2017: Harder. Better. Faster. Stronger.

Two thousand and seventeen has been a roller coaster ride of a year.

Harder.

2017 has been a hardening year for me.

Realizing the person you've partnered with to get through life was better off with someone else. Andrea and I's path was diverging. Separation finally needed to happen. There's no guide on how a separation should work but I think Andrea and I did the best we could for our particular situation. A lot of learning is happening. We might be learning more about relationships apart than we ever did together. Divorce is inevitable but Andrea and I are still a team for Ainsley and George. She's just not a co-captain of Team Peters anymore; She's a Co-Parent. We will do our best to share in Ainsley and George's lives with a 50/50 amount of time but with 100% effort from both of us. They are our greatest responsibility. 

And for those who want more details about our separation, I would suggest contacting us each privately. I will openly tell you what I can, but trust me, at this point the details do not matter. It's better for everyone involved. 

Work. 1907 has been the most challenging "job" I've ever had. This is a good kind of challenge. So much potential; the most potential for me personally, but I'll have to work harder than ever. This 1st year is a hardening year. You can't get Better, Faster, or Stronger without being hardened first. It's very similar to ultra distance gravel cycling for me. To go the distance you have to increase the load of pain your body can endure.

Better.

2017 might have severed a marriage but it also brought new friends and closer/more real friendships. Most of those friendships were very valuable to me during the hardening process that was 2017. Two were all-stars in supporting me by letting me do what I needed to do. 

I have been on a fast track of education about how agriculture and the meat business really works. It's not textbooks; it's on-the-job learning and that's how I learn best. If I see it in detail then I can understand it. I feel I've become a better learner and listener this year.

I'm better at understanding myself and how I work. This was very useful during some rough storms. I stayed calm and made adult decisions. I guess I'm generation Xennial now (1978)? Just like millennials we don't like #adulting, but we can do it when needed.

I rode a better DK200 in 2017 than the previous 3 years. In reality I just bought a better bike, a "cheater bike" if you will, the Cutthroat. That bike makes everything about riding on gravel better. Comfortable. Stable. Confident. Has the ability to get going when you decide to mash it. Like a Fargo and other bikes in the drop-bar MTB style are really the best for gravel grinders like me who are not racing. We would never dream of a DK podium. Finishing is always the first trophy because it's the top priority. Not beating a friend but beating yourself. Although sometimes you do happen to beat a friend and you have to tell him about it, often. #1stGravelGrailinStillwater.

I've been a better friend to some but not to all. People come and go in Stillwater. Most go or they don't stay long; the effect of being a University town.  

Faster.

I rode my bike faster at DK, so that counts. This year has not gone by fast enough. However, at 1907 I had to help make things faster and more efficient. I've found that I enjoy adopting and initiating systems and tech to make the business more efficient and effective. I'm making some decisions faster because they require urgency but learning to slow some decisions down and adding time to learn and understand. If you are ill-informed then you will make mistakes. 

Stronger.

I don't know if I'm really stronger yet. True strength takes time, but I don't think it will be too far away. If 2018 goes the way I want it to then yeah, I'll be stronger. I'll be stronger as a dad, as a manager, and as a friend. Maybe stronger on the bike too. I'm ready to crush 2018.

iAinsley

I don't know if this is "expert" parent advice here. Take it or leave it. It makes sense to me.  

iMessage

Ainsley is not old enough for a "real phone", but she has been wanting one REAL bad. Not like I'm going to throw a tantrum if I don't get it bad, but like I'm going to ask oh, every month or so for awhile. Lately I have noticed her desire for a phone is ramped up. It wasn't until I understood why she REALLY wanted a phone. 

She doesn't want it to watch YouTube or play games or watch shows. She wants it to TEXT! if you know Ainsley, you know, she is super social. [She didn't get it from me.] She wants to discover the world and meet everyone in it.

One nice thing about iMessage is that it doesn't need to be tied to a real phone number. It can freely send messages within its own network. Think AOL Instant Messenger. If you know the other person's AppleID name then you can initiate a message. By the way, this is why the Apple platform is better for privacy. Apple doesn't make your user name public. There is no search box to type in names like Facebook or any other social network or messaging service. Just like it's pretty hard for one person to know another person's phone number. You'd have to be a hacker/creeper. Finally, Apple has a decent solution to children's accounts. You can learn more about at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201084 

I say all of this because I feel Ainsley is safe messaging us in this system and is in no way going suddenly communicate with strangers. It will stay very locked down to communicating with just her parents. Not even friends yet. Plus, you really don't want her to have your number anyways. She'll message you to death if you let her. 

