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Welcome to one dad's journey....

Discussion in 'Team Alaina Sage' started by mantispf2000, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Hello All--

    Ok, so many of you know my story about losing my 4-year-old daughter to croup. It sucked then, and it still sux now. Granted, the pain isn't as great, or is it that my body has become used to the waves of emotion of such a loss. Either way, with the help of family, friends, sponsors, and RM, I have been moving forward.

    This is to show appreciation to my sponsors, which I will list when I get a bit more time, and to give you a bit more insight into what goes on while I ride in Alaina's honor. Please keep an open mind, like I do for signs from Alaina, and yes, I'll share a few with you. They may sound dorky, yet they are what I see.

    So--- Welcome to my "new normal"........

    Shawn
     

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  2. moff_quigley

    moff_quigley Why don't you have a seat over there?

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    Awesome RM.

    Shawn,

    :thumb:

    Travis
     
  3. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    So, as I always tried to teach Alaina random acts of kindness, today I was cleaning out the garage a bit, and found 5 pairs of mtb tires I was no longer using or will use. Knowing that the juvenile detention center refurbishes bikes for less-fortunate kids for x-mas, I took them out to them to use. Left with a good feeling.......
     
  4. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Those that have supported me to this date. First, of course, is my wife and family. Granted, wifey tells me she's over the whole riding thing, yet it's what gets me through. Hey, if it doesn't hurt anyone, why stop???

    Sponsors. As you know, without them, it would be quite a bit more difficult to keep the riding going. At first, I would contact companies about my Make-A-Wish fund raiser I held out in Virginia City, Nevada, for 4 years, then Gardnerville, Nevada, for a year. Seemed like they couldn't help fast enough. Guess it had to do with my "send your close-outs/seconds/blems/what-have-you, I'll use it to get you name out" approach. Then my stepson decided he wanted to ride, so to approach for support for him. Maybe it was because I said "THANK YOU" all the time? Finally, to hit home with losing Alaina. Sure, some companies said "no", and that's fine. Now, I do have a core group that has been with me since. And they are (drum roll, please)---

    Big Daddy's Bikes of Gardnerville
    ClifBar
    Crank Bros.
    Fox Racing Shox
    Gary Fisher Bikes
    Hayes
    LH Thomson
    No Tubes
    Race Face
    Ridemonkey.com
    Ritchey
    SixSixOne
    Voler Wear
    V.S.I.
    W.T.B.

    To me, it's amazing, and humbling, when companies such as these look beyond, way beyond, podium finishes, and really look at the rider. As I tell them in my email updates, I can truly never say "THANK YOU" enough for their support......
     
    #4 -   Oct 16, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2009
  5. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Another site I like to post on, and mainly because I'm involved with a bunch of my Compassionate Friends gang, is facebook.com. I have a new page there as well, under Team Alaina Sage (duh, how original). Maybe it's because I'm still trying to work on the right sizing for my pics to post here, or maybe because including my family/friends is a bit easier. Either way, come on over and see what's posted pic-wise......
     
  6. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    So tentatively, for 2010, my plans are to attend Sea Otter in April, Downieville in July, the Northstar Thursday Night MTB XC Series July-August, and Mammoth. I'd also like to try for an endurance event, maybe Kirkwood or Cool, CA, or even Arizona. Just depends on the work schedule and $$$'s. If you're at any of these events, I won't be hard to find. Just look for some guy wearing either a "Team Alaina Sage" t-shirt, or a jersey with "Daddy's P.I." of the front and "I'm Alaina's Daddy" on the back. I sure would like to put some faces to names from RM......
     
  7. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Granted, it was using the trails/service roads behind the schools here in the 'hood, but it was the course used for my last Make-A-Wish event. I did change a bit in the middle, which added to the fun factor. Makes me wonder--- if I put the whole course together, what kind of fun/turn-out would there be for a short xc race, or a longer 12-24 hour event? Sure would like to find out some day.............
     
