Category Archives: Blog

Cola Town Bike Collective – Midlands Gives

As long time followers of the blog know, I’ve had some extremely high highs and some extremely low lows. And until last year, I had been off the bike for several years.

A big part of my return was as a result of joining the board of Cola Town Bike Collective. They’re a non-profit that happened to move into my neighborhood about the same time I was buying a house. They do a lot of different things. In some ways they are a bike shop, which I’ve taken advantage of. It’s a nice luxury having one in your neighborhood! They also do a lot of advocacy, which we could use given how difficult it is to ride in our city. They have special events, many of which are bike related, and some aren’t. The last event that I attended was Tommy Stinson of The Replacements fame doing a solo acoustic show. It was a blast of a time and helped with branding and fundraising.

They are most impactful by helping those in need. This can range from homeless, to people in poverty, or even students that are trying to make ends meet. A big part of the charity is fixing up donated bikes and finding homes for them.

Covid-19 took an immediate toll on the business. Obviously the special events are over. A big question was whether to keep the shop itself open. We are technically an “essential business” during this lockdown, but given the small building, social distancing would be next to impossible. There are many tools around where the virus could live, and frankly, we work with a vulnerable population that does not have access to testing. We didn’t want to be part of the spread of the virus so the shop was shut down.

The shop is currently shut down

That hasn’t stopped us from supporting supporters. A lot of essential workers rely on bikes to get to their place of work. Scott has been doing work behind the scenes to safely help people get back on the road. In that sense we are partially operating but have little income.

Which leads me to the reason behind this post. We have an annual campaign called Midlands Gives. It’s a localized fundraising effort to drive donations to non-profits. This year it is essential because we need the funds to not only continue operating, but hopefully be more effective and impactful. A lot of people need help, but I’m asking readers of the blog and longtime supporters of me as a cyclist to consider a donation. The minimum is $10 and it goes a long way.

I’ve already donated $500 and am matching another $1,000. That’s how strongly I feel about this organization.

Here is the link to our campaign.

I’ll also share that because of the Bike Collective, I rode more last year than ever. The hip is fine with no setbacks. For awhile I was even getting some riding fitness back. We played with the idea of taking a trip to the mountains this summer, which I think would have happened if it weren’t for Covid-19. And if so, it would have been covered here. I’m still riding on a limited basis, more for function than for exercise, but because I have such a strong support group, I will ride and even climb again.

2014: A Great Year Off the Bike

This past year was not about riding. It was about recovering. As long-time readers know, I have faced a number of physical challenges over the last couple of years. For a time, I had no idea what the problem was. It was not until surgery this past January that I learned about my injury. I continued to learn things throughout the year about how my body, and how my post-surgery hip.

Chilling before surgery.

Prior to having surgery in January.

What I didn’t do much was ride my bike. As I began to heal from surgery and progress with physical therapy, I gave riding a try during the summer. While I still had plenty of memory in my muscles and had retained some fitness, I wasn’t quite ready. My hip had not healed enough. I shut it down and it has been over six months since I was last on the bike.

My cycling stats are not too impressive:

6 rides
142 miles

And that’s about it. ‘Nuff said.

Given how much I love cycling, you would think that 2014 would be a terrible year. I’ll admit that it took some adjustment and was not easy, but I settled into a routine. Some great things happened for me, and oddly enough, 2014 ended up being one of the best years of my life. I’ve only talked about some of those things on this blog, because most have little to nothing to do with cycling. Forgetting about my lack of cycling, here is why 2014 was such a great year:


The best part of the year happened in February in my third week after surgery. My wife had been trying out for Jeopardy for nearly two years. She finally got the call to appear in early January. Her episodes would tape in February. The worst part was the timing. I was going to have surgery on January 31st, and initially I wasn’t even sure whether I could attend. My doctor helped me with that part. I attended and watched her triumph in one game, and then come in second place for the next game. I was so proud of her and it was the experience of a lifetime, even if the experience was physically painful and clouded by painkillers. I’ll still never forget it.

The tough part was not being able to say anything for about five months. I wrote this “VICTORY” post ahead of time, and scheduled it to publish after her episode had aired. We had a fantastic viewing party where many of our friends and family celebrated with us. She received a good bit of media coverage, which was something new to us, but it died down. I was extremely proud of her, and let her use this platform to talk about her experience.

