Friday, April 14, 2006

Ironman Arizona(IMAZ) report, Paper towel report, Clines Corner Subway Sandwich shop, Aarp Magazine, Sports Illustrated

In my last report I covered most of the dirty details on the trip to Tempe, AZ and the near terrible encounter I had with "black ice" when entering Flagstaff. Well to sum up that story. On Monday I was able to return to Flagstaff and put together the pieces of the damaged trailer, put a new hitch on the Explorer, retrieve my Hog, and head East to Ransom Canyon. What I learned is that Flagstaff is not a one horse town, but more like a three horse town, so it took a little longer to do some of the simple things you get from, a say, "ten" horse town. At any rate everyone was happy to help and happy to see me get on my way. I was told when I got there that the road to repairing my trailer would be through "Buddy's" trailer and rv repair. Well it turned out they were right and I even got to deal with Buddy himself. A real nice guy and his folks did a great job on getting me out of there. I love those kind of guys, a fellow about 45-50 years in age, wearing a blue shop shirt(blue collar) with Buddy's Trailer Repair above the left breast pocket and his name, "Buddy" on the right breast pocket. He knew what he was doing and spotted my mechanical ignorance right quick, but didn't take advantage of it. He was there to help me get out of this three horse town and did so. Thanks Buddy!!

Ironman Arizona went very well and was simply an amazing well organized, high quality triathlon event. There were around 2000 entrants and too my knowledge no major incidents of any kind and it all went like a well oiled piece of machinery. I had the priviledge to have an expo booth for the BSLT Triathlon Inc. events(Buffalo Springs 70.3, Tri Raider, Buffman & Squeaky, and Iron Girl Texas) and it was very successful, with many athletes coming by to say hello. Some even registered for this year. Also, during my time with the event I had the priviledge to visit with Graham Fraser and his wife Sue. These folks have done an outstanding job in bringing race directing presentation to an extremely high level of quality and safety. Graham had a vision years ago and built Ironman North America into a very successful race production company and sets the standards in triathlon race directing. To watch this husband and wife team still watch over their flock like tender hearted sheep herders, was an inspiration to me and I only wish all of the entrants in their events would have this same opportunity. As a fellow race director I would go through each transition, in my mind, of the race as it matured, from the initial setup of the event, to the starting gun, then through the four disciplines(swim, bike, run, transitions) feeling what they were feeling as the race progressed. Sue told me that she felt more relaxed after the last bicycle was racked and the run was the only discipline left in the race. I have a similar feeling, but I really get anxiety until the first gun goes off for the first wave, since I demand on time starts. After the last swimmer is out and all are accounted for is also another high blood pressure time. In conclusion I want to commend the Ironman North America staff for all of their hard work and for an excellent event. If USA Triathlon really wanted to put on an effective race directors conference they would do it during one of the IMNA events and then a good practical experience in "true" race directing would be experienced. I will recommend this to them and see where it goes. Also, my friend from Lubbock, Randy Holloway finished with a fine time of 13:57, for his first Ironman. It was great to see him cross the finish line, after we had spent some really tough days on training rides together.

After all the years I have been traveling by automobile I have seen many different paper towel dispensers in the public rest rooms, even to the point I have made some mental notes. As our electronic society has progressed over the years so have the paper towel dispensers. Now for a recap: the first one you will see is the just pull the paper towel down and you got a single issue to dry your hands, the problem is there are usually no towel's in the dispenser or they are stuck, second, the lever pull dispenser on the side of the metal box, but usually the lever doesn't work or the dispenser is out of towel's, third, the under the front of the box and it never works, so getting towel's out of it is nearly impossible, plus it is usually empty, fourth, the new motion control, the one where you wave your hand in front of it like a magic wand and a motor sounding thing dispenses the paper. For some reason these things usually work, but I have had some that didn't, fifth, there is a semi-motion control that says, "DON'T TOUCH THE MACHINE" which really makes you want to touch it just to see what happens. This one is more inconsistent and you are not likely to get a towel out of it, sixth, when all else fails they just give up on dispensers and put a big stack of towel's on the sink. This turns into a mess, but you do have a towel for drying your hands, seventh, last but not least in paper products for drying hands, is the innocent roll of toilet paper. When used to dry your hands it usually ends up in little paper balls in your hand, but does get them somewhat dry, eight, last but not least the apparent final replacement for paper towel's is the electric blow dryer. These things are irritating and seem to take forever to dry your hands. But, the message they put on the top of the machine to explain why they are better for the environment and how much more sanitary they are for you almost brings tears to my eyes. In dry climates they dry pretty fast but in humid climates you will collect your first social security check before they dry. To conclude this very educational discourse I would like to say that all of the above is very useless information unless you get irritated like I do while just simply trying to dry my hands after washing them. Maybe some of the service station owners will read this and correct their paper towel dispensing problems. Maybe we could even start a new non-profit association called, "Saving the Trees By More Effectively Dispensing the Paper towel's Association of America," acronym-STUD-PTA.

