7/31/08

Carpet is trashed...

The carpet guys came this morning to stretch the carpet and the cleaners were due at 3 pm to clean it so that everything could be ready for our guests arriving from Austria. Well, hold off on those work orders!

It was determined that the carpet was a total loss and could not be salvaged. Delamination of the carpet backing (whatever that is?) was found and the loops of the Berber in several of the seams were fraying. Why? The restoration company that first arrived on the scene the morning after the flood didn't cut very straight or correctly and these areas in the doorways were starting to fray.

Bottom line: new carpet. First, a piece of our carpet is being sent to a lab to determine the kind of carpet, the quality, the maker, the original worth, the depreciation that has occurred, blah, blah, blah and all of those hoops the insurance companies make one jump through. By the time that happens, we choose a new carpet within the allowed budget, and get it installed - we're looking at another 3 - 4 weeks. Lovely. Just lovely. What to do with our entire basement furniture which all has been moved upstairs and is sitting in the living room and in the garage? As it is, we can only park one car in the garage until that stuff goes back downstairs and the living room is so packed you cannot even walk through it except for a 1 foot wide trail we left. The idea of having to wait another 3 - 4 weeks to get back to our normal flow and living space in the house is a royal pain in the tuckus.

7/30/08

Basement Flooded for the 2nd time!!!!

Yup. Sunday night as we arrived home from vacation, the storms started with a 4.5" dump. About 1 AM, I headed down to check the basement. Sump pump was working, but the hydrostatic pressure was bringing in water from somewhere. Luckily, the carpet was not yet stretched and installed, so I folded it back, turned on all ceiling fans and hoped the water wouldn't be too much.

We woke up on Monday and the amount of water wasn't bad in the basement - just a few puddles and spots here and there. The carpet installer came over with 6 fans and we got them going and things dried out in 24 hours. A few neighbors in the area also had water in their basements. Too much rain. Too much saturation.

I reworked the entire downspout network on our house so that all but one of the downspouts are now draining at least 10 feet away from our house and in run off areas. My wife and I put a day in on the front side of the house building up the slope at the foundation and will hit the backside of the house this weekend. That may or may not solve some things, but the clay soil and the amount of saturation are most likely the culprits creating the hydrostatic pressure.

A specialist is coming out to make a full evaluation, but his first available appointment was December 11th. Yup~~~you read that correctly - December 11th and 12 noon. They are so booked with basement flooding in the Des Moines area he cannot get out to evaluate our situation until then.

We're painting the 2nd coat in the basement today and getting things ready for our visitors from Austria who arrive on Saturday. I'm hoping for no rain. Yeah, right....

7/24/08

Wisconsin and Michigan Goodies...

Tara, Alexa and I have ridden and eaten our way across Wisconsin, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and the state of Michigan this past week on our family vacation while Zack is at Marquette University for a week of camp.

Like an idiot, I forgot the camera. I had changed the batteries and set the camera on the counter to put in the van for the trip. Obviously, it is still back home on the kitchen counter. Oops!

Some highlights of this week:

Sunday/Monday/Tuesday - Stayed in Door County Wisconsin where we had the luxury of fresh cherries, frozen custard, and locally caught whitefish. We even had a pizza with home made sausage one night for dinner which was fantastic. Our breakfast was delivered to our door every morning at the Eagle Harbor Inn. We mountain biked in Peninsula State Park on all of the trails they have available. Tara and Alexa went shopping after 2 1/2 hours of riding and I stayed to put in a grand total of 4 hours on the bike that day before I rode my bike back to Ephriam where we were staying. High marks go to the Trio restaurant for a fine meal.

Wednesday/Thursday - Stayed in Petoskey, Michigan where we have eaten more fresh cherries, frozen custard, whitefish, beef Pasties, morrell mushrooms, fresh blueberries and delicious bean soup in Charlevoix. We biked from Petoskey to Charlevoix and back on Wednesday for 34 miles of cycling (Way to go Alexa); saw 3 beautiful sunsets on Lake Michigan; went to Mackinac Island on Thursday where we rode around the island on our bikes and hit a lot of singletrack in the middle of the island for a grand total of 3 hours of cycling. With our backsides tired from the past 2 days of riding, we headed to the theater on Thursday night.

