7.31.2004

When do I have the time to BLOG?
That is a question that people often ask....
well, we all make time for the things that are important to us
honestly....I have creative BLOG ideas all the time
but since my time is not always my own
I BLOG when I have time
not when I want to BLOG
thus causing the BLOG to be as much a compulsion as an exercise
I need to start writing topics down and BLOGGING about them later

gotta roll
dogs need to be walked
they have not seen the outside world in 12 hours
so this is clearly not a good time to BLOG
Cyclist Killed early Friday Morning...
the news was more than likely more about the traffic than the death
maybe I should stop playing chicken with assholes
and my rapid fire finger....that may get me shot by a gun slinging asshole
Run Against Bush has a cycling event...

I am not sure if I can make it
as the deck project is still priority one
but would love to tow Dean in the trailer for this event

Sunday, August 1st - 10 AM
Bike against Bush!
-Join us for our first monthly bike against Bush!
-Meet in Dupont Circle for either a 10- or 25-mile ride through Rock Creek
Park.
-Bring: water, helmet (required), and wear your Run Against Bush shirts or
get a *NEW* Bike Against Bush shirt - available for sale at the ride
start.
-Email Karen at karen AT runagainstbush.org with questions.

7.30.2004

Football vs. Cycling: Why compare?

Check out this article from some joker in the Midwest.



I sent him an email saying basically this....

Mike-
You know nothing about sports.
Your time would be better spent delivering papers rather than writing for them.
No need to say any more.
-Joel


this article was brought to my attention by a Velo News article
.


btw
that is not me
that is mike
mike is far more handsome than I
Doping: Performance Enhancing Drugs (aka cheating)
This whole cheating thing has been going on for quite some time, but it seems to be more and more of an issue these days. A few years ago there was the scandal of Mark McGuire and his use of an unbanned substance...then the top track and field athletes...during the tour the French were making accusations about Lance. It blows my mind. How do the athletes rationalize this? Am I so niave? Is it because all of the top athletes use these performance enhancing substances that makes it so that no one feels that it is wrong?

Someone help me out here

Check out Todd Well's journal entry about this topic...

Velo News Article

and Virgin Cola?

Marion Jones always in the news with this stuff.

I guess I could link on forever with this stuff. Tyler "dopey" Hamilton. The LeMond accusations.
You name it. The topic is hot as the Tour winds down and the Olympics approach.

another Velo News article with links to various PRO FOOTBALL DOPERS
Blair Boards: A Project More Scary than the Blair Witch
Not sure how this all happened...
the chronology is not clear in my head, but I will see what memories rise to the surface. ..

it may have been a period in my life where I was still working hard on find an alternate way to work that did not really feel like work. so rather than making good money in an office (at this point I had never had an office job, that did not happen till my early 30s). I joined forces with Jason Farrell and went to the Blair Farm in Poolesville Maryland to work in a barn making snowboards.

Before any of this goes any further there should be a little background...
Bob Blair is an old school skater/snowboarder with some serious talent for catching air. He talks slow and he rides fast. Not sure where the money comes from, but the Blair boys have some serious money.....money to burn....and they all burn baby burn. Bob has a sorted past, but who doesn't. I have heard tales of his old school past, most of which have hit local folk lore status, all of which are true, some may be blown out of proportion, but the core of the message is still true. Bob rode with a colorful cast of characters that called themselves The Toke Team. These guys were the like Hells Angels on Skateboards. It was all about living large and crashing hard. Adrenalin junkies long before the word EXTREME came into vogue. Each individual member was more like a cartoon character than a real person, these guys would have made a great white Fat Albert and the Gang, but none of them were fat. (Wiggy, Tobin, Puker, Hayman, Bob Blair aka The Blur...to name a few...was Micro an official member?.) This is enough background...fill in the blank...use your imagination....on with the story.

Somewhere in the early/middle 90s I heard that Bob was looking for some people to work his new snowboarding manufacturing plant. Okay, it was a crusty old barn with a used snowboard press and a handful of tools. For some reason Jason Farrell and I decided to take on this project. Before you know it we were commuting from our perspective Mount Pleasant group houses in downtown DC to rural Poolesville Maryland in Jason's '67 Cadillac limo to work in Bob Blair's sweat shop. We were the 'jack of all trades, masters of none.' OSHA and EPA had nothing on this place. There were no goggles, no earplugs, no respirators, and no ventilation. It was dream that never left the drool covered pillow case or the unchanged sheets. I recall our favorite part of the snowboard building process was gluing the rails. The glue was a two step process, glue and accelerator; ZIP KICKER. Man, put those two together and you could turn Einstein and Edison into Beavis and Butthead. Man, oh, Man! That stuff could change our moods. Jason would be all grumpy about us working yet another week without getting a paycheck living off his Exxon card and my maxed out Visa card and I would say...."lets go glue some rails" And bam, smiles...giggles...and infantile humor. It was a short lived work scenario. We were not model employees and Bob was far from a model employer.....the product was shoddy and the industry was booming. There seemed to be no place for the Blair Board with its original, yet ghetto graphics adorning an irregular and imperfect product.
We arrived late and left early each day. When we were not making boards we were jumping on the trapoline, taking turns on the brakeless two stroke dirtbike, cutting wood with the chainsaw, or throwing rocks for Jason's housemate Russell's brindle Pit Bull Jake-Dog. It was an episode of denial. Not time well spent. An interesting time, but not the most productive time. Jake-Dog did manage to get laid for his first and only time ever. Jake got a piece and then threw up. We logged a number of hours and never got paid for them (always clocking out before we went on our white trash adventures.) Bob has his blurred vision and an unintelligible rational for never giving us all of our money. We each walked our separate directions angry and bitter. In the end I try to keep my heart rate down by rationalizing things....I should have known better than to think that anything productive would have come from working under someone as sketchy as bob blair. I can only blame myself.

It was a colorful time, not an entirely productive time, yet colorful just the same. The memories are BLURRED as are any memories of Bob Blair. His farm with its 200plus year old house and the parties that were thrown there can be summed up in one word; Decadent. Well, make that two words Drunken and Decadent. Okay, use three or four, sure, use as many as you want. His farm became known as "The Compound." A variety of B-Town skaters lived there. The Compound did infact become Waco East with Bob Blair as the long haired messiah. Those that lived there could draw a more accurate picture than I can. That farm was just a chapter in the history of the local skaters and the local skate scene. A scene that has disbanded, yet still has chapters written all over the country and perhaps all over the world.

Thrasher Magazine
There has to be some history of The Toke Team somewhere...
the Annadale Ramp in the early 80's and then the steal coated ramp at Cedarcrest in Manasas VA are a large part of East Coast Skate History
Ramptech is a completely different company that I also worked for. Mike Mapp, aka Micro, was an amped and angry skater with a vision. Skating was dormant, yet he believed. Mike could have been doing custom home building, yet he wanted to build skateboard ramps. In this case a person's dreams came true. But the format was completely differnent. Mike was driven and dedicated. He knew there were things that he could not do, he occassionally listened to advice and occassionally used it. And BAM! It all paid off.
I think I will try to give Mike a call.




sam, sam, the fruit stand man
after graduating college I moved into a small apartment in Adams Morgan with fellow St. Mary's College graduate Sam Jannota
we were out of college and unsure what to do with our newly acquired adult status
I took the natural/easy route and leaped right into my summer/winter jobs of years past that I loved so much; messenger work
I worked a mixture of commission work on my bicycle and set wage work on my motorcycle
the bicycle stuff was the basic delivery and filing stuff
while the motorcycle stuff was occasionally a bit more unique
there were people to tail, history to view, and fat pay checks to collect
well, honestly, most of the time it was a Snooze....a great place to relax after a night in the bars
sam on the otherhand was not sure what to do with his time and adult options

I am not entirely clear how he decided upon this job
it really worked in the short term
sam became the fruit stand man at 17th and L Street
it was not an easy job with its early hours for fruit pickup and preworkday set up
but it had its perks
sam with his calm cool hippie persona and his brown bedroom eyes soon found that women from all over the surrounding blocks wanted his fruit
this fruit stand was the gateway to his dating scene
in an age long before Match.com Sam had a personal goldmine!

our stay together in Adams Morgan was short lived
sam was being torn in various directions
late nights at the bars and early mornings at the fruit stands were wearing him out
there was an opening at a group house with some musician friends of his that he had to take

I moved to a group house in Columbia Heights and Sam moved to a group house in College Park

we all missed having the fruit stand hook up when he was gone
as well as the sound of his keyboards slamming and entertaining a post bar crowd at 2am

I have fond or perhaps humorous memories of our shared space
and our having to learn how to coexist in the adult world
the basic group house dynamics with two rather than more
I would paint a picture of it
but just imagine Felix Unger and Oscar Madison a few years younger, never married, never divorced, and not quite sure how to balance the different personalities

it has been a decade since I spoke with Sam Sam the Fruit Stand Man
but I did try to "reach out and touch him"
talked with his wife a few times
caught up with her
we shared a giggle
talked about Sam, life, and parenthood
learned that Sam is still living the simple life
trying to follow the path of "quality of life"
still playing music
father and husband
and he may even have a dog or two
he not unlike me married a lisa
lisas are the best

