Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sweet Fixie

Just got this sweet, sweet Fixie together, nothing I love more than a sweet, sweet Fixie. I've cut the bars down hella narrow, I guess the cool kids call them "Traffic Busters". I also heard something about "Crash Biking" becoming the next big thing after "Tricking" and "Krumping". That's where you just ride a totally rickety piece of crap bike with no brakes and get into unavoidable (only because you don't have brakes or an iota of skill) accidents resulting in almost intentional bodily harm. It's awesome!
Problem is, I can't go out and ride my Fixie (into a parked car) because I'm still waiting on my Sweet-Fixie-Rider-Kid outfit to show up in the mail. There's no way I can be seen walking my Sweet Fixie down the sidewalk (holding it by it's too high, nose-diving saddle), or stand around posing as a messenger by Winthrop Square, leaning against my top tube pad without my oddly tight jeans, sagging (sagging despite the oversize, white, studded, rocker belt) just below my hairy ass crack, tapering down to my worn vans. How can I see where I'm going without mirrored, state trooper shades? And what will hold my brains in when I inevitably collide with some inanimate object besides a flat-brimmed, slightly askew, high-riding trucker hat?
Sweet Fixie!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rode to work today, felt like it was 100°, the fire was in my head, I was running a fever, trying to do my taper for The 50, don't know if it was really the best thing to do. Got to the top of a slight rise, at the end of a short interval, guy in an SUV yelled "Lance cheated!". Buddy, get with the program, it's Landis or Vino or Tyler's greasy, greasy Granny. Lance? That's WAY too obvious. "Ya, well you're driving a car" I replied. Damn! What a stupid comeback I thought. I thought again, nah it was pretty good, what else could I say in that short span of time before I dropped out of earshot besides "Ya, suck it!"? My Lance didn't cheat rant is one for another time, don't get me started, I gotta sleep this evil bug out of my system.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sick Boy

No racing for me this weekend. I was planning on doing the Bedford 'Cross race just because it was so close to home, would have been nice just to ride out, but I am home not feeling so swell, trying to get well before The Vermont 50 next week. I did do some exciting stuff to the bike though in anticipation of the upcoming event. Decided to go rigid, got myself a Bontrager Switchblade carbon fork, dropped a good two pounds off the bike. The VT 50 is way more about the climbing than the descending (at least from what I remember) so I hope this choice serves me well. The bike's weighing pretty light at 21.5 lbs. My Rig does have a little secret, it's EBB was modified by Pete Verdone, a huge amount of material was removed, lightening it up significantly. Check it:
PVD Wiki

Still haven't decided on the gearing, I though single speeds were supposed to be simple...amazing how much thought I put into gear selection. It makes sense though, if you're going to be stuck with one gear for a whole race, you better be sure it's the right one. I think it's best to change as many things as possible just before a race, don't do anything the same way twice. Unless you're riding like Adam Craig, then you stop and say "hey, what am I doing so right? I should keep doing that thing". Otherwise, to hell with it, eat weird stuff, change your saddle height, get drunk and go cow-tipping the night before the race, who cares, you'll find what works eventually...hopefully.

Oh, in more exciting news, I found another great SSWC 2007 gallery by
Single Speed Widow
I like how she captured my jaw clenching weirdly, I am a creature.

Monday, September 17, 2007

EFTA NECS #9 Grillz Memorial
Georgetown, ME

“I have seen old Israel's arid plain.
It's magnificent, but so's Maine”

-Jonathan Richman

Last night I had the strangest dream…in the dream I woke up at five in the morning and drove my car up to Maine, out on the peninsula past Bath to Reid State Park, there was mist on the highway , like you’d expect there to be in a dream. It was a beautiful day, I mean absolutely perfect, not beach weather mind you, but sunny and clear about 65° or so, good dream weather. I was driving to a bike race, when I had said good bye to my girlfriend I told her I was going to win (I don’t win many bike races so this was ridiculous) she humored me.
The parking lot for the race was right by the beach, Half Mile Beach and Mile Beach, these were some nice beaches. One reason I knew this was a dream was that I arrived early enough to ride the entire course and warm up, even checking out the hole shot a couple extra times, it was tricky, I’d probably be off the bike doing some ‘cross practice. The course, dream course, dream conditions…sorry, but it’s true. The roots were wet, the mud was rideable, there were lots of tricky moves to make, real mountain biking type stuff, up over slimy rocks, down rooty drops, slippery bridges, then you’d get a slight respite as you spun out (on a single speed anyway) down this nicely graded path before you hit the real craziness along a raised pipeline. A slip and you could easily gore your leg on one of the many pipe fittings. This section was pure upper body and balance, all rocks and roots, with a couple forced run-ups (crossin’ it up baby!) .

