Monday, July 25, 2005

Boys Weekend: St. Louis

What a great weekend. On Friday afternoon Jason picked me up in Zeeland and we headed off to St. Louis to visit Darren for the weekend. We had some rather long delays in Chicago (stay away from 80!) but finally rolled into SL around midnight. Now road trips are definately not all about the destination, often the best part of it is the journey. It was great just driving and chatting with a good friend. We reminisced of good old times, discussed our present lives, talked of future endeavors, and solved most of the world's problems, all from the front seats of Jason's car.

After getting to SL we didn't waste any time hitting the town as we met Darren and a bunch of his intern buddies at one of their local hang out hotspots.

Saturday morning I insisted we continue my big city running tradition. It is my goal to do a 10 mile run through downtown of every major city I visit from now on. So far I've done Chicago and San Francisco. Unfortunately this weekend was horrendously hot in the midwest. I checked the weather online before we left and the temperature was 84 while the heat index was 91. An hour later we began our run (he lives a ways outside the city) and could immediately tell that this was going to be difficult. We were in the sun most of the time and there wasn't much of a breeze. It was rough but we did OK to Arch, which was the 5 mile mark. After about 2 miles back toward the car we all decided we couldn't go the rest of the way without walking. We managed a run/walk back to the car but it was brutal. By the time we made it back to Darren's apartment the temperature was 96 with a heat index of 104. Here is what we looked like before and after.

While the run wasn't easy, it was still worth it. We got a great workout and could see a lot more of the city than just driving through it.

To recover from the run we had some quality time with the xbox. It wouldn't be a boys weekend without video games!

Then in the evening we made our way to the Gateway Arch. It was very fascinating to see how the constructed it although we were all pretty disspointed with the exibits they had at the arch. Besides the movie we watched before going up, they basically didn't have any information on the arch, just exibits on the expansion of the 1800s out west. While that stuff was kind of cool, us engineers just wanted the technical information on the arch...none of this wishy-washy history stuff.

After quite a bit of waiting we finally went to the top. It is a very impressive 630 feet tall structure with some sweet views.

On Sunday we went to another famous St. Louis landmark: Budweiser. Their tour was really cool. They told us a lot about the history and gave us a good tour of the plant. As a chemical engineer this was right up my ally but I am also very surprised, too. We were allowed to go right into their production facilities and some of them were running at the time. With all the OSHA requirements it seems like we must have been breaking some rule.

After the tour we were allowed to have two complimentary beers. I tried the "Budweiser Extra" which has caffeine, gensing, and guarana as additives. It was gooood.

Unfortnately, all good weekends must end. Erin comes back from upstate NY tomorrow.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Happy Day

Wednesday was one of those really good days. After a successful and rewarding afternoon at work I called Spirit airlines to book a flight to LA in October to visit my uncle Hal. Last Thanksgiving Erin and I took a trip to Myrtle Beach, SC for a 4 day weekend. Our flight left early Thanksgiving morning and was scheduled to be in Myrtle Beach by noon with a short stop in Washington DC. Upon arriving to DC, they made us get off the plane because they had a few mechanical bugs to work out before we could take off again and they said it might be an hour delay. Well basically they told us that every hour for the next 10 hours until we were a group of very unhappy travellers on Thanksgiving day. Most of the people on the flight had expected to be home in time for a turkey dinner with their families while Erin and I just wanted to enjoy the one day of the weekend that was predicted to be warm and sunny. We ended up getting to Myrtle Beach around 10pm with only the slight consolation of some free Spirit Airlines flight vouchers.

The vouchers expire Thanksgiving Day this year so we thought we'd use them for a long weekend to LA in October. When I called spirit on Wednesday I fully expected them to say the flights I wanted (which were awfully specific) couldn't be used for free vouchers anymore. To my surprise and delight they were available, so I booked them. But the best part was that after I had reserved the flight the woman said "you know you have another pair of free vouchers right?"!! Turns out that we each received 2 free vouchers from that Thanksgiving Day mess, so we get to go to LA free this fall and probably Las Vegas too.

