Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A little off topic ...

About 10% of you coming here use Internet Exploder Explorer ... and you shouldn't. Why not? It never has been all that secure, to be honest ... and now even Homeland Security is advising you not to use it!

"The U.S. Department of Homeland security is advising Americans not to use the Internet Explorer Web browser until a fix is found for a serious security flaw that came to light over the weekend.
The bug was announced on Saturday by FireEye Research Labs, an Internet security software company based in Milpitas, Calif.
"We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem," the Department of Homeland Security's United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team said in a post Monday morning.
It recommended that users and administrators "consider employing an alternative Web browser until an official update is available.""

Alternative browsers? Firefox or Chrome are good choices. Safari  is another possible choice.

Personally, I like Firefox - and, in fact, I use Aurora, which is the Alpha (pre-beta) test version of Firefox.

Monday, April 28, 2014

OMG! Part 2

An update on my MCM Team Achilles spot - not only are they giving me a spot in the Marine Corps Marathon ... they are covering the registration fees AND providing accommodations at the Team Hotel! All I have to do is pay my way there and back! Maybe I'm not a total Idiot ... I DID join Team Achilles, after all.

I know there are some hills on the MCM course, so I need to get serious on my training! 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

That's a little better ...

I did my 2 mile training course again - and averaged 7.9 MPH and hit a top speed of 14 MPH. I still have a long way to go until I'm actually competitive, but it IS a new handcycle. A year from now I will be doing a lot better!

On a side note, the Shimano shifter is just NOT going to work where it's at. I'm going to move it over to the left hand crank and see if I can move it to a position where I can actually downshift the 9 speed cassette. with one hand. Right now, it is a little too far for my right thumb to reach and downshift ... and there is no room to move it closer or turn it where it will be reachable.

Other not so nice features:

1. The hub is 8/9 speed cassette only. I will have to buy a new hub if I want to use a 10 speed (or 11 speed) cassette. Getting the Dual Drive 3 would solve the hub issue ... and the SRAM shifters are MUCH more handcycle friendly.

2. The crankset isn't wide enough to clear my legs or abdomen, and it's only 170 mm. I'm wondering if the Force G "S" crankarms can be fitted to the Force 2. They add 6" in width and are 200mm for a little additional leverage. I have long arms, so the extra length wouldn't be an issue as long as I had the extra width for clearance. I predict a call to Top End in the near future.

Friday, April 25, 2014


My leased handcycle was from New Hampshire. My new handcycle was built for use in Florida. Do you think it might be geared just a little differently? DUH!

Let's just say that inclines are MUCH more challenging! In spite of the gearing difference, A quick 2 mile training run went real well. 17 minutes with an average speed of 6.9 mph and a max of 13.5 on mostly flat road with a several small (33 foot climb) rolling hills. That would be close to a PR for a 5K distance ... in street clothes!

Looks like it's time to consider getting the SRAM Dual Drive hub. Specifically the DD3-30 with Disc Brakes.

That would give me an extra low range, a 1:1 direct drive and a high end boost for going down any hills I have to climb. It would also change out the 9 speed cassette for a 10 speed cassette giving me an even lower granny low.

Because of the on going move, it won't happen "soon", but it WILL happen.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


I just received an e-mail from Achilles International ... they are adding me to their Marine Corps Marathon team!  That is such an honor!

My new handcycle; entry into the Marine Corp Marathon; I can only wonder what's next ... because "good things come in threes"!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I was fitted for MY handcycle; took it for a test ride; had it tweaked; and took it for another test run.

it's the blue one.

Sporting my Achilles International shirt!

Katie Blunk is fantastic! She's the VA Rep that is in charge of the Adaptive Sports Equipment program in Florida. It's because of her and her staff that I have my new ride!

I wasn't the only one happy today - there were two other Vets getting recumbent bicycles today, also!

I took it for a little spin after supper. Not in a hurry; not really dressed to race; just a short little test run - 1 mile in just under 10 minutes with a max speed of over 13 mph on level ground.  Once I have taken some training runs, this is going to be a jet!

Monday, April 21, 2014


MY handcycle has been delivered to the Lake City VA Hospital! I have to be there early tomorrow morning to have it set up for me and take a few test rides to get it tweaked for optimum performance. There will be two others there getting their new rides, also, so this will be a good chance to get some pointers.