7.29.2004

Peter Pan
Peter Pan is alive in many of us. For some us us it shows on the outside, while others it is on the inside, with Jason Farrell it exists both inside and out....entirely in a good way as he was mature in ways at the age of 17 that I have not been able to achieve at 37. We don't speak often enough these days so when I got this image in email correspondence from him today I was not sure if this photo was taken then or now....a closer look at the equipment and that the skater in the background is a woman (not a betty brings this image to the modern day, clearly more women skating now than then)




I will try to link some of his stuff
he is an artist, a musician, and a counter culture jock
his cliff jumping at great falls was always artful
(and humbling to watch)

jason is a fine artist who paints and sculpts
oh, and I forgot....film maker
he is also a graphic artist whose work dates back to Fanzine ads for the Sunshine House in the '80s and many beautifully designed albums and cds for Discord Records
here is a great interview
and his music....GOOGLE it yourself
I am tired of making links
and feel that I best go to bed

oh...no name dropping here
Jason Farrell is not famous
he may never be famous
he will always be an artist
he will always be pumped
he will always inspired people

here is a RETISONIC self directed video

A Bar A Ranch:  Wyoming 1991
It was a year after graduating from college and I was not sure what direction to take my life. So with very little planning I plotted a cross country trip via motorcycle. I had a small Suzuki GS55o sport bike that I felt was too small for my gorrilla body not to mention a cross country tour so I tracked down a friend selling an old Kawasaki KZ750 for 400 bucks. The price was right although the motorcyle did not roll or run when I bought it, but John Reardon was confident that it would run and go. With very little effort Reardon got it running. John was a good friend and a good person to have around, he may sleep with your girlfriend, but other than that he was a real stand up guy. It turned out that things with the old KZ were not quite as easy as we planned, he may have gotten the bike running, but there were sublties that he could not diagnose, things that would not be fixed after a trip to local motorcycle shop whose name I have purposely blanked out (thieves-R-us rings a bell.) Those same issues would recur having the motorcycle die just outside of Chicago where I was then passed to another Thieves-R-Us in suburban Illinois not far from my uncle's house.
The trip was planned loosely around a path zig-zagging around the states with stopping points with various friends and family. I had already been through Chicago, St. Louis, various parts of wild and wonderful Colorado before I settled in for a week with Rob Hardesty at the A Bar A Ranch in southern Wyoming not far from the Colorado border. Rob was spending the summer working as a ranch hand at some sort of western fantasy island. It was a fun little place.  In his time away from work we rode mountain bikes, shot pool, tried to ride horses, and strolled around the ranch watching the rich white visitors live out their fantasies shooting skeet, fly fishing, riding horses across the plains, and eating beans by the campfire.
After a week of relaxing in awe and envy of Rob's summer dream job it was time to leave. ROb treated me to a tank of gas from the ranch pump and I was off. I started my engine and let it warm off before I pulled away on a long dirt road on that high Wyoming plain. Then just as I was ready to take off I realized I had left my tooth brush in his multi resident cabin. With toothpaste, a faucet, and a mirror in front of me I figured I would brush my teeth real quick. As I brushed my pearly whites I heard Rob's voice in the distance, "Joel, your motorcycle is on fire." It was odd, Rob's voice was in a June Clever , "Ward, it is time for dinner" sort of way.  Then I heard it again, "Joel, your motorcycle is on fire." Ah, that Rob is such a kidder I thought to myself. Then on the third mention of this motorcycle being on fire I went running out the door. This time his tone was more with question mark than exclamation, but as it had not been funny the first or the second time, well, then on the third time it must mean that MY MOTORCYCLE IS ON FIRE!
I ran out and saw 4 foot flames engulfing my tank. I thought to myself, what to do? what to do? Although I knew that sand may kill the engine, I through dirt and sand on the bike. Between each toss of sand I put my forearm in front of my face to block the eminent explosion. Then seconds later someone rushed out with a fire extinguisher and put out the fire.

My emotions were mixed. Was my cross country trip over? Was I to be stranded on this western fantasy island? would that be so bad? do I have any marketable skills on a ranch? (no.)
Things settled down. I thanked Rob's friend and coworker for putting out the fire. We accessed what had happened. The tank had been filled to the brim. When I went inside to get the tooth brush I put the motorcycle on its side stand. At this point gas slowly dripped out of the tank from the gas cap. Each drop splashed along side of the spark plugs, the fumes caught fire, and the excess dripping gas burned and so did my motorcycle. With laughter and awe I figured I would see if the motorcyle started up. With the turn of a key and a push of a button the motorcycle fired right up. I turned it off and took off the tank to access the internal damage. Some wires had been scorched, but nothing a little electrical tape could not fix. With the wires taped up I was back on my motorcycle and headed to Seattle. An hour or so into the trip I felt that the motorcycle was running smoother than before. Those issues that the thieves-R-Us in Northern VA and suburban Illinois could not be fixed were all cured by the fire. So in the end the fire was a good thing.

I remember standing in Washington State looking at the Paciffic ocean then looking over my shoulder and thinking.....that was not so hard....why did I not do that sooner
you know what..I have not done it since
driven cross country
flown cross country
but have not ridden a motorcycle cross country
I think the bike will be the next cross country trip that is not in a plane

It took a little over a month for me to get across the country
if I remember correctly it took about 11 travel days
it is a faint memory, but I think it rained for 8 of those days
it was raining the day I left, I remember that sunday morning
putting on some rain gear and getting on the bike
my housemates at 1211 Girard wondering why I did not wait till the rain stopped
I felt I had waited long enough
riding a motorcycle in the rain sucks

back to work
lunch is over
hope to proof and edit this story in a bit


My favorite movies from my later years in High School (graduated in 85)
Classics then
Classics now
 
1.Suburbia
2.Mad Max/Road Warrior
3. DOA; The Sex Pistols first and only tour of America
(footage of Billy Idol in Gen X, he was actually really cool, and his music rocked)
4. The Hunger
5. The Duran Duran videos

7.28.2004

Take a SKATE down memory lane.....
This page is epic, even if epic is more a word from my early 90's snowboarding days in Breckenridge than a word to describe my experiences of the 70's.  The word EPIC seemed like it was the answer everyday. If in DC the trademark question is "what do you do" then in the ski town's trademark question is "so, did you get out today?" and the textbook answer..."yes, it was epic!" Just the same this page has images of skateboards from the early 70's. The images of the metal trucks blows my mind. Just how I remembered them!

brb...got to do some more surfing.....surfing down memory lane
(web surfing that is)

Went looking for the Sunshine House. Thought something would come up. Maybe a write up about the local history of Bethesda. But nothing. Totally empty. Sort of sad. Something with such history. A great local contribution..lost and gone forever? It was a classic business failure, grew too big too fast....had they stayed smaller they would have been prime for a much more prosperous life span as the local economy had begun to prosper and skating was yet to grow to its mainstream popularity of today. I am sure they still have their Ocean City Maryland location, but the Bethesda location could have easily been their bread and buter. ((yet not as sad as the Windsurfing Unlimited story.....they guy who bought it (it was East of Maui at this point) drove it into the ground. That place was a potential gold mine; ironically the Windsurfer/Skateboarder/Snowboarder existed in a new building strip mall where the Sunshine House once stood. New concrete poured smoothly where the wax once decorated the sidewalk. there is still a Windsurfing Unlimited store in Annapolis. The Windsurfing Unlimited location was in a residential house down the street from where I grew up. I used to cut their lawn. They always wanted to pay me in t-shirts.))

gotta roll
can't risk waking grant

night

it is morning and I am at work
thought I might do some searching for more info on this topic

nothing
coming up with nothing in the GOOGLE on Sunshine House
just a piece of forgotten history

Ocean City Maryland....Ocean Bowl

I was never much of a skater....these things take time. My time was being spent elsewhere. Too busy playing soccer, volleyball, and running (and of course some cycling, which was actually just bike riding back then) to be able to actually gain any skill on the skate. If it were not for the 6'4" Tony Hawk I would try to use my height and center of gravity as an excuse. But, it all comes down to time. I never invested the time. Most of my skating was about getting around town, hanging out, and having fun. My fondest memories of skating are with Rob Hardesty (the same guy I tour Europe with on bikes) We use to go all over downtown DC in traffic down heavily traversed roads, running lights, hanging on for dear life as speeds grew so fast that there was no slowing down, there was no stopping, and there was no jumping off, and there was no escaping the inevitable crash; the best we could hope for is that we don't get hit and we can slow down when the road flattens out. Better than going down Wisconsin Ave into Georgetown or back toward Maryland at Tenleytown was riding the carless parking garages in Downtown Bethesda. We use to do all sorts of grinds and rock and rolls on the heavily painted curbs. Then we would run up the stairs and race down the ramped garage doing high speed power slides wearing down our Buck99 gardening gloves, which I most certainly stole from my dad's shed. The pinnacle performance of the parking garage had to be the catamaran.  As goofy as it may appeared, and not at all pleasing to the uptight homophobe, the catamaran was the coolest thing you could do in a parking garage, well, without a girl. It was the fastest and the funniest way to get from the top of the garage to the bottom.
The catamaran is hard to picture and even harder to describe, but I will try.  It takes two riders, each rider sits on their own board and puts their feet on the other person's board, one foot on each side. then they hold hands, yes, hold hands. Things start off slowly, a few pushes at the ground bellow and we were off. The first turn at a slow pace was easy, but as speed picks up the peron on the outside of the turn is forced to lean way back, while the inside rider leans forward. The force to the outside is great, the wheels slide and the tight turn is forced. Again the speed tends to become too fast for the riders to control. Crashing is accepted as part of the experience. If you are not crashing then you are not testing the limits. Without a doubt we would go home all bruise up with our hands and fingers sore from slamming and running over our hands with our own boards. But not until after we had run up the stairs and ridden down until we were completely exhausted or it was time to go home.

