Thursday, December 23, 2010

The first two miles were like a Vietnamese downpour, but I was plenty warm and comfortable climbing. A tailwind, after the second turn, I didn't even recognize until I flipped around to come back down. No wonder I was going faster than normal. The road turned to snow at 8,000 feet and conditions went from super fun, to fun, to the point where I really wasn't interested in an A-level solo adventure because the blizzard conditions were making the road hard to follow - on the way up, and I was gettin' a little concerned about descending. I got to Aspen Corner (mile 5), and out of self-preservation I dropped the bike, changed into dry clothes, and pointed it back down. It was then that I realized I had a 20+ mph tailwind propelling me up. Holy sh*t is all I can say, because glasses were worthless, a light was worthless and thank God for giving us all eyelashes. I descended looking for tire tracks to follow but they had been blown away. I wasn't freakin' out, but I had to guess a couple of times on curves as to where the road was. Not a girlfriend/wife ride, for sure.

I must be living, in some respects anyway, right - because outta' nowhere comes what had to be a Snowbowl employee headed down in a big-ass F-150. He leans out his window and says "Nice job Red Rock". That was cool - musta' seen the bibs. I followed his taillights at 20mph with uber traction in the heavy snow until that flat spot near mile 3....the snow turned back to rain, and over the next three miles, in a heavy downpour, I had water running into my MTB shoes, into my bibs, and - so much so that I just started laughing at how f'd up it was to be out in this. Totally got my ass handed to me. Got to the car, hit the heat, and the ride was done.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Recipe

A recipe for falling asleep before 9pm – here ya go:

1-bike of your choice (15psi, 2.3+ tires recommended - studs would be perfect)
1-winter weather fully kitted costume including gore-tex ear band and thermofleece tights
1-1 hour sustained climb on a crusty snowy road followed by a 15 minute sketchy descent in a m’f’n cold ass wind
1-20 minute soak in a hot tub to get the blue/black color out of face and extremities
2-plates of food - random food really, it doesn't matter
1-beer (stronger alcohol content preferred since you're going straight to bed - think Nyquil)

Say goodnight, Chris

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mall Cop

So after a long day on Saturday that included a great bike ride in the Catalina Mountains with several teammates, and 6 hours of non-stop playtime with two rugrats, I was done. We clicked the TBS version of “Point Break” off, and I don’t even remember falling asleep.

4:00am and the alarm goes off at my Sister’s house. She has it shut off in 15 seconds, and I stumble out of bed with a big fat WTF hanging over my head. My contact lenses are in their case and all I want to do is head back to bed. It was a squirrel, or a bird, or a whatever…. who gives a shit. Then my Sister says that it NEVER goes off, and she seemed a bit, well, alarmed.

We checked on the kids and they were not abducted and they were already back to sleep. So we then went about checking doors and doing a pretty informal ‘lockdown’ on the house. The last room to check was the upstairs playroom so up I lead and I see the east side French doors wide open. I ask my sis “were those closed when you checked this room”. She said “those were closed”. My sister is a girlie girl, but she’s pretty calm under pressure. I didn’t panic and just walked right up to them figuring if there was somebody there all I would see is an outline and I’d just start throwing haymakers. Great plan, tough guy. Your vision is 20x150 and you’re plan is to toss haymakers? That’s some crystal clear thinking.

I got to the doors, and looked at the jamb and there was no sign of forced entry. We realized that the doors had been closed, but not latched, and the 30mph breeze outside popped ‘em open. We never did check the closet adjacent to the doors, and I ended up dreaming about thugs hiding in there the rest of the night. I should have just walked up there and did a double check, but the dreams were pretty good. Big guys, little guys, AK 47’s, Glocks, hatchets, Jason and Michael Myers from Halloween. The whole gamut of possible intruders. Turns out, my Sister had the same dreams.

Another relaxing weekend in Tucson.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Survival of the unfittest

Bike practice has been few and far between since early October, and I paid the price last Saturday at the Dawn til Dusk event at the McDowell Mountains. I raced down to the valley on Friday, attended a mandatory work party for our owners until 12:30am, scrambled to catch some sleep, then out the door at 5am on Saturday morning to drive over to the race which started at 7:13am. Goooooooooo! Famous last words were “I’m just going to take it easy at the start since it’s a long day”. Nope. Some local Flagstaff towners were drillin’ it so I joined in.

You know you know you’re fucked when it’s 68 degrees out and you’re chilled to the bone from your effort. I went way over redline on lap one, and sat in our campsite knowing the rest of the day was going to suck. I managed to tack on two more 15 mile laps, and after the 3rd, I was done. My thighs felt like they had vices on them, and women, children, unicycles, were passing me – at least in my mind they were. One guy who had no business passing me, did in fact pass me, and as he went by he said something like “just cruising along”. I took it personal and fired back “fuck off”. Ya think I have issues? He just kept on riding because….. I realized he had headphones on. I was ready to throw down bikes and fight. How great would that headline have been? “Two 40 year olds throw down at local endurance event over 20th place. Both end up covered in cactus and in the ER with lacerations and crushed pride.”

I sat down in a camp chair at 2pm and didn’t get up for an hour. Talk about an ass-handing. Beer didn’t even taste good. Fortunately there were three teammates there to tell me how shitty of a job I did, and before long we were all laughing about this that and the other. Love me some teammates.
Sunday morning was gorgeous, and so we headed over to local pal Mark T’s place for a road ride. It was total amateur hour, so the pace was slow and that was a good thing. 45 miles on the road bikes was the absolute best recovery I could have had.

Monday night, me and MG began the Snowbowl night time hill climb series with a slow SS grind up the mountain at 6pm. Pitch black, a bit of snow on the road, and I felt strong as an ox. Good times. Only problem is that I woke up yesterday with a top quality fever, cramps, and bodyaches that lasted all day. I haven’t missed a day of work in 1.5 years, and that all changed yesterday. I was a sack of shit, all day.

Today, back in the saddle. I rolled into Lyza’s classroom and sang a song with her about supply/demand. It was fun….my little Leo got all shy in front of her teacher. Big hug on the way out the door, and life is good, baby.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Jamochafudge

It’s pretty easy for all of us to look back and mark chapters in our lives. Military service, college, marriage, kids etc. I just lost a dog that had been with me for 15 years, and that was one memorable chapter. Jamocha had seen a lot in her time, and fortunately for her, it was always about finding fun. No less than seven near death experiences, ridiculous vet expenses, feats of survival that still make me cringe, and she only missed one meal because of surgery.

I could tell stories for hours about her. Eating furniture, getting beat by a pit bull, obliterating our neighbors gardens, swimming in any pool without a fence – much to the chagrin of local homeowners associations, several near drownings in semi-frozen lakes, falling out of a jeep at 30 mph, chowing a box of rat poison, and eating 20 pounds of dog food in under an hour. Just awesome stuff that, even when walking her down the green mile of the vets office, made me laugh through the tears.

She went from being called Jamocha, to fudge, to fudgedog, to Japoo, to Geej, to Gramstains. Gramstains was an affectionate name for a ‘grandma dog that left a mark on the wall, the couch, the floor, basically everywhere she went’. That was my girl. Never ever a dull moment.

When I picked her up at 3 months old in 1995, she was jumping from couch to couch in the living room of a single mother who had no chance of handling her. The thing that sticks in my head is that she went out completely used up. Every muscle was shot, every sense, save her sniffer, was gone, and she had a look on her drooping face that said “I’m done”. Good for you ol’ sweetie. We won’t forget you, how could we? You drove on two wheels with your tires chirping at every stoplight for 15 years.

Friday, November 26, 2010

November Singletrack

I put in an honest eight at work on Thanksgiving Day, getting out of the office at 2:30p. Working on Thanksgiving is one of the best days of the year because all of a sudden everyone is so goddamn happy. Garbage disposal stuck? No problem – fix it Friday! You can’t get your favorite game on TV because the channel is out? No problem – there are plenty of games to watch this weekend! I think that family time cures a lot of ailments in the first 24 hours, but after that, it causes more than it cures.

Regardless, it was a good start to the day, but the best was yet to come. It was 23 degrees when I got home, but the sun was shining. I costumed-up, grabbed the singlespeed, and hit the snow covered singletrack for a pre-meal ride. The window of opportunity to ride snow covered trails is so small…..but when you have ½” – 1” of snow cover, cold air, and warm sun – it’s optimal. Great traction, no sloppy slush, and where the hell is everyone? Inside, by their fireplaces and/or stuffing their faces, I take it. Cutting corners hard, climbing with snow flying off the tread, occasionally hitting a clear spot of tacky dirt where my speed would quickly double. Great. Fun. Smiling from ear to ear.

Mmmm, we had baked turkey fillets, roasted root vegetables including rutabagas, turnips, and sweet potatoes with a nice side salad. Pumpkin pie followed with a fookin’ pound of homemade whipped cream. That’s as good as it gets, aside from the fact that by little blondie was in Phoenix.

The good news is that I get to leave work on Friday around 2p, and I’m headed down to get her for a weekend soccer tournament. 65 degrees, sun, and four games +1 if they get into the finals on Sunday morning. Yeah buddy – I’m ready to go and it’s only 8:57a.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Flagstaff Athletes

If you ask anyone who plays any sport out here if they have been training and/or staying in shape, you always and I repeat ALWAYS get the same answer: “Not really, every now and then, but I’m not competing or anything”. The following weekend after your discussion, said person climbs the podium at nearly any event they enter.

Bring up the subject of their most recent ride or run, and you often her terms like ‘vert’ (vertical feet climbed), and other asinine stats that originate from their stem or wrist mounted Garmin. For example: “We hit the summit of Agassiz, dropped back down, and looped the west side of Elden just to reach an even 25. It was 6+ vert with a max 12% grade in 3:40. We’re gonna’ go rim to rim to rim at the Grand Canyon next weekend, you want in?”

