Tuesday, February 3, 2015

But I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now

I once wrote (on this very blog..) that all I need to write is a bottle of cheap merlot and a Dylan album cranked up too loudly to produce this entertaining drivel that I appreciate so greatly that my close friends still read. I had all but forgotten about that magical combination over the years, I'm more of an IPA and NPR guy now. For whatever reasons I saw a reference to Dylan's "My Back Pages" tonight and it struck a chord and brought me back here.

I'm moving this month. Across the country yet again. The song lyrics that share the headline of this post are resonating so hard with me right now. Back when I used to update this regularly I had no qualms about picking up my life and blowing in the wind. Flagstaff happened on a whim, Denver happened on a whim and then I got stuck and grown up and lived in a house and had a dog and bills and responsibilities and someone wanted to pay me real money…

And then something magical happened. I met and fell in love with my best friend and we lived so hard and climbed and rode and skied more than I ever have in my entire life. And we traveled and cooked and lived my dream life for more than a while. And than she moved to Portland because she was accepted to medical school.

And then I remembered that life isn't that hard and if I want to move than I can just move, I don't want to short sell this… I worked my ass off to get a decent job but it didn't take too long and they hired me over the phone. Molly and I both hustled like mad to get out of leases and bills and commitments to forward our lives, but we did it. But here's the trick, having a house and a dog and objects larger than a backpack are no reason to stay somewhere. I don't know why I turned into such a stuck curmudgeon over the years in a city I really didn't' choose to live in happened but I'm back on the road.

So maybe I'll write here more now, maybe not, maybe no one reads this but at least it's here.

So cheers to wandering, and cheers to being younger than you previously were. I hope that you all will digress in age and responsibility with me (if only just a touch).

Sunday, May 25, 2014

I Live For Exposure

Not that kind of exposure… as much of a glory whore as I am I could care less about whether you know how rad I am or am not.

I love tall scary things. I feel like I wasted the last few years of my life in suburbia riding road bikes and being safe-ish. Racing local things and "shredding" front range trails. Waving as the past significant other passes me on her way to yoga as I finish riding at 8am with 45 year old men.

Let's run the metrics real quick. I have put less than 500 miles on my road bike this year, an equal amount of time on my mountain bike and worn out one rope. #America.

I literally forget how much I love climbing until I get my lead head about me on the sharp end. I can still climb a 5.9 all day long if I have a friend in town and they want to go climb but I'm not comfortable doing it. I just know that it's my baseline. Hanging off 2 fingers way up in the air and being comfortable enough to look around and say, "Yes, this is my life and I am happy," is a different monster. And being in that zone is sweeter than anything in the world.

MOAB teaches me that on a bike every damn year I visit there. I linked together the sweetest turns I have ever put together on the Whole Enchilada this year. Things I never would have turned my brain onto were automatic for some reason that morning. It might have been the beer at the halfway point. Going fast enough on a mountain bike to get tunnel vision and literally only hear your heartbeat and see what is in your immediate line is a special feeling. Couple it with a wicked trail and actually commit to the drops and you turn into a rockstar real fast in your own head.

Anyways, cheers to exposure. Big lines, overhangs and being scared.

Monday, May 12, 2014

It's Not About The Bike

Admitted. I am a bike snob.

Always have been and always will be, that doesn't mean that many of my fellow compatriots that don't buy a new bike every year aren't way faster than me.

Recently I sold my S-Works Tarmac. That 14lb wonder bike that made me giddy about having the Ferrari of machines. I sold it to "get back to my roots" and bought an Allez Expert Ultegra Bike. And by "get back to my roots" I really mean "pay rent for 3 months while I ride a bike 1 pound heavier. I sincerely miss my Tour De France winning machine, I am not slower on Strava because of it though. Apparently my muscles can't tell the difference between a ridiculously expensive plastic bike and an every man aluminum one. Both cool bikes I guess. And I live free for 3 months.

