Friday, December 31, 2010

Love You Like A Ball and Chain

I am not really going to write until this God forsaken year is in the books. 2010 can go smoke rope, for all I care. I have but two meager resolutions:
1. I promise not to imagine what a persons head would look like on a spike after they say to me: "Maybe you should slow down".
2. To get on a bike in some capacity.

Happy New Year.... BASTARDS!!
See ya after the ball drops.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stockholm Syndrome

It doesn't even hurt anymore. I can see bikes on cars, read Facebook status reports, blogs, crew emails about awesome rides, heck I even drove by Tom Brown and didn't cuss or punch my steering wheel.

I am just like those bad dogs Cesar Millan fixes. He gets em on the leash and they go nuts, for a little while. He stands there like a stone wall, and waits. Eventually they respond to his every "CHISSH!" like good little domesticated bitches (if they are female dogs). All that fire goes away and they break to the leash, and embrace the collar.

Just the other day, I remarked on what a nice bike a guy had. Boy he sure looked fast. I just attained the 170lb mark, the very same weight that caused the massive pre-stroke, diet and exercise frenzy. It's cool, I need the extra insulation for the winter. By the way: I recently found out your house and yard look good if you do stuff to them. Life is just SWELL! The trainer? Rode it twice last week. Walking? I did that too (a couple times). Swimming? Sticking with it, though you'd never know by looking at my waistline, it's expanding like the universe.

Go ahead and ride you BASTARDS! See if I give a levitating, steaming heap!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Time The Avenger

For some reason I thought I was a lot closer to the day I could ride again. As I filled in my calender, to keep track of the yards per week I am swimming, I noticed an abundance of weeks. I was off by about five weeks. I have thirteen more to go (before getting off the demon coumadin) and fourteen before I can ride.

I am gaining weight. About ten pounds since the meteor hit my medulla oblongata. I am riding the trainer. I am walking. I am doing these things nearly every night. My goal was to ride the trainer the same amount of time I am swimming (about five hours a week). The total would give me ten hours of vigorous work out. I also walk about eight hours a week with my wife and still the weight is packing on. It has been three months today since my "event" and I have three months, one week to go before I can ride.

For some reason I am not mentally beaten up anymore. Being pissed off and bitter is a tiresome enterprise (even for a career pro like me). So I guess I finally wore myself out, and moved forward with out realizing it. My friends and family have been holding me up, like a hipster in a mosh pit. It's kind of hard to be bummed, when you are surrounded by good people.

I had a great time time watching the cyclocross race this weekend. Nothing is more fun than yelling like a soccer hooligan, at guys running up stairs, carrying bicycles. It all felt like "Lord of the Flies" and it was damn therapeutic. The fun stopped at 5:00 a.m. this morning. The reset button takes no prisoners. I usually swim 2000 yards. I was about to quit at 1500 when I got to the wall, looked up and realized I was in lane #5. Like an echo from the angry mob and the cross race, I heard the voices yell:

"Rule #5! Harden the F#*+ UP!!!!!"

It is very hard to laugh and swim at the same time.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010


After an hour of sick babies that can't be consoled, I put on my head phones. My wife smiles knowingly, she wondered when I would crack. She has the patience of a saint. Dylan, a down syndrome boy, has found a ball. I wish with all my blessings, that I could be that happy about anything. He cajoles the Latin boy with the heart transplant, into a game of catch. Soon the game is completely out of control and people in the waiting room are taking shots to the head and body. It would be annoying if Dylan wasn't so happy. The ball rolls to the twenty year old guy, with a horse shoe shaped scar on his shaved head. He looks like he just won the lotto. His smile turns on and he holds out the ball for Dylan. Dylan whoops with excitement and runs to the kid with the scar. He climbs in his lap and hugs him with all the strength of his ten year old arms. Everyone in the room is watching and smiling, except Dylan's parents. They are exhausted and worried.

A group of guys that look like gang extras from an inner city docudrama, are playing cards. They seem like thugs until one speaks to another about how well he is learning the game. The meanest looking one of them all, has the kindest voice in the room. He starts to deal the cards and they all pick up their hands. The ball hits in the middle of the table and the cards are dispersed. They all smile at Dylan, and resume play without talking.

A guy two seats over is about my age and I ask if he had a P.F.O. We exchange stories and figure out we are both cyclists. He had his stroke in July, mine was in August. We had our heart surgery the same week. We talk about cycling and how much it means to us. He's getting off coumadin in a few weeks. I am jealous. I won't be off for four months, all because of a condition, I do not have. One misdiagnosis, cost me a whole season. Jeff and I talk like Nam vets and exchange info. He invites me to come ride in Tampa, when I get off thinners. He admits he is riding against doctors orders, because he just couldn't take it anymore. Thirty to forty miles a week on the road is keeping him sane for now, but he really misses his mountain bike. I nod and feel like someone gets it for the first time in months.

Dylan goes back into the examining room and drags out a doctor. He lifts his shirt and motions for the Doctor to listen to his heart. The doctor plays along and tells him his heart sounds great. Dylan walks over to a man and starts trying to open his shirt. He wants the doctor to listen to his heart too. The room erupts with laughter. It is obvious to all of us, Dylan is an angel. A new kid comes in a wheel chair. Dylan runs full speed at him and his mother barley catches him, before he crashes into the kid. Dylan smiles and tries to hug him but the boy in the chair is very small and frail. His mother takes Dylan's hand and gently touches the other boy who smiles back. The heart transplant boy is on top of a counter. Dylan sees him and rushes off to the rescue.

I am the first one to the pool this morning. The fog swirls around the surface like dancers in Swan Lake. It's cold and I am tired. There are fifteen hundred yards in between me and self respect. The girl in the life guard stand is huddled up in a ball and she has no shoes. The old guy in the next lane laps me, as I count down the yards.

I wonder how Dylan is doing.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

God Only Knows

The preliminary news is good. I do NOT have the C and S protein deficiency that causes my blood to clot abnormally. I have to stay on thinners for a while longer. After a period of time (three to six months) to be determined by my doctors, I will come off the thinners and get re-tested.

The hematologist wants to check for one more antibody level in my blood and then he feels there is a "good chance" that I will get off thinners. Which could (theoretically) lead to me being able to ride bikes again. It is still a little too soon to take a victory lap.

I am very relieved to find I (most likely) do not have the protein deficiency. That would be a burden for life.

Thanks to all for the calls, texts, emails, blog comments and Facebook posts. It's awesome to go into the ring, with a mob behind you for back up.

I will post more news as my Docs give it to me, change it, re access it, then abandon it altogether, and go with the thing they said before.

Love to you all!


Monday, October 25, 2010

The Last One

I have had days where it was all I could do to breath. After having something called a; hemipelagic migraine a few weeks ago (which feels exactly like a stroke) my whole process of doctors, MRI's, blood tests (and most of all) fear restarted. I cut myself off from all my friends. I stopped answering my phone. I struggled though work and my kids activities. I waited for the next attack. I rarely left home, except to walk with my wife.

Once I knew the MRI showed no damage, and I was told it was a migraine, there was finally a feeling of relief. I slowly came out of the cave.

