My Kuota Kredo with new Deda Synapsi handlebar/stem and Flashpoint FP60 wheels
I recently got myself an early Christmas gift and made two upgrades to my bike. I haven’t been riding my race bike much lately – think I got a little “burned-out” and have been riding my single speed bike. So I took my race bike to FWCycling and had them due a full tune-up and install the new Deda Synapsi carbon handlebar/stem that I purchased. Then I put on some new Flashpoint FP60 wheels (with some help from Josh at Colonel’s).
The maiden voyage with the new equipment was amazing. I forgot just how much I love my bike. It handles well, it accelerates, it climbs and it looks pretty damn good too (style points do count). So I got to thinking, a good race bike is a lot like a good wife . . . follow me here for a second:
- When my bike is working properly, everything seems almost effortless. The bike takes all of my effort and translates it into forward motion. At the same time, the bike’s carbon frame dampens the vibrations from the road and makes the ride more enjoyable.
- My bike surprises me. It’ll take corners I didn’t know it could handle . . . with ease.
- Looking at my fancy-carbon-bike everyday, I sometimes forget how beautiful it is. However, every so often I catch a glimpse of it and realize just how beautiful it really is.
- At the end of the day, there are few things I would rather do then ride on my bike.
Jess and her first turkey
So how is Jess, my wife, like my bike? I think you know where this is going:
- Jess takes care of our kids, the house, and the mundane tasks of life so that I can focus on work, quality time with the kids, and a long ride now and then ;) So you could say that Jess takes my “effort” and helps translate it into “forward motion” while “dampening” the “vibrations” to make the “ride” of life more enjoyable.
- After 8 years of marriage, Jess still surprises me. This year we hosted Thanksgiving dinner for the first time. It was also Jess’s first time cooking a turkey. She pulled it all off – with ease.
- I’m lucky to be married to a beautiful woman – inside and out. I might take that for granted sometimes, but all it takes is a glimpse of her through the kitchen window when I pull up to the house and I realize just how beautiful she really is.
- There is nothing I would rather do then spend some quality alone time with Jess. Although, with two kids, work, friends, etc. – alone time is rare. That’s why this summer we are going to take a long vacation, just the two of us (we’re both lucky to have awesome Grandparents willing to watch the kids while we are gone). More details on the trip to come, but let’s just say that it will combine a couple of my passions . . .
Basically, I’m pretty lucky to have such an amazing partner for the ride that is life.
So Kevin D. was nice enough to host a “cycling camp” for Team ThinkCash at his lake house on Lake Texoma this past weekend. It was basically a reward for everyone’s hard work at training and raising money for the TXTough charity ride. For details on the weekend, it’s probably best to read Kevin’s slighly humorous post (including awards for the weekend).
Besides riding, everyone had fun cruising on the ATV, wake boarding, cooking big steaks and just hanging out.
Sunset on Lake Texoma
The weather was perfect and we spent all of our “downtime” on the deck listening to tunes/college football.
Ironically, the weekend of a “cycling camp” I spent more time in my car than on my bike. I drove to Austin on Thursday for the TechCrunch/Austin Ventures event. Then Friday I drove 4.5 hours from Austin to the lake. On Sunday morning I left the lake to meet Jess and the kiddos at my nephews birthday party in Forney (about 2 hours) then an hour drive home to Fort Worth. Basically, I spent 11 hours driving around Texas this weekend.
However, my payoff for all my driving was well worth it. I got a big hug from Grant and Lauren (more of a sloppy, open-mouth, baby kiss from Lauren) when I met them at Jack’s birthday party. Grant and I had a great time playing Simpsons pinball and Wall-E. Then he and I did a little grocery shopping on the way back at Central Market to give Mom a break. Grant is quite the little foodie and loves going to Central Market. It was the perfect end to a great weekend.
I intended to write a post tonight about my epic bike ride in Santa Barbara on Wednesday. However, something happened this weekend that I have been waiting for a long time – Grant is now riding his “big boy” bike. Let me take you back . . .
I first got into cycling when Grant was almost a year old. In fact, “bike” was his third word after “Daddy” and “Wrigley” (our dog). Grant has also taking a keen interest in helping me maintain my bikes, racing, etc. He loves to put air in the tires, help me change flats and fill my water bottles with Gatorade.
I got Grant a Like-a-Bike at an early age hoping he would really take to it – but he didn’t. Then we got a tricycle – he could care less. Then we got his “big boy” bike with training wheels – the only thing he liked about it was the water bottle holder.
So I’ve never pushed him. I figured he would decide when he was ready, but I would never be the kind of Dad that forces his hobbies/sports on his kids. So needless to say I was thrilled when Grant rode his bike for the first time yesterday. Then today we went riding again and he has already improved and gained more confidence. He was throwing out phrases and cycling terminology I didn’t even know he knew as we pedaled around the cul-de-sac:
“Daddy, I’m going to use my turbo booster”
“Daddy, I’m in the lead”
“Daddy, I’m going to sprint for the finish”
The best part is to see him get so excited. When I asked him if we wanted to go ride today he was so excited that he put his sandals on backwards (notice in pic above).