MAN THAT WAS FUN!

Can't wait until Dean is old enough to get me skateboarding again!
only problem is that in this modern world the parking garages are still used in the evenings
there are even signs posted, "NO SKATEBOARDING"
the times of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are long gone
we are in the age of National Security

GREEN SKATE LAB
this is a non-profit I know nothing about
but I think it is a group of skaters grown up and trying to spread the word of skateboarding



binge....
I tend to do things in Binges....
Blogging is no different to me
putting images on my BLOG is no different for me
these images are not all recent
after all
that one of me snowboarding....
well I am not in Chile!

but images are a good addition to the mix
hope they are an addition not detracting

 


that Baby Grant is one charming little man...even when he sleeps

here I am hanging with my Buddies!
Dean is my Buddy!
Grant is my Buddy!
I am Dean's Dad.
and
I am Grant's Dad.

 


here I am introducing Grant to the pool
he will be swimming like a fish in no time at all!
Surf/Skate
In the 70's skateing had a huge revival. All the kids were cruising around on skateboards in a very 70's sort of fashion singing pop hits by Forgiener, Boston, and even the Beach Boys. We did not realize that our unkempet hair and our shoeless feet was to be thought of 70's fashion, we were just doing it, so only in hindsight were our actions in a 70's sort of fashion. Our toughskin jeans, cut off shorts, our wide variety of colors on our Gap cords, and our corny t-shirts were just what we wore...not a fashion statement that the Indy Rockers of today have adopted, what they are saying I do not know. At this point in time the homemade skateboard was as common as the store bought skate. Kids were still riding wooden planks with roller skate wheels attached to the bottom. The equipment varried.....metal wheels were lesser than clay, and clay were inferior to poly urathane. There were those with the roller skate mounts holding the wheels and then people who were riding store bought boards with actual skateboard trucks, the wider the cooler. Those of us with older brothers or sisters were lucky enough to score some outdated hand-me-down equipment. Maybe a BANZI Board, or a Kryp-Stick, or a Logan Earth Ski....shit....a Nash board would have been better than handmade wooden plank red with racing stripes that I was riding....well, I stole from my sister and then sent it down the gutter and into the sewer.....I said nothing/pretended it had never happened....lucky for me that same sewer had the magnatism for skateboards that certain trees have for kites and when someone when down there to pull out their board, they came up with sister's board. It was returned. Oddly she did not beat my ass for this incident, got lucky and caught her in a good mood, but I doubt I was bold enough to borrow it again.
In downtown Bethesda there was the Sunshine House...the local surf and skate shop. It was a small free standing house painted a god aweful yellow almost as bad as the schoolbus yellow I recently painted my garage...the sidewalk out front was covered in wax. Cool guys worked there....cool guys hung out there. I was too young and too uncool to hang out there.....I made a few passes through there but was overwelmed by the cool atmosphere.  I was not even cool enough to own a Sunshine House t-shirt until late in the game. An 8th grade girlfriend gave me my first and my sister gave me some hand-me-downs shortly after...some of which were once the property of her cool muscle car driving skater/surfer somewhat sketchy boyfriends. Sketchy in an old school way, not in a jaded modern day way, they were more like the bad boys of the day....marybe more like Jeff Spicolie from Fast Times or Moocher from Breaking Away.

The late 70's faded and skateboarding was forgotten by most. But in the 80's skateboarding had a revival, at least subculturally within the fringe punk scenes. Ramps were popping up in suburban backyards everywhere.  The equipment evolved. Boards and trucks were wider, there were adaptations to aid in the new tricks of the changing sport. Rails on the base of the board to aid in grabs, curb slides, and Rock and Roll slides. The bird was a nice little adaptation that mounted on the rear truck to aid in protecting the rear truck's kingpin for going up and down curbs. There were tail savers and nose bones, and even little pieces of plastic that mounted on the trucks so that when you grinded you were grinding the plastic and not the metal trucks.  Status was achieved not just through the riding, but how "thrashed" each part of the board became. Wheels were worn from carving turns, trucks were worn to the axle from grinds, and the decks themsevled got battered and bruised from countless crashes.  Ramps added vert, vertical that is. They added vert, vert, and more vert. The guys catching air went higher and higher....as for me....I was a land dweller. Never mastering the domain of the ramp, always more comfortable on the street doing bonelesses and kickflips, or just getting wacky with an old bicycle inner tube wrapped around the board held tight in my hands.....holding the board snug to me feet as I leap up over curbs and obstacles.

During this same 80's era snowboarding was also evolving. Burton had come out with an evolution of snowboards. Each model was too expensive for me and my needs. But there was always some one who showed up at the local sledding hill and was willing to share. There was the Burton Backhill, the Performer, and the Woody. None of which worked all that well. Either the hill was not steep enough, the snow was not deep enough, or their were too many people running up and tackling you as soon as you started down the hill. As amazing as the invention of the Snowboard may have been, there was as much ignoracy as genius in the creation. Durning first ten years of snowboarding the creators failed to look to its snow loving cousin the ski for advice. The downhill ski has a metal edge, the snowboard had a metal fin or a piece of metal bolted to the side, but never a metal edge. All I can think of is how stupid it would have been for the mountainbike to try and start from a clean slate and not to borrow from the road bike, the cruiser and the motorcycle. Had they not borrowed from that technology the wheels could have easily been square for the first 10 years.

enough with this rant
it is more of a walk down memory lane for me
no direction
no meaning
if I only had some images to tell the tale
guess these will have to do

 




Dogtown and Z Boys
Riding Giants




 

7.27.2004

Flip Flop
we all do a little flip flop
as we get older and we change; we change our beliefs and we change our actions
even as time passes and our tastes change
with my long list of rules I can be a tad hypocritical by flip flopping and breaking my own rules....
for example tonight
while it is clear that I am too big for the tub
Dean and I still took a bubble bath tonight
then when Dean stepped into the tub he complained that the water was too hot
but that water was not as hot as the Hot Tub that I told Dean he could not go into
that I could not get him out of when we were in Arizona
we all flip flop from time to time
I am sure if you give it five minutes you can find an example of your own flip flopping.

before blogging I had 5-7 good examples of Flip Flops in my present world

7.26.2004

The Deck Project.
Here it is months after the talking began and we have finally made some progress on this daunting deck project. It seemed like a huge undertaking and it is.  There were an assortment of barriers that kept this project to actually start moving forward; the weather (too much rain,) my dad travels a great deal for work (seems that he is in Africa 1/3 of the year,) mountainbike races (I wish I could say that was as much of a variable as the rain, but I have done a number of races and have been riding,) but the largest barrier had to be mental. I was intimidated about actually getting this started. The notion of ordering the wood scared me. My lack of familiarity with the language and the process cause apprehension and fear, thus massive procrastination. This is a major purchase. Sure enough, my fear was not unfounded. When the wood arrived just two days after it was ordered I was hauling the lumber from the alley behind my Mount Pleasant home to my underdeveloped back yard with the assistance of three Salvadoran men that I gathered from the local 7-11 when I noticed an error. We were not far into the stack when I noticed that I had ordered some 1 X 6es, when the correct wood that I wanted was actually 5/4 X 6 (five quarters.) Depression sunk in. It should not have been an issue. I knew that we needed this measure board for the fencing, for a board on board fence, but it still threw that oh too familiar gray blanket of depression over my mind, body, and actions on the days to come. It is tough to climb out from under that blanket, rational thought does not clear things up immediately. Words are just words. But when I finally had the correct wood delivered and learned that the lumber yard would buy back anything uncut I began to feel better. Once we had layered stage one of the three step process I was back on my feet. The error was slight, but had we not needed the wood it would have been a 1,500 dollar boo boo.

