Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Who's your inspiration?

From large projects to small, seemingly inconsequential decisions, we are at times inspired by someone or something. Perhaps it's your faith or belief system. These "inspiration factors" can take on big or small roles in our lives and sometime differing roles at differing times. For now I'd like to touch on people who've had an influence in my life. I certainly can't touch on them all but here's a brief highlight.

My father is a big inspiration, which is probably obvious to anyone who knows us. He has a great sense of humor but is very engaged and thoughtful at times. Whenever he takes on a project he is very meticulous. Sometimes we kid him on the amount of time it takes him to complete a model or other project but you can be assured that he has paid much more time and attention to all the small details. Details that no one else would seven see, let alone notice. But he know if he is going to do something that he is going to do it right.

My grandparents have inspired me to be kind, helpful and generous to those you don't know. Being kind to others not only helps you maintain a better keel, but you never know when you may see them again.

My bride, of course. Through the good and the bad that goes with staying with someone for more than 20 years she's managed to open my eyes on more than one occasion. Had it not been for her I can say I would not have considered becoming an EMT or Firefighter, for example.

Our sons at times inspire me. At times they have a different way of looking at things as well as a great sense of humor (perhaps there's a trend here?). Besides, at times they ask me some simple questions that I had never considered and it makes me take a moment and rethink things.

When it comes to bike-related activity, Kent Peterson is one person who really motivates me. When he first tackled the Great Divide mountain bike race in 2005(?) and wrote about it, I read that story to by boys at night for a few nights. (Read the story yourself here). It prompted me to get off my butt and start doing something. I haven't, and probably won't do anything as grand as Kent has but it makes me think and gets me doing.

After we lost James the Lima Company Marines and the Leathernecks Nation really stepped up and showed us what being a Marine is about. Without hesitation (and sometimes without even being asked) they will and have helped us however they could. Their actions and manner of taking care of their own has really made an impression on me and has me striving to act in the same manner.

Of course, there is our son, Lcpl. James Kimple. On his second tour of Iraq he didn't want to just work in Logistics. He was certain that he needed to look out for his fellow Marines. That is why he volunteered to work security patrol for that tour. Which leads us to why we are raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project. James felt it very important to look out for his brothers and sisters, and so we are inspired to do the same.

Some of the soldiers that have been helped by the Wounded Warrior Project are tremendous inspirations. For example, just watch this video clip here or this one. These soldiers have lost their limbs and yet continue to do some amazing things.

So what inspires you? Hopefully, we can inspire you to give to the Wounded Warrior Project. Please do so here. Thank you.

Who or what has inspired you? Hopefully

Sunday, September 26, 2010

No more excuses

After several weeks of bantering back and forth I discussed buying a new bike with my beautiful bride. I wanted to go look at a bike that my local bike shop (Cyclist Connection) did not carry, but wasn't sure if we should buy or not. I rely on her to help me think straight because after all these years together, she knows me and what I would and wouldn't regret. So I am expecting my bride to talk me off the ledge, so to speak. Instead she takes my hand, smailes and says "Let's jump!" 

To make a long story short, I did not buy the model I intended because my bride pointed out another that was several "steps up" from what we originally went to look at for the same amount of money... so yeah, we bought it. Turns out it was mis-tagged and should have been several hundred dollars more.  Bottom line is: Now I have a bike that isn't old, heavy and slow. It's just the rider that is old, heavy and slow. No more excuses for me. Well, I'm sure I could come up with a few if I tried, but... nah. Time for me to man up.

As for our fundraisng for the Wounded Warrior Project, what's the excuse? We're not asking for a certain amount, only what you feel comfortable with. These men and women veterans are coming back and not only need, but deserve our help. So please help us meet our goal and provide help to the Wounded Warrior Project. Click on this link to contribute electronically. Or you can send a check made out to the Wounded Warrior Project to:
J.D. Kimple
PO Box 222
Carroll, OH  43112

Thank you for your help.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Life, interrupted

Like most days it seems like no matter what I have planned, things will change. Saturday is a fine example. We got up, and Catie and I were supposed to go to breakfast and then she would get the blankets and comforters washed while I went on a long  bike ride.  Hey, two thumbs up, sounds pretty good to me.

