Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nothing New Here...

Monday was a regular Monday; got to work, come home to supper, play some ball with Ian at SBU, Ian and I scare the daylights out of Deb and Marla while they were walking at the gym (that was funny!), catch a little Monday evening basketball on the tube, and call it a day. I did play an 1:30hrs of basketball at lunch which will be my regular day off the bike and active recovery.

Tuesday was chilly out so at lunch I jumped on the trainer for 1:15hrs while I watched Serrogate (OK for trainer, not good for everyday rental). Kept it fairly light with a couple mixes of bigger gear play; feeling pretty good. Tuesday evening was Ian's basketball practice and other than that not much happened out of the ordinary (which is nice).

Wednesday was another routine day, but I did manage to slip out early afternoon and grab a 2hr ride before it turned dark. As I raced the sun home the temps were really falling. Not looking forward to the next couple of days if the forecasts are correct - ice/snow/cold (single digit cold).

Riding is going pretty good and I feel way ahead of where I was this time last year even though I am keeping the effort levels way down. My plan is to use spring mountain biking to sharpen my handling skills and build a solid base (and do well in Sport/Cat 2 races). I would like to be flying in May and June for a handful of crits in KC, Tulsa, and STL. Take a couple easy months and then hit it super hard for 'cross in the fall/winter. While the Blue is in the shop I have done all my rides on the mtb (trainer time is on the tandem) and that is working out good. Waiting to hear from the mechanics in Georgia as to the status on my rig... compared to my mtb it will feel like I am flying when I get to ride it again.

Ira, Jake, and I are looking to do a fun urban orienteering/trivia (I know it sounds like an odd combination, but it's fun) race in SGF this Saturday evening, but will have to play it by ear as the temps are 20* for the day and 5* at night and this thing starts after dark (7-9pm). We have done this the last three years (Ira and I the first year and Jake and I the last two) and while it is technically a 'race' it is more of a fun event around MSU and the downtown area (lots of running). None of us are to hip to cruising around in near single digit temps so we'll have to see if we go.

On a different note: While not a huge change in day to day I am starting to subtly bring around a bit of a shift in the outlook and prospective I have on life and the people/events with which I spend my time. I have let some influences impact my thought processes that led to nothingness/waisted energy so I am limiting those and moving toward those that support/nourish a healthy lifestyle and outlook. I have a handful of friends and resources with whom I need to reconnect/strengthen my ties as well as some acquaintances that I would like to get to know more. Like I said not a huge shift, but a needed one.

Is it just me or does Nancy Pelosi (doesn't matter which side of the isle you sit) make you want to smack her '24/7 botox'ed' look off her face. I always have to turn off the video to Obama's addresses to the nation and simply listen as she is so freak'in distracting.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Weekend (part 2)

It is sometimes hard to have serious conversations in our house...

Sunday morning came with some early core work and then off to church. After services we all went over to the high school to attend Jake's Academic Honors Banquet. Deb and I are fortunate to have two intelligent well rounded kids and we stress the importance of higher learning just as I do with athletic advancement. I will admit the 'academic' functions were new to me as I didn't see too many of these (at least from the inside) growing up; my brother on the other hand... It's good to see Jake's core group of friends all in attendance (along with a large portion of the cross country team). Ran across Dale at the ceremony (his daughter Mary was honored as well) and we decided on an afternoon ride.

Dale and I met around 3pm and cruised southeast of Bolivar for 2hrs. The temps we in the low 40s, but the windchill had it feeling in the low 30s (if not lower than that). We found more evidence of the road damage the recent ice and snow inflicted; the county road crews have their work cut out this spring. The below video does not fully show the massive ruts and chaos on this semi chip-n-seal/gravel road (and yes, Dale did hit me with his bike then didn't wait up he just kept pedaling and I had to chase him down).

Dropped Dale off at his ranch and snagged another 30 minutes. I dressed just right with the exception of not enough foot coverage and by the time I hit the house my feet were totally numb. It was a solid 'first week' back on the bike as I ended up with 13hrs of ride time. Looking forward to continue this throughout the winter weeks as deposits in the 'ride bank' now will pay off in April and May. The below is a picture I took on the way back home. It is not as vibrant in this image as I saw in real-time, but it was incredible and I thought worth sharing.