This is the way to roll

This dream wasn’t perfect, I’d run out of accelerade, just the type of thing which messes with a geeky racer’s head, I’d be running on Gatorade and flat coke. I balmed up my legs with some mace ointment and went to line up at the start. There were maybe six guys there, then they told us we’d be let out in waves with Open Elite going first, everyone but three other dudes backed up. So it was me CCB Pro (15th at Nats) Matt O’keefe, Andrew Freye (also Pro), and some other guy who looked strong but from what I saw on the warm up lacked the technical skills necessary to really do well at this race. I was gunning for third, the highest spot on the podium I’ve ever reached at one of these things.
Then with thirty seconds to go, Michael Patrick (Pro, 8th at Master’s Worlds, no joke either) comes screaming down the course at us and wips his bike in line. Now it was five of us and I would have to fight for that podium spot, this dream was turning into a nightmare.
The start was slightly uphill so I was able to hang, hopping on Freye’s wheel, they sent us out into the parking lot to break things up before the hole shot, we basically went out and around a barrel and back to where we came, O’keefe’s up there asking us which way to go, I’m not usually at the front of the race, so this banter was surprising, things seemed pretty relaxed. We came blasting into the woods, a gap already opening up behind us. I couldn’t believe the speed O’keefe was going into this stuff at, one minute in and he was opening the gap, Freye was just ten seconds ahead, I was trying to stay locked on him. He’d bobble, I’d gap up, then I’d bobble, he’d gap away, then we hit the dirt road/path section and he opened it right up, this was what I had feared, that section would be my undoing.

I've made a few changes in the latter part of the season, something seems to be working, don't know if it's the Multi-Vitamins or the new Deodorant

There were a couple minutes of light climbing just before the pipeline section, there I was able to close it down on Freye, conscious Thom P. could never do this, but dreamland Thom P. was able to pull it off. A ways into the gnarliness (look it up in your Laird Hamilton dictionary) I was right on Freye’s wheel when he got stopped by something in his path, he let me come around and I was able to open a small gap and extend it to maybe ten seconds by the time we came through the start finish. The roles were reversed but the situation was the same as lap one, gaps opening and closing all the while, there were a couple small, rooty power climbs before the anti-singlespeedy dirt road bit, I drilled them, I wanted to get some air between me and Freye before I got there. But even still just a minute into the pipeline Freye was breathing down my neck, but then I heard the words of Mike Ramponi’s brother in his thick Boston accent “why can’t you just go HAAA-DER!?!”, so I did, dream legs responding very well. So I alternated riding like a Ninja and a Jedi, maybe even using some of my “Gymkata” skills through this section and by the end the gap was bigger than the previous lap.
Lap three I spent alone, just trying to figure some stuff out, real deep stuff like “if there’s tree in the forest and a rider going twenty miles per hour comes by riding in a straight line and whacks the ever-living beejesus out of his shoulder on it, did the tree move or did the rider miscalculate the corner?” This being a dream (yes, we’re still going with that premise, bear with me) it is quite possible that it was an Enchanted Tree or an Ent or something so we may never know, it’s tough when you mix mathematical calculations that sound like lame philosophical questions with delusion and fantasy.
Spectators kept giving me weird gap estimations to O’keefe, “oh ya, like a minute, maybe forty seconds, you’re closing it down”. I thought that he must just be riding as fast as he needed to and not any faster, but as soon as he caught a glimpse of me he’d drop it into warp speed and be gone again, if the gap info was accurate at all. O’keefe has beaten me in the past by as much as fifteen or twenty minutes so I was psyched just to be this close, one flat or mechanical and I’d be on him. I still had the typically late surging Michael Patrick to worry about as well, I expected to see him hauling ass up the dirt road behind me, and Freye was out of sight but still a major threat.
Going into the fourth and final lap, not too far into the first technical part, I can’t believe my eyes, there’s O’keefe sidelined with a flat, he was just pulling the wheel off, I had moved into the the lead, yikes, now what? During the Tour coverage Phil and Paul always talk about how the yellow jersey changes a rider, I felt it in my microcosm of bike racing up in Maine. O’keefe could still catch me, I could flat, crash, or an Asian drug lord could have hidden venomous snakes in my seat tube and spiked my water bottles with pheromones to infuriate them so they’d bite me, anything, and I mean anything I could happen.
But nothing did happen, I did ride myself into the ground by the very end of lap, I was bouncing off everything in my path, breathing like a fat kid running from a serial killer that specializes in killing fat kids exclusively. I came across the line and did what I’d meant to do last Saturday at the end of the short track “BYAAH!”. Then I probably swore, so I apologize if I taught any children something they haven’t already heard from Kanye West or Grand Theft Auto.
Then I pinched myself and woke up, went over to the officials and asked them if I had actually just won the Open Elite race, they told me I had. As I stood there Freye came across the line followed shortly thereafter by Patrick, and then O’Keefe, this was going to be one weird looking result.

