4.30.2004

LUNCHBREAKBLOGBREAK
ah, lunch break....the time of the day where I stuff my face and guiltlessly write and read BLOGS
TimmyP and I had several exchanges back and forth on the topic of photo of a pretty girl we had each seen on the internet. No, not Pam Anderson or Jessica Simpson, but rather a simple face shot of a brown eyed girl with simple brown hair; natural. Just something about her eyes and that smile, perhaps there is something Monalisaesque about her, I never got the Monalisa thing so I will not expand. After all this build up I must get to my point, I told TimmyP that I was going to write a short story based on that image, I don't normally write short stories, I am anecdotal and enjoy streams of consciousness rants, but fiction is not my thing so bear with me....


It seemed as if Alice was on a roll. She had always been a passionate artist, growing up in a nurturing creative environment where she found a love for oil painting, acting, and bicycles, yes, bicycles. She was one of several children, her mother a crafty homemaker with a love for reading the great books and gardening, while her father was a nutty man with a passion for wheels (spoke wheels), well actually a passion for anything and everything that he touched;Clifford "Cliff" Braun was a tinkerer, an inventor, and a theorist. Cliff had a love for machines, mechanisms, and technology....and well for communication tools. Cliff's work space was filled with projects started, projects unstarted, and even a few near finished projects, always moving to the next thing, always more thrilled by the process more than the product. When the internet came to be Cliff jumped right on the case. The Ham radio, CB, and all the other outdated devices of communication were set aside. He built up his own server and started building low end information based web sites for himself and for his friends. From this new venue of communication Cliff was able to share all of his information and interests with anyone and everyone who cared to read.....and you know what they did read. That was all many years ago, part of the puzzle, but not the meat of the message. Alice had moved away from home after she finished college, in just three years, somehow in that time she managed to graduate with a dual major and a minor; Sociology/Theater and fine arts. She got a job as a social worker where she worked with urban children and tried to use painting as a form of therapy, in her time away from work when she was not lending her hand at the soup kitchen of riding bikes with the children from her program she was dedicated to local theater, always scoring the leading roles and receiving smashing reviews. Her popularity was shocking, for some reason her popularity grew beyond the scope of her local community. Her art had been selling via the internet for years and her acting performances had been packed houses as well. Alice Braun was a simple girl, not vain or conceited, she took the response to her art in stride and stayed committed to her goals. She was not driven by the fame, the applause, or even the money she received for selling her paintings or sculptures. Alice produced becuase it made her feel alive, a trait that she must have picked up from her father Cliff, a man who made his living off a small motorcycle repair shop, custom bicycle frame building, and an occassional patent. (most of his inventions cost more to create then they ever recouped in earning, but he did not invent for money, he invented for the pleasure of the task)
Over the years Alice had made a few friends and acquaintances of her admiring fans. At gallery openings and at post theater performances she would meet various people she had met before. Some of which were from different east coast cities or from surrounding towns. What had brought them this great distance never caused her any great curiousity. She was a lover of the arts and thought felt that there are those that love to catch a performance on Broadway while there are those that prefer the downhome smaller theater troops such as the one that she was teamed up with in Boston at this time.
At one of the gallery exhibitions in a downtown Boston, not far from the rural home that Alice grew up in just outside of Wooster, Mass, Alice noticed through the long, tall, clear glass windows that there were an extraordinary amount of bicycles locked up outside the gallery. Every No Parking sign, every coin operated meter, and every tree (yes....every tree....for shame) was surrounded by as many bicycles as could possibly be leaned and locked to. This caught her attention, as bicycles normally do, but this for some reason occupied the back of her mind. Throughout the rest of the evening Alice kept getting wierd signs and signs from the predomanantly male crowd at this gallery opening. When Alice met a thin blonde man with a wirey goatee she noticed that when she shook hands he had an odd brown oval on his hand, a mark that she had recognized on her own hands after a long bicycle tour one summer. That mark had been created by a space in the cycling gloves. There were other odd clues that she began to notice.....one of the woman that seemed so interested in buying some of her art had some tattoos on her arms and legs as revealed by her sleeveless shirt and short skirt; all these tattoos had a recurring theme of the bicycle, some were cogs others were chains and the words..."the Revolution will not be MOTORIZED!" After a while she grew a tad curious about this bicycle culture that surrounded her. Was it due to the bohemian nature of artists and their love for bikes or something else. Then in a conversation with an old friend who had been going to her shows and plays, Alice brought up the topic of bikes and caught a slip in the conversation. The young man with the hairless body made mention of Cliff, almost as if he knew him. She asked. Oh, do you know my father?


more on this in a bit
need to get back to this in a bit
ICE BREAKERS
there are classic questions in conversation that people use to break the ice or should I say....to get to know each other better....
where are you from? what do you do for work? is your hand bigger than your face? and
what are your favorite movies?
"What are your Favorite movies?" is a question that can identify people to a level of kinship or aversion similar to the label of Cat or Dog person. Earlier today while reading through SOOZ's Blog I commented on this same question....
here is what I came up with...
favorite movies?
that question can get different answers at different times of the day.....
but lets see what I have spinning through my mind right now
Favorite Documentaries-Ken Burn's THE CIVIL WAR
British Classic 7-UP
Bruce Brown's motorcycle epic ON ANY SUNDAY

Favorite Comedies
Heathers
Barfly (to all my friends)

Favorite SequelMax Max/Road Warrior

Favorite Cycling films
Pee Wee's Big Adventure
Breaking Away
The Bicycle Thief

favorite Chic Flicks
My Life as a Dog
Roman Holiday

and favorites in my DVD collection
Planet of the Apes (box set from before Marky Mark was born)
Fist full of Dollars (the Man with no name trilogy)
Bill Jack Box Set

and of course

BARAKA!
all of the movies listed here are MUST SEES!
if you have not seen these films
go join NETFLICKS
make this list of movies your selection
and then get back to me
I could have made a longer more detailed list
but figured that this was a good starter list
something to get you off the Police Academy Classics that you have been watching ever since your VCR ate your bootleg copy of FLETCH and CADDY SHACK
now is the time to take it to the next level!

and you do know that if your hand is bigger than your face the odds of your getting cancer are slim to none....
check it out...
SMACK!

4.28.2004

okay, I admit it
my CUTTING AND PASTING is getting out of hand
but this posting by TIMMYP is a Mantra for life

SIMPLE WORDS TODAY
take a moment of silence

or an extra step to hold your spouse

hug your child and don't let go

tell a friend how much you care

go outside and ride your bike


if I steal from someone's BLOG is it BLOGERISM?
The Cliffs.....
you tell the tale
lets see where the comments take you
I tried to write a piece on it
but came up empty
ULTIMATE COUNTER or ULTIMATE DEPRESSION
I was catching up with the actions of Jenny in Cali on her BLOG page when I noticed her COUNTER
I thought to myself that I may want a COUNTER
with a COUNTER I would like to know how many people are visiting my site
then I realized that a COUNTER would actually show me how few people are visiting my site
rapidly I played forward to my nights in front of the computer
there I could picture myself sitting with wide eyes with bursting blood vessels staring blankly into my computer screen
never blinking
waiting
just waiting
waiting for the COUNTER to move
hitting REFRESH to see if someone had logged on but that the COUNTER had not updated
feeling a raise of excitement in my heart
and
some butterflies in my stomach seeing that the counter had in fact clicked
then growing sad realizing that the COUNTER only clicked because I had loaded the page again
I was causing the COUNTER to COUNT
that I am my only reader
the comments via HALOSCAN increase because I comment there
and then my COUNTER WOULD COUNT from my own viewing of my own BLOG page
it is all very sad

if I were ever to publish a book
it would be dangerous
I would go bankrupt buying all the books to try and get myself on the Best Seller List!

[a friend of mine who once had aspirations of being a Juke Box hero told me that in the record biz they often use that method of buying their own records to put the records on the charts...they know which months are slow and they make their move then....I guess they sell the unused CDs (well LP records from the date in which that tale was told) back to the record stores when they start requesting more as they have grown to be so popular......not unlike a person I knew who used to get Airline Miles when she used her American Express card...when ever at dinner...she gathered the cash and paid with her Credit Card...always paid her bills on time...and get this....she got cash advances and paid the cash advances immediately....all to get more Airline Miles...they caught onto the cash advance loop hole, but only after she traveled the world]
Words interest me
now don't think that I am bright enough to really geek out on this stuff
but I do get curious about the root of certain sayings, terms, and/or words
these two words seem so close
the roots are not as similar as I would think
and the meanings are not that similar at all
yet they are similar spelling and formation

from BRITANNICA.com

Main Entry: in·dig·e·nous
Pronunciation: in-'di-j&-n&s
Function: adjective
Etymology: Late Latin indigenus, from Latin indigena, n., native, from Old Latin indu, endo in, within + Latin gignere to beget -- more at END-, KIN
Date: 1646
1 : having originated in and being produced, growing, living, or occurring naturally in a particular region or environment
2 : INNATE, INBORN
synonym see NATIVE
- in·dig·e·nous·ly adverb
- in·dig·e·nous·ness noun