Walked in the door (trying to thaw out my feet) and there was Ian ready to hit the gym for some basketball. By now everyone has realized he and I spend a ton of time shooting and dribbling at the gym and it is driven by this 8yr old who understands (already) that practice and time in the gym is the only thing that will make him better. I DO NOT DRAG HIM TO THE GYM, as Deb will attest he is begging and begging to go (and often more than once a day); I am not shying him away from it in any manner, but it is all him.

After returning from the gym the entire Jones crew headed over to the Kemp's for a movie night - Princess Bride on their new projection TV. I have no idea the dimensions of the picture, but it has to be over 80" (huge). We always have a great time with them.

Back home and everyone hit the hay. Good weekend for all.

On a different subject: Is there any doubt why the UCI banned the Dugast Diablo?!?!?!? Although it might keep spectators just a tad back further... Hoping JP continues with his form and Nys puts on an old fashioned butt whoop'in this weekend at Tabor.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weekend (part 1)

Deb, Ian, and I hit the gym Thursday evening and the below clip is an example of a kid racking up his 10,000hrs. Jake was off hanging some tin on a barn with a local farmer all evening.

Starting to get into a Friday Ride routine and I'm liking it. Waited until mid-afternoon (warm as it was going to get) and headed out for a couple hours with my brother and Dale west of town. Always fun to hit the roads with Jim as he is progressing with every ride and seems to really like getting out. We all parted ways after 1:45hrs and I decided to keep it cruising and ended up with 3hrs.

Got home, ate, and headed with the family to watch BHS boys basketball. Jake spent the night with a friend. Ian had a buddy spend the night and after getting them to bed it was time for COD MW2. I crawled into bed around 2am.

Deb has taught me the fine art of Saturday morning sleep-in and this morning we both snoozed well after 9am (I could get used to this). A little coffee and pancakes for the crew had our morning starting off good. Helped out with a little house cleaning and then hit my man-shop for some bike maintenance and clean up. Dale and I planned to ride around 2pm, but heavy rains up a halt to that so I jumped on the trainer for 1:30hrs and watched a horrible movie (The Other Man). Cleaned up, grabbed some chow, and went to watch SBU basketball with Deb and Ian. Jake passed as he had several friends over for a movie evening. SBU got beat (again).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thought I Saw...

...Stijn Devolder out on the cold rainy backroads of Polk County at lunch today. He would be the one in shorts, cycling cap, ls jersey, light gloves, embro'ed legs (SPF 60) and killing it Euro Style.

Speaking of such, following the TDUnder and no surprise to see HTC picking up where they left off. Can't wait for the spring pro cycling to hit northwestern Europe...

After such a solid ride yesterday I didn't want to go back to the rollers/trainer so I donned the thermal skinsuit, rain pants and cape, and booties and got out in the 35f rain for a 1:15hr spin east of Bodunklivar.

The rain is supposed to clear tonight so I'm looking to get another ride at noon for a couple hours with Dale. Not sure what is on tap for Saturday, but would like to get in 3+hrs and then a couple on Sunday.

Crazy how bad the roads here in Polk are falling apart with the ice and snow we recently had. Just when I thought they paved about all the good roads the 'cross gods have smiled and busted them up the way I like em - almost back to gravel.

Ian and I hit the gym for over an hour yesterday evening and imagine we'll head back again tonight. Got home yesterday to see Deb killing it on the trainer (atta' girl).

Blue Competition Cycles should have received my rig today so I am hoping to hear from them soon as to the next step. So far everyone I have delt with has been incredibly quick to contact and willing to expedite (always good to see a company stand behind a product).

Here's a little something for Tommy J (I like J Fallon's humor):

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hump Day Ride

Had a sick little man at home yesterday so opted for a day off from fitness. After basketball practice (Ian stayed home) Deb and I watched SBU beat on MO Western; pretty boring game and we came back early.

Today I hit the office early so I could grab some extra time at lunch. Everything went as planned and at 11:30 I was out of there and on my rig. Temps were high 40's with a stiff breeze (kind of coolish) straight out of the west. Stayed off the 'major' roads (Crusty, I know, its a realitve term) and opted for the one's Mother Nature beat on during the latest snow and ice. Rode down to Stockton Lake (headwind), north a little (crosswind), then to reap the tailwind I sailed home. Ended up hitting the door right at 2hrs for what was a solid tempo (for this time of year).