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Texting-Typing-Dictating

"Text messaging" your child for the first time is an interesting experience. It's a different voice, in a different medium. As you can see above we have had some sweet, from the heart, conversations.  

I did tell her she can't message me until I get home, unless it's an emergency. The next day I almost immediately received a text message from her as soon as I got home. You can tell she had been waiting all day to send me a message and show off a new feature she discovered. Like the effects and drawings you can send.

You can't see the animation of her drawing it because I didn't think to save it at the time but she admired that it was originally supposed to be a face that then she realized looked more like potatoes swimming. 

You can't see the animation of her drawing it because I didn't think to save it at the time but she admired that it was originally supposed to be a face that then she realized looked more like potatoes swimming. 

She, of course is loving it so far. I know her and Andrea have been swapping a lot of messages too. As her parents we are her inner most network. I am trying to prepare her to communicate well via these "texts" and use proper grammar. No short hand.  She can learn that later on after she knows how to write pages of proper paragraphs. 

P.S. English and Grammar were my worst subjects in school. Especially in high school. But you woudn't be able to tell by my report card. I had the same English teacher my 10th & 11th grade year. I got straight A's. Easiest class ever. Later, in life I slowly learned that teacher robbed me of some important skills. My kids will not be robbed of those basic skills.

Dictation though is something new that I didn't have growing up. "Kids today" have an advantage of growing up in this age of voice dictation and digital personal assistants (Siri, Alexia, whatever Google's and Microsoft's are called). I think it's possible for "kids today" to learn how to do more than just hand write & type. They will learn how to dictate and use voice commands. The technology is only going to get better and cheaper. It's ubiquity will win out. That's Amazon play and many other tech companies. 

It's been fun seeing Ainsley grow and mature like this. I know the teen years are still far ahead but Ainsley tells me she won't be like those crazy teenagers when she's a teen. lol <<<<< That's text speak Ainsley and George. Don't do it! Emoji's are cool though.   

 

Ultimate Dad Meal

Sometimes being a Dad is hard. But we Dad's love to figure out how to make our jobs easier. Being a Dad is just a series of life hacks. What new problem can I solve today?

Enter today's problem, "cooking dinner" for your kids. 

When you are spoiled with a wife who cooks/buys/drive-thrus 99% of what goes into your kids stomachs, it can be hard to suddenly be the nutrient provider. 

Enter 1907 Meat Company.

Step 1: Walk into the store and buy steaks of your choice. 

Step 2: While you're there buy pre-made sides like the cheesy potatoes casserole.

Step 3: Dessert is also available. Like homemade cheese cake and gelato from Bluce Spruce. You made need this as a negotiation/bribery tool later. 

Step 4:  Pay with your phone. Apple Pay. Android Pay/Wallet or whatever Google keeps changing it's name to. It's pretty futuristic but not perfect. 

Step 5: Google search reverse sear steak methods. Oh and use a good meat thermometer. 1907 has them for $10. At the same you can bake the cheesy potatoes. 

Step 6: An hour later eat. Don't forget desert or your kids will remember it right before bed time which means bed time just got thrown out the door. 

Step 7: Sit back and drink a beer or two between the cook times. Mission accomplished. Life hacked.  

 

Ainsley's pick. Sirloin steak.  

Ainsley's pick. Sirloin steak.  

Enjoy satisfied kids and extending their existence. 

She's a fan. The sirloin was very tasty. 

She's a fan. The sirloin was very tasty. 

The only seasoning I applied was sea salt.  

George picked a shell steak. AKA a bone-in strip steak. He made the right choice.  

George picked a shell steak. AKA a bone-in strip steak. He made the right choice.  

Cheesy potatoes took a little bit longer than the steaks to cook. But just a few minutes.  

350 for about 45 minutes. Easy.  

350 for about 45 minutes. Easy.  

Don't bust out the nice plates.  

Don't bust out the nice plates.  

Warning the blueberries could be a mistake. Especially if your kids are still in the messy for no damn reason stage.  

Warning the blueberries could be a mistake. Especially if your kids are still in the messy for no damn reason stage.  

George is our sweet tooth.  

George is our sweet tooth.  

Why did I write this? Duh. To prove to my wife I actually take care of the kids when she's gone.  