My friends were relentless and refused to let me become a recluse. Last weekend a group of the worlds best and most compassionate cycling community, organized a dinner for me. I felt rejuvenated and normal and I heard myself and others laugh again. Medicine from the gods. I rarely ever stop talking, but I must admit, I am at a loss to describe what the support I have received, has meant. I am sure I would have been swallowed by darkness had it not been for all my two wheeled family. Thank you all, a million times. Sandi and Karen were so kind to do all the inviting and organizing, thanks you two.

So now I stand on the eve of the verdict. Tomorrow I find out (hopefully, there may be more testing) if I will remain on blood thinners for the rest of my life or if I have other options. To remain on thinners would spell an end to my cycling life. It is simply to big a risk to continue. What would be a mild bump or bruise for normal folks, would be a life threatening bleed for me.

Tomorrow I see the Hematologist, find out what my hyper coagulating blood is doing, and receive my sentence. I know I am being melodramatic. I know there are worse fates than not being able to ride. I also know that anyone that rides and loves it as much as I, feels my pain. I know I am going to survive and I have had more than my share of adventure, but I had really hoped to ride for the rest of my life. I had hoped (Deity of choice) would reward a life lived healthy, and to the fullest. I am reminded that Karma is not a reward or a punishment, it just

Call the angels! I'm going in!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Wondering what surprises the new day brings
all around the season sings
but not for me

Try to see the good in each day
try to forget nothing is the same
I hear the wind in tree's

Leveled out and maintained
hand grenades inside my brain
broken picture that looks okay

don't be afraid

make a joke escape the talk
get off the couch and try to walk
waking dream outlined in chalk

don't be afraid

waiting around for the next attack
try to sleep in a burning rack
my blood is filled with broken glass

I forget and start to laugh
and the demons pulls me back
the leaves are falling the sun arch's past

don't be afraid

Thursday, September 23, 2010

You Better, You Better You Bet

Even in my weakened state I can still make Big Worm my little bitch. I have had just about enough of the "piss" headers big man. I am home for the week so lets play games.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sweet Tuesday Morning

Heading down to see some Gators about a hole in my heart on Tuesday. If all goes well, I'll be home Wednesday, and hopefully (dare I think this far ahead?) back on a bike by mid/late November.

My wife's and my relationship is about to go to a new level of intimacy, as she is shooting drugs into my body. Boy the fun of having a heart issue and a stroke, just keeps getting better.

I have to say: I am thankful I have a job with really good benefits. I am thankful for the truly compassionate and quality heath care I have received. But jeez, I am worn down to the nub with all the blood giving, opinion getting, prescription filling, form writing, warning label reading, and "in the unlikely eventing" I have been doing. Like a new Mom in the ninth month, my fears have been replaced by an over whelming need to: "get it over with". Just to stay honest, I have managed to stay (a little) scared shitless.

So it is with true BC resolve that I roll balls out, no brakes, f#*^ it if I take a digger, towards this obstacle in my trail. Even if I leave some big ring teeth on it, I'm still gonna be stoked, if I am rolling on the other side.

See y'all at the start/finish. Save me a seat, a sausage dog, and a Fat Tire Ale.


Friday, September 10, 2010

My Brain is like a Sieve

I remember when I first started riding with Big Worm, I used to complain so bad on the climbs, he would tell me jokes to distract me. Then one day he said:

"Just ride to the next tree"

"Then what?" I said.

"Ride to the next one after that." The big man said.

That's how this new thing with my noodle is going. One tree at a time. I am trying not to look up the hill but sometimes, my hyper Irish brain is not so smart. It likes to go a few more miles up the trail than it should. Lucky for me I have some really good friends, a really strong wife, and a family that drives me nuts, but is on twenty four hour call. All these things keep the chin up (if one has a chin).

Thanks to all for the help. It may be time to augment the moniker...

(lunch with the author for first correct guess)

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Shape Of A Heart

I am nursing some pretty painful injuries. My hip still hurts from a crash in June at Santos. I bent my ring finger back on my left hand and had to bribe a guy in Lowe's to cut off my wedding band, with bolt cutters. My ring is at the jewellers being Steve Austined and my finger feels like a Bradfordville link sausage, left on the grill too long, by a cheerleaders fund raising Mom. My ring finger on my right hand, was jammed in a crash in February. It refuses to return to normal and remains stiff after many months. It was the crash, that rang in the great string of crashes, I suffered this year. Today I put my pointer finger in between my big ring and my chain, while lubing up before a ride. I went from three to twelve o clock, before I realized I was about to lop off the end of a digit, with french revolutionist professionalism.

Oh yeah! I had a stroke, and I am the proud owner of a heart defect, which by the way will be added to my career as a Artist Manager, my life as a musician, and my neck issues, as things that my friends and blog devotees will not tolerate in conversations or in this generic google layout. *Yes, I was trying to break my own record for longest run on sentence.*

I have a headache and can't take the meds that will fix it. I am waiting to get scheduled for heart surgery. I am taking rat poison to stop clotting and have been ordered to cut back on my one and only vice: Tea consumption.

I know what you are thinking: He complains, therefore he is back to normal. You would be wrong on level that would make the fabricators of the bible recoil in abject horror. I am a happy dude. I got a pass from my heart Doc, to ride today. My friend Big Jim set up an impromptu ride with some folks that I was pretty sure didn't dig me. They seemed happy to see me back in a Lycra shell. They laughed. They were patient with my long answers to easy questions. They were relaxed and rode behind me. They turned around and headed back with me, when they really wanted to continue on at a pace they were used to. Not one warm gesture or expression was lost on me. I noticed every subtle act of kindness and tried with all my being to deserve it.

I have been showered with support and good wishes. I have had people from the local cycling community, familiar faces that I thought had no idea who I was, inquire for news from my beloved crew. I have had people from my past seek me out, that I have not spoken to in thirty years after hearing about my "event". My close friends and crew all went above and beyond, as I rambled through my emotional storm. Believe me when I say, I view myself as a general nuisance that no one would shed a tear over. So these kind thoughts, prayer circle's, Madonna candles, text messages, signed cards, and emails, not only caught me by surprise but literally would not let me be anything but positive and hopeful. It was simply too much good mojo to fight. I can't take any credit for getting better and/or lucky with the recent hurdle. I was willed over by friends, family, and most of all my wife.

My hands will heal. My hip will loosen up. My heart will be patched by a surgical magician. All these things will pass, but I promise you I will never forget what has happened. Not the stroke, but all the cool people that reached out to me, and held my sorry ass up when I wavered.

Thank you, I am undeserving, but grateful.

Now lets talk about something amazing and basic: I rode my bike at Fern, Tom Brown, and Cadillac today. It was grand. The pace was slow and the woods were filled with conversation about light wheels, 29'ers and future endurance events. I jammed the same finger that I got stuck in the chain, into a tree. It is a throbbing balloon animal of pain.....I couldn't be happier.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Heartbreaker or Stroke Me (you pick I'm tired)

I had just come off the hardest week off exercise I had ever done. Ten thousand yards in the pool, and a little over a hundred miles on my mountain bike, all in five days. I felt great. I was down twelve pounds in eight weeks. For the first time in years, I felt like I was on a mission.

