Rants on Cycling and on Life


Jockey's Ridge or Jockey's Bridge as Dean was calling it
It is funny that my three year old son is always trying to make sense out of words and the English language
Not knowing what a ridge was he assumed that we were saying bridge.
And when he sings the "Spiderman Song" he always says, "Spiderman, Spiderman...does what ever a spider can DO."
As to you and I we understand that the "DO" is implied, to him ending it with "can" just does not make sense.
He is a little genius. I best pull out the video camera as his vocal talents have yet to be documented.

a couple of bike mechanics flew a plane at this site some 100 years ago

I did a 10 second Photoshop to get us all in the same picture
as that was faster than cloneing Dean and Grant

Now don't think I am soft....
I am stepping out of the office for a second to hand off a bag of shirts (colar and T) to that same homeless guy in front of the McDonalds
Originally I only wanted to give food to his dog King
but, I needed to clean out some of my closet and drawers and figured that some of these shirts were too nice to clean my chain and would suit this man and his homeless crew better
the shirts are all new and nice
I have so much and others have so little

which all falls into one of my many personal life philosophies...


Irony and Inconvenience
Our family vacation to the Outer Banks was planned around the closing to prepare for a temporary move of Dean's pre-k class at the Rosemount Center. Our choice of the Rosemount Center was not some sort of bleeding heart notion of introducing Dean into a multicultural world by having him be part of the 4% paying/4% white population of this multi-colore multi-cultural multi-lingual HeadStart program, but rather this school's proximity was just 2 or three blocks away from our house. Sure it is great that Dean spends his days exposed to different cultures and different languages, but that is just a positive side effect to the proximity of this school to our Mt. Pleasant home. Well, this over 100 year old building with its Spanish archetectiure is getting some sort of facelift (or perhaps asbestos removal....I do not know), while the renovations are being done the school has moved to the Trinity Campus over by Catholic University (oddly enough Trinity is where Alex DeCall goes to college, Alex is a young girl who grew up in Anacostia and was tutored by my step mother Joyce as a young child and moved into my parent's house for her high school years so that she would have a better educational opportunity, she did not get I guess it was a success.) The campus is not far, maybe a few miles, just across town....too far to walk perhaps a tad too hectic to pull Dean in the bicycle trailer. Thus the introduction of the Honda Element into my life.

Here it is Dean's first week at the new location. As mornings are part of my Dad duty obligations getting Dean to school is part of my routine. Previously we alternated between hiking the dogs in the woods of Rock Creek Park with riding his bicycle down the recently renovated Mt. Pleasant alleys, but now we load up the car and cuss in traffic. So here it is International Walk to School Week and I am for the first time ever driving my son to school rather than walking, is that a tad IRONIC? Isn't that fucking fantastic! The trip is a total hassle. I am now all bound up in a cage and forced to move through the logicless cattle call which is commuter traffic. Last night I tossed and I turned as I played through my head the different driving styles I witness on the roadeach day and will witness for the next 9 months. For the most part people are just not performing on the top of their game (if they are at the top of their game I think that there should be IQ tests as part of the driver's permit these people's credit, I feel that they are more likely assholes rather than idiots although I still feel that they would score low on these test.) The route that I take is a well traveled commuter path that has NO PARKING SIGNS DURING RUSH HOUR that are supposed to clear the path for this cross town commute. Needless to say this path is not cleared. Cars are parked and double parked along this route, cars are stopping and waiting for their friends or girlfriends to get dressed and come out for the drive to where ever. The single path that remains available is blocked up by people waiting to take Left Turns where the sign clearly marks....NO LEFT TURN, the double parkers, the women (and maybe a few men) putting on lipstick and missing the green light, and the people just sleeping on the job. This is their commuting route, this is their daily practice, each day these butt plugs slow the flow of traffic with their same inconsiderate actions. Each inconsiderate driver punishes themselves and other like them, making the same obnoxious illegal actions each day thus causing the flow of traffic to slow and stop perhaps not realizing that they are in fact the problem and that if they each just did things the RIGHT WAY it would be better for them and better for others. So simple that you would think that the simple minded would be able to grasp this, but NO!

