Monday, July 27, 2009


I don't sit still very well... Never have... T.V. is something to visually stimulate you while you do something else...

So... When a completely ADHD guy who is used to swimming, biking, and running 20+ hours each week, can't workout... It's time to find alternatives...

Voila!  Guitar, physical therapy, stretching, icing, applying for a new job, and completing a new online educational program... Problem solved!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Travel tracker...

It's been a pretty good year of travel.  Since arriving in January, I've managed to visit the following cities:
Czech Republic
--Karlovy Vary
--Eagle's Nest

Not a bad year at all...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Eating for my country...

Another trip to the Caucasus and further confirmation of the wonderful hospitality of our hosts... Despite some stomach issues, I really enjoyed the meals.  Further, our meetings were a  productive outlet for continued cooperative relations with Armenia.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Paris lights... U2 (again)...

Just a quick drive to Paris for U2 this weekend.  

Off to Armenia tomorrow for work.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Not a bad way to spend an evening...

U2 in Milan... Followed by a 5.5 hour drive back to Stuttgart... Followed by some great memories...

Bono was in rare form (lots of political commentary).  However, it was The Edge and his yellow Telecaster that drew my attention...

Let me in the sound... 

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Rail it out...

The climb to the Passo Foscagno isn't overly difficult... 

The descent is a dream... Wide open corners, fresh pavement, 5.5% grade (average)... Only a few switchbacks... It's the type of descent designed to test a new bike...

Diggler was freakishly stable around 80 kph... I shiver to think how fast I could have ridden if it hadn't been for the traffic (and my own conservative approach any time I ride a descent for the first time).

With uncertain weather in the mountains, I beat feet back to Bormio for an afternoon watching the Tour live on RAI DUE and some time in the spa.

Keep chippin' away...

38 switchbacks
The highest road in the Italian Alps
1533 vertical METERS (like 5,000 feet or something silly)
22 kilometers
Highest point is at 2758 meters above sea level (the air is a bit thinner up there)

Oh, and that's the "easy" side...

Like so many things in life, the Stelvio takes patience and a relentless desire to keep moving forward.  You needn't bother looking to the top until you are there.  Most of the time, one is happy just making it to the next switchback or tunnel.

The reward?  Tourist shops, a warm Coke, and the most hair-raising, technical descent (minus guard rails in many spots) you'll ever ride.  

Friday, July 3, 2009


It seems the proper way to conduct the first ride on the Colnago was to drive to the Italian Alps and ride the Gavia Pass (the same one Andy Hampsten used to win the Giro in 1988):
From The Day the Big Men Cried, a tale from the 1988 Giro d'Italia, where there's a blizzard during stage 14:
I grabbed a plastic hat, long-finger gloves, and Oakley Pilots and took off down the pass for Bormio, a mere 15 kilometers away. I thought I could ride 15 kilometers in any condition, at any time, anywhere on Earth. I have never been more wrong in my life.

After a brilliant climb, Van de Velde, forsaking extra clothes in order to gain time on the descent, was the leader on the road and had the pink jersey waiting for him in Bormio. Only 2 kilometers of descending later, Van de Velde was on his knees in tears. Savagely hypothermic, he crawled into a car to warm up. One hour later, he got out of the car and rode to the finish way outside the time limit....

Meanwhile, I kept my head down and hammered, following the tire grooves through the snow. After only 1 kilometer, I was bloody cold. After 2 kilometers, I was frozen to the core. After only 3 kilometers, I was laughing like a lunatic and passed Rolf Sorensen, screaming at the top of my lungs in an attempt to generate some warmth. After 5 kilometers, I was crying and about to slip into a frozen coma. About halfway down, I was not thinking straight and was making poor choices. At one point, I got off my bike and began to run back up the hill in a lame attempt to warm up.
Fortunately, I had GREAT weather (despite a chilly descent).
The bike will be named "Diggler" because it's stiff, but can be ridden all day long... Probably not appropriate for all audiences, but it's just an accurate description of the Colnago EPS.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Milestones and Mentors...

Today, I reached a Navy milestone when Vice Admiral Richard K. Gallagher "pinned on" my Silver Oak Leaves signifying that I've attained the rank of Commander.  I'm proud, but I must admit a continuous need to "prove myself."  Nevertheless, one never attains goals without the aid of others and this seems like a good time to recognize a few of those who have taken extra care to help me develop (many of them continue to mentor and guide me today).

Master Chief Jim Matthews--My first "Chief."  Jim's calm demeanor and dry wit allowed me to weather many challenges during my first shipboard tour.  Simply put, Jim reinforced my belief that smart men need to be told WHAT to do... Not HOW to do it.

Admiral Robert "Rat" Willard--My first C.O.  allowed his Junior Officers to fail (as long as they learned and progressed).

RADM Jack Natter--If I hadn't attended his daughter's wedding and been inspired by his commitment to Service (in the Navy Reserve), I'd have never affiliated with the Reserves.  

CAPT Jan Schwarzenberg--A prolific mentor, CAPT S. provides guidance to nearly every Diver and EOD Officer in the Reserves.

Commodore (CAPT) Scott Jerabek--A Warrior, a family man, an inspiration.  He entrusted me with my first Command (IBU-11).  His legacy will be the hundreds of Officers and Enlisted he has inspired through sheer force of positive personality.

Col (Ret)--Paul Van Gorden--An intellect and realist at CGSC.  He tolerated my biting comments and challenged my thinking while keeping things "fun."

LTJG Marc Heise--My friend who pushed me through my first solo 24-Hour Mountain Bike Race and who has the courage to tell me (many times) when I am wrong.  

Master Chief (Ret) John Wright--My SEL at IBU-11.  A fine example of an old school Chief.

My many friends on land and sea who tolerate my "relief valve" personality and rein in my "big ideas" when they border on nutty.

There are many others as well.  Lists can be dangerous.  Everyone touches us in different ways.  However, I needed to mention this group today as every one of them kept me on course at times when I was considering a different route.