Lady Liberty

We celebrated with a trip to New York City, which believe it or not was my first trip to the city. The trip consisted mostly of us doing tourist things, eating, drinking, and having a great time. Not only did we have a great time, but this was the first major breakthrough in my injury recovery. At first I was nervous that I would not be mobile enough to enjoy the city. You really have to walk to enjoy New York. I gave it a go and had trouble early on, and then almost miraculously, I felt fine. We walked, walked some more, and then continued walking.

The next major event was something that I’ve never really talked about here. Some would find it surprising that I’ve been a part-time student for the entire lifetime of this blog. As I touched on during some of my autobiographical posts earlier this year, I had some professional distractions. I had a company, sold it, and then landed a good job in a new career years later. This is hard to believe, but I have been in college, off-and-on, for 21 years.

I began this year close to graduating, but figured it would be sometime in mid-2015. Surgery turned out to be a blessing because I had a lot of free time during the first part of the year. I was able to occupy my time by taking remote or online classes in the spring semester. My professors were all understanding, and they gave me a breather for the first few weeks. Even though I wasn’t at my sharpest, I still managed to do well in those classes, and by the end of the semester, I was within sniffing distance of graduating. All I needed was one class.

I waited for a class that I would like, and that ended up being a Fall graduate class about a subject that I enjoyed. The class was difficult and consumed a lot of my time, while a busy year at work consumed the rest. This was part of the reason posting slowed here at SteepClimbs (and also because I was not riding).

Even though the last few months were among the busiest of my academic career, I finished and graduated just a couple weeks ago.

That's me on the left.

That’s me on the left.

The picture above was a selfie taken with 2,800 other graduates. The graduating class went up to the green light that you can see above my cap. The bearded smiling guy on the right gave me a photobomb, but he was a good sport. He could have done much worse!

Graduating itself was pretty awesome, but even better was being able to walk without assistance or pain. I had made a lot of progress during the year and it felt great. I walked to the podium with a wide smile on my face as I shook hands with the school president and dean.

Hilton Marina1

Hilton Marina2

We celebrated graduation with a trip to South Florida. The pictures above were from this past Saturday morning. I woke up early to see an incredible sunrise. Our hotel overlooked the Fort Lauderdale Harbor. The cruise ships were all returning from sea and they added to the gorgeous view.

My physical challenges are not completely out of the way. I’m still recovering from the injury. It looked initially like this would be a 12-month recovery, but it will most likely be a 12-16 month recovery. It is far better than it was, and most days I have no problem, but it is sensitive to cold weather. That was one of the reasons we went down south for a vacation. The warm weather makes a huge difference. While there, we walked again, just like in New York City. We probably walked about 50 miles in total and the hip felt great.

Even though I’ve been recovering from a rough hip injury, it has been a fantastic year!

To summarize all that happened to me:

  • Got my hip fixed.
  • Became a Jeopardy husband.
  • Graduated college.
  • Traveled North (New York City)
  • Traveled South (Florida)
  • Traveled West (Los Angeles)
  • Traveled East (Charleston, Hilton Head)

It is difficult to predict what will happen in 2015. I know that some great things will happen. I’m on pace to hopefully be fully recovered when the weather warms up in the spring. That should allow me to return to the bike once and for all, and then slowly rebuild my fitness. We already have plans to return to New York City in June, and hopefully I’ll be able to ride there a little bit.

Without school occupying my time, I’ll be able to dedicate myself more to fitness and continued rehabilitation. I’ve already joined a New Years Plank Challenge, which should help get my core back in shape. I’ll continue walking and might even try running as long as the weather and my hip allows.

There’s a good chance I’ll climb again in 2015.

As for my New Years resolution? I tend to aim high, and my goal would be something like this:

Independence Pass triumphant!

It could happen, right? If not this year, then the next. I’ll be surely and slowly working toward that goal, and one day I will get there.

Thanks for following along. Thanks for all of the words of encouragement and support. I hope you all had a tremendous 2014 and will have an even better 2015.


Tunnel to Towers, Columbia, SC

main stage

It has been a little while since I’ve checked in. It is hard to believe that the injury first occurred over two years ago. Finally I am able to live life and stay relatively active without pain, and after this messy ordeal, that’s a good thing.

I’ve been reluctant to jump back onto the bike until I’m sure of having no setbacks, so instead I’ve been doing a whole lot of walking. Most of the time walking is not exactly interesting (with some exceptions, like a gator story I might tell someday), so the blog has remained dormant for the time being. Fortunately I found a walk that’s extremely interesting and highly personal, so I thought I would share.

