Thursday, May 6, 2010

mafia blog

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

This world we live in is so backwards and convoluted. I am on the return flight from PanAmerican Championships in Guatemala City right now… and this trip is possibly the biggest slice of humble pie I have ever gotten to have. The Universe has done quite a job of watching over me while I grew up in little Cashmere, WA and I certainly haven’t been forgotten since I have left. I can only wish the desperately poor, but so gracious and hospitable, Guatemalans I had the honor of sharing a small window of my life with weren’t so forgotten. Since leaving Durango a week ago, something inside of me has undoubtedly changed. I’m not sure what it is yet… I may never know, but I feel different.

On Tuesday I put Durango behind me. I am so appreciative of all that Mike, Nancy, Tad and Evan did for me this spring. They welcomed me into their home, treated me like family, and gave me an unprecedented opportunity to focus and reflect on this whole bike racing thing and my future. Regardless, upon leaving on Tuesday, I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I pointed the Subaru which has become my permanent address, west toward the ocean again.

That day I drove through what I thought must be the most forgotten place in the country. Last Tuesday, I couldn’t imagine anything more desolate and lost than the Navajo reservation…

no trees or greenery for as far as I could see, broken bottles, barbwire and singlewide trailer parks in dirt lots. Every 40 miles a grade school modeled after the Walla Walla Federal Penitentiary would rise on the horizon. Today that the gross expanse of the 89 highway through Northeastern Arizona, with it’s mini-vans and trash removal services, seems like a land of opulence. I figure most people have at least heard of what I thought was the most “Forgotten Reservation”.

But 3 days of looking out the hotel window at flea bitten dogs, tin shacks, trash fires and skinny begging children can changes one’s perspective. But, there sure were a lot more smiles on the shores of that neon green lake than in any airport McDonalds I have ever been to.

Which makes me ask what my desperately poor Guatemalan acquaintances have that all the anti-depressant junkies back home don’t have. It’s not the ‘perspective’ I traditionally account for, because I get the feeling that the most luxury (by our standards) many of those smiling Guatemalans have ever seen is the back of a rundown Toyota pickup to sleep in and two solid meals a day. I saw one school during my trip, on our way to the airport this morning, and appeared far too expensive for any of the children working over the hot, smoky skillets of fried fish I saw while walking through the street market yesterday after our races. I don’t know what I can do for those people right now in my life… maybe just smile back, and exploit all these opportunities that keep coming my way… it would be a disservice to all those who will never have the inconceivable fortune I have been granted.

For all they may lack down there, the bike racing sure proved to be spectacular! Albeit the racing was held on the outskirts of a huge city… the only place I have seen such a huge positive spectator presence is in Europe. People, dirt poor and obscenely rich, came out and cheered for their Guatemalan compatriots, but cheered almost as hard for all of us gringos.

Thumbs were up and horns were honking while I warmed up on the local roads, and even the security guards found time to shoulder their shotguns long enough to clap as we raced past. The course was fast... way fast, and dry too. Turns out even the Jungle dries out during a 4 month drought. It was completely non-technical… and after a pseudo-false start, things just turned into a drag race. I grabbed the hole-hot (which never happens), and then tried to control the lead group. Turns out South-Americans are scrappy and just attack on lap 1. So that’s how things played out. We all just rode on the rivet and held on as long as we could. It’s a tough way to race… just out in no-mans land red-lining it for 1:40, but alright. I ended up crossing the line in 7th… a couple spots off Rob Squire who ended up 3rd, and Russel Finsterwald was behind me in 9th. So all the American U23’s came in the top 10, which made Gulli (Marc Gullickson) pretty happy. Todd Wells won the Elite Men’s race, and Willow, Mary and Heather swept the Elite Women’s Podium. Team USA did work.

After the racing action we turned into celebrities for a few hours… everyone and their brother wanted to get photos with one or all of us, and people were asking to swap jerseys and sign autographs. I can’t wait to see how many facebook friend requests I have… It was so cool to be part of such a close group, and be part of something that was so positive for cycling down in Guatemala and central/south America at large. We all come from different teams and routines back home and in Europe, but this group really came together as a team for the weekend and I was honored to be part of it.