Do I want in – are you fucking kidding me?

This is a classic way for Flagstaff athletes to finish their story for two reasons. 1) There are enough people in town who could do that workout at the required pace, so they are serious when they ask if you want to join…..and 2) It’s their way of staying humble - because even though they are aware that running rim to rim to rim is stupid-hard, they also know that there are 100+ people in town that could kick their ass on that route. There is always somebody who can beat your best.

I’m not an athlete by our local definition because I can’t hold a candle to the fast people in town. However, I have fallen into this trap myself. Posting words about elevation gained and lost on rides as if flatlanders would ooooohhhh and aaaahhhhh nodding their heads in amazement, or talking about dangerous exposure points that are “easy if you know the line”. Passing on a 3-hour Sunday ride in favor of a 5 hour marathon because “I need the miles”. Is this an ‘Out West’ thing similar to the way the athletes talk in Durango, Bend, SLC, and Vail? I think it is, and I think a lot of people move out west to experience BIG. Big mountains, rivers, trails, storms, and powder. I love big too, I’m just now figuring out I don’t have to talk quite…. so……big.

So today, I got outside early, just as the sun began to think about coming up. I was chasing the warmth as the rays met the treetops and slowly made their way down to me – on two wheels – on the ground. I stripped off a layer and made my way through the singletrack route. A half dozen deer left me in their dust, and I couldn’t help but notice just how cumbersome I must have looked to them; dodging, dropping off of, and climbing over rocks along a strip of trail when they could bound across the earth in any direction over any terrain. As I headed home, it felt warm. Work was looming, but anytime I can get out and play before work, well, I’m a pretty good boy the rest of the day.

See what I mean? I could have been in NC, MN, AZ, or eastern Kansas. It’s about the ride for me, and that’s what imma’ focus on. I’ll leave the stats to the fast guys.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

burnt down to the coals

I was on my way to the hot tub this morning. It was still dark out, and as I made my way through the living room I could see my old girl Jamocha was walking around in anticipation of her breakfast. 15 years, and she’s skipped one meal. I gave her a mulligan on that one since it was post-surgery.

My right foot hit a warm pile of Labrador-made soft serve. I put my other foot down, and hit another. Thankfully, I have heels and they got me to the bathtub without further incident. That was a faster wake-up than I needed. 10 minutes later the pooch was chowin’ breakfast and I was in the hot tub lookin’ at stars and shit.

The fire inside of me has burnt down to coals. No riding. No running. If it weren’t for pull-ups and body weight exercises, I’d be classified as a typical sedentary American. Work has been steady and good in a lot of ways because we’re on a successful run, and my little bean Lyza B has kept me running with her homework/club soccer/social life. At the end of every day, its 9:45pm – Lyza is asleep, the dogs are asleep, and I’ve got a warm house and a book…..and that feels fortunate and fine.

I’m not sure what it will take to stoke the fire inside. Racing bikes feels like a shell of what it meant in early October. Skiing and Boarding are on my mind but it’ll be a while before opening day. The short days are here for 3 months, and it just feels right to take advantage of the down time and have an inward look at just what the fuck is important to me – besides the obvious.

Underneath the barely glowing embers, I still have a bonfire of passion for riding on two wheels. The bikes will be on the rack waiting for me in January when it’s colder than cold, and I do look forward to suffering on cold training days. The pain of underperforming in April always wins over a warm house and a book in January. Yup, it’ll be there when I’m ready.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fat Man's Pass

Saturday morning I set out alone, and rolled into the garage at almost 3 hours on the nose. It felt like I was in slow motion, just climbing steady with no energy to speed it up, and little ambition to spark the energy. Groves of yellow aspen appeared at various points, and I found some fresh singletrack that was in the process of being built. Love it. After 2 hours and 15 minutes of climbing, it was time to get some payback, and I made sure to draw out that process with some more down than up rollers, followed by a plunge back to the hovel on Cedar Ave. Well done. I spent the whole time thinking about things going on with me and around me, and not once was I able to let it go. Fuck I hate that. In hindsight, it was probably a male therapy session, because guys don’t talk very well to therapists – at least this one doesn’t. The trees and the wind said I was a’ight, so I believed ‘em.

This morning I woke up leisurely after putting in a full day at the office on Sunday. I had a 9am ride booked with Wilkens, and he showed up with his road bike. We got our signals mixed up, and so we high tailed it back to his house to get his phat tire rig. Hey, given a choice on a cool fall day, I’m riding the woods EVERY TIME. Fuckin’ skinny tires don’t stand a chance when the singletrack is tacky.

We bolted into the forest to get outta’ the wind, and I led CW across the technical side of Mt. Elden. This portion of trail isn’t ridden all that much because of the steps/drops/loose granite, and sharp high desert cactus shit all over the place. In my world, it’s a blast and CW was right there with me as probably my only riding buddy who likes risking his body and beating his bike up. We opted for Fat Man’s Pass which includes a 10 minute hike-a-bike section that then leads to the holy grail. 1.5 miles of downhill that looks flat out unrideable, and you best be slithery ‘cause you won’t fit through many of the downhill chutes. It’s white knuckle fun, and worst case scenario is you stack it, fall 4-5 feet into Prickly Pear cactus, some sharp Manzanita tree branches, or you get all raspberried on granite boulders. The point of all this fun you ask?….for 2.5 hours I didn’t even think about work/family/life and the ride?….as my buddy JK loves to say when he sees a hot Hopi woman: “phenomenal”. You’re God damn right it was, the blood on my knee was phenomenal. The two sets of hikers who asked us if we were crazy – phenomenal. The clear blue sky – phenomenal, and the fact that I could get out and do this on a Monday, well that was worth every hour I put in on Sunday - phenomenal. It was all just so freakin' phenomenal.

CW was beat to shit by the end. Not physically, just mentally. It’s tiring riding that stuff, and I think he’s got a lot on his plate too as he’s considering relocating the fam to California for better employment. That’s a lot to think about, and I’m afraid his Monday ride was like my Saturday ride. We’ll get after it again on Wednesday and I have a feeling we’ll both be in the right place. We have a race in a month, and beer/food is on the line as a side bet against another duo. We’ll be ready, or, we’ll be full and drunk, or all three.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Joshdeisha

My Wednesday ‘master of the obvious’ comment pertains to politics. These elections really bring out the worst in people. I was listening to NPR reports on various elections across the country, and only found one story to be remotely interesting – the California Governor’s race.

Jesus H Christ, how the hell is Jerry Brown still in the political game? That dude was in office when I was a teenager, and I vaguely remember a lame attempt for during a Presidential primary back when I worked for the Stinkin’ Grand Hotel in the early 90’s. Now he’s running against the former CEO of EBay, a billionaire woman who certainly has her shit together from a business perspective. Just as the report was heading into the doldrums of political hell, NPR transitioned into a story about a 52 year old transvestite who has made his way up the political ladder in San Francisco. Way up the ladder to the point where he/she is a leading candidate for the SF Board of Supervisors. The thing that caught me was when he came out of the closet, his kids disowned him for a long, long time. WTF? I mean, he’s your Dad. Even if this guy decided to put on a skirt and start riding a pink bike and went to Thailand to have his parts changed – and I’m not talking about derailleur’s and handlebars here – I’d still ride and race with he/she. We might call he/she Joshuita or Joshdeisha, but me thinks he/she wouldn’t be disowned by his/her ridding buddies.

Anyway, there’s no point, as usual, other than I’m skipping the remainder of the political coverage until this election is over next Tuesday – or whenever election day is. I’d much rather hear about transvestites, crash and burn rockers, and great stories about singletrack and fresh powder on the mountain.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fall Beaut



The singletrack at 9,500 feet - love me some fall colors. It's nothing like back in MN with the red/orange/yellow, but it's what we got - aspen gold.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Changes #2


Got me a season pass today. Got me some Fischer fat boards and boots last week to ski the trees. Got the snowboard tuned and ready to rip. Now, we just need a few more inches of snow. You know, like 50 or so. Let it snow!
History says that when I buy a pass we have a bad winter - c'mon man, let me cash some karma in on this winter. I swear I've been livin' right?!

Sunset lift, 10/14/10 Base: 0 Expected snowfall today: 0

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Change

The rains are coming, the leaves are blowing, and there's a fuck ton of change in the air. More on that in a few weeks.

Last night hail and a biblical downpour chased by black spandexed ass off the mountain. I felt like a wave was about to crest on me, as I was mowing down the singletrack decent home. Quickly into the garage, sit down in front of the heater to change out of the clown suit and - I'm surprised my skylights didn't just explode. Hail. Gimme shelter. Love me some warm house.

Aside from a thrilling ride, my legs feel like dock posts from Sturgeon Bay that were cemented in the '80's. I don't know what the heck is going on, but ever since I wasted the form I had two weeks ago, I've felt like a slow sack of shit. Yeah yeah, we're not talking about minutes slower, no - it's more about feeling good. I pounded out a good climb on Saturday with Navajoel and D at Wupatki, but even there I felt flat and unresponsive.

Speaking of unresponsive, the Montana State Cougs were totally unresponsive in the Skydome on Saturday night. With me, Lyza and a ton of friends cheering on the 'Jacks. NAU baby, college football powerhouse - they would only lose to Wisconsin or Alabama by 90+ points.

Remember L7? No? I know you love your Wilco, your Feist, your Coldplay, and your Arcade Fire - I get that, but throw a little L7 on and listen to some music that'll move walls. These chix bring it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Phoenicians

The Phoenicians will be up in our little mountain town this weekend, so D and I made a good call to go on and get the heck up into the mountains before the really big SUV's with every kid donning A&F clothes clog the first mile of every trail in and around the peaks. Today? Sunny - 70 degrees, maybe 10 cars tops. The Aspen tree leaves are turning gold, and it all felt really pristine. I think that was my 50th trip up this year, and it never gets old. It never gets easy either. We rode at a very modest pace, taking nearly 50 minutes to do the climb. PR is 36:30, so it was a chill ride....but, it still hurt and I loved every minute of it.

