Thursday, December 4, 2008

Battle NYC

I really need to carry a notebook.

This city throws crazy and absurdly bizarre thing at me by the bucket. A really big effin bucket. By the time my 10 or so hour shift ends I lose a lot of it, though. The most amazing material that I sew together in my head while flowing elegantly through a sea of cars is mostly evaporated by the time I hit the Manhattan Bridge on my way home. The blog just gets filed then reduced to snippets of random happenings by the time I put it down. The days are predictably unpredictable. The routine stays pretty constant but the things I witness on a daily basis lend themselves to madness. I've been really working hard to be a better and more commanding asshole. It's the only way to keep your sanity, really. My favorite lately is the "car-slap" or "swat". This involves smacking the door or window of a car as it turns left into your path just as you dive around around it. The cabbies hate it, the trucks hate it, the fancy wall streeters hate but it gets peoples attention. It also gives the rider some power by feeling more in control and helping to keep the "order". Of course, save for a few, most of the time this incites a certain amount of rage in the driver as well. When that happens I just keep riding because this is NYC and nobody gives a fuck when the moment is over. If I pulled that move in WV or VA I'd be worried about serious retaliation. Anyway, cars are the enemy. Pedestrians provide perhaps an even greater threat but, as was pointed out to me and absorbed, we're on the same side. Buses are in a category all their own. I have mixed feelings since they're public transportation and technically reduce the amount of cars on the road trying to kill me. They own the right side of the road and stay there for the most part so at least they have rules. Buses are cool except when it's convenient for me to right on the right side as well. This battle will never be won, so I'll stop (whin)(typ)ing about it. More on cars... The cabbies are bad but the black town car drivers are worse. Those guys point and gun, rally car style. Their cargo must be those re$pon$ible fellas down on Wall St. in a rush to man a sinking ship. So I was riding past 14th st in Union square and heard a soft, loud, CRUNCH. I slowed and looked to right with about fifty other passer byes and caught the after math of a full on side swipe collision between an accelerator happy nyc taxi and a black town car. Everyone one seemed pretty amused except the shocked drivers. I let out a hearty chuckle and kept moving, enjoying a clear path through the blocked intersection.

Every evening I usually end with a run downtown since it's my direction home. Broadway is my preferred ride downtown. It slants from the North west side of Central Park all the way down to the Financial district. I get a kick out of riding through all the boroughs of the city. Once I'm down I'll take Grand St through Little Italy and Chinatown to Christie. On this particular night I hit Christie and rode into traffic slightly looking for a gap when a rider came from my left and yell's "Nice Move!", like I almost hit him or something. It wasn't even close as I was doing a track stand barely even in the road. Good opportunity to be an obnoxious prick with no consequences, I thought to myself. As he zoomed by me and told I yelled, "fuck off, asshole!". He answered back with a matter of fact sounding," Fuuuuck You!", without missing a peddle stroke. As I continued along my route towards the bridge I was thinking to myself how retarded that entire exchange was since we're both supposedly on the same side as cyclists. Ah, well, lesson learned and I felt small thinking about the whole thing. When the I pulled up to the light before the bridge the dude was there, too, having taken a different path. He goes, "oh, you're going over the bridge, too?" Well, well, I thought and quickly discarded any notions of stoking the situation with more animosity. We're on the same team, buddy, I said with a menacing grin on my face. The guy was spindly and nervous looking. He answered back with a snappy, "wanna race over the bridge?". Sure, I said. "I don't know if it's fair, though, because I have better gear ratios than you". He had a road bike and I was on my fixed gear Quattro Assi. My competitive, subtle cockyness, flarred and I said, how about we race to the apex (top) of the bridge. All up hill. Then I asked him if I drafting was against the rules. He said no and it was on. He jumped first so I jumped on his wheel. We flew past other poor bridge crossers. My legs burned from the the previous 10 hours already spent shuttling my way up and down the avenues. With 100 yards to go I jumped and immediately dropped him. It was as exciting as my time spent racing up and down the pyrenees. He conceded before I had even crossed the finish line. We rode down the other side together and I told him to google my name if he wanted to know why I smoked him over the bridge.

Work Machine. Recycled from my old Team Gomart bike back in the day. Eno Fixie wheel Built by Timmy boy at SBC in the 'Burg. Thanks, man. It's awesome.

Not oversized.

WV Mine Shaft?