The Masters Golf tournament was held last weekend and one of my favorite golfers won it, ole "Lefty" took some time to win his first major but now has 3 to his belt. Phil Mickelson will win many more, since he is a great golfer and has his head on straight. Tiger did well but says he lost it with poor putting. The funny thing is these guys drive it 300 plus yards and the new name of the game is hitting it very long. But, when it comes down to it, drive for show and putt for dough is still a truism.

One of my favorite magazines is "AARP The Magazine", received every month as part of my membership in the over 50 age group(way over). It has some great stuff in it and my annual membership is only $8.00. Why can't USA Triathlon publish a magazine like this, I pay them $30.00 a year? I noticed the following: Paul McCartney is on the cover and is 64, Goldie Hawn(still hot)60, Sugar Ray Leonard, 50, Cher, 60, Donald Trump, 60, Andy Griffith, 80, Mel Brooks, 80, Joe Montana, 50, Kenny g, 50, Mike Greer, 67. Will report more on some of the stuff found inside this magazine in the future.

During my trip I also made the stop, on the way, at the Clines Corner "Famous" truck stop. This is in between Albuquerque, NM and Santa Rosa, NM on Interstate 40. This place has everything you might want to buy or just go to the rest room and not buy anything. It is the gateway to the North and South of New Mexico and leads you West to California or back East to Florida. This is the Interstate version of the first coast to coast highway, Route 66. Now, being modern and all, they have a Subway sandwich shop. I decided to go this route for lunch and noticed that no one was in line ahead of me. So, I decided to kind of take my time to decide what I wanted. Well as I was pondering, a couple jumped in ahead of me and took forever to order. When I saw the attendant start to build their sandwiches I understood why it took so long. The guy had ordered one of those meatball sandwiches. I counted 12 meatballs on it and then it started to grow. He put every accessory possible on it and by the time it ended up at the end of the line it took a forklift and three people to cover it with paper. Then they had to pick it up and hand it to him, he then headed to a booth to scarf it down. I actually left before this ritual was finished, but I bet he got it all down. My moral to the story is, no wonder America is fat, who needs 12 meatballs when 2 would do but just cutting them in 12 pieces. See, life is really simple! Oh! I ended up eating a normal size 6" Philly cheese steak, no dressing on it.

On the John McCain for President question. First, I think he is way too old to run for president, he would be 72 when sworn in. He would probably last a little longer that William Henry Harrison, but would not be effective. Some stuff from him: "I am older than dirt and I've got more scars than Frankenstein, but I've learned a few things along the way." or When he follows other speakers at an event he cracks that he feels like Zsa Zsa Gabor's fifth husband--"I know what to do, I just don't know how to make it interesting"--and concludes by asking for "questions, comments and insults." From Greer on this candidate: He will continue to campaign and do typical political double speak. He hated the Elder Bush at one time, now they are big buddies. He has been for the Iraqi war, but when the campaign starts he will go the opposite direction to gather votes from the population( over 65%) that now believes it is a big mistake.

In thinking of what my Father taught me about borrowing something, he said always return it better than it was when you borrowed it, i.e. fill up the gas tank on an automobile or wash it, etc. The same holds true on any endeavor, try to leave it better than when you found it. I just read another article about our retiring Hall of Fame coach from Texas Tech, Ms. Marsha Sharp. After 24 years at Texas Tech her philosophy was, "Everything that you're part of, everything you touch, should be better because you were there." Coach Sharp was a great example of this philosophy and practiced it. THANKS COACH!!



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