer to benchcut trail into the basalt, and making SICK bridges on site with an Alaskan mill (I want on of these; Think of a chainsaw with about a 4' cutting surface, then put a guide around it so that you can produce fresh planking on the side of the trail. Now imagine all the bridges you could build with that...)
Well, actually, when I say I rode in the Harbor, it's more like I got my butt kicked in the Harbor. Every time I go back thinking that I get to make a withdrawal from my I've-been-training-in-Colorado Bank, I get schooled by the local guys. Ah, humility. I wish you weren't so prevalent in my riding.
Seeing as this entry is getting long, I'll save more for later. Next up, more Houghton, and on to beautiful Petoskey, MI.

Gitchigumee, otherwise known as Lake Superior the whole post

Friday, April 16, 2010


Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today was officially my last day at Ingersoll Rand. I've been lucky enough to work with some VERY fine technicians, engineers, and folks in all sorts of other roles. I've seen great works and focus from the people surrounding me, and grown in the process. But I can also honestly say, that while I will miss the people, I am glad to be moving on from the eight-to-five of corporate engineering, and into the world of who-knows-what's-next. For now, I'll be expanding my coaching business and getting ready to teach engineering at UC-Colorado Springs. And in the very near future, I'll be on a road trip home; Look out Michigan peeps, I'm coming your way! the whole post