Family & Friends

Day at the Fair

IMG_1532 Uhl in Eagle, ID – My sister and her kids are visiting us from from New York so that's why Heather and I took the day off work. After our ride this morning, we went to the Western Idaho Fair. I hadn't been to a fair since I was a kid so and being in Idaho I wasn't sure what to expect. Well, it was a pretty standard fair with the usual rides and then some really scary looking ones. It was hot in the sun and with little shade, standing around watching the kids go on rides probably didn't help my recovery from this morning's workout.

Heather and I ended up going on a couple rides ourselves. I realized that I really don't like rides, especially ones that go round-and-round. Heather went on a ride called the Fireball that looked so crazy that I wouldn't go on it. She said it was fun and she enjoyed it but you couldn't tell from watching — she was clutching her hat the whole time so it wouldn't fly off!

IMG_1570 Another interesting attraction was the 4x4 demo with all kinds of rock crawling Jeeps and other vehicles. It was put on by the Idaho Off-Road club of Boise. The announcers did a good job of explaining how the drivers navigate terrain like this and what kind of vehicles it takes to do it. Some of the boulders were pretty huge and it was amazing how they get over them!

After a few hours at the fair we returned home and had dinner. Since we were stamped so we could return later, Heather and I went back in the evening and saw Chicago in concert. We were too late to get seats so that meant more standing but when else would we be able to go see a concert for practically free!?

IDVCP Trail Work

Img_1271Uhl in Eagle, ID – Heather and I helped out with some trail work at the Idaho Velodrome & Cycling Park and it was actually lots of fun. It was nice to do some manual labor for a change (cycling doesn't count). Dave Beck is the man who organizes these volunteer efforts and when Heather and I first showed up there were only a few of us. But we were shortly joined by a group of Boy Scouts and then more people showed up as work progressed.

Img_1276The main task for today was putting up a few sections of fence. That involved drilling holes for the posts and then setting up the log fence and tamping in the dirt around them. I worked with Dennis and Mark using the gas-powered auger. I had never used an auger so I was a little intimidated at first. Basically it's like a huge drill that takes two people to handle. It wasn't too hard to handle initially, but after a few holes your hands and shoulders get tired. So we switched on and off who was "driving" the thing. I was amazed at how easy that auger went into the least for the first Img_1282set of holes. But on the last section we had a few problem holes that took a bit more work. Even so, I was told it was nothing compared to the holes they dug last week; those took a lot more work. They were hitting all sorts of rocks and hardpack layers.

Heather was helping with setting up the fences and tamping in the dirt. By the time all the holes were drilled there were plenty of volunteers so the actual fence building went really fast. With less people would have taken much longer. At the end, Dave explained the different areas of the park. It was amazing to see how much progress had been done. The pump track is completed and two of the three "mini" downhill lines are completely done. The four-cross course is getting close and now with these fences in, the trail system that intertwines with the new Ridge to River Trail System is almost complete. Heather and I watched one of the kids go down one of the downhill runs and it looked like so much fun that we're probably going to come out and try it ourselves!


Return Home

Img_0915Uhl in Eagle, ID – This morning I woke up early and tried to watch for dolphins out our window but no luck. I think we were already too close to the San Diego port. We docked around 7:00 AM, but there's a lot of customs and security stuff that needs to happen before people can debark. And since our flight wasn't until 2 PM, we didn't request early debarkation, so we had plenty of time to hit the restaurant for the last time and finish packing our carry-ons. We did tag our large luggage and let Carnival handle those. This made for much easier debarkation.

We went to breakfast and hung out with Heather's family. We took some final pictures then we debarked and picked up our luggage when our number was called. I had heard horror stories about debarkation but went smoothly and three were no long lines. The luggage is set out in columns, arranged by debarkation number, which made our bags easy to find. We took a cab to the airport and had plenty of time to explore the other terminals, before returning to our gate at the commuter terminal. Our flight had no issues and we were back in Boise by 6 PM.

Since the ship gym was closed this morning, when we got home I jumped on the rollers for 15 minutes to spin the legs out. During our cruise the seas were mostly calm and the rocking of the ship wasn't too bad. Once we were on land, I didn't notice the rocking you feel when getting off a boat after a period of time. But once I started riding the rollers, I found my self "swaying" side to side on the rollers, at the same frequency as the ship did!? Funky! My legs felt fine but I was feeling a bit tired as I didn't get much sleep last night. Between switching time zones, daylight savings time ending and all the travel, I definitely feel jet-lagged! Hopefully a few good night's sleep in our own bed will cure that.

