Wednesday, April 30, 2008

243: my mind is a ramblin'

So I have never won raffle, a football pool, a 50/50 or any random kind of fundraiser where a charity benefits and I have a shot to win some coin. Truth is when I enter these things I kinda do it with the auspices that it's really just a donation to a cause I believe in.

Well, at work when ever one of the women folk get pregnant they have a pool. Basically you throw in $5, pick a date and a time and let it rip. Well, one of the ladies was expecting, I threw my $5 in the hat. I asked her what her due date was, and that was my entry.

I mean, since I don't have any kids, and I don't have any expertise in the art of birthing babies or predicting anything related to babies I figured if a REAL expert gave a date that was as good as gold to me. And being that I never win these things, I tell the young woman, "look kiddo, if I win you keep my half of the pot. Think of it as my gift to the little bambino!" I figured it was a nice jesture, and clearly, I never win these things, no worries.

Sure enough the pot hits 300 beans, sure enough the baby comes on the due date, and I was the only one that picked it. Kinda like the guys who choose $1 on the price is right and wins. Lame, but he gets to go to the showcase. For the first time in my life, I win one of these things. $150 left on the table, and I gave it away. I stood by my word, and let the kid keep it.

Truth be told, I was stoked to donate it to the little one, I mean she might get some clothes or something out of it, what am I gonna do? Buy pedals or drink it or something. Besides, I'm hoping I score some Karma points or something. I didn't even tell anyone about the puppy I rescued off of main street last week... My karma has to be getting better.

Tuesday night I did the road ride with the boys. Having E-town along helped to bolster my confidence, and I must say I felt like I rode freakishly well. I paid for my indiscretions tonight as my legs were pretty tired. The problem is the Niner just likes to go, and I kept telling myself to back off, but it just rips through single track. The bike just helps me flow. I'd find myself suffering flying through a section, and have to tell myself to back off. Clearly my bike is too fast for me.

Trail day for Granogue Saturday, maybe some changes to the course, maybe not. We'll know more Saturday afternoon. you should register.

I was kinda jonesing for a ride tonight, despite the yard looking like a jungle. Thankfully Monkey knocked out most of it cutting the yard whilst I was playing in the woods. When I got back from my tour of Fairhill, I just hopped on the mower to get the tight spots that Monkey missed. Daylight was fading fast, no time to change back into my secret identity as mild mannered customer service manager...

any wonder my neighbors think we are insane?



Sunday, April 27, 2008

242: the "real" sunday ride

Spent some time up at Granogue doing some scouting and trail work this morning with Buddy the keg breaker, (i)Paul, and international man of mystery, Les Leach.

We rushed over to the JCC to meet up with Mr. Gavigan Death Trail himself. Gavigan had best in show, and another dude with him. We had a nice group, and then after riding the Gavigan Death Trail, we met up with another group and a pretty big posse going. The group was suffering from a bit of large group paralysis, so International Man of mystery, Les Leach made the call, and we slipped off of the back of the group by ourselves. The next 2 hours were filled with some amazing single track riding. I don't think anyone knows B-wine like Les. I struggled a bit in the big rock garden, I was a little disappointed with that, but made a couple of logs I had not made before. My pedals are really sussed out, and I did a couple of unintentional one footers. That's hard on the confidence for sure.
got home and took a big ole nap. I was pretty happy with that.

All in all a pretty spectacular day if you ask me.

Buddy's flat bar's are giving him some trouble on the geared bike.


he prefers the old TV antenna style.

Paul made a new friend while changing a flat.


While I'm enjoying a spring time semi-retirement, I was stoked to hear of so many friends doing well and qualifying for the Nationals today at Greenbriar. Props to Coach for taking a 2nd in the single speed race.

In closing, I had a nice conversation with Peaches this weekend. He brought up the point that the DCCoD really needs to stop carrying Wes. I mean, last year it was Peaches carrying the load at Cranky Monkey, while Wes sat in and collected another W. This time it was poor little Jeb carrying the load, as Wes got to collect another win down at the Baker's Dozen....

yeah, we both laughed out loud at that one...

four days in a row rolling on the new frame. She's a keeper for sure.



Tuesday, April 22, 2008

241: bittersweet

breaking up is hard to do.