So now its back to the real world (or my semblance of it) arrive in Santa Barbara around midnight… hang out, ride, hang out some more J I’ll pick my dad up tomorrow and head up to Sea Otter… then home for a week, and Europe for a month. Perfect.

I wonder if I have Mafia clothing I can rock this weekend in the Sea Otter? Hope so, and thanks for all the support from our sponsors (Felt, GU, PBR, Shimano…) and friends and family. Couldn’t do this without you all.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bonelli, Fontucky and the census

So I got a text message from my dad a couple days ago asking who was going to count me in the census. WTF? I guess I had just don't really have a home right now... save my subaru. I think I could get pretty used to living in Southern Cal though. Its a rough lifestyle... wake up, coffee, food, facebook and then maybe mitch talks me into a doughnut run. Then its on the bike... maybe followed up with a beach session, shower, nap and then maybe another dinnertime beach picnic. Or dinner then the beach at sunset. And it doesn't start snowing on you unexpectedly down there. Which is pretty stellar.
I'm a little bitter... I got back to Durango on Monday after 2 weeks of what I described above... it rivals for two of the best weeks of my life. It was totally surreal. I still can't believe it happened. I might dream about it tonight actually. Side note, being able to choose what I dream about would be pretty sweet... although I am not sure it could rival my life.
After spending the first few days in San Clemente with Lydia, we moved to Tad's hotel floor at Bonelli park. This was the first big race of the season, and things went better than I could have hoped. I was on the rivet the whole weekend, and raced into the top 20 both the XC and short track. Both races I got into good fast groups and we all just battled the whole time. These kinds of races are always the most fun. I hate getting lost in no-mans-land and pedaling away by myself. Anyways, I was pumped to open the season riding well... Tad suffered, Mitch killed it and then woke up after the XC with pneumonia. We drove to Santa Barbara after the racing action and Care Bear had to take Mitch to the ER at 10pm because he could hardly stand without loosing his breath. He just hurt.
So the rest of the week, I just hung out with Joey, Colin and a bunch of Colorado college kids... Like drunk Matt Beaton, DMB, and Kay Sherwood. It was surreal. Riding in the sun, swimming in the ocean, eating mexican food, grilling and drinking wine. It was a rough week for sure. Super cool to hang out with Joey (our old National Team mechanic) outside of racing. He and Sandhya, his girlfriend, are just such incredible people. So yea tough week... then down to San Clemente to hang out with another incredible person, Lydia, again. This was just Mitch, Colin and I, because all the other geeks we were hanging out with had to go back to school.
So Lydia then proceeded to show us an incredible time again... picnics on the beach... classy dinners with some family and friends, sweet bike rides, and Colin got to hang out with her roommates Chiwawa... who absolutely loved him. They were quite the couple.
Then to Fontana, CA... my all time favorite place. I get so sketched out every time I go down there. I don't know why, maybe I just don't do well in cities, but I get all nervous about stuff. The XC went mediocre... I started slowly because I thought it was going to be a hot sufferfest, and rode in about 30th for a while... then I missed my feed and slowed down even more, now I was racing at about 85% and just never really brought it back for the next 2 laps. On the final lap I was able to open things up, but I had already lost so much time on the people in front of me, things weren't going to come back. Travis Livermon and I battled some and he beat me to the line in a sprint. Ended up 25th and not super pumped. ST went similarly. I just was too cautious off the start and then proceeded to get stuck with people I should have been in front of. Moving out of groups was impossible because it was such a fast course nothing broke up and I finished in yes, 25th again. Piss.
So now I hang out in Durango... figure out how to drop out of school next spring again (although this time I gotta go to socal and talk Lydia and Mitch into being my roomies), and get ready to drive back out to Santa Barbara next tuesday. I take off for Guatemala on Thursday for Pan American Championships which will be baller. I got named to the team while I was in SB, and I am just super pumped. I need to figure out how to inflate a tire before I can go though. Oh and I got my new Felt Six LTD... which is a stupid sweet hard tail and it just absolutely rips. I love it. Its light and fast, kinda like the Rudy Project glasses I got too. They are deluxe and make me look really insect like. With the moustache I was rocking the past three weeks I looked gross... really petaphilic actually. Damn it was fun to hang out with Lydia, Joey and Mitch. I am surrounded by a lot of good people right now. Thanks to all of you.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Um I think I just decided that I'm gonna have to find some somewhere to live where there is some sort of beach/bike fusion and lots of warm weather... Like a beach-side shack in Baja or something with endless dirt roads and cow trails and a taco stand about 2 miles from me. Oh and maybe some other modern comforts like the printing press, interweb and TV, oh oh oh and an endless supply of good coffee... but yea other than that I think I would be good.