Went to a little Pittsburgh Punk Anti-Flag show last weekend with the Meems. All access because she grew up with those guys.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 10

NYC Bike Messenger.

It's raining outside and I just put my fenders on for the second time in the last ten days. Not bad. I'm out earlier than usual today for the holiday rush. I'll work 10 hrs today. Run by run everyone will get there documents and wine. Lots of wine today.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

day 3

Day 3 NYC Messenger. And today it's raining! I'm a bit sore at this point with the ego and body. Bounced off a couple things yesterday and got a little lost looking for 10 Rock. Learning to flow with traffic and ride on the left side where there are no buses to ride me into the sidewalk. Thanks Mimi. I've got a radio and a big bag now from cyclehawk. Gotta run.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

He's a bike messenger? Gasp!

Most of you probably don't know that I've moved to NYC. I have moved to NYC. Cobble Hill in Brooklyn to be precise. When I think about it, you all probably do know because I've most likely called you for advice or to see, by chance, if you had connection in this city only slightly larger than Davis. Today will be my first as an NYC bike messenger. I'll be doing some trial-by-fire street training with the boys at Are my bars narrow enough to slip between taxis and buses but not too narrow as to go careening uncontrollably into hispterdom? Time will tell and hopefully for my sake the bars are still wide enough to scrape the shit out of a car in Manhattan if I should be so inclined. My bike is just barely built so I'm up early this morning to re-tension the chain and put a brake on. My "shift" starts at 11 and goes till 7. Mark get set go.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Testing... hand on the pulse.

I'm in West Virginia and it's beens so long since I've written anything here that it probably doesn't mean much that I'm not in Harrisonburg. I came up to the homeland on Thursday and caught the increasingly rocking Thursday night in Davis. There's the ride at five-ish followed by dollar pbrs and burritos at Hellbender's, then a show at the purple fiddle. Miss Tess was playing her jazzy-american-vintage for an all-star local crowd. Lot's of dancing, more pbrs, and moonshine when Mackie Marcus showed up. We closed the fiddle then loaded up the band and went up the hill for the customary Mt. state brewing after party. Home by 2 a.m. I came up originally with the idea that I'd do the mountain road classic road race that crosses just down Cheat mt. on rt. 50 and up the massive cool springs climb. My motivation was waning after learning of the 30 dollar entry and weak pay out. So, when I finally woke up this morning after relentlessly pressing the snooze button and found I had forgotten to bring water bottles, I pulled the plug. Actually I didn't fully commit to non-committing until Karl offered me a day in the woods working as a lumberjack or some incarnation of slave, grunt, peon, etc. It went well and it was hard. Karl is freaking amazing with a chain saw. His arms are twice the size of mine. So no race, just good old fashioned honest work. I'm working for Laird Knight starting Thursday. I'll be driving the Granny Gear Dodge dually and hauling the massive "gearbox" camper (oh shit) all the way out to Moab. Bike racing? Me? Not real sure. MTB. I'm looking for a sponsor.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Not a word.

Wow. I just realized, sitting in an American style bar in Lourdes France drinking an american beer, that there is almost nothing on the internet about the race I"m doing here in Pyrenees. The tour de Pyrenees. 4 days of all the massive tour de france climbs. More on that later... I'm tired, sore and a little baffled at the lack of coverage of this sick event that our team is currently 3rd in. Well, Bajdalli is 3rd. I'm 20th. But I wrecked hard today. The hardest I've ever fallen. It actually didn't affect much result wise. I was still getting bottles and setting tempo on the climbs for the BaJ. After I was picked up off the ground and motor paced back to the field of course. Tomorrow is stage 3 into Spain. Couple Cat 1 climbs. Should be good. Two days to go! Then back to the states. I may indeed smoke a cigarette after this one. I did after last week's torture. What?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

plane(ing) around

I've been sitting on a grounded plane here at dca for going three hours now. Impressive how quickly one can go from barely making a flight to driving through an entire iPhone charge for entertainment. Going back to the old school method shortly. I've missed my connection in Ohio with rest of the team. I'm heading for tall beers as soon as I get let outa this tin capsule. So yes, France. Should be somtime in next few days. Maybe even in time to join KBS for our first race in Brittany followed by the tour de pyrennes. Been cheating on the road lately with my mountain bike. Suzie Q broke her leg in vt. Jb won a stars n stripes stxc style. I rode fast for a while then got 16th. I have two legs. I really like this girl named Mimi. Alot. The plane is shaking it's raining so hard. Don't need lights. There's lightning.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A few weeks. And now it's summer.

