Hitting the Road Literally on a Trek Madone 2.1

County Road 166
County Road 166 With No Traffic Only Dogs

Pride really does come before the fall, even literally. I guess looking back at my first wreck on Wednesday I would say I was probably pretty proud I had never wrecked a bike as an adult, motor or cycle, nor did I ever expect to wreck, and certainly not on a bike less than a week old (see previous post). But, it’s all a matter of perspective because that ominous looking road above on Wednesday got the better of my ride. After finishing my ride for the day I decided to go a little farther down the road from my car to cool down when all of a sudden I found myself being chased by a 90 pound mass of Doberman flesh at 26 mph. Without any warning, in less than a blink of an eye, in full stride, he turned his 90+ pounds like a pro running back directly into my front tire and it was all over.

Being chased by a dog is certainly nothing new out here in the county. There are way WAY too many dog owners out here in Lee County Alabama who just refuse to tie up their dogs, and most of them own Rottweilers, Dobermans, or Pit Bulls. It wasn’t even the first dog who chased me on my ride that day, it was more like the 5th or 6th dog. Faced with slowing down and possibly having the dog take off flesh like a shark out of water, then the ensuing rabies shots that follow, I generally just keep going hoping to outrun the dog (note to self, big giant dogs can actually run over 20mph for not so short distances).

I really gave no thought to my helmet or anything else I put on that day. When I landed, or bounced, on the pavement I was so stunned when the dog speared my wheel, seemingly at the time on purpose to take me out, I hadn’t really understood that all the safety gear I was wearing actually did what it was supposed to do, give me a fighting chance at surviving a body plant on pavement at 26mph. I landed directly on my hip and the back of my head simultaneously. My helmet basically was split in two and apparently a hip socket can take a beating I never knew was possible. I’m not sure how I didn’t black out completely, and my brain somehow didn’t seem to get scrambled inside my skull as I quickly went through the “do I have a concussion” routine.

Some questions came up of course:

How Did it happen? See above.

Are you ok? I think so although I still can’t really walk yet, have some nice road rash on my skin and every muscle I have seems to be yelling at me. Nothing broken (I think, but how I don’t know), and seemingly no concussion (at least not a serious one).

How is the dog? Who cares, but, yes he never even slowed down or looked back. Pepper spray will be flying next time around.

How is the bike? See below, but surprisingly, it fared extremely well. I was wearing a pair of Bontrager RL Road shoes (pictured here in their new splendor), which split at the seam of the buckle. Kind of strange but it just snapped in half. I was hopefully Bontrager would warranty the shoes being only 5 days old. After my LBS checked on it for me they said, no Bontrager said they couldn’t warranty the shoes because they were smashed to oblivion and in an accident. They did however say they would replace them under their “good will” program because they were less than a week old. I figured out this meant they felt really sorry for me. WOW, well I’m now a Bontrager fan now and will certainly recommend Bontrager gear to anyone who asks.

The bike, a Trek Madone 2.1, purchased a week ago from my fantastic LBS in Auburn, had some fabric wear on the seat and bar tape, and the front tire is slightly out of round, but other than that, the frame held up extremely well, hardly even a scratch on it. I didn’t really anticipate writing a review about how well a Trek Madone 2.1 holds up in a wrecked, but crashing at 26mph, the bike looks fantastic.

What were you wearing? An old Trek helmet. My helmet was smashed but my head wasn’t. I was wearing gloves. Something I never thought about much, but they kept my hands from some serious pain. I was wearing thicker riding pants (tights), something that also saved me some pain (hair on legs was not a good idea). I had on a breathable non-cotton shirt, but it was pretty thick, it also ended up being a good choice.

This is all basically to say… if you ride a bike, wear a helmet, period. Make safety a priority. I never ever ever thought I would make use of my helmet, but when I go to pick out my next one it will be with a keen eye on safety. I do wish I had mounted my GoPro Hero 3 on my bike to capture this event, but hope it never happens again.

Broken Trek Cycling Helmet
Broken Trek Cycling Helmet
Bontrager Seat Damage from Wreck
Bontrager Seat Damage from Wreck
Shimano Hood and Tape Damage from Wreck
Shimano Hood and Tape Damage from Wreck

Last Breath of Summer from a Beach in Gulf Shores

Lighthouse Sunset Over the Gulf of Mexico
Lighthouse Silhouette as the Sun Sets Over the Gulf of Mexico

Busyness has many enemies, but to me, one of the greatest causalities of busyness is the loss of creativity. When life turns into a checklist of task items the thing that loses out, at least in my life, is always the creativity of reading, writing, photography, poetry, contemplation, prayer, games, music, and so on. Many of those can be viewed as spiritual disciplines, which means one could say that busyness can pull us away from those things in our life that are to be set aside for worship.

