Monthly Archives: October 2007

Best play in LSU history

Since it is Halloween, I thought I would pay my respects to Billy Cannon (LSU’s only Heisman Trophy winner) for his amazing return on Halloween night 48 years ago.

Another pic with Jason and Levi

Ben riding with Levi and Jason

Got a great new pic from my ride with Levi Leipheimer and Jason McCartney so I thought I would put it up. Again, great job to Carol and everyone at the FW Museum of Science for putting on a great event.

Hills, hills and more hills

Alpe d'huez 

Cyclists and runners in the North Texas area know that we don’t have much in the way of elevation change. There are no 4-mile hill climbs for us to train on (heck I can only think of a couple of climbs withing a 2 hour drive that are over 1 mile). This forces us to get very creative with our local “climbs” in order to get in some “hill work”.  Luckily in Fort Worth we have a few more options than the folks in Dallas. Today I went out with my GPS to map all of the hills I could think of in the area in order to determine the actual distance, elevation change and average grade of our local climbs. Is Hidden Road steeper than Ranch View? How long is Rogers Road? What’s the change in elevation on Nice Hill? I’ve got all of the ones that I could think of (and had the time to ride to) below. Click on the links for directions to the hill or for the profile from my GPS.

Deerwood Forest Right

Taking first right off Drop Time after main entrance

.70 miles – 167 ft – 4.5% avg. grade 

Legend Drive

Starting at Mont Del Drive and Park Lane

.79 miles – 156 ft – 3.74% avg. grade 

Burton Hill

Starting at Merrick and Burton Hill towards Byers.

.53 miles – 135 ft – 4.8% avg. grade 

Merrick Road

Starting at Merrick and Burton Hill

.29 miles – 134 ft – 8.8% avg. grade 

Hidden Road

Heading towards Alta Drive

.35 miles – 131 ft – 7.1% avg. grade 

Ranchview West

Starting at Bellaire Drive South

.26 miles – 126 ft – 8.8% avg. grade 

Deerwood Forest Left

Turning left on DropTime at main entrance

.38 miles – 120 ft – 6.0% avg. grade 

Ranchview East

Starting at Overton Park towards Bellaire Circle.

.17 miles – 82 ft – 9.1% avg. grade 

The Wall – Aledo

End of Underwood Road

.12 miles – 83 ft – 13.1% avg. grade 

Rogers Ave.

Starting at Rogers and Colonial Drive

.26 miles – 80 ft – 5.8% avg. grade  

Nice Hill – Benbrook Lake

Coming from the South

.24 miles – 62 ft – 4.9% avg. grade 

Nice Hill – Benbrook Lake

Coming from the North

.17 miles – 57 ft – 6.4% avg. grade 

Ride of a lifetime . . . just your average morning ride with top pros Levi Leipheimer and Jason McCartney

Me and Levi

So on Friday I had a really interesting opportunity to participate in the Cycle for Science benefit (benefiting the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History). The benefit offered the rare opportunity to ride shoulder-to-shoulder with 2 top pros (Levi Leipheimer and Jason McCartney – both formerly of Discovery Channel) while supporting a great cause. The benefit also included performance testing from Carmichael Training Systems and dinner with the riders the night before the ride.

The ride was a great time and really let you see just how strong pro riders are (they picked up the pace a couple times – several stretches of 30+ mph). We also stopped at a local elementary school along the route and the guys spoke to the kids for a few minutes about the importance of being active and healthy, etc. These kids had no idea who we were, but in our flashy cycling kits and $5,000 carbon bikes, they were still pretty impressed.

What really became clear is that these guys are just like the rest of us (recreational cyclists and amateur racers) – guys who just really love to ride their bike. These guys just get paid to do it, have more drive and more genetic potential than the rest of us. However, they have definitely made a lot of sacrifices to get where they are today. I’m glad to see both of these guys land good contracts (Levi with Astana and Jason with CSC) with Discovery coming to an end.

