Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Canada Day Swim @ Batchelor Bay


OK.  Tomorrow is Canada Day!  To celebrate our nation's birthday there will be an open water swim in Batchelor Bay tomorrow.  Currently we have about 15 confirmed.  Here are the last minute details in case you are interested:


Where:  Batchelor Bay is in beautiful West Vancouver, BC.  Check it out on the map HERE.
When:  July 1st (tomorrow) @ 6:30am.

What:  Open Water swim of between 2 and 3.5km.  There will likely be a "long swim" group and a "short swim" group.

Who:  So far there are about 15 people confirmed - men and women - of varying abilities.

How:  With wetsuit, cap and goggles, crocs for the rocky beach, and a stomach that is ready to accept coffee and breakfast after...

Why:  To mark Canada's 142nd birthday and to justify a big breakfast immediately upon H2O exit.

So there you have it.  Late notice I know... maybe some of you Americans want to drive all night to mark Canada's birthday? We could swim again on July 4th if you come all this way...

It's starting to feel like I am running a swimming blog these days.... my leg really needs to heal up soon!


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Monday, June 29, 2009

Blog Renovation

After 320 posts I decided I needed to update the look and feel of my blog.  


Click HERE to continue reading this on MJR version 2.0.

I'm not sure if very many people actually go to the page - it seems like most of my readers (the few I have :) are subscribers, followers or rss-ers and everyone uses a blog reader these days don't they?

Anyway, just in case there are a few old-schoolers out there, I gave the old girl a fresh coat of paint and a little clean-up.  I have also moved to a three-column format - which was one of the harder computer skillz I've had to develop...  The best part was creating a new logo - which I did over the last few weeks...

With all that hard work behind me, (just kidding - it's not too difficult...), I want to remind everyone of the best ways to make following my blog easy-peasy...

#1.  Become a "Follower" - negative connotation in life, positive connotation in the blogosphere...  at least I hope it's positive because I follow dozens of blogs.  Click through to my page and use the "Followers" widget at the top of the left column.



#2.  Subscribe for e-mail updates - you'll get my blog posts in your email inbox - simple as that. Enter your address in the box at the top of the right column.  Verify, once you get the email from feedburner.



#3.  Subscribe in a reader - if you use google reader (and I recommend that you do...) it is easiest to become a "Follower" - one click and you are subscribed.  If not, enter my address www.meyrickjonesracing.com into your reader's subscription box.

If you haven't checked out Twitter yet you might as well have a look at my newly renovated Twitter page.  (... kind of like renovating the cabin at the same time as the city house.)  

Check it out and "follow" me by going HERE



Sorry for the boring post...  I do these every six months or so to help anyone who might be new to blogging or blog reading.  Remember when you used to visit each site individually???  Now THAT was time consuming!!!

Cheers and thanks for reading everyone!


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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Simon Whitfield - One of a Kind

WOW!  


In case you missed it Simon Whitfield took home the gold in a 5-way sprint at the Hy-Vee ITU Elite Cup today. The Hy-Vee is the biggest payday in triathlon at $200,000 to the winner and it attracts all of the best athletes.

Simon had to outsprint the 2008 Olympic Gold Medallist (Jan Frodeno), the 2008 World Champion (Javier Gomez) and two of triathlon's top sprinters - Bran Kahlefeldt and Kris Gemmell.

As Canadian triathletes we need to really pay attention right now because Simon is our Wayne Gretzky.  We won't always have a threat to win the big races, we won't always have someone in the hunt with 1km to go...  Enjoy these times.  I know one day I'll be sitting in a rocking chair telling my grandkids about Simon Whitfield.

I'm not saying our up and coming Canadian athletes don't look good...  quite the opposite - they look great - even out there today!  

Simon, however, is one-of-a-kind.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

5 Toes Each


Good News First:

I rode with three recent amputees this morning.  Linda, from GF Strong Rehab Centre, organized a ride and asked/invited me to join the group (which included a wife and a sister as well.) 

I met the guys last week - when I visited the rehab ward.  They are all still in physio three times a week learning how to use their legs.  It was pretty awesome to get out with them (in the rain) and ride.  Some had only ridden once or twice since losing a leg...  maybe on the awesome Specialized bike the Bike Gallery donated last year...

