Friday, December 30, 2016

Little Adventure Week

 It has been somewhat of an adventurous week for me.  Mixed it up, and missing the bike, but glad to get out and push my boundaries.  You just don't know what you can do unless you give it a try. 

Half way to the in law's house, I realized I didn't have the proper cold weather gear for riding.  Fortunately,  I always pack my trail running gear just in case. 

When we got to Roanoke, I dropped the wife and kid off and headed to the hills.   An 8 mile round trip to MacAfee's Knob was just what I needed to relieve the stress of the day. 

The next day,  I wanted to attempt both Dragon's Tooth and Tinker Cliffs but the dog needed some exercise, so I headed out to Carvin's Cove for another 2 hr run. I felt pretty good considering I had been sick the previous week and have not run in a long time.... 
 Fast forward to later in the week, and 40 mph hour wind gusts in the forecast.  I loaded up all of my sails this time and headed to Lake James to see what it was going to be like.  The whitecaps were pretty dense and the wind was blowing spray off the tops of the waves.   That is a lot of wind.  I was not sure if I could handle it so I rigged my 4.6 and headed out.  Nope.  Can't handle it.  I was getting worked.  I made it across the lake, and turned around,  wondering if I would be able to make it back. 

The 40 plus mph winds were crazy. 

I had a couple of back up plans and was prepared to go that route if needed.  I fell in, a couple of times and managed to get back up.  Once I got going it was ok, still getting worked, but making it back across the lake. 

 I got back to the beach and hung out for a few minutes,  allowing the burn in my forearms to subside.  Then there was a lull,  meaning the wind dropped down to about 20 mph.  I took off again and enjoyed 2 runs before the fierce winter wind kicked in again.  
 I decided that I had pushed beyond my limits, so I packed up and headed home.  Disappointed and excited at the same time.  This was the strongest wind I had ever sailed in!  

Now I'm watching for the next storm. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Heavy Heart

Man,  my heart is heavy this morning.  All day yesterday and looks like today.  When will the sadness end?  I know I gotta let time do it's thing, but good grief. 

I had a dream about Alex early Sunday morning.  We were at the park, he was being silly.....  good times. 

I got to spend the weekend with the kid.  Since it was rainy and cold, we didn't do a lot.  Went to the toy stored to buy some toys for Toys For Tots.  Toured Field and Stream,  wrapped gifts at REI.  Chill weekend.  I have to consciously peer through the cloud of sadness and realize how good I have it.  It is easy to lose sight of.  Although, none of what I have is mine,  it has been granted to me from my Creator. 

That helps me keep things in perspective.  I don't know why Alex and Milena are gone, but if I truly believe in the grand scheme, then I believe that there is or will be a purpose for their leaving us. 

Several interesting thoughts have come to mind through this. 

- Kids are angels who have come to earth to learn how to be human.  Totally unfounded other than my mind doing it's thing.  But,  what if it were true?  We better step up our game and fight the good fight!

-In general, people are only motivated through tragedy.  Floods, drought, pipelines, the presidential race etc.  People tend to only react when something negative impacts them.  Maybe if nothing negative ever happened,  then we would sit around being self absorbed, bon bon eating, lazy bones.  I don't know, but its something to think about. 

Thursday, December 08, 2016

In Memory of Alex and Milena

They were more than just kids on the playground.  We had unofficially adopted the kids.  They were special.  They taught us a lot.  We have been going to that playground since we moved here,  we know the parents and kids who meet in the evening to walk, play and socialize.  I call us "the park family".  We share stories, success and frustration.

Alex and Milena joined us about 5 yrs ago.  Their caretaker, Abuelita, lives across the street, so they became regulars at the park.  Alex was an intelligent, upbeat and downright silly kid who was always goofing off.  I was really impressed recently as Alex had learned to respect his peers and his school work improved.  He was a cool kid with a lot of promise.  I loved him as my own, and would have done anything for him,  as I would my own kid.
Alexander Bautista-Gomez

Milena was an amazingly smart and cute little girl.  She always had a smile and a hug.  I spent countless hours, pushing her on the swing and chasing her around the playground.  She was a bright light at the end of the day.  I could always rely on her to bring some giggles and laughter to the playground.
Milena Maria Alejandro-Bautista

I'm gonna miss those kids.  The playground family is gonna miss those kids.

I stopped by the playground after dark last night.  I was alone.  Bright stars in the sky. Shadows cast by the streetlights.  The air was chilly and slight breeze moved across the swing set.  No kids laughing, no adults walking.  Just me and the quiet, sad playground. 

Needless to say, the heavy sadness will linger for a while.

They were crossing the road after walking to the dollar store to get sweatpants.  Crossing the road to get some Subway because the kids were hungry.  A car coming down the hill, just after dark did not see them.   No one person's fault, just a series of tragic events.   Abuelita was also hit, but sustained only minor injuries. 

A couple of weeks ago, we were hanging out and waiting for the super moon to rise.  It finally did and in the light of the moon, Alex asked the wife, "What happens when we die?  Do we just "poof", disappear?"  The wife responded, telling him, " Well,  we believe that if you believe in God then you will go to heaven when you die".  Alex responded " Oh, that's good, because I believe in God".

Enjoy that playground in heaven, little ones.


Monday, December 05, 2016

Need a Little Help.

Click here to help.

  I have been hesitant to put this out there, because I never want to be a burden to the community that supports us so well.  But sometimes, we all need a little help from our friends, and I am humbly reaching out. 

I am the director of Trips For Kids WNC.  Along with the support of the community, we provide mountain bike outings to youth who would not otherwise have that opportunity. 

The truck I am using to haul bikes for the outings, to support area events, and to pick up bike products to stock The Bicycle Thrift Shop is ailing and threatening to stop in it's tracks sooner rather than later . 

$5000 will give us a healthy down payment on a quality truck and leave us with a manageable payment plan.

Please help Trips For Kids WNC continue to fulfill our misson.

As always, thanks for the support.