Monday, December 31, 2012

Lies

How many people are going to tell lies tonight.  Lies to themselves.  Here is a PSA for all of you who are planning to LIE.  Don't do it.  I know it sounds so simple to just not lie, but it is not... It is a night of lies.  For exhibit A:  I'm going to _______ next year.  That is the biggest lie that will be told tonight, it is usually made under good intentions, but mostly made under social/peer/traditional pressure.

1. be true to yourself and don't say something that you are not

2. shoot low, I know this sounds wrong, but seriously... lower your expectations

3. don't change anything, slightly modify something... stop smoking crack -switch to cigarettes

The worst thing you can do to yourself is to lie... it's ok to lie to your friends and family, but don't lie to yourself.  Someone said that "change is the only permanent thing in life" this is truth.  You can resist change you can try to change, or do nothing.  It will happen no matter what forces you apply.  So you might as well pull up a chair pour a nice beverage and sit back and enjoy the show.

I had a weird year last year.  Some of it was really good, some not so good, but none of it was a product of me trying to resolve to do something different.  I did not change my life on 12/31/11, it changed in the subsequent 365 days, no matter the influences I practiced.  So on this eve of the New Year I wonder what the next days have in store for me.  I will resolve to not be resolute in this newest of years, 'cause time will continue no matter the piles and piles of lies that are spoken tonight.

One last final suggestion if you decide to not follow my anti-resolution stance.  Drink so much that you forget anything and everything that you resolved to do... world peace, stop drinking, stop smoking, getting a real life, stealing cable, pirating movies, stealing lunch money, other bad things.

No really, have fun, be safe, live to fight another day... year or two.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Past-Present...

Ah, the changing of the seasons.

I write this as it is freezing outside, I'm supposed to be on the bike riding right now... Yeah, just don't have the motivation to get out and freeze.  Not yet at least.  It was like eighty degrees just a few days ago, give me a break, and my body has not acclimated to this brutal temp swing we call Oklahoma weather.  Plus I recently had a birthday and my age is making me old and feeble.  You know how it is...


 Last week I was in Amarillo, TX hanging with the parental units and riding my bike.  They love to chase me in the car and I like to pretend that I am Pro and have a team car.  We both win.  It's always good to go home, it's kind of a marker of life.  Like the marks on a door frame measuring growth.  You can measure yourself of where you are in life by going home and seeing your parents and the old house.  Memories seem to flood back at every turn.  Old pictures hanging on the walls, smells, and faces of the past all bring ones life into focus.  It's like seeing a movie that you have seen before, but not in the right order.  Seasons change as does life, it is cyclical.  Birth, Life, Death, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.  One follows the other and the circle is unbroken.  We do the best we can with what little time we have, or at least we should.

The seasons are a changing, both literally and figuratively.  I am at a place in my life where winter is right around the corner and I know it is going to be rough, but I am really hoping that the spring will bring new life.  I'm trying to keep a positive outlook.  I really am.  Sometimes it gets tough, but it is like the cold, you just have to acclimate to it and everything will seem better.  And.  When it is better, it is much better.  Time marches on and if you don't watch out, it will leave you in the past.

Seasons change, time continues on.  Palo Duro Canyon is a time capsule of my life.  My Grandmother witness the birth of the Canyon way back when.  I remember the Canyon from as far back as I have memories.  It changes with the seasons, but it is still the same.  The layers of sediment slowly stacked on top one after the other erode away by time.  It too is a never ending cycle.  There are layers that I spent my childhood, youth, and now adulthood, slowly building -yet at the same time washing away.  It is a beautiful but almost horrible thing all wrapped up into one.  The trails in the Canyon have been walked by people long gone, and they will be walked by future generations.  This area is alive with rich history and with the future all contained but open.  It is a living picture of what we call life, a tactile thing that we can touch the past, present and tomorrow all in one instant.

The next time I visit the Canyon I will be the same old me, but with a new-old memories.  I will look at the Canyon walls and remember.  As I drive the road out I will be sad knowing it will be some time before I will be back, but happy with the new imprint that I just made.    

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stuff to read


This is going to be all over the place, and I'm not handing out maps.  So stick with me and we will get lost together.

A happy little story lives here

First off, I would like to give a posthumous Happy Birthday to Bob Ross.  What an awesome afro. There is no debate as to the perfectness of Bob's afro.  Legendary.  Oh yeah, and he had the craziest show on PBS.  "Let's put a happy little cloud over the mountain, where these happy trees live..."  Bob would be on my short list of people I want to party with, if he were still around making "pretty little rivers where happy fish  live."  I always wondered, laying on the couch, if there was at least one person sitting in front of their easel, in front of their TV painting with Bob?  That would be a show to watch.  Some old dude trying to go brush-stroke for brush-stroke with Bob and getting all frustrated because Bob is super awesome.  The frustration would be hilarious... Somebody work on that, a show where people watch re-runs of Bob and try and paint with him.  It would be primetime.

Doping and the Dopes

I think it is starting to become the "in" thing to do theses days, you know to come out of the "doping closet".  It's getting so bad that everyone is saying that they cheated in some way or another.  I'm just waiting for someone to come out and say they used a time machine to win.  "When I perfected time travel, I no longer needed to work on form or stay in shape..." "It was easy to win even when I smoked heavily and was drunk most of the time."  Now that is a story, please please please let me be the one to break it to the world.  It is almost to the point that guys need to come forward (all ten of them) and come clean about being clean.  "Yes, I am ashamed to say... I raced clean."  I mean really, who of who did not do something in the "grey area" to enhance their performance?  That is what I want to know.

More on Doping.... moron doping  -see what I did there?

Rabobank announced it will cease sponsorship of cycling.  What a sad day.  One of the longest and largest supporters of cycling, from the cycling mad Dutch, are turning their back on cycling when it needs it most.  Sponsorship of sports in general is crazy if they think they are putting their money into a "clean" sport.  There is not a sport on this planet that can claim it is clean.  The human condition requires that winning at all cost is the name of the game.  Cheating is and always will be an underlying factor, as long as humans are involved.  End of story.

The Good

Cyclocross is alive and kicking.  The World is coming to the U.S. in Feb.  Real CX.  The World's best will be jumping barriers, navigating sandpits, and slogging it up in the mud.  Right here.  Here in America.  How cool is that?  I tentatively have a date to see the "greats" of this sport.  I am super excited to witness the speed, the grace, and the brutality that is Cyclocross, live and in person.  More to come on that.  Fingers crossed.

over n out, good buddy, keep the rubber side down.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Missed you...

Rumors to my demise are greatly exaggerated... or something like that.  I know it's been awhile, but I have excuses.  Like, my dog ate my netbook, I have been on a mental vacation, I don't have anything to write about.  Yeah, I know.  Lame.  Doping doping doping.  If I could dope to make me a better writer, oh heck yes I would.  Cheat to win baby.  That's the 'merican way.  Tired?  There's a pill for that.  Fat?  There's a pill for that.  Sad?  There's a pill for that.  Slow?  There's a pill for that.  Soft?  There is even a pill for that.

I'm doping pretty hard this morning, I'm like on my 4th cup of coffee and it is not helping my ability to tap-a-tap-a on the keyboard.  I recently attended a Wednesday Night Ride afterparty and some friends mentioned the fact that my blogging had been lacking.  So, push comes to shove and now I am writing just to write.  So bear with me, I'm am trying to get back into "writing shape".  You gotta walk before you can run.

So, I've been working at the shop, riding my bikes and have been dabbling in some Cyclo-Cross.  Yes, it is CX season and we are elbow deep.  I have a love/hate relationship with Cross.  I love Cross.  I hate how I feel one lap into a race, the feeling that the body is failing one system at a time.  Muscles refusing to work, lungs trying to escape the chest.  My mind slowing down time so that the seconds turn into mins and 45 of them feels like a life sentence in a burning building.  This is Cross.  The dark side, the dirty little secret that is not really a secret at all.

So you ask why do you love Cross?  It's beautiful in a hard dirty way.  You take what is essentially a road bike and race it off road in the worst of conditions.  It is a test of man and machine that pushes the limits of both to the point of failure.  Not only does one need spare wheels, but it is standard operating procedure to have a spare bike in the pits.  I love the harshness of the sport, how refreshing it is to be cold, filthy, and filled with pain.  It is not easy.

This has been painful -not in a good way, but I hope it will lead to more words floating through the cloud to you.  So see you next time and maybe it won't be three months from now...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thank you sir, may I have...

The blast furnace that we call Summer is dying down.  This can only mean one thing.  Well actually more than one, but let's face it... I like the dramatic.  Cycling.  You say, "but we haven't stopped cycling".  Exactly.   I'm talking about more cycling, cycling that involves dirt.  It is CX season.  Time to air up the knobbies and head to the parks to run and jump over stuff.  I've been riding the CX bike a lot lately, and I'm loving it.  "If you have the means, I highly recommend you get one."  -That is a Ferris Bueller quote.

I love the mindset that the CX bike puts me in, it's like a search and destroy riding style.  This bike has a mind of it's own.  Hop curbs, cut through lawns, carve knolls, and well whatever you can handle.  Pavement -yes, Dirt -yes, Snow -yes, Rocks -yes, what else you got?  YES!