Overall it was great trip. I was impressed with Carnival as a cruise line and was extremely happy with the service. I was hesitant about the hole tipping thing on cruises, but after the cruise I realized how a tipping pay structure positively effects the service you receive. We ended up giving each of our staff a little extra something, on top of the gratuity that's automatically included on your account. You could always, reduce the automatic amount, but in our case we never received poor service. Actually, it was some of the best service we've had, regardless of the type (restaurant, hotel, etc.).

Check out the 2007 Cruise photo album too see more pictures of our trip.

Cruising Day 7 - Back at Sea

Img_0882Uhl in International Waters – The last few days have been more of the same routine. Workout, eat, hangout at the pool, eat, do some activities, get the idea. We decided not to get off the ship at Manzanillo. It was more of an industrial port and it sounded like it would be a long taxi ride to get to a nice beach. So we just hung out on the ship that day and enjoyed the somewhat warm, but hazy weather. Seems like it's much more humid at the ports than when you're out at sea.

Img_0897cropWe spent one night dancing to Latin music at one of the dance clubs. That was fun. The food has continued to impress us most of the time. We did stay up late one night so we could attend the special midnight buffet. They setup the Empire dining room with a huge display of carved fruit, ice sculptures and extravagant looking desserts. They opened it up at 11:45 PM for picture taking, then at 12:30 to eat. Heather and I were near the front of the line when they let us in at 12:30 and I went straight to the desserts. I got a sample of almost every dessert and even though they looked impressive, they didn't taste that good. Both the desserts at the Empire and Lido dining rooms were better. That was kind of anti-climactic.

Img_0908_2We went to a couple more shows and watched a couple more movies. We also took a tour of the galley, where they prepare the food. It was impressive. They said they spend about $450,000 on food alone for each cruise! They also use approximately 45,000 eggs during a weeklong cruise like this. Amazing! We got to see the inside of the Empire galley and it was impressive. It looked huge, but since it was empty, I don't think we got a sense for how chaoticImg_0895_2 it must be during the middle of dinner. I'm sure the atmosphere would be quite different then!

When we came back from dinner yesterday, we were surprised to see there was no towel animal on our bed, then w e noticed it hanging from the corner of the room. It was a monkey! We attended a towel animal tutorial today and we learned how to make a dog, elephant, rabbit and seal. Some of construction makes you wonder, "How did someone think of this!?". But I guess the same goes for origamy.

Cruising Day 5 - Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo

Img_0749Uhl in Zihuatanejo, Mexico – When I woke up, I grabbed the camera and went up to the top deck to take pictures of the sunrise. While up there I met a couple from San Diego and chatted with them for a while. Then while looking out I could see something in the water...dolphins! I ran over to the side and tried to get as many pictures as I could. I managed to get a few shots with the dolphins in mid-air. I saw a mother and a baby breach side-by-side! That was cool. After they were out of sight, I went down to Deck 3, hoping to see more dolphins, but at a closer vantage point. Taking pictures from Deck 10 with a pocket camera, doesn't really cut it! But I never did see any more dolphins.

After that, I went to the gym. I had just been doing easy workouts on the various cardio machines, then some core work and light lifting. I hadn't tried the stationary cycle until yesterday. It's the typical health club, electronic ergometer, with inaccurate wattage and all. But at least it had toe straps which I was able to adjust to get a snug fit. Img_0793So today I tried to do 2x15's. I set the resistance to a decent wattage but it definitely didn't coincide with my PowerTap. I set it so that it felt like around 250 and did two, 15-minute LT intervals. I did monitor HR and it seemed a bit low for the perceived exertion, but that's to be expected on a ergometer like this. The saddle was huge and I couldn't get its height adjusted to my liking. I still got a decent workout in and then I ate breakfast.

After the workout we got ready to go to port. At Zihuatanejo, we had to be "tendered"; since the port is so shallow, we anchored out in the bay and the lifeboats would take us ashore. We packed up our beach stuff and headed down to the lifeboats. It was a short jaunt from the ship to shore then we talked with the people at the information booth. After much discussion, we decided to go to Ixtapa Island, which seemed like it would have the best snorkeling and most protected beach from the waves (for our niece). It was a two part trip: First, you take a taxi over the hill and past Ixtapa city to get to a dock. Then, from there you pay $3.50 to take a small boat that ferries you to the island. The taxi drive only took 20 minutes and we got to see a bit of the countryside.

