Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I have decided to take advantage of the time each day that everyone else in the cities spend stuck in traffic to catch back up on my writing during my bus ride home .

Under the guise of employment for a major mtb magazine I penetrated the snowy fortress known ominously as QBP, Quality bicycle products. Once I made it past the flying monkeys and bitter hipsters that guard the doors to its LEED certified facility, I marveled at the facility and perks available to employees. Normally entrance to Frost Bike is a show up, the day of, kind of thing. But this year it sold out really early so I had to resort to calling all sorts of favors, and before I knew it I was Josh Pattersons photographer. I sort of know how Chumlee on Pawnstars feels on a day to day basis

Josh would not even let me hold the camera.

The coolest part was when Kim Brown gave us a tour of their distribution floor. No like products are ever grouped together. A size 7 Mavic Fury shoe is next to a Cane Creek 40 headset, which us underneath a non-drive side FSA crankarm, which is to the left of a XTR jockey wheel, which is under 276mm DT Alpine spokes. There is no order whatsoever. But this is so that sizes or like items do not get mixed up when the pickers are filling orders. They also have certain items that have especially high sales volume located in a center row so its easier to fill stock. I found this particularly interesting since this is essentially a indicator of whats hot in the bike world. I saw a lot of things that did not surprise me (King headsets, Stans sealant, CB Eggbeater pedals, and kickstands(apparently they never go out of style)), but there were a lot of other things that really caught me off guard (Ergon grips and HEED).

After that we sat down to a scrumptious lunch with the Apels, of Big Poppi Bicycle Company. After lunch Aaron and I went scouting for new technology. I got the see Challenges new tubular mtb tires, the new Slant Six tires from Kenda, and the Cane Creek guys hooked fellow North Carolinian with a new headset.

We also got toe see where QBP does their Handspun wheels. They were doing a LOT of Hope Pro2's laced to Arches, but I also imagine that this is also related to building wheels in batches. Pretty cool.

This time on the bus leave me with time for more important things on the homefront.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hillbilly inadequacies and urbane reflections

So I will be the first to admit that in often struggle the fact the I have never really had a lot of exposure to urban environment. I mean, when I went to college in KY, my college town had 10 thousand people and a walmart supercenter. Thought that it was big city living.

Then I returned to the simple life of rural NC. It really was like green acres. Then I went to Manhattan, KS. A Division 1 college town with 50,000 people, with a bonafide bar district, expensive rent, and multiple bike shops. This I thought, was big city living.

Then I moved to Omaha, well just outside of Omaha. Close enough that I could commune with the urban outdoors men (homeless people) but far enough away that what happened on 30th and (insert any north Omaha st) did not affect me.

I commented to Noah, once as we were riding from downtown O, that whenever I was around urban downtown settings, no matter how long I had been removed from western NC, I still felt like a hick.

Like a serious hick, dueling banjos, "My Name is Earl" kind of inadequacies.

Its my cross to bear.

But I can see why some folks really dig living in urban environments. Each day I walk about a mile to and from my downtown bus stop to the Capitol complex. It constantly amazes me how many people are milling around, smoking, sipping things out of paper bags, talking in foreign languages, being so high that they physically cannot talk to the police, all before 8 am. It is pretty wild. I thought that it might be intimidating, but for the most part people just mind their own business.

I am pretty stoked about the people that I work with in the Dept of Ag. One of the guys that I will spend half my time with races CX, and the Hydrologist I will work with mountain bikes and lived in ID until a few months ago.

Its kind of strange to all of the sudden be surrounded by people at work that I actually enjoy being around.

The bus experience was been pretty awesome. There is a express line pickup about 2 miles from our condo, and it takes me from Shoreview to downtown St. Paul in less than 25 minutes. You cannot drive a car and get to where I work any faster than on a bus. If traffic slows or stops, the express buses will drive on the shoulder. I am not talking about poking along at 35 mph. I mean barreling past stopped traffic on I35 doing 65mph. There simply is no better way to get across town at rush hour.

Spin Class

Not gonna lie, I have made fun of a lot of people that talk about spin class. I apologize.

It is pretty amusing the types of people that come to spin class. Ali and her sister, who is in the cities for a week, gave me the low down on what to expect. I was told that there would be roadies, cheerleader types, and that the spin teacher would be annoyingly perky.


