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Lady Vols - Game 3

Leah’s Upward Basketball team, The Lady Vols, had their 3rd game yesterday. Again, they towered over the opposing team. However the opposing team gave the Lady Vols fits for the first half. However, the second half was a different story. The Lady Vols exploded and their defense was tough. Final score was about 32-2. I say about because once a team is up by 20 in this league they stop the scoring until the other team scores. So there is some room for error in the reckoning. The highlight of the game was the one basket the other team made. It was in the final period. One of our girls eased up on one of the smaller girls on the other team and let her shoot and she made it. The parents from both teams erupted with a cheer. So the Lady Vols gave me a great birthday present with a good game. Now, maybe the Vikings can give me another birthday present with a win over the Saints in a few hours!

Lady Vols Upward Style

Leah’s Upward Basketball team is “The Lady Vols” this year. I’m not quite sure how they selected the teams but somehow or other Leah is on a team of giants. She is the fourth tallest girl on the team. She is used to being the tallest. Usually by quite a bit. The first two teams they played were a whole lot shorter. It really didn’t seem fair. However, the girls really have started to work together well. The major impact of the height difference is that The Lady Vols can dominate the rebounding just by accident.

Leah is also getting more confident and aggressive (in a good way) in her games. We have been urging her to do this for the last two years and she seems to be getting there now. It was a just great to watch. At one point she ended up tossing another girl to the ground when going for a loose ball that they got to at the same time. Leah grabbed the ball and so did this other, more diminutive, girl. Leah tried to rip it away and the other girl wouldn’t let go and something had to give! I was proud of her. Not for giving the other girl a tumble but for going after the loose balls aggressively. All was good in this case. Both girls were doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing.

So “The Lady Vols” are undefeated so far. They one their first game 38-6 and the second game 48-22. I told Leah not to get to confident. They could yet run into a team that has a lot of really fast ball handlers, great shooters and at least a couple of taller girls. They could have their hands full in that case. I hope they come up against a tough challenge. It will be fun to watch them try to come together to overcome a challenge.

Go Lady Vols!

See slide show to the above. You can click to get to full resolution pics.

Training – Month of November

hrr2009smallMy plan for November was to slowly build my fitness back up after being sick for nearly all of October. I wanted to add a little more volume with moderate intensity and I pretty much succeeded as my CTL (fitness level) started at 48 and ended the month at 67 . In fact I have only ridden more miles and hours in two other months since I started riding ( June & August of this year). I definitely felt my fitness and power starting to come back by the end of the month. I also got to do my first riding with my new team. Unfortunately, I caused a crash on one of those rides. Oooopsies. Well they are still letting me ride with them.

Here are the numbers:

430.66 miles, 25:57:28, 17,110 ft ascent, 174 watts avg power, 147 bpm avg hr, 17887 calories.

Santa Is Dead

deadsantaWell, sadly, it happened last night. I picked up Leah from school and she asked, “Do you like cookies?” I answered, “Yes, why?”. Then she asked, “Do you like milk?”. Again I answered, “Yes?” Then she asked, “Do you like frosted cookies with red hots?” Well, I knew where this was going now. I tried to evade her questions. But she grilled me like a seasoned trial lawyer. I managed to put her off until we got home. Then Nancy and I figured it was time to tell her.

First it was the Middle School visit on Sunday and now this. It isn’t going to end is it? I have mixed emotions about this. On one hand it’s natural and a sign she is growing up. She took it well and was happy we told her and she is excited to be able to help play Santa with her younger cousins. I knew this was coming. But on the other hand I was hoping for one more year of having Santa come for Christmas. One more year of this symbol of innocence. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Hear that faint cadence in the background? That’s time marching on.

Middle School? REALLY?

Sheesh. We went and toured the middle/high school that Leah will be attending starting next year. How on earth did that happen? 5th grade? She is almost half way through 4th grade now so it is really coming up fast. She was so excited to see the school. She is already looking forward to next year. Part of me is so please to see what a fine young lady she is developing into. She really is. But the other part of me just wished that she could just stay 9 forever. I know it’s not possible. Or IS it? Hmmm. Might need to fire up the secret lab tonight!

