Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Hula Hoop

I had never been a hula hooper until I came across a big heavy hula hoop in Florida at a roadside citrus shop and then again at a rental home in Wimberly, TX.  On a recent trip to Orlando, I could not do anything with the lightweight "children's" hula hoops.

My interest had waned, but I recently find myself wanting to add a hula hoop to my repertoire for fitness, warm up and general body control.

The caveat is to find the correct size.  There are a number of retailers that will sell a hoop for $30-$50 with custom size and color.  Additionally, it seems like there is a tremendous DIY space to make your own hoops.

Karen Tiede is one of those whose website is really easy to follow.

Start with irrigation tubing:
100 psi - lighter for slower hoopers, kids, jugglers hoops
160 psi - heavier for fast hoopers, beginners, serious exercisers and men

3/4" for kids, tends to deform at diameters larger than 30" (I would be making at least a 44" hoop)
1" for beginners, serious exercisers and men

Tubing cutters come in handy or just use a hack saw

Beginner - shoulder to sternum height - 54"
Intermediate - waist height - 36"

Joining the ends - heat ends in boiling water and then slip the connector in

Decorating hoops - 
Sand the hoop for more grip
Gaffer tape and decorative metallic tape
Gaffer tape - 1" or 1/2" for accent colors

100' of 1" 160 psi plastic coil pipe = $115 at Lowes - Enough for (8) 44" hoops
1" connectors - $1 each
1" Gaffer's Tape - $12-$17 per 55 yard roll (depending on color)

I certainly have no intention of buying a $100 of irrigation tubing to make a hula hoop, but I will be on the hunt for scraps.  Maybe my sprinkler guy can hook me up.  If I could get 20 feet, I would gladly invest in the remaining supplies to make a hula hoop.

Ruby Hooping sells hoops for $65 (20% off coupon) + $13 for shipping which ends up at $65.  They use 3/4" 100 psi polyethylene tubing and recommend  44 inch diameter for a 42 inch waist.

Monday, April 11, 2022


This past weekend, the family did a quick trip to Orlando.  My wife has an annual conference there and it is a nice long weekend to tag along.

Thursday - 4/7 - Leave the house at 8:45 AM for a 12:30 PM departure to Orlando.  Flight was delayed, but we still made it to Orlando smoothly, rented a car and got to the Hilton Orlando by 7:00 PM local time.  Had dinner at Chedder's.  It was not great.  Diya had a chicken sandwich, Nisha had the salmon, I ordered a pot pie and Ratna got a veggie plate.  Ratna drove to her Dad's house that evening.

Friday - 4/8 - Went to the gym and then played tennis.  Went to Walmart to get additional tennis balls and snacks.  Lunch at Subway.  Contractor and Joseph families arrived that evening along with my Father in-law.  Spent some time at the pool and then went to Woodlands for dinner.  Lots of leftovers.  Diya and I had paper masala dosa and Nisha got a regular masala dosa.

Saturday - 4/9 - Went to the gym and then played tennis.  Hung out at the pool most of the day.  Had the opportunity to meet Rinku Singh who recently got picked up for WWE.  He was the Indian javelin thrower who signed a contract with the Pirates after winning Million Dollar Arm (featured in a Disney movie).  Very humble guy.  We all went to Tijuana Flat's for dinner.

Sunday - 4/10 - Slept in and left for the airport around 1:00 PM for a 3:00 PM flight.  Flight was delayed on the tarmac and we did not get home until 7:00 PM Denver time.

It is important to maintain relationships with family.  Also my wife's career requires social appearances by the family.  It is not a big deal, but it is overwhelming for me on these whirlwind trips.  

The toughest part for us is eating and sleeping on vacation.  Inevitably, it is hard to find restaurants we all enjoy.  Also two queen beds is tough for us as I am pushing 200# and even petit women take up space.  I really feel the need to unwind with television in the evenings and that usually hampers everyone from falling asleep.  The other sleep challenge is that I need 6-7 hours, the girls need 8-9 hours and my wife needs 10+ hours.

I should have definitely planned more activities for myself like Top Golf or visiting a Crossfit gym.

I also need to work on my travel related anxiety.  I end up keeping a low dose Imodium while flying and driving around so that I am not always on the lookout for a bathroom.

