African Connection links are now in the sidebar to the right, just below the My Travel section.

Click here to see a La Crosse Tribune article about the mission in Uganda.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sunset, Sunrise

Driving towards Lincoln, the experiences of the Rocky Mountain National Park tour packaged up during the week-long ride are already being opened up to be enjoyed, and not for the last time. But the sun is setting behind us and the tour has moved from anticipation, through experience and now on to reflection.

Sunrise in La Crosse tomorrow will be at 6:16 a.m. Four and half hours later I plan to be on my way to Zermatt via Chicago, Brussels and Zurich. Anticipation of the Swiss Ride is soon to transition to experience. Look for the reflections to appear here sometime after September 7.

Bis Bald!

It's all Downhill from Here

Sunday, June 29
Laramie to Loveland

It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail

Loveland is 2,090 feet below Laramie. A downhill ride. Maybe so, but it was a thoroughly miserable morning. This was a long leg on the day that we would ride to Loveland, pack up then drive 480 miles to Lincoln, Nebraska. Fighting a headwind out of Laramie, I looked at my computer and thought I'd be lucky to get to Loveland by nightfall. The road was straight and slightly uphill. Trucks whooshed by at regular intervals. The cummulative fatigue of the ride so far had pretty much soaked through and through. A thoroughly miserable start to the last ride of the tour.

Looking ahead I see a lone hill rising out of the plain. The prairie stretches for miles in every direction around it. And where does the road go? Right over the top, of course. And if that weren't enough, after miles of riding into the wind already there is this sign at the approach:

But you know, once through the cut at the top, the wind died down; riding conditions and my spirits improved considerably. The road rolled along, with one four mile stretch providing what were called BIG rollers on the route sheet. I just called them climbs myself. After lunch, the road got really busy, little cars pushing big campers and heavily loaded semis going by almost continuously. The shoulder was OK, but heavy, fast moving traffic takes away from the enjoyment of the ride.

So, it was a welcome relief to turn off of the main highway onto rural roads north and west of Fort Collins. For a while. This was the entree into the area around the reservoir above the city and we were promised a series of climbs as payback for the long miles of gradual descent we had enjoyed since before the picnic stop. And the road did not disappoint. Getting to the level of the reservoir required climbing a nasty hill, credited with being 10% for 1 mile on paper but seeming much more intimidating in real life. After putting this behind me, I go through a series of steep downhills, most ending with sharp curves, each requiring, of course, a climb. At the top of the longest of the climbs a gentleman standing by his car looked over at me and said, "It's all downhill from here." I suspect I looked like I needed some sort of encouragement like this.

Reservoir Road
Once again the road was straight and relatively flat and I was able to make good time. It was here, about 10 miles from Loveland, that I started to notice the discards on the side of the highway. A buckle from a biking shoe, a water bottle, a biking glove, an unopened energy bar. The picture I developed from all of this was of a rider shedding weight, trying to make it into town. I started to wonder, "What am I carrying that I don't REALLY need?" Dirk might have offered, "Start with the bike."

I brought it all in, though and pulled into the campground in Loveland much earlier than I had expected this morning. I didn't do the "I did it" thing here. The big climbs were the challenges. The top of Trail Ridge was the peak in all respects. Still, it was good to be done with the tour. It was good to have done it. So indulge me just a bit here and let me say now, from the comfort of my kitchen with the Olympics on in the background, "I did it."

Today's ride:
83.6 miles
2,985 feet of climbing

Tour totals:
513.6 miles
27,561 feet of climbing

Physics Lesson

Saturday, June 28
Saratoga to Laramie

...other mountain peaks began to appear.

The tour started in Loveland on the eastern side of the Rockies. It then proceeded up and over the mountains, bringing us to western slopes. The tour ends in Loveland. It had to happen, then. Another trip across the mountains was to be required. And today was to be the day.

Backtracking out of Saratoga for about 8 miles brings us to the turnoff into Medicine Bow National Forest. Here we head east and start a long climb. It's a gentle grade for about 12 miles then it starts to be more like a real climb for the next 14 miles. But nothing, nothing at all like going over Trail Ridge. The road wound through green forests and once again there was the ever present sound of rushing water. Traffic wasn't much of a factor, either, making this a most pleasant morning. We just barely get above the tree line, but there is quite a bit of snow that starts to show about three-quarters of the way up.

