Epic bike ride

At Umstead State Park

Yesterday was my last day at my last job so, being in-between jobs and with the kids in school, I took the opportunity to spend the day bike riding with Kelly. We rode from our house through downtown Raleigh, then on the Chavis Way greenway to Chavis Park. While at Chavis we got a chance to ride the beautifully-restored carousel before heading on. The Little Rock Creek greenway brought us past the Walnut Creek Wetlands Center, at which point we headed west along the Walnut Creek Greenway.
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We went last night to watch a game between our local professional soccer team, the Carolina Railhawks, and the Rochester Rhinos. They were having a ceremony at halftime to honor the athletes from each CASL team who were recognized for their outstanding sportsmanship. I am quite proud that our daughter Hallie was among those good sports.

We got lost on the way to the stadium, arrived late, and endured an especially sweaty night, but the family enjoyed the game in spite of the Railhawks losing 0-2. I hope we will see another game soon, even if Hallie isn’t being honored!

Winner vs. champion

Photo by Haggisnl

I like the distinction made in this Christian Science Monitor story on this year’s Tour De France (emphasis mine):

The 97th Tour de France was filled with action after a lackluster 2009 edition.

A new rivalry was cemented – winner Alberto Contador of Spain barely defeated Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck on the penultimate day – as the race bid adieu to seven-time champion Lance Armstrong, riding in his final Tour amidst a developing federal doping investigation.

See? Contador is a winner but Armstrong is a champion. As long as Contador disrespects cycling tradition he will never be a champion.

via Tour de France 2010 delivers drama – without the doping – CSMonitor.com.

Alberto Contador has no class

Here’s a good writeup explaining why the Spaniard Alberto Contador might be the winner of this year’s Tour De France, but he will never be the champion.

Alberto Contador was being dropped again by Andy Schleck just as the mechanical happened. There is no doubt that Contador is strong and perhaps would have closed the gap to Schleck had the mechanical not happened, but to see the Spaniard rise out of the saddle and accelerate just as Schleck was experienceing his equipment malfunction was hard to watch . . . and it cheapens Contador’s lead in the race. Should the Spaniard win this year’s race by less than a minute, those who watched will remember that he is not truly the winner of the 2010 Tour.

Read the rest here.

Jonathan Trappe rides balloons across English Channel

Jonathan Trappe's SpiritCluster

My balloonist friend Jonathan Trappe flew his balloon chair across the English Channel today. He landed safely in a cabbage patch in Dunkirk, France after a five-hour flight.

“It was just an exceptional, quiet, peaceful experience,” Trappe told Sky News television, which covered the adventure.

Asked why he went, Trappe replied: “Didn’t you have this dream, grabbing on to a bunch of toy balloons and floating off? I think it’s something that’s shared across cultures and across borders – just this wonderful fantasy of grabbing on to toy balloons and floating into open space.”

Just so you know, Jonathan isn’t like the nuts who attach balloons to lawn chairs and take off without any training or preparation. Jonathan is a fully-licensed FAA balloonist and meticulously plans each and every flight. He obtains all the proper clearances and absolutely knows what he is doing. This flight was anything but crazy for Jonathan, but it would be quite crazy for you to try it without proper training.

Congrats to Jonathan on his most exciting flight yet! Find out more about him at ClusterBalloon.Com (currently melted down due to all the publicity. Jonathan should consider a clustered webserver!) Here’s a link to find out more about Jonathan.

Raleigh Speedway

Raleigh Speedway in 1965

Did you know Raleigh once had its own NASCAR track? It’s true, though you’d never know it today. The site is now a quiet industrial park that sits next to an equally quiet neighborhood north of the Raleigh Beltline. Back in the 1950s, though, the air was filled with smoke and the sound of revving engines at this track once located a mile outside the city limits.

Raleigh Speedway opened in 1952 as the Southland Speedway (or the Dixie Speedway), when it hosted an IndyCar event. It went on to host major NASCAR events, including Grand National events every Fourth of July. Raleigh Speedway was notable in that it was the first track NASCAR sanctioned for night races.
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