Main Entry: in·di·gent
Pronunciation: 'in-di-j&nt
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin indigent-, indigens, present participle of indigEre to need, from Old Latin indu + Latin egEre to need; perhaps akin to Old High German ekrOdi thin
Date: 15th century
1 : suffering from indigence : IMPOVERISHED
2 a archaic : DEFICIENT b archaic : totally lacking in something specified
- indigent noun
BIKE NEW YORK
During my lunch break today I thought that I would check out a few other BLOGS
Cycling BLogs that is....so I went to the CYCLING DUDE'S BLOG PAGE and he reminded me of an up coming event, BIKE NEW YORK!
for those with family or other responsibilities it may be too late to pack up and go to New York City for this weekend's tour of the 5 Boros, but maybe now would be a good time to mark it down for next year. For those of us on the East Coast it is a great excuse to head up to NY. Everyone has some family or friends in NY, so why not piggy back a friendly visit with an awesome bike tour. Several years back when Lisa and I were youngsters in love we went up and did this tour, we ended up riding separately as my free hub died at the start, but we each had a great time just the same.
If you can not make BIKE NEW YORK
well, then maybe BIKE DC suits your schedule better
This too is a great event. For several years now I have volunteered for this event with some other folks from City Bikes and the City Bikes Mountain Bike team. It pulls out all sorts. A great gathering.
Last year as I rode sweep with a backpack full of tools my timing was such that I rode along with Larry Black on one of those wacky 'big wheeled bikes' My pace was a tad faster, but stopping to repair a flat or do a minor brake adjustment gave him time to catch up and pass.
Personally I do not feel that the BIKE DC route does this glorious city much justice. But in this age of National Security, in a city where bikes are viewed as second class citizens, it is better than nothing and pretty darn good!
Check out the course, the dates, and your personal calendar.

who is Larry Black?
the owner of College Park Cycles and Mt Airy Cycles
he has a bad reputation
has shop has a certain reputation
as a consumer I made one bicycle purschase from them in the late 80's, that SM600
they did some things that pissed me off
and I have never spent another nickel there since
on the good side of things...Larry has contributed to the racing and cycling community. His shops have stocked track bikes and odd road stuff since before you got get a GT or Bianchi track bike out of a box. He holds very very strange records for riding on rollers and change change his clothes while riding rollers, all of his clothes

4.27.2004

"BLOG IS BLAH!"
to quote a friend, "BLOG is BLAH!"
not unlike myself this person can stand strong on one side of an issue
then make a 360 degree turn in the opposite direction
sure enough ROCCO is now BLOGGING
and I have some catching up to do
get ready for comments on his site
here is his address http://www.johncalgiano.blogspot.com/

and check out Rocco's friend who is a girl's BLOG as well, Sooz's Blog Page


their BLOGS are fun
their COMMENTS are more fun

man
I need to get to work
as ROCCO says on his entry today...
bloggin and ebaying. the best way to ruin a day.
still,ebay could be the most exciting part of my day.sad? no. today i ebayed home a strong win. it was a very close call. the win was of course cycling stuff. so, i place a generous bid, way out in front of the current bid. at this point the auction has been quiet for 20 hours. with 4 minutes to go i close down other programs to allow for maximum recovery bid time. 55 sec go and someone has joined the bid war... they bid. they bid again. the price they select gets dangerously close to my maximum virtual bid. its creepin up. he wants it wil i have to rebid. is there time, MAN! ahh. mouse cursor hovering over the place bid button. hovering...times up. the mystery bidder was a dollar short. i win. selling is no way as fun.


I need to go the way of eBAY
so much junk to sell
but does my life have room for another addiction?

4.26.2004

PUNK ROCK
simple enough
mountainbiking is punk rock
well
skateboarding is also punk rock
and okay, snowboarding can be punk rock, but it a tad too expensive to really be punk rock
perhaps it is a little more electronic punk rock, aka new wave, what grew to be rave music, which is now electronica

in this day and age it is harder and harder to be punk rock
especially for a father of two working a straight 9-5 gig
but getting out on the trails and getting hardcore is as punk rock as I can get
as for the music
the music of many decades can often be the soundtrack to my rides
soundgarden Louder than Love
or
bad brains I Against I
these are two albums that pump me up as I get punk rock on my single speed in the woods of washington dc
and when it is not the woods
I am trying to catch the wave in the metal single track, traffic
now here is some very funny stuff
let me do a little CUT AND PASTE
as I steal this little piece from ROBLOG
very funny
very cool
do it!
read it!
share it!

and here it is

Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Reader Request

A faithful ETJB reader submits an excellent exercise. Try it:
1) Go to www.Google.com (type it in)
2) Type in -- weapons of mass destruction--(DON'T hit return)
3) Hit the "I'm feeling lucky" button, NOT the "Google search" button.
4) Read the "error message" carefully - the WHOLE page.
Thanks dear reader!
To all readers: please send more!
Posted by: r / 4/14/2004 09:48:58 PM


funny
after trying that one
I typed in MORON and then hit "I am feeling Lucky!"
and got the desired results
a very odd and funny game that did not exist till this modern age
and to think people used to waste their time trying to figure out what their phone number spells!

Cycling
Cyclists
and
the Individual Strengths of each Cyclists

Many years ago I remember passing John Stamstead on one of the last climbs on one of my laps at the 24 Hours of Snowshoe. My pace was strong enough to catch him, I cheered him as I passed, and kept pulling away. He never batted an eye. He was not threatened or challenged by the passing of another rider. Why? Because he was running his own race. As I was doing this race on a 4 person relay team, he was racing the same 24 hour race/the same rocky and rooty course, but solo.
In the daily journeys of a cyclist there are all sorts of encounters. At times when people are passed they feel challenged or threatened by the passing cyclist, so they pick up the pace and start a little race. Well, this little aspect of CYCLIST INSECURITY is a valuable tool, it adds to the fun, can add to the challenge, and can even make us all faster cyclists. But it is rarely a fair race. No one has the rules set up. One person may be on a mountainbike with knobbies, another may be on a vintage touring bike with panniers, and another on their Titanium race machine, the list continues.... there are fixed gear bikes....single speeds...cruisers...etc. While the of list of various bicycles can be a contributing factor then there is also the idea of how far each rider has ridden before the encounter and how far they plan to go. If I run alongside a rider on his fancy road bike with his team shirt and team shorts and sprint ahead and then turn off at the next intersection, have I won? How do I know if that individual is just on the start or finish of a 100 mile ride. That is why racing can only fairly happen when these things are discussed up front, as in an actual race.
This topic is approached because I had a discussion with a few friends on a prior posting where there was the mention of couriers. I ride in the city and through the city everyday, I have worked as a courier, and I know many couriers, and know other couriers by reputation. There are many who can ride. There are a select few who ride and race. And there are a long list of jokers out there scrapping for respect. Just showing up to work as a courier does not make a person an elite cyclist.
let me FLASHBACK
there are so many tales
but I can just dip back to the mid 80's and my commute home
I was in college and working as a messenger during my breaks from school
a great way to spend my time and a great way to get some beer money

Conneticut Avenue is a great route home from downtown Washington DC to my parent's house in Bethesda. It is a roller coaster of climbs, but with a little luck and some good timing it can be a glorious sprint.
Each day after a long day of work I would sprint home from work as a messenger to shower change and then head back downtown for a night on the town, often heading back downtown in a different outfit back on the same bike. To aid in my motivation to ride fast I used to reel in each cyclist that was within my field of view. There was always this one guy Scotty. He was a slightly older black gentlemen who did not like being passed, or at least he did not like being passed by the likes of me. Over a number of these informal challenges we got to talking, we pushed each other and pushed the pace, I looked forward to our encounters and our meetings. He is a clever and funny guy. Just a month or so ago I gave him several bicycles and some random cycling gear, he is still a cyclist and still making that Conn Ave ride, only he goes no further than Chevy Chase DC, I was going several miles further.
THE POINT?
I forgot....
Okay, here is a better one....
So I am cruising up Conn Ave after a long day of work. Then appears in my blind spot is another young white courier on a mountainbike. We start pacing against each other. All sorts of risks are being taken. Mutual respect is earned. Our competition is healthy and strong. We are raging. As we hit a flat stretch of road before the intersection of Porter and Conneticut we pick up speed, as we get faster we notice that the light is red. This does not intimidate either of us. We each chose our own line. I go straight through the middle, the other rider opts to dip behind a the same cab that I went in front of. He hits a patch of sand and goes down. I glance back, his helmetless body is on the ground, clearly not hurt. I jam on forward and further, not letting up the pace.
I have been at too many parties where Chris Beach likes to tell that story....he tells that story and tells that is how we met, and how I was such an asshole for just riding on.....
Well, that is how it played out....
But from then on we were friends and always got a rush out of racing through the city streets together. We would go out of our way to catch the other. Shouting and screaming over the path of cars between us, running lights, popping curbs, and laughing all the way.
I must admit that he could do some things on the bike that I could never do.
There was a period one summer when the couriers would gather at Dupont Circle (circle jerks?) , there would be 40s in brown bags or even a keg tucked in the bushes. It was always a party....When the mood was right there would be some impromptu three lap races around the circle. There were no real rules. There was no real race. Just a mess of guys sprinting around the heavily trafficed traffic circle on their bikes. One time Chris and I were going head to head (the other competitors dropping off early in the first lap) and Chris bunny hopped the sidewalk barrier the gapped the different lanes of traffic. That blew my mind. At maximum speed the variables were high and the risks were higher. I can not recall who was able to do three laps faster, but I do know that I bowed down to him for that move. Bowed down to him then and I bow down to him now. He is a great dude with a big heart.

John Stamstead
I have never met him. But I respect his drive and his contribution to the sport. By pushing his own personal limits he has pushed the limits of the sport.


