Tag Archives: Oklahoma

Escape from Turkey Mountain 5 Mile Race 2017

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This morning was my return to the “Escape from Turkey Mountain 5 Mile” race. Two years ago I ran it and injured my knee when I fell on a rock and caused me to miss about two or three months of running while I rehabbed with physical therapy and exercise. Last year I waited to too long to register and they filled up so this year I was ready!! There were a lot of people there and I went to the back for the start.

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And off we went, see all those people ahead of me? They all pretty much stayed ahead of me.

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See all the folks behind me? I think almost all of them finished ahead of me. Strange how that works.

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Up “the Staircase” from the lower yellow trail to the upper yellow. I have been on the staircase before, I just didn’t know that it had a name. Almost every physical feature on Turkey Mountain has a name, usually several names. My favorite trail is “I want my mommy.” Run it sometime, you will be crying for your mommy.

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I am rocking my new running shirt. I love it! Most expensive shirt, of any kind, that I own.

So anyway I finished without falling on anything. I stumbled and almost tripped a few times and slid a few times but managed to stay on my feet. My time was about 1 hr 30 minutes and the distance was about 5.22 miles. So my official time was only about 5 minutes faster than my last run with the knee problem two years ago but the course was a quarter mile longer than then. I am about 20 minutes off the pace I was three years ago. That happens when you are fat, old, and slow.

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So, how was the race? Let me see, great course, check. Nice run shirt, check. Medal, check, Food, they had hamburgers, turned out quickly, check. Beer, check, Marshall’s craft beer, so double check. I’ll be back!!

Thank you to Fleet Feet Tulsa, and the many volunteers who make these races go. Thank you to my fellow runners for adding to the atmosphere.

No thanks to the mountain biker who almost crashed into me from behind while we were both going downhill and yelling at me “$%^$&(*&&*   %^&*&^”. The convention and etiquette is that people who are participating in sanctioned events in a place, have priority over other people. It is not a rule or a law or anything, it is what people do. I would never interfere with a bicycle racer for example, I would most probably stay off the trails they were using. I had never had a bicyclist intrude like that into a trail race before. 99.99% of trail users are very considerate of others using the tracks.

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This is my knee from two years ago. Lots better today. And I still have those socks!!

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Skywatch Friday

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We had storms in Tulsa on Tuesday. I hate the storms but love the rain and all it brings us. As long as it is not too much. I’m choosy about my blessings.

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I went out to western Oklahoma for a meeting on Monday. I love the big skies and the big hearted, hard working people out there. If you look close you can tell I work for a pipeline company based on all the stuff in the foreground.

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This is evening on the Snake River in Idaho Falls from our trip out there a couple weeks ago. We went to check on my father. He is not doing very well and your prayers on his behalf would be appreciated. My sister is there with him right now. I think I’ll be going back soon.

Skywatch Friday

Eight Miles on Turkey Mountain

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During the daylight savings time part of the year I run on Turkey Mountain at least once a week. I hadn’t been on the mountain for two weeks for various reasons so Wednesday night I was ready. I was very fortunate the weather was cool, in the high 80;s and it felt great. I wanted to do seven miles.

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There is a powerline right of way that runs north/south the length of the park and the trail is called powerline also. I used to hate it because I loved the feeling of getting lost in the trees on the other trails but I have come to love powerline. It is up and down and very challenging.

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At a crossroads on the northwest side of the mountain is this dryer. It has been there a long time. There is an unofficial trail on the northwest side called the “Pink Trail” it is so convoluted that I have never been to follow it. I am wondering how this appliance ended up here. It is a long ways from the nearest road.

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Turkey Mountain is roughly two miles long and a mile wide so if you want to do a lot of miles and not loop on yourself constantly you have to plan your route. I did a three miles loop on the east side of the park and about a two mile loop on the west side and then hopped over to east side again to get on another trail. I dropped down to yet another trail via this narrow, steep drop between the rocks. The thing is when I first started exploring Turkey Mountain years ago I tried all the trails and then as time went by I narrowed down to a lot smaller set. It is kind of fun to go rediscover old trails. Also you don’t have crazy bicyclists running you down on trails like this.

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There is something about a trail in the woods that I cannot resist.