  8. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Most of you know I ride in my daughter, Alaina's, memory. Well, she has a few friends that come along for the ride, flying next to me and keeping me safe. They are--

    Bryce (D)-16, Brian (R)- 31, Savhannah/Donnie/Britt (L)- 6mos/21/33, David (RP)- 20, Clarissa (A)- 22, John (P)- 17, Colby (C)- 21, Cody (C)- , Faron (F)- 5, Mariah (S)- 21, John (S)- 37, Clint (S)- 21, Kylie (M)- 2wk preemie, Beth (S)- 16, Rhiannon (D)- 21, Brandon (M)- 17, Jessica and Gregory (F)- 23 and 14wks, Susie (M)- 44, Jessie (S)- 22, Ryan (I)- 22, Joe (G)- 18, Pippin (A)- 11, Melinda Rose (J)- 28, Chris (S)- 22, Ryan (E)- 27, Rachael (R)- 20, Sabine (S)- 3mos, Sydney (W)- 19, Steve (M)- 32, Gregory (C)- 24, Mitchell (L)- 29, Ben (P)- 27
     
    #8 -   Oct 28, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2009
  9. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Dang that Michael Jackson guy. Wife wanted to see his flick, This Is It, so I caved, well, wanted to go, too. In the middle, he does his "Earth" song, and it starts with a little girl running and playing in the forest. At one point, she catches a butterfly with her finger. Towards the end, she's desperately trying to save a seedling from the bulldozer. Reminds me of teaching Alaina random acts of kindness.

    Another fun ride-- I put together a loop behind the local elementary schools, part of which was used for my Make-A-Wish event, adding a bit more climbing/downhill and adding some in the middle, and it was a blast!! About 10 miles of rocky/sandy/grinning work.
     
  10. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Was out visiting Alaina before work, and as I was leaving, noticed a beads/bell hanging on one of the trees. Went back to look at it, and it's one of the local Ring In Kindness Bells. Card on it said to take it, so yes, I did, called them to see about volunteering, and may help make a few with them. Thank you, Alaina, you still help make daddy's day.........
     
  11. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    There's this herd of wild horses, about 7-10 depending on new babies, that visit Alaina from time to time. Lately, I haven't been able to see them, until just recently. I found the wild horses, and they're about a mile from Alaina, on someone's section of land, all together in a paddock. They looked so sad, though, no grass, just dirt, and I really felt for them. When I got home, I left a message with the BLM, and I'm going to see what it would take to "buy" them and set them free again.....
     
  12. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Spoke with the BLM, and was told that yes, the horses were caught, and they have been adopted as a group minus 1 (1 adopted just down the road). Now, to see if I can contact the adopter, give my Alaina-visit story, and see if I might be able to help out to be close to them. We'll see.........
     
  13. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Ok, this is not meant to in absolutely no negative bad feeling way ticked off the powers that be here on the RM. I appreciate the ability to post about my riding for Alaina, and don't want to become black-balled for the future.

    That being said, I've had hiccups downloading pics here for you fine folks to see. Therefore, I've been downloading them to my facebook page, Team Alaina Sage (gee, how ironic it's the same name as here, eh?), and just put about 25 new ones up for your viewing.

    Oh, and had another good ride out to visit Alaina today. Man, I'm going to have to stud some tires soon, as we're supposed to get snow in the somewhat-near future......
     
  14. drkenan

    drkenan anti-dentite

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    Awesome! If the horses were together in the wild, they definitely deserve to be in captivity. That sucks that the BLM decided to "catch" them in the first place.
     
  15. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Ok, so this is a chick flick, however, I've noticed we get a decent amount of signs from Alaina, just showing that as long as we keep our heart/mind/eyes open, there's no telling where she'll show up.

    Got My Sister's Keeper last night, and saw 5, yes 5, signs from Alaina. They are/were--

    1-- During the preview of Time Traveler's Wife, at the end, the guy says "I can't stay here long (or something to that manner)", and his wife says "I know", then the screen goes right to Alaina's bday (August 14).

    2-- At a hospital scene, the family talks with Dr. Farquad. Let's see, what other movie has a Farquad in it? Why yes, Shrek, one of Alaina's favorites.

    3-- Dad works for the fire department. Alaina wanted to be a firefighter.

    4-- Judge's chambers is #614. My grandparents'/now uncle's address is/was 614. Maybe granddad was saying hello as well?

    5-- A memoir book by the daughter shows a hand print. Alaina and I would trace mine and her hands on her bday.

    Co-ink-ee-dink?? Maybe, although I'll think otherwise......
     
  16. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Yesterday, I decided I'd ride and do the errands that needed to be done (pick up daughter's rx, ride out to see Alaina, etc). After all, it's only about 15-16 miles round-trip from home, so why not? Granted, the wind made it a bit chilly, which my face felt.

    Then today, I rode the "modified" version of my Make-A-Wish course behind the neighborhood schools. About 7-8 miles, with loads of rocks and sand. The folks taking target practice out there didn't thrill me much, however, the post-ride smile is well worth it.

    Looking forward to Sea Otter in a very big way................
     
  17. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    In case any of you fellow monkies are at any of these events, flag me down and say "HI". Would love to meet you.