The idea of loading Dean up in the Burley Trailer and towing him to school each day behind the bike was a fleeting notion. This route is dangerous for me solo on the bike, so dangerous that I feel it would be irresponsible for me to try and take him in rush hour traffic on these city streets through Columbia Heights and Petworth (DC's version of Compton, but my fear is not the indigenous people as I would think that the man with the AK47 is still asleep at this time of the day as his business tends to take place in the dark of night.) The sidewalk route would be an option, but that would be a hypocritcal hinderance to all who are traveling on the sidewalks each day, as I can not stand the people who choose to take the sidewalk on the bike I can not become one of them...especially with a two and a half foot wide trailer being towed behind me, no matter how cute Dean may be. Not to mention the time that it would take to assemble the Burley trailer and link it to the bicycle and then disconnect the trailer on my return and disassemble it so it can fit in my garage would end up taking more time then to hop into my shiney new Honda Element (did I tell you that I bought an '04 Burnt Orange Honda Element, AWD with Manual Transmission?) So this will be our next 9 months!

that is my morning
this is my life

all in all it is not that big of a deal
it just brings the thought to surface that we should never take anything for granted
especially the daily conveniences that could quickly become inconvenient

did I mention that it shortens the already shortened dog walk in the morning
and makes already late arrival to work even later?
now you heard it


from father to son....
as tiger woods learned to golf from his father
as wayne gretsky learned hockey from his dad
I will teach my son what I know be corny!

Dean's pleasure was so great that he could not stop laughing to make the correct facial expression of pain and panic
but to his credit....for a three year old he has got it down!


Final Verdict?
Tyler....Innocent or Guilty?
They play on my emotions by talking about the death of his dog....
but I start to think....did he get this blood from his dog?
Labs do have an extraordinary amount of energy!

a note from Tyler's wife on his site

as a dog lover I almost fell victim to this ploy
but the wise ass cynic in my prevailed!

Getting back on the bike...getting back on track
This morning I got back on the bike.
It can be tough to motivate myself without any specific racing goals directly in front of me, on top of that there is something about the Shenandoah Mountain 100 that acts in unicensce with the 24 Hours of Snowshoe to create mountainbike racing bookends. Somehow it just feels like the season is over after the SM100, not sure why, yet for some reason it just does. Sure Cyclocross season is upon us, but it is not the major focus for my style of riding. Yes, I love Cross riding, cross racing, and cross dressing; but it does not grant me the same pleasures as mountainbiking thus does not offer the same motivation (perhaps that has to do with my lack of success or lack of skill in this discipline.)

At times it is just tough to continue riding the same paths to and from work with the same level of desire and intensity. After all...everyday is a stroll down memory lane as I do live in my hometown.

Perhaps I am suffering some burn out....a cyclist version of training ADD?

I basically took the month of September off from riding. I rode to work, but did not stress about trying to get in a post work ride; when I did ride I was not focused on much more than having some fun and blowing some steam. Riding took a back seat to some of my other priorities in life; family and such. Managed to finally get the Permit for the deck, got a DC drivers lisence, bought a NEW car (Honda Element; burtn orange) and currently working on selling my old Toyota Landcruiser. Got home and hung with Lisa, the dogs, and the kids; and even managed freeing up Lisa to do a few Wednesday night Yoga classes (which gave me some personal time with Dean and Grant.) With all those things together it was a great month, only one race, but still a great month.

With the month of September behind me and the October upon me I figured I best brush the dust off the cross bike. Shamefully so there was no dust on this bike, too much mud caked on it for any dust to gather on it. My old Jamis Nova was covered in mud from whatever ride I did last year before hanging this thing up for the year. To get the bike ready to ride I removed my Shimano 105 wheels with the TUFO Tubular Clinchers and pulled out some crappy old Shimano Tiagra/Mavic wheels and mounted some well worn Specialized Cross tires for some commuting miles. (no need to waste the knobbies on the moderately expensive TUFO tires on asphalt miles) This task took a few minutes longer than expected, had to replace a few spokes on the rear, and had a hard time finding any nipples that were in good enough shape to set the wheel true. In the end I set the bike up and accepted the up and down hop on the rear wheel, the lateral repair is demanding enough for me. Slapped the wheels on and figured that this machine was ready to ride.

