Friday, May 23, 2008

Commuting via Bicycle...aka The Race of the Carnivors

Nearly a month into my regular commute via bicycle I have discovered something about human nature.

My commute is just over ten miles each way.  There are nearly a dozen other like minded people that I see on their two wheeled conveyances every day.  Of those people, some are wearing their work clothes, jeans or slacks and a shirt and jacket, as they pedal away.  Those folks obviously aren't planning to sweat a whole lot or haven't much distance to go, probably both.  They cruise along at a fairly modest rate of speed and make eye contact passers by, often smiling a greeting in that brief second of familiarity. A couple look like construction workers and a few seem to be university professors (the University of Alaska campus marks the half way point of my commute).  Generally they seem like nice folks.

The second group consists of a couple of moderately overweight gents trying to burn pounds and save a few quid to boot.  Those folks are wearing gym shorts and t-shirts with sweatshirts or rain jackets over them and helmets.  They look like chubby Rocky Balboa characters pumping up and down the series hills across the city.  I belong to this group. 

Between my bicycle, my backpack of sweat-free clothing, lunch, and laptop, and my body I am pulling nearly three hundred pounds over those hills on a $250 Schwinn Mountain Bike I bought at Costco Warehouse last summer.

Others among my fellow cyclists are a group I call "The Overtakers" are clad in the neo-traditional cycling enthusiast garb of skin tight neoprene with butt pads and inner thigh protector.  They all seem to be rail thin and have those aerodynamic helmets and space aged looking Tour de France shades on.  Their bikes tend to be the $1500 and up models with tires the thickness of spaghetti and handlebars that reach down below their knees.  

The primary purpose of their six-thirty am cycle outing seems not to be commuting to work, rather they are there to overtake and humiliate any poor sap not as fast or flashily adorned as they. 

Every time I see them they are pumping their legs furiously, like the pistons of a train enginge.  Usually they are actively in the process of overtaking or passing some member of the other two groups.

They also never smile...or even look remotely at peace with themselves.  The closest I have seen to pleasure on the parts of their face I can see below their shark-like body armour and vestements is something akin to blood-lust.

Their cycling style cries out "I am strong!  I am fast! And I look damn sexy in this extremely tight fitting very unflattering body suit that makes me look like an emaciated version of Schwarzeneggar in Running Man.  Love me or get out of my way!"

As for that skinny little Overtaker lady who passes me every morning at Tudor road pumping her legs like giant carnivorous beast is chasing her down the road.  You don't have to impress me...I'm married.

Anyway...that's my rant for today.

Basil Sands

Who Dares, Wins

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Springtime Lawn and Blister Care

Why is it that getting a decent looking lawn involves such hard work? And how is it
that some people find it relaxing?

  After working all week in my day job, and several more evenings working with the youth
of my church, and several late nights writing and recording stories, spending half of my
Saturday raking and thatching my lawn after a hard winter is not my idea of relaxing.

  I don't find blisters anything like blissful...but in a few weeks when the lawn is
green and I am sitting on the front porch sipping an icy cold glass of tea and watching
my kids play I will say to myself, "Dang that was hard work."

  Basil Sands

Who Dares, Wins

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Strength through Weakness

 Last week I spent two days in Seward with a bunch of 20 & 30 somethings from my church. We had a terrific time beside the ocean and ended the whole thing with a short hike over a moderately difficult trail through the mountain terrain and onto a beach.

Moderately difficult is an Alaskan term for this might kick your butt if you're not in fairly decent shape already, and is most likely going to be much more difficult than you anticipated.

The trail was rocky and hilly, and in several places streams run over it making it difficult to not get wet.  That is what it's like in the summer.

As it turns out a late spring snowfall had added two feet of snow to the trail that had not melted in spite of temeratures in the 50's. We trudged on, and I think that several would have preferred to turn back but for one motivating factor.

One of the hikers was blind.

And she would not turn back. Over the entire three mile, snow covered course she trudged on with the assistance of one of the young men who, once he understood how to help her, simply called out hazards and let her keep a loose grip on him
and guide herself with a stick.

Watching her continue on in spite of the difficulties which included "post-holing" into thigh deep snow, fording icy cold streams on two occasions, and slipping down steep slushy snow covered trails, no one else found it in themselves to quit.

I find it amazing to watch how people suddenly feel much more capable in adversity when they see someone many would consider weaker do things that seem insurmountably difficult.

God strengthens us through weakness, and makes fools of the proud.

Basil Sands

Who Dares, Wins

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Finally, spring is fully upon us in the great Alaskan South Central Region. Lawns are being thatched, yards being cleaned, flowers being planted.

And gas costs $3.89 per gallon.

HOLY COW! says I when my thirsty F250 pickup rolls out of the gas station with my credit card bending under the weekly $100 fill up just put on it.

Time to commute via other means....bicycle. I live ten miles from my location of employment. There are bike trails nearly the whole way. It'll only cost some sweat and a half hour of sleep in the morning.

Well...that's what I said two weeks ago when I started. And reality, it's not too bad.

Pedal power rocks!

And it's nice to save a little cash from the gas pump.
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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hey folks. I'm busily trying a new blog casting format to see how it looks on the site.

The first entry I'll post is that an interview I did with Chris Moody of podiomediachat came online today.

If you'd like to listen, you can find the interview at:

It's a cool sunny day here in Anchorage, and life is good!


Who Dares, Wins
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