Tandem love

Daddy & his stoker at Cheatham Dam Park

Daddy & his stoker at Cheatham Dam Park

Yesterday we went for a family ride. Leah and me on the tandem and Nancy on her bike. It was a nice leisurely pace.  It was a beautiful day. Beyond beautiful and we hit the Cumberland River Bicentennial trail again. This is quickly becoming our favorite family ride location. The Cumberland River is almost always in view and the scenery is just marvelous. We will probably be hitting this trail a lot in the future.

I freaked Leah out a little bit during the ride. Part of the trail is crushed gravel which wasn’t a problem. But there was one section where there was a quick dip and rise on the other side through a gully. It also turned sharply at the bottom. Keep in mind that combined rider and bike weight is probably in the neighborhood of 330 lbs. I’ll preface this with the statement that we should have walked the bike down (and we did on the return trip).  So we start down this descent as slowly as gravity will allow 330 lbs of flesh and metal to go. Front break is worthless as it starts making the front wheel slide out. I had to basically use the rear drum break to skid the back end around to make the corner. We made it. But Leah was a bit freaked but impressed with her Dad’s mad bike handling skills :D . Another few minutes down the trail I confided in her. I said, “Guess what sweetie pie? Daddy was a little freaked out back there too!”

This time we took the trail all the way to the end (including a small stretch of flat grass single track). We found a beautiful park and campground right on the Cumberland River. This was a great bonus. The picture above is from that park. We sat and enjoyed the scenery for 10 minutes or so but had to turn around as we were racing daylight to get back to the van. We changed real quick and got in the van and headed out to eat dinner. It was a wonderful end to the weekend.

A weekend of big spending, gluttony and a lot of fun!

Leah had her Fall break from school on 10/16 & 10/19 so we decided to take a long weekend family trip. This was also a combined celebration of Nancy’s and my 20th anniversary and Nancy’s birthday. I got a great deal on rooms at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta so we booked 3 nights there. We got a room on the 39thfloor and it immediately became worth it when Leah and Nancy both got excited with the view the moment we walked in the room. And if you think that was good they were beside themselves when we came back to the room after dinner to see the lights of Atlanta spread before us outside our window. Leah was so excited with the hotel I can hardly describe it. We just sat there for a while and enjoyed the static light show. Here are the night shot pics from our room.

Atlanta Lights

Atlanta Lights

 

More Atlanta Lights

More Atlanta Lights

What frosted the cake for me was when I woke up early in the morning to see a silhouette of  Leah sitting up Indian style in her bed just quietly absorbing the view. That made the weekend for me right there.

We got up Saturday morning and had a full day planned at the Georgia Aquarium. We were told to plan a full day for this. I guess maybe we have been blessed with seeing more than one large aquarium in our years (Shedd in Chicago & Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga). So we didn’t really see anything new here. Except for the 4 whale sharks in the huge ocean display aquarium. That really was cool. We walked in at 10 AM and were done by 2 PM including seeing the shark exhibit, the 4D movie, lunch and Leah getting her face painted and buying a souvenir. I’m glad we went. But it was a bit pricey ($100 for the 3 of us) and I probably wouldn’t be inclined to go there again. Here are some shots from the aquarium.

The Georgia Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium

Leah & the Lionfish

Leah & the Lionfish

 

Don't be crabby

Don't be crabby

 

Sea Nettle Ballet

Sea Nettle Ballet

Ocean View

Ocean View

Mug shot 2

Mug shot 2

 

Mug shot 1

Mug shot 1

Since the aquarium didn’t take as long as we thought we had some extra time. So the logical thing to do was to go tour the World of Coke Museum right next to the aquarium. I have to say, I acutally enjoyed this more than the aquarium and even though I have been more of a Pepsi man (mmmm….especially Mountain Dew) over my life I left this tour withthe desire to consume more Coke products. That means they did a good job. This tour was a lot of fun withtwo short films, different galleries, a room where you can sit and watch Coke commercials from all over the world (this was really cool) and the final room where you can sample Coke products from around the world. I have to admit I left with more than a slight bloated feeling! You also get to take home an 8 oz bottle of Coke bottled right there on the premisis. We will be consuming these on Friday when we have pizza & movie night. I have numerous pics of this tour but I’ll just keep it to a bare minimum. I really enjoyed the World of Coke.