Rain is on the way (at least it is forecasted) along with a dive in temps for the weekend. Going to try to get another hour outside tomorrw if the rain holds off; if not then a spin on the trainer.

Ian was back at school today and is dying to get to the gym tonight after dinner so guess where I am heading in an hour or so...

Jake's leg/ankle appears to have healed up as he has continued the mileage with his crew everyday this week. With the trail race his last week's mileage was over 50; better him than me.

Monday, January 18, 2010

MLK Day...

...means the markets are closed and the office is also - play day! The boys weren't so lucky as they are already making up 'snow days'. I got up with the boys, fed and scooted them off to school (great now that Jake drops off his little bro), then back to bed for me. Deb and I woke up later (much later); she headed off to a hair salon appointment while I boxed up and mailed off the Blue for warranty work (cracked seat tube). I knocked out a couple other errands before grabbing Ian some lunch and surprising him at school. About midway through the chow he got pretty sick at his stomach. Turns out there is a bug going through his school so we were out of there.

Dropped him off to Deb then I got outside on the bike (mtb with slicks will work fine until the Blue returns). 3:10hrs cruise on the back roads in great weather felt sweet; nothing hard, just steady cruise. Legs felt really good after Sunday's mud-fest.

Back to the casa to find Deb whipped up some home made chicken pot pie (awesome).

Jake cruised an easy 4 miles at practice today and his leg/knee was giving him some fits from his fall Sunday. Hoping it passes quickly and he is back up to speed soon.

The rest of the evening is low key and back to the grind tomorrow.

Friday Girlfriend is Back and Memphis Rain

Big weekend (three-day) with tons of activity so let's hop right to it...

Friday I dropped into work early in anticipation of sweet afternoon weather and a date with my Friday Mistress (love me Friday rides). Things worked out as planned and at noon I was off for two hours. It was pretty nice weather, but I quickly found out the moisture in the air had it feeling much cooler than the temp showed as I rolled out for two miles only to return and wrap up another layer. Good ride.

Deb and I left work a little early in the afternoon as Ian received recognition for getting straight A's for his first semester in 3rd grade. Very proud of the little man.

Immediately after the program we shot down Hwy 13 to get to Ian's basketball game. The kids played tough, but took a their first 'L' of the session. Afterwards we (my mom, dad, bro, both nieces, and grandma) snagged some eats then it was back to Bolivar.

Ian spent the night with a friend as he didn't make the trip to Memphis with us due to him having another ball game on Saturday. He was staying with a teammate until Saturday afternoon when he hit a birthday party then it was over to Uncle Jim's for the rest of the weekend. Jim's daughters and wife were gone for the weekend so he was looking forward to catching all the football games with Eball. The two of them really like each other and it's fun to watch.

The rest of Friday evening was spent packing... until I heard COD MW2 calling and before you know it Jake and I went to bed around 2am. I didn't mention yet that we had a 5:45am wake up call in order to get on the road by 6:15am. I was a hurting unit when the alarm went off (sigh).

On the road and met Diane and Thomas (Diane's 17yr old son) around 7am and then we all hit it to Memphis. 5 hour drive went fast as the conversation was good. Met up with the rest of the SGF (John & Cynthia, Beau, Mia, and Cliff) and Branson (Dathan, Kendell, and Jay & Terry) at Rendezvous Ribs for lunch. Pretty good stuff, but not as good as I expected; all in all still worth hitting it if in the area. Interesting entry in an alley and not on a main road. ***The below pic is what was left of a rib/shoulder plate with hot bbq sauce and probably the best coleslaw I ever had***

Checked into hotel; Deb and Jake grabbed a nap while Diane, Thomas, and I went to packet pickup. A quick scan looked like the trails were in decent shape with not too much moisture. That ended pretty quickly as it started raining (and turns out it didn't stop until 5 minutes before race start). Back to the hotel for some major relaxation/napping until dinner.

