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Puerto Rico

No races this weekend. I spent the weekend in Puerto Rico with Amara and her friend Jamie  (Jaimé). I promised my children that what ever foreign language they took, I would take them to a place that spoke the language. One more kiddo to go. Although,  Miss Willa is not taking a foreign language. So, I guess we are going to Canada. We will probably end up in London or something like that. I’m sure I will take her where ever she wants. Being the last child and all.

We left Kansas City on Thursday afternoon and arrived in PR at 10pm. It as an easy country to navigate. That’s mostly because they use the US dollar and so many people in San Juan speak English.  Here we are at preflight brunch and at the airport.

Day 1 (Friday). After a 6 mile run and a quick swim, I woke the girls with breakfast. I made sure to take many pics for Jamie’s mom so she would feel like she was a part of the experience. So, every morning I would send Stacie a text and a photo of us eating breakfast and a quick note. I have never had a lengthy conversation with her so this was interesting. It is another way to make a friend. Back to day one. I generally use this day to get the lay of the land. Seeing how this was my 4th time in PR I figured I would give the girls an idea as to where we are and how to get around. The beach and the pool are the most important:) We walked 2 miles into a trendy tourist area with some high end shops and had lunch, of course, getting the girls to walk back would have been a miracle. The girls decided on taking an Uber. This is where we met Christian. He was very nice and gave us an idea where to go. Pinonés was the one city he told us where the locals go. I have been to Pinones before but did not spend much time there. For dinner we decided to adventure out of San Juan and through Pinonés and into Luíza. The best part of doing this is that you really get to experience the local culture and that means the majority of the population does not speak English.  So, you better have a handle on the language.

Day 2 (Saturday). More running and swimming, by the way, I am not a fan of running. Once again breakfast in the condo. Today is a day in Old San Juan and my most favorite restaurant,  Verde Mesa. It started with the world famous San Juan public transportation.  Even though we had a rental car, it’s fun to try to figure out the public transportation of an unfamiliar city. It is also a teaching moment even though I am never worried about my children being able to get around in a foreign country or new city. Old San Juan is somewhat of a tourist trap, but the history is there is very cool.  My trip would not be complete with out a visit to a coffee shop.  This is where I met the young lady in the picture. She was so pleasant and we had an incredible conversation about travel and her finishing school in criminal justice and psychology.  She wants to get her masters and teach. I was so excited for her and encouraged her to keep moving with her studies. We talked a bit more about travel and she asked me if I saw the documentary called “with out maps”? She told me a little about it and said that I reminded her of the guy in the documentary and proceeded to show me a picture of the front cover of the film on her phone. I made sure to put it in my notes so I wouldn’t forget the name of it. I thanked her for the time we spent together and wished her luck on getting her masters. We walked down to Verde mesa and as we walked in I felt like I was at home. It made my heart happy. I don’t say that often about many places. My heart is happy when I am with my kiddos or certain friends but when it comes to inanimate objects, I don’t usually combine those two words. There is a picture of the 3 of us in the restaurant and one of the girls. If you are ever in PR, you must go to Verde mesa,  you won’t be disappointed.  Amara and Jaime loved it, of course all the food we ate was awesome. Jamie was such a trooper. I mean, my kids are used to all my running around, trying new things, meeting new people and getting us into some strange situations.  I am proud of her for being able to roll with. Kinda like our nighttime crab hunt. This was too fun, we saw these huge crabs the day before crossing the road and asked a girl at a souvenir shop about it and she said she didn’t know why the crabs crossed the road (there is a joke in there somewhere). So, of course we had to go on a crab hunt. We also had to prepare a crab catching kit. This kit included a battery powered lantern, plastic sand pail and two tongs from the condo. This seemed like the best crab catching kit ever!. As you can see by the photos, it was a success.  We did not keep them, it was a catch and release hunt. Amara took video that I will post one day.  We had so much fun. As I said,  Jamie was all in on every silly or stupid idea. It was nice to get to know her a little more.  

Day 3 (Sunday). This was the day I actually slept in until 7:30am. I know, that is way late:) Another swim and then made the girls breakfast. Today was going to be spent in Pinones. The girls went out a 2 person canoe and I went for a bike ride on a rusty single speed bike. good thing I only went about 5 miles out and then back. After that we went to a beach where it seems to me that we were the only people that were not locals. We really enjoyed this spot. It was again nice to get out of the tourist areas. We hung out there for a while then went back to the condo to get ready for dinner at an Italian restaurant. I know, we are in PR and are eating Italian? To wrap up our trip we went to this little hole in the wall with a band that was covering Bob Marley. Could not have ended the night on a better note.

