Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best Year Ever

2009 was quite possibly the very best year for me so far in this journey of my so called “adulthood”, so I thought it deserved a little recap on the blog. I started to do a month-by-month write up but decided nobody needed to be that overloaded with my thoughts. So I made a top 20 list instead. Since most of you readers accompanied me on these journeys just feel free to add “with the greatest people in the world” to the end of your journeys.

1. Went on one of the most epic ski journeys
2. Bad Goat Racing is born.
3. Did my first running race
4. Arkansas trip #1. Oauchita style
5. Hobo’d my brains out by the river
6. Did my first duathalon
7. Arkansas trip #2. Dirty Climbin’ style
- MO trip #1 dirty float trip style
8. Dirty Kanza attempt #3
9. Became a barista
10. Became a bike shop wrench
11. Did a metric crap ton of fishing
12. “Won” the Sunflower State Games sport xc race
13. Bought a motorcycle
14. Started running excessively
15. Placed 4th at RIM (Highest finish in an endurance event)
16. MO trip #2, dirty Osceola craggin’ style
17. AR trip #3 Sam’s Throne, Cave Creek climbin’ style
18. AR trip #4 Horseshoe Canyon style
19. AR trip #5 HCR Fall Break epic
20. Eh, cyclocross

That would be a total of 8 successful adventuring trips, holy ballstastic. This list doesn’t even begin to account for half of the reasons why this year was so great but at least it’s a start. Adding in all of the nights out on the town, Pattersnap parties, graduation weekend, time spent on the bike or at the rock wall would probably put this entry out of the realm of readability. But I think there is definitely one last thing worth mentioning, none of these whimsical epics would have been even a fraction as much fun as they were without having some of the “greatest people in the world” in my friend group. Yeah that was kinda sentimental, eff off you hoboin’ dirtbags (that should even out the emotions scale). I think the readership would agree on that point seeing as a large chunk of us (or those still left) will be spending yet another New Years together tonight, I’m pretty sure that makes three in a row and I’m pretty sure each of those years has continually seen more adventuring than the last.

Y’all adventurin’ dirtbags make these epics epic and worth reading about so here’s to you and let’s get 2010 epictastically and officically opened with some gnar sendage, huckage, general Bad Goatin’.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Boss to the Cross Numero 4

Boss Cross wrapped up last Sunday. Jeremy Haynes and Joe Fox showed once again that they put on a pretty rad race. I ponied up my monies to line up with the 3/4 racers for what will be my last race until the sun starts shining and I get to race real knobbies on real dirt. I pretty much just spent the entire race bobbin' around in the back of the race trying to save my energy for the epic 3 hour course tare down that Josh Stamper and Zach Dubas undertook. Early on in the first few laps I battled it out with 3 other dudes but by lap three I just kinda gave into my own head and refused to ride at anything even remotely close to an anaerobic threshold. Racing is hard and I don't have the fitness or mind for it right now, maybe some other time in the future... the course was a lot of fun just to tool around on regardless.

On the plus side the Goats have a bunch of course materials to put on their own rad race this weekend! Reports to follow.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


So, umm, erhm... I raced a cross bike on Saturday night at the Heartland Park cx race in Topeka.

This was to be the 4th bike ride for me (outside of the 1/2 mile jaunt to campus) since Rapture took place in August. It was also my first cat 4 race since I was a wee 14 year old lad. Two days before this race I dressed out both cross bikes in full race gear and took them for a spin to practice some cross action.

So let's sum it all up real quick: no training + no cx bike comfort time + practicing my first dismount in over 10 mths the days before the race = excellence!

I rode through a 30 minute hellstorm of a race like a pot-bellied 50 year old cat 4 racer (or a bull in a china shop, take your pick.) Things sure are different in the cat 4 races than I remember.

My first thought of the race was "Why is nobody going? This isn't how races start!" So I went hard from the back row and ended up just kinda sitting in the top 5. Sucking wheel and blowing through dirt. Until we had to turn... It was at the moment that I crashed through the tape for the first time that I remembered why bike handling skills were so important for cross racing.

From then on I just spent my time drilling the pace on the flats and climbs, running past everyone on the barriers and through the corners. Oh yeah, and in between all of that I plowed through the tape a few times, drifted sideways more than a fast & furious remake and dabbed enough to make the most beginner mt. bike racer feel like an ace. Lesson learned.

So here's to cross season, I let this surly woman slip through my fingers farther this year than I have for a long, long time. But rest assured she devil bike race, I will be back (sometime in the distant future).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall Break!

So Horseshoe Canyon Ranch proved too difficult to stay away from and less than 20 minutes after I had finished my last midterm I found myself in an Element headed back to Arkansas. HCR played host to a gaggle of KURC members as well as most every non-southern/Cali climber in the US this weekend... suffice it to say that things got raged.

My car was the first to pull into the canyon and we had strict instruction to find the only campsite that was allowed to be reserved for the weekend. Why was it the only campsite that needed reservation you ask? Well apparently the club officers called ahead and had a conversation which I imagine going like this...

KURC: Hi this is (blank) from KURC we're bringing 25ish kids down for fall break.
HCR: Oh no!
KURC: And if you don't recall from our past trips we rage rather hard and were wondering if there was anything you can do to keep us from interfering with the normals for the weekend.
HCR: Well we don't really reserve campsites but seeing as we would like most of our guests to return and you are paying us a ton of money I guess we will open a special campsite way the eff across the canyon for ya.
KURC: Deal, we'll send Slater down first so he can have that awkward conversation with ranch management about why we specifically need that site.

So Wednesday night a fire was built and things got rowdy, let's skip to the climbing.

Thursday: I quickly split off into an anti-social group of kids who were ready to send instead of sit. We went straight to the north 40 and started playing hard on the rocks. I sent five .10s and one .9 in a day. So overall the day was an overwhelming success for a middle of the road climber like myself.

Friday: Apparently everyone got too raucous the night before so when we showed up to Magoo rock there was a giant lack of quickdraws. Seeing as I felt reasonably fine I tried to plunder enough gear to set up a route for some kids right quick and the first send of the morning happened on some awkward 10b overhang. As soon as I came down Carol whispered to me "Pres says there are draws in the club box, grab that rope and let's move." So I grabbed and move we did.
The view from Insanity's belay station.

One quick trip back to camp and I had a rather over-zealous sport rack hung off my harness and a 10.1 rope on my back. We headed straight to the Cliffs of Insanity where we continued to hang huge .8-.9 routes for the next few hours with machine like swiftness. Eventually we went looking for something more suitable for our climbing range and found the rest of the club hanging out at the Roman Wall. The majority were standing in lines waiting to flail on the top-roped .11 that I got shut down on during my last visit. So I decided to roll the dice and sack up on the only open route. Which happened to be a 85 foot .11d that I got shut down on 2 bolts from the top. Sad days for me but Crusher Paul bailed me out and rescued my draws while officially showing my climbing status up.

Saturday: Everyone slept in and I headed out with the "Ol' Boys" to see what it was like to climb with the kids who climb harder than me. Which actually translates into: I watched some more experienced climbers stand around and postulate which trad cracks they wanted to plug until someone else showed up with quickdraws and I could bail from that party and go actually climb. We headed straight over to the Prophecy wall and I immediately sent some kinda .10 that no one could second for a good 3 hours, which felt pretty good. After that I bounced back and forth between the trad cracks and the sport climbing trying not to get tied up in the wicked long lines of climbers, which I successfully did.

