USQRA Nationals 2017-Phoenix, Arizona

I got out to Phoenix and it was a busy weekend of wheelchair rugby. There was a banquet where the Hall of Fame inductee Sebastian “Dee” DeFrancesco was inducted in.  Troy McGuirk was also elected into the Hall but could not attend. Dee is one of the true independent thinking developers of wheelchair sports. He is also an unrelenting force behind anything he does. I have known Dee for a long time and the honor was truly appropriate and deserving. 

Dee is here with Brad Mikkelson, initial inductee and USQRA Hall of Fame chairman, and Hall of Famer, Chris “Cookie” Cook who introduced Dee. There was a nice crowd and several Hall of Famers attending. It is an honor I cherish. 

The Ability 360 facility is a complex of multiple disability organizations locally and nationally on campus. These offices are incorporated into a full accessible two court gym and aquatic center. The hot tub was great. 

The halls are filled with period photographs of disability rights before the ADA.

There were other pictures as well. This picture reminded me of my long time quad buddy, Harley Freedman, who I took with a friend in a raft in the Nolichucky river. 

The facility was great.

We were able to get out one night to a great Mexican restaurant in Gilbert called Barrio Queen. Chicken enchiladas with mole. Yum.

I am the third oldest referee at the tournament. I have officiated wheelchair rugby in my 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. My partner for my last game is 20 and I am 60. This was great. 

We had a hotly contested game and St. Louis beat Houston. We will have a referee dinner tonight and home tomorrow. 

Croom Forest Metric Century-

I went up to Brooksville at o dark thirty for this ride. I was signed up for the 64+ miles. My old friend Steve Diez was there. He works for the Hernando County MPO and helps with bicycle lanes, paths and trails.

It was a little cool but not for long and within a mile we began riding the local trail. 

Steve was going to go short and it was great to see him. I had not seen Steve for a bit and two weeks ago saw him at Bike Florida. I was going long and I ended up riding with a nice group of people from Witer Garden, Florida. Did I say it was hilly? Everytime we seemed to get out of some rollers a few more came our way. Went out to fast too and that did not help. The roads were gorgeous. 

We hoped on the Withalacoochee State trail a couple of times. 

I should have taken a picture of the road arrows for this ride. They were DARK GREEN. I could not make that up. It was confusing to say the least. First SAG was at mile 39+ as well. 

The next pictures of the road were just…

It was a good ride for fitness with the rolling hills. It did seem like that at the end of the day a couple hills into Brooksville were just kind of killers. Slowed at the end due to a too fast rollout and pulls. It was a beautiful day with a real nice bunch of people. Peace out Tres dog.