Archive for January, 2011

Girly Arms

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , on January 29, 2011 by brianestover

Eagerly this morning I tore open the packaging to my new Craft arm warmers. I pulled them on and to my horror my wrists are so small there was a finger width gap around at the wrist. When did my wrists get so small? Total buzz kill of the excitement that had developed over new arm warmers. I had to ride with my old arm warmers that don’t stay up on my puny biceps. Either way some part of my arm was going to get cold.

Contador Suspended

Posted in Stuff, Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , on January 26, 2011 by brianestover

You can read all about it here: http://www.universalsports.com/news/article/newsid=512774.html

But if you think cycling is clean you are an idiot. If you think triathlon is clean you are an idiot.

As long as success in sports is linked with big salaries, lots of media, financial security, Olympic glory, fame and fortune you will have doping in sports. Accept it.

Accept that your favorite cyclist of yesterday or today doped, every single one of them more then likely. Accept that many of the performances you see in triathlon, both age group and elite, are possible because of doping. Accept that the heads of major sports, like the UCI, ITU, don’t really want to tackle doping head on. They know doing this will reduce the vitality and profile of their sport while hurting their pocketbook. Accept it.

Accept the fact, that sports, endurance sports anyway, are becoming a little bit cleaner. Accept the fact that some of the performances you see at the top level are clean performances. Sure you may have to look down to the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 8th or 11th place person to find the first place clean athlete in many endurance events, but they are there.

Police, Stolen Cars, Felons

Posted in Stuff with tags , , , , on January 14, 2011 by brianestover

Helicopters with search lights, undercover cars, K9 units, lots of cops, lions, tigers, bears oh my! That is what my front yard resembled early this morning. But without the lions, tigers and bears. Definitely the oh my though.

Very early this morning someone decides to park a stolen car in my front yard. Then said person decides to walk around my house checking out the neighbor’s cars. You wake me up, I call the cops, that’s a fair trade it seems. Less then 90 seconds after making the call, I’ve got a police officer calling me back asking me where the guy went. Less then four minutes after making the initial call, I’ve got four squad cars sitting in my front yard and blocking driveway. Good thing I didn’t need milk. One of the police cars has a huge ass spotlight shining on the stolen car. Which also happens to be about 40 feet directly in front of my bedroom window and directly in front of where I lay my tired head when I sleep. It’s not easy to sleep with a police spotlight shining into your eyes through your window blinds while you try to sleep. Of course with the ghetto bird (helo) flying circles over my house using their spotlight to brighten up the backyard, I probably wasn’t going to fall back asleep anyway.

I was able to enjoy free lighting in my bedroom, and play by play commentary over the police radio for nearly three hours as four cops and their K9 walked around the neighborhood looking for the dude. About 3:20AM the police got bored with playing hide and seek, packed it up, leaving the stolen car in front of my house.

About 30 minutes after they leave, just as I’m about to fall back asleep, another car rolls up into my front yard followed by a squad car. Seems the police found the owner of the stolen car. After doing what looked like a full car inspection, hood up, trunk open, the cars drove away.

While this wasn’t nearly as exciting as watching the SWAT team take down the neighbor’s house two summers ago, this was more heart pounding. It’s not every night that some guy parks a stolen car in front of your house then looks around at your neighbor’s cars.

Wrapping up the Trip

Posted in Stuff with tags , , , , , , , on January 9, 2011 by brianestover

I’ve got some final pics I thought I’d share. The first is taken about 3am Sydney time from 37,894 feet in the sky according to the info United Airlines was giving us. It’s a picture of the sun rising off the starboard wing of a Boeing 747. There weren’t a lot of people awake on the plane at that time, one of the benefits of being an insomniac. This was the second sunrise of the day for me, the first being about 21 hours earlier.

First Light

This is a picture of a Singapore Airline’s Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane. There was an A380 next to a 747 that I tried to get a picture of, but we were moving too fast on the taxi ramp. I was amazed at how much higher the tail of the Airbus stuck up compared to a 747. The Airbus almost dwarfs the 747.

Airbus A380

This was the first sunset I saw in 2011 in the US. I was driving back from Phoenix to Tucson and snapped this picture using the driver’s side mirror. Probably not the safest thing I’ve done in retrospect.

Sunset Over the Highway

I even met a few friends while on vacation. The first is Mr. Salty, the salt water croc.

The Croc

Sydney has a lot of saltwater pools that are next to the beaches. You have to choose your swimming partners very carefully. My friend here, doesn’t like to swim slower then anyone. He told me point blank, “I rule this pool, you go faster then me and I’ll nibble on your toes.” Needless to say I “let” him nip me at the wall.

My Swimming Partner

I was going to take on of these home, but I got stopped at customs. It seems exporting a Koala is a no-no.

Doesn't Fit in the Overhead Bin

My niece wasn’t impressed that it was time to go home.

So Sad

My nephew wondered who he would bake a cake with.

Baking Fun

The Places I’ve Been

Posted in Stuff with tags , , , , , , , on January 3, 2011 by brianestover

As I prepare to wrap up my trip and begin the journey back home, I found myself reflecting upon my travels over the past month.

Opera House

In general, no matter where in the world you go, time after time, I’m still amazed at how nice people are. From people like Peter and Alex who helped with much of the leg work for my New Zealand journey, to the guy who could barely speak English helping me figure out which bus stop I needed to get off in Auckland, to the friendly, talkative chap on the bus in Sydney who gave me a street by street account of the suburbs we were passing through, people all over the world are generally willing to help out with directions and such.

Some of the things I noticed this trip that in the past I rarely saw, were people using their phones to navigate. Instead of maps, you could often tell the visitors from the locals by the use of their phone as a guidebook.

It also seems that American’s are loath to trust another American with train directions unless they are in America. I’ve noticed this in London when I spent some time there, and again here in Sydney. As soon as you answered the American’s question about which trains to take, off they hurried looking for someone with an accent. The guy with the accent didn’t seem to mind when I helped him with the buses.

A Lychee

Where ever I go, you can count on rain. I now have fond memories of getting rained on in Austria, Belgium (more then one trip), Canada, Holland, Italy and the UK. You can now add Australia and New Zealand to the list. It’s not that I mind the rain, in fact it’s better then blazing hot. But it does get a little old when you are out in the rain for 7-10 hours touring around. At some point you are not getting any wetter, but you’re not getting any drier either. Besides, when using just a small backpack, wet clothes + your only dry clothes = only wet clothes. It’s no fun putting on clean clothes in the morning only to have them wet before you leave.

The other thing you can count on is no matter where I travel the dollar will fall as my trip goes on.

All is all it’s hard to complain about traveling and seeing other parts of the world. Be it city’s or countryside. Zoo’s, botanical gardens, maritime museums, scenic vantage points or running along the beach. Nothing shabby about that.

New Zealand Coromandel Coast

Plus I learned a new skill. Driving on the wrong side of the road! Round abouts rock and the US should have more of them. Maybe I’ll start a campaign.

Super Driver

Tomorrow I’m going to actually go back in time. I’ll arrive back in Arizona 35 minutes before I leave Australia. Of course, I’ll waste all of that time plus some waiting for the world’s slowest baggage handlers (Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport) to get my luggage to me. So much for getting a second chance at something.