Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pics from Today's Ride

I went riding this morning and trying to get back in the groove of taking pics and blogging. Wish I had better pics. Oh well, I'll be in the Gila and New Mexico in 3 weeks, so I should be posting more then.

Jacques coming down the Extra Trail on La Falla (Failure Trail). Jacques is a novice but riding a super bike, a 2007 Rocky Mountain Vertex Team prototype (1 of 6 built). It has a scandium alloy front triangle, carbonfiber rear triangle. Nice bike!

Pelicans roost on the rocks at the Acuario.

Guayatoto [sic] plant in bloom. This is the plant from hell! It has an acid-like burn. Extremely painful and can be life-threatening...depending on your physical condition.

Venezuelan bike pile. These bikes are too clean!

Talent Show last Thursday.

Winding up school. Two weeks left! Yes!

Last Thursday night, we had a school talent show. I was the only staff member to participate. I sang "Put Another Log on the Fire", the male chauvinist national anthem. I guess I was the hit of the show. I had my secondary students joining me up on stage dancing and singing along the best they could.

I tried to give the back story of why/how I learned that song. It was way back in 1977. The year the Rainbow People had their gathering the Gila near Wall Lake. My friend Matt Winkler, his brother Patrick and his cousin and I decided to do a multi-day excursion on the Outer Loop in vintage trucks. We had a 1952 Jeep station wagon, (scroll down to see the wagons) and a 1965 GMC step-side pick-up named God, Mother, and Country. Patrick and cousin were in the Jeep, and Matt and I were in the GMC. We started from the T or C side, and headed up through Winston and Chloride, then camped the first night at the base of Lookout Mountain. Sitting around the campfire that night was the first time I had heard that song. I started learning it then and there because I found it hilarious. Anyway, it was a great trip! It was very influentenal in my young life.

Back to the talent show...all day Friday, I had students and teachers saying I did a great job. I didn't want to see the replay on video, but maybe I can get it and post it.
Already thinking about next years song...I have several in mind. Perhaps Ghost Riders in the Sky, or something by Tom Lehrer.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Helmet Forensics

Since Oscar was riding solo, we've been trying to piece his ride together. Today we were looking at his helmet. He can't remember if he was wearing it or not, but my wife said he walked into the apartment with it in his hand, so He had it with him.

Last summer I brought him down two helmets; a Bell Venture (what I wear) and a Bell BMX/downhill full-face. He prefers the full-face style wise, and that is what he had with him.
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This is all speculation, but looking at the forensic evidence, it looks like he was wearing the helmet, and I am glad it was the full-face.

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1.) Looks like the point of impact was right on the face-guard. He probably would have broken/lost some teeth (happened to me once) if he hit face first with a regular helmet. The helmet saved his face.

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2.) There are also chips on the top left of the helmet, so it looks like momentum carried him over in a somersault and he hit the top of his head too.

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3.) There are some scratches barely visible inside the helmet. The polystyrene did not break, therefore did not dissipate the the impact's energy. The semi-hard shell, took the brunt of the punishment.

4.) Looking at these impact marks, looks like his brain was sloshing around in his skull pretty good. Probably the first impact, the brain's frontal lobe hit the front of the skull, the second impact probably just sloshed things around a bit more.

I will replace this helmet when I return from the USA in July. He also wants some body armor. He got a few scratches on his right leg and right arm.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Oscar crashed today while riding his bike. He doesn't remember anything...he crashed and rung his bell big time. He somehow showed up at the apt with bike and helmet. When I got home, we took him to one clinic, it was closed, took him to another clinic, but it was very busy with only one doctor, we went back to the small municipal clinic and the doctor said it was urgent we see a neurologist and get skull X-rays.

We went to the big free (social) hospital for X-rays. This was straight out of a scene from Jacob's Ladder. Crazy! Like a hospital in Bagdad or something...with gunshot victims (one dying while we were there...wailing mom, the whole works). Big picture of Hugo Chavez on the wall...People with arms and legs wrapped in gauze, police everywhere, surly doctors, jaded nurses...and people camped out for the long haul. People had their mattresses and food and coffee with them. Crazy experience for sure.

Got skull X-rays and left before the car was broken into or stolen. A nurse wanted us to stay and wait till the gunshot victim's blood and mess were cleaned up but Tania wanted to leave. We took the X-rays back to the clinic and the doctor there said to observe Oscar for 12 hours (don't let him sleep tonight) but we should consult a neurologist.

He looks pretty rattled right now. He is real fuzzy headed. This has been traumatic for him.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Softball and Airplanes

Last Saturday was the Elementary softball tournament. Our guys played well. Most of the players were late to the first game so we had to forfeit that game and that killed our chances for a trophy at the end. We were also a player short, so we borrowed a player from other (non-playing) teams. This also DQed us from a trophy. If I would have know that, I would have played with only 8 players. They played really well. I am proud of each one.

