3.31.2004

here are some shots of the boys
these are a few of the cousins
Grant is not in the photo because he is only a month old and is somewhere being breast fed
and Benjamin is not in the photo because he is still just a bun in the oven



Spring is here and the beard is gone I miss it already it marks the start of my cycling season and makes me look thinner
or at least I hope
today/this am

this morning my alarm went off at roughly 7:30
my alarm's name being Dean
Seven thirty is pretty late for this guy; on our vacation in Florida there was a morning where he got up a few minutes before 5, but regularly he woke up at 5:30, so for him to get up at 7:30 was a pleasure
he got up, jumped into bed and jumped right out
guess he heard lisa downstairs and traded up
so I put my head down and went back to sleep for another half hour
once up I joined lisa dean and grant with my coffee
selected some gear for dean and headed out to the morning mist and the morning cold with Dean and the dogs
getting Dean out of the house was the usual game of loading his backpack (which we ended up forgetting) and selecting this hat and not that hat
dropped Dean off at "art class" and headed out with the dog
as I was scheduled to do the late shift at work I had some time to spare
went down into Rock Creek and did the Melvin Hazen trail
a short little loop that dips by the creek where Roscoe and Brutus were able to chase some ducks
then back home to grab some work gear and straddle my single speed and head into work
pointed the bike north even if work is south and cut through Bethesda onto the Capital Crescent Trail
as I crossed the Maryland/DC border I scanned the woods for the enterance to a small network of trails, then dropped in
nothing technical
but dirt beats pavement anyday
did a few loops through the woods, checked the watch and headed back for one more
(as these loops are small...very small)
just as I started to wind down the last loop I felt my front end getting a little sqooshy
FLATTED OUT
so I dismounted my ride and pulled out the tools of the trade
had a spare tube and a mini pump that took a thousand pumps to fill the tire
put the wheel back in
put the bike upright
and could immediately feel that the rear wheel was flat as well
not sure what caused the flats
maybe thorns maybe a snake bite
not sure
so I started walking
the little loop sure seemd a lot larger as I walked my way back to the Capital Crescent Trail
so I pulled out my cell and told my boss my situation
he had no problems and understood that I would be a little late
walked a few miles
was getting tired of walking when a rider with an Aussie accent offered me a patch
my acceptance was immediate
he pulled over and we started chatting away as i made the repairs
his voice was clue one, well actually, the bike was clue one, then the accent, and then his build
I remember meeting him once before months prior
he recalled our brief meeting
then it came up that he was heading cross country in two weeks
flying out to San Diego and riding back
the wife, the kids, and the job all gave him the go ahead for this "adventure"


more in a bit
this is dragging
and going no where
need to do some work

maybe a different topic

with that said it was a good morning
and all before work
walk in the woods
ride in the park
and some hanging with Dean
almost like a mini vacation right before work

3.30.2004

kerry.bmp

and meanwhile GW is trying to bash him with some ad

WACKY AD

funny though....
if we were to look at other countries, such as Canada, that have socialized health care
perhaps the model of raising the gas prices is not such a bad idea
the only people who are penalized are the ones who drive often
and the ones who drive the gas guzzling SUVs
the ones who make long commutes in the SUV get penalized twice
which makes sense to me

there should be more incentive for alternative transport
and for those that must drive...
there are the fuel efficient Hybrids and Electrics

nest topic?
Two people in a 6 person SUV is HOV?
Two people on a motorcycle is just about HOV, but in Thailand they manage 5-7 people on a Vespa!

and for those with a few seconds to kill
check out
BUSH IN 30 SECONDS
and no this has nothing to do with the creation of the Bush Twins, no one would want to see that
this shows the finalists from the MOVEON.org commercial contest
back from florida
back to work
back to BLOGGING, if I can find the time
so much to do here after my time away, but slacking instead
better get into a groove or the day will go by and tomorrow will be twice as hard

just finished a rant to my cycling team about bashing a local race promoter
seems that many people were looking forward to a local race last Sunday and it was canceled at the last minute
sort of pissed some people off
there was some negative ranting among our team members on our team site
so I responded with this....


Hello City Bikers

Running a business is hard, being a race promoter is a unique business. Perhaps a harder business than some, maybe easier than others, certainly it looks attractive and must have some wonderful rewards, but it is work. There are many people to try and please as a race promoter just as with any business, so many variables to juggle so many different needs to meet. I can only imagine the headaches that the weather can cause on top of everything else. So I think that people may want to cut Dan some slack on his race cancellations. Sure his race series has its quirks, some of the courses may not be long enough, many of the courses may not be rocky or technical enough, but they are races and they are close. Many of his short comings may come from his need to accommodate each individual's needs as well as what the terrain in the immediate area offers. Some of his races start late....well, have you ever seen how late the racers show up for his events. He is never a stickler for closing down the sign up table and I for one am thankful of that. Personally, I enjoy the events. It is a good network of people, the races are close, fast, and fun. Dan puts on a solid event. Without the Dan's Races we would have far fewer races in the immediate area. If you do not want to do his races, well, that is your choice. But, to try and start a BOYCOTT is selfish and short sighted. And to bash him on the team sight is a dangerous thing to do as well. The 'readership' of this Yahoo Group stretches further than just our immediate team. I only know Dan from his races. He has always been very kind and friendly to me, he is always open for suggestions. At each event he takes time away from his set up to say hello and catch up. Sure his website could win awards for being one of the UGLIEST SITES ON THE WEB, but that is insignificant in the scheme of things. I look forward to his races, and hope that he will be able to continue offering races for mountainbike community in the many years to come. Try to be a tad more realistic or perhaps even grateful, and if you can't....well listen to your mother, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!"

As for me...
I try to be thankful to the promoters of each event.
At the Greenbriar event I met Vince, he was busy, but he gave me a minute to hear my thoughts on a Clydesdale Class, laughed about my harassing him via email and I think he and his crew all enjoyed a little thanks after the event (whether in person or via email, from me they got both) We all like a pat on the back for our efforts. So, lets try to put it all in perspective, these guys are not getting crazy rich off this stuff. They are contributing to the sport that we love. Cut them some slack. And if you can do better, I welcome you to try. But until then, let us all try to be a little more constructive in our criticism.


(which is funny cause I can be a real jerk some times, but I am trying to change)

thanks for listening
joel

trying to step off my soap box and get back to work

here is the link to see Dan's race schedule
and his ugly site

Dan's Races

and a link to the
City Bikes Mountainbike Team Photos

3.26.2004

funny stuff
I will have to check this out on a faster line when I get home
but it looks like either the slow modem connection down here is making things funky
or some hacker got in and change me from GWADZILLA to WADZILLA
reminds me of when Jay Amernicks sweaty little brother Danny tried to cause damage to my stomach by putting a half of tin of SKOAL in my Chef Boy Ardee Ravioli
tasteed great to me
thought it was a sweet gesture for this pudgy kid brother of a friend of mine to make me and some other people a snack
little did I know it was all an effort to make me hurl
earned me the nickname amoung some (Norm Van Deslyse who lives down the street still calls me) Skoal Gwadz!
kids!
gotta love em
high school antics!
boy we had fun back in the day
not like the geeky kids now who spend all their time online!
hey?

[oh, shaved my big ass amish beard, marks the end of winter for me, will grow it back again starting Thanksgiving next year...so along with the loss of the facial hair I also expect to lose the nicknames Grizzley Adams Morgan and Mount Pleasant Man! No Victories in any Dan Haggardy look alike contests for me]
my back is burnt
truck driver's tan on the left arm from heading north no 75 to get to Ft Myers
and a seriously burned back from a day of snorkling down here at Marco
nothing to spectacular
no reef, just sand bar stuff
all sorts of sand dollars, star fish, a variety of live shells (welks, conchs, and such) even some sea urchins
a few fish
but as said
not exactly the reet environment
but a great way to burn your back

that and my sand sculptures had me bent over reavealing my back
wonder if the whale will make it till the morning
SNOWBIRD!
No, not snowboarding at SNOWBIRD!

snowbird (SNO-bird) noun

1. A person who moves to a warmer climate for the winter.

2. Any of various birds (e.g. junco, snow bunting, fieldfare)
seen chiefly in winter.


Lisa and I are down in sunny Florida with Grant and Dean at the inlaws place at Marco Island. Actually there is a Gwadz Gaggle this far south. My brother and his family of four are down here, my sister with her pregnant belly and 2 year old son are her sans husband/father, and my dad is down her as well. We are all visiting my grandmother in Fort Myers. Managed to talk them into coming down here for the day tomorrow, after I drove up there for dinner tonight. It should be madness, but having all the boys on the beach should be nothing shy of a hoot! Dean and Eric together can be an infectious giggle! Just love seeing them together.

