First week of Feb.

Great week and we are off and running for Feb. Super Bowl who needs a Super Bowl when your in Germany. We have painting as seen here. We have soccer or fussball as they call it.


Well I guess I will miss the Super Bowl if only for the advertisements. But AK will still have a blast chilling out painting her Kermik’s that uncle David gave her for christmas. She oh so does love a really craft to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Other than crafts and other non-essentials we did not hit on much this week. It was simply another normal week in the life of the Syracuse household. Everyone is in good health and a good mood. Madison is prepping still for the fantastic play at the school, and AK is now indoctrinated into her soccer club at Don Bosco. Hopefully she will eventually get to play in a game.

Work is well work, although it is getting really busy. Now learning German is still kicking my rear, but hopefully that will continue to advance properly as well. Time for me to sign off and finish up my relaxing day. Can’t wait until we take our trip to the Netherlands.

And oh we found out yesterday that AK could be getting a visit from her BFF Jasimine in the late April, early May time period. It doesn’t get any better than that as we push through the winter and get better for the spring.

Ready for the last week of Jan.

Another week in the books and we are getting just a little closer to warm weather and our first big trip while we are in Germany. After Uncle Sam did his best this past week and whilst we await the information on our renters stateside this will be it until summer, Holland to see the Tulips in April.

Yes E. is all about some Tulips sitting around the house, popping out of the ground. I think after almost 23 years together I have finally figured out what her favorite flower is, at least until I forget it again. Tulips.. That is the ticket. We are all very excited about the trip. Also we got a bang up good deal from Hotwire for the hotel fair at about 50% off for the weekend.

So we are sitting around dreaming of the blooming flowers and the clear skys. However it isn’t all doom and gloom as we go through our daily affairs. The girls are busy with school AK has found a great soccer club here in the city and started up this past monday. M continues to make friends and to grow into a lovely young lady. Having the struggles that everyone goes through making the transition from child to young adult, but doing them with a certain grace making her father and mother very proud.

Mom and dad are slowly getting used to and reconciling the fact that within the next 8 years we will be empty nesters. We are laying the plans and the thoughts of what we will do at that point while trying our best to enjoy and appreciate everyday that we have with both our wonderful children.

For example the time here in Germany has led AK and I to cook together on Sunday. While she thinks it is a chore I think it is a wonderful opportunity for father and daughter to bond over something that she will think back on the rest of her life with great memories. We created a beer biscuit recipe, we experiment with old favorites eggs, grits, bacon. Then for dinner we will find something out of the iPad recipe book to cook.

Madison and mom take sat. nights, they tend to cook more elaborate meals. However non-the-less it is an important time as it allows mom and daughter time to bond without thinking each other has lost their minds.

So while our extended family is 1000’s of miles away our immediate family is bonding and doing things that we might have never done before without having to rely on each other so closely. Everyday we find something new around us or about us that we didn’t know before.

So here is to another great week and hoping that Holland gets here sooner rather than later but not too soon…….

Forgetting about this place

Talk about not getting around and keeping the blog running. I seem to only remember in the long days of winter that I have a blog, I really should do more to keep up with my thoughts and my families events.

This place needs to become more of what is going on in the Syracuse family and with the Syracuse family. So here goes my first post of 2013, 2 years removed now from my last post.


In the meantime many things have happened both good and bad. We as a family have picked up and moved to Germany for my work and training. Some days it is wonderful, other days well let’s say one, two, three, or all of us have our craziness and issues.

The biggest issue seems to be the efforts we all have at communicating. From simple everyday communications to how to explain that our heat is less than optional to the landlord. Everyday brings a new and exciting thing to learn and try.

Here is to hoping that I can keep up with my blog on a more consistent basis as we go forward with this journey. Maybe I will even open up server space for my daughters to use for their own blogs. Who knows maybe just maybe…..

We will see Madison has such a better skill at writing than I do, it is a shame that she does not write more often.

Upcoming events.

2011 Assault on Mt. Mitchell is upcoming for this tired individual. Haven’t started yet on hitting the bike, I have been concentrating on getting my weight lower than it was last year by running.

That seems to be going pretty well but the old rear is going to have to start getting some training in on Monday. No doubt about it at all. Mitchell will be a beast this year as I am targetting getting under the 7 hr mark for maybe the first and last time. That is the magical time that I am striving for and will be updating the blog about until that point.

Daily Mile on the page

Just installed daily mile and transfered all my run information from runkeeper over to the mile. So far the site and app are spot on and perfect. Couldn’t ask for more on that front.

Can’t wait to play around with it and get the full effect of how it operates ironed out. My biggest issue currently is that I haven’t found a good iPhone app that tracks GPS coordinates to utilize it with. The one that I did find and download had a bug that kept my GPS up even when the app had been closed. That is a real drag on ones phones performance.

Also I need to start looking for a training target. Not sure that I will get a mitchell ticket this year as they have sold out relatively quickly. Good for them but bad for me on that front.