The Phoenicians. They are like FIBS (f*ckin' Illinois bastards) are to Michiganders. Sure, come on up and spend your $$ here, but go on and get the hell home come 2:00pm on Sunday - and don't come back until next Friday. The difference between us Flagstaffians and Michiganders is that all Michiganders are one generation or less removed from white trash roots, often substituting snow machines for cars 9 months a year. Horriffic wine, pasties, Kid Rock, and Insane Clown Posse cap off the backwards-assness there.

Of course, I'll be heading down to Phoenix next weekend for Lyza's soccer tournament, and I expect to see lower gas prices, affordable lodging, unclogged freeways, and great food/service at an attractive price. You know, because you f*ckers stomp on my trails all weekend. It's like that.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"dumbification" of trails

I came home from work yesterday and my daughter was playing ‘leader of the pack’ with the neighborhood kids. After ensuring she had her cellie, I put on the costume, and drilled it into the woods. Some local trail advocacy group has been doing so much work on Rocky Ridge that it’s close to deserving the name Less Than Rocky Ridge. Jesus people, back in the 90’s this was the litmus test for tech skills. These days – if it weren’t for the west side being obliterated by flood damage, thus incredibly fun and technical – it’s on its way to being one of those horizontal escalators you see at airports. I know, I sound like some retro grouch, but for fooks sake you don’t have to dig down a country fookin’ mile to remove rocks from the Paleozoic era just to smooth out a bumpy trail. What’s next, pavement?

Anyway, the big wheels kept on rollin’ until dusk and after sharing a colossal taco meal with the fam, it was “watch Brett Favre further self-destruct” time. Dude – it’s time to bail. Please. For the sake of everyone you have scorched in MN and WI. Can you please spell O-V-E-R? You can always come back to the booth, or go on Dancing with the Stars in a couple of years. It’s just time to get the hell on.

Somehow I missed just how great The Replacements were in the 80’s and 90’s. I stumbled on a Paul Westerberg track a few days back, and a few clicks later I’m uncovering gems I used to live for like “Alex Chilton”. Those guys were drunk for 10 years straight, and managed to rip off a sequence of songs that laid the path for a lot of bands – Fish, insert Wilco here. Quick transfer to my cell phone, and I’ve got some more killer tunes to listen to and from work this week.

Saturday I got semi-suckered into a pair of phat alpine skis – used, at the right price – but man after skiing last spring I really “needed” a pair. Yo, I’m still a knuckle dragging boarder, but these Fischer fat boards are going to be a blast. OK then, let it snow!

Monday, October 11, 2010

comin back

After the Tour of the White Mountains, I took a week off – had my bike repaired at the shop – and just worked a lot. It took a while to let go of that wasted opportunity. Me and JK, we’re still friends, no blood no foul, but it was a mental hurdle for me to get over.

Saturday afternoon I rolled out for a ride in the fading light. My legs felt like they had vices on them. Lungs, fine. Legs, worthless. The regression after 7 days off the bike was demoralizing, but not enough to keep me from smiling most of the way because the trails were in primo shape after 3 days of rain mid-week. I had sent Big Steve an e-mail last week talking about dumping my SS and getting geared bike. He didn’t reply because he’s heard it before. I was talking jibberish. Me love me some one gear.

Sunday brought another ride in the fading light. I still felt weak, but a small improvement was encouraging. Even today, my legs feel flat, but I think that’ll all go away soon enough. That mental takedown from a week ago hurt – much more than I thought it did.

Ahhhh, a new week. Soccer practices, work, a Snowbowl road ride with D on Thursday morning, and bam – it’s Friday. Here we go.

Monday, October 4, 2010

F'd up

I fucked up. A half day off from work, 5 hours of travel time, many days of riding/training – and I pissed it all away by agreeing to ride the same pace as a buddy over a 60 mile bike race. He exacerbated my frustration by crashing the race (skipping the entry fee), and experiencing numerous mechanical, psychological, and physical issues over the course of 6 hours, 15 minutes.

It wasn’t as though it was a bad day on the bike. The course was fun, the temp was perfect, the aid stations were well stocked, and the volunteers were overly nice bluehairs. As mon frère battled his issues, I had plenty of time to relax and see that riding in the B/C group meant I was surrounded with a bunch of guys who have plenty of money, but are short on time to ride. $5,000+ bikes were the norm. Carbon full suspension was the choice for most of these guys. I didn’t run into any posers – rather – these guys were all genuinely nice, and were giving it their all through some tough terrain. Most of them were a bit out of their element once we hit mile 50, but they were all leaving everything they had on the course. Pretty cool, I thought. Hell – these are the guys who keep the bike industry going. They pay the bills for companies like Specialized/Trek/Cannondale/Mavic/Shimano to ensure innovation year over year.

Once JK worked through his issues including severe neck pain that required a 20 minute shut down going into the last major aid station, we knocked out the last 10 miles with a moderate pace and no unnecessary stops except for one Latin woman he had to “help” because her chain came off. Latin, Navajo, Cuban, they are all like Goddesses to JK, and I wasn’t surprised to be waiting trailside for another five minutes after I passed a female rider. I was disappointed in him for not paying to ride (and not telling me about it until we met at the start line) in a well organized event – although he wasn’t taking from the aid stations along the way – but it just seemed lame.

So, I rolled into the finish, in my estimation – at least a full hour plus slower than I could have. Instead of me standing on the podium as part of the top 5 singlespeeders, it was my other teammate Adam who made it into 4th place. He had a great ride, and I would have loved to have ridden wheel to wheel with him. I have had very few podium-worthy rides, and it would have been nice to get one on Saturday. I congratulated him, and immediately just let it go. “IT” being the jealousy and aggravation associated with knowing that I threw a rare opportunity away. I fucked up.

The lesson from all this - for me anyway. Don’t waste an opportunity. A pie truck could hit me tomorrow and after a funeral with 11 people max, I’d be a distant memory. So, show up, punch it, and leave your best effort….dammit.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Worlds in Geelong

The World Championship Elite Road Cycling race takes place in Melbourne/Geelong this weekend. I’m not sure if it will run live on Saturday or Sunday considering the date line/time change, but use this link http://www.cyclingfans.com/ if you want to find out and then scroll down to find a free link to watch it. You’ll get great British commentators who make Paul/Phil sound like masters of the obvious – which is what they pretty much are. Or, you’ll get French commentators and you’ll just have to really pay attention to the video feed – or simultaneously read Velonews’ live ticker.

Sources say 7pm EST on SAT in the US. It's a long race, so don't get there too early.

Imma be riding in Pine Top this weekend. Race report on Monday.

Friday, September 24, 2010

September Sun

A few weeks back I was creeping close to really feeling ready for the Tour of the White Mountains. Jump forward to now, and I’m feelin’ like it’s gonna’ be more of a Tour rather than the race pace I was hoping to do. Riding has been scaled back lately as the sun has been setting too early on my late summer parade. Soccer duties, and work have filled in the free time gaps.

No matter. 5-6 hours of singletrack in 75 degrees, riding with teammates at a tour pace sounds really freakin' good right now. I was lying in bed this morning awake at 6:00am fighting the urge to stay warm and skip a ride. 20 minutes later I was kitted up and cutting through the 35 degree overnight temp. Ouch it was cold, but that’s because I’m a fu*king Alice, and not used to it yet. It’ll take a few frozen toes to get me in fall/winter riding mode.

The trails had been soaked on Wednesday with nearly an inch of rain. They were still primo this morning, and I did the most I could with 50 minutes of time. Up up up and back down down down to town. 50 minutes, lots of technical fun, and I was ready to dump the leg warmers as the sun came over the ridgeline on the way back.

This weekend brings a wedding in Prescott, two rides, Field Marshaling for a soccer tournament, Lyza’s back from Phoenix on Sunday afternoon, and boom….it’ll be Monday. What's that line by Green Day "Wake me up, when September ends"? Its been more like "I need a f*cking nap, when September ends".

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I went to a funeral today on behalf of one of my employees. I didn't know his mother - who by the way, died of a massive stroke last Friday. It was a small funeral home in a small town with a small crowd. 14 people were there. She was 84 and had been stricken with Alzheimers for the last five years of her life - which turned into a living hell for those around her.

14 people? Then I thought....at 84 years she probably outlived most of her friends, and would she even have any left after dealing with that wretched disease? 14 photos were on the wall of her - from birth in 1926, married in '46, a college degree in '54, and so on. A woman spoke, and told of her memories of being the daughter. It was ponies and rainbows. Pink lemonade, sunshine and sparkles. It sounded opaque, shallow, and contrived. The bitch didn't thank her brother once. Saving the details - let's just say she was more concerned with the will than her family.

Her son - the person who works for me - stood up, visibly strong but shaken, and told what I thought was a brutally honest account of what it took to take care of his mother. He was committed to not putting her in a nursing home - no matter the cost. He didn't share any memories of when he was young, or the things they did together before she got sick. Nada. Oh he was sad for her death, but it was clear that the weight of caring for her was gone, and it gave a newfound strength. It was powerful. It was then that I realized I was surrounded by her caregivers. Nurses, specialists, and an ambulance driver who had all too often taken to and from the local hospital.

Unceremoniously, it was over in 38 minutes, and I haven't even processed what any of this symbolizes. I was on my way back to work thinking about D, Lyza, work, my family, and sneaking a ride in before dark.....life goes on.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

soccer sunday

So, there I was, on the sideline of the girls U-10 championship game on Sunday playing the role of soccer dad. Man, I couldn’t have been happier watching my baby girl’s team play. The games were 1000x more gripping, to me anyway, than watching any pro team in any pro sport.