This week last year I was sick and limping through the big "Philly Week" with my KBS team. Form was on, though, just having returned from a gnarly intro to racing in Ireland. This week, however, I'm training in the rain in Harrisonburg. It's been a nice week here in the 'Burg with lots of nice summery things going on. The rides are getting later and later pushing the limit of summer sunlight. I've been happily tired from a dirty weekend at the 20th annual Hoo-Ha! Winning the race comes as a side note thinking back to why I like mountain bike racing. I could feel myself getting excited for the weekend early last week. It had been on my radar all year but after spending the previous three weeks in constant transit with KBS, a root's weekend was in order. To deviate for a moment I'll shed some light on those last few weeks. My last post was all about the adventure and misery of getting out to Oregon. The end of that trip was supposed to be much more trying in the early stages than it ended up being. Part of my last-minute plane ticket punishment was that I endure an extended tour of the southeast before finally landing in DC the day after I left. That was never to be but I didn't end up arriving to a pillow until the following day regardless. The team was up early on monday after the conclusion of a semi-successful Mt. Hood Classic. I was up late the night before enjoying the low tolerance beer buzz that comes after your body is pushed beyond itself during a week-long tour. In the morning, room a mess from strategic energy conservation, I stared at the laundry I had done the night before that remained in a pile at the foot of my bed. To the right of the bed stood half empty cups of water and a pile of new and used energy food. Draped over a chair, my kit from the final stage with the numbers still pinned and pockets full of energy gel. My toiletry kit lay scattered and partially covered by a tipped over suitcase with my name embroidered on it. To steal a much overused quote from the mtb world, my room looked like that of a "small child's". I scanned the work I'd created over the week and sighed thinking about how generally traumatizing these races are. I'd suffered all week and now, standing in the aftermath, it was time to pack and leave. Story of stage racing. Long over the majestic lure of Oregon I only felt truly ready to leave after scouring the Hood River condo of the perishables being otherwise left behind and forgotten by my teammates. Times are tough but I'd do it out of principal regardless. So I packed up my room then stuffed the bags to the limit much to the amusement of my teammates. 222 Campbell St. is now good on olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The van showed up and we drove off the mountain down to Portland to greet a more than full day of travel. Everyone else had their noon departures in hand so I bid them farewell and headed toward the empty ticket desk. Sometimes, it seems, feeling pitiful and prepared for the worst is the best way to make shit happen. So I approached the desk as I was, pitiful, and expressed my need to make it home asap for a family emergency. Kind of low and dishonest, I know, but I'm not sure the airline biz walks a much higher road. Besides, the latest bias crackdown on bike fees warrants the exploitation of loopholes. "20 minutes", she said. Perfect. And thanks! I'm off. I was on the plane by noon and before most of my other teammates. Had a chat on the way to Denver with a "primitivist" sculptor from Portland. We spoke about the eventual and imminent demise of 3/4 of the world's population from lack of fresh drinking water. Some sharp points. Makes you take a closer look at the water in your Evian bottle. I knew I could count on interesting conversation when I looked at the dude. Picture pulled back red hair with sideburns that were carved in a circular orange peel design on the side of his face. They'd mesmerize you if you looked to long without blinking. A hardcore Scotsman of sorts with a kilt and a pair of heavy duty shit-kicking buckled leather boots. He wore a Christopher Columbus-esque billowy shirt and a celtic knot around his neck to boot. He was on his way to Germany to tour the beer and women by bike. No real plans, per se, just a buddy and a safe month to leave town. He said he considers himself retired. Not in a working sense but more of a "fuck the system" sense. We got along well and exchanged contact info. I made it into Dulles by midnight and a full fourteen hours earlier than I'd originally planned. While I was waiting for my luggage my teammate Reid sent a text asking how my airport camp out was going. I wrote back: "lucked out. I'm in DC!". So I grabbed my cumbersome bag and headed toward toward the employee bus stop. Not quite looking like an employee my KBS garb, the Indian driver was skeptical but reluctantly let me on. Of course I was out of my mind from a long week and wasn't able to communicate much other than "employee lot North B?". The guy didn't speak great English so was probably thinking "yeah, no shit. There's only one employee parking lot". I jumped out at the first stop and booked across the dark lot towards the exit gate. I felt like a spy or thief or at least someone doing something shady at night and getting away with it as I ducked under the gate. Felt good to creatively work the system. So much cheaper than the standard route and way more fun. Back down the same long road that was flooding on my way out and a dash over the highway and through the bushes. Made it back and the car was there. At this point it was 1 a.m. My phone rang and it was Jeff calling from Cali. He was all stoked on his first top ten Norba result and wanted to unload to me about his new super mega reason for living crush. Some Mtb/roadie chick from DC. Bla bla so hot. Bla bla amazing. Then my phone died. Hmmm, I thought. Peculiar timing. Just before the battery meltdown I was about to say, "whoa, that's amazing man. And crazy. Guess what? I'm driving to NYC!". Logic says sleep. Logic says be reasonable. But I say, NYC! It's only 4 hours away! I new I needed a phone charge at some point. I went to a couple blood stations and found out how kind and helpful the night staffs were. Not so and to no avail I took off into the night with a full tank of petrol product and what I was soon to find out, only one headlight. I got popped on my way out of a toll booth and informed that I only had one headlight. Right, yeah, of course. Dammit! The officer didn't give me a ticket for burned out bulb but he did capitalize on my lack of awareness. I gave him my VA. address and my WV license. For-the-love. Let me go. fuck. "I'm gonna have to summon you, son". Uh, VA is just where I work. So I've got a date to push forward all summer and into fall at the Loudon county court. I can't help to think that while this country is in an energy crisis and the world is falling apart at the seams, the law is requiring me to use 2 tanks of gas to appear for a misdemeanor. I'll gladly pay the fine. But that's not the system of destructiveness they're looking for. Anything to keep the faulty machine well lubricated I suppose. It also turned out that I had no low-beams at all. When I asked the cop what he thought I should do he said, "nothing to do at this time at night". Ok, so you think I'll get pulled over again? "probably", he said. "show the officer the ticket I just gave you and he might show mercy but I doubt it". So I took off into the night up 95 all paranoid and manic from an entire day of shady travel. NYC was still four hours away so I passed the time jumping from car to car hiding my lack of headlights. I'd get a fresh wind every time I'd see the flickering of lights behind me. I drove mainly with my fog lights that night, giving the allusion of having two lights. It wasn't until around 5 a.m. that it became light enough to feel safe about the situation. As the city lights broke on horizon I thought back to the darkness of the previous 5 hours and felt sure there was no other way I'd rather travel. Under the radar. All grown up but still making and breaking my own rules and ducking under the rest.