The Road to Snowy
The reward for the climb was the view of the stark, gray, rocky faces of the Snowy Range standing out against the deep blue sky and reflected in the lake at their base. Just another day in paradise.

Snowy Range

After lunch at the highest point on the road, I start down. Now I get into groups who are participating in the road race we were told to watch out for at last night's meeting. The stronger bikers had raced up the mountain, dawn a ways from the direction we had come and would then race back. But here there were riders doing the "ride to the top and turn around and go back" version. There was race related traffic control and it actually made for a very nice descent.

There are many principles of physics evident in bicycling and I was part of a demonstration of the one that states "weight beats aerodynamics." After a bit of flattening out 6 miles into the 11 mile descent, I approach the start of the short 8% drop. I'm sort of bent over in the drops, but not really down low. Just before going over the edge, one of the women riders in the race goes by. She is sitting down on the bar, her head below the handlebars. She is probably 100 lbs. soaking wet and nearly invisible on the bike, very nearly perfect aerodynamics. She goes by me with speed and is quickly 10 yards ahead of me. But as a result of my superior skills in post-ride eating, I slowly gain on her in spite of less than optimum aerodynamics. A clear demonstration of this particular principle of physics.

The road flattens out for good at Centennial and I now only have 32 miles to go. And it was probably the quickest 32 miles of the tour. For me, that is. The pace was quick all the way into Laramie, although we had a fair distance to go once we got into town. We set up at the high school and look for a chance to unwind before dinner. The only option was a gas station/convenience store. That had no beer. We sat on the curb and drank Diet Coke. Al came along after a bit and joined us, drinking milk from a quart container. Suave.

Today's ride:
81.5 miles
4,982 feet of climbing

Where's the Beef?

Friday, June 27
Walden to Saratoga, Wyoming

Though I fall I will rise;

"Is it only Friday? Is it already Friday?" That's what I wrote before taking off on the ride. It has been a long week. More fatigue accumulates during the hours of riding than can be abated before the next ride starts. But it does seem that we've gotten to the end of the week

Today is to be relatively flat ~ in the end we do a mere 2,104 feet of climbing. The ride is through increasingly big open spaces and includes the border crossing as we enter Wyoming. There is only one climb that qualifies as such, about 3 miles at 5 to 7%, the rest of the altitude gain coming from the ups and downs in the rolling high country. Saratoga is actually about 1,300 feet below Walden. It was an enjoyable ride. Except for the fall. Well, it wasn't much of a fall, but down I did go. I was coming up to the left turn off the highway at Riverside; the picnic stop was about a quarter of a mile down a gravel road. Looking ahead, I saw a truck approaching and I could see a car behind me in my mirror. Instead of trying to beat the truck or stop in the traffic lane, I pulled off into a parking lot on the right and started to swing around. It was a gravel lot. As I turned the wheel my bike quite suddenly assumed a not-rubber-side-down attitude. I was on the ground in a flash, my shoulder jarred, a big scrape on my elbow. I took inventory and found all the parts in place so got back on the bike and rolled in to lunch.

On the Road to Saratoga

But sometimes, it's not about the ride. Like today. Today it was about...BEEF! We are, after all, in cattle country and there were signs along the way reminding us of this fact. EAT BEEF! they declared in big, bold letters that practically double dog dared you to even thing about chicken. Once in town, we set off looking for the barbeque place that Bill remembered from a previous tour through here. It was, alas, no more. So we decided to take the advice of a couple I had talked to as we were setting up camp. They had been visiting the area for a few days and opined that the Hotel Wolf had THE best hamburgers. It was something we needed to check out for ourselves.

Hotel Wolf
Oh my, what a hamburger! The Wolf buys blue ribbon beef at county fairs, markets, etc. and does their own butchering. They keep the trimmings from the steaks and roasts and grind all this for their hamburger. The meat is not frozen and only formed into a patty when you place your order at which time it is cooked just right. It was a hamburger for which you might ride 348.5 miles and climb 19,540 feet. Whoa! That's exactly how far I'd ridden and climbed during this tour. What a coincidence.