I got to end my day wandering around with Rowdy looking for something new. Our fellow German climbing associate commented that he would like to attempt to climb this nasty looking overhang that he didn't know if he could finish but was positive one of us could if gear needed to be retrieved. Neither myself nor Jared wanted the beta so after Julain got shut down we hopped on and attempted to send this wicked piece of overhanging slab for way longer than necessary. Unfortunately the route ended up being a .12c and I don't personally know anyone who can climb that hard, so the gear was retrieved by a nice topout on a .10a followed by a quick alpine traverse and rapp by my fellow flailer. It's rare to see us KURC kids flail but when we do it's a hoot.
About to clip the second bolt, which is where KURC got resoundingly shut down for the weekend.

Sunday: Saturday evening the club played a game called "finish whatever you brought." Which meant the majority of the kids were not ready to send hard after a long night of fireworks and tribal dancing next to a bonfire but for some unfortunate reason I was well rested and ready to go as soon as I got camp packed up. My overall goal for the weekend was a lead on Crimp Scampi. Scampi is a classic .10D that I had top-roped in prep for the Sunday session but still had a bad feeling that it was going to hurt bad. Unlike a lot of other routes at HCR this .10D actually earned it's rating and next to every move on it was actually sustained hard climbing, it definitely did not give its bolts away. Needless to say I took my first few lead whips of the weekend on this beast and it sent me flying more than a few nerve racking feet once or twice. I eventually nailed it but I can definitely say that I learned what my limits are on that route. It was seconded by Taylor who was my partner for the day who flailed just a titch less than me, but I like to think it's only because he got my beta.

So here's to my weekend home of the other Kansas, climber kids, untz and ragin' it next to a bonfire.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch

Arkansas trip #4 in the past 6 months, gotta say it feels damn good to be getting as mobile as I have been as often as I have been as of late.

Thursday night: We were way short and my status of the kid who bums rides at all times possible got destroyed. The Slatermobile had to be loaded up and head south for it's first big trip since I took ownership.

Friday: Since I got to be in charge of my own transport so we burned out of town a good 6 hours before the big caravan left. Which meant we got to HCR in time to get our evening climb on. All three of us minivaners got 3 very legit, very clean, very confidence building 5.8ish warm up leads on the North 40 before the sun started to fade on us. After we got back to camp we had more than enough time to build a gorgeous fire, eat dinner and indulge our thirst before the next wave of cars started to roll in.

Sat: We rolled out of camp before anyone else, not that we were more well rested or ready to send but we had a full sport rack and a rope so there was no need to wait for the circus that is the KURC to start tying up routes for 3 hours at a time when we could be crushing leads on our own.

Climb #1 for the day was a very runout Orange Crush (when I said full sport rack I might have been lying a bit). OC is one of the classic .9s at HCR and the biggest lead I have tagged yet (90ish feet at the bolts). After that we wandered through the far east side of the valley to grab 2 more .10 leads on Emotional Content and an awkward arete before heading to the Roman wall. The Roman wall was super exposed compared to the rest of the valley and consisted of some very hard slab that ended in some gorgeous overhangs. I immediately jumped on an .11d and got shut down by the third bolt which was super disheartening for me but I just have not had positive feelings for the crux kinda moves the AR slab has been sending my way lately. More likely my draw hanging confidence is not on par with my skill set yet and my confidence of screaming "take" on a rope just isn't there until I'm a good 40 feet up. It was my first dirty send of the weekend and I was pretty humbled coming off of it. After that I grabbed on more .9 lead and headed back to camp.

Sat Night: Ozark Cafe was descended upon by the large group of dirty miscreants from KS. We snarfed and sang at "Jazzper Saturday"... because it's in Jasper. After camp was back in play there was a serious lack of ragin' party buzz compared to the last trip. The Rossi was destroyed around the fire and since the party was lacking a smallish group of us decided to take back to the woods for some night Bouldering. Now normally I'm not one to be up for night sports activities when there is a party to be raged but something in my bones was keeping me scary sober and ready to demolish some boulders, and that we did.

Sunday: Disheartening. I woke up to the sound of rain pitter-pattering against my rainfly and another climber who had decided to go tentless for the weekend in my abode (I'm very glad I decided to bust out my 4 man for the weekend in hindsight). Nobody wanted to try and wait out the weather to get some more climbing in and I didn't feel like making the hooligans in my van wait while I bouldered with locals. So we burned up and over and got home early enough for me to accomplish the same amount with my Sunday that I had originally planned to... absolutely nothing.

So here's to metric schnoz-tons of bolted rock, ragin' it hard, and gettin' the f out of KS.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Night Ruminations

The Evening: My upstairs neighbor currently has his musically talented friends over and they are absolutely having their way with their guitars, killing it on some classic rock. I just got in from a good long dark ride on the moto while trying to get my head in a proper spot and I currently have my feet up sipping a nice cool PBR, all in preparation for tomorrow.

Jump: Tomorrow I jump out of a plane. I'm in a whole new realm of surreal emotion regulation. I normally love the buzzing that starts going on in my body right before I do something that I wholeheartedly know most people think is batschnot crazy, but this is a whole new level of that. That feeling of adrenaline that most of us get right before the gun goes off at the start line, or when tying into a rope and looking 15 feet up at the first bolt has been completely on tap the last few days but multiplied by ten. I have been able to turn it on just by mentioning the word "skydive" and immediately send myself into a whole new level of adrenal rush. I don't think I have ever been this amped for anything in my life.

Bike: I finally got out on my Fisher with it's brand new Bontrager Rythym. This rear wheel makes it feel like a completely different bike, the frame is still super whippy but not even close to how sketchy it was with a blown freehub laced to a 355 that hadn't been tensioned in a few years.

I'm torn between missing the racing scene right now and not missing it at all. Knowing that there are racers lining up on a cross course every weekend and missing out on it has kind of been bugging me lately, I don't think I have done as little racing as I have done this season in a good 5 years. But at the same time I am pretty resolved to travel as much as I can and take care of all the "young & free" business while I spend my last year in the aforementioned category.

So here's to jumping from way up, wheels, and Zeppelin resonating through the halls of apt. building.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sam's Throne

So I burned out of town Friday afternoon to the great state of Arkansas with a girl in an Element, a dog, a German kid, 6 climbing helmets, 4 ropes, 2 sets of draws and a loaded Terraplane ready for whatever the dirty Arkansas backwoods had to throw at me. Lucky for me that dirty backwoods treated me more than kindly for my weekend and allowed me to rage it with 20+ members of the KU rock climbing club for a short weekend of very legit climbing.

Friday: Our caravan was in the first 2 cars to arrive at Sam's Throne. I quickly threw up my tent and then proceeded to play backwoods cabana boy with a few other member's shelters. Visibility was limited to about 10 feet in front of my face due to some intense fog so it was deemed completely unnecessary to attempt the venture down to the 80 foot bluffs past sunset. A few of the other kids ripped apart a text book to start a fire with all of the damp wood while I sorted gear for the next day. After gear was sorted and fire procured we took our respective spots around the ring and slowly watched the rest of the crew trickle in well past 3am. Well... the majority of the crew made sure everyone made it there alive, I might have fallen asleep on a crash pad next to the fire until it started to rain again.

Send it Kels'....err, umm, I mean Kase. Oh whatever your name is girl with a dog and an Element.

Saturday: Sendage! Up and out around 10:30. I made an attempt to take Kasey and her dog down the dog run on the other end of the throne. I figured it would be a cakewalk since the last time I was there I went searching for more bolts via the same run but I also kinda spaced the fact that I did all of my scouting via scrambling the bluff instead of the actual trail. Needless to say the trail no longer existed due to the ice-storms last year and overgrowth and some dogs are less adept than others at making successive 3 foot ledge leaps inches away from an overhanging cliff. So we put the dog back in the car after an hour of bushwhacking and made the hike down to meet the other climbers.

