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Archive for January, 2009

Seventeen Days in Africa on a Whim

January 7th, 2009

My wife is an unusually generous person. When she was asked to participate in a Christmas home show to benefit a charity called Signs of  Hope International, she eagerly accepted and invited nearly a thousand total strangers to tour our house in full Christmas adornment.

At a party a few days before Christmas, the director of said charity mentioned in passing that he could sure use some additional help on his upcoming trip to Ghana, Africa.

You see, Signs of Hope has marshaled resources working with the Ghanian government and now with the Peace Corps to establish schools for deaf children. But many of the families with a deaf child are either unaware of the opportunity to educate their child for free, or they are too poor to pay the one-way transportation for their child to the boarding school.

On hearing this, my wife says without any hesitation, “I’ll go.”

Well her bags are packed, she's ready to go...

Well her bags are packed, she's ready to go...

Exactly 14 days later, my wife was boarding a plane to Ghana.

That would be this morning to be exact. That is just who she is. And I love her for it.

But this evening as I watched the alpenglow color the south side of Lone Peak from my front porch, I wondered if I was crazy for letting her go. Africa is not famous for stability or its treatment of women.

Now my wife will be traipsing around the bush, going village to village seeking out deaf children to leave their families and join a new boarding school.

“]Come back to me, Sugarpotpie.

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Anaheim 1 is in the Books

January 5th, 2009

Wow. Supercross racing is deliciously unpredictable again.

Stewart and Reed got out front early in the big  boy class, as expected. Reed kept pace with Stewart for a few laps, then put an honest, straight-up pass on the wunderkind, Stewart. That just doesn’t happen. But there was Reed actually pulling away for a bit. Stewart rallied and re-passed Reed for the lead. Then with Reed literally on his back wheel, Stewart let up ever so slightly entering a set of whoops. Reed was too close and too pinned wide open to do anything except take Stewart and himself out, handing the lead to perennial bridesmaid but ultra-talented, Josh Grant.

I’ve seen Josh race his guts out in the lead for the majority of laps in more than a few races only to be overtaken at the last moment by his nemesis, Ryan Villopoto. So it was especially sweet to see Grant put this one away, with the celebrated RV Park battling back in fifth place this time.

Even a banner in his back wheel could not derail Grant this time. Nice job.

Grant clipped a tuff block with two laps to go and vinyl banner got sucked into his wheel, disabling his back brake. Photo: Steve Cox

Grant clipped a tuff block with two laps to go and a vinyl banner got sucked into his wheel, disabling his back brake. Photo: Steve Cox

I was interested to see how Mike Alessi would do in his first race back since his gruesome crash in the summer series. Turns out he’s still getting up to race speed. But he kept it on two wheels and made the top 10.
As for the Lites class, as predicted Jason Lawrence went out hard and got way too much throttle coming out of a turn, causing him to wheelie into several riders. This took him and Trey Canard out, among others. Later JLaw cut the track and was penalized one position by the officials, ending in fifth place overall. Dungey got a bad start but rode to third place. The surprise was our boy from Rupert, Idaho. Jake Weimer earned the overall win in very convincing style. Great for him as the unofficial ambassador for all the MXers in the great state of Idaho.
Weimer showed some serious game last night. He is for real. Photo: Steve Cox

Weimer showed some serious game last night. He is for real. Photo: Steve Cox

This SX season is offering a lot to look forward to while everything is blanketed in snow here. Next stop in the series is Phoenix.

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Enter the Dragon

January 4th, 2009

The 2009 AMA Supercross season kicks off in just two hours. This one’s big for a number of reasons.

1. James Stewart is 100% healthy and ready to take back his crown from Mr. Reed. He’s riding the new Yamaha, sporting all new sponsors from boots to helment to unhealthy energy drink, and he’s motivated to show his new backers the money.

Green or blue, Stewart's going to be nothing but a blur to his competition this year.

Green or blue, Stewart's going to be nothing but a blur to his competition this year.

2. Chad Reed has been racing SX in his upstart series in Australia right up through late fall. While everyone else has been training, Reed has been racing. That’s absolutely an edge in his favor. What’s more, Reed is so over taking second place to Stewart. And he’s more than a little upset that he lost his factory ride at Yamaha to James Stewart. He has much to prove on his new Suzuki and he’s better prepared than he’s ever been for the opener at Anaheim.

3. Up to now, this is interesting stuff but it’s similar to what we’ve seen going into the last two seasons. So here’s where things get really interesting. “RV Park” himself is stepping up to the bigs. Ryan Villopoto, the redhead from Poulsbo, WA, who decimated the field in the Lites class will race his first-ever contest on the big green bike. Win, lose or draw, I think he is going to change the game in the Supercross class, beginning tonight. By the way, he’s riding Stewart’s old bike and I think that is bugging Bubba more than he’s let on. Expect some rough passing to welcome RV to the big boy’s class.

Villopoto scrubbing it at "Shougal." Photo: Steve Cox

Villopoto scrubbing it at "Shougal." Photo: Steve Cox

My pick for the Supercross class: James Stewart. He really is that much better than everyone else.

As for the Lites, expect JLaw to look to make a statement after his suspension. But more than six months of no racing will not likely be overcome with sheer enthusiasm and raw talent alone. My pick for the overall win is Ryan Dungey.

Put your mouthguard in. This is going to get rough before it’s over.

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