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


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… 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


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.