You win some, you lose some, and sometimes, you just survive some

23 07 2013

Today we started Le Ride, our 3500 mile adventure around France, covering the same route as the 1928 Tour de France.  Challenge should have been the word du jour.  We started around 10 am at the exact location that they did in 1928.  What started as amazing as we rode down the cobbled Avenue des Champs Elysees and past the Arc de Triumph, quickly fell apart.  About two miles into the ride, Phil noticed that his handlebars were moving.  It turned out that his stem was cracking.  He decided to soldier on however.  Navigational issues were the theme of the day.  It took us nearly 5 hours just to make it 20 miles outside of Paris.  There was far more standing around in 95+ degree heat than riding.  From there it gradually improved although there continued to be many stops to check the integrity of Phil’s stem, reinforce it with whatever we had, and check maps.  I wanted to quit multiple times as I went thru a few big lows in energy and focus.  As day became night, we began to feel invigorated. We were able to cover the last 60 miles in a little over 3 hours.  We arrived at our hotel at 12:45 this morning, nearly 15 hours after we left Paris.


Baby Zahli

27 06 2012

A long overdue post. Two and a half weeks ago baby Zahli Louise graced us with her arrival.  After an uneventful pregnancy for Julie including swimming on the day that she went into labor, Zahli decided to make things a little difficult.  Julie’s intention was to give birth naturally.  Our plan was to wait as long as possible to go to the hospital in order to make this happen.  Although we were told to go to the hospital when her contractions were 5 minutes apart, we waited until they were 3.5 – 4 minutes apart for over an hour.  When we got to the hospital, Julie was only 3 cm dilated.  They decided to observe her for a couple of hours before making a decision to admit her or not.  After a couple of hours, nothing had progressed but since she was beyond her due date and in active labor they decided to let her stay.  We arrived at 11:30 pm on Thursday night.  We spent the night working thru the contractions.  We tried to use the breathing skills we learned in hypnobirthing classes.  We were an amazing team all night.  At about 6 in the morning, they came in for another measurement.  With all the pain that Julie had gone thru we were sure it was going to be good news.  Sadly she had only progressed to 4-5 cm.  They continued to observe, but since her water had not broken the plan was to have the doctor come in around noon to break it and get labor to progress.  After having her water broken, she progressed to only 6 cm.  After 2 hours there was no change, so they started pitocin to progress her labor.  At this point the pain magnified.  Julie was a tough customer, but it was so difficult to be there for her in so much pain.  After an hour of blood curdling screaming, Julie decided that she would have an epidural.  The problem was that the anesthesiologist had just gone into surgery and would not be available for ~45 minutes.  Julie went thru the roof with this news.  Somehow, with the help of one of the nurses, we got her thru the 45 minutes and she got the epidural.  She was finally able to rest, but sadly, after a couple of hours, she was still only at 6 cm.  After over 24 hours of labor and no significant change in 12 hours, the doctor suggested a c section.  This wasthe worst news we could hear.  It was the complete opposite of anything we had planned.  After some soul searching and discussion, we decided to go thru with it.  With an amazing team working, Zahli was delivered and quickly in my arms while Julie was stitched back up.  A healthy baby girl, 7 lbs, 1 oz.  We hope she does not act this ornery the rest of her life.


Baby Room

1 06 2012

My first thought when Julie suggested a theme for the baby room was, “I grew up with wood paneled walls and turned out ok.”  Like many discussions that have happened throughout this pregnancy, her 2 votes outweighed my 1.  We decided on an undersea theme and off we went.  As the baby room did not have doors the first chore was figuring out what to do for them.  Since the room was long and narrow, the best option would have been pocket doors.  Due to lack of time to tear things apart, we decided on barn doors. I found some examples online and off to Home Depot I went.  By some stroke of magic my creations worked.  In order to keep the under sea theme as intact as possible I got wide, flat doors so that when they were closed they would completely cover the moulding and could be painted to match the surroundings.  After a beginning in which I was not so enthusiastic about a room theme, I attacked the project with gusto and it is now coming together.  We still have many fish, shells, and other undersea items to add, but here is a preview of what has happened so far.ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

My friend Derek

2 05 2009

My friend Derek, he is missed already

There are reasons

1 05 2009

My portion of this ride ended in Denver.  It was a sad day as I really wanted to stay on and continue with the journey, but as the cliche says, “Everything happens for a reason.”  When Julie and I arrived home on Sunday there was an email waiting for us.  The title was Derek 911.  Our friend Derek had been under treatment for Lymphoma since October and had finally gone home.  His numbers looked good after 8 bouts of chemotherapy … but something changed.  In that email from Lisa was information that Derek had relapsed and the doctors gave him less than a week to live.  Julie and I were able to go to the hospital on Monday night to be with Derek and many of our friends.  Derek was heavily sedated, but was able to open his eyes briefly and recognized us.  We had our time to tell him that we loved him.  He died the following night, 2 weeks short of his 42nd birthday.  He was unaware of his fate as things moved quickly and he was never coherent enough for the doctors or his family to give him his prognosis.  On the Monday that we saw him he stated to those around him that it was the best day ever, having all his friends stop by (over 100).  I can accept that he went peacefully.  Not finishing the ride allowed me to be with Derek at the end.  It also allowed me to mourn with my friends at his celebration of life.  These were two events that I would not have missed … maybe it all happened for a reason.

ain’t over ’til it’s over

11 04 2009

Just when I thought I was done with this adventure, a little addition was added.  Julie and I decided to ride the beginning of the ride with Phil this morning from Aurora, Colorado.  There was a huge group of hearty souls who had been waiting in the rain for over an hour … not by choice, but because we were unable to get the airstream attached due to a wiring problem.  Luckily, Scottie the camera man (AKA McGyver) figured out how to hot wire it using a modified extension cord that I got to hold against the car battery.  As has been the case all along, the weather decided to break right as we headed out.  I was feeling pretty emotional and was choking back a few tears as we rode along.  Julie and I decided to turn around at the 5 mile point as we had 25 miles or so to get us back to Denver.  This was the point that the flood gates opened.  No, I am not talking about pouring down rain, but my eyes.  I started crying like a little girl who got her Barbie stolen (or little boy who got his favorite toy truck stolen).  I think all of the emotions of the last 2 weeks decided to come out as I realized that the journey was over for me.  On Monday it is back to the “real world”, but I will cherish the memories of this trip into the REAL world.

What I learned on this trip

10 04 2009

1.  We live in a beautiful country

2.  Never underestimate the generosity of people

3.  If we open our minds and hearts, there is an abundance of love to give and receive

4.  Slow down, the good things in life are often missed my moving too quickly

5.  Spend more time focussing on the good things in the world and not the bad

6. As difficult as life may seem at times, there are many more who are worse off

7. Smile, wave, make eye contact, and say hello to strangers … you never know who you might meet!

8.  Face your fears (one of Phil’s No Opportunity Wasted themes), there is a lot to learn while being vulnerable

Thanks to all who have followed my journey, but it does not end here.  I plan to rejoin Phil in a couple of weeks as well as for the finale into NYC and will report back then.