So I was looking for seven but got eight due to some miscalculation and finished right at dark. Suited me fine. I am looking forward to my 23rd Tulsa Run 15K in October and i would like to run another half marathon in November. So I need to start ramping up my miles. It is not all training though. My running is a form of meditation for me. I get totally lost and live only in the present. In the woods the only thing I worry about is falling on my face and snakes.

What do you do to get away from it all.

Monday Meanderings

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I have sad news, Apple is not making any more Ipod Nanos. I have three of them including two of the type above with 32 gig of memory. It holds thousands of songs and I use them every single day. I have a brand new iPhone with 128 gigs and I got a bunch of music on it. In fact I have every song I own on it but I love the micro size of the nano and its simplified interface compared to the IPhone. The only drawback is that it is so small. That is why I have two of the above models. I lost and then found the first one.

I have also gone through three Ipod Touches. My first one didn’t have a camera and when I found out about Instagram I had to get a Touch with a camera. I wore that one out. Yep, the buttons wouldn’t work on it at all. I am now on my third. I think they are wonderful devices. All the benefits an none of the costs of an IPhone. Of course I have an Iphone now also. And an Ipad. I love Apple products. They should love me. Apple has made a lot of money off me when I think about it.

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I love the sign above. 20% off the Ten Commandments. What a deal. Take off your least favorite two commandments and don’t worry about them.  What a deal!!

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It has been a long hot summer and I am totally acclimated now. I ran seven miles on Turkey Mountain, after work, last week and it didn’t bother me despite the mid 90 degree heat. I started running the mountain with a hydration pack last year and it makes all the difference in the world. It is a backpack with a 1.5 liter water bladder with it so I can stay hydrated while I run. I recommend it highly.

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One reason I need to run. I love the Chili and toasted, buttered, french bread that I can get at downtown’s Take2 Restaurant. I am guestimating about 1400 calories. My seven miles were probably 1050 calories. So I’m losing the war!!! But I’m enjoying the battle. You know what I think. You cannot enjoy eating and craft beer and lose weight. You know what a good diet would be? Take a bite or a swig and if it tastes good spit it out. You will be skinny as a rail and miserable in no time.

How about you? What have you been up to lately?

Skywatch Friday All About Town

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This is downtown Tulsa. Thursday Heather came down and we had lunch and then we had ice cream at a fancy new shopping center downtown built out of storage containers. It is called the BoxYard. It is all so fancy and new. They let me in though so it can’t be that fancy.

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This is the view out of our office window Thursday morning. We had a fraction of an inch of moisture an it was welcome. We haven’t had too much rain lately.

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I went running on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness on Wednesday night. I love it on Turkey Mountain.

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This is another view out the office window on a sunny day. This effect is generated by a “Tiny Planet” App on my cell phone. There are lots of them. I love a good cheap app.

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This is our neighborhood last week.Sorry about the grainy photo but I loved the color.

This week I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Our World – The USS Batfish, Oklahoma’s WWII Submarine

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Logan and I ventured down to the town of Muskogee, Oklahoma to look at the USS Batfish. A World War II United States Navy Submarine that is on display there. The Batfish has a distinguished war record highlighted by sinking three Japanese submarines in a 76 hour period. You can read about the history of the Batfish and its war record here.

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The thing about submarines is how cramped they are even though they look big on the outside. They are a war machine after all designed to sink other ships and so everything is secondary to that. Above Logan is standing next to the diesel engines that powered the vessel. I know a little bit about those engines. They are Fairbanks Morse engines and they pack a lot of power in a small space. They have two crankshafts and each power cylinder has two pistons. The crankshafts are linked together.

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Above is an illustration of how it works. I know about them because when pollution regulations really started hitting the energy industry in the 1970’s, somebody figured out that you buy these engines  and derated the horsepower , then the the NOx emissions were very low. So a lot of old submarine engines powered natural gas compressors until manufacturers developed the technology to make new engines very low emitters of NOx. The thing I always wondered about was that the Fairbanks Morse engines were notorious for being VERY LOUD. I don’t know how the submariners could stand it.  (Sorry for the digression)

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I don’t think my 6’3″ son should sign up for the submarine service.

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The vessel is packed with dials, gauges, valves, and all sorts of gadgets. The sub is open and there are very few “don’t touch” signs.

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The sleeping areas are very small. These are triple bunks with very little room. They had cots over the torpedoes. They only had enough beds for half the crew. The crew had to share beds. Yuck.