Here bikeless. Tried running one day. Did some splashing in the Gulf, but more than anything else just hanging with Dean. Right now Grant is going through some neonate issues, or well perhaps, infant stuff. He has some sort of stomach issues, the lil' guy is in a tad bit of pain, hope it is nothing serious. Got to keep it all in perspective. Hate to see him suffer, also hate to lose sleep, and seeing my wife work so hard to try and make him comforable is also a drag. Lisa is a good mom, Grant and Dean are lucky, guess I am lucky too....occassionally some of that nurturing overflows unto me. (actually before the dogs, Roscoe and Brutus, I got the Lion's Share of the pampering....now I am pretty low on that totem pole)

enough for now
have a good night
as I best get some rest
the morning is never far away

3.22.2004

RACE REPORT: Fitness Concepts Greenbrier Challenge
In many cases arriving underdressed may be better than showing up
overdressed, sorta like choosing not to wear a costume to a costume
party is better than wearing a costume to a none costume party event.
At least that is how I am calling it now after racing yesterday on
the second day of spring, which played itself out more like one of
the last days of winter. By the end of my sport race there was a
strong cold wind blowing over the lake with intermident snow
flurries, at the Expert/Pro starts there was plenty of cold wind, not
enough snow to effect visibility but snow just the same, with a
course that was pretty well beaten to hell from the morning and early
afternoon racers. This day was scripted more for Cyclocross racers
than for Mountainbikers. My guess is that the day's High of 44
degrees was achieved before I arrived at Greenbriar. I was wearing
knickers and just basic socks, sure I had a few layers on top, but I
was cold and that stream crossing on each lap did not help to warm me
up!

My race went well.
NORBA not offering a Clydesdale Class forced me to enter as a 35+
Men's Master Sport. I can use the excuse of them not offering a one
day NORBA license for why I did not race Expert, but the reality is
that I have not been doing much riding/training and may try to make
that leap from front of the Sport to the tail of the Experts later in
the season when I get some legs and lungs. My intention on this day
was to go out and race/ride hard, no intention to win, no expectation
of a top finish. As we gathered at the starting line I reviewed my
fellow racers and dealt with the prerace jitters. A fellow
Clydesdale, Don Watkins and I looked around and counted Clydesdales,
there were enough in the various fields to have a good size
Clydesdale Class. Weighing in at 240lbs I feel that my size is a
greater factor than my age. Having not done much mountain biking I
felt that I was going to just slide into a groove and see where I fit
into the queue. But when the whistle went off and the pack took off
it looked like no one was going for the "hole shot," so rather than
getting stuck in the bottle neck I took the initiative. I stepped out
of the saddle and stepped up the pace. Having spent my prerace time
catching up with old friends and making new ones, I had not done any
warm up and had not done any scoping out of the course. Having raced
here before I figured that they would follow a similar route to the
prior races. Needless to say, I was wrong, the course turned right up
hill, while in the fall race hosted by a different promoter it
dropped down left.

For the first couple of miles I was in the lead of my category, after
a little time I was passed by a long lean roadie type on a double
banger. I took a look at him and thought that my old school
clydesdale technique could balance his superior strength, speed, and
stamina. I hung to his back wheel, soon learn that I was out
classed. Then on one of the climbs I opted to stay in the middle
ring rather than the granny and reached for one more cog in the back,
got all spokes, that was already my largest cog. Had to dismount and
pull the chain free from the cassette and the spokes. Many
riders/racers passed me and the leader rolled off into the distance.
So I hopped back into a queue far off the leaders of the pack. In no
time I was trying to find my groove and rolling past some of other
racers, maybe some from my class and maybe some from the other
classes. Soon I felt I had passed enough racers that I felt I was
back into the top 5. It is a tough balance racing and pacing. Not
feeling particularly fit or fast I rode in what I thought to be a
good race pace. Water in the Camelback, Hammer Gel tucked under my
shorts trying to sneak out under the elastic band at my quad, and a
mixture of Gatorade and Red Bull in a water bottle cage on the frame,
there were no excues. It is never good when my mind is wondering
when each lap is going to end, getting distracted or spacing out in a
race is bad. When focused I am fast, when I space out, it means I am
going slow. I tried to regain focus, I held pace and was maintaining
a good pace and halfway through the second lap I felt that I was
withing sight with what I believed to be the 4th place rider. Rather
than fight to catch him now, I figured I would wait until the third
and final lap to make a pass. No need to over exert myself and be
left burnt out on the side of the trail. The third lap came around
soon enough, as I rolled towards the START/FINISH, the riders in
front of me headed the other way back into the trail after a hairpin
turnaround just after the START/FINISH LINE. I gave a nod to the 4th
place racer in front of me, he smiled and nodded back. He knew I was
coming for him, it was a healthy friendly feel to the competition.
Not too far into the lap I passed him. He cheered me on and admitted
that it was early season and he was not feeling his best. He spoke
about how he knew I was going to catch him, he just was not sure
when. That gave me added energy and so did my home made rocket fuel
concoction of RED BULL and GATORADE (GATOR-RAGE!) With three hammer
Gels in my belly and three racers in front of me I tried to pick up
the pace. Then just up the hill I saw the Red and White of an NCVCer
who had passed with great speed on one of the technical downhills, he
was the 3rd place rider in my Class. He was just finishing pumping up
his rear tire. I hustled past him on foot with my bike at my side.
Mounted up and started to pedal. Made no effort to check on his
status, figured that if he was going to pass he was going to pass. I
felt strong, not particularly fast, but not entirely exhausted. The
soft sections were really gripping my tires. The sloppy sections were
giving hint to me the level of exhaustion that was present, obstacles
that were not difficult were demanding more attention and perhaps a
little more decrease in speed than I would normally require with with
greater freshness. Being familiar with the course after the two
prior laps I was able to anticipate what was around each bend and
judge better how long I can maintain speed on the downhills before a
sharp bend or turn. Soon enough the familiar last mile started to
unwind. It seemed clear that the racers behind me had settled into
their finishing positions and that I was going to finish in Third
Place. I was pleased with my performance and shocked by my placement.
It was a great event. Awesome to get out so early in the Spring and
start my season. It was good to gather with old friends and to make
new ones. This was an easy race for me to do as my wife had headed
south to Florida with our two kids. There was no need to ask for
permission, no need to arrange for a babysitter, no need to rush home
after the race finish, it was a day of rest and I made the best of
it.

Drove home feeling pretty good, sipping the remainder of my Red Bull.
Got home to a very excited Roscoe and Brutus. Took them for a quick
hike in the woods and did pretty much nothing with the rest of my day!

Not a bad way to spend the weekend or a Sunday. Makes it a great deal
easier to head into work on a Monday morning knowing that my weekend
was well spent.

3.19.2004

iPOD
so my TECHIE boss at work felt that he needed to replace his big bulky old iPOD with the new slimmer and trimmer iPOD with his name engraved on the back. he did not have a need for his old iPOD. the offer was made to sell it to me, I declined. had considered the iPOD but was not sure when I could use it. feared it would sit along side my video camera, my Palm Pilot, and various other techie toys that all seemed like good ideas at the time. some time passed and we were on our way to lunch and he said that he may be putting his iPOD on eBAY. immediately I asked what his low figure. he said 100 dollars. without hesitation I offered to take that low number of 100 bucks and save him the potential hassles of eBAY. the deal was made. there was some sweating.....some quoting of the law of "oral contracts" and the threat of a letter on thick textured paper with the return address of a high powered law firm. it did not come to that. we just had to wait to see if his brother was going to buy it for an earlier promise of 150.00. the younger brother, chris, opted out of the bidding war....the iPOD was mine...all I had to do was wait for the engraved device to be mailed from China.

now with the iPOD in hand I have some thinking to do....
sure it is 10GB of space, but what do I really want on this thing
clearly I do not want to have the settings on SHUFFLE and be forced to hit the forward button each time a new song starts that I do not want to hear.
So before loading this device up with every cd I own I am giving it some thought..."What do I really want to listen to?"
REGGAE
How many Reggae songs/albums will I really need?
So, I will try to go through this with some restraint!
1. Bob Marley; Between Lisa and myself we have several copies of Survival, Legend, the Box Set, and some lesser known albums....maybe I will have to hand pick some tunes
2. Steel Pulse; Earth Crisis should be enough
3. Bad Brains; I Against I! Well , maybe I can sneak in two albums (Rock for Light?) if I put one album in as Hardcore and another as Reggae, but I Against I is vital for any collection!
now, logic may reach for Burning Spear/Israel Vibration and other bands within my collection, most of which do not come to mind, I realize that I need to pull just some choice tracks from these CDs. no need to take up the space. no need to take up my time forwarding through

ANY RECOMMENDATIONS OF WHAT OTHER REGGAE I NEED ON MY iPOD?
or
what are some must haves for listening pleasure?