Last week I heard about a 5k run to commemorate firefighters who passed during 9/11. Tunnel to Towers is specifically designed to honor the sacrifice of Stephen Siller, who ran from the Lincoln Tunnel to the twin towers in full, heavy firefighting gear. He is a true hero and is worthy of being honored. Yet, for some reason, I hadn’t heard about this event.

Let me backtrack a little bit here.

9/11 is the day in our generation that everyone remembers vividly, sort of like the Kennedy assassination for the baby boomers. I was working from home and didn’t have the TV on. I left to grab some breakfast around mid-morning, and when I ordered, someone at the counter said “Can you belief that we’re under attack?” The first plane had just hit the tower. I rushed home and watched the news and kept it on for hours, shocked and saddened by the tragic events as they happened.

Later in the day I visited my family. I have three younger half-siblings, and they were much younger then. The oldest was 10. They came from my father’s second marriage to a nice lady from Staten Island, NY. This was the ideal step-mother situation, as we got along splendidly nearly from the first time we met. Today I consider her to be a part of the family.

She had three brothers who were all firefighters. One of them was even a Battalion Chief. When we learned that the towers had collapsed and firemen were down there, she was worried that her brothers might have been caught in the wreckage. She made phone call after phone call, trying to account for their whereabouts. She got in touch with two of them, but neither had heard from Jeff, her youngest brother. The night passed, and in the days following, she continued making phone calls trying to find him, to no avail. She heard from her brother that his unit was one of the first in there, and it looked grim.

Jeff didn’t make it. We’ll never know what happened, but we do know that he passed away while saving lives, just like Stephen Siller did. Here is a little more about him.

I had never met Jeff, but because of what happened, I felt like I knew him. He was a young buck, in his mid-twenties, a good boyfriend to his girlfriend who was going to law school, and he and my step-mother were very close. He was a guy I would have liked to have met, and probably would have if that tragic day had never occurred.

It was tough on the kids. They knew Jeff and loved him. I did what I could to comfort them, but they didn’t truly understand.

Since then, the thought of Jeff and the memory of the grieving family has dominated my memories of that tragic day. It’s strange how people react, and I’m not an outwardly emotional person. I hardly ever cry in movies for example, but for awhile, anything 9/11 would strike a chord with me. I avoided movies and documentaries about the subject just because of how painful those memories were.

Time has a way of making things easier. When we visited the 9/11 museum, I made it a point to look at the memorial for Jeff. There were audio recordings from his mother, my step-grandmother, who I have met several times and is a sweet, dear person. It was touching to hear such a familiar voice talk fondly about her lost son.

One day we accidentally walked by the NYFD and stumbled upon images of all the lost firefighters. Jeff was in the picture.

lost firefighters
jeff stark

So when I heard about the 5k, I jumped at the chance.

The crowd was massive. 5k strong!

The crowd was massive. 5k strong!

Even though I’ve been walking for exercise, I was reluctant to sign up for a 5k. Sometimes my own worst enemy is myself and my competitive drive. If I start at a race with the intention of walking or jogging slowly, I may change my mind when people start passing me. This one was safe for a number of reasons. First off, it was massive. Approximately 5,000 people participated, and many of them walked. Second, part of the thrill of the event was the camaraderie and the tribute. I was able to experience plenty while walking around and looking around than if I had run.

Still, I was nervous and I prepared to go slowly. As I began to walk, groups of marching military groups would pass by. At first they walked, and as they got to the starting line, they would jog. They kept a call and response cadence, some of which were serious, others fun and lighthearted. I felt privileged to walk among them.

military marching

The most special event came a short while later. As we made a turn, we saw a line of people holding up pictures. I immediately recognized them from the NYFD. I made my way across the street between the marching military columns and looked at each of the signs in order to pay tribute. Then lo and behold, Jeff’s face showed up. I stood dead in my tracks. “That’s my uncle-in-law!” I shouted to the nice young lady. I was moved and even choked up when I saw him there. I asked if she would pose for a picture, and of course she obliged. Later I found out that these were all USC students who stood out there holding the signs. Thank you, students.

Jeffrey Stark

Jeffrey Stark, hero

As I continued walking, I made it a point to look at every other sign. I could only afford a quick glance at each, but that was enough. These firefighters were all heroes, and they all had families like mine.