2016 Gravel Pursuit

I am so grateful to have been able to go on this adventure. Especially with such good friends. Riding bicycles in the eastern part of Idaho that meets up with West Yellowstone was amazing. The scenery and route that Jay Petervary put together was truly epic. To think that this is his backyard where he and his wife live and train was so cool. If you don't know who Tracey and Jay P. are then let me just tell you that they are endurance cycling legends. Thank you JP, T-race, and your volunteers for putting on such an awesome event.

I'll let the photos tell the story.

After cruising through Kansas and Colorado we stopped in Victor, ID for an overnight in Fitzgerald bicycles parking lot. They made us some fine coffee before we left.  

After cruising through Kansas and Colorado we stopped in Victor, ID for an overnight in Fitzgerald bicycles parking lot. They made us some fine coffee before we left.  

The best part of traveling in an RV. Sleeping comfortably while someone else is driving. Bobby took that to the extreme on this trip. 

The best part of traveling in an RV. Sleeping comfortably while someone else is driving. Bobby took that to the extreme on this trip. 

Brett, Trevor, and I hung our bikes in the Salsa tent. Right next to JP's el Mariachi. 

Brett, Trevor, and I hung our bikes in the Salsa tent. Right next to JP's el Mariachi. 

Friday night we should of been finalizing our setup for the ride in the morning. Some of us were more successful than others. 

Friday night we should of been finalizing our setup for the ride in the morning. Some of us were more successful than others. 

My selfie attempt while riding my bike up a 9 mile paved climb. The visibility was maybe 30-40 feet. We were riding into a cloud and you can see the water accumulating on my beard. I would wear my Oklahoma "winter" riding gear all day. Boo hoo ;)  

My selfie attempt while riding my bike up a 9 mile paved climb. The visibility was maybe 30-40 feet. We were riding into a cloud and you can see the water accumulating on my beard. I would wear my Oklahoma "winter" riding gear all day. Boo hoo ;)  

These fire roads are so nice to ride on. 

These fire roads are so nice to ride on. 

This photo doesn't even begin to capture the breathtaking scenery we were surrounded by. It's also hard to take photos flying 25 mph down a mountain.  

This photo doesn't even begin to capture the breathtaking scenery we were surrounded by. It's also hard to take photos flying 25 mph down a mountain.  

I love how clear and clean the water is up here. You could hearing water running almost throughout the whole day. It was like those nature sound CD's you get to fall asleep to.  

I love how clear and clean the water is up here. You could hearing water running almost throughout the whole day. It was like those nature sound CD's you get to fall asleep to.  

Obligatory bike shot.  

Obligatory bike shot.  

My Salsa Beargrease didn't fail me once. 

My Salsa Beargrease didn't fail me once. 

The Aspen's where in full fall yellow. The color was so bright it looked neon.  

The Aspen's where in full fall yellow. The color was so bright it looked neon.  

Riding through the valley at the foot of the mountain which the locals call the foothills. Their mountains to me damnit!

Riding through the valley at the foot of the mountain which the locals call the foothills. Their mountains to me damnit!

Seemingly endless switch backs climbing up this pass. Soon I would learn that was supposed to be descending on this road NOT going up it.  

Seemingly endless switch backs climbing up this pass. Soon I would learn that was supposed to be descending on this road NOT going up it.  

Where is JP taking us? Through a field/marsh/bear trap? All of the above. PS this was so fun on a fat bike. The fun would be over soon though. 

Where is JP taking us? Through a field/marsh/bear trap? All of the above. PS this was so fun on a fat bike. The fun would be over soon though. 

Jumping between water filled ruts. Barely managed to keep my feet dry.

Jumping between water filled ruts. Barely managed to keep my feet dry.

Bear scat. Time for me to get out of there.  

Bear scat. Time for me to get out of there.  

Notice my bike is facing the opposite direction as the sign. I made a wrong turn and ended up riding the north loop backwards. The hike a bike to get to the top took so much energy. Luckily I had a burrito in my pocket.  

Notice my bike is facing the opposite direction as the sign. I made a wrong turn and ended up riding the north loop backwards. The hike a bike to get to the top took so much energy. Luckily I had a burrito in my pocket.  

So technically I can say I rode my bike in Montana too. Even if it was just a couple of miles. 

So technically I can say I rode my bike in Montana too. Even if it was just a couple of miles. 

I believe we are looking at West Yellowstone.  

I believe we are looking at West Yellowstone.  