    Sea Otter-- Riding cat 2 clydesdale xc mtb on Saturday the 17th, though I'll also be there the 16th. Need to see the sponsors of my riding, and hoping to meet the Little Bella's race team.

    Downieville-- I'll be in the clydesdale division again (unless I lose a boat-load of weight by then) on Saturday. Maybe I'll break the 4-hour barrier?

    NorthStar-at-Tahoe-- Their becoming more-and-more famous Thursday Night MTB XC Series. Haven't seen the dates, although I know it'll be a great time. Maybe another raffle win?

    Mammoth-- Southridge Racing had an event down their last year, and I hope they bring it back this year. How could I not ride at a place Alaina loved to visit?


    Events that are always on my mind to attend-- Leadville 100, 24/Pueblo or Enchanted Forest, Coolest 24, TransRockies in BC, Iceman Cometh, and Chamawegon (ok, so I butchered the spelling.. you know which I mean).
     
  18. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Cut to the quick. Packed Thursday so I could get an early start Friday, which I did. Go out to see Alaina first, as I needed her angel kiss for good luck. Clear roads made for a quick trip. Stopped in Jackson, CA, at the local WalMart to try and find a power adapter for my phone. Sure, I should've planned a bit better, however, I knew I'd have a bit of time to find one along the way.

    Stopped in Santa Cruz to meet a fellow TCF parent. Though the time was brief (hey, I had a cycling jones going on), it felt really special to spend some time with a fellow bereaved parent. On to Sea Otter, and my excitement level is increasing by the mile. Arrive about 1-ish, and get to registration to get my pack. A bit of a glitch, as I had requested #814 (Alaina was born on Aug. 14), which put me out of alphabetical order. Found it, and it's expo time. Oh, if I would only win Mega-Millions. Talk about a candy store!! Found some deals, made some purchases, received some samples, but the most important thing for me was meeting my sponsors. Some were there, some not. I just always like being able to put a face to a voice or email. I did meet Jim Mc from MBA. They have put me in print on a few occasions, so it was special to me to be able to thank him in person.

    Event day Saturday. I'm in the Cat 2 Clydesdale xc group. Being patient, though wanting to get started NOW, as I was very excited. I had a hunch it was going to be a good ride when I noticed all the starling birds flying around and under the start-line bridge (we have a child/bird combo on Alaina's stone, fyi). Finally, our group starts, and I'm with the group..... for about 100 yards. I was able to stay in sight on the asphalt, but once on the dirt, it was bye-bye/I'm OTB for the rest of the race. Granted, it was one heck of a course. I'm so glad Jeff/SOC extended the length from the 10 miles of the past to 19 miles. Makes it worth the drive/$$$. In short, I had a blast. Cleaned some sections, walked some others, but finished and did not have any mechanicals. Sure, I was way off my goal time (wanted 2:14, actual 2:46), yet when I checked against other divisions, I wasn't the slowest, so that's an accomplishment to me.

    Quick final check of the venue, and off to home. I did make some time for pizza at Pizza My Heart in Monterey, and to get one to bring home to wife. Amazing how it's still edible after the road trip (haha).

    Now to check the dates. Don't know if it'll be Downieville, or the Thursday Night series at Northstar that's next, though I know it'll be a blast......
     
  19. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Kirkwood's 9 to 5 in August is now on the list. Middle brother just bought a mountain bike, and he wants to give this event a try. Geez, that means I'll have to get my fat a$$ into decent shape. Not only riding for Alaina, but with a gung-ho brother to boot? Hey, if he wants to ride with me, that's absolutely most excellently great, as far as I'm concerned......
     
  20. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    As I went out for errands today, I passed the school Alaina would be "graduating" 6th grade from. Don't know why, yet it hit me extremely hard. The missing out on such a large step in her life. I started wondering what we'd do to start her vacation. Over-nighter to Mammoth? Road trip to Disneyland? Maybe a trip to her grandpa's/great-grandma's in Lancaster, CA, followed by a continued trip to grandma/grandpa's in Phoenix/Rocky Point? Would I even be willing to let her out of my sight for so long? And would she want to have a school friend come along? To think, as I type this, it's been 7 years, 4 months, 5 hours, and 50 minutes+ since Alaina went to be with the Mammoths upstairs.

    That's it, I'm changing and going for a ride.................
     
  21. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Hello All--

    Hope all is well with you and yours.

    Did the first race of Northstar's 2010 Thursday Night MTB Series last night, and the new promoter, TK, has a fun season in store for us. It looks like he's going to be trying some new ideas, which are always fun and exciting instead of the "same ol' 12 in a row". Last night was his first example.