I knew going into this relationship that it was going to be short term, a fling or an affair if you must. The fact that it lasted as long as it did was amazing. We were coming from two very different places, but the attraction was definitely mutual. At first it was very rocky, you know early dating stuff, awkward first embraces, and learning what makes each other tick.

That first time we went all the way, it was difficult to say the least. Just so different from my normal tastes, and likes. But sure enough, with time and practice, we hit it off and really built a solid bond. During our run together she took me places that no one had ever taken me before. And it was amazing. When I think about some of the stuff we did, I still feel a perm-a-grin plaster across my face. I mean how could I not smile. I know she tried to change for me, lost weight, and a new rack. Me, I gained strength from our relationship, and really learned how to be flexible, and change gears when needed.

But in the end, you have give love for what it is, not what it could be, or what it could become. She excelled in the open, and liked to stay between the lines, I tend to be more liberal, and prefer flowing through things more. As I said at the start, I always new this affair would be brief,
and I can't make her be something that she isn't. So I will set her free. A bit of bittersweet joy,
as my new Niner came in today, and my gary fisher, also know as the bastard child, was retired.

Isn't black simply sexy...
be gentle with me...



I am sitting at my desk after the baker’s dozen. By all accounts, the race was a glowing success for the coalition. We raced hard, we brought home the bacon, and had our teams in the thick of things through out the day.

I’ll admit it my memories of the race are dark. E-town was not having a great day, he really had to dig deep into his bag of courage to get through this. 5th place for he and Auer, was a strong performance, despite many challenges. I have raced with Buddy for god I can’t even remember how many of these things, and I remember sitting with him around 9pm and him just starring into space. He said to me, “ I don’t know if I can keep this up…”

I have never heard him utter a word like that, even though I know that he, with is partner BLRich would push through for a strong 8th place. I watched myself bark at my wife as she told me she thought she’d have to take the last lap likely at 11:59pm. My teammate Rik looked exhausted, and tired. I think to myself, “jesus, what have I done to these people, I’m yelling at my wife, she’s riding her best, Rik had gotten away from this, and I, I brought him back in…”
I see my friends, my family laying on the ground suffering trying to get some food in their stomachs to stick. Everyone is trying to get something to power the effort we are putting forth. Wes’s grime covered face, and sheer exhaustion at the finish line. Tom’s lost dazed look as he wandered around the course. “this is a recovery lap” he said to L-Web before leaving.

The course itself, was not that difficult. Smooth fast single track, that was fun to rip, with some rocky sections. You ride over a clump of rocks, around a clump of rocks, through two large boulders. But overall the course was brutally fast, no sections to just glide and roll, no time off the gas. It was attacking, pedaling, pushing the entire time.

Jeff was hurting, a little after 10:00 he had lost his stomach. Gu’s and Gatorade, any solid food had become kryptonite to him. The ever jovial duo of Wheelie Ted and Breyla la had grim determination in their eyes. As defending champions, they were in a battle and trailing by 18 minutes as the sun had set. Doyle Rules, who regularly abuses everyone at this campsite on the toughest of hills, and on the hardest of rides, seemed to incessantly moan and whine. He was hurting like I suspect he had never hurt before. At about 10:15, sitting in a huddle of my friends and teammates, I think to myself, “this is fun? Why the hell are we doing this?” Here I see all my friends looking like death, sunken eyes, veins popping out of legs, grimy faces, and just tired, worn out people.
Dark thoughts parade around my head, as my arms and back still throb with pain. Despite drinking as much water as I could get down after the race, my urine looks like it should be lighting up a neon sign saying “eat at joes.”

The coalition has gotten very good at the team endurance race game. We know how to stratagize. we know how to prepare, we know how hard it is to just finish one of these events, let alone dream of winning. As I looked around the campsite seeing my friends in agony, I question why.

I will admit to you, that at the end, when our plan came to fruition, when the object of my spring focus was over, I did not feel exhilaration, or a rush of excitement, I felt relief. For years, I would always cry when one of these things was over. The tally on me, on my soul was that great, the emotional and physical demand of the race was too much and would regularly leave me balled up somewhere on the ground, crying for joy that it was over, crying out of pride of what we were able to accomplish. These are so hard.