I'll have to say that I was tempted to ask for a California Tofu Burger at the Wolf. But as we were waiting at the table, I noticed a bumper sticker up on the wall. It read, "My guns have killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy's car." Here were people with an attitude. "I'll think I'll go with the cheeseburger, please."

Today's ride:
69.1 miles
2,104 feet of climbing

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Walden (Not the Pond)

Thursday, June 26
Steamboat Springs to Walden

As the people migrated eastward, they found a plain in the land

The day of the dreaded climb out of Steamboat. Although, as mentioned in the post about our day off, I wasn't really all that concerned. And rightly so. It was a great morning and the climb was quite enjoyable. This morning I had a chance to enjoy the views that, had I looked up, would have been but a blur on the rapid descent. Blue sky with a few white clouds, snow capped mountains and dark green fields provided a backdrop to a large lake below. I stopped several times to take pictures, each turn and altitude change providing a different perspective on the landscape.

Climbing Out of Steamboat Springs
After the climb which carried us south, we head east, back over the west and east summits of Rabbit Ears to the top of Muddy Pass. Here, we turn off on HIghway 14, drop down and ride through the high plains. It's about 35 miles of flat to slightly downhill riding. Once again there are the sprawling ranches, buildings showing themselves only occasionally. As I'm cruising along, enjoying the tailwind, a coyote dashes across the road, bounds up the slight rise on the side of the road and stops. The perfect picture. I slow down and get my right foot out of the pedal, this bringing the familiar "click" of the unclipping action. The click may have sounded familiar to the coyote too, a not-welcomed sound in this case. He was off like a shot. I had no shot. And he was glad he wasn't shot.

Cattle Country
The other wildlife encounter on this day was with two of the many, many prairie dogs that patrolled the highway. As I came up on this pair, one darted in front of me and disappeared into the short grass. I watched the second one closely, being quite near now and fearing that if he bolted in the same direction, I'd go right over him. Sensing this himself (I'm supposing), he adopted another tactic...hide. You might think that there was little cover there on the paved shoulder, but he made do. He absolutely poured himself into one of the grooves in the rumble strip, filling it almost perfectly. I rode past and looked down at him looking up at me. I pretended I didn't see him. He thought he'd pulled one over on me. You never know just what you are going to find as you follow the long white line.

This encounter did cause me to think that, if I could, I would get all of the prairie dogs together and tell them, "Listen. You guys on the right side of the highway take care of the things on the right side. Left side guys, take care of the left side. This constant running back and forth across the road is just killing you. Literally." I don't suppose they'd listen though, being prairie dogs.

Walden declares itself to be the Moose Viewing Capital of Colorado, but' I'll tell you now that save for the head on the wall of the cafe, there was not a moose to be seen on this day.

That's Moose VIEWING, Bill!
After a hamburger and a gallon or so of diet Pepsi, we take in the sights of Main Street. This includes a stop at an ice cream parlor in a building whose sign announces the following services are available:

Subs Sandwich (sic)
Ice Cream Parlor
Antique's (sic again)
Real Estate

It is a small town, after all. The young lady serving up the ice cream says that there are 2,400 people. In the county. About 700 live in Walden. We meet Christine who tells us we should visit the local museum, tucked away behind the city hall. Checking our calendars, we see we do have the afternoon open, so we mosey on over. People mosey here. It's the west.

The museum is like a city wide garage sale except you can't buy any of the thousands of items set out in the many rooms scattered over three floors. People bring stuff that they have as donations or loans. Clothes, furniture, saddles. The old schoolroom. A car. In one room was a display of every sort of barbed wire you could imagine and a few you couldn't. BIll and I realize we recognize many of the items; we'd used a few in our younger days in fact. It is a sobering thought. There was the dynamite thawer though. Neither of us had ever used one. Dynamite thawer?

Dynamite Thawers
My favorite? The racks of old photographs. A giant family album. What made it so special was that there was nothing special in that "there must be a reason why your picture is on public display" sense. Just pictures of people. Families. Cowboys with their horses. Birthday parties. People at work. Hard at work - a recurring theme. Absolutely spellbinding.

