Sunday, December 25, 2005

Reason #752 why I should just keep my mouth shut

I've learned a harsh lesson in the last year, mostly because of our most recent presidential election. I never understood the notion that something silly like politics could divide family members, but now I know from personal experience how this is possible.

I've had a lot of wine this evening...

I just got back from an otherwise pleasant Christmas evening with my brother and his family. My brother has become a rather surly individual as he's gotten older. I'm sure this stems from having his own business, and his constant dealings with the Philadelphia gentry and their constant demands for lower prices when they need landscaping work done on their summer homes at the shore. I can see how he's become a hard man from all of those dealings. Tonight, I made the mistake of bringing up politics. It was a complete accident. My brother tends to think of such things on a more local level, where my focus tends more the more national and international side. What I learned this evening is that I should never, EVER launch into a discussion of politics. Not even with my own brother, who I normally categorize (only half in jest) as the family redneck.

I'm less frustrated at the fact that he and I are on somewhat different sides of the political debate (although less so than I had originally thought) than I am about the fact that I just don't know shit about articulating my own opinions. I read a lot of books, and a lot of websites, and I am very clearn internally about how I feel. Yet when it comes to defending my position, or even suggesting that someone else should really reconsider, I become this unintelligible and boneless mass of flesh. This really pisses me off. I suddenly feel yet another level of envy about people who are able to succinctly state their opinion, and back it up with quantifiable data. All that happened tonight was that I said some things not very well, realzed it, and then sat there closed-mouthed while my brother listed the reasons why he decides the way he does.

What I do, is just read all the quantifiable data, and then forget the ability to think when confronted with the opposite side of the debate. In this case, what little chance I had to make the attempt at opening my brother's eyes probably did little more than cement the notion in his head that I'm still only 12 years old. What an idiot. This time, I mean me.

I caught myself thinking of how Andy Armstrong would respond in a similar situation. Andy is one of the best debaters I've ever had the privilege to meet and listen to. I know he would have been able to listen to my brother, and addressed each and every point in a way that would have been clear and consise. 'I agree with you on points 1, 4, and 5, but on 2 and three you are wrong, and here's why...'.

I couldn't do that. It's hitting me pretty hard. I'm sitting here wondering what the point of all my reading is. Why do I even bother trying to educate myself about something like this when all that happens is that rather than me demostrating my intellectual capacity, I just make myself look like even more of an idiot. Then, I beat myself up for being stupid in the first place.

I fucking hate politics. If there's any sort of moral to be had here, it's that my idea of just burying my head in the sand is one I should have stuck to a long time ago. I think it's high time I did that now, and leave the discussion to people who are much smarter than I am. This country is going into the shitter really quickly, and we're trying to bring everyone else down with us. I've become so cynical about the end result. I really don't think the people that give a damn will every be in a position to do anything about it. Instead, people like Bush and his friends will always run the show and do whatever the hell they want. I think I should just focus on being one of the people that doesn't get in their way, rather than someone who actually expresses any discontent.

Merry 'effing Christmas.

[Insert politically correct term for 'Merry Christmas' here]

Well Merry Christmas, everyone! And Happy Holidays to all of my non-Christian friends.

So there's this micro brewery in Vermont called Magic Hat. I've always enjoyed their ales, and in my search for a last-chance six pack of some pumpkin ale, I came across Magic Hat's winter brew called Jinx, 'an Ale inspired by the doctrines of medieval chemists'. It's not a pale ale. I guess it would fall under the category of a dark ale. Either way, it's yummy. It comes pretty close to the stuff I really like in the UK. I should probably get another sixer before it goes by the 'seasonal' wayside.

I hope everyone had fun on Christmas. The best gift I got (other than a surprise call from Chipps) was a Lens Baby. It's something that Brad from Dirt Rag turned me on to at Interbike. It's all manual, right down to having to change the aperture yourself by putting different sized aperture rings in front of the optic. I really like the effect that you can create with them, though. No doubt I'll post some things to Flickr once I'm home and experimented some.

Speaking of home...It's been nice being here with the 'rents. I'm always happy to see them, and of course my dog is here. I wish I could have him with me, but he's happy here, and my folks are happy to have him. I've always heard that dogs can contribute to longevity of life. I don't like to think about how sad my parents (and the mini dog) would be if Frazier wasn't here anymore. It's easier for me to only see him every once in a while, than to put anyone through that.

So I'm home to Boulder in 4 days. CJ and I are planning to have a New Year's party, and with any luck I won't have to run off to Boise right after that.

I think it's time for another Jinx.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Seasonaly dysfunctional

I watched TV tonight. Might not seem like a big deal but it's the first effort I've made to watch TV in quite some time. Since it's Christmas time, there were obviously lots of commercials that reflected the season. My birthday is in 7 days, and I really don't feel like it should be either Christmas, or my birthday time of year. I can't figure out if this is a reflection of me just not really being all that bothered about the holidays, or if it's because I'm not home long enough (or at all) to really get into the festive spirit. Right now, I have no spirit whatsoever. If anything, I'm sort of just hoping the holidays will hurry up and go away.

What upsets me the most about this, is that I've always been someone who really got into the holiday mood, and something changed a few years ago that just completely sapped any desire I had to be festive. I don't really know what that something was. I just seem to regard the whole time of year as more of a hassle than something to be happy about.

I'm not looking forward to my birthday, not because I have some hang up about getting older, but because there's no one 'special' in my life to share it with anymore, and more than likely I'll be driving alone somewhere across the nothingness of western Utah on my way back to Boulder. I'm sure I'll spend some time shrouded in 'this time last year' syndrome, when things were much different. That all makes me very sad...for lots of reasons.

My mom is after me for some Christmas ideas. I just don't really want anything. Well, that's not true. I want lots of expensive camera equiment that I won't ask my parents for, and I want to be back in the UK, which is obviously something they can't help me with. I just don't really want any 'crap'. My mother makes a big deal out of Christmas, and she really doesn't accept me saying that I don't really want anything. It makes her happy to shop for presents, and I've had to try and make an effort to give her some ideas. I don't want her to spend money on me, but it makes her happy to do so, and if I insisted that she not do anything, she'd be upset. The best present I can give her, are suggestions for what to get me.

I just need to get through January. I have too much anticipation going on about a conversation that is supposed to happen. I don't have any idea what the outcome will be, but it's the most important discussion that will have happened in a long time. There's a lot riding on it, and I'm terrified that I'm setting myself up for failure. I almost wish my January trip were already over, because at least then I'd have a clearer picture of my future employment.

I really should stop drinking so much wine. It's near impossible to avoid when you are staying with California locals.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Cone factory

If you asked me what my strengths are, among the short list I'd give you would be public speaking and my sense of humor. I've had my sense of humor while presenting come under fire. I think I've pissed more people off in the last few weeks than I have ever in my lifetime, all while trying to get people to laugh. This is definitely a case of the bad apples spoiling the bunch, but it's hitting me pretty hard. I'm obviously not trying to offend anyone, yet I've managed to do so in probably every seminar I've done this winter.

The worst example of this came to my attention today after getting a request from Zap to call him. Evidently, a guy from the Santa Monica session wrote him a 500 word email complaining about me and saying how pissed off he was at Trek. I was heckling the guy after a comment he made, which he returned in kind. Then his co-workers got involved and suddenly, he was pissed. So Zap gets the email today, which is a week after this happened. The guy has been seething about this for that long. He was telling Zap that he rode all the way there and all the way back, in the cold. Santa Monica. Southern California. Cold? Suddenly, I am the embodiment of Trek, and his whole attitude towards the company has changed because I was giving the guy a hard time. I honestly can't figure out how some people could be so easily offended.

The worst part about this is that it carries so much more weight with me than the positive comments I've gotten, and I have gotten some. I guess I expect myself to do a good job, so when someone suggests that I'm not, and they do so in an unreasonable fashion, it's frustrating on many levels. I welcome constructive criticism, but this sort of thing, I take personally.


Ever notice how powerlines ruin otherwise very picturesque scenes that would make a nice photo? I think this electricity thing is getting out of hand.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Bansai Sheep

It's been ages since I posted an update. I've had 3 glasses of some fine Pinot from a vineyard I went to yesterday, so I'm drunk enough to open the thought gates.

I'm sitting here at Chez Bontrager and enjoying the spoils of Santa Cruz. Keith isn't here and I haven't actually seen him. He left for Pittsburgh before I got here yesterday. He's there for the weekend, then he's off to the UK. He left plenty of good food to eat, though. Nevertheless, I've already expressed my displeasure at him not being here and offering me the 'shoulder to cry' on that I need after my trip. Lucky git...he gets to go to the very place I'd be crying about. The good news is, I get to hang out with Laura and the girls. I always have a good time with Laura. She's just one of those people who is so easy to talk to about anything. She's a good friend, and one I wish I could spend more time with.

I had a fantastic time on my trip to my adopted land. It's like your favorite pair of shoes that fits perfectly no matter how much time has passed since the last time you wore them. The trip did nothing but solidify my desire to be back there on a more permanent basis.

Geez, that was fun. It was so great to see everyone, event though most of the time spent was way too short.

Bring on January!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Solid Thing

Here I am once again thinking that I really need to do an update, but I have no idea what to write. Just the other day I thought of something to write about, but I was too tired to do so, and now I've forgotten what it was in the first place.

Southern California is my location this week. I did a ride the other day with the local rep I was staying with and cooked my lungs a bit too much after ignoring the scracthy throat I had. It was all the cold needed to get set off, so now I'm sick again. I've been loading up on every homeopathic remedy that I can get my hands on, and I think I'm keeping it from getting any worse.