    In the past, riders usually did 1, 2, or 3 about-4-mile laps. For this first event, we did a shorter 2.1 mile lap, and did 2, 4, or 6 laps. For anyone who has ridden Northstar in the past, the beginning was the service road climb from the main gondola to the entrance into Mineshaft. From there, it was down the single track, across the road we just climbed, into the easier section of the new jump park. Back out and down the service road a bit, single track to the start, and up again. Times were fast, well, for those in shape, of which I am still a work in progress. The night finished up with a small raffle, and now it's time to prepare for next week.

    These events will run for the next 7 weeks, with the top 5 placings at each event counting towards the overall. If you have a spare Thursday in your future, I suggest attending this event. It is well worth the drive and entry.
     
  22. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Yesterday was Round 5 for N*'s Thursday Night XC series. This time was a bit of a treat, as the event included a gondola lift to mid-mountain. Yep, no extra $$ for the ride up. Race started at the XC ski building, went up the switchback fire road, hit Paddywhack, a bit of Upper Meadows, White Fir, and circled back to the ski building. About 4 miles, 1 lap for beginners, 2 for sport, and 3 for experts. Was having a great time during lap 1, until the left-hander back to the building. I tried to shift and power up, only to snap my chain. My first event mechanical!! Got out the tool, fixed it, and continued on for lap 2. Finished in reasonable time, though way off the back.

    Next week is a "bye" week/no event, so maybe I'll take wifey to Mammoth again.......
     
  23. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    So it ended up being a short course, kind of like cyclo-cross without the barriers. Told about 1.8 miles long, and had to do 8 laps. Finished in about an hour, though I wonder about the length. Starting at the lifts, we took the service road up to the top of the jump track, came down the "small" section, through the twisty singletrack, down the service road, through the start area, and out again. Best part is that this one rock section that had bothered me before, I was able to clear it this time. Even won a Troy Lee Designs jersey at the post-race raffle!! Too bad it's a large, and I take XXL. Oh well, gave it to the son. Now to just get him a bike again......

    (Yeah, I posted this in the NCal section as well. Figure if it's not read here, maybe there, or vice versa)
     
  24. JohnE

    JohnE filthy rascist

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    Keep riding pal...keep riding. Keep typing too...
     
  25. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Thanks for the words, JohnE. I had a thought about why this summer hit a bit harder-- it'd be the passing of one stage of life to another with Alaina. She'd be in 7th grade, which means leaving elementary school and being in junior high.

    I wonder if the phone would be ringing off the hook??????
     
  26. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Ok, so I'm way late in posting. N* put on one heck of a series finale. About 6-7 miles, 2 laps, and gave me a bit of worry when the sun went down and I was still on the course. Guess I'll just have to ride faster next year. Best thing I liked about TK taking over is for the top 3 places, it was a discounted series entry for '11, or a cool jersey and free entry for next year. What a way to get the word out!!

    Kirkwood was a blast. Got home from work Friday, left that night to camp out, got my registration Saturday morn, and hooked up with a buddy I hadn't seen in a few years. Laps were 6.5 miles, and I did 5, good enough for 2nd in the Clydesdale group. Granted, Tinker was there, and he did 11 laps, so that was very humbling. What I like the most was being able to ride the Cannondale, Turner, and Niner 29er's. I think I may be a convert!?!?

    Though I'd like to ride in their 9 to 5 on September 18, the 17th is our 13th anniversary, and I want to take care of the wife. Though she did ask what I'd like for our anniversary..........

    Who am I kidding? I'd be single if I did it again.
     
  27. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Thought I should bet a jump for next season, and with the wife being gone, took advantage of the quiet time. I emailed all my current sponsors, and have already heard back from a few that want to continue, which is great news!! I also contacted a couple of new ones, as I am interested in their product. We'll see how that goes.

    Now to get out and get muddy...............
     
  28. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Just go the good word today-- I'll have Sea Otter off. At least that weekend so I can participate in Sunday's event. I wonder what goodies I'll be able to purchase while there?

    The rest of the season will be--

    Downieville xc on Saturday-- it's the weekend before Celebrity Golf here in Tahoe, so I have a good chance of attending.

    Northstar's Thursday Night Series-- was off last year, so only made 4 rides. Hoping to do better this year and attend 6-8.

    Kirkwood's 9 to 5-- had a blast last year, and want to do it again. Maybe I'll get 6 laps in, which will be up from 5?

    Mammoth's event-- well, I don't know when or what, but if they have one, I'm there.......
     
  29. Heidi

    Heidi Der hund ist laut und braun

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    What is the course like for Kirkland?
     
