Monday, September 29, 2008

Working out west

Its almost like you can see the curvature of the earth

Big Al likes straight lines so she does the marking

My little Canola plants busting out.

As usual... on the cutting edge of fashion and soil fertility research.

Doing work on Wards whole plant sampling. nothing excites me quite like whole plant nutrient uptake.

How I got like this......

The easy explanation would be that I have had a few too many head injuries. After haggling with insurance companies, the Mayo Clinic, a helicopter and ambulance company for the past year we finally have gotten the total out of pocket owed from about $32,000 USD to less than $4,300.
I sustained a minor stroke following a bike wreck at last years Conference finals Mtb bike race in Red Wing, MN. I got to ride in a ambulance, a helicopter, have a catheter inserted, and get put in one of those tube things that cost about $4 thousand to take a picture of your brain. (Later asked the doc what he saw, and he mumbled, "not much". had I not been restrained his life would have been in great peril)
This experience has left me bitter and thankful to alot of different people, and has changed my perspective on health care, insurance, USA Cycling, and Brandon Bundy. I have health care through the State of KS as a GRA at KSU. There is a specific clause that states if you are training for or participating in a athletic event they will not cover you if you are injured: See below

So After my state heath insurance denied me coverage I appealed to USA cycling and thankfully they covered my ambulance, some of the mayo bills, and most of the helicopter bills. All creditors involved learned a very valuable lesson from this....If Big Al does not want to give you her money there is a good chance that you will not be getting her money (important principle here:whats mine is hers and whats hers is hers) or at least not as much as you initially asked for.
What was left over after USA cycling insurance (the max is $25,000) we applied for low income reductions, and that helped. the economic stimulus package? yeah that went to the helicopter people.

That was great experience (sarcasm). they would not even let me look out the window. I was still stammering away trying to get them to tilt the backboard on its side so I could see out the window. It was not $8K well spent.
I can't argue that I received the best health care available in North America, but the cost of heath care is out of control. I lived in NZ and worked for a university farm, and lost part of my finger in a farm accident. Yeah I had to bleed on a hospital floor for a little while, but it did not cost me a dime out of pocket. I loath Hillary Clinton, but if she came up with a decent nationalized health care system, I might...might.....consider voting for her...but only after she had done it....i feel dirty now.
Insurance is not the answer to our nations health care issues. Insurance is great for the wealthy, but what about the largest portion of Americans that work too hard and make too much for programs like Medicaid, but cannot afford the $600-1000 dollars a month to cover a family of 4 with Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance.
Anyway enough with my babbling the thing you need to know is this- If you have insurance through the above company and you get hurt tell them you fell down the stairs.....nothing else.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gravel adventures and old pics

I am kinda pissed at blogger right now. I wrote a quick entry on Sunday, hit publish and walked away from my circa 2003 laptop.......not wise decision. That post is forever gone, and I have no idea what I wrote about.......such is life as the poster child for attention deficit disorder.
Any how Last weekend saw Dave McLeod, Warren Weibe, Chriss Berger and myself travel to Nebraska for Cornbreads Good Life gravel adventure. A great time was had, even with my attempt to see everything that was 5 miles east of Cortland, NE. I cant follow directions.
Got to meet some awesome people and make some great new friends. We even got to travel in the Weibe Wagon! Anyhow I am up to my eyeballs in work, and will be traveling out west this weekend to put in our fall canola crop in Sterling and Larned. I will bring back lots of pics so maybe some of my family will finally figure out what I do. Anyhow here are the pics courtesy of John Waller

We can safely assume that this picture was from early in the race.

Caption: Hind sight is always 20:20 and that last lap was a poor decision.

Patterson gets a chuckle as big al shares my sentiments.

Big Al is getting Paid.
PS She now has a new ride.....stay tuned.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Getting our bake on

So sunday saw the rise and fall of many a caraway seed pretzel

Big al made cookies for the upcoming week as we are gonna be having alot of company. Sara Reed is gonna get here, as will the mighty Alaskan fish mongers Pap and Pesc. Joel and Mandy Lou-Who are also gonna roll in on their way to ID. Joel got the job!

The recipe that I used can be found in one of Jeff Smiths Immigrant food cookbooks.

The finished products. These are best served warm with some softened limberger cheese (no kidding...yes it does smell funny but its incredible). And you all thought that she married me for my money.............