To top the day off, I went golfing later in the evening and shot a near career best - 38. I started normally with a bogey, par, bogey, bogey but finished strong with 5 straight pars. I had two long eagle putts from the fringe but ended up only parring each of them. One of the two eagle putts was just after it had downpoured for 5 minutes and I had to putt through a puddle.

Erin is off to upstate NY for a long weekend and I am off to St. Louis this afternoon for the weekend. Never a dull moment...

Monday, July 18, 2005

Summer Weekends

Nothing super exciting this weekend, just a very enjoyable weekend at the cottage with my family. My parents are at the cottage for their week so Erin and I spent the weekend with them and Erin's family was able to come out on Saturday for the afternoon.

A big thunderstorm limited our outdoor time on Saturday but not too badly. We were still able to use the boat a bit and play some really good games of volleyball. The rest of the weekend was filled with basketball, boating, running, swimming, more volleyball, and napping.

I feel like a gained about 3 pounds this weekend despite all the activity (including a 10 mile run). There is just no escaping high-calorie food when its my family and we are on vacation. Too many cookies, desserts, big meals, and bars.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

What can trump the cottage?

The cottage is truly my favorite summertime location. Erin and I just spent a terrific weekend up there highlighting how great of a place it is, even without special events like the triathlon.

Here is my saturday - both normal and abnormal all at once. The specifics change but the general constant activity and fun remain the same:
-9.5 mile run around 3 lakes
-ski around the lake
-pull others skiing
-turtle hunt on a paddle boat with my 5-year-old cousin Sam
-frisbee golf
-turtle hunt on 8-horse boat with Erin and Renae
-pull others tubing and skiing
-ski around the lake
-burgers on the grill
-wiffle ball

I can summarize the feel of the day by a comment I made around suppertime. As about 6 of us 15-25 year old boys were sitting on the raft, one of the Steensmas yelled to Jason and Jake that dinner would be ready in 5 minutes. I remarked: "dinner already? I have no idea whether it is 3:00 or 6:00." The carefree atmosphere and constant activity are what its all about.

2005 Pickeral Lake Triathlon

As usual, the long 4th of July weekend at the cottage was fantastic. This year's holiday weekend was highlighted by the first annual Pickeral Lake Triathlon. Last summer sometime in August, after a particularly busy morning (skiing, golfing, running, and swimming), some of the older Elenbaas men said we should make an event out of all the activity. Soon enough the idea of holding a triathlon for the Indian Trails Association was concocted. The subject quickly became a hot topic and was thoroughly exhausted at every Steensma and Elenbaas family gathering for the next 10 months. But through all the hype some organization took place and a course and date were set. July 2, 2005 at 8:30am:


The triathlon was a great motivation for physical fitness. A number of the participants trained for months and by race time, were in better shape than they'd been in for many years.

We weren't totally sure of how the event would turn out in terms of participation and support. As it turns out it was wildly successful. There were a total of 16 solo participants and 2 teams as well as well over 30 enthusiastic fans and helpers.

The race began from the boat launch with about a 1/3 of a mile swim. I was very surprised with the speed of a number of the swimmers, especially Dan Kett and Dan could they hall. Here are a few pictures of the swim:

The 9.5 mile bike portion of the race turned out to be a lot more confusing than I ever thought. The night before I drove the course and hung up a few paper signs at critical points, but even I made 2 wrong turns. Around Sylvan there are a couple of roads that turn off Sylan Lake Dr. that can easily be mistaken for the correct path. The main erroneous turn results in a steep uphill climb toward M37 which could go unnoticed for a good 1/2 mile. Fortunately, I realized my miscues within a few hundred yards each time. But going the wrong direction really hurt a few people, most notably Evan who went more than 10 minutes out of the way. Here are a few pictures of the bike leg.

The 5.2 mile run capped off the event. There were aid stations after about 2 and 4 miles and some fans took seats at other locations around the lake. We decided to give runners the option of taking Bliss Lane or the out road for the final 1/2 mile of the run, and this provided for a great race to 5th place. Dan Kett took the out road while Jason, who was a bit behind him, took Bliss lane. Jason unknowingly passed him over that stretch and when he reached Indian Trials property he didn't see anyone in front of him. But just after he pass the basketball court Dan came down from the out road and caught him by surprise, passing him with about 50 feet left. Jason, suddenly aware of another runner, turned on the jets and finished 5th.