Special People

Today's ride:
64.1 miles
3,906 feet of climbing

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Picture Perfect Day

Wednesday, June 25
Day off in Steamboat Springs

...they were told that they should rest for a little while longer

In all my cycling tours I've never had a rest day. Of course this is only my second tour, but it's still true. We start the day on the bus, which isn't running quite as efficiently as last night. This does, however, give me time to study the tourist map of Steamboat Springs which leads to a decision to have breakfast at the Creekside Cafe & Grill. Better lucky than smart. This was a fabulous find. We sit outdoors by the side of, you guessed it, a creek. Columbines in bloom blue the bank next to the twisting, turning water. The waitress suggests we start with a grapefruit, raspberry, champagne cocktail. Sounded like a good suggestion to us. The rest of the breakfast didn't disappoint either and we enjoyed what would turn out to be a leisurely brunch.

At the Creekside Cafe & Grill

Most of the rest of the day was spent exploring the arts and crafts galleries, souvenir shops and the local bike store. Early on, I found a painting that I really liked in an artisits' co-op. I passed initially, but eventually came back, bought it and arranged to have it shipped home.

We had dinner at a nice Italian restaurant then headed over to the Steamboat Springs Yacht Club (I am not making this up) to re-join the tour team for the meeting where tomorrow's ride is reviewed. You know the ride, the one where we climb back up the 7 mile long 7% grade highway. I had been thinking that I might have to take up residence in Steamboat, at least until I could earn enough money to buy a car and drive out. But after this enjoyable day of rest, I found myself thinking after the meeting, "No problem."

A Cabin in the Woods

Tuesday, June 24
Granby to Steamboat Springs
Quick! Go down the mountain!
Not much to look forward to today. Just three passes and a  big hole. The talk at the meeting last night was about the 7 mile, 7% descent into Steamboat Springs to end the 85 mile ride. Speaking of ride distances, for the record: days 1 and 2 of the tour took us 51.8 and 67.1 miles with 4,320 and 5,518 feet of climbing, respectively.
Now the big thing about the long descent was that we were going to need to climb back up the same road the day after tomorrow; we have a REST day in Steamboat Springs tomorrow. So in spite of the fact that we are to climb Muddy Pass then go over both the east and west summits of Rabbit Ears pass, thoughts were on the final descent.
The rock wall lined valley of the early part of the ride gives way to more open country after we get through the small town of Kremmling. Rocky hills abound, but the mountains are out on the horizon and we ride along on rolling roads. The road rises gradually through the morning; the picnic stop is located at a rest area whose restroom is the only building in sight. It is here we get some bad news; one of our riders came out on the short end of an encounter with a rumble strip just a few miles out of Granby. First reports were that she needed stitches in her lip; we were to learn later, however, that she ended up being airlifted to Denver where she had surgery to repair damage to her spleen. Not the kind of news you want to hear. Writing this reminds me that the last bit of news we got on the tour was that she had been released from the ICU. I hope she made it home soon after.

On the Road from Granby
It isn't too long after lunch that the climb up to Muddy Pass begins in earnest. Compared to yesterday, it was an easy climb. But, having made it to the "top," it was still necessary to climb some more. First to the east summit of Rabbit Ears pass, gaining this only to descend for the sake of climbing to the top of the west summit. Here I cross the Continental Divide for the second time in two days.
Another few miles and there it was: the road ahead disappearing over the edge of the hill like the water rushing headlong over the rim of Niagara Falls from whence, as I recall, it proceeds to crash in a frenzy upon the rocks below. Maybe not the best mental image to conjure up when you are at the top. Signs on the approach try to encourage with messages such as, "Trucks Test Brakes," "Trucks use Low Gear, 7% Grade Next 7 Miles," and "Runaway Truck Ramp 4 1/2 Miles." As I was soon to discover, you would need to be a pretty good semi pilot to navigate 4 1/2 miles on a steep, winding road in a runaway truck in order to avail yourself of the ramp's services. Having fortified myself with these thoughts, I roll over the top and start the drop.