We made a few new friends in Puerto Rico and I am sure I will be back soon.

Cada amigo era un extraño!

Case of the Mondays Race Report. The Natural State.

This weekends races took place in beautiful Bentonville, Rogers and Springdale Arkansas. All three races were Criteriums. By the way, the race report is not always about the races.

Here are most of the actors in this weekends report. Sev, Jordan, Ian, Zach, Molly, Will, Bonnie, Jeremy, Jen, Chris and the race director.

Holding on to 2nd

Friday:  Sev, Ian and I left Kansas City Friday afternoon. So, this was a surprise road trip crew. Ian and I were set on driving down. The surprise was Sev. I had mentioned the race to her and to drive but didn’t think she was all that interested in going. So, this was our crew. Being on the road for 3 hours is just long enough to get to know someone and not long enough for them to drive you crazy, (I love my road crew). I have been on those 12 hour road trips and by the end of the trip, you have come to the end of your road. I named this road trip the gangster rap race weekend and proceeded to play Tupac as pulled into Cave Springs. My reason for this was simple, it was the NWA (Northwest Arkansas) cycling community that was putting on the race. So, GRRW just made sense to me.  After 3 hours of getting to know my fellow racers, we get to Cave Springs AR to our cottage in the woods (thank you Lisa and air bnb). It’s nice to have an entire house and not a hotel that you have cram into for an entire weekend. Enough about our accommodations, here is how the Friday night crit turned out.  Well as you may or may not know, I race for the US Military endurance team but have created an alliance with a team called Move up. These guys are awesome and during this race we were hitting on all cylinders. Zach ended up with $100 prime with a little help from me pulling just before the prime was called. I am so proud of Zach and his effort. But Ian, this kid at 20 years old had some wisdom in this race. With about 2.5 laps to go I am sitting at about 4th wheel and waiting to drop the hammer. About that time Ian gets to my right outside wheel and when I looked back he looked loke he used a bit of energy to get himself into position. So, I give him a minute to breath and then I get out of saddle to start a push. Ian tells me “not yet” so I sit back in and wait for his command. This is important because he has a better view of what is going on and will know if a flyer is coming up the side. With about half a lap to go one of the racers gets out of saddle and that’s when I hear Ian say “now go go go”. So I took off and pulled through into the head wind and up hill section. I broke to my left to give Ian the sprinting room and he took off. Ian took 3rd place and I came in at 9th. Between the 3 of us we earned $280 for that race. Ian and Zach split there portion with me. They did not have to do that, I was happy to put in the work. not to mention that I am not a sprinter yet. I am more of the work horse. I am proud of those guys. At 28 and 20 years old they showed class.

Our cottage n the woods

Saturday: We were all excited for this race after our strong Friday finishes. But what goes up, must come down. Sadly we missed our start due to some incorrect information from an official. This meant we had to chase the group or get a DNf (did not finish). In hindsight we should have taken the DNF or maybe waited for the peloton and joined in on the fun. We were disappointed and not happy with the officials. Although this was our fault, we should have stuck around the start line. it is a hard lesson to learn. The day was not a total loss. Sev won some money and raced like she owned the course and I got to have lunch with my road crew and Jordan. Jordan is a cat 2 and is 23 years old, he is also a very nice and respectful person. It was nice to sit and have an actual conversation with him. He also took 9th in Saturdays race. which is amazing because he is racing against pros and cat 1 guys. I also got to meet Will and Molly. Will does not race and is Mollys husband. When Molly races he is always there and he likes to call her chicken. I need to ask him why he calls her chicken? It is nice to see how much he takes care of her. I also met Jen and her husband. He is a mechanic and totally takes care of his girl Jen. So, here is an interesting fact, I asked several guys if they wanted to do RAAM (Race Across America). They all looked at me like I am crazy. When I asked Molly and Jen, they didn’t even flinch, they were all about it. I like these two:)

Sunday:  Last day of the race weekend and it all started at 5am. After not getting enough sleep and burning out my legs, we all ended up not doing very well except for Sev, she was 9th and in the money once again. Ian ended up taking 12th and I was in the bottom half with Chris and Zach. Although it was fun, just not where we should have been. I did get to have some great conversations with Jeremy (Springfield, MO) and Chris (McPherson, KS). Actually, I asked Chris to come to AR to race. I was surprised he came down. Although, I think he is like me when it comes to traveling.

