Jim Owens and Carolyn Balzar

These pages relate to family pictures and personal interests of Carolyn and myself.

Carolyn retired from Bank of America where she finished her career by serving as Market President. She is quite busy with personal projects. The house is also under never-ending remodeling. (Damn  HGTV!)

carolyn

FAMILY

Carolyn and I are fortunate to have four wonderful children, three quasi-children (spouses and ex-spouses) and six obviously superior grandchildren. The list below is in chronological order:

Kent is the eldest and lives near Atlanta. He shares my interests in motorcycles and other things that make noise and go fast.

 

Chris is the second son in chronology and shares my love of teaching although his focus is more on the younger grades.  Chris recently completed his Master's Degree in Education so the "go to school" gene must have stuck! They live in Brooklet, Georgia which is in the Southern part of the state so are very familiar with the term; "humidity"!

Melissa recently concluded her career as a master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force after 21 years. Her former husband Tyrone served 20 years and they are the proud parents of Tyler, Jadon and Mia. Tyler lived with Carolyn and I for a year during Melissa's tour of duty in Korea and is the oldest of the grandchildren. He is an accomplished musician after completing a Bachelor Degrees in Business and a Master's Degree in Linguistics at Texas Tech University. Mia is the youngest grandchild and her brother Jadon is an avid video game player. Melissa (below) is shown when she was promoted to Master Sergeant.

tyrone

They were stationed at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota so there is no topping the winter stories! Melissa lives in Florida and works as a civilian for the Air Force after serving at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates as well as Camp Taji, Iraq. Tyrone was a Master Sergeant and part of the security system for missle silos all over the northern plains so has even better winter stories as he went out four days at a time all year long to maintain them and the people who man them! He also has retired and now lives in Fort Worth, Texas. You can tell they are trying to compensate for those years in the cold!

Carl is the youngest of the four and lives in Fayettville, Arkansas. He has participated in many marathons around Texas and Colorado. He ran the New York Marathon in 2006 and again in 2009 in 4:08 and recently did 100 miles at an MS150 ride at an average speed of 24 mph on his bicycle. Needless to say, he backs off when he rides with Dad! He works as a physical therapy assistant and did wonders for me when I had my knee replacements. The picture is him having ridden his bicycle up Pikes Peak

 

BICYCLES

I have a long standing interest in bicycles and particularly in ultra-marathon cycling. I had the good fortune of being the crew chief for a husband and wife team who won the mixed tandem division in RAAM (Race Across America) about 20 years ago. I have since done more ultra distance (more than 250 miles) riding and crewing plus serving as a RAAM race official. I continue to follow the sport with interest and the links below are all cycling related:


RaceAcrossAMerica
The 2019 event was won by Pierre Bischoff in 9 days, 17 hours. 3069 MILES!

2019 Tour de France I know some of them dope but it is still amazing to watch.........

Ultra Marathon Cycling Association The UMCA sanctions and reports on our events

Bike Friday Fantastic travel bike; mine has been over 370,000 miles in its travel box plus a few thousand miles on the road in different locales.

TitanFlex I own serial number "1" of these innovative bicycles and they ride as beautiful as they look!

Cruz Bike After hand and wrist surgery, I found traditional bikes to be a bit too much so switched to a front wheel drive recumbent. I have a Sof Rider and a Silvio--both are great!

My latest hobby is building bicycles out of junk parts and bits of steel tubing. The picture below is a recumbent trike I recently built along with a "pusher" trailer that hitches to the trike and has a 36 volt electric motor that pushes the whole rig up to about 30 mph! Believe me, when your butt is four inches off the ground; that 30 mph feels more like 60! It has underseat steering, disc brakes and everything was handmade in about a month of weekend "play". I am in the process of adapting a "mid-drive motor" to the drive train so it will be electrified by itself in addition to the pusher trailer. Currently working on a "delta" trike with front wheel drive and rear wheels that lean into the turn with the front wheel just like a two wheel bicycle. I take heart from a paraphrease of Thomas Edison's observation; "I have not failed; I just know a large number of methods that will not work!"

The guitar is a handmade replica of a late 1960's/early 1970's Fender Telecaster that I built in my shop. The "Sunburst" finish was common in those days and all of the electronic components are new "reissue" Fender replica's of the electronics on the original guitars. It has a solid alder body with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard. Turned out quite well but was a lot more work than I thought it would be when beginning this adventure. Probably will forget all the frustrations and plan to start building a replica Gibson Les Paul model next......Happy enjoyed this project much more than the trike and even learned a few new four letter words along the way!

Happy's home (my workshop) can sometimes be a bit of a mess with all the grinding and such, but she thinks its super that I work late hours in her house which means she gets lots of attention although the MIG welder switch is a clear signal to go outside until that nasty stuff is finished! Happy was a "shelter dog" someone dumped and has been a real joy and a constant companion. Her name comes from my laughing that she made me "happy" when I found her a day before she was to be put down and talked her into coming home with me. She seems "Happy" with the choice she made so the name just kinda stuck!

 

 

Motor Sports

I am a avid fan of auto and motorcycle racing with a special affinity for open wheel dirt track racing (both cars and motorcycles). The links below will take you to some of my favorite racing sites.

F1 Great source of information, photos, etc. regarding Formula 1 Grand Prix racing

MotoGP All the scoop on international motorcycle racing including Grand Prix and Superbikes

AMA Pro Racing Front stretch at about 110 and throw it sideways on dirt! Huge fun!

NASCAR Probably more information than most people really want

Outlaw Sprint Cars If you like racing and haven't seen these race, you're missing something great!

USAC Sprints, Midgets and Silver Crown Where NASCAR champions get started