The majority of the routes had just been established by the club on white trash wall and kids were just lining up to try their hand top-roping the jug-haulin' fun. 5 routes were put up and they were all very fun 5.7-5.10 range depending on what moves you wanted to utilize. And when I say fun that's pretty much all I mean, the wall was at max 50 feet and I was pretty antsy the entire time knowing that we were less than 100 yards from 80 ft. overhanging problems. Regardless we never sent the bluffs but it was a great opportunity for all of the new climbers to play outside on real rock, and making sure everyone is falling in love with the outdoors almost makes me as happy as pushing my own limits in the same setting.

Saturday night: Ozark Cafe! The whole big crew headed down hwy 123 for some grub in Jasper and I finally got to partake in some Ozark Cafe food. They were celebrating their 100 year anniversary of being open in Jasper and the place was packed with locals, climbers and paddlers. Afterward I retreated for a nap while the gang had their ritual hazing campfire only to return a few hours later to a party that was absolutely intense. That's where I will end that story.

Getting my first lead at Cave Creek.

Sunday: Cave Creek was sent. CC is a different beast altogether from the throne, all the rock is freshly bolted as this area is by far the newest climbing area established in AR. None of the climbs are below a 5.9 and almost all are overhung or laidback flakes so a lot of the crew opted out for the day and just headed home. Which was quite beneficial for myself as I obtained even more than my fair share of leading, anchor building and cleaning experience. I still feel nervous doing all of these things but I'm a big believer in the "if it isn't scary than you aren't doing it right" philosophy.

So once again here's to the Dirty Arkansas Backwoods, climbers and sending it like a gnar brah.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

being busy isn't a problem when you are busy with life being amazing

That's the overall feeling toward my weekend. I am about as wore out as anyone could ever be but it is possibly the best feeling anyone could have being as worn out and overwhelmed as I am from the events that transpired this weekend.

Here's the run-down, still no picktchers and yes I have searched under my couch cushions for my camera charger.

Friday: Close down the coffee shop and book it to Banff. Kelsey and Adam Fink made the drive from OK to pretend like they were still Jayhawks and rage it with John Waller and I for the evening. I must say that I am always super stoked to have my friends who have moved away come back and visit.

If you don't know what Banff is than here is the short and sweet: there is a place in Alberta called Banff, these Kanuks like both mountain culture and skiing. So they took it upon themselves to create a film festival. Anyone who is anyone in the "stuff Slater is into" movie making genre then submits their movies to the Banff committee, they vote and take the good stuff on tour to Lawrence KS.

Saturday: I awoke on my futon covered in remotes controls to a buzzing phone call from Young Adam across the room. Breakfast was taken down at Wheatfields and jet-skis were soon mounted. This was probably the highlight of my weekend. The Fink's stand-up Jetskis allowed me to absolutely throttle my body and make some absolutely amazing 40mph bailouts skipping like a pebble for more than a few yards, while Waller's sit down ski allowed me to comfortably scare the bejeezus out of the brunette I was trying to impress for the day. Regardless I got sideways a lot, and it was rad.

Saturday evening: The Stamper's were sneaked into day number 2 of a sold-out Banff and I battled to stay awake after a day of roasting in the sun and using up all of my adrenaline. Afterward we hit up the Bocce Bar only to find out the Bocce court had been rented out to a private party... lame.

I feel like everyone had the same sentiment about Saturday evening. Which was: we had almost everyone together from the old crew (we were missing a Bundy and a Schroeder) but we could not rally to have the crazy times we did just a few years ago for the life of us. Maybe it's because we had ridden ourselves into the ground on some jetskis or that Allie and Josh had to drive 100 miles (and Kelsey and Adam 400ish) or that Pattersnap had just returned from S.C. on a plane, I don't really know what the defining factor was but all of those probably played a pretty big role in all of us calling it quits pretty durn early that evening.

Sunday: Slept in late and headed to the City Market with Mr. Waller. The plan was to meet up with the Stampers, Pattersnap and Jaime and the Apels for lunch at the Blue Nile for some of the most amazing food ever in the world and a glass of Delirium's Noctorum (not only some of the best Ethiopian food but the best Belgian beer ever tasted). The plan worked out except that everyone's favorite restaurant didn't have their Sunday liquor license, so we only got half of our favorite foodie experience in the Midwest. After lunch we headed down to Liberty Memorial and watched the professional bike racers duke it out in the final day of the Tour of Missouri. They went fast, it was pretty neat but I couldn't tell you anything other than that since I don't really follow pro racing.

After that circus was over Waller and I headed to the great Cycle City to meet some of the fastest Italians bike racers in the world. They signed a cool poster for me, so even though I can't remember their multi-million dollar names I will forever have their signature's adorning my walls.

So here's to Banff, Jetskis, professional bike racing and the friends who are into all of the above... cheers.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

Sooo my three day weekend is over and I spent it doing whatever the fragment that I wanted to, it worked out well. My camera charger has been missing for almost a month now so if anyone is wondering why my blog lacks pitchers of my own... this is why. Regardless I'm gonna tell you all about it anyway.

Friday: Pulled my normal closing shift at the coffee shop and went to meet Jaimie and Pattersnap at El Mez. It was endlessly delectable as always and I am never one to scoff at a chance to catch up with any of the posse. Stories were quickly exchanged, SSWC was bailed on and tequila was ingested in frozen form.

I was pretty resolved to call it quits after that for the night in order to prepare for the next day's trip but a quick call from the coffee shop crew for another gathering of margaritas proved to be too tempting. By the time I arrived "margaritas" had just become "tequila shots." On the plus side I have become rather adept in using the term "I think it's time for me to leave." On the negative side: that term normally only gets used after I have tripped over something large.

Saturday: Headed to Trapper's climbing area in Osceola, MO with the climbing club. The crew was rather large for the weekend and as soon as we hit the cliff area a juggy 5.7 was established. It was never said out loud but I'm guessing this was done to get the massive amounts of new climbers out of our hair for a few hours while waiting in line to send their first real outdoor rock. Regardless I had a lot of fun, I met an awesome crew of people. Some who had a plethora of outdoor experience and could easily trade war stories with me and some whose biggest outdoor adventure was on par with out 200 yard hike to the bolted rock we encountered that day; regardless they all seemed stoked to be there and seeing more kids out in the woods instead of playing video games makes me happy.

I sent a "legit 5.9," hangdogged an 11a and an 11d and overall had a great time. If anyone is wondering what those numbers mean, don't worry I do know what they mean and when all is said and done they are worthless. So take that sentence as "I climbed up some steep rocks."

Sat Eve: After a long day of climbing the same crew headed out to do some camping at a climber's family farm. All in all it was rad, met the rest of the kids who I was too busy to meet earlier in the day (gotta send while the sendin' is good). Sat by a fire and downed a bottle of Flying Pig Pinot Grigio out of the Slater Special Reserve cabinet. Promptly fell asleep in the back of the new Slater-mobile and slept for a solid 10 hours after pulling the newly patented "trip over a large obvious object and bid the gang goodnight" move.

Sunday: Had a cousin and her man visiting from CO so I made the trek to KC to procure a washing machine while my pops cooked up some of his competition worthy BBQ for us. Feasted on pulled pork, ribs and beans. Saw my extended family and heard more than a few stories I wish that I hadn't (my family seem rather lax with their story telling now that I am a full-fledged adult).

Monday: Also dubbed the "do whatever Slater wants to" day. I woke up around noon which is mind-blowing for my early rising self. Putted around the internet and got on with the real meat of the day. Fired up the motorbike and headed out to dog knows where. Ended up with around 3 hours and 112 miles on the beast. Laid out on the Perry Dam hill and watched the sail boats roll by, ripped around the dam race course and then headed out to explore some back-country roads.