Chris Beach managed the local bike shop around here City Bikes (Adams Morgan), the same shop that sponsors my mountainbike team. He rides less than he plays hockey, and perfers to go fly fishing than to do carpentry or work on his house.

Scotty is still a messenger. He may be a lifer. He may be a late bloomer. I have not seen him since I gave him those two bikes, he may be riding them or those bikes may be taking up space in his basement. Scotty is a person that I have always seen a great deal of myself in and that is as much of a compliment as it is not.

RACE REPORT:April 26 2004 Michaux, Gettysburg PA

Michaux has a CLYDESDALE Class!
Hearing that Michaux had a Clydesdale class combined with the powerful roots and rocks reputation of the races hosted at Michaux really got me jazzed about racing this Sunday past. The buzz that surrounds this race caused a mixture of anticipation and anxiety, a level of anxiety higher than the usual prerace jitters. It was not until the day before that I had confirmation that I was going to go to Gettysburg, PA for this event. With my big blue truck in the shop and the presence of my 2 sons Dean and Grant, Grant only being 2 and a half months old it seemed like an unlikely weekend day escape. All the talk of others heading to the race was making me jealous, new captain Pooch was headed there, retired captain Kemler was headed there with my brother Marc traveling as film crew, the Team list serve made it appear as it others were itching to go, then I heard the fellow City Bike Mountainbike newbie and Mount Pleasant Neighbor Dave Vannier was going. Figured it was worth a shot and put in my bid. Asked the wife...Lisa gave me the go ahead with no hassle, there seemed to be no attitude or any hidden emotion, sure there was the "if it is important to you." But sometimes women say what they mean and mean what they say, so I left it best to take her words at face value and not try to find any subtext. I made the call to Dave, he was willing to pick me up for our 2 hour drive at 6:45 am. The prerace preparation began! Gear was gathered. Grub was packed away. Several Red Bulls were put on ice, Gatorade was set aside, and a Camelback was loaded with water and all of the race essential tools and tubes. Then a quick look at the bike. Everything seemed in order, the bottom bracket was no more loose then it was last time I rode the Rocky Mountain Blizzard and the seat post did not seem to be slipping any faster. A few turns of a truing key, slight tightening of the brakes, no more air needed in the tires, a generous application of PSYCHO LUBE on the drive train and a quick run through the gears. Everything was in order.
Both boys were down for a night's sleep and I was going to settle down in front of the TV with a glass of wine before I went to bed. It amazed me that it was already after 10pm, the night comes so much faster when your time is occupied with feeding toddlers, changing infant diapers, and bathing all the above. Lucky for me my wife is a machine and carries more than her fair share, as the portion that I take on is often more than I can chew. Get Dean and Grant crying at the same time with out Lisa here to help and I am tearing the last few hairs out of my nearly hairless head.
The time was getting late and there was nothing captivating my interest on the tube, nor did I want to start in on a full movie which would cut into my much needed sleep time, so I marched up to bed a few minutes before 11. My head rested gently upon the pillow, my eyes closed, butterflies flew within my stomach as I thought about the rock gardens of Michaux, a place that I have never been to but have heard so much about. It is said to be a course that wrecks riders and eats bikes. Part of me was pleased that the CLYDESDALE distance was set at the same as the beginner distance. Usually I contact race promoters asking them to extend the distance, there was even a case on a 104 degree day at the Susquehanna Scorcher where we were offered to do the race with on less lap and I objected. Trying to be some sort of one man Clydesdale advocacy group, aiding in earning clydesdales the respect and understanding that they deserve. The promoter oferred one less lap, before any other rider/racer could speak up I demanded our money's worth! As I slowly got the butterflies to flutter away my eyelids started to get heavy and I started to drift away into sleep. Then I heard an oh too familiar watery splash from the next room. After the splash came tears, another night with the RODA virus. I rushed to Dean's side pulling him from his bed. He was crying and covered in vomit. I held him tight and tried to console him, he wiped the vomit off his cheeks onto my shoulder than threw up onto my back. I ran down the hall with Dean in my arms and put him down in the bathroom and said, "face the toilet." Like a mullet wearing Florida redneck on COPS he assumed the position. Over the last few days he has grown oh too familiar with this position. He grasped the toilet bowl on each side and leaned in. He threw up several times as I went back to survey the area....his bed was trashed. The bbq feast I had grilled that evening and handmade ice cream from Dos Gringos were everywhere. I removed sheets, pillowcases, comforter; and then wiped down the walls. This was one of several nights were Dean made Linda Blair's famous pea soup scene from the Exorcist look like child's play! After the quick wipe down of the room I met up with Dean in the bathroom. He had filled the toilet bowl with vomit, he was cute and pitiful at the same time. His face and hair had a mixture of saliva and vomit, I did my best to wipe him clean and then dry. We went to by bed and I got him dressed in some clean clothes and they lied him in my bed beside me. He was asleep before I put him down. With some quick calculations I thought of how much sleep I still had time to get before the departure for the race the next morning. A little less sleep was not going to be a good enough excuse for me to dodge the rocks of Michaux. There had been enough sleep the night prior to make up for a little less sleep the night before the actual race.
As time passed here was some gurgling from my stomach as well as Dean's, yet we both slept. Then maybe and hour and half later there was that same splashing sound followed by crying, I jumped awake and grabbed Dean and rushed him to the bathroom, he clutched me close then pushed back and vomited right onto my chest, then down into the toilet in the appropriate fashion.As Dean threw up in the toilet I cleaned my bed, removing the comforter which absorbed all the vomit like a the paper towel that was modeled after it. Then retrieved Dean from the bathroom, shared some words of consolation, gave him a big strong hug and returned him to the bed beside me (Lisa is sleeping downstairs in the office/nursery with Grant, as he is only two and a half months and is still feeding in the night) after putting on another fresh set of clothing I went to put Dean into my bed, he asked to be put in his own, this worked for me. So I went and laid a towel on the mattress and pulled the quilt and pillow from the top unused bunk bed. I then settled in for some rest before the early set time for departure for Gettysburg and the race. The math was again calculated in my head, so I was short on sleep...this was not enough to stop me from racing.
The data is all a little fogged. Our system carries some sort of amnesia effect on the topic of pain and illness. As in the case of pregnancy, my wife delivered drug free when Dean was born, in great pain, inspite of the pain she consciously delivered Grant the same way. Somehow she forgot the pain, the blood vessels busting in her eyes, her violent clutching of my hands, all she remembered was the newborn baby in her arms. Not unlike a 24 Hour mountain bike relay race....where the racer leaves saying. "I am not doing that again!" only to relive the pleasures and sign up early the next year, I can not recall how many vomit sessions occurred or the span between them. But some time passed after I put dean down in his bed and I was up in that same position. It was daddy's turn. Out of my mouth shot with great volume and great pain was a pint of ice cream, a turkey sandwich, some jelly beans, a couple of glasses of wine, and then everything that was eaten at dinner. After hurling everything that my body could dredge up I pulled down the seat and sent some food out the other end in the same liquid form. Not too far into the process Dean was crying in front of me waiting patiently for his turn. A wipe of the seat and a quick flush and Dean was vomiting like a teenager in Tijuana. We were miserable. Dean finished his painful hurls and asked for some apple juice. I figured he could use some hydration and offered some GATORADE, he agreed. I had told him that he may throw up anything that he drank, but the fear of him dehydrating was great so I figured it was worth the risk.
As I came back upstairs Lisa was up tending to Dean, he was in the tub being consoled by his momma. The Gatorade was handed off to him and I was off to get some rest for my race.
By this time it was the middle of the night and the morning was rapidly approaching. The race was still in sight. No need to calculate the hours of sleep, just put my head down and steal the last few minutes of dreamtime.
Well, dreamtime became a recurring nightmare. In an hour plus time I was up at the toilet again. Tossing and hurling food I did not even know was their. How could I throw up anymore. My contractions dug deep. Some convulsions came up empty, while others splashed the the walls of the toilet. My eyes welled with tears as I begged that vicious RODO-VIRUS for forgiveness. The words were in my mind but it was as if I was saying them.....
"RODAVIRUS! OH POWERFUL AND CRUEL RODAVIRUS YOU OWN ME! SORRY IF I DOUBTED YOU AND YOUR POWER.....NO, I AM NOT GOING TO RACE TOMORROW! I WAS FOOLISH AND VAIN TO THINK THAT I COULD BEAT YOU! YOU BEAT ME! YOUR OWN ME! YOU ARE STRONGER THAN ME! LET ME LIVE! LET ME SLEEP! LET ME WAKE TO DIE ANOTHER DAY!"
With that I was released to go back to bed. Never to doubt the power and control of the RODAVIRUS again. Shortly after I woke. Diarrhea was the final symptom. The calm after the storm. A painless symptom in comparision to the violent convulsions of the night prior. At 6:45 I was half wake and heard the phone ring. Although I could not limp down the stairs fast enough to get the phone, it was clear that it was Dave in the alley behind my house. I meandered out back and greeted my carpool. As a father himself he understood the events of the night prior oh too well. I warned him of the cool weather that I anticipated in Gettysburg, wished him well, and dragged my worn and tired ass back to bed. I felt worse than most any mountainbike course could ever make me feel, only without the boastful tales.
Guess I will have to wait till the next race at Michaux to sample the rocks and roots.
All is better now.
Slept nearly all of Sunday day, then a long night of sleep into the morning on Monday. Had the foresight to call in sick to work on Sunday night. Monday was symptomless. By late lunch I was able to eat again and my system seemed back to normal.