Another benefit of walking was I was able to share pavement with many of the firefighters who were walking in full, heavy gear. I cannot imagine how difficult it was to walk with them. As I passed them, I made sure to let them know how much I respected what they were doing.

firefighter walking

Along the entire course were onlookers cheering us on, giving us high fives as we passed. Many of them carried American flags, and they contributed to both the excitement and the patriotism of the event. Even though we were paying tribute to a tragic event in history, the mood was jubilant, patriotic and everyone was full of resolve. The time for mourning has passed. We were celebrating their heroism.

I found out later that someone had officially run for Jeff in the New York event of this race. Next year I will make it a point to officially run for Jeff here. And next time I will run.

Not Biking in NYC


New York City is arguably one of the best bike cities in the country. People bike everywhere, and it’s a great way to see the city without putting too much wear and tear on your feet. While the city can be tricky to navigate and drivers are aggressive, with a little research and safety precautions, it is a great place to ride.

Or so I’ve heard and seen.

I didn’t ride at all in New York, as tempting as that was. As a cyclist, I observed a lot. That made it tough to stay off of wheels, and there were a couple times I considered either renting a bike or grabbing a Citi bike, but I exercised caution rather than risk hurting myself and ruining the vacation.

This post is just about the biking that I saw during this vacation.

The Three Tickets

This cop was on it!

This cop was on it!

We saw bike lanes practically everywhere in New York. At first I cringed seeing riders ‘sharing’ the road with aggressive taxi and Uber drivers, not to mention dodging walkers and dealing with traffic. I could tell that riding in Manhattan is not for the squeamish if you ride surface roads along with cars. There are plenty of isolated lanes that allow for a more safe and quiet ride, but those are generally scenic areas and not necessarily a way to get from point A to point B.

One of the coolest things I saw was while walking not far from the United Nations. There were a lot of bike lanes in that area, but as usual in NYC, not much parking. We walked along a road where three cars were idling in the bike lane, using it as a parking place. We thought nothing of it until we heard yelling behind us. Our heads snapped around and we saw that it was a cop, and he was yelling with authority.

We almost stopped in our tracks, wanting to watch the human drama that was about to take place. Instead we walked slowly and inconspicuously as we saw this police officer yell at the first guy. He swaggered up to the car and handed the first guy a ticket. The guy protested, tried to give an excuse, and he didn’t even listen. He then was upon the 2nd car, also delivered a ticket. By this time our slow walk had placed us in front of all three cars, and we saw the driver of the 3rd car looking concerned through his rear view mirror. Bam! The officer ticketed the 3rd guy. The entire thing took place in about two minutes, and I was lucky to catch a picture of the final ticket. I don’t know this officer’s name, but he immediately became my hero. People better not park in the bike lane on his watch!

Running Red Lights

When I hear or see something in the news about a cycling incident (usually an accident, and unfortunately sometimes a fatality), a lot of people point the finger back at cyclists for not obeying traffic lights. Stephen Pastis even twerked us in his Pearls Before Swine article by saying we are above everyone and allowed to do this. The truth is that most that cycle for sport are extremely safety conscious and they obey traffic laws. I pride myself on riding like a car would. The gray area is stop signs, which we will coast through without putting the foot down, but we first make sure that passage is safe. Essentially that is a stop because we are going slow enough to see danger in the area, but unclipping and putting the foot down, and then having to clip back in slows us down and makes it take longer for us to get through the intersection, which is a different type of danger.

Many of the traffic laws in New York are out the window for bikes and pedestrians. If the coast is clear, we walk or pedal through the intersection, red light or not. The cars will stop, but that’s because they would get a ticket otherwise and there are police everywhere. The law looks the other way with walkers and bicyclists. That’s all well and good, but I saw some people doing very dumb things on a bike. Usually these were locals or tourists. There was one time I saw a bike dart out into an intersection where I had already stopped because I saw three cars coming. He didn’t see them, and for a split second I thought I was going to witness a horrific accident. Instead he turned the wheel towards the right once he saw the cars. I still thought he was going to get hurt, just not as bad, and then he kept on turning. He did a U-turn right in front of us, and was fine. Mad props to him for his reaction, but I guess you learn survival instincts while biking in New York.

The Citi Bikes

Someone stealing a ride.

Someone stealing a ride.

