Monday, March 7, 2011

KICKING OFF THE WEEK!

It has been an interesting start to the week following an interesting weekend of weather swings. On Friday, the submission period closed at 5:00 p.m. for our first ever Haywood County NC Bike Plan Request for Proposals. Somewhat surprisingly on 4 packages were submitted. Given the economic condition of the country, we had expected several more. Nevertheless, I look forward to reading the four packages we did receive and then picking a “winner” to develop our plan…

I’ll be meeting with 2 of the other 4 members of our selection committee tomorrow over lunch to review the packages and start the grading process. Our other two team members will be submitting their feedback next week.

Saturday was just a clammy, damp, miserable day throughout. It was a great day to stay inside and that is exactly what the Navigator and I did. We kept waiting on the forecasted heavy rain to get here but it never arrived during the day or into the evening as I enjoyed UNC putting a whipping on the boys from Durham. 

The nasty weather got here with a vengeance around 4:00 a.m. on Sunday. Heavy rains and high winds brought me out of a pretty peaceful sleep as the storm cells moved across us. I could hear things being whipped about outside enough that I felt the need to get up around 5:00 a.m. and survey for any trees being downed or other damages. Fortunately, I discovered none and returned to the warmth of the bed to listen to the storm.

While the Navigator and I were enjoying our morning coffee, we noticed heavy flakes of snowing falling infrequently. I checked the temperature and we had dropped from 50 degrees overnight to 33 degrees. In a short time, our deck was slush covered. Within another few minutes things were turning white. Fortunately, it did not amount to any accumulation. We need all of the moisture we can get as we are down for our year-to-date rainfall. Still, it made for a colorful and interesting Sunday.

Late Sunday was spent watching Paris-Nice on Versus. I enjoyed the two hours of coverage and was really pulling for Jens Voight to hold off the peloton after their hard work at the break. Somehow, it didn’t seem fair that he didn’t get on the podium for the day after the 3 riders literally got caught at the line. The stage was another good example of how cross winds can tear up a peloton. I also enjoyed Paul and Bob’s commentary throughout. I’ve been avoiding Twitter and email sources that might give away today’s stage results. I’m recording it for later viewing and do NOT want to know the outcome before I get to watch it.

Alternative Transportation…

Quite a bit of my Sunday was spent re-working a recent blog post “Making Capitalism Work For You!” into an article acceptable for our local newspaper. I spent much time trying to synthesize my thoughts into fewer words and dropping out the editorial comments I include in a blog posting. After getting some feedback from Bro Dave on the West Coast and, of course, my in-house editor The Navigator, I promptly sent off the revised article to the local editor. Time will tell if I made it acceptable enough for local print.

Somewhat my accident, I also ran across some information on converting my Ford F150 5.4L V8 powered truck to run on propane. This intrigues me as propane is abundant and does not have the nasty byproducts of burning gasoline. It is also notably cheaper. So, I’ve spent some time reviewing and researching the options. I like the idea of reducing my use of gasoline and also cleaning up the contribution that I make to environmental damage.

I spoke with a gentleman today at German Motor Werks, a local certified company that can do the conversions. He tells me that he converted his F150 to propane, gets the same range and mpg as with gasoline and pays a lot less for fuel. The downside is the tank goes into the bed of the truck taking up usable hauling space and the cost was more than I anticipated. It would require some financing on my part. Still, with gasoline prices skyrocketing, the payback period will get shorter. The options for refueling are better than I expected in this area and I learned that all Flying J’s now have public refueling stations for propane.

Finally today, I received an interesting correspondence in the mail from Lees McRae College in Banner Elk, NC. Lees McRae is known for their cycling team and was the team of recently deceased champion cyclist Carla Swart. The school has established the Carla Swart Memorial Scholarship in her honor.

The school has also established a degree in CYCLING! Yes, you can now earn your degree in cycling at Lees McRae College. It is a minor and works in conjunction with the Bachelors in Business Administration, the Sports Management major, or their Athletic Training program. A student graduating with these  designations would hopefully be in a great position to start their own business, become a successful coach, or move on into physical therapy with a specialization in cycling. Now, if I were only 30 years younger…

If you are interested in further information on the Minor in Cycling at Lees McRae College in Banner Elk, NC, check in with Christian White, Admissions Specialist. You may also call him at 828-898-8750.

Until later,

-Zeke

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