I wasn’t even on a bike, but that ranks as one of my all-time favorite rides.
Grant and Lauren enjoying the cool weather
We’re entering the time of year when the weather in North Texas is pretty amazing – highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s. It’s actually cool enough now to have fun outside with the kids (not to mention this is perfect cycling weather).
The cooler weather also means that we are entering the “heart” of college football season. Grant and I are both excited and nervous (as evidenced by Grant’s expression in the pic above) to watch our Tigers battle the Auburn Tigers tomorrow night. This will be LSU’s first real test and should give us an indication of how good this team really is.
Jess and the kids stopped by to visit me at the office today. Amazing how seeing your kids for just 10 minutes in the middle of the day can truly make it a great day. Grant is always excited to come to my office because he can play with my various chochky and get a lolipop (today he had the cherry cola flavor).
You will also notice in the corner of the picture our new Team ThinkCash kits that came in today. I’ll do a separate posts on the kits next week.
Grant the cowboy
Grant spent this weekend in Dallas with his Pop and Granny June (my Parents). This was the first time that Jess and I had just Lauren (with no Grant) since she was born. It was nice to have some time to focus 100% of our attention and affections on Lauren. Jess and I often found ourselves looking at each other and asking the question, “Do you remember what is was like when we just had Grant.” I’ve quickly discovered in my 3.5 years of parenthood that as parents, we get a kind of selective amnesia – you can’t remember what your life was like before kids.
Lauren is truly a great baby (always happy) and a joy to be around.
The forecast called for rain, but luckily I was able to get in some long rides on Saturday and Sunday. My teammate, Ed, organized a great group ride on Saturday. We headed north towards Boyd, TX. We had a couple sections where we took it up to “race pace” and then did a fun “pursuit” team game. It was exactly the kind of ride I needed – long and with lots of intensity.
Sunday I went for a 70 mile solo ride. I left early so I could be home to take care of Lauren while Jess went to work out and run some errands. Then we headed to my folks house to get Grant, which is also when we got to hear all of the rodeo stories.
Grant with cousins - Jack and Hannah - ready for the rodeo
Saturday night Grant went to the Mesquite Rodeo with my folks and my Sister’s family - The Rosslers. The Rosslers own one of the top Platinum Coach and Outlaw Conversion horse trailer dealerships in the US – Circle M Trailers. Two of their employees were competing in the rodeo, so they had tickets for everyone, plus the kids got to go “backstage”.
Grant and Hannah at the petting zoo
Grant’s favorite part was the petting zoo. Plus, he got to watch his cousin Jack compete in the mutton busting contest.
Jack getting geared up
I haven’t seen the video yet, but apparently Jack had the most impressive ride of the night (despite the judges scoring) and came home with a trophy.
So even though we were spread-out all over the DFW Metroplex, the Cooper’s had a great weekend.
Grant loves to cook. So his Granny June got him this sweet chef’s outfit. Now Grant and Mommy can take their cooking to the next level.
This past weekend we had our ThinkCash summer party at Main Event in Fort Worth. We basically had the run of the place for 4 hours and had unlimited bowling, video games, laser tag, etc. Grant had fun bowling with his friends Abby and Allie (Kevin D’s kiddos). However, he and I really had fun playing the video games. We played truck driver, jet ski, fireman, and airplane simulator as you can see above. When I was Grant’s age the top arcade game was Asteroids. The game you see us playing above was a commercial airline simulator and the realism of the game was pretty incredible – games have come a long way in 30 years.
But of all the games we played, Grant’s favorite was also the simplest game. The game was a glass box with a handle that stuck out, connected to a net. Inside the box was a honey pot and a bunch of “bee” balls. When the game started a fan blew the bees and they “buzzed” around the box. The goal was to catch as many bees as possible with the net and pour them into the honey pot. Grant loved it. Goes to show that in gaming the best technology, graphics, etc. don’t always translate into the most fun. It’s a good analogy for our business at ThinkCash. We can have the best looking website, TV spots, etc., but if we can’t truly help customers with their emergency cash needs and provide great customer service, then it doesn’t matter. I’d rather be the “honey bee” anyday.
Everyone has bad days. Whether something comes up at work, you get a flat tire, or you crash on your blke at 30 mph - everyone has days where they wished they never got out of bed. I have a trick for those dreaded days – a picture. It is always a picture of Grant. The picture changes from time to time (as Grant grows) but I always have the picture on my computer at work and on my phone. Looking at the picture always puts a smile on my face and makes me realize how lucky I am. Now that we have 2 kids, the picture has changed to the one above. I figure the “healing powers” of the picture should now be twice as strong ;)
So yesterday I was finally able to download some photos from the camera. We are definitely in “survival mode” in the Cooper household, but having Grandma (Jess’s Mom) with us has been a huge help this first week. Grant has quickly adapted to the role of Big Brother and wants to help with “his baby”.