Saturday morning was great. I had slept in for the first time that week. It was awesome not to be up at five A.M. I needed twenty miles and a couple hours on the bike to make my goal. I struggled through the big east loop and eased up the last two hills to my house. I needed to take my car to Darien, so he could check out my front end, so I just got under the hose, toweled off and threw some clothes on to get out the door as soon as possible. My wife and I have been shopping for a new car for her and had pretty much decided on a new Subaru Forrester. The IMBA discount made the deal really good and we just needed to see if they could get her a car with the options she wanted. I raced across town, to meet her at the dealership. We drove a car, made a deal and I was going to take LWB to the music store, to get some drum stuff for school.

I was hot, hungry and really thirsty. I was thinking I should get a Gator Aid, as I opened the car to get in. My phone rang and it was my brother Chris. Our entire gaggle of siblings was coming to town to celebrate the opening of his new restaurant downtown called "The Avenue". As we were talking my tongue began to feel like it was on Novocaine and then my lip felt funny. I told my son something was wrong and that my lip felt swollen. He thought I was having an allergic reaction, so he started looking for my inhaler. As I looked down at my console, my right arm checked out and my hand dropped the phone. My face began to droop and as I told my son to "call Momma" the words came out all garbled. Luckily Michelle had not made it out of the dealership parking lot due to traffic, and was there within seconds. When she arrived and looked in the car, I told her I was having a stroke and to call an ambulance. I can't explain it, but I just knew it was a stroke. I figured it was triggered by dehydration, but I knew it was a stroke.

The fire truck and ambulance came and I was getting really embarrassed. A couple of the Subaru guys are cyclists and all I could think about was that everyone would find out. The EMT's tested my reflexes and my concerns became focused on my son, who now looked a little frantic. They were asking him questions about what happened and I could hear him, my wife and the EMT all talking in a swirl of words and confusion. I was really afraid that when I got out of the car, I would fall down and I couldn't bear the thought of my son seeing that, so I grabbed the EMT's arm and whispered to him:

"Please, no matter what happens, don't let me fall in front of my boy."

I guess I had that intensity (that people accuse me of) because for some reason the guy looked a little scared and said:

"Okay, okay, don't worry we'll get ya."

They loaded me up into the meat wagon and started the EKG and an IV, and did some more reflex tests.

You can always tell when you are in deep shit at the emergency room, because they take you right in. They wheeled me in to an ER nurse, and with in a couple seconds a doctor appeared and ordered a CT scan. The next few hours were a blur of tests: MRI, sonograms of my carotid arteries, another MRI, of my neck and head, sonogram of my femoral arteries, and numerous visits from nurses, doctors and something called a "Hospitalist" which near as I can figure, is a man or woman that has an Indian accent so thick, they aren't aloud to do real doctoring, and to prove they are incapable, they don't really seem to be familiar with your case. They just stop by like a retail sales manager to make sure your "Stroke Experience" was all you hoped it would be. I fully expected one of them to give me a survey card. It never happened.

The first night they put some inflatable stockings on me to keep me from having another stroke, but I was pretty sure they just didn't want me walking around and asking questions any more. I also had a portable vital signs thing that I had to carry around. All this makes sleeping a real endurance sport. That's what the Xanax is for I guess, that's good stuff.

All my tests were negative, my cholesterol was 147, and all my other blood chemistry was perfect. My arteries, heart, and pulmonary system were all fine. Everyone was baffled. When my Neurologist found the stroke damage on my MRI, I was really disappointed. I was really hoping that another disc in my neck was screwed up. No suck luck.

Sunday, they did a procedure where they numb your throat, give you some happy juice and stick some echo thing down your gullet. I gotta say; of all the thrill rides I went on this weekend this one, had the highest pucker factor. It turns out that I have a heart defect called: Patent Foramen Ovale Defect. When I was born the two sides of my heart did not heal, so blood sometimes leaks into the wrong side of my heart. This allowed a small clot (that normally would have been filtered by my lungs) to get past security and go straight to my brain. The little BASTARD! then did damage in three separate areas before it went (Deity of choice) knows where. They are going to go up though my thigh and repair the defect (much like they do to install stints). That little joy ride will happen soon.

I had another CT with a dye solution (I don't recommend it) to make sure my lungs weren't showing any signs of clotting and then we waited for the neurologist to read them for a few hours. He came in to see us (on his day off) and got in my face a little, because he didn't feel like I had a realistic grasp on my situation. He sort of backed up the hearse and let me smell the roses until he was sure I would do what he told me, and then at 9:30 they let me come home.

I have some issues with my middle, ring, and pinkie finger on my right hand. They work but feel like the messages are getting delayed from my brain. My right arm works but has some delay issues as well. No one seems to notice it but me, but my speech takes a little more concentration than before. It is usually worse when I first wake up or when I am tired. The experts tell me both are normal.

Good stuff: I never lost consciousness or any memory. I didn't lose any vision. I have way more movement in my hands than most after a stroke. I can play drums a little (this was a big worry). I can hold handlebars and work shifters and brakes. I can also do a wheelie (though I will NEVER admit how I found this out).

I am determined not to take myself and my family to that dark place I went after my neck issues. I am hopeful and positive about recovery, even if it does not go the way I want it to. For now I just want to make it through my heart procedure with out complications and do what the Doc's tell me (within reason). The staff at TCH was very good to me as well as the Fire rescue guys (if anyone knows the guys in the pics please let me know who they are). The guys at the Subaru dealership could not have been better. If you know any of them, please thank them for me. I am very thankful to be alive and alert. Everything else will reveal itself in the future. My wife was an absolute rock through this whole ordeal as was my boy LWB (for calling Mom and alerting the Subaru guys). My oldest boy, future hopeful med student, diagnosed me well before the doctors. He watches "House" and "Mystery Diagnosis" and he was never worried. Smart like his Mom that one.

Thanks to all, for the love and positive thoughts. I promise I will be pissing you all off again in no time.



Wednesday, August 4, 2010

C'mon C'mon

I am always a little amused when people make declarations of love. Some people need to "declare" love for spouses and children, or to proclaim their need to "spend time" with a spouse, or family member. I find the behavior odd, like saying you need to breath or eat. It always seemed to me that it was a given and the people that made the least of these declarations, had the most stable lives and relationships. I find it equally odd when people pretend that their families or friends don't annoy them, or that they don't need breaks from said folks. My point is, relationships are weird. We love people that drive us nuts. We need to be around our family and sometimes it is healthy for us to be alone.

I have been riding with my son quite a bit over the last few months. It is a little tougher being a bike Dad. It is twice as hard to get ready. There are twice as many mechanical issues, it is twice as expensive. Instead of only having to motivate yourself, you must now be a host to a little person that (most of the time) doesn't know what he is feeling, why he is feeling it, or how to deal with all the residual energy those feelings cause. Like most things I have been passionate about, the perfect days are few, but they occur just enough to keep you to keep you on the hook. When they do happen, there is nothing better.