Img_0822The ferry was quick and it dropped us off on a small dock next to a cozy beach. We walked along the beach and were solicited to stay at sections of beach in front of the various bars/cafes. We didn't want to sit in those areas as we felt we'd need to buy something, which we weren't planning on doing. So we walked all the way down to the end of the beach where we met Nacho. He was a long-haired, dark-skinned Mexican who was really nice. He only spoke broken English but he was very friendly and let us use his chairs and umbrellas he had set out, without pushing us to buy anything.

We went in the ocean and I put on my swim goggles an swam alongside the shore. The water was perfect temperature; not too warm, not too cold. We hung out some more, then Heather and I decided to go snorkeling. We snorkeled on the other side of the ridge, at another beach. This is where most of the snorkelers were. Heather and I held hands as we snorkeled out from one end of the small bay to the other. It was weird how one second you're in warm water, then you'd go through a section of cold water. There were a lot of fish around the reefs at the sides of the bay. Lots of bright florescent-colored fish. The fish ranged from only a couple inches long to about a foot. We didn't see anything that large. The visibility was OK but it was somewhat rough on this side of the island so we didn't venture too far out.

Img_0863We came back to our spot at Nacho's and I did some more snorkeling. After relaxing a bit more we headed back. So back on the boat ferry, then another taxi back to Zihuatanejo. Once we got there, we walked around all the little shops. It's a pretty little harbor town; much cleaner than Acapulco. Jen bought some more jewelery, Heather's mother bought some vanilla and I bought a coconut ice cream cone. They say you shouldn't pay full price for anything, so I even negotiated with the ice cream lady and got one scoop on a cone for $1, less than what they were asking for a one-scoop cup.

We took the life boats back to the ship and then showered and got ready for dinner. While getting ready, we could see them lift the lifeboats back up onto the ship. It's quite the process. We noticed that the lifeboats are rated to hold 150 people each! They weren't that big, but I guess in an emergency as long as it doesn't sink, that's all that matters. When were tendered, they only put about 40-50 people on each boat.

Cruising Day 4 - Acapulco

Img_0652 Uhl in Acapulco, Mexico – After three and a half days at sea, we finally arrived at our first port stop: Acapulco, Mexico. Heather and I both worked out in the morning. Then I hung out on the top decks as we came into Acapulco harbor. On the way you were able to see sea turtles swimming in the coral blue water. That was pretty cool.

As we pulled into port, there were people with PA systems blaring music and singing on the dock. We decided to avoid the rush to shore and ate lunch while all the people with excursions debarked. By the time we were ready to go ashore there wasn't a line. We decided to just walk to the beach right next to the port. Now we were warned about how forward all the street vendors and taxi drivers were in Acapulco, but I was still surprised at how we were hounded by people offering city tours, t-shirts, and even little kids selling chicle (gum)!

Img_0687Then on the beach there were areas where umbrellas and chairs were setup but were hosted by some cafe/bar offering food and cervezas. We declined those offers as well and found an empty spot on the beach where we parked it. We swam a little bit but we made sure there was someone always at our stuff. Even as we sat their vendors walking the beach would come up and offer more stuff. Jen was interested in getting some jewelry so she engaged some of them. Once when she was talking to one, another vendor who just left was trying take her camera out of her bag which was sitting on the ground! She stopped him and from that point on didn't really talk to other vendors until we were back on the pier where there were tables of jewelry setup.

Img_0712The water was nice, but since it was the harbor, it wasn't very clear. After we were done with the beach, we started walking back to the pier and stopped at local grocery store. We had to have an offcial (not sure if he was police) help us across as there were no crosswalk signals and the drivers around here don't seem to stop for people. Heather's mother and sister bought some cheap soda since they cost extra on the ship. We walked back to the ship and decided not to take a taxi to see the cliff divers of Acapulco.

Once back on the ship, we watched the Celebrity Infinity depart. It was docked behind us at the port. I took a bunch pictures and then we went to dinner. Food was awesome and I ate a ton. Dinner with our niece is always entertaining and she was a real ham tonight. There weren't any good movies on tonight so we ended up watching Letterman and the stupid pet tricks. That's always entertaining!