Fire pit or fix the guest bath.

Well today was an effort in futility and irritation. Started out with great intents on making serious strides toward my dears fire pit and patio area in the back yard. Wound up working with plumbing.

Picked my dad up around 9:30 to 10:00 and we set out on our supposedly 30mins to address a low water flow problem. Well or so we thought. Arrived at the house and promptly inspected the situation. Pulled the valve and the valve housing from the one handle faucet and we were making some headway.

Or so we thought we were making headway. Along the way we dropped one of the screws that mates to the side of the fixture into the wall so we had to fish it out. Not so bad we woud simply run up to Marion Davis and pick up a new one, fire pit here we come at 1:00. Hold on a minute said fate. Marion Davis plumbing had never seen such a fixture. Clearly it wasn’t a delta or other common brand. We would have to fish that screw head out of the wall.

Back home we go and into fishing mode. Finally after some small closet demolition we have managed to find the cap screw and are reassemblying the whole thing. To no end though the two little valves systems would now not shut off the water supply.

By now it is 3:30 or so and I have to run 30 miles to the other side of G-ville to pick up a 4.50 item repair kit. Back home by 5:15 and we are reassemblying the little bugger again. THis time we have the shut off down to a slow trickle. We are claiming success and it is time to prep the bathroom for Lucy and Ed.

Well at least there are two days left and hopefully good weather to finish the deck fire pit area.

Updating the blog and getting things moving forward.

To all the family members we hope you are having a wonderful holiday season.

My last day at work for 2010 will be Dec. 20th, then it is off until the 3rd. I love this time of year and getting to spend it with my girls. All three of them are wonderful in their own way, from the little one to the big one.

For those that need an update everyone is doing great. M is plugging ahead at montessori and becoming a wonderful young lady. AK is at Hunt Meadows and growing like a weed. She is the little mama of the family and as inquisitive as ever. E is teaching and enjoying the kids in her class. No way that I could ever do that job, but the world needs caring intelligent teachers.

For me time keeps ticking forward and the white hairs keep appearing. Mom and dad have gotten into breeding frenchies. That takes up most of their time. Everyone is in great health over the whole family.

L got married to Ed and is living in Washington. She appears really happy which I am ever so thankful for as she deserves it. M is in Charleston still and plugging forward in her field of law. The older I get the closer that I seem to get to both of them no matter how far the distance is between us.

Well that is enough for tonight, hope everyone enjoys Christmas and is safe into the New Year.

Post Ride write-up for the 35th assault on Mt. Mitchell.

The mountain again took it’s toll early and often. For the second year the ride was at once enthralling and painful. Kevin, David, and I arrived at 5:30 in Sparkle City to get ourselves mentally and emotionally ready for the day ahead.

We unloaded the bikes and started the pre-ride rituals of pumping up tires, pulling on cycling shirts and generally prepping for the ride.

I made a phone call over to Patrick Rivers of the EFBR team and asked how they were doing, coincidentally or not they were parked just 10 cars away. It was their first mass ride and they sounded excited.

I finished up getting the HR on the tires pumped, helmet, glasses, phone in bag, and was ready to head to the restroom. Down the hill the base of the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium entrance and I was certainly prepped and ready. Oh crap forgot my bag so back up the truck I went. Nothing would be quite as miserable as arriving at the top without a change of clothes and the protein shakes. Check bag picked up and returned to the rider truck, surely I am ready to roll.

At this point Kevin has made it down and headed in to the head. I circle here and there and then decide to go see if David is still milling about the truck. When I get to the truck the second o-crap moment happens. 4 Truck doors all ajar and open. Glad that I circled back around I shut all the doors and then lock up the truck with the key FOB.

Now it’s time to drift down to see if Kevin is ready to roll on to the start line. He is standing outside adjusting his Jersey and seems to be really ready to roll. Up beside the old Krispy Kreme we trudge a donut would surely be awesome right about now but oh-well no time for that we have about 10 mins left before the start and the timer is counting down. I forgot how hectic this start was and we begin jockeying for some semblance of position in the crowd.

Well it’s time to roll and we are off and running like a herd of water buffalo heading into the nile crocodiles layer. Starting stopping, people trying to clip and reclip, why is it that slow riders and runners always feel the need to get to the front of the start-line. Kevin and I are picking our way through the area and are steadily trying to find a group to ride with.

We settle in about 5 miles into the ride at the mid-point of a very large peleton. The group rides the brakes going down hills, virtually stops at the bottom of the hills to only accelerate up the back side. I am looking to find somewhere anywhere that has a sane group riding structure to no avail. Where was that group from 2009 with the solid riding form and the lead pack mentality. My thoughts are wondering if this will be the case all the way to the top.

