Saturday, December 20, 2014

jingle bell road

Pedaling, pedaling, pedaling on
Pedaling smart and pedaling hard
I ride and I ride, and continue to climb
I'll get there sometime

Riding up, riding up, then coasting down
A smile at the top replaces my frown
Asked why I ride into thin mountain air
It's because it's there

What a great day, what a great way
To ride the week away
And I'm sure, on a bike tour
It seems like I'm working , but it's really play

Pedaling, pedaling, pedaling on
I've weighed the pros, and I've weighed the cons
If I am willing to put in the time
I can do the climb

In the summer, it's a bummer
If you can't ride all week
If you do ride, on the roadside
You'll see some bikes that are pretty sleek

Riding up, riding up, then coasting down
A smile at the top replaces my frown
Asked why I ride into then mountain air
It's because it's there

Sunday, November 23, 2014

i'm loving it

No, not McDonald's. I'm a month into my new adventure, training to be the bike shop manager for Scheels in Overland Park, opening next June, and I'm loving it! For the past one, and next three months I'm spending my time in Omaha, training at a great store that's been open for about 10 years. My schedule has me spending ten days straight working there, and four days back home, about three hours away. At first that was really hard; new job, new town, away from family. And after spending my whole career in retail drugstores, getting familiar with a whole new lingo was a challenge. But my wife and dogs are doing great, and the culture and people of Scheels are awesome, and have made this as easy as it could possibly be.

I head back tomorrow morning for another 10 days, and I have a feeling that the next several weeks are going to fly by as we enter the fourth quarter, or perhaps more precisely the two-minute drill of the retail game, the holiday season.

This time of year the bike shop has shrunk to a fraction of its normal size, and North Face, Under Armour, and Spyder jackets have filled in the void. Since winter gave us a sneak preview in Omaha we've been selling coats, hats, gloves, sweaters, and base-layers like crazy. It's been kind of a baptism by fire to the world of selling at Scheels. It's been fun, but as cool as North Face is I can't wait to sell more bike stuff.

My wife and I did get to tour the new store on Friday and see the progress in construction. This store is going to be amazing! Come late June, if you're anywhere near Kansas City, come to Overland Park and see the newest Scheels. In the back corner of the first floor you'll find a guy with a smile on his face in the bike shop. That will be me.

Friday, October 24, 2014

new adventure

After managing retail drugstores for a long, long time, Friday was my last day. I've known for a long time that I wanted to do something different, and I've finally found that something. I start training next week to be the bike shop manager for the new Scheels in Overland Park, KS. The latest edition of this awesome store, based out of my hometown, Fargo, ND, is set to open in June of 2015. I am so excited that I'm going to be part of it.

The next few months will have me going back and forth to Omaha to train in the Scheels located there. I'll make the trip up and down I-29 more than a Royals prospect. After training I'll be involved in setting up the new store, preparing for grand opening. Making a living helping others find the right bike for their adventures sounds like a blast.

Osco Drug and CVS Health have been great places to work, but I had no real affection for Tylenol or Head and Shoulders. But bikes? Mmmmmm bikes. I have often joked that I still didn't know what I want to be when I grow up. Maybe now I know. A great weekend to all of you, and if you're in Kansas someday, and you need a bike.........

Sunday, October 12, 2014

kind choices

I've always enjoyed cooking. Part of the reason is that I've always enjoyed eating. But I also like the creative process of putting ingredients together to make a sum greater than its parts. When I became a vegan I was presented with some new challenges when it came to cooking, but not as many, or as difficult, as you might imagine.

Over the last two years I've tried dozens of vegan recipes, many trying to re-create familiar favorites with animal friendly ingredients; Alfredo sauce using blended cauliflower, "meatballs" made from beans, and "cheesecake" using tofu.
 My culinary journey has also included sampling some meat substitutes. Mexican veggie protein crumbles make for great tacos, especially when you add lettuce, hot sauce, and some dairy-free cheese. Seitan works great for vegan hot wings, and as a replacement for beef in stew. Tempeh is a soy product than can replace meat in a lot of dishes. And I've recently found a real summer treat in Tofurky's Beer Brats.
And with a quick Google search you can find tons of recipes for things like sloppy joes made with lentils, and burgers from black beans and sweet potatoes. You can find recipes for General Tso's Chicken, minus the chicken, plus tofu or cauliflower. I've made them both and they were delicious.
I've made feta cheese from almonds and tried several dairy-free cheese options. Daiya is my favorite for shreds. And I love Go Veggie parmesan-style topping for pasta or pizza.

I guess what I'm saying is that there are a lot of choices we can make when we plan our menus, make our shopping trips, and cook our favorite meals that don't contribute to the suffering of any animals. Would you be willing to make a few changes? Can you make some kind choices?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

crmbt 2015 route

The Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour recently announced their planned route for 2015. It offers 472 miles of beautiful alpine scenery and visits to some of the great cities in Colorado.

Day 1 - The tour will start in Gunnison, a place that's very familiar to anyone who has spent much time on Colorado bike tours. Riders will take US50 out of town and start a climb that is really tame, until it's not. Over the first 33 miles they will gain about 700 feet in elevation. Over the next 10 miles they will gain close to 3,000 feet, arriving at the top of Monarch Pass,  11,312 feet, before descending all the way to Salida.
Day 2 - From Salida riders will head north to Buena Vista on US285. They will follow that highway as it merges with US24 and cross Trout Creek Pass as the tour did this year. But instead of staying on 24 at the split, they'll follow 285 to Fairplay, where they'll turn onto CO9 for the last leg of the day. Highway 9 will take riders all the way to Breckenridge for the next overnight, but not before a climb over Hoosier Pass at 11,539 feet. This will be the first time CRMBT has ever done Hoosier Pass.
Day 3 - The third day will feature some classic Colorado riding, including two-thirds of the Copper Triangle done in reverse. From Breckenridge riders will follow the bike path through Frisco to Copper Mountain and all the way to Vail Pass. The screaming descent will be on the road that I-70 replaced in the area, now closed to traffic! Frontage roads and bike paths will get them back to US24, this time heading southwest to Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the US at 10,152 feet. It's pretty impressive to be at that altitude and look out and see mountains towering above.
Day 4 - After averaging 74 miles for the first three days, riders should be warmed up for the "Queen Stage" of the tour. After heading south to Twin Lakes, the route heads east/northeast crossing Independence Pass, 12,095 feet. From there it's a long, winding road, downhill, to Aspen, then back on a bike path almost all of the way to Glenwood Springs for a much-deserved rest day.
Day 5 - Rest day in Glenwood Springs. Riders might visit the hot springs, do a little rafting, or just relax, maybe with a short ride on the trails around town. Whatever they choose, this is a great place for a day the middle of your vacation.

Day 6 - This day won't be the longest, or highest elevation day, but it will be beautiful. A little more bike path, some coke ovens, and McClure Pass, 8,866 feet. Then a nice descent, and an ever warmer ride into Hotchkiss.
Day 7 - The route on the final day will take riders through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. It's a beautiful place to ride a bike. There's no mountain pass, but they will climb to over 9,000 feet and summit at a trail-head that's called Hermit's Rest, if I remember correctly. There are spectacular views and a pretty good descent back down to US50. From there they'll ride along the Blue Mesa Reservoir and Blue Mesa. By the time they bid adieu to the reservoir they'll only have about 10 miles left to Gunnison.
Riders will roll into Gunnison with 472+ miles and 7 mountain passes under their belts, lots of great memories, and if they're like me, a whole bunch of pictures. If this sounds like fun to you, check it out at CRMBT. Get signed up early for the best rate.