World of Coke

World of Coke

The Artifact Room

The Artifact Room

 

Polar Bear

Polar Bear

On Saturday night we had a different, wonderful and very expensive dinner at Fire of Brazil. It’s basically a meat fest. They cook all kinds of different meats over open flame on skewers and bring it out to you and lop off a chunk for you. My kind of place. Nancy enjoyed it but some of the offerings were a little on the undercooked side for her taste. Leah didn’t care for it all that much but found plenty to eat (Brazillian french fries and roased potatos and a few chunks of meat). Probably won’t ever go back there again. It’s a been there done that kind of place for us. Especially for the price.

Sunday was bike ride day. We had a leisurely morning and we were in no hurry to get out and ride as it was very windy with a low in the 30’s. We were setting out to ride the Silver Comet Trail starting in Rockmart, GA. We managed to stop for lunch at Ted’s Montana Grill before we started riding. We were tentative about it right up until about 2 PM when we finally started riding. Temp warmed to about 50 but the wind was biting but once we got rolling everyone was comfortable. Nancy was still not feeling 100% (cold/congestion) but she did great and since Leah was on the back of the tandem I was cutting the wind a bit for her. We started heading west but it proved to be a bit on the hilly side so we turned back torward Rockmart and headed East from there. That suited our family riding pace much better. Ended up getting a total of 15 miles in and just under 2 hours out including stops. I was hoping for 20 miles or so but considering Nancy was a bit under the weather 15 was great. It really was a great time. We will probably be going back just to ride the trail. Here are some pics of the ride.

Silver Comet Trail

Silver Comet Trail

Daddy and his stoker

Daddy and his stoker

Great view from park in Rockmart, GA

Great view from park in Rockmart, GA

On Sunday evening I finally really started feeling hungry again for the first time since Friday night after dinner. An indication over eating? No? I guess a little fresh air and some peddling the tandem around helped out a little. Nancy chose a modern, trendy looking Greek restuarant for dinner called Kyma. It was in the Buckhead section of Atlanta. I have to say the food was excellent. Being a meat & taters kind of guy I was daring and tried some new stuff. I really enjoyed this place. It was only slightly less expensive than Fire of Brazil but unlike Fire of Brazil I would actually come back to Kyma. It was an enjoyable night. But once again I left a restuarant uncomfortably stuffed!

Monday we putzed around in the morning, had some breakfast and checked out as late as possible (noon). We walked a round the sky bridges a little bit just to explore. I think we were all a bit bummed to have to call an end to this long weekend. A great time was had by all. We will probably be visiting Atlanta and/or the surrounding area in the near future. We especially want to explore a lot more of the Silver Comet Trail on our bikes. Maybe we will try to get in another “downtown” type excursion again too but that won’t happen too quickly. We will need to save up a little money for a repeat of that.

Leah’s 4th Grade Talent Show

I’m so proud of my baby (though she’s growing up too fast). She performed in her 4th grade talent show this morning. As of last year I wasn’t sure she really wanted to do it. But I kept hoping and praying she would. I was so happy that she signed up for it in the beginning of the year and so proud that she worked so hard, overcame her fears and followed through with her performance. She did a great job! Here is the video. I’m a proud papa can you tell?

First solo at church in a while

I haven’t written much here musicwise since the blog started. That’s because there hasn’t been a whole lot to write about. For those that don’t know me well, I sing in the Chapel Praise Choir at The Peoples’ Church in Franklin, TN. At times they are kind enough to let me get up and do a solo. Well, I ‘ve got a great solo this Sunday (9/27). It’s a song called “It’s Still The Cross”. It’s an absolutely beautiful song. It may be one of my favorite songs I’ve been assigned a solo on yet. Here is a sample on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_GWRpkkU8I. That version is a quartet version rather than full choir version but you’ll get the idea.

I’m a bit nervous because I haven’t had a solo in a while. But I am excited to be allowed to help lead worship with such a beautiful song. I wish someone would record it. I’d love to hear it played back.

Training week ended 9/19/2009

I bit of a lighter week again but a little more than last week. Ended the week with a 2 hour trainer session on Saturday morning due to the rain. I had the roller pressed too tight against my rear wheel so I did more work than the numbers indicated. Oh well, I still got a great workout in.

Here are the numbers for the week (includes virtual miles and ascent from the computer trainer)

71.85 miles, 4:12:33, 3906 ft ascent, 203 watts avg power, 153 bpm avg hr, 3202 calories. CTL ended at 75 with a TSB of -4

Next week I’ll be trying to add at least 1 more hour of training back (maybe two if I’m lucky).