The worst part is that it's kept me off the bike during two perfectly good days off in the warm SoCal sun. Now I'm back doing my mid-week seminars which affords no time for any sort of exercise. I'm feeling all fat now.

I'm going back to Boulder for a few days on Thursday. Swapping some luggage and doing some errands. It's really nice here, and I'm actually wishing I could stay here and explore around some. It's right on the coast, and I really do enjoy the California coastal towns. Oh well, I've got an extended stay in Santa Cruz coming up.

Nick's heart is ok, which is great. Still waiting to hear from Steve regarding his last visit. I'm hoping it's 2/2.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Hills are Alive

The end of Stage 17 of the 2006 TdF is over the top of Le Joux-Plane, and into Morzine. This excites me a great deal since it's the only city that I've actually been to in France. I would absolutely kill to be there. I'm sure I'll be in the middle of nowhere, in the car, on my way to some event though.


Just so everyone knows, I'm ok. Don't let my drunken ramblings give you the impression that I'm a boneless mass of flesh. I'm really not. I'm actually quite happy. I've ridden two days in a row, with perhaps 3 more ahead of me. I've been taking lots of pictures, and I have my big camera with me again. I spend two really nice days on the trails in Phoenix, and now I'm in Southern California where the air quality is horrible, but the temperature is nice and you can almost see the sun through the smog. I've even been riding the singlespeed, which now has a brand spankin' 20t King Kog on it. I've bought 3 pairs of new shoes, including a pair of high top pink elephant Vans. It's fall here, and as I wrote before that means the pumpkin ales are flowing everywhere. Things are good.

Things that are bad are pretty consistent: I don't get to spend quite enough time at home. My government is taking us into the shitter, and trying to bring the rest of the world with us. I'm still sick of the usual excess that exists here, and realize that I'm not making things any better by buying 3 pairs of sneakers that I don't need. I'm far away from my closest friends and family, and the days are now very short.

But, there's a very cool thing happening soon that I'm looking so forward to that I can barely stand it.

So, there you have it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

All the walls come down

I've been drinking Margarita's. Tequila makes me very free with comments. It can be quite dangerous, particularly when I start typing.

I sometimes think all the good men are taken. At least all the good men I know are. I have so many mini-crushes right now and every one of them is on a married guy. Obviously I keep this to myself as I'm not a homewrecker, but I sometimes wonder if I'm destined to be a spinster. I was getting some schtuff from one of the Trek guys that knows the Chippendale who was kidding me about the fact that I was dumped by him. It's true, I can't even hold on to the likes of someone as quirky as Chipps. Pretty pathetic.

The noise of the air conditioner kicking on in my hotel room is really annoying me right now. I'm enjoying the peace and quiet, and it's really disturbing.

I'm in Phoenix. It's still warm enough here to warrant having air conditioning in the first place.

I'm not riding enough and feeling like a complete sloth. I can't motivate myself to wake up early enough to run, and I'm too worn down at the end of these seminars to do anything after.

I have a big bolus of air trapped under my diaphragm. It feels like it's living on my sternum and making it hard to breathe. No amount of belching (quietly) seems to help. Maybe I have a tumor.

The tequila is really kicking in now, and the room is starting to spin. I'm going to watch some tv before passing out.

Love to you all! Still very much missing the UK, just trying not to drone on about it so much. It's sort of a broken record, n'est ce pas?

Saw sheep yesterday.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Corn Fed

I'm somewhere in Nebraska. Back on the road, obviously.

Not much new to report. I had a good couple of weeks up in Wisco. Catching up with people is always fun. The idea of me working there full time came up. I just can't do it. There are other places I'd rather be, despite the fact that I really like everyone that works in the office. I know what it's like to make a move for a job, and it's not something I want to do at this point, unless it's east a very long way.

Maverick Ray turned up at Trek before I left today. I knew he was in Madison, but I wasn't expecting to see him there. Interesting how things work sometimes...I met Ray when he was at Trek. Now he lives in Boulder and I see him more often outside of home than I do when we're both in town.

No sheep sightings lately.

That's it for now. Hope everyone is well.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Mass quantities of Kool-Aid

It's like a brief trip to an oasis in the dessert...I'm spending the weekend at my boss' house, which is complete with wine and wireless, both of which I've had a hefty dose of this evening.

I'm halfway through my two week stint here in Wisco. It's been chilly here, and I haven't quite brought the right clothes for riding in this weather. I did manage to commute into the office twice last week, and got in a road ride today as well. I really want to get back to the trails across from the office, but my time during the day leaves little for checking email, let alone getting in a proper ride.

I've been trying to wrap my head around suspension designs. It's an education that's been a long time coming. The only problem is that I'm being told to preach the merits of one sort, while at the same time having a hard time finding the same flaws in other designs that I'm being told to speak of. I've never been refined enough to feel the difference in suspension. Perhaps I need to pay more attention from here on out.

I'd much rather talk about other things...I'm going to have to talk about suspension 52 times over the winter.

I've been following the Podcasts of Andy and Tim. It's been fun 'watching' the two of them get into this and turning it into something viable that they want to share with their friends. From my perspective, it's just nice to hear their voices. It makes me feel less far away from it all.

I was chatting with Ferrentino tonight. I told him that I have an emotional need to stay in touch with my friends. I think the wine has actually made me think more clearly, because I deduced that it must stem from a desire to be accepted. Doesn't seem like that big of a deal, really. Doesn't everyone want people to like them? I guess for me, it matters which people that includes, though.

Dan is getting so good at photography that I am seriously jealous. If there's one thing that my lack of time makes me frustrated about, it's not being able to practice with the camera. I think this is just another example of me really having the desire to be good at something, without possessing any sort of 'natural talent'.

I have one more day of unlimited internet use before returning to the techno glut that is the cabin. More Kool-Aid next week, then back on the road to a destination that promises warmer weather: Phoenix.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Old Speckled Hen and Fish n' Chips

Last night, I was riding my bike to do some quick errands (renting a movie and going to Safeway) when I got a call from Maverick Ray. He was trying to find Skurlock's house to drop something off, and in the process asked if I'd eaten. I called CJ to see what he was up to, and the three of us went to this place that Ray had heard about, but not been to yet.

At first glance, The Hungry Toad looks sort of like any other Boulder cafe/restaurant. Small enough to be niche and crowded. Corner location across from one of the 'hip' shopping centers in town, maroon awnings, neon in the window. But step into the place, and it takes on a somewhat familiar look: a US restaurant trying to look like a proper pub. Actually, it's not a bad effort.

I usually check out the beer list first in the desperate hope that someday, I'm going to find my beloved yet oh-so elusive Banana Bread Beer. I've yet to find it. Anyhoo...this beer menu did have some rather fine choices for a Yank establishment, including Old Speckled Hen, Fullers ESB, Young's London, and Boddington's. Good enough for me! I'll take a Speckled Hen, please.

Not knowing what type of fare to expect, I took a look at the menu. It had the usuals, like burgers, pastas, salads, and some 'house specialty', but it also included bangers and mash, Shepherd's pie, and beer battered fish n' chips. After a discussion of what people were having, it was decided that Ray would order the Shepherd's pie, and I would get the chippy option. CJ, fresh from a visit to a nutritionist due to acid reflux, was on salad.

Imagine my delight when Ray's pie was proper pub style with mashed potato layered on top of that serving dish that looks like a flattened gravy bowl. It was made with beef, not lamb (whew!), so I tried some and it was almost like being in the Staff of Life! I was also pleased to be offered vinegar for my chips.

What a great meal.

I bought a hip flask today. It's a small one, with pink fake snakeskin print. I've got a small bottle of Isle of Jura sitting here that's going to get decanted right in there.

So, I now have a hip flask, some Tangfastics, and a halfway decent pub.

Anyone fancy a trip to Colorado for the Thursday night ride??

Sunday, October 09, 2005

False flats

So yesterday, I was in my car on my way to find this new place to ride when I got a call from Maverick Ray. He invited me to the Maverick HQ for 'Margarita Friday'. I did a bad thing and turned the car around. I was having trouble finding the place to ride anyway, a problem which has since been solved using the aid of Google maps. I did ride from the house to the office, though, so in a way I did ride yesterday. Anyone who's had one of Ray's marg's knows that it's just not something you pass up.

Today I was supposed to meet up with my friend John to do a ride on the southwest side of Denver. I had my alarm set, and when it when off I reached over, turned it off, and promptly fell back to sleep. I woke up an hour later and realized there was no way I'd make the ride on time. I had to make the phone call of guilt to let John know.

I did manage to break myself free of the sloth to go for a road ride though. I was planning to head to the place I couldn't find yesterday, but the need for more immediate ride satisfaction, combined with the ease of the road being just out the door, was enough to override myself and pound the pavement. I have to say that this particular loop that I do here is rather breathtaking. It goes along the foothills north out of Boulder, then turns to the east away from the mountains. Since it's a big square, the ride back into town is rather picturesque, with a great view of the tall peaks that goes for miles. Of course, around here any ride that takes you away from the hills is going to mean you'll be doing a gradual climb all the way back. Funny how terrain that looks flatter than any flatness can make your heart rate jump and the lactic acid build up in your legs.

I found out earlier this evening that we're under a winter storm advisory until Monday. Hard to believe since it was 80 degrees here today. The forecast calls for snow to start falling sometime tomorrow afternoon and continue through the night. Ah, the transition of the seasons. I'm hoping it holds off long enough for me to squeeze in a ride. 'Course that would require me to get my ass off the couch before noon.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Pumpkin Ale

What's great about Fall? Seasonal beer!