So I left Durango tuesday with Mitch Hoke and we proceeded to drive though a full on blinding snow storm in AZ. We spend a good two hours asking how this could happen is a state so well known for overly tan old people. Who would have guessed... the doughnut I had that morning kept a smile on my face though as we drove at 20 mph behind police escorted snowplows. Thats the sweet part about traveling with a clown like mitch... he keeps me humble. The kid is so talented and realizes how sweet this lifestyle is, so he makes sure to have fun and loosen up. Tight wads suck. We ate some fruit while chatting with the California border inspector too. I convinced him the two apples we were eating were the only fruit I had in the car... but those oranges in my jacket were probably from california anyways right? God I am a rebel... Getting pumped on bringing citrus into california. Shortly thereafter we pulled off the freeway and rode our bikes on some dirt road that ran back into the freeway... we decided to do some overland riding and ended up just getting cactus in our shins, and these ones were deluxe with the barbs on the ends of the spines... made for some creative language when we pulled them out. We ended our little 12 hr drive by nearly running out of gas in the Navajo desert and then getting lost in the nuttiest little village I have ever seen. It was perched up in the mountains just east of LA, and it was straight out of Disneyland. Crestline, CA. All the roads looped back on themselves and nothing made sense. It was silly. We were trying to find Trevor Downings house with Mitch's Garmin, and we just kept looping around into weird little side streets precariously perched on the near vertical hillsides (this debacle caused some emotional scarring and really ruined a healthy relationship between Mitch and his GPS). And the whole town of about 8,000 people just lives literally at the top of this peak with homes and roads cut into the hillside. We ended up calling trevor for his service as an escort (no not that kind). Just really an exhausting trip. I was shelled yesterday from it.

We ripped a couple laps on the Bonelli race course yesterday before coming down which was good. Its pretty low key, not so technical, pretty short punch climbs and really just short and fast. It will be a good time undoubtedly. I am looking forward to getting this racing thing going for real! Legs were a little tired, but I have been training a lot (some epic 6 hr rides in the rain back in Durnago) and so really I am just hoping to recoup over the next couple weeks and then rip it hard in Fontucky. I think most importantly was that once we got done there we drove down to San Clemente (where I am right now) and met up with Lydia. She is pumped to see familiar faces and its so good to see her too. Went for another beautiful, green ride with her, and then wrecked a really good burrito and some chips. She took us to some dive-ey mexican place, so it had to be good, and they really came through. I know it was good because all this morning by stomach was still pretty pissed off about the whole thing. Sweet!
So today Mitch and I just lounged and took some bad photos of us in all the free shwag that LT gets from her internship at Bike Mag and then cruised down to the beach. She is three block away and it was just brilliant. Oh my god. I can't get over it. I won't describe the euphoria because it wont to it any good. Then bike ride, which is weird 'round here cause one moment its riding though grassy hillsides and literally no less than two minutes later it's strip malls and over stuccoed homes, which ended with a picture perfect setting on top of a cliff overlooking the beach and ocean. Hmmm what was that about taco's and the ocean and liking the biking thing? Tomorrow its back up to the venue to start getting my head back on straight... today was too good to be true.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Neon Jesus