Within no time we have passed water station #1 a couple of the culprits have pulled in to get water the remaining riders are still sliding toward the next stop. We are averaging around 20 mph but the surges are continuing to happen. We crest a hill and start down another small descent, I am on the inside of the pack and all the sudden the brake dragging and stopping begins again. This time my wheels are in pee gravel and I head off for a 30 mph offroad ride, pass 3 or 4 riders and get the obligatory great save when I pop back up on the road from several others. My bladder is about to bust and I know with my 4 water bottles I won’t stop until at least 60 miles. So at the next uphill pull-off opportunity I jump off road again to relieve the pressure. Kevin is in the midst of the pack and I figure that I won’t see him again until the top. But I couldn’t handle the accelerations and decelerations + a full bladder.

Back on the road I am now teamed up with a couple of riders, I really need to get better at remembering names the guy that I am riding with seems really cool and we both cruise on past rest stop #2 heading toward Marion. Much better than last year at this point, I am hoping it holds up. I yell at Kevin to get his lazy rear out of the woods, the guy that I am riding with says I assume you know him and I say yes. We then back off the pace to let Kevin grab back on. At this point we are in a pretty good groove. Couple of miles and Kevin hooks back up and we are off again.

Right on to Marion. Only one minor incident when for whatever reason K and I scrub wheels the guy behind me clips my wheel and the next thing I know I am going sideways across the course. Some poor soul now t-bones me and hits the deck. No damage that I could see to the Orca and it is time to get out of dodge as the guy is also uninjured and cussing mightly.

As we head into Marion I mention to Kevin that we should stop and get water at the campground. 70+ miles in I am on the bottom fumes of my 4 water bottles. Kevin then reminds me that the rest stop is up on the turn onto 80 only a mile are two up. So we proceed on.

Remember that I said the rest stop with the climbing point was just a mile or two. Someone should have reminded the organizers Kevin and I cruise to where the stop was in 2009 and guess what no stop so it is either spin around and pedal back up hill to the camp ground or labor own. We decide to labor on to the rest area mid-way up the climb to the parkway.

Looking at the ride link above you will see the 80 climb was fairly uneventful and honestly quite strong for me this year. I am hitting my marks and climbing at a steady 6.5 or so per hour. We stop for our one and only stop and again I am climbing well and thinking of a 7:30 or so time.

Water is reclaimed the bottles are full and we are off on to the top of 80. My memory from last year belied the fact that 80 was so so steep. The grades are similar to that of Cesars head the only problem is that parkway and Mitchell still lie ahead.

The parkway continues the climb still no stops. Kevin and I are still riding together but he is 10 to 15 ft ahead and I am fading. My legs aren’t hurting quite so badly but my energy is waning. I quickly remember that I failed to load my Nunn caplets into the water bottle. At the first opportunity I pull over to lay the bike down and fill the bottles. Kevin is up ahead and I can still see his pack and I am sludging ahead.

Over the final downhill crest and there is a tremendous storm drowning me. I contemplate removing my glasses, but realize that is the only thing protecting my eyes from the water. I glance down at the garmin and I am doing 30+ mph and others are braking. No way I am going to brake at this point.

Right to the bottom of the hill. As I reach it my legs are in bad shape. I am unable to spin up to a good cadence and just can’t get above that 5 mph range. Kevin is now gone my mind is gone and I am wondering if that euphoria and timing of hitting 7:30 may vaporize into a 8:30 or even a 9:00 event. It takes for what seems like forever to reach the entry to the Mitchell entry. As I turn in another rider says something about only a mile left and he is hurting. Being the realist I am I tell him that I think there are 5 miles remaining. He curses groans and complains.

But at this point it provides me with a little boost. My training legs are coming back around and I am able to spin a decent cadence on a pretty tough slope. Back in the game I climb and pass guys. Only two guys pass me going up the hill. These two are burned out and pull in at the ranger rest area less than 2 miles from the finish. No way I am going there as I would collapse and be totally spent.

Up up up I continue to ride. The hill flattens out and I am running a lightening quick 10 mph and it feels like 30 mph. Right to the finish I complete this ride strong.

Great work and absolute great ride overall. Can’t wait until next year.

Marquis de Sade training ride

Well tomorrow is going to be a rolling blast. Kevin S, Randy O and I are heading up to tigerville to ride a killer loop.

We will be repeating the ride from slightly earlier this year put on by the free wheelers in preperation for Mt. Mitchell. The ride will be about 70 miles with around 10k foot of climbing. Peaks to be hit on this fabulous day, howards gap, green river cove, and white mountain.

When we are finished there is no way that I expect walking to be enjoyable, however this should finalize all the riding that I have been doing this year to get ready for Mitchell.

I’ll give a ride summary tomorrow night.

Getting ready for Mitchell again…….

Well Mitchell is coming up quickly again this year.

Am I ready I am certainly at a better point this year than last although I still haven’t managed any major climbing efforts this spring. Hopefully this coming sat. I can get enough time and sunshine to push to the top of Ceasar’s head.

Sat was suppose to be the day that I finally broke out and climbed that torturous 6 miles. It was for naught as we simply didn’t have the day available as the storms rolled in.