This time, I shed no tears, only felt relief. Relief that the pain was over, relief that we had survived another of these things. I swore right then that these team endurance races are the stupidest thing we ever do, and I for one, am done.

Once again I had look around our compound, and the faces that just two hours ago were long and broken, seemed to have perked up, some are even smiling. Some beers are shared, as well as pizza eating techniques. It could be described as a small celebration.

We’ve done it again, pushed ourselves, our relationships, our trust, our abilities to the brink, for no other reason than we can. I believe that we are all stronger for it.

At lunch today, I stopped by Henry’s to share some of our pirates treasure with truck stop gavigan, the mechanic for this group last weekend. At the shop, I found Rik, Lauri, and Tom. We all complained of hurting, but laughed and smiled about our experience. We talked about how much we loved the venue, how fast the course was, and shared racing stories with each other. Later, I caught up with Buddy, who was all smiles. We shared more stories, and talked about how much we missed Peaches this weekend. It’s never the same without peaches, next year my friend, next year…

Finally, I understood why we had done it, why we’ll do it again. The experiences, the friendships built in the crucible of pain that is these endurance races, are strong. You know no matter how shattered Rik, Buddy, or I am, we won’t quit, we’ll keep driving, we won’t let our teammates, our friends, our brothers and sisters down. I find that much like Napoleon Dynamite, when you are experiencing it, it may not be that fun, but talking about it, it feels like the greatest movie ever made. The suffering is great, but in the end, these events are always worth it. Scheming about next year has already begun.

Perhaps when I think my soul has finally turned black, and I am at the end of my rope, I am wrong, there is light, hope springs eternal…



Sunday, April 20, 2008

239: Baker's Dozen Please...

dateline: Leesburgh, Va.

and each of you is a reminder to the earth of what it's capable of
you are all the reason: jumping, rational, lackadaisical, irrational
you are ceaseless sieges on cities of Joy, the reason Agamemnon went to Troy.

you are those gods, abase yourself at the knees of yourself
intelligence is not discipline it is a experience..

allow it to explode: destroy buildings I'm sorry I hurt your feelings.
did I lose that sweater or did it lose me?

And language was invented so people could lie.
don't just say I love you, let your love perspire and fly.
it is the most profound gymnastic and incredible calisthenics
let me pole vault you, let me cartwheel into your beauty, in an ideal love affair.

We never have to say I love you, studder first, by the way I love you.

sweaters that are loneliness which is a delusion
sweaters that emasculate creating confusion
a giant repression, nothing is so precious
sweater of lycra, sweaters of spandex: we don't need them.
sweater of knit wear creating the reason that Cesar went to Gaul
we don't need the sweater, walk through the sweater
the sweater that murders,the sweater that takes over our lives
and remind us that we don't like the way we walk.
the sweater, walk through the sweater Apocalypse and find your own warmth.

bicycles are red hot. patten leather jumpsuits.
two twins in black trunks.
never kid ya, slobber paralyze.
drive by two times. blowing out high-fi's

Dreamed I choked on your kaleidoscope
Now you still look deadly
My fatal flower how the tigers all laughed
As I ran along the well worn paths
Sapphire eye looks down on my lilacs.

Insincere as we rolled for years in turning barrels
I washed my hands in the lake
As you blew it all away with roman candles
So take your fever let me wallow alone
The callus on your eyes have grown
and your faults have me stoned.
Paying rent to your ghost.
Torn up by a frightened little girl
words by people cooler than me.

coalition results:

1st DUO Open: Breyla la and Wheelie Ted
1st DUO Men's: Zayne Braun and Jebbagger
1st TRI Open: Slick Rick, Monkey and Faticus
2nd DUO Men's: Blair Blair and Jan
3rd Women's Solo: Melanie Nystrom
4th DUO Open: LWeb and Papa Smurf
4th Men's Single Speed: Trevor
5th DUO Men's: Auer and E-town (coming soon to MTV reality TV!)
8th DUO Men's: BLRich and Buddy the Keg Breaker
10th DUO Men's: Jay Jay and Doyle Rules
12th DUO Men's: Kennedy and Norman
16Th DUO Men's: F-James and Dave (who had the most fun of anyone)
25th DUO Men's: Cory and City Kid
Men's single speed Solo: Les Leach (12 laps, 3 highlifes, and two naps)
Men's single speed Solo: Sven Nystrom (riding until he feels like drinking)

Thanks to PMP, Ms. DeeVious, Fitzy, Brian, Truck Stop Gavigan, Ms. earmuffs, and Megan B. for all their support this weekend.