WINNERS!!

Racing for me is not about winning. It is about having a great time and meeting new people. Don’t get me wrong, I most certainly like to win but it is not number one on the list. There are people that show up, either alone or with a team, they race and then they go home. Everyone has there own way and I can appreciate that. I am not wired that way. I like to show up early and maybe I get to put up barricades or the wheel pit tent. I get to know the race director (although I totally forgot his name). I figure that 99% of these folks are volunteers and many hands make light work. This is where I met Bonnie. Bonnie and I had an instant connection on Friday night when I asked about results and for some ice because one of the KC racers hurt his knee. We chatted for a few and I thanked her for time and putting on the race. It’s funny, most of the time when I thank an official or director, they will generally thank me for coming out to race. With Bonnie it was no different. I have a feeling that everyone loves Bonnie and she is the glue that holds the organization together.

 

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Me, Ian and Zach

Every friend was once a stranger. I wonder if that sounds better in french:)

Little Strangers

This is the best part of what I get to do. Every tenant I meet has family. Weather its mom, dad, brother, sisters or children. I get to have the pleasure of meeting many of those family members.  It is so awesome when we all mesh and we have some great conversations. There are so many stories. One day I will get them all out there.

This one happened today.  Throwing dice, eating hot fries and listening to Tupac on a sunny Thursday afternoon with two lil homies😎

This family I just met to show a property to and the littlest girl was all up in my business and when she found that dice in the house, it was game on.  Her and her sister took me for $3.50😁  They were so outgoing.  I am so fortunate that I get to meet some pretty amazing people and their kiddos. 

Every friend was once a stranger, even the lil homies!

Today is 11/7/2017 and we had to file an eviction on this family. Sometimes this is what happens in this business. This couple also let a homeless man set up camp in the back yard. There was crap everywhere. This is where people get jaded and fell like everyone is out to screw them. It’s not true, yes there are people that will take advantage of you if you let them. There is a lot of good in the world. You sometimes have to look harder for it. It’s kind of like when you have bad service your more apt to write a bad review. But when you have good service you generally don’t think about writing a good review so here’s my take on that. Every time you have good service write a review. Search out the good and acknowledge it every chance you get.

Hello Volunteers!

Hello Stranger. “What do you do?”  Well Sue, I kinda get to do what I want! What do you mean?  I get to, not have to. I get to help families find a rental property. I get to ride my bike.  I get to volunteer where and when I want. I get to meet some incredible people.

I got to volunteer for compassion International today (https://www.compassion.com) and met These ladies. Sue, Diane and Debbie (above photo).

I also met a 23 year old kid named Salem and another kid from Louisville, his name was Alex. Salem was super nice and always saying how thankful he was for us and how much help we were. Alex was the same and always called everyone by their given name as if he was trying hard to remember everyone’s name. Maybe he was practicing for his political career:)  It was refreshing to see two young adults working so hard to be thankful and respectful.  Maybe that is the lesson today. We don’t know when we will take our last breath. I think I would be OK with that, “thank you” actually being the last word I utter in my last breath. Thank you Salem and Alex for your kindness and respect.

I am happy I turned left instead of right.  Because of that left turn I met a lady from Wisconsin that works for a company that sells those hand made bracelets out of yarn.  They are made by families in the Philippines and those families get a good percentage of the profits. Also, if you have a mission trip planned and need to raise money for it, they will send the bracelets to you at no cost and all you have to do is send back what you don’t use and half the money. That is great for both organizations!  here is the website http://www.threadsofhope.com.ph

I also met a young lady from Springfield MO that was at a coffee booth. Such a great conversationalist and our 20 minutes together felt like 2 minutes. Her husband was an avid mountain biker and she had many injury stories to share.

The best conversations are when you both leave thinking that you were better off for having met. I didn’t get any phone numbers or email addresses. Just a handful of conversations and a bit of volunteering.

Thank you for reading.

~every friend was a stranger at one point. Go out and volunteer!

