I'm a big fan of my guineas. They take care of themselves better than chickens and the complaints I've heard from others about the noise of the species is really overstated in my opinion. Besides, they've gotten quieter as they've gotten older.
While I was on vacation a pair of hens started sitting on the same nest together and the eggs started hatching out a couple of days ago. The two birds managed to get a brood of more than a dozen chicks by the end of the hatch. I can't get a good count because they set their nest up under a pretty dense bush. I have counted 13, but that's only the total if all of the chicks were out of the bush at the same time. That's unlikely. I managed to get a portable pen over the nest before they started getting out and about, so they'll be protected from the local predators until they're old enough to fly up into the cedar trees with their parents. The male guinea is funny. He's currently my only guinea not penned up but he stays close to the pen, even sleeping on top of it at night. I knew they were monogamous birds, but I didn't realize that he'd be so intent to stay close to his family.
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Since the last time I posted, I finished the 2011 Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta. I ran it for the first time last year (it was actually the goal in my self-imposed weight-loss scheme back then) and I managed to take slightly more than 10 minutes off of my time in the year between races. I finished with a time of 52 minutes, 1 second, which was exactly 1 second over my time goal. I think I lived off of that high for about a week. I start the formal training for my next running goal (a half marathon in the fall) early next month.
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Because I have a tendency to fall in love with watching sports that I actually do myself, I've started watching a lot of professional cycling lately. (To be clear, I'm not a professional cyclist. I simply ride a road bike and ride it a good bit.) We're in the final half of the Tour de France right now and I've become a serious fan of a few of the riders. I started following Thor Hushovd in the early flat stages when the sprinter's consistency had him in the yellow jersey for a week. Of course, once they hit the climbs of the mountain stages, he soon lost that jersey. No one expects a 180-lb sprinter to compete up the mountains with the 140-lb climbers. Surprisingly, after losing too much time to be an overall competitor, Hushovd has won two mountain stages straight out. Neither were particularly grueling as Tour de France mountain stages can be, but both were hilly enough to make his wins incredible shocks and keep all of the other sprinters well behind the peloton. Current yellow jersey wearer Thomas Voeckler is another of my favorites this year. He his got the jersey through an act of opportunism but has managed to hold onto it for more than a week by simply riding with the best riders in the world and refusing to let them drop him. He's finished with the other riders who have a chance to take the jersey from him every single day, countering every attack they've made and never falling off their pace. He's been fun to watch.
Tejay van Garderen is my final favorite. The only American left that I'm really following, van Garderen is basically a baby in his first Tour and he put up an amazing fight on one of the toughest stages so far in a major breakaway forcing the peloton to work a lot harder than they wanted to only pull him in during the last couple of miles. It was a heck of a ride for him.
Also, if you want a tale of pure badassery, Johnny Hoogerland was thrown into a barbed wire fence by a French television car when it hit him. He got bandaged up, finished the stage covered in blood from the leaking bandages, went to the hospital to get 33 stitches, and has been riding every day since. Can't say I'm a fan of him as he hasn't been able to keep himself in my view since then, but he's close.
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