Friday, September 5, 2008

Burning the Candle...... both ends. Today I found out that a good friend of mine passed away. Richard was born and raised in Sylva, NC. I first met Richard in 2004 on a trip to Slyva with the the twins, Mike and Jake Scott. I walked into his house and was immediately hit with the a blast double (a wrestling take down), and knocked into the screen door and down the steps of the trailer house with a little dog barking and chasing after us. The twins just stood there and laughed. I thought to myself as I rolled out the door, "this kid is nuts", and he was. Through the twins I I would keep up with Richard over the years. For his senior project in high school he trained to be a mixed martial artist and did a sanctioned cage fight up in Ohio. Richard was chiseled from Stone.
Richard was also extremely well read, and was a stunning conversationalist, something that is rarely found in this day and age. He could swear like a sailor in one breath, and be incredibly articulate and well spoken in the next. Such was the duality of Richard.
After school he did what a lot of poor southern kids do, he joined the Army. In hind sight it probably saved his life initially. During his first tour in Iraq in late 05 he collapsed, and was flown back to Walter Reed to be diagnosed with Brain Cancer. He went through treatment (surgery and chemo), and we were told that his cancer was in remission. The last time I saw him was when Mikey was getting back from Alaska, and as soon as I walked in the door he tried to ankle pick me. He was bald and pale looking but he still wanted to wrestle. He was always positive, and was the kind of chap that you wanted in your corner when things were hairy.
I do not attend funerals, or usually talk about death and dying but i think it is important to remember friend as they were and celebrate the impact that they had on the world. He was a lot of things in life, but no one can dispute that he was a great friend to all those around him.
Heres to Richard.....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Cruise the Blues 08

Ok kids, its has been a long weekend and its a good thing that its a three day holiday cuz we are in shambles. This friday saw a surly flock of Jayhawks descend into Manhappenin. Andrew Slater, John Waller, and Josh Patterson, big Al and Myself wandered around the ville for a little while, musing over how aggieville is different than Mass St in Lawrence. I will be real honest. I do not think much of the Aggieville business district, just because the businesses do not keep things clean. I mean they could at least spray off the sidewalk in the mornings and clean up the image a little bit. Especially if they are gonna try to charge me a $6 dollar cover just too get into a place that is nonsmoking. Anyhow we wandered about for a bit and then went to the house so we could be up and on the road to Glen Elder early.
Upon arriving at the Palen Proving Grounds (Cruise the Blues Race course) we quickly asserted our dominance by finding a shady spot and rallying all the other past and present Manhattanites (which included Brady Irwin, Casey Stoddard, "T-Daddy" Whetstone, Aaron Apel, and James Stamper (No relation)). James, being the only real responsible adult brought a canopy so we could be shaded. Many thanks!
The race started prompty at 11 am, and quickly proved to be a race of attrition. Several mens solo favorites had mechanical problems early, and flat tires were a major concern. I passed Brady on the second lap as he was changing the first of his three flat tires on his cross bike on lap 2. It has been previously true that the CtB course is a prime area to race a cross bike, but that was not the case this year. Last Saturday NC KS got 4 inches of rainfall(see previous post to see storm building), which left the couse extremely rough and eroded. This contributed to a large number of pinch flats and fatigue throughout the race. After three laps on the 13+ mile course I realized that I had failed to hydrate enough early, as I was trying to do without a camelback at just rely on bottles. This proved to be a costly mistake, as I would lose two places during the last two laps rolling around on the ground screaming with debilitating leg cramps.
At this point I think I really had some folks worried cuz the EMS guy kept following me on the fourwheeler (kind of like how a buzzard circles a dying animal). Like I said, it was a race of attrition. I finished my 4th lap with 25 minutes before the cutoff, and thought to myself,
"Self, your gonna have to do another lap........"
Self responding back (in Star Trek Scotty accent) "Ah cant dooo it Captn ah need mohr powah"
Me to self "pull your self together! You have got another lap in you"
Self "Ok but your gonna regret this"
So I went back out for a last lap that probably took over an hour and a half. I am pretty sure that I was the last person out on the course. I did not regret it.

I still managed to finish 5th out of about 30, and even won a little money!
Big Al though, fought through cramps on her way to 2nd place with 4 laps in, and only finished 4 minutes behind Team 360 powerhouse Kathy Reidy. I think Al really blew some minds when she was passing folks on her singlespeed in the later laps. I was stoked and especially proud when I heard this. She was really in the money with a 2nd place finish!

Below you can see the devious duo of Patterson and Waller finishing 2nd in the Mens Team division. Cameron Chambers and dad Doug, were the champions. Big thanks to Doug and Golden Belt Cycles in Great Bend for being such a huge supporter of this event.

I also have to say a what a great event this is. Doug and Tracy Palen, Bud and all the volunteers that put this race together are the most passionate friendly people you will ever meet. This event rivals anything that is done in KC or MO. Once again, Many Thanks!

After a night of camping and blues music we headed south to Lucas, KS for some sustenance, and a little dose of weirdness. We went and toured the Garden of Eden and its pretty strange. I am talking like the Frank Zappa kinda strange.

After leaving lucas we continued our southerly trek to Wilson Lake to ride the trails there. We had a blast, but were were all still hurting from the grind the day before. If you think that things are flat in all of KS, you should go here. It definitely changed my perspective. After riding we headed over to meet up with our other compatriots (Melanie, Aaron, Tyler and Hillary) who were camping by the lake. We spent the rest of the afternoon basking in the sun, swimming, eating potato salad out of cardboard boxes, and just generally livin the dream. We had a spectacular time, and it was a great way to finish our trip.

Stay tuned for the next race report when we will hear Me say "Hey big man, lemme hold a dollar"