The crew headed over to Milanos, a great pizza and pasta dive in Millington, for a huge grub fest. Like last year, I ordered a size too large of the stuffed meat pizza, but did my best to put a dent in it (left overs for after the race was the plan). After stuffing ourselves it was back to the hotel for a little tube (Yes Man is always fun to watch); Jake and Deb had stopped earlier at a Walgreens for some stuff and so Jake reaches in the room's fridge and pulled out a carton of chocolate ice cream and three plastic spoons (pic below)... eating again. It was still raining when we turned out the lights.

Not too early of a wake up as the event didn't start until 8:30am. Grabbed a quick breakfast of the hotel, kitted up (running wise that is), and off to the start... still raining.

Tough to figure out what to wear as it was mid-40s and raining. 5 minutes before the start it stopped raining so a quick drop of the rain top and I was on the line for what was to be a slip-n-slide fest. I worried about Jake breaking something as he hasn't done much running (off-road that is) in super muddy and slick conditions. I reminded him several times that we were there for a training/fun run and he agreed (although is 'fun' pace is not too much fun for me usually), but we both wanted to be at the front when going down a steep section of stairs about 400 meters into the event.

So the gun goes off and we quickly get to the front, make our way down the stairs in the lead, and settle into a comfortable pace. A couple fast characters go by, but to our surprise we were clipping right along near the front while going at a realitively easy pace (he and I were chatting it up for the first couple of miles). Since the course is 99% single track dirt (not chat or gravel, but dirt) it was mud-central and standing water everwhere (kind of fun). A couple miles in and Jake rolls his ankle in a big slide and he is in quite a bit of pain. He keeps going, but it favoring it quite a bit and is hard to put a lot of pressure on it while doing downhill; not good for the conditions of the day. We kick back the pace a some, but keep cruising along. I felt bad for him as it was going to be a long morning on a bad peg and he was looking forward to a solid tempo run and he was on a good day prior to the injury.

Deb was able to catch us at a couple spots which is always fun. She always had a huge smile for us with lots of cheering. Outside of 16.3 miles of the worst running conditions I ever seen it was a fun morning with 'the boy'. He and I had several laughs and thoroughly enjoyed the time together. With about 3 miles to go Jake took a hard spill and hurt his leg/knee pretty bad. After a little 'walk it out' time we made our way to the finish. I was on a pretty good day (even it you don't take into consideration I hadn't ran enough to properly prepare for the event) and would have liked to see how it would have gone with the injuries. Either way I had another 'one of my best times' doing one of my favorite things with one of my favorite people - simply can't beat that combination.

All the SGF and Branson folks had solid runs so count on us back for 2011.

Headed back to the hotel, showered up (and ate the rest of the pizza), then hit the road back to MO and home.

Picked up Ian around 7:30pm from my brother and turns out they stayed up Saturday night until 1:45am playing MLB (Ian says he was up 3-1 in the series). We all missed the little fella.

Got home, unpacked, and soon there after everyone crashed for the evening.

Another solid weekend of fun and more importantly quality time for Deb and I with Jake. We only have a couple years left with him and we are trying to squeeze all we can every chance we can.

Already looking forward to SwampStomper 2011...

***Disclaimer - I am still working on the Bean's video settings so be patient as I know the clips are much blurrier than normal***

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rollers, Redbox, and Eat Fest '10

This past weekend started the 2010 biking journey with a couple rides on the rollers. So far I have 4 days of riding out of the past 5. I plan to take the first couple weeks at 1-2 hrs per session before really laying in the base work. I am a big fan of rollers this time of year over a trainer as I am keeping HR low and working to get a smooth stroke going again. I am in no big hurry to get outside in the snow and slush (more slush now than snow) even though the temps are climbing; the rollers workouts fit my schedule better right now with it all set up in the office next over from where I type this. I just finished the '05 Giro (El Falco) and usually catch up on all the Red Box flicks in January and February. On the weekends I'll venture out on the mtb and road bike for longer rides, but for weekdays it's all rollers for now.

Very similar to last year I am sticking with shorter events (1-3hrs in length) again with Syllamo's Revenge (50 mile mtb race) as the longest. Tried to fit in the Mohecan 100, but that is the same weekend as Jake's Track & Field State Championships. Looks like mtb'ing in the spring/early summer, then shift to crit racing in early summer/summer/late summer, then to the main focus of 'cross.