Cruising Day 3 - Still at Sea

Img_0615Uhl in International Waters – Early this morning, while looking out the window I saw dolphins! I woke Heather up to show her and we watched as the dolphins played in the wake of the ship. Our cabin is on Deck 1 and towards the front of the ship, so we had an excellent view. It was cool! Unfortunately, by the time I got my camera out they were gone. From now on I'm going to be on a dolphin watch and have my camera ready!

So we've been on this ship for two and half days now and have getting into a routine. When we get up, we head to the gym and get our workouts in. Then, immediately we'd go to the Lido deck to get a light post-workout meal. I usually keep it simple; fruit, cereal, yogurt, etc. Then we'd come back to the room and shower and go back for our "real" breakfast. Since I'm not working out as long as Heather is this week, I usually go to breakfast by myself at the Empire dining room. I discovered that they have some really tasty baked apples. With the open seating, you end up sitting with different people each meal. I've met some really interesting folks. I sat with one woman who's boyfriend's was named after Yul Brenner. So there are at least two Uhl/Yul's on the ship!

Img_0621After my breakfast I'd usually meet up with Heather and hang out with her while she ate her breakfast. Then we'd go hang out by the pool. We'd eat lunch at some point, then head back to the room. They have TV's in each cabin and they have a limited number of channels. While channel surfing yesterday, I caught what looked to be The Flying Scotsman...and it was! There are three channels which they continuously show three different movies each day. So we got to the room last night in time to watch the evening showing. Not a bad movie, but the cycling scenes weren't very realistic.

Then by the evening we'd go to dinner then either go to a show or hang out in our cabin. Last night was "Formal Night" so we got all dressed up and headed to dinner. I brought my beat up old, gray suit (the only suit I own) and Heather borrowed a dress from her mother. Dinner was excellent, yet again.

Tonight being Halloween, a lot of people in costume for dinner. Even our little niece got involved! After dinner we went to the costume contest and some people really went to town! After the contest we went to the dance club and danced a little bit then decided to head to bed.

Set Sail

Img_0550Uhl in San Diego, CA – Today we set sail on a cruise of the Mexican Riviera. Heather has cruised before but I never have and didn't know what to expect. Since most of our travels are cycling-related, we really have only been on to other "real" vacations; one to Hawaii then another to Club Med in Cancun. We really enjoyed the all-inclusive aspect of Club Med. You can participate in lots of activities or you can just hang out at the beach all day. A cruise didn’t seem as attractive to me, but I was only going on perception, not experience. So I helped out with the research to find a cruise for the family. After reading many reviews and ratings online, we settled on an 8-day cruise of the Mexican Riviera on the Carnival Spirit.

We flew into San Diego this morning on ExpressJet. We decided to not fly stand-by on Delta. We knew the ship wouldn’t wait for us if we missed our flight so we decided to book full tickets. The good thing is that ExpressJet has a non-stop from Boise to San Diego, our departure port. San Diego is also very convenient because the airport isn’t huge and is only a couple miles away from the port. Had we chosen a cruise out of Los Angeles, things would have been more hectic.

Img_0577Our flight went smoothly and we took a taxi from the airport to port. When we arrived, there were lots of people and luggage everywhere. The cruise line had people who could take your bags so you embark with only your carry-ons. They would then deliver the rest of your luggage later on. We decided to forego that option and carry our bags ourselves. This was kind of a pain, especially for Heather with her huge duffle bag. It was kind of chore getting onboard with all the luggage, but by the end of the day, we were glad. We had our bags with us immediately when our cabin was available at 1:30 while some of the other passengers didn’t receive their luggage until 8 PM!

Getting on the ship was a process, involving passport checks, security screens and picture taking for later purchase from the ship’s photo shop. We walked onto the ship on a bridge that took us onto deck 2. Once onboard, I was surprised how nice was as far as roominess and décor. I was expecting hallways to be smaller and have a bit more of a “naval” look, but the interior of the ship was like a fancy hotel.

Img_0555_3We went up to the Lido deck where lunch was available. The whole point of a cruise is to eat as much as you can and they start you out the minute you step onto the ship! The food at this first lunch was good, but not great, so my expectations were set pretty low early on. Once 1:30 rolled around we went down to our cabin and I was very impressed with our room. We chose an Oceanview room. Even though we didn’t plan on spending too much time in our room, we wanted to be able to look out and enjoy the scenery. We also didn’t have to choose between a smaller portal window or the picture window because on the Spirit, all exterior guest rooms have at least this sized window.

