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


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


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.