Sunday, May 3, 2015

How's it going?

I commute to work every now and then, I'm not a have-to commuter, I'm a want-to commuter, and I want to more than not. In this metropolius of pick-up trucks I am one of a handful of people that actually ride bikes to work in this unfriendly, no infrastructure, take your life in your own hands country. On my commute to work I expect to be honked at, buzzed, yelled at (when one yells out of a car window at 70+mph one sounds even more ignorant than if I could even understand what you are trying to convey). Don't yell it makes one seem stupid.

I never see other cyclists on my commute. Never. Well, in the year that I have been doing this maybe a handful. So you can see that I was delighted to see another cyclist on the road on my way to work this morning. Speeding up to catch said rider is my usual response, but not today. I stayed the course and gradually reeled him in. Wow! Another cyclist out on the same road enjoying the same weather and a beautiful tailwind. I was ready for a chat, a cyclist to cyclist chat.

I slowed slightly to meet his pace, edged up beside him and announced my presence with a friendly "how's it going?" He barely half-looked in my direction and kept riding. So I followed that up with a "you doin' alright?" which was completely ignored with a blank-leave-me-alone-stare. No glance, no nod, nothing. Well well, guess all the "Riders" in these parts are too PRO to have a little cycling banter on the Sunday morning spin out.

I expect rudeness from the automobile clad legions, but a fellow cyclist? Really? I know there are the stereotypical jackasses in cycling. I know this. But here in this tiny cycling community where a group ride has less people than a training ride with my old cycling club? With so few people can one really afford to be such an ass? Hope that works out for you buddy.

Ignorance comes in the four-wheeled variety and it also is prevalent on two wheels. Yes I come away from this incident a little sad that I could not share an experience, the experience of riding a bike, with a fellow cyclist and possibly meet someone new. I should know better and not have my feelings hurt, but it just seems that we are all in this together and we should be on the same team. The next time I roll up on another cyclist, if it ever happens again, I will be sure to give at least a nod, but more importantly, a "how's it going?"

Saturday, April 25, 2015

dumb rage pt.2

It has been several hours since part one, and I still have the rage glowing inside me like a spicy taco truck burrito. I am still amazed by the ignorance of people, people who are supposed to be in our tribe, think the way we do, live the way we do, but then again every family has that crazy uncle who drinks too much, talks too much, and is well you get the point. My rage digresses into sadness.

(fade to black and white grainy backdrop) I've been riding mountain bikes for almost 17 years, I started back in Utah in the summer because I was getting fat and it took forever when the snow came to get into riding form. Bikes were not my first love, and I just used them as a tool. They did not become my life until about ten years ago. I'm not providing my background in cycling to prove that I "know stuff", it is to show that I don't know everything there is to know. I am a student of cycling and I have a lifetime to learn. My knowledge is only a small sliver. What I do know is this. (house lights come up with a small rainbow and unicorn -stage left)

Mountain bike trails don't make themselves, there is not some magical all seeing being that comes down from Unicorn Rainbow Land to breathe trails to life. I wish. But. For me this is really kinda how it happens. Trails just appear. It is a miracle. I go to the Trail Head ride my bike and go home. Done and dusted, time for a man soda. Wait. I know what you are thinking, you don't believe in Unicorn Rainbow trail making god?

First Santa and now Unicorn Trail Making god. I found out the other day that people make trails. Who knew? Yes, real people just like you and me. Well, except they spend countless hours working, building, breaking, sawing, sweating, cutting, moving for the common good of ALL trail users. Not just mountain bikers you silly. Everyone. It's like going to your job doing all the work and then someone else gets your paycheck to spend on beer and candy. Show some appreciation, say thank you, respect what you have -what you have been given. Find these magical real people and buy them a beer, or probably the best thing you could do, is help. Or, just say thank you and stop your complaining, after all you are big, though, awesome, PRO, mountain bikers.

Thank you for all your hard work. MY trails are awesome. That's right I own them. (last two sentences dripping with sarcasm)

Dumb Rage

This is probably a bad idea, but I'm pissed. I have to put something down to maybe, just maybe work through this seething rage of hatred. I hate ignorance. Ignorance that has no merit but is embolden by years of just not having a freaking clue. Throwing a leg over a mountain bike does not magically make you a mountainbiker, but for some it does, and with this it gives one knowledge beyond all comprehension. Trolling the interwebs, mags, and edits makes one so PRO. Please oh great ones let us know how awesome you are, we seek your wisdom.

Riding a trail or hiking or rolling around in the dust for 30+ years does not prescribe ownership. Taking your sick whip out of your padded tailgate truck for the first time does not entitle you to ownership.

 KNOWLEDGE DROP:  NO one OWNS the trails, we are all users. The only people who OWN trails are the ones that have Title or Deed to the land, then and only then does someone OWN the trail.  
I have never wielded a rake, shovel, sledgehammer, weed-eater, or put on work gloves for trail building/maintenance. I am a consumer, and everyone who does the same as I, is a consumer. If you are not working on the trails in some capacity this is what you are. Unlike Burger King, being a trail consumer, we can NOT Have It Our Way. We have to consume the trail the way it is presented to us.

End of story.