So its gotten kinda crazy down here in D-town. Tad got home Sunday, after about a month on the road. He was killing it though. He led the U23 World Championship pursuit race for a while, then went to a World Cup and then to Aspen for the Owl Creek chase, which he won! He has things on lock down right now. Oh and the a Khazak who got 5th today in the Olympics nordic sprint, was someone who he was beating at Worlds. So pretty much Tad is faster than the 5th fastest Olympic sprinter... Not really, but we were laughing about it today. Norgay worlds were actually just outside of Kirchzarten, Germany where we spent last summer and will return to this summer. He took some people to our favorite coffee shop while they were in town! I wonder if he went and hit up the truffle shop across the street though... probably not, nordic skiers are crazy and don't eat anything but egg smoothies and raw hamburger.... oh and salad.

Speaking of coffee shops, I got a job at Durango coffee here in town. I am pretty pumped on it... until it starts infringing on my bike riding and nap time. So far its been good. I just got done training, and am thinking that having some people other than the clown show of Tad and Evan to hang out with will be good. And speaking of good, Ryan and I went out on the town last week and ate some super delicious bad mexican food and had a couple Tecate's at this place called Gaspacho's. Its dialed. Like $1.50 tacos and $1.50 beer. And they don't really care who comes in, so I get to giver' without feel awkward and lying about my age. The food was just super greasy and tender and just rad. Pretty close to taco wagon style, so it was a little piece of heaven. I never found good mexican food in Bozone, and would consider it a passion of mine, so I am stoked on the Southwest. Bozeman is too cold for people who come from the desert... actually its too cold for anyone really.

Went down to Tucson this weekend, for 24hrs of Old Pueblo. Ryan and I had a four man singlespeed team with Joey Ernst (our National Team mechanic) and another guy named Jim from Colorado Springs. It was one of the best trips I have had in a long time. There was some friendly rivalry between us and another team who was composed of friends of Joey, Ryan and Jim. Everyone but me were singlespeed nuts, so I just got made fun of a lot for looking like captain america and shaving my legs most of the weekend. I had my Specialized Epic (haven't got my new Mafia Felt yet!!), and apparently having dual suspension is super gay for singlespeeds, and I had everything jerry-riged. Stuff was breaking, I stripped out a crank bolt, had to steal one from Tad before I left, and my bike was just sketchy. That just fired up the jokes even more. Joey was there though, so everything got sorted out. He's pretty much a genius. Side note: Right now as I write this Tad and Evan are fighting because they don't agree what boxer briefs are most comfortable or stylish... anyways, Joey got stuff dialed and I got out riding friday evening. It was absolutely incredible!!! I felt good, and riding a singlespeed is another world. Its just a totally different type of riding... I had to look for different lines to be more smooth, and prevent my chain from bouncing off, carrying speed, and just oh man it was sweet. I need one at some point. So I sucked ass in the run off the line to start the race so I was angry, and then hit some cactus so I started raging and rode sketchy and then lost my chain some, then wrecked some... I just didn't have my game face on. Riding at night got sweet though cause the course was twisty and tight riding at night past cactus that looked like all sorts of stuff. It was unreal... I don't know what I am trying to describe it, its not gonna do it justice. I rode again sunday morning, was pretty shelled, but I think it was my best lap cause I was too tired to ride like a sketch bomb. Oh also... middle of the night on my second night lap I straight body checked a prickly pear cactus. I lost my line and just hugged it. I was too tired to care at the time, but I spend some time cleaning out my jacket, shoulder, arm and leg when I got done racing. The best part of the weekend was probably eating some more really good bad mexican food on the way home though. We hit up some place that had the drive-thru window go though a trailer park... it was sketchy and so by definition it had to be good. It was a cool drive home cause we were both shelled but not really sleepy so we had some goofy and bizarre conversations, and the stars were incredible! I really enjoyed the weekend... I needed it more than I realized. Ryan needed it to. He's a pretty incredible friend, and I was stoked to get to do something like this with him. Got to see Grandpa and Judy and Craig while I was down there, we went out to dinner Friday night and it was great to see them... I am such a vagabond all year long, and so busy that I hadn't seen any of them in a long time. Family is important and I feel guilty about seeing everyone on such a sporadic time frame. I feel bad it was such a short visit though.