Friday - took us south to Ludington. We stopped in Traverse City for lunch and shopping. Locals directed us to the best pie in the world at the Grand Traverse Pie Company for a slice of Cherry Crumb a la mode. Wow! It was incredible!!! We bought some cherry products at another store specializing in all things cherry and headed south with two containers of our daily quota of fresh Michigan cherries. I followed up the cherry theme for the week with a cherry salad and cherry bourbon marinated steak for dinner in Ludington.

We headed to the Ludington State Park to see the sand dunes. We walked and played on the beach for nearly 2 hours. Alexa built a something or other in the sand and we hiked up and down some dunes and jogged along the beach until we were getting cold as the sun started to set.

Saturday - We will catch the SS Badger on Saturday morning which will take us back to Wisconsin. After seeing the Brewers take on the Astros at Miller Park Saturday night, we'll head back to Iowa on Sunday after picking up Zack at Marquette.

It sounds like it has been raining a lot back in Indianola this week. Our fingers are crossed that the sump pump has been handling the load while we were gone...

7/19/08

Basement Progress...

We are choosing paint colors today for the basement. They determined we needed new molding, wall repair in spots, a paint job, new carpet padding and will finish with a thorough carpet cleaning. State Farm has been great stepping in to take charge this week. Kudos to our agent for all of his help. I know it has been a busy and difficult year for the insurance industry and repair contractors with all of the endless flooding.

Work starts on Monday and will be completed on the following Monday. We will be out of town in Wisconsin/Michigan, so will miss all of that and hopefully arrive back home to a restored basement and can get back to normal in our house.

The city has jet cleaned the storm sewer lines and is about to repair the collapsed storm sewer line that is 3 lots to our west. It's been an historic year for rainfall and the infrastructure in many towns in Iowa, even the new construction areas were designed using old specifications from the 1940's (6 inch and 8 inch pipe). That's plenty for normal precipitation years, but this year is historic. Not to mention rain, but we are in the middle of a 5 day thunderstorm pattern. Thursday and Friday brought rain, and today through Monday more is expected. July average precipitation in Indianola is 4.22 inches. We had about 5+ inches the night our basement flooded, and have had over 4 more inches since then. It will be interesting to see what the amount is for the entire month of July. At least the grass is green...

I took the sump pump out and did a thorough cleaning of the sump pump pit as well as cleaned the plastic filter on the bottom of the pump. I will add this maintenance routine to my list of things to do every spring and summer season. Got it all hooked back up just in time for another thunderstorm Thursday night where the pump performed flawlessly as two inches of rain fell. Future plans include sloping the dirt away from our house on the east and south sides of the house; installing longer downspouts to divert water away from the foundation of the house; installing a second back-up marine battery powered sump-pump for those occasions when a thunderstorm knocks out power or the primary pump fails. All of those steps should help protect our basement from future flooding. El Nino. Global warming. Whatever it is causing this unusual weather - I want to be prepared in case this happens again.

We're off early tomorrow to Milwaukee and will be in Door County by evening.

7/14/08

Concussions, Tire Burps, Cramps and IMBCS #5 Race Report...

I have been humbled by yesterday's race.

Things to keep in mind for myself in the future:

1. Don't ever race so soon after a concussion (I got one last week at the WORS race).
2. If racing with a concussion, make a check-list of things to do and not do on race-day because your decision making will not be up to par.
3. Don't forget the SportLegs!!!
4. Don't try and race with such low p.s.i. in the tubeless Racing Ralphs.
5. Don't do a pre-ride of the race course so close to the start time that you barely make it back in time to start at the back of the pack.
6. Don't try to inflate a tire trailside during a race without ever having used a can of Big Air before to inflate a tire!

The above was pretty much my day. Unable to make rash decisions due to my mild concussion, I should have taken my wife's concrete advice and remained at home.

To ingest or not ingest SportLegs? That was the question.

