Monday, January 16, 2006

Drowning in my own thoughts

Don't let the fact that I haven't been posting regularly fool you into thinking that my head's been quiet. It hasn't. In fact, I've been awash in thoughts for several days now. I've been on a real mental roller coaster. Here's a brief recap of what I've been up to:

Waaay back on January 8th I left Boulder and started the drive to Portland, OR. It was a warm day at home, which quickly turned to blustery cold as I drove west across Wyoming. I ended my drive in Twin Falls, Idaho. The next day, I woke up and headed out of Twin Falls. Out of nowhere comes this enormous canyon that I couldn't see when I drove into town the night before because of the pitch black. This, I would later learn, is the Snake River canyon that Evel Knievel tried to jump on his "Skycycle" back in 1974. Just after I crossed the bridge, I pulled over to check it out from the observation area. Not long after that, a base jumper hurled himself from the bridge and floated down to the canyon floor. Later that evening, in a small world example, I heard the song Original Stuntmaster by AiM, which consists of part of the interview Evel about the jump. I also saw sheep that day. As driving days go, it was a good one.

The Portland seminars were more tiring than usual. Portland is a city full of very savvy bike people. It's consistently rated the most cycling friendly city in the country, and it's probably the closest thing we have to the culture of cycling that exists in Europe. Because of that, the crowd we faced was a very knowledgeable one, and didn't have time for a lot of fluff. They wound up sucking a lot of energy from Karl and I, and we both felt it the next day. The crowd on day 2 was slightly more subdued, which was good because we were both wiped out from the day before. After we packed up, we headed south to Corvallis, OR; Karl's hometown.

Karl with a K (as he's popularly known in the industry) lived in Corvallis until he graduated from high school. After that, he set off on his big adventure. Along the way, he became the mechanic for the Schwinn MTB team, later Gary Fisher (during which time he was Paola Pezzo's mechanic during her gold medal Olympic year), then on to the GT team, which included Steve Peat. Basically, he's been a pro mechanic on various race teams, and the World Cup circuit for around 20 years. After an absence lasting the same amount of time, Karl moved back to Corvallis. He's lived in many places, including a 9 year stint in Boulder, and a short stay in the Peaks where he wrenched for Tim Gould. I've found out that we have many mutual friends, including one John North.

So I've been at Karl's place since last Wednesday. We've done a road ride, a wet and soggy mtb ride, gone to the Oregon coast, which I've never seen, and today drove over to Bend to ride the slopes of Mt. Bachelor. It hasn't been a dull stay here.

During all of this, I've found myself to be in and out of a state of melancholy. I've been bothered by a handful of things, which are generally the same things that have bothered me for some time:

1) My physical fitness-particularly in light of the fact that my last several rides have been much harder than they should have been. I stayed pretty active over the holidays, and feel as though I'd stayed on the couch the whole time instead.

2) Photography-because of #1, I really feel like I miss out on a lot of picture opportunities. I just don't ride fast enough to keep up with people, and I don't really ride with people who understand how much I like taking pictures. I don't get to practice much as a result, and I see Dan's shots and realize that given my current circumstances, I'm not going to be that good. It's made me give some serious consideration to not even trying anymore, and sticking to benign things like nature shots.

3) The Chippendale-I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop-the day I hear/find out that he's got another girlfriend. Although he says this isn't something he wants, I really have a hard time believing that it won't happen. The reason this has been on my mind is because I've been trying to figure out how I'm going to respond to this when it does happen. I wish it weren't on my mind at all. I wish the whole subject were something I could just get over. Every time I think it's getting better, I have periods like this which are just as bad as it's ever been. I'm really quite pissed off about my own inability to just deal with it, already. Blah blah, whine whine. Geez.

4) Feeling unsettled-I would so love to take a photography class, among other things. I move around way to much to do anything like that. I'm definitely having an 'it's not all glamour' moment. I really do like my job, overall. I guess it's only natural to wish I had more time for my own pursuits when I'm constantly on the go. I don't right now, and I can't see that changing unless I quit my job. Not to mention...

5) A small amount of anxiety over what's going to happen in 2006-This year is already moving by so quickly. The fact that my UK trip has turned into a vacation being paid for by someone else, in exchange for nothing, has me worried that my one chance to 'impress' people in the UK office has just flown the coop. I'm having a hard time getting any sort of reply from the folks there about stopping in for a visit, or even doing some shop visits that were on the schedule before the main event was cancelled. I say a small amount of anxiety because I'm not feeling overly stressed at the moment about this. I think I have enough fans here that will help me make the move when it's time. I would just be happier if I knew that I was in any sort of demand over there.

Ok, that's probably enough ranting/whinging for one post. The day's activities have left me quite tired, so it's time for me to get to sleep.

This time next week, I'll be somewhere in the UK.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Popular with the ladies

Figured I was overdue for a post. In the last couple of days I've been taking care of some much needed errands, including getting my Colorado drivers license and license plates. I've had an interesting reaction over giving up my New Jersey license and plates. As silly as it seems, I feel like I've suddenly severed the ties to my home State. I say it's silly because I haven't actually lived there for a very long time, but I've always considered it to be where I'm from, and the plates and license were what showed that I was from there. It was a weird source of pride for me, if for no other reason than to demonstrate that not everyone from Jersey is a member of the Mafia.

When I was on the road over the summer, people would ask me where I'm from, and I'd say New Jersey. The reaction was always sort of luke warm. When they'd ask Chrissy and found out she was from Victoria, they reacted with much more delight. As soon as I moved and told people where I lived, I got the same reaction that Chrissy was getting about Victoria. New Jersey isn't a very exciting place for most people. My guess is they've never been there and believe what they hear, or they've flown into Newark airport which is in the armpit of the State, and that's what they think the whole place is like. I really like being from there, even though there's nothing there right now (outside of family) that makes me want to live there now.

I suppose it's just a case of never really forgetting where you're from.