I made a pact with myself early on that I would never, ever, ever critique her play unless she asked me to. That’s up to her coach, and she’s fortunate to have a great leader filling that role for her this year. She’s the newest member of the team, and with that comes some confusion about where to be, and when to use her energy. It would be easy to stand up and shout instructions, but, I won’t. My Mom handled it right by providing encouragement and letting the coaches do the coaching – and not letting me quit when I wanted to. If my head got big she ignored it, and when I was feeling overmatched she let me work through it. There’s a lot more to playing a team sport at this age than winning games.

So, they won the tourney. The final game could have gone either way and even the girls knew it. Lyza played in the shadow of better teammates, and stepped out occasionally to make good plays from time to time. Rightfully, she was on the bench more than the better players. Riding pine can do more for you than being the star.

Now, her days of equal playing time, ribbons just for finishing, and not keeping score are long gone. So goes the innocence, too.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Usually, when you get one of these, it's only a matter of time. Usually. I'm just sayin', not accusin', just sayin'.

Believe Tyler
Believe Floyd
Believe Vino
Believe Ullrich
Believe Heras
Believe Valverde
Believe Kohl
Believe Pantani
Believe Virenque
Believe Riis
Believe Ricco
Believe Mancebo
Believe Mazzolini
Believe Millar
Believe Basso
Believe Kazechekin
Believe Armstrong?

At the end of the day, who really cares.
So we're riding up the mountain on Saturday and as the pitch gets steeper, she keeps her pace and I want to fall back a bit - but I can't. I get pulled by her through the crux and onto what amounts to a long false flat. She's still going good, so I step it up a notch but it hurts. Sweat is pouring down my grille, and I'm not seeing anything besides handlebars and pavement just past my front wheel. Three deer pop up on the right just ahead and it slows us down as we let them pass - for her it was a cute interlude, for me it was a 20 second rest from the gates of aerobic hell. Game back on as the deer disappear.

I'd had enough. I needed some space. I don't like it when somebody else dictates my pace, especially a chick. So, I put what I had left into my pedalstroke and got the 20 second gap I needed to mentally adjust into a good place. The 6.2 mile mark came up and I stopped near the ski lift and relaxed for the first time in 40+ minutes.

She rode up, circled around and stopped next to me.

Me: Fucker
Wife: - laughing -
Me: You were drillin' it on the steeps
Wife: No, I was just keeping a steady pace
Me: That hurt
Wife: I couldn't hang on that last pitch, why did you go that hard?
Me: I just needed some space. I couldn't stand seeing your wheel any longer
Wife: - laughing - I thought you were sandbagging?!
Me: -sweat pouring out of helmet - Does this look like sandbagging?
Wife: -laughing more now -
Me: That was fun
Wife: Weren't those deer cute?

Friday, September 10, 2010

As of this coming Monday, I am steppin’ down from my little position on our little cycling team’s little board of directors. Two words for you: Term Limits. There’s a reason they are important in any sort of position where you represent a group of people. There’s fresh, hungry, young blood on the team and – we need to capitalize on that. The good news – nobody will really care. Being on a little team in a little town with a little budget….means there’s little fallout. It won’t change my riding pals; it’ll just alleviate a few headaches associated with managing the egos of a few team members who can’t seem to get along with the rest.

We’re still going to crank out one last kit by early November. Call it jersey b. Call it the black option. Call it, our best work to date. That’s a good way to go out the door, me thinks.

Monday, September 6, 2010

mmmmm, so define 'epic'?

Man, I’m always hesitant about using the term ‘epic’ for rides because it’s become cliché in the cycling world. I guess it means different things to different people, and that’s cool, but for me it means a near outer body experience either physically, mentally or both when riding. In short, something goes so wrong or something goes so right that it becomes something you don’t ever forget. I’ve chased the White Minivan before, and other things quite like it, and my guess is that you may have too.

There was nothing epic about this weekend’s rides, but the two rides I did do were Grade motherfuckin’ A. Saturday me and D zipped up snowbowl on the roadies in a good time amidst 75 degree temps and surprisingly light traffic considering the holiday weekend. She will always be my #1 riding partner because there’s just something incredibly cool about pedaling stroke for stroke with my wife who on a good day can make me hurt – more than a bit. It’s a bond we have always shared since 2003 when she ripped my legs off on the way up this very climb, twice. I was 8+ minutes in arrears. Our times have more or less flipped since then since D does other things besides ride unlike my hopeless self, but when we pick that pace that falls between our abilities, and just ride up together, it’s one of my all time favorite rides.

Sunday brought out the boys ride. We started with five, and finished with three. 3.5 hours of flat-out killin’ it. Jesus – no warmup, just full throttle from the gun. Why?! The first guy to drop out was toasted cheese about 2.5 hours in - we got him on a safe fire road home, and the second guy had a legitimate mechanical unlike Andy ‘I can’t shift my bike’ Schleck. We dumped him at a nearby road where his wife could pick his ass up after puncturing his sidewall on Gumpy’s Gully - a XXX gnar gnar descent. 50% of what we rode was fresh cut singletrack that I had never ridden, and we climbed near the roof of AZ.

I wasn’t torched from either ride. Just a good tired feeling. That is a good sign. If I can add 45minutes to an hour of endurance at that pace, then this will be really fookin’ fun to compete in. Maybe even, dare I say, an epic ride? I hope not, because I don’t want it. I don’t want to see the White Minivan again anytime soon, but if it happens….well, I gotta’ chase.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

holdin' on

I can count on two hands, and maybe one foot, how many times I wake up nervous or am nervous at some point over the course of any given year. Our Annual Meeting for work in front of 50 shareholders always raises the hair on my neck, and part of the reason I race bikes is just so that I keep myself in that scared place every month or two. It’s good for me, or I get soft and complacent. The great businessman Harvey McKay said in his book Swimming with the Sharks: “It’s better to wake up scared than content”. I don’t think I could handle nervous/scared every day, but one thing I do know……… is the elation of getting past the point of nervousness/fear – it feels reallllly good and makes me crave more.

Last night surprised me a bit. I dropped my little big girl off at soccer practice, and went with AA to go hammer singletrack for an hour – making sure to get back for her scrimmage against the U10 boys team. The singletrack was outstanding, but the game….it blew me away. I sat comfortably watching for the first 5 minutes, then found myself standing and yelling out words of encouragement, followed by that feeling of watching your favorite pro team coming down the field in the 4th quarter to possibly win the game – the team that you’ve followed since you were old enough to understand the game. These girls were up 2-1 on the boys with 3 minutes left and I thought “holy shit, these girls can WIN this!” They did. The last 3 minutes were torture, and lasted what felt like 30. Lyza had some great moments, and some frustrating moments, but she was so jacked up from the win I practically had to tie her down to her bed at 9pm to go to sleep. She crashed 2 minutes after she hit the mattress.

Back to the singletrack – we hammered along the base of Mt. Elden on a very technical trail called forces of nature. It’ll keep you honest the second you get cocky. I was leading around a corner that was hard to see with tall grasses still hiding the back side, and had to pull a back and front brake lockup surf-move sideways right into a 2 foot tall wall of rock that I had no time to get my front wheel over….fortunately coming to a complete stop before going Superman OTB. AA came up and said ‘you didn’t miss that, did you?! Gotta love your MTB buddies, they make sure you know your place in this world.

Anyway - after the game, one of the other parents told me how they are on the edge of their seat for the games, and how they lose sleep over tournaments. Its 7:17pm and Lyza hasn’t even been home since 8am to work on homework or just to get some downtime. 3 nights a week. Is this the way it’s going to be until she goes to college? Damn – time to hang on for the ride.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

5:20am departure yesterday and although it was cold, that sharp cold that only comes from the change in season wasn't there. It didn' take long to warm up, and I just had a grand ol' time out there shreddin', climbin', and carvin'. Anytime I can get out before work is a great time. These days are shrinkin' fast and very soon it'll be a start time closer to 6:00am - which means I'll have to stay at work until 6pm. Give and take, peaks and valleys, and as Rob Wilbur said "roll with the punches"...whatever that meant. Somebody swingin' at me, I'm swingin' back.

I need some roadwork this weekend. Long mileage kinda thing. The October 2nd race deadline is now just a month away and I can go for 3 hours nice and fast, but I can't go for 5 hours at race pace. One more ramp up for the fall, and I'll be done until December - unless of course I get hooked on the CX bug.

Arizona cross is just hard to get stoked for. The first two races are in Flagstaff and have potential for CX weather. One race is in Phoenix under the lights - CrossVegas style minus the talented pro field, and thousands of spectators - so it's pretty much the same minus a few key components. But the other races are down south, with warm days and you couldn't find mud unless it's man-made.

Me thinks it's time to get back into a racquetball tourney. My racquet has been looking at me sullenly - play me, play me! It's be best way to kill someone without going to jail. Hmmm.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Rakin' Cash

Seeing some of your own ‘qualities’ come to life in your kid is eye opening.

Lyza Bee had her first fundraiser for her U-10 girls soccer team yesterday. The plan, as explained by the team Mom, was to gather pledges – per lap – as the girls were to run laps around a soccer field for ½ hour. Lyza was given a form to track the name, amount, contact info ect.

Now the reason that nobody reading this blog has ever fielded a request from me for a donation/team in training/tour de cure is because I fookin’ hate asking people for money. I don’t mind being asked to donate, but I personally hate to ask for handouts.