4.23.2004

Mountainbiking
here is some history

from the perspective of Joe Breeze
another similar perspective
more of the SAME

here are some members of the Mountainbike Hall of Fame!
it is a great story
many of those people who were the founders are now the industry heads of today
as well as still being the leading designers
some are still stellar riders
keeping it real!
never losing the faith!

My Mountainbike History....
My first introduction to the mountainbike was from my brother. Marc was reading the scouting magazine Boy's Life and stumbled upon an article and called me into his room. His enthusiasm was clear, "this is the bike for you!" he said as he knew I had already been riding by British style 3 and 5 speeds on single track paths, off curbs, and through ditches. Paying the price and causing every nut and bold to rattle free, still sporting the classic fenders and rack with a milk crate bungee corded on the back to aid in the delivery of the now defunct Washington Star. With the magazine in front of me I looked at the pictures in amazement and allowed Marc to paraphrase the gist of the article (although I can read, for some reason I have always dodged it....not unlike swimming...sure I can swim, and I splash around, but don't expect to see me doing too many laps.) That concept of the mountainbike faded as soon as the magazine was put down. Then a lump of years after these two grade schoolers heard of this multi-geared machine I found myself in high school paging through a back of some cycling magazines with my friend Les. Les was convinced that if we got a handful of us together we could get a deal on some of these bikes. His budget was greater than mine and the others he had drawn into the mountainbike fantasy. Instead of buying that outrageously expensive 750.00 dollar bike I managed to find a Mongoose that suited my needs for under 400 bucks. That bike was going to give me pleasure and pain for years to come, I ended up breaking 7-10 of those things, each and everyone under warranty, never assembling the last free frame. Learning that I had to spend more money on bikes I stepped up and bought an SM600, a Classic Cannondale with a 26 inch front wheel and a 24 inch wheel in the back (this bike was still under 800 dollar, 1,200 may have been the industry average for the top of the line bike). I think that I bought if for the ascetic alone. For the first 15 years of riding mountainbikes I bought frames that were far too small for my 6'4" body, but I had some sort of BMX dream that I was going to be able to do table tops and ride long wheelies and do all that wild and wacky stuff....endos and 180's. Well, I could do some of that stuff, it was not my focus, but I did manage to do some of that stuff (never a table top barely even a bunny hop!), endos yes! sometimes on purpose....sometimes on accident, but for the most part I just liked to ride. And I rode everywhere all the time.
Mountainbiking was a hoot. We never trained, we just rode. Never put air in our tires, never put lube on our chain, we never tunned up our bikes, the wheels were always out of true and our brakes never stopped our bikes. Riding usually involved sets of sprints, rest, hang, chill, regroup, let the stragglers catch up, and then sprint again....
each person riding and racing for the front spot, stopping at each fork in the trail for each and everyone to take the turn and then forward and further. Helmets were less common than lycra shorts. It was just how it was done.
Then after college I planned a motorcycle trip cross country, well actually, I did not plan a trip, I bought an old KZ750, borrowed some panniers, loaded up some gear and headed west. The only real planning I did was to have Cannondale send a warranty replacement frame for the SM600 to a shop in Berkeley California rather than Cycles 90 on Solomons Island in Maryland not far from where I graduated from college.
I meandered across the country. It rained something like 9 of the 13 riding days that I took to get cross country. The motorcycle died in Chicago, caught fire in Wyoming, nearly threw a chain in Seattle (I had replaced the rear cog, the chain, but could not get the front cog off....this was after I removed some links from the chain in Wyoming borrowing a grinder on this guy's farm ((seems bikes and motorcycles are not completely similar, the shorter chain caused some dramatic wear to the cog/sprockets the teeth wore to be thin sharp pointed spikes rather than the thick dull rounded teeth that should meet within the chain link)) It was a glorious trip. The ride introduced me to parts of the country I had never seen before and have never seen since. Like I took a thousand steps forward in my personal evolution, I had grown.
When I arrive in Cali I got connected with my friend Gibby in Berkeley, he was living in a room with a family that owned two shops in downtown Berkeley, The Square Wheel. I was able to buy a bike at a deal, sell off the frame and parts I would not need, had some wheels built with some rims I had won in a race back east and found myself in Marin California the birthplace of the mountainbike. Got myself a place to stay in Mill Valley (that is a BLOG in itself), and rode the trails of Mt Tam everyday. It was epic. All taken for granted, as that was just how my life was going, but looking back it was epic. I was riding a fully rigid aluminum mountain bike scoffing at those hitting the scene with their suspension forks and their clipless pedals.
The stay was short, was in California for maybe 5-6 months and then headed off for Colorado. On the cross country motorcycle trip I had paid a visit to some friends in Boulder and Aspen and felt the pull of the larger mountains and the sport of snowboarding (having only been on backhills and golf course and never seen a chair life in operation before) Sold the motorcycle for the same price I bought it for, 4 hundred bucks. Flew back east, took everything I owned, filled up my beat up convertible rabbit and headed back out west. Again with little or no plan. Once in Colorado my life was mixture of beer and pool with many hung over rides; snowboards in the winter and mountainbikes in the summer, but always hungover, very very hung over.

That is the basic history. Well, just the skeleton. The details of it all are more interesting than the basic facts, but, maybe getting this on the page will dredge up some lost memories. Something to BLOG about later!

4.22.2004

so I was reading the COMMENTS on SOOZ's Blog Page we had a little back and forth about encounters with other commuters....

many years ago
many many years ago
before "back in the day" as I was too young to even know or care what statements could possibly mean
as I was a child and everyday was "the day" especially if there was no school
I was hanging with Kevin Fitzpatrick. We shared a love for bicycles and a hate for the 'cool' kids at school. Our friendship and bond may have been based off the fact that we were not accepted by the 'in' crowd. Thus creating a deep bond and lunch every day for 7 years with Kevin Fitzpatrick, Bobby Portwood, and Helder Perrera. Outside of school Kevin and I had few other friends, but we had each other. We used to go for long bike rides with our fishing poles strapped to our bikes. Although we did not know it then, but we had a great Zen understanding of "the journey is the destination." Each day that we rode our bikes and went fishing was as good as the last, with no great measure or comparision for how many fish were caught or how many miles were ridden. One day Kevin proposed that rather than heading along the C&O Canal to go fishing that we ride downtown to visit his dad and have lunch. Without giving it much thought or even passing this idea by my parents, I accepted and the next day we rode downtown. It was a blast! We rode through traffic cutting lanes, taking all sorts of risks. Finally we got downtown to his dad's office. We got a tour around the whole CBS New offices at 20th and M (where I now work) During the tour Kevin pointed out the motorcycles and said that he wanted to be a motorcycle courier when he grew up (when I was in college I bounced back and forth between freelance bicycle messenger and motorcycle courier for CBS News) After the tour and a quick lunch we headed back to the streets. We pointed our bikes in all sorts of different directions, just following the flow of traffic. As we raced through the downtown streets we kept encountering all these guys on bikes. As we passed each of these cyclists they got frustrated and picked up the pace, which only caused us to go faster. (later I would learn that these guys were bicycle messengers) It amused me that they would go slow and then speed up when passed. It seemed to me that having been caught, had it been a race, they had already lost.....

this continues today
I ride my bike
I pass a cyclist on the road or the trail
and they wake up
the step up the pace
and try to race
I try to let my competitiveness to let them go
and work on my own thing
after all
they do not know how far I have gone and how much further I need to go
racing me for two blocks
and pulling over
well
that is hardly a race

back to work
want to finish my day
and see if there are any JOKERS out there that want to race me and my 32X17 single
(just like the goober on the road bike yesterday after work...I did my own thing...he tried to hang....and looked like a geek in a peacock outfit on a 4,000 dollar bike)
LIFE!
Life is very strange. In many ways life is not quite what I had thought it was going to be like, but I am adjusting just fine. In life it seems that we have some sort of predestined fate. Our life takes a course and we can only guide that path so far. Some people stumble upon their course earlier than others, while some meander through life never finding the right path or that may be the path that life has given them, not sure. (I am typing and thinking on the fly here...cut me some slack) I see the body organ the HEART as being a metaphor for life!
The human heart has certain potential. Some people are born with a strong heart, others a weak heart, and there are those who have the genetic propensity for heart illness later in life. How we live our lives effects how our heart develops. If we choose to eat well and exercise, then our heart prospers. But those who choose to eat all of the fatty foods, too much red meat, smoke cigarettes, and never exercise end up limiting the potential of their heart to develop or perform as strong and efficently as it can be. Now, it gets more complicated....someone can live a reckless life constantly treating their body wrong and never taking good care of their heart and live a long life with no heart conditions, while an elite athlete who takes care and concern for their health and fitness can drop dead of a heart attack at 50, perhaps genetic potential? not sure....maybe this is one of those cases where "bad things happen to good people or when good things happen to bad people" just like life....there is a path....and you can guide it slightly....but just because you eat right does not mean that you will grow to be as tall as you want. You have a genetic potential, your life has said that you can grow to this maximum height. So if you eat right, live well, treat your body kindly then you may reach your genetic potential...while malnutrition, lack of exercise, and bad habits such as smoking can limit your ability to reach your genetic potential as in a persons height. We have all heard that smoking can stunt our growth, in fact I think I still tell that to ever adult person under 6 feet that I see smoking a cigarette..."smoking can stunt your growth" (bet they never heard that one before!)
now to my point
the heart is a metaphor for life
and well
what is my point
gotta take a call
back to this in a bit
was trying to wrap this into a rant on mental health and mental illness
no I am not a Phd
as a matter of fact I am not even that bright, but I do have a BLOG page which gives me a right to rant on any topic I wish. EVEN IF I DO NOT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT!
those are my credentials
and I am sticking with them
brb

