Thursday, May 6, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
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
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
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
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.