The seasons are definitely changing here. The sun has been out (of course) and it's been crisp. Feels great, actually. I've worn a wool jersey riding the last 2 times which of course reminds me that sheep are great. I've been having a blast on the singlespeed, and today took along some Tangfastics. All that was missing was a hip flask and a fun group of friends. It occurred to me on the ride that it's probably good that I'm riding alone for the time being. The trail I've been doing isn't hard by any stretch, but for someone who isn't a good climber even with gears it's doubly difficult on a 1 speed. It's a one way trail that the parks service changes, and this week it flip flopped. I rode it in the opposite direction for the first time since my very first go on this trail earlier this summer. It's more flowy on the singlespeed, but the uphill is harder. This trail basically consists of a downhill stretch at the beginning, and a climb at the end no matter which way you go. The result is that I stop to catch my breath a lot, which is why it's probably good that I'm not torturing anyone else on the ride.

At the end, I always have a feeling of satisfaction that I don't quite get on my geared bike. At the same time, I still feel like I'm a pretend singlespeeder. Surely someone as bad on a 1 speed as I am can't really call themselves a 'singlespeeder'. I don't think I'm doing the clique any justice. Damnit, it sure is a load of fun.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Small rant

I'll warn you now that I'm about to drop the F bomb. Continue reading at your own discretion.

I am fucking sick of commercials for anything weight loss related. This includes things like Special K cereal bars, Jenny Craig Weight Loss Centers, Weight Watchers, and the like. In 99% of these, women are featured and in the case of the cereal bar, one women is looking admiringly at her coworker who, as a result of eating the bar, is suddenly light as a feather while the other one looks frumpy and unhappy. As if we needed an ad agency to remind us that we are all insecure and generaly feel inadequate. Don't even get me started on this culture's view of how women look, or more aptly should look. I am absolutely tired of it all. Bill Hicks was right.

It occurred to me while I was fuming after the latest installment of this type of ad that there are an awful lot of problems that can be resolved by riding a bike. Some of them may be only temporarily placed on hold while others, such as one's self-esteem, can be fixed on a more permanent basis.

We should all be riding bikes more.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The end of Summer camp

Vegas, baby. Wow. What a week. It's hard to know where to begin, really. I've been to Vegas enough times to know that there is absolutely no way that I'd go there intentionally for a vacation. It's not a destination spot for me. I went to do some networking for the demo next year, and to help Chipps a little, and to see my friends. The friends thing was definitely the most significant part.

Amid the roaming of the aisles and the schmoozing, I had a chance to catch up with some friends and reacquaint myself with others. Sideways was the first to arrive after me. If anyone ever has any doubts about that guy, I'd go a very long way to make sure they knew just how great he is. I could list many, many examples to prove it just from this week alone.

My roommate was in town along with some of the guys from his shop. It's funny that we both had to go all the way to Las Vegas to see each other. Just a testament to the type of schedule I have these days, I suppose. My Maverick friend Ray was also in town, as was Chrissy. It was like a mini-Boulderite party at the Maverick bash, the details of which I think I will keep to myself. ;~)

Mike D. My interaction with him was very limited up to last week. I figured that he'd be in town, so I wanted to take the opportunity to meet up with another of the Cheeky crowd. I had a really good time chatting with Mike. What a top guy. He's going to make a great father.

Michael and Jessica "Spot" were there, of course. Again, two very quality individuals that I feel very fortunate to know.

The Surly guys, Hurl, Donna from Kryptonite, Pat (of course), and everyone else I got to see made it a worthwhile week.

Good grief, I have some absolutely fantastic friends. I can only hope that I can be half as great as they are. I'm only sorry that more people weren't there.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Chippendale. The first time seeing him since his "decision". It was impossible to hold back the flood of emotion that I sort of expected would hit me. I'd say that with the exception of one very brief moment though (sorry Tim), I was able to keep my internal battle completely under wraps. I suppose it's safe to let the cat out of the bag now. In many ways, it was like nothing had happened and we were up to our usual tricks. We spent a lot of time together and had the same type of fun that we always had. The obvious difference this time was that we weren't "together", which I was reminded of at the end of every day. I think this is the toughest breakup I've ever had to deal with. I feel like enough time has passed that it should be getting easier, and instead it's almost harder. Someone told me that maybe if he were an asshole that it would be easier to deal with. He isn't an asshole. Everyone loves him, and it's not hard to see why. This sucks...still.

I think there's a skunk in the front garden somewhere. The smell is wafting up into my room. Ew!

So yeah...Vegas was a great time. I'm not a big fan of that place since the whole thing is based on a fantasy world that is based on the concept of separating people from their money. Still, it's worth going to Interbike just to see nice people.

I spent my first day at home vegging on the couch and watching TV. I finally got myself out the door and took the singlespeed for a ride. Again tomorrow, and again the next day, and hopefully the next. I have two weeks here and I intend to maximize the ride time as much as I possibly can.

Here's a shout out to all the UK posse that I didn't get to see this week. You're all still in my thoughts and I can't wait to catch up with you as well.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Two slices and a birch beer

Yup...still feeling homesick.

Got to spend some time with Pat, Sara, Chris Duncan, and Quad Ben a couple of weekends ago. I trucked it home in order to get to Winter Park early, and the long day behind the wheel was worth it. It was so good to see them. Despite the work involved in getting the race set up, we managed to have a great time. It was a much needed dose, that's for sure.

It's show time next week, which will mean another week of hanging out with some very good friends from across the pond. In the meantime, I've been in South Jersey. It's still summer hot and humid here. We've been riding and taking my dog to the beach, and today gave surfing a shot. Bad day for it though...the waves were 'unorganized' and choppy, with a serious current that made paddling next to impossible. Oh well, it was still nice to swim in the ocean in mid-September.

We're off to Detroit on Thursday for an event at VW headquaters, then I'm leavin' on a jet plane for Sin City. Hard to believe that summer is pretty much over, and my first season of demo touring is under my belt. It's been such a whirlwind. I've been dealt some blows, and had many good times which I'm sure prevented it from being a crappy season.

That's all I have to report for the moment. Many thanks to Kirsty and Nick for the phone call! And to Steve for even considering the idea of a surprise visit.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Oooooh my vision!

signsIMG_0449.jpg, originally uploaded by Cyclenaut.

I just got done driving over 1000 miles. I started at 8:30am and stopped at 12:30am. That has to be a personal best. I'm now way ahead of schedule and should arrive back in Boulder at a reasonable hour tomorrow, er make that today.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Skeletons in the closet

I started downsizing tonight. Being on the move for the better part of four years really teaches you just how much you can do without. Now that I'm back where the majority of my stuff lives, I face the prospect of sorting through it all and figuring out what I want to take to Boulder. I knew going into this process how I was going to feel: I have way too much crap. I feel like I should be selective as I'm sifting through it and see if there's anything I can sell. What I really want to do is just put everything is trash bags and set it out on the curb for collection. But, I'm trying to be less wasteful.

I'm also trying to not hold onto things 'just in case'. All of the suits and clothes I acquired during my Wall Street years have pretty much been collecting dust since the end of 2003. Going through them has been...weird. It seems like a lifetime ago when those items were my 'uniform'. I never fancied myself to be much of a suit person. I didn't hate it then, but I just can't imagine myself in them at this point. I'm a tad bummed, because some of the work clothes I have I really like. I splurged on really nice shirts a few times, and wish I still had reason to wear them. I suppose they'd look fine with jeans.

The whole thing really has me thinking about how much my life has changed over the past few years. I honestly think that , with the exception of a few patches of crab grass in the lawn of life, I've never been happier.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Random late night blogger

With all the misery and negativity I spew on here, I thought it only fitting that I should write about something that has brought me joy. I felt so compelled to write this that I actually got myself out of bed. I was suffering yet another night of being unable to settle my brain down enough to fall asleep. So, rather than roll around for a second hour, I got up and came downstairs to punch some keys.

I think I've figured out the most prominent reason why I miss the UK so much. I realized this as I was tossing and turning and reflecting on the days events. I was reminded today by two people during two unrelated conversations, just why I love my friends so much. This got me thinking about how my chats today are concominant with emails and comments I've gotten from others. Simply put, I have great, and I mean GREAT friends. Not only do I think my friends are great in their relationships with me, but I enjoy watching the interactoins that take place between everyone. It's quite a posse I've found myself in. My sweeping eagerness to return to a country that has welcomed me so has everything to do with the friends I have there. I just want to see everyone. I want to do the usual rides, and visit the usual pubs, and just sit back and listen and take it all in.

I shouldn't have taken my time for granted so much. I wasn't anticipating an end. or this much of a hiatus between visits. I feel like I should have done a better job of 'living in the now' when I was there, and really appreciating the time I spent with everyone. It was all so much fun!

Yes, I will keep taking pictures Steve, but I don't think I'll stop wanting to impress you with them.

Yes, I was changed by my time there because of the people I met, even you Brant. ;~)

Damn you all for being so nice to me, and for being so fantastic in general.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Lindsey Lobster Claw

It seems that I should post something new, yet I am feeling a profound lack of anything worthwhile to say. Like normal, then!