back to blogging
back from lunch

okay....
along with the thought of life
our predestined fate in life (telos) and our metaphor for our predestined health states of the heart or height
there is the notion of mental health
Mental Health not unlike the previously mentioned quailities in that it has some predetermined qualities. Some people have a genetic predisposition towards certain mental health issues; as in depression. But if mental illness is viewed as a sickness like cancer we can understand it better (at least for this discussion.) There are things in life that can act to ENABLE our mental illness (consider it a mental cancer.) The earlier on in life that the symptoms are recognized and treated the better off the person may be. There are aspects of lifestyle that may act the prevent the growth of this mental cancer. A stable lifestyle with routine is more likely to aid in the battle against the growth of this illness. The illness that is just a part of the person's life/personality is trying to grow and can be inhibited. Lifestyle such as fitness can effect the chemical balances of a person's mind. Lifestyle such as drug use can act to enable the development of the illness. Certain recreational drugs can have psycho active effects that can be very detrimental to someone battling mental illness; sometimes it can aid to open PANDORA'S BOX. Then the more basic drugs such as alcohol can be a depressant and assist at a slower level. Along with drinking and drugs are the aspects of late nights, hang overs, slow mornings waking up, and the depression like state that goes along with being hung over. That can not possibly be a positive contribution to someone with hints of mental illness. Perhaps this is the nurturning of the illness that the illness is seeking, so that the part may by chance become the whole.
Again...these are unfounded statements, written without any research, backing, or knowledge. Just a BLOGGER ranting on his lunch break. But I do feel that some of these thoughts to be true. Peer groups can allow or fight the illness in a friend. As in the recent death of Spalding Gray, the cause of death is unknown, but all the pieces of this puzzle point to suicide. Perhaps as he went into depression instead of people reaching out to him, they said. "oh, that is just Spalding, he is doing one of his monologue things...he is our gathering more material...he is just being the neurotic artist that he is." Rather than saying, "Spalding man you need help!" I hae known people to die of drug overdoses, people to commit suicide, and others to let their lives drift off into madness. But I would like to think that I have in each case stepped forward and looked them in the eye and said, "man you need help!"
They may have denied their illness. Some have lied to me throwing it back in my face. Others have come back to thank me later.
What is my point?
No real point.
Just trying to sort some stuff out in my head.
As I ride I get these ideas in my head. The longer I pedal, deeper the arguments go. Then I try to revive the argument in BLOG form. Cycling can be a meditation. Problems can be solved as I pedal along on my bike. I have thought about traveling with a tape recorder and recording ideas and break through as they come to me. Cause after the bike is parked and the sweat covered clothes are removed many of these thoughts are lost. This is a case where I tried to revive some of those ideas. And well....I am not so sure that they came out so clearly.

Also
At times the BLOG is forced. I have time to BLOG right now. I am not BLOGGING because the idea is there, I am BLOGGING because the time is available. Perhaps some time away will bring back the thoughts and I can make this all a bit more clear.

4.21.2004

Bicycling, BLOGGING, and BLOGGING about bicycling has introduced me to a world of people, many of which I consider my friends. If I read their blog, get an email, or receive a comment from them I feel as if I have spoken to them. There is a picture in my head of who they are and what they stand for. Much of this information is found through their writings, but some of it is inferred, most often inferred incorrectly. Sort of like seeing a person in my daily travels and putting a voice to their face. This has happened to me many times with other city cyclist, some I nod to others go my without a grin, yet I manage to try and create an identity in my head of who they are in life other than on the bike. That guy still lives at home with his parents, his room is still decorated as it was when he was a child with pictures of Alf on the wall and model airplanes on the shelves or she looks like she is riding her bike home to her Feminist Vegan group house in Columbia Heights and does pottery and Yoga before bed instead of watching TV then I tend to take it one step further. These people are given a voice. Then if by chance I meet that person, perhaps at a convenience store or riding the same pace along side of them and there is some interaction I get to hear that voice. That voice is never right. They have a southern accent I never anticipated, or a rough deep soulful voice of a jazz singer when I anticipated a high pitched squeal....then with this information I have more insight into their true identity thus washing away my fantasy creations (I get to start all over again, usually headed down the wrong path, again.)

Okay, I am a MADMAN! My son Dean who is not even 3 has already told me so.

Today I made the acquaintance of another cyclist who also shares a love for BLOGGING. From what I gather he lives in California, has been cycling for over 30 years, and is a Republican. I guess California has Republicans, after all their Governor is a Republican, even Sonny Bono was a Republican (his wife who took his place is also a Republican), the two Senators may be Democrats while the House seems to be split pretty even, but there are bicycist that are Republican? Now that really opened my eyes! I had read a variety of his postings and found some interesting and valuable information, but when I dug further I learned that not only is he a Republican, but he is a proud Republican! Very strange A REPUBLICAN ON A BICYCLE? I THOUGHT THAT ALL REPUBLICANS DROVE THE BIGGEST GAS GUZZLING SUV THAT THE MARKET WOULD PROVIDE I WAS WRONG!
Guess I had a foolish misconception that all cyclists were Tree Hugging Greenies (or in California they were known as Brownies as in Jerry Brown) who eat TOFU and spend their weekends at craft shows or helping the homeless.
Well, I once again made a false leap filling in the blank. The bicycling blogger (aka Kiril Kundurazieff) who had joked with me about being a mountainbiker but chose to accept me inspite of my riding on dirt has opened my eyes and has shown that cyclists cover a wide spectrum...
There are the commuters, the racers, the family out on the weekend ride, there are the group riders, then the roadies, the mountainbikers ((within this there are the single speeders, the free riders, the downhillers, the endurance riders, the XC racers, etc)) the person who rides on nice days, the person who rides on all days, the cyclist that also owns a car, and the cyclist who would never own a car, the list continues. But within the list there are also sub groups. Many of us are family people, we hold jobs, we are members of the community, and valuable members of society that all share a love for the bicycle. Some of us are Republican and others are Democrat, some may call themselves Anarchists while others just don't care. We are within a unique subculture the as cyclists. We share a some things in common, but not everything.
I was pleased that Kiril was entertained by some of my rants.
I was also entertained and enlightened by a wide variety of his posts and links.
We may not agree on all political issues, but we will certainly agree on some.


hope that Kiril has a good sense of humor and does not take this the wrong way
that is
if he bothered to read this far
it is all tongue and cheek and in the name of fun
just trying to have fun and extend my lunch break so far that I get fired from my job
actually, that would be a bad thing!
back to work

maybe more blogging later
I better email Kiril and warn him of this post

4.20.2004

lets see if I can dig up another anecdote from Europe 1991
not sure if anyone read the last one other than my touring partner Rob-


brb (internet geek speak for Be Right Back)
dioobantgts (joel speak for Dean Is Out Of Bed And Needs To Go To Sleep)

back
but lost all my stories to Dean
thought it would warm me up
but it wore me out
I am going to sit down in front of the other idiot box
well I would
but dean just got up again
he is JAZZED UP!
night
CITY LIFE
Washington DC is a major city with a down home feel. Sort of like Mayberry with more people.
Having lived here for as long as I have I have a slight social advantage (or disadvantage if you are antisocial) over some people. I run into people all over town all the time. When at lunch, on the trails in the woods, shopping at the market, or just walking down the sidewalk I can encounter people. The meetings have grown to be fewer and further between, but that reflects back on my homebody lifestyle. As a semi-pro drinker with near Olympic barfly status I developed a great number of connections and contacts and almost learned to shoot pool. Okay well, basically a great number of superficial friends. With adult life I now as I have a variety of responsibilities (wife, kids, dogs, and 9-5 straight job) my response to these familiar faces on the street has changed. I no longer feel compelled to shout out across the street, roam across the restaurant, or roll up on someone on my bike. It just seems that it is not as important as it once was. That is not to say that I do not give a wave or a nod, but I do not have the time and energy to 'talk up' any and every person I once knew. This is doing everyone a favor as I can be a bit of a "chatty kathy." After all, who really wants to hear about my life, sure people ask, but do they really want to know about the wonders of fatherhood. How I am going through a long list of very powerful emotions. The bond between me and Dean has hit new levels, currently he is sick, and it effects me. The empathy, the compassion, the symbiotic relationship, it is all a very fantastic experience. Grant is growing in front of me and there are marvels of life and nature right in front of me, but the actual bond has not really started to grow, yet I wait to experience all of those "firsts" for the third time. His first roller coaster ride will give us both a thrill, his first sled ride with cause both of our stomachs to drop and we will not care about the cold as the fun will overwhelm us, well...until it is all too late and he is crying with blue lips and icy red hands. Dean showed me the moon. It had been there all along, but I think somehow I forgot to appreciate it. But now I look for it each day, and appreciate each and every phase. Grant will show me these things through his eyes and I will grow to understand them all over again. As I get to be a father Dean will get to be an older brother. Ah, siblings...the joy and the pain. A blog for another day.