I try out the new line of IBC swim wear, it works for the Maine coast

Just to make sure I was awake I went down to the Atlantic Ocean and began wading in, the surf was high, maybe four feet, surfers were surfing, I was in up to my knees, cursing the frigid waters when a wave came in, knocked me right on my ass, then proceeded to drag me out twenty yards, filling my bib shorts with sand and sea robbins (OK fine, no sea robbins). Now I was awake, this whole day hadn’t been a dream, I’d won my first EFTA race and although the field had been small it was pretty stacked, I’d take it damnit.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

NORBA Root 66
Landmine Classic Marathon
Hingham, MA

It had cooled down quite a bit since Saturday, it rained during the night, it was now a tolerable 70 or so degrees. On Saturday I’d run a 32 X 16, the biggest gear I’d ever run on the 29, today I was running a 32 X 17, I thought with the virtually flat, technical terrain it might be ideal. Wompatuck completely changes character with the slightest drop of moisture, the roots which you can rail over in the dry become slippery as buttered newts in the wet.
There were a whole lot of folks signed up for the Open Marathon, split into a couple age categories, the toughest guys looked to be Brian Hughes and John Foley, a few other fast dudes opted for the Pro/Semi-Pro race, but with The Vermont 50 looming, I thought this would be an ideal preparation ride at 44 miles, no climbing, but some good saddle time.
From the gun I followed Foley, Hughes, and a Bike Barn rider off the front, by the time we made it to the singletrack we had a decent gap, I was just sitting on Foley’s wheel, waiting to see what moves he would make. I was just happy to be there, like the dude in Breaking Away riding with the Italian riders, I was just waiting for someone to stick a pump in my spokes. The Bike Barn rider pulled away, Hughes right on him, Foley sat tight so I did the same. When we hit the open fire road Foley accelerated away, getting the gap and going clear.
After that I was in no man’s land for a while, trying not to lose motivation on this, the first of two 22 mile laps. There were still all those unknown guys behind me. I’ve been to Wompatuck about five times, all for races, and usually the same race course. People would tell me that there was so much more going on out there than what we got to see on the course. With the 22 mile lap format we were getting to see some of that stuff…and it was good. It had a bunch of whoops, twisty singletrack, super-techy bits, rock gardens, and roots, lots of roots. All that yet surprisingly fast.
I heard someone clacking up behind me, I felt the wind going out of my sails, I was getting caught by a rider from one of the groups that started a minute back. This wasn’t the case, it was Foley, he’d gone slightly off course and he was coming back up to me. This time I was able to hold his pace, even relaxing and recovering in the singletrack a little. We came through the end of the first lap together, grabbed a couple bottle from our coolers and kept on.