New Kit (cycling talk for jersey and shorts)

Moritz Chevy Cycling Jersey

So you won’t see my riding around town in my ThinkCash kit anymore since I’ve joined the Moritz Chevrolet Cycling team. Moritz is a strong team based in Fort Worth with a lot of great guys. I’ve gotten to know some of the Mortitz guys over the last year so I was really happy when they invited me to join the team. We’ve got some really strong riders and I’m excited about our team goals, as well as some of my personal goals, for next season. Plus, Grant approves of the new kit. The first time I put it on for a ride he said, “oh Daddy, you got a new bike shirt. I like it.”

Now that’s customer service

If you aren’t familiar with they are the leader in buying shoes online. I am very familiar with Zappos since I spent the first 8 years of my career in e-commerce (between iChoose, and Blockbuster Online). I was lucky enough to meet the founders (and other execs at Zappos) in several occassions and was always impressed with the thought and analysis they put into running their business and, more importantly, how they did everything they could to put the customer first. That being the case, this story is a must read.

I’ll give the Clifnotes version for those of you that are time-strapped. The mother of the author had recently lost a lot of weight, to the point where none of her shoes fit. The author ordered a bunch of new shoes for Mom from Zappos and was planning on returning many of them (not right size, color, whatever). When mom passed away. The author later received an email from Zappos asking  about the shoes, since they hadn’t received them. The author replied that my mom had died but that they would send the shoes as soon as they could. Zappos emailed back that they had arranged with UPS to pick up the shoes, so the author wouldn’t have to take the time to do it. Then several days later the author received a beautiful arrangement in a basket with white lilies and roses and carnations. Big and lush and fragrant –  it was from Zappos.

Unfortunately, most companies don’t really empower their employees; therefore, even a good employee can only provide average customer service at best. It’s nice to see some companies still go the extra mile.

Maui Vacation Report

Jess and I had an unbelievable time in Maui last week. Granny June and Pop were nice enough to keep Grant for the week; therefore, Jess and I were able to go on vacation just the two of us (very important since Baby #2 is coming the first week of April).

We spent 7 nights at the Sheraton Maui Resort on Kaanapali Beach in West Maui. Maui truly is as gorgeous as everyone says. Beautiful water, mountains and perfect weather. We managed to pack a lot of fun and a lot of relaxing into the week. We did all the Maui vacation “must do’s”:

  • The road to Hana
  • Dinners in Lahaina
  • Surfing (Ben, not Jess)
  • Shopping/lunch in Paia
  • Visit the Haleakala volcano (I went twice, once by bike and once by car)
  • Lots of snorkeling
  • Lots or reading books by the pool

All in all, a pretty perfect vacation. However, the best part was coming home to Grant. He gave Jess and I each a 5 minute hug when we got back (we got back at 5 a.m. on Thursday, so we were home when he woke up).

LSU loses to Kentucky 43-37 in 3OT. I shouldn’t blog mad, but . . . catch the ball!

LSU butterfingers

Last week I watched LSU pull-off an amazing win in paradise (Jess and I were in Maui). This week I wish I hadn’t watched the game at all because LSU played horrible and lost. Right now I feel sick. Here’s my lists of gripes from the game.

  1. CATCH THE FOOTBALL – I counted 8 dropped passes. LaFell has always had hands-of-stone, but everyone was dropping balls. I’m convinced that they don’t even practice catching the ball.
  2. PUT SOME PRESSURE ON THE QB – We have the best defensive line in the country and our front four couldn’t put any pressure on Woodson. Seriously, make a play fellas.
  3. PENALTIES – The officiating in this game was questionable (isn’t every time your team loses), but we had way too many dumb penalties.

So where do we go from here, it is starting to look like 2003 all over again. Hopefully we can run the table, win the SEC championship and hope that some other teams (namely Ohio State, Cal, etc.) lose. Maybe then we’ll get a shot to play in the Dome one more time.

Back from Maui with Willie

So Jess and I are back and our vacation in Maui was fantastic. I will post pictures and a detailed report soon, but I had to share the pic above. Willie Nelson was on our flight back from Maui to DFW. Willie was very accommodating and took pictures with lots of fans, pretty impressive considering this was 4:50 in the morning and I’m sure he just wanted to get home.

Off to Maui


So Jess and I are leaving tomorrow for vacation. We are heading to Maui for a week. This will be our last vacation before baby #2 arrives, so we are really looking forward to it. Expect lots of pictures when we get back.