So here's to Margaritas, limestone, bbq and v-twins.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Back to the Grind

The month of August was super-busy and super stressful for me so the blog has been completely neglected, lucky for anyone left still reading this thing Sept. - Dec. promises to be even more busy and stressful so get ready for chronic blog neglect.

Here's the short and sweet:

Rapture in Misery: Not only did I finish but I did relatively well. 4th according to the computer, somewhere around 4th according to common sense. I felt pretty good about this since I have never really had any warm weather August form. There isn't really any race report to go along with this but there is a rather neat story: My freehub finally blew on my Stan's wheelset (saw it coming) during my first lap, so I ran/jogged/coasted my bike back to the pit and switched rides. The neat part is I did my 4 remaining laps on the first race bike I ever built as a kid. I resurrected my 2000 Fuji Nevada frame the day before the race with a smattering of vintage LX, Spec and Bontrager house brand parts so that my little brother could ride it to class at JCCC. My plan was to cruise a lap with it just to "make sure" everything was working.

Well everything worked but I sure learned a few lessons:
1. I can't pilot 26" wheels anymore, I have better form on my Monocog riding home from Louise's after a barrage of Schooners.
2. I'm definitely not as flexible as I used to be. The frame is a 21" and I ran it with a 90mm stem, when I used it as my race bike it sported a 120mm stem. Ouch!
3. 1.9" tires make me focus too much on terrain. Things I am used to bombing on 2.4" Mt. Kings threw me over the bars on skinny little Karmas.

Wheels up!

The rest of the Goats rocked out as well but if you read this than you probably already hit up that account.

Marathons: I started training for one. Not gonna lie, it was pretty rad. I ran a lot. Short runs, hill intervals, long weekend runs. I was feeling pretty dedicated to the cause (I also blame this for the reason I showed any form at RIM). Unfortunately my planner only went through August and the marathon was in October... fall break for us KU kids. Which means I had to make the decision whether to go climbing at Horseshoe Canyon with the club or run the KC marathon. Weighing my options I quickly determined that a climbing road trip with friends to sweet natural rock covered in bolts lends itself more to my lifestyle choices than spending my 4 day vacation focusing on 4ish hours of excruciating pain. There goes 1.5 months of training down the drain.

School: Definitely not going to graduate in Decmber as planned. I learned a valuable lesson regarding my "wishing myself into awesomeness" attitude; it doesn't make me learn Spanish. So instead of graduating with a BA in December, I'm looking towards a BGS with a minor in something I kinda dig in May or a minor in something I actually dig in August. Regardless I will be in this god forsaken state a touch longer (although the idea of living in KC is starting to grow on me more and more everyday.)

Things to come:
SSWC09, I'm actually on the fence about this as of tonight. My monetary situation and common sense says don't do it but something deep down still wants to go for it. Gonna give it a few more days.

Jumping out of a plane: This should be happening pretty quick. I don't know if it's anything worth writing about but could be.

Climbing: Hitting more than a few crumbly MO crags in the next few months, might be writing about.

So that was pretty much August. I wouldn't expect too much from me in the future as I'm spending 12 hr days on campus most of the week and traveling on the weekends. But here's to attempting to keep up with the blog.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Steve McQueen, James Dean, Andrew Slater

The great transportation post. I think I have whined, postulated and soapboxed enough eluding to this that it now has to be written. I'll start it off with this statement (for all of those not privy): I am that guy who reads more into his own ride than anyone else ever will.

Problem: My vehicles are completely heinous and egregiously offensive to my perception of cool.

Solution: Motorcycle.

Problem solved, I bought myself a nice-ish Honda Shadow VLX. Faster than a C4 Vette and cheaper than my mountain bike. And damnit by all forms of justification I deserve this thing, no young 20 something who enjoys his toys this much should have to endure back to back ownership of a teal Hombre and a Grand Caravan without a little penance for my lack of cool.

James Dean meets socceer mom.

A funny thing dawned on me the day I brought this bike home though, the reason my truck went to hell is because I had NO desire to mess with it. The bike came home and the fouled spark plugs were immediately replaced, leaned out the gas and immediately started researching pipes, jet-kits and gearing. Holy crap, I understand vehicles again!

I have never owned a vehicle which I wasn't completely in love with (completely in love with, my totalled Camaro makes more appearances in my dreams than all of my pretty young exes combined) so like hell if I would ever let one of my girls suffer un-necessarily. And while I un-selfishly wasted many a teenage hour underneath my Camaro, big Jeep, little Jeep trio, the Hombre was left to wheeze, puff and suffer through her existence unless it was absolutely necessary that I get underneath her. If something broke I couldn't care less and she probably sufferered un-necessarily because of this. Lesson learned: never buy something I don't actually want, I will refuse to even acknowledge that I might be capable of fixing it and let it sit out of spite.

No self respecting man can go from these to a teal Hombre without a little hatred towards life in his heart.

Oh well, live and let live. I am now the owner of a broken down little truck, a kid/race team hauler and a quarter life crisis bike. But dangit I feel like I finally own some transportation that I can be proud to call mine again.

A final note: I know the majority of this made me sound incredibly shallow and ride centered, but it really isn't one of those things. If I was handed a Buick LeSabre tomorrow that handled like a Corvette and had 500hp or a Honda Ruckus that could rockcrawl and fling mud 30 feet in the air I would be ecstatic. But those things never will do that and part of life for me is keeping the adrenaline pumping, the corners pinned and the holeshot in the crosshairs. Alright so maybe there is a little shallowness to go along with this but damnit I'm still young and really do believe I enjoy/get more out of my toys more than most other people.

So here's to motorcycles, lost loves (think engines not ovaries) and the minivan/truck that caused this over-dramatic quarter life crisis of mine.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bad to the Mothereffin' Goat

The pain train pulled into Topeka today and somebody had painted the lumbering diesel engine black with a mean lookin' goat on the side.

The founding father's of BGR.

BGR's take for the weekend:
1,2,3, in Expert U29 by Waller, Stamper and Patterson
1 in Sport U29 by yours truly
Check out the badgoatblog for more race digs.

Now the Sunflower Games are pretty notorious for having a less than stacked field (and in my case it would be considered even less than whatever less than stacked is) but regardless I will take a win any way I come across it.

I can't hate too hard on the race though because my body acted exactly how I wanted it to during this race. I don't know if it was the weather or the trails or if I actually am coming into a bit of form but straight out of the holeshot I pretty much laid claim to the entire sport category (ok there were 2 U39guys who had better overall times but whatever) and never let up.

Style points.

And damn it felt good to be able to look at the holeshot, take it, settle my heartrate and continue railing the turns for an entire race. I can definitely feel the extra 15lbs on my frame from the last time I was competitive but the hills were short and steep enough that the extra weight (while noticeable) probably helped more than hurt with that extra power.

Mind you this wasn't Bad Goat's first event of the weekend either. Three of the four founding father's participated in the Hawk's Tour De Franzia on Friday night. Owen Patterson grabbed an honorary BGR spot for the race and away we went. A little disapppointing as we were promised an obstacle course at the end and were instead given a drag race on a 12" bike (wouldn't have mattered as I would have crashed it either way). But the booze was cheap, the women were still underaged and blonde and BGR was representing in some of the other facet's of things we do well.

Glass #3, things got progressively worse after this.

BGR's total weekend take: 24 glasses of wine (in the race alone), 4 commemorative wine glasses, at least 3 mysterious injuries, 4 podium spots and all of the style points any team hoped to have this weekend.

Raise it up Pattersnap

So here's to the Bad Goats, the Hawk, Franzia, finally finding my form and some darn fit friends.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

But you will still read it...

