28 June 2012

Relief in Many Flavors

what the route would have been

A collective "we" of about 2,500 riders have been on pins and needles for two weeks now awaiting word on this weekend's MS-150 charity bicycle ride. The High Park fire outside of Fort Collins continues to wreak havoc, and fires across the state have stretched our firefighters as thin as they can possibly be. Then began yet another monster firestorm on the other side of us, near Colorado Springs, followed by lightning strikes near boulder that set even more trees ablaze.

I would have been satisfied and at ease if the MS-150 had been cancelled this year. In my mind, it's more important to get the fires contained than to ride a bike. Nevertheless, the ride has been re-routed and will go on as planned, just shorter, more direct and flatter. More SAG vehicles than ever before will be available to transport riders who cannot ride or chose not to ride in smoke conditions that cannot at this point be forecast. Many of the riders have MS, and the combination of heat (which IS predictable AND predicted at this point) and smoke could cause severe health issues for them. The MS-150 has always been one of my favorite rides because the organizers take such good care of their riders, from the variety of special-needs food provided along the way to bicycle maintenance to one-on-one concern and care for those who ride with multiple sclerosis.

There I go, surrounding him in pink again...

The revised MS-150 route announcement came on the heels of receiving results from my mammogram. No anomalies this time around. Dancing for joy. Relief in glorious pink.

home, sweet home

Also igniting my adrenaline was getting my beloved Nikon back from the shop this week. (Can you feel my joy?!?) I turned it in for another dusting prior to Ride the Rockies and expected it to be ready by the time we got home. At 15 days, I called to find out if the six- to seven-day repair had been complete, and I was told two more weeks.

I think it's important to go back to photography roots, such as using a simpler and less fancy camera, every once in a while to keep camera and composition skills sharp. I don't like the point and shoot or iPhone as much as the Nikon, but the smaller cameras teach me and remind me things I take for granted when I use the most modern of technology. So I dug my heels in and prepared to get by on the smaller cameras for a while.

The day after I called the shop, the shop called me back and said the camera was ready. Joy! Joy! Joy! I wasted no time picking it up as soon as I got off work that night. I'll be able to use the "real" camera for fireworks. Assuming we have any in the state of Colorado...

limitations, limitations

Speaking of technology, I invested in a new toy for the iPhone. The Lizard had convinced me not to take the Nikon on Ride the Rockies and to cut back on weight as much as possible to help me get up the mountains a little easier, since I didn't get to train as much as I needed this year. I took the iPhone so I could listen to music on the climbs, to help keep my cadence steady, to use as an alarm clock, and also to use as a camera (because it allows me to email photos). (If I have signal.) (Which we didn't most of the week.) I also took my 10-year-old point and shoot, which is airy light and features a big shutter delay. Oh, and frequent autofocus (the only option) shortfalls. As I've mentioned before, I forgot to take an extra memory card, so I had a 25-shot per day diet throughout Ride the Rockies. I didn't like the diet at all, but I did live within it, and I suppose I learned from the experience.

Altitude and cold nights drained the iPhone each day, which meant I couldn't use it for both photos and music. Each evening of Ride the Rockies, I had to find a plug and recharge for at least two hours, which was not my idea of relaxation after 70 miles and a big climb, so I could set the alarm for the next morning. Even when I tried to keep the phone warm each night, the power was down by at least 30% each morning before I even got on my bike.

As a result, I listened to music only while climbing the steepest section of Independence Pass. I listened to the birds, the streams, the leaves rustling and the wind the rest of the ride.

going solar

Because of the iPhone frustrations during RtR, I bought a solar charger for the iPhone. Who knew such a thing existed?!?

When it arrived in the mail this week, my first thought was, "This is WAY too HEAVY!" I thought it would be easier to carry the Nikon! As it turns out, the heavy portion of the package is the AA battery pack, which I don't need for the iPhone.

I plan to try charging the solar pack during my ride this weekend and to try using the solar pack to recharge the iPhone overnight. At least I should have signal the entire weekend!

point and shoot smoky sunrise

9 comments :

  1. Be safe this weekend. I just heard about the solar charger. Hope it works well.

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  2. Great news on your test results. Thanks for the update on the ride. I wasn't sure the way the news sounds from over here if the ride was going to go on. I'm glad they'll be looking out for y'all.

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  3. Wow - so dry out there. We're horridly dry too and have had some serious fires up north. I pray for rain.

    Good luck to all riders this weekend - be careful and watch that air quality.

    P.S. I actually like just listening to the birds and my thoughts while riding. But music definitely comes in handy when climbing. Hope the new solar charger works out well!

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  4. Stay safe my friend! Have a great time! I can't wait to see your beautiful pictures! It always makes Dave homesick to look at the pictures on your blog since he is from Alamosa, CO!

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  5. That pink silhouette is just awesome! How did you do that???

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  6. As always your pictures are beautiful. The Colorado fires, how awful, prayers for safety and the extinguishing of this monster. Happy to hear the results of the mammo, blessings to you always.

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  7. Good luck on your MS150 ride. Back in the day I did a sag for the Tulsa ride every year. That is a very well organized ride. Due to the wildfires Sue and I have decided to shift to a drive to the east rather than the west. Maybe we can visit you another time. Your detailed information was greatly appreciated. Good luck with your solar iPhone charger. I'm not sure how using the solar cell to charge overnight will work out but it sounds like a good idea.

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  8. Congratulations on your good news!
    That silhouette against the pink sky is simply awesome!

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  9. Great news on your results, and good luck on the ride. I have 2 cousins with MS and support them and their brother on their fundraisers. Brava!

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