The downside to this is; I don't get to ride with my friends as much. It wasn't bad in the beginning because LWB could only ride a couple days week, and most days, those rides were short. I could do an easy ride with him, then set out on my own, or catch the group ride later. LWB is getting pretty fit and he has grown (literally) a lot this year. He has become a stronger more experienced rider and he is able to do longer tougher rides than ever before. This has stretched the time between crew rides more and more. It was always the goal for him to be a rider capable of being on the crew rides. When he rides with us, I feel bad inflicting my language and subject filters on the crew. They did not decide to have a kid and it is not their fault he isn't old enough to talk about the various attributes of female runners body parts, or how drunk someone got the night before, or any other adult, politically incorrect subjects that make rides with the boys such great escapes from real life. I live in constant fear that they will recount some tale of my past exploits that my boy is not ready to process. When you factor in that the crew is filled with mythical people he has been hearing stories about for years, and that he so badly wants to be around the riders he idolizes, the balancing act is delicate.

The rare rides I get to be on with (adult only) crew have created another weird side affect: I am way too stoked and I want all those rides to be perfect. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and completely unrealistic. Given enough time (and Irish heritage) allows me to completely edit out all the bad footage and only run the highlight reel, over and over. I show up on adult only rides thinking they are all going to be technically great, super funny and that everyone is as stoked as me. This usually leads to disappointment. I forget that they ride together all the time, they are in bad moods, and that they don't want to recant every detail from all the time since we last rode together. I am also slower, from adjusting my riding style for the grommet and the large number of beginner/junior rides we attend. So on top of getting my feelings hurt, I usually get a good ass kicking to go with my reality check.

When I ride with my son a little part of me is pissed I am not riding harder or with the crew. When I ride with the crew, I miss my boy and I am reminded of slow I am. All in all, I am a lucky dude. I am lucky to have friends. I am lucky to have a kid that rides well. I have even enjoyed riding with some new folks I have met on the Mingo group rides. As with all things, these issues will stabilize without any input from me. Change is hard, and constant.

I'll see you on the trails (eventually).


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Different Strings

I suppose it is the ungrateful of me to expect great times to last forever. People and times change. It is the only thing you can depend on remaining constant. Eventually agendas diverge and everyone must do what is right for them. I must do the same for myself. I must forgive those on paths different than mine and I must not be so naive to expect forgiveness in return.

There are a lot of trails out there. After a great trip with my son last week, I had a revelation: Monotony is something you do not have to accept. Adventure and diversity is just a car ride and a few hours away. There is more to life than trying to make the same old shit seem interesting. I am tired of being on everyone else's ride. I want to be on MY ride for a change.

This much I know: nothing bicycle related brings me more joy than watching my son ride. Even when I am gripped with fear, watching him roll into and out of lines I am afraid to ride. I have waited forever to get to this point with him. I will not be denied that pleasure by anyone or anything. It is a fleeting chapter, and in a blink he will be faster than me, off at college, riding with his friends, or off the bike and onto something else. I can't apologize for enjoying what I deserve. I have missed too much in the past, and I would like to have this one thing I managed not to mess up.

So if I seem distant, or uncooperative, please give me a pass. I don't mean to offend anyone. I am just doing the right thing and it makes me happy.


Monday, June 14, 2010

The Weary Kind

The chair was old as was the rug his feet rested on. They were nestled in warm frayed socks and separated from the floor by slippers. He was surrounded by old things, books and wood. A study was a fixture in his life as it was in his father's before him. He grew up knowing that men had studies. Places to go and think and read and retreat. All his life he had fussed over it, cleaned it, and arranged the mementos of his life. The things he was most proud of were placed in areas of prestige to catch the eyes of those that entered. But no one really ever picked up on the smoke signals he sent. The things that were to hard to say. The hidden codes in all he did, hoping someone would decipher and understand the struggles, hopes and sins.

He regarded his own hand resting motionless on the chair arm. It sat as if waiting for a command that would never come. If the eyes are the window to the soul, his hands were the journal of his life. A map of everything he had done, all his sweetest and bitter moments were carved into those hands. They began aching in his twenties he was fond of saying he was a living barometer. No cold front or rain storm could catch him unaware, for the ache in his hands announced their intent long before they arrived. He thought it was peculiar how the fingers curled upward and as if they had been molded around an invisible tool. Was it a stick, a handlebar, the rail of a surfboard, or the body of a pen? They were bent by a life of effort, futile and productive. He sent all those notes out into the world. He hit the drums a million times on stage and in the dark quiet of practice. Did any of the arrows hit a target? Had anyone heard? He had written secretly his entire life. Journals of all the places he had played. There were boxes of lyrics, stories, and love letters. Desperate poetry and pleading testimonials to the ones who turned away or were pushed out of sight by fate. He wished he had sent them. Those fears seemed so silly now. If nothing was meant to come from the failures of love, he would have been comforted by the knowledge they knew how he felt, in their time. He closed his fingers and opened them again just to make sure he could. He thought of all that delicate skin, covered in chill bumps that rose to meet his fingers. He closed his eyes. The whispers and moans, and the kaleidoscope of faces, each one marking a period of growth and a loss that would never be understood. Each was frozen in his mind. Some were girls, some were young ladies, and then there was the woman. She had watched over his hands for years rubbing the pains out. She had bandaged them, and lifted them in and out of slings. She put a ring on one and placed two boys in them. She stood by as they hit walls, the faces of real and imagined foes and as they were wrung together in the dark hours.

There were photos on the shelves, ancient outdated things printed on paper. The boys were in his hands and then their shoulders were under them and their hands became the hands of men. They were shaken as partners, friends and equals. Then they waved goodbye, opened doors for short visits and patted the heads of their little ones. Now his hands waited for something, whatever was next. He panned the room he once longed to spend relaxing time in alone. All those years he spent busy and rushing from one thing to the next, trying to make a mark, betrayed him now. He had always just wanted to have a few quiet moments, and now they were closing in to swallow him. All that time gone forever like water through his beaten hands.

He dreamed of propelling his young body through the water of his youth. That turbulent hissing brew that scared and compelled him. The foaming soup that he was as comfortable in as his own bed. His mind failed in menial details of his life, bills to pay, pills to take, but he remembered with gleaming clarity, certain days with his brothers and friends. The green rolling countryside of the Laniakea, and the vibrating translucent water. The rolling foil that passed over head as he ducked to escape the power. A turtle swimming beside him. The comfort of the jetty and his home break. He reached out as if he could touch them, those precious lucid scenes that rolled out before him. He enacted a primal motor response to the visions of the past. He opened his eyes to the room and the amber light that awaited his return to the present, with the patience of a jailer.

There was a picture of his friends and him, standing on an old trail, long gone and forgotten. It was just a day and a ride like countless others they had. They ripped through them like scrap paper and tap water never knowing that with each passing day they were running out. What was a mundane event, was now a rare jewel, priceless and sold cheap, before the real value was known. He held the wood frame. The crew was there. His boy was there, as was his friend. He wished he could go back and tell them how fleeting the special rides were. His mouth lifted at the corners and he tapped the frame. He lifted it back to the shelf.