New Orleans is a mess, as is most of the I-10 corridor. Lots of questions being raised...why did people stay, why do people live there in the first place, how long will it take for things to get back to normal. I want to feel sympathy. I really want to feel genuinely bad for the people who are now displaced. Truth is though, I don't feel as bad as I ought to, and that makes me feel pretty lousy. I can't really put my finger on why, either. I certainly wouldn't have wished this on anyone, and I'm not happy that it's happened. Maybe some of my reaction, or lack thereof, has to do with the fact that I've never enjoyed any time I spent in New Orleans, or that part of the country. If the same thing had happened to where I'm from, then I would probably want people to feel my pain, and to be sympathetic and willing to help however they can. I just feel disconnected from that part of the country, I guess.

I'm visiting my sister in New Hampshire again. Aside from the humidity, it's really nice here. I always enjoy coming here. I'm off home to Boulder next week, and I'll be spending some time with a few of my UK pals at SITS in Winter Park. I'm VERY much looking forward to that. The only bummer is that I have to drive myself out there...again. I'm so tempted to just buy a plane ticket. I have to keep reminding myself that I need the car to be in Colorado.

I haven't been riding enough, and I haven't been taking any pictures. I'm starting to get the shakes twice over.

I suppose that's it for now. My body hasn't adjusted to being in the Eastern time zone, so I'm off for another difficult night of getting to sleep.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Would you like some curry with that?

Two posts in a row? Don't get used to it...

I made an absolute crap curry for dinner tonight. I'm sure it was my worst ever. I didn't have the right spices (like curry) and wound up making something way too hot. I was bummed, especially as I was cooking for friends. Ah well, better luck next time.

Chrissy and I did some quick shopping in downtown Victoria today. She took me to the British Candies shop where I scored some Malteasers, some treacle toffee, dark chocolate Digestives, and some Yorkshire tea. I actually passed on the Jaffa Cakes (no idea why), and was denied the Tangfastics. We hit this t-shirt shop which has to be the best I've been in ever. I scored a shirt with Shaun, the sheep from Wallace and Gromit on the front. Sweet! Sheep are great. After that, she treated me to a massage with her local massage guy. He's an ex-pat Scotsman who's lived in Victoria for many years. Nice man, great massage, and my favorite accent.

Still wondering when I'm going to shake this feeling of homesickness. Everyday I wake up wondering if I'm going to feel differently, and I don't. What makes me happy is knowing that there's a collection of people who seem to genuinely want me back as well. I keep thinking a year is a long way off for any sort of permanent return, but I'm going to be so busy between now and then that the time will be upon me before I know it. A lot can happen in a year. I hope that this time next year I'm still feeling as strong a desire to relocate as I do now, and I hope that I have the job support to make the move.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the demise of my relationship. I'm definitely not over it and I still have periods of real sadness. I've tried to avoid letting conversations with others dwell on something that I still can't change, but it seems that everyone has some light to shed on the subject. I do appreciate this, although sometimes it leaves more questions than answers. I'm still left with a general lack of understanding, particularly since the frequency of my conversations with CC has increased of late. I think it was Jo who asked if it would be easier if all conversation had ceased. I think that would be worse since then I would feel that I'd not only lost a partner, but also a friend. What I do know is that my desire to return to the UK has nothing to do with him. I've thought long and hard about this. I wanted to make sure that my intentions were based on something other than any sort of hope that the relationship would be rekindled. I think I've worked that out.

More than anything, I'm grateful for the show of support that I've gotten from my friends. I was terribly paranoid that the end of things with *insert name here* would mean the end of all the friendships I'd formed with people I truly adore. Thanks to all of you! My next visit can't come soon enough.

Right, so no worries...I'm still having fun out here. As always, this blog is a place for me to simply vent some of the darker thoughts that run through my head. Life is generally great for me right now, and all indications point to it continuing to be so.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Across the border

So I'm up at Chrissy's house in BC for a few days. Crossing the border was a nice feeling. It's not quite the same as exiting an airplane that's just flown over an ocean, though. Still, this isn't the States and there are a lot of reasons why that makes me very happy. What I have noticed here is that there is a lot of UK influence around. Canada still maintains a noticeably strong tie to the Empire, which for me is somewhat of a double edged sword. There seem to be a lot of "British" pubs in downtown Victoria, but I'm not sure how many of them serve English beer.

I rode my first BC trails yesterday. I have to say that it's an awful lot like Colorado, except for the enormous drops and big jumps that are scattered among the trail system. As Judd put it, "Cross country trails here are like downhill trails everywhere else." He's not far off. He and Chrissy took it easy on me though. Once again I've managed to get myself into quite a fix hanging around with two pro riders, one of whom is a pro downhiller. Still, they've been coaching me to try some new things, including my foray into the foam pit tonight. I don't know if I'll ever be able to hit big dirt jumps, but maybe this will help me with some small stuff.

Last week at the Trek HQ was extremely busy. We were on the go all the time, and had no personal time, unless you count the 10 minutes before we went to bed. A few of my days started at 4:30am and lasted until nearly midnight. I'm having a hard time catching up on sleep. There were a couple of high points during the week though. One was seeing Bob Roll and hanging out with him some, and the other was meeting the folks from Trek UK. I've put a bug into as many ears as possible on their side to let them know that I would like to come and work on that side of the pond. I've gotten a lot of support from my boss here. I think she can tell how much I'd like to be there, and truth be told I have really enjoyed working for Trek. It's a relationship that I don't want to end simply because I'd feel happier living somewhere else. I'm hoping to leverage the two things.

Speaking of living somewhere else...before last year I spent the better part of four years trying to move to Colorado. Now I'm there (sort of) and I still feel the urge to return to the UK. I'm not sure what you people did to me while I was there, but something must have been in the Kool-Aid! I dunno, maybe the grass is always greener on the other side. In this case it certainly is, metaphorically and literally.

Bring on the end of October!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

It's the pleats

Quick post.

Back in the Land of Cheese for the annual sales meeting. So far it's been a lot of work, and it doesn't really kick off until tomorrow. Chrissy was on a plane with all the Trek UK people. Another reminder...

I'm feeling pretty excited about the week ahead, and feeling an equal amount of dread for next weekend. There's a lot of crap work to do.

That's it for now. Off to bed.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

"Either way, someone's gettin' their ass pounded."

I'm locked in the throes of a personal battle. Facing insecurities could possibly be one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I think I've pinpointed the origin of where my low self-esteem started. Suffice to say it was years ago, and I've gone back and forth since then between being really secure and being well, not so secure about myself. Right now I'm in one of those 'not so much' phases. I can't figure out why I'm getting the best of myself right now, either. I've just started making the move to Boulder, I really like this town, I really like my place, and I have an ace roommate. Things have fallen into place so easily that it's alarming. Yet, over the past few days I've been letting a feeling of lonliness get the better of me. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I was thrown out of what I thought was a good relationship, and I've been asking myself what I could have done to prevent it. Mostly, I think that I just wasn't good enough. Not being good enough has been a pretty common theme for me when it comes to relationships. I've been plagued by having a slew of friends who are much more...desireable, shall we say. Sometimes being a tower over all of your shorter, cuter friends has major drawbacks. And, like someone else I know, I don't think I'm willing to compromise myself, at least not in a way that makes me temporarily attractive during one night out on the lash. I certainly can't do anything about my height, and being tall is an aspect that I've learned to embrace for the most part.

I'm really just having a pity party for myself at the moment. I'm pretty sure that it stems from yet another rejection from someone with whom I shared a long relationship. My reaction to it ending has evolved very slowly, and I think what I'm experiencing now is a delayed sorrow. I think this phase is even worse than the "day after" part. On top of that, I'm feeling pretty cut off from my friends, despte the fact that we keep in touch regularly. It seems that I need a big group hug.

I haven't gotten to see enough sheep, either.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Three weeks in July

Today is the last day of the Tour. I always love watching the race on TV. It's nice to see cycling getting so much exposure. With Lance retiring, I wonder what next year will be like. There's been a good enough showing by the other Yanks this year that makes me hope that the Only Lance Network won't limit the coverage in 2006. It should be a very interesting race. I predict Basso will win.

I've been enjoying the sweltering heat of Colorado again for the last couple of weeks. It's been consistently over 100F for a while now. It certainly makes for very hot riding. I did this ride the other morning that actually made me feel like I was boiling. It wasn't so much the heat coming from above me, but from the ground. Going up higher doesn't make much difference, either. The only thing that does is make it harder for me to breathe. I'm not complaining though. I've been riding as much as possible, even if it's just along the many bike paths in Boulder to visit my friend CJ at the Sports Garage, possibly one of the nicest shops I've seen. I've been spending some good time with CJ. We've been keeping each other cheery in the wake of respective end of relationship blues.

Not much to say on the state of the World at the moment as I've been keeping my head firmly buried. I'm once again sickened by more London bombings, and saddened by a tragic accident that claimed the life of and Australian national team cyclist. I'm really just trying to ride my bike as much as possible, and spend some time with the friends here that present welcome distractions.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Holier than thou

My heart weeps for London, and I'm reminded once again why I sometimes hate people. In this case, I hate people who themselves are filled with a hate that leads them to do unconscionable things in the name of a higher power. That really pisses me off.

In the same week that saw a city jubilant with the announcement of winning the Olympic bid, and celebrating world unity during the Live 8 concert, London bore witness to another attention grabbing event. I was impressed by the calm response to this by my friends. I think I was more emotional about it than they were. I don't know what's worse, the actual bombing, or the fact that the British reaction to it was one that didn't terribly affect people in the same dramatic way that it would have here simply because city bombings are something that Britain got used to. No one should have to get used to something like that. Nevertheless, I love the fact that the general attitude is one of keeping the head held high, and reacting with grace and reserve rather than the over-reaction and 'git 'r done' attitude that would be so prevalent here. Just another reason why I love the UK so much.