I spent a few days riding around NYC waiting for the signal from those that control my schedule lately. I prefer to keep the future wide open until it looks me in the eye. So that call came mid-day late in the week. I was asked if I could be in Baltimore by noon the following day for the Kelly Cup. I said sure and then cringed as my schedule for the summer was laid out in front of me. I was fine where I was and would like to stay. My insatiable desire to regain control is growing pretty quick these days... The team won that race before the big sprint was revealed. I'm just sayin'. Afterwards we exhausted several cases of wine and toasted the occasion. Our champ threw up. The next day we headed to NJ of the Tour of Somerville. I marked many a move in the first half of the race just like in the Kelly Cup. Couple of guys hit the deck in a couple of the massive pileups. We had to pick up Ben King from the hospital.

Ok, the mtb race, right! The whole weekend was soul-satisfying. Mackie Marcus and a few other friends from the dirt world camped out at 222 for a classic weekend. We all worked on bikes late into the night and rode to the race the next morning. I showed up to a scene that I'd neglected for over a year. I forgot what a good feeling it is to register and spin around get yourself in order before the start. It's a different feeling than the exhausted feeling I get from sitting around waiting for the start of a road race. People park on the grass and set up camp. I was a little anxious about the race. It'd been a while, you know. It took me a lap but I could feel those cylinders really starting to fire near the end. I won the race and reveled in it like a pig in shit. After a novel podium ceremony, we rode home. No cars that weekend.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bad words.

So I've been out here in Oregon for just under a week now and I feel grown up for ensuring tan-lines rather than burn-lines with the cunning use of spf 50. Not getting burned is nice.

