Friday, July 31, 2015

Ironman Wisconsin Training Camp Weekend

This weekend is my annual big Ironman Wisconsin training camp weekend.  The plan is to swim, bike and run tomorrow on the Wisconsin course and then do a run Sunday to end the weekend.  Today when I got to Verona we decided to get a quick 20 mile ride in on "The Stick" as a warm up for the weekend.  Besides all the traffic and the wind the ride wasn't too bad.  Felt good to get out and I'm ready to get the weekend started.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

2 Weeks On the Road

Tomorrow starts 2 weeks of me being on the road again.  Tomorrow I leave to head to Verona for my annual Ironman Wisconsin training camp.  Sunday I get back home around noon, pack my bag and head to Dayton, Ohio for a week of business travel.  I get back Friday afternoon get the car loaded and we head for our week of vacation on Beaver Island.  So technically I get one day in my own bed and the second week I'll be on my relaxing vacation but I still won't be home for a couple weeks again.  At least unlike my Dallas/France trip I at least will not be working the whole time!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Lazy Weekend

With rain forecast for most of the weekend and a Harry Potter Marathon on ABC Family this was a lazy weekend.  The boys did get in the pool in the afternoon each day after the rain cleared, but beyond that we really didn't do a whole lot.  Felt good to sit around the house and not have anything to do, coming up on another busy period so sitting around felt good.

South Dakota Trip 2015

Video I made of our South Dakota Trip a couple weeks ago with all the videos and photo's I took.  Hopefully you enjoy it.

Morning Swim

This morning I decided it was time to get back on the training horse after my race last weekend and headed out for a run.  The run was somewhat of a slog but I got 5 miles in.  When I got home the pool cover was off and it looked so inviting so I jumped right in.  Felt good to cool off in the pool before I headed in for my shower.  This way I'm not going to be sweating for the next half hour while my body temperature come down.  

Friday, July 24, 2015

Enjoying Ice Cream On The Porch

For the first time in a whole lot of weekends we are spending the weekend at home.  This will be the last weekend I am able to spend at home for about 3 weeks.  Next weekend I'm heading to Wisconsin for my last big training event of the year.  Sunday I leave for Dayton, Ohio for a week and when I get back Friday we are headed off for our family vacation in Beaver Island for a week.  I was supposed to be leaving for France again tomorrow but decided that I really didn't want to be gone from home for 3 straight weeks so I didn't go.  There will be other opportunities so I'm really not that heart broken.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Race Complete

The race is over and it went about how I expected it to go.  I swam pretty good for me, I'm a middle of the pack swimmer now which sure beats being an end of the pack swimmer like I was a couple years ago.  The bike when spectacular, in fact it was a PR for me. Technically I averaged 20.8 MPH but since the bike was 1.5 miles long my average was skewed lower and I missed going sub 2:40 which would have been awesome.  The course was flat, very little wind and I was able to stay tucked in aero for pretty much the whole ride.  I'm quite happy with my ride but I do have to say that great ride came at the expense of the run, the run was my slowest run ever.  Part of it had to do with the fact I didn't have socks for the bike which caused my to develop blisters really early in the run, mile 4.  Also with my hard ride I fought cramps for quite a bit of the run.  I really wanted to go sub 6 hours and really thought I could but it just wasn't in the cards for me today.  For the next 8 weeks leading into Wisconsin I need to spend a whole lot of time working on my run and increasing the toughness of my feet and just get more run fitness.  Overall I'm not unhappy, PR in the swim and the bike and know I need to work the run.

Race Morning

Well here I am at race morning and getting my stuff set up in transition for the race today.  The conditions are spectacular today, the wind and heat from yesterday are gone and it could be a day with a whole bunch of fast speeds.  I'm actually feeling quite good, no nerves at all and ready to get going.  I'm still a little worried about how it's going to go on the run but nothing I can do about it at this point.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Severe Weather

This afternoon after I got done dropping my bike off a severe storm rolled through the area, there were tornado's and the works.  We didn't get a whole lot beyond some pretty strong winds that knocked over a tree in the parking lot a wrecked a whole bunch of tents at the music festival.  Hopefully this storm deters some of the music goers so they shut the festival down early and don't play all night and keep me up ;)

Checked Into the Race

I got checked into the race, my bike put in transition and I'm ready for the race tomorrow.  When I put my bike in transition I saw the "Unsafe For Swimming" right where we are going to be swimming which didn't necessarily fill me with confidence.  I'm actually becoming a better swimmer so I guess I'm not too worried, plus I survived St. George so it can't be worse then that.  I guess all there is to do know is wait and get ready for tomorrow.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ironman Racine