If you are reading this and have not witnessed Cyclocross or CX then you need to do some googling.  Get to work!  If riding a CX bike is not for you, then maybe you like to drink beer and swear?  Well then, CX spectating is for you.  One of the best things about CX is heckling.  Heckling? You say?  YES, it's crazy fun and totally acceptable.  Motivation through degradation.  Forget all the positive bull crap that people preach, I'm talking about good old trash talk.  The worse the better.  See where I'm going here?  Oh, man is it fun.  Come out sometime and try it, it is good for the soul.  Get all that negative energy out and hurl it at someone or someone(s).  It helps you and it helps the CX racer.  True story.

Let's face it, people who race Cross are not right in the head.  Take a perfectly good road bike and "modify" it to ride it off road -that's what mountain bikes are for, Right?  Now let's find the worst conditions to ride in, add in some sand, barriers, gravel, roots, grass, dirt, mud, and just about anything you can think of -now you have CX.  Heck yeah, people!  They deserve to be verbally ridiculed on a lap by lap basis.  Ah, Cross how we love the.

I can't wait to feel the burn of embro on the skin, cold air piercing my lungs, and frozen appendages.  I long for the feeling of sand turning my bike into a slithering snake.  The feel of rims bottoming out on rocks and roots.  The pure satisfaction of just finishing is sometimes greater than the joy of winning.  (paraphrased from Pete Smith of MadAlchemy)


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The miseducation of thebelllap

I'm going to break radio silence and drop some knowledge.  Open your minds.  Be smart, and use your brains.  People.

Lance.  Just saying that name right now will stir up a debate, maybe a fistfight, or even a verbal abuse session that you would not be proud of in Sunday school.  Love him.  Hate him.  Hate to Love him.  Love to Hate him.  I'm sick of it.  Sick of all the ignorance about cycling and cheating and doping and anything that makes people so stupid.  I know who Greg Le Monde is and what he did, but it did not get me on a bike.  Somehow years later the stars where in-line the planet was just right and this brash fellow Texan beat cancer and then Le Tour.  I got on a bike.  No, not a road bike, but a mountain bike.  I can't fully credit Lance with my cycling addiction, but he did have a part in it.

After my transition to becoming a cyclist, every July I was glued to the internet to see how the cycling world was doing.  Time passed and I learned more and more about cycling.  Lance became less and less the center of my cycling universe.  I learned names like Merckx, Hinault, Indurain, Museeuw, and Copi.  Lance kept on winning and I dug deeper into cycling.  Who knew there were other races other than Le Tour?  Spring Classics?  I fell in love with the Hell of the North.  I wanted to know what was up with the yellow and black flags?  The people dressed in orange?  What's a Tifosi?  The more and more I learned of the cycling world and history, the more it seemed to eclipse the Sun that shone of Lance.

Don't get me wrong, I hold a special place in my cycling universe for Lance, but he is by no means the center.  Did he?  Didn't he?  I don't care.  I don't.  You probably don't know this, but it really does not matter.  What he did Clean or Dirty, is still a part of cycling.  Strip him of his titles, he still stood on top of all those podiums, you can't take that away.  Can we just move on?  Can we let this dead horse lie?

We have the most beautiful sport in the world.  It is a sport that is also a lifestyle.  When was the last time you saw someone run a football to work?  Hit a baseball to the grocery store?  It is such a beautiful thing that people who do not participate have to try and break it down... because of sheer jealousy.  Don't let the masses soil a beautiful thing, don't stoop to their level when they ask about cheating and doping.  Remind them how beautiful our sport can be.  Tell them about cobbles, le alp, the Hoy, about your commute to work, the Saturday morning ride, the guy that lost 80lbs because of a bike.  Tell them.

Tell them why you ride your bike.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hoop La

So glad basketball is over, sorry if I don't share your fascination with bandwagon jumping.  Anyway, had to get that off my chest.  Holy crap it is that time of year.  Grab a cold one, drink it down and talk some crap.  Yes, it is le Tour time.  The big question is...Who is going to win.  I don't care who wins, it is le Tour!!!!! Hey people can you tell me who won the Giro?  No?  Really?  Did anyone even watch the hardest stage race ever?  Man, I've given Garmin crap...but they pulled out an incredible win with one of our neighbors to the North.  Ryder killed, and how awesome was Rodriguez?  What a race that nobody talks about.  Yeah well at least you have your Tour.

Am I the only one who thinks that Bradly should shave those freaking sideburns?  Seriously Elvis is dead and very American, you can't pull it off.  Who has money on Cav pulling out early for the Olympics?  What's the Vegas odds on that?  Is there going to be anyone left at the Tour in the end?  Tom is riding Poland just to be fresh for the Games.  I don't know what the course is going to be like in London, but if it is anything close to a Classic, then my money is on Tornado Tom.  Said it, wrote it!  Gonna miss Tom at le Tour.  We do have an interesting situation brewing with Cav, Renshaw, Goss, Greipel, Oss-Sagan, Kittel all vying for the green jersey.

Wow, I can't make any predictions for this edition of the race around the French country that starts in Belgium.  I will predict that at this point it is as wide open as it can possibly be.  Teams are coming loaded for bear, and the riders are in crazy form.  If you are not excited for this Tour, change the channel and watch some baseball or extreme knitting on PBS.  Bob Ross reruns and a sixer might be the cure for you.

That's it for now, my ranting is at an all time low.  I have not been drinking enough.  Had to cut back.  As far as Andy being out of the Tour, I would much rather see Frank, but heck I've kinda given up on those two.  Evans for the repeat?  Wiggo?  Levi?  I'm not saying.  Stay tuned for either more or nothing...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What? Me? .....NO!

This has all been said before, so you can stop reading right now.  No, really you can stop... because I have said it once, twice, three times a lady.  This thing, this tool, this toy that has many names.  The bi-wheeled contraption.  What ever it is to you, it is a very important part of my life.  I rediscovered the bicycle 14 years ago this month.  The snow was melting on the Wasatch and I heard of a Texan that was racing bikes in a place called Tour de, or something like that.  I swore off spandex and decided that the fat tires were just the thing for me.  I loved to snowboard on the mountains, might as well put some rubber down on them.

Fast forward a few years and the bike moved with me to the no-mountains of Oklahoma. I was a big time mountain biker from Utah, what could I possibly learn in OK?  Everything.  I sacrificed blood and flesh to the "mountain" that we call Turkey.  Humble pie is not a tasty thing.  I was schooled every time knobby touched rock and root.  Don't get me wrong, I am not what I would consider a "good" rider, but I do have fun and I acquired the skills to do what makes me happy.  In my book that is all that maters, anything else and you are way to serious.  Have fun.

The problem with addiction is that you reach a point and you have to have more, and once you get more, you need more.  And the cycle continues.  [no pun]  [ok, maybe just a little]  I was bummed on the days that it was too wet to ride Turkey and I did not want to ride my mtb on the road.  So.  Naturally I bought a road bike.  Still swore off spandex. Then a funny thing happened. Tulsa Tough.  I was already a cycling fan, thanks to Lance, but now I had the chance to see it up close.  Close enough to feel the wind of the draft blow by like a gust front.  The sound of freewheels on a downhill, the shifting of gears transmitting through a carbon wheel, the zip of hundreds of chains being turned in anger...

I was hooked, even more so than before.  Addiction turns into obsession turns into a lifestyle.  Admittance is the first step?  I'm a sick junkie.  Get the Thorazine, find a nice "hug yourself jacket", padded cell for one -please.  I look at porn on the internet, yes I will admit it.  I go to sites like Colnago.com Cicli Pinarello Dedacciai Ridley etc etc etc.  What can I say, I have a problem, and I like Italian sexiness and Belgian prowess.  It does pain me so that I do not own a Campy groupo.  Oh, to have Italian sexiness firmly in my grasp, with a freehub that speaks "bedroom".  Someday.

This is only a few steps above shooting heroin or snorting lines.  Eat, sleep, dream.  Bikes.  I don't have room in my life for anyone who does not think the same way.  I surround myself with junkies, I try and convert "regular" people into cycling.  If you are crazy and you can get more people to think and act the way you do, the less crazy you look.  It's a cult, want to join? Would you like some cool-aid?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Water Carrier

I can't tell you how much I hate reading cyclist's blogs about how they did in their last race.  I mean seriously post some pictures of yourself and tell all of us how much you love you.  I'm tired of just the total self love out there, and really, if you are gonna write about you, you might as well tell the truth.  What happens in races and what gets transformed into words seems to take a transformation that just does not seem to equal the sum of the parts.  I'm not throwing stones at anyone in particular, I'm just being general.  Truth in journalism, I mean blogs.

With that being said... I raced this race the other day, and I was so awesome I was asked on the spot to become PRO and race in Europe.  Just like that.  True story.  Then I woke up realized I had been asleep and decided to make some coffee and breakfast.  I did race a race the other day for the first time in, a long time.  It was a un-retirement ,it's not that I retired -I just have not had the time or money.  Wait for it, it is coming... the point to this.  Don't skip ahead and spoil the ending.  You silly monkey.