With the wood ordered, my dad in town, my ability to put the deck as a higher priority than my Saturday morning yoga class and Sunday's mountainbike race at Michaux, we were actually able to start building the deck. Well, correction, I started building the deck well over a month ago, but with the final wood order in I was able to start with the deck floor of our first section (one of three, the smallest of three)  In no time at all we had that first section covered with planks, but then digging holes, mixing concrete, and setting posts then nailing boards took much longer than I had anticipated. Going into the weekend I was picturing a party on Sunday afternoon....me manning the grill.....Dean and a pack of his toddler buddies laughing and giggling as they slide down the 14 foot slide. But no.....By the end of a long weekend we had a few post in place, concrete hardening, and a few boards hung.....no frivolity grillside, maybe in 2005.


Tour de Lance
It is finally over,  Lance finished his bike ride faster than any of the other racers out there. It was quite an accomplishment. Now all of the armchair quarterbacks are doing a little lazy-boy-cycling and trying to figure if Lance is the greatest cyclist that every raced. Yes, this feat of 6 Tour victories has never been accomplished before, but there are those that have won more stages (yellow jerseys) as well as won more non-Tour races over all. So the debate begins. A difficult debate to even start....just as in deciding the greatest heavy weight boxer of all time by comparing Ali with Tyson. It just does not work. Tyson grew up with the example of Ali before him, not to mention the more highly evolved training techniques of the modern times. So when comparing Lance Armstrong to lets say, Eddie Merckx....well it can not so easily be done.  The equipment has developed as well as the nutrition. The science of sport is at a much more developed stage than it was 30+ years ago. Then again....Lance is racing against a field of athletes that are also prosporing from the same advances in technology of sport, science, and engineering (yes, the bike has changed, weight, geometry, aerodynamices...etc.) So, if nothing else we can say that Lance Armstrong is clearly one of the greatest, if not the greatest, cyclists of our times.

It will be exciting to see Lance put the challenge of the Tour de France behind him and broaden his scope to the other races around the world. It will be good for Lance and it will be good for the sport of cycling, but no...it will not be good for the Tour de France. I would like to see how Lance does in other races like Paris Roubaix or some of the other lesser known tours, ie The Tour of Italy/Tour de Giro/Giro de Italia/Tour Whatever....I don't even know.  Or even the Hour Record, where in Mexico City cyclist race the clock to see who can ride the greatest distance.
(History of the Hour Record)

This weekend without THE OUTDOOR LIFE NETWORK (OLN) I had to get my tour fix fullfilled by internet updates, newspapers, watching a few classic road racing films on DVD. These movies are pure art. They unfold like an opera. Le Course en Tete; The Eddie Merckx Story, is a beautiful epic. A must see for any cyclist, documentary film lover, or person who loves entertainment with a Euro Flare! Then there was the viewing of A SUNDAY In HELL, which is also very beautiful.  Read the Reviews and the synopsis...then find a copy. You will thank me.

And I must thank my old friend Bennet. Big Wheel Bennet! The founder of the Mishi's ride, an all around nice guy, yet a very complex character. It was Bennet that introduced me to these classic films. More on Bennet another time....he is a full time BLOG on his own. He is sort of like a cross between CLERKS, Sesame Street, and Crumb. Well, it is not Bennet that is freaky, he surrounds himself with a strange cast of Characters......Blog on this later....look above for it.


7.24.2004

Sue Haywood
The road to the Olympics is a long one...a path that I will never know. As a sport level racer I know how hard it is to perform at my "personal best" and to try and maintain that level of performance. While for the top competitors it is so much more demanding. They seek the highest level of performance and are not permitted to slip or slack. The training, the racing, the sacrificing; it is all more than I will ever know. I am not much for training or sacrificing. A few weeks ago I was pleased to hear that West Virginia women's mountainbiker had won the sole spot for representing the United States in the XC Mountainbiking event in Athens. The official US Cycling page did not post this information, but a variety of other links had announced the news. Now I come to find that there was a calculation error and Sue Haywood has not infact earned this slot. Was she robbed? Or did she not earn the requisite points to beat out the other competitors. Here is her story from her perspective....Sue Haywood.
Here is the Official Site with the official announcement. I am not sure, but I think that the women that won the slot lives in the same sleepy town as Jetsetpete, a friend and blogger who blogs about life, politics, and the experiences of owning a San Fran based messenger business.
Either way, Sue we are proud of you.....you ROCK! Your accomplishments are still impressive. Everything happens for a reason....maybe your reason will show itself some time soon.

7.23.2004

Free Diving Tragedy
I do not subscribe to Sports Illustrated (SI), heck, I don't even watch sports on TV (too much VH1 to watch) Yet, there was an SI cover story some years back that caught my eye; The Deadly Dive. Each year I may grab one or two issues of Sports Illustrated from my father's house. I almost always grab the swimsuit issues and then there is a story like this that stirs some interest. This true story of a Cuban freediver and his French freediving girlfriend impacted me before I even started to read it. It was clear that it was going to be a sad tale, but I felt compelled to read it just the same. Then for some reason I held onto this issue and reread it today just over a year since its release, after reading it I did some online searching. Here is an article from the survivor's of this relationship's perspective. I have not finished it, so I am bookmarking it for me and for others here; Pepin's Perspective on that fateful day.  I was not able to find an online version of the SI article.

There is something powerful about water. We are all drawn to it. People go to the beach and set up their chairs and just watch. Days can be spent listening to the waves and soaking in the sea air. Most do not enter the water, others do little more than get their feet wet. These freedivers pushed the limits of the human body and swam to the greatest depths. It is enchanting to me.  I respect their drive and mourn their loss. There is no need to pass judgment on safety this or negligence that. Had no one been hurt there would be no mention of the lack of preparation. We all take risks. Each day your normal person exceeds the speed limit, smokes a cigarette, or gets on a bicycle without a helmet. On this day things went terribly wrong and that is all that needs to be said.  It is the zest for life that caused them to past their limits. The risks were always known, certainly that is part of the rush. If it were easy, then the record would not mean anything.

I can not reference this link without reflecting on another sad tale, Heart of the Sea. Another story of a freediver. Only this freediver did not lose her life in one of her many surf competitions or out freediving, she battled breast cancer for 15 years. Both stories will move you.  

I would hate to lose my life while out riding my bike. It would be sad to get run over by a car or to snap my neck crashing on a technical downhill. But, it would be more sad not to ride my bike around the city or for me to not ride and race as fast as I can on dirt. Precautions are taken, yet so are risks.  It is overcoming these risks and approaching certain fears that offer the rush and make life worth living.  I aim to live a long full life. The thought of missing out on seeing my sons grow up to be old men saddens me deeply.  These are things that I do not even like to contemplate. To entertain such thoughts could surely make a person phobic.
 




Dean has one heck of a sense of humor...
On Sunday afternoon after a morning in the house Lisa and I packed the kids and the dogs into her fresco green vw passat wagon and headed down the road to take a hike at Great Falls on the Maryland side. As we headed down MacArthur Blvd Dean requested his Cheerio hat. Well, we have never been clear what his "cheerio hat" is, but we asume that it is an old navy baseball cap that we lost some time ago. I was wearing a baseball cap and he wanted to wear a baseball cap too. I offered him mine, he refused, then I offered him lisa's. he took it and put it on backwards and smiled. the drive continued and time passed, topics went from t-rexes, to spiderman, to itsy bitsy spiders, and so on. then dean asked for his hat. i did not know where it had gone. I checked the floor and the seat beside him. the hat was no where to be found. I looked around trying to find the hat before dean got frustrated. Then I noticed that the hat had fallen off his head and was pressed between his back and his car seat. I pointed this out to him. Dean turned and looked behind himself and grabbed his hat. We laughed. Dean had one of those moments that we all have...."where are my glasses?"..."they are on your head." Dean put his hat on and smiled widely.
We each laughed a deep laugh, deep within the gut, a natural laugh, nothing forced. Things subsided to normal and some time passed. Then Dean asked..."where is my hat?" I turned around and Dean had removed his hat from his head and put his hat behind his head and neck on his chair. He pretended to look around for his hat, raising his arms out to the side gesturing "I do not know."  We each pretended not to know where his hat was and then we had the pleasure of repeating that deep laughter when he found the hat again. I was greatly over joyed with Dean's ability to create situational humor, and Dean was pretty pleased with himself as well.
On that hike with Grant in backpack, the dogs ran leashless to who knows where chasing this and chasing that, Dean learned another game. He learned to hide behind a tree and leap out and say "BOO!"
There were certain subtlies that he missed about this trick, but he loved it just the same.
It was a great little hike. Dean loved hiking an unfamiliar trail and covered at least three miles at an adult pace.  This evening was topped off with a little sea kayaking down river at sunset. We drove from Great Falls on the Maryland side down to Belle Haven Marina just north of Mount Vernon in Virginia where we met up with Steve and his wife Holley and their new born baby girl Nellie and Bennet and Elsa with their 2.5 year old boy Diego. We all had our dogs and it was a great way to end the weekend. The dogs all swam as we all took turns paddling about the marshes in the orange glow of the summer sun. There should be more days like that. I must make a note to myself for us to do that again some time soon.
What the heck is this?
First they are ruining our country...now they are trying to ruin our backyard barbecue!
Give me a break!
Sure it is clever and cute....but what give this stuff its red coloring?
The blood of American soldiers dying in Iraq? 
 W Ketchup?
Someone please help!
This is absurd as Freedom Fries, Freedom Toast, and Freedom Kiss!
We are lucky that they did not try to change the name of the Tour to, le Tour de Freedom!