Another view from Two Top. The highest point in the ride. So remote that we took these rough ATV trails to get up there. Going down was exhilarating and tiring. The first time I have wanted suspension on a bike. I don't know how people did it on skinny cross tires   

Another view from Two Top. The highest point in the ride. So remote that we took these rough ATV trails to get up there. Going down was exhilarating and tiring. The first time I have wanted suspension on a bike. I don't know how people did it on skinny cross tires   

I want to go back to these trails with a full suspension fat bike. It would be so much fun. 

I want to go back to these trails with a full suspension fat bike. It would be so much fun. 

As I mentioned earlier I ended up taking a wrong turn. Totally my fault. I made it to the 75 mile check point were the gracious crew loaded me and gave me the directions to cut the course short so it was only a 20 mile ride back instead of 50+. I thought I would try to complete the whole route (backwards) but then time was getting away and I came across another rider who was having some issues and could use some help getting back to the finish. 

Technically I DNF'd. But I didn't really care. I just wanted to ride my bike all day in a gorgeous new place with new challenges and that's exactly what I got. 103 miles of adventure were had. 

The trusty steeds loaded up and ready to head home.  

The trusty steeds loaded up and ready to head home.  

4 Salsa's and a Surly. I don't believe anyone had a bike issue during their ride. It's nice to have good equipment you can rely on.  

4 Salsa's and a Surly. I don't believe anyone had a bike issue during their ride. It's nice to have good equipment you can rely on.  

On our way home we couldn't pass up driving through Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.

First stop. The Grand Prismatic Springs. 

First stop. The Grand Prismatic Springs. 

Brett had just been through Yellowstone with his wife earlier in the year and proceeded to tell us all about the stupid people who die in Yellowstone's hot springs.  

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Meet the Stillwater boyz.  

Dr. Seth Wood. He finished the 120 mile race in 6th place on a single speed Krampus. #onegear

Dr. Seth Wood. He finished the 120 mile race in 6th place on a single speed Krampus. #onegear

Bobby Wintle. The stoke master. #turnandburn

Bobby Wintle. The stoke master. #turnandburn

Brett Stevens. The most reliable man in the world.  #eeyorebuthappy

Brett Stevens. The most reliable man in the world.  #eeyorebuthappy

Trevor Stewart. Rocked 60 miles on his Fargo and got himself a sweet finishers glass. #IlikegirlsnamedLiz

Trevor Stewart. Rocked 60 miles on his Fargo and got himself a sweet finishers glass. #IlikegirlsnamedLiz

Being here with these guys was incredible. 

Being here with these guys was incredible. 

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I think Bobby slept so much because his body was trying to store up sleep before Land Run 100, 2017.   

I think Bobby slept so much because his body was trying to store up sleep before Land Run 100, 2017.   

What a great trip. I'm hoping JP's Gravel Pursuit can be an annual trip. So worth it. Next time I'm going to have to figure out how to take the family with me. 

Gravel Ride for Maisie's Pride & Ainsley's 7th Birthday

On May 7th, Ainsley turned 7 and I got to ride in the beautiful Flint Hills surrounding Eskridge, Kansas. The even is called Gravel Ride for Maisie's Pride. I was honored to be able to help the event organizer Ryan Dudley put together a website for the event. You can see it at maisiespride.com. Read about Crazy Maisie. It's a great story of an unwavering faith and mission to get her very small community a swimming pool.

7 years old. You will have an amazing year my little girl.

7 years old. You will have an amazing year my little girl.

While Ainsley was busy celebrating her 7th birthday, I was attempting one of the hardest 100 mile gravel courses out there. The first 25 miles were great. I was keeping up a good pace but then some fatigue from a lack of training struck and my legs decided to succumb to cramp monsters. I barely made it to the half way check point which is also the start/finish of the race. The old RV was looking so inviting but I mustered up some crazy nerve to continue. I made it 64 miles before taking a ride with the local support crew. I was dead last and the cramps were not going away. Normally I can expect them to go away but the endless steep climbs kept them coming back. 

I recorded the beginning of the ride on my GoPro. I got lucky that the memory card filled up before my legs fell apart. In these series of videos you will see the first 25 miles of the course. You'll see the rutted and rocked roads, crashes, and friends passing me. 

Also remember my last post about Land Run 100 and how I told you all about Jacob Roy and his attempt at Land Run that was cut too short because of the mud and a mechanical failure? Well, he absolutely destroyed it at Maisie's Pride. 1 of only 2 people from Stillwater to finish that day. The other being local bad ass John Brun. Both of those guys crushed it and I couldn't be prouder.

Finisher! Jacob Roy

Finisher! Jacob Roy