I'm not sure Shakespeare would agree. '-]

I've managed a couple of races this year - including last week's WORS - without taking the supplement since the races were short enough to not worry about cramping. I figured, based on the distance of the course at Davenport, it would be about 1:10 - 1:20 duration for the 3 laps which is too short for me to cramp up. Well, that was the longest 5 miles I've ridden with lap times averaging up in the 35 - 40 minute time frame for many of us which was indeed long enough for me to cramp. My mind was incapable of making a rash decision to take them, so I skipped that step before the race and didn't have any in my jersey pockets to take during the race. No banana. No vitamins. I didn't drink enough during the race for whatever reason and it bit me in the legs on the the third lap - big time.

So, here's the report:

I arrived around 11 am and immediately headed out on a trial lap thinking it would be about 30 minutes and I would have 30 minutes to air up the tires if need be, get my drinks ready and line up at the starting line. 30 minutes into my trial lap of riding at a good mid-effort with a few hard efforts thrown in for a proper warm up, I started to worry that I couldn't get out of the woods and make it back in time. So I upped the effort.

Hmmmm. 40 minutes into the trial lap with a looming 11:50 start time coming up. I really started to turn on the gas and still no end in site of this 5 mile lap. I finally saw another rider and he knew some short cuts to get us back to the starting line. So I followed him and ducked under boundary tape after boundary tape until we finally got back to the parking lot. Whew! 3 minutes to spare to the "new, adjusted starting time of 12 noon". Man, if the race had gone off at 11:50 as originally scheduled, I would have missed it.

My Racing Ralphs were good at a Psycowpath race earlier in the season, but had failed me at Sylvan Island. In spite of that, they were being given a 2nd chance for this race mainly due to me losing my Salsa Delgado front wheel at the WORS race. I didn't have the Nanoraptors tested on the new rims enough to trust them for high speed racing and I knew the Racing Ralphs were fine on the American Classic wheels based on the other earlier races. The air pressure I had was way too low for a race, but nice and comfy for my trial lap. They were soaking up all of the roots, but I could feel the rims hitting some roots. I was going to add about 5 psi in both tires when I got back to the Element. I didn't bother to measure exactly, but I quickly pumped in a few pumps on each tire hoping that was enough, grabbed my drink bottles, took my wrist watch off and raced over to the starting line. By this time, I had to line up way in the back of the mass start - 52 of us by my count which included sport, singlespeed and women. I just can't bring myself to cut up in line once the line is formed as I believe fair is fair, first come, first serve. I was late to the party and would have to pay for it at the back of the pack.

Starting 'whistle' goes off and I make my way up the opening climb to be about in the middle of the pack of 52 riders. Not good, but not terrible. This is not a course where passing is easy as every pass is hard earned, so we were stuck in line with too many lacking basic bike handling skills for mountain bike racing. They were getting off of their bikes at points they should have been riding. The guy in front of me was speaking loudly, trying to encourage everyone to stay on their bikes - that it was all ridable (which it was).

I finally got a flow going 10 minutes into the race and my front tire hit a big old root at the base of a tree pretty hard on a turn and "pow" went my first ever tubeless tire "burp" where my psi dropped from about 25 to 5 with the snap of a finger. Down I went. Everyone thought the loud popping sound was me falling, but it was the tire "burping". The burp and sudden loss in tire pressure and hence, grip - is what caused me to fall over. I jumped up and pulled out my can of Big Air to air up the front Racing Ralph. I had read the instructions on how to use the Big Air, but never had to use it before - let alone during a race situation. Hmmmm....I did what the instructions said - I swear - but nothing was happening. I tried again. Rats! Visions of another DNF flashed through my head. I said to heck with it after 20 people passed me and hopped back on the bike. I made it about 10 feet realizing that 5 psi in a front tire wasn't going to cut the mustard.

Now I got mad. I pulled the can of Big Air out and read the instructions on the back of the can. Yup. I was doing exactly what the can said to do. So I gave it another try before giving up. Still nothing. When I pulled the can off, I saw some "steam" coming out of the can. Maybe there was something in the can after all! I tried it again and pushed harder and twisted harder and suddenly - it was filling my front tire. Nice and ice cold and quick. Cool. Very cool. I went way up over what felt like 30 psi which is a lot for a fat 2.4 front tire on a 29"er and pulled the can off and put it back into my jersey pocket. Okay, by now everyone and their brother, father, mother, sister and cousin had passed me and I was dead stinkin' last. That's right - DFL! At least 4 or 5 minutes of fiddling time had past as I was trailside messing with the Big Air and a burped tubeless tire. At least it wasn't torn like Sylvan Island and I was excited to be able to keep riding. Well, I've been there before at Boone last year after I rode my rear wheel off the frame and rode myself back into contention from dead stinkin' last.