Siht, fcku, dmna, I'm out west again. Except this time, instead of the homogeneous urban sprawl of California, it's Portland and Mt. Hood for a week. A week of bike racing in an exotic Norwestern local is one way to romanticize it. And the trip was long and arduous par the norm for travel across this massive continent. So, as it goes, I left on sunday evening for a 7:30 pm departure out of Dulles and gave my self 4.5 hours to get to the secret fee-free parking spot (thank you Marty!). DIA being only two hours away this seemed reasonable enough especially for a person that is welled drilled in the process of air transit. I'm sure all of you in Va. noticed the ridiculous amount of wet fury falling from above on both sunday and monday. I discounted it fully sure of the Subaru's powers of cloud parting. I'll start here with the end of the story. I didn't make it "and if it weren't for you lousy kid's I would have!". My flight was booked as the last one of the day so, conveniently, there were no standby options. So that sweet new spot has history with me now! Always having shit to sleep on in your vehicle comes highly recommended from this ever so slightly helpless bike racer. That paired with water and peanut butter and you're dialed 5star action on four wheels. Hindsight also reveals the urgent need for alcohol in the survival kit. Listen up, up and comers! Gotta travel 'fesh to ride 'fesh.
The trip out here was traumatic enough to wonder what might of happened if I had followed my hyper reactionary tendencies. I decided with some help that sucking it up and shelling $600.00 for the last minute flight to Portland was worth my future on pavement bicycles. In the morning I made the soggy trip down a busy road with all my gear and slithered under a gate into the Dulles employee parking lot. Then I jumped on the bus with pilots and various other airport people to the terminal. I'm sure they noticed me in my geared out attire and had second thoughts about their choice of occupations. Hopefully you know, because it takes work to be a strung out pro athlete. Inspiration for the people! More likely they were just tired working folk bobbing back and forth wondering who I was and why I was there.

We raced in downtown Portland by the river on day one. I warmed up on the amazing urban bike paths that make the city so cycling friendly. I entertained myself by checking out all subversive stenciling on the paths and bridge. I'm a seeker. The rest of the week was full of up and down, push and pull and blips of success for the team. The Baj won the King of the mountains jersey and the team was 3rd in the team competition. I got fined $20 for littering. I plead not guilty and would find it hilarious to be suspended over refusal to pay the fine.

Plane tomorrow.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Glimpse of reality

Here is a brief synopsis of my final day at the Tour of California Back in February. The effects have been lasting.
I'm #118
I was really sick when my new friends from San Diego showed up as a soaking wet unit on bikes, hiding under one of the trailers at the finish to stay dry. I had been out of the race for hours at that point. The night before was a nightmare that set it full effect moments after I hung up from sweetness. I had broken glass coursing through my veins all night and my state was not familiar to me. Yet it was almost to be expected if I remember how these things go sometimes. The thought of being so close to something and getting pushed over last minute was excruciating. I stayed up and listened to myself moan incoherence until the room became too bright. Roommate gone. Breakfast. Has everything already ended? I can't move. Oh, for the love, I thought. And that's exactly what my director said to me when I limped across the cell wires to deliver the news. Amazing. I floated down to breakfast like ghosts in old, cheesy movies. Fully disconnected. I'm being attacked and rendered useless to all around me and in fact becoming repulsive at the same time. At breakfast I stared blankly at a pile of oats and fruit I had arranged on my plate. Normally I'd be all about the forbidden decadence of pastries and coffee on a happy final day of a torturous week long tour. Justin told me it would take a lot of DayQuil to get me through todays stage. He had been on that program for the last couple days, being forced to count kilometers in order to survive. Usually I like to reserve my liver damaging activities for the evening but pain had me up against the wall with no real options. I decided not to race. The drugs hit, I decided to giver' a go. The pain blocked and I put my little suit on. I was on an incredible lethargic and euphoric trip. With so much wrong going on in my body, almost anything else felt right. As soon as I made the decision to start the mood of the entire staff went up. It's a sick enjoyment of witnessing struggle that doesn't belong to them. I felt that warm, slightly wet feeling of wearing to many clothes on a humid day. It was comfy and I'm sure it was just my body flipping out. The gun went off and my feet felt surprisingly light and supple on the pedals. Even over the first couple climbs I surprised myself with my own survival. Drugs do not heal. They temporarily block the truth. Thing is, the truth is a slippery mother fucker. It finds a way. I pulled my course profile card from my pocket and noticed the reality of the days difficulty was ahead. Big climb-not a problem. Wind-a problem. Halfway up the climb it opened up and became exposed so that the group was vulnerable to the ridiculous pace at the front of Levi's motorcycle pacers. I found myself in the gutter reaching for shelter from the wind. The group resembled that of a kite tail being blown franticly by the wind. The group came apart and I found myself off the back and in the train of follow cars. The drugs were gone. No more cheap, over the counter, comfort. My teammate grabbed onto the car and got a ride over the mountain allowing him to catch back on but I've always struggled with taking that ride. The crowed cheered me over the mountain and I pedaled on until the icy wind of the San bernardino valley reduced me to abandonment and the remorse that comes with it. I was with a buddy of mine in the broom wagon as we drove onto the crowded Pasadena circuits. I tried to stay low to avoid being seen in the broom. The woman let us out ride before the finish line. Lots of people saw it.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The clean life