As we went up one of the few small “hills” John bobbled on a stone wall, I wrestled my bike past him up and over the top. Now I had the fear, I was running like hell from John, while hopefully chasing down the two ahead. Now I was racing, just riding those trails as hard and fast as I possibly could, it felt good. I’d been fading at some races earlier in the season, this was not my style, I think it had to do with my light miles during July, but after the one-two of the 101 and the 24 I was feeling great. I started hunting the other two, Danzig playing in my head, oh ya kid, you know what I’m talking about! I kept getting weird info on the gaps, three minutes, four minutes, that’s no good. Then I came up on Brian Hughes, he said he was handicapped, and sat up. Still one more ahead… with what I figured was about twenty minutes to go I was still hearing “three minutes”, insurmountable gap for certain.
When I came across the slippery wooden bridge just before the field where the start/finish was I went past my buddy Greg,
he said the leader had just gone through, urgh!
In reality I was a minute down, not sure if I could have closed that down with what little I had left in the tank. The guy who won was John Peterson, he also finished four places ahead of me at Fitchburgh, interesting.
Sorry for the oddly pragmatic report, suppose I’m rushing through it because really wan t to write about the race I did just this morning, check back later for that.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

NORBA Root 66 Landmine Classic
Short Track
Hingham, MA

Here I am again, the night before another race and I still have yet to blawg it up about last week’s events, I must break the cycle of procrastination now. Brue and I arrived back in Boston from SSWC, Scotland last Thursday night. Friday we went by Independent Fabrication for a quick tour then shot up to the exotic Middlesex Fells Reservation for a rocky 95° ride. Brue was impressed, the relentless technical was alien to him…I wish he’d been able to ride it in the wet.
Saturday AM we headed down to Wompatuck for the big, crazy short track race and NEMBA Fest. We were running late. The drive into the park dragged on and on, we jumped out of the car, that field was just baking, it had to be a solid 100°, we scrambled to get chamoised up, dashing over to registration, no time for a warm up, crap! The race was delayed…for TWO HOURS. Brue had to be at Logan and on a plane at 6, with the 1 O’clock start time this was doable, now it was looking just plain stupid. I called Miriam my “Rick” (like Magnum’s buddy who always called in one last mob favor, c’mon, you remember) she did some quick calculations, checked flight status, and told me it was just barely reasonable, any contingency and we were sunk.
While we waited we went over and saw Mark And Bill at the Trek/Fisher demo truck, we took out a couple bikes. We’d do a quick loop of the short track course then sit in the shade and pant for a bit. The new 69er geared hard tail is pretty sweet as is the Hi-Fi 29er, that thing is like driving a skidder through the woods, just crush everything in your path, amazing. They didn’t have the new Rig, I’m itching to see what if feels like with the G2 Geometry and Fox F-29, guess I’ll have to wait until I get mine in December, that fleshtone color scheme ain’t too shabby either.
Finally it was time to roll, I was so glad that I’d downed a bottle of pedialyte the night before, it was bound to save my ass. No one was at the start line…the race had been delayed again, this time twenty minutes, contingency number one. We lined up, me and two other Semi-Pros, Brue and Paul Curley making up the Expert Single Speed class, and a bunch of Experts in rows behind us, no head start for the foxes, the hounds would be breathing right down our necks from the gun. Brue didn’t know what it meant that he was racing against Curley, I tried to explain, told him whatever he did not to pass Paul on the outside of a corner, unless he wanted to eat some dirt.
A moment of inattention and the race was off, me with my feet both planted flatly on the ground, Brue took the hole shot! Paul was right on him, like the pit bull he is, I muscled into 3rd as we took the first few pine needly corners. I passed Paul in the field pushing 32 X 16 on the 29” wheels, Paul in a mere 32 X 18 on a 26er. Brue hit the singletrack first, there was no opportunity to pass in there so I just sat on him throwing encouragement forward, when we hit the pavement I shot past telling him to grab my wheel. He was only pushing a 34 X 18 so a gap opened before I got to the one little climb on the course.
For the first couple laps my lead was just a few seconds, but every corner gave me a bit more space. Soon the chase group had changed it’s face, behind me, all I saw was a white goatee bearing down on me, later I realized that this was Stuart Jensen, one of the baddest Masters around. Soon we were ten minutes into a twenty five minute race, fifteen minutes to go…you can do anything for fifteen minutes right? It was hot, my head felt like a tomato and it was all tingly. I kept it floored, trying my best to ride like a ninja, threading through the rocky corners as smoothly as I could.
At the end of the twenty five minutes I had a decent gap, I rolled across the line, performing some lame version of a victory salute, what an ass, the first time I win a race with enough space to do something goofy and I blow it. In retrospect I would have liked to have done a little Chapelle “BYAAH!” across the line.
There was no time to wait around for podiums and kiss girls, I had to get buddy Brue to the plane. It was close (especially when I had to pass a lethargic RV in the ditch while exiting the park) I lied to him the whole way about how golden we were, we made it, but at no time was the pressure off…life imitates bike racing.