Over the Top
A stiff headwind makes it feel like a 45 mph ride, but the tension of the descent prompts me to keep my ground speed below 35 mph. What can I say? Descents are usually an enjoyable part of the ride, but every once in a while one gets to you. This was one of those. My back felt fine and I didn’t feel the need to stop, but I was glad when I reached the bottom.
Bill had talked about this part of the ride quite a bit, the big descent into Steamboat Springs. Well, I did the descent, so where is Steamboat Springs? Four miles farther on it turns out. OK, I can do that. Ride into town ~ NARROWLY avoiding a collision with a car whose driver hasn’t seen me yet ~ go past the Rabbit Ears Hotel and turn right for the school. Or maybe you’ll find one of the Cycle America staff at the corner directing you to ride on three miles out of town to a campground because the school is somehow and suddenly not available. I was not a happy camper as I finally pulled into the campground, well out of town and away from the various attractions we had planned to unwind in. Bill had his tent up in the low, damp area we had been assigned and I followed suit. A piece of news mitigating the disappointment with this location was that there was a free city shuttle bus that stopped at the campground every 20 minutes; we could use it to get to and from town as we pleased. Bill had noticed that there were a few cabins here and after showering I went to the office and inquired as to availability. There were in fact two right on the river that were vacant. We could have one for a mere $54 per night. Sold! We take down the tents and move in.

A Cabin in the Woods
Things are looking up. Beds. Electricity. A swing on the front porch which looks out over the Yampa River. The cabin was shaded by several large trees and was comfortably cool inside. Yes, definitely looking up. We take the bus and, having decided to split from the tour team for our time in Steamboat Springs, enjoy dinner at the fashionable Bistro C.V. No trail food here; hamburgers made with Kobe Beef accompanied by 15-54 Brussels Style Black Ale. Then it was back to the camp, turning in to the white noise of the tumbling Yampa in the background. I woke up once during the night and thought it must be pouring rain, but soon realized it was the sound of the rushing river. Ahh....

The Yampa River at Steamboat Springs Campground
Today's ride:
85.4 miles
3,692 feet of climbing

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Real Time Interlude #4

Checking the counter I see it is a mere 8 days, 22 hours until I depart for Zurich and the start of the Swiss ride. Bill leaves this Friday ~ 3 days from now! And what have we been doing to get ready? Well, Bill took a long weekend off in tropical Missouri, attending banquets and otherwise preparing for apres-ride activities, including, I presume, practicing that surprised look upon discovering a forgotten wallet when the tab hits the table. Me, on the other hand, well I've been WORKING the roads and hills. Saturday it was 103.6 miles with 5,555 feet of climbing. A couple of 25 mile days since, each with a climb up Chipmunk Ridge Road (nee School Section Road) and I've worked my riding up to over 3600 miles this year with about 174,000 feet of climbing.

Now, if Bill would just take off another week. And attend a few more social functions. And bring his mountain bike to Switzerland... Then there may be a chance of us riding at more or less the same pace.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Coming Back Down to Earth

Monday, June 23
Estes Park to Granby ...conclusion

…there was a powerful thunder and lightning storm, and a dense cloud came down upon the mountain.

Having made the peak and stopped to reflect, I think we’d best pick up the pace here. There is still a long way to go.

After coming down from the top of Trail Ridge Road and stopping for a few minutes at the Alpine Visitor Center, I started the long descent. The road dropped to the Medicine Bow Curve switchback then straightened out, more or less, taking me through Milner pass, by Lake Irene and down to Fairview Curve where the track changed suddenly to a series of five switchbacks.

Continental Divide at Milner Pass
It was a great descent. EXCEPT. After all of the climbing in the last two days it was on this descent that my back started to act up. After a few minutes racing downhill in the drops, the ache would set in. So, I’d stop, take in the sights then move on. This actually worked out OK as the road, in spite of all of the cars at Alpine, was quiet and I could just sit and listen to the water and the wind rustling the trees. In fact, I only encountered two vehicles on the descent to Fairview, a car coming up and a motorcycle going down. Flying down is more like it. My guess is the rider can feel free to dine on double bacon cheeseburgers all he wants. It isn’t his cholesterol he needs to worry about.

I reached the lower levels of Trail Ridge Road at the same time as a vicious crack of thunder. It would seem that I had found the back of the storm I had been worried about riding into up on the mountain just a couple of hours earlier. I figured I would ride on a bit before stopping to re-configure my outfit for rain riding. And as I was figuring, it started to sleet. I think. Not quite snow, definitely not hail, just big chunks of slushy ice. With this was a considerable amount of rain, making for a suddenly cold, wet environment. Remember the sign in the Saturday, July 19 posting? The one that read “Be prepared for rapidly changing weather…conditions?” This was why they put that sign up. I stopped the bike, jumped off and got out my helmet and shoe covers, glove liners and full finger gloves. I already had on my heavy jacket and tights. Even though I got the extra protection on quickly, I got pretty well soaked. It hadn’t thundered again so I mounted up and rode on. The sleet-rain mix turned pretty quickly to a steady soaking rain. I have had more fun on a bike than this.