One more from the bowels of my brain... I don't mean to bore y'all with my inconsistent ramblings but darnit all, I've been working late shifts all week which does not lend itself to my lifestyle well. Meaning that by the time I get off work I have little left to do besides eat and sleep instead of my normal fish/ride/adventure agenda. Hopefully this gets resolved next week because I hate taking my restlessness out on the internet and a short-ish run in the evenings.

#1: Has anyone else watched every episode of Scrubs put up on Hulu at least twice already? I'm pretty sure the last five episodes are going on three days of internet time now and I honestly could watch the series finale over and over. I'm sorry but I have to wax poetically about this thing, I have to say that the writing behind this show has been mind-blowing. Not necessarily for the final season (as a whole it sucked) but that finale man... wrapped it up in a perfect box with one of those ribbons you curl by running the scissors between your thumb and the blade and handed it to you with a smile and a piece of raspberry filled cheesecake. Good lord, there has been some immense writing out of this show but I have never seen a finale leave me wanting more that bad.

That rant was aimed primarily towards a certain Californian who I heard was refusing to watch the last season until it came out on DVD, embrace your computer and pirate that shiz sir.

#2: Goals. My goal for this week is not to pay for a meal. So far I am 4 days in without it, the whole coffee shop job thing makes it pretty sickly easy. The fact that my entire job profile 4 days a week is to talk to other college students who more than likely have at least one job in the food service industry makes it that much easier. Tomorrow will be the test, spinning the wrenches at the CC leaves a man hungry and the Price Chopper next door has a pretty well done up salad bar. I'm hoping I can live on the leftovers from work today but I'm sure it will be uber-tempting.... honestly I'm probably gonna have to pay for at least one meal this week.

#3: Motorcycle. Ever feel like you are being conspired against by life? That's how the motorcycle gods are treating me. So far I've missed out on three bikes that I wanted desperately. These have been the last two weeks debacles.
A) Was .5-1 hr late as it got snagged out from underneath me as I was driving frantically into JoCo after getting stuck at work.
B) Some do-gooder honored his commitment to the first caller who couldn't pick the bike up for fiive days after I offered him full value (if I approved) on the same day he posted it.
C) Ran into a kid who felt his bike was worth wayyyyy more than market value. Maybe 20 years old and thought he owned the coolest thing ever (can't blame him, I've done the same when I sold my Jeeps). I offered him market value over the phone and he laughed and never called back. Meaning he either got the ridiculous asking price or came to his senses with someone else.
D) This dude's wife decided to pop out a kid the day I was supposed to check out the bike. I still have hope for this one as the entire reason he was selling it was because of the impending doom that is child rearing. We'll see though, I have high hopes but the anti-motorcycle gods are loving making this difficult on me.

On the up side I drive a mini-van now (lame failure...wah, wah, wah cartoon music follows this statement). The Hombre was replaced by this monstrosity, I would go on further but I have a whole nother outlook on transportation that has been coagulating in my brain the last few days regarding transportation.

So here's to Zach Braff, free grub and being frustrated at having obstacles blocking my path of attempting to be James Dean.

Ponderings of el cuarenta de Julio (July 14th in Spanish...right?)

I want my stuff back. About a month ago I started a list of garments I once owned but no longer can find, it's staggeringly large. I have three reasons why I think this list is so large...

1. Girls are inevitable hoodie thieves: I don't wear hoodies by nature, it just has never been my thing. I much prefer the collar to an awkward hood. But damnit I have owned a few in my day and for some reason I am down to one at the current moment. I don't care if I have 5 beers in me and you are complaining about being cold, give me my damn hoodie back when you are done with it. Those things are like $40 a pop, is it a trophy for you to own a piece of clothing once owned by a man who rode for the KU cycling team or played on the Olathe lacrosse team or just shopped at Hollister when he was 16?... didn't think so. Give it back.

2. I lose/misplace things that have little importance to me: If I'm at a pool/river/lake/work and my t-shirt gets trashed, chances are I would rather live without attempting to get 4 pounds of mud off of it than trying to clean it out. The catch about this is I rarely remember leaving said garment behind and have come to just blame the opposite sex or friends who stay at my house on stealing or borrowing it permanently.

3. Here's my conspiracy theory... the mother: I'm like 90% sure that she throws out things that are too haggard for normal people to wear but that I still insist on keeping. Not that she does my laundry regularly, as I'm reminded every time I go home to procure a washing machine for a day and wash my jeans/bike shorts/dress shirts together. But I have a theory that on the rare holiday weekend she gets a hold of my clothing she tosses at least a handful of stuff out (I know she reads this and will disagree but like all of the JFK fanatics out there I hold steadfast to this theory).

Bicycle Racing

Here's the stuff that I don't understand...

By some grace of something that I don't understand I was gifted enough to race cyclocross well, don't believe me? Look further back into my USAC results before I discovered the finer things in life. Yet I refuse to enter a race that translates into cyclocross skills. If it isn't under 6 hrs I rarely enter it, and this season has been even worse because I'm refusing to enter pretty much anything that would normally interest me. I justify it by telling myself that it will be "good base miles for cross." What this actually has translated to in the past few years has been more along the lines of "well you forgot to train for cross again...have fun."

Regardless, I've become pretty resolved to finish the Rapture in Misery solo 6 well this year. Why? No idea. I have never, ever, really never excelled in a temperature above 60 degrees and this race is notorious for 100 degree heat indexes during the day. But for some reason I want to do it and I want to do it well.

My last and only decent placing in a 6 hr event went like this (mind you this was almost 3 years ago)

Lap 1: 40 degrees, hold back and watch the teams ride away.
Lap 2 and 3: throttle, throttle, throttle
End of Lap 3: Stans blowout, eat 2 turkey creamsheese bagels while sitting on truckbed, look at bike with disdain, down half a can of Cope, fix bike.
Lap 4-7: Ride like a 19 year old whose testosterone level can crush his rationale.

This netted me an 8th place (I think) but for some reason I think I can do that again, with a body that has proven itself time and time again to be less resilent and more prone to fickleness than it was at only a few years younger age. I'm almost positive turkey, cream cheese bagels would make me vomit uncontrollably mid-race, add in tobacco and I might as well just put a sleeping bag in the back ot the van and wait for the rest of the team to get done. Oh well, still gonna enter the race and hope for the best.

Here's the one and only rationale I can figure out on why I want to do 6+ hour events well, my friends. I know this crew reads this thing and I don't know whether to thank you for pushing my physical limits or hate you for making me want to do things I shouldn't be doing, but y'all deserve some flattery anyways. Between watching Stamper pace himself like a man who knows more about his body than I think he cares to admit, Pattersnap for railing singletrack on a rigid SS so hard that one lap would make a normal man cry, or Waller just serving up pure un-adultered brute big-ring force for more hours on end than any XTR chaingring should endure.

I had one more important thing on my mind that had been badgering me to write about this week but I can't recall what it was at the current moment, so much for the mindmap skills we were all taught in the 4th grade. Wing it and something will be lost along the way.

So I guess here's to lost clothes and doing things we weren't meant to do. Cheers to the kids that push me, my own irrational thoughts and lost Hurley t-shirts.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Livin' the (12 Year Old's) Dream

Epiphany time:

I am living the dream of what I thought "adulthood" should be as a kid. I could end this posting with just that and I think most of y'all would understand what I mean but I have gotten endless amusement out of this revelation today so for those not in the loop here's specifically what I mean.

- I wrench at a shop. This was the ultimate of ultimate adult jobs in my mind when I was 12. I am now one of the guys who holds the magic key to fixing cool things and assembling carbon-riffic road bikes. We wear our Fox hats backwards, understand the insides of your bottom brackets and have the tools to fix them.