PUNK/HARDCORE/New Wave
1. DC Hardcore: Some Minor Threat, Rites of Spring, Beefeater, Dag Nasty, and well already have some music from a lesser know musician off TEENBEAT, Bells of. A friend of mine Lawrence and his crazed voice and his wild guitar.
2. 80's Dance? New Order? Dead or Alive? What do I want? Do I want to go obsucre or do I want to hang with the hits?
So many choices...
but I did already put my mix by THE JAM!
what else

ESL: The 18th Street Lounge:
a. Theivery Corporation
b. Nicola Conte
b. Thunderball

most of my listening pleasure is acutally a mix of Electronica and jazz/blues/samba

you know
Stan Getz and stuff on that line

what to do
what to do
toys
these darn toys

3.18.2004

Don't Just Take, Give
It is pretty simple, if all we do is take and we never replace, then there will be nothing left; ruins...just ruins; one big wasteland, just a massive landfill. The world is too small for us to strip away, move along, and strip away again. Hundreds of years ago farmers learned this and started to rotate the crops. There are some minor steps in the modern age that people are starting to implement such as recycling, but there needs to be more, that needs to become a given. In my day to day activities I find that it is more a matter to try and get people to maintain the basics, to try and have their impact to be as minor as possible, to have concepts of recycling become part of a mindless routine; a given. Sadly, this is not how people approach it; most people see it as a hassle. Does your work place recycle? I do not think mine does! It is something I want to get active on ASAP! We all create a great deal of trash/waste, much of which can be recycled, this is a minimum.

let me try and finish this thought

as a dog owner who hikes in the woods and as a cyclist that prefers to mountain bike I find that it is my duty not just to take, but also to give back.
the impact of the user is clear. in my short life I have seen the trails decline. mountain biking has grown to be more popular, what was single track in now double track, and what was double track in now tracked out. the foot trials are wider, fallen trees have cause people to make trail options around the obstacles. the only problem is that different people created different paths, so now there are more trails. soon the surrounding woods of Rock Creek Park will be large clay dirt mounds, stripped of all fertile soil, absent of any form of vegetation. so, what are we to do. well, the easiest thing is to STAY ON THE TRAIL! Do not bisect the trail, do not go wide around obstacles, do not walk the edge of the path to go around a puddle, simply STAY ON THE TRAIL. Now, it is absurd for me to say, keep your dog on a leash, cause I am not going to attempt that myself, but witness your pet's impact. Perhaps we need to compensate for that. Replanted INDIGENOUS plants. Replace missing soil maybe a good idea. Often while walking these trails I day dream about spearheading a project where the trail users volunteer a weekend to rebuild the trail. To give back to what gives so much to us. It is usually the same set of ideas....having soil delivered via dump truck to a number of trail heads and moving the soil about and planting some plants, everyone's working together. But, this is just a daydream, so until then I do some ROGUE TRAIL MAINTENANCE! Without tools I have created sets of stairs, anti erosion barriers, and the classic Nature Nazi trail blockade! (that is where I through branches and debrie over a section of trail that should not be used for whatever reason, usually because it is an unnecessary short cut)

back to work
more on this later

for some people all we can ask is that when they pull over to finish their 40ozer and their bag of chips that their place their waste in a trash can, rather than tossing it into the woods
or
the contractor who is too lazy to go to the dump takes his trash to a dumpster rather than the gulley in the woods
or
the yearly Christmas tree people who in the night dump their tree and wreath in the woods
all we ask is that these people and people like them choose common sense
I have seen these folks in the act, they look and act guilty, they know it is wrong
yet they persist

a few people clean up
many people use the trails
and an even greater number abuse the trails

here in the urban environment we need to take care what little "green space" we have
the longer we let it decline
the greater the likelihood of it being lost all together

it is wonderful that Rock Creek Park is in its natural state
but its current state is decline

no one would have imagined that the world population would grow like this
the city was not planned with such growth in mind
the natural state of our parks is more determined by the lazy state of park service

[by no means am I perfect....but I do try to keep my trash under control, we recycle, we clean up the park and alley around our house, we dispose of trash properly (batteries, toxins, paint to the right collection agencies)
but with two young boys we have diapers, juice boxes, and all sorts of consumer goods....we are not Amish....heck, we are not even minimalists...but we try to do our part on the basic level]

oh
other than my rogue trail maintenance...
I also try to do some trial maintenance days with MORE
and have been trying to organize some trail days on the local ROCK CREEK trails
Back from the airport...
this morning I drove Lisa, Dean, and Grant to the airport, they are off to Florida. I will be joining them in 5 days. The drive to Washington National (I still have a hard time calling it Reagan Airport) was painless, but after drop off I rolled directly into morning rush hour traffic. The long queues to each exit and each merger were maddening, people cutting into line without waiting, the usual obnoxious bullshit. As a none car commuter I just do not get it, how do they do this to themselves each day? All the full size trucks and 24 foot long SUVs, what is the point. Each vehicle with only the driver's seat filled, why do they do this to themselves. Can they do the math? Certainly the same drivers see the same cars at the same time each morning. I imagine that each am there are a variety of drivers going about their way letting their minds wander, glancing over at the blonde in the convertible Mercedes filling in the fantasy of who she is, where she is going, and what sort of reward she would offer if she were in need of road side assistance and they delivered. Seeing her one day, looking for her the next, only to see her again a week later, then building the fantasy further. Now she has a psuedo history, a created identity, a voice, an accent, and a personality. The blank time has been filled in by filling in the blank. The math seems simple, two people in each car would take the number of cars on the road in half. That is half the cars waiting in the queue at each on or off ramp, each bridge across the potomac, each toll booth on Route 66....figure it out....

Sadly, if there were more car pooling and less cars on the road, it would only reward more people who drive alone to get to work quicker.


more on this in a bit
I am not awake yet
headed out to walk the dogs
then off for a quick prework ride
feeling lazy
maybe the brisk morning air and my third cup of coffee will shake me out of the morning funk

back in a bit.

3.16.2004

Rain Rain Go Away....
Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate the rain as much as the next person. But, this rain is a reminder of the mountain bike race/ride season we all had last year. Races were canceled, rides off road were not an option, and motivation was down.
Sure, there were some experiences that were valuable when I did endure the cold wet rain.
Like the 12 Hours of Lodi Farm when I raced with Rob and Eric from the City Bikes team....
It was cold and wet, but once it was over we reflected back on a good time shared by all.

here is how it all went last year
there is talk of doing it again this year
but after being on the winning sport team two years in a row
I think for this course I best race Expert, especially seeing how our sport squads compared to the winning experts
it is a rolling course, no real climbs
not a bad course for the clydesdale


LODI FARMS SPRING 2003
I know that the facts are out...
and that eric told his tale
but here is a jumbled race report from Joel
my riding is as rusty as my race report
there is some correlation there
one thing is for sure...I don't know how to be short winded

12 Hours of Lodi Farms 2003: Rain or Shine

Having read Eric's race report I now feel compelled to put my story
forward and this morning's commute in the rain makes the memories
seem fresher and more real...

Everything Eric said was true...
The whole event was scripted as some sort of strange dark comedy... There was rain and cold on top of the 12 hour relay race format. If it had been a documentary film the viewer would have doubted it on
many levels. The setting of the prepared and the unprepared stacked
side by side, full on support crews with sponsor tents and full time
mechanics verses guys sleeping in their trucks with their bike
propped up against the outside of the truck getting drenched by the
rain. The lack of preperation and cohesion of our team had us bumping
into each other like the Keystone Cops from the silent film era. The
dialog surrounding our camp was something like a script from "Bill
and Ted's Most excellent Adventure." The equipment and the supplies
were also a mess...lodging for Eric and Robbie camped in high tech
gortex tents surrounded by shoes and mud drenched lycra tights and
shirts...I opted for sleeping in the back of my truck where the scent
of Starter Fluid whisking me off to dreamland...as for food, Little
Debbies and Red Bull were balanced out by Hammer Gel and
Gatorade...mid lap I was popping Now and Laters to maintain that
sugar buzz. The bikes were each suffering independently a different
set of symptoms, both before, during and after each lap. It is never
good to leave for the start of a lap with the bike not running "its
sunday best." Across the board things were so humorous and absurd
that it should have been filmed...but that would have taken
organization (or would have altered our behavor so that we appeared
more prepared, there is some law of anthropology that states that
observation alters the behavior of those being watched ((marc may
know the name of this theory)) ...much much more organization than we
would have ever been able to pull off.)

It was never mentioned that I had to beg and plead for these guys to
let me be part of their team. Asking them to downgrade from duo to
three man sport and then for me to use me 33% of the deciding process
to over ride their decission to ride back to back laps (2 laps each
before baton exchange) throughout the race.
Eric also forgot to mention that he said he had claimed that he was
going to get to the race site before dark to find a good spot, when
he showed up at the Fredricksberg WAWA in the cashier line behind me
at 10PM.

The hysterics began when we arrived.
The drive was painless...
Rain was present. The sky was dark. The temperature was unseasonabley
cold. The race was set to take place.
Camping was tight....we were lucky to pin our cars in a small spot
with just enough room for the tents and a place to stand and change
out of wet gear.

The start of the race was nothing shy of comical. Robbie's bike was
less tunned than mine which is not good. At 8 minutes to midnight
his numbers were still not on his bike nor had he suited up....the
fact that his wheels were rubbing the brakes was something that would
need both light, the absence of rain, and a trueing stand to tend to.
The start itself is hard to describe, lets just say that Robbie had
to run to catch up to the back of the pack, grabbing his bike and
stepping into the queue. Forcing him to make neverending passes (I
would assume, as I was resting in my truck not along side him on this
lap) as he pushed his way to a 58-59 minute first lap. The race was
on its way. Eric was set to take the second lap, and I was the third.
Eric put in a fast lap just over an hour and I was fearing that I was
mismatched, but I knew that even a fast team needs its slowest rider.
But how much slower I was not sure, I feared that I was going to let
these guys down. Their exterior was all mellow, they claimed that my
times were not as important as my efforts, intentions, and my right
to have a good time. I worked as hard as I could on my first lap,
fighting against Chain Suck, dim lights, and many other technicals
some mud related others related to lack of preparation. When I
finished my lap I asked the vounteer at the tent for my race
time...in a mumble and a blur I was told that I had finished in an
hour 30, "good lap" he said..I walked away bewildered..."good lap?"
an hour thirty? how could I be that much slower on such a short
course...I knew I could do better...(later I was to discover that my
lap time was an hour three; 63 minutes. But I was still inspired to
do better next time, assess and repair the chain suck issue and go
out ready to contend with other such problems.