Enough babbling, I see an old friend who has not heard me update them with information that they neither asked for nor care to hear.

keep in mind when I write this that I am a social addict! (which has always been a bit of a hassle since I don't like people, but I need the interaction, a painful paradox) so don't think that I have gone COLD TURKEY on saying hey to people. just last week I interrupted Stevie G while he was having lunch with his co-working peeps at the Vietamese restaurant and then the next day, yes the next day, I sat myself down with Luke from many years ago at Big Wheel Bikes and interrupted his girl watching!

4.19.2004

another FLASHBACK

One Spring Break during college my brother Marc and I drove down to Florida in our beige four door diesel Rabbit. Actually, we drove down to Florida several times in that fuel efficient machine that lacked air conditioning, whose radio did not play louder than the engine at highway speed and had a top speed of 65mph. That is 65 miles per hour with the wind at your back while going downhill. On this one particular trip there was the usual mix of various Gulf of Mexico beaches, retirement community poolside tanning, and an occasional night out while trying to meet grandma's curfew. One afternoon I napped in the twin bed beside Marc as he read. It was a hot uncomfortable midday nap. I woke from my nap with one of those jet propelled leaps that reflects the final actions of a dream, usually a nightmare. Marc saw this panicked leap and in his Mr. Spock Vulcan way asked about the specific details of the dream and how they corresponded with the physical behavior that he had just witnessed. So I told him...."it was all very vague. no real details of anything other than that I was riding my bike. it was not the perspective of seeing me ride a bike, but rather the perspective one sees from the bike, even more so like the perspective one would see through a video camera as filmed by a person riding a bike. riding along in a casual manner, nothing happening to cause any danger or to evoke any fear, then when all of a sudden my perspective shifted from the world around me to my stem and handlebars and then the front wheel. It was the start of an ENDO; you know...a POLISH WHEELIE! the earth in front of me had become this white mass. That mass engulfed my front wheel, halting my bike's progress, yet laws of motion kept me hurling forward. Flying over the handlebars and out of the bed. Ending with one of those questions....If you die in your dream, do you die in real life? I almost bumped my head in my dream and almost bumped my head in real life as these were times when helmets were not worn (either in bed or on the bicycle)"

That was it. No real explanation of the the story. Not any deep meaning. And no great discussion. It was a basic meaningless dream. We laughed about how silly I looked and maybe even discussed dreams and dreaming. That is all a distant memory that is not so significant that I can recall. The rest of our Spring Break went along as each Spring Break prior and each Spring Break after. We pissed off our grandmother and she was happy that we left, we got a massive sunburn on one of the first days in FLorida and our tans started to peel as we crossed into South Carolina and were gone by the time we passed through North Carolina, and most importantly....there had not been any Spring Break romance.

The rest of the college semester went along as uneventful as the rest, or perhaps as eventful as the rest. I can not recall. Right now the "glory days" are forgotten, it would take a case of Natty Boh (National Bohemian) or Milwalkee's Best to help me to recall what college was all about. After the semester ended I headed back to my parent's home in Bethesda and enthusiastically got back in the swing of summer with my summer job, bicycle messenger.

One hot summer day headed back from work I linked up with fellow B-CC graduate Scott Llewellyn. He was back for the summer as well and also working as a messenger. We rode fast through traffic, splitting lanes, running lights, and taking all sorts of unnecessary risks that I still take now. There was a bond and their was a rivalry, we each rode hard, yet were at a relaxed enough pace to carry on a bit of a conversation. As we climbed the Conneticut Avenue hill at Van Ness UDC Scott recommended that we take a left, as his parent' s house was a tad further west than mine, it was not out of the way so I followed along. As we meandered down a side street with less traffic our pace dropped and we put more emphasis on the conversation. (which more than likely revolved around topics like...."where are you drinking tonight?" or "have you seen this girl or that girl?") ahead the road was blocked off with those construction horses with the darkness activated flashing light, well you see less of them now, but they were commonplace many years ago. We split the horses and rode on the textured concrete that would be the sublayer of road beneath the black asphalt that had yet to be laid. The road continued with a pattern of breaks in the road, some cross streets still being active, then another set of reflective construction barriers with the darkness activated blinking light. As we passed through the last set of barriers I felt my momentum slow. I looked forward and saw my stem and handlebars. Then my front wheel. The earth in front of me was white and engulfed my front wheel, I started flying over the handlebars. Just like the dream. Only it was not a dream. I tried to get up, but my balance was off and my legs were like jello. I stepped forward and stumbled again. Had I hit my head, had my whole sense of balance been thrown off? I noticed Scott was laughing, then a jogger was laughing, I looked at Scott and saw he was covered in wet concrete, I looked at myself and saw that I was covered in wet concrete. The laughter came on fast and heavy as my mind put together the actions that had just taken place. I stepped forward to brace myself as the laughter grew stronger, each footstep went deep into the freshly poured concrete. We had both gone over the handlebars landed unhurt with no damage to our bikes. It was a scene from some bad Disney film that was never made. Things like this do not happen in real life.

Then there was the memory of the dream. It never explained itself. It never became clear. Why a preminition of this?

back to this in a few
would like to proof read this if I have a second
hate ranting on
and not having it appear the least bit readable

4.17.2004

time for bed
good night

well first I need to ride my bike home
and well
there are a number of bars that I pass on the way home
we will see if I go straight home

only the future knows

sure could use a glass of red wine right now!
Top three CYCLING Movies.....
(and not in any order....everything is up to discussion)

1. Breaking Away

2. The Bicycle Thief

3. Pee Wee's Big Adventure

agreed?
thought so
there are few things I am right about
but this is surely one of them
SATURDAY/TODAY/WHATADAY!
Everybody slept late!
Everbody! Lisa! Grant! Dean! Roscoe! Brutus! and ME!
It was awesome. Sort of cut into lisa's hike time, but we managed to get out of the gate in time for the day
started the day with hanging with Grant and Dean while Lisa did a loop in the woods with Roscoe and Brutus
then I mounted up the Blizzard, lock in pack along with some water, banana, Red Bull, and some other random cycling fuels
went off to Astanga Yoga Center at Tenleytown for some Yoga with Gail
it was a good class
I fear getting inverted
no hand stands
no head stands
yes shoulder stands
but not tripods with my head either
other than that things went well
not that I am flexible
it feels good just the same
after class no time to chat
already in cycling knickers and jersey went straight from class to a MORE hosted trail maintenance day at Cabin John
got outside the beltway from Tenly in less than 17 minutes
not bad for a fat guy on a fat tire bike
poked into the trails to see if I could lend a hand
the day for them had started at 9:30
I called the leader in the am to see if he thought things would still be going on at 12:30
he said yes
and they were
so I lent a hand and did a little John Henry with the ax
it was futile yet fun
after swinging that axe for over an hour with brakes I was informed by a Department of Recs person guiding the maintenance that the logs were going to be cut down with chain saws later that day
aided where I could after that
helped with the tools back to the trailhead
then back on the bike
backtracked in the woods to get to the C&O
took a link on the loop that is moderately technical
turns out to be a day of Goldie Locks and the Mountainbike trail
so much of that trail is too easy
much of it is too hard
and some of it is just right
but the proportion of too hard is enough for me never to dip in there again
sure there were a few meters of great rock gardens
but the hike to bike ratio was poor
pedaled down the towpath along the canal towards downtown
the tourists and the fair weather people were out in force
I joined in the madness and put on the iPOD
figured if I could not beat them
join them
got home a few minutes later than lisa had hoped
she was bummed that she missed YOGA due to a bruise on her back
and her mood was apparent
I grabbed Grant and went to grab Dean at my mom's
Lisa had dropped him off in the late morning
got there Dean was tired and hot, maybe not a fever, but not feeling 100%
it made for tough situation as I had planned on taking him to the barber
Dean tends to be a good negotiator
but sick
he wins everytime
no need argueing with him
we dashed over to my dad's instead
he was cleaning his Koi pond out back
and there was plenty of stuff for Dean to get into
we killed some time there
then headed for home
grabbed some stuff from the curb for Grant
an exer-saucer and a vibrating rocker
hope they were giving it away
either way thanks
and once back home lisa was refreshed
in the 2 hours we were gone she managed to go for a good walk on this nice day in the woods
Dean did not wake on the transfer
took him up to my bed where he continued his nap
Dave and Anna came over with their son Rowan
Dean was not getting up for the BBQ experience
finally he joined in on the fun
but he was in a funk
sharing was not his thing
he was overly possessive, beyond grumpy
with the guests still there I took Dean up to give him a bath
figured he could use it
maybe it will help him relax and help with his cough
dressed him for bed
and then here I am
back at work
taking a break
here doing updates on all the XP machines
not a bad gig
running around the building with my iPOD blasting
earning a comp day
after a wonderful day

4.16.2004

4.15.2004

currently reading a good book METAL COWBOY
so far it is a good read
he is a talented writer with a wealth of experience
the tales are about the people he meets and the experiences he has as a he tours about the country and the world via bicycle....guess that will get me to try and put a rant on that topic
lets see if I can get a story to surface


here it is
the year is 1990
just graduated from St Mary's College of Maryland
in Europe with Rob Hardesty and our bicycles