- I can bunny-hop really, really high. This was one of those things that I always thought I should be able to do as a kid but as the time passed I never really progressed my park skills. Turns out a few years throwing around a 29er imparts a skill/prowess that makes bmx bikes the most throwable things in the world... pretty rad.

Like this guy but wayyy cooler (I work at a shop, you think I would wear crewneck sweatshirts and ride a double crown...psshhhh)

- I own a crap-ton of bikes and have a sweet apartment with a room specifically for them, shop included. This was pretty much the most important part of how I envisioned adult living arrangements when I was 12 (next to an indoor bmx track).

- I eat pizza and otter pops constantly. Two things that I ditched for a while but have reverted back to pretty hard in the last year. Enough with the cooking non-sense, I can get a large pizza for five bucks and have a freezer full of banana flavored sugar-ice.

- Mario Kart 64 is my bitch. That's right I ponied up the big barista/bike shop bucks and invested in a copy of this iconic recreational television game. It's about 1000 times less hard/entertaining as I remember it but that hasn't kept me from wasting a good 2 hours with it every day for the last few months.

I'm 99% positive that every item on that list does absolutely nothing to further my actual adult life. Wrenching at a shop isn't a super smart long term career (albeit one of the most enjoyable ever), offering to bunny-hop over 2 or 3 people if they will lay down shoulder to shoulder fails to impress people of my own age, Mario Kart ownage is not applicable on resumes. Actually... pizza and otter pops seem like a reasonable life choice for now, no qualms there.

So cheers 12 year old self, you became everything you ever wanted. And yes beer does taste that good and it's rad not having to tell mom and dad where you are all the time.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday Ruminations

So it's raining-ish, the suns out enough to go for a bike ride but not out enough to lay by a pool... I'm only good at one of those things anymore and it's not the one that this day is best suited for so y'all get to deal with my ramblings.

I've been m.i.a. for the last 20 or so days because I have been working a lot. Which has led to an incredible lack of adventuring but also an incredible amount of satisfaction. For those not in the loop I've been working a couple days a week at the CC and spending the rest slinging lattes on campus. So while I say I've been "working", I've actually just been getting paid for participating in enjoyable activities for 8 hours at a time.

Things I have been thinking about for the last month:

I get incredible joy out of truing wheels: My mechanical skill has always been rather inept in my own mind but once being thrown into a shop I've done a pretty decent job of realizing that between wrenching on my own bikes and watching Pattersnap and Mr. Joe Fox fix things that there isn't much I can't do regarding bike-cycles (not that there isn't a metric schnoz-ton for me to learn but I feel have a pretty firm grasp on the basics.) Back to wheel-truing, something about the scrape of metal on metal sitting in a Park stand until it is tensioned well enough to not have any visible/audible impurities warms my cockles.

I read good books slowly: If it's good and it gets my brain firing than I leave it be after I've read whatever it is that made me think. Which has led to a complete lack of book conquering this summer. I've been trying to rock out The Afterlife but after one or two paragraphs I seem to have enough of my own brain-fodder to marinate in for a good few hours. Not a whole lot more to say about that.

The Big News: The Hombre has done up and shot itself in the foot. After a long-ish battle of what I thought was a wacky electrical system and then a flooding of coolant and then even more guages I have decided to give up on her. After driving a few other little trucks I have decided that it must be a compression problem and since I figure my brain works jsut as well as the OBD1 and my hood latch is broken I am just going to figure there is something seriously wrong with her and let her sit.

But that also means I visited the bank yesterday and am sitting on a smallish chunk of cash which to buy new transportation with. So while I've incurred even more debt I am wicked excited about what is in my rather immediate future.

Fo' real...? Indeed.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Word Fishin'

Problem: summer’s here, I have absolutely no desire to even look at a bicycle and I completely detest being indoors.

Solution: FISHING!

Suburban fishin' hole

Fishing, as a word, has a near and dear place in my heart. Not necessarily the sport of fishing itself but just the word. You see fishing was my “get out of jail free card” as a young and adventurous boy in high school. Everyone had one of these even if they don’t realize it. A “get out of jail free card” is something that you tell your parents you are doing even though they know (and you know) that you aren't but they respect that you at least have the good sense to lie to them about it.

A normal summer evening conversation with my parent’s would look like this:

Parents: Where are you going to?
Me: Fishin’. BYE! (run out door as fast as possible)

After I ran out the door I usually suspected my parents of just rolling their eyes and going back to what they were doing in an attempt to ignore whatever lude and lascivious behavior their offspring was actually sprinting out the door to accomplish.

But a funny thing happened with my “get out of jail free card”, my friends started using it and we ended up with a small gaggle of trucks and Jeeps with fishing gear in the back (because the lie has to at least be plausible). And eventually we discovered that in an absence of ruckus sparking events we actually enjoyed sitting, watching bobbers and drinking beer.

I brought my fishin' face and my "get kicked out of airports" beard.

That is the essence of why I like fishing. In all reality I have ended up with a fair amount of fishing knowledge and nice gear (the knowledge leans more to the gear side than the fish side… go figure). So on to today's adventure...

I thought these guys might come swooping down on me to steal my fishies, Hitchcock style.

I started today at the Clinton Dam Spillway, but it was way more work than I wanted to do. There was a huge crowd of people standing around and I had hit my first fish within 15 minutes (along with everyone else out there so don’t assume I knew what I was doing). So I decided to be done dealing with lines that move with the current and the excessive sportsmen and head down to the pond by the ball fields. I sat there for three or so hours and never caught another thing. I napped, I thought about the word fishing and I watched the clouds roll by, but I never caught another thing. I know there were fish in there since on the few occasions I did reel in my line the bait was gone, but I was far more content to continue dozing in the sun than to watch my bobber that intently.

So here’s to not riding bikes, watching the clouds roll by in the summer sky and the word fishin'

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Kanza Conspires Against Me

Year after year I register for this race and year after year I get shut down. Maybe it is a complete lack of training, maybe it is poor circumstance, maybe it is a mental thing (quote Bundy on #3) but this race and I have never clicked.

2007: Bum knee = quit at mile 50
2008: Free beer + a fellow teammate dropout = quit at mile 100
2009: Most horriblest feeling on a bike EVER = quit at mile 60

Suffice it to say that the conditions were NOT ideal for a 200 mile gravel adventure. The winds were as wicked as can be by 7:30 in the morning and besides a short 3 mile tailwind section, the closest the hills were gonna give us to "nice" was a slow break from the wind with 90 degree heat baring down on the racers with nothing even resembling shade. Coupled with whatever was going on in my stomach and just overall not feeling healthy I knew I needed to call it quits by the time I hit mile 50.

I learned a valuable lesson on Saturday though: I can't wish myself to a race finish in a Dirty Kanza situation, which was my entire training strategy. Now most things in my life I have been pretty good at just saying "I am..." or "I would like..." and eventually if I believe it or say it long enough things just sort of fall into place (try it sometime, it's quite mind blowing how this tactic works). But this sort of thing doesn't really work when the conditions conspire so hard against you that even if my body was capable of handling 200 miles of bowel rattling gravel my mind was just in too hard of a place to want to continue on after calculating average speed to determine my finish time (which would have been 20 hrs at my pace).

However... I had my three most awesome Bad Goat teammates quit too this year. All of whom have finished this race in the past and all of whom quit within 30 miles of myself... so maybe there is something to be said about wishing yourself into race form.

Regardless, there are now 4 Bad Goats fully kitted-out in some swank black and red threadz and we looked danged stylin' before we all threw in the towel and said "To Hell with the Kanz."

So here's to the Kanz and hoping that I won't be living in this state long enough to ever race her again.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Whose Kansas? .... ARKANSAS!

Comment: Jeez dang Slate. You’re already re-using title themes? That is lame.
Response: Jeez dang. It was cute the first time and it’s cute this time.