The time went fast between laps. Just enough time to clean up the
bike, eat some bbq fritos, a few bites of a cold burrito, rehydrate,
and get out of wet muddy clothing and climb into the truck and get
into the sleeping bag. With Red Bull pumping my heart it is tough to
get to sleep, but after forcing my eyelids closed sleep did come, but
just as the dreams of dry trails and sunshine began there was a
knock on the truck window, it was time to wake up and prep for my
next lap. No time to steal an extra second of shut eye, such efforts
tend to backfire.

Having known my issues with my bicycle from the lap before I was
ready to approach the second lap anticipating Chain Suck, I figured I
would have to push the big ring and force myself around the course
and deal with the muscular burn. This BIG RING ATTACK seemed to be
working fine, but it had me working the brakes. This is a winding
twisting course, pushing up and down roller coaster trails between
tight trees and over roots and logs, brakes are a big part of the
acceleration/decelleration system. I was grooving pretty well and
not minding the big ring one bit, but it was not far into the second
lap when my handlebar and helmet mounting lights were growing dim.
The light in front of me was no longer a bright white cloud, but
nothing more than two dim copper penny circles barely alerting me of
obstacles in front of me. This was maiking my loss of braking power
more aggravating (and dangerous)..my pads were shot....worn to be
paper thin...I could hear the metal brackets that hold the pads
making contact to my rims...like fingernails on the chaulk board I
chringed everytime I had to brake. This all on top of racing around
the course in the rain and the cold, trying to pass all racers in
front of me, and doing my best to maintain speed with out slipping
and slidding off the trail into a deep ravine or creek along side of
the trial.

This lap finally came to a close, the course ending with an
inviggorating stream crossing, which depth was growing deeper and
deeper by the minute. The baton was passed to Robbie and back to camp
to repeat the bicycle cleaning/repairing process and the refueling
and resting process of my body. When I got back to camp I gave Eric
the standard 30 minutes into the racers lap before I shook his rain
covered tent. He stirred and moaned and started getting ready. He got
out of his tent a short time later and informed me about how he and
robbie had considered packing it in. We talked about the course and
the conditions and watched as racers dropped out around us. RVS were
slugging through the deep mud, tents were being packed in their bags,
bikes were being mounted on top of their cars. Teams were falling
apart. Morale was low. The night of rain and cold had been too much
for many of the racers...it seemed that the DNF list would be long
for this event. The drop out rate shocked me. The course was wet and
muddy, but still very ridable. Eric got suited up in his last set of
dry gear and assured me that he was going to do his next lap as a
double. This notion was exciting to me. That meant twice the rest. I
could actually get some sleep.

Eric met up with Robbie at the START/FINISH Line, the scrunchie that
was the race baton was passed and he was off to take the course
twice. In the meantime I struggled to get my bike cleaned and tunned.
I replaced all four brake pads and lubed my chain and examined it
closely for stiff links. Time passed I snacked on a variety of junk
food, Little Debbie Snack Cakes, more BBQ Fritos, and whatever else I
could get my stomach to agree with. My belly was all "gooed out" the
thought of Hammer Gel evoke the gagging response. Time passed and
before I knew it nearly an hour had passed. My bike was ready to go
and it was time for me to take that extended nap that Eric's back to
back lap would provide. Before I climbed into my rusty old truck I
gave this double lap some more thought. With all the things that
could go wrong with lights, bicycle, and body I decided it would make
most sense to suit up and wait for eric at the start/finish line. If
he wants to head back out...then I will walk back and climb in my
truck and take that long nap that I was promised and that I greatly
needed. When Eric finally finished this lap there I was, suited up
and ready to ride. Eric was relieved. His bike and body were showing
the wear of a rough lap. the long night or racers and rain had taken
its toll on the course. The couse was no longer the 100% ridable
course it once was. I took the baton, mounted the bike, and started
off...only to be retracted by the volunteers at the check in saying
that I needed a race number (mine was soggy and had fallen off mid
lap during the night) With a fresh number and a well tunned bike I
headed off for my last lap of the day. The morning light changed
everything. There were sights that had not been seen in the night,
hidden creeks and parrell trails. All sorts of wildlife had shown up
to witness the spectacle. My bike and body were both relived that
this was the end of the race. My last lap. The idea of a warm shower
and some dry clothes and the comfort of home were not far away. My
tired muscles fought to put in a competitive lap. My lights were no
longer an issue and the fresh brake pads had me in control. The chain
suck problem seemed to be cured. This could be my fastest lap of the
race...well..if the trail were not covered with 6 inces deep of
dinosaur shit. The rain was still coming down. On some parts of the
trail the center of the rail had a stream rolling steadily through.
This was the fast track. There were no real options for chosing a
line. This choice was made for you. It was mandatory that the rider
take the stream route. The mud on the sides was getting deep and was
definitely slow. THis lap was not going to be my fastest lap. It was
going to be my last lap in this race and that was enough to celebrate.

The lap finally came to a close.
As I passed our camp and headed to the finishline I could see Robbie
hanging out and telling some tall tale of beers drank and love lost
(or something to that effect.) It was clear that they had done the
math. We were well in the lead in our class and there was no need to
rush out on this lap because we would not want to send out another
rider. Some ten minutes later robbie went to the start line and
started his lap. He assured us that he would wait and not come across
the line before noon.

Time passed.
Eric and I played the event back to each other. Talked of the race
and the course as we waited for Robbie to finish up this race. I took
my muddy gear and mud caked bike to the stream that now rushed like a
river and cleaned everything as best I could. We waited as they
talleyed the results. We had dominated the sport class, and were 45
seconds shy of the leading expert team. We could have easily put out
another rider and shaved a few minutes on exchanges. With all that
said I think that on a hill-less course like this I should enter the
expert class, that is unless there is a Clydesdale Class.

Red Bull before each
Candy Durning
and some flat coke during lap three
these things seemed to work on a short flat course
but after this race I realize I need to get some miles in
and go out and hit a few climbs

3.15.2004

Monday is here...the weekend has passed
It was a great weekend, Saturday made my whole weekend, the surrounding night and days were great, yet, somehow I managed to have a full weekend in a day.
Friday Night? I can not recall....
Heading home from work I rode some urban dirt on the Karate Monkey and beat up my body. A few times I could not decide to roll down some drops of launch off them, so instead I did a feeble in between maneauver. Landing each time, but putting more shock into my shoulders and neck than I need.
Saturday am came fast....got up real early with Dean, maybe a bit before 6am, then went back to bed for an hour when Lisa and Grant got up. Hung with the kids while Lisa walked Roscoe and Brutus.....
Grant cried. I tried multiple positions, rocking, swaying, dancing, talking...Dean even helped. It took Lisa's return to set him straight again.
The clock was ticking, I grabbed my mat and rushed out the door to Yoga. I have been taking these Ashtanga Yoga classes for just over two months now. Really enjoying them. Was not sure what to do about the class with my stiff neck. Asked Gail, the instructor, what I should do...Gail felt that it could help or it could hurt, we just could not be sure. So I entered the class knowing I would be be able to attempt all positions and poses. Got into class, I was almost late, it was a full house. I found a spot right next to Rob and Vida. We chatted as we set up our mats. VIda told me that she and rob were available for dinner that night. I was shocked. Lisa had told me that we were going out on a date...just the weekend prior I was told by lisa that she wanted some one on one time, tired of everytime that we go out that I felt the need to make it a group event....I told Vida that she needed to talk with Lisa, I was not in a position to book a date for that evening.

Gome, joked with lisa about that night's plans. Talked with Rob and Vida and settled in on some plans. Firmed up with Charolotte for babysitting. Lisa packed up the kids and headed off to the Zoo where she was meeting up with Mary, Eric, and Conrad. This was perfect, I feared it was dangerous to do Yoga and go Mountainbiking on the same day. But lisa had given the green light...so I went with it.