After many months of functioning to capacity only after the potent drip of a dark roasted coffee, green tea has arrived to restore and comfort me. It's morning here at 222 Campbell St. (aka Chriscottistan) and I've been up for over an hour checking the weather and eating homemade biscuits with jam. The house is a bit chilly so I've got my green KBS Gummby suit on. It's a green retro/euro/hippster american apparel jumpsuit we got at the Tour of California. The weather's not so terrible outside at 45 degrees but my body doesn't know exactly what to think after experiencing so many climates already this year. The sun is out, though, so the planned noon ride time should be ok. Of course mornings communicating ride plans with training partners can't go without controversy as Jeff has already been arguing Andy Mac's 10am ride time logic. We discussed it and I contended that riding early is really just an illusion of being "on the ball" because you feel like you're ahead of the competition. There's that and there is the fact that every aspiring cyclist has this 10am thing stuck their head as being totally fesh. This neurotic behavior usually wears off after a few years of getting destroyed by riders you later find out barely even ride and have Mtn. Dew in their bedons. I've been through the gamut with this one. I experimented in the early years modeling myself off riders like Chris Eatough who truly represented the rare breed of 10am and successful to the sporadic brilliance of Jeremiah Bishop. They both work, just not exclusively. Jeff's argument is that if you have all day, ride during the best hours of it. Mine tends to be a more working flow-chart of inspiration logic.

Health seems to still be on it's way. Just to be sure, I'll continue to live the clean life until I'm sure it's really here. So the latest with the Olympic MTB crew is that Adam Craig and Todd Wells are planting themselves firmly at the top of the USA Possibility list.
Adam was 8th in World Cup # 2 in Germany last weekend and Todd is holding his own in consistency land. Jeremiah is fighting and I know what he's up against having also started in the oppressive back rows of a world cup mtb race. Never surrender! Suzy Q had a better race last weekend in the 30's. One more big one this weekend in Madrid, Spain before the crew rolls home. Ah, of course I should mention that Jeff Schark is three for three after his crack 'm all win last weekend in Greenbrier. On with the day.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Night time in the little town

The plague symptoms are showing signs of retreat. I'm fighting. It seems, par usual, that everyone in town is out doing huge things this weekend. It's always obvious how much is going on around you when you can't participate. A thing to remember for times of health... Suzy Q and JB are in Germany this weekend for round 2 of the MTB World Cup. Their Olympic participation hinges on rock and/or roll performances! Half my team is racing in the Athens drunken criterium in Georgia tonight. The other half is stuck at home with lonely ritualistic things to do before heading out to Oregon for the Mt. Hood stage race later in May. Altitude tents and suppressed eating habits and such. Seneca Rocks had some action this weekend with White Grass Catering and Chris Scott leading tours. Today Harrisonburg's new local "City" MTB Park had a little opening shindig. The Rocktown trails at Hillandale park are amazing and I'm going burry my head in the sand for not making it out there in a long while. Mountain bikes are frickin' cool and I'm not sure that I actually know how to ride one anymore. Trek thinks I might so I'll be riding one of those at some point this season. My roomy, Jeff "Schark", is at the other event of the weekend at Greenbrier State Park in MD for a big fat-tire throw down. Sounds like something fun. Mackie Marcus and Jason Cyr from the Blackwater Bikes team are the official Redneck reps from Davis. I was born there. Great for bicycle practice as well as pizza and local suds. I've been charged with looking after the homestead of 222 and baking vegan cookies when I feel distant. I have a bottle of Sake.

Today was hot and then it rained. All the trees are budding and green is here to stay for while. The Harri-Roubaix has come and gone with a bang so Spring is in full bloom. I'll do some investigation into the progress of Davis next week. Been a while.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

WV Spring Familiarity.