Joel Dyke posted this today and it made me happy. This was a photo of one of my first Dirty Kanza attempts (#2 I guess) but this was the best bike I have ever owned. Hands down. That's a Tricross Expert Aluminum frame with Ultegra 9 speed and Mavic open Pro rims laced to ultra hubs. Yes i owned my dream bike at 19 and yes it was amazing. I literally owned 2 road bikes at the same time I owned this and refused to ride anything else ever. I sold this machine for $750 and regret every second of it. 3 water bottle cage bosses, my fit, beautiful hand built wheels and more miles with my best friends than anyone can understand.

Moral of the story: Don't sell your friends. I regret selling my Tricross and X-Cal, sometimes you have to dance with the one who brought you. Wish I still had them around.

So cheers to lost loves.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Should I Write This

It's already been semi-written. The highlight reel and all, it just has yet to be put into a late night fueled diatribe about the last few weeks.

I've been up since 4 this morning (and yesterday for that matter) pouring over CX world's. Holy balls what an emotional roller coaster… did you see that gunfight between Nys and Stybar today? My first born daughter will also be named Marianne… or my wife, that chapter has yet to be written. Let's pray for the latter.

First off I would like to congratulate seƱor Bundy for passing the counsel of Bad Goat and joining the ranks as "prospect of quickness." I have received his hair, blood and sperm sample safely in the mail and as soon as I can find a proper pygmy goat to artificially inseminate and guarantee the quality of his bloodline than he shall be officially patched in. This might be pre-mature, but I wholeheartedly welcome you to the fastest club of debauchery in North America. Be ready to break hearts, bikes and yourself.

I honestly haven't slept that much since I raced my own nationals race. I have been angry, ecstatic, drunk, sad, more happy and more tipsy ever since. This is a weird time of year for me. This year has been even stranger. 10,5000 people watched me eat shit after I got the holeshot at nationals so that is kind of neat. I'm still mad about it, I spent the entire drive up to nationals talking to myself (as I tend to do if you have ever warmed up for a race with me). The only thing I could say is "don't fucking crash and you can hold down a top 10 at nationals in your own backyard, you don't get this opportunity very often." And what did I do? I went and Katie Compton'ed it. I got in my own head and took the holeshot and crashed hard, granted I had a slow leak in my front tubular and was probably running 15psi at the start but I should still be able to hold a line better than that.

Things happen I guess, I am still angry though. This season was a roller coaster. I took a top 50 at Vegas and a few top 10s locally early on. The week Amy died in October I also had a training partner of mine crash hard enough to warrant 61 days in a hospital room and facial reconstructive surgery, coupled with one of my mother's cousins being hit and killed while commuting in TX and the whole breakup thing. I had a hard time coming to terms with bike racing for awhile and quit training and racing for more than a month, it was a headspace thing. By the time that I realized that none of the aforementioned would have quit their passion due to circumstance and got back on my bike it was too late in the season. I figured my one redemption was the industry race at nat's. If I was good enough for Vegas than I should have been good enough on my home turf, I wasn't. I put in a huge training block leading up to nationals and still couldn't hold it together. Maybe one day I will find my form again.

Alright let's talk about nationals weekend. Waller drove over, the Patterson's drove down and Jeff and Kayla drove me around. We partied hard…er than most. I am always amazed at what professional CX racing does to me and my friends. It is obviously the most emotional weekend of my life every year, I invest myself into these athletes… effing Elle Anderson and Jeremy Powers, enough said.  Couple that with my best friends and we tend to party wayyyy too hard/fun together. I accosted the Twin Towers, Todd Wells, Tilford and literally everyone else in the cx industry and for that I don't apologize. Don't forget me, I'll be in your life for as long as you are in the CX domain.

And to that I want to offer a toast to those who don't read this so raise your glasses friends. To Richard Fries: I will take your job one day. To Colt McElwaine: I respect you immensely, I will stand on your head to take your job. Only to one day become Richard Fries because your career path has you on track for that job and I deserve it. To Jeremy Powers: Sack up and finish strong in Europe next year, you are the only man that can make me cry so you need to stop. To Elle Anderson: I'm single and I like your style.