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All the areas had double duty, dining table, game table, conference table.

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Not too many toilets either and they were not that easy to operate.

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The USS Batfish is part of the Muskogee War Memorial Park and they have a nice little museum and other information. Before you visit check out their facebook page to make sure they are open. There is a small admission charge. The place is run by volunteers who really have a passion for the submarine.

How did a submarine come to be placed in Oklahoma The Wikipedia entry for the submarine has the backstory. The submarine was placed on six barges and towed from the Mississippi River to Muskogee on the McLellen Kerr Navigation System, a 445 mile long water way with multiple locks and dams that has made Tulsa’s Port of Catoosa the most inland seaport in the country.

We had a good time and spent a couple of hours and I “found” a virtual geocache placed in the submarine.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday

Shadow Shot Sunday – Random Shadows

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Here is son Logan on our way to ONEOK Field to watch baseball. Notice the book in his hand. Smart kid doesn’t care a flip about baseball but he is a good sport especially since we eat barbecue beforehand he gets ice cream during.

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At work they built a new picnic area out in front of the building with a ramada over it. The shadows are supposed to be in the shape of a natural gas flame.  Yeah, well maybe is what I say but my employer keeps the tables cleaned off and it is a nice place in good weather to eat lunch. No smoking, which makes it even better.

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More shadows here on a fence along a local trail.

Linking with Shadow Shot Sunday 2

Bixby “Corn to Run” 5K and a Rant about Race Shirts

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Saturday morning I ventured to the Tulsa suburb of Bixby to run in their “Corn to Run” 5K.

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Bixby is home to some of the highest price residential real estate in Oklahoma but it still has a small town feel especially the old downtown area.

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There are still thriving businesses downtown of all kinds. Restaurants, dance studios, and such.

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I have no idea why the town thinks they need this thing.

The 5K is part of Bixby’s “Green Corn Festival.” The town is known for its truck farms that produce all sorts of produce including corn. More and more of the farms have sold out to real estate developers and so the acreage devoted to farming continues to decline.

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The festival has a carnival with rides, carnival food, and lots of food trucks besides.

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I love this gigantic wall clock on the municipal building

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The typical milling about before a race. And then we were off.

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I only stopped to take this one photo. I love this house. We wound around to the east side of town and then down south and then back up. There was not much traffic control, it was not really needed, not many people were out and about and those that were had the good sense and courtesy to not bother the runners. The course was well marked, especially for me since almost all the runners were ahead of me for some reason.

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And the finish line!! The guy on the PA made if fun for everybody and held off the awards ceremony until the everybody made it in.

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Including the police department, who finished last.

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I ended up getting second in the 60 to 70 year old category.  There were three of us in case you were wondering. The little dog tag is something that they gave everybody who finished.

Satisfaction

The race was well organized. Lots of helpful volunteers, the water at the end was cold, they had snacks, ample portapotty’s, the course was well marked and free of problems. The race started on time and they started the awards promptly and moved through them quickly. The race director and the people helping him did a great job. This should have been a totally satisfying race but it wasn’t quite for me and I’m going to tell you why.

They only had shirts for people who had registered by June 16. None for anybody else. The only thing said on the registration process was that shirts were not guaranteed for those who registered after that date. Okay fair enough, I should have known, right? Well maybe. I have run in over 150 races since I started running them twenty three years ago. Most of them I enter just a few days before the event and many the morning of the event. This is the first race where I didn’t get a shirt. Sometimes I had to take a different size shirt. Several times the race director had extra shirts made up and I got them a month after the event. Here they made no attempt to do any of that. They should have said “Guaranteed no shirt” after the 16th. Many races have an option for no shirt at a discounted entry.

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Logan and a run shirt.

I know why they do this and I get it. I have helped with several races and what drives race directors crazy is trying to figure out how many people are going to show up. So if you want to make sure that everybody gets a shirt then you have to kind of guess and hope that you didn’t order too many. The shirts are not free and the value of a shirt an hour after an event is basically zero.

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Logan with his cousin Shiloh and Uncle Irvin at a race in Idaho.

These races can bring in a lot of money but they cost a lot of money also. For everything from chip timing, to renting the tents and tables that you need, course security, course certification. The directors have to recruit volunteers to help them out and make sure they know what to do. So I get it, I really do. And so your costs are fixed and then you get guys like me who register at the last minute, full of expectations.