Can't tell you how good it felt to turn blood into acid, lungs into barbed wire, and legs into cement.  I love that feeling of turning ones-self inside out, because one can.  It is not a self-loathing torment, but rather a rendering of ones soul on a physical level that has the power to heal.  The true feeling of goodness is when you do this with people you share a common bond, or a common jersey and bibs.  I'm talking about my teammates.  Teammates that work and suffer together for a common purpose.  Selfless teammates that know, that understand what they need to do to accomplish greatness.

Cycling is not a stick and ball sport.  Cycling is about teammates working together so that only one can claim victory.  Yes, there is only one First Place, and there can be only one winner.  Why would you enter a race and not try and win?  Who does this?  That is just so stupid not to try and win every time you toe the line.  I feel that there is no explanation as to why I would work rather than win, but it is an argument waiting to happen.  Eddy Merckx once said that a Belgian child knows more about cycling than the United States does collectively.  There is some truth to that.  There are Stars and there are Water carriers.  The true power lies in knowing which one you are.

I'm gonna flip it on you this time... in life you need to know for what or who you are working.  Going for the Win might mean different things to different people.  Knowing your station in life and doing that job to the best of your ability is true LIVIN'.  You are not what you do...

 "you are not the contents of your wallet." -Tyler  FC

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Box of chocolates

Life is like riding a bike -sometimes there is work involved, sometimes you have a tailwind and you feel like a god.

I've been getting worked over right now, but I feel that there is a turn coming up and this crosswind is going to become into a tailwind.

I'm not feeling entitled, I'm just a romantic and I have hope.  What is life without a little hardship every now and then?  You have to have hills valleys, mountains canyons, or it is just flat.  There is nothing to see when it is flat. 

Here is to Livin, no matter if you are up or down, it is not always about where you are going but how you get there.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Devil is in the details

I've looked at "details" and there is no "v" in details so how do you get the devil?  Do you trade the "a" and "t" and throw in the "s" for good measure?  I think there is something to the saying, but making sure you get the small steps done in a process is the devil.  If something is worth doing, do it right.  The right way.  Enough, about that.  I think the Devil is in the Drink.  Lately my life has been crazy and turned all kinds of sideways, not upside down like everyone says.  But, Sideways.  Like any good red-blooded male I like to self-medicate and hyphenate.

Details, details, details.  You drink enough and you will find the devil, he might not be in the bottom of the first or last bottle, but he is in there waiting to come out and infest your soul.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to demonize alcohol, it is, on it's own a beautiful thing.  It's when one is not a professional in prescribing the right dosage that one will succumb the the wily powers that are inherent to the bowels of Hades.  The problem lies in the fact that the proper prescribed amount changes due to the ailment.  This becomes a problem when you reach the Over rather than the Under.

So, in my finite wisdom, I being of unsound mind am going to try sobriety.  If only for a couple of days, just to see if the world in which I am living in currently looks any different from the outside looking in, rather than from the inside (of a bottle) looking out. What does this have to do with cycling?  I'm working on that as I type and hypothesize, and to be honest it's not going well.  So I am going to keep this up until something hits me and I can try and tie this all together, or I could just leave it up in the air and just leave you with a hypothetical.

Yeah, I've got nothing.  I guess what I should come away with this, is -make the best of the situation that I am in and not eff   mess it up by going crazy.  Like getting too much rope to play with and accidentally hanging myself.  Here you go... It's like a descent that is supper fast and twisty, one that you have never been on, you want to let it out, but you don't know what is around the next curve.  Sometimes you have to apply a little brake just before the apex, but not too much or you are on the ground losing flesh at 30+mph, don't slow down and the consequences are worse, once you see the other side you can get back on it an apply some power.  My advice to myself it to take it one twisty tight curve at a time and see where this takes me.  If you are not careful the Devil could be in that corner waiting like a oil-slick or a patch of gravel.  If it wasn't for the twisty downhills the uphills would not be worth climbing.

Friday, May 11, 2012

National Bike Month

It's National Bike Month.

  Wow, we get a month?  I had no clue.  Next week is bike to work week, or something like that.  If it gets someone out there to bike to work and it sticks -great.  Since joining the shop, I have been trying to ride my bike as much as possible.  I'm not trying to save the world from global warming, I'm not a crusader.  Bikes are fun to ride.  It might take a few mins more out of your day to get to work, unless you have a huge commute -in that case you should live closer to work.  Plus, like I said before bikes are fun.  Do something fun first thing in the morning and you are bound to start your day off on the right pedal stroke.
I will say it again, Bikes are toys.  Yes, they can be used for transportation, but they are fun.  It feels good to ride a bike, and things that feel good put a smile on your face.  Driving in a car behind some idiot doing something stupid driving behind another idiot doing something stupider, puts you in a bad mood.  This is why your work sucks so much.

Of course you could say, "But Glenn Duh, what if you drove a really cool car?"  Yeah, that would make your driving experience so much better, yeah and what if you were the only car on the road, and you could drive as fast as you wanted?  And, and, and... get real you don't own an exotic and your commute is not the Twin Ring. BUT if it were, you might have the same experience as riding a bike to work.

Lastly, I know some of you just can't possibly commute because of our wonderful public transportation infrastructure, or the fact that your employer does not facilitate a cycling commute.  Alas, it is not a perfect world, if it were it would resemble a Willy Wonka-esk Cycling world.  Perfect roads, with the perfect grades for climbs, cambered turns, everything tree covered, domestiques to fetch water, rain that doesn't soak your socks, feed zones for a snack, cafes in all the right places.  Wake up, your late for work, and it is not a perfect cycling world.

Get out on a bike and make the best of what you have.  Be safe if you are going to tangle with the auto-crazies.  Momma always said "it is better to be wrong than to be Dead Right".

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cheers Al

Seems like I am always getting on here and apologizing for not writing.  I really am sorry that I don't write more, or have something to say.  As if I have something to say in the first place.  This finds me at a pretty strange place in my life right now, and with everything going on I should have a ton to write about, which scares me a little.  Because, I might be internalizing and that would make me a ticking time bomb.  Boom!  Boom is not good when dealing with a stockpile of emotional dynamite.

Anyway thanks for commenting and goading me into tapping at the keys and making some words, if they work together or not they are here for you to read.  Thank you Oprah, Tom Cruise, and the Jewish God for giving me my bikes to ride.  If it were not for putting on miles and riding with good people, I would be a wreck.  Oh, and an honorable mention goes to Al Cohol, he and I have become good friends -maybe too good?  We have always been good friends, but he is around a lot more these days.

I really would like to go on a rant for about 5k worth of words about ambition, money, and relationships, but I just don't have it in me right now.  Plus, I have to be at work in 45mins, so you are just going to have to deal with the complaining in short form this morning.  Maybe one of these evenings when I get home before the morning I will crank up the netbook and blast out some drunken rants.  Yeah, that will be fun and I won't look too much like an arse, right?

Short sweet, and super vague.  Stay tuned it might be another week or it could be a few hours that you hear from me.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Broken Frame

Ok, ok ok ok ok.  My four readers, I'm up to four! Have spoken and want something to get them through the morning water-cooler talk, meeting, or bathroom break.  I do appreciate the shouts on twitter last night -I do listen.  Things have been going crazy here at the Belllap press/brewing/riding.  Work is going strong and I am learning everyday, and I love the people that come through our doors.  People who ride bikes and the ones that are going to ride bikes are special people, some more "special" than others.  

In other news, I've been riding my bike a lot, a lot for me.  I was on a relaxing recovery ride with a friend and hit a tree.  No, I was not mountain biking.  No, I was not drinking.  No, I was not paying attention.  Yes, I was wearing my helmet.  The next time someone says "It's only RiverParks" I will give them a punch in the face.  Yes it is only RiverParks and you probably don't ride that fast, I wasn't (15mph), but your head doesn't care to much about speed.  Unless you are talking about 9.8m per second squared.  This is the speed at which your head will contact the ground just by the force of gravity.  Eat it!  It's gonna hurt if you hit your head.  Wear your helmet.  You can style your hair, you can't fix your brain. 

Broken helmet, Broken frame, pretty messed up back, but I'm alive and not in a wheelchair or in a vegetative state.  Is that like New Jersey?  They are the Garden state.  I wake up sore and pretty immobile and old.  I'm getting a new frame which I will piece and part together for the next ten years.  Helmet is going to be replaced with a shiny new model coming out in July.  I do have a back-up helmet, no way would I be riding without.

One of the guys I ride with is in the Specialized/Strava hill climbing challenge.  If you don't know who this guy is, take the time to do some research.  And.  If you think you know who this guy is take a second look at what he is doing in the challenge.  It changes daily -it is a competition after all.  So I am not going to post where he is in the challenge, but I will say that he is a solid top ten.  Overall, not age group, Overall.  Oklahoma is flat, and he is trading face-punches with guys from Utah (not flat) and other mountainous regions of the world.  The challenge comes to a close next Monday the 30th.  He and I are headed to AR for some new scenery and to climb Gaylor.