The things he remembered most were the little things. The light hitting his wife's face, the boys attacking him in the hall. That great Thanksgiving swell. His sons getting their first waves. His friends yelling in the woods. Night rides and dancing beams of light in front and behind. The things that had no photos to mark their occurrence, were all the most vivid and played out in the wooden room like a movie on the walls of his eyes.

Those hands had served him well. The aches and scars were monuments to all the adventures brilliant and ill conceived, both looked back on now with equal reverence. He wouldn't change a line or a wound. He twisted the blanket around his arms and hands to fight the cold ache. He nodded off to visit those magic flecks of light. Those liquid drops of days, that trickled between his fingers and flowed away, down to the streams and rivers into the ocean, never to be seen again. He twitched in his sleep as he rose to catch waves again, tried to take a dirt corner too fast, or to reach for the woman and the children in that mirage. In these rare dreams he was the man he once was. The cold couldn't touch him and the darkness lost it's grip. He was playing. He was a singing. He was a riding. He was with his friends and family. It was all as it should be, and he slept forever in the warmth of his loves and life.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Caught in the grip of obsession and indecision.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Putting On The Ritz

It's funny when deprived of something, how you can convince yourself you hate it. I have used this technique to recover from disbanded bands, one sided romances and jobs I've been asked to leave. Since Shimano is never going to make a Dura Ace C1-7 neck gruppo and my stock parts are getting squeaky, I decided road riding sucked. It was a little easier to take the denial route. Oh sure, I made a half hearted effort to run a higher stem with drops. The bike handled like a Yugo with a V-8. Then Big Worm took the bike to the lab, and Frankensteined that biotch. He gave it back to me with flat bars, rapid fire shifters and bar ends. The results looked cool, but the bike got real scary over twenty mph. It danced like Peter Boyle and people moved away from me like I was an escaped mental patient.

I gave up. After my extended recliner engagement a few years ago, I made deals with (Deity of Choice) faster than a Hummer salesman. Could I just ride a recumbent a few times a week? Could I maybe ride my MTB on the side walk? People heal and forget all those desperate hours, but I never will. I figured (Deity of choice) took my road bike, for the same reason he closed The Mill, took Northern Exposure of the air, and ended my tenure as a bush league manager of a one hit wonder; because he/she/it/wave/particle couldn't let mortals have it all. You can either bitch and moan or push the rock up the hill. The blood of my beloved Raleigh was dripping off the alter and the Mayans where playing soccer with its head. I had to ride the MTB and move on.

A funny thing kept happening: I would try friends road bikes and I noticed the longer ones (even with low stems) felt good. As a last ditch effort (and to make the rig sellable if all failed) The Large Segmented Night Crawler, put a longer stem on the Blue Bomber. I have done two Joe's rides with an acceptable amount of discomfort. It happened just in the nick too. Even though our trails are getting better by the minute, it was a wee bit monotonous doing the MTB thing. You can only pretend you are "Ricky the Cabana Boy" so many times before the novelty wears off. Eventually you are the same dweeb you've been for years, wearing some stupid white shorts. When that happens, the smell of cocoa butter is not so sweet. Every so often the venue must change, or the gig starts to stink like old fish.

The two Joe's rides I have done where the best rides of the year. You couldn't pry the smirk off my face with a crow bar. I will never be a smart rider in the peloton (my panicked stint at the front last night is proof). If I ever do anything cool on a road bike it is purely motivated by fear and nerves. I am the biggest dork that ever rode Joe's. I promise you I am cutting up, sprinting for yellow signs, and having more fun than anyone out there, and that makes me the winner.

Here's hoping (Deity of choice) doesn't send a group of Transylvanian rednecks up the hill with torches.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Seven A.M. at Poles. Setting launch code for F-Bomb. Stand by.....

Monday, May 17, 2010

No More Drama

Dare I say it? I have had a tame few days. I enjoyed a long ride on Saturday, and it was long over due. I experienced the peace that only exhaustion can give me. It was my first big week of miles, since before the trip to N.C.. It feels good to get off the porch.

Bump and Grind looms on the horizon, like an enemy ship, blocking the sun. I am not ready for a lap of Oak Mountain, much less the new longer lap. I am not throwing my hat into the "skirt bet". I hope you don't mind if I sit this one out. I wouldn't consider going at all (now that the Bike Chain Crew is all but a memory) save for the hard work and battle ready status, of Lil W.B.. He has put in the miles. He is bucking in the chute. Thanks, in no small part, to riding with Lil Mingo. He and L.M. are all cycling friends should be. They always ride hard. They always laugh, and you have to peel them off their bikes when the dinner bell rings. The group (formerly known as Bike Chain) could learn a thing or two from those boys. Seriously, can you make one ride a week for the crew? I know you have young kids, new girl friends, jobs and whatever the f^#$! Give Momma a night with the girls, cut the yard, GROW A PAIR! You are all grown men, use your talents to negotiate.... ONE RIDE A WEEK! Either that or lets get some beer and burn the jersey's, shorts, socks, stickers and all the other shit, that filled up the space where the rides used to go. I'm not pissed, I just miss the old days. I had two young boys, two jobs and a band of knuckle heads to manage, when I started riding with the crew. I did dishes, laundry, made dinner (whatever I could) to earn my miles. Negotiation is simple; find out what they want, and give it to them. Nuff said, I'm stepping off soap box.

I used to train all week for crew rides. I lived in mortal fear of those rides. Those days are gone forever. If it wasn't for Lil W.B, Big and Lil Mingo, Worm and Slade, I would have hung up my pistols.

Hey remember that time?



Sunday, May 9, 2010

Straight to Hell!

Maybe it's the poison ivy spreading like a gated sub division over my legs and arms. Maybe it's the groin injury I keep aggravating. Maybe it's the jammed ring finger that just doesn't feel right, months after my first crash of the year. Maybe it's the hammered knee, from the jump track crash. What diff does it make?

I hoped to be healed in the company of crew and magic trails in Ellijay and Pisgah. The riding was epic, no question. When I got home, I had the worst respiratory infection I have had since I laid in bed for three weeks with pneumonia. My house decided it needed several thousand of our dollars. My computer hard drive crashed and so did I...AGAIN! I have averaged a crash every two weeks, since late February. Whats the rub? My neck feels great! Go f#@^*+*# figure.

Then there are the human challenges. The confrontations out of the school yard play book. The small indignities that one must suffer as a price for turning O2, into exhaled breath. The subtle, passive aggressive pokes to the chest, that normally I don't acknowledge. In the current climate (tired, hurt, and out of reserves) the message goes to the bridge, where the pissed off captain fingers the "launch" buttons.

I know I am a comical character to all that know me. You would rather hear a funny story of how I fell in a creek, while my crew all stood around laughing. Sorry, I don't feel like putting on black face and singing "Mammy" for you. I am fresh off an engagement as the pissed middle aged guy, confronting a twenty year old douche bag, at the movies. I'm not coming to you as a repentant parishioner in the confessional, but as a guy ready to roll in the grass with the next prick, that flips my switch.