I suppose I should attempt to switch gears on to a more light-hearted subject, although it seems that Sheep Are Great has become a place for me to express my discontent.

The Tour is on, and I really enjoy this time of year for that reason. I love watching the coverage, although after being fortunate enough to watch Eurosport in pub during the race last year, it's hard to come back to the Lance heavy OLN coverage. Still, beggars can't be choosers, and for that reason I'm happy to get any bit of tv exposure. Plus, I get to see Bob Roll, which as everyone knows is the center of my secret crush.

I'm back in Wisconsin for the weekend, but head out on Sunday to begin the drive back to the oasis of Boulder for another 3 weeks. Yee haw!

Still missing everyone overseas, and hoping to pay a visit in the near future.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I can not tell a lie...

Things here in Boulder are great! Almost as great as sheep, in fact.

There's a slew of people that I know here, and everyone seems to be back in town from whatever race/event/vacation they were attending. I don't think my phone has ever been so busy with calls and messages from people who want to get together. It's been almost as regular a social calendar as my time in the UK. And, these are good people as well. I have to say that I enjoy spending time with them as much as my friends in England and well, I really love those guys so that's saying a lot. The weather has been good, and I've done some riding. All in all, it's been a really great week so far and it promises to continue on that course.

All this socializing doesn't leave much time for thinking. Nevertheless, my mind does drift, and seeing pictures from SSMM has ensured the continuation of that line of thinking. I can't believe it's already been a year since I was picking off the 38 ticks that latched on to me while I was setting up my section of the course. I really missed being there again this year. And obviously, a lot can happen in a year. I remember how I felt then, and I remember the state of my relationship. It was so much different, and at the time I really couldn't seen any sort of end in sight. I haven't quite stopped asking myself 'why?' yet. There's no obvioius explanation, and I don't think there will be. For that reason, I might never be able to resolve the why.

I'm happy that invites to the UK still stand. I will be coming back, I just don't know when right now. I'm trying not to think too far in advance. Aside from one very obvious thing, what's happening in the here and now is really good, and a very welcome relief from what otherwise would be a terribly difficult time.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings' end

It's been a really busy couple of weeks ova heah. We just finished Ride the Rockies, which is a week long road riding tour around Colorado. I decided to try and make it a week to try and regain some form of (what little) fitness I had before getting sick, so I wound up riding four out of the seven days on the trip (one day was a trip to Fruita). The days were long and busy. We'd wake up around 6:30 every morning, hang around until about 9 or so for people who needed air in their tires, then we'd head out to the expo area for that days' ride end, set up our stuff, and then work until around 7 or 8. After riding I ususally didn't sit down until the end of the evening. I'm not sure at this point what was more taxing, the riding or the working.

So something has ended that has left me a little {insert adjective here}...I think I may have already run the gamut of the 'grieving process', with the exception of maybe anger and I doubt that I'll be feeling that. I'm blown away by how people work sometimes. I don't understand the walls that people build around themselves, and in turn make them completely incapable of feeling something very basic-like happiness-for an extended period of time. At this point, I'm just very sad for the loss of something that at one time was so very great. I'm sad for the memories that I thought would be created from things that now probably won't happen. I'm sad that I couldn't do anything to prevent this; I couldn't do anything to help make things better. I'm sad that there's no good reason for it to have happened in the first place. I'm sad that it ended due to a factor that was completely out of my control. I'm sad that it was, in essence, fear that caused it to end. I'm sad because I now feel an uncertainty about 'what happens next'. I'm sad because someone else is, too.

Maybe I take my own emotional at-ease for granted. Perhaps I assume too much that it should be easy for people to express what's going on in their head. I rarely feel at a loss for words, and it's exceptionally difficult for me to understand how it's possible for someone to be able to say "that tree is green" in such a way that it moves people, yet not be able to put into words their own feelings, particularly to someone they care about.

Despite the amount of grey matter that I'm using in thinking about this, I don't think I'm dwelling on it. Ultimately, there is nothing I can do, so I'm just trying to take one day at a time as usual. I'm fortunate to be in Colorado for a while, around people that I know and like very much, and in a setting that has long been among my favorite places.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Step 1: Admit you have a problem

The feeling of helplessness can manifest itself in many ways and many circumstances. Sometimes you can feel helpless to help yourself, and other times you can feel helpless to do something to improve the life of someone else. It always sucks.

I'm feeling helpless right now. Not about myself, though. There's someone close to me that's going through a rough time by having to deal with many things at once. These are things that I know, without a doubt, that I could make better. At the very least I could contribute to the reduction of stress that's being felt. I can't take any action though, because there's a big 'ole ocean sitting between us. So, I'm left with nothing but words to use as aid. This is where my helplessness really kicks in. If I were there, I could just do stuff. Instead, I'm left with having to write down some ideas for what can be done. A person has to be willing to make changes though, and I'm not sure that's something that this friend can make himself do.

Sometimes it's easier to just maintain the status quo and be miserable, than it is to expend any more energy to try and make things easier.


On a happier note, I had two sheep sightings on the drive to Denver from Texas. It's always nice to see sheep, especially during a long drive. Sheep are great, you know.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

I guess emotions can be like a light switch

So we're back in Tayhas yet again, but this time in Austin. We decided that we were going to make ourselves go out in non-logoed clothes, and actually check out some night life. We were directed to 6th street, which as it turns out is basically lined on both sides with one bar after another. I can't figure out how anyone would be able to designate one as their 'favorite'.

We walked up and down for a bit looking for a place to get some food, and wound up in Buffalo Billiards. It was an alright place with good burgers and pool tables. They also had an air hockey table that of course, was out of order. Denied.

I was reminded that bar hopping is not my scene. In hindsight, I feel like I tolerated it for the sake of doing something social. I really don't think that the people around us were the type that either of us really would hang out with. None of the guys in these places are the kind that I'd want to chat with, and I'm sure the same is true of me for them. I did actually flirt with a guy that served us ice cream. It was fun, and he was the first person that was worth the effort that I've seen in a while.
We passed a punk bar on the way back to the car that I would have gone in were it not for the early wake up the next morning. It gave me flashbacks to my office job days where I spent a lot of time feeling like a fish out of water, and unable to relate to most of the people around me. All in all, I'm looking forward to getting to Boulder where we'll have a chance to hang out with some people that we already like.

We start the drive to Colorado tomorrow, which is something we are both looking forward to. Then I'm off home to visit mom and dad for a few days and to deal with what I'm sure is a huge pile of mail. I might actually get to ride my bike, too.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Got back to southern California today. The smog cloud started about 45 miles outside of the LA suburbs (which are another 40 miles from downtown). There's a lot of people here that think this is the best place on Earth to live. I think my lungs might have some objection to that notion.

Made a stop in Tucson the other night to stay with Rudi and Aimee. Really quality people...very warm and welcoming and generally easy to talk to. Rudi showed me a new painting he did that has a rider going over the heads of babies. You know, 'baby heads'. It's great. I showed them the pictures from the Morzine trip and while doing so Rudi grabbed some A4 paper and a Sharpie and started mad sketching some of the images he saw on the screen. By the end of it he had about 10 pieces of paper with these really cool Sharpie interpretations of the pics. He gave me a couple of them that I will hopefully be able to show RHS and SexMidget. One is a shot of RHS similar to the one below, but from later in the day when he was looking back at me while in mid air, and the other is of Midge jumping a gap. Not sure if either of them know Rudi's work, although it's hard to miss it if one is a regular reader of Dirt Rag. I'll be seeing them again one more time on the way back to Texas. Hopefully we'll get a ride in this time.

I'm just about over my battle with pneumonia. I'll be on to a different fight soon to try and regain any semblance of fitness that I may have once had. I miss my singlespeed, although right now would be a terrible time for me to ride it. We're coming up on spending a few weeks in Colorado. Hopefully I'll have gotten in some miles before then. Subjecting myself to altitude just after a serious respiratory ailment without at least starting to get fit is not something I'm looking forward to. The number of people in Boulder that I'll get to see is pretty exciting though.

Right, I'm going to end this entry. I'm pretty wiped out and feel myself just rambling.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

French France

I think it's safe to say that the journey back from France has amounted to the worst travel day I've ever experienced. I'll spare the gory details, because ultimately that would take away from the great time I had while in Morzine. What an amazing trip! I have to say that there's something really nice about going to a ski town at the beginning of summer, before their summer season starts. The place was a veritable ghost town. The lifts weren't open to take the guys up, but there were mini bus shuttles aplenty. Since I was still fairly ill, I took lots of pictures of people riding. I didn't actually do any riding myself until the last day of the trip, but I absolutely loved the r&r that being in the Alps afforded me for a week.

As for pictures...well, I took about 100 a day. There are tons to sort through, and between Craig, Chipps, and myself there's probably enough to fill many mags worth of galleries. I might get 'round to creating a proper viewing page, or see if I can get Andy to host some on ShitShifter for me, but in the meantime here were a couple of popular snaps. The first is the one I took, and the second is how it looked from where Chipps was standing.