There were no roadies, no cheerleaders, and the instructor looked and sounded like a squat, older, Russian peasant woman. She was probably Stalin's mother. I guess I was not prepared to show up and be the most advanced person in the class. There were a lot of grandmothers in the class, and a few middle aged men that looked like they would rather be somewhere else. I was surprised when the instructor said that spin cadence was not to exceed 110 rpms. The instructor had us doing all of these stand up on the pedals sessions, but they were so long that no one could have been using very much resistance. She was constantly shouting things that I could not understand between her thick accent and the blasting trance music.

I think that I will get a lot out of spin class. As strange as it was I really enjoyed it. It breaks up the monotony of riding the trainer (that I do not have currently) and the annoyance of the Robbie Ventura DVD that is in a shipping container (with the trainer and geared bikes). It did suck trying to get the bike to fit me in the period of 5 minutes.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Becoming a parent

It does not sink in that you are going to be a parent until someone actually hands you a screaming kid. I went through all of Ali's gestation just thinking that I would deal with the responcibility of parenthood when things were a little more "at hand". Well things are certainly at hand when the doc hands you a kid.
Ali's water broke on the night of Feb. 1st but was not having heavy contractions, so we just went to bed. In the morning she still was not having heavy contractions, but we headed to the hospital anyway. In our Bradley Childbirth class we covered alot of the various scenarios that happen during birth, but no class covers all the things that can happen. Ali was still not having serious contractions after several hours so they had her start potosin to increase the intensity and frequency of her contractions. After a while they would decrease the potosin dose, and her contraction intensity would decrease, which is not really conducive to a expeditious labor. The mid wife then put Ali on oxygen to see if that would make the baby a little more responsive in the laboring process. Over the period of the rest of the day they proceeded to dose with potosin to increase the intensity of contractions two more times. But whenever they stopped the potosin, Ali's contractions would drop off in intensity. This coupled with the fact that almost 24 hours had elapsed since Ali's water had broken, meant that she was at a increased risk of infection. By about 6 pm the midwife brought in the OB doc to talk with Ali about the realistic possibility that we might have to resort to a caesarian section. Jasper was not tolerating labor and his HR was decreasing.
This was really tough for Ali.
When you go through classes like Bradley you go over all this preparation for what you might encounter in natural childbirth, but it does little to prepare you for the fact that you may have to actually get a C-section.
Anyway, Ali and I had a conversation about how things were playing out, we concluded that given the way that things had played out and based on the input of the midwife, we signed the paper work for a C-section. Then things really started to happen.
Two nurses walked in and stared prepping Ali, and handed me some scrubs. It was go time.
Once we hit the OR it was less than 20 minutes later I was looking at a man child. It took them a while after delivery to get Ali closed up, as the docs had found that Ali had a uterine infection. This infection, previously undetected, explained part of why contractions were not happening on their own, to the extent that dilation would allow for a normal birth.

Ali asked me to put some of my thoughts into writing regarding the birth of our son, so I figured I might as well write it here. To me, it does not matter how kids are born. All that matters is that we are all healthy and together.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

And just like that, we live in Minnesota!

It took some creative packing and marketing but we finally got everything out of the house and into the container or the truck. Many thanks to Todd, Rafal, Ryan and Rox, and Jeremy for all their help. We would have been up poop creek without yall.
If stuff didn't make the cut, well I tried to find it a good home.

Photo cred goes to Jeremy
I bet this doesn't make it through the night.
Anyway, I will post some pics of the new (temporary) abode and some stuff I have been ruminating on in a post progeny world in the manana.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


There is a small person that now occupies a large part of my life. He is super chill, digs sleeping, likes to hang out at the lactation station, and will pee on you. He was born at 7:30 on Feb. 2nd, weighing in at a respectable 8 lbs 11 oz

Raging on his way home from the hospital.

Jasper discovers a use for a lazy dog.

So before I hear any crap about why I named my kid after a vampire, I will state for the record that, we used the name Jasper since it was where we went on our honeymoon. Jasper NP in Alberta, Canada.
Ali is doing great, she is still stiff and sore but is moving about really well. Thanks to all our friends and family for their support. i have a lot of thoughts about this that I wish I had the time to put down, but the truth is that I don't have and will not have that luxury in the next month as we make the move to MN.
Becoming a parent has been a really surreal experience for me. It doesn't really sink in until the nurse hands you this little person.......that is making a lot of noise. Holy nuts.