And the contenders are lining up. They started with the two dicks on carbon Scott's talking shit at the Stomp Out A Cure race in February. Even though I beat them both by a ton, all that remained was the anger. Not one shred of satisfaction survived the day. I had a mild skirmish with a rich Soflorida punk that almost crashed into my son. I held my tongue when the shop rat pushed my buttons. I have to say, when a local rider professed a high school love crush he had for the mother of my children, I think I behaved admirably. I gave him several outs, which he ran by like remote exits, on a desert highway. A few weeks later he let me know (in front of my wife) that he would have beaten me in the Red Bug Challenge, had he not been late.

Had any one of these grounders come my way, during a normal epoch, I would have dispatched with them like Pedroia. These incidents stack up like pancakes, and it just makes me want to box.

The bike is the cure. The miles are the meds. When the cure becomes the curse, and the conduit for all the bullshit, nothing flows. No matter where I go, the hate finds me. It could go either way, armistice or Armageddon. All I know is: the more I try to evolve, the more neanderthals I find.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Initiating loading sequence.
Got my laptop back bitches. I have a lot of anger. Pretend you are going to see Gallagher. Pretend you might get hit by shrapnel instead of casaba.....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I'm gonna go get my mind right. Seeya soon.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Chain Gang

I haven't been this nervous before a race...ever. I was really feeling the pressure of 007's promise to make me his hood ornament. I do want to say for the record: I have huge respect for the secret agent, and from now until the end of time, you will never waterboard another negative statement out of me about him or any of his Willkillya kin. Nuff said.

The race was a well oiled machine thanks to Red Butcher, Frog legs, and a host of volunteers. The Black shirts were out in force and I would be lying if I said that I wasn't honored and over joyed to be counted among the Bike Chain Gang brethren. The race was proof that we are not just a bunch of dudes in matching Lycra.

Instead of the normal race re cap I'd like to say a few things about my friends/teammates/assassins:

Big Jim Slade:

No one who has ever ridden a bike, says worse things about themselves than B.J.S. He can't turn, he can't brake, he is slow. I am am stating once and for all, that we will not tolerate any more of that type of talk. Jim is stronger than most of the crew, and has learned how to f*^#)_+ race bicycles. He doesn't get the typical aggressive pre-race hate symptoms. He is a contender in any race in his class. You want a sport trophy? You gotta pass him. Plus it's no small thing to say he is the nicest, most generous guy ever. He would give you the expensive, only available in Europe, for team issue, shirt right off his back.

Spanish Mackerel:

He handles better than me. He corners better than me. He is funnier than everyone, but that's not the coolest thing about the Mackerel. He is the happiest racer ever. He will talk to you like you are sitting in your living room, during a race. He laughs when he is on climbs. If you get passed him, he will talk to you (and make you laugh) as you go by. He can ride once a week and still ride well. He can put in a few training weeks and take your lunch money. In any form, in shape, outta shape, he is always happy and funny. He will always be a better bike handler than me, no matter how much I ride.


The dude has a life and job (which we can't divulge due to National Security laws) that would make a good book. He is strong as a couple Wakulla pit bulls, only way more determined and meaner. I really don't know him that well, but from the first time I met him at a Bump and Grind race, I knew he was a bad ass. I would like to hoist a few beers with him some time, and maybe ride with him in a non race scenario. He hunted me down like a dog during the race. He says (in his blog) that I was on a "Sunday stroll" but I was running like a sorority girl in a slasher flick. If he had his own bike, and a few more pre race laps, it would have been different. I am not being conciliatory, it's just a fact. Bury the hatchet bro, I would like to have some bladder control the next time I see you.

Big Worm:

What can I say about the big man (that will not send Juancho into a homoerotic, grand mal seizure)? Well lets keep it narrowed to race knowledge. If you want to know where the lines are for anything, road or MTB, follow Worm. A smarter cyclist does not exist. For the whole first lap, knowing how nervous and worked up I was, he coached me through all the lines, climbs, and single track. Once he got me through the stuff I was worried about, he let me by. Red Bug beats the crap out of his unhappy ankle, and I don't think his heart was ever in this race. He has kicked my ass for ten years straight on that trail. The only explanation for him not kicking sand in my face, was that he just didn't have his heart in it. He had a tough day and finally flatted. Had the laps gone clockwise? It would have been a whole different bottle of chain lube.

I would like to say a few words about Red Butcher and Frog Legs; Man, when you guys put on your race director hats, you really bring it. Fielding questions while doing twenty things at once? I would have melted down ten minutes after 7A.M.. There would be no B.C. Crew, no uniforms, no anything, if it was not for the diligence and patience you guys show for the cause. I could go on and on (and probably already have) but its a great thing you do for all of us. I know I will look back on this period of my life, sitting in a rocking chair, and I will laugh remembering all the stuff we have done and places we have ridden. I know I have post race euphoria, and I am caught up in the moment, but I would like to thank all the B.C. Crew for letting me be a part of the coolest Crew in town. I am proud to be associated with each and every one of you.

One final note to Mingo: It has been a dream come true watching Lil W.B. and Lil Mingo ride together this past few months. Lil Mingo is a lion and he has the spirit of ten kids. He is a testament to what a great Dad and rider you are. I can never thank you or him enough, for the feeling I get watching our sons ride and race together. Zak and Ice Berg have been great to those kids as well, they look up to you guys as hero's and a better example could not exist.

Congrats to all the people that raced this weekend. I would like to (and could) write pages about everyone in The Black Shirt's, but I narrowed it to my competitors. No disrespect intended.



Friday, April 9, 2010


divided by....







Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rev On The Red Line

I am obligated (by a vow of death) to post this on behalf of my Bike Chain Brethren. Otherwise, they will give me a Killarney neck tie and do something to my face that will deny my family an open casket. All BS aside, this is a great event, that will make a ton of money for the Tallahassee Mountain Bike Association. Roll up to the line Bastards!

The Second Annual Red Bug Challenge is upon us. April 11th is the date, Forrest Meadows/Red Bug is the place. This was the "feel good" local race last year. This year, there is promise of better prizes and no Arctic animals on the race coarse. Last year I couldn't race, because I was unable to chip the ice off my drive train.

All proceeds go to the Tallahassee Mountain Bike Association for future good deeds on our local trails. So open your wallets, raise your heart rate, and rattle your molars out of you jaws. W.B.Z.N. will be rockin the mic like a vandal, and losing the race, to some pissed off beginner, on a six thousand dollar (full carbon) Scott. See you out there!

Go to: to register.



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Welcome to the Bottom

I tried for many years to kill him. I hated everything about him. He would show up at the most inopportune moments. He would say things that I didn't want him to say. He would be neurotically funny when he was nervous. Over the years I got him more under control but around family or old friends he would awaken. It was like the expectations of the old days and people that knew him, gave him life force and he assumed control. I was a hapless passenger to his tirades, comedy routines or outbursts of bravado. He flourished in Ft. Pierce, and was the one of the reasons I left 1987.