At many major intersections, we saw rows of the familiar blue bikes from the Citi program. We saw people riding them often. The program has to be a huge success, and it really makes sense for Manhattan where many people do not drive (we didn’t either). These riders were mostly tourists, and a lot of them did not wear helmets, but they also tended to ride in safer areas like Battery Park City and across the Brooklyn Bridge. This was the biggest temptation to me, and I almost pulled the trigger on a Citi bike to ride over the Brooklyn Bridge on my last day in town, but I passed. The worst case scenario would be that I would flare up my scar tissue injuries and have a miserable flight back. There wasn’t a good chance of that, but I still didn’t want to risk it.

One of the funniest sights we saw during our trip was someone using the Citi Bike as an exercise bike. He even had headphones on and everything. Most people, myself included, would far prefer to ride in scenery than in one place, especially along the Hudson River, which was where this guy was riding. Not to mention, the bikes are relatively inexpensive. This was a kid, so maybe they were expensive for him. Either way, we got a good laugh and I hope he got a good workout.

The Central Park Ride

Riders were all over the place in Central Park.

Riders were all over the place in Central Park.

This was the toughest temptation for me. We visited Central Park twice, one day from the west side and the other from the east side. We were bombarded by people trying to rent bikes when we got off the subway. When we got into the park, we understood why. There were bike lanes and bikes everywhere. As we navigated through on foot, we were only able to see a small portion of the park, and even that little exhausted us. I’m the type of person that likes to explore and see everything, so it felt wrong to pack up and leave without seeing the main park attractions like the reservoir or Strawberry Fields.

Just because we were in the park, didn’t mean that bikers were any less aggressive. This time we had to watch out for them when walking around. There was one time that I was crossing the street when all of a sudden a road cyclist was darting right towards me. I stopped in my tracks. He nodded to motion that he would take the inside lane, and I was able to continue crossing. Just like in downtown Manhattan, the Central Park cyclists have built-in instincts on how to get around safely.

Even though I wasn’t able to cycle, I walked dozens of miles and the hip held out, so I should not be too disappointed. That said, I love to ride and that’s one of the major attractions for going to New York City. No worries because we loved the city so much that we’ll definitely be back again. I’ll make sure that next time I’ll be healthy enough to ride, and Central Park will be at the top of my wish list.

Personal History: North Hollywood Days

The front door to the old office, right around the corner from my apartment.

The front door to the old office, right around the corner from my apartment.

In June of 2000, I traveled cross-country by car, with a cat and all the belongings I could bring, to arrive at my new life in North Hollywood. Just before my wife’s Jeopardy appearance, we arrived there again, this time with a rented Nissan having flown for 5-hours.

We hopped on the 405, drove by a lot of familiar sights like the Getty Museum, then jumped onto the 101 and made the slow drive to my old home.

We made our way to the intersection of Magnolia and Lankershim in North Hollywood, which was the center of my universe during my entire time in southern California. The buildings all looked the same, but the names had changed. What had been my former and employer is now a health clinic. I peered through the windows to see where my old desk was, and all I saw were cubes where people were screened for health problems. The building across from my old employer was still there. It had formerly been ABC, and now is The Africa Channel. The Emmy Academy and my old apartment complex, Academy Village, were still there and looked unchanged. There was still a Starbucks across the street, which was where we had a lot of employee meetings, and sometimes we went there just because. I bought a lot of coffee that year.

That's where I sat, and yes, that's me in the reflection too.

That’s where I sat, and yes, that’s me in the reflection too.

Even though I had gained some age and experience, I was still young and naive. That’s a recurring theme in this entire saga, making a poor decision but working hard enough to make it a success, while relying on a little luck as well.

Even though I had negotiated what was a good salary for Atlanta, it wasn’t as good for California. Nevertheless, I went for the nice apartment at the Academy Village. It was conveniently almost directly upstairs from my employer. What I spent on coffee, I saved on gas money. This was right outside where they held the Emmy awards. I remember one year looking out of my balcony and seeing The Sopranos all standing outside in suits.

The apartment complex of the Emmy's.

The apartment complex of the Emmys.

My new employers also made some poor decisions. Unlike the other properties they purchased, they were mostly interested in my content to essentially build the same thing on their home site. From almost day one, they redirected traffic from my old site to theirs, and lost a lot of it in the process. Previously people had reached our network from deep links such as tutorials or product reviews. They redirected all of that to the home page, and people gave up. We also had stopped producing new content during the prior two months or so during this transition, so the traffic had diminished by the time the site was redirected.

