Monday, December 31, 2007

Did you get a few of those "year in review" letters that people like to write? I got one that was written in the third person! "Nancy decided to take up hiking, and found a wonderful outlet for her daily stress". Of course, that quote was from a letter written by.....Nancy.

So as a tribute, I figured I ought to at least give an old College try to authoring a quick year in review in the third person. Here we go:

Chris doesn't know what to make of 2007. He goes from a honey-do job of painting two bedrooms in January to losing his Step-Mom to ovarian cancer on 12/30. All Chris learned is that things happen fast, and if he doesn't make choices, then time will make the choices for him.

In between Chris saw his lovely wife die a slow death in the corporate world, spin out of that with some control looking for a path to take, and then re-inventing herself on 12/31 with the decision to attend a massage school in Sedona starting 1/8/08. He saw his daughter embrace school, cycling, skateboarding, and he learned through her a lot more about patience, and the importance of direct communication.

Chris found solace in race results, with a 2nd place in a hotly contested mountain bike race in August, and a 9th place in a tough 52 miler in early October. The rest of the races before and after were just that, races. A few crashes, a few mechanicals, and some frustrating results to fuel the fire to race more.

OK, enough of that...Happy New Year. Cheers to health, health, and more health. You can't have the rest of life without it.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Just thinkin about summer, that's all

Friday, December 28, 2007

I think I figured out why I've been snowshoeing up Snowbowl at 5am for the past couple of weeks.

6 In The Morning

I read somewhere
about a writer
as he got older
no longer
stayed up late at night
chasing his demons


he’d get up early
and grab the bitch
by the throat

I guess that’s why
I’m writing this
at 6
in the morning

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Just a bunch o' random stuff to chew on

My Dad once said "Life's a bitch and then you die". It's not like anyone else hasn't said that a million times, but I think he really meant it when he said it 27 years ago, and I think if you asked him now he'd still say the same thing. I remember him saying it vividly when we were on a fishing trip.

I definately have a different outlook, and I think it goes a little something like this:
-Wake up and hit it...hard...everyday, but don't forget to stop every now and then to take inventory of yourself. Make decisions instead of time making decisions for you. karma is real. If you're not having fun then clarify why not, and make some changes -

Shallow, I know, but that's all I can come up with after 40 years. It's a good thing there are philosophers and therapists out there who actually put some thought into this stuff. OK - so I had some fun last night.....Me and D laughed a lot watching a movie, and then I got to go skiing this morning for a short bit. The temp was -4 at the top @ 7:00am, but the descent was great after another hike up to the top. We need more snow soon. I'm staying in shape with these hillclimbs, and I hope it translates to cycling fitness next month. The AZ racing calendar starts 1/19 for me in Phx.

On the campaign trail, things are gettin' kinda hectic in Iowa. Huckabee is making a nice run at the GOP victory, and Obama - thanks to Oprah - is digging into Cheap Thrill Hillary's "lead". I had a hilarious conversation with one of my right-wing friends last week. A friend who absolutely, positively will vote for the most Christian candidate egardless of his views of the socio-economic issues. He was pleasantly surprised to know that I'm still supporting John McCain in his bid in spite of my tree-hugger, liberal reputation. However, he isn't voting for McCain because he's not religious enough. McCain will probably not even make it out of the GOP primary because of voters like my religious buddy Ken. However if he does survive, McCain is the only guy in my opinion who can get Dem, GOP and Independent votes. Ron Paul - whatever. Guiliani, Thompson, Edwards - irrelevant. I think Huckabee will fall victim to his true self, when everyone is told of how intolerant he is of those with alternative lifestyles.

I don't care who you vote for next year, simply exercising your right is all I hope for. But if you're on the fence, look up McCain - and his Cougar wife - and give it some thought. He's realistic about getting out of Iraq, he's written a fair approach to solving the immigration issues, and he's a guy who is not afraid to say the unpopular thing because he believes it.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Back to life, back to reality...

After a 3-night hiatus in Tucson with family, I am back at work this week - yup, I'm working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It's not a big deal - Lyza is with her Mom for Christmas and now that we had a chance to catch up with family, working this week feels pretty normal.

Up at 4:45am this morning, drove to the base of the Snowbowl, and snowshoed up again. This time I took a longer route. 1.5 hour hike up, and 6 minutes to get down - I took my time since the hike hurt this morning. A couple of pitches were so steep, I was moving 3-6 inches at a time, and almost fell ass over tea kettle down the slope. It was a full moon, temps were warm in the teens, and the sun just hit the horizon as I turned my board downhill. My camera wouldn't even do it justice, so I'll bank the memory. I needed this bustout, after a few shitburgers the past couple of days.