Immediately on my ride to work I noticed two things.....road bikes are fast (even with knobby tires) and that this bike is too small for me. The Karate Monkey and its primium fit has ruined me on my previous fitting style, this 58 cm cross bike is too small...even for cross. I am dwarfing this machine. Early in the ride I was feeling it, my legs and lungs were not feeling as strong as they had just a month earlier. It was not clear if it was lack of riding or the bottle of wine from the night prior. Either way I felt that my pace was not as spry as I had expected. The bike felt fast, but my body felt slow. Lucky for me I was riding during some off peak hours and there were no cyclist passing me heading the same direction....that can really play upon my male ego. Eventually my route to work put me down the Capitol Crescent Trail. From Bethesda to Georgetown the path is a slight downhill, slight, but enough to give the rider the illusion that they are fit and speedy. I enjoyed the illusion and allowed my fragile ego to rebuild itself.

Upon arrival to work I was pleased with the time it had taken me to do that loop. The morning had taken longer with getting the boys dressed and sipping my coffee, cutting into my intended morning ride. To my pleasure I was only 2 minutes late for work, but after dressing and chatting up some co-workers I did not enter my actual office until nearly 10 after, lucky for my boss is not a bean counter or a pencil pusher....he was just happy to have me back so I could do all the shit work that he was forced to do in my absence. As for me, I am just happy to have a job.

last night I ran into my friend Rose
oddly enough she was at her boyfriend Tom's house
I had called Tom and he invited me (and others) over for some mandatory Bush Bashing
(excuse me if Tom and Rose are not using official terms such as boyfriend or girlfriend)
as we all got distracted from the Vice Presidential debates we shared some occassional bantor before refocusing on the future of our country
durning one of these moments of distraction Rose told me that she had been reading my blog
she said it was interesting
but more than that she was bummed that she had not been mentioned in my Blog
so here it is
I am writing about ROSE.

Rose...are you happy now?

Indian Summer at the Outer Banks 2004
A perfectly timed trip between hurricanes in this season of hurricanes
a smooth drive down with a mixture of crying choruses and burned discs of NPR's THIS AMERICAN LIFE
a late night arrival leads to a late night dog walk on the beach
Dean dropped his tear filled mantra, "I do not want to go to the beach....I do not want to go to the beach...."
at 3am Dean does not want to go to sleep and does not want to leave the beach
we stroll beneath a star filled sky as the full moon lights the white crested waves as they crash on the beach and gently crawl up the sand to our feet
it was refreshing just to get out of the car
the walk on the beach was all BONUS!

the next morning Dean and Grant wake with less than 4 hours of sleep
parents slowly gather their wits and load the car in search of the nearest coffee house
with coffee in our bellies and caffeine fueling our bodies and our brains we head for the shores
as we park at Hatteras for a secluded day on the beach we are dismayed to find that Lisa accidently pulled her urban VW Passat wagon into some wet sugary sand that sucked up the car like quick sand
my manliness could not rescue the car from it rapidly sinking fate
to my surprise in less than 5 minutes we have two sets of locals offering assistance
with a carpenter's mudding knives we dig out around the tires where the car has sunk to its frame
water fills the void as quickly as we can dig it out
the second car that arrived was a massive 4x4 pickup, with a chain hooked to the frame there is a massive tug and jerk as I rev it up in reverse
in seconds I am pulled from quick sand and back onto solid ground
a thank you and a five spot to buy a beer is passed off before the 4x4 with the personalized tag, ROOFER can speed away
later I learn that this is big business for the locals
50 dollars is usually the asking price
like a naive fool I thought that these were good Samaritan and not mercenaries
I think in this case I did meet the good Samaritan
and was saved from the money gouging mercenaries
moments after unloading all the kids and all the gear on the beach we are greeted by Park Ranger Bob
he asks that we keep the dogs on a leash
we leash the dogs
after some time and frustration the dogs are running wild on the desolate beach
not another beach goer within a mile's view in either direction
officer friendly appears on the dune
plays the nice guy as he gives us a ticket
I restrain from giving him the finger
give him some mild lip
after he tells me he is just doing his job
in the same friendly tone I ask if he has seen the movie, "Cool Hand Luke"
he tells me it has been years
it is a rhetorical question
I had not waited for a response and had already started in....
"In Cool Hand Luke, Paul Newman's character says to the boss, ""saying it is your job does not make it okay"""
the words fall on empty ears
before I start in on a more North Carolina specific Barney Fife reference I return to the task of loading our gear to the car
hoping that our departure is a learned behavior and our actions do not merit a ticket
when he tells me it will only be a 50 dollar ticket I respond, "50 Dollars? that is a lot of diapers."
again...I get a blank stare
guess he does not have kids
my appeals fail
we leave the natural sea shores and head back to Nags Head where the beaches are not as natural
but the dogs are able to run free without the long arm of the law coming to slap them on the tail