 

 

Monday Race Report

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Belgium Waffle ride

No races to report on. I wrote an article back in January. http://source-e.net/mike-ivancic-gets-started-coaching-first-time/

I did get to do a century ride on Saturday for Alex’s lemonade stand.  I met several new friends. John, Dan, Tammy and Rob, to name a few. When you are going 25 mph it is interesting as to the conversations you have. They are short and sweet seeing how you are generally not next to that same person for more than a few minutes at a time. Not to mention, you are trying to breath.

Sunday was the coffee and beer ride. There is a regular group that rides to get coffee and then they end up going to a brewery or two. It has been sometime since I have been able to go on this one. It was a nice break and I got to meet John and Nick. Nick and I ended up sitting outside and drinking another beer.  He was a very pleasant person to talk to. As we sat there, two unassuming ladies asked if they can sit at our table. Nick and I said sure and continued talking about bikes, stocks or riding bikes and his wife Sarah. As we were discussing the 4th of July one of the ladies overheard “wine ride” and jumped right into our conversation.  Here name was April and she introduce her friend Megan. April was an elementary teacher and Megan was a nurse.  Our conversation progressed and April gave me her card.  As an aspiring photographer, she is getting into taking senior pictures. Now that I have a new senior, this was the perfect opportunity for April to hand off her info without any issue. It was brilliant actually. She seized the moment and did not miss a beat. Well done April! I think April likes to meet strangers.

Cycling strangers are the best:) Now go out and ride.

 

Stranger Dating

Hello stranger! The 30 day trial.

So, in May I decided to give the online dating game a shot.  After swiping hundreds of profiles here are the stats:

36 likes, 7 messenger conversations, 2 text message conversations, 2 dates set up, and 1 actual date.

My friend Kathy wrote this in one of her blog posts, “Sometime between my life before marriage and my life after marriage, dating changed. Or men changed. Or maybe I changed.  The playfulness of dating has been replaced by nice-to-meet-you-goodbye.”

I love this post (as well as the incredible ladies at canihaveabite) and how honest it was in 2013 and more so today.  My online dating experience was short lived because I thrive on meeting new people face to face and seriously despise social media. My love for you will not grow because of a profile picture and a few text messages. We, as humans need to interact with each other.  Online dating is a tool to get to that interaction, but needs to be used in moderation.

How did the one actual date end up? Well, we had a nice dinner, conversation then a short walk to get shaved ice, and then we said goodbye. There wasn’t a “see you later” or “I will call you.” We both knew that there were no sparks and that was OK. I met a nice person that I got to know more about and that I wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t try.

So, the story that seems to be the most interesting is the date that never was. This was a tragic tale. I have heard from many women that “men are assholes” and on the flip side I have heard from men that “women are crazy”. Which came first? The chicken or the egg? Hold that thought. I will return to that very question. I really do not know how to write this without the he said she said. Here are the cliff notes since I didn’t screen shot the conversation. The date was set in motion by some personal rapid fire questions followed by some basic pics and a little healthy banter.  Then came the text the night before “the date”. “I am getting a little anxious” then followed up with “my anxiety doesn’t control me, I control my anxiety”. The morning of the arranged date I get a message stating that my “date” had a knot in her hair. A knot, really??? After some light ribbing I said that I have to see this. So, there I sat looking at a picture of the back of a persons head that looked liked some one has spent a week in bed and never brushed their hair.  How does that even happen? I said that maybe she can put on a hat and we can go to Chipotle. She called me an asshole and said that I was probably the one who did it. What? As polite as I could, I wished her luck with her hair and blocked her.  So, which came first?  maybe it’s the assholes that encourages the crazy or visa versa:)

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Thank you for reading and remember, Every friend you have today was once a stranger to you (even the assholes and crazies).

Stranger danger

We were taught from a very young age these two words, stranger danger.  I, on the other hand, explained to my kiddos that every friend you have today was once a stranger.  So, why are we not willing to just say hello to a stranger and strike up a conversation?  You never know where it may take you.

This blog will take many turns but the main thing is how awesome and fulfilling your life can be if you are open to meeting one new stranger a day, or maybe 50 new strangers a week.  So many things start to happen.

I once heard that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.  So please, care about the person that is in front of you and you will find that it is more fulfilling to you than the person you are speaking with.

Thanks for reading my first post.  Looking forward to an incredible year.