There were two other close finished but niether were as exciting. Derek and Jake did most of the run together but Jake's quickness was too much at the end. But both gave a good effort.

Steve and Marv ran together from Camp Henry and the brothers trotted across the finish line with their arms around eachother's shoulders.

Here are the overall results and and the results of each leg:

2005 Pickeral Lake Triathlon Timesheet

Place: Name: Overall:
1 Dan Rupke 1:26:49
2 Darren Schaaf 1:33:40
3 Mark VH 1:34:24
4 Randy Elenbaas 1:35:31
5 Jason Schaaf 1:35:59
6 Dan Kett 1:36:00
7 Paul Soper 1:40:41
8 Terry Kett* 1:47:32
9 Jacob Lannon 1:53:58
10 Derek Elenbaas 1:53:58
11 Evan Steensma 1:56:53
12 Dan/Sarah Kuiper 1:56:57
13 Doug Elenbaas 1:57:31
14 Roger Steensma/Susan Geschiere 2:00:30
15 Marv Elenbaas 2:02:41
16 Steve Elenbaas 2:02:41
17 Michael Johnson 2:09:12
18 Paul Smith DNF

*Dropped out of swimming leg.

Name: Bike Time: Pace(mph):
Dan Rupke 0:37:01 15.40
Randy Elenbaas 0:37:24 15.24
Darren Schaaf 0:38:18 14.88
Mark VH 0:38:29 14.81
Dan Kett 0:38:38 14.75
Dan Kuiper 0:40:11 14.18
Jason Schaaf 0:40:18 14.14
Paul Soper 0:44:25 12.83
Doug Elenbaas 0:48:04 11.86
Derek Elenbaas 0:48:09 11.84
Roger Steensma 0:48:50 11.67
Marv Elenbaas 0:51:48 11.00
Jacob Lannon 0:52:18 10.90
Michael Johnson 0:52:22 10.88
Steve Elenbaas 0:55:35 10.25
Evan Steensma 0:58:38 9.72
Terry Kett - -
Paul Smith - -

Name: Run Time: Pace (min/mi):
Dan Rupke 0:40:06 0:07:43
Jason Schaaf 0:41:09 0:07:55
Darren Schaaf 0:42:29 0:08:10
Paul Soper 0:43:53 0:08:26
Randy Elenbaas 0:44:00 0:08:28
Mark VH 0:44:24 0:08:32
Evan Steensma 0:44:34 0:08:34
Terry Kett 0:45:32 0:08:45
Dan Kett 0:47:54 0:09:13
Jacob Lannon 0:48:16 0:09:17
Derek Elenbaas 0:50:05 0:09:38
Doug Elenbaas 0:52:52 0:10:10
Steve Elenbaas 0:52:58 0:10:11
Susan Geschiere 0:54:34 0:10:30
Marv Elenbaas 0:55:45 0:10:43
Sarah Kuiper 1:01:45 11:52
Michael Johnson 1:02:46 0:12:04
Paul Smith - -

Name Swim Time
Dan Kett 0:09:28
Dan Rupke 0:09:42
Mark VH 0:11:31
Paul Soper 0:12:23
Darren Schaaf 0:12:53
Jacob Lannon 0:13:24
Evan Steensma 0:13:41
Michael Johnson 0:14:04
Randy Elenbaas 0:14:07
Steve Elenbaas 0:14:08
Jason Schaaf 0:14:32
Dan Kuiper 0:15:01
Marv Elenbaas 0:15:08
Derek Elenbaas 0:15:44
Doug Elenbaas 0:16:35
Roger Steensma0:17:06
Terry Kett -
Paul Smith -

And some run pictures:

A special thanks to all those that supported us in the race. Thanks to the statistician Cindy, the photographer James, the aid station helpers, and the fans.

The event was so great, we even had t-shirts made. Marv provided the official "Pickeral Lake Triathlon" t-shirts for all and the Steensmas came up with the idea to unify by wearing "Team WaHoo" t-shirts.

For more pictures visit: