Saturday, January 28, 2012

San Angelo High School Mountain Bike Race Team

San Angelo is in the process of forming a high school mountain bike race team. Justin Smith of Concho Bikes is heading up the team and is in the process of lining up team members and a coaching staff. Lots of work to do as the season's first race is March 11, in Burnet, Texas.

Pedal Pushers is proud to announce that we will be one of the sponsors for the team. We have only recently begun to mountain bike, and anyone who has read any of our mountain bike stories (or road for that matter) knows that we are not racing material. But we are highly interested in all forms of biking and like to further the sport anyway we can.

The team's being new means that it does not have a lot of resources at the present. There will be team jerseys to acquire, road trips for the team and their families, entry fees, and on and on. And Justin is determined that anyone who wishes to participate but doesn't have a mountain bike should not be excluded. Also, it would be desireable to have access to stationary bikes should the weather preclude outdoor practice. Translation, the team will need a lot of financial help.

As mentioned, Pedal Pushers is one of the sponsors and would like to help the team as much as possible. Thus, we have come upon an idea that we hope readers and friends of biking will like and that will help the team. We think it would be wonderful if people just sent in $1.00 to help support the team. (All donations are tax exempt). We have set up a list on the sidebar and will post the names and locations of the donors (like, Roy Jones, San Angelo, Texas).

And should anyone wish to participate in a "raffle", every donation of $5.00 increments will qualify the donor for a chance to win a Pedal Pushers jersey. For example: $20.00 donation=4 chances.
Pedal Pushers jersey pictures: Christine and me at the Ballinger Bikefest.
 Brian Backlund at Peach Pedal
 Sizes available:(Club fit) Med, Lg, XL

A separate sidebar has been set up for the ones participating in the jersey raffle. The drawing will made by one of the team members at the State Championship race on April 29, at Warda, Texas.

For anyone who wishes to participate, there is a Paypal button on the top right, or you can send the tax exempt donation by mail to Justin Smith, % Concho Bike, 2015 Austin St., San Angelo, Texas 76903.

As the team is formed and progresses we hope to run stories of about the team. It should be a lot of fun. In the meantime, more information may be found at:!/sanangelomtb (facebook San Angelo Highschool Mountain Bike) (San Angelo Standard-Times article by Bill Cullins)

 ( (Texas High School Mountain Bike League website)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

First Group Road Bike Ride, 2012

A good lead sentence should have been, "It was a beautiful day, sunny, and a 5 mph wind." Conditions couldn't have been better...
OK, the temperature was in the 60's which made it cold (chilly) for us Texans, but who could stay indoors with a 5 mph wind? We don't see many of these days, so 10 of us decided to brave the chill and try to overcome the Thanksgiving/Christmas excesses. (Current weight was one of the main topics at re-grouping areas)
 Rick Ogan led out and set a brisk pace. Note his suitcase for a saddle pack.
 Soon, Rick and Brian Backlund were setting a brisk pace. I was just happy to keep them in camera range.
 Rick and Brian stopped on top of "The Hill" more out of tradition of re-grouping rather than necessity.
 Mike Blakeman finishing what is called "The Hill". Cameras do not accurately portray what bikers overcome. For instance, as far back as can be seen, the road starts a progressive incline. At the peak of the incline, my Garmin read 10% when I downloaded.
 Backing up just a bit, coming up the hill are Mark Seals, Velma Ogan, and Mike. During the re-group period, of course, the conversation was how the hill was rougher with the extra 10 pounds we may have been carrying compared to last year's rides.
 Going down the hill, Brian eased up so I could pass and take a photo.
Velma on the other hand never eases up. I had to peddle like crazy to get a profile shot.
Next stop. Christine and Mike rolling into the little town of Knickerbocker.
 Liz Rappe (right) shows Mark some damage to her rear wheel from her trainer. Liz met us at Knickerbocker to ride Guinn Road with us. 
 Rick and Velma. By this time it was getting warmer and Velma stored her jacket in Rick's "suitcase."
Fresh on the ride, Liz led out down Guinn Road.
 At the turn around point on Guinn Road (pavement turns to caliche road), Jerry Middleton came riding in. Jerry was to meet us at Knickerbocker. When it didn't look as if he were going to show, we took off. Jerry, I still don't have your cell phone number to coordinate. We would have waited...
 Mike reaching the turn around point.
 As well as Christine.
 Leading off this time was Velma. She had caught her second wind and was heading home. About 15 miles remaining.
 Jerry was about to leave us at the next intersection to cut across Dove Creek settlement to his house.
 At Jerry's turn off road, I wanted everyone to see even though we are still brown, we have had some moisture already this year and the tire tracks prove it.
 Besides rain, this was our back yard less than two weeks ago. Maybe we will have bluebonnets again this year.
Mike and Rick on a cool down lap at the equalization bridge staging area. Great way to start a year. Good ride. Good weather. Good roads. Great company.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Little Tribute to My Big Sister

My sister didn't imagine my reaction to her Christmas present to me. Fumbling through the program booklet and the photos in the gift bag she let me clumsily discover what she had done. Speechless then eyes welling with tears I realized that she and my brother-in-law had made me a part of a monument to honor Illinois women who had served our country in the military. Even as I write this I can't help getting emotional.

I grew homesick for my side of the family as Christmastime grew closer, so I made Roy and Stephen come with me on a two day drive way up north to visit. The gathering places around Princeton, Tiskilwa, and Putnam, Illinois (small, rural farming towns) included my sister's home, Tiskilwa's two taverns/cafes (in England they'd be pubs), and other rural settings. Every few years I love driving through the Illinois prairie farm land to feast my eyes on the rick, black earth and neat, isolated farm houses.

Back to my sister. She shows her love for and honors my mom by making my mom's dishes just the way Mom did. (Believe me, there are no short cuts.) She shows her love for us by making these dishes for us every Christmas. And we love it!

She has spent untold hours on an impossibly slow computer and travelled thousands of miles to research the genealogy of four of our family lines whose members served in or contributed to the American Revolution. She did all the work to enter the Daughters of  the American Revolution; I simply signed my name to the papers to do the same as a result of all her efforts.
 Then comes the monument located in Mt. Vernon, Ill. The town; the DAR, whose mission is to promote historic preservation, education, and patriotism; the American Legion; and many other entities' and individuals' donations and efforts led to the completion and dedication of this tribute. There was even a parade with floats at the dedication. My sister Sharon and brother-in-law Bob were there, too.
Sharon at the dedication ceremony
 "To Honor All Women Veterans" and "those women who have served" is inscribed on the base supporting two statues: one a depiction of Molly Pitcher from the Revolutionary War and the other of Maj. Tammy Duckworth who is a member of the DAR and was present at the dedication.

After her wounded husband was carried off the field during the Battle of Monmoth, Molly Pitcher continued her husband's duties of clearing the cannon barrel with a ramrod and loading the cannon until the battle ceased due to darkness. She was later honored and recognized by Geo. Washington for her service.
 Maj. Tammy Duckworth was a Black Hawk helicopter pilot in Iraq when the craft was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. She lost both legs and the partial use of one arm. Since her recovery she has dedicated her life to public service, has continued her service in the National Guard, completed the Chicago Marathon twice, and has resumed flying as a civilian pilot.

My name, rank, and service years are engraved on a brick in a wall with women such as these. There also are the names of women from the Revolutionary War, World Wars I and II, Korean War, Vietnam Conflict, to the present. Some were present during the attack on Pearl Harbor; others were in Normandy nursing the wounded just after D Day. I'm truly humbled to be listed in their company.

Thank you, Big Sister. I love you.