Bringing it back to the bike....
There are so many different bicycle manufacturers....
How does one choose?
In my garage and basement I have bikes/frames from Kona, Jamis, Rocky Mountain, Trek (yes, trek,) Raleigh, Fisher, Outback, Schwinn, and Surly. All are mine except for Lisa's Fisher and her unbuilt Outback (one of my things to do) and Dean's Schwinn. Not all of these bikes are assembled or rideable, but all those bikes are there to trip over.
Here is another company...a guy around the corner has a Vanilla track bike, so I thought I would scope out the scene with this manufacturer. Vanilla Bikes, and of course....in this world of many options...when you have Vanilla you also have Chocolate! Chocolate Bikes!
My selection process has always been based on THE DEAL, THE HOOKUP, or THE DUMPSTER. Some of those bikes mentioned are relics that I have dragged with me over the last several moves, while others are in a healthy rotation. My cross bike only gets ridden for cross races and my mountainbike only gets ridden on dirt....
with that said...
I want a new bike!

meanwhile PFunk is looking at buying a RETROTEC
follow the saga here.....
will pete go with the used built up bike that has low miles and a XTR mix that he saw on eBay
or spend more money for a fresh new frame without parts
and build up his dream machine
or is he just window shopping?
tune into his Blog for the answers to these questions and more; JETSETPETE

7.22.2004

Two Minute Countdown
It is just about time to slide down the dinosaur and roll out into the rain.
Before I go I am going to bookmark another link to myself...
Sheldon Brown on teaching a child to ride a bike.
Dean is three years old and doing quite well on the bike with training wheels. He has voiced an interest in removing the training wheels, although he is not actually ready for that step. I think it would be best if I start guiding him in that direction....
Any tips or tricks to getting my son rolling on the bike sans training wheels?

SEE YA
I am outta here!


Created by Anu Garg.
got this here
http://www.wordsmith.org/~anu/java/spirograph.html


Timbuk2
Business growth is not an issue I have ever had a problem with. There is that old punk rock notion of not selling out. But when it comes down to it, why not get paid as much as you can for doing what you do?  Timbuk2 Tour de France Bag and the Timbuk2 Yoga Bag; I have seen a variety of messenger bag companies come and go...but there may be something about these guys and their business model that has kept them afloat. Dirt Rag was a zine at one point, now it is a glossy mag! All the while Ian MacKaye tried to avoid fame and fortune with Minor Threat and Discord Records, then ended up getting rich with Fugazi and all that is Discord.
In the world of mountainbiking I often hear people complain that the race promoters are getting rich for throwing these events. As far as I am concerned if the entry fee is not outrageous and the event is well put together then sure, let them make a buck. Perry Farrell got rich off Lolapollusa but no one boycotted the mosh pit because of that.....they went along and enjoyed the show.
It it true that our society has a hard time getting its priorities straight....teachers work part time jobs while super models complain about how hard it is to look pretty in front of all those lights.

go figure.

what is Straight Edge?
(other than not me)

and an oldie but a goodie
but only relevant to someone with some knowledge of DC punk rock history...
What DC Hardcore Band are you?

You are STATE OF ALERT! Very pissed off in general,
you don't mess around. Even rednecks don't like
to get in fights with you because you are
crazy. You aren't afraid to promote yourself,
not to mention you are a loud mouth. Outspoken
in what you believe, you will ALWAYS be there
to help out and fight for your friends and
those you love. And of course to create a
whilwind of senseless violence.

WHAT D.C. HARDCORE BAND ARE YOU?

man.....
this day is slipping away
the Red Bull is in my veins and I have taken all that energy and put it in the wrong directions
managed to get a few things done
but need to knock out a few more
been playing a virtual hookie all day
tangent hopping from Blog to Blog
a random GOOGLE for a new BLOG took me to one site and then another
here are two I linked to earlier
Punk Ass Bitch and Facing Inward
these people are all going through life trying to figure it all out
to see other parents perspectives
I read their words and I see how young and alive these people are
and then I read further and I hear that their kids are older than mine
it is great to see that as much of a focal point a child may become in a parent's life
they do not have to forfeit their own interests

I may be a servant to two children and two dogs
but that does not mean that I can not be a servant with his own sets of interests

this time for real!

I must get to work!

Searching....

In life we all search for meaning.
Although I am not a religious person, I do believe in god or at least some sort of higher power.  My understanding or conception of god is a modification of the catholic god that I was brought up to believe in, a very loose adaptation. If I were to believe in this version of religion it would be hard for me to go on faith that any of the stories in the bible are anything more than stories. Good rules for life, but more like fables with lessons than historical accounts of things that actually happened. Not unlike George Washington chopping down the cherry tree or George W. heading to Iraq to fight terrorism, these are just tales told so many times that people have taken them as actual accounts of history, while we all know that they are just stories.

I use to joke that I had an agreement with god, 'I don't go in god's house and he does not go into mine."  Well, that is not true.  I welcome any outside source that can aid my family to a safe and healthy future, this does not rule out god. Going to church is not anything that has ever appealed to me, guess god should have made the weekend longer if he wanted me to go to church. With only one sunday and mountainbike races, sleeping late, and hang overs to recover from I just can not find the time for church. Not to sound selfish, but I just never got anything out of it. It never made me think any more, it never made me feel any better, feel any more awake, or feel more alive.  Riding my bike or going to Yoga can be a more religious experience for me than going to church.  And this is after going to church a great deal.....catholic school for 7 years and acting as an alter boy for at least 5 years.....that was a lot of 7 am masses in spanish and a good number of math classes missed to serve funerals.

Belief.net Quiz

there are some interesting topics at Belief.net

I recommend it....
more for the atheist/agnostic than the believer

Yoga
About six years ago on a small Thai island I met an old Italian man. He was handsome and fit with a calming presence. We talked, but not at length. Each day we would pass and exchange hellos at breakfast or as I went down to the beach with my rented snorkel and fins to check out the action on the reef. This older gentlemen with his peace and scerenity impressed me. I wanted aspects of his persona to be part of me. I wanted an inner calm that was visible throughout. I wanted to be sure that I am fit when I become older. I wanted to be at ease with who I am and what life had granted me. In our short brief discussions I learned that this man was a Yoga instructor off to India to further his studies. At the moment of hearing this I wrote myself a mental note....Make Yoga Part of Your Life.
 
Here it is many years later and I am slowly making Yoga part of my life. It is only a one session a week commitment at the present. But, after the mountainbike race season slows for me I will try to tag on a second day; if the responsibilities of family will allow.  It is hard to measure the effects.  So many other variables in my life. But, the feeling I get when class is over is so positive I can only think that these classes are valuable to my current well being. (currently happy working a steady 9-5 job, riding and racing mountainbikes at a moderately competitive level, and living as a good husband and father)

I do not recall what style of Yoga this gentleman from Italy practiced.  Presently I have been studying Ashtanga Yoga.  It is a style that works for me. It is all more a matter of exposure. This is the style that my wife studies; as well as a wide variety of our friends (most of them female.) But I have been curious about checking out some of the other styles, just so I have a greater understanding of what Yoga is. At this time all I know is what I have learned through this Ashtanga class here in DC.

(similarly I have considered trying a local Wednesday night road race in Greenbelt. just because I am curious about the road culture...who knows? I may like it. I have been doing some Cyclocross races in the winter....never thought I would like it until I tried it a few years ago, now I am hooked!)

Brief descriptions of various Yoga Styles


Six Feet Under
Blogging about TV? Now, I have hit an all time low. I tend to have all these great observations of the world that I want to blog about, but by the time I am at home from a post work bike ride (the bike is where the blog ideas blossom), walk the dogs in the woods,  hang with the wife and the kids, figure out the answer to the age old question, "what's for dinner?" shuttle Dean off to bed, make sure Lisa does not need any help getting Grant to bed, by this time I am brain dead. Last night I turned on the laptop with the best of intentions and got sucked into HBO's series Six Feet Under. I must admit there are some genius minds working for HBO. They produce an entertaining series after entertaining series. But the writers/producers of last week's Six Feet Under hit a new high for this series. It started playing out in its natural soap opera based in a funeral home direction, but when they got into the hitchhiker tangent of the story! Well, it was like Farrah in Extremities. It got to be really intense, complex as well as intense, tehn downright scary. Definitely cured me of ever wanting to pick up a hitchhiker or even help a stranger ever again for that matter!
Blog Tangents

Okay...

