May 2005 Posts

New Long Haul Trucker

Click to enlargeI got my bike Thursday!  Now both Keith and I have Long Haul Truckers (touring bike model made by Surly).  I went to pick my bike up on Thursday and found the parts still in their boxes.  The college student that was going to have put it together hadn’t been heard from.  So I stayed and built the bike myself.  Well worth the experience.  I highly recommend it for any tourer.
The picture was taken at the beginning of our ride today.  Click the picture to see a larger version.
I got home Friday afternoon and went on a 26 mile ride with the family that evening and then another one the next day.  Today, Keith and I added fenders and racks to our bikes and took them for a 26 mile semi-loaded shake down cruise.  We each put 12 bottles of water in the panniers along with some rain gear and other miscellaneous items.  This ended up being a bit more of a shake down cruise than we anticipated.  Almost to our half way stop, Keith’s bike had a problem downshifting on a hill and Lois ran into him and fell over, bruising her knee and hand.   Then about 7 miles later we had a surprise visit from a three dogs.  I braked hard to go on the offensive against the dogs.  I didn’t realize that Keith was as close as he was behind me as he was and he ended up crashing into me and going down.  Keith is the worst for the wear with a healthy bruise on his thigh and a few scrapes, but other than that, we are alright.  The bikes and riders performed well except for those mishaps and we are getting ready for a longer ride in the morning.
Tomorrow we are planning on taking a lunch to some friends that are getting moving next week.  They live about 25 miles from here so it should be an interesting ride, especially with the forecast of rain.
UPDATE:  The weather for the Lunch ride turned out to be perfect.  Went 64 miles round trip and had a great time!  How many people get lunch brought to them on a bicycle?

Traning Rides

Our training rides are progressing.  So far this year we have ridden 320 miles with 67 of those today.  I’m a bit concerned that we have not done as may long rides as I would have liked by this time of the year.  The next two Sundays are out for long rides due to Pathfinder activities.  That doesn’t leave much time . . .

Robotic Challenge 2005

I just wrapped up what is becoming the biggest event of the year for me at work. Monday, May 2 was the Adventist Robotics Challenge a Great Lakes Adventist Academy in Cedar Lake, Michigan. Twenty-nine teams from Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Texas came together to test their skills at building and programming LEGO Mindstorms robots. We partnered with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) and their First Lego League to put on the challenge.

It was a fantastic experience. A lot of groundwork by a dedicated management team set the stage for a very smooth operation. We had about 50 volunteers and a Management team of seven individuals. A representative from FIRST was at our event and she said that it was a great event and so well run that she couldn’t believe it was only the second challenge we have run, much less the first one of this size and scope. Needless to say, I’m still on Cloud Nine! A great time was had by all!
For more information, visit the Adventist Robotics League. Photos of the event can be viewed here.