We went 20km - it was a wet, rolling course with not a single car - perfect for our group.

I am pumped to see cycling as a standard part of rehab now and even more pumped to help out.  We had a blast!

The Bad News:

I treated this morning's ride like a test - I was hoping for a miracle.  

I can still ride the bike - but with the slightest hill or speed increase my leg begins to scream at me.  It feels like I am poking a wound (and I am...)  

The doctor's orders the other day were - "you can do anything that doesn't cause pain" because pain is indicative of further damage and irritation.

So, with that I decided to bid adieu to the last shred of hope that I might have a miraculous recovery and be ready to fly and race next week.  In fact the problem area continues to get worse...

Mental Status:

The decision had been pretty much made for a few days in my mind.  I was pretty bummed about it.  Today's ride provided a bit of perspective for me...

I thought back to my first attempts on the bike after losing my leg.  I remembered how happy I was just to be there, spinning the pedals.  The feeling of reclaiming lost territory.  It made it harder to be disappointed about an injury and missing a few 'important' races.

I kept thinking about my new favourite mantra:

Focus on what you CAN DO, and DO IT.

So I turned the page and began looking forward...

More photos:

Linda was my physio back in 1995 - she has worked non-stop with amputees for over 15 years.  She is one of the more incredible people you will meet.  Amazingly dedicated and talented at her job.


My bike, loaded up and needing a wash.  


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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Open Water Swimming

The photo is from last week - it's the point we use as the first corner of our Batchelor Bay swim course.  The water was pretty rough that day...


Kevin and I swam 3.5 km at Batchelor Bay at 6 this morning.  In the rain, which is kind of nice.  You feel extra connected with the earth.

As mentioned in my last few posts, swimming is what I do when my leg is not cooperating.  I am LOVING the open water this season.  Though I love the West Van Masters there is something about the ocean you just can't duplicate in a pool.

Here is my latest invention:  100 Stroke Drills.

Warm-up - maybe 10 minutes or so... then:
100 strokes hard (just go hard, concentrate on maximum effort to get the heart rate up)
10 strokes long, slow and easy (chill out)
100 strokes hard (this time concentrating on long, smooth, powerful arm technique)
10 strokes long, slow and easy
100 strokes (with all of the above AND nice tight, powerful kick)
10 strokes chillin'
200 strokes (all out with best form possible - will likely break down toward the end but try to keep it)
REPEAT - Do this as many times as you like depending on the intensity and length of your workout.

Warm-down - 10 minutes or so...

The workout portion described above requires between 500 and 850 metres of open water depending on your economy and skill.

Benefit: I find it is too easy to just cruise and lose all focus in the open water.  Next thing you know you are swimming at 75%, staring at eagles and multi-million dollar homes, while your technique goes to $h!t..... With this technique you are 'present' the whole time, dialed-in and working hard.

Anyway, try it some time and let me know how you like it. 

HUGE bald eagle I shot (photographically) at Batchelor Bay from a little boat we rented on Father's Day.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Making Lemonade

I spent a good chunk of the weekend on my butt resting the leg.  It seems odd to 'rest' an unidentified swelling that is pretty much invisible to anyone who isn't familiar with the geography of my leg.


It can be a frustrating process that's for sure...  when something this minor becomes so major simply because you have to put it inside a prosthesis.  On the other hand it is no different from an injury anybody might get - it keeps you from doing what you want to do.

The trick, if there is one, is to find the things you CAN do and DO THEM.  All while trying to repair, rest, and recover from whatever the problem is.  So that is what I have been trying to do.

Progress:  X-ray - done.  Ultrasound - booked (July 25th what a joke...) and re-booked with begging (next Thursday).  Blood test - done.  Results of any of them - not yet.  On two different drugs - one an anti-inflammatory the other an anti-biotic.  Amazing how you can go from very healthy to all of that in a few days...

Training:  Kevin and I hit up Batchelor Bay at 6 yesterday morning.  We did the usual loop and enjoyed the warm water temps.  Usually it takes me 30-45 seconds to get comfortable in the cold water around this time of year, but right now it is instant comfort.  