 More to come on this subject, I am by no means finished with this RANT, I'm pissed.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The L's

Live
Life
Love
Live

Live Life, Love the people in your Life, and make sure it is Live.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I like to pick up heavy stuff and put it down

Strength

What does it mean? To be strong? A show of strength, is that being strong? The opposite of Strength is Weakness, so Weakness is the opposite of Strength? Right? "I bench 4000lbs" (yeah I put an extra 0 in there to see if you were paying attention) Is the true show of strength muscle bound apes lifting heavy things and then putting them back down again?

I don't know what it "means" to be strong, what I do know is there are people who are stronger than I. I'm not talking about lifting heavy stuff, or being faster, or whatever your measuring stick might be. I am talking about fortitude, the kind of stuff that real people are made from. Forged if you will. Forged out of stone. The aunt that is fighting cancer, the cousins that lost an adult son, the family friends that lost a father and husband. That is true strength, the kind that gets one out of bed in the morning when there is no reason to get up. The power to look another day in the face and hope that you have another one tomorrow. I know nothing of this strength, I marvel at these people in my life and I question. How do they do it? Strength. Where does it come from? If I ever need this kind of strength will I find it?

In our daily lives we get too caught up in the small stuff, we forget the big picture and focus on the unnecessary. It's too easy to care about stupid things and forget what is real. Reality is not always unicorns, rainbows, and sharks with lasers. It is pain, suffering, dark and cold, and it takes strength to live.

 Getting up when you have been knocked down is Strong. Trying to get up when you can't is Strength.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sinner

Riding in a group is "herd mentality" we follow the leader and we don't want to be left behind. There is strength in numbers and nobody wants to be left on their own. Plus, misery loves company, and we all know that riding into a punishing headwind is no fun. Especially when you are doing it alone knowing that your "friends" or "that group" is just up the road. Unwilling to wait or stop just for a min or two. Jackasses.

I abhor this. I believe in "no Man left behind". I will double back to help out a rider in trouble, offer a helping hand, water, gels, companionship. I have always,  well since I was strong enough to be a "Shepard", tried to help riders in trouble. I have been in that place before, you know the one where you are getting dropped and you can no longer hang onto the wheel in front of you. Alarm bells going off, legs feeling hollow, lights dimming, we have all been there, it's a lonely place. I know, I lived there for years and when I used to ride with the boys in Tulsa. Those guys are horribly fast, and tough.

Yesterday I committed a cardinal sin. I left a rider behind. Worse yet, I said that I would not do it. Promised. I did the very thing that I can not stand other riders doing. I am the worst kind of hypocrite. I have preached against the very act that I would never condone, but yet became an offender of my own convictions.

The only question I have of myself is Why? Why would I do such a thing? I have no excuse, I have no answer. All I can say is that I was so in the "red" that I did not know what I was doing. Race Brain. That sounds like the best excuse I can come up with. But. And this is a big But. I really think that it was ego. I was afraid to show weakness in the herd. I did not want anyone to "think" that I was not as awesome as I see myself. I did not want to be perceived as "not fast, not good, not awesome, not a racer". It's because I care about what people think about me. Crap.

I don't have anything to prove to anyone but myself, but my ego got the best of me and I felt like I needed to prove something to the herd. I don't need to prove anything to the herd, I needed to be bigger than my ego and help a fellow cyclist. I failed me. I failed my view of what it means to be a cyclist. I failed my fellow man.

I feel shame, and I am sorry. I know better.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Stage 2 TdF 2014

Wow, looked like a Classic today, over 200k and hilly or should I say climb(y). Rough day none the less.
Cav is out, suffering at his own hands in a stage 1 sprint, glad everyone else was okay enough to continue on today. Two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, especially two objects that are moving 60+ kph. The pure sprinters did not get to have a go today due to the nature of the par course and Kittel handed over the Yellow to Nibali. Ah le Tour how we all adore you. I know it is not Spring, but I love seeing Greg Van Avermaet mixing it up in a stage of le Tour that was akin to L-B-L.

I hope to see a lot more of Michal Kwiatkowski "flower man" this Tour, not sure if he has the legs for the whole month, but he looks good and I would love to make him my pick. Can't rule out Wiggins, oops Sky didn't bring Wiggo, so I mean Froome, Contador, after today Nibali looks like a contender. There are others that I am overlooking, but it is a long race. Great to see Horner back on the bike and in the biggest race of the year, just a few months ago no one would have guessed he would be here.

O to the M to the Gosh, did I see Frank Schleck and Andy? And they both finished a race? I would love to see a "healthy" Frank and Andy Tour. And by "healthy" I mean whatever they were on or not on just a few Tours ago. Now that would be a huge darkhorse if Frank or Andy could be a contender this year. Choke artist Joaquim Rodriquez could and should be a threat as should Valverde and Costa. I am a Lotto Belisol fan and love my man Adam Hansen the super domestique and would like to see Van Den Broeck challenge for a top spot.

And now for a little flag waving.  One word. Andrew Talansky. How awesome would it be if Talansky kicked some @s$ this Tour? It's possible. Ted King, not a contender but awesome to see him in his second Tour, hope it lasts longer than last year (stupid UCI not letting him stay after missing the timecut). Always a favorite, and with Cadel Evans out Tejay Van Garderen could actually get the support he needs to make an impact in France. A name that we should hear pronounced wrongly is Busche. Matt Busche. Never heard of him? Well hope to hear a lot more from him in the next couple of weeks.