I need to slam some RED BULL and get back on track!
The day is slipping away. But before I BLOG OFF I will post a link to a CLEAN AND SOBER BLOGGER. I am neither Clean nor Sober, but I am not a JUNKIE either. But I did enjoy some of her rants.
and I have not gotten to this blog...but will bookmark it for myself here to check out later
later
after I get some work done
Ashtanga Blog

gwadzilla out
(for now)
Funny Thing...
In my adult life I have always claimed to be too large to fit in a standard bath tub. Only under situations of great need did I ever get in the tub. Lets say....if I am in great pain and need the healing sensation of ebsen salts or just the hot soak. But since Dean has been on the scene I have found myself taking more and more baths. Odd! Before my 6'4" frame with its 230 plus pound frame was unable to fit comfortabley into the tub. But now when my three year old son Dean asks me to take a baths.....it is bubble time. It is usually a short process, but I do join him for a bit. Then when I get out of the tub the water level drops to an absurdly low level.  I then grab some of his favorite tub toys (turkey baster being a current favorite) and fill up the tub.
As for Grant....I have taken his cubby little 4 month old body in the shower with me, cleaned him up with great caution, as when he gets soaped up he is one slippery little beast. But no baths with both of the boys yet, although Lisa makes the family tub a semi-regular experience. I have photos....but they may not be web worthy.

With all this said.....

We have a larger tub on the second floor....sans shower. It is one of those massive tubs with the feet. Dean broke the ornate faucet and I have not gotten around to replacing it. But we need to replace that and make sure the feet are secure. That would clearly be a better bath tub for me and the boys....much higher walls and a tad longer!

Races in the near future....

This weekend is the Michaux race, depending on the days leading up to Sunday and the progress on my deck. My attendance has yet to be determined.

As for the Hoo-Ha....
well, check out this site. Hoo-ha!
this ain't Massanutten, but it is worth checking out

Invasion of Privacy...
spending a few moments at lunch tangent hopping from web site to web site
got off the topic of bicycles and somehow got onto someone's story about being approached by the police while taking some photos in Seattle

it is an amusing tale
well
amusing if you are not the author

I have had similar experiences
in these times, this sort of thing may very well be happening more and more frequently
but for me
this does not happen because of my 'brown-ness'
as I am not brown
yet I am in touch with the brotherman

makes me want to take an Intro to Photography class
that
and move to Canada

for me to join in on any of this single speed fun I would definitely need to get a suspension fork on my Karate Monkey
maybe it will happen for me next year
until then
I really need to concern myself with getting in a few long rides before I get my ass handed to me at the Shenandoah Mountain 100

that is not to say that I am not out having single speed fun
raced as a Clydesdale at Wakefield
and have been taking the Single karate monkey out at local dirt rides including that Patapsco ride the other night
but, I have yet to try my single at Gambril or anything else that rocky

SUMMERTIME!
summer is here and the heat is upon us
don't expect august to be any cooler
things here on the east coast are a little different, well different from the western states
here in the east we have humidity
humidity and all of its splendor
in dc it is bangkok hot
sadly we lack the good grace to embrace it with the Songkran Festival
instead we just complain
we bitch and we moan
everyone grumbles about like they had not expected it
like a hot humid dc summer is something new and different
it gets ugly...real ugly
ac in dc is a must
on an average day I must change my clothes 5 or 6 times
if we don't have the ac going I am sweating in the shower
when I go to towel off I never get dry
when I go to brush my teeth, the tooth paste comes out as a liquid
out the front door and I am soaked with sweat before I get off my front porch
it is miserable
but it is home
home sweat home
 
embrace the summer and all of its splendor
sure spring and fall are the pinicale seasons
spring with the cherry blossoms and fall with the foilage
I think fall was on a tuesday last year and spring lasted for a wednesday and a thursday this year
we are not here for the climate
for many of us I am not sure why we are here
(here....not as why am I here on this planet, but why am I here in dc)
I am here because my family is here
here is home
night riding is one of the best answers to this heat and humidity
it is a few degress cooler and the air is not quite as thick
that trip to Patapsco showed that you do not need to get to far out of the city to find a pleasant oasis

so enjoy the summer
grab a watermelon take a bite and spit some seeds
eat a bussel of steamed crabs
go to the beach, any beach
jump in the pool any pool, dc has countless public pools
pool hopping may be gone with the era of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn
Carl Rowan marked the end of that era when he shot and wounded some local high school boys cooling off in his pool without invite
leap off a cliff into the Potomac at Great Falls
find that hidden rope swing at Brickyard Road
rent a sea kayak a Bell Haven Marina from Chip who lives in his van down by the river
or head to Fletcher's boat house or Swain's lock for a canoe instead
enjoy the long days
put on some bug spray
don't forget the sun screen
splurge and order the Key Lime Pie
take an evening stroll to your local ice cream parlor
road trip, then road trip again
splash in the river
go tubing at Harper's Ferry
enjoy summer while it is here
the dark days of winter will be here soon enough to give everyone something different to complain about

7.21.2004

Patapsco State Park
It would seem that I need to be re-introduced to the trails at Patapsco State Park. Night riding can have its fair share of confusion. But last night I shocked myself with my lack of recolection of a more sensible loop. Sure, we were out long enough and we only back tracked once, but, I still feel that I could have created a more fluid loop. Not that I am trying to beat myself up. It is more of a matter if I am going to get out and hit the trails I would like my time to be well spent.
I was pleased when I we found the field crossing, but was shocked when we crossed a street and I could not find where the trail picked up. I recognized a good bit of the trial, even in its new and unimproved state, but I could not find a few sections of trail that I was looking forward to riding.
It was a great ride any way that we look at it.  The single speed worked out pretty well for those trails. It may have been a better combo for dave to be on his geared hardtail while I push the rigid single, but that is not how we headed out there.
Most of the sections of the climbs that I was unable to clear on the single would have been little different on the geared bike. I hesitate to go for the granny and the granny may have lacked the tork to get me up the steep and over the obstacles.
enough about Patapsco.
when is the next ride?
when am I going to pack that rear hub?
am I going to race this weekend?
or am I going to be a rational adult and work on my deck project?
part of me does not want to chicken out on the Michaux Rock Fest
while another part of me feels if this does not get done soon it may never be done!
The Saga Continues....
(the saga of trying to coordinate a night ride.....and unlike Kerry.....we ended up leaving a man behind)

this sort of email communication and brotherly conflict is part of my everyday life...
the emails go back and forth
tempers flare
and as usual I am in the wrong
I am always in the wrong
it is tough to always be wrong
and one would think that I am use to it by now
but
it is hard to accept
I am in the wrong again
at least I am right about that
Riding...Planning Rides...Group Rides...etc.

Last night I went for a night ride. It is pretty basic stuff. Get your bike, your gear, and you go. As we all know it is not always that simple. Yesterday was the usual email battle. It started off with me sending out an email saying that I was ready to go mountainbiking that evening, lights on the charger and everything. Immediately I get an email back from my brother saying that this was not enough notice. Oddly enough, it was my brother who had started the whole night ride email by saying that he could night ride on Monday or Tuesday. By this time, mondya had passed, and tuesday was our only option. After my response he recalled that he had infact started that scheduling opportunity. Then there was a back and forth on where we should ride. I wanted to go to Patapsco State Park, while my brother was lobbying for Cabin John. Then there was all sorts of back and forth, then some more back and forth, until finally we had established that patapsco was the choice and that we would settle in on a time when everyone got home......Then Dave shows up at my house with his rigid single speed...I put away my geared hardtail bike and grabbed my rigid single speed and we were off.
The ride went well.
Then I find emails from my brother showing his frustration in my INBOX this morning.
It is tough to coordinate the simpliest of rides. Everyone has their own needs and their own agenda. That is why most of my rides are solo. Most of my approaches to the races are solo.
The email back and forth between my brother and myself continues. Apparently he wants an apology. But I never said I was going to call. He misunderstood. On Sunday I said I would call if I was going for a ride. I did not go for a ride, so I did not call. As for last night....I never said I was calling anyone. I said I was going riding. And I went riding.
man
riding can be a pain in the ass
In the City....