You can see it is now around 16° or 17°c (62°F) which is a LOT better than the 9° (48°F) a few months ago.


ALSO, I am flying in the new wetsuit!  Looking back I should have realized that my old suit was 1. too big and 2. had two or three too many holes (that's a disastrous combo for speed.)

Innovative Fitness:  I have continued going to my sessions at Innovative.  I learnt a long time ago that I can't stop everything when I have a leg problem.  I just adapt and do what I can.  It's at times like this that I AM SO LUCKY to have the coaches at IF on my side.

On Friday Jeff Iwanaka devised a dastardly core session - all the hardest core exercises back-to-back-to-back for most of the hour.  It left me tired and happy and my leg untouched.

Yesterday, Dylan worked me over with bands, cables, swiss balls, posture etc.  

Riding:  I tried out the leg on a quick 1 hour ride at 5:45 this morning. Kevin and I ran the bikes out along Marine Drive to the industrial part of North Van and back...  we took it pretty easy but worked occasionally.


It felt ok-ish... on hills and out of the saddle I can definitely feel pain but it's relatively fine when I just spin. I am now waiting to see exactly how much I will have to pay for the effort in the way of swelling.  It's encouraging I guess - though TTs and track events are all about pushing HARD start to finish.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I am doing what I can when I can.  It's not easy right now but then again, who ever said it was gonna be easy?


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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Blood Donation

The post below is from Vincent's Ramblings...  


If you take the time and have a read, I think you will agree that Vince brings up a very good point about our expectations versus our willingness to be a part of the solution.  

This seems like a pretty easy way to "donate" in a time when ca$h donations are a little tough for a lot of people.  

Please consider re-posting this on your own blog if you are so inclined, and make your donation commitment.

Here's mine:  Race season is not a great time to donate so I will wait till racing wraps up for 2009...  By Hallowe'en 2009 I will have donated.  

___________________________________

Blood Donation

At school, I work in the Life Science Institute at UBC, sharing the 4th floor with me is the Center for Blood Research. As a consequence of this domestic arrangement, we often are invited to talks put on by the CBR. The allure to these talks is typically the free wraps and pizza, however, once in a while you get a very interesting talk which makes you think.

Typically the talks are research based, however, a few weeks ago we had a talk by Dr. Dana Devine on the past, present and future of the Canadian Blood Services.

What I learned from this talk.

In Canada there are roughly 33,654,000 people. Of those, there are something like 12 million eligible donors. How many do? Somewhere in the range of 600 000. That works out to only 5% of eligible donors, and even those are not donating to their full potential.

Some more fun statistics. If there was a world crisis and we ran out of needles to extract blood. The reserves would last only 4 days! Ok, that doesn't mean all blood would be gone that fast, AB positive would last weeks, but the O negative would be gone almost instantly. There is a major shortage.

Another interesting factoid. When asked, 78% of Canadians agree that there is a blood shortage, however, when that same population was asked if ever they were in an accident, would they expect to get blood, 84% said they would.

That math doesn't work out. Somehow we assume that we are important enough to get the blood, but not donate.

Yikes, this is quite the guilt trip here. You would think I donate all the time. However, my shame is now being exposed. How often have I donated. Sadly,

ZERO!

I'm terrified of needles, and pass out any time I have to give blood. Most blood test I've taken however, have had to be on an empty stomach. Low blood sugar is supposed to make you lightheaded when giving blood, so I think that with some juice boxes in hand I should be able to do it.

With that statement, I'm declaring that I will by the end of 2009 give blood! I will wait until the end of race season (Sometime in September unless I do another marathon), and then will take my 2 weeks recovery and then donate.

As it stands today that would mean I am going to donate by the 27th of September. YIKES!

With a little research done, I discovered that there are alternatives for people as wimpy as me. Whole blood is hard on the system. Leaves you feeling drained. However, you can also donate platelets, and plasma. When you donate plasma they even supplement you so you don't get a low blood pressure reaction.

So I think I will start with one of these before taking the plunge.

For more information on the types of donations, check this page out.

But just a recap of what is says.