Dave rolled up with his Sport Single Speed on the Passat and we loaded up my lead sled, the Rocky Mountain BLizzard, and headed out to grab Marc and his Canyon Snail to head off to the local trails at Cabin John. The trails are close, not that crowded, and perfect for an early season ride. My stiff neck was limiting my ability to scan around on the trails, forced to focus on field of view right before me, but we were riding casually enough that it was not an issue. It was a good ride, we all broke a sweat, no one broke their neck and we all got back at the same time as our wives and children.
No real heat.
Then a little time to clean up and get organized for the evening.
Lisa and I were headed out on the town with Rob and Vida, with Grant at our side.
Charolotte babysat with her kid sister Bella.
They played with Dean and wore him out. Everyone had a great time. It was fun for them.
We look forward to it again in two weekends!

boring blog
but that is my life

3.12.2004

ah mornings....
I have never been a morning person
some things never change, coffee and an earlier bedtime can help
but a child with nightmares in the middle of the night
his midnight transfer to my bed
then the patter of little feet kicking me in the back through the night (through the pillow buffer between us)
the owner of those little feet waking all chipper and happy to be up and awake before 6am
can all add up to make for a tough start to the day
luckily Lisa takes over and lets me steal a few more minutes of sleep each morning

my boss is cool
there is a degree of flexibilty
my said "In Time" is 9am, but a 9:30 arrival is acceptable and nearly the rule these days
but one minute past 9:30 and I feel like I am abusing the flexible system
sure, every once in a while
but lately I am unlikely to mount my bike before 9:15
not that there is so much to do
but each little thing can be a wrestling match
this am Dean discovered Lisa's dental floss
it was like there was kite string everywhere
I chased it down only no kite, just giggling Dean at the end of the unraveled wax coated string
sure that is wrong, he may know it is wrong
that may be what makes it so fun, mischevious
but it may be more a matter of curiousity
and well, we do not want to punish his curiousity
could not get Dean to let me to change his diaper
once the diaper was changed, could not get him to put on his pants
as I reached for his coat he took down his pants
tried tactics of distraction
naming his favorite things
one of which, "do you want to put some toys in your backpack?"
this is usually the clincher, the backpack gets filled, then put on his back, then we march out the door
no backpack
so this morning everything was more by force rather than the gentle drawing of him out the door
once his coat, hat, and gloves were on...Dean was waiting by the door, so I needed to leash the dogs and put coat, hat, and shoes on myself
he got a free ride this am
we were too late for climbing trees, throwing stones, and playing "fighter power" with the sticks he finds on the trail
the dogs ran leashless in the woods as my Ben Gay coated back braced itself with a 40 pound monkey bouncing around on my shoulders
we arrived
we settled in to what he calls "art class"
this morning I brought some of the Baby Announcements for some of the teachers and staff
Laura the proper Peruvian teach of Deans pressed the announcement to her heart
Dean was very pleased to present it to her
I was pleased to find a purpose of one of the several hundred remaining announcements, as we printed the smallest run, 500 total

well that was this morning
it is a beautiful day this morning

last night was warm enough for a hike on that same loop across the street
when I got home from work I could see that Dean was very active

apparently he was also a meltdown waiting to happen
from the sight of dried smudges of dirt on his face
it looked like he had already cried and wiped his face with his dirty little hands
to try and ease the burden off lisa who had Grant in her arms I offered to take Dean for a hike with the dogs
Dean made it clear, "I do not want to go for a hike."
I tried to lure him in with the opportunity to see the sun just before it drops off the horizon
Dean made a face and stood his ground, "I do not want to see the sunset"
all the while our neighbor's son Elijah was listening in, and he wanted to go for a hike in the woods with us
we have done this loop with Elijah several times before and the boys always have a good time
so Elijah tried to talk Dean into taking a hike
it was a funny sight
from a few steps away it was clear what Elijah was trying to communicate
his gestures with his hads were clear, but his bilingual upbringing has him conveying full sentences with one word
by this time I can fill in the blank
but it can be a funny sight
especially due to Elijah's size
if Dean is tall and boyish looking for a 2.5 year old boy, looking more like a 4 or 5 year old
then Elijah looks like he is 6
he is a tower of power
fast and nimble
often speaking with his hands
which in a debating situation means that he pushes other children over
Dean really digs Elijah, and vice versa
Elijah did not have to be too persuasive
it was decided, they would join me for the hike
so I had the leashes in one hand
and the two boy's hands in the other
we waited by the parked cars for a chance to cross our busy highly traversed road
once we finally crossed I heard, Kurt call out
he wanted to join us with Alec, a smaller and a tad younger boy
we waited for the others just as we entered the woods
Elijah did not want any more people to come along
he nearly threw a fit
even with his broken communication it was clear, he did not want Alec to come along
there was some slight discussion
during the discussion Dean had taken off
he was already 50 yards down the hill
I ran after him
leaving Kurt to deal with Elijah and his issues...which more than likely had to do with the issue of "three"
with three there is always an odd man out
and Elijah was showing this right off the bat
once I caught Dean I could see that Elijah had run right after me and the hike had begun with Kurt and Alec
it was tough
Dean and Elijah were not only faster than Alec, but they did not seem to want to include him
almost like they learned to "ditch" him early on
no children at this age are particularly good at sharing
so fighting for position on the log
or
tugging for the same stick is to be expected

once on the main trail we were on our way
Dean and Elijah had stepped into a game that was designed to get them to move faster
basically I claim to be chasing them and they claim to be chasing each other
rarely does anyone ever catch anyone
unless they get stuck at a large log
when that bottleneck occurs, I grab them, wrestle with them for two seconds, they giggle endlessly, I raise them over the obstacle, and then the game begins again, Dean asking, "can you get me? can you get me again? can you get me and Elijah?" That was the game. A very effective game for getting these guys around the loop and getting them around the loop fast. On this day the unconcious effort to "ditch" Alec had a bit of mischief in the air. Dean kept running off the trail. A firm rule..."Stay on the Trail!"
so when Kurt bisected the woods to catch up, he got a tongue lashing
I have no right to tell him how to behave, but if we do not stay on the trail, how can we tell the kids to stay on the trail?
Just like the parents who make their kids wear bicycle helmets, yet they refuse to wear them themselves!
the practice what I say, not what I do method is not good
in any case
Alec was a little left out
Kurt was sure to be sad and protective as any parent would while his child is being left out
but
there will be times when Alec and another child bond, thus excluding other children from their activities

enough for now
back to work
last night after the hike
I dropped Elijah off, Dean squeezed through the door uninvited and so did I
it is alway more easy to entertain the two boys than one
the toys get are all given a revived sense of purpose
toys that were ignored since the day of purchase are fought over
it is quite a site

3.11.2004

many years ago
in a lifetime very far far away
a life without a wife, two kids, two dogs, a straight 9-5 gig, and a mortgage
I was in college
it was not time well spent
but it was a good time just the same

during that time of the mid 80's I was living and loving the music of post punk DC hardcore
riding a skateboard
dying my hair and growing it long
no real cares in the world other than where we were drinking that night

while in college in Southern Maryland I met an assortment of local folks who also skated, most of which were far better skaters than I
most of which shared a love for PUNK ROCK
more specifically DC Hardcore
admitably I was playing varsity soccer and riding my bike
skating was just yet another aside
in many ways it seemed that I shared more in common with many of the locals than I did with white bred college crowd
there were some colorful characters...
Todd and Toby Morris
Damian and his sister Anya, Damian who was a student, later became my room mate
Rusty Pistaccio and older guy with his own place
Dave Bean with a ramp in his backyard
Tevor with a ramp in his backyard
some guys I knew from the bars that I would go trail riding with, Greg and others whose names and faces are far forgotten
there are more names, but not all central to the story

These guys were locals
Every college has its local/college by rivalry
I have seen BREAKING AWAY enough times to know that I am more CUTTER than COLLEGEBOY
many of these guys attended the college parties and chased the college girls
of course boys being boys....there was often some tension

back to work
more on this later




back

Rusty and Todd....
there story is an intersting one
I can recall Todd and his kid brother Toby talking about getting out of the county, St Mary's County, Maryland
it was funny
Toby was no more than 14 or 15 when we first met
he was full of this raw energy, most of it positive, all of it channeled into skating and his desire to get to New York
seems that their dreams and desires have come true
and they seemed to have done it all on their terms
all rocking together in H2O

Rusty looks like the same dude I met some 15 years ago
he was a cool cat then
and it looks like he has not shaken the cool and has managed to stay true to his course
he still makes music and jewelry
check out his site for his hand made Jewelry, PNUT


the point of this story is blurred and so are my memories
just ranting because there was a mention of RUSTY and his artwork on VH1 the other day
so I did some Web Surfing to catch up and see where these guys are at
it gave me a warm feeling to see that it is all working out for these guys
it has been a decade since I have seen any of these guys
last I saw they had less tattoos
but the same positive attitude

would love to catch up with them
guess if I chased them down I could hear the stories right from their mouths
instead of reading it all online
Along with the Grandfather Clause on Courtesy....
Some people think that Headphones are a replacement for Helmets.....
I love music...
Music can get us pumped.
Cruising on a snowboard or doing along road ride can be enhanced by the right soundtrack....
with that said....
I opt out of that option. We only have five senses, and hearing is greatly tied into feeling. If we have music blasting in our ears we will not hear that Caprice Classic with paper tags rolling up fast on our asses....no horn....just the implied....."move or else"...I have always moved, never tried to learn what the "or else" means, never flipped off this driver always let them pass on their way.
Headphones will also take the rider out of the moment and take them to a different place...
that place may be in the clouds, while actually the rider should be here on earth in the moment
living it
feeling it
watching out for other riders, obstacles, and the unexpected

this is not to say that I do not occassionally bend these rules
on long tours I may need to break it up a bit
or if I am alone and only riding cruisers on my snowboard
for me very few rules are entirely set in stone
but the routine of the headphones is a dangerous one
play the odds
odds are that a person with headphones on is more likely to put themselves in danger
than a person using all of their senses to take in their surrounds

and this totally ignores the notion of all the wonderful things to hear on a bicycle ride
including silence
a man from Vancouver shared this little story with me
and I share it with you.....

A Zen teacher saw five of his students returning from the market, riding their bicycles. When they arrived at the monastery and had dismounted, the teacher asked the students, "Why are you riding your bicycles?"

The first student replied, "The bicycle is carrying the sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!"