So Lyza, possibly following in my footsteps, blew off my question about 11 times over the weekend - “Have you completed your donation form yet?” Thinking I’d give her a start, I called my Uncle and made him aware of the fundraiser to which he replied – “put me in for $25 flat – not per lap”. I said cool, and told Lyza on Friday night that Steve was giving her $25….figuring she wanted to raise $100 or so. She looked at me, smiled, and said “Dad, my goal is $30. I’ll throw a 5 in from my wallet and I’m good. Can I go play with Nate?” The following was then exchanged:

CB: “OK, but having me place one call for you, and you tossing in $5 from your wallet isn’t exactly fundraising”
LB: “But my goal is $30”
CB: “Fine, but you only have one donor, and you didn’t even ask for the money”
LB: “Yeah, but why ask a bunch of people for 50 cents a lap when I can get one person to give me $25?”
CB: “You didn’t get Steve to give you $25”
LB: “I have to run for a half hour Dad that’s the hard part of all this, so can you call Grandpa Juan, and Aunt Meg for me?”
CB: “I’ll call Meg, but you have to talk to her”
LB: “That’s OK. I’m OK with $30. I made my goal”

So, she showed up, ran her little body into the ground – 14 times around a soccer field, and raised $30. Some of the girls (read Soccer Moms) who took it a bit more seriously even had ‘performance based pledges’ where they got more $$ for running further. NFL style.

So, our shared view on fundraising is to never raise the bar too high, and just score one donor. It’s easier to collect pledges that way.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I just had to



$580 cash out the door.

I had to.

I may never ride my road bike again.

So fookin' what, right?

CX time.

SS Style.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hurk rike rage (tribute to big steve)

48 hours after that local race on Saturday and I still feel sluggish and beat.

Right from the gun it was on, and the first 3.5 miles are on a relatively benign jeep road. The singlespeeders with 17’s and 18’s were pulling away, but I was OK with that since I knew what was ahead.

The turn onto the singletrack brought everyone back together. 5 of us picked our way through the switchbacks, and the technical funfest in a pretty efficient line. The problem was, I was out of my league a bit and was working too hard to stay with the crème de la crème. I’m more like 2% milk than the whipping cream at the top – but I wanted to hang since the long downhill back to the start line would be recovery time and I could then suck wheels across the flats. Howeva’, the physical effort led to a mental breakdown and I put my front tire into a rock, followed by hisssssssssssssssssssssssss.

I had CO2, and a quick change had me back on my bike in a few minutes. In that timespan, the lead group disappeared, and the back of the pack came whizzing by. Fuck fuck and more fuck. In a Hulk-like rage I went into chase mode, and caught and passed 4 dudes within two miles. On the long downhill back to the line I passed a teammate – Navajoel - but in my head I thought he was just another singlespeeder, so for the next two hours I was chasing what I thought was Navajoel…bit I was really chasing nobody in particular.

The rage took me all the way through the next 20 miles and as I came up to the line I pictured Navajoel there with a few crack-ass comments about beating me since that has never happened before. I crossed the line and….no Navajoel. I checked the time sheet, and saw he was 10+ minutes behind me after the 2nd lap. That Hulk-like rage was just that. I wasn’t seeing or thinking straight.

So, it’s taken a bit of decompressing to come down from that level of intensity. I should have known something was a bit off when I chose Kick Ass and Kill Bill Volume II as movies to watch over the weekend. Seems I was in a bit of a killing mode after that flat tire.

The Tour of the White Mountains is next on 10/2. The title makes it sound like just that, a casual tour. It’s not. It’s the last organized big scale event in AZ until December. 50% of me wants to ride it with teammates at a reasonable pace, stop at the aid stations, take some photos along the way, and enjoy the tour aspect. The other 50% of me wants to drill it and see what I can do. It seems as though the Hulk usually comes out as soon as the gun goes off, so I’m a gonna’ stop kidding myself right now and just show up prepared to race.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Race Day


Local Race #3 of the year
The heat hurt me
30 miles hurt more
3:02 hurt the most, 5 minutes slower than 2008
"Mid Pack Mike" Finish
6th out of 12 singlespeeders
Gave it full gas
Dealt with a flat and coulda finished 4th
Shoulda coulda woulda....
I got nothin' left
60 miler in a month and a half
Best get to it
Bike rode like a dream
Good thing
'Cause I needed the help

Friday, August 20, 2010

School starts on Monday?

The photos below of a Secret Adventure to Clear Creek….well, school starts Monday and that meant it was time for a Thursday blowout. I have to do this stuff with her. These adventures aren’t forgotten, and the cliff she jumped off of gets a little bit higher with each telling of the story. Each fish she never caught gets a bit bigger over time. And the hike out – by the time she’s 11 it’ll be the equivalent of hiking from the core of the earth to the top of Everest. She trusts everything I say out there….that bug won’t hurt you, you can jump from there and not touch the bottom, wear your shoes in the water instead of sandals because your feet are better protected. Total. Frickin’. Trust.
We did it right. Remote location, tricky descent, scary but safe cliff jumps, quiet time watching fish and crayfish, plenty of snacks, a hard hike out, loud tunes in the car followed by going out to eat and to ice cream after. Done yet – nahhh. A game of NCAA football on the X-Box at 10:30 at night. I put her to bed, and the words “I love you so much Dad” sent me to bed with permagrin.

4th grade starts Monday. I’m a bit sad, but also glad to see my little one so grown up and beaming with confidence. The good thing is, she had such a great time that I know we’ll be back 100 more times to places like this. The scope of the trip may change in the coming years with boys, makeup, sunbathing instead of cliff jumping, and who knows what else. What I do know, is that it’s a love of something we both share.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

5:10am

It was still darker than lighter this morning when I locked the front door behind me and went looking for some fresh singletrack. Fresh? Yup….big rains yesterday afternoon washed the canvas clean and it was me, the morning dew, a bit of light, temps in the 50’s, and oh so tacky soil. I didn’t feel remarkably strong and I was thinking a lot about an upcoming local race on Saturday. It’s 30 miles that leaves me pretty beat every time I race it. Not so much the trail, but the level of competition – local races always bring out everything I have for bragging rights. But – a lot can happen between this morning and Saturday so I left it in my head that I’d have a good day come Saturday. Here’s hopin’ that is the case.

Sunday is going to be a small group SS ride on the forest roads from Flagstaff to Sedona. Not race pace, bring the camera and a full Camelbak kind of day in the saddle. Sometimes it’s just good to slow the fuck down and actually take in the scenery instead of always trying to blow through it, or not. Maybe that’s just my way of saying I’m tired and I can’t go any faster today. If it becomes a race, then I’ll get dropped faster than a baby in a trailer park.

August sucks, doesn’t it? Humid, lame pre-season football, everything is about “back to school”, and my office is a g-damn oven in the afternoons. I looked at my skis in the garage and was lamenting when I’ll get to ski some pow pow. I need some new ski boots. Then, I heard Brett Favre is on a plane to MN. I fucking love me some August.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Vegas Adventures

I was out in Las Vegas last week for work. The place was a ghost town. Yeah, hundies were flying at the tables, and the restaurants were full at night, but the overall foot traffic was so far down I thought I was going in and out of Indian (sorry, Native American) casinos. You know how I know things are down?

1.) Cabs a plenty. Even at the City Center. Walked out – loud whistle and we’re off in some smoke infested piece of shit with no functioning seatbelts in the back.
2.) We made dinner reservations, the morning of, for 9 without issue. No freakin’ way two years ago.
3.) $10 minimum blackjack on the floor of the Venetian, Bellagio, and the Wynn – at night. Unheard of. I could even massage a few of their oversexed chips, tip the waitresses like I was paying them union wages, and at least for about 20 minutes look like a player.

At New York New York I ran into a Mediterranean chick blackjack dealer who was the kind of girl you bring home to Mom. Great personality, decent looks, nice rack but not overdone, child bearing hips, and again…great personality. Six of us from the meeting sat down at her $10 6-deck shoe table and exactly 10 hands later I had pushed one, won eight in a row, and lost the last. $240 richer, I cashed out. Yeah buddy. I’d love to say I then doubled it, or at the very least I’d like to say I kept it. The truth is I transferred it…..to the MGM – f*cking MGM smoked me. Yeah, I got greedy and went for it with house money. As my good pal Mark T always reminds me “Dude, you gotta bet big to win big”.

Then we took a weed-smelling cab to the seedy downtown district because it was 1:00am and I can’t think of a better place to see TRUEVEGAS….hookers, $2 tables, poor winos, degenerate sports betters, and old school guys who play the ponies and sit in the sports book for freakin’ hours……over to the 4-Queens where I had a couple of buddies wait their turn to get on a $3 craps table. I said forget it and went back to Binions to transfer my money back from MGM into my wallet. I got enough back to buy some shoes and clothes for work the next morning – thanks Binions. What I did miss out on though at the 4-Queens was a guy at that $3 craps table who rolled 35 consecutive times. Dude made point 4 times, and I saw a brother rake in over a grand just playing the pass line. This mo fo could not be stopped and where was I? Standing there WATCHING. Fuck. I blew that call. Ahh well, at least I got some clothes out of it.

The incredible thing about this visit was my coherence and clarity. I ate like a vegan yoga master who dabbles in grass fed organic beef and wild caught salmon just for endurance. I maybe had three drinks in three days, and enjoyed the whole experience a hella lot more than the “24 hours in Vegas with no hotel room” mantra we stuck to in my 20’s. Vito would be ashamed of me, but hey – clarity brings serenity, according to Fergie. Next time back – maybe Interbike in September.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Riding like a f*cking Alice

After putting in a straight 8 at work on Sunday, I stopped by The Real MG's place to get my helmet and sunglasses. TRMG is the kid who busted himself up a week ago 4 minutes into our cyclocross session. Last Friday he had some hardware installed which he described as follows:

"The gave me an arm block prior to surgery from my neck down to my fingers on the left side. Slice it open... two screws in the top bone, two in the bottom and a pully system in between to pull the bones together. The pulleys got pulled, I got stiched up, woke up with a numb arm/shoulder and was out of the hospital 4 hours after going in. The arm block was supposed to last 10 hours. It lasted 9 hours and 55 minutes and it wore off like a light switch. Holy shit the pain was intense. Sweating, nausea, then shivers until the percocet kicked in. I've been in a trance ever since."