We were just a week into a five week trip in Europe; three countries Holland Belgium, and France
it was set out to be a mixture of travel and touring
we were flexible
flow with the river
blow with the breeze
just a rough idea of places we wanted to go and things we wanted to see
a plan that could be revised at any second
maps purchased when we arrived
no Lonely Planet, nothing
there were a few contacts we had here and there
and the ground we wanted to cover
we opted to mix bicycle touring with riding train
each day was an adventure
Rob and I were young and wet behind the ears
neither of us had done much touring or traveling
nor had either of ever been out of the United States
sure there had been a few long rides to the beach or along the canal
but never more than a few miles from a Super Big Gulp at the 7-11
so one week into the trip we had already discovered that things do not always go as planned
sometimes they work out better
sometimes they blow up in your face
we had flown into Amsterdam, spent a few days tooling around the city
taking in the sites, some museums, and the culture
most of our days were spent in the park making our own sociological surveys
we rode from Amsterdam to Osterbeck (near Arnem) where we stayed with a high school friend's Dutch grandmother
actually, she was headed out of town for the weekend, so we did not stay with her, we stayed at her place
Rob managed to get her to entrust us with the keys to her home, or more clearly her home
in exchange we did a few chores around the house
nothing too taxing, just things she was unable to accomplish herself
even got proactive and switched her refrigerator door to open in a more logical direction
she returned happy to see that we had not robbed her and that we were leaving
from there we rode south towards Belgium
it was glorious riding
very flat
clean crisp air
a castle in the distance here and there
and canals everywhere
and very very green, wide open and green
the only thing more present than tulips and castles were the cyclists
people of all age on bicycles
all cruising at a leisurely pace
we passed them all with our heavily loaded aqua marine green Bianchi mountainbikes
then when we stopped to have lunch and refuel
these same cyclists would pass us
we were being taught the touring equivalent of "The tortoise and the Hare"
one day we set out for the next town on the map with a Youth Hostel
we made some calculations and set on our way
it was a long day
our course was clear
we got directions from helpful a cyclist or two and felt confident about our direction
as it turns out our course was correct
while our calculation of the distance was incorrect
the flat Dutch country side started to roll as we got closer to Belgium
never a climb
but with our untrained bodies these long rolling hills were taxing on our body
to break the monotony and to use a different set of muscles we walked our bikes for small stretches
as the sun set we contemplated sleeping under a tree on the roadside
but I figured we had gone that far, we could make the final 7-10 miles
Rob agreed, but he saw the measure in my eyes
he had to fight my desire to "just knock it out"
often spirit is as good as strength and conditioning
and I felt that a 7-10 ride could be an easy sprint, like riding from downtown to Bethesda after a long night of drinking
put the body on auto pilot and pedal way
the legs move with the ballistic power like the wings of a bird
rob was not ready for such an expenditure
we were a team
so we moved and worked as a team, settled in on an agreeable pace and made it to our destination

(here is where the story starts)

we were overjoyed
we rolled into a small quaint little village
what may have been considered a European city at one point in time
beautiful old architecture
we rolled in a little after sunset
too tired to do much more than check into the Youth Hostel, unpack our gear, and fall into a deep sleep
once in the town center we got our barings straight we went to the Hostel
or at least we went to the address where the Hostel once was
this was the second time we had arrived only to find that our information was not up to date
there had been a Youth Hostel there, but no more
the 6.95 we spent on the Youth Hostel book and the 20 dollars each for an American Youth Hostel membership was proving to be a waste
we pondered what to do
as we rested our legs and thought about our next move
just then a pack of teen age boys passed through the town square on mopeds
either a gang of geeks or perhaps some delivery boys just released from work and on their way home
the one in the lead of the pack came to a stop
threw down his moped and began stomping on it
we approached the young men and tried to make an introduction
we tried what Dutch we had learned in our week in Holland
rob tried his three years of French with Madame Kitze from high school
and we tried english
we got nothing but blank stares
very different from Holland where everyone claimed that they did not speak much English, yet were able to convey abstract concepts and talk about world affairs
here these boys spoke and understood nothing but Flemish
it was a frustrating moment
we were exhausted from a long day's ride
they were frustrated with their moped being out of gas
then the inability to communicate did not help matters at all
they went back to the bike and surveyed the situation
one of the young boys pulled out some beers and they started drinking
they were drinking a local beer whose name I can not recall
the bottles were small 7 or 10 ouncers, what may be known in the states as Ponies
rob and I watched as they fiddled with the bike
more kicking than anything else
as a man I wandered over to lend a hand
men are very good at giving advice
even on issues that they know nothing about
I walked over and stopped them from kicking their moped any longer
made eye contact with one of the boys
and gestured for his empty beer bottle
with the bottle in hand I walked to one of the other mopeds and pulled the fuel line from the carburetor and filled the empty beer bottle with gas
replaced the fuel line
then walked to the moped that was lying lifeless on the sidewalk like a beached whale
poured the gas into the tank
and fired the moped right up
there was a cheer
friends were made!
immediately we were each handed a beer
I took that small bottle popped off the cap
flicked the cap off into the far far distance with a snap of my thumb
and chugged that Pony in one gulp
respect was earned
the gaggle of boys stared in awe
this tall american man with long brown hair and a bright green bike was doing things that they had never seen before
things that are common place to any american playing drinking games in their parent's basement
and then we talked
there was no language so we began a game of Charades
I motioned that we were looking for a place to stay
with the universal sign for sleeping (hands together like in prayer, resting beneath the ear of my tilted head)
they understood and took us around to various hotels
no Motel 6 in this joint
not sure how costly things were
as exhaustion never helps with the conversion of foreign currency
we chased behind them on their mopeds in this little city in Belgium until we were back in the town square
the boys talked amongst themselves
they made an offer
one of the boys said we could stay at their house with their family
it was only 8 kilometers away
I was excited
the notion of being invited into their house and getting a taste of their culture and maybe some pancakes for breakfast was appealing to me
rob would not have it
from what we calculated once back in the states we had ridden over a hundred and thirty miles that day
with overloaded panniers
rob put his foot down
he was not going to ride any further
not for a free place to stay
not for a warm bed
not for a Belgian breakfast
he did not trust their rough estimate of distance
and was not confident that their parents would invite us in upon our arrival
rob has the stubbornness of a mule, the harder you work to change his mind
the hard he stands his ground
there was no effort made to sway him towards the moped rider's offer
so we moved back to the game of charades
we asked it there was a good hidden spot to sleep on the street
night prior we had slept in someone's carless garage
which was great cover from the rain
but they did not think that this was a good idea
one boy put his hand forward and close together as if in hand cuffs
that was a result that was not attractive to anyone
soon enough it was getting later and darker
they needed to get home
and we needed to get settled in on a place to stay
we meandered about the city
and found a dock near the river
I scouted out some small sail boats hoping to sleep in one of the cabins
it was starting to rain
the cabin of the sailbboats seemed like the best cover
rob was right in thinking that it would be an awkward situation to wake up to the enraged owner of the small boat
the image of the imaginary handcuffs was in both of our minds
so we opted to sleep on street
we found some large cardboard boxes and made shelters in a classic homeless style
we were tired
rain, cold, and wind were not going to keep us from sleeping
there was talk of one of us staying awake and sleeping in shifts to protect our gear and our lives
rob took the first shift
he was asleep before me
I was too tired to complain
and too tired to bring my lock out of my bag

that was just one day and one night of an adventure that lasted for five weeks
we learned a great deal about ourselves and the world on that trip
we are still great friends and still ride bikes together
even if we did part ways 2/3 of a way through that 5 week journey
lucky for us we made a pact to stay friends after that trip no matter what
it was a good deal to make and a great deal to keep
.



Michael Moore


need I say moore?



.

4.14.2004

good morning rain!
another rainy day here in washington dc
it is not so bad, Rock Creek is getting green
obviously the rain has its merits
but as an avid mountainbiker I must say MUD SUCKS!
so no DIRT for me for a few days, hopefully this rain does not continue for the next few weeks

last night as the sun set the sky was ablaze
it was a wonderful site
the sky was a mixture of orange and pink with the rain coming steadily down
a glorious moment
lisa and I stood at the bay window of our glorious Mt Pleasant home and took it all in
it was quite a spectical with the mist and haze within the deep woods blurring the trees further away from the house

then this morning out with the dogs
the dogs running wild in the wet woods
breathing hard a visible breath
perhaps the last visible breath of the season, I hope

more gear
gortex down to the socks
on the bike
a short wet ride into work
with lights lights and more

back to work
big wigs in town
Dan is anchoring the evening news from the Russell building

4.13.2004

Karate Monkey!
This is what happens when you leave your Karate Monkey Parked Over Night!
life for the owners of a 29 incher
(and I am referring to my bike)
are often like the life of Gulliver from Gulliver's Travels
(not Gulliver's Hair Salon in Hoboken, NJ)



this shot posted here at the BBC

while chanced upon here at this wonderful BICYCLEBLOGGER page or is that CYCLINGCLOGGER's page?
Funny Stuff...
Here are some great posts....
Not bitter angry rants, just the facts. So much of what is said here I have been saying for years. There are a few documentary ideas here that I will never develop that have been bouncing around in my head for years.
Eric Roman rants on his seasonal return to the DC Messenger scene.

Many years ago (perhaps that was 'back in the day') I worked as a messenger. There was a strange glory to this job. It offered a great amount of freedom, got paid to do something that I loved (ride my bike), and again back to the freedom. Showed up at an irregular hours, bailed out at irregular hours, took vacations without asking, it was an effort to be everything that a straight job (coat and tie) was not. And in many ways it was everything a straight job was not....there were not taxes taken out, there was no insurance, there was not a 401K, no paid vacations or holidays, no retirement plan. In the end the couriers who settle in as "set wage" or "guarentee" riders end up working harder and getting less than those people with the 'ties.' Sorta silly. The set wage guys end up showing up at regular hours and leaving at regular hours, but getting paid a substandard wage...