The teacher praised the first student, "You are a smart boy! When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over like I do."

The second student replied, "I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path!" The teacher commended the second student, "Your eyes are open, and you see the world."

The third student replied, "When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant nam myoho renge kyo." The teacher gave praise to the third student, "Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel."

The fourth student replied, "Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all sentient beings." The teacher was pleased, and said to the fourth student, "You are riding on the golden path of non-harming."

The fifth student replied, "I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle."

The teacher sat at the feet of the fifth student and said, "I am your student!"

3.10.2004

Grandfather Clause on Courtesy?
As a bicycle commuter I take a variety of paths to work. At times I am running late and am forced to take the most direct route to my office at 20th and M Street downtown, other times I have the free time to take the long way on any of a number of the paved bicycle paths around the city. More often than not these trips on the path are taken home from work during PEAK RUSH HOUR COMMUTER TRAFFIC. In a congested city like Washington DC, during the peak hours these multi-use paths can be littered with a variety of people taking on a variety of activities. There are the straight up commuters, the racers training, the distance runners, the speed walkers, bladers, women with strollers, you get the picture. It is important for all users to be considerate of each other, we should all be empathetic to the others and SHARE THE TRAIL. Yesterday when taking the long road home I encountered this wide variety of users, I passed each walker, cyclist, jogger with the basic respect. Dropping my speed when I felt that the blue haired lady with the blue haired dog would be spooked or scared by my fast and close pass, and alerting joggers three abreast with ample time for them to create a new formation allowing me to pass, offering an excuse me or a thank you at the appropriate time. Then I felt a cyclist coming up on my tail, I glanced back and sure enough there is a man tailing close behind in a bright colored rain jacket, very 80's. He makes his pass, not a word, not a glance...then he passed a walker...again not a word..nothing. I pass the pedestrian and give a polite and almost quiet, "On your Left." and roll up along side of the other cyclist and make mention of his lack of an "audible." He says that he saw me look back, which is a response that I usually get from these guys. I comment that he said nothing to the walker, as we pass other walkers and I excuse myself and try to be gracious....he says nothing. By this point I am really too winded for conversation, I am on a crusty mountainbike with knobby tires and he is on a well...crusty road bike, but at least he has the thing tires with high pressure for a faster roll. I try to discuss things, in my oxygen deprived brain I am forced to fall back on the grunts and displeasure instead of an articulate well thought out discussion.

more on this in a bit
need to grab some lunch
I am starved

back from lunch
lets try and wind this down before it is time to slide down the dinosaur....

so....
this commuter who may have been a few years older than me was cruising at a healthy clip, perhaps faster than would be safe, but I was going roughly the same speed, so I am in no position to judge. It is my contention that the "audible" is not given to spook the other users and seldom is it used to ask them to move, but rather as a bit of respect....to me "on your left" means, yes I did see you there, no I did not mean to spook you, I am on my way...have a nice day smile exclamation point. This other rider did not feel this way. He as other riders try to do, pulled some sort of tone like..."I have been riding these trails for years..." Well, I rode those trials when they were still train tracks, so shut the fuck up grandpa! The trails have not been there that long, I grew up in that area and I did ride my Sturdem Archer three speed over those bumpy rail road ties. There is no grandfather clause on basic courtesy. Each user has a right to the path. And if we are going to share it we should share it respectfully and hopefully safely. That means....no racing....no drafting.....did I say no drafting...slow at congested areas...anticipate the moves of other users...expect the most idiotic as it is sure to unfold before you....every jogger is about to 'button hook' and head back....every small child is about to zig and zag on their bike...and every dog is about to lunge for a squirrel. But most riders do not ride in anticipation of this. They are all too busy fighting for the crown, King of the Trail!

Well, there are these things on weekends...They are called races. And well, this may be the appropriate time for racing, drafting, letting it all hang out, testing your limits, etc.

I handled this guy wrong. As I often do, but, so many people are always right. Somehow we have all decided that we can argue ourselves right. My parting words to him as I buttonhooked to loop back to DC and he went forward as we hit downtown Bethesda was "as you close your eyes before you go to sleep rethink your behavior."
These are the words from a seasoned asshole. I can be an asshole any time of the day for no reason at all. I wake up un a bad mood, I go to bed in a bad mood, and for no reason. MY LIFE ROCKS! I have a great job (well a good job) A wonderful house, two awesome dogs, a beautiful supportive wife that has given birth to the most amazing children, and yet....I can still be a jerk. But the difference between me and this asshole.....I re-evaluate my behavior. I regret my behavior. I fight my impulses, I work for change. I battle my demons. I try to be a thinking being rather than a reacting being. I try. I have remorse. I have regrets. Again, I try...my evolution is slow... but I am evolving.

As for this guy...
and the many more just like him
I have approached people days after such conflicts. Made my apologise. Tried to pin it on a bad day. And you know what...in each case I have never heard from any of these roadie fucks that they too thought it over. That I was right...drafting is dangerous....or passing without an audible is obnoxious and rude....whatever.

Sorry about my anger
but
I am working on that
these things take time
I am not a bad person, just very imperfect.
just some morning blogging as I sip my coffee
Grant is still asleep or perhaps he is finally asleep
and Dean is entertaining himself with some toys. His imagination has really expanded...


The other night after a glorious night drive through Rock Creek Park, Grant was asleep and Dean was excited. The moon was low, huge, and orange, and there were deer feeding all over the park. There was far too much for him to sleep on this drive. As we entered Mount Pleasant from Porter Street there was a gathering of police cars, a mix of both DC metropolitan and Park Police. I passed without giving it any thought. The next day the talk on the street was they found a body, a human head, perhaps the final remains of Chandra Levy.

I have yet to check the papers and missed the snippet on the news so I still do not know. Strange how these things no longer effect me. It is all too much common place to worry about.

Mt Pleasant


Rock Creek Park
more Rock Creek History/Info
Today at 1PM NPR (National Public Radio) is having a show on Spalding Gray
Not sure how that will fit into my work day, but am going to try and tune in at that time.

For anyone familiar with Spalding Gray and his work I am sure that this will be a treat. For those in the dark on who Spalding Gray is/was this may be your chance to catch up.

Check it out! NPR at 1PM today 3.10.04

Here are some archived pieces on NPR about Spalding Gray

3.09.2004

.


CORRECT!
The Funniest Man on Television!


.
Dean is now roughly two and a half. He knows his animals...I mean he really knows his animals. We are to a point where he is growing to know distinctions of different breeds of dogs and the different sex identifiers of various animals (ie. the male lion has a mane, the male deer with the antlers is a Buck, etc.) At an early age Dean as very interested in the computer, Dean's room was my office or was it my office was Dean's room....judging by the multicolored Crayola Crayons on the wall I guess it was Dean's room. He saw me on the computer and he could not keep his hands off the keyboard. He quickly displayed a set of keyboard shortcuts that changed settings I did not know the computer had, his use of the mouse was rough, but he could cause a fair amount of damage with that. So to keep him entertained on the computer at a young age we found some fun pages. As a new dad I knew nothing about any kids specific pages like NOGGEN.com so I just used some basic logic. We stumbled up in this Animal Noises page, we return back to it even years later.

With that said...
I better start learning some dinosuars or I am going to look pretty foolish.
Back to Bikes!
MADWAGON

the commercial on this page is worth a look
MADWAGON COMMERCIAL
I know nothing about these bikes
the prices all see quite reasonable
for many people who live in flat areas or plan to go no further than the corner store for a 40
or to the ice cream parlor around the corner
the cruiser is the perfect machine


CHECK IT OUT!
BOOKS
off the top of my head I am going to try and list some books that I feel are must reads
some of which I really need to read again
some of which could be read in one sitting

1. The Little Prince
(if you figure it out, let me know, maybe I need to learn French as something may have been lost in the translation)
2. The Alchemist
(read it, it does not help explain life, but it may set you at ease that some things happen because that is just the course of life)
3. Lolita
(a wonderful book, a must read for all)
4. Geek Love
(a personal favorite among favorites)
5. Cold Mountain
(a cool love story, a chic book that men can get into, I have yet to see the movie, fear if may not paint the picture on the screen that I saw in my head)
6. anything by John Irving
7. anything by J.D. Salinger (since I think he only published three books under this name, he is an easy one to read the complete works, seek out 9 Stories)
8. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
(read it again)
9. Something by Hemingway, any collection of short stories....The Old Man and the Sea...these may get you started...then you may go deeper
10. On the Road
(this and many of the other "Beat Poets" may be worth pursing, Bukowski or Ginsberg....you choose)

thought that it would take more than a minute to get a list of 10 must reads
there were others that came to mind
some New Age, but figured that I covered enough of that with The Alchemist, but feel free to read The Way of the Peaceful Warrior
tried to stay free of too many sports related books, but Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, the book by Goran Kopp: My Everest Odyssey, books by the top athlete of your favorite sport are all worth a look
that is enough for now
back to work
got all sorts of stuff that I really should be doing
like making and eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich

3.08.2004

SPALDING GRAY FOUND DEAD

BLOG from a friend of SPALDING

News Article about the Death of Spalding Gray

sad
he entertained
he enlightened
and he may have even inspired

I watched Swimming to Cambodia more times than I could count
Read several of his books and I have not read that many books
even saw him perform live at Wolftrap
he was an eccentric unique entertainer
he will be missed
there was not a cookie cutter used to create this man

the saddest part is that he dies leaving behind a family
depression may be part of the story
but we will never know what truly happened to cause the disappearance and death of Spalding Gray

3.05.2004

Inspirtation and DAY ONE
Take inspiration from where ever you can find it. Look to magazines, books, and films. Watch others around you, your peers, your competetors, your enemies, the leaders and creators of whatever your interests may be. Let the morning sun or the evening stars help your mind wander as you find inspiration from the world around you and from your feelings within. Take that inspiration, hold onto it, nurture it, make it grow, then share it.

