Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Ok folks, time is drawing near for the June 19th Oakley Elementary Kaboom Playground Build...
I have lived in Oakley for 11 years now.
After we moved in, I waited several years, anticipating the day that my kid would be old enough to play at the park behind the elementary school. He was finally old enough to walk and we went to the park often to play soccer. As time went by, more playground equipment was added. We played on all of it. We had a blast and made a lot of memories.
Now though, most of the installed equipment is outdated and does not measure up to current playground safety standards. So it is time to do something about it.
April Alexander, 4th grade teacher has vision.
Several years ago, as I was chatting with her and other teachers on the playground, she shared her feelings and vision for the neighborhood. We talked about how we can demonstrate taking pride in our neighborhood and set a good example for our youth to follow. The next day, I took my weed eater up to the park and started doing instead of talking. It seemed there were budget cuts and the weeds were taking over my neighborhood park. I had the skills to pay the bills, so I went at it.
What followed were more volunteers, and work days. Simple people giving up personal time to make our neighborhood awesome.
Oakley looks a whole lot better, and feels a whole lot more inviting than it did 11 years ago!
This year, April Alexander practiced what she preaches when she applied for the Kaboom Playground Grant, which is funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC. After a lot of hard work by the faculty, staff, PTO and members of the community, we won the grant.
On June 19th, 250 volunteers will converge on the school property in our awesome little neighborhood and build the playground pictured below. In one day! But we need your help.
We knew all along that this would be a big undertaking, and we are up for the challenge.
So, what do we need from you? Simple, sign up to help. Sacrifice one day of your time and be a part of a community coming together to accomplish something that is so much more than a playground. This is going to be a magical moment that you do not want to miss out on. Be a part of making our neighborhood, our community, our city, a great place to live. A place that offers help when needed. A place that wants to provide a warm, safe, loving environment for our youth.
Click the link below and register to sign up:
We also need all kinds of tools, take a look at the list below and let me know if you can help: firstname.lastname@example.org
Spade shovels 30
Rock/Metal rakes 30
Cement (or garden) hoes 15 or more
6' step ladder 2 or 3
8' step ladder 2 or 3
Manual post hole digger 5
corded drill 10 plus
Powerful cordless drills w/batteries 5 plus
8 lb sledge hammers 2
4 lb sledge hammers 2
Garden hose with spray nozzle 2
100' extension cord 5
Power strips.cord splitters 5
25' extension cords 5
Digging Bars 2 or 3
Garbage Cans 3 to 5
Claw hammers 10
Pop Up tents Pop Up tents
Generator 2 to 3
Bobcat (prep day) 1
12" auger bit 1
18" auger bit 1
Thanks for making our community awesome!
Posted by Stephen at 9:12 PM
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Got a busy couple of weeks ahead leading up to the Kaboom playground build, getting things ready for the summer ride program, and all the other stuff that I spend my time doing!
Posted by Stephen at 7:08 AM
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
So, here is a peek into my daily life. Yesterday is a great example.
Wake up, get coffee, do computer/e-mail/pay bills etc ( office work), take the kid to school, take the truck to get the oil changed, squeeze in a 1.5 hr bike ride, get a shower and lunch, visit some bike shops to pick up donations, order a bike to give to a girl who cannot afford one, head to The Bicycle Thrift Shop to work on bikes, open the shop and get ready for The Used Gear and Bike sale at Mountain Sports Festival. Close the shop and take bikes to Regeneration Station for our booth there, head home to spend 45 minutes with the wife over dinner before she heads to work, take the kid back to Regeneration Station so he can get a wheelie bar for his Razor Scooter, head to a friend's house to fell a 40 ft dead oak so it won't fall on his house, car or head, head home, help the kid with homework, hang out, go to bed.
Insert ride outings, bike club support, meetings etc toss it in a hat and shake it up. Each day is different, some days I don't get to ride, other days I get to ride more.
I love my job and it is infused in my daily life. If it looks like I'm not working, it is because I am good at having fun, and my job is fun! I'm always working!!
I might start a ride along program if anyone wants to join me!
Monday, May 18, 2015
Mistake #1. I was worn out and have not been riding consistently. After spending the previous two weeks moving the shop, building shelves, starting to organize etc, was worn out. Starting something like this worn out and tired, is not setting up for success. I'm not sure that is something that I could change. Having a full time plus job, being a full time husband/dad, it is part of life. When the bikepack window opens, I have to go.