Also, another best part of the trip... we were driving through Aztec, NM at 5 am Friday morning on our way there and drove past a neon sign that looked like it belonged on a strip club... it said "jesus saves" cross word style. In the shape of a cross. Take it for what you will... I think it says something about the world we live in right now. I got a picture.

So its sweet to have Tad back in town... stuff is more entertaining now that Evan has someone to fight with. They constantly are arguing or jostling about something. Snide comments are everywhere. But they never fight about anything important... just girls and Blackberries. It's cool. Watching twins is a riot. Their friend Irerlyn came over last night and the two of us just sat back at watched. Evan was constantly ripping on the "Fag" and "Homo" men figure skaters. Then Tad would chime in about what athletes they were and then Evan "That doesn't matter Tad, they are still gay"... Just hating. I was on the floor just struggling. Evan just slammed down 4 Natty Ices and is gonna go out and party... Wednesdays are good for that right? Bed time for me though.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Alright, so this whole thing didn't exactly work out as planned last year. I kinda got overwhelmed with all the other things I didn't really have to do, and this blog got neglected. This time though... I swear its gonna be regularly updated...

So I am announcing that I will be racing for the Mafia/Felt/Pabst Pro MTB Team this coming season! I think this will be a great opportunity... There are a lot of great sponsors backing us this year including Felt Bikes, PBR (yes the beer), Rudy Project, Shimano and bunches of others! Eventually I will figure out who they all are and let people know what I think of the products (as if my opinion really matters).

Also, for those of you who don't know I am now living at Tad's house in Durango... manning out by myself cause Ethan Giver-more money just went home to backwoods VT. We dropped out of school together so we could get some sweet training in Durango and be fast and stuff this year. He made it a total of 9 days I think. Ha. Don't think I'm ridiculing him, cause he's still a close friend, and I'm fully in support of whatever he needs to do... I just think its funny. He's probably the sane one... we were sharing a harry potter room previously occupied by Paige Elliot (Tads sister, shes at Dartmouth, an Ivy League school)... and when I say that I don't mean its small... its just covered in had drawn sketches of Harry and Ron (unfortunately no Hermione) and some Vampire stuff from the Twilight series. One of the posters on my wall has a great quote about the hypnotic eyes of that vampire guy. I don't know his name... its just some serious adolescent girl stuff though. Poems and valentines everywhere. I've got a sweet single bed though! Ha! But in all seriousness, Tads family is rad and have been so hospitable. Nancy cooks some delicious food, and Mike only hassles me about how much I eat and how little I train a occasionally (hes a former Olympic norgay skier). Evan (Tads twin) keeps stuff pretty relaxed. Hes a character. The other day he was stuffing zilla-cat into the couch cushions to see if it would turtle itself on it's back. The thing sees some abuse, but it's only slightly more intelligent than the wall it likes staring at so I can only laugh.

Right now things are kinda slow but its good cause trying to train has been keeping me way too occupied. As Ethan and I were twenty minutes from town last monday, it started to snow, and didn't stop for 5 days. We got 36 inches or something stupid... I'm trying to be constantly optimistic, but even right now as I write this I hear someone outside snowblowing and nothing has fallen for 5-6 days. Silly. It takes a half hour just to bundle up for a ride. And I wear a rain jacket even when its sunny out cause most of time the streets have a 1/2 inch of standing water on them.

In all reality it might be good that Ethan is gone. I wont get harassed in my sleep anymore. On our way down we stayed with Mitch Peterson in SLC. The kid has two audi's, and is 23. Whoa! Talk about living the dream... anyways, I woke up in the middle of the night to Ethan whacking me in the head with his sleeping pad... I asked him what he was doing but he wouldn't respond and just kept hitting me. Apparently he shared my pillow for a bit too, although I don't remember that part. But I will miss sharing the experiences we had in just a few short days... like when snowballs were thrown at us by middle school bullies, and I wont have having anyone to give me a play by play of my face plants in the middle of main street.