When I saw The Real MG he was doing OK, but he was still having to hit the percocet every 4 hours just to endure the pain. He asked if it was still raining out. I said no. He said go get some. I said hells yeah.

I got home, climbed into the spandex costume, and went as hard as I could up the 2,600 foot dirt climb over 4.5 miles that sucks everytime to the top of Mt. Elden. It hurt like hell, but 'twas a 1 on the richter scale compared to MG's pain. I kept calling myself a fucking pussy when I started to fade and kept the throttle down to the top. It. Was. Much. Needed.

I've been riding like Alice for weeks - a little ride here, a little ride there, nothing too hard, just enough to keep ahead of teammates and get a nice workout in. I call bullshit. I've been missing that edge for too long and it was time to throw it down and hurt like a motherfucker. God Damn it's easy to get in a comfortable mode and not push yourself. Seeing MG there made me realize how you have to grab it when you got it because your time is coming in the bed with the broken bones. I know because I've been there and it'll happen again, because if it doesn't, then I really must not be riding worth a crap.

So, to my homie MG - speedy recovery pal. You'll be better for it come the 2011 race season. As for me, no more riding like fucking Lazy Lucy. I'm ready to drill it again, today.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cyclo-crash

Not even four minutes into our mellow warm-up lap on Sunday at the cyclocross course, we came upon the second set of barriers. As I finished my dismount into the soaked grass, fellow teammate MG decided to bunny hop instead of run. He pulled up on the front end – then sprung the back up too….so far, nice form. The problem then came into focus as he couldn’t control the hop and landed on his front wheel at a 50+ degree angle. The front wheel slid out in the wet grass and his bike laid down under him as he executed a perfect shoulder roll – minus the fact that he separated A and C. It looked like a broken collarbone at first, but what did we know?

Adrenaline = gone. Shock = full throttle. Nausea and fever = plenty of it. I felt bad for him especially since he’s been the driving force of our team cyclocross effort by buying barriers, tape, stakes and such to construct courses. He’s a great kid (going on 24 years old), and just made a rookie mistake on wet grass. Surgery this Friday at 5pm, and 6-8 weeks in a sling. The heartbreak is that he just bought and had himself fitted to a new Velovie bike. Dura Ace, Reynolds wheels, the whole enchilada – yeah, nice. I wish it fit me so I could keep it warm for him.

The part that I won’t forget was his first reaction after crashing (besides nearly barfing and being dizzy). He was concerned about not being able to ride. Job, wife, the fact that he didn’t break his neck….that shit didn’t matter in the heat of the moment. It was about riding. That’s passion and I couldn’t help but smile. Yes – his brain re-set once I walked him into the ER Room and his wife arrived in a ball of frenetic energy. Then he realized he was fortunate to still kiss his wife, drive his car, do his job in a sling, and that the bike would be there in October when he’s ready.

When did I become the old, experienced guy on the team? Broken collarbone, broken wrist and subsequent surgery/rehab, tendonitis, concussions and a mess of superficial cuts and scrapes. The guy who tells stories about a friend who broke his C-3 on a seemingly harmless drop and is a quadraplegic until he dies. The guy who has had run-ins with dead Indians, and has felt lost/scared/along out in the woods more than once. All o' that kinda' reminded me to take it easy on that greasy-slippery grass on Sunday morning even if I was in third going over the barriers and not first. Maybe this old man thing isn’t that bad after all.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ridin and Racin

What ‘jou have for breakfast? Froot Loops? Maybe some eggs and toast with a mug of coffee? Not me, baby. I had me a full plate of singletrack, served up nice and sweet. We’ve had rain for the better part of a week with a few spots of clearing in the AM and then again overnight. Soft trails – but not sticky satanic hell mud = great traction and a fook ton of fun. It’s been another long week at the sawmill so the am stress relief has been important.

Sunday is comin’ quick and with that marks the first time our team of “we know we’re not turning pro tomorrow so let’s have a good time riding” dudes is setting up the four CX barriers we scavenged last year on the NAU campus - and making a whoop-de-whirl CX course in and out of the woods/flats/parking lots etc. For some reason we have a few guys with hard-on’s for CX racing already. I borrowed a CX bike from a teammate and I’m going to give it a more serious go this year than last when I showed up on my old, small geared MTB for two races and hung with the leaders in the tech, but got absolutely dropped like a stone on the pavement. I finished pretty well, but I was more than a minute back from the winners so I figure an actual CX bike and some early practice could remedy that deficit.

Speaking of team stuff, its jersey reorder time so we’re tweaking the look and changing companies. Don’t order from ATAC unless you just want a cheap price. We learned that lesson the hard way as the material began to literally disintegrate while wearing it. The capper for me was about a month or so back at the road stage race: I was riding near max effort with a teammate on my wheel…out of nowhere he said “You know….what I….don’t….like about…..the kits?” I didn’t even respond because I couldn’t speak, grunt, or even blink at 180 beats per minute. He then said “The…..panel on…..the…back…….I can see…….I can see your ass crack”. Good thing I shaved that morning ;)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The hammer comes down

Outside of the state of Arizona, it’s hard to get a clear understanding of SB1070 – the immigration bill that passed the state legislature. Our Governor and infamous Senator McCain tell stories about beheadings at the border, drug smuggling children, and murdered American Ranchers. Drama and Lies – all of it. Fortunately, key aspects of that bill, which was to go into effect tomorrow, were shot down by a judge today. There was a line around the corner of people and even the US Justice Dept suing the state over it. Yeah baby – chop this law all the fuck up.

I’m ashamed to say that the majority of our residents support this bill. I’m not surprised though, particularly when I step outside of the democratic island I live on in Flagstaff.

Here’s where I’m coming from -

When everyone was getting rich out here from the mid 1990’s clear through the crash in 2008 – residential housing developments, commercial developments, and resorts/lodging/restaurants were thriving. Throw in all of the ‘extra’ services like car detailing, house cleaning services, and landscaping and this state was a big cash/credit whore with way to many people moving here for the lure of easy money in flipping houses. The wealthy peeps in our state needed immigrants from Mexico to cover the labor demand to keep these industries thriving. Not only did they need them, but many paid them under the table to ensure even more of a profit. Then, it all went away like a popped balloon in late 2008. All of a sudden, the wealthy people didn’t need the immigrants any more. That’s when the NASCAR crowd chimed into the game. “They are taking our social services”. “They ain’t payin’ taxes”. No shit Sherlock, that’s because business owners in this state, one of which probably employs your Jeff Gordon wanna be-ass, took the easy money path and enabled ‘em. If you were an immigrant, would you take a favor – a stroke of good luck – hell yeah you would. So what do you do now Jimmy Johnson? These immigrants have established places of residence, their kids are in your schools, and they have purchased assets like homes and cars.

So, rather than consider amnesty and a legitimate path to citizenship for those that are living/working here currently, our legislators bowed to the redneck pressure from the NASCAR audience and said “get ‘em out, and put the burden on the cops to do it”. Just the Mexicans though….the Canadians and Eurotrash can stay because they don’t fit the profile: Brown skin, dark hair, working class, drives a truck or an economy car.

The last time I advertised for housekeeping help and actually had Caucasians apply, said white chicks lasted 16 hours on the job and no called/no showed by Wednesday….and 5 out of 6 failed a background check anyway. One of the main claims of the general public is that the immigrants are taking jobs from unemployed Americans. My experience over the past 12 years shows that the general public doesn’t want unskilled labor – preferring to collect benefits from the government.

I’m appalled at the fact that our Governor backed this law and rode it to re-election. The good news is – it ain’t going into law, not like she wanted it. Now it’s time for Congress to put this to bed with a national policy to deal with immigration. Screw you Arizona lawmakers – you just got what you deserved because you got rich off immigrants, dumped ‘em when you didn’t need ‘em anymore, and then jumped on an issue to gain re-election.

2011 preview

2011 is looking great: LA will be retired and on the tri circuit, Cancellara and Contador on the same freakin' team led by Riis - nice! The creepy Schleck brothers will drive some Luxembourg squad in the classics and Le Tour, and Floyd will still be racing in a grey t-shirt and black Performance shorts at your local criterium sprinting for beer preems. Oh I can't wait for the madness!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Training Camp Time

8:47pm – I’m sittin’ at my desk livin’ the dream listenin’ to the Scorpions singing “ARIZONA” from the older than dirt album titled Blackout. Great song. What did you expect?

We had a scavenger hunt at the mall for my daughter’s 9th birthday this morning. I should get a Parental Medal of Honor for escorting 4 young girls around the mall on a mission to collect paper toilet seat covers, credit card apps, 50% off signage, a piece of pepperoni, nametags, business cards, and a clothes hanger. With 15 minutes left, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel – cashed a $5 bill and handed out quarters for video games at the arcade next to Sears. Yeah, we got smoked in the scavenger hunt but the girls said I was the coolest. F’n A right kids. Once the festivities were over, we took Lyza over to get her all-world, all-time, greatest-ever present – a working cell phone. Text messaging, extra memory for music, and yeah I bought the $6 month insurance policy. The over/under on the first day it gets lost is around 8 days. Get your bets in now.

