Thursday, January 5, 2012


January 5, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts while stationed in Naples, Italy during WWII…
“Nothing doing today. Rain and snow. Go to town – shave and lunch. For Spagetti and French Fryes it cost 150.00 Lira – In the states it would have cost only 35 cents.”


We lost another member of the “Greatest Generation” on New Year’s Day. The Navigator’s father, age 93, “passed on” after a full and rich life. G.C. was a WWII Veteran serving our country in the Army Air Corp. He saw action in Africa and Italy. One of the discovered treasures in his home was a day-by-day journal that he kept of his activities. I find it illuminating to stop today and consider what he was doing on this date time during the war…

GC Watts and Colin Powell

(G.C. Watts, Gen. Colin Powell, The Navigator (on left with camera) during the HonorAir Flight to the WWII Monument in Washington, DC)

Cycling Updates:

While the weather here in Western North Carolina has been less than hospitable for most of us, our fellow BicycleHaywoodNC members “Cross Country”Stan and his better half, Shirley, have managed to avoid our winter weather…

”Cross Country” Stan files this report from the field:


(Cross Country Stan and friends in Mesa)

The Winter in Mesa, Arizona affords many opportunities for bike rides. On December 29, a warm and sunny day, Shirley and I rode the tandem and Jan and Len, our friends from Wisconsin who also live in Green Acres RV Park, did a 25 mile ride to Old Scottsdale. The ride began at our location on Main Street in Mesa which becomes Apache Boulevard after about a mile when we enter the city of Tempe. Tempe is the home of Arizona State University and a really neat town who hosted a real bash of a New Years Eve block party with an estimated 100,000 revelers. After riding down Mill avenue we cross the bridge over Tempe Town Lake and from there enter Papago Park which is also part of Tempe. From this point on to Scottsdale and back to another point on Tempe Lake we rode on multi-use trails and there are probably a few hundred miles of them in the valley. Even riding the roads with their well designated bike lanes is a pleasure.

After spending a few hours in Old Scottsdale we completed our loop back to the RV park.

As for me…

The virus I picked up prior to Christmas seems to want to remain with me. I would be happy for it to move on. While my energy seems to be returning, a nagging cough and ongoing congestion rear their ugly heads once or twice a day.

I have settled upon my motivational goal for the month of January. I’m going to take a page out of my friend’s experiences last year and modify it slightly. Kent “Mountain Turtle” Peterson decided to ride every day in April of 2011. I liked the idea then and it has percolated with me ever since. So, my modification is going to be to try and ride the number of miles each day that corresponds to the number of the day of the month. My goal will be to ride the relevant distance as a minimum each day on either my Salsa Fargo or my ProForm Le Tour de France spinner bike. Obviously, it has been pretty easy thus far having ridden 1 mile on January 1st, two miles on January 2nd, etc..

The biggest challenge to date has been to simply get on the bike. I’ve almost broken a sweat twice now. If my calculations are correct, on February 1st, I will have ridden a total of 496 miles in January. My weight has inched back up over the holidays by 6 lbs. putting me back nearing 190 lbs. I’ll be interested to see if I manage to remove it by the end of January. I’m also curious as to whether my knees and lower back will take the daily repetition of 20+ miles per day after January 19th. I fully realize that this is not high mileage for most seasoned riders but represents enough of a goal as to challenge my current level of condition. I’m hoping that it will give me a good kick-start to spring 2012. I foolishly lounged around last winter and lost quite a bit of conditioning. The plan in purchasing the TdF bike was not to have yet another excellent place to hang clothes for drying but to avoid the mistakes of the past. Will I show the discipline to achieve this goal? As in all things, time will tell…

Until later!

- Zeke

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