Friday, September 07, 2007

SSWC 2007 Aviemore Scotland

SSWC 2007 Gallery

Riding in Circles Around Trees

Where to begin, if I begin at the beginning this will just take way too long so I’ll fast forward through to the middle part, the racing part…with only the vaguest of details provided for anything else. In fact I’m going to sum up everything that happened prior to the race weekend in one insanely long run on sentence, here goes.
My buddy Brue flew in from Cali Wednesday AM, lame tour of town was given, got back on plane, flew to Glasgow via Iceland, Glasgow much nicer than we’d both been told, lovely place, spent the night at cousin Pam Hall’s house in Mearnskirk, beautiful place, slept eleven hours, set out for Edinburgh, missed two trains, arrived in Edinburgh, met another cousin Jennifer at her café, very cool (she gave me the title for this post), spent the night in town, amazing place, headed up to Aviemore by train the following day, met some single speeders on the train one turned out to be Jenn Hopkins, one of the fastest ladies in the U.K. (she didn’t let on), arrived in Aviemore with no place to to stay and no plan whatsoever, no worries within ten minutes we had booked rooms at The Bunkhouse for Friday and Sunday, Saturday we’d still have to work out, within twenty minutes we were chamoised up and in our silly suits tagging along on a big group ride…alright I’ll slow down now.
Leading the ride was Deejay Birtch, a familiar face from the states, he’d been out on a ride with some folks the day before and was confident he could find his was around. We ended up getting lost but like Burt Reynolds said in Deliverance “Sometimes you have to lose yourself before you can find anything” and that’s some good screenwriting. It was a nice way to begin meeting people, all that waiting, it also provided an opportunity to take in the scenery and feed the Midges (with our blood). It was also chance to begin using our bad Scottish accents, making American Werewolf in London references; “stay off the moors…stay on the road”. We made it out alive, the trails were looking good, and it was time for our first trip of many to Café Mambo.
The Single Speeders were not the only rabble rousing knuckleheads in town that weekend. When I booked our room at The Bunk House the woman warned that it would be noisy because of the “big event”. “Oh, you mean Single Speed Worlds?” “No The Big Splash”. This was Aviemore’s annual festival, it entails jumping anything from Kayaks, to skis, to shopping carts off a huge wooden ramp into the river while the locals get sotted and rock out to bad cover bands. So when I came out of Mambo two kids from Colorado came up and told me that a group of drunk local kids had tried to carry my bike away, but the wheel was locked to the frame so they had to drag it clumsily down the sidewalk. There were fifty singlespeeders out front of the pub so it didn’t much more than friendly suggestion to dissuade them from their criminal master plan. Shortly after I got back to the Bunk house I got up to use the bathroom, only problem with that was that I wasn’t awake, I didn’t wake up until I was in the stairwell. Took me a second to figure out where I was and get back to my room, Dan from Tucson let me in…he was certain I had used the hall way as a toilette…not this time anyway.
Saturday we did another group ride, saw some of the same stuff, some different, when we got back to Bothy Bikes the Rollapaluza guys were there with their roller race rigs. Brue and Hopped up and up some good times. We knew this had something to do with the venue selection process for next year but we knew it would involve more than what we saw.