Each journey starts with day one....
Before day one there are many days of thinking, planning, and preparation, and of course dreaming. There are many nights of trouble shooting ideas and dreams over drinks in a bar, without Day One all these nights of schemes and plans are complete fluff. Then finally, the dream becomes a reality, a thought becomes an action, and it is day one.

dean is awake
more later

back
boys napping
wife walking he dogs
me blogging

what is this DAY ONE?
yesterday after leaving work a tad early I felt I had the time to try and get out on the bike for a few more miles than normal. My intended route, miles, intensity, and speed were altered when I spotted from the Capital Crescent trail a rider cruising along the towpath along side the C&O Canal with a larger yellow trailer, the stretch limo of trailers, and an assortment of packs. Without hesitation I back tracked to a point to where I could access the towpath and quickly caught up to this lone rider. Immediately we were talking. Curious as I was I could not contain myself....Starting or Finishing? Where you headed? How long are you going for? and What the heck is this thing you toteing along behind you?
All my questions were answered and then some.....
His name is John and he is headed to Alaska. He has sold everything he owns other than the possessions that he is carrying with him. There are pots and pans, extra tires, certainly tools; although I could not see them, there were two skis that turned out to be a back country snowboard that splits in half, all that with paddles and an exterior that turns out to be a collapsable sea kayak. John is riding a southern route across the United States where he expects to sell his bike In Seattle and climb into his self designed and self constructed collapsable sea kayak. From there he will paddle his way to Alaska.
On our introduction he was just miles from home, as this is Day One from him.

proof read
and more to come on this
going to try to get his contact info
and get him to start a BLOG



joel
Some CITY BIKES Mountainbike Team Members with Ned Overend
Photo!
here is a link to a friend Chris' page
it has a odd mixture of information
Cycling Links
Cyling Repair Guides
Video Clips from the Simpsons
Audio Clips from South Park
and some personal images
a good resource

Chris' Page

3.04.2004

The C Chair Shuffle and the Hike up Four O'Clock Run
and hitch hiking Loveland Pass
In my early 20's back in the early 90's I passed through Colorado on a cross country motorcycle adventure. I stayed with friends in Boulder and Aspen. This taste of the Rockies was not enough. After settling in the Bay area for a short while I realized that I would be happier in the Rockies, so I sold my motorcycle, shipped my mountainbike and gear back to DC, got in my car and drove out to Colorado. My arrival to Colorado was a confusing one. There was so much to learn about the system of the mountain resort town, not to mention I was in an odd situaion with a quasi girlfriend who had a quasi ski patrol boyfriend, but that is a BLOG not worth BLOGGING about. Other than my spring time ride up the Gondola in Aspen I had never been on a ski lift before, the only snowboarding I had ever done was on the old Burton boards that lacked a metal edge. Our rides were always on golf courses with moderate grades and usually ended with a crash rather than a stop. Upon arrival to Colorado I learned that the snowboard needed a metal edge, snowboards needed special binding, and also special boots...to top this off...riding the chair needed a lift ticket or a lift pass. Lacking the funds for any of this I was forced to settle in on another option, Hitch-hiking Loveland Pass. Having never experienced a metal edge I was zipping through the trees without any chance for stopping, again falling back on crashing as my only stop option. It was complete madness, looking back, I realize I was lucky to walk away without breaking several limbs. I was going from a gentlely graded grade of a golf course to a steep wooded path with short steep drops, jumps, and all sorts of other dangerous obstacles. It is funny to think that the first trip to Loveland Pass was with Jack, the quasi boyfriend of my quasi girlfriend...he cooked me breakfast that morning....like the warden delivering a death row inmate his last meal.

DEAD MAN BOARDING!

I survived.
I recall being winded by the high altitude. Never knowing that it was not my inexperince that put me at such high risk as much as it was my inferior equipment. Jack, a seasoned ski veteran, and a ski patroler, knew the danger he was putting me in by taking me to "the Pass." I survived. We did not truly bond on this experience, the basis of our relationship forbad such a closeness. It was all so new and different for me. The whole mountain experience. The people, the culture, the absence of oxygen, and the sport of snowboarding were completely forgein to me. As I waited at the botton of the out of bounds ski run leaning on my diminutive board that lacked metal edges I got looks and stare, made friends, and got laughs....but I did not get it. It was only months later when I got NITRO FUSSION all mountain board that I came to understand what a snowboard truly was.

Eventually, I got a job, actually got several, backed away from the quasi girlfriend and her quasi boyfriend and let them take their course, I settled in Breckenridge. I knew just a few people. My boarding stepped back to the basics, with a ski pass and a new board I was able to see how insane my efforts were on that old Burton Woody. Took it all back a notch and tried to keep my uninsured body out of harms way. Oh, I forgot to mention that I got run over by a car within the first months of arrival, that may have taken some wind out of my sails as well. From my morning job I went to the mountain and did some riding and then off to therapy. Quasimotto needed to fix his back. Quasimotto did not have a quasi girlfriend, all he had was a whole lot of back pain and a mess of hospital bills, and a whole lot of drinking and shooting pool...that is what boys do in these girl-less cowboy towns.

The seasons changed. Boarding moved to biking, well first snow turned to mud. The high altidude environment was usless to me. No fun for the biker and no fun for the boarder. Funny how we were unable to appreciate our situation, guess that is being young and stupid. By this time I had a network of friends and we had all lost our seasonal jobs and were looking for other jobs and trying to entertain ourselves. We drank, we shot pool, and we took road trips....off to Boulder for days or weeks at a time....then off to Moab to ride our bikes...then back to the mountains....we did not appreciate how grand it all was. It was amazing. If we had been able to limit the alcohol intake we may have been able to do some more riding and some more hiking and even added a few more sports to our routine, but I think that the ski town has a certain loneliness that we tried to drown with bottles of Jim Beam and whatever else drink special may be available for us.

Then, as much as I loved the mountains and enjoyed the party. I felt it was time to leave. For some reason I thought I would do some more traveling, Asia was on the brain. And honestly, there were aspects of the resort lifesyle that I could not take any more. The never ending party was something I was trying to escape. Humorously enough I got back to DC only to drink and shoot pool in another town. My plans to go cross country on a big old Suzuki GS850 to fly our of SF to Japan were put on hold as after a broken clavicle made me jobless and I spent all my cash, while my disassembled motorcycle could not be assembled with one hand as the other one healed in a sling. Once back on my feet I lost sight of that goal and fell in love with my now wife. We got to Asia, only to visit, never to live, it was an awesome 4 months Guess we will have to get back.

Lunch time
more in a bit

back from lunch
where was I?
where am I going with this?
from the title it seems that I am supposed to bring this around to the C Chair Shuffle

once back on the East Coast I still had a need to fulfill my craving for POWDER
some of my peers teased me with what they figured to be the tongue or dialect of the snowboarder...
"FRESHIES...CHERRY CHERRY POW POW...EPIC...."
They were right, these were the words so often used to explain the pleasure of deep champagne powder....but they did not understand, no one who has experienced it can ever understand....it is a drugless drug and I loved it and I craved it. So each winter after my return to Washington I would make a pilgramage back to Breckenridge. There were still friends living the same life so there were always couches to sleep on, bar mates to drink with, and boarders to ride the chair with. There was one issue...all of this was very expensive. Whether flying or driving that all cost money. When on vacation, whether for a week or for a month, that was time when money was going out and no money was coming in. Lift tickets are expensive so I had to be creative......I tried to mix up my approaches and my attacks to decrease the odds of getting into real trouble. In an effort not to get anyone into trouble other than myself I tended to try and hike onto the mountain alone. There were two different routes that I used to get to a chair that accessed accessed some of the higher parts of the mountain, but the lift opperators did not check for tickets, as it was a quarter of the way up the mountain. This path was called THE C CHAIR SHUFFLE. I would vary my route, usually cutting through the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, but this route put me right below the chair lift, behind the "lift ops." Quite risky, hiding in their blind spots, Jedi mind tricks, and pure luck were all needed....I felt like I was living "Murder on the Orient Express." (or whatever that movie about the tourist smuggling hashish back from Turkey was) The hike up Four O' Clock Run was a tad longer, but it offered a situation where you could click into your board and ride right into the queque. Still risky. I did get caught, but never got in trouble, I was lucky. Apparently there was a safe and easy hike to the Falcon Chair on Peak 10, but that was never convient for me, but Bob Blair claimed it was the safest. When I did not feel like hiking there was always the wire snips for the afternoon ride, which was an A-Basin favorite or the ever dangerous Children's ticket, children under 6 ride free.....it was a ticket, and it worked on the modern scanners.....but was very risky...you have to enter the lift line and go face to face with the the mercenary lift op seeking the bounty of 50 dollars for nabbing the scamming snowboarder. Let me cut this short, this is not a manual, "50 Ways to get onto the mountain without Paying" As my recommendation to anyone is to get a job that pays well enough that you do not need to fall back on the "hook up" or "the scam." It is too risky and too stressful.