But, I could change my goals. Kevin Hessler reminded me that I should go out there without a plan. He is partially right. While the plan was to finish the loop, I need to be more flexible.
Mistake #2, I didn't drink enough. The long arduous climb up 215 is tough, especially at 2pm with 85 degrees and no shade or breeze. I kept thinking I was almost there and judged my drinking by how far I had left to go instead of time. Almost 2 hrs passed, and I only drank 3/4 bottle of fluid.
Mistake #3. I panicked. By the time I got to the gap, I was hurting. Not totally done but hurting. I had already decided to scrap the ride, and get back home on Friday night, so I could get to the kid's last soccer game of the season. My choices were to continue down towards Waynesville, turn around and drop back down to At The Ridge, head to Davidson River, Pisgah or Bent Creek to camp. I considered camping on the side of the parkway, but needed water. Several other spots crossed my mind as well. I foolishly decided to head down to Davidson River. I thought that once I got past the climb at Devil's courthouse, it was mostly down hill. It was not. There were at least 4 climbs before reaching hwy 276.
Mistake #4. I didn't let myself recover. I should have stopped and done what I needed to do before continuing on. It is nearly impossible to recover while still spending resources.
Lots of mistakes and lots of lessons learned, I hope I learned.
Long live long rides!
Posted by Stephen at 9:04 AM
Saturday, May 16, 2015
No matter how hard I try, and how many reasons that I come up with that I was successful. I still have to admit to failure before I can move on. I set a goal and failed to reach that goal. I don't like to fail, but that is part of the game. If there was no risk of failure, it would not be a challenge and possibly not worthy of completing.
Even a 3 mile loop around the neighborhood can end in failure. But the potential reward is worth the risk, every time!
Even a 3 mile loop around the neighborhood can end in failure. But the potential reward is worth the risk, every time!
Posted by Stephen at 7:02 AM
Friday, May 15, 2015
On what began as a quest to challenge myself, I was rewarded with the chance to lean heavily on a community of people in order to make it home safely.
The day started fine. I was tired but feeling good. I was aware that I had not ridden my bike much but I figured that I could take it easy and ride the 280 mile Blue Ridge Mountains Loop in 3 or 3.5 days. I had over 12 hours of daylight and was confident. As I mentioned before, I also have not been riding my bike consistently. Nose to the grindstone, getting the shop in order, getting the summer ride program going, helping the local school with a playground grant, and being a dad/husband.
I road down the parkway, through Bent Creek and up to Bent Creek Gap. I was feeling great. The morning was uneventful. Drinking and eating on schedule. This trip I was trying out some new nutrition. It had been great on shorter rides and I wanted to test out how some liquid nutrition would work for me.
The forest is so lush, and green, creeks flowing everywhere. No worries about water refills. As I pedaled up and down on FSR 1206, my thoughts continually turned to my family and other life stuff. I had bailed on the P111K to do this ride which was cool. The kid's last soccer game was on Saturday which was cool too, I had the ok to skip it. But I couldn't shake the guilt for not being there. Easy enough, I'll just do two days of the ride and then figure out how to get home on Friday night and be there for the game on Sat.
After roughly 50 miles, I took a right on Hwy 215. A roughly 8 mile climb with over 2000ft of elevation gain, up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Training grounds for George Hincappie.
I ate, continued to drink and started going up. Still feeling fine. I was excited that I was feeling so good and excited about camping out tonight. I was also still trying to figure out how to get home in time for the soccer game. If I could, I wanted to avoid getting picked up. I didn't want the family to have to take time out of their day.
I didn't feel good. Ok, I decided to make my way to Davidson River Campground for the night and head back home in the morning. That would solve my current dilemmas. I ground my way to gap and the Parkway. Sat and sipped some water and ate a little. I was nauseous. And then I made a miscalculation.
I could not remember how much climbing was between 215 and 276. It turns out there are 4-5 climbs. Had I known that for certain, I would have headed back down 215 to At The Ridge and camped there. But, I didn't and I thought I could make it. The next 25 mile consisted of me resting, drinking and eating some gels. I had no appetite. I pulled off onto a grassy patch and wanted to nap. I felt a little better so I kept going. I finally made it to Hwy 276 and headed down. 18 miles to the campground. I was out of water and watching for a creek to fill up in. Just past the Pink Beds/Visitor Center, I found a creek and stopped to refill.