Congrats to JDub, Chappy, and Fallon 1st TRI MEN's as well.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

238: coming out of the dark

my mask of pain is giving me wrinkles. The other morning I was looking in the mirror, and I said to Diane, "How did I get these wrinkles?" Without stopping she says, "it's your race face." Then I looked at the pictures and she was right. I get all squinty and drooly. I've been racing consistently since 1991. That's 17 years of squinting, and drooling. Yikes. That's gonna suck when I'm 50.

I know that given my lack of fashion, my preference for dressing like a 17 year old skateboarder, and my pension for wonderful sideburns, that sometimes I tend to look a little rough. The other night on the way home from climbing, I was especially rough. I think it was one of those times that Tom describes as "Faticus, promise me if you ever end up homeless you'll tell someone, because looking at you on a normal basis, no one could tell the difference".

I know he's right. But I digress, I'm driving and I feel Diane just starring at me. I comment to her, " I know honey, I look really rough tonight.." She replies with a smile, " I think you look great, you're my baby, and I love you."

Does it get and fucking better than that? does it?

As the week turns towards the final half, I'm excitedly getting ready for the baker's dozen. I have found some pretty magical form, and with Diane and Slick Rik as my teammates, I'm excited for our chances this weekend. Washing bikes, charging lights, doing laundry... This was a great event last year and I'm really looking forward to the weekend. Not to mention the DCCoD and C3 will have a pretty pimped out camp area.

and on another note, I have also noticed as the world around me is turning greener, I don't feel as angry as I have. That's a good thing, I don't like going around pissed off... well not all the time.

Which is good, because you know when Kim asks how I am, I'd hate to scare her again, much rather just say, "I'm doing quite well, thank you..."

I am doing quite well thank you.
thanks for reading.

spring or no spring black is still my favorite color...



Sunday, April 13, 2008

237: I got my Paris-Roubaix...

I did the Fairhill race today. I was pretty relaxed, more so than usual. The fact that my favorite waitress brought me one more beer than I needed or planned on helped with that a bit I'm sure. That and when looking at the pre-reg list I was pretty sure I was about to take a serious beating. So I went out today with the goal to ride as hard as I could and get a good work out.

as best I can describe it, it is like the fatguys (domestiques) in the tour taking suicide attacks early in the race, with the hope of stealing a stage. Rarely do they ever work, but every once in a while one sticks...

Would today be my once in a while?

Essentially this is how it went down:

Lap 1:
Auer and I take off the front from the start. I am on Auer's wheel, the start is hard, but not cross hard. Auer pulls off an lets me go through. I roll down the hill and get a little gap as Auer is joined by the group. We enter the single track, and Auer's on the front of the scrum. Maybe he wasn't so motivated to chase, as I was up the trail. Who am I kidding, he was blocking like mad, that's the entire point of having teammates right? Working together. I have I mentioned I love riding for C3 lately?

I was on on a suicide break by myself. I was out there, kind of expecting to get caught, but also staying as aggressive as I possibly could.

I kinda figure it would be cool to lead the first lap, and see what happens. So I do.

Lap 2
The second lap starts and I'm still out there by myself. No one is coming around. I wonder when I will be caught. I end the lap leading again. As I came through the start finish, I dropped into my middle ring, the grass there was tough to get through, I hear someone in the crowd yell, "get back in the big ring!" So I do.

Lap 3
I cross the river and hit the single track.
"shit, I might actually win this thing... Is that possible? I mean I never even podiumed at a MASS race before, fuck at any expert age group race."

I usher my doubts out of my head. I tell myself I've done my work, if anyone is going to take this from me, they are gonna have to kill it this lap.

I keep charging along. I am hurting, trying to keep my pace high, but not as aggressive as the previous two laps, I don't want to make a mistake and flat or crash out.

