Thursday, February 25, 2010

Aidan Goes to the Dojo

Welcome to the dojo!

Alethea and I have been asked several times to open a dojo for the community. I have been teaching aikido for Wasatch Academy but my evenings have been taken up by graduate school and writing my book. Now that both of those things are done, we finally have some evenings to dedicate to a community dojo. -And it is MUCH more fun than graduate school!

Of course, the star of the show is Aidan, who has been in the dojo since he was born but only recently began his official training. Front rolls, back rolls, various throwing and pinning techniques: Aidan is a natural athlete and learning VERY quickly.The students love to step offline avoiding the downward strikes from bamboo swords. Here my senior student Steve and I aim and swing at the children... How often do you hear that? hehe.
Here Aidan is performing Ikkyo, the first technique. Aidan looks so serious but he has so much fun in aikido. I think he just wanted to make a tough-guy face for the camera. Most of the time he is smiling ... Which of course, brings me great joy.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Max at 2010 Buzzards race in Mesquite

Here is the story of my first desert race... From the time I was a little kid, I have always loved the idea of racing in the desert. -Just like my childhood fantasy of riding like Steve McQueen in, Bruce Brown's "On Any Sunday." My father and many family members ride motorcycles. Most of them are a little nuts too.

This is a story of unexpectedly having dirt spun into every crevace in my face, swallowing the dirt kicked up by racers in front of me, many beautifully colored bruises, seeing my beautiful wife and children cheering me on, and an unexpectedly strong finish. I hope you enjoy it.

Here is a shot of me, Aidan and Porter just before the riders meeting. I was so nervous. But of course, daddies are brave in the face of pre-race jitters.

The "Roach Racing" pit crew takes a few things very seriously: Fun, Cheering for Daddy, and playing in the dirt!
Shown here are just a few of the bikes running in the Pro and Amateur race. My guess is that there were around two hundred riders on the course during this race.

Zooming in on this picture, you can see me giving a thumbs up to Alethea and the boys. I was so proud to be there, see Aidan and Porter jumping up and down cheering, and see lovely Alethea holding Charlie.

The bikes started, the sound was thunderous and the ground shook. I was so pumped up that my mind swam from one terrified thought to another. At this point, I still did not know where the "flag" was. There is supposed to be a couple guys who hold up a big flag and then drop it to start the race... The was my first race, I was out of my league racing with the Amatures (most people race Novice class and only advance to Amateur after being promoted because they have won a certain number of races over a period of years. At this point, I was SERIOUSLY doubting my decision to sign up for the Amateur class. SOOOOOOOO many riders and they all look REALLY serious. -I just came to ride hard and have fun.

Here are some pics of the start. This was not a classic desert race start. They did it "Grand Prix style; where they arrange racers in rows and keep track of the time that each row leaves the starting gate. I am on the far end of the row in the black and grey helmet with the blue fender. Five seconds before the start, I asked one of the race workers, "where should I be looking to know when to go?" He pointed to a black box about 60 yards away and said, "those lights."As soon as I looked over there, the light turned green! GO! Notice I am already on the move, wheel up, and getting a miraculously good start. What a thrill! There is nothing like it!

From their pirch at the end of pit row, Alethea and the boys watched me speed by at over 60 mph. The beautiful day was perfect for desert racing! -A nice break from the frigid temps of Mt. P.

Here are the boys playing in what would later become a super nasty obsticle: a huge lumpy pile of SAWDUST! As the race went on, the sawdust was shaped into treacherous peaks and valleys so nasty that they could not be taken at speed like whoops. I passed two riders on the first lap who had been racing really fast and they crashed right in front of me in this stuff. The folks in the Buzzards motorcycle club are some really sick puppies. -I wish I had pictures of the 9 foot high mining truck tires that they lined up for us to climb over! Sick bastards.

More pics to come.

The End Result: -Desert races are notoriously gnarly and known for many racers not finishing due to the speed, obstacles, other crazy riders, sagebrush, razor sharp rocks, and, most commonly, your motorcycle just gives up under the punishment.

I took first place in my class: Amateur 30+. I placed 32nd out of 258 Pro and Amateur racers!

Honestly, I still can't actually believe it. It was my first motorcycle race. I was in a class that I am told is very competitive, so I just wanted to go and have fun. Honestly, I think it is a fluke! I figured if I finished the race I would have been a smashing success... I finished.

I will take a few things with me: I have bruises from head to toe. I take them home with pride because I earned each one the hard way and none of them broke me. I have a fancy trophy and a finisher's pin. -Neither of which I actually thought I would take home. I made some great new friends like the Jolleys, Ron and Talisa, from the Sageriders, and Mr. Knight, from FAST Racing. Most importantly, my family had a wonderful time and we can't wait to go do it again. -After I fix my bike and I can walk upright again. Lastly, I will take home the knowledge that I am a desert racer.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Our 2009 Christmas Tree Hunt

Every year we buy a tree permit from the forest service and drive up Spring City canyon to find our perfect Christmas Tree. This year was no different except we were spared waiting in line for 90 min at 7am in 10 degree weather to get one of the 300 or so permits they sell. Normally that is the hard part and finding the "perfect tree" is the easy part.

This year we tromped though the snow carrying Porter and Charlie, while Aidan was sledding down the road, for over an hour. I was feeling done so I pointed to a fine looking tree a short distance away and told Max to just cut that one down so we could be done. Being the amazing husband he is, he cut without arguing. Well, the tree turned out to be about 20 feet tall and we only have 9 ft ceilings. After cutting 6 ft off the top and 5 ft off the bottom we ended up with a lovely tree.

The boys were patient and well behaved and even let me take some cute pictures of them. It was another great tree hunt, and definitely one we'll remember.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cute boys in the Backyard

I just thought I would post these pictures of the boys playing in the backyard at our new house because they are adorable. Charlie started walking the week after his first birthday last month and now there is no stopping him. He is trying to run everywhere to catch up with his big brothers. He also likes to climb. He is always getting up onto things I would not imagine him capable of climbing. They all love to ride around in the little John Deere truck. Aidan puts Charlie in the back sometimes and the big boys drive him around the yard.