There are certain advantages to living in the city. For example, on a day like today where I had all of this wood delivered. If I need a little help moving this wood. It seems that I needed to do was to walk up to Mount Pleasant Main Street and head over to the 7-11 and ask a few of the guys hanging out if they wanted to do some work. That easy. The language barrier was not too much of an issue. I spoke as much Spanish as these guys spoke English. I think that there was some initial hesitation. They walked slowly behind me as I walked slowly infront of them. I was skeptical of them as they were skeptical of me. I feared that they were going to jump me, and they were....well who knows....these are dangerous times.
All went well. They helped me move the wood. I gave them each 20 bucks and a couple of glasses of water. And then I went to work. Well, I went for a short spin on the bike, got a flat at Haines Point, and then rolled into work exhaused.
check out DT's BLOG on the Wednesday at Wakefield race last week.....

he raced in the single speed class
I raced my single speed, but in the Clydesdale Class
Night Ride at Patapsco State Park

Ouch. I am sore. My shins are feeling the pain of the pedals. The first crash of the evening was clearly my worst, but the others add up nicely to give my body a morning stiffness; get your head out of the gutter! Not that kind of morning stiffness! Asprin and Advil are just a thought away.
By Dave's choice we opted to take the Single Speeds up to Patapsco State Park. We made the night drive in my '84 Landcruiser without any traffic and pulled into the Park and Ride after a painless 35 minute drive. Once in the lot we suited up and soaked in night. It was pleasantly cooler outside of DC. The moon was just a sliver of a fingernail. The sky had a glorious orangish glow, and the parking lot had a scattering of cars with all sorts of people doing odd park and ride things. Young couples? Adultrous affairs? Crackhead getting high? junkie getting his fix? who knows? All I know is that they are there at the Park and Ride and not at home! These freaks wig me out! With our lights on our helmets and our feet clipped into our pedals we headed for the woods. Having not ridden these trails in a year or two I was in for a bit of a surprise. The trails have changed, and not for the better. There are more options, more unneccessary options. The erosion from man and nature had altered the settings. The trails were widder and more conveluted. The impact of the trail use is obvious and nothing shy of brutal. As we got deeper into the woods the trails became more narrow/less abused, but then there would be open sections where single track had turned into the land of a thousand options. Large nasty openings where various puddles and divots crisscrossed and no vegetation could survive. There were man made obstacles for freeriders; log crossings, stacked log barriers, and long logs with log staircases leading up to them. It is tough. Such a great trail so close to the city. The user traffic on these trails is beyond that of any trail I have ever encountered, even Schaffer Farms in Gathersberg. This is clearly a set of trails that could use some serious TLC. maybe a bandaid with that MORE signature. A few wooded bridges over and through some of the bogs, directing traffic so that things to do not hit a point of no return.

The trail on the ridge was tight and narrow single track which put a smile on my face. The trails are surrounded by beautiful old growth hardwoods, but no time to take in the scenery. Just time to ride. Too much time starring into the glowing eyes on the trail side and I would surely be riding off trail and over the handlebars. We looped and turned, were forced to dismount for a few climbs. We regrouped as each of us had the pleasure of alternating crashes. My years of experiece, heightened fitness, and 29 inch wheels kept me ahead of Dave, stopping periodically, always pleased that he was not far behind, but always a tad frustrated that I had to stop at all. Thus is riding. There are those riders who have to wait for me, just my turn to return the favor. I lead and broke through countless spider webs. The stream crossings were clear and cold. On one stream crossing I ran over what looked like a snake or a fresh water eel. The sounds of the nearby train, the rumble of the trucks on 95 in the distance, and the music in the distance were all subtle and spooky enough to give night riding at patapsco that Blair Witch feel. Then looping back and running the same circle twice increased that Blair Witch spookiness. When passing the old abandoned houses we passed quickly and cautiously.

My unfamiliarity with the trails caused us to just scratch the surface. We managed to loop around doing pretty much the same set of trails up and back, with a reapeat of some of the loop in the middle. Which all turned out okay as when we started to head back I could estimate that when we get back to the car we would have ridden just under 2 hours. Ontop of that as we loaded the bikes into the back of the truck I could feel that my rear tire was losing air. We got out of the trail just in time. By the time we were back in DC my rear end was flat, complete loss of air.

We got back around 1am. Right on target with Dave's estimate to his pregnant wife Anna. I returned home to a long tall glass of water, some left over Pad Thai noodle, and a night cap. Took a shower, watched some tube, before climbing into bed I pryed Grant off Lisa's chest. Both asleep from the last feeding, took Grant to his crib upstairs and climbed into bed. My body was sore. Sleep felt good. The morning came on too fast.

Now it is time to move that wood!

Gotta roll!




more on this later
I need to figure out this wood thing
and get into work
I may have switched shifts, but I am not taking the day off!
Waking Up!
Today I switched shifts with my boss. Finally having the wood delivered for my 'deck project.' Woke up and the wood was already here, and I am without anyone to aid me in the transfer from the alley to the backyard. So, I choose to wake up slow, drink some coffee, and BLOG as I try to figure out how to handle this....Perhaps I should just head up to Mt. Pleasant Street and grab a day laborer.

Before I decide I will BLOG and read BLOGS.

In my search for a map of Patapsco State Park I found a link to one of my archives while doing a GOOGLE SEARCH, Gwadzilla Archive. Is it me of have I gotten really boring with my blogging? That archive page is clearly more interesting than this posting!

Maps for Sale...as I search for something that I can view
(no I am not selling maps, I am just linking to a page that sells maps of various trails)

MORE (Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts) page with a few words from the City Bikes Chevy Chase shop manager.

7.20.2004

World Cycling Productions
 
Today I did a little impulse purchase. Went online to order some classic road race films at World Cycling Productions.  Ordered two oldies but goodies......A Sunday in Hell and La Course en Tete. Both are amazing films, not sure why I ordered them now...guess all this talk of the tour had me thinking of some films that I always wanted. These two are up there with Pee Wee's Big Adventure (which is in my home collection) and The Bicycle Theif (which should be in my home collection) as some of the greatest cycling films of all time, throw Breaking Away in there and you never need to leave the house!
 
any other recommendations?
 
let me know
CLYDESDALE: What is a Clydesdale?
 
Britannica.com gives us this.....
 
Clydes·dale Pronunciation: 'klIdz-"dAlFunction: nounDate: 1786: a heavy draft horse with feathering on the legs of a breed orig. from Clydesdale, Scotland
 
But in the world of cycling (and running) the Clydesdale Class is in reference to the rider/racer's weight.  In mountainbiking it is the East Coast standard that each rider over 200 pound qualifies as a Clydesdale,  while I have heard that the Western States use 220 as the Clydesdale Cutoff. It does not matter where I ride,  at the current time my tall thin (well, not thin) 230 lbs makes the grade on either coast. In reading a variety of forums it seems that there may be some dispute.  On the MTBR Forum there are many posts that compare the thin muscular rider to the shorter stout rider with greater body fat....
Well, let us not be comparing within the class, the actual comparison should be between the plus 200 rider and the standard 150-165lbs  riders. It is that large weight difference that makes the difference, not a measure of body fat. Yes, most Clydesdales tend not only to be larger, but also tend to be heavier and maybe a tad more fatty, but that is not the distinction. It all comes down to total weight, no factoring in height to weight ratios, BMI, or the Special K pinch on the spare tire. The scale is the only device needed to make this classification. 
 
Dirt Rag's Clydesdale Forum....
 
I have race as a Clydesdale for years, well, when offered. Up until recently the Clydesdale Class was a class that did not seem to get much respect. It for some reason was taken as some sort of novelty class. But if people were to take the time to look at the finishing times of the winning Clydesdales they would see that this class is no joke.....these guys are not just big, but they are fast. In years past the Clydesdales were often given a beginner class course length, when I have always felt that the Clydesdale should be nothing less than Sport and in some cases Expert.  I do not mind the distance being closer to Sport, as I must admit that part of my Clydesdaleness is expressed in my love for riding but my distain for training....training is too much like homework. So, I tend to ride and race, and do very little riding that I would call training. Which will have to change in the next few weeks as I get ready for the Shenandoah Mountain 100!
 
Not to toot my own trumpet, but if I don't who will?
 
At the local Wednesday at Wakefield (WAW) I raced the last two races of the series in the Clydesdale Class. As the course was moderately flat I opted to race my single speed Karate Monkey without suspension (well, suspension seatpost) and found that my times were competitive over all!  My times put me faster than the Sport Class (which tends to be the class of the sandbagger) had me strong in Single Speed Class, and although my race was three laps, I was fast compared to the Experts first three laps of 4. In this case bringing some respect to the Clydesdale Class. Now, I must admit....on the flatter courses the Clydesdale is at less of a disadvantage, it is climbing that is the greatest hinderance. So in recent times I have been flip flopping Classes.....Always racing Clydesdale when there is that option, but racing Expert if I do not feel I will be dropped off the back and racing Sport if I feel that is the most rational option.
 
I forgot....
 
What was my point?
 
 

7.16.2004

Lance...LeMond...drugs....and Banned Substances.
 
LeMond and Le Monde and Lance
 
this is a bit of a Clintonism going on here
we must get our use of words straight
Lance does use various supplements, but he is smart enough to stay away from banned substances
His staff and crew are ahead of the curve giving him the latest and the greatest, but nothing banned
Steroid use? well, steroid use is common in any recovery process as in his cancer treatment
 
I have not read the books, I do not know the accusations.....
 
Cycling like all modern sports has fallen victim to the advances of the modern age. 
 
was listening to NPR and heard some stuff about the Olympics (track and field) and professional baseball
the stats and the opinion are not pretty


MY RULES!
 
