Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Mouse House

So I took the family to Florida last week. We had enough air miles to fly at no cost and free lodging on Disney property (thanks to Gail’s father’s DVC timeshare), so it was hard NOT to plan this trip. We ate breakfast in the room and tried to limit eating out as much as possible. We still spent enough money to make me uncomfortable, but we had a great time and it was a welcomed break.

Having my parents along with us was also helpful while managing 3 kids, strollers, snacks, etc. We visited all the parks, rode the rides, saw the shows and had fun as a family. We also lost our camera (Gail did that is), but it was found – I love that people are so honest on vacation, and is being mailed back to us. I did however make a few observations while roaming the parks that have I think are concerning.

1. If we are in a recession, where are all these people coming from spending ALOT of money to visit WDW? They were not all Europeans!

2. Our culture is severely deluded into thinking we need much more food than we actually do.

3. As a result of #2 I saw more overweight and morbidly obese people at the parks than I thought possible in one place. Honestly not all of them could have a glandular problem! (While waiting for the group to get off a ride at one point I counted (15 minutes of doing this mind you, 5 sets of 25 passersby) 1 in 25 males over age 20 was within proper weight range for their age and height, 6 in 25 were not just overweight but obviously obese)

4. The motorized scooter is now not just for aged or disabled, if you are fat and don't/can't walk more than 1 mile without suffering a cardiac incident, then you can rent a scooter and zip around your favorite theme park. I find this phenomenon an eerie foreshadowing of things to come. (i.e. WallE) If Disney is predicting it in their movies they must see the trend as well. Be forewarned! Or get fitted for a hovering recliner at your earliest convenience.

5. I gained 7 lbs in 8 days myself and I didn't eat French fries and a burger every day. I think most people have just stopped looking at the scale anymore or have broken it and thrown it away. Believe me I would like to dispose of mine right now. "Liar" I yell downwards as if addressing my feet, but the truth is there in little digital numbers, staring right up at me, unflinching. "No, this is reality buddy!" they respond. I guess I should feel fortunate I can still see the number over my slowly protruding belly.

Summary: vacations are nice, they are needed, and even Disney is a fun experience despite the worrisome trends I noted. However, unless each individual is disciplined enough to return to normal activity, diet and sleep habits after vacation then it's just a very slippery slope to the bottomless pit of self-deception, health problems and motorized transports. But hey, if they figure out a way to put solar panels on them it will probably be ok, right?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

24 Hrs of Moab review

The culmination of the mountain biking season is this event held just south of Moab, Behind the Rocks. I look forward to it all year. I plan my entire October calendar around it. If every event were like this it would be very hard to get anything done other than cycling. Honestly it's like the Disneyland of cycling events in my mind.

What a great opportunity to hang with friends, ride your bike and enjoy being in nature. That is of course until Mother Nature turns on you and tries to sandblast you into oblivion. Every year there's some challenge to deal with at Moab, this year it was the wind. A storm front was moving in and for two days the wind blew and blew and blew, tents were ripped apart, equipment toppled and everything we ate had a bit of a gritty texture to it. Nevertheless we remained and talked and raced and staked everything to the ground with 1 foot long nails.

I arrived on Wed morning so I could secure a plot of ground on the front row of the race course. It's something I end up doing every year. It becomes harder every year to get the good locations. But with 6 teams coming we need alot of space. We had over 50 people camped in our little dust bowl, multiple campers, trailer, and tents. A host of kids and at least 5 dogs. It was on the border of chaos, right above bedlam, a great location!

All teams did well with Chris and KC's Single/Rigid team taking top spot in their division and the Grand Masters team winning again by virtue of the fact that there are apparently no other old guys who can tolerate each other enough to put together a team. Congrats to Bill, Brad, Dwight and Mike.

My team finished 4th out of about 20 teams. We might have done better, but this race is all about not having any problems. Paul crashed on his night lap, at least a couple of times and hurt his wrist. Having done this at Moab in the past I know how this can hamper one's ability to race effectively. He couldn't ride anymore, so Jesse, Jeff, Jared and I had to move to the 4 man change over for the last half of the race which is more mentally difficult than physically.

Overall, a great experience as usual. I won't miss all the logistics, coordinating, begging, borrowing and anxiety about organizing a large group for this event, but I will miss the stories, the images, the food (Thanks Abby, Mindi and Marci) and the friends. For now we move into the winter season, where everyone becomes semi-reclusive and riding opportunities are limited. Time to start planning for next year I guess. Something to keep my mind busy on those long cold winter nights.