Side note:  Dennis (we will call him Dennis) was how do you say "bigger" than he is currently.  I have seen this guy go through jersey sizes in a weeks time.  His climbing accomplishment is great and pretty awesome, but it is nothing like the physical transformation that he has done to his body.  I feel privileged to have been a part witnessed cycling change someone.  You always hear stories about this happening, but until you have seen a transformation first hand it is just a story.  To make this "real", we are having a super informal no-reservations get-to-gather at the BlueRose Monday the 30th after MNR, 7:30ish to whenever, and possibly beyond that.  Take Tuesday off because your head will be pounding.  Come out and celebrate Dennis, but more importantly celebrate cycling and what it can do for people's lives, you might meet someone who is totally different from you -but thinks just like you do.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Gloves off

Easter is right around the corner, and Paris - Roubaix is just two hangovers away.  With the smell of Belgian frites and Ale, that is more alcohol than water, wafting in the air it is a good time to start a fight.  Roubaix is in France -if you did not know.  It is flat, but it is super long and the roads are, for lack of a pretty word, Crap.  Made by conquering Romans millions of billions of years ago out of big freaking rocks.  Let's ride bikes on them.  Great idea.  Vlaanderen is in Belgium, and is not flat and has crappy roads also.  Vlaanderen has a kick arse flag.  Roubaix has a concrete velodrome.  Vlaanderen is long and has crazy wind.

Which is the "harder" race?  That will start the verbal fists flying.  I love them both.  I have a favorite, so I am biased out the wazoo.  I think that Vlaanderen gets so overlooked because people "just don't know".  Roubaix is way more popular and gets a ton of press.  Both races are hardman races.  One has to be a different breed of rider to win these contests.  Merckx, Museeuw, Vlaeminck, Moser, Boonen are a few names that have turned themselves inside-out, broken themselves down, and crushed souls over the harsh roads of Northern France.  Who is the Best Roubaix winner?

Who is your favorite for this edition of the race?  Is it going to be a new winner of l'enfer du nord? Or are we going to have a repeat?  Will the winner of Vlaanderen have that special touch and be able to pull off the Vlaanderen - Roubaix double?  Can George pull off a top 100? 50? 25? 15?  Is it going to be another win by a darkhorse?  Are you bold enough to make a prediction?  Who is going to be standing at the side of the road waiting and waiting and waiting for the team car?

Fighting words:

My favorite: Tom Boonen
2012 Roubaix winner: Not bold enough, want to see Tom make it a double (2005) again and to get his 4th.
Best ever winner: Sorry Eddy, Vlaeminck did it 4 times
Ronde van Vlaanderen is the harder of the two in my opinion


Monday, April 2, 2012

Belgium's finest

Champions are formed and Men's souls are crushed

Ronde van Vlaanderen recap

Let me start off by saying that Ronde van Vlaanderen was everything that I had wanted and then some.  Not to say that I wanted Fabian to crash out with injuries, I wanted the battle to be one of pedals turned in anger.  Tom even said that it would have been better to win with Fabian still upright.  Seeing Langeveld collide with what was surly a tourist, a Belgian would have know better, was sickening.  His front wheel exploded off the fork and was sent tumbling.  Except for the carnage and injury, this was a beautiful race and a fantastic ending.

I would love to say that Boonen was my "pick", but I was never bold enough to come out and choose my favorite.  I did want him to win, so I guess it is a win win situation for me.  Omega Pharma QuickStep is a Classics force, always have been, and put three riders in the top ten.  Steegmans, Chavanel, Terpstra all rode an incredible race in support of Tom and made it his to lose.  At one point I thought that if Tom faltered, Terpstra was sitting in a pretty good position to take over.  And, my boy Chavanel was so impressive yesterday, he and Boonen look to have kissed and made up.  Last year Chavanel looked stronger than Tom, but yet had to ride in support.  Yeah, that would make any mortal angry.  All is good in the OPQS camp and the cross-hairs are set on Roubaix.

I have always been a fan of Pipo, but he has been very unimpressive the past few years.  This year he has found that new spark and seems to be riding better than of old.  Pozzato was a negative racer in the past and would just place himself in Tom's pocket or just become a shadow.  As of late he looks to have changed his style and seems to be taking more risk.  He is still shadowing Tom, but isn't everyone?

I bad-mouthed Ballan just a few days ago and now have to eat my words, his move became the winning move.  BMC is less than stellar and Ballan has been part of the lack-luster.  Yesterday was the exception.  Ballan and teammates looked to be riding in support of the once stellar Gillbert who never materialized.  Van Avermaet has always impressed me and yesterday once again I think BMC is riding for the wrong guys.  Yes he is young, but he can ride.  Let him loose and ride for this guy already, he will win you races.  He finished just off the podium behind Ballan.  I'll give BMC a little credit for getting a podium and fourth.

1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 6:04:33
2 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
3 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:01
4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:38
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
6 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
7 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team
8 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar
9 Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank Cycling Team
10 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
11 Grégory Rast (Swi) Radioshack-Nissan
12 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team
13 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
14 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team
15 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha Team

Can't forget the likes of Peter Sagan.  22yrs old and a horse, a really strong fast horse.  He looked really strong, might have been a little tired from racing most of last week.  Liquigas doesn't have much of a Classics support team (besides Ted) that can really do work for this kid.  Put a OPQS like team around Sagan and he would crush, or should I say will crush.  Tommy Voeckler.  Where did this guy come from?  Is he still on form from last year?  You have to love Voeckler for his bdassery, this guy is tenacious.  It was good to see him doing work, and then get a top ten.

One of my dark horse favorites, Leukemans was able to squeeze out a top 15.  Gregory Rast of Radioshack was the only bright star for them after Fabian went down with injury.  Rast is one to watch out for the next couple of weeks.  Always always good to see Freire battling it out, he and Paolini could be dangerous.  Big losers on the day have to be Sky.  All that firepower and nothing to show for it.  EBH?  Where are you pal?  With Cav out of the line-up, throw Bernie a bone and work for that guy.  I don't think we will ever know the true strength of Bernie the super domestique.  Heck work for Flecha, that guy can finish when put in the set-up.  Garmin?  We are going to work for Vanmarcke.  You guys have problems, putting Tyler in the early break?  Why?  If I saw Tyler in a break I would not have my team work. Useless.  You work for Vanmarcke and Haussler finishes better, you work for Haussler and Vanmarcke-Vansummeren finish better.  ????????? Come together on this and get a team of monkeys to formulate a plan.



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

U So Crazy!

People who just don't know are always saying how dangerous it is to ride bikes.  Listen here grandma bluehair, bikes are not dangerous, that gas exploding engine driven deathmachine you call a car is dangerous.  I will admit that riding a bike can be dangerous, dangerous in the fact that it can be habit forming and possibly addictive by nature.  Really?  Is it such a bad thing?  I ride bikes because the alternative would be self-destructive and illegal.  Drugs.  Yes I will admit that I have formed a habit that is borderline addictive, screw-it I am addicted up to the eyeballs.  My track-marks are road rash scars, shaved legs and awesome tan-lines.

It's a healthy addiction, right?  Eat-sleep-dream-ride bikes.  Healthy?  No, I'm sick and I have a fever, a fever and the only cure is more...bike.  You know who you are, and if you are shaking your head yes you have it to.  Thinking about the WNR makes your pulse race, looking at Italian bikes on the internet is almost lewd behavior.  You are shaking your head, is that a yes sir or a yeah sure?

I don't care what it is, but there is always that guy or guys that take it too far.  The ones that have to drink too much, have to jump off the third story balcony into the kiddy pool, and pour gasoline on the campfire.  Boom!!! Hitting a little too close to home?  We in society have a word for you..CRAZY.  Crazy can be used as a noun, verb and those other things adv, adj something or others.  The way we use crazy is usually a term of endearment or respect.  You did what?  That's crazy!  We don't think you lost your mind, at least not all of it, but we say it because we would have to be crazy to do what you accomplished.  Yes, you can probably smell the jealousy coming off the comment. 

I have the opportunity to ride my bike with all kinds of people, all of them are crazy.  There are a few standout certifiable, should be institutionalized, padded cell, hug yourself jacket people in this group.  You know who you are.  You are crazy and I have much love and respect for you.  Keep doing what you are doing and enjoy it to its fullest.  Remember the crazies are the ones who run the asylum.   

The next time someone calls you crazy, consider the source and context.  They might just be paying you a huge compliment.  Next time your coworker says you are crazy for riding your bike, what they are really saying is "dang, I wish I could do that". 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Is it tornado season?