This past weekend I finally got a few days to go down to the beach and relax, only it wasn’t quite as relaxing as I had thought it might be. Sure it was time away from the routines of life, which was great, but I really think it takes more than a few days to untwist your mind from the speed of life we live today. That’s the part that never really happened… but that’s ok too, after all, how busy could it possibly be with the view from our balcony below. What we did get to do was visit with family we haven’t seen in a few years, I finally got to visit the aviation museum in Pensacola (that post is upcoming), and we enjoyed a few glorious sunsets on some empty white sand beaches.

I left Auburn hoping to get through two books while I was down at the beach, both of which I had made it about one chapter deep. I managed to make it to the last chapter of the first book, one called Lifted By Angels by Joel Miller, and one I hope to write a review about soon. This was a great book to read uninterrupted at the beach, a place where one’s thoughts can be lifted above the routine of daily needs. There were so many quotes that caught my attention in this anthology about our interactions with angels, especially when it comes to our interaction through a prayerful life, but this stood out when talking about asking for things in prayer…

Isaac the Syrian said that when we ask for earthly things, it’s like a subject standing before his king and imploring him for a measure of manure. The request insults both the king and the subject.

I think we often get so caught up in the earthly life of “things” and the tasks of the day, we forget our life is about preparing for eternity, not necessarily worrying about tomorrow. Below is sort of a timeline from sunup to moonup on our last day, in the last bit of summer warmth before the real fall arrives soon.

Balcony View of Gulf of Mexico
Balcony View of Gulf of Mexico
Sun Setting Over the Gulf of Mexico
Sun Setting Over the Gulf of Mexico
Sunset Through the Grass at Gulf Shores
Sunset Through the Grass at Gulf Shores
Moonrise Over the Beach
Moonrise Over the Beach

The Sunset is Just an Amazing Display of God in Creation

We have had a stormy few days leading up to Christmas this year, with some really weird warmer weather. I took this photo above yesterday with my cell phone as I was walking across the pasture to my house. I had forgotten something at my house that I needed to fix my mom’s computer, and literally as I was walking, I decided to take a few shots of sun through the clouds with my phone. I’m always amazed at the beauty that is before us all the time, but because we see it every day, day in and day out, we forget it’s there, or fail to recognize it’s beauty.

Of course this is no accident, and we are told over and over again that this display, the very display we can now capture on a phone, shows the existence of God to us all, and therefore, we are without excuse to say we have never known God to be real, to have shown his beauty to all of us. Today this photo also serves as my Project 365 [Day 23] image (see the rest of P365.me :2012 here).

This is what David says in Psalm 19.1-6 where he said

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork… in them, he has set a tent for the sun… its rising is from the end of the heavens… and there is nothing hidden from its heat

and again, what Paul says in Romans 1.20

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

I have seen photos taken by Hubble that truly astound and boggle the mind, but sometimes we only have to go as far as to look around us, because God has displayed himself everywhere in His creation, from the Orion Nebula to our own backyard.

Reflections on the Grey Days of Fall in the South :: Friday Feet

We can’t seem to escape from these cloudy grey days down here, but it could be far worse, we could be somewhere farther north where it’s got to be colder. My Friday Feet today came from an impromptu photowalk around my the block, so to speak. I was taking a very needed break from writing one of three research papers that are due by next Friday.

One of the subjects of photography I have always loved to look for are reflections. Reflections are one of the more rarely photographed views basically because you have to search them out, and then try to make the subject useable. Reflections are everywhere, and they look great when they show up naturally. We have a small pond in the back of our place that has very little water in it right now, and consequently, it’s very black and still.

As I walked around the property I found a great combination, and created the shot below of me with my iPhone. There isn’t any special filters or photoshopping done to the image below, just a little boost to the contrast to bring out the leaves (see exif metadata here). The reflection of myself comes from the water, just like the trees above my head. The color and texture comes from the leaves sitting on the mud bottom of the pond, so the shot is both translucent, and reflective. The shot just below of me holding my iPhone out over the pond is my P365.me :2012 (Project 365) image today for Day 11. All shots in this post were taken on my iPhone. Have a great weekend everyone.

Massive Fog Bank Settles over Our Auburn Trees :: P365 [Day 8]

Every year as the seasons change this tree puts on a different face. I’m guessing I have taken 100’s of photos of this one particular tree, and every shot looks different. Today we had a fog-bank cloud descend over the property making visibility a few hundred feet or so giving me this shot. The weather this year just seems freaky, like having 75*F and fog on December 6th, but in a few days it’s supposed to be below freezing. Oh well, that’s the weather in the south.