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Logan and my wife Heather at an event in Tulsa a few years ago.

And so why do I register so late? Why don’t I get on board and register a week and a half in advance? I’ll tell you why! Life, that is why. Just with what is going on I am not sure that I am going to be able to race until a few days before and I don’t want to spend the $30 and not be able to go. Sorry, but our family schedule is like the fog until something breaks free and it is like, okay, I am going to be able to race so then I hit the interwebs looking for something to go to.  I don’t think that I am that much different than other people. Especially those with a family.

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I still have that shirt!

And not only that, I love race shirts. I have a bunch of them and they are one of the reasons I run the races. Many races have a cheaper no shirt option and I have never signed up for that. So, yep it may be childish of me, but there it is.

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I still have that shirt also!

Why am I make such a big deal about this?

Doing my research I am seeing a many races using the “Shirts Not Guranteed” language for registrations after a certain date. So it is more than just this one race.

And so why should Race Directors listen to me?

Satisfaction is why. If you have ever been in a sales or marketing role you will realize that making the sale is not the end of the process. If your customer is not happy with the deal he struck then you did not make a good deal. You see that in a lot of businesses (successful businesses that is) where the after sale is treated very seriously by the customer. You have to make the customer feel good about what he or she has agreed to do. And I think that translates directly to races. I will tell you that the only way I am going to run the “Corn to Run” event next year is I am guaranteed a shirt.

Ideas on what to do?

What do I think race directors do?

  • Charge more after a certain date. Lots of big races do that. The Route 66 Marathon, Tulsa Run,  and others charge more the longer you wait to sign up. I generally wait pretty late on those races also and I understand that it is costing me money and I understand that.
  • Have more shirts made after the race. I know that is expensive also, so charge latecomers like me.
  • Discount the race for people who will not be getting shirts. Why should we pay the same as people who are getting a shirt.
  • Go back to ordering more shirts and hope for the best. Yep, I know this costs more.
  • Or just ignore old farts like me.

So anyway, I hope I didn’t spoil anybody’s time nor am I denigrating the Race Director or others involved in the well run and fun “Corn to Run 5K.” I am offering my comments and I hope that are seen as constructive. I also recognize that things change and as financial pressures on races continue we may see more changes. I recognize that I may be trying to swim upstream on this issue.

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The Secret to Selling a Million Dollar Home – Tulsa Parade of Homes 2017

Let me guess, you have a little cash saved up, you have some investors that believe in you, and you want to make some money. You want to make it quick!! And you want to do it by building and selling houses but you don’t want to mess around with little houses. You want to sell big houses. After it is a lot easier to build one million dollar house and sell it than four quarter million dollar houses, right?

Well I like the way you think and so I am going to tell you what the most important thing in building and selling big houses is. I am going to do it for free, because that is the kind of guy II am.

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Wait!! you say, I know all about that. The most important thing is the kitchen!! Well you know, kitchens are very important. They really are. People gravitate toward the kitchen because that is where the heart of the house is, right. So focus on the kitchen, make everything high end. Right!!

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And the higher end the better. Get some brass on those fixtures. That’ll do it.

Sorry, no it won’t. For a lot of people, the kitchen is where the beer is. Sorry to burst your bubble.

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Or maybe you think. Dazzle with stuff like gigantic ceiling fans that look like those that powered the NASA wind tunnels. Oh yeah, those are nice but you are putting me to sleep.

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Or you say, nice fireplaces, beautiful wood floors, Yeah, well everybody has those.

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Or you say swimming pools, with hot tubs!!! I say Yawn. Who uses their swimming pool after three months?

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Hey, you think it is about wine cellars?? Yeah, wine cellars. And I say, wine is made to drink, not sit in its own room.

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Or look you might tell me, bold design in the kitchen!!

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And the bedroom!!! And I ask who is going to dust all that? And who is going to repaint it when they tired of your bold design. I was tired when I saw it.

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Or technology you tell me. Great big refrigerators!! That’s the ticket. Let me tell you about refrigherators. Most people with a life have whatever refrigerator they own clear full. If they own a small refrigerator, it is full. If they own a big refrigerator, it is full also. If you want a bigger refrigerator, that means that you haven’t cleaned yours out recently. Clean it out, and then you will have lots of room. There, I have saved you a fortune. Thank me in the comments.