My wife says I always get a funny look on my face when I have talked to someone from Ft. Pierce. She says my voice has a tone she has learned to recognise. George called to tell me mutual friend and musician has fallen on hard times, he is sick and they are planning a fund raiser for him. Several bands will be playing and my name came up. He would like me to come back and play with him and a bass player from my old band. My wife shakes her head and gives me a look. She hates to see me confront him. She will have to listen when I recount all the regret.

A lot of people love him. He is funny and has a lot of energy. He says the thing everyone is afraid to say. He points at the elephant in the room. He can sell you anything. He can get you a record deal. He will draw the line and dare you to step over. He is fearless. He leaves me to clean everything up, and to deal with his wreckage. He is the reason I have to ride alone, because if I hear his voice one more time, I will die. He is great to drink with and if you like a story, he is your man. In the dark, he is tortured by all he has done and said. Gallons of holy water have been heaped upon him, but he carries every sin, every decision, every incidental moment and he relives them in High Definition 1080i.

George doesn't understand, he just wants to play a few songs and pay homage to his old teacher. I want specific details about production, when we will play and if I can use my own drums. George wants to talk to him because it is easier. He would just go head first into the gig and say: "fuck it". The problem is, after he is gone, I will have another disaster to carry. Another shitty gig, in front of the very people I never wanted to play for again. The people I left, in the middle of the night, on my twenty fourth birthday. But he doesn't give a shit about any of that. He wants to show them how awesome he can play. He wants to be the returning hero. He wants them all to pat him on the back and to compliment him. There is no way to tell how the story ends. I would like to pay homage too, but maybe the risk is too high. Maybe it will raise too many questions. Maybe he won't come at all, and everyone will be disappointed.

George wants me to sing. He is not sure which songs. He wants it all to be positive. He wants to play guitar and say a speech. I wish I could just be one of those people that went along and believed everything works out. It does sometimes, and it always surprises me.

I put on my kit and go for a very long ride. I see a few people, but for the most part I am alone. He never shows up if I am quiet. Those are the days I live the most. It is windy and cool. I will have to work a little harder to get home.

He is nowhere to be found.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

These Days

I suppose it is inevitable that if you stick around long enough you become the punchline in your own joke. Resumes and Facebook bios portray the things you want people to remember, but those are not the things people do most with their time.

People, in general, never consider me a threat. Not on a starting line, not in traffic, not behind a drum kit, and certainly not toe to toe. Over the years I derived a lot of pleasure, making them aware they underestimated me. I am getting older and I have learned you can never beat them enough to make yourself feel better. They never admit they were wrong. In the end, even if totally justified, and the undeniable winner, you have still played their game, and that makes you the fool. It is in the very least, an angry waste of time.

My role has changed pretty drastically in the last few years. I am on the support team around the house. My wife is making the bread rise and my boys are becoming busy young men. I am the main cheer leader, roadie, coach, taxi, and (sometimes) a spectator in the lives that once revolved around me. It has it's moments of pure bliss and times when you have no say what so ever. Part of being a good husband and Dad is knowing when to just stand by and watch. It has always been a tough move for me to master. It frequently has no pay off, which puts it in the company of most things that must be done.

My boys will both be bigger, stronger and better at all the interests we share, very soon. Nothing could make me happier. Big C., is already smarter than I ever was and just needs a little world time, to even up the score. He has found his niche as a swimmer, and more than ever, I have a glimpse of the man he could be. L.W.B. looks like a chip off the block but really, he can do anything I can do, with about half the effort and twice the style. Fine with me. Maybe enough good traits will be passed and the short comings will fade with me. That's how it appears to be shaping up from the sideline. I hope it lasts.

I am logging a lot of saddle time with L.W.B.. Big C. and I chat more than ever, to and from swim practice. We have found a few shows to watch as a family, that have brought us all back to the dinner table. Somehow we have reeled the boys back in from the edge. Somehow we have pulled out a victory over the appliances in the their rooms.

It is okay to be in the back round. It is okay to applaud. It is okay not to kick a guys ass for nearly crashing into you, and not ever taking out his ear buds to apologise. It's okay not to slap the taste out of a counter rats face, for insulting you in front of your son. It's okay to see him learn a lesson, because for once, you didn't take the bait. I keep telling myself it's all okay.

In through the nose and out through the mouth.....


Monday, February 22, 2010

Pretzel Logic

Sub atomic particles appear and disappear at will. Some particles can be in two places at one time. Virtual particles can become real and be measured. Some particles leave virtual turbulence when they disappear.

I do not pretend to understand physics. I suck at math, but every time I hear someone (like Stevie B. Hawking) talk about the little universe, I immediately make the jump to what I have thought forever: One disturbance in the chain can disrupt the universe.

For me it started with San Felasco prep. I'm a responsible kind of chap. I like to head things off at the pass. I like to hold up my end of the bond, and I have little patience for the unprepared of our planet. I took my bike to get fixed and upset the order of the bicycle. New parts were introduced, and problems appeared that were previously not there. As those problems were addressed, new parts and mechanics were brought into play, and the issues deepened. I tried to keep my energy controlled, but the more patience I applied, the less logic occurred. Whenever a problem was solved a new one took its place. I rode through the virtual and actual turbulence with varied results. All the towns greatest minds converged on my vehicle with equal amounts of victory and defeat. Finally the issues whittled down to noises and annoyances. The latest was a creek in the cranks which Worm (insert black hole theory joke here) fixed. Immediately after the relief set in, and I believed quiet riding was in my future, a pedal began to squeak. Just as mysteriously as it appeared it vanished. Ten minutes later, I had the worst Asthma attack of my life. My particles are disturbed and it doesn't end with the bike.

I find no humor in the fact that my new TV is a container of volatile Plasma gas. Since I brought the new TV into my house nothing has been the same. It emits high EMF, which played havoc with my infra-red remote control system. My home theatre, which had worked perfectly for years, developed a series of symptoms, that no logical audio video tweak, could connect to the new television. My five year old DVD player will not sync to the new set. They are of different HDMI eras, and a digital hand shake is impossible, due to one pin in the new wires. For reasons that deny explanation, my powered sub woofer works only after I have decided it will never work again. Just like sub atomic particles, the act of observing them changes their behavior.

The Bike Chain Crew was last together at San Felasco, since then members have been randomly appearing and disappearing. Sometimes we run into people on the trail that didn't know about the ride. Sometimes people say they will ride and don't show up. Sometimes we all start rides together and finish in different places. Some members exist but are never seen. I can not take any more of the random disorder.

I could go on for hours (like Dennis Hopper at the end of Apocalypse Now) but I suspect that you too have disappeared and are in an alternate Blogiverse as we speak, even though you seem to be in this dimension, or else why would I be talking to you?

I long for the boredom that preceded this period of flux. If any of you see my lost particles appearing in an alternate state would you please send them home? I fear if it does not happen soon, I will cease to exist....if I ever did at all.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Needles and Pins

I have a lot of aches and pains. I can trace every phantom twinge to a past injury. My body is a time capsule of nerve portraits, of all the risks that didn't pay off. All the times the dice lied, the cards didn't come, and the inevitable moment when the chips drift away, as if by magic. These little reminders make me wonder, if there was ever a time I didn't carry some arthritic petroglyph, of a battle lost.