I will try to get some photos during the set up and test ride phase. Check back tomorrow evening.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Catching up

Life has been hectic lately.

Our landlady's Son-in-Law died ... and her daughter is moving back from Japan.  We were given 30 days to vacate.  We've spent the last two weeks moving the major items; getting the utilities, etc. set up at the new location; and generally going crazy. We still have a few items to get moved and the old house cleaned up.

Mom's Cancer and Dementia have both gotten worse, and we are in the process of getting Hospice involve. #CancerSucks

After some hassle (not going there), I registered for the 2015 Dopey (5K, 10K, Half and Full Marathons) at Walt Disney World. I had already made reservations at Shades of Green, so I'm all set - I hope.

The VA approved everything and actually issued a PO for MY handcycle. No word yet on expected date to pick it up, so I have no races planned between now and October.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

One victory at a time

The Race Director for the Space Coast Marathon has agreed to accommodate me. What accommodation? He is starting me at a different time. ALL races that allow wheelchair and handcycle racers have a different start time for them.

He is starting me 1 1/2 hours after the half marathon start to give them time to clear the course.  For him, that means it is safer for the half marathon runners. That means I start 1 hour after the Marathon runner start. To me, that means I am going to be passing a LOT of run/walkers and will actually be MORE hazardous overall.

You take what you can get, and I registered for the marathon.

On a side note, he stated that the course was an out and back and it was a safety hazard for wheelchairs and handcycles. The course DOES have some out and back sections, but the start and finish points are NOT the same (not even close, for that matter) - that means the run is NOT an out and back. Out and backs require a little more attention because of oncoming runners as well as potential bottlenecks because of runners on both sides of you, but are NOT inherently dangerous.

I still call it a minor victory.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Planning ahead ... far ahead.

I came across an interesting series of runs, and I've decided I want to go all in. TEN days 366 Miles!

The Erie Canal Marathon Tour!

Day 1 - 29 Miles ... Albany to Schenectady

Day 2 - 42 Miles ... Schenectady to Fort Plain

Day 3 - 40 Miles ... Fort Plain to Utica

Day 4 - 37 Miles ... Utica to Canastota

Day 5 - 26.2 Miles ... Canastota to Syracuse

Day 6 - 50 Miles ... Syracuse to Seneca Falls

Day 7 - 49 Miles ... Seneca Falls to Fairpoint

Day 8 - 14 Miles ... Fairpoint to Rochester

Day 9 - 60 Miles ... Rochester to  Lockport

Day 10 - 19 Miles .. Lockport to Buffalo

I'm Goofy; I'm Dopey ... I'm even an Idiot, but I REALLY want to do this!

Monday, April 7, 2014

More idiots

WTH is going on with people? I contacted Space Coast Marathon about racing wheelchair and handcycle entries ... and was just informed that,

"This race is not set up for wheelchairs or hand cycles.  It is an out and back course, for the safety of everyone, we can not allow either on the course.  Good luck with your training."
 It's ALL on public roads, so there is NO reason they can't accommodate wheelchairs or handcycles. I have raced on many out-and-back courses, and that is NOT a valid reason. I sent in a request for specific reasons they can't accommodate racing wheelchairs or handcycles.

Have race directors suddenly turned stupid?

I noticed that Florida's Space Coast was a sponsor, and called them. They were SHOCKED that the race was not ADA compliant. I might have also contacted a few of the other sponsors - such as Publix about the race denying Special Needs athletes accommodation. We shall see ...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bittersweet ... with some good.

At 10:30 PM on April 2nd I was on to road to Orlando. After too many hours of driving I arrived at MCO (Orlando International Airport). jetBlue was my airline of choice to get to BOS (Logan Airport, Boston, Massachusetts). There wasn't TOO much discussion about my racing chair being a wheelchair that they would have to fly for free. Since it was my ONLY luggage, it was probably an easier task.

An easy flight up, and I met with the people from Northeast Passage to turn in my leased handcycle.

Over 200 miles in just a few months. Sad to see it go!

Then it was back into the BOS terminal to wait for my flight back to MCO - with a stop at Boston Beer Works for lunch ... and some hydration. Flight back to MCO was a little rough because the weather out West was starting to pick up. A long ride back home had me arriving around 1 AM on the 4th.

But, I received a couple of e-mails from the VA just before and during my trip.  They have approved everything, and a PO has been issued. Now I just have to find out exactly what was approved and when I can expect MY new ride.