Made it to Ironman Racine for my race this weekend.  Hotel turned out to be really nice, from what we could tell our room was entirely redone recently.  Everything in the room was new which was pretty impressive.  The only problem is there is a music festival going just across the parking lot right outside out window.  In fact I could through a stone and hit the stage from the window which will having bands playing until 2:00am.  Another problem is the people who are attending the festival have been smoking weed on the floor of our hotel and the whole hallway smells of it.  Hopefully it isn't too bad because I have to but up at 4am on Sunday morning and don't really want to be up all night.

Ironman Racine

After a short week at work and long weekend vacation last weekend we are getting on the road again today to head to Ironman Racine.  This is my first triathlon of the year and the only other one I'm planning to do beside Ironman Wisconsin in a couple months.  It's only a half Ironman so I should get a good read on where I stand with my Ironman Wisconsin preparation.  I feel pretty good about my swim and my bike but I'm not sure where I stand on my run.  The course it pretty flat so I'm really hoping for a PR on the bike.  I guess I'll find out by Sunday afternoon.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Ending with Ice Cream

Something that has become somewhat of a staple of a VanOort vacation is the last stop for ice cream.  This time it was at an old fashioned soda foundation in Elk Point, SD.  I was a bit weird to be eating ice cream at 10:00am but Marshall really wanted to stop so we sucked it up and ate early morning ice cream.  This place was well worth the trip and I would recommend anyone coming through stop and enjoy some ice cream at the old fashioned counter.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Bear Country USA

When we were telling people that we were going out to SD for a long weekend vacation pretty much everyone told us, skip Wall Drug and go to Bear Country.  Bear Country is one of those drive through zoo's where the animals can come up to your car and you can get up close and personal.  We decided to take everyone's advice and go check it out.  Turns out that is was a great idea.  At first I wasn't sure, the first few exhibit areas didn't really have animals that would come up close to the car but it wasn't much later that we had a reindeer come up to our car which got us all excited.  As you can see from the pictures above the bears come right up to your car which is pretty cool.  I think between everyone in the family with a device we got no less than 1000 pictures of the bears.  I would have to agree that this certainly a must do when you come to the Blackhills

Clancey on the Slide in Keystone

Presidents Slide

This morning we decided that we really needed to do at least one of the tourist trap things that they have here in Keystone.  The slide looked to be one of the funnest for the money so we paid our admission and headed up the lift.  As you can see I put the GoPro on Clancey so we could get a cool video of his trip down which was a pretty cool video.  We ended up having a good time on the slide and was worth the money to do it.  I'll post the video later so everyone can see a first person view of the slide.

Jumbo Chess With the Boys

This morning before we go ride the "President's Slide" we saw they had a jumbo chess game next door that we wanted to play.  We saw it yesterday but it was too busy so this morning when we saw it empty we ran over to get a game in.  I ended up beating the boys but they made it a damn close game.  It's not going to be that long before the boys start beating me at chess.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mt. Rushmore at Night

We had some pizza for supper and we are back on the monument for the lighting ceremony.  The ceremony was pretty cool especially the part where they invited all the service members up to take down the flag.  Although I have to say that the speech the ranger gave at the beginning was long and boring.  Hard to explain but it was really weird, poorly delivered and reminded me of a bad sermon.  Other than that it was cool and I got some good pictures.

Mt. Rushmore

We finally made it to Mt. Rushmore to take in the monument.  It was surprisingly busy when we first got here but we managed to find some places where we could take in the monument and not have a billion people on top of us.  The monument was pretty cool and the boys really enjoyed it.  Were thinking we will go find some supper somewhere and come back tonight for the lighting ceremony.

Cool Hotel Room

In what amounts to a hotel win I managed to book a pretty awesome hotel room with two floors and 3 beds.  The boys have an upstairs loft and each have their own single bed which they are excited about.  Not that they hate sleeping together or anything but it is nice for them to have their own space for a bit.  Clancey tends to be a wild sleeper which means Marshall gets beat up some when they sleep together.

Keystone, South Dakota

We made it to Keystone, which is about as close as you can get to Mt. Rushmore, got checked into our hotel and are ready to go see the monument.  Let me start off by saying that Keystone is an absolutely nutty town.  We pulled in and there was no short of a billion people and about that many things to do.  I guess I expected there to be some stuff but not a sensory overload of things.  Kind of feels wrong to have this huge tourist trap of a city, breaking up the beauty of the Black Hills, at a monument to our great presidents.  City reminding me a lot of Branson Missouri, really not my kind of place.  At least our hotel room is nice and we don't have far to drive to see the monument.  