Water and Nuun, I sat on the side of the road sipping. I had pushed myself too far. I laid down in the grass after checking to make sure there was no poison ivy. I closed my eyes and relaxed. I looked around for a place to camp. A car drove by. I could hear it turn around. It pulled up and a lady asked if I was ok. I was not. They offered to call 911, I nodded. The kind couple stayed with me for the 20 or so minutes until the ambulance arrived. The lady asked if I was familiar with healing touch and if I would be okay with here practicing on me. I consented. I was in no condition to refuse help of any kind. We waited. Small talk. I explained my situation and gave them my diagnosis. Info was relayed to 911. The lady continued healing touch. I continued sipping Nuun.
By the time the ambulance arrived I was feeling ok. Nauseousness gone. Able to stand with only mild dizziness. I declined services and got a ride into Brevard where the wife and kid picked me up to take me home. The bummer is that by the time I got to town, I was feeling fully recovered from the dehydration/nauseousness. But who knows, it could have gone the other way and I could have dug a hole too deep to get out of.
The wife and kid picked me up and were excited to have me home.
Love life, go big, fail, succeed!
Posted by Stephen at 8:03 AM
Friday, May 08, 2015
As usual, I hung on as long as I could and then dangled. Once I get dropped, I usually try to stay within sight. Typically, not always, the group will not leave me if they can see me.
Tonight's weather was a welcome change from last week. After getting rained on, getting cold and calling the wife for pick up, we completed the entire route tonight, hot and dry.
Jane Burlew asked if I was going to take the hilly route home. I told her no, because I was worn out from moving the shop this week. 5 minutes later, Taylor stated that he was going that way if anyone wanted to join. Dang it. I prefer the route over the rolling hills of Hendersonville rd, so I told Jane that if she went, I would too. Taylor, Andy, Chris, Jane, Gary and I peeled off.
Posted by Stephen at 6:46 AM
Thursday, May 07, 2015
The happenings revolve around The Bicycle Thrift Shop, a resale store that I operate. I have been looking for additional space for storage for about 1 yr now. That just opened up 2 weeks ago, in the same complex where the shop is located. In fact, 2 units opened up, side by side on the street side, instead of around back. After some quick negotiations with the landlord, we settled on a price that worked for both of us.
Last Wednesday, Alec, started volunteering at the shop. He is going to be working on Wednesdays which will free me up to do some more bike clubs!!
Last Sunday, with the help of Jen, the wife, the kid and 4 guys from the Western Carolina Cycling Club, we moved everything to the new location.
Monday evening, Alex and Ian helped me schlep some heavy double glass doors around the building. I started installing those doors for the new store front on Monday morning. I was bumbling around, making slow headway. The neighbors showed up, construction workers, and less than 1 hr later, the doors were installed.
Wednesday, we opened the shop, Alec got work helping out and getting stuff done, and then Pete and Sarah showed up and told me to put them to work!
This is what gets me excited: people doing what they enjoy doing, because they care about the community!
Amazing times with amazing people!
Tuesday, May 05, 2015
While I really enjoy the race format, I also really enjoy bikepacking. I have not had time to take a trip yet this year and I suddenly realized on my spin around Bent Creek that I have 3 days in a row that I could take a bike packing trip of some sort.
I was torn at first, well, I'm still torn. I want to do both, but what would I enjoy more? The camaraderie of suffering with others and full support at the P111K makes this a race not to miss. The challenge of a 3 day ride is equally alluring.
|big black snake caught me by surprise.|
Posted by Stephen at 6:34 AM
Monday, May 04, 2015
After a while, Shrimper left us alone. Rick headed down the off map trail to check it out and reported that it was overgrown and did not seem to be a good option. Tom K rode into the gap armed with a pack of Oreos to share. He hung out for a while and helped us heckle.
We had decided to leave around 5:30pm, but hungry people kept riding up, so we just kept grilling. we figured that the more we handed out, the less weight we would have on the way back down.
Posted by Stephen at 6:51 AM