I know I post random photos on here from time to time but each individual photo I pull out of a shoot is part of a bigger set, and next year, I am actually going to do something I have wanted to do for the better part of 15+ years, and that’s Project 365 as it is so called now. Project 365 is something I will post about more later, but basically that is a project that refers to taking and posting one photo a day for 365 days. I know, sounds simple. Ever tried it? Maybe 2012 will be the year. Today this is the P365 [Day 8] photo.

Time For Chopping and Splitting Wood :: Friday Feet

That cold-ish time of year has come again, even down here in the south. On Wednesday it was almost 80*F, and now it looks like all that warm air is gone for now. One of the things we love about our house in the winter is our Lopi wood burning stove, but it takes a lot of wood too. Normally we cut and split wood all throughout the year, but the past year or two we haven’t really been able to catch up with the wood work so to speak. With all the trees down from the storm on Wednesday it’s too bad we couldn’t have just driven around Auburn and picked up all the wood, but instead I just cut my own up for today’s Friday Feet via my cell phone.

It was a little surreal driving around Auburn today in the sunshine seeing huge holes in people’s roofs, and massive trees down all over the place. I know there are still a lot of people in Auburn that are dealing with huge trees down on their property, and many with a lot of damage to their homes. Hopefully this will be the end of any more tornados for Alabama this year, this state has seen enough for 2011.

No Refunds in Auburn for City Schools Fall Festival :: Friday Feet

I’m playing catchup today with some photos I took earlier in the week. My countdown clock to Uganda (we leave on Wednesday) is running faster than a normal clock it seems and I didn’t get a chance to post these Tuesday night after the festival. So, today’s Friday Feet comes from the Auburn City School Fall Festival that took place on Tuesday, but the feet shot above was just way to cute not to use for today’s post. Each year the Auburn city school system gathers at Duck Samford park in Auburn for their fall festival, and this year I was asked to take some photos of the opening band, called No Refunds. The youth have a great band and it was a lot of fun to listen to them play on Tuesday night.

Below is a shot of each of the band members from No Refunds. No that the fall festival is over we could use some actual fall weather.

2011 Auburn Football Starts My 40th Season :: 5 Photo Outtakes

Well I know we all know down here in the south that the 2011 football season is only a few days away, but after seeing so much posted on the internet about Auburn’s upcoming season I had to go back and look at the last 5 years or so and revisit what I shot through all those games. Every football season is so completely different from the year before, and last year for Auburn was the dream season for those of us who have followed Auburn football for 40 years (like me).

This season will actually be the start of the 40th year of my involvement in Auburn football as a fan. I don’t even know why that is significant in the scheme of things but it just occurred to me as I started looking through all the years of Auburn football images I have now compiled as a photographer and a fan. I was born the day after the Auburn vs Alabama football game in 1970, the last game of the season. Auburn won that game 33-28 at Legion Field in Birmingham. Apparently the only photographer at the game that day was Tod Papageorge, this was about the only image I could find from 1970 but if I can find one of my family from that game I’ll post it tomorrow for Throwback Thursday. Over the next 15 YEARS Auburn would go on to lose the Iron Bowl 12 times going into the mid-80’s when Bo Jackson would then step on the scene. The one historical event coming in 1972 with the “Punt Bama Punt” game where Auburn won 17-16.

Below are outtakes from the last five years. One shot from each season, starting with Gene Chizik going through Tiger Walk from 2010 down to 2006 when we were on the field for pre-game warmup. These are shots that never made it to my blog or use anywhere else, just a few random shots I found from the last five years. Can’t wait for the start of the 2011 season, it’s always a fun time of year down in the south.

Fall is Fire on the Mountain with Yellow Aspen Leaves

Ok, well maybe not here in Auburn, but right now, the Aspen groves of the Rockies are ablaze with color. After flipping back over some fall photos of the last few years I came across this one, taken at this exact time of year, but at the 11,000 foot range in the Rockies. You can’t see the glorious fall colors that surround these tall pines from the photo, but at the time, it was about 40*F outside and the entire surrounding area was full of yellow aspen trees, like the one shown below. Fall has to be one of my favorite times of year, almost as much color in the fall (if you look closely) as there is in Spring.

Pictorial History of a Tree in Year Long Time Lapse

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This is not a true time lapse as we might think about today, but, a sequence of shots, taken over time, of the same subject. We have this great tree back behind our house and I usually take photos of it as the seasons change and I have been wanting to write one single post with all of the photos together to see how one single spot can change over time.  Below is where I sit in the summer and read, contemplate life, and view from the house in the winter and rain.  I love the warm open feeling it gives in Spring or Summer and the uninviting look of winter.  As the days count down for our departure to Virginia, this is one spot I am going to miss while we are gone.

The original posts that came from this photos can be found here:

Below is are some of the photos from the posts above.