if I were to live life all over again...
there are many things I would do different
but that is a BLOG for another day
Marriage
Divorce
Infidelity
Life

I lack both the experience and the knowledge to BLOG on these issues, but as a person with an opinion I choose to BLOG on anyway.....
I have only been married for over 4 years (and with my wife for nearly 9 years), it has been like most relationships the metaphorical roller coaster with very high highs and some rather low lows, and moments of calm unaware of the turns ahead. We have been able to handle most of what life has sent our way, in so many ways our lives are charmed. Our obstacles have been minor and few, yet we find battles and struggles just the same.
We are healthy, active, and moderately attractive.
Our home is a glorious house with nice furnishing in a wonderful location. (well there are some short comings, we are in Washington DC, not Utopia)
Our dogs are good when they are not being bad.
And our children are both healthy and strong with no great issues other than the basic adaptations that all children go through (sleeping,eating, going to bed, fighting for attention, making friends, sharing, learning physical skills, learning language, etc.)
Yet, life has its battles.
In my mind I think that one of the greatest error we all make in relationships, ANY RELATIONSHIP, is that failure to appreciate what we have. We tend to step into routine and take our surroundings for granted. We are selfish and greedy, always wanting more. Whether we fail to slow to pet our dog who greets us at the door, or we run quickly through the motions of getting our children ready for bed. Even our job, we all bitch about our job while we should be happy to have a job at all. It is tough to appreciate each moment for its intrinsic value. Each of us is tired after a long day, as a man all I want to do is put my feet up, grab a drink, and scan through the channels. In the world of love and romance we all spend so much time to get into a relationship, but rarely do we spend a fraction of the effort to stay in that same relationship. For some reason the "cartwheels" have stopped, we no longer strive to entertain and impress our mates, but instead we lounge about in our underwear with potato chip crumbs collecting on our full bellies (okay, that is me...maybe not you) Why do we let the magic fade?
It is hard.
Even if I want to do cartwheels, how can I expect my wife to have the time to watch them?
There is breastfeeding for one child and bathing and bedtime for the other. There is trash to be taken out and dogs that need to be walked, bills need to be paid, as well as an assortment of other domestic tasks.
In life I meet other men, some married and some divorced, with their age and years can come experience, so I try to probe these men for insight and guidance. Whether it is our pediatrician or a stranger in a bar, each man married or divorce has had time to reflect on his relationship, his strengths, his failures, and his successes. I ask and they answer.
Many offer the same textbook answers, "Communication is the key!"
others will tell you, "respect each others space, spend time apart"
it can be more simple that , "don't be a jerk!"...."don't cheat!"
In my mind any relationship can work, it just takes effort from each side. Egos need to be put aside and both members need to sacrifice and try. If we are respectful of our mates and slow things down and think how our actions effect them and how we may feel if the table were turned.
As in the case of infidelity/cheating. It would crush me to learn that my wife were cheating on me, thus it is obvious that I would never cheat on her and risk causing her that pain and jepordising all that we have worked for.
so....
Don't be petty.
Don't play games.
Act with a combination of your heart and mind.
Be considerate.
Understand that actions have consequences.
Every action has a reaction
.

etc.
back to work
or this action will have the reaction of me GETTING FIRED FROM MY JOB!
I doubt that I said anything worth reading
I doubt that anyone read this far

and article that helped inspire this topic
"Pitfalls of Marriage"

3.03.2004

here is a short QUIZ...
What Faith/Spirituality are You?
it is an interesting little set of questions
and the results may intrigue you

religion is not really part of my life
but it seems today it is part of my BLOG
Here is a clip from Belief.net
interesting
over a decade ago I considered myself a "SOUL RIDER"
as I rode for the feeling


Snowboarding as Meditation
It's about time winter sports got spiritual. At Beliefnet we've previously covered Christian wrestling, Christian hunting, and even Christian yoga. Now an Anglican priest is trying to stir up interest in Christian snowboarding. Rev. Neil Elliot, a chaplain at the University of Central England in Birmingham, is writing a PhD thesis in the spirituality of snowboarding.

Elliot, currently spending four months in the Canadian Rockies to interview snowboarders for his research, says that many snowboarders are interested in the spiritual elements of their often risky sport. Some back-country snowboarders even refer to the sport as "soul riding."

"Soul riders are not seeking the glamour of video and magazine coverage, but the peace and solitude of riding 'out of bounds,'" Elliot told the Anglican Journal. "For some riders, and I include myself in this, there is an out-of-body experience (in snowboarding). You're there but you're not there. Your riding becomes a meditation; it takes you out of yourself."

check out BELIEF.NET for all sorts of odd stuff
from YOGA to Quizes about what religion suits your life's philosophy
MOVIE REVIEW: BANFF MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL

Banff Film Festival at National Geographic

Head to the middle of this page, BANFF Film Festival, for clips
nothing shy of inspirational

this year they have broken free of the stereotype of the ADRENALIN JUNKIE films and created another festival catering to that genera, RADICAL REELS

This event sells out every year.
It is a must see in any town. Whether you are an adrenalin junkie pushing the limits of your sport, a world traveler, or an Olympic level Couch Potato...these films will get you pumped and inspired. Just as a Jean Claude Van Damm movie leads it viewers to leave the theater thinking that they are ready for a Kung Fu Gang War....these films make us all think that we can drop any cliff on our skis or boards, paraglide off our garage, or climb any mountain or rock face, or ride our bikes down any rocky descent.

The variety of films last night covered a spectrum of variety that entertained for nearly three hours as if it were three minutes, never did a film drag. All who attended were entertained and inspired.


FOCUSED was film one....
A big mountain skier rides steeps and deeps pushing his personal limits and the limits of the sport only to take it one step further. His personal narrations read like a script for an Owen Wilson character, to sum it up in his words...."I live it and I rip it!" and his actions backed up his words. Not only was he riding the unridable terrain, but his choice of equipment was as colorful as his persona. After many comments that the shape of his skis closely resembled water skis, he opted to put some ski bindings on some water skis, then later in the film he had a snowboard on each foot, then a snowboard mounted like a monoski, but that was all very subtle. The rocks, the drops, the avalanches around him were more the focal point. The camera perspective was normally from a helicopter, but it switched to a helmet cam, it was all more than a mortal like myself could grasp. The rides were epic, limitless, he was clearly FOCUSED. Then, just when you think you have seen it all. He offers the question of "What is next in Big Mountain skiing?".....and he opts to take the line that is not a line and shoots right off a cliff.....then another cliff...again....and again....pulling out a parachute and gliding safely away. This was the perfect start to a night of films after a day of work....got the heart pumping....woke up the crowd....got everyone pumped.
The title is something that should help people appreciate that these athletes are not just slamming a Red Bull (Mountain Dew is OUT,) crossing their fingers, and hoping for the best. Focus backed up by the pinnacle skill level are vital to attempt any of these maneuvers.

The tone shifted drastically with the next film, SISTER EXTREME, a mockumentary. It was 15 minutes into the film before I realized that this was a mockumentary and not an actual documentary. It was dry and humorous and quite a break from many of the climbing films that display the heroics of superhuman demigods.

The next film moved to a more serious film with a more sociological work, A Man Called Nomad. This 44 minute tale told the story of a young nomad of northeastern china, born a nomad into an ever changing world. How his life sculpts his identity, and his frustration as he tries to grow with the times. It was a beautiful story of a complex life in a changing world, showing the clash of modern world with the old world of the Nomad. Definitely worth checking out a clip on this one. It was a beautiful moving piece that offered much chance for insight into our own lives as we try to figure out our different yet also changing world. Too much to say on this without you the reader having seen this film....
I walked away thinking....
this man must be no more than 25....we grow up slow in the Western World

Biscuit was a three minute short about a tenacious terrier that has taken on bouldering and climbing rather than chasing frisbees and sticks. A lighthearted piece that was a feel good viewing, well other than the moments were the theater was on the edge of their seat watching, waiting, and fearing the inevitable fall of this small little Jack Russell Terrier. And yes, Biscuit did fall, but he was able to recover and not get hurt and approached the same climb and overcame it. This was a basic feel good piece from a production company that had one of my favorites from the year prior, URBAN APE, Tim O'Neil climbs anything and everything in his hometown of Boulder.

Then the evening of films came to a close with an unlikely sport topic for a mountain film festival, soccer. THE OTHER FINAL, is a film that documents the events leading up to a soccer contest held between the worst two teams in the FIFA international league, a contest between the countries of Montserrat and Bhutan. The characters of each country are as different as the lands they come from. The islanders of Montserrat are cocky and vain, while the mountain people of the diminutive mountain nation of Bhutan are humble and kind. It was a gathering of cultures. The film was wonderfully produced by a Dutch film maker/World Cup Soccer Fan. It was a high quality production that unfolded as quite a tale. The beautiful backdrop of Bhutan and the characters of each team made for an entertain wrap up to the evening.

Check the Website to see when this film festival is headed to your hometown
and if you missed it this year
catch it next year
you will thank me!