I was also impressed with the overall size and quality of the room. The bed and pillows were extremely comfortable and the bathroom was larger than I least for a ship cabin. Heather told me stories about her prior cruise, so I think I was expecting something the size of a phone booth. There was also ample closet space so you could unpack everything and keep luggage out of sight. This helped make it feel roomier as we’re so used to living out of our suitcases on most of our cycling trips. Hotel rooms typically don’t provide enough closet and drawer space to unpack everything.

Continue reading "Set Sail" »

Park City Reunion

Img_0171Uhl in Eagle, ID – This weekend Heather and I went down to Park City for an informal family reunion. We stayed at The Canyons and enjoyed some time at the pool and lots of great food. While we were there, it just so happened that the Jeep King of the Mountain tour was going on. So we went up and watched the men and women bomb down a dual-cross course, two at a time. It was fun and since we planned this weekend off, we didn't feel guilty about not riding...but we still hit the fitness center at the condominium we were staying at.

SamK doing Music Videos?

Samclone1 Uhl in Eagle, IDSamK is a great rider from Pocatello who recently broke his back. I just saw the Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Tell Me Baby video and I can't get over how much the kid in the green t-shirt reminds me of Sam, both in looks and enthusiasm. We don't watch TV much, so I haven't seen many videos lately, but I like this one for the music (gotta love the Chilli Peppers!) as well as the way it captures the individual personalities of all the people in it.

Anyway, our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to Sam for a speedy recovery! I know he'll be back in action to drop me on the climbs soon enough!

Happy New Year!

Img_6853_1Uhl in Eagle, ID – For New Year's Eve Heather and I went to a 70s-themed wedding reception for an acquaintance of ours. Guests were encouraged to dress up in 1970s fashion and they had a prize for best costume. There were some pretty crazy outfits! Our outfits were tame in comparison! We didn't stay until midnight, instead we came home and finished the second season of Lost we've been watching on DVD. But this it was one of the first New Year's Eves where we actually didn't go to bed before midnight! Yeah, we're pretty boring when it comes to stuff like this. We leave our excitement to our on-the-bike adventures!

Christmas in St George

Img_0061aUhl in Eagle, ID – We just got back from St. George, Utah where we spent Christmas with Heather's family. We headed to the airport early Friday morning, during the first real snow in the Treasure Valley...I actually had to shovel before we left! But due to a delay and a missed connection, we spent part of the day at the SLC airport and didn't get down to St George until mid-afternoon. We were flying stand-by, as usual.

So Heather and I decided to just take Friday off and spend time with family. Our little niece Melanee, was the center of attention during most of our visit. She's only 8 months old and growing like a weed. For the most part she is a well-behaved little girl, but got a little fussy when auntie Heather or uncle Uhly held her for more than a few seconds. Img_0010Seems like she didn't like our baby-handling skills! But to prove it wasn't just us, she got a little cranky at times, even with we're not taking it personally!

On Saturday we headed out to do some in-line skating. Heather's sister and I skated while Heather rode her brother's old mountain bike. St. George has a great network of bike paths and since they don't get much snow or frosts, the paths are really smooth. It's great for in-line skating, unlike many of the sections Boise Greenbelt. It was mostly an "easy" workout for me, but for fun, I threw in some sprints on a few hills we encountered. Not sure sprinting on skates will translate to a neuromuscular workout on the bike, but it sure felt hard. So it must have done something?!

Continue reading "Christmas in St George" »

IO Elite Team Get-together

Img_0005Uhl in Eagle, ID – Heather and I had a great evening last night with the future riders (and family) of next year's Intermountain Orthopaedic's category 1/2 team. It was a low-key affair with great food and conversation. The chemistry of the team seems really good and we're hoping we can carryover that chemistry to the road and race as a tight-knit, cohesive team next season. At next year's local races we should have a core of 4-5 riders — about twice what we usually had this year. Everyone is excited and looking forward to a great season!

Wedding in Colorado Springs

Img_0007Uhl in Eagle, ID – We just got back today from a short trip to Colorado Springs for the wedding of a good friend of Heather's. We left on Friday and spent most of the day at the SLC airport. Being that it was Labor Day weekend I guess a lot of other non-rev's decided to travel on Friday as well, so we didn't make it on our original intended flight and had to hang out at the airport for a couple hours. But we finally did make it to Colorado Springs that afternoon in time for the dinner on the eve of the wedding. It was the first time Heather and I met the groom and he seems like a really great guy.