Tommeke is looking good.  Fabian says that Tom is the favorite for Ronde and Tom says that Fabian is the one to beat.  Taking a look at the top 15 from Sunday's Gent - Wevelgem

1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 5:32:44
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
3 Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank Cycling Team
4 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
6 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Radioshack-Nissan
7 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
8 Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
9 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
10 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team
11 Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin-Cervelo
12 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team
13 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Radioshack-Nissan
14 Christian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling 0:00:03
15 Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:00:04

There are some pretty stand out names in this list.  Three time World Champ Freire has gone back in time and found his legs.  Sagan is a hoss, he an Cancellara made what now looks like a stupid move, if it had gone the other way they would have looked brilliant.  But for Sagan to challenge for the win is true testament to the strength of this rider.  This guy is in his 20's.  Sick.  Breschel, finally on a team that will use him the way he should be used, doesn't hurt that he is Dutch on a Dutch team, now does it?  Earth calling Garmin.  Vansummeren is the real deal when it comes to the Classics.  Yes, he may be 8' tall and look like the missing link (wait that's Ten Dam) he is tall, and can ride a bike in the roughest toughest conditions.  Who's the man now?  That brings me to one of my favorites, Pipo.  Pozzato has struggled the last few years with team issues injury and too many tattoos.  Looked like he was going to repeat the cycle this year with his broken collarbone just last month.  Dude went under the knife is back on the bike and is looking to come into form, -with a hand full of top tens in his pocket. 

Gent was a great race, would have liked to see it whittled down to a smaller group, or have the break stick it.  Anyway what a race.  People are saying how strong Tom is right now, I do not disagree, but is he?  Tom is older, and I think that he is riding so much smarter plus he is such a strong rider to begin.  This is a deadly combo.  Brains and brawn.  Let's not discount the fact that he has a team around him that is so dangerous, anyone of them could go up the road and beat you.  Tom was not the strongest rider at Gent, I think it was Sagan, but he rode a very smart race, got lucky in the sprint and came out with a three time win.  Sound the sirens there is a tornado coming.

Can't wait for the weekend and Ronde van Vlaanderen.  Watching Three Days of De Panne Stage 1 right now with 40km to go.  These guys are taking turns punching each other in the face up the climbs.  Oh, how I love the Classics.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

IMDO

We are elbow deep in the Classics season and the big monuments are just around the corner.  Yes, everyone is sucking at the teat of Paris - Roubaix, and fail to see the beautiful brutality of the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Gent Wevelgem, E3 Harelbeke, and Dwars door Vlaanderen.  Don't get me wrong and all misquoted, I love Roubaix with the Trouée d'Arenberg, and all the sectors of cobble.  BUT.  I'm a big fan of the quick steep climbs, muurs, bergs, whatever you wish to bestow upon them.  It's Belgium.  It's cycling at it's toughest.  It is so beautiful and brutal.

I am a fan of the dark horse, or more importantly the work horse.  Last year Vansummeren winning was poetic, and Nuyens crossing the line first made me a believer in my own religion.  Breakaways that stick, the solo that gets away...this is The Classics.  Terpstra won at Dwars just the other day.  Not a superstar.  Love it.  Did you see the winning move?  Was it when he got in the break or when he attacked his breakaway companions?  You tell me.  Bunch sprints are for Grand Tours, Classics are supposed to be won by men who have not broken or have been broken the least.  This is a hardman's race.  Today was E3, and a Tom Boonen won it out of the bunch, a small bunch that had been whittled down, strung out, and broken down.  Tommeke almost got taught a tough lesson by Freire at the line.  Don't get caught sleeping and don't celebrate too soon.  Wake up Tom and throw the bike, you got lucky this time.  Millimeters lucky. 

BMC.  What the ____ guys?  Superstar team my____.  What a bunch of overpaid comfortable well fed, okay I've got to stop there.  I know BMC has a winner on their squad, and his name is... Greg.  Don't scratch your head.  Greg Van Avermaet.  Kid can outride anyone on that team, just give him the chance put those "superstars" to work for him and you will have a magic show that you can take to Vegas.  Gilbert, what the heck happened there?  Too much money and now you can't pedal a bike?  Ballan, I don't even know what to say about Ballan, when he had the Rainbow Stripes he only won like a second tier race.  Now what?  Thor, are you just getting too old?  Or are you on the wrong team?  This guy is a Green Jersey machine and an all around bdass, but where did he put his cape?  George, I love you George.  Drop some knowledge on these fools and get them to work.  Hang up the cleats and get in the car and win some races with the real talent on this team.

Why why why is Garmin squandering their talent?  Vansummeren can win races, go to work for him.  Sep Vanmarcke is also a great talent that is being overshadowed by lesser riders.  Let 'em loose and see what they can do.  They can work in the Grands, but let them have their day in the Classics on their home soil.  Haussler, the man with a nationality confusion, are you German-Australian, Australian-German, or just Australian?  Just ride your dang bike already.  We know you have the ability, or you lost it drinking and driving, and changing nationalities. 

Don't know how many time I have to say it, but Chavanel needs to have his leash cut and given full gas.  Let him go, he has proven his loyalty time and time again when victory was in sight.  Green light this guy, stop making me yell at the screen and get all angry.  It is so frustrating to see him pulled from a break to come back and help Tom.  Love Tommeke, but give Chavanel his due.  Give him Roubaix.   I have to say that OPQS is my new favorite team.  Brian Holm is in the car, 'nuff said.

Cancellara.  Is he beatable?  Did you see him get taken out today?  What was that?  Then some dude stole his front wheel.  You will burn in a very hot place for that one.  Fabian gets taken out during a wheel change gets up back on the bike and chases back on.  He even passes his teammate that came back for him, drug him back up to the bunch.  I'm not a fan of Cancellara, but this guy scares me anytime he toes the line.  Said I was not a fan, didn't say that I did not have much respect for the guy. R E S P E C T. 

Guys to watch in the Classics.  Vacansoleil's Devolder, Leukemans, and Hoogerland are tough as nails.  Devolder is one of my favorites, although he has done nothing in the past few years.  Once a teammate of Boonen, he was the Champ of Belgium and a winner of Ronde van Vlaanderen.  I still have hopes for him.

Leif Hoste of Accent Jobs-Willems very very very dark horse, but could surprise.  Or Not.  In other news Jens Voigt is racing Criterium International for like the 100th time, as of this morning he is in 12th.  You know he can taste it, he has won this race like six or seven times???

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Midnight oil

This will be an interesting read.

I'm up late, the kind of late where you get out of bed because your body doesn't want to be in any position you put it in, out of bed.  I don't know what my deal is.  So with my mind racing, dreaming -no sleeping dreaming, I got up to exorcise the sleep depriving demons.  How does this work?  I'm tired, but physically I cannot get comfortable enough to sleep and then the brain powers up and starts going all ape poo.  Should I go all crazy and start writing just whatever is in my head?  Should I go cathartic and work the inner peace table talks with my soul?  If I were really good I could do both and we would all have a Merry Christmas.  Whatever.

Lets try this... The other day someone close to me dropped a bomb on me, no, no one came out of the closet.  Someone that I value their opinion straight up told me that they were embarrassed of me.  I was a little taken a back, or should we say, dumbfounded?  Anyway, that's not the big thing, the big thing is, is that it got me to thinking.  (insert thinking joke here)  Nice one.  Yes, Mike I do think.  I really started to think about my life and how I got to this point.  Most of you know that I recently started work at a bike shop, to be a bike mechanic and to sell bikes.  This has been a, let's say dream since I started riding bikes.  I can honestly say I am livin' it.  The dream that is.

What I really started thinking about was how I feel, and I have come to the conclusion that, I am me.  At this point in time I truly feel that I am as real as I can get.  This is who I am, this is what I am.  I am happy, and I am really enjoying life.  I have always believed that you are not what you do, your job does not define who you are.    Here is the problem with that logic, what if you love what you do?  What if what you do helps define who you are?  I'm talking about it being a real piece to the puzzle that makes you who you are, not a means to an end. 

I have a close friend that worries that he does not make a difference in people's lives.  He does, he is a life changer, he just can't see the forest because of all the dang trees in his way.  He helps people on a daily basis, yet feels that he is not doing enough.  Why?  Because he really cares about what he does, but what he does, does not define who he is.  His caring nature is his definition, this is the person who he really is.   I know this because I don't see him on a professional level, I see him as the caring husband, father, and friend.

I will never have the impact on people's lives as say a religious leader, a doctor, or a teacher, but I do feel that where I am right now in life is where I am supposed to be.  If I can sell a bike to someone or inspire someone to ride a bike to gain fitness -that is my impact.  I want people to know the pure joy and freedom that a bike can bring.  You know, the kind you had when you were a kid.  The feeling of flying. 

It's just like riding a bike.  No.  The only thing that is just like riding a bike...is riding a bike.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Chalk it up

I went back in time last night.  For real, time travel is possible.  I went to the Jane's Addiction show at the Joint.  I have been a huge fan of Jane's since I first heard of them way back in the late 80's.  We are talking well over 20+ years.  Back when Tipper and Barbra were waging war on the free speech of artists, and plastering warning labels on everything and forcing young kids like myself to resort to breaking the law.  No I'm not talking about stealing, although it was a thought, I am talking about having to have someone "of age" buy cassette tapes for me.  "Hey man are you 18?  Will you buy this for me?"  How Rock 'n Roll is that?