I overpacked in terms of clothing.  With a line dryer, I can get away with a daily pair of fresh socks, underwear and t-shirt.  Wear the same shorts, sweatpants and sweatshirt for a three day trip.  Toiletries, meds and pajamas are always packed.  I will probably skip flip flops next time and just bring Crocs Santa Cruz and Nike Metcons.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Activities and Adventures

During our recent trip to Crested Butte, we got to talking about activities and adventures we might enjoy.
  • Jet skiing - Nisha (Chatfield or during vacation)
  • Knife throwing - Diya (Book activity at the house)
  • Hot Air Ballooning - Nisha (look into local)
  • Flying Lessons - Diya (look into local)
  • Rails-to-Trails - Sanjiv (Nebraska, long drive)
  • 50+ mile point to point bike rides around Colorado - Ride the Rockies segments
    • Copper Triangle - 80 miles
    • Copper to Glenwood Springs - 110 miles
    • Glenwood Springs to Basalt - 31 miles
    • Basalt to Salida - 107 miles
    • Salida to Breckenridge - 79 miles
    • Breckenridge to Breckenridge - 31 miles
    • Breckenridge to Golden - 78 miles
  • Mt Morrison Hike - Sanjiv 3 hours - 3.6 miles
  • Foothills Golf Course - driving range, par 3, regulation
  • Bear Creek Archery - Saturday 9:30 - 11 AM class
We also have some trips planned this year to Orlando, Austin and St Louis.  I want to visit Memphis as well.

I am trying to generate some personal enthusiasm.  The first step will be to turn off the television and actually be somewhat engaged rather than tuning out.  Watching some news or Crossfit videos is OK, but seeking out new series or watching clips from Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy and others is truly mind numbing.

I have not been reading (fiction or non-fiction), not been focused on recovery and have not been able to commit to a healthy diet.  My 75 Hard Challenge could be reset.

I will likely update this post a number of times, but getting some of my thoughts on paper is a start.

I want to get Nisha a new bicycle this year.  We will probably do Bicycle Village again and get a new model Marin 5 (XS).

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Return to Racing?

I have not done any multisport racing since 2015.  I did train for events in 2016 as an active member of the Arvada Triathlon Club, but I also took up Crossfit in 2015 and kept up with high intensity interval training in 2016.

Since then, I have been laid off from Oracle, did a stint in the oil field and have had stable employment at CDOT since 2019.  I have done the D'Evelyn dash 2019, 2020, and 2021.  I also did a mountain bike race in 2019.  

The Covid 19 pandemic royally screwed up racing in 2020 and 2021, with a slow return to normal around July of 2021.  With the pandemic at more of an endemic state, it feels like a good time to throw my hat back in the ring.

Racing thoughts:

July 10 - Stonehouse Lakewood 2 mile run (RMRR)
July 23 - Crooked Gravel (30 mile short course; Winter Park)
July 31 - Chatfield Classic - Mountain Swim Series (1 mile)
August 27 - D'Evelyn Dash (5K)
September 10 - Littlefoot Sprint Triathlon (0.75-15-5k Bear Creek Lake Park)
October 8 - Stone House double Triple-Cross trail 8.6M (CMRA)

Aside from the Crooked Gravel, these are all very local events with a really nice atmosphere.  I would get a chance to hang with the RMRR and the CMRA again.  I would also get back into multisport racing.

All of these could potentially be done with minimal training.  However, I would ideally be swimming, riding and running at least once a week.

Swimming - Grant Ranch May 21 - September 11 - Tuesday/Thursday 6 am - 7:30 am; Saturday/Sunday 7 am - 9:30 am or Bear Creek Lake or Mountain Swim Series.  I would primarily be training at Carmody Rec Center.

Riding - Bear Creek Lake Trail System

Running - Harriman Park, D'Evelyn Track, Bear Creek Lake Trail System or anywhere else

I got a slight kick of motivation with Maddy coming to town and talking about the aquathon and aquabike national championships.  She has ambitions to make it to worlds in Spain.  I have no such delusions of grandeur.  However, aside from the Crossfit Open, I have not had a target event to focus my training.

Crested Butte for Spring Break

We returned to Crested Butte for a spring break vacation.  The weather was gorgeous and we had an easy drive down and back over Kenosha Pass and Monarch Pass.  We were once again joined by my Maddy and had a nice time at Elevations Hotel and Spa.

We left Wednesday and drove down starting around 10:00 PM and arriving around 3:00 PM.  We had dinner at Marchitelli's Gourmet Noodle.  The food was excellent, but a little pricey.

Thursday was our first ski day and the 5 of us skied together nearly all day.  They had not had any fresh snow in a couple of weeks, but the groomed terrain was very manageable.  For dinner Thursday, we had a reservation at The Breadery.  The food was good here as well, but the portion sizes were smaller and the dishes were more innovative than traditional.  While in line at 5:00 by happenstance for a table, I came to find out a lot of people were just in line for sourdough bread which sells out daily within 30 minutes.  I had to buy one and was not disappointed.  I got an olive and herb loaf and it was amazing.

Friday on the slopes was another good day.  Diya and I skied into the afternoon, while Nisha and Ratna ended after lunch.  Friday, I wanted to watch the Purdue game (they lost to St. Peters) and we decided to just have bar food near the hotel at Iron Horse Tap.  The atmosphere did not suit the girls, but it was good food at reasonable prices.