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Jen's Baby

MommelaneeHeather in Salt Lake City, UT - Jen Hall delivered Melanee Lynn Thursday, April 13, 2006 at 10:04 pm.

Jen went into the Cottonwood Hospital Women's Center at 11 am. Dr. Mark Curtis induced Jen at 1:30 pm. Jen had the epidural put in at 5:45 pm. Jen started pushing at 9 PM. The doctor arrived in the delivery room at 9:54 pm and delivered Melanee at 10:04 pm.

Melanee is very sweet. Her eyes were wide open and she was very content. She only cried right after delivery and when they gave her the Hepatitis B and Vitamin K shots. She is very happy and active. Jen is so excited to have Melanee here. Mom (grandma) is just as excited.

Jen is one of those people who has to eat every two hours. Since she was supposed to go into the hospital to be induced at 7:30 am, she couldn't eat after 10 pm on Wednesday. Due to other cases, they didn't have Jen come in until 11 am. Because Jen wanted the epidural, she refused to eat anything. She was able to have a cup of ice with flavoring or a popsicle once an hour. By the time Jen started pushing she hadn't eaten in 24 hours, so she was tired. She did an amazing job. I now know why they call it labor! Jen gets to rest in the hospital until Saturday.

Brian's Funeral

BriancasketUhl in Salt Lake City, UT - Yesterday, Heather and I flew down to Utah for Brian's viewing and funeral. Since we were flying standby, we were lucky to get on the first flight out of Boise because all the other flights that day were oversold. We're glad we didn't have to drive down. Heather spent the day preparing all the logistics for the funeral and working on her talk. Then we went early to the church in Sandy to setup the viewing that evening. A lot of people showed up at the viewing and we heard some great stories about Brian that were pretty entertaining.

BriangravesideThis morning we had the funeral, again back in Sandy, in the chapel that Heather's family attended when they lived there. Many people showed up for that as well. Heather spoke along with her sister and other family members and friends. Heather gave a great talk along with everyone else. Some funny stories were told of Brian along with more affimations of his friendly and caring nature. After the funeral, they had a procession to Loa where Brian was buried. Loa is where most of Heather's family is from and where dad Hall was buried last year. Heather went down to Loa while I took a flight back to Boise.

Brian's Passing

Heather in Eagle, ID - Here is a more detailed account of what happened leading up to Brian's death. The cause of death was multi-organ failure due to diabetes. Brian was a type-1 diabetic and had it since the age of 11.

Brian had been sick a lot the past year. He was in and out of the hospital several times. Unbeknownst to us, the doctor told him three weeks ago that his organs were starting to have trouble and he didn't have long to live. Brian never said a word to us. Jen called Brian Thursday night for something. She asked what he was doing. He said he was scrubbing his bathroom and house because "he couldn't stand the thought of all those people seeing it the way it was." Jen wondered what he was referring to, but never asked.

Friday Mom called Brian and he didn't feel well. Mom went over to his house around 2 pm. Brian was thirsty, so Mom went to the store and bought him some food and soda. Brian drank five 2-liter bottles of soda in two hours. Mom got concerned and told him he was too weak to get to the bathroom and she couldn't carry him, so they were going to have a problem if he kept drinking like that. Brian said, "Don't worry, I haven't used the bathroom in two days." That should have been a red flag that his kidneys were already shut down, but in the heat of the moment, it went over Mom's head.

I got a phone call around 5:15 pm. Mom said that Brian was mumbling and sweating. She wondered if she should call an ambulance (she couldn't physically get Brian to the car). Mom had asked Brian if he needed to go to the hospital, and he said no, he would be alright. I was very confused. How could he go from eating and drinking to being in trouble. I told Mom to call the doctor.

Continue reading "Brian's Passing" »


BrianUhl in Eagle, ID - Last night Heather's brother, Brian Hall, passed away. Brian was always Heather's biggest supporter. He got her into bike racing and even though he didn't have the talent she did, he still loved the sport. Though his death comes somewhat as a surprise, both Heather and I have expected this moment sooner or later. It just hits you like a ton of bricks when it finally does happen!

