Monday, November 26, 2007

November Gone?

Wow. So, November is pretty much gone already. It feels to me like we were just in France a few weeks ago. It has been a busy month for us. There's been the utterly fantastic UGA v. Auburn "blackout" game (apologies to Craig & Shannon). This was by far the best college football game Lisa and I have ever been to. It was just so much fun. Even Ben got in on it.

I've made my annual hunting trip to North Dakota. As usual, it was a lot of fun to out there on the ranch. Short trip this year as I had my deer in a little more than an hour. We stayed out on the ranch through Saturday morning then returned to Bismarck.

Ben also turned two this month. That's even more crazy as it feels like he was a baby just a short time ago. He's really a kid now. We had a good birthday party here at the house on the 13th. Thanks to everyone for braving the water main break and subsequent bad traffic to be here.

Thanksgiving with Lisa's parents and family was great. Everyone except her brother George's family was able to make it to Cartersville. We ended up going up there Thursday and Friday to spend the days. On Saturday Lisa's parents were kind enough to keep Ben for us while Lisa and I went down to watch the Bulldogs take on Tech. So, back to work for a few weeks then Christmas. Hopefully, we'll update things a few more times between now and then.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Chili Cookoff

Tonight was the Halloween Chili Cookoff at the Petty's. We cheated a bit and didn't bring any chili. Just appetizers and ice. At least we won that category (or I assume we did...). Anyway, had a good time trick-or-treating around the neighborhood and seeing everyone.

Pumpkin Patch

A couple weekends ago we stopped by a pumpkin patch down the road from our place and really had a good time. It was Ben's first experience and also turned out to be he first pony ride. He had fun but was very serious about it.

UGA and Vanderbilt

A few weeks ago we travelled up to Mufreesboro, TN to visit Lisa's brother's family. While there we took in the UGA and Vanderbilt game. It was a lot of fun and was Mallory's first chance to attend a Georgia game. Being down in Nashville was much fun and Brendon and Rachel were kind enough to give us a fun restaurant recommendation too. Here are a couple pictures from the trip.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


It's been quite a while since we've posted anything new. We've had quite a busy fall, which seems to happen every football season! Hard to believe that Ben is almost two years old.

Anyway, added a new piece of info at the bottom of the site. Started tracking the places Lisa and I have visited together. Turns out we're a fifth of the way through the US and have seen some of Europe too. Hopefully, we'll get all the way through the US at least.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Paris Pictures

Here are a few more pictures from our time in Paris.

Back to School

Ben and Lisa both started back to school yesterday. It's kind of crazy really. Seems like the summer just disappeared on us.

One thing that struck both Lisa and I is that Ben now takes naps at school on a mat and eats lunch in the common lunch room. It really feels like he's growing up and he's not even 2 yet. A very weird feeling...

Friday, August 3, 2007

France Pictures

Here are some pictures from the trip:

Climbing the Port de Bales on Day One.

At the summit of Port de Bales awaiting the peloton.

Decending Port de Bales. The mountains were really beautiful.

View from my hotel room in Lourdes. Our home for three nights.

View from halfway up the Tourmalet on Day 2.

Looking back down the mountain from just below the summit of the Tourmalet.

One of those really discouraging signs. On this one they neglect to mention that the first 500m is at 5% and last 500 at 15%.

Getting ready to tackle the Col d' Aubisque (the big thing in the background) on Day 3. This was a really fantastic day of both riding and getting to view the Tour de France.

We viewed the stage from the village of Gourette, about 4 km below the summit of the Aubisque.

Levi Leipheimer attacking Michael Rasmussen (in yellow) on their way up the mountain. Rasmussen won the stage but was kicked out of the Tour later that day for missing drug tests and lying about where he was.

After a few more days of riding between France and Spain we finally finished up in Paris. Later this afternoon we would watch the Tour arrive in town.

Finally, enjoying the Tour from Paris.

We're Back

We're back and recovering from the jet lag. Yesterday was a long 21 hours of travel due to a five hour mechanical delay in the Paris airport. Oh well. We are home and happy to be back. It was a great trip overall. The bike riding was fantastic, the Tour de France was a lot of fun and Lisa and I really enjoyed our time in Paris.

It was also great for Lisa to get a chance to enjoy the finish and closing party with me. She was able to meet everyone from the trip and get to hear some of the stories first hand. Long day for her though as we went had a full day on Sunday with the final stage viewing, a closing dinner and then out on the town.

We got to see much of Paris (most of it on foot, some of it unintentional) but really had a great time. One other couple from the bike tour spent a few extra days in Paris so that was fun to see them from time to time over the week.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for reading. Hopefully, we'll be better about keeping the blog up to date on our goings on. I'll post some pictures soon as well.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Tour de Llew is over!

Hi! Just thought we would finish out the Tour de Llew for you all. He completed his last ride and is now enjoying the watching of the Tour de France. It has been an incredible experience. Thanks for all of your prayers and support. I am now off to join Llew for a few days in Paris. We will post pictures and such when we return. Thanks again!!


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Day 4

Getting to the end of the trip now. Only one ride left tomorrow. We've transferred to southwest France where we are riding in the Basque region. Very beautiful but different from the area around Lourdes.

Today we got up and rode 25 miles to Pau to see a Tour de France stage start. This was pretty exciting as there was huge news after yesterday's stage about the race leader (Michael Rasmussen) getting kicked out for missing some drug tests. This put a rider from the, ostensibly American, Discovery Channel team in the lead. Anyway, I ( and a few others) missed the start as we thought we had until 1 pm to see it but they started at 12:30.