I enter the last section of trail. A little place I like to call the "twilight zone" it's one of my favorite trail section anywhere. I punch it, I punch it again, I got my mojo, my karma, and my flow going full speed now, I get over the last rise and I look back. For the first time this entire race, I see two chasers as Matt and Travis are right there. "fuck, fuck, fuck" I think to myself. I am pretty spent. I stand up for one last surge, this is all I got left. I'm leaving it all on the line...

If this race was one mile longer, I would have been third, thankfully, it was not, and I held on for the final 500 meters and a completely unexpected, but super sweet victory.

I never dreamed of winning an expert level race, but when I was out there, I refused to let myself be satisfied. Don't get me wrong, I was gonna be stoked to podium, but I've looked at a number of fairhill victories before and had then slip through my fingers. Today was my day. And there it was, unfolding in front of me... Amazing.

That's right, after years of let down, years of untimely flats, years of just dieing out there, after a race last summer that had me resolved to never race cross country again, I finally ended the day on the top step of the podium at Fairhill.

Later looking at the results, some dude said to me, "man, you barely held them off, they were right there, only 5 seconds back."

My response wasn't this cool, I think I said something like, "I don't care, I got there" but the reality was this:

5 seconds, 5 feet, 5 millimeters, I doesn't fucking matter, because today, today I got my Paris-Roubaix. I put my beast of burden behind me. I got my Fairhill win!

In closing I have a couple of people I want to thank:

First Diane, my wife who supports me through thick and thin, and understands what I go through, and my weirdness, my idiosyncrasies, and never falters. She's there when I need a shoulder to cry on, there when I need a foot in the ass. Without her support, none of this bike shit would ever happen.

Next, my coach Chris Mayhew. You know, I know my body, and I've been doing this a long time, I'll admit I never could seem to put it together on my own. Chris has helped push myself forward. Trust me, it didn't click right away. Mostly my fault, doing endurance races I was insistent on more miles. This year, and the past cross season I'm riding 1/2 of what I was last spring, but getting the most out of my time, and having a ton of fun riding the bike.

Mayhew has taught me how to be stronger, train smarter, and frankly to believe in myself- to have the ability to win, and very frankly, that was something that I didn't used to think I was capable of. If you think that's a glowing endorsement it is. The last 9 months I have raced better, ridden stronger than at anytime in my life, Mayhew my coach, my friend has largely been then architect of that. Thanks man.

It goes without saying how lucky I am to have the DccoD and the folks I get to ride and hang with. How can you go wrong chasing around a guy named Buddy the keg breaker? E-town or Jeb Bagger? Very frankly, if I didn't have the great folks around me supporting me, pushing me, I'd likely have quit this game a long time ago.

Thanks to Slick Rik for being a sounding board for what I'm thinking and for making sure my Frankenstein bike fits, and always works great. Slick Rick got me on the path, he taught me to learn myself and recover. Rik's guidance has and continues to help me.

Thanks to my local bike shops. The support of Henry's and Newark Bike Line help me be able to do the things I love to do. Fridays with Howard are something I always look forward to.

Thanks to my team director Kris Auer, and all of my C3 teammates. Aside from having great black kits, which are incredibly slimming, C3 is just a great program, a very focused team with like minded members, we race our asses off, and have a ton of fun. Not too shabby for a bunch of crossers.

Thanks to Wes, who after my meltdown last summer said, "perhaps you have taken the single speed thing as far as you can..." he was right. I heart my big ring.

Finally, thanks to everyone cheering for me along the route. As racers, you all know how much that helps keep you on target, and motivated.

Unbelieveable. Freaking unbelievable. It's been a long hard mountain bike season. I'm 2/3 through, and have another big weekend ahead. It's a long tough season for sure!

thanks for reading.

much respect,

btw: I had fish tacos with some friends after the race, they were freaking the best ever.

thanks to Linda and Dennis for the advanced pictures...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

236: freedom

Friday Monkey and had off of work. The weather was supposed to be awful. Thankfully it was wonderful.

Living in a college town, when spring hits, and a little warm weather drops, all the co-eds come out full on blossoming. So yeah, I have that going for me.
As Monkey and I are walking around said town, with a 2 beer buzz in the middle of the afternoon, I'm pretty stoked to see so many people smiling at me. "Man, Spring really brings out the best in people!" I think to myself. Then I realize I'm wearing a shirt that says " I'd rather be fucking Kris Auer." yeah, I'm pretty much a jack ass.