I love it when things are working. I believe that everything from bicycles to relationships, connect at the molecular level. How else could you explain how two guitars made on the same day, have such different voices? You throw a new surfboard in the ocean, and it glides like an arrow. A stolen glance, a sentence of small talk, and you meet your partner for life. Someone wasn't watching, their foot never touched the brake, and you never sleep through the night again. Door number one has a new car, number two has a goat. Roll the bones.

I was preoccupied with my issues when I pulled on the Lycra yesterday. I wondered if my back pain would return. I wondered if I had enough sunlight. I led a solo debate on which route would be best. I had ridden them all a thousand times. I searched for the combination that would open the lock. I fumbled for the keys. I stopped on the levy to stretch my aging neck. I opened and closed my hands, trying to squeeze away a lifetime of abuse and injury. I looked up and the sky was exploding. I couldn't look away. Suddenly the ride was not a worry or a plan. It was a moment, a memory, a picture, and a cure.

I rode home in no particular hurry, got to the tracks, and meandered back to the pavement. I forgot about my neck, my back and my hands. I couldn't remember what I was worried about. All those aches and pains are my badges of a life well lived. I remember how I earned them all. They are not ghosts of my failure. They are not my sins. They are the only memories worth having. The times when I risked it all for a frontside air, a crystal blue reef break, a bike race metal, or a multitude of dreams that never came true. They hurt and soothe in the same breath.

I will keep them all.


Monday, January 25, 2010

This Perfect World

I was going to post a little amalgam of all the annoying speed bumps I have rattled over lately. What is the point? Why throw another log on a fire you don't want to stand by? This is what I want to see, and so I put it here, with the hope that you too will get the vibes.

It is not a great picture, and I am no ones photographer, but it makes me think of all the moments just like this or better, that I have forgotten.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Cold As Ice

It was a weird week leading up to the Felasco Ice swim. I stressed about clothing. I stressed about my bike. The one thing I usually stress about(fitness) wasn't even on my mind. I had done my home work and the extra credit. The only thing I feared was the stuff beyond my control, like the ability to fix a bike. I had been driving Pete nuts with my bike for a week. It hadn't been shifting well, and we decided a new cassette and chain would be the fix. Pete squeezed me in at the eleventh hour, and started hitting my bike with metal objects.

Thursday evening Jim was in the best pre-trip mood of his life and asked me to ride with him. HUGE MISTAKE! Four feet into the Fern trail my bike was stammering and skipping like the tractor on Green Acres. I made it much better by complaining for every inch of the hour and a half ride. Jim offered to buy me a new bike if I promised to never contact him again.

Friday morning I took the bike back to Pete. He did his best but, we needed a five bolt chain ring. I called everyone in the cycling universe, and came up snake eyes. Pete gave me the shrug and hug of a doctor that has done all he could do for a terminal patient. Big Jim and I spent the rest of the day buying up all the cold weather gear in the county in what must have looked like a Benny Hill montage. We arrived at the jump off point, and as quick as you can say "enjoy your first class ticket on the Titanic!" we were on our way.

Friday night was the usual dinner and debauchery in G-ville. Some of us (I am not saying who, but definitely not me) got as poo-faced as Irish soccer fans and the following events took place:

1. Darnell got a tooth chipped by Frog Legs, because apparently you can't slam a beer can into a guys mouth without causing some dental disharmony.

2. Silk turned into a story teller with Alzheimer's and repeated the last word of every sentence.

3. Long Shanks became an amateur prison warden, forcing everyone to drink, as he guarded the door and randomly "checked the oil" of anyone he felt wasn't up to specs.

4. Spanish Mackerel proved he is funnier (without effort) than anyone.

5. Frog Legs tells great stories (with endings ...sorry Silk) and has the ability to make small amounts of urine escape, during laughter induced asthma attacks.

There is video evidence out there, and unless we drain our home equity, it will be available on Facebook and Youtube.

The actual ride: how should I start? Dear God it was cold. Shackleton cold. Hitler cold. My prom date cold! For the first segment we went at a pace that I will just describe as; conversational. Like sitting on a couch at the Airport conversational. Slower than Forrest Gump conversational. Really F#!^*#!g slow! That didn't stop Darnell (tongue checking his tooth every two nanoseconds) from red lining his heart rate. He was the first guy to jump out of the life boat and drink sea water. Worm tried to talk him down but after he started mumbling about dancing with hippos, Worm let go of his hand and we watched him drift away. Dan was leading the snail charge and one by one, we passed and split up.

My bike was an unbearable symphony of pots and pans falling down stairs, and the only thing that worked was the big ring. I rolled out of stop two first and rode alone, fearing my mood would ruin the day.

We all reconvened at lunch. Dan had to meet the family at an undisclosed location and absolutely could not do the whole fifty (ya know cause he has kids and stuff). Big Jim and Frog Legs were frozen solid. Worm was mugging old ladies and putting on their shirts. I was praying to all that was holy, that someone higher up the food chain would bail out and give me a dignified reason to leave this parade of zombies. Darien, did agree to bail (in a new cold induced language he invented that sounded like a cross between Cindy Brady and a Wookie) but since he just had a baby and all, he didn't fit the bill. I needed a guy I could point to and say: "Look he's a bad ass and he's quitting...I am too!" No one came to my aid and Worm and I headed out first.

Worm was in the hate cave, and I had already remodeled my hate cave twice, when we got to the power line climb. It is the hardest climb of the day, and it is ten minutes after lunch. My chain was dancing like a Chinese dragon in a festival. Worm realized why I had been so non communicative all day. Nothing relieves ones misery like seeing a less fortunate slob. Worm was all jokes and chuckles up the hill as I attacked it in my granny gear, in the big cog (the only gear that worked up hill). At the top we remembered we were friends and rode together for the next leg. We supported each other. I waited for him a few times to pee, and to take banned substances. I knew when my time of need arrived he'd do the same for me....unless Frog legs caught us (which he did) and then Worm forgot he knew me and rode away like Clint Eastwood during the credits.....excuse me while I clear my throat....


The last leg was the hardest mental, physical ordeal I have ever had the good fortune to live through. At the parking lot I hobbled up to the table, demanded my t-shirt, and told a guy doing a hotel survey, to have relations with his own digestive system. Back at the truck, Worm remembered he knew me long enough to laugh and point at how destroyed I looked. I acted like a polar bear screwing a greased beach ball as I Gran Mall seizured out of seventy two layers of sweat soaked Lycra. I was feeling like a really hard core cyclist when a guy rolled up to the car next to us. He was wearing two cotton long sleeve shirts, shorts and no gloves. Behind him came his female companion in a dress and (I shit you not) a Snuggie. In last, was their twelve year old son in sneakers, tube socks, and a hoodie. I fogged the window, as they laughed, joked, and loaded their bikes. Manhood? Gone.
Good times.

We always say the same thing at the end of brutal rides:

"These are the rides you talk about for years."



Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Analogue Kid

Be afraid. Someone on Facebook has pictures of you.

Friday, January 1, 2010