Bike MS Recap

Bike MS – 1st Day

Well we’re done. This year’s Bike MS ride ended more with a whimper than not. Saturday was great! Perfect weather and even with our limited training this year, we still did well. The after ride party on Saturday night was fun too. We cleaned up on door prizes. But then there was Sunday, which was a bit of a washout. We got up at five and struck the tent in record time, which was a good thing, with flashes of lighting on the horizon and the deluge that began at six. Forty days of practice this summer paid off. We got soaked waiting around for the bike locker to open, but at least the camping gear was dry. We ate breakfast and waited around until seven, when it was pretty clear that they would not be letting anyone go anytime soon. So, we loaded the bikes on the car and headed for home, which we made, with just enough time to off load the Prius and not a moment to spare. It proceeded to rain for most of the morning.

Saturday was fun though. We did the team mass start and for one moment I was in the lead. Then slowly, but surely, they all passed us, along with almost all the other riders. Our route took us down to the river road that parallels the Illinois. We followed it north until Grafton and then veered inland and uphill. It was a killer hill. We both ended up walking it. On the second toughest hill, I walked, but Anne rode it to the top. I learned later that her mantra was, “Don’t puke. Don’t puke.” Which she didn’t. You go girl! We decided that discretion was the better part of valor and quit at lunch, which was conveniently back where we had started. I got my first professional massage, which I am still trying to figure out whether I liked or not. Dinner, then the team party and in bed by nine on a Saturday night. Sounds lame, right? Our team tent was the only one still going, when we left. Being so much closer to Saint Louis than Columbia, the old venue, it appears that most people left in the afternoon and never came back.  

Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights

The Friday of Labor Day weekend marks the beginning of the Gateway Cup bicycle races. This end of summer ritual is high season for cycling, what with the Bike MS ride occurring the following weekend. Last year, like many previous years, we had a dinner date with our friends Don and DJ. Last Sunday, having returned to town after a summer long exodus, I had a thought that I should ask them, if they wanted to meet us again this year. I was still planning on acting on this thought, when on Monday, I received word that Don had died on Sunday night. I was shocked. We had had lunched with him in May, just before we left town. I could tell that he had lost some cognitive capabilities, but he was still fully ambulatory and could converse. I learned later that very shortly after that lunch, his health began to rapidly deteriorate. He was 78.

I met Don in 1980, when I moved to Saint Louis. We both worked for Control Data and he was lead analyst at McDonnell Douglas, where we also both worked. Then, he would deliver my paycheck. We worked together off and on over the next ten years. Most closely as part of a sales team that was calling on the University of Illinois. I eventually left CDC, which by then had earned the nickname constantly diminishing corporation and we lost touch for a while.

Don reached out to me later, when he got into bicycling. I was going great guns with the sport then, but with his natural athletic abilities, he soon eclipsed me. Around Don, formed a cadre of former CDC employees and new friends that teenage Dave took to calling the Ons: “Dave, did anyone call for me?” “Yea.” “Who?” “I don’t know, one of the Ons (Don, John, Ron).”

We rode together almost every weekend. Mostly doing organized rides. On one of these rides, I was present when Don and DJ met. Another ride was the MS-150. We all joined the TWA charity bike team and when the company TWA folded, Don took the lead and reformed its members as Team Kaldi’s. His years in sales and his way with people made him a natural leader in this field. His first year out, the jersey that he commissioned won first prize for its design. He and DJ grew the team to the point that it was the largest team here in Saint Louis, both in number of people and in funds raised. It was the first team in Saint Louis to top a million dollars in funds raised, out raising all the area’s corporate titans. I was at the DeMun Kaldi’s when I first heard the news of Don’s passing.

We had dinner last night with DJ, at Polite Society. As you can tell from the photo, it was a dark and stormy night. As we walked back to the car, the only people still out were the racers, who were riding in the rain, and their immediate circle. All the fair weather fans had fled. Don always did right by me. He was a good man. He touched a lot of lives. He will be missed. 

Back on the Bike

The Road to the Badlands

On our first full day back in Saint Louis, among chores of unpacking and doing laundry and such, I found time for a bicycle ride. Anne had her own errands to run, so I launched solo towards the park. I came upon two other cyclists, waiting at the light, at Wydown & Big Bend and had timed it to pass them, as the light turned green, when one of the bikers called out to me. It was Captain Chris of Team Kaldi, our Bike MS club. He and his son were headed to the park also, so I tagged along with them, at least the best that I could. I got dropped at the Science Center, but Chris waited for me by the zoo and told me that they were headed over to the DeMun Kaldi for lunch. Taking this as an invite, I eventually showed up too and we shared a patio repast. After lunch, they headed home and I headed towards the grocery store for some supper fixings and then home.