So I'm down, way down, here in Sissonville, WV. I'm staying at Steve Thaxton's health and sanity compound otherwise known as World Wide Chiropractic. The body I call mine has been aloof as of late. I blame the west coast and it's ferocious coast. Yes, the Tour of California is not yet just a distant and painful memory. It's still very much here and kicking me hard in the upper and lower regions. Truly "destroying my will to live".

The Spring is a classic season to start my yearly visit allotment here at the alternative health compound. I think back to my last emergency visit back in April '06 when I showed up with a massive alien growth of sorts on my ass. It was directly over my right sit-bone creating a near impossible saddle situation. How funny that too was right after the Sea Otter Classic. Hmm. Anyway, two days of ionic foot baths and hours of low-level laser attack among other secret stuff, I was on a fast track of healing. Besides a little life-threatening situation, it's clear that an Allopathic approach to seemingly everything has failed. It is leading to crazy bacterial resistance from the overuse of antibiotics and, of course, creating a fantastically convenient industry for drug makers who capitalize off of digestive complaints. We have something for that! And it is not a probiotic. This works hand in hand. Dr. prescribes antibiotics for everything because he's trained to. Drug companies get new customers from the random side effects and offer them a wide range of "your body is stupid" drugs. As it goes, I've been getting treated by the finest with the finest. And the ionic foot bath and laser are in the arsenal again. Oh, yeah, and Steve pretty much runs his entire operation on his own homemade bio-diesel.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

get in the van

Still out here in SoCal with the monkey crew. I'm in the middle of my toc/illness comeback just like most of the others lucky enough to be a part of the quagmire a couple weeks ago. We're out chasing more early season fitness at the Marietta stage race this weekend. The local super 8 is hosting us. It's great with all the standard and soulless local strip mall options. Everything is brand new ofcourse so I'm sure no one around here feels like they're slumin' it too hard. Anyway, today we start with one less guy since he was taken out hard in yesterday's criterium. He one a handful of staples in his head for the effort. We're now sprinter-less. 60 mile circuit today with the whose who of sketchy California amateurs. Look at me east coast, no jacket! Flying back to the 'Burg tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

toc living

It's a sharp way to start the season. The last three days have been rife with "oh, right - forgot 'bout that..". A few things tend to slip after so many months out of the routine. Prologues are hard. I should have eaten 1000 more kj's (calories) on stage one. Oh, and pro tour sprinters can climb. Yesterday was good until the circuits and I flatted along with two other teammates. We mysteriously had tacks in our tires upon inspection. Spectator sabotage... The mad dash through the caravan is always fun. Boonen and Bettini both yelled at me. Cipollini is still fast. Today is big mountains. Transfer is over, gotta run!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I'm back from camp #1 out in Cali. You know, the one for all the TOC recon action. What a mellow week that was thinking back to it. We rode in the rain and and had a few beverages--all the normal team bonding putty. I think it worked and no one hates eachother, yet. Its a comfort realize most of the guys on this team are over themselves at this point in the game. Unlike the heady days on the national team where it was only a matter of time before your teammates became the last people you wanted to hang out with. So, with that said, I'm stoked on being pumped about the new crew. After the little California bonding session I made it back to Virginia with just enough time to get stranded in my old home town for a week. It was a routine mission to mtns. that was botched by the otherwise trusty Subi. Whiskey Tango Foxtrott?? The mysterious over heating issue that I thought had healed itself reared its ugly head upon my escape. It was late on a frigid Tucker county night. The kind I remember having mid week night ski team practice in back in the day. I usually make my escape from the Davis vortex under the cover of darkness in order to avoid the daytime temptations of some of the local establishments that crave my presence. A blown header. That's gonna need some help. The grand prize for this was an extra week in the vortex. I had no bike nor bike clothes. I only had one pair of boxxers. For training I borrowed a dark corner at blackwater bikes and rode Roger's trainer on Roger's bike and in Roger's shoes. For clothing I dug up some national team gear from my dresser in Aurora. Everyone who I said by to before the disaster would come into the bike shop puzzled as to why I instead riding in the corner watching cycling videos day after day after day. I'm getting ready for the TOC. And that I'm stuck. The day I got the car back I drove down to Clemson,SC for three days of warmer weather training. I rode 5hrs each day motivated by being stuck on a stationary trainer in an icebox the week prior. After I got the big rides out of the system headed to recharge the will to live with the teapot in Asheville. I like that place. Lots of mountains and viciously-steep, gravely driveways. After a few days of that it was back to ' Burg to pack it all up again for the Kelly season opener in the Bahamas. Johnny and I almost missed the airboat after a poorly researched departure time. We did make it, though, in no small part being charming as hell with the booking agent lady. Actually, that may have been Johnny... The island racing was a little third world and I got a little charred but it was a good time. The cat and I had some beverages.