Until the UCI Worlds and then the fall classics in cycling it’s all about….FOOTBALL for me baby. The Cardinals are in camp this weekend and Flagstaff is primo for viewing these well-paid dudes. They are extremely fan/kid friendly and Lyza is just jacked to go watch – me too. I don’t really give a rats ass about how they do because once a Viking fan, always a Viking fan but it is cool to have NFL training camp scrimmages 2 miles from my driveway. Poverty with a View baby; you gotta soak up the good while its all good.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Growin' on up

After about 20 minutes I realized that I was just sorta sprawled out on the grass watching, a little too intensely of course, the action in front of me. My not so little, soon to be nine year old was in the middle of the U-10 soccer club team scrimmage holding her own against a group of pretty talented girls. I’m not the “Kicking and Screaming” starring Will Ferrell type of parent, but for some reason I am really watching the process of this developing team closely. The skills, the plays – not so much. I’m closely watching how Lyza interacts with the girls and vice versa. It’s my baby girl’s first time playing on a single gender team and for a 100% certifiable tom boy, it’s an adjustment. I don’t think it matters what team sport you play – if you can play and include your teammates, you’ll be accepted and that’s important for Lyza right now considering she’s 3 inches taller than most, has a boy haircut, and talks like a British sailor whenever she can. I’m responsible for introducing her to the word FOOK. As in a Youtube replay from a pre-tour sprint that went a little something like this: “Awwwwww look at Cavendish come through that gap, he knocked the FOOK out of Haussler just there!”….Lyza got it, started laughing, and immediately passed it on to her dear friends. “You know what the British word is for the F-word”? Great.
Speaking of great, she’s doing great, and she’s gonna’ shine out there soon once her teammates accept and begin looking for her when the turds fly.

All of that left my head when I walked out the door at 5:30 this mornin’ to shred some fresh singletrack. It rained lightly for about 4 hours last night and by the time I hit it, it was ripe. Not a track in sight, and with am fog hanging over the peaks, it was fookin’ gorgeous. I stayed out a little longer than I had planned just because I got out early enough to have that option. The downhill was borderline obnoxious as I was leaning so hard and low into the tacky banked corners that it felt comic-like.

We’ve got a benefit ride on Saturday – one of those Tour de __________ (insert cause) type-things. The ones where peeps show up with aero bars, helmet mounted mirrors are everywhere, and in general – assclowns abound. You just need to stay up front so you don’t get involved in a crash. Hey – I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a great thing that people ride bikes and the more the better, but I prefer to keep my skin thank you very much. We’re gonna just pull the paceline for 20 miles and peel off for a total of 40 miles out and back.…I got a patio to finally finish this weekend and then – stain the deck, and re-landscape another section. Then, I gots to get my little big girl to pick out some more slightly girly clothes for school. Middle class life man, I always thought it would be this fookin’ great ;)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer of '09

Now that Alberto and Andy have kissed and madeup with the common courtesy of a youtube video and certainly a reacharound, we can get on with the rest of the world. Raymond Poulidor - a Merckx rival from the 70's coined it best by saying: “If riders have to wait for punctures, falls, pipi breaks or Andy’s nail varnish to dry, it’s not racing anymore. In my days I was attacked when I had a mechanical.” Thank you Raymond. If I heard one more "Alberto should respect the yellow jersey" comment I was going to barf. Respect what? The fact that 90+% of tour leaders that have worn the yellow jersey since systematic team doping began in 1994 have been doped to the gills? Yeah, that is a great example of fairness and winning respectfully. Time to move on to what should be a nice fight up the Tourmalet come Thursday.

Hey man, I got me the chance to ride this mornin' at a bit before 6 and it was brilliant. The air was a cool 50 degrees, the soil was a smidge tacky, and me big brown bike rode like it wanted to race. I made the turn downhill and home with regret, but I'll be back out tomorrow. About this time last year I was gettin' ready to win the 24 hour duo with Josh B at Granny Gear's first and only stab at the 24 hours of nine mile forest. A year later - Granny Gear is down to one event that I raced in 2008 and is colossally overrated (24 hours of Moab), and I'm crusin' through a soft stretch in my little old man amateur racing calendar. Other than missing a visit to Beechwood, riding with Josh B and the old/new Big Ring crew, and hanging at Big Steve's cabin on the bay, I don't miss it at all. So, what that means is I miss every minute of that trip last year - good times that I hopefully won't ever forget.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My wife called me a f*cker...

....because I had caught her on the climb, patted her ass, and forced her riding companion to chase me to the top - leaving her :30 seconds in arrears at the finish. Competitive? Yes she is. Fun to ride with? Hells yeah. She came in 3rd in our little local team ride up the mountain on Sunday leaving a couple of dudes in her wake. Love it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

pretty much, that's why i ride

As I was driving home last night I knew I wasn’t going to make it to the community criterium, aka the night at the races. Work has been a big fat hole that is sucking me in deeper and deeper, but ya know what? I’m OK with that because I still have the flexibility I need to not turn into an ugly, bitter beer face Keystone drinkin’ man.

That’s 4 weeks in a row that I’ve missed the road races. But ‘cha know what? That’s the last thing I needed on Tuesday night. Somebody on Drunk Cyclist said that road racing isn’t about who’s the best/fast/strongest, it’s all about who can fuck over the rest the best. If there is a better metaphor for American life – then tell me because I don’t know what could top that random comment on DC.

That’s why I ride mountain bikes………and I ride ‘em into the ground until the frames are broken and the parts are shattered because it’s better than me falling apart.

Last night I needed time alone riding in the woods. A cool breeze, hard packed trails from monsoon rain, riding my own pace and my own crazy trails to clear the junk from my cabeza. I left the garage on a mission, and no-dabbed Lower Oldham in a 32x19 gear. That doesn’t mean crap to you, but to no-dab Lower Oldham is a good day on the bike for me. It’s actually a great day because it wasn’t even hard. The rains had rid the trail of dust and so traction was as good as it is in November. I felt fit, and rode smooth through the tech. But I wasn’t done.

Riding across Rocky Ridge gave me a chance to just put my brain in pure MTB mode – because the trail is an up/down fiesta of tech and the crapola at workola disappeared like it always does. Gone. What fire ban that could impact group business? What immigration law that could decimate my staff in two weeks? So what about the fact that my job description is expanding like the oil spill in the Gulf? Gone…..G O N E, gone.

That’s why I ride mountain bikes.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Someone like you

My taste in music could and would be predominantly viewed by educated people as – less than cool. So as my soon-to-be 9-year old daughter relentlessly listens to the local pop music station, I find myself getting used to Ke$ha – Justin Bieber – Myley Cyrus – Fergie – Paramore, while at the same time introducing her to the Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil in between the pop drivel. Hearing her sing “But what’s puzzlin’ you is the nature of my game!” all the way to soccer practice is inspiring. There is good music out there little lady, you just need your Daddy to help you find it. Eventually, I’ll leave my mark on her musical tastes when she shows up at Stanford in the fall of 2019 with vinyl copies of Exile on Main Street, Kiss Double Live Platinum - and a map on her I-phone13 showing her how to get to UCSB because she definately made a wrong turn in Barstow, CA.

……..my parents didn’t adapt to the pop/rock music we listened to as kids. They can’t be saved now, and they have obviously faded into oblivion with their relentless thirst for Celine Dion and Bluegrass tunes. Bluegrass is funny to me, funny like a sad clown. Depression, starvation, prison time, lost loves, broken down trucks, disloyal pets, lost fortunes, missed opportunities and occasionally, and I mean occasionally, mixed with the optimism of a new start/new day or a pretty face. My Dad eats this stuff for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and, well….you can tell.

My wife listens to really deep meaningful multi-cultural stuff that can’t even possibly be turned off and on in between stops to the hardware store and the dry cleaners - it cheapens the music. With great power comes great responsibility and I’m clearly not responsible enough to listen to her collection of chants, cello solos, and evocative South American rhythms. Maybe when I grow up, I’ll realize that she’s on to something great and I’ll have a lot of catching up to do.

Shallow as a kiddie pool yes I am, but, smart enough to not get washed down into a current on the River of Schmaltz they call Adult Oriented Radio featuring drivel from Coldplay, Kings of Leon, Train, and Wilco. You know what’s next on your float trip to the Muzak headquarters? The Celine Dion rapids are straight ahead for your listening pleasure at age 50 – enjoy!

Ohhh, I just saw a new Judas Priest collection on Napster – better go get me some.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Stage 8

Every rider has shown some sense of vulnerability, particularly one old rider. The outrageous performances in years gone by (spurned by drugs/testosterone/bloodwork) have been limited to 1-day efforts by riders like Chavanel, and Cancellara - only to watch those efforts sap said rider to mediocrity the following day. The cheats, it seems, appear to be a thing of the past. It's exciting, it's real, it's unpredictable. Shleck, Contador, Evans, Gesink, Wiggins, and on and on - they all have faults and they all have bad days, and you'd be crazy to bet on any of them.

For so many years Big Tex and his team resembled everything great about America. Dedication, preparation, determination, and incredible organization. Unfortunately, those years are unraveling in parallel to Lance's 2010 Tour. I watched Lance blow up yesterday with mixed emotions. A proven champion falling victim not to his competitors, but to his own failings. He's too old, and karma is a bitch.

So, enough with the Lance stories as there will be plenty of that crap to read this winter when a new book is written about US Postal. For now, let's get on with the racing because it's, well....brilliant.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Weekend

Our new baby is through her period of jaundice, and is healthy and ready to hit the road. D had a quality bike fit done, and her new to her Ruby fits better than OJ's glove. 50 miles tomorrow out at Wupatki National. Just her and Me. Me and her. It should be stellar. We may get a huge monsoon during the ride - and we'd be smilin' the whole way through it unless of course it becomes golf ball hail.

Sunday will be schweet, unless I have to work. On tap at 7am is the first mountain stage in Le Tour, followed by the World Cup Final at 11:30am. If you don't care about the World Cup final, then you were probably watching Le Bron's hour of Narcissism on Thursday night. Who cares where LBJ goes; he can't hold MJ's jock and never will. King James? Dude, what have you won besides the game of Money?