Monday was a pretty routine day as Deb and Marla knocked out some fitness, Jake is back to running with his crew after school (don't know if he actually stopped...), and Ian and I hung out at the casa doing a lot of one-on-one basketball (nerf style) in his room.
Tuesday had us at Ian's basketball practice after work and then he, Deb, and I went over and watched the BHS boys' basketball game. Pretty standard Tuesday for us (even snuck in some COD MW2 before bed).

This weekend is the SwampStomper (16mile run trail race) in Memphis and while the temps look ideal the forecasted rain on Saturday will make it interesting. Deb, Jake, and I (sorry Ian, but you'll have to settle for watching football with Uncle Jim) are traveling with an AR teammate and her son (who is Jake's age) and meeting up with a crew from the SWMO area. While it is fun doing the race, Jake and I are really trying to focus on this weekend's main activity - FOOD! Lunch Saturday is World Famous Charles Vergos' Rendezvous ribs and then later that evening is Milano's (one of the best pizzas I ever had). I will float the idea of eating at the Kooky Canuck (see pic of the 7 1/2lbs burger to right) on Sunday, but will have to see who is up for it after a long run... As you can tell Jake and I do not take this run seriously as it's more about getting away with some friends for a good time.

On a total different topic: NBC - please leave Conan on at 10:30pm and move Leno to a different time slot (between Conan and Jimmy F). Leno is OK, but Conan is by far my favorite guy as he is the equivalent of Jim Rome for sports radio; not everyone gets him initially, but give him two weeks and if you still don't like him give him two more weeks... Conan's wit and mix of physical comedy is right up my alley.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Warmth At The End of The Tunnel...

It has been some stinking COLD weather as of late and I, like many, am happy to see it start to move on out of the Midwest. Forecasts for the rest of the week are in the upper 30s and low 40s (SWEET), but more importantly it is 'supposed' to be 45 Sunday in Memphis for the SwampStomper. Bad news is 50% chance of rain there on Saturday; slip-n-slide course...

The kids were out of school bother Thursday and Friday so each day I snagged Ian and we played some 'noon ball' (basketball at SBU at 12pm). He shoots and plays with Coach Guoit's kid along with one or two more on the side while we run up and down the main court.

Thursday evening E and I went over to a friend's house to watch the college national championship game. Ian was decked out in all his Longhorn's gear and talking the smack. By evening's end it was determined that the #12 on his jersey was no longer for Colt McCoy (hurt and left the game early), but for Earl Thomas (d-back sophomore). Texas lost a tough one and Ian was much better about dealing with the defeat than in the past. It was determined that we will no longer watch any type of playoff game at Randy's house as Ian is 0-3 there (sorry Randola, it's just the way it is).

Friday after work was spent doing a whole lot of nothing at the casa for us boys while Deb went to a wedding. We goofed around watching tv and played some 360 way too late.

Saturday morning we all slept in (way past 9am), moved around slowly while Deb made pancakes for everyone (I whipped up a couple cafe mocha's), then got ready to head to Ian's afternoon game in SGF. We (I say we because I coach Ian's team) started The Courts second session with a win. E-ball played probably his worst half (1st half) I have ever seen, but bounced back in the second to play solid. I like the kids we have on the team. Ian had quite a fan club in attendance with g-pa and g-ma Jones, Cheri and Alexandra, Jake and his 'friend', two of my aunts and one uncle, and my grandma Smith. Afterwards the entire group scarfed down some pizzas and then separated off. We had some Christmas items to return so a couple hours more in SGF then back home.

While Deb grabbed a book and the boys played some video games I hopped on the bike for an hour (on the rollers) and knocked out my first '10 ride (first strokes since XC state in early December). Running has been a good change of pace, but I was glad to ride again. Cleaned up afterwards and caught 'The Hangover' with Deb (funny stuff).