Who woulda thunk it? Another long weekend came around which meant that John and I had to burn south in the Waller-mobile once again. We had a pretty sick itinerary with a slammed five days of adventuring, and adventure we did. This is the recap of the first locale we visited.

Thursday: Blazed down to the Buffalo River and spent the day huckin’ the gnar off of a nice 35ish foot cliff and a wicked rope-swing. The weather was a balmy high 70-something, the poison ivy blanketed the riverbank and the water was at near perfect system shock temps. Spent the evening bouldering around Sam’s throne awaiting the arrival of the soon to be Fink family unit and watching the sunset over the breathtaking views at Sam's.

Breathtaking views from Sam's Throne.

Friday: This was by far my favorite day of the trip. The crew spent the day sending it at Sam’s Throne. Can you say legit outside climbing? Giggity! That evening we stopped at the swimmin’ hole again on the way back to the campground to cook up some grub. The trio of Adam, Waller and I made sure to continue tradition and huck a cliff simultaneously while Kelsey made squealing sounds when she got too close to the edge. Mere hours after she sent herself over a 70 foot ledge on rappel…

Kels sendin' an overhanging jug haul.

Arkansas as a whole gets me goin’ pretty good but I have officially found something else to add to my requirements for the future Mrs. Slater: Dirty Arkansas drawl. Goodness me, it blows my mind that these people are literally 1.5 hours from people who talk like Kansans do but somehow as soon as the hills get to risin’ and the roads a twistin’ the women turn straight southern.

We stopped at the dollar general on the way back to the site for some supplies (moon pies & RC cola) and this happened…

Me: Y’all have Moonpies but no RC cola? (assimilating to the best of my ability)
Older gent behind me: Giant belly laugh. Ain’t you a little young to know about them?
Cashier: Stands there and looks pretty while I try and conjure witty response.
Me: Turn back to cashier and began to get rung up (witty response never came).
Cashier: Where you stayin’ tonight sweetie?
Me: Umm, umm, umm, Ozark c
Cashier: Huh, my little sister’s down there.
My Brain: Heart be still. Her accent is killin’ me. Don’t forget the ice!
Me: Umm, umm, umm, ice?

That was followed by another few exchanges that kept ending in a sweetie or darlin’ while I kicked myself for not thinking of something clever to counter with. Which leads me to believe that if a cashier at the Dollar General can do that to me than I will really be screwed if I ever find a brunette doctor who loves St. Pats and lays claim to that sweet Arkansas sound (follow along more closely if you don’t know where the rest of the list came from).

The beasts responsible for my ineptness with the cashier.

That evening I savored my oh, so classy cuisine of hot dogs, pork & beans and moon pies around a swank fire. Then was lulled into a blissful slumber by the dull ruckus of a campground full of rowdy rednecks awaiting their floats down the river like a kid on Xmas eve…

So here's to cliff jumpin', rope swingin', sendin' it and that dirty Arkansas drawl.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The End of an Era

Thursday I finished my last final of my first senior year. Immediately I took all of my energy that was spent dominating 6 finals in 4 days and started pouring it into the perpetual celebration that is graduation weekend.

I don't have a whole lot of words about this weekend yet. Graduations are very bittersweet for me. I am not very good at saying goodbye to friends and when I say I am not very good at them I mean that I have the very real potential to turn into an epic train wreck because of them (so we're avoiding wine like the plague this weekend.) So I'll get together a summary in hindsight after I get done regulating myself through the weekend. 

But until then I have some images that almost begin to kind of describe how awesome the first half of my weekend has been.

Quite literally 15 minutes after my PSYC333 final exam Thursday morning.  

The red head is now the owner of 7 more dogs. 

Birdie feedin' her kids! I was so impressed with how good of a mom the banshee dog turned into.

I have a big shaped twin. 


This is only a small percentage of how awesome my weekend has been. I'll make it into a mathematical equation right quick to describe it to it's fullest effect.

Bourgeois Pig + Slackline + Fishman's Grillin' Party + Puppies + Thai Food + Giles' Grad Party + Schooners + Little Bros HS Graduation Party + Jeff and Chris' Party = The awesomeness of the last 72 Hours

I'm off on the rest of my journey now. Gotta go see the youngest Slater graduate high school and then get down at Pattersnap's for the last party of the weekend. Cheers!

Friday, May 8, 2009


Conversation with my brain:

Me: Brain, we have to keep on the straight and narrow for 8 more days. No partying we have a lot of finals to study for.
Brain: That sounds like a chill plan brosef. Let's kick some finals week ass.
Me: I mean it we can't be running around celebrating stop day eve or any other nonsense.
Brain: Bro, I  totally dig it. No boozin' until we are completely done.
Phone: Ring, ring, ring
Me: Hello. No I can't I have a metric schnoz-ton of finals next week...
Brain: VETOED! Let's rage it gnar-brah.
Me: FML...

Thoughts that have resulted from that dialogue:

- I like Royals baseball when they don't suck, which is now. Any other year I would probably be hatin' on the team and their physical MO location. The renovations at the K are definitely worth the $7 ticket even though the beer is ridiculously pricey.

- There really is no better place to be for scenery on stop day eve than the wheel. For all intensive purposes I should hate this bar since it stands for everything evil in the world (greeks). But I don't and that is a little unsettling for me. 

- Road bike rides take too long to use as a "break from studying." Kit up, ride, shower, eat: that's like a three hour process. Not doing that ever again.

- Even though I have got down with the good times pretty hard this week I'm pretty proud of myself for not once showing up late to work (7am and without a hangover!) and for slowly accomplishing everything that needs to get done. I'm sure I will freak out pretty hard in the next few days but overall I'm feeling pretty dang good about what needs to happen to get through finals week.

I'm eventually going to get back to writing something besides my own thoughts. So don't worry loyal friend readers. Sordid tales of our travels and adventures will be back as soon as I climb off of this soapbox and do something worth writing about with y'all.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

April Ruminations

1) The Lawrence police pulled me over again yesterday. My unlawful violation: failure to properly signal a turn... Really? I wasn’t even aware this was a ticketable offense anymore. Thankfully the officer decided to follow me all the way from 19th & Haskell until I turned into my driveway until he decided to turn his lights on and harass me; which pretty much meant that I could go directly from car to fridge to dull the ridiculous cop-hating rage I was consumed in instead of having to drive any significant distance in said ridiculous rage.

In my past four years in Lawrence I have been pulled over/harassed for: running a stop sign on a bicycle (x2), speeding on a bicycle, riding a bicycle on a sidewalk, spinning my tires on a sandy left hand uphill turn, jaywalking.

Rinse and repeat the following list times three and you basically have my life since the minute I turned 15. I really hate the state of Kansas’ law enforcement agencies and really wish there was more legitimate crime for them to stop so they could stop heckling kids.

2) I read the most amazing article in the Times this weekend and think everyone else should too. The part that hit closest to home for me was the complete and total lack of academic communication between different departments in major universities. There is literally nothing I disagree with in this article, which rarely if ever happens (yes, even in the NYT).

After what I consider a rather diverse background in the school of liberal arts here at the University I have to whole-heartedly agree that if we had a more problem-based curriculum and department programming we could be breeding some absolutely brilliant solutions for the future. Instead we have kids like me. Kids who have such a large base of liberal arts knowledge that we can basically vomit the likes of Hooks, Freire, Freud, Aristotle, gender theory, and the entire canon of 20th century socialist thought on demand; because that’s what they teach in EVERY department on campus. And those things are all great. I really would not be the person I am today if I didn’t appreciate those things, but honestly I don’t need to learn about them in every class I take; discuss and partition out what sect of theory each belongs to and stick to that, please.