I'm going to quit now. I'm sitting in the airport in Dallas waiting for my third flight of the day which is 2 hours delayed. My body thinks it's 3:30 in the morning. I'd like to write more about the trip, but I think I'll wait until I'm more fresh.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Sick of being sick

I had a falling out with a friend a couple of weeks ago. Among the many reasons why this is unfortunate is the fact that I fell ill during my visit (a layover between events) and probably should have taken myself to a doctor then, but I had too much work that needed doing. So, I didn't do anything despite going to bed with a fever, chills, and an aching body at 6 o'clock in the evening. Getting rained on the next day while loading the trailer probably didn't help either, but my motivation to 'get outta Dodge' was pretty strong, such was the state of the relationship with my 'friend'. Since I have bad lungs, I've wound up with pneumonia. This is the last thing I needed to have happen, particularly in light of my overseas flight tomorrow. Obviously, what was originally planned as a week of riding in France will probably wind up being nothing more than a week in France. Nothing to shake a stick at, as I've never been, but I'll have to deal with the inevitable departure of everyone for the days' ride while I sit around and eat a baguette avec frommage, or something.

I can't decide at this point what's worse about this situation...the illness or the issue with the friend. I've had about two weeks to think about what happened, and although I've tried to put myself in his shoes I really can't see that there was any justification for the treatment I received. I've given some serious thought to laying it all out in an email, but I don't think I'm the one that needs to be reaching out here. In the past I've done the best I can to support this guy through some of the stuff you have to deal with in life, and at this point I'm feeling like it was all in vain. If I went into the details of what happened, I'm sure the reaction would be "well that's silly", and truth be told it is really silly, and the unfortunate result is that this guy has done some significant damage to what was probably the most solid friendship he had (not that I'm tooting my own horn, or anything). I can't imagine that this is what he wanted to have happen, and since he's generally very stubborn he's probably sitting around wondering when I'm going to get 'round to apologizing to him. Honestly, I feel no motivation or need to do that. Although I'm bummed that the friendship seems to have dissolved in the span of about 10 minutes, that sort of toxicity is not something that I have to deal with.

If there's a lesson here, it must be that I need to make sure I appreciate the people that I do consider my good friends, and to make sure that I never put them in a situation that resembles this one.

So, to all of my friends out there, you are all great and I'm genuinely blessed to know you. I can't wait until the next time we get to hang out.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Censorship sucks

I've been censored. We had this other blogger for our demo tour ( Some lawyer came over to the web guy at Trek who set it up for us and said it had to be shut down. Apparently, the company doesn't want to have ties to any more blog sites. We didn't break any rules, but we can't use it now. No one is happy. Well, the lawyer might be...I guess there's going to be some message board somewhere, but I'm not sure how that's going to work yet.

Anyhoo...I'm way behind on lots of posting. I'm in the middle of nowhere, Texas at the moment. I'm not sure what time zone I'm in, and I'm in desperate need of several nights of quality sleep. I'm hoping that will come while I'm in Houston.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Pacific Sun

Surfer and sea lion, originally uploaded by Cyclenaut.

So today I decide to just spin along the coast, camera in tow, to work the legs just a little and more importantly, to take some pictures. I had a route all planned that would wind me along the cliffs above the ocean and back again. I didn't even make it halfway. There were so many things to take pictures of including 3 different surf spots, wildflowers drapped over the edge somehow adhering themselves to rock, crashing waves, a sea otter, and an enormous sea lion.

I think it's entirely possible to spend a great deal of time in just this town, riding a bike and taking in the sights, and still manage to miss some really cool thing. This is obviously a surfer's paradise, but there are a lot of things here that could satisfy a wide range of interest groups.

Anyhoo, it was good to have the camera back in my hands today. I'm going to make a serious effort to actually do the whole ride I had in mind. I might force myself to keep the camera in the pink bag until I'm beyond where I was today.

Surfer and sea otter, originally uploaded by Cyclenaut.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Santa Cruz

I've survived my first Sea Otter. It was great. My skin got a little too baked, but I know what will happen if I say anything more that even hints at being a negative comment about the sun.

Now I'm chillin' at Chez Bontrager in the lovely Santa Cruz, California. I spent the last few days relaxing in the sun with either a magazine or a laptop at hand. The mornings and evenings are cool enough for a fleece, and the afternoons are warm enough for shorts and no shoes. It's really hard to find a negative thing to say about this place.

I've also done some riding, which is a must here for any self-respecting rider. Road or mountain, take your pick...there's an abundance of both.

The only bad part about the riding I've done here has been the fact that I've been out with a legend of the sport, and not one but TWO world champions. Some would probably say that this isn't a bad thing. To be fair, these three are terribly nice people, one a long time friend, one a new friend that has the makings of a long term friendship, and the other a young buck who's taking a break from racing for some introspection. I knew I was slow, and not very good. Riding with my usual clique (see what I did there?) reminds me of that all the time. This is a whole other world though, riding with these people. What was I thinking!? The three of them were happily skipping along up these trails, no matter how steep the climbs or technical the downhills. And then there was me. Feeling behind a distance that felt like miles. What's worse is that we were in this amazing, picturesque spot that would have produced some awesome photos, if only I'd had my camera and the ability to not be so far behind everyone.

Since I couldn't maintain any sort of pace, I wasn't involved in their chatting, and when they had to wait for me there was no pausing once I arrived. All in all, it was a very lonely ride for me. I was overwhelmingly tired from the hard work at Sea Otter, and not having some decent sleep since Chipps left. Add to that my amazing ability to assume snail-like attributes on a bike, and you have the makings of a very pokey ride for people who are used to the bike version of light speed. I stopped at one point to admire the view, which included downtown Santa Cruz, and the ocean. I should have been having a good time and enjoying the setting, but I kept wishing that I was with the Thursday night ride crowd, or any of the usual suspects. I wonder if racer types mix well with social riders. Maybe if I were faster, I'd be able to appreciate things more, or in a different way. I'd love to ask them if they saw that view, but I can't catch them to do so.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The all-in-one toilet and shower

After dragging ourselves across 700 miles of Midwestern plains, we hit Cheyenne, Wyoming at just after midnight. We checked into a Comfort Inn, which has free waffles for breakfast. Upon arriving to our room, travel weary and both in desperate need of a bathroom, we were greeted with this:

Adding insult to injury is the fact that we've been basking in warm sunshine, wearing shorts and t-shirts for the past 3 days, and last night we got out of the car to temperatures just above freezing. It's now snowing. Bring on California!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Dirty little secrets

A brief update before I turn in. I have an early start tomorrow and need to catch up on some sleep.

I've finally met my parner in crime for my adventures here. After some brief conversations, it's obvious that we have a lot in common. It hasn't been the most relaxed introduction I've had here, but I think that's really a function of still being under some pressure before we head out for our trip to Sea Otter on Thursday. We managed to get out on the bikes for a quick spin tonight, and I think that has helped things a lot. It's amazing how being able to go for a ride with someone can establish the groundwork for building a friendship. Above all else, we both have a love of all things bike related.

If I haven't told everyone, the skinny is that Chrissy Redden raced mountain bikes professionally for the last 9 years, first with Ritchey, then with Gary Fisher. She was on the Canadian national team for the past 11 years, and was a member of the Olympic team in 1996. In yet another small world example, I just found out today that she was one of the Fisher racers at the Ft. William World Cup race last year, and I remember seeing her.

We were at dinner tonight with a guy that used to run the Fisher team. The two of them were catching up and sharing stories of people they knew and hadn't heard from. It was a Who's Who of the race scene, and it was funny to hear the gasping tales of who's living with whom now, and what the real story is behind that person's departure from that team, etc. etc. There was a lot of name dropping going on, but not at all in the context of 'Oh yes, of course I know so'n'so, but do YOU know la laalaa?'. On the contrary. It was a conversation like most old friends have who share a circle of some sort, and who catch each other up on the happenings of their mutual friends. It just happens that the 'friends' in this conversation are names that appear regularly in cycling publications, and people who are at the top of the sport.

I finished my meal first because I had little to contribute to the conversation.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Out like a lion

First, a picture of a cute, skipping, wonky lamb:

And now, on to today...

So I'm in Toledo, Ohio. It's between Cleveland, and Chicago and sits on the coast of Lake Erie. It's got a downtown skyline, but really it's a small city. The city's biggest claims to fame are the Toledo Mudhens, a minor league baseball team, and the fact that Max Clinger from M*A*S*H was said to be from here. It was a good enough place to stop for the night though, even though there was still plenty of daylight left. Stopping before midnight on a cross country trip is rare for me, but I had the following things working against me today:

1) Jet lag
2) The clocks moved forward last night
3) It snowed all the way across the State of Pennsylvania, which for those playing along at home is a pretty big State. My north then west route made it probably about 300 miles worth of a big ole snow storm that looked like this from my view:

I was happy to make it this far, and given the fact that I cross a time zone tomorrow, I'll make it to Madison at a reasonable hour.

I read RHS' blog this morning before I left, and he said something that I understood, but in a slightly different context. In his case, driving helped him to clear the fog he was feeling when he left Vienna. For me, every mile I drive west is a reminder that I'm getting further away from a place I really want to be. It doesn't escape me how much of a broken record I am about this. Perhaps I'll feel less of a need to talk about it out loud as the summer progresses.

Chipps told me once that I'd adjust to life back in the States. Actually, I hope not.

Friday, March 25, 2005

I gotta have more cowbell, baby.

Epic day out on the bikes today with Kelvin, Oli, Cy, Neil, Niall, Mike, and Chipps. I singlespeeded it which turned out to be a stupid decision. I'm just not fit enough to ride hills like that over the course of a day.

We've just arrived back from dinner, after consuming about a bottle of wine each. I was thinking of lots of stuff to say, but the fatigue from the day's ride, and the combination of the long ride, is starting to set in.

Mike's just taken the last of the beer bottle candy.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Turning over a new leaf

I don't think I can make statements about other people having a change of attitude anymore without recognizing that I'm in just as much need of one as anyone else. I need to figure out a way to become a duck. Actually, I thought I was getting better and letting things roll off my back, but there's only so much negativity a person can take.