Saturday was pack up and head out.  I got in a few more ski runs, but the conditions were progressively worse than they were Thursday and Friday.  The drive back was good and we picked up Mac Nation Cafe for dinner.

The Elevations Hotel & Spa is great for us with a convenient ski valet, indoor pool and hot tub and a great gym.  The girls hit the pool and hot tub, but I did not join them.  I hit the gym twice doing bench press one day and deadlifts the next day.  Between the Powerlift benches, racks and plyometric boxes and the York Kg bumpers, I was in hog heaven.

The terrain at Crested Butte is great for us and we again stuck to Red Lady Express, Gold Link, Prospect, Painter Boy and Teocalli Lift.  We did a run off of Paradise Express.  Everybody had a fun and safe time.

I used my Garmen Fenix 6 for the first time and got some interesting data.

Overall, I would definitely return to Crested Butte.  With a longer trip, we may have tried Cross Country skiing again.

We had breakfast and lunch at the room.  We packed bagels, soup and fruit.  When packing again, I would bring a couple of cans of chicken.

My daughters did get headaches and my stomach was a little queasy.  In the future we would pack liquid Advil, Arnicare and elastic adhesive wrap.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

iFly Denver

Pre Flight




The family finally made it out to iFly Denver.  We got a good rate through a military discount and me and the girls were prepared for two 1 minute flights each.  We got roped into the high flight and pictures for an extra $30 each.  In retrospect it was not worth it.  Ratna took great pictures and videos from the gallery.

The facility is clean, safe and well organized.  The instructors are super friendly.  Our instructor was Kai.  After the flight, the instructors fly around a little to show how good you can get with practice.

We wore street clothes and lace up shoes and were given a flight suit, ear plugs, head sock, goggles and a helmet.  I feel like it would have been more comfortable with a full face helmet.  The wind hitting my face got me slobbering on the second flight.

Floating on air comes more naturally to some than to others.  Diya and Nisha did much better than I did.  Essentially you are doing a Superman hold pushing your hips forward and a slight bend in the knees.  The amount of band propels you forward or back.  The arm position keeps you flat.  Chin up is an important cue.

The facility caters to one and done folks and people who want to get really good at flying.  For the one and done, get the high flight and video and tell your friends about it.  Of the three of us, Diya was most excited to go again.  For those who want to get good at flying, you can buy vouchers for future flights.  Normally it is around $80 for two 1 minute flights.  You can purchase vouchers for four 1 minute flights ($65), ten 1 minute flights ($140), or ten 1 minute flights to share with up to 5 people ($200).

We ended up getting Diya a four pack and I will take her again.  If she really gets into it, I might reconsider doing it more often.  For those who want to progress, skip the high flight and the pictures.

I struggled to get comfortable and 1 minute goes by fast (that is about the free fall time for outdoor sky diving).  It is not a super expensive hobby and they programs to go from:

Level 1 - Basics - stable flight
Level 2 - Freefly - up/down, forward/back, flips
Level 3 - Freefly - back flips, cartwheels
Level 4 - Freefly - head down, half eagle
Level 5 - Freefly Pro - full eagle

$65 for 4 minutes of flight time may seem expensive, but going once/week would be around $3000/year about the same as a Crossfit membership or greens fees for the avid golfer.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Upcycled Bicycle Equipment


Really great pieces being offered by Edward Cortright.  I am most interested in the lamps that he is asking $30 for.  I messaged him and apparently he used to do a lot, but is getting out of it and trying to get rid of the pieces he already has.  Really nice guy and I love my new lamp (although it is truly a man cave item that will not match the decor anywhere else in the house.

Tables, clocks, stools, made from bicycle parts.  Prices start at $20 for small clocks up to $150 for wheel tables.  Or buy it all!



Calvin Herman was offering the two pictures above along with some other great artwork an memorabilia in Lakewood this weekend.  We grabbed the summer scene for $32.  He was retiring and moving and wanted the items to find a good home.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Blood Type

I feel like I should have known my blood type.  I knew that I was O, but could not remember if it was O+ or O-.  I could have asked my doctor to check or donated blood or combed through my medical history.

Instead, I ordered some Eldoncard INC Blood Type Test cards from Amazon.  $32.99 for a 5-pack or just over $6.50 per kit.

They were easy to use and I quickly confirmed I was O+ and will start including this as part of my emergency contact information.  I also tested my 13 year old daughter's blood type and she was also O+.  Given that my wife is O+, it is extremely unlikely that my 14 year old is anything but O+, but it would be pretty easy to check.

All in all it was money well spent and a fun little exercise to do at home.  Of course, if I do not use the other 3 kits, it works out to $16.50 each for me and my 13 year old to verify our blood type.