I spent some fascinating (and challenging) years teaching in Turkey, and I’d love to share them with you, your friends, and your family. Contact me if you’d like copies, and I’ll send them off pronto. Write before December 15th, though, as I’ll be off on yet another adventure.
It was the brain child of Energizer Bunny Dan Bale, our neighbor, who cajoled his wife Lynette, my husband Jerry and me into “mounting” the Ride of the Century…well, Ride of the Year. Ride of the Month? O.K. Ride of the weekend. It was fun, though: the First Annual BWAM Time Trial (BWAM: Bale, Wilkes, Anderson, Mershon). A good time was had by all.
The race was held on Saturday, November 12th, and mother nature blessed us with sunshine and relatively warm weather along Wisconsin’s Flambeau River, at least during the race.
Dan and Jerry had laid out a 2.5 mile course through the woods of their adjacent river properties (as well as the nearby college property), a course that included two bridges, a log across the path (with a rubber duckie and a sign reminding racers to “DUCK”), and a skeleton to warn racers of Heartbreak Ridge, a steep curving ridge near the end of the race. Racers completed two laps and were required to ring a bell as they raced by the start/finish line on their first lap as well as at the finish.
Seventeen racers completed the course, three women and fourteen men. In the women’s race, with a daunting field of three racers, Lisa finished first, surpassing race organizer Lynette Anderson by nearly a minute. Jan turned in a good time until she realized she’d missed one of the loops in the course. Oh, well!
Frank Lowry, a veritable mountain bike animal, took first overall. (Local Boy Makes Good!)
Jon Lane, a Lakeside Racer from Excelsior, did an endo and face plant at the first bridge yet still finished second overall. Amazing!
The only other mishap was Jerry’s reconditioned mountain bike, which unhinged its seat about a third of the way into the first lap. He limped in carrying the seat, then—undaunted—repaired it and headed out to finish a lap. There were a few mis-steps in the race as well. Jan and John Z. skipped a short loop on one of their laps, and Bruce rode an additional short loop on the college property. He saw Jerry come through and just followed him. Honesty prevailed, though, and disqualified racers still received their awards.
Race timer Ann Marie Mershon (too fearful of the risks of woodland racing to participate as the only Virgin Rider*) was assisted by friends Diane and Tom to produce meticulous records of race times. Kudos to the wonders of iPad technology, which recorded each lap to the hundredth of a second.
No expenses were spared on this event. In addition to extensive publicity (e-mail and phone calls at a cost of $0), nearly $14 were spent at the local thrift stores on bibs (fashioned from old pillowcases) and fabulous prizes for each participant, ranging from Shawn’s Whoopie Cushion to stuffed animals and beer mugs. The grand winner, Frank Lowry, went home with a giant zucchini that had a first prize trophy embedded in it. Actually, he didn’t go home with it—he left it behind, along with his red jacket. We’re all getting just a little older and a little more forgetful. Life goes on.
And then there was the FOOD! Oh, my—It doesn’t get better than this event. Ever.
In case you’re interested, here is a list of the official awards. Times are top secret.
Lisa Siefkes: 1st Place, Women—stuffed Bear in the Woods Lynette Anderson: Got Skunked Award—stuffed skunk Jan Paulsen: Shaky Memory Award (for missing a loop)—book “Improve Your Memory”
MEN: Frank Lowry: 1st Place overall (mountain bike)—giant zucchini with imbedded trophy Robert “Legs” Legler: 1st Place on a fat bike—Big Cahuna cigar and beer mug John “JR” Lane: Drown Your Sorrows Award (2nd place mountain bike)—beer glass Shad “Diggit” Prinz: Drown Your Sorrows Award (2nd place fat bike)—two beer mugs Micah Wilkes: Most Interesting Garb (tie-dyed t-shirt)—Hawaiian shirt Josh Wilkes: Turtle Award (raced on the heaviest fat bike in the race)—turtles, racing CD Jerry Wilkes: Biggest Whiner award (after his seat fell off)—a bottle of wine Dan Bale: Energizer Bunny Award—singing and dancing mechanical rabbit Lake Marshall Bechtell III: Things Will Get Better (3rd place)—Pick Me Up pink water bottle Bruce Larson: Most Lost Racer Award—orange hunting cap Ted “Espresso” Siefkes: Miss Congeniality—cowboy mug and squirt gun Steve “Silver” Knowlton: Happy Birthday Award—stuffed moose with a birthday hat Shane Klein: Youngest Racer—Whoopie cushion John Ziemer: Most Relaxed Racer—Pokey (Poker) Hat
Watch your inbox for information about next year’s race, which will be held on either September 16th or October 7th. Time will tell.
*Virgin Rider: one who has ridden less that 10 times this season.
Though it’s clearly the last minute, I feel compelled to share some excerpts from a New Yorker article, “Trump’s Boswell Speaks” by Jane Mayer. It’s based on an interview with Tony Schwartz, the ghost writer who penned Trump’s autobiography, The Art of the Deal.
Excerpts from Mayer’s article:
“I put lipstick on a pig,” he (Schwartz) said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is. I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility that it will lead to the end of civilization.”
“Trump didn’t fit any model of human being I’d ever met. He was obsessed with publicity, and he didn’t care what you wrote. Trump only takes two positions. Either you’re a scummy loser, liar, or whatever, or you’re the greatest. I became the greatest.”
He asked Trump to describe his childhood in detail. After sitting for only a few minutes in his suit and tie, Trump became impatient and irritable. Schwartz recalls, “like a kindergartener who can’t sit still in a classroom.” He regards Trump’s inability to concentrate as alarming in a presidential candidate. “If he had to be briefed on a crisis in the Situation Room, it’s impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time,” he said.
“I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his entire adult life.” During the eighteen months that he observed Trump, Schwartz said, he never saw a book on Trump’s desk, or elsewhere in his office, or in his apartment.
Schwartz says of Trump, “He lied strategically. He had a complete lack of conscience about it.” Since most people are “constrained by the truth,” Trump’s indifference to it “gave him a strange advantage.” When challenged about the facts, Schwartz said, Trump would often double down, repeat himself, and grow belligerent.
When writing the book, Schwartz concocted an artful euphemism. Writing in Trump’s voice, he explained to the reader, “I play to people’s fantasies…People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration–and it’s a very effective form of of promotion.
Schwartz now disavows the passage. “Deceit,” he told me, is never “innocent.” He added, ” ‘Truthful hyperbole’ is a contradiction in terms. It’s a way of saying, ‘It’s a lie, but who cares?’ ” Trump, he said, loves the phrase.
“People are dispensable and disposable in Trump’s world.” If Trump is elected president, he warned, “the millions of people who voted for him and believe that he represents their interests will learn what anyone who deals closely with him already knows–that he couldn’t care less about them.”