There's so much that I love about the UK and my friends there. The one thing I can't get used to is the constant criticism. I guess it really is a cultural thing. I didn't grow up in the environment of 'low expectations', and as a result it's really hard for me to deal with it when it comes in such a high dosage. And, it's not even me that's on the receiving! It's not that I want or expect everyone to think like me. How boring would that be? But good grief! How nit picky can people be!? God it's just so irritating.

It's amazing how positive things can become after a nice beer, though. :~)

Thursday, March 17, 2005

1000 words or less

I stopped ignoring my camera today and went to the beach to take some photos. It was overcast all day, so I could have used just a bit more light, but I was practicing after all...I shouldn't strive for perfection just yet. So, you have a sample shot above. I have three versions of it: the original color, a black and white, and this one, which demonstrates on a very basic level the kind of fun you can have with Photoshop.


So there's a new forum out there that seems to be a haven for the previously banned and disgruntled. I am amazed yet again at how small the lives of some people are. I don't have a very good frame of reference, either. I don't know that anyone has every been banned from the Dirt Rag forum. On the other hand, no one on the DR forum has ever done anything that warrants a banning. Maybe it's because there are dramatically less people on the forum. But the attitude is different as well. It's a more welcoming place for new comers, and you don't see people posting rude pictures, or being all that inflammatory (the Politics area is a different story). No one is mean spirited, and whenever there's a disagreement it's done in a respectful manner. I can't imagine anyone doing anything that required a ban, let alone going to another forum to make it sound like they were banned for no reason, or only telling half the story, and saying some not so very nice things about the people that run the forum from which they were banned.

What blows me away even more is the behavior if a certain individual who set up the new forum. That guy really has a bug up his ass, and it's been there so long that it's probably fossilized by now. Have you ever known anyone that you just hope has a bad dose of karma coming back to haunt him/her? He is one of those guys for me. I will never understand the logic of becoming part of something from the ground up, not carrying your weight, leaving but maintaining a percentage of that company, holding on to that percentage in the hopes that you'll make millions, yet at the same time going out of your way to discredit the company, either via a lack of cooperation, not being helpful, or outright public slander. Your objective is what??

I know people say that 'it's just the internet', but I really don't believe that's the case for some people anymore. I think the internet is their reality. It's their primary form of communication, it's how they get information, it's how they arrange social outings, and it's how people decide if they want to know someone or not. Obviously, the notion of assuming an internet personna isn't going away. But more and more I think that what we 'see' of people in the internet is how they are in reality as well, and there's less and less of a line of differentiation. Me for example...I don't pretend to be something I'm not online. At least I don't do this consciously. And the people I know and love in person, are the same to me in the cyberworld. If someone I know was an ass online, but the opposite in reality I think I'd have to ask them about it. Come to think of it, I have. So I don't buy this whole thing of it just being 'the internet' anymore.

I think people who aren't really nice get away with it now. They can still be anti-social in reality, but can 'socialize' with others in their caustic ways online, and that's what internet annonymity has done.

I'm starting to long for the days when interactions with people who weren't so nice were few and far between.

Cheers to my very good friends, Nick and Steve.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Minty arse lard

Woman's intuition sucks. I'd really rather be blissfully ingnorant about things, it would really save me a lot of hassle.

Here's a deep one for you...why do people stay with other people when they'd rather be with someone else? What's the point of being with someone if you flirt with other people? Or worse? I hate the thought of people who get themselves into relationships only to lead lives of quiet desperation. F&$k all, everyone deserves to be happy, and if you'd rather be happy with someone else, then don't leave the other person hanging, and making them think that they are pouring heart and soul into the relationship and getting nothing in return.

Props to Jo for defying typical Shore convention and riding in knickers.

Yesterday's ride confirmed that I'm too tall to fit on any women's specific bikes. Oops!

My crush on Bob Roll is alive and well.

I head home tomorrow, back to my camera!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Freshly shaved boy legs

Congratulations to Chipps for buying a house!

I think I did the coldest road ride I've ever done today. The temperature was about 25 or so, and it was windy so it felt much colder than that. The tops of my thighs were really cold. Nevertheless, it was great to get out on the bike. I went with Krista, who is the brand manager at Trek for the women's specific products. She's a lot of fun, and had I not lost the feeling in my toes I would have been happy to ride much longer with her.

It's Sunday, so I've had some chocolate. It's so lovely! It's even better when I deny myself the luxury for 6 days.

It's true that women dig a shaved pair of legs on a man, and thinking about it on certain people is very nice indeed! It's for that reason that it shouldn't be joked about. It's the opposite of imagining someone in a red sequined dress.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Back by popular demand

I know, I know...I really do need to stop letting such huge gaps open between posts. I'll try to do better!

I just drove through an incredible blizzard. Cars were spinning out all over the place, and at one point there was zero visibility. All I could see (barely) was the reflection of the headlights on the guardrail. That at least gave me an idea of where one edge of the road was. Still, despite the really bad conditions there were people passing me and driving what I'm sure was the speed limit. I kept it down to 45, which was probably pushing it just a hair. It was a straight road though, and I left enough room between the car in front of me to be able to stop if they hit one of the many patches of snow-covered ice on the road and entered the tilt-a-whirl.

I couldn't help but think about the mindset that makes people drive that fast in those conditions. There's no way I would be comfortable doing that. I don't care how advanced car technology may be, Mother Nature is still going to win sometimes. Maybe my inability to be more trusting of the car and thus go faster, is the same thing that hinders me on a bike. I see people riding faster than me, and riding over things that I think I can ride, but I don't. I know that I could be driving faster on the road, but I don't want to take the risk.

It is a bitch being such a wimp sometimes though.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Burnt pancakes

Oy! Long overdue for this one...

I made it back into the country twice. Both times without hassle. Very relieved, to say the least.

I find out tomorrow about the Trek job. I have mixed emotions at this point. It will be fun if I get it, but it might just be more fun if I don't judging by the list of activities happening in the UK this year. Oh's in the hands of fate and other people at this point.

So Norway...the one thing that hit me most while I was there is the fact that life is pretty identical for most (civilized) nations, it seems. People in Norway go shopping, deal with weather, go to restaurants, recreate, and all the other things we do. The fact that they do it in a different language is about the only thing that means that we aren't {i}exactly{/i} the same for the most part. Obviously there are some other cultural differences, but I just found it really easy to work into the normal routine of life while I was there, language-barrier aside (particularly since English is pretty common).

I had this knee injury that kept me off the slopes for a day, and while I was holed up in the apartment I found out that there's a bevy of American and British tv shows, broadcast in English, with Norwegian subtitles. For a while, as I sat there with ice on my knee watching tv, I forgot the fact that I was in a country that I'd never been to before, nor had any of my family.

It was a fun trip, and I'm glad to be back in the UK now. Tomorrow will determine how much longer I'm here.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Forget Norway!

Just a quick post.

Made it to Norway for a week of snowboarding in Geilo (YAY-low). Really cool here! Not a terrible amount of snow, but enough.

It's a new place for me and I'm reminded again about how much I'm enjoying the expansion of my cultural horizons.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

I'm all twisted up in the game-Click me! I'm a link!

So clicking the title above will take you to a Dirt Rag thread that someone started. It's got some links to some really cool sites made by other riders.

I've been looking at a few of them, and it occured to me that my own blog really isn't all that worthwhile compared to the cool factor that I see on others. I particularly like the Singlespeed Dream guy who lives in Boulder and takes a picture every day. That's pretty inspired stuff. At the same time it sort of points out to me that I haven't done too much that's inspirational lately. I don't mean inspirational to other people, just to myself. I don't even have a job that could at least make me feel that I'm contributing something. Ok, so I haven't minded not having a job really...Most of the time I feel more alive now than when I was working.

Oh well, it gives me a place to rant.


It's my last night in New Hampshire. We had a foot of snow fall overnight, so I was able to get in a powder day on the slopes today. It's going to be hard to leave. I always have such a good time when I'm here with my sister. It's a very relaxing place here. Overwhelmingly picturesque, and quintessential New England. Every road you drive looks like it's just leapt out of a Norman Rockwell painting. The people are nice, and they know how to enjoy the simple things in life.

The only good thing about leaving is that in two days I'm due on a plane back to the UK.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Throw the cool points out the window

Yesterday I was reminded why I sometimes hate people. I was also reminded about how easily people are led, and quick to join in on something that they think will make them look cool. This time, it was shrouded in negativity though, and I got myself caught up in it trying to be a voice of reason, and point out that someone was being an ass.

I know I shouldn't get myself into these things. In the end it doesn't really do me any good to get so worked up. I just think that too many people are willing to stand by and not speak up when they see someone behaving badly. I know it's just the internet. And I'm probably guilty of hiding behind the keyboard just like people who make shithead comments. Who knows if I'd be as willing to speak my mind in 'real life'.


Got to see some sheep in a film tonight. Made me smile. I thought of Piers and his soon-to-arrive lambs.

Finally got back on the snowboard yesterday. Had some good runs, then the wind started blowing a little too much for comfort. It was the beginning of yet another Canadian Clipper that dropped the temperature to -4F when I woke up this morning. More snow is on the way, though! Hopefully I'll have one more day on the board before making my now overdue trip back to the folks' house.

Had a long conversation on the phone the other day with the Trek people. I'm very optimistic about the job at this point, without counting my chickens too soon.

5 days until my attempt to break back into the country.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

If only we could have understood sooner.

