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.