The airplane pic is of a Cessna 182(?) that one of the families from Maturin was flying. The dad and granddad were buzzing the field.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Necessary Tool

Unfortunately I've come to the realization that I'll probably have to buy a new laptop this summer. This one is 3 years old and acting a little funky and starting to show its age as far as the operating system goes. The XP is not necessarily compatible with my students' newer Vista OS. I hate that! Cool thing is this evening I priced (on the HP website) a new HP dv5tse with upgrades, i.e., 4GB memory, 320 GB HD, 12-cell + extra 6-cell battery packs, plus software (MS Office, Photoshop, etc.) for about $1100. That's about the same I paid for this computer in 2006; a HP dv1000 w/ only 520 MB memory, 80 GB HD, and a 12-cell battery pack, and no extra software (they did give me a free 3-in-1 printer though). This computer has been solid...never getting the far. It is getting more and more cranky though. I'd rather spend my money on something a new digital SLR Canon Rebel. Computers just get old and obsolete instanteously. I am going to let our tech guy look at the specs on the HP before I commit to anything.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Beautiful Easter Island Pictoral

I've had a life-long fascination with Easter Island. Even built a Moai once for the Signal Peak Challenge.

A mountain bike buddy just pointed me to Anthony Sloan's website. My friend also pointed out that Anthony recently passed away in his sleep at the young age of 39. He's left behind a beautiful legacy of photographs. These wet my appetite for a trip to this far-off place. Here's a link to his Easter Island trip.

Hopefully my wife and I will get to go in August or Christmas.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Brahma Power

Daniel and I were commuting back to El Tigre on Sunday afternoon when we came upon this ranch truck. I liked the Brahma bull on the rear panel. Had to grab the camera! Click on the pic to get a closer look.


Right now I am just so tired and burned out. Its the time of year we are in. 5-weeks to go. It seems time is slowing down. I have a lot of things to cover and get done, but just not feeling too creative these days. Actually, all I want to do these days is...relax, ride my bike, repeat.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Labor Day Road Trip (part II)

On our road trip, we traveled to the city of Carupano in Sucre state in the extreme eastern part Venezuela. Sucre is the part of Venezuela where Christopher Columbus stumbled upon on his 3rd voyage. He thought he had found the Garden of Eden. Of all of Venezuela I've seen, Sucre is still the most beautiful.

The sea is a way of life there and they still build boats by hand. It has dozens of great beaches, lots of big mountains, and hot springs! Sucre is a plate boundary. It where the Caribbean plate comes into contact with the South American plate. There are no volcanoes in the area, extinct or otherwise, but some of the hot springs have temperatures of 100 degrees Celsius! Crazy hot!

We visited one of the largest of these thermal waters, a place called Aguas de Moises. Its a crazy themed thermal water park. Very strange. The water in the pools is luke warm, but some of these pools are the size of small lakes! I am now curious about the temperature at the source.

Carupano is also famous for its sausage. We bought several links and grilled them. Our favorite was a the "sweet" which had a lot of pimenton (bell pepper) in its recipe.

Carrying the Fire

I was checking out my friend Vulture's (a.k.a. Eurotrash least what I call him) blogsite which had a link which led me to his site. Like the Nathan pic, I really like this pic as well. This is a great father/son pic. Keenan is brazing up his bicycle in Wade's Vulture Cycles shop while his dad, Yod, is looking on. I first knew Yod from several years back when he was part of the famous Team Mutant in Flagstaff, Arizona. I was at Yod's wedding in Oak Creek (a few miles N of Sedona). Keenan was born and it appears that he has now grown into a fledgling Mutant rider himself. Its great seeing the positive influence of a father on his son. Great pic!

photo credit: Vulture Cycles

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Gila Proven! Tour of the Gila; Nathan!

I sniped this pic off the Silver City Cycling group page. I really like this pic. This is Nathan probably after finishing the Gila Monster on Sunday. Just the look of satisfaction on his face says it all. He's a great guy! Always happy!

I've known Nathan since he was about 13 years old. I would take him and his classmate Aaron mountain biking in the Gila. Our bikes were simple and heavy, but we loved getting out riding and exploring. I showed them routes I knew about or wanted to know about, and encouraged them to go places where others don't/can't. Explore the Gila! Map it out! And in the process I hopefully helped instill a love of cycling.

Now the students surpass their teacher...both have gone places I never could. Both Nathan and Aaron continue riding; Aaron rides Pro mountain bike in Colorado, and Nathan rides Pro/Expert mountain bikes and Cat 1/2 in road bikes.

Congratulations Nate! Well done!

photo credit goes to Mike Sorensen

Monday, May 04, 2009

Labor Day Road Trip (part I)

I was on a 3-day road trip with my wife and her cousin (+ cousin's husband and toddler son). I will try and catch up on the posting on this trip and more stuff about The Tour of the Gila ASAP.

This is a macro shot from my Canon SD1000 of a Venezuelan frog that hopped into the pool I was soaking in. Pretty good details. This is pic #10,530 from that camera.