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.