Adam's Museum

The last stop on the Deadwood trip was over to the Adam's museum.  The city has an amazing about of history and the museum has done a great job capturing a whole bunch of it.  Of course they had more of the Hickok history but a whole lot of different things from the mining, the brothels, to the present day.  It was well worth the trip and I could have spent the better part of the day checking it out but the kids were excited to head to Mt. Rushmore and see the next thing on the agenda.  Just another thing to put on the list for Jen and I.

Checking Out No. 10 Saloon

This morning after we had a casino floor breakfast we headed across the street to check out the Saloon No. 10 and the place Wild Bill got shot.  They had a tour available to do but I didn't really want to wait the 30 minutes for the next one to start.  I ended up taking some pictures and looking at some of the historical artifacts they had on the wall.  Next time, when Jen and I come back together, we will have to take the tour.

Breakfast On The Casino Floor

I think I mentioned this yesterday but the Hotel also had a casino that pretty much took up the entire main floor of the building.  This morning when we got up to have breakfast the it turned out the breakfast was setup back by the blackjack tables in the back and there was really no where to sit, except in the bar area.  When we first sat down we sidled up to the bar but Marshall and Clancey were having none of that.  We managed to find a bar table for them to sit at so they didn't have to sit right next to the beer taps in the heart of the casino.  It really wasn't much better where we were but you could tell the kids were uncomfortable the whole time.  Guess I don't have to worry about either of the boys sneaking into bars or casino's any time soon ;)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Long Day

After a long day of visiting things and traveling, everyone was tired as heck.  Instead of going out I decided that I would go up town to get some pizza for everyone so we could eat it in our room and relax.  The plan tomorrow is to spend the morning in Deadwood and then head down to Mt. Rushmore for tomorrow night.  I'm betting that tomorrow everyone is going to sleep in a bit and kind of be slow to get around.  The is fine by me because it will be nice to sleep in a bit.

Mt. Moriah Cemetery

One of the main reasons I wanted to come to Deadwood was to see Mt. Moriah cemetery.  After watching the show Deadwood I became very interested in the history of the town and wanted to see for myself where everyone was buried.  The cemetery is on top of a hill overlooking the city of Deadwood so it made for a very beautiful view and worth the 4 miles of walking.  We saw the graves of Wild Bill, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock.  If you ever saw the show Deadwood you would be familiar with the last individual.  


We made it too Deadwood and found out our hotel is right on the main street right across from the original location of No. 10 Saloon, the place where Wild Bill Hickok was shot.  Turns out that everyday at 4:00 they have a shoot out right in front of our hotel.  Also, as another stroke of luck, our hotel has a private balcony which provided a great view of the shoot out for the boys.  So far this seems like quite the busy and wild city.  

Lunch On the Side of the Road

On the way up to Deadwood we started to get a bit hungry and needed to find something to eat.  Instead of going to a restaurant and over paying for a mediocre meal we though we would get some sandwiches and find somewhere to eat them.  The plan was to find a park but we didn't have any luck with that. We did find this look little spot on top of hill that we could pull off on and just enjoy some relaxation.  Kind of nice to just relax for a bit from time to time.  

Another Visit to the Badlands

After the missile silo we headed back into the Badlands for our epic hike.  Both of the boys really wanted to climb the rocks so we found a spot where we could climb and hike all over.  We got ourselves way back where you couldn't see civilization anymore and tried to get as high up on a hill as we could.  We got almost all the way up the hill before it got a bit too dangerous to go higher and turned back.  The boys really enjoyed it and it got the hiking out of their system.  When we finally left and headed for Deadwood they were both tired and just wanted to relax in the car for a while.

Minuteman Missile Silo Site

After we had some breakfast we headed up to the Minuteman Missile Site to see what it had to offer.  It's a heck of a nice museum the only problem is it isn't done yet.  All the exhibits are paper taped to the wall with the promise of real exhibits to come in September.  I really wanted to go down in the missile silo but after Clancey saw the movie and realized the amount of destruction it could do he didn't want to have anything to do with the missile. I tried to assure him that the missile not longer had a bomb in it but he wanted no part of it.  Oh well, it's not that big of deal.  Someday I'm sure Jen and I will be traveling back through and we can see it than.