And for those that read this, raise it up again: To Bundy for becoming a Goat, to the Goats for tearing up CX hats with me. To those of you who stood with me through the hard parts of the season and to those who will be on the start line with me next year (Pattersnap and Jeff)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

CX Nationals

What does everyone think about CX Nationals this year? I love Behind the Barriers TV but I am a staunch believer that I could do a much better job than Colt McElWhatsit. Does anyone else agree with me that he is bad at reviewing pedals (I've never seen TJ... or myself for that matter miss a clip on a 540) and can we also agree that Michelin makes the best tires for CX racing ever… that's not a debate right?

Every CX racer needs 2 sets of tires, a Jet and a Mud… and that's it. I've been doing this for 15 damn years and I have never needed more. If you can't corner in the dry on that supple, magical Michelin sidewall than I feel bad for you. They are beyond magical, better than most companies tubulars that I have ridden. I loveeeeeee Jets. I own every iteration of Jet ever made and they are better than your file tread tubular, as long as you don't weigh 200 lbs. I do harken back to a simpler time when Michelin made green rubber and I do believe that magical compound rolled faster than the current iteration of it's line, but I am a sucker for nostalgia.

Okay so let's talk about how I am going to make BTB this year? Tuxedo? Bear suit? Greenman Costume? Who knows. I really believe that Josh Patterson should just let me interview everyone for CX nationals, I will work for free… you know I have always been that excited about it.

Okay now let's talk about my nationals predictions (or the correct amount of my knowledge).

1: Powers: This is a no brainer. I would never slot anyone else
2: TJ: I've seen him beat Powers and it makes me sad every time but he has found his form this year… again. The man is a consummate pro, he might as well be Lance the way he can work a crowd professionally. I loved him on Saturn, I loved him on a Poprad but he will not take down Powers.
3: Page: Is he even coming to this race? If he does he will make the podium, not well though. Is everyone else excited for Powers to race in Belgium next year? It will make for better American fanfare.
4: This is my wild card slot: I have Driscoll here, only because I like Driscoll. He is my 2nd favorite bike rider behind Powers, Driscoll and Powers may as well be my college buddies who got fast. We all kind of look like them but never gained the dedication (mainly due to beer and pizza) to advance beyond the ranks of what we do. But in all reality I can see Summerhill right here if the course is dry, McDonald here if the course is sloppy or Berden here is there is no UCI drug checkpoint after the race (ouch).
5: Trebon: I'm giving him a slot. I don't like the man, mainly because I don't know him and he has never taken a minute to get to know me. This is his race to lose and I know it will be a head game over Powers, just like Boulder cup was. I am guessing he starts strong and makes a terrible mistake (a la 2007) to let the real riders win. He is great and can absolutely take me to school but personality makes a rock star. And you sir have none of it.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Necessity For Ruins Subtitled I-70 West

The Necessity for Ruins

Subtitled: 1-70 West

There is something substantial about roaring into the state of Kansas in a rear drive V-8 propelled American car. Watching the landscape change from the vast mountain scape, into the plains, into the rolling Flint hills and finally into the lush forests of eastern Kansas is one of my favorite parts about returning to the place I grew up in.

There’s a special place in my heart that I hold for the thick, heavy Kansas air. The smell of dogwoods and whatever they clean the floor of Free State Brewing Company with. There’s a special place in my heart for the same roads and shortcuts I drove on and rode through growing up. And there’s a special place in my heart for conversations of past that echo through the walls of my favorite restaurants and taprooms, conversations that happened years ago but, with the right people, could spark again in seconds.

Here’s the thing though. I hold it closer to my heart when I point whatever it is that I happen to be driving to the west on I-70 and here’s the secret as to why: the cardinal direction of west represents freedom for me. And everyone that I count myself lucky enough to share the fond memories and bar stools with on the eastern plains has, indeed, driven west on I-70 with me towards some great adventure.

I started rocketing down that road before I even had a driver’s license. When I was 11 I spent a wonderful spring break with some phenomenal friends learning how to ski at Sol Vista. I had a wonderful ski instructor who had me believing that I could ski Mary Jane by the end of the week (and that we did… and it was comical). That was my first real taste of the mountains and I was hooked.