Sunday morning brought church, then lunch, and then Ian and I off to the gym to shoot around for an hour of so. Turns out several dad's had their kids doing the same thing so we all grouped up for several rounds of Two Ball Knock Out and some half-court action. We all had a great time and left nearly two hours later. Jake spent the afternoon with his church youth worship team. The temp outside was on the rise, but I had yet to put on my 'big boy pants' so I snagged another hour cruise on the rollers watching the '05 Giro (El Falco riding with absolutely no support). Shaved my legs and head for the first time in '10 then sat down to a huge bowl of Deb's homemade potato soup (AWESOME!). During the chow fest we watched Little Big Leagues with Ian who thought the flick was great (as we all did). The rest of the evening was super laid back as I finished it off defending the liberties most take for granted on COD MW2 (special ops missions) - you can thank me later.

I snuck out of bed early this (Monday) morning and got in an hour run just to keep them fresh for this weekend's 16miler.

I love racing bikes on the weekends (and it is just around the corner), but wow, I could get used to some relaxing days like we had recently. Deb swears she can teach me the ways of the 'dark side' (I guess that's actually 'dark room' since it relates to sleeping in on weekends), but I will resist and know the early Saturday morning rides will soon be in full swing.

So, that brings me to my plans for 2010 (bike/race related)... I liked last years schedule so much I plan to emulate it again with a couple changes if the early months go well. This year I would like to add the Dogwood RR, possibly Joe Martin SR, Dale is trying to get me to the Mohecain 100 (100 mile mtb race in Ohio), the fall KC 3-day race, and Gateway Cup in STL, but all those probably won't fit in so I'll take it race by race. Looks like I am in for THIS since it is important to support Crusty and MWI.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hump Day Report

Boy it's nice being back home...

Went to bed Sunday night with the notification school in Bolivar cancelled for Monday, which made the boys happy (until I explained to Ian that snow days are made up at the end of semester - summer). Deb and I got back to the grind (work) while the boys had another day to sleep in. Grabbed Ian (and his buddy) at lunch and went to SBU for some great basketball (1:30hrs). After work Deb cruise to SGF to be with a good friend of ours while her son was in the hospital (many prayers were said and answered) and Ian and I went with a friend to play some more basketball at a community gym. School was not cancelled for Ian on Tuesday and I ended up playing much later than expected (2hrs) getting me the 'evil eye' from mom (not really, but should have) for having the youngster out so late.
Ian's a funny cat in the gym as he shoots & dribbles and shoots & dribbles and hardly every 'goofs' around - he fully understands it is time spent now that will have him excel later. I have no idea how close he is to 10,000 hrs, but is closing in quickly.

Tuesday I woke up to some core work and skipped a workout at lunch and commenced to save the world (again) from tyranny (COD MW2 - best game I have played). Went from Ian's b-ball practice after work to SBU for a men's game (38th home win in a row - longest in NCAAII). Got home late, but fit in time to get the Ride-On Gore cables installed on the Blue.

An early AM run at SBU Wednesday morning snagged me 1:30hrs beating feet (I'll be glad when the SwampStomper is over and I straddle the bike again).

Nothing on the docket for this evening and I think all of us are looking forward to a bunch of nothingness.

Different topic: A week or so back I referenced a 1/2 IM at Branson and my interested in doing it. I initially held off signing up as I wanted a little time to think about it before financial commitment. I gave it much consideration over break and decided to skip it and stick with the same schedule (more or less) as last year as I had so much fun being fully back on the bike and racing as much as I could fit in and there is no sense to changing up something that worked. Additionally I have already done a 1/2 IM and going sub 5hrs again wouldn't be too hard so I'll wait until Jake heads to college then I'll don the tri stuff again and knock out a full IM (so I can get that cool tattoo - honestly, I will get it upon completion). Dale is already working his Jedi mind tricks to get us to THIS in May (Ira, Crusty, and ScottyD, I know you guys are game...).

Monday, January 4, 2010

Whole Lot of Time/Activity in a Nutshell

Last post took place on our final night in South Dakota with a return drive the following day. Lots and lots has happened between now and then so here you go...

Woke up early Wednesday morning (last week) and did a quick weather check and found western SD through to home was getting snow and freezing rain; might as well make this a bookend trip and have it suck going home just like it did coming out... It was decided that we would postpone an early start and leave sometime around noon with the expectation of stopping in Omaha, NE for the night. After breakfast I loaded up the Durango, which surprisingly had more room coming home (actually saw a little out the back glass) while Ian and grandpa knocked out some snowmobiling (as you can tell by the pics Ian is a huge fan).