Okay, anyone who knows me knows that I have all sorts of ideas and rules how life should be lived. These same people that know me know that I can be a total hypocrite.  Minutes after giving a mental ticket to a driver on a cell phone I too will be driving down the road on a cell phone (well, I do not drive that often and I infrequently talk on the cell phone when driving, but it does happen ((well, has not happened since the 'hands free law' has gone into effect in DC)))
This hypocracy extends......we all hate the people who blow off the queue to merge and go to the front of the line, well I do not do that, but I have pushed my limits on occassions....and as usual I try to rationalize of justify my behavior. Perhaps I will say....I am not a commuter....so why should I be caught in your commuter traffic, this is just one day when I happen to be out driving to a bike race after work or something to that effect. When really we all know that my excuse is the same as anyone elses....I am more important than anyone else.
Now with the headphone thing.....well.....it happens.....I too break my own rules....WRITE ME A FUCKING TICKET!!! I have gone for long rides and felt the headphones to be escential. I have been on long hikes and found them escential....I have been in exotic places and found them to be....well, not escential, but a pleasant additive. But, for the most part, headphones can be a detraction, if I were on the peak of a mountain or the top of some ancient ruin I think the sound of the birds or the howler monkeys or the silence itself would be far greater music than I have in my cd collection . The main point is that in a heavily populated area (like the multiuse trail) there is no justification for headphones while on the bike, they are just plain dangerous.  The same goes to the chinser car drivers with headphones, it is not only against the law, but it is against common sense.....get a real car stereo and get a life.
My rules and hypocrisy go further...
It steams me when I am on the Rock Creek trails and I see someone trail blazing, yet I am perfectly comfortable riding my bike right past the "no bikes" sign.  Sure, this too can be rationalized, the cars that pass me too fast and too close send me for the woods, but in actuality, these rationalazations are just that, rationalizatuions not justifications. I try to keep the excuses to a minimum and stay my path. I may not be a model citizen but I feel I am a good one. My life is dictated by an effort to be a courteous individual with moments of assholic behavior tossed in, it is tough for one to fight their nature. In my mind I believe that I am a more positive contribution to the world than a negative and that my balance is more for the good than the bad.
It is not my goal to go out and ruin anyone's day, so why are people out there trying to ruin mine?
 
 
 
 
As usual my rants twist and turn and go no where fast....
 
I no longer have the time to proof read my posts
well, I seldom had the time before
but now
I have less and less time for such things
 
read down below I had a piece last night that looked like it was going to be good
but needed some fixing
why not edit it for me
and put the final draft in the COMMENTS section
thanks
appreciate it
This Land
 
This is a must see clip!
no matter where you stand on the issues
it will make you laugh
 
I am going to watch it again, again, and again
(there I go again using the same words to get my point across)
 
This LAND is Our Land cartoon clip
 
enjoy it!
share it with your friends
Skipping Stones, not Skipping Work
This morning Lisa had Grant in the Baby Bjorn and walked Dean over to the Rosemount Center for a day of what Dean calls "art class." That left me with a few more minutes to drink my coffee and hike the dogs. I headed towards the Rockefeller Loop, but then opted for water. It is hot and the dogs love it. I may not get walk as much, but the dogs get to cool off in the refreshing waters of Rock Creek. As we walked the same trail across the street from my house Roscoe and Brutus showed interest in heading to the water, when I started that way they rushed to my side to get the leashes on their colars so we could cross the street. We crossed the street cautiously and watched the commuters all "slow and go" at the stop sign and then made our way to the start of the Melvin Hazen trail. Rather than hike the Melvin Hazen I gave into the dogs urges to chase the stones that I skip. It is not a bad deal....I like to skip stones and the dogs in that dumb dog way like to chase the skipping stones. It is a good work out for them and can have a mixture of soothing and aggravating for me. They can get so demanding, their Retriver half comes out and they start demanding more skipped stones with this annoying bark. I scan the ground for rocks and usually find some good ones.  The process of bluffing to coral the dogs each to one side and then sending them down the creek at full speed the other direction. This is the process of back and forth, then back and forth, then back and forth again and again. There is some occassional duck chasing mixed in, but none today. Then a glance at the watch. SHIT! It is nearly ten after nine, best we head back up the trail towards home, just 10 minutes away, but I still need to suit up mount the bike and roll down two zip codes to work (okay, 15 minutes max, no pedaling needed)
I get home, get distracted, do some clean up and arranging of the office. We swapped out the office for the bedroom and the bedroom for the office. (does it get annoying how I repeat stuff, you know say the same thing twice like that?)
 
Then finally I am on the bike and headed down town. I am on the Surly single speed, mud and race numbers are still on from the night before. I have a slight feeling of being that geek with a lift ticket still on his jacket, but I do not need to stall any longer. The single speed seems like a more rational option, I have been to lazy to swap out the front wheel on my commuter.
 
well...here I am at work
it is a little past 10am
updating a few laptops with the latest Microsoft Critical Update
and thinking that I may want to eat some of that yogurt I have in the fridge
it ain't Dannon, but it is there
Potomac Velo Club: Wednesday at Wakefield

The RESULTS are posted!

http://www.potomacvelo.com/2004waw_results.htm

The Clydesdales went out at the 7PM races, the singles speeds went out at 6PM. I raced my single speed in the Clydesdale Class. Felt strong, felt fast. My times look pretty good and I had a pretty good time....actually I had a dam good time. Came off that course smiling! Tried to really enjoy myself out there, which is difficult to do and still maintain speed. There is a balance.

Time to drink a little more coffee, walk the dogs, and head to work. Lisa just went out the door with the two boys. She stole my Dean drop off duty, but she left me with the dogs.

Okay Roscoe and Brutus, i am coming, just wanted to take a look at the results.

Silly, but it is fun to crunch the numbers and make some comparisions.

oh, it looks like the Clydesdale in le Tour may have dropped off at the base of the mountain stages. Not the best of role models as I set my sites on the SM100 and its miles and miles of off road climbing.

7.15.2004

dam I feel good
I want to take this feeling and hold onto it
once I get a good grasp of it I want to share it with you and then share it with the world

I may not surf but I do know this
when a perfect wave comes ride it
do your best to catch it, hold it, ride it, carve it, enjoy it, savor it, and ride it for as long as you can
sure other waves come, some may be better and other may be lesser
buy enjoy the one you are on now
and worry about the next one later
yes I know, there is no perfect wave, but there may be perfect moments
and you may have many of them
then there will be times where the waves are not as perfect but coming in really nice sets
those too much be appreciated for what they are
but never forget
there will be flat days, maybe flat weeks
there will broken boards and maybe worse
don't let this keep you out of the water, but their are sharks
more than likely they will mind their business and you can mind yours
remember the sharks are out there
stay humble
enjoy the moment
remember the second you get all vain or all arrogant that wave is gonna slam ya
you are in the wash grasping for air and maybe your life
then perfect moment is gone
back from WAW; wesdnesday at wakefield
dam my body needed that
amazing how an exertion can bring energy
I AM ENERGIZED
totally pumped with how things went tonight
finished fast and strong, more importantly without injury
well, no more injury than the beating of the ridid single speed had to offer
wanted to do a fourth lap to match my 3 lap clydesdale times with the 4 lap experts, but 20 yards into the single track of that 4th lap I felt the urge to hang
socializing energizes me as well
I have many faults, being social is just one of them
ened up doing 2 races in a 4 race post work series
a great local gathering, some real talent
shockingly fast guys (and some gals) racing and having fun
a good course for the single speed
tight at times which can make it tough to pass
but everyone is dealing with the same variables
even the guy who is first in expert is lapping people as he starts in his second lap
well, maybe late into the second lap
funny
some of the only times I have ever ridden and raced with the big boys at the olympic level are usually the local Dan Comber races (and well the 24 hour races, but I said no more snowshoe) On the multilap Dan Comber races I have on the winding down of my final lap been caught and passed/lapped by some great east coast pros. tried to follow their line and their speed. for less than 30 yards can I hang at their pace. sooner could I catch a rabbit or deer. these guys are so smooth and so fast and so gone, just gone.....no sound of heavy breating no sound of an exploding heart, just gone.
there were some moments of terror
somehow on my first lap I found the deepest puddle on the powerline section
there was a fast dry line on the left and I was attempting an aggressive pass on the right wheeled track of a very conveluted jeep track/powerline
SPLASH but no CRASH
covered in my and not making the pass
back behind the wheel past another puddle
only to pass at a more rational spot on the trail
but definitely before the climb and definitely before the singletrack
sure enough I pass these guys only to have to pass some guy on the last climb before the singletrack
then onto a quick downhill
which I take fast, then slower each lap
the rigid fork on the surley is especially tank like
don't get me wrong I am cruising
but I am sure that there were many going faster
the only race won on a downhill is a downhill race
each person I pass is passed for good and left behind
I inspire some people to increase their speed
change their pace and intensity
this aids me to push harder
eventually they too are gone somewhere behind me
that is basically how the three laps went
and well you know about the 4th

so I am showering and eating a beef bbq sandwhich now
later
bye