So off I went at full madman speed. I was flying and started passing people left and right like a crazy man. I finally passed enough people that I was in the open and back close to being near what I thought was the middle of the pack for all of lap two (turns out it wasn't quite the "middle" of the pack). I pushed it so hard in lap one by digging deep into my reserves and burning match after match after match that I backed off a little in lap two to recover, but keep my place in line. I took corners faster than a 46 year old man with responsibilities back home should be doing.

During lap three, the first three experts caught and passed me. I kept turning up the screws and burning what matches I had left after a little recovery in lap two. I caught some more riders and had about 10 minutes to go in my final lap. Out of nowhere, I stood with the pedals in 9 and 3 position to go over some logs and both legs totally seized up. I couldn't bend them. I couldn't pedal. I couldn't unclip. I fell over. I couldn't get up. I couldn't walk. I couldn't sit. Totally seized. I've cramped before, but never like this. My calf cramped in the Dakota 50, but I was able to rub it out and keep going. Course marshals were asking if I was okay and I said I had cramped. I finally managed to get my bike out of the way so all those that I had passed after the tire burp incident could now pass me back. Oy! Ain't racing fun?!!! I finally managed to get myself to sit on a log with the legs straight out in front of me and the bike in the weeds. I started massaging the legs as best I could, but they were rock hard.

Remembering Ned Overand's book and comments about even if you crash, cramp up and have to sit at the side of the trail and walk - finish the race. "You owe it to yourself to finish the race..." or something to that effect is what Ned had said in his book. So I started walking a la Frankenstein. It took me about 4 minutes of walking to get my legs back. And then, just as quickly as the cramps had hit me - they were gone. Wild!!

I climbed back on the bike and took off at full tilt to finish the race. And finish I did. Humbly, but going full tilt. 26th place out of 35 in Sport. Actually of the 52 that began in the mass start of sport, singlespeed and women - only 13 finished after me. 38 trounced me. What the results do not show is that when I was on the bike riding - I was riding some of the best and fastest singletrack speeds I have done all season with no loss of control. I was flying. But the 10 minutes of eternity on the side of the trail for the burped tire and the seized legs pretty much makes all of that moot in terms of results.

The course was FANTASTIC!!! It reminded me a lot of Boone, except it had more roots and the climbs were not quite as long and taxing as they are at Boone. The course was in tip top condition and it was my favorite course so far this year. Only one straight section for about 150 yards. The rest was wild and crazy singletrack throughout some nice shaded and cool woods. Some really gnarly roots and tight turns to challenge one's handling skills, but I found it "easier" than the sandy and twisty WORS course of the prior weekend.

So my results pretty much suck. Okay, no lie - they do suck. ;-) I forgot to take my SportLegs and I had my air pressure way off for a mountain bike race with those tires and rims. Both things were my fault and I take full blame which means I humbly am suffering the consequences. Not D.F.L. in the race, but about as close to it as I want to come this year. I have to be content with just finishing the race in spite of the two dilemmas. So be it. I'll feign contentment and be humbled.

7/11/08

Flooding update...

Paul Davis Restoration Team was back in the house today checking humidity levels in the basement. Two of the rooms are still too wet to move onto phase II. So fans were moved, dehumidifiers were switched to those two rooms, and more stuff was sprayed to keep the mold at bay. Looks like they will be back on Monday to check again. Having a dozen of these jet engine fans blowing in your basement sure makes for a non-quiet weekend!

I hauled 4 loads of ruined stuff to the landfill in Winterset yesterday and today. It's a 46 mile round trip from our house and each load was $10 (insurance covers it - I hope). I probably still have 1 or 2 loads to go, but want the insurance adjuster to see the remaining stuff since it is damaged and contains things we use. The first 4 loads were pretty much filled with useless junk like boxes and stuff we were going to throw out anyway at some point.