Without a Parental Warning label on an album was like a glaring sign that the music was not good enough to spend hard earned allowance.  The blue hairs in Washington with their idea to clean up the industry had the opposite affect.  Now we had the government's approval, by placing a warning label on an album meant it was quality.  There was "adult" content on this cassette, or even better the F-word.  Tipper and Barb made it easy to spot quality, they put their seal of diss-approval, which was our quality control at work.  Now the industry had a standard to live up to...put the F-word in a song, sing about sex, drugs, and alcohol.  It was a formula to sell.  Thanks for making it so easy, thanks for the free publicity. 

Every Jane's album I purchased, legally or otherwise, had this seal of approval.  Their album Ritual de lo Habitual actually had an album cover that was changed because of the artworks offensive nature.  Super tame by today's standards (or lack thereof) but none the less it had to be changed to be sold.  I was unlucky and did not get the first run album cover, I instead had to settle of the secondary run of the sanitized version.  After touring with this album Perry broke up Jane's for fear that they were going to become too mainstream and wanted to "keep it real". 

Dave Navarro did time with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and also tried his hand at a solo career.  Perry and Stephen formed the band Porno for Pyros, which became top 40 with the song "Pets".  I ate all of this up, I was so starved for anything Jane's.  Perry created Lollapalooza.  So if you say or read anything with the suffix -apalooza, or -looza you can thank him.  Lollapalooza was and still is a music festival without equal, at least it was in the early days.  My sister went to the first five or so, I got to go with her to the 3rd annual one in St. Louis in '93.  This is an experience I will never forget.  Thank you Cess, and Perry for making it happen.

We come full circle to the email that I get that said Jane's Addiction is going on tour with their newest album, and they are doing a presale on tickets.  Reading down the list for a city near me...Catoosa, OK?  This was truly a what the... moment.  Catoosa?  No way, wait.  Hard Rock is in Catoosa... Way.  Long story short, I find myself last night in the audience watching childhood, adolescent, adult musical heroes that I have wanted to see for 20+ years.  Dream come true.  They did not disappoint.  I walked out of the concert thinking...no way they could have done a better job.  I left with the feeling that I saw what I had always wanted to see, and I would pay to see them again.

I crossed the big white whale off my list last night, now there are only two or three left, but none as big. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I know you

Last night was the first Wednesday Night Ride of the year 2012.  This is a big deal, it is a rite of Spring, an annual marking of the cycling season.  That's right, right here in Tulsa.  A mecca of cycling.  It is a gathering of who's who in the Tulsa cycling world. The touring riders all the way to Cat I racer types meet up to do what we all dream about when we are not doing what we are dreaming about.

The meeting point at the first of the ride is swimming in the excitement of the ride to come.  It is the "business up front" time.  People are airing up tires, checking brake rub, changing out of work clothes, getting prepared for The Ride.  We all gather here from our different lives, jobs, families, but once we throw a leg over the toptube we are all transformed into the same living breathing human-machine.  Here is a Star Trek quote for you... "resistance is futile".  Once you start riding bikes you enter this community, a community that is bigger than the sum of its parts.  It's like Fight Club, but you can talk about WNR and you are encouraged to do so. 

Riding a bike strips everyone down to their most simple form.  You are no longer a business owner, a surgeon, a trash collector, a high school student.  You are a cyclist riding a social vehicle that knows no boundaries.  The bike brings us together and erases the worldly class structure.  Now you are judged on style, speed, and etiquette.

At the end of the WNR, the "party in the back" time flows with adult brewed beverages shared between warriors that just battled each other on the tarmac.  Fierce competitors on the road now sharing stories and friendship.  Boundaries are all washed away with a few sips of beer.  I'm beating a dead horse here, but it's easy to go back to the well when it is this deep.  I know that if it were not for the bike that I would never have the chance to meet or know the people that I call friends.  Oh, the places that a bike will take you.  This simple piece of machinery is so many things, and I am grateful that it has given me the freedom to live.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

He shoots, he...

Holy Crap I have a blog?  Looking at the past few days one would think that this was a dead link.  Now, as for last week I was praying for a swift death.  I had become very used to my toilet, and not in a good way.  Stomach bug on a supernatural scale.  Whatever got a hold of me took me for a ride, one that I am still recovering from.  That's the kind of party that I would prefer not to be invited to, you can keep it.  It got to the point that I could no longer trust normal body functions.  I lost a lot of weight, for a person my size, you know this fine-tuned-machine that I am.  I feel so weak, and I am worried to get back on the bike, because right up to the point that my insides tried to evacuate my body I was on a 20+ day streak of riding that saw me reach 33,000' of climbing in the month of Feb.

So this brings me to the second reason that the blog as been a ghost town with tumbleweeds blowing around.  I was riding bikes all the time, to work, for fun, to run errands, for just to ride.  About a week into Feb I decided that it would be really cool to climb the equivalent feet of Mount Everest.  Feb had the extra 29th day and Everest sits at 29,029' so it just seemed like the thing to do.  Not too lofty a goal, and all I had to do was climb roughly 1500' a day (I got a late start).  I reached my goal well before the 29th.  I know, I will try not to break my arm patting myself on the back. 

Everyone talks about goals, about doing this, doing that.  I've never been a real go-getter in the goal department, I just kinda do what I want and let the chips fall where they may.  Even after making and reaching my goal I don't get some crazy sense of worth, in fact my celebration was no more spectacular than a normal ride finish.  Beer, food, shower, and then if needed more beer.  What I am left with is this crazy feeling that I need to do something else.  Is this the OCD goal maker coming to the surface?  Oh, I hope not.  It was cool to attain my "Everest", but now I don't like this feeling that I need to do something more.  I have to one-up myself, this ain't no competition!  I don't want to be "that guy" that is kicking his own arse over numbers on a screen.  I don't want to define myself by my accomplishments, well unless I do something so kick@ss that everyone should know whether they need to or not.

I really spent over an hour looking up distances and trivia to base my new goal.  This is not right.  This is sick (sick bad not good).  I've opened a door in my soul that should have remained closed.  How do I shut this off, yet still remain positive about doing things?  Even now, writing this I'm thinking about riding my bike -to Texas, to the Moon.  Turn this off.  I'm gonna call a Priest to exorcize my ambition.  I liked me better when I didn't care, when goals were things scored in hockey. 

Ride your bike already!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Puttin' the legs up

All I want to do is lay down and close my eyes for a little.  I'm so tired and sleepy, I might just fall asleep right here on the bike, maybe then the pain would just drift away with my sleep.  I can't focus on anything except sleepy tiredness and 4723. 4723 4723 4723 4723 4723 4723 4723.  Now it says 4732 4732 4732 4732, now it is 4745 4745 4745.  My brain is chanting these numbers like a beat in a club.  I'm numb all over, except for when the road points up I feel my muscles in my legs tearing, burning, breaking through my skin, through my knickers exposed to the air.  4788 4788 4788 4788.  How are my legs still moving, I'm pretty sure I told them to stop miles ago? 

How did I get to this point, laying on the bathroom floor in the fetal position praying for a swift and clean death?  Did I not eat enough?  Drink enough?  Kill me now.  I am weak.  My body thinks I am weak and it is shutting down and closing up shop.  Maybe if I just empty the contents of my stomach I can start over?  How pathetic is this?  I should know better?  Why is it every time I am hugging the toilet it is self induced?  At least my brain is not pounding against my skull trying to free itself from a chemical induced death.  So I've got that going for me.  This Pepsi is coming up, maybe not.  A little sip of recovery drink, a little more Pepsi, some more recovery drink.  This cold tile feels good, or does it?  All I can feel is the sickness in my stomach taking over my body, organ by organ like a game of Risk. 

I can feel my legs, they have a few miles in them and a few thousand feet of climbing.  Are the miles and feet of climbing in your legs or do they come out like a deposit at a bank?  You start your day with X miles and Y feet, and you just keep making withdraws until you are in the red, Overdrawn?  I don't know?  I started my day with zero, zero.  I already had a metric century and 3k' worth of climbing in or out when we met up with Marty to do another lap.  I should know better, but there is something about feeling good at the "in the moment" that reduces brain function to "sure let's go again". 

Mile 79.8 I stopped.  Not cracked, blown up, shelled.  Stopped.  Hindsight is 20/20 and I should have called it a day well before that point, but now we are 13mi from town, and 18mi from the comfort of my bathroom floor.  Matt and Marty pushed and nursed me back to the Pedestrian Bridge where we said good bye to Marty and Matt paced me back to my turn-off.  Thanks Matt -sorry about getting caught in the rain.

Between the point of failure to the point of being home is a blur of sensory overload.  13mph feels like 70mph out of control on ice skidding to your death.  Pedal strokes are involuntary one second and the next are so labored I can't tell if my crank arms are frozen or broken off?  Am I peddling backwards?  Are those my feet attached to my legs, I can see feet but they don't feel like mine.  I know these legs are not mine because there is a compatibility issue with the interface.  They are not doing what I want them to do, and they are telling me what I don't want to hear.  These are not my legs.