This was my first bicycle ride for the month and next month’s riding schedule looks even more doubtful. Still, I’ll have August to get into shape for the annual Bike MS ride. I lost ten pounds on our camping trip, which is odd, considering that we ate out most days. Still, we got lots of exercise in the mountains, lots of hiking, but no biking. When we were not dining at the [insert national park of choice here] lodge, we were doing our own rustic cooking. We have a Jet Boil stove that we used every morning to hot-up water for breakfast coffee and oatmeal and we usually cooked a dinner stew using a combination of fresh vegetables and canned goods. Lunch was mostly cold sandwiches, with veggies and fruit, which was fine, because most days warmed up quite nicely. 

Hello, World!

Schooner at Sunset

Ten years ago, with the same post title as with this one, I started this blog. That’s right folks, I’ve been posting everyday for ten consecutive years now. Who would have thought it possible? Certainly not me. It has been a life changing habit. I do more and I see more than I did before. Soon after I began blogging, I realized that I was mining my life experiences as blog fodder at an unsustainable rate. To remedy this problem I’ve vowed to go out and do more, see more, so that at the end of each day, I would have something interesting to share. At this I have been mostly successful. It has been a great ride. I hope that I have another ten years of blogging left in me. We’ll have to see how it goes.

No news from the scat-cam. Even though it did register about half-a-dozen alerts last night. They were all either raindrops that were running down the front of the plastic bag enclosing the camera or an occasional lighting flash. There was no midnight pooper to be seen. We’ll try it again tonight, but this time I’ll leave the porch light on, for better visibility.

We had a luncheon today, with Dorothy and the Ons, Don and Ron. These bike buddies and I used to ride together so much that Dave, in typical teenage fashion took to collectively referring to them as the Ons. As in when I got home from work, “Dave, did anyone call me?” “Yeah.” “Who was it?” “I don’t know … It was one of the Ons.” We dined at Mai Lee. 

Double Arch

Anne at Double Arch

We wanted to join the Team Kaldi’s ride this morning, but it left the De Mun shop at eight and we were still in bed at that time. So, we launched when we were good and ready, did a turn of Forest Park, which was marginally less crowded today, than it was yesterday and ended up at Kaldi’s for a little something. Call it second breakfast or call it an early lunch, just don’t call me late to the table. The sparrows on the patio were fierce. Anne had a Chai tea on ice and I had a regular latté. We shared a chocolate croissant from Companion and a Blueberry scone with Key Lime icing, sort of a Missouri Compromise. When we were on our way home, we crossed paths with the team ride at St. Mary’s. They were returning to Kaldi’s and we shouted our excuses, as feeble as they might be, as we passed each other. 

“24”

24:00 No Jack Bauer, no ticking clock, but plenty of action to be had. This post is about what has occurred in the last twenty-four hours. No worries, it’s all good. Friday featured dinner and a show. The show was in the Slammer (Saint Louis Art Museum), “Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan”.

23:29 This exhibit showcases a collection of extraordinary visual material that documents Japan’s modern rise to power, starting in the mid-19th century and culminating with Pearl Harbor. Emphasis is on depicting events of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). Featured are propaganda posters that invariably highlight the prowess of the Japanese armed forces. These posters were ‘the news’ for a mostly illiterate, unplugged populace. The images depicted are bold, striking and frequently violent. They were created using sophisticated wood-block printing techniques. As art they foreshadow modern anime. In 2010 local collectors Charles and Rosalyn Lowenhaupt contributed 1,400+ works. I was fortunate to catch a mini-show then. This new show has been worth the wait. It runs through January 8th.

21:11 Exiting the museum, I photographed this tree-lined path atop Art Hill. The tops of these trees have already turned red, but as you can see, underneath everything is still green. We dined at Little Saigon in the Central West End. This Vietnamese, Asian fusion style restaurant has been one of our favorites since almost when we still needed a babysitter. Although we last ate out at Lemon Grass, which features traditional Vietnamese, we asked why not? It was good.

06:53 Today, we went bicycling. Our neighbor, Mary had invited us out for the day. We rode to Tower Grove Park and toured the farmers market there. Independently, all three of us bought Hawaiian ginger, but mainly we just shopped. On Morganford we lite lunched at the London Tea Room. The staff there all wear “Tea Shirts”, but instead of any of their marvelous teas, we all chose hot cider. Anne and I each enjoyed a chai cider. On the way home, we were still feeling a bit peckish, so Mary introduced us to la pâtisserie Chouquette and we all enjoyed a little something. Anne and I have ridden by this place dozens of times without ever stopping. This is a mistake that in the future shall be further remedied. We all enjoyed the available confections, but the real claim to fame at la pâtisserie Chouquette is its ganache. Ganache is a glaze, icing, sauce, or filling for pastries made from chocolate and cream. Typically, two parts chocolate to one part cream are used. Pictured are two examples of their edible special order masterpieces. It was a grand day. 0:00