The upstairs and the garage is filled with things we moved up from the basement to dry out and to get out of the way of the proceedings in the basement. It's a huge basement with 2000 square feet, so plenty of things had to be moved upstairs.

Looks like some rain is coming tonight as predicted and then a few days of dry to help things out. The sump pump has been going non-stop since Tuesday and is still draining today even though we've received no more rain to speak of since Monday night.

Fun, fun, fun....

7/9/08

WORS #6 - Chippewa Valley Firecracker race report...

It was time for me to try another out of state XC race venture, so why not try a race in the largest off road series in America? That's what I did this past weekend by driving up to Eau Claire, Wisconsin for the Chippewa Valley Firecracker which was #6 in the Wisconsin Off Road Series. I've now raced in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. I also wanted to check out a WORS race to see how larger events were handled with the mass of racers. Let me tell you, the WORS staff has it down to an art form they do it so well.

I drove up on Saturday afternoon and got to Eau Claire in time to put in 2 pre-ride laps of the course. It was hot and muggy, that's for sure. Even riding at an easy pace to conserve energy for Sunday's race, I was dripping wet from head to toe. The course was fun and was going to be all about bike handling with the singletrack sections being so twisty. Not much climbing at all in terms of long climbs. What there was really didn't last more than 20 seconds or so per climb. A couple of root infested climbs which were perfect for the 29"er to just hit 'em at speed and keep the momentum going. One technical rock descent and switchback that I predicted would cause a major "hurry up and wait in line" during the first lap (it did). There were plenty of fun switchbacks to keep one on their toes ascending and descending. And lots of wide open, doubletrack areas to let out one's fitness. The loop was 8 miles in length, but I thought it was only going to be 5 miles based on the race course description from the WORS website. I guess I must have misjudged something during one of the turns in my test laps as I took a handlebar shot right above the knee. Everything swelled up immediately and I had a big knot above the knee to deal with - great!

I checked into my motel, got cleaned up and headed over to Bear Creek Grille for dinner. They had perfect menu choices to fuel me for racing. I settled on Rosemary Chicken, wild rice and asparagus with a mug or two of the famous Leinenkugel red lager from 12 miles up the road where the brewery is located (so claimed the waiter). I held a glass of ice water on the knot above my knee during my time at the restaurant in hopes of getting the swelling down. I stopped by Borders to read a magazine or two and headed back for a good night's sleep at the motel. I iced the leg one more time before falling asleep.

The leg felt better in the morning and after coffee and breakfast while watching the Tour de France, I headed over to get warmed up for the 11:30 am Sport Category start. I had pre-registered online and picked up my number and race bag just as a storm opened up with lightening and heavy rain. Luckily, it was only about a 15 minute rain and it actually helped get the dust down and make for a faster race course. There was a mass of people milling about. I think in total, there were over 800 racers scheduled to race, plus all of the spectators, event booths, volunteer staff, vendors, etc... . It was very impressive to see that kind of level of participation and the trip over just to see that was worth it.

They have many categories in the WORS: First Timer; Citizen; Citizen Youth; Sport; Comp; Expert; Elite. The Sport Category is the Cat 4 & 5 racers under the USA Cycling system - so that was my category. They don't have an "open sport class" as it is all divided up into age classes. So I was in the 45-49 year old male age class. They do, however, give you your final placing within your age class as well as within the entire sport category. The starting line is staged so you take off in waves based on your age class. Believe it or not, the 40-44 and 45-49 year old male classes were the first wave to take off. How cool is that to have the old guys start first? Actually, the 50+ wave was the last wave to start, so it must be the younger older guys who get the shot at first wave. There were 24 in my class and 23 in the 40-44 year old male class, so the first wave of guys totaled 47. The called up the top leaders in the series for our wave and the announcer then asked us all to remove our helmets as "Heather" sang the national anthem. She did a great job with spot on pitch and juiced up the melody enough to make it exciting and get us in the patriotic mood. Having the anthem sung before a mountain bike race was a first for me, so I was enjoying the whole experience. One of the guys I met and rode with out at the Black Hills Fat Tire Festival, Tim Larson from the Twin Cities, lined up behind me and said hello. We were told we would be doing 2 laps for sport (16 miles). I was really mentally focused on doing 3 based on the WORS website, but somebody said that was when the lap was going to be 5 miles in duration. They had lengthened it to 8 so we were only doing 2.