Hugs were given, kids loaded, and the crew was off across SD. Roads were clear so it was smooth (and fast) sailing all the way to Sioux City, IA (the below pic is the start of the Badlands, SD).

From Sioux City it was spotty snow pack and icy spots, but nothing too bad. The biggest noticeable change was the temp drops (same as Spearfish, but now with moisture - brrrrrrrr). Everyone was in good spirits during the travel so we kept driving past Omaha and before you know it we made the Missouri line. Freezing rain was falling so the speed reduced drastically all the way home; that's right, HOME at 1:30am (13hrs; 3 1/2 better than on the way out). Funny thing once we got inside was everyone was wide awake and no one hit the hay until well after 2:30am.

Thursday until later that evening we all had no plans so everyone slept in late (and I do mean late). Once up I called around to see if anyone was playing 'noon ball' (basketball at SBU) and sure enough they were. Ian and I headed over for a solid 1 1/2 hours of fitness and immediately afterwards Ira called to see if I was interested in a trail run at Sac River. Got home, had Jake on board, changed into run clothes and we were off to Sac. Cold temps outside along with no running for a week made things pretty slow on the trails (which were a mix of ice and mud). 1+hr of sliding around and it was back to Bolivar.

Jake had a church youth New Years activity so he was out of the house early evening and a little later on Deb, Ian, and I headed over to the Evan's ranchola for a fun evening with friends (another super late night - sigh).

Friday morning came way too early (even though we slept in again) and we all loaded up the Camry for the trip to my parents to celebrate a late Christmas and New Years. Got to their home a little after noon and found my bro (and crew) already there.

SIDE NOTE: I grew up in a home that watched sports and it didn't matter what sport as long as it was a sport. Deb grew up in a home without sports on the tube (I know, Linda you will tell me sports was on from time to time, but believe me in a comparative there were not sports on). Jake doesn't watch sports, but Ian lives on them. That being said the schedule (and the tv station) is set when you come to my pop's farm and let's just say during Bowl season it's on like a DC mayor to crack!

We grabbed some lunch and then watched football. Later we grabbed some dinner and then watched football. After that we opened Christmas presents and then watched some football. Snacked and then watched SportsCenter to recap the day's football. Although this is not far off reality there were times of fun family games and good conversation (and then we watched football). It's always very relaxing on the farm.

Gifts wise I was pleased to see the return of the BEAN camera (thanks mom and pop) and this time I will try to keep from running it over (seems to work better that way).

Saturday was a great sleep in morning and surprisingly the early Bowl games were already playing. It was super cold outside so Jake and I opted to skip a run and watched football. We paused for a super meal (thanks for my bro the pumpkin pies were extra creamy this year - HA) then got back to some football. My bro (and crew) headed out Saturday late afternoon before the Christmas tree was taken hostage (ask me some time and I'll explain, but the visual is way better). We snacked, played some games, Deb read, Jake text'ed, and then we watched football until we turned in.

Sunday morning late wake up found around 4" of snow dropped on top of some slick roads. Pop cancelled their church so we had a lazy morning until it was time to leave. I wasn't looking forward to driving the Camry on icy roads, but the good point was we only had 60 miles to travel not a bazillion.

The drive out of farmville was not near as bad as expected (took my time and drove slow) and we made it to SGF without incident. After a nice family lunch at McAlisters and some returns/shopping it was finally time to head to home. BTW - I hate going to the mall and yes I am that guy on the bench (not in sweats and loafers - Crusty) and I have a feeling soon I will move up to the 'guy in scooter' status; please someone shoot me.

Got home mid-afternoon to find Jake's 'friends' enclosed his truck in plastic wrap with a nice dose of Silly String. I have a feeling some payback is coming...

Unpacked (again) and helped get the house in order. Ian had a buddy over for the afternoon and I headed to SBU for 1:15hr run on the dreadmill (two weeks left to get my legs up to speed). Back to the casa, cleaned up, and did a bunch of nothing until bed time. Finally it looks like we are back on a routine/schedule...