Brian was a Type 1 Diabetic and had diabetes-related issues for years. At times he'd be on top of his diabetes — Brian3_2keeping his blood sugar in check, getting regular exercise and eating well. But he also had battles with various drug addictions, which would exacerbate his health problems. So Brian has been fighting on both fronts for a quite a while, and last night, I guess his body finally decided to quit.

Brian will always be remembered as kind-hearted and congenial. He was quick to smile and would always show enthusiasm for whatever you were talking about. He helped Heather get into cycling and would cheer her on as she lapped him when he was dropped. He Brian2_1was a loving son and brother. He was also a great brother-in-law and friend. He took care of his two pitbulls like they were his own children. Though they may look scary, they are the friendliest dogs around and Brian loved them to bits.

It is a sad weekend, but we rejoice it the fact that his suffering is now over. Brian's smiling face will live on in our memories, and he will always be in our hearts.

Brian, we'll miss you.

Active Adult Communities

ProvinceUhl in Phoenix, AZ - This afternoon, after our ride, Heather and I went with her mother to look at another active adult community. Also known as retirement communities, these are small planned communities where residents have to be 55 years or older to live there. They typically have lots of amentities like golf, swimming, classes and workshops, all tailored to empty nester's and retired folks. Currently, Heather's mother is most intererested in the Province community down in Maricopa. She had already visited it a couple times already, but Heather and I hadn't seen it yet. It just won an award as the best retirement community in the nation. Maricopa is a newly established town that is growing like crazy. The town already has all the big stores so you don't need to leave town for anything and Province has already completed most of the amenities. Needless to say, lots have been selling quickly. As you can see from the picture, they have a beatiful outdoor pool. They also have an indoor pool for the winter months. The home choices are also good, all featuring nice open floorplans.

Trip to New York

Uhl in Larchmont, NY - It seems that we're always going to New York to deliver something. Last time it was the iMac, this time a digital camera for my mother. We also were glad to be going now and not during the holidays. Since we typically fly standby on Delta, flying during the holidays can be problematic. It was a short trip but we spent quality time with my family and had two dinners where other relatives showed up. It was a nice trip.

Another Trip to Tucson


Uhl in Tucson, AZ - We're back in Tucson with Heather's mom for another active adult community "play and stay" deal. This time we're staying in Green Valley about 25 minutes south of Tucson. Since the season is over, we didn't bring our bikes, but they did have three mountain bikes in the garage of the model home we were staying in. Heather was religious and rode every day. I rode once, but couldn't stand riding a bike without clipless pedals, so I ended up going to the fitness center and running instead. Oh, and I did do some driving around in the golf cart they supplied with the guest home.

We looked at all the model homes and checked out the surroundings. We also stopped by the Green Valley Pecan Company store. This area is great for growing Pecans and has the largest orchard in the continental United States. Pecan2Pecan trees are fairly tall and the orchards are irrigated so even though it could be 90° in the desert, the temperature in the orchard is like 73°! I bought some pecans to take to our upcoming trip to New York so my mom could make a pecan pie. They had an interesting CD with a video on how they harvest and package the pecans. To get the pecans off the tree they have these huge machines that have giant padded claws that grasp one of the main branches coming off of the trunk and just shake the tree! The pecans fall, then another machine plows them into linear piles and yet a third machine will come and pick them up. Quite the process!

TucsonbutterflyTucson is really pretty this time of year and gardens in some of these manicured communities are brightly filled with all sorts of colors. At one house we were looking at there was a multi-colored butterfly hanging out on some really bright flowers. Just to the south is an observatory so there is a lighting ordinance which says that there can't be any light that shines out or up. This makes it great for seeing the stars at night. You could see the Milky Way when you go out at night.

Fourth of July Mt Bike Ride

Mtridechrislaura_2Uhl in Eagle, ID - Today we met up with Chris and Laura for a some mountain biking. We met at the Corrals trail-head. We started up Corrals and then went up Scott's. At the top of Scott's we bumped into Raino, a coworker of mine from ProClarity. Then we went up 8th St to the Trail 4 turnoff. We stopped there and chatted a bit, then Chris and Laura took off down Trail 4 and Heather and went on to the Ridge Road, up to the top of Deer Point at Bogus. We took the singletrack down to the base lodge, then took Eastside over to Table Rock and down Sweet Connie. Almost five hours in the saddle...a great epic mountain ride, especially when you're riding a 40lbs. bike!

