Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Good Bike Ride

After over a month and a half hiatus from bicycle riding, yesterday afternoon I HAD to get out for a ride.  The weather was perfect for mid November - 50 degrees, sunny, and almost no wind.  Didn't take me time to kit up, load the hybrid on the car, and head to the Wabash trace Trailhead in Council bluffs.

Aired up the tired on the bike, loaded the bike with provisions (water, Gatorade, rack bag, etc) and headed out to Lake Manawa.  Because I had not ridden much recently, I wanted to take it easy and not sure how far I would go. 

Topped to take a couple photos of the Lake Manawa Trail.  At the indian Creek Bridge, it was decision time.  With a drink of water, I was ready to continue up Indian Creek Bridge and on around Lake Manawa.  No speed records - averaged 8.27mph for the 11 mile ride.   Just a gread day to be out on the bike.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bike Bash 2013

Last night, the Psycowpath Mountain Bike racing series held its awards banquet,  The event was at Plate River State Park near Louisville, NE. 

The banquet was proceeded with a bicycle rode on the trails of the park.

The kitchen volunteers cooked a spaghetti feed with 3 kinds of sauce,  Refreshments included soda and a pony of Fat Tire.  Food topped off with Mrs. Abbott's brownies, ice cream, and home made cookies brought by a race-group elf.

Two cups of Fat Tire, 2 helping of pasta, and desert, was too much.  That is, I ate too much!

Attendance was smaller than previous years.  Many were on the other side of Iowa racing in Jingle Cross Rock race.

The photo with this post shows the trophy winners that attended the bash,  Major sponsor the race series is the Nebraska Lottery.

All of the photos I took at Bike Bash 2013 are posted on my race and events web site:  http://win-photo.photoreflect.com.

Monday, November 11, 2013

"Thank You for Your Service"

This morning, Veteran's Day 2013, I drove to town for my free breakfast and pick up some groceries. Hy-Vee groceries stores have been holding Veteran's Day breakfasts for for several years. I am appreciative to the breakfast. When arriving, the staff greeted me with the regular "Thank you for your service.

On my way home, I had the satellite radio tuned in to listen the Michael Smerconish Program on POTUS SiriusXM channel 124. Micheal's topic was the greeting "Thank you for your service" given to those in uniform and veterans. Do those offering the greeting really mean it, or it is just as common as a simple "hello".

This really got me to thinking. "How do I feel when someone 'thanks' me for my service. As a Viet Nam veteran, I am a bit jaded and bitter.

I sure did not get any ""Thanks you for your service" when I got home. Armistice Day (forerunner of Veteran's Day) started as a celebration of the end of World War I. There were celebrations all around the country when Japan surrender, bringing World War II to close.

The Korean "War" I suggest is still being fought - under a "cease fire". It still is the "forgotten war".

This brings us to Viet Nam - my war. I did not want to to go to war. I tried to keep my deferment after college. I ended up being drafted. And, I served as my country ordered me.

The late 1960's were a troubled time. There were protests against the Viet Nam War (called a "conflict" by the politicians). Soldiers in uniform were often targets. When we had to travel in uniform, we were requested to stay out of sight as much as possible (for our own safety).

When we got home, we were ostracized. A friend of mine from high school was beaten only because he showed up in uniform to see his friends at a local beer bar. We were called "baby killers". When the US involvement in Viet Nam ended, there were no victory parades. No "thank you for your service".

Now we have an all-volunteer military. Much of the day-to-day work of the military is handled by contractors. Contractors that are getting rich over the system (but that's a whole other discussion).

Troops are welcomed home from Iraq and Afghanistan with celebrations. I think much of this is as a reaction to the events of 9/11/2001. We (Viet Nam vets) were expected to return to civilian life as if nothing happened - it was all just a bad dream.

I am afraid the country will forget the lessons of Viet Nam. Those under the age of 40, don't remember the troubled times war fraught. The daughter of a cousin had been volunteering with an "honor flight" group bringing World War II veterans to Washington, DC to the memorial. Will there be "honor flights" for Korea and Viet Nam vets?

Unfortunately, to me, "thank you for your service" has a little hollow ring.

Tom Winfield, SP5
HHC 199th Light Infantry Brigade, HHB IIFFV Artillery

Nebraska Cyclo-Cross Weekend - Day 2

Had to get out of the house yesterday - before the weather turned colder.  So, header out to Lake Cunningham for the cyclo-cross race.

Weather was sunny and in the upper 40s with a breeze (think it was from the SE?).  Sweatshirt weather.  Just after the start of the last race, the clouds came in, putting a chill in the air.  By that time, I had enough for a day.

Great to see my friends with THOR.  Really happy to have time to visit with Todd and Dan - a couple of racers I had not seen in a couple years.

The photos I took of the races are located on my race and events web site:  http://win-photo.photoreflect.com.  Congratulation to the racers!