My title was Content Manager, and I was given a staff of about five employees. They were mostly writers that had a little bit of a web background. They were good for me since I came from a different background. I spoke the language of the web and had become a decent writer, but I had no formal training whatsoever. I remember the first day a guy with an English Master’s degree playfully making fun of my writing. I learned as much (if not more) from them as they did from me.

Together we moved all of my old content to this new company’s website. We built it from scratch and divided it into different content areas. We also incorporated some of my friend Michael’s search engine and marketing content, and he helped write some things for us. This gave the company some credibility, and they then licensed the content out to numerous affiliate sites. In an instant, me and my staff were everywhere on the web.

For awhile, the company was successful. They were technically a startup, but had been funded from deep pockets and were in their second round of funding, which is what they used to buy me. After I had been there a number of months, the company had achieved profitability. That’s rare and not expected for a startup by that point. Their business plan was to get the third round of funding and then become profitable, so it was just a bonus that they made it to that level so much earlier. They made good decisions with their acquisitions. Some of the advertising sites and affiliate programs they had purchased had turned immediate profits, while ours was more of a slow build as we essentially re-built a webmaster’s network.

After the properties were built and had a regular content cycle, they decided to promote me to Development Project Manager. This was another mistake on their end. I was completely a fish out of water, and I told them that. They had people that were programming in languages and databases that were entirely Greek to me. Instead of doing what I was comfortable with, which was more design-oriented and editorial, I was running a department that handled the backend.

I remember when I first started in the position, I had to interview every developer to find out what they did. To be honest, I had no idea what they were telling me. I tried to listen as much as I could and make it seem like I understood, but I didn’t. The good thing is I didn’t manage to do much damage. I probably didn’t help them much either. Still, I knew that long-term, this was not the right avenue for me.

This is where they hold the Emmy awards.

This is where they hold the Emmy awards.

Around this time I had heard murmurs of the market turning for technology. The 90s had been booming, with people like me (but not me) becoming rich overnight from insane IPO valuations. It was not sustainable, and eventually it caved in on itself. The dot-com bubble is legendary now, but aside from hearing the fear in people’s voices occasionally, we were mostly oblivious to what was happening. Mostly.

I saw the writing on the wall, and I was in a job position that was not suited well for me. Adding to that, I wasn’t happy there. Sure, I loved Southern California and had some wonderful times, memories that I’ll never forget, but I did not have much aside from the job and my apartment. I had money, but not enough to live the lavish California lifestyle, and that wasn’t my speed anyway. I had left behind my social network, and while I had made new friends like Michael, most of the people in the new company were not too outgoing. I grew bored.

After a year, I decided enough was enough. I spoke with my employers and asked them to reinstate me as Content Manager. I would move back to Atlanta and perform the job remotely. They weren’t thrilled, but I had an employment contract built into my acquisition, so they had to go along with it.

I moved back to Atlanta, got an apartment, and did the job to the best of my ability. It wasn’t easy because communication technology wasn’t quite as sophisticated, and we were in different time zones. I may have helped a little bit, but the team mostly did the work by themselves.

Their company was affected by the bubble bursting, and the deep pockets dried up. There would be no third round of funding, and they started trying to get out of the employment contracts. They fired one guy who sued and was able to keep his job. They got rid of a couple others. When they made the call to me, I knew it was coming, and I was fine with it. I did not put up a fight. I had another opportunity lurking (a book deal), some cash from the acquisition in the bank, and a lot of experience. I didn’t expect many headwinds in my future. We parted ways and they went out of business within the year. They sold their assets to a web hosting company. My stock became worthless, and that was fine too.

Remember Paul and Amanda, my partners in crime? What was interesting is right about the time I was getting acquired, I was contacted to develop a site for the alternate band Weezer, who were still pretty popular at the time. Of course I couldn’t take the project, so I gave it to Amanda. She later got a job maintaining and has been loosely tied to the industry ever since. We are still in touch, and my wife and her have connected on Facebook through their love of cats. The last I heard was that Paul works an IT job in Ohio. He’s absent on social media, so we really haven’t reconnected. Paul, if you’re out there, give me a shout.

Thanks for enduring this diversion from the cycling and Jeopardy stories. I didn’t expect to write so much, but I did enjoy it. This chapter of my life was pretty interesting, although maybe (hopefully?) not as interesting as cycling to the top of the tallest mountains.

Now, back to Jeopardy. My wife will appear a week from next Monday, but the show is in the can. I was out there, in pain, and have some more stories to tell.