That night the party started at Café Mambo and eventually moved over to The Vault.
Things started out pretty lame, the music was awful, the place was empty but within a couple hours it was jumpin’. The last thing I remember from the Vault was moshing to Motorhead, next thing I knew I was eating bad gas station sandwiches, listening to sotted locals threaten each other “Aye, c’mere, I’m gonna put yer arse up my FIST!”, and talking to Chris from Ontario about his work as a human shield. After that I met some kids from Aberdeen, they took me to their illegal tent city and we had a few more beers and I learned about “Wiggly Wigs”. I still don’t know what it means, I may never know. The plan was to leave the room key (in actuality a high tech room card) on the ground outside the hotel room window. I made a few passes around the building, nothing, I crawled around the building sifting through the grass with my hands, it was getting cold, the dew was so thick it was like rain, I tried to figure out exactly which room was mine, I though I’d have to pound on the window to get in. As I tried to work this out I saw the room card…stuck to the window with a sticker. But my ordeal was not over, when I got inside it was pitch black, there had been some discussion on reconfiguring the beds to accommodate three (they were two small singles) I wasn’t sure about how Dan and Brue were oriented and to make any lights work you had to insert the room card into the slot…which I couldn’t find to save my life. Ultimately Brue became fed up with my blind crashing and turned the lights on, it was now 4AM, awesome.
Three hours later I woke up, not sober, ate a Clif bar, drank half a cup of instant crap coffee, and looked down at my still full water bottle from the night before, not good. We were down at Bothy bikes shortly, and what would become an hour and a half roll out began. Probably should have eaten more, oops. We came to a stop, and threw or bags and jackets on a large blue tarp and the racer meeting began, all I remember “First rool, eef yew don wan theh tah-tew, don feckin’ win!”. Translation “if you don’t want the tattoo, don’t win”. In case you didn’t know the winner of SSWC gets a mandatory tattoo.
We cruised up the fire road a ways for the Lemans start, I was in mid-conversation with Matt and Jimbo from Nittany Wheelworks when the race went off, I just tried to finish the run without breaking my damn ankles. When I came to the piles of bikes I started yelling “has anyone seen a black Fisher Rig? It’s black and it’s a Fisher, it says Fisher on it” this didn’t help. I was way off the back already, surprisingly so was Adam Craig, he came blazing up behind me in his crazy get up, I drafted up him until the hill, where he pulled away from me with his slow cadence, moving deceptively fast with his enormous gear. I made up some spots on the climb and began to see some familiar people as I got into the singletrack.
My first impression was that this course was way more dangerous than your average XC course, I liked it. There were drops, really technical uphills, wet roots everywhere, all sorts of caziness. I might forget to say it later so I’ll say it now, this was one of the best courses if not the best course I’ve ever seen, absolutely amazing. By the second lap I was already cramping and I was almost out of water, I came through the start finish begging for water, nothing, beer, whiskey, no water. The climb was feeling bad, but I couldn’t wait to get back into those trails, question was, when would I get lapped by Craig?

Go HERE for more photos of SSWC 2007 from Simond Barnes

The whole thing was kind of a blur, at various points I was riding with Shaggy a super-fast Brit, Matt Ferrari, and Deejay Birtch, eventually I was with just Shaggy, he was leading when his bike went Ping! I came around him and I guess he subsequently flatted. After that I saw no one except Matt, a young Welshman, he was pushing a huge gear and somehow not slipping on the root fields. I caught a glimpse of the end of the top ten, but I couldn’t close it down, my legs were freaking out. Third lap I took a beer feed, then a woman handed me a bottle of orange Urn Bru, orange soda I think, I drank it gladly.

On the fifth lap as I came up the last little rise my legs cramped in multiple places simultaneously, I was given a slight push to the line, coming across with my legs locked solid. I had to be helped off my bike and put in a seated position. A second later I was told I had to move because more riders were coming in, I lifted my butt off the ground like a paraplegic and shimmied my way off to the side.
Only the top five spots were really recorded but by all accounts I was 11th (yeah! Top 11) on the bike. Later at the award ceremony I was given the Rockstar Award because of my exploits the night prior to the race and the fact that I wasn’t lapped by Adam Craig. They gave out a separate award fro the dude who simply got the most hammered, that guy was still asleep as the awards went off…he slept through the race, now that’s dedication.
After the race I wolfed a massive amount of Fish And Chips, took a dive while riding down a flight of stairs which nearly put me in the ER, and had a small nap.
That night the Vault went off again then spilled out into a derby, a drunk spectator walked straight into me before it even began so I hopped back in until I got properly knocked off. After that it was on to the skidding contest where it was all fun and games until a guy on a borrowed bike didn’t realize the brakes were set up U.K. style, so he grabbed a fistful of front brake as he threw all his weight over the bars, ending in a terrifying face slide. He walked it off but I have feeling dude must have had to make a trip to the hospital later on.
That’s about it for SSWC 2007 details, I could go on about all the silly tourist stuff, but I’ll just stop here, thanks for reading.
Thanks to Pam and Ian Hall for everything, Jennifer Robertson for dinner and laughs, Dan from Tucson for the Hotel hook up, and to all the folks that put this event together.