the next days progress with the same routine
lie in bed with Grant crawling between us and Dean jumping on top of us
until finally I rise and head for coffee with Dean
Lisa then walks the dogs on the beach while I hang with the boys
applying sun block to the pearly white skin of each child

then the adventures start.....
beaches with waves
Jockey's Ridge with its endless sand dune mountains
(some think it is a great place for hang gliding, Dean is perfectly satisfied with rolling down the sandy hills)
lunch and then naps; daddy needs lunch and also needs a nap
then an afternoon of more beaches or Jockey's Ridge (or Jockey's Bridge as Dean was calling it, ignoring my correction)
there were also countless trips to the DOLLAR STORE
Dean has grown obsessed with swords and light sabers, when they break....they must be replaced

((currently at the Pentagon killing time, waiting here to download a Press Release on the topic of Weapons of Mass Distruction...good to have my laptop not just for the download....but for the BLOG))

vacations with the family are different then any vacation I ever experienced before
now I have a window into my dad's mind as our family took its vacations
packing the car....conserving space
trying to drive with children's crying and children's complaints
the sleepless nights
the efforts to please all personalities
but a little different
I understand my dad better
but I still feel that I am doing it a bit differently
as we are different people
and these are different times

((I again break away to see if the PR is ready for download))

back ...still no release
back to the blog

the beach was awesome
as a father I love the experience of sharing things with my sons
getting to see things through their eyes is like getting to see things for the first time again
the waves were pretty serious at the Outer Banks
serious enough for us to get a good show when we went to check out the Pro Surf Contest at the Kitty Hawk Pier
serious enough that when I was knocked over by a wave my little life jacket wearing Dean was not so sure he wanted to be in the ocean any more
but we stayed in the water as so not to walk way leaving a negative notion of the beach and the waves
Dean held on tighter
it was not until later that I realized if a wave is twice as tall as him
it would be like me being slammed by a 12 foot wave
that little man is tough...real tough

the beach trip was awesome
the 50 dollar ticket was not even a set back, just part of the costs
in the trip I managed to hang out with one of my college room mates and his family
it is great to be able to catch up with Andy Duck and get to witness him in this stage of life
we are living very similar lives
our children are roughly the same ages
and we have both managed to hang onto many of the things that we love
Andy still skates and surfs while I still ride bikes and well.....ride bikes
(I do not snowboard frequently enough to consider myself a snowboarder)
Andy is a good father with a wonderful family, Dean and Parker (his three year old son) became fast friends
while Ethan passed his cold off to Grant
it was great to see his family and to share the day with them
got to see his house and his life
seeing him as a dad was a pleasure in itself

the trip was fun packed
on the last full day we went to the North Carolina Aquarium
it was awesome
not sure who had more fun Dean or me?

pictures to come
maybe a more detailed tale

the pictures should draw up a more detailed and perhaps more interesting account of the activities of the day

Music and Blogs....

my friend and fellow BLOGGER Pete Funk has decided to start a second Blog
Pete's first Blog's topic surrounds the life of owning a small courier company in the bay area

Pete's second blog will concentrate on his interest in music

while we are on the MUSIC and BLOGS topic...
this morning my friend Rob sent me a link that shared former Dead Kennedy's frontman Jello Biafra sends a message to a US soldier that has been blogging in Iraq

The Blog is titled MY WAR and has seen some censorship from his commanders

here is a photo of some graphic designers (Toolbox DC) that mix some music under the name of YELLOW FEVER