Whole Blood donation every 9 weeks

Platelet donation every 14 days

And can donate plasma every 6 days,


And Finally, I know there are going to be some of you telling me, I can't donate blood, I've been blocked by Canadian Blood Services. I lived in the UK, or I've been to Africa in the last 90 days. Well, today is your lucky day. Its true, you cannot donate for blood transfusions, HOWEVER, you can donate for research purposes. There are hundreds of diseases which require more blood research. And to do that they need blood samples. And surprise surprise, there is a shortage there as well. Many labs have their friends come in and donate so they can do their work.


Donating for research purposes is not as easy, for that you need to contact your local Canadian Blood Services and find out the location of a clinic. They are usually near Universities. Dr Dana Devine is the person to contact if you wish to locate you local clinic.

To contact Dana, send an e-mail to dana.devine@blood.ca

Now that I've declared it to the Interweb, I guess there is no backing down now.

I encourage you to copy this post and put it on your blogs. Try and get as many people out there.



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Friday, June 19, 2009

Sit Rep: 3+4=5


Here's the SitRep (situation report) re (regarding) my f'd-up (you can figure that one out yourself) leg.

I have had a little problem developing within my socket for the last couple of weeks. [Socket = the top part of my prosthetic limb i.e. the part I slide my leg into when attaching it to my body.]

Let's call the problem an inflammation since neither of the doctors I have seen have named it anything else.  [Note:  First bad sign - patient has seen two doctors.]


Though one would have thought inflammation was a fairly obvious and self-explanatory condition, medical types (who speak latin) have created a handy checklist called  the "Five Signs of Inflammation"....  these are, drum roll please:

1. Rubor (redness) √
2. Calor (increased heat) √
3. Tumor (swelling) √
4. Dolor (pain) √
5. Functio laesa (loss of function) √

This problem was diagnosed early by Myself M.D. (pictured above),  the prescription was a heavy dosage of "ignoring it" augmented by a daily therapy resembling praying (though I am not religious.)

Despite these efforts I am experiencing a lot of #3 which in turn has lead to plenty of #4.  The additional problem with #3 is that I my prosthesis was not built to accommodate any at all, which only results in more #4.  

Unfortunately something just isn't adding up because:

3+4 = 5

As annoying and painful as it is, it is the Functio Laesa (#5) that is the most troubling....  I am at a point now where walking is quite painful at times, running completely out of the question, riding less irritating though there is still plenty of discomfort.

Suspecting that Myself M.D. may have missed the mark somewhat, I sought the opinions of two other doctors.

Doctor #1:  Bla, bla, bla, bla - you should probably just rest it.  Maybe don't wear your leg for a week or two.

MJ:  Thanks.  [Thinking:  I need a second opinion.]

Doctor #2:  X-ray requisition, ultrasound requisition, blood test, anti-inflammatory prescription, thorough examination, thoughtful analysis...  Recommends:  RICE, but concedes that I have to wear the leg at times.  Advises that the more I wear it and endure pain the longer this will take to go away.  Training:  Sure - but you will be setting yourself back and will only find more and more loss of function, pain, etc.

For some reason I have felt the need to hide this problem/injury/inflammation until now (not just from all of you, but from almost everyone) - I am not sure why I do that.  

Anyway, for now I am swimming... which ought to be fine preparation for Cycling Nationals in 2 weeks.  

[Sorry for the mega-word post....]

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bromont Camp Wrap

Sorry about the delay....  It's always pretty hectic when I get back from a trip like that...


The last two days of camp were spent on the track.  We did a lot more motorpacing and threw in some all-out efforts.  I do have some pictures but they are on my laptop and I have not switched them over yet...

The most challenging workout involved laps at 40km/h behind the motorbike interspersed with 1 or 2 lap bursts of all-out efforts.  

You take your turn, alternating behind the moto until Eric Calls out, "Meyrick!!  Deux tours!" or "Meyrick!! Un tours!"  [Meyrick!! Two laps! or Meyrick!! One lap!]  

Then you sprint off the front, accelerating as fast and as hard as you can from 40 to whatever max speed is.  This also meant that recovery occurred at 40km/h and efforts were 45-55 or so....  It was pretty challenging.

We did several 20 minute sets like that and one 30 minute set.

On Friday morning we did some start practice.  I did about 6-8 standing starts and got faster on each one - that was good.  Below you can observe a world class standing start - since I have no video you will have to trust me that mine is relatively dissimilar at the moment...
 