1.) Of virtually no importance whatsoever, I believe I smashed my laptop screen by pushing the power seat button a little too much on the way home from Tucson. It's DONE - no screen left.
2.) Of huge importance, my Step-Mom is really hurting - she's resting comfortably on morphene - but she's struggling in her long fight with ovarian cancer.
3.) I can't even go into the 3rd one yet since I don't have all the details.

I had a great year in a lot of ways, but it just seems like things come crumbling down sometimes - all at once. Fortunately, I've learned a lot about resilience, persistence, and patience - ironically a lot of it from a 6 year old. F*ck - I'll need it to get through the next couple of months.

Hell - the Small Town Douche Bags are even falling down a bit. We may be down to 3 riders as one may have to bow out with a back injury. I guess in a sickly, suffering way I'm pretty psyched to bury myself into the ground Feb 15th in Tucson. I'd love to ride 100+ miles on that cactus filled dirt course - it would be great training for the real races that start in March.

I hope you have a warm, safe holiday season. Here's to a new slate for 2008. Personally, and politically (it's about time).

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Images from the top of Arizona.....7:00am 12/16. The lifts weren't running yet. The snow was freshly groomed. Not a sign of wildlife, but an pinkish incandescent sunrise. Snowshoeing up took about an hour of hard work, but it was worth it. The winds were completely still at 11,500 feet, and you could see the south rim of the Grand Canyon to the north. Then.....a 3 minute plunge to the bottom on smooth snow. It was a great start to Sunday.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


When my Mom turned 40 I remember it being a 'sorta roast' from her friends. Over the hill comments, ect. I'm not really sure why 40 is such a landmark other than it usually means you're probably starting to slow down mentally, physically, etc... Well I turn 4-0 tomorrow. According to female, African-American rappers, "Age ain't nuttin' but a numba".

Yesterday was a blur. I left Flagstaff with Rob at 7:15am. It was 2 degrees. By the time we started riding in Sedona it as just below freezing - much, much better. We had a great ride on the frozen red dirt, which gradually turned to sticky mud as we wrapped up the ride around 11:45am. A good 3.5 hour ass pounding was just what I needed. Then over to work for 3 hours, and off to do some X-mas shopping.

I got Bodhi and Jamocha out at 9pm for an hour bust-out in the snow. Bodhi, being the young pup he is, found a porcupine, and now has 15 darts in his nose and face. I pulled two out and he's about done with me doing that. We're probably looking at a vet visit tomorrow morning to tranquilize his ass and pull them out. These goddamn dogs are a blessing, and an expensive one at that. I love the little guy though. He took his punishment, and he hasn't whimpered once. Hopefully he'll learn.

Up at the crack of ass this morning (5am to be exact). Picked up Aaron and we drove 13 miles to the base of the ski resort. Strapped on the snowshoes and walked up the slopes to 11,500 feet in a little over an hour. I was soaked with sweat, but man - watching the sun rise over the valley was friggin' spectacular. Pics to follow this week. All of that for one 3 minute bomber run down the mountain on the was fresh groomed cordury - perfect for long carving turns. Now - it's 8:30am and I'm done for the day.....done working out, and on to cleaning the damn house. Just because it's your birthday doesn't mean sh*t - you still have to keep the place respectable.

I'm taking the day off tomorrow to ski free on my birthday. This time I'm not hiking up for one run down. It should be a good time, but I'll feel like a sandbagger. There's some real soul food in earning your downhill run.

Finally - the Small Town Douche Bags are officially a team at the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo in February. We could be good, we could be marginal, but we'll have fun doing it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fryday bluddy Friday...

"It doesn't make me feel comfortable to see a guy walking alone carrying a shovel around the city. Snow shovels are okay, I'm talking about earth-moving shovels here. A guy carrying a shovel around at night has secrets, things you don't want to know. Carrying a shovel means that the person has either just dug up something or is on his way to bury something. And it's worse when you see the guy with the shovel walking around late at night, because then you know whatever needs digging can't wait until morning. If I was a cop I would probably get in trouble for profiling guys carrying shovels around because my only police tactic would be to follow these people until they lead me to the scene of their crime."

On another note, I won my 3rd consecutive racquetball tourney last night. I beat Paul the Caveman (He's hairy and he mumbles) in the final. He was pretty tired, and he didn't put up much of a fight. It's time to go pro. Semi-pro that is. Next league starts in Jan and I'm getting the upgrade. It really doesn't mean sh*t. Just better players, more responsibility to play and show up for tournaments, and a couple of free racquets and some shoes. All I know, is that its fun to play with the better players in the state, as it makes me work harder, and its humbling to get your ass kicked by the elite players.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Holiday Blues....