The gun was off and I knew it was a long way to the singletrack, so settled in the middle of the pack to see what unfolded. I burned a few matches and made a few moves up the line in the first mile before we hit the singletrack and it looked like I was in the top 15 or so going into the singletrack. That one area I had predicted would cause us to stop, hurry up and wait - sure enough was just that. The 5 guys in front of me stopped and we went through the technical section one at a time. Lap one was pretty uneventful outside of getting stuck behind riders who didn't clean some of the sections I had planned on bombing through with my 29"er wheels. I called out that I was still on my bike and coming through, but nobody gave me the trail so I had to dismount and hike like they were. The first place singlespeed racer who had started in the wave following my group, caught me and passed as we came into the finish line area to start lap 2. Tim Larson came by me. He was latched onto a pace line of the three top riders in the teenage division which started with the singlespeed class in the wave behind us. I latched on as we came out of the singletrack and headed out into the open area for a mile or so of doubletrack riding. Wow, we were flying!

Entering the next singletrack section, I couldn't hang with the pace line as the trail was just too twisty for me to match their bike handling. By now, the race was pretty wide open and I was "on my own". I kept pushing the pace to try and avoid getting sucked into the lull of being "on my own" and not riding at full throttle. What I found was that the course was not testing my fitness, but it was testing my bike handling skills. I felt like I was stuck on the interstate in traffic where I wanted to go faster, but I couldn't. Not because there was anyone in front of me, but because of so many dang turns I just couldn't get going!!! Great trail, though. My shoulder took a tree or two at the speed I was going.

During lap two, I entered the descending switchback section that was lined with spectators going full speed. I had no problem on this section during lap 1 as my speed was slower due to all the riders in front of me. This time, the guy in front of me fell on the first switchback and I was all in the clear going into the second turn. I was hitting the turns well and the crowd was cheering and egging me on. The last switchback in the series had a really high bermed bank turn which I had not tried in my test laps, but I decided to hit it high and fast for some insane reason during this lap. Coming out of the turn, my front wheel came out on the trail on the far left side edge and the trail just crumbled and fell away. Down I went, doing my best fetal tuck to take it on the shoulder. My shoulder hit "Boom!" and then my head hit "Bang!" and the crowd yelled out "RIDER DOWN!!". I slowly got up to survey the damage. Blood in a few spots, seeing stars, left wrist hurt, right shoulder numb, left shin bleeding, front wheel nearly trashed. It was all weebly-wobbly. Rats! What the heck, I hopped on the bike after letting quite a few pass and off I went and immediately took another tree to the left shoulder. My balance and head were throbbing so I knew I had snagged a mild concussion.

The front wheel was a disaster. Thank goodness I was running disc brakes because this thing would not have rotated with V brakes. As expected, I had to keep my speed down to finish out the lap on a nearly disabled wheel. I spent a lot of time pulling over to let guys pass me as I gritted my teeth in frustration. I was bound and determined to finish the dang race in spite of feeling like I had just played a football game and was all beat up with a wobbly front wheel. I actually was able to push it on some of the sections, but took it easy on the technical stuff for fear of having a full taco for a front wheel. I even managed to sprint to the line in an attempt to pass a rider that had passed me out on the trail.

In spite of all that, I managed to land 9th place out of the 24 in my age class with a time of 1:14:24. Tim Larson, the guy I rode with at the Black Hills Tire Festival, was just ahead of me in 8th place. I guess 9th place sounds more impressive than 110th out of the 337 male riders in the overall sport category. Hey, I guess that's top third in my first WORS race! And none of the 37 female sport racers managed to get a better time than I did, so maybe that's progress for my racing this year.;-)

I grabbed a couple of wet washcloths and cleaned up my wounds and bike before packing up to head home. I lined up to take pictures of the start of the Elite race, only to find my batteries were dead in my camera. Great! So no pictures, but I got to see the LaLonde brothers jump off the line and lead the group into lap one. I grabbed a turkey burger, chatted with a few other racers to share crash stories, had some watermelon and then headed home at 2pm for the 5 hour drive.