Long before all this happened yesterday, Matt and I were having a conversation about hurting and pain, and trying to explain how it feels to someone who has never experienced suffering.  How does one put into words the feeling one goes through emotionally and physically when you put the body into a situation such as this?  After the morbid pain and misery subsided, I was left with the hallow feeling one gets from stressing the body, and it feels....good.  Not a good like ice cream and cake good, but like I just survived good.  I like to call it the "putting the legs up".  If you have been there you know what I am talking about.  Putting the legs up on the couch or the ottoman with the satisfaction that you have inner accomplishment of physical and emotional greatness.  You just made yourself better.

We talk of having a bad day on the bike, but is there really such a thing?  I could easily say that yesterday was a horrible experience, or I could say that it was anything that I want it to be.  My attitude towards what happened forms the person that I am, that I will be.  Can you take a negative in your life and make it a positive?  My Mom always said "your worst day of skiing is better than your best day at work".  What I take away from yesterday is, one) a good story to tell, b) strength, secondly) I know the people that I have surrounded myself with -are incredible people.  Yesterday is history, and it is now just part of my foundation of who I am and what I am.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Have you met Matt?

I am always skeptical when people say "he's the nicest guy" "they are great", you know all that nice crap.  Anytime I hear the name Matt Carnal it is always followed by something flowery and sweet, like he is every one's best friend.  I have always been 6 degrees away from Matt, so I don't know that much about him.  I do know the dark side of Matt, the underlying layer of the onion.  That's right the part that will make you cry, not out of sadness.  Out of Pain.

This is an unofficial view of the person we call Coach, Matt, King of Strava, and other things behind his back -because you would never say it to his face for fear he will rip your legs off and beat you with them.  Actually people that call Matt "Coach" allow him to rip their legs off... willingly.  I know how crazy is that?  I have only had a peripheral friendship with Matt and for what I knew of him he is a stand-up guy.  Never have I heard anyone talk about Matt in any other light.

Most recently I started following Matt on Strava.com and he was involved in the Base Mile Blast.  This was a challenge to see how many miles one could accumulate in a set time (Jan6-31).  Matt put in 3,347mi and his last ride was cancelled due to mechanical issues.  He was only planning on riding the great state of Oklahoma from South to North.  No big deal, Right?  Even without putting in miles that he wanted on the last day, Matt had a lead of 981mi.  Not bad.  Oh, yeah I forgot to mention that Matt is gearing up/training for RAAM.  Now we can officially add "Crazy" to the things we call Matt.

Matt's dark side, let's get to the juicy tabloid stuff...  Matt has been coming by the shop and getting some work done on bikes and what not.  He has invited me to ride, so I decided to meet up with him yesterday for a little ride, I would turn around and he would continue.  I rode to the meeting point and Chad showed up to ride with us.  Chad and I chatted and then Matt showed.  We headed out in the light rain/heavy mist on the trail and then made a slight detour to head West.  In conversation something was mentioned about my wanting to climb 29,000' in a month.  Matt said he would like to do that in a weekend, and he could, and probably will.

The lights started to go dim around mile 62, I'm pretty sure Matt was just getting warmed up.  He rode 100+ the day before, I commuted 10mi.  I did my best "keep calm...", and then I was shelled, literally and figuratively.   Matt and Chad slowed to allow me to catch, and I told them to leave me, "I'm a big boy, I know my way home, don't want to slow you down."  Matt would have nothing of it.  Here is the guy that has been ripping my legs off and turning me inside out for the last 2-3hrs and now he is playing the nice guy routine.  This is the genuine Matt.  This is what makes him such a great coach, he knows how to motivate you all bad guy style and then when you need it most he can be there for you.  Not a crutch, but a gentle push. 

Riding bikes has allowed me to meet all kinds, types of people.  The bike is the vehicle that brings people together.  If you have not met Matt, you should.  He is as exactly as billed.  Don't be fooled by the names people call him.  Beast, Machine, Evil, Crazy, these are how he rides the bike -not who he is. 

Follow Matt on Strava.com
Follow Matt on Twitter

I hope to do a follow up actual interview, a first for sprintingthebelllap

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Goalllllllllllllll!

I'm not exactly sure what I am going to do with myself, I know there is a few of you out there that would love to comment on that.  Feel free, there is a tab for that at the end of this post.  Any who, working at the shop is going to take a chunk out of my racing, I knew this going in.  Keep reading, I'm not whining.  Promise.  I'm in a state of cycling limbo, I want to be out racing with my team, but I wont be, so... do I need to train?  I am not currently training, I am just riding.  I feel great, and I am having a blast riding my bikes.  Isn't that what it is all about?

I guess my problem is that my mates are out there training and racing and they are gonna ride circles around me.  I mean I have a rep to maintain.  Pride, what a double edged sword.  It's hard to wrap my head around.  This is one of those times when you have to "check yourself".  What am I doing this to gain, why do I do this, what am I trying to prove?  The soul searching questions like, which came first the chicken or the egg?  For me all the answers are on the bike, or found while on the bike.

Goals.  Two years ago I did what "they" tell you to do and I wrote my goals down.  I didn't meet one of them.  Last year, I had no goals other than race a lot, and help my teammates in races.  Check and check.  This year is a mixed bag.  If I were forced at gunpoint to write something down it would look like this...
  • Ride my bikes
  • Use the bike for commuting as much as possible (3mi rule)
  • Be a bike advocate
  • Ride with anyone regardless their ability
  • Have fun
How's that for a list that I hope to attain?  I do have selfish goals, and I thank God for Strava.  I do have the goal of climbing Everest in a month.  29,029' in 30days, after that maybe we will go for more.  I'm not big into distance, because that takes forever and would limit my MTB riding.  I should look into a time goal?  Don't get me wrong, I love to ride bikes, but sometimes you have to have a crowbar to get me off the couch.  I'm thinking about becoming "that guy" that goes out and poaches Strava KOM's.  Still thinking about that one, hey a Man has to have a hobby.  Right?  Well for now it will just be the Everest goal, don't think I can make it this month (short on days FEB).  I'm thinking March will be a good month to climb Everest.



Accepting ideas and sponsorships

Friday, February 10, 2012

Smackdown

My wife and I got my Dad tickets to go see WWE Smackdown for his birthday/Christmas.  I would also go with him, you know for company.  He can't go by himself.  Dad is a huge fan of the 'rastling.  Watches it religiously.  Since before Hulk, Andre, and the WWF Dad would watch.  With the advent of the VCR he could "tape it" and watch it later, and now with the DVR and Dish network he is set up.

Yes, we used to bug him with the "is it Real" questions, and how stupid the conversations were.  Over the years I have made peace with the authenticity, and have embraced the entertainment value.  Whatever that value may be, my Dad is entertained by it, and that is all that matters.  Right?  I think it is great that he has something that is his joy.   The last several trips to Texas that I have made have involved several hours of watching 'rastling with my Dad.  Like anything on TV if I watch it long enough I get into it, or just get used to it. 

I went into this WWE "project" as something for my Dad, and I wanted to go into it with a good attitude.  I love my Dad and want to support him, the way he has supported me all my life.  I was going to enjoy going to the 'rastling matches, if it killed my sensibilities.  At first I was going to make a joke of the whole thing, but then I realized that, this is something that my Dad is into.  So, I can't make a joke of something that is part of my Dad, no matter what I think about it.

After going to see the WWE, I have made some changes to my thinking.  A) The people that go to watch are just as diverse as any sporting event involving a winner and a loser.  I saw everything there.  All walks of life, and yes I wanted to document it all on film, but that would make me and A-hole.  One can throw classifications around all day, just be careful that you don't get hit by them yourself.  "People who live in glass houses -shouldn't throw rocks"  The average 'rastling fan is there to be entertained.  And you know what?  It is entertaining.  The fans love it and the WWE spoon-feeds them what they want.  It is like the most base  common denominator entertainment, but it works, and works well.  Is it simple, yes -but it works.  I cannot hate on these people because of my system of entertainment.  They love what they love, and it is to be entertained.  Plain and simple.  Don't judge.

2)  I was entertained.  I had a great time.  Do you know how cathartic it is to Boo the villain?  Cheer the hero?  I found out that clapping or chanting someones name they gain strength and can whoop anyone.  It is amazing, I think the next time someone needs CPR, I'm just going to clap and chant their name.  This multi-million $ enterprise sells a great product, and they do it a lot.  They are playing a show almost every-other night.  I am impressed with this business.  Not a fan, but I was entertained.  I would go back.  It is base, simple, and no matter the authenticity it is pure.  Pure entertainment. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Grinding Gears

This last Sunday I left work and jumped on the turnpike to head to Texas.  Roadtrip to see my Dad, and Mom, but this was for my Dad's 70th birthday.  My wife and I bought tickets to take my Dad to see WWE Smackdown at the BOK.  I was on my way to pick him up and hang out.  He is a huge fan of wrestling, Professional Wrestling that is.  Has been since I can remember.  And, I remember watching wrestling with my Dad on TV, well as long as I can remember watching TV.  That is a lot of TV wrestling watching.  It's a pure miracle that I am so well adjusted.  Or am I?