So yeah, I have that going for me too.

E-town was talking about my race class for Sunday. "it's all bawlers dude..." I felt myself get a little stressed, and a little clinched about it. I kinda remembered that I don't even like cross country races that much, why did I enter? Looking at the pre-reg list there are 17 folks registered. All 17 have beaten me before. I feel myself getting really tight. Then it I give myself freedom.

I'm doing the race because it's in my back yard, I have no illusions of form, this is going to be a good training ride. And now I feel better. Freedom. Riding a bike is fun, unless you choose to make it not fun. I choose to make it fun. I give myself freedom from myself. I mean I am almost 2/3 through my mountain bike season.

after talking myself down, I went for a really nice ride around fairhill, and didn't ride the course. I passed a class of 6th graders and held my hand out as I rode past, I got 20 high fives and cheers on this wonderful day.

Diane and I got a bunch of mulch today and worked on our flower beds. They need some love. We usually refer to them as vietnam, and the wasteland. It was good and needed, you know instead of just riding and blowing off all our yard work.

Diane's flower bed:

My flower bed:

I'm going for a much more minimalistic approach.

The evening ended with a number of good friends stopping down for a round of death uno, an aborted game of cranium, and fast game of Yahtzee. Elizabeth and I both scored a Yahtzee, Les's Yahtzee or nothing strategy didn't work out too well, but Kathleen walked away with the prize.

finally we got our new "summer edition" kit this weekend. It has new blue stitching that makes us look like tron. That and it makes a bull's eye on my junk. I think I liked the black on black better, and that's not because I want everything to be black lately. Still the kits look nice. Tron's cool. I dig it.

So yeah, I got that going for me too.

Say hello if you are at fairhill Sunday, and please don't knock me down when you pass.



Wednesday, April 9, 2008

235: rick flair chop

US Open relay results came out today.

with weighting we came in 30th. Which is cool.
like any self respecting excel geek here are the top 15 by laps and time:

1. Speed Demons 14:41.1 17 laps
2. presented by Menstrual Cycles 05:32. 16 laps
3. Baked Beans 00:25.3 15 laps
4. Team Hipsters 08:29.9 15 laps
5. Buddy and the Keg Breakers 08:35.2 15 laps
6. Allied Milk Cycling 11:26.1 15 laps
7. Bike Line 12:14.6 15 laps
8. SICKLERS RACING 13:56.6 15 laps
9. Mountainside Racing 14:44.1 15 laps
10. Cross Train 16:41.6 15 laps
11. Stuck with Kuhn 17:28.2 15 laps
12. RL2J 17:35.5 15 laps
13. Ramp Up The Jawn 00:28.2 14 laps
14. Johnny May and the C3 Cyclesonics 01:13.7 14 laps
15. D and Q Racing 03:17.1 14 laps

I like the weighted points, I think the concept is brilliant, but we never focused on that, it was laps all the way. Top 5 was the goal. So yeah, once again I'm racing for a prize no one cared about.
As I am embarrassed by my raw geekiness, I will now photo blog: (these photos brought to you by mike kirk)

etown pulled the keg breakers together, and lead the way as the lightest, I mean youngest rider...

does this look like a man returning to racing after 1 year, 4 months, and 29 days. Look out kids, the ruler is back, and guess whose baker's dozen team he's on ? pichow! (say it, it feels good)

any sailor can captain a ship when the seas are smooth, it takes a real leader to navigate the rough waters. Peaches didn't feel great this day, but still put in very strong laps, and looked past knowing he didn't have his best stuff. That's why I have done so many team races with the kid, great character.

Buddy is determination personified. One of the toughest people I get to ride with. He was awesome this weekend. The short format isn't is his forte, but you'd never know it.

I'll admit it was weird not seeing Wes T. Conqueror on the purple rig this weekend. He has seemed to figure out how to work derailleurs very quickly. Bright kid.

I guess not any more weird than seeing me on this. First time since 2001 I have raced a geared bike, first time since 2003 I raced anything but a Spot. Black is kinda slimming isn't it. Well not always.

When Johnny isn't busy leaving his lime green boxer shorts in my car, he is all metal.

Jebbagger let the MASS know last weekend what all the crossers found out last fall... The kid can fucking ride a bike like a banshee...