I am healing, but the left wrist feels like something may be wrong in there. I may have to go into the doctor to get an x-ray. I took my front wheel up to Rassy's yesterday where Greg and Terry took one look at it and said "no way". So the rim is a total loss and cannot be repaired. Unfortunately, the Delgado Disc is no longer made, so I will have to shop around for something to replace it with once I deal with the basement flooding stuff.

Bottom line: if you get a chance to do a WORS race - do it. The entire experience is well worth it. I think I will try and sneak another one in later this year, but we shall see. I'm actually going to be in Milwaukee on the 27th near the WORS #7 race, but no way I can do that race during a family vacation (they would kill me).

7/8/08

Lost our basement last night...

Wow! What a torrential downpour last night here in Indianola! We finally succumbed to the flooding here in Iowa and last night was just too much for our sump pump to handle (as well as about 100+ other homes in Indianola last night). Our basement was hit hard last night. The dogs were barking at 4 am in the basement in their kennels and when Tara went down to get them, she discovered the water. We had been down there at 11pm and all was well, but the rain just kept coming and coming. Reports of rainfall last night from 5.5" all the way up to 10" (depending on what part of town) have been reported. Zack and I were at the movie rental store when it hit. Driving 10 mph home with the windshield wipers on full blast, I could hardly see more than a few feet in front of me. The ditches were full of water within the first 10 minutes and the road was a mess. Huge lightening and thunder storm to boot, but luckily no hail. Just Noah's Ark type of rain.

A few telephone calls got the restoration process going this morning. State Farm, Paul Davis Restoration, the builder of our home and everyone has been more than helpful all day long. The first check for $1000 has been written (our deductible) and the first 12 hours has been devoted to get everything that we could salvage out of the basement; remove all the molding off of the wall; get the carpet cut at the seams; pump out the water; get the furniture up on blocks; and get the fans going. It now sounds like an airport in our house with about 15 huge fans blowing away in the basement. That will go on for a few days.

The insurance adjuster is coming in the next day or two and a determination will be made as to how we should proceed from there. New carpet and foam, molding, wall board, paint, door frames, etc... ? Hard to tell just what is needed yet. Ouch - talk about being forced to clean up your basement!!!!

So if you don't hear from us or can't reach us in the next few days - we are busy as beavers trying to salvage our nest. Many trips to the dump will be happening. Throwing out a lot of stuff that got damaged. And we have to document all of our labor, time and expense in the clean up.

Oy! I don't wish this summer project on anyone. It has been the worst weather ever in this area. Wow!

More rain and storms coming tonight, but we've got 2 pumps going full blast in the basement to handle the incoming water...

7/4/08

Happy 4th of July!! Is the corn knee high?

Corn looks to be knee high in our parts, so it must be the 4th. Yup. Check and check.

Not much planned for the family today as it will be a low key day of mowing, cleaning, grilling ribs (4 hours on the grill) and packing for my trip to the WORS Chippewa Valley Firecracker race.

My hands are numb from all the trimming and raking I've been doing out at Lake Ahquabi on the proposed race route. I did three test laps at race speed to get an idea for the time and how many laps for each category. I don't know what was going on during my first test lap on Monday, but it took me 44 minutes to do one lap. "Is the course too long?" was my first thought. The next test lap on Wednesday was 33 minutes (much more like it). After a GU and a shot of water, I went out for a 2nd lap on Wednesday and nailed a 31 minute lap which still was not entirely at full race speed. And it still involves having to dismount and step over two fallen trees until the chainsaw gets to that portion of the trail to remove them. It looks like I have a good idea of how many laps for each category and they can be adjusted due to weather and conditions come race day if need be. I will say it is a fast course, yet filled with enough challenging climbs to keep everyone in check.

I got all of the paperwork filled out, insurance purchased and some sponsorship details taken care of this past week for the August 10th race. Now I move into the next phase of finalizing the volunteer list and their duties, ordering the course marking materials, advertising the race and double checking that everything is in order at this point. In other words, it might be time to delegate some authority so I can sleep...