I was back at 222 for a week + and even rode a 100 miles with JB, Jeff and Andy Mac in 70 degree "winter" weather. Now I'm lounging in Palo Alto getting ready for my prologue start at 1:47.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Back in the hotel room. These places make me hungry even when it's a rainy rest day. Anytime the action takes a respite I just think about expanding my stomach until it rebels against me. I'm out in Northern Cali' spinning with the Kelly boys. We're here for a little Tour of California recon training. It's funny that as Gato and I were packing up for the trip on Monday it was almost 70 degrees in VA and rainy and cold in SanFran. W.T.F. Yeah, well, I can deal I suppose because that's the tune I need to get used to for another season of being an on-call bike racer. Some days I'll be jumping at every road opportunity and others I'll dig my claws into the teapot and fight the inevitable. It's been a while since the blogging sector of my brain has been active. I'm aware. It's cool. We're cool, seriously. It's not me, it's you. The holidays are filled with cheap, disposable entertainment anyway. Harrisonburg has been its' usual late December weather friendly bike racer heaven. Some of the locals have been venturing into the WV mountains for snow-day doses of white grass. I've missed some good days apparently. Hell, I've missed'm all. Gotta work. Gotta budget. Gotta sleep in. Gotta strum 5 chords in no particular order. My car doesn't want to drive. I don't want to drive. I'm stuck in inertia. My bike is dirty. I'm out of coffee. On the work front I've been pretty stoked with latest $$ pursuit. Demolition, (a.k.a: DESTROY Everything then sweep up). Le Teapot, Andy Mac and I jumped in head first the day after Christmas. Ride all day then work for 3-6hrs in the eve. Good schedule if you can talk yourself into it. Trade Show Direct is moving out of the building by Shank's bakery bliss and into a big warehouse by the Little Grill. Ken Bell, the man behind "Off road to Athens" owns Trade Show Direct so in a way this really isn't venturing too far out of the cycling world for work. The days are long but an evening of punk rock fueled demolition can be an amazing tonic for a socially tense day of bike practice. Friendship is rare.

Andy Mac is holding down the project while I'm out in California getting wet, cold and dreaming of a hot teapot. This week Ken's got Andy on the hand-held jackhammer obliterating cement blocks that occupy former window frames. He's gonna be ripped by next week when I show up having lost any bench-pressing skills gained from the last couple weeks. Ah, well. Upper body strength is for people that can't climb (I'm talkin' bikes not rocks). Anyway the rides have been fun out here in NorCal minus the extreme animosity towards cyclist from the coffin drivers. WE DON'T WANT TO PLAY YOUR GAME! YES, YOU ARE BIGGER, MORE MANLY AND HAIRIER THAN US. WHATEVER. SORRY FOR COSTING YOU 3 SECONDS AND CAUSING YOU TO LOSE YOUR RECORD GAS MILEAGE AVERAGE BY PINNING IT IN THE RED BY US ON THE WAY HOME FROM YOUR MUNDANE CUBICLE JOBS. I almost got blown into the pacific on day one. Into Great White breeding waters. That would have been perfect. A perfectly unpredictable ending to my grand story. We rode through some amazing scenery that first rainy day. Redwood and eucalyptus tree lined twisty climbs with brush filled storm run-off. Definitely had a soulful wholeness that's lacking in most of my thoughts of the Western states. Yesterday was good but mind-numbing all the same as we rode from Santa Rosa towards Davis. Desolate farm roads that go on for-frickin'-ever. Imagine living there. Good morning nothingness! Perhaps a good place to write a depressing novel about isolation. Day 1: Hmmm... Day 2: Isolation? Tragedy maybe...

Today is a rest day. Rode to Trader Joes. Sushi.

Tomorrow begins three more big days of TOC knowledge building. I'll be home on Monday and may or may not be heading to Camp Clemson shortly thereafter. Note: NorCal is all about Ron Paul.