After Pau we got on the bus for a 2 hour transfer to start our next ride then rode two small mountains ( similar to Woody Gap north of Dahlonega ) into our hotel. About 40 miles all in all. Awesome country but much hotter down here.

Tomorrow we have a long but relatively flat ride our for a picnic lunch then to a lake for swimming and relaxing. We'll be here another night then off to Paris. With the race really undecided now that should be very cool.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Day 3

Today was a much easier day. I really think my body is catching up to the amount of riding we've been doing. We also had a much shorter day today. We climbed a mountain called the Col d'Abisque. Just short of the summit Trek had set up a lunch and race viewing spot for us. It was very cool.

We hung out for 4 or 5 hours after riding up and just had a very good time. The race was very exciting with people from all over cheering on their favorites. It's like being at the SuperBowl with every team playing and being surrounded by passionate fans for all of them. After the race we road back down and shuttled back to Lourdes for dinner.

Tomorrow we get to ride out to a stage start in Pau and perhaps meet some of the riders. Should be cool. In the afternoon we'll ride into Spain and do a couple smaller climbs there.

We're halfway through the trip at this point and it has been hard work but a great experience. Seeing the mountains up close and spending hours outside is just great.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Day 2 on the bike!

Hi again everyone. Day 2 is in the books. Today was a rest day in the Tour so we went out to ride a famous climb, that's not in the race this year, called The Tourmalet. Let me tell you, it is ridiculous! Very hard and very exposed out of the trees.

I actually enjoyed today's ride much more than yesterday's. There was no time crunch of trying to stay ahead of the Tour. It was just our group and the bikes ( and the support van with lots of extra water and food-much needed). Today's climb was definitely harder but at least I was able to keep up a pace and stop when I wanted to.

I was the last guy up today but there were a few guys who didn't ride it. Actually, I'm totally amazed at a few of these older guys here in their late 50's and 60's. They can really go still.

Overall, a really amazing day again. The scenery was awesome!

One really depressing part of the rides here is the French government has taken it upon themselves to post signs at each kilometer of the famous climds so you know how far you have to the summit. Well, that's all well and good. However, they have also decided to include the average gradient over the next kilometer. That's just depressing. I mean really what's the point of that information!

Anyway, tomorrow we go to watch a stage finish. Riding roughly 8 miles up a climb to our viewing restaurant. Later in the day, after the race goes by, we'll summit the climb, ride down the back and return for our last night in Lourdes. Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 23, 2007

First day on the bike!

Well, we had our first day of riding today. Met our guides early in Toulouse and bussed to the bike fitting. Had to do that fast as the roads we were to ride were going to be closed by the police soon for the Tour de France to pass. We set out and got about 9 miles up the road when the police closed it. So, our only option was to turn around and go around the race. To do this we had to climb the Port de Balles. So, what was originally going to be a relatively easy day to stretch the legs with only 6 miles of climbing became a really hard day climbing the 12 miles up the Balles.

For those of you reading this who know the Tour or cycling the Port de Balles has never been climbed in the tour until this year. Our guides hadn't climbed it either.It is an HC climb which our guides thought was harder than Alp d'Huez and the Tourmalet (we climb that tomorrow).

All that is to say I spent almost 5 hours on the bike today and I'm sore. The good news is I wasn't the slowest rider. I'm definitely in the running though. Most of the guys here are tri-atheletes and in really good shape. I think the biggest thing I noticed was the elevation affecting me. It wasn't so much my legs.

So, tomorrow is the Tourmalet. This climb is longer but maybe not as steep. We'll see. It is a climb up to 6600 feet over roughly 14 miles. I'll report back then (if I am still moving) and let you know how that goes. Bedtime now.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Hello from France!

Getting to Toulouse really didn't feel like it took that long. I think it helped that the guy next to me on the Atlanta to Paris flight is actually going to be on the same bike tour I'm going on. Weird coincidence. Anyway, he's from Columbia (Game-chicken fan, but I can look past that) and has been on six different bike trips in Italy and France. So, I was actually able to get some good info on what to expect from him.

Once in Paris I had to wait 3 hours for my flight to Toulouse. Saw Dikembe Mutumbo while waiting though. He's tall.

Once in Toulouse, I crashed at the hotel for a few hour nap, watched the end of today's tour stage (complete with French commentary), explored some cool cathedrals here, then met up with Joe and some other folks, who are going on the bike tours as well, he'd tracked down for dinner.

Overall, most of the riders are guys in their late 40's to early 60's and in great shape. So far, I've met two people riding younger than me. Shouldbe interesting. Met one former pro (from the 70's) who'd riding with Trek as well.I'll give you all an update on my comparative fitness after our first ride tomorrow. Here's a hint : not good. Anyway, looks like it should be a really good time.

Bye for now.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Llew's Trip

Leaving tomorrow for France! Everyone say a prayer as I climb the mountains. I'll be sending messages for Lisa to post so keep checking back!


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Other Pictures

Here is a link to our old picture site for anyone interested in the pictures we had previously posted.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Well, we finally broke down and switched to a blog format rather than working through a basic picture site. We'll try to keep everyone up to date from time to time on what Lisa, Ben and I are up to. For now, please enjoy an Easter picture of Ben!