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Or you might say, nice outdoor spaces is what people want!! And I say, why. I had a guy I used to work with tell me that when he was a kid people pooped outside and ate inside. No they poop inside and eat outdoors. You tell me sense that makes? Especially in big houses.

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Or you might say, Movie rooms!!! I am will put in big movie rooms. And I say, seriously? who lives like that. Most people I know watch television and movies in their living rooms. Most “movie rooms” are upstairs. Away from the beer. So if I want another cold one I have to walk downstairs and to the kitchen and rummage through the supersize fridge and then trudge back upstairs. For that I am going to pay a million bucks? Nope,not me.

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You say, this is Oklahoma, tornado alley, A safe room, that is the ticket!! And I would say that now you are getting closer. How embarrassing to die in a tornado in your million dollar McMansion because you don’t have  a safe room. Good call I will say to you.

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And don’t get into the fancy bathroom fixtures. Yawn, you are boring me. And just how am I supposed to keep it clean anyway.

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Or how about fancy translucent garage doors!! I am really going to sleep now. Who cares?????

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Or fancy scroll work on the front door? Oh yeah, great idea genius, give me a solid wood or steel door with a peep hole any day.

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Or how about swoopy elegant stairways you tell me!!?? Oh yeah sure I say. Let me tell you about million dollar plus houses. They all have higher ceilings which means that your stairs are longer.  Don’t whine at me about it, the more money you spend, the more stairs you get to climb. If I have the cash for such a huge house, it is going to be one story.

I can tell you are not getting it so let me explain it to you with three letters.

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Sex sells and you do that in the bathroom with gigantic multi-person tubs designed for recreational bathing.

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Are you seeing what I mean? Are you hearing what I am saying?

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Like this, a two person shower.

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Or tubs right in front of windows with a spotlight.

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Or frosted glass for the shy ones.

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Or a big old giant picture window!! Opening onto a sloping lawn. I think this tub comes with diving board, trapeze, and pole options. For the more adventurous.

Are you getting it now? I think you are.  I won’t charge you a thing.

Apologies to the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa. This week is their Parade of Homes. Go check them out. Lots of beautiful homes on display.

Tulsa Tough 2017 – River Parks Criterium and CryBaby Hill

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This past weekend was the annual Tulsa Tough bicycle racing festival. A collection of bicycle races and other events over the course of three days. The popular events are the Crit Races or Criterium Races which are races over a relatively short loop with multiple laps. The first two crit races are close to downtown and Sunday is the day for the River Parks Criterium which features a loop that includes a steep hill and a very sharp turn onto Riverside Drive coming off the hill.

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Tulsa Tough also has longer road races, called Gran Fondos, and for posers like me they have a short Townie Ride. I was going to do it this year but maybe next!!

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I attended the River Parks Criterium again. For fans it is like two different races. Down on Riverside drive there is a long straightaway and corporate hospitality tents and everything is very calm and sedate.

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Above shows the high speed sharp turn off the hill back onto Riverside. Lots of crashes happen here as the riders are bunched up, turning, and braking to get back on the long straightaway.

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This tent is close to the sharp turn onto Riverside. The bags of mulch are to protect the riders who lose control of their bikes and crash into the tent. See the Red Cross flag at the far right. I was standing there when one of the medics told me. “Hey Dude, do what you want but we put the medic tent for a reason, when they lose control off the hill they land right here, so if you stay, be alert.” So I moved.

Riverside Drive is where the Starting Line is and everybody stays pretty mellow.

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At the top of the hill on the other section of the course is Crybaby Hill. The course is a relatively narrow residential street and and this where things get interesting. The races are going all out to get up the hill and the fans are there yelling at them and ringing cowbells and having a good time. There have enough people that they have the people in the referee shirts above who are charged with keeping a lane open for the racers. “Minding the Gap” they call it.

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I always get there kind of early and leave kind of early so I’ve never seen the party in full tilt. When I’m there you have people getting warmed up for the party.

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The racers are working very hard though. They come from all over the US and overseas to compete. The popularity of the event is growing rapidly and it really is a Tulsa happening. Especially Crybaby Hill.  Below is a short video of the racers coming through. I would be good for one loop but these guys and gals do it over and over.

I’ll be back next year!!