Well, our youngest son needs to go to work. So we hold back a bit, take him with us so that we can take him straight to work. Slight delay, but still no problem. The day is young, right?

"Oh yeah, I need to help my niece with some shopping, it'll be quick,then we can get started" was what I heard. I have learned that there is never such thing as "shopping real quick". Hmm....

While we are shopping, we learn that our grandson's birthday was that day. Shoot, I thougth it was Sunday. OK, frantic gift-finding spree for the grandson. Then we head on out to grandson's birthday party. I was a bit antsy at this point about not getting the ride in that I had planned but this is more important - I have only seen him two or three times in the past year.

Time to get our youngest from work. Oops, there's a delay. He can't leave right away. Not a problem, we walk across the parking lot and get ice cream for everyone. Yeah, I know, not like we didn't have ice cream at the grandson's birthday party but.... these things happen.

Take son home. Oh look, now it's time to get on the motorcycles to welcome home the Honor Flight with our Leatherneck Nation friends. So at least some time on two wheels.If you don't know much about the Honor Flight, The  Honor Flight Network provides World War II and terminally ill veterans FREE trip to Washington D.C. to visit and reflect on their memorials. It is always worth it to welcome these veterans back home from their brief trip.

And then... day is done.

Got the long training ride in Sunday. And if, by not riding Saturday, that I give up the difference between 3rd and 23rd place, so be it. Some days  you have to be flexible and not be so annoyed if it doesn't go your way - a lesson it's taking me a long time to learn.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Join the team!

We have the technology... we can make it bigger... better... make cool sounds when going in slow motion to emphasize super-human feats...  What's not extra-cool about that?

How? By getting more people to join our team - Riding with my Son.

What does that mean? Do I get a cool jersey like ours?  What it means is you've decided to help raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project, or just decided to make a contribution yourself. As for the jersey, I can direct you to where we got them, but you have to purchase that on your own.

How do I do that?  You can go to our fundraising page and  click on "My team page". At the top is a link that says "Join Our Team". Click that and sign on. Or you could just email me - jdkimple (at) yahoo (dot) com (you know what to do here) and I'll get you signed up.

What are the requirements? Besides the fundraising for WWP, I'm going to require just one thing: You take the time to go out for a leisurely ride with your son or daughter, sibling, go for a walk with your neighbor, sit on the back porch with your Mom or Dad. Share some relaxing stress-free time with someone. Part of why this is called "Riding with my Son" is because one of the very last father-son times I got with James was home on leave was to go for a long leisurely bike ride with him. Part is because our son Jovid is racing with me and I get to have some time with him free of the other stresses.

Why? "Why not?" is the bigger question, I think. you get to be part of  a group of people who've decided that helping out wounded veterans is a pretty important thing.

What? Over where? Are we lost?

As I mentioned the other day, I did have the opportunity to ride with my brother. Two good things from that are 1) He's faster than me, so if I am going to race, I better work on the "fast" part... oi.  II) That quote about "Inspiration can be found in a big pile of junk...". Well, Matt has an entirely different pile of junk than my own and hey! He's got the bottom bracket I needed to get the old heavy bike to shift right. And I was right on the cusp of going and buying a new bike. Seriously. So the old and heavy bike has been revived for the old and heavy rider.

Which worked out well, as last night my last job was in Monroeville, PA. And with some daylight left, it was time to hop on the bike. I headed over to Boyce Park to find the trails that were supposed to be there. But where? Find the tennis courts... yeah, right. It's a BIG park. 1,096 acres to be exact. Not exactly with the best signs. Which is OK if you're a local, but for an out-of-towner who's spinning his wheels it's a bit frustrating. Ah, OK, now I've found the tennis courts! The trails are... are... keep going... turn around... I think I see something... hey, found soemthing! But are they hiking trails where I'm likely to run over pedestrians? Hmm... over here I see tire tracks, so let's try it out.

Turns out there's a LOT of trails out here but the trails have no signs posted. Again, OK if you're a local but for someone trying not to get lost in the late evening all I can do is pedal on and hope. The good thing is that most of the trails I found were all contained in a certain area of the park so I always ended up not too far from a recognizeable area. It was kind of like being 9 or 10 all over again, out exploring. "Where does this path go? I don't know, let's find out."  Glad I brought my lights, as I didn't really get started until 7pm. And the old heavy guy on the old heavy bike did pretty well. OK, I was sort of slow. Yeah, yeah, probably a lot slow. But it was fun. Which, all said and done, is the main thing.

But we're not lost when it comes to donations for the Wounded Warrior Project. We're picking up steam in the right direction. But we still need your help. So be sure to donate, please.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hammer down, huffing and puffing

Last night I had the good fortune of riding with my brother Matt. I had a couple of jobs in his neck of the woods and instead of getting a hotel room, stayed at his place. Which also meant we got to go out and ride together. I don't get the chance to ride with him too often so this was a welcome event.

Holy Wa. Matt tends to ride faster than I do so I was spinning away madly in order to keep up. I knew I wasn't in the best form due to not getting to ride very often but I didn't think I was that slow! Of course I *could* blame it on my heavy old bike as Matt rode his svelte, sexy light road bike but I know that wasn't really the issue. Shoot, what else could I blame this discrepency on?.... oh yeah, nothing.

Crud. That means I better pick up the pace. Soon.

Of couse, we need to pick up the pace with the fundraising, too. What, you didn't think I'd get through the whole post without asking you to contribute, did you? We are off to a good start but we have a ways to go. If you haven't yet contributed, please do so here. And for those who have emailed or called and said they aren't comfortable donating online and aren't close enough to see us at the races, donations can be mailed here:
J.D. Kimple
PO Box 222
Carroll, OH   43112

Checks should be mailed out to Wounded Warrior Project.

Thanks again for reading and for your help.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

We've reached a milestone!

Thanks to all the wonderful people who've contributed, we've reached $300 in donations for Wounded Warrior Project. And cyclocross season hasn't really started yet! We are very grateful and thankful.

And for those who are haven't yet contributed, please do at any time. We've been riding our hineys off trying to get into shape. Really.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Old bike for an old man?

When I decided I would actually start cyclocross racing last year, I bought a bicycle specifically for cyclocross. For those of you who are not bike geeks, that means it's a lot like a road bike except it has more room around where the tires pass through the frame and forks to allow for slightly bigger knobby tires along with a few other small differences. Woo-hoo, I was all set! I raced it at the last race last year, worked great. This year I was good.

Then I discussed this project (raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project). Jovid said he'd join me. And because he's close to my size, well, I turned my bike (dubbed the "Green Machine" by Andy) over to him and starting wrenching away madly to cobble something together for myself. Basically I found a late 70's/early 80's road bike as the basis for my creation. Usually something like this will work. In this case, sort of. The fork is from something else, not sure of it's origin, but it works. Most of the parts I had for various reasons (didn't Thomas Edison say something about  "Inspiration can be found in a pile of junk."?)  Tires wouldn't exactly fit in the frame at the back. This was "corrected" by several applications of the metal persuading apparatus (hammer and C-clamp). The results are ugly, but it works. Then the wheels wouldn't work right. Something to do with bent axle, something out of round... wouldn't have anything to do with my previous abuse at all. No, no no. I did have some nice wheels that were originally slated for the Green Monster that I could use on this creation, but that's sort of like polishing a turd. The wheels cost more that everything else put together. However we were getting down to the wire and... hey, with a bit of filing of the frame they work! Sort of... under any heavy pedaling (climbing up hill, sprinting) the wheel pulls forward, jams the tire in the frame and forward progress is no more. Ugh.

OK, I'm sure I swore more than that. But you have imaginations. I ended up using a different quick release on the rear wheel and really torquing it down. Not a very quick-release to actually release the wheel, but it holds. Mostly.

Then there was shifting issues. The crank I bought for this project didn't quite fit right. Lots of experimenting, swapping of derailers and other bits, and, well, it too works... mostly.

Here it is, in all it's pieced-together glory

However, my manly pride at having created something is clashing with my desire to have something work correctly all the time. (Which could be done, I just need to spend a few more bucks here and there... AAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! I was trying to do this withouth spending any more money!)

I could just buy another bike for myself to race. We have the technology. We could build it lighter, faster, have a bionic eye. Make cool slow-motion sounds at times of super-human feats.  However I've said that at this level of racing it's more about the engine (self) and less about the equipment. I guess I better walk the talk. So for now, the old man will keep riding the old bike. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The secret third team member

I've been posting about the two public faces of our "project/adventure/fund-raising campaign" (Jovid and myself) but there is of course a less-public but still hard-working and deserving third team member. I, of course, am refering to my wife, Catie.

She does help quite a bit with us getting ready for races. At the Frankenbike 50 she even got water, worked checkpoints and was a course marshall. Catie is very helpful in bouncing ideas off of & helping work through different aspects. Most of all, she puts up with us and she's awfully nice to look at. See for yourself:

Catie, not at one of the races.

So thank you to my bride for all the help, support, words of encouragement and putting up with us.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Frankenbike 50 done! Uh... kinda sorta...

We got to the Frankedbike 50 fully planning and prepared to ride the whole thing. In fact, we were asked to ride sweep so we commited to it. But my bike had a different idea. (After I announced this project and Jovid decided that he wanted to race, too, I've turned over the "Green Monster" to Jovid to ride and started piecing together something for myself.) Jovid and I got about 3 miles down the road and the lockring for the rear cassette (cog assembly) backed out, not letting me pedal. Crud. Guess the bike didn't like what it saw on the map and tried to chicken out. Fortunately I brought tools. We started walking back to the Start/Finish line (also the halfway point). I caught a ride with Andy's father, and Jovid rode back. Hoping for the best but fearing the worst I broke out the toolbox and went to work on my bike. Whew... that worked! No permanent damage!  The bike was thwarted and I was victorious. Which leads us to rule #1: Don't stay up until 10pm the night before a big ride finishing your bike. (In my defense, however, I sort of had to - nothing was quite working out right).

Jovid waiting for me at the top of one of the climbs.

Time for plan "B". Plan "B" was to hang around and wait for the main group to pass by at the midpoint and ride the last 25 or so miles from that point. Which pretty much worked. We found one guy to patch up - he hit a big rock on a long single track descent and went flying over the handlebars. Then we proceeded on to do a lot of long, hard climbing. Some so steep we had to get off and walk. Jovid commented "I thought this was a bike ride, not a cross country hike". Funny guy!  But what goes up must come down, so down the hill we went. Up and down dirt paths, paved roads, gravel roads. The ride was not easy but definitely fun. We did well, and Jovid rode better than I had anticipated. He descends like a demon! We had a great time. We even met some people who have read about our adventures - thank you!

Jovid drops the hammer on the road

This was a great event with a fantastic turnout. The promoters had only anticipated only about 20 or 30 people to show up. However over 100 people lined up for a chance to test themselves against the severely steep hills at Scioto Trails park. There was a LOT of positive response afterwards. I know I can't wait to do it again next year.

Cyclist Conection was quite helpful in me get my bike together in the 11th hour. A big thanks to them. And defintely a big "Thank you" to everyone who's contributed to the Wounded Warrior Project. And to those who have not contributed, click on this link or the link at the top of the right column.

Thanks again.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

This is why we support Wounded Warrior Project

Please check out this video. It's about a man who came back from his tour as a double amputee from Iraq and ends up climbing to the top of Mount Killamanjaro with two other amputee Veterans.

This is a great story, and a great example of some of the services that the Wounded Warrior Project helps with.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The new Jerseys are here!

We were starting to worry that we'd show up at our first event without our Wounded Warrior Project jerseys but they arrived today. which of course means that we had to go model them for all of you to see - HA!
Jovid shows me how it's done

Here's the old man
Jovid stops just long enough to get a shot of him in his jersey

I, of course, am old and slow so it's not too difficult to find me standing still

See you out there!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Frankenbike 50 is nearly upon us!

Sunday is our first event - the Frankenbike 50. I've been wrenching away madly on an old road bike that was going to be for Jovid but instead, he's riding my main steed and I'll the get old Concours. We've been trying to get training time in, too, but... ah well, with a field-service job and family, it doesn't always go the way we'd like. Also, we call the Frankenbike 50 an event rather than a race because while some people will be contesting for a win, for many others it will be an accomplishment just to complete the ride.

Why is that?

From the Cap City Cross website:
Date: Sunday, September 5th 2010
Location: Stoney Creek Rd. Scioto Trails State Park Start area is at the forest office/maintance area.
Time: HIGH NOON (12...)

Cost: We just ask for a small donation of $2-10 to cover map and sign costs.
What is it?
The FrankenBike50 (or FB50) is a bike tour or race depending on who you ask. It's meant to to be a fun test of your overall abilities. It will be about 50% dirt/gravel forest roads, 30% paved road and 20% singletrack. It will have some great climbing, fun downhills and beautiful views of southern Ohio. It will have technical sections, flat boring road sections, long hills, a hike a bike, and it will probably hurt a little.
Where is it?
In and around the Scioto Trails State park and forest. About an hour south of Columbus, Ohio.
Is it a cross race? A mountain bike race? A road race? What the heck?
None of the above really. It's a 'franken bike' ride. It's a little bit cross bike friendly, a little bit mountain bike friendly and a little bit road friendly. Frankenbike/Monster Cross, something like that. Maybe a rigid mountain bike, maybe a cross bike with fatter tires and a lower gear.
Can you ride any of the above bikes?
Heck yeah, there's no rules except don't cheat, play dirty or cut the course.
Yeah, about 50 miles give or take. Expect a long day. We'll have some drinks and checkpoints all around the course. It's going to be epic (at least we hope.)
How's the course?

The course will be kept secret until race day. When you sign up, you'll get a map and a checkpoint card. You'll need to compete all checkpoints in the correct order to finish the ride (and stay on course - we'll have spys no wise stuff!). The course will be marked with signs but not closed so be careful! and bring your climbing gears.
Climbing Gears?
Yeah! Believe it or not there's some great hills in Scioto Trails state forest and we've worked hard to try to find them all. I (andy) can climb them all with no problem in a 32x32. JD likes to ride a 34x32 and Mason is rocking the single speed 39x17. We all agree there's some tough climbing and have all had to dismount on a few sections.
What goes up goes down?
The downhills are great. We have a few on dirt/gravel roads and a few on singletrack. One is pretty technical but most are easily do-able on a cross bike and all are great fun. Most of the trails aren't very technical but sometimes the horses destroy small sections of the trail which makes it VERY bumpy for a few yards. But in general the trails have been smooth and crossbike friendly.
What class should I ride in?
Class? What you thinkin? this is some stinkin road race? No classes. Mass start. One winner, one prize. Do it for the fun, do it for the adventure, not to win some stupid 'class'.

So, as you can see, there's goig to be a great bit of oxygen-deprivation fun to be had. Woo-hoo! We'll be there, but our Wounded Warrior Project jerseys haven't arrived yet so look for the guys off the back (I'll actually be riding as "sweep/first-aid first responder"). Jovid will have the black bike with green wheels and bar tape, mine is the old bike in black with red highlights. 
But while we are out there, don't forget why we are doing this. Please donate to the Wounded Warrior Project! Thank you.