I've been spending a lot of time with my niece and nephew since I've been here with my sister. My niece is about to turn 15, and my nephew is 12. There are a lot of things that make it cool to be around them at this age. They are interactive, bright, funny kids. I see a lot in them that is unique, and a lot of other things that are typical to kids in their respective age groups. My nephew loves video games. My niece is into a particular kind of make-up, and is discovering boys.

I feel a pretty strong responsibility to these kids to be a positive presence in their lives. I think that my relationship with them puts me in a position to teach them things that might otherwise be annoying coming from a parent. I know that I'm definitely not like my aunt's were with me when I was growing up. My niece and I like a lot of the same bands, and the same witty t-shirts, and cool Vans shoes. My nephew and I share a love of South Park, Lego's, and a yeti doll named 'Fluffy'.

More than anything though, I want them to learn from me. I don't know exactly when I realized that most of the things adults told me when I was a kid were true. All those ways to handle difficult situations, all those ways to socialize with people, all those ways I could have avoided the pressures of being a teenager. In other words, 'if I only knew then what I know now' stuff. I'm having such a hard time with this one, though. I keep asking myself how I can phrase things so that they sink in...really sink in.

My niece is the one that makes me think hardest. She's in her first year of high school, and because she was smart enough she got a scholarship to a private school here. This took her away from her friends who served as her social security blanket. She's having a hard time making the adjustment to her new school, since all of her friends go to the public school. She doesn't think any boys like her because she's a 'freak'. She's a cheerleader. She's tall, and she's gorgeous. She has so many outstanding qualities about her, but because the boys haven't given her the right kind of attention, she thinks there's something wrong with her. She's just like I was. Very secure in a lot of ways, and a complete mess in others. I desperately want to get through to her that she just needs to think differently about some things. I don't want her to carry the same self-esteem issues that I still battle all the time. I want to make it easier for her. I just haven't quite figured out how to get the message across without seeming like I'm just another adult trying to tell her all the things she doesn't want to hear.

The process is very frustrating because I want them to understand. I've found myself thinking of friends who have kids and wondering how they do this. I think it takes an outstanding amount of courage and patience to be a parent.

I wish I could have listened more to people who were trying to navigate the tough times with me when I was younger. I know that there are some things you have to find out for yourself, but I also know that having someone to offer support and guidance goes a long way. I want to be that type of person to my nieces and nephews.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Arctic Blast

Frigid temperatures here, after a night of almost 60F a few days ago. More snow fell last night and brought with it a cold front from Canadia, eh. The windchill has it down to 0F. I WILL go snowboarding tomorrow! It's going to hurt...

Friday, January 14, 2005

Other people's memories

Did you ever look at pictures of people that were taken before you met them and wish that you could have known them longer? I have. Maybe it's a negative side effect of the digital revolution, or maybe it's just me. I feel like I'm playing catch up in the friends department. I didn't form any lasting friendships until recently, say the last 7 years or so. People I thought I would always stay in touch with have faded into the landscape. When I went to my 10 year high school reunion I was optimistic that I would reform some friendships that had gone by the wayside as life took us in different directions. I did with a few people, but it turned out to be a flash in the pan and again, the going of separate ways has put us out of touch.

This year marks the 10th year since I graduated from college. The circumstances surrounding my now failed engagement while I was there meant that I missed out on the years when you are supposed to meet people with whom you will form the tightest bonds of friendship for years to come. So I don't have any friends from college, either.

I do have really great friends now. They are mostly people I've met recently, and hearing stories of things they did and seeing the pictures from before I knew them makes me green with envy. It seems like everyone else has people that they have known for years and years, and I don't. All of it leaves me feeling slightly displaced, like I'm a bystander who is watching things from the outside even though I sometimes participate. This is also part of the reason why it's hard for me to be home. I have family here, but I have very few friends in New Jersey, and none of them are close enough to see when I'm there. Ok, so they are close enough distance-wise, but not relationship-wise.

I guess I'm tired of the changes that take me away from people that I really value as friends. It seems like every time I meet a quality person/group of people, something happens that removes me from the sphere of activity with them.


On a completely unrelated topic, the 'people who occupy the White House' were interviewed tonight. I'm sure that the list of potential questions was screened ahead of time, and I'm sure that 'The President' was briefed on how to respond. I wish you could have seen it. I am just amazed that people in this country can actually look at this guy and think he's either smart, or genuine. It all makes me want to curse. After it was over I immediately ordered a couple of t-shirts. One says "You've been brainwashed" and the other "Bush is not my president". I will proudly wear both of them when I'm traveling in the red states.

I can't possibly stress how strong my desire is to ex-patriate.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

There's no such thing as global warming

The weather here in New England doesn't know what to do with itself.

On Saturday, 6 inches of snow fell. Yeah, I was all over the freshies on the snowboard. Yesterday, more snow started but by bedtime it was sleeting. Today, it got progressively warmer and now, at midnight, it's chucking it down with rain. Tomorrow, it's supposed to snow again. All of this is making it very hard to enjoy the slopes. This is why they say that if you learn to ski/board in the Northeast, you can ride anywhere. I can see now why people are snobs for Colorado snow which is consistenly light and fluffy.

I hit a local newsagent here today, which is in the mall (that's 'maul' for those of you over there, not 'mal' as in mallet) ;~)
It's a good one, even carries Singletrack albeit an issue behind. The editorial pic is the one of Chipps wearing my niece's pink foam pillow on his head. She and my sister were very excited to see that the pillow is now famous. Today, I picked up a copy of Bitch. Hate the title, but like some of what the mag has to say. They call it the "feminist response to pop culture".

You'll be happy to know that there are ad's for Mooncup's and the like in it.

I've been looking for titles to add to Dr. Jon's collection of weird magazines. When I was there last he was proudly displaying his copy of New Zealand Pig Hunter. I actually found a copy of Boar Hunter which I guess is the 'Merican version. Rather than give him another likeminded mag, I'm leaning towards "Rubber Stamp Madness", for those rubber stamp enthusiasts out there. I bet they have a forum and everything.

Oh, iTunes just popped up what I call SteveM's theme song right now: Journey to the End of the Earth by AiM. If personalities had a song, that would be Steve's.

Maybe I'll add that to my list of theories. Every personality has an appropriate song. It might be harder to apply the scientific method to that one than to the "every meal has a perfect bite", or "every ride has a perfect bit of trail' theories.

At least you get an AiM song, Steve. I could have just as easily been inspired by some Chumbawumba.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Music to my ears

Today, I felt a great sense of satisfaction. There was something that I wanted, but had little information about the object, or how to get it. I hunted. I searched. I queried. I went forth and fought the hard fight...that's right, I used the internet.

I was watching a movie today that had a trailer for Vanity Fair. The most noteworthy thing about the trailer wasn't Reece Witherspoon pulling off a halfway decent British accent. Nor was it the subject of the movie. No, it was a track played during the trailer. I've heard this piece before in other movies, but had no idea who it was by or what it was called. It isn't on the movie soundtrack, so that was a dead end. Finally, I happened on some forum (the places to find the answers to EVERYTHING) and low and behold, there was my answer. Nara, by E.S. Posthumus. A quick search on iTunes revealed the album, and a couple of clicks later there it was, in my library. It's such an amazing piece of music. Click the link above (that says Music to my ears) to hear a bad 2 minute sample, or if you have iTunes go find it there. Riveting!

Here's a special shout out to mah homies Jenn and Jo kickin' it in da BES (Brighton, East Sussex). Quite possibly the only two people who read my rants.

Long live Mint Sauce/Ride Kona Bikes ;~)

No word from Trek yet. And come the 26th, I'm going to just gate crash immigration at the airport.

Monday, January 10, 2005

No joy in Mudville...

Had my meeting at the British consulate today. I was hoping to walk out of there with a visa. That didn't happen. It doesn't look good, at this point. Very sad day, overall.

I've been thinking about that saying "the grass is always greener". Well, in England the grass is pretty much always green. I think it would be easy enough to say how cool it is and 'wow, I want to live there' after the right week of exposure. That happens almost everywhere I go for vacation. This is different, though. I spent the better part of a year in the UK, and can say with some degree of authority that for me, it really is better there. Now I'm faced with the possibility that I won't be allowed back in, when all I really want to do is spend time with my friends and ride bikes.

There were some people in front of me at the consulate today who were there get their work visa's so they could transfer over. I was totally envious. I have a friend who was working in the Bloomberg office in London and she just came back to the New York office. I catch myself thinking she's crazy. She'd been there for I think 3 years. I guess she was ready to come home. When I was still working, I was trying to convince her to come back, since I couldn't imagine why she'd wanted to stay that long. Funny how perspective's change and, in this case, become complete opposites.

I truly miss it over there. What doesn't help is the idea that if I get this Trek job, I'll be in Chicago 4 times. I absolutely hate Chicago.

And love is up in the I rate this day a 1/10. I'm almost excited to go to bed so I can wake up and have it behind me.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Opportunity knocks, and another door seems to close

Today, I had a conversation about a job opportunity that I'd probably be a fool to turn down. Me, a pro mountain bike racer, a truck and trailer, and a fleet of 20 bikes on a summer-long road trip around the US.

Seems like a no brainer, but there are other considerations to think of. Or so I seems that the 'other consideration' is a little bit one sided. Very sad, really. I guess this is just one of those harsh examples of how sometimes you have to force yourself to do something that you know is good, even though it might take you far away from the one you love.

Oh, and if I do this it means that I'd have to be in Seattle instead of State College where the Singlespeed Worlds are being held. I'm not really sure I want to miss that.