There were great days....Clear skies, warm breeze, and women taking long lunches and basking in the spring sun. Flowers in bloom. But the reality is that this is Washington DC, the land where the first question people ask is...."What do you do?" and if your answer is "Messenger/Courier." the only women who will light up will be the one who wants to get back at her dad, lucky for me there were many women looking to do just that. Date the bad boy, see how pissed of dad can be. DC has cold wet winters, if it were only cold enough for the rain to turn to snow it would be a tad less painful, but that is not how it is, the cold bites through the skin, deep into the bones, the water is colder than ice, the humidity gets the last laugh in the winter as well as the summers....AAh, SUMMER TIME! August in Washington is nothing shy of brutal, three quick steps and your average male is drentched with sweat, so hot, so humid that those roughing it without AC end up sweating in the shower, and when they go to brush their teeth they find that their tooth paste is not tooth paste, but tooth liquid. This is not prime riding weather. Pushing the bicycle through a thick wall of air, thick hot wet air. Drafting behind a bus in the winter may be nice, that gust of warm exhaust can be pleasing, but in the summer each piece of exhaust clings to the messenger's sweaty body....I remember homeless people pointing at me saying, "that guy needs to take a shower!"

back to my straight job
and
back to this blog later

read Eric's Rant
it is more clear than mine
perhaps I will get back to mine later
there is a great deal on this topic that I may want to get out
BLOGGING is cheaper than therapy!

4.12.2004

I love email
yes, I know, okay...I will say it
I LOVE EMAIL
I AM AN EMAIL ADDICT
nothing worse that BLOGGING about and hearing that audible signal that I have mail
no, not that classic AOL, "You've Got Mail!"
just a basic computer beep
although it would be nice to load that AOL voice
as I still have a Pavlovian response when I hear it
but as I stepped away from my iPOD playlist playing to check my email I was dupped
the email that was landing in my Inbox was just my most recent blog postings

made me feel pretty silly
if it were not for my two dogs, my awesome kids, and my wonderful wife I would be a big loser
BICYCLE?
As I download music to my iPod I am reading BLOGS as they pull up on my Mac
came across this random BLOG with this random little known fact

Apple or Bicycle

4.09.2004

DC's own Ian MacKaye

PANCAKE MOUNTAIN


not Teen Idles
not Minor Threat
not Embrace
not Egg Hunt
not Fugazi

did I miss any of his bands?
(and yes, I know I mentioned this before, but a friend in SF asked, and did not have his info handy so rather than emailing him, figured I could set it out here for him to find)
A few years ago I learned about some SHAREWARE called GIF BUILDER. It is primitive compared to what FLASH animation of today. I had some fun with this stuff just the same. Here are two pieces that move, the Trackskid Can moves as well, hit Refresh and Scroll down if you do not see the motion.


and yes
that is me before I met genetics head on with the clippers

My favorite cycling magazine DIRT RAG decorates each issue by reader submitted art. This is something that I sent their way, it did not make the cover, but they did put on the inside with some other reader art.

yes
that is somewhat of a self portrait
One of the founding members of the City Bikes Mountainbike Team is a now retired (then active) courier.
Recently he has been jumping back and forth between State College PA and DC. He is a single speeding monster. A rigid single speeding monster. In addition to riding, racing, and having a good time he has also moved to some grass roots race promotion. This is something I tossed together for his race last year.

Single Speeders with a love for rock gardens watch for his race in 2004!
(okay, Rocco got the info on this event...
EAST COAST NORTH AMERICA SINGLE SPEED CHAMPIONSHIP OF THE UNIVERSE! (Part II)
aka ECNASSCOTU2!)



oh
and eric's correct email address....
eric@mtnittanywheelworks.com
(that other email is in the image and I am too lazy to edit it)

4.08.2004

C-Span Hearing: Condoleezza Rice-

Well, you do not need to tune into C-Span for this.
If you are looking for Regis and Kelly....not today, Judge Joe Brown? Not Today! Reruns of Gilligan's Island, well, okay, some channels are not playing the live 9-11 Commission Hearings, but most every channel is playing this same hearing live.

I am not following her that closely, but I do think that she could use a better speech writer. She has used this reference to a "SILVER BULLET" in reference to killing terrorism as a whole and then later in the speech to Osama Bin Laden, and is sure to use it again.
I was not aware that Osama was a werwolf! Was not aware that AL-Qaeda was comprised of werwolfs, we should have seen that the full moon was coming. That would have prepared us better for 9-11.
Maybe she can use a different MYTH for each of real life groups/people that have threatened and caused great damage to the US.
There are not just silver bullets, there are stakes to be driven through the heart, there is the use of the mirror, day light, and that is just for Vampires.
step away from my ramblings and check out ROBLOG
he has this link to a Celebrity Look Alike Make Over that is a must read!

go there
check it out
laugh out loud
and then
have a nice day!

Ro-blog better know as Rob-log

4.07.2004

funny....so often when out on my bike I will get an aggressive response from a car driver about my cycling behavior
"STOP AT THE STOP SIGN!"
"STAY IN YOUR LANE!"
"GET THE FUCK OFF THE ROAD!!!"
"GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WAY!"
Most cyclists have heard these remarks in one form or another, other times it is the hand gesture pointing to the bike path or the sidewalk, or another finger telling the cyclist to go someplace unearthly. Certianly some of these car drivers mean well. But most of them just do not get it. The behaviors of the cyclist are to benefit not just the movement and safety of the cyclist, but the flow of traffic as a whole. Usually cyclists ride to the right of traffice, giving the car drivers ample room for passing; unless of course that is not the safest passage (as in the traffic paterns of downtown DC where the ONE WAY streets alternate, thus having a flow of turning traffic changing from the far right lane to the far left lane) Strange that a car driver gets miffed when they cross the double yellow line in the middle of the road only to be passed by the cyclist at the red light. In this case the cyclist is progressing forward just as the car is, no difference. Now when the cyclist runs the stop sign or the red light, well that is a tough one to explain. I view it as more like "leading" than "stealing." Or more simply, I see it as one of the opportunities when law abidding members of society move into the "Gray Area" yet still view themselves as being in the right. Every car on the road speeds. The speed limit will read 25 MPH and people feel as if the car is permitted to go 35, and at the posted 55MPH they feel just in going 65MPH, and so on. Well, when a cyclist chooses to breeze through a stop sign or a red light they are doing the same thing. Re-evaluating the law and applying what they see as a sensible alternative. Clearly no car wants to be stuck behind a cyclist as they make a full stop at each intersection and then wait as the cyclist slowly gets up to speed. No, it is to the advantage of the car driver for the cyclist to move fast and fluid, and well to the right of the road. The car driver is then allowed to break the law and pass over the double line to pass the cyclist.

back to work
this thought like many is going now where
no desire to proof read
actually no desire to PUBLISH AND POST
but I have gone this far
DIRT RAG ARTICLE on race promoters
SMART CARS!
SMART CARS?
SMART CARS.


this is a trend in cars that I can appreciate

and apparently there will be an SUV HYBRID in the future
we have the technology
now we are starting to use it

my wife's family wagon
well her's is a fresco green 2001 and a half
but basically her car
embracery (em-BRAY-suh-ree) noun, also imbracery.

An attempt to influence a jury illegally as by bribery, threats,
or promises. One guilty of embracery is known as an embraceor.

as in the TYCO trial


http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/23/national/main608104.shtml

our system sucks
maybe the Fab Five can make over our system of Government!??!??!??!
This is beyond METROSEXUAL!
this is INTELLIGENT-METROSEXUAL COMEDY!


For all the liberals who watch Queer Eye...this is fun!

Right Wing Eye.

have a laugh
and
then realize that there are people in the United States that actually agree with these JOKERS!
Reactionary?

4.06.2004

HYPOCRISY

Once again I have caught myself being a HYPOCRITE!
No I was not driving and talking on my cell phone, well I did, but that is not what I am talking about. I am referring to the notion of trying to be pious in my actions and teaching lessons. After sharing with one of the City Bikes Mountainbike Team members about the nail traps set on the dirt trails that I wrote about in the entry prior I was told about how there are land owners who set traps on the Appalachian Trail for hikers. Seems the land owners do not like sharing their land so they set some pretty basic traps, they hang fish hooks on clear fishing line at head level at certain parts of the trail. That bummed me out. I rode home thinking about that and then got into my wife's Volkswagen passat and took Grant for a drive to send him off to dreamland. As I drove down Park Road dipping into Rock Creek Park a car rode close on my tail. The speed limit is 25 MPH, I was going 30. Took a turn onto Beach drive and started a drive through the long winding roads of Rock Creek Park. Again maintaining a speed of 30 MPH another car followed uncomfortably close behind me, almost pushing me to accelerate. Slowly a few other cars queued up behind me. I had become a pace vehicle. It was intentional. I ride my bike on this rode and I live on a road with fast moving traffic. I figure that if everyone drove at a safe speed then they would force the speeders to slow down. So there I am...out teaching lessons. I am the avid hiker setting nails on the path for cyclists. Well, not really, but I do resemble his/her actions in some way, only with a less negative resolve. But my intentions are as arrogant and as pious. If I can drive a rational speed without my purpose to be anything more than a safe driver, well fine. But if my goal is to hinder the progress of others well, I am just no better than anyone else in this world spending their time teaching lessons.