That guy is a machine...  

In general I would have benefitted a lot from riding my own bike during all of these practices - the bike I borrowed from the centre was significantly too small - especially for out of the saddle sprinting which there was a lot of.

My final thoughts on the camp were this:

Positives

  • It was good to meet Eric.  He is the new coach of the ParaCycling program and therefore someone I need to know and who I want to know me.  He will be a great resource for me to be able to call upon as I continue to work away towards my goals. 
  • The riding.  It is always great to focus on riding and have top-notch coaches to put you through your paces.

Negatives

  • These camps are great for riding (duh) but they don't work very well with the rest of my life.  As a father of three, husband of one, and a business owner it is a challenge to be away from everyone and everything this way.
Having said that I remain very excited about entering some bike races (Nationals in a few weeks) and laying down some baselines.  You have to start somewhere to get anywhere....

Back Home

The first order of the day was to reconnect and spend some time with Sacha and the kids.  This was achieved with a super fun day-trip to Washington State where we visited Fairhaven, Chuckanut Drive and Larrabee State Park.  I am already planning the amazing ride I want to do along Chuckanut Drive, through Sudden Valley along Lake Whatcom - combine it with an open water swim at Larrabee and it will be amazing!!!  Let me know if you want to join me.


Larrabee State Park

Cooked up this route on Map-my-Tri...  It is an amazingly beautiful ride - especially along the lake and ocean.

Upon my return I was pumped to see a package in the mail....  a new TT helmet (just like Vince's).  The kids have been modeling it for a few days now:



I was also extremely happy to be eating Sacha's cooking again - I survive cooking on my own but she is the superior chef in this family...


In other news... today was Aia's graduation from Pre-School. Next year kindergarden! Congratulations Aia!!





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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bromont Sunset


In this photo the sun has set on the bike wash behind the Centre.  In just the same way, the sun has set on this pre-Nationals Training Camp... all that is left to do is get up at 5:30 am and get to the airport for my flight home.  It will be great to see Sacha and the kids.

Had things gone differently I would be waking up for Escape from Alcatraz tomorrow.  If I could teleport myself there I might do it...  Oh well, for 2009 that ship has sailed.

I don't have any time to tell you about the last couple days of camp, other than that they went well - of course it is late and I still have to dismantle and pack my bike and all of my gear.  I will post about it once I am home.

Au revoir for now, Bromont.  See you in a few weeks for Cycling Track Nationals.


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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bromont - Day 3

The sun came out in Bromont today... which meant we were able to hit the track...

We were motorpacing in a group behind Eric (the ParaCycling Coach). He rode the motorbike at a steady 40km/h and we followed in a group behind taking turns at the front.

The purpose of this was to:

a) Get the hang of the exchanges.
b) Put in a longer effort on the track (it is easier to go fast for longer behind a motorbike...)

Some pics from the track today:

Eric explaining the nuances of the track...


Eric getting ready to lead us for one of three 30 minute 40km/h effort behind the motorbike.

Post-workout I decided to take action against the rash of flats I have been getting on the road...

New rubber:


That's also the new 3T 140mm stem...

After that was all done we did the obligatory bike shop trip...  Cycles St. Onge is one of the best bike shops I have ever been to...  (apart from the Bike Gallery of course...)

Apr├ęs le bike shop we picked up a few groceries, and fooled around a bit...


BUT the highlight of the day was hitting (literally) the BMX track with Brayden around 7:30 this evening...

Let's start with what it is supposed to look like:


(Go ahead and enlarge those...  I am proud of those shots as they were hard to get...)

Now for how we looked:

Moi (boring old fart - allergic to getting air - trying not to hurt himself...)


Monsieur Brayden (what he lacks in skillz he makes up in courage...)

The crowd goes silent as Brayden edges to the gate, eyes the first jump, focused, calm, he pushes forward... 

...rockets down the ramp, achieves a flight of about 18 inches and promptly kisses la terre de Bromont.

That one is worth enlarging too...  ouch...  luckily no real damage was done and the world can still look forward to dealing with Brayden's offspring one day...