3) Friday night I hung out with four of my friends from separate time periods of my life. Garrison (my best friend from elementary until high school), Austin (my roommate sophomore year), Jeff (who has spent way too much time at a bar with me in the last year) and David (the new guard of KU Cycling). This was absolutely mind-blowing to me because my friend circle has done more than a few complete 180s in the past 10 years and the cat I still identified most with was my oldest buddy Garrison. By this point I’m fully aware that life as a human being is full of shared experiences/emotions/actions but it is scary that I see this cat maybe twice a year and we still ride that same parallel line that we have been for the past 15 years.

So here’s to the ass-hats that protect and serve the city of Lawrence, the op-ed section of the times and still being able to rally old friends for a night out in Lawrence.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dirty Duathalon (Race Report Dos)

So I still haven't done a legitimate bike race for the 2009 season yet but I am slowly getting closer to things that resemble actual cycling. Last Saturday was the second off-road Duathalon in Lawrence this year, and I definitely made it around to racing in this one. It was held on the River Trails so I was stoked about that. I haven't raced on the river since 2007 when I gave up my lead that I held for almost an hour straight to a 4th place finish when a stupid crash resulted from my over-confidence on my home turf.

I told myself this time was going to be different. I might not be in the best cycling form of my life but I have been laying down some serious miles on the feet so I felt that I could do okay at the start of the race... How wrong I was.

My legs were not having a race-pace run that morning. I tried and tried but after holding onto a top 10 spot for a little under a half mile my lower extremities just shut down and left me loping along at a pace more suited for a middle-ager running a marathon. Not too sure why that happened but I knew what I had to do in order to make up time.

Photo cred. Lantern Rouge

Mountain bikes... this part of the race would have been awesome, if I had stayed in a decent postition on the run. I spent pretty much the entire first half of the bike course dangerously dodging all of the traithletes and runners who had passed me early on. The sides of the course were still slick from all of the rain last week and I was not letting anyone keep me from wrecklessly plowing past them on the side of the trail. I had to have passed at least 35 people on the bike and rarely any of those passes were graceful but I finally put myself into the pain box, locked it tight and held onto the corners for dear life on a mountain bike for the first time this season.

Photo Cred lantern Rouge

I ended up finishing 10 minutes off of my team mates podiuming marks but still had a solid mid-pack finish. However Bad to the Mothereffin' Goat racing had a strong showing this weekend with Josh Patterson finishing first and John Waller third in the duathalon. Followed by both of them hopping back on their bikes to battle it out for fastest overall combined time (du & mtb only), Pattersnap got the nod by a mere 8 seconds.

Photo Cred Josh Pattersnap

So overall Bad Goat represented hard for the weekend with 2 podium spots, 1 goofy mid packer and Stumpy volunteering his time to score.

So here's to a crew that represents the whole gamut of the great sport of bikes.

Friday, April 24, 2009

"Old Man Waller: The Story of the Hobo Howler Monkey"

John Waller turned older than he previously was on Wednesday. We played Hobos '09 part deus to celebrate. Hobos keeps getting bigger and better every week so if anyone has yet to experience gourmet Merc food cooked over a fire within spittin' distance of the Mighty Kaw whilst drinking leftover fridge beer, slacklining and just being general outdoorsy miscreants than I highly recommend you get on the Hobo train in the coming weeks (I need an editor).

I tried to capture the awesome ballsiness that was Waller bouncing in a dead tree over the river but this picture just can not do it justice. Picture this dead tree bouncing up and down 10-12 vertical feet over the river while I stood on top over the trail trying to surf it. It takes a special kind of intelligence to truly enjoy a hobo outing.

"I feel like we are front heavy." - Kelsey Miller
Like I said, a special kind of intelligence.

These are the post meal smiles that Merc meat cooked over an open flame generates.

Eventually we had the rest of the usual suspects join us by the river and at one point I believe that we had 11 hobos by the river. The rest of the evening was spent imbibing, spinning yarns, chasing beaver (that nocturnal creature gets feisty once the sun goes down and you're still in it's territory) and enjoying that special cool moonlit breeze that only the Kaw can be held responsible for.

So here's to Mr. John Waller. Thanks for gettin' older so we can keep on hoboin'.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hobos by the River

So I decided to celebrate the end to my hellacious school work filled week with a trip down to the river to kick it with some hobos last night. 

When I arrived I found this gang of miscreants cooking up some brats around a cozy Waller-made fire. 

This red-headed girl claimed to be a river hobo but had an arsenal of outdoorsy toys in tow, which leads me to believe she has a cozy home somewhere and doesn't really live in these trees.

I kept my feet warm near the glowing embers of the fire until I was too tired to stick around and pretend to be a hobo and retreated to my warm comfy apartment.

Here's to hobos, rivers, fire and friends.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Kansas, Your Kansas, Arkansas

Race season traveling officially began for me last weekend. Skipped out on Friday class to hop into the Wallermobile with Josh Stamper and Waller to head south to the Oauchita Challenge MTB Race. Six hours, 1 keg regulator and at least 3000 calories of crap later and our mangey selves stumbled out of the car to the cabin that Mr. Pattersnap and his lady had reserved for the crew in Mena, AR. Kels and Adam joined us shortly after and the weekend festivities soon began to liven.

Our new sponsor Barnyard Brewery provided us with a keg of their Chocolate Stout and Irish Red for the weekend and with the combination of Waller's engineering degree and Stamper's agri-rigging we managed to have fully pressurized and regulated beer for the rest of the weekend.

The Cycle City boys joined us at the cabin well into the night while everyone was asleep/passed out from the ale. So by our 8 am wake up call we had 7 dudes and 2 ladies crammed into a cabin that is roughly the size of my living room and bedroom combined. The rest of the morning was spent pre-riding (for the racers) and enjoying (for those of us less prone to need the excess pain this early in the season) some wicked AR singletrack. We got our cruise on at the Womble turnoff and I was awe-struck at how flowy and smooth it was. Front-range ribbons but with gradual elevation that never left you hating ascending. Not to brag but we looked pretty durned slick in our perfectly matching baby-blues.

An aside but this was the first time that I have ever ridden with Jeremy Haynes outside of a race situation. Super strange thinking that this cat has been in my cycling life for the last 11 years (sold me my first mtb, watched me dismount over my first cross barrier, got me on a swank team, made me want to be a cross promoter, blah, blah, blah...) but I had never just ridden with the dude.

That afternoon Kels, Adam, Waller and I got to go on a nice little hike through some local trails in search of Earthquake Ridge bouldering area. We hiked 4ish miles through the Earthquake ridge trail which had some gorgeous scenery. Watching the sun start to descend over the Oauchita skyline is something that every midwestern outdooorsman should experience at least once.
Turns out the Boulders weren't on the trail but instead just off the road another 1/4 mile up the road. So we ended up hiking for no reason but the sheer pleasure of enjoying each others company. The boulder's were underwhelming to say the most of them. 15 foot max topouts and not enough space or level ground to safely bail left me crimping things that were well within my ability. On the upside it gave us a chance to tie on our bandanas, rip off the shirts and do a little Sharma-esque camera posin'. Felt good to send like a gnar-brah in the warm afternoon woods as opposed to the rec center's bouldering wall.

The next day we rolled out of our beds at 5am to rainy, dismal skies so that the team could go attempt to race for eighty miles while Jaime and I chased them around playing team director in the Wallermobile. Stamper has the goods on race day if you want some of those digs; but I pretty much spent the day dozing in a lounge chair taking breaks only to lube chains, fill bottles and motivate the Cycle City cats with my ever so concise wording.

So here's to chocolate stouts, dry trails, mediocre boulders, and the circle of dirtbag kids who I have been calling my friends for more time than kosher.