Three work-related holiday parties in 7 days has me about DONE with people I don't know very well, obnoxious food offerings, and free booze. As usual, none of this is about the spirit of giving. Then again, neither am I. I want:


Racquetball tourney starts tonight. I'm going for the 3-peat. On the line is a sweet Ektelon Racquetball bag. I want it, I need it, I love it.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Night Rider.....

That's my name. The days are too short. What's a self-professed addicted rider to do? Trainer- hell no. Rollers-not unless there's 6 inches of snowpack on the road.

I rolled out at 9pm to frozen ground, and a light dusting of snow. Traction was superb thanks to the flaky snow, and I climbed and climbed and climbed to warm up. At about 8,500 feet it was as if the last storm had laid a blanket of snow down. Instantly it was 6 inches deep, and as crusty as a high school girl's made up face. Rather than go back the way I came, I forged on. Ride - walk - ride - walk. Finally making it to Schultz Pass road. It was frozen like a skating rink, and I kinda skidded downhill for a mile until the snow relented.

Last Sunday was much better. Roadtrip to Sedona (I say roadtrip - but it is all of about 40 minutes). 58 degrees, sunny, and the red dirt felt like velcro. My new tire setup (Stans tubeless with WTB Exiwolf 2.3's) was amazing. Rear at 36psi, and front at 34psi. The only thing limiting me was my own fitness. We hammered off and on for 2.5 hours until I couldn't push the singlespeed anymore.

I'm committed to riding 6-8 hours per week. Not exactly road racing fitness, but certainly good enough to begin the state series in January racing mid-pack until I get my fitness back around April.

Check this one - My Uncle has become Mel Gibson. Not the racist drunk, nope - the Conspiracy Theory one. He thinks that 'secret societies' are convening to get Hillary into the White House. He isn't even a die hard Republican either. I had to laugh at that one. First - influential secret societies are typically made up of conservative white guys. So....I would tend to believe that these secret societies might be conniving to get, say, Mick Huckabee in office. Or maybe Ron Paul?

Happy f'n Thursday - and Fish - don't think I haven't thought about giving you sh*t about Jon Kitna's predicted 10 win season. Go Vikes...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tribute to the last true stud of my lifetime..

Evel Kneivel died, age 69. Beat up, beat down, broke, spent, and in a hella lot o' pain. Maybe 6-9 months ago, USA Today did about a full page story on him. They listed the number of broken bones, successful and unsuccessful jumps, operations, and the fact that he was piss-poor now. He's also found Jesus through it all.

I saw this guy as an icon as a kid. His insane jumps televised on live network television. Crashes were as frequent as successes so you never knew if he could pull a jump off. The distances seemed ridiculous, the obstacles - too numerous. Cars, vans, trucks, lions, crates of rattlesnakes. Even at the end of his career he tried to jump the Snake River Canyon in a rocket.

There are a lot of young dudes doing incredible things on their motocross bikes these days. Backflips, crazy aerials, you name it. These are conditioned athletes on machines built for stunts. Kneivel? Rode a stock motorcycle with a reinforced frame which of course, severed at the welds several times. His suspension often kicked him up over the front end on a landing, and I would have to imagine that the vertebrae in his back were really what 'suspended' his landings. Crazy, crazy, crazy. Truly crazy. Look up his crashes and successful jumps on youtube and you'll see just how ridiculous this guy was.

Fortunately, I'm a pussy and I couldn't bring myself to the point of wrecking myself just to 'pull it off'. Kneivel was the guy I could never be - so even today I ride my bike vicariously through him, and when I see the next 6 foot drop in the slickrock.....I step off, walk down, and think "damn, Kneivel would ride this with a trike". There is nobody who had his stones, and there is nobody now who would even consider doing what he did for the money he made which by today's standards would amount to squat.

Mr. Kneivel - rest in peace

Another one of your fans

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Key West is often talked up as the 'Southernmost point in the US'. Actually - South Point, HI is the southernmost point in the US. As usual, entrepreneurs have opened the Southernmost restaurant in the US, the Southernmost farmers market, and the Southernmost vegetable garden in the US. OK - I made those last two up, but I did see several shlocky signs that tried to capitalize on this. What this place is really? The damn windiest point on the island. Sustained winds of 35+ during the day. The surf was anywhere from 8-12 feet, and upwards of 30 on some days. Those giant windmills were a sign of times gone by - replaced by new ones that were about 2x as big - but impossible to get a good picture of. Even these had blades that were probably 30 feet long on each side.

That's my goofy ass on the southernmost rock I could find without getting pulled into the ocean. Next stop would be Antarctica unless you could paddle out of the current to Fiji. One other cool thing about this barren place? They catch trophy size Marlin from the cliffs. 1,000 pounders. There was a 35 foot cliff some goofball tourists were jumping off of into the clearest water I could see. However, the thought of dancing with a 1,000 pound marlin overrode my desire to make the jump.