After about 10 minutes and one more thunderclap, the rain subsided. I pulled in at a trailhead with restroom facilities. There were no paper towels, so I stuffed my shoes with toilet paper, wrung out my socks, dried off my glasses and otherwise tried to shed some of the water I’d accumulated. Accomplishing as much as I could, I got back on the bike and headed towards Granby, still some 30 miles away. I was concentrating on maintaining a fairly quick pace, as the storm seemed to be moving in my direction. It looked as if I would have to keep moving to avoid a reprise of the soaking I’d just experienced.

As I as clipping along on the flat road leading out to the west entrance of the park, I did a double take at the Cycle America sign I saw on the roadside up ahead. There had already been two water stops. What was... Oh, lunch! I had forgotten all about lunch. I decided it just might be a good idea to stop and get something to eat. Christine was there, sitting on a chair shivering, her heavy jacket collar up around her neck, a wool cap on her head and a cup of soup in her hands. Yes, it was cold and damp. And yes, there was hot soup! Really good, hot soup. It started to rain just as I finished eating, so I took off again for Granby. I got ahead of the rain for good after about 30 minutes and rode with a very helpful tailwind the rest of the way.

Trail Ridge Road
I came to the intersection with US Highway 40 just outside of town, turned left and rode down Granby’s main street, W. Agate Avenue. I was just about there. One more left turn at the stop light and there it was. What? It wasn't the school I saw up ahead. No, it was the road going vertical. Well, OK, maybe 12%. But it LOOKED like a wall. I was not about to let the last two blocks get me off the bike, so I pedaled up, huffing and puffing more than I had all day. Then I really was there. I found my bags and dragged them into the gym. I was sleeping in tonight. Oh. My. Goodness. What a day.

To sleep, perchance to dream (in the Granby school gym)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Top of the World

Monday, June 23
Estes Park to Granby ...continued

He seldom reflects on the days of his life...

So, what was it like, sitting on the top of the world? This was, and may well forever be, the top as measured in feet (or meters) for me and my bike. While I'm not necessarily the reflective type, it seemed logical to pause and reflect a bit at this point in my riding career.

As noted previously, pausing at the top of Trail Ridge Road wasn't as convenient as I would have expected. Recall that this is the highest point on the highest paved through road in the U.S. Yet there is nothing to mark the occasion and no place, save for the narrow shoulder, to stop and ponder what has just happened. Or, what comes next.

Let's be sure about one thing ~ there are MANY things more important than dragging a bike up to the top of a mountain. Faith, family, friends, mission work in the Dominican Republic and Uganda. There is a long list here. Nonetheless, the feeling of accomplishment upon arriving at this point in the road was intense. Here's what I wrote in my journal that evening in the gym in Granby:

I stopped, unclipped, took out my camera and shot three pictures: one to my left from where I had come, one to my right looking on to where I was headed and one of my computer, reading 12,183 feet, the altitude at the point where I was [click here to see the pictures]. Then I repeated the words I said to myself last year as I rolled into the University of Montana campus in Missoula, "I did it."

Happy, ecstatic, exhilarated are all perfectly good words to describe feelings of accomplishment. But they just don't apply here. The feeling was more one of intense personal satisfaction. No fist pump, no high fives, no big grins; just, "I did it." Said to no one but myself [and now shared with you, of course]. Because this was a personal thing. Not a race with the other riders. Not a contest with the mountain which is, after all, just a pile of rocks. A BIG pile, to be sure, but just a pile. I just felt satisfied knowing that I could work hard enough to prepare for then complete this part of the ride.

Perhaps another reason for my reaction not spilling over into the more open displays of happiness mentioned above was that, unlike the arrival in Missoula, I was far from the end of this tour. Far, in fact, from being finished with this day's ride. There were still 40 miles to go. Reflection time over, I clip in, start shifting up into the bigger gears (you know, the ones that hadn't seen the chain all day) and head down.

To be continued...