Tempe, Arizona Ironman Triathlon 2013

I heard that the Ironman Triathlon competition was being held in nearby Tempe today, so I had to have a look.

I remember watching highlights from the Ironman in Hawaii on ABC’s Wide World of Sports when I was a kid. The graphic images stick with me today of people crossing the finish line and having virtually no control over their muscles after a day of grueling exercise consisting of a 2-mile swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride, followed by a 26.2 run (i.e. marathon). Today I witnessed it in person.

The Tempe course is great for spectators because you can see the athletes at numerous points in their journey, such as the start and end of the swim and bike ride, plus the run portion at the 4-, 12- and 26 mile points. Hat’s off to these amazingly driven individuals.

Here are some photos I took. Plenty more of professional quality at http://www.ironman.com.

My first visit to the Grand Canyon won’t be my last

panorama of Grand Canyon

Two weeks shy of my family’s June 1 anniversary of living in Arizona we finally took a weekend to go see the state’s crown jewel: the Grand Canyon.

So many people ask me if I have been yet, and I always felt a little weird saying no. I have really had no excuse other than, “we’re too busy.” We found an empty weekend on our social calendars, so we took the drive four-hour drive to see it.

In a way, I thought of seeing the Grand Canyon as a bucket list item. Been there, saw that. Check! I had seen plenty of pictures and videos, so I knew what to expect; or so I thought.

What I wasn’t prepared for was literally losing my breath the first time I walked up to the edge of the south rim. If photos are two dimensional and real life is 3-D, the Grand Canyon is definitely 4-D. I can’t explain the fourth dimension, but it’s there.

My first visit to the Grand Canyon definitely won’t be my last. As I stood there at one view point looking down to see a few dozen hikers making there way on the trails like tiny ants, I couldn’t help imagining myself in their shoes. The wheels started turning and I have already begun to plan my next trip.

Our church sponsors a hiking trip each June where you hike down to the bottom of the canyon on day one, then stay two nights in a lodge, and hike back out on the last day. The trip is completely booked for this year but you can bet my wife and I will be near the top of the list when they open it for registration in 2014.

Here is a brief slideshow of some 2-D snapshots of the Grand Canyon.

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Not so stealth cell phone towers

We’ve all seen them: The cell phone towers disguised to blend into the surroundings after complaints of the unsightly, high-frequency transmitters dotting the landscape. Below are a few of the more original cell phone towers in disguise that I have come across.

Cell tower disguised as tall pine tree
This one doesn’t look too bad. Only trouble is trees like this don’t grow in the desert.
Cell phone tower disguised as a cactus
To the untrained I this cactus cell tower wouldn’t stand out at all when it has it’s lid on. See it laying on the ground?
Palm tree cell tower
This one’s a little better. I doubt many of the motorists on the adjacent 202 freeway ever noticed the cell tower here considering how fast they typically drive.
Stadium light cell tower
Who’s going to notice the extra hardware on this ball field light pole when they’re watching the game?
Undisguised cell tower
They didn’t even try to hide this one. Perhaps code didn’t require it since it’s buried deep in an industrial park.