  30. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Kirkwood was a blast!! Started off easy enough, using the parking lot into a short singletrack section, some more paved road for the first climb into really nice singletrack. Service road climbs, short quick downhill, creek crossing with a really short but steep climb (had to dismount each lap), singletrack, service road climb, then what I thought was a fun downhill over some loose shale-y stuff. Laps ran me about 1:20-ish average, though I did "waste" time in the pit getting sized for the loaner bikes I tried (thanks Turner, Cannondale, and Niner for setting me up, not the delay). I believe teambigfoot.com should have more information on this and other events they host.

    Yep, it was a great day, and very worthy of another visit this year..............
     
    #30 -   Feb 15, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011
  31. Heidi

    Heidi Der hund ist laut und braun

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    So percent of singletrack is low?
     
  32. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    I'm going to guess about 65/35 singletrack to "not singletrack", maybe a bit higher singletrack %. Sorry for the grayness of this area. I just like to go out and ride for my daughter. I do feel it's worth the trip out to attend/participate/race in, though, and the raffle/awards afterwards make it very worth while.
     
  33. Heidi

    Heidi Der hund ist laut und braun

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    I'm always looking for new, fun events and I've seen that one for a couple years. it's around a 9-10 hour drive for me though.
     
  34. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Well, Heidi, I still feel it's worth the trip. Like most of these types of events, it's well run, great atmosphere, and can't stress the awards/raffle enough. The course is challenging, and to think I was lapped by Tinker 3 times in 8 hours, well, he is a machine. With the exception of snapping my large cog on my first lap (powered shifted when I shouldn't have), I had a complete blast the whole time.

    Hope this helps, and hope to see you there.............
     
  35. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    Just registered for the fat a$$ (clydesdale) xc, to be held Sunday, April 17th. I'll be arriving on Saturday, floating through the expo and saying "HI" to my sponsors and folks I know. If you're there, I'll be having one of my Alaina jerseys on, and riding plate #814. Stop me and let's chat, maybe have a beer.

    Hope to see you there........
     
  36. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    A couple weeks ago, I cracked my Cake 4 frame just in front of the top tube-seat tube gusset. Thanks to the great folks at Trek, the outside rep, and Keith at Big Daddy's, it was replaced with a new Fuel EX 9. Oh, it looks so purdy!!! I'll need the appropriate head tube/bottom bracket adapters, though it's a small price to pay for a much improved frame. Just hope it's ready in time for Sea Otter......
     
  37. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    What a weekend!! Get up at 5a.m., on the road by 5:30, quick visit to Alaina, and I'm off. Arrive about 11, and pumped. Get my plate (#814 again. Thank you, Frosty!), and make a beeline to the expo. As I'm walking around, I'm seeing/meeting my sponsors, and getting pics with them for a jersey I hope I can make with Voler. Oh, to have $10k to spend there.

    A good night's sleep, and up at 6 for my race. Too bad I didn't know it went off at 8:30, I'd have another hour of sleep. Coolest thing for me was the announcer coming up to me and asking the meaning of my jersey (I was wearing my "riding with my angel" one). To share the story with the crowds was such a great feeling. We start, and once again, I finish last, but 8min faster than last year. Another walk through the expo, a stop at Pizza My Heart/Monterey to bring one home for wife, and it's time to leave.

    Until next year, and maybe I'll actually take varied photos that time.....
     
  38. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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  39. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    I did it. I went ahead and registered for this event. I don't know if I have a bat-spit chance in heck of qualifying, but those in the know, Northstar is where my riding in Alaina's honor started. Sure, I wanted to do Downieville, which is 2 weeks prior, however, getting weekend days of at the casino in Tahoe in July really pushes my boss' level of generosity.

    Now, if I win lotto, then the fun really begins.....................
     
  40. mantispf2000

    mantispf2000 Turbo Monkey

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    http://www.northstarattahoe.com/info/summer/mtn-biking-events.asp

    This is the link to the events, and it'll show just how slow I am during events-- haha. It was a great ride yesterday. Clear, warm, slight breeze, trails in excellent shape. Saw some fellow riders from previous events/years, and made some new friends. The lap was about 3.3miles, good climb at the start, and fast, fun singletrack on the way back. 2 laps, finished in about an hour-ish. Up the main road, over to 6%/Easy Rider, switchbacks to mid-mtn, over to Tryumph (I think), service road switchbacks to Deer Path and Woods. Gawd, it was fun.......

    Oh, and a HUGE thanks to the bike shop there. My warranty pedals had not returned yet, and when I spoke with the shop, they were able to loan me a pair for that night. As I've said to my sponsors, THANK YOU!!! just isn't enough.......