 I was lucky enough that I continued my yearly pilgrimage for years to come. The following year I was packed up with friends heading to Boy Scout summer camp. The year after I spent two weeks backpacking with the same young men through some pristine Colorado high country. The summer after we indeed plowed through Kansas again, this time on a train. We headed into New Mexico (by way of Colorado) for a 3 week backpacking trip in New Mexico. Those were highlights of my life, the train that left from Lawrence to New Mexico was almost 14 hours late. I made more memories staying up all night in Lawrence, KS during that 14 hour Amtrak delay than most 15 year old kids make in a year.

 I literally have no idea what happened to any of those young men that I spent so many nights under the stars with. I hope they are well and look back at our journeys with the same reverence that I gleaned from the mountains and their friendship.

I returned to the mountains regularly for the next few years, mainly to ski Winter Park and Mary Jane.  I took more than a few flames across the state only to watch them suffer wobbly kneed down bunny slopes while the back bowls called my name. I ended relationships because of those back bowls, and in the end their calling still has a firmer grasp on me than they ever did.

I had a close family friend buy a hotel in Grand County and I went to work for them for a brief stint. The pickup truck I owned was so unreliable that if I turned it off at a gas station I worried that it wouldn’t start, so I rarely turned her off.  That was a short lived and tumultuous month. I’m happy it didn’t turn out, Grand County turned out to be the girl I fell in love with in Junior High School that I knew it would never truly work out with but I couldn’t get over for some inexplicable reason. Yes Sol Vista taught me how to carve moguls and Winter Park taught me about long runs, and Mary Jane taught me that she could buck me off at a minutes notice and if I weren’t ready than another man would be. But the last summer I spent in Grand County was indeed a lesson to be learned in life, love and ability.

I swore off Colorado for a brief stint. Cursing its very existence and heartbreak. And then it happened my first senior year of college. Once again I rocketed across Kansas. This time with my absolute friends, the people that today I call my friends and count on and rely on and hopefully them me. In some ridiculously large SUV packed to the gills with friends and dogs and skis we pointed west towards Frisco and I discovered Breckenridge in all its beauty. And it skied better than anything else in the world, and its peaks were more majestic than the Indian Peaks surrounding the Grand County wilderness, and my friends were happier. And we drank more wine and we cooked better food and we danced more merrily and we expressed ourselves freely in a state and on a vacation with no limitations. And in that instant I fell back in love with a place that I had just cursed so wholeheartedly months ago.

And that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Those who know me know that I spent some time in the desert. I spent that time with a close friend who had made the I-70 journey with me before a time or two. Our resounding opinion was that everyone we wholeheartedly cared about would end up on the front range by the time we were 30, young enough to raise our families together in the correct setting. I’m only 27 now and I’ve already seen the migration begin. But to those individuals who have chosen to share their life with me and myself with them, we’re here and it’s good.

Oh yeah, I wanted to share real art too… it's at the top. I saw this piece in January of 2011 at the Denver Art Museum. It is literally the only art piece ever that has stuck out in my head that I would buy if I had all of the money in the world. And that is because it reminds me of I-70 west.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Our Own Personal Rapha Continental

I got up way too early this morning listening to the jackhammers tearing up my parking lot and watching the dog run around like a crazed beast barking at them for making too much noise. I'm not riding with the team guys for another hour so I've been sitting here in a post morning dog run but still pre-caffeinated (completely) watching the Rapha Continental Videos on my AppleTV.

I was thinking to myself that these guys are essentially making a living capturing a type of memory that most of us have from seeing the world a top a bicycle. I'm jealous from that standpoint but it got me thinking about what my Rapha Video would contain and came up with a short highlight list in my head, there's dozens more I'm sure but these always stick out.

- Jumping head first off the Clinton Lake dock during KU Friday fun Rides
- Relaxing in the campus fountain post the aforementioned rides
- Pushing through peanut butter mud attempting to cross some old farm bridge on the first Bundy Hundy
- Cresting Texaco Hill during every single Dirty Kanza attempt
- The first time riding down the switchbacks of Lookout Mountain
- Seeing 50mph for the first time on an unmarked 4wheeler trail aboard my first 29er high above Hot Sulphur Springs with a dense pine forest to one side and a sheer drop on the other
- Stopping at Oskar Blues mid epic out in Lyons for some views and brews

Alright, time to start airing up the tires to go make some more memories.