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bromont - Day 2

This morning we started with a meeting and a bike fit.  


My position on the bike has been a source of continued interest amongst the CCA coaches...  After raising the saddle a couple of centimetres in Florida (March), it was raised again today by another cm.  This may not seem like much to those of you who don't ride but 3 cms is a large adjustment.  And my stem which was increased from 100mm to 120mm in Florida will be increased again to 140mm - another big change.

The result should be that I am more aerodynamic, and more efficient.  Fingers crossed...

We were to hit the track at 12:30pm

We almost did but then it started to rain which makes the wooden track too slippery...

Sebastien getting ready to motorpace us on the track as the first few drops fell...

Since the track was a "no go" we were sent out for a road ride.  It was my first decent tour of the area - about 2 hours in length.  Unfortunately, the ride was marred by my second and third flat in two days.  

The final flat of the day happened crossing a railway track - the pavement was all broken around the track leaving big holes and protruding metal - my bunnyhop cleared the first wheel and landed the second right on the ugliest chunk of metal....  Pssssstsstsss.....  lucky I didn't break my wheel.

Note:  You gotta really be hauling to clear the rear wheel over the far track with a bunnyhop... Your tube and wheel are at stake because if you fail it is way worse than just rolling over.  Stupid....

Sebastien and I riding in the Quebec countryside...

The BMX track at the National Cycling Centre - as viewed from the kitchen window.  This would be a better place to work on that bunnyhop.  Did you know that BMX is in the Olympics? 

The TV.  I put the box of kleenex there for scale...  Beside the TV you will notice the rabbit ears...  Between everything being French and the reception being crap the size of the TV has been a non-issue...

The kitchen.  It works...


The track from the kitchen window.  It is super handy having everything right here.  Now the clouds and rain need to clear and we can get some work done...


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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bromont - Day 1

My journey to Bromont was relatively smooth - of course the flight was delayed, then I got switched to a different flight, meanwhile my bike took a whole different (and way longer) route to Montreal....  but it's hard to complain given that 229 people went down in the Atlantic on Air France last week.

Anyway, after waiting at the airport in Montreal for an hour or two, my bike finally arrived having visited Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal in a single day.

4 Things I have noticed about WestJet:

1.  Your itinerary is just one possible way to get to the destination - it often bears no resemblance to the route or departure times you will experience.
2.  The staff are very nice and therefore it is a bit easier to handle #1.
3.  You HAVE to bring cash or you will starve while the guy beside you eats sandwiches and Pringles.
4.  If you are really nice sometimes you won't be charged for the bike box.  Dust off the flirting skills - make that 50-something WestJet lady at the check-in counter feel special.

So anyway, that should give you some idea of the challenges I faced on the way out here....  no big deal but it was long and I was very HUNGRY.

Today's high was 15°c (59°F)... and it was pouring almost all day.

When I packed for this trip I think I was basically anticipating similar weather to Vancouver - hotter, if anything.  Well, I probably should have done a little research...

Nevertheless we put on our rain gear and booties and hit the road for the first ride of camp.  The plan was to ride out to a 5km loop and do steady efforts around the loop in a two-man team.  Kind of time-trialling without the TT bike.

... and I sucked.  Really quite badly.  I am hoping it was simply the travel, lack of proper food for a day and a half, and some missed sleep but I had NOTHING out there today.  I also had a monster headache and any bump on the road (of which there are many here) aggravated it.

Tomorrow is another day though, and I now have some groceries, a belly full of pasta and some good breakfast food that I am excited to eat.  Hopefully that will make a difference.

One more thing (jumping around a bit here):

Skype - with all the fuss over Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Blogging etc. skype kind of got forgotten (at least by me).

Sacha, the kids and I have been on Skype every night - FREE crystal clear calls with video.  It's awesome!



Skype to land line or mobile phones is also awesome and SUPER CHEAP - I bought a $10 credit before I left and have made many calls - but only used 75 cents so far.  It would have been WAY more if I used my mobile phone.  If you have never tried skype I would highly recommend it - well worth the minimal time and $0 investment it takes to get it up and running.

Here are some pics from my room - so you can see the luxury, we had it pretty good in Florida. I will try to get some shots from the road or track tomorrow if it stops raining...



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