First Thursday in Boise

FirstthursdayUhl in Boise, ID - Chris and Laura invited us out to "First Thursday" in Boise. We had never been and it sounded interesting. The first Thursday of each month, many of the downtown shops open their doors and have live bands, free food and various drinks. It's a pretty social affair and gives a chance to learn about the local businesses. There was a really cool display of glasswork and one of the shops. But I think everyone's favorite was the chocolatier. Yum, yum!Glass

Trip to New York

AlberthouseUhl in Larchmont, NY - Time to deliver the iMac. Heather and I flew to New York to see my family. My niece and nephew always make it exciting! The family is doing well and they are very excited to finally get with the times. I got couple educational software titles for the kids and they really seem to like them. Of course, nothing could be as exciting as the cardboard box we shipped the computer in! Makes for a great car for Lucas.

iMac for the Folks

Imac Uhl in Boise, ID - My parents finally got tired of hearing all this great stuff about email and the "Internet" so they finally decided to buy a computer. As the family tech-guy, I purchased an Apple iMac G5 for them. I had it shipped to me so I could set it up (and play with it) then Heather and I would take a trip to New York and deliver it. It's a great little machine. Mac OS/X has such a cleaner UI than Windows XP. I hope it's still easy enough to use for my folks!

Dinner with Friends

Chrisandlaura Uhl in Boise, ID - Heather and I had a wonderful dinner with Chris and Laura, an awesome couple who also ride and live in the Boise area. Heather and I have known Chris since our Utah days. I remember when I was still a Cat 3 and Heather was racing with us boys in the Cache Valley Classic. Heather kept attacking and making us work up Logan Canyon. Chris asked me if I could do anything to stop her. I just looked at him and laughed. As if I could do anything when Heather's in good form! At those times I called her the "husband beater" because she could beat me on most hilly courses.

1998 New Year's Letter

Uhl & Heather in Pleasant Grove, UT - We hope that this letter finds you all doing well. We are glad that 1998 is over, and we look forward to a much better 1999. This has been yet another interesting year for us. We had planned on Heather finishing school and making some waves on the national and international cycling scene. Unfortunately, neither of these things happened.

Heather spent winter semester 1998 as a lab instructor for molecular biology. She enjoyed the experience, but it took a great deal of her time. She was also preparing for her Ph.D. written comprehensive exams (24 hours of written tests). The good news is that she passed with flying colors. Unfortunately, she still has to take her oral exam and publish two papers.

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1997 New Year's Update

Uhl & Heather in Pleasant Grove, UT - In keeping with the tradition we started last year, we are doing another New Year’s Letter to sum up 1997. Hopefully, when you finally receive this letter, the hectic holiday times will have passed and you will actually have time to read it!

The year started off great, work was going well for Uhl and Heather was planning on finishing up her Ph.D. in Microbiology. Well, life would be very boring if it always went as planned. Heather went to the Olympic Training Center in February but, towards the end of her stay, she started having a bad cough and chest pain. Unbeknownst to her, she was developing a bad case of pneumonia. She had to DNF (Did Not Finish) the Redlands Bicycle Classic, and fly home early. Heather spent the next two months sleeping 20+ hours a day.

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1996 Christmas Letter

Uhl & Heather in Pleasant Grove, UT - Once again, the time has come to write another Christmas letter. This year has been extremely busy and rewarding for both of us, so we’re a little late in getting this out so we are calling it a New Year’s letter, instead!

We have both had successful years at work and school. We even managed to earn awards. Heather won a Graduate Research Award, which gives her $4000 to use on her research. That comes in handy, especially when molecular biology techniques aren’t cheap. Uhl won a Customer Orientation award from Intel for some great usability work he performed on the project he was on.

PowellIntel has been a great company to work for, with a few nice perks. They have a New Employees recreational Development (NERD) group for employees, their first year on the job. They have activities almost every month, which are fun and help the new employees (and significant others) make friends in the company and develop Intel Values. We did fun things like a barbecue up South Fork Canyon and lunch at various restaurants. We also did some exciting things too. We went ballooning for our first time ever, early in January. It was quite a thrill. We also went down to Lake Powell in September. That was a blast! We had three houseboats (you can see two in the picture), a ski boat, and six Tiger Sharks (like a Sea-doo). Heather managed to get some good water skiing in and Uhl even succumbed to the peer pressure and tried it the last day. He almost made it up on one ski, but by then, it was time to go. Next year he will be up for sure! Uhl really liked zooming around on the Tiger Sharks, those things can hit 50mph!

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