Three cheers for World Champ Cadel Evans this weekend - Just keep your lead through the Alps baby.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Home and Home

Flew into Minnesota like a wave of El Nino
Kicked off the bumpercars at Valleyfair
The walk of shame with my daughter past 50 other bumpercar-ers
3 days on the north side of Lake Superior
Remote beaches, untamed rivers, geologic heaven
Croquet, fireworks, games, and fish'n
Off to Northwest Wisconsin
Running rapids in a canoe
Dumping said canoe and my daughter 3x
Smiles in spite of the missing paddle and cooler and camera and and and...
Great times
Just great
Spent the 4th of July swimmin’
Talkin’ with family
Eatin grilled treats
Drinkin’ LaBatts Blue
Joined 1000 other boats
Fireworks over the bay
Hattie, Juan, Pops, Tomke and the Fam
Thanks for a great time!
We’ll be back

But I'm back home. Back in Flag. Back where I belong. Changed 4 tires on Monday night, and got my bikes ready to roll - left 'em both kind of beat when I left. 55 minutes on the trail before work this morning felt....so....good. Yup, I'm back.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Off to MN

Where is it written that you turn 18, go to college, get a real job, get married, buy a house, have kids, then work until you retire and live happily ever after? It’s not; it’s just what nearly everybody does. Let me tell ya, I am sick of taking care of my house right now, and I can’t imagine placing all of my chips on a bet that I’ll be healthy when I retire. I’d rather place a bet on having a good time today. Time for some vaca.

Leavin’ on a jet plane tomorrow for a trip back home to Minnesota. D is holding down the fort while Lyza and I are gone, and I will miss her. We have an action packed week planned – loaded with roller coasters, water parks, canoeing, hikes, baseball games, and a few Grain Belt’s to keep it all in perspective. I’m sure I’ll throw a leg over one of my parents’ bikes a few times and ride the rail trails. They are flatter than my second girlfriend’s chest, but you can still have fun with them – right? I’m going straight to hell, I know, and I’m fine with that.

D will miss me too, but not that much because she just got a new baby – A fresh built Specialized Ruby with an Ultegra Group, compact crankset – 10speed cassette, accented with Dura Ace carbon clinchers, and Ritchey WCS bar/stem/seatpost. It’s light, it’s stealth, it’s sweet and it doesn’t talk back or cry. That’s my kind of baby, baby.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

u can keep yer eyephone

Pulled into the driveway last night on two wheels – quick change into the costume, and out the door for a road ride at 5:45pm….I get to Lake Mary Road and it’s aglow with fresh tar that was laid down earlier in the day. A few peeps were stopped on the side of the road lamenting the fact that they might get their bikes dirty…..not me – I had two hours to ride and I wasn’t stopping, Red Rock Racing coming through. Once that oil built up on my tires, it was fine. It was like riding a trainer with resistance from the sticky oil on the road, with a few oil balls sticking to the frame and my legs. Nothing that wouldn’t just flick off later or wipe off with some Simple Green. Ladies, Jesus – take your skirts off and just PEDAL YOUR BIKE. A road full of water would have been much worse on a bottom bracket/gruppo than a little fresh oil was on my frame and body. Conduro Future.

So – this morning…

Rather than stand in a line at a cell phone store at 4am – tweeting about my “experience” in the line waiting to get the latest I-Phone, I opted to head out with the Hardman and shred up the Kelly Canyon area south of town. My old fashioned cell phone calls people, receives calls, and I can…..ta da! text message too. You, you, and you Lieutenant Weinberg can keep your pretty boy applications, your data plan, and your I-Tunes.

Kelly Canyon is pretty raw, but it’s getting more attention from trail builders. Ladders, log roll off’s, and well built climbs/drops in and out of the dry creek bed left me wanting more time than the 2 hours we had today. I rode my old 26” hardtail because WTB makes shitty rims and I taco’d the front one on my single speed again last week…..riding the 1997 old reliable DBR was fun and challenging, especially on the ladders and roll off’s. I hopped on the Hardman’s 29” Ventana El Capitan for a couple of sections and WOW – that bike f’n rules. Lightweight aluminum, and he has it set up with wicked light components and wheels. Just a joy to ride. I could get used to that baby. We said our goodbye’s, and it was back to reality pretty quickly.

I hauled ass into work – sh*t, shower, shave, and at my desk by 9:45am. The Italians are out of the World Cup? That crazy Wimbledon match ended after 11 hours? Obama accepted the resignation from that box of rocks General for mouthing off? The wildfire in Flag is 20% contained at 14,000 acres? Oil is still spilling at a stupid rate into the Gulf? 4G I-Phones are sold out in Japan? The world keeps turnin’ doesn’t it – even when I feel completely disconnected from it on a new trail in the woods. Love me some mountain biking.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Round of 16

Nothin' like hearing the National Anthem at 7am - with the US team ready to rock in South Africa. Well, Landon Donovan's goal in injury time............YEAH! USA USA USA USA USA! Love me some World Cup.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gamblin' Man

Have you ever lost 9 hands in a row at a blackjack table? I have, so I think that says two things….first, I got on a bad roll and second, I’ve played the game enough to have that happen to me, twice. It’s a shitty ride, capped with a sucker punch to your psyche when you either run out of money or walk away from the table with a small handful or chips. The fact that I could make a choice to continue pissing money away either out of spite or ignorance still amazes me. Unfortunately, it would take logic, self-control, and the ability to act on my gut instinct to walk away before bottoming out. Gamblers lack all 3 of those attributes…….. or they wouldn’t be gamblers. I know, because I’ve been there – fortunately, only for low stakes.

Floyd Landis sure took a gamble last month. Dude’s got no proof, and he’s calling out the former Boss of the Peloton. I have no proof if he’s lying, telling partial truths, or spot-on. Floyd can’t walk away from the sport even after losing the equivalent of 10,000 hands of blackjack in a row. The relationships are gone, the house is toast, the car is re-po’d, and the worst part……his credibility as a person is next to nothing. The fact that he was racing last weekend in an off the rack microbrewery jersey (Arrogant Bastard Ale) with black shorts cemented the fact that the guy has fallen far, far down the ladder even if he did take 4th place in a national race.

Gamblers are compulsive. Floyd’s compulsion is racing bikes, and he lied, cheated and stole to accomplish just that. Here’s the thing though – I don’t think he’s lying, I just think he’s 2 years late and millions of dollars short. Actually, he’s more like 4 years late, and an a-hole for taking money from the general public for his lie-filled defense.

I want to see Armstrong go down like a house-a-fire – similar to nearly every one of his competitors during his reign over one bike race in France every year. If you look at the list of riders he beat from 1999 – 2005, more than 90% of the general classification top 10 from those years have either been busted for doping, admitted to doping, retired from the sport for doping, or died from doping and other non-performance enhancing drugs. He was just smart enough, had the financial resources, and the business acumen to get away with it. If you believe Armstrong never doped, then I ask that you take a look at the video/reasoning of him chasing down Filippo Simeoni in 2004, then pull your head out of the sand and see what daylight is.

Word yesterday is that Lance is officially entered into that race in France starting in 11 days. I think for the second year in a row, drama will be kept to a minimum at the 3-week circus and with his very strong team, he’ll surely finish in the top 10. It’ll take a bit for the investigators to really dig into the real drama – the circus that was the US Postal Team from 1999 - 2004.

In the meantime, Floyd will continue to show up for local races in generic jerseys and black shorts hoping to get signed by a continental team while the rest of the world watches Le Tour. Floyd Who? Exactly – sad, really. It’s a huge fall for a gifted athlete who got caught up in the game and, well, got caught. He gambled to win, and he lost like all gamblers eventually do. LA’s time will come.

Monday, June 21, 2010

fire fire and more fire

Well so far our house has been spared by the three wildfires that have sprung up on the outskirts of Flagtown. Jesus Focker, you'd think the gates of Hades were being opened up with all of the smoke and flames that you can see on the hillsides. It's just a stark reminder that there's a big price to pay (besides few jobs, poverty, a broken social scene, and no upward mobility) for living on an island (because the recreation is superb) in the desert southwest. Phoenix sucks, but Phoenix doesn't burn unless you count the silicone and botox in the women. Flagstaff is great, but Flag could burn down tomorrow.



This would be the view from the top of Arizona - Mt. Humphreys. Big Steve has been there up around 12,000 feet. Them be smoke plumes on the north side.








This is the view looking Northeast, past the inner basin's snow filled coulouirs, and that smokestack was up to 75 miles long by mid-day according to NOAA.






OK, so thanks to the emergency personnel who fly the copters and planes that dump water and flame retardant down there....that plane looks like a speck against the smoke plumes. All photos courtesy of a local dude who was on the mountain when the shit hit the fan.
Time to lighten the mood with my daughter's new favorite word - Douche. She says it like Doooouccccccccccchhhhhhhhheeeeeeeee and smiles when she says it. D called somebody a douche bag the other day and since it's so much fun to say the word douche, Lyza picked it up like a $100 bill lying in the street. She's not buying the explanation that it means 'dirt bag' because as she said: "Then you would say dirt bag, not dooooooouuuuuuuucccccccchhhhhhhe". She's is nine on 7/27. I don't even know how to get out of this other than draw a d-bag pictionary style and explain it - or, go to the source...Wikipedia, and let her read the description with me cracking up next to her. It's bad.

So the Omnium results finally came in and I finished in 2nd place overall. I was beaten, and I mean BEATEN by the first place guy (master of the obvious) who's racing age is.......17. I remember seeing him in the road race right next to me, and he looked awfully fresh when we hit steeps. He also looked smaller than my soon to be 9 year old doouuucchhhheeeee talkin' daughter. Then, I didn't see him again until the finish. If I hadn't kicked him to the curb in the crit, I wouldn't have been even close. Ahhh well. Youth is king, and I'm just an old timer looking for an occasional victory. That kid has a future in the sport. It'll be fun to watch him when he gets his Cat II license next year.