Monday came early and we set out to ride, me on my bike and my Dad in the follow truck with the dogs.  I was on a mission to bag some climbs.  There are not too many "climbs" in the Texas Panhandle, but there happens to be two massive (by panhandle standards) climbs 40some odd miles from my parents front door.  I set off to slay these two dragons and call it a day.  The weather was very beautiful, but the wind was forecast to be out of the North, it was out of the South.  Headwind/crosswind all the way.  Two hours and some change later we were descending down into the canyon.  I could see my prize across the way.  It was daunting, and staring me in the face.  I flinched.  Totally underestimated this climb.  I felt beat. Scared.

I stripped off my armwarmers, hat, and unzipped the jersey.  This was going to be a battle.  Man I did not do my homework on this climb.  I had already, in my mind, won this thing.  About a mile into this slog, I cracked, there was a small explosion, one might call it a Pop.  Yeah, that was me.  Done, with a big fork sticking out of my back, not even half-way up.  I don't know what it was that hurt the worst?  Lungs? Legs?  D -all of the above and other things not even on the list were calling in damage reports.  "Captain, we've lost contact with the brain, the legs are out of power, and the lungs have imploded.  Imminent and total destruction."

Not to ruin the story, but if you are reading this -then I had to write it, so I am still alive.  There was no way I was going to willingly get off of my bike with my Dad in the car behind me.  Gravity was going to have to pull me to the ground, unconscious, eyes rolled back, mouth foaming.  I could not stop even though every fiber of my existence was a deafening roar to quit.  I would like to write that I "dug deep" "went to my special place" "gutted it out" "buried myself in the pain cave", but these would be lies.  Knowing my Dad was with me, I forced every labored pedal turn one over the other in a slow display of "square pedaling", out of sheer pride.  That's right, Pride. 

I had cracked, but I wanted my Dad to see me, to be proud of me, to show him that I could fight and be his son.  I wanted to be able to look my Dad in the eye and know that he was proud of me.  My Dad would have been proud of me if I had stopped at the start of the climb.  I wanted him to share my victory against this climb as if it were his own.  There was no stopping, I turned myself inside out for pride.  I was so spent, I was finished.  We pulled into the rest stop/scenic overlook to potty the dogs and to have a look at the beast from the top.  I pulled off my jersey and changed into street clothes, put the bike in the pick-up bed and hopped in.  Finished.  I had one more climb to do, but not today.  I won a battle, but the war is still there waiting.  Like General MacArthur I shall return.  I will live to fight another day, my Dad at my side pushing me up a small canyon wall in the Texas Panhandle.

Cheers, Dad

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I want to...

I've been to the well, and the well has gone dry.

Sometimes I just don't have anything to say, or feel like what I do have is not worth the effort.  With that being said, I am putting the caffeine levels at max, chaining myself to the chair and putting letters on a glowing screen in no particular order.  If they happen to form words and sentences and a paragraph or two then I will have a small success.  Like clearing the first level of Mario Bros.  Yeah, kinda like that.

It's not that I don't have the time.  Between loads of laundry, vacuuming, dishes, cooking, brewing, riding bikes, and working at the shop, I really do have time.  I do.  I don't know what has been my problem? Desire? ADHD? Not drinking enough?  Maybe I have too much to write about and it had clogged the well and nothing is going to come out?  Is that even possible?  With all the bike riding I have been doing, I have written hundreds of things in my head, if I could only get it in a readable format for you.  My reader.  All three of you, and Mike.

With my new phase of life working at the shop it has put a question mark on my super fabulous career as a Cat IV bike racer.  I am OK with this.  I want to race bikes, but I don't need to race bikes.  Going into this race season I have put all training on hold, an indefinite hold because I don't know when, where, or how I will be racing.  I have done zero intervals, I have looked at my HR but only out of curiosity, and watts are just numbers on a screen.  I have 0 trainer miles.  My fitness is a giant ?

I am riding bikes to ride bikes.  I, for the past several years have tried to have some sort of "training" program that I follow or don't follow.  This has gotten me some fitness and has kept me entertained looking at power files, charts, graphs, zodiac signs, and fortune cookies.  All of this has gotten me to the same place every time.  This realization is............ I love to ride my bike.  I love to ride whether it involves power/HR constraints or if it is just to run an errand.  It is a bike.  Bikes are cool.  They are hella fun to ride.

Don't get me wrong, I still ride strapped up to my HR and the PT wheel is on the road bike.  On the MTB I only look at distance, elevation, and time.  For some strange reason I do wear my HR on the Cross bike.  It's not that I don't like numbers, I do.  I like to look at accumulated time, distance, and my favorite is elevation.  I like to get high.  I don't necessarily like to climb, but I like what climbing does for me.  You got to get up to get down.  This is so true on the MTB...earn your turns.  On the road I love a good climb if it is rewarded with a screaming down hill and an ear to ear grin.

Riding a bike for the sake of just riding a bike has given me a new love for the bike.  I don't "have" to ride my bike, I now want to ride my bike.  My goals are no longer convoluted, my goal is simple. 

Ride



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Come Together

I've been kind of a hermit with my riding lately, just riding from and to work with the detour here and there for some extra miles.  Riding bikes is about riding bikes, but one can make the experience so much better when it is shared.  I was reminded this on Sunday when I was coerced into riding with the group.  It looked like the makings of a horrible ride.  High wind and flat roads.  Two of my least favorites especially when put together in an equation such as this.  I rode to the shop to meet up with everyone and overdressed.  Good thing I have a locker at the shop.

Quick inspection of the group, and I don't know half of these people.  I'm starting to sweat, and it is not from layers -I just took those off.  We headed out onto the trail and my worst fears were coming true.  The crosswind had everyone ducking for cover.  There were a few squirrely wheels and I was on high alert.  Flat, right out of the box.  This is not a good sign.  I rubbed the Madonna hanging around my neck and made a quick plea.

Back on the road and we were working the headwind, we had the horse power to do it.  I stayed in the back to keep an eye on everyone, and to get comfortable riding with strangers.  It took a little more than an hour before we started having people come apart, but that was cool because we formed small groups and worked to keep everyone together.

I do love riding in groups, especially when it has good cohesion and somewhat of a common goal.  Stay together.  I firmly believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder, I just forget the fondness that I have.  This was a great group ride and everyone in the group "got it".  With everyone working together and staying together we were able to maintain a good pace and not have to surge and slow, surge and slow.

Companionship is a group thing, it's hard to practice alone.  There is nothing better that flying with a tail wind with your 'mates arm over your shoulder bar-to-bar at 25mph telling you how good it is to be on a ride with you.  The feeling is mutual.  The shared experience, may it be one-on-one or with a group it is a special bond that we all share.  Pain, Joy, Freedom, Friendship.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Closing time

At the end of the North 40 I stopped at the trail head and waited for The Wife to appear.  "Wanna go again?" I asked in my best begging, but still sounding cool voice.  I got the look of, well I got The Look.  We were done.  It was a short little double with a slight down hill all the way to the car.  Coasting.  What a way to top off a trip.  One where I thought I would not get to ride my bike, turned out that I got in some pretty impressive riding.  Got lucky, no all day in the saddle rides, but quality.  Not quantity.  This was the kind of trip that gets the juices flowing, but dose not drain the life out of you.

Of course standing in the parking lot of the Moab Brands trail head, we were over 1,000miles from home.  Talk about a buzz kill.  Back to the hotel, shower, pack, leave.  Six hours in the car to Albuquerque.  By my best guesstimate we will be in the hotel by 6-7pm.  Fueled up and we were out.  Miles and miles of road trip.  The Wife is reading, and I am trying not to plow head first into the side of the road or into oncoming traffic.

I don't know what it is about New Mexico drivers and why they have a problem with me, but I always find some kook that wants to race me when I try and pass them.  With the cruse control on.  At least it keeps me entertained, and the anger like a little fire keeping me warm with colorful insults running through my head. 

We found the hotel this time.  First try.  No google issues trying to get us killed.  Plus, it was the one we stayed in just a few days previous.  Do I trust google maps to find me a pint and food?  I like to live dangerously, so I gave it a whirl.  Marble Brewery.  3.5miles away.  Ended up in a dark industrial part outside of the bright lights of down town ABQ.  Thanks google.  Wait, there it is.  There are people outside under heat lamps.  We are here.  Yes I had their IPA, took a hard look at the double IPA and decided I want to drive home, not to the crash site.

I have to say that Marble's IPA was the best of the trip.  I don't know if it is an actual winner or that it just came at the apex of the trip and the culminating experience just made it all the better.  Which ever it might be it was one tasty IPA.  If you find yourself in the greater ABQ area and are parched from the high desert air, I highly recommend Marble Brewery.  They have a limited menu (food), but more than make up for it with the liquid brewed confections.  We shared some nachos.

We hooked up with my sister for a short night cap, and then to the hotel, another long day tomorrow.  New Years Eve.  10hrs in a car, driving wishing that you were still riding single track in Utah.  This was not to be.  We stopped briefly to eat lunch with my parents in Amarillo, and then kept rolling.  We made it back to Tulsa in time to clean up and head over to a party.  Normally I would be all-a-rage to party it up, but the drive must have taken the wind out of my sails.